Friday, July 29, 2011

Doesn't mind the heat a bit...

Years ago my daughter and I removed the grass from the little strip between our yard and the street - you know, the grass that is hard to keep alive.  It was a chore, believe me.  We waited til school let out for the summer, and in Central Texas, the heat and humidity was already brutal.  I think the neighbors thought we had lost our minds.  It was a labor of love, though, cause here's how it looks today:
Beautiful Lantana. 
I love how it spills out over the sidewalk and curb - so English garden-like.  It's very drought resistant, but there are a couple of sprinkler heads in there, watering it every 3 or 4 days even so.  It will bloom and be absolutely beautiful through the Fall, and when it dies, I just cut it down to the ground, and it comes back the next Spring with a vengeance.  I think it's one of the nicest features of our home from the street, giving us literal "curb-side appeal".
And it makes a nice backdrop for cute teenagers (:

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Things I have to stop putting off

So, I took Scout to band camp, walked for 30 minutes, then came home to eat a bite of breakfast and check e-mail.  That was about 40 minutes ago and here I still sit...with so much to do it boggles my mind.  Maybe that's why I am frozen here, unable to start.  For starters I need to find The Girl...
...a place to live.  
"I've found a lovely university to attend, now I need an apartment! Got any suggestions?"
I also have to get her a student loan, seeing how tuition is due on the 31st.
Nothing like waiting until the last minute, right?
Then there's the matter of this:
The rest of this project I will share at a later time, but suffice it to say, it's not quite finished.  The large paver under the suffering salvia is hiding a huge hole where a post used to be.  I need to get edging installed, topsoil and sod down, and spruce up the red rocks.  And it's a bazillion degrees outside so I am dragging my feet on all I need to do, including laundry and back to school shopping.  
Guess it's time to make a glass of iced coffee and get going.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Outdoor babies

I think of my potted plants as my outdoor babies - after all, they wouldn't survive without me!
This cute little trio lives on the deck.  Notice the red mulch?  I think this keeps them from getting too dried out and looks pretty, too!  I mulch on all my potted plants, especially in the summer.  And I try not to pick plants that require watering everyday - I often forget.  Even so, the ones I have don't seem to suffer too much in this Central Texas heat.
This 'baby" is older than my eldest child - I got it in 1984.  Yes. 1984.  It was much much smaller and in a pot we bought in Nuevo Laredo.  As the years went by I re-potted it over and over as it grew. I think I might re-pot it soon as it's still growing and there's lots of space out here for it.  Gee, I love terra cotta!
My $5 ficus.  Rescued from HEB.  I took pity on it having to be on the deck with the other full sun loving pots and moved it over by the swing under the trees.  It could stand to be pruned, but so far it loves it's new home.  And it makes this little nook more inviting, hiding the cords from the bug zapper.
This started out as some struggling potted plants that I just combined in a container by the front door; airplane plants, pathos ivy, dracena, pony tail plant.  It has a couple of styrofoam blocks under a few inches of soil to keep the pot from being too heavy.  Worked like a charm. I guess it's about three years old now.
Potted plants are such a nice way to add greenery to a home! 

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Our budding photog

I made an inexpensive Kodak photo book for Scout recently with some of his photos that are my favorites:
Most of these he took with my camera which shames me no end...
Really, my photos are terrible....but Scout has a great eye for photography and it shows in his work.  
He loves taking nature shots.
He notices things I don't.  Love the drops of water on this Nandina leaf.
And the combo of colors in these two.
And he must have been quiet and calm to catch these daddy cardinals.
He recently bought a Fuji XP series point and shoot and has been all over the place taking pictures which I will share on the sidebar as he shares with me.  I've been thinking about getting one, too - at $150 on sale at Target it was a good deal for a little camera with a lot of features.  
And maybe he can teach me a thing or two!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My cute bunch - 10 years ago

Summers have been some of the best times with my kiddos - so going through old photo albums in preparation for scanning them all in to my computer, I come across some summer pics that I love.  
This one in particular:
Summer 2001 - Volente Beach

They were 11, 9, 5, and 2.  This was at one of our favorite summer destinations: Volente Beach.  We would pack a cooler with drinks and sammies, grab our towels and sunscreen, and head out to this waterpark on Lake Travis.  Coming home, we'd swing by Wendy's for a frosty, then they would all lay on the den floor and watch a movie while I made dinner.  Makes me nostalgic for the good old, tired mama days...

