Sunday, November 28, 2010

November is drawing to a close....

I'm not entirely sure where this month has vanished to. I did complete bartending school, and have my TABC certificate... and a "gig" lined up for New Years Eve - which is TOTALLY swell! I'm so excited! Trae turned 19 years old a couple of days ago, we celebrated 3 Thanksgiving Day's, I sprained my ankle (which I haven't given a chance to heal), I baked positively LOADS of yummy desserts.... (posted my Sopapilla Cheesecake recipe a short bit ago - you seriously have to try it - it's completely yummy!).

It's time to finish up Christmas shopping... I'm almost done, I think. Just a few more specific items to get... and I also still have to sew their Christmas Sleep Pants (something I started doing a few years ago - it ensures that they get some nice fleece pajama bottoms that they really like and no one else will have ) I picked up some fleece remnants to make a quilt for Jessica, too... 

Trae & Jessica are officially signed up for Job Corps - Trae is going in for HVAC training, and Jessica will learn to be a Medical Transcriptionist. They'll live on campus in San Marcos for the duration of their vocational training, and Job Corps will assist them with job placement and finding living quarters when they graduate from the program. They're both completely excited! I'm thrilled that they have such a neat opportunity, too.

I actually went out to the Black Friday sales... not much, really. Some jeans from Walmart ($8 instead of $20), and the Ninja Prep Master from Target for $28 instead of $50. (I made Pina Colada's with it last night... it definitely does a splendid job of turning ice cubes into snow... I still have a few more "tests" to run it through, but so far - I'm a happy camper about it!)

I've started working on rearranging my kitchen, too... I know, I know... I picked a fine time of the year to do that, didn't I? It wasn't intentional... it started out with "this would work better here..." and just ballooned from there  

I think we're finally getting used to the time change, too... that's probably one of the biggest challenges that I face every year. I definitely don't like losing the daylight so early in the evenings... I know it wreaks havoc with Andrew being able to get anything done outside after work, too.

OH! Another product review... a friend of mine introduced me to sleepphones - ear phones that are flat and tucked inside a fleece headband... I can now listen to music to fall asleep, and Andrew can't hear it! They're soft, comfortable, and keep my ears warm at night It's a happy thing all around! LOL I picked up the "old" model on eBay for about $18 shipped. The new ones run near $60 - so I'm just peachy to have the old ones.

I guess that's it for this evening... time to get started prepping for Andrew's breakfast and lunch for work this week. I try to get a few different meals put together on Sunday evenings, so that he's not having the same thing day after day... and it's not sandwiches... I also make some of those little sausage patties, put them in slider buns with cheese, and he eats those on his way to work for breakfast. They're easy, portable, hot, and filling... which makes for a happy husband I usually try to tuck some yummy snacks like pretzels and pistachios or other munchies that he likes... I think there might be one or two slices of poppyseed-pumpkin pie in the fridge for this week, too. (A winning recipe that I should definitely post - he's a VERY happy camper with the invention... now I just need to figure out where to buy more poppyseed... I only have enough for one more pie ). 

Heading to the kitchen... the heart of our home :-)

Sopapilla Cheesecake - Yummy!

2 (8oz) cans of crescent rolls
2 (8oz) pkgs of cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar (divided, 1 cup each)
2 tsp vanilla (divided, 1 tsp each)
1/2 cup margarine or butter - melted
ground cinnamon

Spray your 9X13 pan - then fit in one whole can of crescent rolls - spread flat to make the crust. Pinch the holes closed, or use the Deli Creations Crescent Roll dough.

Blend together (with mixer) softened cream cheese, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla (can be a little more liberal with the vanilla). Spread mixture evenly over the dough.

Stretch the 2nd can of crescent rolls over the cream cheese mixture to form the top crust.

Melt the butter/margarine, blending in 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour evenly over the top crust, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon.

Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes until bubbling, and crust is slightly browned. 

Let cool and refrigerate before cutting into squares.

(I generally grab a biscuit cutter, and use that to cut it into cute little tartlets - it's just a "thing" - not necessary, but totally fun to serve that way... and the "scraps" get put into containers in the freezer to snack on later).

If you line the pan with Reynold's Non-Stick foil, you can lift the whole cheesecake out of the pan using the foil after it's completely cooled, and it makes it loads easier to slice! I absolutely abuse that foil! It's wonderful stuff!

Monday, November 1, 2010

October is gone... November is in.

I'm not even positive where October has disappeared to. Andrew working at finding a new job, I started taking bartending classes... Trae working at the Renaissance Festival... then all of the other normal stuff going on. Car repairs, household stuff, voting coming up (as in TOMORROW!)... school days at the Renaissance Festival happen tomorrow & Wednesday...

It's November now, and I'm working on trying to finish up Christmas before it gets here, and go through recipes for the holidays. It's time to start baking... pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cupcakes, chocolate macaroons, lemon drop cookies, chocolate chip cookies, sopapilla cheesecake, and whatever else I come up with.

I'm thoroughly exhausted this week... and can't wait for school to be over. I think it'll be fun to be a bartender... a mixologist. (How cool is THAT title?). I've definitely learned more about alcoholic  beverages than you'd think anyone would ever need to know, and creating mnemonics to remember some of these drinks has been quite tricky. (If you only knew!)

I'm heading to bed for the evening, and will hopefully find a chance later this week for a better update. Hopefully my eyelids won't be quite this heavy the whole week

Have a great night!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

is it really October?

I'm not sure why it surprises me every year... October hits, and I realize how fast the year has gone, and how quickly the end of the year is creeping up on me. You really would think I'd get used to it, wouldn't you?

Today marked the first day of the Renaissance Festival season in Plantersville, Tx. My eldest is working there this year. I'm not sure if I'm ready for him to be exposed to some of the bawdiness of the festival, but the apron strings have to be cut sometime, don't they? At least his boss is an absolute sweetheart! His male counterparts are all older, so he's the "baby" of a group that consists of a LOT of young ladies... the woman running his section made a point of telling all of the girls that he's off limits! He's just a young man, not even legal for y'all! - I totally loved her for that! LOL (He actually is 18 years old, but I'm more than happy to NOT admit that for these purposes.)

I picked him up this evening, and he had held up well, he said. His partner had gone home sick after only 3 hours, so he was on his own for a significant portion of the day... he did well in tips, though. Close to $60 in tips for the day? He's a happy camper... and he'll be getting a paycheck on top of that. Hopefully it'll make him hungry for a "real" job after the RenFest is over.

I've begun stocking up for the winter baking season. I picked up pie tins for the pumpkin pies that will get sold, 100 lbs of flour, 4 restaurant sized cans of pumpkin, and 25 lbs of sugar so far... I have all of the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc that I'll need. I do need to pick up more poppyseed, though. I think I have enough for one batch of kolache filling, and that's just not going to cut it. Especially this year, since I'm also adding a poppyseed pumpkin pie to the repertoire. (My husband is totally thrilled that I figured out how to make it without "mingling" the layers.)  I learned the poppyseed filling from his grandmother, so it's the old Czech method of doing it.

