Friday, November 30, 2012

"What I Wore Sunday" and a Coffee Update

Happy Friday, everyone!

My blog friend Rachel over at Ranchin' Mama, and my cousin Sharon have both been asking for ladies to participate with "What I Wore" pictures on their blogs.  I kept forgetting to have someone take a picture when I got dressed up so I only have a couple to share this week. Plus, my wardrobe isn't very fashion forward. Thankfully, no-one around here seems to care.

Below is the outfit I wore to church on Sunday morning.  It was chilly when we left so I threw on a light jean jacket. In the winter, I wear it with boots instead of sandals.

Here is the outfit I wore to a garden wedding last week. It was unseasonably warm, so I could still get away with it.

I hate the horrible picture below, but I put it on here because sometimes, when I'm feeling cantankerous, I wear this dress with my old boots. My toes stay warmer, and it's way more comfortable. I don't care if it doesn't match.

I'll try to remember to snap more outfit pictures next week.

Coffee Update:

As you know,  the past few weeks I've been trying to adapt to drinking coffee. I've been experimenting with all sorts of flavorings, and I've had my ups and downs with the whole experience. Last night, however, I drank the best Peppermint Mocha I've had in a while, and I downed the whole cup in a matter of minutes. It was tasty!

Big Mistake.

Huge Mistake!

Two hours later, I went to bed but wasn't tired at all.

Finally, I got up and read a book on my iPad to pass the time.

At 3:00 a.m. I was still staring at the ceiling.... WIDE AWAKE.

I don't know what time I finally dozed off, but when I woke up this morning, I felt horrible! I think I only got a couple of hours of sleep.

Caffeine is a nasty little creature at bedtime.  I can't believe the fully leaded stuff had such a bad effect on me.

No more coffee for me at night.

Lesson learned.


Have a fabulous Friday,


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Another Year Older

I just celebrated my birthday, and I have to say that 35 feels fabulous! Every day is a gift from God. When I was 18, I thought that people in their 30's were totally old, but now that I'm smack-dab in the middle of them, I think I've hit a sweet-spot in life.

Sure I've got jiggles in unwanted places, a wrinkle or two, and new "wisdom" hairs sprouting every month, but I wouldn't trade them for anything.  I'm much more comfortable in my own skin these days. I'm a little wiser, more content, and more confident of who I am in Christ than I was a decade ago. I've done some living, survived some tough stuff, and have a whole lot to look forward to in the future.

35 is a good age!

The Lord has really blessed my socks off through so many people this week! I've been spoiled rotten by my family and friends, and I'm blown away by it all.  I feel like Christmas came early!

You know, sometimes we go through long, hard seasons of pain and trials.  Other times, we go through quiet seasons of rest. Occasionally, God takes us through a season of blessings.  Through it all, it's good to praise Him!

This week has been a time of rejoicing, and I just wanted to share with you how much I've been blessed.

First off, I got a special delivery at my front door today.  I've been wanting a new pair of dressy black boots to wear with jeans for years, but I never bought any.  I finally combined all of my birthday money and splurged on a new pair from Country Outfitter, and I'm so excited about them! (They look much better in person!) I love the way they look with dark jeans, black shirts, and Turquoise jewelry, but I wouldn't wear them with a dress. The tops just aren't tall enough. It's my first pair of square toed boots, but I think they're growing on me, and they are sooooo comfortable!

DanPost_DP2890_15 Medium

For my entire married life, I've had an old, junky blender with a cracked lid and a chewed up/ taped cord. It was so noisy that  it sent everyone running the other direction when I turned it on. As inconvenient as it was, I used it to grind up everything from nuts to Oreo cookies.

Last weekend, my dad totally surprised me with a brand new, high-tech Kitchenaid food processor! I nearly cried.  It's so quiet, and so powerful. I haven't even scratched the surface of its potential, yet.

As if that wasn't enough, he also got me a Kitchenaid Immersion Blender for making soups, and stirring things right in the pot! I never thought I'd own something so fancy.

