Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Entertainment At My House Never Ends

This kid drives me insane.

He makes me pull my hair out. He turns what hair is left shades of grey.

He has secret maps to all my buttons. Buttons that I didn't know were in existence.

He causes naughty words to slip from my mouth.

He is a handful.

But then he'll do something like this.

And it all melts away.

I love this kid something fierce.

Monday, September 28, 2009


The calendar might claim fall as the current season, but Houston would beg to differ. It was hot and humid this weekend. Really hot. Really humid.

So we did what all red-blooded American families do and headed to the mall. The Galleria to be specific.

The Galleria is a mall with something for everyone. It has shops ranging from Tiffany to Gap. The food court offers fare from Chick-fil-A to Cheesecake Factory depending upon your tastes. There is an ice skating rink, a Build-A-Bear, and other kiddie-temptations that can easily break Mom and Dad's budget.

The Offspring have been enamored with the bungee-trampoline since they first laid eyes upon it. We earned some "cool parent points" and let them experience what The Girl deemed "The Bouncy-Bounce".

The Boy was up first.

He was strapped into a harness...

...and the jumping began. They let him start at his own pace.

Soon, with a little help, he was reaching new heights.

Three minutes later he returned to solid ground.

Then it was The Girl's turn.

Again, she was strapped in safely.

She could sense the fun awaiting her.

Up she went...slow at first.

And then it was time to LAUNCH!

The Boy was surprised and a little impressed with his sister's altitude.

The Girl was surprised as well...

...and ready for more.

When their time was up tummies started to rumble. Sweet-talking ensued. The focus was Daddy. He is the soft touch.

A few minutes later I found myself waiting in line at Rainforest Cafe.

This erases some of my sometimes-misses-the-mark-as-a-parent-footprint, right?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What's For Dinner?

This week the house will be filled with the welcoming aroma of:

Monday: Tex-Mex chicken and squash casserole, green beans

Tuesday: **Crockpot Magic**
Hungarian beef stew, whole wheat egg noodles, green beans

Wednesday: beef & broccoli stir fry, brown rice, spicy cabbage

Thursday: left-overs

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: fish tacos, black beans, guacamole, fresh tomatoes

I am determined to brush off my baker's hat and serve a sweet somethin'-somethin'.

Stick and Twig cookies would be nice to nosh.

Prayers are being sent for fall weather to grace us with its presence. I am ready for hearty soups, apple crisps, and spice muffins.

But alas, this is Houston. Expect to see more grilled fare for a few more weeks.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rock Star Quilts

The lead singer of The Mr.'s band recently had a very cute baby boy. Gifts were in order. But not just any baby gifts. There would be no ducks or sailboats for this kid. Oh no.

This little one needed a couple of rock star quilts.

I put my tools and skills to use and came up with these:

Here's the first one. It isn't pieced, therefore the construction was very easy. It is a simple layer of flannel-batting-flannel...one yard each. I quilted it, bound it, and wrapped it.

A close-up. You can see the flaming guitars and "rock star" font. I used a plain black flannel backing and black binding.

I love these because they are thick enough for a winter blanket or can be laid out on the floor for some quality "tummy-time". And since they are so basic, you feel like you
can throw it on the floor and use it.

The next one up:
camo skulls. I didn't put batting in this one. I wanted something that was lighter and could be thrown in the diaper bag for outings.

I used a double layer of flannel, one yard each. I finished it with a traditional silk binding.

I went outside my comfort zone and didn't do my typical wavy quilting lines. I used chalk and drew a square-shaped spiral. It was done free-hand, so it's not perfectly straight or even. But that's OK, because it's
supposed to be a little off.

Oh, the mind games I play with myself.

The rock star quilts now have a good home and a cute little baby to keep warm.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

At Work

I love this work.

I love getting down on the floor.
Folding. Measuring.


Pinning. Mitering.

I love the process.

Unless I need the seam ripper.

Then I am not so in love.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tools of the Trade

I had the camera out as I was working on some projects this past week.

This is what I saw:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


This weekend, while watching the UT-Tech game, I did some crocheting. It keeps me from chewing my fingernails into the quick. I tend to have very sore fingers during football and basketball season.

I wanted to make something quick. Something easy. Something mindless. I didn't want to keep track of stitches or rows.

This is what I came up with:

A simple belt. It is one long row of single crochet repeated until it is the width desired. Oh so mindless. And easy. And quick.

I used Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn. I use it for all those dishcloths and coasters I make. I like the fact that the stitches stayed really tight. It made the belt feel more substantial and sturdy.

Here's my belt, inspired by UT colors, of course. I have seen these belts before. Usually, they are made from cloth. I have even seen crochet versions, but they are usually thicker and more decorative. I was wanting something that would work with jeans and a t-shirt.

The Girl liked my belt so much that she asked me to make her one.

She wanted a pink version.


And she wanted to model it. She likes the fact that it adds a touch of pink to her school uniform colors, which she finds utterly boring.

