Friday, June 29, 2012

Fort Worth Herd's Cow Camp

Tomorrow, June 30th, from 1:30 to 2:30 you and the kiddos could have a hands-on, interactive experience with equipment used during the Cattle-Drive Era.  You'll learn about roping, sorting, saddling and you'll hear chuck wagon stories and see a cattle drive demonstration.

Come on out and see The Herd and meet some real-life cattle drovers and learn a little bit about a tradition that's the backbone of this great city we call Fort Worth.

Cow Camp is held directly behind the Fort Worth Livestock Exchange Building at 131 East Exchange Avenue.  This is a free event but donations are greatly appreciated.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fort Worth - The Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge

Have y'all heard about The Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge?  I heard about it before but never participated.  I never participated because I thought I couldn't because my children didn't know how to read yet.  Well, guess what?  That doesn't matter.  As long as you read to your child, you and your child can participate.

Go to your local library and tell them you'd like to register yourself and your children (no matter what age) for The Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge and they will hand you a red card for yourself and a white card for your child.  Fill out your information.  Each day as you read to your child, fill in the date you read and the amount of time you read.  You can get a new card every 14 days.

After you've filled out your card and read to your child for at least 14 days, you then turn your card back in to the information desk at your local library.  Those completed cards will then be sent to the Central Library downtown where a drawing will be held on August 12th. You could win prizes including iPads, netbooks, Kindle Fires, books, gift cards and more.  You do not have to be present to win.

When you turn in your completed cards for the first time, you will also receive a nice big, bright green bag that you can use to carry around all those books you'll be reading.  You will also receive a voucher good for one premium infield or dugout box ticket for any Sunday-Thursday Cats game in the month of November.  Your children will receive the voucher for the Cats game AND a voucher for one free child exhibit admission to Grossology at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History AND each child who registers for The Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge will also be given the opportunity to join Kinsler's Kids Summer Reading Club and could possibly earn a ticket to enjoy a free Ranger game on July 29th - check with your local library for specifics on how to earn the ticket.

The Summer Reading Challenge isn’t just about reading — the library has fun programs too.  Throughout June and July, all the libraries around Fort Worth will be offering different programs where you and your children can learn about anything from recycled art to courageous cowgirls.

Be sure and attend the Grand Celebration on Sunday, August 12th at the Central Library from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.  The event is free and open to everyone.  They will have face painting, live music, crafts, storytelling and refreshments.  They will also have the grand prize drawings with special guests Deborah Ferguson from KXAS-TV, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, and Bob Ray Sanders from the Star Telegram.  Parking will be free in the garages and on the streets.  

Go today to your nearest library and register for The Mayor's Summer Reading Challenge.  You'll be glad you did!
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Recipe To Try - Caramelized Green Beans

I tried this Caramelized Green Bean recipe a couple of weeks ago and, man, it was delicious.

I cheated and used frozen green beans.  You can do that too.  I won't tell anybody.  I also used jarred garlic, bless my heart. 

I could have sat down and ate the whole bowl of these green beans all by my lonesome.  But, alas, I have a family who looks to me for all their nutritional needs and so I had to SHARE.

Give this recipe a try.
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Monday, June 25, 2012

Patriotic Wreath

I saw this gorgeous wreath on Pinterest a while back and I just had to make it.  It was super easy to make and cheap too.  The most expensive thing was the foam wreath and I think that cost me $5.99.  You could probably find one a lot cheaper than that and use a coupon at Joann's or Michael's or Hobby Lobby.

I suggest you cut all the felt pieces out with one of those rotary cutters.  I started cutting the felt like this - each strip individually then turning and cutting the strips:


That took a while.  So I wised up and starting cutting them like this:

Which made it go a lot faster - hello!

My only suggestion would be to mark your foam wreath as to where you want the red, the white, and the blue.  I wanted my blue to butt up to white, so I had to do some finagling at the end to make it come out that way.  If I had marked the wreath beforehand, it would have been a lot easier. 

Also, the instructions said to use cardstock and punch out stars using a punch.  This homegirl does not have a star punch, so I just decided to use some of the white felt to represent the star.

Turned out pretty, don't you think?  God bless America.
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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Junior Brown @ Burleson's Hot Sounds of Summer

What a show!  Junior Brown has got to be one of the best performers I've ever seen. 

No big fancy fireworks or crazy light show.  You didn't see him flying out of the sky onto the stage via a zipline.  You got him and his low, crooning voice getting down on his Guit-Steel, wearing his signature taco shell cowboy hat and his shiny brown jacket and tie.

Next to him was his pretty wife smiling and strumming a guitar that looked about twice the size she was backing him up with her pretty vocals.  Of course his great bass player and drummer were there as well.

They put on a great show.   It was well worth all the sweating because dang it was HOT! 

