May 272012

Musical String Art

One evening, while cruising around the good ‘ol Pinterest, I spotted a sweet music heart that would be perfect for my Sweet C on her birthday. But, she only wears the necklace I gave her on our wedding day, so this would not be a wise purchase on my part… so what to do? A few days later, I ran across this post on Honey+Fitz and thought, A-HA! Indeed, this is what I will do for my Sweet C!

Needed Supplies:

12″ round cork mat  [in the garden department]

String, I used a variegated DMC floss in blues

Wire Nails [Size 1/2 x 19]

Template/Pattern + Tape

Primer + Paint

Hammer + Needle Nose Pliers

String Art Supplies

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:30 am
Apr 092012

Easter 2012Happy Easter from the H Family!

We had a wonderful 3 day weekend… B + C had the three day weekend, I had to work, but I am not complaining because they slept almost all day anyways.

On Friday we celebrated with the [non]resurrection of the Houston Astros home opener. Our fam was there, take a look at these pretty girls!

Astros Opener 2012

On Saturday, C and I helped Grandma pick out a new couch. Exciting, right? I think my mom is still in shock from the quote at Gallery Furniture… $3500 for a couch and love seat don’t fly with this frugal family! We went to Ashley and found a VERY comparable set for less than half… and FOR REAL the throw pillows were the EXACT match. GF is just plain crazy on some of their prices.

C and I volunteered at our church’s Saturday Easter 4pm service, watching the babies and we had so much fun. It was so beautiful watching C hold Parker and Ryan, Ryan especially, and enjoy bouncing them around and engaging them in infant activities… she is just the most amazing [step]daughter ever. After our shift was over we took a walk around the church building, looking at the students ministry building and sand volleyball court, and discussed future volunteering opportunities with the infants. She has a heart for caring, my sweet baby girl. When your [almost] teen child shows interest in something… anything, do you fully engage like I do?

On Sunday we slept in then enjoyed lunch at my parent’s house, it was a delightful, easy weekend indeed.

Praise the Lord, He is risen!

 Posted by at 9:17 pm
Mar 102012

Conversations With C

Yesterday it took us 2 hours and 24 minutes to get home from we were driving home from C’s place of scholastic business [we live 50 miles apart]. It was the looongest drive home EVER in the sense of our booties being in one place for a lot longer than we had prepared them for. Stinkin’ rain. 

Experts say long trips are when you have captive audience, so without further ado: 

[Just coming in to traffic, about 14 miles from school, 36 miles from home]
C: I’m going to take a nap.

A: Me too. [ I shut my right eye and keep the left eye open and coast with traffic]

C: HEY! You can’t sleep and drive.

[I turn my face so she sees I have one eye open]

C: Oh, hah.

C: Chinese fire drill?


C: Ok!

A: No, what if one of us slips and falls on the wet concrete and we cant drive to the house? Then all these people around us would have to wait on us.

C: I’ll drive.

A: You can’t drive, it’s raining.

C: I can’t drive because its raining? Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:26 am
Feb 172012

Every year I try to think of a fun cake to make for my sweet C for her birthday. Although her birthday is months away, she is turning 13 and I want this one to be uber-special.

I have started jotting down ideas and listening to things that she likes and doesn’t like [I got this idea from an amazing book I’m reading]. She doesn’t live with us, y’all, so this is pretty difficult to get out of many weekends and Tuesday night dinners – I have to be, like, super stepmom on a recon mission.

Here are a few homemade cakes from years past:

#7 Cake

Butterfly Cake

Penguins Cake

So far on my jot list of likes are: Harry Potter, Zebra stripes, hair accessories, clothing. On my list of dislikes: everything else. Hah!

Looks like I have my work cut out for myself, lots of listening will be happening in the months ahead!

What about you, do you spoil your special someone or friend on their birthday with a fun cake or treat? Email me your best creation, there just might be something sweet in it for you ;)

alyssa [at] frugalstepmom [dot] com

 Posted by at 11:13 am
Aug 312011

It has been a minute since we went to Chicago and I thought it would [finally] be fun to post some of our pictures and some stories about the trip!

FridayWe arrived in Chicago around lunch time and Brent’s buddy, Johnny, took us to eat at Revolution Brewing Company in Oak Park. They had the BEST sandwiches and the BESSSST pretzel bread known to man, seriously. I learned something new, anytime a menu says “crunchy” or “crispy”, they mean it has uncooked cabbage slaw on top, Yum. C ordered a caesar side salad with her “crunchy” pulled pork sandwich and it came with a full out anchovy on top… needless to say, she did not eat the salad. I even tried it… Umm yea, not a fan of that either! I ordered the Hombre Burger, I’m from Texas, what can I say? It consisted of smoked poblano pepper,  avocado, Chihuahua cheese, red pepper crema & tortilla strips – aka. Heaven on a Heavenly Pretzel Roll bun. Once we arrived at our final destination – Congress Plaza Hotel [who has still not sent me a like to review their room/service{which is probably better for them because the "suite" was pretty much unacceptable (email me for details)}] we… I decided we should take a little walk to Navy Pier. I wonder why nobody stopped me, it was like 10,000 miles away from our hotel and we were pretty grumpy by the time we all got there. HAha!

