Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday's Wandering Thoughts

Aren't these beautiful? I met some friends at Starbucks the other night for some yarny fun. They both were crocheting granny squares and I was knitting on a baby blanket. I did have to chuckle at how high tech everything is getting - they had a laptop set up on a coffee table to watch granny square tutorial videos! What in the world did we all do before the interwebs???

It was so good to get out with girlfriends again. I was only there for about an hour and a half, but felt so refreshed when I left. Funny how girl time will do that. :)
--<>--
We just got back from a Walmart trip and while there the skies opened up and we had quite the gully washer. I think when we're in the middle of a hot dry summer and a cooling rain comes there's a little girl down inside most of us that just wants to run and dance and spin in the rain.
On the way back we passed Boston Market. They have a sign out front that says "We now have cupcakes", but Keith didn't want to stop. Interesting how cupcakes seem to have taken over as the new "in thing"....and that makes me HAPPY! :)
--<>--

And I do love to have Brooklyn photos in my posts! This picture is from her birthday party and she is wearing one of the outfits my mom (her great-grandma) made for her. Across the backside of her shorts it says Princess. :)
This was one of mom's favorite parts of the party. Most of the people had left at this point and Brooklyn had hightailed it over to finally go through and start playing with all her new toys - and the wrappings!
Good times.....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Tonight was so special to us - Lynne' invited us to her apartment and cooked dinner for us for the first time. Not only was the meal delicious, it was good to see our daughter so happy in her new apartment. It is decorated so cute and so totally her.

Dinner was stuffed peppers (she found the recipe online), rice and green beans. Absolutely perfect!

And then we brought out the Uno cards and played for a couple of hours. Actually we played a bit when we first got there while dinner finished cooking, then played some more after we ate.

Games in our family are always a fun thing because we get rather competitive. We laughed and laughed and had such a nice time. We've decided that this something we need to do more often - have dinner at her place. I think she really enjoyed being hostess.

Stuffed Peppers
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 cup water
6 green bell peppers (she used a mixture of colors)
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1 t Italian seasoning
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the beef until evenly browned.

Remove and discard the tops, seeds and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward - slice the bottoms of the pppers if necessary so that they will stand upright (or Lynne' placed wadded up foil around the bottoms to keep them upright).

In a bowl, mix the browned beef, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl and pour over the stuffed peppers.

Bake 1 hour in a preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Priority Realignment

Today is a new day, as Sundays many times are. A time to refocus our energies, realign our priorities and step forward in confidence.

I'll admit that I've struggled with priorities lately. It should be Faith, Family, Friends, Finances (ok the last one is really work, but I like having all the same letter). But I have a new position at work and while learning the ropes it hit me that work (finances) has slowly been creeping up on the list and moving other things out of the way. My mental energies have been focused on work and even when I lay down to sleep at night I feel my mind attacking some of the work issues that need addressed. When I realized last night that this was happening I took some time in prayer and have asked God to help me realign my priorities.

Because we all only have "x" amount of hours available to us there's always something that has to give. It hit me that I haven't spent much time at all with my friends lately because of worrying about work. And that will not do at all. I'm not sure how to make it happen, but luckily I don't have to figure it out alone. God will let me know what to do and will put opportunities in front of me.

My prayer for all is that we take the time to look at our priorities and be certain that they are in the right order. If not, take the time to figure out what changes need to be made. And feel free to drop me a line and give me hints on the best way to do it! :)

"Cause me to know Thy lovingkindness in the morning, for in Thee do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my soul unto Thee." Psalm 143:8

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What Do YOU Do When It's 100 Degrees?

We decided to empty both our attics!

This wasn't decided on a whim though. We have an older house, built in 1975 (I think) and I think it has maybe a quarter inch of insulation in the attic (sadly, that's only a slight exaggeration). We had somebody come out and give us an estimate on more insulation and the radiant barrier thingy in the attic. When all was said and done it seemed good to us, so we've signed up. They told us that we could leave our stuff in the attic and they would just work around it, but that seemed silly to us. Makes much more sense to remove it so that they could add even more insulation!

