Friday, December 23, 2011

#TDPC Day 2

#TDPC Day 2: What I wore today
Simply one of my favorite outfits. Scoop neck, navy blue, long sleeved organic cotton shirt and dark wash jeans. Lots of blue. Very comfortable.


Live wire

A matter of days after my last blog post things with my Dad came to a head. Like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Hello Kitty float head.
We had gone to Houston and picked up my Mom that weekend which ended up in me just spilling my guts to my Mom about my health, depression and anxiety. Her eyes bugged out of her head, it was awesome. The trip all in all was good. It was great to see my Grandfather, steady as ever. Once we got back to Austin though, things changed, like always. My mom...sheesh, you know what, I'm not even going to go there. Lets just say she is drama personified.
My mom had been with us for about 24 hours when my Dad started being like Grumplestiltskin. Let me paint you a picture...he's 76 years old. Sleeps about 18/24 hours of the day in our living room. The only common space in our 1400sq.ft. apartment. So, naturally our kids are going to be in there too, and naturally, they're not very quiet. So he in turn gets annoyed very easily with their noise. They were being kids, around 8:30 at night and we were getting ready to put Parker down for the night. Parker loves shoes, and my Dad always leaves his right on the side of the couch, where he sleeps. So when my Dad got up and saw that his shoes weren't where he left them he got up, looked at my girls and yelled "Where are my God Dammed Shoes?!" when they were about 3 feet from where he put them. Howard hears this behavior (My dad NEVER acts up around Howard, EVER) and gets his shoes and hands them to him and says "You do not need to speak to the kids like that, ever, so please calm down" and then follows me into the room with Parker to put him to bed. My Dad gets up and follows us into the nursery, gets in Howard's face and starts screaming at him. Calling him 'boy' telling him that he can't talk to him like that, cussing and screaming. Howard very calmly puts Parker in my arms (yes he was holding him at the time) and backs my Dad out of the room, calls the girls into the room with me and shuts the door. They then go at Dad is out of control...completely losing it at Howard. Howard at this point gives it right back and tells my Dad if he is going to be like this, he needs to leave right now. He went outside, and stayed out there until about 4am until he came back inside and went to sleep.

Since then, he has been pretty calm and hasn't had too many issues. He has not discussed this, nor apologized for his behavior. It's been over a month and the kids are still wary.

Thanksgiving was great. Family and friends were here, food was wonderful. Our awesome newlywed friends Jamie and Brion actually brought over a live dessert and cooking lesson....deep fried Snickers and Reese's peanut buttercups.

The past few weeks have been filled with getting ready for Christmas, getting all my ducks in a row for my PTA event in January and being sick. I can't seem to shake this cold, bronchial, sinus crap. NOT FUN.

This past weekend was spent at my Grandfather's house for our families Christmas gathering and my Grandfather's 90th birthday celebration...but that's a whole 'nother entry.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

#TDPC Day 1

#TDPC Day 1: Self Portrait

Now, you have no idea how hard this is for me...but I managed to snap something with my cell phone so at least I made an effort.

Yes, I have a 5 head. Eat your heart out Tyra. I look like hell because I've been sick for a damn month.

1 down...29 more to go.



I am alive and swear I will update very soon. In fact, I'm already working on an update.

A few weeks ago my dear friend at Razing Mayhem posted about something she saw on Tumblr about a Thirty Day Photo Challenge and I decided to join her in it, as did quite a few others on Facebook and Twitter.
The photo challenge started on Monday and like a lot of avenues in my life, I was a slow starter...i started today. Better late than never, yes?

Here is the Photo Challenge:

Anyone want to join me?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Update: Last Thursday my Grandfather, Mom and her siblings were able to scatter my Grandmother's ashes into the Bay. It was an insanely windy day on the water. Some of the ashes went into the water, some blew off in the breeze. They are doing very well, all things considered. They have good and bad days.

We are doing well. Howard has been working as much as he can to prepare for the Christmas Holidays and to make up for the time he has had to take off and will have to take off in the future. I have been busy with...I was going to say the kids, but my Dad as well, doing the every day norm which seems to be more stressful than usual. Getting ready for some PTA events coming up after Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, it's going to be a good one. We're having family and friends over and planning lots of great food and a really great game.

We are having numerous challenges with my Dad. So many that are so embarrassing and out of character for him I don't even want to mention it. Things are not pretty. He needs so much more help than I can provide for him but outright refuses to get help from those who can. He is a very angry person and regularly takes it out on me and the kids. I...don't know what to do anymore. The challenges that having him live with us are so far fetched. So much more than just having another adult in our tiny apartment.
It doesn't help my comping mechanisms to also have another blow to them. I had to quit taking my anxiety/depression medication that I've been on for 3 weeks because Howard and I realized that I was showing symptoms of having an allergic reaction. Looked it up...yep...I'm allergic to it. Annnnnd my Doctor won't return my calls. So I'm unmedicated, way overworked and insanely stressed. Not a good combo.