I'm going to come up with some new cookie recipes this year, too... I'll still keep my homemade ginger snaps - those are soooo yummy! The chocolate macaroons are here to stay, too. I think Jessica would rebel if I didn't bake a ton of those LOL The pumpkin cookies are here to stay, also, but I'm thinking about playing with that recipe a little. I'd love to have them come out as crispy cookies instead of the super soft cookies that they are. Picture a pumpkin spice snap cookie? The lemon drop cookies will stay, too... and the fudge crinkles... maybe I'm not getting rid of any of the recipes, goodness! I'll add some new ones, though. I'm planning on making the Oreo balls and cake balls, too. Those will be new this year. What about a red velvet cookie? I could convert a recipe for that, I think. Can't you imagine the flavor of a yummy red velvet cake, with the texture of a nilla wafer? Totally yummy!

Any other ideas are totally welcome... I know Andrew will probably be gone for a week in November to stay at Grandma's for deer hunting, so I'll spend that week playing with new recipes. That gives me a few weeks to come up with some new ideas.

Hope everyone else has their October off to a good start... I'm obviously skipping Halloween and heading straight towards Thanksgiving and Christmas with the baking LOL - I'm bad about doing that every year.

Y'all have a great night!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lazy Enchiladas

This is one of our favorite family recipes. Followed like this, it fits in a 9X13 pan. It works better if you double it & use a lasagna pan. For our family of 7, I quadruple it and use TWO lasagna pans. For potlucks, I multiply by 6 and use 3 lasagna pans. (There are never leftovers).

This recipe came from Linda Bockholt - one of my husband's aunts. She passed it along to me before she passed away, and I always think of her when I make it. The finished product is as wonderful as she was.
Lazy Enchiladas

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 packet powdered enchilada sauce mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 can ro-tel
6 to 10 tortillas
2 1/2 cups grated cheese

Brown beef & onion in pan - drain fat.
Add soup, tomato sauce, enchilada mix,
water, and Ro-Tel
Simmer 15 to 20 minutes
Spray 9 X 13 pan with pam or like product
Tear tortillas in pieces, and layer in pan
(tortillas, meat sauce, cheese, more tortillas, meat sauce)
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle cheese on top & bake 5 more minutes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's a Friday! Another week has flown by...

It's Friday again... the end of another busy week... is it because I'm older that the weeks seem to fly past more quickly each year? I don't remember the days going by quite so fast when I was in elementary school. How odd...

For my friends who follow the Groupon coupon website, I've found another site that is up and coming, and slated to be just as fantabulous! (Yes - that's a word... now.) The new site is GetGrouby - you have GOT to check it out! The offer today looks positively SCRUMPTIOUS! Of course, I do like cupcakes... possibly a little too much... But here's a blurb from their website about the nifty cupcake truck that I had NO IDEA was in the Houston area!

"Not yet a year old, the mighty Mmm… Cupcake truck is the brainchild of an aspiring cake designer and a former restaurant owner-turned-engineer.  Every day, their mobile beacon of moist, frosted satisfaction sets out with a truckload of delicious, home-made cupcakes and sells them around town until they’re all gone.  From downtown to Rice Village to the Washington Strip, even rare excursions to Sugar Land and the Woodlands, Mmm… Cupcake keeps its location as fresh as its cupcakes!  You’ll have to follow the truck on Facebook orTwitter to see where it will be today."

Of course, I don't expect to see the truck sneaking out here to the dirt roads of the boonies where I reside, but I will absolutely have to check its whereabouts when I'm heading to's entirely possible that I might be able to cross paths with it. (I can certainly hope, can't I?)

Speaking of cupcakes...  which leads to cakes... which leads to cake balls... I was at this adorable bakery down in League City last week, thanks to a wonderful friend who lives down there. It was called Sweets Galore - and the two ladies in there are from New York, and just have the most fabulous cake balls, cheese cakes, cannolis, and other yummy foods... it was like heaven in a display case! There were soooo many flavors of cake balls to choose from, and they were happy to share some samples to help with the decision making process. I couldn't possibly choose a favorite... everything from key lime to red velvet to pumpkin or german chocolate... and just loads of flavors in between! They were almost the size of a homemade cupcake, and I absolutely advise getting one of every flavor and have a tasting party. It's the ONLY way to choose your own favorite without being an absolute glutton (which would be an incredibly yummy thing to do, too... but that's just my opinion! You're more than welcome to eat them yourself ). There's no truck to chase down, either... their shop is easy to find and won't move on you. You can even call in special requests... they are THAT awesome! Check them out!

Can you tell I'm in a baking mood? and have sweets on the brain? It must be the phase of the moon... that's the excuse I'm going with. I think tomorrow after I take Trae to the Renaissance Festival for his training session, and then finish updating Rebecca's website, I will absolutely have to hit the kitchen for some baking time. Brittani's been asking for chocolate chip cookies, although I suspect that she's hankering for the dough more than the cookies... and I could totally go for some pumpkin cookies and pumpkin cupcakes. I'm thinking about trying a cream cheese filling and frosting for the cupcakes this year. The cupcakes come out so incredibly moist, though... I did try a homemade vanilla cupcake recipe last week that was fairly good. Reminded me of a "decent" wedding cake. I'm still on a quest to find a "GREAT" cupcake recipe, although I might have to experiment and create it myself at the rate that the search is going. I did pick up plenty of marshmallows and powdered sugar to make my own fondant, though! How fun will that be? 

It's just after 9pm here, and I think it's time to start settling down for the evening. Andrew had a tooth pulled out today, and the beginning of an implant put it - I took pictures... I'm just creepy like that, I guess. That would be a fun scrapbook page, don't you think? LOL It would at least be a very unusual one... perhaps I should design some dental scrapbook paper... hmmm.... 

Well, y'all have a great night, and a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

One of those weeks...

It's been an eventful week around here. Andrew was officially notified that he's a victim of "restructuring" and "work force reduction" at Hewlett-Packard. That was Monday... lovely Monday, right? Then yesterday, Wednesday, the Toyota Camry died on the way home... we think it's the timing belt, but we're not positive yet. Hopefully we'll get it figured out this evening... or at least get one of the other vehicles running. If he gets the Samurai up and running, I'll have to run to Anderson and get Tags for it, and probably get it inspected - I'm sure that's expired, too.