So Keith went up in the attic at about 5:00 in the evening...you know, the hot part of the day...and handed stuff down to me. Bless his heart, I didn't realize what a box packrat he was until all these large empty boxes started coming down! And the funny thing is that these were probably moved twice! And don't ever think that only women get nostalgic. Keith would look at all these computer boxes and say things like "remember when we bought this"? No honey, that was over 20 years ago and I guess it didn't hold the sentimental value for me that it apparently does for you.

After everything was down I told him that he needed to sit for a while (but not on the furniture dear, you're sweaty!) to cool off and went to get him a glass of water. He kept insisting he was fine and was ready to start the garage attic, but I put my foot down. For heaven's sake, if it's 100 degrees outside what must it be in the attic?

When it was time to do the garage attic, really just a small space over the garage, one of our neighbors came over to ask why we were doing this when it was so hot. She nodded sagely after we explained it to her, but she did also hightail it back to her house to get inside out of the heat.

Hours later I told Keith that we should head up to Braum's for ice cream because we deserved it after all that work. Loaded up the dog and we headed through the drive-thru for a scoop of chocolate chip in a sugar cone. Yes, we've been together for a long time and got the same thing. As I'm driving home he remarked that it makes sense for it to be illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving, but maybe we shouldn't be allowed to eat ice cream and drive at the same time as well. Perhaps this was a commentary on my driving???

Good times.....

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.

By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work." Genesis 2:2

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

You Say Tomato and I Say Thank You!

Having a BLT made with a neighbor's homegrown tomatoes is truly a wonderful experience. Even with the first bite, when the wonderful flavor floods your mouth you know that this is what a tomato was meant to taste like. And honestly, a homegrown tomato tastes nothing at all like the tomatoes purchased at the store.
I'll admit that these tomatoes got me to thinking again about a small garden. As prices go up surely I should be able to grow some of my own vegetables. Unfortunately I know nothing at all about growing plants, though there is somebody at work that said he'll help me learn. And with a large dog I think I'm leaning more towards having the plants in large containers rather than tilling a plot in the backyard.
The latest vegetable on the news that we're told not to eat is jalapenos and living in Texas I think it's required that we eat quite a few of them. Keith and I love them just about any way we can get them, including raw at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. So perhaps a jalapeno plant or too as well.
Maybe it's time to start surfing for some gardening expertise. Surely it can't be too terribly hard....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Dress Made With Grandma's Love

Now that the gift has been opened I can show what I've been working on in the evenings - a little dress, bloomers and barrette for Brooklyn's birthday gift.

I remember when Lynne' was little the tshirt dresses were popular. Love 'em or hate 'em, they were sure easy and fun to do. A friend and I even taught a community education course on how to make them and we painted the tshirt. Oh the days of the painted tshirts - I'll admit that I do miss them.

Anyway, I saw somewhere online a dress using the same concept, but with a tank top instead of a tshirt. I found cute tank tops at Walmart that were made of stretchy fabric and the neck and sleeves were edged with matching lace. The fabric I used had little smiling suns and flowers and that was perfect since I call her my little ray of sunshine. side note: Lynne' did point out that I used to call her my little ray of sunshine and that is true. She would wake up smiling and smile through the day. Luckily I have room in my life for two little rays of sunshine. :)

Making the bloomers was funny because I tell you what, literally every single seam on them had a close encounter with a seam ripper. They turned out cute though and I laughed way more than I cried, so all is well.

The barrette, ah the barrette. I am here to tell you that any time you see any "boutique barrettes" at a craft show, buy them no matter how much they charge - they are so worth it! I read directions online, at the store, and watched videos on youtube. I won't say that it was hard to do, but me and hot glue guns have never gotten on well. And apparently this is not a skill that has improved with age because I still had trouble. I had little strings of that glue everywhere and to top it off, I kid you not, I even burned my lip with hot glue!

In the end I'm very happy with how it turned out and since I have more supplies and more styles I'd like to try I'm sure I'll do it again. Perhaps with an alternative glue source though. ;)

Good times......

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

I cannot believe I didn't post a Happy Birthday to Brooklyn yesterday! My only excuse is that by the time we got home last night from birthday party prep at their house it was no longer her birthday!!!

Loni is so clever and creative and it's so much fun. She scoured the internet looking at birthday cakes and cupcakes as she tried to decide whether to buy a cake or make one. Homemade was decided and it became a wonderful bonding evening.

