“moving” on

Our bestie friends and next door neighbors moved away yesterday.  We’ll still see them – they’re going to work at our other camp location near Columbus, TX,  so we’re not really losing them as friends…

But friends, and next-door-neighbor-friends are two different things.photo 2

I was in denial about the whole thing until after they pulled away in the UHaul. Then 2 hours later, I wanted to borrow some spices, and see what they were up to for dinner, and if they wanted to play with all the kids in the backyard and… that’s when it became real.  Their house is empty.  They’re not in their backyard grilling out, where we can look over our fence and say hi.  Or, can I borrow a cup of sugar?  Or, can you watch my kids for 20 minutes while I run an errand?  Or, do you guys wanna order pizza – I don’t feel like cooking either?photo 6 photo 7

You see, cause they were these neighbors.  And these neighbors.  Our kids literally grew up together (well, until ages 4 and 1 1/2) – they’ve never known life without each other.
IMG_2039s IMG_2092sIMG_7315sWe babysat each others kids.  They borrowed our riding lawnmower, in return for doing the maintenance on it.  They offered their hot grill for us to throw meat on whenever they were grilling.  Charis and I made it through many evenings of whiny kids together, while waiting for our men to get home from work. We dog-sat for each other countless times.  We cooked with each other, swam with each other, picnicked in the front yard with each other, had bonfires with each other, put up Christmas trees with each other, cleaned house with each other.1_982s 1_976s 1_983s

We shared our struggles and triumphs and heartaches and worries and cookies with each other. 🙂
We did life together.

photo 4

photo 3 photo 5

Jeff – Charis – we miss you dearly already.
I wanted to plan another meal swap today, and realized that chapter is closed.  But the new chapter for you is going to be a good one.  They are SO blessed to have both of you… if they don’t know it already, they’ll learn it first thing tomorrow!


Our “last night together” pizza party

I think Scripture is just right when it says that we need one another.  I don’t know if we’ll ever have that neighborly bond again with another family.
But we’ll sure try.
It was certainly worth it.

dinner in

Does this count as our vegetable for the evening? Probably not, but this Velveeta premade skillet meal was totally good nonetheless.

I think we’ll celebrate it by going out for ice cream or a snow cone afterward. 🙂

What’s your favorite go-to meal when you don’t want to cook?



Remember the table saw that my hubby bought for me?
And that I love projects?
And that we’re always looking for something to do together because our hobbies are not the same? (except scuba diving, but that’s hard to do in East Texas)

I was looking online a couple of years ago at some playhouse plans, and he came up behind me and said, “Whatcha doin?”
“Oh, just looking at playhouse ideas for the backyard.”
“Cool.  That would be a fun project to do together sometime.”
Sometime.  Yes.  And I never forgot that he said that.
Playsets are expensive, if you want a cool one.  And I didn’t really want one with all the swings and other parts that could break, and we wanted something we could fit inside to play with our kids.  So I ordered these plans to build one. (A nice little 4x6ft house with a porch, on the ground)  Here’s how we progressed from that design to what we have…

Hubby:  “But I don’t want it on the ground.  I want something up higher, like a fort.  For little boys to play in.”
Sounds great, let’s loft it up.
Hubby: “And I want it to be at least 7ft wide.”
Me:  “Do you mean tall, so you can stand in it with them?”
Hubby: “No, I mean wide so I can lay down in it when we have campouts and sleep in there.”
Me: *sigh* So sweet.  “Okay, we’ll design it to be 7ft by 6ft.”
Carpenter from hubby’s work: “It’d be easier if you build it to the specs of lumber, like 8ft or 12ft so you don’t have to cut a lot of boards.”
Us: “Okay.”

So now it’s an 8x8ft house on a 12x12ft platform.  It did not start out that huge.  But it’s awesome.  For the same money as this (or less), we built this…And my personal favorites from earlier in the building process…

cinco dog

This is our ‘affectionate’ name for him.  Most other times it’s Doofus.
He was a 5th anniversary present from my hubby to me, so… Cinco.

And today we discovered a new activity for him.
It wears him out.
And it entertains the kids too.  Bonus.
Why did it take us so long to try this?

