Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year - 2011

Hello Everyone -
I want to take a moment to wish everyone a very happy and special new year. 
This morning on my facebook page one of my friends wrote the following advice for the upcoming year -  Start each day on the right foot.  How do you do this -

1)Achieving an A+ Attitude

Every single day is filled with all kinds of situations that could upset you—things like losing your car keys or getting caught in a traffic jam. But you can choose to be at peace and in control.
God doesn’t necessarily create difficult situations for us, but He will use them to develop our character.

2)Setting Realistic Expectations  - You cannot count on someone else to make you happy. You must take responsibility for your own happiness.

3) Putting God and Others First  -  Spend time each morning focusing on the good things God has done in your life. Think about the dangers and difficulties He’s brought you through, the ways He’s healed you and changed you, and how good it is to know He cares for you and hears your prayers.  When you learn to set your mind on God each morning, He’ll give you all the peace and joy you need to love others every single day of your life.

I know that this advice will do me alot of good this upcoming year and the rest of my life.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Halloween!!!

Hello everyone.  Thanks so much for those who continue to read my blogs and check to see if I'm still here.  I'm here.  Life is so incredibly busy once school starts again.  When I first began blogging it was towards the end of the school year, everything was winding down.  My daughter's extra-curricular activities had come to a grinding halt, my classroom had been cleared out and everything was slow.  Now we are at full speed again and I have little time for anything fun.  I appreciate the fact that total strangers show concern.  So thank you so much.

I did manage to have some fun this weekend (had to squeeze it in).  I went to a Halloween party and decided to go as a cat (Cat-n-Hat Party).   Here are my photos.  I did the makeup myself - yes I did.  If you want to know how I did it, just comment below and I will send you a link.

Happy and Safe Halloween.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Girl's Best Friend

One of the nicest things ever, at the end of the day, is to come home to a warm, friendly, fuzzy face that is so happy to see me.  Rufus never disappoints me.  He jumps up and down, waiting for me to give him a friendly rub between the ears, then the usual doggie treat.

Whether it's me that he is happy to see or just knowing that a doggie treat is just minutes away after my arrival, it's still brings me pleasure to see how happy he is that I'm home. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Summer Wedding

 Last week the son of a long time friend and god-mother to my youngest daughter, married the girl of his dreams.  It was such a lovely wedding.  Everytime I attend a wedding I re-live the vows I made 22 years ago with the made that I love more than anyone in the world.
 I can't say every girl dreams of a wedding like this, but I know I did when I was growing up.  However I would have never admitted that to my now husband.  We definetly got married on a budget!!  Obviously this wedding had a budget slightly bigger than mine (lol).
This is by far the prettiest wedding cake I have ever seen. Everything about this wedding was perfect - from the ceremony to the reception.  One bad part - we didn't get cake -- the party went on much too late for me and my husband. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

From Drab to Fab- My New Classroom

One of the most depressing thing that a teacher has to do occassionally is change classrooms.  In the past 10 years I have changed classrooms twice and each time it was traumatic.  A classroom to a teacher is much like her home.  Everything has a place.  It may not make sense to anyone else, but it makes sense to the teacher.  Last year, before the school year ended, I was told that my 5 year love affair with the classroom I was occupying was coming to an end.  This translated to - bringing ALL OF YOUR STUFF HOME and BRING IT BACK IN AUGUST one week before school starts.  I thought I was being organized -- but not really.  I felt lost when I started loading up my car with boxes and boxes of school stuff.  After 14 years of teaching Language Arts, I have collected alot of STUFF.

All turned out well as you can see from the photo.  I went from a drab dingy former social studies classroom to a lively language arts classroom.  I love it and my students love it.  I hope the school year turns out well.