That's the theme for 2011...challenges. Thank God 2011 is almost over.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

So much, so little time

So much has happened over the past 22 days.
Wow, I...cannot believe it's been that long.

So the Wednesday after I posted the last entry my girls got their report cards, which were wonderful and I am very proud of both of them! They are both doing very well. Mackenzie made the honor roll and Maddie exceeded all of the teachers expectations.

The Saturday after that, Howard decided to take an entire weekend off, which he hadn't done since Labor day and he majorly needed it. We had planned on going to Sweet Berry Farms, like we did exactly one year ago but the girls decided they wanted to do something a bit more and asked their Daddy if we could go to the zoo. So, we spent the day at the San Antonio Zoo and had an absolute blast.

The following week was spent on the phone, a lot. My mom kept stressing that my Grandmother was going downhill, quickly. Her body was filling with fluid, and it was just a matter of time until her lungs started to fill as well. On Wednesday, October 26th my Mom called me and told me that my Grandmother (Mama Kay) had slipped into a coma and my aunt was on her way there. Once Mama Kay was surrounded by her children and an amazing Hospice Chaplain, Sissy, they told her it was okay to let go, they were all there, and she needed to let go. My mom told her that her parents were in Heaven partying it up and were waiting for her and that she'd finally get to hold Morgan (whom was named after her). Immediately her muscles relaxed, she smiled, and her breathing evened out. That evening we waited for a phone call, it never came. At 4:38am, on October 27th, 15 days after her 87th Birthday my mom called and said that Booka (my Grandfather) had requested that he was able to sleep next to his wife one last time, and they honored that. At about 4am he woke up to use the bathroom, came back in the room and she had stopped breathing. Always independent, she had to wait until she was completely alone to completely let go. HERE is her obituary, if you'd like to read it.

L to R: Eddy, Trisha (Uncle and Aunt), Philip Jr aka Booka, Karen aka Mom, Kathleen/Kay aka Mama Kay, Robbie and Philip III/Flip (Aunt and Uncle).
Taken in July, 2011.

So, Friday night we packed up and headed to Bacliff, Tx to attend her memorial service and to help with anything that needed to be done for this quickly put together gathering. It was so good to see my Mom and be there for her. I was able to help my Aunts and Uncles out by doing errands and helping set up the memorial service which I was so glad to have a purpose with all of this. The memorial service...was beautiful. The Hospice Chaplain, Sissy, performed a memorial ceremony that was beautiful, personal and touching. Some of the grand kids said a few words, we watched a wonderful slide show of every digital picture taken over the last 10 years or so. We brought copies of photos we had that we placed throughout the house and in photo albums. It was a very nice day, Mama Kay would of loved it.

Since then, my mom has moved in with my Grandfather, until her apartment behind his house is done being built. They are doing as well as can be expected. They will scatter her ashes later this week in the Bay near their home, which was, by far, her favorite place on Earth.

♥ Kristin

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Loss Remembrance Day

They say there is a reason,

They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,
For no-one knows the heartache,
That lies behind our smiles,
No-one knows how many times,
We have broken down and cried,
We want to tell you something,
So there won't be any doubt,
You're so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without.

We couldn't wait to hold you
And see your pretty face.
To count your little fingers,
And check your toes are in their place.

It should have been the happiest day
To remember all our life.
But joy had turned to heartache,
No breath, no beat, no life.

We will never see you smile,
Or hear your hearty cry.
We will never be able to dry your tears,
Or share your happy times.

Our precious little Angel,
We will always know your face.
In our hearts and stars forever,
You will always have a place.

A million times I've missed you, a million times I've cried.
If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.
To some you are forgotten, to others just part of the past;
but to me who loved and lost you, your love will always last.
It broke my heart to lose you, you didn't go alone,
for my life went with you -sweetheart- the day angels called you home.
For things on earth didn't matter, but now I feel so alone,
My heart will always be broken, my life will never be whole.
We might be parted for awhile, our hearts will always be together
for one day soon we will hold hands again forever.

My sweet Morgan, the pain I feel for not having you with me, to not see you with your twin is so great I feel it will swallow me whole. I never want to rid myself of the pain, because it is a constant physical reminder, of validation that you were here, that you existed.

Morgan Kathleen
15 3/4 inches-2 pounds
Stillborn on January 9, 2007

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cheap and Easy Rustic Handkerchief Wreath

Are you ready for a super cheap and easy wreath?
This is seriously one of the easiest and least expensive home decor projects I have ever done.
I made a wreath for Halloween, but this can be used for any occasion, Holiday or Season. I got my inspiration for this project from Huckleberry Prairie
Total Price: $5.41 Time: 30 Minutes
{Helpful Hint: Click on any picture to make it bigger}


One 12" wicker type wreath. I got mine at Dollar Tree for...wait for it...$1!

