Sunday, July 30, 2006

Random Bits and Pieces

So, I've basically taken the last week off. :-) I mean, I was still Mommy and did laundry and made meals and such, but that's about it. After running in and out of town for most of July, I needed a week to decompress and just be. The phone hardly rang, I didn't have the car from Monday-Wednesday so we were home a lot, and then Friday, Travis had the day off and we just hung out at home most of Friday and Saturday with him. (The day off was because we thought he would need the time to recover from having his top two wisdom teeth taken out on Thursday afternoon. However, it was a ridiculously quick procedure and he really didn't even have much pain.) That said, the week included playing in the kiddie pool, baking a batch of bread, having the neice and nephew over on Monday, watching Yours, Mine, and Ours with Travis on a "school night" and such. I've been pondering some things and though I haven't settled any on any conclusions here are a few nuggets that have been rolling in my head:

  • I don't know if I've ever noticed this verse before, but I read it in a book my husband bought me to read and it jumped off the page:
    We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20

  • That verse ties into this statement:
    [We are] ambassador families for Christ, our home country is the kingdom of God. We identify thoroughly with the customs, values, and policies of this unseen monarchy. Yet we also seek to understand the place where we're temporarily posted - a place that's as foreign and challenging as Vietnam was to Americans, if not more so. Our call as ambassadors is to further the purposes of our King in the world of pop culture. Our call as parents is to train the foreign service recruits under our management - our children.
    From the book, Ambassador Families: Equipping Your Kids to Engage Popular Culture by Mitali Perkins
  • Do I live like my home country is the kingdom of God? Not even just living like it, but do I even REALIZE that my true home country is the kingdom of God. I love the sound of the word "ambassador" and the thought of being an ambassador for Christ. Going to explore this more.
  • Joy. Biblical joy. It's hard for me to get a handle on. This was week 4 in my Living Beyond Yourself study ... and yes, I'm way behind where I should be for the summer. (My goal is to finish this in August ... 6 more weeks of homework to go). The last point Beth Moore made in the study was that "joy is the result of relating God's way to God's people" or just the plain fact that we (the body of believers) are to be catalysts of joy for one another and that God did not leave us on earth to be loners. I admit, I tend to pull in rather than reach out. Hmmm.
  • And as something funny, N1's new favorite movie is "Me-guy-yi-yi Stew." Guesses anyone? I didn't think so. It has taken me about three weeks to figure it out, but what she is saying is "Augustus Gloop" a.k.a. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She cannot get enough of the Oompa-Loompa dancing and is working on her version of the routines. Quite amusing.
  • Friday, July 28, 2006

    The Bloggy Tour of Homes!

    A peek inside our humble abode ... some of it is picked up and some not. :-)



    This is my blogging/scrapbooking/working area ... if you click on the picture you can see little notes and descriptions on my Flickr.



    My very small kitchen. :-)





    Our big room ... everything happens in here. Kid's playroom, my desk area, the TV, general hangout area.



    And for my bonus picture ... our front room. We just finished moving all my husband's office-y stuff in here. He's starting seminary classes this fall and will need a spot to study where he can shut the door when he needs quiet. We had to redo the electricity in the room - our house is old and none of the outlets were grounded ... bad news for having lots of computer and music equipment in there. We know have something like 48 outlets in the room. :-)



    Thanks to BooMama for hosting this fun event! I'm looking forward to making the tour this weekend and visiting you all! :-)

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Works for Me Wednesday, 7/26

    First of all, I want to say a HUGE thank you to whoever posted the tip about making your own net for your children's stuffed animals - two hooks and a yard of pink fabric I had laying around the house and presto! A toy net for some of our stuffed animals! Thank you to whoever you are! *muah*


    Hosted by Shannon @ Rocks in My Dryer


    This is a little trick I learned several years ago. My church started a women's Bible study for those of us that were single and working that met at Cracker Barrel at 6 a.m. (Yawn!) We would get breakfast and study the Word and I have wonderful memories of that time. (I'm now in the daytime study since Cracker Barrel doesn't provide child care ... what's with that?!) :-) Anyway, we soon learned that it was tricky to find room for a Bible, study book, coffee, and breakfast all in your little 12-inch square of table alotted to you. At the time, we were doing a lot of Beth Moore's studies, such as this one:



    These books take up quite a bit of room and don't ever seem to lay flat. What I did was this:



    I spiral bound the study at my local kinko's for a mere $4-5. This way, the study book would either lay flat, or I could flip it over and it was half the size. A much easier way to manage it. For any lefties, it also makes it much easier to write in your notebook when it lays flat and your left hand is not continually fighting the binding. (All lefties can surely sympathize!) :-) Even though I have left the "Cracker Barrel" study I continue to spiral bind my studies ... it is less to have to balence in your lap when at group and you don't have a table in front of you to pile book on Bible on. And again, journalling in it when it is laying flat is so much easier.

