Sunday, August 30, 2009

Licking the Beaters

Today we went over to James and Loni's house and got to play with Miss B. Any day with Brooklyn is a good day indeed! While Keith and James went outside to do boy stuff in the garage we stayed inside. Loni asked if I would mind if she went ahead and started making the cupcakes she wanted to take to work tomorrow. And you would have thought that the cow had jumped over the moon as excited as Brooklyn got!

I set her up on the bar in the kitchen and she got to watch mama mix up the batter. Once the cupcakes were in the oven it was time to whip up the cream cheese frosting. Loni handed one of the beaters to B and she was so happy. Come to find out, this was the first time she'd gotten to do this.

This is another instance where she is just like her Aunt Lynne'. I always lick the beaters, but Lynne' puts her mouth around them just like Brooklyn is doing.

She very studiously licked the beaters til there was nothing left on them, then calmly handed it out to Loni and said "More". She learned very fast.

Good times.....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

Be sure to stop by Susanne's blog to read more Friday's Fave Faves. And here's a few of my favorite things from the past week:

1. I got my truck back! But the reason I'm mentioning it here isn't because of the obvious, it's because I've learned some huge life lessons in this last week. I'm still figuring it all out in my head so I can do an entire post, but I'm learning through some very dear friends how to live beyond my fear. God is bigger than any creepy boys and the life lessons I've gained through this experience have been huge.

2. Dinner at home - Because of the truck theft and how much money it has cost us we've decided to buckle down again and stop eating out as much. And what we're finding out is that we actually really do prefer eating at home. After dinner each night the three of us get the kitchen cleaned up (many hands make light work), all the while chatting and enjoying the company and togetherness. A beautiful blessing indeed.

3. Bible study options - Tuesday was the last night of my Bible study and while I will miss that study it's exciting to choose what comes next. I've narrowed my choices down to either the Beth Moore Esther study or BSF (if you have an opinion please feel free to share!). I posed this question on Twitter and Facebook (oh how I love social networking!) and have gotten just as many good comments about each of them. Right now I'm leaning more towards BSF as this year's study is John and I'd love to really get into the book and learn more. But no decision yet.

4. Granddaughter Brooklyn! - I know you're all surprised to see that... I talked to Loni last night and B was just crying and crying in the background. Loni asked her if she wanted to talk to mawmaw and thankfully she did. After we 'chatted' Loni got back on the phone and we finished our conversation. Before we hung up I wanted to say good night to Brooklyn. She got on the phone and still had a teary voice, but managed to say 'Night night mawmaw'. About the sweetest thing I've heard in a month of Sundays!

5. Snickers Chocolate Covered Apple - I KNOW! Can you believe how incredible that sounds? And believe it or not, it tastes even better. The sister-in-law of a friend owns a Rocky Mountain franchise and she keeps bringing these apples. I tell you it truly is one of the best things I have ever eaten - who knew? And I love convincing myself it's healthy since there's an apple under there somewhere. ;)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hello Kitty Car Exhaust

Went out to lunch with friends and on the way out of the restaurant we saw this car. Who wouldn't take a picture of it as it is so stinkin' cute! But really, we've all seen Hello Kitty stickers on car back windows.

A closer look revealed the cutest thing - Hello Kitty exhaust pipes! This car absolutely had to belong to a girly girl for her to have even decorated this little detail.

I can think of two people I know that would go nuts over these. And I have to admit that even though I'm not one of the Hello Kitty obsessed, I do think this is just darling.

Wonder how Keith would feel if I put these on my truck???

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Faithful In His Promises

We are back from a great weekend at the lake. It was just the four of us this time - Keith, Lynne', Joe (the golden retriever) and I, but it seems like regardless of how many are there it's always my favorite weekend ever.

Today started especially great. I woke up before the other two, so I slipped on my shoes and went for an early morning walk. It is so quiet up there around the lake and so much beauty and wonder to see when we slow down for just a minute and look. Last night while out 4 wheelin' we saw 3 deer down by the lake, so we pulled over for a few minutes to watch them. I am thoroughly convinced that these are the same three babies that Keith and I saw when we spent a week up there in July. And like any proud mama I was so happy to see them growing up healthy and well.

I ended up at a small cafe to get a cup of coffee to go. I hadn't made any coffee earlier since I didn't want to be the party pooper and wake the other two up, but I sure do appreciate a beautiful cup each morning! The fun part of getting it at the cafe was chit chatting with the others there.