No fewer than 3 handkerchiefs/bandannas. I used 4 just to get the colors and style I wanted, so this tutorial will go on the assumption you have 4. I payed $.99 each for these at Hobby Lobby.

You also need a good, sharp pair of scissors.

DIRECTIONS: Cut each of your handkerchiefs in half. {Helpful Hint: I make a small cut and rip the rest of the way, so much faster!} Put the other halves of the handkerchief to the side, you will need it later. Pile one of each of the halves in a stack like the picture below:

Then cut through all 4 {Hence, why you need sharp scissors} into 1 1/2- 2 inch strips. Not an exact science, eyeball it. Hence why it's a 'rustic' wreath. {Apparently rustic in my book means that you're too lazy to measure}

Once you have cut up the handkerchiefs put them in piles according to color and pattern you want to use for your wreath.
Then, using your starting color, wrap around the wicker wreath and tie a double knot like the picture below:

Then you just keep on going...

See, it's already looking cute!

When you have about 6" of the wicker wreath still showing get the remaining halves that I told you to put aside earlier. Choose to of the colors and cut a 2" strip of 2 of the handkerchiefs. About 3" from the ends of those pieces, tie them together with a double knot (just like you're doing around the wreath. Then, the tails of the knotted bow you just created tie in a double knot to the exposed part of the wreath which creates the hanger as shown below:

Then keep going all around, even in between the double knots you created with the hanger to give it more stability. The more you bunch the knot bows together, the fuller it looks. And then finally you have something that looks like this...

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial! I know I sure enjoyed making this today. Got my mind off of my Fighting Texas Aggies who have developed a theme this season of losing their minds in the second half. Anyway, have fun and please shoot me an email or leave me a comment if you do this! I'd love to see how yours turns out!

Happy October!
♥ Kristin

Friday, September 30, 2011


My mother has court on Tuesday, October 4th. She also gets paid around that time {She receives Social Security Disability} and cannot access her money because my Dad has her debit card.
So, she's coming back.
And yesterday this text conversation occurred: {exact texts are in Italics}

Mom: So I will be there Sun evening and was gonna share Mackenzie's bed is that a problem?

Ha, you ask...but you already know.

Me: That is not possible. Dad is still here, obviously and he has told everyone he has come into contact with that he fully intends to strangle you the next time he sees you. Also, Howard does NOT want to see you. Also, I am still beyond hurt and angry about what you took off and left me to deal with, with no regard to what you ere leaving in your wake and I am not the only one that feels that way.

Mom: I made some really bad choices. My mother is dying and my Dad's heart is breaking and I cannot undo what I have done. I will stay in a motel but can I see the kids and can you take me to court?

Me: Yes, you most certainly did. And I know what your parents are going through is a terrible ordeal. But as noble as your purpose is for being there it doesn't erase what you did to Dad, me, Howard and the kids. They don't cancel each other out. And yes, you can see the kids, and yes, I will take you to court.

Mom: Thank u

Mom: There was nothing noble about wrecking mine and y'all's life and I will be sorry and pay for it forever. I make bad decisions anyway but this hurt, this helpless grief I am going through right no is pretty overwhelming and I just want to cuddle both my parents in my arms and make it better, but I can't.

Me: No, there wasn't. And I'm surprised you're sorry because you sure haven't said it. I can appreciate what you're going through Mom. I can't say I understand it because I've never gone through that but I can imagine. I am thankful that you are there for them and for you but like I said, it;s hard to deal with the level of betrayal that you committed against us. You have no idea what it feels like to always back someone up, always try to help them through anything hard in life no matter what to have them all but physically spit in your face. It hurts, and I'm angry, but that's temporary, I'll get over it. What IS important is what your parents are going through but I cannot ignore what I have been through either. I cannot allow you into my home, a home full of people with a lot of negative emotion towards you and act like nothing happened.

Mom: I did say sorry, that day on your bed {She's referring to the day before she took off when I blew up at her for doing this to everyone telling her she needed to man up and take care of her own responsibility which also meant that if she is leaving, she needs to take my father with her and she the time} and I am sorry taking care of your Dad is such an ordeal {it is, but I have NOT EVEN ONCE said a thing to her about any of the things I am going through with him} So, I wish I had done everything different. From the bottom of my heart I am so sorry.

Me: That day, on my bed, you also said you were taking Dad with you.

Mom: That was just not possible.

Me: Considering that alleged apology happened that day as well, you can imagine why it holds ZERO significance.

And I haven't heard from her since. She did call my father yesterday evening, about an hour after this text conversation ended. She told him that apparently we care about her anymore and don't want her here or want to see her so she is going to get a motel.
She's my mother, of course I care and I do love her. But I don't like her at all. I don't owe her anything, she owes me...everything. Howard keeps asking me if this situation was finally my breaking point with her, and really is. I don't regret anything I have said and done in this situation. I have kept my integrity and stood my ground.

