Monday, August 24, 2009

Excellent music

I stumbled across a wonderful album recently. The band's name is "Gateway Worship" and they only have two albums so far. They are from a church in Texas (Dallas area, I think) and their music is so, so good.

There are a few things I appreciate about this group. Here are some of my impressions after listening to them for a couple of weeks.

One: The fact that they are making songs that have to do with the way things are in Heaven. Aren't we taught to pray for things to be on earth as it is in Heaven? Why not sing about it?

Monday, August 10, 2009

A question

God is light. In Him is no darkness or shadow.
So what was God desiring when He said "Let there be light" in Genesis?
(I think it is more than just the creation of the sun, moon and stars...)
Is that a part of creation which is a reflection of His light?
Hmmm. What do you think?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

I don't know - do you think I look like Jodie Foster? We share 71% of common features. Maybe she's the one who looks like ME! :)

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities - Collage - Morph

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Where did the month go . . .

Is it really almost August already? Good gracious! I haven't posted in a while. Sorry about that! I have been very distracted this month over a few things. I will try to explain.

1) As you may remember, I landed a part time job with another attorney in my town. This job has been working out great. I really like it there! The routine is I go there 3 afternoons a week and the other 2 I spend time doing house cleaning, laundry and shopping. It's been a bit of an adjustment. Blogging was not on the agenda.

2) Since it is summer, we have made some efforts to enjoy it. That doesn't exactly include blogging.

3) I have become intrigued by a new little piece of technological wonder called the iPhone. You can get online with it, but I have not tried blogging on it yet. Maybe you've heard of it. Yeah, I know you want one!

So, my brain has been concocting up things to say and I have finally opened up my lipstick-red Dell laptop to write. Nice to see you all again! Stop by again real soon....don't be a stranger!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It was nice

We had a tree in our backyard that was so pretty. It was tall and the limbs were nice and symmetrical. A perfect looking tree - really nice.

A couple of years ago, it started budding up in the spring, but never grew any leaves. The thin branches snapped easily to the touch and the entire tree was dead. What happened? We can only guess. It could have gotten hit by lightening. There was a big ant colony nearby that could have infested into it's roots. Maybe it picked up some sort of disease. Whatever the case, it was done. We weren't too excited about having to get it cut down. Fortunately, the clearance was a good distance from the house so it would not present too much danger. One day, we'll get someone over here to remove it. That was over two years ago.

This past spring, we heard a chopping noise in the back yard. What is that??? Come to find out, a pileated woodpecker decided to have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dead tree trunk. There must have been a whole lot of eatings in that wood. He pecked a hole in it that was two feet wide by four feet tall and about a foot in. Now there was trouble in the makings. We covered the trunk with plastic and found someone to cut the tree down. It had officially become a hazard instead of an inconvenience.

The last of the pieces of our beautiful tree were hauled away today. The back yard looks bare. It will take a while to get used to the way it looks back there. But the possibility of it falling on our house or shed is gone now.

It doesn't matter how wonderful something was in it's glory days, if it is dead, it needs to be dealt with. Bye-bye tree. It was nice knowing ya.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sparkie - the summer cut

BEFORE.............










.................AFTER!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No rest for the weary, yet

There are unsettling things happening in the world these days. We have godless communists testing long-range missles and nuclear weapons. They currently have a ship navigating the waters and it is believed there are weapons being transported on this ship. These men are spouting off about how they will "wipe out" any country who comes against them or tries to stop them. They don't care about peace, only their own oppressive agenda.

On the other spectrum, we have total and continued chaos escalating in the always-in-the-news mid east. Civil uprisings cause people to blow up their own people. Shady elections and suspicion is breaking the people into riots. No outside media personnel are allowed to be there, and the local reporters are being heavily screened over what is in the transmitions of their stories. The people are totally given to their gods but cannot find a way to get along.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Find

Last weekend, my honey and I took a drive out to Massachusetts for a little day trip. It wasn't even long enough to take up a whole day, it was more like a morning trip. Anyways, there were these two little shops that I found with antiques and collectibles and jewelry and purses and hats. You know what I mean... the kind of stores that women absolutely LOVE and their hubbies pretty much cringe over. Yeah, that's where I went while my guy was in a hobby store. You know what I mean... the kind of store that is crammed with boxes full of models and parts and wires and batteries.

Anyways, we each went to our own places for a little while and I found this beauty-

There was a small pile of tatted bookmarks in a rainbow of color combinations. Being someone who knows how to tat, I was immediately drawn to them. The work is just perfect and I really liked the two tones on this one. Just so lacy and pretty. And it was a crying-shame steal at $4. I asked the store owner where she gets them and she said an elderly woman in town makes them for her shop. She even showed me a picture of her. I had to get it. Not because I needed it, but I wanted to support the efforts of the sweet woman who knotted each stitch.

I love crafts. The idea of taking a pile of nothing special (like string and ribbon) and turning it into a beautiful work of art (like this bookmark) is so appealing to me. It is a reminder of how our good God can take the pieces of our broken lives and turn them into a beautiful masterpiece. What find have you come across lately?

Monday, June 15, 2009

More to say

on my other blogs...

Easy GF

Wardrobe Awakening

Let me know what you think of them or if you want something posted!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Goodness comes to those who wait on Him

Have you prayed for something, and made up a list of what you hoped for in your answer, and then got even more than what you wanted? That happened to me!

My prayer request:
I started looking for work in February.

My list:
1) Part time afternoons
2) Close to home
3) Something in my field
4) Work with someone who isn't mean

I talked to alot of people about the fact that I was available to work and nothing happened for months. After being passed over by places that I thought was going to be "the job", I was getting pretty discouraged. Wanting to stick to my guns over my list, I kept on waiting. Anything that came up was not right - I could tell in my gut it wasn't "the job". 2 weeks ago, I got an interview appointment that seemed promising.

What I was offered after 15 minutes into the interview:
1) Part time afternoons
2) A few minutes from my home
3) In my field
4) He told me he's "not a mean guy"
5) Office located in same building I used to work in when I started out
6) I used to work with one of his clients
7) I can bring Sparkie to work with me if I want to
8) I only need to go in 3 days so I still have 2 afternoons off

How could I say no?

Sometimes you have to wait for the good thing and that is so hard to do. But if you cast your bread out on the water, it will come back to you on every wave, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Only God can do that!

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I like kitties

Grounded
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I couldn't resist posting one more.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Got the juices flowing

I was sitting in church today and started thinking about how Jesus healed people and how everything He did had something to teach us in the natural and in the spiritual. And it hit me, the people He healed had a parallel window to how He sees us in our natural state.

Jesus touched the untouchable. He made the dead alive again. He spoke healing to some who He never even saw. Some came to Him and some He found. Some were brought to Him by unconventional means, and some were in the path of His journey. Whatever the circumstance, when He was asked if He would heal, He was willing.

Our physical, sinful state needs His redemption. We are all in a different placement in this life. Some of us are pretty good, in our opinion...never really did or even want to do much wrong. Some have drifted down to a more infected place... so tainted, jaded, and hurting. Some are so far off and so far gone, we can only wonder if there is any help at all out there. No one in a place of goodness wants to associate with them or try to reach out to them.

One of the most beautiful and intruiging verses in the Bible is Isaiah 53:5 -
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.


