Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fredericksburg, Texas Show & Tell

"Scarlett" is a boutique I recently discovered in Fredericksburg, Texas and it's my new favorite place to shop for cute clothes (besides my sister-in-law's shop, but that's another post!).  I love the tag line on the sign...Beautiful. Strong. Timeless.  Could someone please arrange to have that carved into my tombstone???  The sales staff is amazing.  There's one gal there that helps me put together outfits and keeps bringing me things even if I don't ask her just because she thinks they might look good on me.  That's my kind of place 'cause let me tell you, I need all the help I can get in the outfit puttin' together department!  Excellent prices, too!  I highly recommend you check it out next time you're in Fred.  Just be sure to call me to make sure we're not going to be wearing the same thing if we happen to show up at the same party!  Why does this post make me talk in a Southern accent when I read it back?!!  Guess it's the name;)

One more thing...if you haven't gotten your peaches yet this Summer you're about to run out of time.  Sounds like we only have a couple more weeks left of this peach season.

My favorite spot for peaches in the Texas Hill Country is Marburger Orchard.  I have tried other places and the peaches are probably just as good, but I really like this little farm and the way they do things.

I have BIG plans for these little dandys!  Peach cobbler and peach preserves to name a couple.  You just can't beat Fredericksburg peaches.

Here's the info for my favorite orchard.  They also grow strawberries, blackberries, and various vegetables throughout the Spring and Summer.  Just make sure you show up there with cash or a check.  They do not take credit cards.  And no one will tell you this but me, because unfortunately I learned the hard way, don't leave your berries laying around the kitchen for long.  Do what you're going to do with them right away.  Like within the same day.  They go bad SO quickly.  The peaches, on the other hand, will last longer and will even need to sit out a bit to finish ripening.  You'll need to take all of that into consideration before you venture out there.

Well, that's my 10 cents!  Check out "Scarlett" and get your peaches QUICK!  And if you don't want to, well frankly my dear, I don't give a dang!

Outside Lisa

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Sweet Life!

     Each day I wake up with a whole new list of things to do and decisions to make and I never really know for sure how things might unfold.  All I know for sure is that attitude is everything.  You can make it or break it depending on the kind of attitude you choose to have before you put your feet on the floor.  Today I woke up with a terrible headache and it lasted all day long.  I told myself to shake it off, but it wouldn't shake.  I tried to pretend it was getting better, but it didn't.  I could have easily made my way back to bed to try to sleep it off, but I had better things to do.  Way more important things to do!  Like...

go to work to check on the guys who are trimming the gorgeous perennials,

wear the new bracelet I made with my two good girlfriends,

try Em's new apron on her...

and cook spaghetti together,
photograph Harrison with his babies,

watch the little ones run excitedly out the front door the greet their Daddy and older brothers and sister

...and enjoy the sweet life I am so blessed to have!

     My headache eventually went away, but not until I jumped into the swimming pool with my kids and held my breath under water for a bit.

Look at all I would have missed out on if I had gone back to bed.  I wouldn't miss this stuff for the world!!!  Here's to livin' each day to the fullest.

Outside Lisa

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My Boy is 6

My little boy is turning six today and these pictures from a year ago caught my eye and reminded me how important it is to stop and smell the roses.  He's growing so fast and I want to soak every moment with him in and savor every drop.

I try really hard to instill a love and appreciation for the beauty of God's creation in my kids. We really do have so much to be thankful for in our lives.  The simple pleasures of green grass underfoot, fresh cool creek water, the shelter and majesty of giant Cypress trees, the loyalty of a new pup, and the freedom to run are all things we live with and can easily take for granted.  But I want my children to pause when they see a beautiful sunset, take in the smell of the Mountain Laurel blossoms and the sweet musk of the Sycamore trees.  And I never want to lose the ability to view the world through their eyes.

Happy birthday my sweet sonshine!  You bring my life such joy.  I treasure every day with you and love you with every ounce of my soul.  Keep being you...God's perfect little you.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

Today was the cherry on top of the already great weekend I was having.  My husband and children orchestrated the perfect Mother's Day celebration for me, my mom, and Lezlie, my step-children's mom.  They prepared a breakfast feast that was out of this world.  The table was set with bright colored breakfast plates, there were flowers, cards, even chocolate covered strawberries made by Jackson!  All that was missing was our "glad to be finished with her first year of college" college girl, Dylan!  

