Wednesday, December 31, 2008

THE RE-MAKEOVER


I have blogged on this a few times...if you want to read it, or need a reminder, read this here.

I am often fascinated with the freedom people assume to reinvent themselves on New Year's Day. You don't see it on the first day of the week or even the first day of the month...only on the first day of the year. It's on THAT DAY that it is totally OK to stop this, or start that...to make HUGE lifestyle changes. And nobody asks "Why?" If such a change was made on March 15, I would expect to hear an explanation. If none was offered, I would certainly speculate as to the reason.

BUT NO....tomorrow is New Year's Day and so many people, myself included, are embarking on the new...dropping the bad habits like yesterday's fish and HOPING that the good sticks and that January 1 magically makes it possible to end negativity....to turn a new leaf....to be the person that we have never managed to be...up till 2009.

With this post, I wish us all good fortune.

Without further ado, I will now share some of my goals for the new year.

BLOG:

I will continue with my Making A Happy Home Monday. I don't know how to promote it...just "word of blog," I guess. I thank the 5-7 people who DO participate. It helps me to get something done. It's meant to be easy. It's meant to be fun.

I will also continue with the Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. I am considering a "piggy-back." (Don't bother trying to figure out what I mean....LOL...I just threw that because I don't know how else to describe it. I need to talk to the authors of TMTT as I don't want to be seen as hijacking their idea.)

I also want to be sure to blog 1-3 OTHER times during the week on various things

I have made a few changes. I updated the Christmas update. I will not take that away. Christmas is coming....and in the words of Buddy the Elf...."TREAT EVERY DAY LIKE CHRISTMAS!"

Also on my book list: last year, I intended to list what I had read, what I was reading and what I wanted to read. That lasted a few months....not the 12 that you typically find in a year. :) So for this year, I am going to list the books as I read them. I don't know what is a lofty goal. I've never kept up with how much I read. I think that for this year, at least, I will set a goal of 35 books. A lot of the books will be re-reads. I will note that. The Bible will stay on the list as that is something I read throughout the year.

FACEBOOK:

Out with the old and in with the....old. I have reconnected with some old friends, whom I thought were lost. I have had some realizations about some...well, one person that I have actually blogged about. I saw that she was a friend of another "Chica." I nervously asked her to "be my friend." She accepted. I was happy...until I never got a "hello" from her. I sent a note....a LONG note, carboned to her hubby, asking about everything. I STILL haven't heard from her. SO, tomorrow, I will "de-friend" her.

That's empowering. I'm going to DE-FRIEND my former friend....acquaintance, I guess. Was she ever a friend? Out with the negativity! It's a new year.

HOME:

This is a touchy subject for me. I'm NOT a great housekeeper. I'm not even a GOOD housekeeper. My kids are clean. We don't eat nasty foods. We wear clean clothes. But, if I find out you're coming over, I have to run like a mad-woman to vacuum the front room and clean the boys' bathroom. That is something I want to improve.

That being said, I need to work on my Home Management Notebook. I might even blog about it. I have seen this on another person's blog and liked the idea. I know some of you probably won't like it, as they don't like the other lady's site. I do like some of her ideas, though she seems a bit fanatical, even by my way of thinking.

Anyway, working and blogging on my household notebook and holiday journal are things that I would like to do. Part of my notebook will have lists (I love lists) dealing with housekeeping. I don't know that I'll just put them up, but I will certainly share with those of you who want them.

MONEY:

My hubby is, this week, working on a budget (again.) Seems like we have to rework this several times a year. This rework is due to some pledges we have made to a few organizations and also because we are starting new college funds. My sweet darling took a bit of a pay cut during the summer...a sacrifice made so that he could spend more time with me and our children. A sacrifice that we agreed to...and I love him for the willingness to make it. However, it did set us a bit behind in some things.

Then, during the holidays (MY holidays) I didn't coupon. I know, I know...that is a horrible thing, but I didn't coupon AT ALL. :( That is changing this weekend! My hubby, I know, will allow plenty of money. We won't be stuck eating beans and rice 4 days a week. I won't be forced to fry up some "Spamburgers." He will leave me enough to be happy in the kitchen. My goal, though, is to NOT "need" all of my allowance. That will be really hard for me.

HEALTH:

This is really uncomfortable for me. My hubby and I need to lose weight. My hubby, being a pilot, needs to be in tip-top shape. He's not. There are some things that aren't allowed for pilots. You can't have heart problems, and be a pilot. Some meds that would help (heart meds, high blood pressure) are not allowed. He has some goals for his health. I have some goals for his health. Since this is so personal, I will not share his goals. They are not for me to share. I will say this: if I meet MY goals, his own goals will be met.

Now to me. I'm fat. One thing that helps is that I'm a bit tall (not Amazon, but well-proportioned.) I don't want to put my weight out there. I'm too embarrassed. But I will say that 40-50 pounds would be great. I have mixed feelings on HOW to do all this. My SIL has had a tummy-tuck and takes some meds that cost $350 a month. WHOA!!! Remember my budget goals? Well, there isn't room for that $350/month.

Do not think that I'm judging her for doing this. She looks GREAT! And if she can afford it....fine. I can't. I suppose that if I REALLY wanted to use this, my hubby would OK the spending. But, honestly? I know that if I cook better and cut down our portions AND use the membership to the YMCA, as it is meant to be used, that I WILL lose weight. Basically, I have to stop being lazy and change the way I cook.

