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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I See What You're Saying!


Linda @ 2nd Cup of Coffee is hosting a carnival so that we can all kind of virtually meet each other. Please join in if you have time today. You can click on the icon above to go read all about it.

Personally, I debated back and forth on whether or not to do this. For some crazy reason, I decided to do it. I'm still not quite sure why.

OK... disclaimers:

* It was really late Monday evening when I recorded. So, please for give the hair, no make-up, etc. Just look at it this way, you're getting the "real" me.

* Everything that I said sounded way more interesting in my head. It really did. So I apologize for the content.

So, now, without further ado,

Take 3...

... aaaaannd....

.... ACTION!



Monday, September 29, 2008

In need of some fashion help.

We had a busy, and yet kind of relaxing weekend. House cleaning, Aggie football, soccer, haircuts, shopping, normal church stuff on Sunday... whew. And yet we did just spend some time hanging out. How about you?

Like I said, one of the things I did was to go shopping. You've got to understand, first, that when I say shopping, it may not be what you're imagining. I don't do malls. Or, at least I try not to. If I'm shopping for clothes for me, my most likely first stop is Stein Mart.

Oh how I love Stein Mart.

We had gone to get Sarah's hair trimmed up and it's pretty much on the way home. So after what seemed like 3 hours that we spent at the kids hair place (really more like 1 1/2 hours), we went to Stein Mart before heading home because mama had some birthday money to spend and I've been so completely OUT on my wardrobe lately.

I have actually had my eye on this pair and this pair of Naughty Monkey shoes that I was convinced I was going to buy. However, the Lord was faithful and smiled upon me as I went the more frugal route and got 2 pair of shoes plus a handbag, 2 blouses, a sweater, a pair of jeans, a necklace + earrings and a bracelet that will be a Christmas gift.

No, I have not taken to buying my own Christmas gifts.

It IS for someone else.

But these are the shoes I bought.




No, they may not be as completely AWESOME as the NM's, but they are cute none-the-less. And they are what I have been looking for. I wanted a little pair of flats to wear casually with jeans and these are about the cutest ones I've seen in a while. They have a ballet pointe shoe look to them and I love the detail of the little bow. I've also been looking for the right pair of red heals for a while now and these are as close as I've gotten to finding it. And since I didn't spend as much on the shoes as I would have otherwise, I got a lot more other stuff. Like this purse.







Here's where I need y'alls help. I had a sinking feeling yesterday that may buyers remorse over this purse. So what I need to know, BEFORE I take off the tags... Is it cute? or is it my GRANDMA'S purse?

I NEED your opinions and please be HONEST.

***

And completely unrelated, I posted below some of my favorite posts from the last year. So, feel free to look through them if you like. I'm going to post a like on my top bar to them later.

My Favorite Posts

At Way More Homemade, we hand craft our blog posts and like to keep you guessing with a pinch of "this" and a dab of "that". Then throw in a little bit of "you never know what you're gonna get" and chill for 1 hour.

Following this recipe, here's a sampling of what you might find around here:

Food related challenges I participate in (I love almost all of these posts):
Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge
Flavor of the Month



2009

Faith:
The Perils of a Safe Nesting Place
What is Jesus' Middle Name
Challah - The Spiritual Side of Bread
(I wasn't sure what heading to put this under)

Family:
13 Years
Baptism
A little about me... apparently...

Food:
Butterfly Garden Cake & Cookies
Firetruck Cake & Cookies
Marshmallow Fondant

Funny:
My Bloody Valentine
Is there a meeting for this?

On the more serious side:
Images
The Spirit of Aggieland - looking back at Bonfire




2008

Funny:

An Ode to DQ
Foodie Friday - An Apple a Day and Central Market
The Potty Training Chronicles (Part 5) - Standing Up
Lessons learned from an evening at the ballpark

On the more serious side:
Wordless Wednesday - A Newly Coined Word
Three year old theology
Who is the child here?
The time has come... to say goodbye
missing




2007

First Days

Friday, September 26, 2008

Soup's On Saturday - Tortellini and Sausage Soup

My sweet friend Tiffany at But I Had A Tiara is hosting a blog carnival for soup recipes since they "heart soup" so much around her house.

My submission for this week is Tortellini and Sausage soup. You can see it on my recipe blog.

The great thing about this recipe is that it can be used as a base for a really good spaghetti sauce. Just thicken it up a bit with some diced tomatoes and tomato paste.

For those of you who are experiencing more fall-like weather than we are currently, enjoy your soup.

Personally, here in the Great State of WARM, we'll wait until it finally cools off.

In November.

If we're lucky.

Foodie Friday - Banana Bread

Did you ever watch Seinfeld back when it was on? WAS? What am I thinking? Hello... syndication!

Do you have a favorite episode? I do. I actually have a couple of favorite Seinfeld episodes. They are my favorites because they relate to my life in a real way.

The first is the one about the wedding invitations. Remember that? George was getting married and to save money (while also trying to get out of the wedding at every turn), he ordered the cheapest wedding invitations he could get his hands on. Then, while sealing the envelopes, his fiance, Susan, passes out and later dies because of toxic glue.

