Monday, March 30, 2009
Today is my beloved's birthday! We had a fabulous celebration yesterday with the family (and there will be photos and a video of Miss B hopefully tomorrow), but since today is actually his birthday we planned a nice dinner together.
The steaks we grilled turned out wonderful and that was such a relief. I think we've been kind of afraid of grilling steaks if that makes any sense. You spend the money and you really want it to be good. Luckily, the marinated steaks from our meat market definitely were good.
Of course I wanted to make a birthday card for him and used a sketch from Splitcoast - a "clean and simple" sketch which basically means that less is better. Sounded perfect for a birthday card for a man. The stamps are from the Papertrey Ink set My Punny Valentine. Under the squirrel it says "Nuts For You" and of course I am nuts for him even after all these years. :) The bag contains some salted, roasted peanuts, one of Keith's favorite snacks. Both the bag and the card background are Kraft, papers are Very Vanilla and Certainly Celery.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
After that it was Walmart and the meat market, which turned out to be fun and educational. We haven't been to a meat market since we've lived here and I found one really pretty close. Keith's birthday is Monday and we plan to grill steaks together, but we really don't know how to do it right. They told us about some pre-marinated steaks they carry and then the owner even came and told us the right way to grill a steak and showed us how to tell if they are done or not. Hopefully the meal will be delicious and I'm here to tell you that grilling steaks at home will be tons cheaper than going out and ordering one.
Today is just another perfect example of it doesn't matter what you're doing, just so long as you are doing it together.
I tried a new recipe the other night and this one will definitely go in the rotation. Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches made in the crockpot! This sandwich is one of Keith's favorites and I was glad to find a recipe we can make at home. I served it with cole slaw, but can hardly call it homemade. I bought a bag of cole slaw mix and used some Kraft cole slaw dressing on it. Very good, but someday I'm going to have to find a recipe for dressing.
Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak
1 pound beef (like round steak - I used stew meat because it was on sale sooo cheap, but will use something with bigger pieces in the future!)
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 cup beef broth
1/8 cup soy sauce (I use low sodium)
Place beef in the bottom of the crockpot and pour broth and soy sauce over the top. Layer onion and pepper over the beef and sprinkle with seasoning to taste. Cook on low 8-9 hours or high 4-6 hours.
When done, stir with a slotted spoon and put on rolls cut in half. Place on foil covered cookie sheet and top with cheese (I used pepper jack).
Place under broiler until the cheese melts.
Recipe adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen
The other night for dinner we made a Tamale Pie for the first time. It was such an enjoyable thing to do as we both worked in the kitchen together preparing our meal.
As I stood at the counter grating the cheese a deep feeling of nostalgia washed over me. I remember being young and standing in the kitchen with my mom and grating the cheese just as I did now. I'll admit though that I probably didn't fully appreciate the experience at that age. :)
Now I usually buy the bags of grated cheese at the store since it is so much faster. But this time we went to Sprouts (a great grocery chain here) and they don't carry that product, so I bought a block of cheese to do myself.
I grated what I thought I might need, then busied myself getting the rest of the meal ready. And each time I passed that plate I sneaked a few pieces "just to try." Keith caught me once and laughed - and I laughed along with him.
I think it was the cheese sneaking that brought back the memories. And I learned that grating it yourself really does taste so much better. Modern conveniences are so wonderful. But sometimes doing it the "old-fashioned" way is so much more satisfying.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.
By the time she was 23, Laura had climbed the Eiffel Tower, trod the steps of the Parthenon, skied (okay, snowplowed) in the Alps, rode in a gondola in Venice, and wept at the ovens of Dachau. She’d also learned how to fold her underwear into equal thirds, make a proper cup of English tea, and repel the amorous advances of a blind date by donning combat gear and a gas mask.
Laura is a former newspaper reporter and columnist with a degree in journalism who has written hundreds of articles on many subjects ranging from emu ranching and pigeon racing to goat-roping and cemetery board meetings. However, realizing that livestock and local government weren’t her passion, she switched to writing humor, which she calls a “total God-thing.”
Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.
Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny. Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.
A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.
Another book in this series is
She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog.
Right off the bat I knew I would enjoy a book based on members of a book club. These ladies have a great relationship and have been friends for a long time, which is apparent in the amount of advice they give one another. But where sometimes advice can be a pain, with this group it is all well-intentioned and they are always there for each other. A woman couldn't ask for better friends.
