Saturday, December 4, 2010

One Man's Trash

You have heard the saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Well this is especially true when you can turn it into some fun art decorations!

At a thrift store several several months back, I found nine small plastic frames for a quarter each. They were hideous (I forgot to take a before picture) and had needle point (at least I think that is what it is called) in them that I just wouldn't have a place for in my house.

Case in point....

needlepoint from old frames

I had plans to paint the frames and figure out a way to write the names of cities we have gone to or want to go to in them. We are slowly converting our bedroom to display travel decor. I set the frames aside and sort of forgot about them.

Several months ago at another thrift store, I found a hiking backpack that someone must have taken on a trip through Europe. It had ten patches from different countries sewn onto it. I thought that it was cool and it was only $4. So I bought it. I didn't know what I was going to do with those patches, but I knew I wanted to do something with them. They were too awesome!

I have a picture of the backpack minus the patches, again, forgot to take a before picture.

travel backpack

The other day, when hiding in the other room while Frankie took care of a little rodent issue, I finally got around to taking the patches off the backpack. That is when I found out that those little patches fit perfectly into those little frames! A project is born!

I bought some black spray paint, which brought this entire project to a whooping $7.25 and painted the frames. I then cut out some cardboard to fit into the frames and onto which I could glue the patches. Viola! Here are the finished results.

patch frames

I find it really neat that there is one from Yugoslavia. Last time those were available was 2003! The one in the top right corner that is hard to read is Belgium and there was one that I didn't have a frame for, that was Luxembourg. Since I can't point to that country on a map and to be honest didn't even know it was a country (did you know that a lot of Americans are really really bad at geography?), I decided to leave that on out.

I really liked the way one man's trash turned into my treasure!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Forget Tigers and Lions and Bears

Awh, Texas country living! There is nothing like it. No, really, there can't be!

This summer was so dry and hot, but that my friends does not kill the ticks. So we had tick problems. Last year it was fleas. I don't know which is worse. We finally get them all eradicated and then....

...we start having mice issues. Since my last post, I would say that we have killed over 50 mice. I hate killing them! Well, let's get real, I have nothing to do with it. My husband takes care of it all. Thank you, Frankie! I have a phobia of touching them, no matter how cute they really are!

We have filled every little nook and cranny we can find with Great Stuff and steel wool. We have put moth balls under the house. We have these electric sound makers that are suppose to keep them away. We have all the floor vents covered with books. We have set trap after trap after trap and still they are coming in somewhere! We haven't figured it out, but now we are having another problem, it seems.

For the last two evenings in a row we have had a skunk prowling around and even coming up on the front porch! We first saw it when the cat ran to the window and started acting even more goofy than normal. So we looked and there he was just poking around looking for food. Our house became the quietest house EVER! We were so scared we would scare it! I do NOT want to smell that mess for days on end even if he is a cutie patootie! (Cuter than the mice, even!)

If you have never smelled a skunk's spray it is not something I recommend. It is the foulest smell and it lingers for DAYS and travels for MILES! I feel so sorry for anyone who hits one with their car. Ugh! Just passing them dead on the road is bad enough!

Come to find out though, it takes a little more that a small fright to make them spray. Not that I plan on seeing just how far a skunk can be pushed to it is spray limit! I also found out that they are not just herbivores. They eat mice! So now I have a dilemma. Encourage the skunk to stick around to help with the mice or deal with the mice and figure out how to make the skunk go!

I have no fear of tigers and lions and bears, my issues are ticks and mice and skunks. Oh my! Why can't the armadillo that was here a few months ago just come back? He is cute in his own special way and harmless!

Like I said, Texas country living at its best!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mice Mice Everywhere

This week started off with the cat catching a mouse in the house. He is doing his job and that part is fine. The part that doesn't work for me are the facts that he doesn't kill them and he brings them to me! It is our own fault that he does this. We have a cat that loves to play fetch and we only encourage this behavior since it is so darn cute! Since he doesn't kill the mice and he brings them to me, it freaks me out! I fear, not the actual mouse, but the fact that it might touch me! It might crawl on me! I don't know if that more irrational or not, but ugh!

So he caught the mouse and starts to bring it to me. Thank goodness Frankie was home. (There was one time he wasn't. That time I was walking out the door on my way to work when a cat, who has since passed away, caught the mouse and was in the process of killing it. I cried half the way to work because I let myself get so frenzied over it.) I go into the bedroom to get away from the cat with the mouse in his mouth. Pan, the cat, starts to come in there with me! I just start screaming at him over and over to get out! He knows what the means and didn't come in, but then he dropped the mouse and it ran under the couch. Frankie looked for it, but couldn't find it. I worried all night that Pan would get it again and bring it to me in bed in the middle of the night. *Shudder* I truly think my heart would have stopped completely. Then a couple of nights ago the cat re-caught the mouse (at least I hope it was the same one and there are not two). It was 2:30 in the morning and what woke me up was hearing the cat moving around beside the bed on my side and the squeaking of the mouse. Blah! I quickly woke Frankie up and turned on the light. I hustled into the kitchen and stood on a chair in the dark, while Frankie took care of the problem. There is at least one less mouse in the house and I am really hoping that means there are NONE!

