Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cupcake Contest, anyone???

Anyone up for a fun summer cupcake baking contest?

If you are, let me know in the comments (or email me). I have been wanting to do one this summer, but didn't know if anyone would be interested or not...

Here are the sketchy rules*:

1) The cupcakes can be made with a box mix, but must have some extra "stuff" thrown in to make it a "scratchy-homemade" cupcake. So, relax ... homemade doesn't mean totally from scratch in this instance!
2) The cupcakes must have a 100% completely home-made frosting.
3) They should be as original as possible.
4) The recipe used for both cupcake and frosting must be provided upon submission.
5) A picture must be submitted of your frosted creation.
They can be decorated nicely, or just a plain-jane cupcake ... whatever you want ... but the winners will most-likely be chosen based on the following categories/criteria*:
1) most scrumptious-est cupcake
2) Most extravagantly decorated cupcake
3) Most outlandish cupcake
4) Most likely to be eaten by children
5) Most decadent cupcake for adults
If we do indeed have a cupcake contest, I will choose guest judges that love to bake, and will ask them to help decide on the final guidelines and winners... meaning that they will have to be able to actually bake your creation!

And of course ... there WILL be prizes ... oh, will there ever!

So, once I hear/read all 5 of my lovely readers opinions ... I'll make a decision, and an announcement will be posted soon!

*Criteria and rules will be finalized once guest judges are selected and give me their input.

WFMW: Juicing Lemons and Strawberry Shortcake

Works for Me Wednesday is brought to you by Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer -- make sure to head on over and check out all the other great tips!

Today, I have two cool tips for you. First, it is TOTALLY the season for lemonade and limeade ... but unless you have the cash to purchase one of those totally awesome juicerrators, then you know how difficult getting all the juice out of a lemon or lime can be. For years, I would do the old "place a fork in the middle of the lemon and twist while you squeeze" trick ... and I thought I was getting all the juice out of the citrus fruit.

That is until I bought this cool little contraption that I placed in my husband's Christmas stocking... It's a lemon squeezer. I only paid $15 for it, and it was totally worth it. Now, I get all the juice out of the lemons.

Here's how it works... You place the lemon in the "well" of the juicer upside-down. You squeeze the handles and it juices the lemon and flips it inside-out. Very cool. Then, I discovered that if I place the inside-out lemon back into the juicer and give it another good squeeze, it flips it outside-in (if you would), and completes the juicing process! It's amazing, and makes our yummy limeades and lemonades a breeze to make!

My second tip is very, very simple... but I really think it adds a lot of elegance to a very simple dessert ... strawberry shortcakes. I make my biscuits using bisquick, I roll them out, then I cut them with a large square scallope-edged cookie cutter I got years ago from Michaels (as you can see by the picture, I made a variety of sizes). Then, I sprinkled them with sugar and baked them (just ignore that I overbaked them because I made them on that day). Anyway ... it just makes the biscuit a bit more elegant for a quick dessert when you have company over. And when the sweet and fresh strawberries go out of season, continue making your delicious shortcake dessert with raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, apricots, etc.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This Child I Prayed For...

Updated at the bottom.

This past weekend nearly drove me over the edge, y'all! And, YES it's a long post ... just deal with it, because, seriously people, I have to vent!

Frankly, I'm quite surprised that I wasn't arrested and locked up in the rubber loo-loo room by the grandparent police Sunday!

My sweet, sweet child was sick with a cold this weekend, and I, being the concerned mother, kept him home from church Sunday ... and it seems like this was the very same day that the enemy decided to break forth and destroy... climb ... kick ... bite ... and do all sorts of "enemy things" to ruin everything within my child's --- I mean, the enemy's --- reach.

I swept the floor. He turned the salt shaker upside down. I put him on the thinking step.

Then, I swept the floor. He taught himself how to use the pepper grinder. I put him back on the thinking step.

I swept the floor. He got up on top of the kitchen table and tipped a cup of lemonade (that daddy left) over. I set him down and said that getting up on the kitchen table was a "no! no!" He threw a temper tantrum. I placed him on the thinking step.

I mopped the floor. He began climbing the front of the OVEN to get on top of the stove. I grabbed him and placed him on the floor and explained that it was too dangerous to do that, because you just never know when the stove would be HOT. He threw a temper tantrum. I placed him on the thinking step.

I started making homemade BBQ sauce. He dragged a kitchen chair over to the counter to "help" mommy. I set him back down and instructed him to go play, because this was a "no, no!" He threw a temper tantrum, and I dragged took him back to the thinking step.

I went to take the wet clothing out of the washer and put them in the dryer. He climbed up the washer and had one foot in. I grabbed him ... just in time ... and set him back down on the floor and explained that he wasn't allowed to pretend to be a monkey and climb into the washing machine because it is dangerous. He threw a temper tantrum. I placed him on the thinking step. Again.

I took him downstairs to play. He threw his pacifier at me, the phone across the room, and insisted that it was okay to bite the remote control. I (calmly, of course) explained to him that itwasnotgoodtoeatelectronicsandthrowthings for the love of everything good and sane. He walked himself over to the thinking step. Oh, yes he did.

Later, after my load in the dryer was done, I went up to pull the stuff out, turned my back for one stinking second, and when I turned back around, he had fully crawled into the dryer. The HOT dryer. Oh, my aching head. Thankfully, no thinking step this time.

I went into my bedroom to fold the load of laundry. Then I closed the bedroom doors, and got into the shower. He he proceeded to toilet paper my bedroom. A shredded, toilet papery mess. Nice. I only slightly raised my voice to scold him. He sat on the thinking step in my bedroom (a set of steps my husband built for the dog to get up and down from the bed). On his own. Again.

Then. Theeeennnnn ... I went downstairs to start working on dinner, because my in-laws were on the way over. I made a mental note of the stove where my home made BBQ sauce had been cooling, and the 5 Quart Stock Pot with tea had been cooling, and the simple syrup I made was syruping. I went to sit down for oneblessedminute.

And all was quiet. Ummmm ... too quiet. Way, way, WAY too quiet. So I ran back into the kitchen to find my son ... this.child.I.prayed.for ... standing over the stove, stirring the tea with the BBQ spoon, and the BBQ sauce with the simple syrup spatula. I raised my voice, because I hadn't raised my voice AT.ALL. [HA!] throughout the day, and gently, calmly, rationally, explained to my 20-month-old-monkey-child that this was a NO! No! and instructed him with a final, "DO NOT TOUCH" as I turned around to deposit the spoons into the sink.

