Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Love Is.....Half a Big Mac

I've been blessed to be able to work from home a couple of days a week with my current job.  And I'll admit that sometimes my lunch at home gets kind of boring.  So the last couple of days I've sent a teasing text message to Keith asking him to bring me a Big Mac meal for lunch.  You know honey, just drop everything you're doing at your job just to bring home some junk food for the wife.  We tease back and forth in text messages and the day just seems brighter.
Well I will have you know that Keith showed up with a Big Mac meal in hand after work!  I burst out laughing and he was pleased as punch at my reaction.  I went in and cut it in half and we each had half a Big Mac meal.  I say you can keep the diamond man brings me beef!  (ok, so we're really not so certain it's actual beef in a Big Mac, but a girl can dream!)
"The power of a man's virtue should not be measured by his special efforts, but by his ordinary doing."  - unknown

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beef Stew and Family Time

We had such a nice time last weekend.  Lynne', hubs and I headed up to OKC for some family time.  Saturday morning Keith stayed at mom's house and did some things for her while mom, Lynne' and I went to mom's knitting group.  What fun that was!  As a rule, knitting groups are very welcoming to new knitters and this one was no exception.  I got to take part in some show and tell time, see some beautiful items that other ladies were working on and just having the fun of three generations of my family knitting together.  When it was time to leave the ladies were so nice and told us if we're in town again to please come by.  Absolutely we will as I really enjoyed this group.

We went back to the house to get Keith and went for some lunch.  I love the picture above of my mom and daughter, though mom will probably ground me for posting it.  ;)  After lunch we ran a bunch of errands together, then back to the house for some computer repair.  One of the best parts of the day was when Lynne' and I ran out to rent a movie and the four of us ate dinner and watched it together.  So much of the time when we all get together there is so much running around to do and it was nice to just sit and do something together that is relaxing and really so routine.

We were also able to spend the night and a large part of Sunday with Keith's parents and again, sitting around the breakfast table together just chatting is wonderful.  I think that my mother-in-law, Lynne' and I have solved most of the world's problems, just in case anybody needed to know that.

And I do believe that fall is truly here!  It was supposed to hit 28 degrees last night, so Keith made a fast trip to the lake after work yesterday to do something to the boat so that it wouldn't freeze.  In the meantime, cold weather means it's time for soups and stews and I wanted to share a new to me product.  Now I know full well that putting a stew in the slow cooker is an easy thing to do anyway, but I found this stew kit by Tyson in the meat section of the store for about ten bucks and you cannot beat how easy it was.  See the fine print on the front that says preps in 5 minutes?  They aren't kidding!  There's a package of potatoes, carrots, onions and the meat.  And for those meat and potatoes type of husbands this is a fast and easy way to make them happy. 

Stew pictures aren't really all that pretty, but here you go.  I think the meat and potato chunks are too big, but it's an easy think to cut them with a fork. Delicious!

"But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children." - Psalm 103:17

Friday, October 24, 2008

Brooklyn at The Park

When the family was all together last weekend we took Brooklyn to the park and had so much fun.  She reminds me so much of her Aunt Lynne' because she really has no fear...which is not necessarily a totally good thing!  Brooklyn loved going down the slide and would do it over and over.  One thing about those plastic slides - they give you a lot of static in your hair!

And the static really cracked us up!  I'm going to try to embed a video of her sliding....

She wanted to go down the slide over and over and over again.
And every time she would go down the slide she really wanted to climb back up all by herself.  At this point let me mention that Saturday night she slept really good!
And this playground had little portholes to look out.  Just like at the pumpkin patch she had a lot of funny looking out the holes!
"Be joyful always." - 1Thessalonians 5:16

CFBA - Less Than Dead

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Less Than Dead by Tim Downs - Thomas Nelson (September 9, 2008)


Tim Downs is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University. After graduation in 1976 he created a comic strip, Downstown, which was syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate until 1986. His cartooning has appeared in more than a hundred major newspapers worldwide.

