Thursday, January 31, 2013

Christmas Card Pics 2012

I dread group pictures with these kids!
I do not like taking them to the 
photo studios
SOMEONE doesn't cooperate.

I took forever getting last year's 
Easter/Birthday pictures done 
out of sheer fear 
and procrastination.

First I have to find outfits for them,
either matching or coordinating,
then I have to make an appt,
the appt has to be when I think I can get there,
when I might have help (daddy)
when they might have napped but not too early
its just a mess.
And I dread it.

This year things were NUTS 
and the days in December
were quickly ticking away...
I told my little sis
that I might not get 
Christmas cards out this year
and she was insistant that I would!
Or that "I better"
(those were her words).

So I quickly gathered outfits...
and did my best to find a few minutes during our day
where I could dress them all,
do their hair
and take a couple of pictures.

Thanks to my new toy...
this was the BEST
photo session we have EVER had!

It wasn't a dream,
it wasn't perfect...
I didn't get 500 pictures to choose from
that were all great...
but the whole experience,
totally manageable...

Here are the four I narrowed it down to:

It was REALLY hard to choose from these.  

But ultimately, 
we went with this one.

Merry (Belated ) Christmas
From our Family,
To Yours!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy (quite belated) Birthday Daddy

I got a new toy
for Christmas,
but I was lucky enough to 
get it early
so I could play with it and enjoy it for

I also happened to get it 
right around daddy's birthday.
Which fell the weekend after 
Thanksgiving this year.
So my sweet husband had a 
Christmas tree up in the living room
when we celebrated his birthday!

I do my best to make ALL
the birthday cakes in this house.
I am willing to try just about anything:
ice cream cakes,
fondant covered cakes,
shaped cakes,

Daddy opted for a
Cookies & Cream Cheesecake

So I made a go at it.
And then
decided to tinker with my new toy...

Can you guess what my new toy is?
Nope, its not a spring form pan!  ;)


Group shot before daddy blew out his candles...

Then a shot of all of his helpers!

Whipped cream on the cake
and in the baby.

Whipped cream faces!

Happy Birthday Daddy!!

The next day,
we headed to daddy's last football game.
Daddy coached football while we 
were in NC.
He has a little bit of a following,
and he wanted to make sure he kept
himself busy while we were gone. 
And since R is the coaches' son,
he tagged along and
got to participate in the last couple of games.

 Here are a few random
pictures from the game.
I had to play with my new toy!

What a mess...

Mid-game pep talk from the younger brother...

LOVE LOVE this picture!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Christmas Tree Hunting - Texas Style

Yes - I know Christmas was a month ago...
And for the record, the events in this post 
 2 months ago!
But I am quickly getting caught up...

For those that don't know - 
my crew has a 
tradition of cutting down our own Christmas Tree.
We ventured to a tree farm west of Austin last year.
It got the job done,
we came home with a tree,
but I was less than impressed with their selection.

So this year,
we ventured a bit south of San Antonio
to Devine, Texas 
to hunt and cut our tree.

Let the hunt begin!

Ms. Priss was checking for chipmunks.
They had seen Alvin & The Chipmunks
a couple of times recently...
and that is how the chipmunks met Dave...
in his Christmas tree.

 Ms. Priss liked this one, 
but it was a little small for mom.

Mommy wanted a FAT one!
I couldn't get a tall one 
(cause it wouldn't fit)
but I could get a FAT one,
so we were on the hunt for the 
fattest one on the farm!

Wt think we found it!
The pre-cut picture.

And our littlest angel on top!

Then the cutting began,
how many members of our family
does it take to cut down a
Christmas tree?





(mommy needed help)

Daddy had to finish it up for us.

Then we make the boys 
do the heavy lifting...

Yep, broken arm and all.

(This is actually the smaller half cast,

so he had a lot more mobility and it was a LOT
lighter and thinner)

This is the tree farms attempt at 
getting everyone in the spirit.
This is the closest they get
to real snowmen down here!

A lot different from how we spent Halloween!

We strapped it to the roof
and headed home!

I *begged* and plotted with daddy,
trying to convince him to get a 
REAL NC tree while we were 
in the NC mountains.
But he thought the drive was too long
and that it wouldn't make it.
I told him that they ship NC trees all over the country.
But I still lost that battle,
so we were left with a Texas tree.

But it worked!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Everyday Matters Bible for Women

I am SO far behind on my reviews.
But what's new, right?

Right before we headed to NC,
I received this beautiful Bible in the mail.
I forgot I had signed up to review it,
so this package really surprised me!

There are TONS of Bibles out there...
TONS of them!
And you have your choice of women's Bibles too.

I can honestly say that I have not 
researched nor compared this
one to the other women's Bibles on the market.
So I cannot offer an opinion 
about it compared to others.

I can however,
tell you my opinion of this one!

it is asthetically pleasing to me.
I am really drawn to the cover the printer chose.

The title also attracts me!

