Thursday, July 30, 2009

the end of July

The end of July brings many mixed feelings. It is our end of Christmas in July. I have more movies than month, so that just doesn't seem right. But we had fun watching all the old movies. Yesterday we watched "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye. Why don't they make singers like that anymore? Man, Bing could sing! We've also watched Home Alone 1,2,&3, Santa Clause 2 (can't find 1), the Christmas Story, Peanuts Christmas, Jingle all the Way, Flintstones Christmas, Here comes Santa Claus, Jetson's Christmas, Little House on the Prairie - 2 different Christmas episodes, Frosty the Snowman and the animated Grinch. I am not sure what is on the viewing list for tomorrow, but it will be good. Still need to see Rudolf and Muppet Christmas Carol. I have collected these for 25 years, so we have alot!

It is also the end of our vacation from school. we have done alot of planning this week and written most of it down. Some lessons are planned till the Tues. before Thanksgiving. This is a first for me. We did this over 3 mornings and spread the school books out and got it done. Yeah, for us. I say us, because the kids sat and helped me with everything. We have also tried to schedule out our days which is proving to be a bit more difficult than I imagined. We have different schedules for a couple of days, which don't fit into the norm. Still figuring that out.

We are going to try our hand at making sweet pickle relish this weekend. My cucumbers are producing great quantities and they are going to turn into relish. One of them weighs 1 3/4 pounds! This is a further attempt at exorcising High Fructose Corn Syrup from our lives. I have found some organic relish that we like, but our one organic store here doesn't carry it. So, we are trying to learn a new skill.

Before the torrential rain hit today, we pulled up the green bean plants in one of our square foot gardening boxes. They were not at all productive. We replanted with more bean seeds. Then the deluge hit. Hopefully all the seeds didn't wash to one end of the box. I would still like to grow enough beans to can and eat through the winter. But, if not, I will buy them at the Farmers Market and can them. They are locally grown and will be better than anything else I can buy at the grocery over the winter. We went and bought some today and had them for dinner tonight...yummy!

Time for reading and bedtime. Tomorrow is another day!

"They" voted for Change

Do ya really think that everyone voted for "Change" had any idea what they were doing? I hope not! We are in serious trouble if this things passes. Making the government bigger and more powerful is not going to help us at all. I enjoy the freedom to pick my own doctor, for us to discuss any medical tests that need to be done because there is a medical need, and to get the test, treatments, etc. in a timely manner. What are they going to do IF there is a H1N1 pandemic? Deny certain folks health care because of their age, their political party, the state they live in, their income, or whatever they feel like that day? Personally, I am going to make sure we have fever reducers, cold & flu meds, upset tummy meds, etc. in my home pharmacy cabinet for the fall & winter. I have tried to read some of the Health Care Proposal, its pretty much impossible to understand. We've got a great radio show here in Miss. that dissects some of this rhetoric and passes it on to us (thanks Paul Gallo). The following is an article my sister sent me yesterday about 5 freedoms we will lose if this passes..........

