Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

It looks like it's going to be a cool, crisp day. Our family is coming to our home for Thanksgiving dinner. I'm very thankful for my wonderful family, a warm home, and the wonderful smells that will soon be wafting throughout the house!

2 Samuel 22:50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

1 Chronicles 16:8 Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

Psalms 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fall Texas Trip - Part VI - Let's Wrap This Up

Here's one of the reasons we visit Texas in the fall - UT Football! Texas vs. Central Florida (35-3)

Cari and a cowgirl:

Gotta love Bevo!

That's a lot of burnt orange!

Yay Colt!

Then, suddenly, it was time to go home. We packed up Sunday morning and left around 9 a.m. We stopped in Houston and visited with my brother, Steve, and his family. It was Matthew's birthday, and they fixed us lunch and gave Matthew a little birthday party - complete with balloons, candles, and decorations. We very much enjoyed the visit and their hospitality. In fact, we stayed longer than we planned. Remember when I said earlier that we intended to not drive all night again - well, we ended up getting home at 6 a.m. Monday morning! It was very hard. Brad needed me to drive around 2 or 3 a.m. I was exhausted, but I found a good, upbeat Third Day song on the iPod, put in the ear phones, and turned the music up high and played it over and over. I know it's not the best idea to drive with earphones in your ears, but I figured that was safer than falling asleep at the wheel! When we finally got home, we walked in the door, and everyone went straight to bed. And here we are. Back at home and thankful for a safe, fun family trip. God was merciful and gracious to allow us to have such a wonderful time. Before I get back to non-vacation life, here's some photos from our visit with Steve and Patty. We also got to meet Patty's dad and stepmom while we were there.

Madison and Jasmine. They became fast friends.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fall Texas Trip - Part V - San Antonio

The San Antonio Riverwalk - I think we were on the boat when this picture was taken.

The Alamo

I liked this P.S. at the bottom of Travis' appeal for aid at the Alamo written Feb. 24, 1836:

P. S. The Lord is on our side.
When the enemy appeared in sight
we had not three bushels of corn.
We have since found in deserted
houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into
the walls 20 or 30 head of Beeves.

Davy Crockett's image (and others) on the stone monument outside the Alamo (with Madison and Cari peaking through):

San Antonio is a beautiful city. We had a wonderful time there. We parked the van upon arrival and except for the trip to Austin (just Brad, Ralph, Madison, and Cari), we were able to walk everywhere we needed to go.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fall Texas Trip - Part IV - All About Food

The in-laws at La Hacienda, San Antonio

The outside playground at La Hacienda

Wednesday of our trip was mostly spent making preparations for our trip down to San Antonio the following day. But before leaving town, Brad's parents wanted to take us to one of their favorite new restaurants in the next town over called Gogo Gumbos. I was in the mood to try something different, and it was well worth the try. I ordered the Chicken "Schizzle." It was Schnitzel style chicken breast, raspberry braised red cabbage, and garlic mashed potatoes. Very good!

On our way down to San Antonio on Thursday, we scheduled our trip around eating at La Hacienda. This restaurant was featured on the Food Network when Bobby Flay challenged the owner to a puffy taco throw down. I have been wanting to try that puffy taco ever since, and finally it happened. We were looking at their menu online a few days before we left, and we discovered that their lunch special on Thursday was the puffy taco. We had to get there by 3:00, and we made it in plenty of time. Here's the proof!

On Friday, we got to eat at another Food Network find that is always on our list when we get near Austin - County Line BBQ. You can have their BBQ shipped to your home if you're interested!

I know we sound like food addicts after reading this post, but we just haven't found anything in Georgia to compare with what we've found in Texas, so we have to get it while we can. In fact, we were all discussing our top five restaurants, and four of the five were in Texas - the fifth is in Tennessee!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Texas Trip - Part III

If you're too little to ride a horse by yourself, there's always dirt!

