Saturday, December 31, 2011

Photo Farewell to 2011

I stumbled on a meme started by Farewell Stranger where you post a picture for each month of the year...a Photo Farewell to 2011.  I loved the idea and decided to go back and pick out some photos from the past 12 months and share them here.


January brought a trip out to California.  It was originally supposed to be a trip out just to visit my dad, but shortly before the trip he had a bad fall and it became apparent that he could no longer stay in the two story home in the mountains he'd lived in for the last 20+ years.   It was a gut-wrenching trip which forced me to come to grips with how far his Parkinson's had progressed


We don't get much snow here in Texas...but it seems like February is the most likely time to get it!  3 of the best snows I remember happened in February, and 2011 saw one of these.   We woke up that February 4th to a blanket of white and an announcement of no school.  The thick white fog that filled the sky that morning gave way to a clear, vibrant, blue dusted with whisps of puffy white clouds.   The snow was thick, and soon snowmen started popping up in people's yards (including our own).   It only lasted a day, but what a day!


In March I broke my wrist roller skating with my kids, and I got walking pneumonia...both of which I had for far too long before seeing a doctor about.  The wrist had hurt like crazy at first, but by the time I had it checked it had practically was the pneumonia that knocked me out like a two-by-four over the head.  I was coughing up blood, and couldn't walk across the room without getting winded.  When the doctor said he needed to x-ray my chest I asked if he could x-ray my wrist too, and came home with anti-biotics, a cast, and instructions to lay on the couch and not do anything for the next two weeks.

In the midst of this, our hearts went out to the people of Japan who suffered such devestation in the Tsunami.


I had planned to build a raised bed and start a vegetable garden in April, but was still recovering from the pneumonia and didn't have the energy.  The spot where I had planned my garden became a sand-box for my youngest, who helped me keep the weeds out of it by digging it up with his toy shovels and bulldozer.  I took it easy and enjoyed the warmer whether and wildlife (birds and bunnies and such). 


May is always a month for celebrations... Mother's Day, My Birthday, Our Anniversary.  This may brought a new sister-in-law's wedding!



June brought our second year at church doing Holy Land VBS.  It's been a wonderful experience, transforming our church into a Bible land and then getting to watch the kids experience it.  This year we "went back" to Nazareth.  I got to be a 1st century farmer who grew up in the same town as Jesus.  We had fun  decorating peat pots and planting a few seeds which grew in 1st century Nazareth, and sharing our character's stories with the kids. 


Texas summer is always hot...but the heat this year was RELENTLESS.  After days of staying inside to beat the heat, I started taking the kids to the park at 8:00 at night just so they could run off some steam.  Even at night it was hot...though somewhat endurable.   In the midsts of a 108 degree day my littlest found this winter hat and scarf and donned it to go outside.  I titled the picure "Missing Winter."


The heat continued in August, but we escaped it for a couple weeks when we took a family trip back to California to see my Dad.  It was the first time my Dad got to see my youngest face to face, and because of how far his Parkinson's has progressed, sadly this was probably be the last time my kids will get to see their Grandpa.  It was bittersweet.  

The mice had invaded my Dad's mountain home, and it was not fit to stay in with the we took our very first camping trip right in the back yard.  My boys have been asking me to go camping for a long time (it's either too hot, to cold, or too buggy out here in Texas for me to venture staying outdoors), so they were thrilled.  My husband and I learned that the older you get, the harder the ground gets.  But we all enjoyed waking up to the sun-rise through the pines, and taking my boys on walks through the same woods I used to walk through was like a salve for sadness.

We took daily trips "down the hill" (never occurred to me how strange it was calling a 5,000 foot mountain a hill was til I came out here) to see my dad, spent a day at Disneyland with the kids, and spent the last two days in San Diego where my husband grew up.  The kids loved the ocean...and I thought it was ironic that it was foggy and chilly at the beach, IN AUGUST!.    Took so many gorgeous pictures while we were there...browse my California tagged posts if you want to see more.


