Monday, May 30, 2011

My Dining Room Set Needs Help {and a Giveaway!}

Here is a sad picture of my dining set. Well, it's sort of a picture of my dining set. Sound Man actually took it without me knowing while I was tasseling one night before a craft fair. I look less than beautiful, therefore I have been cropped out. I believe in being transparent, but come on. You really don't want me to be THAT transparent.

Back to the problem at hand. My dining set is old. I have no idea how old, because I don't know when my grandparents bought it. It's the only set I ever knew them to have. Well, that and their awesome blue formica table set that I wish we had kept. I don't know...someone in our family may have it. I hope so. They are all the rage right now.

Sorry...I digress again. ANYway, my dining set. It's old. And not very "today" looking. Oh, it's classic and will be stylish no matter what decade it is, but it does need a little sprucing up. I've always been afraid to do anything to it, though. I've always been afraid I'd mess it up.

Well, the other day my sister sent me a link to a post at Miss Mustard Seed where she had refinished a dining set...MY dining set. *GASP!* Since I haven't asked her permission to swipe her pics, just go to this post and see it for yourself. G'head, I'll wait....

Okay, now that you've seen it, you can see how beautiful it can be. And I don't think I'm quite as afraid to do something to my set as I was before. Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint will make it look so pretty!

Now, I mentioned a giveaway in the title of the post. Screaming Meme is giving away TWO quarts of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint! I certainly hope I win, because...well, my dining room set needs help!

Head over to Screaming Meme and enter for your chance to win, too!



Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kiddo's Last AWANA Awards Night


My Kiddo has been in AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed, from II Timothy 2:15) for seven years, starting with Cubbies when he was four years old. Over the course of seven years, he has learned about 600 verses. Yes...SIX HUNDRED verses. Now, of course, he can't recall every single one of them at the drop of a hat, but the point of AWANA is to get God's Word in kids' hearts. And it has done the job with my Kiddo. He has taken comfort in Scripture when he's been afraid, when he's been sad, when he's praying for a lost friend. Speaking of praying for a lost friend, he has become so confident in sharing his faith because of what he has learned in AWANA that he was able to have an intelligent conversation with a 15 year old agnostic cousin about his need for a Savior. I was so proud of him as I eavesdropped (Oh, yes I did!).

Last Wednesday night was our AWANA Awards Night...Kiddo's last as he will be moving up to Jr. High and we don't go further than 6th grade T&T at our church. He has worked so hard that he got the highest award for his age group, the Timothy Award. He has completed so many books of verses and activities I've lost count, but I know that it's at least 600 with the regular books and workbooks he's completed.

Not only do the kids learn verses, they also play games, and Kiddo was asked to help demonstrate one of them for us. He's the last one on the left, the last one to throw the bean bag to the runner.

video


They have a lot of fun and even participate in AWANA Olympics, which in our area is a BIG deal. Churches from all over the area participate.

Kiddo couldn't have done as well as he's done without the help of his leader, Mr. Mike. He pushed Kiddo when he knew he needed to finish, and has encouraged him along the way. Yeah...um...whatever.

I'm so proud of my son. He has worked so hard...by the way...because of the weird way we did school he started AWANA a year behind his actual grade. When he entered 5th grade T&T, we all realized he needed to catch up in order to earn his Timothy Award. He learned all those verses in 7 years...it normally takes 8.

Oh, yeah...Momma and Daddy are two proud parents!

Congratulations, my precious Kiddo! I am so proud of you!



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Italian Chicken Pasta Toss

This is a reposted recipe from way back in 2008. I can't believe it's been that long. We had it again a couple of days ago and it was just as good then as it was the first time we tried it. Lots of fresh veggies and pasta...yum! So, without further ado, here you go...

