Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Live Tree vs. Fake Tree

I've always been a fake tree proponent, probably mostly because I seem to be allergic to most evergreens and the idea of having one in my home for a month doesn't appeal to me. I like the ease of a fake tree and the fact that I don't have to remember to water it. One of my biggest fears is having a house fire, and a dry tree is definitely a fire hazard (yes, my mother did nickname me Sparky!).

This video makes me even more glad my tree is fake!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gifts of Grace

Nov. 2nd - Nov. 30th

My church is partnering with another church across town to provide underprivileged kids with a gift this Christmas season. Our goal is to provide 800 wrapped toys for
this community need. Please help us make a difference in a child’s life! If you're interested in helping, leave a comment and your email address and I will get in touch with you regarding the specifics.


Friday, October 03, 2008

She's Gone.

Nani is gone. The vet said she had cancer. There is a huge cockatiel-sized hole in my heart.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

My "Baby" is Sick. :-(

No, not Miss N. I mean, not my human child, Miss N. My 10.5 year old cockatiel, Nani, is currently spending the night in a heated, oxygenated cage at the emergency avian vet in a town that is roughly 30 miles from our home.

I'd noticed the last week or so that she'd been sleeping with her head under her wing a lot. I didn't think too much of it. And then today I noticed she was having a hard time moving around the cage. She was struggling to get up onto the perch where her food dish is. I took her out of the cage and she could barely hold her wings up, she was so weak.

I went into panic mode. I started calling vets trying to get her an appointment immediately. This was at 5 pm, and most of them closed at 6 and weren't willing to stay open late. So Brad offered to take her to the emergency vet.

I had worship team rehearsal tonight, so I called a friend from my playgroup who lives VERY close to our church, and asked her if she could watch Miss N (my human child!) for an hour or so while I attended rehearsal. She was willing and able, and I am so very thankful for her!

Brad was home when we got back to the house. He said the vet said she was encouraged by the fact that Nani was eating and moving around some more. The vet called a little later and said they were trying to take blood but couldn't get a vein, so they gave Nani some fluids and tried again a little later, and were still not successful, so they'd keep trying. They said she's more active now, which is a good thing.

The vet said it could be one of three things: a kidney problem, which they can do little about (and which I suspect because of how her stools have been over the past couple of years), cancer, which they could possibly operate on and successfully remove, or a bug that could be beat with antibiotics. We're obviously praying for the last one and for our baby bird to be healed! We won't know anything until they can run the blood tests, and they have to be able to get blood for that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lens Filters are a GOOD THING

Well, sort of...

If you bump your camera lens against something, your lens filter will protect your lens. The good news is that this was a $20 filter on a $200 lens. The bad news is that this was much more than just a bump...the impact was strong enough to jam the filter out of the threading and down into the lens, and messed up the zoom and focus rings. They move, but not smoothly! I have no idea if I'll be able to get the filter off of the lens. Thankfully, it was my cheap kit lens and not one of my more expensive lenses - THAT would have made me really mad.

In case you're wondering, this happened over two weeks ago. I stepped off a curb I didn't see (don't ask how). I sprained my ankle and broke a bone in my leg. It sounds much more dramatic than it actually is - the broken bone was the very tip of my fibula (the little bone on the outside of the leg). I'm walking around ok and am able to drive, praise God! I do not know what I would have done if Miss N and I were cooped up in the house for four to six weeks!

Not So Much...

Rule of physics: when a toddler drops a crayon from a height of 3 feet onto a hard, tile floor, that crayon will NOT be "Hard to break!"

Photo Meme

Tagged by Becca, sort of! She says, "If you read my blog and you are cool enough to do this, then you should."

Go take a picture of things in your house AS THEY ARE RIGHT NOW! No fixing before you snap the picture!

1. My Closet-

If we had it to do over again, we wouldn't have the builder install any of those shelves or rods. We plan to redesign it and tear it all out and install Elfa, probably this January when Container Store does their big 30% off sale!

2. Kitchen Sink

Ahhh, a clean, shiny kitchen sink. Thank you, FlyLady!

3. Toilet in Main Bathroom-

Exciting stuff, huh?

4. Kids in their best form-

She was quite frustrated that she couldn't get that brown shoe off in order to put her other pink Croc on.

5. A Beautiful place I want to visit:

Treasure Cay, Abaco Island, Bahamas

6. Something I do not enjoy:

I HATE folding laundry! HATE HATE HATE!

7. My Fridge and freezer:

You can see all of the fridge clutter is on the side so I don't have to look at it all the time. Miss N brings home one piece of artwork from MDO each day (so 2 per week). I put one on the front of the fridge and replace it with the newest piece each time.

8. My Favorite room-

Right now this is my favorite room because it is 90% done. We still have stuff to hang on the walls and some decor to put on top of the bookcases, but it gives me hope that the rest of our house will be complete some day!

9. Self Portrait-

This was the best I could get.

10. My favorite shoes-

I LOVE these shoes on Miss N!

And these are my favorites to wear. They're probably horrifically out of style, but I don't care, they're still cute!

If you read this, guess what? Tag, you're it, NO TAG BACKS! :-)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

In Honor of Labor Day (a couple of days late)

Saw this on Jess' blog and was instructed to complete it!

How long was your labor?
5 hours

How did you know you were in labor?
my water broke

Where did you deliver?
at home, in a nice warm tub of water!

No way!!!


Who delivered?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Brad and I have been married four years today. One thousand, four hundred sixty-one days, and a handful of hours. It's really hard to believe that it was four years ago that we became husband and wife. It's been quite an adventure, full of fun and several challenges. I know that with our foundation built on Christ that we will successfully weather any storm that may come along.

I'm a very blessed woman to have such a wonderful husband who truly knows what it means to follow Christ and lead our family.

Here are some photos of us from our wedding day. If you want to see more details, visit Our Wedding Web Page. The wedding highlights video link doesn't work any more, but I haven't had any desire to update the web page.

To celebrate the day, I cooked Brad's favorite meal, sauerbraten and mashed potatoes. Yesterday he brought home a dozen red roses for me and one hot pink rose for Nyssa (so sweet!). He told me last night that when I went to bed, I couldn't get back up until in the morning. I had no idea what kind of surprise I'd be waking up to! When I left the bedroom in the morning, there was a piece of computer printer paper with a smiley face printed on it that was taped to the wall facing the bedroom door. As I rounded the corner, I spotted two more pieces of computer paper with prints of ducks on them (we have an inside joke about ducks that goes all the way back to our third date). And then I spotted the larger-than-life love letter he had written to me, printed out on over 200 sheets of paper and taped to the longest wall of our living room. I was blown away by his creativity, as well as the sweet letter he wrote to me (no, I won't be sharing it). There was another two sentence letter on the wall in the entry of our home, and he had scattered more prints of random ducks on the walls in the main living area. He also had taped Howard (the duck that started the whole inside joke about ducks) to the wall with a letter (we've been doing that for over five years now!).