In the meantime, Andrew's putting his resume out there in as many places as possible. I'm definitely hoping he can find something else internally with HP, otherwise we lose our health benefits, and he's stuck in a job where he's a "peon" (which is never fun. I've even been looking at job advertisements for myself... trying to get an idea of what's out there, and what it pays... I haven't worked in 16 years, so will have to figure out a wardrobe again. I'm not the size 10-12 that I was back then

Victoria applied for a job at Chick-Fil-A. She was called for a 1st and 2nd interview, but then never heard from them. She's totally bummed. She really wanted that job. Trae's been hired for the Renaissance Festival, so he has a job weekends during October/November. He'll be able to put some money away and get his drivers license and insurance, and then he'll be able to get a "real" job. Jessica's waiting to be 18 so that she can go sign on with one of the temp agencies... her typing skills are definitely good, as are her writing skills... but at the very least, she'd do well on a data entry job.

I'm running late on getting ready for Christmas, and that's definitely detrimental this year, because things will be very slim if Andrew's job situation doesn't get resolved soon. I only budget $100 per kid anyhow, but there are 5 of them, and then there are the extended family gifts... fortunately I've shopped for the neices/nephews... so those gifts are done. That's a happy thing. :-)

Well, the afternoon is slinking away from me, and I promised to do some baking... Andrew popped over to Lana's earlier to pick up some of the freshest eggs on the planet for me. You have GOT to love fresh eggs... They are soooo yummy! Pumpkin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and we'll see what else ends up on the menu... Yummy!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

History Lessons...

Where did Piss Poor come from? 

Interesting History

They used to use urine to tan animal skins, so families
used to all pee in a pot & then once a day it was taken &
Sold to the tannery.......if you had to do this to survive
you were "Piss Poor"

But worse than that were the really poor folk who couldn't
even afford to buy a pot......they "didn't have a pot to
piss in" & were the lowest of the low

The next time you are washing your hands and complain
because the water temperature isn't just how you like it,
think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about
the 1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their
yearly bath in May, and they still smelled pretty good by
June.. However, since they were starting to smell . ..... .
Brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.
Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man
of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then
all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the
children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so
dirty you could actually lose someone in it.. Hence the
saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no
wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get
warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs)
lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and
sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof...
Hence the saying "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the
house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs
and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence,
a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top
afforded some protection. That's how canopy beds came into

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other
than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had
slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet,
so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their
footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until,
when you opened the door, it would all start slipping
outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance-way.
Hence: a thresh hold.

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big
kettle that always hung over the fire.. Every day they lit
the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly
vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the
stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold
overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew
had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence
the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas
porridge in the pot nine days old. Sometimes they could
obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When
visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show
off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, "bring home
the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests
and would all sit around and chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high
acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food,
causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with
tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were
considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt
bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests
got the top, or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination
would Sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days.
Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and
prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen
table for a couple of days and the family would gather
around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake
up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running
out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins
and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the
grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins
were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they
realized they had been burying people alive... So they would
tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the
coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.
Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night
(the graveyard shift.) to listen for the bell; thus, someone
could be saved by the bell or was considered a dead ringer.

And that's the truth....Now, whoever said History was boring!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mayberry... Simpler Times

I've been enjoying a series called "Simple is More Satisfying" at church over the last few weeks. They're utilizing the imaginary town of Mayberry as the common example of simplicity. The imagery invoked by the pastor's words and tales of relating life in Mayberry to certain aspects of our life here and now is pulling fun (and not so fun) memories and stories from my cobweb-filled data bank that I call a brain.

One of the stories from the Mayberry series was about the time a businessman ended up stranded in Mayberry on a Sunday with car trouble. The gentleman was incredibly frustrated that he was unable to have his car repaired due to it being a Sunday. "It's a day of rest and family," he was told. The gentleman was so angry that he refused to have dinner with the Taylor's, or to relax and just slow down... near the end of the episode, the sheriff had finally managed to get the man to sit down on the porch with Aunt B, Opie, and himself... actually relaxing and accepting his Sunday fate... when Goober pulled up unexpectedly with his car, explaining that it was simply a clogged fuel pump, and that there was no charge. The gentleman was quite shocked when he was told that Mayberry wasn't going to charge a guest in their town for something so trivial... I absolutely adore the idea and concept of actually taking a day off and spending it in a fully relaxing environment of family and friends, known or new... such a delightful idea, isn't it?

On the other hand, the tale reminded me of a summer several years ago when we, as a family, drove to Colorado. It wasn't a vacation or pleasure trip, it was to  pick up a vehicle we purchased on eBay. You could realistically conclude that it was the equivalent of a business trip. Drive up, pick car up, drive home. That was the list... 

Are you waiting for the wrench? You know there's one being thrown in the works, don't you? You're right... there's a wrench...

It was around 10pm on Saturday night... July 3rd... somewhere so deep in Colorado that there were no city lights to mar the beauty or brightness of the stars and the moon glowing in the sky. The glow was bright enough that I didn't immediately notice the dimming of the headlights. I thought it was just me, quite honestly. I checked the gauges on the dashboard, though, and found that that it was NOT just me (can you say a major "UHOH!"?).

The alternator was NOT functioning properly... we were in trouble. I found myself adding to my little prayer that I'd been sending up over the course of the trip. It expanded from "Please keep us safe and get us back to our home as uneventfully as possible"  - to - "and please don't leave us stranded out here in the middle of nowhere."

The new addition ran through my mind over and over as the lights of the suburban were fading... and the relief that I felt as we started seeing the glow of artificial lights over a hill ahead of us was absolutely huge... the prayer changed again, requesting His help in allowing us to MAKE IT to those lights, and please let there be help when we arrive... 

We did make it there... and in the dark, it was less of a town, and more of a freeway crossover which happened to contain a pair of gas stations. We saw a constable's car at one of the stations, so Andrew left me in the truck with the kids, and walked across the street to that station. The officer didn't have any answers, but the woman behind the counter volunteered to call the man who runs the Co-Op in town. (There really WAS a tiny bit of a town there...  Hooray!). The nice fella from the Co-Op left his wife and television to come and check on us. He had us follow him to the garage (2 blocks up, 1 block over), where he started checking out the suburban, and came to the same conclusion we'd already arrived at. The alternator was no longer among the functional. 

To our surprise, things really ARE done differently in small towns... the first thing he tried was to go rob the truck parked over at Larry's house... Larry has apparently been trying to sell it, but it's just sitting there, and it might be compatible, so he went to check it out. He came back and reported that it had apparently been robbed already, because there was no alternator in it anymore... Do you wonder if anyone has told Larry? I sure hope so.... He tried calling the fella who runs the junkyard, but it was a Saturday night, and his reputation speaking on his behalf, very likely far enough into a case of beer that his phone was probably not going to be answered. He tried calling the fella who was in charge of Auto Parts Co-Op, but didn't get an answer there, either. 