Finally left and went back to the house, where it was still filled with sleep. I got my Bible and Beth Moore study guide and went outside with my coffee and my God and spent some time in the word. So peaceful and so perfect - even to the point of seeing some butterflies nearby.
What a fun blessing!

When the sleepyheads finally got up we headed out four wheelin' again and saw these flowers growing wild down by the lake. They were stunningly gorgeous, though all I had was my cell phone camera for pictures. The amazing thing is they remind me of something you'd find growing in Hawaii, not the border between Texas and Oklahoma! Another fun blessing today.

We ended up heading over by the boat ramp because I am here to tell you that a person's true personality seems to come out on boat ramps. It can really go between amusing to shameful to sometimes even scandalous over there. The one thing it never is though is boring. But today we pulled up and saw the above. Seems a big wind storm - they don't think it was a tornado - went through recently and basically wadded up one of the boat docks nearby. They'd pulled the boats out by now and they were all lined up on shore and we were just shocked to see them. One pretty large boat had a pole pushed straight through the hull! Not sure how it happened, but it was sobering to see. I'm just quite thankful that nobody was injured.

In the course of a 24 hour period we saw some amazing examples of God's beauty in nature, and also an example of how we need to respect the weather and nature.

And better still, my Bible study is Living Beyond Yourself - Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit and this week we are studying Faithfulness. The examples above surely point to how faithful He is to us:

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made.
Psalm 145:13 (NIV)


Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

Be sure to stop by Susanne's blog to read more Friday's Fave Faves. And here's a few of my favorite things from the past week:

1. The police have recovered my truck! Glory be you could've knocked me over with a feather when I received that call. And even more amazing is that all the pieces are still there and it's minimal damage. After the shop is finished with it we plan to get the mega ultimate extreme detailing done so that all traces of the creepy boys that stole it are gone. Then we'll hightail it over to a shop and have a super duper loud security system installed in it. This little joy ride of theirs is going to end up costing us, but in the end it could've been so much worse and for that I am very thankful.

2. Facebook. I dug in my heels and said I did not need another internet site to take up more of my time, but ended up joining a few months ago and have never looked back. I love it that I can keep up with cousins and family that I don't get to see very often. I've reconnected with friends that have moved away and now even have friends from my grade school days on there. And right now one of them is posting quite a few photos of us from wayyyy back and that is so much fun. Even my 'today' friends are all on it and it's so easy to see little thoughts throughout the day.

3. My granddaughter Brooklyn. I didn't see her this week, but I have been messing around with photos and getting some printed out, so it's still good. And her mama is really great about telling us stories about things she's doing. More fun still is that when her mama and I are on the phone I get to talk to Miss B as well. She's just now starting to actually talk while on the phone and she makes me smile so much.

4. Green Peppers. Now that might sound crazy, but there's more to it than just enjoying their taste. Our little green pepper plant has really just kind of sat there all summer up until this week. It has suddenly decided that the time is NOW and has grown so much and has FOUR green peppers growing! Beyond exciting for this city girl to think that soon I'll be able to pick a peck of peppers and maybe pickle them. {groan}

5. JC Penney. Ordinarily I wouldn't add a store to this list, but I finally did some shopping and found some tops marked down to $6! Lest you think they might be 'yucky' I am here to tell you that I've already worn two of them to work and gotten more compliments on them than I have in a long time. I love end of season sales!

CFBA - Kathryn's Fountain

This week the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Kathryn's Fountain by David Claassen - Cladach Publishing (November 8, 2008)

Reading along in this book I was thinking to myself that it was a very delightful read and loved the author's style. Then the 'twist' in the book happened and I found myself drawn in more. As a person ages and starts questioning their worth to society, well one never knows what magic might happen. And it also proves that you're never too old to make a difference rather than just living out your days.


I'm a follower of Jesus Christ and seek to live my life to please Him and for His glory. I'm walking this journey with my life's partner, Diann. We've been married since 1972 and have two grown children. Our daughter Julie serves as a missionary with her husband Victor in Mexico in a ministry they founded called Fishers of Men. Check their ministry out at Our son Dan is married to Teri and he's a detective in a police department in a suburb of Indianapolis.

I have pastored the Mayfair-Plymouth Congregational Church of Toledo, Ohio since 1975, having just celebrated 33 years at the church. You can check out the church at You can also visit me at my blog, where I add material about every other day or so.

