Monday, October 21, 2019

THE PUMPKIN PATCH ADVENTURE

As soon as I mention the word "adventure", our Calvin immediately heads over to the costume pegs and starts pulling on his explorer outfit. And, whenever he does this, he leaves a trail of formerly grumpy old people, who are suddenly grinning their heads off, wherever he goes! Which is exactly what happened when we took him on a Pumpkin Patch Adventure this weekend.


He should have been pretty grumpy himself, seeing as we were told we'd have a 45 minute wait to get a table at Wimberley Cafe. But, when I took him exploring around the square, we discovered a brand new candy store -- one with blueberry lollipops, his favorite! He was still only halfway through it when he finally got his grilled cheese sandwich.

From there we headed to the big Methodist church on the edge of town, which hosts a tiny little pumpkin patch each year. No big bouncy houses or slides, but just right for a little explorer who's not too crazy about crowds and noise.



He found a big pumpkin for him and Dada to carve, and a little tiny pumpkin that ought to be just about right for his baby sister Rowan.


Plus there were some fun games, just right for someone his size.




All in all, I'd say it was the perfect pumpkin patch adventure!



Monday, October 7, 2019

A HINT OF WINTER

What happens in Texas, when the temperatures outside suddenly plunge down into the 60s? This!


We grab our fuzzy blankets, brew up a pot of hot tea, and totally ignore the fact that our thermostat inside the house is still reading a cozy 75 F.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

MY FAKE FALL PUMPKIN PATCH

It finally came -- that longed for day when the sky clouded up, temps dropped into the 80s, we had a nice breeze out on the porch, and we even got a bit of rain. Why, it felt like fall! So, of course I had to start pulling out a few of my fallish decorations, right?







By the time I had finished I was feeling so festive, I couldn't resist whipping up a batch of my Peanut Butter Cocoa Krispie Treats -- the ones I used to make for my kiddos around this time each year. Only this time they were for a special grandson, so I had grabbed a bag of Brach's Halloween treats to scatter on top, for a bit of added color...


and they ended up looking just like a Pumpkin Patch!

But then I glanced out the window and realized the sun had come out, chasing all the clouds away, and the temperature had crept back up into the 90's. Ah well, such is life in Texas. I just cranked the AC up a bit more, and spent the next hour trying to scrape up and consume every last morsel of cocoa-caramelly goodness outta that mixing bowl!

PEANUT BUTTER KRISPIE TREATS

1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. sugar
1 c. smooth peanut butter
6 c. regular or cocoa rice krispies

Combine syrup and sugar in a large pot. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Add Rice Krispies and stir until well coated. Press mixture into Pam-coated 9 x 13" pan.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

WELCOME TO THE PARTY LITTLE ONE!

On Friday -- our daughter's actual "due date" -- we took a risk and purchased tickets to see an afternoon showing of the new Downton Abbey movie. Once we made it through that, I told her she was free to go into labor at any time. She took me at my word, for that very night we got a call around 2 AM saying "You might want to head back to Austin now to pick up little Goobs."

"So many Super Calvins, Mimi!"
We took him back home with us and snuggled into bed, but woke up early, anxious for some news. We waited, and waited, and finally got a text about five hours later saying "Well, we seem to have stalled out." We were making plans to take Calvin home the next morning when we got another message, saying "OK, things seem to be starting up again, but I wouldn't get too excited just yet." Finally, around 11 PM they decide to head for the birthing center and call the doula.

But, once little sister made up her mind that she was ready to break outta dat joint, her mama says it was like a freight train coming through. When the midwife said "Here she comes!", Lex thought she meant she was finally crowning, but the midwife said "No! I mean she's halfway OUT!"

And so, more than 24 hours after those first contractions, our chubby-cheeked granddaughter, Rowan Rebecca Sanders -- weighing in at just under 8 lbs. -- finally made her entrance. Sadly, I have no pics to share just yet.



Meanwhile, the worlds cutest race car driver spent three fun-filled days with us, but couldn't wait to get home to his Mama and Dada, to make sure this usurper wasn't trying to take his place at the center of the universe -- just like his own mama did when her little brother was born. Ahhh, sibling rivalry!


We'll just have to keep reminding ourselves that only ten or fifteen short years later, Austin and Alexis somehow managed to magically morph into being the best of friends! 

Monday, September 16, 2019

FOR ALEXIS: MRS. EVERYTHING

Our daughters don't know -- what it was like growing up female in the 50s and 60s, and just how limited our options were. They think they do, but not really. To tell you the truth, I didn't fully understand myself, until I read this book, just how much things changed between the years when each of my sisters and I graduated from high school, in '64, '67 and '71.


