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!

Ready for Winter

My succulents are going to have a great time this winter in their new greenhouse!  They'll have to share the space with a few bougainvilleas and hibiscus, but it was bought with them in mind.  You might notice that we're in two different yards.  My husband got mine up so fast that I didn't get any pictures.  My Neighbor Friend also bought the same thing, so once we were done with mine, we went across the street to put hers together.  I also got pictures to share.

 It arrived last week in a box like this...
All laid out...
She had to do an impromtu mowing session once we chose the spot for hers.

My Neighbor Friend and me in mine....
It's up and in it's new home! 

This weekend I'll start putting the shelves in mine so that I'll be prepared for getting them in.  They're all loving the cooler weather, so I can't likely put them in right now.  The bougainvilleas are blooming again, so there's no way I'm putting them up.  I'm thinking it won't be until December that everything goes in, but at least I can put some things away.  My husband is excited and was more than willing to put it up for me if it means keeping his garage plant free for the winter.  It gets a little dangerous, especially before I cut the bougainvilleas back...they're awful spikey!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cactus Monday...Donkey Ear Madness

I'm sharing my Donkey Ear today...I can't remember the scientific name at the moment, and I'm really too tired to search for it.  She's been loving the cooler (this term is used lightly) weather and is getting ready to bloom. 

A few nights recently it's gotten really close to 45 degrees and she gets a little testy with anything below that, so she's been spending the nights in the living room.  If you look closely, you can see a few little plantlets on the edges of the larger leaves.  I'm looking forward to the red blooms and will share those whenever they make their grand appearance!

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