This CD is stuck in my CD player. Stuck there because I absolutely can’t get enough of it.

It’s “Becoming” by Christine Dente.

If the music world has a Rebecca Sower-esque artist…Christine is definitely it!


These are the common characteristics I find in the works of both these remarkable women.

Every single song on this album speaks straight to me. My heart on a disk. I’m especially partial to “Gotta Go Through” today. This lyric is brilliant:

Every day we take a chance
Learn a new step in the dance
Tripping together is better than falling apart.

Love that.
It’s good to know I have someone to trip along this path with.

Thanks, Christine.

Happy! Happy! Happy! Thou shalt be Happy!

What a day! or maybe more appropriately, what a morning! Last night I couldn't sleep. Around midnight I came down to my workspace to keep from disturbing Joal with my insomnia. I thought I'd stay a few minutes and them go back to bed. Ha!!!

At 4:55 AM - just before the sun and the sons began to rise, I finished up a slew of cards I have been working on and made myself go to bed.

It's funny how just doing things you love refreshes your soul.

Here's one of my cards, completed for the LaPluma Team Monthly Swap:

This card features LaPluma stamps and All My Memories paper. If you haven't checked out the LaPluma stamps...well, of course, you should. The Dial-a-Word stamp is too cool. Quick, very functional--and could serve as a weapon if needed! (Sorry. I know this is starting to sound like a commercial...)

Haven't seen the Dial-a-Word stamp?? Well try this on for size. Remember, a long time ago - just after the dinosaurs, before the libraries were computerized. The librarian actually used a date stamp to stamp the due date into the card that you signed your name too. (Yeah, that was the original use of library cards and pockets, before scrapbooking!) Well, that date stamp was adjustable. To change the date, you roll up the correct numbers on the band. The Dial-a-Word band stamp opperates on the same idea, only it's about ten times bigger!! Big! Big! Big! It can handle a phrase of up to 12 characters or spaces. See the words "Put on Your" on my card? Yep. You guessed it. Created that phrase using this big momma of a stamp!! (OK, advertisement over.) :)

PS. The little black discs separating the patterned paper from the pink paper are sequins, a trim I found at JoAnn. Black. Shiny. I wish the sparkle had come thru on the scan.

Ok, for real this time...back to my usual blogging.

Stamped a-l-o-t today. When one is on a creative just keeps on working. I realized today that I love a good juicy ink pad. So, I re-freshed (some call it re-inking) all my ink pads today. All four of them. (I really need to go shopping for some new ink colors.) I also found my Staz-On pad stashed away in a drawer of other things. Black of course. So tonight I am stamping on transparencies. Very cool! (I know. I'm behind the times a bit.)

Hey, can someone please tell me how to get Staz-On ink *off* my stamps?? or um, does it *Staz-On* the stamps too??

One other thing: I just want to say a thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post comments on my little blog lately. I love love love getting your comments, thoughts, jokes...heck, even a little criticism every now and again is ok too. Makes my day!

Have a happy morning!!


This n That

A fellow ribbon enthusiast with a cool way to enjoy them all the time... Check out Kelli Crowe.


Summer on a Stick

J is ecstatic!

Actually that’s probably an understatement but I can’t think of any word equal to the thrill he had today.

Our back yard backs up to another back yard/house. That house faces the “main drag” of our subdivision. While we can’t actually get to the street through their yard because of the fences, we can see the main street from our back yard. For weeks, the Singsong Ice Cream truck has come down the main street, playing its music and selling the most glorious summer treats. For weeks, every time the ice cream truck comes down main street, J hears the music and gets all excited. He comes bounding in the house to share the news, G hot on his heels.

“Mom, today’s gonna be the day. The ice cream truck is coming down our street!!”

“Ya think so?” (nevermind, the ice cream truck has not yet once ever come down our street)

“Do you have any cash?”

“Yeah, hold on.” (I go and get the $5 I’m hidden away for just such emergencies because it’s just my luck…the one day the ice cream truck magically appears on our street will be the day Mom doesn’t have any cash on hand…that would just be the worst!)