CHILDREN:

There are so many things I want to do...so many things I need to do with them. I read once that a parent, on average, spends only 10 minutes of quality time with each child. I found that so sad...until I started thinking about how much quality time I spend with each child. Having 4 kids, it can be hard to fit the time in. Even saying that, I find it incredibly sad and shameful. But, it's a fact. I don't count helping with homework or studying JBQ as the quality time I think they deserve. I mean sitting and talking with them - alone - nobody having to compete for my undivided attention.

I'm sure that there are some out there who have the answers and can do all this, TWICE, in one day. But, I am not there....YET! My goal is to get there while my kids still find me beautiful, smart, and fun to be around. I ache because I'm running out of time...and there is so much I still need to teach them.

ME:

I know that all of the previous is "me" but some of my other goals don't really fit in the other categories. I NEED to grow in the Lord. (Even as I say that, I can imagine how many of you are rolling your eyes...not that you don't believe, but you think I'm a religious freak. Heh....my answer to that? You obviously need to grow, too. :) )

How am I going to do this? I don't know.....read my Bible more? Pray harder? I just know that it is so easy for me to stumble, get distracted, be lazy. I just don't do what I need to do.

Some people I know strive for perfection. That will never be reached, this side of Heaven. That is not my goal. I don't' think it is meant to be our goal. Yes, we are to be Christ-like, but He knows that perfection, right now, isn't possible. (Even talking about anything religious always upsets me because of those who often call me judgmental...I've never judged the person. I do judge the behaviour. Sorry...ADD kicking in.)

I do feel that the more "in-tune" I get with God, the more my other goals are going to fall where they need to. That being said, this is my main goal.

As I end this post, so ends the year. For some reason, I always feel a bit sad. I feel sad when a TV series ends. I feel sad when I reach the end of a book...especially if it is a series. Why? I don't understand....I really don't.

To all of you, I wish you much! I wish you better health. I wish you greater happiness. I wish you provision. But mostly, I wish you Jesus. If you know Him....great. Get to know Him more. If you don't....DO! If you don't know how, call me. I'll introduce you. If you THINK you know Him, you probably don't...fix it. Please.

I love you all. I appreciate you all. I enjoy your comments and participation. And for those who follow me...I follow you, too. Thank you for your thoughts.

Numbers 6:24-26

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A LITTLE MORE TIME


Hey, y'all. I just need a little more time.

I'm getting things wrapped up for the old year and ready for the new. I have lots I'm wanting....no, NEEDING to post about, but don't have time just yet.

Kids are out of school until Monday the 5th.
Tree needs to come down.
Order needs to be restored (well...at least what I had, anyway.)
I need to rework budget, groceries, menus.
SIL and 2 nieces coming out tonight.
BF and her 3 kids coming out tomorrow. *pant pant*

Hubby to leave Wednesday for 7 days.
TSO concert Saturday.
Lasik NEXT week (and appointments for that.)

NOT TO MENTION cleaning up the blog, changing dates, lists and such.

Thank you to all who are "following" me. I'll be by to check you out SOON!

SOOOOOOO..........

If I don't get back here by Thursday. Y'all have a safe and happy New Year! God bless you all richly.

Stay safe.

See you in a few.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS

LUKE 2:8-14

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

THE GOOD EARTH


CHRISTMAS EVE!

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 8 orbit around the moon. Until this mission, our astronauts had only ever stayed in Earth's orbit. Forty years ago, we not only had astronauts orbiting another celestial body, but they were able to send a broadcast to Earth.





I can't tell you how I feel when I think of NASA and other space-related things. First off, I'm just completely awe-struck. There is NO DOUBT in my mind about God....our creator. The fact that all of this is.....well, only God could have done this.

Secondly, I want to be up there! Did you know that I actually applied to NASA? Years ago, they were looking for a math or science teacher to train as an astronaut. I was one of THOUSANDS who applied. I had a rather thick application, tons of letters and essays to have written and to write. I know that it worked out for the best. It would have been difficult to complete my family. (I only had 2 children at a time.) AND I get TERRIBLE motion sickness. Still, I wanted...no, I WANT to go into space.

I can't say that I have regrets about how things have been and how they are going. I love my life. I'm in a happy place. This is just one thing that I wish I could have done. I do have a great telescope and I try to "study" astronomy in my down time....ROFLMBO!!! Down-time....But, I digress.....

Have you ever seen a shuttle or rocket launch? I've seen 2 shuttle launches and a few rocket launches. One of the shuttle launches was a night launch. OH MY GOODNESS! We lived in Florida...roughly 70 miles south of Cape Canaveral. We had heard that there would be a launch. Being poor and not having the time to get there and back by the time my work and Hubby's flight training for the day started, we decided to see if MAYBE....just maybe we could see something.

My hubby and I went outside in the middle of the night and it was darker than....well....it was dark. My hubby told me to scan a certain area of the sky while he took another. We didn't want to miss a thing. We hoped to see something that looked like a fireball.

After standing outside for a few minutes we began to wonder if the launch had been put off. What we saw totally stunned us....it was like sun-rise....or should I say "shuttle-rise."

We immediately saw people sitting on top of their houses. After several minutes with our mouths hanging open, pain in our necks and "OH MY GOSH"ing dozens of times we decided it was time to go in. No sooner had we gotten in our room when there was a rumble and the sound of thunder....the shuttle!

Since I have trouble finding the words, I'll let this little guy help me out.



Funny, this wasn't the intent of the this post. I just wanted to recognize this day in a way you might not have thought of. It was something that, even for a short time, made the world stand amazed.

May you be blessed. Merry Christmas. "And God bless all of you - all of you on the good earth."

TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAY


Hey, y'all. My cyber-friend, Lisa and her twin sister Lana, host this fun blog carnival. You should pop on over and see some great recipes, tips and product reviews.

Today, I chose to do Glazed Pork Chops.