After trying all of those avenues, at that hour of the night, he pointed out the direction of the hotel, and even offered to let us come freshen up at his house if we wanted... we declined, and decided to sleep in the vehicles for the night. Realistically, we probably needed the sleep... not that we'd have admitted to that if we were still out on the road and driving . That nice man was back up at the Garage at 7am on Sunday morning... bearing in mind that it's now also July 4th. He was able to get the Auto-Part Co-Op manager to come and unlock his shop to get us a new alternator, which he proceeded to install for us, even as he issued an invitation to stay for breakfast and the parade. We politely declined the invitation so that we could get back out on the road, but it was totally sweet of him to offer! 

Of course, the pseudo-Mayberry that we were in did not offer to comp the repairs, but we were thrilled to have gotten the repairs and not been stranded until Monday, so we're okay with not keeping to the Mayberry story :-)  

We were back on the road and cruising along, somewhere in Oklahoma I think? When we spotted two ladies with a little girl trying to change the tire on their car. Andrew and I looked at each other, took the next freeway exit, took the u-turn and went back the other way... u-turned again so that we could come up and check on them again... there was no one there helping them, so we stopped. The Mayberry-ism was still with us, and we knew we needed to "pay it forward," so Andrew was able to change their tire, while I pulled out a bottle of water and some crackers for their hungry 2 year old little girl... the ladies were so completely thankful that we stopped, and we were fully aware of the time lost... but we knew that we couldn't just leave them there. We'd already had our own rescue the night before, so it was our turn to come to the rescue for someone else...

Anyhow... that feeling of accomplishment and sharing is something that we thrive on, and we always look for opportunities to help others. It's just part of who we are... with or without Mayberry. We try to pass on the concept of helping others, and hope that the lives we touch continue on in the endeavor to help more and more people. I know we can't truly change the world, but if we at least make a tiny difference to someone, and it passes on, then maybe it'll eventually become a big difference. You never know whose life you might change by doing something just for them, with no other goal or plan in mind...

I probably shouldn't write this late at night... hopefully this turned out better than what my brain is currently processing :-)   I'm heading to bed. Good night, all!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another week gone by....

I've made it to another Friday... in another busy week. I've had to be at the dentist with kids by 7am twice this week... I think I'm too old to get up at 5:30am anymore... but I still have to repeat it twice next week - yahoo! LOL

We've got a few people showing up tomorrow to pay & pick up things that they've bought from us... that's a happy thing. We're trying really hard to set aside enough money to buy a van. With 5 kids, it takes a big vehicle to get us all anywhere... and we currently have to take two vehicles to get us all anywhere. With these gas prices, that's just killer!

In other news, (can I use that here?) it's been nice to be back to normal with schoolwork. I do enjoy having at least a remnant of a schedule to follow... even if it does have interruptions caused by life on occasion.

Here in Houston, (speaking of "in the news") the building where the voting machines were housed went up in flames today... over 40,000 machines are now melted into blobs, with early voting scheduled to start in just over a month. Speculation has begun over how they'll handle voting this year. The current discussion is that they'll encourage the early voters to utilize the option of mailing in their votes, but there's still much talking to be done with the "powers that be." Talk about throwing a wrench in the normal routine of life, huh?

Vicki was able to get an upgraded cell phone this week - waaaay early thanks to Andrew letting her have HIS upgrade. Vicki passed her "old" (less than 6 months old) phone down to Brittani. Of course, Brittani wouldn't have needed a phone if she hadn't left hers on the floor for the dog to get to. The Brittany Spaniel took off with it and hid it, and since Brittani leaves it on silent, calling the phone does NOT find it! At least Victoria seems happy with the current phone - she didn't like the one that she had. She started out with an LG Neon, which kept giving her trouble. After AT&T replaced it a couple of times, they offered a choice between two phones... she chose the lesser of the two evils, but was never really happy... so I'm glad she was able to have an opportunity to get one that she likes :-)

Another note - anyone with netflix... and a wii... the kids are TOTALLY enjoying being able to watch the netflix instant movies & television shows on the wii. You'd think it was better than strawberry banana smoothies (which are HUGELY popular at our house... Brittani makes them so yummy!).

I'm on a hunt for yummy chili recipes... I'm looking forward to winter getting here, and being able to enjoy soups and stews again, but would really like to have some absolutely fabulous chili recipes to add to the menu. If you have a favorite recipe, I'd love it if you'd post it... Of course, it's also time to start planning what baked items that I want to make this year for the holidays. I try to come up with new ones to add to the favorite ones every year... the pumpkin pie is mandatory, as are the pumpkin cupcakes and cookies... chocolate chip cookies, chocolate macaroons, and sopapilla cheesecake (although I did pass that one off to Andrew's cousin last year - I enjoyed being able to cross it off my list, and still be able to enjoy eating it ) That was definitely a happy thing! LOL  Anyhow, new ideas with tried & true recipes would definitely be enjoyed if you have them... 

It's time for me to settle down for the night... my eyelids are getting tired, and I know I never make it to bed without doing about 20 things before I get there... hope everyone is doing well! Good night!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The merry-go-round keeps spinning! LOL

As usual, life is busy... the adorable little Brittany Spaniel has gone to her new home, and her new family seems absolutely thrilled to have her as part of their lives. I'm so glad that she healed up so well, and was able to move on with her life... she was a total sweetie!

I've been working on crafts for Christmas. I've knitted several dishcloths for my mother-in-law for Christmas. She likes to use the hand-knitted ones, so I made it my goal to learn how to knit this year. I'm completely excited to get to give her some that I made myself! I also need to start checking out new candle smells and get cracking on making some more soy candles to sell this winter. They make such great Christmas gifts, and I usually sell about 40 of them through the winter. I'll also knit some scarves, and probably crochet several things. I have a couple of quilts lined up to sew, and need to get off my rear and working on those, too. Brittani's still waiting on me to make her dress, and I need to make Trae's clothes for the Renaissance Festival. He'll be working there on the weekends in October & November this year. He's totally excited. He'll be able to sock some money away, take Driver's Ed, and pay for at least 6 months worth of insurance... and a Driver's License will make it a little easier to get a job, too. That's what we're hoping for, anyhow. I know he's ready to be self-sufficient.

This week we picked up a lot more bread than normal, and it's enabled us to pass along bread to 21 families so far, and have more lined up over the next couple of days. I'm so completely excited to be able to help so many people...

I'm hunting for something called "sleep phones" - a good friend of mine owns them, and they're  positively wonderful! Headphones that are comfortable enough to sleep in! Can you imagine? It sounds completely divine to be able to listen to some nice, soft music while trying to fall asleep... and not have my husband sit & complain, no matter how soft the music is. Grumpy Old Man. LOL

We have a new Donkey, too. He's a noisy thing, but he's sweet... you can walk up and pet him and love on him, and he'll eat right out of your hands. He's louder than the roosters in the morning, though.

