Category Archives: around the house

Wassup Wednesday – 9

Books:  Didn’t read any more Simply Christian because I was having too much fun reading the rest of HP3.  Already over 100 pages into HP4.  The rest of the series will go much more quickly for me–I am finally hooked!  I promise to do some more “spiritual” reading this week.

Kids: This week has been busy as usual, but we had the extra fun of celebrating Nevin’s 12th birthday.  Here’s a pic from the birthday lunch at home:

I am really at a loss of other things to say, so I’ll leave you with the recipe for the Birthday Cheesecake:

Cheesecake Supreme from the Better Homes and Garden New Cookbook (c. 1989)

1 3/4 C crushed graham crackers

1/4 C finely chopped walnuts

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 C melted butter or margarine

3 8 oz packages cream cheese

1 C sugar

2 T flour

1 t vanilla

2 eggs

1 egg yoke

1/4 C milk

Mix graham cracker crumbs, nuts, butter, and cinnamon together for crust.  Reserve 1/4 cup of mixture for the top of the cheesecake.  Press remaining mixture into 8 or 9 inch springform pan.

In a mixer bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, with electric mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs and yolk all at one time and mix just until combined.  Stir in milk.  Pour into crust-lined springform pan.  Sprinkle reserved crust mixture on top of the cheesecake mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes (8 in pan; 35 -40 for the 9 in pan).  Your cheesecake is done when the center appears nearly set but jiggles slightly when shaken gently.

Cool for 15 minutes.  Loosen crust from sides of pan with a kitchen knife.  Cool for 30  more minutes, and then remove springform pan sides.  Cool completely and chill for 4 hours before serving.

I used my food processor for mixing, and it worked beautifully.  I also sped things up at the end of the process by not allowing as much cooling before putting the cheesecake in the refrigerator, and it worked out fine.  I also only refrigerated the cake for 2 hours as we needed it for a birthday lunch!  There were no complaints!!  Here’s a pic of my finished product:


Wassup Wednesday – 8 — A little late

Beginning with a Book:  I started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright over last weekend. Chapter 1, “Putting the World To Rights,” talks about our longing for justice in the world.  To me, it seems Wright is talking about the void we all feel that there has to be something–someone who can straighten out the mess we’re in.  Of course, as Christians, that person is Jesus.  Wright talks of our need to be passionate about justice as Christ is.

So far, I am finding it compelling, though there is an underlying current that is a little off-setting to me.  I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but the rest of the book might balance out that feeling.  More to come.

I am still reading HP3, but I really will finish it this week!

Food:  We’re still low-carbing in a sense, but not with as much gusto.  My lagging creativity coupled with the expense of eating more meat and veggies is causing us to rethink.  So now, we are trying to limit our carb intake to supper time to allow for some pasta or bread.  We are also trying to keep our portions in control and continuing to not snack.

I am also trying to bake some bread that is more healthy and even a bit less expensive than the store-bought kind.  Some friends here told me about a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I haven’t actually seen the book yet, but I found some of the concepts at the Mother Earth News website, and I am trying it for the first time tonight.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  It certainly sounds like a good idea!


Exercise: All of my efforts this year have been a failure on the exercise front.  So I started a much more reasonable walking program this week that I might actually stick to.  It is based on the program in this book: The Complete Guide to Walking.

Kids:  Regular season games of football end this weekend.  W00-hoo!  It sounds like the post-season will end within 2 weeks.  Can I hear an Amen!?

And, in honor of Nevin’s upcoming 12th birthday on Tuesday, I leave you with this photo:

Wassup Wednesday – 7

So here it is Wednesday again . . .

Pictures: From our church’s harvest party

News: Tonight, Mark and I surgically removed a red plastic peg from Charis’s ear.  It took bribery to get her to remain still enough to put the tweezers far enough into her ear to get a decent grip on the thing, but hurray, no trip to the ER was necessary!  The whole shenanigan happened just when I was about to head out the door to take Calvin to football practice, so we managed to get a night off from practice because at that point we weren’t sure whether we would be home or at the ER.  So the incident did have a silver lining. 🙂  The peg game was thrown away after the procedure was complete!

Kids: Football is over in 2 – 3 weeks (playoffs make the schedule a bit uncertain).  Calvin has started practice with a homeschool basketball team, so there will be some crossover.  We are committed to the idea of having him be playing a sport all the time to keep him occupied.  You know, idle hands are the devil’s workshop, right?  Nevin opted out of basketball because it would prevent him from playing indoor soccer that starts later in the year.  Charis also hopes to play indoor soccer this year.

