Saturday, December 26, 2009

A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS

The day after Christmas, there's generally a feeling of malaise and exhaustion, for some even disappointment. The only disappointment I feel is that it's over already! Christmas is my favorite time of year and the gifts are opened, the family gone off their separate ways, the tree is empty, and I'm tired, but I'm also sad it's over. I read this morning on Facebook, there's only 365 shopping days until Christmas! I don't even want to think about that today!!!
Christmas was good to me this year. I was able to visit with my entire family, either in person or by telephone, which is always a blessing. The grandchildren and nieces and nephew were all thrilled with their gifts and Santa was even good to me!
I think my favorite gift this year is a toss-up between my Sony Reader (like a Kindle) and my Kitchen-Aid Food Processor. Both of those were gifts from my precious husband.
Now it's on to the New Year. It's time to start working on my list of goals for next year. Check back in a few days...I'll post them.
Also, congratulations to Cheryl who won my giveaway and has now received her box filled with AVON products. Thanks to all who entered....watch in a few weeks I plan on doing another one around Valentine's Day.
For those who have asked, Andy is growing like a weed. He's so cute, everyone wants to take him home and keep him. When we called the puppy sitter yesterday to pick him up the told us, "we have some bad news...." I laughed and told them the lady still had two puppies, they asked for her phone number.
I hope your Christmas was wonderful! Be blessed!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

THREE DAYS AND COUNTING!!!

Three more days until Christmas! The Christmas season is my favorite time of year, it's like being a child all over again. The excitement, the lights, the pagentry, the smells, the food (read cookies), and, of course, the gifts.
However, Christmas also has a deeply personal meaning for me. It is when the world celebrates the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He who became man, to be born of a virgin, to live a sinless life and die on the cross of Calvary, the perfect sacrificial lamb for my sins. Only by understanding and accepting that gift can we spend eternity in Heaven. Nothing else will do. No amount of goodness, or charity on our part will pay the price necessary. Only the pure, spotless blood of that Christ Child born in a cold, dark cave. Only that blood that was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a stone manger on that wondrous night over 2000 years ago.

So, as the world prepares to be buried in wrapping paper and bows as children rip gifts open on Christmas morning (or Christmas Eve if that's your family's tradition) take a moment and remember what was the first gift of Christmas so long ago...the babe, born in a manger in Bethlehem ...Jesus Christ the Lord.

May you and your family have a most wonderful Christmas. From our home to yours...Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GIFT-WRAPPING DAY and other various news

Today is the day I dread most in the entire holiday season....gift -wrapping day. Don't ask me why I wait until everything is piled high to wrap all the gifts at once. It makes sense it would be easier to wrap as I buy, but that means a constant wrapping paper - tape - bow mess in my office for days on end. No, I prefer the "attack and conquer" method...an all-at-once marathon wrapping event.

On another front..I FINALLY made AVON unit leader! WOO HOO! Do you have any idea how hard it is to find FIVE people who will honestly commit to selling anything? But I did it....I can hear the Dora song in my head right now...I've GOT to stop listening while Katie watches her television shows

Also, thank you all for the lovely thoughts and comments on Andy. He is doing very well indeed! He has very few accidents in the house anymore and is even beginning to tell us when he needs to go out. Now we need to work on the pooping part, that seems to be a little more elusive.

If you have not yet entered my giveaway, there is still time. It's a $100 basket of AVON products. Spread the word, the more the merrier!

I guess I've procrastinated long enough...off to the gift pile. If you don't see me about dinner time, send out the rescue team, I'll be the one buried in wrapping paper and ribbon.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE FAMILY

Christmas arrived a little early at our house in the form of an 11-week-old puppy named Andy. He is so cute and weighs all of three pounds. Thought I'd share him with you all.

Don't forget to sign up for my give-away...if you post it on your blog and let me know I'll stick in an extra entry for you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Decorated! A Give-away Celebration!


My house now looks and smells like Christmas! I have the Yankee Candle Christmas Wish candles burning, the tree is up and decorated, all the lovely snowmen I collect are out and about the house and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. I've been very busy the last few days cyber shopping. I haven't braved a store or mall for several years, I find it much simpler to shop online these days. Almost all offer free shipping and some even gift wrap.

To celebrate the season I am offering a wonderful give-away to one lucky winner. I don't craft...my talents lie in a musical direction rather than an artistic one...but I do sell AVON. So, the giveaway is a $100 gift basket of AVON products. Here's the rules:

1. ONE entry per person.
2. To enter you must leave a comment on my blog. Please include your email address. To avoid the wonderful scammers be sure you post your email address XDX@yahoo(dot)com
3. The drawing for the winner will be held on December 15th.
Simple. Yes? Good Luck to all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

GIVE THANKS

There's a chorus we sing at church, "Give Thanks with a grateful heart" and I'm pondering today if we really understand what it is to have a grateful heart. Too many times we think things are supposed to be this way or that way, we don't understand why God allows problems and trials into our lives and we spend entirely too much time looking on the dark side instead of seeing the things we have been blessed with. Scripture teaches us to be content and to be thankful.

There's a sign on the church down the road, I noticed this morning it asked the question, "Have you told God 'Thank you' today?"

Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving and sometimes I think we forget, in the hustle and bustle of fixing a turkey and the trimmings, or having family and friends around, in the noise of the football games and the chatter of the children to stop for a moment and think about the things for which we are truly blessed.

As for me, this year I have been most especially blessed. My cancer surgery was successful and I was blessed with a stage 1 grade 1A cancer. God brought me successfully through the surgery and recovery. I am blessed with a wonderful family, dear friends, precious grandchildren, a husband who loves me beyond what I ever hoped or dreamed, parents who are still in good health, a home we love, and so many more things. But most of all I am blessed because I know my Redeemer liveth and on the Earth again shall stand. I know the life He giveth and grace and power are in His hand.

May your Thanksgiving be blessed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

IT'S ONLY 37 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!

I just realized there's only 37 days until Christmas and I am definitely NOT ready this year. By this time I've usually got my shopping well in hand, I've barely begun this year. I seem to be moving slower in general this year. I suppose my cancer surgery changed my view of what is most important in life. I'm thinking that I may just do AMEX Gift Cards this year for all but the littlest ones.
I did get my kitchen and laundry room floors installed. They look wonderful. The new vinyl flooring is fabulous, looks and feels just like real wood. All I have to do is a quick sweep and mop with a Swiffer. I like that!
Everybody keeps talking about decorating for Christmas....ugh. I don't even want to think about dragging all that stuff out until after Thanksgiving. We're expecting 14 for dinner on Thanksgiving Day, I don't want to have to focus on anything but that for right now. I'm doing a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, it'll be only the second in our home since I moved to Florida. We always spent Thanksgiving with my husband's mother, but she passed away this past Spring and is sorely missed. I decided this year I'd do dinner here at home. I may have made an error!!! LOL

It's sometimes hard to think about it being time for Christmas and Thanksgiving when you're still wearing shorts and it's 80 degrees each day. Maybe I need to start playing some Christmas Carols to get in the mood...."It's beginning to look a lot like"....nope that's not doing it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

LIMELIGHT and DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL

This has been a busy, busy week for me. I'm getting new flooring in my kitchen and laundry room and my house looks like a fruit-basket upset. My refrigerator and stove are sitting in my dining room and living room, respectively, however, it's given me time to relax and read some! Hence this post and the next two books in the "I Blog For Books" cycle.

