Monday, December 29, 2008
I've decided that, since this baby only has ONE paternal blood-related aunt, that I should get a special title. After watching Prince Caspian, from The Chronicles of Narnia, and hearing the titles of the Kings and Queens of Narnia, I have chosen my royal title. I shall herefore and forevermore be known to little Bean as (drum roll please):
Aunt Lori, the Great!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Don't worry, that isn't inside of ME! It's our new GREAT nephew or niece/cousin! My nephew & niece-in-law, Nils & Katie, are expecting their first baby in late July! We were asked not to share the news until ALL the soon to be grandparents were told in person. That involved waiting for the "kids" to take a trip to Missouri. They are back, so I am feeling at liberty to share this!
Nils is the oldest grandchild of all of his grandparents (including steps), and, of course, the oldest child of his parents. This will be the first great grandchild for all of his grandparents. I am not sure if Katie is the oldest grandchild or not, but this will be the first grandchild on both Nils' and Katie's sides of the family. A very exciting event, indeed!
I don't know if they realize that in our family we have 2 special birthdays towards the end of July: My Grammie, Elsie Lindgren Berggren Anderson, was born on July 20, 1906. She went to be with the Lord in 1996, just a few months before our second special birthday: our Bethany was born on July 25, 1996. Before Grammie died, she said, "Lori is having a baby boy on my birthday!" She was wrong on both counts, but it made me SURE we were having a boy! We think it would be just too cool if the baby comes on July 25th!
To find more about our new baby, currently being called "Bean" (this seems to be the new term for babies early in utero---it is always fun when my friend whose last name is "Green" is pregnant---Green Bean, then she has a Green Baby), visit their website: http://nilsandkatieplusone.blogspot.com/ I thought the title was a really clever play on the popular show "John and Kate plus 8!"
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I pray that you will have a BLESSED Christmas rejoicing in this greatest Gift of all!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Wow. I don't think I can describe this show well enough, but I will say it was worth far more than the "nominal fee" (which was only $3 a person). There is one theater in our Six Flags that is a real indoor theater with a huge stage, red velvet curtains on the sides, theatrical lighting, etc. The set was made to look like a hillside in Bethlehem. Then, in the background were the buildings in Bethlehem where lights twinkled in windows as if candle were flickering. The first character was the narator. He looked like what I picture an old Jewish shepherd in that time period to look like. He sang. BOY, did he sing! The song was "Night of Miracles" (an original score, I think) that had some traditional carols intermingled. We knew there would be live animals, so it wasn't a surprise that when Mary & Joseph came in, they had a real donkey. A bit later there were sheep. These were sheep trained to respond to the dropping of food or something. They came out of different entrances and went right to the food! A bit later a little girl, who could not have been more than 5, if that old, sang Away in a Manger. We were just awed that this tiny person could sing in front of all these people about our dear Savior's birth! And she was GOOD! Natalie pointed out that the adult, who must have been playing this girl's mom, was holding a baby donkey! A REAL LIVE BABY DONKEY!
This play had angels flying, lights flashing as the angels approached the shepherds, and a whole flock of shepherds listening! About the only thing we are pretty sure that wasn't authentic looking is the baby Jesus. We couldn't see that closely, but Natalie pointed out that they walked away from the manger at one point to sing, so she's pretty sure they didn't have a real baby. She also said, "How could a baby sleep with all that racket going on?" LOL!
The best part was near the end. We were sitting very close to the back. Phil has a thing about liking to be in the BACK of an auditorium for a "good view." We heard a very strange loud noise. I honestly thought it was an adult with mental disabilities who was angry and throwing a fit. Turns out Phil thought the same thing. I find it odd that this particular sound triggered that thought, but it did. I didn't look, thinking it was a person making the noise. The rest of my family looked, then poked me to turn around. It was a CAMEL! They had to duck the camel's head into the door and he was none too happy! That thing was HUGE!!! I have never seen a camel. I thought maybe I had at the zoo, but I now think I have never ever seen one. Correction, HAD never seen one. Remember how we were sitting in the BACK? They brought the camel in through the back so we saw it UP CLOSE and personal. Or almost personal. We wondered where the 3rd wise man was when only 2 walked in with gifts to bear. The 3rd one was on top of the camel! (Yes, I know the Bible doesn't tell us there were 3 wise men OR that they rode camels---we had a pastor teach about that one Christmas---but it's still what's stuck in our heads! AND yes, I know that they didn't show up at the manger, but hey, it was a 30 minute production!)
The play was done with such taste, such elegance where it called for elegance, and simplicity where it called for simplicity. It captured the essence of what must have happened that glorious night. When the play was over, the entire audience rose to their feet in applause. When the little girl who sang came for her bow, I am sure we all roared with our applause!
If you live in or near the San Antonio area and would like to audition----wait, that's the game show closing. If you live near SA & plan to go to the Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, it is WELL WORTH IT to pay the $3 more to see this production.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The four of us got into our seats and enjoyed our first ever COOL ride on a roller coaster. It definitely beat going in 95-100 degree weather! We passed our last big curve and were heading into the loading dock when the ride abruptly stopped. It normally stops in that spot, but not quite that harshly. Then it meanders around a curve into the loading area. The only problem was after that stop, it didn't meander. We sat there for a few minutes then this lady (in the yellow & blue) spoke over the intercom, "Can you hear me? If you can, raise your hands." We could and we did. "We are having technical difficulties. Please remain calm and stay seated facing forward," were are directions, as if we were going to jump ship or something! Seriously, even though it was up high, because of where it was, there were wide walking areas on both sides of the cars. I think my biggest concern was for the boys in the front of the car. They had asked us for the time earlier & asked if we thought they'd be done by 5:30. We said, "Oh, yes, you have plenty of time." It was only around 5 at the time and we were near the entrance. Little did we know exiting would not be as fast! I felt better when I saw some young ladies yelling across to them, so they knew the boys were stuck on the ride. Here are some pictures of the experience. Bethany put on a bored face just for this picture. It was a scrapbook moment. You can see behind Natalie's hair the line of people waiting to ride the Road Runner. Ahead of us was the turn where we would be sent into that little wooden "house" looking building.