Cari has been wanting to go ride horses for some time now, and we took the opportunity to do so while we were in cowboy land. =)

Brad's parents have a friend named Sharon who is one of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet in your life. She has a Texas farm complete with cows, horses, and chickens - and many dogs. She got her horses ready and invited us over for a fun day of riding. I had never ridden a horse before - except for maybe one of those in the mountains where the horses are tied in a circle and you just go round and round and round.... I was a little nervous at first, but now... I want a horse! We had a blast, and even Amelia and Matthew got to ride a little pony.

Brad's horse was wild. It was a rodeo roping horse, and I think he was in the mood for some roping! He eventually got him under control.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fall Texas Trip - Part II

My friend Emily gave me the wonderful idea of keeping a vacation journal. I wish I had thought of that sooner as so many of our vacations now run together. I found a cute Willow Tree journal on my bookshelf that my sister had given me a few years ago, and it was just what I was looking for. I started it the evening we left, and each day I would update the journal on what we had done the previous day. It's nice to have that to refer back to now.

On Monday, we traveled into Ft. Worth where Brad's mom works and met some of her co-workers at J.P. Morgan. We then went and ate at our most favorite Mexican restaurant ever - El Rancho Grande! It is out of this world. That evening, we had an enjoyable time playing in the leaves in the backyard and taking the above photos. (Cari and Brad were busy elsewhere and didn't make it into these shots.)

The first few days, Brad had three different friends stop by at different times that he had not seen in around 20 years. We were able to have supper with one of them and his family on Monday night. The power of Facebook!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

White Cracker Candy

If you're looking for a different food gift to give to your loved ones and friends for Christmas, check out this prettily packaged candy that my friend Kathy has available.

Fall Texas Trip - Oct. 30-Nov. 9, 2009 - PART I

We could hardly wait for Brad to get home from work on October 30th. We had the van loaded (the van that Brad's aunt graciously loaned us for the trip) and were ready to go. We finally had everything together and ready to hit the road around 7 p.m. After saying a prayer for our safety, we began the 13-hour journey. It was a little harder this time, and we decided that would probably be the last time we would try to drive all night. But little did we know....(I'll save that story for later.)

We arrived in Texas around 8 a.m. We were too tired to do anything when we arrived, so we tried to rest as much as we could. It was Halloween, and Brad's parents had some friends coming over to go trick-or-treating around their neighborhood. Cari and Amelia wanted to go along, so they dressed up in some princess dresses they had brought and had a great time trekking around the neighborhood for candy. (Amelia wanted to go again the next day, but I explained that unfortunately that wasn't the way it works.)

We took some pictures and loaded them on a CD while we were there but forgot to bring the CD home with us, so I don't have photos of the first couple of days.

The next day, Brad's parents had invited over some family and friends, so I suggested we make it a birthday party for Matthew since we would be traveling home the following Sunday - his actual birthday. Everyone liked that idea, so Brad and I went on a search for the perfect birthday cake for a precious one-year-old baby boy. We didn't find it. So, we made him a chocolate cake with his name spelled out with M&Ms (actually, it had *Lil Buddy* on it - he gets called that much more than he does Matthew). We have some cute photos of him with chocolate cake smeared all over his face. But alas, they are sitting on a CD in Texas. If you're my friend on Facebook, you've probably seen them already as Madison did have the opportunity to put them on there while we were still in Texas. I could probably copy and paste them on here somehow, but I'll not worry about that right now.

That's all the vacation talk for today. I don't want to overwhelm you.

But there is one more cute thing I want to throw in. At Matthew's birthday party, I was curious to see if he'd like his cake or not. Why you may ask? It's Madison's fault. When she turned one, we had the pretty store-bought cake prepared for her, and when we placed her piece on the high chair tray, she cried terribly. She didn't like the cake.at.all. Is that crazy or what? To this day, she still does not like the icing on birthday cakes. She likes the cake part, and that's it, which works well for her sisters who do prefer the icing over the cake. To make her happy on her 1st birthday, we gave her a hamburger bun, and that suited her just fine. Her pictures aren't nearly as interesting as it's pretty hard to make a mess with a hamburger bun. So hard to believe she's about to turn 14. Almost time to pull out the hamburger buns!