Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Once again we enjoyed our standard traditions for Christmas Eve. We have family over for dinner and we play games for as long as we can stay awake:) Of course then Randy and I stay up late wrapping the Santa presents and I make sticky buns that I can just pop in the oven Christmas morning. The kids still, yes still, leave the plate of cookies for Santa and I take their picture by the fireplace. Then Randy helps them build a fort in Davis' room and they all sleep together, yes still! I love that they still want to enjoy our traditions even if they are teenagers. They are still just kids to me!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Physics World!

Kelsie and her friend, Jessica spent 12, yes 12 hours straight working on their Physics project Saturday night. Last year Nolan had to build a bridge out of spaghetti and glue for physics class...to get an A it had to hold 100 pounds. Of course Randy was involved with this one...actually at one point we had 6 people working on it...school has become much more demanding since I was there a hundred years ago!!! After I spent the day scrappin' with my SBF ladies, I was up until 1 am baking for our trip to Belton...they were up until 3:30am!! That's when I heard the cheers after their project worked all the way through after resetting it numerous times! Check it out...


The Belton Family Christmas

Well another Belton Family Christmas gathering has come and gone. There are 11 cousins and with Danny getting married in April, we expect a few more little Townsend cousins in the future :) Lisa hosted us at her house this year since Randy's parents house is in need of repairs and currently being repainted and repaired. We did a re-gifted Chinese Christmas which was lots of fun...so much fun that we decided to do it again next year along with the regular drawing of names. Next year we will each draw a name instead of just doing it for the kids, but with with a smaller $15 limit. Next year is also our turn to plan/cook the food and we heard requests for our shish-kabobs on the grill...very tasty but I don't enjoy all that skewering!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Photos and Bargains

Thank you to my friend, Susan Helmer who encouraged me to send in my fall photo of the creek behind our house to the KVUE weather contest. Mark Murray chose my photo for the Friday night newscast last week and it is posted here under December 5th http://www.kvue.com/sharedcontent/advertising/ads/kvue/photocontest/

There are lots of awesome photos if you go back and look at the previous months! While poking around on their website after I signed up for their updates, there is a great link called "Discounts in Austin" where I found discounted restaurant gift certificates. We bought a 2 for 1 certificate for Hoover's. If you've never been there, it's great home cooking and we traditionally go there before we head out for the trail of lights.

Another great bargain I found...had a ladies night out at Johnny Carino's. There were six of us and we ordered 3 family platters to share, salad and had a pitcher of Italian margaritas (and one of the ladies added in a coupon for free dessert:). With tax and tip we each paid only $13! On Monday nights when you dine in, you can order family platters for the price of a single entree. It's a great place to go hang out where they don't rush you so if you are feeling like Italian, check it out!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Elgin Tree Farm

We have been going to the tree farm in Elgin every year since I can remember. I have pictures from each year (I think I need a chipboard Christmas tree book Pam:) and this was the first year that there was no pile of hay for the kids to jump on. There was a hay maze that Kelsie and I checked out, but it said "no climbing on the hay bales." I have such vivid memories of them playing on that pile of hay, playing king of the mountain and pushing each other off then getting into the car with pieces of hay stuck all over their clothes. And even as old as they are, they were still asking, "Are we gonna get candy canes?" There is a little basket of candy canes at the counter where you pay for the tree and of course they always sneak a few more than 1 :) Nolan was sick but we made him go anyway and you can see his excitement!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Texas Fall

Well it's not Vermont, but I did snap this photo right in our own backyard. There isn't much water left in the creek behind our house but Kelsie and her friend went on a canoeing adventure over the break. Thank goodness for those few trees that bring us fall colors!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We did shop!

My dear daughter talked me into to doing the black Friday thing. So she brought 2 friends and I begged my friend lynn to join us for our adventure. The most difficult thing was trying to stay up until midnight after eating our big turkey dinner and laying around the house watching football on Thursday.

