Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 - Best of Texifornia

If you only read 4 of my posts this year...
these would be the ones. 

Most Meaningful

Most Informative


Best Gardening Post

5 Best Photos Of the Year...

What, no birds?  -  January
(Sadly, this neighborhood cat 
got run over later in the year)

Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush - April

 Garden Flowers - April 

Rainbow - November

Texas Clouds - November

Linking Up With

Linky Here - 2012 Year in Review

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On Receiving

Last year Christmas came on a Sunday...and sitting in Church that Christmas listening to our pastor's sermon I was touched by the way children receive gifts. Yes, I know sometimes they can be greedy, and seem ungrateful, and they can be all too transparent when they don't like a gift. But I was struck by something else about their receiving I hadn't thought of before.

Our pastor talked about how the Shepherds came to Jesus with gift in their hands like the wisemen who came later. He went on to say how we tend to have trouble receiving when we don't have anything to give back:  There's that awkward feeling when we are given a gift, and don't have one to give in return. But when we come to Jesus that's how we come...empty handed. And that's how he takes us.

As he spoke, I noticed the children sitting in the pew in front of me, and my own children beside me, and I thought of how they accept gifts. They accept them freely without any expectation that they should have anything to give back.  And I was reminded of the verse that said that if you want to enter the kingdom of heaven, you have to become like a child.

"He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "
- Matthew 18: 2-4, NIV

That is the only way we can come to him, like a child.  Even the best we have could not "pay him back" for the gift he we come with nothing but gratitude in our hands...gratitude and repentance and trust.   And we receive the costly gift of salvation...and all the other numerous gifts He loves to give his children.

Merry Christmas! 

Shared on Throwback Thursday

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Great Giveaways for Texifornians, Texans and Californians.

These prizes how winnings that would appeal to people from California or Texas or both!

Box Seats for Lexas Theater in Dallas (12/22)

Authentic Game Ball Autographed by Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus  Ware (12/24)

$2,200 in Prizes from Businesses in Bastrop, TX (12/25)

16 Prizes including Ad Space on California and Texas Blogs (12/25)

Book:  What a Texas Girl Wants (12/25)

36 Prizes Including Ad Space on California and Texas Blogs (12/30)

If you have a giveaway with special appeal to Californians or Texans, let me know about it...though I'm not posting anything Christmas Eve until Dec 26.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

15% Off Texifornia Souvenirs

Use Coupon code LASTCHANCE12for 15% off everything at My Texifornia Zazzle shop (excluding stamps*)!  Ends Dec 15.

This coupons is also good at 
My Scribbleprints Shop

*On stamps, it only counts for 10% off on the net sale price, which is the price of the stamps minus the regular cost of postage. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

This is Wherever Wednesday

Welcome to This is Wherever Wednesday!  At Wherever Wednesday we share those little moments that really show the character of the places we live.   It started on Budget Blond and, after an intermission, restarted last month here.

Here's a few highlights last month's posts:
  • Nana of Nana's Notes, who is spending her first year living "Up North, Minnesota" shared a whole bunch of TIUP (This is Up North) moments including school getting out November 5 for the beginning of hunting season, and being able to drive around town without ever seeing a stoplight. 
  • Whit of Whitticims shared about two weeks of life without power after Sandy hit Long Island.
  • Michelle of Simply Complicated shared a moving post about how living in Guatamal has changed her view of what's normal.
You can see all the other posts from last month here.  Thanks to all who gave this party such a great send-off!

And now it's time to party again!  Leave your posts on the linky below and share the "this is Texas, Nebraska, New York, Costa Rica, Germany, London, wherever" moments in your life!   If you're still a little uncertain what that means, this post over at Budget Blond will help you out. Remember to link back to This is Wherever somewhere in your post or sidebar so that others can find us and join in too!

Reminder:  Please link to your specific post, not your main blog!  Thanks!

(Oh, and just a quick note...I decided reverse ordering the posts was too confusing, so from now on, last posts will go at the end, not the beginning).

California ...through Texas eyes.

This Sunday at the park I met up with a mom about my age, and her 6 year old son and 18 month baby girl.  Her son talked about hunting with his dad, and "how he wanted to get a gun, at least a BB gun."   It was definately a "This is Texas" moment. 

Though I know it's not just a Texas moment, as I tell the boy how  my dad bought me a BB gun when I was little, but I was all into Bambi and wasn't interested at the time.  He had guns and wore a cowboy hat, but he was Californian born and raised.

Later we meet up with the boy again on the swings and somehow it comes up that I'm from California.

"California?  It's hot there isn't it" he asks.

"Yep, sometimes," I say, "But it can be cold too.  When we went out in August last year, it was cold at the beach." 