Next! Today after the pep rally (joy and happiness),the junior high students come in my classroom and we get ready to start the lesson when all of the sudden one of them screams that there is a mouse! Before I know it there is massive chaos! Girls are standing on the desktops, boys are scrambling to get to where the mouse was to see it, I have my feet pulled off the floor, and everyone is LOUD! I let them sit on the desktops if they wanted and I got them semi-settled when the mouse stuck his head back out causing more screams and loud excitement. One girl even left the room temporarily. They are such a good group of kids, that I was able to get them slightly calmed down and we tried to learn about functions and graphs. That mouse would not stay under the bookcase! He kept jumping from the bottom shelf which is covered with material to hide all my manipulatives (fancy word for math toys) to the floor and back again. It was funny and frustrating all at the same time. I told the kids they I just had to get a picture of them all sitting on the desktops. It was priceless. I doubt they learned a thing today, but I tried!

There was a mouse.

As you can see I have three brave souls who kept their feet on the floor! I am proud of myself because I stood on the floor the entire class. (Mainly so I could move fast if I needed to!) It was an interesting class period, to say the least. I texted the maintenance man and told him there was a mouse. He came by after school and put down sticky traps. I begged him to please check them before I got to school on Monday, because if I walked in my room and saw a mouse stuck on that trap I would scream and then cry. I hate those sticky traps! A dead mouse is bad, a live mouse squeaking and crying trying to get loose or dying is horrifying! He promised he would and I trust him. Our school is surrounded by fields so we always have a mouse problem. He said he would add it to all the others he checks in the morning.

Finally, at least I hope, this evening at home, the cat was looking out the window when he suddenly started flicking his tail back and forth very quickly. That usually means he has seen another animal outside. I was thinking it was a cat, because I had just seen one chasing a rabbit, (have I mentioned we live in the country?) but no it was ANOTHER mouse!! A big fat one! It was probably pregnant....Ack!

This country life is going to kill me, with my heart stopping so often! Now when the cat starts running around playing with something, I am scared it is a mouse. When I hear a little scratching noise, I am scared it is a mouse. When I see the cat just staring at something, I am scared it is a mouse.

I have a feeling it is going to take several consecutive mouse free days to calm down!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jewelry For Math Nerds

I love jewelry made for math nerds, aka, me! A friend sent me a link to anamazing pi necklace from the Robert Christopher Company. It was gorgeous!

And then I saw the prices.

Sterling Siver - $345
18K Yellow Gold - $1725
18K Rose Gold - $1794
Platinum - $3898.50

Granted these are precious metals, but still! I can't afford that! Nor would I spend that much money on jewelry ever! So that lead to one conclusion, I should make my own version!

Here it is!

pi necklace

I didn't want the numbers to go all the way around. Using less beads make the numbers stay front and centered and it helped keep the cost reasonable. All together including shipping charges the necklace cost me under $15 to make. I can handle that number!

I found the number beads and the silver ball that is acting like a decimal on the Art Beads website, the pi bead on the Brightlings Beads website, and the plain necklace in the craft/jewelry section of Wal-Mart.

I love how it turned out and plan on wearing it often!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Royalty? I Think Not!

Plans are finalized and it is official. We are going to Dublin, Ireland for Christmas! But I am afraid there is a problem...

Ten years ago, when we were newlyweds and living in far west Texas, we decided to take a trip to the great east. We went all the way to San Antonio, Texas! Hey, for a couple of kids from west Texas, that was pretty exotic! I got on the dial-up Internet and book a hotel room for our stay. At church a few days later we were telling people about our upcoming trip and how I had so cleverly already booked a hotel for us ONLINE...oohhh ahhhh! One of the church members told us that there were much cheaper hotels to be found easily in San Antonio when we got there. She being older and wiser than my 24 year old self, took her advice and unbook our hotel room.

We get to San Antonio and find that there are several convictions going on with many hotels booked solid plus it was Spring break. This was pre-GPS, pre-internet capable phones, pre-anything useful. So we drove around asking where some cheaper hotels were. We managed to find one that fit our budget. It wasn't in a good neighborhood and there was a mirror on the ceiling. There were so many other little things that should have tipped us off to the fact that we shouldn't stay there. Like the guy at the bus stop who was trying to get out of gang life and offered me some of his 40. Nice guy! He told us how sometimes he reads the Bible, but he didn't want anyone else to know since it might ruin his reputation. I even discussed his tattoos with him to Frankie's horror. Like I said, signs, but we were young, naive, and from small towns. What did we know??

Now, I can sleep anywhere, anytime. Let my head hit a pillow and I am out! Frankie on the other hand doesn't sleep well in his own bed in his own house, so he was up most of the night. Come morning he wakes me up and tells me that he heard gunfire and we were not staying another night. We didn't. The name of the hotel...Royal Inn Motel.

