July 31, 2009

A Tasteful Way to Healthier Living

I love to read cookbooks. I often pick them up and read them as if they were novels. Sometimes I make a few recipes from the book but more often then not I fall back on my old family favorites that have been passed down from my mother and grandmothers.

But, there are two books in my collection that I come back to time and time again. My mother's 1972 edition of the Betty Crocker Cook Book and this one "From the Kitchen of Two Sisters." Or around our house simply, "The Sister's Cookbook." I have made almost every recipe in this book. And many of them over and over.

What makes this one so special? Well, the story about how it was written for one. These two sisters, from a family of 8 children, wrote this book on their journey for finding a way to prepare healthier meals for their family.

Second, the pictures are beautiful.

Third, throughout the book are stories of how various recipes came about and stories of why that recipe became special to their family. As you read and prepare the recipes you are also entertained with tales of this lovely Christian family as they grow and live to serve the Lord. Oh, and they all play stringed instruments, too!

Fourth, their recipes are all created around a healthier way of eating. None of them include meat and they are all made with dairy and sugar alternatives. They include as much raw fruit and veggies in the recipes as possible. (A note for meat lovers...it is OK. I have added meat to many of the recipes with no problem, as my husband as a limit on how many meatless meals he will eat in one week.) They do use a lot of "exotic" ingredients. Like flax seed instead of egg (yes, it works and is delicious believe it or not) but they give at least one and sometimes two alternatives for the cook who doesn't want to try new things or hunt down the special ingredients. For example, many of their recipes are made using rice milk. They can successfully be made with soy milk or good old fashioned cows milk if you prefer with no difference in taste or quality.

Fifth, and not least. Every recipe tastes delicious. I did not ever have one thing in this book that I didn't like. My picky eater and dear husband liked them all, too. I know teenage boys who rave about the "Sisters' recipes." And in my book that says a lot.

A word of warning. Because they come from a large family, their recipes seem to be scaled for such. Many of them seem to provide many more servings than what even our family can eat in one sitting. Plan accordingly and if you have a small family cut it back if you don't like a lot of leftovers.

Sixth, the introduction gives a long discussion about the basis for healthy eating and how to improve your diet for a better quality of life.

For ten years I have gone back to this book again and again. If you are looking for a way to improve your eating habits without sacrificing taste I suggest you give it a try to.

You can read more about it and order it here.

Just to give you a sampling I am going to include here my very favorite muffin recipe from the Sisters.

Classic Banana Muffins

3 cups rice milk, apple juice, water, or milk
1 1/2 cups mashed banana
1 cup honey
1 cup canola oil
3/4 cup flaxseed mixture or 3 eggs
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups rolled oats, coconut, pecans, raisins, dates, cranberries, nuts, chocolate chips...whatever at long as it equals 3 1/2 cups
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 T. baking soda
1 1/2 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt

1. Combine wet ingredients in very large bowl with whisk.
2. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl.
3. Mix wet and dry together.
4. Pour in greased muffin pans
5. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.

July 30, 2009

Week 15 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans
I've accepted Carin's challenge, as a Mom, to get back into the picture. The idea is that once a week you take a picture of yourself with one or more of your children. It's that simple. If you'd like you can post your picture on your blog. You can let me know you posted so I can check out your pics. You can check out my previous weeks or Click the button to add your name to the Mr. Linky. So, have fun!

This is me reading to the kids while sitting on top of the tank car of the train my husband built in the backyard. The train is a whole other post for some other day.

Last week the kids volunteered to do the church cleaning for me while I went to the allergy doctor and drove Brianna to the orthodontist. After ward, to reward them, I took the children to Border's to claim their books for completing the summer reading program. Aedan chose "James and the Giant Peach." I was a little sorry that was his pick as I am not really impressed by Raoul Dahl's writing. And I try to steer away from books with negative attitudes or books that involve magic. This story is full of both.

My children are very good about taking no for an answer and are quick to accept our explanations and seek our guidance for what we consider good reading material or videos to view for that matter. I could have easily said no and that would have been the end of it. But, Kaitlin read him the back of all the books he had to choose from. That is all the ones we don't already own. And, he gave it serious thought before he made his pick. I decided it would be a good opportunity to reinforce why we know magic, even if it appears to be used for good, is not from God. I accepted the challenge to show them what was wrong with the poor attitudes and the feel sorry for me attitude displayed by James in the beginning of the book and his various companions throughout.

With that said. He got the book. We went home and the kids took their naps. Aedan was the first one up that afternoon and sought me out in the hammock to read his new book to him. We got the necessary discussion out of the way and settled in for the long haul.

And I was surprised. I actually enjoyed it. As we made it through a few more chapters the other kids joined in and they were giggling heartily. As was I. We had so much fun singing the songs about Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker that the kids insisted I sing them over and over.

In fact, when we went to the library they checked out the movie. And watched it on our date night. And they liked it. Go figure. The moral of the story is...sometimes if we give it a try we might like the story. Or something like that.

This next picture is me attempting to show the kids how to start a fire using a magnifying glass. We have been trying for weeks. First we had too many overcast days. Then we couldn't find the magnifying glass. We found it again and gave it a try but the sun kept going behind the clouds and we finally gave up.

Did you all do that when you were a kid? My husband never had and I can not believe that since he was a boy scout. Seems like a pretty basic deal to me. Well, I was just the sister of a boy scout and I learned how to do it anyway.

This is my favorite picture for this week. Elisabeth finally got in the pool with me. And loved it! Until a short while ago she was terrified of the water and would cry through every bath. I count it a great accomplishment that she is now a bathing beauty!

July 29, 2009

Wednesday Wit and Wisdom

Well, I got so worked up about Vegetables on Tuesday that I ran out of time to write about the other items of business. If you've been reading for any length of time or if you've written something that I feel passionate about, you know that when something is very important to me I can go on a bit about it.

And I do take the growing, canning and eating of vegetables seriously. But enough about produce.

Today want to tell you about my dear husband's sunburn. Saturday, Allen was working by the pool laying the final pavers in his summer project. It looks gorgeous, by the way, and I will post pictures soon. We actually had some hot and humid more seasonal weather for a change. He had been working an hour or two when he was dripping with sweat. I suggested he dip in the pool and then return to work cooler and refreshed.

He took my advice and ended up with a beet red back. I am a person who steps outdoors for 15 minutes soaked in 45 sunscreen and still ends up with a severe sunburn so I knew just what to do. We whipped out the aloe vera lotion from my sunburn in St. Kitts, courtesy of my dear husband's company.

Brianna came along and offered to rub it on his back. Now, for this next part to make sense I must explain that my husband's company is hosting a contest for the children of their employees. The premise is that they must design a solar house. So we've had a few discussions about solar energy lately.

And the engineer and home school student in Brianna trumped out the sympathetic daughter in her as Brianna exclaimed, "Pa, look at all that wasted solar energy!"

I must admit I bust up laughing. Actually, I am still laughing. He was not amused. Or at least he was not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking he was amused. As we got into bed that night, my eye caught the lotion on the bureau and I started laughing again. He started laughing along with me. Don't you love someone that can get a giggle at their own expense?

Ahem. I guess you had to be there. Well, so much for the wit. How about some words of wisdom.

Moving right along. I need to talk to about a very serious matter. It is wearing on my nerves considerably and I think it is high time someone take a stand for the betterment of all woman kind.

Now, I don't see why ladies have to wear clothing that is cut down to their navel anyway. There are some things that are meant only for your husband, nursing babies, and once a year your gyn. Why do women think that the rest of the world want to see it all???

And that is bad enough. But here it is. And I am going to lay it all on the line. If you insist on wearing such clothing, for the dear Lord's sake, please wear a bra that will hold things up in their proper place! You are doing no one a favor and least of all yourself by allowing things to hang and flop all over the place.

