Native Texan Livin': October 2015

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Super Easy CrockPot Ranch Chex Mix

Fall is finally starting to show its face a few hours at a time here in Houston & that makes me happy!  Halloween is only 2 days away & then the real countdown begins for Thanksgiving, Black Friday & CHRISTMAS!!!

With the holidays in my sights, I start thinking of food...specifically my favorite...crunchy salty food!

My sister Valerie made this yummy snack mix when we went to Destin this past summer & it was the perfect mix of crunchy, salty, ranch flavor & spice!  I wanted to try it out on my homemade snack mix & it did not disappoint!
As you can see, I like A LOT of different types of crunchy salty snacks and I've used most of them here!

Here's my list:
- Rice Chex
- Wheat Chex
- Corn Nuts (any flavor you like)
- Bagel chips
- Garlic rye chips
- Sesame sticks
- Chili Rice Crackers
- Pretzels
- Bugles
Seriously, just grab whatever crunchy snack you like & throw it in there for this recipe!  I think last time I even used Funyuns!
You probably recognize most of the snacks shown above, but let's talk about these snacks for a second!  Do yall have a Buc-ee's nearby?  If not, you MUST stop at a Buc-ee's if you're ever passing through Texas.  It's the biggest most awesome "convenience store/truck stop" in the WORLD!  Yeah, I said it!  Unless we're in a major rush to get somewhere, we stop at Buc-ee's when we head to Austin or San Antonio.  The bathrooms, the snacks, the Icee's...I could write a post on Buc-ee's alone...and now I probably will!  Luckily, they recently built a Buc-ee's just down the road from us, so I popped in to get Chili Rice Crackers & Sesame Sticks for my mix.

This was my first time making a chex mix in the CrockPot & it was really easy!

Just add all of your snacks into the CrockPot
(I broke up the pretzels & garlic chips)
Add 1 package of Ranch dip mix
Add a couple palm-fulls of crushed red pepper
Add about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (+/-) to coat
Mix it all up really well & set the temp.  I set mine on High 4 hours but then lowered it to 6 hours.
Stir every so often until done to your liking. (You must stir or it will burn!)

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cheer Season Has Begun

♫♪♫♪"Ooh, I think that I've found myself a cheerleader..."♪♫♪♫ ...or 3 or 4!  ;-)

It's that time of year again!  Big hair, fake eyelashes, only counting to 8...
you know...

Izzy's in her 2nd year of competitive cheer & Maggie's in her 1st year on the Show Team.  My niece Bella also started cheer this year & Becca is one of Maggie's coaches.  You could say it's a family affair! ;-)

Yesterday, the girls had their first competition of the season.  Actually, it was a Show-Off, which basically just gives the girls a chance to get comfortable in a competition setting & to get mock-scores to see what they need to work on before the real deal.

We started getting ready 2+ hours before we had to leave.  I have a love/hate relationship with getting ready for competitions!  I actually do love doing their hair & makeup, getting them all dressed up and seeing the end results.  However, I do not love the complaining that goes along with it.  I'm beginning to think it's a prerequisite! ;-)

All 4 of the granddaughters on my side of the family!  We were able to get them all together before they went off with their separate teams.

I love this pic!  "Is this how we do it sister?!?!" :-) 

Izzy's team "Texas Rockstars Rising Stars"

OK, for real, all of our girls did AMAZING!  No one was nervous, they all seemed to remember their routines & the stunts looked great.  I'm so excited for this season & so excited to see how excited the girls get when they know they did a great job.

Should I say excited one more time?! ;-)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Halloween Boo Basket {plus Free Printables!}


Have you been Boo'd yet?  We were introduced to this tradition a few years ago when one of Izzy's friends left a basket full of goodies at our door saying "we've been Boo'd" and needed to keep the fun going.  The kids LOVED that sweet surprise & had so much fun making 2 more baskets for their friends!

We decided to get things started this year & made Boo Baskets to BOO 2 of our friends.  First, we went to the Dollar Tree to get our supplies.  Bucket, candy, snacks, drinks, glow sticks, bubbles & creepy crawly plastic bugs!

In planning the baskets, I looked online for a Boo sign I liked but I couldn't find anything that would be easy for the next person to copy or find again online.  I wanted it to be simple and black & white for easy copying & it just didn't I made my own!  Don't get me wrong!  All of the other ones were really cute, but this way, you have the option of printing it on colored paper like I did & you don't use up that precious colored ink! :-)

We filled up the buckets, got the Boo Basket poem/instruction sheet & "We've Been Boo'd" signs together & crept out into the dark of night to deliver our BOO's!

Our first stop was to Izzy's friend Katie.  I turned the car head lights off, Izzy left her car door open & crept up to the front door.  She placed the bucket down, rang the doorbell & ran back to the car.  Katie's mom, Jennifer, opened the door just in time to see our break lights!  Phew!

Second niece & nephew Bella & Christopher!  (We made them each their own baskets so there was no fighting!)  We pull into their cul-de-sac and all of a sudden, I see Christopher come out of the side garage to go back into the house.  We freak out in the car because we think he's seen us, so we are basically doing slow donuts in the street until he leaves.  He finally goes inside and I park in the street next to a truck so I'm hidden.  We run out & see my brother-in-law Eddie in the garage.  We tell him what we're doing, the girls place the baskets at the front door & we leave.  Eddie was going to ring the doorbell once we were gone!