Monday, July 18, 2011


I took the boys to Dart Bowl last week for some delish burgers and enchiladas, followed by a game or two of bowling.  Bubbie was pretty disgusted that there were no bumpers....but he's 12 and is getting better at it.  No need for bumpers for the big kids!
What he lacks in form he makes up for in energy level!
Ok, both of them could use some pointers...but it was nice and chilly in there, did not smell like an ashtray as many bowling lanes do, and you can't beat the food they serve in their little diner.  And since it has the added benefit of something they can use large muscle groups on and doesn't involve electronics...
I'd say we'll probably go again real soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Homemade popsicles

Last summer I jotted down some popsicle recipes hoping to spot some nifty plastic molds in a thrift store or even the grocery store.  All I ever came across was the super flimsy cheapo ones.  Fast forward to yesterday and look what my thrifty eagle eye spotted at the Big Red Ball:
OK, for 98 cents I will give it a go.  I got a recipe for creamy peanut butter popsicles from Homebody and I made the slight variation of adding a little Nutella:  Boil 1/2 c. water with 1/4 c. sugar for 3 min.  remove from heat and stir in 1/4 c. peanut butter and 1 c. milk.  Freeze til set.
These didn't fit exactly over the bars on the freezer shelf, but they were pretty steady and didn't tip.  I had to run some warm water over them to get them to slide out of the molds, and the creamy peanut butter separated a bit.  I think next time I will freeze the mixture halfway, stir up the slush and and then add to the mold - just to make sure it's a little more homogeneous.
My taste tester enjoyed his and asked that we try the Cafe Au Lait recipe next. (:

Monday, July 11, 2011

The halfway mark of Summer

Rustown Art

Hard to believe, but we are at the halfway mark of summer break here.  There are still a lot of things I want us to do...The last week before school ends up being a wash because we are getting clothes ready and rooms cleaned and things for school purchased , all while trying to finish up bands camps...and there's always a push to go to the pool as often as possible! 
So, with the calendar pointing ever closer to August 22nd, 
here is a partial list of places to go with the free days we have left:

1. Visit Port Aransas and stay here, a block from the beach with our own ocean view deck. Hitting the beach early in the day to play and look for shells, having a sammie at lunch, finding a  fun place to eat dinner, taking a dip in their tiny pool, followed by hot tub and snuggly beds.

2.  Being a tourist in our own town - visiting places like the Bob Bullock Museum, Barton Springs, and Dart Bowl, to name a few...

3.  Spending the day in Waco and visiting Cameron Park Zoo, the Dr. Pepper Museum, and the Texas Rangers Museum.

4.  Going to Brenham to visit my mother and tour the Bluebell Creamery and take her a nice lunch - maybe help her with a few chores...

Now that the boys are back from camping, we can get busy with the second half of summer!  
What does your second half of summer look like?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer thrifting - just a little - to stay busy!

I'm trying to be good and stay out of temptation's way when it comes to thrifting.  Even if something is a good deal it doesn't mean I need to fork over a few dollars and schlepp it home!  But today, while doing errands without the boys I found some treasures at Sally Ann:
Score!  A small Talavera wall planter in mint condition, an IKEA glass jar with lid, and a paperback to read tomorrow - total spent:  $3.50.  Talavera planters this size sell for around $30;
 this one was a whopping $2!
What's not to love about Talavera? - every piece is so colorful and unique.  I think it will live in the kitchen - not sure if I will put anything into it - silk plants would just detract from it's design.  Maybe it will just hang there and be pretty.  Seems like I'm leaning towards more colorful items in the kitchen!
The IKEA jar is about $3 in the store - I paid 50 cents.  It's going to live in my bathroom window for now, with seashells from our vacation to Port A a couple years ago...hmmm...looks like it needs a few more and I so want to take the boys before band camp begins...
I feel like I haven't gotten a lot done this week since they've been at scout camp.  Mostly the odd chore here and there, filing, balancing the house account and paying bills, a couple lunches out, discovering "Glee" on Netflix....but I miss them and our fun summer days and will be so glad to see their tired but happy faces on Sunday.  (:

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Missing them...

Kitty hardly knows what to think.  Her regular person to lay on is not here and in his place is The Girl.  
"Well, I guess this lap will do.  At least the quilt and the light from the TV is the same as always..."
Sugar is used to getting petted more often and having a louder house, so this week will be different for her.  Already I can hear her crying off in the distance, like she thinks we have all abandoned her.   She will have to chillax a little, as I am going to be busy myself and the two big kids will be working.  
And she'll have to grab lap time whenever she can...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hill country zoo trip

Last Wednesday I took the boys to the Capital of Texas Zoo.
Now don't go thinkin' Austin has suddenly gone all metropolitan or anything - it's basically an animal sanctuary out towards Bastrop.  Very rustic. But it was fun to take the boys on what may be one of our last field trips together as they are getting older and less interested in these simple activities...
 See?  Out in the middle of Nowhere, Texas.
 The lion was so sleepy he could barely wake up to look at us, and the tiger didn't bother....
Ever seen a herd of guinea pigs?  Well, now you have.
This deer kept coming up to yell at Scout - probably "Cut your hair!"  There were lots of birds...
This was actually a huge enclosure that you could walk into.  
No thank you for me, but the boys liked it.
I mean, really, birds were everywhere.
Some were very inquisitive!
The Fossa was actually panting....can we get some water over here? 
The Wallaby didn't even look up..
 Most of the domestic animals were very friendly, tho.
I take this red water jug with us on every outing - it saved our hide as it was HOT there, even under the trees.
 See what I mean about the hair?
 We had a nice picnic lunch and met a very friendly peacock.  Did you know that peacocks are LOUD?  There were several on the property, walking around freely and calling out to each other.
It was hot, but it was relaxing and a nice thing to do in the middle of the week.  
Gotta love those Summer field trips!


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