After dinner we exchanged gifts - the fourth anniversary gift is supposed to be fruit/flowers (traditional) and appliances (modern). I ordered him six bottles of St. Lucia banana ketchup, which he fell in love with on our honeymoon to St. Lucia. I figured since banana is a fruit, that counts! And he got me the latest Flip video camera, which was originally on my Christmas list for this year. I can't wait to really use it and post lots of fun videos over on Nyssa's blog.

Tomorrow night we are going out for dinner to Ruth's Cris. I'll have more photos to share tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Stud Finder of Odd Proportions

I hate conventional stud finders. We have never been able to get one to work properly, as evidenced by the nine or so holes that are hidden behind the giant blue marlin that is hanging in the photography studio. There were another sixteen holes in the wall of our apartment where he was hanging in our living room for the same reason.

A few weeks ago I sat down with my 1994 copy of Reader's Digest Household Hints and Tips. It mentioned the use of a strong magnet to locate the studs in the walls of your house. I was skeptical but figured it had to be better than nailing hole after hole after hole hoping to hit the 2x4 on the first try.

What do you know! It actually works! You start by locating the poorly spackled nail hole in the baseboard.

Then you take your magnetic Tot Lok (any other strong magnet will work, the Tot Lok is just the one we happened to have handy) and starting at the baseboard, move your way up in a straight line, following the magnet until it is at the height you want to place your nail. You'll feel the magnet stick every few inches.

Quite ingenious, no? Too bad I didn't think of it myself, many moons ago!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I *heart* Dr. Sears

"Babies will wean and someday they will sleep through the night. This high maintenance stage of nighttime parenting will pass. The time in your arms, at your breast, and in your bed is a relatively short while in the life of a baby, yet the memories of love and availability last forever. "

This is why we 1) cosleep and 2) REFUSE REFUSE REFUSE to sleep train our daughter to go to sleep on her own.

I do not want to send the message to her that we are only available to her during the day. I want her to learn that (to use Dr. Sears' phrasing) sleep is a pleasant state to enter into and a safe state to remain in. I do not believe that leaving her to cry alone until she falls asleep will accomplish those goals.

I'm not criticizing any other parent for choosing to use the cry-it-out method to get their children to sleep. I believe that, generally speaking, parents do what they feel is best for their families based on their own beliefs and principles when it comes to raising children. So why do I not get the same courtesy from other parents? If I'm venting about having trouble with sleeping, just offer some sympathy and encouraging words: "This too shall pass."

Saturday, May 31, 2008


LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Um, wrong. There is ONE person in the US that has MY NAME....


Who writes these programs?!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bachelorette Party

You know you're in trouble, when you Google, "Name-of-hometown Nightlife" and the only thing that pops up is the local historical downtown movie theatre.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Halfway House?

So as of yesterday, there are now seven beating hearts living in our house. No, I'm not pregnant! I just have a 3-week-old cottontail bunny living inside a plastic box in our bathroom right now. He's a temporary resident and will be returned to the "wild" (aka our yard) probably this weekend.

A storm came up yesterday mid-morning and the wind that preceded the storm was blowing our empty 5-gallon plastic water jugs all over the front porch. I stepped outside and glanced down at the planter that sits right outside the front door. I noticed something out of place...there was a tennis-ball-sized pile of fluff sitting huddled between the wall and the container. It startled me and I exclaimed, "OMG What IS THAT?!" I quickly realized it was a baby bunny. Great. I figured out he had probably been disturbed when the landscape guys came that morning to mow our grass (we have landscape guys because Brad is HIGHLY allergic to most grasses and weeds, I just refuse to mow, and N isn't tall or strong enough to push a mower yet).

Hilarity ensued...after talking to my friend Kimberly (who had recently had the same problem, except there were TWO bunnies invovled in her case, and they were much younger) I decided to set some water and spinach out for him. Well, in doing so, I frightened him and he darted off to the end of the porch. Now he was huddled next to the wall and under the porch railing, but remember the storm I mentioned was coming? Well, it had arrived and the wind was blowing sideways, soaking this poor rabbit.

I ran to the garage to get the stroller and my umbrella. I secured Nyssa in the stroller and set her in the front door where she could see me but wasn't getting soaked like I was about to be. I then opened the umbrella, walked around the porch in the pouring rain, and poked the bunny back toward his original hideout. I had to nudge him a couple of times, but he ended up back where he was, except now he was quite wet, poor thing.

I then got an email from a wildlife rehabilitation lady (http://www.rescuedrabbits.org/), who advised me to get the rabbit, put him in a small shoebox lined with a t-shirt, and set the shoebox on a heating pad set on medium. Then she sent me a Power Point presentation that showed Eastern Cottontails in various stages of development, from birth to adulthood. She asked me to guess how old the bunny was. I figured 2.5-3.5 weeks, and then sent her a picture, which she confirmed was probably a 3-week old bunny.

She said I could either get him to her later that evening, or she could tell me how to care for him over the next few days. We opted to care for him ourselves. She advised us to put him in a tall box, keep part of that box on a heating pad, and to provide water in a shallow dish and give him cut grass from our yard for him to eat. She also listed some of their other favorite foods (dandelions, pansies, petunias, hibiscus), but I don't have any of those so he's just getting grass!

I found out a little later that they don't eat spinach. She advised against giving apples and carrots since they don't get those in the wild.

So I put the little shoe box inside a big clear plastic box and then set a baby gate on top of that. I realized that evening that rabbits are nocturnal! He was bumping around a bit while I was trying to fall asleep, and then he was quiet through the night. And then at dawn, he started bumping around again. Silly guy! When I went to check on him after I got up this morning, I panicked, because I didn't see him at first. He had burrowed underneath the t-shirt that was in the shoe box. I uncovered his head, worried about him getting enough oxygen. He was probably fine, but the mom in me was concerned.

I'll post a photo of his latest set up later.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Why I Love Dr. Sears

It's no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Dr. Sears.

This is my latest favorite quote of his.

"To expect a curious two-year-old to be a model of obedience in a supermarket that is set up to make adults act impulsively is unrealistic."

High Fructose Corn Syrup

I have been avoiding almost all products that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for a while now. It started when we found out Brad had a corn allergy. And then I started doing some reading about how awful HFCS is, and so far this is my favorite paragraph about it:

"If nothing else, think of high fructose corn syrup as a giant red flag that says 'I’m heavily processed! I’ve lost most of my nutritional value! The people who made me took the cheap way out, because they care more about profits than quality! You don’t want to eat me!'"

from http://cleanerplateclub.wordpress.com/2007/06/20/take-the-high-fructose-corn-syrup-challenge/.

I think the only thing in our cabinets that contains the stuff is my jar of Miracle Whip lite and the bottle of Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce, both of which will be going into the trash tomorrow. I learned from a couple of different Canadians that the Lea and Perrins sold in Canada does NOT contain the HFCS. I bought some other brand from Whole Foods, but may have to get my friend in Canada to send me a bottle or three of the Lea & Perrins if the Whole Foods brand doesn't taste right.

