Thursday, May 31, 2012

Langston Hughes

This is Langston Hughes.

Mother to Son

By Langston Hughes

Well, son, I'll tell you:
Life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
It's had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I'se been a-climbin' on,
And reachin' landin's,
And turnin' corners,
And sometimes goin' in the dark
Where there ain't been no light.
So, boy, don't you turn back.
Don't you set down on the steps.
'Cause you finds it's kinder hard.
Don't you fall now—
For I'se still goin', honey,
I'se still climbin',
And life for me ain't been no crystal stair.
-Langston Hughes

About the poem:
  The poem is an expanded metaphor. That simply means that the metaphor expands throughout the poem. The metaphor is(can you guess?) life is a staircase! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Snakes, spiders, coyotes,and other scary things.

I've always been scared of coyotes and snakes. Snakes are just to scary. Coyotes are kinda like wolves and if you've ever heard of Red Riding Hood?! Okay, I know that wouldn't happen to me, but still....

 Yesterday evening, we were sitting down to dinner. My mom was looking out the window, and suddenly she yelled "Oh my goodness! There's a coyote over by the pond!" We looked outside, and a big coyote was just strolling along. He didn't hurt anything, just walked in the woods. Now for the scary part. a couple of days ago, my Dad had killed 3 snakes. One crawled under the woodpile, and we were sure we saw it. So I held Dad's big spotlight, and he shot it. It was huge and I was scared. It kept moving even though it was dead. Why? Because after their death, the muscles can move as a result of a reaction in their nerves. Usually, the movement is just a twitch, but they can spin and open their mouth and do all sorts of crazy things.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Hidden Gold book review

    Marie-Grace is traveling on a steamboat to St. Louis from New Orleans with her doctor father in the 1850's. She misses her friend Cecile and her pet dog Argos but is thrilled to be riding on a steamboat. When Wilhelmina, a strange, hungry girl in need of a friend, tells Marie-Grace she needs help. Marie-Grace offers to help her. Wilhelmina tells Marie-Grace that she (Wilhelmina) is carrying gold-she just doesn't know where it is and she's searched her trunk. If she can't find the gold her father left her, her little brothers and mother will go hungry. Wanting to help the family who are in desperate need, Marie-Grace agrees to help search for the gold-but is she putting her life in danger??!!

What I liked about the book:                                                    
I'd read the other Marie -Grace books and the American Girl mysteries, so I really enjoyed reading this one. I also liked that it taught about steamboats and the 1850's. I found especial pleasure in reading about the characters and how Marie-Grace interacted with them as she is different from some of the other American Girls.

   What I didn't like about the book:
It was rather short, being a voracious reader I devoured it in less than an hour, but for someone slightly younger- maybe 9 or 10- I'd say it would be perfect. I also found that I could guess the plot by the time I was halfway finished.

4 stars!
However, overall I really liked it. It was believable and I liked the author's descriptive language. I'd give the book  4 stars.                                 

Friday, May 18, 2012

My day baking 10 dozen plus cookies

Every year our town holds an annual Farm and Ranch tour.  You tour 3 ranches. This year we toured a tree farm, a Charlet cattle operation, and the ranch of a farmer who raises all kinds of fruits and veggies, built his own lake, and owns his own restaurant.A  lot of people come to the tours. It is all free, and you can pay $5 to attend the awards ceremony and BBQ lunch later. They always stop at a school or a church for bathroom breaks and cookies. The  local 4-H groups always make about 20 dozen cookies for the tours. We made 10 dozen (plus!) and another couple made the other 10 dozen. We made oatmeal raisin, chocolate chunk, white chip island cookies, pink spritz and green spritz. Our neighbor had given us a cookie press that worked wonderfully when it came time to make the spritz. We had trouble getting the press to work at first, but then we realized we were simply holding it the wrong way! Here's a brief history of spritz :

Spritzgebäck is a type of German cookie  made of eggs, butter, sugar, and flour.When made the right way, the cookies are crisp,slightly thin,and buttery. The German word spritzen means"to squirt" in English! As the name suggests,these yummy cookies are made by "squirting" the dough with a press fitted with a disk that has lots of little holes that are in a pattern on it (a cookie press) onto cookie sheets. You hold the press on the sheet, squeeze, then lift up! In the United States, the name  Spritzgebäck is often shortened to spritz.
Spritzgebäck is a common pastry in Germany and served often during Christmas season, but they can be made at other times, too.

