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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deb's Party Designs - Check us Out

Custom Invitations, Unique Party Favors, Gifts and Home Decor.


READ WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE SAYING....
"Just received my planner today, and it is absolutely perfect. Very fast shipping, too. Awesome seller to work with."


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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Digital Scrapbooking

I am so excited that on Friday I was given my first opportunity to work on a creative team!  Danimoy is a designer at Scrapbookbytes, Scrappity-Do-Dah and  Scrapbooks Gone Digital, and she was gracious enough to allow me to become a part of her team!  Being on a creative team means I am given the opportunity to use her designs free of charge!  Yippeee!  I'll be sharing some of my layouts that I create with her gorgeous designs!  And of course a link to her goodies!  Hopefully I'll encourage some of you to try digital scrapbooking!

Here is a layout I did using her kit 'In Dreams'.....

And here's a link to the kit I used!  Right now she is having a huge 50% off sale!  

What is Digital Scrapbooking?

For many people (myself included), scrap booking has become an extremely popular hobby as a way to preserve family memories for generations to come.  Originally scrapbooking was done using photos and papers, with hand written journaling and various small embellishments such as ribbon, stickers, flowers, etc.
Digital scrap booking (also known as digi scrapping) involves the use of digital photos, clip art, graphics, textures, and various other objects you can find readily available.  The ultimate purpose of preserving memories in a creative way remains the same.

Some digital scrap bookers (myself included) may combine digital elements into traditional page layouts by printing and cutting out digital photos, papers, clip art, notes, etc and adhering them together in a tangible layout.  Others prefer to work completely with digital content, and share them entirely on the computer.  Digital scrapbook pages can be printed and placed in an album, or they may be left as digital files which can be shared electronically via email, the web or on a disc.

Most digital scrapbookers work with a photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop ( I use Adobe Photoshop CS4), Photoshop Elements, Corel Pain Shop Pro or Microsoft Digital Image Suite.   There is even software designed specifically for digital scrap booking.  Essentially, you can use any software that will allow you to work with layered objects, and supports the PNG file format.  PNG files are preferred for digital scrap booking because they allow the use of transparency in a high quality, true color format.

In addition to software, most digital scrap bookers will also want to have a digital camera, scanner, and a printer.

Some of the benefits of digital scrapbooking  are:

*Environmentally friendly.  There is no paper involved unless you decide to print the pages you create.
*Less mess (no more table covered with papers, buttons, glues, flowers, ribbons, etc. etc.)
*Wider range of materials (papers and embellishments).
*Mistakes are easy to correct.
*Photo editing programs allow you to experiment with different papers and embellishments without being                  
   permanent.
*Very affordable digital supplies available (many freebies to be found as well)
*Easily share with friends and family by uploading your digital pages to a photo sharing website or make      
   your own blog in which to share.
*You can put together a page in little time.

Some of the digital scrap booking programs may take a little time to learn, but the results can be amazing! (I am completely self taught and if I can do it, so can you! )By searching the internet, you can find dozens of articles with tutorials, free pages, free kits, embellishments and text options to suit just about any need.  All it takes is your imagination.

In the days to come I hope to share with you some of my pages and crafts that I create.   I hope that I have given you a little nudge to try digital scrap booking for yourself!

Facebook Killer?

There has been much speculation that Google is planning a new Facebook killer social networking site.

Google certainly has the money and popularity to pull it off. The internet giant would only need to upgrade the Google profiles feature to launch but could use the combination of both Orkut and Buzz .

If Google can pay Zynga to move popular games like Farmville over to its social networking site, millions of social networking junkies would surely follow!

Would you be open to move from Facebook to Google?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are You Ready For Some BBQ?

