Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sweet Berry Farms

For a few weeks now I've had a craving for pie. And I read about a great little restaurant not far from here in Marble Falls that is supposed to have great pie. So I could not get it out of my mind. I could have made my own pie but the pictures of the pie at the Bluebonnet Café just looked too good. I became obsessed. By the pie.

I thought that driving an hour away from home for a piece of pie was a little over the top. So then I decided to plan a whole fun filled family day around this pie. Luckily, there is a cute little farm right near the pie place that just happens to grow strawberries and blackberries in the spring. And they let you come out and pay an enormous amount of money to pick your own berries and take them home.
Did I mention this farm is very close to the pie place?
So I told the hubby and the kiddos that we were going to go pick strawberries because it would be SO MUCH FUN! And then on our way home we could stop and have lunch at the Bluebonnet Café because I heard it was good. Oh, and they have pie there so maybe we could get a piece for dessert. See how I roll?

We set out early in the morning to get there before the masses showed up to pay their enormous amounts of money to pick their own strawberries.

See those boxes? They cost .50 cents. But we can bring em back and reuse them whenever we want. I grabbed a box for Jake to fill, a box for Emma to fill and a box for Mike and I to fill. Then as we turned to head out to the fields I asked the man at the counter about how much it would cost to fill one basket. He said "oh, about $18." So I put mine and Mike's basket back and told the kids to only fill their baskets halfway full. Seriously.
Here is little Emma Mae with her half full box of strawberries that she and Mike worked very hard at collecting. You may notice she is wearing a summer dress on what looks to be a cold day. Let me assure you that she really believes she is Elsa from Frozen and that the cold doesn't bother her anyway. And you know what? She did not complain about the weather one bit so who am I to argue?
Here is Jake holding up one of the three strawberries he managed to pick in our time at the farm. I don't see manual labor in this child's future. He did a whole lot of standing around with his hands in his pockets complaining about the cold and wishing he had worn socks. Kind of reminded me of every single time I ask him to pick up his mess at the house.  Also, he said he didn't know which berries to pick. I was all, "um, the red ones that are all over the place out here?" He was way more interested in getting to the bounce pad we had to pay $2.50 per kid for that allowed them to jump for exactly 8 minutes.

They also enjoyed the four minute train ride we bought them for another $2.50 per kid.
They fed goats. For only .25 cents a kid. That was a steal. These kids love feeding goats. And they got to pet a horse for free.

All in all we had a good day at the farm!
I decided to post this picture so you all would not think for some reason that I have it all together and am one of those precious perfect blogger moms. I look worn out! When I saw my roots in this picture today it took me less than four hours to get out a box of hair color to hide that gray. Goodness! And trust me, if I had a couple thousand dollars lying around that didn't have a purpose I would go straight to the Botox store and fill in those wrinkles. Even though my sweet hubby lies and says he loves them.
Anyhow. We left the farm and headed out to the Bluebonnet in great anticipation of some lunch and pie. I didn't even mind the twenty minute wait in the line out the door to get a table. Mike asked me if I was sure I wanted to wait and I was like, "excuse me, have we met? There is pie inside this place that I must get to." Unfortunately, I ate so much chicken fried steak and Mike had so many ribs that neither one of us could think about eating pie. So we bought some to go. One piece of pecan, one piece of lemon cream and one piece of chocolate cream. I can't believe I didn't take a picture of the pie. It was really good. And totally worth the $33 dollars we spent at the strawberry farm and the $33 dollars we spent on lunch to get it. Oh, we are surely going back in May for blackberry picking!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Back to life

We all start back to school tomorrow. I didn't think I was ready until about 3pm this afternoon when the kiddos started fighting and complaining and whining. I think they need to be back in the classroom and I probably need to be back at work. The only thing that saved us this afternoon was a late play date with Sydney and Lila. The kids all had so much fun jumping on their trampoline and spraying each other with the hose outside.

