A Day With the Dinosaurs

A week or so ago we spent the afternoon at the nearby nature museum. They were hosting an exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs, which were placed around the park on one of the nature trails. It was a beautiful afternoon to be outside and we enjoyed the outing. Besides moving, the dinosaurs also made noises and were fun to look at. Here are a few of the pictures that I took ~

This cabin is one of my favorite things on the trail. We used to be able to go inside, but it is in bad need of repair now, so the park had it nailed shut. I hope its renovation is on their spring to-do list!

Thankfully there were some dinosaurs that were specially made to be climbed on by the kids, since they could really only just look at the robotic ones ~

The T-Rex was huge as was to be expected. There was water dripping from his mouth for some unknown reason, which made him all the creepier!

A fairly new and growing part of the museum is their collection of live animals. Some of the ones we saw outside were this raccoon and deer ~

The indoor portion of the museum has many hands on activities for the kids, as well as exhibits about nature items of local interest. Something new this time was live animals, some of them on temporary vacation from the outdoor area for the winter. We enjoyed watching the lemurs ~

There was an entire room devoted to snakes – UGH! But it was a good lesson for all of us on what the poisonous snakes in the area look like, so we can avoid them, like this rattlesnake for instance ~

This guy was fun to look at, although I never saw him move at all!

No matter how many times we’ve been to visit the nature museum, it is always interesting each time. We’ll be going back this Spring, when everything starts to come back to life and enjoy the flowers and plant life that was mostly dormant on this trip.

Have a nice day!


Be sure to vote today!

Just wanting to encourage you to get out and vote today, if you haven’t already. We are so blessed in this country to be able to have a voice in the direction of our country and in the decisions to be made that affect us all. Take advantage of this great privilege and let your voice be heard.


Seeing Gold!

Tuesday of this week Jeff got an e-mail from the ice rink saying that Evan Lysacek would be at the rink for a media shoot later that afternoon. We set aside all of our house organizing for the day, packed up skates and cameras and headed to the rink. We didn’t have to wait around long after we arrived – right on cue, around 4:00 pm, Evan arrived, along with Olympic gold medal gymnast Nastia Liukin –

He spent about a half an hour on the ice with the kids (sorry for the blur!) –

That’s Sarah there in the red shirt and braids –

He recorded a commercial spot for the upcoming Ice Skating/Gymnastics event in October –

He then spent some time on the ice “teaching” Nastia how to skate – more like holding her up while they skated around – it was a sweet scene –

Nastia recorded a commercial spot as well –

While she was busy, Evan skated around a little bit –

Just before he rode off into the sunset, we asked him to take a picture with the kids, which he graciously agreed to –

We are all looking forward to seeing him again in October. Tommy and Sarah have reserved spots at a special ice time with Evan for pointers, pictures and autographs, and to watch part of dress rehearsal for the ice skating program. Then we will be going to see the program, too, which promises to be wonderful. The afternoon was a fun, surprise addition to our day, and a great opportunity for the kids to see Olympic gold in person!


Our Day at Six Flags

Last week Jeff and I and six kids braved the 100+ temperatures to take our annual trip to Six Flags over Texas. We had 4 free tickets from the Six Flags Reading Club and Jeff got a good deal on the rest of them at work. We might have waited for cooler weather, but the free tickets were about to expire and we didn’t want to waste them!

We drove through McDonald’s on the way and ate lunch in the car, arriving at the park about 12:30 p.m. We coated everyone with sunscreen, loaded up the stroller and headed into the park. It was hot . . . really hot. We managed to ride a couple of rides before we had to stop and buy some water bottles.

We wrote our initials on the bottles and kept them on the stroller all day, refilling at water fountains. I think this really got us through the day. We found out later in the day that free ice water was available at all of the food stands, so we took advantage of that too.

We spent the day walking around the park, taking turns riding the rides that each one wanted to ride. There were a lot of people there, which really surprised me – I guess we Texans are a courageous bunch – or maybe just not very smart! We would duck into the stores periodically to get a blast of air conditioning, and check out the merchandise. Most of the time was spent riding –

We had snacks about mid-afternoon – you can really see the effects of the heat in these pictures! Jeff and the big kids were off riding the Titan while the rest of us sat in the shade –

We were glad to get inside in a “semi-” air conditioned building to watch the Looney Tunes characters put on a show. We sat right up front which was fun for the kids (but really loud!) –

After a few more roller coasters and a pizza dinner, we boarded the train for a trip around the park – always a favorite attraction.

