Wednesday, December 16, 2009

MISSING TEEN IN THE AUSTIN AREA




This message was sent to my church this morning from another church. If you live around here, please be on the lookout for this boy.

Family and Friends,


One of the boys in our youth group at Northwest Fellowship church has been missing since 7:00 PM last night. Please forward this email to everyone in your address book. He was last seen wearing a grey sweatshirt and black basketball shorts. May have put sweatpants on since. He is driving a 1997 Isuzu Rodeo SUV. License plate 432-FMC. He is 17 and some might think this is just normal behavior for a 17 year old but it isn't for Isaac. He is a very responsible and conscientious young man. He was last seen driving East on FM 620 headed toward Hwy 183 in Austin. His name is Isaac Crone. If you have any information - please contact Matt Zurek at 512-233-9817 or Joe Elliott at 512-736-7059.
Thank you so much!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Once Upon a Time, in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away...I Baked a Cake






R2D2 is vanilla cake with Rice Krispie Treat Legs and everything is covered in a mixture of Fondant and Modelling Chocolate, and painted with petal dust and finally steamed to make it all nice and shiny! :)

The response when I delivered it? "Wow, it's so much better than I expected!" Which is what I like to hear! It's so much better than, "Wow, I expected it to be better than that!" :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hello. Is anybody there?

Hello everyone. I'm so sorry for the unannounced bloggy break. It was an equipment failure this time. My computer power cord went bad, and I was not able to use the computer to get on and post. :( The new cord came in today's mail however, and here I am!

Sadly, I only have 16 minutes until the girl is out of dance class, and so I don't have time to catch everyone up on the past few weeks. I do have some Nutcracker pictures for you though. I hope to have a good video to post later in the week, but the one I took last week didn't come out right, so I'm going to try it again this week. Until then, here a a few pictures of my beautiful snowflake as she's both waiting for her turn to dance, and rehearsing before the performance. :)


Monday, November 16, 2009

I Bought the New Switchfoot CD....because Chris Sligh Told Me To!

If you don't know by now that I'm musicaholic...you really haven't been paying attention. I mean seriously, my name is MELODY for pity's sake. It's kind of a given don't you think? When Ben and I decided it was time to switch churches several years ago, I had two criteria for wherever we were going to attend: A good children's program, and a strong youth group with leaders that I could trust, and an amazing worship team! I didn't care so much about the quality of the singing, just the quality of the worship. I learn the most in church from the worship, not as much from the teaching--although the teaching is a factor as well, I can do alright when the teaching is weak as long as the worship isn't. (Pastor Jack, in case you're reading this, I didn't have to compromise on either when I found NHCC...you both rock!)

At any rate, I said all that to say this... I LOVE MUSIC!

And I'm always looking for new music to add to my collection. I need different music for different seasons in my life. Dennis Jernigan got me through a tough time years ago. Chris Sligh brought me back to the place of wanting to be a vessel that God not only uses, but is pleased with. Mandisa gives me hope and reminds me that God not only loves, but He forgives, and restores.

But I was ready for something new. I was tired, and apathetic toward life. I needed a boost. I wanted to be able to play music that the kids wouldn't think was lame, but would still lift up the Lord. And then Chris Sligh sent out a tweet on Twitter that said, "I just bought the new Switchfoot CD, and you should too."

The last CD I bought that Chris Sligh recommended was really good, so I felt like maybe I should check this one out....besides, I follow Switchfoot on Twitter too, so I'd heard lots about this new album already. And while my daughter and I both love gospel and country music, my boys and my husband are rockers. So I thought perhaps Switchfoot would be something good to introduce them to as they are entering into their teenage years...you know, rock-and-roll-without-the-rebellion. And immediately after Chris's tweet, Kris Allen sent one about how good the CD was, so I took that as a sign from God. :)

So, I bought it. And while I was in the store, I saw the new Carrie Underwood CD...and I bought that too. (See love for gospel and country music above.) Then a few days later, I found Taylor Swift's Christmas CD at a really good price, and since I always allow myself one or two new Christmas CDs each year, I bought that too.

Then this past weekend, I went to the Women of Faith Conference, and Steven Curtis Chapman was there and blew me away. So when I was purchasing my book/music package, I chose his newest CD and Sheila Walsh's newest...because I love her, and we got to choose two!

The last day of the Women of Faith Weekend, Nicole C. Mullen sang...and knocked my socks off--which was tough to do because I was wearing boots. So when I got home, I had to use my Family Christian Stores 25% shopping spree to pick up a couple of her CDs and to order her DVD concert. I needed the DVD so I could show my kids the dancing. And also because somewhere in the back of my head I am hoping that if I could learn to do those dances--in the privacy of my bedroom mind you--perhaps I could look like she does! I mean seriously, we've both had 4 kids...but I actually look like I've had 4 kids...while Nicole most definitely does NOT!
(While I was at the conference I sent out a tweet that I wanted to be Marilyn Meberg when I grew up, but now I need to qualify that statement. I want to be Marilyn with Nicole's arms! ) :)

So, how about you, do you have any new music that has just knocked your socks off? I have decided that I like each of my new CDs for very different reasons, and there are different songs on each one that speak to me, so I am planning to write several different posts over the next few weeks or so, introducing you all to some of my favorites. I hereby declare Mondays to be "Music Mondays" from now until I run out of stuff to say about music! Want to join in? If you are interested, I can post a Mr. Linky and we can all share our music with each other. Leave me a comment if you are interested, so I'll know to invite Mr. Linky along for the ride!


And now, I'm going to leave you with my absolute favorite song from Carrie Underwood's latest CD--Play On. I have reminded myself many, many times since I heard it, that this is not where I belong...it's just windows and rooms that I'm passing through...