Both books are written by author Melody Carlson and run the gamit from teen angst to the fading lights on life. They each teach, however, that God can and does work in the lives of people no matter their age, that it's never too early in life or never too late to follow God and see His Will for our lives.

LIMELIGHT is the tale of fading beauty Claudette Fioré. Her suicide attempt, after the IRS seizes all her assets, forces Claudette to return to the meager Northern California town where she was born, to the house left to her by her mother and to her estranged sister. Without servants, expensive salons, shopping trips on Rodeo Drive or any of the other things of her former pampered lifestyle, Charlotte begins to see the truth of her old life and begins searching for truth, wondering if it is too late to make things right.

On the opposite end of the scale DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is the tale of sixteen-year-old Maya Stark. Her mom will soon be released from prison, changing everything she's known. Filled with all of the problems of today's teens this well-written novel will be a blessing to teen girls. It teaches them to be strong, and to look in the right direction for answers to problems...up.

Both of these novels will make wonderful additons to our church library. More information on LIMELIGHT and DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL may be found at the Random House website.

These books were provided for review by the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, November 2, 2009

LEAVING CAROLINA by Tamara Leigh

It's Monday again and time to blog about books. As I look at the calendar I've turned the page to November and sigh, wondering what happened to January through October! Seems like only yesterday I was putting away the Christmas decorations and here it is, almost time to take them out once again. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying reading some terrific books.


One of them is LEAVING CAROLINA. Let me start out by saying that RARELY do I read a book written in first person. They are generally the kind of book I pick up at the bookstore, read the first two pages and quickly set back onto the shelf. Had I done that with LEAVING CAROLINA I would have missed an entirely enjoyable and, at times, hilarious read. I'd hazard a guess, with the way the book ended, that Tamara Leigh is writing a series of books set in Pickwick, North Carolina and featuring the very unusual Pickwick Clan.

The Pickwick family has been known for four generations of miscreants, ner-d0-wellers, and down-right misfit relatives. Piper Wick is forced to return to her hometown to prevent her Uncle Obe from changing his will and airing all the family dirty laundry in public, including her own youthful indiscretion, which would ruin her chances of marrying the man of her dreams, Congressman Grant Spangler.

Upon her arrival Piper is forced to deal with a long-lost godson, her cousins, and her uncle's dotty attorney, all the while trying not to reveal her secrets and trying to save herself from sliding back into old habits and avoiding the pull of Pickwick.

LEAVING CAROLINA also gently reminds us that forgiveness is a gift from God and that truth matters above all. All in all this is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

More information on LEAVING CAROLINA can be found at the RANDOM HOUSE website. LEAVING CAROLINA is available at local booksellers as well as most online booksellers.
This book was provided for review by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Quiet Tuesday

Why is it quiet, you may ask. Because I've run so much these last couple of weeks I've hit a brick wall and am exhausted. I overdid Sunday evening at our church's Harvest Festival and my knees feel like there are broken glass inside them. It's time to take a day and relax, rest, and recoup a little.
I'm also starting to feel a little bit closed in. Maybe "hemmed in" is a better term. I feel like my boundaries are getting tighter as the holiday season begins to draw closer and as my list of things to do gets only larger. I look at my calendar and there's hardly a truly free day anywhere in sight. I haven't even had time to truly blog lately, only post the reviews for the books I've been reading. I can't believe we've only been home from vacation a month, it feels like a year has gone by since we left. That tells me I've been doing too much.
I declare that today: Tuesday, October 27, is a mental health day. Everybody enjoy it!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

SHADOW GOVERNMENT and WISDOM HUNTER

SHADOW GOVERNMENT

In 1949 George Orwell wrote the novel 1984. The ideas seemed far fetched, like science-fiction. The idea that "Big Brother" would be watching. Grant R. Jeffrey, one of the foremost authors on prophecy, proves that Big Brother is not only watching but has paved the way for the prophecies of Revelation.

Security cameras, surveillance of private financial transactions, radio frequency spy chips hidden in consumer products, eavesdropping on e-mail correspondence and phone calls, and Internet tracking. No one is protected, and privacy is a thing of the past.
An ultra-secret global elite, functioning as a very real shadow government, controls technology, finance, international law, world trade, political power, and vast military capabilities. These unnamed, unrivaled leaders answer to no earthly authority, and they won’t stop until they control the world.

If you enjoy eschatology then SHADOW GOVERNMENT will be right up your alley.

WISDOM HUNTER

I got behind this week, it was a VERY busy week and I'm ashamed to say I did not get to read WISDOM HUNTER. It looks like an excellent book and I will put it aside to read later.

Here's the synopsis:
Pastor Jason Faircloth knows what he believes. His clear faith, in fact, is why he is one of the most prominent pastors in Atlanta. He relies on it to discipline his daughter, his wife, his church. He prays daily that others would come to see God’s ways as he does.
And it is about to cost him everything.
Groping for answers in the face of tragedy, Jason begins a search for the only family he has left: the granddaughter kept hidden from him. Soon he finds himself on an international adventure that will take him straight into the depths of his soul. He is determined not to fail again.
A fast-paced suspense novel rich in spiritual depth, Wisdom Hunter explores what it means to break free of Christian legalism—and discover why grace can mean the difference between life and death.

Information on both books can be found at the Random House website

These are two books I think anyone who enjoys action, fast-paced adventure, or reading of events yet to come would really enjoy.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Monday, October 19, 2009

KISS ME AGAIN: Restoring Lost Intimacy in Marriage

Another book for the blog tour. I must admit I am not always a big fan of non-fiction and when I responded to the inquiry I didn't realize KISS ME AGAIN was yet another self-help book. I generally look at those with a large dose of skepticism. I was genuinely surprised after only reading the Introduction! KISS ME AGAIN is a book every married woman should read.

Barbara Wilson takes a seldom trodden path. Most books on marital problems for women look at the "what's wrong with my husband" view. Instead KISS ME AGAIN causes women to take a good, hard look at their own past lives and discover the root of the problems with the intimacy in their marriage. The author covers all avenues and gently guides readers into the truths offered in God's Word.

KISS ME AGAIN included exercises to be completed as well as a 10-week study guide that can be used with your spouse or in a group setting. To learn more about KISS ME AGAIN visit RANDOM HOUSE . KISS ME AGAIN is available at most local book stores and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY!!! Multnomah has provided an extra copy of KISS ME AGAIN. To receive this copy free, leave a comment on my blog and I will draw a name on Friday October 23rd. The winner will receive KISS ME AGAIN by mail.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, October 12, 2009

THE SOUND OF SLEIGH BELLS

Week two of the publishers blog tour and this week's offering from Multnomah Books is Cindy Woodsmall's latest Amish book THE SOUND OF SLEIGH BELLS. This 194-page offering is the perfect size for gift giving and definitely falls into the category of holiday reading.

Elizabeth Hertzler has a secret. One that keeps her from even considering marriage. Until she discovers the work of Jonah Kinsinger and they begin a correspondence which touches her heart. When she discovers Jonah's true identity Beth doesn't think she can trust, or love, but Jonah's persistence teaches Beth that true love always finds a way.

Well-written and easily read, THE SOUND OF SLEIGH BELLS provides a perfect afternoon's reading. Based upon the enjoyment I received by this book I have already purchased three other books by this author for my own library. Available at RANDOM HOUSE or your local bookseller. For more information on author Cindy Woodsmall and her other available titles, visit her website.

