Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Case of the Missing Blogger

What happens when a blogger is busy from waking hours until it's time for bed? She doesn't blog!

I had wanted to share some recipes as I tried new ones but I just haven't had much success with the new ones. Sorry. :( Lately we've been having quick things like tacos and spaghetti. I've just been a busy mom and don't have much time for grand culinary creations. Perhaps I should get up earlier? Nah.

Rachel, on the other hand, made a beautiful chocolate cake. She's killing me! Lately I've only been maintaining instead of losing weight.
A few of the things we've been doing around the Happy Texan household:

  • visit Sea Center Texas. It's FREE and has several aquariums plus a touch tank. It's a hatchery for redfish run by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Here are some critters in the touch tank: stone crab and blue crab. There are also fish and anemones. Seems funny to have crabs in a "touch tank" but these have a portion of the claw removed so they can't get you. Gordon the resident grouper died last summer. We had no idea. :(

They have a new grouper who enjoyed checking us out as much as we enjoyed watching him. We took the "grand tour" of the facilities. Our guide, bless her heart, was clueless and juvenile. I was kind of embarrassed for her.

It was cool to see the redfish in a huge outdoor pond. We got to feed them some pelleted food and they seemed to enjoy it. I imagined them covered in some crab and butter sauce. Maybe blackened.* Visit San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge and Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.

The usual ponds were dried up! We need some rain desperately. We did get to see a pair of crested caracaras (also known as Mexican Eagle). These are usually carrion feeders and it didn't take us long to find out why. There were dead gar everywhere because the water was dried up. Also got to see this cute Black Necked Stilt even though wildlife was scarce due to the heat and drought. On the home front, the kids have been busy with school work. I was so bad last year. Very inconsistent and we didn't get as much done as I would have liked. I'm trying to make up for it now.

One of the fun science projects was dissecting an owl pellet. Owls and other raptors (and even crows) puke up undigested fur, bones and other bits of their prey. And some smart fellow decided to sell the pellets to people and schools to rummage through. I happen to be one of those people who enjoys weird things like that. :)

Incredibly, the kids loved the pellets! They want to know if we can order some more and do it again.

Here Charlie and Rachel go through the fur looking for bones. Yes, that is my kitchen scale on the table. We had to weigh the pellets, after all! In case you are wondering, they are about 7 grams each. And they have been heated to kill any bacteria. :)

Rachel found 3 rodent skulls in hers!
Future adventures that are planned are:

  • Homeschool Day at Sea World
  • Attend lectures by Eugenie Scott at the museum
  • Several classes for the kids at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • start exercising at least 2 days per week at the Y and the rest of the week at home
  • a special field research field trip to the Texas City Prairie Preserve
  • a fall canoe/camping trip down Village Creek in the Big Thicket Preserve
  • possible archaeological excavations around Houston area
I also hope to find at least a few recipes that are worthy of sharing with you. The search continues.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekends Go by Too Fast

Wow! Has it been busy around the Happy Texan house! We've been working like crazy to get the scrapbook done for our Nature Challenge mission. We finished up Friday night and Saturday was the big event.

It was held at Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center. Charlie had a great time exploring the grounds and making friends.
Rachel enjoyed holding the snakes including this huge red tailed boa.
We won a couple of door prizes and 3rd place in the competition! Woohoo! Our prize was a pair of very nice binoculars from REI.
We're a little sad that it's over but look forward to next year's competition.
You'll notice the Godzilla-sized Smokey Bear. It was Smokey's 65th birthday so we got to sing happy birthday and have cake.
Speaking of birthdays, I wanted to share the fantastic cake Rachel made for Charlie's birthday. It's a Ben10 character for Charlie's 9th birthday. It was only her 4th cake to make. Of course I'm super proud of my little girl.
After the competition we went for a night hike at Brazos Bend State Park to see some alligators and just enjoy the evening in our favorite quiet place.
Sunday we visited a new church. I wouldn't say we're an exactly "religious" family so we went to a Unitarian Universalist church that had an African Methodist Episcopalian speaking. It was interesting and lively. But this was a small place and not many kids. It was kind of odd to see on their library bookshelves everything from the Bible to the Koran to Harry Potter to Dracula and a book of spells. LOL
Afterwards we had a bad-for-you lunch at a Mexican restaurant and then it was off to Moody Gardens for the dinosaur exhibit. I love that place. They are still trying to recover from the hurricane last September. I am hoping we won't have to go through that again this year. It's just too scary.
I keep promising to share some new recipes but honestly I haven't made anything that I wanted to share. Though I've tried a few new recipes, I haven't been impressed by any of them. :( I'll keep trying and share the next good one.
Exercise has consisted of walking and hiking and the general busy lifestyle that I seem to be leading lately. I know that's not enough though. My elbow STILL hurts. So I guess I'll just get back to my Leslie Sansone Walking DVDs for my indoor workouts. I don't want to lift things with that elbow still hurting.
This week will consist of school and getting ready for a camping trip in Austin this weekend. We haven't been to Austin in a long time so we're all looking forward to it. :)
And hopefully I'll have some new recipes to share soon. Sorry for the lack of them lately.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Help Finding Some Books

I'm looking for some book titles and was hoping you could help me.