> 5 Freedoms You'd Lose in Health Care Reform
> by Shawn Tully
> Monday, July 27, 2009 provided by <>
> If you read the fine print in the Congressional plans, you'll find that a
> lot of cherished aspects of the current system would disappear.
> In promoting his health-care agenda, President Obama has repeatedly
> reassured Americans that they can keep their existing health plans -- and
> that the benefits and access they prize will be enhanced through reform.
> A close reading of the two main bills, one backed by Democrats in the House
> and the other issued by Sen. Edward Kennedy's Health committee, contradict
> the President's assurances. To be sure, it isn't easy to comb through their
> 2,000 pages of tortured legal language. But page by page, the bills reveal a
> web of restrictions, fines, and mandates that would radically change your
> health-care coverage.
> If you prize choosing your own cardiologist or urologist under your
> company's Preferred Provider Organization plan (PPO), if your employer
> rewards your non-smoking, healthy lifestyle with reduced premiums, if you
> love the bargain Health Savings Account (HSA) that insures you just for the
> essentials, or if you simply take comfort in the freedom to spend your own
> money for a policy that covers the newest drugs and diagnostic tests -- you
> may be shocked to learn that you could lose all of those good things under
> the rules proposed in the two bills that herald a health-care revolution.
> In short, the Obama platform would mandate extremely full, expensive, and
> highly subsidized coverage -- including a lot of benefits people would never
> pay for with their own money -- but deliver it through a highly restrictive,
> HMO-style plan that will determine what care and tests you can and can't
> have. It's a revolution, all right, but in the wrong direction.
> Let's explore the five freedoms that Americans would lose under Obamacare:
> 1. Freedom to choose what's in your plan
> The bills in both houses require that Americans purchase insurance through
> "qualified" plans offered by health-care "exchanges" that would be set up in
> each state. The rub is that the plans can't really compete based on what
> they offer. The reason: The federal government will impose a minimum list of
> benefits that each plan is required to offer.
> Today, many states require these "standard benefits packages" -- and they're
> a major cause for the rise in health-care costs. Every group, from
> chiropractors to alcohol-abuse counselors, do lobbying to get included.
> Connecticut, for example, requires reimbursement for hair transplants,
> hearing aids, and in vitro fertilization.
> The Senate bill would require coverage for prescription drugs, mental-health
> benefits, and substance-abuse services. It also requires policies to insure
> "children" until the age of 26. That's just the starting list. The bills
> would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to add to the list
> of required benefits, based on recommendations from a committee of experts.
> Americans, therefore, wouldn't even know what's in their plans and what
> they're required to pay for, directly or indirectly, until after the bills
> become law.
> 2. Freedom to be rewarded for healthy living, or pay your real costs
> As with the previous example, the Obama plan enshrines into federal law one
> of the worst features of state legislation: community rating. Eleven states,
> ranging from New York to Oregon, have some form of community rating. In its
> purest form, community rating requires that all patients pay the same rates
> for their level of coverage regardless of their age or medical condition.
> Americans with pre-existing conditions need subsidies under any plan, but
> community rating is a dubious way to bring fairness to health care. The
> reason is twofold: First, it forces young people, who typically have lower
> incomes than older workers, to pay far more than their actual cost, and
> gives older workers, who can afford to pay more, a big discount. The state
> laws gouging the young are a major reason so many of them have joined the
> ranks of uninsured.
> Under the Senate plan, insurers would be barred from charging any more than
> twice as much for one patient vs. any other patient with the same coverage.
> So if a 20-year-old who costs just $800 a year to insure is forced to pay
> $2,500, a 62-year-old who costs $7,500 would pay no more than $5,000.
> Second, the bills would ban insurers from charging differing premiums based
> on the health of their customers. Again, that's understandable for folks
> with diabetes or cancer. But the bills would bar rewarding people who pursue
> a healthy lifestyle of exercise or a cholesterol-conscious diet. That's
> hardly a formula for lower costs. It's as if car insurers had to charge the
> same rates to safe drivers as to chronic speeders with a history of
> accidents.
> 3. Freedom to choose high-deductible coverage
> The bills threaten to eliminate the one part of the market truly driven by
> consumers spending their own money. That's what makes a market, and health
> care needs more of it, not less.
> Hundreds of companies now offer Health Savings Accounts to about 5 million
> employees. Those workers deposit tax-free money in the accounts and get a
> matching contribution from their employer. They can use the funds to buy a
> high-deductible plan -- say for major medical costs over $12,000. Preventive
> care is reimbursed, but patients pay all other routine doctor visits and