As for the Miracle Whip, I'm going to just have to start eating my sandwiches dry.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Free on Craigslist!

Need some entertainment? Check out what's being offered for free on Craigslist sometime!

Free Toilets. slightly used in good condition
Ok, yuck.

2 Epson inkjet printers- don't work
Old Dirty Gas Grill PLEASE COME GET IT -

I know why people post these, but it still cracks me up.

***Need shade trees?*** FREE Maple trees you dig up -
Nice way to get revenge on your neighbor.

Bees and Beehive-Please take away
Um, yeah. Good luck with that.

Old, dirty, stained, stinky furniture
I'm guessing this person didn't major in marketing.

free small clown cake
I had extra cake batter and frosting and made a small clown cake. Pick up soon please. Lewisville off 121 and 35 thanks!

While I suppose this is a nice gesture, it falls into the, "Don't take candy from strangers," category.

I have a box of leftover supplies from my colostomy and would like for someone to have these that really need them. They are very expensive and already paid for so I would like for them to go for someone's good use.

I have no words.

Fish tank & all supplies, litter box, framed pictures, phones etc
Wow, these fish are litter-box trained, and have a nice set-up with framed photos and phones!

2 Empty Buckets -
Ok, random! The post even included a photo. They were joint compound buckets.

Not so funny if you haven't seen Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail.

FREE : Two Used Tires to good home
Why do they care if the tires go to a good home? What constitutes a good home for used tires, anyway?

This was just weird and random and bound to bring crazies out of the woodwork!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Here are the rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and post a comment to the person who tagged you once you’ve posted your three sentences.

So since the nearest books were "Shiny Touchy Smelly" - no words, "Happy Baby 123" - not 123 pages, and "Moo, Baa, La La La" - also short on pages, I got up and walked into the study to get a book that had 123 pages.

"Women admitted to the hospital in early labor or prelabor may be more likely to have labor interventions. If you have reached the point in pregnancy when labor looms even larger than you do, you have almost certainly considered pain relief medication for labor. Obstetric management offers only two options: injected narcotics and epidurals."

From Henci Goer's _The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth._

No, I'm not pregnant. I lent the book to a friend and just got it back a couple of weeks ago, and hadn't bothered to return it to its proper place on my bookshelf yet.

Tagging: April, Erin, Adri, Lynn, and Misty. And anyone else that wants to participate.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Best laid plans...

Yesterday evening Brad could tell I needed a break, so he sent me out for some retail therapy. I headed to Michaels, where I stumbled upon a fabulous sale - 60% off all of these super-cute cottage-style decorations (photos are over on the house blog). I instantly knew that I had to have these things for our downstairs bathroom. I picked out several pieces and decided it was time to pick a color for the bathroom walls. I selected a couple of shades of paints and decided that the next morning N and I would head to the paint store and buy samples so I could choose one color and get started on painting.

Since it was really nice outside, I decided we should walk to the paint store. I mean, it was only a half-mile from our house - literally around the corner - the weather was great, I could use the exercise, I wouldn't have to get N in and out of her car seat just to go a half-mile, fuel prices are really high (ok, so that wasn't really any motivation for not driving, I mean, it was ONLY a half-mile away!), I had lots of great reasons why I should walk. Brad asked me if I was sure I wanted to walk there, and I insisted that it was a good idea.

It turns out I should listen to my husband more. He is wise. Wise enough not to try and convince his stubborn wife that she really should just get in the car and drive the half-mile to the paint store.

I loaded N up in the stroller, gave her a little scrapbook that happens to be her favorite right now, and off we went.

About three-quarters of the way there, I was reminded of Shel Silverstein. The sidewalk ended. Not only was our nice paved surface gone, but so was the flat terrain. All of a sudden, we were presented with an uneven, hilly area that was extremely difficult to navigate with a 20 pound stroller and a 21 pound toddler. And when the hill finally flattened and the sidewalk picked back up, it was over a bridge and the sidewalk was just as wide as my stroller. And then the sidewalk ended again! We walked through a parking lot, only to find that there was no sidewalk along the MAJOR road (think three lanes of traffic on each side!), so now I was pushing the stroller across the grass just a few feet from cars and trucks driving 50 mph or more. It was nerve-wracking to say the least!

We did make it to the paint store safely, selected the paint and a few supplies, and then I called Brad to see if he was close enough to come pick us up, as I was dreading the walk back home. Unfortunately, he was a couple of towns away (so probably just 15 minutes, plus the time to go home and pick up the car seat) and I decided I'd suck it up and walk back home. Fortunately, I had had the foresight to put the Beco in the basket of the stroller, just in case. I ended up putting N on my back, since the stroller without 21 pounds of toddler would be easier to manage on that stupid hilly terrain. Once we reached the sidewalk again, I returned N to the stroller as it really was too hot to wear her and continue to walk home.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Word to the Wise...

If you want to spend four days gimping around like you're a hundred and thirty years old, then I recommend that you do squats to failure. That means that you tap your hiney to a chair (without actually sitting down) until you simply cannot return to a standing position any longer.

I confess, I did quit probably a few squats before total failure, since Miss N was getting rather impatient sitting in her stroller watching her crazy mommy sit down and stand back up again, over and over, to the tune of a hundred and five times.

And boy, let me tell you, simple movements like standing, sitting, rolling over in bed, getting in and out of the car, etc! have become unbelievably difficult in the last few days. I know I've been rather comical to watch moving around the house. I even caught my foot on the door frame of our bathroom and my TODDLER laughed at me! Eesh.

The last time I remember being this sore was right after giving birth. The time before that was after the White Rock half-marathon in December of 2003.

What prompted me to do such a thing in the first place? Well, our StrollerFit instructor has issued another 6-week total body challenge. Last year we just took measurements. This year she's added in a few physical challenges as well: total situps in 60 seconds (I HATE situps! Crunches are good, situps SUCK), pushups to failure, and squats to failure. As my workout buddy Becky pointed out, I'm going to have to beat my initial count of 105 on the squats in 6 weeks. Right now I don't see that happening, not because I don't think I will get stronger and can do more by then, but because I do not want to be this sore again for a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time. Back when I was working a desk job, it wasn't a big deal. My job now requires me to be a LOT more active - I spend a lot of time going from sitting in the floor to standing and am on my feet and walking around a lot more than I used to!

Friday, April 25, 2008


You know how in cartoons when the characters get run over by steamrollers they are as flat as paper? Well, that happens to real, live frogs as well.

N and I were heading out for the morning yesterday. I had just put her into her car seat and was walking behind the car heading to the driver's side. I glanced down at the garage floor and thought, "Hm. That leaf is shaped like a frog! Oh, wait. No. That IS a frog. Oops."

