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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Letting Go


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My poor dog...

The wildest thing happened recently. Our Welsh Corgi, Gus, began twitching his right eye.


At first I feard something neurological had occured and that we might lose him also. Because you know, I NEVER worry.


Nor do I exaggerate.


EVER.


However, once we noticed discharge coming from the eye, we thought it was a simple case of doggie pink eye. Yuck... but doable.


Well, after 2 trips to our vet, and his eye becoming very cloudy (like a cataract) we were set to an animal eye specialist.


Yes, such a thing exists.


What did we find? He got a puncture wound to his cornea at some point which introduced a fungal infection. Now we have to medicate his eye 6 times a day. SIX TIMES!!!


But my Gus-Gus is worth it.


I mean really... who couldn't love this...


Monday, July 28, 2008

Just a reminder about my running list of "soapbox" issues and articles on the side bar... "Right" on the Issues. I posted a good one today for parents of school aged children.

Update on Mom and Dad for Miracle Monday

I was really touched by the story my dad told about his recent ministry experience and felt that it was a good story to post as a true miracle this fine Monday.


For the sake of those who read here who do not know my whole story, I'll give just a little back-ground. My parents left in January of this year to minister in South Asia for 2 years as part of a program for retirees through our denomination's international missions organization. My dad has, for many years, ministered in prisons and has done a bit of globe trotting doing disaster relief work. In other words, when I really stop and think aobut it, it is not surprising that the Lord would call them to this task.

Side Note: Forgive me if any of this is confusing. I am omitting all names of people and places as I cannot give specifics of their location or anything for their safety.

My dad recently posted a story on their own website that really touched me and confirmed for me why they are where they are.

As I said, my dad has ministered in prisons for years here in the states. First through a large para-church prison ministry organization. And most recently just in a prison located locally near where they lived. So, it made sense to him that the Lord would want him to continue that ministry no matter where in the world he was and he believed that Holy Spirit had put such a desire in his heart.

He began to explore possibilities and found that Hindus and Muslims were effectively ministering in prisons where he is. But no doors were opened to him.

Then, he got word from the states that a Christian brother had been imprisoned near him and he was asked to make a "pastoral visit" if possible. He did so and I'm certain that he was a huge comfort and encouragement to this man who could only sit there and wonder, "Why has this happened?"

On one of these visits he took with him a local pastor who he thought might be able to aid in the man's release. This did not work out, but in the course of the prison visit, the local pastor found that he was long time friends with the Assistant Superindendent of the prison, who is also a Chrisitian. They had a nice reunion and they were told that they could come any time to lead in Christian worship and pass out literature.

The man my dad had originally visited in the prison has been released and is back in the U.S., but we have seen the answer to his "Why". My dad and his pastor friend recently led worship in that prison, freely preached the gospel and passed out Bibles and tracts. They also have opportunities openning up to them in other prisons nearby, including what he has heard to be the largest prison in their country.

God truly works miracles. And when difficult times come for us, we never can tell what may happen as a result or how others may be blessed because of our faith.

Romans 8:28-29 (NIV)

"And we know that in all things God works for the good fo those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."

If you think about them, please pray for them and pray specifically for this area of ministry for my dad.
Also as a side note, there have been some localized bombs being detinated in their area over the weekend. Please be in prayer for their safety as well.

For other Miracle Monday stories or to share your own, visit Beth at A Mom's Life.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Foodie Friday - Herb Garden

OK - so I realized right after I made that last post that I had something else I wanted to do for Foodie Friday next week. So, I finished this one up and you're getting it today.

Oh the indecision... it's a killer, isn't it?

So like it or not, here's this week's installment.

~~~


A wonderful thing about summer is the food. Of course, that's a wonderful thing about fall... winter... oh heck, spring too. But they're all different.

Many (including one of my bff's) will disagree with me on this, but one lovely thing about summer is the tomatoes. The fresh, vine ripe, sweet tomatoes. I got some at Costco last weekend.

Which, by the way, Costco last weekend was a mad-house. Is Christmas coming early this year? Because I don't think that everyone there was just buying tomatoes. Good grief.

But I digress.

So I bought these tomatoes and paired them with some fresh cucumbers from my man's aunt's garden. I added some feta, fresh herbs and EVOO and we had ourselves a beautiful and quite tasty, I might add, Greek salad.

Which kind of leads into my topic for today. Not really. But hey, it's my blog, and so I'll say it does.

Herbs.

I deeply believe in having a fresh herb garden. For one thing, there are times when fresh herbs are just preferable to dried for a particular recipe. Especially for grilled or fresh dishes. Dried herbs are perfect for soups, stews, and things that cook for a while. So, in order to have fresh herbs you either grow them, or buy them. I try very hard to not buy them because typically all I need is a few sprigs... then the rest of it eventually goes bad. With my own garden... I don't have to worry about it going bad.

I just have to worry about killing it.

Which is actually hard to do with herbs. Even in the Texas heat. Most of them are fairly well adapted to hot and dry conditions.

But here's a run down of essential herbs in my garden...


Sweet Basil
It's almost indestructible. I use it quite a bit with tomatoes in the summer months. But it is an annual which means you have to plant a new one each year. So worth it, though, IMO.





Thyme
Lots and lots of thyme. Right now I actually have three different varieties. The one pictured is lemon thyme which has a wonderful citrusy taste and smell. Wonderful with seafood such as shrimp along with some lemon juice to enhance this flavor.






Chives
I believe these were called garlic chives. They are very flavorful and easier than anything to grow.



Something new for this year,



Purple Sage
I haven't really used this yet, but I thought it was such a gorgeous little plant that I had to get one. I still need to do some research on what to use it with. But I think it would probably be great on some grilled chicken.





Not pictured: Rosemary (I use this all the time, especially on lamb chops. However, ours is as old as our house and is on it's last leg... I've got to dig it up in the fall and plant a new one), Flat Leaf Parsley (I use this a lot, but unfortunately, mine didn't survive a transplant within my yard... still looking for that perfect place for them), Oregano.



