Thursday, June 18, 2009


Quickie Note: The cherry tree in the previous post is NOT the same cherry tree that I am standing by in my profile picture. That is a wild cherry tree that was just a twig in the middle of a "weed garden" that DH's ex had in the front yard. About 10 years ago I dug up the whole mess - briars, wild blackberry bushes, weeds, maple and oak seedlings, etc. - and found the little tree. I didn't know what it was, but liked it a lot, so I decided to keep it. Now it is 20+ feet tall and makes a lovely back drop for our front porch.

This picture is the American Flag we have hanging from our deck. I was in the driveway just snapping pictures of the house and took this pic of the flag through the branches of the wild cherry tree. It is one of my favorite pictures.

Wrinkled Fingers, Sweaty Brow, Aching Back! OH MY!!

In our yard (3/4 of an acre) we have an ancient apple tree (planted in the 20s or 30s), and a cherry tree. The apples are abundant, but rarely are big enough or tasty enough to be edible. Occasionally DH will pick some, peel and slice them and I will make him some "Fried Apple Pies." "Fried" is a misnomer these days because we rarely fry anything. But, I do rustle up some pie crust dough, cook the apples with appropriate amount of sugar and lots of cinnamon (see and make some "pies." YUMMY!

About that cherry tree ~ we didn't really even know it was a cherry tree until about 8-10 years ago when it started bearing fruit. I use the term "fruit" loosely. The first 5 years all we had were red DOTS on the tree, which the birds promptly ate. DH wished he could keep the birds away so he could have "Fried Cherry Pies." I guess he'd never pitted cherries!! 3 years ago he went out and picked some and I dutifully pitted them and made what passed for "Fried Cherry Pies." The cherry tree is a WORK IN PROGRESS!! I suspect it needs purposeful watering and some fruit tree fertilizer. However, at that point I wasn't willing to put THAT much work into the pies using cherries that aren't much bigger than a pea!!

However, THIS year, that tree is LOADED with cherries. Mind you, they are still smallish - the biggest might be the size of a garbonza bean, but ..... So, you guessed it, once DH saw all the cherries and how red, ripe and juicy they were, he started pining for a cherry pie. Monday we went out and picked maybe a gallon and a half. Yesterday I bought (GASP) pie crust dough (I DID use Pillsbury!), and today I picked some more of the cherries while DH played golf. Aren't I a GOOD wife????

I sat on the screen porch for TWO HOURS and pitted all those little cherries. They were juicy suckers! I had cherry juice all over the place. Even squirted Shadrach once - he was mortally offended. When I finished my fingers were WRINKLED from the juice and I had about 7 cups of cherry pulp, which I cooked with about 1/2-2/3 cup of sugar, some almond extract and cornstarch.

Then, even though we don't have air conditioning and it is pretty warm here today, I turned on the oven and began rolling out little round shapes for the pies. Somewhere in there I cooked dinner (chicken strips on the grill, baked potato and salad) and ate. I finally had to quit because I was so hot and was feeling pretty bad. I think I ended up with a dozen pies and enough "fixins" to make that many more.

OK, here's the kicker! As I pointed out the first batch out of the oven and asked DH what he thought he said (and I kid you NOT), "I wish we'd thought to get some apples so we could have fried apple pies." Thankfully the rolling pin was nowhere in sight!!

So, here I sit on the screen porch, laptop in my lap, Shadrach dozing on his table, doves cooing and birds chirping in the background, updating my blog with the saga of the "Fried Cherry Pies." DH is at granddaughter Madison's softball game.

Monday, June 15, 2009

CARDS - Swaps in Progress

I've been working on swaps lately! Haven't joined any for over a year and I just felt like I was getting "stale." So, I jumped in with BOTH feet, and arms, and hands, and might even get my TOES into the act before it is all over. Swaps I am currently in are:

1. Cuttlebug/Big Shot with a Twist: 2 sets of 5+1 - swaps went postal today (see below for a Sneak Peak of my cards)
2. Proud To Be American Red White and Blue: 2 sets of 5+ 1 - these will be mailed on June 27. Still working on those cards - will post when finished
3. Christmas In July" Card Swap: 2 sets of 5+1 - these are due on July 15. Haven't started, but know what I am doing for each set.
4. Non-Convention Goers Convention Swap: this is for Stampin' Up Demos only and I have 3 sets of cards for this one: they are all due on August 1

A. WOW! Cards - 25+1
B. Christmas Cards - 20+1 - will use one of the same cards from the Christmas in July swap above
C. Sizzix Swap - 15+1 - will be using the Parisian Breeze card below only with new catalog Specialty Designer Series paper.

