Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ren Fest

Tuesday we loaded up the car and drove to the Texas Renaissance Festival with our funny friends, the Feldmans . We Hendricks go every year. Yesterday the boys could be heard saying, "Next year at the Renaissance Festival, I'm going to (fill in the blank). They are already looking forward to next October's adventure.

There is something magical about the medieval ages, isn't there? Spending the day surrounded by princesses, kings, queens and knights makes strange things happen in your heart.

Eating turkey legs and funnel cakes all day also causes wonderful things to happen in your heart.

Sir Ashton guarding Lady Emma

Of course Ashton calls the Renaissance Festival the "Ren-uh-zonz-is Vegetable."

We have threatened to sell our older two sons to the gypsies if they ever correct Ashton. It's just too cute to hear him say it. Thanks to the Ren. Festival, our older boys really think gypsies exist, and they don't want to live with them.

We go during the week for "School Days." This means the festival is rated PG...the kids get to enjoy all the coolness from the Medieval Ages minus the debauchery.

This was Hudson's first year to enjoy the festival. I loved seeing his face. Babies get the rare privilege of letting what they are thinking on the inside come out through their facial expressions.

Hudson sat in that stroller most of the day looking at the "odd" people. His face said, "You are a grown man. Why are you dressed like a Centaur?"

mining for "jewels"

While we were there this year, we all kept wondering...

"What do these people do when they aren't working at the Renaissance Festival?"

Are they always pirates?

Do they wear eye liner every day?

Do they always talk with an English Accent?

Does the Jousting Knight from Spain sell Kirby vacuums?

Do the Jugglers teach elementary education classes at a University?

Is the beggar a youth pastor?

And what do the boys with vampire teeth do during the rest of the year?

Sack groceries at HEB?

If so, I hope they never smile. Those teeth are scary. You can actually get a dentist to put vampire teeth tips in your mouth. weird.

I hope dentists are kind enough to say to would-be vampires, "Look...are you sure you want to do this? I mean...some things are really cool at the Renaissance Festival, but not so cool on the cereal aisle of the grocery store."

I wish someone would do a documentary on the "workers" at the Ren. Festival to see what they "do" when they aren't Renaissance-ing it up. Now that's a show I'd watch.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Math and Thoughts

4 kids + 2 Adults = 6 Halloween Costumes

6 Halloween costumes = lots of work

Note to self: Start on this stuff earlier, Heather.

Another note to self: All the work is worth it when your child, wearing his homemade Indian suit looks at himself in the mirror and says, "I'm a real Indian. I love Halloween. Can I wear this every day?"

*sometimes that moment is filled with sweet wonder. But one year I made a Super Man costume for Anson. I had it all ready. Dressed him up. Took him to the mirror for the big "reveal." He stood there for a minute or so, staring at himself. He said nothing. I wondered if he liked his costume. I was getting worried. Then, my normally low key, gentle child punched the mirror. That's right. Punched the mirror. He unleashed hot, super man fury on the mirror...he was so taken away by his costume.

Sometimes those first moments in front of the mirror are magical. Sometimes it causes you to say, "Whoa there...settle down Super Man."

None-the-less...magic was made.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

For Grandma

Heart and Soul

Should any childhood be without it?

Ever since I've known her, I've heard Aaron's mother say things like this to her son:

"Don't ever try to take credit for the music that is in you. It's been there all your life. God put it there."

I've found myself walking by my son...constantly engrossed in making music on the piano and whispering those same words into his ear.

The music has always been inside Hayden.

At the tiny age of two Hayden had the privilege of "opening" on the drums for Matt Graham's band at a local coffee shop.

Music has always been there wrapped up inside this child.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Punkin' Head has cracked/fractured his collar bone.

Poor little man.

This is his second time to do this.

The first time he fell out of a bed onto a hardwood floor in the middle of the night.

This time he fell at the soccer field.

October has brought stitches and a bone fracture.

I guess this is life in a house filled with boys?

Monday, October 19, 2009


So apparently movies can have absolutely no point or meaning these days.

Did anyone see Where the Wild Things Are this weekend?

All of us who did should engage in one gigantic group hug.

Or go to therapy together

or in the least make a big fat pan of brownies, pass out the forks and eat them right out of the pan.

What did this movie mean?

After thinking about the movie all night, the only thing I could think of was maybe it was a two hour advertisement for Ritalin.

I'm pretty sure some brilliant advertiser made a two hour advertisement, and I paid money to sit through it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's On Our Night Stands

I've been reading The Omnivore's Dilemma.

This book gives me a headache and makes me say to Aaron every day, "GET ME A FARM!"