We've started back to our school work, and I'm enjoying getting back into our routine. It seems like things get so busy around here, and even without school our life gets insane, so adding at least a little routine to our crazy lives is a happy thing.

Do you ever feel like life is breezing by at an entirely faster pace than it's supposed to? It's as though for every year older that I get, that many days are missing from the year... and the year is vanishing faster than I can keep track of. I started asking the kids in April to start thinking about next Christmas, and they look at me like I've grown another head. Now it's August, and Christmas is sneaking up faster than it should be, and I haven't really started on their Christmas at all... which is HIGHLY unusual. Goodness Gracious!

I think it's time for me to head to bed... I'm tired this evening, and tomorrow starts early. I'll finally get this tooth fixed that I cracked a couple of weeks ago. That's definitely a happy thing! It's bothering me more & more every day, so I'll definitely be glad to have it fixed. Hope everyone is doing well... good night!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

going... going... gone!

The suburban sold today - hooray! It's out of the driveway and on it's way to a new home on a deer lease! Andrew also traded out the Trek bicycle today for some "manly" type toys (stuff for hunting... boys will be boys and all that jazz, eh?). Now to see about selling the Cannnondale bicycle for actual money. That would be a happy thing! LOL

I did some grocery shopping this morning - love the new update on the Grocery IQ app on my iPhone. I hadn't used it in ages, but decided to try it again today, and am absolutely thrilled that you can scan the grocery items in, add the price for the store that you're in, and it keeps track of your grocery total as you go. An absolutely wonderful app for keeping within your grocery budget. I will definitely be putting it to use more often now that they've made it easier to you. (It also means that I can scan items as we use them, and it'll automatically add it ot the grocery list - how cool is THAT?). Definite kudos to the creators of the Grocery IQ app for the updates. It's a happy thing!

There aren't very many good coupons in todays paper, unfortunately... there didn't seem to be much in the way of good sales, either. I did see that Kohl's has Fiesta Ware on sale, though. I'm thinking that maybe next year if I get one place setting per month and tuck it away, then I'll have a 12 place setting set by Christmas. That would be a neat gift for our house.

The kids are getting somewhat annoyed with me - I've already started harassing them about what they want for Christmas this year. Don't they understand that I've only got a few more months to get all of the shopping done? It's creeping up on me! Normally I at least have a plan by April, but it's almost August, and I'm not even out of the starting block! Yikes!

We did pick up the new bull from the butcher the other day, and the gentleman commented that it was VERY tender, and that we'd definitely enjoy it. I took some round steak out of the freezer to cook for lunch tomorrow, so I'll definitely have to give a report on how yummy it is. If the guy who butchers animals for a living says it's good meat, it's gotta REALLY be good, right?

We did head down to the Westheimer area yesterday. There was a nifty Vegan restaurant that we checked out with a friend of ours... it's called The Loving Hut - and while not everything was great, the Golden Vermicelli was absolutely delightful. Whoever brings in their Carrot Cake has a good recipe, too. It was very yummy! (The Wonton Harmony was definitely NOT a highlight dish, in our opinion... the insides of the wontons were very pasty, and texturally unappealing ).

I was glad to have a chance to pop into Whole Foods Market while I was in the area, too. I don't make it there more than once every other year or so... the drive is just killer, and traffic in that area can be a real booger, too. I was able to pick up some all-purpose gluten free flour to try out a pizza crust recipe. I also  picked up some agave syrup, and chaste berry - both items that have been on my list but hadn't purchased.

I was able to get some crocheting done on the road today, and we began listening to a new audio book - The Quickie by James Patterson. We're a little over halfway through with it, I think. We finished Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich this past week... I'm always sad when I finish one of her books - they're so much fun to read!

We've been checking out some of the new television shows that are out this summer... The Glades looks interesting, as does Covert Affairs. We're still watching Lie To Me, Leverage, Psych, Eureka, The Closer, Hell's Kitchen, Cake Boss, Burn Notice, and Top Chef. I think we're kind of outgrowing Psych and Eureka, but they're good to record and watch later as a wind down at the end of the day when there's nothing else to watch. Are there any shows that y'all are watching that are good? We'd love to know about  them....

Time to start heading to bed - we're tuckered out tonight! Y'all sleep well!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It never ends...

There is just always something going on around here... a little puppy showed up on our porch a little over a week ago. She appears to be a Brittany Spaniel - an absolute little sweetheart. The poor thing had several puncture wounds, and a huge nasty gash on it's left side just in front of her hip. You could see all the way into her stomach cavity through it. We've been giving her oral antibiotics, as well as dousing the wound with liquid antibiotics from the neighbor. It's almost completely healed up, and she's doing wonderfully! The first couple of days she didn't do much more than just lay around - she definitely didn't get up and walk around much.... You'd never know she had such bad injuries, though. She gets up and runs around, plays tug of war, and chases everything that moves!

Brittani and Zachary are at church camp this week... I'm sure they're both having loads of fun! Hopefully they'll remember to stay out of the lake, and pay attention to the food. During the high school summer camp, several kids cut their feet on metal shards that were in the lake, and apparently the girl in charge of cooking wasn't fully adept at handling cooking for large crowds. The pancakes "tasted funky" and weren't fully cooked, and the burger was raw inside after taking one bite. Victoria's too polite to take food back, so she ate around the edges of the pancake, and ate the burger bun, so that she didn't just go hungry. Vicki always said they were exercising outside in the heat without water to drink, which is REALLY a bad thing.

We're supposed to drive up to Fairfield this weekend, and trade out a bicycle to someone. It's going to be a nice road trip for the two of us. We'll throw in an audio book, get up there early and have breakfast, meet up with Andrew's buddy, and then head home after that. I'm trying to remember where the German restaurant that the parents of one his friends owns. I'd love the opportunity to have lunch there. The people still own their house in Germany, and rented out one of the apartments that they've turned it into when we took our trip back in 2006. It was SUCH a blast! I'd love to have another trip like that one. We had so much fun!

It's our 20th anniversary this year, and I'm hunting for ideas of a frugal trip for the two of us. I'm totally open to ideas... we've discussed going on a cruise, or seeing if the January flights overseas are still cheap. At one point (January 2007) it was less than $250 round trip to Italy - so we could feasibly spend a few days there, rent a car & a room, and come out for around $1000 to $1200, if the airfare can still be found cheap.

I'm going to start the kids back on school work this coming Monday. I think I'm tired of summer. Hurrying into the school year won't bring the cool weather here any sooner, but it means that when the weather DOES get pleasant, we can take a week or two off and go have fun. That's something we don't take the time to do very often as a family.  We did discuss running out to the lake and dunking everyone into the water for an hour or so... the dogs might not like us bailing out, but they'll get over it. Especially the little miss Crystal (the Brittany Spaniel). She REALLY won't like being left alone.

