Saturday, December 26, 2009

Texas DID get snow!

See what ends up happening when you don't expect it? I'm referring to snow in Texas. I really didn't think we would have a white Christmas. Not many people did around here. But, we got one! And for some of my coworkers it was their very first white Christmas ever. It was fun to see that expression of wonderment in their eyes and smiles.

My house on Christmas Eve

And now for our trip to New Mexico, where we expect their to be snow.... well, we don't know if skiing and snowboarding will be an option because of the lack of snow there. All of the major winter storms have missed where we are headed, but that's ok. If we get there and back with no weather delays (or terrorist encounters) I'll be one happy traveler.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season full of family and friend interaction! I'll be back in 2010 with news of a new Etsy shop and pictures of our holiday adventures! See you all soon!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A finished gift...

One of my weekend Christmas present projects is now complete!

It began as this...And ended up looking like this...

This is a gift for my step-brother's three year old daughter. She has a sweet little girl's kitchen at my mom's house to play with when she visits, so now she'll have a precious apron to prance around in while she cooks!

I'm very proud of how it turned out.

Now I just have two more presents to make.... more pics to come soon!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Looking for Snow

Currently we have no forecast for snow in North Texas, however I am looking forward to heading to New Mexico after Christmas. Perhaps you'll catch me doing this....


Ok, not really quite like that... I'm too big of a chicken. However, my family will be trying to learn to snowboard in just a couple of weeks in New Mexico.

Stay tuned for Christmas lights pictures! I went out to take them last night and the darn timer had already shut everything down. It wasn't even ten o'clock! Looks like I need to do a bit of resetting. And, you know what else we realized last night? Someone stole our star we had hanging on our front porch; it was painted like the Texas flag. Stupid thieves. That was a souvenir from our familycamping trip in June/July... I hope whoever took it doesn't have a very merry Christmas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fun & Frivolity

Well, folks... this weekend was a great one. I was able to enjoy some serious 'friend' time. Friday night was dinner with some great friends who live a bit too far away for me to hang out with them all the time. Here is a sampling of our dessert at a second stop we made... Flan and Hot Chocolate, with a drizzling of raspberry sauce to swirl each bite through. Top that off with great conversation and lots of laughter and one lovely evening was had by all.


Saturday night was more frivolity and fun, with the same group of friends from Friday night, at a Christmas party. Mingling, dancing and silliness was rampant. Other faces I don't get to see often were there, so lots of catching took place.

Me trying to be a Christmas Tree with a Star topper on my head, but you
should've seen Hubby doing the Robotron Dance!


Tonight The Little Guy comes home and we'll be hanging our lights on the outside of the house. I know, I know... only two weeks until Christmas, but I know you can relate to how busy things have been. Better late than never, right? It should be lots of fun!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Great State Quilt

Danielle at The Starving Art Journal has put together a great project to benefit a local children's hospital and she needs your help. She is coordinating the making of a quilt that includes squares from around the entire United States. She needs one or two representatives from each state to make a 5" quilt square on a square of linen that she is providing. Read about the project here. Then, click on this link to see what states she still needs help from and see if you are able to sign up.

Here is a summary of the guidelines to help you see if this project is for you...

The Guidelines: The quilt will have 50 squares, each square will represent a different state. If there are too many volunteers I will make a second quilt incorporating those squares and donate it to the Children’s Hospital as well. Other than that it is my hope that each square will have personal vision of the state the person is representing. I also hope to have a way of distinguishing each state (ie the name of the state embroidered onto the square, or the state’s shape somewhere on the fabric. ) The only real rule is that the square must be capable of being sewn to the larger quilt, and should incorporate only fabric supplies. (I have been asked about paper, and other delicate materials, but it needs to be sturdy just in case the Hospital allows the children to touch it.) Also, any items that could pose choking hazards (gems, sequins and beads) are not allowed. (This is so that the Hospital has the option to display the work in whatever ward they see fit, and will allow the children to touch it.)

The Squares: Each square is 5 inches and is made of cotton linen. It’s great for embroidery, and fabric arts. Every person will receive one square and will be asked to return it by February 15th. If at that time we do not have enough squares to complete the quilt, I will ask for more volunteers, since this quilt cannot be finished until we have all 50 States represented. Once all 50 States are assembled then my mother and I will sew the quilt and will contact the Hospital once it is finished. My hope is that it will be completed by April and ready for the Children’s hospital.


If you like to sew, please consider participating. This is only a 5" square, will have until February to complete it, and it will be a beautiful distraction for children suffering in a hospital. We are all proud of our states so share your creativity!

Happy Friday, friends!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ornament Love

Our Christmas tree blessed with a few new sparkly baubles this year
alongside some favorites...

Mr. Reindeer was trying to fly... sorry about that!

The one to the left is a hand-blown glass heart from Hubby years ago... and the one on the right is hand-made by me.

Mr. Frosty Glassman is a newby.

A fuzzy little treat for an elf from Pier 1 Imports.

Hey, Mr. D.J. Santa! I love this new one from Pier 1 Imports.


Part of our ornament make-over.

We love how it's all coming together!

Friday, December 4, 2009

UGG!


Ok, Ladies & Gents... It's time for UGGs in North Texas, and I'm totally diggin' it! I've got mine on at work today, believe it or not. This warrants lots of chuckles and crude remarks from coworkers but I was mentally prepared for it when I walked in the door. My thinking is this... I'm a commuter. If weather gets bad there is chance I'll be on the side of the road and need to be warm. Therefore, winter boots with warm fuzzy interiors are necessary.

We had snow flurries on Wednesday and we have a chance for more tonight! I'm not sure snow will actually fall in my part of town but I'm crossing my fingers and wishing hard. How wonderful would it be to get home this evening as we are putting up our Christmas Tree, to have the Christmas tunes a'playin' and have snow falling outside the windows?

In the meantime, Elvis is singing sweet carols to me from my iTunes radio on my computer and I'm humming along. When the whistle blows I'll be out the door ready for some serious decorating with Hubby and The Little Guy. I smell apple cider and hot chocolate in our future! And perhaps some home-baked cookies...

Happy Friday to you, my friends!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Feeling Kreativ!

I would like to start today off with a big thank you to Terra at The World Is Ours for a very sweet award....
I appreciate your kind words and that you thought of me when passing this along. The rules are that I must Share 7 things that you don't already know about me, Name 7 other blogs to receive this award, Leave a comment on each of the blogs I nominated, Thank the person who gave you the award.

But, I'm naturally a rule-breaker, so I'm going to change it up just a bit. Anyone who wants to play along who reads my blog is welcome to snag the award and link back to their blog or just post your seven things in the comments. Frankly, I find all of the blogs that I read very "Kreativ" and would love to know more about all of you guys, so please join in the fun.

Now on to seven things that you didn't know about me, and I'll try my best to surprise you!

