Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Little Adventure...

I have finally gotten my pictures uploaded and ready to post.

I got to Florida around 9:15 p.m. on Monday. My Dad, Mom, Sister, and Gram were all there at the airport when I got there. As I walked down the terminal I could see them and was so excited. They brought me some pretty pink alstroemeria. After we left the airport we went to eat sushi (my favorite) and hibachi. Below is a picture of my Gram, Me, and my Sister.

Here is my Mom and Dad at the Japanese Restaurant.

The next day we went to see an exhibit on Pompeii and to a big garden. We had a picnic at the gardens and then walked around. I got to take a lot of pictures at the garden of flowers and my family. My sister recently picked up the harmonica and played us tunes as we walked around.

Here is a good family picture at the gardens.

And my Dad and I.

On Wednesday, I went to the beach with my sister.

On Thursday, I had breakfast with a dear friend of mine that I had not seen since my wedding. Then, I got to spend the day with my Gram. I had lunch with her and then we went to an antique store. On Thursday night, we also had a celebration dinner for my sister because she made the Florida All-State Academic Team.

On Friday, my Mom and I went to visit with my Mother-in-Law. My inlaws live about two hours away from my parents. We had a very nice lunch and a great time visiting.

On Saturday, I got to go shopping at some stores that I don't have out here in Texas like T.J. Maxx. My mom, sister, and I had a great time together.

On Sunday, I got to go to my old church. It was so nice to be back. I went to this church for the last 5 years and being that my Dad is the pastor there and my Mom and sister and I led worship for most of that time. Everyone at the church is like my extended family. They had a pizza party for me and my family so that we could all visit while I was there.

Here is a picture of my Mom, sister, and my close friend (CB). They all do the worship at the church.

That afternoon, my family went to play Frisbee golf. These are a few pictures from that.

On Monday, we went to T.G.I. Friday's to have an early birthday celebration for my sister.

On Tuesday, I went by my Gram's and told her bye. Then, my Mom and I had a picnic lunch with my sister. After that, we met up with my Dad so I could tell him bye. Then, Mom and I went and got a coffee. I then got on the plane to fly back.

That was my trip in a nut shell. I had a wonderful time getting to spend time with my family. Seeing and leaving them made me really realize how much I miss their daily interaction in my life. I can't wait until I get to see them again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I'm Back...

Hello Everyone!

I have safely arrived back to my Texas home. I got in late last night. My DH came to the airport to pick me up with flowers in hand. My three dogs were estatic to see me and my DH had the house cleaner than I had left it.

I will be back in a little with pictures from my trip.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Trip Home...

I am in a really interesting place right now. My family and my home for the last 15 years (until August) has been in Florida. When I talk about visiting my family, I always refer to it as "home." However, when I get to Florida and am talking about Texas, I refer to it as "home" too. Oh well, I guess the saying, "Home is where the heart is" works in my case.

My DH and I live in Texas and I love our house that we have made a home, together. We both just wish we were closer to Florida. My family, which is held close to my heart, has greatly influenced me to be who I am today and since my family didn't function within a house but a home. I had an example of how I wanted my home to be.

So, with all of that being said, I am going home to Florida this week. My DH will be staying here in Texas. It will be sad to be away from him for a week, especially since we haven't been apart since July, so!?!?! I am greatly looking forward to spending time with my family, I haven't seen them since Christmas. I am going to go to the beach with my sister, hang out with my grandma (a.k.a. "Gram"), go to a cake decorating class with my mom (how fun), talk politics with my dad, and have lunch with my mother-in-law, along with many other things.

I won't be posting this week because I will be gone. I fly out tomorrow and get back next Tuesday. I would greatly appreciate your prayers being that this is the first time I am not flying with someone else I know and it has been 4 years since I last flew. I am trying not to be nervous.

I hope that all of you have a wonderful week and I look forward to "catching up" when I get back.

Have a blessed week!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

All in a Weeks Work...

Hi everyone! I hope that all of you have had a wonderful weekend.

I have been very busy over the last few days enjoying time with my DH as we worked around out house. I took some pictures along the way to share with you. I am proud to announce that I changed all of the beige light switches in our house to white ones. I am very happy that when I turned back on the power breaker, all of the light switches worked. My DH did trim in where the pocket door was, I just haven't gotten to take any pictures yet.