I am always open to new recipes. If I think something looks good, I'll want to try it out on my family. My family...well, they are not always as open to new things. So when I told my husband about the new recipe I was trying tonight, he said "I'll try it...I'm not too optimistic, but I'll try it." My 8 year old son was about the same..."What does it have that I don't like raw?" Raw? It's not raw, it's cooked, and I told him that. "I know, but what does it have that I don't like raw?" Okay, whatever, I told him a few things and he rolled his eyes. Sigh...oh, why didn't I just fix roast and potatoes and forget this "Let's eat healthier!" thing? Oh, well.

So anyway, I chopped and sliced and diced and stirred and cooked and shredded my little heart out. And let me say, it was a hit. My sweet, new-recipe-wary husband loved it. I believe his exact words were "This one's a keeper." Okay, my 8-year old didn't quite love it that much because all of the vegetables in it he absolutely detests except one. He did like it, though, and I'm confident he won't complain the next time I make it. As long as I go easy on the zucchini and bell pepper on his plate.


Now, to the nutritional value...I looked (after the fact) at the calorie content, and it's only 190 calories per serving, and it makes 6 servings. We ate plenty and had enough for leftovers (I can't WAIT for lunch tomorrow!) and sweet husband and I were completely satisfied. Kiddo, of course, would love to chow down into a Sonic milkshake right about now, but the two grown-ups are good.

Okay, on to the recipe (and I'm sorry I don't have a picture. I wasn't sure we'd like it and I was so busy cutting and all that jazz if I'd tried to take pictures I am absolutely sure I would have cut a finger off. Buy the cookbook listed at the end and you'll see it in all it's colorfulness. Is that even a word?). Edited to add: Here's a picture. It's actually a picture of a picture. It was the best I could do, seeing as how I forgot to take a picture of the actual food.

Italian Chicken Pasta Toss

6 oz uncooked bow tie pasta (about 3 cups)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
2 tsp. olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, pressed (minced)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
grated Parmesan cheese (optional) (not really)

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm. Dice tomatoes, slice zucchini, chop onion, cut bell pepper, and cut chicken into 1-inch strips. (I made it more interesting looking by cutting my zucchini with my Pampered Chef Crinkle Cutter.)

Heat oil in stir fry pan (or nonstick skillet) over medium high heat until hot. Press garlic into skillet. Add chicken and stir fry 5 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, zucchini, bell pepper, peas, seasonings and salt. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, and stir-fry for another 2 minutes or until heated through, stirring gently.

Remove from heat. Stir in warm pasta. Grate Parmesan cheese over pasta mix. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings
Nutrients per serving: Calories 190; Total fat 3 g; Saturated fat 0 g; Cholesterol 20 mg; Carbohydrates 27 g; Protein 14 g; Sodium 430 mg; Fiber 3 g.

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 1/2 starch, 1 meat (1 1/2 carb)

And, let me just say, when that garlic hit that hot olive oil, mmmmm-MMMM! Man, it was smellin' good. It was very pretty and like I said before, very satisfying.

This recipe is from The Pampered Chef(r) Casual Cooking: Easy Recipes for Indoors and Out. You know how I lurve Pampered Chef. This is a great cookbook. It also has one of our favorite salads in it: Strawberry Spinach Salad. And as low calorie as this recipe is, the page before it is Monte Cristo Sandwiches, which have 430 calories and 17 grams of fat per serving. Yeah. We love that one, too. What can I say?

Monday, May 23, 2011

On Being Grateful

There are times when I struggle to be grateful. I look around me and see my less than perfect house, or get my feelings hurt when I'm not asked to sing, or focus too much on a relationship that isn't going the way I want it to. But in reading Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts (if you decide to buy the book and click the link on my right sidebar, I get a small commission...but even if you don't click the link, just BUY THE BOOK!), I realize that I'm to be grateful, even when I don't feel like it (like right this minute).

How ironic it was yesterday when our pastor preached about fear, specifically worry, and how to combat it by expressing gratitude. I almost came out of my seat wanting to tell everyone that this book was about exactly that! So, in light of the fact that my heart is hurting, I give my list, slowly on its way to one thousand.