  1. I'm a big coffee lover! There was a time last year and the year before when I was trying to just drink hot tea, but I craved coffee secretly. I love the flavored stuff, I love Coffee Mate, and I love to make it sweet like a little drinkable dessert. I look so forward to my mornings with my mug o' coffee, especially on the weekends when I can sip on it without rushing to get ready for work.
  2. I want to learn to knit! I asked my sis for some sort of learn-to-knit-kit for Christmas, so we'll see if I get one. I actually learned to cast on and make rows when I was about 11 years old, but I put what I made in a baggie and never picked it up again. I think it ended up in a garage sale at some point during my growing up years, and I can't remember how in the world to start again.
  3. I have a secret desire to learn to make very tailored garments for myself. That would probably require a dress form in my size, which I've asked for but haven't ever gotten one, so I haven't truly challenged myself to get started. I imagine wearing lots of beautiful button-down shirts & high-waist skirts with little pleats and tucks here and there, and lots of beautiful adornments which will spur envious stares from all who pass by.
  4. I would love to be able to speak proficiently on world issues and political concerns, pulling archived data from my brain from when I was a Political Science student more well-versed in legal and government jargon. I often think about pulling out my old text books and refreshing my knowledge, but it's one of things I keep procrastinating about.
  5. I long to be featured as a "Blog of Note"..... (hint, hint)
  6. I look forward to experiencing my 50th wedding anniversary with Hubby. Since we're only on our 5th anniversary I've got quite a ways to go!
  7. And, something that pops into my head almost every day of every week.... I believe in ghosts! I always wonder if there are any floating around with me, especially in my house when the lights flicker or something electronic stops working. Hubby thinks I'm a goon, but as Donkey from Shrek would sing, "I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe!!!!!"
Ok, now I want to hear your seven things. List away!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

2009 Blogger Ornament Exchange

This marks my second year to participate in an ornament exchange for bloggers hosted by PamperingBeki.

And this little ornament is on its way to a new home... the home of a Queen!

I hope she likes it!

A very Merry Christmas, a tad bit early, to the Queen of Re!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Crochet Project

Today I'm working on these....


And I'm thinking about working off all of the Thanksgiving food I've been eating since Thursday. So far my ideas of getting back to the gym are just distant thoughts, but I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll feel more motivated to burn some calories. Until then, there is pumpkin pie in the fridge that needs to be consumed. I must oblige the consumption. After all the pie is homemade. I might offend myself if I didn't eat the majority of it, right?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wishing you a happy holiday!


Since we'll all most likely be busying cooking, baking, eating, celebrating and tipping a glass or two tomorrow I thought I would send you a Happy Thanksgiving message today. As you are enjoying your day of thanks, please know that I am so thankful to have you all as readers, visitors, commentators and contributors to Securityville.

You all have made such an impact on my life since August of 2008 when I first started my blogging adventure, and I wouldn't know what to do without out guys. (Ok, so I might be a lot more productive at home with my projects and chores if I didn't camp out in front of my computer, but I know I wouldn't be as blessed as I am now!) So, many thanks to you this Thanksgiving! And I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My first finished quilt!

I have finally finished the quilt that I began back in April! What took me so long? I was intimidated by attaching the binding.

For my birthday, Hubby had given me the gift of a series of classes at our local JoAnn store. I picked out my fabrics, and through a series of four classes I would have a completed quilt. Right? Sort of...

The first hindrance was that I wasn't learning to machine quilt in this series of classes. It was a quilt class that required hand quilting. If you've ever hand quilted anything then you know that isn't exactly a speedy process. So I hand quilted, as free time permitted me to, from the beginning of May to July. Then the second hindrance came up. I couldn't hook back up with my instructor. She took a long time to return my calls, then would leave a message with one day she was available, I would try to call back on her cell phone but couldn't get her, then call the store to leave a message for her and tell her the ONE day she offered wouldn't work for me. It became a nuisance. I gave up on getting through to her. And figured I would turn to the internet for tutorials.

And I did look online. Over and over watching youtube videos and being a bit scared. And then I found a great, easy to follow tutorial from Dana over at Old Red Barn. I must tell you that I followed her directions and her pictures just as she shared them and it totally took the intimidation of attaching my binding away. I began working on this on Friday evening and by Saturday evening I had finished the hand stitching to the back.

Thank you, Dana!!! A nice and tidy little binding that I owe you some credit for. I appreciate your help sooooo much!


And I must give a bit of credit to my new machine. The Janome Memory Craft 6600 has an amazing dual fabric feed system, and a super wide walking foot, that helps feed the bulky layers of a quilt right through without puckering. I couldn't get over how easy it was to attach the binding to the front of the quilt! I'm even more in love with this machine now!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sweet Potato Tartlets

Here is a delicious recipe that I wanted to share... I originally copied it from Shape Magazine a few years ago, but I just found a recipe so similar at allrecipes.com (click there to print the recipe) that I wonder if this is where Shape got it from... or vice versa, I guess. Anyway, these are healthy and not too hard to make. The only thing missing from the picture is the fresh cranberries on top...

According to Shape, two tartlets = 150 calories, 5 grams of fat, 24 grams of carbs, 2 grams of protien, 1 gram of fiber, and 58 milligrams of calcium. If you like the taste of pumpkin pie then you will love these little goodies. And they taste just like you're eating dessert, not a vegetable!

Ingredients: 1 large sweet potato (3/4 of a lb.); 9" refridgerated pie crust; 3/4 c evaporated skim milk; 2 medium egg whites; 1/4 c granulated sugar; 2 tblsp light brown sugar; 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon; 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg; 1/8 tsp ground cloves; 1/4 c chopped fresh cranberries

Prepare: Preheat oven to 425 degrees; peel, cut & boil the potato until fork tender; divide pie crust into 12 or 24 equal sized balls (depending on the size you want your tartlets to be), then press the balls into a muffin tin; Drain & mash potato; In blender add mashed potato, milk, egg whites, sugars, spices and puree all ingredients until they are well blended; Bake 10-20 minutes (depending on the size of your muffin tin), then cool on a wire rack. Garnish with the fresh chopped cranberries.

That's one delicious dish! Feel free to link to your own recipes in the comments section if you would like to pass along one of your holiday favorites.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

8 Days until Thanksgiving?!?!?!

Can you believe that one week from tomorrow we'll be in the kitchen preparing for our big family meals? (Holy cow I must get ready for this!) Hubby and I already bought our turkey breast that we'll cook, but we haven't rounded up the ingredients yet for all of our side dishes and our desserts. Perhaps tonight I need to begin that grocery list...

You see, our Thanksgiving is a bit on the irregular side in my humble opinion. My mom won't be anywhere near us; my sister will be traveling somewhere with her fiance; my son goes with his dad because he has a huge family on that side with lots of cousins and four-wheelers and dirt bikes (which screams tons of fun 11-year old boy excitement); and Hubby and me prepare our own dinner to partake of AFTER we have dinner with his family.