I am so blessed to have such amazing kids and a husband that celebrates and appreciates not only me, but his mother, my mother, and my step-children's mother.  There are not many families like ours and some would even say we're crazy, but it sure feels good to sit down together with all of the pieces that make our family whole.  It takes a lot of love to raise five children and we're doing it together and supporting each other every step of the way.  I like that all of our kids can love each of their parents and grandparents openly and freely and even under the same roof on special occasions like today.  I sure felt blessed to be a mom and stepmom today!  

Mom- Thank you for being you and for loving me and my babies with your whole heart.  I can never thank you enough for all you do.

Lynda- I couldn't ask for a more loving and supportive mother-in-law/cheerleader.  I love you and enjoy having you in my life so much.  Thanks, also, for teaching Roger to respect and celebrate the institution of motherhood.

Lezlie- Thank you for allowing me to love and share your three angels.  Thank you, also, for loving my babies and my parents like they are your family.  You are a very special person.

This is the card Harrison made me.  I love the picture he drew of us together.  This really says it all!


Hope your day was filled with sunshine and rainbows!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter 2011 Highlights

A picture speaks a thousand words.  I am so blessed!

Hope you had a happy Easter!
Outside Lisa

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Round Top, TX Spring 2011

Round Top, Texas is a paradise for junk collecting girls like me.  Twice a year they host the greatest open air market in the land.  You can find anything under the sun here.  And, if you like this sort of thing, you can spend days combing through all the goods.  We're talkin' miles of highway lined on each side with tent after tent of antiques, trash, and treasure.  This is the first time I've made it in years and man it did my gypsy soul good!  But my time was limited, and I had my sweet Emerson with me, so I gave myself a set time limit and hit it, stroller and all!  These are some of the interesting things I saw:

I have to be honest.  I was terrified to take her.  It's not that I was put off by the idea of pushing the stroller through the masses for miles in the blazing sun.  I wasn't even worried about the logistics of diaper changes in a land of Skid-O-Cans.  The thing is...
She's two.  She's unpredictable.  She's destructive.  She's very hard-headed (her Daddy's side;))  When she's angry, she's angry at me.  And she's LOUD.  VERY LOUD.  When I imagined her there with me, in that place that's like paradise for a junker like me, all that kept running through my head was a picture of myself zooming through the crowd at break-neck speed, struggling to make it back to my car with all eyes on me as if a deafening noise was blasting impossibly out of the tiny princess in my stroller.  A noise like a firehouse in a three alarm fire blazing a trail back to the safety and serenity of my car.  But, lo and behold, she was awesome.  It was like she was on an adventure and was loving every minute of the strange sights, smells, and sounds.  She was a natural.  A gypsy in training.  So we tore through, never stopping long enough for her to even ask to get out of the stroller.  She even took a nap!

Overall, the trip was a success and I was only there for three hours.  I found a great looking peacock blue bowl


and the perfect cabinet for my living room.  It needs a coat of paint to fit my house, but that's easy enough.  I bought a dozen antique glass Christmas ornaments and two square bowls and a vase from someone selling Fiesta.  I am using the bowls to feed and water our dog Maisy.  They are turquoise and green and look great in our laundry room:)  That's all the time I needed to find what I was looking for, load up, and head home.  Score!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Picking Strawberries at Marburger Orchard, Fredericksburg, Texas

     We started our weekend at the strawberry patch!  Strawberries are one of my favorite things about Spring.  Marburger Orchard in Fredericksburg, Texas has an abundance of fresh ripe strawberries starting in mid to late March every year.  They allow you to go out in the field and pick away.  Sampling two or three is okay, but try telling that to a two year old.  My berry eatin' girl couldn't get enough and there was no hiding it.  Her fingers, face, and shirt were stained so badly she might as well have had an "Over the Limit"  sign stamped across her forehead.  I think they may do better by weighing kids in and out and charging by the pounds gained!