    It works for me. :-)

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Everyday Things


    "...For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Philippians 4:11
    Brought to you by Everyday Mommy


    Today my contentment lies in a little bit of comfort food that is actually good for you! Eggs are standard breakfast fare, and have been ever since I was a little girl. From the "Egg McJerry" I ate growing up, which was my Dad's knock-off of McDonald's Egg McMuffin ... to egg sandwiches (yum!) ... to my standard Cracker Barrel order of "eggs-in-a-basket." (Two eggs cooked inside two pieces of their yummy sourdough toast). Now that I am back on board with trying to aggressively lose some baby weight, it doesn't take me long to scramble a couple eggs in the morning and toss them into a tortilla for a quick breakfast that is good for me and I don't get hungry two hours later. I'm also pretty fond of them because they are cheap. I can buy three dozen for just a couple dollars at our local Sam's Club, and for me, that's a good investment when I can get something good for me, that N1 will eat, and that we can eat any meal of the day. It may sound silly, but they are a constant in my fridge ... I know I can provide for my family well if I just have some eggs around. :-)

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Happy Birthday

    Go and visit my sister and wish her Happy Birthday today (Friday)! Here are a few pics to help her relive some of her past as we celebrate! :-)

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


    Happy Birthday Kathy!!!


    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Thursday Thirteen



    Thirteen things that I need to do today, in no particular order!

    1. Put the sheets on N1's bed ... they are clean and in the dryer.

    2. Take N1 to her gymnastic class!

    3. Finish packing up two boxes of baby clothes (one N1 size and one N2 size) for storage in the attic.

    4. Compile one master to-do list from the several short and random to-do lists that I keep starting.

    5. Send out a church email about the work day next Saturday.

    6. Layout and print the church bulletin, prayer list, and sermon outline for this week!

    7. Wash diapers.

    8. Figure out a plan for dinner.

    9. Seriously clean and organize my computer/scrap/work desk.

    10. Get out my Living Beyond Yourself study and see where I'm at and COMMIT to finishing it!

    11. Cuddle N2. :-)

    12. Be silly with N1. :-)

    13. Oh yes, the husband ... pick him up from work with two happy girls later today and hang out with him this evening!

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Works for Me Wednesday, 7/19


    Click the banner above for more great WFMW tips!


    In my spare time (which has dwindled with two little girls!), I like to create personalized stationary for gifts. It makes an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift that you can taylor to each individual. One of my favorite things to make are personalized notepads. They are super easy - the hardest part is usually figuring out how to personalize it because there are too many cute options. :-) I use plain old 8 1/2 x 11 paper and, in Wordperfect, set up a 2 column document. Then I can import a graphic, add lines to the page if I want to, and further personalize it with the person's name or favorite Bible verse. Then, after printing your pad, you cut the pad in half and get two notepads. The next step is the secret to making cute notepads. You need to have a substance called "padding compound" - usually can be picked up from a print shop or high-end paper distributor. After you have printed your paper and got it cut to the right size, you need a piece of chipboard (the cardboard backing that is on the back of a notepad). Take your piece of chipboard and your paper and make sure they are stacked very neatly and evenly - you want it lined up as best you can. Then, I put it between two heavy books that I don't care get a little goopy - usually a couple phone books - with the pad of paper lined up with the edge of the book. You then take your padding compound and smear it all over the edges of your pad (on one side). Leave it to dry for 6-8 hours and - presto! - you have created your very own notepad. :-) Warning: these do get a little addictive when you start making them and you might feel the need to have a different customized pad of paper for any occasion! :-) They work for me!

    Some examples:





    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Not a big surprise...

