~* A Recent Guest *~

February 24, 2007

My sweet husband knows I thoroughly enjoy the cranes we often see at local waterways. Last week he came running into our room telling me to hurry and look out the front window. I rushed to look, and here was this beauty:

I wanted to get closer because even w/my telephoto lens, I couldn’t get a close-up from upstairs…so I ran downstairs to try to quietly go out front and get a bit closer, but by the time I got there, he/she was gone.

Oh!…I long to have one of those lenses that papparazzi use for all the wrong reasons! I love taking pictures of nature. I have a lot to learn photography-wise…but it’s a journey I’m enjoying taking step-by-step.


~* Where I’m From *~

February 20, 2007

May. 22, 2006 – ~* Where I am From *~

I saw this idea at Mother Hen’s and my past and present began to reel in my mind to form these words:

I am from a place filled with palm trees, ocean breezes, and bougainvillea. A place that melded honeysuckle, roses, and cow scents together. I am from barefoot days, long summers, library books, and root beer floats. I am from bicycles, swing sets, and roller skates. Baby dolls, dress-up, purses and make-believe. I am from mama cats, wild kittens, and the cutest pom-poo dog.

I am from public schooling. I am from rooms filled with the art work and written work of children. Rooms smelling of mingled scents of chalk, pencils, paste, and autumn. I am from cafeterias filled with the meshing aromas of tuna fish, waxy milk cartons, peanut butter, and macaroni and cheese.

I am from difference and alienation. I was one of those marching to a different drummer. Whether by choice or not, never really mattered. It was enough to be different. I am from mockery and ostracization which led much later in life to the strength of character to choose to be different, to choose not to be a mind-numbed robot following the crowd. I am also from compassion, compassion born of being different.

I am from beaches with strong, salty waves, undercurrents, and gritty sand that always ended up in our sandwiches and car. From happy memories spent at the zoo and at Disneyland. From treasured Thanksgivings, Easters, and Christmases.
I am also from sad childhood memories of never being sure what the weather inside our home would be: warm and sunny, frigidly chilly, thunder and lightening storms, or the equally frightening quiet before the storm.

I am from those who were from a generation of talking about the weather and current events, but not being able to talk about what was happening in a relationship. I am not from “Children should be seen and not heard”… but I am not far removed from that…in fact, I am from a place pretty close to that. I am from a “Spare the rod, spoil the child” and “Pride goeth before destruction” philosophy of child-rearing.
I am from those who didn’t have Dr. Dobson’s or Dr. Moore’s, or the many others who have taught how-to’s for marriage, child-rearing. schooling at home, and so much more.
I am from a father who was a Navy man in a world war. A man who became a carpenter working amongst wood shavings and sawdust that smelled delicious in an earthy way. I delighted, as a small child, in being swung around in his arms when he came home from work. A hard man who had soft moments. A man who didn’t seem to understand the necessity of give and take in relationships. He was a man, much like the wood he worked with: rough, hard, not very pliable. And like the word he handled, he was being slowly planed, chipped, whittled by the Master Carpenter. A man worked on lovingly and patiently, then called home after being completed by the Master’s hand. I am from a craftsman who himself was being crafted.

I am from a mother who baked and sewed, shopped and cooked, who loved and lived routine but who occasionally would agree to a game of Chinese Checkers. Not overly given to outward shows of tenderness, she showed her love through the thousands of daily acts of motherhood: cooking delicious, nutritious, varied meals; staying on top of the laundry; keeping a tidy home; packing bag lunches that were yummy; taking care to have the pantry and fridge stocked; making sure we made it to school, dr’s appts., music lessons; cleaning up after sickness without complaint, even after joining the work force. A woman who developed toughness from life’s hard knocks, sacrificing affections and dreams in the process. I am from a woman of velvet and steel.

I am from fig trees with Japanese beetles. Brothers who tied those beetles and flew them like kites. Brothers who teased me ’til I cried, who were my best friend and my worst enemy. Brothers who took me for rides in their cars and helped me buy mom and dad nicer presents than I could otherwise have afforded. Brothers who were and are talented musicians, artisans, and academics. Brothers who now have wives and kids of their own.