This recipe is mine, though it started as another recipe. I had found a recipe for this and tried it...we enjoyed it, but I also wanted a few more flavors. So, after working on it a bit, I came up with this. My family really enjoys it. The glaze is an orange-ginger glaze. I hope you enjoy them.

Glazed pork chops

ingredients

pork chops, trimmed - I choose boneless, but bone-in is OK
flour
salt
pepper
butter
olive oil

glaze:

orange juice
cider vinegar
soy sauce (optional)
honey
green onion
minced garlic
ginger
red bell pepper (cut into thin strips)

Use salt and pepper to season your flour.
Dredge the chops through flour.
Brown in olive oil and butter until just done.
Remove to plate.
Drain excess oil, but don't wipe skillet clean. Just pour off the fat. Whatever is left is great for your sauce.

Mix your juice, vinegar, soy, honey, onion and ginger.
Pour into skillet and deglaze. As the mixture starts to bubble, scrape up the browned bits (called "fond").

Put your chops back in skillet, with sauce. Top with the red pepper strips. Do not cover. You are going to simmer the chops in the sauce until the sauce is reduced (thickened) and begins to cling to the chops.

This is great served over rice with some cabbage or other green leafy veggie.
(The original recipe only had soy, garlic and vinegar)

C.O.D.

I wanted an original video...the only one I could find with The Drifters was one that was on a PBS special and they were old guys. The quality of their voices was not quite the same so I chose the slide show instead.

Monday, December 22, 2008

C.O.D.

I LOVE this song....I've loved it since I was little....

Anyway, I thought this was a cute video.


MAKING A HAPPY HOME MONDAY

Man, sometimes this time of week comes really quickly. I started this blog carnival with a purpose of helping myself...and hopefully inspiring others to join in. I'm just getting so discouraged, to be quite honest. I hear from so many say, "I would like to join in, but I don't have time" or "I don't have any projects."

Well, my question is this......Did you vacuum? Did you clean your kitchen at all? Then take a picture of before and after. That's it! It can be a small job like cleaning the mirror in the hallway. It can be a big job like wiping down your baseboards. The point is this....take a few moments today to do something to make a spot in your home prettier or more functional...but definitely happier.


For my task, I chose wrapping presents.

I'll bet that a lot of you don't see that as a chore or anything like that. For me? I HATE WRAPPING PRESENTS! I really do. As much as I love the holidays, this is the worst part for me, I guess.

Is it because there are too many? No...probably not. We don't have THAT many...as you will see. In fact, if it wasn't for my kids peeking into the bags, I wouldn't wrap at all - I'd use gift bags.

That being said, I almost always wait until the last minute (or near that). I do it with just enough time to make sure that the kids have what I intended for them to have (something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read....;) thanks, Catey!)


This took me about 3 hours. Not because there are so many, but because I dislike it so much. I got SO distracted...several times. I started at 10:00 p.m. and FINALLY had them all under the tree at about 12:50 a.m.



If you would like to join me (and I would love it if you did) just link up with Mr. Linky on the bottom of this post. It's easy.....put your user name in the top space and your site address in the next space. If I can do it....YOU can do it.

Happy Monday, y'all!!




Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

WHAT I'VE BEEN UP TO

I'm back with a bit more time.


I wanted to show you all what I've been up to. You have certainly heard me complain about it enough. The weather did end up cooperating....I had a very small window and I was able to get my candies and cookies done.


I'm not saying that I'm totally done baking for the holidays. But, I am done with the things that I give as gifts. The cookies are new to this year (not cookies in general, but these cookies), but the candies I make every year. It's expensive. It's time consuming. I LOVE it!!!

Haystacks (in the 2 plastic containers) and Chocolate-chocolate chunk cherry cookies

Candy strawberries and fudge

Millionaire (this is what I almost couldn't make because of the humidity). There is nothing healthy to be found in this....1 pound butter, sugar, brown sugar, 1 pint corn syrup, 2 pints heavy cream and 8 cups of pecans. AND IT IS HEAVENLY!)


Star cookies with snowflake sprinkles

Other cookies (blue stars, red candy canes, yellow angels, green Christmas trees) "painted" with corn syrup and sprinkled with sanding sugar.







Candied pecans. My hubby's favorite.



The whole spread.


SO....diets do not happen in my house during the holidays.
I can't even begin to tell you the pounds of butter, chocolate or sugar in all of this. Pure love, my friends!
BUT, because there is so much love in my house, we will make a change right after the holidays. I will tell you more about that later. I have some thinking to do about my post.....I have to do some praying about the task. It's not only for myself, but for my hubby and most of all, my children. I will put it on the blog to make myself accountable. Wow....now I'm nervous.
I'll be back later. Y'all have a good day!

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

My friend, Alicia, tagged me with this meme. I've seen it around, so if I tag you and you've already done it, well...I don't know what to tell you. Just play along. :)

Here are the rules:
*Go to the 6th picture folder in your documents.
*Find the 6th picture in your 6th folder.
*Pray that you remember what it is about.
*Blog about it.
*Tag 6 people to do the same.

OK....let's go see what I have....I'll be right back.



If you carefully at the bottle on top, there is a funnel in there. The red "doo-dad" between the 2 bottles is a "tornado maker." My 2nd son is fascinated with tornadoes....to the point that even at the age of 8, he says he wants to be a meteorologist and a storm chaser.

When my hubby and I went to Chicago, we visited a museum that had an exhibit on natural disasters. When we went to the gift shop, we new that we had to get some sort of tornado item for him.

This picture is of my oldest having his turn making a tornado.

