Saturday, May 31, 2008

Consuming Strawberries, step 2:

You can freeze them by the gallon, for later enjoyment in smoothies and shakes.
You can make 13 pints of jam in one day. Phew!!!
And you can STILL have a whole tray left over, for general consumption. Adam is contemplating a strawberry pie. We are getting creative, since our oven is STILL ON THE BLINK :(

A break from strawberries!

In the form of much-loved relatives!! Here are my Aunt Ann, Uncle Bob and Aunt Lois. They drove into town and Aunt Ann took the whole tribe of us to eat at Cracker Barrel. We had a great visit, yummy food, and met Maggie, Bob's Jack Russell Terrier. They also brought me a birthday gift, and the restaurant (of course) sang to me and brought cake. Now they're on their way back home to Virginia.
Peter was the only child with enough room for dessert. Here he is, consuming his mug sundae. It was gone in a flash!
And now, it's back to strawberries. Bubble bubble, toil and trouble. I've done 8 pints, but have many to go. I think I'll give up and freeze a bunch. We don't have a lot of freezer space since our box freezer died.

Consuming Strawberries, step 1:

The kids thought these strawberries were going "bad" - but they were just ripe and ready to slice and eat with pancakes this morning.
Now, doesn't that look delectable? You won't find that at the neighborhood MacDonalds.
It was just a LITTLE more than I could eat in one sitting.
Adam, being pensive at the breakfast table. It's fine having such a strong, handsome man around the house :)

Friday, May 30, 2008


Philip was "Junior Marshall" at graduation. That means he was one of 8 juniors with the highest GPAs, and he got to wear a fancy red sash and tell people where to sit. The other sweet benefits of being a Junior Marshall are evident in the photo. Does he look like the cat who got in the cream?
Three of our lovely students.
Two of his fellow Junior Marshalls, and I'll add, wonderful young women. They don't come any nicer that these two!
Our graduates. This is just after they tossed their hats.

Strawberry Heaven

That's what Julia called it. Here she is with Peter, and our friend Allison, after picking 6 gallons.
Here's the elderly gentleman who took our money and wished us well. Max, don't you think a golf cart like this would be handy on your farm?
Strawberries loaded in the trunk.
WHAT am I gonna do with all of them? Well, I froze a few, I'll make jam tomorrow, and we'll eat a lot of them straight. Peter could finish off a tray single-handed!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our college-bound son

Well, not quite yet! He has one year left to go -- but he took the SAT and made a 1990, which isn't too bad for a first try! Tonight while Adam and I were out, he got a call from Belhaven, offering him $9000 scholarship each year, just for the SAT score. He was pretty enthused about that. Not that he wants to go to Belhaven; he wants to go to Covenant (of course) - who could resist Covenant, once he has seen that view from the overlook at sunset? Now, we have to wait and see how much money Covenant will offer him. I don't think I'm quite ready for all the drama of the senior year - there's so much hoopla involved, and at our school, it's quite a celebration.

Tomorrow: last exam given, and I have to finish up my teaching year. In the afternoon I plan to go strawberry picking. In the evening, we attend graduation at the school, and I have to give a little speech and a little award. On Saturday I hope to make some strawberry jam, and have a nice visit with my Aunt Ann, Uncle Bob and Aunt Lois, who will be traveling through town. On Sunday I have a little solo to sing at church. Monday I visit the doctor, and Julia goes to the orthodontist.... wasn't summer (and relaxation) supposed to start in there, somewhere?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The end is in sight!

I got SO much grading done today at school. Sigh of relief. And my happy little students all did creative writing in class today, and we laughed as we read their fables aloud. One wrote about an elephant and a caterpillar having a race on motorcycles. Another wrote about a blood-sucking competition between a mosquito named Maleria, and a flea named Sucka-flee. Too funny. I am so close to being done! I'm trying hard to get all my end-of-year tasks done early, so when that last exam is over on Friday, I can LEAVE. I'm slated to go strawberry picking with a friend and with Peter (who will eat them all), on Friday afternoon. Here's hoping!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A husband who makes beds

is a true gem. That's a mighty big bed, don't you think? This is Adam's new perennial bed; he has lots of perennials he's grown from seed, and they need a comfy home. THAT job wore him out a little today - plus the heat (85), which hasn't been a factor until today.

Just lookie at my lambs' ears. They have gone berzerk since I moved them to this location. They are shooting up and spreading around. I may have to divide them soon. Adam wants some of these, back in his perennial bed!