“Make sure you walk to the street and be sure to buy G something too.”


We have this conversation every single time we hear the music playing. I give him the money and he goes to sit on the front porch to wait (and, most likely, pray fervently).

My son is not known for his patience. In fact, he’s more often known for his lack of patience. But maybe it’s a lack of proper motivation because he will sit and wait on the front porch in hopes of the ice cream truck coming f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Seriously. I’ve had to force him to give up the vigil and come in at dark. Rain, sleet, hail, snow, darkness, tornado…takes more than unfavorable weather conditions to deter the hopes of a boy when it comes to ice cream.

So he waits.

And not once, this whole summer, has the beloved ice cream truck chosen to turn down our street.

Hopes have been dashed. Spirits plummet. Moping abounds. Nevermind that we have frozen yogurt in the freezer. There is no consolation for being neglected by the ice cream truck.

So yes, when we heard that famous music playing today, I was pretty skeptical. Even maybe a little perturbed. After all the times he’s been disappointed, I hate to see him go through this. I begrudgingly gave him the money and watched as he sat on the porch. My heart ached a bit. He’s so faithful.

I go about my business.

About ten minutes later I hear this incredible scream coming from the front porch. It’s followed closely by “Moooooooooom!!!!!!”

And that’s when I know. Today is *the* day.

Sure enough, the music has gotten louder than I’ve ever heard it before. J is off the porch and running full tilt down the driveway. Apparently he was listening when I said to walk, because about half way to the mailbox, he screeches to a halt for no apparent reason and looks back at me as he begins to walk ever-so-quickly towards the edge of our street.

The ice cream truck pulls up in front and stops. It takes a minute…then suddenly the windows fling open and a grandfatherly man with a smile the size of Dallas says “What can I get for ya, son?”

J eyes the treats shown on the board and points to the one he wants. The ice cream man hands him the treat (a chocolate and banana Bomb Pop) and takes his money.

Then J remembers his brother. “Greyson needs one of these.” he says.

The ice cream man gives him the other treat and his change.

He waves to me and closes up shop to move on down the road.

J brings the treasured ice cream treats back towards G and me. He’s wearing the biggest smile!! We go inside to gather up some napkins and a bowl for G.

The boys enjoy their ice cream at the picnic table in the back yard. It’s 90-something degrees outside today but neither seem to notice. They are laughing at each other as the try desperately not to allow a single drop of their fast-melting ice creams to go un-enjoyed.

Yep, ladies and gentlemen. That is the perfection of summer…right there on a stick and dripping down the elbows of two little boys!



For the record, THIS would be one...yes, just one of the many posts that sparked my enthusiam. However, posts along this line appear all the time. This was just one example.


The State of the {Scrapbooking} Union

As much as I love the message boards at 2Peas, I’m a little fumed right now. I see a trend in some posts there that is bothersome. Sure, some will say, “if you don’t like it, don’t read it”. And to a point, I agree. However, I have a long history as a pea and I think I’m entitled to rant a bit when I see things in my community that bother me. So here it is.

I do not understand the purpose of inherently negative threads regarding personal style. I am convinced that no good can come of a thread titled “I’m so sick of shabby chic” or “A list of overused phrases and themes”. I mean really.

Yes, 42 peas will agree that “shabby chic is definitely out” and “Gosh, I’m so tired of brown”. But really. How do you think these threads make shabby chic lovers feel about their work? Is this conversation productive to enhancing any ones creativity and enjoyment of the scrapping experience?

Have your opinion. Please. Have two if it makes you feel better. But please, why, why, why, must we tear down the personal preferences of others? No one is forcing shabby chic into your scrapbook…so why act like it’s a plague? Have your opinion and create with gusto! But where’s the good in hurting others in the process of spouting off??

Yes, you, my fellow peas, are entitled to your opinion about the alleged over-use of the word “Cherish” or “Dream”. You can claim that you will surely barf if you see one more layout titled “I Hope You Dance”. That’s fine. Go barf. Because the song is considered beautiful to many-a-talented-scrapper and somewhere along the way, you will undoubtedly be subjected to the torture of one more “I Hope You Dance” layout. Just try not to get it on the actual layout, please.

