Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WFMW - Properly Using Blog

What works for me?  

My being the sole blogger in the house.  That way I can post pictures like this without much of a public lashing later.

Head on over to Shannon's for some truly great ideas.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fall, Y'all! Bloggy Giveaway

Better late than never is what I say!

Welcome to my addition to the Fall, Y’all! Bloggy Giveaway at Bloggy Giveaways - the place where good stuff can be found and friends can be made overnight. I mean, what speaks better to really grand friendships than bribery that says, “Hey! Come to my place and visit me. I’m really, really nice! See? I’ll prove it. I have something really nice to give to someone who will visit me!”

Yeah. I’m all over that. Because really, I need all the help I can get.

I missed the last giveaway due to circumstances that weren’t on my control. (But really y’all, can you blame me for wanting to go on a week vacation with the man of my dreams and my reality rather than staying home and visiting all the beautiful sites in the giveaway? I mean, we’re talking really quality time in the most beautiful setting that I’ve seen in a looooooong time.

See? I couldn’t have possibly visited everyone when I was on my own dream vacation getting the best giveaway present possible – Mr. Right’s heart. Sigh. I love that man.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, the giveaway.

So I thought I would give away something that is related to Shalee’s Diner. And if you read me at all, you know I love me some pie – apple pie in particular. MY interweb-famous apple pie if you want to know the truth of it.

So here’s the deal: The winner of my giveaway will get this lov-er-ly pie dish AND my apple pie recipe.

Yes, you did read that right – the Shalee’s Diner official apple pie recipe is on the block. Hey, I was serious about this friend thing.

Leave your comment below and I’ll pick one blessed winner on Sunday – sometime after the Patriots-Colts game. I have to tell you though, I’m giving kudos and “I really hope I pick you” vibes to the commenters who share with me why Manning should make Brady cry on Sunday. (And if you don’t know who they are, you need to email me and I’ll give you the 4-1-1 on them both.)

Labels: ,

Friday, October 26, 2007


This morning I woke up very early because I was having a dream that I was having a very loud, very vocal argument with myself about waking myself up early.

Sometimes I hate it when I'm right... even when I'm asleep.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

For Sale

For Sale: One slightly used 7 (almost 8) years old boy with artistic skills

Act now, and marker will be included.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Joyful Days... With Coffee

Last night I finally had the opportunity to meet with Joyful Days.  I say that it's about time because it's only taken us three months to cover the 20 miles that separate us.  We're all about making things happen quickly is all I can say.

We met on common ground, mutual ground, well-loved ground.  Knowing that we both have a love for reading, we decided to meet at the largest book conglomerate that happens to have killer coffee.  I told her that it was probably for the best because if I proved to be the total dweeb that I really am, then I'd always have books to fall back on for great topics of discussions...

I met her and you know what?  She's really nice and friendly and and not at all an ax murderer.  (Although she is really pushy.  When we were looking for some comfy chairs to sit in, I had to hold her back from kicking some poor, unsuspecting patron out of a chair.  It was hard, but like the sacrificial ram caught in a bush, God provided a couple of chairs just for our sitting pleasure in the nick of time.  Whew.  Can you believe that she would be so demanding or self-serving?  Ummm, I didn't think so...)

We talked about this and that and the other for two and a half hours straight.  Nothing was taboo and, to be honest, it felt as if I was talking with an old friend rather than someone that I officially met that night.  She was open, real, humorous and delightful all at the same time.

And as an added bonus, we both decided to get a bit of present shopping done since we were sans enfants.  Back in the children's area, we talked a good bit about books that we recommended, books that we disliked, books that we felt were perfect for perspective reading levels.  It was utterly refreshing to have another parent at hand who understood the need for great books with kids.

All in all, it was a perfect time out with a friend.  I'm just hoping that it won't take us an additional three months to make it happen again... 


Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall Into Reading 2007 #5 - Zipping Through Another Book

From the prologue in A Girl Named Zippy:

Not long ago my sister Melinda shocked me by saying she had always assumed that the book on Mooreland had yet to be written because no on e sane would be interested in reading it. “No, no, wait,” she said. “I know who might read such a book. A person lying in a hospital bed with no television and no roommate. Just lying there. Maybe waiting for a physical therapist. And then here comes a candy striper with at squeaky library cart and on the cart there is only one book – or maybe two books: yours, and Cooking with Pork. I can see how a person would be grateful for Mooreland then.”

