Friday, February 27, 2009

Our Busy Week

I truly have meant to blog this week. I will give you a rundown of our week and maybe you will excuse the non-blogging.

Sunday: We had church, a quick grocery store run, watch the Nascar race, run up to the Co-op building and help set up for our Around-the-World Carnival.

Monday: School all day at Co-op, stayed late, home after five. Watched 24. I thought the season was about to be over, mission accomplished, then Tony shows up and changes everything. It is going to get good.

Tuesday: In the morning go to the Co-op building and finish setting up for the big event tonight. We are calling it "Passport to Fun". Quick dinner then back up to school. The students visited booths from around the world. At Germany they sampled German chocolates and played soccer, at Australia they made a Boomerang and had a Kangaroo hop race, at Africa they went on a African Safari, at England they had scones and tea, at Brazil they had to participate in a traditional Brazilian dance, at China they had a chopsticks race, at Israel they went fishing in the Sea of Galilee, and well you get the picture. The boys had such a fun time. There were 15 countries to visit in all.

Wednesday: We had tickets to The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley based on the Flat Stanley books by: Jeff Brown. It was in Orange at the Lutcher Theater. We didn't make it back to Beaumont till 3, then I decided to go by Dillards. They had a super sale- take an additional 40% off all winter clearance. I got six items for the boys for next winter for a total of $32.96. Watched Lost. All I have got to say is Ben is so creepy! The scene with him and Locke was full of tension and I could not believe what he did. (Side note to Dad, yes Lost is just as good as 24. At our house it is considered better than 24.)

Thursday: Yes, I made it to Thursday. I am planning on Thursday being my catch up day on laundry, getting Caleb caught up in school, and getting back to normal. Unfortunately the dreaded stomach virus hits me. Enough said about that. Aaron had school from 12 to 5, so he was able to take care of the boys in the morning. Caleb was a great big brother. He made him and Luke's lunch and played with Luke all afternoon. I had pulled out some jungle items from the storage building for the carnival. Luke had asked me to help him build a jungle for his animals. Thursday was the day we were supposed to do it. Caleb built the jungle for Luke complete with a river. I think he did better than I could have done. Thankfully I started to feel better Thursday night.

Friday: I am starting to feel better. And now I am trying not to panic. Birthday Countdown has begun at our house. Yes, all three Garza boys have birthdays coming up soon! Caleb is having a sleep over with four friends from school next Friday. He doesn't want us to get him presents, he just wants money to buy Legos. Luke is so excited that his cousins from Dallas are coming for his birthday. He wants to do two things for his birthday with the cousins, go to Build-A-Bear and go to Village Creek State Park and explore the trails. He does want presents. And Aaron, well I am still working on that.

Saturday: I am blogging! After this I have a full day of catching up on laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, preparing for my classes at Co-op on Monday, and I have got to take Caleb to TaeKwonDo (he has missed a lot this week). We do have a treat tonight. The high schoolers at Co-op are offering a free Parents-Night-Out. We are going to take advantage of that, we will probably have dinner and go birthday shopping for Luke.
Sunday: Who knows? Hopefully the Garza house will be back to normal. And clean. And all laundry completed. A person can dream right?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What We're Reading Part 5

For Literature Caleb read The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Have you ever lost a safety pin, needle, stamp, or sock and not known where it could have gone to? Maybe the Borrowers took it. The Borrowers are little people who live under the floor and inside the walls. The story of the Borrowers continues in The Borrowers Afield, The Borrowers Afloat, The Borrowers Aloft, and The Borrowers Avenged. In Literature class at Co-op the kids made Borrowers homes.

For History Caleb was studying about Teddy Roosevelt. He read You're on Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt by Judith St. George. This book is about Teddy Roosevelt when he was a boy. Then he read Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt by Jean Fritz. Teddy Roosevelt was another great American. Two interesting facts we learned about him from these books. Teddy would use the word bully all the time to refer to something that was fun or exciting. The other thing we learned was that teddy bears are named after Teddy Roosevelt. While he was president he went on a hunting trip. He came upon an old bear and he had him right in sight to shoot him. Teddy looked the bear in the eye and decided not to shoot the bear so he let it go. The press heard about it and started to joke about Teddy and the bear. Soon a company started selling stuffed animal bears and called them Teddy Bears. Also, we checked out Night at the Museum from the library, since it has Teddy Roosevelt in it. (In a way.)

