Monday, June 29, 2009


Like I mentioned a while back, every Mom needs a little down time! I planned a little weekend trip to Texas and invited my Bunko group! We had a free stay at my brother-in-law's house while they were gone being teachers at Camp Bluehaven - thanks Ken! We had no need for music or movies - we had conversation a plenty! Had a great time eating at Babe's Chicken and shopping IKEA in Dallas area, then on down to Fredericksburg to Wildseed Farms, lunch at Peach Tree, plenty of shopping, and watched the "bat emergence" at Old Tunnel Wildlife Area. Drove over to Round Rock for Sunday morning service, then ate more good food at Chuy's and shopping the outlet mall there. We capped off the weekend at a dirty Dairy Queen in Itasca and reminisced about DQ growing up. It was a lot of fun! You're never too old for a Girls' Roadtrip!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This is how my husband's Father's Day started out...going to church Sunday, the garage door messed up and wouldn't go down. So everyone has to get out of the car and try to fix it in Sunday clothes, of course! I have to say my husband handled it beautifully and should be nominated for a Father's Day Award. He didn't fix the garage door, but he got it down without ruining his clothes, hurting anyone, or blowing a fuse, even though it was a frustrating moment. He even got us to church on time. I love it when life gives us lemons and he makes lemonade - what a great Father!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I can't believe all the broken arms we've been through and we've never gotten one of these before. It's excellent! DT can swim and take showers easily with this on. I had heard of them but never ordered one...they're about $40 with shipping. We ordered it through and they were really fast! We'll be done with it mid-July, so if anyone needs to borrow it....well, hopefully not. See the website for measurements if you need a small, half-arm one.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So, for about 7 years I've been wanting a booth or banquette for this nook in our dining room! I'm so excited that we finally got it! With our kitchen remodeling in 2000 came a support wall, which made it hard to find a table and rug to fit this space. Anyway, I thought a banquette would fit the bill, and I think it looks great. I now have additional storage in the benches as well. My daughter made the cushions for it. Thanks Greg, for the carpentry work and Dee for the cushions!

P.S. On the before pic we had already moved the aquarium, but it used to sit behind the table on an extremely ugly black stand!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Recently I bought this kit at TJ MAXX on the sale aisle for $3! Sounds like a fun activity with the kids, right? It had all the ingredients, except for the cream, and more information about truffles than I ever cared to know. Did you know the original chocolate truffle resembled the truffle fungus which grows at the base of trees? As you can see they encourage a "hands on" process which is closer to the original process. Personally, I think a toothpick or spoon would've been easier. Oh, and forget about it being a family activity - the kids steered clear of me on this project...except to take pictures!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


One thing my Momma did right was make my sister and I cook once a week (and clean too, unfortunately) so I require it of my kids in the summer. Some need more help than others, but that's fine. D made a recipe for EMERIL'S CHILI MAC after being inspired by watching an old rerun of "Jon & Kate + 8" where Emeril comes to visit. It was good, however, don't make the full recipe or you'll be eating it for days!!!! We halved the recipe and it made a 13 x 9 pan, which was plenty for our family! I also used regular oregano and chili powder. Here's the recipe:

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, courtesy Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

Now this is a scrumptious casserole. It is super simple and, best of all, it's a huge pan of bowl-you-over goodness that will feed the entire family…and then some!
Prep time 10 minutes; Cook time 40 minutes; Total time 55 minutes
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 medium onions small diced, about 3 cups
2 jalapenos, stemmed and minced, optional
1 tablespoon salt, plus more for pasta cooking water
2 pounds extra lean ground beef
5 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (28 ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, broken with your hands, with juices
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1 pound elbow macaroni
1 pound medium cheddar cheese
Sour cream for serving, if desired
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a 6-quart soup pot. Add onions, jalapenos (if desired), and 2 teaspoons of the salt and cook until soft, 2 minutes. Add ground beef, chili powder, oregano, and garlic and cook, breaking up any clumps of meat with a spoon, for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, beans, and ½ cup of water, stir, and bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until thickened to chili consistency, about 20 minutes. Taste and add 1 more teaspoon salt, if needed.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
While the chili is simmering, cook macaroni according to package directions in boiling salted water, drain in a colander, rinse under cool running water and set aside. Grate cheddar cheese and set aside.
Place a 9 x 13.5-inch or other 3-quart casserole dish on a baking sheet. Once chili has finished cooking, fold in the cooked macaroni and 1/3 of the cheddar cheese. Transfer chili-mac to the baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake until heated through and cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve each portion garnished with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
Yield: 6 to 8 serving

Monday, June 8, 2009


Here we are at one of the Nashville landmarks - the Loveless Cafe! Known for their ham and biscuits and country cookin', we ate here Saturday while we were there for the weekend. This year we are not really vacationing. We did a "big" trip last summer and already have some big things planned in 2010. So we are doing the wedding/vacation plan. Two weddings in Nashville this summer so we are taking some time after the weddings to see some sights in Tennessee. Got to spend some time with Dan's twin brother and their family and listen to him preach Sunday before we came back home. Thanks, guys, for our almost free mini vacation!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Messy faces, that is. Was inspired by my friend Elizabeth with those adorable messy baby eating pics to show you one of mine - for some reason our "baby" always gets caught with ice cream all over his face or something. Now I think I know where that phrase comes from - A FACE ONLY A MOTHER COULD LOVE!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I don't usually go around recommending books, but these two are wonderful! Am I the One? by James R. Lucas could just keep your teenage son or daughter from making one of the biggest mistakes of their life. With chapters like "Twelve Lousy Reasons to Get Married," it's an easy read. Recommended by my friend Lori, both my daughter and I think it's beneficial. Same Kind of Different As Me, by Ron Hall & Denver Moore is compelling, and a tear jerker. An incredible TRUE story about a modern-day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who brought them together. Happened in Fort Worth, Texas. I will be checking them both in at the local library, so reserve them today!