I am not joking here people. I was at Home Depot, you know my favorite weekend hangout, with my good husband, when I witnessed a very well endowed woman dressed in a top cut so low if I wanted to I could have seen her belly button. Now, I have nursed a lot of babies for a lot of years. I make no mistake in understanding that things aren't as perky as they once were. But for goodness sake, I know where to go for help!

Now, as I got into the car and commented on such to my sweet and oblivious husband, my daughters piped up and reminded me of a great video by Anita Renfroe that sums it all up very nicely. Check it out.

So there you have it. What works for me this Wednesday is Victoria Secret's Miracle Bra.

July 28, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

Happy Tuesday. Although, I am actually writing this on Sunday. I have all these odd thoughts floating around in my head that I needed to clear out. Aren't you glad, that the I use the brains of you faithful readers as the dumping ground for the toxic waste of my brain??? Don't forget that red x at the top if my post from Monday wore you out too much to hear some serious grousing today. But here it goes!

My first order of business is Zucchini. Yes, I said Zucchini. I hear and read all the time about the mistreatment of animals. There are all sorts of organizations to save our whales and protect our birds. It is high past time that someone step in for the the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables. And since no one else has stepped up, it seems I am the one to do the job.

Today, we stopped by my mother-in-laws to pick up some of the bounty from their enormous garden. Now, I don't want to sound ungrateful, because I really am. I have been blessed with parents and parent-in-laws who love to help others and are always thinking of ways to bring a little blessing into the lives of their families.

My dear husband's dear parents grow an enormous garden. Now, I think the basis for this is in their farming history. Both of their families were farmers. Actually, most of them still are farmers. But, my father-in-law departed from the family business and took up elevator repair. Deep down though, he still has farming in his blood. His garden, for just the two of them, is at least four times the size of mine. I thought to take a picture to show you and actually forgot.

So, they plant this enormous garden, using the old fashioned work really hard method to boot. And then they spend all summer complaining about the need for rain and all the weeding and picking they must do. Each year, we offer to help them with the work. And each year they go on with it refusing to take a little break and let us pitch in.

Side note here. That is where my husband gets his stubborn inability to accept help from anyone. It is funny how that frustrates him in his father and he can't see it in himself. Don't worry, though. I regularly point it out to him. (Smile...he will as he reads this.)

So they have this huge garden. And they have a huge yield. My mother-in-law does not care for canning and their freezer is still overflowing with the excess of previous years, so what do they do? Give it to us.

Side note. Why do people grow vegetables they don't even like to eat? I am not joking. My in laws regularly grow crooked neck squash, which they don't even like, and then give us so much that I can not ever possibly use it all. And we love squash.

And this may sound like a very nice thing. And I hope I don't sound too ungrateful when I say my part. This is not always the blessing it may seem. For one thing, they let most stuff sit on the vine until it is overripe. Then they pick it and let it sit in their garage for days until it is literally half rotted. I have had bags of tomatoes turn to mush in the trunk of our suburban on the drive home from their house because they were so overripe. By the time I get them they are too mushy too even slice. I have tried to cut the bad spots out but they just squish in my hand to an unusable mess.

My husband summed the whole thing up today when we were gathering the goods. "Should we take this over sized zucchini so we can compost it for them?" Would it be too much to ask for them to pass them along when they are fresh enough to use? Oh, and I know you are thinking that I should suggest this to my dear mother-in-law. If it was my family I could in a snap. They know how to take constructive criticism. But then, again they know what a vegetable should look like. No sirree, mentioning anything other than how delicious her pound cake is would be a grave error on my part and would cost me the friendship I have worked my whole married life to develop.

So, I dutifully give up Sunday afternoons to drive the hour to their house to graciously accept vegetables, that for the most part will simply become compost for my square foot garden. Oh, I know that sounds bratty and self centered and selfish. And I guess it is. But the bottom line is this. I think it is time for us to learn what a vegetable should really look like.

Let's talk Zucchini. This is what a good zucchini is. Note it is just under 6 inches long. The skin is tender and light green. If I were to cut it open you would see the seeds are so small that you hardly notice they are there. This is what a zucchini is all about. If everyone got a zucchini like this and sliced it up and sauteed it with a little garlic and olive oil, we would make a world of vegetable lovers.

Now look at specimen B. This is not a zucchini. It is a club! The thing is nearly 15 inches long. It weighed near 5 pounds. Let us put that into perspective. My first baby weighed less than this zucchini when I brought her home from the hospital! This ceased to be a vegetable long ago. The dark skin indicates it has become too tough too chew. The seeds will be so big they will unpleasant no matter what dish you put it in. The only good use for this is to make zucchini bread. Which is likely where the idea of zucchini bread came from in the first place.

Which takes me back to that crooked neck squash. Do you know what my mother-in-laws complaint against crooked neck squash is? It is too seedy. I am here to tell you, my gentle readers, that if you don't let a squash grow to the size of a Volkswagen it will not be too seedy. If picked at the proper size you will scarcely notice the seeds inside.

I challenge you to stand up today for vegetables everywhere. Pick a squash or zucchini while it is young. Cook it up and find out how good it can really be!

July 27, 2009

This is The Song That Never Ends...

Note to my beloved readers... This is a post that I mostly wrote on March 25th of this year. In reading this, you will be embarking on a very long journey that started at the beginning of March. Actually, after I wrote it, I opted not to publish it. It was so long. And so full of complaining. Which I don't like or condone at all. No circumstances justify whining. Our Lord on the cross never whined or complained once.

But, a few weeks ago, I was surfing around visiting some new blogs when I came across this letter about someone else's saga of trying to get her washing machine repaired. I said I would try to finish my story and publish it because I was in shock that two of us could have such a similar nightmare at the mercy of this company.

So here it is.

This is a picture of me on the phone yelling at the manager of our the warranty repair company. Apparently my hubby thought it was adorable listening to me chew out some mindless, helpless person who can get no better job than to sit on the other end of the line thinking up ways to frustrate and irritate poor overworked housewives.

But hey, let me start at the beginning...

Once upon a time we bought this old house with an old washing machine. It took 45 gallons of water for each wash load that would hold only 3 pairs of socks each (and our well can only refill at less than 1 gallon per minute.) When it went through the spin cycle the poor queen (um, that would be me) had to run to the basement as fast as she could and brace her body against the machine to keep it from jumping so far away from the wall that the pipe would break lose and flood the basement. (I am not making this up.)

One day after several years of praying for a new washer that would hold a few more pieces at once, not flood the basement, and allow us enough water to flush the toilet on wash day, the antique went to the washer heaven in the sky. The handsome King rode in on his royal steed (a blue ford Taurus) and said, "Honey, I think it is time for a new washer. And not just any washer but a high efficiency washer that will take less than 5 gallons of water per load and be able to wash all the weeks linens at one time. As a bonus, because you have been such a faithful washer woman, it won't bounce across the floor, either." So it was spoken, so it was done. And the Queen and her new Duet high efficiency front loader lived happily ever after for the next 5 1/2 years.

Move forward to modern day...and reality.

A few weeks ago my washing machine broke down. This was upsetting on many levels not the least being that I've logged more hours with my front loader than with my husband in recent years. Of course, there is the consideration that we have massive amounts of laundry. We have the largest capacity machine available and still wash all day Monday and do 2-4 loads of upkeep each weekday.

One day at the laundromat was enough to send chills up my spine...and that's before considering the cost of $40 for 4 days worth of laundry. Home school math tells me that is $10 a day. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since my machine heaved it last sigh which boils down to $210.

Fortunately, we have a neighbor a half mile down the road who has given us the blessing of coming and going to do laundry at her house. The kids think this is the best discovery since they found out the bank teller gives you lollipops if you ask loud enough from the back seat of the Suburban. They all get out their bikes and strap laundry on their backs and stuff it into the baskets on the front of their bikes and pedal back and forth a good bit of the day.

It does give a whole new meaning to "airing your laundry." Ahem. I apologize for that. Between the passport office and the repair center, I am under unusual stress these days.

