Thursday, July 31, 2008

Oh how we love the library...

E participated in our library's summer reading program again this year. Although she's too young to read on her own, she adores it when we read to her, and being read to counts as "reading minutes" in our library program. Hubby turned in E's form this year and picked out a Curious George book for her as her prize (the monkey is a huge favorite around here!) What fun!

We can hardly wait for two-year-old storytime to begin again in a few weeks. Such fun!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Here's lookin' at you, kid...

We finally got to meet sweet baby Cash today. What a cutie pie! It was so funny, E. Stone was off in one room playing, our E was in another room playing, and Cash and his mommy and I sat in the main living room and visited! E and E. Stone are rather independent and want to play alone, at times!

Cash is a sweetheart and a such blessing to the Chambers family! We're so glad to have finally met him!

Getting ready for some girl-y girl fun...

I'm hosting sis-in-law's lingerie shower here on Saturday, and had such fun putting together little favor bags for the shower guests....a little handmade lavender sachet, an antique hankie and a sweet smelling candle....a little girl-y girl fun for all of us as we get closer to the big wedding day!

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Granny...

My sweet Granny has been diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to various parts of her body, including her lymph nodes. There are various other things wrong with her, but this is the most major issue we are facing at the moment. She will be hospitalized several more days, then moved to a nursing home. No heroic measures are being taken in treating the cancer, they are just going to keep her comfortable, as is possible.

"I am going to prepare a place for you, so that when I come again, I will receive you unto myself; so that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:3

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Flower girl preview...

E tried on her flower girl dress this weekend for Alan and Lucy's wedding. Lucy was in town for the bridal shower of another friend, so she stayed with us Saturday night, and she wanted to see sweet E in her wedding attire. We purchased the dress on clearance after Christmas last year, because the look matched the wedding theme so well...the challenge? Trying to figure out the right size! I'm glad I selected the 4T for two-year-old-E! This dress seems to run small. It looks fine now, but is a tiny bit big. It'll be just perfect by the wedding in November!

What a cutie! Between E's dress, Ben's tux and my bridesmaid dress, I'm thinking we're going to nab some swanky family photos!

Monday, July 21, 2008

My sweet Granny and my sweet girl...

We went to visit my 89-year-old Granny today. Granny lives in a senior care facility and is suffering from dementia....dementia that's been getting exponentially worse, especially in the past year. Today was the worst yet. She barely knew who we were, was physically ill with several ailments, and seemed to waver between "here and now" and "way back when". Sweet E and I went to the care facility with my amazing mom, who manages all Granny's meds and discusses her care with the workers there. E and I kept Granny company while Mom took care of business.

E is very proud of her singing skills and recently developed the confidence to sing "Jesus Loves Me", either alone or while singing with Mommy. After having several confusing conversations with Granny, I decided some singing might be a better idea than trying to have a meaningful conversation. So my sweet girl and I sang "Jesus Loves Me" over and over and over to my sweet Granny. To see my sweet girl singing her heart out and putting her hands over her heart belting "YES, JESUS LOVES ME!" and seeing my Granny smile and nod her head to the music just about did me in. Such a sweet and touching moment. The simple message of the song was able to reach through the fog and reach my Granny's heart. Granny knows Jesus as her savior, and I know she is SO ready to go home to Him, but I am thankful that my sweet girl's simple song and message were able to give her some joy while she is still on this earth.

"Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus..." Revelation 22:20

Sometimes I love...

...breakfast for dinner...yum! Growing up, we had eggs for dinner almost every Saturday night. It just seemed to fit in a busy weekend, when no one wanted to cook much after a busy Saturday full of chores, errands or fun. I sarcastically started calling this meal "Saturday Night Delight," much to my parents' chagrin. Now, as an adult, I can definitely see the appeal of an easy scrambled egg supper!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Danger: Men Grilling!

