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!

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.

Things to do in Houston for Families

Okay, so I love that clown pic below but after really looking into it they want money and I hate that when you can do just a little research and get the information yourself. So….here is a basic list that I came up with for local Houston things to do for families. It’s easier and free to check out the websites yourself and get the information online. Hope this helps you as much as me – we have lots to do and discover!

Hot Sauce Festival –

The Health Museum –

Brazos Bend State Park –

Old Town Spring –

Houston Zoo –

Downtown Aquarium –

Memorial Park Conservancy –

288 Lake (formerly Tiki Lake) –

Blue Bell Creamery –

Dewberry Farm –

Armand Bayou Nature Center –

Marq*E Entertainment Center –

Bayou Wildlife Park –

Miller Outdoor Theatre –

Theater Under the Stars –

Kemah Boardwalk –

City of Houston Parks & Rec –

Mothers of the Woodlands (resourcel list) –

Woodland’s Children Museum –

Holocaust Museum Houston –

Houston Travel & Visitors Center/Info –

Houston Wilderness –

Galveston Island Travel & Tourism –

Things To Do in Houston (for Families!)

So the kids are bored. Up until now this vacation hasn’t been much of a vacation. Sure, we took a day off to go to Schlitterbahn and we’ve been swimming almost every day but I think the kids are itching to get out and explore their new city. I’ve been trying to research family oriented things to do online and the above pictures link to two of the sources I’ve found. We know nothing will compare to Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo so we’re looking for other substitutes. I’ve been to the children’s museum here and it compares to Omaha but surely there’s something else…we are anxious to try the aquarium as we’ve heard it’s wonderful. Are there any splash parks? I know there are other places out there that only locals know…if you live near Houston (we’re willing to drive!), please email me and let me know what you family enjoys.

Beautiful Moment: Offer Accepted!

I was on the computer early this morning, checking out any brand new listings or price reductions because I was SURE we didn’t get the house we made an offer on yesterday (there was a competing offer) and it had only been on the market for 2 days.

Beautiful moment: Don came upstairs and asked if I’d checked email and when I saw his face, I knew that we had gotten the offer accepted!!! I wish I could freeze that moment in time.

After a long year of cleaning and showing and taking a huge loss on our home in Gretna, we finally found some good news! We found a beautiful home for a great price in a great neighborhood with great schools that is large enough for our family AND clean and in great condition (everything else we’ve looked at so far needed so much work for the same price). Now we just need the continued prayers for a smooth inspection, appraisal and closing!

Check back later today as I’ll post some more pics after we get back in to show the kids.

Upside Down Boys


The boys stretching after our first day out of the car. Thankfully, I think this couch has seen much worse but we’re trying to not let them treat it like a jungle gym. I read a quote somewhere that said, “Boys don’t sit on couches, they RIDE them.” So true. Nadine – don’t panic – we will hurry and clean everything before you come home and pretend like some things never happened (unless it slips, of course).

Swimming in Houston



Just look at my man with his boys. What a sight! Do they look mischievous or what?! All the kids want to do is swim. I go back and forth between wanting to buy a house with a pool…and not wanting to buy a house with a pool. The kids would love it but I want to be sure there’s enough room for a garden. Plus I’m constantly worried about someone drowning. The yards in Houston are TINY until you get out to the country. Many of the houses we’ve seen have no back yard at all after they’ve put in a pool (seriously – NO grass at all). I guess, to some people, that would be a plus! It takes Don about 20 minutes max to mow his Dad’s yard. It’s like a postage stamp compared to our yard in Gretna which took an hour or two to mow. Crazy! I like having a yard and I’m looking forward to having a patio I can walk out to from my kitchen. If there isn’t one, I will be putting one in. We haven’t found the right house for us yet but I am hoping it is out there and we will find it soon!

Never Looked So Good!


The realtor’s sign has never, ever looked as good as with it’s “SOLD” sleeve on it. Cole admitted he went out and hugged it after he watched the realtor put it on. HOORAY! Fingers still crossed for a smooth closing…

Houston…We Have A Problem!

So the only real problem is Donnie and I both despise the heat but it looks like our attitude needs to change quickly because we’re headed to Houston instead of Hotlanta (yeah, and we thought Atlanta was going to be hot). I’m sadly looking around at my favorite winter coats, pullovers and jackets and can’t even conceive of life where it’s Omaha-Summer-Humid-Hot ALL YEAR LONG. Yikes. We’re going to need more than a few prayers in our behalf for this adventure! I keep telling myself this is what I said about Sandy, Utah before we lived there and it became one of our favorite places in the world. Well, at least maybe I can sweat off those last few pounds…just looking on the bright side!