Saturday, July 31, 2010



  I should have called this blog, "Confessions of the Reading Teacher Who Would Rather Watch TV"!  Okay I'm busted, yes I would rather watch a little reality t.v. rather than read a book..  Yes, I love to read, but this is summer and I need a little bit of reality or is it??  My favorite guilty pleasure - all of the Real Housewives series produced by Bravo.  Yes I love love love Teresa Guidice from New Jersey.  It all started of course with the Real Housewives of Orange County, which is why I want to sell my house and move to the "gated" section of my neighborhood.  When I "drive through the gates" when visiting a friend - I can hear the Real Housewives of Orange County theme song playing in my head (I'm not the only one - don't judge me). And of course one of my NEW favs is - Bethanny Getting Married?-  I'm so happy for her.

 For now watching the lives of others gives me a great break from the "realities" of my own life - children, house, bills, work, husband etc. etc..  Thank goodness for my DVR - which needs an upgrade.  I can record one show after another and when all of the housework is done, and the paperwork is completed - I can sit back with a hot cup of coffee and escape into someone else's reality.  Which reality shows do you watch?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries

    On my quest for a better body, I am trying to find alternatives for some of my weaknesses.  One of my biggest "guilty-don't-eat-me" food is french fries.  From the research (and Lord only knows why I would need to research this little fact) french fries is probably one of the worst foods someone could eat.  REALLY!?!?!?!  Just kidding, I knew that, but on a Saturday nite after watching an entire football game so that I can see my one little clarinet player march (for 7 minutes) with the marching band, then picking her up at midnite after the game -- fresh fruit unfortunately is not the first stop. Usually it's a burger and fries --- baaad. 
     A yummy alternative to regular french fries would be the sweet potato fry.  These are very simple to make.  Slice a sweet potato, toss with a little olive oil and the seasonings of your choice (paprika, sea salt, garlic, pepper) then bake on a cookie sheet lined with foil paper at 450 for 20 minutes.  There are lots of varieties of this recipe on line to try.  Give them a try!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


One of the many things I look forward to during the summer months is the wonderful fruits that are found in the grocery store.  My favorite fruit of all times of course is watermelon.  So many of my childhood memories, with my parents and grandparents include summer days on the back porch eating a huge slice of watermelon with a box of salt by my side (yep!! I said it -- SALT!!) .  Of course, I still enjoy watermelon now - but without the salt.  I can't imagine destroying the wonderful sweetness of watermelon by sprinkling it with salt. 

I trully believe that fresh fruit is a gift from God.  He knows that we crave sweetness in our tummies and our lives -- thus -- fruit is born.  This summer my daughter and I have spent many days sitting on our patio - enjoying a slice of ice cold watermelon, on a hot Texas day.  I hope that I have created a good "watermelon" memory for her to share with her friends and family one day.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Retail Therapy?!?!

A couple of weeks ago a co-worker posted on FaceBook that she needed a little "retail therapy" to make herself happy again.  I just about lost it!  I thought that was funniest thing ever, but I definetly agreed with her there is nothing like a little retail therapy to make a girl happy.  Retail therapy can be costly these days (financing a college student's summer living expenses and a teenage at home!!).  My oldest daughter- living on a budget- introduce me to Ross - sort of a discount store.  These stores claim to purchase overstocked items from other companies and then pass the savings on to the consumer.  Now - due to my great respect I have for those "Fashionistas" in the know - I promised myself to NEVER post anything about fashion - however I am about to break that promise.  THIS IS NOT ABOUT FASHION - it's about living on a strict summer budget while maintaining necessary retail therapy.  So, with that in mind here is my pic of some recent deals I got a Ross and Payless Shoe Store.

I purchased these two really cute t-shirts by Candy Rain from Ross - total cost $12.00 dollars and a black cotton blend jacket for $6.99.  The sandles - which I love - cost $12.00 from Payless.  Okay, so it's not Anne Klein, Marc Jacobs or Michael Kors, but it's fun and cute.  At least I think it's cute.  So I got a little therapy for under $35.00 (if you don't count the Starbucks Passion Ice Tea I stopped for on the drive home).  Okay so , I took the plunge, I'm putting myself out there for criticism.  But hey, this blog is about the THINGS THAT I LUV.  I love a good deal, retail therapy, lunch with my girl friends and just plain old having fun.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wimbeldon 2010 - SERENA!!!

