Saturday, January 31, 2009

prayers for Mugs

Prayers for my Mugsy, my sweet feisty sister-in-law, are asked for. She's not doing well right now. Pray that the doctors find out what's wrong so they can try to treat it.

** (Sunday) Well, they found out that her kidneys are less than 5% functional. This was out of the blue. She had to have dialysis today, and is not yet conscious. It's going to be touch and go. If I had to pick a day to have, this would not be it.

reading--I forgot how much fun it is!

I've read three books in the last week! I really and truly forgot how much I enjoy reading.

I started the Twilight series--books one and two--that accounts for two of the books. Now I can't wait to see the movie. I heard it's pretty true to the first book, which was pretty darn good. Book two was very good, too, only it was very different from number one. But how could the first one get any better for book two? It had to be different. I'm trying really hard not to give anything away about the series in case you haven't read it.

Now I'm waiting on book number three. When I get going on them, I can finish one in a day.

The other book I read was a collection of poems by Kirsten Dierking. She has published two that I know of. The first one was called "One Red Eye" and it's quite powerful. I don't usually sit down and read a whole book of poems. With this one, I couldn't put it down. She writes about her experience of being attacked and raped and then goes into her healing's very intense. I think I was holding my breath as I read it.

Dierking is, by the way, Finnish. Yes! Okay, just had to throw that in there for us Finns. And she discovered she had some Sami blood in her as well. I've wondered about that...

Now I have the second book of hers, Northern Oracle, and I guess I relate to the poems in here quite a bit. I have been having the "aging" conversation with myself in my head...I'm going to be fifty next year. *choke* I've only said that to myself so far!! Hitting thirty and forty were a piece of cake. Fifty? Can't quite wrap my mind around that.

But you know, it's the little things. Like when I watch the gymnastics part of the Olympics, and remember back to when I was in gymnastics. And compare me then, to me now. When WAS the last time I did a back handspring? A long, long, long time ago. But I still remember how it felt. Or how it felt when we would race across the park, intent on getting to the best swing first, running like the wind. It was so good when everything worked together, and I didn't have to think about how to run. I just ran.

Well, Ms. Dierking writes a little bit about this whole aging conversation that she has with herself... I especially like this poem:


I used to be able
to dive backwards
into the pool,
spine curved, legs taut,
hands reaching
blindly behind me
to cleave the water.

It seems I slowed
into older limbs
as naturally
as rain running down
the face of the window.
On what day
could I no longer
perform that dive?

I dream about it.
No fatigue
or hesitation.
Body arched
with effortless grace,
poised over
the waiting blue.

Friday, January 30, 2009

pretty in pink, and red, and silver...

OMGosh! I can't believe the bee-a-you-tiful pendant I found on the Bloggy Giveaways tonight. And it's not too late. YOU can go and enter, too. FEAST your eyes!!

Can you stand it? I know, I know. If I tell you, and you go enter, my chances go down. But I'd be happy for you, too, if you won it. Sort of. :)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I can't believe I found the words!

Does anyone else remember this song from grade school???? I loved this song!

I have had these lines STUCK in my head for EVER:

"And it wasn't very merry,
Meow, meow, meow
Going to the cemetery,
Meow, meow, meow,"

And that was all I could remember of it! Now I can sing the whole song and drive everyone crazy in the entire house. Oh, joy!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

context is everything!

I remember when I first started doing Bible studies, and I really wanted a concordance, so I could look up terms and see the verses that applied to them. I wanted a Bible dictionary so I could look up a word and find out more about how it was used. And I wanted some kind of a Bible history book so I could learn more about the culture...I thought that some of the things I read would make more sense to me in relation to the culture and society back then.

Well, I was asked to review this Chronological Study Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishing, and I'm serious. It combines all of those references into one book, it seems like!

This is the coolest study Bible I've ever used.

First, it's chronological.

The publisher says, This Bible presents the text of the New King James Version (NKJV) in chronological order with notes, timelines, articles, and full-color graphics --I love maps!-- that connect readers to the history and culture of Bible times. It is the only study Bible arranged in chronological order available in the marketplace allowing readers to discover the historical dimensions of the biblical message while better understanding the context and arrangement.

Exactly what I was looking for!!

It's like listening to a master storyteller unfold the story.

It's ingenious. The best way to retain new information is to connect it to things that you already know.

Here, you get the story, but you get the details, the context, and the drawings and pictures that help you learn the information in a way that you can remember. Little explanations are inserted into textboxes right in the text rather than placed into the footnotes where you have to jump back and forth to catch the extra information.