And I say it that bratty. Sort of like her. Except I don't want one of these. I want one of these.

The Discipline of Grace does not give me a headache. It's teaching me a lot of great stuff about God's grace. Who doesn't need to focus on that awhile?

Recently I read...

The Secret Life of Bees. Loved it. This book completely stole me away for a couple days. I could not put it down. "Little Mrs. Can't Sit Down" found myself in the rocking chair in my room reading every spare second I could find (and some of the seconds I sat reading were not spare I totally should have been doing other things).

Aaron just finished reading the second book in Andrew Peterson's new series...

North or be Eaten.

Aaron in totally devoured the first book...

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

In case you're not an Andrew Peterson junky, he's the guy that wrote Behold the Lamb...the Christmas CD we wish every home could have sitting on a shelf somewhere. It's that good.

After starting the second book of the Wingfeather Saga, Aaron threw himself on the bed next to me.

I was reading the Omnivore's Dilemma trying to figure out how many coupon classes Kirby and I would have to do to buy a farm in six months. Too many...that's the answer.

Aaron was silent for a second, thankfully letting me finish my paragraph (and my math).

I glanced over at my sweet husband...we made eye contact and that's when he admitted what I had expected all along...

After a long deep sigh he said..."I think I love Andrew Peterson."

I gently patted him and said, "I know Aaron. I know."

Right or wrong, it's comforting to know that the only person my husband would leave me for is Andrew Peterson.

How can one man be so incredibly gifted? When I get to heaven, I'm going to point to Andrew Peterson and say to God..."So what the heck was that all about?"

If you love to read...or know someone who should get Andrew Peterson's book.

These are downright wonderful to read out loud to the whole family!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bread Makin'

Is there anything better than the smell of baking bread?

Maybe the smell of freshly folded laundry that someone else washed and folded...and is about to put away for you.

I've been a bread making lady lately. I'm not advocating bread making for everyone...but if you've wanted to know how, then hopefully this post will help. Not because I know how to do it the best way...but more so, because if my bread turns out fine (and I barely follow the recipe) then yours can be great too! Let my bread making laziness inspire you!

As a part of the ongoing saga to remove weird chemicals out of our diets in this house, I started trying to find a bread at the store that did not have high fructose corn syrup in it or any hydrogenated oils (or partially hydrogenated oils).

I had no such luck.

So, I decided I should learn how to make bread. Why not?

Most of that junk in store bought bread is there because crappy ingredients are cheaper to use than the real stuff...and because the bread company needs that bread to last as long as possible before going bad.

Making it myself means I can use better ingredients minus the chemicals and other strange words I don't understand or can't pronounce.

I'm not a bread making expert...but I've found you don't have to be an expert. Freshly baked bread is good no matter how it looks.

I got the recipe I use out of this book:

I love this book! I will sit and look at it for hours. So will Aaron.

I have made better breads before, but they contained a lot of ingredients (and honey...lots of it, which can get expensive).

I like this recipe because it only uses a few ingredients. That helps when making a bunch of loaves per week.

I usually bake 6 loaves of bread every Monday. Then, I wrap them in foil, stick them in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. When we want bread, I grab a loaf, leave it in the foil and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. It's like having freshly baked bread right out of the oven every time. Yum! I no longer buy bread from the store. We use this bread for sandwiches, toast and with our dinner. The kids eat jelly bread for snacks pretty often around here.

I'm going to give you Carla's recipe word for word, and then tell you what I actually do. That way, you recipe rule followers can do what she says, and you recipe renegades can do whatever you want.

Virginia's White Bread
Mix 2.5 cups liquid, 3 T sugar, 1 T salt, 2 T shortening. Dissolve 2 envelopes yeast in 1/4 c. lukewarm water and add to other ingredients. Mix with spoon, then by hand 7 cups flour. Turn dough on a floured board and let rest for 10 minutes. Knead until smooth and elastic...about 8-10 minutes. Grease bread dough and put in a large bowl or pan. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place out of drafts until doubled in bulk.

Once it's doubled in size, punch and fold it into a firm ball and let rise again until almost doubled in size. Divide into 2 pieces. Let dough rest on floured table 10 minutes. Shape into loaves. Put in pans. Grease. Let rise to just above top of loaf pans. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes. Turn out on racks to cool.

My Way...Virginia's White Bread that I Sometimes turn into Sorta Wheat Bread

Mix 2.5 cups liquid (I use 1 cup milk, 1.5 cups water), 3 T sugar, 1 T salt, 2 T shortening (I use smart balance oil). Stir. Put 1/4 cup lukewarm water in measuring cup. Add 2 packets of yeast. Stir until dissolved. Mix in 7 cups flour (I do three wheat, four white sometimes but mainly make it with white flour.) Mix the dough with a spoon, then by hand. Take your rings off...don't be scared...jump in there and get dirty.