Next time Junior Brown is in town, take my advice and go see him perform.  You'll be glad you did. 
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Friday, June 22, 2012

Cocktail Time - Tropical Sludge

Yes, I am a mama.  Yes, I like cocktails.  There, I said it.  I feel much better now.   

This is my absolute favorite summertime adult beverage.  It is so fruity and tropical and sweet and just plain ol' delicious.  My husband doesn't care for it, but you know what that means...more for me!!

I found the original recipe over at another great website called Deep South Dish.  She calls it Vodka Slush which sounds so much nicer than Tropical Sludge, but since I tweeked the recipe to my liking, I figured I better call it something else.  Here's my take on this awesome drink:

Tropical Sludge

1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (12 oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 (12 0z.) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
4 1/2 cups water
2 cups vodka
1 cup granulated sugar
Lemon-Lime drink - Sprite or 7 Up or whatever you like (I buy the cans because I like my drinks fizzy.)

Mix thawed lemonade, limeade and orange juice in a large, freezer-safe container.  Add the water, vodka and sugar and stir.  Freeze overnight (if you can wait that long - if you can't, just pour in sludge mixture over ice in a cup about halfway to 3/4 full, then pour lemon-lime drink on top - mix well and drink.)

If you're patient enough to let it sit in the freezer overnight, then when you're ready to drink it, scoop out the mixture and fill a cup about half to 3/4 full, then pour lemon-lime drink on top.  Stir it up then sit back and take a few sips and let the relaxation begin. 

(Need more cocktail / mocktail ideas.  Check these out over at Carole's Chatter.)

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fun For The Kids - Make Your Own Butter

I read about this a while back over at one of my favorite websites, Christy Jordan's Southern Plate.  I thought this activity would be a good idea to keep those little hands busy for at least 20 minutes, and it did.  Plus you get a bonus in the end, good ol' delicious butter!

Here's a link to the recipe on Southern Plate.

I used a pint Mason jar.  Fill it about half full with heavy whipping cream.  Put lid on the jar.  Let the kids start shaking.  After about 15 to 20 minutes or less you'll have something that looks kind of like this:

The liquid in the jar will gradually start to thicken, and then just when you think you can't shake it anymore and you think there's no liquid left, the contents will start pulling away from the sides and you'll be able to see inside the jar and you'll see something that looks like what's pictured above - a ball of butter sitting in white liquid.

Next, pour contents of jar into colander and strain.

I put the butter in a small glass dish and then added just a tiny bit of salt.  You'll want to be very careful about how much salt you add - believe me, I speak from experience.  The first time we made this, we put way, way, way too much salt.  This time we just put a couple of small shakes of salt and it turned out perfect.

Next time you're at the store, pick up some heavy whipping cream and have your kiddos make this.  Spread the finished product on some bread and watch your little one's chest stick out with pride.  It's a win-win for everybody!
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Free Family Fun - Calloway's Nursery Kids' Events

Callie's Kids

Throughout the year, little gardeners ages 5 to 10 can join Calloway's Nursery for free children's events and learn more about nature and gardening.  Kids get to take a completed project home with them.  It's called Callie's Kids.

Following along as the story is read.

June 20 - The Prince/Princess and the Pea - Have story time and plant a seed or two -- (We attended this today and we heard the story of the Princess and the Pea and then the children got to plant a Sweet Pea in a cup.  They also got to decorate the cups and then take them home.)

Supplies for project

My daughter found this roly poly on the ground.  She considered it a bonus.

July 18 - Tin Can Planting - Pot a tomato seed in a tin can
August 15 - Beautiful Butterflies - Learn about wildlife pollinators
October 6 - Fall Harvest Festival - Pumpkin decorating, children's shows, potting stations

Pretty Gerber Daisy @ Calloway's Nursery

Click here to register your kids to attend any of the fun activities listed above.

My daughter said this one smelled like maple syrup.

According to Calloway's website, if you join the My Texas Garden Club and become an email member, you'll receive updates about upcoming events and you can earn points and redeem them for gift cards.  You'll also receive a welcome email with a link to a $5 garden gift card good toward your next visit to Calloway's Nursery. (Note:  I joined yesterday, but haven't received an email with a link yet for the gift card.  I did receive a confirmation email and it said I should receive my first email in 3-5 days.)  Promotion has expired.

Beautiful Moss Rose - One of my favorites

Her favorite of all - Mandevilla

Thank you, Calloway's Nursery, for this free, family fun activity.  We'll be back next month!!
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Contest Celebrates Locally-Grown Tomatoes

If you're growing tomatoes this year, you might want to think about entering one of your bigguns in Calloway's Nursery Chef Jeff Tomato Contest which celebrates locally-grown tomatoes.  You could win a gift card to Calloway's Nursery. 

Just bring your entry to any Calloway's location on June 30th between 9:00 and 12:00 and complete a registration form.  A $50 gift card for first place and a $25 gift card for second place will be awarded at each store.

