A Slight Change

FYI: We are no longer doing the anon comment thing. You all know me and it's not fair that I don't know you. From this point forward, you can only comment on my blog if you have a registered google account and you are signed in. I own what I write--so should you. This keeps us responsible, don't you think?

It takes just a few minutes to set up a free hotmail/yahoo/gmail account for your public internet activities such as blog commenting or message board usage that will allow you some protection against spam without leaving me totally in the dark.

If you don't want to participate in this way, you can always email me privately.

Happy Friday.



If you've been hanging around here very often, you will understand the tidbit of irony of this next statement:

This was in my stocking!
And it's wonderful!

Happy Thursday!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! This is our card's lighted (in case you can't see). I love that we got so many photo cards this year, but actually, all cards make me happy. Christmas cards are so special to me.

I finally found something to do with all the "fiber" I have - make fluffy, tassle-like ornaments! I made about 7 of these and used up a good bit ofthe fiber stash. I can imagine if they were made using several different kinds of fibers...maybe some pretty would those be? (Idea for next year?)

The red ornaments suspended in my kitchen windows were my favorite new-addition to the Christmas decor this year. I used crushed velvet ribbon to hang them. Then there was this simple small wreath with green satin bow. I fell in love with that fancy ribbon at the textile store. Love it.


Just a few questions...

In light of the Christmas spirit, I have a few questions.

a-Is it wrong to prefer eating the crust off the Honeybaked Ham and not the actual ham? (I hope not.)

b-Is it cheap or immoral to put the gazillion batteries that you know your kid's presents are going to need in the stockings from Santa?

c-What does it say about you if you prefer to get a bunch of small presents over one or two really outstanding ones?

d-Does anyone know if I actually mailed my in-laws Christmas card or not? They are coming to our house for Christmas...but I can't remember if I mailed their usual card and photos or not.

e-Does it bug you when the "to/from" tag on a gift doesn't match the wrapping paper. It sends me over the edge.

f-Why do people (read "I") forget that Christmas comes at the same time every single year?

g-What do department stores do with their Christmas decorations and signage after the holidays? There are a few pieces of delightful decor from Macy's that I would love to have. They are plaid wooden dimensional trees...really sweet.

Happy Sunday!


Owls from Ebay...whoo knew?

I happened to run across this owl stamp on ebay...I have no use for it whatsoever...but isn't it cute?


Christmas Picture a Day - Day 3

Remember those gift card tins that I found at the grocery? I added a ribbon and made it an ornament, but come to think of it, it would make a cool spot to hide a small gift or letter right in plain sight.


Christmas Picture a Day - Day 2

So these are our stockings - a mishmash group of old, new and recycled.

The crocheted one on the left (red, white and blue) is Joal's. He's had it since he was a wee thing.

The white one is mine. It's soft and velvety.

The next one is a felt one with a Christmas tree and lots of balls--it's Julian's. He loves the little pom pom balls.

The snowman one is Grey's. Julian picked it out for him the Christmas before Grey was born. Someday, we'll let G pick a new one.

The other two are hanging there in anticipation of Gram and Popa (aka Big Boss), who will be spending Christmas at our house this year.

And yes, that's the world's ugliest fireplace cover. And no we've never used the fireplace. It's for looks only.

Is your Mercy showing?

God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

In this time of the year when so many people seem stretched and stressed and short-tempered and short-handed and in a hurry and only to be thinking of your mercy showing? Are you capable of choosing to rise above it all and show mercy generously?

Lord, help me to more capable of seeing beyond myself in the way that I show mercy to others.


A Christmas Picture a Day - Day One

Christmas Picture A Day
I intended to start this back on December 1...but got sick so, I'm a little late.
Do you know what I love about this picture? That green ribbon. Why? Because it's there for a reason. Soon after we put up the nativity, the green ribbon appeared on the baby Jesus figure. I asked around to find out why the baby Jesus is wearing green ribbons. I found out the answer from Greyson:
"The baby Jesus was cold. He doesn't have much clothes on. He needed a blanket."
Seems fitting to me...I think two scraps of green ribbon just became a new and permanant part of our nativity.
Happy Tuesday.


Wreaths Finally and Bar b Que

Every year I hang a green wreath on each window across the front of my house. This year, my wreaths were in need of new bows so the process--which normally happens the Friday after Thanksgiving--was delayed until today.

