Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Free Give-A-Way!

In the spirit of my sewing/blogger friends Sara and Brenda I am doing a free give-away. This entry marks my 200th post on this blog. And to celebrate, I'm giving something away. Free!

To participate, you need to leave a comment on this blog at the bottom of this entry. And on September 1st, I will pick a random number (or someone else will) and the blessed person will receive this darling "Perfect-for-anything Pouch" in the mail. Everyone loves getting mail, right?

Sounds easy enough, right?

I will ship internationally too. (That's incentive for my friends in Turkey, the UK, Spain, Africa, Australia, and the Netherlands!) And men- you should comment too-- for if you win, you'll have a handmade gift ready to give to your mom at Christmas time and that means, NO SHOPPING FOR YOU!

Happy 200th Post to You!

Monday, August 24, 2009


Why is it that one of the best things in the world is making a baby smile and giggle? Everyone tries one can resist. It doesn't matter if I'm in line at the grocery store, someone tries to make Abram smile...if I'm walking down the street, someone will stop to make him smile. And it just so happens that Mama, Papa, Riley, Gigi, and Grandpa can't get enough either...because we're always trying!

"I'm gonna...

"...get you"

"Got you!"

And again and again we blow bubbles on his roly-poly soft tummy.

Bike Ridin' Machine

He is unstoppable.

We took a drive to the local high school to use their empty parking lot the other night. Accidently cut off (with the camera) grandpa on Papa's cruiser. He was stylin' for sure. A Texan farmer on a California cruiser....he was lookin' good...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Riley Dean

Yesterday, our newly-turned 4 year old woke up to a house full of balloons, streamers, presents, and a HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner handmade in his honor. It was a day like no other, where Mr. Riley Dean was treated like a king. I asked him a few days in advance to tell me what he wanted for his birthday breakfast and he quickly and positively requested Papa's sourdough waffles with blueberries and orange juice. Our morning was filled with fun as we watched Riley say over and over.."It's my birt-day today"

Riley has a "birthday" plate, given by Gigi, that he gets to eat off of all day for his birthday.

Now that he is 4, we've relinquished the yard duty to him. Hee hee. Grandma and Grandpa in Bakersfield outfitted Riley with his own wheelbarrow (John Deere, of course) and yard tools. Pajamas or no, he quickly went to work outside.

Last year his request was a train cake and this year he asked for an armadillo cake. Why in the world would a 4 year old request an armadillo for his cake? I can't say for sure, but if you remember one of my first posts since arriving to Texas was about "Jonny Rocket", our resident armadillo that we found several times quenching his thirst out at the pond. Riley found his quite cute and interesting. He used to tell stories about him a lot....what we thought he ate, where he slept, why he was at our pond, etc. We haven't seen Jonny Rocket in a long time. But a few months ago I asked Riley to begin to think about what he would want for his birthday cake this year. I thought for sure he'd request a green and yellow John Deere tractor. But no! He said he wanted an armadillo cake.

Now, as any mother would, I told him I'd be delighted to make him one and I quickly went to work online researching how in the world I'd make a cake look like an armadillo. After one quick google search, I discovered that the armadillo cake has become quite popular, made famous by the grooms cake in the movie Steel Magnolias. I had no idea!
All true armadillo cakes are made out of a red velvet recipe, yielding a "bleeding armadillo" when cut into it. Riley, being 4, didn't quite get it...but the rest of us enjoyed the idea. I mean, not that we enjoyed the idea of eating a real armadillo...yuck...I could never imagine...but the idea that we were sticking true to tradition. Anyway...this was my best attempt at an armadillo...using what I had on hand at home.

The rest of the day was spent at a bike shop picking out what would be Riley's first bike with pedals. He received a "balance bike" last year for his birthday and it's often difficult to peel his bottom off of the thing-- it has literally become an appendage. What can I say...that is life on a farm for a little boy. He has outgrown it though and with minor convincing, he saw fit that he was ready for a "real bike."

At the bike store we told the salesman right away..."not interested in training wheels, this kid needs a real man's bike." And a real man's bike he got! We left that store with a "trick" bike...a solid, good quality machine that is made for kids who are quite skilled and can do things like spin the handlebars, bounce on one tire, etc.

