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Thursday, April 30, 2009


32 is a wonderful thing.

It is my age.
It is a bag of M&Ms.
It is divisible by 2, 4, 8, and 16.
It is the first 2 numbers in my favorite countdown.
It is home to my all-time favorite number: 3.
It is the amount of weight I dropped when I switched to a gluten-free diet.

It is the number of school days remaining this year.


Well, not as good as I'd hoped, but I am down .5# to 175.5#. Can't wait to get back below 175 and on my way to mini-goal 2: 160#

Guess I'd better step up the activity level at my house. It's Oh, wait. I took a walk the other day.

Thanks to everyone who stops by with encouragement. It's good to know we're all in this together! Want to join our group and track you own healthy progress? Come on over to

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm a bad kid

I forgot my mom's birthday. AGAIN! I think every year I come up with a new way to fail her in this regard.

This year, I added the category "did not even notice the Facebook reminder" to my fantastic ability to fail.




Now go visit her and wish her a belated birthday.

Last Chance!

Today is your last chance to earn the Tommy Toe award by guessing what's in the picture. It does have to do with water, but no one has the situation quite right yet, so there's still a chance for you, yes you, to swoop in and win it!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunrise at Virginia Beach

During Spring Break week, we decided that we simply MUST get away for a few days, so we drove a few hours to the ocean and crashed at the Holiday Inn. One morning, the kids and I woke up for the sunrise.

There is a heavy mist over the water, and a naval vessel is crossing through. You can see it, beginning in photo five, crossing from left to center. As the sun rises and clears the mist, its color changes, and then suddenly its rays are reflected across the water: brilliant and beautiful.

Sunrise over the ocean:

Friday, April 24, 2009

What is it? The challenge returns!

I recently won the Tommy Toe award over at Secondary Roads for a "What is it?" challenge. I have decided to carry on this new tradition in the hopes that it will take the bloggy world by storm.

Take a close look at this photo. What do you think is pictured here?

The first correct or best guess will be declared the winner. The winner will be awarded the Tommy Toe Award for sheer brilliance.

The Tommy Toe gets its name from what my grandmother used to call this wonderful fruit that makes such wonderful sandwiches with bacon and lettuce. The BLT was one of her favorites. Every year when fresh tomatoes were available in the garden, she would get together with a friend and they would make BLTs for lunch.

I remember that this food love continued on through her years with us grandchildren, and I too love a good BLT on a hot summer day.

...and may the best guesser win!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Huh! Looka that.

You know, I just love to know what other people think of the weird things that I (or my Jim) happen to stumble across. (Remember that awful movie UltraChrist?)

I mostly just like to hear what other people's reactions are... because I can't be the only one thinking what I'm thinking, right?! (Not that I'm going to tell you what that is.)

So here is an item that makes me say, "I just am not sure how I feel about that." (Wait! I just told you!) On one hand it's cute; it's funny in an adorable I-bet-you're-just-like-your-daddy sort of way. On the other hand... well, listen to the audience.

Check out this little guy.
(He is cute, though, isn't he? and good, too! he's really really into it!)

So what do you think of the little preacher man? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I am so not totally unappreciative, people!

I want to take this time to say thank you to those of you who nominated me for awards and what not for my little corner of the bloggy world. (even to those of you who nominated me with a statement similar to, "Look, I know you don't really get into these things, but....) It's not that I've been ignoring you, but I often just don't have the time, and with this heart thing now, I often don't have the energy, either. So, here are the awards that I remember winning... if I missed one from you, please let me know!

There's quite a few, so thanks in advance for your endurance. :)

FIRST! The coveted Zombie Chicken award. (This one I really, really wanted, so....YAY!) "The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all…" This award came from Clara (aka my mom), so I can't give it back to her. (That would be rude!) Here are five other bloggers for whom I would brave a pack of zombie chickens:
  1. Liz at A Mom on Spin
  2. Mark at ...sez Mark
  3. Erica at Much Ado About Nothing
  4. El at Profoundly Seth
  5. Conversations With a Cupcake

SECOND! From Vanilla over at
String Too Short to Tie, I received the 2009 Friendly Blogger award. (Thanks, V!) No restrictions seem to be attached to how this gets distributed, and I must say that I'm hard pressed to pick who's the friendliest.... hmmmm. I guess I will pass this on to my friendly friends... hmmmm. Ok. You, you, you..... and you. All for you, my friendliest of friends! (You know who you are, so grab that award and put it on your blog!)