With Labor Day weekend coming up it reminds me of lazy days and lots of good BBQ!   Being a Texan born and bred I am used to a delicious, thick, red BBQ sauce slathered over some mouth watering smoked brisket or better yet, some delicious tender meaty beef ribs!  But, having married someone from North Carolina I have to embrace BBQ which is very different  from what I am accustomed to.  I remember my first taste of BBQ in North Carolina, I was told it would be very different from what I was used to and boy were they right!  I was expecting some sort of cut of beef and instead got a plate of pulled pork.  After my shock, I asked about the sauce and a bottle of very liquidy slighty reddish sauce was handed to me;  with a little hesitation I poured some over my pork and was surprised to taste vinegar.  I’ve since acquired somewhat of a taste for NC BBQ and being a loving wife have tried to make the sauce myself for my transplanted husband!  I’ve tried several different recipes and am waiting for a shipment of a bottle of his favorite sauce from a restaurant back home that I can taste and hopefully be able to somewhat duplicate.

Here is a recipe I tried last….

North Carolina BBQ Sauce
1  C. White Vinegar
1  C. Apple Cider Vinegar
4  Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1  Tbsp. Cayenne Pepper (or to taste)
1  Tbsp. Tabasco Sauce (or to taste)
1  tsp.  Salt
1  tsp.  Black Pepper

Combine all well and store in a jar in refrigerator.  Will keep for 2 months.



While we are on the topic of BBQ, I’ll include a recipe for a South Carolina BBQ Sauce that I also tried.  SC uses a mustard base sauce and for someone from Texas it is very different indeed!  But, I have to say it’s not too bad!  My husband had some and although it is very different from his NC vinegar sauce said it’s pretty good.

South Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce
1  C.   Prepared Yellow Mustard
½  C.  Balsamic Vinegar
1/3 C. Packed Brown Sugar
2  Tbsp.  Butter
1  Tbsp.  Worchestshire Sauce
1  Tbsp.  Lemon Juice
1  tsp.  Cayenne Pepper (or to taste)

Mix all in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat about 30 mins.  Stir occasionally.  Store in a jar and refrigerate.


Ok…Let the BBQ’s begin!  Which type of BBQ do you like prefer?  Are you willing to try something different?  I’d love to hear!   I hope you all have a very happy and safe Labor Day Weekend!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Battle of the Gaming Devices

The Nintendo Wii released in late 2006 rapidly took the country by storm with its motion based player movements. Young and old alike were able to share the fun. Nintendo did not disappoint us by making sure we had great games like Super Mario and many other fun titles to enjoy.

The Wii negatives would be more lackluster games that the advanced gamers are looking to play as well as its limitations for other home entertainment options such as Blue Ray DVD play and internet browsing with flash. Challenging online play is also a negative.

The Xbox 360 gaming unit now offers a motion bar known as Microsoft Kinect that provides game play using your body without holding onto anything. Despite the new addition, the gaming system just does not have the same appeal as the Playstation 3 which provides more of a total entertainment experience.

Just take a drive to your local Walmart and see which consoles are in the locked glass case and which have been sold out. Plenty of Xbox 360 units are ready for purchase most likely and no Playstation 3 machines to be found. The PS3 provides more family entertainment with the inclusion of a Blue Ray DVD player which also upscales the quality of regular DVD movies. Browsing the internet is a breeze as well as downloading movies and TV shows.

This post was not intended to provide a serious gamer review of machines but instead provide information to those who are looking for some family entertainment and fun on a budget. The Wii will provide hours of fun but the Playstation 3 will provide years of total family entertainment. The PS3 has much to offer whether you are a serious gamer or not. I would skip the Xbox 360.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Should I get involved in multi level marketing?