My DH and I also decided to take down the hack-berry tree that was in our backyard on Friday. The picture on the left is of the top of the tree back in January. The picture on the right is of the tree after we worked on it. We are going to hire someone to cut down the rest of it because of power lines.

I got to use our chainsaw to cut up the fallen limbs while my DH piled up the branches.

We also hung a shelf up in our bathroom. I still have to get some cute decorations to place in it, but it is great storage.

That in a nut shell is what my DH and I accomplished while he was off.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Fresh Spring Recipe...

This evening I decided to make a little sweet snack for my DH and I to enjoy. I made an Apple Crisp and topped it with a little bit of Cool Whip.

Quick-and-Easy Apple Crisp

8 cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (about 4 large/2 lb.)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, divided
2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup cold margarine
25 Reduced Fat NILLA Wafers, crushed (about 1 cup crumbs)
1-1/2 cups thawed COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss apples with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and 1 tsp. of the cinnamon. Spoon into 8- or 9-inch square baking dish.
Combine oats, the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon in medium bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add wafer crumbs; mix well. Spread crumb mixture evenly over apples.
Bake 30 to 35 min. or until apples are tender. Serve warm or cooled. Top with whipped topping.


Making Progress in the Week...

Hi to all of you! I hope that your week has been very well so far. My DH and I have been very busy working around here. My DH doesn't get to do much with his hands since his work includes mainly his brain and reading. He is loving this chance to pull out some tools and work in the yard. I am glad he is enjoying it so much.

My DH is currently at Home Depot buying the stuff he needs to fix my kitchen doorway. He was just going to put down a threshold, but when he started to move the trim around he discovered that there was a pocket door and the previous owners just trimmed it up into the wall. We are going to remove the door and my DH is just going to trim the doorway. So here is how my Dining Room looks right now.

I just finished my spring centerpiece for my dining room table. I am happy with the way that it turned out. Here are some pictures.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy Monday Everybody...

I hope that all of you had a wonderful weekend. I do appreciate all the sweet compliments from my Chocolate Strawberries post. I had a very nice and productive day on Friday.

This week, I may be a little sparse with my posts. My DH has the week off and we are going to be working on some projects around the house this week. So, we will be really busy.

Continuing the weekly tradition:

Monday - BBQ Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, French Bread
Tuesday - Pesto Chicken Pasta, Salad
Wednesday - Red Beans and Rice, Coleslaw, French Bread
Thursday - Fish Cakes, Broccoli, Skillet Potatoes
Friday - Spinach Stuffed Chicken, Rice, Broccoli
Saturday - Kelli's White Chili with Chicken, Salad, Tortilla Chips

Thursday, March 8, 2007

The Last Few Days...

First, I would like to thank all of you for the sweet comments you left about the skirts I made. I appreciate your positive feedback and encouragement. I am very glad to have all of you as friends.

Second, I do apologize for not getting to post the last couple of days; it has been a couple of very busy days around here. But I feel very good because I have gotten so much accomplished.

Today, I babysat two little ones under two, A and S. They are very cute interacting with each other since they aren't related and are both "only children" (for the time being). They make me laugh and keep me on my toes. Between my DH, my Mom, and these two, I am living proof that laughter is good medicine.

While A and S were here today, I managed to get my menu made for next week, as well as my grocery list. So, after they were picked up, my DH and I went to run a few errands. We went to Sam's Club, the grocery, the bank, and the pet store. My counters were full when brought everything in.

I bought some wonderful strawberries and made a treat. Mmmmmm...My favorite! (In fact, my DH made chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert on the night he proposed.)

Tomorrow, I am not going anywhere (Friday is usually my errand day), instead I am going to do some school work and have a nice relaxing day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sewing Seeds Project...

Well, I have completed some skirts to send to Randi for her daughter's mission trip. My friend Rebecca has some pictures of her Sewing Seeds projects, too. She has come up with the cutest dress and skirt.

I have really been itching to sew something recently, I just haven't had the time nor any real motivation to do any sewing though. However, the Sewing Seeds project light a fire under me.

