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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pumpkin Pie Crunch

I told you I love Fall.
I love Fall recipes, with pumpkin.
This stuff is heavenly. My friend Jen White passed it on to me, and I'm so glad she did. So I'm passing it on to you.
Even if you think you don't like pumpkin, you could like this. You know why? Because it has a cup of melted butter on it. No matter what you make, if it has that much butter on it, it's good.
Are you ready?

1 can pumpkin
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 t pumpkin pie spice
1/2 t salt
yellow cake mix (butter recipe is best)
1 cup chopped pecan bits
1 cup melted butter
Vanilla Cool Whip

Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
Combine pumpkin through salt in a large bowl.
Pour it into the pan.
Pour cake mix over it evenly.
Sprinkle pecans on top.
Then drizzle the butter over it, and bake at 350 for 50-55. Golden bubbly.
Serve with Cool Whip, and I have paired it with the Vanilla Cool Whip, which is a heavenly combination. I think Vanilla Cool Whip was made specifically for this dessert.
If you make it, or eat it, tell me if you like it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

5 Minutes of Deafness

As many of you know, when I received a paycheck in the working world, I was an interpreter for the Deaf, and later became a Deaf Ed. teacher. So it only seems natural that as I'm teaching my kids at home, they should learn sign.
We do a signing lesson everyday, where we go over a list of vocab. for the week, and put them into sentences in ASL (American Sign Language.) But my favorite part of our signing time is now our "5 Minutes of Deafness." I have found this to be so effective in teaching them to understand and sign expressively. I set the timer on the microwave for 5 minutes, and if you talk to me during that time, I can't hear you. Everyone MUST sign to communicate. Jax gets utterly confused much of the time, but Emma signs like a little Deaf kid! It's amazing! It's a lot of fun. If you are teaching, or learning, any language, I think this is vital to really learning to use language practically. If the kids don't know a sign for something, they have to act it out, which improves their expressive skills. (Facial expression and animation are actually a part of the grammar of ASL.)
If anyone is interested in teaching their kids to sign, there is a great show on PBS on Sunday mornings called "Signing Time." Anyone can learn from this show, and you can take the vocab. from one show and practice it for a week. It is awesome for communication for little ones. This is especially important for us right now, as Justus is needing non-verbal communication like crazy. Our whole family can sign. You can too! Then you can join us for 5 minutes of Deafness!

Monday, October 23, 2006


Sometimes we make-up our own words.
Like: Nastify v. or adj. - to make something totally gross and nasty.
Let me us it in a sentence for you.

Justus got into my lip gloss and totally nastified it.
(That was the word used as a verb.)

Justus got into my lip gloss and now it is all nastified.
(used as an adjective.)

Feel free to slip that into your daily conversation. It works quite nicely.

I want to know if other people make-up words in their house? Tell me, so I can use them too!

Fall Family Fun Day 2006

Fall is my favorite season.
I like to pretend that we have a fall.
There may not be any changing color of leaves,
but we might get the occasional sweatshirt weather cool front,
and that makes me all too happy!
With fall, comes the annual Fall Family Fun Day!
Mock us if you must, but we Bacaks love our little traditions.
On FFFD, (which we conveniently had the week we studied the letter F) we get to
pick out our pumpkins. Everyone gets to pick one, but there is a spending limit.
I like to pick one of the so-ugly-they're-pretty gourds, with funky colors and warts
all over them. Rusty seriously makes fun of me for this.
We carve our jack-o-lantern, and by "we" I mean Rusty. I am not fond of touching
pumpkin guts, and neither are my children really. So I stand back and unwrap the
caramels. This is the heavenly part. We make caramel apples with nuts and toffee
bits and all! This is way too messy to make on a regular basis, but WAY TOO GOOD
to not make once a year for the FFFD! My children were covered from head to toe
in caramel. It was on their feet, in their hair (with the exception of Rusty and Jax
because they don't have hair), on every sticky finger, leaving a trail of stickiness wherever
they thought about touching. But still, so worth it for the FFFD.
Our cutey jack-o-lantern is positioned proudly on the front porch now, and Justus keeps pointing
to the other pumpkins and then to the knives, waiting for us to butcher the others. Not going to
happen. One is enough. But who doesn't love the Fall Family Fun? Who?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Prayer for Justus

This is a letter I sent to my family, but I thought I'd share it on my blog, so that we could enlist all of you for prayer!