Take note interwebs. This is one of the few times that Lindy is flat out wrong. And I say that with glee and a smirk.

Born in the sleepy, disconnected town of Mooreland, Indiana, Haven Kimmel (or Zippy – she was nicknamed after a little roller-skating chimpanzee that her father saw on a tv show) recalls story after story after story of her growing up in a place where everyone knows everyone else and their business. From the motherly entries in her baby book to her precocious self at the ripe age of being a tweener, Kimmel takes the reader back to a time when a pet was a friend, the elderly are ancient (and never die) and bath is a four-letter word. Whether asking all sorts of “impertinent” questions, becoming the teacher’s worst nightmare or trying everything to avoid going to church with her mom, Zippy breathes life into her amusing experiences and animated characters with charmingly offbeat flair.

From the moment when, on a kindergarten report card, she is defined as someone who "is disruptive in class. Colors outside of the lines. Talks out of turn," her parents promptly congratulate her for this achievement of originality and individuality. From that point on, Kimmel develops a distinctive personality through her own characteristically lively rules. Treating readers to a heroine as appealing, naive, and knowing as Scout Finch as she navigates the quirky adult world surrounding Zippy, Kimmel creates a world where family is everything and the world is one big mystery just waiting to be solved, one question at a time.

This book is a delightful vignette, full of some truths, some fictions, all the while being dead-on funny. It’s fresh, it’s original and it’s just waiting to be added to your reading list.

Reading list and previous reviews for the Reading Challenge:
FIR #4


Friday, October 19, 2007

I Know What I Can Be For Halloween...

Last night I decided to follow Jeana's advice about feeling better, which required honey and a clove of garlic that has been pressed.  Unable to find my garlic press, I opened the kitchen door that lead to the closed garage, thinking that I must have accidentally put it in storage in our garage.

As I reached around to turn on the light, I stepped down on to our step... and felt something slightly furry touch my foot.  (Here is where I should mention that we don't own an outdoor pet.  Our cat stays indoors.  At all times.  Our indoor does not include our garage.)  In the span of a nanosecond, I turned on the light and jumped back a step, all the while, very operatically singing, "Oooooooooooh Myyyy Goooooooooodneeeeeeeeeeeess!" as I looked at the opossum staring up at me.

Did I mention that I have great lungs and abdomen strength and that my voice can carry up two flights of stairs so well that it can cause Mr. Right to come running down the stairs, phone in hand, ready to call 911 as soon as he knew the nature of my emergency?  I totally copped to being a girl and begged Mr. Right to chase that critter out of the garage.  

I knew those Music Major classes in college would come in handy sooner or later.  

So now I've decided to be a new type of Superhero for Halloween - Opera Woman!  I can shatter glass, leap tall steps and cause opossums to play dead with a single note.  Oh yeah.  I'm great in cases of emergencies. 

Now, if I could just find a helmet with horns I'll be in business...

Labels: ,

Thursday, October 18, 2007

In Sickness and In Health

I am unwell today.  I'm not really sick, but I don't feel quite up to par either.  Which really leaves me in a state of uneasiness.  I rarely get sick, and it takes quite a bit to get me to stay in bed.  Unless Mr. Right is around.  Ahem.  But that's an entirely different post.  However, I'm not unwell enough to warrant staying home.  Bummer for me.  I've got some (hopefully) good books to read...

I think I have some "I'm not quite going to reek havoc on your body... yet, but don't hold me to that thought" bug.   But I'm really hoping that it finds me unentertaining because I've got stuff to do in the coming week.  But mostly I'm hoping it was just some bad ham or something...  That would make things so much easier for me.

Being that I feel so-so, I can't quite get my creative juices flowing.  But really, that would probably mean that I'm so-so all the time.  Hmph.  I've just managed to insult myself.  Figures.