THIRD! Next comes the Marie Antionette Award for courage from Clara (aka Mom).
(My mom likes to give me awards, btw, and I'm Ok with that. You'd be spoiled, too, if you were an only child.)

The tag line for this award reads, "Queen Marie Antoinette is the epitome of a real, fun, fearless woman who is never afraid of getting what she wants.” This is an award for courageousness, not selfishness, though. My mom has some interesting info about the real Marie on her blog, if you're interested.

So what do you want? Are your motives pure? Then you could be one of the seven nominated for this award. Why seven? Who knows? Here are my recipient selections for this courage award:
  1. Meaghan of I Kicked Cancer's Ass. Meaghan fought off cancer, went back to law school, and is in the midst of surgery recovery. (Go wish her well!) She uses her web sites (she sells yummy coffee, too!) to raise funds and cancer awareness and to bring aid to others in the midst of their battles. She's a brave, positive person with no fear when it comes to facing down prejudice against those with cervical cancer.
  2. Jill of Jill's Believe it or Not. Jill's last post details the medical issues her daughters are facing and she's not feeling so great herself. What does Jill want? Answers. Will she get them? You bet. She's also a very fun person. (CAW!!!) It was great to meet her out here in the blogiverse.
  3. Jen at Cake Wrecks definitely deserves this award, too. Now her great battle is against the bad cake makers in the world, and I truly hope she wins, but I can't help asking myself what will keep me entertained if she does. She's fun and fearless, posting all kinds of craziness on her site. She also shows us the good side of cakes every Sunday. Thanks, Jen.
  4. Mama Kat over at Mama's Losin' It. Mama Kat has been braving the new world of gluten-free living due to her kids' recently diagnosed gluten allergy. She's been chronicling their (mis)adventures on Allergies Shmallergies. She wants what we all want: happy kids and a crazy good time.
  5. Liz again! Anybody who can survive all the craziness of teenage girls and rampaging priests (can I say that?!) and still be quirky and great and funny deserves as many awards as I can get my hands on.
  6. Ummmmmm..... I am out of ideas. I guess I'll stop at five.
  7. Tada! I made it to 7!

FOURTH! (and this one is from Mid-March!) comes the "Friends" blogger award from Uncle Chuck at Secondary Roads.

“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.” (Eight?!? I neep a nap. Also, I'm pretty sure whoever created this award is somewhat of an attention leech. "cleverly-written text"? Really?!)

This'll be fairly easy. Kind bloggers who don't toot their own horns. Easy.
  1. Shanda
  2. Melissa
  3. Jill
  4. Erica
  5. Rachelle - Ok, so she is a book agent, but she's so writer-centered and awesome!
  6. Stephanie
  7. K
  8. Kiki

My goodness, but this has turned into an epic post! I hope that everybody enjoys the awards that I have bestowed upon them in turn, and I promise to (try to) stay more on top of my acknowledgement and thankfullness in regards to bloggy awards.

Thanks, everybody!

PS. Another one from Secondary Roads just came in! ...but I'm tired! It's gonna have to wait. I hope you enjoy checking out all of these fine folks!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I am cranky, bloated, pimply, and tired. And that was before I weighed in! (Is it next week yet?)

up 2# to 176# again.

I have been doing all good things, though! Swimming, yard work, walks, increased general activity, etc. I am hopeful that a positive weight change will soon follow.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hi, Mom!

Time for post 3 in my series of influential people in my life.

Time to meet my mom, Clara.

Um, Mom? Moooo-oooom! Where are you? Oh, there you are.

Hi, Mom.

It's taken me a long time to write this post because it was very difficult to decide what to write about. There are so many many things that I could say here. I mean, just look at me: what DIDN'T I get from my mom?

There is such a list I could give you, but I'm going to try to hold to a reasonable number.

#1. A sense of humor.
Mom's a punny lady. Very very punny. This American Gothic photo was her idea, and nothing will get a good laughter-induced-asthma-attack going like a good pun. Getting together with Mom's family always involves funny stories, jokes, wordplay, etc. This was one of her father's coffee cups:A joke in your honor, Mom (one that earned me a follower, no less!):
Three guys walk into a bar. The fourth one ducks.

