Monday, December 24, 2007

Visions of Sugarplums

Recently, I have been asked to share a few of my favorite Christmas recipes - it's easiest to do here, so Merry Christmas to you from me!

First off my "Cocoa for Two" cones. I got this idea from my friend Hollye - she makes these every year and told me where to get the cone shaped bags *and gave me some ideas for candies to top them with. Then I started getting inspired and came up with a few ideas of my own.
For 96 servings of cocoa mix (or about 48 Cocoa Cones)

  • 16 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 4 cups Hershey's cocoa
  • 4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 8 dashes salt
 In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients; blend well. Store in tightly covered container.

Topping ideas:
2 bags Chocolate chunks
2 bags Andes mint candy pieces
1 bag Heath Toffee pieces
1 bag white chocolate chips
3 dozen candy canes (crush into pieces)
3 bags mini marshmallows.

If you're bagging your Cocoa for gift giving, you'll want to include these directions. For a single serving: Combine 1/4 cup mix and 3/4 cup boiling water in cup or mug; stir to blend. Add marshmallows to hot cocoa, if desired.

*Don't feel limited to the cone shaped bags.  You could make a cute folded-over cardstock header with your spare paper-crafting supplies and just use a zip-top bag for your packaging. Or, how about a Mason jar or other up-cycled canister.

To make the cones - add 1/2 cup mix to a cone, twist down tight and secure with the wire twistie that comes with the bags. Cut excess bag from the top. Drop cocoa mix cone into another cone and carefully add desired toppings. Varieties I used were Andes Mint, Pepper Mint, Toffee, and Double Chocolate chips. Add about 1/3 cup candies or chips and then 1/3 cup marshmallows on top of the candy toppings. Twist and secure the outer bag. Attach a tag with the directions to the top with some colorful ribbon.

To make Chocolate Mousse Chocolate Cups:
I ordered the Belgian chocolate cups online - but I don't recommend the site - the shipping was exorbitant! You can make your own or find another source... I once found some at Tuesday Morning for a steal!
For the mousse I used a recipe from Hershey at their website. I've been making this one for years - I like it because it doesn't have any raw egg like a lot of mousse recipes do.

  • 1T unflavored gelatin
  • 3 T cold water
  • ¼ C and 2 T boiling water
  • 1-1/2 C white sugar
  • ¾ C Hershey’s Cocoa Powder
  • 3 C heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 T vanilla extract

In small cup, (I use a glass measure) sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand 1 minute to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool slightly.

Stir together sugar and cocoa in medium bowl; add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bottom of bowl occasionally, until mixture is stiff. Pour in gelatin mixture; beat until will blended.
Spoon into serving dishes. (I like to pipe it with my decorator thingy from Pampered Chef and a big star tip.)

Refrigerate about 30 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired. (I used tiny strips of lime zest tossed in sugar, pomegranate arils and chocolate shavings. Raspberries and mint leaves are nice too, or just chocolate shavings and another batch of mousse without the cocoa. This is really yummy layered in a trifle dish with layers of moist brownie and mini chocolate chips for garnish. Layer brownies in about 1 ½ inch squares, next chocolate mousse, white mousse, brownie etc.

Cover and refrigerate leftover desserts.

And finally - my caramel corn (great for filling decorated paint cans...)

  • 3 qts. fresh popped corn
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (I use butter)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 cup honey or white Karo syrup (I use Karo - never tried the honey...)
  • 1 t. vanilla
Melt butter over low heat; add brown sugar and Karo, bring to a boil for 5 minutes WITHOUT STIRRING.

After 5 minutes, add vanilla.

Pour over popcorn mixing and coating evenly. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, turning every 15 minutes.
If you double the recipe still cook the caramel for only 5 minutes.

Happy Christmas to all!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

...And a Partridge on a Paint Can

I found out we were exchanging gifts with friends that we'd agreed not to exchange gifts with this year - so I checked the budget (odd for me...) and decided I'd make something.

I pulled these Basic Grey papers from my stash. They are from the Dasher collection and are Bunny Hill (stripe), Snowbank (snowflakes) and Partridge in a Pear Tree (partridge, branches and berries cut out). The Snowbank isn't on their site... but it's seen it the collection pack there.

The can itself was very easy - just a 2-1/2 inch strip around the middle. Then I cut the partridge, berries and branches from the other paper and glued it to the can. I used Stickles glitter by Ranger to "applique" the partridge to the can. For these predominantly blue and green papers I used Waterfall, Frosted Lace, Crystal, Xmas Red and Pink. I also accented each (yes, each) snowflake with a small dot of the Frosted Lace in the center and I used the Crystal to accent the underlying floral pattern on the striped paper. My favorite is that Xmas Red though... it looked like ruby slippers in a bottle to me, and I just had to have it. Same with the new Making Memories, Cranberry paint. I must have this paint collection... just love it. I see some red, light blue, brown and pink Valentines on the horizon... I'm still very fond of the light blue and red combination.

The ribbon is just some from my stash - came in 10 and 15 yard rolls. Gotta love that.

Oh - what's inside, you ask?
Why, homemade caramel corn, my dear. My finest ever - thanks to some tips from my mom. Got the temp just right this time. I guess you *can't* cook everything faster with a higher temperature...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Can't Explain It

But I'm down another pound and a half this evening. That's a total of 5 1/2 pounds in 8 days. The only thing I've really changed is how I'm using the elliptical machine - and doing the "fat burning" program rather than a plain program. It puts me through about 5 minutes of low intensity work followed by 5 minutes of really working hard. Then back down to 5 minutes of low intensity and back up. I go through this cycle about 3 times in a 30 minute stint, followed by a 5 minute cool down.

I've read a few articles in the last couple of weeks that talk about how there is an increased fat burning effect with shorts bursts of cardio activity followed by short, less intense exercise or strength building exercises.

Can't explain it - but it seems to work!

36 1/2 down, 64 1/2 to go!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Another almost 2

Can't believe it - another 1 3/4 pounds today!

Must be that "all caramel corn" diet I was on today... well... mostly kidding.

I think the real issue must be the fact that I've started doing a "fat burning" course for 35 minutes on the elliptical machine rather than just get on and go. Seems to be making a difference so I'm going to keep doing it!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2 More

Quick check in - it's been six days since I was at the gym last - this time of year gets so busy... but I made it in this evening for a 30 minute ride on the elliptical in "fat burning" mode.

Yup... Two more pounds for a total loss so far of 33 pounds and 35 1/4 inches since the middle of August. And that's with water retention and a little truffle backslide the other night!

It's weird - cuz I know there's a difference - but then I still see a huge task (pun intended) ahead of me. I still have 68 pounds to go to my goal... I look in the mirror and I can still get very discouraged. Yes - my jeans are a lot more loose, I've got room to fold them over in the rear and thighs - even shirts are fitting better... but they're still pretty big and they're not falling off yet so that I can't wear them.

When I start to feel that way I have to grab my measuring tape - but sometimes there's not a significant loss of inches in the "important" areas. It's very difficult to measure a back hump or be appreciative of thinner ankles and wrists... So to encourage myself, I wrap the tape around me at my beginning measurement and I can see the difference in a real tangible way. I can feel a difference in my health too.