I went to JoAnne's on Sunday and set my crafty wheels to turning. I first started picking out fabrics that I thought would make chic, "vintage-y" little skirts. However, upon some consideration, I decided against the boutique look and went with a young, vibrant, and happy canvas of fabrics. Now I just hope they aren't too bright.

This one is a size 3. I am thinking about putting some yellow and orange rick-rack on the bottom of this one.

This one is a size 5. I am thinking about putting some yellow and green rick-rack on the bottom of this one.

This one is a size 6.

This one is a size 7.

Here is a close up of the flower print. I am trying to figure out what I can make for myself in this print because I really like it.

Monday, March 5, 2007

A Neat Opportunity...

My friend Rebecca had a post about a neat mission opportunity she was taking part in. I have decided to contribute and I wanted to spread the word as well, in case any of you are interested.

Our friend Randi's daughter, Danika, is going to Kenya to do mission work in an orphanage. Randi and her daughter Emily decided to take part in Danika's mission by sewing clothes for the orphans and they have asked for some help.

Randi wrote:

"Our goal is to provide skirts for each of the girls at the orphanage (25 total), and if that happens, we would like to provide skirts for girls living at two affiliated orphanages (50 more--75 total). The children in the orphanages own almost nothing except for the clothes that they wear (one outfit) and Emily and I thought that sending them skirts would be a wonderful way to let them know that they are loved and cared for, and to add a little bit of beauty to their lives. A drop in the bucket? Yes. But if we all pull together to meet needs, the bucket's contents will rise higher and higher!"

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" So, could we ask you to consider making a skirt (or two) for a little girl? All sizes are needed and can be used. I figure that each skirt will cost approximately $10 to $15 to make and 2-3 hours to put together, depending on your sewing abilities."

"One idea is to make a skirt in your own daughter's size and let her pick out the fabric. This makes it a mommy/daughter endeavor!"

"Here is the link to the pattern that we are using (#4252) and here is a tutorial in a little girl's skirt size and one in a bigger girl's skirt size. We took care to pick something easy, by the way, so don't worry about these being too difficult to make!"

"If possible, I would like to have the skirts finished and mailed to me by March 31 so that we can start working on something for the boys at the orphanage."

Click here, to go directly to the story about the project.

JoAnne's has the pattern listed above for 40% this week.

If you decide to participate, let me know so that we can share pictures of our finished project.

Food For This Week...

I know that I joined in doing the Menu Plan Monday a few weeks ago. However, I was sick last week so I didn't get to post. So, here is the menu for this week with links to the recipe if you want to try them. By the way, the picture is from a few weeks ago when I caught my potholder on fire. Oops!

Monday - Sweet Chili Chicken over Rice, Green Beans
Tuesday - Taco Bake, Salad
Wednesday - Black-eyed Peas and Rice, Salad, French Bread
Thursday - Spaghetti, Salad, French Bread
Friday - Chicken and Sausage Creole, Rice, Coleslaw, French Bread
Saturday - Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas, Yellow Rice, Refried Beans

Here is a picture of our dinner for tonight, the Chili Chicken. It was spicy and very yummy (if I do say so myself).

Grilled Sweet Chili Chicken With Mango-Cucumber Slaw
From Southern Living

Prep: 15 min., Grill: 12 min.

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon lite soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño pepper*
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
PAM Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Mango-Cucumber Slaw
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts (optional)

1. Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a small bowl until blended. Remove and reserve half of sweet chili sauce mixture.

2. Coat cold cooking grate with cooking spray, and place on grill over medium heat (300° to 350°). Lightly spray chicken with cooking spray, and place on cooking grate. Grill chicken 6 minutes on each side or until done, basting with sweet chili sauce mixture during last few minutes on each side.

3. Divide Mango-Cucumber Slaw evenly among 4 serving plates, topping each with 1 chicken breast. Drizzle with reserved half of sweet chili sauce mixture, and, if desired, sprinkle with roasted peanuts.

* 1 tsp. sambal oelek may be substituted for minced jalapeño. Sambal oelek is an Indonesian chili sauce that can be found in the ethnic aisle of the supermarket.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Maggi Taste of Asia Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Southern Living, OCTOBER 2006

Saturday, March 3, 2007

My Long Awaited Phone...

