Robert Frost

The best way out is always through.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Random Wednesday: Scrummy! and a request, pretty please

I simply love Christmas time but for whatever reason I cannot get myself reeved up for doing much. It has taken me two weeks to decorate the house (no, not a necessity, but you can't help the cozy, lovely, cheering factor it brings).  Today I am gathering up my holiday recipes and putting my cookie gift list together and plan to keep the Kitchen Aid mixer busy this week to the weekend and get a move on it finally...here's hoping, ask me later, keep me accountable. 

One recipe I had to pull out sooner than the rest was the one I will share with you today.  I have made these almost every year for the holidays, but for some reason the girls just discovered them last year and in an unprecedented move---they agreed!---that they were their favorite holiday cookie amongst my repertoire (oooh, I just typed repertoire, ....uh, yep and I spell checked it and I spelled it right too).  I have made two batches since Thanksgiving and now I will share the recipe with you:
Okay, these ARE great cookies, but not a great pic

Libby's Great Pumpkin Cookie (and it is,....great that is)

2 C flour
1C quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 C butter or margarine softened
1 C firmly packed brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C Libby's solid packed pumpkin
1 C semi-sweet real chocolate morsels

Pre-heat oven 350. Combine flour, oats, cinnamon and salt in a med. sized bowl.  In a large bowl cream butter; gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; mix well.  Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in morsels.  Drop spoonfuls (1-2 tbsp) onto lightly greased cookie sheet (I line mine with parchment paper.)  Bake for 18-20 min until cookies are firm and lightly browned.  Depending on size you bake, this batch can make 3-4 dozen.  Let cool and keep in airtight container. 

I don't know how long they last in the airtight container because ours are gone in a week.  AND it MUST be said that tho' they are good warm, they are at their best the day after...super moist, not overly pumpkin-y, and such chocolatel-y oat-y goodness in a modest cookie. 

Now my request: If you have any holiday family favorite recipes, please share, and if I must be greedy please post a pic.  But, I understand the time it takes to type recipes up so if you can just share the name of the cookie and a possible link to a recipe...I love gathering in good ideas and fun new recipes for the holidays.  Thank you dear friends.   God's blessings to you as you enjoy your Christmastime.

In Christ,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

General Randomness (since I missed "Random Wednesday")

Okay, it must be said that I am a fan of the Today Show....when I went to New York City (ever so brief 3 days in June of 2003) a must on my list was trying to see the then hosts, Katie, Matt, Ann and Al (Today show hosts) and stand around waving to the camera as part of the mass of people that hovers about the show and from time to time (it is a 4 hour morning program) gets face time when they scan the crowd.  I watch it most mornings (while I and Sophia breakfast) and it is on in the back ground while I work around the house. 

So, anyway, my randomness today is inspired by one of the guests on the show today....none other than Gene Simmons of the band Kiss (no, I confess that I am not a fan).  But in promoting his reality show (hey, everyone has one now) "Family Jewels" he shared that while touring in Amsterdam this summer he was deeply moved by the Anne Frank museum (as his own mom survived the concentration camps and was the same age at the same time as Anne, 13 yo).  Then even more than promoting his show he took a soap box moment and said that every school aged child should read her diary (and I agreed) and get a true idea of the toll of the holocaust and a moving representation of the lives involved in the ordeal. 

It reminded me of the first time I read her diary.  I was 13 and staying with my Dad for part of the summer and saw the small book amongst his mostly war, weapons and other "manish" books and was immediately intrigued having never heard of her.  I tore through the book and felt as if I was sneaking into someone's private thoughts....and, I WAS.  I read the book in a day (such were my summers) and missed Anne in the end.  Only, then did I realize it was all true and shared so lovingly by her father Otto Frank who saw that his daughter had left a part of herself that gave a relatable face and heart to a time and people who endured in the most dark part of recent history. 

Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

In Christ,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random Wednesday: Thanksgiving Throwdown! and 2 days until Harry Potter

Yep, get ready for a great throwdown tonight folks!  Ree Drummond aka the Pioneer Woman (see her blog on my sidebar) will surely be defeating Iron Chef Bobby Flay tonight on the Food Network's Throwdown.  I will be watching, of course, courtesy of my DVR (I thank the Lord that this contraption was invented...commerical free since 2006, oh yeah!).  Right now I am actually busy doing Ree's Thanksgiving dressing since we are celebrating early with my Dad in San Antonio this weekend.  It is, of course, delish. 

Her quote: My Name Is Ree
I'm a desperate housewife. I live in the country. I channel Lucille Ball, Vivien Leigh, and Ethel Merman. Welcome to my frontier!
And I might just add that there are only two days until Harry Potter and we are even dragging my Dad to see it....yes, quality time there people.  Have a great week!

In Christ,

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Boy Who Lived...my countdown to Friday

I can't tell you how much I have toiled over this post, or how ridiculously silly I feel saying so, but seeing as the day to the US premiere of the Harry Potter film is approaching (November 19th at a theater near YOU..I am sure!) I want to be on task about something bloggy around here, and yes, please excuse me, I chose Harry Potter...and if you have not met him...Please, pretty please, let me introduce you. 
Harry and his owl, Hedwig

I have watched Harry Potter from when it first came out in 2001 and so enjoyed the movies, that finally, this past summer, Harry Potter in JK Rowling's words, was a constant companion on my nightstand.  And, I even got my hubby to crack open the last large tome (7th book) in order to be "in the know" for these last two movies. 

I know, I know.  Yes, I am nearly 40....a late comer to the Harry Potter fan base for sure.  No one that knows me would expect to find me tucked in bed late at night pouring over this book series, or hoping to be the first in line for the movie.   I find myself missing Harry, Ron and Hermione (the main 3 characters) and reading/watching their friendship be tested evolve, and strengthen.   
The trio in the their Hogwarts common room

 Author J.K. Rowling deftly weaves her tale of Harry (The Boy Who Lived) the unloved and unappreciated orphan raised by unkind aunt and uncle, who only until he turns 11, finds he has all along had magical powers passed down to him by his wizard mom and dad, who died fighting the "evil" wizard Lord Voldemort and his lot of dastardly followers.  And though Harry was not but a year old He Lived!, tho' Voldemort tried to strike him down, because his mother shielded him from the curse and in her death her love saved Harry and took out Voldy....or so they thought...this is where the first book starts. 

From the first book to the last we join Harry in discovering this wizarding world that is a marvel of author JK Rowling's wonderful imagination.  Hogwarts (boarding/wizarding school that young wizards in training attend beginning at age 11) comes to life, set in an enchanted castle in the hills of Scotland, Quidditch is a thrilling sport, Rowling's complete creation, as it is played on broomsticks, and Diagon Alley is a shopping wizard's "downtown" of sorts that is "magically" tucked away from Muggles (we non-magical folk) off one of central London's narrow alleys.....BUT before I lose you amidst the new words, places, and names in the book you must know that the strongest themes in all the books are the triumph of Good over evil, Friendship, Faith, Courage, Loyalty, and above all Love. 
Diagon Alley

I loved that the books, though taking us into a wizarding world did not involve any Satanic leanings....simply the truths of good vs. evil.  That the wizarding world is a combo of the old fashioned principles + magic.  There is not a TV, computer, smartphone or even rotary dial to be found in Hogwarts.  Harry and the lot send notes on parchment carried by messenger owls, roaring fires light and warm all the rooms, and they dine by candlelight (albeit magical candles that float above their heads in the great hall's rafters, like stars). 
Hogwarts Great Hall alighted

I even delighted in being immersed in the language of some English colloquialisms and Rowling-speak like when a character has a "crazy" idea, he is being "mental", or when a "whoa!" could be exclaimed we hear a "Merlin's beard!"  I found myself wishing I could say "Accio"-purse (accio being a fetching charm to bring things to you), such was the magic of the literary world I became familiar with. 