We all went out to dinner, then came back and Keith's parents had made it to town and came over. Loni had already made the cake, cupcakes and a big bowl of icing, so we got down to business. Luckily cake decorating is similar to riding a bike because it did come back to me! She had me do the cake and it went pretty well. When the writing with icing part came up I was a nervous wreck! Keith and Loni ended up writing the words on a piece of paper and putting it next to the cake board so at least I'd have something to look at. Nerve wracking!

Loni decorated all the cupcakes and I'm so proud of her at how well they turned out - she'd never done anything like this before! Today they will be arranged on the cupcake stand and she has butterfly picks to put on top.

Lynne' spent the night at their house last night to help get things ready for today's party. Both girls worked on decorating the house and it looks so cute. Aunt Lynne' also was in charge of getting Brooklyn dressed for bed and reading her a bedtime story until she fell asleep. I think she really enjoyed that.

At one point we did all talk about "one year ago today" and admitted that Loni looks a lot better today than she did last year in labor! Go figure.... ;)

So I leave you with a video of Grandpa holding Little Miss and her having a ball playing with the balloons. She came up with the little wrinkle face tonight at dinner when her Aunt Lynne' was laughing hard enough that her eyes were squinting. Little toot likes to copy everybody around her! :)

Good times....


video

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brooklyn Walking!

video

I love seeing baby faces when they first learn to walk. Such a sense of wonder and excitement!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

She's Almost 1 Year Old and She's Walking!

Oh so much to tell! First, Brooklyn's first birthday is this Friday and she has started walking!!! On 4th of July weekend she was oh so close and finally did take one step. Let me tell you that one week can make such a difference and I just had no idea!

Monday night the daughter of one of my dearest friends had a book party at my friend's house. Since reading has been my lifelong favorite hobby and I do hope to pass that love of books on to my grandbaby it was a natural for me to attend. Even better was my daughter-in-law and granddaughter came with me!

First we picked Brooklyn up at daycare and headed to my house so that we could get Grandpa and all have dinner together. The four of us headed to a neighborhood italian restaurant where Brooklyn shared some of our lasagna and spinach pizza. Each bite I gave her made her kick her feet in delight. Yes sweetheart, grandma feels like that when she eats sometimes too! ;)
We stopped back by my house for a minute to change her clothes and to delight in her walking for a few minutes. It was almost hard to leave!

Brooklyn did not disappoint us at all that evening. She walked and when she wasn't able to walk fast enough to keep up with all the kids she would drop back down into her crawl and go fast as lightning after them.

I dearly love this last picture of my grandbaby on the left and my sweet friend's grandbaby on the right. She is almost exactly one year older than Brooklyn and it was so special to see the two of them together.

The kids all played together so well and apparently she played hard because when the three of us got in the car to head back to her house Brooklyn fell fast asleep within a couple of blocks and slept the whole way home.

Good times.....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Home Again

Is this a happy doggie or what? We found a cove to play in that was about 30 feet deep and he had a blast swimming around (yes, he wears a life jacket). He would get tired and swim over to the boat ladder and just kind of hang on waiting for us to help him back in. A little rest and he'd jump in again, which is quite a site to see.
--<>--
Friday night our neighbor came over to tell us that all four of his kids had been involved in car wreck earlier in the day. They'd just gotten home from the hospital, where all the kids had been checked out and sent home, tired, scared and sore.
On Saturday we ran to the grocery store and I came back to bake some brownies (from a mix, even though I'd said before that there is no reason to use a mix - I found a reason!). I took the brownies and all the fixin's for sundaes over to their house to try and cheer up the kids. A short while later 3 of the kids came over to thank us and I got hugs from all. The youngest boy, about 7 years old, wanted to show me his seatbelt bruise. I asked him if he'd been scared and he just said "nah" with all the braveness of a child. He had no idea how my heart hurt when I saw that bruise. God was surely merciful to protect those children.
--<>--
One last lake story: when coming back in last night to put the boat on the trailer I looked over at the hillside and saw some deer running across a field. I squeeled at Keith to go back so I could get a better look. He insisted that it was a dog, but I told him I knew it wasn't because it was brown...and it had legs. At this proclamation he burst out laughing and said that if we ever play Password and get the word deer we could pull out our secret weapon and win the game!
Good times.... ;)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Rocket Pops

Can you call something a tradition after doing it just one time? Because we all decided after tasting the Rocket Pops that this will have to be a new 4th of July tradition!