At any rate, God answers prayers and blesses in many ways and in this situation we have been blessed by Mrs. H's kindness and hospitality to us. We have had opportunities to talk with her that we wouldn't otherwise have. We learned many things that have encouraged us in our walk with the Lord and the way we face difficult situations.

But this saga is still too much to not share and put down for all posterity. Three weeks ago, on a Thursday, I came home to hear my machine making a noise like I've never heard. One of the things that really impressed me about this model was that it makes only the tiniest sound of water swooshing. Our old model, a cheap version of the traditional top loader sounded like a helicopter taking off each time it went through the spin cycle.

So, I come home and it is making this racket. I mention it to Allen who takes a look and says it is just because the bathroom rugs are in there. I shook it off until Friday morning when I put a load in and ran upstairs to breakfast. A few minutes later we hear an ominous beeping from the basement. Further investigation showed the computer giving us an error message code that is not in the manual. Not really a good sign.

However...We have had trouble several times over the years where little baby socks and wash cloths (and yes even a pair of Victoria's Secret bikini underwear) have been sucked into the pump. Of course, then the machine can't drain and so it shuts down. Fortunately, my very ingenious husband took out an extended warranty and each time the repair company has sent a man to retrieve the offending item and get us up and running again. For no charge.

This time was different, though. When our guests left Friday night and he went to check out the situation, it quickly became clear that this was a far more complicated matter. He glumly said, "Bearings are bad." Now, in the middle of all the passport stuff and suffering with a sinus infection at the time, I was almost reduced to tears at this news. It is a good thing that I didn't know my husband had just bought a new stove that very morning! Although, it did explain the look of panic on his face.

We thought the warranty was up. After a night of restless sleep involving dreams of ransoming one of my children for a new washer, a quick call to Lowes confirmed that we still were under warranty. A repairman was available to come the following Tuesday morning. God is good. This was so EASY.

Now, we should have gotten the first idea of what we were up against when the repairman came. At first he looked at the machine and said, "You need a new drum."

My husband asked, "What about the bearings?"

He replied back, "Your bearings are fine." Now he spins the drum. "Oh, you need new bearings." Duh!

We praised God for his goodness when we got the prognosis. Bad bearings and a new drum translates to $300 for parts and 2 guys for 3 hours for another $300 or MORE in labor fees. Thank our Father who provides that it broke down before the warranty expired this summer and we had to eat the entire cost of repair or replacement ourselves.

Tuesday morning the technician ordered the parts and he left us with instructions. When the parts were delivered to my door I could call and they would send someone out to do the job. It doesn't get any simpler than that, does it?

After a week of constant interruption to my school day running up and down the street to wash, you can imagine how excited I was the following Monday when the UPS truck showed up with some enormous boxes for my machine. We called right away and we were schedule for the next day. This was going so SMOOTH. Who would have guessed?

Yikes! I spoke too soon. Move ahead to Tuesday. Also, the day I got my new stove. Which will put the whole day in more perspective. Oh, and I still had NO PASSPORT.

So, now that you are caught up on what was going on that day...here I was stuck at home with 7 kids and waiting for the repairman. My hubby was out of town. My sister from Italy was coming in. I had no food in that house that I could serve without the stove. And did I mention I waited all day? Around 3 my husband called from the road to ask if my surprise had arrived. And as an afterthought, if the repairman had showed up. When I told him no, the repairman had NOT showed up, he said to call the number he had left on the fridge. (In case you wonder, the fridge was actually one of the few working appliances-empty as it might have been.)

I did indeed call. I was told that the technician and his helper were on their way to my house as we spoke. I started to get suspicious when 5:30 rolled around and still there was no sign of him. When I, at last, called again, at 6:30, I was told that they weren't coming today. I expressed my dissatisfaction and was told that she understood completely. She could reschedule me for Thursday. No, I couldn't do Thursday. I had appointments that could not be rescheduled. Saturday, she said. Not really a good day for me - I had a baby shower to attend. My husband was scheduled to help out a friend so he couldn't stay at home and wait for them. But, what choice did I have. The next available date was a week out. OK. Saturday and I will skip the shower. Surely, my friend won't mind too much. The lady on the other end of the line asked me to confirm my phone numbers (they have our home and both cell numbers on file) so they could contact us. She wasn't amused when I asked why on earth she would want my phone number since they didn't bother to use it to tell me no one was coming this time.

Saturday came and went. Around 2:00 on Saturday, I began to get the idea no one was coming. A quick phone call to the 800 number confirmed that I was right. The technician called in sick. Now, I was getting a little irritated. They couldn't bother to call and tell me! So, I did what any good wife and homemaker would do. I dumped the mess in my husband's lap. Mostly, because I couldn't trust myself to act in a way fitting for a Christian. (See notes on Passport to know that I was truly getting to the end of my rope).

Allen spent the next hour and a half on the phone with various companies (Lowe's where we bought the machine and warranty, Sears-who manages the warranty work, and A&E - the actual contracted repair company). His argument was solid. We have invested so much time sitting around waiting for a man to show up to do repairs that will cost more than replacing the thing. Why don't they just give us a new machine and be done with it? All it boiled down to was that we had to spend all day Thursday waiting for another guy who wasn't going to show up. By this time I was threatening to flog whoever showed up in retaliation for wasting so much of my time thus far.

Thursday arrived. The morning went. As we sat at lunch, I put it out there. The guy is not going to show up. I was boiling by the time I got through my salad. In our house, we often turn to humor in times of stress, and this time I only half joking, started commenting on how whoever showed up would be chained to my laundry room until the machine was working. I don't recall all that was said, but we laughed and kidded around for most of the meal about this.

And then it happened! I kid you not. Just as I was getting ready to do dishes, the repair van pulled into the drive. I asked me dear husband to go to the door. I was in no mood to talk to anyone from that company. As he led the man, who had the face of a weasel, through the kitchen and down the basement stairs to the laundry room, three year old Samuel jumped from his seat and took off running behind them. I grabbed the little boy to remind him not to run in the house when I realized what he was saying. "Come on Mama, let's do it. Let's do what we planned!"

OOPS! Note to self. Be careful what you tease about in front of the little guys.

Allen came back up and I questioned how the guy going to fix the thing by himself when the argument for standing us up all along has been that they need two guys to do the job and the one guy hadn't been available.

He was waiting for the other fellow, my husband reported. And wait he did. By the time the second worker showed up, weasel face was standing in my kitchen rocking from one foot to the other, rather nervously. I thought his concern was that he was stuck in the lion's den and he didn't think guy number 2 was going to show. And he obviously knew by this point that he was going to have wrath upon him if the job didn't get done.

Well, second guy showed up and it was worse than I thought. Guy one, weasel face, began whispering to guy 2. After a few minutes, they dragged the parts up from the laundry room and began explaining to us that they were BROKEN! And further more, the very first guy to come out in the very beginning, missed the fact that the inside something or another was in need of replacement, too! And that part they didn't have at all, broken or otherwise.

Can you imagine??? I couldn't. Nothing they said after that meant anything to me except the words next Thursday! The day after we were scheduled to leave on our trip. OH, and believe it or not I still had no PASSPORT!

By this point even my children were afraid to speak to me because questions like, "May I please have milk on my cereal?" could send me into a nervous breakdown. My friends would come over and ask about my washing machine and passport and my husband would try to discreetly change the subject while shaking his head no and doing the throat slashing thing.

I am certain these guys had no idea what was coming as I got started venting weeks of frustration and anguish. I think the words unbelievable, negligent and unacceptable left my mouth but the one that got their attention was "supervisor." With shaking hands they dialed and I got on the phone with their boss, who passed me up to their boss and on and on and transfers and exchanges went until I ended up with the person who was supposed to be in charge. At which time I ranted and raved for a long time. I really don't know how long except that I know my head was pounding when I was done. It is nothing short of a miracle that I did not have a stroke right there and then!

The result was that the parts would be overnighted and I would be scheduled for first thing Saturday morning. I was to call and confirm that the parts arrived and that they were in working order. How I was supposed to know if they worked or not, I still don't know. But, I was willing to play along.