Shabby Chic is a style of scrapbooking. It’s a style that some people like. Just as fashions come and go, so is the waxing and waning of certain trends in the scrapbooking world. Ever heard that saying-- “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait ten minutes and it will change”? Yeah. Well the same should be said of scrapbooking. If you stick around this hobby very long, you’ll see this very clearly.

The wonderful thing about scrapbooking is that every scrapbooker is entitled to her (or his) own style.

If you love shabby chic, shmere (technical term) VDB ink on everything. (If you love shabby chic, you will already know what VDB stands for…) Throw in some clocks for good measure and don’t forget to crumple up that beautiful patterned paper. Paint it on then sand it off. Have a ball being your ripped up self!! Yay for your adventuresome style!

If shabby chic offends your sensibilities, no one is going to force you to make use of Van Dyke brown or add random skeleton keys or map paper to your layouts. Are you clean and graphic? More power to you! Be bold. Be stunning. Use Century Gothic and Black Jack on every page! Have a blast, my friend. Hey, you won’t have to wash your hands after a scrapping session.

Are you somewhere in between? Good for you! Have fun trying out lots of things!

Are you a sticker lover? Get stickin’ sweetie! You are the backbone of the scrapbook world! I hope your LSS appreciates you.

Are you known for your neons? Who Hoo! Have a brilliant time!

Are you a graduate of the Creative Memories school of thought? Well, yay for you! You’ll probably be done far before the rest of us!

My point is…it’s a big big scrapping world. There is plenty of room in it for all types and brands. Have your opinion. Use what you like! No one is going to force you to change a single thing about what you prefer for your own book.

But (there’s always a big ‘ol but somewhere, right) please-please-please can we choose to be generous when it comes to accepting what other people do in their scrapbook? What does it really cost you to *not* say “Egads, not another ‘Cherish’ layout…whattt was she thinking…those are so overdone?”

Really. Is this what we’ve become? A group of scrappers who can’t be tolerant and accepting of individual styles? A group of scrappers who can’t appreciate every style as that of an individual and value every layout as being important and cherished to it’s creator?? (Oh, darn. I used the “cherished” word.)

I just don’t think so.

I think we can do better. We are, after all, a creative bunch of Peas!

Moore Geoff...{yes, it's becoming a theme}

Brokeness and Self-Loathing Ahead...You've Been Warned!

This song sums up how I feel tonight. I hate being Diabetic. There. I said it. And typed it. I hate that it makes me different. I hate that it makes me feel ill and grumpy. I hate that in many ways it's my own fault. I hate that my family has had to adjust to compensate for this. I hate that I am having no luck in changing it. I hate that I have such little will-power and such terrible eating habits. I hate having needle tracks in the tips of my fingers. I hate that it never for one minute goes away. I hate that it sets such panic into the eyes of the man who loves me.

I'm entitled to complain. I walked on the treadmill at least one session every day this week--sometimes two. I have monitored what and when I eat very carefully all week. I have swallowed horse pills three times each day. And still the numbers betray me. Imperfections, indeed.

Love the One You Live In

Take a look in the mirror baby
You may not like what you see
Imperfections are running rampant
You’re not what you want to be
Your eyes just seem to wander
Everywhere you go
Your tongue is always speak
With a mind of its own
When you’re feeling out of control
Don’t ya know He’s planned it all so carefully
What you are, oh is
What He ment you to be

You gotta love the one you live in
That’s where it’s gotta begin
If you’re ever gonna know Him
Know Him, know Him
You gotta love the one you live in

It’s your brother standing over there
You know he needs your help
But you can never comfort him
Until you love yourself
No matter what failures come
Don’t you run
Until you see what He’s put there
And you’ll know how the Father really cares.