It really is hillarious.

In a Seinfeld sort of way.

And this relates to me how?

I send out a lot of client correspondence in my real "9-5" job. There was one day recently, in particular, that after about the 15th letter I was sealing that day, I was afraid that was going to be me. I could picture nothing else in my mind other than this poor woman barely licking that last envelope and then keeling over.




Favorite episode # 2... drum roll please... The Muffin Tops.





So who here agrees about the muffin tops? Aren't they delicious? With that crunchy crumb topping on them?

Well, it was with the muffin top inspiration that I developed my own version of banana bread... with a crumb topping.



I must say... it is quite deeeelicious.

I started with the recipe out of my old standby, Better Homes & Gardens "New Cookbook" (copyright 1989 - oh yeah, the pictures, they are snazzy). After a while, I began to monkey around with it a little.

(Get it? Monkey around... we're talking about banana bread here people.)

(Yes, I hear the collective *groan* out there.)

I decided to standardize the amount of mashed banana to 3 bananas, regardless of size, rather than the listed 1 cup of mashed banana. A) this was easier to remember, and 2) like you're really going to mash up a bunch of banana and then only measure out one cup and ditch the rest. I also find that this amount gives a powerful banana flavor to the bread and keeps it from drying out.

Oh, and the bananas... they have to be really ripe. I mean so soft the skin tears them apart ripe.

I also added a "muffin top" to it with just a simple crumb topping. It really gives it a little something extra, don't you think?

To see the recipe head over to my recipe blog here.

I also want to open up the floor. Are there any food related topics that you would like for me to talk about or cover? A particular recipe you're looking for? Maybe a question about kitchen tools and gadgets? Ask away. I'm certainly no expert, but I'd love to hear if you have a question. And I can do my best to find an answer.

Email me at waymorehomemade (at) yahoo (dot) com

And let me know when you make some banana bread and I'll sit down and share a virtual slice and glass of milk with you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

And apparently Star Wars

Hello peeps in blog-land.

This has been one of those weeks where there has been so little and so much going on all at the same time that I find myself quite speechless.

Shocking... yes, I know.

Today I mainly wanted to let you all know that I've been busy rewriting my "About" page. It is done and up. You can link to it above or see it here.

I am also working on a list of favorite posts to give anyone new here a feel for what this blog is about... which in a Seindfeld-esque sort of way is "nothing."

So, if you have a particularly favorite post that sticks out in your memory, please leave a comment and tell me. You don't have to remember a title or date or anything. You could describe it like a Friends episode title... "The one where..."

I seriously need to stop watching re-runs.

Have a great day and may the force be with you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - A newly coined word


"Sunlashes"
Coined by my 7 year old.
Find other Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

All thinking aside, I have some feelings on the subject

I was asked to participate in a leadership class on Sunday nights at our church over the next few weeks. In fact, it was really weird how it happened.

I got a note about it from our worship pastor in the mail. It was addressed to me, but it read, “Dear friend,…” and proceeded to tell me that he had submitted my name for this class. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to it figuring that he had sent this same letter to a bunch of people in the worship ministry. And, I’ve never thought that he considered much about me at all… much less that I was a leader in the worship ministry.

But then, I also got an email from our children’s pastor that she, too, had submitted my name for this class.

OK, o-KAY. I get it. I’ll go.

We’ve talked about several aspects of leadership so far including hard skills (what a leader does) and soft skills (who a leader is). The hard skills include: crafting a vision, building a team, being an agent of change, executing/getting things done, communication, and inspiring others. The soft skills include: life long learning, authenticity, having emotional intelligence, possessing key character traits, people skills, and social intelligence. We are only about half way through this list and still have several topics to go, but this is a nice point for me to stop and take inventory of what I’ve learned so far.

I found it interesting that the same week that we talked about authenticity was the same week I had lunch with my bloggy friend at Notes from the Wall. One thing we recognized while we were at lunch was that some of our online relationships are more authentic than those in real life.

This was evidenced this past sunday when a dear woman who I have considered to be a mentor for many years came up to me and said, "My daughter says she knows more about you than I do now... she found your blog."

I find it interesting that at church we can walk around with the beautiful mask on and let everyone think that everything in our lives is just peachy. But on our blogs, we tend to tell the truth.

Why is it easier to tell the truth to people whom you do not necessarily see day to day?

For me, personally, I have such a hard time completing a thought when I speak that writing allows me to form my thoughts in to coherent sentences without being interrupted. With as long as it takes me sometimes to complete a thought verbally, I am assured to be interrupted as some point.

But this past week, we talked about emotional intelligence: understanding the emotional world in general, properly managing our own emotions, and properly responding to other people’s emotions. This is where I had a personal epiphany this week.

I took several personality profiles throughout college. The main one indicated that I respond to things from a feeling perspective rather than from a thinking perspective. I’m a feeler.

Well, I found out pretty quickly in the real world of business and banking that I couldn’t expect to be taken terribly seriously in business matters if all I talked about what how I felt about a topic. So, as a conditioned response, I began speaking about things as a thinker. “I think (this or that)” versus “I feel (this or that)”. This became such a habit that it is still with me today. I think I might even be considered a closet feeler at this point.

