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!