Last weekend, hubby's parents visited. Popi (hubby's dad) helped out with dinner, making an amazing marinade for some grilled chicken. Hubby and Popi manned the grill while Grandmome (hubby's mom) played with E and I took care of the rest of the dinner prep. Fun times and good eating!

Here's Popi's recipe:

Tangerines or Oranges or OJ (juice totalling about 2 cups)
Soy Sauce: about 1/3 cup
Honey: about 1/2 cup
5 garlic cloves smashed
3 green onions chopped
Sesame oil: 2 Tablespoons
Tangerine or Orange zest (we didn't use this and it was still wonderful)
Ginger: about 1 Tbls
Black and Red pepper to taste

Mix everything together and simmer on stovetop to reduce to about 1 cup. This should take about 1 hour on med heat. Reserve portion of juice for dipping finished grilled chicken. Marinate chicken in remaining mixture for several hours, then grill to perfection!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Down on the farm...

We had such fun last week tending our pastor's garden and visiting his animals. I think sweet E might be a farm girl at heart! She loved "helping" to pick the veggies and adored the animals. Such fun for all of us! A really special time of memory-making...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Simple joys...

I love candles. It probably stems back to my high school job at this place... but no, I think the obsession began before that. Now, I find myself frequenting this place ... but usually do most purchasing during their semi-annual sale, in an effort to be household budget friendly.

I usually always have a big jar candle burning on our kitchen bar when I'm home, and at least a votive burning in our master bath/bedroom area too, imparting sweet smells and pleasant atmosphere...

What are the little things around your home that give you great joy?

We give thanks....

Join us today in giving thanks with the Chambers family...Ethan-Stone's bio brother...whom they have named Cash coming home today! We hold this family close in prayer as they welcome this little one into their home...and as they prepare for the arrival of baby Holden next month!

Thank God for His goodness!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just in case...

...E should think she is the only princess around here...

...Victoria often perches herself in the most unusual places to remind us otherwise!

Domestic Diva Experiment: Mini Cheesecakes

It was hubby's turn to take treats to work this month for his office monthly birthday celebration....and the birthday girl requested cheesecake. I immediately thought of the mini cheesecakes that hubby's aunt Gerda makes for so many family gatherings...I knew they were easy and very yummy, so I nabbed the recipe. The result? Delicious, portable treats perfect for sharing at the office!


Place a vanilla wafer in each of 18 muffin cups in a muffin tin.

Using the following mixture, fill each muffin cup approximately 2/3 full.
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Top with pie filling of your choice after they have cooled.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Oh how I love that girl of mine...

Domestic Diva Experiment: Oven Dried Tomatoes

We have been experiencing a surplus of tomatoes since we helped tend our pastor's garden last week....what to do with the bounty? Canning is not something I've tried, yet, so I opted to go for this recipe I found for oven dried tomatoes -- you can use these yummy tomatoes just like sun-dried tomatoes. I've tasted the results...they are wonderful! Ummm, yum!

Oven-Dried Tomatoes
20 firm-ripe Roma tomatoes (or better yet, use your homegrown variety)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leafed parsley (I skipped this)

Coarse or sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

Trim the stem ends off of the tomatoes, quarter lengthwise and remove and discard seeds. Place in a large, nonmetallic bowl and add the olive oil, vinegar, parsley, mixing well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover bowl and allow to marinate in refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 200*F (95*C).

Place tomatoes in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet.
Bake for 16 to 20 hours. (Mine only took about 12-14) Ideally, the best time to place them in the oven is around 7:00 in the evening and bake the tomatoes throughout the night. The next morning you'll have plump, juicy and intensely flavorful tomatoes. Cool completely before storing.

To store: Place dried tomatoes in sterilized glass jars and pour olive oil over to cover, seal tightly with lids. Store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks. Or, place tomatoes in a zipper-style bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chocolate face...

