Monday, July 30, 2007

The 3 Steps Of An Apology

The first step is to say what you did wrong.
The second step is to say why it was wrong.
The third step is to say you're sorry.

Today is Paul's day to get those three steps memorized.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Seven #14

Seven things I’m thankful for this last week ending 7/28/07
1 – The ‘keep the kids occupied’ bags and folders for the kids during the church services.
2 – A few sunny hours at the pool.
3 – Wal-Mart having everything that we needed (and a few things that we wanted but didn’t really need) with the exception of a mixer cover.
4 – Joe McDermott and his ability to make me smile and laugh at his shows no matter how many times I’ve seen them.
5 – Nordstrom and their well-trained staff members.
6 – Dirt on go a go-cart tailpipe preventing a severe burn on Paul’s hand.
7 – Mike the cheese guy having an extra quart of cream for me at The Farmers Market.

Sunday Seven is a meme designed for giving thanks for the big or little things in our lives - or to recognize the positive things going on! If you'd like to play along, please go here to find out all about it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I felt heaven ...

... and it was a new bra.
Yesterday, after seeing Joe McDermott at Pottery Barn Kids, the kids and I went on over to Nordstrom (interesting history - read the link) and after buying some cute accessories for our Crocs I decided to check out their bra selection which they are well known for. Well, a wonderful girl took care of me (Hey, I live in the South and she looked at least 15 years younger than me so I'm comfortable calling her a girl) and, low and behold, I AM the size that I thought I was. She picked out a bra for me that met my specifications but was a bigger size for me to try on. She checked the fit, decided that I needed the smaller band size and brought me several to try on. She checked the fit on those, listened to my comments and brought some more. The third bra in the second batch was incredible in it's fit - comfort-wise it was like I was wearing nothing, but hold-wise it was fantastic. And under my Lycra-enhanced tee-shirt it looked fabulous - the right shape, no lumps from lace, no seems, no headlights! Unfortunately it was on sale and they were sold out in the nude color so I couldn't walk out of the store wearing it but I loved it so much that I ordered 2 and for NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE AND STILL SALE PRICED they will arrive at my door in 3 to 5 business days!!
OK, some may say "What's the big deal, it's just a bra" but you don't understand. See this is my first real bra purchase in 8 years. Yes I said 8 years. See I got pregnant 7 years ago and since giving birth in 2001 I have been wearing nursing bras, sport bras, and camisoles with built-in shelf bras for the last 6 years. I'm close enough to the end of nursing that I don't need one of those bras anymore and most of my old pre-pregnancy bras are no longer wearable (Hello Goodwill!) or give me a lumpy look under today's clingier tops. So lately every time I go department store shopping (sorry but I consider Walmart and Target to be department stores) I've been looking in the bra aisles, hoping to find a new life for my chest and coming up empty (mind you, even without 2 kids in tow I don't like shopping). I am so relieved to get this taken care of!!
Oh, and the kids were fabulous also! They spent the entire time playing with the mirrors and wearing the bras over top of their clothes and playing with the measuring tape. Paul looked under the dressing room divider only once and he apologized shortly afterward!
And the Joe McDermott show was really good and we bought his latest CD, Everybody Plays Air Guitar.
There will be no pictures of the new bras but I fixed an AWESOME version of ratatouille the other night and I did take pictures of that so those will be posted some time soon.

Not Sweet

If I ever use the word 'Sweet' and I'm not talking about food or a child or a dog then please kill me.
If I ever use the term 'My Bad' ever then please kill me.

Last week some guy in his early 20's came by doing the door-to-door thing trying to raise money to save the environment and I swear that every other word out of his mouth was 'Sweet'. I just about paid him money just to get him to stop saying that word.

I admit to using the word 'Score' with a moderate frequency. And now that Giselle is learning more about God, Jesus and the Bible I often use the term 'For Godness Sake'.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My tan is suffering

You know, I started out this summer with such high hopes of going to the pool all the time and getting to actually swim since Paul is much more confident in the water. Unfortunately the El Nino (not my son, the weather system) has totally blown that out of the water (I'm not sure if that was supposed to be a pun or not) and we haven't been able to go to the pool more than once a week because it's ALWAYS raining!!!!!!
We went yesterday evening for 2 hours had a blast and were excited to return again tonight but somehow a 20% chance of rain became 70% which turned into 100% while we were finishing our shopping in HEB. By the way, the power went out for 30 min while we were shopping - it was totally cool to shop in the dark! The kids went over to the toy aisle and got some fun flashlights and we had fun finishing up our shopping. But back to the rain, it's been raining ever since 4 this afternoon and I just checked NOAA weather and there's a 30% or better chance of rain every day this week now. Yesterday's report said it was supposed to be clear for the week.

