Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Me? A Planner?

Sometimes, I think the theme of my life, here lately should be "Duh!" A lot of the things I used to do, just don't work anymore, and a lot of the things my parents and grandparents once did, I am doing. I think I grew up before I realized it. Ha!

"I just don't know how you do it," someone said to me yesterday. She was talking about homeschooling my kids. I was rolling out bread dough. I started thinking about it, and you know what I've come up with? An answer. My answer to how I do it, this homeschool stuff, plus the baking, plus the parenting, plus everything else is to plan ahead.

Now, if you know me at all, you will notice that planning anything is not the "norm" for me. I am a "by the seat of my pants" kind of gal. From writing, to homeschool, from laundry, to singing I just do what feels right, when it is convenient for me. But, here lately, doing things "by the seat of my pants" isn't working.

If I don't plan way ahead, then I'm starting too late in the morning for school, and it's confusion all day, not to mention aggravating. Not knowing what we're going to do the next day puts me and my girls in a bad mood, and we end up doing nothing. If I don't do the dishes as soon as I have a chance, then they pile up and it takes me what seems to be fifty years to get it all done. If I don't purpose a certain time to write, I end up not writing at all. I hate to say it, but play time is over. :)

I truly need y'all's prayers, because this planning ahead is not only new to me, but it's kind of hard. Some days I do real well, but mostly I struggle. I'm still learning what works and what doesn't, so needless to say, some days are better than others. I do think that when planning next year's school time, I'm going to give myself Wednesdays off to catch up on laundry and other house work.

They say kids need and even thrive on structure, and I'm thinking it won't hurt me either. lol It's like God is saying, "Well, duh, Shannon dear." :)

So, with that said, I gotta go give my kids a bath and get them ready for Youth tonight. Y'all have a happy Wednesday, and keep those prayers coming.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Blind Baker: On Bread and Cookies

Well, it's not Wednesday, nor is it Friday. It's monday again. I guess I'm just going to have to stop saying when I'll post on here, just so I don't make a liar out of myself. :) The days just get so busy around here, that by the time I have time to write, I'd rather go to sleep, instead.

Last Wednesday was a busy day. We did a little bit of school, and then we baked cookies for my daughters' youth group's St. Patrick's Day party. I made sugar cookies and rolled them in sparkly, green sugar. The girls loved rolling the cookie dough in that stuff. :) I think they tasted along the way, but I can't promise. lol It must have been more humid outside than I thought, because the cookie dough was too dry. I kept having to add liquid to it. That kind of thing has never happened to me before, when it comes to cookies. But, they tasted fine, and I'm told they looked perfect. I don't believe that, but it's nice to hear.

My mom had bought me a new cookie sheet for my birthday, back in January, and I was excited to be using it for the first time. I rolled out the cookies, rolled them in the green sugar and placed them on the cookie sheet. I opened the oven, slid out the rack and set the sheet on it. I started to push in the rack, but a "bump" stopped me. Ha! That crazy cookie sheet would not fit in my oven! I turned it long ways, but no such luck. That pan was not going in there. lol So, i set the cookie sheet back on the table and waited until the first batch had cooled enough to reuse the pan. :) I knew my oven was smaller than normal, but I never dreamed it was that small. :)

I also made bread last week. It was french bread, and it turned out so yummy this time. I've changed a few things over the years from when I first began making it, and the bread only seems to get better as time goes by.

I've started adding my salt after the first few cups of flour. I read somewhere that salt does something to the yeast to keep it from working properly, so after about 3 cups of flour, I add the salt.

Also, instead of white, granulated sugar, I've started using honey. It seems to make the bread softer, and it changes the crum. I didn't realize it would do this. With sugar, the inside of the bread is more firm, more together. It tastes great, though. But, with honey, the inside of the bread is a little more airy, if that makes any sense. It seems to change the taste of the bread, too, but without having both kinds at the same time, I can't really tell what is different about it.

The other thing I've changed about making french bread, and white bread, too, is I beat an egg white and brush the tops of the loaves before baking. I brush on the egg white, let them sit for a minute or so, then sprits them with water and plop them in the oven. The water keeps the air in the oven moist, so the bread doesn't dry out, and the egg gives it a nice, golden color that my oven can't because of its age.

This last time, I had some help making the bread. My 6-year-old brushed a loaf of her choosing with egg white and spritsed it, as well. She was so proud of herself, and the funny thing was, her loaf turned out prettier than mine. :) She kept saying, "Mine looks better than Mommy's!"

I bought some meat and cheese from the deli yesterday, and I can't wait to make more bread, so I can slice it long ways and make hoagies out of it. Yum! And, rather healthy, too, if one isn't worried about carbs.

Well, it's almost school time, my coffee is getting cold, and my Reeses Puffs are almost gone. And, if you can believe it, I've run out of things to say. So, until next time, keep smiling and keep praying. It's the only thing that's gonna git us through.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lunch Time Thoughts

It's lunch time, and I only have a few minutes, but I wanted to post an entry while it is still Monday. lol I have been lacking when it comes to writing on here, and to you faithful readers, I apologize.

As an update, we still have wasps, or if you are from around here, "waspers". lol There has been at least one in our house every day since last Wednesday. My husband has been killing them, but the 4-year-old is freaking out. I'm planning on googling, here in a bit to see if I can't find a way to discourage them from coming in my house. We'll see. Maybe you aroma therapy folks out there might have a suggestion? would love to hear it.