This verse used to only mean spiritual healing to me. At a point in my understanding of God's fullness for life, this verse changed and meant a physical restoring. I see how it pertains to both. God, who is the Giver of all good things, wants us to dwell in His healing both physically and spiritually.

His goodness is beyond measure. We can always learn from the WORD - Jesus! What healing that Jesus did stands out the most to you? What is the natural state that you can see paralleled in this action? Definately more to come on this...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Being wise

Our president was in Cairo, Egypt and spoke about all nations being at peace.
You can read the printout of his entire speech here

You can decide what conclusions you draw from it, good or bad. Don't turn your head and wait for the media to tell you what to think.

Know what leadership is doing and saying about you and your country's future. It is your job to be wise about your surroundings and gentle with your actions.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Maybe, maybe not

Did you ever have a resistance to something and not want to even acknowledge it so that it might not be? Here's some examples: I have a symptom, but if I don't go to the doctor, nothing will be wrong with me. Or: If I break something that belongs to someone, I just won't tell them and they'll never know it was me that did it. How about this one: If I ignore someone long enough, he/she will leave me alone.

Well, I think we all do that to a point. And the thing that winds up changing when we do this is us, not the symptom or the stain on the rug or the other person. This is a matter of your conscience being dulled to its surroundings.

We have been wired to know when we are doing something that is wrong. When you feel that heat on your neck and you kind of feel sick inside. The longer you push through those signs, the more dull you become and the more self centered your life is. The more of you on your mind, the more you ignore God. Eventually, you will forget Him. And the final step is you will not even acknowledge that He is.

God's Spirit - His life breath - is in us. He is wherever we are. This Life gives us a stronger awareness of holiness. That sick feeling isn't to be ignored. He constantly urges us to do what is right, to be like Him.

All of this is to say this - No matter who you are or what you think, NO ONE can overturn God's plans. Whatever He has started, He will see to completion. He is Lord of all! Open up to Him, love Him, and let Him change your life. It's worth it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bath time

"Help me."

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Check them out

I have started 2 new blogs, have been writing away and published posts!

Easy Gluten Free

and

Wardrobe Awakening

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trends

Since our economy has imploded on itself and people aren't so confindent in their financial future, there are some things that revive, or even surge, through such times. I heard about a few of them yesterday and found it interesting. Here's the trends right now.

Thrift store shopping - Going to your local 2nd hand shop for clothing or home goods is on the surge. This is not a stranger to me. I love going to them. When you can find that pair of pants that fit perfectly and they still have the tags attached and they are a fraction of their original cost - that is a good feeling.

Going to the movies - This one is a bit of a mystery to me. I am pretty picky about going to see a movie when it comes out. I am not interested in paying to watch murder, deception, hypocrisy and infidelity for two or more hours. However, the theaters are coming out with some half way decent shows this summer. A reviving of going to the movies? Maybe that is because there is a reviving of movies worth seeing.

Hamburger Helper - What better way to stretch the dinner dollar than to get a box of this stuff. It started on the market in the 70's during those lean times. It is appealing since it is a fast way to make dinner. We have tried almost all the "helpers". Not being a fan of hot tuna fish, that variety was out for me. Ham, hamburger, chicken, tried them all. Now that we are on the GF mode, this is no longer an option in our house. Although, I can see where it would be revived right now.

Chocolate consumption - Some things never go out of the trend placement and this one doesn't surprise me at all. Eating chocolate gives you a good feeling. It is a pleasure. Nothing compares to it. Oh, and dark chocolate is the best. I don't even bother with white or milk anymore. My goodness, just talking about it makes me want to eat a piece.

So what trend are you relating to these days?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

RC Action

The world of RC has come a long, long way since the 90's. This battery-run car is made by Traxxas and is called the Slash model. It is for off road car courses, backyards, and who else knows where. Sparkie likes to chase it, but he's house confined right now. He has a limp, and I don't want him running after it with sore tootsies.

It is a fun way to pass time on a beautiful, summer day!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Smacking snack

Food has so much variety. God really knew what He was doing when He was busy creating it for us (Genesis 1). We have crunchy to soft, sweet to bitter, creamy to whatever the opposite of creamy is. Foods can go from au natural to cooked beyond recognition. To some, food is an adventure! To others, it is a means of connecting with others. There are people making quite a good living eating the unheard of. I wonder who was the first to experiment with hot peppers?

I like hot stuff. Spicy is interesting! It wakes up your mouth. And when you get to the realm of hot that this product goes
you are just begging for a smack.

I don't know if you can read it or not but that jar says Habanero Salsa. Hot. And it isn't kidding when it is described as hot. There are some salsas out there that have disclaimers attached to them for their rediculously high Scoville levels, but I don't want that much of a smacking. Stores don't carry many, if any, hot salsas. Mild and medium don't do much except give some flavor. There are uses for them, for sure. But by no means can I say that they are chip and salsa worthy. You used to be able to buy this stuff at Hannaford, but they stopped stocking it. Then I found a jar at Sorrentino's, and never saw it there again. Then, a few days ago, I saw the whole line up of Mrs. Renfro's at Walmart. Score! You are so going into my shopping cart!

Last night, I pulled out the infamous jar and the bag of chips. I also grabbed some sliced swiss cheese. Parked myself on the couch and opened the jar. *Puht* The aroma of tomato and pepper rise into the air. OK - put it down carefully, like it's the alien blood that will melt through anything it touches... open the chips and take the first bite. Not so bad. Another. Yup, it's got some heat but is bearable. Another. Another. Another. Now I'm feeling it. 5 more. Oh man, it's starting to numb my tongue. 2 more. Ahhh! My nose is pouring! Where's the tissue box?!?!? My mouth is burning! Close the lid! I spilled a drop on my shirt... agh! Oh... Ah... My mouth is on fire! Give me some cheese! More cheese!!!

Now THAT is what I call salsa. Good times. I'll have to have some more later. Try it, if you want to be smacked!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Diversity

Hey! I have decided to start up some new blogs that are dedicated to specific topics. One has to do with fashion and one has to do with the GF life.

If you want to check them out, go to:
http://wardrobeawakening.blogspot.com
and
http://EasyGF.blogspot.com

Hope you like them as much as I am liking making them!
Peace.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Flip-flop flop

I haven't worn flip-flops in a really long time. I think they don't really dress the feet up enough and only look just right when you are hanging out at the beach or are headed for the pool.

As I have been bringing my wardrobe into the 21st century, I look at various resources for inspiration and ideas. It might come from a display at the store, or pictures in a magazine, or fashion web sites (I currently have 2 that I like to look at). The infamous flip-flop is being worn everywhere at every level of dress.

I finally decided to get a pair and chose the ones you see here. They were under $10 (great price) and I liked the cork (thought they'd help keep sweating down) and the cut out detail (makes them look feminine) and the fact that they were black. Well, if you ever take any advice from me about anything, take this: do not get the ones with the cut out detail. They are not sole friendly. You can feel all of the holes under your feet and that is a flop, in my humble opinion. Also, the two tone thing was a bad idea. Let's just say, your black outfit better have brown in it for them to look right.

So, of all the things I got, this is my biggest let down. But I will still wear them at a place where I don't have to walk around alot. Afterall, they are still shoes and I love options when it comes to shoes! Got any wardrobe let down stories?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Vacation goodness

We are officially half way through our vacation. It has been a fabulous five days so far! Traditionally, we have not been travelers when we have a week off from work. I don't see the point in tromping off to a strange place to scurry around and come back feeling exhausted while the giant pile of laundry awaits you and it's time to go back to work. My idea of vacation is . . . getting bored, feeling like you had plenty of sleep, and zoning out of the regular demands of life for a while.