Later that night, my sister Julie texted to say they got Boo'd & were so excited!  I fessed up that it was us but she wasn't going to tell the kids.  But later that night, she texted again to say Christopher told her there was a ghost lady driving a silver car & that's who dropped off their baskets, so they were scared & couldn't sleep in their own beds!  Aye aye aye! LOL!  I'M THE GHOST LADY IN THE SILVER CAR! :-)

The girls had so much fun putting the baskets together & sneaking around to surprise their friends!  We even got Boo'd the next day!  I wonder who it could've been?!?!

Do you Boo or have you been Boo'd yet?  Don't forget to print these Instructions printable & "We've Been Boo'd" printable for your next Boo Basket!

Happy Boo'ing!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Peter Pan 360 in Houston

This past Sunday, we went to a performance of Peter Pan 360.  I've never been to anything like this before & as always...we had a great day together!

Before the show, we had lunch at a really cool spot called 100% Taquito.  It's off of 59 & Buffalo Speedway and the inside looks like the outside of a taco truck on the streets of Mexico!  Cool, right?!?!  The food was really authentic!  I had beef fajita street tacos on homemade corn tortillas with LOTS of onion, cilantro & lime!  Yum, now I'm hungry again!
Izzy & Maggie had fun looking at all the this taxi cab in the middle of the restaurant with manequins inside of it.  Maggie was actually a little nervous about it because they look so creepy, but she liked another car with puppies in it!
After lunch, we went straight to the theater for our show.  I guess it's a's a mobile theater tent they take from show to show & it's actually pretty cool!  You first walk in to the "experience" part which has concessions, souvenirs & a Peter Pan 360 backdrop for photos.  The whole thing is air conditioned &/or heated, depending on the weather outside.  I'm not sure if it was the tent or the piped in air or what, but we all kept shocking each other because there was so much static!  Outside of the Experience, there are outdoor couches & chairs to relax in before the show...and nice port-a-potty trailers too!
Yes, these were the best pics we could take! ;-)

nativetexanlivin.comThe show opened with "Irish street performers" playing songs for us while we all got into our seats.  We purchased our seats in section AA but then an employee came by saying our section was going to be closed for that performance so they were going to upgrade us into section B.  I guess it was an upgrade.  Our original seats would've kind of been behind the window & our new seats were directly on the side.  If I had done more research, I would've seen that the "front of the stage" is actually section C.  It didn't really make a HUGE difference where we sat because there really isn't a bad seat in the house.  It's a very small intimate venue & the 360 experience is literally all around you. (hence, the 360! ;-) )  But if we had been in section C, we would've had a straight-on view of them flying to Neverland vs. a side view of them.  Oh well, c'est la vie!

My friend Michelle had already warned me that there were some killings in the show so I was ready for one but NOT ready for Maggie to start crying when Wendy gets shot out of the sky by the lost boys.  Wendy gracefully lands on the stage holding the arrow in her chest & all of a sudden, Bo motions for me to look at Maggie & she's breaking down!  I calmed her down making sure she remembered that Wendy doesn't die & once we chanted, "I believe in fairies" a few times, Wendy comes back & all is well! :-)

Besides the tears, the girls had a great time...oh yeah & except for that jerk kid in front of us that kept telling Maggie to sssshhhhhhh!  (Of course, the same kid had no problems with her own talking during the show!)

I was kind of bummed we didn't have an opportunity to meet any of the cast members.  I kept seeing pictures of friends who had met the characters, but it turns out, they only do that after the last show of the day.  Once again, I didn't research it!

Oh well....Another Funday Sunday in the books!

Friday, October 16, 2015

If Michael Scott Had Been My Boss

Happy Boss's Day everyone!  Oh, you're not a boss?  Yeah, me either. (Or is it me neither?  That's probably why I'm not a boss!)  Either way, we should be...or at least we need to act like one!  ;-)

I've worked at the same company now for 14 years!  FOURTEEN!  I'm not complaining...they've given me great opportunities to have a flexible schedule & to work from home, but my office is NOT The Office!

I used to watch The Office & wish I could actually work at the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company.  We could move our whole family to Scranton, Bo & I could work there like Jim & Pam (because we met at work too), we'd laugh at/with Michael, we'd play tricks on Dwight & I'd be BFF's with Pam & Kelly Kapoor.  Just kidding!  (But for real, wouldn't that have been AMAZING?!?!)

Oh, how different these 14 years would've been with Michael Scott as my boss!!!

I would have learned to lead.
I would have learned about equality.
I would have learned about being made a fool in baseball. ;-)
I would have learned....this.
I would have learned to be honest.
I would have learned about grief.
I would have learned about time management.
I would have learned about conflict resolution.
I would have learned about love.
I would have learned that saying I'm a little stitious would make 
me very nervous as I am very superstitious.
I would have learned that my kids are geniuses since they spoke before
the age of 5!  And that Michael has actually seen a unicorn!

Happy Boss's Day to all you Bosses!