Saturday, June 29, 2019

June Smorgasbord

Tour de Parks

The sweet and talented Dwija from Houseunseen came up with a plan this summer for her kids up in Minnesota.  They were going to try to hit up as many new parks as possible.  I loved this idea.  However, Texas is usually a lot hotter than Minnesota in the summer.  We don't really play in parks in the summer because of the heat.  You'll find us there in the winter though!  I implemented her plan recently with our home school group, making sure that the parks have splash pads and pools to cool off in.

We meet up at a different park each week, and it's been so much fun!


Last week, the younger children in our home school group were invited to gather with our parochial vicar and our deacon, (who is visiting for the summer and will be ordained next May), for a discussion on the Mass.  The parish recently acquired a beautiful Mass kit  and these holy men explained it beautifully to our children.

Some of the little girls sweetly announced how the Mass kit looks perfect for a tea party ;)

Our group has always been blessed to have such caring, guiding, supportive priests that fully embrace our homeschool community.  For that, we are truly grateful.


I read these three books since the beginning of the month.  Broken  and Blessed is so inspiring!!  Be Brave in the Scared is emotional but a must read.  The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane was a hard one to read.  Some of the customs described were painful to even imagine.


Hump Day this week


Sometimes children do better with strangers teaching them.  Even though she has three capable sisters, little miss is doing fairly well with Captain Nick. :)


Miss Clementine and I planted these GORGEOUS flowers from the Mary Garden seed packet she received in her Easter basket.   We planted them the end of April and they are almost as tall as Clementine! I love the colors, which just POP!


That brings June to an end.  Between all of the travels, celebrations, and life in general, it's been a whirlwind of a month.  I keep reminding myself that my word for the year is EXPERIENCE. ;)


Monday, June 24, 2019

Local Homeschool Graduation 2019 & Dinner Party

When you are home schooled, chances are you will have the opportunity to participate in more than one graduation ceremony.  Our home school group held its baccalaureate Mass and cake reception on June 5. 

We missed Sarah who was still in Europe at the time.  :)

I love how her senior table turned out.  Isn't it darling?  And it fits her personality perfectly.  All the senior tables looked so nice!

I loved how the table centerpieces turned out.  One mom used encyclopedias tied up in ribbon as the centerpiece for each table.  Perfect!

We waited until the end of June for her graduation party at home with our closest friends.  We have been so busy and we wanted Sarah present.

Last evening, the rain held out so we could celebrate officially as a family.

We fed her guests quite a meal! I set the dining room table up as a buffet and purchased a packaged, chafing dish buffet set (24 piece) at Party City.  I was able to clean up, repackage, and store most of it away for future use.  (I HIGHLY recommend these buffet sets!)

There were fresh veggies from the garden and a delicious strawberry/blueberry fruit bowl.

I made this mouthwatering cole slaw the day before as well as these Aaron Franklin pinto beans.

These cheesy potatoes were super easy to prep the day of.  David smoked pulled pork the day before and mouth watering brisket the morning of.

The menu was perfect for this crowd size (30 people) and easy to prepare since so much was done the day before.

The rain held off until that evening, thank God!  Most of her guests hung outside having corn hole tournaments, tossing the football around, and even playing four-square!  Ha ha!

Sarah was home, too, to help us celebrate!  The dinner party started at 4pm and the last two guests left at 11pm.  My friend told me that THAT is a sign of a good party!  I hope so :)   I'm so happy that these young adults enjoyed themselves and were comfortable hanging out at our house for so long.

Today I am wiped out!  We have had non-stop celebrating this year with so many milestones in our family to observe.  It's all good though.  This is the stage of life we are in. 

Here's to all the graduates out there.  Congratulations to you all and to the parents who are behind them cheering them on.  May graduates everywhere know how much Jesus loves them.


Friday, June 21, 2019

Powder Room Remodel

Back in March, we started the remodeling of our powder room on our main floor.  It started with me wanting to give it a fresh coat of paint.  However... one thing always led to another.

We had to put it on hold until early June because of everything else on the calendar.  (Senior year is ALWAYS a busy year.)

Before and After photos ::

We are all impressed with how it ended up turning out!!

* Same stool (just a new seat)

* Same wall cabinet but trimmed down a bit

* We ended up buying a new sink when the old one was inadvertently damaged while taking the wall mirror down.

* New wall mirror was $23 - I found it at a consignment shop.

* Light fixture, towel ring, and toilet paper holder all came from Lowe's

* David cut and painted the ship lap

He still needs to fill in the nail holes and give the ship lap one more coat of paint, but I'm calling it done for now.

Oh my goodness!  I am so grateful that my husband has been blessed with the gifts to be able to do this kind of work.  Incredibly grateful.


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Chocolate Pots de Creme

I wanted to make a special dessert for Father's Day this year and decided to revisit an old recipe that I made only one other time, back in 2011.  The richness of this decadent dessert brought smiles around the dinner table. I took photos of each step to show that this dessert with a fancy name is actually quite easy to make.