21. moonlight on bedcovers

22. Zephaniah 3:17

23. Kiddo getting his Awana Timothy Award (more on that later)

24. sweet, soulful canine eyes

25. listening to my husband breathe in restful sleep

26. air conditioning

27. four pillows

28. happy memories that cause laughter

29. late afternoon golden light

30. seeing the first lightning bugs of the year


And even as I sit here after I've typed these, my heart is lifted. Oh, the power of eucharisteo!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

DeSoto Ink

I started this post last weekend, and then Windi got sick, so I didn't feel much like posting it. We're doing okay...still shedding a few tears every once in a while, but for the most part we're okay. Jonathan has been such therapy. Okay...on to the post at hand...

Last Friday was a momentous occasion. I walked into my first tattoo parlor. Not for me, mind you...no, my husband got his first tattoo. Now, some of you may think, "What's the big deal?" But I know LOTS of you are thinking, "WHYYYYYYYY?????" (My sister being the chief among these.)

Well, there were a lot of factors involved, but mainly he did it because he's wanted one for a long time. I asked him right after Mother's Day what he'd like for Father's Day and at first he said he didn't want anything. Then, a few days later, he got up enough courage to tell me what he really wanted...a tat (as they say in the biz...I'm all in the know now. HA!).

I was VERY hesitant at first to say yes. Not that he needed my permission to get one, but he did want my blessing. I told him I wanted him to think looooooong and hard about it. He said that he had been and just hadn't said anything to me about it. Goober.

I guess the reason I was hesitant was because as all hip as I've become over the years (BAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....ahem...), and as cool as I think other people's tattoos look, I never really thought about my husband actually getting one...I mean, I was brought up in Southern Baptist churches where you didn't get tattoos...EVER. Anyone who had a tattoo when I was growing up...well...they didn't feel very welcome wearing short sleeves in church. So it was hard for me to get past that old mindset, as prejudiced as that is. Not with other people, mind you...just my husband. ; )

But, I did get over it, and so he made an appointment for Friday afternoon. I went to document the procedure. Not that you wanted the procedure documented, or anything....

Mike, the tattoo artist, prepped his arm and placed the stencil where he wanted it, then got to work.

Mike was a great guy (he's even been to our church several times!) and the place wasn't too bad once we got back in the room where he worked on it. The front of the place was rough, but I think that may have had more to do with the receptionist than anything else. Talk about rough.


I never realized tattoo work was so messy.
By this point, Sound Man was hurting a little. He said it didn't really hurt all that much until he got to the soft part of his arm.
This is a smile that is pasted on through gritted teeth. It was at this precise moment that Mike started working on that soft part of his arm. When I told him to smile, he told me he was doing the best he could. I'm so mean. I made him do it anyway.

In the end, it was a great experience. As far as tattoo parlors go, the place was nice (once you got past the front desk...I'm telling you it was rough up front!). Mike did an excellent job, and my sweetie was happy with the result. I have to admit, as hesitant as I was about saying yes to a tattoo, I like the result. So what does Psalm 34:4 say?

I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

Something the Lord has been dealing with Sound Man as well as myself lately. So what was one thing he was fearful of?

Getting a tattoo. ; )

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Windi

On my birthday in 1996, we decided to get a puppy. The local kennel owner that my husband had talked to invited us to come see her Shelties, or Shetland Sheepdogs. As soon as we got out of the car I knew I wanted one. We had to wait until one of her dogs got pregnant, but as soon as one did, Sandra, the owner, called us to let us know we'd have the pick of the litter. What a privilege.

When she called us to tell us the puppies were here we couldn't get down there fast enough to see them. Oh, how cute they were! Such wiggly, pitiful balls of cuteness! As the weeks went on, those pitiful little pups became adorable little fluff balls. We were having a hard time picking one out, but it was pretty much between the only male and the littlest female. My choice was the female, but Sound Man still wasn't sure.