I enjoy photography, that's why I'm treating you with a different photo of mine each week on the web site. Over three hundred of my photos are for sale at

I'm also a ventriloquist, of sorts, and treat the children of my church with a "visit with Ricky" every third Sunday of the month in the morning worship services.

Raising white homing pigeons is another of my hobbies. I enjoy watching them soar overhead.

That's just a little bit about me. Thanks for visiting. God bless you!


Kathryn is resigned to living out her last days at Victorian Manor, a beautiful old home for senior citizens. Then one day a miraculous experience happens to Kathryn at the garden fountain, and she begins living an adventure beyond her wildest dreams. Love and sacrifice take on new meaning as she involves a social worker and a police detective in carrying out what she believes to be her calling -- to rescue a street child named Jasmine.

Kathryn's Fountain celebrates the gifts that the generations can bring to each other. The conclusion is a resounding affirmation that it's never too late to make a difference.

If you would like to read an excerpt from Kathryn's Fountain, go HERE

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brooklyn Loves Grape Soda

When you're two a family reunion is a time to be the star of the show. Miss B had everybody there playing with her and wanting to be with her.

But one of the moments that seemed to get the most grins from her was when she saw her mama's grape soda on one of the tables. She'd take a long drink, set the can down, grin, then pick up the can and do it again.

She rarely gets any kind of soda, so I'm sure those carbonation bubbles were kind of fun for her. And to be honest I'll admit that carbonation bubbles tickling my nose kinda makes me grin too.

And then this precious little face would look up at me and grin with an ever so faint purple mustache.

It's in those moments I know what real love is all about. Cause she honestly makes my heart swell.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Simple Yet Effective Shawl

With all the anxiety from the stolen truck heavy on my shoulders I felt a deep desire to just sit and knit. None of my WIP's (works in progress) held any fascination for me, so I did what we all do now that the internet is here - I headed to Ravelry to look around.

I had a few things in mind as I searched the patterns - I wanted it to be a fairly simple pattern and I wanted to use yarn that I already had on hand.

The "Simple Yet Effective Shawl" fit my requirements perfectly. Looking at the projects in Ravelry I absolutely fell in love with the ones made with Noro Silk Garden, but I didn't have any of that on hand. Someday though... :)

Then I found a project that was done with 2 skeins of Jojoland Melody and, as luck would have it, not only did I have 2 skeins of this yarn but I had it in the exact colorway that somebody else had already done! The beauty of using yarn already in my stash is that 1) I didn't have to spend any money and 2) I'm using up something I already have.

I hesitated sharing a photo at this point because since the yarn is 100% wool it will really need to be blocked to show the full beauty. But I have fallen in love with this project and just can't help but share.

Good times...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Stolen Truck

On the way home from work I stopped at the grocery store to grab those last minute items for dinner. One of the sackers helped me out to the car carrying my groceries, only to witness me standing there looking around when we got out to the parking lot. "Ma'am, could you have parked somewhere else?" I told him what kind of car and what color I was looking for and another sacker came over to assist. "Ma'am, there isn't a car of that kind in the parking lot".

I took out my cell phone to call Keith and saw I had a missed call from him. Do you know that what went through my mind was that he must've come and gotten the car? Of course, he had no idea which grocery store I was at so really that couldn't happen. I called him and told him that I though the car might have been stolen and that I was going to call the police.

Went inside the store and the management there was so nice. I called the police and an officer was on the way. And the store managers all went in the office and unbelievably found the entire event on their security tapes! It was truly surreal to watch it unfold on the screen. A large truck came in right after me and parked two spaces down. I got out of my car and headed to the store, passing the store pharmacist who was going home from work. The pharmacist got in the car next to mine and left. The 'bad guys' backed up and reparked right next to my car, go out, got into my car and drove off. I kid you not - they got in and drove off in about 10 seconds.

Everybody has been very kind and honestly I'm so thankful that nothing worse happened. The two things that bother me most right now about my loss? My little camera from our family reunion last week was in the car and I hadn't gotten the photos off yet, so they are gone forever. And the prayer shawl I've been knitting for a friend was in there, so off it goes.

In chatting with a friend this morning we got to talking about the prayer shawl and she did point out that if the 'bad guys' end up giving it away to somebody at least it is filled with prayers. God has a way of working things out, so my new prayer about the shawl is that somebody will end up with it that needs all the prayers that have been knitted into it.