~~~~


Greek Salad


Several vine ripe tomatoes (cut in largish bite size pieces)
Sliced cucumbers (cut in half if they are large - but bite size)
Chopped fresh herbs (any combination of basil, oregano, thyme, etc wll do)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Feta cheese (I prefer slices over crumbled)
Extra Virgin Olive oil

When we were in Greece several years ago, we noticed it was served with the vegetables layered on bottom with some salt/pepper and some herbs. Then the slices of feta on top with the herbs sprinkled on top of that. Then the EVOO was drizzled on top of that. It's so beautiful and cool and delicious for a summer side dish.




Packin'

Ok - so the Foodie Friday post didn't happen at all yesterday. I started working on it and then realized... "Hey, it's Saturday." So, you'll get that post next Friday. I promise it will be worth the wait.

Or not.

Besides, today we're busy getting our princess ready to take her to camp tomorrow.

Yeah, you read that right. Camp. All week - over-night stayin' - horse ridin' - bb gun shootin' - lake swimmin' - CAMP.

She's so excited she just can hardly stand it.

Me?

I'm excited for her, but I'm nervous for her at the same time. I'm certain I'll be posting more on this as the week progresses.

But for now, we're just doin' our Saturday thang and getting some laundry and packing done.

~Donna

Friday, July 25, 2008

Foodie Friday will be posted later on this evening. I haven't finished it yet because, well, you know, I have to live, right?

:)

~~Donna

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's time for some campaigning

This kind of illustrates my previous post about adults acting like children. But, it's pretty darn funny at the same time. Especially when those being jabbed at tend to act like children themselves on a fairly regular basis.

A little equal opportunity political humor for you this fine day:

General Disclaimer: The viewing of the following video may cause damage to your computer due to any residual fluid that may be contained in your mouth being ejected out of your nostrils while laughing.

Disclaimer to women who have given birth: Cross your legs or go visit the potty before viewing.

Disclaimer to parents: Um, there may be a word or two that you don't want your children to repeat.



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Who is the child, here?

When did we, as adults become so childish?

What happened to having an intelligent, well mannered discussion of politics, religion, social or economic issues?

When did we, as a nation, lose our tact and sense of decency toward one another?

These questions were plaguing my man and I this evening as we seemed to read one thing after another that really seemed like childish name-calling from those who claim to be adults... intellectuals, even.

I came into the dining room after reading this article and it's related comments about how James Dobson is considering endorsing John McCain. Personally, I don't care who anyone endorses... I've got my beliefs and they most closely line up with McCain, and that's who I'm voting for. But the venom that was spewed in the comments was worse than any group of teenage mean girls. I just sat there and shook my head.

Then Mike was reading this article on creationism vs. evolution. He said the article was good, until it's author took a parting shot in calling it "gross stupidity" to "repose their faith in divine providence and godly design." Wow... he just called me grossly stupid. Was that really necessary?

And it comes from all sides. We've seen it come from Republicans as they take shots at Democrats and liberals. And, unfortunately, from Christians and church-goers as they are involved in the politics of governement or even the politics of church.

So, from where has this childish manner of relating to other people come?

Is it a self perpetuating one-upmanship contest between the public and the media? Where a trend begins and the media (be it tv, movies, or whatever) mirrors it and in an effort to be edgy takes it a little further... then the public catches up and takes it a little further... and so on.

Is there any thing we can, in particular, point the finger at? The Baby-boomers? The "hippies" (two groups that my man loves to blame for anything)?

I've heard it said that women in families tend to be the holders of traditions. So, is it a function of the feminist movement and we, as women, have thown off those traditions and failed to pass on the ideals of good manners in conversation? I tell you, women have certainly become so much more coarse in conversation in the last 15 - 20 years. So I, personally, think that this possibility cannot be ruled out.