    I am nerdier than 43% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

    Hi there

  • No time to write.
  • So much to say.
  • House is a WRECK.
  • I have nephew and neice today. (Okay that kinda rhymed). :-)
  • Fun things ahead.
  • A couple baby shower happening here this Saturday nice, hence the need for serious cleaning.
  • Especially since we just got back from our youth trip to Mississippi.
  • Oh.My.Word. was it ever hot. Unbearable. Miserable.
  • And we slept in tents for two nights. With the baby.
  • You can see pics of our trip here.
  • Working on a few Punkin' Press jobs.
  • Trying to catch up on church work, too.
  • More soon.
  • Oh, and check out the Bloggy Tour of Homes at BooMama's set for next Friday. How fun!!
  • A meme to get you by with ... found at Joy's. :-)

    3 Things That Scare Me:
    1. Something happening to one of my girls
    2. Someone jumping out and yelling "boo!" I startle VERY easily!
    3. Scary horror movies

    3 People/Things That Make Me Laugh:
    1. Old episodes of Friends when I used to watch them
    2. N1
    3. The Mitford books ... they are such real characters!

    3 Things I Love:
    1. My family
    2. Winter/cold weather
    3. Diet Coke

    3 Things I Hate:
    1. Talking behind people's back
    2. Bugs
    3. Not sleeping in my own bed

    3 Things I Don't Understand:
    1. Soveriegnty of God, but am so thankful for it
    2. Natural disasters ... or, just how powerful nature can be (just got back from a trip to the Gulf coast and witnessed Katrina's destruction almost a year later. It was overwhelming.)
    3. Children that get sick.

    3 Things On My Desk:
    1. Lots of pens :)
    2. My laptop
    3. Pictures

    3 Things I Want to Do Before I Die:
    1. Watch my kids grow up
    2. Read the Bible front to back
    3. Have a screened in porch and a rocking chair :)

    3 Things I Can Do:
    1. Write neatly
    2. Make pretty good homemade pizza
    3. Avoid talking on the telephone :)

    3 Ways to Describe My Personality:
    1. Introverted
    2. Stubborn
    3. Emotional

    3 Things I Can't Do:
    1. Knit or Crochet
    2. Much of anything right-handed
    3. Play basketball

    3 Things I Think You Should Listen To:
    1. Classical Music ... it's good for your brain
    2. Chris Tomlin's Arriving
    3. The Word of God!

    3 Absolute Favorite Foods:
    1. Lately, my stir fry
    2. Mexican food
    3. Popcorn ... I could eat this every night as a snack

    3 Things I'd Like to Learn:
    1. HTML, or at least how to do it better
    2. Spanish
    3. How to teach a Bible study

    3 Beverages I Like:
    1. Diet Coke
    2. Unsweet iced tea (with sweetner, just not sugar)
    3. Diet Coke

    3 Shows I Watched as a Kid:
    1. Murder, She Wrote
    2. Cosby Show
    3. Scarecrow and Mrs. King
  • Monday, July 17, 2006







    Which Anne of Green Gables character are you?




    You are most like Anne Shirley. You love to day dream, read romance novels, and TALK! Yet, you are starving for love and attention, that is, till you come to Green Gables and meet Matthew, Marilla, and Mrs. Lynde.
    Take this quiz!








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    Join

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    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

    Works for Me Wednesday, 7/12


    Hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer


    Please don't hate me. I'm going to throw out a WFMW that relates to scrapbooking. :-) This is not a suggestion meant to overwhelm you or freak anyone out ... just a way to save a few memories along the way. And, trust me, it's EASY. :-) When I had my first daughter I wanted to make sure that I would remember certain things spoken - the first word, each funny mispronounciation, that she said. So I created a little notebook just for that purpose. It's called "Noteable Noelle" and I periodically update this as the spirit leads. :-)



    Sorry this is fuzzy...




    Whenever N1 says something that I want to remember, I jot it down on a post-it note, and stick it in my planner. Then, when I have a moment to scrapbook, I can pull out my post-it(s), and make a page. This is what each page looks like - a photo on the top (generally just a random pic) and then a block of text I have typed on my computer. I decided to use the computer for this little album and have a WordPerfect document saved with my text box already sized correctly, and the font selected. All I have to do is pull up the file, fill in the box, print, and cut out the square to paste in my album.