> tests with their own money from the HSA account. As a result, HSA users are
> far more cost-conscious than customers who are reimbursed for the majority
> of their care.
> The bills seriously endanger the trend toward consumer-driven care in
> general. By requiring minimum packages, they would prevent patients from
> choosing stripped-down plans that cover only major medical expenses. "The
> government could set extremely low deductibles that would eliminate HSAs,"
> says John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a free-market
> research group. "And they could do it after the bills are passed."
> 4. Freedom to keep your existing plan
> This is the freedom that the President keeps emphasizing. Yet the bills
> appear to say otherwise. It's worth diving into the weeds -- the territory
> where most pundits and politicians don't seem to have ventured.
> The legislation divides the insured into two main groups, and those two
> groups are treated differently with respect to their current plans. The
> first are employees covered by the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974.
> ERISA regulates companies that are self-insured, meaning they pay claims out
> of their cash flow, and don't have real insurance. Those are the GEs and
> Time Warners and most other big companies.
> The House bill states that employees covered by ERISA plans are
> "grandfathered." Under ERISA, the plans can do pretty much what they want --
> they're exempt from standard packages and community rating and can reward
> employees for healthy lifestyles even in restrictive states.
> But read on.
> The bill gives ERISA employers a five-year grace period when they can keep
> offering plans free from the restrictions of the "qualified" policies
> offered on the exchanges. But after five years, they would have to offer
> only approved plans, with the myriad rules we've already discussed. So for
> Americans in large corporations, "keeping your own plan" has a strict
> deadline. In five years, like it or not, you'll get dumped into the
> exchange. As we'll see, it could happen a lot earlier.
> The outlook is worse for the second group. It encompasses employees who
> aren't under ERISA but get actual insurance either on their own or through
> small businesses. After the legislation passes, all insurers that offer a
> wide range of plans to these employees will be forced to offer only
> "qualified" plans to new customers, via the exchanges.
> The employees who got their coverage before the law goes into effect can
> keep their plans, but once again, there's a catch. If the plan changes in
> any way -- by altering co-pays, deductibles, or even switching coverage for
> this or that drug -- the employee must drop out and shop through the
> exchange. Since these plans generally change their policies every year, it's
> likely that millions of employees will lose their plans in 12 months.
> 5. Freedom to choose your doctors
> The Senate bill requires that Americans buying through the exchanges -- and
> as we've seen, that will soon be most Americans -- must get their care
> through something called "medical home." Medical home is similar to an HMO.
> You're assigned a primary care doctor, and the doctor controls your access
> to specialists. The primary care physicians will decide which services, like
> MRIs and other diagnostic scans, are best for you, and will decide when you
> really need to see a cardiologists or orthopedists.
> Under the proposals, the gatekeepers would theoretically guide patients to
> tests and treatments that have proved most cost-effective. The danger is
> that doctors will be financially rewarded for denying care, as were HMO
> physicians more than a decade ago. It was consumer outrage over despotic
> gatekeepers that made the HMOs so unpopular, and killed what was billed as
> the solution to America's health-care cost explosion.
> The bills do not specifically rule out fee-for-service plans as options to
> be offered through the exchanges. But remember, those plans -- if they exist
> -- would be barred from charging sick or elderly patients more than young
> and healthy ones. So patients would be inclined to game the system, staying
> in the HMO while they're healthy and switching to fee-for-service when they
> become seriously ill. "That would kill fee-for-service in a hurry," says
> Goodman.
> In reality, the flexible, employer-based plans that now dominate the
> landscape, and that Americans so cherish, could disappear far faster than
> the 5 year "grace period" that's barely being discussed.
> Companies would have the option of paying an 8% payroll tax into a fund that
> pays for coverage for Americans who aren't covered by their employers. It
> won't happen right away -- large companies must wait a couple of years
> before they opt out. But it will happen, since it's likely that the tax will
> rise a lot more slowly than corporate health-care costs, especially since
> they'll be lobbying Washington to keep the tax under control in the
> righteous name of job creation.
> The best solution is to move to a let-freedom-ring regime of high
> deductibles, no community rating, no standard benefits, and cross-state
> shopping for bargains (another market-based reform that's strictly taboo in
> the bills). I'll propose my own solution in another piece soon on
> <> . For
> now, we suffer with a flawed health-care system, but we still have our Five
> Freedoms. Call them the Five Endangered Freedoms.
> Copyrighted, Fortune. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Tradition