Ladies, let us guard our words and teach our children to do the same.

Psalm 19:12-14 (NIV)

Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,

O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(emphasis mine)


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You’ll never guess what I did this summer…

I did the unthinkable while on vacation.

I picked up a book.

I started reading it.

I finished it.

It was…. well, for me it was weird.

I am one of the few people I know and in my sphere of influence that is not an avid reader. I read the occasional marriage, parenting, or Christian living book. But reading is not something that I just do for pleasure. I guess because to me, it’s not… well, it’s not usually pleasant.

However, there was this book that I had seen on several people’s blogs and it seemed that a lot of people were reading it. So, when I saw that the lady under the umbrella next door had it with her on the beach, I just had to ask her about it. She said it was one of those that you just couldn’t put down. I corrected her that I certainly could put any good book down and she looked at me and said emphatically, “Not this one.”

OK. I get it. Sold.

Mike and I went to the bookstore that afternoon during naptime so that we each could get a book. He got some spy novel thing… you know, Ludlum or Clancy or someone like that.

I got The Shack. I didn’t know the author. I didn’t even know that it was Christian fiction. All I knew was the title.

After I finished it five minutes later, my mother-in-law asked how it was. I thought about it and it seems funny to say, but this is what I came up with:

Not knowing anything about it when I started it, I didn’t really have any expectations. But, at the same time, it wasn’t what I expected.

It really was good. And what was interesting was all the different levels of theology that were thrown in. Ideas that are just kind of tossed out there for you to think and mull over. I’d say it is especially good for anyone who has experienced a loss that they’ve had a difficult time reconciling. But as I told a friend, you’d have to read it once there was some time-space between you and the loss. I can’t imagine reading it with emotions still raw from a loss.

So all-in-all, The Shack… a good read and an interesting perspective. It'll definitely make you think a little. And God may just use one or two of the ideas to speak to you, right where you are. Two thumbs up.

Monday, July 21, 2008

NOG - Week 3

Talk about in your face, life changing revelation. The last couple of weeks have seen just that for me in this study.

I have come to realize that I have serious trust issues. Yes, I have problems trusting people. I put up defenses and play the, “I won’t get hurt this way,” game. But it also translates into not truly trusting God.

After I came to this realization, and through the help of some outside reading I was doing (Don’t fall off your chair, I was doing outside reading. I’ll post about that later), I came to see that I have been living with independence as an idol. Absolutely addicted to it. Wrapped up in and attached by fear to independence.

I had been plagued for several days by the fact that I was searching and felt like I kept dancing around what the core issue was. I’d come up with this or that but nothing that seemed to really be what I thought was the core problem. (Which is partly why I didn't post anything about week 2. I never felt finished with it.) Then, when it hit me, after I really realized it, it was like a ton of bricks was lifted off my shoulders.

I don’t know yet how I am going to deal with this idol. But I do know that I’ll be depending on Jesus to help me tear it down.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Destin Pictures

For anyone who's interested... here's our vacation in a nutshell (and a little musical snack for your listening pleasure).





Vacation - The Go-Gos

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What a difference a year makes

I am posting this in honor of it being one year since I wrote it. I was not blogging at the time and, in fact, was not really writing much of anything until I wrote this "journal entry" as you might call it.

I am amazed as I look back at it as Jesus has brought me so far since this day last year. It was somewhat of a rock-bottom point for me, but also a turning point. I found that it wasn't about the job at all. He has brought me from this sense of purposelessness to an ever deepening relationship with Him that I just can't even describe.

I'm being really transparent here. I have edited a little for length, but most of the content is here.

***

July 19, 2007

Do you ever not like your job? I don’t just mean thinking, “Oh, I don’t want to go to work today.” I mean, do you really not like your job? You don’t feel like you’re using all your talents properly. Your job just doesn’t ignite that spark in you. And you end up really not liking your job. Do you ever feel that way?

So do I. It’s normal, right? That’s why it’s called work – not fun. The only catch is that I’m a stay-at-home-mom. And, when I think I don’t like my job, then I’m faced with the question, “Do I not love my children?” Then I’m faced with the “Bad Mom” syndrome which leads to further not liking my job and it is a slippery slope downward from there

That’s where I am right now… sliding uncontrollably down that slippery slope. I don’t know what it is right now, but I just can’t seem to put on the brakes. I don’t want to do things around the house, and then I hate myself for not doing them. I just want to be away from my kids, and then I feel like the worst mother in the entire world because they are getting on my nerves. Oh, I can do okay for a week or so. I’ll work really hard at it. I won’t yell or say anything sarcastic to my kids. I’ll have unnatural amounts of patience with them. I’ll even clean the house. But then, it’s almost like I use it all up and I’m spent. I lose my patience easily. I say sarcastic things. I yell. I get angry. I am a “Bad Mom.”