It makes me feel so good.

♥ Kristin

Monday, September 26, 2011

To my son, on your 2nd birthday

Dear Bubbers,
I cannot believe you are two years old already. I can't comprehend how my life was without you in it because you have made it so full. Full of laughter, tears and joy. I am still afraid of you, and probably will be until my dying day. The love I have with your father swept me off my feet, but our love little lopped my head right off.
I never pictured having a son, I had never been around boys at all. I cannot even explain in words how thankful that I am to have had you. To have had this amazing opportunity to raise you and see what you will become with your outrageous personality and heart stopping smile.
You've grown a ton, now towering over your (older) bestie Cael by 4 inches when not even 6 months ago you two were the same height. You'll love that height when you get older, you're welcome for that. We all know you didn't get that from your Daddy (sorry Howard, it's true). For now it makes all your pants shorter then they should be.
Your current obsessions are Mickey Mouse, Yo Gabba Gabba, Wow Wow Wubzy and Ni Hao Kai Lan. You love all things trains, trucks...anything that has an engine (Gee, I wonder where he gets that from). You also love balls (take that as you will), balloons, being outside, and pestering your sisters to death.
You said your longest sentence to date on your birthday. I told you to say "Thank you for my PJ's Grandma, I love you." and you repeated me...but it sounded like this "Daint Du fur ma JJ's Gramma, I dus you."
You are an amazing little creature that constantly brings a smile to all of our faces. You are silly, hysterical and full of testosterone. Thank you so much for coming into our lives and bringing it such joy and laughter.

I love you Parker Philip, My sweet boy, My Bubbers,


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Temporary vs. Permanent

Despite everything that is going on with the drama that surrounds my parents and everything we're up against right now I got a sharp reminder that all of this is temporary.

Things change minute to minute. I need to focus on what's permanent.

People. Relationships. Family.

My Maternal Grandmother's health is failing fast.

Over the years she has battled thyroid disease, high cholesterol, kidney cancer (resulting in the loss of a kidney), colon cancer (which resulted in the loss of a good portion of her colon and intestine) and she also had a full hysterectomy due to tumors and endometriosis.

In July of this year my Grandmother was having some scary symptoms regarding her overall health and since then up until a week ago she was having tests, MRI's, CT scans and biopsies done too often to name because they found cancerous cells on her remaining kidney. Their goal 9 days ago was to go in at the most recent biopsy site and remove the parts of her kidney that were cancerous but leaving the organ working and intact. That didn't happen. After putting a shunt between her bladder and kidney they realized that my grandmother has tumors all over her bladder, kidney and intestines. So, they didn't operate.

They have now told her that the cancer and tumors are on her bladder, kidney, stomach, intestines and liver. It seems the more biopsies and tests they did, the more the tumors grew and the more the cancer spread.

She is not a candidate for chemo. She'll be 87 in October. She weighs just barely over 70 pounds. So, they have called in hospice care and now she is just doing whatever she can to enjoy life. She's eating whatever she wants, spending time with family, planning a gambling trip to Louisiana. No doctor has given us a clear picture on the time she has left. So far the only answer we've been given to this delicate situation is one week to six months.

Our prayers are not for miracles at this point. They're for her to be pain free and happy in the time she has left. She has had a full and happy life surrounded by people who love her. If only all people could be so lucky.

♥ Kristin

Monday, September 19, 2011

We all have mental issues

I was able to get into my parents apartment and get the few articles of clothing left of my fathers, his medicine, some of his toiletries and his USMC Korean War Vet hat. That was all that the apartment complex was willing to let me get out of the apartment. I am thankful that they let me in without an issue and without having to pay off their balance. They weren't nasty about the situation and were generally good spirited about the whole thing when it could of turned out very different.
The chest x-ray for my Dad came back ok. He was a few steps away from having pneumonia but with an aggressive steroid and antibiotic treatment he is feeling better. We went to the doctor again this morning, and his doc said he was fine sickness wise now. His current concern is his mental well being. My Dad has continued having panic attacks and they're becoming more frequent. So, his doctor put him on an anti depressant and some panic attack medicine to help with his mental well being.
He is still very short tempered. When he is not sleeping he is usually freaking out at me or the kids. He is belligerent to say the least and a bit delusional as well. He seems to think that my mom left town to get away from bad influences. According to her, she left town because it was the only way she could think of to get rid of him. I didn't say this to him of course, because I'd rather not give him another reason to freak out on me.
In the past week I have spoken to my mother a few times, all because of my grandmother's health which is not good at all. She barely asks how we are doing. Has not asked once about her grandchildren and has yet to apologize for anything she has done. The anger I feel is so strong I don't know how much longer I can contain it.
Will it do any good to blow up at her? Probably not.
Does it stop me from feeling like I need to and I'm entitled to? Not one bit.
One part of me is saying to tamp it down. Quit thinking about it. Think about the positives in the situation and just go on like it didn't happen. But the other part is like, WTF KRISTIN?! I have to live every day with what happened. I have to clean up the aftermath of her complete and total selfishness and lack of giving a crap about anyone but herself.
I'm torn, to say the least.