The heat continued right into September...and I was relieved to have my two older boys in school where they could work out their energy in the school gym.  But, I was very happy they were home the day our back yard burst into flames!  The fire actually started in our neighbour's yard, and my middle son was the first one to spot it creeping under our fence.  Luckily only the fence and some of our lawn got burned, and with our neighbour's help it was out before the fire department got here.


October finally brought some rain...and my youngest and I spent many days visiting a river near by and enjoying the cooler weather.  My poor garden seemed to sign with relief too!


In November our garden TOOK OFF!  The peppers that had been barely surviving all summer started bearing fruit.  We got radishes and green beans (all firsts for my garden), and in the spot the fire had burned in September, HUNDREDS of carrots and a few cilantro plants sprouted.  We had not planted those...they were a surprize left from a couple packets of seeds that blew across my yard year before last, emptying their contents.  I love when the wind plants me a garden!


This is what my December felt like...a blur.  It wasn't that we tried to pack a lot in.  I really tried to keep things simple.  But even so, it felt full: winter colds, decorating, lighting candles, bedtime Christmas carols (our family tradition), a school play, present buying, a little baking.  Full, but happy, still. 

Sunday, December 04, 2011


One of my favorite blogs is Emma Tree.  A blog by a poet from Texas, full of beautiful pictures and words.  There's a lot of Texas in her poems...but you might enjoy them even if you're not from here, or even if you live here and don't consider yourself Texan at all.  In her poems you might even find beauty in the summer heat, the bitter cold winter wind, dead grass on the roadside, wildfires, weeds.  Here's some excerpts of her poetry (links to the full poems underneath).

in this year of loss upon loss upon heartbreak
my hand on my mother's heart as she drew her last breath
this year of drought and shimmering heat
 A Moment in Time

the haze of wildfires hung low in the sky
and we drifted under the almost full harvest moon.
 the lake: early evening, coming home

i awoke to gray skies and no birdsong,
a breeze that teased of wet possibilites.  

Her prose is beautiful's a sampling:
...leaves lay like wounded butterflies on the porch outside my front door.  grasshoppers cling to my window screens, as do lizards and moths, and temperatures at last below 100 lure me into the night once again, my old habits also returning.
- Standing on the Equinox's been a summer of heat and wind and grassfires and defensively watering trees and lawns in the face of no rain - but this wind was the edge of a hurricane and it came in and didn't stop.
- what you can't see in this picture: for connie jean, who packed suitcases and waited

Saturday, December 03, 2011


I found a very lethargic grasshopper in my garden last month. When he wouldn't move after being nudged, I ran and got my 3 year old. That grasshopper road around on a stick for nearly an hour! For the next three days "grasshopper" was my son's favorite word.

(Any animal lovers in the house?  Just discovered a beautiful poem about a strange set of pawprints on one of my favorite Texas bloggers sites.)


Camera Critters

Friday, December 02, 2011

Gale Force Winds in California

A Californian friend just put a picture of knocked over tree up on facebook. That's how I found out there were Gale force winds hitting California (Would it be too cheesy to say me-force winds?  Um...yes, yes it would, Gale.).

Ok, now that I'm done having a little conversation with myself...wanted to let all of you in California know I'm thinking about you and hope you're staying safe.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Love Texas Fall Gardening

These were my green beans earlier this month.  I had to tear the plants out of my garden yesterday after they succumbed to the recent freeze, but I've enjoyed snacking on them this November.    I had to tear out some of my peppers too...but my Cheyenne Peppers and a couple of my Bells survived (I hope they'll stay until the two peppers growing on them mature.)  The Cheyenne's hardly seemed fazed...they must be more hardy than most peppers.  Surprizingly, my basil are still surviving too.  I had both regular and lemon basil.  The regular took a pretty significant hit..can't use the current leaves but enough survived to keep the plant alive (don't know if we'll have any spells warm enough for it to send out more shoots).  My lemon basil seems hardier.  Some of the leaves have little brown spots, but I could still use them in a pesto in a pinch.

And I have onions and radishes and lettuce that are doing well!  I love living in Texas where you can still have a garden in the dead of winter!

Oh, by the way, a little tip...if you forget to water your garden, then make up for it with a LONG watering ( all day long because you forgot to turn off the sprinkler) this is what will happen to your radishes.  A dry spell followed by a heavy water makes them split.  It still tasted good, though!

