Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

We've been alternating holidays with Phillip's parents and brother. This year we had them over for Christmas. I love getting together with family for holidays, so this is a happy, enjoyable time for us.

Mimi and Papa were there for the opening of the presents. 
We are all blessed beyond belief with generous family members.

Harrison (Dad?) got lots of Star Wars toys. 

What he was most excited about: chicken walkers!

Mimi had a good idea for all of us to share special Christmas memories after we had Christmas dinner. I have great memories of being with family for Christmas, so it was a lot of fun to share those: Grandma's wood stove, playing cards, special Christmas gifts, plays we've been in, traveling in the snow, that time we snuck out at midnight to get ice cream.... 

We put together a 500 piece puzzle throughout the day. 
I really didn't expect we'd finish it, but we did. 
Papa took it home to put it together himself sometime. He enjoys that.

Cousin Jay got to come this year. We hadn't seen him in 5 years or so. All grown up now! He made us fresh ground coffee from coffee beans he had roasted himself. And he beat a couple of us at Chess. Kristy was here, really; I just didn't get a good picture. She made Andes Mint cookies with Elizabeth, and we had good conversation as we always do. The kids were especially thrilled with the argument (heated debate?) she and Phillip had over fonts and formatting. 

Okay, I found a little picture with Kristy in the background ~ photographic proof of her presence.....

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Decorating and Boerne

We finally got out the Christmas decorations a week before Christmas. But we got it done! 

I found this little guy at HEB. 
We decided we want to collect similar-looking ornaments featuring each of the states we've lived in: Missouri, Louisiana, Washington, Iowa, and Florida. So if you come across something, take a picture and let me know!

Each kid decorates their own tree.

Liz and her birthday camera.

The pictures below are from Elizabeth.

Liz was inspired to make these Swedish gingerbread cookies after watching a cooking show. 
Oh. my. goodness. Watch those shows more often! So good.

At Bear Moon Bakery in Boerne. 
We also visited The Nature Store and Kiss the Cook kitchen store in Boerne. There are so many cute shops there; we should explore more.

At Cibolo Creek Nature Center.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Sweet Potatoes

Ms. Monica gave us two sweet potato sprouts earlier this year, and we planted them in a corner of our yard. I didn't expect them to spread the way they did! They slipped through the fence and covered the corner of the supplementary side as well as the original side. 

The kids harvesting after we cleared all the vines and leaves away.

Snails were our enemy in this endeavor. Someone else who had sweet potatoes planted said they also had snails, but their ducks took care of the problem. Hmmm, we don't have ducks. Next time we'll have to find something to keep them away; they were all over the leaves and vines and sweet potatoes themselves. They also ate our cantaloupe that Ms. Monica had given us to plant. We had two nice cantaloupes growing and they were totally eaten up. 

Anyway, we also had some problem with our soil. It's very clay-like and tough. I might plant them in several pots next time with store-bought soil.

Despite the problems, we harvested some nice sweet potatoes. 
Very exciting to see what all you can get out of two sweet potato sprouts! 

The potatoes didn't seem as orange as what we buy from the store. They also would "bleed" this white sap when you cut them up ~ maybe they were too raw? I cooked them and ate them and nothing bad happened, so I guess it was okay. 

 Ms. Monica had shared with us from her harvest, and we also shared some of ours with her. It was hard to find others in the neighborhood who appreciate them though. :-) Maybe not everyone is so enthralled with yams.

A very 12-year-old-boy picture. 
Camo pants, headphones, editing a video of a gun he drew on the computer.

Liz took these sunset pictures with her new camera. 
I don't know why I love that water tower so much, but I really do.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Rainy 15th Birthday

Today Elizabeth is 15. 

It's rainy and cold outside. It was cold and rainy the day she was born too. I was hoping for snow when she was born. But it rained. 

We planned to go to the Pearl Farmer's Market this morning. She's been wanting to visit it. But it turns out that it's the Tamale Festival, so there was no Farmer's Market and the Tamale Fest wasn't opened yet. So we walked around the Pearl a bit, looked around a little shop (bought a couple Christmas presents!), and sat in Local Coffee with an affogato (for Liz ~ that's espresso and ice cream) and a jalapeƱo kolache (for me). 

Then we found a yarn store nearby: The Yarn Barn. Very cozy ~ and lots of yarn!

She made her own cake this year. 
Doesn't she just about every year? I think so. 

Jonathan gave her cream soda. Phoebe got her some yarn. Nana's traditional birthday balloon. And gifts of money that will enable her to purchase a camera. Food photography is an interest right now.