So, I dropped Sarah off at Fine Arts Camp this morning and brought Nathan back home and sent him to the play room while I just lay on my bed and cried. I don’t like where I am right now.
See, I’ve been looking for a job for quite a while now. Not really hitting the pavement hard looking for a job, but I went on 3 interviews this spring and nothing worked out. I was turned down on 2 of them and the other was not a good fit for our family. I’ve never had a difficult time finding a job. Getting the job at Sanwa was a breeze… NationsBank couldn’t hire me fast enough… I was pretty well a shoe-in at the church. So why is it so difficult now?

First, let me just say that part of the reason I’ve been looking for a job is that we really need to get a handle on our financial situation… it’s out of hand. We made some bad decisions and we’ve built up some debt. So the extra income that I could contribute would help out a lot. However, I believe that God has revealed to me recently that my getting a job would be a quick and dirty fix. It would be too easy. So I do believe that He is trying to teach us something here where our money management is concerned.

However, I find myself questioning some things. Why have I been getting a taste of working over these last couple of months? Why have I been put in a situation that I encountered that “spark” that comes from a really good job fit?

I have been put in situations recently where I feel like I’ve gotten a fresh taste of what that spark is like and then I get back to the reality of what my life is and I don’t like it. It seems like I can almost feel my IQ decreasing as all I hear all day long is talk of big trucks, tractors, and Barbies. I know my numbers 1-10 and my colors incredibly well by now… but get much beyond that and you’re out of my league. I get worried that before too long, I’m not going to be able to have a decently intelligent conversation. I find myself thinking, “This is not where I’m gifted. These are not my talents. This is just not good enough for me.” When there is no single more important thing I will do in my life than raise my children, I think, “This is not good enough for me.” I am a “Bad Mom,” right?

So here is where it really gets complicated. As of this morning, as I’m spent and lying on my bed crying and thinking about all this, I find myself in a bit of a “Bad Christian” syndrome. Why? I should be content, right? I should be content in all circumstances like Paul (Phil 4:11). But I’m not. And I’m not content with feeling like this.

The weird thing is that I was completely content to stay at home earlier this year. I have been able to do things with the kids’ classes at school, go on field trips, substitute when needed, have lunch with a friend, and be actively involved in ministry at our local church. I was very caught by surprise at this feeling that I had that God was preparing me for a job outside of my home. But now that I’ve been reminded of how fulfilling it is to be in a job that fits my talents and giftedness, I’m not so content any more.

So how do I do it? How do I find contentment, when it seems to be nowhere in sight? Is this discontentment something that the Lord could use to push me to look harder for a job? Should I have to look that hard?

Lord, help me find contentment. Give me the supernatural amount of patience that I need with Sarah and Nathan. And Lord, if I need to be doing things to look harder for a job, please just be abundantly clear about that. I have always felt like you would bring something my way that was just perfect… but show me how to put myself out there. Show me, Lord. Just show me that you can do it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Foodie Friday - Beach Vacation

We are back from our vacation to Destin. Back to reality. Back to the grind and all that goes with it.

On the up-side, we still have today off work and a few days to recover and just hang out before the madness of work and all starts up again. Also, it's 9:15 am and I still haven't heard a peep from my little ones. They're exhausted.

We had a great time and it really was relaxing to just sit under a beach umbrella and watch the kiddos play in the sand. Sarah and I built a sandcastle and we all smushed it together. Nathan got physically ill from all the salt water he ingested... not to mention the sand he was literally licking off his fingers. No kidding. Good times.

But this is a Foodie Friday post.

So let's talk food. Beach vacation food.

I'm all about using the kitchen in the condo and not eating out a lot while we're there. For one thing, to eat out, you have to get cleaned up, drive or walk to wherever you're going, wait for a table, wait for your food, blahbedy blah blah blah. That takes serious time away from your beach enjoyment in my oh-so-humble opinion.

However, it's a double edged sword. Because eating in takes some serious time as well. Even for one who enjoys cooking like me... when I'm at the beach, I'd rather be there and not in the kitchen.

So what's a person to do? Because ya gotta eat.

I worked my hind-parts off the week and a half or so before we left and it really paid off. I pre-made a lasagna and froze it. I also set aside some brisket that I made around July 4th, froze it and we took that as well. I mixed up some tuna salad to take for lunches. I baked cookies, brownies, and banana bread. We were ready. We ate well. And it kept me from spending tons of time in the kitchen while we were there.

I did cook a meal from scratch one evening. I was dying to buy some fresh gulf shrimp and cook them... so that's what I did. We enjoyed it, too. Pasta, shrimp, tomatoes and broccoli. We had planned to and did go out to eat one evening and really enjoyed it as well. Because you gotta eat some of the local fare.

I'll tell you one way that I misjudged, though. Our family loves breakfast. Eggs, bacon... all that. So, when we went to the store, naturally I bought all that stuff. Total waste. We ate a quick bowl of cereal (yes, Apple Jacks, if you have to know), before heading down to the beach each morning.

