Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!

I thought I'd share a quick recipe with you for a stovetop potpourri that will have your house smelling like Christmas quicker than you can say, "Oh no, my Scentsy bulb is burned out." This evening, I was planning on making a pumpkin custard from a recipe I got from this brilliant woman, but I botched the whole thing. And when I say botched, think broken glass botched. Not salvageable. And I wasted 9 egg yolks from my dear sweet chickens that took about a week to collect because they're not really feelin' it right now.

I needed a double boiler because I was attempting to make custard, but the double boiler I got from IKEA was too small and that's all I had. So....I put a glass mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water, added my custard mix and walked away. But only for a minute. When I came back I saw a big crack and then I tried to pick it up and the cracked piece gave way splashing hot custard and water everywhere and blah, blah, blah. I just need to stick to things like stovetop potpourri.

Here's what you need.

An orange, some whole allspice, a couple of cinnamon sticks and some scrap branches from your cheap Allsup's Christmas tree. I did a batch that included apple, too, but I don't care too much about the smell of apples. I'm more of a citrus kinda girl. So if you want to add a cut up apple, knock yerself out.

Fill a small saucepan or pot with water and add all the ingredients. Turn on high and bring to a boil. Let it boil for about 5 minutes, making sure it doesn't run dry, and then turn down to low and keep on as long as you want. Just be sure to add water periodically as it gets low. I've let mine boil dry twice. Not fun to clean. This mixture will last several days on the stovetop and then you can just dump it in the compost and start over.

If you're having people over, or you just need a great big whiff of Christmas cause you basically just threw out 9 precious, free range, organic eggs, make this stuff. It'll make your day.

***Update*** I totally forgot to mention another great benefit of the stovetop potpourri is that you will be putting much needed moisture back into the air during this very dry season. Helps with dry skin and nosebleeds.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

My evening

I'll warn you right now that this post is probably going to get a little bit rambly, but I need to see something besides a variety of compost containers when I pull up this page.

I attended a benefit tonight. It was for a sweet, little 18 month old girl who was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. She just got to come home from Cooke's a couple of days ago and the benefit was tonight at the Oplin community center. What a great event. In case you're not familiar with it, every month, at the Oplin community center, there's a dance. It's called the Grand Ole Oplin. There's a band that plays while everyone dances and during the band's break, everyone shares the snacks they brought. It really is a neat place. It's actually the gymnasium from the old Oplin High School and it was built in 1930something. For a minute, I thought I was in the movie Back to the Future.

This picture was supposed to be waaay bigger than that. Sorry for making you squint. Plus, I took it with my i-phone. I know, so unprofessional.

Anyway, this was a barbecue, dance and silent auction. I saw a sign for it in town about a month ago and when I saw the last name, I recognized it. When Elliott and I first moved away from the metroplex, we bought a 100 acre place in Belle Plaine. It actually isn't called anything anymore, it being one of the many towns that dried up when the railroad decided to be built 7 miles north of there. But everyone around here still knows it as Belle Plaine. I'm convinced it is the most beautiful piece of property in the area. It had an area with woods, pastures, a tank, and a low area that, during a really wet year, has produced and artesian well. I was in love with that place. The house on the property was a 100 year old farm house with lots of, ahem, character. For a while, we referred to ourselves as the Ingall's because our 4 year old son and newborn daughter shared our room so we could conserve heat during the winter. We stayed there for almost 3 years and then we had to face the fact that we were becoming very lonely. We came to a point where we knew we either had to build our dream house on that property, where we would seldom get drop-in guests or find a place closer to town where our church and friends were and build there.

Again, sorry.

We decided on the latter, put our house on the market and seven days later had two offers on it. The couple that bought it only stayed there a year and then they sold it. To the people who had made the other offer on it the first time. And that brings me to the benefit. These are the people who bought our perfect place in the country. I felt a little connected to them somehow. I've seen satellite pictures on google of the place and they've really done a lot with it. It had barns and pens and all that stuff you need to have an actual working cattle ranch, but evidently, they are actually using it for that purpose. It makes my heart happy that they love the place as much as we did and are getting much more use out of it. So when I realized who they were and then I realized what they were going through, I had to get involved with this.

