5.28.2009

Homeschool: Your Opinion

So...here is a short post. I'm gathering up information-- a survey, if you will.

Mat and I are praying (literally) about whether to homeschool our children or not. Now, before the rumor mill gets going, I would like to clarify that I most certainly AM NOT pregnant. But, I believe there are decisions Mat and I will have to make about our children and their lives that will take some time to ponder.

Homeschooling is one of those issues.

So, before I write my post about homeschooling, I want to know what YOU think-- your experiences, your opinion, your ideas, anything. Leave a comment, e-mail me, facebook me, send me a Twitter, send a carrier pigeon, whatever! Just let me know what you think.

5.26.2009

EPG...at 10 weeks

Here are some photos of our beautiful Ellie Parker Gunter (who is so lovingly called Ellie Pock-Pock, EPG, Elle-belle...almost anything you can think of!). EPG is 10 weeks old as of yesterday, May 25, 2009. And oh my gosh, is she amazingly gorgeous!!! We might all be prejudice, but why don't you just see for yourself.











5.18.2009

Joy's Hope Giveaway

http://etsyfix.blogspot.com/2009/05/monday-giveaway-joys-hope.html

Enter here to win a FREE Monday Giveaway...courtesy of Joy's Hope!! Enjoy!

My Mumsy

Today is my mum's 55th birthday. Happy birthday, Mumsy! I am dedicating this blog entry to her...my best friend. Here are a few tidbits about her I think you should know.

She is an only daughter with one younger brother.

She is the mother of two-- myself and my older brother, Gunter.

She is a dog lover who currently possesses 3 dogs: a basset hound Aggie; a dachshund, Freeman; and my dog, a Scottish terrier, John Roberts.

She is a 5th grade English teacher who has taught almost 30 years. An educator for life.

She single-handedly raised my brother and I after my dad left.

She is a class act woman with better manners and more of a caring spirit than I have ever seen in a person.

She is compassionate.

She is a social butterfly, but she would never tell you that.

She is a great hostess.

She loves a good pair of pajama pants and a large t-shirt (usually a hand-me-down from my husband).

She love Christ, His Word and His people.

She is a fabulous decorator.

She has an adorable laugh and a fun spirit.

She enjoys laying on the beach...and given the chance to live there, I know she would take it in a heartbeat.

She taught me to be my own person, to get up after failing, to believe in myself, to love others, to be kind to everyone, to be sweet always, and to believe in God.

She is so fun on vacation.

She has great taste...especially in clothes.

She loves her nieces and her great-niece.

She knows, better than anyone else I know, how to balance being a mom to a son and a mom to a daughter, giving love and support equally to both.

She named me after herself, which fits, because, as my husband always says, "[I] am a spitting image of [my] mother."

She always got up with me when I was little and was sick. And she stayed up with me all night if necessary.

She loves a great picture frame.

She would do anything for anyone...and I mean that. Anyone.

She will be the best "Granna" this world has ever seen to my children when they are born.

She is 55 years old today, but doesn't look a bit her age.

She is my Mumsy.

She is my best friend.

She is wonderful.

She is brilliant.

She is beautiful.

She is everything I hope to be when I grow up and when I am a mother.

She has had more influence on me than any other person in the world.

She is Vanessa Amalou Gunter Walker.

She is MY Mumsy by God's divine blessing, and I am forever grateful to God for her and to her for being who she is in my life.


Happy birthday, Mommy! I love you more!!!


5.16.2009

Momdot.com

I just found this new Web site that is so neat! Right now, they are giving away tons of stuff, one of which is a vacuum cleaner, and not just your grandmother's old vacuum cleaner, either. It's awesome. Check out the Web site and then enter the contest!!!!

http://www.momdot.com/hooverplatinumreview/


Thanks, Momdot.com!!!

5.15.2009

Recipe Ramblings

This past week at school has been so slow, because we are finished with our curriculum. I have been coming up with all sorts of ways to pass the time. For example, I've cleaned my classroom-- about four times. I have gotten every single staple out of my classroom walls. I've packed all my things. I've returned etc. to the Resource Room. I have rearranged furniture. I have done it all.

But, about three days ago, I brought a Rachel Ray magazine to work to clip recipes. (And I have to insert a plug here-- I LOVE her magazine!!!) The next day, I brought my recipe box and decided it was time to clean it out! I reorganized all my recipes. I cut all the ones I had printed off the Internet and pasted them onto manilla index cards. I also rewrote some onto my recipe cards instead of leaving them on notebook paper, memo pads and the likes. I'm not finished, but I ran out of double-sided tape and out of index cards. I am only on the "Soups" section, too. I still have "Entrees" and "Desserts" left.