Product Details

Yesterday, my kids surprised me with the second Pioneer Woman Cookbook. They are so thoughtful, and they definitely know their Mama! I love The Pioneer Woman!
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier

One of my dear friends just upgraded to the newest iPad, and she gave me her old one! That's right, I am now the owner of an iPad! WoooHoooo!  The first thing I did with it was shop for a Christmas present online in my warm, cozy bed. It felt almost sinful to buy something in my pajamas with the touch of the screen when everyone else was Black Friday shopping in horrendous lines, and nightmare traffic.

The second thing I did was set it up so that I can load free library books onto it. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about not having any real pages to flip, but so far, it has been an absolute delight to have reading material at my finger-tips. And the selection of  books  online is far greater than what I can get at our tiny little library. The best part? No over-due book fees. The book simply disappears on the due- date!

Product Details

This last blessing might seem silly to everyone, but it's important to me! My husband got an absolute screaming deal on a diamond-plated toolbox for the back of my truck bed.  We always have toolboxes on our work trucks, but we've never had one for the truck I drive now.  It's going to be so nice to have a spot to put things where they'll stay dry.  I can't tell you how many times I've filled the cab with groceries, luggage,jackets or tack to the point that my kids didn't have a spot for their feet because I was trying to keep everything out of the rain and snow.  Hooray for extra storage!

Wel-Bilt Aluminum Slim-Line Crossbed Truck Box - Diamond Plate 70in.L x 12in.W x 16in.H

As you can see, I was serious when I said that the Lord has blessed my socks off this week! The truth is, God blesses me every day, and far more than I deserve. Some days I have to dig deeper to find it, but there is always, always something to be thankful for.

Have a great day, friends!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Pondering Thanksgiving

We're back from our Thanksgiving travels and down to the final bag of left-over turkey.  I've been rationing the last of the pumpkin cheesecake so that I can savor each bite a little longer.  We've been feeding the decorative pumpkins to the chickens, and their eggs have a beautiful dark orange yolk because of it.

I've also been feeding aspirin to my old dog Boone, because holiday traveling makes him cripple up. When we drive down to see my family, he spends 4 hours standing in the back of the truck with a furrowed brow, paws on the wheel-well, and the wind in his fur.  He looks to the horizon like the captain of a ship. He won't lay down and rest like little Chigger does.  He's afraid he'll miss something.  Then he pays for it dearly the next day when he can't stand up on his own.

He's become a real thorn in my fanny when we travel. I don't know if he's got dog Alzheimers or dementia but he's started this embarrassing chatter in the back of the truck when we reach the city. At every stop light he makes the strangest Chewbacca from Star Wars.  It's loud, and every car around us starts cracking up with all eyes on my crazy old- fart of a dog. And don't even get me started about the bicyclists that he barks at.  I used to be able to yell at him from the cab when he started acting like a hooligan, but now that he's deaf, it's no use.

I can't take that dog anywhere!

I guess I'm writing all of this nonsense to avoid writing about the real issue.

The truth is, Thanksgiving has become a tough holiday for me to get through the last few years. It's not the hours spent baking, and preparing for the feast that bother me. I really enjoy cooking.

It's not the fact that I spend several days in my mom's kitchen. I grew up in that kitchen, and it's comforting to be surrounded by my mom's old, familiar bowls and spoons.

At the heart of it, I'm just homesick for that nostalgic era when many generations of women in my family all gathered in the kitchen to prepare the Thanksgiving meal.  I have the fondest memories of the chitter-chatter of ladies in the kitchen.  The hours passed by quickly as they talked about everything and nothing while stirring the gravy, and mashing the potatoes.  I had small jobs back then, like setting the table, pouring the drinks, and putting out the appetizers, but I felt thankful to be a part of the action. My Granny would delegate the jobs,  and kept things flowing like clock-work.  She knew exactly when to start cooking things. Her kitchen crew was like a well- oiled machine, chopping, and dicing, and stirring in unison, moving about the kitchen like dancers in a ballroom.