My hubby and I have done some things on the first half of our 10 days, but they were all on our timing. For some reason, that makes a difference. Between now and Monday night, we'll go to the drive in theater, check out r/c car races, cook up some tasty food, go to the park. Take it easy. Take it slow. Get rested up. Clear our minds. And after our vacation goodness is done, we'll be ready to get back to the ol' grind. But until then, I remain, very happily, right here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There is something God cannot do

Well. Some of you just switched me off. God is all-powerful! He can dance circles around anything that comes up. I know that! Let's see what the Word says.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 "Quench not the Spirit"

Here it is in the Amplified version: "Do not quench (supress or subdue) the Holy Spirit"

And even more visually expressed in Today's NIV: "Do not put out the Spirit's fire"

What does this have to do with us? Everything! God is above all things, but He has given us free will. We have the ability to supress Him. I think this is quite evident in many aspects of our society. He was declared dead in the 60's. He was "just alright" in the 70's. He was morphed over to cool in the 80's and awesome in the 90's. Is this the way one speaks of someone who is precious? Or is it a way to subdue Him?

I really like a good fire. I have made some doozies; one even warranted a stop over by a fireman to make sure everything was ok. When the flames are building and it starts heating things up a little too much, it is time to quench it down. All of our instincts (and experiences) tell us that we need to keep it under control or it will damage something.

So if this verse is admonishing us to not quench the Spirit, then logic tells us that we can quench Him. The work of His Spirit can be doused by our doubt and unbelief. It can be dampened by our fear and our need to control what is happening. Surrendering to the fire of God is...let's be real for a second...it's scary! It brings us out of our place of control but it produces purity. This is a good place to be. We'd be in the company of Moses, Elijah, Ezekiel, John, His ministers....

We must be mindful that fire is found in ungodly forms as well. The darts of the devil are described as firey. Profane offerings produce an unacceptible fire. The tongue of man is a firey world of iniquity. These are the fires that produce destruction. These are the fires that need quenching!

So, is there something God cannot do? Yes. He cannot, and will not, show up at a place where He is not wanted. Quenching Him, despising His word and scoffing those who are using the gifts they have been given by Him will stop Him in His tracks. I've heard it said that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He will not barge into a place where He is not invited. His fire is unlike any other. Let that be the fire that burns within!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A time to plant

Last Friday, my dad came over and helped me build a raised bed garden. This was their anniversary gift to us this year. I have to say, it is one of the best ideas for a gift that I have ever heard of!

We shopped for the wood and dirt, toiled in the sunshine to put it all together, placed it in it's spot and got the job done in about 2 hours. Amazing! I don't know where my father gets his stamina - I can hardly keep up with him.

So it was time to plant. I put in seed for stringless green beans, beets, carrots, and onions. I also planted 4" potted tomatoes (big boy and grape), lettuce, and green peppers. Everything you need for sauce and salad!

Sowing seed in May. It's a beautiful thing!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Fashion fun

A few weeks ago, I was realizing that I lost some weight and my pants were not fitting right anymore. It was going to happen. I had to go clothes shopping. Spring is a great time to revamp a wardrobe.

Clothes shopping hasn't been the most enjoyable experience for me over the years. I go to the stores and pick out stuff that catches my eye. Finding things I like isn't the hard part. It's finding something that fits or looks right on me that drives me nuts.

Have you ever watched the show "What Not To Wear"? I have watched it many times and I think some of what they have to say has begun to sink in. There really are clothes out there for everyone, you just have to know what to choose that is right for you.

The day came where I decided to start looking. My plan was that I would go to all sorts of stores...and I did...and still am... Fortunately, the first place I went gave me four pairs of pants that I really like. Hooray! The fashion journey has begun.

Isn't it cool when you kind of stumble across something that gives you focus and direction? This totally happened to me, of all places, in a garage waiting room while I was getting my tire plugged. A magazine had a 6-page article about how to dress up your regular look to a designer one. Needless to say, I ripped the pages out of the magazine and stuffed them in my purse for future reference! Believe me, it isn't that hard to do when you know what to do.

So, I still have a few minor things to find... like a tan blazer, some colorful neck scarves, a flesh colored pair of awesome looking shoes. Besides minor stuff like that, I have a working wardrobe that is making me feel good about how I look.

Where can you start? 1) Empty everything out of your closet. 2) Toss the unusable & give away the unused. Keep what you will actually wear - not what you might wear someday if you loose weight or if it comes back in style. 3) Get a plan as to what you want to wear. Check out styles first, look at magazines for looks that you like. Then start to shop to build on your fashion plan. 4) When you bring home something new, get rid of something old in your closet. That will control how much you accummulate. 5) Have some fashion fun!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom

There are so many things I can say about my mom. She is an amazing example of a fantastic woman, wife, mother, friend. I feel so blessed to be able to say that she is a part of my life. I could go on about what all of her attributes are, but I know I won't think of everything. All I can say to my Mom is "thank you" for so many things and "I love you so much".

I'm not the only one who has a great mom. But not everyone can say this. Mother's day is an emotional day. It is a celebration of a woman who gave you life. An appreciation of all she does for you. A day devoted to give back expressions of love. What do you do when that is over? A day like today becomes a reminder that mom is not just a phone call away.

What about those among us who have a troubled family? I know people who want nothing to do with celebrating mom because of abuse and hurt and anger. A day like today is a reminder of feeling left out of an enjoyment that so many can experience.

And then there are us "DINK"s. I am not a mom, in the literal sense of the definition. I have not given birth to any children. I do have a home and a family of my own. I don't have little ones making my breakfast or giving me gifts or presenting coupons to do the dishes for me.

I choose to not dwell in the things I am missing out on by comparing myself to others. I do give thanks for today; thanks for the goodness I have been granted. I can be glad to be who I am because of where I came from. And best of all, I can share who I am with everyone around me. Happy mother's day to every woman in whatever scenario you are in today. You are celebrated!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Plan

I've been at a weird place. One that is unfamiliar. One that is uncomfortable. One that I would like to see changed. One that I am only partially able to control. Your thoughts can carry you away when there is change. How much more do we need to focus on the Word?! I keep coming around to a particular passage:

"Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am." Phil 4:11 The Message

Paul writes these words as he sat in jail in Rome awaiting his trial. He writes to those whom he led to Christ; the "holy people" who filled the church in Philippi. Paul had a calling to evangelize. The idea of being shackled in prison is not good for evangelism efforts. Or is it? Obviously, he had the focus to pen his many letters while in jail - the same ones that were deemed inspired and cannonized. Being imprisoned was not Paul's plan but it was used by God beyond Paul's wildest imaginations!

After a few months of having my plans changed up, and not necessarily liking it, my thoughts are brought back to the outline of the book of Philippians. Ch 1: Jesus is our Life. Ch 2: He is our Model. Ch 3: He is our Goal. Ch 4: He is our Sufficiency. The world cannot provide perfect peace in life, only the Prince of Peace can do that. So I surrender my plans to His watchful care and can continue knowing that I can make it through anything in Him who makes me who I am.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Who are you . . .

. . . the world really, really wants to know.