Friday, the parts came. I obediently dialed the number the supervisor gave me the day before. The lady on the other end of the line told me I was not on the schedule for Saturday. Did you get that?


They were going to make me wait around all day Saturday.



I went through the long chain of command again. But this time I gave an earful of my saga to every person who came on the line along the way which included comments about me paying the price because the under qualified repair men they hire are too hung over to show up for work on Saturday morning. When I got to the top, three companies and I couldn't tell you how many people later, I was told


No one had any good explanation as to why I had been scheduled twice now to have that very job done on Saturday. My dear and oh so mild manner husband was working in his home office and I shouted this news to him.

The man on the phone certainly realized at this point that I meant it when I said I would hunt him down and when I was through with him he would be willing to find someone and personally escort them to my laundry room on Saturday. He asked me to hold while he tried to work something out. And, after that tirade my husband started making phone calls of his own on his cell phone. He got on the phone with someone in the executive office at Lowes. Who really had very little to do with the whole thing. Except that they sold us the machine and the warranty. And they contracted Sears repair service to do their appliance repairs. Who in turn contracted A&E, a national company to send their workers out.

But, he had built up a rapport with the lady at Lowes and it was not wasted. Before my fellow came back on the line, the lady at Lowes had worked it out that we would have our machine fixed or a brand new machine sitting in our laundry room the very next day. Furthermore there would be consequences for all those involved.

Just after, the fellow on the other end of the line came back and sounded so confused now. He told me that according to his records, we were scheduled for Saturday. I was much calmer now and thanked him for his time and apologized for my bad attitude. Which he said he understood completely and, Now here is a line I had come to love between them and the passport office, "Could he help me with anything else today?" I am not joking.

Saturday came and our family was making friendly wagers on whether anyone would show up or not. My husband said they would because 1-we didn't have anything to do 2- we expected them not to show.

But a man actually did show up. The people in charge had the common sense not to send the fellows who had been by before. He actually had the nerve to tell me that the piles of dirty laundry were in his way and I would have to do something with them! I couldn't resist a snide comment about that having something to do with the pathetic company he is employed with. Eventually, his helper showed up. They both looked as if they were shaking. I am sure they must have heard of the unstable dragon lady who had it out for repairmen. They spent the better part of the day fixing the machine. And didn't seem all too happy about giving up their Saturday doing it. He thought I was being sarcastic when I thanked them for actually showing up. And really fixing it this time.

And just to show there were no hard feelings. I gave them lemon ginger cookies.

July 25, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award

I am in a really BAD mood right now. I just spent an entire nap time writing this post and then I DELETED it. Which is my only complaint with Windows Vista. I know lots of people don't like it but I have had no problem with it. Except there are all these short cuts. And I don't know what they are. So, sometimes I can delete hours of hard work with the touch of just one button. Or send an unfinished email by hitting a button when I don't even know which button it is. O. K. That is enough ranting. Sorry for that.

So, I have been awarded with the Kreative Blogger Award.

In accepting the Kreative Blogger Award, I am obligated to tell 7 things about myself that my readers may not already know about me. Now, if you've been reading lately, you know that in celebration of my 100th post, I wrote 100 things about me. I also, recently won the Honest Scrap award which used up 10 more things about me. And then there was a meme from my friend Tara at Keeping Up With the Kelly's that used up any mystery that might have been left about myself.

So, quite frankly, I was a little concerned at what I might possibly have to write about me that you would not already know and yet would not be so boring as to put you to sleep. But not to fear. In comes my friend Darcie at the Story of Us. She recently returned from a trip back home to Montana. With her she brought a bag of huckleberry coffee. Now, if you actually read all those posts about myself, you would know that I LOVE coffee. And special, different and exotic coffee even more so! So, I could not resist this giveaway.

Only, I quickly ran out of clever things to say. I started posting quotes about coffee in the comment box. And I am so grateful that she does not have word verification turned on. Although, she may after this. After a few, or 70, 80, well maybe 90 comments, I ran out of quotes about coffee. And can you believe there are not ANY quotes about huckleberries? So, I thought, perhaps I could tell Darcie what coffee means to me. But in an effort to keep her as my friend, I instead decided to write a post describing my life as seen through a cup of coffee.

And then, I remembered I needed 7 things and this post was born. Because, gee, if we are talking coffee, it will be easy for me to come up with 7 things to say.

So without further ado here is...

My Life as Seen Through a Cup of Coffee

  1. My current favorite drink is iced coffee. This is how I make it. First I put on a pot of decaf coffee made with 8 scoops of fresh ground organic coffee to 4 cups reverse osmosis water. While the coffee brews I fill a 20 ounce cup halfway full with ice cubes. The I cover the ice cubes with organic 2% milk. I put the cup in the freezer to get really cold. When the coffee is finished brewing I immediately, never ever leave coffee sit on the warmer, put the pot in the fridge or freezer to cool it down a bit. When I can wait no longer I fill the cup with coffee and stir. This is really good for me as well as delicious. I HATE milk so I get my essential calcium while enjoying a low fat treat.
  2. I have always drank coffee. Well, not always. I don't think it was in my bottle. But, I have drank it so long, that I don't remember when I started drinking it. I remember stirring in sugar and cream when I was younger than Nathaniel. In my Italian family it was the acceptable thing to do. My grandmother told me once, that in her family (they had 13 living children) they drank coffee in the mornings because, as immigrants during the depression, they were too poor to heat their home. When it got very cold they drank hot coffee to keep warm. My Gram (that's my Italian grandmother on my father's side) would make a pot of coffee in her percolator. She only drank it black. She would put it on the windowsill and no matter how cold it got or how long it sat she would just keep sipping at it all day long.
  3. My Irish grandmother, who too knew the value of wasting nothing, would save her leftover coffee in a mayonnaise jar. The next morning when she left to go to work at Krementz Jewelers in Newark she would take the jar with her for lunch. That was in the days before microwaves. I can only assume she too drank it cold. She made her coffee in an old glass coffee pot on the stove top. It tasted like mud.
  4. I remember being at her house as a toddler and taking and old tin percolator and filling it with mud and pretending to drink coffee. There are, somewhere, very embarrassing pictures of me with blond curls running through the back yard in nothing but my underwear after one such play time.
  5. One summer afternoon, when I was a teenager, I was on the phone with a friend of mine and drinking coffee when I discovered there was no more cream. I am resourceful, though, when it comes to having my java. I found some ice cream in the freezer and discovered an incredible new drink.
  6. Again, as a teenager, I was spending the night at my girlfriend, Nancy's house. We sat up the entire night on her parents patio drinking coffee, playing rummy, talking about the boys in our school and listening to Z-104.
  7. One of my favorite ways to start a day or end it is sitting on my deck drinking my coffee, doing my Bible study or chatting with my beloved dear husband.
Wow! I can't believe I am done already. I have so many more things I would like to write about. Like how as a young adult, other friends would turn to drinking when they hung out, but my buddies and I would sit around and "chew the fat" over a cup of coffee.

Or how, my dear friend and his wife met on the Internet, had their first face to face meeting in a coffee shop and later had their wedding in another coffee shop.

Or how I used to really like Mexican coffee (that's coffee with Kahlua) but I don't drink it because we decided we didn't want to have alcohol in our home due to my family's long history of alcoholism.

Or that my in laws only drink instant coffee. I think that is worse than not liking coffee at all.

I like coffee ice cream and coffee truffles.

Way back when I used to run a boutique. I would run across the street to a little coffee shop for my afternoon pick me up.

I will admit that I am a coffee snob. I only drink good quality coffee. That doesn't necessarily mean it is expensive just that it can't be any old coffee.

When we got married, my friend Tony, gave us an espresso maker. He was the only one who could figure out how to make really good froth. When it came time for him to return to Italy, we told him he couldn't go until he taught us how to use it.