I didn't get why the oldest felt her options were so much more limited than mine ..why all she wanted was to get married and have babies...why my middle sister switched her major from accounting to teaching, because that would be easier when she had kids...why I told my mom midway through college, after taking an abnormal psych class, that I didn't think I even wanted to have any kids, and aimed instead for a glamorous career as a buyer for Neiman Marcus, and to travel the world. Oddly enough, much like the two sisters in this book, we somehow switched paths along the way. They both ended up with the glamorous careers, while I opted to be the stay-at-home mom! But, at least it was by choice.

Our daughters though, they really have no clue why we fought so hard just to have the right to choose, and for equal rights and equal pay, and to have control over our own bodies. They never had the humiliation of walking into a store to purchase a washing machine, only to have the condescending old salesman suggest that I should come back later and bring my husband, to help me make such an important decision. My reply? "Why? It's not like he ever uses one of these things!" Lest you think poorly of him, he does do all his own laundry now, but that was a different day and age.

I used to think we had made great progress and that much had changed. Now, I'm not so sure. Which is why I'm hoping my daughter will read this book, then share it with all her friends -- so they can see for themselves just how far we have come, and just how much they stand to lose, if they don't actively participate in the decision-making process!

Monday, September 9, 2019

MY FRENCH GIFT TO YOU


Two of our kiddos just returned from an amazing journey that began in Barcelona and ended in Paris,  with a leisurely road trip up through Provence in between. They are now basking in the giddy afterglow, pouring over photos, telling stories, trying out recipes, etc. I remember that period well, after we did our Viking River Cruise through Provence. Paris was gorgeous, but Provence? Well, it was so much more than a bunch of famous landmarks to have your photo taken in front of. It's about a certain way of living -- the way we were hoping to live here in the Texas Hill Country, and our reason for choosing this as our forever home.




After that trip I was even more obsessed with that way of life, and may have gone a bit bonkers in my efforts to hold onto that glow. I read books set in Provence, bought French cookbooks, poured over all the photos we took and wrote blog posts about it all.




Even the pages in my art journals around that time were all about Provence!

Then, just as the afterglow was beginning to fade, I discovered a blog called My French Corner. It's not specifically about Provence, but it is about the French way of life -- about how they eat and shop and cook, what they think about exercise and skin care and clothes, how they decorate and celebrate, etc. It's actually written by an American teacher whose sister married a Frenchman and went to live there permanently. The teacher then began spending her summers there and fell madly in love with the French way of life. When she had shared all that she had learned, she stopped writing the blog. But, it is still out there, just waiting for you to stumble upon it as I did, start from the very beginning and work your way through to the end.




 
 Bon Voyage!
 

Monday, September 2, 2019

A KNIGHT'S TALE

Perhaps you remember, long long ago when our grandson was just a baby, how his silly Mimi went out and bought this amazing book about all the wonderful things you can make from cardboard.


Of course, he was nowhere near ready to do anything like that, so I stashed it away in the secret closet and all but forgot about it. Same thing happened when Hubby came home wagging a little box of wooden blocks that you could build castles with. We couldn't even get him interested in the giant colorful baby blocks a friend had passed down, so he'd probably be a tween before he'd be interested in these. Into the closet they went. Then, just this past week, I was in my favorite consignment store -- the one with lots of books and toys -- and saw that they had brought all their Halloween costumes out. Hanging on the end of the rack was a little knight's breastplate and shield set, for only $6.99. I was oh-so-tempted to buy it, but Calvin didn't have a clue what a knight was, what they did, or where they lived, so why bother? Besides, the secret closet (aka the linen closet) was running out of room! So I let it go.

Wouldn't you know, the very next day my daughter sent us a photo of Calvin playing with the little cardboard castle and catapult set he had built from this month's Kiwi Crate (Thank you Aunt Kathy!). He was having a blast using the catapult to knock the castle down, then getting to set it up again, over and over. In the blink of an eye I was running back to the thrift store to see if the armor was still there. It was.


Unfortunately, it didn't come with a sword, so he grabbed a squishy Batman baseball bat to use as his weapon. But then I remembered that amazing cardboard adventures book I had stashed away, and we made our own sword!



Then it was on to some castle-building with Papa John.



Know what I like most about little knights in shining armor? They just love being helpful.


And, speaking of shining armor, I'm thinking that on his next visit, we just might need to make this jousting helmet. Wouldn't you agree?


Papa got me plenty of duct tape on his last excursion to Ace Hardware. Now all I need is some cereal boxes!