You know when the disciples were on the Sea of Galilee, and a sudden storm sprang up when they were fishing? It came out of nowhere? There's an explanation for that. In here it says that the Sea of Galilee is about 13 miles by 8 miles in size. This is a freshwater lake that can support a large number of fish, but it is surrounded by a number of steep hills, which can channel the winds and cause sudden dangerous storms upon the water's surface.

I remember living in Colorado where the winds would whip down the canyon behind us--we'd have 100 mile an hour straight line winds there sometimes. It's true. It's like they got concentrated and compressed into furious streaming blasts of air. Sometimes the wind would tear roofs off and knock buildings down.

So, a geographical occurrence that supports a story from scripture: Mark 4:35-40. I love it. It makes it come alive for me.

Here's a quote from the publisher's website that wraps it up in a nutshell: The Chronological Study Bible presents the text of the New King James Version in the order of events as they occurred, with notes, articles, timelines, maps, charts, and full color illustrations that put Scripture in dynamic historical context.

Go here to see the publisher's webpage. I think you'll fall in love with it, too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

bloggy giveaway!


CC at If Only I Had Superpowers has won this giveaway.

I loved hearing all the Valentine's wishes. Lots of travel wishes, and wishes for sleep, romantic time, alone time, and CHOCOLATE!!!!! All I have to say is, "ME, TOO!"

Thanks, everyone, for visiting. Hope to see you again soon!


I can't stand it! I have to play, too.

I sat out the first day yesterday of the Bloggy Giveaways, and it drove me crazy!

I love an excuse to pull out my crafty toys, so I'm going to give away four handcrafted Valentine cards! I'm so excited just thinking about it! Oh, and this could call for another visit to my favorite store, Archivers. Oh, yeah, baby. It's getting better and better.

Plus, I think I'll throw in the ever-popular Starbucks gift card. Just because I know you can't resist that. Who could?

I'll draw a name on Sunday, Feb 1 in the evening. I'll mail to wherever! I just wanna play.

Okay, the conditions. Don't be rolling those eyes, or like baby Dal says, "no have a attitude on me". Can you tell what he's heard just a few times? All right. All you have to do is tell me what your dream Valentine's Day gift would be, and you're entered!

Then go party some more with the Bloggy Giveaway Mr. Linky list.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

wild things

Where, oh where was this book when my boys were young?

I was asked to review Wild Things: the art of nurturing boys by Stephen James and David Thomas, both of who are fathers of boys. This book so hits the nail on the head. I posted some Q & A from the authors in a previous post, but I wanted to post my own reflections as well.

What I love about it is that the authors encourage parents to celebrate the gifts that boys bring to a family without feeling like they have to tame them down. Boys were created a certain way on purpose, and we do them no favors by trying to change their nature.

Instead, in this book, the authors seek to help parents understand the stages that boys go through, and look a little deeper into what those gifts will be if they are cherished, nourished and cultivated. Thus the title: the art of nurturing boys.

Now if you're a regular reader, you know I have boys. And you know that I have grandsons. And they are high-spirited young'uns. So as I started reading, I began to match up the boys to the stages I was reading about.

It says as soon as boys can walk and talk, they move into what the authors call The Explorer Stage. They are more adventurous than girls at the same age. I love this line: Explorers are simultaneously demanding and delightful. Oh, so true! But then it goes on to say, when it comes to discipline, Explorers are often stubborn learners. Also true! But they tell you that the reason is that boys' brains secrete less serotonin at this age, and serotonin acts as an impulse control. Wow! That makes total sense.

The book is so detailed, and everything they are saying sounds like they are talking about one of our little guys at that age. I can't believe it. This book would have so helped me be a better parent when my boys were little. I was the youngest, you know, and had no little brothers to disturb my peace when I was growing up. In fact, I always say I had no idea of what I was getting into when I started having kids.

I did live with my brother and sister-in-law for a couple years, and they had a big family, but she was a SAHM and made it look easy. Seriously. She could teach organization classes. She ran that house like a good CEO runs a company.

And beside, I wasn't responsible for the kids. Not the same at all! LOL

But just about when you are ready to pull your hair out, God built in a reprieve for parents. The next stage is the Lover stage. They get affectionate. They are hungry for that adult attention. They socialize. So what do you do with that? Coast? No.

The cool thing about this book is that the authors tell you what things you can do to meed the needs of each stage the boys go through. At each stage, there are certain milestones they reach, but if their needs aren't met, their development doesn't continue as it should, either.

I so needed this book. But I can still benefit from reading it, because as a gramma, I still want to be involved in my grandchildren's lives. I can still learn. They say an old dog can't learn new tricks, but I say they're wrong!

a day flying by

Things are really picking up at work. I love it!

