Small Things (and Food) Make Me Happy

Well, small things plus the image of FOOD (it’s all about the food here, unfortunately). I’m giving in to temptation. I am surfing. I just spotted these watermelon bowls on Decor8’s article about Samatha Robinson Porcelain and I am smitten. I don’t even have to own one. Just looking at the picture makes me happy. I think I need to go to the store for a giant Texas watermelon. All of a sudden it sure sounds good!

Two hours later (update): 4:22 p.m. Watermelon purchased and sitting gloriously on the counter waiting to be devoured. All is well.

Galveston Schlitterbahn II

We had a Second Day pass that needed to be used in the next week or so, so we decided to head down to Galveston today to Schlitterbahn. We had to make one stop on the way, however, and since our GPS is broken and needing to be sent back to HP for repairs we had to take written instructions (gasp! the stone age!). Hmmm…not so good. We took every back road possible and we could have reached our destination a gazillion times faster if we’d have just looked at a map and taken the highways. Oh well. We scored some great deals at the XPEDX Retail Store in Houston then on to Galveston! The boys had a blast and they were so easy to locate in their new rash guard shirts. I hope Cole doesn’t mind matching his brothers. He doesn’t usually care about such things (and I know I’m lucky!). At least, he doesn’t care enough to TELL me. Plus, it’s better than being sunburnt (sunburned?). All in all – a very great day.

Oh! One kid funny: The highway was closed in one spot so there was a massive delay and Don was a true Texan in his SUV and crossed the grass/curb median to the frontage road just like everybody else…Cole asked if it was illegal to which I replied, “Yes!” and to which Gabe replied, “Uhhh….I’m not going to jail!” It’s good to know he’d stick with you through thick and thin!

Oops…Marked You As Spam!

I clicked the wrong button and accidentally deleted some of my favorite comments by marking them as spam. Please don’t take it personally. Can I blame it on bonking my head on the chandelier today?

Kids Started School Yesterday!

Today was just about as perfect a day as anyone could ask for. Not super fabulous, but just right. Kids started the school year yesterday…they are loving it and having lots of fun so far! Hubby home on vacation. Trying to organize the house. Got to help a friend, Bennie had a friend over, made the kids a snack after school, read scriptures, pool swimming, easy dinner, quick shower and the kids are in bed. Time for me to find that book I’ve been trying to read…

Klein Ward Summer Picnic

Gabe & Benjamin getting drinks.

Beanie eats a doughnut for his main dish! Our standards have gotten so low this past year…we hope to reintroduce vegetables now that we’re a bit more settled!

A gaggle of girls catching toads and the jealous boys looking on!

Our new ward is huge. Really big. We have 3 or 4 Sunday School teachers who trade off teaching every week. Seriously. They make up callings so everyone can have one. I realize this won’t last long because there is a new church being built not very far away and everything will be rearranged and we’ll probably lose half the ward but, still…it’s a nice respite. Not that I don’t enjoy serving. It’s just very nice to not have to magnify four different callings for awhile!

So far we have met only really nice people. Nadine’s best friend is my new Mariyn Godby. She’s wonderful (but I still miss you Marilyn!). There’s a piano playing beautiful woman who reminds me so much of my cousin Leslee Bartlett (and she just got called to Stake YW Pres – lets hope she isn’t there quite as long as Leslee was as Stake Primary Pres!). Let’s see…today we saw a glimpse of a Jared Boldt serving in Primary with his computer. It’s funny how you see people you miss in people you meet. I don’t have a new Sheila Lauducci or Benay Derr yet but I’m looking…not that either of those women could EVER be replaced! I just need a cheap substitute.

While we are enjoying our new ward (you can see pictures of the ward party here), we certainly do miss the Gretna Branch. Our hearts were there when it was formed and will always be there – even when it becomes a stake.

Buried Alive in Boxes!