Gordon Kennedy, Geoff Moore and Billy Smiley
© 1985 Songs of Polygram International, Inc./Yellow Jacket Music Inc/BMI/ASCAP/ All rights reserved. Used by Permission. © 1986 Benson Music Group, Inc. Geoff Moore-Over the Edge (PWRO-PWO1080). Produced by Billy Smiley.


This could be become a problem...!

So, since I posted about the ribbon club, people have been sending me info on all the other ribbon clubs. Here's a list if you are interested:

Little Red Scrapbook (a TN based company)

Great Ball of Fiber

Perfect Ribbon

3 Scrappy Boys

Fibers By The Yard

Also Scrap Candy has a good selection as does Impress Rubber Stamps, although they don't offer clubs.

For exotic and beautiful, check out The Ribbon Jar and JCarolineCreative.

For larger quantities, dive in to JKM Ribbon.

(Check back here as I'll keep updating this post with additional ribbon sources.)


Does this remind you of anyone??


We saw Eeron Kinney's truck at the fire station last night and I remembered that I'd been thinking about blogging this story. I read this story and I get such chills. I watch Ladder 49 and I can't help but context it around my son and my brother. There's a mixture of pride and dred in my heart.

My youngest brother, Andy is at Kilgore Community College training to become a fireman. In a few weeks the classroom part of his training will be completed. Then what? Then he’ll be a fireman. My. little. brother.

The one with the flaming red hair and a heart the size of, well, Texas.

Okay, granted. He’s 19 and a great deal taller than me.

A fireman.

For the life of me, I can think of nothing coherent to say. My heart skips a beat and I really wish I didn’t know all I know about fire fighting.

And then I look at my son.

He’s 9. He became enamored of fire trucks at 3 and the passion has never relented. My Amazon wish list includes more than 30 books about firemen, fire engines, living in fire houses and exploring what fire fighters do. Mind you, these books are on our books-to-buy list because we’ve already borrowed them from the library and we *know* we like them. He remembers the locations of every fire station he’s ever passed by. Coloring and drawing are not his favorite activities unless there are fire trucks involved. Reading…fire and stop, drop and roll were some of the first words that he learned to read. The boy can spot a fire hydrant from miles away. If it happens to be in range, it would take several adults to restrain him from getting to it. We don’t even try any more.

It’s apparent to me that there’s something special there—something inside him that connects. As much as the motherly part of me would like to squish it and have him become a college professor or choose some other relatively safe vocation, I know I can’t.

People tell me “Oh all boys go thru this. It’ll pass.” But they don’t know the depths to which this passion already goes with him. Much like Eeron Kinney, it’s just something built into him.

I love this story of Eeron Kinney. I’m going to print it off and put it in J’s scrapbook.

I can't think of a witty or brilliant way to sum up how I feel about this. I can only hope and pray.


"Yeah, Baby, It's More Ribbon!"


The word makes my hear skip a beat. Ribbon is one of those deliciously girly things that I adore. It can go anywhere and can dress up absolutely anything.

In a previous lifetime (BC=before children) I was a floral designer in a craft and home décor store. During my time there, I developed a belief that “there is no such thing as ugly ribbon…just ribbon that hasn’t found its proper calling yet”.

So, given this pre-existing condition, you can understand my delight when I ran across a thread on 2Peas that mentioned the Really Reasonable Ribbon Club. (2Peas…the ultimate enabler!)

For the beautifully low price of $5.50 plus $1.50 for postage and handling, I can enjoy the magic of 10 to 20 yards of assorted ribbons arriving in my mailbox every single month. How awesome is that?!! Each month has a different theme.

May was a selection of summer brights seen above.

It included a total of about 15 yards from manufactureres such as Offray and May Arts.
Organza, grosgrain, awning strip, varigated, checks, and patterned.

In the ever-so-straight-to-the-point words of Tim McGraw, “I like it. I love it. I want some more of it!”

Ad Challenge #1

Recently, Creating Keepsakes Magazine began running a column by Faye Morrow Bell that I truly admire. It’s called “Idea Central”. In each article Faye shares a household item that she found inspiring and the multiple projects that she created using that item as a starting point. In the July issue, the item of inspiration was a very simple canvas wall hanging. From just this simple item, Faye was able to draw inspiration for design, texture and use of color. How cool is that?

