Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Plants

I must have been going through withdrawals!  My husband and I were at Home Depot on Sunday looking for a specific battery.  While there, I thought it'd be a great idea to see if they had those frost covers for my succulent pot that isn't able to be moved.  We conveniently walked past where they keep their little collection of succulents and I found another Senecio Medley woodii!  Mine didn't appreciate the temperatures this past summer and died, so now can try again.  I like the way it looks like the leaves are covered with cobwebs.

Senecio Medley woodii
Then we were on our way to the register and I found these.  My co-worker has one and I thought I needed one to, so I'm sure it was sitting there waiting for me to take it home with me.

'White Anne' Fittonia argyroneura
And this one.

'Red Angel' Fittonia argyronerua

And this one...I really like her, she's fuzzy and very soft!  The purple is nice too.

'Purple Passion' Gynura aurantiaca
That was that for that trip.  Tonight we made a trip to HEB to get everything for his last hunting weekend.  It wasn't until we were standing in the express line that I saw these.  They look a little abused, but they were only $1 each and I really wanted Tulips.  One is red and the other is purple.  My husband's response?  I think he growled at me, followed by rolling his eyes and muttering under his breath.  You think he'd learn by now that if there is a plant to be found, I'm going to find it.  I don't have the first clue what to do with Tulips except that I read a book once by Robin Jones Gunn about two friends in the Netherlands I think it was, and ever since I've wanted them.   I'll research them when I'm done here, for now they're just fine on my cluttered table. 

That's it for this week.  I just thought of something, I read some book blogs that do weekly memes on what books arrived in their mailboxes that week...we need one to discuss what plants made it to our houses! 


Monday, December 27, 2010

Readying for a New Year

I'm not much for New Year's Resolutions.  It's not that I don't like the idea of committment, but New Year's Resolutions are notoriously broken, and I personally feel it's a waste of time.  I do like challenges though, and think I'm up to a few.  This past year, the only thing I stuck to was reading my Bible in a year plan.  While I'm a bit behind, I'll be caught up by the end of the week.  I used Max Lucado's Grace for the Moment Bible, and I think I'm going to go through it again this coming year.  The only thing I want to do differently is to read everyday instead of getting behind and having to read several days at once.  With that, here are my goals. 

1.  Read through the Bible...everyday this go round. 

2.  I'm "borrowing" this idea from A Not So Angry Redhead.  She did a post about a brilliant idea of tracking all her plants using index cards.  This was music to my sometime overly anal ears!!  Not only can you categorize them, but you can take the labels and stick them onto the index about cutting down on writing time. 

3.  Same concept, different hobby.  I have wanted to catalogue my books for years now.  I stumbled on this idea from another blog too.  I'm going to subscribe to Library Thing and catalogue my library.  What's so great about this you wonder?  Well, once it's done I'll have access to it on my home computer and on my mobile.  That's huge because now instead of calling home and having one of the girls go in to "look on the second bookcase, about the 3rd/4th shelf and look for this author", I can just pull it up on my phone!  That and my mother will have access to mine and I'll have access to hers...that should cut down on buying duplicates. 

4.  Going to restart the C25K Running Plan again and finish it this time!  Along with that should come some much needed weight loss and toning for this little body of mine.   

5.  Our family does much better with menus, so this year I'm going to go back to putting them on the calendar and maybe, just maybe we'll eat more routinely.  We eat alright, but it's gotten to be really just junk because we're always running from one thing to the next.  That is a sorry excuse, so out comes the menu!

I think this is a good place to start, and I'm pretty confident that I can accomplish all of these early on in the year.  The succulents, plants and books will be ongoing, but I'm looking forward to a bit more organization. 

If you can't tell, I like lists!  I also enjoy research and all of these except the running involve research.  I like facts and facts are best kept organized so that they can be shared with others.


Cactus Monday - Of the Fuzzy Variety

It's cold here and everything is protesting...namely my 'Mother of Millions' and other non-fuzzy Kalanchoes...grrr!  On a brighter note, I thought I'd share two of my favorite fuzzies from warmer days. 

The first one I'm not sure what it is, but I really like it.  It reminds me of the Echeveria 'Plush Plant' below it, but it's got much bigger leaves and larger/woodier stalks. 