How sad! We have a creek behind our house where there are lots of frogs ribbeting at night, and I commented the other day that I wanted to see the froggies. Seeing one on our garage floor squished flat by my car tire was SO not what I meant! At least it happened on the day AFTER Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Were you an April Fool?

I almost was, for about 15 seconds after reading my friend Heidi's email about them relocating to France in 30 days. Then it dawned on me what day it was.

I was going to email a photo of a digital pregnancy test that said pregnant to some friends, but yesterday was so busy that I never got this:

But I did pull a fast one over on B! I called him and some semblance of the following conversation took place between us:

J: Guess who called me to offer me my old job back.
B: Your old boss!
J: I know, can you believe it! So crazy. Anyway, I think I'm going to accept her offer. The money would be nice, and I'm getting bored with staying home all day. Bored and burned out - I need a change of pace.
B: But what about N?
J: What about N? We'll just put her in daycare. She'll be fine. She'll adjust, kids are adaptable.
B: Are you serious?!

Now if you could have seen me, you'd have known I was lying through my teeth. I was trying so hard not to laugh. I LOVE staying home with N, we do a LOT and are NEVER bored. The only thing I'm burned out on is not getting a good night's sleep thanks to TEETHING. I couldn't go on any more with the charade, so I asked B if he'd looked at his calendar. He just laughed and laughed after realizing what day it was.

Poor guy, that wasn't his first April Fool's, either. He'd had his medical exam for his private pilot license and after it was over, the doctor said, "I'm sorry, but I'm not going to be able to pass you today." B stuttered and stammered for a few seconds before the doctor said, "April Fools!" POOR B!!! :-) He's a good sport.

Hang Up and DRIVE!

N loves the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. I have been trying to find a used one for a decent price from Craigslist to no avail. So then I started searching the regular retailers. Target doesn't have the classic car that's red and yellow, but they do have a Princess car that comes with a pink ! cell phone! And that's not all...no, the product photo has a little girl DRIVING THE CAR WHILE ON THE PHONE!

Monday, March 31, 2008


My friend and neighbor down the street has some beautiful hydrangeas planted in pots outside her home.

I have a horrible time remembering what the name of them are, and usually go through delphinium and hyacinth before hydrangea finally hits me. I had to use Wikipedia to remind me.

At the bottom of the Wiki entry for hydrangea was a warning on their poisonous nature.

"Hydrangeas are moderately toxic if eaten, with all parts of the plant containing cyanogenic glycosides. However, poisoning is rare, as the plant does not look like an enticing food source."

Whomever wrote that has obviously never had a toddler.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fun with Flair

I'm too old to be messing around on Facebook, but it's a nice, mindless time-waster.

I had fun looking through the virtual buttons on the Flair application.

My favorites:
some are hard to read! The top middle says, "I sing for the one who gave me my song." The black one next to it says, "I can't...I have rehearsal." Seems like I'm always missing moms' night out because of worship team rehearsals on Thursdays...but that's ok! :-)
The blue one below "I scrapbook" says, "they don't know that we know they know we know."
The music note one says, "What have I done?" The one next to that says, "If my daughter is the Princess, that makes me the QUEEN!" Below "Save the tatas" is "You're a great friend but if the zombies chase us I'm tripping you." The green one says, "Well, that's not a good sign." The blue one with an angry face says "I judge you when you use poor grammar." The one with the ducks says, "I had plastic surgery done."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wii have a fever

For well over a year now, I have not understood all of the hype surrounding the Wii gaming system.

Until last night.

A month or so ago, we invited a couple of our friends over for dinner last night. My parents just so happened to be driving back home from their spring break trip to Oklahoma and wanted to stop and spend the night with us to visit. So we had a house full of guests. We had fajitas, chips, and salsa from Chili's, and beans and rice from a local Mexican restaurant down the street from where we live, and homemade guacamole. Oh, and slushy bucket margaritas made using the On The Border bucket margarita mix with Jose Cuervo Gold tequila (see my previous post about Mommy of the Year!). And after dinner, my parents offered to bring in their brand new Wii that they picked up at a WalMart in a small town near where they were staying. There were fourteen in stock; B and I keep joking about driving up there to pick one up. Anyway, the six of us had a BLAST just creating our Miis - lots of laughter ensued. And then we played the bowling game right in the comfort of our own living room! It was a LOT of fun and now we want one to entertain ourselves!

After two rounds of bowling, our dinner guests had to go home. After they left, my mom and I started playing the Wii Play games trying to get to the Cow Racing portion. It's the second-to-the-last game on the disc, and you HAVE to play the first seven games in order to get to the Cow Racing game (which by FAR is the best game on the disc). The most annoying and hard-to-learn game was the billiards one. It took Mom and I for-EV-ER to get through that one.

And then when we went to play today, we found ourselves having to go through all of the games AGAIN! GRRRR! The billiards game went a little faster this time, but it was still aggravating.

Mommy of the Year Award

Goes to ME, for hauling my kid into the liquor store yesterday to buy a bottle of tequila.

When we go shopping in other places I am always talking to her about what's on the shelves, you know, "Oh, see the pretty vases? Look, there's a red one, and a yellow one..." etc. There is nothing quite like saying, "Oh, look at the pretty bottles," to your 15-month-old in a liquor store!

Hey, it was better than leaving her in the car!

And apparently they have lots of kids come in there with their parents - enough to warrant a big bowl of Dum Dum suckers behind the counter! The guy asked me, "She's too young for a lollipop, probably."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

She's Gone

This is not going to be the most uplifting blog entry I've written. You won't hurt my feelings if you don't read or don't finish.

My friend Dottie lost her battle with breast cancer last Wednesday. I've put off writing about it, partially because I don't have any photos of my own of her on this computer. Dumb, but that's my excuse. I'd known Dottie for a little over or under 10 years. We met on a scrapbooking newsgroup way back in 1998 or 1999. In 2000, I met her in person at a weekend scrapbooking retreat for the aforementioned newsgroup. She was an amazing person, full of life and laughter and fun, and she called a spade a spade with no qualms or apologies. We kept in touch via email over the last 10 years, and I'd been praying fervently for her healing. She got the Ultimate Healing and has no more pain or sorrow, as she is in the presence of the Lord.

On Saturday, just four days before Dottie passed away, my great-aunt Leota went home to the Lord. She had had a stroke several years before, and her health had declined from there. She weighed just 60 pounds when she died. She was a tiny person anyway, but 60 pounds still wasn't healthy for her. Bless her heart! I tried to be good in the last few years about writing her letters and sending her photos, but never sent as many as I would have liked. You know, the shoulda, woulda, coulda guilt complex!

And then I started thinking, you know, I have lost a LOT of family members in my lifetime. I still have some friends who have not yet had to deal with the death of anyone close to them. I'm no stranger to that. This is going to be weird, but I thought I'd catalog all of the family members I've said goodbye, or rather, see you later, to over the years.