So, there you go....my explanation of why I have a giddy anticipation for the forthcoming film and wish I could be in the crazy cold line at the first night's midnight showing but my reality of 3 kiddos needing sleep on a school night and me, well, being almost 40 and I most certainly needs my beauty sleep...SO I will be there at a more respectable time on the first DAY, and maybe just maybe sporting the Harry spectacles with a lightening bolt drawn on my forehead in honor of the occasion...

as always

In Christ,

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Random Wednesday: Here's my "Present" to you!

Wow, is it Wednesday already!  Yikes, my random Wed. idea is not quite ready but oh, hey, how about a random product endorsement: the present by Philosophy.
Now, I will confess to you that I have some problem skin.  Here's hoping this isn't TMI (too much information) but I don't just have oily skin in just my "T" zone,  all zones become equally glossy.  And as time would have it, my pores have grown too...ah, lovely isn't it.  But the other day a TV personality (who I assume would have a team of experts behind her on-air persona) endorsed this product and now I stand behind her too.   

The make-up promises an even airbrushed look and no, this is not a face lift in a bottle, but a small amount of this light white cream goes on clear, with a pleasant lavender smell.  A couple of minutes after application you can put on your regular make-up with a clean canvas to start your make-up ritual.  My usual make-up time used to be spent blotting and applying my foundation as I go, and now after I wait the two minutes after putting on "the present" I have an improved skin tone and less oily-ness. 

The highlighted link above will link you to Amazon but I noticed most places selling the 2oz. cream are charging the same $25.  It is a little more than I like to spend but thankfully a little has gone a long way for me.  Hope it is a helpful tip and if anyone else would like to share their beauty hints, tips, or secrets...I would be glad to get some and share it too! 

Happy bloggin'!

In Christ,

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

You can call me "ma'am": Random Wednesday

Hello dear friends....How about Random Wednesday?  As the title states, on Wednesdays I will post maybe, let's say a recipe, a pondering, a poll, a scripture that has impressed me and I want to share but something generally random.  I am mostly doing this as a way to keep abloggin' along and in touch with blog buddies.  I am going to post on our girls' getaway but I just got the photos from my mom and was delayed a bit.  Thanks friends for hanging in there with me.  Happy Wednesday!

"Sophia, stand over here and take a picture with Buddy, OK?"
"Yes, ma'am," Sophia
"Woof!" Buddy
I wish I could remember in which magazine I read the article.  But I DO remember the title of the article was "Don't call me Ma'am!"  In it the woman was relaying how after her move from someplace in the Northeast (US) to Texas she was barraged by the "ma'am's" from cashiers, sales people and even people her own age and disparaged the term in regards to the age it added to her.  She stated that these folk were somehow putting her down assuming she was older and especially those seemingly her age were using the term to pigeon hole her.  Hmmm

I guess I can understand this.  But then I think to my own encounters with the increased frequency of hearing "ma'am" in my general direction....and I have to say....I was pleased with the term. Maybe the difference for me was growing up in Texas and at times be referred to as a "ma'am" even as an 8 year old or so by my "elders" (you know teenagers and above) and understanding it as a polite-ness. 

Then, I distinctly recall meeting my dear hubby for the first time and noting his high frequency of referring to men and women as "sir" and "ma'am".  Was it his honeyed Texas drawl and wide smile that won me over?  Well, yeah, that is highly possible, but I KNOW for a fact that it was the respect he used with the term coupled with his easy use of "please" and "thank you".   In a time when you go to a fast food place, store, movie and instead of a "pardon me" you get a "huh?" from the employee of the joint, or when you say "Thank you" you hear a "Uh-huh" instead of "your welcome".  I would much rather hear people step up to the plate of civility and offer a "Hello, Ma'am, may I help you?" or a "You're welcome" in these days of "Whatever" being an everyday response (yes, that term drives me up the walls). 

