Thursday, July 30, 2009

Panama City Beach, and Coming Home

We are back from the beach! After getting unpacked and getting a start on setting up our school things, I finally have made some time to sit down and put up some new pictures.

We had a great time at the beach. Our condo unit was really nice. It had 3 bedrooms (one for Tim and me, one for Tami and Neal, and one for Sharon and Larry) plus a bunk "room" for the boys. Maybe I should say bunk "niche" was a door-less room right off the kitchen that was a good size with a nice bunk bed. I was concerned about how the boys would do sleeping right off the living-area, so I gave them Melatonin (!) every night at bedtime, and we all slept great!

I didn't take very many pictures...but here is a token:

One evening we walked out on a near-by pier which was bustling with night-time fishers. We were hopeful of seeing someone pull in a shark, which is not uncommon. (Yes, this is near where we stayed, but the pier goes way out into the deep water, where we of course don't swim.) The tallest condo unit in the picture is where we stayed.

The boys all hitched rides:

Here, the water looks deceivingly close to the walk-way. It is actually maybe 30 feet down (that's my guess--feel free to correct me, anyone who knows better). See Tim hanging on tight to the kids in the far right of the picture??

Here's one of the 3-or-so sharks that we was a little smaller that we were hoping for...but it was a nice size for touching, which the boys enjoyed...'s us....

The last day at the beach started out rainy, and wound up cool-ish and clear. The boys played the best that day. They had a ton of fun playing in the sand...

Back Home: We had a game day with the kids. I can't remember how many games we all played that day, but towards the end we got out Cadoo. The kids love it. It is like Cranium-but on a kids-ability level. Here's Sam with his flying saucer (he had a little help from Daddy).

Trevor likes the thinking problems a lot. He had to figure out which of 3 figures on the card was different...

Although he wasn't sure about it at first, I think William enjoyed boxing for us. The kids guessed the answer so fast, I almost missed the picture...

Here's a picture William took of me working at the school desk. After we got home, I finally sat down to figure out when we need to start school. My goal is to finish when Samuel finishes his Preschool, so I have to start ahead of when Sam does, since the state requires more days than what Sam goes to school. I realized (with shock) that I need to start around the 4th of August! Perhaps I should have figured that out earlier...oh well. So, I am in a mad rush to get situated. (See the stuff sitting all over the place?? Not ideal for school time...)

And finally, here's a picture of our tasty dinner the other night. We have a fast-food chain around here called "BoJangles" which has drive-across-town-good biscuits. Now, I already make moist-and-fluffy biscuits, so Tim worked with our recipe to recreate our favorites: cinnamon biscuits, and blueberry biscuits.

Since Mom suggested adding a recipe to a previous blog, I'll put this one on here...try them out if you like! (Beware: These are addictive. I used to make Bisquick biscuits, but once I tried these, I'll never go back.)

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 cups flour

4 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1/2 c. cold shortening *

1 c. buttermilk**

Combine dry ingredients, then cut in shortening until crumbly. Add buttermilk, and more flour as needed to make un-sticky-enough to work with (however, it should still be "jiggly"). Turn out on floured surface and kneed lightly 4-5 times. Roll or pat to 1/2 inch thick, then cut with biscuit cutter. Bake on un-greased cookie sheet for 13-14 mins at 425.

*I use the wrapped sticks of crisco, instead of the tubs. Maybe everyone else already knows about those, but they are still new and exciting for me. I keep them in the fridge and just cut off the amount I need.

**I actually don't keep buttermilk on hand, even though I live in Alabama. I guess I'm still a Yankee. I keep powdered buttermilk in the fridge, though, and put in 4T of that with the dry ingredients, and use about 3/4 cup water instead of the buttermilk--a whole cup of water just makes it too sticky.

To make cinnamon biscuits, we sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on the dough as we roll it out, and then fold it over...we do that about 4 times, so that the cinnamon is layered in the dough. Cut out the biscuits, brush with melted butter, and bake. Top with powder sugar icing.

To make blueberry biscuits, we give some frozen blueberries (I put dry, fresh blueberries in an empty yogurt container and store them in the freezer. They are great for smoothies too) a turn in the blender until they are chopped up--maybe 10-15 berries? Add about a t. of sugar to the berries, and kneed them into the dough, just like the cinnamon. Yep, it is messy. Cut out, brush with butter, and top with p-sugar icing. (Side note: I would never go to all that trouble...but Tim enjoys the process, and I enjoy cooking with him. Plus, they are so tasty, it's worth it.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Hi Grandma, Grandpa, Mom, and all the rest! I've felt so busy since we got home. Besides getting settled from our trip, I have had to start getting ready for school to start. I've spent lots of hours ordering books, and reading books that I have already bought. Here's a bit of our recent "fun". Grandma asked about whether we had received the airplanes that Grandpa sent. We did! I was so proud of myself for remembering to take some pictures, I guess I forgot to send them to you! Well, here's a few. Also, Grandpa, we really enjoyed the video you made us from the Kearney trip. I was surprised to see so many video clips on there! I expected to see mostly photos. You did a great job. Thanks for making it for us!