I think my favorite day of Spring Break this year was Thursday when we discovered a new to us hiking spot. Jake's teacher recommended it and we loved it. The kids didn't complain too much about the hiking parts and they absolutely loved hanging out at the river throwing rocks and trying to catch fish and bugs. We will definitely be going back to McKinney Roughs Nature Park very soon. In fact, I wish we lived closer so I could try to get a job out there. I totally felt back in my element.

Currently my favorite picture of our big yellow dog. Brady is in paradise whenever we find a body of water to play in.

Hank enjoys our hikes as much as the rest of us do. The only difference is that he never gets tired like the rest of us do.  I think he might be a robot.

This is currently my all time favorite picture of Emma Mae Flinn. If she had ringlet curls she would remind me exactly of a little girl I used to know! I love that she has jelly on her face. It is just SO Emma. Also, please note that she can even go hiking in a pretty girly dress. No pants for this little girl thank you.

I was experimenting with water reflections that day.

I'm pretty sure he has that nasty vulture feather in his bedroom somewhere. I'm going to pretend I don't know about it and not think about the possibilities of getting bird flu from a feather.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Emma's big day

Emma Mae turned five years old on Wednesday, March 12th. She looks so big to me now. When did she get tall and lose all of her baby fat?

She decided she wanted to have a Frozen birthday party approximately 30 seconds after watching the movie for the first time. I may have mentioned that we decided to have the party at a local bounce house because I was still so traumatized from the chaos of Jake's last birthday party. Best. Decision. Ever. I didn't have to clean our house before or after the party. I didn't have to come up with any games or entertainment ideas. And best of all I didn't have to worry about the kids being too wild because that is totally expected in a bounce house.

The kids had so much fun and Emma declared it to be the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!

We started her off with some birthday donuts for breakfast. I mean she was gonna need some energy for all that bouncing later, right?

When we got done with breakfast we gave her the biggest birthday present we could think of. What little girl wouldn't want a huge doll house for her barbies to live in?

Then we braided Emma's hair to make her look a little like Elsa from Frozen.

I also decided not to go through the stress of making a birthday cake this year. Praise God for Costco. I finally managed to procure some tiny little Frozen figures from Amazon to put on top of the cake. Let's not talk about how many tries it took to make the rock candy that we used to build an ice castle on the cake. Ok, let's talk about it. Three tries. And of course I didn't start trying until the morning of the party because that's how I roll. Praise God for Mike. He made the third batch and finally got it to be a bluish green color instead of the mutant ninja turtle green I was getting.

Let's not talk about how many times we had to light the candles for her to blow out. Okay, let's talk about it. Twice. Because the first time the cute little boy beside Emma blew them out for her. You should have seen her face. Bryson is going to have to work extra hard to marry her now.

On the ride home eating their marshmallow snowmen party favors. Why not eat marshmallows after birthday cake?

Mike's dad bought her a pretty new princess bicycle for her birthday. I think she likes it.

My sister and nephew came down after the bounce party to have dinner with us. We went to a Mexican restaurant because I didn't let Emma choose where she wanted to eat. I'm mean like that. Cheryl and Tom brought her an adorable pink CD player with a microphone that she can use to scream, I mean sing, at the top of her lungs. She really likes doing it early in the morning. It's almost as if my sister doesn't like me or something.

All in all I'd say this really was her best birthday ever. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if all of her grandparents could have been here with us. Love you all!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 2

We had another fun day today. We took the kids and Jake's friend Leo to the Austin Aquarium for a little while this morning. They had more exhibits this visit and the kids had fun. However, I am still amazed that Emma's favorite thing to do at the Aquarium is to play on the play scape. I mean really. What about looking at all of the cool fish? Touching a sting ray? Feeding a shark? Nope. Little girl likes to slide down a plastic green slide.

Trying to touch stingrays.

Pretty fishies.

In the hurricane machine with wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour. Good thing Emma had underwear on!

Petting a cute wittle snakey.