Don’s on vacation this week to help unpack and get things straightened out…and to enjoy the first week in our new home…but instead of unpacking, we’ve mostly been fielding calls and running around trying to help Wells Fargo finally get our mortgage file complete and to closing today. It took an executive complaint – after our third loan officer left (this time for jury duty), I spammed ever single board member and executive that I could guess an email for – and one of my pleading emails got through. The VP and Regional Manager who called us the next day had not heard about the mess from their minions…and one of them mentioned she wished it had come “up” from below instead. She said they received it as an executive complaint. I hope upper management realizes what a mess this North Houston and Woodlands office of Wells Fargo Mortgage is. We think it would be wonderfully ironic should the manager who couldn’t get anything done had to show up to closing today since all of those who have been finally getting our file done are too far away. We HOPE to let you know. Still planning on 1 p.m. signing today…wish us luck prayers! We could certainly use them. I have to say, though, with the attention we’re finally getting that Wells Fargo is trying to make things right and those in authority certainly can get things done…they’re reimbursing us first month principal and interest in a check to any non-profit we name plus no underwriting fee, processing fee or loan origination charge. Plus, an additional credit on the survey (over $2,000 in apologies, basically) to help offset the cost of having to pay the sellers for the week of the lease. We still don’t know the final numbers but I am so relieved they’re making it right…we stepped into a hornet’s nest and a soap opera chain of events behind the scenes at Wells at the Woodlands office and we didn’t know it until it was too late!

Buddha Hand Citron Fruit Tree

Picture from White On Rice.

We have inherited at least two Buddha Hand Citron fruit trees. The fruit is amazingly ugly but it SMELLS so good! It smells like a not-tart-lemon. Or a lime. Or a sweet lime. Obviously very difficult to describe but it’s wonderful! I’ve heard of a few uses:

1. Soak the rind in sugar and make a citrus flavored sugar. There are some interesting ideas on Chowhound.
2. Remove the pith and candy the peel.
3. Cut off the fingers and dice and use as you would lemon zest (same taste, less bitter). There are some good looking recipes over at flavorandfortune.
4. Make lemon vodka liqueur…okay, not for us since we don’t drink but maybe you can cook with it? It sure is pretty in the bottle, anyway.

You can buy the tree from Bay Flora for $67 or you can buy the fruit online at Local Harvest for $20 apiece! Geesh! Wish I knew where I could sell them for that in Houston!


No pictures or fun things today yet…we’re hanging in there and praying Wells Fargo gets their act together. The previous owners kindly let us lease back and move in last Friday but the extended contract ends this Friday so we really need them to get our file processed quickly and we keep getting empty promises and the runaround. Pray for us!!! More pics soon.

Settling In…

I’m too tired to even post a picture though I have a few really good ones of piles of boxes. The boys had an 11 or 12 foot tall fort created with boxes IN THE ENTRYWAY so that we couldn’t even get to the door if we wanted to.

We love this house. It feels like a little bit of heaven. We love the paint colors. We love the layout. I adore the kitchen and master bedroom – it is so big that Cole claims we could cut it in half and give him some extra yard outside! I am a bit afraid to go upstairs and see how the boys have unpacked their things! Back to the kitchen…I’ve been there for 2 days straight…it’s not a gas stove or a double oven (both were on my “must have” list) but I am so happy with what is here. I love the tile and the cabinets. I want to paint the inside of them Martha Stewart bluish green (probably the same color the previous owners used on the wainscoting in the laundry room which is DREAMY). Not only did the previous owners leave us a welcome basket of CHOCOLATE (dark, too!), she labeled all the house color paint cans with the room it was used in AND THE YEAR/DATE it was used…seriously, I wish everybody could buy a house from people as nice as we did. We were extremely blessed to meet them. Our own house “touches” will come in good time…I’m going to just enjoy our family being in a home again for awhile first.

The Zellmers really took good care of their home. The only hitch we’ve run into is our fridge won’t fit in the laundry room. Well, it fits in the slot but there is a windowsill in the way…not sure what we’re going to do about that yet. Our chest freezer was going to be sold but now Don thinks maybe that will fit instead. Let’s see…what else do we love? The kids love the big tub in the master bath. It’s not as big as our old one (nor is it a Jacuzzi) but they were all very pleased and seemed to like it more. I think not being a Jacuzzi is a plus.

The dog is in heaven. She keeps trying to sneak off into the field by our home. I bought a new rug for the kitchen today and she has claimed it.