Choose a product you want to buy. Choose a stable company. Don't ignore your very first instincts.
MLM (Multi Level Marketing) can be a legit home based business where you can make some money however, there are several things that you should ask yourself beforegetting involved.
Does the company have a real product to sale that people want?
Is it an answer to a need?
Does the MLM seem to be more about recruiting others that selling the actual product?
Is the product reasonably priced and would YOU purchase it if you were not involved the MLM?
Are people going to want to purchase the product again and again and not just be a one time sale to get you off their back from pushing the product.
How long has the MLM been in operation? Remember, you don't want to join a fly by night company but you also don't want the product to be over saturated.
The truthful answers to all of these questions are very important. Make sure you are being honest with yourself!!
There are many expensive health & wellness products out there these days being sold through MLM. Ask if someone is going to continue to purchase this product for $40/month if they can't prove it's really doing anything to benefit them.
What makes this product special? Can you go next door to your local store and buy a similar product for much less?
Remember the economy is still down and people are watching their money like a hawk! Why would they be willing to purchase your product in these difficult times? Will they really make money if you recruit them into your organization? Can you assure them they will make money with a straight face?
Make sure that you personally believe in the products you are selling and you feel no guilt when you try to sell the products to others because you know it has benefit!
Do your research. Understand the compensation plan and how you are going to make money BEFORE diving in head first!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Top home business ideas of 2010!


If you are thinking about starting a home based business, the number of opportunities can be overwhelming. We have listed a few of the TOP home business markets that are tried and true with growth potential.
1. Seniors Market.
2. Green Energy
3. Going Local. Making the world wide web local! Community websites.
4. Health & Wellness 
5. Pets

You are likely to need more start up money than you first think you will!
Know your your competition and how you will be different!
Marketing can be very expensive so be sure to read our article on "How to market your business on the cheap".


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tips for an organized life!

You cannot expect your home or family to be organized if you are not. Clearing clutter from your home today does not mean your home will stay clean. You must have a long range plan of how to stay organized.

Many people never start to organize because they feel it won't be perfect... so why get started. Always remember that if you do a little each day that getting something accomplished is more important than being perfect! Don't kick yourself in the rear by expecting perfectionism. You will be amazed what devoting just 10 minutes daily will get accomplished.

I use the 10 minute rule every single day. Have a messy house? Spend 10 minutes today sweeping the floor and 10 minutes tomorrow dusting the furniture. By the end of the week you have spent 70 minutes cleaning your house. The 10 minute rule applies to many other things you may want to get accomplished but just don't want to get started.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My little visitor!

  
How many of us take the time to really slow down and take a look around us at all the beauty in nature?  I know sometimes I forget in my rush to get things done.  But, today after a frustrating morning of running errands I finally made it home and I was greeted by this cute little lizard on my patio.  I quickly got my bags inside and rushed for my camera and was hoping he would still be waiting to have his photo taken, and he was!  I wish I had been able to get even closer, but, I scared him and he ran behind a board.  I waited for him to come out and of course he had changed colors trying to camouflage himself.  So, next time you are feeling frazzled from too much to do in too little time, stop and take a breath and look around you and see what nature has to offer!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ways to stay motivated.

Stop and really think about the things that you enjoy and things that bore you. It's important that you don't avoid important work that needs to get done just because you find it boring however, it's equally important to be able to dedicate some time to things you enjoy.

I bet you have you have never written your successes. You should keep a sort of diary of things you are proud of and would like to share with others. Read the list from time to time as a reminder of your accomplishments.

Avoid negative people and people that "one up" your stories. Network with positive people who you feel may embrace your business.

You should have both a personal and a business goal or mission. If you don't have one, get one immediately! Find something you have enjoyed doing or have always wanted to accomplish.

Purchase books or motivational audio recordings that inspire you. Listening to a CD when you are feeling down can be very uplifting!

It's difficult to be motivated in a home business when you have a dirty house! How you feel about yourself, your business and your home can have a BIG impact on your daily thoughts and activities.

Always accept feedback as a way to improve your business and not as a personal attack. Failure is ok as long as you learn from it and are willing to try again.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

What type of business could you start from home?

What type of home business to start is one of the most daunting questions many want to be entrepreneurs face.

Make sure you take your time and give thought to current trends and how you will make money.

If you want to make 40k per year, break that down as to how much you would need to make per month, per week and per day. The number can be very scary and it may very well cause you to rethink your business plan or even the type of business. While you should have a passion about the type of business, you also have to be realistic as to its potential.

There is a current trend in America to "Go Green". Perhaps give some thought as to how you could capitalize using this concept.