I spoke to my sister about this on Thursday. I told her that I felt terrible about not being able to get everything out of the apartment and everything I did do before we were locked out and everything I've done since then. Her response was to tell me that I didn't owe my mother anything. Now that's a novel concept. In my brain I am still paying for getting pregnant at 16 and having her help me through that. Still...11 years later. And she helped me through that for almost 2 years until I was a legal adult. I've been cleaning up after her since BEFORE I got pregnant. Why the hell do I feel this way? Obviously I have some major psychological issues going on here, lol. But dammit, my Sister is right. I don't owe either one of them a damn thing.

...Except maybe a thorough chewing out.

♥ Kristin

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The situation with my parents wasn't like I thought it was in the previous post.

My mom did the bipolar thing and totally wasted away their September funds leaving them with no way to pay their bills so they're being evicted. They are moving close to my mom's parents, in a house my uncle owns and rents out.
The first sentence is correct. The second is as well, except for one word...They.

THEY didn't go anywhere.

She did.

With 2 suitcases of clothing and toiletries.

Leaving her 900 sq foot apartment, everything in it (minus her sectional couch which she sold for money for bus fare) and my father behind, never looking back.

So I am forced to sell, throw away or pack and move into my garage everything my parents own before the 15th of the month when their apartment complex will lock them out of their apartment for nonpayment.
But, they didn't give us until the 15th (which they were within their rights). My dad was locked out today. Leaving My dad's medicine, a ton of toys, everything in their kitchen, all their plants, their flat screen TV, 2 DVD players, their kitchen table and chairs, My great grandmother's marble table and my Dad's entire solid cherry wood bedroom suite that's not even 3 years old.
My new challenge will be to contact their property management company and beg to be let in to get my kids toys and my dad's medicine, which is the only thing I am asking for because I'm sure they want the rest to make up for payment.

Now, lets look at the person that is facing the aftermath. My dad.

My dad's current challenges are the fact that he's 76 years old, has melanoma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, he's a smoker (2 packs a day), recovering from a stroke (last winter) and has Dementia which causes major mood swings, extreme anger and confusion.

Since this begun my Dad hasn't been feeling well. He's been dizzy and wheezing at lot. He's been complaining of stomach and headaches and having panic attacks as well. The stress is unparalleled. I took him to his doctor today and his blood pressure was through the roof, he had a panic attack while he was in there and his doctor wanted him to have a chest x-ray. So, we did that and now have another appointment in the morning.

My Dad is angry and bitter at my mom and at the situation. He has been constantly screaming at me and the kids. He yells at them for playing with toys, watching TV, playing with each other, even laughing. The tension in my house is so thick it makes me dizzy.

I can't do this.

I can't take care of my family, my kids, my husband, my household and their drama and my Dad. It is just too much. His health is so bad and it's so incredibly time consuming to take care of it all and there aren't enough hours in the day. My kids have barely been home this week. They're not sleeping enough, not eating right, not getting homework done and my house...ugh my house...ew.

So, what do I do? Howard and I have talked about an Assisted Living Facility but if I do that, will my Dad hate me? Will he resent me for leaving him like my mom did? Right now, he's my only parent. I don't want to lose him. But I'm afraid of what I might lose if he stays.

♥ Kristin

Friday, September 9, 2011

Culture Shock?

My relationship with my parents has always been close and...interesting? Not sure if that's the right word, but it's certainly never boring.

I lived a seemingly 'perfect' childhood until one day, literally I saw my parents fight for the first time. It was in May of 1997 and it was a violent fight. I had never even heard them raise their voices to one another.
My parents split up that very night and I lived apart from my mother for the first time in my life. I had only been away from her for 3 days until then. I was 13 years old.

In August of 1998 my parents divorced, amicably. My mom remarried as soon as it was legal for her to do so. Between 97 and 98 I was apart from my mom for a few weeks at a time, but not too much longer than that. She dated a lot between then too.

I lived mostly with my Dad because of school boundaries and bus riding but I still saw my mom at least once a week. In July of 2000 I found out I was pregnant. I was 16. My mom's husband killed himself a few months later. Since then my mom and I have either lived together or within 10 minutes of each other.

My daily life today consists of taking care of my children, husband and home but also dealing with my parents issues (my parents live together, as roommates and have since 2004). My mom has a lot of legal issues, health issues and just all around...issues. I take them everywhere and handle all of their business, health care needs, you name it...I do it. I see them practically every day.

