Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The East Texas Drought

I thought today I would take you for a photo tour through my neighborhood and local area and show you how the drought is affecting my part of East Texas.  We are currently experiencing "Exceptional Drought" as specified by the the NOAA.  We haven't seen this sort of drought in over 100 years here in most parts of Texas. 

This is what I see driving down my road every day....lots of dead and dying trees and brush

This is a peach orchard near my home.  Because we had no rain this summer, there were no local peaches.  It seems like a lot of the trees around here have this TERRIBLE shade of yellow green to them. 

This was taken by one of our boat ramps at Lake Jacksonville.  Most all of the docks are out of the water now....the lake is about seven or eight feet low at least.  I've been around this lake since I was a tiny child...I have NEVER seen it like this. 

This is near the dam of Lake Jacksonville

Normally there is water up to the edge of the dam. 

The Boat Ramp near the dam of Lake Jacksonville

This is the dock I grew up playing on.  The current homeowners have let the whole place go into disrepair.  It made me sick to come out here and look around.  Where the two posts are to the left used to be an extension of the dock. The water would come up to within about ten inches below the dock level.  You can see that it's about eight feet low here.   I spent EVERY summer swimming here as a child. 

Most pastures here look like this now and have all summer.  They NORMALLY don't look this way until late fall.  All the cattle ranchers are having to feed expensive HAY shipped in from other places.  Most of the hay crops didn't make. 

This is our family farm.  The only grass we have is about an inch tall TOPS!!  We've had to sell off most of the cattle herd because there is not enough grass and hay is just too expensive right now.



This is what our creek bed looks like running through our property.  As you can see THERE IS NO WATER.  Another problem cattle ranchers are facing is just that...NO WATER to water their cattle with. 
Our cows have just a tiny little spot of water left in the creek. 

What A LOT of folks ponds and small lakes look like...EMPTY

Many many people are feeding their cattle hay now....IN SEPTEMBER!! 

Thanks for taking my tour with me!!  :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Rings

Mmmmmmmm this recipe sounds so scrumptious I just had to share!!

Mmmmm such a wonderful fall recipe, fried apple rings drizzled in icing...YUM!!

Here's the link to the recipe!! 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Butt Dialing, Random Dialing while holding your phone, and well, just RANDOM CALLING :)

Sooooooo I've been wanting to write this blog for a long time now, mostly because my kids make fun of me and the people I have called with my iPhone and then my Droid.  I don't just call random people and hang up either....there was always an elaborate occurrence to accompany it. 

First let me preface the following stories by next door neighbors phone number is ALWAYS saved under the number 5 on speed dial.  It's right in the middle of the keypad, and if at any time in the middle of the night I have reason to fear for our lives I can just push the five and he said he would  come over, shoot first and ask questions later LOL.  Really an awesome awesome guy.  I'm not so sure HIS WIFE will think it's so cool that he's located on my number 5 spot!! 

Back when I had my iPhone, and I would carry it in my hand....I would accidentally press the number 5 at least three times a week and just randomly call him.  :)  I would look later at my call history and be surprised to see so many calls to him haha. 

Sooooooo there was this one time......I was following my daughter Jessica in her car through our tiny little town, through a subdivision.  She was already a few blocks ahead of me, and I came around the corner and this woman just walked out in front of my car and started saying "hit me",  "Just run me over".....I was wondering...okeeee dokeee what kind of crazy woman is this??  So I stopped the car and got out and started talking to her, trying to calm her down etc.  What I didn't know is that when I got out of the car, I accidentally called MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR.  He is sitting there listening to this woman holler and scream and wail and say she wants to die, and someone needs to run her over etc and then the police showing up with sirens and I'm sure wondering WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY NEIGHBORS OMG!!!!! 
It wasn't until the next day that I realized I had called him during that time so I called him to tell him what had happened and he was like...wellllll I was kinda wondering what was going on and who that was and why you called me!!  Geeezzzeee. 