Disclaimer: This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Monday, October 5, 2009

EXTRAORDINARY by John Bevere

Over the next few weeks you'll see posts on books I am reading as I participate in a publishers Blogging Tour. Hopefully this will introduce you to books and authors you may not have noticed, or intrigue you enough that you will pick up a book you wouldn't have normally been drawn to read.
The first book I received to read was EXTRAORDINARY by author John Bevere. It is well written and easy to read, and for some, will introduce a new concept...God doesn't want us to have separations in our lives....spiritual and normal. We need to examine our lives and find that dividing line, then erase it. We should examine our daily habits and decide whether or not they are pleasing unto our Heavenly Father. God wants us to live wonderful, happy, extraordinary lives, that's His plan for us as His children. God doesn't want us to live one life while sitting in church and an entirely different life the other six days of the week.

The only downside of EXTRAORDINARY, is a personal one. I did not care for the useages of different Bible translations. I felt like the author was choosing different versions to make the verses say what he wanted them to say.

All in all, EXTRAORDINARY was a good read and one I would recommend. EXTRAORDINARY is available beginning tomorrow, October 6th, 2009 at your local bookseller. It's also available at most online booksellers and also available for Kindle readers.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wonderful Vacation

Beautiful 2-year-old Mariah
Gorgeous 3-year-old Leah

The past 6 days have flown by and tomorrow we begin our trek towards Florida and home. We've have a wonderful time each day, and gone to bed bone tired, but it's been worth every mile to see the smiles and hear the laughter of our granddaughters, Leah and Mariah. They almost make me want to give up the warmth and sunshine of Florida for the snow and ice of the north....but my heart wishes they'd all simply move next door to me in Florida. We would love to be doting, spoiling grandparents 365 days a year.
I was blessed to spend time not only with my children and grandchildren but was able to catch up with some old friends as well. I've been privileged to have the same best friend for 31 years and although we haven't seen one another face-to-face for almost 12 years when we saw one another today it was if the last 12 years were no more than 12 minutes. We picked right up where we left off that last time.
So as we climb in the car tomorrow and point it in a southwardly direction, as we leave the chilly fall temperatures and head back towards Florida I'm leaving, yet once again, a little piece of my heart here in the Chicagoland area and promise that the next trip here won't take another 12 years.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Clean house, Clean Desk...off on Vacation!

I think I've finished everything that needs finishing. My desk top is completely clean...for the first time in a VERRRRRY long time, the house is completely clean, all the laundry is caught up and I think I've crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's.

Some people think it's silly to clean house before you leave on a trip, but I feel better knowing I'll come home to a clean house and clean, crisp sheets on my bed. I can remember vacations as a child, my mother always worked frantically before we left on our summer vacations.

In the morning we head north to visit family and hopefully see some fall colors and feel some relief from the never-ending summer temperatures and humidity. I'm looking forward to getting away and seeing my grandchildren and children, my parents and even some old friends. I haven't been back to the Chicago area for almost 12 years. It's time.

Seeya when I get back!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Won! I Won!

I can't believe it! I actually won the beautiful hand-painted Scarecrow Scoop offered by The Antique Pallet.

Thank you so much, Chris! I look forward to getting him. I know EXACTLY where that little guy is going!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Turning 54

Tomorrow is my 54th birthday. Until a few months ago I didn't think I looked 54...then I got contact lenses and discovered I did have wrinkles in my face! Seriously though, I don't feel 54..my brain keeps telling me I'm still 24 and should be able to do whatever I feel like doing.
As I think back over the years,
10 years ago I was busy enjoying life as a new Floridian.
20 years ago I was busy raising two active boys.
30 years ago I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my first child
40 years ago I was deep in the throes of my first real crush
50 years ago I was a wide-eyed toddler, exploring the world around me.

Over the past 54 years there's been a lot of changes to the world around us. 3 wars...VietNam, Desert Storm and the current war with Iraq and Al Quada. The price of milk has gone from 92 cents to $3.00. An average car cost $1600 back then, now you can't even find a clunker for that amount of money. My parents paid $11,000 for their first home in 1955. Now people's house payments for a year are that much...or more. Computers were something you saw in Buck Rogers then, now they're in every home and we carry them in our purses and briefcases. Man's been to the moon and back, walked in space...all the things that were pure science fiction in 1955 are reality now.
Do I feel old? Some days, yes...very old. Do I think the world has changed for the better? No, not always. I miss the easier going days, the days when children thought great fun was riding their bicycles or sitting under the apple tree in the backyard playing with Barbie dolls. I don't understand why kids today would trade fresh air and sunshine for a dark bedroom with their face plastered to a television set playing X-Box and I certainly don't understanding hauling yourself out of bed at 3AM to stand in line to be first to purchase the latest video game.
So would you call me an old fuddy-duddy? Probably, at times. But I'd like to think that somewhere there's a place where people still enjoy sitting around in the evening talking quietly while the kids chase fireflies and play Statue Maker or Freeze Tag in the waning light of the evening, where an evening of fun includes a bonfire, some whittled sticks and hot dogs or marshmallows. I miss the innocence of youth, when your first kiss was something you treasured and sex wasn't the main topic of conversation at every get-together. I miss family get-togethers where you got to eat Great-Grandma's famous cake or Great Aunt Martha's chicken and dumplings.
I'm done feeling maudlin, time to break out the streamers, party hats and noise makers. Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dressed for fall

Although it's still hot and humid here in Florida my calendar says September and for this northern transplant my mind says it's time for fall! Fall is my favorite time of year, there's nothing like the warm days and crisp, cool nights or the ever changing colors of the leaves. Fall has its own unique smells as well, ones I now have to try to recreate using candles as Florida doesn't have the same seasons. Here we have two seasons...summer and not summer. Our leaves don't change colors, they just fall off the tree and die, those that actually lose their leaves anyway.
This year we're taking a trip north, and this year I'm hoping that the leaves are turning colors (I've been told they've already begun changing), that the sky is the unique blue only found in fall, and that the nights are "need a sweater" crisp.
As for me, I've put away all my summer decorations and have brought out the oranges, yellows, browns and blacks of fall. My home feels warm and cozy, as if we're beginning to wind down the seasons and prepare for winter.
Did you know it's only 109 days until Christmas? Have you started your shopping yet?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fall Give-away


You too can win this gorgeous handpainted scoop from THE ANTIQUE PALLET. I know he would look perfect in my kitchen this fall.
I don't know about you, but I'm anxious for summer to be over, the heat has been so bad this year, and I'm ready to put away my Americana and fill my home with the colors and scents of fall. This guy would fit in perfectly!
Here's the rules: "leave me a comment that you want to win on this post for an entry!
2nd, become a follower of my blog for an entry! If you were already a follower you will get two entries! 3rd, post a picture of this give a way on your blog with a link back to my blog and you will get TWO entries! Be sure to drop me an email or a comment to let me know that you did this so I don't miss you."
Hop on over and enter!

Monday, August 17, 2009

She's going home

Monday is here and in a couple of hours I'll be watching Josie take off into the wild, blue, yonder. The past ten days have passed so quickly, it's almost been a whirlwind, but we've had a wonderful, wonderful, time together. Oh, we've had our moments...she's a very sensitive child...and there's been a few tears and a little homesickness, and although she's ready to go home I think, all in all, the whole trip has been a success.

