Friday, February 29, 2008

I'm Back!

I have been MIA, at least as far as my blog is concerned anyway. Blame it on dh! He was gone all last week at a conference in least I got these adorable coffee mugs from the original Starbucks. Thanks, Honey!

It was a good week but exhausting at the same time. Every time I have the boys all alone for a few days I want to go find every single mom I know and hug her tight!

I have several things I want to blog about this week so come back soon.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Yummiest (and Easiest) Cookie Ever

*This post has been edited since I first posted it as I discovered that over-mixing the batter can yield less than satisfactory cookies!"

One thing I should add to my profile is that I am a foodie. I love to eat good food, and I love to cook good food. One of my dreams, when the boys get older, is to take classes at a culinary school - just for fun! I have never shared recipes on my blog so this is a first. And what a yummy first, too.

I got this recipe from Tori's GFCF Blog but don't be turned off that it has no wheat or dairy. I have served this cookie several times already and everyone always asks for the recipe. It's that good.


1 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips (We use Tropical Source; they are gfcf.) or chopped peanuts work well too. Both of these are optional. Haddon and I like ours with chocolate chips. Thatcher prefers his with chopped peanuts and Dh likes his plain.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, beat peanut butter, brown sugar, eggs and baking soda until the mixture is smooth and well blended (but do not over-mix as cookies will be greasy). Stir in chips or peanuts, if desired, until evenly distributed. Drop the dough by teaspoonful onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are puffed and slightly golden but still soft to the touch, about 8-10 minutes.

My Notes:

I prefer large cookies so I use a mini ice cream scoop to form mine. The recipe yields 16 cookies this way. Tori's blog says that her cookies were really soft when she took them out of the oven. That didn't happen any of the times I made them. Tori used half almond butter in place of the peanut butter and that may account for the difference. If yours are that soft then just let them sit on the pan until they set. They will be perfect!

With mine I press them down with a fork to make the classic peanut butter cookie markings. Also, I add 1 tsp gfcf vanilla when I make these.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tchaikovsky anyone?

Sometimes things happen that you just never want to forget. Every time I think of this I giggle.

Last month the boys and I ventured to the mall. It was the first day all the local kids were back in ps but we were still on our Christmas Break. I knew the place would be empty and we needed to get out. I had a few shirts I had bought back in October (Does that tell you how often I make it to the mall?!) that I needed to return as well.

The first store we went into was one of those trendy, dimly lit, play the music waaay too loud stores and it wasn't long until my boys were boppin' their heads to the beat. We went up to the register to make my returns and Thatch got all excited. They were selling CD's at the front counter!

Thatcher innocently looks at the 19 year old behind the counter and asks, "Excuse me, sir, do you have any Tchaikovsky CD's?" The kid just looked at me and said, "Who?" Thatcher replied, "You know...Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Tchaikovsky. The composers!" I almost lost it right there in the store as that teenager looked at my six year old and calmly said, "Ummmm, no. We don't sell any of those," and then looked at me and asked, "How the heck does he know that?"

Oh the joys of homeschooling!

P.S. The styled-out Tchaikovsky is dh's brain-child. Enjoy! :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Waaaaay overdue!

I need to say thanks to some sweet fellow bloggers who passed two awards on to me.

Thank you to Carisa at 1+1+1=1, Rachel at Keep the Way and Amy at Allen Academy who gave me the "E for Excellence Award". After almost five weeks of sickness at our home and not feeling very excellent many of those days, this award made me smile!

I also received the "Blogging with a Purpose Award" from Jessica at Trivium Academy back in January! Thank you, Jessica. You continue to inspire me with your dedication and bless me with your friendship.


1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.

2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.

3. In their post about the award they need to link back to this entry.

4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to this site.

Because I am so late in acknowledging this, I have no idea who has received it and who has not. Forgive me if I am duplicating. Here are five new (to me) blogs that make me smile...

1. Higher Up and Further In - I love reading Linda Fay's reflections on a CM style education.

2. The Heart of Harmony - This blog gives me much needed support on the (sadly lacking but hopefully changing) fine arts aspect of our home school.

3. 1+1+1=1 - Take a look at Carisa's lapbooks! They are great and free. Thanks for sharing such a great resource. :)

4. Mt. Hope Chronicles - Okay this isn't a new blog for me but I still love all that Heidi does and her decorating posts are new...and wonderful for the decorator challenged moms like myself!

5. My 5 Wolf Cubs - Another blog that is not new but she did take a blogging break and I am so happy she is back! You were missed, Lee.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day Covert-Ops...*snicker*

Two things for you blogging wives to remember:
1. Never give your husband your blog password.
2. Don't let him write a poem that you think he might drop in your blog for Valentine's Day (never mind the fact it's not that great...heck, it's a guy who wrote a poem...surely there are points just for that).

Better luck next time Jen.


Never in this world will there be
A more precious pearl than thee.

In thy presence is nourishing grace,
With deceit or guile, there is no trace.

Some men run after women of standard fare,
But in my possession is one beyond compare.

Of places to which God may deliver me,
All is forlorn lest it be with tbee.

If there is but one prayer I could pray,
T’would be thy presence at my side each day.