And now, they're moving. 4 hours away.

My mom did the bipolar thing and totally wasted away their September funds leaving them with no way to pay their bills so they're being evicted. They are moving close to my mom's parents, in a house my uncle owns and rents out.

I have never been this far away from my parents in a living situation...ever. I don't see how they are going to survive without me handling all of their business from day to day. They have no car, no coping skills, no budgeting skills and when they move they will have to hunt for new doctors to oversee their care, my mom will have to find a way to get to Austin in the coming weeks so she can go to court. I don't see how they are going to do this on their own, but apparently they think they can because they're definitely going through with it.

It is going to be strange to not have to be a caretaker to them anymore. To not have them in my daily life. For them not to be in my kids daily life. I will admit, I'm kind of excited about having my work load lifted a bit but it is going to be a culture shock not having them with me every day and factoring them in every decision I make about schedules and things that my family and I do. My children are going to be heartbroken, and I would think my parents would be too. But they seem fine with it.

So why aren't I?

♥ Kristin

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Simple, Mouthwatering Oven Brisket

Labor day weekend is usually a big BBQ time for us in Texas. Well, anytime is BBQ time. However, with the terrible fires that are plaguing the state, using our BBQ was out of the question, so...we used the oven.
Here's my recipe for a simple, mouthwatering oven brisket!
REMINDER: click on any image to make it bigger

What you need for this recipe:

Brisket! Mine was a 14.45 lb beef brisket

Grill Seasoning (or your favorite roast seasonings) and 2 cups of water

A roasting pan (and foil if you don't have a lid to your roasting pan)

A pair of kitchen scissors to open the package of the brisket and a small, sharp pointed knife (I use the smaller of the two shown, works amazing!)

After opening your Brisket with kitchen scissors you need to rinse your brisket with water to eliminate any plastic that may of gotten on it during the opening process and also to eliminate any blood that may be on the cut of meat. Pat dry with a paper towel.

How to trim your brisket:

Remember that small, pointed, sharp knife I said you needed? Now's when! The first thing you need to do is get your hands on your beef (har har) if you feel any hard spots of fat, that almost feel like bone, those need to be removed, and they can go deep!

See that? Remove as much of that as you can!

Then, you need to put it in your large roasting pan with the marbling side UP and the side with all of the thick layer of fat side DOWN!
Then add the 2 cups of water all around (not on top of) the brisket.

Then, season with grill seasoning, or any of your favorite spices for beef or roasts. You only need to season one side, trust me. The underside will have plenty of flavor.

Then, if you have a fancy roasting pan with a lid, go ahead and close it up. I don't, I just have my trusty turkey roasting pan. So, I took out the rack and covered mine and foil and it worked just fine.

Now, here's the hard part.
Place the brisket in a 250 degree oven for at least 6 hours. 8, if you can stand it. WARNING: this smell will drive your entire family crazy. It smells incredible all day long and you'll literally be salivating by the time it is out of the oven.

After 6-8 hours, take the brisket out of the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before cutting into it so the juices will have a chance to distribute themselves all throughout the meat.
After that, time to enjoy!

Please excuse the chunk taken out of it. My neighbor's husband was called into work suddenly and so I provided them with a quick dinner.
Don't you wish you were my neighbor?
Look at all the moisture! Incredibly moist and delicious!
You can also use the pan drippings to make an incredible gravy if you are so inclined.

I really hope you enjoyed this recipe, and hope you try it sometime! Let me know what you think! Enjoy!

♥ Kristin

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why hello September

Um, where did August go?

Update on Sickies: Mackenzie and Maddie are 100% better except for asthma issues. Parker is pretty much 100% or he was until this weekend when he was around a cat (we all are majorly allergic) and now he has an allergy rash and a runny nose.
On Tuesday, Howard went to the doctor because he had some major symptoms. I'm so glad he went. He had a sinus infection, bronchitis and a double inner ear infection. It always seems like if there is an illness around Howard, he'll get it and it'll be 10x worse than anyone else. He is feeling back to normal now.

We just came off of a busy 3 day weekend. On Saturday we were supposed to take my Dad out for a belated birthday lunch, but that fell through because of my parents ever surrounding drama. So, after Howard got off work (he had a short day) we went out anyway and had a nice lunch and then came home and cleaned house and just kind of hung out.
On Sunday we left bright and early to go visit Howard's grandmother and parents in Wharton, Tx. The food was terrible, but the company was amazing. I love his grandmother so much. I am very lucky to love my in laws (and trust me, it hasn't always been this way).
West...Party of 9?!
L-to-R: (First Row) Maddie, Mackenzie. (Second Row) Howard SR, Ann-Howard's grandmother, Howard and Parker. (Back Row) Todd-Howard's brother, Linda-Howard's mom This was almost a full family picture but Howard's oldest brother Karl, his wife Angela and their kids couldn't make it.

