Archive | July 2012

Sights of San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas.  South of Dallas, west of Houston, north of Mexico!

San Antonio is the 7th most populated city in the United States! And it has some wonderful sites to see in the area! Here are just a few –

The Alamo – Originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo served as home to missionaries and their Indian converts for nearly seventy years. Construction began on the present site in 1724. In 1793, Spanish officials secularized San Antonio’s five missions and distributed their lands to remaining Indian residents. These men and women continued to farm the fields, once the mission’s but now their own, and participated in the growing community of San Antonio.

I took the tour through the Alamo several years ago and enjoyed it immensely!  It was filled with history, and a ton of memorabilia to help you get the true ‘feel’ for the people and  events at the Alamo.

Touring The Alamo

The River Walk – The San Antonio River Walk is a public park, open 365 days a year. It is a network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story beneath approximately 5 miles of downtown San Antonio.  Lined by bars, shops and restaurants, the River Walk is an important part of the city’s urban fabric and a tourist attraction in its own right.The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks, lined with restaurants, shops, hotels and more. It connects the major tourist draws from the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall,  Arneson River Theatre and La Villita,  the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Pearl Brewery.  Over 20 events take place on the River Walk every year.

The River Walk is a fun place to take a walk or run, ride the gondolas to see the sights, or shop to your hearts content! I’ve heard that it’s especially beautiful at Christmas and can’t wait to experience it this year.  A gondola ride on the river lit by Christmas lights sounds like great fun!!

San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio Botanical Garden – Reacquaint yourself with older flower varieties in the Old Fashioned Garden.  Savor sweet fragrances in the Rose Garden.  Engage your senses of touch and smell in the Sensory Garden (Garden for the Blind).  Admire the unique Kumamoto En garden , a gift from San Antonio’s sister city of Kumamoto, Japan, with its finely crafted structures and many symbolic features. Experience the beauty of the Sacred Garden, Shade Garden, Gertie’s Garden and other garden displays.  Learn from the testing and evaluations being conducted in the Watersaver Lane and Ornamental Grass Garden.

I’ve gone to the Garden with my grandkids; they love it because there’s always something new going on.  The Garden is always decked out to celebrate the seasons!

San Antonio Missions– Besides the Alamo, there are four remaining missions that are open to the public, and still operate as active Catholic Churches, offering Mass each Sunday.   According to the National Parks website, many parishioners today are direct descendants of the mission Indians who built the churches.

Beginning in 1690, six missions were established in what is now East Texas. Despite an interval of withdrawal, eastern Texas missions began a period of slow growth. In need of a waystation between these and their source of supply to the west, a failed mission known as San Francisco Solano, was relocated from Coahuila to the San Antonio River and renamed San Antonio de Valero. (It later became known as the Alamo.)

Over the next few years, additional missions were built; they are Concepción, San Juan, and Espada.  The missions flourished between 1745 and the 1780s. Increasing hostility from the mission Indians’ traditional enemy, the Apache, and later the Comanche, coupled with inadequate military support, caused the communities to retreat behind walls. Disease reduced the  native population, accelerating the missions’ decline.

The missions are all located within a few miles of San Antonio.  Although I have not visited all the Missions, I’m anxious to do so to learn more about the San Antonio history.

The above tourist attractions are just a very short list of all that San Antonio has to offer. I can’t wait to experience a lot more of it!  Theme parks, the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Garden, so MUCH more!!  Click HERE to check out San Antonio’s tourist site for more information!

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Button-inspired Lampshade!

I’m new to Pinterest, but already I’ve become addicted!  It’s so much fun to see so many new things that I can make, do, cook or create!!  One of the things I discovered was a lampshade that Julie Whittaker posted using buttons of all shapes and sizes.

Now, I happen to sew a lot and have for more than 40 years, and as any sewer knows, you accumulate sewing-related stuff – by the bucketful!  And I had accumulated a LOT of buttons!  This project looked perfect, and was actually something my grandkids could help with!

This week was my chance to work on it.  The grandkids came to spend the night, so I pulled out all the stuff needed, and we got started!

                                             

Items needed:

– Buttons – hundreds of buttons, big and small, all colors.  I’d already separated out the buttons with the shank on the back, as well as the buttons that would be too heavy to stay on the lampshade when glued.

– Glue that dries clear (I used Elmer’s Glue)

– Paper plates to put glue on, and Q-tips to use to dip glue on to buttons

– A lampshade, preferably one that is white or off-white colored.