OK...6 people. Hmmmmm

Les
Ly
LeAnne
Erica
Andrea
Claudia

MAGIC 8


One of my friends, Lisa, tagged me with this fun little meme.

The Magic 8

8 T.V. Shows I watch:


(I don't have TIME to watch 8 T.V. shows!)
1. Martha Stewart
2. The Unit
3. Everyday Food
4. Everyday Baking
5. Cook's Country
6.
7.
8.

8 Favorite Restaurants:


1. Chipotle
2. Olive Garden
3. Chick-fil-A
4. Red Lobster
5. Texas de Brazil
6. My place (with MY cooking)
7.
8.

8 Things that happened today:


(It's 5:04 p.m. Please know that a LOT more than 8 things have happened.)
1. Got all cleaned up and "purtied"
2. Broke up a fight
3. Cooked blueberry pancakes, bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs
4. Took a nap
5. Helped hubby get ready for his next tour *wink wink nudge nudge*
6. Broke up another fight
7. Worked on Christmas cards
8. Cleaned up the living room

8 Things I look forward to:


1. Christmas!
2. The February issue of our local magazine (I'm featured cook...cool huh?)
3. TSO concert
4. Getting #3's ear fixed
5. Another day with my kids
6. Another day with my hubby
7. Getting my eyes fixed

8. The birthday bash in February

8 Things I wish:


1. That I could go through the surgeries that #3 will eventually need
2. That I was a better housekeeper
3. That I had a laundry maid
4. That I wasn't so freakin' scared to get my eyes done
5. That my hubby wasn't gone for 18 days per month
6. That one of my "friend's" would write to me before I have to "kick her to the curb"
7. "Cotton was a monkey"
8. My house was always clean

8 People I Tag:

Alicia

LeAnne

Claudia

Paula

Erica

Andrea

Les

Ly

C.O.D.

Friday, December 19, 2008

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Hey, y'all. Just a fly-by today.

I have so much to do. I was gone ALL day yesterday, so I couldn't post anything. I know y'all are disappointed. LOL!!!

Anyway, I have in-laws coming in a few hours and that means a whirlwind cleaning for me.....the house is trashed.

SO...that being said. I'll try to be back on...probably tomorrow or Sunday.

See y'all later!

C.O.D.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CHRISTMAS FUN

Hey, y'all. I thought it would be fun to show you what some of what I'm doing with the kids (my own, as well as my older 2 boys' classmates.)

First off, tomorrow we are having Christmas parties in the classrooms. Second grade should have the video/TV player. We will either watch Charlie Brown Christmas or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I might read a story to them...just depends on our time.

Those kiddos will do paper activities: word searches, crosswords and other things. We are going to have a gift exchange. They are exchanging books. We are also going to have LOTS of snacks. Then we are going to make ornaments.

Here is a picture of what we are making in 2nd grade.




I took card stock and cut them into quarters. I then took these glittery trees (actually gift tags) and removed the string. They were glued onto the card stock. I added star confetti and "snow." I put my name and date (hence the scissors over part of the writing), then punched a hole at the top and used the original cold cord as the loop. Cute, huh? Took me about 5 minutes....it will take them about 30. =)

For 4th grade, we will probably read a story, have our book exchange, then eat. We chipped in money for a Chick-Fil-A tray. We will also have chips, cookies, cupcakes and juice. When they are all going nuts, we will have an ornament relay. I bought ornaments (that won't shatter) that the kids have to pass, using ONLY ornament hooks. The winners get a chocolate candy cane. We are making ornaments - an idea that I stole borrowed from one of my posters on Making a Happy Home Monday. My sample looks like this.



I saved the best for last.

This is something I have been doing for YEARS. I got this idea from a teacher friend of mine.

I trace the right hand of all my children. Each year, I alternate green or red construction paper, trace their hand and cut it out. In the palm part, I write their name and the year. Eventually, I will laminate these. I keep them in an envelope in our fire-box.

It is such a simple thing, but these are SO SO precious. When I see the tiny hand from the first tracing, compared to their hand now....wow....it just makes me tear up just thinking about it. It's not too late to start this tradition. Here they are. (They are turned over so as not to show their names. Therefore, they look like the left hand.)

These are from the first year when we had all 4 boys.

A BUNCH of hands.


C.O.D.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAY




I have some blogger-buddies who co-host this cool blog carnival. It's called "Tempt My Tummy Tuesday." Lisa, and her twin sister Lana, are the hostesses. You need to pop over to both of those sites TODAY!!! They are having a give-away, which is talked about on both sites....get on over there. Leave a link, a comment (on both sites) and mention in YOUR blog and you could win what I REALLY REALLY want. :D

Anyway, I honestly don't know how I came across these 2 lovely ladies, but I can say that they have helped me a lot with my own blog. When I started the "Making a Happy Home Monday" (thanks to my 6 regulars ;) ), Lisa helped me with Mr. Linky. And Lana designed my widget.....how cool is that?

OK....on to my own stuff.

You will be happy to know that I finally started my candy. I will post about the harder one later (it will take me longer and I have several pictures.)

I will share today about my CHOCOLATE Haystacks. (Last week, Lana did peanut butter haystacks...today, I'm doing chocolate.)





CHOCOLATE HAYSTACKS

12 oz chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
6 oz butterscotch chips
1 can of chow mien noodles
1 cup chopped pecans

In a microwave, melt all the chips. (You can do this in a microwave, but be sure to stir every minute or so as the chocolate can scorch.)

When smooth, mix in your pecans and noodles.

Stir until coated.

Drop by teaspoons onto waxed paper to set.

Slap your momma!!!