His first book, a work of non-fiction, was awarded the Gold Medallion Award in 2000. His first novel, Shoofly Pie, was awarded the Angel Award in 2004, and his third novel, PlagueMaker, was awarded the Christy Award for best suspense novel of 2007. First The Dead, the third book in this Bug Man series came out earlier this year.

Tim lives in Cary, North Carolina, with his wife Joy.


Some secrets just won't stay buried.
When strange bones surface on a U.S. senator's property, the FBI enlists forensic entomologist Nick Polchak to investigate the forgotten graveyard. Polchak's orders are simple: figure out the mess.

But Polchak, known as the "Bug Man" because of his knowledge of insects and their interaction with the dead, senses darker secrets buried beneath the soil.

Secrets that could derail the senator's presidential bid.

Secrets buried in the history of a quaint Virginia town.

Secrets someone is willing to kill to protect.

With the help of a mysterious local woman named Alena and her uncanny cadaver dogs, Polchak sets out to dig up the truth.

But with a desperate killer hot on his trail, he'll be lucky to wind up anything less than dead.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Less Than Dead, go HERE


If you are looking to read a book that has an inspirational theme throughout or teaches you life lessons, this is not the book. But if you are looking for a mystery novel without over the top violence do pick this one up.

This is the first novel in Tim Downs' Bug Man series that I have read, so the first time I met Nick Polchak. He is an entomologist, thus the nickname Bug Man. I really liked this character and his quick, sometimes sarcastic wit. Nick has extremely thick eyeglasses, sometimes giving him the illusion of the bugs that he studies. How nice to have a main character that is not defined by his looks, but rather by his knowledge and wit.

The secondary character, and possible love interest, is Alena, mistakenly tagged by the town as the Witch of Endor because of her life of seclusion. She trains cadaver dogs that are tops in the field. Because of her expertise she is pulled reluctantly into an FBI investigation nearby.

Parts of this book read rather like a CSI episode and I'll admit that I got a tad squeamish at the beginning with bug talk. But luckily it was very minimal talk and I was able to move past it. In addition to being a great mystery novel, this book also has an element of political intrigue.

When I saw the cover of the book I was afraid that it would be too intense for me, but once I started reading I was hooked and read this book probably in record time. I will look for more novels by this author.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brooklyn's Open House and Chocolate Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Icing

One of the things I promised myself when Loni was pregnant with Brooklyn was that I would try and be at as many of Brooklyn's school/church events as possible.  Tuesday night it was time to put my money where my mouth to speak.  Brooklyn's new daycare had an open house and I went with the kids so that I could see.  There was a table with cookies and punch set up in a room that is ordinarily for older kids, so as you can see above Brooklyn was all eyes as she stood there holding her cookie.
We visited the room that Brooklyn will go into next and I showed her the oatmeal table.  Took her a minute, but then she thought this was a lot of fun!  And especially fun was filling a measuring spoon with oatmeal and watching it pour over Grandma's hand.  I would've never remembered playing with oatmeal, but now that I saw it at the daycare I remember having one of these in the room when I taught Sunday School to 2 year olds and they loved it.
When I got home my golden retriever Joe was all happy and ready to play.  I don't think I mentioned this on the blog yet, but the biopsy came back benign, so all clear.  Plus I really think the new hypothyroidism pills are working wonders for him.  Praise be!
One last thought - I realized today that I haven't even picked up my knitting needles this week and that rather startled me since I enjoy it so much.  But you know how we all get busy sometimes and really it's all good.  I've been doing other hobbies, one of which is shown above.  Keith shook his head at me when I mentioned that making cupcakes is a hobby, but yes I think it is. 
One of the girls I work with asked me at the beginning of the week how much I'd charge to make cupcakes for her work team since 4 of them had birthdays in a 2.5 week period.  I told her I'd do it for free since I loved them and she told me that they wanted chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing.  So that's what I did last night and had a really nice time.  Of course, sometimes things don't go as easy as you might think they should.  For instance when I got to the "add sour cream" portion of the recipe and opened the lid of the sour cream I discovered that it was a solid, yucky green color.  After a hyperspeed emergency trip to the store we were back on track and they came out lovely.  In fact, a friend called as I was flying out the door to get the sour cream and I told her "I can't talk now, I'm having a cupcake emergency...I'll call you back!"
Good times....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stamp Club and Chicken Pitas