I finally went last night to find ribbon, crossing my fingers it wasn't too late. With some luck, I found this extra wide red satin-like all-weather ribbon with gold wire-edging at Joann's. The roll of 50 feet was only $5. Incidentally, I really hate it when ribbon companies specify ribbon lengths in feet but I guess it sounds like you are getting more to say "50 feet" rather than 16.66 yards. Anyway. I managed to get all 6 bows done from one roll and I bought an extra for the mailbox, the doors and anything left will go on our tree.

Speaking of the tree, it's up and has lights, thanks to Joal. It's been up for more than a week but I've been so spazzed out over making cards, I haven't done a thing to it. The cards just didn't want to come together this time.

The tree is tall and regal and I inhale deeply every time I walk past it. That smell is so "Christmas" to me.

Tonight I'm taking a break from the cards and pulling out my snowflake tree goodies. The boys are all sleeping, there's music playing, and I'm glittery with snowflakes and making little bows for my little tree. Happiness, I tell you. This is it. :)

In other news, I made some Bar b Que in the slow-cooker on Thursday for the party tonight and from all accounts, it was good stuff. Thought I would write down the recipe that I kindof made up from watching some shows on the Food Network and combining some ideas.

From the meat counter buy 5-6 pounds of beef potroast. (Don't worry about size.)

Other ingredients:

1 yellow onion, chopped finely

1 large container of beef broth

6 stalks of celery, chopped finely

1 package of Lipton's Beefy Onion Soup Mix

a generous handful of Emeril's Essence seasonings

2 bottles of your favorite traditional bar b que sauce

To prep the meat:

Unpackage and rince in cold water. Pat dry and using very sharp knife, cut into portions about the size of a softball. Cutting up the meat will give more surface area for the seasonings to soak in and it will allow you to stack the pieces brick-style in the slow-cooker, getting more in there than if you left the potroasts whole.

To Cook:

Turn the slow-cooker on high and pour in the broth. Add in the onion soup mix and the Essence seasonings. Use a whisk to combine.

Add onions and celery.

Add meat--stacking the pieces around and layering as needed.

Let cook on high for two hours, then turn down to low for 4-6 hours. Meat is done when it is fork-tender.

Turn off the slow-cooker and let it cool for about 3 hours. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pieces of meat from the juice, to a large plate. Using a fork and knife (or your fingers), shred the pieces of meat, removing all the inedible portions of fat.

When all the meat is shredded, mix in the bar b que sauce and stir until all the meat is coated. Put the bar b que in an air-tight container and let it sit at least overnight in the refrigerator.

Serve with slaw on rolls. Can be served hot or cold.


Glittery Snowflakes

Etsy has sucked up way too much of my time lately...but I must share this. I think it's perfect. And it's quilted.

I'm feeling quite crafty happens every year at about this time. I have a long-time relationship with snowflakes, especially silver or glittery ones. Did you see the cover of the January Scrapbooks etc yet? Hip designer Valerie Salmon is the talented one who's snowflake creation is gracing the cover.

I've been trying to track down a super-easy quick way to do glittered snowflakes and finally tonight it occurred to me. (I can be slow at times.)

Michaels sells bags of self-adhesive fun-foam snowflakes. Did you catch that? They are self-adhesive. So, I snagged a bag (of 80 snowflakes) and a bottle of glitter. (My glitter collection is growing by leaps and bounds lately.)

Peeling of the backing exposes the adhesive. The glitter sticks beautifully to the adhesive. How deliciously easy is that? Peel and dump. Use a spoon to press the glitter into the adhesive firmly. Knock off the excess and admire your sweet little glittered snowflake.

Warning to my family...we will have snow this year...even if I have to glitter the flakes myself. :)

In other news, I would appreciate your prayers for Grey. He's fighting a cold--he missed both days of school this week and was severely disappointed. He's not really sick...just a good case of unproductive coughing and being "snuffed up", as he put it. (I have no idea how to spell "snuffed".) The thing is...there's a family Christmas Party with some friends on Saturday night that he's been looking forward to for weeks and he knows if he's not feeling good, he won't be able to go. He really really wants to go.

Happy Friday, everyone.


Squarely under the heading of "It's none of my Business"...

I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have watched Oprah but I did manage to DVR her show the other day where Vince Gill and Amy Grant "stopped by" for a visit with the first lady of talk show tv. I recorded it for the music--I could listen to Vince Gill sing the ABCs and be a happy camper.

