Friday, August 31



2005 Texas Chardonnay by LLano Estacado

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, August 30

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

I love life here in Texas. Life is different but it's good. However, I do really miss my weekly trips to to the farmer's market - the baskets full of fruits and vegetables, bunches of flowers, clams caught fresh that morning! I'm looking for a farmer's market (less that an hour away) here as well as (I'm really hoping!) a CSA to join.

In the mean time, I've found a greengrocer. It's not exactly the same but sometimes there are little treasures to be found. This week it was heirloom tomatoes. I love the way they look in the wooden bowl. The boys think they look like marbles or bouncy balls! (especially the green one with the purple star. That one reminds them of something that should be in Harry Potter!)

Tonight these will make their way in to a salad of mixed greens, haricots vert, baby cucumbers and whatever else I can come up with.

Wednesday, August 29


Sewing Mishap

I've been working on a few new projects, however nothing that I can really share right now. (soon though!) This one was a little experiment that went awry. Mistakes made.. lessons learned.. the next time it should work perfectly (let's hope!)

Sorry for less than stellar quality in my photos these past few days. I tried formatting my images a little differently. Another lesson learned - I won't do that again!

Tuesday, August 28

Library Day

Library Books

This week I made the trip to the library alone. Now that the boys are back in school, we will need to adjust our family library trip schedule.

Our borrowed book basket is overflowing and has spilled out on to the floor in front of the bookcases. We love to bring home the books - so full of wonder and excitement, but we are always so reluctant to bring them back. Even though it was just me borrowing books this week, I still managed to add quite a few titles to the stacks.

A few highlights:

- Another cookbook by Ina Garten (her recipes never fail to deliver)
- The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (the 1972 version - I grew up with the cookbook and I just love some of the recipes in it)
- Another by Elisha Cooper who is very quickly becoming a favorite of ours. I LOVE his watercolor illustrations!
- A book of paintings by Frank Reaugh discovered quite by accident.

There are more (can you believe it!). An audiobook, a couple of books on embroidery, and a Christmas cookie cookbook (it's coming- fast!) among them.

What are you bringing home from your library?

Monday, August 27

First Day of School

First Day of School

Today marks the first day of school for the boys. This is especially exciting since they are starting a new school. The bus comes about an hour earlier than we have been used to so that will take a little adjustment. The boys are early risers anyway so I don't image it will be that difficult for them.

They were bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning! -anxious to meet their teachers and new classmates. Poor Topher was so loaded down with school spplies, I thought he might topple over. He made it alright, though.

They all had a great day. They like their teachers and the school and have already made some new friends. We are off to a great start!

Coming Home Again

....and now we are off to have an afterschool snack!

Sunday, August 26

North Texas State Fair

At the Fair

This weekend we went to the North Texas State Fair. It was very small compared to what we are used to - which was a bit surprising considering how big Texas really is. None the less, we had a really great time. Here are a few of my favorite photos of the day.


Longhorn waiting to be shown


Boots (on the family behind us)

Sunset over the arena




Ferris Wheel

Ferris wheel and full moon

The Sweet Spot

The Sweet Spot (buying cotton candy!)

It's not Summer with out the Fair!

Friday, August 24

Sport Cuts

Sport Clips

The back to school countdown continues. Today we went for haircuts. We went to a sports themed "hair salon" that is only for men and boys. What a difference that made! No complaints, no fights, no bribes needed. All three boys very happily went in for their cut. That made for a very happy mom! (And their haircuts looked great, too. Always important)

Thursday, August 23

School Supplies

School Supplies

We are getting ready to go back to school. I got the boys registered at their new school earlier this week so today was spent shopping for school supplies. This is something new for us. Up until now, the only thing the boys have needed was an (optional) homework folder. Everything else was provided. Now we have lists - very long - very detailed lists. Specific brands, specific sizes, specifis colors. Four stores and over $300 (!) dollars later, I think we are done. Now to label it all.

Wednesday, August 22

Peter Rabbit


We have had an unexpected visitor at the back door lately. Our new little friend likes to sit just a few steps away from the back door late in the afternoon. I love to see him (or more likely, her) out there and the boys get such a kick out of him. A few nights ago, he came right up to the door and peeked in the window at us! Probably in response to all the peeking out at him that we are doing!