I'll try to be back soon with some other candies. I'm about 1/3 finished.....last night, I made fudge, millionaire and the haystacks. It only took me about 3 hours....I was flying! :D

C.O.D.

Monday, December 15, 2008

WHAT a DAY~


So last night, I was going to start on my candy....well the humidity was about 70%. That would have messed me up. (It would have made the sugar that I was turning into caramel get crystals and then not set properly.)

I didn't start my candy. :( But, I did get to spend some time with my DH. He has been gone for almost 3 weeks solid. I've missed him.

The plan for today was to make candy, do some baking, then have some outside pictures taken of the family. Great plan....we can do it......

Until we woke up to windy, cloudy and 30 degrees!!! And that was the high.

SO, we cancelled the portraits for another, WARMER, day.

Couldn't work in the kitchen for 2 reasons.

We are having new windows and siding put up. (Thank you hubby, for a wonderful Christmas gift.)

WELL....as they were busting out the windows, I noticed projectiles popping all over.

"Um....excuse me, sir. That is NOT a pecan. It appears to be a hunk of dry-wall....perfectly preserved in a sugar crystal because my millionaire didn't set right because it is raining. SO SORRY!"

And, since they WERE busting out windows, it was freakin' COLD in the house. The little boys, hubby and I were forced to flee from room to room, fully-clothed, including jackets, and keep covers around us. All we did was watch TV and play games. Fun....but the noses were runny.....except for #4. He has an issue with clothing. He doesn't like it (unless it's his soccer monster shirt or scooby-doo "swim soup.")

He ran around half-naked all day. It'll be interesting to see about tomorrow.

It kinda sucked though. Cold as it was, I watched the humidity hover around 30%. Decided to make my candies tonight. Well...humidity is up to 55%. Hmmmmmm......

So I guess I'll do the OTHER stuff that doesn't have to set and pray that the humidity is down tomorrow. The windows are in, so nothing should be flying around the house.

Bitter disappointment if I don't get all my yummies made....BITTER disappointment.

C.O.D.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

MAKING A HAPPY HOME MONDAY


Howdy, friends.

It's time for another installment of Making a Happy Home Monday.

The idea behind this is to encourage and inspire women to find a place in their house and make it happier. You can do this by making it prettier or making it more functional.

It is so easy to just sit back and bemoan the fact that something isn't getting done. (As the Queen of Procrastination, I feel that I'm an authority on this.) I am finding that if I just suck it up and do it, it doesn't take as long as I thought it would. And I really feel like something great has been accomplished.

So, please join me. Just sign up on Mr. Linky. Connect us to your post on what you did to make a happy home. BE SURE TO LINK BACK TO THIS POST. I hope to see you soon.

For this week's post, I have chosen to show my freezer. I have a deep freeze...it is quite large. I need to go through this one soon. The freezer I cleared out was the one above my refrigerator. It was a mess.

I had things crammed in so tightly that they would start to slip out when the door was opened.

It was so packed that it had trouble sealing shut.

Some things even caused problems. (Like the time a plastic bag got caught IN the ice maker. NOT PRETTY!)

Not only that, but I really needed to take stock of what I had, that could still be used, and get rid of the stuff that had freezer burn. Surprisingly, I didn't get rid of too terribly much ( a few pounds of meat and some old buns.) I keep a lot of my candy making and baking stuff in this freezer (coconut, pecans, walnuts, almonds, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, fruit, pie crusts) so this project came at a good time.

I almost forgot to take a picture, so this first one shows the contents of the bottom shelf and door spread out on the counter...the top shelf is still messy.






And the final product:
Sign up down below!
Have a great week!


C.O.D.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

FREE CANDY



Did you ever see this episode? It is funny. I love the lady who yells, "FREE CANDY!"

Well, the reason this is appropriate for this post is that I'm about to start on my candy.

Every year, I make lots of candy....LOTS of candy. I make enough that I can take a regular sized plate and give some to all our teachers and several friends....about 10 plates FULL of candies.

This is the first year that I'm going to document it all. I will need my hubby's help...maybe take a few pictures of the candy, in process.

Now, when I start planning my candy making, I have to look at the calendar. The candies that I generally make are not things that I can start, step away, answer the phone, go potty then come back to. If I do...there is a DISASTER that would probably lead to my having to throw away some pots and utensils. SO, I look to when my hubby is off work. He also has to be free enough to run total interference for me.

Usually when I get into the holidays, I start buying stuff for my candies in November. I try to grab a few things during each trip. The candy is not cheap to make. One candy I make takes a full pound of butter, 2 pints of cream, 2 pints of Karo syrup and 10 cups....TEN CUPS of pecans. THOSE, my friend, are not cheap. (I used to be hooked up with 10 pounds of pecans every year from my grandparents, but they don't harvest them anymore, so my supply has been cut.)

Also, when looking at the calendar, I have to consider when my kids go on their Christmas vacation. Since we give candy to my boys' teachers and some of my other friends at the school, then I need to have them done before everyone scatters for their break.

This year, I will be doing my candies starting on Monday. It will take me at least 2 days...possibly 3. The thing that will make this really difficult is the fact that I'm getting new windows and siding STARTING MONDAY. AND another issue...a more troublesome issue...is the fact that we have an arctic front moving in on Monday afternoon and it is bringing rain.

So, as I type this...I'm wondering how it is all going to work out. I NEED to get this done at the beginning of this next week. My boys are out of school, as of Thursday at 12:30. I COULD do it all Wednesday, but that makes for a VERY long day on my feet. (It usually takes me 10-15 hours to get it all done.) But like I was saying, the rain is my concern. If you bake/cook at all, you know (or you should know) that high humidity can jack you up.....especially if you are making candies or something that has to reach and maintain a certain temperature. *sigh*

With any luck, I will have some stuff to post, starting on Tuesday. At the very least, I can put up some of the recipes. I will also try to remember to rate these in ease. (One of my candies, I have to stir the entire time, until it reaches temperature.....and it takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.)