    DSC_1841


    Totally simple. But, you could do this with ANY notebook, with or without pictures, or even your blog ... what I think is important is remembering. And not just so that you can say down the road, "I wrote down every cute thing that my child ever said and documented it perfectly with just the right embellishments ..." because I can't say that either. :-) But I want to remember how she used to call her juice "Foo" and Cinderella was "Qwella" or anything that she can twirl in is referred to as a "dancin' dress" (or "dancin' jammies" if they are for nighttime wear). :-) This is easy and works for me!

    Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    Just for fun...

    We did a 4th of July photo shoot with N2 over at my parents' house. My Dad had all his photography equipment set up so we took advantage of it. The best pic is posted here, but here are a few other favorites from the shoot...







    She really can't sit up yet by herself, but is well propped in these photos! :-)

    Tackle it Tuesday



    Today I tackled one of my cabinets in the kitchen, specifically the one where all the pots and pans and serving bowls go. It has been a nightmare for several months and getting anything out, usually involved scooting everything around and making an even bigger mess.

    Before



    After
    Which included pulling everything out, wiping down the cabinets in there (eeeewww), and even pitching a few things!



    Much better!

    (And, as a side note, I really wanted to thank Meredith and Kristen for their sweet comments yesterday. :-) Y'all were very encouraging and I really do appreciate it!)

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    Monday's Outlook

    Dana had a great post this morning on Mondays. In general, that's how I always feel ... I love Mondays. It's my day to get organized, do laundry, plan for our week, and on and on. But this morning, I am waking up about as grey inside as the weather is outside. I'm so tired. I know this is the phase of life that I'm in, and I hate even getting down about it, but I have been for the last week or so. I'm exhausted. My sleep is interrupted at night still, and, the days where I do try to nap with the girls, I have the hardest time getting them to go down at the same time (... or truthfully, one 2 year old fights going down enough that she doesn't fall asleep until right with the little one wakes up). I miss getting up before everyone and having a few minutes to clear my head and get the right head and heart focus for my day. But it's just not happening.

    We leave again this week on Thursday to take some of our youth group to Biloxi, MS for some hurricane relief efforts. N1 will be going to Grandma's and N2 will be going with us. I don't expect that I will be doing lots of relief work since I have the baby ... more like the designated photographer, Gatorate-getter, and chauffer. I'm a little stressed taking the baby when I don't really know what the sleeping arrangements will be like, and my milk has been acting funny lately. I worry about her being fussy and keeping folks up at night (or waking them up). Hopefully the youth girls I'll be sleeping by will be so tired they won't hear her! :-)

    Anyway, I'm just under the pile. I'm ready to start working on losing this baby weight, but as soon as I start thinking about calories, counting points, or any of that stuff, my milk starts to dry up. I went out for the first time on Saturday night with a few friends without taking either girlie with me and that was a nice treat ... but instead of being thankful for that, I'm wanting time alone. Not alone with friends, but real alone. Just me, a cup of coffee and a bookstore ... something like that. To tell you the truth, alone at home just isn't the same when I can still see the work on my desk that needs doing, or know about the laundry or cleaning that awaits me when I get up.

    Okay, all done. I'm going to go get a cup of coffee, read a few blogs, and when N1 is done watching Sesame Street, we are going to clean up the family room and stuff like that, with a little play time mixed in there. :-) It's a carless day today so we get to be home all day. I have black beans cooking in the crockpot (yum!), fresh homegrown squash given to us from a church family to cook today, and some real, snail-mail letters to write this afternoon. It is gonna be a good day! God is good ALL THE TIME. :-)

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Succulent Sunday


    Hosted by Reformed Mama


    I love Chinese food. Love. It. But our budget doesn't love getting it very often as it can really add up when you buy dinner for two (who, of course, want two different entres) and a couple egg rolls. I found this recipe from Weight Watchers and it does the trick for me when I need a Chinese food fix that doesn't break the budget.