Sooooo today I did an even better one....and I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO POCKET DIAL ANYONE!! 
I went grocery shopping today.
I love to shop at Kroger, I always save so much money there and I am so happy when I leave that I have to call my daughter Jessica and tell her how much I saved.
I shopped, I got in my car, I scrolled through recent calls, found her and called. 
I was a little surprised when a guy answered the phone, but I thought it was her boyfriend so it wasn't really a big deal...he and I get along great.
So I start talking. First I ask in my sweetest voice "what are you doing??  You know, 


He says, oh nothing just riding to the river.  I really didn't think anything about it since we live 1 mile from the Neches River.  I chit chatted and said something like "well that's awesome, y'all have a good time!!" 


 I tell him....."I just left Kroger, and I always call Jessica when I leave and tell her how much I save. (thinking this is Paul, HER BOYFRIEND).  I told him...."The total was $70 but when they finished the savings thing it was $43.  I was like, "I had 42 items, so that's like a dollar an item and I even had a whole thing of hamburger meat in there too. ".  He had been just kind of like...uh huh...yeah that's great really.  Then I said "yeah, I guess that's probably not so exciting to you"....I'm sitting here laughing hysterically as I type this.....and then it hit me like a
I had not called
I had called

for some reason it finally dawned on me that was his voice

he had accidentally called me earlier today and was trying to call the person below me on his contact list
so that's why he was on my most recent calls as I was scrolling throught to find


I started laughing so hard and apologizing and told him that I thought I was calling

He was saying....yeah that's a great deal at the grocery store loved hearing all about it



Yeah, I'm sure it's great to have a random call from your neighbor telling you what a great deal they got at the grocery store!!  I'm sure his WIFE looooooves me OMG!!!!! 

There is not much hope for people like me!! 

I'm seriously thinking my next blog should be over


* Just to throw this story in after I've already published the blog and some have read it....I remember this funny story as well...has nothing to do with dialing but alllll to do with calls*

I was driving down the road with Adleigh one day, and she couldn't have been over about six months old.  I thought it would be great to order a pizza.  I got Pizza Hut on the phone and the nice man was taking my order when Adleigh decides to start , how shall I say in a polite way.....awww heck....she started the backseat.  Not just baby tiny toots but loud ROLLING FARTS.  I knooowwwwwwww the man on the other end is thinking it's me and I'm like OMG....soooo I have to say something so I say...ADLEIGH and giggle.....then he finishes taking my order and he's still on the line and SHE DOES IT AGAIN!!!  It was so funny and I know dang good and well he probably just thought I was doing it and blaming it on the poor innocent baby!!  I could hardly look him in the eye when I went to pick up our order!!!  Awww a day in my life!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Gypsy Mama - 5 minute Friday - Growing!!

Five Minute Friday: Growing

September 23, 2011
We write for five minutes flat on Fridays.
We write bold and beautiful and free. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just write or not.
Won’t you join us?
    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 3. Go a little overboard encouraging the writer who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:


I have to admit it, I saw the topic earlier this morning as I was helping my 5 year old grandson dress for Kindergarten.  I've had some time to think about it while I've done my morning chores and stood there washing dishes. 

Whether we realize it or not, we are always growing in some form or fashion.  Sometimes, as in my case haha I am growing in size and will have to start watching my diet as I age!!  The other night I was driving home and had a teenager drive up behind me really fast, sit right behind me, and then hurry and pass.  I didn't let it bother me because as I have gotten older and learned to "grow", I have learned "tolerance".  I realize she was young, and she is learning, and eventually she will discover that is really not a wise idea.  In the past I would have let myself get angry and steam over it and wonder why teenagers are allowed to drive at all.  I am happy to GROW in ways that I never realized I would like that. 

I have the pleasure of watching my grown daughters GROW in their relationships with spouses and fiances and their walks with God. They've realized that it is a true gift to share the talents and wisdom they have been blessed with , with other people and plant seeds and watch them grow.