I really have no earthly idea why I am writing this blog entry, but I wanted you to know what I've been up to. So, there you have it! Oh wait, I do know why I am writing this to you-- during slow, slow, slow Monday, I wrote a list (I'm crazy for lists the way most people are crazy about breathing). On the top of that list was the title, "Blogs." I complied a list of blogs I needed to write. This is one of those blogs. Maybe I should take up knitting?

5.14.2009

To Kill a Mockingbird

For as long as I can remember, I have loved Harper Lee's Pulitzer-Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. I love all things Scout and Atticus. I love all things Jem. I love all things Boo Radley, too. I just love the novel. I love that every time I read it, I find something new. I love that every time I read it, I cry when Tom Robinson is found guilty at his trial. I love little Dill and Aunt Rachel. I just love it-- from page one until, "...and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning." I love it all!

Every year in April and May, a group of Mockinbird fanatics and Harper Lee groupies act out the novel. This past weekend, Mat took me to see the play in Monroeville-- the hometown of the book's author and the summer home to her close friend, Truman Capote. A common misconception is that the 1962 movie was filmed in Monroeville at the Courthouse. It was not. It was filmed in California, but the courtroom used in the movie was modeled after the courthouse in Monroeville. The second act of the play was held in the courthouse-- a really neat idea, I think. The first act was held outside behind the courthouse. We had the best time roaming around the Monroe County Courthouse. There was a gift shop on the first floor, and the courtroom was on the second floor along with two exhibits. Most of the stores and shops in Monroeville weren't open because it was Sunday, but we enjoyed the quaintness of the city anyway.



The Monroe County Courthouse




Inside the courtroom




The outside set



It was a thousand degrees in Monroeville that Sunday afternoon. It was almost just like the beginning of Lee's novel was written about that very place that very day. So very hot. But, Mat decided he needed to wear his bowtie anyway. I am married to a perfect gentleman.




Every time they do the play, they choose 12 men to serve on the jury. Luck would have it, my sweet husband was chosen to serve! He was summoned by the Sheriff and everything. He was the best looking one of the whole bunch, too. And he looked the part perfectly. As I climbed the stairs to go into the courtroom for the second act, I heard an older man and lady talk quietly about "that nice looking young fellow who dressed up for the play." I even told another woman who inquired if I was the girl who "belonged to the young man in suspenders." I, of course, said yes. But quickly informed her that my husband dressed like that every day, not just for the play.




The play was wonderful. Mat even let me get a few little things at the gift shop-- my favorite of which is a small necklace with the front of the book on it. I also got two neat postcards.

Since we got married, this has been one of the most fun things we have done. It sells out every year, so I suggest you get tickets early! And go see the play!!!!! It's completely worth it. Tell Scout Whitney sent you.




5.09.2009

Recipe of the Week-- Creamy Lemonade Pie

Here is the Recipe of the Week-- Creamy Lemonade Pie. It's amazing, and it's my husband's substitute for Lemon Icebox Pie. He likes the creamy-ness of this better.

Creamy Lemonade Pie
Makes 8 servings
Prep: 10 minutes, Freeze: 4 hours

2 5-oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
2 3.4-oz. pkgs. lemon instant pudding mix
2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 3-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, partially thawed
1 9-oz. ready-made prepared graham cracker crust

Whisk together sweet milk and pudding mix in a bowl until thick. Beat cream cheeses at medium speed with electric mixer using a whisk attachment, until fluffy. Add lemon concentrate, beating until blended; add pudding mixture, and beat until blended. Pour into crust; freeze 4 hours or until firm. Garnish with lemons if desired.

I made one huge, tall pie and had enough filling to make six small little pies out of the left-overs. We already took the big pie-- it's been devoured now. All that's left are these two little pies. Told you this stuff was good!

The "WRIGHT" Stuff

I sure hope some of you catch that New Kids on the Block reference. If not, wow, I feel old.

Anyway! Mat and I spent our Saturday out and about our great city today with J.T., Amber and T Wright-- a minister on staff at Dauphin Way with Mat and his family. We had so much fun with them. We met around 11 this morning at Moe's BBQ in Daphne. Seriously, folks, if you are ANYWHERE around Daphne, swing over and get some of this food. I wish I had made pics when we went, but just trust a girl who knows BBQ-- this stuff is amazing. You can get a meat (BBQ or chicken or ribs or catfish) and two sides plus cornbread AND a drink for $10.00 flat-- no tax, no tip. What a deal right? Today I had pulled pork, squash casserole and marinated slaw. Wonderful! Mat had the chicken and said it was great, too. And there was so much of it-- it's a half of a chicken! The Wrights loved it, too. T, who is five, was totally pumped about the free refills on his drink, too.
From there, we all headed right down the road to where the water meets the land. Apparently, my husband has been dying to go down this trail he knew about. All I knew about the trail was this...