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Talk About a Lost Mission....

I need your help. I dropped a ball. My friends at Litfuse sent me a book to read and share with you, and I totally let it slip through the cracks that are my life. So, here's where you can help me out. Go out and buy yourself a copy of this book, then buy another one to give to a friend (Christmas is coming you know), and maybe even another one to donate to your local library. Then go around and tell everyone that you know that you found out about this book here, and maybe I can redeem myself to those who send me these books! :)

But seriously, let's talk about this book. This book is quite different from most of the fiction that I read. I read a lot of what I call conversational fiction-- books that read like normal, everyday conversations. This book isn't like that. This book is more like the combination of a spiritual journey on an archaeological dig. And you have to pay attention, or you're going to miss the details.

"Lost Mission follows Lupe de la Garza, a simple shopkeeper in a mountain village in Mexico, on a quest guided by her people's greatest treasure: an altarpiece painted by the eighteenth century Franciscan friar who founded her village after fleeing the mysterious destruction of his California mission outpost. When Lupe is distracted by desire for a young minister who rescues her from certain death in the Arizona desert, and when her preaching in a southern California beach town inspires only apathy and laughter, she begins to lose faith in her quest. Then the slumbering evil that destroyed the friar's Franciscan mission rises up again after two hundred years, and Lupe once more looks to the altarpiece for guidance, only to find he true purpose in the midst of her single greatest fear.

Lost Mission was inspired by news of bishops from Africa and Latin America traveling to the United States to offer guidance to churches, and churches in South Korea sending more missionaries around the world than America. Dickson began thinking about what it means to go from being a country that offers spiritual help to other nations, to being a country that needs spiritual help from some of those nations, and thus the idea for Lost Mission was born."
The book tells two different stories at the same time. Two stories that happened centuries apart, but are linked by a spiritual and generational connection. The story is so complex, that it can't be categorized into one label. The press release on this book says that it "Explores Generational Consequences", but it is so much more than that. How do you feel about illegal immigration, and border patrols? What about our relationship with other nations? Could your personal choices today affect many generations in the future? If you aren't interested in exploring those questions, then don't read this book....because this book will make you think about those things. This book will make you pray about those things. And this book will make you truly consider that you CAN make a difference in this world.

The question is, what kind of difference do you want to make?
About the book: What haunting legacy awaits deep beneath the barrios and wealthy enclaves of Southern California?
A billionaire
driven mad by grief.

A pastor
in love with the wrong woman.

An illegal immigrant
desperate to feed his family.
Only Lupe de la Garza can save them from the ancient evil lurking in a lost mission's ruins, but it will take an act of faith beyond all human power. An idyllic Spanish mission collapses in the eighteenth century atop the supernatural evidence of a shocking crime. Twelve generations later the ground is opened up, the forgotten ruins are disturbed, and rich and poor alike confront the onslaught of resurging hell on earth. Caught up in the catastrophe are... · A humble shopkeeper compelled to leave her tiny village deep in Mexico to preach in America · A minister wracked with guilt for loving the wrong woman · An unimaginably wealthy man, blinded to the consequences of his grand plans · A devoted father and husband driven to a horrible discovery that changes everything Will the evil that destroyed the MisiĆ³n de Santa Dolores rise to overwhelm them? Or will they beat back the terrible desires that led to the mission's good Franciscan founder's standing in the midst of flames ignited by his enemies and friends alike more than two centuries ago? From the high Sierra Madre mountains to the harsh Sonoran desert, from the privileged world of millionaire moguls to the impoverished immigrants who serve them, Athol Dickson once again weaves a gripping story of suspense that spans centuries and cultures to explore the abiding possibility of miracles.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Stumped....

I have no earthly idea what to write about today....

Not a clue...

And besides that, I'm sitting here with Jon, trying to blog and help him with his math page all at the same time. He's not a big fan of multiplication or division...or really school in general, so it's a great big love fest over here right now.

On the bright side, The Biggest Loser is on tonight! Yea! I think this might actually be the year that Bob beats Jillian...but knowing this show, they will probably all switch trainers again before it's over, so who really knows. Last week's elimination was a tear-jerker for me, how about you? I loved Abby, and I can't imagine losing my entire family the way she did, but it was so good to see her giving those motivational speeches and to see how much weight she's lost since leaving the ranch. It's so obvious that God is helping her to get through this, and I hope that He gives her back 10 times what she lost...just like Job!

Okay, I seriously have nothing to say, so let's get a discussion going instead, shall we? Let's talk about the new season of television! What is your favorite NEW show this fall? I have been pleasantly surprised by "The Good Wife". It wasn't at all what I expected, and I really like it. However, I'm really liking the new NCIS as well. I've never been a big fan of spin-offs, and I've never seen any of the CSIs except the original, but I do like this new NCIS. I don't like it as much as the original...it is a totally different show, but I do like it. Putting Linda Hunt in the cast as "Hetty" was a great idea. I love her, and I love the way that no matter what character she plays, she invokes fear in everyone around her!

So, what's your favorite new show of the season?

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Really Should Stop Watching the Television....

As most of you know, I'm a bit obsessed with crime dramas on the tv. And if you've been reading here since the beginning, you will remember that I am a little particular about the forensic evidence I have on me...just in case something happens to me, and a CSI team has to investigate.

And if you've read here in the past week, you will know that I also had to renew my driver's license recently.

And here is where the two things collide...

For the past 12 years, I've been able to renew my driver's license online. Which means that they simply take the picture that they already have on file and put it on a new license with updated dates, etc. and pop it in the mail to me....SOOOO convenient!

