Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Adventure Mondays

This was a summer of "Monday Adventures" for Ed and the kids (mostly Ed and the boys).  In order to spend more time with the kiddos, he planned something for them each Monday...his day off.  Some of the adventures happened to land on other days, but you get the idea.  Lindsay would have gone on more outings with them, but she was busy working much of the time.

Monday, June 3
Six Flags

Monday, June 10
New Bicycles & Off To Ride Them
Nothing fantabulous, but they had outgrown their other bicycles and were really wanting to start riding more often this summer.

I'm sure they're thrilled that dad took the picture with their helmets! :/

Tuesday, June 11
Bonus adventure to the Texas Rangers game!
A friend of Ed's happens to know a Texas Ranger, so he got them tickets to the game.  Cool, huh?

They got to meet Craig Gentry!

Monday, June 17
Bowling at Bowl A Rama in Rowlett



Monday, June 24
Monsters University at Mesquite AMC 30
When the boys were young, Monster's Inc. (Mommers) was their FAVORITE movie in the entire world.  They were pretty excited when Monsters University finally hit the theaters...I thought they were going to pop waiting on it!  All 5 of us went on today's adventure!

Monday, July 1
Go Kart Racing at Celebration Station in Mesquite
The boys had been dying to race go karts and I just happened to find an awesome deal at Celebration Station!  Unfortunately, I believe this is the only picture Ed took that day.  I think they were there racing for over 8 hours!!!  Definitely worth every penny!

Monday, July 8
Junior Camp at Forest Glen Christian Camp in Huntsville, TX
They didn't actually go on an adventure, but they were all at Junior Camp together.  Since Ed was their counselor, I'm sure they spent some time with him on Monday.

I happened to find a camp picture with all 3 of them in it!

Monday, July 15
Olympus Has Fallen at Mesquite Cinemas 10
Lindsay, my mom, and I took the boys to our local dollar movie.  Ed was working at a youth camp called Youth Alive, so it was my turn to take the boys out.  I'm not great at pictures...oops!

Wednesday, July 17
Epic at Mesquite Cinemas 10
We had so much fun on Monday, we decided to go back to the movies on Wednesday.

Monday, July 22
Red 2 at Mesquite AMC 30
And they're back at the movies...yet again.

Monday, July 29
Laser Tag at Celebration Station in Mesquite

Monday, August 5
Jack in the Box
I know this sounds ridiculous for a Monday adventure, so I will explain.  The boys were at school all day helping out with Varsity football, and Ed had an event.  When I picked them up around 3:30, they were pretty and hot tired, but asked what we were doing for the Monday adventure.  I was at a loss, because I really thought they would be too tired to do anything.  We don't eat out much, so I told them they could pick whatever fast food restaurant they wanted and get whatever they wanted (yes, I gave them a monetary limit).  I told them they didn't even have to pick the same restaurant.  I honestly thought Benjamin would pick McDonald's and Jonathan would pick Whataburger (their favorites), but they both decided on Jack in the Box.  So I have to admit, today's adventure was pretty lame, but oh well.  We still did something. :)

Sunday, August 12
FC Dallas MLS Game....and a free t-shirt
Ed wanted to end the summer Monday Adventures with something big for the boys, so he took them to their first MLS game (it was on Sunday, but we can't control the game schedule...obviously).  They loved it! 

Monday, August 19
No adventure today...Ed took Lindsay back to college and the boys stayed home with their momma.  Their adventure was to keep mom from having a breakdown after Lindsay drove away.  And they did their job!  I know some of you moms out there understand me!

Collette :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites

These are the BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Bites I attempted to make.  Think I left them in the oven a little too long?  Yep.  I get nervous about potentially undercooked meat, soooo this is what happens.  They were not a complete fail, though.  While extremely crispy, they were still pretty good.  Lindsay and I completely demolished the batch of them.

This is the look I was going for!!
Since mine were pretty much a fail, I'm not going to include my instructions on how to make them.  I am including a link for the pretty ones above.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Recipe

I'm actually going to try this recipe soon.  It sounds delicious!!


Collette :)

Ham and Turkey Melts

Have I mentioned that I love sandwiches?  Can you believe you did not know that about me?  Ed had a late site visit last night, and I napped right through the dinner hour, so we all ended up eating when he got home.  Summers are a time of pot luck for us, so we just dig around in the fridge, pantry or freezer until we find something that sounds good and go for it.