Until then!

C.O.D.

Friday, December 12, 2008

MY LOCAL NEWSPAPER


We still get it.

It is truly a small-town paper. It is printed once per week and during a good, full-of-news, week...the paper has 10 pages. Sometimes, it's only a 4 pager. Either way, the paper seems to be 75% filled with school-related news. The rest contains some local news, rarely state, never national news and short, mind-numbing blurbs telling everyone about who went on what vacation and if their rheumatism acted up or not.

Though my husband and I have been gone from our home-town since 1989, we have always received the paper - thanks to my grandparents.

For a long time now, I haven't recognized the subjects of the stories. Every now and then, I recognize the name of someone I used to babysit, but those times are getting fewer and farther between.

Most people consider writers to be professionals. They consider editors to do just that.....edit. And what does that entail? Several things....



  • Does the story flow?

  • Does the story make sense?

  • Are there any grammatical errors?

  • Is everything spelled correctly?

I personally think that these are reasonable expectations.


I mean, with computers, the holidays and all of the "educated" minds floating around my small-town of 3600, why am I baffled to see that "SANTA CLAUSE" is coming to town?

C.O.D.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CHRISTMAS: 1 CORINTHIANS 13 STYLE


I borrowed this from a fellow-blogger over here.


CHRISTMAS: 1 CORINTHIANS 13 STYLE



If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family. I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, through harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust... but giving the gift of love will endure.

~Author Unknown~

C.O.D.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

C.O.D.

This is my favorite arrangement of this song.

THE COOKIE SWAP

So yesterday, I co-organized a cookie swap. It was relatively easy to do and SO MUCH FUN.

It's not too late. You can still do your own.

We had 14 people there. We each brought enough cookies to have 2 of each kind. A friend of mine, painted some large coffee cans and bought Christmassy tea towels to cover them. I brought the makings of a book. Everyone brought their recipe. We walked away with about 3 dozen cookies, a new can, tea towel and a cookie cookbook for our goodies.

The cookbook was simple. I asked everyone to print their recipes on a half-sheet of paper. I had card stock cut in half. I hole-punched the card stock, along with 5 X 8 inch index cards. All we had to do was take the trimmed recipes and glue them onto the index cards. Then, we took ribbon and ran it through the holes...leaving us with a cute little cookbook.

I hope to do this again next year. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

C.O.D.

TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAY

My cyber friend, Lisa, over here, hosts a blog carnival where a bunch of us share recipes, tips and product reviews. It's really a lot of fun. You should pop on over :D

This recipe is new. I organized a cookie swap for tonight. I wanted something different. They are good (in my opinion) but the kids don't like them. The cranberries are not too tart. The icing is a brown butter base.....YUMMY!!!!




FROSTED CRANBERRY DROP COOKIES (Yield: 5 dozen)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons orange juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

FROSTING:

1/3 cup butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons hot water

*In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add milk, egg and orange juice; mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in cranberries and nuts.

*Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

*For frosting, heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes; transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat in water, 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting reaches desired consistency. Frost the cookies.

Monday, December 08, 2008

C.O.D.

TOO FUNNY!

This is about 5 minutes long, but it is funny. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

MAKING A HAPPY HOME MONDAY

Hey, everyone. It's that time of week. I hope you will join me for Making a Happy Home Monday.

It's an easy idea, really. You just find a place around your house to improve a bit. Make it a big job...make it a small job. It's really up to you. Any job that you do, that makes you smile has helped to make a happy home.

I just want this to motivate you...and then hopefully, between my post and some of the 0ther links, you will be inspired to do something in your own home.

PLEASE JOIN ME!

Just post your link on Mr. Linky. Then in your own post, refer back to this post. (Some of you haven't been referring back here. Please do that for me.)

So for today's Happy Home, I decided to put up pictures of my Christmas tree. (I am planning another post about the tree and decorations, but this is just focused on the tree.)

You will note in my first picture, that I have some pretty cute gifts


And after......



C.O.D.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Want your opinion


So, for Christmas Eve, we usually go to church. Then, my parents join us at our house where we have sandwich and snack stuff. We open our presents.


The next morning, we wake up (well, the kids wake us up) to their stockings, which are from Santa.

After that, we go to my parents' home for a nice meal and have Christmas there.

This year, my hubby is working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He will return on the 25th, but we won't know what time he will be home until he's home. It could be as early as around noon, or as late as midnight.

We are trying to figure out the best and easiest way to handle our normal celebrations.

My hubby wants to see the kids with their stockings from Santa first thing in the morning. I suggested that I "write" to Santa to explain that gifts should be dropped off a day later. Hubby says that the kids won't really know what day it is, so we can just off-set by one day....letting them think that the 26th is really the 25th.

What would you do?

What we don't want is for Santa to come, leave the stockings and the kids have to wait hours before they can open them.

I have a poll on the right sidebar. You can vote there. You can also leave me a comment with a suggestion.

And please.....I know some of you don't do Santa and you think it is wrong to "deceive" children with stories about him. That's fine, whatever.....

Tell me what you think.


C.O.D.

This is my FAVORITE Christmas song. I usually don't enjoy anything other than the traditional arrangement, but this adaption....I just love it.

These guys come to our church some...they sang this song this past Sunday. I rushed to get their new Christmas CD. You have to get about 50 seconds into the video, but it is worth it. Please watch.

Friday, December 05, 2008

OMG!