This is one of the cards we made at our recent Stamp Club.  I'm absolutely thrilled with how beautiful this card turned out and the fact that our SU Lady never disappoints us with the projects she chooses.  I tend to shy away from stamps like this beautiful cardinal because I'm not able to color them in very well.  This card is so pretty even without the coloring.
We always do two projects on Stamp Club night and as I was adding the picture I kind of chuckled to myself about how transparent I am on which is my favorite.  I think almost always my favorite is the first one I list, but sometimes it's hard to choose.  This month was a great example of hard to choose because I'm really fond of this one as well.
And to change gears a bit, let's talk about food!  One of our favorite meals is what we call Merry-Go-Round Chicken and we almost always cook it on a Monday night.  Mom and Dad got us the Showtime Rotisserie grill several years ago for Christmas and we have used it so much.  Rotisserie chicken takes only an hour and 20 minutes (YMMV depending on weight) and is scrumptious.  I like to make it on Monday because when we are done eating I pull the meat off and am able to get all the bones and yuck out to the trash for Tuesday pick up.  ;)
Usually I'll use the leftovers for either a grilled chicken salad, chicken sandwiches or some sort of casserole.  But my daughter-in-law discovered a great WW recipe for these sandwiches.  Easy peasy, good for you and we love them.
Spread a small amount of fat free mayo inside pita bread.  Lay a slice of pepper jack cheese (low fat), merry-go-round chicken (or any grilled chicken) and slices of roasted red pepper to taste.  Really quite good!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Girl!

Yesterday was my little girl's 23rd birthday.  I absolutely adore the young woman she's become and really I think we celebrated most of the weekend.  The card above is the one I made for her birthday and she loved it, so my goal was achieved.  :)
Our whole family went to lunch yesterday at a new to us Italian restaurant.  Lynne' had gone once before with friends and loved it, so that was her choice for her birthday.  Loved it!  And one of the best parts is that the weather was simply beautiful in Texas, so we sat on the patio to eat our lunch.  The girls and I split an order of calamari as an appetizer and it was almost as much fun watching Keith's look of horror that we would actually eat it as it was eating it!
On Saturday afternoon I went to a baby shower for Lynne's best friend.  I wanted to take just a moment to brag on my daughter - she crocheted the above blanket for her friend!  I think it is so pretty and so girly and I can't wait for little baby Victoria to be laying on it.  What a beautiful and thoughtful gift this was.

Friday, October 17, 2008

CFBA - A Beautiful Fall

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
A Beautiful Fall by Chris Coppernoll - David C. Cook (October 2008)


Chris Coppernoll is the founder of Soul2Soul Ministries, with his interviews with Christian artists airing weekly on 650 radio outlets in thirty countries. He has conducted hundreds of interviews on faith issues with personalities such as Amy Grant, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, and Kathie Lee Gifford. He also serves as a Deacon at The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and is currently working toward a Masters in Ministry Leadership degree through Rockbridge Seminary.

His "Inspirations" column is published monthly in the mid Michigan newspaper, The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Chris Coppernoll is the author of four other books including Soul2Soul, Secrets of a Faith Well Lived, and God's Calling. Providence, his first novel, is his fourth book.


High-powered Boston attorney Emma Madison is celebrating her latest courtroom victory when she gets a call from a number she doesn't recognize. Area code 803 home. Juneberry, South Carolina eight hundred miles, twelve years, and a lifetime away from Boston. Emma's father has had a serious heart attack. Emma rushes to his bedside, and a weekend trip threatens to become an extended stay. She has to work fast to arrange the affairs of his small-town law practice so she can return to her life and career in Boston.