I made homemade fudge brownies with homemade frosting for our family July 4 celebration (I am so proud I did not use a box mix or canned frosting!). Up until now, E has not shown much interest in sweets, but when hubby showed E the joys of licking the frosting bowl, she may have changed her mind!

Love this...

"I am not a flack, a shill, a barker, a hustler, or a spinner. I do not stonewall, distort language, construct false images, or blindly follow directions in the interest of my organization or its leaders. I am a public relations professional, and what I do is serve my organization, society, and profession as a communicator, professional, advocate and activist."

from “Gaining Influence in Public Relations” by Bruce Berger and Bryan Reber

Monday, July 14, 2008

Every girl needs a favorite pair of flip flops...

...and my daughter has snagged mine!

And I'd say from the looks of things, I need to pick up some new ones

...these are getting a little ragged!

Meet our "nephew"...

Alan and Lucy adopted a cute little puppy!
Isn't he a sweet little thing?
Meet our new "nephew"...Gizmo Simons!
What a cutie pie!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Bunny diva cooks in the kitchen...

E has been prancing around the house in this getup for days, and it is cracking us up!
The bunny ears are especially priceless - they have a "flat"
...they are droopy due to much use since their debut at Easter!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Do you see what I see?

E recently learned about peacocks from an animal book we've been reading. She initally wanted to call the bright-blue fellow a bird or a duck, but she finally latched onto the word much so, that when she sees something blue, she'll say something like "peacock blue, too..."

So this week while she was coloring after breakfast, I glanced over to see the above. I asked her what she was drawing. She gave a big sigh and said "Peacock, Mommy!" (because I was supposed to already know that...) And you know what? That's a pretty darn good peacock for a two-year-old artist, I must say!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Domestic Diva Experiment: Gnocchi

Have you ever tried gnocchi? We tried these little potato dumplings for dinner recently and were pleasantly surprised at the taste. E tried them like a good sport, but wasn't overly fond of them. My mom also recently tried them, and apparently my dad made a face and said "what IS this?" Mom made him eat it, but I don't think he was overly fond of it either!

But hubby and I thought it was great!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Domestic Diva Experiment: Oven Fried Okra

We've been tending our pastor's garden while he is on vacation and have been enjoying fresh cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers and okra. Ah, okra! This southern girl loves a batch of fried okra! (and so does southern hubby and southern little E).

I tried a new oven fried okra recipe this week - similar taste to pan-fried, but with much less oil. YUM! (It supposedly freezes well, will be great to pull okra out of the freezer during those sad limited-produce winter months!)


1 1/4 c. cornmeal

1 3/4 lg. fresh okra

Vegetable cooking spray

Buttermilk (I did not have this on hand and was running late making dinner. I rinsed the sliced in water and dredged in cornmeal - it was fine. I am sure buttermilk makes it even more tender)

Wash okra; drain. Cut off tip and stem ends. Cut okra into 1/2 inch slices. Soak in buttermilk. Dredge in cornmeal. Okra must be moist for cornmeal to coat well. Lightly coat a 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray (use metal, not a glass pan for faster browning). Spread okra in a single layer in pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summertime beauty...

We've got all kinds of things popping in our yard right now - so pretty! The Texas Star Hibiscus was an experiment, but seems to be doing well in it's current location by our driveway. The phlox are part of a batch of flowers that have been passed down through generations of women in my family and among family and friends for years. Mine don't look nearly as great as my mom's, but I'm thrilled to at least have some in my yard!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day...

...from our little firecracker!

(who is sporting three new teeth this week! we like to do things all at once around here...)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Before and after...

What a difference a small change can make! Finally!

We've been wanting to do this for almost seven years!

By the way, we have FIFTY NINE knobs in our kitchen...
how many do you have?


She doesn't watch THAT much TV. Can you believe this (somewhat blurry) photo?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I don't get it...

Other children beg for candy, cookies, juice and sweets. My daughter begs for milk, bananas and broccoli. Maybe I should use these items as bribes when attempting potty training?