Coffee happens to be one of the most toxic foods we consume. What I mean to explain, is that all of our food supply is affected by chemicals and toxins in our environment. Coffee (and incidentally apples) is one of the top 10 most toxic foods. So if you drink coffee, for heaven's sake, please drink organic. It does not cost much more.

I like to drink my coffee out of my Royal Albert tea cup, which was a gift from my darling daughter, Brianna.

I think I could go on forever. But, I will not bore you any longer.

One final last word...Would you PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE leave me a comment and tell me how you like your coffee. (I mean for you to tell me a special story about coffee.)

July 24, 2009

I Have a Button!

"Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better." ~John Updike

My dear daughter, Brianna, got it in her head to make me a button for my blog. She made some contacts, through my blog world friends and did some Google research. Three hours later she presented me with this beautiful piece of artwork.

I am always touched at how my daughters look out for my "needs" and desires, often before I even realize what they are myself. Last year, when we were at Epcot, I visited the tea shop in the United Kingdom. I was appalled to realize that Royal Albert china is no longer made in England but rather it is pumped out in China like everything else. (Don't even get me started on that!)

The price for this lesser quality product was ridiculous and I left without the tea cup that I thought I might bring home. Which is probably better because we had NO extra room in our vehicle after a month of traveling with 9 in tow.

But, come Christmas morning, I opened up a gift from Brianna and what do you think was inside? A vintage Royal Albert tea cup, made in England, that she had saved her money for and researched on the web and then purchased on eBay.

So, my point is, before I even knew that I wanted a blog button, Brianna figured it out and invested her time into making it for me. And here it is. I am DELIGHTED with my little Chili Peppers. Thank you, Nana.

She is so resourceful and loves to try out new things. She is getting interested in HTML,of which I know nothing, so I am really thrilled at the prospect of having someone who knows how to fix all the problems I make!

And that is definitely one of the great things about having so many kids around. They are all specialized in something that I know very little about and don't necessarily have time to learn. Brianna is a whiz at computer stuff and desktop publishing. Kaitlin can get any stain out of anything. The girls are both very talented musicians who are teaching their younger siblings to play piano. Nathaniel is getting very good at fixing little things around the house and building things with wood. I don't need to tell you how useful that is.

So even though we have much more to do than the average family, we are able to do much more with what we do.

I understand that Erica and Hope had a little hand in it...thank you ladies!

July 23, 2009

Week 14 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans
I've accepted Carin's challenge, as a Mom, to get back into the picture. The idea is that once a week you take a picture of yourself with one or more of your children. It's that simple. If you'd like you can post your picture on your blog. You can let me know you posted so I can check out your pics. You can check out my previous weeks or Click the button to add your name to the Mr. Linky. So, have fun!

This past weekend we were honored with a visit from a dear friend of ours who lives on the other side of the country. We three have known each other since I was just 18 and the fellows were 20.

The three of us met when Tony lived in the apartment building next door to mine. We have some great stories to tell from our years together and they start with our introduction. We had lived next door to each other for quite some time. Coming and going in the same parking lot. Shopping in the same grocery store. Frequenting the same restaurants. Our balconies faced each other. But we never met until a mutual friend was sitting in my living room one day. He looked up and happened to see Tony crossing the parking lot. Paul was so excited that he took off running to the door and shouted from the Balcony to get Tony's attention.

The rest is history. Many people have come and gone in our lives as situations change but not so for this buddy. Tony has traveled across the country and around the world in his military career. And yet, though our lives have kept many miles between us, our little trio has seen each other through marriage, divorce, sickness, health, child rearing, heartache and joyful times alike.

You know you have a true friend when you can go three years between visits and it seems like yesterday since you were together. Or even when you can go three years between visits and when you are together again, it is like you were never apart at all. If you have been so blessed to have such a friend, you know just what I mean.

Tony has earned the name Uncle from many experiences babysitting our older girls, feeding our toddlers and reading to our preschoolers. He has diaper changed, help potty train and even at times shared a bit of correction when needed.

As I said, we have had many escapades together, not the least being driving cross country in the back of a pickup when our friend graduated from Boot Camp or some serious fun at our wedding. And those of you who were there can really appreciate that!

And Thursday, the day before our dear friend arrived, we were blessed to get word that he and his bride, Carrie, will be welcoming their first child next year. Can you imagine? All these years I wait for a little niece or nephew and now I will be blessed with 2 in one year?

We talked non stop in between Tony's class reunion (the reason for his visit) and time visiting his family. In fact, we talked so much that we got very little sleep. (For which I am still paying the price). But I wouldn't have it any other way. Friends like that are hard to come by and we are blessed to have made a few over the years. He has truly been a brother to us. In fact we are closer to him than to our own real life, flesh and blood brothers.

Together we have celebrated birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have played board games and card games. We have visited cities, museums, restaraunts and even a pumpkin patch. We have shared a cup of coffee, a ride here or there, music, videos and an ear. We have cried, laughed, rejoiced and mourned together. We have taught each other how to brew espresso and make a turkey.

Tony is also, one of the few people who is not afraid to tell me what he really thinks. That is probably because he is a good foot taller than me and had a few pounds to back it up. Like when my gray hairs were starting to take over my head. Any of our other friends would have been afraid of insulting me. But not our Tony. He jumped in with both feet in an effort to save me the disgrace. Actually, I think he even pulled it out for me.

Over the years we have all three gotten a little rounder and a little older. But that's OK. We worked it all out. We agreed to grow and age at the same rate so that none of us will make the others look bad. And since I refuse to go gray for another 30 years or so, that means Allen and Tony are hunting for a good hair stylist.

I will end with some fun vintage picture of us together. These are the real deal. Film. They scanned pretty fuzzy but you get the idea!

At our wedding. We were all a lot thinner back then!

Tony helping Brianna to choose a pumpkin at a local farm.

Celebrating the holidays with family and friends.

More holiday photos.

Saturday morning we were talking about my 100th things about me post. We told our guest that he had to come up with 10 things to add before he went to bed. We were only half joking but as our day got going I quickly forgot about it.

In the evening our visitor headed out to his reunion. I finished my post and headed to bed.

But Tony didn't forget. While sifting through my email Monday morning I found his list of ten things. I told him I would publish it with my post about his visit since he had taken the time to stay up late to type it up.

One thing that struck me about his list is that we have known each other for so long, that he is one of the very few people who still call me by this childhood nickname. Of course, we are some of the few people who still call him Tony. So it all works out, eh?
  1. Kathy is a generous woman, almost to a fault
  2. Kathy is the rare sort of woman who can combine deep spirituality with "Keeping it real"
  3. Kathy was a very beautiful girl when I first met her
  4. Kathy is an even more beautiful woman twenty years later
  5. Kathy has worked hard for everything that she has, and is a better person because of that
  6. Kathy is married to Allen who, in his own quiet way, is a pretty amazing individual
  7. Kathy, by dint of being pretty amazing herself, is fully deserving of being married to Allen. That is a very significant statement.
  8. Kathy has endured much hardship throughout the years, and has come out on top due to her deep faith and perseverance
  9. Kathy has raised a wonderful family
  10. Kathy inspires love in those who know her

July 22, 2009


I know that you are all on the edge of your seats waiting to find out who the winner of the Pinchey tool giveaway is. There was some serious stiff competition between JenT and Carol. You should check out their comments in the Entry post. All the entries were entertaining, clever or interesting. We had to read them aloud at our table. And I am relieved that I do not have to chose the best because it would be a tough thing to do.

So to make sure everyone knows how fair and square we did it, I have documented the drawing.

First, we wrote all entries on the backs of day by day calender pages. (I love these. I buy them on clearance after the first of the year for about 25 cents each and we use them for notes throughout the year. It is cheaper than the little note paper cubes or post it notes and you get something neat to read on the other side. We used some Dilbert, I Love Lucy, and Bible quote pages for this entry.

Then we folded each one exactly three times and dropped them into one of my favorite Chili Pepper bowls. (Ahem, do you see a theme?)

And then Samuel, disguised as Pooh Bear (his C.O.D.- Costume of the Day) drew out a name.