 I watch with pleasure every day my little grandchildren growing.  Sometimes watching children "growing" really pulls on the heartstrings.  I watch as they start their little walks through life, and discover how to make friends, and that not EVERYONE wants to be their friend and I dry their little tears and give them a hug, and they PLAYING NICE with EVERYONE really is the best way to be, and to look around for those with no friends and find a way to make friends  is ALWAYS a GOOD IDEA!! 

Last week the little kindergarten children had an opportunity to buy a "treat" at their school.  My grandson realized one of his little friends didn't have any money and wouldn't be able to buy some.  He used the money I sent with him to buy both of them a treat and share.  I have never been more proud of our little man and that is the kind of "growing" I want to encourage in my children and grandchildren....the "growing" that reaches out into the world to touch others!!


BTW, if you are having trouble commenting on BLOGGER blogs, a lot of the time you have to sign out and then sign back in and make sure to UNCHECK the box for "Always keep me signed in".....HUGS :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Butterfly Snack Bag Idea

While perusing Pinterest the other night hoping to find insanely cute ideas for Kindergarten snacks, I came across this totally awesome snack!! (Original link is  This is my grandson's week to bring snacks for his Kindergarten classmates, and this MiMi is all for helping his mother make super cute inexpensive snacks!!

The total cost of these snacks was literally only about $6.50.  The only drawback is that it is a little time consuming. 


This is what the finished snack bags look like....SOOO ADORABLE!!  All of the teachers loved them today!!

It just takes ONE SUPER SIZE BAG of FRUIT LOOPS (or whatever you choose to can do colored goldfish etc...)

A bag of paint brushes, multi colored pipe cleaners, and a pack of wooden clothes pins

First, we painted 36 clothes pins with about six different shades of paint, trying to appeal to both the boys and girls.  (I have tons and tons of paint bottles lying around from past projects)...but even if you have to buy some they are about .96 a piece at Wal Mart.  We used red, blue, green, pink, purple, and yellow

It takes about 30 minutes for the paint to dry.  We painted both sides of the clothes pins

Then we cut the pipe cleaners to make the "antennas".  We cut them at about a 3 inch length. 

We made them curly and then hot glued them onto the clothes pins

Pour the cereal to fill it about 1/4 of the way

"Sqush" it evenly to both sides leaving an "empty" spot in the middle.  Put the clothes pin up the middle .  I folded the bag down a little which seemed to help the "wing" part look like actual wings

One of the finished Butterflies

All 36 butterflies we made!!  They were a HUGE hit with the kids and teachers alike!! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Halloween Party Planning

Sooooo today we had our Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Party!! 

Everyone had such a great time!! 

Here's a few photos!!

This has become one of my most popular blog posts with over 4100 page views since the original posting!!  I love feedback and comments, please let me know what you like about this party, or if you need more in depth info about any of the DIY'S we did, let me know!!  Thank you for making this so popular!! :))












Just thought I would share some of my ideas I've had for our Halloween party this year!!

(Here's the link to my Great Pumpkin Halloween Party Plan)

I'm planning it for five year olds and under, so absolutely nothing scary at all :)  I've got the tables and chairs reserved I am starting to work on the smaller details little by little!!  This is what I have so far:

I love love these invitations I found on Etsy,  (obviously I will be changing the wording to just Hallowen Party)  I will be ordering them this weekend:

We are having a similar cake made, with a different color blue and some other different items on it, just the same general "theme":

Aren't these cute cupcakes as well?!  I think I could also probably find cookie cutters in these shapes
cupcakes for the great pumpkin birthday party

Love these little pumpkin rice krispy treats:

I'm thinking this will be the tablecloth colors for the kids tables....maybe with an orange or blue runner...something that matches with the Charlie Brown Pumpkin Theme

The little kids would have fun playing "bowling" with gourds I think....
A fun game for a Fall party

I know we will be playing games of  "freeze dance" to Halloween music....those kiddos love love to play freeze dance!! 

Some bubbles for "game treats"

jack'o lantern bubbles....yep...