However, this year I was once again required to show up at the DPS office in person to renew...sigh. So, I spent many, many, hours there last month waiting to renew my license and take my new picture....HUGE sigh. (I really liked my old picture.)

Not only did I have to fill out extra forms because I have been diagnosed with a chronic disease since my last renewal, but I've also gotten glasses. Wearing glasses means that I have to take an eye test there in the DPS office so they know if I have to be wearing them when I drive. That way, they can list "must wear corrective lenses" as a restriction on my license. Well, my glasses are really more for seeing things close-up, and I don't actually need them to drive a car. So, I passed the eye test for driving just fine.

However, it didn't occur to me that when they went to take my new picture, that they would make me take the glasses off. Apparently, you may only wear your glasses in your Driver's License picture if you must wear them to drive.

I know that right about now you're thinking to yourself, "so????" Well here it comes....

One of my favorite crime dramas is "Criminal Minds" -- although I have to record it and watch it during the day, because it's too creepy to watch right before bedtime! So anyway, there was an episode last season where the team is investigating the murder of a man and his wife when they stopped their car to help another motorist. Now, as they are investigating, they look at the man's driver's license and notice that...He has NO "corrective lenses" stipulation on his driver's license, and yet he is wearing glasses! This in turn leads them to the fact that this crime was committed by a serial killer who leaves an item from his previous victim somewhere on his newest victim's person...in this case, the glasses. You can see where this is going can't you??

All I could think of when she asked me to take off my glasses was that episode! I mean really, if someone murders me in my car, the police are going to see my glasses, look at my license and assume that the killer left the glasses! It's going to completely throw off the investigation!

Now for the record, I haven't worn my forensic bracelets for some time. I've had to start wearing a medical id bracelet listing all my medical issues, drug interaction, and drug allergy information, and they don't really go together very well. So, I've had to let that obsession go... and I've been successful in doing so. And I have high hopes that soon, I will be able to get in the car to go somewhere and the first thought that runs through my mind won't be whether or not I should take off my glasses....just in case! :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Babies and Cakes...What More Could You Ask For?

A few weeks ago, I was asked to make a birthday cake for a girl turning 16. She was getting her driver's license and a new car for her birthday, so we decided on a driver's license cake for her.

I obviously had to cover up her personal information, but I wanted you to see the cake. :) I copied as much of the detail of my own license as I could do with icing to make it as authentic as possible. The funny thing was, on my way home from delivering the cake, I stopped by the mailbox, and my new license was waiting for me... it is completely different from the old one, so her brand new license looks nothing like the cake I made! Fortunately, I don't think she has hers yet, so hopefully, her dad still has the old one, and that was her point of reference also. :)
[Besides, the new format wouldn't have looked as good as a cake!]


This past Wednesday was a very busy day. I made a cake for our church's youth group "Holly"ween party. Every year they do some sort of themed party and all the youth have to dress according to that theme. This year it was a Hollywood theme as well as a murder mystery night. So, the cake order was for an elegant cake with a Hollywood/Movies theme. I got the idea from a cake I saw online, but I changed it up and added pictures of the youth group during some of their mission trips to the film reel that is unwinding around the cake. The entire thing was edible. The film reel was cake and gumpaste, the film was chocolate, and the cake was a black and white cake--each tier being one layer of chocolate and one of vanilla.


And while I was making the "Holly"ween cake, my niece was having her baby. Now, when you consider that she's been working on that new little grand-niece for the past nine months, that obviously took longer....but when you just look at the labor part, the cake took longer than the labor....by several hours. Obviously, I'd rather be decorating a cake than being in labor, but I must admit, that when I was all finished and the cake was delivered, all I was left with was a dirty kitchen and a pile of dishes. Alyssa, got this...

I think she wins.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aspirations

As I said, we had a great time in Luckenbach this weekend. I'd love to tell you all about the event, and what it is for, but I just remembered a few hours ago that I have a big cake project to make for an event tomorrow evening....yikes! So, I'm running around like a crazy person today and tomorrow to get it finished.

In the meantime, I can share with you the video that my husband took of the Trials Demonstration that two of the Mizell brothers put on for all the spectators. My boys can't do all of these tricks yet, but someday....

Monday, October 26, 2009

There's No Running in Luckenbach...

Got back yesterday from a fabulous weekend in Luckenbach, Tx. The weather was perfect, the camping was fun, and my boys did well in their Trial's Competition. I'll post all about it soon, but I need to upload some video and stuff first. [Besides, life in Luckenbach is slower paced and not conducive to a post about running. :)]

In the meantime, I figure I'd better finish the running info. that I promised...just in case anyone has been on the edge of their seats waiting for it. :)

I already gave you all my training secrets, but I've picked up some race-day secrets from some real runners that have been extremely helpful in actually finishing a race strong, and I thought it might be nice if I shared them with you!

First of all, when you begin training, sign up for a race that's a month or so away to give you motivation to keep training. A 5K is a good distance for your first race, and having that goal in mind when you train can be a huge asset.

Secondly, when you start the race, your adrenaline will be pumping, and you will tend to start the race at a quicker pace than you are used to running. This will tire you out too quickly and you may find that you have lost all your juice before the race is over. A trick I learned from a running trainer is to start with smaller steps than usual, and even a slightly slower pace than you are used to. He said it should almost feel uncomfortable, like you want to break out into a full run. If you have been training and find that you can run 2.0-2.5 miles, but just can't get to that 3rd mile mark, try this approach. Generally, if you run this way for the first .5-1.0 mile, and then move into your normal, comfortable gait, you will find that you still have energy to finish that 3.1 miles. (This is what I did before my first race and it worked. The first time I tried it, I ran the full 3.1 miles and I had power to run the last 100 yards or so, full out.) The mantra is, "It's better to finish strong, than to start strong and fizzle out."