I'm mildly freaked about this.

My 2 oldest boys are on their first deer hunt.

I'm very nervous.

I trust their father.

I trust the people who are with them (friends from high school).

That is not the issue.

The issue is having my children hold, and shoot, a gun.

I am not anti-gun.

Not at all!

In fact, Hubby and I hope to get our conceal and carry license in the near future.

But, for my babies to be to holding killers....not something that will merely put an eye out.

I mean....YIKES!

That's hard-core.

OK....I just remembered something else and NOW I'm totally freaked! (This is funny, though.)

Hubby shot his best friend (who is going on the hunt with HIS son) in the buttocks with a pellet gun (or was it a B.B. gun, my love?) at several paces.

WHY?

I asked that a few years ago.

His response?

"To see if I could."

I repeat:

OMG!

PANIC ATTACK


Mildly.

I mean, I'm not in full panic mode, but I'm almost there.

As often, this post is for me....mainly to get it all out there. I'm not looking for kudos or "are you kidding me"s? or anything like that. If you know a way to help (particularly some ideas) PLEASE leave a comment.

SO....the death of Leonard really set me back a few days. I was busy trying to keep him comfy, not fall apart, and do SOMETHING around the house....don't know how I did on anything. All I know is that today has been the longest, most horrid day. First, I keep looking for Leonard. No, I'm not in denial. I know he's gone. But for 14 1/2 years I have had another baby to take care of. I keep wanting to check the water, make sure he is warm and fed...etc.

ALSO, I've been getting sick...it is full blown today. No matter how many tears I shed, or don't shed, I'm still snotty and coughing a lot.

And finally, (this is TMI, but it's coming out) I started today......WILL THIS DAY NEVER END?

OK....back to my panicked belly-aching.

That is me, today. I'm behind on my cards. My cards are usually MAILED by TODAY! Are they? NOPE! I still have to make about 30 of them. I don't have the picture of the boys for the inside, I haven't done our newsletter yet. *sigh*

I have a photo-shoot on Monday morning. (Doesn't that sound exciting?) Really. We have a local magazine that is published monthly. They feature a person each month for their cooking section. Well, I'm going to be featured sometime soon. COOL, HUH? I think February or March. I'm pretty stoked. So I need a sitter for that Morning.

That night, I have a Bunco Christmas party. I will be late, 'cause my sitter will be just getting off work.

Tuesday, my 2nd son has a field trip. I go on all field trips. (I'll get to drive with some really fun and great friends and then we'll eat at Chipotle.) I'll have a sitter for that. Then that night, I have a cookie swap.....that I'm organizing. I have to make the cookies for that....when? I haven't figured that out.(I'll get a sitter for that, too.)

Doesn't look too bad, huh? I forgot to tell you about this Sunday.....I have a worship team Christmas party for which I need to make a side-dish. I'm thinking deviled eggs. That is from 1-3. Then at 5:30, I have another Christmas party for which I'm making pecan bars.

(Still don't have my cards done, remember?)

Then, I get to breath until the 14th. I have another Christmas party that day...don't think I have to bring food for that. (Everydaygrace? Is that true? Just show up?)
The 15th, we are having some portraits done...I hope. They are scheduled, just don't know how we'll look with the 4 boys and 2 adults. Around that, for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I'll be baking and making my candies. THAT takes me a long time. A LONG time. This was the only time, before Christmas, that my hubby is HOME. SO...in a nutshell...what do you have? The nut!

The thing I need help with is this.....I have 2 Christmas parties to plan for school. That is not an issue. This is the 3rd year I have been homeroom mom for 2 rooms. The issue is my 2nd grader....they (2nd grade) are studying Christmas around the world. They have decided to each "be" a country and bring foods traditional to that country for the party.

We are Sweden.

Sweden.

I know of meatballs, and the hard, yucky, gummy fish candies.

Do you see my problem?

Sweden.

Help would be appreciated.
Done...gotta go procrastinate.

C.O.D.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

LEONARD



My long-time friend and dog, Leonard Purcival, died today.

I'm so sad.

I knew it was coming. He was very old.....16 1/2 years. He lived with us for 14 1/2 years.

He was smart and a bit goofy.

I will miss him.

C.O.D.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

TEMPT MY TUMMY TUESDAY


Hey, y'all. It's Tuesday....know what that means? It's time to share recipes and kitchen tips....also, I would think if there was something you needed help with, you could put it out there for an answer.

My cyber-friend, Lisa, and her sister co-host this blog carnival. It's a lot of fun!

Today, I have stew.....

Now, with this stew, you can use beef. I happen to use venison. If you *think* you have an aversion to deer-meat, I would suggest it has never been fixed properly, for you. Come to my house. But the point of this is not to sell you on Bambi's great-great grand baby....it's to share a stew recipe.

Just remember that where I use venison, you can do the exact same thing with beef. (You'll eat a cow, but not a deer? hmmmmm......LOL)

STEW

1-2 pounds stew meat (if you are using venison, be sure that anything silvery/gray...anything that looks like fat....is cut off. THIS is what makes deer meat taste bad.)

1 onion, chopped
butter
olive oil
flour (with salt, pepper, garlic powder and meat tenderizer)
1 small can tomato paste
potatoes (I like to use small, red potatoes) peeled and cut into chunks
3-5 parsnips, peeled and chopped into thick coins
3-5 carrots, peeled and chopped into thick coins
1-2 ribs of celery, sliced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
parsley

In a stock pot (I use an 8 quart), melt 1 tablespoon butter WITH 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Saute onion in oil and butter until tender, but not browned.
Meanwhile, toss meat (a bit at a time) in a large Ziploc with your seasoned flour. Toss to coat.