Busy kids

Philip and Anna have had a busy weekend. On Friday, Philip went with friends to see a production of "The Sound of Music" in Mooresville. A girl in their group of friends played the Mother Abbess, and did a great job. Then he went to a friend's house to spend the night, and on Saturday they went to a movie. We're happy he has finally found a good group of friends to hang with. Sometimes I think we barely see him, but I'm glad he's got a social life.

Anna spent the night with a friend on Friday night also, for the friend's birthday, and they did fun things all day Saturday too. Then on Sunday afternoon, the youth group at church spent the afternoon at a church member's lake house for their outing, so Philip and Anna went to that. This year they did NOT succeed in throwing Philip into the lake. He dislikes water.

Today Peter is gone all day. He and some of his friends organized a grand trip to Carowinds for the day. I'm sure the park will be packed, but they'll have a great time. 2 other sets of parents are chaperoning, so we got off the hook.

And this afternoon Julia will go to her best friend's birthday party. The friend is a twin, so it's a double party, and lots of little girls.

Adam was planning to cook steaks, but we haven't had everybody here for a meal! Maybe tomorrow!

It's a beautiful day, and we've already been tackling the yard work. Adam is trying to get rid of some stumps, moving mulch, and digging a new perennial bed. I trimmed a row of azaleas, will go to Salvation Army, shop with Julia for birthday gifts, and hopefully grade some papers.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Okay, so maybe it should be "ICU" instead of "RIP" - but the stove is officially dead, at least for now. It's an ancient, 1950's model. (No offense to my brothers, also ancient 1950's models) Adam says that, hopefully, he can resurrect it, after school is out.
Our flourishing strawberry patch.
Adam's sunflowers are standing tall. They have about another foot to do. They are a short variety, so no 8 foot flowers for us.
Julia decided to brave the chilly waters today.
This poorly located rose bush rarely gets direct light, but it blooms happily nonetheless. We put in some low, solar lighting on the patio - can you see the light hidden in the rose bush?

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I cleaned the baseboards in my bedroom, wiped down the window sills too. Cleaned the toilet. Washed the shower curtain. Washed our sheets, mattress cover, comforter, and put it away for the summer. Cleaned the woodwork/ledges on the front porch.

I even dusted. Just a little.

Summer is coming.

Bye bye, teeth

Sorry for the dearth of posts. Busy week. On Thursday, Julia had these two teeth pulled - aren't we glad we got a picture of them before the tooth fairy whisked them away? She did great - they're just baby teeth, so they came out easily. Now her adult teeth can descend, and she can get her fancy retainers. We are making progress in the big dental endeavor!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just a LITTLE chilly...

In the pool today. 70.5 degrees. I had to force my legs to go under the water. However, once I got up on my sturdy flotation device, all was well, and I drifted about the pool, gazing up at the clouds. There's nothing so relaxing as staring at the clouds, studying them for 10, 15 minutes. Watching them move and rotate and morph. Today, I pretended that summer is already here. Alright, my mental escape didn't last for long -- still, it was fun while it lasted! Only 6 school days left.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The last Monday -

That's what today is. I won't teach school on a Monday again, until next fall. Yes! This is our last full, grueling week of school. I'm shoving a few last short stories down their little, unwilling throats, and then giving them a chance to regurgitate it all on exam day. Okay, so not a pretty metaphor. I guess it was the use of that word, "gruel."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

That kind of prayer

Hi all. I've had a roller-coaster 24 hours. I got news that a dear, childhood friend was very ill. Some air had entered her blood stream through an IV port, done damage to her lungs and to her frontal lobe. Suddenly, a 45 year old woman is in a coma in the hospital. First I was shocked, and then I started to pray.

Now, we Reformed Presbyterian Christians are funny about prayer. We know it's commanded, and we know it's important. But we've been taught so thoroughly (and truly) that God is in control of all things, and that He is unchangeable. This confuses us, and we become limp in prayer. We bookend our prayers with "Only if it's your will, Lord," and we buffer our zeal in pleading with God, as the widow in Scripture pleaded with the judge.

That is, until we're in REAL need, and are desperate. Then, even a Reformed Christian will implore God, and demand (yes, demand) that he DO something. I did pray that way for my husband a number of years ago. Well, yesterday I prayed that way for my friend. I implored the Lord, I implored for his glory and for her healing. I did that odd combination of confident pleading. For a woman who the doctors said had little hope of regaining consciousness, much less memory.