It really wasn't a bad experience, but what a great story to be able to tell, "One time we got STUCK ON A ROLLER COASTER RIDE! It just quit running with us on it stranded hundreds of feet in the air!" LOL! AND I got to call my mom from the roller coaster. I've never done THAT before!
Friday, December 12, 2008
I do love our co-op, but the break is wonderful.
Natalie danced tonight in the program, and I am attempting to upload a video to my blog. I've never done this, so not sure it will work, but I'm trying!
And, in case you wondered, it is illegal to park against the traffic (even on a neighborhood cul-de-sac), that is facing the wrong way. It's also a code violation to have a mattress outside for more than a certain number of days (like 3 days max). I know this because our neighbors had one out and were going to take it to someone's house (and I THINK it was in the back yard) and they got ticketed! I still say the police have FAR better things to do than slap down code violations over cars parked the wrong way and mattresses!
Monday, December 8, 2008
So, now I get to spend a day downtown, probably have to pay for parking to go try to prove that I did NOT have the van parked there for 24 hours, and find out where in the world we are supposed to park a 2nd car in a one car driveway. This is just how I wanted to spend a day. I was FINALLY going to have a day at home. I thought we might actually do some homeschooling AT HOME this week. Thank you Mr. Policeman for a Very Merry Christmas.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Aunt Olivia was only 14 when she married her husband, who was 21. She has health problems, too, which will make this time even more difficult. They have 3 married kids, and 6 grandchildren who will miss Uncle Gene greatly.
My mom is the only remaining "inlaw" in my dad's family. All 3 of his sisters are now widows. I am planning on Mom keeping her position for quite some time!
We are waiting on funeral info. With my dad in recovery for his leg, I offered to drive them to Waco for the funeral in our van so he can keep his leg elevated. Our last day of homeschool co-op is Tuesday, and I also have an out of the blue paying job on Tuesday morning, so we'll see if the funeral ends up being that day or another one.
This week, the same day we found out that Uncle Gene was declining, we also learned that Phil's Uncle Gilbert had emergency surgery in Arizona. His wife, Dorothy, is recovering from a fall that fractured her arm, but it can't be casted. Their daughter Vicky is there taking care of her mom, and now her dad as well. Please pray for all of them in these days. Gilbert is the oldest child of the 8 in my mother in law's family.
We also found out that Uncle Don, the baby of the family, got bad news about his cancer (for which he has undergone multiple treatments). His counts were up (a bad thing). He is now on a waiting list for a trial treatment here in San Antonio. Please pray for Don and his wife Dawn.
Really, is this asking too much?
Last night one of my friends decided to drive her car through the car wash. It was dark. It was cold. It was late at night. It should have been a simple task. You sit, you watch, you wait, you drive away. That is, it's simple, unless, unbeknownst to you, your sun roof has a leak. It would become more complicated if the sunroof were leaking just above the driver. Remember, it was cold. Yes, cold water started coming in through the sun roof (it was closed, I'm guessing!). My friend reached up to somehow catch or block this rain, but this caused the water to run down her arm onto both the front and back of her top. She finally found a cup to hold up to catch what might still be coming in, but she was soaked in water before that point. Did I mention it was cold? She said she & her girls gasped in unison when they saw the water coming in, then burst into uncontrolled laughter. Lesson 1: Never enter the car wash with a sun roof that could potentially have a leak.
Next lesson. About a month or two ago another friend decided to go through a drive through car wash. She must have opened her door to push the right buttons on the little machine that talks to you and tells you how to drive into a car wash. She pulled up and sat back to enjoy a relaxing few moments alone in the car wash. It was relaxing, that is, until the first round of water came by. She felt some water coming into the car. It was then she realized that her door was not really shut well! She held onto the door, pulling it tightly, in fear that the monster wash might rip the door off and take her with it! She sat holding and pulling through the initial rinse, the soap, the scour, the power rinse, and whatever other stages she might have chosen back at that little box that tells you what to do where you have to open your door a little bit to reach. It did end, and she did make it out of there alive. Lesson 2: When you go to the little box with the buttons, be sure to pull up close enough to just have to open your WINDOW, then shut it tightly before following the light that says, "Pull forward."
Or, you could just do the poor man's car wash to rid your car of bird droppings. This involves pulling up to the gas tanks, even if you don't need to put gasoline in the car. Then you begin washing your car off with the window cleaner scrubber and squeegee. This takes a some real talent as you have to do an initial soak, followed by scrubbing, then dip again into the now filthy liquid in that little black holder so you can add a rinse off. Next you squeegee any remaining "crumbs". Then you must rinse again, because you now have tiny droppings in the corners of the windows and crevices of the car. This technique COULD lead to some really weird looking soap marks on your car. That's what I've heard. Um, yeah, that's it. Uh, huh. The neighbor's car must have looked like that. This must be lesson 3: Just have your husband or kids wash the car. You will avoid all 3 incidents listed above.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Natalie came into this world the day after Thanksgiving, November 27th, 1998. She wasn't due for three more weeks. She's always been in a hurry! She was the skinniest baby we'd ever seen, but as this picture of her around 3 months shows, she didn't take long to catch up!
She's always been our fun loving child. She's the one who keeps us laughing, when she isn't causing our hair to turn gray way too rapidly. EVERYTHING must be done NOW and she MUST know all the details. In her mind, that is. My dad has been called Boss-Boss, my dear niece, Boss Junior, so Natalie is Baby Boss!
