Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A beautiful end to 2013

Ringing in the new year with an Aggie victory!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Holiday Road

The holidays have been all about family, food, football and fun! Here is a (relatively) short pictorial journey of the last few weeks. We are so blessed!

Enjoying warm December weather with the Austin cows

Cow kids

The moment when we thought we spotted Weston and Nana and Papa
on TV at the Texas high school football state playoffs

Playing Blokus with Nana

Cousin love

Christmas dinner at Nana and Papa's house

A whole lot of love

Clay's new (and super-cute) trick of holding a bubble in his mouth

Everyone's excited about Grandaddy's new candy machine

The famous traveling Watts

The annual watching of A Christmas Story

Swimming on Christmas morning

Making sweet potatoes with Mimi

Snoozing through Christmas dinner

Playing Scrabble at Cha-Cha's house

Reading with Mimi

Hunting buddies

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Pin of the Week: Veggie Wreath

I'm thinking of entering the food art industry, now that I've produced another cute veggie tray.
Pinterest makes a person feel like such a rock star.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The last list of favorites for 2013

Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot even tell you how much I love this book.
It's like a decadent dessert you can't wait to gobble up but that you want to savor every bite of.

And, speaking of books, The Baldwin Project is my go-to for free, classic children's ebooks on a wide variety of topics.

The name seriously says it all.

We actually bought our Better'n Peanut Butter at Trader Joe's (and not Amazon, like the link suggests).
But, that's not all we love about the store. It's just a super fun and unique place to shop.
We are so happy there is one in Austin now!
That little scrublet just makes me happy. And my face feels lovely after it's washed.

I would like to wear these leggings every single day of winter.
They feel just like a warm hug for your legs.
(Mine are actually S.O.N.G. brand, but I couldn't find a link for those.)

We used these arm bands on the kids when we went to Disney World,
and they definitely helped me feel like less of a nervous wreck.

A yummy, crunchy, relatively healthy snack that is easy to bring along.

I'm not sure how I am just now discovering the awesomeness that is parchment paper.
I could have saved myself many tears and ruined cakes and cookies, if I would have just known sooner.
And, as an added bonus, clean-up is so much simpler.
These are good. And, not just good-for-diet-food good. Mmm. I'm craving one now.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holly Jolly Holiday

Piano recital for a lady's group in Kingsland 12/2

Walkway of Lights, Marble Falls 12/2

Seasons Greetings in San Antonio 12/6

Gingerbread Village 12/7

Oh, Christmas Tree 12/11

festive flowers 12/13

Nursing home recital 12/14

deer-in-the-headlights (and Christmas lights!)  12/15

football on the lawn of the Johnson City courthouse 12/15

yearly carriage ride in Johnson City 12/15

trying to stay warm on the carriage ride 12/15

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pin of the Week: Winter Breakfast

The original pin was so much cuter and really a whole tablescape,
but I live in the real world and am calling this "good enough."

On the menu:
Powdered donut snowman with Rolo hat, mimi M&M eyes and buttons, fruit roll-up scarf, and Reese's Pieces nose
Vanilla Cinnamon snowman pancakes with chocolate chip eyes and buttons, Reese's nose and bacon scarf
Sweet Rice snow
White Hot Chocolate with marshmallows

This was supposed to be our first day of winter breakfast, but we were not going to be home on that day, so we welcomed winter a bit early, with much joy and lots of sugar (which is really the same thing, I guess). Happy Winter, everyone!

(A note to my children: This is proof for you in the weeks/months/years to come that I was occasionally a "fun mom." You will need to remember this because it is not likely to happen very often, as "fun mom" is not my strong suit. But, I do love you all, and maybe you could taste a bit of that love in this silly breakfast!)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Potty nose

This morning, in the grocery store, I had to take Clay to the restroom. I don't need to tell you, I'm sure, that the facilities were not in pristine condition. When we got into the stall, Clay became very agitated, saying, "I don't like it, Mom; it's yucky." I agreed and encouraged him to take care of his business quickly. After a few beats, he started fervently rubbing his nose and telling me in a most concerned voice, "It's on my nose!" Of course, I wanted to know what was on his nose, to which he replied, "The stinky!" And then, a question: "The stinky on your nose, Mom?" That kid. So stinkin' {wink, wink} cute!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Same city, different story

We love San Antonio, and we try to visit as often as we can. And, what we like to do when we go to San Antonio is basically cruise up and down the Riverwalk, watching people and eating Mexican food. When we found out that Andrew Pudewa, of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, was going to be speaking in San Antonio this past Friday night about how to help kids become competent communicators, we made plans to attend. The kids stayed with my parents, and we decided to make a weekend out of it.