And this morning I got an email telling me that, yesterday, she woke. And recognized everyone, and spoke. The doctors say it is a miracle. I say the designer who made her body, decided to correct the damage. And how thrilling to know that I was part of that healing - even hundreds of miles away. I wanted to be with my friend. How wonderful that God has given us a way to intervene for a friend, at such a distance.

Some might smirk and shake their heads at such thoughts. I know those prayers work. Thank you, Lord.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I would post a photo, but,

I don't think you need even ONE MORE picture of a flower from my yard. Seriously. Don't you feel as if you know every inch of my yard by now? Besides, as usual, I'd have to get up off the couch to take a picture.

Survival mode. That's where we two teachers are now. Nothing matters now except making it through the next 2 weeks. I was about to type "week and a half," but then my brain reminded itself that that was only wishful thinking.

So, it's not really that bad. I have to grade: 14 papers, & the essay portions of 39 tests. Very manageable. I think I need to portion it out, and give myself a daily quota. Let's see, 2 papers each day. I'll be done with them in a week. How many of the tests each day, do you think? 4? I'd get them done in 10 days. But I don't want to do weekends. Hm. Have to work faster than that. Sounds bad after all.

And then there's the final exams, but they WILL be 100% multiple choice, and I can grade one in about 4 minutes. That way, I'm done grading the little suckers before the students can get out the door.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

She's a beauty!

The first rose lady of the season. The aphids nearly got this rose before she had a chance to be born. Adam told me one way to scare off aphids was to squash lots of them in your fingers, and smear their remains on the leaves. The smell of dead aphids keeps the rest away. Sounds logical. Are aphids logical? Well, it worked!

Family Fun

Okay, so this is a tradition in our family that we've been observing, off and on, for about 7 years. It all started back in Alabama, where we finally lived close enough to a Blockbuster Movie rental store to partake in the cultural fun...

We decided to all go to the movie store together. This was well before Netflix arrived on the scene. We rented something fun for everybody -- probably a Herbie movie, or maybe "What's Up, Doc?" Then, we all traipsed to Wally-World, and we allowed each child to pick out a bag of candy. That's it! Then we added a few bags of popcorn, pillows, blankets and pajamas, and VOILA! Family Fun Night was born.

Even as teenagers, our kids still ask for this. Peter was the pleader this time. We had a new Netflix coming in the mail - a Nero Wolf, the series pilot, as a matter of fact. Adam and I had already bought the candy. So, we all sat last night downstairs in the den, enjoying a movie (of sorts) together, getting gradually sick on candy. A lovely family scene. No, seriously, how many families with 3 teenagers do YOU know who still sit around the TV together for an evening - without fighting?? Well, alright, so it's rare for them not to fight; but still, it was a fight-free night. They all LOVE Nero Wolf.

I know, in a few years when the older 3 are all gone, I'll really miss these times.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The pool is up! My crazy daughters are already in the frigid water. It does look lovely, but I'll wait, I think.

This is an interesting implement we found in our backyard - an old plowing device. It makes a nice decoration now.
We have WAY more lettuce than a family of 6 can eat! Help! Lettuce overload! Adam promised to make us eat salads straight for 2 months, but even he has backed off. I think the effort of washing it, and putting together yummy salads, is beyond both of us, at this tired time of the school year. 12 class days to go.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Tribute to Mother

Here are a few shots of one of the world's most wonderful women. Because she's traveling and I can't even CALL her today (sigh), hopefully she'll enjoy this photographic acclaim upon her return. Above, she is giving Julia a hug. I'm often told I strongly resemble my mother, and Julia, so perhaps they resemble each other too!
I like this pic - this is one of the many things my mother does well, effortlessly, joyfully, and with great pleasure. She loves flowers and has an eye for a graceful arrangement.
Ah, Tasha, my mother's devoted dog. Or perhaps I should say Mother is a devoted owner. Tasha's favorite spot is at my mother's feet.
I enjoy time with my parents. My mother is very young-at-heart, and getting younger by the day! She has amazing stamina for her age (which is NOT elderly yet, thank you!), and sometimes we family members forget, and dump more on her than we should.
And here she is with her #1 man - isn't this a lovely shot?
Happy Mother's Day, dearest. We all love you very much.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