And then Michael Evans shows up. They'd shared hopes, dreams, and a passionate love as young college students during a long-ago summer. But Emma walked away from Michael and from Juneberry to finish college and start a new life. Michael has never forgotten her.

Enveloped in the warmth of family and small-town life and discovering that she still cares for Michael Emma knows she'll have to make a choice between the career she's worked so hard to build and the love she left behind.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Beautiful Fall, go HERE


I first started reading this book totally expecting a story along the lines of the movie "Sweet Home Alabama" - high powered lawyer goes home to her small town. And while parts of it might bear resemblance, this book is so much more.

After a twelve year absence to pursue her career in law, Emma is called home to care for her father. In addition to realizing how much she has missed her father, Emma reunites with her two friends almost like she hadn't been away. Then there's Michael, the love of her youth and now such a mainstay in the small town of Juneberry.

As her stay at home continues, Emma learns much about the pace of life and choices along the way. Juneberry (takeoff of Mayberry perhaps???) is a town where everybody knows and loves everybody else. Friendships are forever. And faith is the most important thing of all.

This is the first book I've read by this author and I'll be looking for his first novel, Providence, after having read this one. He is able to give his characters depth, keep us up with three couples at once and his understanding of how women think surprised me several times. In fact, I will admit to checking the back cover again to verify that Chris was indeed male! :) I look forward to more of his books.

Buzzing Around The Pumpkin Patch

This year's trip to the Pumpkin Patch was so much fun. Last year B was only 3 month's old so she really didn't get to excited about the whole day. But this year she had a grand time! Her costume is so perfect - Miss B is a Bee! Her little tulle skirt had a cute little bounce to it when she walked.
Grandpa.....this one is too heavy! She gave it a pretty good try, but soon walked off to find one that was Brooklyn sized.
She had such a nice time picking up pumpkins. We had to find the area that had some littler pumpkins so that she could lift them. And when she would lean down to pick one up her little skirt tilted up and looked adorable.
This pumpkin patch had a horse trough filled with the itty bitty decorative pumpkins. I loved seeing her stand on her tippy toes to be able to reach in and pick out pumpkins - one for each hand please. :)
We sat her on a hay bale for lots of pictures. I do have some nice, pretty ones, but this one just makes me smile so much. Her grandpa was putting two itty bitty pumpkins on her lap and she'd toss them back to him. She got to laughing so hard - big, belly laughs even. Grandpas are really funny!
Last year we saw several families eating picnic lunches, so that's what we did this year. Packed a nice lunch and threw a couple of blankets on the ground. One of the most fun parts of being a grandma is being able to splurge on toddler snacks. I bought some Lunchables Jr.'s and the cutest little apple juice called Tummy Ticklers. There were 11 four ounce containers and a cute little Tigger top that has a no spil straw. Darling! Both of my kids were looking at them and I did explain that when they were Brooklyn's age we couldn't have afforded this sort of thing what with buying the diapers and paying daycare. But as grandparents we can and it's a beautiful thing. :)
Good times.....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Things In My House Thursday

This is the first time I've joined Things In My House Thursday here on my blog, though I've enjoyed reading posts from others.  I think the stories that go along with the "things" are the best part of the posts.
This bread basket sits on a corner buffet in my dining room (except for in the photo above where it sits for the photo op).  It's a fairly new addition to my home, but is full of sentimental value. 
And inside the basket are three pieces of "bread" that have Bible verses printed on them. 
Many, many years I bought this at a craft show for my Grandmother for Christmas.  To this day I can still see this sitting in her kitchen and it makes me smile to think that she enjoyed it.
When she passed away my very special aunt when through the house and pulled together items that each of us had given Grandma and returned them to us.  I think this is such a great idea and had never heard of it before.  And now each time I pass my buffet on the way out the back door I catch a glimpse of this and it makes me think of my grandmother's sweet smile and love for the Lord.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Through The Loops Mystery Sock Clue 2

Here's my sock finished through Clue 2.  Clue 3 will be posted at 12:01 tonight and do you know that I even briefly considered staying up for it?  Must be loving this sock more than I thought because I am so not a night owl!