Today I had lots to do, and before I realized it, it was lunchtime! Then lunch, which never drags its tail, and even though things were working out and cooperating, I still didn't finish my jobs. I have something left for tomorrow! Yay.

That's what I like. I like my days busy, and I like to have just a little bit more to do than I have time. I'n not overwhelmed, but I always have something to do.

Now tonight, I visited a few blogs from the Bloggy Giveaway, and so far my favorite find is the laptop bag.

Not a terribly eventful day, but it was a good one.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

interesting science facts

This week I watched Louie Giglio on youtube. This was taken from the "How Great is Our God" tour that he did with Chris Tomlin. There are five short videos...they continue one after another, but if you have a few minutes, it's quite fascinating.

Here's the first one, and I'll add links to the other at the bottom to make it easy if you want to keep going. You can find them online, too, but these seem to have better sound quality than some of the other ones.

I've been mulling this over all week.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

And by the way, the quarterly Bloggy Giveaway starts TOMORROW!!! Don't be late. Enter those contests. Bookmark those blogs. Read those posts. Leave your comments! Win some stuff!

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

boys, boys, boys

Looking for answers on how to raise boys?

Ever wonder…
· Why can’t he sit still?
· Is he hearing a word I say?
· Why is he angry all the time?

Boys are born to be wild. Their strong spirit, endless imagination, and hunger for adventure are only matched by their deep desire to be affirmed, esteemed, and loved. In their new book Wild Things, therapists Stephen James and David Thomas help parents and educators understand what exactly makes boys tick.

And I know this looks like a long post, but if you're a parent of a boy, it'll read like the best novel you've ever had. Take a peek at what they have to say, and you'll wonder if they've been sitting in your living room, for crying out loud! Wild Things by Stephen James and David Thomas is a fabulous book...I'll have some of my own reflections in a later post, but here are some questions from readers that Stephen and David answer:

1. In your last book, How to Hit a Curveball, Grill the Perfect Steak, and Become a Real Man, you addressed a lot of fatherhood issues about rearing boys. How is your new book, Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, different?

How to Hit a Curveball felt like a perfect introduction to this book. That book challenges men to take a good look at themselves, their experience of being boys themselves and how they were (or weren’t) fathered. We strongly believe that men can’t father well outside of paying attention to their own stories. Whether we like it or not, we are all creatures of habit. We gravitate back toward what we know – good or bad. That book was an invitation to look a little closer at both.

Wild Things is an invitation to take a closer look at your son. This book is a comprehensive look at boy development from birth to young adulthood. In addition to laying out the biology of a boy, we also look at the mind of a boy and the heart of a boy. We break down what a boy needs from his mom and from his dad in every stage of his development. We also hit on all the hot topics surrounding boys, everything from the impact of media to substance abuse, the role of sports, and sex and dating.

2. The subject of Wild Things was inspired by Maurice Sendak’s classic tale Where the Wild Things Are. Why did you find this theme so appropriate?

If you read closely Sendak’s story, he brilliantly speaks to a boy’s hunger for risk and adventure, how boys crave power and purpose, and how they make sense of the world around them. Sendak’s portrait of boys felt so accurate to the two of us and a unique way of exploring and dissecting a boy’s inner world.

In Wild Things, we borrow from the passion and ethos of Sendak’s book and use that to provide insight and direction for parents, teachers, and mentors in what it means to love a boy well. We also try and give a lot of real life examples from our own lives and from the families we work with in our counseling practices.

3. You address five key stages that a boy goes through on his journey to becoming a man. What stage is the most difficult for most boys to navigate?

Each of the stages holds unique challenges. We worked hard to break down each stage in a way that is easy to digest. We think that that parents and educators will walk away with a clearer understanding of a boy’s unique design in each stage and some practical ideas in how to care for him within that stage of his development.

In many ways Wild Things is the kind of thing that you don’t just read once. It is more like an entertaining reference guide that parents and teachers can go back to time and time again for encouragement, insight, and direction.

But if we had to identify one stage as the most challenging, though, we’d have to say the Wanderer stage (13-17). This window of a young man’s development is plagued by physical and emotional change. A colleague of mine, who is pediatrician, said boys in this stage are 98% hormone, which translates to their being so emotional. A part of their developmental agenda is moving toward independence and pulling away. He’s often times the most distant and hard to read in this stage, which greatly complicates the process of letting him go and trusting him with more independence. And it is during this stage that is has the ability to make decisions that will effect the rest of his life. The risks are real and boys in this stage lack the ability to choose wisely with their future in sight.