We had a very nice time and a very long drive home that night. It was long enough considering the kids were tired and cranky but then, as we were making our way home, we smelled smoke. Our normal route consisted of driving down Hwy 71 through Bastrop. THIS is why we smelled smoke, saw flames shooting through the air and saw the sky and smoke glow for MILES. It's also why we had to take a back road detour in the middle of the night. But, we made it home safely thank God.

Labor day consisted of me baking a brisket (grilling is a big no-no), getting a constant update on Central Texas going up in flames via Twitter and KXAN news and cleaning out our garage. Despite the terrible flaming destruction it was a gorgeous day. Cool breeze, not a cloud in the sky, cooler temperatures (compared to the 80 100 degree+ days we've had this year) I didn't want to go inside!

What did you do for the long weekend?

♥ Kristin

Monday, August 29, 2011

The End to the Weekend

Maddie and Parker actually got 10x worse after my last post. On Saturday morning, about 4am Maddie woke up on FIRE. Her fever was 102 and just raging. She was also sounding very croupy.
Now, let's examine what croupy means. Croup is a condition where the air waves and the throat get swollen which in turn makes the person have a bark like cough. It is from having a sore throat, asthma, and sinus issues. It cannot be caught, however the other symptoms can (sore throat and sinus issues). It usually makes the person sound like they have laryngitis and they cough frequently to try to relieve the swelling they feel in their throats.
Because of the way she was sounding, I was going to give her a nebulizer treatment but I realized that A) She didn't have any major labored breathing so she was getting enough oxygen and B) I didn't have any albuterol to put in the nebulizer in the first place. Crap.
So, I called their Pediatrician's nurse after hours line which I had never done before, especially at 4am. The nurse sounded half asleep but she was very helpful. She listened to Maddie on the phone, recommended some things to help her croup, which we did but didn't help and when she realized that instructed us to go to the emergency room. During these phone calls Parker woke up briefly and sounded just like Maddie, all croupy.
So, we went back to sleep since Maddie and I were exhausted, Howard was leaving for work and Mackenzie and Parker were still asleep. At 10:30 we all woke up ready to do the whole ER thing. Parker was feverish when he woke up too, 101.6. I went and got my parents and took my Dad back to the house to stay with Mack and then My mom and I took the babies to Dell Children's Medical Center.
They absolutely loved the waiting room with the awesome fish tanks. They loved to run circles around it. Kind of weird seeing your sick kids run circles around anything. But even with 102.3 (Maddie) and 103.1 (Parker) fevers they still ran around like the insane children they are. It definitely took a while but eventually we got into a room where the kiddos had to change into hospital gowns and share a bed which was actually really cute.

They were brought bunches of books to read and play with, which I read multiple times until I realized that they weren't paying attention to me at all.
Then a nurse brought a TV remote and they watched Spongebob the rest of the stay.

They were cuddling constantly. Neither one of them liked when the other was messed with and got upset, so there was lots of hugs and cuddles.

They were so freakin sweet to each other the nurses asked if they could keep the curtain open (but door closed) so they could see them from the nurses station. Who am I to deny them my children's cuteness?

In the end, the fever had gone down a few degrees, they had strep tests done and a super steroid given to both of them resulting in large cups of apple juice from the nurses.

Isn't this cute? Waiting on their release papers to be finished. They crawled all over the floor of that ER. I practically bathed them in Clorox when we got home (I kid, I kid...kinda).

So they were on the fast track to getting better. We spent all day Sunday hanging around the house watching TV and relaxing. I made chocolate chip pancakes for brunch and hamburgers for dinner. Very low key, but just what we needed.

♥ Kristin

Thursday, August 25, 2011

They lasted 3 days

Before they were absent.

My girls didn't go to school today, Mackenzie has been really asthmatic the past few days and she was starting to get cranky about it on Wednesday night saying that she just wasn't feeling well. Also, last night Maddie had an accident which is really rare. I changed her sheets, washed her down and changed her PJ's and when I felt her forehead I thought my hand was going to burn off. She was registering at 102 degrees! I gave her some motrin and sent her back to bed. Mackenzie woke up before her alarm went off at 6 this morning and said she felt really terrible. Wouldn't you know it, face was on fire. 101.9 degrees! Yesterday Parker was messing with his ear, being cranky, coughing lightly and had a runny nose. He also woke up with 100 degree fever.

So, no school and off to the doctor we went. Not their regular pediatrician, but a partner in the same clinic.

