Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ten Things to Smile About: August

It's the last day of August!!  Wow - it was hot, it was busy, it was hot, it was tiring, it was hot......

ok, enough about the heat already.

Why not focus on some FUN that we had in August!  So I am linking up with Emmy Mom to review 10 Things that Made Me Smile this month.

1. Mall Scavenger Hunt -I took Sis and a few friends to "hunt" for 25+ items throughout the mall.  It was fun to see my girl hanging out with friends at the mall.  I made sure to keep a close distance behind them as they played! (forgive the blurry iPhone photo)

2. Brody's Pick: Lego Store - Not to be outdone by his sister in the last week before school started, Brody picked a trip to the Lego Store for him & a friend.  They picked out a box full of legos each from the is HUGE wall of lego pieces.  And we had so much fun seeing the Lego Star Wars Death Star & Lego Harry Potter Diagon Alley all built.  Only 1000+ pieces and a couple hundred $$$! (again, yucky iPhone pic) 

3. Changing Rooms - Sis is ready for her own room, separate from the "Jack & Jill" room she shares with her brother.  So we switched rooms around and I am in the process of decorating each room - A Zebra reading room for Sis, A Star Wars room for Brody, and an Alphabet wall for Bubba.  Does all this work make me smile? no, not really.  But when I asked Bubba to show the babysitter his room last week and he ran right to his new one and pointed to all his toys, that made me smile! :))

4. Feeding the Teachers!  Many of you know, I am starting my second year as the PTA president at the kids school.  There was TONS of work to do up at school the week before school started. There was not a lot of smiling going on there...but when we provided a lunch to feed all our teachers & staff the day before school started, and almost 100% of it was donated by local delis & sandwich shops, we were grinning from ear-to-ear.  The sincere words of appreciation and excitement from our teachers was worth all the effort we put in that week. (yep- another dreadful iPhone pic - where was my Nikon this month??)

5. Last Lake Weekend- We didn't get out much on the boat this summer, so we took one last weekend at the lake before the kids went back to school.  I tell ya, nothing is more relaxing than spending the day with my family on our boat in the gorgeous Texas Hill Country! And Bubba is finally starting to enjoy it more!

6. The Glee Project Finale - Did anyone else catch this show this past summer?  Well, with my tiny obsession with Glee, this show was a perfect substitute for the real thing.  10 kids "auditioned" for a role on Glee.  Sis & I loved it and the one we wanted from the beginning ~ Damian ~ won!!  Can't wait to see him (and many of the others - the top 4 were all given some small part) this season!

7. School Started!  I think I described my glee here.  Their excitement made me smile!!

8. Impromptu Stop at the Park - After taking the kids to school, Bubba & I made a stop at his favorite park.  It was such a sweet moment to relish in our time together again.  And you can see by his gleeful run, how happy he was to have me to himself again......or maybe he was just thrilled to be out of the car?? hmmmm....

9. Thirty-One- This summer I fell in love with all the amazing Thirty-One bags I saw while in Illinois.  I wanted one of everything and I couldn't wait to show everyone back home.  So consequently, I decided to become a Consultant.  I have had a few parties and have LOVED every minute - it gets me back to my selling roots and I love the products.  I won't talk about it too much here on the blog, but I have to show off this adorable tote my girlfriend bought...... If you want one just like it, let me know! :)

10. Hunger Games Trailer - and lastly.......I.CAN.NOT.WAIT.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Preview: Summer 2011

Coming to this blog very soon........

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rain Dance

We need rain.  We are dying here.  We are in one of the worst droughts for the state since 1865.  Yikes.

And today?  We're predicted to hit 108.  Uh huh.

What am I dreaming of?  R.A.I.N.
 we saw rain this summer.
 but not here.
 we hadn't seen it for so long, that the kids went crazy out in it.
 and this mom let them.
they went crazy.  as if they had never seen rain before.

funny how a little bit of water falling from the sky can make you nutzo.

i'm ready for a little crazy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Daydreamin': The Sweet Smell of Vacation

I'm linking up for another Friday Daydreamin' with R We There Yet Mom?.  Last week there was only 5 vacation photos to visit - so I am really hoping to see more this week - I have my cup of coffee sitting here ready to dream away........

So, take a minute to admire my lovely vacation photo below, add a photo to your blog and link up!  I promise you, it's the easiest Friday post you'll ever do!!

Now, let's take a trip down to Mexico......

I cleaned out my closet today. (just hang with me) And on one of my shelves, I found this perfume set that I had been given as a gift on a trip a few years ago.  I had never opened it.  I wasn't wearing much perfume at the time, I guess.  