My first loss was either my great-grandmother or my great-grandfather; I can't recall which. I think it was MawMaw but I am not sure. Anyway, she died when I was really young, maybe 5? Her husband died shortly thereafter, I think. I was really young so the details are pretty hazy.

These dates may not be the most accurate. I know both of my step-dad's parents passed when I was in either middle school or high school. I can't remember the exact years (sorry!). My dad's mom died when I was a freshman in high school. My dad's dad (well, his step-dad, as his biological father died when my dad was 9) died in 1993 when I was a freshman in college. In 1994, my then-sister-in-law gave birth to a premature baby, Kevin Blake, who died 13 days later. It was the hardest funeral I'd ever attended. Until then, only old people had died in my life, and this just wasn't right!!! Babies aren't supposed to die!!! My mom's best friend died from cancer in February of 1994 in her late 30s. Another difficult death for me - she left behind a great husband and two sweet boys. She herself was a really sweet woman. I attended a funeral in 1997 for my sister's friend, who drowned. That also sucked - he was a senior and had his whole life ahead of him. My aunt (my mom's sister) died in August (?) of 1998. My grandmother (mom's mom) died in September of 1999. In December of 2001, I lost my dad. It sucks a lot to lose a parent, even if you don't have the greatest relationship with them. My great-uncle Doug (my maternal grandfather's brother) died in 2002, I think, then his brother Jimmy (Aunt Leota's husband) died in 2003, as did my cousin TJ - another rough death - he was my age (!!!) and a week or so later, my dad's brother Ray died. Then in February of 2005, my Popa, my mom's dad, died. That was another hard one for me, he was my last living grandparent. In early 2007 Brad's uncle died, and then in late 2007, his grandmother passed away. And that brings me to the two most recent deaths already mentioned at the beginning of this post.

I think there have been some other deaths on my dad's side of the family, but I can't recall who at the moment.

So here's the neat thing...I know they all are in heaven and that I will see them all again some day! That is pretty exciting. And that's what gets me through the rough times.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I need an eye exam

Our new couches arrived on Tuesday. I finally got around to removing the hanging tags from them today. One of the tags is a "WARNING: FLAMMABLE" tag. I really need my eyes examined, because I thought bullet point number 3 said, "Keep children away from machetes and lighters." It says "matches," but machetes is much funnier. I suppose I should return Nyssa's Easter gift back to Machetes R Us!

For some reason, the name "TAMMY" is stamped on the WARNING:FLAMMABLE tag. I'm not sure why. It doesn't say, "Inspected by," or "For a good time, call" or anything.

Junk mail amuses me. Pizza Hut's latest flyer is advertising "The Natural." It has a multi-grain crust, sauce made from organic tomatoes, and (this is the one that gets me) ALL-NATURAL mozzarella cheese. That scares me a little. I mean, what is the mozzarella cheese on their regular, non-all-natural, pizzas made from, if it's not ALL NATURAL??? What does unnatural cheese look like? Actually, I think I know the answer to that one - it's in the form of veggie cheese slices made from tofu. I'm not knocking tofu products masquerading as dairy products, in fact, I am a big fan of the Tofutti products, specifically the Cuties (ice "cream" sandwiches), and the Better than Cream Cheese and Better than Sour Cream dairy substitutes. But veggie cheese still strikes me as unnatural.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Kids' songs? And other ramblings...

One of N's favorite toys is a pull-along ladybug that sings lots and LOTS of songs. Most really are great kids' songs, but it seems to be playing Little Brown Jug from time to time.

I looked up the lyrics and the first page the search engine returned was the following: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/jug.htm.

I was very, very amused by their disclaimer. "Important! This is a fun song to sing, but the message is about a man and his wife who had a lot of hard times because of alcohol addictions. Remember, drinking excessively is not good for your health and could lead to serious problems and addictions. In fact, addictions of all types can be very serious health concerns. " And then it went on to list several kid-related anti-drug/alcohol websites.

On another totally unrelated note, I was going through coupon circulars and ran across an ad for an optical illusion swimsuit. The company claims that it can make you look up to four sizes smaller, and up to 40 lbs. thinner. The concept is pretty easy to buy, since the front and back panels are solid colors in an hourglass shape, and the sides are a zebra pattern. I'm totally convinced I should order at least one
after reviewing the before and after illustration in the lower left-hand corner of the ad:

Friday, March 07, 2008

Falling from Grace

I grew up attending a church of Christ church. I had heard many sermons that seemed to imply that you could lose your salvation. I was horribly conflicted throughout college, and wrote down quite a few scriptures in my prayer journal that convinced me that my salvation could not be lost. But I was never able to fully understand or reconcile in my mind what the Bible meant when it talked about falling from grace.

And then in church last Sunday, our pastor made an amazing analogy that felt like God gently thumped me on the forehead and said, "There ya go! Get it now?" In a kind and loving way, of course! The really amusing thing to me is that B had the same realization at exactly the same moment I did. We just looked at each other and went, "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!" As in, we get it now!

So the analogy was this (Forgive me, PG, if I slaughter the story!)...imagine you are riding on a 767 jet airplane. The plane takes off and climbs until it reaches its cruising altitude of 37,000 feet. And at that moment you decide that you can fly the rest of the journey to your destination on your own, so you open the door to the airplane and jump out.

Do you fly safely to your journey? NO! You fall like a sack of rocks straight to the earth.

Falling from grace is when we stop looking to God for everything, and start looking to ourselves for our salvation. If I'm just GOOD enough, I'll get to heaven. We aren't living by the grace of God any longer, we are trying to live by good works. And if you believe that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible word of God, you know that you cannot save yourself just by being a good person. We can't save ourselves, we needed a saviour and that is why Jesus came to the earth. Salvation is a gift that we simply accept. Yes, it is THAT easy! We admit we are sinners in need of a saviour, and we accept the gift of life that Jesus provides through his death on the cross and resurrection three days later. And then we spend the rest of our lives trying (and failing, and trying again and failing again because we are fallen, imperfect beings, hence the need for a saviour in the first place!) to live according to how God wants us to live, because we greatly appreciate the gift of eternal life He has given us and we want to be pleasing to Him.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Church Ramblings

An interesting thing happened today at church.

We had just finished singing "Grace Flows Down," when the center doors at the back of the church opened. Into the sanctuary walked a man who had long hair pulled back into a ponytail, and who was wearing a skirt. The entire congregation turned to look at the man. They continued to stare as he walked up the center aisle. He finally stopped at the very front of the church. He paused for a moment, then ascended the steps onto the stage.

Well, ok, so the skirt was a kilt, and the man was carrying a bagpipe, playing "Amazing Grace," and it wasn't shocking to us since we'd been told since rehearsal last Thursday that there would be a bagpipe player on this Sunday. It was actually very, very cool! Most of the folks in the congregation were surprised, though.

