I know, twice in one day, but sometimes you just feel compelled.  I was reading a blog that I like,, and knew I had to do it.  The idea is to write about being grateful for 5 minutes and then stop, no editing, no takebacks.  So here goes…

I am grateful for…life.  Yeah, I know, who isn’t, but it’s been really weighing on me today.  Last night our town lost one of its firefighters at the Rangers baseball game.  A fun outing with his son suddenly turned tragic.  I don’t know the family on a personal level, but I do know them as parents of one our children at school.  He would come to eat with his son at school at least once a week and was always nice to talk to.  When he came in we would chat for a second if I wasn’t busy, or if I was busy he knew the drill and could take care of himself.  A genuinely nice guy.  And his son is one of the kids that you can’t help but love!  I keep thinking about him today.  How he witnessed his Dad fall.  I can’t imagine how he feels today.

So I’m grateful for life.  Death is not scary to me; leaving a child without a parent terrifies me!  He will be missed by all.

Dedicated to the Shannon Stone family, I will hold you in my heart and prayers.  May God grant you peace and comfort.

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July 4th = Parade time!

Wow it’s been a while!  So much has happened in the past 6 weeks.  But we’ll have to catch up on that later.  Today, we have to talk about July 4th.

I love July 4th.  I don’t, however, love the 100 degree temps!  I keep pushing to have it moved to February, but nobody will listen.

Growing up, it meant going to our lake cabin at Lake Texoma and shootin’ fireworks with cousins.  Then we got a little older, and didn’t want to be taken away from our friends for that long.  So then it meant going out to Lake Brownwood, playing all day, watching the fireworks, and staying the night out on the dock.  It’s funny how life goes in phases.  We do the same thing for years, it’s our tradition, and then suddenly we change our tradition.  Which brings us to our current tradition, the parade in Belton.

This is the mother of all Independence Day parades.  Seriously.  I had no idea what I was in for the first year that I went.  I was expecting a little 20 minute parade like we have in my hometown.  Imagine my surprise after 2 hours of sweat, sunburn, and dehydration!  I was in shock of all the floats, horses, cars, soldiers, tractors- they have it all!  I’m not making this stuff up y’all.  Texas Highways has called it one of the top 10 places to be in Texas on July 4th, so it must be true.  So for 8 years now, that’s where I’ve been every July 4th.  Which leads us to the reason why it’s so important for us to be there.

Miss M has the pleasure of riding in the parade with Ma & Pa, the Hubs parents.  Pa is Mayor of the fair city of Belton, and Miss M has been in the parade with them since she was 2 if my memory is correct.  Sure sometimes I think I wish I could do this other thing in this other town, but I know this won’t last forever.  One day the opportunity will be gone, or she will grow out of it, and then we’ll have to find a new tradition. Right now, this is where we should be.

Usually Cousin G also rides in the parade but this year she cruised to Bermuda!  I sure did miss the yearly picture of the 2 of them all decked out in their stars and stripes.

Cousin G & Miss M, 2009

But this year we had a new cousin to join us, Cousin L is only 5 months old so he had to learn the ropes this year.

Pa & Cousin L

Looks like he did an awesome job! I think it would be really cool if all 8 of us could ride, just once.  The whole family.  Cuz that’s what it’s all about!

Now comes the part where I get to inundate you with pictures of my kid from years past.  I get to do that.  Cuz it’s my blog and nobody can stop me!

Ma, Cousin L, Aunt S, Miss M, Pa

Aren’t they cute!  And hot!

Must wave…even while drinking!

Did you notice the crowds?  They are unbelievable!  Every year there’s more people.


Pretend like her eyes are open…






Look!  Even Blue Baby made it to that parade!  Her favorite doll ever, by the way!


I have no pictures from 2003.  I didn’t go that first year.  Nobody told me it was a big deal, so I had no idea!  Maybe they exist somewhere, but I don’t have any.

But wait, there’s more!  Just some of my favorite things.

Ronald is there every year

Tow-Mater and Lightning McQueen

love the giant HEB carts! Yeah, I’m weird like that

Why? In a parade? Really?

