Sunday, November 25, 2007


We decorated the house for Christmas today! I know it's a bit early, but we tend to get so busy that we don't get things festive enough soon enough and I do so want the kids to have a decent childhood, despite my domestic ineptitude. This year, if work and other time-consuming things confound us, we at least have the house decorated.

We set up the 'tree" that Lone Star Pa has had since he was a little boy and decorated it - girl-made ornaments on the front and the others on the back to keep it from falling over. I get all swoony over the ornaments the girls have made every year without fail. They are so wonderful! They make me so happy!

We hung paper chains of red and green construction paper that the Lone Star Girl and I made together years ago, as well as stockings and wreaths. We put up the Advent Calendar and put the Advent wreath on the kitchen table. We put out various small decorations and Christmas toys and the seasonal storybooks. We started reading Madeleine L'Engle's The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas. The Lone Star Baby had fun playing with Christmas toys and seeing each new thing come out.

We set up our little plastic Nativity scene, with Baby Jesus tucked away until Christmas Eve and the Magi starting their long journey way back at the end of the hall (already, they are being trailed by a pink plastic dragon). A short while back, I had bought a Playmobil Nativity set also, and we took it out and assembled it. I let the Lone Star Baby know that she could arrange it and play with it as much as she wants.

We set aside the pumpkins that were on the porch and stuck up a few old Christmas decorations in the yard. We don't have an outside outlet out front, so we don't put up lights, but we try to do our part just the same.

This was a very nice day and our hearts are as festive as our living room. I hope we can keep up the Christmas Spirit when we are back to work and back to school...which starts tomorrow...

Big Helper

My Lone Star Baby likes to help. She likes to help me cook and help me clean and help me set the table. She's always excited and pleased to be given "jobs". Willful as she is, she's an industrious soul with a good, strong work ethic. It warms my heart. Some would say it's the Montessori educaton, but her sister went to a Montessori pre-school as well and she is lazy and messy, truth be told, so I think it is more of a nature thing than a nurture one in this case. I love my big helper! it is such a joy to see her take pride in her tasks.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Belated Thanksgiving

I hope you had a lovely one. Ours was very nice. We had a potluck dinner at the home of the clerk of our Meeting with their family and another Quaker family, including our newest Friend who is not quite a month old - so sweet! It is not often that my home is filled with the smell of cooking as it was when we prepared our contributions, so we must treasure such times. The girls helped me snap beans and the baby helped me stuff my holiday squash. This squash is the only truly impressive thing I can cook. My recipe:

Acorn Squash, 1 for every two people who are dining
Apples, peeled and chopped, equal in number to squash

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds and pulp, creating a little hollow where the seeds and pulp were. (The seeds grow very satisfyingly in most parts of Texas if thrown into the yard.) Place squash halves with the flat, cut sides down on baking sheets and bake for approximately 30 minutes.T urn baked squash halves over as best as you can – it takes a little balancing against the others to set them upright on their uncut sides – and sprinkle the hollowed out parts liberally with sugar and cinnamon. Place a little butter in the hollows and stuff with chopped apples. Return to oven and bake for approximately fifteen minutes. Remove from oven and add more butter, sugar and cinnamon to the top. Return to oven and bake for 15 – 30 more minutes or until tender.


Sorry about the long hiatus. Saturday, two weeks ago tomorrow, I was loading the Lone Star Baby into the car in bright sunlight when I saw...something. In her hair. Maybe. Well. So much for going to the Art Market. I took her to the porch and started looking.

The long and short of it is that we found two living creatures in her hair, one each on Saturday and Sunday and more of what seemed to be dead debris. We treated all of us with one OTC product on Saturday and, after hearing that it wasn't a particularly good one, another on Sunday. I had reservations, of course, but the OTC stuff seemed like the lesser of semi-reliable evils. I certainly couldn't bring myself to use the lindane. The pediatrician was frighteningly ignorant and casual about prescribing potent neurotoxins which have caused death in people under 110lbs to be rubbed all over my 28-pound toddler's head. No.