Yesterday we had a beach day, watching the excitement and delight in Josie's eyes as she saw the ocean for the first time was worth the hours we spent driving and the million times we answered the "are we there yet" and "how much farther" questions. Our first stop was Daytona Beach where she got to play in the ocean and pick up a few seashells. Then back into the truck for the trek to Cocoa Beach and a mandatory shopping trip to Ron Jon's Surf Shop. We showed her the vehicle assembly building at Cape Canaveral and the cruise ships in port at Port Canaveral, but visits to those places will have to wait for another trip. She got a cute Ron Jon's hoodie for her souvenir. She'll be able to wear it all winter and remember her vacation fun.

This morning we're sitting in the Holiday Inn in Orlando, sadly waiting for the time when we have to take her to the airport. I'm not looking forward to the long lines, the waiting, the crowds, or the noise, but the thing I dread the most is my last look at her as she rounds that corner to get on the plane. It's a long way from Florida to Chicago and these once a year visits don't come often enough for grandma and grandpa. We've stored up a year's worth of memories, and are already planning for next year, what exciting and fun things we can do together.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summertime Fun!

We have been very blessed these past few days to have our granddaughter, Josie, with us for a visit. We've stayed very busy, trying to do fun things so she enjoys being here. Florida is quite hot and humid, especially to a northern gal like Josie. But, she's been a trooper and has really been enjoying herself. The ten-day visit is passing all too quickly and before we know it, Monday will be here and I'll be standing in the airport, waving good-bye as she boards the plane home.
We took her to a local gun club one day. The owner there has quite a collection of animals he's killed. One we thought she'd really enjoy was a black bear. She thought they were all fascinating and had many questions. The first one was, "can you teach me to shoot a gun?" This is a picture of Josie with the black bear.
I can proudly say...she's her grandma's girl!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Getting Squished

I can't think of anything much more painful than getting a mammogram. All that mushing and squishing , not to mention how COLD those rooms are!! However, they're very important, especially when you have a history of cancer in your family. My grandmother died of breast cancer, my cousin died of breast cancer, my sister is a 10-year breast cancer survivor, and we have another cousin who has breast cancer. I had uterine cancer surgery in March, we have a cousin with brain cancer and an uncle who died of brain cancer. Think we just might have the cancer gene in our family??


Anyway, today is my day to get squished. I've put it off since 2006 and my doctor told me "no more procrastination." I wonder, do you suppose if I'm a good girl my husband might take me out to dinner?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Thanks Jenn!!

One of my favorite blog (and message board) pals, Jenn of Bittersweet Prims had a birthday give-away on July 4th and I won!!! How exciting when I received my mail today...there it was! The box!
Anxiously I tore away the pretty paper and carefully opened the box. Inside was a wondrous plethora of deliciously gorgeous prim goodies, and not surprisingly, since she is a Yankee Doodle Girl, they're all wondrously patriotic prims! Here's a few pictures of the goodies I received from Jenn.

You'll see a cute prim doll, a bundle of prim fireworks, a cute plaque, a patriotic bag, and a hanging doll with sweet annie and a little twig doll with bells.


a close-up of the placque and fireworks...aren't they WONDERFUL!!!

Here's the dolls....just too cute!!
Thanks so much, Jenn. Now to find them just the right places.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Name Change Game

We got married 9 years ago...well almost, on November 22 it will be 9 years. I never legally changed my last name because of some technecalities with my retirement benefits. I've since discovered that it wouldn't make any difference anyway now since my first husband has passed on, and so I'm on the journey to legally change my last name. Let me tell you..IT'S A PAIN IN THE NECK!!! The government never makes anything easy, simple, or convenient.
I suppose I really shouldn't complain. It's probably for my protection since identity theft is so prevalent and easy. Although why anyone would want to steal my identity is beyond me...it's not like I actually have anything worth stealing! All my valuables are living, breathing beings and not likely to sit still for being hijacked by an identity thief.
So I'm off to do my business today...joy, joy. I'll get to sit in line and wait for someone to begrudgingly help me....you'd think they'd be happy to do their job. But that's a topic for another day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Surf City




I love the beach! There's just something about standing on the beach with the ocean waves splashing up over your feet and ankles, of looking out and seeing nothing but water, endless blue water than touches the sky. The power in the ocean, the depths, the mystery....it's almost like touching God. For me there's great spirituality in the ocean, I feel very close to God there. It's also where a bit of the child in me comes back to the surface. It's where you can play in the waves and squeal...act silly.




We recently vacationed at the Hammock Ocean Beach Resort in Palm Coast, Florida. It is posh luxury, literally. They pamper their guests like kings and queens. I enjoyed every moment of the trip, and was thrilled when I was able to spend my time on the beach.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

233 YEARS OLD!!


We Americans are so fortunate to live in a country that is truly free. That freedom comes with a price. This 4th of July I pay tribute to those men and women who put their lives on the line every day, who wake up and put their boots on the ground to protect our rights. This July 4th I pay tribute to every man and woman who puts on the uniform of the United States Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, and Coast Guard. All those in the reserves and National Guard. Thank You. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

A very special thank you to Spc Timothy Ridgeway. He's my son-in-law on his third tour in Iraq. I pray God keep you safe, Tim, you and all the men and women you serve with. Happy Independence Day.

So today, as you eat your hot dogs and hamburgers, as you watch the fireworks and parades think about the men and women who aren't getting to enjoy those things with their families. Think about the men and women whose fireworks are IED's exploding, who are suffering in 109 degree temperatures to keep us safe and free, and whisper a prayer for their safety and a thank you for their service to our nation.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The King of Pop is Dead

But the King of Kings is NOT!! I'm Michael Jackson'd out folks. Yes, he was a good singer, some of his record sale records may never be topped. No one else may make a 15 plus minute music video to ever top Thriller. But, four solid days of this is enough. We should not be worshipping this person.

We forget who we're supposed to worship and adore...Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I know that's not always too popular. People don't like to hear other people shout it out so loudly. The shouters are accused of being Jesus freaks and Bible Thumpers. We'd prefer to go about in quiet Christianity, not making any waves. We think it's enough that we're "good people".

Rest in peace Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, and now Billy "Oxy Clean" Mays. Now could someone re-program my television so I don't have to see any more of this?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day


My Daddy is a giant of a man. Not necessarily his height, he's only 6'2" but to me he is a giant. I can't say my daddy ever did anything that will be mentioned in the history books, although he will be someone I never forget. He never made a fortune, but we always had what we needed. So why is my Daddy a giant? Because of his faith in God. He taught me that faith. I am so very blessed to have a Daddy who is a Christian, who loves God with all his heart.
My Daddy has always worked hard. We grew all our vegetables and after Daddy would come home from working 8 or 10 hours, out to the garden he'd go: tilling the ground, hoeing the weeds, watering. He'd do whatever needed to be done. At 78 you will still find him on the tractor, hoeing the garden, fixing something....always busy. I can recall as a child, telling my mother (when my Chatty Cathy doll was broken), "When Daddy gets home, he'll fix it. He can fix anything!" He fixed her. She had a screw in her hip for the rest of her life, but he didn't let me down.
Daddy is a gentle man, but you always knew his word was law. I can only remember Daddy giving me two spankings in my lifetime. Those two were enough.
Today is the day we stop and remember our fathers, we bless our fathers, we say thank you to our fathers. Thank you, Daddy, for being the World's BEST Father! I love you very much.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Reality Show Tune-Out

Summertime...and the living is easy. Catfish jumpin' and the cotton is high.

