Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Boy's Life

When I first married my husband, he was really into softball. He was an outstanding player, who had guns for an arm, was fast as lightening, was awesome on the field, and could hit a home run just about each time he got up. He belonged to about 4 teams, and substituted on various others, so you can imagine how much of my free time I spent on a softball field!

And during twelve years of being an active softball groupie, I witnessed my share of softball moms care for their kids. You found all sorts. The kind that allowed their kids to run freely at the playground while they cheered their spouse; the kind that had uncontrolled kids roaming around the benches tossing balls that would randomly find their way onto the infield; the kind that allowed their kids to play in the woods among the poison ivy, snakes, etc.; the kind that encouraged their kids to play nicely in a group so no one got left out; the kind that allowed their kids to dig in the dirt, and many times, mud; and then, there was the random mom that always caught my attention ... the mom that refused to allow her kids to get one speck of dirt on them. You know -- the "mama's pretty boy" syndrome.

Of course, it never crossed my mind to judge these moms ... especially since I didn't have my own rug rat in tow, but I will say this ... every fiber in my body just craved to dump a bucket of mud or dirt on the neatly groomed child with the spit-shined face, the perfect hair, and the spotless clothes ... oh, and the clean finger nails. Did I mention those?

I'm sure that with my "uppity" upbringing, many may have thought that I would raise a "mama's pretty boy" if I ever had a boy... but not so. In fact, I always promised myself that I would never be one of those spit-shine moms, and that I would let my child savor the joys of playing in mud, dirt, puddles ... whatever ... and allow them the joys of growing up as kids ... not spotless dolls. So ... where am I going with this? Oh, yeah -- Sunday evening, we attended a neighborhood cookout. Yeah, talk about a curve ball, but hang in there with me...

It was fun. Really. If you consider near melting point heat, an unexpected torrential thunder storm with severe (severe = blew away the canopy and metal frame) winds and lightening, and about 30 people waiting out a 25-30 minute storm inside a sweltering garage (with a 20-month old... who simply as fun, well then, you really missed out.

A couple of moms with older kids tried to help me out, while another mom tried to make chocolate martinis for everyone. Did I mention Daddy got stuck at home? Across the street? And I was alone with said 20-month old until the vicious storm blew over? While all the adults were trying to get as drunk as they could, as fast as they could? I think it may have had something to do with Hunter, but I'm not sure. Rest assured, I don't partake of spirits, so sadly, I was as sober as possible for the entire garage-trapped 25 minutes.

Good times, I tell you. I don't know for the LIFE of me why my husband didn't risk his life and limb to come and rescue me of a bored 20-month old enjoy himself! I'm still working on forgiveness on that one!

Anyway, once the storm stopped, we all stepped RAN out of the garage and breathed in some fresh air, which thankfully, was about 20 degrees cooler. By this point, Hunter had escaped my grasp and made a bee line to the neighbor's tree. You know -- the one with the huge mud puddle in the dark, black soil under neath of it's lush green limbs. Yeah. That one. He was overjoyed.

Another neighbor's son (Cowen, who will be three in Dec) ran right after Hunter. Cowen's dad was right behind him saying, "Yucky, yucky Cowen ... don't get dirty!" At the same time, Hunter was gleefully jumping up and down and flopping himself all over the puddle.


Cowen stood close to Hunter watching sadly as if to say, "I sure would like to take a leap into that mud!" And, as I sat back in my white denim Capri's, and watched the joy on my sons face, I couldn't possibly muster the words in my mouth to tell him not to get dirty. I mean, isn't that a part of growing up? I'm sure you can imagine the strong urge I had to fight back to keep myself from jumping in that puddle hard enough to spray poor Cowen a little bit. You know ... for his daddy's sake.

I keep veering off on rabbit trails, don't I? Oh, yes ... the mud. It was so much fun to watch Hunter splishing and splashing in the mud puddle. In fact, it was just a small puddle on the surface, but a nice thick gooey black mud resided just below the water. Yes, he was covered in black mud (which, thankfully, came from the top soil the neighbors just put down to try to seed grass, otherwise, it would have been red, indelible clay). But he experienced pure joy during those brief 20 minutes that he got to splash around in the puddle for the very first time in his life. Don't worry -- he cleaned up nicely, but the outfit is still soaking!

Hopefully one day, he'll look back on his childhood and have fond memories of hot summers, cool showers, sprinklers, trees to climb, dogs to chase, bubbles to blow, mud pies to make, and mud puddles to splash in... Oh, to be a child again. To have that same, carefree, reckless abandon. To be able to enjoy the small things ... like mud ... and savor them like a rich, sweet pastry. Or worm ... however you look at it!

Ah, yes ... it is a good boys life to chase down puddles!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I Did It!!!

I feel like singing the Dora the Explorer song ... "We did it!" but those are the only words I can remember...

Anyway, I finished creating my first set of digital 12x12 scrapbook pages (17 pages), and actually placed the order!

I will now await my pages with baited breath!!! I hope I'm not disappointed with the quality.

Now I'm wondering if I should have ordered just one ... as an experiment or something like that.

In any case ... I'm giddy with anticipation!

Its the little things ...

Updated to add: I do have some pages I can share ... if you are interested, please email me and I'll send you the link. Thanks!

WFMW: A New Use for Disposable Diapers

Works For Me Wednesday is a weekly feature brought to you by Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer ... be sure to hop on over to check out a plethora of ideas, advice, and tips!

We have a dog.

The dog has a water and food bowl on a little carpet.

We have a toddler.

Toddler + water bowl = SPILLED WATER ON CARPET. All the time.

So, when my son picks up the water bowl and dumps the entire bowl of water on the little carpet (which is quite often, I might add), I just reach over and grab a disposable diaper, place it absorbent side down on top of the spill, stand on it for a few minutes, and ... voila ... no more puddled water on the carpet, and no messy bath towels to wash.

This quick little emergency use for disposable diapers has come in handy when my son has knocked over my husband's very large, and very full glasses of club soda on the family room carpet; his lemonade on the carpet; his iced tea on the carpet... the list goes on and on.

When it comes to spills, it's what works for me!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I had a post all typed up and ready to post ... but for the past few weeks, I have been feeling prompted to do something different than a normal post ... and today, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit even more than any other day.