Benjamin had some leftover ravioli that I had made him for lunch and Jonathan had 6 fried eggs.  Yes, these are our weird summer meals.  Please do not panic about Jonathan eating that many eggs in one sitting...we do not eat a lot of eggs around here (less than 1 per week per person), so I'm okay with him doing that every now and then.  And then I made ham and turkey melt sandwiches for me and Ed.

What you will need:

Onion Poppy Ciabatta Sandwich Rolls (I purchase these from the Wal-Mart bakery)
Mustard and/or Mayonnaise
Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh Mesquite Turkey Breast
Land O' Frost Premium Old Fashioned Cooked Ham
Provolone cheese slices (I buy the Great Value Provolone slices)
Leaf lettuce
Sliced tomatoes (seasoned with salt and pepper)
Hamburger dill slices

How to prepare:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Split apart the sandwich rolls.  Lay them cut-side up on a foil-lined or parchment-lined baking sheet.  Add mustard, mayo, or both to the bread.  I used regular yellow mustard on Ed's sandwiches, and regular mayonnaise on mine; however, you could also use Dijon or brown mustard or herbed mayonnaise.  You can make your own herbed mayonnaise by adding fresh or dried herbs to regular mayonnaise.  Place 4 slices of turkey on one side of the bread and 4 slices of ham on the other.  I do not lay them flat on the bread...I sort of fold each piece of meat in half or bunch it up on the bread.  Lay one slice of Provolone cheese on top of the turkey and one slice on top of the ham.  Leave the sandwiches open.  Place the sandwiches in the oven on the middle rack for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  I didn't leave mine in as long as I normally do.  Remove them from the oven when they are ready.  Move them from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.  Let them cool for a few minutes.  I like to slice my tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper.  Add pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce leaf to one side of the sandwich.  Top with the other half.

Out of the oven and on to the cooling rack for a few minutes before assembling

Click Here to Print Recipe for Ham and Turkey Melts


Collette :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

French Bread Pizza

A few days ago, someone asked me if I ever made any of the Pioneer Woman's recipes.  I believe I have only made three, but I watch her show on Food Network every Saturday, I own her original cookbook, I read her daily blog, and I love her recipes.  Some of my recipes are very similar...such as these French bread pizzas.  I opened an email with her daily blog not long ago to find pictures of very similar pizzas we make in our home.  We made these for dinner tonight, because they are very easy and they're not really in the oven long enough to heat up the house.  I definitely plan my menus around the Texas summers, y'all!  Was that too Paula Deen?

The variety of pizzas we had this evening were cheese, pepperoni and mushroom, tomato, and sausage and green olive.  Because Wal-Mart no longer carries pre-packaged sausage crumbles, I purchased a one-pound package of Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage.  I tore the sausage into pieces as I was putting it in the skillet, then broke it up with my spoon as I was stirring it around.  To make ground meat smaller, I mash it with a potato masher.

sausage crumbles
I couldn't find pre-sliced green olives, so I purchased the smallest jar I could find and sliced them myself.  I actually sliced all of the olives from the jar and placed them back in the original container to store them.

I like to use these French steak rolls from the Wal-Mart bakery when I can find them.  I cut them in half lengthwise (horizontally) before assembling.

I use Hunt's Garlic & Herb spaghetti sauce for the pizza sauce.  It's cheaper than pizza sauce in the jar and we prefer the taste.  Believe me, we make these enough that we have tried almost everything.  You will see the tomato pizza has a pesto sauce instead of the tomato sauce.  Yummy!  So, the basic assembling process is 1) cut the rolls in half and place them cut-side up on a baking sheet; 2) spread your preferred sauce on each bread half; 3) top with shredded mozzarella cheese; 4) add your favorite toppings.

Your oven should be preheating at 400 degrees during this process.  Place the pizzas on the top rack in the oven.  It should take about 10 minutes to get all the cheese melted nicely on top.

Print French Bread Pizza Recipe

Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!!

