Amanda Hopper Writes

A writer's tale of living and working in the country.

Month: October 2014

Fall Art/Cooking Project for Kids: Pretzel Pumpkins

The looks I got the first time I sat my kids in the kitchen for an art lesson would scare most adults. My two oldest boys didn’t understand the need for such silliness, and youngest, well he loves to draw but the picture almost always includes a Tardis.

I especially love when I can combine art and cooking. Nothing brings boys to the art table faster than the mention of treats. On those days, I am deemed awesome.

Today, when I pulled out the party package of M & Ms, mini pretzels, white chocolate, and red and yellow food coloring? Best. Mom. Ever.

The instructions? Turn the pretzels into pumpkins.

I found the project while looking up a recipe on the blog Butter with a Side of Bread. Messy, creative, and oh so yummy. The hardest part is keeping the kids from eating all the M & Ms when they’re sorting them.

 

Fun Fact Friday!

Sharks.

Just typing the word gives me the creeps. I know, I know, amazing creatures blah blah blah. I’m content to love them from afar. Far, far, afar.

Did you know sharks eat each other in utero?

Me neither, until I read it in Middle Son’s zoology book, so I thought I would share this disturbing news with all of you.

You’re welcome.

 

Date Night Farmgirl-Style

Does your date night involve getting dolled up and eating on an outdoor patio?

What about making googly eyes at each other over a bowl of venison chili?

Then watching intently as hunting guides skin and field dress 4 deer on the floor in front of you?

What? That isn’t normal?

The other 100 people attending the wild game harvesting class last night would beg to differ.

The scariest thing about hunting is trying to figure out what to do with the carcass after you manage to take it down. Not that I would know, ’cause I haven’t managed to kill anything yet.

Unfortunately trucks don’t count. Poor armadillo.

I think I earned major bonus points with Hubs last night when I managed to keep my dinner down while learning how to carve up a freshly harvested deer to fit in a cooler.

This morning I am watching the deer happily munching under the deer feeder behind my house with new perspective.What they don’t know won’t hurt them.

At least not until hunting season starts.

A special thanks to the hardworking fellas at Nine Bar Ranch for the informative class and amazing dinner!

*I took a picture, so if you have an iron stomach and want to see it, e-mail me and I’ll forward it on:)

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Fact Friday!

We learn so many interesting tidbits during the week in our homeschool that we thought we would share some of them with you on Fridays. You never know, these facts could help you destroy your opponent during a close game of Trivial Pursuit.

Hanno the Navigator

In the fifth century BC, Hanno the Navigator transported 30, 000 pilgrims in sixty ships from Carthage to a settlements along the western coast of Africa.  His is the first written descriptions of volcanoes (on the Canary Islands) and gorillas.

hanno

Wikipedia Image

Want to know more?

Wikipedia

Encyclopedia Britannica

 

A bheil Gàidhlig agaibh?

“I’d like to return the Spanish program I bought last month.”

“May I ask why? Can we send you another language?”

I smiled. “Unfortunately you don’t sell the language my son wants to learn.”

The Rosetta Stone operator laughed. “We have like ninety languages.”

I cleared my throat. “Not Scottish Gaelic.”

Silence.

“Your return will be credited in the next two days.”

 

Oldest tried learning Spanish last year, he hated the entire process. I caught him bribing Middle Son to complete the speaking sections of the program to secure a good grade. Oldest could read and write it, but he murdered the pronunciation.

So you can imagine my frustration when planning for foreign language in this year’s homeschool curriculum. Then, Oldest asked if he could learn Scottish Gaelic. His interest stemmed from time spent over the summer months learning about the history of Scotland after he discovered that most of his ancestry is Scottish.

Only an estimated 60,000 people even speak Scottish Gaelic since it was banned by England in 1746 and not recognized again until 2005. So where do you find educational materials for an endangered language?

Mango languages.

Most public libraries offer free online subscriptions to their patrons. While you may only get the first level through your library, you can later purchase subscriptions for more advanced levels directly from Mango.

Our whole family is learning Scottish Gaelic and we are using it around the house. Our experience has been great. We are all having fun speaking a language with each other that no one else recognizes, and we are beginning to actually understand some of the words in the music of Julie Fowlis.

Learning a language that some of our ancestors spoke has made the whole endeavor meaningful and enjoyable. So if you have a reluctant learner, check with your library and create an account with Mango. Take different languages for a test drive and see which one, or two, interest you the most. Just don’t feel too bad when you have to tell your highschooler that Pirate won’t actually count for credit.

scotland

A picture from Iona when we traveled to Scotland in 2007.

 

Married to a Madman

You know what’s great about taking the travel trailer to the beach? The nightly cost is $50 versus $200. The low cost combined with homeschooling and telecommuting means we got to stay 12 days this year! My dream and Hubs’ nightmare. I love, love, love the beach while Hubs tolerates it since he loves me.

That may be the reason he didn’t listen to me when it came time to pull the trailer home.

“You need to turn left.”

Hubs grinned and turned right.

“You can’t go this way! The only way to get off the island this way is by the ferry.”

He smiled bigger. All three boys looked to the front of the van. Oldest sat up taller. “You’re not really taking this thing over the ferry are you?”

“Sure, why not?”

The van was silent as Hubs pulled it into a loading lane at the ferry dock. The workers guided all 50-or-so-feet of us onto one entire side of the ferry and loaded the other cars onto the opposite side.  One look into the driver’s seats of nearby cars revealed riders staring back with horrified expressions.

And Hubs smiled.

The short trek started out okay, but when that cocky grin suddenly slid off Hub’s lips I spun around to see a titanic-sized ship barreling up the pass … right where we were. The ferry engines started making a grinding noise as the captain rushed to reverse our progress.

It’s a harrowing experience, sitting in a van attached to a trailer floating on a ferry in the middle of the Aransas Pass only feet from a boat the size of planet traveling fast enough to blow a breeze through your hair.

Good memories.

Thankfully, we didn’t crash. Or sink. We lived to tell another tale.

And there will be more.

Because I’m married to a madman.

traileronferry

Who does this?