Those were actually taken on Thursday afternoon/evening. It got the boys so excited, Tim decided to stay home from work on Friday to help them play some more. They really had fun. Tim even went out and used some left-over Christmas money (thanks Joe and Larisa!) to buy a little remote control airplane. They had fun with that, too, though it sounds like the range on the remote was short: William said you had to run after the plane to keep it going. :) Thanks for the airplanes, Grandpa!!!!

Mom, here's some shots of the kitchen!

Didn't Tim do a great job with the counter and tile? Also, here's the new faucet. I love it! The sprayer is up so high...the old one was hard to get pots or pitchers under.

Here's our next bit of "fun". was NOT fun. Anyone know what this is?? I should have put a quarter in the picture too, for is about half an inch long.

Here's the story. Tim found some of these on our hanging tomato plant... we all went out to see William catch them. As we gathered 'round the tomato plant, all of a sudden, Samuel erupts into screams! He was dancing up and down and waving his hands in the air. Tim was quick to check what was the matter, and found a little stinger stuck in Samuel's (soft, sweet) cheek. Poor Samuel. I picked him up and took him inside, hollering over my shoulder to save the caterpillars for Samuel to see. I got him inside, and all I could think of was "meat tenderizer...I need some meat tenderizer...what even is meat tenderizer?? I don't think I have any!" I grabbed an ice cube, and held it on Sam's (screaming) face (which he didn't like). Just about then, Tim came in the sliding door to the kitchen, and said he just got stung too! Yikes! I yelled for him to get the kids in the house, before they got stung as well, and here comes William through the porch toward the kitchen, and YOW! William starts screaming! Sting #3! So, I bring William (screaming) over to where Samuel is (screaming), and start icing him down, and YOW! This time I got stung! Man, did I yelp, and that chuck of ice went Flying!! It HURT! Meanwhile, Trevor was gone. He had hightailed it to the front yard, and Tim found him there and had brought him in. When he heard me scream, he ran and shut himself in his bedroom (Trevor, not Tim:). That was smart. After I got stung, one started chasing William (screaming) through the kitchen, and landed on his head. I chased him down, and started swatting at his (screaming) head. I got it off, and you better believe I stomped that sucker to death. So far, all I thought they looked like was little yellow flies. They were so small! Well, then, Tim sent us all (screaming) to the bedroom so he could make sure the kitchen was safe. He did kill one more in the kitchen. He said that as he was standing in front of the sliding glass door, looking out into the porch, a couple ran into the glass, trying to get in the house. Ugh. It was so traumatic. But, I have a feeling that in years to come, we will all be reminiscing about our little adventure, and laughing about it.

Now, do you know what they were? We think they were Yellow Jackets. What horrible little creatures! We finally figured out that they have a nest under our porch. How many times we have walked past there, unhurt, is amazing. Even a couple days ago, Samuel and Judson were playing outside, by themselves, and I shudder to think what it would have been like if they had been attacked. Praise God that Tim was home, that we were all together, and could help one another. William still, periodically, bursts out with "I HATE Yellow Jackets!" Tim and Samuel's stings cleared up by bedtime that day--maybe 6 hours? William's and mine are still bothering us, almost 2 full days later. Mine really hurt for about 8 hours, and then began to itch. Last night, I about wanted to pull my hair out it itched so bad...but then, I can be a little dramatic, on occasion. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Well! Here are some pictures of our recent fun in Nebraska! We have been very busy! We have enjoyed watermelon......Foosball......darts......crafts......worked on making snacks...
...played in the hot tub...
AND...On the 4th, we had FUN...
...working on firecrackers...
...riding in Miles' boat...

... riding on the 4-wheelers!

...playing motorcycle riding!
How did we fit all that in one day, you ask? We stayed out until midnight to get it all done. Whew!!!
Also, last night we decided it was finally time to get rid of that pesky tooth that has been bothering William so much lately. I counted to 3...
...and popped it out! Now he has a cute double-gap in his mouth!

Here's a little video of the event, that may or may not come through for you. Yes, I know it is sideways...just tilt you head or you computer...and eventually it will straighten out. :)