Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Grandchildren are so much fun!
You never know what will be next.

Two year old Pearson has personality popping out all over him and when he is visiting he is my shadow for most of the time.  He wants to race with me from the kitchen to the couch.  He wants me on the floor playing with the Lincoln logs or marbles or pop beads or whatever he is playing with.  He is so loving you just want to squeeze him like the fluffy baby chick at Easter.

This particular morning I had finished breakfast and announced to all the family that I was heading upstairs to take a shower and sure enough here came Pearson.  I settled him down on my bed upstairs, selecting a fun cartoon for his age group and seeing that he was completely enthralled in his program left him on the bed to take my shower.  I figured a quick shower and get dressed and he would be fine so I quickly jumped into the shower.

I was getting pretty lathered when I heard a bump on the glass door. 
Looking down I saw a little nose pressed to the glass and a cute little teasing voice saying,
"I see you!"
So much for modesty!

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Summer to Remember

All summers pass quickly. 
Some summers are hot and dry. 
Some summers are great to catch up on all the reading you missed out during the busy school year.
Some summers are just the space between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next.
But some summers are summers to remember.

This has been my summer to remember.
I started the summer with grandchildren and am ending it with grandchildren.  How exciting.
Evan makes the tenth grandchild!

I have loved every minute of my summer.  I have crammed in all that I can.  No great adventures, no great vacations, in fact, I haven't even traveled at all, since Linda moved nearby.   I have never been bored.  I have worked outside, played outside, visited the zoo twice, the museum once, and entertained grandchildren often, renewed an old interest, and read several books and even driven the tractor. 

It is the last summer that all of my grandchildren fit neatly into that 1-12 age group.
Next year we begin the teen years with Matthew, already eye to eye with me and every time I see him I think he is going to be taller than I am.  Joel is right behind him. 
Little Evan, only three days old, has long legs, big hands and big feet for such a little thing. 

I guess, this is trust.  I'm driving.  He is riding on the front spraying weeds.  Must be love!
If I had set any goals for myself I have forgotten them because the things I did were not the things I thought I would do. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another Christmas in July

I enjoy entertaining and planning theme parties. This month we had two separate gatherings for Christmas in July in our yard. Both well attended and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.  The weather was perfect.  It threatened rain but it was actually cool and breezy instead. 

But I always think I have to have everything done perfectly including all the touches outside.  The flowerbeds have to be edged and cleaned.  And then I always think my yard needs more....more pathways, more flowers, more decorations.....more everything.
Surprise guest relaxing in the pool!

You know how hard it is to be perfect?  The day of the party I start to stress a few hours before the party.

Side yard for Christmas in July
Christmas trees decorate brownies
"I did not get the flowerbed mulched!  I don't have enough time to do it, shower and get my hair done again!

"I did not get the brownies decorated! After the shower but before doing my hair....I can squeeze it in!"

"Oh, the upstairs closet did not get vacuumed! And you know guests snoop!"

Then the party starts and all the worries are gone.  I run around taking pictures and finally.....if everyone is settled and having a good time I will try to squeeze in the socializing.

My biggest problem is finding time to enjoy the event!
I become Martha of the Mary and Martha story.
Who is going to serve if I don't do it?!  And by the way...I am serious!  Who will do it?

Some of the teens eating at Christmas in July Devo Night
But really, the idea is to get to socialize and enjoy the company of our friends!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cars and Colors

As I was working in the yard early this morning I heard a car coming down the road at the bottom of the hill from me. 
I looked up and seeing a silvery car that appeared to be my parent's car I thought, "they are out early" and returned to my work.

The car was driving slowly and I surmised it must be my mother but as I looked up to wave it was not my mother.  I thought, "It must be my mother-in-law"  who also, has a silvery car about the same look as my parent's car.  But no, it was neither my mother, nor my mother-in-law but rather an old man driving in a car that fit the same description as the other two cars. 