Our adventure began at the midnight outlet mall extravaganza. As we approach the mall on I35, we see streams of cars lined up to get into the parking lot...made me think of that long line we always wait in to go to the trail of lights. I'm thinking...hmmm...where is my cozy bed? We enter the parking lot and we quickly see that it will be much like a crap shoot to get a parking spot. We see people already heading back out to their cars, smiling with bags in hand obviously happy with their doorbuster prizes. So we decide to drop the girls off and continue the hunt for a parking space. We quickly thought of other things to do while they shopped...is there a Starbucks open?, let's just pull over and nap, what restaurants are open? But of course we decide, why should they have all the fun! We laughed hysterically many times as we would see a space, rush to the next aisle only to see another car waiting with their blinker on. So then we resort to the "following anyone walking with bags to their car" method which resulted in people waving their fingers at us and mouthing "we aren't leaving" or to us naming each group of shoppers "where is that boot lady" (she was wearing boots) or "follow the three stooges" (3 innocent guys walking to their car:) Now we are all the way out by the movie theatre and about to give it up when we pass a row and Lynn yells..."there's one!!" So I swiftly put the car in reverse (she only had a mild case of whiplash) and zoom to the open spot and see that there are actually 2 spots so the guy behind me was thrilled! They get out of their car and I hear the guy yell "SUCCESS!" and we are all laughing and thinking "what the heck are we doing here."
The girls found some great bargains and we found a few. Sadly there were at least 4 stores that were going out of business so the sales were plentiful. We continue to be dumbfounded as we see all these people shopping in the middle of the night and finally at 3am our stomachs are growling so we finish up the bargain hunting and advance to the only place open at 3am in Round Rock...IHop.

Our amazement continues as we have to wait 15 minutes for a table and see couples with little babies (maybe they were up in the middle of the night anyway) and big groups of people. After all this we decide, well it's already 4:45 and Target opens in 15 minutes (so I thought). So we drive to Target (there were 3 things there that I really wanted) and it doesn't open until 6am so Kelsie says, "Well let's just go to Kohl's until Target opens." I'm thinking oh to be young and full of energy again. So we continue with the plan and I found a digital frame for my dh's office and so we continued on to Target. I tell the girls there are just 3 things that I want to buy, it shouldn't take long. I find my treasures, checked out with no waiting and then call Kelsie to tell her to come up front. She says, "Oh we went back out to the car" where I find them laid out across the seats. It was a fun and crazy night, but not sure I'd do it again. The older I get, the longer it takes me to get over those all-nighters:)

But the funniest thing about it all is that for the major gifts that we're getting for the kids, we found the best deals online and shopped in our jammies from home:)))) That's my kind of shopping!

Friday, November 21, 2008

To shop or not to shop...

So every year I debate about fighting the crowds the day after Thanksgiving for those bargain prices. Some years I've done the early morning thing and other years I stayed home and slept in my warm cozy bed. I'm truly wondering what will happen this year with our sagging economy. Will the crowds be worse or are people just cutting back altogether? I came across a website that has "leaked" many of the Black Friday deals. I am amazed that there is an entire website dedicated to Black Friday!! Regardless, here is the site and if you are shopping for something particular you can see if it will be worth your while to get up in the dark and stand in lines:) You can sort by store, item, etc. so Happy Black Friday to you! (http://www.blackfriday.info/)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hook Em'

Well after about a month of indecision, Nolan made his college choice known last night. We are chillin' out, watching reruns of The Office, and he says, "Hey mom, we can go ahead and put down that deposit on UT." And I'm on the computer and half watching the TV and half listening and I'm like...OK. (I reminded myself of my father who used to do 4 or 5 things at once and we could go up to him and say...Daddy, can I have a hundred dollars? Daddy, can I go to Alaska?...and he would always reply "OK" cuz he hadn't really heard a word we said.) Once I came back to earth, I had to ask him...OK, so this is your decision...it's final? And then he shrugs!!! I'm thinking..I'm not going to put down a deposit on a shrug! So then he laughs and says, "Yes I'm sure." In retrospect, just this week he came home telling me about several of his friends making their decisions and who was going where and I think that spurred him to make his commitment (peer pressure but in a good way!) So now I can relax and start getting used to the reality that he is moving out, but he'll be just down the road. I took each of my kids' pictures in this onesie...hard to believe that many years have gone by:)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mangia's 20 cent pizzas this Weekend!