Collette :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baked Pork Chops with Herb Gravy

Sorry about the quality of the picture...still using my phone :)

Baked Pork Chops with Herb Gravy

6 center-cut pork chops  (I used a 3.85 pound package of pork shoulder butt blade steak)
seasoned salt
garlic powder
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large onion, sliced in half rings
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried parsley

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  If using the pork steaks, remove the bone from the pork steaks and cut them into smaller pieces.  Season both sides of the pork with seasoned salt and garlic powder.
3.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Make sure the oil is very hot.
4.  Brown the chops quickly in the hot oil.  I actually browned them about 2 minutes per side so they wouldn't have to cook as long in the oven.  I had to brown the pork in 2 batches.
5.  Place the cooked pork in a glass 13x9-inch baking dish.
6.  While the oil is still hot, throw the onion in the skillet.  Sauté the onion until it is soft, about 5 minutes.  Once the onion is cooked, pour it on top of the pork in the baking dish.
7.  Return the skillet to the heat.  Melt the butter in the skillet.
8.  Stir the flour into the butter, blending until the flour has soaked up all of the butter.  There will be little lumps of flour all in the skillet.
9.  Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly until smooth.  Keep whisking...the mixture will eventually smooth out.
10.  Stir in the salt, oregano, marjoram, thyme, and parsley.  I have all these pre-measured in a small bowl, then just throw them in when it's time.
11.  Whisk until the herbs are blended into the gravy.
12.  Pour the sauce over the pork in the baking dish.
13.  Bake, covered tightly with foil, at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and cook about 30 minutes longer.

Print Baked Pork Chops with Herb Gravy Recipe

I served the pork with Rice-A-Roni Fried Rice and steamed broccoli.


Collette :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cheesy Beef Rigatoni

Sorry this isn't a better picture, but we were starving and I was only able to snap a quick picture.  I had a can of Progresso Recipe Starters Creamy Three Cheese in my pantry that I wanted to use, so I searched for a recipe.  The original recipe was called Cheesy BBQ Beef Rigatoni, but it sounded terribly unappealing, so I changed it up a little.  Sometimes these products don't make it, so I was trying to think of a substitute in case I couldn't find this particular item at the store.  I think nacho cheese could probably be substituted....in fact, I think I might try that the next time I make this.  I don't have printable recipes set up yet, but you should be able to highlight the recipe, then click copy and paste it into a Word document and print it (if you would like a copy).

Cheesy Beef Rigatoni

9 ounces rigatoni pasta, uncooked
1 pound lean ground beef, drained
4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced green onion (about 8 medium)
1 (18-ounce) can Progresso Recipe Starters Creamy Three Cheese cooking sauce
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced stewed tomatoes
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.  I undercook the pasta just a tad and leave it in the hot water after turning off the burner.  Let it sit in the hot water until ready to use.  I actually used the entire box of pasta (I think it was 16 ounces) and it was probably just a tad too much.  The recipes calls for 9 ounces uncooked.  And make sure you salt the pasta water some...the pasta will retain a little of the salt and give the dish more flavor.

3.  Cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until browned.  Drain the fat off the beef.  I go ahead and purchase the 73/27 ground beef, but because we are trying to eat healthier, I place the cooked ground beef in a metal strainer (not a colander...beef will fall out the holes) and rinse it thoroughly in hot water.  I also rinse out the skillet.  Return the beef to the skillet.  Return the skillet to the heat.

4.  Add the green onion and mushrooms and stir until the mushrooms begin to soften some.  Keep in mind that if you rinsed the beef, there is no fat in the pan, so you will need to stir the beef, onion, and mushroom continually, about 3 minutes...maybe not even that long.

5.  Add the diced stewed tomatoes to the skillet.  Stir until combined with beef mixture.

6.  Add the cheese sauce to the skillet.  Stir until combined with beef mixture.

7.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can also add some herbs during this step, such as basil, oregano, rosemary or thyme.  Don't add too much so the herbs don't overpower the dish.

8.  Drain the pasta.  Pour it into a 13x9-inch glass baking dish.

9.  Pour the sauce over the pasta.  Stir until the sauce and pasta are combined.

10.  Top with the shredded Cheddar cheese.

11.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes...just until the cheese melts.

Print Cheesy Beef Rigatoni Recipe


Collette :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dallas Marathon

Amanda is in the pink shirt to the far right waving at us...we were waiting at mile 4
Today was a very exciting day for our family, especially my sister-in-law, Amanda (my husband's sister).  She ran her very first half marathon at the Dallas Marathon!  I'm so glad we were able to be there to support her...it was very exciting!  She has been working so hard to train for this and we are so proud of her!!  Congratulations, Amanda!  We love you!

Before she arrived here at mile 4, I really started to choke up some, but I didn't want her to see me crying when she passed....we were there to cheer her on!  I don't know why I was so emotional!  I guess because this is huge!  I'm not sure I could run 13 miles if I were in shape, nor would I want to!  Her friend, Kyle, who has been coaching her the past few months, ran the marathon with her.  He's in the bright yellow shirt to the left right behind her in the picture above.