Then, I was visiting Especially Heather, and felt her post was a bit of a confirmation for me, which in turn, caused me to do an about-face.

You see, for several weeks now, I have been feeling like someone has been reading my blog, as well as blogs of various other friends of mine. They have been quietly absorbing everything, and possibly commenting every here and there.

But I feel like something is laying very heavily on their heart, and they feel as if they are in a dark tunnel.

Today, the following Scripture was laid on my heart, and I felt like I needed to share it with YOU -- the person who feels like they are in a pit of sorts ... or a dark tunnel with no light at then end; the person who is quite possibly feeling despondent, depressed, and maybe at the end of your rope. I don't know who you are ... or maybe I do, but you didn't want me to know how you've been feeling ... regardless, the following scripture is for you:

You, my friend, need to know that God is still on the throne of this vast universe, and he is still in control. During your times of darkness when you think that everything might cave in on you, God has not forgotten about you. He is still at work in your life ... and he has an awesome plan for you.

It's tough to go through these dark moments, but sometimes we have to get to the end of our own wherewithal before we can see his unlimited resources.

So it is to you, my friend, that I say ... trust in him alone, because through this dark time of despair, God has not forgotten you, and he is still at work.

Friday, May 25, 2007

What did you say???

I promise, this is the last post that has anything to do with cleaning.


I have cleaned, polished, organized and prepared my home for my parents arrival that was scheduled for today.

Yesterday, I still had a long list of things to do ... like refresh their bathroom (because it's primarily Hunters, and really, who wants to look in a mirror covered with tiny lip prints), dust their room, open the air vent in their room so it could cool down, etc. Then, my hubby had to sweep and mop the hardwood floors on the entry level ... all 1500 sq feet of it. Did I mention that he decided to steam clean the stairs to the second level? Yeah. Good times.

The worst thing is, we have to wait until Hunter goes to bed if we want anything to stay clean, and that doesn't happen until 8:00 pm.

So, last night around 7:30 pm, my husband answered the phone. It was my parents. I was upstairs with Hunter, and all I know is that he came up and announced, slightly panicked, that my parents were on their way. THURSDAY. Not Friday, as planned. And would be arriving in three hours. My response was, "I'm sorry, WHAT DID YOU SAY?"


At least the house is clean, and I can relax all weekend long and enjoy the plethora of activities planned, including my oldest niece's lunch celebration for her graduation from College!

Congratulations, Michelle!!! You make me proud! (oh, okay -- Hunter's proud too -- as if he matters, lol!)

Y'all have a great weekend, and be good! (or not!)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

In the World of Clean ...

Soooooo ...

Last night, I sat around with absolutely NOTHING to do. My mom and dad are arriving on Friday, and I had absolutely nothing to do, since now, I live in the world of clean. Nothing, I tell you. Nothing, except, well, you know ... steam clean the carpets, for the love of everything that is good and clean.

Let me just start by saying ... who knew that one carpet ... one measly little wall to wall carpet in one little tiny family room could collect so much stinking dirt in it that the water in the steam cleaner would be --- ummmm --- black. Yes, black. Brings a whole new meaning to germ-free living, folks ... especially when your precious, innocent little child walks around picking up whatever is on the floor and pops it into his little mouth. Because, it just looks so good. So appealing. So appetizing. Yummo.

And for the record, let me be very clear in stating that it takes 4 adults to clean a hand full of carpets when there is a 19-month-soon-to-be-20-month child running wild around the house. Yes, indeedy. Don't try it on your own. You'll regret it.

Also, if you're thinking of investing about $200 into a new steam carpet cleaner (and really, who isn't), might I strongly suggest that you look into the BISSELL ProHeat 2X Upright Deep Cleaner? This machine totally rocks the world of Harry-homeowner-carpet-cleaners! It has two rolls of bristles that scrub and clean, and a "Surround Suction" thingie (I kid you not) that sucks all the water and dirt right out of the carpet. It uses hot, HOT water, and even has its own built-in heater to keep the water hot. Beautiful. This is a fine, FINE piece of household equipment. All us kidlings got one for my mother- and father-in-law for Christmas, and we borrowed it to do our carpets last night. Along with my inlaws, too. They helped a LOT. Praise God for wonderful inlaws!!! (and wonderful machinery, too!)

Moving on ... Did you know that if you stand on the second floor of your house (that looks down to the first floor), and you peer down at just the right angle, you can actually see some really cool and artistic dust patterns on the blades of your ceiling fan? Who knew that dust could actually be considered art ... because the person that actually knew this tidbit failed to share that with me. So, I bring you that late breaking news so you don't break your neck trying to clean ceiling fans that hang from cathedral ceilings. Art, people ... art.

And, after all that work last night, when I finally dropped in bed, I had a startling thought that drove me straight to prayer. And I am NOT kidding. You see -- a neighbor of mine really tries to be helpful by handing down stuff that her children either wore or played with. Don't get me wrong ... I absolutely LOVE hand-me-downs. It is the only way to cloth a child without going broke. Except for when the hand-me-downs are in such distress that you can't make out what it might have been in its original state. And this kind neighbor happened to drop of some of her kids junk toys ... little people toys ... that were caked with, well, I don't know what, and were ... chewed? Yes. I'm pretty sure that's what it was -- chewed. And the little-people play station that came with it was huge, and looked quite interesting to play with, but it was broken.

So, I did what all caring moms would do. I hid the toys. In the garbage can. Which brings me to my time of intense prayer last night. You see, my garbage can, which, I might add, is gargantuous at 96-gallons, was full. Very full. Overflowing so much that we couldn't shut the lid. And, not only was it full, but it was so stinking heavy that we could barely wheel it down to the curb. Fortunately, we have these cool trash cans with a metal bar in the front that the trash truck uses to pick it up and fling it over the top to empty it. Yes... automated trash trucks. It's THE way to go. I only wish I had taken a picture of this trash can before the trash truck came at 3:45 in the morning to dump it so you could get a full feel of exactly how overloaded and heavy it was.

Anyway, I was so worried that the trash can would be too heavy for the automated arm to lift, which would cause the can to flail around, which in turn, would cause the contents to fall out, which ... you guessed it ... would lead to the discovery that I threw away the hand-me-down toys and underwear from my neighbor.