And the third tip I got from reading Kristen Armstrong's running blog. She said that during one race, she decided to stop and walk when she was handed her cup of water along the route. She walked for just a minute or so as she drank the water, and then started running again. She said that it made a big difference in her ability to finish the race strong. (I believe she was running a 1/2 or full marathon at the time.)

Okay, so that's about all I've got on the running tips. Except that if you happen to be blessed enough to own or be able to buy an iPod Nano with Nike+, do it! I received one as a gift, and it has been the best thing EVER for my running. It keeps track of your distance, and times. It can be programmed for a certain distance, or a certain amount of time. It can upload all of the information to Nike.com and keep track of how far you've run, and what is your average pace, etc. It's a fabulous tool, and I wouldn't run without it now that I've run with it! I use it for walking days AND running days, and it is very accurate and a great tool to see my progress--or lack of progress--as the case has been lately! :)

If you've recently started a walking, jogging, or running program, leave me a comment and let me know how it's going and anything you've learned along the way that might be helpful to me as well. And if anyone is interested in a little walking/running challenge, let me know that as well. I've got some ideas running around in my head for a marathon in a month that anyone could do, and it might be fun if people wanted to join in! Leave me your ideas and let's see what we can put together.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Time to Take a Break from Running and Read a Book!


A few months after I started this blog, I began recieving requests from different companies to review different items or promote television programs for them. [Why these people think I watch a lot of tv is beyond me.... :) ] Some requests I accepted, and others I passed on. But when I accepted my first request to review a book from Amy at Litfuse, it was the start of something fabulous. Every so often, I get an email telling me about a new book that will be going on a blog tour and I have the option to join the tour, or pass. If I join the tour, Litfuse sends me a free copy of the book, a press release on it, as well as information on any give-aways or contests related to the book. It has been a great way for me to read some amazing books and to get aquainted with some amazing authors.

When I received the blog tour notice for Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey's historical fiction book, The Swiss Courier, I couldn't reply fast enough. In the first place, I love Tricia Goyer. I've reviewed several of her books here in the past, so you should all be aware of how much I admire her not only as an author, but as a Christian, and as a person. I knew that she had written some historical fiction (which has always been a favorite genre for me), but I'd not had the opportunity to ever read any of them before. This was my big chance....and it paid off ....BIG! I've got to admit that I'd never heard of Mike Yorkey before, but if he's writing with Tricia, he's got to be good, right?

Working as a Swiss transcriptionist for the Americans during WWII, Gabi Mueller's life changes overnight when she's recruited as a spy for the precursor of the CIA.

Asked to safely courier a German physicist working on the budding Nazi atomic bomb project to the Swiss border, Gabi feels the weight of the war on her shoulders. But who can she trust?

My whole family has been really interested in all things related to WWII lately. Benji is reading "The Hiding Place" for school, Ben received the movie "Valkyrie" for Father's Day and it has been watched many times in our house (by those old enough to handle it, that is), and Jonathan pretty much keeps the television tuned to The Military Channel whenever he gets the chance.

When I read the preface of the book and recognized the story of Valkyrie, I was immediately drawn in. The story of Gabi Mueller takes place after the failed Valkyrie endeavor, and is immediately both gripping and heart-warming. Gabi's father is American and her mother is Swiss giving her both duel-citizenship and the advantage of being multi-lingual. She is working as a translator for the OSS in Switzerland when she is asked by a superior to be a part of a secret operation. Her family is a loving, Christian family that instantly draws you in and makes you feel comfortable. Her job is dangerous and full of plot twists and surprises that keep you guessing, and turning page after page with very little regard for the laundry piles in the next room, or the dishes stacked next to the kitchen sink.... ahem.

I should state, for the record, that no child went without food or clothing during the reading of this book. Not sure about the husband, though. :)

Did you know that authors are now making video trailers for their books now? Well they are, and you can watch the trailer for "The Swiss Courier" right here!



And you can go here to read an excerpt from the book!

When you're finished with those, you can go to Christianbook.comor Amazon.com to buy your own copy!

[For some reason, I can't pull up the information on the blog tour for this book right now, and my battery is dying, so I am going to post this as is...and update with more information when I can get it to come up!]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Are you still running?

I know, I've been MIA again...but on the bright side, while I was gone I got another follower here on the blog. So perhaps the trick to having more followers, is to stop writing! :)

In truth, I was having Google trouble again and wasn't able to log on to the blog last week at all. I tried a few different things, and it finally let me on today, so I'm not sure what I did, but apparently something worked, and so I'm back!

Now, I know that I promised part two of the "Running" post, but it's almost time for the girl to be out of dance class, so I need to be quick. And you all know that when it comes to running, I am no where near quick.

Thank you-- thank you-- I'll be here all week.

But I did want to mention something that happened during this past weekend's football game between OU and UT.

I noticed it during the game and found it curious, but it wasn't until church the next morning when it really hit me... the significance of it.

Colt McCoy had just made a good run down to about the 4 yard line, when the ball was knocked loose from his hands as he was hitting the turf. There was a question as to whether the ball came loose before or after his knee was down, so the play was under review.

The review came back and ruled it a fumble, and OU got the ball. Here's the interesting part. I watched as Colt looked up to the sky and pointed up...just the way a lot of sports figures do when they do something good---a touchdown, a homerun, or really any good play. It's not uncommon to see this act of "giving God the glory" for sports accomplishments these days. But this wasn't an accomplishment, this was a failure...of sorts.