And as I was turning around from the sink ... not even one second later ... as if I were in a living nightmare, my child ... the love of my life ... the apple of my eye ... my pride and joy ... grabbed the 5 Quart Stock Pot full of lukewarm tea, and dumped it. On the floor. On me. On, on, on ... GAAAAHHHHH!!! ON EVERYTHING!


Lord, forgive me anyhow.

My husband, who had been tenderly tending to his precious, and most delicious ribs out on the smoker, ran into the kitchen and stared at the floor and then at me in total shock. I'm sure I didn't look like a wild woman or anything. Especially standing, dripping wet, in three or five thousand inches of lukewarm tea.

So, because at this point, I was the model of decorum, I sweetly asked my dear husband to get the mop and bucket, and some to-we-ls to fi-hi-x th-hi-his me-heh-heh-ss. I wasn't crying, or anything like that. No. I was calm. The spitting image of Mrs. Cleaver.

So, while Hunter was bawling his little eyes out on "the step," and momma was slowly breathing in, and out, and in, and out, and daddy was opening the garage door to get the mop and bucket... Hunter thought it would be a good ... nay ... A GREAT time to stop crying, and hop off the thinking step, because maybe daddy would let him sit on his tractor, because it's the mostest favoritest thing in the whole widest world for Hunter to do.

Seriously. I could not believe my eyes. I raised my voice in my best MOMMA BEAR sounding tone, and said... "HUNTER THOMAS, GET BACK ON THAT STEP."

To which my child jumped about two feet into the air ... yeah, didn't know he could jump that high ... and ran to the step.

And grandma and grandpa walked in.

To which my loving and respectful husband said, "keep walking, Dad, and don't say one single word to Hunter -- just sit on the couch!" Which, trust me when I say, was a very difficult thing for grandpa and grandma to do. But they did. Fortunately.

And the floor got cleaned up. And I asked my dear and patient husband to move the bucket because my back was killing me and I couldn't lift it. Which really meant, "please put it back into the garage." Which he didn't. He just moved it away from the middle of the floor.

And I'll give you TWO guesses what happened next ... and the first guess does NOT count.

See how smart you are? You are correct! Hunter came into the kitchen and dropped a little throw carpet right into the bucket, then knocked the bucket ... OVER ... because, what could be more fun than an additional inch of water on the hardwood floor!

At which point, both mom and dad lost it, and grandpa turned to grandma and said ... "maybe we should come back another night" and grandma said, "I think we should take Hunter with us, too."

Thank you Jesus for my beautiful son!

I soooo deserve the Blogger Reflection Award ... dontcha think?

Update: Just so y'all know ... grandma and grandpa ended up not taking the little angel with them, because mama was able to sufficiently calm down and recover after a healthy dose of homemade strawberry shortcake (the little angel did successfully help in this endeavor, and mama was happy with him once again). And just so you know ... he did have his little hiney tapped at various times throughout the day, but mommy felt all sorry for him because he was all sick and snuffly and coughy and ... last time that ever happens!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Blogger Reflection Award

Y'all, I have been touched -- deep down to the core -- by Carol at She Lives. She has passed down to me, what would probably be THE most desired compliment and award by any Christian on the face of the planet! And frankly, it brings tears to my eyes to know that someone thinks that of me (especially if you only knew how my weekend went

Letting others see Jesus in me is a daily, full-time job. It's one that requires a lot of thought, a lot of humility, a lot of self restraint, and a lot of prayer. It is something I strive for, but fall short on daily, hourly, and even minute by minute on my own accord. It requires my constant attention on the One that shines out of me. I agree with Carol, in that it is sort of freaky to think that someone might actually do just that -- see Jesus being reflected through me!

I can't even come up with words better than this (quoted directly from Carol) "Just think - as image bearers of the Creator, looking like Him should be a given. Just as we display physical and behavioral attributes of our earthly parents, if it weren't for sin, we would naturally look like the Savior without even thinking about it. Won't it be amazing when Christ returns and our transformation is complete!!"

"Amazing" is a slight understatement in my tiny little mind! But, it's a goal I strive for, and know that one day, His work in me will be complete, and then... then... you will truly see Jesus in me! Thank you, Carol, for this very humbling, and touching award, and more importantly to me, your sweet words. You have encouraged me tremendously! And, I totally see Jesus in the other women that Carol honored, and I am completely overwhelmed that she included me along with them!

When I think of either someone seeing Jesus in me, or me seeing Jesus in someone, I think of this song by Joy Williams:

Is the face that I see in the mirror the one I want others to see? Do I show in the way that I walk in my life the love that you've given to me? My heart's desire is to be like you in all that I do, all I am.

Do they see Jesus in me? Do they recognize your face? Do I communicate your love and your grace? Do I reflect who you are in the way I choose to be? Do they see Jesus, Jesus in me? Well it's amazing that you'd ever use me, but use me the way you will, Help me to hold out heart of compassion and grace; A heart that your Spirit fills. May I show forgiveness and mercy the same way you've shown it to me

Well I want to show all the world that You are the reason I live and breathe. So You'll be the one that they see when they see me. Oh, do they see Jesus in me?

Here are just a few of the bloggers (in no particular order) in whom I see a reflection of Jesus, and who have a heart of love, compassion, grace, mercy and forgiveness. I really desire to pass this same honor on to them. When you go through this list, you'll soon see that it is obvious that these women love Jesus and want to be just like him:

1. Momrn2 at My Quiet Corner. Momrn2 has been through so much with her family, and without Jesus, I'm not sure how any other mom, wife or woman would have weathered the storms that she has experienced! But Momrn2 always shows Christ's love, his grace, and his peace ... in all her writings ... in all her thoughts ... in all she does. She isn't afraid to say it like it is ... Biblically speaking, that is ... and ... she truly reflects Jesus!

2. BooMama. I love that BooMama can write about family, life's daily happenings, and her love for Jesus, and still maintain a sense of humor that Jesus would be proud of. She has selflessly and humbly put together fundraisers for two women who were going through life-shaking medical diagnosis/treatments, and opened the door so that many people around the world could share in that simple blessing! PayPal probably trembles at the very mention of her name! But seriously, she allows Jesus to reflect through her, and what she does ... AND, she shows "tens of people every single day" what being a strong Christian woman with a great sense of humor is like.

3. Shannon from Rocks in my Dryer. Shannon was one of the very first Christian blogs I came across, and from the moment I started reading her blog, I saw Jesus shining through her! She is a sweet woman that isn't afraid to stand from the platform of her very, very popular blog and tell the world that SHE.LOVES.JESUS. She is outspoken in her conservative views, and encourages great discussion, but most importantly to me is that Shannon is a very compassionate and loving person, and regardless of your background, saved or not saved, she welcomes you into her arms and calls you friend, and then proceeds to live a life that mirrors Jesus' love and compassion.

