Friday, February 29, 2008

Signs of life!

The little seeds we planted the other day are coming to life! It never ceases to amaze me that one little seed placed in the ground can produce a basketfull of vegetables. These are my Brandywine heirloom tomatoes:

Grow, babies, grow!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is it a dog or an ostrich?

We have a few holes in the backyard due to a little mole problem from last year. They've filled with rainwater and are perfect homes for frogs. Shorty went on a frog hunt this afternoon. Here he is with his face totally shoved into the was pretty funny!

While I was at Walmart, I found these growing bags for strawberries. The kit comes with the heavy duty bag, a cord for hanging, and ten strawberry plants. It's a total steal for $5.95! Once they take root and green up, I'm going to hang them on our barn. It'll be a pretty site seeing those green vines and red berries trailing down the wall of the old barn and I can't wait for little Danny to taste his first homegrown strawberry!

We've been adopted

Shorty, the neighborhood dog, has decided he wants to be a Creamer! Every morning, Shorty comes to the door and scratches. The kids let him in, he gets a drink, then jumps up on the corner of the couch for a nap. He leaves around lunch time to roam the neighborhood then he's back around dinner time to reclaim his spot on the couch! He's perfectly content laying in the grass and watching the kids play, or hunting for God knows what in the field behind our house!
Now why he comes to *our* house to take a nap is beyond me! It's the last place on earth anyone would find a little peace and quiet!

But we adore this lovable lump of a dog!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fun with a cardboard box

Doug got some new photography equipment in the mail today and John Paul has commandeered the boxes! The box has been a club house, a rocket ship, a boat, and all sorts of other imaginative things today. He tells me that he loves his box so much that he's going to sleep in it tonight (yeah, right!)...and this is what I find at 10 pm:

My son is preparing himself for life as a hobo!

One step closer...

Got the garden tilled up today, and there is nothing more beautiful than those mounds of black earth! The smell is amazing and the soil looks so good after a year under the landscaping plastic. Ryan is helping out by raking up my rows for planting - it's a BIG job!

Later in the week we'll get the ground fertilized and covered again in the black plastic. I can not wait to get planting and I'm absolutely thrilled the kids have taken such an interest in getting the garden into shape!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Homegrown Revolution!

If you need a little motivation to get gardening, take a look at this:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mutant vegetables!

Kyle took me up on my offer for cold hard cash to pull up my winter garden. He spent about three hours pulling up plants, weeds, plastic and boards. He did a GREAT JOB!!! During his digging, he pulled up this mutant carrot. This thing is seriously HUGE and I'd hate to run across the rabbit who can carry this thing off!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Feels good to finally be well enough to shop and cook for the family! Here's this week's meal plan:
Monday: Spaghetti and meatballs. Monday is a work day for me so sauce and meatballs will go into the crock pot to cook all day!
Tuesday: Chicken and dumplings. Another work day for me...and another crock pot meal!
Wednesday: Taco Night!
Thursday: Breakfast for dinner. I thought it might be fun to have some homemade waffles, sausage and eggs for dinner. The kids always get a kick out of having breakfast for dinner!
Friday: Linguine and clam sauce.
Saturday: BBQ sandwiches and corn on the cob.
Sunday: Pannini and pasta salad.

I'm baaaaack!

WOW! What a hell-a-cious week! I had a bout with the flu that lasted the entire week that turned into an ear infection that landed me in the E.R. About two antibiotics and a hundred bucks later, I'm feeling much better! Thankfully, none of the rest of the family has come down with anything!

We woke up to a beautiful morning! Temps in the mid 70's and sunny. My gardening bug got the better of me and I decided to start some tomato and pepper seedlings. We soaked our peat pots and Danny and JP decided to give me a hand:

I'm hoping that since they are participating in growing our veggies that they will be more apt to eat them! We started seed on Brandywine heirloom and Roma tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos and chili peppers. I was very tempted to to just buy my plants, especially since Home Depot has started carrying some cool heirloom varieties, but John Paul says store bought plants "don't have the LOVE!"

I told Ryan I'd pay him to clear out the remnants of our winter garden. Not specifying *how* he should do this, I found him outside taking a golf club to the plants (cue "Caddy Shack" flashbacks!):

Kyle was enjoying the morning by doing summersaults on the trampoline:

I look forward to everyone enjoying their lazy Sunday's back to our usual grind come Monday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Taking a break

Taking a little break from my blog due to a nasty bout with the flu. I'm one sick pup and this bug is sure to make it's way through all of us before long! I really do have lots to blog about, just no strength to sit at the desk!
Prayers would be most appreciated!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Crazy Busy Weekend!