Natalie has long had an affection for most animals. Pigs were her first obsession. She then switched to loving dogs. You know how some people start to look like their pets? We don't have one, but I think she's taken to the neighbors' dogs.
Natalie loves to help cook, or really bake. She has come to several Pampered Chef shows and helped me. Here she is one year in full gear.
Natalie is a beautiful girl whose heart becomes sweeter each year. When she isn't being competitive (I would not put it past her to run for some kind of office one day, just so she could win), she is VERY helpful. She has to take on the role of Big Sister at times because of Bethany's Asperger Syndrome and social delays. Natalie has been working towards being a teenager for a long time, it seems! When I joke with her that I'll let her drive somewhere this time, she gladly accepts! LOL! Hopefully we'll have some birthday pictures to share with you soon. She definitely gives us another reason to be thankful each day of the year!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Some of my friends have been reading my running commentary on preparing for a gluten free Thanksgiving. Here is a glimpse of what it takes for me to enjoy Thanksgiving the way that everyone else does (food wise). I am in charge of pies every year, so I have some regular stuff to make as well.
*Make Bread from scratch to make stuffing
*Cut bread into cubes & dry out in oven
*Make gluten free pie crust (4)
*Make cream of mushroom soup from scratch (canned isn't gf)
*Make fried onion rings like the yummy ones in the can for green bean casserole
*Make pecan tassies with gf flour
*make apple & pumpkin pies gf
*Make regular apple, pecan, pumpkin & Lemon pies (Natalie requested Lemon for her Birthday Pie)
*Make gf dinner rolls from scratch (they shriveled as the cooled; very odd)
*Make dressing using dried cubes
*Realize at 10:30 pm on Wed. night that you forgot part of the ingredients in the gf apple pie.
*Decide it's too late to make green bean casserole b/c you spent the past 2 days making all this other food. It can be mixed together in the morning.
That's all for pies, rolls & dressing! Mom makes the turkey & gravy (gf for me), mashed potatoes & that yummy gluten-filled dressing that I can't eat any more. She is so good & always checks the turkey to be sure it's GF for me. MIL makes a fruit salad. I can eat that! Her sweet potatoes have flour in them, so I can't eat those. I really don't care much for sweet potatoes, so that's okay. My SIL often brings these yummy cheese puffs that I now can't eat. I have made them gf & they are still pretty good that way! Not on the menu this year. SIL's mom brings peach cobbler. I'm not sure what else folks are taking.
The pecan pie isn't for T-day, but for my dad AFTER everyone leaves. I owed him one! He cracks all the pecans & I do the baking.
I hope your day is stress free & full of blessings! We have so much for which to give thanks to the Lord!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
One of the songs we love from this musical is "Food, Glorious Food." We actually noticed a different version of this song in one of the Ice Age movies! With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, I've got food on my brain. Oh, who am I kidding. Being a Pampered Chef consultant and having to eat "special" food with no gluten, food is always on my mind! I thought I'd share a few of my favorite recipes for this time of year. Enjoy!
Pecan Tassies (The Pampered Chef)
This one makes up wonderfully as a Gluten Free Recipe! Just substitute in any GF flour blend. I've even made it with Bob's Red Mill mix, which has bean flours in it (I don't like it in most foods), and it was delicious. Even my gluten eating friends & family couldn't tell it was Gluten free!
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecan halves, finely chopped
Powdered sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. For tart shells, beat butter and cream cheese in Classic Batter Bowl until well blended. Add flour; mix until a soft dough forms.
- Using Small Scoop, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls of dough into ungreased cups of Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan. Dip Mini-Tart Shaper in flour; press into dough with even pressure until dough rises slightly above rim of pan.
- For filling, place butter in Small Batter Bowl; microwave on HIGH 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in brown sugar, egg and vanilla. Finely chop pecans using Food Chopper; add to batter bowl and mix well.
- Using Small Scoop, fill each tart shell with level scoop of filling (do not overfill). Bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven; cool in pan 3 minutes. Remove from pan to Stackable Cooling Rack; cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
This next one is one I made when I'd only been a Pampered Chef consultant a few months & my dad, who doesn't like pumpkin pie, liked this.
The Pampered Chef Pumpkin Lattice Pastry
1 package (15 ounces) refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon pecan halves, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid pack pumpkin
1 container (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
1 package (3.4 ounces) cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling
1 teaspoon Pantry Cinnamon Plus Spice Blend
Additional pecan halves (optional)
1.Preheat oven to 375ºF. Let pie crusts stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Lightly sprinkle Large Round Stone with flour. Gently unfold one pie crust onto center of baking stone. Lightly brush with water using Pastry Brush. Using Food Chopper, finely chop 1/4 cup of the pecans; sprinkle evenly over crust. Unfold second crust and place over first crust, matching edges and pressing to seal. Using Baker's Roller, roll crusts out together to edge of baking stone. Fold edges of crust 1/2 inch toward center, forming an even border; press to seal seam.
2.Using smooth end of pastry tool, form a decorative fluted edge; prick entire surface of crust. In Small Batter Bowl, lightly beat egg and brush over crust. Place sugar in Flour/Sugar Shaker; sprinkle evenly over crust. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to Stackable Cooling Rack. Cool 15 minutes. Carefully slide crust onto Round Platter; cool completely.
3.Meanwhile, for filling, combine pumpkin, half of the whipped topping, pudding mix and spice blend in Classic Batter Bowl; whisk until smooth using Stainless Steel Whisk (mixture will be thick). Using Large Spreader, spread filling evenly over crust.
