That’s MRS. Betty Crocker to you.

December 28, 2008

I said that this next year was going to be my best year. I said that I  resolve to try new things and this is what happens when you actually do go for it.

I entered a cookoff today. I had only made this cake once before and had even modified the recipe so I gambled.


It was a pumpkin-caramel cake with pecans on top and pumpkin/Cool Whip filling in between the layers.


There were other desserts as contenders.


There were lots of different types of entries.


but people seemed to like mine.




“You like me, you really, really like me,” was Sally Field’s most stupid line uttered so I didn’t say it.


Betty Crocker called. She is not happy. She wants her cut.


I hope everybody reading this blog takes the challenge to live the next year with more gusto and willingness to take that extra step and really involve yourself in living life. I refuse to passively watch others living life actively and enjoying it. I plan to go for it and relish every moment I can. It feels great to try and win, instead of not try and let life pass you by. May we all enjoy this next year as best we can.


Love, Faith, Peace and Joy

December 25, 2008



xmas-lights-095-1 CUTE!





That is how you can describe some of the lights we saw in Brownsville, Tx.  this Christmas.

Remember the old-fashioned lights from yesteryear? Well, this is them on steroids.


 Lit up, they looked beautiful.


This was the side of somebody’s garage and their front window.


 This was a very large Nativity scene.


This trailer parked in front of a house made us wonder how they made the money to pay for their fancy country club house.


 It was nice to see the ones who went all out.


This Santa with the reindeer in mid-flight looked cool.


This was a garden in someone’s back yard.





This tiny ladder caught my eye.


 These tiny creatures climbing a ladder to the roof had to have been the most adorable decorations I saw.


 Some houses looked spectacular in just plain white lights.


While others jazzed it up a bit with bright colors.


 This house lit up one corner on Boca Chica Blvd.


  This house was beautifully decorated.


The girls put the reindeer’s size into perspective when they stood by it.


This was the sight I longed to show them: Christmas lights reflected off a resaca’s surface. A resaca is the kind of bodies of water we have down here in this tropical area.


We live in a tropical area so seeing a decorated palm tree was nice. This one was 40 feet tall. They had to have thrown the ornaments up there because they were waaaay up there.


This was a regular tree but the lights created the illusion of a palm tree.


 These girls were pooped and tried to sleep on the way back to Port Isabel.


 Tried to, anyway. 


The night I took this picture was the night the father of these beautiful twins was injured in a horrific 30-foot fall. His back was broken and he is paralyzed. Please pray for him, these girls and their mom and brother. If you can contribute to the fund that was set up to help them with the incredible blow that has befallen them, please donate whatever amount you can to the : “William A. Plouffe Fund” at Lone Star National Bank – gift account 2905004843. He is in critical condition and the family needs your help badly. If you and 99 other people give just $5.00 that would be worth a million to us. These girls are only 13 and their world has been rocked by this tragedy. Their daddy was the major breadwinner and now Mom has taken a leave of absence from her Walmart job to be by his side. There is no other income but what is donated out of the goodness of people’s hearts. Please help them for as time passes, people’s interest will wane but their dad’s condition will stay very, very serious. Thank you for your kindness and know that we appreciate everyone’s prayers. May God bless you and your family as well as the family of these beautiful girls who brighten up a room like a ray of sunshine when they enter it. Have a blessed Christmas.

Breakfast with Santa 2008

December 15, 2008

Saturday morning on South Padre Island there was a chance for kids to have breakfast with Santa at Schlitterbahn.


The fine folks at Schlitterbahn piped in wonderful Christmas carols and created a beautiful Christmas scene so everybody was in a festive mood.


Of course the big moment was Santa’s arrival.


Island Princess Face Painting had lines of excited kids as usual. 


 We called this the “Wassup Santa.”


 cause good Santas are badass.


 This cutie seems to be thinking, “You mean all I gotta do is write this down and the dude behind me delivers?”


 There was Christmas storytelling


 and some of the most adorable kids you could ever see.


 downright cooolllllllll……….