And I hate...and I mean I HATE gators. And I hate snakes, too, but not nearly as bad as I hate a gator. Especially ones not behind some sort of glass or something. Anyway, so off me, Mat, J.T., Amber and T go down this trail. I tell myself, "C'mon, Whit, you're NOT going to see a gator. YOU'RE IN DAPHNE for heaven's sake. Gators don't really live here, right? Right???"

Whitney, you were dead wrong. Just about the time I had convinced myself to enjoy the little hike and forget about seeing an alligator, J.T. yells, "Look! An alligator!"


Luckily I didn't pass out or start running. I figured if he was going to eat any of us it would be Mat, who is the biggest, or T, who is the smallest. I was safe.


After we left the trail, ALIVE, luckily, we headed over to the Bass Pro Shop. T was totally stoked. He had told me and Mat during lunch he had a bag full of quarter. Naive me had no idea why a little boy would need a whole bag of quarters until we reached the top of the stairs at Bass Pro...



A hunting game, of course!!! Sweet camo guns with taxidermied (is that a word?) animals and neon red and green targets= a little boys dream come true! Even Mat had fun shooting with T, too.


Now, I'm an animal lover-- I love all kinds of animals (except gators, remember). So, I love the Bass Pro because there are all these "stuffed" animals around. Bears, turkeys, bobcats, beavers, squirrel, bald eagles-- you name it, they have it. Here are a few of my faves...




After all the wonders of the Bass Pro, we went to the Eastern Shore Center so T could play in the fountain. He had so much fun. Amber and I had a great talk about homeschooling and raising children in general, which has become one of my favorite topics lately. It was a beautiful sunny day on the coast. Mat and I are so thankful for J.T. and Amber and little T. Their friendship with us is extremely valuable, and God has certainly blessed us with such great friends! It is so much fun to be able to go on, as Mat calls them, "Mini-vacays" every once in a while with our good friends. We had a wonderful Saturday!

5.07.2009

My Newly Found Passion

Over the past few months, (well, actually ever since I became a minister's wife) I have cooked more food than I have in my entire life. I've made everything from roast to chocolate chip skillet cookies to red velvet cupcakes with homemade cream cheese icing to honey rolls to mashed potatoes and more. And all this cooking and baking has taught me something I never really knew about myself...

I LOVE TO COOK.

Just tonight, I have made homemade spaghetti sauce with whole wheat noodles, a frozen lemonade pie and three cheese artichoke dip. And I had a blast while doing it! (But, please don't think Mat and I ate all of this-- we are going to a Sunday School party tomorrow night, where we will serve the pie and dip.)

I'm not sure where I got my extreme love of cooking. My mom's a great cook and so is my grandmother, so I might have gotten it from them. But, I think how I feel about cooking goes beyond just love-- I think I am passionate about it. If I were given a million dollars, I cannot tell you that some of it would not be spent in Williams-Sonoma or on some fine culinary equipment. When I hear someone has had a baby, my first instinct is, "What can I cook for them?" This year while Mat was ministering to the college students at our church, I was always looking for some reason to bring some baked goods to share-- a birthday, finals week...whatever! I loved to take goodies to our college students!

I have no idea where this post came from, but I just thought I needed to share my passion for cooking with someone, somewhere. And what better someone to share it with than you?? And where better to share it than on my blog?? Yes sir, I love to cook...it's a good thing, too, since Mat and I want lots of kids!

Red Velvet Cupcakes-- batter


Red Velvet Cupcakes-- straight out of the oven


Homemade Cream Cheese Icing

5.04.2009

No one else knows

So here we are in month five of 12 in the year 2009. It's May, people. And I cannot believe it.

I have about three weeks left with my youngsters at the CDC. It's so funny how fast a year has gone by. It still surprises me to think I have been their teacher since August.

When I'm out of town or sick or anytime I am away from school, I get worried because I know no one else in the world knows my seven kids like I do. No one else knows that Madison doesn't drink milk with her lunch, but she does with her snack. No one else knows that Jackson needs to be told several times he needs to go to the bathroom before he washes his hands. No one else knows Logan's cot needs to be by my desk so he can sleep. No one else knows how we choose which prayer we will say before we eat. No one else knows that Meredith needs a few extra hugs every now and then. No one else knows that Corby needs to be laughed with more than the others. No one else knows how to handle Morgan when she cries. And no one knows how accident-prone Jackson is...all the time!

Long story short, no one else knows my babies quite like I do. They are tiring. In fact, they are exhausting! They try my patience every single day. But, no matter what they do to me or what I do to them (which, I promise-- is nothing drastic!), they still say all the time, just as they did today when we looked out the window at the lighting over the city of Mobile, "Mrs. Whitney is the BEST teacher!" I can only pray I live up to those expectations.


Morgan




Corby and Meredith




My Jackson