I think the kiddos all had a good time. We finished the morning off with lunch at Sonic. After a couple hours of resting at home we played with our neighborhood friends and went to the park as well. All in all a good second day of Spring Break. Now let's see if I can get Emma Mae to go to sleep tonight knowing that when she wakes up in the morning she will be 5 years old!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day 1

Yay for a fun and really stress free first day of spring break. This is what I was hoping for. First, the kids slept until 7am which is almost unheard of around here. Mike was home this morning and we all took the dogs on an hour long walk around the neighborhood. We got back just in time for me to shower and get Emma to her "play date" with her favorite preschool teacher of all time, Ms. Jill.

She was actually smiling way bigger than this until I snapped the picture. Of course. Leave it to me to ruin the moment by trying to capture it on film. Or digital media. Whatever. She had such a great time seeing Frozen with Jill. She was also spoiled with popcorn, lemonade, m&m's, skittles and a kit kat. Awesome. I'm so glad she had a teacher that loved her enough to do that for her. She will always remember this day. She is also talking about Ms. Jill taking both her and Jake to see Mr. Peabody next. Not sure Jill fully knew what she was getting herself into!

After we picked Emma up from her fun I took the kids to a local park to play for awhile. Then we headed over to Target because why not? I purchased my last decoration for the Frozen party on Wednesday. What we have now is just going to have to be good enough. Tomorrow night I get to stay up after the kids go to bed and put together "build your own snowman" party favor bags with marshmallows and pretzel sticks. Good times.

We ended the night with some yummy chicken and dumplings. Finally, a pinterest recipe that tasted good! Then we read and played "don't let the balloon touch the ground or you die" again. All in all a perfect day in my book. The best part? I didn't feel tired or stressed out today which hasn't happened in a very long time. Looking forward to day 2!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring Break!

Yay! I don't think I've been this ready for a spring break since I was in college. I am just so looking forward to some time with the kiddos and my hubby and sleeping in and not waking up to an alarm. Can't wait!

We started the break out right yesterday by going to a roller skating birthday party for our friend Sydney. This was the first time for me to take both kids to a skating rink. Jake and I went once when he was little bitty but Emma had never been. They had so much fun! They both want roller skates now. I thought Emma was going to either kill herself or me at first but eventually she got the hang of it and even shook off my help at the end telling me she could do it all by herself. How I come I think this is not the last time I will hear those words come out of my daughter's mouth? And how come music I don't generally like becomes so good at a roller rink? Emma and I were dancing as much as we were skating. So much fun.

Today we hung out at home a lot but managed to have some fun before bedtime with a rousing game of "don't let the balloon touch the ground or you die." If there is one thing we know how to do around here it is have fun with balloons.

We're going to try to have at least one thing to do with the kids every day this week. We'll see how that works out in reality. Tomorrow, Emma Mae is supposed to go see Frozen (for the third time) with her pre-school teacher from last year, Ms. Jill. Emma loves her some Ms. Jill. She is beyond excited. While she's gone I will be busy trying to pull together the last details for her Frozen birthday party on Wednesday. Yes, she will be 5 on Wednesday! Can't believe that. I also can't believe how nearly impossible it has been to find plates, napkins or really any Frozen birthday decorations for this thing. Luckily, Emma was ok with blue plates because they will "look like ice mama!" And I did manage to secure some little tiny Anna, Elsa and Olaf figures that I can put on her birthday cake to Frozen it all up for little girl. This year we are having her party at a bounce house because I am still so stressed out over Jake's birthday party chaos that I don't mind paying good money to invite people somewhere other than our house to celebrate this time.

Now if only I could find her a Frozen dress to wear. Especially since she cleaned out her closet today and brought me every single pair of pants in there and said she wanted to give them to her friend Caitlyn who lives across the street. Because according to Emma she will no longer wear pants. She wants a closet full of dresses from now on and that is final. And I guess Caitlyn still thinks that wearing pants is totally acceptable. I told Emma that I thought we should go ahead and leave her pants in her closet in case she changes her mind in the next year. And she told me that was NOT going to happen. But I slipped them back in there anyway.

Here's hoping for a restful but fun filled Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


We're almost halfway through this semester of school which means I am about to start a long slow descent into going out of my mind. Mike is only home two nights a week and I am running on fumes here. So is Mike. We are exhausted. The kids, however, are not. Weird.