Turn dough on a floured dough and let rest for 10 minutes. (I always need a rest too, so this part is nice. I never put the dough on a floured board. I just mix it up and then leave it in the bowl for 10 minutes. My dough naps in the bowl, not on a board.) Knead until smooth and elastic...about 8-10 minutes. (Are you kidding? I never do this either. I'm way too big of a wimp. I just knead it until my arms go a little numb and then stop.) Grease bread dough and put in a large bowl or pan. (I don't do that either. I just leave it in the bowl). Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place out of drafts until doubled in bulk.

Once it's doubled in size, punch and fold it into a firm ball. (I don't know what punch I just jack with the dough a while. I hold it and squish it and squeeze it.)

Then, I tear it into two pieces, stick it in two greased bread pans (mine are glass Pyrex), re-cover them with a towel and let them rise for the second time.

Then I cook the bread on 420 or so until light brown on top (or dark brown if I get to talking to girls sitting around the table).

You must eat some right out of the oven. It's a rule.

See...I don't hardly follow the rules (well, I never break the "eat the bread right out of the oven rule") and our bread turns out fine. Imagine what it would taste like if you actually followed the rules and kneaded the bread forever like she suggests and let it rise three times instead of two. I'm also imagining what your forearms would look like.

If you make bread, and want to post your recipe with instructions here, I'd love that! But even better...if you make bread and want to write a post on your own blog, I'd love to link to it. For those of you who love your bread machine and use it often, what kind do you have?

Here's another bread making post from this blog with helpful ideas in the comment section.


Jamie's recipe.
(I'll be your stinkin' it to the man friend, Jamie. That's my new hobby.)

Mandi's recipe.
I love Mandi. She's the real deal.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Food News

It's a school holiday today for my kids.

To celebrate, they will go to lunch with daddy, and some sweet girls are coming over to help me bake a ton of food today (we'll definitely eat while we work).

We're making 8 loaves of bread, 2 dozen banana muffins and 4 dozen pumpkin muffins.

I'm posting the recipes for the pumpkin muffins over at the Family Supper Club blog. Have you been checking it out? I'm learning so much!

Hopefully I can get some pictures today of the bread making. Then I can post pictures with the recipe. Fun.

Kirby gave me the banana muffin recipe that I make every Monday.

Muffins are great to make ahead, and then stick in the freezer. When my kids want a snack, they get one out of the freezer, stick it in the microwave for 30 seconds and wah-lah!

Banana Bread (I make it into muffins)
3/4 c. unsweet applesauce
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. mashed bananas (about 3)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9 x 5 loaf pan w/ cooking spray (or muffin pan). In one bowl combine applesauce, sugar, and eggs; beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, soda, powder, and cinnamon. Add to batter and blend well. Fold bananas into batter. Pour batter into pan(s).Bake for 60-65 minutes (if making bread) or 10-12 minutes if making muffins, or until toothpick comes clean.


I finally started putting fresh spinach leaves in my morning smoothie.

So many people told me that they put spinach in their smoothies and never taste it.

They were right. I can't tell it's in there at all. The smoothie does look super weird since it's fluorescent green.

Even Aaron was brave enough to try the new spinach version and agreed...he could not taste the spinach, but he didn't think he could drink something that looks like bug guts.

Here is the post where I described how we make smoothies over in these there were so many other ideas in the comments section (adding spinach was one of them!)

Friday, October 09, 2009

A Riddle

What do you get when you cross

a running, hyper, naked, freshly showered, barely dry seven year old boy


hardwood floors and a piano?

Give up?

3 Stitches

What do you do when your naked seven year old's head is gushing blood all over the place?

Give up?

Grab a towel, hug them tightly, put some clothes on them, and then call the best doctor in town.

I would never have enough ways to communicate how thankful we are for The Amazing Doctor Bacak.

For real...if you live here locally and need a good doctor, please go see Dr. Bacak (695-3570).

Here's a post I wrote about him months ago...and seriously...our stitched up baby is just another reason (added to an already very long list of reasons) why Dr. Bacak will forever and ever be the Hendrick Family Doctor.

Hayden is doing well this morning. Although painful, he keeps talking about being Frankenstein for Halloween (that too was Dr. Bacak's idea). I think Hayden is running with it (figuratively speaking since we have firmly reminded him why it's not a good idea to run in the house...especially when wet and naked.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Word Wall Words

Couple weeks ago a cute little package arrived on my front step.

