Saturday, September 29, 2012

Landing Zone

Thursday night, someone must have painted a big ol' target on our school to turn it into a landing zone, and it created thrills for hours!.  Friday morning began the Balloonar Landing Festival, and instead of landing at NASA, over a dozen of the hot air balloons decided (or, more likely, were blown) to our campus.  Don't get me wrong-this was amazing!  The kids were just beginning to arrive at school as the first balloons began making their descent into our fields.  So many of our kids have never seen anything like this, and to be just feet away from a balloon was so exciting.  We could feel the heat from the propane as the balloons made their final preparations to land.  The vibrant colors in the balloons decorated our fields like Christmas ornaments.  It was so fun to watch the pilots and their crews pack up the balloons before we headed in for our day of classes.  We then ended the day with a visit by life flight.  Everyone is fine-just a broken arm-and I think the kids were most excited because they knew a helicopter was in our field.  Gotta love middle schoolers!


Isaac, Jason, and Jacob were crewing one of the balloons, and my friend Amy and I went out for the glow last night.  I'm glad we went then; the weather cancelled the rest of the festival beginning this morning.  The balloons look like Christmas lights on steroids.  They are beautiful when they all glow together. 

The balloon the guys crewed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pillow Cookies

Each time The Three Stoogies reunite in any location, a patch of delectable pillow cookies are whipped up for all to enjoy.  I have no idea when these three came up with this concoction, and no one seems to know where the name came from, but these cookies a hit every time.

Pillow Cookies are super easy to make.  The boys make a batch of brownies, typically from scratch.

While those cool, they mix up a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough, just using the directions on the chocolate chip bag.

Then they wrap a lump of cookie dough around a chunk of brownie.  These bake for about 10 minutes, but sometimes longer if they're making king pillow cookies.  :)

These are best served warm, but I don't think many people would turn one down ever.  This batch was made within the first day of the guys' visit.  Can't wait to see what culinary delights they make next!

Oh, how they wish these were puppy friendly!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I love that today is See You at the Pole.  I'm excited to see how many kids come to pray for our school this morning!  I vividly remember praying for SCIS when I was a student there (and at my high school too!), and it's fun to now be one of the teachers at the pole.

I love that these three goons will all be together again beginning mid-morning today.  My house will be loud and huh, well, manly, for the next seven days.

I love my Soulage heat wrap.  It has helped me survive the pain from this week like non other!
I love that for two full weeks now we've been practicing Christmas music in choir and bells.  "Awesome" doesn't even begin to describe it!
I love my new SEC A&M cup one of my awesome students brought me from this past weekend's game.  It's a holographic cup, so if I turn it a bit, the ATM turns to SEC. There may have been some whooping going on in 5th period today...
 Of course I love my Jesus!

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

*Jason and Jacob come into town this week, so meals will completely be at the whim of three grown boys' appetites and desires, not my pantry!  Ha!

Sunday: Eggs, Bacon, and Pumpkin Bread

Monday: Chicken and Spinach Lasagna

Tuesday: Tuna Salad

Wednesday: Poppyseed Chicken Casserole

Thursday: Tacos

Friday: Balloonar Festival

Saturday: Balloonar Festival

Sunday, September 23, 2012

What a Pain!

While endometriosis hasn’t been in my daily vocabulary for nearly 5 years, when it does roar its ugly head, it’s mean and loud!  I’d had off and on pain throughout this past week, but I never guessed it would lead to being stuck on the couch most of the weekend.  The pain is so intense that it takes my breath away.  Endometriosis affects my legs (it’s different in everybody), so they feel weak if I try to stand for long, and forget about driving.  I don’t like slowing down this much, and it caused me to miss the Matthew West concert with my friend Amy on Friday and Teacher Sunday at church.  I’m pretty sure I’ll feel back to normal in a day or two, but man oh man, this has not been my weekend. 