4. Both of you are fathers of girls and boys. How is parenting a boy different from parenting a girl?

Parenting boys in the first three stages is just so physical. Parenting boys in these years requires a great deal of physical energy—and a good back. Whereas parenting our daughters is so much more relational and emotional. Both are exhilarating and exhausting, but in different ways.

When I (David) engage my daughter, it’s in sitting in a neighborhood coffee shop talking about her day at school. My boys can sit at the coffee shop long enough to finish a chocolate chip cookie, spill their milk and then we’re kicking a soccer ball across the street at the park.

We talk a lot in the book about boys in motion and how to engage these active, physical beings. Girls need that too, no doubt, but not in the same way boys need it.

We had our families together the other day over at my (Stephen’s) house. At one point all the kids went out in the front yard to play: five boys and two girls in all. There were a number of balls lying around the yard. The boys started playing soccer with one ball and the girls started playing soccer with another. After a few minutes the boys were trying to kick the ball at each other and the girls were off to the side talking to each other. To me that is a great picture of the differences.

5. What mistakes have parents and educators made in their approach to rearing and training boys?

For me (Stephen) the consistent mistake my wife and I make is that we over explain and over verbalize with our sons. This is a problem that is very common. In parenting boys, adults tend to talk to them and at them a great deal. We talk and talk and talk and end up sounding a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher. “Whah, whah, whah.” In Wild Things we offer a number of different strategies for engaging and educating boys that better match their unique design. Boys learn through experience and physical repetition. They need consistent firm boundaries and loads of encouragement.

As far as school goes we speak a lot in the book that the compulsory model we use for schooling in the United States is generally well-suited to a girl’s learning style. It’s heavy on verbal and written expression, two particular areas of strength for most girls. It involves a good deal of sitting still for extended periods of time with mostly auditory instruction. These methods don’t match a boy’s way of learning or draw on his learning strengths.

6. How did you come to the conclusions you discuss in Wild Things?

The book is a combination of science and research, clinical experience (our own as therapists and that of others), and our own journey of parenting five boys between the two of us.

As therapists, we have sat with thousands of men and boys over the years. Our hope was to bring their voices into the content of Wild Things. We have learned so much from the males we’ve had the great honor of working with and hoped to bring their stories into this text. In addition to those, we are still learning so much from living with five of our wild things.

7. At what age should parents discuss sex, homosexuality, and pornography with their boys?

You may be surprised to hear this answer, but we’d recommend beginning a dialogue around sexuality at the age of two. We aren’t recommending education around homosexuality and pornography at two. That begins typically around age 8-10, possibly earlier or later depending on the boy. But we are strong advocates of a healthy ongoing dialogue with every boy around the design of his body, sexuality, and boundaries in relationships in stage one. We lay out a good portion of this in the book to take some of the guess work out of it for parents, and we recommend some useful resources in further guiding you through this life long discussion. As boys grow older the conversation becomes more specific and more technical. Think of it like painting: it starts with broad brush strokes and then moves to finer detail. But as a rule, it starts way before most parents think it does.

8. What are the three most important factors in keeping a boy from experimenting with drugs?

We continue to see three common factors among young men that we’ve worked with who either abstain from using substances or experiment and then make a decision not to continue. The first would be a strong faith and core values. The second would be a strong family open to dialogue. The third would be strong relationships.

9. Who are the most important role models in a boy’s life?

There is no question that a boy’s parents play a foundational role in the man he becomes. In Wild Things we have a chapter that specifically address a mother’s relationship with her son as well as a chapter that addresses a father’s relationship with his son. But it doesn’t stop there for boys. There is great truth to the old African proverb that says “it takes a village.” We talk early in the book about how a boy begins to hunger for other voices and a part of our role is to put them in his way, so that he ends up with this community of individuals who believe in him and hold him up.

10. What kinds of things can a father do to bond with his son and raise him to be emotionally mature?

One of the first things we’d challenge a dad to do is to pay attention to his own story. That was a central purpose in our book How to Hit a Curve Ball, Grill the Perfect Steak and Become a Real Man: Learning the Lessons our Fathers Never Taught Us. Unless we understand how our stories inform who we are as men, husbands, and fathers, we stand to make a number of significant mistakes with our own sons. So before a man starts making a list of things to “do” with his son, we’d encourage him to start with himself. That step doesn’t involve his son at all, but is one of the most powerful ways to love and care for him.

That step gives way to the second step. In order for a father to raise an emotionally mature young man, he must be an emotionally healthy man himself. A boy desperately needs a dad who has an interior life. Our culture is flooded with emotionally stunted, emotionally damaged males. There’s no shortage there. Men have a responsibility to lead their son’s in living from their hearts. Women can’t really teach boys how to do this. Mom’s can invite it and encourage it, but the action of it must be modeled by a man.