So, in the discussion this past week, we were instructed to respond to “head” (thinking) statements in kind (with “head” statements) and to “heart” (feeling) statements in kind (with “heart” statements). And it was at this point that I realized where some of my frustration has come from in dealing with other people when they do not respond to me the way I think (or feel? I’m so confused) they should.

I am putting statements out there externally as head statements, and yet, internally for me they are heart statements. They are being responded to as head statements, when really what I’m looking for is a heart response.

I’m putting one thing out there, and expecting something completely opposite in return.

It definitely keeps my hubby on his toes.

It really was quite an epiphany for me. And hopefully a moving forward point.

I feel better having said all that.

I also feel very itchy… still.

And I feel like the itching will never end.

But I also feel like the internet has shown me that there is always a worse situation than what I am in.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Miracle Monday - Praying for a Miracle

Today’s Miracle Monday post is not so much about a miracle that has happened, but a miracle we are praying for.

If you didn’t know, my parents are missionaries in South Asia. Their names and exact location cannot be published for security reasons.

They are overseas with a 2 year mission program designed for retirees. They are sent over and paid a salary for jobs that they do within our mission organization for our denomination. Along with their job responsibilities, they have involved themselves with several groups and put themselves in the position to minister to people in the country where they are currently living. It all keeps them very busy.

Recently violence and persecution toward believers has increased in the areas outside of their city, and it seems to be getting closer and closer to them. From reports we are hearing pastors have been murdered, homes and churches burned and many families displaced as they flea for their lives.

It is a serious situation. One that would not have come to my attention were it not for my parents’ presence in this area.

Right now we are praying for a miracle. For divine intervention on behalf of these believers as they follow the Father’s leading. For peace as they face horrendous atrocities. Wisdom on when to stand and fight and when to run.

Pray with me, friends. Pray for my parents and their safety. Pray for them as they minister to locals in their area who have been personally affected in these attacks.

Pray, believing.


You can find further information at the go2southasia.org website and specifics are located here.

To find other Miracle Monday posts, visit A Mom's Life.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Foodie Friday - Resources

It's possible that this may be my most random Foodie Friday post to date.

I got some bumps earlier in the week that I wrote off as bug bites. But then more and more showed up and began itching. So I called Thursday morning and was able to get in to see my doctor that afternoon. I also called my mom to confirm whether or not I'd had chicken pox.

So I went to the doctor... I had to step on that dreaded scale... and I had to get a shot.

Now, I'm currently known around my house as "Queen Itchy." If you'll remember from the Pixar movie Monster's Inc., the abominable snow man relays to Mike and Sully how big foot wore poison ivy on his head and called himself King Itchy. Well, now I'm the one with poison ivy. And here's the culprit:




My beloved herb garden. I was working in it and the rest of the flower bed on Sunday and don't at all remember seeing anything that looked like poison ivy or poison oak. It's stealthy. And vicious. Much like the devil himself.

So after the doctor and getting the kids shipped off to soccer practice with their dad, I headed to the grocery store to get a steriod cream perscription filled (which is NOT working by the way). While I was waiting, I wandered around the store, just enjoying being in the grocery store without kids. Because if you have kids, you most likely know that grocery shopping ceases to be any fun with them around.

And as I was wandering, I picked up a few extra things. You know, for the sake of research...




Which leads me to my topic for today. Resources. Specifically cookbooks.

Now, as you can see above, they come in many shapes, forms, and fashions. I find that having a variety to pull ideas from is helpful in my kitchen.

So many of what used to be considered gourmet restaurant type dishes are making it into the home kitchen these days. There is such a greater appreciation now (as opposed to in the past) for cooks and chefs. Evidenced by the crazy popularity of people like Emeril Lagasse and Tyler Florence. So with this rise in popularity has come an influx of cookbook resources on the market.

1. The Periodical

Even the periodical comes in many forms from the Rachel Ray magazine, to Southern Living, to Food & Wine and Gourmet. While I have used recipes out of almost all of these publications, I do not subscribe to all of them. I may pick one up in the airport for plane reading material or at the grocery store on a lark. But they do not serve me well on a regular basis. What I want from a periodical is methods and explanations to help me learn. Therefore, the one I do subscribe to is Cook's Illustrated. You've probably "heard" me sing it's praises before, and I'll do it again.

This is the magazine version of the public television program, "America's Test Kitchen." They take no advertising, so when they do food or product comparisons, I feel like they are giving unbiased opinions. Also related is Cook's Country which is similar and includes quick fixing recipe cards that you can punch out of each issue.




2. The Specialty Book

This is definitely not your mother's cookbook. There are entire cookbooks dedicated to variations of a single food, cooking method, or dish, like Risotto as pictured below. I also have in my library specialty books for chocolate, and baking. These are wonderful resources for really honing your skills in a certain area or giving you ideas for branching out beyond the way you might normally prepare a dish.