Oh - and walking in my high heels has become a lot easier, as has going up and down stairs!

So I'll keep pluggin' away at it... pound by pound and quarter inch by quarter inch. I'm almost one third of the way there. Eighteen more and I'll reach my first goal - which is to clank the big chunky weight on the bottom of that scale DOWN 50 pounds!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Rest of the Story...

Just in case you were duped into thinking they're always precious gems - I wanted to share what it's usually like...

This was taken after the program ended (and the lights were turned out... sorry) and the cookies and punch we're being digested.

Remember, Michaela was originally going to sing the solo - so she wanted a shot at it on "tape" and we were trying for a better audio since daddy hadn't recorded it the first time. Michaela didn't quite get the words right and got frustrated with herself - then she got downright indignant when Zachary and Jacob tried to fill in for her (read: steal her thunder) My favorite parts are Jacob mimicking mom, (I don't look that ridiculous do I??? Don't answer that... ) and Zachary picking at his nose.

At least no punches were thrown...

Happy Birthday Jesus

I just have to stop for a moment at the beginning of this 2nd week in December, to brag on my kids a bit.

Sabbath evening we participated in the church Christmas program. I've been trying to think of a song Michaela could sing. She's been begging to sing in church for a long time now. But I couldn't come up with anything that didn't require a pianist until the Wednesday night before. I was picking up a track for myself when I stumbled across an "old" song I'd heard done by kids years before on the radio and in our previous church home back in Florida. A sweet little number called Happy Birthday Jesus.

Michaela readily agreed - but the boys wanted nothing of it.

So we began practicing - as much as she could stand to. And then Friday morning (the day before the program) she started "revisiting" the meals of the previous day. The (hopefully) 24 flu had hit her. She spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon sleeping and sipping Pedialite.

It took a lot of talking, but I finally convinced Zachary to do the solo part at the beginning with Michaela coming in with Jacob in the middle and then Michaela could do the little tag on solo at the end.

Well she wasn't even feeling up to doing that little bit on the end and to my AMAZEMENT, Jacob volunteered to do it. My meek, mild, mumbler!

So we practiced and practiced until they couldn't stand to do it any more (four or five times I think... I'm just kidding - sort of...) And here's how they did... Try to ignore the focusing sounds of my little digital camera... and try not to notice the jiggling of Grampa's hand as he uses my camera for the first time... and strain to try to hear the kids for the first 40 or so seconds until their daddy (the sound guy) gets the EQ set and remembers to un-mute Zack's mic.

I was hoping that his audio recording turned out better - but he forgot that part too. They were the first musical number to be recorded after the first musical number of the evening wasn't mic'd and therefore not recorded... But you don't need to know all that... On to the video clip.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Extra! Extra!

I just came back from the gym. Tonight was the night they closed early and by the time my babies' daddy got home I only had 18 minutes to work out.

I almost changed my mind and kept driving but decided to go in anyhow.

I booked on the elliptical for 16 minutes and then did a quick weigh in - I'm down 2 more pounds for a total of 30 pounds lost in 16 weeks!!! And I wasn't even leaning forward on the scale this time!!!

Yay me!

21 more to my first goal (or the halfway point).

Flash Back to 1980

Funny thing happened today.

I was checking out my blog visitors and saw I had a hit from Italy.

Now that's odd... who the heck would know me from Italy?? So I checked the entry page they had come from and it led me to another scrapbooker (that I didn't know). So I looked around her blog a bit - admiring her work and noticed that she's a desingn member over at Scrap Jacked.

I've visited Scrap Jacked before - My BF and sis-in-law Shari has it blogmarked on her blog and it's a cool spot. Someday I'll do a jack and get in the running... Someday when I'm caught up, have time and can see the flat surface of my scrappy room counter top.

So I'm looking around at Scrap Jacked now and looking over the names of the scrappy gals that have been "jacked". And this name pops out at me... Ashley Wren.

Wow - I haven't heard that name for decades...
Ashley Wren...? Ashley Wren...?
I'm pretty sure that Ashley Wren was the girl that lived in the house across the little creek in our backyard - back in 1980 when we lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for one short year.

We were both in the fifth grade and we used to skate together in her driveway and in my basement to the crooning of Barry Manilow. We learned cool tricks like crouching low on one foot while sticking the other out in front - balancing all the way down the curved driveway being careful to swing to the side before we hit the garage door. She had cool roller skates - the kind that looked like sneakers... Mine looked like sneakers too - but the kind of sneakers that had a metal skate buckled to them...

Ashley Wren is the one that first introduced me to the white gloved "king of pop" and Thriller - about 43 plastic surgeries ago when he was still black and before he looked like a girl. (Thanks?) And together we'd go over to Tomi White's house and we'd all three read the book Tomi's mom had gotten her about how girls are different than boys... (gross!) But Tomi was so cool - her mom let her wear make-up and she even wore a bra! She didn't have any boobs - but she had a bra.

So I'm still over at Scrap Jacked and I click on Ashley Wren's name which takes me to her blog... And there's her mini profile at the top - she's in KNOXVILLE! Could this be the SAME Ashley Wren???

I clicked on the link to the rest of her profile and while I waited for it to load I went in the kitchen and called my mom.

"Hey mom? What was the last name of the people that lived behind us in Knoxville?"
"Wren you say?...well you'll never believe this..."
And I told her all about how I'd found the blog after doing an internet "Billy" from Family Circus (you know you've done it too... don't lie...) And I arrive back to my puter chair and plop myself down.

This Ashley Wren is only 27... So unless she's REALLY lying about her age, it's not the same one. wow... This Ashley Wren was BORN in 1980... yikes. 40 is gettin' closer and closer...

Oh well. She does really nice scrap work though.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


It's been awhile since I gave a progress report on the weight loss. It's been 15 weeks since I started taking measurements (16 weeks since I started exercising and changing my intake) and there's no denying that a change is happening.

As of today I'm down 28 pounds and a total of 32 1/4 inches.
  • 4 inches from my bust
  • 6 1/2 inches from my waist
  • 5 1/2 inches from my lower abs
  • 5 inches from my hips
  • 2 1/4 inches from each upper thigh
  • and a bunch of others I'm too lazy to list here.
When I started, I could barely do 3 minutes on the elliptical machine - now I'm up to 30 minutes - and I'm really bookin' on it!

At the rate I'm going - I'll be at my ultimate goal weight by my 40th birthday. I think THAT alone would deserve a party...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Come Ye Thankful People, Come

Happy Thanksgiving - And Happy Bloggy Anniversary to me! It's been a year - how'd that happen so quick?

Yesterday I took the kids to the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall. It's a favorite spot of ours and the drive is doable. Our favorite part of the ranch is the Sauer-Beckmann farm. It stands still in time at 1915.
It was a gorgeous afternoon - the landscape was golden as the sun was headed toward the horizon and it was crisp and cool. We were the only family there to look around.
The kids gathered eggs and chased the sheep around. There was the sweetest baby lamb - so new that it still had its' umbilical cord.

I had to laugh when I saw this turkey "hiding out" in the chicken house the day before Thanksgiving.