Anyway, we combed and combed. We found three of what looked like dead ones in my hair, or possibly like dirt - it's hard to say. We found white flecks on all of our heads but never white flecks that clung to the hair shaft as nits are supposed to do. We are itchy scalp, dandruffy folks at the best of times, so I was a little panicky at when I should decide we were clean when we always have white flecks, but people who should know tell me that I will know the difference. We never found anything living after Sunday, though an we spent our evenings for the next week combing for hours to check and washing bedding and the couch cover in hot water daily. The school said she was clear that first Monday, too.

On the next Sunday, we did the follow-up treatment and checked everyone's heads again. Found nothing but a little dandruff. So I am considering us clean and hoping we are done. Of course the couch or the mattress could hatch in a week and infest us all over again, I suppose, but it seems unlikely and I sure hope not. This has not been fun.

And Lone Star Pa cut the Lone Star Baby's beautiful hair to facilitate the difficult hours of combing. Into a very short bob. With bangs. Sniff.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Articles!

I am not being allowed to edit my posts, but I am going to try to get the link right in this post! Check it out at We The People News.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Post Slumber Party 2007

Well, the girls have made their way home. It was fun, if exhausting. They are so cute, even at this age. One of my friends, who is the mom of one of the girls, had told me that H-E-B had Halloween cascarones on clearance for ten cents a dozen. Even though Halloween cascarones are just wrong, I bought ten boxes so the girls had an outside confetti craze this morning, with the baby - who loves the big girls - participating as much as she could. It was all fun.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Slumber Party '07

The Lone Star Girl is in the midst of a slumber party to celebrate her twelfth birthday. She had actually talked me into inviting seven girls, but - thankfully, to my way of thinking - only three were able to come. I am told that one rich little girl's mom wouldn't let her come because she thinks we live in a bad neighborhood. We so do not.

The girls made english muffin pizzas and had ice cream cake (another one). Now they are watching movies. While we live in a perfectly nice neighborhood, we do have a small house and that makes the sort of getting-away-from/getting-out-of-the-hair-of kids thing that one might like to do at sleep-overs hard. The girls always bed down in the living room, where the TV is and where there is room to lay out sleeping bags and blankets. Lone Star Pa was not understanding when I explained that, after I got the baby to sleep, he would want to retire and leave the girl-minding to me this year, even though that is what he always does anyway. I explained that the girls are too old now for him to be around once they are in their jammies. He was offended, even though we both knew he would want to go to sleep by then regardless. I offered the analogy of me hanging around in a room of unrelated 11- and 12-year-old boys in my nightgown to help him understand, but his feelings were still hurt. I don't think he has any idea how things are changing...major Daddy Denial. And as it turns out, none of them really changed into jammies anyways. And he's asleep, of course.

For awhile, the girls were so quiet watching the second Fantastic Four movie that I thought I might go on to bed. Then they wanted popcorn, though. And then they started doing something with duct tape to the girl who had fallen asleep first. In a bigger house, I would never have known. In my house, I put a stop to such things. Now one is asleep, two are quietly watching Zoom! and one is still pretty wired. I think I'd better stay up a little longer.

Macintosh Apples and El Dia de Los Muertos

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings were all very foggy. It seemed appropriate for the three days that make up the holiday El Dia de los Muertos - The Day of The Dead - which culminates on All Souls' Day. Fog always seems to make everything more quiet to me somehow and it certainly adds to the feeling that the walls between the worlds are thin, part of the Celtic Samhain tradition, as well. Our grocery store has had macintosh apples for sale lately and I've been buying and eating them. They are delicious. Macintosh apples were my grandma's favorite variety of apple, and I cannot eat one without thinking of her. I have been thinking about her a lot this Halloween season, eating the apples and honoring her memory in my own silent way. I have also been thinking a lot about my departed friend Kay.