And I really felt for Paige as she tries to figure out how to be a good daughter and yet still be herself. You can sense her frustration and confusion many times in the book. Her relationship with her sister also would have made me cry, though there were lessons to be learned there as well.
This was a great book and while it was a fast and easy read I did find myself thinking about some of the points later.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
So like yeah, I'm still a joiner. And this one is such a great idea - 30 minutes of any kind of movement 5 days a week for 2 weeks. That's it! I'll confess that for the most part I do that anyway. But by joining this 30 x 5 Challenge I get the nifty button and I think it's cute. :)
This morning I actually sacrificed my 30 minutes of knitting time before work to instead move a bit. I turned on Fit TV (for a minute I could've sworn I heard my tv laughing at me!) and found a body sculpting show. The show actually lasts an hour, but because of the time it's shown I could either do the full hour or do 30 minutes and get a shower in before working. My workmates thank me, even though they don't really know it. This show was great and the first 30 minutes did arms/upper back and abs, exactly the areas I most want to shrink. I did great, actually smiled during the workout and thought "piece of cake". But I will say that I'm getting sore tonight.
And actually I cheated a bit and did more than 30 minutes (is it cheating when you're doing something good?). After dinner Keith went out to mow the front yard and I went to the back and started pulling some weeds and cleaning out some of the plant beds. Unfortunately by the time I finished it was too dark to take a picture of my dirt, so I'm sorry but that photo will have to wait.
About an hour of yard work, which I'm not sure how much good that actually does. But it surely was better for me than my usual hour of surfing, stamping or stitching! And that's the end of my Day 1. :)
Since so many people actually seemed interested in my upside down tomato plant I decided to show you what it looks like after 1 week. The first couple of days the main stem started twisting up as the plant was determined not to be upside down. But now it seems to have resigned itself to its fate and is relaxing somewhat and starting to grow. We were actually going to get the next batch of plants planted this weekend, but it's going to be a wee bit nippy and I'd rather wait a bit til it warms up again.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
There are several cards I need to make and get in the mail to some people I really care about. I sat down with this week's Mojo Monday sketch thinking how nice it is and how satisfying to get the cards made on time. Somehow my hands reached for a different sentiment stamp though and I ended up with a Thank You card to add to my stash. I might not need it right now, but I know so many kind people that I'm sure to need it in the future.
And now I better get back to making the cards I need to send! :)
Supplies Used - Stamps: All The Best; Cardstock: Close To Cocoa, More Mustard, Old Olive; Ribbon: Chocolate Chip 5/8" Grosgrain Ribbon; Punch: Scallop Edge.......All Stampin' Up
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Another fun day baking! Sihan of Walking in the Rain chose the recipe this week and made a lot of people happy in the process. Click above to get the recipe.
One interesting thing about this cake is that you mix the lemon zest and sugar together with your fingers before incorporating the rest of the ingredients for the cake. And when we took our first test bite we could definitely taste the lemon flavor.
Loved the crumb topping, which I made in the Swift Chopper that was a gift from my kids rather than using the food processor. Worked very well and fewer pieces to wash afterwards.
One of Keith's observations about this cake was that "it seems like a polite cake like the kind that ladies would have with a cup of tea." Made me smile. :)
My only complaint about the cake, and it could've been that I mixed it too much, is that the next day it was very, very dry. I usually bake my TWD confections, we each have a piece, then I take the rest with me to work the next day so that we don't sit around and eat it all. This was too dry to share like that. :(
Sunday, March 22, 2009
We're home from a wonderful weekend at the lake. Of course, as I sit here typing this my shoulders, back and legs are so sore from yard work, but even so it's wonderful.
The picture above was so pretty through my viewfinder, but now that it's out of the camera...eh, not so much. But I'm leaving it anyway. :) We put a bunch of grass seed out and of course had to to water it it. Really hoping that it takes hold, especially the front yard. We put tree limbs through the shredder, raked up leaves and filled so many bags to bring home. And I lost count of how many times we'd have people stop by and say "you two are working far too hard this weekend!" Maybe so, but it sure is looking good. There are so many trees up there and while I wouldn't trade them for the world they do make a mess to clean up.