We left the kids in Belton on Friday morning so we could pick up a purchase from Craig's List in San Marcos before noon. We arrived in San Antonio just in time for lunch, which was eaten at La Madeleine (that's French cuisine, not Mexican, in case you aren't familiar). But, with the weather frightfully cold, warm soup and a blazing fire sounded just right. Then, since we had already broken the Mexican mold, and since the speaking engagement wasn't close to the River, we decided on another non-Mexcian place, a recommendation from Diner's, Drive-Ins and Dives, for dinner. This "green" place, The Cove, seemed more Austin than San Antonio, and in addition to the restaurant also housed a car wash, pet wash and laundromat. 'Cause, you know, nothing's too fancy for a date night. It was interesting. And, delicious. And, we are already making plans to take the kids there the next time we are all in SA together, because it's just fun. After the excellent talk by Mr. Pudewa, in which he convincingly claimed that the two most important things you can do to nurture competent communicators is to read classic literature out loud to them (or have them listen to audiobooks) and have them memorize stories, poems and almost anything else that can be memorized, we finally made it down to our hotel (on the River) and found ourselves with late-night munchies, so we popped into the Italian restaurant in our hotel for snacks and dessert.

On Saturday, it was ridiculously cold, and we certainly weren't interested in venturing out to the Riverwalk. In fact, the only thing we really felt like doing was cuddling up and watching movies. So that's just what we did. We saw two different movies (Dallas Buyers Club and Last Vegas), at two different theaters, and then watched another (Paranoia) from the comfort of our hotel room later that night. We enjoyed them all, in completely different ways. Between the two daytime movies, we had lunch at Sea Island Shrimp House (again, not Mexican food, if you're keeping track), which was a place we enjoyed when we lived in Austin but haven't been back to since that location closed and was only survived by San Antonio locations. Saturday night, after enjoying La Merienda (happy hour) at the hotel, we finally made it down to the River to dine at Rio Rio. Only, instead of taking an obviously available outside table, we opted to sit inside--and still shivered through our dinner.

Sunday morning, we started looking around for a nice brunch but couldn't find one within a short walk of the hotel. So, we checked out and decided to try the Guenther House on the recommendation of the concierge. I'm sure it is wonderful, but with already growling tummies, we were unable to wait the hour and fifteen minutes they quoted us. So, we moved on to The Monterey, another joint with an Austinish vibe, and we were not disappointed.

Overall, it was a wonderful weekend. We tried lots of new things and may have found a few new favorites. And, it was just so nice to get away for a while. Shout out to my parents for allowing us the opportunity. I supposed they need a get-away themselves now.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

What does the Clay say?

Clay has his very own vocabulary, which is absolutely adorable and wonderful. And, I don't want to forget, as those words eventually become lost to "correctness," so I will preserve them here:

Chay (Clay) n. a super-cute, two-year-old boy, who is also a mess. [I not mess, I Chay.]

may-me (maybe) adv. perhaps, possibly. [May-me can have candy after eat.]

donut (grown-up) n. an adult. [I not big boy; I donut.] See also grownut.

picture me (take a picture of me) v. the action of taking a picture of the cutest possible toddler. [You picture me do this.]

hobtub (hot tub) n. a word used interchangeably for "hot tub" and "bathtub." [I get in hobtub 'night.]

Ruffie (Ruth) n. world's best big sister. [Ruffie hold me.]

barn (hammer) n. a device used for driving nails and banging on furniture and walls. [You no take my barn.] Unfortunately, no longer commonly used.