But one more thing....My husband and I do teach the girls to use these terms of politeness in their everyday responses and yet we also address them with the same terms.  Now, don't get me wrong in thinking we are the height of following our "p's" and "q's" but we try all the way around.  So when I beckon to Anna in her room to help Sophia with something while I am cooking dinner she most times answers, "Yes, Ma'am!" and that is music to this mom's ears.

trying to mind my p's and q's,

Friday, October 22, 2010

Girls' Getaway!

I have been having blogging pains....always thinking of the next thing I want to blog about...I start to type, then cringe when I know I want to add pictures (is it just me or is downloading pictures a hassle and a half for anyone else?).   So I still have much I want to post and share, but right now, it's Friday and I need to pack for a road trip with some dear sweet family friends. 

I love a girls' getaway but I am a sap because I know I will miss my family.   There will be 11 of us for the "Just Us Girls Sharing" weekend ( I had to slip that in there because last week on the Today Show morning show, I saw a jolly group of ladies with this club's name acronym on their shirts....and I just thought it was kinda of funny and cute).  We will be touring our lovely Texas Hill Country area through spots like Fredericksburg, Comfort, Rocksprings, Vanderpool and the Three Sisters Scenic drive....all with a tea time stop and a BBQ stop, of course. 

It is very probable that I will blog about it....and possibly cringe a bit as I try to post all the photos I am sure to be taking.  Here's hoping y'all have a lovely weekend and we all catch up when I get back.   Happy trails.

In Christ,

Monday, October 4, 2010

A miracle

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I have asked of Him."
1 Samuel 1:27

Today my "baby" is 4.  Can I officially call her a baby?...I  can still pick her up and cradle her in my arms.  ?....No?... I guess not because when I do this she giggles and comments, "Momma, you are holding me like a baby!"....I ask, "Is that okay?"...she smiles and says, "O'course!".  She is a miracle. 

A rare Feb. 2010 snow, our pasture
Much like my two step-daughters are a miracle.  Like my marriage is a miracle to me.  Let me back track to say that I don't just call anything a miracle, but I also see the miraculous in maybe some everyday things.  You see, I can still remember by biggest hopes even as a young teen were to be married, have a large family, and live on a farm.  

Helpin' daddy on the farm
I do now live on a farm, and I was thoroughly single until I met my husband to be (blind date set up by my sister--which is a pretty cool story by itself)....I mean the miracle here was that he was my first boyfriend ever...and I was 29!  On our second date I told him how I so desired to have about 6 kiddos, and without a missing a beat (even as a divorced, single-father of two precious toddlers) he said, "Well we have two, four to go." 
Sara and Sophia in footy pajamas, winter 2008

Sophia and Anna, she's one year old

Then after we got married we started praying, trying and hoping for our third (my first biologically).  For nearly two years and some testing (we both checked out fine) we kept hoping and hoping.  I will be honest to say there were a lot of tears on my part...especially at a certain time of the month. 

Westminster Abbey, August 2009
Then, I so particularly remember one Sunday in January of 2006....we were at our favorite brunch place after church and I was a week "late" (even though I have always been, let's say "irregular")and I felt elated.  I remember as we waited for our order I looked at David and said, "Um, I think we are pregnant."  He sweetly smiled and said, "Yep, I think we are." somehow knowingly.  A week after that I went to my OB/GYN and it was official, Sophia was on the way, after months and months....our miracle.
Sisters+Cousins=Happy times, Christmas 2008
October came and Sophia was born....joy of joys for us all!...but my body took the pregnancy as a stress (and I'd only gained 19 pounds) and Lupus set in.  As I am regularly checked on by my doctors and I am on medication to maintain my symptoms (mostly affecting my skin and particularly my hands), I feel fine, but have found out that the Lupus may complicate us getting pregnant again.  If, Lord willing, I do get pregnant, it may exacerbate my symptoms, but thankfully should not affect the womb.  But for these last 3 and some years of praying and hoping we have not had our joyous news again. 