I told Elliott about it and asked him if he could donate anything to the silent auction. (knowing full well what I wanted him to donate ;) He said he'd donate what he had already donated to another fundraiser in town - a live performance of "I Loved Her First" at an upcoming wedding reception. (Bingo!) I contacted the person in charge of the auction, filled out the necessary paperwork, and took one of the framed awards Elliott got at the #1 party to display next to the sign up sheet. Just in case people weren't familiar with the song. I won't know who won until tomorrow, but I have a sneaking suspicion I know who it is. The mother of the little girl told me that her sister was getting married soon and she loves that song. I think they may have been pushing dad to bid on it! Whoever it is, it will be fun to be a part of. I love weddings and even more than that, I love watching my husband sing. And I also love watching the crowd respond to his music. It's an amazing thing to see.

Last time, I promise.

So, I left a little early (don't know if I won the 40" LCD tv raffle) so I could get the girls in bed at a reasonable time. We have to get up early to attend the baptist church for a Christmas production the girls are in. Ever since we started having Sunday evening church, I've grown a little too accustomed to having two days to sleep in. This is gonna be a challenge. Plus, I still have a thousand things to do to get the house "Christmas ready" before Elliott and John get back from Fredericksburg. I want them to walk through the door and into Christmas. Actually, it won't take that much to impress Elliott. He'll be shocked if he walked through the door and into a clean house. Yeah, maybe that's what I should shoot for.

To bed I go. Goodnight.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Okay, so I never really said I would blog regularly, did I? Let me, I don't think I did. I did compare this blog to my compost pile, though. And that is actually an analogy I can take pretty far. You see, my real life compost pile, the one I can see out of the corner of my eye and am beginning to be able to smell, is a little overrun and way past ready to be taken out. Actually, I think the smell is probably worse than I realize, I'm just getting used to it. Some people have sweet little compost containers next to their sinks that look something like this

or this

or this one, which is my personal favorite.

Actually, most people that I know just use the garbage disposal or the trash. Sometimes I wish I could do that. But years of training by my father-in-law have me conditioned to throw everything into the bucket. Which brings me to the compost container I have. It starts with whatever empty container happens to be sitting by the sink and then, when that starts to overflow, rather than take it out and dump it in the designated area, I get one of my kids to bring a larger container from outside and I start to fill that. I don't have a problem with the collecting of compost. Apparently, I have a problem with the taking out of the compost. It's a dirty job. And it involves me putting on shoes. That just doesn't happen on a daily basis.

And that is why I do not blog every day. I let thoughts collect in my head and overflow from one container to another until, when I can't stand the sight or smell of them, I dump them. Here. This is the compost pile for my thoughts. You know, Composting my Thoughts. We have a title!

I wasn't even going to blog about this today. I was going to blog about something totally different. Which I have completely forgotten.

I will leave you with something I saw this morning that I really enjoyed. It's a video from a show that used to be my favorite. Don't judge me. Before you watch it, I'll give you a little background as to why it means so much to me. I used to live in the metroplex. As in Dallas/Fort Worth. The city. I drove for 45 minutes every day to get to work. I was not a nice driver. I had a little bit of a road rage problem. Now I live in a one stoplight town and I like to think I'm cured. However, much like a dieter who might enjoy watching someone else eat a piece of cake, I, a reformed angry driver, enjoyed living vicariously through Lois, my alter ego. Oh, and the background music is perfect. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


I have been on a low-carb, low sugar thing for about 6 weeks now and I have to say, I didn't think it was possible to live without bread, but I'm finding it is. I've been doing lots of research and thank goodness for the internet, there's a ton of stuff out there for me to try. I've been buying stuff like coconut flour and flax meal and using sweeteners like agave nectar and coconut sap. I've never really paid much attention to all that stuff in the store so I didn't even know some of it existed.