  • Liposuction for Dummies
  • The M&M Diet
  • Liposuction: Do it Yourself and Save $10
  • You, On the Couch
  • Fat Bitch
  • Ravenous Girl: 200 Recipes Under 200,000 Calories
  • The South Bitch Diet
  • The Eat Clean Food Diet: Wash it First
  • The Mediterranean Diet: All You Can Eat Baklava
  • Vegetables are Killing You: Why You Should Only Eat Chocolate and French Fries
  • Lose Weight While Sleeping
  • Exercise is Dangerous
  • Raiders of the Lost Pantry
  • Bar Wars: Drink Your Way Thin
  • Chips and Salsa: Food of the Gods
  • Sleepless at McDonalds
  • Death of a Chocolate Salesman
  • The Crisco Light Cookbook
  • How to Burn 5000 Calories in 20 Minutes


Wednesday flew by at breakneck speed (I'm not sure the actual speed of breakneck but I am assuming it is pretty fast). I pulled a few weeds, had the kids paint their own death masks (relax! it's a school project), got the wild birds set up with some seed and water, captured a jumping spider trying to impress my 9 year old son (not impressed), did tons of school stuff with the kids and threatened to send them away to military school if they didn't start trying harder, cleaned the kitchen and basically just ran around in circles. Hey, it works for dogs.

I was so busy that I didn't get hungry much. That might just be a breakthrough for me: if I'm occupied with some sort of activity it completely takes my mind away from losing weight. Plus I'm burning calories staying busy.

Staying busy also meant that I had no idea it was 5:30 when Chuck walked through the door. I was still teaching and thinking it might be 2pm. Oops! As a result, dinner was late.

I'm thinking about putting in a small pond in the back yard. Just about 1 foot deep. A nice tranquil spot where I can take water samples to view under the microscope. A place where minnows swim free and frogs croak. I'll just dig out a spot, line it with pond liner, fill it with water and get some pond critters for it. Maybe plant some papyrus and horsetail around it. Sounds like a nice place to have a margarita, I mean ice water.

Let's talk food. Wednesday: piece of bread (I forgot about breakfast when I got busy), sandwich with baked chips; spinach, roasted potatoes and Dijon chicken; small piece of cake

And thanks for the sweet comments. I miss checking in on all the blogs. I guess I just need to get up earlier.

Oh, and we have a new addition to the zoo: a lizard. Technically it's a green anole. Does my knowledge impress you? LOL!!!

I hope to have a new recipe for you after tonight. We'll see how it goes. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hello on Wednesday!

Oh, I'm so happy fro antibiotics that I could write a poem. But I am not. :) They did their magic and I am 100% better. It was pretty tough for a couple of days though.

Charlie had a terrific birthday. He was so excited over his gifts that we were all laughing with him. Rachel made an awesome Ben 10 cake. It was her 4th cake and she really did an amazing job. But I'm her mom so I'm a little biased. Charlie also got pelted with silly string which broke out into a family silly string fight. Lots of fun.

Since the last time I blogged, we have had many "visitors" to the household. Lubber grasshoppers which cover the palm of a child's hand. Charlie still has them in his room. Praying mantis. Crickets. Chuck discovered a juvenile cottonmouth while weedeating. The snake got a couple of whacks on the head but made it out ok. Chuck was going to kill it because it's venomous and he doesn't want the kids or dogs to get bit. But after everyone freaked out over it (nature lovers) Chuck was able to put him in a bucket and we relocated the snake.
We now have a toad in my library. I wonder how long he will be a house guest.

It is also been 3 weeks of the mummification of the chicken project. Yes, Pharaoh Cluxor is still on my counter just mummifying away. I hope he/she has a great afterlife, may Osiris be merciful. LOL

I had planned on sharing some new recipes but I'm having a bad recipe streak. Everything has just been ok and probably not something I'd make again. So nothing worth sharing right now. :(

I plan on weighing in next Wednesday and checking out the damage. But for this week I need to hop on the treadmill. I had grand plans to go spinning but the Nature Challenge closing ceremonies are this Saturday and we still have numerous scrapbook pages to complete. So I guess we'll have to pick up spinning the following week. So busy!

Tuesday: made scrambled eggs and 1 piece of toast; lunch was pizza (on the road and it was cheap); dinner was spaghetti
Exercise: worked pretty good in the front landscaping pulling out weeds, ran around most of the day.

Reading: Don Quixote and Stiff
Stiff is a fascinating book about the off the wall uses for human bodies. It's a bizarre and fun read.
Don Quixote is about a man who goes insane reading the genre of his day, chivalry books, and goes off on his own adventures as a knight errant. Has several very funny parts.