Octane (Eleanor of Aquitaine) n. a pet cat. [I help Max feed Octane.]

wuv (love) v. an expression of deep affection, usually accompanied by a bear hug around the neck. [I wuv you so much.]

bom-bom (bottom) n. a person's backside, used for sitting on. [I not sit on my bom-bom in shop cart!]

Ty-Ty (Tyler) n. a beloved, close-in-age cousin. [Ty-Ty come my house, play my toys.]

ree (really) adv. genuinely, truly. [I ree big.]

nak (snack) n. something to eat between meals. [I need a nak.]

dool (stool) n. a device used to help short people reach things in high, sometimes off-limits places. Also used for standing on when going potty. [I move my dool over here.]

oping (open) v. to make no longer closed. [I oping the door and go out-ide.]

dootch (scooch) v. to move in a confined space. [You dootch my chair up.]

joop (zip) v. the act of pulling a zipper up. [You joop my jacket?]

ot-tado (avocado) n. a pear-shaped fruit, used abundantly in Mexican cuisine and the Watts' kitchen. [I want ot-tado in my soup.]

nakin (napkin) n. a piece of paper or cloth used for wiping messy lips and fingers. [You get me nakin, wipe my face.]

cho-ya (show you) v. allow to be seen. [What is this all over your hands? Cho-ya.]

ert (dessert) n. something sweet to eat after a meal. [I eat this, I have ert?]

Monday, December 02, 2013

Days of Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful time during the Thanksgiving holiday. We arrived at my parents' house on Wednesday and began all the preparations for the big meal on Thursday. My grandparents and uncle and aunt (and their two German Shepherd puppies) joined us later in the day.

Cuddling with Granny

Trying out the puppies' pen
Thursday was all about eating. And eating. And eating. And, watching a little football and visiting. But, mostly eating.

A lovely Brussel sprout centerpiece
On Friday morning, Jeff and the boys went out for doughnuts. Because, of course, they needed more sugar and calories. Friday was also Ruth's half-birthday, so Jeff and I took her to see Catching Fire, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. And later in the day, because I let my boys pack their own bags and then got distracted and never double-checked their packing, and they ended up with not enough clothes and pretty much everything they own that doesn't fit or has holes in the crotch, we ventured out on Black Friday. Thankfully, though, we were able to avoid all the insanity by just popping into a wonderful children's consignment store in Temple that wasn't the least bit crowded. Clay was asleep when we got there, so my mom went in with the kids while I stayed in the car with Clay. She helped them pick some things out and oversaw the trying on of clothes, and then said she would buy one outfit for each kid. She randomly pulled out the outfits and paid for them, not looking at any of the tags. Then she came out to the car, and I went in the store to pay for the rest, also not looking at the tags. Our totals came out exactly the same, down to the penny, which completely confused the salesgirl and had us shaking our heads and chuckling for the rest of the day. A couple of my cousins (and two more very large German shepherds) joined the party on Friday, as well.

Eye on the prize

Icing and Sprinkles

Yay for doughnuts with Dad!

Watching a movie with Phillip

a private concert

coffee with Nana and Grandaddy
Jeff and Ruth left about 6 on Saturday morning, so Ruth could participate in her first competitive horse trail ride in Spicewood. She came away with the first place ribbon for her division. She also won a sweet thermal vest. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and is looking forward to participating in another ride soon. The rest of the family (and all their dogs) left on Saturday after lunch. Then, my mom and I took the boys to Target, so Weston could use the gift card he got for his birthday. Saturday evening was designated for football watching, and we literally all stopped mid-bite and got up from the table to replay the last second of the Alabama/Auburn game. Wow! Then, we watched the Aggies flounder and lose against Mizzou, but at least the Aggie defense seemed to show up in the first half, which isn't something we have been able to count on this season.

First place!
On Sunday, Weston wanted to use the Fandango gift card he got for his birthday to see Frozen. We took the three big kids. Everyone enjoyed the show, but Weston was a bit disappointed that the things depicted in the ads were not represented exactly in the movie. We spent the rest of the afternoon packing up and enjoying a brief visit with my sister and her family as they passed through on their way home from their Thanksgiving travels. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We have so much to be thankful for! Hope you had a great holiday, as well.

Reindeer games