Sunday, October 31, 2010


We crammed Halloween in this year.

Some years are like that.

We bought the pumpkins on Monday. All five of them.


Yes. Teddy got one of his own, of course.

Thursday was carving day.

The Girl decided that this year we should all have spooky pumpkins instead of happy pumpkins.

The Boy wanted his spooky pumpkin to also be a puking pumpkin.

I knew this day would come. Innocent, cute, Halloween fun is coming to an end. We are entering the days of gross and gory.

What fun.

We gutted them until the sun set.

I won't be surprised if a pumpkin sprouts from the driveway next season.

The faces would have to wait until the following day. This momma was worn out.

Next year we are going for mini-pumpkins. My arms are still sore from all that carving.


Fast forward through two days of "Is it Halloween yet?"


Our pumpkin family.

From front to back: Mommy, The Girl, Teddy, The Boy, and The Mr., all aglow.

The Boy got his puking pumpkin.


Throwback to the late 70's.

A Chuck Taylor wearing Darth and a blonde Wonder Woman humor me by posing for the annual costume picture.

This was done under the threat of "no trick-or-treating if you don't stand still for this stinking picture".

Such happy faces.

The sugar-begging commenced.

Darth divvied up the haul.

A disheveled Wonder Woman...

...and a cantankerous Darth Vadar are happily sugar-crashing.

A lovely Halloween, indeed.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Captioned: The Beginnings of Fall

Autumn: My favorite color palette.

Tiny jewels.

The stack.

Fewer daylight hours has its perks.

I took the handmade pledge.

Match made in Heaven.


Perfect boots.

Yet another "beginning".

Twenty-four hours later.

Weekends are made of this.

Late night baking session.

Now it's official.

Fall is here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Butter

Move over apple butter. There's a new sheriff in town.

If you are a pumpkin fan, then you might want to give this a try.

In a saucepan, add a can of unsweetened pumpkin puree.

Mix in 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1 tsp ginger, and 3/4 tsp cinnamon.

Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until thick enough to spread (about 25 minutes).

Spoon into a jar and let cool.

I found the recipe here.

I'm thinking this might make a quick and easy gift come Christmas time: It's got looks. It's simple to make. It's economical. And it has holiday flair.

Oh, and it tastes good.

I know this to be true, because The Boy asked me if I could wake him up extra early. He wanted to have time to eat some toast with "that pumpkin stuff" before we left for school.

If The Boy is wanting to get up early on a school day, then it must be good.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's For Dinner? (and then some)

I knew when I planned the menu that this week was going to be hectic. I've already adjusted it twice...and it's only Monday.

Come on over and we may or may not be eating...

Sunday: chicken tacos, refried black beans, sautéed red peppers and onions, guacamole

Monday: sloppy joes, cucumbers and tomatoes

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: skillet lasagna with spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts

Thursday: potato and sausage soup (maybe)

Friday: out

Saturday: camping fare (details to come)


Sunday's meal was the bomb. Not a bomb...but the bomb. I wish I had taken some pictures, because it would be a great simple supper.

You really don't need a recipe: Cook up some chicken breasts in the skillet. Sauté some red bell peppers and onions. Heat up a can of refried black beans. Warm some corn tortillas. Mash some avocados mixed with a bit of lime and garlic. Add a bit of sour cream.


So it's not an official simple supper, but it should be.

I didn't get around to making the pumpkin bread. But I will this week. Until then, I made a different sort of pumpkin treat. If you like pumpkin (and I know many of you do), then stop by tomorrow. I have something special to share.

I'm making the skillet lasagna again, but this time I'm adding a bit of spinach. One of my good friends from high school, who is now a good friend on Facebook, made it this way a couple weeks ago with good results.

So, thank you, Allison. Great nutritional boosting.


As I mentioned, this is a c-r-a-z-y week. The Mr. is out of town for a couple of days. We have a camping trip on the horizon. There are pumpkins to carve. And, oh yeah, HALLOWEEN is on Sunday!?! Where did October go?

