Just for Fun

I copied this from Kim at Life.Sustainable just because it looked like fun.

What color are your socks right now? I'm barefoot. What are you listening to right now? Laina vacuuming and the boys playing the Wii. What was the last thing you ate? An M&M Blast from Sonic. Can you drive a stick? No. I tried to learn, but I’m too uncoordinated.
Last person you spoke to on the phone? Health Insurance Representative-trying to get kid’s insurance squared away before we move. How old are you today? 37 years and 7 months.
What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Not a big sports fan. What is your favorite drink? I love Diet Vanilla Pepsi, but I’m trying to give it up, so it’ll have to be ice cold, ice tea. Unsweetened. I’m not sure how long I’ll last in the South, not being a sweet tea drinker!
Have you ever dyed your hair? Only to cover the gray.
Favorite food? Chocolate’s a food, right? What is the last movie you watched? Eclipse Favorite day of the year? Any one that turns out good. How do you vent anger? I hate to admit, but I am a yeller. Would really like to get over that, since it doesn’t work anyways! What was your favorite toy as a child? Hmm, Barbie’s. Would play for hours with them. Wasn’t a baby doll person. Also liked the Fisher Price little people and my dollhouse. Favorite Season? Fall. Leaves falling, sweater weather, cozy fire….. Cherries or Blueberries? Cherries.
Living situation? In the process of moving.
When was the last time you cried? Last night. Out of frustration. What is on the floor of your closet right now? A jumbled mess of shoes. What are you most afraid of? Spiders! And the dark. I still have to have a nite-lite. Pitiful, huh? Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers? Cheeseburgers.
Favorite dog breed? I’m more of a cat person, but probably something little, like a Chihuahua mix. Favorite day of the week? Saturday.
How many states have you lived in? One-fixing on making it two!
Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds.
What is your favorite flower? Carnations.
Did you get an H1N1 vaccine? No.

If you copy and post this, let me know. I’d love to read yours!

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Why Texas?


This is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I’ve mentioned moving and packing, and promised to go into detail on my Texas obsession.

My husband and I have friends who retired and moved to Texas about nine years ago. My husband traveled out twice to work on a house they were building. Each time he returned, he raved about how great it was. Now, I’m thinking, Texas? Great? Isn’t it dry and barren and big? Well, kind of. There are parts that are dry and humid, and then they are parts that are absolutely breathtaking. That’s the part we’re heading to-what’s known as the “Hill Country.”

So, one summer, we traveled back to visit our friends. As I was sitting on the back patio one evening, overlooking the pool and enjoying the  beautiful hilltop view, I said to my husband, “I could live here.” He said, “I was hoping you’d say that!” A few months later we took our two boys and drove out to look for property. We found 8.5 acres about a mile down the road from our friends. With a wonderful view. Just like we wanted.

A year or so after that, we drove out with all the kids to look for a house in town. We had in mind exactly what we wanted, how many bedrooms, the square footage, the price. My husband had said, “Unless it’s this, this and this…we’re not going to get it.” Well, the one we found was that, that and that. We walked in and felt it was the perfect house-the right price, size, everything. We really felt God had a hand in all of this. We’ve owned that house since 2006.

We really thought we’d move sooner. It’s been our heart’s desire. But it was not God’s plan. God has brought us through some trials here, and has grown us and prepared us better for our move.  We are now fully ready. And the day is growing nearer. We plan on leaving California on August 14th! Our family is so excited, the kids keep asking how much longer.


So, why Texas?

We’re moving to a much smaller town. The population is about 10,000; give or take a few hundred. It’s a quiet town. I believe there’s been one murder in the last 10 years. Not so where we are now.  It’s the type of town we want our children to grow up in.

It’s the people that make a huge difference. They are a different breed than we’re used to here in California. They are so welcoming and polite. The children (and adults) say “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir.”  They are respectful and well-mannered.

Higher education is a huge deal. The public schools in the town are great, and homeschooling is prevalent. Texas is one of the states with the least restrictive homeschooling laws.

People are proud of their state and their heritage. Their work ethic is phenomenal. Hard work is respected and expected. They are not a “hand-out” state.