Oh ... did I forget to mention that she (the kind neighbor) handed-down some well-worn, and stained toddler's underwear? Yes indeedy. Of course, they came with the assurance that they had been well-bleached, but seriously people ... hand-me-down-poopie-stained-underwear? I think not. I'm not a snob or anything, but I think I'll spring for a new pack when I begin the whole potty training business, thank you very much. I'm thinking its one thing to hand down underwear sibling to sibling ... totally acceptable, if clean and sanitary. But to your neighbor? Weird. So, you see why I was praying? Hard? I know she meant well, but I didn't want to hurt her feelings. Tell me ... what would you have done about the toys and underwear?

Okay -- I've got to get back to work ... yet another place where I have absolutely nothing to do... hmmmm -- these carpets are looking a little drab...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Playing Hookie!

Yup! I played hookie! I took a break and didn't even announce it. I just snuck it in on you. And on my boss. As in -- "cough, cough, um, I can't come to work today... cough, cough, or tomorrow, either." Oh, I'm just kidding -- I didn't lie ... don't worry.

But after Friday's Post, I felt so heavy about my home. My parents are coming up to visit, and I really felt like I had to clean house. I mean ... CLEAN HOUSE, girlfriend! Plus, I was so encouraged to know I am not alone in this whole balancing act of cleaning house, cooking, laundering, parenting, wifeing, etc.

In fact, Momrn2 sent me the PERFECT e-card ... it had me gut-laughing at my desk. Yes, my co-workers think I'm a nut. But, the card was a picture of a woman in curlers and a robe, and it said... oh, what the heck ... just scroll to the bottom of this post to see it. It was simply adorable. And Jean left me such a sweet note of encouragement... actually, ALL of you did. I felt like we were bonding in a cleaning-kind-of-way!

Needless to say, after all your encouragement, I grabbed that plastic trash bag, and seven others just like it, and stuffed to my hearts content. In the process of cleaning and organizing, I collected 4 bags for Goodwill, and 3-1/2 bags of junk. As in ... TRASH. Can you believe it? Because I'm still reeling over it!

So... 4 days later (uh, yeah -- I started on Saturday, heh-heh), my home is pretty clean, my dining room is shining and we can actually see the table, the bagged-up Christmas decorations I had in my living room are downstairs in storage, my kitchen is organized, rearranged, and clean (hallelujah!), the laundry is caught up, and all those extra "I'll wash that when I have a free moment" piles are washed, folded, and put away (yeah, about 5 gazillion loads of laundry).

My bedroom -- oh, my bedroom -- well, it's a brand spanking new room (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa [read that in your most operatic voice -- like a host of angels would sing it]). It's clean, it's organized, it's dusted, it's clean (did I mention that?), and all the spring clothing I had on my couch in the sitting area is now in my closet ... on hangers and neatly folded, all my winter clothing is in storage, and all of Hunter's clothing has been sorted, given away, or boxed up and (whew) placed in storage. I vacuumed floors, floor boards, chair rail, trim, curtains, frames, night tables -- um, yeah, that's true, and lamp shades. If it wasn't moving, it got vacuumed.

Did y'all know my bedroom actually has a floor? And I found a DOG under all that clothing! Well, not true. I knew where she was. But the floor is clean!!!

So, all I have to say now is ... aaahhhh. Laura from I'm An Organizing Junkie would be proud of me! Too bad I didn't really take many before or after pictures!

AND WOA ... HOLD THE PRESSES!!! Faith from Faithful Mommy left me a comment! Wooo Hooo, my friend is alive and well! Good to see she still has her sense of humor. Especially since I have failed MISERABLY as a friend, and did not call her or answer her email as I had promised I would do. Shame on me! Love you, Faith!!!

I'm off to do some real work ... at my desk ... ehem ... but enjoy this card from momrn2!!!

WFMW: Fixing Paper-Bound Cook Books

Works for Me Wednesday is a weekly post that is proudly brought to you by the lovely Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer ... hop on over and check out all the other great tips!

A few years ago, I purchased a cook book for my husband. He loves to cook, but his passion is grilling, and making all kinds of rubs, marinades and sauces. So, I got him "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen. It's an awesome book. He loves it and uses it all.the.time. But ... that's not the problem. Nor, is it the tip...

Problem: It's paper bound (a soft cover), and we found that the pages started falling out of the binding because it was used so much.

Solution: I took his book to Kinko's, had them cut the binding off, and then had them spiral bind the book with the metal spiral. It is once again ... PERFECT. (see pictures below)

I have used this idea in the past at work, so I thought ... why not re-bind his cookbook? It works even better now, because the pages lie flat, and it didn't cost a whole lot to have it done, either. I totally LOVE this tip.

So -- if any of your cookbooks are coming apart and pages are falling out, take it on over to Kinko's. You'll be amazed at what they can do for you. They can even remove hard backs and make a color copy for you and rebind it with spiral!

I don't know about you ... but THAT works for me AND my husband!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dandelion Fluff!

Have you ever felt that "crushing feeling" of living in a home that is anything but organized? You know... where the laundry is piled up on the guest bed waiting to be folded and put away; the dining room table is completely covered with mail, diaper bag, magazines, and other sorts of sundry items that have lazily been dumped placed there upon entering the home; shoes have been kicked off all over the place; toys are all over the floor in the family room; kitchen counters are covered with ... stuff; and your bedroom is ... well, I'll let you fill in the blank.

That's my home right now. And, I can't really use "we've been running like crazy this week" as an excuse, because it seems like that's been the state of my home since the last week of my pregnancy with Hunter. Twenty months ago.

And I'm RIGHT THERE ... at the BREAKING POINT ... where I go from room to room with a huge contractor's trash bag and throw everything away. I could care less about making money at yard sales. That would require free time for me to organize stuff, price stuff, and actually set aside a full day to, well ... sell stuff. In fact, I've had two different people who were looking for extra work ask me if they could come and clean my home, and all I can think of when they ask is... "well, will you let me tie a rope around your waist in case you get lost and can't find your way out? 'Cause that would be my only requirement!" Okay, it's not that bad ... but it's getting there!