Maggie Moo!

Ginormous tractor things

OK I’ll stop now.  Until next year!

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Problems cured!

First of all, I’m writing as I sit by the water at Lake Buchanan. Life is great! What did we do before iPhones? More on that later.
I’m flipping through a little magazine, something mostly done on vacation, and learning all the things I should be doing to cure all my problems. No, not the mental ones. There’s no cure for that! Thought I would share all that I am learning. See, I even think of you all while on mini vacation! I’ll share as I try to remedy these ghostly white legs.
1. For a whiter smile, brush your teeth with the inside of an orange peel once a week for 2 minutes before brushing as usual.
2. I should choose a swimsuit with crisscross ruching to make me look slimmer. There’s not enough ruching in the world for that. Maybe if it were head to toe.
3. I need a hat with a wide brim for my round face.
4. Lessen underarm jiggle by doing kickbacks.
5. A daily massage to smooth away half your cellulite. Sounds like a good excuse.
6. Shrink varicose veins with hawthorn berries. Need a supplement.
7. Reduce chicken skin by using a lotion with 12% lactic acid. This one applies to Miss M.
8. Blackberries fade spider veins.
9. Yogurt cuts fat storage.
10. Strawberries improve memory. I knew I should have remembered to eat some this morning.
11. Milk fires up metabolism. Does chocolate milk count?
12. Oranges erase cellulite.
13. Cherries keep the body young.
14. Avocados tame tension. Not eating those. They’re green.
15. Apricots flush fat. Not eating those either. Unless it’s jelly. Pretty sure that’s counterproductive.
16. White beans banish belly bloat.
17. Yoga erases cellulite too.
18. Blueberries shrink varicose veins. So now it’s blueberries, hawthorn berries, and blackberries for my veins.
19. Whey protein = fast slim.
20. Green tea for jiggly belly fat.
21. Vitamin C for cellulite.
22. Take glucomannan for all over fat. Again, not enough of this in the world.
23. Vitamin B to boost energy. I know some people that seem to get high on this stuff.
24. Mountains rev metabolism.
25. Forests boost immunity.
26. Open water eases anxiety. Working right now.
27. Nature preserves release anger.
28. Gardens lift depression
Now I have to move to 5 different places at once.
29. Refocus by taking a whiff of basil.
30. Jillian Michaels says her whey protein is better. At least it comes in chocolate and vanilla.

All of this comes from First magazine, May 16, 2011 edition. There’s much more in it; this is just what’s relevant to me.
Looks like I have a lot of shopping and moving to do. After I get back to the real world. Right now I’m going back to my little piece of paradise. I think living here could cure all my problems. Thanks Aunt R & Uncle J for sharing your paradise!


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National Chocolate Chip Day!

I just found out that tomorrow is National Chocolate Chip Day!  Like we needed another reason to celebrate chocolate, but I’m all for it!  I have a tremendous love for chocolate, no secret there, and would probably sell my own offspring for it.  OK maybe not, but there are days when it doesn’t sound so bad.  I think this is a good opportunity to share my Dad’s chocolate chip cookie recipe.  You remember super Dad, killer of mice that Mama cat won’t kill.  His cookie recipe is legendary.  The stuff dreams are made of.  It causes mobs to  form in the school lounge.  People will hunt you down in the hall if you have the green bowl.  You can try to make them yourself, but they won’t taste the same.  I can tell you from experience.  Maybe it’s the 30 year old cookie sheet.  Maybe it’s the wooden spoon he uses to stir it.  I don’t know.  But all we can do is try.

Dad’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Stuff you need:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream shortening, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla.  Add 2 eggs and beat well.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes.  Makes 7 dozen.

Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?  I have to say that this was originally a recipe from the chocolate chip bag, Nestle I think.  It’s been tweaked a little, but it’s still pretty original.  No big secrets here!