Not sure what it is, but she's quite lovely
Echeveria 'Plush Plant'

Stop by Teri's Painted Daisies to join in.  Happy Cactus Monday!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After

Yesterday was a treat!  Normally, it's just the four of us for holidays and Christmas is always a little boring in my opinion.  Once the presents are opened, there's a lull the rest of the day.  Our neighbor friends spent the day with us this year, from the opening of presents all the way through almost 8 p.m.!  That was definitely a change from our normal routine and we had a blast!  After presents, we convinced the guys to play Pictionary with us on the Wii (bullied them is more like it, but they had fun) and that is definitely a keeper!! Daughter #2 got the Wii UDraw Tablet and Pictionary for Christmas, and we all had fun playing it.  I haven't played Pictionary since we've been married, but this one will definitely get some us and it's a cinch to get out and put away unlike the traditional game.  The girls also got the guys involved in some Monster Buck hunting again on the Wii...for two guys that didn't want to play games, they sure didn't act like it! 

When the guys took over the tv again, Amy brought out the sugar cookie dough she had pre-made and the girls enjoyed cutting out and decorating sugar cookies.  Momma's enjoyed eating them! 

As in past years, the day after Christmas brings thoughts of cleaning out and getting reorganized.  I really enjoyed my days off last week and am not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.  The one great thing is that it's just a four day work week!! 

Thought I'd share one of my favorite gifts from my mother.  She's had it for a while, and I've known I've been getting it for a while.  It's nothing big, but definitely brings out the inner-child in me!

My husband thinks (knows) I'm a certifiable nut now for sure, as do my neighbors!  I wore this thing off and on, more on, all day!  Thanks, Mother!!!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Our 14 Year Old Christmas Present

Fourteen years ago today, we welcomed our firstborn daughter into our family.   They brought her to me on Christmas Day in a stocking.  The nursery nurses were so excited because she actually fit in one!  At 5 lb 9 ou and 18 inches long, she was the tiniest one in the nursery.

We brought her home on Christmas Day, and life hasn't been the same since!  From the time she was old enough to put it together, if anyone would ask her when her birthday was, she'd reply "the day before Jesus' birthday".  Some people think it's a bummer to have a birthday so close to Christmas, but she'll tell you just the opposite.  We've always made today special, just for Christmas presents here on Christmas Eve! 

Today, we had breakfast at IHop with our neighbors who have become close friends to celebrate.  It's always her choice, and she really wanted that chocolate pancake with the whip cream happy face on it.  She ate it the same way she has since she was little...dug out the middle, some things just don't change!  She left with some wonderful gifts and a full belly. 

Happy Birthday, Sweetpea!!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Photo Blankets

After last year's success with the Snapfish calendars, I got a little adventurous this year.  In addition to ordering the calendars again, I put together a photo blanket for my mother and Bob's mother.  My mother got her box today, so I made her open it while I was on the phone with her tonight because I knew she was going to love it and I wanted to her her reaction to it.  I might have children of my own, but I'm still a spoiled brat when it comes to my mother and I like it that way!  One of the many downsides of living so far from my parents is not getting to share holidays and open gifts in person, and seeing the reactions are the best parts.  Now that I think about it, we should have done the whole web cam thing, but I just thought about it...darn! 

So anyways, here's what she just opened.  Bob's mother's is the second one...she's not online so there's no worry of her seeing it early.

They were super simple to order, just pick out the pictures you want on there and how many and then choose the color and you're done!  You can also choose to have a title, but I wasn't too sure about that.  The fleece fabric was a little thinner than what I was expecting, but after handling them several times to show different people, I was happy with them.  They'll be a great year round blanket with my little people always close by!

Merry Christmas!

Outdoor Decorations and Birthday Celebrations

For years, I've been looking for these trees that look like bare limbed trees with white lights for my front yard.  The only problem is that I see them in other people's yards, but never in the stores.  I thought I hit pay dirt this year when they were in the Sears ad, but when I got to the store they were sold out.  I made the decision the next year as soon as the Christmas decorations come out that I would just pay full price...that's obviously the only way I'm going to get them.  Monday night, we took the girls to the mall to shop for each other and I found a similar tree, only with multicolored lights that was 50% off at Sears.  They had two, and at one point both were in my cart, but I was nice and put one back so Daughter #2 could get the presents she'd been eyeing.  I'm so much happier with my little 5' tree that's all colorful!!

