Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homeschool in the Park

Yesterday the weather was nice so I decided to load up my girls and take them to the park for homeschooling lessons. I remember when I was in middle school Mr. Johnson, my science teacher, would take us outside when it was a more challenging lesson. It always helped us focus!
Mom met us at the park and we went for a nice walk.
Afterwards it was home, deliveries and cooking dinner. I watched Eat, Pray, Love...it was amazing! At 11p.m. we went to Wal-Mart and then drove around and looked at Christmas lights. I love that about homeschooling and me not working...we can do fun things like that at night and if we sleep in, it's ok!
We got a late start this morning..very late! But we visited Mom, went to Ross for a dress I wanted but they had the wrong size on the right hanger...hate when that happens! Afterwards, Bath and Body Works for hand sanitizers, H-E-B for a few items and back home for me to cook dinner! The first thing we did this morning...or afternoon! HA! was go to Game Stop and get Lena and CC Just Dance 2 for Wii. They are dancing their butts off right now... Lena is dripping sweat!! I love it!!! That is exactly what I had hoped for!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 (tons of pics!)

I can't believe it's the last weekend of November! This month...this year has seriously flown by! I don't think I've really had a moment to process everything. Yesterday my mom, me and the girls and Luigi loaded the car and went down to Ashley's new house for Thanksgiving.
We were a bit nervous taking Luigi on a 1.5 hour trip each way...the farthest he's gone is the park and Mom's house. But he did perfect!! We stopped at Buc-ee's mid-way to let him have a small potty break.

From Buc-ee's we went through Gonzales and entered Shiner. Shiner is such an old, true small town and I love the simple decorations they have. They haven't changed since I was a little girl.
I'm not sure why that picture above came out so dark....
Through Shiner we drove towards Hallettsville. I haven't been there in years! The population is 2,345. Very small. Maybe a few smaller than Shiner. My niece just graduated from nursing school and bought a house there. We are so excited for her! Driving in the country you mostly see this on the sides of the roads.
I did see an oil rig and had to pull over to take a photo of that!
There were also tons of hay bales but they were on the opposite side of the road and I didn't feel like turning back around. Those are actually cows in the background.
We finally made it to Ashley's house. Luigi was super happy to be out of the car.
Ashley's sweet little girl Camilla.
And her oldest, Ariana.
There is an auction for livestock right across the street. Luigi was picking up all kinds of scents there. To say he loved it would be an understatement!
He took many, many walks over there.
In Ashley's yard they have two horses. Lena was mesmerized by them. She couldn't get enough!

I knew it was bound to happen. Edgar, Ashley's husband, saddled the calmest horse and let Lena ride. I was so nervous but Lena was so ready!
I made a quick video and I've caught her many times today watching it. My brother is brainwashing her to beg us for a horse.... not gonna happen! Our HOA expects us to keep cats on leashes...I can only imagine what they would do with a horse in my backyard!
I loved the foliage changing colors in her yard. You know I had to capture that!
We needed ice so CC and I ran to one of the little gas stations to get it. While we were out I told her I would drive her through there downtown (their courthouse). I took pictures so you could go with us! (It's only one block!) As soon as we entered the circle we saw a family taking what I am assuming holiday card photos in the gazebo of the courthouse lawn.
The courthouse is just beautiful. During the holidays they have it outlined with small white lights. It's so pretty! And everyday at lunch time the town's fire station rings the alarm and the courthouse bell strikes twelve times. I literally slammed on the breaks the first time that happened when I was driving there. I had NO idea what was going on!