     I plan to make preserves and possibly a strawberry pie with our berries this year.  I didn't get around to making my strawberry preserves last year and we sure missed them.  Marburger Orchard is a wonderful place for a family outing.  Just know that for a two year old and five year old the attention span only allowed for about 30 minutes of picking.  For more serious picking for your canning needs, go it alone.  I will be going back by myself one early morning during the week.  They are a cash or check operation and they're only open when there are berries to pick, so make sure you call ahead or check their website before making the drive.

     They also grow blackberries, peaches, and vegetables throughout the Spring and Summer months, so get on their email list to get notifications as things ripen throughout the season!

By the way, I have no affiliation to Marburger Orchard.  I just really like them and want to spread the word about a local farm and encourage you to buy local, eat local, and support your local farms.

Happy strawberry picking,

Outside Lisa

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Help

The Help


I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Actually, I should say I just finished listening to the audiobook.  I downloaded it from ITunes and was mesmerized right from the start by the voices and accents of the very talented narrators.  I think it adds so much to a book when you have a voice to go with a character and you're not just left to imagine what they might sound like.  They were so good they had me thinking and sometimes even speaking with a Southern accent!

     Stockett's honest style of writing was captivating and the heart-wrenching and uplifting stories are a reminder for all of us to be kinder to one another and never pass up the chance to say thank you.  We are, after all, just people trying to make our way in life.  We all have ups and downs, trials and victories, different yet the same.  Read it or download it here.  You will not be disappointed!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Signs of Spring in the Texas Hill Country

The peach blossoms are coming on and the bees are busy doing their thing.  I can feel it in my bones.  Spring is upon us:)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

R.I.P. Chicken Lou

In Memorium

Our dear matriarch of our flock, Louise, has passed away.  I am unsure of the exact cause of her demise.  All I can say is she was treasured during her time here with us and we hated to see her go.  She was one of our original three hens that we brought in a card board box from Fort Worth.  One of my kids' first pets, we named her after a spirited hen in the children's book, "Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken" by Kate DiCamillo & Harry Bliss.  She was a superb egg layer and was the Alpha Hen of our flock.  We will miss her dearly.

***I noticed about 12 days ago that Louise seemed weird, but you know...chickens are weird, and she's a chicken, so I went on about my business.  A few days later I noticed she wasn't jumping up onto the roost in the evening any more.  Instead, she was sleeping in the nesting boxes.  I thought maybe she had gone broody and that's why she was hanging out in the nest so much, but she was only spending her nights there, so that blew my theory.  During the day she would go outside with the other hens.  After a few days of this, I noticed she seemed sort of mis-shapen.  She really didn't even look like the same chicken any more, so I decided I better get a closer look.  I scared the poop out of her when I tried to catch her and it was like clear liquid.  I lifted her wings and realized that she was just a little bag of bones and feathers:(  I could have chopped wood with her breast bone.  I knew then that something was definitely WRONG.  I went to my computer and started trying to diagnose her while watching her out of my kitchen window.  When I saw her just standing there, not eating, not scratching around, eyes glazed over, neck swooning like she could fall over at any moment, I made a difficult decision.  She was suffering and probably had been for days without me knowing.  What if she had some illness that was contagious?  I could lose my entire flock.  It was time to put her out of her misery.

Roger was out of town, but luckily one of the guys who works for the ranch was near, so I asked him to take care of her.  I ordered the hit and didn't ask any questions.  I only requested that he dispose of her in a way that would not cause her to end up back on our front door step for the kids and I to find later.  Our dog, Maisy, brings any dead thing she finds around the ranch and puts it on the front door step, or in the front yard.  The other day, she brought a deer leg into the kitchen!  Now that's COUNTRY!  More country than I can handle!

In half an hour, I got word that the job had been done and I felt a huge wave of relief knowing that Louise was in a much better place and her suffering was over.  I contemplated whether or not to tell the kids how she died (they already knew she was sick). I decided to tell them exactly what happened.  Life sometimes presents difficult decisions and I think they need all the practice they can get with their parent's guidance before they have to someday make those decisions themselves.  That is one of the beautiful things about growing up on a farm and ranch.  There are lots of opportunities to learn life's lessons!  We said a little prayer for Chicken Louise that night and imagined her in Heaven laying golden eggs for God.  The kids were understanding and peaceful throughout the whole experience.