Their artworks were prominently displayed and will be at city hall as well.

Like, duh, why wouldn’t it be? They’re masterpieces right?


Mrs. Santa was so pretty. So is Island Princess, Jr. there on the left.


This Santa couple was the epitome of Christmas class and made it a complete success again.


South Padre Island is a great place for families with children. You can find out more about South Padre Island here.

South Padre Island Christmas Parade 2009

December 14, 2008

What a beautiful picture!


 If only I was doing this on purpose.


Who gets a shot of two legs running down the street? WTH? Where did the torso go?

 It was party time on South Padre Island again.




 The crowd had gathered for yet another great community event.


 Everyone was in great spirits and there were great spirits around.


These guys had it going on.  They stood in front of all their supplies for the picture.


 This picture came out great – look in the background.


The kids were adorable.



Surfer Santa… Why not?


 Everybody was looking good.


 Real good. 


RRRrrreal good with a capital “R”.


 The island was lit up like a beautiful Christmas village in some areas.


 Every year this parade grows bigger and better.


 Everybody loves a fire truck.


  There were beautiful floats



the people on the floats were tossing out candy and beads to the crowd


 Even the smallest ones came away smiling.



 I am having problems working this new-fangled camera so what does this guy do?


 start to show off for me.  


Way to go, dude. 

These mermaids were tossing beads out to the crowd as well.


This pair of Santas was the most traditional.


 The ultimate topper for such an evening was an outstandingly beautiful walk on a moonlit beach.


If you want to see what the beach looks like right now click here.

The Christmas Surprise

December 11, 2008

Today when I came home from work there was a new tablecloth on the table.


and an artsy little wooden centerpiece with scented pinecones in the center.


 I couldn’t believe my manly-man husband had done this so I asked who had come by.  He said, “Santa.” There was a fancy new toaster on the corner of the table. Black and Decker of all things. (It probably uses hydraulics to push up the slices of toast.) The old toaster had just gone out this morning and I did not expect a replacement so soon (or a Black and Decker of all things.)

He said, “I got one of those things for the bottom of the tree like you wanted but it was the wrong size.” So I looked under the tree and to my amazement… there was a skirt but there were presents now!!!! Beautifully wrapped presents, too, for being wrapped by a man.


and he had even set up the angel tree topper he bought. She is beautiful.


It has really been a tough year and we are broker than ever but he is managing to come through with his best and I am so happy. My daughter has had her friends over for a few times so I guess she has gotten over the shame of us not being rich and not living in houses like this:





We have provided the girls (my daughter and her friends) with great meals, good times and lots of fun and I think they are smart enough to know that is what really matters. They see me and the hubby hug and kiss so they know there is love in the house. We did not let our daughter go spend the night at their house tonight because it was a school night and they asked, “Why all the rules?” We explained without terrifying them with too many true horror stories why we have rules that our daughter must follow. We don’t let our daughter roam around the island for hours and hours without adult supervision. They were so angry (our daughter included) when we said our daughter could not go running around unsupervised for hours on the island ON BIKE WEEK!


I just don’t think that is a good time for a bunch of 14 year old girls to be running around unsupervised. My opinion.

Tomorrow is my daughter’s birthday and though I am not making even close to the money I used to make where I used to live, I am providing her with a stable home and a solid life. Life is not spinning out of control like it was when I lived with her dad.


 He met and is engaged to someone with a lot of money so I may lose her when she starts wanting really nice things and my meager paycheck won’t cut it anymore. I know this. Until then I am just going to have to make the best out of the time I have with her.

I don’t know what the future has in store. The economy is scary. People are losing their jobs left and right. Companies are folding and laying off hundreds or thousands of workers. I just hope that the beautiful island that I know and love so well will make it through the slow season and thrive in the spring and summer.

All I know is that the life I have now is wonderful. All I have is today so I am doing my best with what I have. To close I am going to share a few pictures I took of the area so I can close on a beautiful note.

We took a boat trip out on the bay and this bird was on the roof of a house we passed on the way out.  