"Turkeys? No turkeys in here... only us chickens..."

We hosted dinner at church today for anyone that wanted to join us. We did a traditional dinner as traditional you can when the turkey is made of soy beans. The best part is always the leftovers and we had plenty! It won't be a totally turkey-less holiday though. I bought a little 10-pounder the other day and mom will roast it up for the weekend so we'll feast all over again. Can't complain about that.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hark - The Theatre Calleth

Just a quick share of my boy - He makes me so proud most of the time. He just finished his first "performance" in a Shakespeare play - A Midsummer Night's Dream. He had the part of Demetrius. Even when he lay down at the beginning of his scene (he was asleep in the forest before the potion was put on his eyes...) he was careful not to let the audience see up his "dress". I don't have a lot of photos to share. Instead I took video tape so Dad could watch it later.

The performance was very abbreviated - just a short section that had all of the actors in it - as part of the "sharing time" at the conclusion of our Homeschool Co-Op classes. He had nine weeks in the class studying the play, time period, and general writings of Shakespeare. He really enjoyed it. It seems like he's always had a bit of an affinity for Shakespeare - a couple of years ago he got up at about 1 a.m., so I thought I'd bore him back to sleep with a movie - Much Ado About Nothing... Nope - he stayed awake for ALL of it and followed the whole story!

I've been so busy teaching a class myself that I waited until the night before to finally sew his costume together. I decided to not try to take a nap before the last class since it was 6 a.m. when I finished it (the pattern said 2 hours!) It was just a "Robin Hood" costume, but we changed the colors up a bit and added a pirate sword from Disney World and the cowboy boots. I think the boots totally make the outfit... Don't you?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Happy 25-Hour Day

My most favorite holiday of the year. 25-Hour Day or Do Over Day.

For someone like me who is always struggling to find enough hours in the day to accomplish what I need to PLUS what I want to - 25-hour day is the best day all year long.

Once a year we receive one extra hour in our day (some call it the end of Daylight Savings time.) I've never seen the clear logic in daylight savings... Why in the world do we care if the sun comes up an hour earlier? It's still an ungodly hour...

And don't get me started on adding to the whole thing by padding it with two weeks at the beginning and another week at the end. All this has done is screw me up even more. Apparently my computer and bedside "I-set-myself" alarm clock never got the memo. We entirely missed a church function on Friday evening because I was sitting at the computer thinking I had another hour to get ready to go. I was diligently checking the clock in the lower right hand corner of the monitor but the computer had in already fallen back an hour the weekend before - when it was scheduled to - back in 2000 or whenever it was made... Same with the alarm clock. So much for technology making life easier.

So what did you do with your 25-hour day? How did you spend that extra hour? I believe I slept mine away - probably like most of the rest of you.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happily Ever After Began...

A week ago today when we were at a very special wedding. The daughter of our best friends tied the knot in a beautiful (though HUMID) outdoor ceremony in Florida. We've watched Veronica grow up - Brian since she was a teeny baby - me since she was 4 and lived next door to us. She was 7 years old at our wedding nearly 17 1/2 years ago. And now she's MARRIED! But, she couldn't have picked a nicer guy than Berkley - he's a keeper for sure.

We made the 1,300 mile trip in 22 hours - almost to the minute. We couldn't have taken another piece of paper with us - we were packed to the gills in our Honda Odyssey. The kids were wonderful the entire drive - didn't have to pull over and beat them once, or even swing blindly at the back seats. Praise the Lord for books on tape and in-car DVD players!

Veronica was a radiant bride in a very simple pure white gown set off with a dramatic deep red sash. Her attendants wore the same red, that normally wouldn't have been anything special - but set against the lush green surroundings of the bankside ceremony it was strikingly beautiful.

Over the years she's proven herself and has quickly moved "up the ladder" at her job. She was promoted (again), shortly before the wedding, to assistant store manager at Publix. This left her with precious little time after working 50 hours a week (some really odd hours sometimes) in which to pull a wedding together. But she knew what she wanted and had a plan on paper and (with a little physical help) managed to pull it all together in the last couple of weeks before.

One detail she hadn't really covered was the wedding program, so I took that on for her. Thankfully, her dad was there with his laptop and expertise and we spent many hours researching wedding program etiquette, finding and downloading fonts that matched what we'd used on the invitations, and hammering out the details. Ronni wanted it simple and suggested it be done as a third of an 11 x 8 1/2 piece of cardstock, but everything didn't fit well enough - or at least fit at a font size that was readable by the naked eye. Also - with the "S" monogram at the top and all the names underneath it looked like a fancy perfume bottle when you held it out. So after some tweaking and purchasing a few more supplies, this little book style program is what I came up with. With a team effort we got 160 of them assembled in the last couple of days before the wedding, (last bow tied at about 6 a.m. the morning of...) It was funny to stand up on the hill above the guests and see all the little programs flapping back and forth - they were great little fans!

Here are the guts of the little books and a photo of Chris taken by Lucinda. Chris stepped in a tended the programs and many, many other things. She and her husband, Mark, really worked hard on the details for Ronni and Berkley.

All three of our kids were part of the ceremony. It was very special - Ronni held each one of them when they were just hours old, she's baby-sit on them, fed them and changed all their diapers - even the stinky ones! She holds a special place in each of their hearts. Michaela was flower girl, Jacob, ring bearer and Zachary, Junior Groomsman. (He felt quite grown up hangin' out with the big guys...) It was a very long "aisle" to walk down - I'd say it was nearly the length of a football field. The photo above shows my vantage point from up on the hill on the "bride's side" where I was giving cues. The men came in from the opposite side to the right of that large tree and in front of the chime choir (which played beautifully). Because the ceremony site was so narrow, they processed across the front - it was very unique and a nice break from tradition. By the time I cued Ronni and her Dad in I was able to run around and take a seat with my hubby. You can see us below on the outside end of the second row - we're wearing red :0) It was a little weird to sit "alone", but all our kids were up front trying not to catch our eyes... The photo directly below and the one a little further down of the reception tent were both taken by their professional photographer, Chad, of CMS Photography out of Sarasota.The kids performed their tasks very well and aside from 1) Michaela banging on the bottom of her basket (to be sure it was empty) once she arrived on her mark, 2) Jacob lifting the pillow up and down during the ceremony by opening his arms wide while holding the ends of the ribbons, and 3) Zachary being on the roof (observation deck really) of the house when they called for the bridal party to enter the reception, I have no complaints. Unless I'm allowed to complain that I didn't get to visit nearly enough - I missed talking with many old friends and didn't sufficiently catch up!
Since we were staying in the "un-sold" and empty home of our friends, I needed to haul quite a bit along just for general living for the week we were there - like a small TV and DVD player, air mattresses, pillows and blankets, and kitchen supplies. It was basically air-conditioned camping. Fortunately, our friend Susan was able to loan us a folding dining table and linens. So I had room in the van to take a major stash of scrapping supplies and tools (including a 2 x 4 foot folding table.) I was able to do several last minute wedding paper-crafty tasks, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

One of the unique ideas that Ronni came up with was to do away with the traditional guest book. Instead she wanted individual photos of the wedding guests and to have them sign a small card with their names and whatever sentiment or advice they'd like to give. This way, later she can scrapbook the guests photos and their card together. There were a lot of paper scraps left over when we made her wedding invitations last spring. That's what she planned to use for the cards - in several different sizes to give the guests creative options. She had me ink the edges for her and with her permission, I stamped several different swirly designs with my acrylic stamps. There were HUNDREDS of cards and my fingers had red ink on them for a day or so - but they looked nice in the basket at the reception. Maybe she can use some of the extras for journaling blocks in her scrapbook. Lucinda took the photo on the left of Marcia signing the guest cards.