4. Sandy at For Reluctant Entertainers. Sandy is truly a woman after my own heart! I love to entertain, and sadly, not many women do (or want to, or feel they have time to, or think they even can) But, when you read Sandy's blog... you quickly see that she has a passion and burden on her heart to share easy and special ways to gracious living while using our God-given gift of hospitality. When I think about how a person reflects Jesus, it is more than just being sweet, and kind. Sandy displays Jesus through her love for and gift of encouraging others, making her a true encourager at heart. She also has a special way of showing Jesus in the way she writes. and has a talent for making it clear that your home doesn't have to be a certain "standard" before you can entertain. It's not about how clean home your home is, and its not about those gourmet-fully-homemade meals you spend hours slaving over, and it is totally not about coming up with specially scripted conversations. She shows how the simple act of opening your home up is about ministering to others and making people feel welcomed and loved, and valued in your eyes. And that is just what it feels like to read her blog. The more I email back and forth with Sandy, the more I fall in love with this woman that shines Jesus from every pore she has, and who's heart overflows with Jesus' grace. I promise ... even the person with the most hardened heart toward entertaining will come away from Sandy's blog feeling encouraged, loved, and motivated to do something small to start their path towards a gracious way of living. Sandy adds Jesus to her gracious and loving style of encouragement while keeping it simple -- and that, my friend far surpasses what Martha Stewart has to offer! (can you tell I have a passion for entertaining?)

5. The last person I want to honor is my friend Lauren from A Humble Heart, changed to Created for His Glory, changed to A Humble Heart - but still Created for His Glory. I wish that every single one of you could have the pleasure of meeting this woman in person. She is so considerate, and truly cares about a person. She is compassionate, gentle (while still being very outgoing), full of grace, humble, and sweet, sweet, sweet. And my friend Lauren has an awesome sense of humor. This is one person that I can honestly say that I know, know, KNOW she loves the Lord, and after anyone spends even one second with her, THEY also know she loves the Lord. Lauren stopped (sort of) blogging for a while, because she felt that blogging was overcoming other areas in her life. Lauren listened to God's still, quiet voice that was prompting her to take a step back. She is slowly coming back to the world-o-blog, and trust me when I say, the blogoshpere will be a better place when Lauren fully returns to writing about her life, her lessons learned, and her passion for her Savior. If you have any spare time at all, you simply must go back into her archives and read up on her, because you will soon fall in love with her too ... if you haven't already.

You know ... there are so many talented, Jesus-loving, Jesus-reflecting men and women out there that blog their hearts out. It is hard to select only a small hand full. I could go on and on and on, but I know that placing this in the hands of the few women above will trickle out into the blogosphere.

The award originated Here. That's probably the best place to learn more about it. Here's what it says you should do:

1. Copy this post. [Ooops -- I think I already failed. I changed it a wee bit! Okay, alotabit]
2. Replace [my bloggers with yours] & Reflect on five bloggers and write a least a paragraph about each one.
3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they've been given the award. 5. Put the award icon on your site [see here]

Now y'all go give the award to all the other bloggers I'd have given it to if I'd not been limited to only five!

A Restaurant Meme

Okay, y'all ... the [and I sort-of quote] "Wicked Cool Chilihead" [because she is!!] has tagged me for a rather cool meme ... of course it would be cool, since its coming from the Wicked Cool Chilihead ... and really, on Chilihead's tag for me, I think she should have said... "...because GiBee loves to eat." Note the period at the end of the sentence. And, if you remove the "because" part, it's a complete sentence, and there really is no need to go any further than that!

1. Link to name of person that tagged you. [Of course, if you haven't figured it out by now, it's Chilihead]
2. Include state and country you live in.
3. List top 5 favorite local restaurants.
4. Tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged.

Where I live: ...yeah ... I'm a little bit freaked out about this one -- so, please -- I don't want to prove my Law and Order loving husband right by having someone stalk me, so I'll give you a choice, and you can fill in the blank, m'kay?? If you really need to know (because you want to send me free products to review, or you just want to lavish me with free gifts), I'm sure you could Google the restaurants, but why don't you just email me and we'll take the conversation off line. So, here are the choices of where I might could live, which can all fall under the nice, neat category of "the suburbs of Washington, D.C." -- Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, or Pennsylvania. I will, however, promise you that I live in the grand, ol' US of A, and that's the gosh-honest truth.

Top Five Local Restaurants --

Well, if anyone has ever visited the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area, then you know that there are a bazillion restaurants to choose from... and they cover every single ethnic flavor you might ever have a hankering to choose from! So, without further to-do, here are my favorites:

1) Latin American: Cacique. This restaurant's name, when translated from Spanish, means Chief, or Indian. You will not find your typical Mexican fare here. Rather, they serve a delicious mix of gourmet Mexican and Latin American food that totally leaves your taste buds dancing as you walk out of their restaurant. I totally love it!

2) Italian: Cafe Mileto. This is our absolute favorite Italian restaurant, hands down. In the Zagat Survey for 2005, they were named as America's Top Italian Restaurant, and they said that it's "a minor miracle," a "taste like...Florence." It was also included in the Washingtonian's Top 100 Best Restaurants." Their food is the closest to a home cooked meal by your jolly Italian Nonna.

3) Liberty Road Seafood: The best place outside of the Eastern Shore in Maryland that will serve you an A-#1 crab cake a la Maryland style -- all blue crab, no filler. And hush puppies to.die.for. Also, how many restaurants do you know that serve orange soda??? Huh, huh, huh?

4) Japanese Steak House. Any ol' Japanese Steak House will do ... GOODNESS! ... where else can you go and get great food, and actually be able to enjoy it because your 20-month old is enraptured... enraptured, I tell you ... by the all the chefs tossing knives up in the air, setting stuff on fire, slamming and banging their Ginsu knives on the flat grill, and delivering bad jokes with bad English ... and NOT in a stage whisper, either. What little boy wouldn't love that, and what Mama would be foolish enough not to take advantage of it, either?

5) Pollo a la Brasa (grilled rotisserie chicken): Crisp & Juicy. Oh.My.Heavens. This Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken is simply to.die.for. It just melts in your mouth, and the spicy yellow mayo-based sauce (made with Peruvian peppers) they serve with it is so stinking finger-lickin'-good that you could literally dip your finger in it and lick it. They serve it with many different side dishes, but our favorites (mine and hubby) are fried yuca, plantains, and black beans and rice. Heart attack on a platter, but ever so yummy. Oh, and don't even get me started on the alfajores. They are a buttery cookie sandwich with caramel in between, and rolled in powder sugar goodness. Oh, my word!