3. The Theme or Celebrity Book

This is different from the Specialty book as it may have a collection of recipes from many different genres of food but they are tied together by a theme or celebrity personality. Take, for instance, the Today's Kitchen cookbook pictured above. There are a lot of different types of recipes from a lot of different celebrity chefs, but they are tied together by the personalities of the Today Show cast. Or, for instance, in my library, I have several books based on the "French Classics" theme. Another variation of this might be the fundraiser cookbooks that we all have in our collections. These books are good to just see a variety of different recipes from a variety of sources.

4. The Old Standard

It never goes out of style, does it? It's the same cookbook your mother used... maybe even your grandmother... just a slightly updated version. Mine was up to date (kind of) when my dad gave it to me in college. I could never get rid of it, even if it is out of date, because there's something so familiar and down-home about it.




So what does one look for in buying a new cookbook? Well, obviously it depends on what you're looking for. This is something that you have to try several kinds of books and see what you like.

If you're anything like me, you'll choose books with beautiful pictures. I love pictures, especially beautiful pictures of food. But for a periodical, you would love the utilitarian no frills just give me the right information look.

Or, maybe you're like my friend Lolly and your favorite resource is the phone book.

You know, whatever works.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

eeewwwwww!

One of the fun things Sarah got to do this summer was to go to a couple of classes/camps offered by our city's parks and recreation department.

One of them was called Creative Cooks. She's a girl after her mother's heart, I tell you. They made several edible creations and had a great time.

The other was called Camp Einstein and was science based. This gene, she got from her daddy. She had a great time and the worked with several different polymers (what ever that is).

It was either on Thursday or Friday of that week that she came home and informed us of the following very matter of factly, "Owls eat rodents and then throw up the bones. They catch them and eat them and then, blech, they throw up what they cannot digest, like the bones and stuff."

This was not a tidbit of information that I think either her daddy or I were really aware of so we acknowledged it as such and were ready to move on. Until she informed us that she brought some home to show us.

WHAAA?

Thankfully it wasn't the wet mess I was expecting.

But I can just see it now. They find this on a nature walk that afternoon and the teacher asks if anyone wants to take it home. Sarah raises her hand and says, "Oh, I want to." The teacher thinks for a minute back to the previous day when we were late to pick her up because the babysitter got lost and decided it would be a fair payback.

Oh, yes, I can see her sideways glance right now.

And thus you have my Wordless Wednesday post from yesterday.

Yes, they are likely rodent bones, brought home not by my son, or a cat or anything normal, but by my daughter because they were the vomit of an owl. Lovely.

So, a big shout out to Bethany at beyondthismoment who was closest in her guess in yesterday's comments.

I can mail you a prize wrapped up in a paper towel if you like...

Or maybe I'll just drop it in the trash.

Thanks for playing along with me, y'all. I enjoyed seeing what y'all had to say.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Take A Guess

I am very curious to hear what y'all think this is a picture of.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And on the eighth day, God created...

the internet. It's a wondrous thing, is it not?

I always thought I was pretty forward on all the computer stuff. I mean, this is how I grew up. But I find that I’m crawling my way into the 21st century.

I remember going to computer time as early as 4th grade. Our elementary school was one of the first in the district to have a computer lab. It was experimental. You know to make sure the whole computer thing was going to stick. We worked on 1st or 2nd generation Apple computers doing very simple learning programs. But we were cool.

I also remember taking a computer word processing class in high school. I had already taken typing, in which we actually typed on, you know, typewriters. But that experience in WordPerfect did little to really prepare me for the real world of computers.

I actually had quite a bit of computer exposure through my schooling years since my mom taught computer science and all. But most of what she did was WAY over my head and out of my league. Still is.

BTW - Did you know computers have their own language? I thought they all spoke English since that’s what shows on my screen.

I really started using computers, though, on a regular basis in college as I was writing papers and doing all manner of projects on PowerPoint by the time my senior year rolled around. However, Al Gore still had not invented the internets at that point and the email and I, we were not close friends yet. Oh, I had an email account through the school that I accessed one time, I think. But email was not the common thing that it is today.

(Yes, I hear you young-uns whispering about how old I must be.)

My love relationship with email and the internet came several years after college while I was working in banking. Once I quit my job when my first child was born, I told my man that I HAD to have a computer and internet access at home. So he was kind and got me hooked up with dial-up.

What a mighty good man he is!

And now, here I am, tapping away on my lap-top that is wirelessly hooked into my lightning fast cable internet. I have a blog, I am on twitter, and I just last week, set up a facebook account. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing with any of it… but here’s something I’ve noticed.

I have met some really neat people on the internet.

My first experience was after Sarah’s birth and also in the wake of 2 miscarriages in the fall of 2001… 7 years ago. I found a wonderful community of women on babycenter.com. I could talk to people who had children born in the same month/year as Sarah. And then, I was able to talk to other grieving moms who had or were currently experiencing the same things I was. Even to the point that there was a specific place for those of us who had experienced multiple miscarriages.

After a period of time, I moved on from that community, having not really made lasting friendships there, but having had the opportunity to write a lot of what I was feeling at the time… before blogs were a “thing.”