 This bridge we have here is the longest in Texas. This is just a small fragment of it.


The sky here is a beautiful blue, my favorite color.



I can’t get over how such a manly man was able to put this together for me. I would expect someone like him to throw them in a plastic, white Tupperware bowl and put it on the table. Instead, he bought an artsy wooden rectangular tray. He continues to surprise me.


For Ruslan and my Other Friends up North

December 10, 2008

I am amazed at how much the readership of this blog has increased. I am now receiving feedback from all over the world and people are loving this blog. I will be forever grateful to JW, of the South Padre Network, for showing me enough about technology to have made this blog possible and glad I can bring smiles to so many people’s faces, all over the world now. That is amazing. This is for Ruslan, Matvey and Ludmila in Moscow, to show them that it is beautiful down here. The people are wonderful and we welcome you to our beautiful part of the world. Keep sending me emails at and send pics of your part of the world too. Thanks for all the well-wishers. I only learned how to blog in August so I only have few pictures in my gallery of photos. These are but a few.


South Padre Island is an island that is next to the southernmost tip of Texas. We are celebrating the Christmas holidays right now. A local sandsculpting master, Sandyfeet, created this masterpiece for the public to enjoy.


We even have a pirate ship docked here that is guaranteed fun.


We have a beautiful lighted boat parade that people come for miles around to enjoy.


We are right next to Mexico so you can get great Mexican food here.


We have areas with beautiful wildlife close by.


But when you are on Padre, the main draw is the beach.





This was a Valley Christian High School outing that was so much fun to be a part of.


The island has a beach side and a bay side. The beautiful sunsets over the bay are absolutely magnificent and awe the spectator.


The colors meld together in an amazing fashion.


The fishing is good. Gladiator II Offshore Adventures can take you on a private, personalized offshore or bay fishing trip.


Fresh fish is delicious and many island restaurants will prepare your catch for you. This is a typical catch when you choose Gladiator II Adventures for your bay fishing trip.


 The fishing is exciting and a learning experience here. These fish had a real bite!


It is a very tropical scene and the most populous tree  is the palm tree.


I am no photographer but this place is so beautiful anyone can take a gorgeous picture.


Especially if the model is gorgeous.


My dog, Princess, says come on down, the water’s fine! I only learned from my friend, JW, how to blog in August and these are just a few of the pictures I have taken since then. You can see the island through his camera eyes here. All I can tell you is that the people here are genuinely kind, friendly and helpful. The food is really good and affordable here. My other project of the best things to do in this area is a project in the works but you can see it here. I will post more later on but I have to help my daughter with a computer crisis. Know that if you choose to come here, you will have made a choice that your family will love!

Toasty the III

December 8, 2008

You would think such a beautiful placid scene would never have been the scene of a murder. 



The victim was heard screaming, “Some legs! Some legs! My kingdom for some legs!” Sadly, this was not Richard the III; it was Toasty the II, innocent victim of the most mysterious unsolved murder in South Padre Island’s history.

It was time for good to overcome evil in this world again and Sandy Feet came to the rescue.


From a shapeless mound of sand, she began recreating Toasty.





 I admired the skill and talent in those hands of hers


 and the gentle way she worked on him showed how big her heart is.


 Just as every student is unique to a teacher, or every client is to a businessman, so must it be with her creations. 


It must be neat to see what is in your mind come to fruition. 





After a lot of hard work on Sandy Feet’s part, Toasty was up and providing photo opportunities for Islandgoers of all ages.


No matter what paths life has in store for these girls, they will always have this photo to remind them of the awesome weekend they spent with us. It was the perfect topper for a weekend that included movies, pizza, ice cream, lighted boats, chocolate cake, a pirate ship, more ice cream,  learning about the history of the area at the museum, more ice cream with a pina colada cake, volleyball on the beach, a boat ride and finally, a root beer float to relax with… of course, made with ice cream. Thank you, Sandy Feet for not giving up and for having such a big heart. We LOVE you! You can find out more about Sandy Feet here.