I love that song, but it reminds me that summer is here and all my favorite television shows are on hiatus for the summer months. What's on? Some pretty idiotic reality shows. Here's some examples: Wipeout...grown adults humiliate themselves by bouncing off giant rubber balls, falling into the mud, and other stunts. Blah. Housewives of New Jersey (and other places) a group of rude, self-contered, out of control women parade their lives for all to see. I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here!, a group of D list wannabes are stranded in the jungle...where are the celebrities? It's more interesting watching the birds at our bird feeder.

Do people really watch this stuff? I suppose they do, but I can't see wasting my time. How about digging out the reruns of Touched by an Angel or Promised Land?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Telephone Etiquette

I guess I'm on the "Whatever happened to" theme these days. It's starting to make me feel old, and I'm not sure I like that feeling! However, I wonder what happened to good manners, especially telephone manners. I get very tired of people calling and when I answer the phone it's silence. You know someone is there because there's no dial tone and after a few seconds they simply hang up. Now, I understand people dial incorrectly, I do it often myself, but I don't allow someone to answer the phone and then hang up on them. I politely apologize with "I'm sorry, I dialed incorrectly."

This morning the phone rang and caller ID said, "New York, NY. We own a business so we often receive calls from numbers I don't immediately recognize. I answer, cheerily, and dead air for fifteen seconds and then "click." In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "How rude."

Since we run the business from our home I always answer "Good Morning" and the name of the business during business hours. Sometimes it stuns people, especially if it's someone calling for me personally, or to order Avon from me...but don't simply hang up. I want to receive your call. I want to talk to you. If it's a wrong number I won't be upset, but will politely wish you a pleasant day. As Julie Andrews' character says in The Princess Diaries, "Manners matter."


When did we stop teaching our children manners for polite society. Yes ma'am and No sir? Telephone manners" Common courtesy? I think we should revive those things once again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Whatever happened to real femininity?

We were watching some very old home movies the other day. When my MIL passed away they found some old 8mm movies and put them on DVD for us to watch. They started back in the 1950's and it was a joy to see the ladies in their white gloves, hats and summer dresses. I wish we still wore pretty hats and white gloves. I looked today, out of curiosity, on the internet, just to see if I could even FIND white dress gloves anywhere. All I could find were leather gloves, golf gloves, tuxedo gloves...but no pretty white dress gloves. Hats, surprisingly I think hats are starting to see a revival! I visited a sweet gift shop in a nearby town and they were selling the most beautiful hats. When I asked about them the proprietor told me that many women are once again buying and wearing hats! I was happy to hear that and plan on going back one day when I have a lot of time to try on a few of her over 200 hat offerings.

I do have one pretty hat in my closet....maybe I'll wear it on Sunday.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wanted: Gopher Wood

In the book of Genesis, Chapter 6 verse 14, God told Noah to build an ark out of gopher wood in which to escape the flood he was going to send. We've had about 10 inches of rain here in Gainesville Florida and too much more and we're going to start floating! Seriously, we're very thankful for the rain as we were in drought conditions. Our grass is green again and our trees have stopped losing leaves, in addition my lone tomato plant has decided that it will now produce more tomatoes.


I also wanted to mention today a lovely give-away on Deena's "Can I Be Pretty in Pink" in honor of her 400th post! You go girl!! She's giving away this beautiful print. It would sure look beautiful in my pink bathroom, Deena! If you click on the picture it will take you to Deena's blog where you too can sign up to win this gorgeous thing.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Blessed Beyond Measure

Yesterday was the day we stop to recognize our Mothers. It was a truly wonderful day for me. Not only did I hear from both my sons, as well as my ex-daughter-in-law, but I am most blessed beyond measure because I have a truly wonderful and Godly mother. I was also blessed by having a very special mother-in-law. For the first time in twelve years we did not spend Mother's Day with her, she left us on April 19th to be with the Lord and our lives were a little sadder yesterday.

My sweet husband is mourning the passing of his mother, but he still took time to make my day a special one. He made me breakfast yesterday, pancakes and sausage, which was delicious, and even cleaned up the kitchen!

I also wanted to mention a truly special blessing I received from one of our fellow bloggers, Joleen at The Primitive Bucket. Joleen is a very talented and creative gal, and I love the things she sells on Ebay. (If you've never stopped by her blog or Ebay store...do so! Hmm maybe I shouldn't have shared that secret!! LOL) I'd purchased a couple of items from her and in the box she enclosed a very special gift....a lamp she made for me. Thank you so much, Joleen. It's beautiful and it really made my Mother's Day special.

I hope your Mother's Day was a truly special day and that you too were blessed beyond measure.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In Loving Memory

Yesterday afternoon at 3:15PM we bid a tearful farewell to my precious mother-in-law. If I had been able to special order someone to be my husband's mother I don't think I could have thought of all the special qualities this precious lady had.
Beyond her gentleness, kindness and loving heart she had a quality which enabled her to see a need before you realized you had it. She was ever faithful, praying for those she loved and those in need.
Heaven is surely rejoicing at the homecoming of my mother in law. One day we will meet again, she'll be waiting for us by the river where we will never again be parted. We sing a song in church quite often, "I'll Be Waiting At The River For You." The words will hold so much more meaning for us as we sing them.
My husband, her oldest son, said this morning in an email, as he shared some photos of her, "I can't remember ever feeling a greater lost, these are some of the pictures that bring joy to my heart. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful and loving mother. Only God could of created such a blessing, and now he has taken her home. I believe that she is now smiling down on us through the windows of heaven. I will always remember that smile. "

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

No changies, No take-backs!

Just when you think things are going along smoothly...changes. When you think you've found peace...changes. I was watching the television program "Bones" the other night and Bones and Booth kept saying "No changies, no take-backs" and it made me laugh, remembering back to those warm summer nights when we'd play in the yard until dark completely overtook us, then we'd chase lightning bugs and put them into canning jars with holes poked in the top. Games like statue-maker and Red Rover were staples in those days. As I watch my grandchildren sit on the couch and absorb the idiocy of Sponge Bob Square Pants and turn their brains into mush playing Wii and PlayStation I feel a sadness inside for them. They'll never know the joy of chasing a lightning bug. They live in apartments in the city, it's never dark enough for them to even SEE a lightning bug much less catch one, and it's certainly not safe enough for them to be outside after dark.

Our world has progressed to where we can e-mail, Instant Message, text, twitter and whatever else we can think of. We can watch television and surf the internet on our cell phones, email on our Blackberry and stay busy 24 hours a day. My husband and I were driving to town the other day and a couple passed us in another car. They were both on their cell phones. I turned to my husband and asked him, "Do you suppose they're talking to one another?" I enjoy watching "Secret Life of the American Teen-ager" on ABC Family and the other night it showed two teenagers, sitting next to one another, computers in their laps, Instant Messaging....EACH OTHER! Their friend asked them why, and they said it was easier to talk in Instant Message than out loud. It made me stop and think about how we're losing the art of conversation in our world.

