Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways
acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Saturday, June 23, 2012

7th Birthday......Part Two

We had a birthday party at home for Caleb this year.  When given the option, he always chooses to have the party at home.  This year after much pondering, he settled on a Swamp People theme. 

Here are his invitations.  First side said the where and when.

Second side had a cute picture of a Gator and a recent picture of Caleb in the corner.

He really wanted google-eyes on the gator, so most of the invites were made this way.

Here are some of the famous sayings from the show:

These are his favorite people from the show:

Here are the table decorations and his cupcake birthday cake.  The cake is 24 cupcakes organized in the shape of a Gator.  The brown scales are Mint Chocolate Cookies, the claws are Orange Rings, and the eyes and teeth are marshmallows.

In the background I put some fish netting, a small ceramic gator head, shiny green gator necklaces, candy dish, and all the signs.

I covered a large poster board with brown paper and trimmed it with some green papers to make it look like a "marsh."

I found a cute gator cookie cutter and made these also.

 A wild hair had me carving up this watermelon into a gator the hour before the party.  

Time for presents (not all gifts received are pictured):
Captain America mask from Sissy.

Fun, singing birthday card from Grandma and Grandpa.  Love that smile.

Another singing card from Miss Ella and family.

Always have to get a Caleb and Ella birthday picture.....

Hugs all around saying thank you.....

Happy birthday time!

Fun pictures of the kids eating and playing!!  All of them are precious and I love having my grand kids, niece, and friends here.

Looks like a pro in the making!

Thank you everyone for making Caleb's day so very special!  He loves all his family and friends so much and was very excited to have everyone here sharing in his day.

God bless,


Friday, June 22, 2012

Bounce House Fun!!

A spur of the moment text message from my friend T. put us leaving the house within an hour and driving over to Annaville to let the kids play at the Crazy Jump Zone.  It was one hour of bouncing fun!  I think they really had a great time!  And, they were running a half-off special that week.  So, one hour of fun for $5!

Here's my nut screaming from the top of a bounce house.  Umm, yeah.....not typical for him to let that loose, but he did.  Not sure what he was screaming and the photo is blurry, but you can see he's acting a little crazy.

I think maybe this bouncy house was their favorite, up the stairs and down the slide they went, over and over.

I did manage to catch one decent picture.  It wasn't easy getting them all still and cooperating for a picture!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

7th Birthday.....Part One

Caleb's birthday was on a Tuesday this year.  So, daddy took the day off to spend the day with Caleb.  We started the day with breakfast out and about - our favorite little Mexican food place in Sinton. 

Here's the birthday boy!

A photo with big brother Randy!

And Caleb said, "take a picture of me eating my taco, mom!"  So, here's Caleb taking a huge bite of his bacon and egg taco.

After breakfast we made our way to Corpus to the movie theater and watched Madagascar 3.  The option for 3D was an hour later, so Caleb opted for just the regular version.  I think Caleb had a great day.  When asked what he wanted for his birthday this year, Caleb said, "ya'll don't have to spend a lot of money on me for my birthday.  I just want to spend the day with my family."  So, that's what we did.

God bless,


Review and Give-a-Way, My Foundation

I was asked to review the following Christian CD from Vineyard Worship, Cultivation Generation 'My Foundation' which releases today, June 19th!  This is my first time to review music.  I've reviewed many books over the years so was fun for me to give this a try.  Especially with something I enjoy so very much, Christian Music.

If you would like to read my review and have a chance at winning a copy of this CD as a download, please hop on over to my other blog at, Joy810.  All you have to do is leave me a comment on that post telling me who your favorite Christian artist is, and why.  The winner will be announced July 1st!

So hop on over!  You don't want to miss a chance to win this fabulous CD!!

In His Name,
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Closing Ceremonies

A very excited little boy attended this year's closing ceremonies at the park.  It was the very end of his first baseball season.  Here he is running up to accept his trophy from Coach Danny.

Here he is afterwards, posing with his trophy in the very hot weather!

And here's the father / son team from the Yankee's.  I'm so proud of the both of them.  Caleb for stepping up and playing T-Ball when he declared from the beginning he didn't want to do it.  I'm so happy that he did enjoy it as much as I thought he would.  And I'm equally as proud of Johnny for stepping up as coach.  It wasn't easy wrangling 11-12 kid's for two practices a week and sometimes two games a week.  He was an amazing coach and did an awesome job with all the "little players."