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time:  2 hours
Cook Time:  40 min
Level:  Intermediate
Servings:  4 servings

4 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped.
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/4 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cherry jam or preserves
fresh raspberries


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  Bring a kettle of water to boil over medium heat (will be used in the baking process)

3.  Put the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl. *I used a large bowl with a spout which is needed to pour in step #7.

4. Heat 1 1/2 cups of the cream and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Whisk just until the sugar is dissolved.

5. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. 

6.  Put the yolks in a small bowl; while whisking, add a small amount of the warm chocolate mixture to temper the yolks.  Next, whisk the yolk mixture into the chocolate until well combined.

7.  For the next step, you should transfer the mixture to a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.  *I made sure to put my chocolate into a bowl with a spout at the beginning of step #3.

8.  Put 4 (6 ounce) ramekins / custard cups into a high sided 13x9 baking dish.  Evenly fill the ramekins with the chocolate mixture.

9.  Carefully fill the pan with the hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins and transfer the pan into the oven.  Bake until custards are set but still jiggle slightly in the center, about 30 minutes.

10. Remove the pan from the oven and carefully transfer the custards to a rack and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate the custards at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, whisk the cherry jam in a small bowl until loosened and thin.  In a mixing bowl, whip the remaining 1/2 cup of cream and 1 teaspoon sugar until firm peaks form; gently fold the whipped cream into the cherry jam until just combined and streaky.

Serve the pots de creme chilled, topped with a dollop of cherry whipped cream.

I preferred mine with just raspberries!

Bon Appetit!


Monday, June 17, 2019

Mini Egg Frittatas

Mini Egg Frittatas

These are such delicious, protein-packed delectable frittatas!



Emma's Seton Graduation 2019

Emma and I had quite the special senior trip out to her graduation ceremony this past Memorial weekend.  There were some many amazing moments and memories.  The trip took forever to arrive and then it was over before we knew it.

Reminiscing here...

We flew into Nashville on a Thursday morning so we could eat a delicious breakfast at the Pancake Pantry!  A total stranger told us about the place and wowzer!  It was SCRUMPTIOUS!  After our bellies were full, we hit the town for a self-guided tour.  Emma's been dying to see Nashville especially since she's my little country girl ;)

My excitement was getting to view the General Lee when we stopped in at Cooter's Garage!  Ha ha!

Our first night was spent in Nashville.  We rose bright and early in order to get on the road Friday morning.  We had a LONG drive through the Smoky Mountains and needed to get to our destination by early evening.

She really wanted a road trip but since the drive from the Dallas area to Front Royal, VA (just west of D.C.), we decided to fly half way.  (A person under the age of  25 cannot drive a rental car unless you pay a daily fee - no thanks.)

The drive over the Smoky Mountains was breathtakingly beautiful!  Somewhere up in the mountains we stopped at this gorgeous state park that had a restaurant where we gobbled down a yummy lunch while we sat on a picturesque veranda.

We arrived in Front Royal, VA that evening just in time for a roller skating party hosted by Seton staff for all of the graduates and their families.

No.  I didn't  skate. I sure was glowing tho!  Ha ha!

On Saturday, Seton had a baccalaureate Mass for the graduates and their families.  What a grace-filled moment!  I love that parish out there, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.  Sarah and I attended Mass there when we flew out for her graduation in 2017.  Afterward, Emma and I had just enough time to eat a brunch before heading over for the graduation ceremony.

Oh man!  My tears were flowing.  What a moment!  Seeing your child graduate is an incredible experience.  Seeing your child graduate after homeschooling for 13 years is a different level of  incredible since you literally were there with them almost every single step of the way.

There were over 140 graduates in attendance, graduates from all over the world.  Emma had so much fun meeting up with friends in real life that she met online. :)

A reception was held immediately following the graduation and then a dance was put on for the families later in the evening.  Even though the day was long, it filled my heart with pure joy.  It was a good tired feeling.

On Sunday morning, after another beautiful Mass, we hit the road to head back.  Our goal was to get to Knoxville, TN.  I really enjoyed the drive so much better since there was less traffic on it (being a Sunday and all).

Monday morning, Memorial Day, I had the complete joy of meeting (in real life) a blog friend, Mary!  This was so fun, folks!  When I knew we would be driving through her neck of the woods, I asked if she'd want to meet up.  To my delight, she agreed!  Mary, her husband, Emma, and I all sat down for a delicious breakfast.  She and her husband are such amazing people.

Her parents are from Texas.  I live in Texas.  She's 1 of 10.  I am 1 of 9.  She is a speech therapist.  I have my degree in education.  She's Catholic. I'm Catholic.  She loves to camp, and you know I love to camp, too!

Then it was back on the road to Nashville once again.  Emma and I had the rest of the day, and I was wanting to go see The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's plantation.