    Szechuan Chicken with Peanuts

    1 lb. skinnless boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
    3 T. hoisin sauce
    2 T. cornstarch
    1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    2 T. rice vinegar
    2 T. sugar
    2 t. chili-garlic sauce
    1 T. canola oil
    1 T. minced peeled fresh ginger (I've used powdered in a pinch)
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    2 medium carrots, thinly sliced on a diagonal
    1/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
    (I've also added extra vegetables at the same time that I add the bell pepper and carrots to the recipe, like broccoli, snap peas, red bell peppers, etc. to up the veggies in the dish)

    Combine the chicken, 1 T. of the hoisin sauce, and 1 T. of the cornstarch in a medium bowl; toss well to coat and set aside. Combine the remaining 2 T. of hoisin sauce, 1 T. cornstarch, the broth, vinegar, sugar and chili-garlic sauce in a small bowl; set aside.

    Heat a nonstick wok or a large deep skillet over medium high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Swirl in the oil, then add the chicken. Stir fry until almost cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic; stir-fry until fragrant; about 15 seconds. Add the bell pepper, carrots and peanuts; stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the hoisin sauce mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, and the chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.


    This is a surprisingly fast recipe to mix together and make and that's saying something with two little girls that do not like Mama spending lots of time making dinner when there are toys to be played with. :-) Enjoy, and let me know if you try it!

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Everyday Things


    "...For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Philippians 4:11
    Brought to you by Everyday Mommy


    When I do it I'm always glad I did. It's just getting up and out the door that gets me everytime. :-) This morning I took my girls to the park. We loaded up the double stroller with Teddy Grahams and juice and headed out. There is an elementary school just a hop, skip and a jump away from our home so that's where we went. N1 was in heaven. I pushed her on the swing until my arm couldn't take it anymore. Then we came over to the blanket where N2 was and had a little snack. I introduced her to those Keebler crackers with the spreadable cheese ... every child eats those growing up. :-) Then she and Baa went and slid down the slide. She would put Baa at the top and slide him down and then she would ask him if he was okay ... just making sure he didn't get too beat up in the mulch at the bottom of the slide. Then she would come down, dust her best buddy off and off they would go again.

    While going to the park is not at the top of my favorite things to do (hot, bugs, hot, sweaty, hot), it was such a fun time with the girls. And, since I didn't have a car today, I'm so thankful that there is a great little playground not far from my house that we can walk to when we really need to get out and burn some energy. Everyday simple things like taking your children to the park ... what a blessing and memory that I will treasure, even when they are too old for me to push on the swing.

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    5 Things

    Found at AJ's. :-)

    5 Things in my Refrigerator:
    1. Decaf iced tea
    2. Black cherry yogurt, lite (my favorite flavor!)
    3. Cherries ... yum!
    4. Minute Maid Cherry Limade (Travis' drink choice from the grocery store last night)
    5. Leftover lentils w/ brown rice

    5 Things in My Closet:
    1. Purses I can't bear to part from
    2. A bouncy seat I'm saving to share with a friend
    3. A box of old journals
    4. Clothes that don't fit
    5. Some clothes that do

    5 Things in My Purse:
    1. Back-up pacifiers
    2. Address book
    3. An assortment of writing instruments
    4. Carmex
    5. Tide pen

    5 Things in My Car:
    1. Veggie Tales CD
    2. Sesame Street's Platnium hits
    3. Aaron Shust's CD
    4. 2 car seats
    5. My keys to our church

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Works for Me Wednesday


    Complements of Shannon @ Rocks in My Dryer


    My 2 1/2 year old is fascinated with the computer ... probably because her Daddy and I are as well. :-) Without wanting to invest in computer games and such at such an early age, and also using the computer as another babysitter like the TV, we've found one resource that has been great for letting her play on the computer, it's completely free, and we have to be there to help her and play with her. Sesame Street's website is GREAT - on the website, they have computer games of all kids. Two of them, N1 could play by herself - they are keyboard games where all she has to do is press a key and Elmo or some other character says a letter of the alphabet. If we are there to sit with her (as we are usually), we can play letter-find games, matching games, sorting games, etc.

    A great FREE resource that has worked well for us!

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    Happy Independence Day



    Home from vacation, and so very tired. :-) Lots o' laundry, going through vacation pictures (plenty to come!), and re-entry into our normal routine with the girls. Hope everyone had a wonderful fourth of July! We have spent the day hanging around the house for the most part and just rested. (Noelle actually came and told me she was going to bed about an hour early ... still catching up on late nights with our relatives!)