Hello Family!
I wanted to ask you to pray for Justus. We have recently started Justus in Speech Therapy, as you probably know. Rusty and I have been contemplating what is really going on with his speech. His frustration level has really escalated the last 2-3 weeks, and he is somedays filled with rage! He gets so angry that I don't understand what he wants sometimes, and he is hitting me and throwing things A LOT! He knows, with 100% certainty, that he will get a spanking for this. But he has no self-control. He is so frustrated! As you can imagine, I am frustrated too.
It seems pretty clear to us that Justus is not just exhibiting a normal speech delay. His receptive language has always been awesome, but his expressive language is hardly improving. He is really bright, so we are not at all worried about his IQ, but still he rarely intiates speech. He probably intiates 5 words in a day, with a total of maybe 12 words that he's able to say. I don't know if anyone else could recognize these "words" like we can. He has NO names for his brother and sister, who he's with his every waking moment, and no name to request his paci, still can't say the words he has been signing since he was barely a year old, etc. These are things he should definitely be saying on his own! There are so many reasons why we are feeling like this is more than a speech delay. (I could elaborate, but am trying to keep this brief.) I didn't retain everything from college, but just enough to have a slight edge in this area. (All this loan money should be worth something!) Obviously, Rusty has so much to offer in knowing what is on target developmentally as well. We know that it is no mistake that God put Justus in our family! Praise the Lord!
We spent several days praying before we approached his speech therapist with this. I was afraid, because he is so young, and nobody wants to diagnose a two-year-old with anything, that a SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) might dismiss me and say to give therapy more time. However, this could definitely change his management, and I don't want to waste another year in therapy, and him be a three-year-old who is hardly improved. So I prayed, and I approached this cautiously. But our prayer was fruitful, because our SLP, Brandi, seemed very open to this idea. (She and I were actually in school together at Baylor.) The Speech Disorder we think is a possibility is Speech Apraxia. (You can look at the website http://www.apraxia-kids.org/) But we truly are not qualified to make any assumptions. Only an SLP can do that. Thankfully, she was anxious to think about it, gather more info. on him, she listened to me, and she wants to research and talk to other SLP's. I could not ask for more.
Please pray for Brandi, that God would guide her and use her. Pray that we would find the right approach to help Justus communicate better. We are doing more signing, as suggested for kids with Apraxia, using the total-communication approach. Communication is my top priority!
More than all of that, pray for his healing. God can definitely give our little brown bear words if He chooses to. We know, no matter what, that God is going to use this all for His glory.
Thanks for loving Justus, and your prayers will mean so much!

Church Signs

This is one of the books I want to write.
Church Signs.
You know, the ridiculous, "catchy" slogans churches put on their sign for all to see, that is supposed to do...what? Entice people to come on in! Convict them of all their sin as they're driving by?
This has been a soapbox of mine for many years.
When we drive to Arkansas in the summers, they get even more entertaining as we go. The misspellings are more heinous. Sometimes the meaning of the catchy phrases are totally lost on me!
Recently, we saw one in this town that said something like "Beef a lot, and you'll get in a stew."
Based on these tiny representations of our churches everywhere, why would anyone ever go to church? If I were lost, and I read one of these signs, I would thank my lucky stars I'm not one of the crazies that park my car there on Sunday morning. If I went there, I would start parking in the back, where no one could see me. How embarrassing is this?
I'm so, so, so glad our church doesn't have a goofy sign. But if we did, isn't scripture enough, if you want to put anything on it at all? Or like my Dad's church, how 'bout just the service times? Something useful. Something non-retarded. If our church had a sign, I know who would be in charge of putting something up there...my friend Heather...and who knows what insane thing she might choose each week. It would be truly entertaining.
This needs to be a new break-out session offered at the Southern Baptist Convention. Stop driving people away from the gospel with your ridiculous, meant-to-be-clever, but totally not, signs.
Someone stop the madness!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nacho Mama!