I am from weddings. Sisters who married while I was so young. Sisters who moved far away in distance, but with time became close-to-the-heart and best friends. I am from sisters who are skilled in homemaking, gardening, and hospitality and dressing so fine. Sisters who have that wonderful mystique of femininity that I somehow never quite grasped. Sisters who continue their education while being wives, mothers, and grandmothers. I am from late-night sister giggles and guffaws while our husbands look on in smiling bewilderment. I am from long telephone calls and all-too-short visits. I am from the side-splitting laughter that brings tears and aches. I am from all-too-real hurts that bring tears and aches of a different sort. I am from shared joys and shared sorrows, shared pasts and shared presents.

I am from that awkward position of being the baby of the family.. I am from benefitting the years of parental mistakes that preceded me. I am from always scrambling to catch up with the others, always being puzzled at the mysteries that everyone else seemed to have the inside track too. I am from pampered to pushed away because of the pampering. I am from isolation of years and birth order. I am from confusion of the why’s to finally understanding some of the why’s of certain family dynamics.

I am from grandparents who were joint pastors in a church that was culturally diverse before it was fashionable. Grandparents who spoiled grandchildren with coffee and real cream and as much sugar as you desired. Toast with real butter. Restaurants after church. I am from those who knew true hospitality, who ministered to hundreds away from home and family during war and peace. I am from those who suffered through the depression, who hated waste, yet who indulged their grandchildren as only grandparents can. I am from those who loved freely.

I am from a great-grandmother who gardened, canned, and baked up a storm well into her 80’s. Who made the best pickled okra, banana nut bread, and lemon chess pie. I am from strong, stubborn stock.

I am from wedlock to wedded. From dreaming of sweet relationships to living sweet relationships. I am from moments of singleness to moments of two being one. From joys and heartaches born by self to joys and heartaches shared with that special someone. I am from the scent of aloneness to the heavenly perfume of snuggling with my love, my best friend on earth. I am from dreaming all by myself of my own dreams to shared dreams with another. I am from traveling alone to sharing the most wonderful, life-long, even eternal adventure with my soul-mate.

I am from being child to being parent. I am from being in the womb to having life in my womb. From viewing this side from that side. From being the baby to parenting the baby.

I am from sweet baby smells & toddly-tots to blossoming youth and young adult and the circle continuing again. I am from thinking I knew all the how-to’s of parenting, to wondering how any of us, parents or children survive.

I am from moments of first words and first steps of childhood, to first steps and choices of adulthood. I am from public school product to homeschool activist. I am from hospital gowns and caps to graduate gowns and caps. From princess dresses to wedding dresses. From play army men to real army men. I am from tied apron strings, to cutting the apron strings loose. I am from having a mother-in-law to being a mother-in-law.

I am from life’s ever-flowing, ever-changing, yet never-changing river of life.

I am from right choices and wrong choices. I am from forgiveness, mercy, grace, and abundant lovingkindness. I am from thanksgiving and blessings: family, health, country, and most importantly a Savior’s love.

I am imperfection from imperfection… imperfection that aknowledged and taught the need of a Savior and His perfection. I am from Perfection, placed perfectly where I needed to be at precisely the right time, in all the right places to be drawn back to Perfection.

I am from the Master Craftsman Who continues to work on me, Who will complete me as He is the Author and the Finisher.
I am on the journey from Creation to Completion.

~* Pork Cabbage Rolls *~

February 20, 2007

All but my picky eater loved this and even he said it was “okay” 😉

I came up with this recipe to use our leftover pork roast from Sunday…we STILL ended up with leftovers…sigh…


3/4 lbs cooked pork roast, finely minced
2 – 8 oz cans tomato sauce (for night before)
4 – 8 oz cans tomato sauce (for next day)
1 – 1 1/2 C cooked rice
1 head cabbage
6 provolone slices

Night before cooking:
3/4 lbs cooked pork roast finely minced
2 – 8 oz cans tomatoe sauce
1 – 1 1/2 C cooked rice
and place all in a zip loc freezer bag and mush to thoroughly mix the ingredients.