At the Jackson home, we have started a new Sunday night tradition. And it is yummy! Katie, Amy and I love to bake but we don't make desserts on a regular basis. So our new Sunday Night Tradition is Dessert Night. In the past weeks, we have indulged in Red Velvet Cupcakes, Chocolate Pie, and Pound Cake (with whipped cream and strawberries, it became strawberry shortcake). It is something to look forward to all week and just making one dessert a week means it doesn't linger in the house tempting me!

I am looking forward to "dusting off" some of the recipe books and finding new treats for us to try!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The time is coming....

We have one more week of our "Christmas in July" celebration. Greg will have to hook up our VCR so we can watch more of our videos. Everything got unhooked when we rearranged the living room and I don't know where the VCR wires are..they are here somewhere. And its only 150 days till Christmas.

But, its also one week till school starts. Where has the summer gone? We've got all the school books, notebooks, paper, pencils, and new crayons! We are starting school a week earlier than our county but thats ok. In Oct. when they are slogging away at the books, we will be a Disney. Thats worth it to me! The kids are ready to start. Their co-op classes start at the end of the month, so we have a few weeks to get ready for that scheduling. This year Amy will be in the 8th grade, Will in the 9th grade and Katie in the 12th grade. All of my babies are growing up so fast.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Dining Room

Here are pictures on my new dining room. The furniture was Greg's grandmothers. Notice the beautiful wood floor that all my boys worked so hard on! We love the way this room turned out.

We will post pictures of the living room soon...we have to take the pictures first.

And then the kitchen when it is finished!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ribs Ribs Ribs Ribs

I tried a couple of new tricks on the ribs this weekend with great results. First, I didn't take the time to marinate overnight. I went with a wet marinade instead. I used basalmic vinegar and honey mustard and olive oil along with salt and pepper for an hour long marinade. I put 4 slabs in the smoke for two hours. I used hickory chunks that had been soaking overnight.

I ran out of my usual rib rub and made some myself. I made it with brown sugar, ancho pepper, cumin, black pepper, kosher salt, dry mustard, lime crystals, garlic salt, onion powder, and paprika. Eleven herbs and spices. When I got finished, it tasted like pringles bar b que chips. I put the dry rub on the ribs at the 2 hour time and wrapped them in foil. They cooked for 4 more hours in the foil on very low. The rub made a nice spicy crust on the ribs. Very good.

One other trick, I used my fish gloves to remove the membrane on the back of the ribs. They have sticky ridges that help hold on to the membrane and it comes off in one pull. Helps make the ribs easier to eat.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today would be my daddy's 75th Birthday! He would be 3/4 of a century old! This will be my dad's 16th birthday celebration in heaven!

Happy Birthday Daddy! We love you and miss you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quote by a President

You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

.....Abraham Lincoln


Ahhhhh...the school books are here, the lesson plans and schedule sheets are printed. Now, I just have to get the school books and lesson plans together and figure out the schedule! Katie did computer work for me yesterday and redid the lesson plan sheets for this year, for our new books and co-op classes. I am going to try the scheduling in "Managers of Their Homes" by Steve & Terri Maxwell. We have a couple of weeks to figure this all out for our family.

Katie filled out her first college application yesterday. I expect several more will follow in the days to come. Now, we have to work on her highschool transcript. Hopefully, scholarship offers will come to the Jackson household!

We have been really lazy the last 2 days. I've got a cold/allergy/asthma thing going on and have sat on the sofa for 2 days. Between the sudafed, robitussin, inhaler and tylenol, I have been pretty zoned out. But, we have watched more movies, read books, cross stitched, looked at school books and been on the computer.

Greg, James, & Will started putting down the trim in the living room around the new wood floor last night. It looks great and matches like it was made together. Since the molding was so expensive that the flooring store sold, Greg decided to buy some at Home Depot and stain it himself. It matches the floor perfectly! Now, we can put books back on the bookshelves. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Weekend

Yeah, the weekend is here.

This week the kids and I celebrated "Christmas in July". No, we didn't go to any sales, we watched some of our Christmas movies. Its been hot and we are tired from the last couple of weeks. In between chores and laundry we watched "The Christmas Story", "Christmas with the Kranks" and are currently watching "Jingle All The Way". Why should we only watch these in December? We also celebrated Thanksgiving last night with turkey and dressing. We hit a great sale in Feb. on turkeys and bought them for $5 each. I bought 4 and froze them to be eaten throughout the year. Yummy, yummy, yummy it was great. Greg and I ate leftovers for dinner tonight and it was so good.

We went downtown and ate lunch with Greg today at Subway. Then I took Katie to get her learners license for driving. Now Greg will have to get busy with the driving lessons.

Greg and James worked on the kitchen floor tonight and got a bunch more tiles layed. There will be more tile work on Sunday.

Tomorrow we are meeting Granny in Birmingham and giving her Amy to visit for a week. Then they are coming back to Miss. While in B'ham, we are going to eat at "Teds Montana Grill" and shop at Costco and Whole Foods! It will be a full day.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Life in Mississippi

It took a week but we have recovered from our Mission Trip. I certainly enjoy going but it is exhausting. We all had a great time and Greg and I loved watching Katie, Will, and Amy interact with the other team members and the children at the churches. I think next year, we are headed to Ohio.

4th of July weekend we had an "explosive" good time. On the 3rd, James and Will went fireworks shopping and bought enough to "light the night sky" many times. They displayed the arsenal on the pool table for all to see. Will was quite proud of the fact he had a hand in the pyrotechnic show this year.