One side of the city block...these buildings are well over 100 years old.
This is the only movie theatre in Hallettsville. And it only shows one movie. Does it surprise you that it's a kids cartoon? And I can guarantee you it's not 3D!
Another old building facing the courthouse. I love the wood above the windows. I love the age of the building. Buildings like this can't be replicated. You can't replicate the weathering and age and beauty. I guess I am partial to this since I grew up in the next small town ten miles from Hallettsville.
This will complete our tour of their downtown. We have now come full circle!
Back at the courthouse. I love the gazebo.
Since it was now empty, CC and Luigi posed for some pictures.
This post has so many pictures I was thinking about breaking it up into two parts....but I am just too tired for that!
Here is my brother Tony in the background, Lena, Mom and CC.
My brother Tony.
Tony and Mom...he always has to make some kind of funny face!
He is such a wonderful man! He is raising his two boys alone. He has been for many years. He cooks, cleans, keeps a spotless house, works on cars..you name it! He needs a good wife!
Luigi loved being inside. He got tons of attention. And he was so well behaved. He never once tried to beg for anyone's food and take from their plate. He just laid down and relaxed!
My sister Lisa (Tren and Quin's mom), my mom and Tony. Ashley's house is older. And I love the old details it has. There is beautiful crown moldings, french doors, all windows and doors are framed and the bathroom and here in the dining room there are adorable built-ins.
Lena and Tren...tummy's full and taking a break.
Quin and Ernie watching the Cowboys play.
Then the cold front came in. CC ran in and told me, "Mom the sky is so pretty I HAVE to take a picture!" This is no editing...this is exactly how the sky was!
Tony asked me if I wanted to go to his house and see our old cat we gave him. He LOVES cats...he has two. He also has two dogs and a goat.... I wish I would have gotten a picture of that. Ashley also came with us. He was helping her clean out some heaters that came with her house.
Tony holding his baby Meeko...or as he renamed him...Porta!
Luigi had so much fun playing with all the kids. That's probably the most excitement he's ever had in one day! However, I think he did get annoyed with all the noise, our house is pretty quiet. He tricked us into going outside and when I opened the car door to put my cell phone on the charger he jumped in the car and wouldn't get out! He hopped over to the back seat and plopped down. After prodding and begging he came out but he wasn't happy! My nephew Ethan broke his leg playing football and this is Quin..he hurt his ankle playing basketball I think! He was thinking of quitting anyway because it puts too much stress on his knees and he's already been scouted for college football!
Luigi was ready to go home. Before we even made it into Shiner he was passed out in the back seat snoring. And releasing gas. Ashley made him a big plate of food before we left and man, did we suffer on the way home!

CC and I ran to the gas station and I saw they had smoked Janak's sausage. Papa Bear always asks me to bring him smoked sausage ..and lotto tickets. So I decided to buy me one too. My five dollar ticket won us $50 and his ten dollar ticket won us $100!! We were soooo excited!

We had a great, wonderful time. Mom reminded me that if I had been working it would have been so hard for me to go on this mini-trip because normally I would have had to wake up at 4:30 this morning to go to work! I had honestly forgotten about that! I did wake up early this morning anyway..bad dream! And it was so darn cold in the house.. outside temp was 32 and my darling CC got hot in the night and put the air conditioner on!!!
So I used to moment to do some online shopping.... I wouldn't dare venture out into Black Friday chaos! I made coffee, put the heater BACK on, sat in my pj's and shopped from the comfort of my living room! Very nice! And I got some good bargains. No one knows I did it so it will be a nice surprise for them when the boxes are dropped off at my door! Gotta love that free shipping!

So Papa Bear is out with the guys, Luigi is sleeping on CC's bed, Charlie's on the ottoman and Toby is laying on the computer desk with his legs laying over the keyboard as I type this. I think I will use this time to watch some TV.....

Monday, November 22, 2010

Praline Apple Bread

Ever since I received my 2009 Southern Living Annual Recipes cookbook in the mail I have been dying to make the Praline-Apple Bread. Every weekend I said I was going to do it...it just never happened.
That is until yesterday! I decided to just do it and if no one wanted to eat it, that's fine! Luigi has a sweet tooth! So I took out my apples, my cookbook and got to work!
The recipe for the bread is honestly the easiest, fastest and tastiest recipe I have ever made!
I think my favorite part was toasting the pecans....it made the house smell so good!
The other cup of pecans just went on top of the batter, smashed in a bit.

And my goodness... I thought the house smelled so good when the pecans were toasting...you should have smelled it while the bread was baking!
It was unbelievable how delicious the apple bread was!!
There is hardly any left....a good sign that everyone was in favor!
I brought Mom a slice today and she said it was "to-die-for"! Now THAT made my day!!
I honestly think I will whip up another batch tomorrow morning!!
Today we took Luigi to the doggy park again. He had a blast. This time a Rottweiler AND a Great Dane ganged up on him...and he was ready to take them on! Thankfully no fights broke out. Each dog owner stepped in before it could escalate. Mom met us at the park and we all went for a little walk. It was wonderful!
In case you don't have the Southern Living cookbook...here is the recipe!

Praline-Apple Bread

1.) Preheat oven to 350. Bake 1/2 cup pecans in a single layer shallow pan for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring after 4 minutes.

2.) Beat sour creme, 1 (8oz) container sour creme, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 large eggs and 1 Tbsp. vanilla at low speed about 2 minutes.

3.) In separate container, stir together 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda and 1/4 tsp. salt. Add to sour creme mixture until just blended. Stir in 1 1/2 cup finely chopped
Granny Smith apples and 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Spoon batter in a greased and floured 9-X5- inch loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup chopped pecans; lightly press pecans into batter.

4.)Bake 350 for 1 hour. After 50 minutes cover loaf with foil and cook for remaining 10-15 minutes. Allow pan to cool for 10 minutes.

5.) Bring 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar to a boil for one minute and pour on top of loaf. Allow to completely cool, about 1 hour.

The hardest part is letting it cool that last hour!