The Mr. and I went to Austin over the weekend. We awoke at the crack of dawn on Saturday and dressed in our burnt orange best. Guided By Voices and the Jayhawks blared over the speakers. The GTI was driven at unnerving speeds.

Within a few hours we had arrived at God's favorite stadium.

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Sadly, my boys played in an abysmal fashion. Seriously. It was ugly.

The Mr. and I spent a good portion of the game drinking down in the beer garden. I must say, that if I must watch my beloved Longhorns lose, doing so in Austin, at the stadium with thousands of other rabid fans, all while buzzed on Stella Artois is the way to do it.

The sting wasn't nearly as painful.

I have to admit...I'm a bit jealous of all the posts I'm reading about heading out to the pumpkin patch. It looks like such a perfect little family outing. Everyone is all bundled-up in their sweaters, boots, jackets, and scarves. You can almost feel the chill in the air just by looking at the pictures.

Guess what, folks. It's still 90* here in Houston. 90*!!!!!

Kind of takes the thrill out of heading to the pumpkin patch.

I know I will go to Blog Mom Hell for admitting this, but we have never driven out to the country pumpkin patch. Nope. Not even once.

We go to the city pumpkin Kroger. Or HEB. Or whatever grocery store isn't totally picked over.

This year it was Kroger. It's where childhood memories are made, y'all.

Look at those happy faces!

We don't need no stinking pumpkin patch!

We gots the Kroger!

Carving is scheduled for Thursday. Now, I'm off to sharpen our blades.

Eat well, my friends. Don't gorge yourself on candy corn.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simple Suppers: Taco Soup

Nothing original here. There are a million taco soup recipes out there. I'm sure they are all pretty good, but this is my favorite by far.

It's my Mema's recipe. She takes this to her church potlucks. I can see why: It's easy, makes enough to feed a crowd, and tastes heavenly.

Taco Soup
2 lb ground meat
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can hominy
1 can chopped green chiles
2 cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 package taco seasoning mix
1 package Ranch dressing mix
1 chopped onion

Cook meat and drain, if necessary.

Add remaining ingredients to a large pot and mix well. Add a bit of water to thin.


Add a dollop of sour cream and serve with cornbread or warm tortillas.


*I use ground bison. I will be a broken record and encourage you to give it a try.

*Ground beef or turkey work equally well. It's all up to you and your taste buds.

*If you are vegetarian, you could easily skip the meat and add more beans and even some rice.

*You could use corn instead of hominy, but really...don't. The hominy makes this taco soup number one, in my opinion.

A bit of background for you hominy haters: I am with you. I hate hominy. I've never tasted dirty socks, but I imagine them having a very similar flavor.

My mom would occasionally make hominy. My dad came from the school of "you must eat at least a spoonful of everything served...even if it makes you retch". So a spoonful would be placed upon my plate. I would voice my opposition.

Dad was also from the school of "if you complain, you must want more". I learned to suffer in silence.

Needless to say, my history with hominy isn't pleasant.

That being's perfect in this dish. It soaks up the spices and adds heartiness. Put your hominy hate aside, just this once. It's worth it.

Fall is in full swing: that means cooler weather and football. Let a pot of taco soup simmer on the stove while you cuddle up on the couch and watch the big game.

Perfectly simple.

**I hold no hominy grudges against my pops. All has been forgiven and we have since moved forward.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's For Dinner?

I know. It's Tuesday.

Better late than never, I say.

Some of this has been eaten, some has yet to be prepared, and some is probably going to be bumped to next week. That's how the dice are rolling these days.

Sunday: grilled chicken thighs with BBQ sauce, grilled vegetables and feta

Monday: tacos, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole

Tuesday: roasted tomatoes with whole wheat pasta, sausage, basil, and feta

Wednesday: wild rice and chicken soup

Thursday: leftovers

Friday-Saturday: Austin will feed us well.