4.Attach closed star tip to Easy Accent Decorator; fill with remaining whipped topping. Pipe 3 horizontal rows of topping across surface of filling, followed by 3 diagonal rows, forming a lattice pattern. Pipe a decorative border along edge of filling. Using Deluxe Cheese Grater, grate remaining pecans over topping. If desired, arrange additional pecan halves around edge of pastry. Cut into wedges using Chef's Knife. Serve using Slice 'N Serve®.
Yield: 12 servings or 20 sample servings
Nutrients per serving: Calories 290, Total Fat 15 g, Saturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Carbohydrate 34 g, Protein 3 g, Sodium 250 mg, Fiber 2 g
Cook's Tip: Pumpkin pie spice can be substituted for the Cinnamon Plus™ Spice Blend, if desired.
I know many people have a chocolate sheet cake (or sheath cake) recipe that is the "best" but MY MOM'S is THE BEST! LOL! Note how this can be changed up for Christmas.
Mammaw’s Chocolate Sheet Cake
For a GF version, I use a mix of half sweet rice flour & half corn starch or tapioca starch. All white starches with a powdery feel (not gritty).
For a GF version, I use a mix of half sweet rice flour & half corn starch or tapioca starch. All white starches with a powdery feel (not gritty).
Sift: 2c. sugar, 2 c. flour, 1 t. baking soda, and 2 t. cinnamon in a large bowl.
Put: ¼ # margarine (1 stick), ½ c. shortening, 4 T cocoa and 1 c. water into a pan. Melt margarine and cocoa. Bring to a rapid boil over low to medium heat (not high, it will burn), stirring frequently. This will take a while. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix.
Add: ½ c. buttermilk (OR mix 1 T. lemon juice plus milk to make ½ c. let this sit for awhile or put in micro for 20 sec. to sour), 2 beaten eggs and 1 t. vanilla.
Grease a cookie sheet (jelly roll pan, one with edges) 11”x16”. Pour in batter. Bake at 400° for 20 min.
Meanwhile make frosting:
Over low heat bring to a boil:
¼ # margarine (1 stick)
4 T. cocoa
6 T. milk (1/3 c)
Add: 1 box (1#--3 ¾ c. ) powdered sugar, 1 t. vanilla and ½ c. nuts (optional) (for a variety at Christmas you can omit nuts & after pouring on icing sprinkle w/ crushed candy canes)
Mix well. Pour on cake while still warm. (Most cakes say wait til it cools, but this one is different).
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I've got a new tire & a new battery. Surely that's all we need to have replaced right now!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
In my little online group called the "Travelin' Dork Sisters" (we all like to make cards and/or scrapbook pages or other paper things with stamps; we also all happen to be dorky and proud of that! LOL!), we have found that Tuesday is, well, Tuesday. My dork sisters know what I mean. Tuesday is Murphy's law day. If anything can go wrong, it will. Take last Tuesday, Nov. 4th, 2008, for example. MY candidate lost the presidential election. Yep, it was a Tuesday.
This Tuesday had a series of unfortunate events leading up to today's events. Sort of. About 2 weeks ago we had to replace a tire on the van. Cha-ching (that's the sound of an old cash register ringing up our total bill). We had a tire on the Buick Regal (our 1995 Regal, which is less than regal these days---much like the prince & the pauper, it has now switched places with royalty to live amongst the commoners) that had been in need of replacement for some time. One of my friends saw me driving the car one day with the tire extremely low on air & told me I needed to get it fixed. When I still had not done so a couple of weeks later she said if I didn't take it she was going to take it in to get it done! That's a good friend! On Friday last week, Natalie & I experienced a lumpy bumpy ride like nothing we'd ever felt. She had a drink holder with several sodas in it and they were sloshing like we were on the high seas. I had to drive it once on Sunday. Yesterday we chugged our way to Wal-Mart to have it replaced. Cha-ching.
Today is Tuesday. That is our homeschool co-op day. You may remember that I was the nut mom for our Girl Scout troop. Today was "money due" day. That meant being sure to find the moms, get the money, count the money, add all the money, double check the money, etc. Thankfully the GS leader has done a LOT of work with this nut sale, and she willingly took care of the last few bits of money that needed to be turned in. Phew! I was also in charge of the GS lesson today----making cupcakes from scratch, trying new foods, and learning to set a table properly. I was adding checks & cash by hand (remember back in the old days before calculators?) WHILE doing these lessons. Well, not the cupcake making. We did THAT BEFORE class because there is one kitchen & there is a class in there the same time as GS, AND we found out another class needed the oven. OY! So, I was adding money, teaching a class, and getting cupcakes out of the oven at the same time. I also missed a class I needed to co-teach (thanks to the other teachers for going forth without me!). During that time, my friend, who had been concerned about my tire, was told that SHE had a flat tire. So, she had to take it in to have her tire fixed. Except, when they were fixing that one tire, they found that her front 2 tires were bald on the inside, so she had to get THOSE replaced. Cha-ching for her, or should I say for THEM.
After this we took the Girl Scouts to a nursing home for Veterans Day. The cadettes (the older girls) were doing the flag ceremony. It was such a beautiful event. The girls presented the flag, then we all said the pledge (I almost laughed when the girl said to stand for the pledge b/c so many can't stand; thankfully the lady there said "or sit if you can't stand"). There were some readings by one of the workers there (coordinator of some type) and the VFW president. Then our girls handed out cards & thanked the veterans for their service. We sang some patriotic songs. The piano player is 92 and legally blind. I talked to her after the service & it was so wonderful to hear her talk and hear her play. She played music from all the branches but Coast Guard (because they didn't know the CG song). People stood when their branch song was played, whether they were in that branch or the spouse/family of that branch. When they listed the vets, they told what they did, and it was so cool to see the women that had worked as WAC's during WW2! There were also women who'd been in the Red Cross & USO. The lady speaking said, "I know why you volunteered there. It's where you met all those young good looking servicemen." Even in their 80's & 90's this gave the ladies a giggle!
