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Category Archives: Now For the Weather


So, when I do go ahead and try to take pictures, it surely must be on the most dreary day of the month. Well, sure.

It felt so nice to finally have my cutting table cleared enough to start a brand new project, even a small one. This time, the occasion was a baby shower. Since one of my main goals was to use up some of the supplies on hand, I went with these cute quick change bags (which were inspired by these, as you will surely be able to tell):




[The little pinwheel tag is also handmade, but not by my hands — that would be thanks to my sister, Michele.]

It was fun and super-quick to put together. I think my next project may also be a baby gift, but not the same one. Or it may be a little re-fashioning project that I should really get a jump on before I blink and the cooler weather is nothing but a fading memory. (I say that, but I think we all know that we Houstonians will be referring to this years big SNOW DAY — now with 99% less snow — for many days to come.)

As for the rest of this weekend  we have (Lord willing) basketball, Children’s Church, and maybe some fun baking. Wishing you a great weekend!


31 Days: Personal Victories

Today was a busy one. So busy, in fact, that excuses for veering away from my original, well-ordered plan popped up at nearly every turn.

It was very tempting to listen to the little devil on my shoulder [a devil which sounds suspiciously like me] that was tempting me all morning long.

See, if the pre-school costume parade ran long, would it make sense to go for only the last little bit of bible study? I could always borrow the dvd portion and catch up on it later. Besides, there was so much to do at home! Maybe I should just forget about going to the study at all — I mean, there’s no way that I wouldn’t be at least a little late anyway — and just plan on going home.

The parade ended at 9:40. Hmm. That would mean there’s only…an hour and a half left. Oh. Well, when you say it that way, it sounds ridiculous. To Precept!

(Time well spent, as always.)

Then there was the question of whether or not to go to early voting to cast my ballot. With so many days left, is that really necessary? But I was practically passing by the polling place, so why not! Twenty minutes later, I was glad I could cross that off the list, too.

Ah, but here’s the real test: Was there enough time left to justify going all the way back to the gym to squeeze in a workout? By the time I got home, changed, and had a bit to eat, there would only be thirty minutes left. And no classes, and I love a good class.

Oh, who am I fooling?! As if I really spend more than thirty minutes on a treadmill — please! At the rate this week is going, I may not have another opportunity to go until the weekend, so I got up and went. And I was happy — thrilled! — that I had an excuse to leave after thirty minutes. Man, am I out of shape!

Did I feel like an idiot leaving after thirty minutes? Sure. But do I actually think that everyone there was agog that my commitment to fitness was so obviously lacking? Well, yes, but I also know that has more to do with my brand of crazy than anything based in reality.

All in all, a very successful day! I can’t believe I managed to get out of my own way three times in as many hours; that may be a record.

In other news, I put on a sweater this morning, realized that it looked just as unflattering as it did every time I put it on last winter, and decided to rid myself of the collection. You may see me in the same shirt every day, but at least it won’t make me feel like Grimace.

Also, speaking of cold, it’s been mildly chilly here for all of four days, right? My hands are already a dry, burning, flaky mess, and my lips are beyond chapped. Winter should be lots of fun! (Guess it’s a good thing we’re nowhere near winter….)


Let’s Pretend

So, last week I got tired of waiting for Fall to arrive. I decided to try to coax it into existence.

We made pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins, chicken potpie, and two kinds of crisp (but I can’t find a link for the pear-cranberry one; it’s in this month’s Everyday Food, though.) That was last Monday.

Then we waited. And waited, and sweat some more in the blazing heat, and then waited still some more.

Finally, on Friday, it dropped down into the high 80s or something like that and we the people declared it FALL!!

The kids were so excited to be able to wear their hoodies in the morning, especially when we got to walk to school. (Momma doesn’t walk to school when it’s steaming hot at eight in the morning. I just don’t.) They do not, however, understand why it’s not a good idea to start decorating with fresh pumpkins yet. I should get a couple and let them see what a couple of weeks in the heat/humidity does to them, but they’re young; there’s plenty of time for that later. It was already hard enough to see my son’s crestfallen expression when he came racing down the stairs to see if all of the leaves had fallen overnight on September 23. For real.