And I thought, "Oh, another victim of  stereotyping."
I drive a maroon Envoy.  The same as several other members in my age group who shopped the same dealership, same year in town. 

All of us victims of stereotyping. 

Maybe, I'm ready for another car but this time I'm not going to listen to the recommendations of the salesman, no matter how cute or sweet he is.

Maybe, I'll get something fun....and sleek....and bright and of  course,

Friday, July 16, 2010

B Bumble and Co

If you have been watching my blog you can see that I have gotten the sewing bug and who should I blame but my sister.  It is just hard to sit back and watch her having fun and not want to be a part of it.  I can ignore her having fun with her quilts over there next to me while we have coffee but then Mama got into it.  Now I have two of them at the table working quilts and all I can do is suggest colors. 
That does not do it! 

Somehow, I ended up traveling to a quilt shop along with the two Quilting-mamas....like this is sometime I want to do.... sure!  But who ended up spending nearly $150.  Yep!  That was me.

So now, I am committed to sewing all of this fabric and using the three patterns I bought.

So then I go to a fabric store with Linda and I end up spending $75!  Okay, now I am really committed to sewing. 
And me without a sewing machine!  So guess what....now I am looking for a good sewing machine! 

Now Linda has started a new website for all those quilters out there to download her patterns directly. Actually Doug has been working on this quite some time now and I think it looks great!  Her patterns are in several quilt shops already but this will open up her patterns worldwide, giving easy access in a download to her patterns for the technology savvy people. 

Her logo on the right is a link to her site. 

She has also started a blog that will discuss all areas of quilting from choosing colors to tutorials.
Her blog is Buzzing and Bumbling and is listed in my links at the right.  Become a follower. 

Even if you are not a quilter you must drop in and check it out.
But I warn you....it can be additive.  But better being addicted to something creative like quilting and sewing than some addictions

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Projects

With everyone around me sewing up projects, I have now got the bug!

I never thought I would ever want to sew again.  When sewing was creative I enjoyed it but when I had to sew my clothes....oh, no!!!  I like trying on first!

Leann, check this out.

It did end up taking me about five hours total (Counting the two hours at your house working on it with you, Leann.)  But this was just the first one. 

Getting the instructions figured out without a better understanding of all the compartments was the hardest part but now the next one will go faster....and yes, there will be more.  I went shopping for fabric yesterday and got enough for several projects. 

This is the little purse about 6 by 8 inches with four compartments on the inside (one zippered pocket)and the flap is also a pocket with the  zipper in the very top (not pictured) for an additional compartment  just perfect for my cell phone. 

So much fun!
I am ready to get a sewing machine now!

Three Beads, Four Marbles, Five Fish and a Nickle

The marble rumbled across the floor, passing the dust bunnies and leaving behind the dried grass clippings and dirt particles swept up. The marble touched base with a wall somewhere before the second marble was put into action by the swift movement of the broom and then a third marble still waited for discovery.

The room seemed unnervingly quiet in the wake of the children.

All that remains were a few small reminders of their time here.  A high chair rests in a spot between the kitchen and the dining room, the rocking horse next to the fireplace.  A couple of small containers of play-doh were hiding under pillows thrown on the floor.   Five fish for the hot tub lurked under the edge of the couch.  Three pop beads had escaped capture.  And a lone nickle had slipped through small fingers and lay on the floor. 

The quiet crashed in all around.

No one to ask to ride in the wagon,
or feed the fish,
or read a book,
or jump on the trampoline,
or to climb up and cuddle.
Slobbery kisses will wait until next time,
" I wuv you's" hover in my heart,
and squeals of excitement echo in my mind.

Exhaustion sets in,
tempered by sentiment.