On the bright side, I’ve spent a lot of quality time with Cary Grant the past two days.  He’ll make any gal feel better!  These puppies of mine have certainly enjoyed the extra cuddles too.  Since I didn’t feel like going out to get a pedicure, Isaac gave me a darn good one right in our own living room.  I also was able to make these adorable Halloween shirts for Tina and Joelle. Any time I can do something to surprise them, my weekend hasn't been a complete wash!
Joelle's is identical, but I didn't have a small enough hanger.  :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cousin Lovin'

Last Saturday, Nanny and Dede invited us for dinner.  Apparently my family doesn't communicate well because I didn't have a clue that my parents were keeping little Layla for the weekend.  Once we figured it out, we arranged for a play date at the lake for all three pups.  They had seen each other once about 3 weeks ago, and Layla wasn't so sure of her cousins.  This visit was completely different and a huge hit.  Sweet Layla has grown quite a bit since our last love fest, and though she's still all fur, her confidence grew as well.  She and Aggie Belle decided they are quite the best of cousins, and the little kisses they gave each other were just delightfully precious!  Bailey and Layla spent quite a while trading sniffs, and I do think there is hope for Bailey to warm up to yet another dog.  Phew!  Here's hoping to many more play dates quite soon!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavor Visit

Yesterday Space Shuttle Endeavor made a visit to Houston on her way to California.  NASA flew her all over town so residents could take photos of her over local landmarks.  Of course, Endeavor spent most of her time being flown over NASA, and low and behold, my campus is on NASA property, so guess who watched fifty whole minutes of fly-overs?! 

The weather was absolutely stunning.  I needed a jacked the whole hour and a half my faculty was outside waiting and watching.  Endeavor was supposed to arrive Monday, but poor weather delayed her.  Yesterday was a teacher inservice day, so we spent 40 minutes playing like kids in the field and 50 minutes happier than kids in a candy stores as Endeavor filled us with glee.  Teachers probably know how to have the most fun of anyone! 

I'm sure astronaut Greg Johnson was having quiet a good time being the 'chase plane' in the X-38.

Endeavor flying right over Space Center Intermediate.

This was so bittersweet.  A shuttle will never fly again.  I'm ok with out shuttle mock-up we were given, but I'm going to miss these fly-overs.  They have been few and far between in the last 15 years, but as a child, I saw them over and over again.  Each time a shuttle had to land in California, it would be flown over Houston on its way back to Florida.  My elementary school principal would schedule fire drills so the whole school could watch the shuttle fly over us.  I cherish those memories.  The shuttle program feels like its in my blood, and I'm going to miss this.

This morning, Endeavor took off from Ellington to head to California.  We arrived about 6:00 to watch her final flight preps.  Then we headed down to the end of the runway to get a great view of her taxi and take off.  God made everything in the sky just perfect for an absolutely majestic moment.  Just beautiful!  And, the smell of jet fuel in the early morning air is rather comforting.  Go figure; I'm weird.

Come on, NASA (ie, Congress)!  It's time to thrill this gal once more!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday: Pumpkin Edition

Pumpkin Edition (or perhaps, Addiction?):

Oh my, it's no secret that I love all things pumpkin.  I choose to ignore the fact that pumpkins are orange.  God and I will discuss that when I reach Heaven.  My favorite homemade treats, Puppy Pumpkin Pastries, Pumpkin Pancakes, and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are old news, but here are some of my favorite pumpkin treats from the store:

Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts.  They are delish, but way too sweet to eat both in the package for breakfast. 

My Nanny graciously handed this delightful sounding treat over to me this weekend when I found it in her pantry.  :)  I haven't tried it yet, but anything that's pumpkin mixed with cream cheese is going to be amazing!

Both of these ales are quite tasty, and the pumpkin flavor isn't overwhelming.  I like the Shock Top brew better because it doesn't taste as dark as the Sam Adams and probably because I like Shock Top better all around anyway.  Be warned, they are full flavor ales, so they come with all the calories. 