Thirdly, we’d challenge dads to study his son in search of his boy’s definition of enjoyment. That’s different for every boy. We both have a set of twin boys. Two males with identical genetic ingredients and yet the outcome couldn’t be any more different. These guys, born within minutes of one another, have different passions, different strengths, and different longings. And they experience enjoyment in some similar ways as well as some different ways. We are both on a long journey of discovering what that is. Just as soon as we get a handle on it, it can change just as his development does. So it’s a long journey of studying these boys and pursuing their passions and their hearts.

11. People often talk about the father’s role in teaching a boy to be a man, but a mother’s relationship is important too. What are some mistakes a mother can make?

A mother’s role is so very important. That message is woven throughout Wild Things. There is so much to the answer to this question. You’ll need to read the book to get a comprehensive look at your role throughout his development. We talk a lot with mom’s about two unique callings within their role, both of which lend themselves to mistakes and potential harm to the mother-son relationship. To boil it down though to a couple of things we would say 1) The first is being safe and 2) the second is letting go. We break both of those down in great detail within the book. By being safe we mean a mothers ability to let her son be a boy. By letting go we mean a mother’s willingness to let her boy become a man. We speak a whole lot more to this throughout the book. It’s such a big question, and an important question for moms to consider.

12. If you could give once piece of advice to parents and educators reading this book, what would it be?

The study of a boy is such a worthwhile use of your time and resources. Boys are complex, imaginative, mysterious, brilliant, challenging, creative, strong, tender, courageous beings—and each is unique. Parenting and educating them is a wonderful, difficult, complex, enjoyable, physical, emotional, delightful, maddening journey. Our hope is that Wild Things is a useful guide along that journey.

If we have to give one piece of advice it would be for parents and educators to continue to invest in their own emotional and spiritual maturity. Growing yourself is the best gift you can give a boy you love.


You’ve gained some valuable advice, but there’s more! If you would like to learn more from these parenting experts about raising boys, you can order a copy of Wild Things through

Based on clinical research, Stephen James and David Thomas have filled Wild Things with practical tips and suggestions for parents. They guide readers through the five stages of a boy’s development, providing an overview and explanation of each stage, followed by a plan to put new principles into action. Pick up a copy today!

Stephen James, M.A., and David Thomas, M.S.S.W., are speakers, authors, and therapists who work directly with boys and their families. They also travel around the country, speaking on parenting and marriage communication, and they have been dynamic guests on CBN’s Living the Life, Good Day Atlanta, WGN Midday News, Moody’s Midday Connection, and other radio programs coast to coast. Learn more at

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

party, party, party

Oh, I can't believe it! My TWO YEAR blogoversary went by two days ago! Totally unnoticed. WHAT was I thinking? I was going to have a big party, a giveaway, and blog ALL DAY.

Oh yeah. It was Sunday, and we spent most of the day cooking and eating with the kids who were over. AND we had D-boy and T-boy over, the rowdiest little grandsons you ever did see.

Do you not see the mischief in their eyes? They're the older two, on the right. Dal was over, too, and he can be just as crazy. Ya gotta love 'em!

The day went by in a blur.

Well, it was sort of a party. And we gave away all our energy and our time, because by the end of the day, my honey and I between us had about as much oomph as mushy toast. I didn't get online much at all, either, so I had to watch the We Are One broadcast (from HBO) online on Monday.

Happy blogoversary to me...but even better than a two-year party is all the awesome bloggers I've gotten to know (and meet) over the last two years. The stories I've learned, the connections I've made, the people I've prayed for, the friends and crafters and moms and business women I've met...I could go on and on. THAT is the best part of two years of blogging for me.

Today? I wish I was in D.C. partying at the Neighborhood Ball. When I watched President Obama (doncha love the sound of that?) and the First Lady dance their first dance, it was so tender...when it was over, I realized I had tears running down my cheeks. Beautiful.

Monday, January 19, 2009

my gee girl

I'm home today, and getting paid, thank you very much. One benefit of working for the state! I appreciate the holiday AND its reason, but I'm doing mundane things at home to celebrate.

Like I'm making Karen's dragon snap cookies. Those little puppies are so addicting. I'm giving you a friendly warning, in case you want to try them yourself. I'd send you over to her blog for the recipe, but it's down for reconstruction. So I'll post it for you in case you didn't get it before. These are sooooooo GOOD!