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/4477/1/1/

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=90008

http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/102/C4803/

Whether we know it or not, these things are already in many non-consumable products we buy. They are even placed under the skin of our pets in the name of recovery purposes. It is disturbing, but in full-steam-ahead process. These are days to stay wise.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Being wise as serpents...

Let's face it, there are alot of serpents out there. Someone is ready, willing and able to scam you, lie to you, steal from you, be you. Have you been a victim to identity theft? A few years ago, I was one.

As Jesus was talking to the 12 about upcoming persecution against them, He said "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves..." Matt 10:16 They couldn't begin to imagine what evil would come out of men against them, just because they were doing what they believed to be right. Jesus wanted them to know about the evil around them, but take no active part in it. They were to be lights in dark times.

One important thing we can do is to have awareness of the wiles by staying educated. To walk around thinking "nothing can happen to me" is not being wise. We live in a day where technology has become more than convenient and people don't have to step foot out of their house to do much of anything anymore. Door to door scammers don't have to look at your face anymore. They can do their evil virtually. We are overrun with media, computers, internet access, cell phones, GPS, scanners, coders, cameras, text messaging, twittering, and blogging. So, if we put out too much info about ourselves in those arenas, we place ourselves at risk.

Is there an escape? Maybe if you live in those remote areas where the cell phone maps show no coverage. Even still, serpents are there because man is there. The human nature wants to bite and retaliate. To get something for nothing. It is a consequence of the fall. And it is not going to get better. Sometimes it is hard to be harmless a dove when you have been bitten. We may be more wise than we were yesterday, but so is the snake. It is never ending.

We cannot hide forever; that is not our mission. We do have resources. The same venue that can do so much harm is also a great tool. A fabulous site to use is wikipedia.org You can search out just about anything in there and get facts. Just like going to the biggest, most current encyclopedia in the world. Let others know about what you have learned. Be a light. Expose the serpent.

Stolen identity can ruin your financial life. One big thing to keep in mind is that you do not give out personal information (like bank account numbers, social security info, passwords, etc) to ANYONE who is asking for it in a virtual setting. This is a RED FLAG scenario. Don't be fooled. Legitimate companies will not ask for ANY personal information, ever. Ask your homeowner's or renter's insurance agent if your policy has coverage for losses. Check with your bank as to their procedures if your account is invaded. Take action by knowing what resources you have and don't have for your family's protection.

Stay smart. Stay safe. You may still get bit, but will be able to recover. These are shaken times and we must be wise.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A wonderful thing to see

This is the best time of year, in my humble opinion. The harsh bite of winter is becoming less noticeable and the sights of spring are upon us again. I am thankful for the early spring this year. It seemed like jack frost knocked on our door early - right after Thanksgiving - and we were in need of relief. The row of daffodils along the side of my house are displaying their full glory, raising their faces to the warmth of the sun. It's a wonderful thing to see.

"...Consider the flowers of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these." Matthew 6:28b - 29

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Going slow in the fast lane


Something happens to people when they drive. They think they are in their own little world and no one can see them, or something like that. In my town, there is a main road that has 4 lanes, as well as a center turning lane. That's 5 lanes to pick from. Every day, when I drive to work in the morning, there is someone in the "fast lane" who is toddling along and everyone who is trying to drive along at a normal speed has to pass them on the right. I have passed many pokey-drivers who were in the fast lane. Thinking about how I should blog about it. Shaking my head as I moved right and sped up and notice them distracted by their cell phone call. Trying to figure out why in the world they don't realize that they are being passed by everyone behind them and don't just move over. Strangely enough, I found people passing me on the right today. I was appalled and made a point to gun it a little more to be qualified to remain in my lane of choice.

In Germany, if you are driving on the Autobahn, there are two hard fast road rules. 1) There is no speed limit, although the recommended speed is 130 km/h (81 mph) and 2) Drive in the right lane, pass in the left lane. Police will ticket both drivers if someone is lally-gagging in the "fast" lane and someone is trying to pass them on the right.

I don't really have a deep insight to weave onto this post. I suppose you could get deep, analyze your life and determine if you are a slow driver in a fast lane life scenario. Sometimes we all feel that way, I suppose. This post is mainly a verbalization of that which I experience every day while I drive to work. So if you find yourself in the "fast" lane with many people passing you on the right, maybe it is time to take notice and change lanes.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bye bye, Mr. Fish

When you get a pet, you know that you will outlive it. It is just the sad reality. Our cute little nemo look alike came into our house and graced us with his presence for about six-ish years. He was just always there in that little tank in the living room. Every now and then he'd smack the surface of the water when he wanted to eat. Laura took care of him when we went away. My mom thought he was dead when she saw him, even though he wasn't. He'd bobble about in the water and do what fishies do and we simply watched him. It's hard to bond with a fish, but he made his place in our home.

As we were getting ready for work yesterday morning, my honey was coming out of the bathroom, looked down and said "what is that?". Behold, it was Mr. Fish. He figured out a way to escape the confines of his tank only to be transported about the house, courtesy of one of the cats, and landed on the rug in the hallway. I think the only thing that spared him of being breakfast was the fact that he was a salt water fish and probably didn't taste enough like salmon supper via Fancy Feast.

So we remain with a vacant 2-gallon salt water tank, and our memories of Mr. Fish, simple as they are. His little life makes me think that simple can be great...bye bye.

Monday, March 23, 2009

You GF-ers better sit down when you look at this...

Yes, you are seeing it right. I did not photoshop this to tease you. Betty Crocker has decided to develop GF desserts. They should be in the stores soon! Can you believe it? Thank you!!! I am still floored over the idea that baking might be "normal" again and I won't have to navigate through the special-dietary needs section in the stores to find something worth buying at a very premium price. At least we can shop normal for a few things. But if we can get mixes to make chocolate chip cookies, brownies and cake, what else do we need?

Ok, some muffin mixes would be nice... Who knows, if this idea works out, they might develop them next!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Get out the seeds....


According to my Dad, the first planting in the garden can be done on (or around) St. Patrick's Day. Yes, sugar snap peas can be planted right now, ladies and gentlemen! They don't mind the cold. Maybe that is why they are called snow peas. Can you say "stir-fry"? Mmmmm.

As you may remember, my gardening efforts failed miserably last year. I have alot of work to do in order to get it right. Since I am not a green thumb, this is a big challenge, but I am always interested in trying again. There is nothing quite like home grown garden food! My carrots were so sweet and tasty, we want more!

I do not have any sugar snap pea seeds, and my ground is not even close to being cleaned of the debris from the fall and winter. I am not even sure that I know where all my gardening tools are at the moment. But this is exciting! Time to prepare, time to till, time to plant!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Simple Pleasures -pt 4

A simple little thing like putting on nail polish can really lift your spirit. French manicure on squared off nails is my personal favorite. I love the way it looks. My fingers are really long and slender, but my nail beds grow thin and are kind of wide so my nails never look very long. I used to do acrylic nails, but they are so bad for your nail bed. After I got a fungus on one of my nails, that was the end of fake nails for me!

Nail polish helps keep them in tact for a little while longer than they would on their own. Interestingly enough, when I started eating a more GF diet, my nails started to grow a bit stronger and would get some length to them on their own. Filing and polishing is a great spring-thing to do for yourself. The gorgeous red polish is for the toes, but sometimes it winds up on my fingers.