So, while I’m certainly no FMB, I’d like to do this too. I have always been especially drawn to the design of magazine pages, usually advertisements. I’m posting this magazine advertisement that recently caught my eye as something that would also make an excellent scrapbook page. What do you think? Are you up for the challenge?

It's an ad for the GoldStrike Casino and Resort in Tunica, MS. Click here to see a larger version.

If you complete the challenge and want to share it, post it somewhere and put a link in the comments section.

Have fun!


Discussion...She Asked for Discussion

A PubPea whom I admire, Sherry Steveson, has posted a query on her blog that I think deserves some discussion. So discuss, we will…or rather, I will.

From Sherry’s Blog

Okay, so what I'd like to discuss (ehem.. tapping the podium) is the idea that a layout has to have these ALL STAR pictures... you know ameatur (sp?) photography that resembles something out of the pages of Architecture Digest to be publish worthy.


Don't we ALL want to see great layouts USING those not so great shots? I mean, didn't Ali E... the QUEEN of layout design publish a BOOK with photos from her childhood that weren't perfect?

So my question to you is.... what will it take for there to be REALISTIC layouts of realistic photos in the magazine. Is it just showboating and all fluff or is there ever a magazine willing to take a chance on printing layouts that aren't exactly "magazine" quality?

So, here are my humble thoughts on the issue of magazines publishing great layouts with less-than-fantastic photos.
In short, It’s probably not going to happen regularly. Here’s why I think that:

1—Magazines *sell* the idea that we can all make fantastic layouts and take fantastic photos and use fantastic products. They are banking on selling us that possibility. Just like Vogue and Cosmo are banking on selling us an image of a size 0 model in a skirt that costs $1,000…CK is selling a similar possibility. Even tho I haven’t spent a thousand dollars on my entire wardrobe stretched across the most recent ten years, (and probably won't start in the next ten years) I don’t buy Vogue to see what’s on the shelves at Target. I believe we have come to expect a certain level of impressiveness from our magazines and let’s face it, faded photos from the seventies just don’t impress and inspire like the stunning layouts featuring really good photos.

2—Technology (there’s the dreaded “T” word again) has made it so that those faded or damaged photos can be retouched and greatly improved by those of us without a college degree in photo restoration. With just a little practice an average scrapper can learn to scan, retouch, repair and re-size (and then print) less than stellar photos, creating beautiful masterpieces from what was once not. We want to submit our best work, right? So we fix those photos to make them acceptable.

3—Yes, we all have those less than perfect photos. Some of us, more than others. (Standing up, waving.) I think it’s important to remember that there are a lot of things scrappers do "in the privacy of their home-bound layouts" that magazines will never cover. Those rockin’ awesome Garden Girls that we all *heart* so much…they have bad photos too. Hall of Famers, Masters, Power Teammates…yep, them too, I bet. We all have them. We all scrap them. But just like there are topics that magazines won’t touch with a pair of archival gloves on, there are standards of quality that they need to hold the line on. However, just because certain things don’t appear in the magazines, does not mean we don’t have permission to scrap them! (Thank goodness.)

4—We must also remember that while we feel a certain friendliness towards the magazines we have come to love and admire (and desire a place inside), they are professional magazines run, for the most part, by people who were professionals in the magazine business before they got into the scrapbooking magazine business. They owe it to their profession to continue to raise the bar instead of accepting less than the best.

5—How many scrapbookers do you know who have improved their photography skills because they became scrapbookers? I know bunches. In fact, I am one. The scrapbooking magazines have taught amateur photographers a great deal about taking better photos. Just this month, there’s a cover article in Creating Keepsakes called “Perfect Portraits with Candice” in which Candice Stringham (this months Diva Dot) shares tips on getting better shots using a piece of foam core to use as an inexpensive reflector. (I won’t spoil the rest of the article…you have to read it on page 66, July 05 issue.) I know that taking better photos now doesn’t lessen the stack of less-than-desirables already waiting on you to scrap them, but it has improved future layouts, right?