And yes, I do love this sock!  The color of the yarn and the pattern stitches go together beautifully.  It's gorgeous and stretchy and lacey and I am so looking forward to wearing this pair.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Joe's Surgery and Oddball Baby Blankets

I just returned from taking Joe, my golden retriever, to the vet to get bandages removed.  The photo above was taken Friday evening when we picked him up from the vet.  He had a fairly large tumor on his "elbow" and they removed it.  They also discovered through his blood work that in addition to being epileptic he also has hypothyroidism, which explains a lot of problems he has.  So now we have a geriatric dog that takes more pills each day than we do.  Good thing we love him so much.  :)
One of the online groups I knit with does what they call Oddball Baby Blankets.  This particular picture is of the Candy Corn Oddball Baby Blanket I just knit on.  The first person casts on and knits a section using any yarn and stitch (within guidelines), then mails it to the next person.  I did the white section and sent it off to person #3.  When the blanket is finished it will be donated to an area hospital.  I love the sense of community that this brings. 

CFBA - Home Another Way

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Home Another Way by Christa Parrish - Bethany House (October 1, 2008)

After her mother’s death and her father’s abandonment, tiny infant Sarah Graham was left to be raised by her emotionally distant grandmother. As a child she turned to music for solace and even gained entrance to Juilliard. But her potentially brilliant music career ended with an unplanned pregnancy and the stillborn birth of her child.

In an attempt to escape the past, Sarah, now twenty-seven, is living life hard and fast–and she is flat broke. When her estranged father dies, she travels to the tiny mountain hamlet of Jonah, New York to claim her inheritance. Once there, she learns her father’s will stipulates a six-month stay before she can recieve the money. Fueled by hate and desperation, Sarah settles in for the bitter mountain winter, and as the weeks pass, she finds her life intertwining with the lives of the simple, gracious townsfolk. Can these strangers teach Sarah how to forgive and find peace?

A story of grace, of God’s never-ceasing love and the sometimes flawed, faithful people He uses to bring His purpose to pass.

If you would like to see a video book trailer of Home Another Way, go HERE.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Home Another Way, go HERE


Christa Parrish graduated high school at 16, with every intention of becoming a surgeon. After college, however, her love of all things creative led her in another direction, and she worked in both theatre and journalism.

A winner of Associated Press awards for her reporting, Christa gave up her career after the birth of her son, Jacob. She continued to write from home, doing pro bono work for the New York Family Policy Council, where her articles appeared in Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine. She was also a finalist in World magazine’s WORLDview short story contest, sponsored by WestBow press. She now teaches literature and writing to high school students, is a homeschool mom, and lives with her family in upstate New York, where she is at work on her second novel.


Home Another Way was one of those books that I didn't want to end. And when it did I still thought about Sarah quite a bit. This is a character that tries so hard to be unlikable and disagreeable. She has a hard time trusting people and an even hard time loving them. And yet she is met with love from the people of Jonah.

One thing I came away with after reading this book is a sense that not all people are really what they seem. I think most of us have met a Sarah that pushes back every time we try to befriend them. Now after having "walked a mile in Sarah's shoes" perhaps I can be more tolerant and realize that there might be a reason a person is responding the way they are.

Lessons aside, this book just reads so well. I was fortunate to be reading this book on a weekend when we were not as busy as we usually are. I got up on a Saturday morning, got a cup of coffee and curled up under the covers to read for just a minute. I ended up finishing the book because really there is nothing cozier than curling up with a good book.