It was blazing hot and humid, but we enjoyed ourselves regardless.  I love history!  The older I get, the more I love it.

Emma and I realized only after the tour that our traveling came full circle.  Four years ago, for her 8th grade graduation trip, Emma and I went to New Orleans to see the rich historical areas she studied here and here.  If it wasn't for Jackson, we would be a country flying a completely different flag!

On Tuesday, we were suppose to fly home early.  However, due to several flight cancellations, we didn't fly out until evening (after spending 8.5 hours in the airport).  Yikes!

The wine bar in the airport helped me out ;)

I'm so grateful for many moments in this homeschool journey.  Being able to participate in the actual graduation ceremony is the pinnacle, the summit.  I look forward to experiencing this with Mable in two years.  Hopefully, David can make it with us next time.  He's so important in this adventure.  It is definitely a team effort!


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Baptism Birthday

In the midst of all the craziness that this past May brought, we squeezed in a quick celebration of Stan the Man's Baptism birthday. 

This year we gifted him with the book, The Miracle of Father Kapaun; Priest, Soldier, and Korean War Hero, by Roy Wenzl and Travis Heying.

I found it on Amazon, here.

God bless you, Stan the man!  We love you!  Always remember how much Jesus loves you.

Mom & Dad

Saturday, June 15, 2019

What's for Sunday dinner?

I do not even know the last time I posted one of these.  It's been too long and too long since I had an intentional Sunday dinner for my family.

A couple of weeks ago it was just Stan, Clementine, David, and myself, but I made sure we had that Sunday dinner all planned out.

I put on a taco bar with Snickerdoodle Bars for dessert.  Oh my goodness!  The kiddos loved the special Jarritos soda ;)

We were out of town last Sunday, but with Father's Day coming up in a couple of days, I definitely have plans again.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Jelly Stone Park (& Camp) Guadalupe River 2019

Camping in Texas during the summer months is usually incredibly hot so you really should go where there's a swimming pool to jump into and cool off when things are heating up.  Because of those high temps and heat indexes, we tend to head to the resorts instead of the state parks.  We recently took Stan and Miss Clementine down to Jelly Stone Park & Camp: Guadalupe River for three nights.  Oh my goodness!!  They had the time of their lives.

We left pretty early since the drive to Kerrville, TX was a long one.

And it was a HOT day!

The park has six water slides (four just opened this spring).

There's a beautiful splash pad and three swimming pools (one indoor).

Stan's friend (and his dad) hauled their camper down, too.  It sure was nice for Stan to have a buddy to hang out with while there.  Miss Clementine made plenty of friends her age ;)

The Guadalupe River is so beautiful.  I love being out by nature!

Unfortunately, it started raining a few hours after we arrived and rained almost the entire time until the day we left. :/

The good news was that it was a steady light rain that brought in cooler temps.  We were able to turn off the a.c. after the first night, and we slept with the windows open.  In southwest Texas.  In June.  That's unheard of!

They still swam in the rain.  ;)

David did work on this trip.  I'm grateful he has the flexibility to work around his job.

There were so many camp activities.  Clementine said it was more fun then the cruises we've been on!

Every week has a different theme.  Every day of the week has a different line-up of activities.  There was something going on all the time, and you could participate as much or as little as you wanted to.

You could practice mining from the Guadalupe River, play miniature golf (at no extra cost), eat ice cream ($), and watch out for bears. Ha ha!

There were two air trampolines, playgrounds, swings by the river, a great rec hall...

At night, there were jumbo games to play and corn hole tournaments.  We can't forget the sack races!  The resort also had a pizzeria and pub on the premises in case you wanted to "dine out".

Miss Clementine LOVED LOVED LOVED the foam dance party!

Afterward, the kids took part in the Wet Hey Hey Ride.  The main rule:: ANYONE was a target.

They got me!

The Hey Hey rides were awesome.  There was a morning Hey Hey ride every morning.  It took the campers all around the resort while a camp ranger had them dancing to the music.

There was also the Glow Stick Hey Hey ride one evening.  Afterward, there was a glow stick pool party!

The water was so cold!  They didn't stay in it long.

I can't forget about the dance competition (that Clementine enjoyed) or the laser tag field (the boys LOVED that)!

Come rain or shine, football is played in Texas.  The boys enjoyed a wet game of flag football down by the river.  It was campers VS cabins. :)

Tug-o-war was a hit with the families that participated.  And how fun to see one of the bears get into the game!

On one of the afternoons, during art period in the rec hall, the kids (and parents) were able to build their own rockets.  Once they built them, they lined up outside to test them on the air compressor.  That was so fun to watch!

This was our first experience with a Jelly Stone park.  I'd go back there in a heartbeat!  (This isn't a paid endorsement either.) I was impressed with how CLEAN this park was, the variety of activities that the staff had lined up for the patrons, and the facilities were amazing.  What I noticed about this camp was that none of the activities included electronics.  The fun was plain, old-fashioned, fun.

Until our next camp out...



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