Near the end, the girls were asked to take some time to visit with the person to whom they'd given the card. Even the Juniors who had tagged along, and 2 boy scouts (their mom is the cadette leader) got to hand out cards and visit with someone. Bethany was reluctant to do ANYTHING, so one of the other girls who seems much older, but is really just 1 1/2 years older, took her under her wing. This girl's younger sister & Natalie are "BFF's" (best friends forever), so both my girls spend time at their house. It meant so much to me for her to do this for Bethany & not show any signs of "having to help her" at all. When she talked to the veteran, she pulled Bethany up there & told the man, "This is Bethany. She's a little shy." I had heard the man Natalie talked to speaking earlier & realized he was very clear headed (his mind), and saw her with him. She's been around "old people" (to her) in their 70's & probably 80's from being around her grandparents a lot, but usually they are well-bodied folks with clear minds. Natalie did a great job talking to the people. As we left one lady said to her, "You are a sweet little girl." We teased our Natalie on the way out about being called "sweet," but she can be VERY sweet and gentle.
During the event, at one point the VFW man got choked up, which made me get choked up. At least until someone who couldn't hear yelled out, "I can't hear a thing he's saying!" Then the coordinator lady got choked up reading something, and I got teary. But, what did me in is when I saw the girl who was with Bethany talking to this old man and hugging him, then she was crying & crying because it was so special. She's not a girl who cries a lot. In fact, I have NEVER seen her cry. I was already teary about her helping Bethany & when I saw her cry, I just couldn't help but cry. She said he started crying & told her he wasn't sad, just moved. He said, "You've made me smile from cheek to cheek," and he gave her a sweet kiss on the cheek. Later we learned that he almost died not long ago, which made this even more sweet. Then they passed out cookies to the residents and visited with more of them. I heard some of the girls say how much they enjoyed doing this. I think they saw how special it was to these people and they wanted to help. I was so proud of our girls.
Well, all the warm fuzzies came to an end and Tuesday reared its head again (the nerve!) when we got outside. My friend had new tires. I have a new tire. Surely we would just get in the car & go home. Nope. My car would not start. We found someone with jumper cables & tried charging it. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Nil. So, we loaded up the girls & me into her car and headed over here. Mind you, this didn't happen near our house, but a good 25 minute drive away. We left the car parked at the nursing home. OH! I forgot the best part. Have you ever looked at the engine in a 95 Buick Regal? The battery isn't on top. It is hidden beneath the washer fluid reservoir. It's dark out & 3 women could not find the battery. We've all jumped cars before & know what a battery looks like. I called Phil & found out that you don't attach it to the battery, but a separate little connector thingy (I'm NOT the mechanic in the family).
When we got home, my friend was telling Phil about it & we all agree the engine design stinks. Then she told him all that happened with her car & said, "What's up with all this happening?" I joked about it all happening since Obama was elected. She wryly replied, "It's an Obama Nation." You have to say that really fast to see the humor.
She took the girls to her house to spend the night. We thought I'd be getting up early to deal with the battery in the a.m., but he wants to wait til after work. So, she has the girls & I am here. It must mean Tuesday is almost over.
All joking aside, when we got in the car, she had K-LOVE on, which plays Christian music (nationwide & on the web). There was a song on called, "Blessed be the Name" and the words playing were:
Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in Lord, still I'm gonna say
Blessed be the name of the Lord, Blessed be your name,
Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be your glorious name.
Even on Tuesday, even when Murphy's law is in full swing, even when you just paid for a tire & now have to pay for a battery & you really were hoping to pay for some other things, even then we can say Blessed be the Name of the Lord. He's still on His throne. Now if He'll toss a little juice into my car, that would be icing on the cake!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
My parents came to help clean today. Dad made a path through the garage. Mom & the girls spent the entire day in their room & as much as they dug through, it is STILL a huge mess. The living room is full of MORE boxes. We need to put in some used Entertainment Center shelves that Mom Garrison got for us, then unload all this onto the shelves.
Somehow, as I took everything off the shelves, including the TV, which is large, bulky & heavy (well, not really large, but for me to lift it was!). Somehow in doing so I broke the feed from the cable into the TV, so now Phil will have to figure out how to make that work. He does have the DVD player hooked back up to the TV & he & Natalie are watching the Tinkerbell movie. I wasn't impressed by the opening lines, but I need to see more to see what I think. One of our friends told us about the Red Box video rentals---it's one night, but only costs $1, so we tried it. We'll take this one back tomorrow. There is a machine at our convenience store at the front of our neighborhood, so it is, well, convenient! Bethany is spending the night with a friend, so she'll get to watch this another time. I want to get the American Girl Kit Kittredge movie next. We studied the Kit books last year at co-op, so it will be fun to see. Plus, the girl who plays Ruthie used to be our neighbor! We didn't know them other than to wave & say hi, but Phil had talked to her dad when they were moving to California to pursue her acting career. I guess it has paid off!
Tomorrow we'll head to Lost Maples to see REAL FALL COLORS!!! I can hardly wait! We finally have a touch of color on the Ornamental Pear Trees, which is nice, but not the rich colors of maples. I've never gone in the fall, so I'm excited! We were due to go when I was nearly due with Natalie, but it rained that weekend and we never got to go.
Off to fairy land now! Maybe I can find some fairy dust to sprinkle on my house to make it grow & get organized!
Today I went to the ENT. He looked up my nose & said it looks like the septoplasty I had done 9 years ago is still in good shape, but he is ordering a CT scan for me. I'll go back on the 20th for a follow-up. I wonder if they'll find anything in my head this time. I'm missing my brain, so it may show a big black void.
I dropped off some catalogs for a gal to do a Catalog show. I have 2 live shows this month! Yea! I love doing the Pampered Chef shows, but haven't been able to do tons b/c of illness & such this year.