Several years later we are driving back home from visiting family. It is late and we are tired and still hours from home. We told each other that the next hotel we saw we were stopping. We find one and get a room for the night. It isn't the best hotel, but it was clean-ish and we were tired. Frankie goes into the bathroom around midnight and sees used drug needles in the broken light fixture in the ceiling. We call the police and the front desk. The hotel returns our money, the cops come and take the drug paraphernalia away and we leave. The name of the hotel...Royal Inn.

After that we avoided all things Royal, especially hotels. So, here is the problem that we didn't realize until too late. The name of the hotel that we are staying at in Ireland...Royal Marina.

This has potential for disaster. ;)

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Am Feeling Symbolic Today

It has been awhile since I have posted anything. Need to clean the dust and cobwebs off the blog and write something!

I was able to take some pictures around our property today and they inspired me to creatively write. This is not something I do or really like to do. I am all about the cold hard facts. None of that wishy-washy symbolic stuff for me! But today some of the photos I capture awoke that little place inside of me that can and is willing to see the world as more than just black and white. So with no further ado, let's begin.


This is the photo that started the thinking process. I call it, "Determination". It is the middle of October, winter's approach is near and the earth is dry and cracking, but this plant is determined to grow. He will defeat the odds!

death of queen sunflower

Next, there was this photo. I call it, "The Death". The queen holds her head high while others bow their head in mourning at the death of summer.

bright sunflower

Coming back into my normal realm of thinking, I call this one, "The Sun(flower)set". No symbolic story to tell, I just thought it was delightful to look at!

perpendicular dogs

And finally, completely back into my realm of no gray areas, I found my dogs sleeping in a perpendicular setup. I thought it was completely hilarious and plan on showing it to my math kids the next time we talk about perpendicular lines. (A refresher, just in case you need it: Perpendicular lines intersect to form 90 degree angles.)

Yeap, this little blog ran out all my creative writing possibilities for now. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Cat Who Fell Out The Window

Our cat, Pan, loves to tear through the house. He gets these bursts of energy and just has to run! It is very funny to watch as he runs from one side of the house to the other, then makes a sharp u-turn using the carpet for traction, and finally runs back the other way. Sometimes he jumps up onto the window sills when he gets to one end and we alway say, "One of these days...".

Normally his running to the window is not a problem. Today, however, the weather was actually, finally, cool enough to have the windows open. Pan didn't realize that the screen was not as strong as the glass as he ran at full blast to the window sill. I was in the bedroom and saw what happened. One minute the cat was running toward the window and the next he was through the window outside as the screen fell out!

Scared me half to death! I yelled the cat's name and then yelled to Frankie, who was in the other room, that Pan fell through the window. We both crammed shoes on and rushed outside. It is, of course, dark outside! I started calling for him as soon as I got outside. I had to go around to the side of the house and I was just barely able to make him out. He was walking around and came to me. I was so relieved!

I picked him up and his little heart was just racing and his eyes were wide as saucers. I think he got as scared as I did! He didn't break the screen and we have tall grass outside that window so his fall was cushioned. Plus, it isn't really that high off the ground, maybe 4.5 feet.

All in all everything was fine. Since all was fine, I was able to think about what I had just witnessed. The cat running full blast, turning sideways to sit in the window sill, but instead flying right through the window. It was actually very funny to see!

Did his fright stop Pan from running at the window again? NO! But the next time he ran at the window (30 minutes later). I did notice him slow down a tad right before jumping up there! You just never know what Pan is going to do next!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A True "Only In Texas" Moment

Frankie and I were driving through Bandera, Texas on our way to look for books (our favorite pastime) and right before getting into town we had to come to a complete stop because there was a police car stopped in the road. We were not sure why until this truck pulling a horse trailer pulled out of the way and this is what we saw.

longhorn crossing1

Texas longhorns! Real ones, not the college. :) Every year during Labor Day weekend Bandera has a huge celebration of their cowboy heritage and these guy are a main feature. You can check out all the events here. I have been told that people from all over, including Europe, come to this every year. I have lived near Bandera for almost ten years and this is the first I have heard of it.

Note to self: Quit putting off getting that subscription to the local paper, you are missing out, for crying out loud!

It was really cool to see the reenactment of the cattle drive. Here are some more pictures of the event. I wish we had had a better viewing point, but I will take what I can get! If you want to see any of them bigger just click on them and you will be taken to my Flickr account. Last shot is my favorite! Enjoy!

longhorn crossing2

longhorn crossing3

longhorn crossing4

longhorn crossing5

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Scared The Math Out Of Myself

I found out recently that will be teaching Math Models this year along with my other courses: 7th grade math, Pre-Algebra, Jr. High TAKS prep, Geometry, and Calculus. What can I say? There are only 2 math teachers for the Jr. High AND High school where I work and the other teacher has his share of classes too. It was just the way it was scheduled. There tends to not be a lot of flexibility in the schedule with only 2 math teachers teaching 6 grade levels. Anyhow.