I'll be sooo glad when Tuesday comes! This has been a really busy weekend for our family! Friday we had planned for Fr. to come to our home to celebrate Mass and bless our home, but those plans were foiled as I got terribly sick as the day went on. By 2pm, I had a fever, chills, and aches. I just knew the flu was coming on. Doug cancelled our plans but Father was so gracious to reschedule the next Friday!
Saturday, we got to the Wharton convention center to set up for the bridal show only to find out that the panels I had painted just would not work. They were too tall and a little unstable. So we haul all of that crap back home and scramble for a plan B! Doug had a wedding in Rosenberg to shoot, so he picked up some easels and frames on his way. Doug spent all Saturday afternoon until midnight shooting the wedding while I was home sick in bed. I got up early this morning and found a 6am Mass to attend then went to set up his booth for the show while he got some much needed sleep! I come home and get Doug and the big boys off to Mass, but as soon as Mass is done, Doug will only have time for a quick bite, then it's off to the bridal show until 5pm!
Monday Doug has an engagement sitting with one of his brides and Kyle has baseball tryouts. If I wasn't so sick, it wouldn't be too bad, but I feel like death!
Say a prayer for the Creamer's today!
A quick pick of Doug's booth:

Gosh, I feel like I just rambled on and on....must be the cold meds!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Handy Tip

Saw this in a parenting magazine: Take your extra plastic grocery bags and stuff them into an old wipes container and put in the car. This way, you'll always have a bag handy for diaper changes, trash, or in my case - car sickness bags when the kids have been playing too much GameBoy on long trips!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

We had such a busy morning here, we were trying to get the house clean for guests and prepare for Doug's bridal show this weekend. Amongst all the rush and fuss, I found the sweetest little Valentine's day card from JP (that's me there, on the right!):

After a trip to the craft store and Home Depot, we came home and painted the display boards that Doug's photos will go on. I'm doing a faux finish on them. A milk chocolate base coat:

And over that, I put a really cool textured paint:

And then over THAT, I'm going to put in flecks of black and gold. You'll have to wait to see the finished product!
Doug knows I'm not a bouquet and candy kinda girl, so while at Home Depot he picked me up a half dozen roses:

These beauties will get put in the ground early next week!
Have a happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Product rave!

I was in the grocery store today and came across these Rubbermaid Take Alongs. They are PERFECT for bento making! The container is divided and has plenty of room for lunch and a snack. Just tie it up with a pretty dish towel or large linen napkin, and you're ready to go!
Contents of bento: Chicken Caesar wrap with spinach tortilla, grapes and a banana!

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

There is a beautiful little country church about 25 minutes away in East Bernard. The interior is stunning and it smells like incense and old wood.

Outside, they have a life sized grotto with Our Lady of Lourdes:

Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes:
Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comfortess of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity. Amen.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Baked Slow Cooker Chicken Monday is a work day for me so it's definately a slow cooker meal for us! I alter this recipe by placing onions inside the chicken cavity and use lots of rosemary and garlic. I'll also have Doug put in potatoes and carrots halfway through cooking.
Tuesday: Texas Black Bean Soup Another work day for me, so I will mix all of this in the crock before heading off to work and Doug can put it on to cook by early afternoon. Serving over tortilla strips and shredded jack cheese.
Wednesday: Tacos. We have taco night EVERY week! Served with refried beans and taco fixins.
Thursday: Homemade heart shaped pizzas. Will make a double batch of dough so everyone can make their own individual pizza-heart shaped for Valentine's day.
Friday: Artichoke Spinach Lasagne Our dear parish priest is coming for dinner and I thought I'd make a spinach lasagne, minestrone soup, salad and homemade bread.
Saturday: Soup and Sammies. I'm sure we'll have some bean soup or minestrone left over from the week and will serve those with some grilled sammies (sandwiches)
Sunday: Take out. Sunday is a super busy day for us! We'll have Mass and then we'll go to the convention center to set up for Doug's first bridal show! We'll all be helping in shifts and sure to be tired by the end of the day, so seems like a little Chinese take out might be in order! Not very budget friendly, but sometimes you just need to make life easy!

Heard at our house this morning...

While looking at our Lenten calendar, I had asked John Paul to cross off today - the first Sunday of Lent. He asked what all the pictures were at the bottom. I said, "Good Friday is when Jesus was crucified and died. Holy Saturday is when we mourn him in the tomb. Easter Sunday is when..." I was cut off by John Paul saying, "I know that one! Easter Sunday is when Jesus rose from the bread!"
Needless to say we are REALLY focusing on our catechism this week for JP!

What I'm currently reading...