And the winner is... Jen T.

But I thought Carol worked so hard... and it was her question about Home Depot that made me think of the giveaway anyway... that she too will be receiving her very own Pinchey tool in the mail....as soon as I get back to Home Depot for a new one!

I received a text from my traveling hubby who was so inspired by the conversation that in his long drive to Southern Virginia he came up with his own entry. He decided not to post it though because he didn't think it would look right for him to enter my contest. Besides we already own our very own Grab-Me-Gotcha tool. Aren't you all jealous?

Woof-Woof is Good for Dripping Eyes

This morning, when I checked my email, there was some sad news from a friend about her family relocating. In the best of times, this news would have saddened me. And this is not the best of times. I quickly jumped up and got to my morning routine and attempted to put my makeup on. But the tears started coming. First, I wiped them away one by one while trying to apply mascara. Eventually, I could hold them back no more, and I gave up and flopped on my bed with a box of Kleenex.

My dear children were going about their chores and first Brianna came with a question. She looked at me and with a worried voice asked what was wrong. As I told her, she too was saddened, and threw her arms around me. As we were there hugging, Samuel came along and saw us. There were a few more kids behind him in the hallway and he shouted in his most authoritative voice, "Dont' look they are kissing."

Which is the joke around here when my dear husband and I are hugging or kissing. Whoever, happens to be around shouts to the others not to look. For a long time the kids asked for a nickle in the vacation jar each time I got a peck on the cheek or they caught us snuggling. But, I think they have forgotten about that.

Anyway, I sent Brianna off, telling her that I would of course be fine. And a few minutes later, in comes my dear husband. That is one big draw back to a large family. A person can't get any privacy to sit and cry and feel sorry for themselves for a while.

Or wait, is it a draw back???

Well, needless to say my husband was saddened too and tried to comfort me as I shared what news I had. Back comes Samuel and he asked me why my eyes were dripping. I don't remember what we said to him only that he got very excited and shouted as he ran from the room, "I'll go get woof-woof. He is good for dripping eyes. He makes people feel better."

Woof-Woof is my Sam's stuffed Eeyore. He was about 13 months old when my long time friend, Dawn, came to visit from Ohio. She always brings a rubber maid full of surprises for the children- which is a whole post in itself for another time. That visit she brought this stuffed Eeyore. Up until then, Sam's lovey had been a stuffed monkey and a purple rabbit named Yerple. I thought they were going to stick. But this Eeyore displaced the monkey and the rabbit in one fell swoop.

And do you know why? Sam loved dogs. But with my asthma and dog allergy we couldn't have a dog. And he had never seen Winnie-the-Pooh, only read the books. And this Eeyore looked like the fellow in the movies but nothing like the ones in the classic story. And, so, with his tail and floppy ears, he must have been a dog.

Oh, but Samuel didn't call dogs, "dog". He called them woof-woofs because that is the sound they make. Just like Elisabeth calls a duck "aflac" because that is the sound they make. Wait that's not right. Regardless, this became his most prized possession along with his silky "binkit" that I got for him when he was a week old.

Boy, was Samuel excited when he first saw a Winnie-the-Pooh movie and saw that Eeyore had a pink bow on his tail just like "Woof-Woof." He used to get really upset, though, when we were in public and strangers would say, "I like your Eeyore." He would get so indignant and say, "No, it is Woof-Woof."

When he is going to bed it is with "binkit" and "woof-woof" tucked under his head that he falls asleep. When he is scared he runs for his "woof-woof". When he is sad or hurt, he snuggles his gray little friend.

He finds so much joy in this bag of stuffed fluff, that he is certain woof-woof must bring comfort to all who come in contact with it. Indeed, whenever someone falls down and skins their knee, he runs to bring them, "woof-woof". And when Elisabeth is whining and throwing a fit, he thrusts his buddy into her arms. And she stops crying instantly. Which has reinforced this idea in his sweet four year old heart.

And, so this morning, when he sensed my sadness, he could think of nothing better than to bring me the "comforter" to make his mama feel better.

And, when I looked up at his smiling and hopeful face trying to bring solace to me, I did.

July 21, 2009

The Pinchey Tool Giveaway

Those who read about the pinchey tool and fell in love with it, are going to love this post. I went to Home Depot Sunday afternoon with my dear husband under the guise that he needed a pipe to fix the broken drain. After all, no weekend is complete without at least one visit to Home Depot.

Well, I finally remembered to look for the pinchey tool that everyone wanted to know about. And guess what? They had one on the rack. And guess what else? It only cost $4.97! Can you imagine that? $4.97 for all that goodness! Well, it just so happens I had a five dollar bill in my billfold and decided that it would be a great opportunity for one of you lucky ladies to own your very own pinchey tools.

Which by the way is called a mechanical claw tool. Don't you think they should be able to come up with something better than that???

So, to enter leave a comment telling me what creative uses you can come up with for the pinchey tool. You can leave one comment per idea and you will get one entry for each comment.

You can get additional entries by leaving ideas for a better name than mechanical claw tool. Again you can leave one comment for each name you come up with and you will get one entry for each comment you leave.

Sam, who is a professional entry drawer, (that is an official term, I am sure) because Miss Melody and Miss Linda our librarians let him draw the names for the Summer Reading club winners at story time last week, will draw a name.

Entries will close at 12:01 Am on Wednesday morning. Sam will draw the winner at breakfast so I can wrap it up and mail the lucky lady her tool on my errand day, which happens to be Thursday, this week.

July 20, 2009

Not Me Monday 7-20-09

I did NOT drop my contact lens down the drain. And while my dear husband was retrieving it he did NOT break the pipe. And it was NOT Saturday night after the Home Depot was closed. And since we did NOT have a house guest, and there were NOT 10 people using the bathroom, there was NO need for him to NOT fix it using a funnel and packing tape.

I would NEVER sit up until one o'clock in the morning playing Monopoly. That would NOT be wise because the headache is NOT worth the million laughs we had. And I did NOT win all the properties and bankrupt everyone else. It would NEVER be nice to take someone's last dollar. And besides I NEVER win. NOR did NOT run out of houses and hotels to buy. And I definitely would NEVER use the word Booyah to flaunt my win. That would NOT be very kind. And besides I do NOT even know what Booyah means!

Emma and Aedan did NOT raid Allen's office for EVM boxes to make laptops. NOR did they decorate pages to tape inside the covers to be different blog pages. And when Nathaniel saw their blogs he did NOT tell me that after he finished eating he was going to make his own blog. And he definitely did NOT tell me that his would be flamingo pink!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

July 18, 2009

My 100th Post

This is my 100th post. Which seems amazing to me. It seems like I just got here. In the world of Blog, I mean. So far it has been a fun ride. I have enjoyed reading the thoughts of others who are similar to myself and getting to know many of you.

It seems to be the way to post 100 things about yourself for your 100th post. But I have a house guest this weekend and lots of baking to do in preparation. So I am going to turn the job over to my family and let them list whatever they can think of. I will throw in some as I come up with them.

Brianna compiled the list and helped to type it for me. When reviewing it and adding my own, I was not sure I wanted to publish what the family had to say. I thought they would name things like my odd quirks (of which I have many) or my likes and dislikes. But what they said were some nice things. And the problem with that is that I am not as nice as they make me sound. And I would hate for you all to get the wrong impression.

Because I am not really a very good person. When faced with the question of where they will spend eternity, many people will tell you they are going to be in Heaven because they are a pretty good person. Well for one thing, even the best person can't get to Heaven on their good works. But that is another story. I have no such illusions, though. I am grateful that I have my Jesus to guarantee my forgiveness of sins and passage into Heaven.

And I am thankful that I have a very gracious family who are well practiced at overlooking all my faults.

So, I tried to come up with as many things about myself on my own as I could. This was tough to do. Especially, because I recently did the honest scrap and a question and answer tag. Some of them aren't interesting at all since I was reaching to fill in my 100.