In fact Gail wanted some to take back to her dorm with her. But she left yesterday. She's coming back this way for a short time today for a birthday party, so I'm trying to tempt her to come home--with dragon snaps! She loves them, too.

So just for fun, here's what I told her.

me (11:28 AM): guess what I'm making! hint: they have molasses in them!

gail (11:34 AM): YUM

me (11:34 AM): if you stop can take some with you :D

(I got no reply, so I got a little desperate and threw some bait out there for her)

me (11:39 AM): except the only problem is...I want to eat them as fast as I make them. help!

gail (11:44 AM): NO DON'T EAT THEM ALL

me (11:59 AM): lol. I'm trying to behave myself. They're such tasty little morsels, tho. I keep wavering. Yes! have another one. No! save some. yes! no! YES! NO!

gail (12:11 PM): Wow

me (12:12 PM): lol. just letting a little weirdness out. it builds up and you get too much inside. i feel much better now. can't wait to see you--rofl

She still hasn't answered me yet. Maybe I scared her off!! Ha! Well, if she doesn't show, I'll have her share of the dragon snaps for consolation.

Here are your directions for making delicious dragon snaps:

karen's dragon snaps

2 c flour
1 1/2 T ground ginger
2 t soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper *
1/8 t ground cayenne *
1 large egg
1/4 c molasses
3/4 c shortening
1 c + 2 T sugar

1/3 c sugar & cinnamon combined

* maximum suggested amount—and I definitely use the max. d

Combine all dry ingredients except sugar. Use mixer to blend in beaten egg and molasses. Then mix in shortening. I'm not a huge fan of shortening, but I use all vegetable shortening in these. It's what works best.

Then mix in sugar a little at a time.

Pat into a big ball in bowl and place on counter (no need to flour counter). Go over with a rolling pin a little to flatten and form into rectangle, then cut into cubes (between 3/4 and 1" cube).

Short note from daisy: I’m not so good at cutting straight lines, so I use a melon baller to scoop each cookie out of the bowl, and drop it into the cinnamon sugar mix. I get more evenly sized cookies.

Roll each cube into a ball, then roll in cinnamon sugar and place on cookie sheet. Place on center rack. Bake 7-8 minutes at preheated 330 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool just a bit, then move with spatula to counter. Cookies this small will burn easily. After baking, these will be around 2" wide. Depending on your oven, you may have to adjust time and temperature.

Delicious with coffee. Makes your home smell scrumptious. Store in tightly sealed container - these store very well.

Store them away quickly before you start eating them and suddenly realize they have all disappeared!

a legacy of hope

Martin Luther King, Jr. I don't remember anything about him myself. I was only eight when he died. I might have heard about it, but I'm not sure. Maybe in school, but I don't remember my parents ever discussing anything about current events or politics. I don't remember hearing about JFK or his assassination either.

It's amazing to me how one man can have such an impact on society. Today we celebrate one man's legacy. Tomorrow we celebrate the inauguration of another man who I suspect is going to leave a legacy as well.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

random photo

Brittany posted a random photo challenge over at her blog, so I joined the fun. I love this picture. I don't know why...I just do. You can see it a little better if you click on it.

do we ever get tired of talking about the weather?

It was FIFTY degrees warmer today than it was yesterday morning!! Minus 35 yesterday, and fifteen above today. (That's fifty, right? A math genius I am not.) That is amazing to me. Even if I do live in Minnesota where odd weather things happen all the time.

Do you know what I miss most around this time of year? My garden! I'm having serious greenery deprivation. I think the cure for that might be the Como Park Conservatory. Going there is like a short tropical vacation. Every once in a while, my honey and I will make a day of it.

We take our cameras, go early to the conservatory while it's somewhat quiet, and spend some time soaking in the warmth. We go have lunch someplace we haven't been before, and maybe go for a little scenic drive.

It's so funny, because when I think back, I remember my mom and dad going for a drive in the mountains for something to do. I thought they were crazy to just to drive and look at the scenery. They could stay at home and look out the window, I thought, and then I could just skip right over the carsickness I got from the winding roads.

Now, I understand! Sometimes you have to take a little trip out of the everyday and just revel in beauty. How refreshing. But if I think about it, I'm about the age my mom was when I was old enough to remember. I thought her life was a little on the boring side. But now I've come full circle, because I love that kind of thing. And my kids, I'm sure, think it's just a little lame! Too funny.

Sometimes, though, you just have to savor the everday, too. Like today, for example, our little trip is going to be to the grocery store for our two weeks worth of food and supplies. It'll take us a few hours, I'm sure, because when we go together, we are putsy. We take our time and look at what's there, we talk about recipes we want to try--we're both Food Network junkies--and we try to stay under our budget.