Now if only I could get one of my unruly tomato plants to sprout a love apple, it'd be on like donkey kong!

My unruly tomato plants - tons of stalks and leaves, no fruit

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Monday, June 18, 2012

75¢ Movies - Reel Family Time @ Cinemark Theatres

Did you know that Cinemark offers 75¢ movies?  The Cinemark in North Richland Hills offers 75¢ admission on Mondays for 2D movies when you purchase 3 or more tickets at the box office.  For 3D movies, the cost is $2.75 when you purchase 3 or more tickets at the box office.  Adults and children are all the same price.

They also offer something called a Kiddie Combo.  It's a box of popcorn with a small drink for $2.50.

My family of four went last Monday to see the The Lorax in 3D.  We bought three kiddie combos.  We left the theater having spent $18.50.  Not too shabby!

(Check this link to see if a Cinemark near you participates in Reel Family Time.)
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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day
Happy Father's Day to all you awesome dads out there!

(A $20 bill plus shipping charges will buy you that adorable sticker up there from Wall Decor Plus More.)

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Grilled Romaine Hearts

I saw this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine and thought it looked like something I wanted to try.  They turned out pretty good.

The only drawback was I wasn't sure how to eat them - cut them up?  Put them on my burger?  I didn't I went all Wilma Flinstone on them and picked them up and ate them like a cave woman.

Grilled Romaine Hearts
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
3 romaine hearts, halved lengthwise with cores intact
salt and pepper

In a small bowl, mix together the oil and vinegar.  Brush over all surfaces of romaine.  Grill uncovered over medium-high heat until charred - about 1-2 minutes, turning once.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Here's a link to the original recipe.

We're linking up to Weekend Potluck over at The County Cook.   Click the link to check out some other great recipes.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Free Family Fun - Kids at The Sid

Yesterday I took my girls to the Sid Richardson Museum for Kids at The Sid.  We got to tour the museum and learn about all the beautiful western artwork that is displayed.  The girls got to participate in somewhat of a scavenger hunt or hide-and-seek game that the museum calls an "Animal Art Safari" where the kids have to search the paintings for creatures that are on a piece of paper the museum provides you.

The kids were also given a sheet of paper which explains to them the importance of preserving and protecting all the paintings - some of which are over 100 years old.   That paper also lists different clues that the children have to find the answers to, either in the painting itself or the labels next to them.  The docents at the museum were so very nice and made this activity very enjoyable.

After they finished that activity, we went to another part of the building where the girls both got to draw and paint on a canvas.  The museum provided western-type stencils that you could trace with a pencil on the canvas and then the girls got to paint it.  We got to take those home.  The museum even provides a box for you to carry the wet artwork home in.

With all that being said, I will most definitely be taking my oldest daughter who's 6 1/2 back on June 20th; however, I will also most definitely be leaving my 2 1/2 year-old daughter at home with my husband.  I was sooooo super-duper worried that the little one was going to, like, run up and high-five one of those 100-year-old paintings that I couldn't really relax and enjoy the whole activity.

Worth noting:  The Sid Richardson Museum will validate parking in all of the Sundance Square parking lots and garages.  I parked at the garage on Commerce and it was a short walk.  (We also visited the 150 Years of Fort Worth Exhibit that's in Fire Station No. 1 which happens to be at the bottom of that parking garage - I'll tell you about that in another post.)

So go check out this free, family fun activity at the Sid Richardson Museum, but you might want to leave the little bitty ones with a sitter if you really want to enjoy it to the fullest extent possible.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Make Your Own Hummingbird Nectar

Mix 1/4 cup sugar to one cup warm water.

I have to fill this hummingbird feeder up at least once a week.  They love it!
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Free Family Fun - Lowe's Build & Grow

I'd heard about Lowe's Build & Grow a while back but I never signed my kids up because, after all, they're girls and all, and little girly girls don't like swinging hammers or building things, y'all...yeah, right!  


My girls loved it.  I'm so glad I signed them up to do this.

Lowe's offers this free, family fun activity every other weekend.  Last Sunday my girls made the Madagascar Monkey Plane.  

Isn't it cute?

It's easy to register for one of the projects.  Just click this link and click on register.  Click the project you want them to do, click the store you want to go to and then register your kiddos.  You'll have to enter your email address, but I've never received any spam or emails from Lowe's other than the confirmation email.  You'll have to print a waiver out and sign it and bring it with you.

Thank you, Lowe's, for offering this free, family fun activity!

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Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Extend the Freshness of Berries? Why, Vinegar, Of Course!

I cannot remember where I read about this, but it really does extend the life of a berry by a few days or more.

I just pour about 1/4 cup (more or less) of plain vinegar in a bowl and then add 5 or 6 or 7 or so cups of water.  Swish the berries around a little to get all the stuff off.  I don't even rinse them.  I just drain them off and lay them on a dish towel to dry.  I even rinse out the plastic containers with the vinegar/water solution.

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