While we were busy cleaning Joe was busy socializing. This little Boston Terrier is named Hardy and he is such a mess. The two of them ran the fence together and while I was pulling weeds Hardy was right there watching me. His "mom" came over to the fence and we chatted for quite a bit and then both laughed when we realized our dogs had deserted us. Joe was sleeping in the grass near me and Hardy had gone over to his patio and fallen asleep. I guess they just couldn't keep up with us. ;)
This is Ruff and I have no idea what kind of dog she is, but she runs over as soon as she sees us up there. In fact, this picture was taken in the backyard because she saw the gate open and came on back. These two wore themselves out as well.
And as a side note, I've finally given in and gotten a Facebook account and am surprised by how much I'm enjoying it. For one I get to keep up with some friends that I don't see every day, but more than that I've found a couple of my friends from years ago that I had lost touch with. It's fun to see what they are doing on a daily basis and it just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside remembering our fun together. Who knew I'd enjoy it so much???
"The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." - Elizabeth Foley
Friday, March 20, 2009
I've been married to my beloved for almost 29 years (our anniversary is in a couple of weeks!), have a wonderful son, daughter and daughter-in-law. The current light of my life is my 20 month old granddaughter Brooklyn. It really is true that as a grandparent you are more able to relax and enjoy the kids. She is precious and a true joy to be around. And actually I am very blessed that our whole family enjoys spending time together.
I have gone back and forth as to the true purpose of my blog. I started this blog in October 2005 and I think by now I've more or less settled into my place. I love using this as a way to document what we've been doing (fun to go back and see what was happening 2 years ago on "this day" kind of thing) and being able to share pictures with family and friends we don't see on a daily basis. You'll find me talking about my hobbies - knitting, making cards, baking, reading, sewing - my thoughts, my Lord, my family and my pets. I love to spend time with my friends, presumably to get some work done on our hobbies, but honestly I just enjoy getting together to fellowship. :)
I've been fortunate to join the CFBA (Christian Fiction Blog Alliance), so if you enjoy reading you'll find book reviews here periodically.
And I've recently joined TWD (Tuesdays With Dorie) where we bake one recipe out of her book Baking From My Home To Yours each week.
I guess that more or less covers my blog. I think the whole blogworld thing is absolutely wonderous and it's been so much fun getting to know other ladies through this medium. How blessed we are to have technology that allows us to learn and grow from each other, as well as keep in touch with others.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
OK, I admit it - I really do get intrigued by As Seen On TV products. Sometimes they are deals and sometimes they are duds.
So while we were in the hardware store last night I was looking at big pots to put some tomato plants in. We tried planting in the ground once before and Joe, that wonderful golden retriever of mine, tromps through them like they are a personal gift to him. Anyway, I didn't really find pots at a price I liked, but I did find the Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Plant Hanger. I also bought a Big Boy variety of tomato plant.
This is what it looks like when all is said and done. You can see the plant at the bottom and the water coming out from the first watering. I wonder if the little plant is getting a head rush from being upside down like that???
Time will tell if this was a good idea or not. We did agree last night that we'll still buy some pots too. Though I will point out that the directions inside the Topsy Turvy say the plant should get to be 6 feet tall, so really it should provide all the tomatoes we'd need.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. Currently she has over forty books in print and has sold more than a million copies.
DiAnn believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” DiAnn Mills is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels.
Six of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents. Five of her books have won placements through American Christian Fiction Writer’s Book of the Year Awards 2003 – 2007, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005 and 2007. She was a Christy Awards finalist in 2008.
DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope and Love, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is also a mentor for Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writer’s Guild.
She lives in sunny Houston, Texas. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Paige Rogers survived every CIA operative’s worst nightmare.
A covert mission gone terribly wrong.
A betrayal by the one man she thought she could trust.
Forced to disappear to protect the lives of her loved ones, Paige has spent the last several years building a quiet life as a small-town librarian. But the day a stranger comes to town and starts asking questions, Paige knows her careful existence has been shattered.
He is coming after her again. And this time, he intends to silence her for good...
Paige Rogers is a former CIA agent who lost all she treasured seven years ago when her entire team was killed in a covert mission. She blames their leader—Daniel Keary—whom Paige believes betrayed them. Disillusioned and afraid for her life, she disappeared and started a new life as a librarian in small town Split Creek, Oklahoma.