What makes this Bible unique?
They ime was taken to come up
with 24 spiritual practices that they incorporate into the pages
 to encourage us on our faithful journey.

Then they inserted examples of these
spiritual practices through out the Bible
along with scriptural reference.

I think this was beautifully put together.

We have used this Bible as our reference Bible
for my oldest's religion study.

I enjoy having it close at hand while we are studying.

If you were looking for a new Bible,
I don't think you would be disappointed with this one.

It can be found on Amazon
and there is also a Kindle version!

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

NC Trip: The Long Haul Back to Texas (Part 3)

After a long sleepless Halloween night...
we got up on November 1st 
loaded up in Asheville
hit the road again.

That drive down I-40, 
literally THROUGH 
the mountains,
I have no words.
I love it
(have I mentioned that before?)

We had to make a quick pit stop
and for those
that have not travelled this stretch 
of highway...
there aren't too many places to stop!
But when a kid has to potty
you gotta stop!

So we found the 
first place we could to stop at.
The restrooms were outside
and NOT heated.
And we had just left snow...
so it was a chilling experience!

They did have some snacks,
so we got some.
We grabbed stuff to add to 
the food I had packed for our lunch.
A couple of chicken tenders,
fried jalapenos,
beef jerky
two small containers 
of boiled peanuts.
One for me
one for R,
since one one else liked them.
(lots of healthy stuff!)

Loaded back up
I am not sure how it happened,
but I got all of about 2
boiled peanuts!
I don't remember letting them
"try" my peanuts...
but somehow they decided they 
liked them...

This time I really enjoyed
the drive through Tennessee.
When my mom & I drove through
the year before,
it was 
just yucky...
so I didn't get to enjoy the scenery.
It was much different this time.

We decided we like the looks of Knoxville
a LOT!

We kept on moving
and started planning 
our next stop...
and I like to find 
to do,
not just stop
on the side of the road 
or at a rest stop
(if I can help it).

So thanks to,
we decided to stop in Nasheville.


There were a couple of places
that were recommended,
but we opted for

It looked like it had
lots of neat stuff
to look at
of room to run!!

For starters,
Nashville has its own
I am not really sure,
but if you are really interested,
 you can read about it

It was closed while they were getting ready for a 
so we didn't get to go inside,
but we did climb the steps
and walk around it.

Then we walked
(well ran)
over to the park on the grounds.

Ms. Priss didn't do this by herself...
daddy was just out of the frame of the picture.
Notice Mr. T at the bottom right...

He was waiting for his big brother to come
and help him out.  

I am pretty sure the hand on the right of this
picture belongs to me.  
So for once, I wasn't taking pictures!

Then we saw this...

Mr. T went nuts!

And the boys wanted to climb on it,
but of course there were
"No Climbing" 
signs posted all over it.

And they had a real jet on display too.

It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours.

We hopped BACK in the car...
we kept going.
And started discussing our next stop.
We love BBQ
and have always heard 
about Memphis style BBQ.

Again, I consulted

I wanted to make sure we went somewhere
"semi" on the way...
and not completely across
town from the highway we were on.

We decided on

It was good,
but we were not really impressed.
Mr. T did literally
suck all the flavor off the ribs.

He cleaned them off good!

After dinner,
daddy was feeling good,
the kids were full and tired...
so we decided just to drive
and see how far we could get.

I attempted to keep on top of how he was
feeling since we didn't have a hotel lined up.
I can't remember what time we finally stopped,
I think it was close to midnight (if not after).

We made it into Texarkana.
But we stayed on the Arkansas side,
so we didn't QUITE make it 
through Tennessee & Arkansas
in the same day.

We checked in and unloaded AGAIN
The funny part was.
When we got in the car that morning,
we left bitterly cold,
almost snow weather.

When we stopped for the night,
we were DEFINITELY back in Texas.
It was HOT!

R & daddy unloaded,
I attempted to get the littles into the hotel with
minimum wakage...
it didn't work.
They were bright eyed and bushy tailed!

We had a time getting them to go back to sleep!

Since they are still rather short,
we can fit 3 to a bed 
we rotate them 90°
and they sleep across the bed.

Mr. T did sleep in the playpen,
but when he climbed into 
bed with the other 3
I couldn't resist snapping a quick pic.

Loaded BACK up again the next morning,
after breakfast.
Mr. T and daddy had a stand-off...

Guess who won that one.  

Then again,
back into the car.

We booked on through Texas
and wound up stuck in 5pm traffic in Austin.

Poor R was so ready to get out of the car.
He was begging for us to stop.
Just so he could get out.
But daddy and I were SOOOOO
ready to get home,
we kept asking him why he wanted to stop.
He was plain tired of being in the car.
Tired of sitting
tired of riding
just tired!

We all were...
we convinced him that we only had an hour left,
so we really just needed to keep going.
If we stopped,
we would have to get back in the car
to get home,
so we decided we would just power through.

When we FINALLY arrived home.  
The FIRST thing Ms. Priss did...

No joke!!