How to be a better Husband, Wife or Life Partner!

Remember when you started dating your current love? I bet you tried to impress that person and did and said things that you would not normally say or do. It's important to be true to yourself!

I feel the most important thing I can tell you about love and relationships is that words are empty if they are not backed up with actions. You can tell a person that you love them all day long but it means nothing if you ignore that person or don't SHOW them you love them.

Do not yell at your partner. If you feel that you need to yell at your partner then YOU have made a mistake and need to go back, slow down and calmly figure out how to fix it. If you are yelling, your partner is no longer listening and anything you are yelling about is just causing anger and damaging your relationship. Many people feel that they must address a situation at that moment. It's usually much better to wait until the next day when you are both calm. Take 24 hours and think about how you can get your point across without upsetting your partner.

Just as not yelling is important, you certainly must never swear or hit your partner!

Remember to thank your partner DAILY for the little things they do for you. I now try to make sure to tell my wife how much I enjoyed dinner. I acknowledge the time and effort that went into cooking the meal and tell her how much I appreciate it.

Don't lose who you are in a relationship and feel you must merge into one. You are both individuals with different viewpoints, like and dislikes. Just think about how boring it would be if you had the same thoughts.

Tips For A Better Life

Buy a DVR. It will allow you more personal time by fast forwarding through commercials plus allow you to get more sleep.

Spend more time with senior citizens and young children.

Make people smile each day. Live for the moment.

Realize life is too short to worry and to hate people.

Don't try to win every argument. It's perfectly fine to just disagree!

It's a big mistake to compare your life to others! Another persons life may appear better but you really have no idea of their full journey.

No matter how bad a situation may appear to be.... it will change.

Family is very important. Call your family members and friends often. They will be there for you when you need them.

Never Envy another persons status in life. Live your life.

How to market your business on the cheap!


1. Social networking is a great way to get your message out and is free. Create a Facebook and MySpace page. Also don't be afraid to start tweeting! Twitter gets your message out on the internet instantly using the keywords you send.

2. Write an article and post it to websites like hubpages.com, redgauge.com, squidoo.com and ezinearticles.com.

3. Utilize the signature line on emails you send to promote your business.

4. Window decals on your vehicle. You can create a moving billboard seen all around town!

5. Create a blog or website that has an RSS feed. Submit your RSS feed to RSS directories. Google the terms RSS and RSS directories if you are not familiar. Don't under estimate the power of regular content sent to RSS feeds. Search engines pick up on your content on various websites.

6. Post on FREE classified web sites such as www.craigslist.org and webclassifieds.us 


Friday, April 16, 2010

San Antonio Mission San Jose Rose Window





The San Jose Mission was named for Saint Joseph and the Marquez de San Miguel de Aguayo, the govenor of the Province of Coahuila and Texas at the time. It was built on the banks of the San Antonio River. Its founder was the famed Father Antonio Margil de Jesus, a very prominent Franciscan missionary in early Texas. Mission San Jose is an active parish. Visitors are welcome to attend mass on Sundays.

Mission San Jose has become a lasting symbol throughout the centuries for the Spanish mission frontier in Texas.

Having fallen into disrepair and partial run over the years, the San Antonio Conservation Society and the Federal Government , among others took to restoring portions of the mission community in the 1920's and 30's. The Church, which had lost its dome, bell tower, and a wall was rededicated in 1937. In 1941, it was declared a State Historic Site, and later that same year, a National Historic Site.

Much of what is visible today was reconstructed by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930's. The Archdiocese of San Antonio and San Jose parish are responsible for any maintenance and preservation work needed on the church structure itself. About 80% of the church is original.

La Ventana de Rosa, the Rose Window, is located on the south wall of the church sacristy. The window has been described as the site where the Host was shown to gathered mission celebrants during the Feast of Pentecost. The window, sculpted ca. 1775, has been the object of both legend and admiration. It is considered one of the finest examples of baroque architecture in North America. The meaning behind the name is currently unknown, but legend has it named for Rosa, the betrothed of Juan Huizar who many believe created the window. Photos taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.



Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tea Roses



I spotted these gorgeous roses at an apt. complex here in Corpus Christi. Of course traffic was horrible, but I was determined to get a few shots of them! I managed to finally get to the complex and had a couple of people staring at me as I was taking photos, but....oh well! I believe these are called tea roses. Of course if someone knows differently, please feel free to leave me a comment with their correct name.

Photos were taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Seagull

This photo was taken in Rockport. I love watching seagulls, just have to be careful to avoid wearing any of their droppings! Photo was taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yucca


These photos of yuccas were taken at the Mission San Jose in San Antonio. Interesting facts about the yuccas are:


Yucca is an evergreen plant and in bloom produces a large stalk of white or purplish blossoms. They are pollinated by the yucca moth, and in its absence they rarely fruit striking an example of interdependence, since the moth, which lays its eggs during pollination and whose larvae feed on some of the developing seeds, cannot reproduce without the yucca. The leaves are stiff and spear like. Native peoples of the region used the tough leaves for fiber. Yucca is also an excellent source of soap or detergent. When the central stem are pounded and soaked in water, the resultant mix will foam due to the saponins they contain. In the South Texas Plains, the Spanish Dagger provides the best source of this natural detergent. Many groups used yucca as soap for bathing, and for washing clothing, hair and anything else that needed cleaning, and they probably baked the central stem for food. . The flowers are edible, when picked at the right time, and the fruit of some species is edible when baked or roasted. Yucca fruit are not only sweet, they are like a very strong laxative.

Yucca is the state flower of New Mexico.

Photos were taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Houston Space Center-NASA



If you are ready for a great time head over to Houston's Space Center/NASA. You can put on a space helmet and blast off to a most exciting and fun adventure! You can experience out of this world family fun at NASA's official visitor center. You can see live shows, presentations, interactive exhibits, an IMAX theater, behind the scenes tours of the Johnson Space Center and so much more!

You will get to see actual spacecraft, like Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Capsules. You can watch astronauts train for upcoming shuttle mission. You can try on space helmets, touch moon rocks, land the shuttle and try space walking on state of the art simulators. There are live satellite links to NASA facilities which provide up to date information about current space flights and astronaut training.

Kids can jump on moon, staff a space station, drive a lunar rover, command the space shuttle, build and launch a rocket and so much more at the Kids Space Place.

The Houston Space Center is located about 20 miles southeast of downtown Houston.

Photo was taken with a SonyA200 18-70mm lens.




Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who ya gonna call?


Who could resist taking a photo of this old ambulance made to look like a ghost buster's car? I know I couldn't resist. My son-in-law spotted it on our drive to San Antonio from Corpus Christi and stopped so we could get these! I think it was somewhere around Live Oak? I guess I should take notes so I don't forget the locations. :)

I wonder how many remember the 1984 movie Ghost Busters starring Dan Aykroyd? Who ya gonna call.........GHOST BUSTERS!

Photos were taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sunflowers



Sunflowers were one of my Mother's favorite flowers! I can't see a sunflower and not think about her! It never fails to amaze me how something so beautiful can grow on the side of the road, without any care other than nature! These sunflowers were growing on the side of the road just outside a subdivision where 2 of my daughters live in Brownsville.

Sunflowers are annuals that live just one year. They grow quickly, bloom heavily and die with the first frost. They can and will regrow the following spring if the seeds fall onto bare ground. They usually grow to heights of 3 feet and have yellow petals and brown centers.

Photos taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Will it be Cotton?



I have to say that most times I really love the drive from Brownsville to Corpus Christi. I used to think that the drive was so boring, with nothing to look at. Maybe it's just me getting older, but now I don't feel that way at all! I've gotten to see the drive in the winter and now the spring! I have enjoyed seeing all the beautiful wildflowers and have hundreds of photos! Now, the fields are being planted and I can wonder about what crops they are!