I adore the little presents too!  Now, the little tree...well, that one's most likely going to disappear when I pack things up this year.  My husband is a little grinchish when it comes to decorating the outside, hence the lack of decorations.  Daughter #2 found this little tree last year and was determined to put it out with my new one.  She's happy, so I'm happy. 

Daughter #1's birthday is on Friday, my little girl will be 14 years old...not so little anymore!  Having a birthday on Christmas Eve can be a little tricky.  We usually do something right after school lets out for the winter break with her friends and then it's just the four of us for her big day.  This year, I took her and two friends to play Laser Quest and then to her favorite place to eat, Alamo Cafe. Daughter #2 had played before, so it was cute to see her giving the big girls tips on how to play the game.  She beat them all too on the first game! 


This was Round 2 and Daughter #2 was serious this time around!  They were playing with 4 boys and needless to say, they got their tushes beat, but they had a great time running around in attack mode! 


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm a Big Girl!

Mama's Losin' It

Our girls are both pretty spunky, but I have to say that the little one got an extra dose!  Kids can be mean, and Daughter #2 has always been really tiny, except for between 6 and 9 months when she turned into a Pillsbury Dough Baby overnight!  She grew out of that and went back to being itsy bitsy again not long after that...thank heavens!  One day I picked the girls up from daycare and Daughter #2 was quite irritated.  That's not unusual really, but she was only 3 at the time and I was not expecting the conversation that followed my question of, "What happened, Sweetie?" 

Daughter #2:  "Well, we were outside and the big kids kept calling me a baby.  I kept telling them I wasn't a baby, and they kept saying I was small and was too a baby."

Me:  "Sweetheart, you're not a baby.  You're a big girl."

Daughter #2:  "I know.  I told them that."

What I didn't know until a teacher filled me in was that in all of her little form, she yelled, "I'm not a baby, I'm a big girl.  See, I wear big girl panties"  At that moment, she lifted her dress up and added, "See, I'm not a baby!" and showed whoever was arguing with her that she had on big girl panties!  In her three year old logic, the fact that she wore "big girl" panties meant she couldn't possibly be a baby.  She might be little, but in her head I really think that she thinks she's quite big!  

We got a good laugh about it then and seven years later I still laugh when I think about it.  I can see her little face determined that she was not a baby, and she wasn't taking it from anybody.  Too bad I don't have a picture of that!

I chose the "it happened at daycare" prompt from Mama Kat's Weekly Writing Workshop.  Follow the link to choose your own prompt and join in.


Monday, December 13, 2010

This and That

I don't have anything grand for today except that I've decided I'm getting old.  The school called at 1 today to let me know that the little one was in the nurses office not feeling well.  I knew she didn't feel too swift this morning, but I really thought it was just drainage from Mountain Cedar allergies that were bothering her.  Not so.  I picked her up and decided that while she was resting I would make the best use of the time and clean our dirty house.  I took about a  2 1/2 hour break for dinner and driving the oldest to deliver a Christmas tree to one of her best friends, and finished with the wood floors at 9:15.  The kitchen is still lacking, but that's in the middle of a major cleanout, so it is going to remain chaotic for another couple of days.  Why am I getting old?  All I did was clean the house, and my back is burning and I'm exhausted!  I've got one more load to toss in the dryer and then this tired lady is headed to hopefully a very hot bubble bath!  The Dr. Pepper and Advil are helping in the meantime.  So while we gave Shelby a lecture about only coming home when she really needed to, I had to tell my husband that I was glad for the surprise day at home....when else would I have gotten to this mess!

The succulents are all toasty in the greenhouse.  I realized that I needed to move the fan action to the second level so it would push out more heat.  That seems to be making a difference, as the last time I went out it was a "toasty" 50 degrees in there.  I've got to get a rythm down with the whole thing; I can't handle any more plants coming in the house.  Extra plants plus a messy house equals a really grumpy Mandy! 

Best of all, the gifts I ordered for my mother and mother-in-law came in today!!  I'm going to share their gifts, but I'll have to wait until after Christmas since my mother reads this blog regularly.  I wouldn't tell her what I got her, but I did call her to tell her that I got her the absolute best present ever!  I don't like surprises, but I'm going to force myself to keep my mouth shut on this one. Too bad I won't get to see her when she opens them.