So, my advice is this: do not plan on a big breakfast if you're at the beach, make dinners ahead of time and freeze them to take with you, bake like crazy ahead of time so that you have some desserts, and plan on eating out at least once, because heck, you're on holiday.

Holiday Road - Lindsey Buckingham

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

missing

We just had a great morning on the beach. Nathan was feeling better after an evening of throwing up. It was overcast and not too hot. Lots of waves and seaweed floating in the water, but the waves made for good body-boarding and the seaweed, well, it kept me out of the water.

At one point we had all been doing something with Nathan and looked up at didn’t see Sarah. Of course, I just started reading The Shack yesterday, so my heart was up in my throat and my stomach was down in my feet (or maybe it was the other way around). But somehow I kept my wits about me and spotted her quickly after a walk down the beach. The current had carried her down a bit without anyone realizing it. We all had a lesson on what the currents do. All was well.

We spent all morning and towards the end of our time, the sun finally came out. But I could see the thunder clouds building in the distance. They were the big tall puffy ones that look like the Empire State Building towering in the distance. I knew the rain must be coming. So while Mike took Nathan back to the condo, we stayed longer with Sarah to enjoy the sun and surf a while longer before the rain rolled on in.

We finally came on in and cleaned up and had some lunch and were looking at the radar on weather.com to try to figure out whether or not to plan on going back out on the beach or to go to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.

Then I heard it.

The ice cream truck.

It’s funny that our poor children didn’t even flinch at the sound of the tinkey Music Box Dancer sound coming down the street. You see, we don’t ever have ice cream trucks in our neighborhood. I found it to be a travesty that Mike his mom and I all heard it and knew exactly what it was, but my children did not. So, what did I do?

“Hey, kids, do y’all want some ice cream from the ice cream truck?”

We ran outside, and made it to him before he pulled away. Sarah and Nathan both got Dora popsicles and, of course, the adults all got something as well. That’s when the ice cream truck driver told us…

We had noticed on our way out that there was a fire engine just up the street, maybe a hundred yards away. He said that they’re looking for a missing little boy; to keep an eye out for him. Blue swimsuit. Blond hair. 6 ½ years old. Lucas.

Once again, my heart was in my throat and my stomach in my toes. What must those parents be doing? Feeling? I’ve felt it before. At the World War II Memorial in Washington DC when Sarah wandered off. At home when the pest control guys were there going in and out and up in the attic and all of the sudden I couldn’t find Nathan (he was 1 at the time) and he had wandered into my bathroom and closed the door. And just earlier that day there on that very same beach.

Your heart is racing. Your eyes are darting around looking everywhere. Your hands grab your head as you feel like it is about to explode.

Every mother and father on the beach that knows about it is collectively holding their breath with those parents just praying he is found.

Then, as we were headed back across the street, I saw her. A precious mother running across the street to take her once lost son into her arms.

To say that the sight of it was emotional for me is an understatement. And I can safely bet that she will want to hold him in her arms the rest of the day. I know that I would.

Monday, July 14, 2008

En Route

I’m sitting here in the Residence Inn “gatehouse” watching people come and go as they eat their breakfast. I’ve got my medium grade coffee with a thimble of hazelnut creamer, my institutional grade croissant, and a “make your own” waffle maker that keeps beeping at this hair-raising tone and volume. Not to mention the gnat that keeps flying in front of my face that is about to find itself smashed on my computer screen.

So I am watching all these people and wondering: Why are they here? Are they en-route to some place else like we are? Is Jackson MS their end destination? What on earth would there be to do here? - No offense if you happen to live in Jackson, but I feel pretty certain that I know all 5 of you that read my blog and that none of you live in Jackson MS.

I’m sure there are some fun things, but compared to where we’re headed… seriously. The BEACH, people. The Emerald Coast. White sand, clear blue water, the gentle breeze coming off the gulf. Sorry, but Jackson MS just doesn’t compare.

I think about this in respect to life. I am so glad that life here on this planet earth is not my end destination. Because really, what on earth is there to do here? I mean when you compare to what we’ll do in heaven. There are good things here. And certainly we are to be about His work while we are here. But I long for the day I will totally fall down face first and see Him for who HE IS! Oh, I am just about in tears here in this hotel eating area just thinking about it.

We are en route, friends. Think on that, today.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

And we're off...

There are moments when having a 3 year old is very difficult. Like the 4th of July weekend, for instance. And then there are moments like this when it really seems worth it.

This about says it all....

video

Faster than a speeding bullet! (From a water gun.)

More powerful than a locomotive! (At least the Thomas the Tank Engine variety.)

It's a bird... it's a plane... it's Super Little Man!

And we're off!