"What are you doing Sophia?", I ask....she says, "I am a fashion model, reading"
Every child is a miracle.   But, I count the privilege of carrying a healthy child dearly as a miracle too.  And seeing Sophia as she grows each step of the way is miraculous to me indeed.  I enjoy the little person she is with her own personality, her likes, dislikes and foibles.  So, here's to my joy and miracle: four things (plus)
Sophia turns 2
1. She loves gingerbread cake (her description for both gingerbread and chocolate cake)
2. When it is time to nap or she is tired she tells us, "I think I need to chill now"

Sophia in Seville, Spain (June 2008)
3. Instead of saying something she says, "sum-ping"
4. Lately when she says her prayers she adds, "I pray for my big red dog (we don't own one, she is praying for her fave cartoon character, Clifford), and a tractor", so for her party we made a Clifford cake, and yep, she got a tractor....look at her go (and grow).

She's a country girl
PLUS:  the other day when she rummaged through her hefty stash of dress up clothes (thanks to her big sisters) she put on the barbie bride dress and said, "look momma, it is my wedding.".   I told her that yes, it is a wedding dress and asked, "Do you know what a wedding is?"...she said, "a birthday party."  I told her that when she gets bigger and meets a man after God's own heart and they love each other, she would marry him and be with him like I am with daddy, and they would have their own home and maybe she would have babies of her own.......She furrowed her brow and looked quite serious and said, "I don't want to have my birthday and get bigger and be married, momma.  I want to stay little and always be with you." Gulp, words to a mom-of-a-toddler ears.... I told her, "Of course you will be with us for a long time still", as I hugged her.  Then, no lie, she grasped my face in her two little hands and said, "Momma I love you so much, always." Double gulp... I love her to the moon and back.   

She mommy's Barnes & Noble buddy too!
We love you pill!

In Christ,

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Praise the Lord!!!! Thank you to my dear blog friends for sticking it out with me and checking in.  It means so much because for the last two months my modem has been ailing and I so dearly missed my bloggy buddies and getting in touch with anyone via e-mail (I live in the boonies/sticks).  I finally stopped being stubborn and called my Internet provider (we can only get it satellite out here) and waited and waited (over three days with about a total of 4 hours phone waiting time) and voila...the problem was a on-the-fritz-modem.  I was completely offline for the last week, and today the modem (covered by warranty!!) arrived and little ol' me was so eager, I connected it myself. 

Here I be, ready to read, blog (thoughts on fall acomin', Harry Potter, and baking), and surf the web....but now it is Homecoming week for the girls (mum making, much chauffeuring, and general busyness) and my little girl at home is turning 4!!!  I will blog all, ready or not. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer? Where did you go?

Here are our lovely school age girls ready for the first day back to school. Anna ready for.....HIGH SCHOOL!!! Yikes-o-rama, I said high school.

And our second oldest, ever so ready for 7th grade, goodness me.

Officially our summer is over and though I have kept busy, where did it go? After David injured his left foot, bloggy time was to a minimum. He still did a lot of engineering work, but was at home for a month (worked via computer) and needed quite a bit of help for a while, understandably. I can now thankfully report that after a few scares (infection and mobilitywise) he can bear weight on the foot without crutches or medical boot and his toe is looking closer to normal. Praise the Lord!

We fully intended a low key family vacation (camping in the New Mexico mountains, near where my David grew up) this year, but canceled at the last minute as we found out that Anna's summer was shortened by her new volleyball schedule. She is an involved high schooler, whose school schedule will now take over the whole of August for the next few years.

Here is a brief (I will try) recap of our summer's doings:

How much wet family fun can you have for $35?