Now if only my Christmas cards would get here so I can get them out in the mail.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pickles and Pig Trees

I've read that people hide a pickle ornament in their tree, and then the first child that finds the pickle wins a price.  Not on my tree!  My pickle ornament reminds me of the year that my mother and I were on a pickle kick and separated two 5-gallon buckets of dill pickles into bags for each of us to enjoy over the next couple of months.  My favorite pizza joint, Pizza Italia, used to have the most delicious pickles.  You know, the ones that have the huge seeds in them and are perfectly tart.  We had this brilliant idea this one year to see if they'd sell me the entire 5-gallon bucket, and they did!  When she came in to get the girls that year, we spent an evening in the kitchen chatting and separating pickles.  So, when I found the pickles, I had no idea about any hide-and-seek tradition, just that I remembered our pickle adventure!

Mother and Me..Pickle Adventure June 2003

Pardon the awful wallpaper, shade!  This was back in 2003 (skinny us) and prior to the red taking over the kitchen.  Also pre-digital camera for me, so this was scanned.  I love it though, we had a blast!

Piggy Time!!  Always one to cater to my pig obsession, my mother bought me the cutest little glass pig ornaments one year.  Not sure what to do with them because they were smaller than most of my ornaments, I went in search of a little tree.  I found the perfect one on clearance at Hobby Lobby, and hence the Pig Tree was born!

For years, this has had a special spot in the living room.  The big tree is in my library near the front window.  However, my living room has been invaded by a number of house plants, so I decided to share with my co-workers this year.  One was a little concerned, when I said, "I'll bring my pig tree," when she mentioned we needed a tree.  Once I got it out and lit though, she was hooked.  Another sings, "Oh Piggy Tree, Oh Piggy Tree," every time she passes by.  Add to that my favorite Hippo song and it's bound to be a good day!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Tree and Ornament Memories

I'm a few days behind schedule, but the tree is up and decorated!  I forgot to ask my husband to get it down from the attic before he left to go hunting last weekend.  Not wanting to wait until the weekend, Daughter #2 offered to help me this year and we got it up in record time.  Last night we put it up and tonight we added the lights and ornaments.  I have to say that I'm rather proud of myself this year.  Not for how lovely she looks, but that I relaxed enough to let Daughter #2 help me.  Typically I try to to let the girls help, but I really like it just so and it stresses me out.  This year I had a more laid back approach and I think it came out great!  This is our 13th year with this tree and it's still going strong.  I'd love to get another one that's not so fat, but as Daughter #2 pointed out, "where would we put all our ornaments?"!

A new pig that was added for me this year along with my hippo in honor of  "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" song.  Daughter #2s new sock monkey is peeking out from below.

My only gardening ornament that I absolutely adore given to me by an old friend.

My little girl, we brought these home from when my dad was stationed in Turkey.  Lots of memories come with her and she always gets a spot, front and center. 

I think my favorite part of putting up the tree is finding the perfect place for each of the special memories.  We have old mixed with new in an eclectic combination.  There are the favorites from Bob's childhood that his mother has passed down to him and the homemade ones that the girls have brought home over the years that we handle with care.  Each year, I add new ones for the girls and I'm always on the lookout for new pigs or anything else that catches my attention.  My mother always finds one for the girls that has significance for something they enjoyed that year as well.  This year, Daughter #1 is all about cupcakes and the Texas Longhorns.  Daughter #2 is still loving sock monkeys.  It's too much for one post, so I think over the next couple of weeks I'll share some of our favorite memories with you. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cactus Monday

My friend went to Painting with a Twist (check out their website here) today and brought home this masterpiece created by her.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to share it for Cactus Monday! 

They have locations in several different states and while I haven't gone yet's a very cool place to go.  You pick a picture and then the artist is there to help guide you in painting your own version of it.  While you're working, you can bring wine (they provide the glasses) or Dr. Pepper in my case and munchies.  Girl Time!!

For my own contribution, my Donkey Ear is finally getting some bloom action.  The buds actually droop down first, then the bloom falls out and over a period of days deepens to a darker magenta hue...gorgeous!!  I don't have a picture of the "final" bloom, but this is what it looked like when it first dropped out.  Bear with me, I'm sure next week's post will be more of this beauty!!