Anyway, I'm directing you to a fantastically brilliant post by Sea Sang entitled "Fifty Percent Chance of Smiting."  There's nothing like a bit of theology from a four year old's viewpoint to make you laugh and then nod your head in agreement.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

WFMW - Reading the Writing on the Wall

Disclaimer:  I'm only telling this situation in our marriage to make a point.  I know that I am blessed beyond comprehension with Mr. Right, but even he has times when he's not perfect.

One day a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Right made me really mad.  So mad and unappreciated, I basically told yelled at him not to talk to me anymore and walked away stomped upstairs thinking him the biggest cad on earth.  I was ready to be good and angry with him for a while.  

Since I was all dirty from some hard work outside, I decided to take a shower to steam off.  Hey I was already steaming mad, I might as well have the real thing too.  After I stepped into the shower, I promptly saw this:

And then this:


For a while now, Mr. Right and I have been leaving little messages of love to each other as a way of expressing whatever happens to be on our heart.  (It's easy to do when you have those bath crayons.)

As I stood there rereading the note of love that I had recently written to my man and then the visual representation of Mr. Right's love for me, I felt that anger run right off of me down into the drain.

So in conclusion, I basically have two points: take the time to write down words of love to your mate and then remember to read them when you're wondering why on earth you gave your heart to that person. You may need to be reminded of the silver linings now and then.

(Oh, and these notes work wonders with children too. Our girl LOVES to get messages in the shower too. She feels really special that we would take the time to write to her.)

For some extra super duper words of advice, head on over to Shannon's for more WFMW.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall Into Reading 2007 #4 - The Book Thief

After reading such a horrible book like Happiness Sold Separately - a book that makes you wish that you could open up your skin and pour boric acid on your insides just so you can feel slightly clean again, I decided to make a foray into some good reading, specifically a book narrated by Death who is telling the story of a young German-Jew girl on the cusp of understanding the beauty of life and love in the middle of Hitler’s quest for ultimate power.

Yes, light reading.  I buckled down and read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Who knew that Death could be so witty, personable and an admirer of a girl with guts? Well, Markus Zusak knew, that’s for sure. And he knew that it would work for young (and older) adults too.

Told from the viewpoint of Death during World War II, Zusak wrote a breathtaking novel about the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Eager for acceptance, ready to stand and fight for herself, hungry (literally) for substance in life, she fights for everything around her until she encounters something she can’t resist – books. It is her love of the written word that deems her "the book thief".  With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and eventually shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids. This is an haunting story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

It is not until Liesel befriends Max Vandenburg, a 24-year-old Jewish man being hidden in Liesel's basement by her compassionate foster parents, that the course of Liesel's life is altered. Together, Max and Liesel discover a shared love of words that leads to a crucial understanding about the role words play in both bravery and cowardice. Each, in their own way, sets out to use this knowledge to shape the world around them.

Each of the characters are beautifully crafted into memorable, realistic beings. Liesel is a charming young girl who so desperately wants to be wanted. Her kind-hearted foster father has the gift of music as well as a heart of gold. Her foster mother is a diamond in the rough; her bark is worse than her bite. Rudy, Liesel’s best friend, greatest admirer and would-be boyfriend, will make you laugh at his antics, cry over his bravery and make you fall in love with his faithfulness. Max will make your heart break open over his story, cheer for his courage and want his gifts that he has to offer. And Death? He is mesmerizing through and through as an astute observer to humanity. How can you not appreciate Death when he makes statements such as this?

“A human doesn't have a heart like mine. The human heart is a line, whereas my own is a circle, and I have the endless ability to be in the right place at the right time. The consequence of this is that I'm always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both."

This book will make you laugh, and it will make you cry. But no matter what, it will make you feel.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is READ THIS BOOK!  Yep, that about sums it up.

(Although this book is in the Young Adult reading section in the Children's area of the library, I would recommend this book to the older aged kids - 14 years old and up.  There is a small bit of cursing, which is for the most part - but not all - in German and the mature theme concerning death/prison camps/propaganda should be considered as well.  But it is an excellent book to discuss with your teen.)

Reading list and previous reviews for the Reading Challenge:

Labels: ,

Monday, October 15, 2007

Are You Ready For Some Football?