And it's not to say that our church wouldn't be welcoming if some random skirt-wearing, long-hair-having, man (or woman) did walk into the church and straight up the aisle to the front of the sanctuary.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Art Project, Anyone?

Craigslist has some interesting ads, especially if you look under the "Free" section.

Like this one:

Free 1.7cu ft GE Spacemaker microwave - does not heat

Reply to:
Date: 2008-02-23, 6:21PM CST

This is a white 1.7cu ft GE Spacemaker microwave. It is in great shape - just stopped heating. If anyone has a use for it, please email me.

If anyone has a use for it, please email me as well, because I'd love to know!

My favorite part is that it is in great shape even though it stopped heating.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Days late and dollars short

The marquee outside Hooters is announcing their Mardi Gras party on February 25.

Where do I even start?

"Mardi Gras" is French for Fat Tuesday. Which falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Which was February 5 this year.

And February 25?

It's a Monday.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Neon Signs

One of the clever marketing ploys by Krispy Kreme doughnuts is their "Hot doughnuts NOW" neon sign that lights up when they have hot doughnuts rolling off the conveyor belt. I must admit that I am not a fan of a hot doughnut, so their little marketing ploy is totally lost on me.

Apparently Papa John's is trying to capitalize on the same idea. I was walking back to my car from the grocery cart return yesterday when I noticed a neon sign in the Papa John's window saying, "Baking hot pizza NOW!" Well, that's good to know, since I'm sure your customers would prefer their pizzas freshly baked and delivered hot.

It just didn't make sense to me.

Hands and Feet

That is the funniest-looking foot I've seen in a long time.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rural Route

The other day when I checked the mail, I found this envelope tucked into the middle of the weekly grocery fliers.

What cracks me up is that we're on a rural route. I suppose that's another joy of living in a brand new subdivision! We live less than two miles from the local, very busy, post office. It's not like we have to journey 20+ miles "into town" to buy stamps! Oh, well, the sentiment by our mail carrier was nice.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Julia Child, I Am Not.

Do these look like sugar cookies to you?

I believe I posted previously about my greatest new cookbook, Small Batch Baking. I had made vanilla cupcakes and they were pretty yummy.

I had a craving for sugar cookies, and figured with my sister coming in last weekend that it would be fun to make the dough the night before she arrived, and then make cookies with my million and one cookie cutters the next day. The other sugar cookie recipe I have, which is from my friend Heidi and is so very, very yummy (though dairy-laden), makes entirely too many cookies for my needs so I turned to my small-batch cookbook.

I found this recipe:

And set to work making the batter. Can I just say that it is amazingly annoying and difficult to measure 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon of egg? Anyway, since we're dairy-free in this household, I substituted Smart Balance light for the unsalted butter.

Well, apparently that is not a proper substitution, as the dough didn't quite cooperate. I knew I was in trouble when the directions said to turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for 30 seconds. I was skeptical when I looked at my runny dough, and definitely knew something was wrong after I stuck my hand in the big pile of GOO. I had quite the time scraping the dough off with a silicone Pampered Chef spatula.

The dough looked and tasted like chocolate chip cookie dough without the chocolate chips, so I just reached into the cabinet, pulled out the Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips (which are dairy-free, of course) and eyeballed the amount.

I baked them according to the recipe time, plus another 7 minutes or so. I'm glad our new oven has a light inside.

The verdict on these cookies? They were ok for a last-minute improvisation, but I won't bother with that recipe again until/unless I can use real butter. They were rather crunchy and not like I like my chocolate chip cookies to taste. They weren't awful, and the entire dozen lasted only a day, but I will stick to my old chocolate chip cookie recipe in the future!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What in the world???

Product information
Key features
A colorful cushion with pockets that can keep a child's feet warm.
Easy to clean; machine wash, warm 104°F (40°C).


I really, really, really don't get this product. What child wants to wear a pillow on her feet? I know all mothers don't want their children to grow up so quickly, but inhibiting their ability to crawl and to walk is just wrong. What other purpose would this thing serve, seriously?!

What If???

This morning I met a couple of friends at a local hotel to attend an informational meeting on the North Texas Team in Training for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. One friend has set a goal to run a half-marathon today and I had told her I would go with her to the meeting, but that I wasn't making any promises on actually signing up.

Well...I decided to sign up and will be running the North Trails Half Marathon on May 18. I have a personal fundraising goal of $2000. If you'd like to donate, please visit my fundraising website. No amount is too small! I'm excited to be running and raising funds to help eradicate blood cancers. My friend's 18-month-old son has been battling leukemia for 6 months now. He is my main motivation. I'll share more of his story and a photo after I get her permission. :-)

About 45 minutes into the meeting, I got a phone call from Brad. I didn't answer my phone, which is typical for me if I'm tied up in a meeting or something of that sort. In fact, I turned the ringer off and put the phone in my pocket. After the meeting was over, I called him. He answered and I asked him what was up. He choked out, "We were in a car accident," and then I heard him say, "I can't talk to her," and handed the phone to his step-mom. I panicked, of course, and started firing questions at her, "What? Did he just say they were in a car accident? Is he ok? Is Nyssa ok? Where are they? What happened???" Poor woman - I didn't mean to assault her verbally with questions, but I couldn't help it. She said they were fine, that they were at the ER at Plano Presby in room 10 and they were waiting on the doctor to check Brad out. I told her I would be there shortly and jumped on the tollway to get to the hospital.

On my way southbound, I noticed traffic slowing down just after the Spring Creek exit. I didn't want to mess with a traffic jam, so I jumped off and took back roads. I briefly thought that the accident that was being cleared might have been the accident they were in. I glanced in my rearview mirror as I headed west down Spring Creek Parkway and thought that the white car on the tow truck could have been Brad's, but wasn't sure. I was glad I had gotten off the tollway and couldn't see the car up close.

I parked in the emergency room patient parking, figuring since my husband and daughter were in there that it was ok even though I wasn't a patient. Funny, the things we think about in moments like that. I rushed in and asked the person at the front desk, "Where is room 10?" She asked who I was there to see. "Brad and Nyssa S." was my reply. She snapped at me and said, "There can only be two visitors in the room. I snapped back, "I am her MOTHER." They opened the door and I speed-walked to room 10. Brad was on the gurney, in a neck brace and still strapped to the blue board that the paramedics had put him on to transport him. Nyssa was in her car seat (with the base attached) and she had some red glowing light thing taped to her toe. I have no idea what it was.

The doctor came in and examined Brad's and Nyssa's vitals, they were fine. Then a nurse came in a bit later and unstrapped Brad from the board. Then the radiologist came in and wheeled Brad away to get x-rays of his neck. Nothing is broken, thankfully! The doctor offered to get Brad a CT scan, but Brad declined since he hadn't lost consciousness.

The doctor wrote prescriptions for various pain pills and a muscle relaxer for Brad, and then discharged them. We drove home after grabbing lunch and dropping off the prescriptions to be filled.

