Making a Halloween Spider Rug (Cheap & Easy Craft!)




I saw this idea in a magazine and didn’t have access to the supplies they suggested so when I hit Lowe’s for some fence stain, I grabbed a 6′ x 8′ indoor/outdoor rug for $17 in black and cut it into two halves. One half I made into a round spider web and the other half I made into a very large oval spider web. We painted the lines on the round one with all-weather silicone caulking. I am afraid it isn’t going to stick very well or could be pulled off, so I’m going to get some white fabric paint and do the second rug (and re-do the white lines on the first one). It turned out really cute and it was cheap and easy! It’s a great way to fill a large porch with a custom sized rug and my Kindergartner enjoyed helping me draw the lines as we marked them out with a white crayon (we didn’t have any chalk on hand!) and it worked perfectly. He could easily help and follow the ruler — it was a fun, cheap, and quick family activity! Highly recommend!


Here is one of Ben — at first he held the yardstick while I drew the lines with a white crayon. Then, he begged and begged so I held the yardstick and he drew the lines perfectly fine! He’s a kindergartner, so if he can do it — anyone can! It truly is a cheap, easy family project for Halloween.

UPDATE Halloween 2012: This rug is still in silicone only and has held up really, really well! I did NOT go back over it with paint or anything else. Yay!


Just for fun, here is my all-time favorite Halloween decoration. At our house, the witch is ALWAYS in!!!

Oklahoma, O-K!

We love Oklahoma. We were all riding in the car and Ben piped up with the 2nd verse about his honeylamb so I figured I needed to get it on tape. We all stared at him in amazement since none of us knew all of those words! Apparently, this is what they teach in Kindergarten in Oklahoma and that’s OK by us!

Fall is Here!



I planted some mums in this cute planter and Don put them up near the front door for me – so cute! His honey-do list is shrinking.


I found the sign above on our trip to Omaha over Labor Day weekend and had to bring it home. Love it and it hangs in our living room now.

Wilderness Safari, Lamberts, Branson, Springfield & Bass Pro!

One busy final weekend before school began. We made a one-night trip and did so many things! Yes, only one night but we were able to stop outside of Springfield, MO and visit a Wildlife Safari that was some of the best fun we’ve had in awhile! There were zebras, cows, bison, bears, tigers, a giraffe, etc., and you could feed most everything. The boys had an absolute blast and the bus ride was well worth the extra cost. Highly recommend for a fun, quick adventure. Then, we went to Bass Pro in Springfield and drove on to Branson to spend the night. We ate at Lambert’s Cafe (our second time ever) and we will always drive out of the way to stop there if we are near the Ozarks. Love that place! Enjoy the pics.


A little smoochie with the hubs. I thought it was funny that two teenage girls were cleaning out the panther area and the bus drive said the display was for man-eaters. Cole took pictures. {Sigh} Teenagers.



Great video below of the tigers being fed chicken. The white one gets tired of giving the orange one chances and ends up taking it.



Waiting at Lambert’s Cafe (below).


Bass Pro fun (below).



Blue Hole (Oklahoma Swimming Hole)




We had a great drive a couple of weeks ago — it’s about 79 miles away but so, very worth it. We left on a Saturday around 3 p.m. which we thought might be too late to do anything but we had the nicest evening at this little Oklahoma swimming hole. It was $10 per car load and the water was so clear you could see minnows and tadpoles. We had a really fun time and stayed until closing, which was 8 p.m. I highly recommend it! It was 8 miles east of the town of Salina, Oklahoma near Kenwood. Just go to Salina and ask at the gas station — they’ll point you in the right direction! Great short drive. We can’t wait to go again!

Oklahoma Aquarium in Tulsa

So we had a great time in Tulsa at the Oklahoma Aquarium — AFTER we found it! The directions to get there are a little strange and since 75 South is closed in a section of downtown Tulsa and we didn’t have Lole, our beloved GPS, we were a little lost but managed to get there. We got to go on a behind-the-scenes shark tank tour full of bull sharks and it was really fun and fascinating, although I was afraid one of the boys would fall in! Now that the kids are back in school, I hope to be able to post more about what we’re doing and what we’ve done.


The boys waiting for the shark tour.


Cole took some great pics and this is a neat one of a special kind of jellyfish.


The boys searching for “clues”.






Summer fun in Bartlesville



The boys are taking a Shotokan Karate / Mixed Martial Arts class here in Bartlesville. Cole went tonight and made the other teenagers (and instructor) gasp when he did his self defense techniques. I am so proud of him. Nobody wanted to volunteer to “attack” him after his very first demo. It’s a great dojo and it will take quite a bit of adjustment for him to learn their style, etc., but if anyone can do it, I know it’s Cole. I’m hoping it’s like learning a foreign language and the old will come naturally to him – I don’t ever want him to forget the instruction he’s received in Gretna and Taekwondo. Mr. Staack and his crew were the best teachers I have ever met and we miss them terribly! Cole has been so lucky to study under that organization.


This last pic is Benjamin sampling the cake balls that Cole made today. Thanks to Aunt Lili for the great Christmas present last year. They are so fun to eat – the kids just love ’em!

Scuba Dive Certified


Cole made it back. Since he flew alone to Houston and then made it to Corpus Christi, sans camera, we don’t have any pics of the trip. We do, however, have this pic of his handsome face as he left us in a very messy home shortly after moving in. He made it out for his scout trip just in time to leave his father and me carrying Christmas decor into the attic in 102 degree Oklahoma weather. The things we parents do for our kids to have memorable experiences!