My parents are coming over to help us clean & organize. Dad will work in the garage, Mom will help the girls with their clothes & mounds of STUFF in their room, and I will make a dent in the living room.
We are working on a plan for Natalie's birthday party. We have really outgrown parties at our house b/c the kids are so big now. We wanted to do bowling, but that cost $79.99 per lane, with 6 kids max! Not gonna happen this year. She handled it really well, which shows a lot of maturity on her part. In the past that would have caused her to throw a fit. We've asked my mom if we can go there, but it is in New Braunfels, which is about a 30 minute drive from my house. My niece may be in town & I might coordinate with her to do Arbonne facials on the girls (and let the moms see the products! See, Becky, I'm trying!).
Bethany told me tonight, when I told her about some Girl Scout activities, that she really doesn't want to do any of them. She said, "It's just too much. I just want to stay home & do stuff here." Then she said later, "I really liked being a Junior better. The sleepovers are okay, but all we do during cadettes is talk." I told her it may be b/c she's younger than most the girls. She said, "Yeah, and they are like mini-adults." That was kind of an odd assessment, I thought! But, she's not ready to grow up & wants to still be a kid. I guess that's okay & it's pretty normal for a child with Asperger Syndrome.
Gotta get to bed so I can be alert when we clean tomorrow....uh, I mean, later today!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Psalm 421For the director of music. A maskil of the Sons of Korah.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and 6 my God.
My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
11 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
1 Vindicate me, O God,
and plead my cause against an ungodly nation;
rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.
2 You are God my stronghold.
Why have you rejected me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
3 Send forth your light and your truth,
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
4 Then will I go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
King David. Now THERE was a ruler I could have voted for! Well, in retrospect I could have voted for him. In his LATTER years I could have voted for him. In his early adult years, not so much. He was an adulterer, a man of many wives, a murderer, and refused to see his own evil until confronted. Yet, he is remembered as a man after God's own heart.
David has his "fair share" of enemies. He knew what it was like to live among men and women who did not have a heart for God, a heart for the Truth, a heart for what is right. And he knew what it was to be disappointed. Look at the words above in GREEN. He was downcast! He was saddened by what he saw around him.
I feel like David tonight. Well, not the part about adultery & murder, and goodness knows one husband is enough! LOL! But, I know the downcast feeling. And look at those words in BLUE. Plead my cause against an ungodly nation! Wow. Can anyone relate to this?
My candidate didn't win tonight's election. I really had hoped against hope that it would be a surprise victory. If you look at the electoral votes, it looks like a landslide victory. Yet, if you look at the popular vote, last I saw the tally was 48% to 52%. That's a very narrow margin. We are a country divided. I don't know Mr. Obama personally. I certainly will not be the one to call him "deceitful and wicked" without seeing him in action. But, I will say that my definition of deceitful & wicked and God's are quite different. In my human form, deceitful and wicked renders images of adulterers & murderers (hmmm, seems I mentioned that before). In GOD's eyes, according to His Word, not mine, we are ALL deceitful & wicked. We have ALL fallen short of His glory. So, in God's eyes, in my own flesh, without His help, I am deceitful and wicked, and John McCain and Sarah Palin are deceitful and wicked, and YES, in GOD's eyes Mr. Obama is deceitful and wicked. What I DO know is that God has a standard & I can't meet it on my own. I DO know that it is ONLY through HIS Word that any of us know what HE says is right & wrong. I can't meet His standards. Only with Jesus as my Savior working through me as the Holy Spirit can I even begin to do anything pleasing to Him.
I also DO know that according to my Bible, there are things that are an abomination to the Lord. One of those things is murdering innocent babies before they have a chance to live. I am unwaveringly pro-life and anti-abortion. I realize this is probably an unpopular thing to be, but I'm really not too concerned with winning the popular vote (even if I did, I'd need an electoral college to REALLY elect me). Another issue that God's Word is VERY clear about is sodomy. If God destroyed an entire city because men had traded natural desires for women in exchange for unnatural lusts for each other, there is little doubt in my mind that God's plan is for marriage to be between a man and a woman. I also believe that God gives parents the right to raise their kids and educate them in the best way they choose to do so.
Why is my soul downcast like David's tonight? Because I see in our president-elect a man who says a woman can choose to "abort" her baby if she wants to. He does not say "pro-abortion" but chooses the term "pro-choice." The truth is, if you think abortion is wrong, yet you say it's okay for a woman to have one, you are condoning it. If I said, "I think killing people with green eyes is wrong, but if someone wants to do it, that's his choice." If you view abortion as murder, then you cannot condone it in anyway. In my understanding, Mr. Obama has said in a debate that he thinks a woman should have that choice. I do not view that as him valuing the life of the child.
I will not go into detail about my 2nd point, that according to God's Word, marriage is to be between ONE man and ONE woman. Adultery, fornication, and homosexuality all fall outside of that guideline. We've all sinned, and many of us who are now Christians have likely sinned in this area. I believe that it is a slippery slope when we start promoting as normal what God calls sin.
Third, parental rights is near & dear to my heart, as is education. I am a teacher. I have taught in public schools, in private schools, in tutoring situations, to missionary kids, and am currently teaching my own children as we have chosen to educate them at home. I will expound on this another time, but I will say anyone who says we need to get ALL 3 year olds into early childhood education scares me. Perhaps it should be AVAILABLE to anyone, and not just lower income families. However, I pray it will not become mandatory. My kids are past that age, but to force parents to part with a 3 year old when they do not WANT to do so is a crime. This is a point I heard Obama make more than one time.
