Saturday, March 31, 2007

T'was the Week Before Easter

Michaela and I went round and round about what dress to buy for Easter. She just didn't like the one that was my favorite - a beautiful yellow one speckled with cornflower blue flowers with a sweet white collar. She made the most horrid face when she looked in the mirror and I could see my authority as fashion diva mommy slipping.
So we compromised. She agreed to my second choice for Easter dressing to coordinate with her brothers - a navy and white sailor dress - and she got to pick a second dress for her upcoming birthday and tea party. Somehow I lost the pretty yellow dress in the fray...
Since it's not her "Easter" outfit, this weekend before Easter she's talked me into wearing it to church. To complete the ensem she has a matching hair bow, sequined gloves, white leather shoes and a purse from the Target dollar spot.Can you actually smell the spoilage?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Shopping and BBQ Adventure

What a day, what a day. My mom-in-law and I took Michaela to the outlets in San Marcos yesterday. Good thing I had a fresh credit card (read: no balance) I'll be hiding all the sharp knives, ropes and tarps until I can ease my husband into the idea of purchasing all the kids spring/summer clothes at the same time. I'm sure there's a logic here... I just have to FIND it. Something to do with the price of gas maybe...

I found some great bargains though, and I'm still dangling new clothes like carrots to get what I want around here.

After we worked up quite an appetite shopping we wanted to try something new to eat. We'd both seen an episode of Rachael Ray's Tasty Travels where she highlighted the best barbecue places in Texas. One of the places was The Salt Lick just outside of Austin - which we just happened to (sort of) be also. I stopped a couple of young guys with snazzy cell phones and they got a google map to the place for me (they'd heard of it also...) It was a 34 mile drive - but well worth it.

We drove for what seemed like forever out into the country - never seeing another car on the road - and finally came upon the place. The huge parking lot was PACKED and on a TUESDAY NIGHT at about quarter after 8! Many stood waiting outside with 6 or 12 packs and some with coolers. As I read the menu while we waited I realized this was a BYOB joint. The ambiance was nothing to write home about - simple picnic style tables and benches and open kitchen with a huge pit in the center. Not much variety on the menu either... simply beef, pork ribs, sausage or chicken in season... (when the heck is chicken season???) potato salad (with no mayo) cole slaw (not traditional - but very tasty), beans and iced tea. They also offered free sides of pickles, onions and bread on request. There were a few desserts listed, but that was it!

I ended up getting a beef plate, extra potato salad, hold the beans. It was very tender and delicious. This was my first real exposure to "Texas BBQ". I hadn't been impressed with the meager sampling I'd had in our little town. But it's hard to impress a girl from Kansas City with BBQ from anywhere else. The sauce was decidedly different from KC BBQ, but very good in it's own right. Yup. Well worth the excursion out in the boonies for some good Q. I even came home with a pound to share with my mom and dad... They even threw in a couple of burnt ends - Now, I ask you, is there anything better???

Monday, March 26, 2007

A River Runs Through It

My yard that is... We got quite a rain system with flash flood warnings and the water collected pretty fast and furious.

Seems the problem is the street to the east of our property - another street runs perpendicular and the water runs down and doesn't make the corner very well and runs under the fence and through our backyard. A lot of water still runs around the corner and turns our street into a river as well... there were even a few white caps today!

The water got high enough that it floated the kids little plastic playset out of place until it hit the tree. At one point the thunder crashed so hard that a shelf fell off the wall!

The worst of it was the way it curved through the backyard and into the corner with our storage shed... I'm not done yet - but I did get 3 more Christmas boxes packed and out the the shed very recently. Yup... they were on the floor. So now I have to unpack, clean, dry and repack them. So much for trying to catch up. Hard to believe I sat the kids on this ramp yesterday to take their spring photo.

A bit of the fence got pushed out too and the water got pretty high in the back corner where it seemed to be collecting. I wonder who we need to talk to about this obvious drainage problem. This isn't the first time the backyard has turned into a lake - and likely won't be the last.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Spring Is Bustin' Out All Over

I love being here in Texas where there is a definable "Spring". We didn't have a long spring in Florida - sure there were trees that bloomed, but the season didn't last as long as it does here. I'm really enjoying the flowering trees and can't wait for the wildflowers to come up along the roadways.

Yesterday I took some new photos of the kids. My aunt is putting together family photos for my Gramma's 80th birthday at the end of this week and I sent them off to her today.
Methinks that trouble looms on the horizon... :0)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Who Colored the Cat Pink???

Who colored the cat pink?

I hope I’m not the only mom that’s ever asked that question…

It kind of clashes with the orange that was stamped on her a couple of weeks ago. Poor Maxine… must be tough being white in large, canvas looking patches…

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Save the Last Dance for Me...