That's right, not expanding my mind with great works of literature, but spending my weekends and evenings pouring over my seed catalogs! With every page I turn, my garden plans get bigger and bigger. God bless Doug whenever he decides to get out and till up the soil, he has no idea of the monster garden I am planning....guess I'll add some BenGay and Aleve to my shopping list this week!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tea Time

We went to Houston today to run a few errands and I ended up getting a great little tea set! Go to World Market and get one for yourself ($4.99 plus tax!) The set comes with a tea cup, loose tea strainer and steeping lid:

Place the strainer inside the cup and add your loose tea leaves or herbs:

Pour in your hot water and put the lid on to steep:

The cup is nice and heavy and retains the heat a long time. It was the perfect cup of tea for watching a spectacular sunset!

Edited to add:
For some AWESOME bulk herb teas, check out: Mountain Rose Herbs

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lenten preparations

We spent the day preparing our home for Lent. The boys made a salt dough crown of thorns. The "thorns" are actually toothpics and for every act of charity or self sacrifice, they will be able to remove one of these thorns to ease Jesus' suffering.

Little Danny making sure that his brothers get a few extra good deeds in!

I got busy to work on our family Stations of the Cross. I copied very small pictures of the Stations and glued them to votives. We'll light all of the candles and as each Station is visited, we'll blow out that candle. As the death of Christ draws near, it will get darker and darker, until the last candle is blown out and we are left in total darkness to contemplate Christ's sacrifice:

We then got to work on a Lenten calendar. Just a simple poster board with the forty days marked off. We have our prayer intentions listed as well as our Lenten spiritual goals. Saint feast days and days for Mass and abstinence are also listed:

Finally, we prepared our family altar by changing the cloth to our purple one and placing the Crown of Thorns in the center:

Bake my day!

I spent yesterday baking King Cakes for Fat Tuesday. I wanted to only make two, but *somebody* didn't read the recipe correctly and ended up with four (each recipe was for two cakes!) It worked out great because now each of our neighbors can have a cake and we'll can even take one to our parish priest! They are complete with the Christ Child babies inside (of which I learned that you hide them in the cakes AFTER they are baked!)
As they say in LA, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Little Danny was so excited to eat the cakes! While they were cooling on the kitchen table, he climbed up on a chair and kept sticking his finger into one of them. Guess that one will be our cake for the day!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Menu Planning Monday

In an attempt to keep our budget in order and make life a little more simpler, I am going to post my menu plans for the week. This makes me more accountable to provide our family with nutritious meals as well as keeps us from making frivolous trips to the store (we all know that a trip to the supermarket for milk can easily turn into a fifty dollar shopping spree!) To find other great menu plans, check out

Monday: Chicken pot pie
Tuesday: Red beans and rice with andouille sausage and a king cake for desert. All this to pay homage to Fat Tuesday!
Wednesday: Lentil soup with homemade bread. I am working that day so the soup will go in the crock pot. I'll be baking our bread on Tuesday.
Thursday: Pulled pork sandwiches and corn on the cob. It's another work day for me! The pork roast will go in the crock before I leave so that all Doug has to do is shred it and pour the sauce on it. He and Ryan have CAP that night so it will be an easy dinner for him to serve!
Friday: Homemade mac & cheese with a salad.
Saturday: Tacos and pinto beans.
Sunday: Roasted chicken with vegetables.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday night

I thought things would be a little more lively around here tonight with the big game, but the boys (Doug included!) settled down quietly to watch the game. I heard a lot of giggles during the commercials, but other than that it was pretty tame. We had burgers and the fixins for dinner despite the boy's protests for pizza and hot wings!
The littles and I stayed in the den and kept entertained with drawing, sewing and playing on the computer. You'll be happy to know that John Paul used his time to name all the fingers on his left hand!

Beautiful Baby

My good friend from work, Lisa, and her husband Adam came over yesterday for photos of their one month old little girl, Isabella. This is one of my favorite photos from the shoot. Daddy's hands are so big strong and Isabella is so small and delicate:

Doug got a serious case of baby envy with little Isabella...Danny did, too! He didn't like her invading his "turf" and certainly didn't like it when mommy and daddy held the little one!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Go to your room!

The other day, John Paul was sent to his room for his impish behavior. I had become engrossed in schooling the bigger boys and cleaning the kitchen and TOTALLY forgot that I had banished him! When I finally realized that things were just a little too quiet in the house, I went to go check on him. This is what I found...

His formerly clean room was now trashed beyond recognition! The two hours of quiet I got earned me the same amount of time battling JP to clean his room until I finally gave in and cleaned the whole dang thing myself!
Now tell me, who was really punished that day?