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Thursday, March 31, 2011

must i repeat myself?

 i was reading anna's blog, an inch of gray, yesterday and chuckling over how her husband gave her a waverly ivy patterned coupon holder as a gift upon her completion of her master's degree. she also shared some great stuff about being a thrifty decorator and how our tastes change over the years. case in point: ivy. mauve. geese.
what used to elicit sighs of contentment now trigger our gag reflexes. for reals.

i then left an incredibly long and witty comment {i'm hilarious in my own mind… i crack myself up. ask anyone. i'm the first to laugh at my own jokes. it's humilating.} and hit publish your comment and then smoke came out of my computer {slight exaggeration} and my comment was lost forever.
i'm sure that's never happened to you. i'm sure you've never navigated away from a page the second you realize there's a word verification to fill in juuuuuuust as the screen disappears.
if that has ever happened to you, you probably feel the same way. oh… i can't repeat that one. it was a once in a lifetime comment.
oh grrrrr. it's not like i was supposed to be working anyway and now i have to spend more time screwing the company out of my productivity?
so i left another comment. but all it had was the gnashing of teeth and wailing that comes from a comment falling off a cliff.
oh lawd, could i get any more dramatic?
anna's post, while informative about decorating, really made me think about husbands' lack of gift giving skills. not all the time, thank goodness, but sometimes i really wonder what they're thinking.
Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox Extension
my sister got a can of pringles for her first mother's day. her husband thought it was the perfect gift because they are her favorite. i think her baby was all of four weeks old and he gives her flipping potato chips. i really think they must have compared ideas ahead of time because my husband gave me a pair of flip flops for my first mother's day. they were wedged into the baby swing with our five month old son. i think i remember crying. but it wasn't out of joy.
i would hear about husbands giving their wives jewelry or flowers after giving birth. i got a pat on the head and a ride home. at least he carried the baby.
but perhaps the best gift was the set of matching tires i got for my college graduation.
the boy is nothing if not practical.
i'll never forget it either.
i was celebrating with friends after work, and i left my car there in lieu of driving home in a far-too celebratory manner. i came back to retrieve my car the next day. i opened my car and noxious pent-up new tire rubber fumes belched out of my sun-warmed car and about knocked me over right there in the parking lot. yes. the boy had surprised me by putting them in the back seat of my car. {he's thoughtful that way}
i was so excited i puked right there in the parking lot. i'm sure the tequila i'd had the night before had nothing at all to do with that.
to this day, the smell of new tires makes me nauseous. seriously. and my kids? it's like the smell of fresh cut grass or something. they love it.
they probably love the color mauve, too.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

my little "helper"

thankfully, it's been raining pretty regularly, which means i don't have to spend too much time watering my soon-to-be-garden.
we've been faithfully fertilizing our garden with an all purpose nitrogen {34-0-0} which also contains some sulfur and iron {for those of you taking notes}, and watering twice daily.
emma, our mini-dachshund, isn't as fond of the rain because that seriously cuts into her thrill of trying to attack the water.
she has water radar and no matter where she is in the house or outside, she just knows when the faucet has been turned on and makes a bee-line to the hay bales because she knows it's party time.
it cracks me up. she even jumped up on a hay bale to attack. that wasn't so funny. i'm particularly enamored with hay bale gardening because just maybe, it'll keep our varmints out of our business. they steal produce like no one's business.
we've ordered our plants from some company online {trying something different this year} and they'll arrive once the nursery thinks it's safe to plant. we've had some delightfully warm, almost summer-like weather, but upon the arrival of spring, it's as if mother nature remembered that spring is spring, and 75° is just too dang warm for march. we even had a bit of frost earlier this week.
i can't wait to start planting… but it'll still be awhile. we have a bit more fertilizing to do to prepare our "soil."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


A pharmacist tells a customer, "In order to buy arsenic you need a legal prescription. A picture of your mother-in-law just isn't enough."
My mother-in-law is banned internationally from playing poker, as she keeps all the chips on her shoulder.
Adam and Eve were the happiest, and the luckiest, couple in the world, because neither of them had a mother-in-law.
What is the difference between outlaws and in-laws?
   Outlaws are Wanted.
Fred and Rick were in a pub. Fred says to his mate, "My mother-in-law is an angel."Rick replies, "You're lucky. Mine is still alive."