I was preparing some activities for this new class. I have never taught it before and hadn't seen a book so I wasn't completely sure what it involved. I looked online at other school's descriptions of Math Models and it didn't seem too daunting. I decided to look at a textbook website to see which book I would be using. The only one there that I didn't know was called Texas Advanced Mathematical Concepts and the tiny picture to the left was all I could see.

I started to go through the chapters and I was reading topics such as these:

Relations and Functions
Composition of Functions
Graphing Linear Equations
Graphing Linear Inequalities

Those sounded all right, they are Algebra topics. I was surprised that it started out with these since some of the descriptions I had looked up seemed much easier. Then I dug deeper into the book and saw these topics:

Solving Systems of Equations in Three Variables
Determinants and Multiplicative Inverses of Matrices
Continuity and End Behavior
Linear and Angular Velocity

Whoa whoa whoa. Wait a minute! I was going to have to reteach myself some of this stuff and then try to teach it to my students?? Math Models is not an advanced class. It is taken BEFORE Algebra II to help prepare them for the TAKS test. These were advanced high school topics! (Just like title says! Although I didn't notice that until later.)

I got scared! It was going to be like Calculus all over again where I would spend hours after school doing the homework I assigned just to make sure I could do it. I just knew that my students were going to have a hard time with this and it was going to be like pulling teeth with no Novocaine to get them up to par on the Algebra parts just to get to some of these topics. All they had taken so far was Algebra I and Geometry. This just seemed to jump!

I walked down to the book room to see what math textbooks we had. Maybe I was looking at the wrong book. I didn't see the Texas Advanced Mathematical Concepts textbooks anywhere but I did see all the other levels of math that we teach. There was this one set of textbooks that I was not familiar with, Math Matters 3 as seen on the left. I looked at who it had been checked out to the previous year and it was a student I knew had taken Math Models. I looked through that book and it was MUCH simpler!

Some of the topics I will be teaching and I can handle with no difficultly:

Essential Algebra and Statistics
Geometry and Reasoning
Triangles, Quadrilaterals, and Other Polygons
Probability and Statistics


P.S. When I started to write this blog I was looking for a picture to go with that harder textbook. I found one on Amazon and it was bigger than the one on the textbook website. Big enough, in fact, to see that was I was looking at a Pre-Calculus textbook. No wonder!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mesquite Bean Jelly

The recipe:

a big handful of yellow (ripe) mesquite beans
4 cups of sugar
4 cups of bean juice
1 package of Sure Jell (may need extra depending on how thick you want the jelly to be)

The process:

Pick beans off tree that are ripe (they rattle when ripe) but be sure to check for holes. You don't want those beans. If you choose them you will end up with no telling what kind of bugs all in your house! Wash the beans, cut them into smaller pieces (2 to 3 inches), and put them in a pot covered with 7 cups of water.

Mesquite Beans

Boil for twenty minutes. Let beans cool and strain the liquid through a cheese cloth or if you don't have one a coffee filter will work. Discard the beans. The liquid should be the color of green tea and have a good clean slightly sweet earthy smell. The picture below is scratch 'n sniff, so you can know what it should smell like. ;)

Mesquite Bean Juice

Put 4 cups of the juice in a clean pot, add 1 package of Sure Jell and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute. Be sure to watch that it doesn't boil over! Add 4 cups of sugar (if you want to use half or none be sure to pick the correct Sure-Jell product), bring to a boil, and boil for another minute. One way to check if the jelly is ready is to use a metal tablespoon that has been sitting in a glass of ice water. Take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency you want, then you know it is ready. Otherwise, add a small amount of extra Sure Jell and boil for another minute.

Pour into clean canning jars and seal while it is hot. Refrigerate for 24 hours to let it gel and use within 6 to 8 months.

Mesquite Bean Jelly

The results:

Mesquite Bean jelly on toast

Yummy! It is tangy and sweet and not like any other jelly I have ever had. I made it with only one packet of Sure Jell and it was a little runny compared to commercial jellies. It wasn't anything that was unacceptable though.

This was the first time I have ever made jelly and the first time I have tasted mesquite bean jelly. Have you ever had mesquite bean jelly or made it yourself. Is there anything you can suggest to make it better?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dear Dairy Queen

Below is a copy of the email I sent Dairy Queen headquarters. The mini Blizzard was $2.29 and a small was $2.89. The picture is not the size of the mini, it was just the only picture I had that dealt with Dairy Queen. At the time of purchase I did not realize that the mini was about half the size of the small, which is 12 oz. or I would have gone ahead and gotten the small. Live and learn, then email the company to complain. :)

Dear Dairy Queen,

I am writing to you today to let you know that I feel the price of the mini Blizzard is entirely too high for the amount of product received. From what I have gathered it is about half the size of the small yet only a mere 60 cents less than the small. This was the case at the Dairy Queen I went to, at least. I understand that Dairy Queen is in the business to make a profit, but must they do so through such a high mark-up?

Please consider lowering the price of the mini Blizzard to a more reasonable level. I would like to suggest a price of $1.29 to $1.79. By doing this I feel you will have much happier customers. Besides the price, I must say that I enjoyed the size of the mini Blizzard. It was a good size to help me with portion control. Thank you for your time.