When I was growing up, my mother had a full-time nanny living in our home, taking care of me and my sister, and cleaning the house and cooking. Don't get my wrong ... my mom didn't lie around all day watching soap operas. No. She worked full time. AND, she's quite obsessive-compulsive about everything, and she would spend hours organizing stuff. It's quite a tall order to live up to, especially when she comes to visit, and I feel like everything has to be perfect.

But you know what? I heard our local Christian radio station air a commercial on Sunday (Mother's Day) that really touched my heart and made me feel a whole lot better. It went something like this:

Dishes are piling. You're behind on the laundry. You haven't dusted in
ages, and your errands haven't gotten done. Dinner's not ready, and the floor is
littered with toys... And YOU'RE playing with your kids.

Thanks, mom, for keeping your priorities in order.

Happy Mother's Day to you from WXXX!

Well, I know that if I were a full-time mom, my responsibilities would be to keep my home in order... and I would do just that, too. But working a full-time job and caring for your family tends to throw my priorities a little bit askew. So, this commercial meant the world to me.

Then, yesterday morning, I read this post at My Quiet Corner by Momrn2 ... and she also expressed similar sentiments... It made me feel so normal.

I guess I do keep my priorities in somewhat of an orderly fashion. After all, my hope is that my child will remember mom blowing bubbles with him after work, and walking him to the park so he can slide down the slide 50,000 times. Or maybe setting up the sprinkler for him and sitting on the front stoop watching him daringly step into the line of freezing cold water while he giggles and squeals and laughs hysterically.

You know, I used to be obsessed with perfection, and in some things, I can still be like that. But ... I waited so long for this child, and he is so important to me. He is a huge responsibility that God has placed in my hands, and for the life of me ... I can't imagine choosing to dust and fold laundry over playing with him in the back yard.

I guess there comes a time when you have to ignore the raised eyebrows and questioning looks when people come into your home, and accept it for what it is ... a lesser priority. And move on to the more important priorities in your life ... family. Because one day, I'm going to want to pull precious memories out of my heart and reflect on them ... and I certainly don't want those memories to be of me folding laundry while my life passed on before my very eyes.

So if you're coming to visit my house, you'll need to give me warning. But if you're coming to see me and my family, I'll be in the back yard with my husband and a little boy who gets insurmountable joy from blowing dandelion fluff all over our backyard.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Digital Scrapbooking Questions

I realize everyone is busy and has tons of stuff to do, but I was wondering if someone could help me out here ... I want to start digital scrapbooking, but have a few questions ... so if you consider yourself a digiscrapbook queen, or you have just enough knowledge to be considered dangerous, please share your two cents on the following questions:

1) I am considering purchasing Adobe Photoshop 5.o to use as my electronic scrapbooking software... does anyone use this, or can anyone suggest anything better?

2) Also, I found copies of Adobe PS 5.0 being sold as "used" on Amazon for about $30 less than the full price -- has anyone ever purchased "used" software from Amazon? And if so, what was your experience with it?

3) Where can I send my 12x12 scrapbook pages to be printed?

That's all, folks! Thanks for your help and advice!

Seven Degrees of Randomness

On May 7th (yeah, I know ... I'm WAAAAAY behind -- so shoot me!)... Kimberly from Organized Chaos, Ramblings from VA tagged me for the 7 Random Things Meme.

Here are the rules: Each player starts with seven random facts about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about the seven things and the rules. You need to choose seven people to tag and list their names (who makes up these rules, anyhow?). Don't forget to leave them a comment that they have been tagged and for them to read your blog for the details!

So ... here are my 7 Degrees of Randomness:

1) I have a fetish for collecting serving dishes/platters -- all sizes, all colors, serving various forms of functionality. I'm really not into "antique" stuff, just new, big, and fun stuff.

2) Whenever I entertain (which is now a rarity with a 19-month old), I become obsessed with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. -- details, colors, food, etc. I love to pull out all of my fine serving ware that I've collected over the years and make a big "to-do" of any occasion. It drives my plain and simple husband crazy. Literally. I will make lists of all the food I want to serve, shopping lists of things I need, I'll plan the food based on the serving dishes/platters I want to use, I'll visualize how the table will be set, and I'll even go as far as to draw out my dining room table and draw out the platters on the table like a road map, and make a list of linens, serving dishes, silverware, and flowers I'll be using ... you know ... as a key for myself ... in case I forget what I wanted to do. Then, I'll obsess about the party until the second every dish is washed and put away. I know. It's a sickness, and I confess it in front of all five of my loyal readers.

3) When "said party" is in progress, I do not know how to sit and be still and enjoy the company. Call me Martha ... but I need to be running around refilling platters, checking everything, washing empty dishes as the night goes on, and making sure everything is clean and in order before the last guest leaves. That way, I can just drop into bed without a disaster to face the next day.

4) It is very difficult ... hear me ... v.e.r.y. d.i.f.f.i.c.u.l.t. for me to put out paper plates. I prefer to manage the party size so that I can use real glasses and dishes. I know it's more work for me, but my mom ingrained in me that you always make your guests feel special -- going above and beyond to make their evening very special -- a treat for them. I find that I'm exactly like Ina Garten in that sense (whom I simply adore).

5) My husband loves to cook. He's a great cook, too. And it irritates me beyond belief when he wants to put his two cents in when it comes to food planning and preparation for parties. Which, in turn, irritates him because I don't want him to help plan and he feels left out. I've learned to be more relaxed about this, because I value our relationship more than the party -- but it's hard, and I feel like I'm dragging my nails across a blackboard. But now, I do paste a smile on my face and let him be a part of the plannings.

6) I have a "Type A, obsessive-compulsive" personality about certain things -- if you haven't noticed by now.

7) For some reason, I do NOT have a "Type A, obsessive-compulsive" personality problem when it comes to keeping my house organized and clean on a daily basis. I'd rather spend the time with my son and husband. But ... when we plan on having a party or people over, I suddenly become deadly to be around, as I whip around the house putting everything in order. AND ... I can't stand to have anyone help me. I guess it's a pride thing.

So there you have it. Seven Random Things about GiBee... and I know you were all just dying to know about them!