Cotton is one of the most visible crops in the Valley. While cotton was grown in the 1890's, it did not reach commercial production levels until the 1920's. Cotton often constitutes the largest percentage of acreage devoted to one crop. Some of the major vegetable and melon crops are also grown in the Rio Grande Valley, including cabbage, onions, carrots, peppers, broccoli, cantalopes and honeydew melons.

I'm excited to see what crops I'll see on my drives back and forth!

Photos taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.




Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Little Graceland



Before moving to Corpus Christi last October I lived in a little town called Los Fresnos. It's a nice little town, just don't speed! :) I am the first to admit there is little to do there, but...there is ....Little Graceland which is located on West Highway 100 in Los Fresnos. The Museum contains a large collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia, including photos, posters, watches, and more. The owner of the Museum, Simon Vega served with Elvis in the army and after Elvis' death he started the Museum.

Mr. Vega and the City of Los Fresnos hold two annual festivals, one in August for the memorial of Elvis' death and a party in January for the King's Birthday. The festivities include: live music, food and beverages, look-a-like contest, sing-a-like contest, car shows, trivia questions, museum tours, and fun for the family. The highlight of the festivities are the world class impersonators that come from all around to perform the Elvis hits on stage.

If you're ever driving through or visiting the area, please stop in and visit Little Graceland, especially if you are an Elvis fan!

Photos taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

They're a bit slimy!

This photo was taken at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. If you have never been, it's time to go! It's rather small, but has a nice assortment of areas and shows to visit/view. The stingray tank is a place we spent a lot of time. Most of the family HAD to touch a stingray, including myself.

Stingrays are a family of rays, cartilaginous fishes, related to sharks. They are common in coastal tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world. They are named after the barbed stinger (which is removed on the ones you can touch at the Aquarium) on their tail, which is used exclusively in self-defense. The stinger may reach a length of approximately 35 cm, and it's underside has 2 grooves with venom glands. The stinger is covered with a thin layer of skin, in which the venom is concentrated. Some species have several stingers, and a few, lack a stinger entirely.

Their flattened bodies allow them to effectively conceal themselves in their environment. Stingrays do this by agitating the sand and hiding beneath it. Stingrays eyes are on top of their bodies and their mouths on the underside, therefore they cannot see their prey; instead, they use smell and electro-receptors similar to those of sharks. Stingrays primarily on molluscs, crustaceans, and some small fish. They settle on the bottom while feeding, often leaving only their eyes and tail visible. Coral reefs are a favorite feeding ground and usually shared with the sharks during high tide.


Photo was taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mission San Juan in San Antonio



All of the photos above were taken in San Antonio at the Mission San Juan. It is a beautiful place to visit! I have many more photos of the areas to share over the coming weeks/months.

I can only hope that someone is enjoying seeing the area from my camera lens. What more appropriate time than this beautiful Easter Sunday! I hope that your day is filled with beauty and the love of family and our wonderful Lord and Saviour!

Photos taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sugar Cane Fields


It all started nearly 200 years ago when farmers were drawn here by South Texas valley’s rich soil, subtropical climate and plenty of water from the Rio Grande river. At one point there were five mills crushing the cane and cranking out the sugar. But labor problems and depressed prices shut them all down by 1921. Sugar cane in south Texas became just a sweet memory.

All that changed in the early 1970’s when about a hundred farmers got together to bring cane back to the Rio Grande Valley. They built a new, modern sugar mill and today, they’re “raising cane” on about 40,000 acres.

Most sugar cane is planted by hand. They are laid down in furrows and covered with topsoil. About a year later, when the stalks are fully grown, it’s time to harvest. The wind direction and weather are checked, and warnings are given out in English and Spanish to leave the fields.

Then fire trucks arrive for igniting flames, not putting them out. The torching burns away excess leaves and other debris. It’s so dry, a forty-acre field burns in 20 minutes.

After the embers cool, the harvesters move in, chopping the stalks at ground level. Trucks carry the cut cane to a conveyor where ten ton boxes are dumped into a hopper.