I'm sure it sounds a bit on the strange side, but you see Hubby and I now know better than to bank on having left-overs when we go to his mom's to eat for Thanksgiving. It seems that the theme of "waste not" prevails over there. And what kind of Thanksgiving would it be if you couldn't munch on left-overs through the weekend? So, we'll roast our own turkey breast, we'll make our own gravy and cranberry sauce, we'll make some sweet potato tartlets (that taste just like little mini pumpkin pies) and a green bean casserole, and we haven't determined yet what else we'll concoct.

Of course we'll take something to contribute to his mom's dinner, too. Hubby has a really outstanding family recipe for stuffing, so we make two pans... one to take and one for us when we get home! And perhaps I'll take my famous apple pie....

What are you looking forward to preparing next week? Feel free to link back to your site in the comments section if you have a recipe to share. I'll post the Sweet Potato Tartlets recipe later this week in case you would like to give them a try.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Handmade Scarf

I've been trying to give more handmade gifts these days, and last week I gave one of my best friends this scarf for her birthday...

It's crocheted from Patons Silk Bamboo in coal, as well as Lion Brand Cashmere Blend in gray. The bamboo/silk combo is so soft... I highly recommend you try it out!

I was so worried she wouldn't REALLY like it, that I would get that "Oh, it's so.... nice!" kind of response that translates to "yuck... you made this for me?" But, that's not what happened at all. She seemed genuinely thrilled to get it, and the other girls at the table complimented her on it, too.

Thank goodness!

Now my confidence is up a bit so I can work on some Christmas gifts. I'll keep you posted on what transpires.

And, yes I did get to play with my sewing machine a little bit after picking it up on Saturday. I've played with some of the stitches and changing out a needle as well as winding the bobbin. But I haven't actually sewn anything yet. There is a quilt that I began in April that I just need to attach the binding to and I'll be done, so that is what I want to tackle first. I'm trying to work up the motiviation to give it a shot tonight after work. I'll let you know what happens...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Early Christmas


I can't stand it anymore, so please pardon me while I take a moment to brag.

This beautiful piece of equipment
(a Janome Memory Craft 6600)
will become mine on Saturday morning!

Compliments of mi Mamasita... an early Christmas present.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Mom!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day!

Thank you so much to all of our soldiers for pursuing the careers that you have chosen, for fighting for freedom for all and not just a select few. Thank you for your trials, your hardships and the burdens that you carry for so many people every day. And thank you for putting up with how much the rest of us take you for granted.

We do remember you. We do thank you. And we do love you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November Block

Another block finished for the virtual quilting bee...


I had a blast making this one! Love the poodle fabric center... That little splash of black is one of my favorite parts.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I didn't get permission exactly, but....

I'm going to link to Hubby anyway. You may remember how I've mentioned that he's struggled with showing his face on his site, and he's never been fond of me posting pics of him on mine. Well, now he's gone and done it all by himself! So, I'm just going to help with advertising...

However, I will refrain from using his picture since I didn't request permission for that first. See, Hubbs... I do listen to you!

Be cool and grab a t-shirt while you're there!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finally Friday?

Well, folks... it's here. Friday. Frankly, it snuck (that's not a real word, right?) up on me. Yesterday I was looking forward to its arrival, even thought it felt like it should already be there for me. And now I don't feel like its Friday at all.

I have so much to do today that does not include being at work. I need to make goodie bags for the cheerleaders for our last pep rally tonight. I need to take care of getting my mom's birthday package shipped. I need to make some crafts, one gift needs to be completed by Sunday so I can give it to a couple who is moving away. And there are lots more things that I just want to be working on.

The horrific shooting that took place yesterday at Ft. Hood in Killeen, Texas is haunting me. Another disgruntled person taking out innocent bystanders. So many thoughts racing through my brain since hearing about this yesterday afternoon... Mainly that I'm part of the team who terminated a man at work who I feel is very unstable and could do the same to our company or to one or more of us who works for the company. I just want to go home and be with Hubby who works from home and fiercely protects our humble abode.

But I know I can't duck down and hide in fear. Why haven't I gotten my own CHL yet? I could walk to my car in the work parking lot with the confidence of one of Charlie's Angels if only I was packin'. Right?

Time to pull my head out of the clouds and get back to business. I wish you all the best today as you prepare for your weekend adventures. Feel free to distract me with your comments about the exciting things you have planned. Once again, this Inquiring Mind would LOVE to know!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night!

Have you listened to that song from the Black Eyed Peas yet? Love it! It gets stuck in my head all the time and makes me want to snap & jiggle. Or smile and giggle. Something along those lines!

But, that's not what I really wanted to write about today. Tonight is truly going to be a good night and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm going to a pot-luck dinner hosted by one of the ladies in my sewing guild at church. I had asked if we could have a holiday party since we won't be meeting again until January, plus we have one of our members moving away next week, so this will be a good opportunity to send her off in style.

The leader of our guild, who will be retiring from her leadership role this year, is someone that I absolutely love being around. Her name is Betty. She is a very talented traditional quilter and a great director of our small group. She knows how to teach us new things and get us back on track when we try to veer off course. And she's got a slight edge to her, like maybe she has a short fuse with some of our members, so some of the things that come out of her mouth just crack me up. I'm looking forward to sitting back with her tonight as we sip our glasses of wine and see what the conversation stirs up.

The dish I'm bringing is something I renamed a Green Chile Quiche. It was originally called a Corn Cheese Pie, but that sounds completely hick and bumpkin so the need for a new name was blatant in my opinion. I'll post the recipe for you guys tomorrow in case you are interested in giving it a try. And, of course I'm bringing a bottle of wine.

I can't wait to dig in to everything tonight!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Christmas Re-Decor

My excitement for the month of October dwindled quickly with all the rain we had. The lack of sunshine and the speed with which the month flew by took the air out of my sails.

But, alas! November is here and major holiday preparations are underway!

Hubby and I decided to take a leap and redecorate our Christmas tree. I guess you literally redecorate it every year when you have to put up and take down ornaments, but what we mean is that we are ditching some ornaments and getting some new ones.

You see, we inherited the majority of our Christmas decorations from my mother when she moved to Las Vegas. She started over with a Hubby of her own and new tree. We gladly took her leftovers as we didn't have much to call our own at the time. But, her style was definitely not our own. Her's had a froofy, granny-ish quality, and we are quite... well... not that at all. The colors are predominantly maroon and gold, which is pretty but not as bright as what we are going for. I'm a little partial to some of the ornaments, and we aren't getting rid of all of them, but for the most part an overhaul is underway.

So, this is what inspired us over the weekend when we made a pit stop at Pier 1 Imports to spend a gift card from last Christmas. We are going with bright green, bright red and white for the most part.


We picked up a few of the white reindeer in the bottom pic, some of the jolly red ones, and some other ornaments in this color scheme that aren't shown here. You get the idea... Bright, jolly fun is just around the corner!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Flowers, Stitches and One Scary Movie

I have a lot to catch you guys up on! Let me go back to the beginning of October, when my anniversary was here. I never showed you the gorgeous flowers that were waiting for me when I got home from work that day. Hubby always picks the most beautiful arrangements for me... I loved these so much! And the whole house smelled great for days!