Now, I know that by now, most everyone has been tagged, but I'll do my best not to repeat a tag. I'll tag 1) Heather, because girlfriend is seriously behind on her blog; 2) Jeana, because she always seems short on what to say ... NOT!; 3) AggieJenn, because she's pregnant and has nothing better to do but lay on the couch eating bonbons (HA!); 4) BooMama, because seriously ... she's so shy and quiet and never shares about herself; 5) Sandy, because she's a woman who loves the same things I do, and who can't help but love her for that? 6) Lovely Rita, because we're relatively new friends, and I am simply curious like that; 7) Another Heather, because girl's got game.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WFMW: Cookies for Party Favors

Welcome to another Works for me Wednesday, brought to you by Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer!

I have a serious problem -- namely, my love for cookie cutters. Why I have this obsession is beyond me, but I love them to pieces.

Especially the really big boys. They are fun to decorate, and make really, REALLY great favors for birthday parties, and really, for any other party you can dream up!

I found a website that makes and sells their own copper cookie cutters --, along with every decoration imaginable! They are located in Parsons, KS, and they make ... (are your ready for this?) mini-sized cutters (1" and up); regular-sized (2 and 3"), large-sized (4-7"), up to giant (8-11"), huge (12-17"), and enormous (21") cookie cutters. The huge, and enormous ones are typically gingerbread people). They will even custom make one for you!

They also have decorating supplies, baking tools, sprinkles, sequin, luster dust, luster paint, edible glitter, shimmer dust, coarse sugar crystals, cookie writers, paints, icing colors, flavorings and extrats, google icing eyes, sanding sugars, decorating paste/gels, sprinkles of all varieties, colors and shapes, and tools, tools, and more tools.

Best of all... they show decorated examples for most of their cookies (see slide show for some examples)! they have a search feature, and you can look up any imaginable cookie possible -- they'll probably have it (or something similar).

Yes, they are a little more expensive than the ones you get from Michaels, etc. (after all, they ARE copper), but in the long run--if you give each child one giant cookie as a party favor, it's much cheaper!

Almost three years ago, my sister-in-love got married in St. Croix. The whole family went, but friends back home missed out! So, my husband and I threw her and her beloved a wedding party when we got home. In honor of their wedding being smack-dab on the beach, I gave all the party guests a 6" (actually, 5 & 3/4") flip flop sugar cookie, which I decorated, dropped in a cellophane bag, and tied off with a pretty bow.

I've made giant snowmen and christmas tree sugar cookies, and taken them to church and let the children decorate their own cookies. I've made giant heart shaped cookies, Easter cookies, dragonfly and butterfly cookies for a baby shower, etc. You get the point, right?

So, there you have it ... if it's a cookie cutter from, it works for me! To find out what works for you... head on over to Shannon's place!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's the Suthun Way!

This is a totally-southern, fried food post -- in honor of my friend, Boomama, because she is them epitome of southern. AND, she loves her some fried food, people!

Anyway, for Mother's Day, the men in our church cooked breakfast for us. It was scrumptious -- they made over 40 omelets, and who knows how many pancakes. In fact, I had some awesome pecan pancakes with strawberries and whipped-I'm-in heaven-cream on top. YUMM-OOOHHH.

Our pastorman -- well, he was in charge of frying up the bacon. A LOT of bacon, to be exact. And his wife, the ever wise and thoughtful woman that she is, suggested he take a change of clothes for the service. But pastorman, well, he didn't.

And after frying up bacon, serving up breakfast, and rushing up to the pulpit, he realized that he smelled like bacon, and maybe his wife was wise after all, and daggone it for not thinking of it himself or actually doing what she suggested. (have you noticed that men can be stubborn like that?)

So, he announced that if anyone needed to be prayed for, or annointed, he would lovingly do so.

With bacon grease.

It is, after all ... the Suthun Way of annointing people. One dallop of bacon grease at a time.

Peace, love, and bacon grease!

Y'all come back, now... ya hear?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Can We Talk?

This used to be a famous saying that Joan Rivers used all the time when she wanted to "dish gossip", but that's not how I'm using it ... I just want to talk about ... oh, I don't know ... maybe about a tiny, itsy, bitsy MIRACLE going on!

So, seriously ... CAN WE TALK?!

... About God's ever loving, gracious hand that has been upon Heather's life these past few weeks?!? We've been praying for her around the clock. The enemy has tried to inch his way in, but God's people have told him to BACK OFF, in Jesus name ... and he has been rendered USELESS, POWERLESS! Praise God! HELLO?!?! A brain tumor that was removed, which was the size of a dollar bill, and who knows how deep, that's been there for a long time, and was diagnosed because of a bad inner ear infection... God was TOTALLY with the surgeons that worked on her! Yes, she's still going through treatment, but God's hand is still guiding her!

I tell you -- there's nothing more that this girl (that would be me) enjoys than seeing a true blue miracle in action! And if you doubt ... then just hop on over to Especially Heather and read up on what's going on in her life!

And, as if that's not enough ... someone in our church was having headaches, and went in to have it checked out and the doctors found out she had an aneurysm in the back of her head. They operated on her, and when they got into her head, they realized that it had embedded itself into her bone. Her surgery went twice as long as predicted, and was very dangerous, but she also came out alive, healed, and in God's hand!! This has truly been an amazing witness on this woman's unsaved husband and family!

And who said that miracles are from the past and in the days of the Bible?

So, hallelujah, glory to God! He is working mightily around us... moving mountains, healing, restoring, delivering. He is a strong force, to be sure, and I just had to give him a SHOUT OUT! Yay, God!!!

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:19-20 (NIV)

Happy Birthday, Honey!!

Happy birthday, sweetheart!

I love you so much, and

I would choose you again, and

again, and again to grow

old with!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Results are in ... Mother's Day Contest -- 2007

The results are in, and let me just say that it was tough! We had a first place winner, second place winner, third place winner, lots of honorable mentions (you'll see them at Extra Kisses of Sunshine) ... but all, in all ... I'd say EVERYONE submitted fantastic pieces!

You can read every single last entry by going to Extra Kisses of Sunshine... ENJOY!

Ladies, I will be contacting ALL of you on Monday to discuss addresses! And, thank you all for participating and making it extra difficult for us to choose the winners!