Pumpkin bulls eye games

Pumpkin Bulls Eye Game

I've been trying to think of a way to make a burlap Charlie Brown Halloween's the general idea

Happy Halloween banner...polka dots & burlap.  Wow, so easy and so cute!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog, this is all I have so far for our Halloween Party!!  Can't wait to see how it all turns out!!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------PART II

I never stop searching until about a week before the party when I start pulling everything together!! 

Here are some super cute party plates etc that I have found!!
Item Number: 1PSF-76894: PEANUTS Halloween - Dinner Plates
Item Number: 1PSF-76895: PEANUTS Halloween - Dessert Plates
and these super cute tablecloths!!

Item Number: 1PSF-76896: PEANUTS Halloween - Tablecover

Part III

Thank you so much for "googling" Charlie Brown Great Pumpkin Party!! Due to the large amounts of hits I am getting from "googlers" :) I will try and write out specifics of how to plan a party like this and what all I am doing week by week.  I will be printing and mailing the invitations this week.  I already made an "event" invite online on Facebook of course LOL so pretty  much everyone who is invited already knows most of the details...but it's so much fun to also do actual invitations. 

I saw some "bowling pins and plastic bowling balls" at Wal Mart...they are kid sized and they are about $5.97.  I think it would be fun to spray paint them black and orange and let the kids go to town bowling in the yard. The other idea is to just use large squash or gourds and let them roll one of their own balls to knock them down......they are five so I don't think they will really care either way!!  :)

My Sunshine 10-Pin Bowling Set

As Halloween draws closer, I've been receiving a lot more "google hits" for my Great Pumpkin Party blog.  I will be throwing this party the weekend before Halloween to actually let those children who are able to go trick or treating have that weekend free.  Our party will be on Sunday, October 23rd, from about 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.   We have several parents who share custody and swap kids on Sunday evenings, and having it on a Sunday allows for all of our friends who are working on Saturdays to be able to attend as well.  I didn't want to do an "after dark" party on  Saturday night since the general age of my guests will be approx five years old or younger!! 

In any party plan, just like in English class, you have to address the following:

  • WHO??  Who are you inviting??
  •  (kids only, kids and parents)...once you know "who" you want to invite, tally up the number and decided on the number of invitations to buy/print/make. 
  •  In general, it's best to send out invites at least two weeks in advance of the party.  Too far in advance, people will forget...too close and they will have already made other plans. 

WHAT??  What kind of party?
  • What's the theme?  (lol of course you wouldn't be here if it wasn't Charlie Brown Halloween)
  • What kind of refreshments will you have  1) Do you want to feed your guests?  We will be serving BBQ ribs to the parents and the "fixings" and grilled hot dogs for the kiddos  2)  Will you be serving just a dessert style party with cake and ice creams and treats or 3) is it a candy only party??  START NOW candy shopping and if you are going to order a cake NOW is the time to get it done.  You CANNOT wait to order a specialty cake until the last minute.  Most cake shops require at least a two week notice....the local grocery stores require about a 24 to 48 hr advance notice!! 
  • What do you want your guests to wear?  Do you want them to dress up in costumes?  Don't forget to include that in the invitation
  • What time of day? (this also answers the WHEN lol)  Definitely consider the ages of your guests when choosing a time.  For young children mid day to mid/late day is usually best.  Most little ones are done napping by this time and it's not so late that they are grouchy and hungry and ready for supper and bed time.  Also consider the weather in your area, here in Texas now the temps really drop as the sun starts to set.  A bunch of chilly children is not going to be fun!! 
  • What are they going to do at your party?  My proven "recipe" is as follows, GAMES, FOOD, THEN CAKE /TREATS  .  There are many many fun games for this age child to be found all across the internet.  I've seen "pin the tail on the pumpkin".....yard or living room bowling (I'm going to spray paint some pins from Wal Mart orange and black)...maybe bobbing for apples ....a bean bag toss into a pumpkin painted on a cardboard box...little kids just have fun with the simplest of games.  We are also going to play "FREEZE DANCE"....a favorite amongst kindergartners.....I thought I would run an extension cord outside with a portable CD player and play some Halloween music......JUST FOR YUCKS I THOUGHT I MIGHT HAVE A FREEZE DANCE CONTEST FOR THE ADULTS WITH THE CHICKEN DANCE, THE MACARENA, ETC :) :)  The key  to any party is to get your guests to relax, join in the games, AND LAUGH.  Once you've got them laughing and participating, the hard part is out of the way and they will look back with fond memories always of your party.  This is why insist on games first at my parties.  It kind of "breaks the ice" .  You may have to put on a brave face and direct everyone including the adults to the games and be a little dramatic with me...IT'S WORTH IT!!  :)
  • What are you going to give them their treats in?  Do you want to buy little gift sacks?  Pails?  Start looking around now and checking prices.  There are quite a few reasonable deals to be found NOW....don't wait until the last second !! 
WHERE?  Where will you have your party??
  • Do you want to have the party inside at your home?  If so, do you need to rent any tables or chairs?
  •  Do you plan to have the party outside at your  home?  This is what we are doing.  Now would be the time to call your local party store and ask about renting tables and chairs.  Our party store has kid sized tables and chairs at a super reasonable price for rentals.  We rented two tables and about fifteen little chairs, and then two tables for adults and enough chairs for their parents etc. It would probablystill be a good idea to have one more table for food/treats.    ALWAYS REMEMBER TO CALCULATE IN THE OLDER/YOUNGER brothers and sisters when having kids come to parties!! 
  • You could also throw this party at another location scaled down a little, such as Chuck E. Cheese or other venue.  Just coordinate some of the tableware to be Charlie Brown Halloween, give them Halloween toys/treats in Halloween candy bags/buckets.....the kids will still love it!!