Pink Spritz!!

The cookie press

Disk that goes in cookie press

Baked Spritz

We made little trees since we were going to a tree farm!

Then we made White Chip Island cookies. I wanted to eat one so badly! Mom said we had to wait until everyone else got one. So I did, and then there were none left!! So we had to make them all over again.:-)

Chopping macadamia nuts

White Chip Island Cookies

Number of Servings: 36


    1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
    3/4 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 large egg (ours was farm-fresh!)
    2 cups white chocolate chips
    1 cup flaked coconut
    3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Makes 3 dozen cookies
Combine butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add in egg and vanilla. Stir till smooth. Add in all dry ingredients.

Bake 8-11 at 375 degrees

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Baby Bunnies Barrage Home!(My news article for school)

I had to write a news article for school, so I decided to write about our new bunnies!!

    Baby Bunnies Barrage Home!

  On Friday, May 11, 2012, Sherry was in her kitchen washing dishes when, suddenly,"My daughter Laura Ashley ran in and told me our mother rabbit had given birth. I said "Let me get my shoes on and I'll be right out," she recalls. "I was overwhelmed-scared some of the baby bunnies might have died but so thrilled that the kids would have bunnies to show in 4-H."

  Christopher, Sherry's son, says of the incident,"I was feeding our dogs when my sister ran and told me that our rabbit had had babies." Next, he says "Sadly, one of the baby bunnies had died, so I removed it from the cage." Mrs. Childress called her husband and informed him of the news. Around this time, a neighbor stopped by, and he too was told of the birth.

  The baby bunnies currently reside in a nesting box in their mother's cage. They are Californian Rabbits and will eventually have white fluffy fur and red eyes. Currently, their eyes are shut, they have no fur (they look somewhat like naked mole rats) and they are asleep. No pictures are available at this time.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Steven's Jazz Concert

My family met my aunt,uncle, cousins, and grandparents at a Chinese buffet. From there we all went to my cousin's jazz concert, and it was really cool! They played a lot of different songs. Some of the songs had funny names, like "Green Onions" and "Birdland." My favorite song they played was:
Green Onions!!
I liked that song because it sounded really neat, slow in some parts and fast in others. 

Unfortunately, my pictures didn't turn out too well because it was too dark and we were to far back from the stage, even using flash and zoom.:-(  Steven is playing the trombone He's second from right.

My cousins,Steven and David

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Hugo and the book
Hugo and Isabelle in one of the illustrations
  The Invention of Hugo Cabret  by Brian Selznick is a great book that keeps you guessing to the end!! Hugo Cabret is an orphan, a tinker, a clock-worker...and a thief living in a Paris train station in 1931. Always on the run from the stationmaster who will kick him out if he finds out the truth- that the "man" who runs the clocks is a twelve-year old boy living in the clock worker's apartment. When Hugo's father died, Hugo was sent to live with his uncle, a clock worker. But when his uncle leaves him all alone,Hugo must find a way to survive- and a way to repair the mysterious automaton (a mechanical man) his father leaves behind. With no way to buy tools, Hugo steals windup toys  from a grumpy old man. Together the old man's ward, Isabelle, and Hugo discover an age-old secret, resulting in mystery, wonder, and magical movies!! The book has 264 full page illustrations that are astounding and in great detail. I give this book 5 stars.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What I did yesterday

So, Anners and I won our first case! I was dancing up the courthouse stairs-I was so happy! I got to give an Opening Statement and write up some jury questions. This is my Opening Statement: (We were representing the state of Texas against a driving without a license case.)

