Archive for October, 2008

I came home…

…to a few great things this weekend.  Really great things.  Great things that made me smile, inspired me, excited me, melted my heart….it’s a great way to come home.

On Sunday Powell had practice; nope, not running on Sunday, he is Larry the Cucumber in tomorrow night’s Trunk or Treat at church.  The jr. high group is doing a musical skit to entertain the little kids and he landed Larry the Cucumber….bald and singing about his hairbrush apparently.  Anyway, I dropped him off at church and when I came home I happened upon this:

The reason it made me so happy was because it brought out this face on my baby:

He loooooves his time alone with his daddy.  It just brings out the best in him and besides that, is there anything more attractive than your husband playing with your children?  Melts my heart and stops me in my tracks on a weekly basis.

After joining in on the fun for a bit I decided to go in and let them be alone again.  That is when I turned to my front door and noticed how blessed I am.  The beautiful Fall colors I could see with my eyes, the way the sun was kind of dancing through the shadows….the fact that I HAVE a front door; a place to call home, to be warm and cozy, to entertain friends, to shelter my children and provide a place where my family can walk through the door and feel, “ahhhhhhh, I’m home.”  Yes, blessed to the soles of my feet.

Once inside I decided to start dinner, turn on some music and just enjoy the quiet that was my house since everybody was outside or gone.  A bit later Tim and Alden came back in toting some goodies with them.  Tim had grabbed them from work and brought them home thinking that my crafty little self might like to do something with them.  I think it’s the only good thing about cigars…the boxes!

So here’s the deal:  I want to do a give-away.  I have TWO of the blue boxes and I would like to give one away filled with some goodies; they might be scrap goodies, they might be food goodies, you just never know…well you do know that you’ll get a fabulous box to alter…  Here is how to win the give-away: tell me what you think the irony of this picture is:

Tim and I thought it was quite hysterical.  We were in Macon County at Powell’s cross country meet.  Right across the street from the high school was the jail.  Right next to the high school was this field.  We’ll do a hat drawing of the people who get it right.  If no one gets it right, I’ll let the kids pick their favorite answer and that person will win!  I would use the random system that all those schmancy blogs use but I’m not Ali or Donna or Ree or someone who has thousands of people reading their blog so I think my system will work.  🙂

(contest ends Friday night at 7pm central)


October 30, 2008 at 1:57 pm 6 comments

I think…

….I have been busier than I realize.  With staying at home and the mostly mundane tasks that includes it can sometimes seem (to myself) like I do nothing.  But going through my pictures from last week I am realizing I did more than I realized….and I did things that mattered.  I’m not talking about the cleaning, the cooking, the errand running, the homework helping, the mounds of laundry and ironing OR the appointment scheduling and shuttling (because it is a given that all of that matters hugely).  I’m talking about the stuff that is a little more fun and a little more memorable ( or least it should be ).  Here is a glimpse at some of my overlooked things from last week.

It started on the weekend when we did Fondue Night with the kids for dessert.  OH, and the fact that I taught myself how to use Mosaic Maker which if you know me at all was a huge feat because I’m technically challenged. 

No, Kaitlynn didn’t fall asleep in the middle of Fondue Night.  Instead, she had Fondue Night taken away as a privilege but because we’re the mean parents on the block we made her sit at the table and watch everybody else participating.  Trust me, this was a necessary process in her young life and she didn’t remain in this position the entire time.

Over the course of the week I made this little pouch:

Now I had no illusions that this was the best pouch ever but I thought it was cute and I made it to hold a gift card.  Said gift card was purchased for Powell to give as a birthday present at his first girl/boy party.  They were going to have a bonfire and a hayride and I was really excited for him.  I thought any self-respecting 12-year old girl would enjoy this pouch.  Apparently, any self-respecting 12-year old boy won’t be caught dead holding it so it remains on my desk and she received her gift card in the complimentary envelope Target provides.


I then decided I wanted to move on and get the challenge for the month done and scrapbook.  That is when I noticed a stack of photos from summer that I hadn’t done anything with.  So, I pulled out my Summer 2008 box and finished it up.  Geesh!  It was a lot of work and I didn’t even gussey anything up but it got all of summer, 2008 organized and documented so I’m very happy about that.  I did it quick, I did it without worrying about “Scrapping”….I saved my favorite pictures for layouts and used all the others for this.

I know, right?  It was a lot of work and here I thought I didn’t do anything all week!  OK, what next?  Oh yes, my layout for the Elsie Box Challenge.  Done!