I was going to make potato and sausage soup on Sunday. I've had it scheduled for two weeks and it keeps getting bumped. I think I'm going to put it on hold for a while longer. Potato soup calls for a significant drop in the temps. We are still in the mid-80's.

Yeah. I'm not that good at brainwashing myself. Potato soup can wait.

Wednesday's soup can be found here. I've made it before and it is a favorite. It reminds me of my chicken & dumplings: I use chicken thighs, left whole and the broth is rich and creamy without being thick. They are like cousins. Similar, but shine on their own.

I made pumpkin muffins. They were lacking. Significantly. This week I've got a couple of new pumpkin treats I want to make. I'm hoping to get to at least one of them. Because you can never have too much pumpkin in your life. Am I right?

This weekend we will be making a quick trip to Austin. My boys are playing and we have tickets. **Oh yeah, uh-huh.**

I promised The Mr. I wouldn't paint my face or anything.

Time to make like a banana and split...


Monday, October 18, 2010

So far...

So far I've...

*hit snooze, twice
*made a deal with God
*rolled my eyes
*thought about "one day"
*quickened the pace
*bit my tongue, figuratively
*put on my poker face
*kept order
*lost my train of thought
*asked for help
*counted to 10
*cussed under my breath
*cussed clearly for all to hear
*sneaked a bite of rubbish
*walked right past the mirror
*put it off until tomorrow
*got it done
*needed a good laugh
*refrained from yelling
*summoned patience
*spelled it out
*checked it over
*spoke my mind
*missed summer
*took a moment
*appreciated the cooler breeze
*left it at the front door
*felt lucky
*loved, a lot

It's not quite 5:30pm.

I'm anxious to see what the rest of this day holds.

Coming home is so very lovely.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My focus...

Or lack thereof.

*I finished the last Harry Potter book a couple days ago.

I've read all seven back to back. I don't know what to read next. I've been lost in a wizard's world for so long...

I've decided I need to read something exceptionally mediocre. Sort of like eating pickled ginger after sushi. I need a book to cleanse my palate.

*We are planning our first family camping trip.

I credit The Boy with prodding us to become one with nature. I applaud his enthusiasm, but have already had to explain to him that we would not be eating grubs, lizards, or snakes while roughing it.

Even The Girl has jumped on board. It's amazing how a new pair of hiking boots (with pink accents, no doubt) can sway one's attitude. However, we had to draw the line at getting Teddy his own pair.

*I'm growing out my hair. Again.

It's at that in-between stage, and it looks like it's growing out. It's driving me mad.

I've resorted to wearing my sunglasses on my head all day to keep it out of my face. Yeah, I'm a fashion plate.

Luckily, my hair grows fast.

*The Offspring have their Halloween costumes.

The Boy's choice was not shocking whatsoever.

The Girl continues to make me scratch my head.

That's all I'm saying about this matter...for now.

*The Mr. will soon be attending his first UT game. In Austin.

He has no idea what's in store.

In addition, we will be going with my Pops and my uncle. I've tried to prepare him for the onslaught of rabid fanfare he will witness.

It doesn't matter that our season is over. Texas fans cheer to the bloody end.

*I want my bathroom to be re-grouted.

Or, I think that's what I want.

My home was built in '53. It still has the original tile, which is awesome, but the grout never looks clean.

And there's a lot of it. Tile is on the floor, around the sink, halfway up the walls, and in the bathtub area.

I've scrubbed, sprayed, bleached. I've tried to tell myself it has "vintage charm".

If you ever see a picture taken in my bathroom, please know that we are clean people. We just have grout with an aged patina.

*Some weeks I have so much to write about that I could post seven days straight.

I'm not having one of those weeks. I didn't have one last week either.

The Offspring need to get busy and give me some "material" to work with. Kids are good for that when it comes to Facebook updates and blog posts.

*Speaking of Facebook updates and child-shenanigans...

The Girl painted her doll house. With nail polish.