Last night was the last Cotillion class of the season. The series of five classes just seemed to fly by. Zachary had such a great time and is talking about going again next year. He’s even got Jacob excited about going. I dunno… we’ll have to wait and see about that.

For the final party they really tried to involve the parents that came. I even got to do a little waltzing, polka, foxtrot and electric slide with my little boy - much to his chagrin. He kept whining that his shoulder hurt or his toe hurt…but when what seemed like EVERY OTHER GIRL in the room danced with him he was just fine… humph! They let us take photos and at one point he had a new partner every 5 seconds. My camera could barely keep up with the cut-ins!

Yeah – it’s all cute right now… but those girls just better back off from my boy! This momma’s not steppin’ down without a fight…

After it was all done we met daddy at Mamacita’s for Mexican dinner (Zachary’s fave) so he could show off what he’d learned in the classes. We still have a little work to do…

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Outdoor School

Yesterday was Outdoor School. Wow – what a day! I was totally ZONKED when I got home. The kids were too and we ALL took a nap for a couple of hours. I was just too out of it to think about what havoc that would cause at bedtime… All three kids had a great time with the hands on science projects at Texas Tech. Zachary really has a great love for nature (thanks to the nurturing push of Gramma) and would have waded all day collecting aquatic macro invertebrates. The leaches were his prized catch of the day. Jacob was wowed by the microscope (his first viewing) and collecting and viewing his own specimens. Michaela really got into her classes too. The first part of the day was sort of a re-run of last year for her, but the afternoon “Pioneer days” was a big hit. She seemed especially adept at candle dipping – but I’ve never seen a candle quite like the one she made… She really blossomed meeting new friends and wore a big smile up until the very end when she just wanted to be held or carried.

We were so whipped that we skipped co-op classes this morning. Every one of us had a snoot full of pollen that had our heads all plugged up. I don’t remember being this miserable last spring. Now we’re just trying to recover enough to make it to Cotillion tonight.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

An Irish Blessing

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! The day we are all Irish - heritage or not. I'm told my kids have an Irish heritage on their father's side. I've always felt a little Irish - you know - with a strong passion for potatoes (in all forms), corned beef and cabbage and Celtic music - I once saw Lord of the Dance - but I'm afraid that's about as far as it goes. Some day I hope to visit Ireland. It's been on my travel wish list for many, many years.

I made the card above for my Homeschool Mom Secret Sister. It has one of my most favorite Irish Blessings on it. The card itself is 6x6 inches. The cardstock is Bazzill as are the brads (by way of Happy Hammer.) The striped paper is Heidi Grace Designs that I sandpapered and stitched and the flowers are from Prima. The shamrocks are just green flowers that I trimmed and smooshed together with a dot of glue in the center. I dragged out my old "cloud" patterned scissors for the mat around the verse and smudged a little Tea Dye distress ink around the edges. The inside design is done with various heart and circle paper punches plus a couple more flowers. I was going to add some Jolee's boxer shorts with hearts on them, but couldn't find them anywhere... and I KNOW I have at least two pairs! Maybe they're filed under "boxer shorts" rather than "underwear" or "Valentine"... I'll hafta check later...

The other night/morning I caught a performance of Celtic Woman - A New Journey on PBS during their spring pledge drive. I saw their concert a couple of years ago (on TV also) and was just gobbsmacked by their beautiful voices - so pure, clear and seemingly effortless. Now I'm laying aside my pennies for the New Journey concert on DVD. My little Michaela woke up for a pee break in the night and joined me on the love seat to finish the second hour of the concert (that ended at 3:30 a.m.) She was entranced by them as well, and even though we were making a recording we couldn't tear ourselves away. She's been singing "Sail Away, sail away, sail away" the whole rest of the week. It was a nudge for me to drag out my dusty Enya CD's as well. The kids seem to really enjoy them and even when I played them during school time they stayed on task.

I leave you now with some of my most loved Irish blessings:

May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

God bless the corners of this house,
And be the lintel blest,
And bless the hearth and bless the board,
And bless each place of rest,
And bless each door that opens wide
To stranger as to kin,
And bless each crystal window pane
That lets the starlight in,
And bless the rooftree overhead
And every sturdy wall.
The peace of man, the peace of God,
The peace of love on all.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Chipboard Drawers

I finished it last night - my chipboard drawer storage. I picked up one of those nut and bolt storage things at Lowe's and some white spray paint for plastic. I had to give them .92 cents more than my $25 gift card.

Last night I cut rectangular pieces of My Mind's Eye, Bohemia papers (Mostly the Play, Beautiful and Family lines in the "Barefoot" collection...) and labeled the different drawers with rub-on letters by Making Memories. I put just a little bit of adhesive across the front top edge of the papers to hold them to the drawer front. And I think I just need to say that I hung the whole thing on the wall by myself too - wall anchors and all! And it's NOT crooked - it just looks that way in my messy photo. Next I organize my bulletin board I think...