But her growing relationship with high school football coach Miles Laird and the political ambitions of her former boss threaten to unmask her. When Keary announces his candidacy for governor of her state, he comes after Paige to ensure that she won't ruin his bid for office by revealing his past misdeeds. He threatens everything she holds dear, and Paige must choose between the life of hiding that has become her refuge . . . or risking everything in one last, desperate attempt to right old wrongs.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Breach Of Trust, go HERE
Watch the Book Trailer:
I'm not sure which Paige I loved the best - the quiet, reclusive librarian in Split Creek, Oklahoma or the underlying CIA operative that is always a part of her. On the surface she is the well loved librarian who provides home baked treats for the weekly book club. She's living a quiet life and trying her hardest not to fall under the spell of the high school football coach who is falling in love with her. Since she is living a double life Paige is afraid to get too close to anybody.
She is also constantly struggling with the fact that she is now a Christian and trying to figure out how her former CIA life fits in with that. The nature of that life requires her to live a lie now and she's not so sure how God feels about that.
Add in the man that betrayed her in the past and is now running for governor of the state - and is on the fast track to winning the popular vote. Everybody loves him, but Paige knows what he is really like.
I really, really enjoyed this book. It's fast paced and has some really great characters. There's enough twists and turns to cause me to do the ever popular "ok I'll read just one more chapter before bed" several times.
And I'm happy to see that this is book 1 of a new Call of Duty series. The next book is due out I believe in spring of next year and I'm looking forward to reading it.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
This cake was so good and kind of a mixture of textures. It had almost a pound cake taste and yet it felt almost like a cake mix. Some people might think the cake mix comparison is a criticism, but honestly Keith prefers that to any homemade cake, so for us anyway it's a good thing.
The recipe calls for lemon marmalade to make the glaze and I never did find any. But I did find some Three Fruit Marmalade that was made from lemon, orange and grapefruit. Just the right combination of sweet and tart.
And the best surprise of all was having a slice the next day. If anything it was better the 2nd day and having it alongside a cup of coffee was a good thing. :)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This strange sight is what I walked in and saw tonight. We have to give Joe frequent baths with a special prescription shampoo because he has skin problems. This task usually falls on Keith and after Joe is semi-dry Keith always brushes him. Today he decided that Joe needed a new hairdo, so he has two parts down the middle and the center is kind of a 50's slicked back look.
I am again reminded of how much this dog loves to be part of anything we do. He was just thrilled with the attention and really didn't care how silly he looked.
All this and he is celebrating his 8th birthday. You'd think we'd let him have a little dignity at his advanced age, but really we can't do that. And he wouldn't have it any other way.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Some friends had recently been discussing a retreat house up at "our" lake, so since we were up in the general area anyway we decided to go and check it out. One of the best parts of driving like this is that we end up going through areas we've never seen before. Driving down a dirt road for miles we saw a ranch on one side of the road that had many long horns. Such majestic looking animals! And I could not get Keith to stop and let me take pictures of them, mostly because they had a "look" in their eyes and I was a bit afraid of starting a stampede.
We also stumbled upon a roadside vegetable stand and this got us to talking about what we want in a garden this year. I'm going to try tomatoes in containers since we have a big dog and the last time I tried planting he tromped through everything. I think we'll be heading to the store tomorrow to try and find some of the half whiskey barrels to use as containers.
And since we were in the general area anyway, we went by the cabin to be certain that no trees had fallen or anything like that. It's always fun to drive up because the big dog next store, Ruff, always comes running over to greet us. We let Joe, our golden retriever, out of the truck and the two of them jumped and ran around. Checking the back of the house Joe ran to the very back to play with his little Boston Terrier friend in the yard behind us. This little dog cracks me up because she snorts and roots around just like a little pig. But the two of them have fun running the fence together.
Last, and of course not least, we stopped at the little burger shop at the lake to have dinner before coming home. This place always has a large pot of beans on the counter that comes free with any meal. We share a burger and order of onion rings and each get a little bowl of beans with tabasco sauce.
I will always remember going to my grandma's house in Arkansas. Without a doubt, every single time we went there grandma had a pot of beans simmering on her stove. Her beans were absolutely wonderful. And growing up I'd be willing to bet that we had beans and rice for dinner probably once a week. Then I went and married a boy that wasn't from the south *gasp* and the first time I served beans and rice in our young married life he looked at it, raised his eyes and gently asked where the meat was. Obviously he was not impressed and through the years he's never really cared for that as a meal. But as a side dish to a burger meal he is all over it.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. - Genesis 2:2-3 NIV
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I just got back from the library tonight and it was so nice. We are blessed with a newly updated and expanded library and I was pleased to see it very busy tonight. But what really tickled me was seeing these two card catalogs used as book displays now. I wonder if I had asked some of the young people there if they would even have known what these were originally used for? Instead of asking I just grinned big and got out my camera phone to snap a picture.