Since we’re on the chocolate chip subject, I have one more to share.  Sex in a Pan.  Sorry Mom, that’s what it’s called!  If you haven’t had it, well you should.  In a pan.  I was under the weather a little this week and made it to soothe myself.  It’s probably been 10 years since I made it.  This recipe dates back to my college years.  My very good friend made it when I visited her at Angelo State, and that’s why we’re still friends.  So this one is from A.C., now M.  Just in case she doesn’t want to be identified with my insanity.  But most of you know who I’m talking about!

Sex in a Pan

Stuff you need:

  • German Chocolate cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 of a 5 oz can of milk
  • 14 oz caramels
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, + some more

Mix the cake mix, butter, and milk.  Pat half of the mixture in the bottom of a 10X7 pan.  Bake at 375° for 8 minutes.  While baking, melt the caramels and the rest of the milk.  Pour the caramel over the baked mix, and then sprinkle with the 1/2 cup chips.  With the rest of the cake mixture, roll into balls and flatten to make little cookies.  Place them side by side on top of the caramel & chips to cover the top.  Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top.  Bake for 8 minutes.

Another easy one, and oh so good.  I took a picture- I knew you would want to see!

Oh yeah

check out the ooey gooey goodness

It is love, love love. 

Let’s do one more, shall we?  But this one doesn’t involve chocolate.  This week I took Venison Chili to school and amazed everyone with my venison culinary skills.  At least that’s what they said.  Maybe they were just being nice.  But I prefer to believe that it was really that good!  I grew up on this stuff.  Venison Chili is commom around our house; and we can’t until the first cold spell to make some!  It’s just one of those comfort foods.  I’ve never made chili any way but with venison.  Some asked for the recipe, so here we go!
Venison Chili
Stuff you need:
  • 2 pkgs ground venison – In our house, this means 2 quart size ziplocs pretty much packed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 small cans tomato sauce
  • water

Brown the ground venison completely and drain.  I usually use an electric skillet.  Return the meat to the skillet and gradually add the flour and continue to brown.  Place in a crock pot and add all remaining ingredients.  I just use enough water to fill the pot.  Cook for at least 3 hours, you want it to thicken and absorb all the spices.  I also start with just 1/2 cup chili powder and then add more according to taste.

So there it is,  all of my secrets.  I hope you enjoy at least one of these!

Kitten update:  The babies (who are now 7-8 weeks old) are getting brave and venturing out near the street these days.  It’s killing me.  And Miss M totally flips out to see them near the street.  I just know I’m going to come home to a kitty pancake in the street some day.  Ugh.

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Let’s talk about Ducks…err…Cats

Have you seen Tuna?  No, not the fish, the show!  Greater Tuna, Tuna Christmas, Red White and Tuna, Tuna Does Vegas?  If you haven’t, you are missing out!  Every character in the show is played by only 2 men and I don’t know how they pull it off.  “Let’s talk about ducks” is one of the lines in one of the shows (I think Greater Tuna), which has absolutely nothing to do with this, it’s just what came to mind!  Go see a Tuna if you have the chance!  OK moving on.

Remember those cats that showed up on my porch before Easter?  The ones that I said I couldn’t keep?  The ones I begged people to come and get so I didn’t have to take them to the shelter?  The ones that Miss M and I are both allergic to?  The ones that I am totally in love with and can’t get rid of now?  Yeah, those.  I never have been a cat person.  Cats don’t do anything.  They don’t play fetch, they don’t come when you call them, they hide from everyone.  But kittens, now kittens are a different story.  They look at you with their cute, sweet, precious kitten eyes and you forget all about them growing into cats.  So you feed them.  Because Mama cat is super skinny and she has to be able to take care of those cute, sweet, precious kittens.  And then they have to go to the vet.  Because they’re snotty and have eye infections and you can’t not fix those cute, sweet, precious kitten eyes.  And $100 later you have 3, yes 3, medications for the cats.  The ones that you begged people to come and get.  The ones with those cute, sweet, precious kitten eyes. 