Yes, my soul is downcast, it is disturbed within me. But, like David, I know the solution. It is not to put my hope in men or women. It is not to be downtrodden because our president elect has views that differ so greatly from God's Word. The solution is to put my hope in HIM, my Savior and my God. He is still on His Throne. He has a purpose & a plan. Praise to Him who sets rulers over nations.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Anyway, it reminded me of this joke I heard from my friend Janet (Brewer) Brown many years ago. I'm ad libbing as I can't recall EXACTLY how it went, but I have the main idea. Also, I updated the name in it. A prize winning Idaho potato married his sweetheart, a champion Russet. They had an offspring, Sweet Potato. Sweet Potato grew up & fell in love with Matt Lauer. Her parents said she was of blue ribbon stock, and in no way could she marry Matt Lauer. She was distraught and wanted to know WHY they felt this way. Dad explained, "I am a prize winning Idaho potato. Your mother is a champion Russet Potato. Matt Lauer, well, he's just a Common Tater." Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Many are calling for today to be a day of prayer. Perhaps, if nothing else, this election has caused people to really evaluate what they believe & support. There is a great rift in our nation. We see the words of Scripture where Christ said that believing in Him would turn brother against brother and father against son. There is no RIGHTEOUS candidate. Only Christ Himself is righteous. But, God is big enough to work through whomever is chosen to be president of the USA. We need to pray for our land, for our citizens, for our children-----those born, and those yet to be born who are alive in their mothers' wombs.
No matter what happens, God is sovereign.
And, if memory serves me correctly, Texas can always secede from the nation and be a Republic again. tee-hee!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Happy Birthday Mom!
This is another special day as it is the day in history when Martin Luther tacked his Theses to the door of a monastery (or church? memory is fading), calling for reform in the church and a return to Biblical Truth. At this hour I can't tell you much more than that! I can tell you that God is still a Mighty Fortress, as Luther penned so long ago. I can also tell you that God's Word is still alive, long after the men of that day have come & gone. So Happy Reformation Day!
Our little group was quite fun. To start with Bethany was Cleopatra complete with black hair. It's not a wig, but her REAL hair sprayed black! And, yes, it really is warm enough to be dressed like this here! Where did fall go?
Next we had Nan Louise Carrington, a genuine Southern Belle (you might know her as Natalie). Gotta love the fish face picture!
Then the whole gang arrived & we got some cute shots. The little bitty one is 7, though she is tiny and about the size of a 5 year old. She is Phil's "pet" among all the girls. I think he would adopt her if her parents said it was okay! He saw her tonight, of course, then saw her picture & said, "She's so cute in that outfit. Of course, she's cute in anything." She comes from a beautiful family, but on the outside and most importantly, on the inside. Here, in addition to Cleopatra & Nan, we have a pirate, a Roman lady, a hippy, a genie, and Bob, the skeleton. Wonder if my skeleton is that pretty. LOL!
Finally, we have a lovely lady named Jackie. Her last name is O'Lantern, I do believe. ALL I did this year was cut the top off with my WONDERFUL Santuko Knife from Pampered Chef (shameless plug for the BEST Kitchen Tools in the world!). The girls dug out the seeds, carved the pumpkin, drew the features, and added the embellishments. Natalie---uh, I mean Nan---is the one who named her. In fact, we had no sooner put the pumpkin in the trunk when I heard Natalie asking, "What should we name her?" Who knew she could tell the difference in a male & female pumpkin! Without further adieu, here is the fair maiden Jackie.
Now, it is time to crawl into bed & crash! Good night!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I expect to find people with polar opposite views on most issues to choose different candidates, but when those with very similar ways of life and beliefs choose different candidates, it intrigues me. What causes one to choose one candidate & the other to choose a different candidate?
Feel free to share your thoughts here!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Our Girl Scout Juniors took a trip to Austin, Lake LBJ, and the Fredericksburg/Johnson City areas. The girls & I went to my Mom-in-law's house on Wednesday. We shopped for food for the girls to cook Thursday night and Friday morning. They WAY overplanned the meals & I WAY overbought food, but that's another post for another day. On Thursday, we drove to Austin and met up with the others at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (www.wildflower.org). It was a nice place for the girls to work on their blossoms & butterflies badge (I think that's the name). Then we caravanned up to Grandma Ruth's house. We were also working on a nighttime badge, so we took a nature walk at night, listened to a cd of night sounds, and did some crafts for both those badges. The girls cooked, working towards a special cooking badge, and ate WAY too much food. We got them into their beds. Then we got them BACK into their beds. Then I shushed them & got them BACK into their beds. Then another mom came in and had to shush them, FIND them, and get them BACK into their beds. Then, they got quiet. Until she left the room. I shushed them that time & I THINK that was the end. I put on my earplugs after that!
No one was ready to get up on Friday, but we managed to rise & cook breakfast. We drove to the Wildseed Farm near Fredericksburg (http://wildseedfarm.com/). The girls saw more wildflowers and got to go into a butterfly house! I'll share some photos when I get them uploaded. From there we drove to the LBJ State Park (about 10 minutes down the road) to visit the Sauer-Beckman Living History Farm (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/lyndon_b_johnson/) What fun that was! It is a working farm with people dressed in the clothing of 1915. Our tour guide was GREAT. She talked to the girls at a level they could understand without "dumbing down" anything for them. We got to see how they lived, how they cooked, where they lived, and even saw the animals on the farm! There was a calf still nursing. That was so sweet to see. Then we saw a BIG PIG! She wasn't Wilbur, but she was SOME PIG!
We drove to the Visitor Center to check out the Gift Shop (the highlight of each stop we made). I had fun reading letters from citizens to then President Lyndon Johnson, while he was running for the next term. Most were letters of complaint over some of the funniest things! I think the favorite was from a person who got stuck in traffic in DC because a road was shut down for Ladybird Johnson to plant a tree! I wish I could have a copy of those letters. They were quite humorous.