Jennifer H.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Last Chance At Freedom

School is going to start soon, not that we talk about it in our house. But since we know it is coming we decided to take one last trip and we went to Austin, Texas. We have been there plenty of times but this time we were going to do something we hadn't done before and eat at one of Austin's cool restaurants.

We went to Esther's Follies, which is a comedy show with some added magic. It was very funny. There were some skits where I laughed so hard that I had tears. I would recommend it, but it is not suitable for children. I didn't care for some parts, but there were more funny than not. We both had trouble sleeping that night. We figured it had to do with over stimulation of humor from Esther's Follies!

We also went to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. It was a great experience. We ended up staying there about 4 hours! There was so much to see on the three floors, including an IMAX, two other theaters, and a cafe.

There is a huge star that greets all visitors.

star floor level

The museum is named for Bob Bullock, who was the Lieutenant Governor of Texas during the terms of Governors Ann Richards and George W. Bush.

Bob Bullock

Inside the museum was the original statue, the Goddess of Liberty, that adorned the state capitol dome from the 1880's until the 1980's. It was starting to show its age due to the zinc material it was made of. The new duplicate Goddess of Liberty is made of aluminum. (Had to get her back as she is not a pretty lady!)

goddess of liberty and texas neon

Being the TEXAS history museum there are, of course, Texas things all over the place.

The carpet.

texas carpet

The tables in the cafe.

texas table

And definitely in the exhibits.

texas cutout

The restaurant we chose was the Magnolia Cafe.

magnolia cafe

The menu was so varied that is was hard to choose. I made sure to at least try their famous gingerbread pancakes and I was not disappointed. They were wonderful! The Magnolia Cafe is cool because they didn't keep that wonderful recipe to themselves. They shared it with the Food Network! Get the recipe here.

All in all we had a good time and hope that it will hold our travel bug in check for awhile.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Country Life: Sheriff Reports

I knew I lived in the country...

country life

...but it was really brought home recently when I picked up a copy of the local paper and was reading through the county sheriff report. There were, of course, thefts and general criminal mischief, including drugs. We aren't immune to that in the country, unfortunately. There were several stray dog reports, and even one cat problem.

But then there were the reports that you just might not see in a city report...

7/12 - 12:30 AM - Advised of two horses in the roadway.

7/12 - 5:07 PM - Wild stallion in their yard tearing up yard.

7/13 - 3:58 PM - Keeps hearing shots being fired

7/14 - 4:03 PM - Neighbors are burning constantly and the smoke keeps going into her house.

7/14 - 4:05 PM - Illegal tie in stealing electricity.

7/15 - 12:29 AM - Throwing bottles at a vehicle.

7/17 - 6:04 PM - Large pig running around the neighborhood tearing up yards and property.

7/19 - 4:02 PM - Loose bull.

7/19 - 6:37 PM - Theft of a saddle.

7/23 - 12:52 PM - Advised a small white horse in her yard.

On the last one, I wonder in exactly what matters she advised the horse. Self esteem issues about being small? Which flowers were not good for consumption? How to find the way home?

I guess I will never know.

Monday, August 2, 2010

New School Year New Math Decoration

It is a new school year so it is time for a new math art project. Last year, I made a pi out of Styrofoam and small flowers. You can see it here. This year I had one idea about a huge mobile for the center of my room (I have a really high ceiling) but I couldn't decide how to make it.

I finally decided to make a faux stained glass picture. I could incorporate all kinds of polygons and circles into the piece and it would be full of color. I am lucky to have plenty of windows to put the stained glass near. So I started to plan.

A friend had given me a large wooden frame (22.5" x 19") with glass but no backing, which made it perfect for a stained glass project. I had made a small one earlier (8" x 6"). I don't really like it, but I think I will put it in my room anyhow. I like the colors, but you can tell it was a first attempt. I got the pattern from a website called Free Stained Glass Patterns. The pattern was very large so I only used a small portion of it.

Stained glass project

On both pictures I used Glass Gallery products by Plaid. I bought a kit at Hobby Lobby that had about 30 small tubs of different colors and now that I am done, I wish I had just bought the few colors I needed in larger tube form. The tubes with spouts are much easier to use and give better smoother coverage, especially for larger areas.

For the big frame I had a problem. It was much larger than a single piece of paper. I couldn't print out the pattern and put it underneath the glass to trace. I wouldn't cover all the glass. It would have been a huge pain to try to break up the pattern myself to print onto several pieces of paper. So I looked online to see what my options were. I found two options.

Block Posters - This one can be used online without downloading any software. It has its limitations though. I could only print my pattern out in certain sizes and none of them fit my frame that well. It is good if you don't really have a set size you want the final product to be. You do have to trim off the borders on each piece of paper, which are not easily marked, if you want to have a clean look. They had examples of where they left the trim on and it looked good too. I guess it really just depends on what you want and like.