Evangeline’s first concert with Kirkwood Children’s Chorale is the second Sunday in November.  Then her choir will perform with the Nutcracker at the Fabulous Fox Theater the first weekend in December and with the St Louis Brass at Catherdral Basilica the third week in December.  It is really exciting that she’ll have exposure to such great cultural events.

Inside Cathedral Basilica

Little ol’ Me:  I am on book 3 of the Harry Potter books.  I think I’ll finish soon.  I have also started reading Simply Christian by NT Wright.  I’ll let you know what I think as I read more.

I am mostly feeling torn or unfocused.  Homeschooling is going fine in the sense that the kids are learning what they need to know.  However, I need to be better at focusing on them and less focused on how I might solve all our family’s problems somehow through endless internet searches.  So if you are ever praying for me, pray that God would keep me on the task at hand with less worry about the future.  He is in control–thankfully, I’m am not responsible for everything.

We also have some house projects that must be completed.  I am not sure how this will happen, but we need to make some real plans and “get ‘er done.”

Day is Done: Hump Day is over.  Enjoy your Thursday and your weekend!

Wasup Wednesdays – 5

News:   Had strep throat over the weekend and a houseguest.  This is not the best combination, as even though the guest was really Mark’s guest, I felt bad I couldn’t be more “hostessy.”  Thankfully, I went to urgent care on Sunday, tested positive for strep, and the appropriate antibiotics were prescribed.  Tonight, I feel no soreness in my throat.  It is just a little dry.  So I think I am officially “over it!”

School:  No. 1 son visited a local Christian high school for 8th grade visitation.  He was thrilled with the place.  Now, we are praying for a miracle that we will be able to send him there next year.  Honestly, we are praying that Mark will continue to get business and that if needed, I would be able to get a real job that pays decently by the time next school year roles around.

No. 2 son kicked into gear today and finished all his school work for the week.  I have wondered how long it would take him to realize that homeschooling would be easy for him.  Now he is free to read all the other books he wants to read until Monday.  BONUS: He thinks he’s just having fun, and he doesn’t even realize he is still learning something.  🙂

Eldest Daughter is still distracted by the things of life outside school work like her DS, riding her bike with  the neighbor kids, “writing songs,” getting her ears pierced, etc.   She has to think about all these things a lot.  Then she has to ask me questions about them.  She will get her work done . . . it will just take a while.

Wee Girl, otherwise known as Sweet Petunia, is improving in reading.  I started using a simpler phonics curriculum (Phonics Pathways), and she likes it.  She also still does lessons in Explode the Code everyday, and I think the writing and practicing of the different words in each exercise is making a difference.  Finally,  I was encouraged by a veteran homeschooling mom from church who told me that her older girls (19 and 16) were not fluid readers until 3rd grade.  They both eventually became fine students/readers.

I also finally dug out some of my old homeschool books, and I found all my “Five in A Row” books.  I plan to start using some lessons from them to incorporate a little “art” and other unit study elements for the girls.

Simon seems to be feeling better.  Yay!

Books:  I finished the second Harry Potter book a few weeks back, and I thought for sure we had the paper back of book 3 laying around.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it.  So I requested book 3 from the library.  I am looking forward to reading it.

I also picked up a McCall Smith book (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency) for 70 cents from Goodwill.  I had to return the ones I started to the library before I finished, so I am looking forward to reading this one at my leisure.

Finally, I am re-reading Anne of Green Gables–out loud to the girls some and ahead on my own.  It is just a decadent little pleasure for me to read Anne again.

Thankful that football season is half over.  I can’t wait to have our lives back to normal and to rid my house of the horrid lockerroom smell currently residing here.  Ew . . . Gross . . . Disgusting  No words can describe the awful odor eminating from my basement.  Febreeze and air freshner are not enough, but we’re trying to make use of these tools to get us through to the end of October.  What will I do with my evenings when there’s no football practice?

Wasup Wednesdays 4

It’s 11:38 pm on Wednesday night, and I haven’t posted to tell you wasup . . . .

So, here goes:

School :  Got done on schedule today.  This is big,  folks.  When will it happen again?  I don’t know.  But let’s just glory in the moment 🙂

Diet: Still keeping up the lo-carb eating.  It is going well for the most part, but I find it challenging to keep the menu interesting.  Right now I am on a ginger/garlic stir-fry kick.  It is also challenging to keep food on hand for the kids that I really don’t want to eat.  So far, Mark and I have resisted pretty well–other than a couple of times we have consciously decided to partake of something off the plan.  I think Mark is losing a good bit.  I am losing, but I am the only one who can tell.  It may take a long time for this to work for me.  I think this will motivate me to get the exercise thing going.