But the BIG thing I wanted to share with you was a surprise that sprouted in the area by the fence where the fire burned this summer...

Those are CARROTS sprouting under those wild morning glory leaves!  Hundreds of them are growing where the fire burned.  And not only that, there's CILANTRO too!  (Not hundreds...there's just a couple of those).

You see, a couple summers ago when I was first trying to start a garden I accidentally left some seed packets out and they blew all over the yard.  Last spring two carrots came up near where the fire burned later this summer...but I had no idea there were even that many carrots in the packet!  What a cool surprise!

Oh, yeah, and one more thing popped up un-expected:

I planted morning glories last spring by this wall, and they never came up.  But look at them now...aren't they gorgeous?  I've been growing morning glories every spring since we moved into our first apartment in Texas, but I've NEVER gotten them this big and healthy.   Guess I should try growing them in fall!

(Oh, and you know how I've been complaining that all the gardening linky parties close down during the winter...well, I found one that was still going at No Ordinary Homestead!  Yipee!  Check it out below along with This is Wherever Wednessday (where you get to chat about what makes your town/state/etc. unique) and What I Love Wednessday (where you can share about stuff you love)! 

Photobucket lollipops

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Texas Scribbleprint Notebook Got the Zazzle Today's Best Award!!

Woo hoo! My Texas Scribbleprints notebook I designed got the Todays Best award at Zazzle yesterday! That means it was featured on the front page of Zazzle and everything! Pretty cool!

Oh, and there's a sale in the Texifornia Souvenir shop today! Though the notebooks aren't on sale today you can use coupon code ZCYBERMONDAY through November 29 for the following deals at my Zazzle Shop:

30% Off Ornaments

$5 Off T-shirts

$3 Off Mugs

PLUS Free Shipping if Your Order is Over $50

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giveaway: Surfboard Grow Chart

Thought this one was too cute not to pass on to my fellow Texifornians.  Aiming for a Californian vibe in your kids room.  This would be a nice touch!  Giveaway ends November 22.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Texas Gardening Tips - November

November is actually a good time to plant a LOT of things in Texas...something that may be a new thought to you if you came from a colder climate (like the California mountains).

Winter Flower Gardens
November is the transition month from warm season annuals, to cool season annuals.    Cool season annuals grow well from November to May, when it starts to get too hot for them. (Warm season annuals grow from April through Early November.)   This is the last month to start most cool season annuals from seed (you can start some as early as August), but you can plant transplants through February.  Here are some cool season annuals which grow well in Texas:

Baby's Breath (annual)
Candytuft (annual)
Dahlberg Daisy
Dusty Miller
English Daisy
Forget Me Not
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale
Sweet Pea*

*Best Direct Seeded
**Better to Buy Transplants

Bulbs and Corms
You should also plant most of your spring bulbs this month.  Amaryllis bulbs should NOT be planted into the garden now as flowers can be damaged by colder weather.  Hybrid tulips and hyacinths will need to go into paper bags, nylon stocking, or net bags and put in the lower drawers of your refrigerator since Texas winters are not cold enough long enough to give them the proper chill they need to flower in the spring.

Trees, Shrubs, Roses
November is the best time to plant or transpnat trees, shrubs and roses.  The ground is still warm from summer, encouraging growth, and they will have time to set down roots during the cold season, which here is gentler than the summer heat.

Vines and Groundcovers
November is also a good time to plant perennial vines and groundcovers.    Above the ground, you won't see any growth during the winter, but their roots will grow, giving them a stronger start in the spring.    The exception is tropical vines like Bougainvillea, which will die off if left un-attended.  You can try mulching them heavily (10 inches deep), which gives the roots a chance to survive...or just treat them like an annual and replant next year.  (Of course, if they're potted you should bring them inside for the winter).

This month is also a good time to dig, divide and transplant groundcovers.  

Vegetables and Herbs
Cabbage, celery, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, and Swill chard can be planted as transplants this month (if you're in zone 9 you can still direct seed them).  You should be able to continue planting cilantro and parsley.  I read recently about a gardener in Pennsylvania overwintering these, so they should certainly overwinter in Texas' much milder climate.  Find out more about growing cilantro in Texas in winter here. You should harvest any basil you have while you still can, as leaves turn brown when night start aproching 40 degrees.