When I opened the gift set and smelled the scent, it took me right back to where I got it - this heavenly resort in Cabo San Lucas smelled of this scent.  I probably sat on my closet floor for a good 20 minutes inhaling this scent and remembering this wonderful trip Matt & I took there.  Margaritas by the infinity pool.  Sleeping with the terrace door open to hear the waves crashing.  Lobster dinner by the bay.  Deep sea fishing.  Many spa treatments.  And this scent.  This heavenly scent.

I am so incredibly happy that I have this perfume gift set.  What a fantastic way to remember an awesome trip!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It's the First Day of School!!!!!

Whoo-Hoo!!  As much as I enjoyed my summer with my babes, I was thrilled to see School starting up again. Thrilled to have routine back.  Thrilled to have one-on-one time with Bubba.  Thrilled to have a quiet house.


Does that make me a bad mom?

Many moms were saying yesterday how much they missed their kids when they went back to school.  Try as I might, I just couldn't find that feeling anywhere.  

Miss their constant bickering & fighting with one another?  Miss their enormous appetites for junk food? Miss their zoning in front of the tv, ignoring my requests to turn it off?  


They were ready to get back to school - they both had an AWESOME day, chattering about thier friends, the rules of P.E., their teacher's expectations ("can you believe I might have 2 nights of homework?"  gasp!!).

We had an awesome summer filled with travel, family, and fun.  But this family is ready for routine.  And the school year provides us with learning, schedules, better habits, and so on. 

So, the 2 olders are back at school.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The First Day of the Last Year

Today was our last "official" day of summer.  And as I lay in bed thinking about that, a horrible thought struck me.
 Tomorrow marks the first day of Sissy's last year of Elementary School. Yeah, I'm a sap. I know.
Just look at this precious baby girl starting her first day of kinder 5 short years ago.  She was so excited.  So happy to be starting school.  SO ready to pose for the camera and tell me she was going to "school"!
 Kinder was an awesome year - she was in a tiny class of 12 kiddos in a small private school. They were a sweet little class that got a long so well.
And she was such a big, independent girl.  All ready for what the world would bring her.  She made sweet friends that year.  And strengthened her love of reading.  

I look at these pictures now and all I can think of is how sweet, confident, and loving she was then...and still is today.  She may have her head crammed full of a lot more things.....geometry, scientific methods, states & capitals, student council, and more....but she has not lost that sweet disposition and helpful attitude.
Sis, get the most that you can out of this last year of Elementary!
Have an awesome 5th grade year!
I love you to pieces.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Daydreamin: Hold on to those Beach Memories

I think Friday is starting to be one of my favorite days of the week in Blog Land!!  I have so enjoyed viewing all the Friday Daydreams over at R We There Yet Mom?.  It has been a fun "escape"!!

This week, I am daydreaming about this past summer.  Our summer is just about over here in Texas.  We had our Teacher Welcome Walk this evening and school starts on Tuesday.  We are going to take a quick trip out to the lake for one last hurrah, and then we are back to the "Darling Routine".

This was our first trip to a real beach as a family.  We spent almost every day (except when we were chasing after gators) playing in the sand, leaping through the waves, and spending every single minute together as a family.  We had such a wonderful time.  We took home cherished memories of our kids that we will forever hold onto.

And as I sit here this morning, drinking my coffee in the quiet, I have a sense of peace knowing we made those special memories for our kids this summer.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Get Ready for Back to School: Top 5 Ways We Celebrate!

I'm sitting here, trying to figure out if I am excited that the kids are going back to school next week, or am I sad that the summer is over??

When I'm at the grocery store and the 2 olders are whining because "she punched me" & "he tripped me", I am most certainly HAPPY that school is about to start.

But when I look back on all the fun things we did this summer together as a family, I long for more time with them......

Knowing that we can't stop time, I have to make the most of what I have in front of me.  So, to make the most of this last week of summer, we traditionally do some fun things to celebrate the end of a fun season and the start of a new school year:

1. Make the last week FUN!!  Do somethings that you didn't do all summer - take them to their favorite restaurant (my kids love CiCi's - blech - but it's cheap!), to a different swimming pool, to the 99 cent movies - just get out of the house and make it fun.

Last year, every morning of the last week of school, the kids we given an envelop with a clue of what we were doing.  For example, "Happy Tuesday!  Let's remember what it's like to have recess by playing outside at the Rockin' R Water Park!"  We went to Gattiland, had doughnuts at this well-known bakery, and had a family game day.  We had an awesome week filled with fun!! I enjoy the time spent with them doing something they loved doing.