Meanwhile, as the temps creep back up, I’m unwilling to relinquish my happy hold on a milder season. You won’t find me zipping up a hoodie anytime soon, but other than that, I’m going to keep right on pretending that summer’s over. The calendar says it is, after all — just ask Joe.

We Cannot Handle

Way back in the day, I was working at a convention in Tennessee. It was January, and there it was pretty cold, but it didn’t seem that cold, you know? [I seem to remember hiking from the hotel to the magnificent outlet mall/Willie Nelson Museum wearing flip-flops….] The distributors that had made the trek from Hawaii, though begged to differ.

“We are from Hawaii — we’re not used to this cold!”, one told me. “We cannot handle!”

Sister, I hear ya. When it gets down into the 20s, and there’s talk of snow, we cannot handle.

Even my finials were chilly.

Looks a little cozier wrapped up in a swanky ruffle scarf, no? Heck, why not pile ’em on?

To tell you the truth, I was excited to have an excuse to try out this tutorial now — while it was still fresh in my brain — rather than wait til next winter. What are the odds that I’d remember that, “hey, I wanted to make some of those cute fleece scarves” by the time Christmas rolls around again? I think we all know the answer. If not, I’ll give you a hint: I’d already forgotten that I’d bookmarked the link to the tutorial.


Sorry About That, Plants

You would think that we’ve been in a bubble, far away from the persistent cries of our faithful newspeople:”Remember the three Ps: plants, pets, and pipes!!”


I told Kevin last week that I felt like we weren’t doing enough, seeing as how we’re among the few in our neighborhood who don’t have bedsheets strewn over every shrub. His reply? “Pah. How many of our plants are tropical, anyway?”


…most of them?”


By then, it was too late: the wilting had already begun. They’re hearty little buggers, so I’m hoping they’ll come back once we hack down to (now) dead leaves. Still, I feel so bad when I look at those poor things, although, given my track record of killing the unkillable, they probably never had a chance to begin with. Poor, poor plants.

In other news, I’m considering adding a line item to the household budget for tea. Keeping my gigantic mug [thank you again, Mikey Boy!] full is becoming a bit pricey, but totally worth it. Hey, at least I’m rotating the old inventory in the cupboard through at a rapid rate—bonus!

When Do We Settle In For the Long Winter’s Nap?

Not like I’ve been really burning it up around here, but hibernating sounds like such a wonderful idea.

It’s so cold. So very cold. Of course it could be worse, but we don’t live in the North. The trade-off for relentless, scorching summers is supposedly moderate cold in the wintertime. Moderate. Not hard freeze, right? Our house, for one, was not built for that sort of thing. I was not built for this sort of thing; it’s hard to function when all I can think about are my stiff, chilly hands.

Moving on (because there’s only so much talk of the cold that I can take, even when I’m the one doing the talking/whining)–

I am, however, filled with out with the old/in with the new spirit! So far, I’ve filled five Hefty bags with old clothes, shoes, etc. that had hung out in our closets. Huzzah!

Yesterday, I basted one quilt which has been languishing in the to-do pile after the last craft hope project, and started sewing the bindings on another. There are still three more to go, but I will be so happy to see them all complete. I even found backing fabric for two of  the remaining three [already de-stashing! Woo!], which should speed things along. The backing issue is a major roadblock; it takes me weeks before I figure out what to do, which is ridiculous but true.

Right now, there’s a pot of rice pudding simmering on the stove. I should say “experimental” rice pudding, since I’m making it with leftover Promised Land eggnog. Let you know how that turns out. Even if it’s not any good, it will hurt less than pouring the nog right down the drain; there’s only so much one girl can drink (which, in my case, is not much. I did enjoy the couple of glasses that I had, though, Mom!) Luckily, Rachael Ray’s Everyday magazine had a list of suggestions, and rice pudding was one of them. I threw in some raisins in an attempt to capture a nice rum raisin flavor. Besides, what good is rice pudding without raisins? No. No good.