In zone 8  you can plant carrots, spinach, cilantro and parsley from seed  (though Spinach may be a gamble).  In zone 8b you can plant shallot sets, mustard greens, and lettuce seeds. 

You can plant garlic and onion sets and direct seed arugula, beets, bok choy, cabbage, carrots,  celery, collard, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, radishes, rutabaga, shallot,  spinach, and Swiss chard and turnips this time of year.   Herbs to plant include sage, dill, fennel, borage and chives as well as the cilantro and parsley.

My info for the above came from the following sources:  
Month to Month Gardening in Texas
Houston Herb Society
Central Texas Gardening
Central Texas Horticulture
The Vegetable Gardener

Sorry for completely skipping October's tips this month's tips coming so late.  Busy month (and had computer problems).
 'From this gardener who is still learning herself

Chick-fil-A Giveaway

I've sung the praises of Chick-fil-A before, so I had to pass along the giveaway I found for a Chick-fil-A Calendar (filled with coupons) and free peppermint milkshakes (oh, I am so happy that milk-shake is back!).  Click here to enter.

Are your winter clothes put away?

Rubbermaid HomeFree series closet system

I am a messy person. My closet doesn't look anything like the one above. I was messy before kids, and kids have only made it worse. In my struggle to overcome the mess I've discovered a wonderful articles at Like Mother, Like Daughter that actually make me feel HOPEFUL and not judged or depressed (just scroll down towards the bottom and check out the sidebar...she lists them nicely there).

One of these articles is titled "Laundry Problems Start With Clothes". The basic gist of it was that most of us have more clothes in our closets than we need (or at least than we need in any particular season)...and that this hampers (pun intended) our attempts to get the laundry under control.

Now, I wanted to address a particularly Texifornian issue regarding the storage of winter clothes.

On Leilas Laundry Worksheet she asked:

"Why are shorts cluttering the world up if it’s winter?"

MY ANSWER:   Well, because I live in Texas, that's why. It actually may have a low of 20 degrees one day and a high of 85 degrees the next in the dead middle of winter here.

In Texas and California (except the mountains), you can't really put away summer clothes, except the swimsuits and maybe tank tops. So my solution in winter is to put at least half of the summer clothes away (because at very least they won't be wearing it as much as in summer). This usually entails boxing up all the t-shirts with very summery designs (surfboards and palm trees and such), tank tops, and all but 2-3 pairs of shorts.

I still have the problem of needing much more shelf space in winter than in summer (since you can't put away all the summer stuff and the winter stuff is so much bulkier), but at least it's slightly more manageable with some of the summer stuff put away.

Now I'd like to ask you some questions:

  1. Have you put your winter clothes away yet?
  2. Have any great suggestions on transitioning closets from summer to winter, clothing storage tips, etc?  (If you know of any good way to deal with the extra clothes in winter, I'd be especially grateful to hear it!)
Please share your answers in the comments below.

This post is participating in Aloha Friday and 2 Question Thursday and Home Haven Thursday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Today's Quote

"Legend has it that the 405 got its name because the only time it isn't choked is between 4:04 and 4:06 in the morning."
- Guy Nicolucci, from Spirit, Southwest Airlines Magazine, Jan 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Aloha Friday - Halloween Happenings

Hello!  I'm participating in Aloha Friday, where I ask a simple question for you to answer in the comments (if you want to).  This weeks question needs a little explanation.

When I lived in California, kids Trick or Treated on Halloween, whenever that happened to be.   In this particular area of Texas, I've noticed that SOME people trick or treat on Halloween, and others trick or treat on the nearest weekend.  So, since Halloween is on Monday, I expect some trick or treaters on Sunday, and maybe some on Saturday (since some people don't like to Trick or Treat on the Lord's Day).  This leads me to today's question:
In your area, do you only get trick or treaters on Halloween (whenever that is), or also on the weekend before Halloween?   For my curiosity's sake, please let me know where you're hailing from too!  Thanks!