I also made some time to put together this quick 6x6 inch card and cover this paintcan to wrap our gift of "first Christmas" ornaments. I think the paper is Foofala, some of the ribbon is Making Memories and May Arts, there are red Stickles accenting the stamped swirl on the card, but I can't begin to say what the other supplies were. EXCEPT for my adhesive in that mondo roll from 3M - that stuff holds like nobody's business! Even on the metal. Can't recommend it enough - though I did eat through an entire roll of it putting together the wedding programs. But at $2.99 for 36 yards I can't complain about that either.

And this was only part of the trip - we ended it with a two and a half day trip to Walt Disney World. What a blast that was - but I'll save that for another post - this one has become a novel :0)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How Many Times???

I think this is the fourth or maybe even fifth time that Michaela has cut her own hair. We just can't seem to pin down WHY she keeps doing it. She agrees that she's never given herself a good haircut...

But what's done is done and now we try to figure the best way to cover it for the formal wedding she'll be in at the end of this month. I'm thinking about just stapling a hair bow or flower over it...

My very punctual, talented and sought after friend Brook has created a digital page in honor of this sad occasion. You can also view it on her blog - along with dozens of other fabulous digital and paper pages.
I called Michaela in to take a look at the page Brook made (exposing my kids' antics to my friends on the web seems to be a bit of a deterrent to future bad behavior...)

This was her reaction...

Don't worry, (BridezillaRonni ;0) I wanted it to look as bad as possible in these photos - we were headed to church and I didn't want it to go unnoticed - I was hoping for embarrassment therapy!

I've cut it (adding a few more bangs from the crown) and with enough hairspray to glue it in place it covers pretty unnoticeably.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There's A New Sheriff in Town

I've heard about this place - but this is the first time I've actually BEEN here.

I guess maybe I was having a bad day last Friday - one of those "spin your wheels" kind of days where no matter how much you do it seems like nothing is getting done! The kids were not being cooperative (read: not doing what I wanted them to do at a speed that satisfied me) and I reached the proverbial boiling point, or took that last straw on my camel back and I'd simply had enough.

I try to be very careful about the threats I make - knowing full well that if I don't follow through and make good on them I've lost all credibility with my kids. But there are times (on occasion) that I speak without actually thinking about how the consequence will effect ME in the end.

This was one of those times.

Have you ever almost been able to see your words leaving your mouth like the smoke rings from that bong toting caterpillar in the Alice In Wonderland movie? This is what was happening to me - and just like the smoke rings, I couldn't snatch them back. I heard myself saying, "if you can't take care of your property I'll remove it so that you don't have to worry over it anymore - I'll strip this room down so fast you'll think you're in prison!"

And the reply I got was, "So... Go ahead - I don't care."

Grrrrrrr..... I hate it when I give myself more work, but the Dr. Phil in me had been awakened.

It had to be done - so I started with having Zachary assist in carrying out his own punishment. We began with him stripping the decidedly male patterned navy, green and maroon plaid sheets from his bed and replacing them with a lovely peach flower motif. Getting the ruffle in the right spot proved to be the most difficult aspect of the task. While he finished remaking his bed I grabbed a box and emptied his book shelf, bedside table, hat rack and closet rod. Even the blocks spelling his name and his baby pictures were removed. His underwear drawer was emptied except for one extra pair of tightie whities and a pair of socks. His favorite camo clothing was replaced with one of my hot pink T-shirts and a pair of sweat pants.

The only books we left for him were the ones that Jacob likes to read and his Bible and lesson quarterly. (We were hoping for some sort of conversion experience here...)

The menu for dinner also changed. Now instead of Eggplant Parmesan he was having bread with peanut butter, raw broccoli, an apple and a glass of milk. (I won't be needing any comments about how he got the better end of the deal there...)
Initially, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth, but then things settled down... improved even, when he realized mom was really serious. After the other kids had gone to bed he came to me to talk about some things that had been troubling his heart and I think he actually listened. In fact, I KNOW he did because he took my advice and applied it (with positive results!) earlier this week. Go me!

I let up a bit and didn't make him wear the pink T-shirt to church, but he didn't get to wear what he wanted. Instead of his blue blazer, dress shirt and tie and black cowboy boots, he wore what he calls his nerd outfit - the polo shirt with coordinating sweater vest and his black sneakers. I couldn't help but beam when the head deacon asked if Zachary could assist in taking up the offering. He'd already asked me if he could sit in the mother's room where nobody would see him :0)

Saturday night and Sunday weren't easy with him basically being on bed arrest, but on the other hand, he was doing a lot of reading.

Things are easing up a bit - but he's still sans his property and clothes are doled out one outfit at a time (my choice). And the best part is, now when I ask him to do something, and he starts with the whining, I just tilt my head and wrinkle my brow and I hear, "never mind - I'll just do what you said mom."

I'm also benefiting from the trickle down effect it's having on the other two.

The biggest drawback is that I was so distracted as I was dealing with Zachary that I completely missed Michaela climbing up in my bathroom cabinet, getting down my haircutting supplies and whacking a big chunk out of her bangs - three weeks before she's a flower girl again...


Sunday, October 7, 2007

358 Left

I'm a week into my 40th year now.

Let me explain to those of you that had some difficulty computing when the millennium began... My 39th birthday was last Sunday - so I'm now 358 days from the 40th anniversary of my natal day.

My 39th year wasn't too bad. I don't have much to complain about, and I won't bore you with those complaints here. If you know me well you've already figured out how to ignore them anyway.

I had a fairly uneventful birthday - which isn't a bad thing at all. There are years that this is a welcome thing. The last several months have been so full (and the end of the year promises to be full as well) that not having a cake, candles or the birthday song is just fine by me.

I've talked to my husband for years about how neat I think it is that my friend Stacie's husband will go into her scrap room and make cards for her using her tools and supplies. It's finally paid off :0) This year Brian made me a little coupon book. He printed the medium blue cover and mustard yellow pages on the printer (using a cute font...) and then held them all together with black fabric covered brads. I'd take a photo and post - but there was a lot of identity theft type info on the front.

The coupons were for "a haircut, mani/pedi and massage" and for a "girls day out", which he quickly informed me was taking place THAT day. I had already arranged to go to a crop with my local scrappy friends at Journey Lane in Fredericksburg. But I was glad to just have the day without kids - so I agreed.

My wonderful mother-in-law gave me a great hand mixer that I had been admiring. It's a KitchenAid that I had an opportunity to try out when I was in L.A. last April. I was impressed with the amount of power it packed in such a lightweight package. Since I received it early (in August) I've had a chance to use it several times and I'm still impressed.

