Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Houston Texans Day

One of the most fun days of the school year has arrived. The school had a Houston Texans assembly, complete with Toro's entrance on a Segway. Those look super fun!

The kids were decked out in Texans gear and gushed about how awesome it was to see Toro and all the tricks he could do.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Red Ribbon Week....

This week is Red Ribbon Week at school to encourage the kids to Say No to Drugs.
Monday: Wear Red
Tuesday: Crazy hair and sock day
Wednesday: Go Texans day
Thursday: Camo day
Friday: Pajama day

So yesterday both of my kids chose red Super Mario shirts (surprise, surprise). Today I was really concerned that Caleb would not participate. It is always a big struggle when things like this come around because it is so far out of his comfort zone. BUT, this is the first year he allowed me to spike his hair. Jansen was all for it and wanted me to spray red paint in his hair, but Caleb was good with the spike, so I decided this was not a battle to fight.

I think it has a lot to do with his maturity...slowly but surely, and the fact that we got the list and planned out the whole week on Sunday. Caleb was able to pick out what he wanted within the guidelines, and we set everything out on the bar. He knew what to expect and so there were no tears. Actually, if we are being honest, he was even a little excited. He only asked once if other kids would have crazy hair, and I told him if they didn't, at least Jansen did as well.

He has often, in the last few days, come in to look at each outfit and remind himself of what day it is. This is so important for kids with Autism, and especially with Caleb. I cannot expect him to go with the flow. He is his own flow. So while we have been encouraging him to pick out his own things to promote independence and self-esteem, we have to remember that he craves routine and full awareness of expecations.

That doesn't mean that everything goes his way. He has to learn that life is unexpected. Life doesn't always go as we plan and we have to deal with it. He can't control others, he can only control himself and his response. So, this morning, I switched his socks. Obviously, he noticed, and I just told him I must have lost them and he can go pick out another pair. He did it, without batting an eye. That is progress.

Tomorrow the Houston Texans mascot, Toro will be making an appearance at school for a pep rally. The boys have their jerseys and are looking forward to seeing Toro up close and in "person".

Monday, October 25, 2010


Yep, I am packing clothes again. I cannot believe that our cruise is next week. I am so excited!!!!! We have been looking forward to this for A YEAR! By the end of next week, I will be lounging in comfy chair with my feet in the sand and an adult beverage in my hand.

Quick cruise details: We are leaving from Galveston on Thursday Nov. 4 heading for Cozumel and returning Monday Nov. 8. I am planning on playing oodles and oodles of Bingo on the boat. For those of you who don't know me, I think I am an 80 year old lady sometimes because Bingo is the greatest game in the world!!!!! We will also be taking the dune buggy excursion to the beach for snorkeling, eating, and I will be climbing to the top of a lighthouse for a GORGEOUS panoramic view of the coast!!!

Also, it would really be nice to win a little money on the ship. I am not a big gambler but I do enjoy playing some slots. 8 years ago, we took an el cheapo cruise that was disastrous. Unfortunately, between the time we booked it and the time we sailed, I got myself pregnant. Big ship + 9 weeks pregnant= extreme nausea the whole time. So I headed to the casino to play some slots in hopes to win some cash. I had been betting the max (4 quarters) on two rolls of quarters, and on my last roll...I bet the max again. Unfortunately, I only had 2 quarters left stored in the machine and failed to put in the other roll I had in my lap......and I WON! BUT...if I would have bet the max, I would have won a couple thousand dollars....instead....$5 winner. What a bummer. So I quit playing.

Here's to hoping that doesn't happen again :)

10 days until the cruise
16 days until my surgery
31 days until Thanksgiving
34 days until the TEXANS GAME!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bunco time!

Last night, I hosted Bunco at my home for 12 fun ladies. I love playing Bunco, and truly wish that I could make more time to play games (and indulge my inner child), but we are just too busy right now with the kids extracurriculars. So one day a month it is...and I will take it!

The menu of the night was chicken casserole, green salad, garlic bread sticks, and red velvet cupcakes.

These are cupcakes turned out sort of cute. They are red velvet with pink cream cheese icing. I also made the fondant dice, recipe at the end of this post, and desperately wanted to use edible markers to make the no avail. Procrastination is not my friend, because this week, no one in town had these markers. So I had a major MAKE IT WORK, Project Runway moment, and had to pipe tiny black dots on them. It turned out fine, and they were super tasty.

Fun times!

Now we are staring the Fall Festival right in the face. I will be decorating and setting up at the school all day, and tomorrow we will be ready to have fun. I am going to take the boys to play games and eat yummy food for the first hour, and then I will be working the Cake Walk for the second half of it. Caleb just wants to win a raffle basket :)

Marshmallow Fondant:
1.5 pounds of powdered sugar
1 bag of mini marshmallows
2 tbsp water
vegetable shortening

I used my Kitchenaid mixer (LOVE) so these directions will be according to it. You can knead it by hand, but trust me, you will want to use a stand mixer of some sort!!