Louise taught us many lessons in her short time with us.  She taught us that it IS possible to haul a chicken in a cardboard box five hours across the state and she'll even lay an egg for you on the way!  She taught us about the social hierarchy of chickens and what happens when another hen gets out of line.  She introduced us to the joy and satisfaction of having your own fresh eggs that, by God's perfect design, are the most complete and nutritious single-item meal you can consume.  And those same eggs, if fertilized, can become fuzzy yellow chicks in 21 days time.  Amazing!  She taught us about the responsibility of owning a pet or farm animal and the joy of watching a chicken just being a chicken.  They are truly entertaining little creatures!  And finally, but most importantly, she taught us about the circle of life and the tough decisions we may encounter along the way.

Rest in peace, sweet Louise.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Enter at Your Own Risk

My friend Lor! called me up out of the blue the other day to say, "You know how every once in a while you watch a movie that just really moves you?  That just happened to me!"  She had just seen the movie "Australia" for the first time and it really spoke to her...changed her...and she was excited about it.  

That's exactly how I feel lately.  Excited. Not specifically about a movie, a book, or anything else that tangible.  Just excited.  I'm excited about life and all that it is now and what is still to come.  Mostly I am excited to be given the chance every day to live it!  The other evening I was standing outside my wide open front door (which is just how I like it) and noticing the scene.  For that moment, time stopped in my head and I took a mental snapshot and began listing everything I loved about that little tiny speck of a moment in my day.  It looked like this:

car full of groceries behind me, chickens doing their thing all over the yard and on the front door step- scratch, scratch, look- scratch, scratch, look- POOP- scratch, scratch, look (oh, to be a chicken!) dog in pen barking at chickens, the aftermath of a two year old playing all over the house all morning which means a lot of obstacles in my path on the way to the five year old who is sitting on the toilet yelling, "Mommie, I'm DONE!!!", my arms full of bags, mail, backpack, purse, while two year old is begging, "Mommie, hold me" and teenage boys are texting, "What's for dinner?" and "What time will it be ready?"

And my list of what I loved about that moment:

See above.

It's life, and it's messy, and I LOVE it!

Outside Lisa

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Sweet Valentines

Valentine's Day 2011 has come and gone, but just now when I uploaded my pics from my IPhone, I decided I had to share some photos of my little darlings and all the beautiful reds and pinks of one of the most endearing days of the year.  I hope you had a wonderful day and didn't get all hung up on trying to give (or receive) the "perfect" gift, or even worse, set your expectations for the day so high that Cupid himself couldn't have pleased you.  To me Valentine's Day is simply a day for loving harder and louder than usual. A day to remind, reassure, and acknowledge the love we give and receive every other day of the year.

We are short on Valentine's Day decorations, so we decided to make some.  By cutting strips of scrapbook paper and stapling the strips together in loops, we were able to make a chain to drape over the mantel.  So fun and easy!

The kids and I made cookies and decorated them with icing and sprinkles.  They were so cute and we had a ball making them together.  I really enjoyed watching all of the kiddos in Harrison's class gobble them up!  The work it takes to make something from scratch and then share it with friends is an act of true love.  

My number one Valentine.  My husband.  My best friend.  

Nighty, night...
Outside Lisa

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Resolution FIVE: Lose the Addiction

     It is my sincere hope that "Mister Coffee", my Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino maker that Roger and the kids got me for Christmas, has what it takes to hold up under the pressure I'm putting on it every day.  It has some really big shoes to fill.  To live up to the green and white crack pusher that comes to me in my dreams and whispers to me ever so sweetly, is no small feat.  Don't get me wrong, Mister Coffee is good at what he does, and I have my concoction down to a science now.  But will I be able to resist the beast down the road?   IT has something Mister Coffee doesn't have.  MAGIC.  There has to be a flock of fairies sprinkling magical coffee bean dust across the land to get the aroma to reach me 15 miles away.  Could it be a super electromagnet that causes my car to veer in it's direction every time I pass by the place?  Or maybe, just maybe caffeine is what they've all being saying it is for years.  A drug.  (The hell you say!) Whatever it is, I'm addicted.  And I don't like being addicted to anything.  That just doesn't fit my program.