And now ... on to the winners:

Submitted by: Tara
Name of Blog / Website: Tara's World

My mother was given this advice when I was a little girl. Yes, the little girl in the story is me. Yes, I remember this bit of advice every spring when my little boys bring me dandelion bouquets with their grubby little hands. Their eyes light up when I express my gratitude over their love offering. I have a steady stream of yellow flowers in my house all during the spring. I do so love a good dandelion bouquet. Enjoy this story, written by my mother and passed on as great advice to me and all mothers of small children.

The Days of Dandelion Bouquets (originally submitted by Sheila Simmons, Tara's mom)

When I was a young mother I took my little girl to a yard sale. The possessions of a very elderly lady were spread out on tables to be sold. My little girl picked up a tiny glass vase and said, "Mama, this is for you. I can pick dandelions for you to put in it."

I turned to look, and as I did a frail voice caught my attention. An elderly woman said to me, "Treasure that little vase and the little girl who wants it. The days of dandelion bouquets will pass by and be gone before you know it."

And she was right.

Blog / Website Address:

Submitted by: Tänia
Name of Blog / Website: Weir Blessed

I was 17 years old and about to graduate high school when my boyfriend asked me to marry him. We were absolutely head over heels in love and had been together for three years off and on. Naturally, we thought that the next step was to get married. We were attending marriage classes through our church and were in the big middle of planning our wedding. Everything was perfect! Then, that “still small voice” spoke to my heart and told me very gently to wait. I did not understand that. How could something so perfect be put on hold? I sought advice from my mother on what this meant? WAIT? My mother absolutely did not think I was ready to be married at all. But instead of telling me so, she had been praying for me. And when I came to her with the confusion I felt, instead of trying to persuade me one way or the other, she simply advised me to listen to “that still small voice and know that God never steers us wrong.” I took her advice and followed my heart. I waited. And just a short time later, God brought the man into my life that I have been married to for 26 years! That simple statement has carried me through many things in my life. I listen to that still small voice and as the years have gone by, God has never, ever steered me wrong. Thank you, Mom! You gave me the greatest gift – Faith!

Blog / Website Address:

Submitted by: Rita
Name of Blog / Website: A Blog in the Life of Rita

Mom's Book -- When I got married my mother gave me a book that she had written just for me. It was just a blank journal filled with her Godly advice and insight about children, husbands, and Spiritual matters. It was a loving and careful way of giving guidance because she realized the importance of letting me grow up and make my own decisions. A tough thing to do when you’re a mom!

The book was titled, "What I Learned the Hard Way (So You Don’t Have To)" and I’ll just share one of her entries that I've been able to apply to my life:

A good rule of thumb for raising children is to say yes unless you can’t. “Can I finger paint?” (Yes) “Can I go play in the sandbox?” (Yes) “Can I have a friend over to play?” (Yes) “Can I eat this candy bar before dinner” (No)

Sometimes we say “No” just because it’s not convenient for us. We don’t want to deal with the mess; we’re too tired, too busy, etc. But, since these children are the most important of our gifts from God, they come first after Him. So say, “Yes!”

I am so thankful to my mom for doing this. It was not an easy gift to make or give, for in my family we are not always the most forthcoming about our feelings. But now, it has become a part of my mother’s legacy and a gift going on through the generations, for I will not only pass on my book to my daughter, but also write my own and let this generational link continue. Although, I can’t say that the "sequel" will be as good as the original.

Blog / Website Address:

Mother's Day Thoughts

Today is a beautiful, sunny, shining day... but for many, Mother's Day serves to remind them that it's a sad day.

If you are a woman that has lost her mother, has lost a child, or struggles with infertility, please allow me to be the first today to wish you a Happy Mother's Day. I know the ache is very real, but you are still a woman with real feelings, and I honor you today.

To the women that especially struggle with infertility, you are very dear and close to my heart ... please, allow me to tip my hat, and wish all the women who continue to struggle with infertility, and reconciling with not having a child, a wonderful, blessed, and peaceful day. You are brave. You are loved. You are precious to many. Especially Our Lord. Please know that I am honored to have such wonderful and strong women in my presence. And, my son will be a better man through sharing your love with him. (reprinted from May 14, 2006)

And for all the moms who stand at the front lines, struggling through, praying through, and living a mom's life -- Happy Mother's Day. It's all well worth it!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mother's Day Contest -- 2007

Well, first let me start by saying that y'all are just blowing my socks off with the beautiful, and at times funny, entries that have even brought tears to my eyes. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such talented women that truly love their mothers! You have each made this contest difficult to judge!!! That, my friends ... is a very good thing.

Today is the last day that you can email me your entry. The topic is: "The one most special piece of advice your mother or mother figure ever told you" and should be 1500 characters or less. You have up until 11:59 pm, EST to email me your entries to: They will be judged tomorrow, and the winner will be announced on Sunday.

Many people have asked if I could share all the entries with you... I would love to, and I will plan on placing them all on my Kisses of Sunshine "extra" blog and provide you with a link. If you have emailed an entry, and you would rather not have me publish it, please let me know as soon as possible. Also, if you provided an entry and did not provide your blog address, or your screen name (or, in some instances, do not have a blog or website), I will use your first name only as credit to the entry, unless otherwise notified.

Now ... on to the judges ... I am so excited to have these two ladies helping judge this contest ... they are my dear "sister's-in-love" -- SBee and Sunshine. They are both remarkable women who have really had a life full of experiences that have made them stronger, more compassionate, and wonderful mothers. I admire them, and love them dearly, and I am honored to call them my sisters. I will be sending them all the "blind entries" tomorrow so they can help me judge which one will be the winner of the Tommy Hilfiger Purse and goodies ... but as far as I'm concerned, each of the entries are winners already!

Thank you all for participating!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Catching Up, Coming Up, and Current Events

Catching Up

This week at work has been to-ta-ly craaa-zy. As in ... hand me the straight jacket and take me to the loo-loo bin, and let's just call it a day.