Posteriza - This software had to be downloaded but then could be used offline if needed. It had a few more options for tweaking, which allowed me to get the pattern to the right size. It took four pieces of paper to get the whole design and then I had to use scissors to trim off the borders that were marked before taping it together. It worked great. I am thinking of using it to make a HUGE (5 pieces of paper by 5 pieces of paper, huge) formula chart for my classroom. That would be AWESOME!

The pattern for the large frame was one that I made myself. I did found the boot online and used only the outline, but the rest is my creation. The boot and the D are for my school mascot and name. The school colors are purple and gold so I made sure to incorporate those in as well. It is all said and done and here is the final project. It looks better than the first one, but still I need more practice. I think it will grow on me, though.

Math Stained Glass

And, of course, because he is feeling so much better after his "snack", Pan had to be in one picture in the way.

Pan admiring the picture

In all it would take at least two days for this project since you have to wait for the black leading paint to dry before using the coloring paint. Hopefully, you can get some ideas for your own classroom!

Have fun and feel free to comment!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sapore's Pizza - San Antonio, Texas

Frankie and I wanted to eat somewhere we had never been before on our latest trip to San Antonio. I used the app Yelp on my iPhone and found a place called Sapore's Pizza that was just off the main road (read: would have never found it on our own) but still in the direction we were heading. It had only four reviews but they were all very high. So we took a chance.

It was easy to find, with a nice big sign near the road.

sapores pizza sign

And another above the restaurant.

sapores pizza-store front

And just in case you were not sure, the door is marked as well.

sapores pizza-door

Once inside, the decor is definitely not fancy and there is only 5 tables that seat 4 each, but this is not one of those places you go to look. You go to EAT! One note, if you don't like the San Antonio Spurs you might have a hard time sitting in the restaurant. The walls are covered with Spurs pictures. I thought it was great.

The menu had, of course, pizza, both NYC style thin crust and Sicilian thick crust. The owner, Giuseppe, would know both since he is from southern Italy and has lived in New York City before coming to Texas. Besides pizza, the menu also had calzone, stromboli, sandwiches, salads, pastas, and Italian desserts: cannoli and tiramisu. All of this made from scratch, my friends!

Frankie and I both decided on the calzone. ($7.25 each) Inside it there was pepperoni, ham, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese. Then it was covered in marinara sauce.

sapores pizza-calzone

It was very good, especially the marinara! If you are not fond of ricotta cheese then I would suggest the stromboli instead of the calzone. The calzone had a lot of ricotta cheese! Oh and if you are lucky the owner will sing in Italian along to the music he is listening to as he cooks for you! Dinner and a show, can't beat that!

If you happen to be on the northwest side of San Antonio or want to make a trip that way, try Sapore's Pizza. I don't think you will be disappointed!

Sapore's Pizza
(2 minutes inside Loop 410, Babcock Exit - Corner of Babcock and Hillcrest)
San Antonio, TX 78228

Summer Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday 11 AM - 3 PM and 5 PM - 10 PM
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Regular Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday 11 AM - 3 PM and 5 PM - 9 PM
Saturday 5 PM- 9PM
Closed Sunday

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pan Update

We went and saw him this morning and he was all lovey dovey. Which was so good to see. He had been shaved for surgery and looked silly but it is ok. That was not even a concern.

7-24-10 after surgery

We found out that the thread had been wrapped around his tongue and then went down into his stomach and small intestine. My poor baby! And that was way more than 2 feet of thread!

7-24-10 what Pan swallow

Now they are just watching him for infections but he was doing SO much better. He was even eating! We are also waiting for that food to pass on through (nicest way I could think to put it) and hopefully he will come home Monday.

Pan feels so much better and so do we!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Today Was Not A Good Day For Pan Or Us

When we got back from Atlanta late Saturday our cat, Pan, wasn't acting normal. By Tuesday night he wasn't eating, wasn't drinking water, was throwing up and was very lethargic. All of these things are very much not Pan so we got worried. He loves to eat, drink water from the bathtub, and is into all kinds of things.

Peek-a-boo Pan

We took him to the vet Wednesday morning. We knew he had gotten into the room with the sewing machine and that he had gotten into the thread. He LOVES thread. So we were afraid that the problem was that he had eaten thread and now it was causing problems. We told the vet this and they took an x-ray, but said they could not see it. I wasn't surprised, I mean it was thread, thin little thread. They gave him anti-nausea medicine and an appetite stimulate and we took him home.

We saw an improvement and he even ate that night and the next morning. But after Thursday morning he stopped eating, drinking, and moving around again. Our animals are our children (our four-legged babies as my grandma calls them), so we were both very upset that he was obviously very sick.

This morning we took him back to the vet and told them again that he had gotten into the thread, but we were not sure how much. The vet said he wanted to keep Pan there to take another x-ray and do blood work. He said if they didn't show anything then he would have to do surgery to see what was going on. He said the would call us after the tests to let us know.

The vet called and said that the x-ray showed a large amount of thread in Pan's small intestine. It was causing bleeding and could cause permanent damage. So he said that the best route would be surgery. The whole day was very upsetting.

