“MOMMY! My SEEDS are sticking out!”

A couple of weeks ago I decided that it would be a fun little project for Tristan and I to plant some herbs and a few other vegetables. I had to plant them in something portable so that when/if we move we wouldn’t have to give up all our hard work. For the past couple of weeks our daily routine has consisted of watering our seeds that we had spent one afternoon planting. Tristan got bored rather quickly at the whole seed planting thing and I’m sure the only way I’ve been able to keep his attention with every day watering has been the fact that he gets to play in the water for a few minutes. 

It may take a few extra trips to fill up the watering can but this is big fun for a 3 year old!

So, to our excitement today (mostly his because I knew that one day we would be watering more than the dirt) we have started seeing little sprouts pop up, hence his declaration “MOMMY! My seeds are sticking out!” He was so proud and so excited that he’s FINALLY seeing something! It’s in these little moments like this you can teach your children the very tangible meaning of “you reap what you sow”.  I’m sad that I lived life at a faster pace when my girls were this age, yet appreciative that I have this chance to give Tristan some of the experiences I had as a child. 

The beginnings of a planter box full of green onions.

While planting the seeds I thought back to a story my dad still loves to tell from our days in Alabama. My mother and father planted a garden every year and I guess I felt the need to “help”. I was very young so I either do not remember this or I was falsely accused, wink wink. While they were working hard planting their garden I found the butter bean seeds! Once the seeds started sprouting all over the yard they come to the very quick conclusion that little Toni Lynn had her own little green thumb. From the looks of our seeds, Tristan might have acquired that same green thumb.

Little bitty cilantro sprouts!

I still wonder if my butter beans grew better than the ones they planted in their garden…hummmm

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Mexican Wontons Appetizer

Here’s a really quick and yummy appetizer that I made today for a Fiesta San Antonio party!

Mexican wontons

1 (8 oz) bag pre-cooked beef fajita meat*, chopped

1/2 c diced tomatoes

2 T taco seasoning

Velveeta Mexican Blend cheese, cut into 1″ squares

Approximately 20 wonton wrappers (found in the produce section of your local grocery store)

1/3 c shredded cheddar cheese

Pre-heat oven to 375°. Place chopped beef fajita meat in skillet on medium heat. Add tomatoes and taco seasoning. Heat thoroughly. Place wonton wrappers into mini cupcake pan, add a piece of Velveeta cheese, spoonful of meat, and tomato mixture. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Fold in corners of wontons.**  Bake for 7-8 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and/or salsa for dipping. 

*Can be substituted with chopped chicken fajita meat

**The photo in this recipe shows the wontons unfolded. I found that folding the corners in made for an easier, less crunchy bite size portion. 

Stuffed Jalapénos

I have come to realize that jalapeños are an essential part of Texas. I’ve never disliked these hot little things but never had a yearning to cook with them until our move to the Lone Star state.


I found a great recipe for stuffed jalapeños on the grill that I’ve added my own twist to. Very simple recipe and easy to prep! Enjoy!

Stuffed jalapeños ready for the grill

Ingredients:

6 Jalapeños, cut in half and seeds removed

1 block cream cheese

1/3 c sun dried tomatoes in oil, diced

1 tsp garlic powder

6 strips bacon cut in half

Bring cream cheese to room temperature and combine sun dried tomatoes and garlic powder until well blended. Spoon cream cheese mixture into middle of jalapeños and wrap with bacon. Secure with toothpick and grill. 

*Note: to keep toothpick from burning, soak in water before use.

Yum! Grilling is a way of life at our home!

Do It Yourself Coasters = Easiest Craft EVER!

I originally found this craft idea on Pinterest (imagine that!) but I wanted to share how I did them just in case there’s one person out there who isn’t a Pinterest addict like I am. This craft is super easy, but I did find it time consuming because I’m a perfectionist. This is a great gift idea for Christmas or even Mother’s Day. 