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour 2 cans tomatoe sauce onto bottom of glass lasagna pan.
Cook head of cabbage in boiling water until leaves loosen
Cool until you can handle leaves w/o burning yourself
Separate leaves from head. Place 1 – 2 large tablespoons of pork, rice, tomatoe sauce
mixture on individual leaves and roll up.
Place on top of tomatoe sauce in lasagna pan. Repeat until pan is full.
Cover roll-ups with last two cans tomotoe sauce.
Cook 20 – 30 mins until thoroughly warmed through.
Place half slice of provolone on top of each cabbage roll and return to oven
until cheese is melted.

~* Menu Plan Monday *~

February 20, 2007


Garlic Pepper Pork Loin Roast
(recipe below)
Sunshine Salad
Potatoes Au Gratin


Cabbage Pork Rolls
(will post recipe tomorrow if the family likes this)
Lite Pears
Dinner Rolls or French Bread

    Sloppy Joe’s

Green salad


Mexi-Cali ckn noodle casserole
Green beans
Lite Peaches
Dinner rolls


guys n gals night out


Sirloin in Wine Sauce (p. 25 Mar/April
2007 Simple & Delicious)
Green beans
French Bread



2 – 3 lbs pork loin roast
1 tbs garlic (minced)
1/2 tbs dried minced onion
black pepper to taste
salt to taste
Pappy’s seasoning salt to taste
2 cans Swanson 99% fat free Chicken Broth

Place broth and pork in crock-pot. Spread garlic over top of roast.
Sprinkle minced onion, pepper, and salts over top of garlic.
Cover and cook on high 4 – 6 hours.
Very tasty!

Thanks Laura from I’m an Organizing Junkie, for hostessing this. If you’d like to join Menu Plan Monday’s, just click on the MPM graphic link at the top of this post.

~* Wishing for Spring?*~

February 17, 2007

Looks very promising, don’t you think?

My sons and I saw these beautiful blossoms of spring and I had to take pictures to share.

Be encouraged….spring really is on its way!

~* Sharing our Valentine’s Dinner in Words and Pictures *~

February 16, 2007

Isn’t it funny how the more you give love away, the more it comes right back to you?
I was so excited this year to plan a Valentine’s dinner for my guys. Usually, my honey and I exchange cards and small gifts and then go out on a night other than Valentine’s to avoid the crowds. But this year, I wanted to treat all my guys to a special dinner, so I planned for days just what to do (not that any of it was complicated, I’m just one of those people who needs lists and plans to pull anything off).
I found some beautiful placemats and cloth napkins on sale that complimented our good china. Then, I found some inexpensive pink goblets that completed the place settings. I purchases some valentine ribbon to wrap around the napkins and silver. I bought some tulips that were specially priced and with candles I already had, the table was completed. Or so I thought….my sweet honey bought me some balloons and they officially completed the table.
I made heart mystery brownies and wrapped them for each place setting; bought sparkling cider for the occasion; and splurged with the grocery budget and bought the guys thick steaks. To complete the steaks, I sliced mushrooms and onions to saute’ in butter and serve on top of the steaks. Salad and a fresh french bread rounded out the meal.
Everything was (for once!) well underhand and going very smoothly. Then my honey insisted on cooking the steaks, onions, mushrooms. So I finished putting the salads together and putting the salad dressing into pretty little dishes, and buttering the bread.
When I got to the table, the guys had all bought me cards, and our sons had gone in together for a Starbucks gift card and my honey bought See’s candy.
I was so surprised and delighted! I thought how it happens that when we seek to bless and serve others, so often the blessings come right back our direction. Just seeing the delight on their faces, having fun with planning the day…those were gifts enough for me! But to see my honey and sons so sweetly try to surprise me back (which they did), was the proverbial icing on the already delicious cake!
Here’s some pics of the table:

(Yes, I do realize my camera dates are waaaay off! I keep forgetting to ask my son how to change it or turn it off…sad, huh? 😉