As you read, when you come to something from my family keep in mind that I am short tempered, impatient and can have a really bad attitude at times. And those are some of my more endearing qualities.

If you haven't read it before you can check out my first post. And if you are really interested you can check out how I got involved in Blog World.

1. Mama loves when Pa brings her home chocolate and Edy's Grand Light ice cream. -Nathaniel

2. Mama loves when Pa rubs her feet. -Nathaniel

3. Mom love coffee. Especially Starbucks. Want to make Mom happy? Bring her a cup of coffee before she wakes up. By the way, NEVER LEAVE THE COFFEE ON THE BURNER! NEVER.

4. Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels. -Nana

5. Spades. Mom's a shark. Yep, she learned when she was in prison. ;) (however, she doesn't like hearts. Everyone has their quirks, right Mom? -Nana

6. Shoes!!! Mom LOVES shoes (read about the shoe passion here) especially high heels and Barbie shoes. -Nana

7. Mom is very good a singing and loves music. She used to play the piano and has a great voice. One of her many talents that she uses for the Lord. -Nana

8. Mom is not the best when it comes to art, but she can draw one heck of a burning bush and is an expert on stick figures. ;) -Nana

9. Mama likes reading me a book after nap time. -Sammy

10. Baking. Mom loves baking and making things. She likes it even better when one of us kids help her. -Nana

11. Old Movies. Mom enjoys watching the old movies from the 30's 40's or 50's. I think it is because back then, everyone was so elegant and put together. -Nana

12. Mama likes when I come and cuddle her when Pa is away on a trip. -Aedan

13. Mom does NOT like snakes or mice. (Can you blame her?) -Nana

14. PINK! One of Mom's favorite colors. Especially when it is with brown. Mom hated pink until she was pregnant with Sammy and she bought this pink top that she wore most of the pregnancy. After that she loves pink. -Nana

15. Mom does Not like Jillian Michaels, but she does like her 30 day shred workout. By the way, make sure you give Mom a big hand for completing the 30 day shred. -Nana

16. Chick-fil-A's honey roasted BBQ. Mom (and the rest of us) love the stuff. -Nana

17. She is thrifty. -Pa

18. She likes both winter and Summer. -Pa

19. She is honest.

20. I love it when she is painting her toe nails. -Pa

21. She is creative in the kitchen. -Pa

22. Her Italian grandmother taught her to cook. -KK

23. She is diabetic.- Pa

24. She hardly ever ate fast food until she met me. -Pa

25. She loves living life but rarely gets to. -KK

26. She LOVES the holidays. -Pa

27. She makes strangers her family. -Pa

28. Her idea of an ideal date doesn't include cancelled movies, throwing away coffee, no dinner and a stop at Walmart. -Pa

29. She wears Obsession perfume by Calvin Klein. -Pa

30. She is very graceful. -Pa

31. She puts up with me. -Pa

32. She is patient. -Pa

33. She is giving. -Pa

34. I love to climb in a bed with fresh sheets after a shower and read a good book.

35. I struggled with infertility caused by endometriosis and a botched appendectomy when I was 16 years old. After many experimental treatments and two surgeries to try to repair damage and remove growths, I was told I would not be able to get pregnant.

36. She likes one on one time and family time. -Pa

37. That's true. My love language is TIME.

38. She is so spunky that she could work at California Tortilla. -Pa

39. Mom likes nuts in almost everything. -Nana

40. She is sacrificial. -Pa

41. She gets excited about canning. -Pa

42. I love to sew.

43. I also love to scrap book...but I am way behind...

44. I love to read.

45. I enjoy learning.

46. I suffer from unbearable test anxiety.

47. I am also terrified of flying...especially over water. Which is unfortunate since I am flying to Italy this fall. Alone, for the first time in my life.

48. Mom loves little boys in knickers. -Nana

49. I almost always wear the diamond earrings Allen gave me many years ago.

50. My hair started going gray at 16. While that isn't necessarily a good thing, it did give me the nerve to try out different color and highlight techniques that I may not have otherwise.

51. She likes the smell of freshly sharpened pencils. -Pa

52. She always presents herself "put together." -Pa

53. She is very orderly but lets me keep my desk messy. -Pa

54. She is cute when she is excited. -Pa

55. She is very cute when she is pregnant. -Pa

56. She looks so young she has been called my sister when we are in public. -KK

57. She is an excellent communicator both in verbal and written word. -Pa

58. I HATE talking on the telephone.

59. She loves gardening and fresh herbs. -Pa

60. She had Calla Lillies at her Wedding. -KK

61. When I am pregnant I have terrible morning sickness all day that lasts for about 5 months.

62. I can't stand whiny people or gossips.

63. I am incredibly nervous around strangers or in strange situations. I have spent many years working to overcome that.

64. I love the smell of fresh cut firewood and mulch.

65. I am allergic to fresh cut firewood and mulch.

66. I grew up in the country although my parents were brought up as city people.

67. I was raised Catholic but at a very difficult time in my life, I came to know the Lord as my personal Saviour.

68. I lived in New Jersey for 6 months...which I would never recommend.

69. I love scones with Devon cream. This is always my choice of breakfast for Mother's Day and my birthday.

70. I am not a very good swimmer but love the water. If I had endless money I would own a boat.

71. I have recently discovered I would like to visit Alaska.

72. My computer is a flamingo pink dell studio. Because my dear husband bought it for me for our agate anniversary. To be bling. Instead of agate. Which he thought was a bling type of stone. It isn't. And we had flamingos at our wedding. A long story.

73. I love to write letters.

74. I love to get letters, too.

75. I sleep on my left side.

76. I once had 12 cats. (They lived outdoors.)

77. Because I am allergic to cats.

78. I hate the smell of cat food. It makes me sick on my stomach. I hate it so much that we store it outside near the cat house in a Rubbermaid container.

79. I love flamingos, palms trees and drinks with little umbrellas in them.

80. Growing up, I spent most summers at my Grandmother's (on my mother's side) house in New Jersey. Which I HATED. Although, there were some pretty neat Aunts who lived there, too. And I did love seeing them.

81. My dream car is a steel blue Mustang GT with a light brown convertible top.

82. I drive a green suburban which the family calls "The King"- like the Cars movie, not like Elvis. And I also have an older model Suburban, the kids call Doc.

83. I like fresh grapefruit juice with breakfast.

84. Mama makes the best brownies in the world. -Nana

85. I have been pregnant for 63 months. That's over 5 years.

86. And I would gladly do another 63 months.

87. I loved nursing my babies. Altogether, I was breastfeeding for 97 months. Which is over 8 years.

88. I like bling. All things bling.

89. I have pearls in just about every color you can imagine.

90. My current favorite restaurant is Bonefish Grill

91. Football is my favorite sport.

92. I was a Redskins fan most of my life. But I follow the Rams now (because my dear husband is a Rams fan.) And the Cardinals (because my dh favorite player left the Rams and went to the Cardinals).

93. I have traveled all the way North and all the way South on the East Coast. I have been as far West as Illinois by car. I did fly to California for a visit.

94. I have only been out of the U.S. one time in my life. And Allen says he was lucky to get me off the Island.

95. Allison has been doing my hair for 9 years. -KK

96. Once, when I was at the beach, a big wave came and washed my brand new sunglasses off my face and they were lost to me forever.

97. There are a stack of books beside my bed which include, "Born To Be His Help Meet", "How to Win Friends and Influence People", "Pontoon", "The Mark of the Lion" series, 2 M.C. Beaton mysteries, "Devotions for Home school Mom's", My KJV Bible, 2 Elizabeth Peters mysteries, "How To Celebrate the Sabbath", "Our Heavenly Father".

98. I am excellent at Duck, Duck, Goose.

99. I am very good at getting more baskets than my dear husband who misses a lot more than me. Even if I am holding the baby. And by the way I have made baskets while nursing the baby.

100. I love my family. I love my God. I can't imagine any time in my life being as good as it is now. And I often get blue at the prospect of the day that my children will all be grown and it will be over.