This week I’m going to figure out how to edit my pictures better.  Elizabeth Kartchner had some good tips in this month’s Creating Keepsakes that I’m going to try and figure out.  Also over the week I stripped and painted my dresser from college to give to Kaitlynn.  It turned out decently, it’s old so it couldn’t turn out great but she loves it and it holds soooo much and has made mornings much easier.  During that process I had to empty out the drawers and I found this:

It was an old paper airplane kit that I bought at the Nut Tree when we still lived in California.  At the time the boys were too young for it but now, it was the perfect way to fill an afternoon.  All three loved it and it made some really cools planes…..oh, and blow torch masks.

We are also are working on a 1500 piece puzzle that is driving us all a little nuts but oh-so-much fun.  I don’t have any pictures of that yet.  All of the other fun things I did like play baseball (I actually hit it!  That was amazing because as a child, I was so painfully shy that I could never hit the ball because I was too mortified that everyone was looking at me when I was up to bat.  It was groundbreaking for me to hit that ball and hear everyone scream in shock and awe) and take my daughter and her friend to High School Musical 3 can wait for another post.  This was my project post, after all.

October 27, 2008 at 5:47 pm 3 comments

As promised…

….an explanation or two on why this might possibly be the best banana bread in the entire world:

Is it because:

  • my daughter smiles her biggest smile, scoots her little bum and moans when she sees I’ve made it?
  • is it the unexpected little flecks of coconut that are almost unrecognizable and yet so wonderful?
  • is it that when my husband got home from work at 1 AM in the  morning after working a double shift the house still smelled SO good that he HAD to go into the kitchen like a little mouse, devour two pieces and then got into bed and muttered to my sleepy little self, “That banana bread is so darn good.”  It made me smile in my half-groggy state that even when he gets home at 1 AM I am still welcoming him in some small way.
  • is is that I don’t have to wonder what is for breakfast the next day?

It could be any number of those things but I’ll tell you what I really think caps it all off right after I give you the recipe.  It’s from Martha’s Baking Handbook….a book I think should be a staple in any household’s kitchen.  Wonderful recipes…some you may never use and others you will consistently use for the rest of your life (like the star of this post, banana bread).

3 cups flour                            1 1/2 cups ripe mashed banana (about three)

1 teaspoon baking soda         1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3/4 teaspoon salt                   1 cup walnuts toasted and chopped (toast them!)

3 large eggs                            1/2 cup buttermilk (make your own by adding lemon

2 cups sugar                                     to regular milk)

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil         2 T vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Coat two 9×5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray; set aside.

Beat eggs, sugar and oil until combined.  Beat in flour, soda, salt.  Add the vanilla, banana, coconut, nuts and buttermilk until combined. (I add my bananas whole because I have found the beating “mashes” them for  me and it saves a step).

Divide the batter equally among the pans.  Bake for 60-65 minutes. 

OK, so there you have it, the ability to make the world’s best banana bread.  If you read the recipe (and lets face it, who really read that at this point in the game) then you saw what the cherry on the sundae is to this recipe.  It’s the fact that it makes TWO loaves so just when you’re feeling like you should hold off and save your banana bread, you get to dig in because there is another loaf just waiting for you.

October 24, 2008 at 2:00 pm 3 comments

I thought about…

…making this post into several posts but then I realized that I’m a busy girl and trying to decrease the amount of time I spend on the computer so I had better make the most of the post I’m actually posting!  Whew….that was a long sentence but you’re all pretty bright so I assume you followed the thought.  I haven’t been blogging as much as I did in the past and that is something I want to change, get back to, etc.  I am in the process of turning this past year’s blog into a book over at blurb and really realizing what a neat little project this blog has turned out to be.

OK, so let’s start with the Light the Night walk.  It’s an event we do every year that means so much to our family.  It is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s annual fundraising event.  I encourage everyone to attend at least ONE in their lifetime.  It’s amazing.  As soon as it turns dark everyone embarks on a walk which lasts about 30-45 minutes.  Supporters carry red ballons that are lit from the inside with little flashlights illuminating them and survivors carry white ones.  It’s amazing to see a sea of red balloons and then a lone white balloon bobbing up and down.  It signifies such  struggle and yet floats so delicately amongst the red.  I love the red balloons just as much; they are the caregivers, the family members, the friends.  They are the ones who understand what the disease can do and why it must be fought.