     I'm not saying there is no place in my life for Starbucks.  I wheeled in just the other morning and got a cup of hot herbal tea to soothe my scratchy throat and calm my nerves on my way to the Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist who wants to cut out my uvula.  So, see...there IS a place for Starbucks in my life.  I just want it to be my friend, not my obsession.

Summer Addiction
(I guess I better start working on a homemade version of this one now!)

     So what is this addiction thing all about?  I'm convinced it's not the caffeine I'm addicted to, but the place itself that draws me in.  Sure, the caffeine has something to do with it, but when I'm at home on the weekends, I usually don't even drink coffee and I feel fine.  My theory is that it all goes back to my lack of organization and brain fog.  Without a good plan, it's like Starbucks is the automatic default on my car.  "Hmmm...what do I need to do today?  I know, I'll go to Starbucks and think about it on the way."  Or  "Hmmm...where is that place?  Oh, look, there's Starbucks.  I'll go get my coffee and figure out how to get there."  Or, I'll be driving somewhere talking on my cell phone along the way and look up and "Oh, hey...I'm here and oh cool, looks like I must have gone by Starbucks on the way 'cause there's a coffee in my hand.  Nice!"  Yes, I probably am a danger to society, but the first step to recovery is admitting your addiction, right?  And isn't that what I've done here?  Actually, I've already taken the first COUPLE of steps because I now set out each day with a good solid plan and that plan does not cost me $5!

     For the past two weeks, I've been making my soy cappuccino at home with Mister Coffee.  I use a Starbucks Espresso Roast coffee for the espresso part and I use plain steamed Silk soy milk to make it a cappuccino.  The taste is spot on, I am in the convenience of my own home, and it costs a fraction of the amount I pay for the same thing at Starbucks.  And to top it all off, I add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the froth and it's like aroma therapy in a cup.  I would venture to say, Mister Coffee makes an even MEANER soy cappuccino than his rival.  Now if I can just convince my car of all of this, we'll be in the money!

   So, what's your addiction?  Are you ready to shake it?  I'm making 2011 the year for losing my addiction!

Have a great day,
Outside Lisa

P.S.  Mom, that doesn't mean you should stop buying me those Starbucks gift cards for gifts.  I'll still use them.  They'll just last a lot longer!



Monday, January 24, 2011

Resolution FOUR: Create.

     I aspire to see every day of this year as an opportunity to CREATE.  It doesn't have to be a masterpiece... just something that can be viewed and treasured by me as a work of art.  On some days, like yesterday, I may have the time to drag out all my paints and paint with the kids.  On other days, it may just be that I cook a beautiful meal, take a pretty photograph, or do a really good job on Em's pigtails.  The idea is that I create something that means something to ME.  Something that comes from me and is food for my creative soul.  Anyone with a creative bone in their body needs this, and I think they do best if they get it often.  But, in my opinion, it requires a way of thinking and an attitude that opens you up and broadens your sense of what ART and CREATING really is...what it means to YOU.  If it turns out that it brightens someone else's day...EXCELLENT!  But the one responsible for brightening my day is ME, no one else.  So, I challenge you to open your mind, get your hands dirty, make a move...any CREATE.  Chances are, you're already doing it.  You just have to recognize it!


Have a great day!
Outside Lisa

Friday, January 21, 2011

Resolution THREE: Get Organized!

     I am a haphazard soul by nature.  Every part of my being yearns for structure, but it just does not come naturally for me.  I fundamentally loathe, but desperately need a routine.  I just always seem to buck the system.  Heck, I even buck my OWN system.  I am a person who sometimes actually forgets to put on deodorant.  Really.  Who does that?  Me!