I didn’t return until a few years later when I found out I was pregnant again. I was terrified. I didn’t want to, but I went back to that online community of multiple miscarriages for support. And support, I found.

And talk about friendships. There is a group of us that still keep in touch.

So I have been well familiar with internet relationships for a while. However, it has only been in recent weeks that the internet world has become reality for me.

I had the opportunity to meet several of you at the LPL conference and Siesta Fiesta in San Antonio. However, as we all know, due to circumstances out of my control, I was not able to really spend any appreciable amount of time with many of you. And that really bummed me out. Totally.

But I got to have lunch today with a very special blogger friend. I honestly don’t even know how we found each others blogs. You know, click here, then there, then, oh, this is interesting. And whammo, the next thing I knew, we had totally connected.

And what a joy, to sit there, across from someone and be able to just chat away having never met her before face to face.

But we know each other. Just like I’ve gotten to know many of you. And I long for this to be a place where we can share, cry, and laugh until we snort or blow milk out of our noses.

Because we're friends.

And that's what friends do.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Immesurable Blessings

I touched on this a little on Friday, but I didn’t fully develop the thought until after I published my post. And by that point, it was, like, 1:30 am and I needed to get some sleep.

There are two ingredients to a party. People and food. No matter what the occasion, at least around here, where ever there is a gathering of people, there is usually food. AND, where ever there is food, the people… they come.

The enjoyment of the two go hand in hand, in my opinion. Maybe it’s a holiday gathering of family with turkey and all the trimmings. Or perhaps it’s a back-yard barbecue with kids screaming and playing in the background. Or, like our case on Friday, it’s an intimate gathering of friends around an exquisitely decorated table with a carefully planned out wanna-be gourmet meal.


The combination of the two ingredients significantly impacts your enjoyment of the occasion. If one is lacking, the whole evening may be mediocre and unmemorable at best. Or it could be completely shot at worst. But, if the gathering of people matches the atmosphere and food, then you could have the make-up of a great event that will leave you talking about it for days and wanting to do it again way too soon.

I’ve experienced both extremes. We have had occasions in the past where the people we invited came from several different groups of friends and therefore there was no cohesive conversation. We’ve had occasions where the atmosphere or food was not conducive to good interaction.

However, our combination on Friday night was perfection for me. Ten of us gathered around a table and talked about everything and nothing at all. We laughed until some of us cried, and others of us had to go to the bathroom (because you know, we’re females and we’ve given birth to babies). We ate and drank and shared stories about our children and about the great and mighty things God has done in our lives recently. My friend Cristel wrote a great post about our evening.


I got to thinking while we were all gathered around the table that evening how blessed I am by the friendships I have. How we all bring different things to the table (so to speak). For Friday night specifically, I brought the food to the table. Keal prepared the table itself, and oh what a beautiful job she did. Greg brought the wine. Erin contributed her fondue pot. Sarah & Steve brought the conversation and comic relief. How true is that of all our friendships?



All my friends bring something different to the table of my life. Some bring stimulating conversation. Some bring the ability to challenge me on matters of faith. Some are great shopping partners. Others help take care of me and my family when things are not going well. Some are encouragers. And still others are there to make me laugh until milk comes out of my nose.

But all of them, every single one, is a gift from God. I needed this reminder of how immeasurably blessed I am by each of them and each of you.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thanks and Giveaway Winners

Can I just say I was WAY blessed by all of your comments the other day.

Asking you guys to tell me something about yourselves was totally a last minute thing. I totally just expected you to just tell me, "I like the color blue." But you totally exceeded my expectations.

Oh my goodness... could I just say totally one more time?

But I digress...

My point is that it just so blessed me to hear a little about all of you.

OK - so I went all technologically advanced with this thing and used random.org to get the winners of this here little giveaway.

Here are your random numbers:
8
7
5
Timestamp: 2008-09-13 16:55:39 UTC



8 - twinkle - Lifeway gift card
7 - the g's - Beth Moore booklet
5 - beyond this moment - Beth Moore booklet


So email me your address and I'll get these great goodies in the mail to you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Foodie Friday - Dinner Party

Tonight I am throwing a dinner party. It’s something I haven’t done in a long time. In fact, I can’t think of when I have ever done a dinner party quite like this. I guess it is something I’ve always dreamed of/aspired to but have never really done.

The people:

This is one of the neatest groups of people you will ever come in contact with. And God SO put us all together.

It started out by the Lord prompting me last spring to see if the girls that I would normally do a summer Bible study with would want to include our husbands and do something as couples. Response at first was mixed. But finally, 3 couples got together. Then 2 more couples were invited. And we had ourselves a little group.

The Bible study portion of our times together on Friday evenings was interesting. The study that we ended up doing was video based. The main teacher was good. His wife, well, let’s just say, “not so much.” And it was pretty obvious that it was filmed in the early – mid 90’s.

Our discussion time was good, though. Full of rabbit trails and lots of laughing. It was mighty good for the soul. If nothing else just to be around other adults with no children around demanding our attention.

They spent their Friday evenings at a different house (our house actually) with babysitters.