Stop by Teri's Painted Daisies to join in the cactus fun!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Plumeria Frost Bite and Puzzles

Whether it was last night or the previous night when then winds knocked my greenhouse around a bit, my Plumeria's were bitten by the frost.  They're in the living room now.  While they're happy to be in the house, I'm not happy about their leaves.  I went out today to move the greenhouse so that it wouldn't be sitting in water when it rains again, and it took me a while to figure out why the leaves looked so dark and icky. 

I could have gotten a better shot of the damage, but I'm being lazy and didn't want to get out of my chair!They're all crumpled and marked.  Hopefully they'll recover quickly come growing season!  When I went out yesterday, the greenhouse had gotten a little twisted from the winds the previous day/night.  I put everything back down, but still need to refill a few pots with dirt.  I figured why not just move it today and reorganize everything.  The Purslane that was exposed due to the movement also has frost burn on parts of her as well...again, not happy!  We're going to tie it down a bit better and I'll look for the halogen lights that my friend is using to add some extra warmth.  Hopefully all this will be done before the next front blows in. 

On a brighter note, Caitlin had a friend over this weekend who enjoys doing puzzles, and she and Shelby made some great progress on a retro bowling puzzle Shelby had started.  The friend eventually had to go home, so we moved the card table and puzzle party to the living room and finished it up. 

This is one of our favorite things to do during the winter when it's too chilly to enjoy being outside.  We have quite a stockpile of puzzles awaiting us, so we'll see how many we get through this winter.  By the time it's over, we'll be puzzled out for a while!


How Well Read are You?

I saw this on A Room Without Books is Empty and thought it was interesting

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Copy this list.
Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
Tag other book nerds.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen*
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott *
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell*
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold*
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Bolded titles, I have read.  The * books are the ones I hope to get to sometime. According to this list, I'm barely eligible to be considered well read.  I've only read 9 of them.  What do they know!  How about you?


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Did you hear the song from Fiddler on the Roof?  If not, go back and read the title again...did you hear it this time?  The song really has nothing to do with this post, but every time I say "tradition", I start singing the song (ok, just the two words) in my it!!

It's just the four of us here in Texas, my family lives in Alabama and his in Ohio.  That being said, holiday's are a little quiet here.  I try and do things that make the girls look forward to the holiday's and one of those things is Monkey Bread.  I found the recipe for a really simple version several years ago, and it was a hit!  Shelby looks forward to it the most; she starts reminding me that I make it weeks before the day gets here.  She also gets up early with me every year to help put it together.  This year I laughed, after I pulled the last biscuit can out of the plastic, Pillsbury has the same recipe on their packaging. 

She hates pictures, but she humored me today!  I had never had Monkey Bread until I found this recipe, and I'm thinking that maybe some of you haven't either.  Just in case, I'll share...

Monkey Bread

4 cans of the Pillsbury biscuits in the blue can
1/2 cup of sugar
lots of cinnamon
1 stick of melted butter
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Cut the biscuits in quarters, roll into a ball and coat .  Then place them in a greased bundt pan (that's what I use anyways).  Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly over the top.  Combine melted butter and brown sugar, pour it over the biscuits and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes and invert onto a plate.

While that was baking, she helped me make the Banana Pudding that I absolutely adore!  No one but me eats it, but I'm well worth it!!

You can tell she's rather particular...they had to be lined up exactly just so!  It came out scrumptious!

After breakfast, it was time for the pies.  When I was growing up, my mother always made Chocolate Pudding Pies and she'd put them in the little individual pie shells.  I saw the Keebler graham cracker individual shells, so my girls got the same treat this year.  Shelby helped with that too and even tried one.  The Ice Cream Pies are Bob's favorite.  Never had I had one of these either until we went to visit his family the first time.  His mom does hers with raspberry Jello, but I abhor anything raspberry, so I usually do black cherry.   This year I tried lime Jello too, and it's my new favorite.  I'll share the recipe for this one also.

Ice Cream Pie

1 baked pie shell (I use frozen)
1/2 of a block of Vanilla ice cream
2 cups boiled water
2 small packages of same flavored Jello (Black Cherry, Cherry and Lime are great)

Add the jello to the boiling water in a large bowl.  Once jello is dissolved, add the ice cream.  Mix until the ice cream is completely blended in.  (a potato masher works great for this step).  Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to thicken up.  I put mine in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.  Pour into the baked/cooled pie shell and put in the refrigerator for a few hours to set.  You'll have extra filling...pour it in a bowl and the kids love that by itself. 

