Day 366

So. This should be something really profound or deep or thoughtful, right? It's the end of yet another year. But that wouldn't really be me, now would it? How about the total and utter randomness that truly is me? Things just wandering in and out of my Anti-Gravity Colander Brain. Sorry if you're tired of randomosity, but it's what I do.

1. I was perusing some of my archives here and noticed that the most I ever posted in a single month was in June 2007 and 2008 (23 posts each month). Why is that? Am I more creative in June? Is there more going on in my head in June? Is there less going on in life, so I can blog more in June? Will I post 23 times in June 2009? Is this common amongst bloggers? Do you have a most posted month? Have I asked too many questions? Should I stop now? Will you answer any of these?

2. Matt & Jacque Dixon just started a lovely new site that just started called Gleaning the Harvest. Based on James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world,” God has placed a burden upon their hearts to minister to those people. Please go check out their site if you would like to learn more or find out how to get involved.

3. Have you been to Crazy Tasty Town?

4. How do you keep a white tile floor clean? For more than 5 minutes? I swept and mopped today and noticed it was dirty almost immediately. Good grief! Maybe if I leave dirt there regularly, no one will expect perfect whiteness any more.

5. Why is is that there are tons of ideas floating around in my AGC brain, yet when I sit down at a keyboard, they're all gone?

So be it.
Happy New Year!!


The 50's

No surprise here. Of course, the views into other decades is usually through rose-colored lenses. See where you should be with the link at the end.

You Belong in 1950

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Go Look Here

Another Wordless Wednesday redirect - you can see my vintage camera at my photoblog.

Christmas Dinner - Last Year

Originally posted 12/27/07

For those of you who've seen A Christmas Story, we almost ended up with Chinese duck for dinner. Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra-ra.

A Christmas StoryI purchased a whopper of a turkey back in November when all the good turkey sales were happening. The plan was to have Christmas dinner at my sister's house. I made sure that I had a note to remind me to take the turkey out of the freezer the week before Christmas. I am notorious for keeping it frozen until Christmas Eve. Then we get to spend the night soaking it in the sink in an attempt to thaw it adequately for baking. Anyway, I digress.

I transferred the turkey from the freezer to the refrigerator a full six five days before said roasting day. I even remembered to bring it to a family gathering (along with Grandma's roaster) on Christmas Eve so my sister could take it home and they could pop it in the oven first thing Christmas morning.

We all gather at my parent's house for brunch and the opening of gifts on Christmas morning, so my sister and her husband didn't really want to leave the turkey cooking unattended. They figured they'd cook it when they got home.

After our families had all gone to their respective homes, I get a call from my sister. The silly old turkey is still FROZEN! They tried thawing it in water, but it just wasn't going to happen in time to cook and dine upon said turkey that same day.

Fine, we'll go to Plan B. Courtesy of three-way calling, my mom, sister, and I all inventory our current food supply while brainstorming dinner ideas on the phone. At last we decide upon chicken and noodles. My homemade rolls will still go well with that. Ditto for the dessert pies. Okay then. We just need to pick up some noodles AND we happen to know that King Soopers is open on Christmas.

Somewhere around 2:56 p.m., it occurs to me that King Soopers will not be open the entire day, so maybe I should call them. Turns out they were closing at 3:00 p.m. While I am only one mile from the store, I doubt I can get myself out the door and in their store in four minutes Hmmm . . . this isn't working out so well. I try the other two grocery chains. Neither is open at all on Christmas. Fine.

Another conference call and more inventorying (yep, it's now a word). This is when random jokes about Chinese restaurants and ducks show up. Except my sister doesn't like Chinese, so that's not such a good option either. We decide upon chicken barley vegetable soup. Mom will make this one. She has all the stuff and no store trips are needed.