B and Mike went out with the Chicago friends while C and I hit the streets to find dinner. C and I went down Michigan Avenue to hear the free concerts and look at Cloud Gate and the Crown Fountains. C has a radar for super fun, cool things, and this night was no different. We made our way to the Magnificent Mile Macy’s and Chicago Theater where there just happened to be a CLo concert and Glamorama fashion show taking place. C and I got to walk on the fashionistas red carpet and take in all of the glittlery and amazing fashion choices of the actual attendees. It was amazing! We caught some people making glances at us, like, “I can’t believe they wore that”, we were sporting the all fashionable shorts, t-shirt and Tom’s. We finally headed to dinner at about 11 pm; C chose, what we thought was, a quaint little place in downtown Chicago called Mercat a la planxa. Wow! Once again, we were totally under dressed and a little out of the diners target market, but we have money to pay for a delicious meal, so who cares about the target market. The meal was a total debacle and out waiter was really pretty poo-pooey on us, but we enjoyed ourselves and our meal. C decided to try the pintxos muranos Colorado Lamb Brochettes wrapped in Bacon and Lamb Jus and I had the Conill Amb castanyes Braised Rabbit Agnolotti, Roasted Chestnut Purée, Brandied Cherries and Rosemary Brown Butter. Our meals were divine and the experience will last a lifetime!

Chicago Theater

Saturday Was our chill day, we pretty much spent the day walking, relaxing and eating. I got to meet on of my co-workers, at my big girl job, who lives just a couple minutes from the hotel. My company is big on the virtual/global environment – nobody on my team lives within 6oo miles of Houston, it is pretty amazing when you think about how connected we are, but are so far apart. We took a cab ride to the Expo to pick up our race packets [there was no way the guys were going to go for another walk with me]. We ate lunch around our hotel and on our way to pick up bananas and water for the mornings race, the rain came down, BIG time. We were still about 3 blocks from the hotel. After we watched all of the Segway tours rush into their homes, which we were huddled close to, we decided to book it to the next available awning and make a game plan. We were like frogs who didn’t like the wet – hopping from one awning to the next between pours of rain. We just kind of chilled the rest of the day, watching bad hotel tv and C’s outstanding fashion show [she was still feeling the vibe from last night] with the hotel’s bedding; have I told you, lately, how amazing she is? Well… she is! By the way, this is how we dry wet Tom’s:

C's Shoe Dryer

Sunday There was a little race, you can read about it here. Our friends took us to another amazing eatery, Big Star, before we headed out to the airport.  They had delicious pork and fish tacos and their salsa was pretty much spectacular because it was not chilled. C happened upon the lovely bacon wrapped hot dog below – the Sonoran Hot Dog crispy, bacon wrapped, all beef hot dog, pinto beans, lime mayo, mustard, onions, hot sauce, on a bolillo roll = Amazing! We had to wipe off the sauces because the hot sauce was just WAY hot for her, but she went to town, she said it was pretty delicious and recommend it, most definitely.

C's giant Bacon-wrapped hot Dog

We hit up the train to take us to our destination before our final destination – it was pretty fun, except for when the guy sitting in front of us decided to get up and pry open the doors with this bare hands and jump out on the landing dock while the train was still moving… Not Smart dude, not smart. My face was stuck in the “OMG! Did that REALLY just happen” fashion for a minute or three. We made it to the airport in the nick of time… to see that our flight would be delayed for 5 hours. [Shameless Plug ~~>]It’s really too bad that we don’t have a smarty phone that received emails to tell us we were delayed; we could have totally stayed at the taco place for another 4 hours, which would have been fine by me!

Leaving Chicago on a Train

 Goodbye Chicago… until Next time!

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Aug 192011

So, yesterday I got C’s leg cut off.

Or at least that’s what you would think was happening.

My sweet girl had a “mollescum contagiosum” on her left thigh that had to be removed to ensure it would not spread on the rest of her body. It looks like a mole without color, it gets a red rash around it if you leave it untreated for a long time [3-6 months]. Apparetly a lot of kids get it from swimming pools, sharing towels, and rubbing against people in that spot with the virus [this better not be the case!]. 

She was so scared to get it cut off. She said it hurt, but she was kind of laughing after she started crying. I felt terrible. It was the first time I had put her through something she wasn’t really convinced was the right decision. I coddled her. I was upset that she was upset, I am sure that isn’t what I am supposed to do, as the Mom [decision maker].
At one point when she was crying I said to her, “Don’t cry Ugly Girl, you are going to make me cry!”

In our world, “Ugly” is actually a term of endearment. I asked last night [after she was over the trauma] if she remembered me calling her Ugly Girl, she said No… She was too busy fighting the thought of getting her leg cut off. Sheesh!