BONUS: High tea: The Inn at Perry Cabin or Four Seasons Hotel. At least once in your life time, you simply must splurge on high tea. It's a true experience that you're not likely to forget in your lifetime, and will find yourself talking about the little sandwiches, cookies, crumpets, miniature mousse desserts, and delicious tea selections. Mind you, it isn't for the faint at heart, because you'll be shelling out a hefty price for tea at these restaurants, but go ahead ... throw caution to the wind!

There you have it! Five of my favorites, plus a bonus... And, since my mom is an Italian from Peru (figure that one out!), I would be remiss if I didn't include both an Italian and a Peruvian restaurant on my favorite 5!!! I also love a Brazilian restaurant, many sushi restaurants, a Thai restaurant, several other Mexican restaurants (although, sadly - we don't have any Taco Bueno's around us) and many, many American restaurants around here!

So, if you ever come out to the Washington, D.C. area ... make sure you let me know so we can meet and eat!

1) TOTALLY BooMama ... because who wouldn't want to know where she eats! And, my double-dawg dare still stands ... you know which one ... (ummmm...taggingbethmoore...shhh...shhh)
2) Barb at A New Chelsea Morning, because she also loves to cook, and I'm just curious like that!
3) Susanne at Living To Tell The Story, because us "quasi" Southerners wanna know what Canada has to offer us (don't be all that impressed by my "big word" because I have no clue how to spell it)
4) Carol at She Lives, because there's nothing close to her, and since I know she loves to eat healthy, I'd love to know what's in her wallet I mean, what's on her plate.
5) Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer -- yeah -- I'm throwing caution into the wind and tagging her, even though I know she's slammed daily with stuff, and is as busy as ... well ... as any mom of four at home (with one tryin', but scared to potty train) could be! And since Chili didn't, I will! Wouldja please, Shannon? Please???

Okay, y'all -- have at it! And just so you know ... today will probably be a two-poster day! Oh, yes! All the bloggetygoodness will be shared right here, for a limited time only! Eat it up!

Friday, June 22, 2007

An appology of sorts ... and a few rabbit trails...

Seriously -- y'all must think I'm a bad, bad person. You graciously come and read my blog, comment, and I ... well, I totally do not respond in kind. I'm really, really sorry!!

It's not 'cause I don't love ya! Really, it's not. It's because I am still pretty busy here at work. THE NERVE of my boss to actually give me work to do!! And I was invited to a celebration party this afternoon (the client actually signed the contract we presented and the deal is done -- wooohooo!), but its at a bar, and really, since I don't drink, I think I'll pass. Even though I broke my back getting stuff done, and really deserve a good pat on the back.

Instead, I'm hoping to slowly make my rounds to blogs this afternoon while everyone is out partying, but we're still pretty busy, and sadly, I don't blog on the weekends... so, don't feel slighted, my friends ... I'll be back around! I promise!

So, don't be alarmed if you see a slew of comments from me on your blogs... or if you don't see any comments on your blogs. That's just what my life is like right now ... a dangerous, split-personality combination of: "yeah, I can do it because I'm free right now ... and no, I can't because I'm busy now, even though I was free a second ago. Wait, I'm free now... nah. I'm not."

In the mean time, I'm off to put together a PowerPoint presentation on Hexavalent Chromium Exposure and Procedures, because I'm busy like that. Any tips? (I'm feeling so "Erin Brokovich" right now ... only a gazillion pounds heavier, and without the curly hair and shocking clothing. So really, I'm nothing like Erin Brokovich ... but I saw the movie! It is, after all, one of my favorites -- the TV version that is, because the DVD is just riddled with filthy language -- as in, "I'm blushing and my ears are burning all at the same time, and I'm sure there's some blood pouring from some orifice because its so crude" language. Shocking, I tell you. But it is still a great movie.)

Does anyone have a suggestion on how I can get old mud stains out of a white shirt that I failed to notice had said mud stains, and ran it through the washer and dryer, and now not only do I have mud stains to remove, but set-in mud stains? Any suggestions would be welcomed.

Yeah. I'm the queen of rabbit trails.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

WFMW: Household Odor Eliminator

Works-For-Me Wednesday, brought to you by Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer, gives us an opportunity to share tips, secrets, recipes, and a whole bunch of stuff for kids and adults of all ages ... Make sure you head on over to check out other great tips!

Several weeks ago, someone left the door to our outside freezer open. It was an accident ... I've been assured by that someone ... but in the process, stuff thawed, refroze, and then we had a freaky power surge of some kind that kicked the breaker for the freezer. We didn't realize that until there was mold growing, and odors emitting from the freezer. Nice.

Well, my hubby cleaned it out real well. He used a bleach-based product to kill the mold, we threw everything away, reset the plug, and closed the door, expecting the freezer to ... you know ... actually work. It didn't. We didn't set the right plug... and now, we had a clean freezer that was quite smelly.

Well, a long time ago, a friend of mine shared a tip that I thought I'd try out ... and surprisingly ... it worked.

I placed a small amount of coffee grounds (fresh, not previously used) in a container, placed the container in the freezer, and closed the door. Yes, the freezer was working again. And yes, the coffee grounds absorbed the odor.

So, when you have strange odors in your home, try placing a plate of coffee grounds out. It works for me!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Product Review - FruitaBü Organic Smoooshed Fruit Twirls

When juvenile diabetes runs in the family, a mom (that would be me) tends to get a little freaked-out, and slightly obsessed over anything that passes through their child's mouth. Refined sugar gets a very bad reputation in the house ... especially snacks with refined sugar.

But unless you've lived under a rock all your life, you are familiar with the fact that just about every single blessed snack has refined sugar as one of its main ingredient. How annoying!

So, when the marketing company for FruitaBü (by Stretch Island) contacted me and asked if I would do a product review for their all-natural, Organic Smoooshed Fruit Twirls -- well, I totally jumped at it. Natural? Organic? No added sugar?? You bet.

Can you imagine my excitement when a FedEx package arrived with samples of their fruit twirls? I ripped the box open, and opened a package, tasted it, and thought I had died and gone to fruit heaven. But, of course, the biggest taster was Hunter ... and let me tell you ... this child loves them! And this mom loves that they are good for him.