Coat the inside of your bowl with shortening. Make sure you cover every part the attachment will cover, including your dough hook, because it will stick...BIG TIME. Microwave marshmallows and water for 1 minute. Stir before putting it into the mixer bowl and then add powdered sugar. Then turn on your mixer and leave it. That is the beauty of it. In a few minutes, you can take it out and knead it with bits of left over powdered sugar until you get a smooth, play dough type texture. Make sure you store it in an air tight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Surgery scheduled

So the doctor's office called and we are set for my surgery on Wednesday, November 10. I go for the pre-op visit on November 2, right before our cruise (Nov. 4-8). This means I pretty much have to come home and then have one day to unpack, clean, and cook before I will be out of commission for a while. I am just very happy that it is getting done in a month where we don't have a ton of stuff to do at the school, like in December, and that our Texans game is not until the 28th. We plan on being wild and crazy fans, so I had better be feeling good by then.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh Mr. Jack-O-Lantern....

My boys and my nephew created some Jack-O-Lanterns today...much to Jansen's horror. He and my nephew didn't want to take the junk out of the inside, but Caleb was really going for it. He didn't want any help...he just did it on his own.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


That's it folks. I was approved for surgery on Friday and I am ready to go. Although there is not an official date yet, the doctor says the week we get back from the cruise will be fine, so I am waiting on a call back from the office to put it in the books. Hopefully November 10, so I will be on the mend by Thanksgiving and the Texans game on the 28th. We are looking for me to be down for 2-3 weeks.

The plan is to have the house cleaned, a week's worth of clothes for the kids set out, a week's worth of meals cooked and in the freezer, and tons of pillows and soft outfits, and a list of all the kid's medications and activities written for Josh to follow. He is going to take off for the first week and then my mom will be in and out to help the second week, and by then, I am sure I will be up and moving fine. The doctor said to just get lots of rest in the first week and slowly build up. Good thing my dad has a walker from his knee replacement because I am going to borrow it!

Feeling nervous, but excited, and ready to go!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

End of cake class

Today was the final day in a three day cake series class my cousin, Kristi and I took together. It was so much fun!

We put together the skills we learned in the first day, the decorations we made the second day, and today we made homemade marshmallow fondant. It was delish!!! Earlier in the week, I made the two of us royal icing, and today Kristi made us our little cakes. We were ready to go by the time class started.
Here is my little Bunco cake. I going to try something a little different next week for dessert when I actually host the ladies for Bunco.
So my first attempt at the fondant dried out way too quickly as I was finishing up my dice, and once I put it on, it cracked up BIG TIME. I ripped it off, and made a new batch. It was kind of tricky getting the texture right because it was so hot and humid in the was so sticky. Powdered sugar to the rescue!!! I slapped that stuff on, smoothed it out, trimmed the edges, and started putting on my little dice. I LOVED using the Wilton edible markers because it made the perfect sized dots with indentions on the big dice. Then I just got tired and was too lazy to do a border, (let's be honest, the class is from 6-9pm) and I stuck on the little dice. It was cute.

My cousin made the most ADORABLE turtle cake. I love how she got the marbling just right, and had so much detail on his little face. LOVE it!!!

Another lady in our group was hosting an Octoberfest themed party next week and wanted to practice a few things before the big day. Look at her little pretzels!!!
And here is a final picture of our groups' cakes...
Kristi gave her cake to my dad as kind of an inside joke....
All in all, this was super fun to get out and learn a few new things. I am totally going to use the techniques I learned on my family's cakes now. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sugar high...

This week, I have returned to school...for fun. My cousin and I decided to team up and take a cake decorating class. So far it has been really fun.

At first, I was a little hesitant, but once we started, we have had a great time. The first day we practiced with buttercream using all the different tips, many of which I have been using for a while. But the teacher gave us a lot of tips and hints on how to make different patterns that I would have never gotten on my own.

The next day we made royal icing and practiced making flowers, coloring it, and striping icing.

Here is my first royal icing rose...

We also planned out the design of the cake we will be making the last day and started working on the fondant pieces. One of the girls in my group is making her husband a Bud Lite birthday looks really cute. Another girl is making an Octoberfest cake with beer, pretzels, and sausage on a stick. :)

Hopefully mine will turn out ok, and pictures will be posted later in the week. It's really fun to learn something new and meet new people!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Soccer weekend bonanza!!!

This weekend is Caleb's Halloween Shootout Soccer Tournament, which means games, games, games all day long! Thank goodness for the last two weeks it has been nice and cool, because playing in 100 degree heat is not fun for anyone.