I also got a neato surprise from my friend Maria - she sent me an awesome adhesive gun that she bought at our mutual friend Christina's online scrappy store. I've been admiring these for awhile now and have actually been DOING some scrapping - so figured it was time to get myself one - and I fully intended to - but Maria beat me to it! Thanks Maria! And for the cherry on top - Christina put in a fat jar of Prima flowers to add to my collection. Living with a girly girl there is always room for more flowers.

And finally, I treated myself to a few things while I was there at Journey Lane. Not a lot - but a few nice things. Mostly paper (is there EVER enough???) and some items I picked up for projects I'm making for other people. I provided my own birthday "cake" making a trip two doors down from the scrapbook store to the Fredericksburg Bakery for a cherry fruit ring, some pecan pinwheels and chocolate dipped shortbread cookies (diet be damned...) to share. Unfortunately - there weren't as many croppers as we expected - and I had to eat way too much... Then when I got home my family had already eaten dinner, so my sweet hubby took me to Mamacita's for take out fajitas and then took care of the kids while I watched Desp. Housewives. I did a little extra time in the gym the next morning.

So I'm on my way to 40 now. Bring it on - I'm ready! Those of you that know him can remind my husband that it's coming up soon - and he'd better get the band booked and the hall rented ;0)

Monday, October 1, 2007


I saw something very powerful yesterday. I got an email with a link to a video clip. Some days I look at them right away and some days I wait a bit - just depends on how busy I am, who's in the room at the time, who it's from - things like that. This particular clip was prefaced with a hope that it would strengthen my relationship with Christ.

The clip is of a skit done at an apparent youth rally called Winterfest, last winter in Knoxville, Tennessee. It's performed with the song Everything by Lifehouse. I'd never heard of them - but I enjoyed their sound.

After viewing the clip I looked up the lyrics on the web.
Everything by Lifehouse.

Find Me Here
Speak To Me
I want to feel you
I need to hear you
You are the light that's leading me
To the place where I find peace again.

You are the strength that keeps me walking.

You are the hope that keeps me trusting.

You are the light to my soul.

You are my're everything.

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

You calm the storms, and you give me rest.

You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.

You steal my heart, and you take my breath away.

Would you take me in? Take me deeper now?

How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

'Cause you're all I want, You're all I need

You're everything, everything

You're all I want you're all I need

You're everything, everything.

And How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?


Now - YOU should watch the clip. It appears right above this post (Oct. 3) and always at the bottom of the page.

I received a slightly different message than was probably intended when I watched. My original viewing was a little choppy, so I went looking for another one online. I found MANY more clips. The original clip on You Tube has been viewed well over 1.1 million times. And that's just this particular one. The skit has be "copied" by youth groups all over - wanting the share the important message. It seems the goal is to bring an awareness to the things that are out there attacking our kids.
  • Sexual promiscuity - or self worth found in a relationship (physical or not) with someone else.
  • The want of money
  • Drugs like alcohol - giving the promise popularity, release and "fun"
  • Self worth found in our physical appearance. The need to be like "everybody" else and do whatever it takes (including forcing ourselves to purge)
  • Self injury (like "cutting") - which has affected more of the youth in America than we care to admit and of course the end all beat all
  • Suicide - Giving in to the lie that there is no Hope.

But there is a Hope.

It starts out pretty much like a lot of skits do - it's nice. Looks like there will be a nice moral at the end.

We have a Creator that provides everything for us. He started the beating of our hearts. We were so close to Him that we could move in harmony with Him. He provided food, water, beauty in the things He's made only for our pleasure like the flowers and birds. He gave us everything we needed - and we were happy. We danced. How could it be any better than this?

Then we become distracted - something comes between us and Christ. The affection or flattery of someone else, perhaps. Our feeling of inadequacy (thrown at us by satan - telling us we were unfulfilled and need something, or someone, more) begins and we turn to be fulfilled elsewhere. We turn our focus from Jesus and now we dance somewhere else. Now there's a distance.

But He's still there.

Maybe it was money. Who couldn't use a little more money? As I viewed this I wasn't thinking of doing something immoral to get money - just the pursuit of it. If I just worked a little harder or a little longer. If I had a better degree... What's wrong with wanting to better yourself and make life a little "easier"? But now that has become a distraction and pulled us farther away. Now there is something else between us and Jesus.

But He's still there.

Maybe now we need a break - we need to forget or need the feeling of just not worrying about the stuff of life for awhile. We need to escape. The quick fix is drugs or alcohol. Ultimately it just exponentially multiplies the problems. And we're farther away now. It's hard to even see Jesus any more.

But He's still there.

We let the world tell us how we should feel about ourselves. We're just never good enough. Not pretty enough or talented enough. We're not smart enough or thin enough. If we were, then everything would be OK again. So to fix this we shove our fingers down our throats - to make things better? We're farther away again - and we're losing Hope.

But He's still right there. Begging us to come back - calling to us and holding out His open arms.

Our feelings of inadequacy have overtaken us. We hate ourselves and what we've become. There are a lot of things we can do - a lot of red flags we can raise - trying to get someones attention. Some (more than I realized) use self injury. Of course this only makes things worse again. Then satan comes in and tells us we're hopeless. We've gotten so far away we can never get back - and even if we did we've screwed things up so badly there's no point. No point in even going on.

This is the oldest battle. Good and evil. Jesus won it though. The outcome has already been determined. The only thing satan can do now is take God's children from Him. That's the absolute worst thing he can do to hurt God. Take them. Distract them. Put as much distance between them and God as possible and then kill them before they hear Jesus voice calling them back and return to the safety of His arms.

satan doesn't care WHAT it is that keeps us from Christ. I've told my kids - if the devil's not after you trying to discourage you or distract you from your relationship with Jesus - you gotta wonder if that's not because he's not worried about you. He feels like you're already in his back pocket. He'll use whatever tools he needs to get you. It could be drugs, alcohol, pride, fame, flattery, success or doing good for others even. It doesn't matter what it is... it just needs to distract us from Jesus. Just long enough.

And Jesus is still there. He's never moved - WE'RE the ones that have moved farther and farther away. He's still there with wide open arms.

But what if we hear God's voice calling to us? And we throw down whatever gun is about to destroy us and run back to Him? Is that it?

NO. satan won't let go that easily. Every hook will be put into our flesh, every road block will come down - every distraction is thrown in our path - anything to keep us from getting back to where we NEED to be. Every force of darkness is pushing us back telling us we'll never make it, we'll never be good enough and it's too late.

And this is where I started sobbing.

She wants to get back. She feels the tug - the pull - Jesus is pulling her back, fighting for her life. And she's fighting and doing everything in her power to get back what she had. But it's not enough. There's no way that she can ever defeat satan and break his hold on her.

But when she calls out to be saved Jesus steps in and shields her. She's broken free and HE takes on everything that was keeping her from Him. She relies on Him for protection and safety. She can finally feel peace and restoration. She has accepted the gift. Jesus said He'd fight for her if she'd just give up her own fight and accept His victory. And that battle is over. The power of darkness is defeated and cast off.

He picks her up and brushes her off. Their relationship is restored. Hope is restored.

And they dance again.