I did some baking over the weekend. This time, however, I had a couple of helpers. My daughters and I made muffins. We used silicone bakeware for the first time, but instead of making my own muffin mix from scratch, I cheated and let the girls pick out the flavors they wanted from the grocery store. We had chocolate chocolate chip and strawberry. The muffin cups were those tiny ones, and half of them were heart shaped. Those heart ones were mighty floppy, and it was difficult getting the batter in there without it running down the sides and on to the cookie sheet. But, thankfully, we have dish cloths and water, and the mess wasn't too difficult to clean up. I think I needed to bake them another minute, and I think I tried to take them out of the cups too soon, because a couple of them broke apart. But, they tasted good, and the heart-shaped muffins were cute. I didn't use any oil or nonstick spray with the bakeware, and surprise, surprise, the mix didn't stick. Some of the muffin cups need a little more wiping than the others, but all in all, not hard to wash. So, over all, it was a good baking experience. The 4-year-old got to stir and pour, and the first grader got to measure out 1/2 cup of milk for each batter. Reckon we did science and math class, and on a weekend, too. :)

Unlike many homeschoolers, I don't use a prepared curriculum. I use a science book from 2000, mostly because I'm not a science person. I have a large print copy for Faith and a braille copy for me. Not that she needs large print, but it's free, and it's the exact same copy that I have. This way, we can read along together, and I know for sure what she is doing. As for anything else, I didn't like the math book we started to use, but since numbers do not change, I think I can handle that subject. I might change my mind when we get to long division, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. lol Since I don't use something someone else has planned out, I have to do extra planning, which takes up a lot of time, I don't mind telling you, especially when it comes to Bible lessons. I spent all weekend looking up lessons for Bible class. I skimmed and read and prayed, and I'm starting to realize something; time spent in God's word is not only good for my children's school time, it's good for me, too. Thank you, Lord for forcing me to study your word. It's making a difference already. Shame on me for not being prepared before now, but thank you so much, Lord, for mercy and grace.

Happy Monday, y'all, and be sure to come back on Wednesday. I'll try to talk about writing. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

God's Word...and Bees?

The windows are open, and there is a wonderful breeze blowing through the house. The sun is shining, and since we didn't have much of a freeze this past winter, the bees are enjoying the nicer weather, too. Oh, how i prayed and prayed for a deep freeze this winter. I wasn't asking for snow, mind you, but about five days of 20 degrees would have been enough, I think to kill the wasps who took up residence in my yard last summer. But, such was not to be.

This morning's Bible lesson was in Matthew 14 about Jesus walking on the water. My girls and I talked about how brave Peter had to have been to just step out of the ship and trust that Jesus would let him walk on water. My 6-year-old said she didn't think she would be that brave. I asked her if she would be brave, if she knew Jesus would help her. I asked if she believed that Jesus could make her walk on water. She said she trusted him, but she still wasn't about to try it. lol Kids are funny.

My 4-year-old is so afraid of bees and anything that flies, it is becoming a might ridiculous. She screams bloody murder, and runs to the highest point she can get to. The other day when she saw a bee crawling on the floor, I had to get my sighted sister to come over and reassure her there was no bee, before she would come down off the kitchen table. Then, it took an hour or more to get her walk through the house without being escorted by me or her older sister. Today, there were 2 bee sightings on the front screen door, and the 4-year-old is leary of the living room. Honestly, y'all I don't know what I'm going to do! I can't see good enough to kill them myself. And, I have a healthy fear of them, too. I was stung quite a few times as a kid and know full-well how it feels. I am of the firm opinion, if I sit still and leave the bee alone, it won't bother me. If I could see, then the other day, I would have stamped on the bee with my shoes on, insuring its immediate demise. But, how can you kill with one shot, when you can't even see the goofy thing? I can't call the man of the place to come home from work every time my girls see a bee. I can't hire a full-time bee watcher. lol So, what do I do? Anyone?

Well, since y'all don't know either, I've come up with a solution that might work. I'm praying about it. If Jesus can walk on the water, He surely can take care of my bee problem. He expects us to trust Him with everything. We're supposed to trust Him with our finances, our sicknesses, our lost loved-ones, our peers at work, our bosses, our marriages, our church, so why not bees? Here's my prayer. Ahem. "Lord, I can't see those bees. Now, you created them to do something very important, and that does not include stinging me or my kids. So, Lord, bless the bee and give them a desire to go about their business outside my house. Bless my windows and doorways to be bee free. Make those things way too scared of us. Please, Lord, help Kierstin with her fear. Lord, your word says to be not afraid, so help her to not be afraid. And, Lord, help me not to be afraid, either." :) Y'all think that will do it?

I know y'all got used to me writing about writing on Wednesdays, but except for this blog and the first grade journal i keep for Faith's school work, I haven't been writing. I want to write, but I can't seem to find the time these days. Of course, I'm not trying to make time for it. I'm concentrating on school work. we're nearing the end of the school year, which means I have to make sure I have enough in Faith's portfolio to show progress. I want her to go on to 2nd grade, after all. I feel good about taking some time off from writing though. I've been reading some and thinking some, and reading blogs about writing, so when the time is right, I'll write. :)

I was asked last night and this morning if I plan to do any baking, some time soon, so I reckon I'll be doing some of that, shortly. When I do, I'll post entries on here about it. Can't promise when I'll post again, but it will be soon. And, don't forget, if you have a question, ask me. I'll be glad to answer anything I can. You can comment here, or on Facebook, or drop me an email at

So have a wonderful Wednesday, y'all and thanks for being a faithful reader. It really means a lot.