(And when Keith just looked over to see what I was doing he rolled his eyes when he realized I'd taken a picture of the card catalog in the library! LOL! Really he's used to it by now.)
I will admit that my favorite books are absolutely brand new. There really is nothing finer than opening a book for the first time. I love the feel and even the smell of a brand new book. But the reality is that new books are rather a luxury item now and I am thrilled that our town has a nice library system. And judging by the number of people there tonight many people feel the same way.
Speaking of the economy, if you have some spare time go to Nester's blog and read her entry here. It's a very short entry, but then take the time to read at least some of the comments that people have left, currently numbering 194. I think it was quite an eye-opener for me to see just how many people are deeply affected by what is happening. It was really rather sobering. But above all I was struck by the amount of faith people have and how much they are trusting in God. And that is why I encourage you to read some of the comments. I think I was humbled to read these and so very moved. The news this last week has been filled with stories about how our nation is changing and moving away from religion. Judging by these comments the media is blowing things way out of proportion. Not only are people still filled with faith, but their sense of family and community is still running deep.
And that is very encouraging in these times.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." - Matthew 6:33
Monday, March 09, 2009
Saturday we all went to lunch to celebrate James' birthday. When we got back everybody wanted to stay outside and enjoy the beautiful spring day - even if it isn't officially spring yet. Brooklyn especially loves being outside and I love the joy in this video.
Try and remember back when we were young and carefree. I even remember going round and round the trees just like she does above. And then the spirit moves you and off you go, flapping your arms and running just for the fun of it. It truly brings a smile to your heart to think of those times. And I'm blessed to have this little girl to remind me of things like this.
Aren't her little pig tails cute? They started off quite a bit neater than this, but we'd been playing and such and naturally they start to come down.
Friday, March 06, 2009
This is the first time I've ever really done much to the inside of a card, but I think I might be hooked now! I think the sentiment is a hoot and having the bluish paper just adds something to it.
Speaking of the paper, when I sat down to make the card I couldn't find any masculine looking paper in all my piles. I went online and found The Sugarplum Paperie and bought some digital paper! What an awesome concept and might mean the end to some of my paper piles in the future. All I did was print little bits of the paper that I needed for this card - no fuss, no muss! I don't think it would be good to do for the big scrapbooking papers because the cost of ink might be too high, but it sure is a nice option for card making. :)
Sunday, March 01, 2009
- Amazing how fast a box of tissues can be used up. And amazing still that with both of us down there is no magic fairy that comes in and empties all of our trash bags (I've spared you the photo of trash bags filled with tissues...you are welcome.)
- Even though right now we have access to every movie channel known to our tv provider (free for 30 days!) we still had a hard time finding something to watch on tv.
- It starts to seem very tomb-like in the house when you do absolutely nothing for that many days. I was so blessed to be able to open some windows today and let God's sweet breath of a breeze blow through the house and hopefully clear out some germs. Of course, our fingertips and toes turned blue because it was only mid-40's with a north wind, but it sure felt good!
- There is nothing at all attractive about a woman how goes to bed in a cotton nightgown, wakes up cold so pulls on a pair of pj pants, then wakes up cold again and reaches for a long sleeve pj shirt on top - and none of the 3 went together. All I could do was laugh when I saw myself in the mirror this morning.
- It is true love when we were down to the last Emergen-C and he brought it to me - thank you baby!
- When you have an over-priced, but very awful hair dye job, then get sick - your pale face does not make the hair look any better at all. :(
- We do not eat healthy when we are ill. And surprisingly, I've lost right at 5 pounds this week. Nothing has flavor at all, so hardly eating a thing. I really would not recommend this as a weight-loss plan though.
- When you start to feel better and see the light at the end of the tunnel...don't overdo by emptying all the trash, running the vacuum all over the house and starting to wipe down everything. It became naptime real quick!
- And finally, I always thought those Lysol bottles went a long ways, but once I got on a germ killing spree today it didn't stand a chance. Might be a good thing that neither of us can smell anything right now because that much Lysol might've been the end of us both!
Thank you to everybody for your well wishes. I'm not 100% yet by any means, but at least I can sit up again and be fairly coherent. Baby steps!!! :)