The cane is washed then sent through seven crushers, or mills, to squeeze out the sweet juice.

The juice is filtered, heated and evaporated until only a concentrated syrup is left. The syrup is crystallized and the crystals spun around in a high-speed centrifuge until the raw sugar is separated from molasses.

The raw sugar’s taken to a huge warehouse, big enough to hold 70,000 tons. It’s eventually trucked to the port of Harlingen, Texas, where barges ship it off to be refined one more time before it reaches the store shelves.

Photo was taken with a Nikon D500 18-55mm lens.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ghost or Gravity?






While on a recent mini getaway to San Antonio I was told of a ghost story/urban legend in the area. I was intrigued and wanted to get photos of the area. Above are photos of the railroad tracks where supposedly a train hit a bus full of children killing them. Also, the surrounding neighborhood was supposedly named after the deceased children.

When we first arrived at this rather rural area we were the only ones there, but, quickly that changed. During the 10 minutes or so that we were there 4 more vehicles full of curious people arrived. Many got out and wandered around, some stopped on the tracks themselves and we saw nothing out of the ordinary. We quickly did a little search on the internet (thank goodness for phones with internet), and found that you were supposed to stop your vehicle approximately 15 feet from the tracks, turn off your engine, put car in neutral, and wait for your vehicle to move over the tracks. The road appears to be going slightly uphill, but, we did as we read (there were no other vehicles in the area at the time). Within a minute or so the truck did begin to move and we rolled over the tracks and around the slight curve in the road on the other side. It was a slightly eerie feeling, but.....being a total skeptic I knew there had to be a logical answer other than 'ghosts' pushing us. The following is what I found....

The story takes place anywhere from 1930-1949 depending on what you read. This popular urban legend is about a school bus which stalled on a railroad track. Before the bus could be evacuated the train hit the bus, killing everyone on the bus. The legend then goes on to say that the streets surrounding the area were named for the children who were killed. A couple of weeks after the accident some high school students were out for a drive when their car stalled on the tracks at the exact same spot. The driver put the car in neutral and as they were getting ready to push it the car rocked and then it rolled over the tracks and out of harms way. It was as if it was being pushed, but they didn't see anyone else around. The story spread quickly and it was believed that the ghosts of the children had pushed the vehicle to safety. It did not take long before people started going to the tracks and seeing for themselves just what would happen to them if they did the same thing. Those that tried it, said that their vehicle was pushed across the tracks by some unseen force.

While this is a great story, it is not true. Well, some of it is true, but the facts are a little off. The story of the accident appeared in the December 12, 1938 issue of TIME magazine. The story reported that 23 children and the bus driver lost their lives in a train accident. The accident, did not take place in San Antonio. It happened on a snowy, foggy morning in Midvale, Utah on December 1, 1938. The bus did not stall on the tracks but was moving over the tracks, after the driver had came to a complete stop and looked for trains. Not seeing a train (most likely due to fog and snow) he proceeded across the tracks and into the path of an oncoming train.

How do we explain all the people that have experienced being pushed over the tracks? It is an optical illusion; while the road appears to go uphill it is actually a downhill grade. This is very similar to what is known as a gravity hill and there are several located around the world.

Even though there have been reports of people using powder on the back of their cars to capture the hand prints of the ghost children, this is also something that can be explained. Our hands contain oils and even after a hand print has faded the oils remain. A regular car wash will not remove the oil. When you put powder on the back of your car the oil from our hands will bleed through the powder making it look like invisible hands were pushing the car.

This is a great example of an urban legend that was based on actual events, but like most urban legends the details and location change depending on where you are.

Photos were taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

San Antonio Riverwalk

A view of the San Antonio Riverwalk from street level. The river was dyed green in honor of Saint Patricks Day. Photo was taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Proud To Be An American And A Texan!

These flags were flying at a rest stop outside of San Antonio. The flags flying, with the trees just beginning to sprout their leaves, and the beautiful blue skies made for a must have photo. Photo was taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Wildflowers are becoming more abundant!