It's sad that these changes have also brought about a loss to our world. A loss of laughing children's voices as they yell, "Red Rover, Red Rover send Judy right over!" A loss of innocence as children play violent video games, a loss of being able to converse.....sometimes I think change isn't such a good thing.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wonderful Experience

I admit it, I have a weakness for vintage enamel coffee pots. I don't know why, I don't drink coffee but I can't help myself when I see a great vintage enamel coffee pot...I just HAVE to add it to my collection.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading blogs and found where someone had received a gift from Red Stripe Vintage and so wandered over to her Etsy store and lo and behold, there was a beautiful white vintage enamel coffee pot. I quickly purchased it and this morning my sweet mail lady delivered a box. Inside was not what one normally receives when you purchase something from an online seller. Inside the box was a soft, linen bag tied with a red and white striped ribbon. Inside the bag was each piece of the coffee pot, carefully wrapped in tissue and tied with a red and white striped ribbon. Also inside the box was a little gift...5 beautiful handmade gift tags!!

I hope you all will hop over to her Etsy shop and take a close look. She has some truly awesome items, and she is a wonderful lady.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm a Great-Aunt!!!



My niece, Katie, had her baby yesterday morning by C-Section. Owen Glen Huse was born at 8:25AM and weighed in at a whopping 10lbs 13 ozs and was 22 inches long. Isn't he precious!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Son


Today is my baby's 27th birthday. Never mind he's nearly 6 feet tall and has two little girls of his own, he's still my baby. It was just about this time of morning on March 29, 1982 when he arrived into this world. He had the reddest hair and the bluest eyes I'd ever seen. I took one look at them and knew immediately they'd turn brown...and they did. He got a very independent spirit and stubborn streak that came with that red hair, which for some reason used to stand straight up in the air as if he'd stuck his finger in a light socket...it was so cute, he was punk before punk was cool. He's a gem of a son and I feel eternally blessed to be his mom. Happy Birthday Drew, I love you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Delicious Baby Back Ribs


Since this is what we're having for dinner tonight I thought I'd share my recipe. The ribs are so tender you hardly need to chew and they're so easy to make.


1 rack of baby back ribs
1 bottle of "Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce"

Cut your rack of ribs into serving size pieces. I put about 3 ribs into each serving
place in a large pot, covered with water and boil for 45 minutes .

Cover a baking pan with foil and place your par-boiled ribs onto the foil. Smother the ribs with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. You can use any kind but Sweet Baby Ray's with Honey is my favorite. Cover and seal with foil. Place in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight.

Remove pan and place in a 250 degree oven for 3 hours. Remove the top foil and let brown for 15 minutes, if desired.

Serve with your favorite sides...we like chive potatoes and cole slaw.

Make plenty, everyone will want seconds!

Monday, March 23, 2009

What's a Paulownia Tree?

On my last post I mentioned that our Paulownia tree is in full bloom. Some friends asked what is a Paulownia Tree? This is a Paulownia tree in bloom. I had to take a picture from the internet as ours has already lost its blooms and is starting to leaf out. It's not this pretty anymore. Generally the blooms last a couple of weeks or so, but we've been very windy here lately and the blooms are delicate.

We discovered Paulownia Trees when some friends visited Plains, Georgia and Jimmy Carter's home on a trip. They mentioned these extremely fast growing trees filled with leaves the size of elephant ears. We live in the middle of a field with very few trees and the idea of lush shade trees that grow to full size in three to five years was very appealing so we went on a hunt for them.

The Paulownia, also known as the Princess Tree, comes originally from China and one is planted when a girl baby is born. It's harvested when she marries and a dresser, or another piece of furniture, is made from the wood for her new home. What a lovely tradition!

These trees can grow as much as 12 feet tall the first year and up to 30 feet tall by the third year. They do need lots of water and fertilizer to grow, but they make wonderful shade trees.

Just for fun, here's a picture I found on the web of the size of one leaf!



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring has Arrived

Spring has definitely made an appearance here in Florida. The dogwood trees are in full bloom, the azaleas fill the area with beautiful color, the Redbud is beautiful and my Paulownia tree is filled with lovely purple blooms. My blog has followed suit and is dressed in its spring finery. I love spring, because it reminds me of Christ's resurrection from the grave, that new life follows death, as we watch the earth come to beautiful life after another long, cold, hard winter.

As for me, I get a little stronger each day and feel better each day. I have to be careful not to overdo, however much I'm tempted. My DH reminds me that I'm held together with baling wire and duct tape right now...his attempt at a humorous look at the situation..but I know he's right and I must still be cautious. I'm thankful for our back porch, where I can sit and enjoy the sunshine, the birds singing, the warm breeze, and be thankful for all the blessings God has given me.

I hope Spring has come to your house and you're enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of renewal.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Recipe Wednesday

It's that time once again! It's hard to think about sharing a recipe when you have no appetite for food. I'm still recovering from surgery and food is about the last thing on my radar these days.

I thought I'd share my great-grandmother's recipe for apple cake. It's easy to make and really delicious.



4 cups peeled and diced apples (I like to use Granny Smith apples although any will do)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans is best)
2 eggs, well beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour (all purpose)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix apples and sugar thoroughly. Add oil, nuts, eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients together and add to apple mixture. Bake in a greased 13x9 inch pan for 1 hour


Caramel Glaze topping

in sauce pan mix together 1 cup milnot (or other canned milk) 1/2 stick butter, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup brown sugar.

Stir until thoroughly mixed, bring to a rolling boil and boil, stirring constantly, for exactly three minutes. Place pan in ice water and stir until thickened. Pour over still warm cake.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Post-Op Report

I am here to tell you that God is alive today and powerful, still on the throne of Heaven and still blessing His children! Psalms 103: 1-2 says, "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: "

God has provided and blessed me over and over again throughout this entire journey with cancer. He has allowed me to see clearly, without any doubts or hesitations, that I am His child, that I belong to Him, and everything that happens to us is for His honor and glory. There's a song I've listened to a thousand times during these weeks and months from Casting Crowns. The chorus says, "But the voice of truth tells me a different story, the voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"and the voice of truth says "this is for my glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth." That has been what I have tried to do throughout this whole time, to listen to that still, small, quiet, voice of truth speaking to me and remembering that everything is for God's Honor and Glory.

I'm here to tell you that I believe my surgeon is an angel, sent to earth to serve God. She was amazing. I was so blessed by God giving me the CHIEF of Anesthesilogy for my anesthesiologist on Monday morning. That was such a blessing as I have a difficult time with anesthesilogy at times. My gynecologist stopped by to see me...even though he had no surgeries that morning at all. The nursing staff was all anyone could have asked for and were such a blessing. Even my roommate was a wonderful Christian woman who made my hospital stay more enjoyable.

My surgery went smoothly, and VERY successfully. The pathologist's report is back and it was a Grade 1, Stage 1 cancer, it had not spread into the muscles or grown past the initial point so no further treatments are necessary! No chemo, no radiation, no...anything at all! Isn't God GOOD!!!

I still have a six to eight week recovery window to get through...I have to give myself a shot every morning for two weeks...the doctor is giving me a blood thinner to keep me from developing blood clots and I have to regain my strength and heal, but I think the rest should be okay because I know God is on my side.

I thank you all for your prayers and caring. For those who have sent posted, sent cards and e-mails, you will never know how much they have been appreciated and read over and over. To those who have sent flowers and gifts, they have truly brightened my days, and for those who stopped by the hospital to see me, your visits cheered me and encouraged me. Through each of you God sent me love, and blessed me. There aren't enough ways to say thank you. Please know that every prayer, every thought, every caring act is so greatly appreciated and I thank you for it and know that God will bless you for it.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Recipe Wednesday

Okay, so it's Saturday. This week has been so messed up with all the pre-op appointments and on Wednesday we took a flying trip to Orlando to visit with my sweet MIL. So here's my recipe for Wednesday...3 days late.