Here's the nitty-gritty facts:

~1 fruit twirl (roll) = 1 fruit exchange in a diabetic diet
~Celiac sufferers (gluten intolerance) can enjoy the fruit snacks -- it's 100% all-natural. There are no alcohols and/or vinegars included, and all of their flavor suppliers have provided them with written statements that there is no gluten in the flavorings used
~Nothing artificial is in these snacks!
~The complete line of FruitaBü's Organic Smoooshed Fruit help kids meet the USDA recommended daily allowance of fruits in the 5-A-Day program

Ingredient Comparison:

FruitaBü Twirls (grape flavored): Organic apple puree concentrate, organic apple juice concentrate, organic white grape juice concentrate, organic grape puree concentrate, organic apple, organic palm fruit oil, citrus pectin, natural grape flavor, citric acid, fruit juice for color, sodium citrate, acerola fruit extract (natural vitamin c), soy lechithin.

Fruit by the Foot (strawberry flavored, from General Mills): Grapes from concentrate, sugar, maltodextrin, corn syrup, pears from concentrate, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, carrageenan, citric acid, acetylayrf momo and diglycerides, sodium citrate, malic acid, zanthan gum, vitamin c (ascorbic acid), locust bean gum, natural flavor, potassium citrate, color (yellow 5, red 40 blue 1) .

I love this product. The flavors are great and actually taste like the real fruit! The colors are natural. The texture is fun for my son, the product is all natural and organic, and the product comes in packaging that is convenient and compact enough for a lunch box, diaper bag, purse or pocket.

The only disappointment: The price. The FruitaBü suggested retail price for the Fruit Twirls is $3.69 to $3.99 for packs of six. In my grocery store, I paid $4.59 for a pack of six. But even with such a difference in price, I would still get them, because its a snack I feel good about giving Hunter. (I found them in the organic section of my grocery store)

All, in all, I'm giving this product 4 and 1/2 flowers, taking 1/2 off for the price, only. Go getcha some, and if you tell the company what you think of their product in a 10-minute survey, you will receive a coupon for a free box!

Monday, June 18, 2007

OH ... MY ... STARS!!!

Okay, okay, okay!!!!! OKAY!!!

How do I even start to share my excitement with you??? Can you feel it in the air???

First, let me apologize for barely posting last week. I know that it can be pretty frustrating when you click on a friends blog and nothing has been updated! I was flattened ... steam-rolled ... totally swamped ... with work. Don't these people know I have a blog???? And I need to post daily??? For my own mental sanity???? It is, after all, for their benefit, as it makes me a better employee!!

Anyway, we had a client in the office that demanded all my time. I worked a crazy amount of overtime ... and for anyone that knows me well, they know that long hours, and little sleep equals one sick and tired chick. Literally. I'm sick (sinus infection). I'm tired ... dragging. I'm a chick. So, I'm one sick and tired chick.

But praise God for the little things that can manage to pull that adrenalin back up to an excitable level ... like redirecting my blog to my very.own.domain.praise.Jesus.and.hallelujah!!!! And ... I didn't even have to leave blogger! YAY!

But first, I must thank our very own, lovely and red-headed, hot mamasita Chilihead, and a new friend Erica and her hubby for the very wise advice and link love they gave me when I posted this plea for info!!! They are very, very smart chicks!

So, check it ... if you want to set up your blog to go to your very own domain, here's the link they both sent me to:

Y'ALL -- I'M A TECH-CHALLENGED WOMAN, AND I DID IT ON MY OWNSOME! So, if I could do it ... YOU can do it too!!! Woot!!!


I'm just a wee bit excited.

Why, just look up on your URL address bar ... whatzit say??? Huh? Huh? Huh???

Why, it says:

Yes indeedy!

So hats off to Chilihead and Erica -- and to all you other smart techi-chicks out there!! Y'all rock!
Now, I just need to squeeze into Susie's busy schedule for a new blog dress!

Happy dance!!! Happy dance!!!

I feel all growed up... Whew! Celebrating is exhausting.

I need a nap.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Here's the thing...

I am so html inept. It truly makes my head hurt. In fact, whenever I want to link to something in someones comments, I can never remember how to do it, and have to go back to my blog template, open a blank post, link the word I want, copy the html language from the edit screen, and paste it into a comment. Yeah. I really do. [stop cringing!]

Have I lost you yet??? Its okay ... I lost myself a long, LONG time ago. Heck ... I can't even get my wireless thing to work... what is that thinggie ... a router???

Anyway -- here's the thing... I own my own fancy, schmancy domain. Yup! I really do! I've owned it for quite a while now. And I would love to have my blog on it... after all ... what could be easier and nicer than ??? But nooooo. My domain is just hanging out there... getting lonely.

I simply haven't a clue as to what to do.

I'm willing to go over to WordPress. Scared about it, but willing.

I'm willing to learn html stuff. Scared about it, but willing.

I'm willing to blog without my precious and easy blogger account. Willing, but ever so scared!

So, having said that ... does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do? That is ... other than "read a book and learn" ... 'cause I just don't learn like that. Sad, but true. And people ... I have to keep my bible and devotional in the bathroom just to read it during a moment of peace, if you know what I mean! I KNOW I won't be able to read a whole entire book about html stuff without falling asleep. Or having a numb hiney. Which ever comes first. I truly live a pampered and glamorous life ... I don't care WHAT anyone else tells you.

I guess what I need is something like Bluebird Blogs ... a life saver ... a professional ... a reasonably priced package that will be user-friendly, pretty, and not break me financially, or kill me in the process of learning it! Maybe I should email Susie and beg! I know it's not pretty, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

Any tips? Any? Any? 'Cause, I'm all ears!

WFMW: Shortcut for Midnight Sheet Changes

Works-For-Me Wednesday, brought to you by Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer, gives us an opportunity to share tips, secrets, recipes, and a whole bunch of stuff for kids and adults of all ages ... Make sure you head on over to check out other great tips!

Okay -- my tip isn't one of those "smack yourself on the head because it's brilliant" type of tip. In fact, probably many of you have either done this at one time, or currently do it.

Anyway, before Hunter was born, someone gave me this little tip: Besides getting a good mattress protector for your crib mattress, place a full size water-proof pad on the mattress, and cover it with a sheet. Repeat with another full size water-proof pad and sheet once or twice more. Just make sure you don't use a lap pad, as this will not cover the mattress. This way, if your baby has a leaky diaper in the middle of the night, you only have to pull off the first layer. And, honestly, you can get the same waterproof stuff by the yard at a fabric store for a lot less, and you can cut it to fit any size bed.

Well, for some reason, I kept doing this long after Hunter was an infant. When I wash our sheets, I pull the top one off his crib, wash it, and rotate the bottom one up. He always has a fresh and clean sheet underneath.

This came in handy last week when Hunter had a bout with a stomach flu. He woke up at midnight puking his little heart out. On his bed. Did I mention it was midnight? Well, all we had to do was rip the top layer off and voila! We had a clean sheet underneath.