It wasn't too late for her.

It moves me to tears every time I view it. And I've lost count of how many times I've seen it now. What a powerful witness. Not only for teens - but for any of us that have let anything come between us and Christ.

Praise God - He fights for us. Fights to reach us and then fights our battles for us. If we'll let Him.

My Mom sent me this quote taken from the book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings on page 71.

"The Father's presence encircled Christ, and nothing befell
Him but that which infinite love permitted for the blessing of the world. Here
was His source of comfort, and it is for us. He who is imbued with the Spirit of
Christ, abides in Christ. The blow that is aimed at him falls upon the Savior
who surrounds him with His presence. Whatever comes to him comes from Christ. He has no need to resist evil for Christ is his defense. Nothing can touch him
except by our Lord's permission, and 'all things' that are permitted 'work
together for good to them that love God. '" Romans 8:28
There is another good version of this video here. Share it - give someone Hope. Since I started writing this a couple of hours ago there have been another 20,000 hits on the version that I originally viewed.

Another side story... Yesterday I was so moved by this that I immediately wanted to share it on my blog. I cleaned up the blog - reduced the number of posts on the page - and tried to add the code of the video.

My computer locked up. Wouldn't move.
Every time I tried to log back in to You Tube to get the code IE would just disappear and my email program would shut down.

I re-booted my puter twice. Same results. I'd never seen it do this before. I'd type the first "w" of the web address and IE would disappear again and the email would shut down.

My 7 year old said, "satan doesn't want you to put that on your blog mom."

So we anointed the computer through prayer!!! And there you have it. Praise the Lord!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Quick Update

Just a quick check in as it's late and I've still much to do for my little co-op class tomorrow.

I'm down another pound (for a total of 15 now in almost 6 weeks) and I re-figured my inches lost and I've lost a total of 20 inches from hither and yan.

There is a noticeable difference in how my clothing fits. Last Sabbath I was very pleasantly surprised that I had a bit of bagging in a blouse that usually fits snugly. Also - I was able to get into some jeans that I haven't in quite some time. Just in the nick of time for that one... my other jeans had worn a bit in the thigh region...and they were thin enough that they ripped on me two weeks ago when I stooped down... luckily the rip couldn't be seen - but knowing about it was enough of an embarrassment.

Thanks for all your comments of encouragement on and off blog. I'm really going to do it this time!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nearly 3 Blobs

That's how much I've lost so far.

"What's a blob", you ask? It's a jiggling, yellow and red capillary-striated mass of rubber created to show you a "solid" example of what five pounds of fat looks like.

They have one sitting on top of the filing cabinet in the office of my gym. You can stare straight at it at while you walk on treadmill number two. And that's what I do whenever I can. When I start to think "20 minutes of cardio is enough... I don't need to do 45 today..." I look up at the blob and remind myself that anything over 20 is blob burning!!!

Yesterday morning I nearly came to blows with a woman probably almost twice my age (and likely in better shape...) She'd STOLEN my number two!!! (my treadmill... try to keep up...) I had put my progress chart, pencil, towel and Reader's Digest on the top of it while I headed to the bathroom to... well... that's enough about that... But somewhere about 2 minutes later I come back and she's ON my treadmill! She'd moved all my things to number three! And THEN someone she knew came over and she straddled the moving belt so she could just stand there and flap her gums... I was getting irritated (I couldn't see my blob...) so I burned my anger by upping my elevation and speed just a little.

And as soon as she was done I hopped off number three and on to number two!

When my cardio was done I proceeded to follow her around the weight machines having to wipe them down before and after I used them... seems that the other gym members can't see the many bottles of green disinfectant and signs all over the walls and machines directing members to disinfect after each use.

I'm not sure... but I may be becoming a gym Nazi.

So today I weighed at the end of my workout and discovered that I'm down 14 pounds (or nearly three blobs...) and more than 14 inches.

  • 1 1/2 inches from my bust (still...)

  • 4 inches from my waist

  • 3 1/4 inches from my lower abs

  • 3 1/4 inches from my hips

  • 2 3/4 inches from my upper thighs

Yesterday I checked my Spark People account and 10 months ago I weighed 4 pounds less but was bigger inches wise. (Remember - muscle weighs more...muscle weighs more...)

I'm trying hard not to be discouraged by the fact that so far I've only lost weight that I gained since January this year. There's no baby weight falling as of yet - just the baggage from Ben- and-Jerrygate earlier this year.

Well "Yay ME!" anyhow - onward and downward I go!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just Breathe...

10:00 a.m this morning was the first time in a LONG time that I felt that I could relax for just a second.

I've spent the past several months tending to a very full "plate" around here.

First was the WREB (Western Regional Exam Board) for dental hygiene a week ago Monday (on the 10th). I spent a lot of time studying and about $2,400 on taking the exam… Then my patient was disqualified at the check-in by 1 millimeter. It truly SUQUED – don’t know when I’ll be sitting for them again – first to find another patient – with 1 millimeter LESS gum disease… My only complaint is that the first time my patient was rejected they told me I didn’t have enough qualifying calculus. If they had rejected him because the pockets were too deep I would have scrounged around and gotten someone else to submit for my final shot. And there were some extra patients there…

Oh well. There’s nothing I can do about it now. At least I don’t have to stress for the next four weeks wondering if I passed it! (However - they were kind enough to inform me in writing just in case I wasn't sure... It was in the mailbox when we arrived home on Sunday night.)

I gave it to the Lord and there’s a reason for everything. So I just keep going.
The next day (Tuesday, September 11) we headed to Missouri for my cousin Margie's wedding. We took my mom and sis along - so the van was loaded to the gills. The wedding was very nice. I ended up taking on quite a few tasks. I love the whole wedding process - so I was in my element. Got a real groove going and everything came off without a hitch (except of course for the bride and groom...)

For their wedding gift I've made (am making) them an album. I got quite a bit of it done on the way up in the van. I had a real nice set-up in the middle row - I did about 8 pages. I guess I can never again complain about the amount of space I get sharing tables at a crop. I had my big CM shoulder bag to my right – open and jammed between the middle row seats, my AMM tool bag on top of a cooler just in front of that and a lap desk (that thankfully held a 12x12 page) right up to the back of the drivers seat.

I have photos coming from Winkflash soon – I’ll post pix here when I finish them off. I gave it to them on Wednesday night before the wedding and then took it back so I can finish it.

Homeschool Co-Op classes began this morning. The kids each took 3 classes and I taught a beginner scrapbooking class. I’m looking forward to sleeping in my bed tonight rather than this chair in front of my puter… I spent last night preparing handouts for the class since there just wasn’t time to devote to it before the boards.

So today at 10:00 a.m. (after my class ended) I truly felt like I was able to breathe for the first time in months. Now we gear up for the wedding of another dear friend the end of October. Need to get going again on that wedding gift…
I will not be appealing the decision about my WREB exam... Their website informs me there is a $500 fee to appeal any ruling. Good news? The next (and only) exam near me is May 2-5, 2008.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

There's A Change Comin'

Progress is being made in the WL (weight loss) department. I had a strage sort of set back last week. I have no idea why I dropped to the 10 lbs. lost mark so quickly - but it was short lived. I was up 5 lbs. the very next day. Me thinks it must have something to do with pms... but there was NO (hand on bible) chocolate involved.

