This is Texas, so the weather doesn’t exactly scream “Fall”. It’s still as hot as August but there are clues all around that it should be the season of changing colors. Most of those clues are up and down the aisles of Wal-Mart. It started with the pumpkins that replaced the watermelons at the front door. Then there were orange and red decorations on the end-caps. I noticed Halloween candy starting to fill up displays. Great, is it already time to start planning costumes and hayrides? Surely not… Read the rest of this entry
My little grandbaby has a cold. She’s a year and a half, and I can count on one hand the number of times she’s had a cold, that’s pretty lucky if you ask me. I had the kind of babies whose eardrums sometimes ruptured, babies who needed emergency surgery, babies who maxed our their prescription coverage on a regular basis. I thank God every day for this blessing of a granddaughter who is bright and beautiful and healthy.
My oldest kids used to miss school quite a bit. They caught every bug that went around. And of course they milked it for nursing by mommy. One year all three of them had mono at the same time. That was fun. Then our four little ones were placed in our home. At first I thought we’d never see the end of the doctor’s office. The nurse practitioner assured me we’d adjust. “You’re all carrying different sets of germs. You’re getting each other sick. Eventually you’ll all mesh into one big set of germs and everyone will be just fine!” I can’t believe how much I was looking forward to becoming one giant ball of germs.
I did it! I survived the summer! I know, some of you moms are weeping in your Frosted Flakes this morning as your little ones made their first journeys to kindergarten. Some of you are just sad that summer and all your extra time together has come to an end. I have been both of you, but today I’m the mom I never thought I’d be. I’m the mom that shouted “Hallelujah” at the Silence of the Zoo!
Don’t get me wrong, I love lazy days and lemonade and picnics by the pool, but with these kids at home, the grocery bill is somewhere around $500 a week, and I think a whopping $50 of that is just toilet paper, so YES! Enjoy them Tigerland. I will pick them up at 3pm. Read the rest of this entry
Seventeen years ago I was a young mama full of enthusiasm. We had just moved into our house and I absolutely hated it. It was so small, so bland but the landlord offered to sell it for a rock-bottom price and I had HGTV so we started making it our own for our little family. We had a bubbly little girl, a bundle-of-joy baby boy, and a black Labrador retriever that was never meant to be our dog and she’d just had a litter of puppies.
We weren’t going to keep any of them. I swore it up and down as my little Dyl Pickle toddled through the hallway saying “puppy” for the first time. Then Blondie started getting attached to the runt. “But Mama, this one is so tiny…..” Read the rest of this entry
Ok, before I say anything else, let’s start with where the heck have I been? According to Facebook and it’s built-in guilt-trip providing insights, my followers are wondering why I haven’t been posting! The answer is far too simple I’m afraid. It’s summertime.
I have to admit this has been one of the better summers I’ve had in a while. No, we didn’t get to go on vacation. We haven’t seen anything fabulous or fantastic or amazing. We’ve seen a few cousins, hit a few family gatherings, but mostly, we’ve tried to find as many swimming holes that meet our criteria, which happens to be within an hour drive, free, and fun. So far I think we have about 5 different ones we’ve frequented.
I wish I could tell you it’s been all water holes and jars full of lightening bugs and capturing memories with my Rebel Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday I took most of my crew to my niece’s graduation. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said they grow up too fast I could almost afford to feed this crew! All the way to the graduation I warned them that we have to be quiet and still- that’s a bit of a challenge for these kids. I expected to have to repeat myself at least 3 times. We had only been seated a few minutes when someone was pulling on my sleeve.
“Mom, mom, moooooooom?!” I glared over at my little Diva, who promptly tattled “They’re talking!” I looked past her at 3 silent brothers, and lowered my eyebrows quizzically. “Not them, THEM!” She pointed behind us at a group of people who seemed to have a case of the giggles. The kind of giggles that might be happening on “That 70s Show”… Read the rest of this entry
So apparently my husband had no idea that we give out teacher appreciation gifts! I’m not sure how he missed that. We’ve had kids in school for the past 16 years now. I used to do a Christmas gift, maybe a little something for their birthdays- but add that to the pile of “things I did when I had a few kids!” Now, I run a zoo, so it’s just once a year that I sit down and try to show my appreciation for the people who spend almost as much time with my kids as I do- and if you know my kids, you know these amazing people deserve some appreciation! Daddy should have realized that even if there wasn’t a tradition of teacher appreciation already in place, there would need to be some kind of recognition for the people who help tame our circus!
This year I thought it would be fun to make some edible arrangements. Every single time that commercial comes on, KK asks me if we can order one of those. I looked once- I was going to surprise her, and when I saw the price, let’s just say that fell off my to-do list. I thought “surely they couldn’t be that hard…”
My little ZooCrew was so excited to open the fridge this morning and see the creations they got to give their teachers! One teacher even emailed me a pic of her enjoying it!
A few months ago we were out of groceries. Again. Hey, these kids will eat you out of house and home. Literally. I used to cook those 3 course country kitchen kind of dinners every day- back when I had 3 kids. Now, I try to cook gigantic batches of food 3 times a week and hope they carry us through. (Thank goodness for pizza night.)
I used to like grocery shopping, but that too has changed over the years. I blame Wal-mart, but I’ll complain about that some other day. Needless to say, I’ve become a master at avoiding the store. So, I’m known for throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot and calling it dinner. Surprisingly those are my kids’ favorite nights! They don’t want fancy, they want hearty. Especially if I forget the “whole grain” stuff… Read the rest of this entry
This is one of the recipes I made up to amuse my kids… (read more)
2 packages of Hillshire Farms Polska Kielbasa Sausage
32 oz. Garden Rotini
2 cans of Rotel
Half a box of Velveeta Mild Mexican
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of cream of chicken soup
Just brown the sausage, drain the grease. (Boil the pasta according to package directions while you’re working on the sausage.) Add the rotel and cream of chicken to the sausage. Stir in the cheese until it’s good and melted. Drain the pasta, add it to the pan with your sausage mixture and there ya go!
Buy some whole grain pasta, it’ll make you feel better about the processed cheese.
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This is one of the recipes I made up to amuse my kids… (read more)
In our zoo we have to double this recipe, but this should make enough to feed 6 people!
1.5 lbs lean ground meat (beef, turkey, deer- your call)
2-3 carrots, shredded or sliced (whatever you like)
2 cans of fiesta corn
1-2 cans of rotel tomatoes
1 package of frozen potatoes O’brien
2 packages of Pioneer brand brown gravy (the only product where brand makes a difference- 1 package of Pioneer = 2 cups of gravy. Other brands typically yield 1 cup.)
Just brown the meat.Season it with garlic salt and pepper. Add some Tony Chachere’s or McCormick’s Kickin’ Chicken (personally I could put that on anything) if you like a little kick. Drain the grease if there is any. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook until browned. Stir in all the other cans. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil. Meanwhile mix the gravy into 1 cup of water and stir well. Add the gravy to the boiling pot, stir well as it thickens, simmer a few minutes and serve.
Wanna be truly indulgent? Add some buttered bread to the table. Tell yourself there are vegetable in there somewhere….