We have a proposal that we are presenting to a potential client in an "open book" format ... as in ... twenty 4" notebooks, each containing about a ream's worth of copies, some 11x17, some letter size, some color copies, but mostly black and white (thank you Jesus for small miracles). The information is of a confidential nature, so I can't send it down to the copy center, and our admin isn't ... how should I say ... "willing" or "able" (if you know what I mean) to help out. So... Enter loo-loo-nice-girl. The one that can't say NO. The one that you will find standing in front of the copier completely surrounded by paper, a hole-punch, notebooks, and a box of bandaids. The one that's got a paper cut on every finger (seriously). When does the vacation start?

Actually, I finished everything yesterday, worked late both Monday and Tuesday, and dragged my hind end in to the office this morning so that I could intravenously feed my self coffee while updating my blog. I mean -- look busy. Um -- work. Yeah. That's what I meant.

So, forgive me for ignoring you all! I still love each and every one of you. Yup -- all 5 of you! Moving on...

Coming Up

Tomorrow is the last day to submit your Mother's Day Contest entries! I feel like I'm getting to know each one of you a wee bit more. Who knew that all I had to do was host a Mother's Day Contest to get you all to open up! That, and ... the bribe of a Tommy Hilfiger purse filled with all kinds of goodies! After all, I loves me a new purse, and us gals ... well, we have to stick together and look out for each other ... ya know what I mean?

ALSO ... tomorrow, I'll announce the guest judges I've invited to help judge all of your wonderful entries.

Current News

Okay -- let's cover our Current News, because s.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y. -- this is, like, totally one of those "stop watcha doin' and weigh in on it" pieces ... After all, it's not like we have fires, floods, storms and tornadoes ripping through our country, or anything like that ... (can you just sense the sarcasm?)

Recently, the news has simply exploded over a controversial ad campaign on a large downtown billboard for a Chicago lawyer, that has, quite racy pictures of a woman's chest and a man's chest, and it exclaims: "Life's short. Get a divorce." (don't worry, I won't place a picture of it on my blog, 'cause I'm a Family Friendly blog - I'll just link you to it and you can decide if you want to go see it or not)

You know what I have to say about that???

Life's short. GET GOD.

'Nuff said.

So -- how y'all doing?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Calling all LADIES ...

This is a Reminder Re-Post: If you are a woman, and you have a mother or mother figure in your life ... you're invited to enter Kisses of Sunshine's Mother's Day Contest! All women are invited to enter, and you do NOT need to have a blog to enter.

In honor of Mother's Day, Kisses of Sunshine is hosting a special Mother's Day Contest. Mother's Day is a time to reflect ... a time to give thanks ... and a time to show your love and appreciation, honoring the woman that you call "Mother."

What to do:

All you have to do is submit a paragraph to me (no more than 1,500 characters, including spaces) via e-mail, that tells me the one most special piece of advice your mother or mother figure ever told you, no later than Thursday, May 10, 2007, 11:59 p.m., EST. My email address is in the sidebar to the left.
All the entries will then be reviewed, and the winner will be announced on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 13th. Please feel free to submit a picture of you and your mother in either a jpeg, gif, or bmp format, and if your paragraph is chosen as the winning entry, I will post your picture also. In the subject line, please type the words: Mother's Day Contest Entry

The winner will: 1) have their paragraph (and picture, if included) posted on my blog; 2) receive a beautiful (brand new) fabric black and white floral-print Tommy Hilfiger bag (valued at $55) with black leather trim and silver-toned "Hilfiger" hardware, filled with all kinds of little goodies ... which will be mailed out via postal service the following week; 3) will receive all kinds of shout-outs and link love on Kisses of Sunshine (and you KNOW you want that -- lol!).

Ey -- Canadians ... please enter, too!!!!

Please submit real stories only, but you may, in order to protect the innocent, omit or change names in the story.

Important Rules:
1. All complete entries must be received no later than 11:59 p.m., EST, via email to, May 10, 2007
2. In the subject line, you must type the words: Mother's Day Contest Entry
3. You don't have to be a mother to enter.
4. Your mother doesn't have to be alive to enter.
5. Your mother doesn't have to have "given birth" to you in order to enter.
6. You must provide me with your real name and address if chosen as the winner (which will be kept confidential -- to my death bed).

Pictures of Prize: (sorry for poor quality -- taken with my cell phone, and plastic wrapping is still on the handles) -- 1) picture of actual purse; 2) close-up picture of fabric; 3) picture of tag; 4) picture of hardware.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

For Heather...

Today, we're all praying for Heather, her surgeons and nurses, her husband Mark, her children, her family, her friends ... won't you join us and whisper a prayer too?

Many thanks!

Birthday Wishes!

Happy 30-sumpin' Birthday, Shalee!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

WFMW: 2 Cupcake Dilemmas -- Solved!

This week's Works for Me theme is "Birthdays." Works for me Wednesday is hosted by the lovely Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer, and I encourage you to pop on over and check out hundreds of tips for moms, by moms!

Recently, I started experimenting with different cupcake recipes. First of all, I love cupcakes. They have all the goodness of a large cake wrapped up in a neat little package. But best of all, it's a satisfying portion, which is a nice thing for both adults and children ... we're not as tempted to have a "big slice" of cake. Also, my co-workers like them a lot, and I like to test out recipes on them!

But I came up against a couple cupcake dilemmas, if you would. How do I get the batter into the muffin liners without making a mess, and ... How do I safely transport a gazillion cupcakes to work with out: a) messing up the frosting, b) crushing the cupcakes, or c) having an all-out cupcake disaster.

First, I remembered seeing a segment on the Food Network with Ina Garten, who is famous for her cupcakes and muffins. She said she NEVER makes cupcakes or muffins without a spring-loaded ice cream scoop. I remembered having one of Pampered Chef's large dough scoop, so I pulled that puppy out and began scooping away. What I got was perfectly clean cupcake pan, and evenly filled cupcake liners. No drips. LOVED IT -- Dilemma #1 ... SOLVED!

Next, I went on line and looked up different ways to carry cupcakes, and that's when I found the Cupcake Courier.

The Cupcake Courier is a rectangular, translucent plastic container that holds three stackable cupcake trays. Each tray has 12 deep cups to hold each cupcake secure, and 4 bottom latches that hold the handled lid to the base securely. The Cupcake Courier enables you to transport and/or store up to thirty-six cupcakes or muffins all in one easy, great looking container! The 3 cupcake trays can be removed, and the unit can also double as a cake courier. I love it. It's convenient, cute, and guarantees safe transport of my little treasures so that my coworkers can enjoy them.