I think the only important thing to remember on the jello flavor is, the stronger the flavor, the more it will come through when combined with the ice cream.  On the ice cream, I buy the generic Walmart brand that comes in a box and it works great. 

Being a firm believer of options, my family of four got to choose from four different dessert flavors this year. A little crazy, but why should we be penalized just because we don't have a huge get together?!

Shelby "marked" her pie, hence the vanilla wafer in the middle of the chocolate!

The turkey was great, Bob and his co-workers smoke them at work each year in one of the guy's  BBQ pits.  That makes my day a little less crazy, and they're the best!  We all ate too much and enjoyed the afternoon watching football and trying to nap!  In addition to the Monkey Bread, up until this year we've always gone to the theater in the afternoon and watched a movie as a family.  This year, no one could agree on the movie so that was bypassed. 

How about you, do you have any special traditions that make the day extra special? 


Monday, November 22, 2010

Photography and a Sugar Cookie Eating Corgi

Our oldest daughter has a passion for photography.  She's been snapping photos for as long as I can remember and more often than naught I'll find odd pictures on my camera that I don't remember taking.  She wanted a way to share her photos with other people and so I suggested a blog.  This evening, she set up Take a Chance...Dream.  I'm not sure what all she has on there tonight, but I'm having a "proud mama" moment and wanted to share.

Said daughter also has a thing for baking.  Usually at the most inconvenient times for me, but she's old enough now to work unsupervised, so it works out.  I think she intentionally waits until I'm half asleep in the chair on a Friday or Saturday night to ask if she can bake keeps me out of the kitchen.  This weekend, she printed out a recipe for sugar cookies and went to work.  They were scrumptious, but thanks to our four legged princess we won't be having anymore.  As the story goes, the girls had the Ziploc bag sealed and on the fireplace while they were Rock Banding it this afternoon.  The little one turns around to see the dog with her snout in a now shredded Ziploc.  It took them several attempts to get the bag and remaining cookies away from her, and the normal laid back princess had them scared!  It seems that she lunged at Miss Bakes-A-Lot twice before they got the bag away from her!  Lunge might have been a bit strong, she probably just showed her teeth!  She also got a good pop on the nose before retreating to her favorite spot under our bed.

Too bad I was at work during all this, it would've made for a good laugh! 


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Texas Moonshine...another book review

It seems like ages since I've posted that I actually finished a book; very unlike me!  At one point over the past two months, I had four books going and that was a bit much.  I put all of them down except for my reading the Bible in a year Bible and Texas Moonshine by Holly L. Morris.  This book was really an enjoyable read.  There are too many characters to tell you that it's about just one, but rather it's more appropriate to say that it is about the small, fictional town of Parkerville, Texas.   It had it all...humor, wit, romance, mystery and suspense; what more could you ask!  The fact that it is Christian fiction made it even better!  I really enjoyed getting to know the characters of this small town and look forward to reading the second book in the series when it's available. 
It's available on Amazon and I don't believe you'll be disappointed!

Happy Reading,

Things One Shouldn't Put Their iPhone Through

Okay, there's really only one.  Saturday morning, I was rudely awaken at 8:19 a.m. by some crazy sales call.  It was rude because this was the first Saturday in months when I didn't have to cart one of the girls around to an early volleyball game, and I was really looking forward to sleeping as late as possible.  Back to the point, at 8:30, I figured rather than stare at the ceiling I'd just get up and enjoy the quiet downstairs.  So, I grabbed a load of laundry, my book, phone, water and made the trip downstairs.  I turned off the alarm, set the book and water down, let the dog out and went straight to the laundry room.  Opened up the washer, tossed everything in and got it going.  While sitting in my chair watching tv, the washer was making a funny noise and I just thought, "Please God, not the washer."  A while later, I was going to head up for a shower so that I could go get the tire replaced from Friday's flat.  I couldn't find my phone and neither of the girls had it, so I started making the rounds trying to figure out where I left it.  It wasn't until I went upstairs and saw the other pile of clothes laying on the floor that I heard the washer noise in my head again and it clicked!  I ran down the stairs, stopped the washer and started moving around wet clothes to find my lovely iPhone at the bottom of the washer soaking wet!!  All I could say was, "Oh no!".  The girls got a kick out of it, my husband was oddly easy about it and I was in shock.  Of course it probably helped that he was up in a deer blind being one with nature, but I think I was equally shocked at his response; very out of character he said, "Call the Apple store and make an appointment.  They'll do a one time replacement and you won't have to pay full price." 

