Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Garnet Hill

There was a time in my "adult" life (adult by the numbers, as in, post-teen) when I was tiny (a bobble head, really, I was so skinny but my head was normal sized) and could wear really big girls' sizes if the mood struck me.


This is no longer the case.

Not to mention, some clothes for little girls are so trampy it churns my stomach. And then Growing up with Garnet Hill shows up in the mailbox.

And just for a moment*, I wish for my pre-baby hips.


*Of course for more than just a moment. But the hips have been worth it.


Here are ten things I wish came in my size:


2. T-shirt - embellished, of course.


3. Cardigan - it's not like I like ruffles or anything


4. Cashmere tie-front





5. Shoes -they look really comfy





6. Coat




7. Scarf and Hat




8. Dress - OK, maybe not this shape, but I love the ruffles.






9. Knit Dress - again, probably not so good with the post-baby hips, but I like the colors and the idea that I could be trendy with leggings and all.





10. Boots - I'm sure I could find similar ones but I needed to finish off this list.


More top ten at ohamanda.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Card Reveal

Glitter Glamour Joy Christmas Card
Make a statement with custom Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Happy Once, Happy Twice

OK, so that's about Chicken Soup with Rice but it's so appropriate for this:



My husband made it (the food photography thing is not so easy and this is the best shot we took before deciding to quit before we took pictures all night).

First he cut up the turkey, then he made the stock, and then he made the soup.

Seriously.

Every year he gets a turkey from work. We don't need a turkey as my mother-in-law hosts us for Thanksgiving and a big ol' turkey in our little ol' freezer stresses me out (when will we cook it? How long can it stay there? When will we ever cook a turkey that big? Why is there no room in this freezer?). Last year I took it (the frozen turkey) to a local food bank.

This year, Craig had the idea to cut it up.

Like, duh. Why didn't we think of that before? But especially now, with this ridiculous mortgage thing going on, we can use all the free meat in the freezer that the freezer can hold. Cut up, the thing won't take up so much room.

Another bonus is, Craig got to channel his grandfather's butcher skills to dismember the bird.

We (I was there making suggestions and cleaning up) put the carcass in a pot with onions and peppercorns and, hmm, I don't remember what else. Try to not be too disappointed that I'm not being exact. Simmered, stirred, skimmed, etc. Waited.

We let it cool and refrigerated it. The next day (Thanksgiving Friday), Craig came home early from work and made the soup with celery, carrots, onion, and acini di pepe. It was beyond fantastic. He cooked one of the turkey breasts and put the meat in (we had to keep the leftover turkey from his mom's to go with the other leftovers for you know, leftovers).

I don't have an actual recipe for what he did. There were a good 10 - 12 cups of stock (he took off all the cooled and solidified fat), the turkey breast, several carrots (probably could have used more), several pieces of celery, half an onion, and 3/4 cup of the pasta. Some salt and pepper. Heat and simmer for awhile (he spoke with his caterer/owner of the company for advice and he suggested "at least 3 hours).

It was so, so good . . . even our children ate it. Sam loved it while Kate needed a little more convincing/motivation to eat. In fact, I can hardly wait for lunch so I can have some more.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgivng

Thanksgiving at BJU, to the students, was a big deal. After Thanksgiving, you could listen to Christmas music. Before Thanksgiving, Christmas music would induce such a ghastly case of homesickness that the student would immediately hit the four-lane highway running in front of the school and head home . . .

Also on Thanksgiving there were no classes.

When I was there, there were classes on Friday after Thanksgiving. So if you didn't want to go, or wanted to go home, you had to get cuts (permission to miss class). Toward the end of my time there, they were not having classes but having seminars or something for the guests (future indoctrinates) to visit.

Anyway. When we* were elementary school aged, I remember eating Thanksgiving dinner at the Dining Common. By the time I was in school there, we were eating at my aunt and uncle's house.

My aunt would have lots of people over. Like 27. or 35. It varied.

Those were good times. Lots of food, people, fun, little cousins (actually first cousins once removed, to be technical), people racing out to get to Artist Series on time . . . sigh.

Of course, on Thanksgiving, the day started with the Thanksgiving Praise Service. In the afternoon was the Turkey Bowl**, the championship soccer game. I remember as a child watching the cheerleaders and wanting so much to be those girls. And this was in the 80's, so you know the hair was outstanding.