Apart from the occasional basting of the turkey, the men-folk stayed away from the kitchen. That was the ladies' territory.  After the meal was finished and the bellies were full, the women would gather in the kitchen once again to do the dishes, and clean up the mess.  Many hands made light work, and the cleaning seemed to go by quickly.

But one by one, the matriarchs of the family have all gone.

And  last year, at the age of 33, I found myself thrust into a position I didn't plan on being in for many years to come. With the death of my mom, I had now become the sole female in the kitchen.

There is no more ladies' chitter-chatter, no more sharing of recipes, no more taste-testing and laughter.  Now I work steadily, side-by-side with my dad to prepare the meal. The other gals come just before serving time, dressed elegantly with perfectly styled hair and a casserole dish from home.  I greet them with my gravy stained apron, and sweaty clothes.  We say the grace and then eat.

Afterward, they are content to sit and visit while I do the dishes with the help of my husband who takes pity on me. There's no-one else who seems to enjoy cooking, is willing to throw on an apron and get messy, or pull up their sleeves and help with dishes.

When my mom died, it felt like the death of an era.

But then, like shining little beacons of hope, my own little girls asked to help me prepare the Thanksgiving meal this year.  In an instant, my whole outlook changed.

Instead of looking back, wishing for things to be like they were in days gone by, I've decided to look ahead to all of the possibilities that lie in front of me.

As my girls grow older, I hope to instill in them a love of the kitchen. I hope to share recipes with them, and teach them how to make good gravy. I hope that as they grow into young women, we can chit-chat about boys and jobs and life while we mash the potatoes.  Perhaps some day, I'll share the kitchen not only with my own girls, but maybe with a daughter-in-law, and grand-daughters, too.

I'll pass down my mom's famous Coconut Cream pie recipe, and my grandma's date pudding. I'll teach them how to make a beautiful pie crust, and tell them that the secret's in the way you pinch it.  And even though the matriarchs of yesterday aren't with us in the kitchen, their knowledge will be passed from generation to generation.

The one thing that seems to be constant, is that nothing stays the same. No matter how much I fight it, change is inevitable. But I'll hold on to the wonderful memories and traditions of the past, while making new memories today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Scoop

 Hello out there! It's been awhile. Between hauling water, replacing tank heaters, and doing laundry, I've somehow lost the time to document my life.

Thankfully, I have mediocre iPhone pics to share with you.

last weekend, we left the mountain to attend a very special birthday party for my niece. She just turned one!

In the "burbs" people get these bouncy castle things for birthday parties. It's like, the thing to do. We don't have stuff like that up on the mountain so my kids bounced their hearts out. 

The birthday girl enjoyed her first taste of cake and frosting!

Look at that green grass! That's why people move to Phoenix in the winter.

While we were in town, we shopped for Thanksgiving food, and made the menu. I'll be cooking for a crowd this year so my Dad and I stocked up on everything we'll need for the big day.

In other news, my friend polished my nails with gel polish that hardens under a special light. This stuff is supposed to last several weeks. I had her do my nails for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm very impressed by their longevity.  Normally, a manicure lasts less than a day around here, but this stuff is tough! No more John Wayne hands for Thanksgiving.  Only pretty lady fingers for me!

I've been thumbing through this fancy catalog that arrived in the mail this week.  My husband broke an expensive plate this year while we were having dinner at a friend's house, and I bought a new one from this store to replace it.  I guess that's why they sent us their catalog.  It makes me feel highfalutin when I read it, as if I have a summer home in the Hamptons or something.  Quick, someone get me a K-Mart ad before I forget my roots. HaHa!

Below is a picture I snapped at Wally World.  It's that time of year when every store in town has these ugly re-bar flagged things out.  I bet half of you reading will know what they're for, and the other half won't have a clue. 

Yes, just around the corner, we'll be having "big" snows, and these ugly markers are out so the plow doesn't hit the planters and curbs in the parking lots.

Lastly, I'll leave you with a picture of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen for Thanksgiving. Does your Walmart carry these things? They would definitely be an ice-breaker sitting on the Thanksgiving table.

Well, that's all of the photo documentation that I have. I'm off to do some chores, and teach some kids!