The pace is so much slower. Life is so much simpler. People, even in the large cities, we have found, are just not in that big of a hurry. People find the time to enjoy life and relax. We’ve found that after being there a couple of weeks, it’s really hard to throw ourselves back into the pace here.

There are about two dozen churches in the small town we are going to. Church is woven into your life, not just a place to go once a week. Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, and Wednesday evening Bible study are all part of your life.

God Bless Texas!

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Our Visit to San Francisco….Part 2

I meant to post this right after I wrote about our day at Alcatraz, but got a little sidetracked with life in general. So I’m taking a few minutes before dinner to jot this down.

After we arrived back at the pier, we met up with our Florida friends for an open- top tour bus ride of the city. This was really neat. We were able to see sights that we normally wouldn’t have gone looking for.

This is the church where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were married.


We drove through Little Italy and Chinatown. Here is an interesting piece of architecture on one of the buildings in Little Italy.


This  is the Transamerica Pyramid Building. It is 48 stories high and a  rather impressive structure.


We drove by Union Square, so I had to snap a photo of Saks and Tiffany’s. Two places I have never shopped at.


This is San Francisco’s city hall. The front and back views of it. That really is gold on the dome and spire of the building.


These are the “painted ladies”; seven beautiful Victorian houses that sit on a slight hill.


This is just another interesting building we passed. I loved looking at the houses. The colors on some are so flamboyant, and the details so intricate.


We went by the San Francisco symphony and opera house, drove through Golden Gate Park, where the California Academy of Sciences, the Japanese Tea Garden and the de Young Art Museum are located. When Blake was a baby, we visited the Academy of Sciences. It is a wonderful place to take kids.

We also drove  by the Presidio, the Exploratorium and the Museum of Asian Art.

I think the highlight of the tour was the Golden Gate Bridge. All day my niece, Delaney, had been saying she wanted to go across it and then when we saw it, she wanted to know if that was the one from Full House.


By this time, it had gotten a little breezy and chilly on the top of that bus. Our noses and toes were pretty much frozen.  The tour took about 2 hours, and was a great way to take in a lot of the sights, without having to find them ourselves.

You can see how bundled up the kids were.  No, Laina is not getting sick.  She was trying to duck and avoid a picture!


When we left the bus, we headed straight to Pier 39 for dinner at Bubba Gump’s. Now, if you’ve never heard of or been to a Bubba Gump’s, it’s a restaurant based on the Forrest Gump movie and his Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Great restaurant to take kids to. It’s noisy, has good food and is not a budget buster if you’re wanting seafood. The one strange thing my husband pointed out was that they did not serve Dr. Pepper, which was Forrest’s favorite drink. Oh, well.

Life is like a box of chocolates……

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Our Day at Alcatraz

I wanted to get back to sharing some more of the things we’ve done this summer. We have friends from Florida that scheduled a layover in San Francisco, so we took the opportunity to visit with them and enjoy some time in this lovely city. Our main goal for the day was to take in Alcatraz Island, especially since Rob and I had never been there.

Here are our kiddos in the morning before taking off. What bright and shining faces!


We had pre-bought our tickets, which is highly recommended if you plan to visit the island. When  we arrived, tickets were already sold out for the next two days.  The ferry ride over was a little chilly, so we sat inside. Rob and the kids did brave a moment on deck and got a little wet as a result.

When we arrived at the island, we were greeted by a volunteer who gave us a brief history, explained how the tour worked and sent us on our way. You’ll notice the
“indians welcome” painted above this sign. This was left from the time of the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz.


We decided to start out with the self-directed audio tour. I was pleasantly surprised that all the kids were really focused on what they were listening to. Here they are visiting a solitary confinement cell.


The tour was narrated by former guards and inmates of the prison. They led us through all areas, describing daily life, riots, and escape attempts.  Here is the lonely guard tower. The new guards to the prison usually were assigned to here. The island is very windy, so this was not a fun assignment.


These are the showers that one sees upon entering the prison. You also can view the area where the inmates received their uniforms and supplies.


Here’s a view looking up on the rows of cells. Conman and Delaney got to view life from the inside.


There were some very famous prisoners that stayed at the island. We learned that the Birdman actually did not keep birds here.


Here is the upper gun gallery that is over a block of cells. What you see dangling there is a set of keys. The guards could lower or raise these keys in case of a riot.