Bright pink sparkle nail polish.

She paid extra close attention to the bathroom floor and the toilet. She must be having bathroom angst as well.

My house still smells like a cheap nail salon, but I'm happy to report that the hardwoods and her quilt were unscathed. Otherwise, she wouldn't have been so lucky.

*The Boy has started using "man soap".

He got a new bottle of the liquid variety on Sunday. It's only Thursday and it's 3/4 of the way gone.

When asked, he said that he really stinks so more soap was necessary. I also discovered that he's been washing his hair with the same soap.

This explains the abundance of "purifying grains" left in the tub and the odd texture of his hair.

*I haven't seen Lia in months.

I miss her.

*Halloween. Thanksgiving. Christmas.

'Nuff said.

*I want Mandy to help plan my garden for next season.

I want to do it right. I need someone to hold my hand.

*I have an abundance of creative ideas.

This might sound like a good thing, but for me...not so much. I don't do well with "abundance". I tend to shutdown.

Especially when I'm short on time: The weekends have been busy. The weeknights even busier.

*If you have read this far, then you can see my lack of focus.


Monday, October 11, 2010

What's For Dinner?

I'm mixing it up this week. I've got a bit of new, a few familiar standards, and a couple that have been overlooked for quite some time.

Fall feasting is in full swing here. I mean, the temps have plummeted down into the 80's! Grab a sweater!

Sunday: fish sandwiches, coleslaw, potato wedges, fresh tomatoes

Monday: chicken & dumplings

Tuesday: black skillet beef and greens with red potatoes, fresh tomatoes

Wednesday: creamy potato and sausage soup

Thursday: breakfast burritos, black beans, guacamole, pico de gallo

Friday: hamburgers, oven potatoes

Saturday: the chef is taking the night off

I'm anxious to try Tuesday's meal. It's a new one. It will either be a big hit or a massive miss. We shall see.

Pumpkin muffins have yet to be baked. I'm going to remedy that gaffe tomorrow. It's a new that includes the addition of oats. Hopefully, nom, nom, nom.

Things are getting back to normal around these parts. Our evenings of oatmeal and frozen pizza are over because...The Mr. is home!

It's so nice to miss your man.

He returned Wednesday. Not a day too soon.

Hence, the absence here in Blog Land. I'm sure you understand.

Friday was a date night.

The National came to town.

Holy Moses.

I do have one piece of advice for live music lovers: if you are going to sing along at a show, 1) sing at a normal volume, 2) know the lyrics. This is especially important if you happen to ignore rule number one.

The highly intoxicated couple behind us didn't have the 411 on concert etiquette. I really believe that The Mr. and I are magnets for those concert-goers that rhyme with "moosh bags". Seriously.

After the show we met up with some friends and fellow National fans. We grabbed a beer across the street and wondered why we don't get together more often. Isn't that the way it always is?

We turned back into pumpkins the next day when The Offspring were returned, along with the noise that accompanies them.


It was lovely while it lasted.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten On Ten: October

October 10th.

Ten pictures taken over ten hours.

Sleeping in.

Feeding others.

Making oneself presentable.

Realizing that she needs new shoes.

Loving the weather.

Feeling blessed that he helps.

Taking a minute for myself.

Purchasing something for everyone.

Realizing that I need to trim his nails. Bad.

Stockpiling for the week ahead.

A handful of images captured throughout the day...

10-10-10 was supposed to be epic.

Meh. Not so much around these parts.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the norm is okay.

Our day was spent:

puttering around the homestead
looking at hiking boots and camping equipment
listening to Beulah, M. Ward, and Spoon
eating fish sandwiches and slaw
playing Gran Turismo
writing lesson plans for this next week.

It wasn't earth-shattering. But nice all the same.

Another Ten On Ten is in the books.

I can't wait to take a look around Blog Land and see the other blockbuster days from 10³.

But that will have to wait for tomorrow. My non-legendary day has worn me out.

Until November...