You can leave your answer in a comment below.  Thanks for participating in Aloha Friday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This is Texas

Well, much of this was supposed to be posted LAST Wednesday, but I spilled tea on my keyboard, effectively killing it, and so couldn't type.   

First, what my friend posted on Facebook October 19th...

ATTENTION, residents of Houston and surrounding Harris county areas: As of 8:52 a.m., Wednesday the 19th of October, local news authorities and governing officials have announced that it is now SAFE to move out from in front of your ice blocks and portable fans. I repeat, it is now SAFE to venture out. You may walk out to your vehicles now without fear of heat stroke, sudden evaporation, or melting mascara. This concludes this public service announcement.

Ha ha...that's true in Waco too.  We've finally seen some reprieve.  It is now SAFE to go outside without suffering heat stroke!  Hello fall!  This is Texas!

And my mom sent this e-mail last week.  You have to understand, I live less than 30 minutes from Crawford, TX (home of former president, George W. Bush).  My mom lives even closer.  So, here's what she wrote:

JUST got back from my favorite Mexican restaurant not a mile from here, pulled out of the parking lot and whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, 3 State Highway Patrolmen on motorcycles sped past me going the other way and then a large dark SUV and whosh whosh two MORE State Highway Patrol.  Around these parts (not 15 miles from Crawford) that's a pretty sure sign SUMbunny impotant is on their way out there.  Caught me off guard.  Different from an AMbush.  "BUSHED!!"  Pretty cool!

This is Texas!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Aloha, its a Texas Earthquake!

Any Texifornians feeling more at home?  I heard somewhere in South Texas the earth decided to shake!  Earthquakes in Texas...very Texifornian.  But earthquakes are one thing I'd be happy to let stay in California, thank you very much.  Hope you all are well and not too shaken up.  I'd love to hear your stories.  Did you feel it?  Was it actually bad, or just bad if you're from Texas and never felt one before?

(That will be my Aloha Friday question today...but, if you're not from Texas, tell me...have you ever felt an earthquake?)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rivers Flowing Again

I hadn't yet blogged about the welcomed torrent of rain that we got the other night.  So many happy results of that...the yard is greener, the weather is cooler, and the little creek that runs a short walk away from our home is full again.  No fish or frogs yet, and the usually murky water was crystal clear.  The rest of this summer that stream has been dry...a path, not a river.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Win Sonic Today!

There's an easy to enter giveaway for a $25 Gift Card is going on over at Having Fun Saving. Ends today! I think I could spend all $25 just on their limeades!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

This is Wherever Wednessday - TIT for TAT

At "This is Wherever Wednessday" Budget Blond usually abbreviates her "This is Grenada" to T.I.G. That doesn't works so well for This is Texas...well, unless you're thinking TIT for TAT.

Hey, actually, that's not a bad idea. I think I'll run with that and do this week's "This is Texas" a little differently.

TIT = This IS Texas
TAT = That Ain't Texas.

I've seen rainclouds, but no rain this week. This is Texas.

Friends of mine in the East Coast are still bailing out their basements. That aint Texas (This year, at least...oh, I guess any year because even though we have TORNADOS almost no one has basements out here).

It's I'm breaking out the seeds and getting my fall garden ready. This is Texas

Some of my favorite blogs are shutting down their weekly gardening blog events, cause gardening seasong is over! That aint Texas!

I love shopping all the end of season sales going on. Those chains don't seem to know we'll still be wearing shorts for a couple months or so. This is Texas

People in other parts of the country are pulling out their warmer clothes and stashing summer clothes away. That ain't Texas.

Red and orange colored leaves may be the symbol of fall, but here the leaves of the trees are still green.  This is Texas.

In other places finding orange leaves in October doesn't require a trip to Hobby Lobby.  That ain't Texas.


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sit Down to Stand Up For Kids! OCT 13 - Dallas

Little Chairs for a Big Cause is a fun event being put on by Etsy Dallas to help raise funds for the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center (DCAC),

Small chairs handmade by David Patton of Ferrochie and creatively decorated by Etsy Dallas artists will be auctioned.   Guest can also enjoy free food, drinks, and music. Admission is free, but voluntary charitable donations will be accepted at the door.