Oh, me, oh, my -- it sure worked for me ... in the middle of the night ... when I was plumb tuckered out. And you can bet I'll do the same thing when he's moved into a big boy bed, too -- what can I say ... it feeds my lazy gene!

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's a Story ... about a girl named GiBee!

How awesome is this??? A Carnival about how every one's blogs began! Because seriously ... I do have an inquiring mind ... and ... I wanna know!

How about you?

Thought so.

Here are the questions our lovely hostess with the mostess, Chilihead at the one and only Don't Try This At Home blog, has provided for us, which is a conglomeration of questions formed by Amanda, Shalee and Shannon ... Thanks, girls!

So, without further delay, grab yourself a red velvet cupcake and some iced tea, sit back, kick your feet up, and learn a little bit more about me ... as if you don't know enough already! Then, cruise on over to Chilihead's blog, and check out the rest of the bloggers participating in this carnival!

How did you start blogging?
Several years ago, I began doing research on the Internet for other women with infertility (2002?), in the hopes of finding a common thread, and a lot of advice and support. While I found all of that, I was pressed to find one single Born-Again Christian woman fighting infertility. The road of bitterness, resentment, and anger flows deep in the infertility world, and it was difficult to stay positive. By July 2004, I felt the pull to start my own blog. I did, but I am most certain that I too, had many negative, bitter, and angry emotions flying around on my blog. It was called Infertile Meanderings. Then, in October, I had my first born child. He totally changed my world around! God was so good, and faithful to us, and I felt another pull ... to change the name of my blog and move on. Upon the encouragement of Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer, Kim from Hiraeth, and Lauren from A Humble Heart (Created for His Glory), I began a new "mom" blog called Kisses of Sunshine in February of 2006! All-in-all, I've been reading blogs for about 5 years, and having my own personal blog for about 3 years.

Did you intend to be a blog w/a big following? If so, how did you go about it?
Ho, ho, hoooo! Heck no. I never started a blog to "have a big following." In fact, I started to blog so that I would have my own creative outlet, venting forum, etc. Then, it turned into a "mom" blog. I think I began getting comments and "followers" simply by falling in love with a host of blogs and leaving comments on them, or by participating in something like this! I also made a blogroll, but most important of all, I left comments on other blogs. Did I mention I love getting comments from y'all???

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?
My initial goal was and continues to be, to encourage other women battling with infertility (both primary and secondary), and to encourage moms and women while showing God's love, joy, kindness, mercy, and light. Huh! That sounds like a mission statement! I think I'll stick that somewhere on my template! I also pray each time I write a post that God will use it somehow ... in some small, and maybe insignificant way, to encourage, bring hope, and place a smile on some one's face and heart. I don't know if I have been "successful," but it's an on-going, never-ending goal of mine.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
No. It hasn't. In fact, if anything, my daily blogging, along with your comments and private emails, continues to challenge my heart's desire, and I feel more dedicated to bless the socks of y'all!

What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?
It is very important to be careful in how you write, because a written word is "flat," so to say. You don't see my facial expressions, or hear my emphasis or tone, and one simple written word can be taken the wrong way, and can become hurtful. I think my heart would break if I knew that ever happened! Each time I post, I think ... "Go gently, young woman..." Okay ... so I'm stretching the "young" part a bit, but gentleness is the key to many a written word.

Do you make money with your blog?
I haven't yet. Actually, I have a free blog, so I don't feel the need to place ads on my blog at this time. Also, I'm very careful about what I represent ... so having "unknown" ads pop up on my blog is quite scary. You can probably tell that I don't know a whole lot about placing ads on my blog! Maybe if I understood it better, I might change my mind.

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
Yes, the majority of my extended family knows that I blog. Both of my sister-in-laws read my blog on occasion. Some of my immediate family isn't really what I would call, "tech savvy." As for my parents, well, I keep forgetting to email my link to them, and I haven't really given my sister the link because she's so stinking busy with her life right now, that I don't think she'd have a free moment to read it. I might be wrong, though. Okay. Now I feel bad. I'll be emailing them my link later on. Thanks a lot! (lol)

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

Just two? Well, first, I'd say ... don't be afraid to blog. It can be fun, liberating, and shucks ... every gal needs a creative outlet here or there!!! It may seem intimidating, but there are so many great tools that can help, as well as your fellow bloggers!

Second, I'd say ... be honest, be yourself, don't exaggerate, be gentle. I honestly thing that a person's personality can change over the course of blogging. If you don't allow that to happen to yourself, you should be good to go!

Whew! That was thought provoking. I hope you enjoyed it, along with the cupcake and tea! I really appreciate that you took the time to read all this, and I'd love it if you would leave me a comment so I know you stopped by! Thanks, and have a blessed day... oh, and ... enjoy a couple pictures of Hunter eating a red velvet cupcake!

Oh, and don't forget to write your own post and put a link to it on the Mister Linky at Chilihead's place!

Friday, June 08, 2007

I Did It -- Again!!!

The last time I did it, it was a completed digiscrapbook set of pages.

This time, I finally made the decision on which software package to purchase for digiscrapbooking... and not only did I make the decision of what I wanted to purchase, but I ... gulp ... purchased it ... gulp ... on eBay. About $40 cheaper than anywhere else. Gotta love a deal!

So... what did I get? I got Photoshop Elements 5.0.

If you've had bad experiences with it, please don't tell me... because lalalalalalalalala ... I'm not listening!

Also, I received my freshly printed 12x12" pages from, and let me just say ... they are bee-YOO-tiful!!! I LOVE them. I printed them in a matte finish, and they are just wonderful. I ended up not using my Creative Memory scrapbooks, because the "usable" pages are not a true 12x12, and I would have had to trim 1/4" off of each page. Instead, I got some top-loading albums and slid the pages in.

Voila! Instant album. What a sense of satisfaction to flip through those pages! I know I've mentioned before that my son is a high-energy-all-boy child, and it breaks my heart to know that he doesn't love books the way I do (yet). In fact, when I snuggle down to read him a book, he's un-snuggling after about 2 pages. So, imagine my delight as he sat down with me and daddy last night for a full 20 minutes and kept flipping the pages of "his book" while kissing Momma, Dadda, Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, Poppy, himself, his aunts, uncles, cousins... and you should have seen his face of delight when he came upon two pages of just Hunter ... eating cake... you would have thought I presented him with the moon! It was so heartwarming for me, and totally encouraged me to continue with this new hobby of mine ... digiscrapbooking. I encourage you to do the same!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of you who gave me such wonderful advice, both on line and off line! Be sure I'll be asking for more soon!!!