The laundry, she calls. I’m trying to get the downstairs chores out of the way before Friday, which is when THE FREEZE arrives. The trick will then be convincing the two squirrelly chilruns that a snuggly day upstairs will be fun. I need to get to thinking about how to sell that, and then how to pull it off without driving the three of us stark raving mad in the span of ten hours. Let you know how that turns out, too.

Switching Gears

I don’t know when I’ll learn not to put so much trust in the weather forecast. Yesterday, the news reports made it sound like today was going to include rain of epic proportions. Well, what kind of fool would I be to actually plan on taking the baby around grocery shopping in that kind of mess? No, no. I would instead come home after dropping off Joey, stir up some hot chocolate, and compile my list for another day.

The only problem (I mean, if you would call it that)? It stopped raining at 8:45.

Hmm. And me without my list.

So, we went shopping for clothes, came home for a break, and then went shopping for the food (with list in hand, thanks to the break). And I’m glad I did, because it hasn’t rained again since, and I would’ve been fuming if I’d put the grocery shopping off until Saturday. Oh, how I hate going to the HEB on the weekend. Must we all convene in the meat aisle? Really?


On a completely unrelated note, here is a little gift I put together for my friend who is expecting a baby boy in the very near future. I love the elephant flannel more than I can tell you, which sounds like an exaggeration, but I can assure you it’s not. Ridiculous, you say? Perhaps. I put it out there, though, as fair warning to the next friend (whomever that may turn out to be) that has a boy, because the odds of you seeing this fabric again are very high indeed. Unless you’re Lisa [who doesn’t read this blog, so I’m pretty sure you’re not], and in that case, you’ll be receiving a quilt of entirely different fabric; it just worked out that way.

Are you getting a glimpse of what it’s like up in this brain of mine? Is it any wonder I have trouble finishing what I sta– ooh, look—I see something shiny!

Fall Shmall

Wow. Where did the rest of September go?

Well, good riddance, I say. Sure, it’s Fall, but you wouldn’t really know it to step outside. To me, in our neck of the woods, this season is one big tease. You look out the window, and it’s all grey and cloudy and (lately) rainy. You think, Ooh, I bet it’s cool! But no—that would be incorrect. It’s oppressively hot and steamy. “Seasonable” weather is 88 degrees, which is technically cooler than it was in the summer, but come on. It’s in the high 70s when I wake up at five in the morning; that’s no cause for celebration, in my book.

Nevertheless, celebrate I shall, because to do otherwise is to waste a perfectly lovely (if only in theory, or other parts of the country) season, and that would be wrong. So I’m just going to fake it ’til we make it.


[These looked much better in real life. See what I mean about the dreariness?]

It seems I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen than at the sewing machine lately. Last week, I managed to turn out some of my very favorite pear muffins. They’re based on this recipe, except I omit the granola in the muffin, and substitute rolled oats for it in the topping. This time around, I got all crazy and used chopped sliced almonds with the oats in the topping, but they burned a little bit. It added kind of a toasty flavor that I, personally, liked, but I’d probably leave them out next time. Oh, and I only had whole-milk yogurt on hand, so I used that instead of the low-fat kind, thus diminishing the overall wholesomeness of the finished product even further.

I wish I had one of those right now. I might have to make another batch pretty soon.

And look who else has been bitten by the cooking bug:


Yes, inspired by Tasty Time with Zefronk, the Boy has been whipping up his own snacks. These are the Banana Dogs, which is funny, seeing as he’s not very fond of bananas, nor is he a big fan of bread. We also busted out the perennial classic Ants on a Log, but subbed apples for celery. (He didn’t eat the celery version the first time around, and I’m not one to criticize that. Blech.)

I know who’s getting some chef-ly duds for Christmas!

[Edited 10.07.09 to add missing muffin link.]