She just passed us at mile 4...her husband, Josh, is high-fiving Kyle
My nephew, Luke, supporting his momma!
And there she goes...
I love the picture right above...Josh getting a picture of her and Luke watching her as she continues her run!

And then...after weaving our way through Downtown Dallas to find a spot near the finish line (at the Convention Center)....
Here they come...the home stretch!
She had just enough energy to give us a little wave...they're very close to the finish!!
If you have never been to a marathon, it is VERY exciting!  I've been seeing a lot of my Facebook friends posting...apparently there were several who ran the marathon today!  Congratulations to you too!!  But the biggest congratulations goes to Amanda!!  Looking forward to your next race!

Collette :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mixed Tapes....Oh, the memories!

I was paying bills and balancing the checkbook the other day and I pulled out my CDs to listen to music while I was working.  I ran across a CD that is very special to my heart.  It actually started out as a mixed tape that Ed made for me on first Valentine's Day together.

In case you can't read the songs listed...
No One Needs To Know - Shania Twain
State of Mind - Clint Black
Love a Little Stronger - Diamond Rio
I Got You Babe - UB40
Eternal Flame - Bangles
What About Love - Heart
Like the Rain - Clint Black
Red Strokes - Garth Brooks
Endless Summer Nights - Richard Marx
These Dreams - Heart
You Got It All - Jets
With You All the Way - New Edition
(Everything I Do) I Do For You - Bryan Adams
Dream - Everly Brothers
Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
Groovy Kind of Love - Phil Collins
At This Moment - Billy Vera & The Beaters
Come On, Come On - Mary Chapin Carpenter
I Still Believe In You - Vince Gill
The Heart Won't Lie - Reba McEntire/Vince Gill
Hopelessly Yours - Suzy Bogguss/Lee Greenwood

These mix of songs may sound weird to you, but they were balm to my heart when I was listening to them the other day.  I wore the tape out when Ed first gave it to me.

Hope you have a wonderful day!  And if you have time, pull out that keepsake box and look through it!  You saved things for a reason, didn't you?  Look through them and enjoy them when you have some time!

Collette :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Sorry, folks...no picture!  I kept forgetting to take one, then we ate it all!  Also, while you see slow cooker in the name, this is not a dump everything in and let it go...there is some prep work.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into about 1-inch pieces (I purchased marbled meat to add extra flavor to the stew)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided (cook the beef in 2 batches...1 tablespoon oil per batch)
3 to 4 cups peeled and cubed russet potatoes
1 1/2 to 2 cups diced carrots
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Emeril's Original Essence seasoning
32-ounce carton beef broth, divided
1-ounce package dry onion soup mix
3 tablespoons butter
2 small onions, peeled, cut in half then sliced
1/4 cup red wine (I used Burgundy and I used closer to a whole cup)
8-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  1. Prep the potatoes and carrots and add them to the slow cooker.  Sprinkle with the dried parsley, black pepper, and Emeril's seasoning.  Give it a rough stir to coat. 
  2. Place the stew meat in a gallon-size resealable baggie along with 1/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon seasoned salt; shake well until all pieces of  meat are coated. 
  3. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and brown the beef on all sides...DO NOT fully cook the beef.  Also, you should do this in 2 or 3 batches so as not to crowd the pan.  I use stainless steel cookware, because I have an induction-top stove...here are some tips on less sticking; however you want some of that gunk to stick so when you de-glaze the pan with the wine you get all that flavor.  If you are using stainless steel cookware, heat the cookware prior to adding the oil.  You know your pan is ready by throwing a few drops of water into the pan and they dance across the hot surface.  Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the hot pan and work the pan until the bottom is coated.  Now wait until the oil is hot....really hot...no REALLY hot.  You should see faint wisps of vapor when the pan is ready.  To test it, touch the edge of the meat to the bottom of the hot pan.  If it is properly heated, the meat will easily slip and slide across the bottom of the pan...no sticking.
  4. Add the meat to the top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.
  5. Boil 2 cups of the beef broth; add in the packet of onion soup mix and stir until dissolved.  Pour this over the beef and vegetables in the slow cooker.
  6. Using the same pan you cooked the beef, melt 3 tablespoons butter; add onions to the hot butter and sauté until they are softened; add them to the slow cooker.
  7. Keeping the same skillet heated, pour in the red wine slowly so the vapor doesn't make your eyes water; scrape up all the bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan; let simmer on low until the wine has reduced and is thick; pour this in the slow cooker.  If you're using a stainless steel pan and the bits are really stuck, use a metal spatula to scrape them up.
  8. Place the lid on your slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 30 minutes.
  9. Reduce slow cooker heat to LOW and cook for 6 to 6 1/2 hours.
  10. Right at about 6 hours, I added the 2 remaining cups of beef broth, the can of tomato sauce, and the flour/water mixture, stirring to combine everything.  Take a taste test to see if it is salted to your taste...at this point you may want to add some additional salt.
  11. Continue to cook on LOW for 30 minutes.
This is a pretty thick stew, so feel free to add more beef broth to thin it out.