     I seriously think I have ADD.  So, now what?  I am a self diagnosed attention deficit mother who used to have it sooooo together.  I remember a boss once telling me in my early twenties, "You really get it.  For a young person, you REALLY have it together."  Wow.  I feel so far from that right now and this problem I have with being scattered is starting to affect my friendships, my work, and my kids and I DO NOT like it.  Yes, I would love to take a pill and make the fog just disappear, and there probably is a pill out there that will do just that, but I have such a hard time with the idea of putting that kind of chemical in my body at this point in my life.  I am trying to get healthy and do what's right for my health by eating as close to the source as possible, so foreign substances just don't fit into my program!

So, I am going to make a HUGE effort to get it together. I have made myself a daily schedule and I set tons of alarms on my IPhone to help me stay on task.  I know this is so elementary for most of you, but it really is a big deal for me.  I am going to try to start my day earlier so I won't have to stress the kids out by being rushed to get ready for school.  How nice it would be to get to actually sit down and eat breakfast with them!

I'm going to use technology to assist me and not distract me.  I'm syncing my calendars, making it fun to check off all there is to do on the "to do" list, and walking around sounding like a fire house in a three alarm fire.  Thank you beloved IPhone!

I really think this will make 2011 a much happier, healthier, balanced, and more productive year.  That's what I'm going for anyway!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Resolution TWO: Eat Right for My Type

     One of my biggies for this year is I'm changing the way I eat.  Yes, I want and need to lose weight, but more than anything, I want to avoid getting the arthritis that plagues my family tree.  I have started feeling some pain in the thumb of my left hand and middle finger of my right hand, as well as in my elbows.  It's beginning...and I don't want it!  A few years ago I discovered Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo's book Eat Right For Your Type.  It explains the correlation between food and blood chemistry.  He outlines individualized diets for each blood type and even suggests what kind of exercise best suits you.  The whole idea really makes sense to me and I know several people who have had amazing success with this program.  People are controlling and, in some cases, overcoming diseases like Lupus, Diabetes, Celiac, and Arthritis.  

     I have Type A blood, which means I have a hard time digesting most animal proteins, especially beef.  My body will supposedly function much better if I follow a diet consisting of mostly vegetables, fruits, and nuts.  I should avoid cow's milk and dairy, but I can drink goat's milk and eat goat cheese.  I should also avoid gluten.  These are just SOME examples of what I can and cannot eat.  

     Visit Dr. D'Adamo's website and find out for yourself what you should be consuming.  After all, you are what you eat, right?  If that were the case... tonight I'd be a homemade tortilla-pinto bean-venison chilli.  Obviously, I'm not that hard core yet, but I'm doing the best I can every day and definitely making better choices overall.  It just wouldn't be right to pass up a homemade tortilla, not in Texas, at least!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Perfect Visit

     I had the joy of spending the evening with our sweet Dylan.  She came for a visit before she heads back to college this weekend.  We sat on the couch in front of the fireplace and watched a movie together.  We talked and laughed...just the two of us.  It was perfect. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Resolution ONE: Support and Encourage

     Everybody needs support and encouragement to be their best.  Phone calls, emails, text messages...there is no excuse for any of us not to be on the giving AND receiving end of this DAILY.  Yes, we have kids, jobs, lives of our own to fill up our days, but if you are not surrounding yourself with people who encourage you to be your best (which sometimes comes in the form of a much needed, carefully stated verbal smack down) you are really missing out on one of the best things in life...FRIENDSHIP.

Remember:  To have friends, you have to be a friend.  I plan to put a little more time and effort into this in 2011.  Let's just see what happens!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm Back!

     My five year old, Harrison, took these pictures of me sitting at my computer right after Thanksgiving.  At some point back in November, I decided my kids were seeing way too much of me sitting at my computer, so I basically took a little hiatus from blogging and dove into the holidays! I was so busy with work, kids, and Christmas, I had to take something off the "to do" list, so, like most moms, I cut out one of MY favorite things to settle into making some Holiday Magic!  I have missed writing, but I wouldn't have traded one minute of the extra time I spent with my family.  So here I am, feeling like I'm finally coming up for air and here we are in the new year...2011!!!

     I've spent a lot of time lately reflecting on 2010 and making plans for 2011 and I really look forward to sharing my thoughts here.  Happy New Year!

Note:  Yes, that is liquor in the background.  No, Santa isn't really standing on my shoulder!