This weekend, I think I'll start tackling the next set of pages, as I wait anxiously for my new software ... It's a good thing I get an "allowance!"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

How??? Please!!! Tell-me-how!!

I'm getting ready to loose any and all male readers that may come to Kisses of Sunshine, but I promise, this kind of talk doesn't happen often -- so if you really don't care to ... you know ... KNOW ... then, please ... move along now.

AGAIN -- LAST WARNING that we are getting ready to talk about private girlie stuff, 'kay?

Mkay. My company is hiring so many people -- we're stacked pretty much on top of each other. The majority of us share cubes ... as in two people in one, tiny, teeeny cube. I share a cube with a man. For the most part, it's nice. We talk. We help each other. We are considerate of each other. Did I mention he's a man? Yes, I think I did...

Now, I ask ... what's a conservative, shy about personal affairs, stay-outta-my-business kind of woman to do when that time of month occurs? Because, reaching into my purse that is in the overhead bin where all can see, and coming down with a noisy handful of "products" is not .. PERSONAL. It's public. And, I don't like public. Especially in-my-business-public.

And don't even suggest taking my purse to the ladies room with me. I work on the other end of the building, and if that's not a "look at me going into the bathroom with my purse because I'm menstruating" sign, I don't know WHAT is. And ... I have waited for him to leave (which, seriously is not all that convenient, ya know!), but I have two men right across from me that can see everything. Joy to the world, and all that is flowing freely.

It's bad enough that I have to reach into my noisy stash of emergency choco-salt-relief in front of them numerous times a day. Gaahhh!!

So, again ... I ask ... what's a woman to do for a little privacy at work?

Seriously. This is not rhetorical.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Listen up and Tune in!!

For all you Reluctant Entertainer fans out there ...

Sandy and her husband are being interviewed by Dr. James Dobson on Focus on the Family, Thursday and Friday ... as in ... TOMORROW! She is very modest and wont put it on her blog, and she also says that this interview is a big stretch for her, and refuses to listen to it, but I must say, that she is so eloquent on her blog, and it makes me wonder how she could possibly be anything else BUT eloquent in this interview?

They will be discussing the book her husband wrote: No More Christian Nice Guy, and the book they co-authored: Married but Not Engaged. Her husband, Paul, also just published his book No More Jellyfish, Chickens or Wimps: Raising Secure, Assertive Kids in a Tough World, which came out in bookstores on June 1.

Tune into your local Christian radio station to here the two part interview on Thurs and Fri, Or ... you can go HERE to listen online to What's Wrong With Being a Nice Guy? (Parts 1 and 2).

And ... for the love of everything that is good and sane, please ... PLEASE assure Sandy that I'm not just another nutcase that has lost every marble in my mind... (Shalee -- just shut it now!) I love her blog, and I know that you will too. I find that I have so much in common with her, and reading her blog comes easy to me... I love entertaining, I love cooking, but most of all, I love serving people, and sharing beautiful things with people just as she does.

WFMW: Water Fun at Grandma's House

Themed Works-For-Me Wednesday: The Mom-I'm-Bored Edition, brought to you by Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer. Make sure you head on over to check out other great Summer Activity tips!

Fortunately, my child can't say "mom, I'm bored" yet ... although, he can throw a mean temper tantrum and let out a few howls of discontent. And, I don't know about you, but I have a very high-energy twenty month old. His attention span is smaller than a gnats, and not in a bad way ... but in an "I'm a super-active-toddler-bent-on-exhausting-my-parents" way. And, that's okay when he's at home, because we can usually find enough stuff to keep him occupied and entertained.

But ... when he goes to grandma and grandpa's house, that's a totally different story, because they are not equipped with a gazillion toys, slides, baby pools, etc. So, one thing I found useful at capturing my child's attention for hours on end (and mind you, this is really just for toddlers) is a medium- to large-sized storage bin, a huge bowl, some tear-free bubble bath, and a handful of non-destructive kitchen stuff (ladles, plastic cups, Tupperware bowls, etc.)

I fill the storage bin with clear water, and I fill the huge bowl with bubble bath and water. He can literally spend hours playing with the water, scooping it, sloshing it, spilling it, blowing it, splashing it, sitting in it, and wrinkling up in it.

So, that's my tip for today ... when your child runs out of stuff to do at grandma and grandpa's, and they don't have a baby pool, grab a few bins and fill them up with water. It's cheap and fun. DON'T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN AND HAT!!!

As you can see by the pictures below, it TOTALLY works for me!

Oh yeah ... one more thing ... He also likes to play with the hose and spray nozzle, which works for me too, because he likes to water my plants for me. Every.single.evening!

Water Safety: Never, ever leave your child unattended while around any water ... never take your eyes off your child or turn your back on them, not even for one second, and don't depend on flotation devices as a substitute for supervision. One of the biggest dangers is water -- a child can drown in as little as three inches of water, and after 3-5 minutes of submersion, a child can face irreversible brain damage or death. Be sure that you are aware of all buckets, basins, tubs, bins, bowls, or other kinds of containers in your yard. They can hold water in them, and a child can easily topple into these items. Even a puddle can be a danger. Finally, learn CPR.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Reaching Out to the World Next Door*

What do the following items have in common?

One Piece of Paper
Tons of Neighbors
A Fire Pit (or two)
Lawn Chairs
Coolers with Beverages
Platters full of Homemade Food
Tons of Dessert
Fired up Grills groaning with brats, hot dogs, burgers, chicken
Huge Screen
Projector and DVD Payer
Fun Family Movies

When put together, they all make for an excellent neighborhood (or block) party!

The block I live on is great for getting together on a nice evening and throwing a mean block party. It starts with one piece of paper that serves as an invitation (although, many times, it is by word of mouth) that is handed out or placed on doors. Then, on the given day, the block converges on one neighbors front driveway with food, laughter, fun, music, and merriment.

Our next door neighbor even hosts an annual Fall Family Movie Night on the Lawn ... He smokes a ton of meat, and we all bring side dishes, desserts, and drinks. The kids play in the yard, roast marshmallows by the fire pit, run in and out, and then the whole family watches a family-oriented movie that he projects onto a large screen he has stationed on the back of his pick-up truck.

Last week, I mentioned a neighbor's annual Memorial Day Picnic, and we have various other neighbors that throw an annual Fourth of July Picnic, Labor Day Picnic, and then, of course, the annual Fall Family Movie Night on the Lawn. Then, throughout the spring, summer and fall (and on those rare warm winter nights) different neighbors take turns hosting impromptu gatherings in their front yard. Why the front yard? So that anyone that sees them can feel welcome to come and join in. It's just an unspoken rule around here.