Give yourself a manicure and/or pedicure. There are wonderful cleansing cremes and lotions to use on your hands and feet. They feel so soft and pampered afterwards. Get out the foot tub, some bath salts, the lotion and polish, and spa it up at home. Maybe even have a friend over and share the luxury!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Simple Pleasures -pt 3

One of the things I decided to do on a regular basis is wash my face. I know, it probably sounds like a given, or an exaggeration. How can this be a pleasure? It is more of a chore than something to look forward to....

When you look at your face in the mirror in the morning, you see what your body has done all night long in order to rejeuvenate your skin. We loose the most amount of skin cells in our sleep. The face needs a good cleaning after all that! And most of us ladies will spend time putting makeup on before we head out for the day. If the face is already dirty and gets covered over with cremes and powders, it will break out. At night, it is time to take all that gunky makeup off, in order to help the third shift be able to do it's job! And to soak a washcloth in hot water and hold it up against the skin, feeling the tingles going down the neck, breathing in the steamy warmth and getting the day's dirt away.... it is a good feeling. It's like starting anew.

You see several different companies represented in my picutre. That's what I have in my cabinets right now. I have to say, they are making my skin feel so soft and wonderful. It is a pleasure to take the mere 3 or 4 minutes in the morning and at night to help refresh the part of me that people look at the most.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fish Dish - GF, of course

My hubby and I thought it would be a good idea to eat more delicacies of the sea. Neither of us are big seafood fans, but we do enjoy an occasional shrimp cocktail. So off to the store I went, and picked up a salmon steak and a package of four talapia fillets.

The last time I made fish for dinner, it was pretty awful. As a matter of fact, it was so terrible, neither of us wanted to eat it. My efforts to ask if anyone knew a tasty way to cook fish gave me no help, so I did a search on google to see if I could find something that sounded good.

Let me give a background before I go on. When I was growing up, we used to eat fish. But the fish we ate was fresh. Someone would come up with the idea to have fish, and we would go in the cellar to get the poles, dig up some worms, walk out to the pond and catch enough fish for all of us to eat that night for dinner. I learned how to clean and skin a fish from my dad, and was pretty good at it. We had two ponds on the farm. One of them was stocked mostly with bass, sunnys and blue fish. There were snapping turtles in there too. A friend of the family would come over and catch them to bring home for soup, but we never did that. I was scared of those things. They were nasty! Back to the point - I grew up eating freshly caught - fresh water fish.

For a couple of years, I lived by the ocean in NJ. This is where I learned that not all fish are alike. I found out about the enormous salt water cousins with light meat and dark meat. They made a different tasting meal altogether. This was a reminder of a taste that I do not like. Salt water fish has a strong flavor. You must choose your fillets wisely. Since I do like cod, talapia was a logical choice. And salmon is a must-serve at restaurants and is super good for you, so that was a given.

I found an easy recipe that I tried and it worked on both cuts of fish. I modified it a little to conform with the supplies in my pantry. Here is a fish dish to try, if you are afraid to make fish.

1 TBSP Garlic powder (not garlic salt)
1 TBSP dried Thyme
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
teeny pinch of salt (optional)
1 Salmon fillet (enough for two people) skinned and deboned
1 TBSP unsalted butter

Combine garlic powder, thyme, Old Bay and salt in a bowl. Coat the seasonings on both sides of the fish. Heat skillet (that is large enough to lay the fillet in) with the butter until melted and starts to get bubbly. Place fillet in skillet and cook for several minutes, then flip. Tip pan so the butter stays around the fish. Continue to cook, flipping to each side once more, so the outside gets golden and crusty. Fish will be flaky and tender. Serve hot with chili sauce and lemon. Goes very well with flavored rice or seasoned potato wedges (think fish and chips).

Making it this way will not smell up the house, like it would if you used oil. And the crispiness will allow you to enjoy it like a fish fry, only without soaking it in grease. So if you decide to give this a try, when you go to the store, make sure your fish is fresh. Ask the guy behind the counter for help. Stay away from anything that smells fishy. Or get out your poles - I'll teach you how to clean 'em!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Simple pleasures - pt 2


I have been on a cleaning spree. Some may call it spring cleaning. Some may say it's the result of having the afternoons off so you gotta do something with your time. I call it pride of ownership. My house is not the biggest place out there, but it suits us well and we have made it our own since we bought it in 2003.

When I was little, my mom did everything she could think of to get me to keep my room clean. In general, I was not all that interested in putting my clothes away or dusting. I was more into being outside or helping out my dad with his chores. As a result, my messes would get stashed in the closet or under the bed. Not so good for me, I had three older siblings who taught her all the tricks, and she always knew where to find the messes that I was always trying to hide from her, and would put them in a big pile in the middle of the floor and told me to "clean it up" as she walked out of my room. Ok, ok, I surrender.

Every now and then I would get inspired to clean up and redecorate when an awesome poster would come in the new Tiger Beat or Dynamite magazine, or if I just had that itch to throw things out in order to make room for something new and fabulous.

My first simple pleasure of the day is to spend the one minute it takes to make the bed in the morning. I drag myself out from the comforts of our toasty warm blankets and make my way to the coffee pot. By the time my honey is up, I am ready to straighten out the linens and pop my handmade teddy bear-ess on the pillows, complete with her hand crocheted shawl and ribbon flowers adorning her hands, feet, collar and ears. It's kinda like putting a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. I am finding it to be a pleasure to walk into this special room and see it be so neat and pretty.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Simple pleasures - pt 1

A few weeks ago, I heard about a book authored by Robin McGraw (Dr. Phil's wife) which has been out for a number of months now called "What's Age Got To Do With It?". I was interested but hesitated looking for it since it sounded like it was for "old people". I certainly do not want to think of myself as "old" you know. If I read that book, then I am placing myself in that category. That is so far from accurate, but I stayed away from the bookstore for that very silly reason.

Well, last week, I got an e-mail from Borders offering a coupon for 40% off any book in a store purchase. I printed it out. I made a mental note of the two days it was good for. I stuffed that coupon into my purse and went about my business. The day came and I decided to go take a look at the book for old people. Been there? I know, how silly.

Let me interject something here. Robin is well into her 50's but you would never know it by looking at her. The cover of the book has her slim body in a black outfit and she is wearing massively high heels. Not a pair of shoes for a tall girl like me. You may as well be wearing pointe shoes on stage to get a higher heel raise. But, I had to admit, her appearance is great! OK, maybe the book isn't quite so taboo. Curiousity won over and I bought the book at 40% off. That was a price I could let go of for a book about aging. Silly. *Sigh*

Very unlike how I usually am, I wasn't eager to share my new purchase with my hubby. As a matter of fact, I would read it wide open so you couldn't see the cover and when it was put on the side table, it was covered over with my knitting basket, or with another book. I didn't want anyone to see it but me. I could still return the thing if I wanted to...I have a week to decide about that! Silly.

I read that darn book in two days, and I am not what people would call "a reader". I would rather rent a movie or documentary before sitting down with a boring old book. But this one was different; it was just wonderful! Robin gave tips and advice and life experiences which spanned decades. Anyone at any age can benefit from this book! And thanks to her insight, I have decided to take on some simple pleasures in my daily routine, of which I will share over several posts. I have nothing to be embarassed about. This adventure is not so silly afterall.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cleaning spree

I must clean the house.....
I must rearrange the living room.....
I must reorganize the closets.....
I must be loosing my mind! What is THAT all about?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nuggets

Today has been a day of nugget discoveries. You can go along on your day to day routine and everything can be the same ol' same ol'. But every now and then, you have a day where you hear something that you can relate to, or something happens that sparks your brain into deeper thought. That happened today and I would like to get it all down before it's forgotten!