See you in a few days.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Foodie Friday - Flashback

I got home one evening from work and after only a few minutes I'd had it up to here with my kids (picture me holding my hand WAY above my head). The sheer number of consequences and punishments I had to dole out in my first 10 minutes at home from work was just staggering.

Nathan had 2 poop accidents in his pants. Sarah had left her wet towel from the pool in her floor... again. Then I found a big spot of wetness on Nathan's floor. I asked him who's tee-tee it was, hoping he'd say Gus, our Welsh Corgi, was to blame. But alas, no, "It's mine," he happily responded.

And on top of all of that, the box of Cinnamon Apple Jacks was left on the counter with only about 10 little o's left in it. Apparently, they had convinced the babysitter that Cinnamon Apple Jacks would make for a good snack at some point that afternoon. Big deal, you might say.

Well, yes, as a matter of fact it is. At least today it was. Especially when I made a point to tell them that they would not be having a second bowl-full that day because Apple Jacks weren't something we have all the time. They are special and we're not going to eat them all at once.

In my words to my man when he got home and I'd had it "up to who knows where" with my kids, "They're never having Apple Jacks again.... EVER."

He just laughed.

Because he knows I'm really a softy.

They'll get Apple Jacks again.

When they turn 30 or so.

So, that night I had to go to the grocery store and I passed by something that took me back a few years.




Yes, Little Debbie Nutty Bars.

I remember that they were the favored snack to buy in the lunch line. Because there was not one, but TWO in the package. And the package was longer than the others, so clearly I must be getting more for my money with this purchase.

I can also remember so vividly peeling the layers apart and eating them one by one. I'd get mad it one would break in the middle, but secretly enjoy it because it lasted longer. And every once in a while, I'd just chomp down through all the layers at once. But that was rare because I'm all about drawing it out and making things last and enjoying them.


(Like the Apple Jacks.)

Mike's face lit up when he saw them after I got home.

You see, I'm not COMPLETELY without heart. I could not, with anything that is in me, deprive my kids of the wonderful goodness that is the Little Debbie Nutty Bar. It would just be completely un... well... un-American of me.


But he also noticed that I didn't buy any Apple Jacks.


Yep, I've got another 25 years or so before I have to buy them again.


What was your favorite Little Debbie or maybe Hostess snack while you were growing up?





Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How's your week?

I can't remember if I've mentioned it lately, but we're getting ready to go to Destin for a few days.

Here's how my week at work is going:







Update:
OK - sorry the whole strip didn't fit like I thought it would. I guess click on them and you can see the whole thing at Dilbert.com
I love me some technology.

Monday, July 7, 2008

TDF

This is one of my favorite events of the summer. Le Tour!

It takes me back to a younger and simpler time in my life when I was simply a nanny living in France and able to travel by myself and experience new things without having to answer 100 questions from seven year old.

A much simpler time.

You have to watch for a while and get used to these announcers... but I just think it's a blast.

You'd think he'd lose his voice at some point.

I just realized that I zoomed on past and didn't let all y'all know how our 4th of July was since I've been away from the blogosphere all weekend.

It was great.... see ya later.

No, you don't get off that easy.

(And "all y'all" is plural for "y'all" for all of you who aren't Texans. Or Rednecks. Or Southern. Or American)

Hindsight being 20/20 and all, our weekend went something like this starting on Thursday:

Little Man: "I don't feel good. I'm sick."

Me: "Good. I knew Dr. A needed some more money for her daughters' college fund."

At the doctor's office...

Dad: "What's that nurse Angela, he has a red bead in his ear and you're going to have to hold him down to dig it out?"

Little Man: screaming ensues....


*sigh*


I know it happens to every family with children at least once. It's a right of passage. The foreign body in the ear/nose.



Fast forward to Friday evening:


Mom: "Hey, I've got a great idea! Let's drive over, and park down the street, then walk several blocks so that we are positioned right next to where the city's fireworks are being shot so that then it will be almost 11 pm before the kids are in bed."


Family: "yea."


Mom and Dad: fighting over where to sit, etc.


Kids: fidgeting and whining while waiting for the firewors


Fireworks begin.


Little Man: screaming ensues...


*sigh*


I saw a sum total of about 2 minutes of an approximately 20 minute show. The upside is that we did get far enough away that he was able to watch and appreciate them.

Me: "Hey, I've got another great idea! Honey, how about we invite your family over for dinner so that we can get the kids in bed real late again, they can cry when your mother leaves, and I can play in the kitchen a bit."

kids: "Yea Nanny! Nanny is great! Give us chocolate cake!"

Fast forward to Saturday evening when she is leaving...

Little Man: "Nanny, can I come wif you?"

Nanny: "No, sweetie. I'll see you next week."

Little Man: screaming ensues...


*sigh*


The curse of the Nanny crack strikes again.


Now, it would appear that Nathan did nothing but scream all weekend... but we really did have a pleasant, fun, and relaxing time.

I hope you did too.

But without all the screaming.

Now, if only I were also a size 4!