The vet called after the surgery and said that he pulled out TWO FEET of thread. TWO FEET! (Stupid cat!) The vet did say that everything went well and they were going to hold him over the weekend to watch him for infections. We are going to check up on him tomorrow morning.

Get well soon my baby boy! I need you home!

Sweet Kitty

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Delta Airlines Threw Away My Hair Mousse and Other Stories from Georgia

Story One: The Trip

My husband, our friend, his daughter and I flew to Atlanta, Georgia for a four day fun packed trip. I wanted to go because I have always wanted to go to Atlanta to see the Atlanta Braves play in their home stadium. I have seen them play twice in Houston, but it was Houston. I will watch the Braves play anywhere, but to see them play in Atlanta would be best, of course! Frankie likes the Braves to so Frankie and I wanted to go to use the trip as a way to celebrate our ten year anniversary (July 21st) and our friend wanted to go to pan for gold. So it worked out for everyone.

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The airport is in south Atlanta and our hotel was in north Atlanta, so through Atlanta we went. We were very hungry by this time and we kept seeing signs for Mrs. Winners Chicken and Biscuits. We figured it couldn't be too bad if there were so many of them, so we followed the signs to one. We were not disappointed! I was so hungry, I almost forgot to take a picture! There was more food on the plate at one time.

southern food

Continuing on our way north to the airport we past IT. The most beautiful sight, Turner Field. I got overly excited, but managed to NOT hyperventilate. I immediately posted on Facebook that we had just passed by it. I just had to share it with more than the three other people in the car. I should have called my momma!

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We arrived at the hotel, and I had a mission before the evenings end. You see, in Texas at Wal-Mart you can buy all kinds of things for the Dallas Cowboys, University of Texas, and Texas A&M, but you can very rarely if ever find Atlanta Braves paraphernalia. So my mission was to go to a Georgia Wal-Mart sports section. Boy, did I find it...shirts, hats, jerseys, pajamas, tote bags, purses, umbrellas, backpacks....all Atlanta Braves and this wasn't even the Braves Clubhouse Store. The prices were awesome too, because this WASN'T the Braves Clubhouse Store. The picture only shows a few of the shirts. I couldn't fit it all in!

braves shirts

I bought a Braves shirt and a pink tote bag with a huge Atlanta Braves "A" on it. There is no way I could have found that in Texas! Also while at Wal-Mart we picked up a few Georgia peaches. There were delicious! Mission accomplished plus a bonus!

GA peaches

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About an hour or so north of Atlanta there are several places to pan for gold. We hit all of them that we could find. We went to Dahlonega, Cleveland, and Helen, Georgia to pan for gold. Traveling to these places we would see this vine called Kudzu. It covered the trees completely. I read online how it covers cars and even houses.

kudzu vine take over

There is a pine tree under there! This is not even a very good example. The tallest trees were covered. It was crazy!

Also along the way we came across this store called Goats on the Roof in Helen, GA. It was a neat concept. If you look at the website be sure to check out the legend of the goats.

goats on the roof

Helen was just a strange town. In late 1960's the dying town decided to redecorate to look like a German town and the tourist business brought it back to life. It was pretty, but I have never heard of a town reinventing itself in quite this way.

helen GA

I didn't really know what to expect when panning for gold. I thought we would out in the blazing hot sun and squatting the entire time. I thought we would be digging in mud looking for what would turn out to be nothing. I was wrong on all accounts....thankfully!

All the places had shade and a place to sit. They had already dug up the dirt and put it in buckets. We just had to put the dirt in our pan and shift through it using a technique they showed us to find the gold.

frankie sassy patrick panning

At most of the places we didn't find large nuggets, but we did find flakes. They told us one flake was worth about $1. Our friend will be the one to sell it, so we will see what he can get. The picture shows a small flake. We did find bigger ones.

gold flake

One place we found small nuggets. The place we found it at said the biggest one would be worth around $50.

gold nugget

We did take it to a guy who has sold gold for over 50 years and he said it was not pure gold and therefore not worth much at all. But he didn't check the flakes, so again we will just have to wait and see. I personally wouldn't do it again. It wasn't enough of a return for the money put in, but it was a cool experience.

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I was so very excited to get to see the Atlanta Braves play IN Atlanta. On the drive to the stadium we saw the best billboard EVER!

braves billboard

We had the game to go to in the evening but in the morning we went for a tour of Turner field and the Braves Hall of Fame. It was awesome! I have some pictures to share.

Before the Olympics in Atlanta (1966-1996) the home of the Braves was Fulton County Stadium. When they built a stadium for the Olympics they knew it would be converted to the new stadium for the Braves. They kept the old wall of Fulton County Stadium and they marked in the now parking lot where the field had been. I was able to stand where many greats had stood including Hank Aaron!

me and the braves

They kept part of the fence where Hank Aaron hit his 715th homerun that beat Babe Ruth's record. I got a little choked up when I saw that. It was amazing to get to see this part of Braves history!

side view of hank aaron fence

Then we went in the gates of Turner field...

phil niekro

warren sphan

hank aaron

Home of the Braves, Land of the Free!

braves statue of liberty

Then we went in the museum.....