making fun of mother-in-laws is nothing new. they're a stereotyped group that has had their share of being maligned. and like most sterotypes… there's usually a degree of truth to it.
i'm happy to say that my MIL doesn't fit that category, and never has.
she doesn't offer unsolicited advice. she's kind and generous beyond what is humanly possible at times. she is thoughtful, careful with her words. she guides gently, is always mindful of others' feelings and loves the Lord with all of her heart.
she raised four children in quick succession. four kids {and three boys!} under six at one point. in the national park system. almost like being a "natural" missionary. she rocks in the backwoods mom category, too.
she's having surgery today… the first surgery since her tonsillectomy when she was five. no hospitalizations or procedures in the following 73 years. that's pretty amazing. my son has had so many surgeries in his 21 years that i almost can't count that high.
she's pretty nervous about it all. the idea of going under anesthesia… the procedure itself. the recovery. the caregiving that her husband is going to have to do. it's foreign territory for a woman who has spent her life caregiving for everyone else.
it's unchartered territory for her. and she's uncomfortable with her lack of control.
i'm so thankful for my mother-in-love. since my mother's death eleven years ago, she's been a sweet stand-in, without trying to take her place. she's my great go-to girl. her heart is about as genuine as they come. she's a great role model for me as i look toward being a mother-in-law myself one day. and i hope i can love my children's spouses as she has shown me.
pretty big shoes to fill, but i'm up for the challenge.

Monday, March 28, 2011


thank goodness it's monday.
seriously. i need a vacation from my weekend!
friday, petro's opened up at dollywood. to many of you, that may not be a big deal, but around these parts, it's a pretty huge deal. dollywood's been around almost as long as petro's has, and we're the first branded food to make it into the park. i'm pleased to say dolly had her a petro… and enjoyed it! she's like east tennessee royalty around here! {sorry, no pictures because our signage wasn't up and also because dolly is NEVER photographed eating or drinking anything.}
friday night, i worked the mocha club table at drew holcomb and the neighbors concert at the historic bijou theater. no pictures there either because i wasn't sure what to expect as far as the set up and it was pouring, and all i have is one of those big honkin DSLRs and i didn't want to be "that woman" at a concert… especially considering i was old enough to be most of these people's parents. by a long shot. sigh. the theater was {well, it still is} beautiful and the concert was awesome. mockingbird sun opened for them and i now have a new favorite country band. click on their link and you can download their little EP. for free. for reals!
saturday we had a funeral {with the world's slowest receiving of friend's line… EVER}
and then had to go get some fertilizer for our hay bale garden. the "recipe" called for ammonium nitrate, but that's incredibly hard to find. i guess it's because of the explosive properties and the propensity for folks to make bombs. we got something close to it and hustled on home because we were having folks over for dinner.
so clean, clean, clean… thaw some tuna steaks. make some mango salsa, get the asparagus ready. toast some chopped almonds, butter and italian bread crumbs for said asparagus. make some curry cranberry wild rice. make a salad. prepare a fresh veggie tray with roasted pepper hummus. make a lemon cake. slice some strawberries. make some white chocolate sauce. oh. and take a shower.
i love entertaining… especially when i do stuff ahead of time and have time to just be with our guests. we talked alot about education, motivating and loving students, encouraging teachers… it was a great evening. one of our guests is the founder of reach them to teach them… and i'm a huge fan. no photos because a) who has the time when you're doing all of the above, and b) i didn't want to be "that lady" who photographs food, etc. and then has to explain what a blog is and why i have one {something i'm hard-pressed to understand myself!}.
sunday was church, lunch with boy wonder and the hubs, and then down to UT's botanical garden to take pictures of one of my girls in my small group. she wanted a photoshoot with her friends for her 17th. this is the same location mckmama will be shooting in april when she winds through knoxville. i'm pretty stoked about her visit. i just wish i had kids at home for her to do her photo-mojo. 

so yeah. exhausting.
i've never had so many links in one post!
hope you're having a fantastic monday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

how does my garden grow?