The GOOD news is - I continued to lose inches!!!

I'm measuring every Sunday and writing it down on an index card. I've done this before and found a couple of old index cards in my sock drawer. It's interesting to see the past... I usually did this after having babies.

So anywho - I measured yesterday and since my last report I'm down another 5 3/4 inches!!! So far I'm down a solid 8 lbs. since August 16 (that's 18 days) and...
  • 1 1/2 inches off my bust
  • 2 inches off my waist
  • 1 1/2 inches off my lower abs (a measurement all the mommies out there understand...)
  • 2 1/2 inches off my hips
  • 1/2 inch from my right upper thigh and 3/4 of an inch from my left
  • 3/4 of an inch from my right lower thigh and 1/2 of an inch from my left
That's a total of 10 inches!

I'm working really hard, though. I've discovered that when I started at the gym last fall (and then fell off the wagon in January - what's THAT about??? Oooh yea...I forgot about the month of muscle spasms I went through...) I wasn't really working that hard at it. I'd get my heart rate up some and walk for 15 or maybe 20 minutes and do some weight stuff. Then I could go home and change clothes.

Well now I'm dripping wet after a 45 minute bout on the treadmill at 3.9 mph at a slight incline. And the prayer is working miracles. I'm resisting the tempting snacks at night and during the day and the breads and rolls. Oatmeal with apples never tasted so good (cept' maybe in an apple crisp...but if you close your eyes...)

We leave on a trip in one week and we'll be gone for a week... I need to check to see if our hotel has a gym and if it doesn't - make a plan to keep up the momentum!

Watch out... I'm eventually going to add one of those annoying tickers to my blog...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Ten In Eleven

I know, I know... it's been a long time since I did a serious blog entry. Well - what can I say? I've been a little busy!

But - I had some news I wanted to share.

A few weeks ago I got the results of a blood draw from my doc. It reported that my cholesterol was pretty high, which put me at a greater risk for heart disease. So I immediately made some changes - whole grains and fruit for breakfast (oatmeal with an apple chopped up in it), I ordered a fiber supplement and some other heart healthy supplements from Melaleuca and began taking those as soon as they showed up.

My doc also called in a prescription for me to help get rid of some of the extra "fluff" as well. It suppresses the appetite and revs the metabolism. I began taking it 11 days ago.

I started hitting the gym again (four or five days a week) and have really been paying attention to the portion control. I think the MOST effective thing I've been doing is PRAYING about the cravings and "bad" foods. I can really tell a difference in this area.

As of today I'm down 3 3/4 inches and 10 pounds! I had to weigh myself three times on two different scales... I just couldn't believe it!

Now - this isn't going to be a dramatic change if you look... seems that somehow I've acquired an additional 16 pounds since January... (I have since broken off my previous relationship with Ben and Jerry...) but every little bit counts!

So I'm off to a good start. 10 down - 91 to go! I'll occasionally update on my progress.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Well It's About Time...

I'm told it's been awhile since I updated my blog (what the heck happened to July???) I'll fill you in on the last three weeks later - but for now I've been tagged by my girl Brook... (my first TAG I might add...) and it's a good a reason as any to start bloggin' from my noggin' again...

The game is SCATERGORIES….Here are the rules:Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the questions.They MUST be real places, names, things … NOTHING made up!If you can’t think of anything, skip it.You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question.If your name happens to start with the same letter as mine, sorry, but you can’t use my answers!

My Name is Sara!
1. Famous singer/band: Streisand
2. Four letter word: .... too easy... ;0)
3. Street: Sax Fifth Avenue (hee hee hee)
4. Color: Smoke Blue
5. Gifts/presents: Scrap Supplies :0)
6. Vehicle:Submarine
7. Things in a souvenir shop: Shirts, Sandals and Sea Shells
8. Boy Name: Sebastian
9. Girl Name: Shiela Jungle Princess...
10. Movie Title: Steel Magnolias or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
11. Drink: Strawberry Daiquiri
12. Occupation: Singer
13. Celebrity: Susan Sarandon (fi on her politics though)
14. Magazine: Scrapbooks Etc.
15. U.S. City: San Antonio
16. Pro Sports Teams: Spurs!
17. Fruit: Strawberries
18. Reason for Being Late for Work: Spilled my coffee on my Scrubs! (i don't drink coffee ;0)
19. Something You Throw Away: Stuff kids leave laying around
20. Things You Shout: Shut Up!
21. Cartoon Character: Sylvester

Now who will I tag? Vyrjilronica, Maria, Kath and Suz!

Friday, July 6, 2007

On Top of Old Fake Name

I finally got Zachary's 10th birthday invitation done and in the mail.

I decided to use some "old" papers I had bought for a summer page swap shortly before experiencing a life changing hurricane. I never got to participate in the swap - so I had a LOT of papers in coordinating patterns. And cardstock to match! So instead of buying something new I made do with what I had. (straining to pat myself on the back here...)

The cardstock is Bazzill, the patterned papers are Daisy D's from back in 2004, Ink is Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Mustard. The "you're invited" gel stickers are Making Memories - I picked them up at Big Lots for a buck a couple of weeks ago :0) The paint and foam stamps are also Making Memories. The "marshmallows" are cut from craft foam that I chalked with brown and black chalks and hot glued to sticks I pulled from our oak trees. Note: I originally tried the thick glue dots but they didn't hold well at all and I was able to bend the foam around the blob of hot glue so they looked more dimensional rather than thin and flat.
I also used sand paper (inside) and a Making Memories edge distresser (before I inked the edges in mustard) and my Singer sewing machine with a really thick thread.

The verse inside is:
On Top of Old Subdivision name ending in an E
(Sing to the tune of On Top of Old Smoky)

On top of old Subdivision name ending in an E
In the Hill Country
Zack Lastname will be 10
At his birthday party.

The party’s on Sunday,
The fifteenth of July,
Call 555-2286
And give your reply.

We’ll roast some marshmallows
And make some S’Mores
We’d better get started
At half before four.

His house is on Ourstreet
Four-fourteen’s the number
Bring your toothbrush and bedroll
For when we have slumber.

We’re planning to play games
At the Townname arcade,
Eat lots of cheese pizza,
And drink lemonade.

And then the next morning
We’ll fill up your plate
With pancakes and french toast,
Then you’ll go home at eight.
Kinda makes it sound weird when I take out all the "real" info - you'll just hafta trust me that it sounds good :0)


Jacob is thinking faster than I am most days.

Today as I went around the house I kept seeing these signs taped to my walls in various obvious locations. There were about a half dozen of them.
The sign reads:
retern to Jacob

I quizzed him about them and was informed that it was a picture of the button missing from his shirt - it's clear with four holes in it.

He was very pleased to know that I found it in the washing machine a couple of days before. As soon as I replace it for him he can return to buttoning his favorite (orange) polo shirt all the way to the top - as he does all of his polo shirts (his preferred style...)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Let Freedom Ring!

Didn't have much of a fourth today.