So this afternoon we go and get a rental car and try to figure out what else needs to be taken care of. It's really quite a mess and I still have a feeling of disbelief about the whole thing. And I wish that I could erase the tape in my mind of the young guys breaking in and then driving off in my car.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Angel Food Cupcakes

Oh you clever little unassuming cupcake. You sit there so innocently thinking that people will pass you by since there isn't the usual abundance of frosting spiraled high.

But we know the truth about angel food cakes. The light, almost spongey texture that tastes oh so sweet but doesn't load on the calories or fat like its buttercream laden cousins.

And then you appear with a little whipped cream and even a strawberry on top. We are intrigued.

Really these are one of the most perfect desserts for a hot summer. We decided these are just like strawberry shortcakes you eat with your hands.

I found the recipe on Annie's Eats blog and loved the idea, so made these to take to a swim party. It's funny to watch them while baking - they puff up to a fairly large size, but then when they come out of the oven and then cool off they do a lot of shrinking.

(adapted from Annie's Eats)

1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 t salt
12 large egg whites
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 t cream of tartar

Adjust oven racks to the two lowest positions. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the salt, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites with the vanilla and cream of tartar on medium-high until soft-medium peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the dry ingredients using a rubber spatula, being careful not to deflate the batter.

Fill cupcake liners full and bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve with canned whipped cream and sliced berries, if desired.

Makes 24-36 cupcakes.

Friday, August 07, 2009

CFBA - The Sacred Cipher

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Sacred Cipher

Kregel Publications (July 31, 2009)

by Terry Brennan

History's greatest secret could be tomorrow's greatest threat More historically and biblically accurate than The DaVinci Code and just as adventurous as an Indiana Jones movie, The Sacred Cipher combines action and mystery to draw readers into a world of ancient secrets and international escapades.

When an ancient scroll appears in a secret room of the Bowery Mission in New York City, Tom Bohannon is both stunned and intrigued. The enigma of the scroll's contents will send Bohannon and his team ricocheting around the world, drawing the heat of both Jewish and Muslim militaries, and bringing the Middle East to the brink of nuclear war in this heart-pounding adventure of historical proportions. The Sacred Cipher is a riveting, fact-based tale of mystery and suspense.

If you want to read the Prologue of The Sacred Cipher, go HERE

One of our favorite movie series of all time is the Indiana Jones adventures. There is something about finding ancient artifacts that sparks a bit of the swashbuckler in everybody. Add to that the human desire to touch and see in order to prove the Bible accurate (such as in the Lost Ark) and it makes for a great summer blockbuster film.

So when I read the back of this book and saw it being compared to Indiana Jones, that alone sold me. And while not a true fan of The DaVinci Code I can appreciate the ancient story line that it tells, so the comparison there piqued my interest as well.

And I was so not disappointed. This book is one of the best I've read in a long time. It starts out over 100 years ago telling the story of how the ancient scroll came to be where it was found today. From that point the intrigue does not let up and it's a hard book to put down.

I think the only thing that would make this book better would be for it to be made into a movie. In the meantime, if intrigue, ancient artifacts and running from danger is entertaining to you, then I would highly recommend this book.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Brooklyn Tries Pop Rocks

Every time I go on a retreat with girlfriends we all bring snacks to share. One of our favorites is retro candy that we get at Cracker Barrel when we stop there for breakfast on the way to the retreat house. But I never thought to try some of them on Brooklyn.

Luckily Aunt Michele did! They stopped at Cracker Barrel on the way to our house last time and she bought a small back of classic candy. And in that bag was a package of Pop Rocks.

I kind of held my breath a little when she poured some into Brooklyn's hand to try. As she closed her mouth you could hear the little candies start to pop and Miss B furrowed her brow. But as you see in the photo she stuck her little hand out for some more.

And some more....and more.

I guess in the end grandmas just worry too much. Because I would've been afraid to try pop rocks on a little girl. She's very lucky to have fun aunts to do those things with her though. :)

And she's such a little sweetheart - she even shared her pop rocks with her pawpaw! Of course, in order to eat them he would've had a hard time getting them off her hand since they were stuck, but he is such a good sport about sticky, slimey candy from his granddaughter.

Good times.....