When my DH and I were looking at our house before we bought it, I just fell in love with this little phone nook. It is located in our hallway and is just perfect for a telephone (it even has a shelf for a telephone book).

I wanted a black, vintage (1940's-1950's) telephone to go in that spot. I looked on eBay and at various antique stores around town to see if I could find one. In September, I found one, but they wanted $20 for it. I couldn't justify spending that kind of money on a phone used only for decoration. Well, yesterday I went back to the same store and they still had that phone. So, my DH (because he is the bartering type, which I am not) bid the lady down. So, here is my new phone. I still have to clean it up a bit, but it will be in the nook in no time.

Friday, March 2, 2007

My Kitchen's Spring Face-Lift...

With the new month now upon us, my little hearts that were hanging up in my kitchen were beginning to be a little dated. I began looking for something to put in this spot right after Valentine's Day. On Tuesday, I found the perfect thing.

It is a little wreath made of leaves, vines, and painted Styrofoam eggs. The eggs aren't Easter looking, but "spring-ish" with little brown specks on them. It looks perfect over my sink.

I also put up some new curtains in my kitchen. I previously had some dark red ones up, but I decided to change them to brighten things up. I bought the curtains last fall when Target was getting rid of their summer stuff. I got the curtains for 75% off. So, my new curtains cost less than $8 for all of them.

Something Unusual...

I do understand that a toilet is not normally something that you see on a blog. However, I change this normal expectation for a very important reason.

My husband and I have both grown up with elongated toilet bowls. (Bear with me, even though this may sound a little weird) When we bought our house last summer, we came to the quick realization that our new toilet was round. We both disliked our toilet and replacing it with an elongated one was not high on the list of things to fix in our house. However, since the round one was functioning correctly, we couldn't justify spending $100.00 on a new one.

Well, last Sunday in a conversation with our pastor, he happened to mention that they were redoing one of the bathrooms in their house and were getting a new toilet because the current one was the wrong color. Then our pastor asks if we happen to need a toilet because other wise he was going to bring it to Goodwill. My DH says "If it is an elongated toilet, we would love to take the toilet off your hands."

So, two nights ago, my DH installed our new toilet. It's funny how God provides for details right down to a toilet.

Praising God for even the small things!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

February At a Glance...

I do understand that this is a day late, oh well.

February has been a good month overall. This month has seen me through some difficulties and sometimes of rejoicing. I began the first morning in February worrying about the results of a doctor's visit and the Lord answered my prayers.

I have several close friends who are expecting babies in late summer. As the month of February began, I started really recognizing how all of them were "showing". It was hard because if had not had my miscarriage, my baby would have been born in late May. As I saw my friends starting to "show," I felt sad thinking about how much I would be "showing". I wasn't jealous of them, I was just grieving my miscarriage because I could really "see" what I had lost. I say all of that for this reason, after several long talks with my DH and my Mom, I began to realize that I wasn't losing my mind, I was just grieving in a different way than I had before. My DH and I had a long prayer together one day and since then I have felt better. God has given me peace and even though I may grieve, the miscarriage isn't something God can't bring healing to. He has (and still is) holding me in His arms and letting me just rest in Him.

I am sorry that was sooo heavy and sad, I just couldn't not include in what God has done for me this month. On a lighter note though...

Valentine's Day was very nice. My DH was very delighted by the scavenger hunt and the cake. It was a great first "being-married" Valentine's Day.

This month, I also got two packages from home. One from my Mom and the other one from my family for Valentine's Day.

I discovered some new wonderful recipes this month and have made Kelli's Banana Crumb Muffins twice. Yum, Yum!

Verse for February:

"Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you."
~Psalms 116:7

Welcome March...

Happy March 1st
To all of you!

March is a very fun month. It holds the first day of spring (21st), even though things are already turning green around here. My DH and I are going to finish our front flower beds this weekend in anticipation of spring.

March also holds spring break in it. I am very excited about this because my DH and I are going to be working on some projects around the house. Also, on the 19th I will be flying to see my family in Florida for a week. I just can't wait.

March is also the month that my sister was born. I am so proud to be a big sister.

I look forward to all that March 2007 holds for me.