So by now you are probably wondering how the accident happened. Brad was driving northbound on the tollway, heading home from running errands with Nyssa since I had that meeting this morning. There was a Cadillac stopped in the far left lane of the tollway. Apparently the car had completely run out of fuel. Brad changed lanes to avoid hitting the Caddy, and a car in the middle lane rear-ended him. Brad started to try and pull over on the shoulder of the road, but then got shaky so he just stopped and called 911. They sent DPS and the paramedics, because Brad told them he had hit his head. The 911 operator wouldn't let Brad off the phone after he told him that.

The DPS officer came to the hospital and told Brad that he had ticketed the Cadillac driver for being stopped on the roadway. He said they don't find fault, they just determine the cause of the accident. Would the accident have happened if the Cadillac hadn't been on the side of the road? No. The officer told us that we could get a copy of the accident report in 10 days (I think? I can't recall exactly now).

I hate to even try and ponder the what ifs. I can't seem to help it, though! What if the accident had been much, much worse? This morning before I left, Brad was fiddling with the base to Nyssa's car seat. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was fixing it - apparently when the Audi dealership detailed his car, they moved or removed the base and when they reinstalled it, they didn't put it in correctly. What if he hadn't realized something was wrong and hadn't fixed it?

But thankfully, the what ifs are just that. God protected my wonderful husband and sweet, sweet baby, and our family unit is intact.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bored? Read your town's police blotter.

Some of my favorites...

1/13/2008 12:04:00AM Brief Narrative: 08004363 ELDORADO PKWY / RESEARCH RD
A known subject was found to be operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated due to a
traffic stop.

So the traffic stop caused the subject to become intoxicated? My 7th grade English teacher would have a hey-day (hay day?) with this one.

1/13/2008 9:37:00AM Brief Narrative: 08004462 5000 BLK LEBEAU LN
Unknown person(s) removed four wheels and tires from a vehicle without effective consent.

1/14/2008 11:28:00AM Brief Narrative: 08004793 2000 BLK DEL LARGO WAY
An unknown subject spray painted on the victim's brick home without consent.

The ones where they say, "without consent," just make me laugh. I have these visions of the thief knocking on the door and saying, "Excuse me, sir, do you mind if I remove your tires and wheels? Or spray paint your bricks?"

1/13/2008 10:50:00AM Brief Narrative: 08004482 11000 BLK ROGERS RD
Unknown actor(s) spray painted lengthy inscriptions on the exterior of both the public restroom facilities and the concession stand at Warren Sports Complex using pink spray paint.

I love that they included the color of the spray paint.

1/13/2008 3:33:00PM Brief Narrative: 08004540 7000 BLK PRESTON RD
Unknown white male pumped $112.43 worth of fuel and left the location without making any attempts to pay. Texas license plate returns to a stolen 1995 Ford F-150.


1/13/2008 413:00PM Brief Narrative: 08004541 12000 BLK PENICK WAY Unknown actor(s) spray painted "stop war" on victim's fence.

The use of the term "actor(s)" amuses me. I envision C-grade Hollywood movie actors making political statements.

1/13/2008 5:40:00PM Brief Narrative: 08004553 3000 BLK PRESTON RD
An unknown subject stole radio out of vehicle without owner's consent.

Another "without consent." Still cracks me up.

1/14/2008 10:09:00AM Brief Narrative: 08004770 2000 BLK HAGUE DR
An unknown subject forced entry into a home under construction and took a cabinet and bath fixture.

Ok, seriously. Who does this? A weekend warrior affected by the recession? Uh oh, honey...we're out of money for our bathroom remodel project and I still need a cabinet and bath fixture. Any ideas?

1/14/2008 1:53:00PM Brief Narrative: 08004828 7000 BLK EUBANKS ST
Unknown male subjects broke into vehicle and stole victim's stereo and other items.

Ok, I admit that this one isn't terribly funny unless you know my friend Lynn, and her bad luck with her cars, and the fact that not only was her radio stolen from her Honda Civic, but the entire panel, including the whole air conditioning unit in the front of the car, was removed!

1/14/2008 6:17:00PM Brief Narrative: 08004892 3000 BLK AUTUMN LN
Unknown subjects took lumber from construction site and drove away in red Ford van with red 16' trailer.

Subtle getaway car, no?

1/15/2008 8:35:00AM Brief Narrative: 08005152 12000 BLK EDEN LN
An unknown subject(s) took windows from a home under construction.

Again...who does this? What is the black market like for house parts???

1/16/2008 7:56:00AM Brief Narrative: 08005402 9000 BLK WADE BLVD
Unknown subject(s) took scaffolding from construction site without consent.

*sigh* What IS it with theft from construction sites?

1/16/2008 8:44:00AM Brief Narrative: 08005424 7000 BLK HICKORY ST
Unknown person(s) stole the gas out of the victim's truck without his consent.

HOW does a person do this? Seems like stealing it from the pump would be more pleasant?

1/16/2008 2:20:00PM Brief Narrative: 08005520 11000 BLK RESEARCH RD
Actor used City of Carrollton water meter to interrupt the public water supply.

I am having a hard time visualizing this one.

1/16/2008 2:32:00PM Brief Narrative: 08005528 5000 BLK TOWN & COUNTRY BLVD
Subject ordered pizza and did not pay for it.

Do you suppose it was a crank call?

1/16/2008 3:32-OOPM Brief Narrative: 08005552 10000 BLK BYRON DR
Unknown suspects took property from the victim's porch without permission.

I'm dying to know what the property was that was stolen. A swing? A plant? Giant concrete lions? If you are wanting the latter, I know where you can get two of them for free, you just have to be able to remove them from my inlaws' front porch. They'll give you permission, I promise.

1/16/2008 3:33:00PM Brief Narrative: 08005553 13000 BLK HONEY GROVE DR
Unknown actor took victims bicycle while it was parked in the bicycle rack at Pierce Elementary.

Aww, now that's just sad. Don't steal a kid's bike!

And for a couple that could have been prevented - consider this my PSA (Public Service Announcement):

1i16/2008 8A9.'00AM Brief Narrative: 08005428 12000 BLK 423 FM
Unknown subject(s) took victim's purse from her grocery cart without her consent.

Ladies, watch your purses. If you are going to put it in the grocery cart, do two things. Zip or snap it shut, and take the child safety strap and buckle it through a handle. It makes it a lot harder for someone to steal your purse that way. I can't tell you the number of times I have seen a woman standing five feet away from her cart, while her unzipped purse sits in the seat of the basket with the wallet in plain view.

1/14/2008 4:44:00PM Brief Narrative: 08004874 4000 BLK PRESTON RD
Unknown suspect took victim's driver license and credit cards out unlocked car in the parking lot of 24 Hour Fitness.

PEOPLE! LOCK YOUR CARS!!! And don't leave that stuff in your car!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recalls and Eggs

I am utterly amused by this recall.

Nordstrom Recalls Taper and Votive Candles Due To Fire Hazard.