Here's the first nugget:
When you think about the word team, think about what it stands for. Together Everyone Achieves More. It is not about one person having a crew under him or her trying to get them to get a job done. It is about everyone ebbing and flowing with the common goal in mind, using their strengths and abilities to bring benefit to all, both within the group and beyond. This takes trust and relationship. It takes work. But is a better way than going it alone. TEAM.

The next nugget:
This nugget has to do with worry. At my church, last weekend's message was about worry. This is certainly something we all battle during these unstable times. Today, I heard another brief message which confronted the topic. I will give my take on what I heard. Let's start with the Scriptures:
Prov 15:15 "All the days of the oppressed are wretched; but a cheerful heart has a continual feast."
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 16:33 "These things have I spoken unto you, so that in Me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world."

What does this have to do with worry? Your heart and mind will not be peaceful when you are worrying. We have the ability to capture our thoughts and determine what we will entertain in our thoughts. What is thought about most will be evidenced in our speech. How often are we saying things that agree with what God's Word says? How often are our words opposite of what the Word says? I know, these are tough, eye-opening questions and if I apologize to anyone who may have been receivers of any destructive words from my mouth. Let's take it one step further. If our words go so far as to be agreeing with those of the devil, why would we want to believe them, since he is the father of lies? Hmm.

"But I can't control my thoughts.", you may say. Really? What if your pastor, or someone, who is very important to you and who you wish to impress knocks at your door? My guess is, suddenly, you would be able to pull yourself together, wouldn't you? You may even muster up a "God is good" or a "praise the Lord" in a conversation with them. You can take control of your thoughts. Don't pull that destructive excuse on yourself.

There is a close bond between worry and fear. Fear will not help you in a situation. It will bring on a flurry of thoughts that can escort you down a path of destruction. Have you ever worked out a scenario over and over in your mind? One that usually doesn't even come to pass? I have done this very thing many times. Worry causes such activity. Here's what hit me most - we worry because we fear that a situation will not pan out the way we want it to. Worry is selfish. Worry breaks down relationships. Worry is not of God.

Jesus clearly stated that His peace is superior to the way that the world offers peace. I found it interesting (and I never thought about) that Jesus points out that the world offers peace, although it is a counterfeit version of true peace. The world can be at peace when everybody is getting what they want or having their way. This peace is contingent on selfishness and from the beginning of time it has not delivered. Thank God He offers His true peace to us as a gift! If we believe God, and that what He says is true, then we can find and walk in peace in any situation that comes at us in this life. Hallelujah!

The final nugget to share:
I was talking to my boss today. She was saying that it is just crazy that the financial world is still in such a fragile state. Banks are still failing. Stocks are still dropping. Everyone is tightening the purse strings. The "stimulous package" is a crap shoot. Our conclusion was that we cannot place our security in something that is like smoke - here today, gone tomorrow. All you can do is do your best, do it with wisdom, and not place your faith in such things.

This discussion reminded me of such an important lesson taught by Jesus. You are probably thinking about it too:
Matthew 6:19-21 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Pretty interesting that this message was laid as a foundation to the next point in His message which had to do with overcoming anxiety. I don't think that was an accident. If we are consumed with the status and stability of our pocketbook, then we have set ourselves up for many more woes. You cannot worship both God and money. You just can't.

I really hope that something I have written today helps someone who needs it. I know that these nuggets have meant alot to me!
God's Highest Good to You!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ham casserole in a pan

Here's an easy but tasty dinner that I came up with the other day. I like easy - it only has 5 ingredients!

1/2 pound of ham
1/2 package frozen peas
1 cup of your favorite noodle (I use Tinkyada GF, of course)
4 oz. sour cream
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup (or the "cream of" soup of your choice)

Cook, drain and rinse your noodles. Bring the frozen peas to a boil and drain. Cut ham into bite sized pieces. Place all ingredients into a large skillet. Add sour cream and soup (leave in condensed form). Mix well and cook on low heat until simmering hot. Serve.

That's it! You can grind some fresh pepper on top or add any other herbs or spices that you like. It's creamy good and a good way to get rid of leftovers!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OK...one more

I couldn't resist posting it...the Museum's 50's living room:



I am glad that my love for the look of the 50's is confined to the kitchen!

Friday, February 6, 2009

the 50's kitchen

Yes, my love for the 50's kitchen was discovered in it's memorialized glory at the Museum of American History.







I have 50's kitchen stuff but mostly not like what is in these pictures. I do have one of the jello molds that you see hanging on the wall. What can I say, copper in the kitchen is one of my weaknesses!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A wonderful gift


This was in the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I can appreciate the work behind this quilt but didn't plan on taking its picture until I went up to it and started to look it over. I saw a block on it that was signed by someone who was from Stillwater NY. The history card said there was a church in Malta who wanted to welcome the new pastor and his wife, so the ladies of the church made this for them. It was dated in the mid-1800's but I don't remember the exact year. Each block has a name and town sewn onto it. I have no idea how it wound up in the museum but it was really cool to find something from a town up our way on display down there.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A moment of desperation for one...

...allows an opportunity for an act of kindness for another.

Here's the semi-long story.

As you know, we went to DC for 4 days last week. The trip was just great. Being away is always fun, but coming home is a wonderful thing too.

We flew home Thursday, got off the plane, lugged our bags to where we parked the car and when I hit the remote to unlock the doors, nothing happened. Trying the button a couple more times and noticing that the red light on it was working but nothing was happening, we manually unlocked all the doors. With no alarm going off and no lights coming on, it became painfully obvious that our car battery was dead. Not a good thing to have to deal with ever, especially when you are really ready to go home. A moment of desperation has revealed itself.

What do we do? Stashing everything in the back seat and manually locking all the doors, we figured we would have to walk back to the warm airport, and call somebody for help. I noticed someone driving towards the place where we were parked and told my honey I was gonna ask for a jump. It was a company car with one person it and I flagged for him to stop. He did, thankfully, and I aked him for a jump. "Sure, no problem" was the response. "But we don't have jumper cables." "I do!" he replied. We pushed the car out of it's parking spot, and started chatting idly. Come to find out, he was on the same flight as we were. Five minutes later, we were up and running again. The act of kindness was done.

This scenario reminded me of the story of the Good Samaritan. I think many passed by the man who needed help. I can't help but wonder how many stopped to tell the man that they wished him well. Only one man chose to take action and help the man in his moment of desperation. Of all of them who were there, only one made a difference by acting in kindness.

I'll admit, it was weird to be on the receiving end of the story. I like to be the one who helps those in need, not be the one who is in need. But when the moment of desperation comes, no matter which side of it you are on, an opportunity for an act of kindness is there. We can take it or leave it. What will you do?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Home again

After all the goings here and there in DC, we got home last night and all is well.
Other than being tired after working today, we have wonderful memories of our four days in our nation's capital.
Thanks for joining me on the virtual vacation!
Where are you headed next?

Air and Space

I think the most interesting Smithsonian Museum we went to see was the Air and Space museum.