He was a little surprised about that...probably as surprised as I was to hear a Texan talk about how hot California is.  I mean, compared to Texas in summer, Califonria heat is nothing.  

A few minutes later he says, "I know they don't have a lot of cars out there, in California." 

"Sure they do," I answer.  "Just as many as here." 

"Do they ride horses?" he asked.

"Yes, but probably not as much as out here." 

"Oh, well I've never been to California.  I'm a Texan." 

I'm sure if you had asked me about Texas when I was 6, what I would have said something just as sketchy and far-fetched about it.  I probably wouldn't have said "I'm a Californian" though.  I don't think I even thought of myself as Californian until I left. 

There's a difference between saying, "I'm from California" and "I'm a Californian."  The first is just about where you live, the second takes ownership.  It says, this isn't just the place I occupy--it's who I am (or part of it anyways).  Its why I can still think of myself as "Californian" even though I've been out here over 10 years and don't have plans to move back.  It's why my mom still calls herself a New Englander, even though she hasn't lived in New England since her teens.  It's why I'll probably never be able to say, "I'm a Texan" no matter how long I live here.

But you don't have to be born someplace to have that kind of ownership.  Some people who move to Texas really do become Texans...they own it.  Like how we became "mountainers" when we moved to the California mountains.  We didn't move there because we had to...we FOUGHT to get there.  We had been longing for that place with every vacation trip we took there, and when we got there it was home.  It still is home.  And I still miss it.   

(And I miss my Dad.)

Masons Mama Blog

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Link to Me....

When I first made original site over at, I made all sorts of banners for it.   But I haven't put one on my sidebar with code for people to grab!   Silly, silly, silly! 

OK, OF COURSE anyone is welcomed to grab any of these to use to link to from my site, and there's actually MORE that say "Texifornian" (and other fun phrases like "stranded in Texas" or "Stranded in California." You can find by clicking here. You are welcomed to use those however you like. 

If you are a Texan, Californian, or Texifornian and want to exchange links, let me know!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Monkey Stitch: A Review

Every year since he was 5, I have bought my middle child a shirt with his age on it.  And every year I've bought it from the same place...Monkey Stitch

So, why do I keep coming back? Well, for one thing, my kiddo loves the shirts! I keep thinking he'll grow out of the idea of wanting his age on a shirt, but every year he wants another one.   He'd wear them every day if I let him. 

And the shirts are really good quality.   Here's a close up of his 5 shirt after a year of use, and roughly 60 trips through the washing machine.

I don't baby it.  It's been washed at all temps, right side out, no special treatment at all.  And other than the normal wear on the fabric you'ld expect, it's just like I got it--not a seem loose!  Every single shirt I've bought from Monkey Stitch has held up this well!

She's been very flexible about working with me on designs, too.  There actually weren't any "number" shirts listed at Monkey Stitch shop when I bought my first tww there, only "Initial Shirts"... but she was happy to make one for me anyways.  She's always worked with me to get the fabric and fabric patterns I wanted too.  

Here's some more items I love from her shop....

Sale- Christmas Ribbon Bow Bib Ready to Ship - torilynn817 Sale- Christmas Ribbon Tree Shirt Ready to Ship - torilynn817 Navy Dot Argyle Tie Bib Ready to Ship - torilynn817
Sale- Christmas Bow Tie Oneise Ready to Ship - torilynn817 Rainbow Stripe Bib Ready to Ship - torilynn817 Sale- Modern Christmas Ornament Shirt Ready to Ship - torilynn817

NOTE:  I received a discount on the last shirt I bought from Monkey Stitch  in exchange for this review.  All the other shirts I bought previously I bought at full price without any conpensation.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Texas Clouds

I love the clouds in Texas...anywhere in the Midwest actually.  I don't remember ever seeing these puffy Simpson's style clouds out in California.

But even cooler is how these clouds move...

See more beautiful skies at

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This Is Wherever Linky Party

Welcome to the first ever Wherever Wednesday at Texifornia!  Wherever Wednesday is a celebration of what makes the places we live unique.  It's not new though...only new to here.   A while back Budget Blond started this up on her blog with a little saying:  TIG.

In her words:

It stands for “This is Grenada.”
It’s used in moments where you just kinda shake your head at the things going on around you, like someone climbing up a coconut tree or when something takes exceedingly longer than it should.
I think all cities or towns have a “T.I.{insert your town}” moments. To me, this phrase can be used for things that are pretty hilarious, like how my dad’s friend up the street always drives his riding lawnmower to our house instead of his car {This.Is.Louisiana.} I also think it can be used to notice some good around us.
(See full post here).