But the point of their visit (PR for the new book) seemed awkward and it, honestly, made me really uncomfortable. Oprah asked Amy to talk about how they met. Amy recounted the details of where and when and how she was so moved just by talking to him, etc. She seemed to come just short of saying it was love at first sight. Could she really admit that on national television... because as Oprah, of course, pointed out-- they were both married to other people at the time. Hmm.

And then, Vince revealed that soon after meeting Amy (while still married to his first wife) he penned that amazing song - "Whenever You Come Around". Fine...break my heart. That song is why I like his music. But now...ugh.

Now I think I find it harder to hold their story up as a grand love story (yay, even tho he's the nicest guy in country music)...and to admire their ability to communicate and understand each other (something Amy spoke of extensively). I don't's kindof a nagging detail. How much of a musician's life choices should influence my musical choices? And then there's the whole Christian icon thing. It's a little distressing to me that this woman who was the "darling of Christian radio" for so long felt it was OK to abandon her marriage for a new love. It just seems unsettling to me.

No, this "revelation" wasn't really new information. It was somewhat scandalous when it happened and Amy did have the good grace to lay low for a while (at least as far as CCM was concerned). Rumors abounded and it's pretty common knowledge around here that they broke up two marriages to be together. I guess I was just a little shocked to see it embraced so openly on Oprah.

OK I just re-read that and I should really just embrace my own naivete. Life goes on. Joal has seen them at Starbucks a few times...what else is new?

I'm sure my opinion has no real value and of course there could be circumstances of which I am unaware. I get that.

On a related note, in 2005, I was listening to the Brian Mason Show--a local Christian music radio show that airs on Sundays. Brian was interviewing Gary Chapman, Amy's first husband, who is also a singer/songwriter. Brian asked Gary Chapman "So, who's discs are in your car these days?" Without missing a beat, Gary said "Well, you can be sure there's no Vince Gill's Christmas Album in my disc changer." Dude. That was funny. And totally unexpected. I think Brian 'bout fell off his seat.

And it occurs to me that I do like lots of music that is made by people who's life choices I might not really agree with. An easy example - the Dixie Chicks fiasco. Obviously, can't stand Natalie Maines' decision to pontificate about her lack of respect for the American President while on foreign soil, but "Fly" and "Wide Open Spaces" are still in regular rotation on my mp3 player. For the most part, I don't find it so difficult to separate the musician from the music, even though sometimes I think they should just shut up and sing.

But it's a little different with people claiming to be standard-bearers of Christ. Or at least it should be. Shouldn't they be held to a higher standard? "To whom much is given, much is required" right? When you stand in the spotlight on a very large stage, don't you have a responsibility to represent with some integrity? I don't know. It's after midnight. I should go to bed and think about this tomorrow.

Sleep tight, ya'll.


What to Do?

What would you do with these spools? The tall one is about 14" tall. I found them at a garage sale...but I'm drawing a blank as to what to do with them? Got any ideas?

And in other news, did you see Marci's tags on her blog? Love those!


You Remembered Me

Christmas 2006 was unusually simple for us. We didn’t travel until the week after Christmas and no one came to visit us—so it was just the four of us at home on Christmas Day. We don’t do extravagant Christmases. Usually we get the boys one or two presents—things they have asked for or indicated that they would like. This Christmas was no different in that respect.

When I started thinking about what to get Julian, the list of “wants” was pretty short. He’s never been hard to buy for and I know what he likes pretty well. I knew that his Nashville Fire shirt—one of his most prized possessions—was showing how much it had been worn and was needing to be replaced. Replacing a NFD shirt is not an easy task. For security reasons, NFD doesn’t sell their shirts to the general public, as they once did. To get one, you have to be a fire fighter or know one who is willing to get one for you. Unfortunately, we don’t know any fire fighters that well. Late in the fall, we had several conversations about the ragged t-shirt and what we should do with it. Obviously, throwing it out just wasn’t an acceptable option for Julian. I told him it was going to be very difficult to replace it and while I tried to explain why, I don’t really think he understood the reasons.

I knew it was a long shot, but I wasn’t giving up. In September, I started checking eBay for NFD shirts and near the end of October, I had managed to bid on one and win it. It wasn’t cheap but I knew how much a new NFD shirt would mean to Julian. When it arrived in the mailbox, I was so thrilled that it was very difficult to keep it from him until Christmas. I knew he was going to be so excited to have a crisp new blue NFD shirt.