Here is a picture of the October Block I stitched for the virtual quilting bee I'm part of. I finally finished it and have it ready for tomorrow's mail so it can go to it's owner.

And the big finale...

Last night we went to see Paranormal Activity for our big Halloween outing. O-M-G. Scared the pants off me. Almost. It is truly freaky. The ending was a bit unrealistic, but the rest of the movie had me jumping in my seat, grasping my mouth and not wanting to go home after it was over. I slept right up against Hubby all night long practically, scared to be near the edge of my bed. I'm still haunted by that flick... even in broad daylight!


Do you have any spooky things to share from Halloween?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crafty Project for You!

I'm so excited about this project that I just had to share this link with you. I saw it yesterday on Crazy Mom Quilts since I regularly visit Amanda Jean's blog, but when I saw the tutorial this morning on SewMamaSew I knew it was fate and that you had to know about it, too!

Photo by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts

If you're like me and you have fabric scraps, and you like to make projects that end quickly so you can see the fruits of your labor in an expeditious manner, then you will like this project, too.

Happy Sewing! And, thanks Amanda Jean for such a cool project idea!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Movie Review: Where the Wild Things Are

On Sunday me and a good friend of mine took our kids to see Where the Wild Things Are. The Little Guy wasn't too excited. He thought it would be for the little kids, and now that he's 11 he's too big for such movies. He says he would prefer Paranormal Activity. Yeah, right.

The movie was good. But, I must warn you, it is a tear-jerker. It has a lot of depth to it. And it is a bit on the angry side, so I wouldn't recommend taking little bitty ones. The monsters and their battles will most likely spook them. Plus, they won't understand what Max is going through. He's definitely an emotional little boy trying to deal with the chaos inside himself.

Take a tissue or two. You're going to need it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Note to Self: Remember Sobering Thoughts

I've been dragging my feet at work today. Only because it is cold and wet outside and I'm fantasizing of being home, curled up with the pups and a good book. I don't know why I'm dwelling on such things. If I were able to leave once I got home I'm sure I would do something other than what I'm dreaming of. It usually works out that way for me.

I've also been dwelling on a human resource issue that I'm waiting to deal with at work. We have an employee who is chronically absent and will be put on disciplinary probation today. Our General Manager wants to wait until the end of business to conduct the meeting with that employee. In the meantime, I'm wishing we could hurry up and get it over with so I can move on.

And, I was just reminded by a coworker just how fragile life is. He stopped to tell me a story about a good friend of his and his wife's who just discovered she has bone cancer. It has spread to her lungs. A woman who is not even 30 years old and has two small children. And how she found out is mind boggling... she was changing her child's diaper and turned to place the baby on the changing table. Her leg broke and she fell. When she went to the ER she was told her leg broke because it was eaten up with cancer. She was given approximately five years to live.

As my coworker walked away he said, "Makes you live in the moments."

As I agreed with him I realized that I agreed with his words automatically, that I didn't feel the words. Then I let them sink in a bit. I talk about savoring moments with my family and my friends so often, and I've gotten a lot better at it. I was reminded to be more thoughtful of my time on this earth during the sermon yesterday, too. To be more prayerful, more devoted and disciplined. Be thankful of your health and your life, my friends. Draw near to those you belong with, and savor all that you can.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Haunted Houses Anyone?

Last night The Little Guy had a football buddy stay over. It was Hubby's idea that we all go to a haunted house after football practice and dinner had passed. I was supportive of the idea... while trying to block out that I hate being scared.

So at 9:30 we finally headed to Hangman's House of Horrors. There were four spooky houses to tour. And lots of spooky costumed characters roaming around jumping in our faces and blowing in my hair. Yuck. The Little Guy and his 11-year-old-self was certainly not entertained at first. He didn't want to go through any of the houses. (This was totally opposite from his behavior earlier... he couldn't wait to get there!) We started small and went into a blacked out labyrinth first, and he realized it wasn't all that bad if he kept his face buried in the back of Hubby's jacket. (He emerged from the tours with big smiles and lots of conversation, so I'm guessing he wasn't traumatized.)

So we toured the spooky trails in this formation: Hubby in front, The Little Guy, Me and Football Buddy bringing up the rear. FB was a great sport... he talked to the grizzly characters instead of being spooked. In the main house that we toured at the very end, an insane asylum which literally took 30 minutes to get through, the four of us were split into two about half-way through the house. That freaked me out. Big time. I had to play leader with FB's hands on my shoulders. I had to navigate through dark hallways with things hanging from the ceiling that touched my hair (major yuck) and be the first to get spooked around every corner. FB gave me a few pointers as we trudged through the mazes, telling me someone was coming up on the left or if I was going the wrong way. I was so grateful for his help! I kept thinking, as I was sweating bullets, that I couldn't wait to get through this place and out into the fresh air. Finally, we made it to the end, through the chainsaws being thrust around in the air by hillbillies, and I could remove my coat and let my sticky self breathe.

Then we headed home. My shoulders ached. My neck was tense. And I laughed a lot the entire night. It was a lot more fun for all of us than we thought it would be. As it turns out I've entered a new level of tolerance for being spooked. Don't get me wrong, I still don't want the guys in my household jumping out of dark spaces causing me to dribble in my drawers. But, I think I can add haunted houses to my list of things to do before Halloween each year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Note to Self: Don't be a Mummy

So, I must admit that this post is not an original idea. I'm stealing from Karen, who has a great spooky story that you should check out, and she participates in a series called Group Blog Thursday. I would participate in the weekly series but I'm a bit on the non-committal side...

Years ago I served as a chaperon for the church that I went to on some youth group activities. We had some great outings... an all night lock-out was one of my favorite memories. But, the story that I'm sharing with you today is about the time that we went to the church compound out in the boonies for a weekend retreat. The cabin/building that we stayed in was divided in half by a kitchen and two large areas where you could play games or have study groups. And, on each side of this middle section were the sleeping quarters. The boys got one side and the girls got another. At the front of each sleeping quarter was a counselor section with a separate sleeping area just off the bathroom. There was a curtain that the counselor could draw for privacy if needed.

Since I was the only adult female I took the counselor area to sleep in, but left the curtain open in case anyone needed me. Like I mentioned, this place was out in the boonies so when we turned out the lights it was freakin' pitch black. I mean, can't see your hand in front of your nose kind of blackness. I remember thinking, geeze... I don't have a flashlight. Or a nightlight. But, my watch lit up so I could stare at the clock if I couldn't sleep, right?

I dozed off pretty quickly as it had been a full day of teen-filled activities that wore me down. But, I woke up around four a.m. and found myself quite alert. I looked at my watch and realized I was going to be really bored for about three hours before everyone else had to wake up.

As I was laying there, just staring up at nothingness, I saw a flashlight shining towards my face from about the distance of where that curtain was hanging. I immediately thought that one of the boys had snuck in to sneak a peak at the girls. I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep.