Sarah and I were watching a chicken cook-off on the food network the other night.

There were over 20,000 recipes submitted and they narrowed it down to 51 (each state + DC). They were then going to announce the top 5 with 1st place winning $100,000.

Holy schmokes! $100,000. What I couldn't do with that kind of coin.

Anyways, some of the people in this contest live on the competitive cooking circuit. They are what you might call semi-pro in the culinary world. They are home cooks, not culinary school trained, and they are incredibly creative with their cooking.

Sarah paid me a huge compliment by saying, "Mom, you really should do that."

Oh, that's sweet. I will. I will spend hours of my oh-so-abundant free time in the kitchen with you peering over my shoulder asking why I am doing each - and - every - step. Yes, dear. That sounds like great fun. Sign me up!

Seriously, I'm great at finding a great recipe... but the coming up with one on my own sounds a little intimidating. I don't think I could do it.

As we're watching, of course, there are commercials. After watching one of them, she says to me, "Mom, you need some of that."

"Why is that?"

"Because you could make all the white in your hair go away."

(It was an add for a root touch-up product for hair color.)

"Why do I need to do that?"

"Because I don't like to see the white. It makes you look old."


*** SIGH ***


For one thing, who does she think is responsible for about half of this "white" (as she calls it)?

For another thing, much of my white is concentrated in one area on the right side of my forehead. And what she doesn't realize is that this is very fashionable. I mean, Stacy London and I are practially twins with our little streaks....



See... practically twins.

Well, maybe in my dreams I'm as hip and beautiful as she is.

But with my perfectly placed natural streak... I am well on my way.

Sarah just doesn't realize what a fashion forward mom she has.

That lucky girl.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Foodie Friday - July 4th Patriotism Edition

What is patriotism?

My dear friend, Merriam-Webster, defines patriotism as love for or devotion to one's country, and patriot as one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.

In my personal opinion, in this country, it's fairly easy to be counted as a patriot. Although I do believe that there are plenty of people who live here that truly do not love and are not devoted to this great Nation of ours, being a "patriot" is very trivialized and easy to do without a lot of sacrifice on our part. But, just wearing red, white and blue doesn't cut it for me.

To me, patriotism is a deep belief that this Nation is the greatest on earth. That there is no better place to live. It is such a deep belief that one is willing to do whatever it takes to protect it and our way of life; even when that means putting our nation's interests above those of the rest of the world. (See also a link to an article I posted on patriotism here.)

To truly appreciate patriotism for me, I have to think about what this country is about. To me, it's a lot about freedom. And as I sit here and think back on our nation's rich history, I can see the story of freedom being told over and over again. It's why the first settlers came here. It's what the oppressed slaves of the south so desperately sought. It's what we fought for in two World Wars and what we continue to fight for today. Freedom. And that freedom is worth fighting for.

And I can see how God can use that story to show His ultimate freedom through Christ. Because freedom? It's not just an American thing. It's a God thing. A GOD THANG!

So as a patriot, with a deep love and appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America and as a Christian who is experiencing and yet still learning what freedom in Christ is truly about, I say to you, Happy Independence Day and Happy Freedom Day!


On to more important issues... the food, people, the FOOD!

What foods make us think, "4th of July", "Independence Day", or about "Patriotism"?

I don't know about your kneck of the woods, but here in the Lone Star State, it's all about the barbeque. And around here, barbeque isn't pork. It's beef brisket (or "biscuit" as my 3 year old little man calls it).

Now, the best brisket is smoked. And around here, there are some people that know a thing or two about smoking some meat. One of those people is my Uncle Bob. This is the smoker he built:

It's complete with a ferris wheel type contraption on the inside that keeps the various cuts of brisket, sausage, turkey or whathaveyou all rotating and getting the essence of that smokey goodness.

But, lacking that kind of equipment in my humble home kitchen, mine is baked. Or more accurately, braised. The process starts in the evening when I coat the brisket in a rub and let it marinate overnight. Then, after adding a little Shiner Bock, I bake it at a low temperature for hours upon hours until it is baked into submission as a tender, falling apart slab of beef.


Oh, it is a glorious thing. Yes, a good brisket is a mighty glorious thing.


That and some good old fashioned fireworks!


Happy 4th everyone!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I got all my sistahs and me

Sunday afternoon was a nice time.


I met my sisters, my aunt, and my cousin to see the musical Hairspray.


Both of my sisters had seen the movie version and had been raving about it for the better part of a year. I had not seen the movie and was skeptical as the last couple of theater experiences I've had have been quite disappointing.


It was several years ago and I was dying to see Rent. It was all the rage. So, my man took me. It was awful. Oh, I suppose the singing and acting were fine. It was the story-line we couldn't get with and really couldn't see past it.