Granted, if you read the entire recall you will see that the coating on the outside of the candle is apparently flammable. I understand WHY they're recalling them, but it doesn't make it any less amusing to me.

On another, totally unrelated note (but I didn't feel like doing a whole separate blog entry for this one), one of my cookbooks offered the following advice for substitutions. If you need a substitute for one egg, you can use...(drum roll, please)...TWO EGG YOLKS! That's right, folks...just use two egg yolks in place of ONE EGG! I'm kind of thinking that if I don't have one egg, I am not going to have TWO egg yolks (which come from EGGS, right?) lying around.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Adult-sized Easy Bake Oven

I always wanted one of these as a kid. I never got one and have thought from time to time that I should buy myself one now just to see what all the hype was about. I'm sure in time Nyssa will ask for one and I can check out the hype with her.

Until then, my desire for small batches of yummy goodness is currently being met by the cookbook, Small Batch Baking, by Debby Maugans Nakos. I picked it up a week ago from Barnes and Noble. At first glance, I thought I had made a mistake as almost all of the recipes call for unsalted butter at least, and some even called for buttermilk. Since we're a non-dairy household, butter and buttermilk aren't welcome in our home.

But always up for a challenge, I decided to attempt a recipe tonight using my dairy substitute for butter, Smart Balance Light spread. Oddly enough, the regular, non-light stuff contains dairy proteins, but the light stuff doesn't. The recipe was the Just Good Cupcakes. Not only did the recipe call for unsalted butter (2 T of the stuff), but it also wanted a quarter-cup of buttermilk.

I love Google! I simply typed, "buttermilk substitute vegan," into the search engine and received the same advice over several web pages; add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of soy or rice milk and let it sit for a while. So I did just that, and then stirred it up, poured a quarter cup out, and put the rest in the fridge for later when I decide to make these cupcakes again.

Small batch baking does not equal SPEEDY or simplified baking. No, it was just as much work as if I had made a huge batch of cupcakes. But it was fun to do! I had several prep bowls full of ingredients (it's the only way I will cook now that I am operating with mommybrain). I did have to pitch 1/8 t of baking soda and 1/8 t of salt because I stuck them in the same bowl instead of separate bowls and the recipe has you add them at different stages. Oops! Oh, well, it wasn't anything significant!

I was concerned with how the cupcakes would turn out, given my two substitutions. I am happy to say that they were delicious and all four of them are now gone. And if I had made a huge batch of two dozen cupcakes, they might all be gone, too!

I did frost them with Duncan Hines chocolate frosting (delightfully dairy-free!) as I was feeling lazy after dinner and not up to whipping up a small batch of icing.

I'll definitely make these again. Sorry there are no photos, they weren't all that pretty!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Where's Waldo?

Go to this link:

Grace Community Church

Scroll down until you see the photo with the worship team.

Do you see me in the photo? I'm there, I promise. :-)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cell Phone Camera Fun

I was flipping through the photo album on my phone and realized that there were several crazy photos I haven't shared here yet. I'm feeling quite lazy tonight so you'll have to visit the Picasa album in order to see the photos and read the comments.

From Oddities Janu...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!

Although first I should say happy BELATED birthday to my wonderful husband. He's 38 hours and 11 minutes older than I am. His birthday was yesterday. He had to work, but came home early and his favorite meal of sauerbraten and mashed potatoes greeted him. I had also decorated the bar with some crepe streamers and a paper balloon, and hung another paper balloon from the light fixture over the dining table. It wasn't much, but I was busy cooking dinner!

I also made a yummy, allergen-free (i.e. no dairy or eggs) chocolate cake. I got the recipe from allrecipes.com - if you search for depression cakes, you'll find it. Apparently these cakes were very popular back in the Depression when eggs were in short supply and high demand. No one would ever be able to tell this cake wasn't a "normal" cake full of eggs and milk and butter.

Here are some photos from yesterday.

I should have taken a photo before I lit the candles. Those letters melted SUPER fast!

Number candles are just safer after a certain age.

See what I mean about the fast-melting candles?! Thank goodness they weren't relighting candles!

They're kind of creepy-looking now!

More creepiness.

Ok, so back to the title...MY birthday!

I have the greatest husband.

He left me a love note on the wall this morning that I found when I went to the kitchen to fix breakfast for Nyssa.

Inside the love note was another message.

And later that afternoon, he sent me flowers!

And then he came home with "something small" he said he thought I'd like.

What is that? Look more closely...

WOO HOO! He had led me to believe we needed to wait until February to get the D300, sneaky man! Now the battery needs to hurry up and charge so I can go play! It doesn't take the same batteries that my other Nikons take. BOO!

Nyssa let me sleep until 9:30, which was nice. And Grandma Coni babysat this evening so Brad and I could go to dinner at Cheesecake Factory. I didn't get any cheesecake since you know, it's made with DAIRY and all...but dinner was quite yummy even without dessert. Then we drove through Starbucks and I ordered my usual "tall soy chai" (chai tea latte made with soy milk). I don't know what the barista did, but YUCK! It was horrific. First of all, the cup wasn't a tall cup, it was much larger. Secondly, I swear they used regular milk in it. At any rate, I didn't drink it. We went to Coni's to pick up Nyssa and were greeted with more birthday gifts! On our way back home we drove back through Starbucks and Brad got them to fix my drink. The drink we left with that time was MUCH better than the first. They were very apologetic and fixed the new drink quickly. Gotta love good customer service!

I've had lots of virtual birthday wishes from friends and phone calls from family members. It's been a really nice birthday.

And now I leave you with photos from my birthdays from the last three years.

Opening my birthday gifts (Four years later and I still have that same PDA!)

Dinner that evening at Blue Mesa with a couple of my BFFs and their hubbies - we've been friends since forever (Jr. High and High School).

Surprise party at Maggiano's - my sneaky hubby at work again!

My birthday cake - apparently I've had a pink & brown addiction for quite some time. Do you see HIS birthday cake in the background? Not sure why we thought we needed two cakes! And no, I did not turn 26 this year...I was actually 30 but Brad likes to pretend he forgets how old I am each year. You'll see what I mean with the next photo.

I think my birthday snuck up on us with regard to the cake this year...or else I had a major E cake obsession! And apparently I aged 2 years in one, since I am now 28 (really 31).

There are no festive birthday photos of me this year. Shoot, I was 9 days postpartum and not thinking clearly. That's the only excuse I have. We DID go out and celebrate - my mom babysat little newborn Nyssa while we went first to Carter's to get some winter clothing for her and then to On the Border for dinner. I made the mistake of calling Mom on our way back home and could hear Nyssa crying in the background. I felt horrible and cried on the way home! How could I have left my brand new baby?! Looking back I am glad we went and laugh at how distraught I was. This photo has nothing to do with my birthday other than the fact that it was taken on my birthday. Isn't it so sweet, though?

2008: - see above!