I believe next time Caleb will be in the Coach Pitch league.  A big step up.  I'm sure he'll handle that a whole lot better than I will.

God bless,


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Amazima Ministries

I'd never heard of Amazima Ministries before I received this beautiful birthday present from my friend N.

I don't know about you, but I listen to a Christian radio station, K-Love, and some of the stories they tell and ministries they promote are helping people all over the U.S. and the World. So many of those ministries touch my heart, but I think, what can I do?  I'm one person.  Then I go on about my day until I hear the next radio spot announcing another situation that needs prayer and support.

When N. gave me this bracelet and then shared with me where it came from and the ministry it supports, once again, my heart was touched.  There was the answer to my question.  What could I do?  I can purchase gifts for people, that I was already buying anyway, from this incredible ministry.  Several blessings will come from it.  I will be blessed by giving a gift and from knowing that my purchase will help someone so desperately in need of help.  The receiver of the gift will be blessed with a beautiful bracelet and in knowing that it's purchase helped someone so desperately in need of help.

What is Amazima Ministries?  

It was a ministry founded by a 19 yr old young lady, Katie Davis, in 2008.  This organization feeds, educates, and encourages orphaned and vulnerable children and the poor in the country of Uganda.   In Lugandan, the language of Uganda, Amazima means "truth."

Amazima ministers to the people of Uganda in so many ways.  Education sponsorship, Masese Outreach,  Community Outreach, Vocational Projects, and Discipleship.

There is a lot of information about this amazing ministry.  Here is a direct link to their website if you'd like to read all about it for yourself.....

Or if you'd like to watch a youtube video - just give a quick click here and you can see in 1 minute and 40 seconds just how these women make this jewelry.  I am completely fascinated with it!!

What I would like to focus on is the one thing that K-Love keeps touching my heart with and that is sex-trafficking, prostitution, and slavery.  The names given to horrible issues prevalent in our world are so disturbing all on their own.  I can't, even for one second, think of what these women and young girls are actually going through on a daily basis.

The website says it like this:

"To empower women and give hope, Amazima initiated a self-sustaining vocational program for mothers in the Masese community by creating handmade, unique, Ugandan magazine necklaces. Each woman in the program makes beautiful necklaces (a lengthy process), which are sold in the United States. Because of their new jobs, these women have been able to turn away from work that was harmful and dangerous for themselves and their families such as prostitution, alcohol brewing, and trash picking. Women in this program also receive money management training and spiritual discipleship. Your support of Amazima's vocational programs builds entrepreneurship, restores dignity, and empowers the Ugandan people to work their own way out of poverty."

This is what I'm talking about.  A way WE can help!

If you are looking for that different, unique gift to give someone, why not consider a purchase from Amazima Ministries?   Your purchase will be a blessing in so many ways...

Walk with the King,


{cross post with Joy810}

What a Birthday!

Birthdays.  We all have them.  We like to try to make the birthday person feel special and recognize them on their important day.  Even if it's something as simple as a quick Facebook Happy Birthday Message, which I received way more of than I can remember right now.  This year was a fun birthday. I don't expect people to go over-board and fuss for me.  Johnny - I'm not talking about you.  Hee hee....

My early birthday present this year was something I asked for - a Keurig.  Now, I'm not a coffee drinker, but I love tea. Fresh iced tea.  When I make a pitcher of it for myself, it often starts going bad before I can drink it all.  I like hot chocolate and sometimes I even like hot tea, depending on what's happening, but especially in winter time when it's cool outside.  So far, I love my Keurig.  It will also be nice to offer others fresh coffee when they come out to the house.

My 46th birthday was filled with lots of surprises.

A dozen red roses from Johnny and Caleb and two of the sweetest birthday cards I think I've ever received.  Okay, that might be a stretch because, {blush} I'm a card saver and I love to receive cards and all cards I receive a special to me.  But, I will admit, that the wording in these cards just seemed, well, absolutely perfect.

The next surprise wasn't something I could photograph.  Johnny surprised me by taking MY birthday off of work!!   Yeah!  I was so tickled.  It was so nice to spend the day with Johnny and Caleb and not have a specific agenda.  Johnny made me a scrambled eggs with sausage & gravy breakfast.  He and Caleb did a little fussing outside and then we had to decide what to do.  We debated and debated, but decided to take Caleb to see Avengers.  Okay, I know it was my birthday, and that was probably not what I would have picked to see, but when you have an almost 7 yr old on your hands, romantic comedies and the like just don't make the cut.  