This week, we're throwing in a few recipes from Paula Deen's Quick and Easy Meals magazine. How about spinach and turkey stuffed shells? Or a new recipe for Broccoli Cheese Soup, with a side of grilled cheese sandwiches? And then a couple of standby favorites like homemade chicken and dumplings and pasty? It's going to be a good two weeks.

Bon appetit!

Friday, January 16, 2009

snow day

Thirty five below zero this morning. My car didn't start. I had my own personal little cold weather day at home. I could hear the trees cracking when I brought Augie Doggie out for his little morning excursion. It's not fit for man nor beast out there.

On the bright side, there's a three day weekend ahead, and the inauguration on Tuesday. Do ya think the inauguration coverage is going to preempt American Idol? I'm thinking not, since the event itself is happening in the middle of the day.

It's supposed to warm up this weekend. Actually, it's supposed to warm up to thirteen degrees ABOVE zero tonight at about 3 am. And then we're supposed to be in the twenties and thirties next week. In the positive.

The cold weather makes me sluggish. I've had about enough of January, with its sickie germs and wicked weather.

Gee thinks I'm slightly out of sorts, and she accused me of having an attitude just like E-girl's. I, of course, denied having any such attitude. That's one of the things about having an attitude. You never acknowledge that you have it. That just takes all the air out of it. Of course you can say the same thing about being foolish. In fact they usually go hand in hand. Hmmm, I can see I'm digging myself a hole, here. I think I'll go check the temperature or something before I totally put my foot in it.

Have a lovely warm evening.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

let me just say.....brrrrrrrrr!!

Another frigid day in paradise. Twenty-seven below zero this morning. My car groaned and growled before it would start, complaining about having to get up and go today. I can't say I blame him. I would have rather stayed in bed myself.

The district cancelled school for K-12 classes, and that is the first time E-girl has complained about a snow day. Ever. She has a game tomorrow night, so she's worried about missing her practice tonight. They've won their last two games, by the way! Not bad for a first-year team. I missed both those games. Do you think I'm a jinx? I hope not, because I'm going tomorrow to cheer her on.

And yes, my car is a "him". Why shouldn't it be? Guys always call their cars "she", so why not? I haven't named him yet...haven't thought of an equivalent to Bessy or Betsy. Any suggestions, bloggers? What do you call a man-car?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

a good news bad news kinda day

This morning at six o'clock, our local bank website said it was -24° F! That's right. Twenty-four lovely frosty degrees BELOW zero! Tell me again why I live in Minnesota? This is crazy. That's NOT the good news, by the way.

I grew up in Colorado, and the weather was much more temperate there. We'd get snow, sometimes a lot of it, but the temperature didn't stay frigid for long. Here it's like you have to hunker down in your long johns and woolly socks and not plan on getting out of them for a good few months.

My car started without much complaining. That's good news, especially in the cold.

Then I brought my breakfast to work this morning because I didn't want to be late...cereal in a baggie, and milk in a bowl with a twist-on cover. I really have to be more careful of how I carry my little cooler/lunch bag. It had tipped over on the seat. And those Rubbermaid bowls, well, if you don't twist those covers on tightly, let's just say they're not very liquid-tight. Half the milk was puddled on the seat of my car underneath the tipped over lunch cooler. I had nothing to wipe it up with, so I had to just leave it and hope it would freeze before it soaked in. I know. Isn't that lame? I'll clean it later. Yeah, back to bad news, I know.

Then after I got inside and when I looked in the little soft-sided cooler, most of the rest of the milk was in the bottom of that. Grrrr. There was about four teaspoons of milk left in the little non-liquid-tight bowl. It just rocked back and forth in the bottom of the bowl, taunting me. Good news? Not yet.

I will tell you, I was so tempted to pour my cereal into my lunch bag and eat it out of there, but it smelled like a bad banana. I dunked one frosted mini-wheat into the milk to try it, and I think I could have braved the little fuzzies and stale sandwich crumbs (okay, not really...blggghh), but I do not like banana-flavored milk under the best of circumstances. So my breakfast was limited. I cannot eat frosted mini-wheats without milk. Too grainy. Too dry. Ah, well, it's probably good for me to eat a little less. :) Kinda good news.

But oh! On a happier note, I got a delayed Christmas surprise from my Wyoming boys--their PRESENCE!!!! They ventured back home on their seven-day off stretch. They just walked in the house last night. I think they heard me shrieking all the way in town. Oh, what a sight for sore eyes they were. Those stinkers. So sneaky. YES!! That's the goooooood news! Real good news.