The final menu? Chicken barley soup (although it was quite bland when it arrived at my sister's. It took a bit of doctoring, but we ended up with tasty soup. And no, too many cooks did NOT spoil the broth), homemade rolls, sweet potatoes (the kids were SO anxious for these - we didn't dare wait), and mom's delicious homemade pies (apple & pumpkin) for dessert. Dinner was later than anticipated, didn't feel all that Christmas-y, but was still yummy, and we were all together as a family.

Blessed are the flexible for they shall bend and not be broken.


Across the Aisle

Image courtesy of Photobucket

At church I always sit in the same seat - creature of habit, I suppose (well, mostly - although there are other reasons). We arrive quite early because my husband is at the sound board. Therefore, my seat is usually available. Every so often, someone beats me to the seat. That was the case this evening. I like my space, so I moved across the aisle and sat in the mirror image location.

It would seem this was a providential move. I spoke with a woman sitting near me who has been considering homeschool for her kids. Apparently, God has been putting homeschoolers, or things about homeschooling, in her path somewhat often. Tonight, I was given the privilege of being a tool in God's hands. One of her concerns is their intelligent and strong-willed son, who doesn't really fit the school model. Funny, he reminded me of the Comedian. As we continued talking, it turns out that her son is quite similar to mine. I was able to encourage her with some things that I've learned over the years about my son. I also mentioned the homeschool support group that meets at our church, and gave her my phone number and email address in case she had any questions.

How often do I have my own plans and agenda, yet God has something just a little different for me? If I was in my "regular" seat, we wouldn't have connected. I wouldn't have been able to offer her words of encouragement. I may see her again. Or not. Who knows what God has planned? I certainly don't, but I sure love being used by Him. It's a tremendous blessing and also quite humbling. I pray that I am willing to be flexible and available for His good purposes.


Christmas Blessings


Wordless Wednesday: Peek-A-Boo

Merry Christmas!

For more WW fun, go here and here.


In Case You Missed It . . .

. . . the first time around,
let me take you on a trip to
Crazy Tasty Town!

We'll set the not-so-way-back machine to August 6, this year:

It was a very normal afternoon, doing stuff around the house, having friends over, editing articles, and the like. What would really give this day a kick in the pants? How about a quick run to the grocery store?

Let me back up a moment, Lucy and the kids came over and I decided to whip up a batch of ooey gooey Rice Krispie goodness. I opened the refrigerator to discover that {gasp!} I HAD NO BUTTER! ACK! No butter = no treats.

Never fear! Lucy & I would make the one-mile jaunt to the market and buy the much needed butter . . . along with a few other things of necessity, you know, like frosted flakes and sandwich bags.

Well, the hilarity began in the parking lot. Granted, I could certainly have remembered a list of 5 items, but I didn't want to appear inconsiderate to Lucy as we walked through the store, with me repeating some strange mnemonic shopping list and not interacting with her. No, I save mnemonic shopping lists for private shopping, thank you very much. We got out of the van, uh truck, er, JEEP. Yeah, that's it, we were in the Jeep. Anywho, in a moment of sheer brilliance, it occurred to me that my teeny, tiny little post-it grocery list might decide to detach itself from my purse, particularly if said purse were hanging over my shoulder. I glanced down at my purse and sure enough, the rascal had already departed. Problem was, I didn't really know where it went. Then I spied it - under the tire of the Jeep! Being the sweet friend she is, Lucy was quite compliant when I asked told her that I was going to pull forward and she could pick up my runaway list. In all fairness, I did offer to let her pull the Jeep up and I would get the list. She declined and graciously picked up my teeny little list.

Hi ho, Hi ho,
In to the store we go.

Got butter? Check.

Got Spam® Single Classic? WHAT?!? Excuse me? What is this? A handy dandy foil package of . . . yes . . . it's SPAM®! And it's NOT in a can!

OH. MY. GOSH!! Who knew?!?