So, yes.  I am one of those parents who took my almost 7 yr old to see Avengers.  Honestly, had I see it first, I probably would not have let him watch this movie.  It's too late now though.  He's seen it.  He was nervous {scared} in a few places {mostly towards the beginning}, but he really enjoyed the super heros, the funny lines and the good guys beating the bad guys.  Do I wish he'd been a little older?  Yes, probably so.  Will I think twice about other super hero movies, like the new Spiderman movie coming out?  Yes, I will and I'm almost certain he won't be seeing that one any time soon.  But, Capt'n America is his absolute favorite super hero and I am grateful he's not had any nightmares, so I think we survived this round unscathed.  

Saturday we had a family gathering at the Parker Ranch and most of the family was able to come out.  My niece, Melanie, had to work and my DIL, Morgan, took the kiddos with her to Houston to visit her family, but the rest of the crew were able to come.  We even had a couple of guests the Autry's from Rick & Steph's church.   We had hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill (thank you Johnny), buns for our burgers and hotdogs (thank you Pastor & Diane), hotdogs and cheeses (thank you Allie & Aaron), a salad and pico (thank you Dusty), 7 layer Mexican dip, chips, and birthday desserts (thank you mom), and a tasty watermelon (thank you Rick & Steph).

Here are more of my sweet gifts:

This adorable cross from Allie and Aaron.  I love it and it matches my "decor" so well.  

This was a "Bless this Home" plaque, in case you can't read the wording, that Dusty and his family gave me.  This one is quite special because my DIL was out of town and Dusty went shopping on his own.  I know he relies on her to take care of these types of things and her gifts are always sweet and thoughtful, but I rather like the notion that this time my son went shopping just for me.  ;o) 

Here they are up on the wall.  I had to take a picture from the side as the glare from the back door windows was getting in the way of the photo.

I don't have a picture of it, but due to my bragging about the ceramic knife my parents gave to John for a gift one time, they gave me the smaller, paring knife size for my birthday.  It's going to be a wonderful addition to my kitchen.  I use John's knife all the time and have even dropped it on our concrete floors causing it to chip.  Hopefully I can keep this smaller one in my hand better and free of chips.  :o)

And then my church family.  They outdid themselves this year.  It seems that one of our members, Ms. Rita, put a bug in a few people's ears that they should do something special for me.  So, in a secretive fashion, they threw together a birthday breakfast and held it before church last Sunday.  Talk about surprised.

It didn't start off good though - - I wanted to warm up something for a breakfast to eat on the run and Johnny rushed me out the door.  I thought that was a little weird that he told me naw, and mumbled something I didn't quite decipher.  And on the way to church I said, "It sure would have been nice to have had a 'pig'.  I'm rather hungry."  He didn't say a word.  But then we got to church and I saw ALL the cars there early.  No one is there early except us and whichever family is leading music that week.  I walk inside and what do I see.  A smorgasbord of breakfast items!  And lots of smiling faces!!  They got me......

They gave me the flowers pictured above, a wonderful breakfast, a card signed by everyone, and a plaque for my office wall.  I'm drawing a blank right now, but the scripture is about serving.  It's beautiful and I will think of this special birthday every time I look at it.  I'll get a picture of it and post it up here another day.

One of my dearest friends L. gave me the friend plaque with the scripture on it and a new note pad for my desk.  However did she know I was running low on post-it's?  It's gotta be a God-thing.  :)

One of my other sweet friends gave me this bracelet she purchased from Amazima Ministries.  I'm going to tell you all about Amazima Ministries in a separate post.  It's a very special ministry and deserves a post all to itself.  If you can't wait for me, go ahead and google it.  But, I promise I'll get the info up here, soon......maybe even today if Caleb keeps on sleeping.  :)

My 46th birthday came to a close and I've never felt so blessed.  Thank you to my God for bringing me through another birthday, my husband, my children, my family, my church family, all the facebook folks, everyone for treating me so special.  I feel so undeserving and am humbled by all this extra attention.  But please know that I appreciate each and every gesture so very much!

With Warm Fuzzies,


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Veggie Mania

Everybody loves it when their garden is a success!  But, not everyone knows what to do with all the fruits of their labor.  This year, Johnny and Caleb truly did most of the work in the garden.  From planting, to watering, to picking.  At least until the end of the season when Johnny started getting a little busy.  I stepped in a few times to water and pick veggies that just had to be picked.  So, honestly, the success this year is much attributed to the hard work of the guys.   