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, November 12, 2012

7 Random Things

1. I've got a great, crowd pleasing appetizer to share with you for the holidays. It's so simple to throw together for unexpected guests, too! We had it at a friend's house and then dreamed about it for a week until we could get the ingredients to make it at home.  You may already be eating this and thinking that I'm so "behind" the times, and you'd be right. ;)

Take a block of cream cheese and plop it on a plate.

 Next, take some jalapeno jam and plop it over the cream cheese. Then use your favorite flavor of Wheat Thins to scoop up the cheese and jam deliciousness. Ahhhhhh. Perfection on a cracker.

I found this jam at Safeway in my neck of the woods. It' delicious! 

P.S.- It's sweet, not really spicy. My kids even love it.

2. Here's what happens to every bag of trail mix in our home:

Yes, there are a few raisin haters around here. How could you tell?

3. I've been stitching together a few velvet pumpkins with real stems as demonstrations for this month's  4-H sewing class. I may or may not have started a small fire in the microwave while attempting to take a shortcut in the stem drying process, which may or may not have caused the house to smell like burnt  pumpkin stems.  

(baking for an hour at 175° works so much better. ) Wink, Wink.

4. We've added a new weapon in our arsenal against dry, cracked hands.  I still love my Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa Hand Lotion, and it's light citrus scent, but our dermatologist has recently got my husband hooked on a less greasy, but equally effective alternative that won't make your hands feel so slippery while doing chores. It's called O' Keeffe's Working Hands.

O'Keeffe's Working Hands Cream, 3.4 oz.
We get it in the paint department at Lowe's. They also carry it at Ace Hardware, or several places online.  My husband keeps one in his lunchbox while out working. His hands crack, chap, and peel so terribly without it.

5. We had our first decent sized snow of the season this weekend.  It was 19° F this morning which means that I couldn't wear my blingy cowhide flip flops.  The only bright spot to the whole thing is that I've been re-united with my blessed Sorrels. If you've read my blog for a while, then you know about my love affair with the most comfortable snow boots on earth.  Toasty toes = TrueLove4EVER

6. We've been listening to Christmas music for weeks now, and I'm not ashamed to say it.  I only wish God would give me my angel voice the same way Ariel got hers on The Little Mermaid so that I could sing O' Holy Night the way it was meant to be sung.

7. I've recently decided to take up coffee drinking.  Growing up in the hot, dry desert, coffee was something that only old people from Minnesota drank.  We drank Iced Tea. Straight. By the gallon. Who wants to drink something hot when it's 115° outside?   But since my husband moved me to the land of the frozen Tundra nearly 13 years ago, friends are always wanting to have me over for coffee.  At Sunday School, the only thing they have to drink is coffee. My husband drinks the stuff every morning without me. Everyone I know wants chat over a cup of coffee. It's coffee, coffee, coffee all the time. Well, I've finally decided to start drinking a cup every day until I'm in love with it. I want to sit and drink coffee while watching the sun rise in the morning. I want to share a thermos of it with my Love while we're driving to haul water to the cows in January. I want to share a pot of it at the kitchen table while talking to my fellow homeschooling moms.  After all, it's the social thing to drink around tea in England, or beer in Ireland, or Saki in Japan.

My plan is to make it taste better with peppermint mocha creamer, or other "foo-foo" stuff (as my husband calls it) until I'm used to it. Then slowly, verrrrry slowly, I'll wean myself off the creamer until I can drink it black, the way my husband, and all other tough cowboys drink it.

Well, that's enough chatter for one day. I'm off to do something productive,


Friday, November 9, 2012


 This week, I have had to bite my tongue SO many times.

So. So. Many. Times.

Exercising this type of restraint is NOT one of my strong points.  However, the Lord has given me ample opportunity to practice the whole "meek and quiet spirit" thing.  Yes,  it's one little verse in the Bible that is terribly difficult for me to exude without Jesus applying the duct tape to my mouth.