Now THIS is definitely blog material. Being the lunatic enthusiastic photographer that I am, I always have my camera neaby, like on a shelf in aisle 5 in my purse. Lucy, ever the friendly and helpful assistant, kindly held up the SPAM® Single Classic package for me as I began my grocery store photo shoot. Out of the periphery, I noticed some people passing by. I got this funny feeling that we were being looked at. Not really sure what that was all about. I mean, doesn't everyone shoot SPAM® at the market? Just in case they were unfamiliar with my obsession hobby, I calmly said, "Don't mind me, the crazy grocery store photographer." I think it worked. They went right on out of aisle 5 and into some other region of the store. Either that, or they went to notify security.

I must apologize for the blurry shots. These crazy old foil packs are just not very cooperative when it comes to posing. They're so reflective, so uptight. Not the most cooperative model, but they know full well, that in their uniqueness, particularly when they contain SPAM® Single Classics, they can get away with being stand-offish.

After my initial cover shot, the folks at SPAM® really got my attention. Did you catch this one?
IT'S SO QUICK AND EASY! Just rip and tear your way to CRAZY TASTY® town!

GET OUT! I was wondering how in the world could I get to CRAZY TASTY® town? In fact, I was pondering that very question . . . oh, I don't know . . . like once, when I was almost three, or maybe that was Funky Town. Nevertheless, I was still intrigued, to say the least. Incredibly amused, to say more than the least. Well, time to flip the package and see what other CRAZY TASTY® goodness the SPAM® folks might have for me.

I must say, they did not disappoint. On the back? Well, there's so much going on here, let's begin at the top.


Wow! Not only is it quick and easy AND the way to CRAZY TASTY® town, but it's quite welcoming in a dotted-line sort of way. (Side note: I was thinking a dotted line might be more congenial at the front door, instead of a solid threshold. Clearly, I'm on the right track.) Not only are they welcoming, they assist you with lovely, step by step illustrations demonstrating just how you may enter freely.

Step One: Grasp top corner
Step Two: Tear open pouch

Step Three: Squeeze pouch
Step Four: Enjoy tasty SPAM®

Next we have the SPAM™ IDEA O'WHEEL. This is where they share ingenious and often yummy ideas for SPAM® usage. Swell things like SPAM® Single and Cheese, SPAM® Single Spamburger® Hamburger, and the ubiquitous SPAM® Single Necklace (it appears you would run a piece of yarn, ribbon, or string through the special "necklace" hole at the top center, tie it off, and place it over your head and onto your neck). The special treat you can both eat AND wear!

Truly, there is nothing that says lovin' like the helpful, wearable, and welcoming SPAM® Single Classic foil pack.

And if all this isn't enough SPAM® madness goodness for you, please, oh please, go to SPAM® dot com. They have a THEME SONG, people. You can also JAM WITH SPAM®, check out their spankin' new SPAMTASTIC™ television and print ads, as well as, and here's the best part, play Monty Python's SPAMALOT™ game. It just doesn't get any better than this.

fyi - If you make it over to view the Spammobile™, hubby has worked on it before. Being the RV SUUUPER GENIUS that he is. What can I say, it's his claim to fame.


Tis the Season...

...to regurgitate, um, share a post of old. I'd love to write something new, but I'm in gift-wrap mode, so I'm a bit unavailable.

Let's take a trip in the way-back machine to December 13, 2007:

I was paying my phone bill via telephone today and utilizing the automated system.

The conversation with the mechanical man voice (MMV) goes something like this:

MMV: "I see you are calling from 123-4567 (not my real number). Is this correct?"

Me: "Yes."

MMV: "What can I help you with today? You can say things like, 'pay my bill' or 'add services'."

Me: "Pay my bill."

MMV: "Okay. Let me look up your account. Hmmm . . . I can't pull up your information. I will need to transfer you to a customer service representative. Please hold while I transfer you."