I never did get a chance to cheer at a Turkey Bowl game (Never fear. I did cheer so stay tuned for those stories)

*me, my brother, and my sister

**They play this game on a Saturday? What kind of compromising liberals do that? And Beta-freakin'-Gamma beat Basilean?

And yes. I cheated. I back-dated this for Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful

I am so incredibly blessed. I have a wonderful, healthy family. I have a fantastic husband, great friends, and the hope of heaven because of faith in Jesus Christ. I am thankful for God's amazing love and mercy to me (me!). I am thankful for so many things but when it's time to say what I'm thankful for, in a group (say, on Thursday with family), I feel obligated to say one of these big ones.



There are so many little blessings I'm thankful for, too, and even though Simply Mel did this last week, I am not copying her because I planned to do it this week before I read her post.



1. Unexpected laughs



2. Remembering to set up the coffee maker the night before and hit "delay brew" so it's all ready in the morning.



3. Piyo breaking up the Tony routine.



4. When Sam or Kate crawls into bed with me and then falls back to sleep.



5. A card (an actual piece of mail!) from a good friend.



6. My crafting space



7. My Friday morning scrappers



8. Remembering everything on my grocery list even though I forgot the list at home.



9. New Friends

10. Old Friends.

Head on over to ohamanda for more top ten Tuesday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My First-World Problems

The other week (or day, I can't keep track of time), Melanie talked about something being a distinctly "first world problem." That phrase made me laugh because she always makes me laugh, but also because yeah, my problems are first world problems.



A few weeks ago, before my parents' visit, the garbage disposal started making an awful noise so I employed my tried-and-true method of fixing it, turning it off and reaching in. But nothing was in there. So I took my dish glove off (this means it was serious if I'm braving the sink without my gloves) and reached in and pulled out what can only be described as a broken plastic ring thing. Like, possibly some kind of part that was keeping the thing from making the bad noise.



So now (big sigh) I have to make sure the drain strainer is in and collect all the uneaten cereal and bits of food and random whatevers that make their way into the sink and tip it into the trash and knock the thing against the side to dislodged all the grossness.



Tremendously inconvenient, right? Not really . . . it's a first-world problem.



Other (ridiculous) inconveniences include deciding where to get take-out from when I don't feel like cooking, planning my workouts around when I have time to shower, who to meet for coffee, and interrupting my husband from his ipod play to get him to vacuum the floor.



We're coming up on the holidays which brings on a whole other set of "problems:" how much stuff can I buy for myself while convincing Craig I'm Christmas shopping? How much do I have to get for my kids before I stop equating gifts with love? Is $98 too much to spend on this (rats, it's sold out!)?



But really. Sometimes I am paralyzed by indecision:



at the grocery store: Does this tomato look better than this one?



simply choices: Which dress should Kate wear to church?



and how to be lazy: Should I play alchemy or take a nap?



Combine my first-world problems with my inability to focus and we come to this: Which charity should we give to at Christmas?



There's Operation Christmas Child with Samaritan's Purse, which in an of itself is a fantastic cause (buying a cow: talk about the gift that keeps on giving).



But then there's Compassion International (and similar organizations of child sponsorship) . . . but do we give locally or globally? Or a little of both? And is the small, small pittance we can give right now really going to help anyone?



Paralyzed by the indecision of first-world problems.



What is your favorite charity? And how do you decide local or global?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Delay

Here's the dillyo (that is my pronunciation of "deal, yo," which in itself is my attempt* to sound "hip" or "street"):

I was very motivated last Saturday when I posted there was a big announcement coming. Then my motivation sagged. And it rained. And I didn't want to take pictures in the rain or the basement. And I realized there's a lot of pictures to take (alot, ha ha ha ha ha) and the idea of getting up off the sofa to get the camera was just overwhelming.

This fall has been weirdly tough and some days breathing is overwhelming. So on a down day I try to roll with it and not be too down on myself and on a good day, I fly through chores and crafts like a woman on fire.

So you'll just have to hold your horses**.

*lame, I get it.

** Kate or Sam would respond, "I don't have any horses to hold***."

*** Patently untrue, as I am trying to instill horse love in Kate by getting her stuffed horses and horse books and plastic model horses. She ignores them and loves on puppy and num-num.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Weeks {top ten Tuesday}

10 Thoughts, 10 Weeks in to P90X.



1. I have not had the dramatic results I wanted, although



2. I do have a waist again and



3. my arms are lookin' fine.