And she was right--every place has it's unique character.  I've enjoyed sharing "This is Texas" moments like finding state pride at the Supermarket or bumping over Texas size speedbumps...and of course I've had to share a few This is California observations too.  But what I've  loved the most is reading all the wacky and wonderful moments others shared from their hometowns (or home away from home) around the world.  

I hope you'll take the time to share some of your
"This is {Wherever}"  moments with us! 

Please link back to this post or grab our button on the sidebar.  In the name space make sure to include where you're blogging from. The link up will be open all month.  Oh, and just for fun this month, I'll send a post-card from Texas to the first 10 bloggers who link-up (only if they want one).

Originally posted 11/7. This post has been bumped, and will be bumped, every Wed. this latecomers can still get their posts seen.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Storms and Rainbows

Above are some pictures of a rainbow after mild storm that hit last week.

Meanwhile, a long ways from Texas, the east coast was starting recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.  I'm not in a good position to donate directly right now, but right now Zazzle has set up a program for artists sell things through Zazzle and donate 100% of the profits (Zazzle's and the artist's) to charities helping Hurricane Sandy victims, and so I've donated some items from my Scribbleprints shop.  I thought about donating some things from the Texifornia Souvenir shop, but honestly, I hardly ever sell things there didn't seem much point to setting that up.  BUT, if you see something you like there, let me know, and I'll mark it to donate to Hurricane Sandy victims.

Another thing I thought of is that if there is any of my sky watch pictures  (or any other pictures from this blog) that you would like as a poster, postcard, key-chain, puzzle, or whatever...let me know, and so long as there's no people in it, and it's mine (not one I used from Flickr), and it's big enough, I'll put it on whatever you want and mark it for Hurricane donations.  Just leave me a comment or e-mail me at ecarian at yahoo dot com.

And for all you out there who were tossed by the winds, or who tossed by storms of another kind,  this song's for you...

Hello hurricane, you're not enough
Hello hurricane, you can't silence my love
I've got doors and windows boarded up
All your dead end fury is not enough
You can't silence my love, my love


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Texas: Most Likely to Secede

Our pride about our home state is the proudest pride indeed
And we're proud to be Americans, until we can secede

So, have you heard...there's now over 100,000 signatures on a petition asking to grant Texas the Right to Secede?   Here's my thoughts:

A).  Really, Texas?  He's only here for 4 more years!

B).  A move for secession right after a presidential election?  Like THAT'S never happened before.  What could possibly go wrong with that?

C).  Honestly, even after 100,000 signatures, I'm not particularly worried.  There are more Texans who want to stay in the United States than want to leave it...I'm absolutely convinced of that.   To the Texans who signed this, if you go ahead with this to the point of fighting, realize that you'll be fighting against some of your own.  If you think I'm wrong consider the number of people here who have moved from other states, and the nearly 40% of Texas voters who voted for Barack Obama (oh, yeah, and a bunch of folks from our state capital too) .  Yeah, that may be less than half, but even if those are the only people who would oppose you (it isn't--believe me) do you really want to fight 40% of your fellow citizens WHILE warring with the rest of the country? 

If you want to read some more about what would happen if Texas really did secede from the United States, there's a great post on that over at Milehimama.  I learned some things!

I'll just touch on these two legal gems: 

  • Congress is not allowed to declare war on states, but the President is allowed to  "put down insurrections," so declaring secession actually gives the President the constitutional right to wage war on Texas, without congresses consent.
  • Oh, and here's one more thought for Gun Owners in Texas:  Did you know signing this thing could make you loose your right to have a gun?  Not sure if that would actually be enforced, but according to US Law, anyone “who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship” is prohibited from owning a gun. 

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this!  Comments welcome!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Speekee Spanish

I've been trying to teach my kids Spanish from home.  It's been fun but a challenge, especially because I'm not fluent myself.  That's why I'm excited about having a chance to try out Speekee TV Spanish for Kids.  

Now, not having had a chance to try it out YET, I can't comment on it...but here's what Speekee has to say about their program:  

The world's number one Spanish program for young children.  Speekee TV Spanish for Kids is designed so that children can learn Spanish in their own time and at their own pace.  Easy Spanish learning through video, without effort with the multi award-winning Speekee videos PLUS real-time 'virtual' friendships with the Speekee characters. Available only via the web, Speekee TV Spanish for Kids is loved by children and their parents around the world. FastTrack curriculum for homeschoolers.  

My readers recieve ONE MONTH FREE of Speekee TV - Spanish For Kids Program - through this exclusive link. 

Here's a little example of their videos (sure wish I had had this song when I was teaching my kids the parts of the body in Spanish):

You can find more videos like this on the Speekee YouTube Page.