WHEN:  October 13th from 6:30 - 9:00pm
WHERE:  The Blue Room at South Side on Lamar (1409 S. Lamar, Dallas TX)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Souvenir Spotlight - Texas Heat Wave

I Survived the 2011 Texas Heat Wave shirt

My mom thought I should make a I Survived the 2011 Texas Heat Wave shirt with one of my Scribbleprints designs, and I thought that was a great idea! I even made some buttons and mousepads and other stuff to!

You can find buy my Texas Heat Wave products at my CafePress and Zazzle souvenir shops (Hint, for plain white t-shirts the CafePress value tee is your best bargain! ) I'll be adding designs with just the Texas scribbleprint soon, and if you like those wild scribbbles I have more here.

Ending Today - State Shaped Cutting Board Giveaway

You could win a cutting board in the shape of California, Texas (or something else)!  Ends today, and only 43 people have entered!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Aloha Friday - Sleep

Hello!  I'm participating in Aloha Friday, where I ask a simple question for you to answer in the comments (if you want to).

Every now and then I have trouble sleeping.  Not for any reason I can pin-point.  Not for caffeine or worry or my husband's snooring...none of that.  Usually my mind is just full...won't shut down and be quiet.  Night before last was like that.  I couldn't sleep and couldn't sleep and finally it was  5:00 in the morning and I just gave up because the alarm would be going off in a couple hours anyways.

So, my question this week is...
Do you ever have trouble sleeping, for no particular reason?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Limeaides for Learning - Free Limeade for Voting!

Sonic’s Limeades for Learning is here again, and I almost missed it!  And it's such a cool program! Teachers submit projects--things they'd like to see happen in their schools and classrooms--and you can vote for your favorites to win money to turn their plans into a reality. In return you get a Free Cherry Limeade! How cool is THAT!

By the way, do they have Sonic's in California now, or just out here in Texas?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dear Rain...

Another fun conversation with facebook friends:

TEXALINAN FRIEND (Texas friend who moved to North Carlina):
Dear rain; I am breaking up with you, please go away. I hear Texas is pretty desperate for you. Skedaddle over there where you might be more appreciated.

TEXAFORNIAN FRIEND:  I will take some of that rain!!!

TEXALINAN FRIEND:  See rain!? Texas wants you. Texas thinks you are hawt.

TEXAS FRIEND:  Thanks for letting the rain know! LOL!

ME:  Dear East Coast, I've heard rain is getting on your nerves...hanging around, loitering, ect. Please feel free to send him down here to us. I think rain needs to attend Texas bootcamp!

By the way, if you'ld like to hear more of Texalinan's wit and opinions, she has a blog you can check out!


Monday, September 26, 2011

How My Garden Grows...

My garden...

I've got chives, basil, various peppers, a tomato plant, and one onion 
(it was a pearl onion that started sprouting in my pantry, so I stuck it in the
ground).  Though my tomato never got tomatoes, and the one bell pepper I got 
so far matured at about ping pong ball size, I still consider this a success...
especially considering this summer's heat!

I've read that bush beans shouldn't be planted by peppers or alliums,
so I had to find a new place for these.  I had a little plot cleared from 
an old garden, and stuck these in it.  The flowers are fake, put there
to protect the new plants from the hot Texas sun...and it worked!  This 
was taken earlier (the plants have now outgrown their faux flower shade
and I've moved the flowers over to protect the radishes and lettuce I
planted next to them.  Already got a few sprouting, too!!  Yeah!

Side Note: Didn't think I had enough material to do This is Whatever Wednessday, when I realized that this Garden post was perfect for it! I mean, THIS IS TEXAS GARDENING, isn't it? Trying to find shade so your plants will survive and being overjoyed when they do!


Monday Garden Club
The Monday Garden Club
Throwback Thursday

Friday, September 23, 2011

Green Spider

Found this in my yard.  It's a Green Lynx Spider.
If you're shuddering at these pictures, you're not the only one! 
This spider was about an inch long!  Pretty though, in it's own way. 

I'm now selling some fun gifts with this spider on it
at my Texifornia Zazzle shop here.