I set the kids up at a table and we got started.  They didn’t work on it all the time, and usually one or two of the three at a time. Their auntie or I worked with them in order to help if they had trouble getting a button to stick.  They did absolutely great though, even the 3 year old, although he got bored with it and decided to make button pictures instead 🙂

My 5-year-old granddaughter stuck with it until nearly the end – she was really enjoying herself.

We had a great time together changing the plain off-white lampshade to a colorful button-covered lampshade.  As you can see from the finished product, the kids were pretty proud of it too!

And it’s now a beautiful addition in our master bedroom, adding color to a dark corner of the room and adding interest to the space where there was none!  I’m so happy with how it turned out!

        

Kids and Pizza!!

Tonight the grandkids are staying the night, and Auntie is here helping out!  We decided to let the kids help make their own dinner, one that Auntie used to make when she was a kid – individual pizzas!  They had great fun together making their own pizzas – here’s a brief description so you can try it too!

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Step 1 – we used the Pillsbury Buttermilk Bisquits.  Each tube contains 10 bisquits, so use as many tubes as you need for your family.  Remember – 1 bisquit equals 1 individual pizza.

Step 2 – flatten the rolls with a rolling pin or glass; if you like it crispy make it 4-5″ round, 3″ for a fluffier crust.  Place on cookie sheets for baking.

Step 3 – spread pizza sauce over the ‘crusts’, and then add your favorite pizza toppings.  We used pepperoni and cheese for the kids, and added mushrooms and olives for ours.

Step 4 – place in the oven and bake approximately 8 minutes and here’s a picture of the final product!

The kids had a blast making their pizzas, and got to eat them in front of the t.v. watching Winnie the Pooh.

Success!

It’s Raining in San Antonio – Yea!!

Most people would not appreciate a week of rain during the summer, but San Antonians are very glad to see it!

Just like the rest of the nation, we’ve had our weather issues over the last few years.  Although not as bad as the last couple of years, we are still suffering the affects of a severe draught!  So, RAIN, come on!!

We are currently in Stage 2 of four possible stages of water restrictions, which means we have to limit our use of water on our lawns, cars, personal pools and water features, and other ‘unnecessary’ use.  (See the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) for more information about what the restrictions mean and how they are applied.)

San Antonio gets its water from the Edwards Aquifer, which is an intensely faulted and fractured carbonate limestone that lies within the Balcones fault zone. The dynamics and size of the this geologic anomaly make it one of the most wondrous aquifers in the nation, through its storage capacity, flow characteristics, water producing capabilities and efficient recharging ability.

The Edwards aquifer and its catchment area in the San Antonio region is about 8,000 square miles and includes all or part of 13 counties in south-central Texas.

Unfortunately, the Edwards Aquifer doesn’t have an unlimited supply of water, and depends on rain to replenish the water we use.   Hence the water restricitons and our joy at seeing rain falling this week, helping to keep the Aquifer levels from dropping dangerously low.

Red, White & Blue Cake Pops – I made them!!!

A week or so ago I wrote about 4th of July cake pops that I wanted to make, using my new cake-pop maker!  The Independence Day treat was inspired by a Pinterest post from Party City.  The pops were so festive looking and I was hoping to recreate the tasty-liciousness of it all!

Preparing to Bake!

I pulled my supplies together and got started mixing the cake batter while the cake-pop machine warmed up.  It works much like a waffler maker!

Unfortunately my cake pops didn’t turn out quite as pretty, and not nearly as round.  More like little space ships 🙂

Well, with my husband’s help, we got started placing the cake-pop sticks in the cake pops (using some of my melted almond bark).  That went pretty well, but since the pops were such odd shapes they really didn’t stand too well.  We placed them in the freezer so that they would be easier to dip.

   Unfortunately the frosting process wasn’t much easier.  We melted the almond bark, and added a few drops of vegetable oil to thin it out some, which was supposed to make it easier to dip.  It was still pretty thick on the pops, and dried so quickly that they didn’t dry round.

So, not as pretty as the original recipe (as you can see here) – and unfortuntely not enough pops to make a whole flag!

But, all that aside, everyone loved them!!!  And really, that’s all I cared about.  It would have been nice to make the beautiful cake pops that I saw from Party City, and maybe with more practice I’ll be able too, but for now I’ll settle for “These taste really good, Mom!”, and “Can I have another one Nana?”.  Music to my ears!