Tuesday, August 21

It's Library Day


This week's library haul was a big one! We've got books by Roald Dahl and books about Roald Dahl. Books on drawing cartoons and comics as well as some Calvin and Hobbes for reference (and laughs!). We picked out books on home decorating and home maintenance, a favorite but not-yet-owned cookbook, and a book about watercolor painting.

The Runaway Dinner caught our attention after seeing it here. I am LOVING the illustrations in this one and this one. This author is a favorite of ours and at least one of his books makes it's way home with us each trip.

We also rescued a picture book of New England from the discard shelf. It's full of so many wonderful places that are so special to us. Then there was a magazine in the swap bin that we I just had to have.

There were more. Our arms were fully loaded. There were probably just as many that we left behind for another trip, too. I've decided to keep a little notebook of books that I want to look for, books that I take out, and books that I'd like to take out again. I think I may also need to make a heavy duty library tote (or two).

Monday, August 20



My parents flew in on Thursday for an extended weekend visit. They are our first house guests in our new home! The boys and I drove to the airport (a scary prospect but it turned out to be quite simple) and met their plane. We were all so excited to see each other. Topher could hardly contain his excitement long enough for Grandmom and Grandpa to make their way around the security glass.

Our weekend was a wonderful one. We spent a lot of time just relaxing - reading books, playing games, hanging out. We did some exploring, a little shopping, and whole lot of eating. We drank wine, and made margaritas and mojitos. (though not on the same night!) We showed Grandmom and Grandpa where our new school is, where we buy groceries and where the playground is. (to make it easier for them to picture us doing these things)

The days went quickly and we drove back to the airport this morning.

Now I am left with an extra load of laundry and the anticipation of our next visit.

Saturday, August 11

101 Things in 1001 Days

This is another project that I've seen on quite a few blogs. I've actually seen it here and there for quite a long while now but never really paid much attention. Thinking of 101 things to do just seemed like too much trouble! However, I ran across it again recently and couldn't stop thinking about it. I spent way too much time and stayed up way too late and made obsessed over my list.

I seem to be on a little journey of self exploration lately.

My particular "101 Things in 1001 Days" runs Saturday August 11, 2007 thru Friday May 7, 2010. I want to document my progress as I go along so I'm going to try to make regular updates - probably once a month. Wish me luck!

1. Find a Pediatric Ophthalmologist for Topher
2. Read 5 books that I haven’t already from the “100 Best Novels” list
3. Join a book club
4. Take a class
5. Learn to use my old manual camera
6. Write in my journal at least once a week
7. Read the newspaper the same day it comes every day for a week
8. Write a letter a week to friends or family for at least 3 months
9. Read 5 books on my bookshelf that I have not yet read
10. Get a really good dictionary
11. Correspond (phone, email, post) with Alison at least every other week
12. Have the boys write 2 letters a month
13. Learn about 10 plants native to Texas
14. Keep a gratitude/happiness journal and have the boys start one too
15. No TV for a week
16. No TV before 7pm during the week for a month
17. Go to bed by 11pm every week night for a month
18. Discover a new to me musician that I enjoy and is out side of my normal listening style
19. Make a household budget
20. Stick to a budget for at least 6 months
21. Put $2 a week (143 weeks) in my jar
22. Sell something that I have made
23. Print business cards
24. Design labels
25. Purchase bakery boxes
26. Look in to a Flickr Pro account
27. Make a will
28. Roll over Savings Bonds
29. Develop all misc rolls of film
30. Clean out e-mail inbox (don’t use it as a filing system)
31. Organize my iphotos
32. Organize my print photos
33. Organize yarn and fabric stash
34. Organize the pantry
35. Unpack all moving boxes currently in the house
36. Go through my clothes and get rid on anything I don’t, won’t or shouldn’t wear
37. Send Christmas cards out on time in 2007
38. In 2008
39. And in 2009
40. Create a “Household Notebook”
41. Create a habit by following Flylady for 2 months
42. Use the “green bags” for grocery shopping
43. Buy the book “Exploring Dallas with Children” or something similar
44. Visit 5 places from the book
45. Find a babysitter
46. Have “Date Night” with Chris once a month
47. Find a church home
48. Become active in the church
49. Read a book about the Alamo with the boys
50. Take the boys to the Alamo
51. Make plans to visit a Dude Ranch with the boys
52. Do an activity from “Family Fun” magazine with the boys each month
53. Take the boys to the Dr Pepper factory
54. Go to the rodeo
55. Go to a Texas Rangers game
56. Go to a Dallas Cowboys game
57. Visit a winery
58. Get a bike
59. Go on a bike hike with the boys
60. Fly kites with the boys
61. Have sofa shampooed
62. Refurbish kitchen chairs (sand? paint?)
63. Get a new (bigger) kitchen table
64. Recover seats on Grandpa’s chairs
65. Make a compost area
66. Keep a houseplant alive for 6 months or more
67. Buy fresh flowers for the table once a week for 2 months
68. Get a physical
69. Find a dentist
70. Take a yoga class
71. Find a new Weight Watcher’s meeting
72. Get down to my goal weight
73. Exercise 3-5 days a week for 3 months
74. Take a multivitamin everyday for 1 month
75. Touch my toes with out bending my knees
76. Participate in a 5K walk
77. Take tennis lessons
78. Give blood
79. Ride a mechanical bull
80. Plant an herb garden
81. Get a bikini wax
82. Use a whole package of Crest White Strips
83. Buy cowboy boots
84. Have a fondue night
85. Host a cookie exchange
86. Find a local farmers market
87. Try prickly pear cactus jelly
88. Learn to make really great ribs
89. Make my own lemoncello
90. Make a new sourdough starter
91. Make jam again
92. Make croissants
93. Make homemade corn tortillas
94. Make homemade flour tortillas
95. Learn to crochet
96. Make myself 6 skirts
97. Make pajama pants for the boys
98. Finish knitting socks for Edmund
99. Finish lace shawl
100. Make a quilt
101. Paint a watercolor to hang in my home