I made dinner tonight for a visiting friend of ours and wanted to make a dessert. I haven't even really had dessert in 6 weeks, so I didn't want to go crazy, just have a little sump'n sump'n to finish off the meal. One of the web sites I've been using for grainless recipes is She does a lot of experimenting and the stuff that works, she shares. It's great. I looked for a dessert in her grainless section and found this cake. She calls it Grain-Free Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake. I call it pretty darn good. (I have to say, it does have unadulterated cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips and agave nectar, but I was trying to stay away from flour on this one. I just had a small sliver.)

Another note: I assume that the lemon juice that's called for is to react to the baking soda to make the cake a little fluffy. I'm not sure. But I didn't have lemon juice so I used apple cider vinegar. It turned out just fine.

You can find her recipe here.

And here's my picture so you know it turned out exactly like hers:

If you're interested in grainless or gluten free cooking or even vegetarian, check out this blog. I was really impressed with how many and how varied her recipes are. You can tell her Pam sent you ;)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Last night our family had it's first ever movie night. Not that we've never sat down together and watched a movie. Last night was an 'official movie night'. I'm getting all nostalgic with the changing of the seasons and the holidays fast approaching so this is my attempt to start a new tradition. I think it's about time actually. My mother-in-law, who from here on out will be referred to as 'Nunie', made a big pot of stew and invited us over to eat some of it. Okay, you know me better than that. We invited ourselves over and I picked up some Subway to go with it. I brought along some pumpkin seeds for roasting, my new/old popcorn popper I got for a steal at Goodwill and Toy Story 3 (Thanks, Nana!)

After the meal, I started the pumpkin seeds and got the popcorn popper ready. My kids could not figure out what that contraption was that I was pouring popcorn into. I'm sure they were all wondering just when the microwave was going to do its part.

Popcorn, ready. Roasted pumpkin seeds, check. Snack for mommy, who is dieting, check. Then, an amazing thing happened. We all sat down together and watched a 2 hour movie. All of us. And no one left to do other things. At one point, I looked around the room and took a mental roll call of everyone present:

  • Autie, who sat without moving the entire time. She really loves movies.
  • Anna, who bit her tongue for most of the movie trying to keep from saying, "Oh this part's funny! Watch this!" She had already seen it.
  • John, who was the only one to come and go. He had a project going on the front porch. Something about a rifle, a tree branch and duct tape. He did watch a good part of it, though.
  • April, who stayed on the verge of tears for the duration. She is our child who, at 2, understood completely the plight of Rudolph and his exclusion from the reindeer games and cried, inconsolably for a half hour after seeing the movie.
  • Elliott laughed at all the hidden adult jokes and had a look of disgust on his face when, halfway through the movie, he realized that he released his song Blue Dog a little too late.
  • My father-in-law, Papa, who actually watched the whole thing and appeared to enjoy it. Even though it went a little past his 9:00 bedtime.
  • Nunie, who really enjoyed it, but declared that she hated the ending. She thought all the toys should have gone to the attic. Someday I'll show you her attic and you'll understand.

And that leaves me. I happen to love a cleverly-written-by-adults-movie-for-kids. And I really enjoyed all the nostalgic toy references. But mostly, I enjoyed the view around me of all my family spending time together. In the same room. It doesn't happen that often and even if we were all watching a movie, we were together. Actually, it's all part of my master plan to get everyone to stick around when there's youth and baseball and soccer and theater and choir and this and that and the other. I've got lots of tricks up my sleeve for that.


Here it is. The new blog. Well, actually, it's the 'after' blog. Sorry I don't have any 'before' shots. It's taken every ounce of strength I have to not start over completely. You don't know how many old journals I've found and thrown away. Or pages I've ripped out because they made me sound dorky. I know, I know, that's against the rules. You should keep every thought you ever put to paper. Well, don't worry, I didn't break any rules. It's all there in the archives in all of it's dorky glory. There's actually some funny stuff in there that I'm not really embarrassed about. I guess you'll just have to take the good with the bad. And that's me assuming you are actually going to go sifting through my archives looking for something to read. Ha. How about I just try to keep things current here, and you can go exploring wherever you want. Deal?