Ok, so my photo isn't the straightest shot ever, but I do enjoy decorating with gourds.  Place wax paper under them so if the bottoms get soft the furniture/wood doesn't rot along with the gourds.  I want to get some faux fall colored leaves to put on the mantel as well.

And of course, I'm loving my Jesus!

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Sloppy Joes and Carrots

Monday: Chicken, Green Bean, and Wild Rice Casserole

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Chicken Picata

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Eggs, Bacon, and Waffles

Friday, September 14, 2012


A cool breeze.  Crushing acorns under my boots. The soft fall of rain.  Raucous thunder booms.  Cloud to cloud lightening.  Butterflies.  Flowers.  You are on my mind.

Great books that keep me on edge.  Funny stories friends tell.  Fabulous movies.  Excitement that randomly bursts from my students.  Chocolate.  Thoughts of how You enjoy each of these too.

Music.  Lyrics. Melodies that sweep my soul into euphoric bliss.   The thrill that comes from singing.  I want to share it all with You.

Puppy kisses.  Soft fur.   Clean dogs curled up in the bed.   Running and chasing and swimming with precious pups.  I see You in each moment.

Giggles from children.  Tickles.  Pillow fights. Holding hands.  There's glee from You in each small joy.

Galloping on horseback.  The gentle push of a velvety muzzle reaching in a back pocket for a tucked away carrot.  The comfort of an old pair of boots.  You provide each memory and each longing to create a new memory.

The relaxed banter of a road trip.  Watching a sunset.  Gentle rocking under the changing tide on a boat.  You delight in it just like me.

The soft brush of a kiss.  The strength in a hug.  The comfort of someone close by.  You're in it all, and it's all for You.

Blissful, glorious, wonderful You.  Nearly every moment something happens to place You on the forefront of my mind.  You are true love at it's best, spanning time.  It's beautiful and fills me up to overflowing.  Never leave.  Stay by my side until I see You always and forever is mine.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hurricane Ike Remembered

Four years ago this morning Hurricane Ike hit Houston as a level 2 storm and gave us a run for our money.  My family had long since headed to A&M to escape the storm, enjoy Aggieland, and visit with David.  While we had fun reliving old college days, my family's house and my school got an unapproved Aggie Whooping.  Wow.  Houston can't complain based on experiences from Katrina and Rita, but Ike sure rattled our cage. 

A home between my family's and my school.
Dad has pictures from our home's damage, but I don't.  We lost part of our roof, and three rooms, the foyer, and a hallway had to have major work done from water damage.   Many of my friends and several students though completely had to demolish their homes due to mud and water damage.  We're talking 9 feet of mud in some of these homes.  Yeah, that's not really salvagable.

SCIS got hit hard.  I made it up to campus four days after Ike hit.  Most of the water had receded, but in my classroom, it was 3" deep during the storm.  The wind blew the rain horizontally.  It came in through the window panes, seeped through the cinder block walls, and flooded my interior cooridor classroom.  My room had no roof damage, but 3" of water.  Seriously?!  I didn't have carpet from September until April.  We didn't get books until the next year. 

Part of the roof over the gym pulled back from the wall.

The gym roof was horribly damaged.  By the time clean up crews made it to school, the wood had warped several inches into the air.  It looked like a skateboard park.
The hallway nearest the gym.  Yep, the roof is on the floor.  The water was up over the baseboards during the storm.

The roof doesn't belong on the field, does it?

Is it good?!

We've had AC problems ever since.  Hmm...

Yep, that's the roof.
The hotel near my school.

I must say, my kids were incredibly resilant that school year.  So many of them literally lost everything their families owned, but they came back, worked hard with what we had, and kept a smile on their faces.  We learned writing on cement slabs before carpet is reinstalled can be healing.  We learned we can make do with very little.  I learned that sharp metal objects cause bad injuries and to stay away from them.  Ha. 

Houston will hopefully not get another direct hit from a hurricane for a long time.  There are still parts of town that haven't really recovered or weren't rebuilt.  The excitement gets replaced by reality very quickly.  Ike was enough to satisfy my desire for stormy adventures!

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