The movers will need to replace 4 things: 1) Ben’s bunk bed headboard/footboard got lost before they even hit Texas (was never received in the warehouse) and 2) The loaders in Gretna damaged a big dresser on industrial wheels that we used to store the boys’ toys 3) my jogging stroller got damaged, and 4) a miscellaneous box of blankets was lost. Not too shabby for 20,720 lbs of stuff, I think. The only thing that breaks my heart is Ben is sleeping in Alex’s old room on the floor for now until his bed can be replaced. It’s okay, though, he is snuggling in blankets and the carpet is very soft. Hmm…as I type this he is sleeping in my bed. Not good.

I hear sawing upstairs. The older boys have taken my serrated kitchen knife and are building cardboard forts in the playroom. They asked for duct tape about an hour ago while I was preparing a lesson for church and I didn’t put two-and-two together…I’d better go take some pictures and see if anybody is bleeding!

More later when we’re coherent again.

Grogan’s Mill Farmers’ Market

I’ve been looking for farmers markets (or farms!) close to me that have raw cow’s milk (I see lots of raw goat milk) and grass fed beef. I’ve been having a bit of trouble finding just the right place. I have lots of links left to check out from the Weston A. Price Foundation but I did find that Grogan’s Mill in the Woodlands has a farmers’ market with organic veggies and grass fed beef starting in October through the beginning of December. I’ll have to check it out in a few months! If you know of a farm, please email me.

Back to School Shopping

So it’s time for back-to-school shopping and I am not ready. Not even close to ready. I probably will hope that when we unpack on Friday that relatively new clothes, socks, and underwear will magically appear in my boys’ rooms and they’ll be ready. And shoes? Haven’t even thought about them (well, okay, so I thought about it but only long enough to write it down here!). All I can think about is making sure we have enough cash for closing on our new home on Friday which means not another dime will be spent until after then. Since the mortgage guy quit last week and every good faith estimate has gone up and up in final cash at closing cost per subsequent revision, I think we’d better sit tight until we know the final numbers! Our file has been in limbo-land and we are hoping and praying (and triple checking) to make sure that we don’t fall through the cracks. Friday is 2 days away, people!!! I think I’ll be too tired this weekend but maybe next weekend we can replenish the skivvy drawer if need be for school.

p.s. The jeans above are L.L.Bean’s Katahdin jeans on sale for $12.99. Not bad for the quality! Although, I hear Old Navy has some for $10 this week. Happy online shopping for those of you with the funds!!

Handmade Charlotte – Delightful Blog!

Don’t you love this desk reminiscent of Danish design? You can read about the designer and source on a delightful blog I ran across entitled Handmade Charlotte. Written by Rachel Faucett, the blog is a treasure trove of great ideas and design blended into one. Go on over and take a peek – you will love it. Be sure you have more than 5 minutes, though, because you will wander…

Graphic Design Blog

I’m running low on time and have lots of interesting posts to link up to today so I am going to skip pictures on some of them! Don’t be deceived – follow the links for some fabulous eye candy and content!

Don sent me a link to Graphic Design Blog the other day. They had a list of really neat logos that were worth checking out. I noticed another link on their site to creative twitter backgrounds. Great stuff, indeed!

Mercer Arboretum in Spring, Texas

We had a great time at the Mercer Arboretum last weekend. Here are some of the pictures but you can see them all at our flickr account.

Jack’s eyes in this one crack me up!

It’s such a beautiful area that people go there to take just about every kind of picture (choir, wedding, etc.). We stumbled upon a crowd of people with matching shirts, cowboy hats and boots. They looked so neat! Then we saw what they were there for: the most beautiful 15 year old hispanic girl. I guess it’s a tradition. All I know is she was luminous. They had two Hummer limos and it was very ceremonial looking. I snapped a couple of shots because I had just never seen anything like it before!

Don’s Cousin Becky!

We have been so time disoriented while not being in school and moving that we lost track of what day it actually was and forgot that Don’s cousin Becky was flying into Houston for a very long layover this past Sunday (she called from the airport while we were getting ready for church). We finally picked her up but I was so sad – I had made dinner for a couple of families in the ward and it took just about every vegetable and good thing we had in the house. I was planning chicken and rice or mac-n-cheese or pb&j for dinner (really) and I was so embarrassed when we had to eat normal just-to-get-by family food. She said she was so sick of rice and beans (she had been traveling internationally) that id didn’t matter. What a sweetheart! We haven’t seen her in about 8 years and she still looks just the same – always beautiful! Thanks for coming to see us, Becky – next time I promise we’ll have better food.