Word Wall Words by MRM Classroom Connections, LLC.

The kit contains 100 high frequency words that first graders and second graders color. There is a first grade kit and a second grade kit.

Have you ever taught a kid to read?

I have...and every time I do I think, "It's a feakin' miracle any of us are literate!"

The English language is ridiculous. We make rules and then a billion of our words are what we in the Hendrick house call, "Rule breakers."

I teach my kids "When two vowels go a walkin' the first one does the talkin'."

Then they get to words like, "head" and say, "heed."


We should say, "When two vowels go a walkin' the first one does the talkin'...some times...well...(pause)...every once in awhile...(pause)...okay fine, just about as many times as the first vowel does the talkin' the second one does the talkin' OR those two vowels join together and morph into some other weird sound...(sigh).

I'm a huge fan of phonics, but sheesh...teaching kids to recognize high frequency words (words that usually don't follow the rules, but are in just about every sentence they read) is also a must for helping kids become successful readers.

When I'm teaching my kids to read, I have sight words hanging all over the school room. When learning to read, we will go over those sight words every day.

In the past I have had to write out all my own words, and stick them up in the school room.

I was thrilled to get this creative kit in the mail. Every high frequency word is on its own individual sheet of paper. The word is embedded in a cool, groovy design.

Every day I give Ashton a new sight word to color. He has been keeping them in a folder. After he finishes coloring his new word, I ask him to read me all the sight words in his folder. His new sight words are also what we use during handwriting time. I've seen his creativity grow as he figures out new ways to make his paper look "cool."

At the end of the year I want to get these bound for him.

"Children who love to color or create an artistic product will love this kit. Children who are having trouble reading will interact with words in a fun manner."
--Maria Rios-Marrero of MRM Classroom Connections.

Now for the real question...

Obviously, this kit was sent to me for free. It's really easy to love something that's free.

Would I have bought this in, paid $19.95 for it myself?

The answer...



I love the pictures. I like having a complete list in one kit of all the high frequency words my child needs to know. I love the time it takes Ashton to color each picture.

However, I think a good reading curriculum is already pretty expensive. Buying extra reading "add-ons" would be tough for me financially in addition to all the other expenses that go into homeschooling at the beginning of a school year.

So, I'd probably have bought this product once...then let the younger siblings trace the pages when it was their turn to learn to read.

I know. We're "those people."

Have four kids and all of a sudden no one ever has "their own anything" ever again. Even our sight words in these parts are hand-me-downs.

So yes...first kid would get to color the words and the rest of the kids would trace them. My boys LOVE to trace things. Truly love it. So for me...I'll save Ashton's words and then one day little Hudson will use these and trace the words as he's learning to read.

That's just how we roll in Hendrickville.

Check 'em out.

Word Wall Words

This product is a 2008 iParenting Media Best Product of the Year Award winner and Mom's Choice Award winner.

Definitely worth looking into if your child is struggling at all with reading or you are in the process of teaching your child to read.



For those of you who mentioned in the comments about making copies of the sheets...good news:

One of the representatives from the company that sells the Word Wall Words said it is perfectly legal to photocopy the kits to save for younger siblings to use.

How exciting!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Because He's Ten

On the day you were born I held you in my arms and thought

"I'm not sure my heart can hold all the love I feel for you."

At the time I thought the tank of my heart was full.

And then a few months later you smiled at me.

Oh how my heart overflowed with joy and adoration.

Then you laughed for the first time and started saying "Mama".

love stacked pancake style inside my soul

I watched you take your first steps.

And then the day arrived when on your very own you said to me, "I love you mommy."

I thought to myself, "Does anyone on earth deserve such sweetness?"

At every milestone I have thought..."Yep...this is the pinnacle. This is the tip top of how much you can love another person."

I have always been wrong.

Anson, I love you more today than I did the moment I held you in my tired arms ten years ago.

Ten years old

Double digits

How can that be?

We're extremely proud of you Anson and so humbled and thankful that you belong to us.

Friday, October 02, 2009

In Case Anyone Cares

I have surprised myself...

We're still drinking tea in the afternoons...not every afternoon...but most of them.

This seems to be sticking.

Although sticking, it's getting more tacky by the moment.

The other day, Hayden did a very Hayden thing and laid down in a huge water puddle right before tea time. Why does he do those things? I don't know. I've quit asking.

Needless to say...he was shirtless while we had our tea.

I kept looking at Hayden while sipping my trashy tea and thought...what would Mary Poppins think about us?

We are loving our tea time.

I'm also pleased to say that I no longer have the worst English accent.

Ashton does.

You should hear it.