They had all the originals and replicas of early flyers, including the plane of the Wright Brothers and the Spirit of St. Louis:


We saw amazing displays of what NASA has built:


And of course, the lunar landing scene:


It's funny, when I see the planes and the incredible things that are launched into space, I almost wish that I was in the Air Force, like my dad.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5 pictures - 5000 words

Tuesday was one of those days when my honey would be in conference meetings all day and I would go see things that he couldn't care less about. What to do... what to see... where to go...

The art museums it is! There are three of them and I went to them all!

The breath taking lobby of the Museum of Art. The marble pillars were about 50 feet tall and the fountain in the center was topped with the bronze statue and surrounded by the most beautiful flowers.


How well do you know the master painters? Can you name the famous painters of these four works of art?





I wasn't so sure that I wanted to go to the art museums. I have been to galleries before and am usually not enthralled over the experience. This was different. There were people sitting and sketching things. Some would sit on a bench just looking at the masterpieces. It was very right-brained. There were guards everywhere. Walking into Gallery #85 where the Monet works were hung actually took my breath away. What an amazing experience. Seeing a reprint is great. Seeing the original is so much better!

I saw a sketch that was drawn in 1505. I gazed on ancient Chinese vases. I saw a painting done by Leonardo da Vinci. There were perfectly formed statues in stone and in various kinds of metal. Craftsmen have been at it for centuries. Art is a part of man. Creativity is a trait of our good God and He gave it to us to enjoy. I am really glad I decided to go to the art museums. I walked out feeling inspired.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sightings

There was an elephant in the lobby of the Museum of Natural History. Ok, it was stuffed. I think I'll stay away from these guys.



And this was one of several trains on display in the Transportation Collection of the Museum of American History.




There were a lot of guards around the room where this baby was! Apparently, blue is a very rare color in diamonds. This one is 54.5 carats of rarity.

Sights of DC -day 1

After getting up at 4 in the morning yesterday, Sparkie knew something different was happening. He is wise to the breaking of the daily routine. When he was let out at 4 a.m., and then put back in his "house" at 4:30, we heard him yipping sadly as we shut the door behind us. Feeling a little guilty for about one minute, the reality of what was coming next hit us with great anticipation. We are going to DC! Next stop, the airport for our 6:15 flight out of Albany. Yes!

Arriving in around breakfast time, our cab brought us to the hotel where we were able to check in early. Thankfully the room was empty and ready for us. So we unloaded, went and got some food, and then trekked down to the National Mall.

When we were flying in, the one monument that cannot be mistaken is this one. Even when we viewed it from the plane's window, it looked so tall and proud and strong. Seeing it from the ground is even more amazing. You can always get your bearings if you just look for the Washington Memorial. Unfortunately, it was too cold to be walking around alot, so we didn't get right up to it. Regardless, it was a fabulous thing to see, even if it was at a distance.


One of the attractions we were interested in seeing was the National Aquarium. This was near the monument in the basement of a humungous office building. They had alligators, marine fish, fresh water fish, snakes, frogs, sharks, moray eels, and probably the biggest lobster I've ever seen! He would point his antenna at you, like he wanted you to know he had a bead on you. The salt water tanks are the prettiest, in my opinion. There is nothing more colorful than a reef system.

There is more to say about day 1. This will have to be a two-parter.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crock Pot Lovin'

We all agree that this time of year gets us wanting warm-you-to-the-bones sorts of dinners. I was talking to my friend, Libby about the crock pot she just got for Christmas. We are giving each other ideas of the lovin' recipes we can make in our time-saver dinner makers.

I just found this link for Campbell's Kitchens where they offer several crock pot recipes. Click on the recipe ideas link on the left side, and then on the slow cookers link on the right side. I'll have to admit, some of them sound really tasty!

Alton Brown from Good Eats is another genius that I have learned from and achieved cooking success from and will evermore hail as king of the kitchen. I have made his tapioca pudding in the crock pot. So creamy and delicious!!! This fan page link will give you his incredible recipes. I have never not liked any of his recipes. Even when I tried the collard greens, which have the potential of getting slimy and soggy, and we all know how much I hate those textures in my food. Can you say gag me? OK, sorry for the digressing. Back to the point. :)

Today, I am crocking up a nice beef stew in my crock pot (set up in the conference room here at work) for some friends. They just had a baby and I am swinging by after work with their dinner. Banquet Crock Pot Classics can be found in the freezer section at the store and the Beef Pot Roast is really good. You can keep it GF if you add beef stock instead of the gravy packet, and thicken it yourself when it is done. Sometimes I'll add GF noodles and omit the potatoes for a casserole type result. Regardless of how it is served up, crock pot cooking definately dishes out the love!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Countdown to DC

So, there are only four more days of preparing before we get on that plane early Monday morning.

Interesting enough that the airline is the same one as the airline that crashed into the river not even a couple weeks ago. Not having been on a plane in a very long time, this scenario can't help but fuel a teensy bit of concern in the back of one's mind.

Which reminds me of the first time I boarded a plane. My sister was living in the orient, and my parents and I were going to go see her. This was during a spree of problems with planes where the cargo doors would be ripped off during takeoff, the landing gear would malfunction, some crashed due to pilot error, and most disturbingly, engine failures. One even had an engine fall off of the wing. Of all the plane styles out there, the one we were to take half way around the world had every one of these accidents on their list. Go figure. Nevertheless, we boarded and got there (and back) with no problems.

Now we are considering the details of our time away. What has to be packed. Who is going to do what while we are gone. Whether or not we can get away with just carry ons. Double checking that our life insurance policies are paid up. tee hee! What fun! I love to travel!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Stephen Patrick

I got a call from my mom today that her brother, known by us all as Uncle Stevie, passed away last night. He was 93.

This is what was happening in his birth year, 1915:
-income ranged from $200 - $3400 a year
-Ellis Island was stop #1 for immigrants
-a postage stamp was 2 cents
-World War I had been going on for a year
-there was no effective shot for a tetanus infection
-Woodrow Wilson was president
-a call from NYC to San Francisco takes 23 minutes to go through and costs $20.70
-the Klan was on the uprise
-most phone calls spanning more than 40 miles are still inaudible
-the first stone for the Lincoln Memorial was set in place
-Babe Ruth hits his first career home run
-Japan develops the x-ray tube, which will bring radios to the world in 1919
-Fox starts a film company
-The RMS Lusitania is sunk by a sub, killing almost 1,200
-a proposal for women's right to vote is rejected
-the millionth Ford automobile is made
-Frank Sinatra was born
-Booker T Washington died

Uncle Stevie served in WW2, married, settled in New Jersey, had children. My mom described him as a likeable man. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to get to know him. In my opinion, he lived during the most amazing years of time. It would have been interesting to hear of his memories. Even though I did not know him personally, I feel some sense of loss. Good bye, Uncle Stevie.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Countdown

It was made official on Monday and the countdown has begun. We will be going on a trip to DC on the 26th!

My hubby has to go there for a business conference and I will be his tag-along, his escort, his flying companion, his costume mistress...whatever you want to call me...I'm it!

He made the plans to have us go really early on Monday so we can spend the day doing things in town. Then he has conference things to go to on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then we leave late Thursday to come back after another day of doing things in town.

I am looking forward to the get away. Looking forward to a change of scene.

Have you been to DC? What do you recommend seeing there?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter Comfort

The one thing that we can do during the winter to stay comfortable is have fabulous, warm dinners to take the chill away. One thing to make that possible, especially if you are in the workforce, is to use a crock pot. My last post was for soup made in one.