This year, I let each one pick an activity with a friend - Sis choose an Mall Scavenger Hunt & Brody choose a trip to the Lego Store.

2. Count it Down.  We like to find ways to count down the days of summer - this is great for the younger kids to "see" how long they have until school starts.  Last year, we did this with a paper chain.

3. Make a Back-to-School recipe with the kids.  There are so many ideas floating around out there for fun cookies, cupcakes, meals, etc. that celebrate school.  Some of my favorites come from the Family Fun website.  We have made treats for our teachers each year, as the teachers at our school come to each house the week before to introduce themselves to the kids.  This is how the kids find out who they have - it is so fun!!!

4. Last Day of Summer??  Make it meaningful. Our school district starts school on a Tuesday and I love that because it gives me a day after the weekend to relax them.  Traditionally, we spend that day at home, quietly playing, with no friends over.  Sis and I have made a scrapbook of our summer and watched our favorite movie together (the past 3 summers, it has been Hairspray, wonder what it will be this year?).  It is a wonderful last day to love on my kiddos before sending them off for the year.

5. Packed & Ready to Go! My kids are not the anxious type and they are used to me making a fuss over the littlest things in life.  So I like to make a "last summer vacation" meal that all the family will enjoy - and y'all know my troubles with getting Brody to eat "regular" food - so sometimes this means we mix it up - hamburgers for the normal people and a grilled cheese for him.  This saves the fighting at the dinner table, he fills his belly and we all have a nice family meal together.

I also ensure that they are a part of planning lunches & snacks by taking them shopping for what they want (as long as it gets mom's approval) and packing their lunch the night before.  When they were little, I made a check list of all the things they needed to do to get ready for school and we walked through it.  As we have gotten older, I have given them a lot more independence - this is the first year I have completely let them pick out their own first day of school outfits (and it's not at all what mom would have choose - no more skirts and cute boots for my girl!! sniff sniff).

These are a few of the things we are doing this week - I know there are many more fun traditions out there that all of you amazingly creative moms do - tell me some of them!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

WOW! What a debate we have going on here.

So, before we get to the topic at hand, I need to ask all my regulars a BIG favor!!!  After it's first post 2 months ago, R We There Yet Mom? is hosting it's first giveaway today!!!!!!!  We are giving 2 (TWO!) vouchers to Eversave Deals going on in Texas. DOn't live in Texas?  No problem - if you are an out-of -state winner, you will receive $20 in EverSave rewards!!!!

So take a quick second, hop over & sign up to win, then come back and read on.

K?  Thanks.

On with the show........

I'm assuming everyone knows the drama going on with my blog - if not, read this first.

Moving forward, I have had a huge outpouring of support from the blogging community in regards to the plagiarism.  While the majority of blog comments, facebook comments, and tweets are in support of the fact that my words were stolen, there are a few that see things differently.

Today the story was even picked up by another blog, My Favorite Hate Mail and the comments have been enlightening. I love the debate that has been going on........

Some feel that the person who stole the post was apologetic in her comment back to me.
I do not feel this way.  I think she was embarrassed that she was caught.

Some feel that she is getting flogged by the blogging community.
Possibly - she is getting flamed.  This stems from the overwhelming passion that comes from bloggers who work hard putting their words out there for the world to see.  They are protective of what is theirs.  They are supportive of other bloggers when someone "does them wrong".  And if you are not an active blogger, you may not be able to relate to this.  That's ok.

Some feel I/we are making a big deal out of nothing.
While I appreciate their concerns for the other blogger, they need to reflect on how they would feel if something they worked hard for was taken from them.  I was initially very upset by this discovery on Saturday night and immediately posted my anger.  I don't regret what I said.  I am glad that I brought this issue to light.

Some feel I need to "let it go."
I have.  Really. I don't hold a grudge to this blogger.  I forgive her for what she did.  She made a silly mistake and I am sorry that she finds it unnecessary to apologize for it.  But it is what it is.

In all honesty, it has been a fun last few days - I have met a ton more people in the bloggy world and brought more attention (and traffic) to my 2 blogs.

So if you are new to The Texas Darlings or R We There Yet Mom?,  thanks for visiting.  Hope you come back again.

Just don't steal my post. K?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Along the Way" to Plagiarism

I don't typically spend my Saturday night blogging, but something just happen that I want EVERYONE to know about.

I was robbed.

No, not "doors knocked down, tvs missing, glass smashed" kinda robbed.

I was stolen from, on here.  My blog.  My precious words were taken from me and used as someone's own. And I feel violated.