Friday, August 10

G is for....


I love to play games. We played a lot of games as a family when I was growing up and I have such fond memories of those times. I really enjoy board games and card games. Chris is partial to board games. And the boys being the ages that they are, are really getting in to video games. Board games just don't have the same excitement, apparently.

I'm pretty strict about when, what type, and how often they can play which isn't really "fair" (but I'm the mom!) so when they do play, it's a real treat. They have recently gotten in to playing Harry Potter on my computer. When one is playing, the other 2 hover around to share the excitement (and stretch their game time). I think, for them, watching is almost as good as playing. I love watching them play. They move their whole bodies with the game - completely caught up in the action.

I, on the other hand, get my thrills from a "boring" game of Scrabble or Rummy.

Thursday, August 9

Pay It Forward

The "Pay it Forward Swap" is really making it's way through the blogs right now. I discovered this little swap on Jenna's blog: corgipants (that name just makes me giggle!). I haven't been doing swaps for sometime now but this one seemed like a fun (little) one to do. If you'd like to do it too, here's how it works.

I will send a handmade gift to the first three (3) people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don't know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

Blogger doesn't give me your email address when you leave a comment so please make sure that I can somehow get in contact with you to get your mailing information. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 8

F is for....


Since we moved, manners seem to have gone out the window and every day courtesies have pretty much been forgotten. This has lead to some arguing, some fighting, (a little yelling) and a whole lot of frustration.

It's time to take control and get things back under control before chaos completely takes over. I pulled this book off my shelf and made some lists. We're starting with Rules for Being a Good Housemate which includes things like:

~ Pick up what you leave around the house
~ Hang up your towel
~ Say "Please", "Thank you", "You're welcome", and "Excuse me"
~ Put the toilet seat down
~ If you break something, take responsibility
~ Don't contradict
~ Use inside voices

There are more. The list is actually quite long but these rules are nothing new to the boys. They just need a few reminders and a little refresher course.

The next chapter we'll tackle is on table manners.

Tuesday, August 7

Library Day


Armed with a car navigational system (affectionately known as "the Voice") and plenty of free time, the boys and I set off today to find our local library. Easy Peasy, puddin' pie.

We couldn't help comparing our new library to our old library. A trip to the library is a favorite outing of ours.