Items needed:

4×4 ceramic tiles

Felt

Mod Podge

Sponge paint brush

Photos

Clear spray paint

Yup, that’s it!

Tristan and I spent the day at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens (I’ll post specifically about that later) and I got a lot of really cute shots of him. I saved up a few coupon codes through Shutterfly and printed 4×6 photos for practically nothing. The tiles were extremely inexpensive (about .16 each at Home Depot) and I got the black felt and mod podge at Hobby Lobby. All in all I probably have about $20.00 invested and created a TON of coasters.

Basically, cut your photo down to size. Brush a thin layer of mod podge on the tile then apply the photo. Give it a few seconds to set then begin your first layer of mod podge.  This is where it takes up the most time. I would do a batch of coasters then let the glue dry overnight.  When you apply the mod podge it will be white. Don’t worry, it will dry clear. Because these are being used for beverages, I didn’t want to take the chance of the glass sweating and seeping through the layers of glue and warp the photo. After several layers of mod podge I then spray a layer of clear spray paint over each coaster to seal in everything then wait another day for drying. At this point, I begin to cut out the black felt for the back of each coaster. This is a must so that the tile doesn’t scratch table tops. I applied another layer of mod podge then attached the felt and allow to dry. TAA DAA! You’re done!

I made lots and lots of coasters for Christmas gifts, these are in different stages of completion.

Another spin I did on the coasters was to turn some into wall art. I found some decorative ribbon and glued to the back of the tile before placing the felt.  I decided to do this alternative for my girls because they really don’t need coasters but loved the idea.  

Making coasters into wall art.

View of the back side of the coasters. Super easy to cut felt and glue to the back.

Family Fun Around San Antonio

Upon moving to San Antonio I scoped out what fun stuff I could do with the kids. Within a month I purchased a zoo pass and we’ve been going ever since. The San Antonio Zoo is the best I’ve been to. We’ve seen animals that we’ve said “WHAT is that?” or “How do you pronounce that?!” but each time is an adventure. http://www.sazoo-aq.org/

We’ve also been to Six Flags Fiesta, Texas several times. In addition to their regular summer operations they also have festivities for Halloween and Christmas. There is tons of fun for all ages! On one of our first trips Tristan spotted Scooby Doo through the crowd and went running for him. He was beyond excited to see one of his favorite characters!! http://www.sixflags.com/fiestatexas/index2.aspx

Tristan and Scooby Doo at Six Flags Fiesta, Texas

 Ethan’s favorite place is Sea World. I’ll never forget the excitement he had when we pulled up to the gates at Sea World Orlando. At the time he loved everything ocean related. When Ethan came to visit this past summer I knew I had to take him to visit Sea World San Antonio. We had a great day! http://seaworldparks.com/seaworld-sanantonio

Ethan feeding the dolphins at Sea World.

One of my favorite places is the Natural Bridge Wildlife Safari. There is nothing more fun than taking a teenager through the drive through safari and watching her scream when an animal approaches your car for food. This cool drive thru safari allows you the comfort (and safety) of your own car while you enjoy the wildlife and feed the animals with food purchased at the gate. Your admission allows you unlimited trips through the safari and of course you can always go back for more food….the animals won’t mind at all! http://wildliferanchtexas.com/

Jaymee meets a zebra at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Safari

The best way to keep cool during the Texas summer is water fun! Our favorite water park is Schlitterbaun Water Park in New Braunfels, which is right down the road from San Antonio. You can’t go wrong when there’s 3 full size water parks within their property. This place is buuussssyyyyy all summer long so if you want to go, get there early! We visited 4 times last summer and can’t wait to go back this year.

Kayla and Tristan enjoying the water slide at Schlitterbaun.

We’ve visited several other public parks and playgrounds around town. As the summer is slowing creeping up on us we plan on taking advantage of all the outdoor time we can before it’s too hot to enjoy it. Here’s to fun stuff with lots more exploring to do!