Time for me to start thinking about supper... I'll be back a different day!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Always busy... again and again...

This past Saturday we loaded up some scrap from a friend - there was a small Matco tool box still decent condition mixed in with it that they didn't need/want any more. We also dropped off some wood to one of our friends they have bird sanctuary:Fortuna's Garden ... We left the truck full of the scrap metal when we went around the corner to drop off the car hauler at a different friends house, and had a mattress dropped off there cause the truck is full...We received a voice mail from Ryan across the street wanting to know if we want a free has a broken leg. We tried calling him back multiple times and before giving up... and we finally leave for family night at the bird sanctuary friends house. While we're there, Ryan calls back with the details about the calf. To make a long story short...we go empty the truck and hook up the white flat bed trailer...we would kill calf there and haul it back to butcher it ourselves... The plans changed again at 9:30pm when he called back and stated that the calf can walk to get in a trailer and to bring the livestock trailer Sunday morning to his brothers in Madisonville, so at 9:45pm we are hooking up the livestock trailer... Saturday finally ended....

Sunday morning we woke up at 5:30am. We arrived in Madisonville at 7:30am to get the bull...notice that I didn't say calf.  It is a year and half at least, and very healthy except for the broken ankle.  We manage to get back home by 11:30am, feed/water and tarp over live bull for shade.  It is very alert and hot (tempered and not because of its broken ankle) was a bucking bull calf, that is what the guy was raising it for... a very interesting but different story.  We leave the truck attached to the livestock trailer and go to Ruth's in Friendswood (she has the car hauler already from Sat).  We hook up her van that has a plastic front bumper and it starts to crinkle it...Ed says don't worry about it, we will just pop it back out...ok by us.  They couldn't haul it on another trailer(they tried and it wouldn't fit...even scratched the lower doors and couldn't be driven because at 25mph it wobbles bad.  Andrew & Ed drive in Ruth's pickup towing the van, with Ruth & I following them in my car. We get going on the freeway, and started calling the guys because there's smoke coming from one of the rear wheels of the van that's being towed.  Apparently Ed didn't lower the parking brake all the way...we manage to get it the rest of the way without incident.

It was fairly late in the evening, so we had Ed & Ruth come over to our house for dinner - their new place isn't set up yet for cooking... we had salad, spaghetti with meat sauce, and garlic bread... totally yummy! And after some time spent visiting, we were definitely ready for the day to end...

This morning, Monday, Andrew was up and out the door before 5am to go camp out at the meat processor that we like up in Cleveland. They unloaded the bull and took our processing order... Hooray! I left the house around 8am to get Victoria to Magnolia to help with VBS at church, and arrived home around 9am right behind Andrew. 

On his way home, he saw a mother and daughter trying to change their tire...He says, "I did a u-turn and asked if they need we got out anyway.  They had all the lug nuts off and couldn't figure out the jack...told her to let me help her...twice. She finally moved and let me change it.   She was amazed at how fast and easy I made it look, and I got back on the road for home."

We checked our emails, he had a teleconference meeting, I put together some packages, and we headed over to Ruth's with the now empty livestock trailer (that Andrew pressure-washed clean), and hooked it up  to their pick up  to take back to Friendswood with them for moving boxes, etc out here. We also loaded up the mattress set that we had dropped off at their house on Saturday. They needed to run to the post office, so we had them follow us to Magnolia, I mailed my packages while there... We headed to commerce street to drop off the mattress to someone who had just moved and didn't have a bed, to the grocery store for cat food, then to church to pick up Victoria from VBS. 

Ruth also said she'd have a side-by-side refrigerator for us, since the people buying their house don't want the one that's in it. That has me completely thrilled, because we're working out of a little apartment sized refrigerator for the 7 of us. It's definitely too small for the amount of food we need stored at any given time... and especially too small for when we want to have a watermelon or make a few batches of Jell-O. 

I made simple sandwiches for lunch, and we've had a quiet afternoon getting work done on our consecutive computers... It's nice to have some quiet time occasionally! (And I'd better enjoy it, because the next couple of days are going to get C-R-A-Z-Y!!)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Busy Times...

There are days that remain nice and calm... those pleasant and quiet days spent at home, engaged in such activities as school work, cooking, playing games... I do really enjoy those days.

Today was NOT one of those days. We were out the door at 6:45 this morning.... Jessica was scheduled to work at Ms. Helen's today, and Andrew wanted to sneak into the dentist before his office got horribly busy. We managed to let the dentist sneak a peek at his tooth and schedule us for a very SMALL window of time in  the afternoon. From there, we managed to have a nice breakfast before Andrew had to be at the office... while he was in a meeting, I ran to Joann's crafts, OfficeMax, and Kohl's. I picked him up and we ran to The Homeschool House store, and then ATTEMPTED to have lunch at Chili's. We had already received our drinks (water) when the dentist office called and said they had time to see him NOW, so we dashed out of Chili's to take advantage of the window of time.

Does that sound busy so far? It goes on... after we left the dentist office we stopped at Target to get his prescriptions filled, then picked up Jessica from Ms. Helen's, ran home to drop Jessica off, pick up Vicki and Brittani, switch from the car to the pickup, and head back to Magnolia. We dropped the girls off to church, ran up to Conroe to pick up a load of stuff, then back to Magnolia to pass off some of the load,  pick up the girls from church, and FINALLY land at home for the evening... I was positively thrilled to have an opportunity to sit down, rest, and EAT! LOL

I'm thinking that tomorrow I will definitely enjoy a chance to cook a nice lunch, hopefully have an opportunity to do some stitching on a quilt that I'm trying to finish, and then the kids are looking forward to going to Sk8 Town to roller skate. It should be a nice, quiet day. Thank goodness! I can totally use it! :-)

I hope everyone else is having a fabulous week... I'm signing off and sitting down to watch last night's Hell's Kitchen - I DO enjoy that show!

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's a Monday!

So the morning started out nice... coffee, cream cheese on a toasted english muffin, watered the tomatoes and got the mail out, organized what curriculum I have to get rid of and what I want for the coming year, entered coke points, and checked some of the websites that I like to pop into on a daily basis.... fixed a VERY yummy lunch (if I do say so myself), and sat down to watch television with lunch when the rain started... and it wasn't just a light rain. It was a DOWNPOUR! It rained over 1 1/2 inches during the course of a couple of hours... the power flicked off and back on 4 or 5 times... and then it settled down to a light dreary rain.

Then later this evening I had put a pan of sliced potatoes with seasoning & cream of chicken soup into the toaster oven, while Victoria put some of the lunch leftovers into the microwave... and the plug blew. No more microwave or toaster oven on counter top. Rats! (The plug behind the refrigerator was taken out, too!). We quickly rearranged where things were plugged in, and got things back up & running... but it was definitely not a planned occurrence!