When onion is clear, put meat in pot. Brown on all sides. You don't want to cook the meat until done, but browned and no raw flour in pot.

Add tomato paste, stir around a bit.

Add all your veggies and can of tomatoes. Add enough water to loosen the stew.....you don't want it soupy, but if it is thick and pasty, it will scorch.

Add your bay leaf. Simmer for about 2-4 hours. (the longer you simmer slowly, the more tender your meat will be) Stir occasionally. Add a bit of water, as needed.

When ready to serve, remove bay leaf and add a bit of parsley.

GREAT with cornbread.

CORNBREAD

I love cornbread baked in a bacon-greased, cast-iron skillet. BUT, I don't have a cast-iron skillet, nor do I want one (for now.) I like my cornbread done in a jiffy....get it? JIFFY!!!!

JIFFY cornbread is cheap, easy, and nice and sweet. (The good kind to throw some milk on.)

But, the kind of cornbread we are going to make is not sweet....it's Mexican cornbread.

I like to fix a box of Jiffy, according to package directions. I then add one small can of corn (the niblets), some chopped jalapeno or a can of green chilies and a handful of grated cheese. Bake as directed and crumble into your stew.

SLAP YOUR MOMMA!!!


C.O.D.

CAROL OF THE DAY
be sure to pause my playlist



Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Ooo Ooo Ooo

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.

NEW IDEA

SO, I meant to get this up today, but it really is tomorrow. So as you sit and listen to this now, I want you to pretend it's yesterday. Comprendes?

Be sure to pause my playlist down at the bottom.



O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of Might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times didst give the law,
In cloud, and majesty, and awe. Refrain

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave. Refrain

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight. Refrain

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery. Refrain

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go. Refrain

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of peace. Refrain

Monday, December 01, 2008



My friend at Tollesons4him tagged me with this meme....seemed fun, so I'm in!

SO, what you do is this.....you grab the book nearest to you, find page 56. Go to the fifth line. Type it, and the few following. Of course, tell us the name and author of the book. (And as I'm always looking for new reads, give me a thumbs up or down :D)

I had to relocate to do this. I'm sitting on my couch and all I have around is a Junior Bible Quiz book....my son's and 6 Christmas picture books. SO, I went to where I do most, if not all, of my reading.

AND I got a little picky. Grab the closest book? How about I grab one of the 18 books in that area......I am not kidding you. I have a few Dr. Dobson books, a medical encyclopedia, several Bible study books, 2 Bibles, 2 Housekeeping books, the entire Twilight series, The Shack, 2 Karen Kingsbury, some Harry Potter.....well....it goes on and on. SOOOOOO, I chose this one:

BLEAK HOUSE, by Charles Dickens, a delicious looking novel of 817 pages. (Rubbing palms together, tempted to start it, despite the fact that I'm in the middle of 3 series and 2 other books....) I digress......

Bleak House, page 56, line 5+:

"'.....describing him to me?'
Shaking her golden hair, Ada turned her eyes upon me with such laughing wonder, that I was full of wonder too - partly at her beauty, partly at her surprise."

Doesn't THAT sound inviting......Hope to start it in January!

OK. I don't know how many people to tag; and of those, I don't know how many enjoy reading, so I won't hunt you down and hurt you, should you not fulfill your blogger-duty!

Les - at Let's Make a Memory
Ly - at Black Tie Optional
Mommy Spice
Ashley
Cammie

later, y'all!

MY BEEF WITH FACEBOOK

Now before you read into this, I just want to lay out this disclaimer. I am not mad at any person who may have found themselves involved in this. I'm just perturbed (for lack of an appropriate (i.e. STRONGER) word.)

Do you have a Facebook account? If you do, you will understand this. If not....well, I don't know if you will understand or not. I'm not going to explain the workings (as I see it) of FB. I will just jump in an assume that you know what I'm talking about....K?

So the other day, I was miffed at some folks I know who kept spouting off at the mouth, not taking into account that 1) the people hearing/reading this probably don't give a rat's rump and 2) we are TIRED of hearing it. By "we" I mean "me." I know....judgmental and all....but please, this is MY beef.

Anyway, in response to said, "MIFF"tification I put in my status bar, whatever-the-heck-it-is that "~LL~ is thinking, "You want out? Don't let the door bump your rump!"

No biggie...just my way to get in my dig without personally insulting folk and getting it OUT THERE so it is not bothering me.

My hubby tells me that he is afraid that some will think I'm referring to him.

Honestly, I was a bit upset with him over this because 1) it was NOT about him and 2) I don't care what others think.

Fast forward about 24 hours. HE gets a call from a person we knew in high school (and just recently re-connected), whose cousin (whom we have sort of known for about 2 years) saw it and asked her if WE were having issues in our marriage.

The person contacted my hubby, who is in the northeast somewhere, fighting weather and human stupidity, single-handedly, to ask if WE were OK.

Do you see why I am bothered by this? Probably not, but I just had to get it out there. I'm bothered by this. My hubby was bothered, too......not that he thought I was talking about him. He KNEW to whom I was referring. He just didn't want to put the idea in any body's head that we are having issues.....we aren't.

NOW....to my friends.....you either know us SO WELL that you knew we weren't having issues (if that is the case....thank you....love you!) OR you thought we were having issues and didn't care to check up on us. (If THAT is the case then WHAT THE HECK?)

OK....I'm done. You can start with whatever critical thing that you have to say. I just had to get this out of my head.....it was all ruinin' my MOJO and stuff!!! And I only have 24 days of Christmas celebration.

Now....for you viewing pleasure....I give you FACEBOOK!