One thing I have found that makes it a bit difficult for us to host these cookouts is that we don't serve alcohol at our home, and many of the neighbors would rather drink to loosen up ... but because of all the gatherings that take place throughout the year, we have all developed pretty good friendships. Which leads me to two ways that our family chooses to minister to others in our neighborhood ...

In the winter, when it snows, my husband will get out very early in the morning, and take out his snow blower. There is only one other person on our street that owns a snow blower, and he's generally not out until later on in the day. This gives my husband a chance to blow our driveway and sidewalks, and then, he moves on to the neighbors sidewalks. Once all the sidewalks are blown out, he begins methodically helping with clearing out driveways. The neighbors are very appreciative of this gesture of good will.

And, at Christmas time, I will put together tins or baskets of home-made Christmas gifts to distribute to the neighbors. They are usually family-oriented items, like sugar cookies with homemade hot chocolate mix, chocolate-cherry cakes, pull-apart rolls, bar cookies, brownies, etc. The neighbors enjoy receiving a little something from our family at Christmas time each year, and I especially love the look of surprise on the new neighbor's faces when they open the door, and we hand them a little goodie!

How do you reach out to the world next door -- your neighborhood??? For more great ideas, make sure you check out Sandy's original post at Reluctant Entertainer (it's the one that got us all sharing openly how we minister to our neighbors), and Momrn2's post from My Quiet Corner on how they throw an annual shin-dig that will delight even the most stoic person (which may be an option for those of us that do not serve alcohol)!

(*Wording for title used from Momrn2's own post)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Seventeen Years of Wedded ... bliss???

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do -- Two can be as bad as one, it's the loneliest number since the number one... Cause one is the loneliest number that you'll ever know; One is the loneliest number even worse then two ...

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, one is the LONELIEST NUMBER that you'll ever do or know... but two can be as bad as one! Yes, it can ... especially in a marriage ... unless you toss "number three" into the equation, which can really be considered number one ... God.

I know, I know ... make some sense, GiBee ...

This weekend (Saturday), my husband and I celebrated our anniversary ... drum-roll, please ... seventeen years.

The first ten were hard. Scary. Difficult. Okay, I already said hard, and difficult means the same thing -- but they really, really were. And, I only say "10 years" because I'm too tired to go back and really calculate how long the two of us operated as separate "ones." Did that make any sense? You see, before we added number three ... God ... into our relationship, we operated frequently as separate "ones," each doing our own thing, pleasing "self," gratifying "self," thinking only of "self." We worked on our own spirituality -- as individuals -- alone -- never considering the other... See where I'm going with this?

So, as we continued struggling in our relationship, we tried even harder to make it work as "two." We tried to be nicer, more loving, and more considerate to each other. We tried to do things together. We tried to be more thoughtful. And that was nice. For a while. Then, through the miracle of a Christian counselor, we discovered the secret to a successful relationship ... let me share it with you ... come closer ... a little closer ... clooooosssser ... the secret is ... THREE.

You can't make either one or two work without three, and three in this case was God, who really should have been one... and, until we placed God at the center of our relationship, we were unhappy at worst, and "okay happy" at best.

Now, we're really, really, REALLY happy. We have respect for each other, we honor each other, we try to be gentle in speech with each other, uplifting, supporting, caring, all the while maintaining our joint relationship with God at the forefront, as well as our individual relationships with God. If pressed to share the secret to a happy and long relationship, I wouldn't hesitate to say that having God at the center is what has made a tremendous difference in our relationship. Yes, God's the secret.

Do we ever argue or disagree? Sure. But we no longer throw out hurtful things at each other, or hold grudges that might at one time have lasted for years. We do our best to communicate with each other as clearly as possible. My husband is really good at that. Me? Not so good, but am working towards getting better.

Are we perfect? Far from it. But we have a choice now. We can either choose to go back to doing everything for ourselves, or we can opt to include God in everything.

It's amazing how a "little bit of God can go a long, long way!!!"

Any way, what I'm trying to say is ... Happy Anniversary, honey! I love you, and I am so thankful that you try on a daily basis to not only be a Godly man, but a Godly husband and father! You're my best friend, my lover, the spiritual head of my household ... and I'm so glad that God put us together! Now, I can truly, and honestly say that our lives together are all ... "Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy, Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy, Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy, Happy Happy Joy Joy Joy!"

Friday, June 01, 2007

Usually, I'm Pretty Smart!

But there's always an exception to that rule! Oh, yes there is.

I consider myself to be a pretty smart cookie, and what I may lack in common sense, I make up with my wonderful personality ... in fact, I know I'm smart, because I'm made in the Lord's image, and frankly, no one's as smart as he is, and that's gotta say something, right??? um ... anyway ... At work, I have to analyze commodities, market rates, financial documents, overheads, estimates, etc. So, yeah, I figure you have to be pretty smart for that, right?

So I thought... until about 45 minutes ago, when one of the estimators came to my desk to go over his basis for his pricing on a new estimate. He's very young, very smart, married to a beautiful Mexican woman, and he's just about to be a daddy, so we talk a lot, as we find we have much in common. He speaks a wee bit of Spanish, I speak Spanish fluently, and I love to tease him about his "accent."

Anyway, he came to my desk and started to go over his pricing basis -- he told me that he followed the 6/10 rule, and "...based it on the duty of the current estimate over the duty of a past estimate which was 2528 mmbtuh versus 3320 mmbtuh which, when applied to the total cost, and divided by itself, then taken to the sixth power gives you your new cost."

I just nodded as if I was agreeing (and understood), but the more he droned on, the more I stared at him, a little bit glassy eyed, and when he was finished, I said what would only come natural in a circumstance like this... "Yes, well ... I used a curling iron this morning. Sometimes, I'll flatten my hair with an iron, and sometimes, I'll use curlers. Sometimes, I even leave it curly with some product in it. "Product" can be either gel, or cream, or mousse ... whichever one is appropriate for my mood ... and when combined with another product, such as a fiber-forming cream, mud, wax, pomade, or glue of sorts, and applied to the hair along with several spritzes of hairspray, I then usually get the desired outcome."

He looked at me like I had fallen out of the "stupid tree" and hit every blond-haired branch on the tree (sorry, blonds) as I was falling. I looked right back at him, and said, "When you were telling me your pricing basis, I felt just as confused as you do this very minute. Habla Ingles, por favor."

I think he got the point, and went over it in layman's terms before he left, but he couldn't wait to get out of my cube.

I was left staring at my screen feeling oh, so stupid... but with good hair.