Wednesday, December 28, 2016


As they were leaving our house Christmas Eve, son-in-law Nate said "Everyone should just wear their jammies to our house in the morning. I'll be in mine for sure!" He wasn't kidding.

Deadpool Jammies?
That was just the first shock, not the only one.  You see, my hubby's family didn't really do stockings once they quit believing but, as soon as we were married, I let him know in no uncertain terms that that was unacceptable, and my stocking had better have some stuff in it come Christmas day, if he knew what was good for him. He took me at my word, and each year after that he got a little more into it. So much so that he now fills everyone's stockings to overflowing, and the space around them as well. But even he was taken aback when he found this waiting for him:

At least four feet tall!
Fortunately, they just did it to get a rise out of him, and there was a normal-sized stocking waiting in the sidelines!

Calvin's response to pretty much everything? Put it in your mouth and see how it tastes!

 The kids combined their efforts to prepare a fabulous brunch for us all.

I don't think Nate's parents have ever experienced a Christmas quite like this, but they were great sports about it all!

Alas, now it is time to move on, take it down and store it all away, in order to switch gears and get revved up for a couple of January birthdays, one of which is happening this Sunday, on New Years Day!

Sweet dreams Birthday Boy...

Monday, December 26, 2016


If there's one thing we know for certain, after celebrating Christmas Eve at our house...

Happy Pappy
it's that our days of Little Goober sitting calmly in our laps are definitely numbered, and we can no longer dilly-dally when it comes to baby-proofing our house. And, all those great hacks we saw on pinterest, like slicing a pool noodle down one side and slipping it on the edge of your hearth? Not so great after all!

Oh, and if you are impressed by that swanky traditional snap western shirt my hubby is wearing, I should probably mention that he bought it for himself at that funky bazaar we attended last week, which means it is anything but traditional. Check out the embroidery detail.

Now you know where my kids get their sense of humor.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Starting with the first Christmas we spent here, it became an annual tradition to attend the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar in Austin with our kids. That was the plan for this year as well until, at the last minute, Alexis sent us all a message saying "What do you think about trying this one instead?"

So we met up here at Casa Arandinas on Brodie, for some authentic Mexican cuisine...

and wound up here, out on Airport Blvd.

And believe you me, not one of us left empty handed!

Quilted Art
Crash is the artist who designed all the tabletops at Taco Deli
Don't get me wrong, I still love the Armadillo, and will most likely return when we no longer have a baby with us who would probably freak out at the crowds and loud music.  But, if you're looking for fun, funky, affordable gifts, with less crowds, free entry, and free parking, Blue Genie Bazaar just might be the place for you.

Calvin gets quality time with Bama and Bapa.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


I believe I once told you that, after struggling to create a veggie garden here for several years, I decided that the only thing better than growing your own food and raising chickens yourself, is having good friends who do, and who are happy to share their excess with you! Well, I've now decided that the same thing holds true when it comes to cooking, and that the only thing better than being a decent cook is having several foodie-finatics as friends. The Clines and the Bradshaws  (AKA Outdoor Man and Woman) are those friends - the ones who introduced us to Sunday evenings at Driftwood Vineyard, who put us onto that fabulous Farm To Table dinner at Cypress Falls a few weeks back, and the ones who had us squealing "YES!" to the opportunity to act as their guinea pigs when they did a test run for a dinner party they plan to offer as one of Wimberley Civic Club's Spring Events. 

I actually met the Clines through this very blog seven or eight years ago, when they were still living on Catalina Island and researching towns in the Texas Hill Country, where they hoped to move at a future date. Now that they are here and fully immersed in everything from the Emily Ann Theater to the Chamber of Commerce, they are the ones I go to, to find out what's going on!

Following is a sampling of what will be on their tapas-style menu, in case you want to sign up for it. But I gotta warn you, tickets are gonna go fast!

Grilled Beef Over Phenomenal Mac & Cheese
Sherri's Special Bruschetta
Seared Scallops Over Pan-Asian Risotto
Daughter Bella's Roasted Red Pepper Soup
As you can see, I'd already gobbled down most of the soup before I remembered to take a photo, and the dry-rubbed and glazed elk course was inhaled with nary a thought of snapping a pic!

The evening ended with a bang when new friend Diana decided to teach us her magic napkin-folding trick.

So, I guess it's true. It's not what you know. It's who you know!

Monday, December 19, 2016


One of Santa's elves popped in for a visit today.

Must've heard that Bapa and Bama had joined Mima and Papa over here in Wimberley, and decided he needed to see it for himself.

Let the Christmas shenanigans begin!

Friday, December 16, 2016


Can you believe it? Lured into his trap yet again!

"Bwahaha!" he crows, rubbing his hands together in glee.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


After The Bountiful Sprout -- my primary source for locally grown and gently raised ingredients -- shut down, I found myself drifting away from my scratch-cooking habit.  Not only were we eating out more often, I also found myself taking more short cuts when I did cook -- using more processed, ready-to-go, just-heat-it-up stuff. We seemed to be consuming more and more, but enjoying it less and less.

All these photos are old ones of things cooked from my own recipes, not the Blue Apron stuff.

But, then I got that free box of food from Blue Apron. And then purchased another. And another. A few weeks in, I found myself wondering just why that food had so much more flavor than anything else I had prepared or eaten lately.

A few weeks after that, it finally hit me.

You see, cooking from scratch is all about anticipation, and the little steps you take to build it up --  from heating a bit of fruity-yet-peppery olive oil in a pan until it shimmers, to the sizzle you hear and the aroma that engulfs you when you toss in a bit of minced garlic and some chopped onion. From those bits scraped up from the bottom of the pan to add even more flavor, to the rich color that a dash of wine adds to your sauce, the final swirl of a wee pat of real butter to finish it off, and then tossing in some fragrant chopped herbs grabbed from the pot on your porch. Not only do these steps stimulate our senses in anticipation of that first orgasmic bite, they are what actually triggers the production of saliva in our mouth -- which is why we refer to something truly delicious as "mouth-watering good". And, I hate to tell you but, you simply can't achieve that kind of reaction by warming up pre-cooked foods.

Which is why I'm still cooking from scratch.