On Thursday, we came home to a message from our friends Larry and Rosemary, inviting us to this Sunday's Chiefs game against the Cincinnati Bengals.  These are our same friends who invited us to other Chiefs games where we had lots and lots of fun.  I'll give you one guess as to what our answer was...

After dumping our kids off on friends asking good friends if they would take pity on us by taking our kids all day, we were ready to go to the noon game.  We made it to Arrowhead Stadium by 9:15 AM, along with several other fans who were coming to tailgate.  After helping to set up the table, chairs and a grill, we were ready to do some pre-game celebrating.  

Let me just tell you - there is nothing like sitting in the middle of the parking lot amid the scrumptious odors of steaks, chicken or ribs on the grill.  After a Saturday of cold rain that finally made it feel like Fall, we were blessed with a day that was most beautiful for a game.  The atmosphere was lively, high and fun.  And friendly, friendly, friendly.  Everywhere there were fans who were smiling, excited and amiable to each other - even those in Bengal wear.

Larry cooked up a mess of great food.  Bacon-wrapped filet mignon, potatoes-corn dish and rich bread filled out tummies by 10:30 AM.  And for dessert, we finished with chocolate chip Toll House Bars.  I love game food.

And no tailgating party is complete without our promptly stomping our hosts in a game of Spades.  Ahhh... I love cards.  (It's a good thing that our friends still liked us enough to take us home later.)

We made our way to our seats which were right on the 10 yard line.  There were some excellent football from our viewpoint.  Catches, runs, stops... we saw it all.  And there were plenty of wonderful sights to see.  We even watched Nick LeShay on the sidelines during the pre-game warm-ups.  (Not that he had anything to do with the game.  He was there for a promotion about internet watchfulness with kids.)  

(Here is where I would post pictures of our fabulous time, but the batteries in the camera, unbeknownst to me, were dead.  If I can get Rosemary to send me some of her pictures, I'll post them later.)

Rosemary and I cheered loudly and often during the entire game.  And, because we're not afraid to try and bust a move, we made it on the big JumboTron.  

Let me just tell you, there's not greater sight than two white women from conservative backgrounds dancing at a game.  NO GREATER SIGHT!!  (At least we didn't boob flash the cameraman like the idiot woman 3 rows up from us.  I don't want to be on the screen that badly, thank you very much.)

Final score: Bengals 20   Chiefs 27

Let the record show: The Chiefs win when we attend the game.  I'm just saying... 

After the game, we had dinner at Nick and Jake's, a local establishment where the food is excellent and the atmosphere was peaceful after the stadium.  Larry and Rosemary are the type of people who make any activity worthwhile.  We talked a mile a minute with them and listened to their multiple lively stories.  It was a perfect end to a perfect day.

And sometimes you just need a perfect day.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fall Into Reading 2007 #3 - Happiness Sold Separately

Yesterday I read Happiness Sold Separately, the new sophomoric work by Lolly Winston.

Hated it.  

(But hey, if you're into books with adultery; selfishness; stupidity; careless sex; relationships that focus more on looks than on the basics of marriage - such as friendship, faithfulness, unconditional love; lacks self-control on all fronts; places an undisciplined, unloved, product-of-a-one-night-stand, inconvenient 10 year old boy in many situations that a child does not belong and has a deplorable, self-serving, ugly ending that will leave you feeling hopeless and in need of a cleansing, then this book, my friends, is just for you!)

It's such a shame because her debut novel Good Grief really is worth the investment of you time and emotions.   

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Prayers Revisited

Just want to give you a quick catch-up regarding the prayers on the behalf of my mom and my grandma.

The prayers are working.

My mom is able to dispense a bit more from her body on her own, although she is still using the catheter.  But the point is that God is healing her body, even if it is slowly, but surely.

My parents were able to get to my grandma the day before the gallbladder surgery, which set my grandma at ease.  She went in for a two-hour surgery, but everything went so well that she was out in 45 minutes.  The doctors believe that they removed all the stones and that her recovery should be swift.