I've also been hassling trying to get my iPhone updated to the latest iOS - and that has NOT been an easy thing... I finally googled a bit, and found out that for the 3G, it's best to do a restore... so that's what I'm in the process of. Fun!

Other than that, I've obtained some extra gray hairs over the weekend. Zachary left to go ride his bicycle around 9am Sunday morning... around 10:30am, my husband called me on the cell phone and told me that Zachary hasn't come home yet. He set out in the pickup to look for him, I finished picking up groceries, picked the girls up from Sunday School, skipped the parents meeting that I was supposed to attend, and headed home to help look. I made a few phone calls to some friends to let them know what was going on, and to find out if they'd seen him... no luck. We were very nearly ready to call the police, when a friend called from in town (almost 15 miles away), and said they found him. Bear in mind that Zachary is 12 years old, has only ONE pedal on his bicycle (which makes it a PAIN to ride), and is only allowed to ride in a 1 1/2 mile area that we've previously designated. Holy Smokes~~ When asked what he was thinking, he replied that he wasn't.... um, yeah... that explains it. Sheeesh!

We've started watching a series called Cupcake Wars. It's interesting, and is giving me some baking ideas... which probably is NOT a good thing since I already like to bake and my waist & rear both show it. It's absolutely unfair that the bad side of cooking really yummy things and enjoying eating those really yummy things (no matter how nutritious, even), is that I gain weight. Shouldn't the exercise of chopping foods, and being on my feet in the kitchen help alleviate a LITTLE of it? Good grief!

We were able to go get free haircuts this past week - that was a total perk! It was at the SuperCuts training facility - and 4 of us were able to get in. They took our phone number so that we can be "used" when they do their new color product training later this summer, too! I'm totally excited!

We also finally took a HUGE quantity of curriculum and books up to the new homeschool store in the Woodlands - The Homeschool House - it's absolutely phenomenal! It's so well organized, and the woman who owns it is positively delightful! We were able to get a gift card to use in store in exchange for the things we brought in to her. We spent some of it that day, but I still have money left on the card, and lots more to bring her to sell. I'm so completely excited to have such a great resource available! She's fabulous!

Of course, the other free perk the past couple of weeks have been the free drinks from Taco Bell. We've been totally enjoying those! Even the kids have been enjoying them... 5 of us were able to have lunch and drinks at Taco Bell last week for $10.43 - it was a great treat made better since it was CHEAP! Gotta love that!

It's getting late, now... time to start settling down for the evening. I'll probably go watch the news and do a couple of facebook apps before heading to bed... hope everyone has a fabulous evening! Good night!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday 14 June 2010

I started off the morning checking for eggs out in the chicken coop, and then proceeded to make an egg scramble with fresh eggs, green peppers, onions, chopped tomatoes, and shredded cheese. It was completely decadent! I even ran the eggs through the magic bullet, and they fluffed up soooo nicely that way!

We're currently working on the kids writing assignments for the day - they're not impressed with it, but it's better than letting their brains rot for the summer... I'm such a mean mom!

I'm working on listing some more books on my website - - I'm trying to get some of our curriculum listed that we no longer use. I'll also be setting it up to take curriculum from other people on a consignment basis. I'm hoping it goes over well. I used to keep things loaded on it, but haven't in ages, and it's definitely time to get back on track. It's something that the 17 & 18 year olds should definitely be able to help me with. They both need to start taking responsibility for something "real" - and this should be easy enough to add to their odd jobs that they've both begun doing for other people. They definitely enjoy earning money, so they should work for it, right?

It will be lunch time soon, so I'm heading to the kitchen to start working on a pot of homemade spaghetti sauce... fresh chopped veggies, fresh garlic, tomatoes just off the vine over the last couple of days... I absolutely enjoy cooking with garden fresh veggies! They're so yummy!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catching up...

The puppy is acclimating to our house, although potty training is still slow going. He's definitely a little love bug... always seeking attention, and absolutely adores Andrew. He's a little piglet, though. He eats more than all three chihuahua's put together.

We're discussing going to the Drive In Theatre in Tomball tomorrow evening - they're having a 25th anniversary special of Back to the Future, and it's only $5 per carload - how cool is that? You can check them out at

I finished a couple of knitted dishcloths and gave them to my mother in law... and I'm working on another one. I didn't take pictures before I gave them to her, though. Darn it. I keep meaning to take pictures of projects so that I can post them, but never seem to remember.

The weather is absolutely crazy today. It started out all hot & muggy & icky... around lunch time the wind suddenly picked up, and then we had almost a half inch of rain in under 10 minutes - it was absolutely crazy! It's supposed to continue raining for the rest of the afternoon, and still another 50% chance of rain tomorrow.

I've gotten my coke points entered for the week - I'm hoping that the website puts out the Schlitterbahn tickets again this year - we've so enjoyed getting to go the past couple of years.

I definitely need to post pictures of some of the stuff I've cooked over the past couple of weeks. There are so many great fresh vegetables that I've been able to work with - Andrew's mom is keeping me stocked, and we're loving it. I did an Asian-Inspired dish today of steamed rice with a meaty sauce with fresh onions, bell peppers, peas, and carrots in it. I rounded it out with a can of cream of chicken soup and some low-sodium soy sauce, added some sea-salt & garlic from the grinder, and it was absolutely divine.

Tonight is Sit & Stitch - I'll work on my current dishcloth some more, enjoy a dinner out with the ladies, turn in Zachary & Britt's school work to Angie, and just have a nice evening with friends. I totally look forward to Tuesday nights every week. :-)

Time to start getting myself ready - hope everyone has a fabulous evening!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


We started out the afternoon running some errands... dropped Vicki off at a friends house to spend the night, then to Harbor Freight for some work gloves and a couple of the free flash lights... then we stopped off to check out some free puppies that someone had posted on one of the rescue groups. They were an adorable set of Black Lab / Pit Bull puppies that are about 7 1/2 to 8 weeks old. We brought home the cutest rolie polie puppy of the bunch... and named him L.B. - for Little Boy. He took to Andrew right off the bat! We gave him some Comfortis wrapped in cheese immediately upon getting home with him (wanted to take care of any fleas pronto!), and then Andrew gave him a bath & dried him off. We've taken him out to go potty a couple of times, and he's currently (at 10pm) asleep in Andrew's lap. Yes... we're very good at spoiling our dogs, and L.B. will be no exception! I did find out that I didn't have any actual puppy food in the house, though - so I'll need to remedy that. I had the kids give him some Might Dog Seniors dog food - figuring that it might have more vitamins than just the "normal" canned food. I'll take care of getting puppy food tomorrow, though.