The 30 drawers along the top hold individual letters, then the numbers and punctuation are divided among the last four. I have the larger letters and punctuation divided (in groups) in the bottom nine drawers. Some of the drawers barely open 'cuz they're so full! There's no shortage of chipboard letters here... I hope this is going to help me use the letters more - instead of having to sort through a whole package or jar of letters just to find one. I feel good about it. I guess the proof will be in the pages though. I haven't made a page for my own album in a LONG time. I've been doing to much general "paper crafting" and pages for others. Time I did some for my family! I feel a page with chipboard coming on...

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Have Scraps Will Travel

It could have been a very boring day - but we made the best of it and actually got something accomplished. The volume control on the steering column has been malfunctioning again and since the van is still under extended warranty I wanted to get it fixed. Well that required replacing the entire steering column which is a pretty lengthy job, I'm told.
So I packed up ready to spend the day at the Honda dealer in San Antonio. It's not a bad place to be really. They offer complimentary Krispy Kream donuts and Starbuck's coffee, bottled water, TV of course, a room with large glass windows and kid sized chairs and television programs, and a quiet area with four study carrel type desks, each with a phone and two each with a computer hooked to the web. And the best part is the massage therapist that's there two mornings a week.

I worked on long overdue circle journal pages for my friends Marnea, Diana and Sue, while Zachary did school work next to me - able to do his Internet research when necessary. Then we each had a chair massage. We took the courtesy shuttle to Italian lunch at Zio's and while we were there they called and let us know the van was finished a couple of hours ahead of schedule.

We made a quick run through Scrapbook 911 since I missed my exit back onto the highway... how awful huh? I didn't make a huge purchase - but it still required the "scrapbook split" at checkout. You're probably familiar with the scrapbook split if you're a married scrapbooker. It's the maneuver you make by splitting up the total payment in several different directions so that it doesn't appear so large to a suspecting husband. You know - some in cash, some on the credit card and some on the bank card... The scrapbook stores could really help us out if they'd consider this sort of thing when naming their store though. It would be a lot easier to explain charge card or checkbook entries for "The Corner Market" or "Water Company" than a store with Scrapbook or Memory in it's name.

We got a quick Cold Stone Creamery on the way back up the road. I made one more quick stop at Lowe's when I got back in town and purchased (with a gift card) a gray, 39-drawer, nut and bolt type organizer and some white spray paint for plastic. I'll sort all of my chipboard letters, numbers and punctuation into it after I get it painted and decorated and I'll share in another post.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Comfort Food

Is there anything more perfect than a grilled cheese sandwich? I doubt it (unless it's a chocolate something...)
This is the BEST grilled cheese sandwich I've ever made. So good I had to take a picture of it. (well - "them"... there are two...)
I had leftover butter pats from the soup supper the other night and I just threw them in the skillet to melt. Then I soaked up the melted butter with thick, white Texas Toast bread and topped it off with finely grated "fiesta cheese" (a blend of Mexican cheeses). It was soooooo good. The edges were perfectly crispy and it was so rich I could feel my arteries slamming shut. Comfort indeed. It will be hard to go back to regular grilled cheese sandwiches - but necessary - can't go eating THIS kind all the time if I want to live past 50! Can't even really eat ANY kind of grilled cheese very often...even on whole wheat with fake-o yogurt and water spread and thinly sliced cheese. (sigh) It was good while it lasted though... and I can carry the memory on my hips for years to come.

Monday, March 5, 2007

If It's Not In the Scrapbook...

You know, I've been thinking about this cute little magnet quote and decided it will serve me in two ways (well three if you count the whole "magnet" thing...)

It's reminding me that, #1, I need to actually GET the photos in the scrapbook so my children can see what's happened in their lives, and B, give up the PERFECTION! Life is more than Christmas, birthdays, awards and family portraits... I need to scrap the "non-event" moments as well - take the opportunity to share the emotion of life - good and bad if need be.

I don't keep a photo album and I probably should! I'm still on the fence about having a scrapbook and a photo album - one with the art and one with the history... I can see the value in having both though. I tend to shy away from those one photo layouts because I've got a lot more photos that show the story than just the three kids sitting on Santa's lap, you know what I mean? I may tend to take more photos than necessary some times. But at the same time, I'd sure like the freedom to just scrap the art and let the photo album hold all those detail photos. But - on the other hand, the "details" are often part of the art for me. So here I sit with splinters in my ample backside trying to find the perfect answer.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Soup for the Masses

Last night was the Home and School Soup Supper and Silent Auction fundraiser for our church's private school. Since I'm the Home and School leader (and entire committee) I was rather involved in the planning and execution. It was touch and go for awhile - only 14 people had signed up and 5 of those people lived in MY house! But I made an appeal from the pulpit on Sabbath morning and told them I'd forgive them for being remiss in signing up and would step out in faith and make dinner for 45.