6—Lastly, not every layout ever created should be published because having a LO published is supposed to be an honor. Being published in a magazine is a remarkable thing. It’s not easy to get published (as many of us know) and if it were, wouldn’t it be far less special? Not all of Ali’s layouts make it into the pages of CK…not everything Becky Higgins has touched has been published. The designs we see from the people who regularly contribute to the pages of our favorite magazines are just a fraction of all the work they do. By keeping the bar high, the magazines continue to inspire us to press on, to become more and more creative and to develop our own unique styles and habits.

So there’s my contribution to this discussion. I hope my desenting opinion is an additional spark in this discussion. It was interesting to think about this evening.

Oh yeah, I did forget to mention that while I don’t think it will be a trend that magazines give in to…I am encouraged to see the occasional article addressing these “problem” pictures and how to use them effectively. Small doses.

Thanks for reading.



--JLB, circa approx 1954

With all the love and admiration I have ever known,
I love you, Daddy.

I wish I could have been there today. Happy Father's Day, anyway.


School = Fun!!

One of the things I am enjoying about home schooling is that we discover new things together everyday. One of the biggest discoveries is that Julian will do anything for extra time to “do art”. Painting, clay sculpting, collag-ing and marker board time are his favorites.

He’s definitely a hands-on, experiential learner. Today he used lengths of Super Sculpey clay to “write” all sorts of things.

Greyson even got in on the clay action!

To further inspire his artistic explorations, we visited the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in downtown Nashville a few Fridays ago. He’s already asked to go back!


Ten Things I Wish I Had Known in High School

Another meme from this post on 2Peas.

circa 1990

10. It’s not all about the clothes.

9. Have some guts. Wallflowers rarely have fun. Make life easier on your younger siblings by giving your parents a little bit of a hard time once in a while.

8. Pink glasses may be cute on the shelf…but they are not cute on a fair-skinned young woman. They look like goggles.

7. When it comes to hair, bigger is not better. EVER.

6. That boy you have liked since the fifth grade…psst, he likes you too (but he won't tell you until the day before graduation).

5. When the oil pressure light of your best friend’s car comes on, stop driving immediately. PS. Immediately does not mean 5 miles down the road.

4. Get a job. You’ll be a happier person when you have a job.

3. It’s okay to be girly. Carry the purse. Buy as many shoes as possible. Don’t give in to too many pairs of jeans.

2. No one has a perfect life, no matter how they look on the outside.

1. You are talented and bright. Yes, you. Your life is what you make it. So make it.


Homeschoolers: Who ARE We? by Cathy Henderson

Homeschoolers: Who ARE We?

We are thin, we are fat, we are curved, we are straight. We come in all colors, all shapes and all sizes. We believe that One Size Fits No One.

We are married and single, separated, blended. We belong to small families, large families, extended families.

We live in the country, in the city, on farms, in suburbs, in apartments. Wherever we live, small people are there.

We are Christian, we are Pagan, we are Moslem, we are Atheist.

We have found the answers, we have found part of the answers, we are searching for the answers. And some of us have not yet figured out the questions.

We are college graduates, we are dropouts.

We are doctors, lawyers, mechanics and laborers.

We are capable. We are Professional Educational Facilitators.

We are THE experts for the small people in our family.

We are liberal or conservative or walk a road inbetween. We are Republicans and Democrats...or not...and libertarians to greater or lesser extent. Some of us don't vote at all and some of us feel by virtue of our increased awareness, we should be allowed to vote more than once!

We do not like government control of our lives. Some of us Do Not Like It and some of us DO NOT LIKE IT. Some of us do not believe that any entity should have that much power. Others believe only their Favorite Flavor should have that kind of power.

We have rejected the public school system for religious reasons or political reasons, or because our standards were higher, or because we value creativity, or because we were round pegs hammered into square holes.

Some of us rejected public school knowing we could do better, and some of us knew only that we could do no worse.
We have school at home, we deschool, we unschool. Some of us are passionately convinced that our method is not only the best but the only feasible method. Some of us change our methods weekly.