Happy 4th of July everyone.  I love the 4th of July, fireworks -illegal in my sub-division , hotdogs, beer, chips, salsa - all illegal on my diet.  I'm just going to be illegal and have fun doing it.  Anyways, I just want to say, I am so proud of Serena and her Wimbeldon win!! So in her honor, Sunday morning Mimosas are in order.  A little orange juice mixed with a little sparkling wine.  Yum yum!

                                                                         Mimosas in the Morning

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Quest for Better Health

     When I was a little girl, my mom had a book entitled, Better Than Medicine.  It was almost like a bible to her, she was constantly reading, underlining, and rabbit-earring the pages.  She told me that basically the book was teaching her how to live a healthy life style.  Her moto was - preventative care is better than medicine.  I never really understood what she meant until I became a mom.  A few months ago, I was watching a news program about the rising cost of medical care - I had a light bulb moment.  If I did not start taking better care of myself today, what type of medical care could I possibly afford as a senior citizen.  Today my mom is 81 and with the exception of a little dementia, she is in great physical health.
    I made a committment after seeing that news piece that preventive care would lessen my chances for needing meds for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and all the other unknowns.  My first stop - signing up at the gym - I love Pure Fitness (women only - oh yes!)   I feel so much better - physically and mentally since taking on this challenge. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Nite TakeOut - Sushi

                                         Temptation Roll and Spicy Crunch Roll

 My daughter and I had such a busy weekend, we thought cooking a meal tonite was out of the question (good girl, since I'm the one who cooks).  We both agreed nothing would be better than Sushi take-out.  Just a few years ago if my husband would have suggested we eat Sushi instead of burgers and fries from McDonald's or Burger King, I would have thought he was a nut!  If you have never tried Sushi before, give it a try - I promise you'll love it.  There's no need to go to an expensive Japanese restaurant, lots of grocery stores, like H.E.B and Kroger's, makes it fresh on the spot.  It's much better than greasy fries and burgers.  Chow.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day - A Tribute to My Dad


     When I got the idea to pay tribute to my dad on Father's Day, I wasn't quite sure what I would write about.  My dad was a hard working man, who put his family first.  Born in Louisiana, in 1916, he was poor and was only able to get a 3rd grade education.  He worked in the fields with his mother and siblings until he was old enough to join the military (one of the few options available to poor Black males in that era).  He overcame many obstacles - racism, the inability to read and write, poverty.   One day he met my mom and together they made a committment to raise a family together.

My father worked for U.S. Steel Company for many years, purchased property and designed a home to raise us in.  As a school teacher, I use my father as an example to my students of all races, that anyone, can overcome obstacles in their lives.  My father's mom died when he was young, he could not read or write - he signed an X for his signature on many documents, yet he was able to work and accomplish what so many people say that "they can't".  If Lawrence Charles could accomplish, anyone can accomplish.  My mom taught my dad to recognize the names of his favorite baseball teams and to understand the numbers.  He then learned to sign his own name.  He raised a family to love all people, no matter their race or religion.  Bigotry was not allowed in our home.  My sister and I learned so much from him - and this is why we are successful today.  I love to share his story with my students and today I get to share it with the world. My dad died on Easter morning, 1974, but he forever lives in my heart.

 Happy Father's Day to my dad, and to all the dad's around the world.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Living

     School has been out for two weeks now and I am finally setting into enjoying the summer.  One of my motivations for becoming a school teacher was to be able to spend the summer with my children and to be able to support my family.  It's tough for many of us to be stay-at-home-moms on one income.  The next best thing was to work when the kids were at school and have vacations when they had vacations. PERFECT!  Now that my girls are all grown up, they don't need me as much, so now I have lots of time for myself - scrapbooking, gardening, baking, BLOGGING, SHOPPING and EXERCISING!!! I am looking forward to a perfect summer - even though we won't be at the beach (thanks BP) - I'm sure there will be lots of other fun things to do.