Blake and Conman check out the little visitors’ window. There was a list of rules posted above.


We were able to view many parts of the prison, including the lighthouse, which was the first working lighthouse on the coast, the warden’s offices, the buildings the guards and their families lived in, the recreation yard, the kitchen and dining room. The knives were outlined on the wall in the kitchen so the guards could tell if one was missing. Here’s a basic breakfast menu.

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We watched a short video of the history of the island, which dates back to the Civil War. We learned about the military occupation, the prison, and the indian occupation of the island.  I wasn’t aware that the guards and their families lived on the island. The kids were ferried back and forth to school each day. In the video, some of the children (now adults) that lived there stated that it was a great place to live.  They knew the prisoners were there, but never saw them.

Alcatraz also boasts beautiful gardens and is a sanctuary for seabirds. Every year several types of seabirds nest and raise their young on the island.


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As we were leaving, we wandered through the gift shop and picked up a book, Alcatraz, the True End of the Line, written by a former inmate, Darwin Coon. He was in the shop promoting his book, and he signed it for us, including his inmate number and the dates he resided there. What caused me to choose his book was an excerpt on the back,

“It tells of the triumph of a human spirit who turned to God and by doing so, finally achieved the freedom and peace that had eluded him for so long.”

We spent about 2.5 hours on the island and really enjoyed our time there. All of us came away with new knowledge of the island and it was a great addition to our California history study.

I’ll share the rest of our day in San Francisco tomorrow.

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And the Winner Is......

......Katrina from Wakeboarding Mama! Congratulations!

In case you were wondering how I randomly picked the winner, I looked at the number of comments I had, in this case 9, and then asked my daughter to give me a number between 1 and 9. She picked 4. Katrina's was the 4th comment on the list.

Enjoy your gift certificate!

Reminder-Blog Giveaway Today

Just a reminder, I'll will be picking a winner today for the CSN Stores $40 gift certificate giveaway. If you haven't already entered, all you have to do is go to CSN Stores website, look around and then leave a comment on my blog with your email stating what you would purchase if you won. It's that easy!

I will be drawing and posting the winner sometime this afternoon. Possibly around 3:00 or so California time.

Don't miss out!


Weekly Wrap-Up #11


I’ve missed a few weeks of Kris’ Weekly-Wrap Ups, so I thought I’d jump back in for a quick summary of this week.

Lulu had volunteer training for our church’s vacation bible school on Monday. VBS is next week and all kids in my household, including my niece who stays with me, will be attending. They’ve really enjoyed it in the past. Lulu will be working as a leader for the preschool kids. This year’s theme is Joseph and Egypt.

After training, we had lunch at a friend’s house and I was able to do some catch up while the kids swam.

Tuesday entailed a quick trip to the closest “larger” town that has a Whole Foods Market.  This is about an hour away from us. While we were out and about, I took the opportunity to visit the Aveda salon and pick up some hair products and the Sephora store for some makeup. I am all about budget living; however, I have found that there are some items that I just can’t compromise on. I’ve tried-they just don’t work as well! We also spent some time wandering through Borders and I picked up some books on living gluten-free. More about this in another post.

Wednesday was a stay home and do nothing day. Actually, it was a stay home and pack and do desk work/phone calls for moving day. It’s amazing how much has to be prepared before moving out of state.

Thursday the kids enjoyed swimming with their cousin, who is almost 3. I’d forgotten how much fun the little ones have splashing around. Usually I can just float around and enjoy the water, but that day I left the pool totally soaked.

Today was the usual Friday errands. Haircuts for the kids, bank deposits, grocery stores. And I’m hoping to sneak off in a short while and get a pedicure!

That’s it for this week. Enjoy your weekend!

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My First Blog Giveaway!

I am excited to announce my very first blog giveaway! To thank all of you who spend your valuable time actually reading what I post, CSN Stores, which offer products ranging from cookware to dining room sets,  has offered to give away a $40 gift certificate to one lucky reader. CSN Stores has over 200 online stores to browse and use the gift certificate at.

How to enter:

Take a minute to check out the CSN Stores site and then simply leave a comment, along with your email address, on my blog, stating what you think you would use the gift certificate for. 