for as long as i can remember, the hubs and i have had some level of a garden since we began our lives together about 25 years ago. we've had our ups and downs {not our marriage, but our garden} and some years have yielded better results than others.
the last couple of years, there's been a less-than-stellar harvest.
mostly, now that we really think about it, was bad soil management.
now you'd think a girl from wisconsin would know better. it's crop rotation 101, really.
well, not really that simple, because we've rotated our "crops." one year the tomatoes here, the next over here. swap out the zucchinis and yellow squash. and then back again.
seriously, it's not much of a rotation at all.
and then there's the sheeting we put down to keep the weeds at bay {we're lazy that way}. with the sheeting down {and reusing it each year} it keeps us from feeding the soil.
you know.
fertilizer. really tilling up the soil and adding some good ole-fashioned manure.
we failed at gardening 1.0.

this year… it's gardening 2.0.
we're going to try our hand at hay bale gardening.
for one, it's something different.
Photobucketsecondly, it's like a "clean slate" of soil.

thirdly, it's higher off the groud = no bending, less pests, etc.
fourthly, we can plant flowers on the sides and it'll look pretty. marigolds are natural pest repellents, too!
and lastly, it'll {hopefully} keep our three little "gardeners" from stealing all of our produce. seriously, we hardly got any tomatoes last year… just as soon as what few we had growing would begin to turn red, our little shop lifters would grab n go. grrrrr. ditto with the cucumbers and squash!
{looks are deceiving… they're relentless little theives!}
we'll probably have to work a little harder at watering.
this could be a challenge, too. our little emma has always got to be right in the middle of that activity.
this was captured via a crappy cell phone video… but you'll get the idea.

the sizing of the photos is still driving me nuts. click on the photo if you want to see what the other half of my dog looks like!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lemony Springness

i made cookies for my small group yesterday.
with not enough time to go all martha-stewarty, i debated over what kind to make… slice and bake chocolate chip? caramel chocolate chip? peanut butter? cranberry oatmeal?
to be honest… they all sounded so… well… wintery.
completely wrong for a beautiful, warm springy/summery day.
a day that had lemon written all over it.
and my absolute favorite recipe is so easy… it was a no-brainer that i would make them! and with some yummy eastery nonpareiles… perfect!
how easy?
super easy.
one box lemon cake mix.
two eggs.
1/3 c oil.
whisk the eggs and oil, add the mix, stir well.
i used a #50 scoop (the actual term is a disher, but a small scoop or tablespoon will do)
bake at 375° for 9-11 minutes (tops will crack slightly)
cool on a wire rack.
frost with homemade can of lemon icing.
sprinkle the nonpareils.
if you make a double batch, you'll probably come pretty close to using a full can of icing. otherwise you'll have leftover icing.
chocolate is also decadently good, spice cake/carrot cake with cream cheese frosting… mmmm. the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination! i may have to try red velvet one of these days!

chillin on a sunday

oh how i wish i was chillin…
it was anything but, however i wouldn't trade it for the world!
breakfast with my sweetie.
church with my kiddles.
lunch at my favorite restaurant in all of east tennessee… taste of thai.
indulged in noodles for the first time in about six months. {heaven on earth, i tell ya!}
ironed three shirts for boy wonder {i'm a sucker for … mom? i can iron, but it'll take me forever. could you help me??}
scooped up random items so the kids wouldn't forget their stuff.
said goodbye to said kiddles :(
ran to the grocery store to get supplies to host my small group.
make indoor s'mores.
make lemon cakemix cookies.
make mexican ranch dip.
cut up veggies.
make our famous hint-of-orange iced tea.
greet guests.
nosh for awhile.
get into romans 3: 21-26 {best stuff ever!}
share our stories.
dinner {leftovers} with the hubs.
watched men who stare at goats. {good thing we didn't have to pay for that flick. worst. movie. ever.}
bedtime. {thank goodness!}
open windows.
frogs making whatever noise you call that.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

crazy week.