Anyway, last week I told Mike that I just needed a few hours to myself on Friday morning. Jake would be in school and Mike would be home for the morning to watch Emma. I wanted to go shopping for some new clothes. I almost never want to go shopping for new clothes anymore but my closet was begging me for something cute. When I look at the clothes in my closet I am not attached to anything. I don't have any outfits that I just love. I mainly have clothes that either don't make me want to puke or clothes that I think I might look okay in if the lighting is dim.

So I took my leftover Christmas/Birthday money and headed out by myself to do some shopping. I have no idea where to shop these days. I started off at Nordstrom Rack because it seemed like a place a 40 something could go into to buy clothes that don't look like they were made for teenagers at a reasonable price. Well. Let me tell you that I did not understand Nordstrom Rack at all. It was a very confusing place for me to be. I just kept thinking "I wonder where the rack with the cute things is located?" I never found it. I looked at every rack of clothing in that store and didn't find one thing that I thought might not make me want to puke. The prints were weird, maxi dresses abounded and even the clearance rack had shirts for $49. A $49 shirt is not a clearance item my friends. I even saw one dress that looked just like a wet suit. A wet suit. Same material and everything. Who would want to wear that? I mean, maybe if I thought I would be involved in some sort of international spy stuff where I had to leave a fancy restaurant in a hurry and escape by jumping into the ocean to snorkel out of harms way. But that would almost probably never happen. I finally left there with a soy vanilla candle that only cost $2.99.

Then I headed over to my old standby. God bless Old Navy. Look, I know I'm probably too old to shop there and that the quality of their clothing isn't up to par with Macy's or anything. But you know what? I almost always find something I think is cute there and I can almost always afford to buy it. So I walked out with three cute shirts, two pairs of pants and a dress. I spent all of my money and am seriously thinking about going back to get another pair of pants for spring. And now when I look in my closet I see two or three outfits that I think "hey, that's cute!"

In other news, Jake also got a makeover recently. Here he is:

Well, with two practically blind parents I think we all saw glasses in his future. They seem a bit big to me but the helpful staff at the place I took him to told me he would "probably grow into them." Awesome. Odds are good that I will "probably" not give them a good review online later too. Jake loves them though for now even though a Kindergartener at the bus stop this morning told him that he looked like an old man in those glasses. And then a kid in his class told him his eyes look weird and like they are spinning around and around. Wow. Kids are jerks. Jake said everyone else was supportive though so I don't think he let those two kids get him down very much. He also said that as soon as he put them on he "felt very serious." So he thinks the glasses are changing him. Who needs Spider Man when you could be Serious Boy instead? I think this weekend I'll put on a new shirt and new pants and have Jake put on his glasses and we'll go out and conquer the world. At least until someone makes fun of me for wearing age inappropriate clothing and Jake for wearing old man glasses.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Back in the saddle

Ugh. I can't believe how long it has been since I posted anything here. I'm documenting mostly on facebook these days. Way easier to post a picture or a brief quote of the day from one of the kids and be done with it!

However, I was just watching a video I took of Emma Mae and her BFF Lila a few weeks ago while they were playing dress up and singing music from the Frozen soundtrack. I was hoping to post it to the Good Morning America website for a Frozen sing a long contest they are having. Alas, Emma keeps pulling her dress up in the video to show off her underwear. I decided that probably wouldn't be appropriate viewing material for the masses. It might damage her psyche and give her more material to take to her therapist someday. I was actually proud that she at least had on underwear for a change!

Anyway, I came across all of these pictures that I haven't posted or documented or told stories about. What if the children can't piece together every day of their childhood later on because I got lazy? So here is some of what we have been up to for the last few weeks.

Emma Mae decided to hide in the hall closet. Don't ask me why. I haven't a clue.

Not sure what prompted this moment of sweetness but I mean really. Aren't they adorable?

Amy moved into a new house that is gorgeous and inside they had the kind of coat rack I've been envisioning for our entryway. So I showed Mike a picture of it and he made me one! Isn't it great? Now they hang up their stuff instead of throwing it on the floor when they walk in from school!