I'll be waiting for the author's next book with anticipation. She creates realistic and likable characters and combines them with scenes that make you want to be there.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Senior Angels for Chemo Angels

In addition to having the opportunity to show a photo of a photo of Brooklyn, I wanted to show you the notecards I just made.  All I did was take an 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock cut in half and stamp an image in the corner.  I used pink ink and then went over the top using clear Stickles.  Easy peasey and CUTE!
Now the reason I'm showing this today is that it went in the mail last week to a new and dear friend of mine.  "N" and I have just met and in fact the note and photo above is the first time I've corresponded with her.  We met through the Chemo Angels site.
I'm not sure how I first found this site, other than clicking from one site to the next - y'all know how that goes.  But it touched my heart and really spoke to me, so I signed up.  Once I was approved I was told it might take a bit before they have somebody available that needs an angel and I was assigned about a week ago.
Being an angel means that you commit to sending a card, letter or small gift a minimum of once a week to somebody that is undergoing chemotherapy.  I signed up for the senior program as I lost my dear grandmother to ovarian cancer and in fact put her name down as my "in honor of".
The angels are trying to be a light in the midst of a dark situation.  The organization has ideas and helpful tips, including what to write.  One of their suggestions was to talk about your kids, pets and grandkids and anybody that reads my blog knows that I'm a tad partial to a certain little grandbaby, so her picture was the first I sent.
Awesome organization.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Through The Loops Mystery Sock

What's a woman to do when she is faced with no knitting mojo?  My answer seems to be to join a KAL (knit along) and when I saw that there was a mystery sock KAL on Ravelry it just seemed perfect.  One clue every Wednesday and one week into it I am actually spot on as far as progress.
I'm using a sock yarn from my stash, a Cherry Tree Hill yarn, that is a dream to knit with.  And I'm either stubborn or old-fashioned because I still love using my dpn's; they just feel right to me.
It's not too late to join in!  The pattern will be available at the Through The Loops blog or the Through The Loops group on Ravelry.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fast Trip to OKC

Friday night was another grand night scrapbooking and knitting with friends.  Our new favorite shop is part scrapbooking store and part knitting so really it's the best thing in the world for me.  I made some cards, then pulled out a sock I've started and did some knitting the rest of the evening.  Pictures of all coming soon.
While we were there I got a call about our planned weekend trip to OKC and after some conversations we were to be blessed with Loni and Brooklyn on our trip!  Keith, Lynne' and I had planned to make a day trip up so that Keith could work on a plumbing leak mom had.  So Saturday morning we packed up the truck and headed north.
Partway there we stopped at a McD to get drinks and let Brooklyn walk around a bit to stretch her legs.  She just keeps going and going and looked quite adorable in her little jeans.  Her legs are about a mile long and she's losing her infant baby looks.
She was also very fascinated by the big trucks that were idling in the parking lot next to McD.  Grandpa took her walking over there so that she could satisfy her curiosity.  I love this picture of the two of them holding hands and walking.
We were blessed with good weather and a safe trip.  We were able to see most everybody on Saturday, even it was for a very short time.  And mom can now take a shower without having a puddle in her bathroom.  Amen.  :)
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." - 2Thessalonians 2:16-17

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Joe the Smile Ambassador

This is my sweet old doggie Joe last night in the truck as he went with me to get dinner.
Keith and I are on a "cook at home" kick again because, hard to believe, I'm a little tired of fast food.  I'm also wanting to use up some things in the freezer and pantry.  So for dinner Keith got the package of meatballs out of the freezer and put them in the oven, then started making the gravy.  I was busy peeling potatoes and getting them boiling so that we could have mashed potatoes.  BUT...when we pulled the meatballs out of the oven they had the most vile smell to them that there was no way we were going to have them for dinner.  We both stood there for a minute, then with a resigned voice we decided we'd toss out the potatoes and just go out.
Then I was struck with a brilliant thought - P0peye's chicken has a leg and thigh for .99 cents special on Tuesdays!  So Joe and I hopped in the car and ran through the drive-thru and Keith and I ended up spending $2.14 for chicken to go with our potatoes and gravy.  Crisis averted and we were still able to feel somewhat virtuous about our dinner choice!
And on the way home we were sitting in the left turn lane waiting for our turn to go.  I looked over and saw a lady with a smile a mile wide on her face.  Joe had ended up leaning on the door with his little muzzle resting on the window sill and was cute as all get out!
He is obviously a great ambassador for smiles.  :)