That wasn't enough for the prankster.

He began to growl. And it didn't seem human. It sounded like a growl from a big angry dog that was about to have his bone snatched from his mouth. My heart began to race. I kept my eyes closed while the light continued to shine towards me. Then the prankster began to shake the light, trying to get my eyes to twitch, I guess. I stayed still until the light shut off.

Whoever the prankster was knew how to be quiet as a mouse. I felt as if this had been done before... the guy had some serious practice time with his stealth skills.

Needless to say I was frozen in fear. I heard one of the girls moving around in her bed. All of the matresses were of the lovely lined-in-plastic variety to protect from bed-wetters. Everything stayed silent and there were no more traces of anyone with a flashlight.

The next morning I went into the kitchen area and asked, "Ok, who was the growly prankster with the flashlight last night?" Well, the youth pastor, a young man in his mid-twenties overheard me and responded in a very serious manner with, "No one is supposed to go over there, and I'm the only one with a flashlight." Then he realized he didn't know where it was, so he went into the gentleman's quarters to find it. He told me that he found it was where it should've been. I told him the story of what happened, and I got a few smirks and comments from girls thinking that I had made it up. "the door would've squeaked..." But upon further investigation we found that the door to the sleeping area opened and closed without so much as a peep. A well-oiled door. Even the turning of the knob was silent.

The main doors to our building were of the loud commercial variety, the kind that have the big metal rectangular piece that you have to push to open. However, those doors were never locked. I reported the story to the head of the compound, but he responded with, "We've never had anything like that happen here before..."

I felt like a dummy for trying to report it. I felt even worse for sleeping fully zipped up in a sleeping bag like a mummy and trying to play dead when I was supposed to be guarding a room full of teenage girls. Note to self... don't sleep fully zipped up, without a flashlight, in case you ever need to jump up and start screaming at a guy growling at you in the darkness. And, keep a weapon handy... something long and stick like so you can swing like crazy and at least make contact once.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hello!

Just a note to say hello to all of you. I miss you and your blogs! I've been a bit side-tracked with work and while Hubby was out of town last week, which meant I had to run a household while working full-time. (thank goodness I didn't have to mow the lawn!) Quite a task when I'm not used to being in charge of almost everything on my own! (I had cereal for dinner three nights in a row...) But, that is over and Hubby is home now. I should be caught up and back into my bloggy reality shortly.

I hope you all are having a great week and enjoying some cool fall weather! Are your leaves changing yet??? (while Hubby was out of town he drove through Arkansas and I kept asking him about the trees... ' do they look like the commercials on tv?' They weren't quite there yet, still green.) The trees in Texas are still green, too. I'm so ready for orange, red and yellow!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A new spin on 'Save the Dates'

Silk screening on vintage hankies...


This is what my sister and I worked on most of the day on Sunday. And this next Sunday we'll begin again. Thank goodness she's been working on mastering the best way to keep the ink from bleeding so we'll be able to really make a lot of progress this weekend. Click on the link to see her recap of how this was created.

Great job, Sissy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where is October?

It was just a couple of weeks ago that I was so excited Fall had arrived and October was upon me. Now I'm in the middle of the month, don't have all of my Halloween decorations up yet, and am getting to the point where I'm thinking why bother. Plus my blogging has been way too intermittent.

What's my problem???

Procrastination... too much pee wee football... too much rain!!! We have had two dry days in the past 29 days (or something heinous like that is what the weather man reported). Overcast skies have really dried up my passion for this month. Today the sun is peaking through again, and I'm hoping it is able to stick around for good this month. But, the temperatures are back up to the 80's.

Lovely Texas weather. Unpredictable. But, I'm trying to work up the oomph to get excited about my evening today and get some serious crafting and decorating done. I'll keep you posted on any progress I might make. Cross your fingers for me, please.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We got to see Nie!

What a wonderful show... a repeat episode aired last night that I was able to see. Hubby and The Little Guy watched with me. I sat in front of them so they couldn't see just how many tears I shed. I had to hold it together enough so I could hear Stephanie's voice. (Be sure to click on the last link on her page to see the full account of their story if you're not familiar with them.)

Such a blessing to see and hear her. To see her and Christian. They still have googly eyes for each other! Another blessing. I told my son that is the type of love he should strive to find when he's an adult, and not settle for less. I hope that he can see that kind of love within me and Hubby, but honestly I think we are too consumed with everyday life to let it show often enough.

I had such a whirlwind of thoughts for the rest of the evening. I cried more. I gave thanks for the blessing of this family in my life, even if they have no idea who I am. I know I'm not the only person touched by the Nielson's. There are so many. I also prayed for their safety. Now that they've made it onto such a nationally syndicated talk show I prayed they won't be stalked or harassed.

Wow, what a night it was. And what a morning it is now. Today is my 5th anniversary being married to Hubby, and I'm very excited about it. We exchanged sweet sentimental cards this morning, and we plan to go out to eat with The Little Guy to celebrate. And in the coming weeks we plan to plant a tree in our front yard. (We found out that a traditional gift for the 5th wedding anniversary is paper in some form, so we decided to plant some paper!)

So, even as thunderstorms and heavy rains roll through my neck of the woods today I will give thanks. Thanks to God for my marriage, for my son, for my family, for my job and friends (including you guys), and for the blessings that the Nielson's are giving to our world. As we say in our sanctuary, "Thanks be to God!"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I want to watch!

Today is a big day on Oprah. At least in my opinion. Do you remember the posts I've made about Stephanie and Christian Nielson? They were tragically burned in a plane crash in August of 2008 and have been surviving and recovering ever since.

Today they will be on Oprah telling their story. Please watch it. I'll have to catch it as a rerun online as I'll be at work. (Boo hoo....) There are thunderstorms in our forecast, so I guess I could pray really hard for a major power outage that would send everyone home. Despite the mileage between my office and my house it would be my luck that there would be no power at the hacienda, too. Or the weather would disrupt the satellite feed...

So, I'll just look it up online later tonight. Either way, I can't wait to see this beautiful couple tell their heroic tale of survival, sacrifice and eternal love. This woman has been a huge influence in my life over the past year. (Periodically I'll send her emails and tell her that, but I wonder if I sound like a complete loon. Perhaps she is used to such rambling on from lots of women in our blog world.)

Stephanie, if you are reading... I can't wait to see you on television. And, I'm so thankful for your survival and for Christian's survival. You guys are a true inspiration to so many. Thank you for sharing your lives.

Monday, October 5, 2009

In the words of a dying old lady

If you're like me, when you read something you try to take on a bit of the person's character you're reading about. You know, hear the actual voice of the personality that you're reading about. Or is that just me?

Anyhoo, try to hear this voice in your mind as you read on... the voice of a seventy-something disgruntled and miserable elderly woman who has the most raspy smoker's throat you've ever heard.

Grandmother: "Well, I think I am at the end of my road."

Mom: "What is that supposed to mean?"