This is our 3rd year to have a family garden.  I would have to say in some ways it was our most successful.  Other than the caterpillars who decided early on to literally destroy the beets, peas, and lettuce.   They tried to take out the onions, but the end result of those was to at least have some green onion and chives for the freezer.

We shared A LOT of veggies with family and neighbors.  And when it came down to it, we still had all of this to figure out what to do with!  This is 1/2 of my kitchen table folks!  I'm certain if we'd not shared, my table would have been full.

Memorial Day came around and as much as we'd have rather gone to the movies or, well, basically, anywhere, we decided to stay home and attack the veggies in order to preserve as much as we could.  I hate waste and I was determined I would do my best to prevent that this year.  So, here was a bucket of bell peppers.


And bagged!  Love it!  We don't use a lot of bell pepper, but when we do, all I have to do now is pull out a bag and break off a clump.  Why did I start with the bell pepper?  Because there were only a few of them and I knew they would be done quickly.

The squash on the other hand was a completely different story.  We had tons of squash.  I tried to count them, but lost count.  What I did count was the number of cups we cut up and bagged for the freezer.  107 cups of squash in all. Yikes!

I had the best help ever.  Caleb and Johnny.  I found in my kitchen drawer this neat tool I had bought from a Pampered Chef party one time.  I was a nervous wreck as Caleb wanted to help CUT VEGGIES.  In my mind I wanted to just send him outside to play, but in reality, I knew that wouldn't work.  He would feel left out and I would be knocking him out of his big-boy status real quick.  So, hence the tool he is using.  It holds the squash in place and he can cut between the tines!  Incredible tool and made my job of watching him with the knife much easier.  Whew...

I blanched the squash for a couple of short minutes before cooling and bagging.  Everywhere I read said it was best to blanch them as it completely stops the growth.  My only hope is that they will still be tasty when we defrost and eat them.  But, some attempt at preservation was better than none and watching all this go to waste.  Well, I'm sure I could have shared and given most of it away.  But, I like having lots of bags of frozen veggies in my freezer.  

The rest of the squash we cut up in small chunks.  One of Johnny's favorite meals (and now mine), is Calabasa with chicken.  Okay so that name is probably half hispanic/half white.  But, basically it's chicken with squash.  The squash "melts" down until it's as soft as soft can be.  With the right seasonings, totally yummy!

Here I was bagging it up in gallon sized freezer bags.  It takes a ton of cut up squash to make a medium casserole size of the meal.  So, in my guessing, I figured a gallon sized bag would be about a meal, plus a day or two of leftovers.

I think I ended up with 4-5 gallon bags.  So, pleased with that.  I know Johnny was hoping for more, but we shared a lot of veggies and it felt good to share with others.

 We did not grow corn this year. But my wonderful brother and sister-in-law shared their bounty with us.  We ended up with about 6 or 7 meals in the freezer.  Since Caleb likes corn, that was a blessing to have some for him.

And last but not least, onions.  The onions pictured here in this photo we did not grow.  Johnny was given a large bag of onions from the Valley.  They were the sweetest onions I think I'd ever received.  Honestly,  I cut up enough onions to FILL 5 quart sized freezer bags and did not shed ONE tear.  I mean it.  I had set myself up for crying and burning eyes.  But no.  Not one tear.  It was awesome!

It took us a full day to work through all these veggies, cutting, blanching, bagging, etc.  I own a food processor.  But, don't laugh at me -- I cannot seem to figure out how to use it to just dice up the veggies in small chunks.  The first batch of bell peppers I did I used my food processor and honestly, if babies ate bell peppers, the texture would have been nearly perfect for them.  It was almost like a soup.  I even changed blades and tried again. Still no success.  So, my goal between now and the next garden is to read the book and figure out which blade will give me the cut I want.  All the while we were cutting I kept telling myself, there has to be a better way.  I'll get it figured out.  Truthfully, it was fun.  By the end of the day my body was aching and my tennis elbow was talking to me.  But, the "fun" was in knowing that we did better than last year and preserved the fruits of our labor to enjoy throughout the next few months until we run out.

I still have the cucumbers and tomatoes to mess with.  My goal is to make a GREAT salsa and Ranchero Sauce for Johnny.  One of these days I'll get that figured out, too.

Until next time,

Papalote Mom