Growing up this was one of my favorite desserts. It's now my children and grandchildren's favorite dessert as well. It's simple, and very light...a great dessert after a heavy or filling meal.



LEMON FLUFF

1 sm. lemon Jello
1 c. boiling water mix and cool until just beginning to gel

1 can evaporated milk (whip until stiff like meringue) we always used Milnot. It should be ice cold before you start to whip it. I put mine in the freezer for a half hour prior.
1 c. sugar added slowly after stiff peaks are formed in whipped milk
Slowly add the lightly gelled jello
2 TBL. lemon juice
This should now be a light yellow color and still very stiff peaks. Keep in refrigerator.

Mix together 1 sitck of melted butter and 1 1/2 pkg of crushed graham crackers. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a 9X13 pan, reserving about 1/2 cup of mixture.

Pour the Fluff mixture into the pan and then top with the reserved graham cracker mix. Refrigerate until firm.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pre-Op Day

I think I dread all the pre-op tests worse than I do the actual surgery. Hurry up and wait. Moooove here, mooooove there, they make you feel like a bunch of cattle being herded from room to room, chair to chair. I think someone needs to institute a paper reduction act as well! I signed my name so many times I had writer's cramp!

But, 6 hours after I left home this morning, I'm back, the tests are done, and I'm set for surgery Monday morning at 8AM.

Keep me in your prayers, that I will have a speedy recovery, little or no pain, and that things will go easily for the surgeon. I'm also praying the cancer hasn't spead and no additional treatment will be needed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tax Day

This morning I decided it should be tax day. I dread doing our income taxes each year and usually put it off as long as humanly possible. However, since I'm having surgery in just a few days and will spend most of March recovering I decided it was best to get them done before, so I wouldn't worry about having them done in time. Now, I know I could take them to H&R Block or an accountant, but why pay someone what I'm perfectly capable of doing myself?

Thankfully we do not owe any taxes this year. Matter of fact our business lost money last year...first time in 11 years we've lost money. Just shows that the recession has hit us hard. Being self-employed has its downs, thankfully it's a mostly positive experience. When you're in a service industry, as we are, window cleaning is a luxury instead of a necessity. Most of our work is commercial, and that's a plus as residential window cleaning has dried up completely.

We keep hoping things will start looking up, but are thankful that I do not have to write the IRS a check this year!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recipe Wednesday

It's Wednesday, and time once again for one of my recipes. We are very fortunate right now, here in Florida, to be blessed with wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables. At the Farmer's Market this week I was able to purchase large, lovely yellow tomatoes. They are sweeter than the reds and don't have the seeds like reds do, they're also lower in acid.

So here's my recipe for grilled yellow tomatoes with cheese (serves 2)



1 large yellow tomato, sliced in thick slices
2 large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Italian cheese blend (I use the grated 4-cheese blend from our local Publix)


Place the tomato slices on a foil-covered baking pan. Add salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle each slice with some of the fresh, chopped basil. Top each tomato with the cheese blend (I use a lot, but you may choose less), bake at 450 degree oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown.


I served this with lemon honey glazed pork chops, fresh brussel sprouts, and wild rice. It was a healthy and delicious meal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dressed up in Green

As you can see I've got my blog all dressed up for St. Patrick's Day. Now, while I don't have a single drop of Irish blood in me, I can still appreciate the beauty of Ireland. I love Celtic music, as evidenced by the music on my blog this month. I love movies set in Ireland and one of my all time favorite heroines is herself, Scarlett O'Hara. I didn't know for a long time there really is a real Tara in Ireland. Granted it's just a hill these days, but at one time was the high seat of the Kings of Ireland, and is, today, where you'll find the Stone of Destiny, where those kings were crowned.

Ireland is one of the places I'd like to visit at some time in my life. Who knows what the future might bring....visiting Dublin, Ulster, maybe the homes of James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, who knows...might even catch a glimpse of that handsome Pierce Brosnan. I just hope he doesn't try to sing!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

A very Happy Valentine's Day to one and all. Valentine's Day is an important day to DH and myself. This is the day we began our new life together. We'd both been married before and when I came to Florida I had everything I owned in a U-Haul truck towing my car. We didn't have a home, a job...nothing except what was in that U-Haul truck. We weren't really sure where we were going or what we were going to do. I guess we thought we could live on love! It was 11 years ago today we moved into a beautiful rental home where we would live for the next 2 1/2 years. We started a new business, which has thrived and supported us well all these years, and have truly enjoyed the blessings of God.

May you and your sweetheart have a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Garden Center

It was so beautiful here today...high 70's, soft wind, blue skies, lots of sunshine...so we decided to go to the garden center at our local Home Depot. Now I know some of you are still buried in snow and ice thinking winter is going to last forever, but here in Florida it's definitely Spring. My redbud tree has started budding and my Azaleas look like they'll burst into bloom any day. They're filled with pink buds.

Anyway, we went to the garden center and I bought several herbs; rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, and chives and one tomato plant. I also bought yellow and purple pansies, a daffodil (we have to buy them here, we can't grow them...our ground never gets cold enough for the bulbs, same with tulips), a New Guinea Impatient, and at the Farmer's Market the other night my DH bought me a beautiful coral rose. I'm getting my Spring garden ready to plant.

Now to get the yard cleaned up, leaves raked, old wood cut back on the bourganvilla and mandavilla, plus I need to pull out all the dead coral vine and trim the confederate jasmine before it blooms. Last fall we cut back the trumpet vine and honeysuckle...I thought we'd killed them, but they're back!! I'll have to figure out something for them to climb on or the whole yard will be covered with honeysuckle.

Now I need to find some pretty pots for my herbs. Think I'll check in at Dollar General on Saturday, see what they have.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Recipe Wednesday

Monday evening we stopped at the Farmer's Market in a nearby shopping center where I found some fresh lemons, large as grapefruits. I bought several and decided to make lemon chicken. DH said it was the tastiest meal I'd ever made....that says a lot since I cook all the time! Here's the recipe

Lemon Chicken Recipe

Ingredients
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp fresh chopped thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2-3 Tbsp melted butter
Lemon slices for garnish
Method
1 Place lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, whisk to combine. With the tip of a sharp knife, cut into each chicken piece one or two times by about 1/2 an inch. (This will help the marinade penetrate.) Place the chicken pieces and the marinade in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Rotate the bag so that all chicken pieces are coated with the marinade. Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator (in case of leakage). Let marinate for 2 hours.
2 Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove chicken from marinade and place in a single layer in a large baking dish, skin side up. Reserve the marinade. Use a pastry brush to brush a little melted butter on to each piece of chicken.
3 Bake for a total of 15 minutes per side, when you turn the breasts brush on more butter on the new side. If it seems dry you can add more marinade at this time.

I served this with fried garlic potato wedges and fresh asparagus in cheese sauce. For dessert we had fresh strawberries and honey tangerines. It was a truly delicious meal!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

6th Picture Meme

I was reading a "new to me" blog this morning and she had cute game on her blog...a 6th picture Meme. Here's the rules:


Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.
Go to the 6th Folder, then pick the 6th picture in that folder.
Post that picture on your blog and the story that goes along with the picture.
Tag 6 other peoples that you know or don’t know to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog or an e-mail letting them know you chose them. (Rather than choose 6, I challenge you to get in on the fun and post on your blog your own 6th picture Meme)


Here's my 6th picture
This is my granddaughter, Leah. Yes, believe it or not, I have 8 grandchildren that range in age from 1 to 14. In this picture Leah is 6 weeks old, she's 2 now. This was the first time I got to see her. Just the other evening, when I was feeling low, I called and talked well, okay I listened to her talk, and it truly raised my spirits.
Hi Leah! Grandma loves you!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday is Recipe Day!