This would be great for the class mom that makes cupcakes all the time for holidays, parties, birthdays, and other cupcake needs the class might have!!! The downside is that it's a bit pricey, at $32.95, but when I was searching for a carrier, the other ones I found only carried 24 cupcakes, and cost $19.95 and up, so all-in-all, I guess the thirty-dollar price tag is pretty competitive. Plus, it comes in 4 pretty colors. How to choose, how to choose?!

The dimensions are:
Cover: 14"w x 11"h x 11"d
Base: 12.5" x 16"
Trays: 13.8"l x 10.4"w x 3.2"h
Cups: 1.1"deep; 3"round

It's what works for me when it comes to transporting cupcakes -- Dilemma #2 ... SOLVED!


Low-Carb Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Frosting Recipe
Disclaimer: I haven't tried this recipe yet ... I probably will over the weekend ... but because Shannon asked for a low carb recipe, I thought I'd find one on line (from CDKitchen), and then share it! (I have a Vegan white cupcake recipe too -- if anyone is interested, email me personally.)

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour*
1 cup Splenda sweetener
6 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons cocoa

Frosting Ingredients:

1 package Jello Sugar Free Vanilla pudding**
1 (8 oz.) container mascarpone or cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
3 pkts Splenda
Heavy Cream (to use as a thinner to make frosting spreadable -- if needed)


Preheat oven to 325 F. Whip egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff. In separate bowl, using electric mixer, cream butter with egg yolks until light yellow and fluffy. All vanilla and Splenda, and beat until mixed. Add about 1/3 of whipped egg whites to the butter/egg yolk mixture and mix lightly. Fold the whole thing in to the whipped egg whites and fold lightly. Add 1 cup of almond flour and fold lightly. Add remaining almond flour, baking powder and cocoa and fold thoroughly, being careful not to break down whites. Fill paper muffin cups in muffin tin about half full.

Bake at 325 F about 15 - 20 minutes until cracked on top.


Whip mascarpone or cream cheese in food processor or with electric mixer until smooth. Add cream and mix again briefly. Add pudding mix and Splenda, and mix well. Add heavy cream in 1/2 teaspoon amounts if needed. Makes enough to frost 32 cupcakes (2 batches) and will store in fridge or can be frozen. This recipe can also be spread in fudge pan, frozen and cut in squares as a treat.

3 carbs per cupcake unfrosted, 6 carbs frosted.

*Almond flour can be found at most health food or organic markets. It's not as firm as regular flour, that's why there are so many eggs in the recipe ... to give it some structure.

**Chocolate flavored Jello pudding can be used for chocolate frosting or fudge instead of vanilla.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Please Pray...

Okay -- Heather's surgery is Thursday -- as in -- the day after tomorrow.

I know many of you helped out financially, but I know there were many of you who sat back because you were unable to help financially...

Well, here's a way we can ALL help: PRAYER. Yes, I know it sounds like a cliche, but No. It's a life line.

And on Thursday, and for about 6 days of recovery following, this family will need all our prayers. Kelli from Living In Grace has set up a prayer link.

Please go HERE for more information on the prayer times ... and please pray -- continually. If you have a pulse ... you can pray.

Visit Heather's Blog for day-by-day updates from her, her husband, and various friends, and you will read posts that will bless your socks off.

Visit BooMama HERE to donate for the Love Offering that will continue to help Heather and her family financially, or HERE to get an update on what's already been donated.

Click HERE or HERE to read my own posts about Heather.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I believe in a God who is mighty, and can and DOES heal, and loves us with more love than anyone can humanly imagine. I firmly believe that this Thursday, we will ALL feel the power of God's mighty hand, no matter what the outcome of the surgery is. Praise God that he is STILL ON HIS THRONE -- He is NOT on a coffee break!

Mother's Day Contest -- 2007

If you are a woman, and you have a mother or mother figure in your life ... you're invited to enter Kisses of Sunshine's Mother's Day Contest!

In honor of Mother's Day, Kisses of Sunshine is hosting a special Mother's Day Contest. Mother's Day is a time to reflect ... a time to give thanks ... and a time to show your love and appreciation, honoring the woman that you call "Mother."

All women are invited to enter this special contest! You do NOT need to have a blog to enter.

What to do:

All you have to do is submit a paragraph to me (no more than 1,500 characters, including spaces) via e-mail, that tells me the one most special piece of advice your mother or mother figure ever told you, no later than Thursday, May 10, 2007, 11:59 p.m., EST. My email address is in the sidebar to the left.
All the entries will then be reviewed, and the winner will be announced on Mother's Day, Sunday, May 13th. Please feel free to submit a picture of you and your mother in either a jpeg, gif, or bmp format, and if your paragraph is chosen as the winning entry, I will post your picture also. In the subject line, please type the words: Mother's Day Contest Entry

The winner will: 1) have their paragraph (and picture, if included) posted on my blog; 2) receive a beautiful (brand new) fabric black and white floral-print Tommy Hilfiger bag (valued at $55) with black leather trim and silver-toned "Hilfiger" hardware, filled with all kinds of little goodies ... which will be mailed out via postal service the following week; 3) will receive all kinds of shout-outs and link love on Kisses of Sunshine (and you KNOW you want that -- lol!).

Ey -- Canadians ... please enter, too!!!!

Please submit real stories only, but you may, in order to protect the innocent, omit or change names in the story.

Important Rules:
1. All complete entries must be received no later than 11:59 p.m., EST, via email to, May 10, 2007
2. In the subject line, you must type the words: Mother's Day Contest Entry
3. You don't have to be a mother to enter.
4. Your mother doesn't have to be alive to enter.
5. Your mother doesn't have to have "given birth" to you in order to enter.
6. You must provide me with your real name and address if chosen as the winner (which will be kept confidential -- to my death bed).

Pictures of Prize: (sorry for poor quality -- taken with my cell phone, and plastic wrapping is still on the handles) -- 1) picture of actual purse; 2) close-up picture of fabric; 3) picture of tag; 4) picture of hardware.