So, she is fine now and off to spend a nice weekend at the beach with her Mom and family before school starts on Monday. Lucky girl! Pray for her as she enters the 7th grade… with 2 full legs minus 1 mollescum!

 Posted by at 6:03 pm
Jul 082011

Florida Sillys

Today is one of my most disliked days of. all. time. It’s the day that my baby girl returns to her Mom’s for summer break.

We have had a great summer so far and we will have more time in August. Some of the cool things we accomplished:

  • Traveling to Florida
  • Snorkeling
  • Riding a personalized Roller Coaster
  • Laying on a Bed of Nails
  • Racing GoCarts
  • Swimming
  • Playing Volleyball
  • Playing Football
  • Eating a lot of Ice Cream
  • Snacking on Chocolate Donuts
  • Picking Veggies from the garden
  • Reading for fun
  • Singing for fun
  • Laughing for fun

I am going to miss her little groggy head in the morning and her smart laugh at the TV or at D.

She picked out D’s new baby the other day, D just loves it… probably because Sister picked it out.

D and Baby


I am truly blessed to have been given such an amazing daughter, one who I miss SO much when she is not around. She’s my silly girl and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 Posted by at 9:59 am
Jun 282011

We had an amazing time on our vacation last week to the beach. It took a long 12 hours to get to our destination, two trucks full of stuff and 7 people: my parents, my baby brother + home skillet and yours truly, H family.

I thought it might be nice to share some pictures with you all, since I pretty much left you hanging last week. Rude.


My man and Me, lookin’ good… catching rays…

Sea Screamer - The Family

We went on a Dolphin Watch and Snorkel trip on the Sea Screamer; we learned how to use fins and breathe though the little snorkels [it's really challenging the first time], caught sand dollars, watched crabs and flizards [it's a made up word for a fish that looks like a lizard] and sea urchins float with the tide. Unfortunately, a “storm” was brewing and the gulf side of the bay was really choppy, we would have been able to swim with the dolphins after they surfed behind the Sea Screamer.

Hello Dolphin

Can’t you just hear this little guy, “Come on! Let’s swim!” We also saw a Mama and baby dolphin surfing the boats waves. They were so precious.

Dad and Me

Here is my Dad and Me on the boat, he’s a super trooper.

Wave Surfing

B and C enjoying the fast and crazy ride back to the marina. Where am I?


Holding on, HAHA.

Just Kidding! It wasn’t bad at all, this picture is after I had sprayed my feet for the 10th time with sun block… ever had burnt feet? It’s the worst!

Peek A Boo


We liked snorkeling so much, we went the next day to the state park and rented gear. We caught a few little shells, watched schools of fish swimming in the rocks, inspected snails and other shelled creatures… saw more flizards. B made a friend with a short, fat fish who swam under his chin and neck area when he was under and around his waist when he was standing. It was like seeing a whale with the little fish all around, super cute!

B in a Chair

This is what most of our days looked like, nice and lazy with a side of reading and soaking up the sun.

Wonder Works

We took a break from the sun one day and headed to Wonder Works. HOW COOL IS THIS BUILDING!? It looks like it is floating in the clouds the way I took the picture and everything inside is upside down too. If you see it from the front, it clearly fell from the sky… SO cool!


B showing Craig Biggio how it’s done, even on vacation we cannot get away from sport.

Bed of Nails

C on a bed of nails, not as comfortable at the good ‘ol posturepedic.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and miss the cool beach breeze already, but it sure is nice to sleep in your own bed and take a shower in your own shower. You know what I mean?

 Posted by at 2:45 pm
Jun 072011

H Wedding

Happy 3rd Anniversary

To my amazing Husband,

I love you more today than I did when I married you. You are a wonderful Husband and Father and a tremendous leader to our family. I am so grateful God gave me the strength to take you on, you are my life’s biggest journey and I enjoy every minute we are together.

To my sweet Daughter,

I never knew I could love somebody, so much, who was not my own creation. God has given me you to bring up in Him and I am grateful for His challenge; you are so precious to me and I love you more that you can imagine. I pray to help you soar high and be amazing in His [and our] eyes.

Please pray for my dear family. We are in our third year, with many more to come. As we enter a world that is broken, please become parallel in our prayers that we will stay on the straight and narrow, in God’s word and on God’s path.

Happy Anniversary!!!! I love my Peeps!

Mom + Dad

PS~Today is ALSO my parents 33 year anniversary! How special is it that B and I married 30 years after my parents? Happy 06.07.80 Mom and Dad! I Love Y’all!

 Posted by at 8:00 am
May 132011

25% off Hollister Co.

It is almost summer! Almost time for bare shoulders and flip flops in the hot Texas sun.

This weekend, head on over to Hollister Co. to receive and additional 25% off your online purchase.

[Promotional code 35380] 

This offer is valid online only and on regular and clearance priced merchandise from Friday, May 13 to Sunday, May 15.

TGIF Friends!

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 Posted by at 8:05 am