We had fun with our neighborhood BFF's one of whom may or may not be Em's future husband.

I mean really. Does anybody else physically ache inside at the beauty of your child? Just me, right? I know I have issues.

Did I mention that we got a new dog? Meet Hank. He's a rescue dog. I think it's supposed to be cool to say you got a rescue dog or something. He's a good boy. Except that he killed my hamster. I keep telling myself that it was an accident though. I tell myself that over and over and over again.

I turned 44. It didn't hurt that much. Although this picture suggests otherwise.

It snowed in central Texas. More like it iced over in central Texas. We had school cancelled on two separate days. Unheard of!

Did I mention we got a new dog? He is NOT supposed to be on the couch. And also, he is NOT supposed to eat hamsters.

We went for another family hike at McKinney Falls State Park. I wanted a family picture. This is what they gave me. I feel like someone is missing in this one. I can't quite put my finger on it.

Oh, yeah. Me and Brady. I had to ask a stranger to take a picture of all of us. No one else seemed to care. Whatever. Leave out the mama and the old fat dog. We don't care. In a few years we might not be around to be a part of the picture anyways. It's all good.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Hello 2014!

I don't bother with New Years resolutions anymore. Because like so many of us I know that I'm just not going to keep them. But I have been feeling a big sluggish for the last eight or nine months and I've picked up five pounds that seem to be very happy on my midsection right now. So I told Mike before Christmas that I was done eating crap and not working out anymore so things were going to be different around here starting January 2nd. Why not January 1st you ask? Because I knew I was going to eat cornbread on January 1st and part of my new health plan is to try to be gluten free. Maybe you can make gluten free corn bread. I don't know. But I do know that I ate a gluten free bagel and a gluten free muffin last month and they both sucked. So I wasn't even going to try gluten free corn bread.

Well, it is now January 5th and no changes have been made. We say we will start tomorrow for sure. But I'm not sure how that is going to happen seeing as how we don't have much in the way of healthy gluten free food in our house right now. We do have a lot of leftover Christmas candy and a quarter of a bag of Stouffer's ginger snaps that I am single handedly consuming. Don't get me started on the ginger snaps. I managed to avoid them in the grocery store for a good two weeks before I broke down and bought a bag. I love them, but they are of the devil. You have to eat at least four at a time. They are heavenly, crunchy little crack discs that must be eaten before I can start my new healthy lifestyle. And let's not forget the half eaten pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream my hubby lovingly brought into our house two days ago because he overheard me saying I had a craving for it. Oh who am I kidding? That ice cream won't live to see tomorrow. Its probably only got about 30 minutes left on its life span. But the other stuff? I should throw it out. But that's wasteful. What's a girl to do?

Why gluten free you ask? Why not? Nothing else seems to work. Also, I have a multitude of health concerns right now and after consulting the google I am pretty sure that I'm either gluten intolerant, pre-menopausal or I have ovarian cancer. Take your pick. I'm shooting for the gluten intolerance myself. So here's to a year of no (or at least less) wheat which means no (or at least less) sugar because in my world those two things go hand in hand. God help us all.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

This is how we closed out the year 2013...

First we decked some halls.

Then we went to Amarillo to see my parents.
Seriously. I need to have hair/makeup and lighting follow me around at all times. Then MAYBE I could take a good picture. But Emma sure looks cute.

I think they really buy it when we tell them they are best friends. These two love each other. (When they can stand each other.)

My daddy reads the Christmas story from Luke every Christmas Eve. Love watching my kids listen!

This was the year Santa introduced Emma Mae to Barbie. And unicorns. And everything pink and sparkly.

Jake got lots of Legos and Hero Factory toys. He couldn't be happier.

Love to see my boys cuddling like little softies.

Emma Mae got bedazzled and sparkled up this Christmas! She even wore those little princess slippers to the movie theater when we took the kids to see Frozen. It only took us 17 minutes to walk from the car to the inside of the theater with her in those things. She loves dressing up like a princess!

I'm looking forward to 2014. I'll be looking for that elusive thing called "joy" this year. I'll tell you if I find it! May all your days be merry and bright.