We had some time between games this morning so we got to come home for a bit, and I went straight to my new favorite blog,

I love seeing all the blogs out there with fabulous ideas. Craftiness, holiday decor, inexpensive ideas...super cool to watch and try out some things in my free time. Our school Fall Festival is coming up soon and there are about 3 or 4 different baked goodies that I would LOVE to try out to donate to the Cake Walk. It's my favorite game...and the easiest!

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Porch....

Today I finished decorating the front porch. Well, I say "finished" with a bit of hesitation because I think I might want to find a skinny scarecrow behind the haystacks just to add a little height.

All in all...the goodies were from Walmart...a place that I am occasionally a fan of. Everything was on clearance and you know I LOVE me a sale.

Hay stacks were $3, the big pumpkins were $4, the little pumpkins were $2, the garland was $3, and the leaves and berry picks were 50 cents.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Caleb's art project

Everyone knows that Caleb has Autism, but is pretty high functioning. Every month he gets better and better! He is such a blessing in our lives. :)

Anyway, yesterday was his turn to make his Fall Festival poster for school. He is not very creative and doesn't tend to think outside the box...that is just not his strength. But he said he wanted to make a pumpkin, and that is totally appropriate. I am really annoyed when parents do their children's projects, I mean, it is really obvious and doesn't do your child any favors. With Jansen, I just traced out the letters on his poster so he could trace them since he is learning to write. But Caleb....never needed that. He could read and write very well by the time he was 4. That was his thing.

So we talked about different ways to make a pumpkin, drawing one, using tissue paper, cutting it out of construction paper, tearing construction paper, etc. He loved the idea of tearing paper and yelled...."Like the Texas flag I made at school last year!" Yep, yep.

He sat at the table and I got all his supplies out, and said, "Go for it. Make whatever you want." He cut out a pumpkin template, and glued it on the poster board. He tore all the little pieces and started gluing. Seriously, it took him about an hour, but when he is into something, you won't hear from him until it is done. I wrote down on a piece of paper the wording that needed to be on it, and he started writing. Once he finished I asked him if he was happy with it, and he said yes. I asked if he wanted to add anything, and he said nope and then asked for me to take his picture. So I did.

He seems to be proud of it, and so I am proud of him!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fall projects...

So I haven't blogged in a while, mainly because for some strange reason, I am not sleeping at all. Not just the usual getting up 3-4 times a night, but not falling asleep. Yesterday I didn't fall asleep until 5am and woke up with the kids for school at 6:30am. UGH. I almost feel useless.

Anyway, enough with the pity party. The boys' school is having a Fall Festival in a couple of weeks and part of the festivities is a Poster Contest. The only requirement is to write, somewhere on the poster, the details of the Festival.

So after school, Jansen and I ran to the dollar store to pick up a few supplies. I figured it would be so much easier for him to work on it before his brother got home from school. He picked out some paper and tissue, and we headed home to begin. He wanted to make a Fall tree. AND wouldn't you know it, the construction paper packet I got had no brown or black in it. UGH.

So we improvised. I helped him trace his hand and arm on white paper, and then Jansen colored it black.

He cut it out and glued it on the poster board.

Then he took tissue paper and constrction paper and ripped it into little pieces and then rolled them into little balls.

Then he glued them all wherever he wanted.

He said, "Look Mom. There are leaves falling out of the trees!"

Then since he is still learning to write and has a really difficult time with it, I wrote out all the detail information with a pencil, and he traced over it with his choice of crayon or marker. He chose red crayon.

I think it turned out super cute, and he is really proud of it.

Kindergarten masterpiece!!!

Now, Caleb just has to decide what he wants to do and start working on it tonight.

And, here are their school Kindergartener and 2nd grader!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Progress on Master Bedroom

Slowly but surely, this room is getting better.

Remember where we started?

Don't get me wrong, this room was nice, but once you change the bed, it seems like the whole thing has to go!

First we added the king sized bed and it has totally changed my sleeping habits for the better.
My husband works shift work and always woke me up getting into bed. Now we have a Tempurpedic style king sized bed (that we got on clearance) and I hardly feel a thing. It took about a week to get used to the style and no longer having a coil type mattress, but BOY it has done wonders for my back! Two scoliosis surgeries and I could never really get comfortable at night. :)

Then we got a king sized sheet set from the lovely Target, and it was also on clearance. Woohoo!!

Then we ordered the PERFECT comforter set from If you have not gone to their site, you should! We have only bought 2 things from there, but you just can't beat their prices and shipping prices. It shipped quickly and was just perfect. Thank you Michael Kors for designing it. I love it.

But once I got the comforter on, the color scheme in my room was completely off. So my end tables from the living room became nightstands, the two Poppy pictures came down and a piece of wrought iron from our front porch came in, the burgundy curtains traded places with the green silk curtains from our piano room, and that is as far as I can go for now.

Next is to get a pair of lamps...but that will come with next week's paycheck. It is coming along nicely, I think :)