in the midst of really trying to "be good" and limit my onlineliness, i've had one of the busiest weeks at work i can remember. it's a good thing, really. i don't mind my job when i can just go about what i need to do without a whole lot of audience participation.
for the most part, this is what i got this week.
i was so busy, i didn't even hang out with regina spektor or barton hollow {love me some cival wars, people} but worked in complete silence.
well, except for the dogs barking. now that the weather is nicer, the pups have more outside time. and they bark. at everything. squirrels. worms. acorns.
so i'm twitter trolling this morning and came across a tweet: Define WHY you're blogging, set GOALS and define SUCCESS! 
i think that's why i've been so silent lately. not necessarily because i'm fasting from blogging {but i am being very mindful of how i am not dedicating my best to my work, so have felt very convicted to cool it while i'm on the clock}, but because i'm trying to figure out what it is about blogging that has me here. why i have a voice. what i want to say. 
i know the relationships i've made here in bloggy land are super important to me. i've met some incredible inspirational people. i've seen perseverance like no other and faith that can literally move mountains.
so why am i blogging? what do i hope to accomplish? and how to go about that?
that may be fodder for another blog post. for now, i ponder.
it's perhaps not as deep as the why am i here question… you know THE Question {why am i here}, but the question why am i here? confused?
i know in the big picture why i am here is to glorify God… but in this little picture of here… what the heck am i doing here?
off to ponder that.
and do laundry.
and clean my house.
and do a bit of gardening.
sort some photos.
order some prints.
make a little dinner.
welcome the kiddles home from their cruise.

are you sure there's only 24 hours in a day?? 

Friday, March 18, 2011

spring on the brain

i couldn't help it.
rounding the corner
it took my breath away
even though i was right in the middle
of cutting the grass
i had to stop
and admire the view.
i haven't participated before, and i hope i'm not "doing it wrong, but i'm linking up with The Mom Creative herself… Jessica Turner's linky party, Project Life Tuesday. Next week i will store up some good shots and share them on one post. but for now… i'm linking up to my favorite post {picture-wise} from the last week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

PINT: back to work

linking up with the PINT crew:
Only Parent Chronicles

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

these forty days…

and so it begins.
these forty days.

as i begin, i am getting my heart in order. realizing perhaps i should have started that about a week ago. i wasn't even out of bed before i was tweeting fox news to inform them that protestants "do" lent, too. like somehow this matters. i can't help but think that my little inner rant hurt Jesus' heart just a little bit.

this heart of mine. 
scattered. so scattered. and so not focused where it should be.

so back to these forty days.

what is the purpose of the observation of lent? is this forty days of denying myself of something i'm passionate about so i can writhe in anguish for the next five or so weeks all for the sake of identifying with Christ's sufferings?

i don't thing that's the point {although i'm no theologian}. i don't even play one on tv. but i do know this…

…my focus in this world is all off-kilter. so self-focused. and i know that my eyes need to be fixed {more} on Him.

i must decrease. He must increase. {John 3:30}

this season of lent… a time to focus and grow closer to Jesus. 
for me, it's almost like the advent conspiracy that illustrates the need to 
{worship fully}
{spend less}
{give more}
{love all}

if i was suggesting some sort of lenten conspiracy… i'd say

so as i get the sign of the cross made on my forehead with ashes, may i be reminded of my sin and God's forgiveness as i return to Jesus.

Here's a top ten list of things from MethodX {an excellent resource} that we can try for the lenten season:
10. try an electronic fast. give up TV, guitar hero, texting, tweeeting, e-mail and all things electronic for one day every week. (or everyday of lent!) use the time to read & pray.
9. start a prayer rhythm. say a prayer every time you brush your teeth, hear an ambulance, or check your e-mail. before you text someone, pray for them.
8. read one chapter in the Bible each day. (matthew's a good book to start with. psalms, too.)
7. forgive someone who doesn't deserve it (maybe even yourself.)
6. give up soft drinks, fast food, tea or coffee. give the money you save to help folks in haiti or others in crisis.
5. create a daily quiet time. spend 30 minutes a day in silence and prayer.
4. cultivate a life of gratitude. write someone a thank you letter each week and be aware of how many people have helped you along the way.
3. be kind to someone each day.
2. pray for others you see as you walk to and from classes or drive to and from work.
1. volunteer one hour or more each week with a local shelter, tutoring program, nursing home, prison ministry or a habitat for humanity project.

wishing you a meaningful, rich lenten observance. may His presence be renewed in your life this spring!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

fat PINT

feel free to head on over to only parent chronicals and see what everyone else has been up to. happy mardi gras!
Only Parent Chronicles