This is my first experience with cats.  I’ve never had cats before.  The allergies you know.  The reason Miss M is now also snotty and itchy eyed every day.  I learned that cats don’t really care to take medicine.  The vet conveniently left that little tidbit of info out.  They especially do not like the ear medicine.  So now they fear me when they see me coming with THE box.  The one with the medicine.  The $100 medicine for the cats I said I couldn’t keep. 

The kitties are perfectly happy playing around the porch all day.  Killing and eating the flowers.  They also blessed us with a prize, the mother bird that’s been sitting on her nest in the back yard, and the trail of blood across the porch.  It’s a good thing they have those cute, sweet, precious kitten eyes. 

Now let’s talk about the mouse.  As much as I hate to say it, we have a little mouse problem right now and I’m hoping the cats will help with that.  But tonight there was a mouse on my kitchen floor.  Standing there looking at me.  Why didn’t it run?  The dog went to smell it, and it didn’t move.  What is wrong with this mouse?  What’s wrong with the dog?  What’s wrong with the cats?  Okay, in their defense, they are not inside cats.  They stay outside, killing the flowers and birds, because of the allergies remember.  I was able to throw a bowl over the mouse on the floor.  Now what the heck am I going to do with a live mouse under a bowl?  Hubby just left town for 2 days; men are never there when you need them for man things.  And this is definitely a man thing.  So enter the Dad.  The best Dad in the world that will always come to my rescue.  Dad gets mouse outside and sets it free on the porch surrounded by kitties.  Mama cat smells it.  Again, it doesn’t run.  It takes a few steps, Mama smells it again.  Kittens totally ignore it.  Mama walks away to take a nap.  *Sigh* So much for the cats earning their keep!  Super Dad takes care of the mouse that Mama cat wouldn’t.

Now we have 4 worthless cats.  And I am totally loving the little black one.  Maybe it’s my love for Halloween.  But now she’s my baby, and her name is Kit Kat. 

Kit Kat


And Miss M  picked her favorite, Allie. 



The last kitten is the wild child, Snickers. 



All girls.  All with those cute, sweet, precious kitten eyes. 

 And of course Mama.  We tried to give her a name, but nothing stuck.  So she’s just Mama.


I have to go disinfect my kitchen now and purge all mouse memories from my mind.  It might be a long night.  And in the morning I’ll have the kittens to love and snuggle.  They may see less food in their bowl; they need to be a little mouse hungry!

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To Blog, or not to Blog, and Mother’s Day too

I guess the secret is out now.  I’ve been a closet blog reader for several months and I just can’t get it out of my head.  Truth is I’ve had this little blog set up for a couple of months now and have finally decided to dive in.  I was shocked to find out that people make money writing blogs!  Huh?  Wow, I have been living in a cave!  But this is just for us, you and me, no hope of income involved.  I may share what we’re doing, what we’re re-doing, what we need to re-do.  Probably a lot of what Miss M is up to.  My senior English teacher always said that I was a good writer and that she was going to make an English teacher out of me some day.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that I will not be an English teacher; my school days are over.  So maybe a little writing will do.    Without further adieu, my first topic:  Mother’s Day.

I want to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day. 

There are all kinds of mothers out there.  Some of us have Angels waiting for us that we never got to meet.  Some have Angels that they only got to hold for a little while, and some for longer.  Some never got to have a child, and have lovingly cared for another’s.  Some no longer have a mother to celebrate with. 

I never really thought much about it until last year.  You see, last year Mother’s Day came about 3 weeks after my miscarriage.  And although I was only 9 weeks pregnant with Sesame (that’s what Miss M called the baby), and had only known for 3 weeks, it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me.  I never knew that it would be that difficult.  I know that I am lucky to have the one child that I have, Miss M, because there are so many that don’t even get one.  We always wanted more than one, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that it must not have been God’s plan.  But still in the back of my mind, I think about the small chance of another surprise like Sesame.

As I write this with tears rolling down my face at 2:00AM on Mother’s Day morning, I truly wish all Mothers a Happy Mother’s Day.  Those who are, were, or hope to be. 

And I hope Mrs. Stovall doesn’t read this.  I don’t want to know what kind of grade I would get!

Me & Miss M, my favorite person to be a mom to

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