Grandmother: "Well, I just can't breath and I am out of oxygen, and Gene [my common-law husband of umpteen years is at work doing his greeter job at the Wal-Marts], and no one else will [drive hundreds of miles to] rescue me with a new bottle of oxygen [so I can keep smoking my cigarettes]. So if I die you just don't worry about it, I will just lie here until someone finds me."

A crotchety old lady wanting anyone and everyone to feel bad for her for since she's been smoking since she was a teenager and is now suffering with failing health. Sorry folks, I just don't feel bad for her type. Especially when she's always been a mean old lady! (And, yes... that is my grandmother I'm quoting. And, yes.... that's what she made me call her growing up, "Grandmother." She had deluded visions of grandeur which never materialized.)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

How Old Am I?

My family has always given me a hard time about having habits that are for old ladies. I love to crochet, to sew, to read, to listen to talk radio... I've recently been working on a 1,000 piece puzzle with Hubby. I like things to be quiet. Loud cars with boomin' systems make me crazy. I drive a Camry Hybrid. Last night I got excited because Hubby and went out to eat, had a couple of beers with dinner, then hit up Borders bookstore. We sat in the floor of one section and I flipped through crochet and sewing books while he flipped through his new action packed paperback. As we sipped our coffees.

But, yet my favorite music is alternative/punk rock. My favorite magazine is Nylon. I love trying to come up with crazy funky outfits to wear. I love tattoos, wearing skulls and rockabilly styles. I have quite the potty mouth some days. I'm a liberal, but I love my Episcopal church and its old-fashioned Anglican medieval traditions.

In the words of Green Day, 'I'm a walking contradiction.' But, I like me. Most days.

What are your personality contradictions?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Can you change this?

There are lots of things in our lives that we can't change. So we muddle through, work around, and just plain deal with what Life brings our way, right? But there is always one thing we can always change and that is our expression.

I find that I am constantly in a mental battle over positive and negative thoughts. Sometimes the negative ones win, but only temporarily. More often than not I try to be in control of my thoughts, in control of my perspective, and in control of my expressions.

Have you ever noticed what a smile can do for you when you're out in public? When I walk around with a frown I notice that people definitely leave me alone. And, honestly I like being left alone most of the time. However, I also like looking my best, and a frown doesn't go well with looking my best. So, I try to smile. A lot.

The positives from smiling? I get a lot of smiles in return. I get some 'hellos' here and there, and sometimes an occasional 'how are you' in passing. While I'm driving in residential areas I get a smile back sometimes or a little wave. I like that. It gives me a good feeling. Even if I don't get an instant smile return I like to think of that person saying to themselves, 'oh, I guess I should've smiled back there.'

But, there is a negative to all this smiling. My laugh lines!!!! Oil of Olay, you need to kick in a little harder, ok? I'm trying to change the world one smile at a time, but I don't want to become a bag of wrinkles in the process.

And, on a more serious protective note, being smiley doesn't mean to forget there are tons of weirdos out there that can do a smiley girl some harm. So keep your on-guard stance well practiced just in case you have to throw a foot in somebody's gut. Hey, a smiley girl's got to know how to protect herself, right?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Take a Trip With Me Today

And check out my guest post on Mormon Mommy Blogs. The material might be familiar to you, but feel free to wander through the entire site. There is some great stuff there! And great women (and their blogs) to become familiar with.

Enjoy!

And I would like to send a HUGE 'thank you!' out to Mormon Mommy Blogs for featuring me as a guest, as well as trublubyu, because none of this would've happened without your intervention. I am truly, truly honored!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Skelly Couple Goes to London

The moment you've all been waiting for..... you just didn't realize it!

The big reveal is here...

The Super Sweet Skelly Couple

Saskia's winning prize for being the first to answer my question correctly when I posted this. I hope you like it. I enjoyed making it very much. They will be headed to London tomorrow, Saskia!

And, I can't take any credit for the design. I actually purchased a book with patterns in it of super cute little zombie and medieval amigurumi creations. Now I'm off to make my own Skelly Couple to set out as part of my Halloween decor!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Note to Self: Check for Doggy Gifts

Oh.... my..... gosh, I have something rather embarrassing to share with you. You might remember when I posted about a shelf unit that Hubby and I decided to sell. We moved it into our formal dining area for possible Craig's List buyers to be able to see it easily, and then it could be easily moved right out the front door if a sale was made.

Let me first say that this shelf was in pristine condition. It had a couple of marks that I touched up with a stain marker from when we moved it from my mom's house to ours, but seriously it was in fine condition other than that.

Until we moved it.

You see, I have a little Chihuahua named Sushi. Sometimes she tinkles in the formal dining area. It's so small that I sometimes don't even find where she pottied. Well, our Doberman Axel has started to mark over her spots in that room. Yuck. I'm sure you can imagine the volume difference when comparing a Doberman's urine to that of a small Chihuahua. Yes, I'm talking instant stench and puddle factor with the potential to consume the formal dining area.

And that's where we moved the shelf unit. Before we realized what our dogs were up to, of course.

This weekend we finally had a buyer! Hurray! The couple had been dying to come over all week but couldn't make it until Sunday morning. We wiped down the unit with lots of furniture polish so that it would be as pristine as possible, ready for its new home.

As Hubby was helping Mr. Buyer Hubby load it up he noticed some spots along the side. Mr. Buyer Hubby noticed, too. My Hubby tried to very quickly clean off the "I know what the heck that is...." stuff before Mr. Buyer Hubby noticed, but to no avail. Mr. Buyer Hubby silently wiped a bit on his finger and then sniffed. Yep. He sniffed. However, he did not comment. Neither did my hubby. They both continued to pack up the unit and move it to their vehicle. Later Hubby whispers to me what happened while Mr. Buyer Hubby is strapping down the furniture. We were mortified. Mrs. Buyer Wifey was so excited about finding this shelf unit, and I can't help but wonder if she smelled hint o' nastiness once she got it home. We said a few prayers that God wouldn't let that happen. I'm confident He loves those kinds of prayers... such a valuable use of His time, I'm sure.

Now the first thing we are doing with our moolah is buying doggy gates to keep those varmits out of that room, and having a professional come and clean the carpet!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So many things!

What am I talking about you ask? So many things have been going well this week. Granted, it's been a stressy kind of week full of football practice, Team Mom stuff, chores at home, time with Hubby, time with the pups, time with The Little Guy, a very full work week and the usual commuting. However, the weather has changed and Fall has arrived, which has cheered me up to no end! I came home from work one evening, walked in the house to find that there was a new smell in the air. I found myself thinking, 'What is that smell???' Then when I realized Hubby had all the windows open that I was smelling clean, fresh air. Of all things. It was quite lovely once I realized what I was sniffing. (However, I managed to ruin the fresh-air scent a few nights ago when I fried some potatoes and onions with dinner. Now the house smells completely fried!)