The Girl is pleased, although she has made it known that the next one should have sparkles.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Crockpot Magic

This week's feature:

BBQ Chicken Casserole with
Cornbread Topping

1 package chicken breasts or thighs, cut into pieces
2 cans navy beans, drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 bag shredded carrots
1/2 bag frozen or 1 can corn
1 Tbs minced garlic
1 bottle BBQ sauce
cornbread mix

Coat the inside of your crockpot with non-stick spray.

Add chicken, beans, onion, carrots, corn, garlic, and BBQ sauce. Stir to mix.

Follow package directions to make the cornbread, or mix enough batter from scratch for an 8x8 pan. Spread batter evenly over the top of the chicken-bean mix.

Set the crockpot on low and cook 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours.

This is what you will find: cornbread cooked to a golden brown...

...with tasty BBQ chicken goodness underneath.

The Mr. deemed it "cowboy comfort food". That got The Boy to try it.

Granted it isn't a looker. But cowboy food rarely is.

This recipe is inspired by one that I saw somewhere in the Blog Land maze. I ended up taking their idea of BBQ, chicken, and cornbread topping and morphing it into my own creation.

Each week I will use one of the Crockpot Magic recipes you have sent me and post it.

One less meal I have to plan for. Sweet.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What's For Dinner?

Here's the bomb grub hitting the table this week...

Sunday: El Pueblito

Monday: grilled flank steak, black beans, guacamole, fresh tomatoes

Tuesday: *Crockpot Magic*
creamy chicken chowder, Shiner bread

Wednesday: sloppy joes, corn on the cob, salad

Thursday: left-overs

Friday: hamburgers, oven fries

Saturday: grilled rosemary chicken, grilled salmon, grilled vegetable salad w/ feta, roasted fingerling potatoes, Shiner bread

We are having friends over on Saturday, so I think I'll bake some cookies to serve with ice cream.

I'm also going to fix some stewed squash and black eyed peas to take for lunch with my Campari tomatoes. Apparently I was a little too into that Creamy Creations ice cream. Ahem. When I put on my booty jeans there was a little too much booty for them to fit the way I like.

We are back to sugar free Jell-o.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm a Groupie

Last night I got to see one of my favorite bands live. Bright Men of Learning.

It's true that The Mr. is the drummer. But even if he wasn't, they would still be one of my favorite bands.

I love their music: The sounds. The rhythms. The subtle stories that are told through song.

They are their own brand of cool.

The stars aligned and they played at Rudyard's. It has amazingly good sound. And $2
Lone Stars on tap. That place is filled with good memories.

The evening was spent with friends old and new. Lots of talking over the music. Laughing at inside jokes. Did I mention the $2
Lone Stars on tap?

The boys put on a great show. I left with ringing ears and a nice buzz. I felt like I was 22 again.

I awoke this morning with a headache, dark circles, a hoarse voice, and jeans that smelled of stale smoke and last night's fun.

And I've been smiling ever since.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Add another one to the list. The Girl has a new irrational fear: Where the Wild Things Are.

This week one of her teachers read her this classic story. Then they created their own monsters...

...complete with google eyes. She was quite proud of her "marn-ser".

All was fine until bedtime. That's when the pesky irrational fear crept in.

The Girl is still going to sleep with her lamp on and refuses to open her closet door...even during daylight hours.

"Marn-sers" are everywhere....

We insist that we like them. We draw them. We retell the story over and over.

And then bedtime comes and suddenly they aren't so friendly.

They are hiding in the air vent.

Or Mommy says to put shoes away and they are waiting to pounce from the closet.

Oh irrational fears. You torture me.

I don't know if we should start saving for college, a big fat sparkle wedding...

...or therapy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sick Day

I didn't go to school on Tuesday. The technical term is "mental health day". I hate PC labels like that. I call it what it is: playing hooky. I needed a day to myself. To recharge. Refocus. Renew.

This has been a difficult year thus far. The transition from summer to school starting has been less smooth than years past. There are many reasons for this...but I won't burden you with them now.

So I took a day. I stayed home and worked on things I wanted to work on. I completed some little projects which I will share in a few days. It was wonderful. I enjoyed every second.

And that's when I jinxed myself.

For you see, the next morning as I was putting on my make-up I felt it. The wave of illness that hits you all at once, out of the blue. I tried to tell myself that it was all in my head. I was just not wanting to go to work.

No such luck. Three hours later I took myself down to the school nurse and learned that I was running a fever. I was promptly sent home. They aren't taking chances these days.

The Mr. was convinced that Swine Flu had found me. A 6-foot quarantine distance was soon put in place. There are some advantages to that...

This has been my isle of recuperation. The couch. A quilt. Some apple juice. A bit of crochet. Throw in some aspirin and the cocktail for wellness is complete.

My fever broke today. I am on the mend.

I put dinner in the
crockpot. Did a load of laundry. Posted on Facebook. Things are getting back to normal.

Our ship will not sink. The Captain is back at the helm.

And I will be back at school tomorrow. Just in time for the weekend.