#2. Acceptance of all.
I grew up in a white home town. Let's call it Super-White, even. I think it would be safe to say that I only encountered non-white people if I was watching TV or listening to missionary stories; that's how white my early childhood was. I think it would also be fairly safe to say that the population of this home town of mine was occasionally racist in nature as well. Unfortunately, so were some of the members of my own family. But my mother? She was not, and she went out of her way to protect me from the poison of racism. The thought of judging others based on ethnicity, skin color, or demographic of any kind was simply not entertained.

I am so grateful for this gift. It has allowed me to make so many friends from so many countries (check out the countries represented in our church, for example.). It has opened doors at work. It has strengthened me as a student, broadening my interests. It helps me connect with the high schoolers I teach. It has made me a better person.

#3. Faith.
No one's perfect. Mom taught me the beauty of a forgiving God. She encouraged me to explore the Scriptures on my own and not just accept the Bible stories and pulpit messages as all there was to know. For example, instead of letting me stop with the traditional John 3:16, she also taught me John 3:17: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

She was willing to call me on my mistakes and own up to her own. She taught me songs and hymns and spiritual psalms.

She's also the one who gave me the first half of the verses I posted as my anthem today on the Stuff Christians Like blog.
  • Micah 7:19 .. and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
  • Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
I always liked the visual of God creating a new heaven and earth for us, and the verse from Micah came to Mom's mind. That was easily 15+ years ago, but the connection implied will always stick with me.

So thanks, Mom, for being who you are and for helping me be who I am.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's for Dinner - Gluten Free style

Nothing too fancy this week, just one of my favorites... It's loosely based on a Carbonara recipe. Emphasis on loosely. And as always, my chicken-allergic peoples, feel free to substitute some lean pork or something else you like for the chicken.

Chicken & Bacon Alfredo
Amounts of ingredients should be based on how many people you're cooking for. I usually use 4-5 chicken thighs, a medium onion, 4-7 cloves of garlic, a handful of bacon, and two jars of sauce. This gets our family of 4 a full meal plus leftovers for the next day's lunch.

1. Saute chopped onion and garlic in some butter or olive oil until tender.
2. Add chopped bacon, and saute quickly. If not using pre-cooked bacon, be sure bacon is completely cooked/crispy before adding chicken.
3. Add chopped chicken and saute, stirring frequently, until chicken is nearly cooked through.
4. Add Alfredo sauce. My favorite is Classico: one jar of alfredo and one of 4 cheese alfredo. (So many of their sauces are GF, and they're soooooooo yummy, too!)
5. Reduce heat and simmer gently while you make pasta. Toss and serve.

This recipe is part of our recipe group. Come and join us at The Gluten Free Homemaker!


It's been a while since I actually had a post to go along with my One Weigh at a Time committment (my weight loss/ healthy living group). Sorry about that.

I am down to 173#
(.5# loss for the week)

Tada! or something.

Looking for a support group to encourage you in your own healthy goals? Come and join us!
One Weigh at a Time

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Clean House is a Happy House

Spring Break: a time to relax, play, and WORK!


I look forward every year to Spring Break because it's a fairly unpredictable time for us. Sometimes we take off for the whole week, sometimes we stay home, sometimes we just go where the wind blows, but I like to try to fit some "spring cleaning" into the week no matter what we do. Yesterday the kids helped me work in the yard, and today we're cleaning the house.

It never fails. Cleaning = happiness. --sigh-- I should clean more often.

I like the lemony-fresh scent.
I like the lack of clutter.
I like the organizing.

It never fails: the happy, relaxed, contented feeling afterwards.

I don't like cleaning.
I don't like dusting. or scrubbing. or sneezing at the dust.
I don't like finding ant entryways and spraying them with pesticides.

But I like the results. And it never fails. Everyone's happier afterwards.

Maybe the work gets out our figets.
Maybe it's the space.
Maybe it's the sense of accomplishment.
Maybe it's the family time.

I dunno. All I know is my kids like to fight for their favorite chores and things to clean. And not like, "No, YOU do it!" but like, "I wanted to dust! Not fair! MOOOOOM! I wanna dust and s/he won't let me!" And when we're done ... or half done ... or the ice cream truck drives by ... we take a break. And we do more later.

The kids fight less.
The kids learn life skills.
The kids find toys they forgot existed.
The kids take ownership over their own stuff.
The kids begin to realize we clean up after other people a lot less when we each clean up after ourselves more.

And those all make me even happier.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What "it" is

Well, not too many of you tried to guess. I suppose with no real prize, I couldn't have expected much.... -sob!- No, no, it's Ok. -sniff- I'll just ...I'm Ok.

Here's how my afternoon went on the day "it" arrived.