This year’s walk signified five full years of Tim being healthy.  FIVE.  Praise God that I walk this with a red balloon and not with a gold one.  The gold balloons are “In Memory Of” balloons and they make me cry with each one I see.  I wonder, “Who was that person?”  What did they love?  Who did they love?  What was their favorite ice cream?  What color car did they drive….were they even old enough to drive?  Who is the person holding the balloon and how did they manage to overcome their grief?  But for the grace of God, that could be me.  Yes, the gold balloons make me cry because they represent someone who lost their fight and the very real possibility I faced as a young wife with babies. 

This year the organizers did something different.  For the first time in our five years walking they honored caregivers.  Each one got a single red rose.  At the time I thought it was a very sweet gesture; it felt good to be recognized as a big part of the fight against leukemia.  It felt good to be reminded that I played in invaluable role in my husband’s well-being during that time.  But when I got home I realized it all boiled down to this:

My husband is a survivor.  He’s not a fighter anymore.  He’s a full-blown, five years down survivor.  A SURVIVOR.  He is HEALED.  He is HERE.  He is NOT ‘TERMINAL’ ANYMORE.  GOD IS GOOD.  God is SO, SO GOOD.  After I realized all of this and I took this photo I decided to take another photo, just to document the rose…once it was taken I came to another realization:

One of these things can not exist without the other.  You see the harsh, straight lines of the word “survivor?”  They’re bold, they’re big, there are hard lines and high contrast…you can’t miss them.  They have to be this way.  Then there is the rose.  It’s soft, it’s fragrant and it’s beautiful.  This rose doesn’t have thorns.  This rose brings beauty to the photograph.  I’d like to say that the rose is me.  I’d like to say that I brought beauty to Tim’s leukemia but the fact is, I think I’m on the Survivor portion of this photo.  I’m with Tim.  We’re the survivors.  But the rose, the rose is my Father.  My gentle Father who held me when I cried, was steadfast, brought beauty into a world of hospitals and needles, gave me the fragrance of hope when I thought all was lost and was never, ever harsh with me.  So the walk was wonderful because it reminds you and it re-softens the places of your heart that over the year may have begun to harden, may have begun to try and forget what you’ve walked, what you’ve seen.  But forgetting the bad means forgetting the good.  It means forgetting the miracle and the beauty and the messiness of walking a faithful life.

At this point it seems silly to go into fondue night and why this might possibly be the best banana bread ever made:

So pray for me that I will have the time to post on those things…trust me, they’re more entertaining than they sound.  But more importantly, take a minute to pray for a fighter today and don’t forget to say “thanks” for Tim’s healing while you’re at it.

October 21, 2008 at 5:40 pm 6 comments

Tip of…

…the week.  Because I know that working or not, we are all busy moms.  Busy with life and yet still wanting to prepare tasty, good meals for our families.  I came up with a great time saver and wanted to share it with all of you.  If you’re like me sometimes just remembering to defrost the meat can put a damper on dinner preparation so forget having the time to marinate it!  Well, here’s a great time saver for you.  I have a wonderful and simple marinade my sister shared with me.  It works great on chicken and pork but you’ve got to let it sit for at least two hours in order to get the proper effect.  Well, here’s the shortcut: when you get home from the store, open up your meat, prepare your marinade and stick it all in a ziploc bag.  Push the air out.  Let it marinate overnight and then pop it in the freezer.  When you’re ready to eat you just defrost and it’s already seasoned for you!  WOW.  Seriously.  This made me so happy this weekend.  It tasted WONDERFUL and was so super easy.  You can grill it, roast it, whatever.  It’s wonderful.  Give it a go!

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all of that together and then add

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

October 14, 2008 at 3:48 pm 2 comments

A New Love…

…if you haven’t had the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks yet, well, I don’t know what to say other than you need to get your little hips down to your local store and get one!  Amazing….it may replace my ever-so-beloved Tall non-fat Chai for a while.

It’s the one on the left.  Before you say you don’t really love caramel or chocolate let me just say that I don’t either.  I just wanted to try something new and this was it.  What a welcome surprise.

That’s really it, that is the reason for this post, to encourage you to try the new Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate at Starbucks.  But while I’m at it, I’ll put out a little request for prayer….doin’ treatment again today and tomorrow with Tim….please pray for a fast recovery, an easy infusion and MOST OF ALL that this is the last infusion we’ll ever need to do.  : )

October 7, 2008 at 2:03 pm 5 comments

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