Friday, December 30, 2011

Last post about Christmas, I promise!

We had a great Christmas. Mom and Dad got me some GREAT books, I got a gift card from my aunt,uncle and cousins to one of my fave stores and I bought more books.Yayyyyy! I love books. From Santa I got a Calligraphy set(I used it a million times already. It's so awesome!) ,some BIZU charms (go to , a D.S. game, and a lot of clothes. And candy.:-)From my Grandmama & Granddaddy I got Taylor swift CDs, cute clothes, and headbands. What was really sweet was that my little brothers got me really cute and thoughtful gifts-Hello Kitty fuzzy socks and D.S games that go with my fave books, Nancy Drew. Santa got us a computer for the homeschool room so we can each use the computer now-me on this one, Christopher on the new one. Grandmama & Granddaddy also got us a Spanish Rosetta Stone for the computer. I hope you guys had a good Christmas!

What we did before Christmas:

We went and saw the Trains at the Northpark mall, which is a whole room filled with model trains. It benefits Ronald McDonald House charities.

Lincoln Memorial& White house

Reflecting pool 

State Fair of Texas

Then we saw Arthur Christmas:
...and it was really cute. Arthur (in the green sweater) and Steve are Santa's sons. Steve has helped his father turn the sleigh into a spaceship' and thinks he really runs the whole operation of delivering presents. He's very technical and doesn't really care about people. The elves are like soldiers, and they deliver presents in secret. Santa is old and tired but he loves his sons, and Ms. Claus is ,well, awesome. Prim, proper, yet sweet, and her signature line is "Cookies,anyone? "Then there's Grandsanta and Arthur. Grandsanta secretly kept the old sleigh, and the reindeer's grand-kids, and he wants to show the others he can still  deliver presents-his way. Steve thinks Grandsanta is crazy. Arthur writes notes to all the kids who send letters to Santa, tries to keep the peace, and loves Christmas. When  a present gets left behind on accident, Arthur and Grandsanta decide to step in along with an elf who's super funny. And then....wait. Go see the movie for yourself! I give it 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Grandma Moses, American Painter

We've been studying Grandma Moses in our school.

 On September 7, 1860, Anna Mary Robertson was born. She would become Grandma Moses, a famous painter of American folk art. As a girl, Anna Mary loved to paint. She called her little pictures "lambscapes"  which made her brothers laugh. Mr. Robertson, Anna Mary's father was sick and unable to work. Bored, he asked his wife if he could paint murals on the living room walls. Ms. Robertson agreed. Anna Mary learned a lot about painting by watching him. She loved to draw and make maps in school. Anna Mary attended school six months every year till she was 12.

 Then she worked as a hired girl. She attended some school with her employer's kids.When she was older, but still working as a hired girl, Anna met Thomas Moses, another hired hand. When she was in her 20's they married. They had 10 kids, but sadly only 5 lived.  Anna Mary was busy cooking, cleaning, and raising children. She had no time to paint.
   It was not until her 70's that she turned to art. First she made "worsted pictures"made out of yarn.When her arthritis became too bad ,she switched  to painting,which was easier on her hands. Some of her paintings were sold at a local drugstore for $2 each. Once she became famous they sold for $8,000 to $,10,000 a piece. Her first speech/exhibition was called "What a farm wife painted".

 Grandma Moses was very modest and very dedicated to her work. She didn't care if other liked her work-she sprinkled snow scenes with glitter and used toothpicks for details. She died at the age of 101.  Grandma Moses once said "I look back on my life like a good day's work. It is finished and I am done with it." She was original. She was Grandma Moses, who said "If I hadn't started painting, I would've raised chickens."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Cookies

I will be posting about Christmas-y  things until Christmas arrives. And it isn't the holidays without....CHRISTMAS COOKIES! In my family , we take cookie baking seriously-


                           See my brother's blog for gingerbread pics.

Here is our gingerbread recipe:

Makes 2 dozen or 24 (1 cookie) servings.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Refrigerate Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 8 to 10 minutes per batch
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons ginger,ground
1 teaspoon  Cinnamon,ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  Nutmeg, Ground
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Press dough into a thick flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured work surface. Cut into gingerbread men shapes with 5-inch cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges of cookies are set and just begin to brown. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to

 wire racks; cool completely. Decorate cooled cookies as desired. Store cookies in airtight container up to 5 days.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

CHRISTMAS TREE! And Presents! And Stockings!

