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!