'til next time.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Garden for the Children

I was no taller than my grandmother's orange Cannas growing along the house next to the driveway. 
In fact, some of them towered above my head.
I pretended it was my jungle and as I carefully wandered through the plants watching not to step on any of the plants, I picked off the ugly seed pods that formed when the flowers withered and died because  I wanted my grandmother's flowers to be pretty. 
It was cool in the shade and seemed a perfect place to explore. 
Mama was concerned I would hurt the flowerbed but Grandmama just laughed. 
A few weeks later Grandmama told me that her Cannas had bloomed again and were more beautiful than ever after I had plucked off the seed pods. 
I was so pleased. 
Many of my childhood memories surround the outdoors, my mother or grandmother's gardens or flowerbeds, exploring my grandfather's pastures  or the rocky hillsides at the lake where the family built a cabin, tasting the sweet nectar of honeysuckles and playing under the jasmine bushes.  

It is no wonder that as a grandmother now, I plan my gardens to please the children.  
So Andy and Amy now in your "grand" years here are the things I have found that have enhanced imagination and play in my gardens.  

Pathways: My pathways are not expensive pathways but most of them are simply an area I cleaned off the grass and laid a weed barrier and covered with mulch.  The kids love the pathways. 

I had to laugh one day as Kristen and her mother and I were walking in the grass around the back side of the house and we came upon one of the pathways.  Kristen squealed in delight as she dropped our hands, "A path!" 
And off she ran.
Wagons: The perfect companion for the path is the wagon.  My wagon has three cars and we make chug-a-chug-a- toot-toot
noises as we go.

A Place to Gather:A place to sit or swing or drink iced tea.  If there is no shade you just have to make one.  Maybe a big umbrella but you must have places where you can sit and talk.
Mysterious places: Tall plants or shrubs that leave space to walk behind or under or fun, thornless plants  that soft-slap the kids as you drive by in the wagon.

Color: And if at all possible, color!  Yellow zinnias, purple flocks, red roses, sweet williams, and pink begonias.

Seed Collection Expeditions:
Seed collecting at the end of the growing seasons.  Teach the kids how to pick off the dead seeds and collect them and not only are you teaching them to love plants and grow them themselves, they are deadheading your plants and extending your blooming season. 

Oh, there are so many things to do outdoors if the outdoors are inviting.  

......Sand piles, Blowing Bubbles, and of course, a place to splash! 
My gardens expand every year and it makes it more fun every time they come.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Search for the Perfect Garden

I am always on a search for a more perfect garden. 
I love the creative process of designing the gardens, choosing the most impressive plants and visiting places that inspire my creativity in the garden. 

While I can not enter Walmart through the main doors, always opting for the garden center doors so I can browse the newest selections, I have grown tired of the old selections only occasionally finding a true gem of a new plant there.  There are plenty of the tried and true plants in various colors and sizes and a variety of different textures and my gardens are full of those plants, also.  But I am left still searching for something different.

On trips into San Antonio I can not leave town without stopping off at the garden center in a Lowe's or Home Depot finding a wider selection of  plants including some new varieties I have never seen before occassionally.  Last time I found a variety of Black-eyes Susan I had never seen and even though I dislike Black-eyed Susans this was not a typical variety.  Not only was the flower twice the size of the typical wild variety,  the color was a rich golden yellow, the center was yellow with a lime green ring around the edge instead of the dark brown protruding center, the petals did not hang down but rather straight out.  It was so perfect  looking I thought it looked more like a good quality artifical flower than a Black-eyed Susan.  I could not leave the garden center without a specimen of the plant.  That and a Queens Palm tree. 