Here is what my timeline looks like for our party:


Cake Ordered
Tables and Chairs rented


Send out invitations
Order Charlie Brown Plates, Cups, and Tablecloths (I am only doing the kids tables in those, the adult tables will be plain orange or green etc....those are really cheap to buy at the party store locally)
Order the "treat stuffers" (halloween play dough, halloween bubbles, halloween coloring books and crayons etc...).  You can find these things sold in packs of 12 and 24 usually, and at great prices. 
Buy the food we will be serving at the party.  (Our local grocery store has the CUTEST little cans of soda with monster faces on them...have NO IDEA what brand they are....but they are great for the "littles"....cute but not too scary!!  (I will buy some and take a pic and share who they are made by)
I will also order any "unique" candy items that I want the kids to have that cannot be found locally.  These are also sold in large packs and is more than enough for a small party. 


Make all the DIY projects.  I will share these in a future blog.  I have seen lots and lots of super cute little ideas, from the "mummy Hershey bars" and the "pipe cleaner sucker spiders"....that the little ones would love.  This will be also be the time to work on games that need to be "made". 


Buy the candy!!
Pick up the rentals
Pick up the caken
Put the candy in the containers you want them in on the table the next makes it SOOO much easier to set up the next day


We will start the ribs cooking at about 9 in the morning,( the other foods such as hot dogs for the kids we will start after they have been there for a while...approx 30 minutes after say 1:30...that way everyone is ready to eat at about 2:00)
At about 11:30 we will start setting up tables and chairs
Set up Games
At about 12:15 we would put tablecovers on and plates (depending on the wind)
Put out coolers for drinks or containers you want your drinks in with ice in at about 12:40

Our party starts at 1:00, that leaves me 20 minutes to run in the house and get "freshened up" of course if you are dressing up and your costume is complicated, start a little earlier!!  :)


I've been having problems with comments not posting on my blog for some reason, sometimes it takes several tries, or signing out of google friend connect and then unchecking the box that says "keep me signed in".  If you have any questions/comments please ask!!  I will be happy to help you!! 

Here's a link to a party game DIY that I put together for our party!!  Super simple!!

I made these Snoopy Treat Bags for the party...super simple....white lunch bags...cut the top into a curve....glue on googly eyes, pom pom nose, and I cut some ears out of black card stock!! 


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...