A New Day

My goodness, but it’s been an action-packed couple of weeks. We’ve been experiencing the less rosy side of life, I guess you could say. Nothing tragic, or even really bad. Just. . .below average.

Spring around here is kind of a mixed blessing, what with the best weather of the entire year, which brings on the worst allergies. This season has been horrible! So I wasn’t surprised when both kids started honking and sniffling a couple of weeks ago, seeing as both of there parents were already on a steady drip of Claritin-D. Then the baby got really congested, so I broke down and took her to the doctor, only to find that she was– yes –really congested, most likely due to the changing weather or allergies. Well, that’s what insurance is for. Then, Monday, the boy woke up with pink eye. Back to the doctor. Turns out, he (surprise!) suffers from allergies, or maybe a cold. And the pink eye wasn’t contagious. Overnight, his cough became terrible. Enter steaming showers at three a.m., humidifiers, the works. Much better by morning. We decide to stay in and keep our crumminess to ourselves; I miss bible study. Kids have spotty fevers, just enough to keep me on my toes, but not enough to warrant another doctor visit. By Friday, the baby is developing the same oozy (non-contagious?) eye. The minute I get off the phone with the nurse, it seems worse. By the next morning, it is sealed shut. For Pete’s! More meds, please. OK, crisis averted. Oh, and she is cutting her first tooth, further confusing the issue.

Oh, and then Kevin gets the “not contagious” funky eye. Whatever.

Oh, and now the baby has forgotten how to sleep through the night in her own bed, and questions the number of naps she really requires.

And, in the meantime, it pours rain not once but twice, providing us with our faithful living room creek, requiring not one but six loads of towels. I miss another bible study, mostly because I was sleepy, and also lost track of time. Model student.  

Of course, it could totally be worse. The good news is that this was the first time Kevin has witnessed the water situation with his own eyes (aside from during the hurricane, which doesn’t count because who didn’t have water in their house?), so he’s got a fire in the belly about getting this fixed. Hooray! It’s one thing to hear about it, and another to watch your floor get covered in water. And, I have to say, we’re not talking about horrible catastrophic flooding here. I’d liken it to having spilled a drink on the floor, if that drink covered a 6′ x 8′ area, and the same clumsy oaf kept dropping their refills as quickly as you could mop them up. We’d like to cut that guy off.

Anyway, the wheels are now officially in motion. [Hooray again!!] And the kids are on the mend, and they don’t have pig flu. And I was able to at least do some of my study homework while they  played last week, and even do a little sewing (since Kevin stayed home yesterday. Nice as well!) Oh, and he didn’t have to go out of town over the weekend, or the weekend before that,  which may well have been the last straw. So, see? Not so bad.

I actually have lots of fun stuff to share, but need to wait for the sun to come up here in the cave in order to get pics. Did you get that? The suns coming up today! It’s already a better day!

Maintaining Parental Credibility

A conversation between me and Joey, about a week ago:

J: I can’t wait until it’s Christmas, and then it will snow!!

M: Honey, it probably isn’t going to snow.

J: Maybe it will, Mama

M: It doesn’t snow in Houston, Joey. . .

J: . . .but maybe it will!

M: [Remembering the couple of times it did, in fact, snow in Houston over the past 20 years, and not wanting to be made a fool of by a 3 year old, and wanting to end this conversation already] Maybe it will; you never know.


It’s a little hard to tell from this photo, but those are snowflakes on the leaves. Yes, it was a Christmas miracle: snow in Houston! Our part of the county got it early, and none of it really stuck to the ground. I thought the boy would be disappointed about that, but he was so excited to see the snow. I even got him up early from his nap for the occasion, and he rewarded me by turning to me with the most excited smiling face.

“Merry Christmas, Mama!”

Yes, Merry Christmas, Son. Of course, we then had to have a whole convo on how it was not, in fact, Christmas yet, but I’ll spare you the particulars on that one.

All this to remind you that this is the season of miracles. Just ask Joey if you don’t believe me!