DISCLAIMER: As a Family Guide Blogger I get a chance to get a 6 months Speekee membership for posting this. Not sure if this is an "I definitely will get it" thing, or a "I might be one of the bloggers that get it" thing but had to give it a shot because this looks like a great program.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

This is Texas

I was with my kids at the park when all of a sudden five horseback riders came galloping through the park, slowing to a nice trot near the playground. They stopped by the restrooms there and a couple of them stood outside and held the horses while the others went inside.

I brought my littlest, carefully, over to see the horses.  There were two horses being held by one of the riders, and one of them seemed restless not to be tethered anymore.  He kept stomping his foot, and I held my little one's shoulder's firmly.  

Another rider was holding a single horse nearby, and this one seemed more calm.  I asked if we could pet him.  "Sure," he said.   "No worries.  He doesn't bite." 

Then the man looked down at my son and asked me,  "Would he like a ride." 

Soon my son was being helped up onto the horse and carefully lead around.  He gave rides to to several other children on the playground,  including one of my older sons before he left.  I was touched by his graciousness and the pure wonder of the moment. 

This is Texas!

Monday, November 05, 2012

There's Still Time to Reasearch Your Vote!

Are you voting tomorrow?  Do you know anything about the local and state candidates?  There's still time to do research!

Step 1:  Find Out Your Districts
The districts you can vote in are listed on your Voter ID card.  You can also find your districts here if you live in Texas, or at Project Vote Smart if you don't.

Step 2:  Find Out Who's Running in Those Districts.
For Texas you can find a list of all the candidates here.  Or, you can find out who's running by plunking in your address at Project Vote Smart (in or out of Texas)

Step 3:  Research
I suggest starting by finding out a little info on the position if you're not sure what they do.  You might be surprised to learn that, for instance, Texas Railroad Commissioner mainly regulates the Oil and Gas industry, and that the Texas Surpreme Court only deals with civil cases, not criminal cases.  It only takes a few minutes to google these things and it's well worth your time.

Once you know about what they're running for, you can google the candidates, or consult some of the excellent resources below:


Project Vote Smart

On the Issues

Politifact Main Site



Dallas Morning News Election Guide
Submit your address to find info on candidates from around the state - this is not limited to the Dallas area.

Texas Values:  Free Texas Voters Guide

Politifact Texas

Your Local Newspaper 

Step  4:  Find Your Polling Places and Go Vote Tomorrow!
In Texas you can find this info at the here.  In other states, you can usually find this info on your Secretary of State or City Website, or on your local League of Women's Voters website.

I'm linking up at...

Friday, November 02, 2012

Sky Watch Friday

This is Texas:  Beautiful skies over oak trees.  

Hello everyone.  I love seeing all the sky pictures from around the world on Sky Watch Friday, and I wanted to invite you all to another event where you can share your little piece of the world and go exploring.  "This is Wherever Wednesday" was one of my favorite interenet memes, and when it ended, I asked The Budget Blond if she would mind if I continued it here on Texifornia.  So, stop by Nov. 7th to link up all the crazy wonderful things you notice about your town this week. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

This is Wherever Wednesday...Starting Up Again With a Bang! (And Giveaways!)

Do you remember the old "This is Wherever Wednesday" hosted over at A Budget Blond?   It's was a meme where the Budget Blond shared her "This is Grenada" moments, and invited others to share their own "This is..." moments from their city, state, town, or country.   I loved reading all the little quirky things the different places that made them unique.  It was like getting to tour the world every Wednesday.  And it was fun sharing my own "This is Texas!" experiences.

I asked her if she would mind if I started it up again here on Texifornia, and she graciously agreed!   "This is Wherever Wednesday" will be on the first Wednesday of every month, starting November 7th! 

To participate, just create a "This is.." post about where you live, and come link it up November 7th!.  You can grab a button over in my sidebar.

Not sure what to include in your post?  This post will give you the idea, or you can Just browse the old TIWWW here at Texifornia or over at Budget Blond to see some examples.

To celebrate the party starting up again I'll be giving away some fun souvenirs from Texas too!  I'm looking for some other bloggers to offer some souvenirs from their home-town too, and get some promotion for their blog in return.   If you're interested, click here. (This is something extra and NOT something you have to do to join the linky party). 

Thanks to The Graphics Fairy for the map graphic!

Giveaways for Texifornians

Some giveaways I found of interest to Texifornians, Californians, and Texans.

(She can do any state...single state designs too)

If you have a giveaway with special appeal to Texans, Californians, or Texifornians, let me know and I'll post it here.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sky Watch Friday

You may noticed I edited out the basketball hoop in the first one, and I did a little editing to put the second two together, but I did not alter the colors at all. The sky really looked like that. Took my breath away.