Print Slow Cooker Beef Stew Recipe

Nifty Noshing!!

Collette :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Easy Meals

Macaroni & Cheese with Smoked Sausage

You can feed your family a hot meal without having to spend a long time in the kitchen.  We have had several meals from my "easy" category lately.  I will be the first to admit they are not always the healthiest meals, but easy...they are!

Easy Meal #1:  The meal pictured above is macaroni and cheese with smoked sausage.  Because I have 2 growing twin boys and a growing husband, I prepared 3 boxes of macaroni and cheese according to package directions.  While the pasta was boiling, I cut into small pieces 21 ounces (1/2 of a 42-ounce package) of Ekrich Skinless Smoked Sausage.  I put the smoked sausage in a glass bowl and heated it in the microwave for about 3 minutes or so.  Once the mac and cheese was prepared, I folded in the smoked sausage.  This is soooooo easy!!  Serve it with a salad or green veggie and it adds some healthy back into the mix.

Sloppy Joes
Easy Meal #2:  Sloppy Joes.  I tend to buy ground beef in bulk and freeze it in one-pound increments.  For these sloppy joes, I defrosted 2 pounds of ground beef in the microwave then browned it over medium-high heat.  I drained the meat and added it back to the skillet.  I stirred in a little garlic salt then added 2 cans of Great Value sloppy joe sauce.  Normally I use 1 can for 2 pounds of ground beef, but we had open-faced sloppy joes so the sloppy can be a little sloppier.  While the meat was defrosting, I threw some Kroger seasoned fries in the oven (they need approximately 20 to 25 minutes in the oven plus preheat time) and served those with the sloppy joes.  I ate chips with  mine; hence, the potato chips seen on my plate above.  I usually serve this with a veggie, but I didn't this time...oopsie.

Easy Meal #3....Hamburger, Chicken or Tuna Helper.  I accidentally stumbled upon Beef Pasta HH and that has turned out to be my absolute favorite!  I'm not a HH fan, so I don't fix it often, but occasionally it hits a sale paper and I have a coupon and I can get it for super cheap!  Season it up just right and it can be delicious!  Always yummy with a salad and/or veggies for the side.  How hard is it to open a bag of salad and throw dressing on it or open canned veggies?  Cooking doesn't have to be complicated!

Easy Meal #4....Frozen breaded chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, and green beans.  Last night I threw frozen breaded chicken tenders in the oven.  While those were cooking, I prepared 2 boxes of macaroni and cheese on the stove top and opened 2 cans of french-cut green beans, dumped them in a glass bowl, seasoned them with lemon pepper and ran them through the microwave for 3 minutes.  What kiddo doesn't love breaded chicken tenders?

Easy Meal #5....Smoked Sausage, Macaroni and Cheese, and Ranch Style Beans.  Please do not ask me where this meal came from, but we all love it.  Slice the smoked sausage and place it in a preheated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.  Prepare 1 to 2 boxes of macaroni and cheese according to the package directions.  Open a couple of cans of RS beans, dump then in a glass bowl, and run them through the microwave for 3 minutes.  You can also replace the RS beans with canned green beans.  I love green beans seasoned with lemon pepper!

Easy Meal #6...Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  I place 3 pounds of ground beef in a large glass mixing bowl then add an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 3 large eggs, 3 tablespoons A-1 Original Steak Sauce, 1 cup crushed seasoned croutons (any brand), 1 cup crushed french-fried onions, and 1 packet of onion soup mix.  Wash your hands, take off your jewelry, and dig in!  I mash mine all together with my hands until it is blended together.  I then give my hands a good washing, place the meatloaf in a metal 13 x 9-inch baking dish, and place it in a preheated 350-degree oven to cook for 30 minutes.  I like to cook my meatloaf in a 13 x 9-inch pan, because it seems to cook more evenly and takes less time.  While the meatloaf is in the oven, prepare some instant mashed potatoes according to package directions.  Open a couple of cans of green beans, place them in a glass microwaveable bowl, add lemon seasoning and run them through the microwave for about 3 minutes.  This is excellent served with Texas toast!  Basically just butter both sides of some plain white Texas toast bread (made by Mrs. Baird's or Sunbeam), pop it in the toaster and when it is golden brown, it's ready!