The photo of my daughter was taken after the last day of finals at Sam Houston State University.  They headed straight to the beach (about 1 week before the BP disaster).

Friday, June 11, 2010


About a year ago, I discovered my love of jewelry.  My mom told me that as a little girl I was really into handbags - still am, but that's another blog.  I'm one of those types that chooses the ring and earrings first, then find the outfit.  These lovely pieces are from Sipalda  My friend Leslie B. does a fantastic job of keeping me updated on new additions.  Jewelry really is a girl's best friend.

Check out the Sipalda website for beautiful sterling silver pieces that will glam up any wardrobe -

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Holy Guacamole - Featuring My Tomato

Okay, so now that my tomato plant has produced so many delicious fruits - there is only one thing to do!!! - It's guacamole time.  My girlfriends and I got together to celebrate the end of another loooong school year - and of course living in Texas - Margaritas had to be a part of the plan.  But margaritas alone just wont do it - so I made some guacamole.  The trick to making really yummy guacamole is adding this seasoning I just recently discovered.  It is made by Goya and I hear it can be added to just about anything and it taste great.  It makes a mean guacamole.

My ingredients for Guacamole -

2 ripe Avacados
1 HOMEGROWN tomato - chopped in chunks (and for all of you people who can't turn the tomato out,  go to the grocers - like I once did - long, long ago - Yeah right!)
1/2 a small yellow onion - chopped in chunks
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
One packet of the Goya seasoning mix

Mix all of the ingredients together and enjoy with pita chips.  YUMMY!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teen Reading List

As a Language Arts teacher, one of my biggest wishes is that my students continue to read over the summer.  Believe it or not,  a child's Lexile Level (reading ability) can actually improve a hundred points just over summer break.  So, if you have a teen or pre-teen in your home that needs a good novel series to read - I'd like to suggest Among the Hidden by Margaret Haddix.  A few years ago, my youngest daughter was so impressed by the first book in the series, she wanted to read the entire series (6 books) for the summer.  Happy Reading!!

Among the Hidden is a Science Fiction novel that takes place in the United States.  In this world, there is a shortage of food or people are led to believe there is a shortage of food.  In order to deal with a food shortage, the government decides to control the population (Population Police).  No family is allowed to have more than two children.  Families that have a third or fourth child must keep the child hidden, hence the name of the novel Among the Hidden.  The protagonist, Luke, soon finds out that he is not alone and that there are other 3rds and 4ths living and hiding.  This book is interesting and a nail bitter.  My reluctant readers can't stand it when I stop reading between chapters. Great summer read.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I'm Baaaacccckkkk!

I'm back and very happy to know that someone missed me.  The end of the school year is always stressful for teachers.  We have state testing (ridiculous), district benchmarks (not-so-ridiculous), and grades and books and parent phone calls.  Okay, so it's over now, I can stop the ranting.  But I have been keeping myself busy with growing tomatoes.  Yes, I have been nursing a tomato plant.  Can't beleive it myself!!  From start to finish here are the photos.  I even purchased one of those Topsy Turvy contraptions. 

After a couple of weeks I moved the plant to the Topsy Turvy.  Wish I had a video camera for that!
The most exciting part for me was when the tomatoes started turning red!!  This gardening project was so relaxing for me and took my mind off my job!

And then there was the taste-test.  Yummy.  I think I am now officially a tomato-grower.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Curl Up With My Kindle?

One of my favorite things to do is to curl up and read a good book.  I can still remember the first Scholastic paper back book my mom purchased for me - a story about a princess and a dragon.  I can still smell the newness of the book and the way the pages had to be bent back.  And then later on in life, when I became an adult,  I purchased my first hard back book - and it was love at first sight.  After that, I always found it difficult to buy a paper back book -- and then came the Kindle.  Talk about an adjustment!!