Whoa. Excuse me? Mechanical Man Voice is pausing with a "Hmmm . . . " as if he's deep in thought about how to proceed?!?! Get real! All he's doing is following a series of yes/no, 1/0, or on/off options. It's nothing more than programming logic. Don't try fooling me into thinking that MMV is actually thinking or pondering this matter. I am SO not buying into that. It's just too weird.


New Do

Time for a new do. My hair was becoming a seriously out-of-control mop. I wasn't sure if I just wanted a trim, or if I'd go shorter. My hair guy convinced me shorter was good. He cut even shorter than I thought I wanted. But I think I'm okay with that.

So, what do you think?



No, it's not one of those where the before picture has no makeup and I'm wearing a super-ratty sweatshirt (although I am!).

Homemade Buttercream Frosting - A Tutorial

I just heard today that my dear friend, Sprittibee, actually likes her sugar cookies with just a splattering of colored sugar! To which I responded, "What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

Okay, I didn't really channel Gary Coleman, but seriously, sugar cookies without frosting?!?! Specifically, homemade almond buttercream frosting? I don't think so.

While it's easy for me to assume that everyone makes buttercream frosting, I could be wrong. It's happened before.

Oh, there are no measurements here. I might give approximates. Or not. Just go with it. This is not a fussy recipe. At all.

Put some (1/4 to 1/2 cup or so) softened butter (Yes, REAL butter; it's not called margarinecream frosting) into a mixing bowl. Blend butter until it's smooth and creamy. If it's going to be a large batch, put in more butter.

Dump some powdered sugar into the butter. Probably a cup or two. Mix until well-blended. It will be rather stiff at this point.

Pour in a little milk. Like 1/4 cup or less. Mix this in.

Now for a very important step. The almond extract. PURE almond extract. None of that artificial business. If you want artificial, buy a can of frosting at the store. Thankyouverymuch.

Flavorings and extracts are typically not for measuring. Just pour in some. Not a small some. Small flavor is wimpy. No wimpy frosting here.

If you want to color your frosting, now would be a good time to do so. That's if you plan to make a single color. If you want multiple colors, you can do this step at the end, after dividing your frosting amongst smaller bowls.

If you open the box and discover there's no more green food coloring, and it's your oldest son's birthday, whose favorite color is, and always has been, green, it's time to whip out your elementary color mixing skillz.

Blue + Yellow = GREEN

BTW - you can also use paste colors, which I often do, but most of my decorating supplies are still packed.

Some drops of yellow and less drops of blue and mix it all up. Unless you're not making green frosting. I trust that you can figure the color part out.

From here on out, it's just a matter of adding a little of this and a little of that until you have what you want. If your frosting is too thin, add some more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add milk. Color too pale? Add some more food coloring.

Questions? Leave me a comment (make sure your email is available) and I'll be happy to answer. If not, go forth and make some killer buttercream frosting. Enjoy the sugar rush. Have a pillow handy when you come crashing down.


Looking for WW?

If you're looking for this week's Wordless Wednesday, it's over here at the photoblog. Thanks!

The House, Part 3

Remember when there were TV mini-series? Didn't you find it really annoying if you missed the first or second part, and only got in somewhere later? Well, fortunately for you, if you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of The House story, they're just a click away. Check it out. Catch up. Then read on.


You know those times where something can seem like a huge deal, but then you just get used to it? Well that's what happened with us and our house. It turns out that if you're going to buy a 99-year old house, you ought to really consider the condition of the foundation. It matters. A lot.

The soil was primarily clay. Clay that expands and contracts with the changes in weather. In addition, our 99-year old foundation was the original rock & mortar foundation. It had never been shored up, worked on, nothing. Zip. Nada. This all made for a very bad combination. Well, there was one more contributing factor - the enormous hill in our back yard. To give you some perspective, it was a 2-story house with a very steeply gabled roof. The top of our property out back was as high the peak of the roof. This provided for a nice angle at which the water could come tumbling down the back yard, the stairs, and hunker down right up against the house. There was no drainage system set up to divert the water around to the front of the house to the yard. Once it arrived at the back of the house, it just sat there, while awaiting the opportunity to seep into the foundation.