You all know how I love bargains and this is one of my kids' favorite pizza places. There's one meal I won't have to cook this weekend :)

To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Mangia wants to give back to Austin and its thousands of customers by offering 20 cent pizzas! This Saturday and Sunday, November 15th & 16th, buy one pizza at regular price and get a second pizza of equal or lesser value for just 20 cents each. No gimmicks, no tricks - it is Mangia Pizza's way of celebrating their birthday and sharing it with you! But that's not all, every purchase of $10 or more in November receives a $5 Mangia gift certificate (redeemable in December and January).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gift Exchange Ideas

OK...I need help! We are doing a gift exchange with Randy's family for Christmas. We've done lots of different formats...Chinese Exchange, Draw names & make a wish list, etc. etc. Has anyone heard of something fun and different with a gift exchange??? We need a game that is cheap and fun cuz there are 11 kids in the family.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Decision Time

Well, Nolan has realized that his hard work paid off! He was accepted to UT and to A&M. Now I really am trying to be objective (orange) and help him look at the pros and cons of each school (Hook 'EM). He is in the decision phase (Austin) and seems to be in limbo when you ask him which way he is leaning (The Eyes of Texas). So now I am trying to help him figure out what other information he needs to help him make that final decision (Bevo). No seriously, each school is wonderfully different and either would be a great opportunity!!! But I think he really would look better in that burnt orange :)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Save Your Sticker

I love to check out walletpop.com. They have lots of info on freebies (scroll down to the freebie blog), ways to save $$, recycling, etc. So yesterday I read if you go by any Krispy Kreme on Nov. 4th and show your "I voted" sticker you get a free star-shaped doughnut. Now I personally prefer Round Rock Doughnuts and I don't have a Krispy Kreme near me anymore and I'm really trying to cut down on my sugar intake, but hey if I happen to be driving by one on Tuesday (and remember to bring my "I voted" sticker since I voted early) then I'll get a free doughnut. I also read that Taco Bell was giving away free tacos to celebrate the first stolen base in the World Series, but I read it after the fact and since I'm not a baseball fan I was like, oh is the World Series going on??? Anyway you can also play the rice game (www.freerice.com) where you take a multiple choice vocabulary test and for every one you get right, grains of rice are donated to the UN World Food Program. I don't think I fed very many people, but I did send it to my kids to help them study for their SAT :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Last night Kelsie was inducted into the National Honor Society. Nolan was on the planning committee so he handed out programs and ushered the new members. It's really kinda cool that we can go to an event and see both of them which happens often since they are only a grade apart. Of course when one of them leaves for college right after the other, I won't be thinking it's too cool. I think I found the perfect investment for me...Kleenex! Oh well...just think of all that scrappin' time I'll have! OH wait..nevermind. I'll have to get a real job to help pay for those college years.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's a Miracle!