Anyway in church the next day, we sang a new song. (I've tried to find the lyrics to it online, but I have a feeling it may have been written by someone in our church because I found 3 different songs with the same title online, and not one of them was the correct song.) But the song in essence says, "I will praise/bless the Lord at all times: when I'm strong and when I'm weak; when I succeed and when I fail; when I'm happy and when I'm sad...etc."

When the song started playing, that picture of Colt pointing to God even in his time of failure came to my mind, and it occurred to me. He gets it. He really gets it. And now, I think maybe I get it too. Thanks Colt for the lesson, and the example.

Oh, and Hook Em Horns!! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Run, Run, as Fast as You Can.....or Not!

Yesterday, Spence Smith posted So You Wanna Run on his blog. I've been following Spence on Twitter since he was competing in the Iron Man competition earlier this year, so I was really interested in what he had to say about getting started running.

The article is a good one for covering the basics of getting started as a runner. And let me just state for the record that his comments on finding a Running Store to get fitted for running shoes are ABSOLUTELY correct! When I first started running 8 years ago, I made a grave "shoe buying error" and ended up having to have cortisone shots in my knees just to be able to walk...it was NOT fun.

I took a hiatus from the running after that, but decided to dive back in after the birth of child #4 and the diagnosis of my kidney disease. I wrote all about it here in case you missed it.

Earlier this summer, I went on another running hiatus to have a couple of kidney surgeries and what not, and have just recently begun to get back to it.

Spence's post got me thinking about the many different ways to train as a runner. Most of the "training plans" that I've seen weren't really feasible for someone in my condition, or with my schedule. I was recently discussing with my doctor the way I train, and he told me that it was actually a really good way to do it...surprise, I'm doing something right! :) Anyway, I thought I would share with you the basics of how I train to run, as well as a couple of tips I've learned along the way from actual, real runners.

First and foremost WALK FIRST!

I've been taught that you don't really want to stretch before a run, but you do want to walk. I can't remember the reasoning for this off the top of my head, but since I'm not really a very flexible person, I have embraced this rule! :)

Now the thing that is different about the way I train is keeping time. Unless you run on a treadmill with a fancy digital clock on it, it's very difficult to follow the "run for 1 minute-walk for 3 minutes" style of training. When you are running through neighborhoods, or even on running tracks, trying to keep an eye on your watch is difficult, so I came up with a plan that works better for me. I keep track by the songs I'm listening to.

I start my music and I walk for the 1st 2 songs that play. Then I run/jog through the 3rd. Then I walk the fourth, run the fifth, etc. When I'm nearing the end of my scheduled time, I walk the final two songs as a cool down. THEN it's time to stretch. You'll want to stretch out those leg and back muscles carefully to help keep you from getting sore. You will also want to drink lots of water throughout the day. This really helps keep the soreness at bay as well.

Now, I will stick with this routine for at least one full week if I'm running every day, and possible 2 weeks if I'm only running 3-4 days a week. Then the routine is to walk 2 songs, run 2 songs, walk 1 song, run 2 songs, walk 1 song, etc., again ending with walking and stretching. After a week or two of this, I go to walk 2 songs, run 3, walk 1, run 3, etc. Once I get to the point where I can run for 30 consecutive minutes without needing to stop and walk, I begin to add distance to my runs. If I'm training for a 5K (3.1 miles), I will begin to go that distance on my daily runs, I will run as long as I can, and stop and walk through 1 song only when I need a break. I then run again until I need another 1 song break. At this point, I finish the entire 3.1 miles and then finish by walking through one final song. This plan has worked wonders for me and I have trained and run in several 5K events and one 5 Mile event.

I'm out of time for posting today....part two coming soon!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Ought to be Blogging, But...

I left my netbook at home today...sigh.

I had Benji pack it all up.

He handed it to me.



I grabbed my purse.

I set the netbook down to get my keys.

I walked out the door without picking back up my netbook.

Sigh.

You are now free to go and read a blog where the blogger has actually posted something worth reading.

:)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Seen and Heard....


This year, due to learning issues with #2 son Jonathan, I have switched part of his curriculum to Five in A Row. We used Before Five in a Row with the kids for pre-school, and Five in a Row for Kindergarten and First Grade with the older boys, but have gotten away from it as they got older. However, last year I did almost every subject with Jon using a different curriculum in an effort to determine what was going to work the best...you know, before all my hair turned gray, and then I pulled it all out. :)

So, after last year's "great curriculum experiment", Jon and I determined that he enjoyed reading something and then answering questions and doing projects based on that reading. Re-enter the Five in a Row curriculum! Since he is older now, he is doing the Beyond Five in a Row version which entails reading two fiction novels and two non-fiction books over the semester and doing applied math, science, geography, history, and writing assignments based on those books. (Just for those who are curious, all of the children use Alpha Omega's Switched on Schoolhouse for Language Arts and Bible, Madeleine and Benji also use it for History/Geography and Science. And they all use Math-U-See as well.)

Last week Jon had an assignment based on the 2nd chapter of "The Boxcar Children". In the chapter, the children happen upon a water fountain with 3 levels; the top level was for people to drink from, the middle for horses, and the lower for dogs. In the lesson, he also learned that Kansas City is known as "The City of Fountains" and we studied pictures of all the famous Kansas City Fountains.

His assignment was to then design a fountain that would provide water for people, horses, and dogs, and yet be decorative...somewhat like the Kansas City Fountains, thus mixing function with art.

I gave him the choice of building a fountain out of Lego's, sculpting one out of clay, or just drawing his fountain on paper. He chose drawing...because it's faster...and less work...ahem.