From there, most the moms & girls went back home. My friend Kathy & her girls stayed Friday & Saturday nights and the girls had more fun than I think they could handle. When we got home Natalie said, "I want to go back to Grandma's!"
Apart from a flat tire that had to be replaced today, all else was well. Now a new week has begun & I think I am already behind. Good night!
Friday, October 17, 2008
I could not get into my yahoo e-mail or groups. These clever souls changed my password. Today I finally found where I could change my password, which is far too easy, IMO, to do. Turns out there was an additional e-mail listed that is NOT one of mine. I deleted it, then changed my password AGAIN.
I'm still waiting to hear from Yahoo. I did have a generic e-mail in my yahoo e-mail telling me to change my password. I had given them my main e-mail address so they could e-mail me the info I needed. Obviously, the computer that "reads" the e-mail on yahoo's end didn't read my e-mail saying I couldn't get INTO my e-mail.
I am safe in the U.S., but wouldn't a trip to England be nice? If I go, I'll let you know!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Meanwhile, I am supposed to get 2000 calories into Bethany per day. The doctor wants us to buy some protein drink, but it's $36. I want to see if they have samples. I don't want to pay $36 for a huge container of something she won't drink. She LOVES Carnation Instant Breakfast, so I'm buying it in the biggest container our grocer carries. I need to go to Sam's with someone and see if they carry it in bigger containers for a better price per serving. I'm trying to get her to drink whole milk. She prefers low fat. Go figure! Mixed with the Breakfast Mix, she'll drink it, so that's a start. I told her she can drink as much of that as she'd like.
I think we are now in the Sprat home. Do you know the Sprats? Jack and his wife?
Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so between the two of them
They licked the platter clean!
I'm open to yummy gluten free low fat recipes!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I've decided to take the plunge & start a SECOND blog for my crafts. I've decided that we need additional income that can be done from home, in addition to my Pampered Chef business. With my unpredictable health and homeschooling two very active girls with special needs (my full-time job), My "alone time" when I can work is often at strange hours when I can't be calling my Pampered Chef customers or cooking for people. I am STILL a Pampered Chef consultant. That is my first part-time job and WAY more lucrative than selling crafts. Did you know you can make about $100 for 3-4 hours of work involving a bunch of friends laughing and eating and shopping----and it's LEGAL??? LOL! If you want to know more about THAT, I'm more than happy to fill you in.
My NEW 2nd part-time job is selling my crafts! In this blog, I'll share some of the pieces I am selling, and also just some that I'm making for fun or to encourage people. I have two main areas of items to show you: Papercrafts (primarily cards, though I WANT to scrapbook!) and Sewn items, starting with clothes for 18" dolls (such as American Girl, Life of Faith and Springfield, none of which I am affiliated with). The girls are old enough to help cut out patterns and are helping me design items and choose which ones to make first.
I'll post in my 2nd ever post the first doll outfit I've created!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Just when I thought I was having all the fun I could take, I just got another dose of hilarity!
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Maxine was diagnosed with cancer not long after Bill. She went through chemo treatments, but her body was just too weak to survive this beast called cancer. She was in hospice care for a very short time before passing away.
About 7 or 8 years ago Jerry & Maxine's son Milton died of cancer. He was in his early 40's, about the age I am now. He lived with cancer for a few years and would appear to be getting well, go into remission, then get hit again.
This family has seen more than their share of cancer. Jerry's other son, Mike, along with his wife and daughter, and Milton's wife and children (grown now) are the surviving family members. It's a very difficult time & we ask for your prayers for the West family. Thank you.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I just wanted to share yet another venture that I am going to try out. I've loved to do crafts as long as I can remember. I loved making paper chains and paper snowflakes when I was little. I was sewing by 5th grade (on a machine, I'd been using a toy machine before that). I crocheted in 4th grade (what was supposed to be a Granny Square turned into an oval shawl! LOL!). I sewed my own wedding dress and with the help of our moms & friends, we hand sewed all the lace and sequins to the dress. This is not a "passing fancy" thing with me, but a cheaper form of therapy than, well, therapy!
My mom would add that I am very good at STARTING crafts & not finishing them. I think the craft that I am mostly enjoying now is one that allows me to finish an actual project: Rubber Stamping! I mainly make cards, which are easy to complete. I'd like to do scrapbook pages, but I think I'm afraid I won't finish them, so I just don't start. Yes, I have been labeled as a "frustrated perfectionist."
When I first started really enjoying stamping, I would host Stampin' Up parties and get free stamps, ink, etc., like a Pampered Chef host would get. I also found ways to buy things 1/2 price at the craft stores or to trade something with someone else. Even in my crafting, I've learned to be a bargain hunter. It is rare for me to pay full price for anything, and when I do, I cringe! With my Pampered Chef business not doing as well as it had been, I decided I could not buy any stamping supplies until I sold some other ones. So I started selling on ebay, Splitcoaststampers, and I still have some sets on webstore at : http://webstore.com/~Chefmama
This week I was asked by someone who saw some cards I listed on ebay if I would make a set of 40 cards for her to buy! How cool is that! Getting to do something else I love & make money! I've been carefully studying what does & doesn't sell well on ebay so I don't list things that won't sell. I've been there, done that, too many times. I never imagined someone approaching me to make cards! So, I am now officially a cardmaker for profit!
I'm also WANTING to make doll clothes to fit 18" dolls like American Girl Dolls, Life of Faith Dolls, etc. I've not seen a big selection of those at affordable prices.
I am STILL doing Pampered Chef. I have several shows for November and I am so excited! Stones will be on sale & it should be a stellar month! That money for Christmas should come in handy!
If any of you happen to be in the market for cards or doll clothes, be sure to contact me! Actually, I can do other stamped crafts as well, like treat boxes. I'll share some samples of cards I've made so you know what I'm talking about. Have a great weekend!