Then Caleb started to study Albert Einstein. He read Odd Boy Out by Don Brown and Albert Einstein by Don McLeese. He was another fascinating person.

Lukey has two new favorite books: Widget and Widget and the Puppy by Lyn Rossiter McFarland. They are cute books about a dog named Widget and the girls, the cats, he lives with. We have read these every day since we've had them from the library.

And finally I finished two books recently. The first was The Host by Stephanie Meyer. This is the new book from the author of The Twilight series. In this book Earth has been taken over by aliens. But they need human bodies to live in. This is the story of an alien in a woman's body. The woman still has thoughts and feelings and convinces the alien to go and help some of the humans that she loves who are in hiding from the aliens. It is hard to explain, but the book is very good. The first hundred pages are hard to get through, but if you keep reading it gets good.
And then we have Dewey, The Small-town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron. This is the true story of a kitten who was found one cold morning in the book drop of a library. The librarian gives him a home in the library and he lives there for 18 years. This book is the story of the cat, the town, and the librarian. I have to recommend this book to my Mom, who loves animals and is a librarian. Anyone who has a pet or likes animals should read this book.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dr. Luke is on Duty

Lukey wanted to make an animal hospital, so we got out the tent. Lukey brought most of his animals to the tent hospital and kept making a sad face, saying his animals were not doing good. We have a lot of medical tape that the hospital sent home with Aaron from a few years ago, so Caleb, as Luke's assistant, wrapped up all of the animal's hurts.

Dr. Luke is happy to report that all of the animals are doing better. The animal hospital is still in the playroom, ready for the next animal that needs to visit.

FYI: Both Aaron and the boys like my haircut. I was a little worried since I have never had my hair this short. This is the second time I have been to this hairdresser. She is such a nice lady, and she talked me into this cut, saying it would make me look younger. When I first saw Luke he said, "Momma you look good, I like your haircut." Luke is going to make a good husband one day!

Friday, February 20, 2009


I'm still trying to decide if I like it. I am on my way to meet Aaron and the boys for dinner. The real question is will Aaron like it?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our Valentine's Day

My goal was to have a nice Valentine's Day without spending much money. I think we accomplished that. I decorated the dining room and put conversation hearts on the table with a special note for the Garza boys to wake up to on Saturday.

We made sugar cookies. After the cookies the boys and I went to the park.

Aaron's dinner for me got put on hold. We decided to take the boys to a Lamar basketball game. The game Saturday night was shown on ESPNU, so they were trying to fill the place up. We scored $1 tickets to the game. For dinner we went to Jason's Deli then headed to the game.

Were you watching ESPNU? Were we on TV? :) The whole family had a great Valentine's Day for under $30.

Aaron asked me what I wanted for Valentine's Day. I told him I wanted him to cook dinner. Well he cooked me a delicious dinner Monday night. I did help him a little with the sides. He says he is going to have to cook again with no help. Okay!

My mom on her blog listed her top 4 Valentine's Days. She mentioned that one year on Valentine's day mom and dad took us four kids to each get a brand new Bible with our names on them. This is the one I got. That was a great idea, Mom and Dad. I still remember the bookstore we went to and getting to pick out the Bible I wanted. What a great way to show love to your kids, by getting them a new Bible which tells the story of the greatest love.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What we do when Dad is studying.

On Saturday afternoon Big A had a lot of studying and things to do for school. It was an overcast and dreary day. So what did the boys and I do? Made cookies, of course.

*Luke was trying to tell me that he had not eaten any of the cookie dough. Look at the evidence. :)

Jambalaya and Sopapilla Cheesecake

I love Cajun food. So many foods I had never tasted until we moved to Beaumont when I was 16 years old. It is a long list, it includes: etouffee, gumbo, boudain, andouille sausage, dirty rice, fried okra, lima beans, and chicken fried steak. I know some are not Cajun, but they are southern foods that Aaron talked me into trying so I am including them in the list. If there is anything on that list you have not tried you need to make a visit to Southeast Texas or to Louisiana to try some. If you come to my house I will cook you some!