Can the weather really be what's made such an impact on how I've been feeling this week? It feels as if life has slowed a little, despite the ongoing rat race that surrounds me. I feel that I've had quality time with Hubby and The Little Guy, that time at work has been productive, that I've enjoyed more of the pee wee football stuff, and I've even made sure to connect with friends on lunch dates. There has also been time for reading a great book (which I plan to review and recommend to you all once I finish), and for crafting.

The days have been shorter this week. So how is it that I feel like they've been longer? I guess I should stop overanalyzing. And just enjoy the rest of my week.

How is your week going?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Note to Self: Self-Protection is Key

If you've ever clicked on a link I've provided to Hubby's blog then you know he's a pretty tactical fellow. He's full of knowledge and resources when it comes to self-protection, self-awareness and what to do in a state of emergency. I, on the other hand, just ride his coattails and hope that if we ever do have an emergency he's right by my side to guide and protect me.

I know he wants me to become a bit more on the self-reliant side. And, I guess I can say that I have made improvements in the almost five years we've been married. Ok, I must confess that my improvements in this area have only been obtained in the past year or so. Because I'm a big chicken.

That's what happens when you have a 'worst-case-scenario' brain like I do. I talk myself out of a lot of things. Here are some examples:

No, I don't want to learn to shoot because I could accidentally shoot the wrong person; No, I don't want to skydive because I'd crap my pants and embarrass myself, then my parachute wouldn't open (which would make the crapping of my pants completely invisible); I really don't want to scuba dive because I'm afraid my breathing apparatus will fail and I'll drown; I don't need to go through the process of getting a license to carry my gun on me because if I actually carry my gun I will most likely get mugged and the robber will take it from me and use it on me; No, Hubby you don't need to make that eight-hour drive to a tactical class you've always wanted to take by yourself because you could fall asleep behind the wheel and crash...

My list could go on forever!

To aid in my educational process Hubby was recently turned on to a movie that we hadn't seen, with one of my most favorite male actors, Liam Neeson. It's called Taken, and Mr. Neeson plays a government agent who knows all about tracking and hunting bad guys. In the movie his daughter gets kidnapped in Paris while vacationing with her idiot friend, and of course the plot is all about his efforts to track down the kidnappers and rescue his daughter.

This movie is amazing. I loved it. But, my point is that Hubby wanted me and The Little Guy to watch it with him to hopefully learn some tips on paying attention to details if we are ever put in that type of scenario. I recommend you watch it, and if your child is close to teen years or older then let them watch it, too. (There isn't any nudity in it, but there is the topic of prostitution, but the subject matter is very delicately and respectfully filmed. I was quite impressed to say the least.)

Practice paying attention to details when you are out and about. Does anyone look suspicious? If so, what is notable about them... tattoos, teeth, eyes, hair, shoes, car.... What is around you that could help you defend yourself... a fire extinguisher you could bash over someone's head, a cart you could ram into someone... know what tools you have around you that could help you. And, always, always remember when you are being approached by strangers that you have NO IDEA what their M.O. is... are they just being friendly, are they seeing if they could mug you (which just happened to a personal friend of mine at a local McDonald's a couple of weeks ago), are they checking out your kids or your car... Be cautious and don't make apologies for it.

Kidnapping statistics are staggering. Phoenix, Arizona is second in the world for kidnappings, with the first being Mexico City. Bet you didn't know that about our nation, right? Probably thought it was Miami or New York City, or maybe not even in the U.S.? Read Hubby's post today to find out more about what you can do to protect yourself.

And, be safe, my friends. And, don't be a big chicken. I'm working on that as we speak...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Carm's September Block

Another virtual quilting bee block complete...


It will be in the mail to Crafty Carm on Monday.

Now, back to work on my spooky surprise for Saskia....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What 'do' to do?

This inquiring mind wants to know (as she is still struggling with disliking her hair-do) what is something you would most like to change about yourself right now?

You may recall that I tried cutting my own bangs. If you missed that story then check out these great side burns I gave myself a couple of months ago...

I'm STILL not content with my 'do.' I keep trying to fix it different ways (pin it back, pull it up, let it hang straight, flatten it even more with my CHI) but nothing is making me happy with my hair! My hair is very straight and thin but I have a lot of it, and it doesn't like to do much other than hang. I thought by letting it grow out it would look thicker. Not happenin'. It's just looking stringy to me. I'm thinking that maybe I need to go back to this length... What do you think? Just below the shoulder or longer and simply straight?

This is my hair back in December

My hair in July when I had just cut the bangs

Please help me out with your input! And don't forget to tell me what you're currently struggling with wanting to change. Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No. 1 Major Way Blogging Has Changed Me

If you found my guest post here then you already know that I blogged about five major ways that blogging has changed my life. You may have also noticed that I put out a little challenge in the last paragraph when I referred you guys over to trublubyu's blog.

What was that about?

Well, Saskia was my first responder to guess correctly...
"Common theme - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

And why is this of importance to me?

Please allow me to explain. Before last year I didn't have a lot of knowledge about the Mormon faith. I knew that young men were sent on missions and a few of them have knocked on my door over the years asking to share their Book of Mormon with me. I had heard they tended to have large families. Then there was the stuff on the news... but that's not what my message is about today. Members of every faith have made the news from time to time, right?

Basically, Latter-Day Saint followers had been a mystery to me. But, last year that I began to learn about Mormon mommies through their blogs. And, I really admired what I was learning. I have come to have a very deep respect for some of these women, and I am grateful for the lessons they teach so naturally. Please note that I'm not referring to the "fundamentalists" (or FLDS) who've made the news, I'm referring to LDS women, women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And you will find links about their faith on each of their blogs.

The blogs that I referenced are all written by Mormon mommies. Each woman writes regularly about her child or children, her extended family, her faith and her husband. Each woman professes not only a deep love of family and Jesus, but of a passionate love for her husband. Of being enamored and totally in love with her husband. I enjoyed reading about that so much, and still want to read about it. I'm not a fan of the typical bash your husband kind of narrative. That mindset is too easy to fall into, as most negative paths can be. And, I'm not saying I don't feel inspiration and teaching from other Christian bloggers, I'm just telling you how my life began to change once I started blogging, and a lot of that change came from reading these blogs regularly.

You see, I come from a very cynical background. I've experienced divorce, my own first marraige and my parents marriage, and I became quite jaded about trust because of it. I'm currently immersed in my second marriage to a wonderful man whom I adore, however I used to habitually find myself thinking divisive thoughts when things wouldn't go the way I thought they should. I found myself shutting down emotionally and trying to get through life as an empowered woman, still married but with an "I can do this on my own" kind of mentality. By reading the thoughts and descriptions of these Mormon women I was reminded of my vows. To cherish my husband, to respect and love him until death do us part. And beyond. (After all, marriage is a 'together' thing, not a period of independence.) I began thinking that I didn't marry my husband with the intention of always being in agreement. I married him because of our intense connection to each other and the unwavering love we both felt for each other before we got married. I was reminded that we vowed to stick it out forever and that requires thoughts of unity. And, that's what I truly, truly want and am fully committed to making happen. I have acquired such a deeper understanding of marriage in the last year, and I'm so thankful for this.