We are nervous, we are confused, we are confident, we are assured.

We read and read and read until one day, lo and behold, we are able to write the books we have been reading. We stop clinging so fiercely to those who have taught and supported us, and offer ourselves to those who are now turning to us, with a brief passing interval during which we ask ourselves the question"Why are they asking ME?"

We have been taught that "United we stand, divided we fall", and we have learned that Diverse does not have to equal Divided.

We have a foundation and that foundation must run the length and breadth. We must all make aconscious choice to stand upon it. For whatever our size, our flavor, our method, our value system, we believe that parents have the right to raise their children, and that right includes each and every educational decision. If we attempt to use any other tenet as our foundation, we will fall.

If we will not waver in that belief, if we will not dilute it with questions about the ability of people with orange-and-purple hair, or people who don't clean house to our standards, or people with no education, or people who do not share our religious or political beliefs, or our cultural values, or people who use other methods, then we will stand...diverse, but united.

©2001 Cathy Henderson


It's Time for Murphy to Go Away!

Why does “stuff” happen at the worst possible time? I don’t get it. I mean, here we are, walking peacefully along the path of life and b-o-o-m! Suddenly, it all breaks loose.

What causes this stuff?

What did I do?

In just the past few days, the red Jeep got sick, the clothes washer went on strike and the refrigerator has declared it’s about to go for an extended vacation. Did I mention the white Jeep’s AC decided to be uncooperative during the first really hot week of the summer?

Oh yeah, and I was so sick that Joal had to be off from work for four days last week.

Granted. Nothing on this list is earth-shattering. In the scheme of things, these are issues but not big deals. I just can’t help but wonder, why does it all happen at one time??

What did I do?


Feeling Rachel Ray-ish!

Rachel Ray is the coolest chick on the planet. Or at least I think so.

She’s the star of 30 Minute Meals on the Food Network. She cooks complete meals inside 30 minutes, including two commercial breaks. I told you, she is remarkable.

From what I can tell, there are a few keys to cooking quick:
--Have a trash bowl in your work space.
--Have a small kitchen with the workspace right next to the stovetop.
--Get it all out at once instead of making 6 trips to the cabinets.
--Prep (wash and process) fresh foods before putting them into the frig.

Basically, it’s all about saving yourself some steps. I’m all for that.

A few weeks ago, Joal and I discovered a taste for stuffed green peppers. He picked up 2 ready-to-cook stuffed pepper halves from our favorite meat market and brought them home. We enjoyed them and I decided it would be fun to make more. Tonight I made 6 stuffed pepper halves for lunch tomorrow and I must say…I’m feeling quite Rachel Ray-ish!

Here’s my recipe:

½ cup of Italian bread crumbs
½ a small Vidalia, finely chopped
half a spoon of minced garlic
a heaping spoon of Italian seasoning
an egg

Mix all of the above together.
Wash and slice 3 large green bell peppers, top to bottom. Clean out insides.
Combine seasonings with one pound ground turkey. Use your fingers. It’s fun and squishy!

Very gently, stuff small amounts of the meat/seasoning mixture into the crevices of the pepper halves. Repeat until the pepper is filled.

When you are ready to cook, place stuffed peppers in a glass dish. Cover with foil and cook at 350 degrees for about an hour or until meat is done.

Top with Parmesan cheese before serving.


Adventures in Aisle 6!!

Going to the grocery store can be an adventure. Did you know that? (Yes, it's official. I need to get a life.)

Once in a blue moon, I wait to do my grocery shopping until late in the evening, after the boys are gone to bed. I can go alone (leaving sleeping boys with DH)…it’s peaceful and less crowded, because, let’s face it, the grocery store is not the hip place to be at 9 o’clock on Saturday night.

But an adventure, nevertheless.