I will randomly choose the winner one week from today, on Tuesday, July 20, 2010. I will post the name of the winner and they will receive an email from me. CSN Stores will email the gift certificate directly to the winner.

Thanks so much for participating and have fun!

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Now For The Fun Stuff

Those that know me well, know that I love Disneyland. I think I get more excited than the kids when we visit. We only live about 6 hours away so the drive is not bad. We had annual passes a couple of years and would go quite often, but as the kids got older it became more expensive to go. It’s been almost 4 years since the kids have been, so I was really looking forward to spending the time there with them. This was the first time I went with my kids by myself!

Since we only had one day, I let the kids mainly choose what rides they really wanted to go on. I knew there was no way we’d see everything, so we tried to be picky about what we did.

We started our day at Disneyland around 10:30 with the obligatory photo in front of Mickey, then headed straight to Adventureland to check out the line for Indiana Jones.


Since the boys were so little last time we went, they had not ridden Indiana Jones before. Being huge Indiana fans, they were really excited. Luckily, both were tall enough to go on. The wait was 45 minutes, so we pulled some Fastpasses and used the time to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Jungle Cruise, climb Tarzan’s Tree House (I remember when it was Swiss Family Robinson!), and enjoy some ice cream.


We then took a walk through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, which had been closed for several years for a refurbishment and opened again after our last visit. The kids thought that was pretty cool.

Conman requested a ride on Snow White’s Scary Adventures. On our way there we passed Peter Pan and Wendy and while in line saw Mary Poppins stroll by.


Conman unsuccessfully tried to pull out King Arthur’s sword. I guess he’s not heir to the throne.


Next, was the Autopia cars. Lulu drove her and Blakester and I let Conman drive ours. He was laughing so hard he could barely hold the wheel.

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By this time, everyone was ready for some type of meal. The ice cream and churros they had already consumed didn’t hold them for long! We ordered pizza from Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port and sat down to watch the Jedi Training Academy show. Again, the kids are big Star Wars fans, so this was a hit.


After lunch we crossed over to visit California Adventure, mainly because I wanted the kids to ride the Toy Story Mania ride.  It is so much fun! We stopped for some photo ops on the way across.



On the way to the Toy Story Ride we ran into Woody and Jessie. This is my favorite picture of the day.


Toy Story was the longest line we waited in. Probably about 35 minutes. Most of the other rides were anywhere from a 5-15 minute wait. Later in the evening, we were able to walk right up and get on some rides, such as It’s a Small World.  The parks were not extremely crowded and the weather was beautiful.

The Toy Story ride is a 3D experience in which you use a cannon-type gun to play different carnival games. For example, on the balloon pop game, you’re shooting darts, on the ring-toss, rings, etc.  Conman was happy he beat me in accuracy because he took the time to aim, unlike his mother who just shot wildly hoping to hit something for points!


After this ride, we went back into Disneyland and rode the Matterhorn. Conman laughed hysterically the whole time, exclaiming, “I don’t know why I’m laughing!”

Then we went to Tomorrowland and rose Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blaster Ride. Here’s Conman and me. Lulu and Blakester’s picture didn’t come through for some reason.

                                          Buzz Lightyear ride

Conman then asked if we could ride Alice in Wonderland. I love the rides in Fantasyland and was pleased he wanted to ride some.


Lulu didn’t want her picture taken very much but I managed to snap a couple of her in line.


I agreed to go on the teacups with them, only if they wouldn’t spin me too much. I usually refuse to ride them, because they make me dizzy and ill! Conman said he would ride with me and not spin me too hard. I still managed to get a little dizzy, and that is definitely not my favorite ride.


The boys tried getting into the White Rabbit’s house.

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We ended our evening in the park with a ride on It’s a Small World and Thunder Mountain Railroad. Conman commented on It’s a Small World, “All the noise gave me a headache, but I liked the cute stuff.” On Thunder Mountain he said his legs felt like water! Meaning jello legs!

We snacked on some cotton candy and visited a couple stores in Downtown Disney before heading back to our car. The boys enjoyed the Lego store the most.


It was about 10:3o when we got back to our car. A full 12 hours in the park and we were ready to call it a night. The kids proclaimed the day a success and are still talking about it. It was a wonderful day and I am so glad we had the opportunity to go.

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