I've also learned a deeper understanding of what it means to be a parent. Don't get me wrong, my son was brought to life through a totally planned out pregnancy. I stayed at home with him until he was a toddler, then I went back to work because I had to. But it wasn't long before I realized that I really liked being a working mom. So, that's what I've done ever since and now he's eleven years old. Sure, I've had 'the guilties' over and over again because I'm not always available to help in my son's classrooms or volunteer very often at his school, but I try to make up for it in other ways. My point here is that these ladies showed me how they cherish, respect and love their children every day. Granted, that's something I've always done, too, because I've always adored being The Little Guy's mommy, however I've tweaked my focus after reading about their interactions. I try to do more each and every week to interact with him on a deeper level, which helps us to connect more often despite the rush of the proverbial rat race we go through each week.

I've simplified some things and expanded on other things. I'm enjoying my faith and activities in the Episcopal Church again after keeping my distance for over ten years. Hubby, The Little Guy and me all make more things together and on our own. We play board games more together. We sit and have a homemade cherry limeade on the back porch and talk about whatever pops into our heads. We bake more. These ladies reminded me its ok to slow down and just let life happen. Just enjoy my son and husband in a seemingly inactive moment and revel in this gift of life from God. This is something that I've always felt like I do, but in the past year I've made sure to do it even more. To be even more aware. To be even more thankful.

Sure, I'm still in the rat race every day. Sure, I still get caught up in chores and duties and let too much time slip past me sometimes. But, I know how to come back into my true reality faster now. And, seriously... I attribute these things, this deeper understanding of faith, marriage and motherhood, to the leadership of these women. I see God working through them. And, I've been blessed more times than I can count. AND, it all happened by venturing outside of what I was familiar with. We can all learn so much from each other if we try.

Stay tuned to see what Saskia has won for accepting the challenge and being the winner!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Little Wedge of a Post

I was asked, ever so kindly, by a fellow blogger to be a guest on her site. At first I was a bit taken back. I asked myself, what on earth prompted this? Then I quickly slipped out of my overly-analytical mode and accepted this gracious offer.

What blog can you find me at today? Laughing at Life's Little Wedgies. Because after all, isn't that what life is full of? A bit of discomfort here, a rumple in your pants there. But once you put that wedgie back in place life feels good again.

So, please take a little trip with me today and click on over to trublubyu's blog. She's pretty funny, and she's one dedicated mommy, wife and child of God. She's got lots of great 'reads' for you to peruse!

(And, when you hop over there to check out my post, if you can guess what the common theme is with the blogs I referenced in the paragraph labeled '1.' you could win a prize! Just leave a comment back here on this post and make sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you are the big winner.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

What a Weekend!

It was certainly a whirlwind... it came and went very fast. But, it actually felt like a true weekend somehow. Hubby was gone to Big D (translation... Dallas) for some tactical training from Wednesday night to Saturday night, so The Little Guy and I had the place to ourselves. We watched movies, played games, talked and hung out with the pups a lot since his football game was rained out. I enjoyed our bonding time so much! I figure since he'll be a teenager in a couple of years these types of days are most likely numbered.

I actually completed a new block for my virtual quilting bee yesterday. So, stay tuned... I'll post a picture of it. And, something else to stay tuned for... I was asked to be a guest blogger! I think I'll be 'on' tomorrow, so more details will be available soon.

Have a wonderful Monday, my friends!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remember Today

I struggled with what to say on today's anniversary. 9/11. A date that is forever imprinted in our hearts and minds. A date that not only scarred Americans but human beings around the world.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news on the radio about the attacks. I remember wondering if there would be more attacks around our country, if schools and daycare centers would be next, because how cruel would it be to attack our most innocent of Americans.

I wish we could be a more tolerant species. Human beings are so violent. Everywhere across the globe you hear of violence. We are not wild animals, so why do we consistently have people among us who choose to live like them. I could go on and on in a discussion that would lead us nowhere. So, I'll stop.

But I want to lead you to a couple of wonderful posts, one written by JennyMac over at Let's Have a Cocktail, and one written by Hubby at ITS Tactical. They are both very poignant and reflective.

And, at some point today I hope that you will bow your head in remembrance of those who perished, those who saved lives, and those who honor the tragedy that occurred eight years ago. May we continue to fight the hatred that feeds terrorism.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Watch Out... It's Coming!

One of my favorite holidays is fast approaching...
Halloween is just around the corner and I can't wait!!!

A morbid skelly and his mother

A Zombie Skate Punk and his Cat/Bird Mother



I love having a jack-o-lantern that looks like Jack Skellington!

Rosie the Riveter and a Random Japanese tourist

We usually dress up, even if that means just finding stuff around the house that we already have. I have no idea what I'll be this year. I've got to start planning my costume! The Little Guy originally wanted to dress up as Doc Holliday, but now wants to be a Bear Mascot. (I have no idea where to find a bear mascot uniform that will fit an eleven year old.)

I can't wait to decorate my front porch, to 'Boo' my neighbors, to make some Salty Bones and come up with some new traditions if possible.

Salty Bones made from Pillsbury Bread Sticks and Sea Salt

What do your upcoming Halloween plans include?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Day Off to You!

I hope you are chillin' at your casa today as you read this. I'm happy to report I'm one of those lucky laborers who gets today off work as a paid holiday.

Hubby and I have been very busy around here working to finish organizing our 'gear room' and our master bedroom. We've made tons of progress!

Saturday we went to Ikea and purchased nightstands for the bedroom and a dresser. Yesterday we went to JCPenney and found some great curtains (in sun bronze), and to Bed Bath & Beyond to get some new bedding.

All of this possible because of the sale of these....

We are truly thankful!

Pictures will be coming soon when we've finished the entire room. We need our wall decor and we will be all set! It's looking quite modern and elegant. Can't wait for you to see it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Life is so fragile

But, I know you know that already.

Yesterday we had a pretty big scare. One of Hubby's cycling buddies was hit by a car. He is ok, just really banged up with lots of bruises and road rash. There was a lot of Divine Intervention going on, I'm confident of that. We are amazed that a man riding 25 mph on a bicycle, hit by a large vehicle going even faster than that, could be found walking around after the accident.

The lady in the vehicle was talking to or looking at a seven year old child in the car; she didn't even see our friend until he was hitting the center of her hood. She had to have passed by Hubby and the other friend who were also cycling before she even got to the one she hit. Perhaps she didn't "see" them either.

Let this be a warning to us all: stay focused while you're driving. Don't take your eyes off the road, don't text on your phone, don't take it for granted that you're going to keep moving safely forward. Even as sober drivers we forget that we are manipulating a piece of machinery that can weigh thousands of pounds. We forget how fragile we are. We forget how quickly life can change, how quickly we can lose someone.

Let's take every precaution we can to be safe and to be conscious of who's lives we might unintentionally alter, including our own.

There is no good side to be on when it comes to an accident.