Having come by this love of gardening honestly from our mother, Linda and I  decided to treat our mother to a day out, visiting an impressive garden nursery.  We found  the Antique Rose Emporium.  the nursery of choice for the day. Beautiful Fairy rose shrubs line the entrance  and around the parking area.  Instead of rushing into the center we lingered looking and smelling the fragrances of the roses.  One of the wonderful aspects of the nursery is that you can grab a little red wagon and wander on gravel pathways throughout the center's perennial gardens planted all around the grounds and see the plants in their mature stages while deciding on the look you like. Garden structures are everywhere:arbors, pergolas, outdoor rooms and pathways wander throughout the gardens.   We arrived early and wandered the gardens until the heat began to slow us down but not before we each had a wagon load of beautiful plants.  I came home with a shrub rose bush in a sweet pink color, "Gabrielle Privet" that will bloom all summer long, a Lady Baltimore Hibiscus that has deep red flowers the size of a large dinner plate (or bigger), several purple coneflowers to add to my windmill garden bed, a small bay tree and the inspiration to get out and get my hands dirty.  Each of us had rose bushes and the ride home in the car loaded with the plants reminded me of the sweet smelling southern Magnolias, Gardenias and all those fragent plants you find blooming in the Southern states. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nanas Doodle Bug

When I first started a blog my goal was to communicate with my grandchildren and having reaching the "older woman" time in my life, a secondary goal was to communicate to parents of little children. 

It did not take me long before I just got into blogging, sometimes, it was aimed at the parents but seldom did it aim to the children and forgot what my goal was.  Now, nearly three years later I have a renewed interest in getting back to my original idea so I have started a new blog geared to children and their parents. 

I have not posted much so far but I have a skeleton of the blog now.

I would love your input. 

The new blog is Nanas Doodle Bug

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Zoo's Crews

Hanging out at the zoo is the coolest!

Good things about the zoo!:
You can scream like a hyena, run like a cougar, and monkey around and no one comes out and tells you to leave.

You can get all hot and stink to the highest heavens and no one knows it is you.
Everyone blames the hippopotamus!

Ice cream at the end of the trip is not optional...it is mandatory!

You're never too old for the zoo! Strollers for the little tots and Electric Wheelchairs for the older folks.

The Lookout Tower...carvings on the old bamboo stalks....kissing birds....and nesting in the trees....air conditioned caves....and shade!

Contented kids, the quiet trip home and the power nap at the end of the day.
But most of all....getting to spend time with family!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rainy Day Projects

I can not believe the amount of rain we received last night. When Papa came to the house the gauge had five inches and it was splashing out and then it kept raining all evening until the electricity went off around 10:00 PM. Luckily we had anticipated this and had the candles burning before it happened so we seamlessly moved on to bed at that time.

And me with two grandsons visiting.

Homemade Slime:
Joel and I got in the kitchen and whipped up a small batch of Homemade Slim in just a few minutes.
He poured 1/4 cup of liquid starch into a small ziplock bag, then we added a few drops of green food coloring, then when I poured 1/4 cup Elmers School Glue into the bag and we began to squeeze the bag a strange substance began to form. It looked pretty disgusting in the bag. We could see a solid forming when the glue and starch came together.

We took it out and began to squeeze it with the remaining starch until a pretty solid substance was formed.
I washed off the excess starch in a bowl of water and we began to play with our homemade slime.

I did find the substance mellows to a smooth consistency and we stored it in a mini container. Not only was it fun to stop and have a little 3 oz cup of Blue Bell ice cream but the container was the perfect size for our slime.

Homemade Glue:
Before we started our second project we searched the house for more glue but it had all been used for our Slime project so we made homemade glue for our next project.

In a small saucepan we mixed 1 1/2 cups of water with 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch, 2 Tablespoons Vinegar and 2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup. Then we turned on the heat and stirred until the glue stopped looking cloudy and became clear. We stored our glue in a jar with a lid and found an old small paint brush to use for application of the glue.

We wrote out Joel's name on a large paper or poster board. Using recycled magazines or colored construction paper or even colorful candy wrappers we tore the papers into about 1 inch pieces. We applied one color in the negative space and another color in the positive space. Using the small paintbrush apply the glue on the paper, place the magazine piece on the glued area and then reapply glue over the top. Continue to add glue over the top as often as needed to get the pieces to lie flat. The glue dries clear and has a matt finish. This project will take a good bit of time so we plan to work on it again later.