The menu:

I’m stretching my gourmet muscles.

I love doing that.

And it’s going to be an evening of decadence.

Our menu includes Rack of Lamb with Sun-Dried Cherry Sauce, Four Cheese Risotto, and Green Beans in Garlic Butter Sauce.

For dessert, we will have Chocolate Fondue with all manner of fruits and sweets for dipping, swirling, and savoring.

(I’m trying something new. If you want to see the recipes, just click on the names of the dishes and it will shoot you over to the separate blog that I’m making of just recipes.)

As I was doing some prep work on Thursday evening, I had to laugh at myself several times. I started out cleaning the kitchen and eating area. But then I got distracted on to the blog and finally over to doing some food prep.

I needed to be cleaning, but I was having so much more fun with the food prep. There’s not a lot of people I know that have fun with food prep.

I was really kind of hoping that cutting up the onions would help clear out my sinuses (go away you foul ragweed… just go away).

And you know what gives me so much joy? Fresh herbs. I had to go out and get some fresh rosemary and thyme. I took a big whiff and let out a satisfied sigh.

I just love thyme so much. In fact I have 3 different varieties in my garden.

But I digress.

I have so enjoyed planning this dinner party menu and preparing this meal for my friends.

It’s definitely my love language.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who Can Forget?

7 years seems like no time at all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I could get a penalty for excessive celebration

I'm just going to make it a week of celebration around here.

In honor of my blogiversary and 200 posts, I decided to tell you 200 things about myself.

But that was too hard to do.... so you're getting 100 things about me.



I am 35 years old.

I am married to my college sweet-heart.

We went to Texas A&M. (Yeah, we’re AGGIES! WHOOP!)

I have been married for 12 ½ years.

I have a 7 year old daughter.

I have a 3 year old son.

I have a 12 year old Dachshund named Frankie

And a 9 year old Welsh Corgi named Gus.

I am a native Texan

But I lived in Northern Virginia for a short time.

I am the baby of my family and

I have 2 OLDER sisters.

My parents are currently missionaries in South Asia.

I miss the snow in No. VA

And the seasons,

And being near Washington DC.

I don’t miss the traffic

I love to cook

And bake

From scratch.

I love to eat good food

And drink good wine.

I have environmental allergies, and

I am supposed to take shots each week, but

I’ve been delinquent about my shots recently.

Watermelon makes my throat itch, along with

My nose and ears.

I work part (almost full) time for a financial advisor.

The streak you see in my hair is natural, and

It’s gray.

I started getting gray hair in my early twenties.

I am a nut for the details, and

I can be a little bit of a control freak, so

I like the details done my way.

I grew up as somewhat of a tom-boy.

I went deer hunting with my dad.

And fishing.

I love to water ski and

Snow ski.

I have thrill seeker tendencies.

I have been on a tandem sky dive, and

Parapenting, and

Caving,

And I love to go white water rafting.

I love to travel.

I have visited 9 countries including

Canada,

Mexico,

France,

New Zealand,

Greece,

England,

Austria,

Belgium, and

Spain

My favorite international city that I have visited is Paris.

I've been there twice.

I lived in France for 3 1/2 months as a nanny in 1994 while in college.

I have visited 20 states.

I have been from east coast to west coast.

It's strange for me to think that there are many people who have not done that.

My favorite city in the US that I have visited is San Francisco.

My favorite family vacation was in Destin, Fl.

The house we live in was built in 1980.

Someone redecorated in about 1989.

Not much has changed since then.

Pink marble in the master bathroom is NEVER a good idea.

Cobalt blue is a beautiful color.

I love my new iPhone.

And my cute little green case for it.

I cloth diapered both of my kids.

I am not what you would consider a "granola" or "crunchy" mama.

I am a horrible house-keeper.

My bedroom is never clean.

It always seems to be over-run with laundry.

I am not a morning person.

My daily wake up time is 5:15 am.

I do this out of absolute necessity.

I should go to bed at 10 or 10:30 pm.

I rarely do.

I love to watch movies over and over again.

We like to drop movie quotes to see if the other catches it.

Yeah, it's a weird sort of ongoing game we play.

And usually we enjoy watcing The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

I love to study the Bible.

I attend Bible Study Fellowship during the school year.

I have completed Acts of the Apostles, Genesis, Romans, and Matthew.

I have also completed several Beth Moore studies, including:

Living Beyond Yourself, Jesus the One and Only, Beloved Disciple, Breaking Free, and A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place.

I have just finished No Other Gods with the Siestas on the LPM blog.

I am currently going through Believing God (Beth Moore) with my husband and mother in law.

I am taking a leadership course at church, and

I’m about to start The Life of Moses (BSF).

I am currently reading through the Psalms in my daily devotional.

The last year has been a huge growing time for me spiritually.

I am not much of a reader of just regular books, but

I recently read The Shack.

It really spoke to me about trusting God.

I’ve struggled with this since having 2 miscarriages 7 years ago.

*******

And my husband might kill me for doing this, but I've been dying to and this is the perfect opportunity for me to do a little blog giveaway. It's not much, but I'd love to send someone a Lifeway gift card for $10 and a couple of people this booklet that made a huge difference in my life. All just to say thanks for visiting my little corner of the blosophere.