Anyway, the point of all this seemingly useless information is to tell you that when Jon brought his fountain design to me, I noticed that it had 4 levels rather than the required 3. I was curious as it isn't really like Jon to do any more than what is required...if that, but I chose to remain quiet on the issue, and simply ask him to tell me about his design.

This is what he said,

"The top has a cupid, and his hiney is facing the front. (he is a boy after all)
The bottom pool is for the dogs.
The second one is for the horses.
And the people drink... from...the...top... (about this time, he realized that his fountain had 4 levels rather than 3)
Oh, and THAT one up there is for people on horses!"


Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

You can never accuse my boy of non-creativity...nor of the not being able to think on his feet! :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

I'm Having Some Google Issues...

***Update: Apparently, I misread Kelli's schedule for the week, and her surgeries didn't start yesterday. Yesterday was just a consultation to plan the surgeries. HOWEVER, she still needs your prayers, so the request still stands. :) ***

Hey Ya'll,

I'm very sorry that I've not updated in awhile, but for some reason, Herr Google, won't let me sign onto my very own blog...sigh. It keeps giving me the old "Timed Out: Google is taking too long to respond" message, and no matter how many times I hit the "Try Again" button, I keep getting the same message.

I am sending this little gem-o-information from my phone, but I honestly have no desire to type an entire post with my thumbs. Not to mention I can only post in html mode with the phone, which is beyond boring.

Google will, however, allow me to read other blogs, so I'm heading out to catch up with those, and I'll keep trying to gain access to my own blog so I can once again bore you with the details that are my life! :)

Oh, and if you get the notion, please pray for Kelli today. I believe she is having the first of several surgeries today, and not a one of them is to give her a new kidney...sigh. I can't do the whole linky-thing within the post since I'm on my phone, but there are a couple of links to find her on my sidebar. She is the Kelli in "
Find a Kidney for Kelli", as well as "Living in Grace" on my Blog Roll, AND she is listed in my prayer list. So if you want to go check out her story or leave her an encouraging note, please do! Some of her issues are related to the kidney failure, and some are just extra stuff to make her life even more difficult than it already is...in other words, she can use your prayers AND encouragement. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Football and Fiction...What More Can You Ask For?

You all should know by now that I have a great love of fiction books. I like all kinds of books, but fiction is my favorite...and humorous fiction is even better! It's no secret around here either that Susan May Warren is one of my favorite fiction writers. (And not just because she sends me Starbuck's Gift Cards and Pop Rocks in the mail!) :) I love everything I've ever read of hers, and I especially love when she's funny. I've probably said this about her Josie Series before, but reading her books are like reading some of my favorite blogs. They are real and often her characters are thinking exactly what I would be thinking in the same situation.

And, if you've read here for any amount of time, you should also know that I am a HUGE football fan. I love many different sports, but football is the only sport that I will watch no matter which teams are playing. I love to watch Andy Roddick play tennis, and I try to always watch my Astros, and my Spurs. I watch NASCAR, but only the events that Jeff Gordon participates in. But I will watch anybody play football.

So imagine my delight when I went to my mailbox, and found The Great Christmas Bowl by Susan May Warren! The Sub-title reads: "One mother's hilarious quest to serve up the perfect holiday" Have you been there? I know I have! As a mom, I always want everything I plan to be perfect...don't you?

A few years ago, I read The Worst Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson to my kids during the week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, I plan to read The Great Christmas Bowl instead. :)

It's the story of a mom who (although grudgingly at times) does everything she can to make those around her happy while learning the true, biblical meaning of the word "hospitality". It's funny, yet powerful in teaching the reader this lesson as well.

If you're looking for a fun yet purposeful story to share with your family this year, or a great Christmas gift for a reader you know, this book is a fabulous choice, and I highly recommend it!


Share your Favorite Christmas Story and Recipe!

Do you have a favorite Christmas Story? How about a favorite family recipe? Share your memories with the Great Christmas Bowl family! Click here to submit your story and recipe, and YOUR post will be featured here, on the GCB blog! Then, download the entire recipe book at the GCB Tea Party, Saturday December 5th! While you're there, you can also read the stories and recipes that have already been submitted.

If you submit a story and recipe, be sure to come back and leave a comment letting me know, so I can go and check it out!

Monday, September 28, 2009

It Was a Beautiful Wedding...

...the bride's colors were a lovely shade of aqua blue with hot pink accents. All the bridesmaids were dressed in aqua blue strapless dresses with a wide hot pink band at the empire waist level. The accent tables were covered in aqua blue with a wide hot pink band around the top. The tables that had white cloths had hot pink roses on them.

And this is the groom's cake she had me make...

That's right, a red and black Texas Tech themed cake! Fortunately, she did use white rose petals on this table so there was no immediate clashing going on. :) (You can click on the picture to enlarge it if you need to.)

The original idea came to me because she was planning to decorate the groom's table with pictures of she and her man at Texas Tech University...where they met...and fell in love. She thought that a Texas Tech cake in the center would be fitting. But, she wanted cake for 75 people, and seriously, I love my niece, but a Texas Tech cake that big goes against every Longhorn bone in my body. :) So I came up with the idea of making a Texas Tech yearbook, and adding photos of the two of them in the yearbook...that way, all I had to do was put a little Texas Tech logo in the corner--it gets the point across without being too offensive. :)

So, she sent several photos for me to choose from, and I picked what would fit on the cake, and that I could come up with catchy-yearbooky-phrases for.