~* Valentine’s Idea #4 *~

February 14, 2007

My last Valentine’s Idea (for this year) , is to plan a special night together. This can be so much fun, you can really let your creativity and love flow, and you can make this very special for very little cost to the budget.
First, make a beautiful invitation:
I opened a blank Word doc and first created a border using this: clear hearts background
I chose the most decorative and feminine font I could find, and printed in pink the following:

You are invited


A Special Night of Romance

I sprinkled a few of these under the last line for more personalization:
candy hearts
Then I filled in the above blanks with the personalization that fit us.
For example, if you want to serve a special dinner on your beautiful patio, then “Beautiful Patio” would be the “where”.
For the “What’s” portion, here are some ideas:
1. Dinner by candlelight
2. Listen to romantic music
3. Play Spin the Bottle (make your own game)
4. Receive a wonderful backrub
5. Snuggle Buggle
6. Foot massage
7. Take a romantic walk in the moonlight
9. Watch a romantic movie
10. Bake and eat brownies together
You know what you and your honey enjoy, you know what is fun and romantic for you both…let those creative juices flow. Choose one or several and make it even more romantic.
If you have special songs, collect them and burn them onto your very own personalized CD. Then make a cd cover with you and your honey’s picture on it. Allow your special CD to provide the night’s music.
When you’ve finished your invitation, roll it like a scroll, wrap a ribbon around it, and place it somewhere it won’t be missed.
You can make this Valentine’s one that neither of you will ever forget with very little money, a bit more time, and lot’s of lovin’ creativity.
Have Fun!

~* Valentine’s Idea #3 *~

February 13, 2007

Last year, someone shared this great little site for making your own personalized candy hearts…you know…like the ones you used to pass out for Valentine’s Day at school?
Here…this kind: candy heart
Mm-Hm…THOSE kind!
At any rate, I lost the link to that site and lo and behold, She Lives, gave the link at the end of her post.
So now, candy heart 2
Just go to Candy Hearts and add your messages. Then save to your photo folder. Now you’re ready to use these little cuties for all kinds of fun projects. Tuck one in an e-mail, make a card with some sprinkled over the page, make a bookmark, etc. Use your imagination and have fun! Have even more fun by letting the kids make some…then they can also use them in all kinds of projects.
TIP: You can only use four lines, and if you look at the heart above, the fourth line is the most limited space-wise for a reason
Happy Heart Making! candy heart 3
PS: If you use these in a valentine’s project and share it on your blog, please leave a comment. I’d love to see all the ideas other’s come up with.

~* Valentine’s Idea #2 *~

February 13, 2007

Here’s another inexpensive, but fun, and unique idea: creating your own ringtone for you and your honey.After purchasing some software (that didn’t work) I went online and found this site: Freeringers.net As with other ring download sites, you can use pre-made ringtones…but, (and this is the part I loved), you can also use a free download they give you access to, and turn any favorite song from a cd into a ringtone. Our special song is “Always and Forever”. I put the CD into my computer after downloading the free music converter software, followed the instructions for burning, editing, and turning the edited version into mp3 formatting. Then I sent it to my phone and voila’ when my honey calls, he’s playing our song! Another nice feature of Freeringers.net is that they only charge you a one time fee which is good for one year and for up to four phone numbers. So, if you have more than one cell phone and more than one “geek” in the house, you can all have personalized ring-tones.
Aside from the romantic Valentine idea, think of all the worship music you love that you can rarely find in ring-tone form…now you can add that as well. The valentine’s song stays for my honey…but I’ve got friends and my kids that I can now personalize their own ringtones with some of my favorite music.
That’s a lot of fun, for several people, for $7.99 (You can pay with Paypal, credit cards, e-checks, or money orders).

~* Valentine’s Idea #1 *~

February 13, 2007

Linzer cookie cutters
I’m going to make a cut-out version of my honey’s favorite thumprint cookies, for part of his Valentine’s gifts, with these cookie cutters. I have a couple of other ideas I’m working on as well. If they turn out well, I’ll try to take pictures and share those too.
What do you plan on doing for your honey for Valentine’s? Do you do something special for the kids? Celebrate as a family? I’d love to hear your plans and traditions.