I'm sure I have a ton of other easy meals like this, but here are just a few to get you started.  And for my friends out there who say they can't cook....I say YOU CAN!  This is cooking, folks!

Nifty Noshing!!

Love ya,
Collette :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Field Trip and Football Game

Photo from Inner Space Caverns Website
Yesterday, the boys' 5th grade class went on a field trip to Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown, TX.  This was a 3-hour trek from the school, but I rode with my friend, Whitney, and with all the hot air blowing in her SUV, we were there before we knew it!  I have to admit, I did get a little car sick and was warned that if I threw up in her vehicle, I was riding the bus back home!

I didn't actually go down into the caverns so I can't give you my personal experience, but I did hear it was very muggy and just a little creepy when they turned out all the lights.  The boys were extremely disappointed that they saw no bats, but they were able to take a gander at petrified bat poo....lover-ly, just lover-ly.

Can you believe I did not take ONE single photo yesterday?  I know...40 lashes with a wet noodle!!  Ed tried to get me to take the camera, but I said, "Nah...I've got my phone."  Aaaaannnnndddddd...here we are.

On a side note:  Do any of you remember the shooting at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009?  Chris Royal, one of the survivors is running 80 miles from Fort Hood in Killeen to the capitol in Austin.  The first leg of his run ended yesterday at the Inner Space Caverns.  So while all the kiddos and parents were underground in the cavern, I was able to sit outside and watch this guy take pictures with everyone and walk his wife and little boy around to see the animals, etc.  It was sweet.  He has a pretty good limp from being shot twice in the back.  Apparently it messed up his back and hip pretty badly.  He started a non profit for the surviving victims called 32 Still Standing Foundation.

After the kids and parents came up from the cavern and everyone visited the gift shop, we celebrated Emma's birthday with some yummy cupcakes with pink frosting and sprinkles...Happy Birthday, Emma!  Then it wasn't long, and we loaded up to leave.

We were scheduled to eat lunch at the Denny's in Waco (Siri pronounces it Wacko), but Whitney and I grabbed the boys and headed for this dive she found on Yelp....Health Camp.  The food was great, but a little pricey for a burger joint.  Don't you just love the name?

Then on the way home, we stopped at the Outlets at Hillsboro to do some shopping at Bath and Body Works...great deals right now....and I got some nice little treats for AY.  They'll be in the mail soon, sweetie! 

Then on to the football game.  This was our district championship game against First Baptist Academy.  Can I just say how disappointed I am in the players and crowd from FBA?  That's all I'm going to say about that.  Ed met us there from work...it was nice getting to spend some time with my honey.  Afterward, Jon Jon went with Ed so he could finish up his work for the evening and Benny Bear came home with me and we crashed.  (I don't care how old they are...they will always be Jon Jon and Benny Bear to me!!) 

And on that note...cherish your time with your children!  I hear so many people saying, "I can't wait until they can do this or that," but the time slips away so quickly.  I want it to slow down...I CAN wait!  People....it was hard enough when Lindsay graduated from high school and we sent her off to college, but when these 2 guys graduate and head off to college at the same time...you might as well reserve me a room at Timberlawn right now!

Thanks for visiting my blog today!  Hope you have a wonderful day!

Collette :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012


We are not a family that "celebrates" Halloween so to speak.  Do the kids like to dress up and get candy?  Of course they do.  And what parent doesn't inflict the candy tax?  You know what I mean!  I usually wait until the kids are at school then pick and choose my favorites.  But I don't go all out and decorate and such...just the fun stuff for the kiddos.

The boys waited until the last minute to decide and work on costumes, but I think they came up with some pretty good ones!  We went to their grandparents' house last night for some family time, and Uncle Josh and Aunt Amanda took the boys trick or treating with their cousin, Luke.  Lots of fun was had!  I stayed back and chatted with Bill and Lee.

Lindsay is at college, but it appears that she went as Pippi Longstocking
And here is Max's grave...his mom and grandmother decorated it for him
Hope everyone had fun and got lots of yummy candy!

Collette :)