Here's what happened:  Y'all know I have another blog where I feature Friday Daydreams right??

ATTENTION BLOG STEALER: I am the writer behind R We There Yet Mom? (& the Friday Daydreams)

I like to visit all who link up.  So I had a late link today and went to see her "daydream" - it was a lovely one about her honeymoon - I really loved it - and typed up a great comment about it, thanking her.  As I hit to save my comment, Blogger must have known I needed to see a little more of her blog, because it didn't save my comment but instead re-routed me to a post on her blog titled "Ugh Facebook".

I started reading it and thought to myself - "that's weird, that sounds a lot like the one I wrote in July about The Facebook.  THAT'S CAUSE IT WAS Y'ALL.  my post.  mostly word for word.  Right down to the Jake Ryan & HEB reference.  At least she took the references to my kids out if it.

So what's the first thing I do??  IM all my IRL blogging buddies - they convince me to ask her to remove it.  Which I politely do:

And cause they all have nothing better to do on a Saturday night, they all left AWESOME comments telling her their opinions of stealing someone's hard written words too.

Oh how I love these girls!!!!!!!!!

Now I am not naive enough to think this never happens.  I am sure MANY unethical bloggers out there steal other's posts.  I just never thought anyone would want to take mine.  (ha ha).  Am I flattered? Not.At.All.

I worked hard on that post - put the time in to make it witty - and to top it off, it was a meaningful post - I have seen some relationships ruined by Facebook - as silly as it is, writing about The Facebook was rather cathartic for me. And to have someone take my words from me feels just as violating as if they broke into my house and took my tv.

And after a little googling and some advice from some friends, I learned that I have a copyright on anything I publish here on my blog.  In fact, did you know:

1. You DO NOT have to put notice that your material is "copyright protected" on your blog.  YOU AUTOMATICALLY have copyright protection.

2. Even if you credit the author (but have not asked permission to use their materials, photos, etc), you are still in danger of copyright infringement.

3. If you do feel like you have infringed on someone's copyright, just because you take it down off of your blog, you are not out of danger.  That person can still go after you in court.

(BTW, I found this information on Copyright Law: 12 Dos & Don'ts.  I did not plagiarize their material to post it on here.  If you would like to hear their version (which sounds much more technical), you can do so by clicking here. )

No, I'm not going to go after someone in court over my family blog.  It was a mistake that she got caught in and received a good flaming.

I know I put myself out there by posting my life on the web....that anyone can read..... I have done what I can to protect my family (I don't use their real names - come on, Sissy & Bubba? ).  I have started putting watermarks on my photos so they won't show up on bus advertisement in Europe (true story y'all).  But it's a gamble.

She didn't knock down my doors.  She didn't steal my tv.  It's just a blog.  I really do have it all in perspective.

Just don't do it again, ok lady?

BTW - My sweet friend, Vivienne, came up with this title.  I asked her permission to use it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday DayDreamin': More Wine Please

Happy Friday!!  I was so excited to see that 14 Daydreams went up last week on R We There Yet Moms? Friday Daydreamin'.  I had so much fun seeing everyone's pictures.  If you didn't get time to post, make sure you do this week - so super easy - just post one of your favorite vacation pictures and tell us about it!  And don't let "friday" get in your way, we had a few Saturday daydreams too!! :))

This week, I wanted to remember our fantastic trip to one of my favorite places in the world.....Portofino, Italy.  We were on a Mediterranean Cruise with a little stop in this quaint town.  We didn't know much about it - but fell in love with the colorful homes, tiny shops, and relaxed atmosphere. We tooled around town and ended up eating lunch at a cafe outside - with red wine.  Lots of Italian Red Wine. And life just slowed down for us.  It was a perfect afternoon.  You know how sometimes the stresses of life make you want to go to your happy place?  This, my friends, is my happy place. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Is Summer Almost Over?

Is school really starting in less than 2 weeks???  Can it be??  Wow- our summer flew by!!

These past few weeks since we have been home have been filled with PTA, Thirty-One (I became a consultant, y'all!!), and rearranging rooms.  So when my kids come to me, saying they are bored, and why can't we do something fun??, I simply remind them of all we have done so far this summer.....

 playing with dad at the beach....
trying new sweet treats.....
 getting knocked over by the waves.....
 experiencing the beach for the first time...
 fun new experiences with mom & dad...
 doing a rain dance and hoping it goes to Texas...
 getting a "VIP" tour of the Illinois State Capitol...
 learning all about Mr. Lincoln and rubbing his nose for good luck...
 and laughter...plenty & plenty of laughter....

We had a fantastic summer!