We did our traditional indoor picnic (no bugs, no heat) with hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, chips, bottles of pop and dessert - this year lemon pie and strawberry poke cake.

After we headed up the hill past my folks place to view the fireworks. Somebody forgot to tell us the show got cancelled though! We waited in the car 45 minutes before – then stood outside for an hour waiting for it to start… after standing in fire ants we finally decided to call it and went down the hill to mom’s, picked up our poke cake leftovers, FORGOT to bring our little bag of fireworks and came home.

So we don’t even get our $10 show! My Dad checked online and they’ve rescheduled the works for Sunday night – apparently they heard it’s our anniversary then :0)

The page above is from our last fourth of July celebration in Florida - about 5 weeks before hurricane Charley. It's an old layout from long ago - but I like it - it's one of my favorites, simply because I was able to cram so many photos into it - 22 total!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Boy's (new) Best Friend

This is Oscar and Zack (Zack is on the right). He's a brindle colored Terrier mix (which I guess means "mutt") Doesn't he have a nice smile? :0} We picked him up today at the local Animal Welfare League. He was rescued from the pound, adopted by an older couple, then returned when one of them became too ill to care for him.

He'll be two years old on July 5th, eight days before our two kitties, Maxine and Samantha, turn two. Neither one of them has had a kind thing to say to the poor boy, but they haven't terrified him either. I'm surprised at how calm he's been - he's not letting the girls intimidate him but he's not egging them on either.

So far he is just a love! We've FINALLY heard him bark - we were afraid he didn't have a barker there for a bit - but the cats coaxed it out of him while he was hanging out under the dinner table while we had tacos.

Oscar is potty trained, leash trained and knows a few voice commands. Right now he's warming my lap and has stuck pretty close to my ankles since we brought him home. I think he's a wonderful answer to a boy's prayers for a dog.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Here's a little layout I did for my friend Jennie (holy crap! she's having twins...) This layout is for Connor. :0) It's got a spot for a 4x4 and a 4x6 photo. It will hold a couple more 4x4's or a combination of 4x6's and 4x4's.

The cardstock is Bazzill, the patterned papers are My Mind's Eye - Tres Jolie - Baby Boy. The chipboard #2 is Rusty Pickle, the other letters are from all over... Heidi Swapp, Making Memories, We R Memory Keepers... (I LOVE having them all separated by letter in different drawers! See my March blog to see a photo of my storage system for my CB letters...) The safety pins are Phrase Cafe by EK Success. The ribbons are from all over as well - and the colors match a lot better in person than they do photographed. The ink is Versa Color - Brown, and the sewing machine (straight and zig zag along the patterned papers and around mats) is my Singer.

My favorite part about the whole thing is - I only have a 2X3 1/2 inch scrap of the dot paper left! All the rest was used in the layout or tiny pieces left after cutting out the CB letters! Scraps drive me crazy... I'm forever trying to store them in a logical way and never going back to them. I always want to use something new... sometimes I check my scraps for making a quick card - but I usually want something new for that too. Anybody have a scrap solution???
This is the one for her girl baby, Chloe.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Am I 5 Now???

The first words from my daughter's mouth the morning of her birthday: "Am I really five now, mommy?"

"Yes - You're really five now - you have been for two hours and thirteen minutes eastern daylight time!"

"Oh good! When I'm six - I want a hula kitty* birthday party!"

What??? WHY? Why does this child plan her birthdays so far in advance???

We do tend to let them drag on and on here, I suppose...

Today we celebrated the "official" birthday with dinner of the birthday girls' choosing (Special K loaf, scalloped potatoes and corn on the cob) and another cake. Then she opened her presents from family. Grampa got her a princess fishing pole (to induct her into the Grampa fishing club), Nana and Pawpa got her a Tinkerbell folding chair (perfect for fishing from I'm sure), brothers Jacob and Zack got her some Thomas the Tank trains all her own (with girly names and faces) and a Diego figure for the "Dora's Magical Castle" that mommy picked up months ago on $18 clearance and hid in the shed in a garbage bag low these many months.

Aunt Shari, Uncle Carl, Matthew and Jeremy sent gifts along too. Aunt Shari made a beautiful card (way to show up mommy Aunt Shari... I didn't bother with a card once I saw your lovely one...) and the favorite gift was the "more than 500 piece" something to do with Disney Princesses and paper dolls... I don't know a whole lot about it except the "more than 500 pieces" part. Take note Aunt Shari - payback is a you-know-what...

The Sunday following her birthday, the "boys" took Michaela fishing. This was Zack's idea for a present - he felt she'd really enjoy it. Grampa said she was all over the place (mommy stayed home and slept in :0) All I know is she came home fussing that "it wasn't fair" since she hadn't caught anything. But she looked cute not catching anything- even though daddy put her shirt on her backwards.
*I've since figured out that "hula kitty" is really "Hello Kitty"... duh...

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Tea For Four

Michaela's birthday tea was a success. With many thanks to the expert help of Gramma, Nana and Daddy. I couldn't have pulled it off without them. In fact - the only food I prepared was the birthday cake. Brian made the scones, muffins, whipped the Devonshire cream and baked the most delicious lemon bars I've ever had. And it was a recipe I've used dozens of times! I think the secret may have been the stoneware pan he baked them in.

Three beautiful little tea-takers Dana, Phoebe & Chloe) joined us right on time. They were dressed in such finery - beautiful dresses, hats and gloves. Michaela was so excited to have girls her age in the house. It's gets very tiresome to be the only little girl swimming upstream in the testosterone.
When the doorbell rang I was still frantically squeezing flowers onto the cake - so we let Michaela open one of her gifts from Momma, (a Gigi - God's Princess DVD with an episode called "The Royal Tea Party") and the little princesses enjoyed it while we put the finishing touches on the tables.
I think they may have been just slightly overwhelmed. We started with pink lemonade, raspberry and peach tea. There was no PB & J in sight... rather, the traditional cucumber sandwiches, strawberry and cinnamon flower sandwiches and striped egg salad finger sandwiches.

Next came the cream scones with raspberry jam or lemon curd and mock Devonshire cream and berry muffins. Following very close behind were the desserts of shortbread wedges, lemon bars and chocolate filled cream puffs.

The best surprise to their little ears was the announcement of "final dessert" - an unheard of fourth dessert of fondant covered strawberry "teacup" cakes and a of course the teapot cake at the birthday girls' request. By the time we got to the photos of the birthday cake the "faucet" (as Michaela put it) was under a bit of stress and beginning to fold. It was a bit heavy and wanted to pull out of the cake so I had propped it with another piece of fondant. This was the second "faucet" I had made too - the first was way too heavy and pulled on the cake something terrible.

Aside from the folding faucet I was fairly pleased with the result - and Michaela was duly impressed - good enough for me :0)

After Michaela opened her girly-girly gifts (her favorite by far was the wad of necklaces from Phoebe) and played for a few minutes we helped each girl decorate a tea hat with a ribbon sash, tulle and silk flowers and Michaela gave each a little satin purse with fancy hair ties and clips. To wrap things up they watched one more episode of Gigi and the little princesses buzzed out the door on a sugar high.

Mommy crashed.

I was whipped - but recovered after a short nap.
On to planning the next party...

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