The drives to Brownsville have been more frequent in the month of March and much to my delight the wild flowers are popping up along my way, making my drive much more enjoyable!
I have to confess I stop several times both coming and going to take photos! These were taken with my NikonD5000 18-55mm lens.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oakville


Who could resist taking photos of this old police car? Not me! I felt like I was stepping back in time to a different era. One more like Mayberry! Life was so much simpler then. We weren't bombarded by so many things, always rushing from here to there, attached to our electronics. I was reminded of the times when I was young and we were allowed to play outside (not as much danger of strangers and horrible things happening as today) till dark and then would hear my Mom calling my name and I knew it was time for supper (yes, supper...not dinner). Then we would sit outside with several of the neighbors and just talk or us kids would catch fireflies in a jar or play tag, till time to go in and maybe watch a little tv before bed. How many of us do this anymore? I can only speak for myself and my family and I know we don't do this often enough! Many of us don't even know anything about our neighbors. Children rarely play outside anymore, too many video games or computer games to keep them busy. Sorry, guess seeing one old car really brought back of a flood of memories!

On to a little history of Oakville.....Irish immigrants settled this area as part of the John McMullen and James McGloin Mexican Land Grant. It is located on the Sulphur Tributary of the Nueces River and also known as, "On the Sulphur". Live Oak County was organized in 1856 and Oakville was named County Seat. Thomas Wilson gave 640 acres for the townsite stipulating that separate squares be marked as public, graveyard, church, and school squares. Oakville grew as stores, two hotels, a livery stable, a school, and two churches were established.
The Oakville Post Office was established May 11, 1857. The mail came 4 times a week on stagecoaches traveling from San Antonio to Corpus Christi and then on to Brownsville. Stage travel became less popular with the arrival of the railroad. When the San Antonio, Uvalde & Gulf Railroad bypassed Oakville in 1913, the town began to decline. The County Seat was moved to
George West in 1919.

Photos were taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sulphur Creek



We just couldn't resist stopping and walking back and taking photos of this area! Thank goodness there was very little traffic on this frontage road, it allowed us plenty of access, not to mention views of roadkill up close and personal. *lol* I had to do a little research to learn a bit about Sulphur Creek and found the following:

Sulphur Creek rises where Bean Creek and the East Fork of Sulphur Creek converge. This spring-fed stream (it was bone dry when we saw it on March 14, 2010) flows northeast, through sandy beds in its upper reaches, for twenty miles to its mouth on the Lampasas River, 2 1/2 miles east of Lampasas. Its course crosses an area of the Grand Prairies, characterized by relatively flat to steeply sloping terrain surfaced by shallow and stony sandy and clay loams that support grasses and open stands of oak, live oak, mesquite, and juniper. A number of springs
lie along the course of Sulphur Creek, including Gold Spring, Gooch Spring, and Hancock Springs. Many of these were originally used by the Indians as watering holes.

Photos were taken with a NikonD5000 18-55mm lens.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bluebonnets "State Flower of Texas"





These photos of bluebonnets were taken on a drive from Corpus Christi to San Antonio on March 14, 2010.
The drive was absolutely stunning with all the beautiful wild flowers in bloom! Instead of a 2 1/2 - 3 hour drive we made it last about 4 hours, stopping many times along the way to take photos! I even had my daughter and son-in-law taking some! It was a wonderful spent with family! Photos were taken with a Nikon D5000 18-55mm lens.

Bluebonnets are a hardy winter annual native to Texas. Adopted as the "State Flower of Texas", this is the most commonly seen variety along roadsides and in uncultivated pastures throughout the state. Flowers are densely arranged on a spike with a characteristic ice white terminal tip. Bluebonnets cannot tolerate poorly drained, clay based soils. Seed planted in poorly drained soils will germinate, but plants will never fully develop. Seedlings will become either stunted or turn yellow and soon die. The prefer a sloped area in light to gravelly, well-drained soil, and require full sun.