I think the Oobleck has been by far the most fun for Joel and it is so simple. When the kids get tired of it just turn it into sidewalk chalk and you have two projects from one.

Use a large plastic bowl, nothing breakable because the kids are going to want to be punching oobleck.
If you have the Dr Suess book, Bartholomew and the Oobleck this would be a good time to read it and then make the Oobleck. Oobleck is a liquid, but when you quickly slam your fist into it, it a solid. It can pour from a spoon but if you try to whip it with the spoon it will crumble to pieces.

1 1/2 cups cornstarch,
1 cup water with a few drops of food coloring

Put the cornstarch in the plastic bowl and using your finger make a hollow area in the middle to pour in the water. Pour in the water and begin to stir until all the cornstarch is moistened. Resist the urge to add a lot more water but if you can not mix it at all add just a little at a time until it is moistened.
It all cleans up with soap and water.

Let the kids punch away.

As the Oobleck begins to dry out it looses it's "power" so it can be put into ice trays or some small container to make sidewalk chalk. Let it set up until it dries out.

The kids will think you are the smartest person ever.

Joel's prayer today at lunch....
".....and thank you, God, for this day, it has been the most fun ever...."

And it was a rainy day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day Two Summer Vacation

Rainy days don't get us down.

The sunny atmosphere of El Mercado and lunch at Mi Tierras turned out to be a good choice for this rainy day. How could you not be happy here?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day One of Summer Vacation

Vacation has finally started. Sometimes you just get lucky and get to start off with grandchildren on day one. Being a teacher I am against letting the kids sit in front of the television watching their brains turn to jello when there are a ton of things to do here that they can not do elsewhere. So we are scheduling activities.

Ideas are welcome.

Our day started pretty early. Now as I look back on my day I think it started at 6:30 with Eric at my bedside telling me to wake up. Most mornings I am up between 5:00 and 5:30 but since the gramdkids are here, Caleb and Gaby were here visiting and some of us sat up talking to really, really late.

I would have gone on to bed but I had 20 pages left to finish off "The Help" and had to get it done. I was nearing the end when I heard one of the grandsons yell out and then moments later Joel was standing next to me in the living room. He asked me where Eric was and said something about how he was standing in the middle of the room and something... something... He snuggled up next to me and then in a minute got up and left to go back to bed. I have seen it before in all of the males in our family. I recognize sleep walking when I see it. Once I knew he was settled back in his bed I wasted no time in getting myself to bed and that was the last I knew until I heard Eric calling my name. How did that time pass so quickly?

So that was the start of my first week on vacation.

The first activity for the day once all the meds, and the mandatory coffee had been taken was to feed the baby calf. Poor little guy, his mother rejected him and he is bottle fed. So this is a morning and evening activity for the week.

Then a "quick" trip to Walmart took place to buy all the reinforcements for the week. It ended up lasting all morning because we had to split our trip to meet Papa at the nursery where he picked up the compost and gardening soil I needed for our evening activity.

Lunch was simple.

Then our big project for the day: making the candy sundae.
Starting with a plastic glass, a Styrofoam disc, a 3 lb bag of hard candies, a white silk carnation,
a red tootsie roll pop,
a little crinkly paper
a bunch of straight pins
and a little bit of time in the middle of a hot afternoon
will produce something as deliciously delightful for both the little ones and the big ones. Joel was really pleased with the finished product and once I jumped in to help him it took us about an hour.

Then on to more fun stuff but nothing was sweeter the rest of he day.

We did a quick trip down our Royal hill to Grandmama and Granddaddy's house for coffee and conversation.
By the time we returned home the long shadows were beginning to cover our new flowerbed we were going to plant. Once it was all planted and we stood back and looked we were satisfied.

A quick cool down for the kids and the plants. A little time in the hot tub previously set to the summer temperatures a bit cooler for us and a little time on bicycles and the day was nearly over.

Supper was simple.
And before baths and bed we made photo cubes with the pictures of the days activities.
And sleep came easily.