And then, more recently, we went to see a play with our friends Glenn & Val. Unfortunately, Glenn didn't really read up on the play before we went. It was written by Tennesee Williams. I can say the acting was excellent on this one, but much like Rent, the subject matter made some of us very uncomfortable. It was to the point for Glenn & Val that we couldn't get to intermission soon enough. Needless to say, we left.


So, Hairspray... it was a lot of fun. I got into it and by the finale, we were all smiling and clapping.


We continued on a good note and went to the Cheesecake Factory for an early dinner.






WE ARE FAMILY!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - 5 Ingredients or Less Edition


Oh, this is exciting, friends. My VERY FIRST (and possibly last) WFMW post. It is a monumental occasion. Maybe I should make a t-shirt.


Nah. 'Cuz I'm really the only one who cares.


I have not felt the urge to ever post for Works for me Wednesday before because, frankly, I've rarely found ANYTHING that works for me that is worth sharing. Seriously.


However, when there's a special edition about one of my favorite subjects, I can't resist. And this one was a particular challenge for me because I'm not usually all about the simple and easy recipe. But to find something in my arsenal of recipes that includes 5 ingredients or less, well, that was a challenge I was willing to put aside my feelings of inadequacy in the WFMW realm to try to meet.


For other Works for Me Wednesday posts of recipes with five ingredients or less, visit Rocks in my Dryer. Heck, you may be inspired to post your own.


So, without further adoo...


Grilled Cajun Turkey Tenderloin

from Cooks.com


1 pkg. boneless fresh turkey breast tenderloins

1 1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 - 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper


In small bowl combine all ingredients except turkey breast tenderloins. Spray turkey lightly with Pam. Coat evenly with spice mixture.

Prepare grill. Place aluminum foil drip pan in center of grill with hot coals around it, fill with 1/2" water.

Place turkey on grill 4 to 6 inches from coals, directly over drip pan. Cover grill with lid. Grill 20 minutes. Turn and cover. Grill 15 to 25 minutes more or until turkey is no longer pink in center. 5 servings.


A couple of chef's notes:


  • We use a gas grill. I sear the tenderloins well on all sides over direct flame. Then I move it to cook thoroughly on the un-lit side of the grill.

  • The packages of tenderloins that I get come with two large tenderloins which are teryaki marinated. It makes for a nice combination.

  • We usually have plenty for our family of 4 for dinner (including 2 small children - but who can put away some food every once in a while) and still have leftovers for sandwiches or another whole meal.

  • I don't think it usually takes as long as this recipe indicates.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

And he was so excited...

Last week, the ignition switch on my car started acting up.

You know, where you stick the key in and turn it on. THAT's the ignition switch.

I know this because my man, he is a car guy.

And I can't help but have some of it rub off on me. I know parts of cars that it is COMPLETELY unnatural for a girl to know.

But I still can't change a flat tire. So, I guess I'm safe in the girl realm.

I'm convinced he secretly doesn't want me to know how to change a flat tire just so he'll have to come rescue me. His damsel in distress.

**SIGH**

But back to my ignition switch problem. It reared it's head a week ago... last Tuesday afternoon. I went across the street to Target during my lunch time to pick up a few things. I got back out to the car and tried to turn it on and I couldn't get the key to turn.

As me and my groceries are melting in the 300 degree car parked in the treeless parking lot of a Target smack-dab-in-the-middle of Texas... my key won't turn. I can't get the car to start.

So I call my knight in shining armor to come and rescue me from 30 miles away (seeing that he was at his place of employment). We finally got the car started. But turning the key and getting it out of the "starting" position was all very difficult.

Mike called that afternoon to get the 411 on a new ignition switch only to find out that he had to order it in person with 1) the VIN, and 2) proof of ownership i.e. the title. It has something to do with computer coding and whatnot. AAANND, it was going to cost upwards of $250. OHH... oh, and it was going to take a week to 10 days to get here.

Have I mentioned that we're going to Destin? We need the car for that trip, by the way.

My man's elation was so evident when I got his email to day that our part had come in. So, following what I hear to be the trend in the blogosphere, we will unbox our ignition switch for you and let you simply marvel at the greatness that is Swedish Engineering...












Personally I'd rather unbox a pair of Dolce & Gabbana Leopard Pony Pumps. But a girl can't have it all. You take what you can get. And right now, that's a brand-spankin'-new ignition switch from Sweden.

No car story involving my husband would be complete without a view of the work in progress. Because, you know, things NEVER go as planned. The five minute job takes 30 and the couple of hour project turns into days.

I'm not dissing him... he's just way to optimistic as a general rule. More pessimism, honey. We need more pessimism.





Yes that's a drill down there and those, they are metal shavings. He had to drill out some bolts holding the old part together. "At least," he says, "I haven't had to take the saws-all to your car yet."

Yet.

But I am happy to report that he did get the part installed and my car running again without the use of a saws-all or too many death threats against the Swedish engineers who designed my car.

He sauntered back inside. Yes, he sauntered with a sense of victory. He had won.