Terry Pendleton - My favorite player of all time!

pendelton jersey

The trunks they used when they had to travel by train.

top of trunk

1995 world series trophy

Then we toured the field.....

We got to see the field when no other people were there, which was amazing! We got information that we would not had known otherwise. We got to see the press box for the television and radio stations. We saw them painting the Braves tomahawk. That is not something they do everyday so it was a special event for me. We also got to go IN the dugout!

Field as seen from press box.

view from sportscasters booth

Coca-Cola cannons.

coke cannons

Retired Braves numbers - Coca-Cola bottle - Tomahawk Chop Chick-fil-a Cow

retired numbers coke bottle cow

Field as seen from dugout.

field ground level

In the dugout.

frankie and jennifer in dugout

Empty seats.

row of stadium seats

Painting the Tomahawk.

And finally we went to the game....

The Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2 to 1. It was great! Here are some photos to end this priceless story.

Braves Mascot

sunsetting on game

proposal at game

101 year old fan

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Story Six: 1996 Olympics

Do you remember the Olympics that happened in 1996? I don't remember much about it except the bombing. We saw the original Olympic torch that Mohammad Ali lit. We saw it several times, once we drove right under it and then again from Turner field.

olympic rings and torch

olympic torch from turner field

We walked around Centennial Park downtown and found the Olympic rings that also serve as a water fountain. There were children everywhere cooling off in the water. About four times a day the water flows based on different songs. We didn't get to see that, but just see the water was cool. I was able to get a video. I wanted to get into that water so bad because it was so hot that day, but we had other places to go, so I moved on.

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Story Seven: The World of Coca-Cola

All over the world you can buy a Coca-Cola or a product by Coca-Cola, but there is only one Coca-Cola headquarter and that is in Atlanta, GA. Check out all of the Coca-Cola products. It was amazing and what I am sharing is a very small portion!

bottles representing countries

coke signs

coca cola products wall

There was only one part of the World of Coca-Cola that I didn't care for. They had what they were calling a 4D movie. It was 3D and then the seats moved, a small amount of water was squirted at us, and at one point we were poked in the back by something on the seat. It was not pleasant. I think kids would love it, the 14 year old that was with us did, but we three adults did not care for it.

So the worst part was the 4D movie, but the best part was getting to taste Coca-Cola products from all over the world. The best one to me, besides the ones we are use to, was a mint flavored one from Africa and the worst one was called Beverly from Italy. The Beverly drink was the worst thing I have ever tasted in my life! None of us liked it and I would compare it to bile. It was that nasty. Here are all the options they had in the tasting room called...

Beverages from around the world


Coca-Cola from Africa


Coca-Cola from Asia


Coca-Cola from Europe

Latin American

Coca-Cola from Latin American

And finally the familiar North American

Coca-Cola from North America

The World of Coca-Cola was really cool. I highly recommend it as a stop if you are in Atlanta. Be sure to drink enough of the Coca-Cola products to equal the price of the ticket! :) Just kidding....sort of....

After the Braves Museum and Turner Field Tour, after the World of Coca-Cola tour, and after the Olympic Centennial Park walk through, we went to the CNN Center for some free A/C! Did I mention it was hot?

cnn center

We didn't have enough time to take the tour, but just getting to see the inside was interesting. We ate in the food court and while there watched, what else but, CNN. We were in there when the news broke that the BP oil well had been successfully capped. That was an awesome experience. After that story President Obama came on and was talking.

One guy in the CNN Center apparently couldn't hear, so he stood up and yell, "Everybody shut-up! The President is talking!"

It was just a little frightening, because you just never know what will set a person off his rocker. Security was called on him and they talked to him and I believe they asked him to leave. They either asked him to go or he was going to leave anyways, but I am thinking they asked him to leave.

The only reason I wanted to go into the CNN Center was for this...

Braves Clubhouse store

Wahoo! I found an Atlanta Braves cover for my phone marked down from $20 to $5! Double Wahoo! Wahoo!

Our trip was good and things went smoothly. There was one small hiccup. On the way through security going home, my bag got searched. They pulled out my 6 ounce can of hair mousse and said I couldn't have it. They were going to have to throw it away or I could check the entire bag for $25. Hmmm.....let me see.....lose about $3 or $25....chunk that mess! :)

It concerned me slightly because I managed to get the hair mousse to Atlanta with no problem. San Antonio missed it or over looked it. Before going on the trip I checked the Delta website to see if it would be allowed. Here is what it said....

"Delta will accept personal care items, such as cologne and hairspray, if less than 16 ounces of each item and less than 70 ounces total without prior approval."

Then I check the TSA website and here is what it said....

"Prohibitted - Aerosol (any except for personal care or toiletries in limited quantities)."

I think I should have been allowed to take it according to those two statements. But I didn't want to make a fuss and just wanted to get on the plane to go home, so again, chunk that mess!

So as not to end on a negative note here is my favorite picture from the entire trip. I am not sure what it is that draws me to it, but I just love it.

coca cola sign

I hope you enjoyed my stories! Feel free to comment.