New library has better parking
Old library is bigger
New library has an easier to use computer system
Old library has games on their computers
New library flows from the childrens' dept. right in to the adult books (great for Mom!)
New library has big overstuffed chairs for sitting and reading and getting lost in the story
New library has "cooler" library cards (apparently very important to the boys!)
New library doesn't charge overdue fines (this will save us loads!)

(New library wins)

We explored... found books... put books back... found books... read books... found more books... put books back...
Then we were ready for a snack. We decided which books would be lucky enough to come home with us and presented them to the librarian (along with our brand new library cards!).

The afternoon was spent reading quietly, reading aloud, sharing interesting facts and swapping books back and forth. Lists are already being made of books to look for on our next trip.

Monday, August 6

E is for....


I've never really been one of those people that loves exercise. I played sports in school. That was ok. But that wasn't exercise - that was sports. I also enjoy being active with my family - doing things like hiking, swimming, skiing, etc - but that's not exericse either. That's recreation.

Exercise has always meant things gyms and Jazzercise and spandex and big sweaty guys and thin bouncy girls. I don't "do" that.

Something has changed in me, though. Earlier this year, I decided that I really needed to make some changes and the only way I could do that (aside from plastic surgery-another thing I won't do) was to exercise. I did some research, bought some hand weights and DVDs and scheduled it on my calendar (harder to avoid it when it's written in ink!) I started slow - 1 day of exercise followed by 2 days of "rest". I gradually worked up to 5 days of exercise and 2 days of (legitimate) rest. I actually looked forward to it each day!

I haven't exercised in over a month because of the move. I realized just the other day that I was really missing it, too. It turns out that I am one of those people that loves exercise. It was just a matter of finding the right fit for me.

Sunday, August 5

D is for....


When I was a little girl, I would dream of being a crossing guard or maybe a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. As I got a little older, my dreams turned to things like being an oceanographer and marrying a soldier (or perhaps a cowboy). Those dreams then gave way to dreaming of a job with National Geographic and studying glaciers.

Now I dream of things like children who tidy their rooms with out complaint, finding a good babysitter for date night, and having a home that is warm and inviting. I have some bigger dreams, too. I dream of going to Paris, of seeing the Giant Redwoods and maybe even going back to school. I have some silly dreams too. I dream of driving a Zamboni, touching my toes with out bending my knees and wearing one of those big headdresses that the showgirls wear.

Today I dream of a lazy Sunday afternoon...

Saturday, August 4

C is for....


We went shopping today and I came home with a new car! We sold my old car just before we moved and I have been without ever since (about a month). At first, it really wasn't too bad but as time went on, it became more and more difficult. After a lot of research, we finally found the car I wanted at the price Chris wanted.

I took drivers ed. in highschool at around age 15 but didn't get my license until 17 or 18. I had no interest in driving. I told my parents I would just ride my bike everywhere and they told me this was unrealistic. My mom dragged me down to the DMV to take the test.

I have no problems getting in the car and driving where ever I need to go - short distance, long distance, highways, back roads... However, when given a choice, I am still perfectly content to ride in the passengers seat.

After being with out a car for a month (and not really driving at all during that time) I am excited to be behind the wheel again. The kids and I plan on exploring our new town this week. We have a little list of places to find. First stop - the library!

Thursday, August 2

B is for....


When I was in high school, I dreamed of going to Johnson and Wales and becoming a pastry chef. I've always thought it would be wonderful to have a bakery! However, for a wide variety of reasons I chose to follow another path. Baking is still a passion of mine, though.

I've just been itching to break in my new kitchen with a few treats from the oven. Last week it was fudgy brownies and lemon scones. The scones were such a hit, I had to make another batch this week. (Some of which went to work with Chris). These are cinnamon raisins scones - with golden raisins, if you please.

Next up? Maybe this or this (with a glass or two of wine) or even this favorite of ours or maybe something else. I'm not sure yet.

Wednesday, August 1

A is for....


I bought this pot of Angelonia at the garden center and immediately became smitten with it. The little flowers are so sweet and they smell wonderful, too! I decided to plant a couple of mixed pots for the front of my house using the Angelonia as a focal point.

I've added a red Egyptian Starflower and a blue-ish purple ScaƩvola. I'd like to add something else, but I'm not sure what that should be. The pots look great as they are, though. They really help make the front of the house look homey and inviting.

I'm taking part in this project that I stumbled upon here.