I found the recipe on the Kraft Foods site and loved the way they looked. Lynne', Loni and I made them on the 4th of July and we all were able to eat them on the 5th. The red and blue layers are jello and the white layer is cool whip, all frozen to make a nice cool treat for a hot summer day.

The recipe says to use 5 oz cups and wooden kraft sticks for the handles. We didn't have those, so we used much bigger cups and then used plastic spoons and knives for the handles, which worked out fine. Obviously smaller Rocket Pops would be better, but the big ones were not a problem....even for little girls that had some help!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Family and the Fourth

What a magnificent 4th of July weekend! Keith and I decided to take Monday off as well, so it was long and delightful. All the kids - and grandbaby! - were at the house most of the weekend and Mom, Gary and Michele came down for the day on Saturday.

One of the highlights of the lake every 4th of July is the decorated golf cart parade. We bring chairs out in the front yard and watch them all go by. It's very festive, very small town and a very nice time.

This picture of Brooklyn is, of course, one of my favorites. She has learned how to blow kisses, complete with the "mwah" sound! So darling and she really was fascinated watching all the people and kids going by.

It was bittersweet waving goodbye to everybody, but luckily Keith and I have fun by ourselves as well. I will admit that the cabin seemed very, very quiet after the weekend. :)

On Monday morning I went next door and had coffee with the neighbor on her front porch. We compared children and grandchildren notes and talked about the now quiet. She had one of her grandsons home on leave from the Air Force....and he brought 3 of his buddies with him. Apparently these young men eat quite a bit for breakfast!!! :) She was missing them all.

Then as we loaded the truck to head home another neighbor came over with banana peppers and tomatoes from his garden. I just love it up there, mostly because I think we fit in so well. There are so many people that love doing the same things we love to do.

So heading home we stopped at a Dairy Queen to get something for dinner. It took them a long time to make it. I mean a l.o.n.g. time. After a bit I wandered over and picked up one of the real estate books to flip through - did I mention they were slow? When I finally got our meal and went out to the truck I had a few pages dog eared to share with Keith. I figured since I love it at the lake so much that perhaps it's time to find something for us to do up there to earn a living and maybe move. Lo and behold I found an ad for a vintage church that had been transformed into a wedding chapel! Truly it was fate since I love vintage anything and surely since Keith and I had been married so long we were a natural for owning this business. Unfortunately Keith was being a bit unreasonable about the whole thing and he nixed the idea. ;) Not to be deterred I kept looking and can you even believe it but I found a hair salon/massage therapy place for sale! Of course, I really, really need to get my hair colored right now and it sure needs a trim, so maybe this one wouldn't be the best idea. Then I found a restaurant with an apartment above it! This sounded great until I remembered that I really am not a great cook.

I'm thinking I will get up each day this week and thank the Lord for my job that really is a pretty good fit for me. I don't think that every person is destined to be an entrepreneur and based on the available options right now, we'll be mighty happy with what we have. Enough said! :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Scrapbooking and Chocolate












I haven't shared any scrapbooking pages in quite a while....mostly because I haven't completed any! This particular layout was done during our retreat in May and is one of my new favorites. I'm sure it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that the pages include Brooklyn, Joe and Loni! Oh and Cheeto, James and Loni's cat, is also in one of the pictures too. He cracks me up because he will wear a costume and what cat does that???

Last Halloween Loni got the most adorable monkey costume for Brooklyn to wear for her first Halloween. Only problem was that it turned out to be one of those really, really warm Halloweens in Texas and she got pretty fussy wearing a full furry outfit! No problem though because Loni also had the all orange outfit and adorable bow, so she was still dressed up. :)

And Loni did her makeup for our Halloween dress up day at work. Too cute!

--<>--

And now for something chocolate! I had printed out this brownie recipe hoping to try and with my family coming to town it was a perfect opportunity. Michele, Lynne' and Loni ran to the store and got ice cream fixins and we ended up having these heavenly brownie fudge sundaes. Oh my word they were GOOD! And if you are looking for a good brownie recipe, click above and go print this one. Very good and very easy, so why use a mix? :)