They've been in town since Friday. Sadly, that is the same evening Otis, a friend of theirs who Rob used to work with, was killed in a snowmobiling accident. Not a nice thing to come home to at all. Yeah, we're back to the bad news. Why is life always such a good news/bad news kind of thing?

Friday, January 9, 2009

can I just whine?

Just a little? You don't have to read it, but I wanna whine anyway.

Today. sucked.

I got up on time this morning and took some ibuprofen right away. I was coughing like crazy. I forgot to use the nebulizer to tame down the asthma. I ate a little breakfast. I packed a lunch.

I was ROASTING by the time I left--thanks to the ibuprofen. So I just grabbed my jacket over my arm and headed to work.

Halfway to work, I looked a little closer, and I had picked up Gee's jacket, which is the SAME COLOR as mine, but a much smaller size. She's like a little Barbie doll or something, and trying to put her coat on would have been like a clip from Tommy Boy, where Chris Farley has the other guy's coat on, and starts singing, "fat guy in a little coat..." I knew I was toast.

I had to walk about a block to get inside at work, which wasn't bad in the morning because I was still warm! AND I got into a warm building right away. Leaving on the other hand, was much worse. I was cold from sitting down all day in a (silent) office, and after I walked the block in the cold air and wind, I had to get into a cold car and wait for it to warm up. Brrrrrr!

Which also meant that all of my good stuff that I keep in my coat pockets was all sitting at home, too. My chapstick, my mints, my inhaler, clippers, little lotion bottle, hand sanitizer, AND my wallet with my license--oh yeah. All at home.

So all day long, I'm sitting in the office with two people who don't talk, and I'm coughing. And trying not to cough. And coughing some more. And once in a while one of them heaves a big sigh, but I have no idea what about. I don't know them well enough to talk about the coughing. Or anything else, for that matter.

But maybe we're more alike than I think. (Me and the quiet people, that is.) They sent out a trivia contest on our work email as part of some employee appreciation days. I looked at it and thought I knew most of them, but finished my little project first. Then I filled it out and sent it back in.

I had all the right answers, but someone else sent theirs back in with the right answers before I did. Who won? The girl who sits behind me in the quiet office!! So close! But we both did it without saying anything that we were doing it. LOL

I could hear the ladies in the next office. They were all talking about their answers as they went. I could hear them talking, too, after they found out the name of the person who won. "Who's that?" they said. "Who?" And after they figured it out, they had to come to the door and peek at her nametag on her desk to make sure. Right in front of her. People are so funny.

Oh, and just for a little cleanup, I'm sending The Voice New Testament that I reviewed to Faith. That giveaway was left hanging a little while out there. Just another falling domino that I didn't catch when I got sick.

But on the bright side, my honey found my little orange and purple pouch for me. I lost that in the hubbub. Misplaced it, anyway, and he knew right where it was. What a gem. He's one of the bright spots in my day.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

ambushed by a virus

Is it my imagination, or are the viruses getting nastier? I just barely felt something coming on Friday afternoon, and by the time I went to bed Friday night, I was shivering with the chills so badly that I could barely hold my glass of water to take my ibuprofen with. It's been like that the whole rest of the weekend.

Mugs was over, and we got a little scrapbooking done yesterday between ibuprofen doses. I'd take some, feel a little burst of energy, and quick get done what I could. By the time four hours was up, I was shivering again.

It moved down into my chest real quick. I'm coughing like crazy. I've been going around the house disinfecting doorknobs right and left. I'm afraid of spreading this one around.

Last night I moved the portable heater next to my side of the bed because I was so cold. It's crazy. I haven't been this sick since forever.

I cooked up a mess of food today because Mugs' family was coming for dinner, and to pick her up and take her home. We had four teenagers, a wanna-be teenager, a baby, a couple adults, Mugs, and my honey and I. I think the walls were rattling, moving in and out like the bass beat of a drum. They could probably hear us in the city.

I looked at my honey when they all left. "Dear." He looked at me. I said, "Sshhhhhhh...listen!" He tilted his head, and I whispered, "It's quiet again." It's hard to believe that the noise level in our house used to be loud like that ALL THE TIME. Like right up until ten o'clock at night. No wonder we never used to try to watch TV. You couldn't hear it anyway!

Now the food is gone, the crowds are gone, the animals are all knocked out - resting up from avoiding the chaos, probably. Most of them make themselves scarce when there are visitors over, especially if they are a little loud or boisterous.

It's only 9 pm now, and I have nothing to do but get ready for bed! And maybe scrap a few more pages in the peace and quiet. I'm between ibuprofen doses, so I have to take full advantage while I feel halfway human.