Another favorite, especially for the littles, was the Yosemite Sam ride – a boat ride that takes you through a tunnel filled with Looney Tunes scenes –

Jeff took the big kids to the top of the tower – the littles, me, and my fear of heights stayed at ground level. Jeff took this great picture up there in the sky –

Evening, and it was still very hot, but we were glad for the little relief that the sun’s setting gave us. David got to meet one of his favorite characters – Scooby Doo – actually it was Scrappy Doo, but noone could tell him that!

We ended up staying until closing, which was preceded by a “Glow in the Park” parade at 9:45 p.m. This was really neat with floats and people all dark except for the beautiful lights that they wore. Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of it – I was just too tired to pull out the camera at that point!

As we headed back to the van, we were tired, sweaty, and had achey feet, but we were all satisfied with the day, and have fond memories of our time there. David is still asking if we’re going back again “in the morning”.


Our 4th of July Weekend

Before we get too far away from it, I wanted to share how we spent our 4th of July weekend. The weekend started for us on Thursday with a trip to the minor league ballpark. This is always fun because it is a much smaller stadium than the major league, so every seat is a good one. This trip was for Jeff and I, Laura, Tommy, and Sarah. Ryan came over and stayed with the rest of the kids for the night – a treat in itself for them! Here are a few pictures from our outing –

While I watched the game I spent most of the evening perusing the new Stampin’ Up catalog that I had just received before the game –

And of course, we had our traditional hot dogs, burgers, nachos, and some of these, too –

Jeff was off of work for the rest of the weekend, so Friday morning found us packing up the kids and heading out to the movie theater to see Toy Story 3 –

We all really enjoyed the movie, even though we ended up on the front row of the theater! We may go back and see it again next week. After leaving the theater, we stopped off at the fireworks stand to stock up for the rest of the weekend. It started to rain while we were there, as you can tell by the dark clouds in the picture –

We spent the rest of the day cleaning up and getting ready for the family to come over and celebrate on the 3rd. Rain threatened to ruin our plans, but it held off and we ended up enjoying the day and evening together. There was swimming and snacks to start the afternoon, and then we cooked out and enjoyed this delicious spread of food –

My sister-in-law’s grilled corn was a highlight of the meal – sweet and tender – yummy!

Remember the one about growing teenage boys and their appetites? Check out my nephew’s plate –

Laura got full and started playing with her food – she created this little guy to serve as dinner mascot –

After dinner we got the ice cream ready to freeze and did some firecrackers and sparklers until it got dark. The big guys organized and shot off the big fireworks while the rest of us enjoyed our homemade ice cream –

The next day – the 4th – was just our immediate family – a relaxing day of swimming and cooking out (again). Those burgers sure were delicious! –

Just before dark, we hopped in the van and went to find a spot close to a park to see the local fireworks show. After the show, Mattie stopped by and bought more fireworks at the stand, and the kids had some more fun to end the day. After all of the excitement was over (and the noise, which David and Anna had had enough of!), all of them brought down pillows and sleeping bags; we put in a movie and they camped out on the living room floor for the night.

The next day Jeff was still off work, and we spent the day recuperating from our busy, but fun weekend, with more swimming, a run to McD’s for lunch, and one of our favorite meals – Cashew Chicken – for dinner. Tuesday it was back to normal life, but the fun memories live on.

Have a wonderful day!


Of Hives and Honey

Yesterday we visited a beekeeper’s honey extracting facility. A young man from our church has his own honey business, and he explained the entire process to us. He has been beekeeping for a number of years and transports his bees all over Texas to extend the “honey” season. He explained a little bit about how the hive operates and showed us some live bees in the process of making honey and tending the hive .

There were stacks of trays like these filled with honeycomb and honey waiting to be extracted –

The trays were placed in a machine which opened up the comb so that the honey was exposed. Then the trays were moved to large cylinder which spun them around releasing the honey to drain into a pipe which took it to another machine where the comb was separated from the honey. The pure honey was then moved to another vat from which it was poured into a bottle ready to be sold. We were all allowed to dip our fingers into the raw honeycomb and taste the delicious natural honey –

It was a fascinating field trip, and I’m sure I will be remembering it for awhile – every time I mix some honey into my bread dough and every morning when I squeeze some of that sweet honey onto my toast.

And yes, dear sister, you will be receiving a bottle – complete with comb – the next time I see you 🙂

Have a nice day!


Bowling Fun!