Kids:  As my facebook status updates and my blog posts indicate, football is our life.  It is time consuming, and I love to complain about it, but ultimately, it is really great for the boys.  They are getting more exercise than they ever have in their lives, and for Calvin especially, it is a good way to channel all his extra energy.  He is also really into it mentally.

Oh, yeah, we do have 2 girls, too.  The girls are busy with drama class that is part of their school program this year, and they are back in Awana at their old school.  This is good since it gives them a chance to keep up with some of last year’s school friends a bit.  Evangeline has started rehearsals again with Kirkwood Children’s Chorale, too.

Let’s not forget the dog:  We are about to have our second anniversary of Simon ownership.  He is a great dog, and we really love him.  He has had a few tummy issues in the last couple of months that have concerned us a bit, but the vet hasn’t had much insight.  We have been trying to walk him more regularly, and that seems to have helped with increasing his appetite and giving him more energy.  We keep watching him to see if we need to visit the vet again.

Boring Post:  This has turned into a more boring than normal post, but I guess that means life is moving along at a nice click, and there’s nothing big to share.   Perhaps I just feel pressured to hit that publish button before midnight . . . .

My Second Grid Iron Guy

Here are shots of Nevin, all ready for football last Saturday.  It was picture day, but we, being frugal folk, will not be purchasing the professional photos.  So we had to take a few of our own.  Nevin’s team won their game this week 21 – 20–it was a nail-biter!  Nevin was most excited because he got to start, and he was one of the captains for the coin toss at the beginning of the game.

Just to give you a little perspective, here’s a shot of the family lineman when he was a little younger:

They sure do grow up fast.

Early to bed,

night owl, or burning the candle at both ends?  I tend to be option #3 because I enjoy having time to myself, and “both ends” seems to be the only time to get that precious commodity.

I got to thinking about how some people are early risers, others are night owls, and some of us are both ends people when I noted the times of people’s comments on blogs or facebook. Truth be told,  I guess I am really am a night owl who wants to be an early riser, too.  So I pretend I do both.  Really, I drag myself out of be in the morning on most days after staying up too late the night before.

Right now, it is 12:45 am, and I intended to be asleep by midnight, but I am waiting for some nasty stomach symptoms to subside.  Two doses of the pink stuff have improved things, but I can’t sleep just yet.  So what else is there to do but blog about some mundane thoughts running through my mind?

So, which are you?  An early to bed early riser?  A night  owl who seems to have a daily hangover?  A “I only need 4 hours of sleep a night, and I am still Mary Sunshine who runs 4 miles every day?”

Talk amongst yourselves.

Wasup Wednesdays?

So some of my fellow bloggers are doing “cool” regular blog posts each week, so I decided I could do that too.  Maybe I will stick with it, unlike the now defunct “Tuesday Tunes” of my blog’s ancient history.  Having “Wasup Wednesdays?” also does not limit my subject  matter.  This is good because it allows anything to be included in my post.  This is bad because it allows anything to be included in my post!

This Wednesday at Chez Horne:

School is on the agenda.  Hopefully, it will be a better day than Tuesday in terms of student motivation. The boys need to work on a demonstration presentation for their drama class tomorrow.  There is also a need to work on monologues for drama by all four.  They like drama–but it is less fun when there is actual work involved.

Football is also a part of the plan for today.  (I know, you think, isn’t it always on the agenda in some fashion or another?)  Only Calvin practices tonight, so we only need to go to one location.  It’s a relatively easy night on the football schedule.

Wednesday Update:

Last personal post (2 posts and practically a month ago), I reported my weight loss and exercise plan.  The dieting part has gone great.  I can’t report on poundage lost because, as you may or may not remember, I am not getting on the scale at this point.  But I can see a change in my face and feel a change in the waistline of my pants, so something is working.  I have stayed pretty close to the plan for most of the past 4+weeks, and I am finding it pretty doable.  I also really like keeping my bloodsugar level stable because I haven’t had one of those in hypoglycemic-like episodes since I started.  I am still struggling with the exercise bit, but I will make it work.  I am determined.