Of course, we picked him up today, and Andrew leaves tomorrow to go to Grandma's house for a few days... poor puppy! 3 whole days without his new daddy! I'm sure the kids will help spoil him, though. I'll get some pictures posted of him tomorrow, too. He's a sweetie!

The kids are happy to have some of their friends out of school for the summer, and I'm working on helping plan some fun summer activities. Everything from an 80's themed prom for teens & parents alike, to attending the square dance club in Tomball. I'm hoping will have the free Schlitterbahn passes again this summer, too. We're DEFINITELY planning on getting some of those. (We've enjoyed those free passes for the past two summers, and are crossing our fingers to get them again).

It's also time to round up the curriculum pieces and book lists for our summer school. We're not taking the summer off - I'm too mean for that Not to mention, I hate the whole "I'm bored!" regimen from the  kids - so we'll just completely skip that and go straight to school work. 

We have a couple of friends with swimming pools, too - so we'll plan a few swim dates and take over hot dogs & stuff to cook out with... and I know the kids have mentioned roller skating at Sk8 Town, and I'm hoping for some bowling coupons from Tomball Bowl or AMF Bowling. Between all of that, it really should be a fun and busy summer (and somewhat cheap is the plan!).

We need to get Trae his drivers license and a job... Jessica would  probably like to take Drivers Ed, too - but I'm thinking I might as well let her wait until she's 18. She currently works two days a month, and makes $100 for those two days (clerical work). Trae has a 4 week pet sitting job that will pay $200 total, but is still looking for a "real" job. I'm thinking I might run him into Magnolia & see if any of the vets or pet boarding clinics need someone for feeding, cleaning cages, and walking & playing with the animals. Those things are right up his  alley, and he'd definitely enjoy that sort of job.

Well, it's after 10:00, and I'm pretty much rambling while I wait for this movie to finish playing... hope everyone's had a fabulous day! Good night!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vicki attended the Band Banquet at Magnolia West this past weekend - she and Gage had an absolutely enjoyable evening...

Victoria's sporting a lovely dress (don't remember the pattern number, but it's a simplicity pattern) - I managed to get it sewn the day of the banquet - and talk about pushing the time limit! (I might mention the fact that simplicity really FAILED on this pattern - it's NOT as simple as it could be... I'll be making some revisions - including adding a zipper! It's a very fitted dress, and the only way in or out is over the head... Yikes!)

We attended a homeschool sale yesterday, and we took LOTS of curriculum & workbooks to help clean out our shelves for the next school year... but found to our dismay that people were summer shopping, not school year shopping. We brought home nearly everything we took with us. I'm hoping to get it inventoried over the next few days and post stuff up on vegsource, ebay, and - we have entirely more textbooks and workbooks than any co-op needs, much less a family! LOL

I don't remember if I posted about hitting the auction barn last week to see about getting a calf or two to replace Lucy... talk about a place of chaos! It was insane! I think we're going to hit the local ads, craigslist, etc, to find calves. It's got to be easier than the auction barn. The auctioneer would be taking bids on a cow, they'd send that one through and another one would be in the pen, and a third one would be coming in while he finished up the first. How is a person supposed to figure out what they're bidding on? Good gravy!

Last night was Sit & Stitch - I definitely enjoy Tuesday evenings. It's so much fun to spend time with friends... I told the story of our Colorado trip from a few years ago, and had the ladies laughing... I'll have to put that in print on here one of these days. It's definitely entertaining!

I've been informed that it's time to make more coffee... and I haven't even finished my first cup, OR my homemade biscuits that are sitting here getting colder on my plate. I did manage to get today's school work printed and handed out to everyone... that's an accomplishment, right?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

busy as usual!

Yes, I do realize that it's been about a month since I last checked in... but  you know how crazy things can get for me.

We did pick up Lucy from the butcher, and I must say that it's the sweetest beef that I've ever tasted! I'm thinking that the whole "you are what you eat" phrase might be on to something... with the amount of donuts, eclairs, breads, pineapple, and pumpkins that Lucy ate, those could be a contributing factor to how sweet her meat is. We're hoping to head to the auction barn tomorrow and pick up a new calf or two. I know Brittani would definitely like for us to - she's been harassing us to get her a new baby... she's naming this one Chuckie - like chuck roast, ground chuck, or that horrible evil doll that no one will mind if we kill LOL

We managed to rehome 5 ducks that were rescued from a small backyard in Sugarland and taken to Fortuna's Garden & Sanctuary - but the current ducks/geese at Fortune's weren't giving the new ducks much pond time. We took those ducks over to Teen Challenge, where there's a HUGE pond with NO ducks - so now there are HAPPY ducks there!

We've also been plucking perch & turtles out of the Teen Challenge pond - we've been putting the turtles in our pond, and the perch in Fortuna's pond... we've moved at least 200 perch so far. It's totally nifty!

We picked up a HUGE quantity (2 pick up load fulls) of workbooks & textbooks from the english department at one of the junior high schools in the area - and we'll be taking the majority of them to a homeschool curriculum sale next week - I figure if I sell most of it for $1 each, it'll make up for some of the gas that we use in our Resourceful Recycling adventures, and still be a huge blessing to the homeschool families in need of the books. It's a win-win situation - they save money, and we have money to continue on our endeavors. (Of course, I actually had my living room cleaned until we brought the books home, and now you're hard pressed to find a place to sit - I definitely can't WAIT for the sale!)

Brittani & Zachary have both had their birthdays since the last time I posted - and I came to the realization that for 7 months of next year I'll have a total of FIVE teenagers. They'll be 13 to 19 years old. Can you believe? I'm totally floored. Holy smokes!

Trae's still job hunting - not very successfully... I still find that the marine recruiter is a dimwitted buffoon - trying to catch up with him has been a pain in my rear, and I have GOT to get Trae's birth certificate back from him. It irritates the fire out of me that this whole "single testicle" thing is sufficient to keep the military from even considering you for recruitment. Seriously? Like a person can't shoot straight if their sack is lopsided? Absolutely & completely stupid. I'd love to know what ladder to climb to get him considered... he'd make a good grunt. Follow orders well and doesn't deviate - we've trained him well :-)

We're winding down this school year, but I'll be doing summer school with the two  youngest this year. A friend of mine teaches 7th grade, and her school is adopting a new curriculum next year, so we're going to give the curriculum a "dry run" this summer with actual students - she'll teach language arts, and I'll teach math (which she wants to re-learn so that she can help her students when they ask for it). We already completed our Texas History curriculum, so that's done, which leaves only 7th grade science to do. Zach & Britt will be able to start 8th grade together next year - pretty nifty!

I need to get some pictures loaded on here - everything from fishing to delivering a port-a-potty to knitting a dishcloth (new for me pattern) has gone on over the last few weeks - and some of it's definitely worth seeing :-)

Hope everyone is doing fabulous!!