July 17, 2009

Tagged: Question and Answer

Tara tagged me with this Question and Answer a few weeks ago. I thought I would get right to it but have been too swamped. But here it is at last. I will warn you, that I did this on Tuesday, when a migraine was setting in, so I may be a bit "off."

I would like to tag the following ladies who are new to my blog and I would like to get to know better.

Shasta at Crackers and Chaos whom I met through Carin's 52 Week Challenge
Sara Dawn at Splashin' Glory who is a Missionary to Costa Rica
Aimee at Journey2Learn a Christian homeschooling Vegetarian
Susie at Scraps of Life cook and homeschooling mom of some Tweens and a Pastor's Wife

The rules are to respond to the questions in a post on my blog. Replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention and add one more question of your own.

I didn't particularly dislike any question so I am just going to add my own.

What is your current obsession? Because of diabetes, I abandoned chocolate for the most part. And because of some recent health problems, I have recently given up most caffeine, which rules out my passion for Starbucks. And likewise, I have had to give up artificial sweeteners (translate this to Splenda) which means I had to part with my third favorite thing, decaf sweet tea made with splenda instead of sugar. So, those were my obsessions...right now I guess I don't have one.

What are you wearing today? A vintage 1950's sundress that I bought on eBay for a Murder Mystery Dinner. It has a nice full skirt and is so comfortable even for the hot canning I have to do today and still, I think, it looks very pretty and feminine. I like that it is something my grandmother would have worn when doing her household chores on a hot summer day.

What’s for dinner? I just picked 5 gallons of beets from the garden and my mother-in-law brought me a cabbage from her garden. I am thinking borscht. I do have some nice zucchini and tomatoes that would be great sauteed over whole wheat pasta. One or the other with a salad made from the lettuce Nathaniel picked this morning.

What’s the last thing you bought? Last night I bought 6 rubber maids at Wal-mart because they were on sale. I was upset when I got in the car and looked at the ad and saw they charged me .50 more per Rubbermaid than what the flier advertised. It's only a few dollars but it is the principle of the thing. I had to wait in line FOREVER because they were 50 people waiting to check out and 3 registers open and then they overcharged me!

What is your favorite candy? I don't really eat a lot of candy but if I am going to I am crazy for dark chocolate. Especially Sees, which you can't buy on the East coast. Which is a good thing because I would be enormous! When my sister lived in California she used to send me Sees dark chocolate truffles. That is how I got addicted.

What are you listening to right now? The pressure canner building up steam

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Any tropical local...if it has palm trees and sand I am all over it.

Which language do you want to learn? I have no desire to learn any language in specific. I studied French for 5 years and can hardly speak a word and Spanish for 4 years and can speak even less than I do French. If I had to pick one I think I would choose Italian. My family is Italian and I hope to spend some serious time in Italy one day getting to know where my roots came from. Knowledge of the language would probably be helpful. I should probably learn Spanish, though. There are so many Spanish speaking people around here now and it would be easier to minister to them if I could communicate with them.

What do you love most about where you currently live? I love that this is the cleanest place I have ever been. Even the highways are beautiful. People don't smoke in public places so there is none of that yuckiness. I have never seen a place cleaner than Maryland. I take it for granted until I travel somewhere else and then I come home and say, ah...that's the difference. I also love that we have all the seasons to enjoy. I like to visit the tropics but would hate not having the beautiful colors of fall, the cozy snow of winter or the refreshing spring days after the dark months.

What are 3 of your best qualities? I am loyal. I am dedicated to whatever the task at hand is. I speak the truth and what's on my mind. (Which doesn't always make friends)

If you were a time traveler, what era would you live in? Gee, I don't even know how to answer that. Wouldn't it be amazing to be a disciple of Jesus? But the first half of the 1900's was a fascinating time. And yet, to venture west to the settle the prairies or during the gold rush...I love adventure so that might be something, too. Obviously, God put me here in this time for a purpose, but I think of all the times to choose for myself, this would be the least of my choices. But then again, our Lord will be returning soon and now is closer to that time than all the "thens" so this is a great time, too!

What is your favorite color? Pink especially with brown or turquoise

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? Depends what mood I am in. Today it is my vintage dresses. If it was raining, I would say thank you God for yoga pants.

What were you doing ten years ago? I had Kaitlin and Brianna and was expecting Emma Rose. That summer I sewed a lot. Read a lot. Canned a lot. Not much has changed actually.

Describe your personal style? I would definitely say I am eclectic in my decorating. I like so much I have a hard time making up my mind. Plus, we have been working on our house for 7 years so much of what I do is working around things until this room is finished being remodeled or until that is done. In the rooms that are finished, my master bedroom and bath are done in a slightly more formal tropical feel. The school room and Sam's room are done in turn of the century primitive. The living room is some mix...the love seats are Victorian antiques with side tables I bought at Ac Moore and painted up, a shaker sofa table, hat boxes and vintage luggage pieces. Plus a piano that is over 100 years old that I bought for $500 when Kaitlin first started piano lessons.

As for my fashion style, I would say classic for sure...with a little trendy thrown in to keep it fun.

If you had $300 now, what would you spend it on? I would put it in the vacation jar.

What are you going to do after this? take a book to the hammock with Emma before the other kids get up from their naps.

What are your favorite films? My favorite modern films are definitely the Sherwood Pictures: "Facing the Giants, FireProof and Flywheel." I love the classics. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility. I love black and white films. I love comedy films...like Philadelphia Story and Arsenic and Old Lace. I hate serious stuff when it comes to movies. I hate to watch movies that make you cry. Life is so serious already and there is so much we could cry about, why spend our entertainment time crying?

Your favorite books? Aside from the Bible... I love, love, love to read. I adore a good mystery, not gory ones, though. Things like Joanne Fluke and Donna Andrews. The Mitford Series is probably one of my all time favorite collections. But, I enjoy reading a great deal of kids classics with my youngers, too. Carolyn Haywood is one of my favorite kids authors. I like to read inspirational material and things about great Christians...but mostly when I read I am choose fluff because I am too tired to focus too deeply.

Do you collect anything? Not really. I inherited my grandmothers precious bell collection but we have no place for such things so most of those I passed on to others who would appreciate them, keeping just a few for my children to have one day. I have a few flamingos from an art gallery I like to visit where we vacation every fall.

What makes you follow a blog? If I am encouraged, entertained or find some spiritual inspiration from the writer.

What was the most enjoyable thing you did today? I made homemade bread and picked some fresh tomatoes from the garden and made tomato sandwiches for the kids for lunch.

Ann's Question: What makes you comment on a blog? If I read a post I ALWAYS leave a comment. For one thing, everyone likes to get a little shout to know that someone is thinking of them...I sure do. For another, if I am there anyway, why not say hi? And, if it was worth writing it and reading it then it should be worth commenting on. If not, then why waste your time reading it?

Amy's Question: What is your favorite thing to do when you have some free time? play with the kids, read aloud, read to myself, sew, bake, scrapbook, blog...

Anissa's Question: As you know I home school -- If you could, would you? Do you agree with homeschooling? I have home schooled for 12 years. I am currently schooling 6 of our children. So yes and yes!

Melissa's Question: If you owned your own business, what would you sell/provide? I might sew or cook or bake??? Never thought much about it...too busy. Maybe a bed and breakfast would be fun...I practically run one now:) A dear friend of mine said one of the few bits of advice she would give after 35 happy years of marriage was never to own your own business. My dear husband and I agree that is advice to consider strongly if that is one of the only two things she would change. (PS. the other was never to buy a king sized bed)

Mimi's Question: Would you rather live in the city or the country? I love the country that is for sure. The city has moved too close to where we live now for my liking. But...I would love to live in a big city for a little while, maybe like a year, just to try it out.

Tara's Question: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? I would have married my husband sooner. He asked me several times over the years and I was adamant about not getting married. But that is another story for another time.

Kat's Question: Fill in the blank. You may be surprised to know...