I have some select dinners that I really like using the crock pot for. The one I want to share today is your basic cooked chicken (GF of course). Super easy and super delicious.

Crock Pot Chicken
One whole roaster chicken, any size that fits in your crock pot
1 package McCormick seasoning of your choice (I like the Garlic & Herb one)
4-6 cups water

Take chicken, place in clean grocery bag. Add seasoning package and shake to coat bird. Place in crock pot. Pour enough water in crock to cover bird, but do not fill more than 2/3. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Remove from pot, saving the broth. Bird will fall apart from being so tender. Remove meat from bones. Strain the broth into another pot to make gravy with a water/cornstarch thickener.

Variations:
If you have whole potatos, you can place them in the bottom of the pot, and they will be ready to serve when it's done cooking. Just be sure the water level isn't too high. You may have to cut the chicken or use precut pieces if you want to add them in the bottom of the pot.

If you are not a GFer, you can spoon biscuit dough on top of the cooking chicken during the last 20 minutes of cooking to make dumplings. I'll have to figure out a GF way to do that. They are really wonderful!

The next day or so, you can use the leftover gravy and add the chicken to it, heat it through and serve it over rice. Broccoli goes really well with this.

Crock pot cooking is not only easy, but the meats made in one come out so amazing. If you put it in early, you can come home to a dinner ready to give you that feeling of comfort like cozying up under your best blanket for the night. Stay warm!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ham bone soup

Here it goes - I'm attempting to make the soup today. I hope it is yummy. I've never been a pea soup fan.........
Get out the crock pot and try it

Split Pea Soup
Ingredients:
one ham bone with remaining meat
1 cup minced onions
2 tsp. black pepper
1 pound dried split peas, green or yellow
1 cup chopped carrot

Place the ham bone and other ingredients to a crock pot. Just cover with water, and cook on low all day long or high for 4-6 hours. I cook my peas til they are fairly mushy, but you can cook less if you like them less done. We always ate big bowls of this soup with bread and butter. Very simple! If the meat isn't falling off the ham bone, remove and use a fork to remove it and place the meat into the soup. Discard the bone.

I'll let you know how it is and if I am a convert or not!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First try

I have never baked a ham before. After having a really tasty one at my in laws house for Christmas dinner, I thought I would give it a shot. The Good Eats version was my first choice, of course, and it came through with flying colors. Basically, you bake it for a couple hours until the internal temp is around 130 degrees. Then coat the outside with mustard, brown sugar, a spritz of a tasty liquid, and GF ginger snap crumbs. Then bake it for another hour until the internal temp reaches 160. The drippings that coat the pan carmelize the crumbs into sweet and spicy crunchy goodness. Who wants to clean the pan? I do, I do!!!

Dished up with a hearty serving of peas and carrots and a half of a roasted sweet potato, topped with the crunchy goodness, is a fabulous dinner fit for anyone who sits at your table.

I kept the ham bone and have been encouraged to try to make split pea soup. I have no idea how to do that, but in the spirit of trying new things, I am going to attempt that next. Check back again for that adventure.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Which jazz artist

do you like best?

Al Jarreau

Anita Baker

Spyro Gyra

Diana Krall

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Flute


When I was growing up, my parents had the foresight and recognized that I was a musical person. There was a piano in my house, as well as an acoustic guitar, a flute, a clarinet, and a trombone. I tried them all. The piano was the instrument that I was naturally drawn to the most, but I also found a home in playing the flute.

My first one was an Armstrong. It was a chrome finish, C tuned flute. It was beautiful to me and I started lessons when I was in 4th grade. My music teacher was an amazingly gifted man. Mr. Stry would not only teach you, but he would also play accompanying music with you when you would do your lesson music at class with him. I had, and still have, the most fond memories of learning music with him. Within two years, I was in the All County Band as the third seat flutist and loving every minute of it. Unfortunately, my original flute was stolen, but my parents made sure I got another one.

There were a couple other teachers in high school, and competitions gave me the opportunity to solo-perform against other musicians on a state and on a national level. Some times I would win, some times I would not. Good times!

There was a point where I wanted to audition for the Albany Symphony Orchestra, but when they told me I needed to bring my flute and my piccolo, my heart sank because I didn't own a piccolo.

This one happens to be my sister's flute. I asked her if she had one I could goof around with, and when she gave me the Armstrong, I couldn't help but think about the amazing times I had in my youth playing music in band class.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I'm not a reader

...but I am interested in reading the Word.

If you are like me and need a schedule to help you read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in 2009, I have just the site for you!

www.youversion.com is the place to go for just that very thing. They offer about 30 versions, a place to jot notes, ways to highlight and flag verses. It is really interactive and a resource worth checking out.

If you can get through 3-6 chapters a day, you can do it!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Clean slate

It is interesting to me how our minds make some days out to be much more important than other days. I'm not talking about events like a dinner party or a family vacation. I am talking about a day that has more meaning than the rest of the days of the year. New year's day is the day we all have a clean slate.

People are amazing. We are varying sizes, have different abilities, display different personalities. Different but yet all the same in a few areas. One of those areas is we all have a sense of hope and a need of purpose for our lives.

I read a cute little saying and shared it with some people a few weeks ago. ...... Yesterday is history..... Tomorrow's a mystery.... and today is a gift........ that's why it's called the present. Is that the way we see each day? As a gift to open and enjoy?

When you were, oh let's say 8 years old, that most likely was what each day was to you. An amazing number of hours to embrace and squeeze the life out of. There are highlighted moments that would come, like your birthday party, summer vacation, Christmas day. Life was pretty much about what you wanted and needed and could experience in your very young life.

This is not the way we can continue, of course, since life cannot continually revolve around our demands forever. My dad used to tell me, "you can't always have what you want", which at the time was an awful thing to hear, but as I grew up and understood life more, I could see that his statement was very true.

I listened to a message this morning about relationships. It gave basic points but they are worth repeating. In a nutshell: 1) I need to place my relationship with God first. That is the base of all things. 2) I need to put my relationship with myself next. Why? If I don't like me, I will not get along with others in a healthy way. I spend the most time with me, so I better learn to like who I am! 3) I need to place my relationship with others third. Spouse and then family and friends.
This order can easily get mixed up. We all have relationships. They need time given to them in order to be. If I am not getting much out of them, I should analyze my priorities. Then I should see how much effort I am giving to them. Healthy relationships. A good thing to remember for 2009.

Speaking of giving, what is the hope there? Giving time, energy, emotion, money, resources, or whatever else, has a personal attachment to it. We can't help it; it's there. Perhaps there is a hope of acceptance attached to it. Or the desire for a positive reply. Maybe the gift is a tangible way to display love, instead of the giving of time. Gifts can be wrapped with many conditions. God offers gifts to all - righteous or not. He shows the perfect example of giving and states to simply give and then it shall be given to you... It doesn't say when or by whom. Unconditional giving. A God thing to remember for 2009.

I really meant to keep this post short and kinda sweet. I trust you are reading my words as a positive progression. Summing up, the first day of any year is one of those meaningful days. We can't help but think we can clean our slate, make some resolutions to strive for and have hope for a better year, a better me. The cold hard fact is, hope takes its time. It is not instant. We can't be one way one day and, poof, become something different the next. We need to work at betterment. We cannot let the purpose go. Will there be failure? Most likely so. But the hope that our good God placed is in us can rise up each and every day to do its work. That is probably the most important thing to remember in 2009.

Happy New Year!