While at WalMart today I bought us a Rival Ice Cream Maker. Someone on another blog had just bought a higher-end one the other day so when I saw this one that makes 4 quarts for only $17.98 (cheaper than the ball one that you roll around that only makes 1 quart) I said "Hey kids, we're getting an ice cream maker!" and they said "Yea!!!!" So after we got home from HEB we made a batch of vanilla/cinnamon ice milk. Unfortunately I never labeled the cream and buttermilk when I froze them last year so I couldn't tell which was which to add cream to the recipe. While waiting for the ice cream to cure we had broiled fresh tuna and mixed veggies for dinner. This was the first time that the kids had eaten fresh tuna and they really liked it; Giselle said that we should get some every week on shopping day and I think that we will. If you haven't tried it yet, Clif Bar has a new flavor out - Blueberry crunch - it's kid approved!
So also at WalMart I got myself a stand for my laptop computer. I'm not sure that I like it - it raises the keyboard up 4 inches and I'd be happier with just 2. Maybe I'll take the legs off or maybe I'll return it; it was the 2nd most expensive item I bought today at $14.98.
I'm bored so I'm going to go eat some of my ice cream while I wait for Joe to come home from eating out with friends. Maybe we'll go to the pool between thunderstorms tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Castle

In our house it is an oft repeated statement that Joe is the King, I am the ONLY Queen, Giselle is the Princess and Paul is the Prince.

And here is the Royal Hound

Oven Pictures

Here finally are the pictures of the new stove/oven that I got for Mothers Day.

In the back there are 3 6-inch burners, 2 are regular burners and the middle one is a warmer burner. The front left burner is a 6-in and 9-in combo burner; it can be either size. The front right burner is a 9-in 12-in combo. What a perfect stove and at this point I have used all the burners in all of their sizes, it's so cool!

This is a shot of the inside of the oven. I love finally having a light in the oven and a window in the door. The kids really love being able to watch things cook and, quite honestly, so do I.

So now I've got a complete set of white appliances on the left side of the kitchen - Goldstar microwave, Kenmore stove/oven, and Samsung refrigerator.

May I present to you: Captain America

Here is our latest addition. As you can see, Captain America is the perfect name for this red, white and blue Beta. More of his story is here.


This spring my amaryllises (or is it amarylli for the plural?) in the big front pot went to town. Here's a picture of them.

How many times in your life do you get this chance?

At the Jacksonville Zoo they had CAMEL RIDES!!!! Unfortunately right as my sister was taking pictures of Paul's and my momentous ride, the fogging started on my camera due to the leaked water at the pool the previous day. So our day at the zoo is remembered as if it were a dream. How many times do you get the chance to ride a camel? This was the first time I've had the chance in 41 years and I was NOT going to let the opportunity pass me or the kids by!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How far can you get?

It's an online version of the game Simon but with animal sounds instead of boops - Copy Cat Jack!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Get Well Grandpa

Grandpa had cataract surgery while we were visiting and Giselle made him this Get Well picture.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle...

These two boys had so much fun together, it's a shame that they live so far apart!

Atlantic Beach, FL

Two pictures from our trip to Florida.

Giselle & Paul's first steps onto the beach at the Atlantic Ocean - first time ever for Paul and first time that Giselle remembers.

The five youngest cousins/grandkids - what an incredible bunch of kids, all 17 of them!

It's Friday and of course we spent it at the park!