As for the renting of my parents' house:  this request still needs to be done.  I'm not God and I don't know his agenda, but I would really appreciate it if you all would keep this prayer request on your daily talk with God.  Please bring this item before him, asking God to make it happen in the way that he knows best.  My parents are completely strapped, and this relief would be a huge blessing to them.  (And before you think in your head "Well just honor your parents by helping them out, you doofus!", I have strongly offered twice now to send them aid, but they will not take it.  Being that they're no where near me, I can't arm wrestle them into taking anything like I could a close friend and they've already declared that any check I send will be promptly torn into two.  Sheesh.  Parents...  you just can't raise them right anymore.  Now I know where I get my stubbornness in full.  I got a double dose!)

Thanks again for your prayers.  They are comforting to say the least.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Center of Things

Since Psalms is part of my reading challenge this fall, I thought I'd share this tidbit of information that came my way.

Q: What is the shortest chapter in the Bible?

A: Psalms 117

Q: What is the longest chapter in the Bible?

A: Psalms 119

Q: Which chapter is in the center of the Bible?

A: Psalms 118

Fact: There are 594 chapters before Psalms 118

Fact: There are 594 chapters after Psalms 118.  Add these numbers up and you get 1188.

Q: What is the center verse in the Bible?

A: Psalms 118:8

Q: Does this verse say something significant about God's perfect will for our lives?

The next time someone says they would like to find God's perfect will for their lives and that they want to be in the center of His will, just send them to the center of His Word...

A:  Psalms 118:8

"It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man." 

Labels: ,

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fall Into Reading 2007 #2 - Time Traveler's Wife

I’ve gotten a few of my books read so far, but I'm going to do this book all by itself. It needs to shine out like a star among the black of fiction night.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Audrey Niffenegger's innovative, beautiful debut The Time Traveler's Wife is the story of Clare and Henry who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Seemingly impossible but true, due to Henry’s Chrono-Displacement Disorder: erratically his genetic clock resets, and he finds himself uncontrollably mislaid in time, pulled to moments of emotional significance in his life, both in his past and in his future. His disappearances are spontaneous and his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler's Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare's marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Told in first person through the eyes of Henry and Clare, Ms. Niffenegger smartly gives the date(s) and the ages of Clare and/or Henry and sometimes multiple ages for Henry when more than one of him is present. (Mind-boggling at times, but really memorable!) Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own - all of which is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable and completely consuming.

This book, by far, is my favorite modern work of fiction. It is an original story filled with luscious character full of life, energy, humor and regret. The basis of the entire romance twirls around the original meeting between the courageous six year old Catholic schoolgirl and the knowing, adult Henry. Because of that first meeting, Clare knows who she will eventually love and cherish throughout her life, and Henry sees the unseeable – the beauty and innocence of his wife as a child through her teens.

The dialogue among all the characters feels real and vulnerable, which, if you consider the context and storyline, is a feat in and of itself. I adore the wit and charm of Henry, the boldness and strength of Clare, the bad-boyness, off-setting ways of Gomez and the comfort and mothering of Kimmy, Henry’s surrogate mother. Even the characters that need to disliked are alive in full details and completely dimensional. Each character has been well-conceived and born into its own identity.

Niffenegger had to have kept some kind of visual timeline when writing this masterpiece in order to keep all the details straight, else I don’t see how she could keep everything straight, think through all the ramifications of time travel and sew them seamlessly together throughout the storyline. One way that Niffenegger succeeds in keeping the reader on track is by following (for the most part) Clare’s stationary life - hence the title of the book. Once the reader allows that time travel is a part of Henry’s genetic makeup, nothing else seems as out of place, farfetched or overly confusing.

Not always pretty or soft, this book will make you glow and dream as you share the love between these two lovers, it will make you laugh with joy and wit, it will fill you with suspense as Henry time travels to times and places unbeknownst to him until he gets there and Clare fearfully awaits his unknown return, and it will make you cry with tears of sorrow and pain. Boy, will it make you cry! And yet, you should be left sufficiently satisfied and content with a well-knitted, fully enraptured love story. Once buried within this novel and fully immersed in their lives, you have to suffer their pain as well as celebrate their joys with Henry and Clare. This is a testament to the literary skill of Ms. Niffenegger.