What I love most about my Kindle - I don't have to drive to the bookstore, or wait for a clerk to order my book.  I can download a sample of a book before I purchase it and I can download magazines.  Sure, it has been an adjustment, but curling up with my Kindle has been the best experience ever.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Bird Cage

A few months ago, I purchased beautiful drapes from JC Penny's Custom Draperies.  I absolutely fell in love with the Bird Cage Curtain Rods.  Now, the Curtain Rods literally cost more than the draperies.  That says alot since the draperies are far from standard length.  The drapes are  22ft in length!! I have very high ceilngs. Of course, I saw a Bird-Cage Lamp base at JC Penny's that I wanted but thought that 80.00 for a lamp base was a bit expensive, considering that in a couple of years or months I could possible change my mind - again.  Well, I was right.  I found the exact same item at Walmart (of all places) for 19.00!!! OMG! What a find.  Check out the photos.
This was such an unbelievable perfect match!!!  I love it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Backyard Get-Away!

The 3-tier Italian water fountain has been installed.  I was a little nervous at first - thinking it might be too big for the patio, but it turned out perfect.  Had I chosen a smaller water feature,  the patio would have just swallowed it up. 

It was nice to come home after work and sit out on the patio and have a martini.  I have been dreaming about doing this for a year!  The weather is perfect right now for dinner and drinks on the paito.  I am looking forward to inviting friends over for afternoon drinks or maybe even a Spring brunch. 

What I really enjoy the most about my new purchase is that I can enjoy it from the indoors as well.  The effect that I was going for - when guest walk into the great room, the fountain and the paito furniture entice guest to go outside.  The other plus is that when the weather is not so nice, I still have a beautiful view from the great room.  I love this!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cake Pops

My first attempt at Strawberry Cake Balls

I never claimed to be Martha Stewart, but I do enjoy cooking delicious cakes for my family.  I found a recipe for cake pops and cake balls on one of my favorite cooking blogs called Bakerella. Of course my attempt at cake balls did not come out as beautiful as hers, but they were delicious.

These tasty little bites of cake are great with afternoon coffee or tea.  Check out the recipe atBakerella.  Very easy and simple to make. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Out of the Loop!

day 459: oy vay!
Originally uploaded by snowdeal

I haven't posted any blogs for a while because I have been in bed with the flu - despite the fact that I had a flu shot!! HELLO!!!! Oh, well, I hope to be up and blogging again soon. Miss hearing from everyone.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's All About the Brush

Recycled Candle Holder

I found a creative way (or at least I thought it was creative) to store my Mac make-up brushes.  When I apply makeup in the mornings before work, the last thing I want to do is get up from my vanity, dig through my handbag -a.k.a. The Black Hole, Bottomless Pit - to look for my makeup bag.   I found a decorative tea-light holder that was no longer being used for that purpose and decided it would be a great way to have my brushes handy. 
This very simple solution helps to keep my brushes clean and displayed beautifully on my bathroom vanity.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Flower Power

This is a gorgeous combination of colors.

I had big plans today to shop for the perfect flowers for hanging baskets on the patio. I stopped by a nursery at Lowe's to look at some of their selections.  Unfortunately Spring's spring weather had other plans.  We are experiencing lots of rain, wind and chill.  So, I geuss I'll watch episodes of Project Runway and Models of the Runway that I have been storing up on my DVR.   Can't believe my Spring Break is over already.

Can't wait until the 3-tier Italian Fountain is installed on Wednesday.  I am very excited and can hardly wait.

3-tier Italian Water Fountain

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fine Wine

I love to entertain at my home, so I always make sure to have a variety of wines on hand for last minute guest or quick dinners with friends.

Wine in a bottle is a living thing. The effects of time cause gradual changes in its flavors. Variation in temperature is its enemy, so proper storage is a fundamental product need. Some basic principles in storage will go far to enhance your enjoyment of wine. Once you have purchased wine, whether it's a few bottles or several cases, you need to address the issue of storage.
Keep the bottles stored so that:

•the bottle is on its side so the cork stays moist
•the wines are at the lowest stable temperature possible
•the location is free of vibration
•the location is not a storage area for other items that have a strong odor
Refrain from placing your rack on top of the refrigerator. Your refrigerator is hot, close to the light and vibrates from the refrigerator compressor.


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