Water seeping into your old, deteriorating foundation is not a good thing. In fact, it's a very bad thing. Expanding and contracting clay soil causes shifting in a building. We began to experience cracks in the walls and doors that may or may not latch. The door thing wasn't too big an issue until the front door would no longer latch securely. This was really not acceptable in my book. Hubs had to drill the hole in the striker plate larger and larger to accommodate the ever-moving frame and door. As for the cracks? We patched them and painted over them. Many times.

And so we lived for a number of years. Until early 2002. The year that (we thought) we were going to be free from The House. We found another house. A better house. The perfect (for us) house. The gentleman who lived there had passed away. He had built the house. It was solid, sturdy, roomy, and just what we wanted. We talked with his children (and by children, I mean older than my parents), and agreed upon a price, what they would do to the house, and what they could leave for us to do.

We wrote up an offer which was contingent upon the sale of our house. Thus began a three-month, 24/7, getting-the-house-ready project. The boys were in public school at the time, so no, this was not worked in around homeschool. It's amazing how many things you don't notice until you plan to sell your house. Suddenly, everything needs to be fixed, replaced, or something. Not only that, but we had WAY too much stuff in that little house.

After a very busy three months spent spackling and sanding cracks, painting, stripping wallpaper, moving a portion of our belongings to storage, and general cleaning and decorating, we finally put our house on the market at the end of April. Perfect timing, right? Spring is when the real estate market picks up and gets rolling.

In the meantime, the people with the other house had actually put it on the market. Granted, we kind of had first dibs - IF our house sold.

I'll spare you the insanity of the "house for sale" saga and give you the condensed version. The house was on and off the market from the end of April until December. It was actually available five months of that time. During the five months of available-to-buy status, we had 114 showings! Sometimes as many as four in one day. We no longer were homeowners - we'd become caretakers to a show house. In fact, we spent more time at my parents' house three blocks away. Including the dog. He had water and food bowls there, a cable for outside, and was quite comfortable at his second home.

During that time, we had four contracts on our house. Every one of them fell through. We lost the perfect house, as someone else bought it before ours could sell. We went under contract (contingent again on the sale of our house) on two more homes. Since our house never sold, those went under as well.

By the end of 2002/beginning of 2003, we decided we didn't want to play the "house for sale" game any more. It was no longer a fun game. And if we were going to stay there, at least the place looked a lot better - painted, pretty, and nice. We figured God wanted us to stick around for awhile. So we did.

To keep this from becoming a painfully long post (even though the story is), I'll finish this up with Part 4. Sooner than Part 3 arrived. Really.


Ahh . . . Warmth

If you're one of my Twitter pals, or if you live where I do, you know that it has been REALLY cold here. I think we barely made it up to double digits . . . for a very short time . . . today. While I have boots, they aren't really made for screaming cold or for getting in the snow. Coupled with my lame-o cotton socks, I've had some rather cold feet the past couple of days. We're not expecting to see much better until the end of the week.

And it's only the beginning of winter (almost).

We need to get boots for hubs and the Comedian, but they didn't find anything that worked for them (in our price range). On the other hand, I did. Sorels. Warm, cozy, good to -25 degrees. Aaahhhhhh. Warm feet. It's a good thing.


Wordless Wednesday - Game Fun

Check out the WW hub and Gabriel's place for more photo fun.


Rule Follower or Breaker?

While at some friends’ house awhile back, we were chatting while they loaded the dishwasher. I watched in surprise as they loaded the lids to this set of prep bowls into the rack. Do you know that the “rules” say the lids aren’t dishwasher safe? So I always hand wash mine. Because that’s what “they” say. Does this mean I’m an OCD Rule Follower? Not so much. OCD at times. Rule follower at times. But only at times.