Sat. morning, we got up and started working on the floor. Laying tile takes a long time and it ain't done yet. The tile Greg & I agreed on looks great in the kitchen and so does the darker grout. The tile looks like mud to me and the grout, red GA clay. Perfect for a house that lays claim to 7 kids plus friends. We are working on it again on Sunday. Hopefully in a week or so it will be done. We have to do it in stages because hey, we live in this house. My family likes to eat 3 meals a day and I have to be able to get to the fridge and stove. So, tile is getting layed down in states.

After working on the floor, Greg put ribs on to smoke for dinner and we went swimming. After our scrumptious dinner of ribs, corn on the cob and baked beans, we swam again, waiting for it to get dark. The the snap, crackle and pop of the festivities began. The firework shoppers did a great job and the result was beautiful. And....we did not become a 4th of July statistic. a safe 4th is always important. The day would have been perfect if Rob had been able to come. He had to work.

We had a big cookout for Greg's work on Tuesday night. The food was yummy. Greg cooked out pork chops and I set up a baked potato bar. Then everyone else brought side dishes and desserts. We had kids in the pool and kids on the trampoline. It was alot of fun and everyone got to see my partially done kitchen floor and the wood flooring in the living room and dining room.

Katie, Will and Amy are working at our church's VBS this week which is at night. Katie is an asst. crew leader for a group and Will is working with the preschoolers, which he loves. Amy is working at the snack station and is getting some good lessons in crowd control. When we pick them up everynight, we hear lots of kid stories all the way home.

We are getting organized for school to start on Aug. 3 at the Jackson Academy for Gifts Students (JAGS). All of the books have been ordered and the math curriculum was delivered yesterday. Now, we are going to work on a school day schedule, so that we get it all done in a timely manner. Didn't that sound officicial...what it means is no dawdling during class time, lets get er done. We have a week that we will be in Atl. in Sept. and the books are going with us. Then we have a week at Disney in October and the books are staying home! So Disney is our incentive to get started early and work hard through Aug. and Sept. and then go to the "happiest place on earth" Katie raised her ACT score from a 21 last year to a 24 this year, you go girl! Since this will be her senior year, she is going to take it a couple of more times, then we will have some college decisions to make!

Hope everyone is having a great summer! We are!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oklahoma- part 2

This post is going to be about the Native Praise Singers and Turtle Races!

Sunday night at the Thessalonia Church we were blessed to hear the Native Praise Singers. These women are from all over Oklahoma and represent many different tribes including Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee and Seminole. They sang many different songs in their Native Languages. Absolutely beautiful. Greg posted on Facebook how awesome it was to hear "How Great Thou Art" in the Choctaw Language. I still get chillbumps thinking about it! Hearing that many different Native American Tribes combining their beautiful voices and praising the Lord was a wonderful experience! We also got to talk to many of the women after the service, it was an unforgettable night. I am so glad they planned that for the Sunday night church service!

Now, on to the turtle races.....I started hearing about turtle races and collecting turtles on Sunday night. Monday morning on the way to Bible School, I was "blessed" to retreive the first turtle of our group. Greg markered a racing stripe down her back and I named her Princess. The other van (carrying my children) also got a turtle and named her spot and markered a big spot on her back. These turtles plus the others lived in a turtle pen in the church yard until Friday. If you couldn't find a kid during VBS, the first place to look was the turtle pen. This was a big deal...we thought it was just something this church did, but later found out is in a Choctaw Indian Custom/Tradition. Don't know where it started but it is alive and well in Oklahoma. Friday when we got to the church, we found out that 13 turtles (including ours) had escaped. Someone left part of the pen open and there was a mass turtle exodus (I personally think it was a turtle napping because they knew Princess was a winner, but everyone else is blaming the open pen). Kind proves how fast turtles really are because we couldn't find them. The remaining turtles raced after VBS. Here is how it cut the top and bottom off a barrel, sit it in the dirt and put the turtles in it. Then you mark off the outer "finish line" ring with a hose or rope. Remove the barrel and they are off. The first turtle to cross the finish line is the winner. Some of these turtles could really move and some just took a nap. There were 5 or 6 races and the church kids really got into it! It was fun.

I will put some pictures on here when I can find them!

Thats all for now!