Today at Park Day:
Giselle inhaled her grilled cheese sandwich from Sonic.
Paul ate half of his grilled cheese and a whole lot of other food.
Hannah had a wobbly tooth that came out while at the park.
Giselle had a wobbly tooth that came out while at the park.
Giselle attended a private picnic with Rachel and Daniel.
Paul tried to play out on the soccer field with the older kids and was told that he was too young.
I got off of my bottom and pushed Paul in the little swing.
Giselle jumped 24 times without messing up during jump rope time and twice she tandem jumped for more than 5 jumps. Considering that the last time she tried to do it 2 weeks ago she couldn't do more than 2 jumps at a time and we haven't been practicing, that's GREAT!
I drank 3 liters of water and my kids drank 1 liter each.
Attending the park today were: Susan with her 5 kids, Christine with her 5 kids, Marie with her 3 kids and her nephew, Cathy with her 3 kids, Paige with her 3 kids (prayers for her dad please - it might be cancer), Leslee with her 2 kids, Fran with only 1 of her 4 kids, Mary with her 1 kid, and I think that was it for today. That's actually not that many, it's only a third of how many are usually there during the school year.

Ooops, I just remembered that I have to get Giselle's tooth present down and put at her spot at the table so that it's there when she gets up in the morning - she reminded me before she went to bed.
OK that's done, this time it's a Polly Pocket - Stylin' Pose Polly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson, a true lady!

Unfortunately our Country lost a wonderful woman today; Lady Bird Johnson, the former first-lady of the United States of America, died at her home today among family. I met her once at the Wildflower Center, back when it was still called the National Wildflower Research Center, and she was certainly a true Texan Lady. My friend Charles respectfully named a dog of his after her many years ago. My mom was a district campaign manager for her son-in-law Chuck Robb back in the 80's. I watch the television stations and listen to the radio stations that her family owns. And I especially enjoy the wildflowers that she championed for most of her life. Thank you Lady Bird for the gift of the flowers!

Here is the notice sent out by The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:

"With the nation, we mourn the passing of our beloved founder, Lady Bird Johnson, who died at her home in Austin on Wednesday July 11, surrounded by her loving family.
Mrs. Johnson created the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in 1982 as a place where people could visit beautiful native wildflower gardens, and learn about the role served by native plants and native landscapes in maintaining a healthy environment and defining our sense of place.
Even before this wonderful place existed, Mrs. Johnson was a champion of our natural heritage. As First Lady, Mrs. Johnson traveled all over the country to draw public attention to the need to protect our natural treasures and to address growing environmental problems. She was the driving vision behind the Highway Beautification Act, and a public force for expansion of the National Parks System, the preservation of wilderness, and other initiatives. Her example and her accomplishments laid the groundwork for the later emergence of a national environmental movement.
As Mrs. Johnson said: "The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become."
Mrs. Johnson's extraordinary vision and commitment will live on at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We urge you to visit the Center and enjoy the place she loved so much.

Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Tribute website for memorial schedule and information
Read more about Lady Bird Johnson on our biography pages
Honor Lady Bird Johnson's memory by making a memorial contribution to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Endowment Fund "

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sunday Seven - missing

I know that I skipped my Sunday Seven posting yesterday but I couldn't be specific enough to do a real list so lets just say that I'm grateful for everything that I have been blessed with in this life.

Not affiliated with a previous post

This picture is not affiliated with any previous post. Yes, we do all have the same shoes, at least of this style. Joe has not yet jumped (or been pushed) onto the Croc wagon (or Moc Croc wagon) but we may get him there yet - the summer is not over yet and they are still in every store on every corner.

More Pictures

The following pictures go with THIS POST from the beginning of April about how we make our cascarones.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Friday, July 06, 2007

Another Picture for an old post

Referencing this post called The Backyardigans from the beginning of April.

Goose Eggs

I was always posting about those big goose eggs and around Easter I hard boiled a few. Here's a picture of one, it should be actual size if the picture transfers correctly. If not then click on the picture to make it true size.

I sure love chard

Back in March, Edgar gave me a big ole bunch of chard that looked so good that as soon as I got home from The Market I just had to cook it up and eat it. Take a look and see if you agree.
I chopped it up into big pieces and put it in the hot wok that had 2 TBS unsalted butter and 1 TBS chopped garlic and a bunch of Spike Seasoning in it. I cooked it until wilted and as you can see it cooked down in volume quite a bit. Mmmmm, it sure was good!
Warning: in June he gave me a bunch of chard so big that it covered the entire stove top - pictures to be posted later.