I enjoy it because I can explore the aisles, looking at things I don’t usually buy. I get sucked into the ethnic foods aisle and usually the spices aisle. Tonight I read some of those recipe cards in the produce section. I read labels in the soup section for at least ten minutes. (No, there is no such thing as a really healthy cream-based canned or jarred soup.) Sheepishly, I’ll admit to lingering a little longer than normal in the area of the magazines. I rarely buy magazines but tonight I browsed a bit thru a few home décor issues. I resisted the urge to place Martha Stewart Livings in front of some of the issues with risqué covers...I’ve always wanted to do that.

It’s less expensive for me to shop alone. Gee, there’s a surprise. No little people asking for faux fruit things, character cereal or boxed juices. No fathers buying frozen yogurt.

To some it might seem odd that one would take such pleasure in two leisurely hours spent exploring the aisles of Publix…but I rather liked it.

Cuts Like Butter, I Tell Ya.

If you have a reason to cut out un-mounted rubber stamps, you simply must acquire a pair of Kai Scissors. Oh my goodness! They cut rubber like it was butter. Trying to cut rubber with regular scissors is about like using a hack saw on your hair. The results are just not good.


Don’t cut rubber without them.

Incidentally, none of the stores in this area carry Kai and I was surprised at this. Even the ones that carry un-mounted rubber sheets regularly didn’t have them. (They sell for about $20. If you need a source, let me know.)


It's All Geoff Moore's Fault

There’s a meme going around that encourages writing about your first concert. I have a twist on that, with a story to share. (Sorry…apparently, this story-telling thing is becoming a habit with me…)

The first concert I ever attended was Geoff Moore and the Distance, circa 1988. It was held in a way-too-packed out high school gym and it was h-o-t…Jackson, Mississippi in the summer…you get the picture. It's one of those things you had to be really young to enjoy--and I was barely 17. I went with a friend (the woman who would later earn the title of “my danger buddy” but the reasons behind that are probably better left un-shared). To be honest, I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember feeling f-e-e-l-i-n-g the drums reverberating deeply through my chest when GM&D played “A Place to Stand” and being struck by the power of “Go to the Moon?”. 

I arrived late to the "crank it up loud" party of Dad was having none of that. In the heat, in a modest high school gym, I became a girl who loves to feel something from the music she loves. I had never known that sensation before and I was hooked. Instantly.

Geoff Moore and the Distance

Something happened to me that night. I became a huge fan of the band--and the man and I have followed his career for nigh, 16 years now. In fact, GM takes up more space on my CD shelf than any other artist. Geoff Moore & the Distance found a moderate amount of success in Christian music thru the 90’s. I have seen him several times thru those years and am always impressed. His thoughtfulness and artistry always amazes. He writes about life and love and grace and the important things.

In 2002 GM released an independent album without “the Distance”. It was different but still very “Geoff”. Guitars, thoughtful lyrics, gritty vocals…it’s all still there, just like in the old days, with some of that slightly aging rocker thrown in for good measure.

But wait, there’s more to this story.

In a way, it was Geoff Moore who brought Joal and I together. 
Well, ok, not the man himself, but one of his concert t-shirts.

Fast-forward to 1990. 

August 28 to be exact. 
Joal and I were brand spanking new college freshmen.
Eighteen years old.
Two members of the freshman class of 21 total freshmen--but if our class had included 2000 people, it wouldn't have mattered. He was tall and handsome, outspoken and bold, and I would have found him anyway.

During the orientation sessions, on the second morning, I noticed him.
During lunch, I noticed his shirt. A Geoff Moore and the Distance t-shirt.

Ahh, something familiar. 

He couldn’t be all bad…he’s wearing a GM&D shirt. 
(Shows ya what I knew at 18...that boy was all bad.)

Following lunch, standing in the chapel of our very tiny college, he turned to me.

“Hi, I’m Joal.” he said.

“I like your shirt.” I said.

And I’m pretty sure my entire life--from that day to this--was never the same.

At some point, I must have told him my name but no one remembers that now. It was all about the boy and the shirt and good music and soulfulness. Funny how that all works together.

So yeah, I'm kindof fond of Geoff Moore and that ratty old t-shirt that still hangs in the back of Joal's closet.