A few things have absolutely made my blood boil during the elections. I've been able to keep the great debater within me under control...for the most part, but I had a few slip-ups where I felt myself beginning to unleash my wrath.  That is how I know that I still have a LONG way to go before I emanate a meek and quiet spirit.  Sometimes, I dream about starting an anonymous blog with a pen name so I can rant about the things that really torque know, just type it all out of my system! Although it is enticing, it's the wrong thing to do.

What am I learning?

That "meek and quiet spirit" that the Bible speaks of in 1 Peter 3:4 is not just about controlling my mouth on the outside. As with everything in God's Word, it's SO. MUCH. MORE. It's about the inside. It is my spirit that needs to be gentle and quiet.

The Greek word for "spirit" in this verse refers to the rational soul and mental disposition of humans.

God really upped the ante with this verse. It's no accident that it is directed specifically to women.  We are masters at putting on a false front.  We wear many different masks on the outside, but God knows exactly what we're thinking behind the mask.

This verse means that my thought life has to align with my mouth.  It's not good enough to just zip my lip.  It's a start...but I have to control my mind, too. I can't be steaming under the surface, and shooting daggers or laser beams in my mind while sitting quietly with a smile on my face. I need to "take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

So how do I make my mental disposition gentle and quiet?

Well, for starters, the Lord tells me to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

In addition to thinking about those things, the Bible tells me to meditate on God's Word day and night. (Psalm 119:37)

The Greek word for "quiet" in this verse translates as still, undisturbed, and peaceable.
It's impossible to have an undisturbed and peaceable mind when I dwell on the wrong things.

Sometimes, I have to "put off" the garbage in my head so I can "put on" Godly traits that lead to a peaceful mind:

Put Off  Corrupt talk- Put On Speech that builds up and gives grace (Ephesians 4:29)
Put Off  Foolish talk- Put On Thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)
Put Off Anxiety- Put On Peace through prayer and supplication (Philippians 4:6)
Put Off Bitterness, wrath, anger, and slander- Put On Kindness, and forgiveness (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Most importantly, I'm learning that having a meek and quiet spirit doesn't mean that I can't speak about things that concern me.

What does it mean?

It means that when I when I do speak....

I need to "open my mouth in wisdom" (Proverbs 31:26)
I need to be "diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3)
I need to "with humility of mind...regard one another as more important than myself" (Philippians 2:3)
I need to " bear with one another...whoever has a complaint against anyone..."(Colossians 3:13)
I need to "give thanks to my God always" (1 Corinthians 1:4)

Bottom Line: If I want to open my mouth, both my speech and my mind need to glorify the Lord. I truly desire a meek and quiet spirit because the Bible says it is "precious" in God's sight.

I really want to be "precious" to my Lord.

Time and time again I fail, but His mercies are new each day.  Praise God for that!

Still taming the tongue,


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Celebrations with Family

Life has been full and our cups runneth over.  We've been spending time with both sides of our family this week, hence the long blogging absence.

For my dad's birthday, the kids and I made a whirlwind trip down to the valley to surprise him for the day.  My husband had to stay home for work, but the kids and I met up with the rest of the family for dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Benihana.

It was our first experience having a chef entertain and cook our meal right in front of us.  We were mesmerized, but my little niece was terrified by the flinging knives and steam. She still looks precious, even when she's scared out of her mind. ;)

The dinner was a fun diversion from the ordinary meat and potatoes we eat around here.

I love my family!

Then, we drove back home for the arrival of my husband's brother and family from Washington.  We don't get to see these guys very often so it was an extra- special treat.  My mother-in-law made an early Thanksgiving feast, and I ate until they rolled me away from the table.

Afterward, we took a leisurely walk along the river to work off the turkey and rolls.


A little surprise on our walk.

Lovin' on Grandma.

Pop Pop showing the grand kids the beaver dam.

The next day, the whole Washington crew got sick with a nasty cold they picked up on the plane, so their plans quickly changed from exploring the mountain to bed rest.  I felt terrible for them.  We spent our final night nursing them back to health with chicken soup and bread sticks.  They will be leaving the mountain today, just in time to miss the snow we're expecting this weekend.

I'm so thankful for family,