What about you? Do you adamantly adhere to the rules that present themselves in life? Or are you like me, arbitrarily deciding when the rules may or may not apply?

God asks us to obey. Not out of obligation, but as a natural heart response of love towards Him. He’s more concerned with obedience than offerings or sacrifice.
I Samuel 15:22 “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.”

What about the areas where you do obey? Do you obey completely and wholly? Do you ever suffer from partial obedience syndrome? That isn’t what the Lord asks of us. If we take a look at the life of Saul in 1 Samuel, we’ll see what God has to say about partial obedience.

Saul started out well. While the people of Israel had rejected God in asking for a king to rule over them, the Lord still chose a godly man to be their king – Saul. In 1 Samuel 11:13 we see that Saul had a heart for the Lord. He recognized that “the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.” In verse 15, after he’s made king, it says, “There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

However, it didn’t take long for Saul to decide which rules would apply to him and which would not. In 1 Samuel chapter 13, Saul had followed the word of Samuel, but when things didn’t happen the way Saul had anticipated, he took matters into his own hands. His people were all leaving, so he decided to offer the burnt offering. The problem is that he wasn’t authorized by God to do so. He wasn’t a priest. It wasn’t his job.

In verse 10, it says, “Now it happened, as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him.” Interesting that Samuel showed up just as soon as he had taken matters into his own hands. Samuel addresses this sin and Saul promptly comes up with an excuse. “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.

Because of this decision to defy God’s laws, Saul lost the kingdom. This choice affected his career, his family, and ultimately his relationship with the Lord. In 1 Samuel 13:14, Samuel tells Saul, “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.

I believe that the Lord gave Saul opportunity to repent and turn back to God, following after Him. In chapter 15 of 1 Samuel, the Lord sends Saul to attack the Amalekites and utterly destroy them – all the people, as well as the livestock. But now Saul’s choices are determined by his own will. The sad thing about disobedience is that once we head down that path, our ability to discern God’s direction versus our own becomes diminished. Saul doesn’t utterly destroy the Amalekites, he takes their king, Agag, alive. Not only that, he and the people kept the best of the sheep, the oxen, and fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good. They “were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.” It was all about human perspective. The rules only went so far. This stuff looked good. Surely the Lord would want good for them, right? Wrong.

From verse 10 through 23, we read how the Lord spoke to Samuel, informing him of what Saul had done – and not done. Samuel is grieved, and “he cried out to the Lord all night.” The next day, Samuel goes to Saul and Saul immediately tries to placate him. He claims to have “performed the commandment of the Lord.” Our sin, however, doesn’t always like to stand quietly by. In Saul’s case, Samuel heard the bleating of the sheep and the lowing of the oxen.

Instead of coming clean and repenting, Saul again tries to justify his actions. Now he claims that he saved the good things to offer to the Lord. But Samuel knows this is a lie. Saul, for the third time, attempts to explain himself and justify his sin. This time he claims that he did do what God said, “but the people took of the plunder, sheep, and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.

God gave Saul numerous “Get out of jail free” cards. He offered Saul the opportunity to come clean, confess, and repent. Yet each time, Saul dug himself further and further into the hole of his own sin.

Then Samuel said: ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.’”

We serve a holy, just, and mighty God. He is perfect and can have no fellowship with darkness and sin. He doesn’t abhor sin arbitrarily. He doesn’t impose rules and commandments to make our lives miserable. He does so because He loves us so much. He’s done so much for us already. How could we want anything less than to be wholly submitted to His perfect and glorious will? Why would we choose to filter the rules as we see fit? He calls us to obey. While there can be very uncomfortable, even life-altering, consequences for disobedience, there are also glorious and wonderful results for obedience. Best of all? Knowing that you’re living a life that pleases the heart of God.

As is His custom, when God is speaking to me about a topic, I usually find it in multiple places. I wrote this back in July, and came across this post at My Quiet Corner. It seems that Donetta wrote on the same topic. I love it when God does that.
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