Um, I know what we’re doing all summer.  Walmart dollar aisle, here we come.
Cheap bubbles, cheap thrills!


This is my to-do list for the week.

This is our dog, Cinco.

Apparently, I should have done the thing on my list that I circled and *arrowed* here, because this is what I found when I got home from Bible study yesterday. 

I left you inside to be nice to you because it was so cold outside.
Thanks, puppy.
No… not puppy. 4 years old.  Which is 28 in people years, so you should be responsible now.

Maybe I can teach him to take the trash out for me.

so it begins…

We had just a couple of things left to do on our Fall-To-Do list, before we replace it with a Christmas list.  Here are my excuses for the things we haven’t done yet…

Must wait until baby can sit up by himself to do a photo shoot in the leaves.
(1 more month?)
Zoo Membership:  Haven’t gone yet, so we’ll postpone til nice weather again the Spring and get our money’s worth for our year membership.

Build a playhouse: Started last week!

This is just phase one.  The actual playhouse will go on top of this 12’x12′ platform.  Complete with stairs, slide, house with a door (most important in the eyes of our 3-year old), sandbox underneath, deck and railing.

More to come!


So… I took pictures of us painting pumpkins for Halloween, and playing dress-up in the living room, and our daughter washing dishes for me in the kitchen, and probably 100 other things.

And none of them are on this blog. Sad.
It’s been busy.

I was out of town last week.  So was hubby.  To two different places.
I took pictures but didn’t post them.  Maybe someday.

This weekend hubby is officiating a wedding of one of his former students.
Next week is Thanksgiving.
I have a big graphics project going.
And a 6-month old that is just starting to sleep through the night consistently. (yay)
And a 3-year old that is SO cute a lot of times, but throwing temper tantrums the other times. (not yay)

There you have it.
I think it will slow down just a little bit…
… but I always think that.

Next week we hope to start on this:

Customized and lofted up, with a ladder and slide.
So that might mean it won’t slow down for a while. 🙂
Oh well!

cabinet door chalkboard

We bought a small cabinet and hutch this year.
I love it, but when it arrived, one of the cabinet doors had a splotch of the glaze/sealer on the front.  Almost unnoticeable, but I could see it, and I knew it would bother me every time I saw it. (See it there at the top, middle?)

Called them and asked that they send another one – got it delivered for free that week!

So, there I was with a random cabinet door, too fun to just throw away, so it sat in the corner of the kitchen for about 3 months. (sorry Matt)  I couldn’t decide what to do with it: Photo board? Make into a corkboard?… finally settled on this, and I love it. 

I had a leftover knob from refinishing our daughter’s dresser and nightstand, sanded off the “blob” and painted with chalkboard paint.  Voila!  Our new menu board.  Currently, I keep a list on it of all the meals that are in the freezer.  (see meal swap.) 

I love chalkboard paint!  Used to think it was silly.  Now, this is the third project I’ve done with it.  (see also potty training.)  It’s so cheap!  One tube has done all of my projects, and it was about $4.  What projects have you done with chalkboard paint?

meal swap

We’re new at this, but the neighbors and I decided to try a meal swap. (we know each other and all work (or hubbies work) at the same place… yes, we’re like a commune)  I love cooking ahead anyway – you only wash pots and pans once, don’t have to think of what to have each day cause it’s already in your freezer, etc etc – but I’ve never tried this.

Here’s our method.  I’m sure there are better ones out there, so feel free to comment!

Each of us cooked 4 recipes, and made 3 pans of each. 1 to keep and 2 to give away. This means that after we swap, we’ll have 12 meals in the freezer (each serves about 4 people).  We decided on 4 categories: Italian, Mexican, Soup and Wild Card (whatever you want). Each person made a recipe from each category. If you consider that we probably eat at home 3-4 nights a week, and then eat leftovers every once in a while, these should last us a month!  Crazy.

I’m hoping it works.
And saves us money.
And time.
And we won’t get sick of making/eating the same thing over and over.
Already excited about trying some new things!

And laughing that all 3 of us posted our pics on Facebook.  We’re really excited!

Here are the meals we ended up with.
Plus Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Tortilla Bake… guess I forgot to write those before I took the photo.
(I already had spaghetti and hamburgers in the freezer)…

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