Until this happened.

At that moment, he looked at Sandra and said, "We want her."

Then came the process of naming her. Sandra showed her dogs under the kennel name "Vogue," so any dog registered with the AKC from her kennel would start their name with "Vogue."

Vogue Gone With the Wind. Windi.

Even though she ended up being too small to show, she was the sweetest, prettiest, most likeable dog in the world. I wondered if I would ever stop thinking she was the prettiest thing on four legs. I never did.

She became our everything. We were trying to get pregnant and when month after month of negative tests kept coming, Windi was our baby girl. She slept on our bed every night and woke us up with sweet doggy kisses.

Even after Kiddo made his appearance she was still our baby girl. She tolerated this new little wiggly human, and never EVER tried to bite him or even growl...okay, maybe she did growl at him when he pulled her fur. But she never snapped at him, even when he was royally on her nerves.

She stopped being able to jump on our bed a few of years ago, so she stopped sleeping at the foot of our bed about the time Jonathan started. She also started having trouble holding it to go out. Then she started losing her sight. And her hearing.

Even after all of this she was still in relatively good health. She would lie around most of the day, but every once in a while she would jump on Jonathan, wagging her tail as if to say, "I'm not too old to take you down, you young whippersnapper!" This told us she was still kicking. Until Sunday.

Sunday morning, around 4:00 a.m, she woke me up breathing funny. I let her and Jonathan outside, where she made it to the grass, did her business, then collapsed. I couldn't get her to stand back up. I ran and got Sound Man to help me with her. He stayed with her the rest of the night, letting me go back to bed because I had to be at church early and he didn't. Her breathing was labored and she had had what he thought were seizures or strokes, yelping with each one. She never got better, and by that afternoon, we knew what we had to do.

He took her to the Emergency Animal Hospital that afternoon after Kiddo and I had said our tearful goodbyes. Kiddo rode with him...Sound Man said he felt like this was closure for him to do that. Kiddo didn't stay in the room while they administered the medicine, but was there until the very last moment when he had to leave.

We buried her in the back yard, right next to Shadow, who would have been gone a year just five days from the day Windi died.

It has been so hard not to hear her "tickity tickity tickity" nails on the hardwood floors. So hard not to see her lying in her kennel, fast asleep. So hard not to laugh at her messing with Jonathan. I know it was for the best, just like it was with Shadow. But how it hurts.

What a year of loss since last May. I'm ready for my heart to quit aching.

I love you, Windi girl.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bible in 90 Days - Finished on time!

MomsToolbox

Even though we finished over a month ago, I haven't had time or presence of mind to post about it until now. I've also been wavering back and forth about putting this video on here, because, a) it has a buzz in it that drives me crazy (although Sound Man worked his magic and made it sound better), b) I cry, and c) I don't like looking at me on video. This particular one makes me look like I'm growing a fu manchu. I'm not. Weird.

But because I'm so passionate about this subject, I will lay aside all my worries and post it here. Please be kind in the comments. ; )


video

If you have ever given even a little thought of whether you wanted to read the Bible cover to cover, I HIGHLY recommend you check out Mom's Toolbox for info on our next term. I hope to be helping in some capacity with this next term. Click on the button for more info!


MomsToolbox


Monday, May 9, 2011

Flood of the Century

Yesterday was bittersweet. But mostly sweet. I had my moments of tears about not having Momma this Mother's Day, but my guys helped me through the whole day. I had decided I wanted to go to downtown Memphis to see the flooding (high entertainment, no?), so that's what we did.


Traffic was INSANE. Seems we weren't the only ones who wanted to see the historic flooding. Coupled with the fact that some of the streets had already been closed for Memphis in May (which, of course, was moved to another location in the city because of the flood), it was CRAZY. But we found a parking place (for free, even! Unheard of downtown!) and headed down to the river.