So... you know the blog giveaway drill... you have to leave a comment. But this time, since I told you some things about me, try and leave me something about you that I may not know. I know pretty much all 6 of you that read my blogity-blog, but I think you can come up with some little something that I don't know about you.

I'll close the comments at mid-night on Friday and I'll post the winners on Saturday. I'm sure I will use a very high-tech method of winner choosing... like pulling numbers from a hat or other such method.

Thank you again blog-friends. You make this blogging journey a blast!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's monumental, I tell you

Today, my friends, is an auspicious occasion.

It's not coincidence, in my opinion, that my 200th post would coincide with my blogiversary.

Yes, you read that right. It's my blogiversary and 200th post. (Actually with the timing of the blog-over, this is probably post # 201... but I'm the only one so detailed as to care.)

*cue Academy Awards type music*

I'd like to thank my man *snif* for not rolling his eyes at me too terribly much and for cleaning out my car just so I could show all my readers what a slob I am.

*snif*

I'd like to thank my children for such wonderful blog-able moments. You bless my heart with your stubbornness, sweetness, and general child-being. Such beautiful blog fodder you provide on a daily basis. (Yeah, I post a lot about my kids)

*about to ugly cry*

*but successfully holding it back like an Olympic athlete hearing the National Anthem*

I'd like to thank you, dear readers, *sniffle sniff* for, well, reading.

I'd like to thank the Academy... oh, wait...

:)

Seriously, I enjoy this blog and I hope you do, also. I really do want to thank you for reading like you do. But also for laughing, crying, and praying with me.


This year has marked a turning point in my life and the summer of 2007 initiated that turning point which led me to blogging. God has done some amazing things in my life personally and blogging has helped me write about and think through things.

And I've made a decision.

I have no desire to go back to the same ol' "gonna just act like a Christian" life that I had back then. I am not going to live life the way anyone just thinks I should. My life will not just be a premade life from a box.

I am all about being full-out, full-on, fully engaged in a relationship with Jesus Christ. I'm still growing in this. I still have ebs and flows, ups and downs... but I am NOT going back there. I am laying down my pride and independence and working to fully trust and believe God.

That, my friends, is a declaration. Please hold me accountable to it.

Monumental, indeed.





Monday, September 8, 2008

I can't quite put my finger on it

If you didn't notice, there are a few changes going on around here. My blog had a "Day At The Spa" with Real Life Designs. Many thanks to Sarah for being so patient with my control freak-ish ways.

And, from here on out you can find me at http://www.waymorehomemade.com/. Yep, I got me a custom domain.

How fun that the timing coincides with a very special occasion that I will be celebrating tomorrow.

I am in love with my new internet digs and will continue to clean up/spruce up over the coming weeks.

More kid cuteness

Oh here's another one. It was too cute to not show.

We've watched "The Sound of Music" a couple of times recently, and this is the product:

video

Oh man, I just watched it and I missed the best part. I cut it off right before he made a shooting sound toward his dad. Ahh, the randomness of boys.

Here's some recent cuteness...

OK, this first one requires a little bit of explanation.

We got a game in a kids' meal that was a Between the Lions game. You pick out cards and are supposed to make up a story using whatever is on the cards. Sarah was playing it with Nathan the other day. Then the next day, he came in and announced to me it was "Story Time."



video


And, during one of our last swims of the summer, Sarah jumped in and immediately started doing this...


video

Do you think he has any idea the influence he has had on young people in our country and around the world?



Friday, September 5, 2008

Foodie Friday - Veep-Stakes

Home Run. Grand Slam.

That's how I would describe Governor Sarah Palin's speech last night at the Republican National Convention.

I actually spent the better part of the last three evenings live-blogging during the speeches over at BlogHer (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday). It was fun.

Yeah, I'm a nerd.

So to recap... she had incredible hair, a beautiful suit, and a lot of moxy.

Friends she brought it. That was some great TV.

Sorry, showing the nerdyness again.

Here's what I loved:

"You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick" (not an exact quote)
It was extremely endearing the way she engaged the other Hockey Moms from Michigan. When I looked at the transcript of her prepared remarks, this quote was not there. She was very comfortable addressing and acknowledging them off the cuff.

There was a theme in her speech, not so much about policy, but about showing differences between Senator McCain and Senator Obama.

"In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain,who use their careers to promote change."

"And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, "fighting for you," let us face the matter squarely. There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you..."

Some have called her remarks "snarky," "sarcastic," "off-putting." Yes, the may have been a little bit of those things. However, I think it was that tone that drew me in.

Some complained about the "Dem-bashing," but seriously, this was just a big pep rally. And what do we do at a pep rally? Talk a little trash about the opposing team. I didn't watch the DNC (should have, but didn't), and I expect they did their fair share of Republican bashing.

But, in the end, it was a heck of a speech. And Senator McCain showed some maturity and wisdom by listening to others and probably putting his own preferences aside by giving up who may have been his first choice to choose Governor Palin. There seem to be a lot of people that are awfully excited now about this campaign that have not been - myself included.