I decided on my Grandma name.
Nacho Mama.
I saw a letter addressed the other day to "Nacho Mama."
That's all. Just Nacho Mama.
I think that is the coolest Grandma name.
The other Grandma won't choose it.
No one will forget it. Everyone will say
"Hey, it's Nacho Mama!!!"
And I love nachos. I made them for dinner this week
and they were GOOD!
Your Grandma name is very important, because you could
have it for like, 50 years. It's about as important as
your real name.
I've got dibs on Nacho Mama.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I want to be her!!!

I love her.
I've been dying to tell you how much I love her.
I mean, I want to be her. I always have.
(You can pray for me if you want, that I want to be a "witch."
I'm totally fine with it.)
I don't want to be her, like with her most annoying husband Darren, who
is totally unworthy of the most beautiful woman ever. (Truly, if you asked me who is the most beautiful woman of all time, I think it's her!) But I want to look like her, and have her superpowers.
Think about it! Have you seen what she could do? Do you know how this would change your life?
I think about it all the time. I've probably spent a hundred hours thinking about it from childhood up until now. If I watch an episode, which I can at anytime now because my wonderful husband bought me the first season on DVD, I just can't stop day dreaming about twinkling my nose, and poofing-up dinner, or when she makes the vacuum cleaner work on its own! Or snapping my fingers and having lunch in Paris. Can you imagine? Why didn't God give me superpowers? I could handle it. I'm sure I could.
I used to think I also wanted to be Jeannie, but then I grew up and realized she was a dim-wit. AND, she was paired up with that totally over-bearing jerk of an astronaut for a master. Yeah, the smoke and the bottle were really cool, but she was always baring her midriff and was shacked up with that guy. And she truly had the IQ of an eight-year-old.
I found this website while looking for the picture of Elizabeth Montgomery (above) asking the poignant question, "Jeannie or Samantha? Which would you rather be?" There's no doubt about it, Samantha. She rocks.
I so want to be her!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pre-Kids...Just a Distant Memory

I was thinking the other day about things I used to do pre-kids.
Or even when I had less kids!
It's hard to remember that era of my life, but I vaguely do.
I was thinking how I would like to hear some of the things that
you, fellow parents, did before kids. Reach way back, into your memory.
The children may have burned that part of your brain, and fried
it beyond repair, but TRY! You young mothers (i.e. Sally and Kendra), it was not too
terribly long ago, but your lack of sleep may make it equally as difficult.
So here's a short list of mine. Some things you didn't know about me:

1. I used to arrange fresh flowers once a week in a vase in my house. It was quite lovely.
For those of you who have witnessed my dead plants, you know that is no longer the case.

2. I used to be an interpreter for the Deaf.

3. I used to wear make-up on a regular basis, not just on Sundays, and always checked the mirror before leaving the house.

4. I used to spend hours and hours clipping recipes out of magazines, and made things that required a long list of ingredients! (Cooking has had to be a bit more simplified now-a-days.)

5. I never, ever, ever exercised, except for a brief period before my wedding, thinking I could get a brand new beautiful body for my wedding. I did not.

6. We went to movies on a moment's notice, without planning it 5 days in advance, and paying $10/ hour in addition to the cost of movie tickets. Sometimes we even went on a WEEK NIGHT!

7. We randomly went on weekend adventures...to wherever we wanted. We drove to cool places, slept in, and shopped for clothes for ourselves!

8. We watched live TV, payed our bills long before they were due, and our to-do lists were much easier to achieve.

These are just a few. Now, by reading this list, you may think I would wish to go back to that time in my life.
The odd thing is, despite all of this, now is the best time of my life BY FAR! I love my life, and would not trade being a mother for anything in the world!!!! Our time and energy is a lot less about US, but our life is so full. We are so blessed.
Now-I want to learn new things about you people!!!