5. Buckle/Pocket Cards: 2 sets of 5+1 each - one set Buckle Card, one set Pocket Card - these are due on September 1. Again I am combining cards and will be doing the same Criss/Cross Pocket card for this swap as for the Red/White/Blue swap above. Also, I think my WOW! card for the SU! Demo Swap is going to be a Buckle card, so I will be killing 2 birds with one stone here as well.*
6. GinaK Designs Swap: 2 sets of 5+1 - due on September 18. This swap is using stamp sets by GinaK Designs ( Now, follow this one CLOSELY: The SECOND Red/White/Blue card set (NOT the Criss/Cross card) is going to be ONE of the GinaK swap cards.*

*NOTE: I've found it to be just as easy to make 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 cards of the same design as it is to make ONE! Afterall, one 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of card stock makes 2 regular sized cards, so if you have out all your stuff, why NOT make more than one?!?!? DH calls this "Rhonda Logic." So, if I'm already making SIX cards for a swap, why not make 12 and have them for TWO different swaps - or make 14 and have a couple of extra ones for myself???

SO, do you want to see some cards after all that reading??

The first card is the Parisian Breeze card - original card by Stephanie Hargis: ( . I saw this card on splitcoaststampers ( and loved it SO much I had to CASE is almost exactly as it was.
Stamps: None
Card Stock: SU! Whisper White, Kraft, Parisian Breeze Designer Series Paper
Ink: None
Accessories: Cuttlebug Dotted Swiss Folder; SU! Daisies 2 Die Cut and Little Leaves Die Cut

Second Card: CASEd this layout from Kimber McGray ( over at Card Positioning Systems (

Card Information:
Stamps: Hero Arts - Seize the Cupcake
Card Stock: Paper Studios - Textured White Core Darks
Ink: SU! Not Quite Navy; Copic Markers
Accessories: Cuttlebug Happy Birthday folder; Nestabilities Labels 4 Die Cuts; Stickles; SU! Chunky Glitter; SU! Flower Brad

Will post other swap cards as I get them finished!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Classroom - A WORK in PROGRESS!!

It's been a BUSY day! Today was "next to the last day" for teachers. I hoped we would work all day in our rooms, and we DID!! NO MEETINGS!!! I started about 7:30 a.m., and have been hard at it all day!! As earlier mentioned, new (to me) students in the fall - who have quite a rep for being rowdy and uncontrollable - will be coming to my room, and I feel it IMPERATIVE to have the room completely ready on my first day back at school. That way I can concentrate on class rosters, finalizing lesson plans, making sure I have all the supplies I need, etc. I am probably about 2/3 done with the room, then I have a BUNCH of papers and files to sort through, file, re-file, trash or send to someone else. THEN, I will be able to "relax" for the rest of the summer and do all the OTHER school work I have planned to do!!

OK, on my way home NOW!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

This is a graduation card I made for two of my APUSH seniors. The card uses Mount Hope Mustang colors: Blue and Dark Gold;

Stamps: SU! "Congratulations" from All Year Cheer III;
computer generated saying
Card Stock: SU! More Mustard, Not Quite Navy, Confetti White
Ink: SU! Not Quite Navy
Accessories: Non-SU! blue and gold fibers; SU! Mini Library Clip;
non-SU! sticky stars; SU! Chunky Glitter
Tools: Corner Rounder; Cuttlebug & Dotted Swiss folder

This is an Apron Card that I made. I can't remember when/where I got the template. I love making these! I make a
little "envelope" inside and stick ijn a package of seeds!!
Stamps: none
Card Stock: SU! Purely Pomegranate, SU! Designer Series Paper
Accessories: Prima flowers; flower brad; eyelets; SU! Rub-Ons; ribbon
Tools: Scallop oval punch' Gelly Roll pen

I hope you enjoy looking at the cards! More to come!

WHEW! What a Day!

Well, the Last Student Day is FINALLY over!! We didn't have many kids, but the ones we did have were WILD!! Next week teachers report to the school on Monday. Tuesday we have Faculty Breakfast at Shoney's, then - VACATION!!

I'm getting a brand new crop of 9th graders next year - these are students I haven't had before, so they will need some "training." I want my room and stuff to be completely set up before they even walk in the door - no time for tweaking and fine tuning with a new crop of kids!! So, the next few days will definitely be busy ones for me. Then, a summer filled with conferences (AP US History) and trainings, lesson plans, and LOTS of reading. I've assigned my AP US History (APUSH) students to read one of several books, one of which is "American Colonies" by Alan Taylor. I'll be reading that one, at least. Plus, I'm wanting to fininsh David McCullough's "1776."

And, I'll be working on some swaps, so I will have some cards to post. In the meantime, here are a couple of cards I've done recently!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

It's That TIme of Year Again!

That Time of Year when I actually start having time to work on my blog!! Tomorrow, June 5, 2009, is the students' last day of school here at Mt. Hope High School, Mt. Hope, WV. We are ALL glad!! Free Smiley Courtesy of My finals are all given and graded, grades are all recorded, and report cards will be run tomorrow afternoon! WHEW!!!

So, hopefully this summer will see more postings from me - even if they are short ones! I've signed up for several swaps, so I will have more cards to post. DH and I have several different vacation options this year: Baltimore Aquarium, Harper's Ferry, WV, and Atlanta, GA to visit DH's aunt and her DH. MAYBE we'll get to take in a Braves Game!