Therefore, in honor of our Republican VP Nominee, from the great state of Alaska, I'd like to share with you what we hear is one of Governor Sarah Palin's favorite dishes.

Moose Stew.

They say you can use venison in this recipe instead of moose. I think I'll do that since I actually do have some venison in my freezer. And, since there aren't any mooses (meese?) wandering around here in North Texas, most of us may just have to use beef. This actually looks very similar to the stew that I make with beef. I'll share that recipe with you sometime later.

But when I think of food from Alaska, more often than not, I think of salmon. And since moose isn't something we can just run down to Central Market to pick up, I thought this might be a little more practical for most of us. I'll share my favorite way to cook it.

I marinate the salmon fillet for a few minutes in a mixture of brown sugar, teryaki sauce, soy sauce, honey and crushed red pepper. Just before grilling I add some citrus (orange, lemon or lime juice). I grill salmon on a cedar plank (you know you need to soak it in water for quite a while first) over indirect heat (burners on one side, food on the other).

I like my salmon very much on the rare side. My man likes his salmon "minus the flopping" as he says it. So, just watch it very carefully, because even if you like it cooked more than it should be like my man does, it can get over-cooked and dry out very easily.

Another thing that is good is to take some smoked salmon and mix it with some cream cheese and eat it spread on a cracker. Oh, talk about delicious.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

We have a parrot in the house

The other day, Mike went in to get Nathan up to go to daycare. I was taking Sarah to school that morning so we had already left. It was the first week of school and Nathan was having a little bit of a hard time adjusting to having to get out of bed and not being able to just linger and lie around in bed like he had become accustomed to doing during the summer.

So, Mike opened up his door and saw some movement, meaning that he was in fact awake and just lying in bed. He takes a couple of steps into his room, and the conversation goes something like this:

Nathan: Close the door. (in kind of a nasty tone)

Dad: A) Don’t speak to me that way; and B) It’s time to turn the light on and get up and get dressed.

Nathan: A) It’s not time to get dressed; and B) Turn off my light!

Dad exits stage left laughing the whole way. I mean, what else can you do at that point?

There have been several other things that we say on a regular basis that we've heard coming back our way. Such as:

Au contraire it is NOT time to get ready for dinner.

and

You're killin' me Sarah. You're killin' me.

I guess I need to go buy some parrot food.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Politics of Motherhood

When I heard the news that was coming from John McCain's campaign early Friday morning that he had selected Sarah Palin as his running mate I couldn't have been more excited. My husband actually said a few months ago, "If McCain's smart, he'll pick Palin." He's a politics nerd, if you ask me. But I guess he should have headed to Vegas and put money on this one. Because he was right.

Yes, I just said that... out loud. My husband was RIGHT.

As soon as I heard, I read up a little on her to remind myself of who she was so that when I picked up the phone to call him I would sound a little knowledgable about her.

But, once on the phone with him, you know what my first question was? "Do you really think it's a good idea? I mean, a mom of 5 with a 4 month old.... as Vice President? Really?"

We figure they've got some kind of system worked out. Maybe he has taken over with the kids for the most part. Maybe they have a great live-in nanny. Maybe she just works from home a lot. Who knows.

But, apparently, I'm not the only one asking this question. I found myself a little comforted to read this article in the New York Times showing other women with the same thoughts.

Here are some things I've been thinking...

Can you imagine every mothering move you make being under the national political spotlight?

No thanks. Not me. I'm way too moody. I'd end up yelling, "WHAT?!?" to the President after a crying baby all night long and yelling over and over at the rest of the kids to PLEASE get their homework done.


I mean, it's already begun. People questioning her going back to work 3 days after giving birth. People are questioning her accepting this job knowingly putting her oldest daughter under media scrutiny.

Listen, I'm a working mother. I know how hard it is. I want to be the best at everything. There is something in me, in how God hardwired me, that drives me to seek employment outside of my home. But, on the flipside of that coin, I am driven to be the best wife and mom I can be. For me, that means a part-time job and my house is rarely, if ever, clean.

What does it mean for the Vice President of the United States of America?

I dont' know.

But one thing I've learned in my 7 1/2 years of mothering and 35 years of living... yes, 35... is that I can't judge what is right for someone else.

Let me put it this way: The answer that God has given me for my family is not necessarily the same answer for anyone else. There isn't just one way to do this mothering thing. While it might be right for me to work 30 hours a week, it might be right for my friend Cristel to recognize that she can't do that, and it might be right for my friend Keal and my sister to work for themselves so they can set their own hours...

See where I'm going with this?

I've recognized that I can't make a judgement call about what is right for Sarah Palin's family. I know what I think and what would be right for me and that would not include taking on such a job. However, I also think of Esther and how greatness was thrust upon her... she didn't ask for it, didn't seek it, it just happened because she was open to what God had called her to do.

I pray that Sarah Palin is right where God wants her. I pray for her family.

I believe that there is a reason that Mr. McCain and his campaign were drawn to her.

I believe that she is the woman for such a time as this.