May His pow’r give reality to this rhyme,
For I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.

Happy Valentine's Day Sweetheart!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Weekly Report - Weeks 21&22

- For our Bible curriculum we do a mix of several things. Thatcher is involved in AWANA at a local church near us. It's his third year to participate and he loves it! If you are unfamiliar with AWANA, it's a fabulous program. The kids wear vests like in scouts and they earn jewels in a crown for memorizing verses and reciting them to a leader each week. They also earn AWANA bucks for different things that they can spend in the AWANA store a few times a year as well. There's so much more but that's the jist!

As a family we've slowly been working through Leading Little Ones to God for our morning family worship time. It's hard to do something as a family with kids of all different ages. LLOTG is way above Haddon's head but right on for Thatcher. Still Haddon is learning the value of sitting and listening as Daddy teaches. Then we sing a song and pray before we conclude. That's Haddon and Beckett's favorite part! Lol.

We also are always reading our way through one story Bible or another. Earlier this year it was The Jesus Storybook Bible and now it's....

Breakfast Reading - The Big Picture Story Bible. This Bible is similar to the Jesus Storybook Bible but is geared for preschoolers. All the boys are enjoying it though. We try to read at breakfast and lunch because they are a captive audience! :)

Lunch Reading - This week our Aesop's fable was "A Bundle of Sticks" and the moral was "In unity is strength". It was a perfect story for my boys who sometimes (okay, often) fight more than they should!

I also am still reading different Mother Goose stories to the boys at lunch. Beckett loves the cadence of these readings. As soon as I open a book he starts bobbing his head in anticipation of the rhythmic reading to come. It is so stinkin' cute!

Still More Reading :) - As soon as the little men go to sleep, Thatcher and I curl up on the couch for some reading time with just the two of us! This past week he read Hour of the Olympics to me and I read The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus to him.

Math - Horizons and math copywork are still going well! I still haven't managed to get in any of the great supplemental things we have but for now, that's okay.

History - Here are two of Thatcher's History Scribe Narration pages from SOTW. I just love his illustrations. He's come so far! At the start of this year he was only drawing a face with eyes, a nose and a mouth to represent a person. His coloring too! I should show you coloring he did this August for comparison. My little boy is growing up. Sigh.

Science - This week concluded our study of animals. We celebrated by going to the Houston Zoo to see each animal we studied, plus lots of others. The celebration only lasted 2 hours before we were scrambling to find a restroom where Thatcher could lose his lunch. Poor baby!

Spanish - In this unit Thatcher is learning the days of the week, the months of the year and counting. Also, Thatcher just got his first letter from his Spanish penpal, Grace. Tammy over at Evergreen Eclectic Academy agreed to let her beautiful daughter correspond with my little man. And she didn't even give up on me when we forgot to write our first letter! I'll take a picture of Thatcher's first letter for next week's report.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week next week!

What's Happening at Smooth Stones Academy

Lots and not so much! How's that?!

For one, the last four Fridays one of my babies has come down with a sickness. First Haddon had a five day fever virus. The next Friday it was Beckett's turn - a 3 day fever, followed by a cold and topped off with an ear infection. Last Friday it was Haddon's turn again, and today poor Thatcher got hit with the flu (I think) pretty hard. He is one sick little guy. So I've been spending lots of time nursing little ones to health.

In the middle of all this we are still doing school everyday and things are going well. I will post a two-week weekly report later this weekend hopefully. Oh, and for those of you who have tagged me for one thing or another, I will try to get to that soon, promise! :)

I've been running again - although still not as much as I'd like due to lots and lots of rain and the aforementioned sicknesses. In January I ran a total of 71.6 miles. My goal is to run 20 miles a week so I was pretty close most weeks. So far I've run less than ten miles in February. Sigh. If you exercise - walk or run- I would encourage you to log your miles. It can be really encouraging over time to watch those miles add up!

The new diet is in full swing. We are five weeks into this venture and none of us is starving....yet! I have learned so much and been in the kitchen more than I ever have. I am running my dishwasher two times a day most days. ICK! Honestly, I love to cook - it's just the cleaning up I detest. Lol.

We have removed all dairy/casein and all gluten (that I am aware of at this point - it's amazing what all has wheat in it). We have also eliminated all dyes, preservatives (BHT, BHA, sodium benzoate...) , high fructose corn syrup (except a few items that we need to keep due to the fact they are the only gf alternative - like Heinz ketchup), additives and artificial flavorings of any kind. I was pretty good about that before but I was amazed at how many things I still had in our home that had one of these ingredients in it.

Honestly, it's been amazing to me how far the Western diet has gotten away from healthy eating in the past 50 years since the advent of prepackaged foods. Sad really. Did you know that most of the dyes used in our food are petroleum based, and that nitrates and nitrites in hot dogs and bacon are believed to be cancer causing? Creepy, huh?! Anyway, I have lots of yummy recipes to share - most of which even the non-gfcf crowd might enjoy but I have not decided the best way to share them: here at this blog or start another blog just for favorite recipes. Do I have time for that? I don't even post here as much as I would like!

So, cooking, caring for sick ones, cooking, school, running and did I mention cooking are filling most of my days here. Just thought I'd let you know!