At 2:30 my dad, sister, husband, middle son and I went up to the church and started the prep work. The K-2 teacher met us and helped with the table setting and then went in and helped my dad with the salad prep. They made mere vegetables look like little works of art with carrot and cucumber flowers. Jaek did a great job putting out all the plates and bowls in the plating and serving area - then he helped to expertly set the tables and was on the ready for HOURS to light the candles :0) We decorated with garlands of shamrocks and I made little folded over cards of Irish Blessings. I headed home around 3:00 prepared to cook all afternoon - with the faithful help of my babies daddy at my side. He peeled 15 pounds of potatoes in record time and another woman at church peel 7 pounds for me. By 5:00 I had 51 servings of beautiful, golden potato soup bubbling in 3 big pots on my stove. Below is a photo of Jaek surveying things after I hauled the soup up to the church at 5:30.

Dinner was a success. After the school constituency meeting was over about 36 or so folks stayed for supper. The theme was "Lucky? No, Blessed, with a Christian Education". They came into the room with the salads on the table (and the candles expertly lit) glasses ready to receive their choice of beverage. OK - only two choices... water or raspberry iced tea I'd brewed the night before. The more popular choice was water... I think they were afraid of the tea or something. I came home with about 8 quarts of it! They raved over my soup and many asked for the recipe. I have a quarter of my grandmother's blood (a fabulous cook and the greatest hostess that ever lived) and stealthily dodged the exact measurements and ingredients. I've worked 16 years perfecting my potato soup recipe and I'm having a hard time letting it go. But - it was suggested that I contact Marie Calendars and let them make me a million dollar offer... that I could consider...

Dessert was yummy. Triple chocolate brownies with vanilla ice cream, hard shell chocolate, whipped cream and a cherry on top. Payment for all the hard work of the evening was an entire pan of brownies left over :0) Seems that folks filled up on soup too much. We only served half as much dessert as we did supper. No complaints here on that one.

I actually did pretty well at guessing how much food we'd need. We had some excess in some areas, but it was still cheaper to buy more at Costco than less somewhere else. There was only about 1/3 of a pot of soup left and the clean-up crew left it in the pot for us. Brian didn't know... and stacked it high on other pots in the back of the van for the ride home. We made it almost out of the church driveway before it spilled in the back of the van. Tomorrow the carpet will be shampooed....

I was a little disappointed in how much we took in - the auction should have done much better in my opinion - but for big bucks you need those in attendance that have big bucks. The cost of dinner was $185 and we netted $535 for all our efforts. That's better than nothing - but about half of what I'd hoped for. I've gained a lot of experience in the process and (if I decide to serve again) next year will be better.

I am finally forced to get my van carpet cleaned... so that's something.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Jacob the Cucumber

Notice any resemblance here?

Just moments before Jacob removed his other front tooth I snapped this photo. (Jacob is on the right...) Here at the end he was able to shake his head and watch it swing... I've never seen a kid hang onto a loose tooth for so long. Oh - and a bit of trivia... he can STILL whistle, albeit off key.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Our Sincere Apologies

There were some people glanced over yesterday - or perhaps today... I don't know who they are - I don't even know any personally - but they're out there... those with birthdays on February 29th. We're sorry, so very sorry, that you don't get to stuff yourself with your favorite cake right after you put out the fire atop it with your saliva. You should have had your cake yesterday! And since this isn't getting to you until today (or whenever you stumble across it) you should have cake today (or then) too! We'll eat cake with you! And you should have presents... lots of them since you probably have missed out more than once. It's not fair and it was a bad idea - because that's where the poem breaks down too... you know - the "30 days hath September" poem. When you get to the "except for February" section it starts falling apart (at least in my memory.)

On a completely different subject - I got a refrigerator magnet yesterday. I don't usually buy them - they contribute to lots of "stuff" being left on the fridge and I don't need anything drawing my attention as I go by... I need to just get by without opening the door! But anyway I bought this magnet at Hallmark. It says: "If it's not in the scrapbook it didn't happen." I thought it was hilarious and bought two of them actually. I'll send one to an unnamed friend. I saw another bit of wisdom while there... a little shadow box with a tiny washing machine inside that said: "Some days success is just getting the clothes in the dryer before the mildew sets in." and I can TOTALLY relate to that too... and so can my sister in law Shari - but I won't mention her name here so that I don't embarrass her...

PS - If your birthday is February 29th leave me a note and I'll make you a card! (but it will be late...but hey... it's another four years before your next birthday anyhow.)
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