Have you heard about the “Kids Bowl Free” deal that is being offered at bowling alleys around the nation? You can sign your children up for 2 free games each day, any day, all summer long. Or to make it a family event, you can buy a family pass for just $24.95 – a one time payment – and each member of the family can bowl 2 games free each and every day this summer. All you pay for is shoe rental. You can find out all of the information and sign up here – www.kidsbowlfree.com

Jeff heard about this and signed us up for a family pass a few weeks ago, and we’ve already started putting it to use. Here are a few shots of the kids bowling –

We had a great time, and two games took us about two hours, which was just about right. The bowling alley we went to added a new dimension to our fun when about halfway through our second game, the bright lights went off and the fluorescent lights came on making our pins, balls, and even our shoes glow in the dark – the picture doesn’t really do it justice –

We plan on taking advantage of this deal all summer long. Be sure to check it out – cheap summer fun is always welcome around here!

Be back soon ~


A few ice skating pictures ~

We started the new ice skating lesson session (try saying that three times fast!) this week. Tommy and Sarah are beginning their third session and continue to progress as they are starting to learn a few more difficult turns and skills. We usually arrive an hour or two early for free-skate each week so that they can warm up and practice the skills they are learning.

This session we have a new student added to the mix. Anna has now started taking lessons as well, and is so excited. Some friends handed her down a nice pair of skates, and she just loves to be on the ice.

It’s been fun watching them skate each week (when I’m not freezing to death). The instructors are really great and the kids are learning alot. Tommy and Sarah would like to go more often to get in more practice time – maybe this summer we’ll be able to add some extra practice time to our schedule.

Have a nice weekend!


Brrrr. . . it’s cold in here!


I am writing this blog post as I sit at the ice rink freezing. Tommy and Sarah begin lessons today, and they have a couple of hours of free skate before their lesson starts.


This is our first time at this ice rink. We normally skate at the mall, however this rink just opened up ~ brand new ~ and it is much closer to home, so we opted to do lessons here. The rinks are really comparable – floor made of ice, and me sitting outside the plastic walls watching. Big difference, however, in the air temperature between here and the mall. I normally am perfectly comfortable in a jacket, but here – I think I’d feel better in a heavy winter coat! I tried sewing for awhile, but my fingers were getting numb, so I stopped.


I’ve got a crockpot filled with nice hot soup waiting for us at home, when we are done. I’m trying an experiment – I poured chicken broth into my crockpot, added some chopped carrots and celery, a few spices, and left it to simmer. When we get home, I will toss in a bag of tortellini from the freezer (minus the bag, of course) and let them cook until tender. Then we will try out my experiment and see how it is. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I think I’ll put in some cornbread while the tortellini cooks. I may need to break out the hot chocolate to thaw myself out sufficiently.


Until later ~


Anna’s 6th Birthday!


Our youngest daughter Anna celebrated her 6th birthday last week. Her choice for a birthday outing was a girl trip to McDonald’s for lunch and then to the American Girl doll store. Jeff took the day off of work, so that all of the girls could go – Laura, our oldest daughter is our resident babysitter, and she was included in the trip.

Our first stop was lunch at McDonald’s. The playground wasn’t very crowded so she had lots of room to play –




We took a minute to check out Ronald’s shoes – aren’t they great?


After she had her fill of the playground, we headed off to American Girl, stopping by to pick up my Mom, who made our girl party complete.

Once inside the store we spent the next hour running around following Anna and Sarah as they explored every nook and cranny of the store. Anna was choosing a new doll – her birthday present, and Sarah was choosing a new doll outfit. They finally decided on their purchases, we paid for them, and then decided to have a little snack at the Bistro inside the store. I pulled out my camera and took a few pictures while we relaxed and had a bite to eat (thanks, Mom!) –

Here is Anna with her new doll, Elizabeth, enjoying one of her favorite snacks – strawberries!


And here is Sarah with her doll, Mia, who is wearing the new doll outfit that Sarah picked out –


When we left, I took our traditional picture in front of the store –


Dinner that night was Anna’s favorite food – fried chicken (she calls it “bone chicken”), with mac and cheese, cole slaw, and biscuits. She chose chocolate meringue pies for dessert. I found these sweet glittery star candles to put in the pie –


As you can tell, something else was put into the pie, too – David’s fingers, I believe!

Anna is growing up so fast – it seems that she just turned four and now she’s six. She is such a sweet girl and is loved dearly by each and every one of us.

Thanks for visiting! Have a lovely day ~