First, Kiddo took off his socks and shoes and waded in the water, just to say he had been in the Mississippi. I have to admit that even though I was a little nervous about this, I did the same thing. After we got back to the car we couldn't get home fast enough for us to wash our feet and legs!

Sound Man was quite content to stay dry and take pics. See that rectangle to the left in the pic? That's a sidewalk light. As in, there's a sidewalk under the water there. In fact, there is a sidewalk, then about 20 feet (if my memory serves me right) of grass before sloping down another (normally) 50 feet or so to the river. You can see how far it's come up better in these next pictures.

This is Riverside Drive at Beale Street. Normally there is a cobblestone landing where the riverboats dock down beyond where that fence is. FAR down beyond where that fence is.

Another view of Riverside and Beale. This is the route we ALWAYS take to get downtown. It's so easy because Interstate 55 actually becomes Riverside, so we just hop on the interstate in our town, drive about 25 minutes, and we're downtown. Seeing it like this is unreal.

There were so many people just walking around taking pictures. The bridge was full of people, so we decided not to go down there. Actually, because of my breathing issues, I just decided I had had enough and needed to get in the car. But you can see in the picture above exactly how deep the water is on the street.



Family pic at the flood! Someone had rolled a log in the middle of the street for photo ops. Ha! So we did what everyone else was doing and had a friend we happened to see down there snap one for us.

I mean, we've NEVER seen the Mississippi River up this high before, and I'm praying we never see it like this again. So a picture is in order, I think.

As interesting as it was to be down there and see it like this, where no one is threatened, just a few miles away hundreds of people are being evacuated because this same river is not just coming up their street...it's coming into their homes. For so many of them, they have no insurance. They have lost or will lose everything. Please join me in praying for them. For their safety, for their provision...for the river to go down quickly!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Beautiful Momma

October 4th, 2010 is a day that changed my life forever. That was the day that I lost my mother. She had battled cancer for 6 years. But that's not what this post is about.

I had a dream the other night...I was somewhere on vacation at a resort (THAT right there should tell you it was a dream!) and all of a sudden, Momma came around the corner. She looked beautiful, like she does in one of the pictures below. Before cancer. I fell at her feet, hugged her knees and just cried over and over, "I miss you so much!" And, just like her, she said, "Now, you don't need to cry, Heather! Come on...stop crying..." all the while patting my back. And before I could talk to her anymore, I woke up.

Ever since then I've thought about posting about her...about how beautiful she was. The horrible week before her death left me, my sister, and my family with scars that are being healed only with the power of forgiveness. That week left me with such bad memories it has taken me this long to remember her the way she was. I'm thankful that the Lord has given me that gift back.



Here are some pictures of my Momma, Irene. From the 50's to 2000.

With friends. Momma is on the far right. Isn't she pretty?


I LOVE all the pictures I have of her in crinoline skirts. Ah...to have grown up in the 50's!


This is my favorite picture of her from the 50's. It's so iconic with the Coke in her hand and headband in her hair. It's my Facebook profile pic. : )

Momma with my big sister and me, 1971.

Not one of my favorite pics, but Momma still looks beautiful.


Jumping to my adulthood, this picture was taken at a Mother-Daughter banquet..I think about 1993, before Sound Man and I started dating.


This was taken in 1994, on Mother's Day. My sister, Carlyn, Momma, Me.
I love this picture.

My wedding day, with my first step-dad, Floyd, and Sound Man.

Holding Kiddo when he was just about to turn 3 months old.
This is what she looked like in my dream. So pretty, not looking her age at 64.

That's the last one I could find, but I know there are more recent ones we have. I guess I didn't want to find any more after this one, since this is what she looked like in my dream.

Today will be bittersweet for my sister and me. We will be celebrating Mother's Day with our husbands and sons, but there is a hole in our hearts that will never, ever be filled by anyone else but our beautiful mother.