I finished a little contemporary novel called Jemima J.  I enjoyed it as brain candy.  I don’t recommend it because there are parts that weren’t very edifying.  But if you are someone who appreciates the humor of Bridget Jones’s Diary, you might enjoy this.  I bought it at the Salvation Army for 25 cents, so I can definitely say it was worth what I paid for it!

I, at long last, am nearly finished with the first Harry Potter book.  I restarted it about 3 weeks ago, and I would be finished if it weren’t for reading the above “mind candy” book and that pesky little school year having to start.  I love Harry Potter, and I have listened to almost all the books on cd over the years when the kids weren’t old enough to read the books.  I just hadn’t made time to read them myself.  Book 2 is waiting patiently on my bedstand for me to finish book 1, and that I shall do.

I also picked up something new to me at  the library–books by Alexander McCall Smith. One begins a series called the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, and the other begins a series called 44 Scotland Street.  I have just dipped into both of these, so I am curious is anyone else has read them or has an opinion about them.

Now I must forge ahead into my Wednesday, or nothing will happen . . .

True Confession

I am a bit disappointed that my MIL was the only one who commented on the lovely photos on my last post.  Despite the fact that this indicates no one is reading my blog, I press on and post again! (Though I appreciate the kind words from my MIL 🙂

So, what I am going to confess?  Well, remember my big plans to walk and eventually run everyday starting back in April?  I did great in April and May, and then school got out and Mark started working nearly 50 hours a week, so my life changed and I didn’t adjust well.  I also started working more, so I just let things slide.  This means, I didn’t reach my goal of hiking with my children without being winded on my birthday in July.

But, never fear.  I am coming up with more goals that I will hopefully meet.  If I don’t set any goals, I know nothing will happen.   If I keep setting goals and working toward them, change is going to happen–at least eventually.

So with the incredible heat of July, I am not starting to walk again outside, but I am going to start using the treadmill 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes.  I have also just finished week 1 of my own low carb diet–sort of an amalgamation of South Beach and Atkins.  Not as much fat as Atkins and not allowing as many carbs at South Beach.  Week 1 went well.  I was really crabby for the first three days as my body adjusted to the new way of eating.  But by Thursday, I was not getting hungry, and I was nicer 🙂

I am not weighing myself at this point because, well, I just don’t want to focus on numbers until I feel some results in clothes fitting, etc.  So I’ll report more about those kind of results after more time passes.

Dieting is really frustrating for me.  I have gained weight in my last 4+ years of living in St Louis.  Stress is a definite factor in weight gain for me, and we have been stressed!  Before we moved back to St Louis, I had been pretty faithfully watching my diet for 4 years, and I exercised a lot.  In the last year, I exercised at least 5 times a week.  In those 4 years, I lost a total of 12 pounds.  But, I did feel a lot better than I have of late.  So, I am trying to just eat better and feel better before I get too serious about numbers.

Positive news is breaking in the Horne household.   Mark has more writing work on the horizon, and it seems God is blessing us in ways we haven’t experienced in a long time.  Feeling a bit optimistic makes the idea of dieting a bit more doable.  But if the circumstances of life change negatively, I want to not allow that to change my resolve.

At this point, all I can say is, pray for my success.

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

Well, not really,  but the weather sure is great.  After a whirlwind trip to my sister’s funeral last weekend and attending a performance of my sweet Evangeline in the children’s chorus of the Sound of Music, this week has been busy but good.

Here’s Evangeline during dress rehearsal week with all her “stage make-up” on.

Mark’s parents are here visiting, and it has been nice to have them around.  We have done none of the St Louis tourist things, but they are ok with that.  The 3 younger kids are in VBS, Mark has a big writing project, and I have work projects to complete.  So they have graciously hung around our house as we go about our normal schedules, and they have helped with meals, laundry, grocery shopping, and kids when needed.  And, we have caught little snatches of conversations between shuttling kids to VBS, boys to football practice, and fitting playmates into the mix in the afternoons.   Mom made my birthday cake and a nice meal for us on Tuesday, and Wednesday night she went to the thrift store with Evangeline and me for the entire 2 hours the boys were at football.  We found all sorts of fun stuff.

Thursday was a playdate day.  Both girls had friends over.  Here’s a shot of Evangeline and her friend playing dress up:

We’ve also been enjoying some fresh veggies and fruit.  A very few have come from my pathetic garden from the cucumber plant that took over the world (or at least my little garden patch).

This is a shot of the first cucumber from the garden.

So it has been a nice week of activity, but the frenzy level has been low.  Perhaps I should have “frenzied” a bit more, but I have enjoyed just doing what has to be done with little pressure to do more.