 Christopher,me,and Andrew

Me, Christopher, and some pumpkins

Christopher + saw = danger!

Andrew gets a ride

My family minus me

A few days ago, we went to get our Christmas tree.  We spent a long time looking for the perfect tree. .  Finally I was like"JUST GET A TREE!"  We have really tall ceilings in our house, so we get a really tall tree every year. Last year my Mom was washing dishes, and we were fixing to go to bed when CRASH! BOOM! SHATTER! PING! (you get the idea) the tree fell down. It broke almost all our ornaments. So we bought new shatterproof ones. They work- we shattered only one so far. :-) This tree has not fallen down....yet. Anyway, you're probably wondering why we are wearing our cowboy/girl clothes. We showed our goats, then we went to the tree farm. We decorate an artificial kids tree (with all the tacky ornaments we made over the years) and a regular tree with more tasteful red and gold ornaments every year. How do you decorate your tree?

Andrew wrapped this for me.

This is my stocking.
This stocking is mine, and I've had it ever since I was a baby. It doesn't show up in this pic, but it is glittery. :-)
Everyone in my family has a stocking with their name on it, but they each have a different picture on them.
 As you can see from this post, I  am very excited about Christmas. But we all need to remember the true meaning of CHRISTmas.

                                     Have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility Tour

Sign outside
This is the only pic I did not take- there was not a launch the day we were there.

Control tower used when they have balloon launches

Map of where to launch balloons in command center

Map of Antarctica, where they sometimes do launches

Material the research balloons are made out of.

Cardboard that protects the "payload"-scientific testing instruments.

Nylon parachute

"Tiny Tim- a huge and loud machine that is not tiny!

The Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility  is a place where scientists launch research balloons and control launches all over the world. Our group toured the facility, and  learned all about it. The research balloons are made out of a material that feels like and is about the same thickness(0.2 cm) of a plastic baggie-(like Ziploc). Underneath it is something called a payload. The payload is a special load of computers that ride at the bottom of the balloon. They test stuff like the temperature of the atmosphere were space meets our  atmosphere, and classified info,too. When the scientists want the balloon to come down, they press a button and a parachute comes out, helping the balloon come safely down. So far no one has been hurt by a balloon. The balloons are launched from Sweden, Australia, Palestine,Texas, and Antarctica, etc. The Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility is the place in Palestine, Texas. The Facility's website says "We provide the services of launching large (400 ft. dia), unmanned, high altitude (120,000 ft.), research balloons; tracking, and recovering the scientific experiments suspended beneath them, for NASA centers and universities from all over the world."  It was a really fun trip, and I enjoyed it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Goodman-Le Grand House

I took all the pics except this one.
Me in the Gold Room, or formal parlor

pretty ceiling artwork

ancient teacup from China

Every plate,cup,and saucer in a 12 piece set was hand-painted by Ms. Sallie Goodman!

Unusual light in butler's pantry

Dolls from the Victorian era, donated by different people
Sallie Goodman's doll

Doll chest

Crib of Baby Goodman, who died when he was 2. :-(

 We went to the Goodman-Le Grand house in Tyler, and it was fascinating to learn about. It started out as a one story log cabin and is now a 3 story home. Sallie Goodman left it and it's land to the city of Tyler in her will. What the city knows is based on the youngest child of Dr. and Ms.Goodman's children, Sallie.Her diaries tell about guests who stayed in the house to escape the dangers of the Civil War, stories of family trips, and where a bunch of the artifacts and furniture originally came from. The diaries also tell about elegant balls that took place, dinner parties and events held for Texas state politicians. Governor Hogg (then the governor of Texas) even stayed in the house. What intrigued me and my new friend was a "secret" room that you went through a door that looked like a cabinet to get to. Although we couldn't get into it, the curator kindly answered all our questions about it.  A lot of sad things happened to the Goodmans. Sallie's older brother died in the Civil war and her sister Etta died of sickness.Sallie's only child died at the age of 2, and there were no Goodmans left. So Sallie donated the house. Everything in the house is arranged prettily and like it would've been if someone was living in it. In case you want to visit it, the address is
624 North Broadway
Tyler, TX  75702
Phone:  (903) 531-1286