4. Recovery Drink is really good. Sometimes I exercise just so I can have some.



5. It's OK if I miss a day or two. Maybe I'd have better results if I didn't, but it's OK.



6. I haven't made huge diet changes but do find myself wanting better food and fewer handfuls of candy corn.



7. Banana/Superman is tough enough without rolling over onto a matchbox car.



8. Kate looks adorable doing vinyasas with me.



9. I can curl 15 lbs. In each hand.



10. I can do straight-leg push-ups. Like, 4.



Now, exercise your fingers and head over to ohamanda for more Top Ten Tuesday Lists.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Big Announcement Coming

I'm working on a surprise (you could call it that . . . it's really just a thing). It might be ready this week. I'd like to give you hint, but I'm not so good with the graphic design thing . . . oh wait. I had an idea.


Any guesses?

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Mother's Touch

A long time ago (back when facebook was cool, but that's a whole other post that's been rolling around in my head), I was invited to join a group called something like "moms who need Jesus every hour! every minute! every second!" and on the wall someone suggested a book called A Mother's Touch by Elsie Arndt. It's out of print but I found it on Amazon (I linked it for you so you can, too) and read it.



It came at a very good time.



Sam had started preschool and Kate was tiny. Sam was very clingy and seemed to have forgotten how to play independently. I was frustrated that all the time I had spent with him wasn't helping him to be able to separate from me, frustrated that he was still so needy.



And then I read the book. She was a missionary in Papua New Guinea at the time, with her 3rd child in 4 years (or something like that, I can't remember exactly), and a visiting missionary had made a comment about how her kids needed her so much and how they should be more independent. Arndt goes on the say how she watches the PNG women with their children, carrying them, responding to them; in essence doing everything that we as Americans seem to do the opposite of - we push them away, in a sense. We want them to grow up and do things without us.



Your children are baby birds, Arndt says. Hold them close as long as you can. The more you hold them close and comfot them, the more secure they will be when they are ready to move on. Three is still really little.



It was a remarkable thought for me. To encourage Sam's ndependence, I should pull him close and hug him.

So I did. I put aside my thoughts of what should be and held my baby boy (and girl). I find myself coming back to that . . . when he gets off the bus and cries because he's "hot" - because really he's tired and hungry and missed me (maybe) and needs his "love tank" filled. Or when Kate insists on wearing the same fleece every day for school. She's little and needs comfort.

You know?

I don't always succeed or carry this out the way I'd like or the way I think honors God the most; I still get frustrated and snap at them, or tell them to stop whining when really I know they need something from me.

The other week in our Beth Moore Bible Study, she asked us to describe a time when we read or heard something at just the right time and how it impacted us. This book definitely fits that and I'm so thankful I was introduced to it when I was.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Art Gallery

For the most part, I slacked my way through college. My parents and my summer jobs paid the bill. There were a few semesters where I worked; one or two at the day care and one at the Art Gallery.

Or Gallery & Museum, whatever they call it now.

My job (have we talked about this? I checked and I don't think so) was to vacuum and broom the floors.

I had my section, and I was to vacuum in one direction, pick up the vacuum, walk back to the end where I started and vacuum another strip in the same direction. Then, take the broom and repeat the one-direction thing to erase the lines. Fortunately I was (am) fairly OCD so the challenge of leaving no footprints at all from room to room was entertaining.

Not as entertaining as having a ipod would have been, but they hadn't been invented yet.

I had to move pretty fast to get my section done in the allotted time. This bugged me because I hated to sweat.

I had my prissy image to uphold, for one thing.

Also, on the days we didn't vacuum, or if there were big things on the floor that the vacuum wouldn't pick up, I was supposed to put them in my pocket (or my shoe, one girl suggested).

I was not about to carry around garbage or whatever I found on the floor, so I would drop it in vases or stash it on the edges of picture frames (the tops, if I could reach them).

Another deeply rebellious thing I did was touch all the paintings in my section. Like, a Rembrandt, or someone like that, famous to the world at large. All the ones I could reach. Of course you don't touch art. It was a way for me to channel my anger, or to act out with no consequences, or something misguided and immature.

There was a "museum" section with artifacts from Bible times and this had cases with mannequins with costumes on. Once, another worker wanted me to go into the museum and get a spray bottle (the glass in there had to be cleaned). I thought it was weird why she didn't get it herself but I went.

We worked with only a few lights on, a weird midday dusk of religious art and vacuum sounds. The museum was creepy with the mannequins and a fishing net hanging from the ceiling. I saw the spray bottle on a ledge by the costume display . . . wait. I tilted my head. That bottle looks like it's inside the case . . .