It really was a beautiful wedding, and the bride was gorgeous. I'll try to post more pictures from the wedding later in the week, but the girl is out of dance class now, so I've got to get home and get supper on the stove for the family.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you all about "The Great Christmas Bowl"...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If Yesterday Was "Ugh"...Then Today Is Just "Blah"

Now THAT got you all excited to read today's post, didn't it? :)


I am feeling a bit better today than I did yesterday ear-throat-infection-wise. (I love how you can add hyphens, and come up with all new compound words whenever you feel like it...at least in Blogland anyway.) But surprisingly enough, it's raining...again. I KNOW! Deep in the heart of Texas where we spent our entire summer as well as the end of our spring season with temperatures well above 100 and not a drop of rain for months, it's been raining for days...and it did it a couple of weeks ago too...so it feels like it's been raining for weeks. And as much as I am enjoying the 60 degrees, and being able to wear my fall clothes (because they are my favorites), I don't really enjoy the rainy days. Especially when I can't curl up on the couch with some apple cider and a good book, or a movie, or even a DVR full of my favorite tv shows. No, life has had to go on as usual, and I'm sick, and it's raining, and everything is muddy, and dirty, and BLAH.

So, I decided that I needed a couple of things to perk myself up today. 1) A Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks--courtesy of a gift card from Susan May Warren 2) Something to either remind me what an amazing blessing it is to be a mother or Something to make me laugh.

So Caramel Apple Spice? CHECK!

And as for being reminded of blessings or laughing out loud, I decided to go with both! The following posts were written by two of my favorite bloggers who just so happen to be related to each other! The first reminds me of why I love being a mother, the second makes me laugh...and inspires me to do a better job at keeping my house clean! Sometimes, I stay away from these two particular blogs because I can begin to feel completely inadequate at mothering, teaching, housekeeping, and even blogging for crying out loud! But, on days like today (or weeks like this week) they are comforting friends that help to get me back on track.

So, if you need a reminder of the magic that is motherhood, come with me to In the Midst of It and read the first blog post I ever read, and one of my all-time favorites My Tattooed Soul.

And if you just need a good laugh and a swift kick in the pants, come with me to A Chelsea Morning and read another of my all-time favorite posts, I Febreze My Dog.

Or if you have the time, do like I'm doing, and go read both!

And if you can fenangle yourself a Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks...I highly recommend that too! :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ugh....

Did I mention yesterday that I was having an issue with my ear?

Well I am.

And I finally went to the doctor today, and it is infected....sigh.

Needless to say, I'm not feeling very well so I think I'll take a break today and instead of writing here on the blog while the girl is dancing, I'll go and catch up with some of your blogs...something I don't get to do nearly enough of lately!

I started antibiotics today, so hopefully I'll be in a better frame of mind for writing tomorrow. :) At least I have the season premier of NCIS to look forward to from my couch tonight!

Oh, and while I am here, I have a question for all of those out there who are smarter than I am.

When I go to my Google Reader...which I love...most of the blogs I read have the whole post there on the reader, but some of them only have an excerpt, and I have to click to the actual blog to read the post. I generally use the Google Reader when I'm reading on my phone, and while I can access the blogs, they take FOREVER to load on the phone. Does anyone know if there is a setting that I can change to enable full posts to show up, or is that something the blog writer has set on their end?

And if that last paragraph made no sense to you, you probably can't answer my question anyway, so just ignore me and move on. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Weekend in Review

Hello Blogland. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Football-wise, mine was great! Both my Longhorns and my Texans won this weekend...WOOT!

I made my standing "UT Football Season Cookies" and other assorted goodies on Friday for my friend's tailgate party, but I totally forgot to take pictures...again. Sorry about that. Truthfully though, you've all seen my longhorn game day cookies many times before, so even though I do different ones on different occasions, you have pretty much seen them all.

On Saturday, Ben and the boys had a Trial's Motorcycle competition. They were here in town for a change, so the little kids and I were able to go out and watch them. Ben and Benji got off to a slow start, and finished 3rd and 6th in their respective classes, but Jon had a great run and won 1st place for his class. :)

Generally, Jon has at least one really good wreck during a weekend competition. He didn't have any this weekend, but he did manage to fall out of a tree...sigh. He was finished with his run and wanted to get up in this tree to watch the other competitors from a better angle, and the branch gave way as he tried to swing up onto it. He was still in full riding gear, including his helmet (thank you Jesus!), so he escaped with a decent road rash on his back and some bruising, but nothing major. I think he'd be safer staying on his motorcycle! How often do you hear a mother say that? :)

Other than that it was a pretty quiet weekend at the Casa de KidsandCakes. I've got some sort of ear issue going on, and planned to go see the doctor about it this morning, but woke up feeling much better, so I decided to give it one more day and see how it is tomorrow. All the pain is gone, but it still keeps closing up on me and it makes it hard to hear anything. Not to mention that it makes my own voice sound so loud in my head, that I've been talking very quietly. The kids keep having to ask me to repeat myself which is really frustrating!

This week promises to be another busy one. My niece is getting married on Saturday, and I'm making the groom's cake for the wedding. There is also another Longhorn home game this weekend, so I should be making the cookies and things again, but I'm going to have to see how my week is going before I agree to that with the wedding and rehearsal dinner also on my plate.

I got a comment on my Facebook from a friend who tried the Vidalia Onion Casserole. She used the original recipe rather than my version, but she did a mixture of different cheeses. She said, "It Was To Die For!" :) She put it on ribeye steak....yumm!!! I'd love to hear if anyone else has tried it and how you used it. So leave me a comment and let me know if you do try it.

I think that's about it for my weekend. How about you? Did you do anything fun this weekend? Did your favorite football team win? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's Been a Busy Week...