Lesson here...keep the phone away from laundry piles and therefore keeping it out of the washer!  Oh, and don't attempt laundry until fully awake!

I have my new phone, but am still sick about the ridiculous amount of money that trying to get a head start on the day cost me! 

Have a great day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

No Coffee for Me, Please!

I've missed a few weeks, and anything other than a simple list might not make much sense tonight.  With that in mind, I was thrilled to see a list prompt this week on Mama Kat's Weekly Writing Workshop.  I chose the 10 Reasons Why I Don't Drink Coffee prompt. 

1.  I have to admit, I've never even tried the stuff, but the idea of drinking something that looks like sludge repulses me.

2.  I don't remember ever seeing my parents drink it either, so I must not be too far off!

3.  I am a Dr. Pepper addict, through and through!!

4.  When I was pregnant with our first daughter, it made me violently ill to even smell coffee.  My ever patient husband had to take to making his coffee at work for the duration of the pregnancy.  Thirteen years later, it's still one of my least favorite smells...sans the violently ill part!

5.  From my trips to Starbucks with coffee loving friends, it's a little overpriced in my opinion.  I can get almost 24 cans of Dr. Pepper for the price of a grande.  I go for the calorie overloaded vanilla bean thing instead.

6.  Did I mention I'm a DP addict?  The day is just not the same without it!

7.  Other than water, Kool-Aid and sweet tea, it's the only thing I remember drinking as a kid.  Thankfully, my parents weren't like other weirdo parents who served milk at dinner...barf!

8.  I don't like hot drinks, they burn my tongue because I'm a bit impatient.  Hot chocolate gets a thick layer of marshmallows and I'm sure giving the same treatment would be blasphemy in some minds.

9.  Why drink something that I have to add sugar to?  My Dr. Peppers come fully loaded, thank you very much!

10.  Saving the best for last, when I was pregnant with our first daughter, she was breech.  The well meaning doctor made a date for us at the hospital to turn her.  They injected me with some concoction that they said would make me feel like a drank a whole pot of coffee.   I still remember shaking for hours afterwards from whatever it was, and if coffee has anywhere close to an effect like that, thank you, but no thank you!

Mama's Losin' It


Monday, November 15, 2010

Rock 'n Roll Marathon

Tonight it's all about Kim! 

My friend Kim gave me permission to blog about her tonight, she's a great sport...even if I did bail on her this weekend.  Yesterday, was the 3rd Annual San Antonio Rock n' Roll Marathon.  I signed up, but at the end ended up just giving my running number to Kim for her daughter to use.  She was already running with her son, so when I realized that I wasn't going to get to go, it worked out just to let her use my number.  Back to Kim...she's awesome!  She finished the 13.1 miles in right under 3 hours, smoking her daughter who came in at 3 hours 13 minutes.  She very kindly posed for me with her medal and number this afternoon at work.

She's also running in the Dallas Rock 'n Roll in a few months, again with her two adult children.  I've got to get in gear, as it will most definitely take me the whole year to be able to keep up with her next year. 

Go Kim!!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Web Cams and Bell Peppers

On the laptop that my parents gave our oldest daughter there is a web cam built in.  I've given numerous lectures on why she's not allowed to use it unless she's in the living room or kitchen, and she's honored those lectures.  Tonight, she was on the phone with my mother and summoned me and Daughter #2 upstairs.  Guess who was on web chat?  My mother!  I almost cried!!  It was super cool to get to see my mother on the computer screen.  I know that I talk to her every day, sometimes two or three times a day, but this was awesome!  The girls stayed on the computer with her for a while after I walked out.  Watch out, I'm gonna steal the laptop!!

Check it out, Daughter #2's little orange bell peppers are turning orange!  I was wondering when they were going to turn...did we take them off the plant, or did they turn on their own.  Today I found that out..

It's still kind of small compared to the ones that we see in the stores.  Now I have to figure out if they keep growing once they turn orange or if they're done.  I really hope the Guinea Girls like them too!  The red ones that we are growing from seeds of store bought peppers have not produced any actual peppers yet, but they're really growing so we shall see.