I willingly admit that this is a book that I read almost annually. I love to delve into the pages of bewilderment, chaos and circular love. By that I mean that it is a circular motion of time that set Clare in love with Henry from her childhood which in turn set Henry in love with Clare from 28 years old. One needed the other in order for the relationship to exist. I find the entire story breath-taking, hopeful and refreshing, despite its multiple foreshadowing of hearts broken, agonizing pain and timeless, endlessly complete love.

Now... Back to reading!

Labels: ,

Monday, October 08, 2007

Step Right Up Folks!

Look!  Two stories in one post!  Good at Shalee's Diner only today!

So I was in Hy-Vee (a local grocery store) gathering supplies for the office - bottled water, diet Dr Pepper, fresh fruit, LTC crackers, raisins, Pop Tarts...  Have I told you that I work at a really good office yet? - when I spied that my all-time favorite pasta Barilla was on a great sale.  (I'm really sorry Jenny, but even though your sweet husband works for Martha Gooch, I have to remain faithful to where my true heart lies.  But you internet friends do me a favor, would you?  Buy Martha Gooch every so often so that Jenny's husband can support his extremely beautiful family, okay?  Thanks!  Is that better Jenny?) 

Now there's a reason I love Barilla...

(Here's my 2nd story)

When we worked for York College, a small, intimate Christian college in York, NE, there were times when missionaries would come to the college and work for a few years.  One year, we were blessed to have a missionary family who had worked in Italy for many years decide to work for YC.  They arrived, we all showed up to help them move into their house and then we went about our business.

About a month later, every family who helped the missionary family move into their house received an invitation to a genuine Italian dinner.  We were excited to partake of this authentic meal, and I, being me of course, showed up early to see if I could help her with the entire production for 40 people and to see if I could figure out how to cook like an Italian.  When I arrived in her kitchen, she had boxes and boxes and boxes of Barilla lined up along the counters.  I inquired about the brand since I had never heard of it before then.
She smiled and said, "Do you see where it says 'Italy's #1 Pasta' at the top of the box?  They're not kidding!  Unless you make it yourself, which I didn't have time to do, you buy Barilla and nothing else.  And often even the homemade isn't as good as this stuff.  It's the best store-bought pasta I've ever tasted!"  And then she wouldn't let me help because it was her gift to us for helping them in a time of need.  She didn't even get to watch her create the meal... Sigh.

But she was not kidding.  That pasta was delicious!  She made a five course meal that involved all sorts of pastas, meats, creams, sauces and tiramisu for dessert.  I couldn't take all the recipes, but I filed my stomach until I had to unbutton my jeans to breathe.  She was one great cook.

Anyway, that's how I started my eternal love with Barilla.

(Back to the store story)

I was checking out of the store, making two separate purchases - one for the office, one for myself.  Up went the water, soda, Gatorade, food, light bulbs, snacks; then the pastas made it up on the belt with a divider between the two orders.  When the employee rang everything in the first order through, he asked,  "Is this (pasta) yours also?"

"Yes, but I have two orders.  Guess which one is for my office," I replied, thinking this task would be easy.  

He looked between the two and asked, "What is your office going to do with all this pasta?" 
I laughed and then told him that the pasta was for me.  He looked at me inquisitively and said, "You eat Pop Tarts at your office?"  I'm sure he was thinking that he was in the wrong line of work.

"Hey, when you work for a VP, you get to buy some good stuff for the office," was all that I answered.

"Well, what are you going to do with all this pasta?" he asked, eyeing the 12 or 36 boxes sitting on the belt.

"It's my favorite brand ever and it's on sale, so I'm going to use it often over the next month or two to cook some great meals."

Then he stared at me and doubtingly inquired, "Are you a good cook?"

Trying not to sound too proud, "Well, yeah.  I'm actually a fabulous cook."  And there flashed through my mind Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Lasagna, Spaghetti with homemade sauce, Homemade Mac and Cheese, Linguine and Vegetables...

After a moment's hesitation, "Well you don't look it," he finally replied disbelievingly as he took in the sight of me from head to toe.

"Thanks... I think."  As I left the line, he was still looking at me as if I needed a new recipe magazine from the stand, just to make sure that I knew what I was doing with my food.