My opening statement:

The defendant made a choice to break the law. Now she must bear the consequences. She chose to get behind the wheel and drive without a license, thoughtlessly endangering herself and countless others.  She thought “The law applies to you, you, and you, but it doesn’t apply to me. She didn’t consider that, According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an average of a little more than 8,000 people were killed each year in driving-without-a-license crashes from 1993 to 1999. That's 20 percent of all fatal crashes.  I’m thankful no one was injured, but that doesn’t change the fact that others could’ve been killed, as could she. No one should be able to drive without a license and get away with it. The law applies to everyone.

After Teen Court we went to a County Council 4-H meeting. We held elections and gave out the photography awards. I received a third and fifth place ribbons for my  photography. I was elected  secretary!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Teen Court

Teen Court is a really interesting program that I am in . What is Teen Court? Teen Court is when teens who are in trouble with the law agree to let other teens try their cases by acting as lawyers, jurors,court clerks, bailiffs, etc. It's serious because you are deciding someone else's future, but fun because you get to learn about the judicial  system. We participate in interesting activities during our practices before we hold our real trials. One of  the lessons we learned was what to do with unresponsive, difficult, or bad jurors. Seven people were chosen to pretend to be jurors on a murder trial. I was one of the people! I was given a slip of paper that said "Pretend to be as dumb as you can. Ask everyone to rephrase their question!" Everyone was given a different slip. Then we were questioned about our view on things for the "murder trial".! It was funny, but I really learned a lot! We have to stay serious, too, because it is a huge responsibility. My friend Anners (check out her blog here) was asked to be the prosecuting attorney for one of the cases, and I get to be her second chair. This means that I get to give the opening statement and help question the defendant as an attorney! I'll let you know all about it. Thanks for viewing!!

Thoroughly Modern Millie

We went to see my cousin preform in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr. , and it was great! Basically, the play is  set in the 1920's and is about a small-town girl who comes to a big city, falls in love, and helps capture a ring of kidnappers who sell people into white slavery!! There are a lot of funny characters, songs, and dances.(However, one downside is that Millie and Jimmy, followed by the Ensemble, sneak into a speakeasy (a bar) and are arrested during a police raid.)

Christopher, Andrew, and I with our cousin David.

The characters that were my favorite were:

Millie Dillmount
A young, "modern" woman from a tiny town in Kansas. She wants to marry her boss just because she read a story about that in a magazine.She ends up marrying Jimmy instead. YAY!
Jimmy Smith
A handsome young salesman. He acts poor and is kind to Millie when, lost and alone, she first arrives. Turns out he is a wealthy boss who wants to marry for true love so he acts poor. Ends up marrying Millie. YAY!

Mrs. Meers
Evil owner of the Hotel Priscilla who kidnaps people!! Trademark line: "How saaaaddd to be allll alllone in the worllld!!"
Ching Ho
Ms. Meers' henchman, falls in love with Miss Dorothy(another character). He's really funny!

Ensemble     Sing and dance,etc.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Quilt Show

Mom really liked this one!

I loved that on this quilt, called" Love,"all the Bible verses  were about love!

The rose looks real!

I had to find an owl on a quilt for the scavenger hunt!

This was so cute! A perfect Easter gift!

This quilt was really whimsical and vibrant.

All the designs are made of quilt blocks!
I liked this one a lot.
We went to a quilt show at the Cain Center, and there were all kinds of beautiful quilts. Christopher, Andrew, and I got to participate in a quilt scavenger hunt, and had a great time finding all the items!  Some of the quilts were huge, and it was hard to find items for the scavenger hunt on them. We eventually finished the hunt and won some cute stencils.  While we were there, we got to see a quilting machine that quilts large, intricate designs very quickly. There were also raffles for quilted/quilting items like a quilted sewing bag or a quilt.We also ran into several people we knew! I had such a hard time picking my favorite quilt. I couldn't decide between all the rows of quilts, because some of the designers made their work look just like a photo, and others made the designs look like they were about to pop off the quilt, and I loved both methods!! It was amazing to see all the work that went into these quilts. The people who made them must be very talented- some even said it was their first time quilting!!