The setting: our dining room. Sun streams in the west windows and glints off of the gigantic eyes of "it", waiting peacefully to be discovered. My son stands proudly nearby.

Me: [startled and concerned] Aaaa! What is that?!

Son: [proud] It's my history character! I made him out of a bottle and paint and stuff.

Me: [still nervous] But what is it?

Son: [still proud] Do you like it?

Me: [recognizing the need to acknowledge his accomplishment, but unable to break away from the mesmerizing stare of the gigantic plastic eyes] Sure. The eyes are pretty creepy though. It looks a bit freaky. What is it?

Son: [avoiding the question] We made them for history and then they acted stuff out.

Me: [patiently] Wait. Listen to me carefully....

Son: [not waiting] You want to hold it?

Me: [avoiding the question] Are you listening?

Son: [not listening] Yes.

Me: [not convinced] Are you sure?

Son: [perhaps listening] Yes.

Me: [hoping for an answer that will be less creepy than the "it"] What is it?

Son: [stating a technicality] It's a who, not a what.

Me: [resigned to the logic of a 9-yr-old] Ok, WHO is it?

Son: [proud] George Washington!

Me: [huh!] Really? George Washington? Let me see him.

Son: [proud] See? Here's his wig! And he's wearing a suit.

Me: [getting involved] Oh, and I see, those are his ears?

Son: [tolerant of my ignorance] Those aren't ears! That's the bottom of his wig!

Me: [chagrined, then honest] Oh. Wow. That's pretty good.

Son: [prouder] Yes. Yes, thank you. So you like it? They acted out the Continental Congress!

Me: [honest] Um... Yes, but his eyes still creep me out.

Son: [prouder yet] Yeah, but you should've seen Patrick Henry. He had these tiny, tiny little eyes, and HE was REALLY creepy.

Post Script: George Washington now lives in Dad's office, on a prime slot of shelf real estate.

Post Script x2: It occurs to me that wierd is actually spelled weird and that all my tags are wrong and I don't want to fix them and I'm Ok with that.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


In the spirit of sharing the freaky, yet impressive, things that my children enjoy creating for school, and in the spirit of my Uncle Chuck's blog, I bring you a challenge.

Please identify the following:

My son made it for school, and is very proud of it. Can you identify it?
Good luck!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Accidental Soup

On Sunday morning I put some food in the crockpot for lunch. I meant to turn it down to low before we left, but I forgot, and so it sat on high heat for 6 hours. When we came home, my daughter took a look at it and exclaimed, "You made soup?! Yum!"

... I didn't mean to make soup. But it was super yummy as a soup/stew, so that's how we ate it. I pulled out the meat, stripped it off the bones, and stirred it back in.


approx. 2 lb chicken pieces
garlic powder
gf seasoned salt
dried onion flakes
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can each green beans and corn
4 carrots, peeled and thick-sliced
1 green pepper, chopped

1. layer chicken in crockpot, seasoning with the garlic, pepper, salt, oregano, and onion flakes
2. add chopped vegetables and pour tomato sauce over everything
3. accidentally cook on high for 6 hours :)
4. If needed, remove bones and skin
5. stir well to break up meat into small pieces
6. if sauce is too thick for your taste, add some gf chicken broth to thin

Like this recipe? Check out the other ones in our group this week: What's For Dinner Wednesday's

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Day of Firsts

Well, this life of mine seems determined to tick me off.

Haha. I made a funny. I didn't even mean it, but I guess it was my subconscious looking for a bright side. You see, one of my "firsts" for today was discovering that I was a host to my very first personal tick. It was an icky brown one.

Later on, I found out that one of my students has Crohn's disease. That's a first for me, too. I've never had a student with Crohn's. He's a tough guy. And a nice guy. And I'm praying he'll be Ok and recover.

Finally, I went to the doctor to get the rest of the tick removed (yes, the rest... it was an unpleasant morning). He really had to work at it, too. When he was done, he said he was going to have to put a stitch in because the tick had been buried deeply. So now I have my first stitch, too. My whole life I've never had to get stitches, and I've been rather proud of that, seeing as how I'm ultra accident prone and make Bella seem calm and in control of her body. I no longer can say that.

I'm hoping for a dull and uneventful evening, but since I'm going to help Jim work at the church's new building (YAY!), I'll probably end up with at least three new bruises and/or scrapes.

On the bright side, my latest round of blood tests for my heart stuff have all come back clear. (also YAY!)
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