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Brooklyn's Birthday Party

One of the cutest things ever is going to a little one's birthday party. Brooklyn had a double theme going - the decorations were all horses and the cake was Barney. So many things she enjoys right now and it all works together when you are 2.

This photo was when we were all singing Happy Birthday to her. She was rather puzzled at first by the singing, but when she heard 'dear Brooklyn' she got the biggest smile on her face!

So much concentration when she was eating her birthday cake. I love the hint of green frosting on her lips. A one year old gets the smash cake and everybody loves to see the mess they make. When she turns two however, this is much cuter. Just that little bit to show that she's still learning to maneuver the fork. So darling!

I wanted to show these two pictures because it shows that even a two year old can appreciate a card. She was very intense as she opened the envelope and worked at getting the card out.

And then she sat and 'read' the card just as cute as could be! I'm well aware she didn't really read it, but I was pretty impressed by the time she took looking at it. Enjoying a card when she's two - she obviously has good taste and good manners.

We had such a nice time at her birthday party, even if I am a little late getting the pictures off the camera and onto the blog. :)

Monday, August 03, 2009

CFBA - Timescape

, Xander, Dad, and Keal have discovered a terrible secret. Now, finding Mom is only a small part of their mission. And time is running out. Using the portals to build an empire, Taksidian wants the house for himself, and there's nothing he won't do to get the family out. The consequences of his meddling reach far beyond the family--to the future of the world itself. The Kings know their survival depends on stopping the bloodthirsty assassin. If only they can find his weakness in time.

Most startling of all is their ability to change the path of history. But will their tinkering in time reunite the family and save the future . . . or set mankind on an irreversible course of destruction?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Timescape, go HERE.

Let me start by saying that since my kids are grown I had no expectations reading this young adult novel. I've not read the previous books in the series, so I just sat back, opened the cover and settled back for what would become a wild ride.

I have always loved edge of your seat thriller books and this one did not disapp
oint. Even though I didn't know the set up to the story I was able to figure it out enough that I could enjoy the book. However, I really would recommend that the series be read in order to fully appreciate them.

There are twists and turns from the very beginning and I really did find myself turning pages faster and faster. There's a scene in the book where the boys go back in time and meet up with some berserkers, which sent me online to find out if this was rea
l or part of the author's imagination. Any book that can send me looking for more information gets kudos for that. However, a caveat needs to be added as the berserker scenes were a bit gruesome. Since this is a young adult book care should be taken to be certain anyone reading it would be able to handle the intensity.

Brief conversations between the brothers have them discussing faith and whether God has a hand in the things happening to them. Since this Christian fiction I personally would've liked to have seen this side fleshed out a bit more, but perhaps that's just personal preference. All in all, I think that older young adults will probably love this action packed adventure and eagerly await the next book coming next January.

Enter the contest to win this book package by clicking here!!!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Baby Shower Cupcakes

When friends asked me to make Pink Lemonade Cupcakes for a baby shower at work I have to admit that I was so excited. But my next emotion was a little bit of panic because I haven't done anything like that before. It's one thing to make cupcakes for my work friends and quite another to do something important like a baby shower!

I ended up making two batches because the first one only made 18 cupcakes (the 2nd batch made the same amount). I also decided that simply having pink cupcakes for a baby girl shower was not enough - I needed to make cupcake picks to put on them.

But ultimately, it's the cupcake that matters the most. I've seen several recipes for these cupcakes on the net, but ultimately I use the same one each time. It's tried and true and work friend approved!


3/4 cup frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate, thawed (I use the large can to make a double batch)
White cake mix
3 egg whites
2 T vegetable oil
red food color

Mix the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil and pink lemonade concentrate. Mix on low for 30 seconds, then mix on medium for 90 seconds (batter will be lumpy; do not overmix).

Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full with batter. Baket at 350 for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cupcake comes out clean. Removes the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack.

3 cups + 3 T powdered sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 T lemon juice
red food color

Mix the butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and food color on low until combined. Mix on medium-high until the icing is fluffy and uniformly pink. Ice the cupcakes as you desire.

The picks were made using punches and QuicKutz dies. The paper was all StampinUp (white and pink pirouette) with a small kraft stick stuck between the two pieces of paper.

I'm really happy with how the whole thing turned out and most important of all, so was the new mama. I'm already thinking of other ideas for cupcake picks - too much fun to combine hobbies of cupcake baking and paper crafting!