I don't know if I had ever heard such a convoluted, queer compliment in such a long time.  Being called a liar while at the same time offhandedly being told I'm thin... hey, I'll take it any way it comes.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 05, 2007

In the Back of the Diner...

Susanne from Living to Tell the Story has tagged me for a kitchen meme. I'm to name eight random things from my kitchen/cooking.  I'll do it, but you all know how I am with staying in the lines...
  1. Below is my best cooking tool ever!  It slices, dices and even kisses the cook!

    And I'm afraid I got the only one, so that just reeks for the rest of you... too bad!  Seriously, finding someone who likes to cook will be your best asset in the kitchen, plus you can spend more time together in your hectic schedules.
  2. My sweet little Braun coffee maker... oh how I love thee! (especially around 6 AM or when we're serving up a fresh from the oven apple pie or brownies)
  3. Speaking of oven/stove, I love it.  I can't cook without it.  Well, I could, but I'm not into cooking over a fire or rubbing sticks together to start the whole production...  How else would I make my mind-numbing, smile-enducing apple pies?
  4. I must say that I absolutely adore living in a time and place when I can have a refrigerator.   It keeps my cream for my coffee cold and my ice cream bars frozen.
  5. Frozen... oh yes - my upright freezer, which is not in my kitchen, but rather just outside the door to my garage, is a blessing beyond measure.  Without it, I could not take advantage of meat, cheese and vegetables sales.  (And blessed we are!  Right now it's packed to the gills with food just waiting to be made.)
  6. Also not in my kitchen but on the back porch is the grill.  When the weather is nice, you will often find our grill in use.  Steaks, chicken, pork, shishkabobs, ribs, vegetables - we grill them all.
  7. My favorite spice by far is garlic.  I use it in as many recipes as possible.  Breath mint anyone?
  8. I've fallen in love with the Cascade 2-in-1 action pacs.  Doing dishes has never been so easy... (And I fill the rinse dispenser with vinegar - no smell and no spots!)
  9. You really need a great (not good, GREAT) set of knives in your kitchen.  Save up and purchase ones that will last your lifetime.  After a good amount of searching, reviewing and researching, we settled on JA Henckels, which we've loved since day one.
  10. I love my Calphalon pans.  Did you know that they come with a lifetime guarantee?  I
    received my set as a graduation from college present from Mr. Right, which I'm sorry to say was quite a while ago.  Sigh.  It seems like just yesterday that I was in high school... but I digress.  At around the 10th year of ownership, I discovered that I could send them back for replacements.  I did and now I have an entirely new set of pans which are actually better than the ones I bought originally because they sent me the ones with the latest updates.  I love a great deal!
  11. I like to cook all sorts of things.  Entrees, baking, sides... all these things appeal to me.  One of my favorite things to do now is to ask the kids to help me with these tasks.  I'm hoping to pass on the love of cooking/baking to both of my kids - my daughter so that she can later enjoy taking care of her future family and my son because I don't want to send him out of our house thinking that it is only something girls do well.  With Mr. Right as a role model, I have a feeling that it is a scenario that will never happen.
  12. Lastly, I like to play in the kitchen.  Recipes are great and all, but sometimes I like to throw caution to the wind and make stuff up.  And we've discovered some fantastic new recipes that the entire family asks to have again and again.  I'll even share with you my most recent foray into the realm of the unknown (which the family promptly deemed "a winner!"
Apple Pork Roast  

(Realize that I'm guessing on some of the measurements since my method of cooking that was "a little of this, a bit of that"...

3 lbs. pork loin roast (or any other, but the leanness added to the texture and flavor)
2 apples, peeled, seeded and quartered
1 1/2 c apple juice
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Put roast and apples in slow cooker.  Mix remaining ingredients and add to slow cooker.  Cook on low all day.  (If you're home while it's cooking, turn roast a couple of times to keep all the meat flavorful and moist.)  Slice or shred meet and serve with stewed apples.  (A gravy can be made from the juice if desired.  Use cornstarch and water to thicken juices and ladle over meat.)

Now I tag Big Mama, Barb, Stacey, Jeana and Ashley.  Go to it girls!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Who Am I in the 100 Acre Woods?