What a long, hot, exhausting day! Notice I did not say BAD. We got up on the early side, for a Saturday, and Adam got into the yard and started prepping the spot for the pool. This involved much shoveling, raking, leveling, reraking, releveling ... of sand. Then we had to dash to church for a put-in-the-church's-first-annual-community-garden party, complete with hot dog lunch and fun live music. We really had a crowd. We all got dirty, and some of the younger ones got wet, but we had fun. Add small doses of sun burn. Then we came back home, Adam hit the pool project again, but Anna and I headed to the mall for our annual bathing suit hunt. Well, for her it's a hunt. For me its a depressing, onerous proof of how fat I really am, as if I needed the whole fashion industry to design 27 bathing suits each year just to SHOW me this fact. Well, anyway, I did find one. It's not really cute, or flashy, or elegant. And it doesn't make me look thin. They don't make bathing suits with magical powers. But it fits, kind of, which is better than ALL the other ones I tried on.

The pool is filling with its 4000 gallons. My husband informed me that he's too tired to cook tonight, plus it's Mother's Day tomorrow. That means the kids will have hamburgers (it's handy to have a 17 year old who also is capable of burning a few patties), and Adam and I will go back to the yummy, cheap Chinese place. BTW, why do Chinese restaurants love to invert their nouns and adjectives? It sounds almost Spanish. We used to go to "Fortune Lucky" restaurant in Alabama. Now we go to "Dragon Golden." Strange. It's almost like they're advertising, "See? We're authentically Chinese! We have terrible grammar!"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday, at last

This weekend, Adam will put up the pool - yippee!! Of course, it'll be too cold to swim in it for a couple of weeks, I'm sure. Anyway, he and Peter are shoveling another load of sand onto the pool spot, so he can easily make it level. You don't want one of those easy-set pools to be even a LITTLE out of level. It quickly becomes an "easy-empty pool."

Here's a 'before' shot of my little ferns I transplanted a few weeks ago.
Look how much they've grown! They are happy in their new location.

Well, one week survived, 3 to go. This end-of-the-school-year business is grueling work, let me tell you. We've all been battling some odd assortment of colds/flu/allergies this week. We're doing our part to make Kleenex a thriving company.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Wednesday miscellany

While Adam's mother was here, she and Peter worked a long, hot afternoon to clear out the dead wood and overgrown matter in this side border of our front yard. It was a ton of work, but they did a fabulous job. Hopefully some of the healthy bushes now have a chance!!
Here's another view of the same border, further along.
The 3 younger kids watched a movie last night, sitting on the couch. They're watching it on a laptop - a "play it now" movie from Netflix. In the next few years, I imagine this will become the main way we watch movies/shows - online, when we want, what we want. Makes sense.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I would be happy to post a nice photo or two for you, but then I'd have to get up off the couch. ha. I've had a cold for the past 3 days, and I just feel blah. No, perhaps worse than blah -- I think this might be "bluh." But it's not the flu, so that's something to be thankful for. Still, I've gone to work both days, and that does not allow for much recovery time.

I never vacuumed over the weekend.

The kitchen is a minor wreck.

The ants are invading the bathroom.

Did I mention the dirty floors?

This is the time during the school year when we teachers just put our heads down, refuse to look at which day of the week it is, much less which day of the month, and PLOW FORWARD TO THE END. That's my survival strategy.

And, hey, I signed my contract for next year, so I have another whole year of employment and paychecks! Yay!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I did survive

I went to my parents' church for a ladies' luncheon on Saturday, and gave my testimony to a roomful of dear ladies, many of whom are old, treasured friends. We had a lovely time, but I was very nervous, and I'm glad that it's over! The Lord was gracious, and gave me the words to say, with only a few awkward spots. I love you, Cornerstone ladies!

Adam in his garden

Our whole yard is his garden. In this shot you can see 3 different terrains: the grass he planted last summer, the earth recently overturned with compost in it, and the dark compost he just spread.
Here's a close-up of the soft fescu grass. Soon, it will all look like this!
But before it can be beautiful, he digs it all up with a shovel and overturns it, adding compost. That's hard work.
This lovely dark gold came free from the landfill. It's lovely. Adam has to dig it all in. It's no wonder his arms are so strong.
Here is another section he's working on; it stretches from our backdoor, around the azaleas toward the pool location. And speaking of the pool, it will be going up next week, Lord willing! I'm afraid we'll drag it out, and find that mice have chewed holes in it, or something. Let's hope not!