On Christmas Day, we took our time having breakfast and then sat around the tree to open our presents. I had wrapped Julian’s new shirt with great care in a really small box so he would have no idea what was inside. He opened the box enthusiastically, as any ten year old would do on Christmas morning. He pulled the folded blue mass from the box and at first; he didn’t realize exactly what it was. Then it kindof unfurled itself in his hands and a huge smile spread across his face. He gasped and then he clutched it to his chest and said with great clarity:

“Moma, you remembered me.”

It was one of those moments that made this unusually quiet and simple Christmas absolutely perfect for me. We hugged and went on with the festivities of the day, but that little phrase – “you remembered me” stuck with me. Sometimes it’s hard to be the parent of a ten year old son who doesn’t always comprehend and understand the world around him. Those moments of clarity—little glimpses into his understanding and little reassurances that there are some things he does really deeply “get” are the moments I treasure more than any other. This was one of those moments. It was clear in his voice. He understood the meaning of giving a Christmas gift and he understood the measure of love that it had been given with.

That was all the Christmas present I needed.


Don't Say It. 2 Rants in1 Day.

Rant #1
My least favorite "saying" or cliche in the English language:

"Boys will be boys."

It totally brings out the smart-mouth in me. I have many responses. Like "Would you rather they were something different?" and "Do you really have reason to think they won't be?" and "Is that an excuse?" My personal favorite is "You say that like there's something wrong with a boy being a boy?".
It appeared on a stamp set today in my email box. Ugh. Not buying that. And then I was scrapbook shopping later in the day and dang it, if there isn't paper with this very saying on it. I wanted to rip it up.

Cause I just really don't get it and I don't like how it makes us women sound like we feel we are superior and that being a boy is just some universal excuse for something stupid. We aren't. And it's not.

Of all the things we can say about men...why must it be that lameness?

Rant #2
For many years I have hated those stupid plastic bags that grocery stores use. Hate them. They are inefficient and wasteful. They are hard to corral in the car. Stuff falls over and rolls out. Constantly. Baggers use way too many and they are just a huge mess. The only thing they are good for is wrapping a dirty baby diaper. Really.

So with this in mind you can imagine my joy when Kroger got in *pretty blue re-usable bags*. They are very sturdy and they hold tons. I bought 6 the first time I saw them. For $6, I have, for the most part, rid my life of those stupid plastic bags! Whoo Hoo! And Kroger rewards blue bag users with a whopping 4 cents per bag every time you bring them back in for re-use. Yeah...4 cents.

So with great pride I've been carting my blue re-usable bags into Kroger faithfully for weeks. I love seeing my groceries packed so neatly in the bags. I love that they don't fall over and loose their contents in my car. I love that my entire weeks worth of groceries can be unloaded from the car in three quick trips. I love that I'm preventing waste by using them. I love that I save a whopping extra 24 cents each time. Well, OK, I don't care quite that much about the 24 cents...but it is a nice touch. (After 25 weeks, the bags will have paid for themselves. LOL!)

Now, I'm upping the ante and making this blue bag thing a competition with myself. It's become a goal to never buy more groceries than will fit in the bags. Thankfully they do hold alot--IF--they are packed right. There are 2 rules for packing the blue bags. 1-Balance and 2-Weight. Keep the items balanced. And what good does it do if it's packed so heavy that I can not lift it?

Do you think it's rude for me to ask the bag person to let me do my own bagging? Seriously. After tonight, I think I'm going to. I don't want to be rude but the point of the blue bags is that I don't want extra plastic bags. If you put your mind into it, it's pretty easy to pack them right. Hello. Just because the blue bag will hold six 2-liter bottles, doesn't mean I can lift it when you pack it that way. Duh. And yes, all the cold stuff can go in one bag. And all the fruits and veggies in another, on top of the cereal boxes. No, don't put the magazine in with the frozen stuff.

Somebody tell me I can nicely ask to do my own organized bagging. I don't mind if people look at me like a crunchy moma. I just don't want those darn plastic bags coming in my house when it's completely avoidable. Tonight, I ended up with three darn plastic bags and it was totally avoidable. I felt like charging them an extra quarter for taking the dumb things off their hands.

So now you know.