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Isn't that the truth!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Yesterday I saw so many things.
  • leaves starting to turn colors
  •  my running pants after an extremely long hiatus  (I only walked, but it was really fast!  Baby steps...)
  • a bright blue cloudless sky after a warm rain
  • a hawk gracefully gliding
  • lots of smiles in return as I walked to WalMart
  • emails from good friends
  • a clean kitchen (gasp!)
  • the pilot for the Bionic Woman (Annh...  I don't think it's going to make it.)
  • a fingerless storm door (that only lasted until the boy came home... sigh)
  • my cell phone showed a wonderful friend on the other end
  • an empty Bloglines page (Woo hoo!)
  • lots of prayers for family and friends as I thought about them
  • Scribbit's recipe for Sweet and Sour Pork, which the kids basically told me that I have to make again very soon  (It was quite delicious, but add onions to her recipe - Yummy!)
  • reading in one of my challenge books (which will be a challenge with its 866 small-font pages  (What was I thinking?!)
  • an empty laundry basket (just one of the many reasons I love Mr. Right)
  • a sweet boy who hugged me often
  • a beautiful girl whose eyes sparkled with happiness and whose voice often came to my ears
  • a perfect-for-me man who kissed the socks off me when he came home
  • a lady who laid her head on a pillow and fell asleep quickly
All in all, yesterday was a pretty great day.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Praying For Some P

I'm only asking for this one because if my mom was brave enough to ask for this specific prayer to be put in the church bulletin, I figure my blog is fair game... 

Way back in August, I requested that you pray for my mom as she was having some abdomen pain.  She had her surgery, and the doctors found that she had a hernia.  They fixed it and thought that this would be the end of her discomfort.

Well the hernia is healing well, but a random side affect is causing her even more pain:  she can't urinate.  The doctors thought that over time, everything would work itself out, but it hasn't gotten any better and they cannot find the reason for this occurrence.   For the last month, she has had to self-catheter to rid herself of fluids because the pain is so great.  Needless to say, it can make for one cranky momma!  (But according to her, my dad is the new Florence Nightingale.  He's been a wonderful help to her in so many ways.)

On top of this burden, they just discovered that her mother (my only living grandparent at 86 years old) must have gallbladder surgery this month.  My mom really wants to be there for her mother, but several things must happen for her to travel to her aid.
  1. My mom has to pee!  Please pray that her body will find a way to eliminate urine on its own.  (I know!  It's a weird request and probably really awkward to pray, but God can handle hearing all about it!)
  2. She needs the blessing of the doctor to be gone an extended period of time.  She can't go help my grandmother until she's approved to leave.
  3. They have to rent their condo in Florida to some winter birds.  Better yet, they would love to sell it.  To be released from the burden of their mortgage would be a huge blessing.  (They have an RV that they want to live in for an extended period of time, but everyone knows that those things aren't cheap to run from one place to the next.)
I know that God is in control of everything.  His ways are so much wiser, better, more perfect than my ways could ever be.  If you all would lift these specific requests to God, I would be so grateful.  It's time like these that I'm really glad to be part of the humongous extended family of God.   Thanks in advance for your faith in the Great Physician and our Provider!


Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm a Chili Wannabe!

Well, I'm no Chili (and really, I could never be that cool even with all the help in the world), but here's my nod at having a little halloween fun.

Here's my handmade Witch's Curtain. Easy as pie and I've already gotten quite a few smiles and nods over it from the neighbors and squeals of delight from the kids.

The one time I don't mind having little critters seen around the house...

We're just a little batty around here...

Isn't he a keeper?! He just makes me smile every time I walk by him.

This witch candle holder lights the bathroom in a spooky, yet inviting way.  (Sorry about the poor photo.  I couldn't hold the camera still...)

You can't tell from the picture, but when the candle is lit, it casts little light pictures all along the wall.   

A little haunted house - Mr. Right says it looks like it's on fire.

And finally, this sweet little ghost is my pride and joy only because I made it. Yep, I MADE IT! I know... my "I'm no craftsy person" statement may need to be retired. (I'm making 2 more later this week.)

The one thing I've learned about this little experiment is that trying to be Chili is really hard work, but it's a lot of fun and well worth it.  And remember Chili, imitation is the highest form of flattery.