We’ve Made An Offer

house front

patio with outdoorfireplace

another kitchen view

We’ve made an offer and it has been accepted – I think all docs have been signed until closing which isn’t until June 30th. I’m going to head to Omaha for a month after the kiddos are out of school while Don works his heart out here in Bartlesville. These next six weeks cannot pass quickly enough! I am so in love with this home — I’ve finally found everything I’ve ever asked for in a home: white trim, ranch, 4 bedrooms, farm sink, gas range, patio, good sized yard, fence, sprinkler system, all brick construction. Sigh. It will help justify the price tag. We hope this is our forever home. We really, really love this town.

Happy Mother’s Day & House Hunting

delights potholders

Happy Mother’s Day to all! These flowers are from the crochet-a-long on Ravelry, pattern created by Claudia “delights“. Her blog posts many colorful versions – what a great idea!

I have a few extra minutes to write today because the boys went to visit the Skiatook Branch of the church we belong to today without me. I missed the children singing to their mothers! …but, on the flip side, I have a few extra QUIET minutes to write. We have been house hunting for 2 and a half weeks. I have mixed emotions. We’ve run the gamut: downsizing, acreage, old home, new home, in Bartlesville, in Skiatook, etc. We have some important decisions to make — there are pros and cons to each choice and combination of choices. The kids are begging for an acreage but the best one we’ve found has a FANTASTIC acreage but a really, really old ranch house that would need to be entirely redone. We found a fantastic house on an acre but no livestock (I want chickens!). We’ve found a fantastic new home in town with a large yard and also another, downsized fantastic new-ish home in town that would have little resale value (it’s the only newish home in the neighborhood). Lots and lots of decisions to make. I’m grateful to be able to make these decisions: thankful for my kiddos, for my husband’s job and for being blessed with the world’s greatest mother.

The Last Hurrah – Aunt Lili Visits Houston


My sister Lili flew in on late Thursday afternoon and we went to Mega Mel’s Cafe in Tomball and then to the boys’ favorite tire park (Jerry Matheson park, also in Tomball). We are going to miss those places. I heart Tomball. If we ever have to move back to Houston, that is where we would go! Then, Friday, we got up early and drove to San Antonio and went to Six Flags for the day and wore everyone out. Saturday we drove to Kemah Boardwalk for the Crawfish Festival with Zydeco music and, no, I did not eat any crawfish. We went to one of the best restaurants for my birthday that I have ever eaten at: Saltgrass Steakhouse. It was very yummy and I only had the steak salad! Sunday we went to church and then looked for dolphins as we took the ferry across Galveston to the Bolivar Peninsula and spent the day at Crystal Beach. It was a wild ride (with lots of time in the car!) but we had such a great time with Lili here to celebrate my birthday. When we dropped her back off at the airport on Monday, I think it felt like she had just arrived — what a whirlwind tour. It was nice to have a visitor before we leave for Oklahoma.

Big News! Moving to Bartlesville, Oklahoma


We are excited to move to Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  It sounds like the area is right up our alley (tornado alley, that is) and really our speed.  We love smaller towns and are so excited to be closer to Omaha.  ConocoPhillips (yes, I believe it’s all one word) moved fast and hired Don very quickly.  He’s really looking forward to working with his new boss and team – they sound like great people to work with.  It will be a big change after thirteen years at Hewlett Packard but change is good and I know this move will be really good for him.  I’m worried a bit that the move has something to do with Bartlesville being the home of the largest Colt museum in the world…it sounds like Oklahoma is an outdoor paradise for hunting, fishing, and shooting.  Don + Oklahoma + a Cabela’s catalog = a midlife crisis I can live with!!!

Happy Birthday Gabe

beautiful gabe loves chocolate

chubbo gabe gets bath in sink ralston house

So today Gabe is ten (ten!) and in just a few days, Ben will be five. These are milestone years. It seems like Gabe was just the blue eyed kid eating chocolate (above) or the chubbo getting a bath in the sink (above). When Cole turned ten, I cried while he was at school thinking how quickly the time was flying by. Now that it’s Gabe, I can’t promise I’ll cry but I am equally — if not more — stunned at the speed of the years. I feel like Gabe is still just entering the nursery at church! He was such a cute baby and has grown into the cutest young man.

Brazos Bend State Park (The Alligator Park)



I think I’m going to love the new church schedule. Ahhh….Sunday afternoons spent the way they should be – with family, friends and in the outdoors! We had a nice time yesterday with the Carrs (friends from church) and their kiddos. We only saw one alligator and he was in the water which was different from our last visit when they were along the paths so you had to double back instead of crossing over them! It was a nice, sunny day. I am thankful for this beautiful world. It is good to be outside.

Cole Turns 15



Sigh. He’s 15. We should be getting a learner’s permit, right? He’s got some catching up to do in scouts for that to happen. He’ll do it – he’s a self-motivated kid and we don’t push like some scout parents. I wish we could have given him a bigger celebration this year because he means the world to us but finances are tight and the poor kid didn’t get anything at all present-wise from us though his grandparents on both sides came through. He does know we love him and I offered to make him his favorite dinner but he couldn’t commit to one so we had Taco Bell. He did get the traditional family chocolate cake. He is the best kid we could have ever asked for! I wouldn’t even trade him for a girl. He’s always been a good kid and here’s to hoping it lasts at least through the rest of the teenage years (one can hope, right?). So anyway, here’s a very public birthday note for Cole: We love you, Cole! You make us proud in every single thing you do. You are a great big brother. You are a smart, capable, responsible young man and you surprise us almost every day with your intelligence and witty humor. We will forgive you the antics on early morning seminary drives (that would be your antics, not ours). Love, Mom & Dad