First Cotton Candy

Here's a picture to go with item #3 from this Sunday Seven post.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I asked TiVo to record this for us and he complied. We will be watching it later this week/summer as our musical history lesson. Gotta love homeschooling!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Articles in Real Simple on Worry

When I was is Florida visiting my sister I read this set of articles on worrying in the May issue of Real Simple and really liked what I read. Read them, you too may know someone that could benefit from this knowledge.
Stress-Less: 16 Worry Cures
Worried? 10 Ways to Soothe Your Fears
Could You Be a Worrywart?
How to Conquer Everyday Worries

After reading that whole issue and 2 others (thank you Carol for giving Mary that gift subscription) I decided to get my own subscription when I got back home. Unfortunately my first issue has yet to arrive - I'm SUPPOSED to get it around August 1. Which isn't THAT bad since I'm behind on reading my current issues of Living, Everyday Food, Texas Gardener, Smart Money, New Beginnings, and Leaven. But it's kind of not fair - I'm doing catch-up reading of 8 years' worth of Leaven (thanks Bev for giving me all your old issues) every time that I'm in the bathroom and then I have my Texas Gardener back log to deal with. And now I'm actually thinking of subscribing to Cook's Country too! With all of that to read, when will I ever have time to read other people's blogs?

Homemade Cornbread

And no, I don't mean made from a box at home, I mean made from scratch. The fantastic thing about this recipe is that I have all of the ingredients on hand all the time and it's a very kid-friendly cooking experience - both kids helped. Of course, I used my 50/50 flour so it took longer to bake; I'm not sure how to compensate for that without burning the outside. I used an 8x8 square pan and baked it in the toaster oven (I did preheat though) The kids and Joe loved it and I even allowed us to use the Shedd's Spread Spreadable Butter on it. Thank you Martha!

Cheddar Cornbread
from the July/August issue of EveryDay Food

Prep: 15 minutes Total: 55 minutes
Baking the cornbread in a preheated cast-iron skillet gives it a crisp brown crust and a moist interior. If you don't have one, in step 2, use an 8-inch square metal baking pan instead of the skillet. When the cornbread is baked, let it cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and place right side up on a wire rack.
Serves 6. (note from Natalie: served 4 for 2 days)
1 cup all-purpose flour - spooned and leveled
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, salt, and pepper; make a well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk and eggs to well, and whisk to loosen eggs. Gently incorporate dry ingredients, then mix in cheese.
Place butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet; bake until butter is melted. Remove from oven, and tilt to coat bottom and sides.
Pour batter into prepared skillet; bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cornbread cool in skillet at least 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap completely cooled bread in plastic, and store at room temperature up to 1 day.
First published
Copyright 2007 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. All rights reserved.

Is it done yet?

How to know if your steak is done enough:
A rare steak feels like your cheek when you push on it.
A medium steak feels like the tip of your nose.
A well done steak feels like your forehead.

NEVER cut into the meat (beef, pork, poultry) to check for doneness and if at all possible don't stick a meat thermometer into it either. Cutting or piercing the meat allows the juices to flow OUT of the meat and that is not conducive to a juicy piece of meat. Also, allow the meat to sit for 5 to 10 minutes after cooking. The meat continues to cook when it's first removed from the heat so sitting lets it finish cooking (this also means that you should remove the meat from the heat before the internal temp is at the final temp or else you'll have overcooked meat). Sitting also lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday Seven #13

Seven things I’m thankful for this last week ending 6/30/07.
1 –
Marie & Roland staying for another year in a house only ½ mile away.
2 – Me remembering to take care of the neighbors’ dog & bunny.
3 – Joe’s Diet Mountain Dew induced heartburn finally going away.
4 – Gayla being grateful for whatever help I can provide at The Market.
5 – Dawn thinking of us when she was clearing out her garage.
6 – Me having so much Market bounty that I can share it with my friends (and friend’s chickens).
7 – Living high up on a hill with no worries of flooding.

I'm not thankful for the absence of healthy kid’s meal options at Chick-fil-A - why is there no grilled chicken for the kids?

Don't forget to leave a link to your Sunday Seven in the comments!

Sunday Seven is a meme designed for giving thanks for the big or little things in our lives - or to recognize the positive things going on! If you'd like to play along, please go here to find out all about it.