One the way home from the store, Abram got hungry and we pulled over in a big empty parking lot to nurse. Papa and Riley got out and thought they'd give the bike a practice on concrete since at home we only have dirt and gravel. Riley sat on the bike and Papa said, "One, Two Three...", ran with him for about 10 feet and let go. I was preparing myself to get ready for all kinds of skinned knees and elbows....but au contraire....Riley took off like a champ. He rode around that whole parking lot with absolutely no help at all. We couldn't believe it! (The only bad part was my camera was at home!)

So, I took a short amount of video footage this morning and it is posted here.

Moral of the story for all of you parents with little ones: buy a balance bike first and skip the training wheels forever!!

The remainder of the day was spent at the water park at Sea World where there were no lines and we went down every slide they had "because I'm four now, Mom, that's why" - Riley.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

More Family in Town...

Nana and Grandpa Gene drove down from Colorado to see our farm, meet baby Abram, see us, etc. Mom and I kept busy at the antique stores in New Braunfels and Fredricksburg, while Grandpa Gene and the boys did what men usually do when their wives are busy shopping...find the nearest park bench and people watch.

Family photo in Fredricksburg

Eight years ago, Tom and I stayed at this little one room inn called the Cooper Tub in Fredricksburg to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. 8 years and two boys later, we're back!

Here we are at the River Walk in San Antonio

The next day we all went to New Braunfels, a German settlement. We ate Apple Strudel from this bakery, which happens to be the oldest bakery in Texas.

Peek a boo!

We polished off a fine day in Greune. More shopping, more good food, more Texas fun!

Three generations.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Another Day Done

Texas has some seriously good sunsets. This one was captured while fishing at the pond.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Family Visit

Grandpa Tom and Gigi were blessed with four grandchildren all at once last week. Here's a family photo before we all went to church.

Riley and Ayden doing their "boy" thing...movin' dirt with the front end loader and takin' it away with the dump truck. A hay farm has a lot of work for two young boys to stay occupied with.


All four Rickstrew grandchildren; Abram, Riley, Ayden, and Addyson.

Goin' fishin.

Swimming on our front porch.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

4 months

Who can get enough of a new baby's softness and sweet smell?

He rolled over for the first time yesterday. No more just laying him down on the bed, changing table, or couch. Those days are forever history.

Self portrait. Looks like I caught Abram by surprise.

This little one loves his Grandpa. He seems to always have a smile and giggle for him.

Aunt Jennifer brought her family out for a visit last week. More pictures will come of their time out here on the farm.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

9 Year Anniversary!

Woke up yesterday to breakfast in bed. And we're not talking just any breakfast...but a super-duper gourmet breakfast featured in this month's Williams-Sonoma catalog by some "American Fusion" chef. Oh man, it was good. My husband can cook!

Matching cast irons. How cute is that?

Our wedding glass...we only have one since the other one broke on our wedding day. If you look close you'll see it's engraved with our names and wedding date.

Our date night last night at the Melting Pot in San Antonio. We did the "Big Night Out" on their menu. It was out of this world. Highly recommend this place. It's more than fine dining; it's an entire "event" in and of itself...entertainment and all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just Peachy!

Okay, so one of the best things about Texas summers is the peaches from Fredricksburg in the hill country, about two hours north of us. They are tender, deep red skinned jewels which when lathered in butter and pastry crust, it rivals the best of any dessert; yes, even chocolate.

I made this pie for our family who was visiting over the long weekend and told my sis-in-law that I'd post the recipe. First, you peel and slice the yummy peaches and place in a large mixing bowl. Add these ingredients to 6 cups of peaches:
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp minces crystallized ginger
1/4-1/2 c. sugar

(in recipe but I didn't add: 1/2 c. brown sugar, 3-4 Tbsp. tapioca)

Let macerate for 15 minutes while you make any double crust (I made my own but you can buy crusts too).

Place in bottom crust, dot liberally with butter chunks.

Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue to bake 30-40 minutes longer until it bubbles and crust is golden brown.

Eat with high quality vanilla ice cream = dreamy!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shoe Surprise!

Riley went to put on his rubber boots (stored on the front porch) for the aftermath of a recent thunderstorm and found a new friend taking cover in them.

He wiggle-jiggled it free, put the boot on, and went about his business. Boys...I tell ya!