Linking up with Things I Can't Say's Summer Fun Show-Off!!  
A great way to re-cap your summer fun & possibly win a great prize!!

And if you had fun with this one, please link up tomorrow at R We There Yet Mom? for Friday Daydreamin'.  Post your favorite vacation picture, link up with the party and spend a few minutes sharing in everyone's Friday Daydreams!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm Back! It's Vloggy Time!

Hello my fun friends.  I wasn't going to do this month's Vlog - I really have a gazillion things going on. But I love the monthly vlog.  And it took me less than 10 minutes to make it - so, I look silly hiding behind my C.H.i.P.s Sunglasses........I did it!

It's super easy & super fun - so I hope you link up - if you do, tell Mama & Shawn that I sent ya - they have a fun contest with a prize for whoever gets the most to link up a vlog and I wanna win sometime!!!


Summer Slush
2 cups hot tea
2 cups sugar (a lot huh??)
12 oz frozen orange juice
6 oz frozen lemonade
7 cups water
1 1/2 cups peach Schnapps (or more.... :))

Dissolve sugar in hot tea.  
Add the rest of the ingredients all together in a big plastic bowl.  
Put a lid on the bowl & freeze it.  
Serve the slush with ginger ale, or 7-Up, or champagne.

Monday, August 8, 2011

U.S.S. Alabama

Can I tell you how excited I am that 10 people linked up last week for the R We There Yet Mom's Friday Daydreamin???  So happy - thank you guys all for participating - this Friday will be another post, so join it - super easy fun!

We had so many great adventures this summer that I want to blog about - traveling 9 states and over 2500 miles, you end up having a lot to talk about!

When we traveled home from Florida in June, the kids and I headed up to Illinois for an extended visit while Matt headed home to work (boo).  Lucky for us, my amazingly, sweet Mother -in-law drove from FL to IL with us.  She didn't know how much fun staying in a hotel room with the baby could be....

To break up the 13+ hour drive, we planned a few stops along the way, the first being the U.S.S. Alabama, located in bay in Mobile, AL.  We saw it as we drove thorough Mobile on our way to the beach the week before and knew it would fascinate Brody.  It did not disappoint.

The USS Alabama is HUGE!! She is longer than 2 football fields and taller than a 20 story building.  When she would go through the Panama Canal, she barely scraped through...with 11 inches on each side!  

A short history lesson (cause you know how much I love me some history)....placed into full commission in 1942, the USS Alabama spent most of her time fighting in the Pacific during WWII.  She was decommissioned in 1947 while in Bremerton, WAA. Towed back to Alabama in 1964, she officially opened as a war museum in 1965, by the citizens of Alabama to "honor those brave Men & women who fought in WWII".

She was called the "Lucky A", because during WWII, she lost NO American lives aboard her due to enemy fire.

The USS Alabama sits in the Mobile Bay and is used as a hurricane shelter.  In fact, 18 families were aboard during Hurricane Katrina.

It's a long hike up that gangway!!

We took our time exploring the whole ship - from sitting in gunner-seats (official term?  I don't know...) to climbing up as high as we could go (no a/c....ick) to exploring all the upper & lower decks.

She was set up as it was during WWII.  We saw bunks, which all three kids had to try out.  We saw the mailroom, the "bank" where crewmen would get paid each week.  We saw the barber shop, the ice cream parlor, & the commissary where you could get your cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

It was amazing to us to imagine being on this ship for months on end and how organized and thought out those months would have to be.  I mean, think of this -The cooks had to prepare 7500 meals a day, that's 50,000 a week, over 2.5 million a year...all in the middle of the ocean!!!  We learned that Holy cow!
Coffee in the morning took 4 big 80 gallon pots to make 320 gallons of coffee.  And this is how thy would serve it.....from 2 big spigots.  I'm sure back then, you didn't really care how you got your coffee...just so you could have it!

Battleship Park was created in 1965 to house the USS Alabama, with the majority of the fundraising done by Alabama school children. There is a ton of things to see and do here.  With tanks, planes, and more.

 The park itself houses 22 plans from the past seven decades - very cool to see them all.  And we were also able to go through a WWII nuclear submarine. Talk about claustrophobic!!!

I am so glad that we stopped - it was a little hard to go through everything with the baby(thank you Jan!!), o we didn't stay as long as we could have - but it was such a neat experience.  Just walking back in time and imagining ourself in the middle of the ocean during WWII puts everything into much these young men sacrificed to fight for their fight for everything we now have & enjoy.  I am so glad that my kids were able to see this.  We all walked away with a better appreciation.

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