Beginning today, and continuing every Wednesday, until I run out of recipes, I will be sharing one of my very favorite recipes here on my blog. If anyone would care to join me, leave me a comment and I will add a link to your blog here on mine so folks can follow the recipe trail.


Since today is so cold, I think I'm going to make one of our favorites tonight, Spicy Cheeseburger Soup. Here's the recipe



Ingredients: Makes 6-8 servings

1 1/2 cup water

2 cups cubed peeled potatoes

2 small carrots, grated

1 small onion, chopped

1/4 cup chopped green pepper

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained

2 1/2 cups milk, divided

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

8 ounces process cheese (Velveeta), cubed

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)

1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled


Directions:
In a large saucepan, combine the first nine ingre­ dients; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Stir in beef and 2 cups milk; heat through.

Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into soup.

Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.

Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted.

Add cayenne if desired.

Top with bacon just before serving.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rain rain go away

It's been gray and rainy for the last several days, that's something that I don't like. It reminds me too much of when I used to live in the Chicago area. Florida is known for its sunshine and when it's missing I feel so down.

Yesterday I baked Snickerdoodles, trying to cheer us up. I also made fried chicken breasts, broccoli with cheese and fried sweet potatoes for supper last night. We curled up and watched an old Agatha Christie movie, "Death on the Nile" but even that didn't work. Finally, I talked to our youngest son and listened to my 2 year old granddaughter counting, saying "Hi Grandma!", and chattering away..THAT cheered me up!! Sunshine...come back!!

Hope you are having a great day! It is Friday, that's one positive note!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Surgery Date

I went to the oncologist yesterday, and even though I haven't lost as much weight as she'd have liked, she set up a date for surgery for me...March 2nd.

There's part of me that is hesitant and scared, but then cancer is a scary word to begin with. The other part of me wants to get it over and done with. I'm praying it is successful and that God is with me every step of the way.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Twenty-Five Things Your Husband Longs to Hear

I remember reading a romance novel many, many, many...well you get the idea...a long time ago...where the hero said to the heroine, "Ill go down into the dark loving you." Swoon!!! Where's the fainting couch???? I always wanted a man to love me that much, that his last word would be my name, his last thought on earth of me.

We all want our husbands to be a mixture of world's greatest lover, romantic, great looking movie star, sweet singing musician...fill in the blank...hero from the latest romance novel. Sometimes we look at him and wonder, "what did I ever see in him?" But they're only what we make them. We build them into either Ralph Kramden or Brad Pitt. Here's 25 things to say to your husband that will build their ego, remind them of why you married them...and in the meantime remind ourselves as well.


* I've been thinking about you all day
* What can I do for you today?
* How can I pray for you today?
* The best part of my day is when you come home.
* You are one of God's most precious gifts to me
* Thank You
* I'm Sorry
* You are so wonderful!
* You look so handsome today.
* You make my day brighter.
* I don't feel complete without you
* You are my best friend
* I love spending time with you
* Thank you for taking such good care of me
* You are my knight in shining armor
* I will always love you
* I trust your decisions
* I can always count on you
* What would you like to do?
* I prize every moment we're together.
* I see God's fingerprints all over you.
* You are such an inspiration to me.
* You are a wonderful father.
* You could give classes on how to be a wonderful husband.
* I believe in you.

Oh, by the way....remember that man I talked about in the beginning. I married him and I'm thankful every day for a husband who cares for me like I'm the finest diamond in the world. He's everything to me.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Exchange of Power

I remember Martin Luther King standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, today his dream became reality as we watched the first African-American president be sworn into office.
Yet, once again, our nation has practiced it's most fundamental practice..the peaceful and orderly exchange of power. I pray for our new President and Vice President, that they will have wisdom and strength. I pray that he will be led by God, that he will be a Godly man, that he will have wisdom and the strength necessary to make the hard choices and decisions that will build our country into the Godly nation our founding fathers intended us to be. I pray he will strengthen our nation and that he will continue to be a beacon of hope for our nation and not be a stumbling block, that he will not fall prey to the Washington political machine, that he will hold fast to the ideals he expressed when running for office.
God Bless America.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tips for a Great New Year


TIPS FOR A GREAT NEW YEAR

Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

Sit in silence at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.

When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement,
'My purpose is to ____________________ today.'

Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured.

Drink green tea and plenty of water.

Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, and almonds.

Try to make at least three people smile each day.

Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out credit card.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

Contemplate every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five years, will this matter?'

Forgive everyone for everything.

What other people think of you is none of your concern.

However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends & family will. Stay in touch.

Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

Before you go to bed each night, complete the following statements: I am thankful for _______________. Today I accomplished ________________. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

Live Simply, Love Generously, Care Deeply, Speak Kindly and Leave the Rest to God.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another Day Another Dollar

I love that old saying. During these tough economic times it certainly makes a lot of sense. There's days these days we don't even make a dollar a day. DH and I own our own business, it's a window cleaning and pressure washing business, and many companies find that a luxury in tough economic times. We keep trusting in the Lord to provide for us, and He's never failed us yet.

Looks like we're going to have stormy day here in Florida today. We can use the rain.

For those who have been following my blog for a while, little Miss Punkin is doing very well. She is warming up to us, but we've discovered she does not like small children. She loves to climb up on the bed with us and have her tummy rubbed...and rubbed...and rubbed...well, until my hand is tired! She can't get enough of it. We're still having a little trouble with the housebreaking, so we have to keep her in the crate unless we're home, and even then she'll sneak around and go in the house when we're not looking! I wonder, is she's too old to bell train?

I pray that your day is truly blessed. My day will be filled with starting to prepare paperwork to do our income taxes...it's a job I truly dread each year.

Monday, January 5, 2009

First Post of the New Year

I can't believe it's already January 5th! Five days into the new year already.

Today is my sweet husband's 60th birthday. On Saturday I gave him a surprise birthday party...and he WAS surprised, completely and totally. His face was priceless when we entered our church fellowship hall. There were all our friends and church family, but his own family had driven up from Orlando to celebrate with us also. For most of them this was the first visit here, and something he thought would never happen.

I'd told him we were going to a wedding so when we walked in and they all began singing "Happy Birthday" he was confused and totally surprised. There were about 35 who celebrated with us and I owe my best friend, her daughter and husband, a huge debt of gratitude, for I could never have pulled it off without their unfailing love, support and HELP! They honestly did most of the work and did a fabulous job of it.

We had a "John Deere" theme. My husband loves his John Deere tractors, and has an old one he's restored. Last year for his birthday the same best friend and husband and I took him to the Florida FlyWheeler's show. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, everything in the fellowship hall was John Deere yellow and green, including the cake. He loved it and so did all the kids. I have some photos, but the scanner doesn't seem to be working. If I can get it working later I'll scan them, then edit and add them to this post.

I'm hoping now all the festivities are over I will be able to get all my Christmas decorations down and put away, get our lives back to normal. School starts again today and it was back to work for both of us this morning.

Hope your day is wonderful!