Mackenzie: still had a few degrees of fever, lungs were clear but throat was red, sinus pressure. Z-pack given.
Maddie: Ears were clogged, cleaned out, fever just slightly above normal, throat was red from sinuses, lungs are clear. Doctor said to give her Motrin and Children's Mucinex. I was extremely annoyed by this, I truly believe she needs an antibiotic but the doctor would NOT write her a prescription for it.
Parker: lungs were clear, no fever, throat red and some sinus issues. Also said to treat with motrin, Children's Mucinex and Benedryl. Lovely.

I really hate when they can't see their own doctor.

Oh and Mackenzie's Z-Pack still isn't ready according to Walgreens they're not even sure they got the orders for the prescription. Waiting on a Pharmacist to call me back. Annoyed is such a small word for what I am feeling right now.

&hearts Kristin

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Easy Peasy

I am finally starting to feel better after getting a steroid shot in the behind and a z-pack to fix my severe sinus infection and bronchial infection. I finally was able to make an actual meal for my family, but I chose an easy one.

What we had was Casa Ole Green Sauce and Mexican Chicken Doritos Casserole.
Now, I got some weird reactions when I mentioned I was putting Doritos in a Casserole. And I'll admit I was pretty concerned but this recipe that I found from Jam Hands was one of the easiest and tastiest things I have ever eaten. The only alteration I did to the recipe was added more cheese. It was so amazingly simple and DELICIOUS! Make it, you WON'T regret it!

I realize that a lot of people won't know what Casa Ole is, much less their green sauce. Casa Ole is a restaurant that is only in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. It's a Tex Mex place that has some serious good food, but is rather commercial. Their Green Sauce has been a favorite of my family's for a long time and so I figured out how to recreate it. It's basically a creamy guacamole. Very simple, delicious and ADDICTING!

Kristin's version of Casa Ole Green Sauce
  • 4 good size Avocados
  • 1 (16 oz.) container Sour Cream
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes
  • 1 (4 oz.) can Green Chili Peppers
OR instead of 1 can Rotel and 1 can of Green chili peppers you can add just one can of HOT Rotel, works just the same. To make this more mild (it's not very spicy in the first place buttttt....) you can only use a half a container of the Green Chili Peppers
  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice
  • 3 oz. Cream Cheese
Put it all in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You can serve it room temperature or cold.
Definitely one of the best dips you'll ever eat. If you make this, link me to it, I'd love to know what you thought about it. Enjoy!

&hearts Kristin

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Girls

On Monday, my girls started school.

Mackenzie had her first day of 5th grade. Her first day of her last year in Elementary School. Typing that made me dizzy. I cannot believe she is in fifth grade already. Her team of teachers are amazing and I think this is going to be a great year for her!

My pretty 5th grader

Her homeroom teacher is in Aggie, which makes me so beyond proud. Her Science and Social Studies teacher is one of her top picks for teachers so she was really excited about being in her class and her Math teacher is just awesome. It's amazing how you can spend a few minutes with someone and know that they are going to be great for your child.
She has a ton of her friends in her class, including one who was in her Kindergarten class. Start together, finish together. She let me walk her to class expressing that I would not be able to do this next year (I laughed through the tears through that one). She hugged and kissed me, her sister and her brother and took off into her room. I didn't cry when I left her, that's probably because I had to walk a mile with a lethargic Maddie and carrying a 40 pound Parker while barely being able to breathe. But, once I started driving home there may of been a few tears shed.

A few impatient hours later (by her, not me) Maddie started her first day of Pre K. She's in the afternoon class so she has school from 11:55-2:35.

My sweet, sweet Maddie Mo

Once we got to school, she was waiting in line and her Sissy showed up (she was at lunch) to say hello.

Just like Mackenzie, Maddie has never been to day care, or put in any situation other then family or Children's Church has ever watched her so I was a little concerned about how she will take being away from me.

And, just like Mackenzie, she took it like a pro...barely looked back.

Me, on the other hand, cried for an hour. They both had amazing first days. With the only hiccup being when Maddie was supposed to wait for her class to go through the lunch line (she brought her lunch the first day) she went outside with the Kindergartners and swung on a swing and gave her teacher a heart attack. The had amazing second days as well (with no issues). They both love school, their teachers and friends and are having a great year so far.

♥ Kristin

Saturday, August 20, 2011


So, I am officially sick. I have a lovely summer cold with a sinus and bronchial infection. Lovely, huh? My mom is here today helping me with my house and my kids and so while laying in bed I decide to do a ringlet scarf that I learned from the amazing blog of Kevin & Amanda.

Mine certainly isn't as cute as hers, but it's a start. It was really easy, and I think my girls would just have a blast doing this.

Here's my ringlets:
Excuse the background, it's my sheets. I have no photo finesse when sick. Also, excuse my foot.

And the final product:

Once again, excuse the background.
It turned out REALLY cute! I can't wait to use some less grungy tee's to do this with and in multiple colors. Of course, my girls little hands will help too.
Try to make one and link me to it! I would love to see yours!!

♥ Kristin