Well my week-before-school-was-out-purchase of this water slide (not truly made for bigger than 10 year olds) was worth it even though we only got 3 uses out of it before some mondo super jumps from the kiddos over the height and weight limit broke its seams and caused some holes I could not repair.  A couple of weekends we had my sister's kids out to also test it's limits....good clean fun was had by all.
Sophia, and her cousins, Sam and Katie enjoy some cool treats
 But I was thankful as it made for some close to home cheap family fun (I would have spent more on this gang in three trips at our local water park). And I got to hang out with my mom and mom-in-law. I am blessed with these two loving ladies in my life...thus we casually celebrated Memorial Day weekend.

PAR-TAY!!!! Sara turned 12 in May but in order to have our group of family and friends at the right time PLUS a huge water slide, we partied in June.

Where's the party people?

Oh, here's the party!
Tho' we did a lot pre-party planning, it is funny how my shindigs still turn in to a haphazard affair. No pretty picture Martha Stewart-y results for me, no way. But bellies were fed, treats were abundant, guests hung out comfortably, fun was had and above all, Sara was thoroughly pleased with the day and my sand castle cake came out close enough to picture pretty and was quickly devoured.
Sara in some kinda birthday getup with the cake
Fourth of July weekend. We traveled to the Texas coast with Lou (David's mom) to celebrate with extended family from David side. Now talk about hot. Yes, I have lived in Texas all my life but humidity plus heat are still tough to deal with. Sorry for the whining...anyway, David hobbled around, show and telling with his injury, Sophia and I swam, we ate and ate and ate, and I chatted up some delightful new family acquaintances.

Sophia meets a talkative new cousin, Addison..note David in the background telling his toe tale to Uncle Bob
We left the next day and day tripped it in San Antonio (one of my fave Texas cities). The riverwalk is typically a must visit on my list, but day two of travel for David was proving difficult, so we walked through the Spanish Governor's Palace preserved in downtown SA (hearkens back to the 1700s).
Sophia's conquistador stance
Lou and Sophia take in the pretty courtyard
David camps out near the well
We chilled at our hotel, watching the fireworks in air conditioning from our 20th floor window. The next morning we headed back home but not before David treated me, Sophia and we introduced Lou to our favorite SA breakfast/brunch spot. The Guenther House. The former mansion home to the Pioneer Flour Mills family from the 1860s.  It now houses a charming and friendly breakfast/lunch spot on the river.
I could only finish off one of those monster-sized, yet delicious biscuits
Here's my biscuit and sausage breakfast, and Lou decided on a taste testing of the generous servings of homemade pastries.

Yums! I can't recommend this place enough if you ever have a hankering for a tasty brunch near downtown SA.

For most of July we kept to home (after the holiday weekend David's toe flared up for a couple of weeks during which he visited about 5 different specialists).

Anna turned 14! in July and we promised her the guest room as her OWN room. Her gift was outfitting her space with some new items and I thought that called for a trip to IKEA.
No, Waco is not so hip, we traveled to Round Rock, TX
I enjoy this place far too much. But I am pleased to say our most typically indecisive of kids found all that she needed to make the space her own......
like this, for reading contendedly...

and this lovely print...

and this fun groovy colorful shag rug.
All displaying her sweetly feminine taste.

Last weekend my sister and I had my MIL (mom in law), our families, my aunt, cousins and their kids (all from out of town) over to my house to celebrate my mom's 6? birthday.

As I do, I was scattered here there and everywhere, and only took a couple of not great photos of some great ladies. My mom is doing well but of course she still misses Pete as we all do. There was so much laughter this evening though, as my mom is at such ease with her sister and family all around.
My mom and aunt Beta, kids in background playing Wii
Now here we are staring a busy school fall schedule in the face and I want a vacation. But I will hold out hope for some type of family fun trip in the spring, as we are about to get more bustling on the ranch and I am sure Christmas will be around the corner soon enough. I hope to be a better bloggy friend and catch up with anyone that stops by for a chat. I will get the coffee on....talk to you later.



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