Exploring Downtown San Antonio

Riverwalk San Antonio

When I was planning out what I should share about our experiences during our first year in San Antonio I realized it would be too long for just one post. For now I’ll just stick with the typical “touristy” stuff in the downtown area that we’ve done. Most anyone who has visited San Antonio would have a photo or two of these sites. Of course we’ve been to the Riverwalk on numerous occasions. No matter what time of the year, it’s always beautiful! If you ever visit San Antonio, be sure to take the river boat tour. It’s a cool little ride around the river and you’ll learn some quick history about the city.

Kayla and Tristan on the river boat tour during the summer.

Nearby you’ll find the Alamo. There is so much history within the walls and certainly a must see as well.  Take the time to read all the stories, and background surrounding the structure, and the battle and how it plays a part in our country.

The Alamo

The Tower of the Americas is one of our favorite sites downtown. This incredible tower is 750 feet tall and has the most beautiful view of the city. Each time we have guests from out of town we take them to the wonderful restaurant/bar area for a breathtaking peek at our new home. http://www.toweroftheamericas.com/index.asp

Enjoying a cocktail at the Tower of the Americas

The downtown area also plays host to the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum.   We’ve eaten at the restaurant on several occasions but if you have a phobia of stuffed animals then this is not the place for you. There are mounts of deers, bears, cows, and everything in between. Tristan is always fascinated each time we visit. http://www.buckhornmuseum.com/

One of my favorite “date days” with Tristan was a visit to the children’s museum. LOVED LOVED LOVED it! So much to do and tons of interactive activities for every age.  

http://www.sakids.org/home.aspx

There is so much to see in San Antonio. This is just a little sample of the downtown area. I know there is so much more in just this little area to explore and share and whenever we discover something new I’ll be sure to share with everyone.

Granny’s Cookies!

When you get married, you don’t just marry the person, you marry the family. I have to say, I think I’ve hit the jackpot when I married the O’Dell family! All of my husband’s family resides in a small little town in South Carolina, where family ties run deep, friendships are created at birth, everybody knows everybody, and everyone has a Southern accent so thick that it sticks to you before you leave.

Every Christmas and Nate’s birthday we get a box in the mail that I have been told to not open until Nate gets home because inside is always a special delivery from his Granny….COOKIES!

One bite of these cookies spoke for itself! Nothing, and I mean nothing beats Granny’s cookies. I don’t know what kind of special ingredients she puts in them but I know the number 1 component is LOVE! I’ve had the honor of spending time with this wonderful lady and I know that it really wouldn’t matter whether they were the best tasting cookies in the world or not, it’s the fact that this amazing woman made them with her own two hands. 

Words can not begin to express the love Nate has for his family, especially his Granny, who just turned 90 this past February. I too, love this lady as if she’s my own Granny. When we visited during the Christmas holiday, Tristan clung to her the entire time, following her around step for step. Every so often we’d hear him say “Ganny…” and then carry on with sweet conversations with her. 

I know we are certainly beyond blessed to have Granny in our lives, not only for her delicious cookies (that everyone fights over when the box arrives),  but to just say we know the most wonderful, sweet, caring, loving Southern lady to ever grace South Carolina.

Nate and Granny O'Dell

Tristan and Granny talking about important things.

Nate and Tristan enjoying a batch of Granny's cookies.

Bubble Blowing = Appreciation

As I was sitting outside yesterday blowing bubbles with my 3 year old son I started thinking about how simple this time was, yet so very special for both of us. As I’ve gotten older I’ve started learning to appreciate and respect how precious time is. Time is something you can never get back so I try to enjoy even the small things.

So, as I sat outside I thought “Why not document my way of life, the things I’ve learned, the roads I’ve taken, and the roads I’m traveling.” These thoughts led me to create this blog. I hope to share lots of fun stories of the past and present, some of my best Southern recipes, and anything else that reminds me of the great South.