And then one of the "mannequins" moved. Waved at me.

I promptly fell screaming over and the ladies who worked downstairs, scowling and gilding frames, came up to see what happened, my scream was so loud.

My last day there, the day we left for Christmas vacation, I made one of the tiny galleries (the one with the humongous circular mosaic) stripey for Christmas: I broomed a strip one way, then the other way, so the carpet pile stood up in contrasting colors. I pranced downstairs and announced that I'd made my floors candy cane striped for Christmas; the frame scowlers laughed at my cute joke.

I've always wondered if anyone noticed.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Astronaut Pizza

Well, we made it through last week thanks to The Common Man and chicken.

For Sunday lunch we went to The Common Man. It's always so fantastically good and we were full all afternoon and didn't really need supper.

My mom brought a roaster chicken so we had that one night and I made the chicken milano one night and then the last night we had (wait for it) leftovers from the two nights where we put out all that effort.

I can't remember what we had on Thursday but Friday I decided we would have pizza because then I would not have to go to the store.

I used my sister-in-law's recipe for pizza dough. I didn't have that much whole wheat flour and my dough turned out really sticky but still fine after baked. It was pretty much my first success with yeast since . . . well, last year's Amish friendship bread, but before that, the beginning of our marriage.

And then the most adorable astronaut stopped by to help:




I got two of these costumes at Target for $3 each.



Don't knock the after-holiday costume purchase. First of all, costume wearing is big in our house. And secondly, Sam's two choices for costumes this year were both after-Halloween purchases last year: He first wanted to be Jango Fett before deciding on Spiderman - $2 last year.

Last year I got a great shot of my kids trick-or-treating.


This year, not so much. I took a lot of pictures but none of just the two of them.

Sam was all about being with his friends and covering the most ground as quickly as possible. Kate was much slower and selective when given the chance to choose.

And for all that pavement-pounding, all I got was a lousy four Butterfingers.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Card's in the Mail

It was there as soon as I got the new camera: I am going to take a fantastic Christmas card picture this year.


Disclaimer: I seriously try to avoid thinking "this will be the best ever" or "this picture will turn out great." Thinking like that leads to a lot of disappointment. Real life rarely lives up to my imagination . . . I'm not trying to be negative. I try to be realistic . . . so when I take pictures, I click the shot a minimum of 8 times. I find the best shots I get are because of a heavy dose of luck.



I do have a couple pics that I'm really happy with and was getting to ready start playing with on card designs when my friend Mel posted this on facebook: Bloggers! You can receive 50 free Christmas or holiday cards from Shutterfly http://bit.ly/sfly2010



OOOooohhh, really?


So I entered. And here we are.


I love Christmas cards. Now that we and our friends have children, it's so fun to get the cards and see how they've grown and changed . . . or if it's someone I see a lot, how they've posed their children. I even have a dedicated photo album where I keep the cards after I take them off display.


I swear to you I am not copying this from Simply Mel: I like my cards to have a religious theme (she says pretty much the same thing and I thought, I feel that way, too). I believe Christmas celebrates the most wonderful event in the history of the world, that a holy God loved us enough to send his Son to pay the price for our sins. And that Son came as a baby. The least I can do is demonstrate that with a verse or the sentiment on my card. And bake a lot of cookies. And play carols while baking. And cry when reading Room for a Little One . . .



I digress. I usually start out looking for a card with a distinctly Christmas message.






I love the "every good gift" and the silhouette scenes.


Or maybe just a simple sentiment:





Sweet pic, huh? I was thrown of with Mel's post, with the sample pictures on the cards and not her kids. But then, I can't really "let the cat out of the bag" and let you see the card yet, can I?


But . . . I think I'll need space for more than one picture:


I like how this one is simple and modern.


And there's this one:







I really like angels as a motif.


There's so much else on their site. We usually get our cards from shutterfly so I was really jazzed to be able to get free cards for writing this. I don't know how I'm going to pick just one design, though.

What would you pick?



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I sang with the Mantovani Orchestra

Artist Series: required doses of culture.

Plays (Shakespeare), opera, various other performers.

There were like 6 a year or something. 3 a semester.

One year, close to Christmas, we were treated to the Mantovani Orchestra.

The director invited us to sing along with one of the songs, and told us: "Now you can say I sang with the Mantovani Orchestra."

I haven't had nearly as many opportunities to say that as I originally thought I would.

But I did.

I sang with the Mantovani Orchestra.

Not everyone can say that.