As I've said in my description paragraph, I don't really have a specific plan for this. No set subject matter. I'm not an avid photographer, though I do enjoy looking at and taking pictures of beautiful things. I'm not a 5 star chef, but I do love making and eating good food. I'm not the craftiest person on the planet, but if I see something I think I can make myself, I like to give it a try. I'm not the most organized or scheduled person, but when I have one of those days, it sure goes a lot smoother. I'm a bit of treasure hunter. I like to look for things and find things and put things together for people. Oh, and I guess I should mention, I have four kids who keep me honest and a husband who keeps me asking, "why?".

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Posting into the future

February 28, 2007

Even though I am not posting this on the day it happened, I am writing all of this down so I can empty my head of it. I don't want to publish this until I hear what happens. I don't know how long it will take or what the rest of the story will be, I just want to wait and see before I share.

Today I was washing dishes and a name popped into my head. Actually, it was a product name. Tupperware. I don't know if I need some or I saw something that made me think of it, but into my head it popped. I used to sell Tupperware. I was actually pretty good. I became a manager with some girls under me and I probably could have done really well at it if they didn't expect it to be my gospel. It started to become a conflict of interest for me. I say, for me, because some people don't have a problem mixing things like that. I just couldn't do it anymore. Anyway, my distributor's name was Karen. Her name was the next name to pop into my head. I probably wouldn't have given it another thought, but for some reason today was different.

I have been listening to the Bethel sermons and yesterday the one I heard had a testimony at the end given by one of the intercessors at that church. He was talking about how a couple of years ago, God put some leader, can't remember his name now, on his heart to pray for. He was obedient and then, like a year or two later, they heard this guy talking about a time in his life, a couple of years back, when his life was in danger. God had laid it on that intercessor's heart to pray for this man at a time when he needed it. I have had times in my life, some not too long ago, where a name would pop into my head. Sometimes it would be a famous person, sometimes I had to look up the person because I didn't know who they were. I started to wonder today if that's what God was doing when he would put someone's name in my head. I decided that I would start to be obedient when the Lord did that. Even if it wasn't the Lord, at least someone was getting prayed for!

So, there I was, washing dishes, when this lady's name came to me. Karen. I went over to the computer and pulled up the Tupperware website. There was a link for finding a consultant. I clicked it. Then it asked me for my address so they could find a consultant in my area. I typed in my mom's since she lives in Arlington where I used to live when I was a consultant. Just as I was thinking it would probably take a long time to find her, a list popped up and her name was the second from the top. I clicked on it. A web site for her distributorship came up with an e-mail to her personally. I was just sitting there staring at that e-mail address and my heart was pounding. What in the world, I thought. Are you actually going to contact her? What are you going to say? She'll probably try to get you into Tupperware again. I was nervous because I knew I was not only supposed to pray for her, I was supposed to contact her. We weren't even really that close. It was more of a manager/employee relationship. I clicked on the e-mail address and just started typing. I told her who I was and where I was now and how she had taught me some valuable lessons about speaking in front of people and having confidence in myself. Then I told her that the Lord had brought her to my mind today and I'm trying to act on those things more when they happen. I told her that when we think of someone out of the blue or run into someone that we hadn't seen in a while, those usually aren't chance encounters. I told her that if she had anything going on in her life that she needed prayer for or she just wanted to talk, she could call me. I don't even know if she remembers me! I gave her my phone number anyway.

I'm really expecting God to do something here. He may just be teaching me obedience, but I think there's more to it than that. When something does happen, I'll post this and the next post will be the rest of the story!

Stay tuned! I will be sharing the conclusion of this story tomorrow or at my earliest convenience. (Don't let that scare you. It'll be within the week.)