Be Careful Little Eyes Who You Read

I was in my favorite bookstore yesterday, and while I was looking through the mystery section, I came across a series that was new to me.  I've found that I really enjoy the Cozy Mysteries that are published by Berkley.  So far, all of them that I've read are really clean with great characters and very little if any filthy language and excessive gore.  I thought it was pretty cool that they had all three books, so I put them in my basket.  I kept looking at them, but thought it was just because the covers were older and it was a new author to me.  Well, I get home and start writing all my titles down in a notebook of all my Cozy Mysteries that I have and that I still needed.  When I got to these, I was flipping through the front and a dedication caught my eye.  It was dedicated to "all my witchy blogging sisters" or something like that.  Whoa.....  I got out my laptop and checked the title out an Amazon.  This lady writes under another name and her bio states that shes a Shamanic witch.  I looked at the other books she writes, and no wonder these were written under another name.  I called my mother because I couldn't believe I'd actually bought something written by a witch.  The books got put back in the bag and in my car in the driveway for the night....they weren't spending another minute in my house. 

I took them back today and got something that I knew was a book written by someone of good character.  Yes, I could have and probably should have burned them, but I didn't.  I also chickened out at the register when I just told them I wasn't going to read them.  I did look at my daughter and tell her I wasn't reading something that I knew a witch had written. 

All this did was confirm why I am so picky about who and what I will read.  Those books were probably just fine and perfectly clean, but not for me, thank you very much!   I never read "dedicated to" pages, but you'd better bet I will now...had I not this time, they'd still be in my house.  So, thank you Jesus for nudging me to read this one!

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wholly Guacamole

I found the coolest thing at Walmart Sunday afternoon that made the perfect companion to the beef faijitas planned for dinner tonight.  Since I'm not always pleased with the avocados I bring home, I generally pick up a package of Wholly Guacamole.  This time I was in for a treat.

Who'd ever think the 100 calorie packaging craze would make it to guacamole!  It's great for me though since I'm the only one in the house who eats it.  This stuff freezes great, so I kept out a package for tonight and tossed the rest in the freezer; no more wasting guacamole for me!

Daughter #2, who has quite a reputation for being a picky eater announced tonight that she's decided to at least try everything I made for dinner.  She thinks that she might actually find something new to like; imagine that!  I'm impressed...last night she tried red fish seasoned with the Weber Beer Can Chicken seasoning and broiled, and then tonight she ate half a beef faijita...we're making progress!

Have a great night!

Cactus Monday - Red Bird Cactus

A few weeks ago, my friend who lives across the street brought me home this lovely little succulent. 

It goes by several names, but my favorites are Red Bird Cactus or Red Slipper Spurge.  I think the scientific name is Pedilanthus tithymaloides, Red Bird is much more pleasant to say!!  It's supposed to bloom little red slipper or bird looking blooms in the summer time...wahoo!!  The depressed looking thing in the back is my Chandelier Plant, she was out of control and so I had to cut her back.  She'll look better come springtime. 


For more Cactus Monday, stop by Teri's Painted Daisies.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Hershey Bar

While I've never been big on Halloween, my husband and kids enjoy the costumes and candy.  Both girls get a kick out of making their own costumes versus the store bought ones.  The last time our oldest wanted to dress up, she walked the streets as a bag of Jelly Bellies. She doesn't dress up anymore, instead she stays at home with her dad and hands out candy.  The little one however is another story!  Hense the Hershey Bar.

She started off with a simple box...

Momma added a bit of spray paint
Followed by some poster paint
...and ended up a Hershey Bar!
She was the hit of the night!

I think this has been her best one yet, and she's already planning next year's costume. 


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Coleus Experiment

After a freak rainstorm went through late summer, I had a bunch of drowned and wilted Coleuses on my hands.  While cutting them back, I thought I'd try and root them.  That worked great, and I now have 4 small pots of them ready to overwinter in the greenhouse.
Last weekend I decided that the pot on the front porch was getting a little out of hand, and since I was encouraged from the first results, I went to cutting!  I think there are maybe 32 cuttings in the glass jars rooting now.  Once they are ready, I'll pot them as well and then put them in the greenhouse.

I put the "mother" plants in little pots; I'm counting on them growing new leaves as well.  If all goes as planned, this rather plain spot will be loaded with gorgeous Coleus leaves!
I still think I'll need to pick up a few that are different colors; I bought these so late in the season that there really wasn't a great selection.  We'll see come Spring...

Have a great night!