Anyone who has an almost 13-year old boy can probably relate to my frustration of trying to take pictures of him. I have many pictures of the top of his head or of a blanket on top of his head or the back of his head as he avoids every picture that I try to take. I'm not sure what is going on in that supposedly developing brain of his...I think he's already taken too many hits to the head in football. Maybe he's been playing without his helmet when the coach isn't looking! Anywho, he was chosen as an outstanding student for the first 6 weeks of school and of course they have the little ceremony at school. This year as 8th graders they have earned the pleasure of having the ceremony in the library instead of the loud and lovely gym. Ok now I know he's not smiling...he's even scowling I think, but I did get his face and he is even standing next to one of his parental units!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Visa Card Raffle

I know how you all like to gamble with your money! Kelsie's club team is hosting a raffle for a $500 VISA Card to help raise money for their trip to the Final Four Tournament in North Carolina this December. The tickets are $5 each and one lucky supporter will win a $500 VISA Gift Card...that would cover my Holiday Shopping! The drawing will be held on November 22nd. If you want to play, send us a check made out to Lonestar 93 Red and we'll fill out your tickets for you and get them turned in. Also leave us a comment or shoot me an email so we'll know to look for your check. Thanks yall!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Darlene Stopped by to say Hi!

OK...most of you reading this know Darlene. Well she and Roger have moved back to Texas and are living in Irving. They are crossing their fingers on job prospects and are just so happy to be back home. Darlene was in town helping to take care of Jordyn while Amanda had thyroid surgery...all went well and Amanda is doing great so that is a relief. She hopes to come back soon and when she does we'll plan for a SBF reunion!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crazy Carl

I took two of my friends who had never been to Esther's Follies down to 6th street. It had been awhile since I had been, but with an election around the corner I knew the skits would be priceless and it was as funny as usual. When I was at UT, the Follies was just getting started and you could go watch the dress rehearsals for free...great cheap entertainment for poor college students. Well now tickets are $20, but still not bad for a couple of hours of constant laughter. The highlight is Crazy Carl who is part of the show complete in his bra and thong balancing a rose on his nose seen through the windows that are at the back of the stage. Of course we couldn't pass up a photo op with Carl. Dana took the picture so I had to paste her in to make the photo complete. After seeing my attempt at Photoshopping skills, Kelsie said to me, "Mom, you need a job!" She was not complementing my skills...she was saying I had wayyyyyy to much time on my hands.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sweet 16

Well it's official...Kelsie is 16. We went on her birthday to get her license so now I get to be worried about 2 kids driving around the city. They are sharing the Mustang...that will be an adventure I'm sure but so far so good. At least now the Mustang will be clean...she's already wanting to take it to the carwash. The night of her birthday we took her and 5 friends to the Alamo Drafthouse to watch The Office. Apparently they also show the debates during which the audience plays drinking games like taking a drink every time they hear the word "friend" or "Maverick!" We also celebrated with her soccer team over the weekend on our trip to Oklahoma for soccer. It was eerie being in Oklahoma during TX/OU weekend but we had a great time razzing those Okies in our burnt orange shirts...especially after the game :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

College visits

On the days when I'm not monitoring Nolan's college application process, I am taking Kelsie on college visits. Her ambition is to play soccer and that's another story all-together. I have helped her research Texas schools that offer women's soccer programs and we created a spreadsheet with all of the information. Now we are picking throught the list and fitting in visits on weekends inbetween the madness. So far we have seen Texas State and Southwestern and were able to attend their soccer games as well. The whole process has become much more competitive since I went to UT a hundred years ago! Back then it just seems like my friends went to UT or A&M and that was that. If you were a decent student, you got in and figured the rest out later. Such big decisions for my little kiddos!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Why Jell-o?

I am finally getting back into the blogging world. The quote about jell-o fully describes my life at this point in time. I have 3 teenagers and my every day is much like jell-o...mostly sweet, but very messy, jiggly and uncontrollable. You know, my teenagers are somewhat moldable like jello, but nailing them down on anything is next to impossible. My oldest, Nolan, is in the process of applying for college...each day is a struggle and we are digging our way through the sticky process..."Did you ask your teacher for a recommendation letter?" "Did you register for the SAT?" "Did you finish your second essay?" "Do you really want to go to college:)?" "Did you order your transcripts?" I'm like the teacher in Charlie Brown and all he hears is wah, wah, wah! Well I guess we'll know we're really in trouble if we end up with pudding instead of jell-o...that really would be a mess!