One of the Moms at Co-op passed along some delicious Cajun recipes. The first one is Jambalaya. I have made Jambalaya before but it was always out of the box. This recipe tastes so much better and is not hard. Here is the recipe:


1 pound ground meat
1 pound smoked beef sausage (I used Zummo's Sausage- from Beaumont.)
Tex Joy Steak Seasoning to taste (Also, from Beaumont. This is the best seasoning. We use it on chicken, hamburgers, steaks, anything.)
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
3/4 cups dry rice
1 3/4 cups water

Brown ground meet and drain. Add sliced sausage, and brown. Add all veggies and cook until wilted and tender. Sprinkle generously with Tex Joy. Stir in dry rice. Add water and heat to boiling. Lower heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is done.

We had Jambalaya with a salad and Jalapeno Cheese Bread (from Kroger) for dinner. This is a good Jambalaya recipe.

We even had a dessert tonight- Sopapilla Cheesecake! It is delicious and when you see the ingredients you will know why it is so good.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 t. vanilla
2 pkgs. crescent rolls
1/2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9"x 13" pan with Pam. Combine cream cheese and 4 t. butter. Beat until creamy. Beat in 1 cup sugar and 1 t. vanilla. Set aside. Unroll 1 package of crescent rolls. Place in pan and seal the perforations. Spread cream cheese mixture over the rolls. Unroll second crescent rolls and place over the cream cheese mixture. Melt 4 t. butter. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 t. vanilla and cinnamon. Stir until dissolved. Spread over above.

Bake 30 minutes or until slightly puffed and golden brown.

This dessert is so delicious.

Coming soon: I am going to try the Gumbo recipe. Yum!

Embrace Me

Embrace Me by: Lisa Samson has been out for almost a year. She is a very talented writer and I enjoy reading her books. When this one came out I was not even interested. It just didn't seem to have a good premise. (I was wrong.) It is the story of a self proclaimed "lizard woman" and a girl with no arms and legs who are a part of a travelling circus. But this story of Valentine and Lella is a beautiful story. Other characters in the story include a self-mutilating preacher and a dreadlocked and tattooed monk named Augustine. This has to be one of the best books I have ever read. Augustine quotes Mother Theresa, "You only love Christ as much as the person you love the least." This book explores forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and the modern church. And Lisa Samson's writing is superb. Here is a sample, "Thomas, his stained-glass face eating up the late afternoon sun looks doubtful of my presence and I can't blame him." She also makes a clever reference to "Death Star Churches". But I will let you read that sentence yourself! I highly recommend this book.

Idol Buzz

Have you been watching American Idol? This is the first season we have ever watched. (Thanks to our new digital recorder.) In Beaumont there is a lot of talk about Jeremy Michael Sarver. He is known as Michael, the roughneck, on the show. He is from Jasper, TX and is married with two kids. Today the newspaper had an interesting article about him. He leads worship at his church in Jasper. The article is here. The newspaper has also started a blog dedicated to him. On the blog they have video of him singing at his church. He seems like a great guy. Aaron and I are pulling for him.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How Lukey Plays Chutes and Ladders

I don't know why, but when you play Chutes and Ladders with Lego Mini Figures it is more fun.

Wii Time

The boys playing the Wii with Dad.

Time Flies

How is it possible that Lukey and his two cousins, born all in the same year, will be ready for Kindergarten this fall?


At our house Caleb, I mean, we are gearing up for NASCAR. It starts tomorrow. Caleb's favorite driver is Jeff Gordon. I don't quite know how Caleb developed the love he has for all things NASCAR, but he has. So we have spent part of the week getting ready for the first race.
First I had the boys pull out all of their race cars. We decided to set them all up for display. We then went to the library and checked out a lot of NASCAR books to add to our display.

We got books on Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson who Luke says is his favorite driver.

I then took the boys to Walmart and let them each pick out a new race car to add to the collection. (A man walked by as I was taking this picture and gave me a funny look. I would have done the same.)

Then I made a chart with all of the races. Caleb is going to write in the winner of each race. I am not promising him that he will get to watch all of the races (there are a ton), but he can at least see the results in the newspaper.

(A side note: I just spellchecked this post. The only words it said I misspelled were NASCAR and Walmart. Come on, how are they not in the dictionary?)