The new homeschool year is in full swing at our house, and since little Dave was added to the list of active students in my house, I've been having quite a time trying to fit everyone in! This week went a little more smoothly than last week, but it's still pretty crazy. And with Maddie starting up dance classes 4 times a week now too...I'm not sure I'll ever get my head above the water!

If you have been wondering about the fact that I have actually posted something for the past 4 days in a row, that would be due to the dance classes. Three afternoons a week, I am up here with her for an hour long class, and then one class a week is only 30 minutes. So, I figured out how to tether my cell phone to my netbook and run the internet from the phone onto the netbook, and while she dances, I write drivel!

However, there are no dance classes on Fridays or the weekends, and so I will warn you now that those days will be spent trying to catch up on things at the homestead, so I'll be scarce again until Monday. You can, of course, always keep up with me on Twitter. If anything exciting happens....or if a commercial makes me angry....it will show up there! (I believe Jack-in-the-Box was the subject of my last Twitter-rant.)

The problem I'm having today is that I have absolutely nothing to tell you of any interest at all!

I guess I could tell you why I'm boycotting Blockbuster....not an exciting story....but a rant too big for Twitter at any rate.

Okay, here's the story....

My boy rented a video game from Blockbuster. When the date came to return the game, I specifically asked the boy to check the case to make SURE the game was inside before I drove all the way over there. (The Blockbuster close to our house didn't have the game, so his dad took him to a store further away to rent it, and the idea of driving all the way over there for nothing was not appealing to me.) The boy brought the case to me and assured me the game was, in fact, inside.

I took the game to the Blockbuster, and before I stuck it in the return box, I double-checked to make sure that the game really was there....because I've had that boy for awhile now. Satisified that the game was inside, I returned it, looked around the store for a bit, and went on my merry way.

A week or so later, I got a phone message from Blockbuster informing me that I had returned an empty case...WHAT????????

So, I began to doubt my memory...because it has been known to fail me at times, and I made the boys go through every single disk and case in the house to look for that game....it was not there....reaffirming my faith in my memory skills.

I called the Blockbuster, and informed them that there must be some mistake because that case was checked twice and the game was in there when I returned it.

"No ma'am. I have an empty case here with no game. You must have misplaced it."

Aargh! So I told her that we had torn apart the house, and it wasn't here. I was sure that it was in the case when I returned it, but since she wouldn't believe me, what was I supposed to do next? She told me to come in and just pay for the game. Again...aargh! The game happened to be an older one, so the price was only $4.99....I think we paid more to rent the stupid thing!

So I headed up there a few days later to pay them....

"That will just be a $5.40 late charge."

"Fine, but what about paying for the game itself?"

"Oh no, there's just a late fee, the game was returned 2 days ago."

"Um, what? It wasn't returned by me...I tried to tell you people that someone else had your game!"

"No, you must have found it and brought it in."

"Um, NO, I didn't."

"Well then, it must have been your husband."

"Um, NO, it wasn't."

"Well, it had to be one of you, because you returned an empty case, and you owe us $5.40 late charge."

And that my friends is why I will no longer give my business to Blockbuster!

And I hate to end on that bitter note, but the girl is out of class already, and I must get home and get dinner on the table! Anyone else that wants to rant about something, feel free to put it in the comments! Misery loves company and all that jazz! :)

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you all on Monday!

Oh, and HOOK 'EM HORNS--WRECK TECH! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Surprise...Another Cake!

I have 2 friends at church, who I actually met when I was about 11 or 12 years old, but we became reacquainted recently when they began coming to the same church I attend.

Anyway, the husband is an amazing artist and he makes the most magnificent banners for our church sanctuary. So when his wife called and asked me to make his birthday cake, I knew it was going to have to be something different than I've ever done before.

We knew he'd like a cross and lots of bright colors, but as far as a design, there was no plan. I remembered in the back of my head that I had seen a cross cake done in what looked like stained glass before, and I thought that might be a good way to use all those bright colors without using flowers and other "frou-frou" decorations.

When I mentioned the idea to his wife, she told me that he actually MAKES STAINED GLASS items himself! Can you say, "PERFECT!"?

So, I hit the internet looking for a picture to use as an example to get me started, and I came up with this design.
The cake itself is red velvet with a bright white buttercream icing. The "glass panes" are made with colored piping gel and outlined with black buttercream mixed with silver petal dust. The bright white buttercream allows the gel colors to remain pure rather than cloudy or muted. I piped the "beads" with the bright white buttercream mixed with an edible pearl glaze to help them stand out just a bit. The scroll work was also done with this mixture. The dove is painted in black buttercream on a fondant disk that was allowed to dry until firm.

Oh, and pay no attention to the dates on these pictures...my son changed the batteries in the camera for me, and I forgot to tell him he'd need to reset the date! I only just noticed that when I posted the picture! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Funny Story

Those of you who know me in real life will probably remember that my husband, Ben, wore the same glasses for the past 10+ years. He's not a big fan of change...ahem.

Anyway, a little over a year ago, he needed to get his prescription updated, and consequently had to get new frames as well. When we went to Lenscrafters to choose the new frames, he immediately gravitated toward those that were similar to the ones he had. I kept trying to get him to branch out and try some different styles, but he just kept resisting.

When I asked the lady working there if she had suggestions for him, she chose a pair that were TOTALLY different and looked wonderful on him! He hemmed and hawed for awhile, but eventually decided that they did look good, and he would get them. (Yippee!)

Fast forward to just last week...

My number 2 son, Jonathan, came to me after Youth Group last Wednesday, and told me that he had had trouble reading the Bible that evening. He said the letters were blurry, and he had gotten a headache trying to read it. I asked him if it had happened before, and he said it had, but since he was just reading to himself, he didn't really care---if you know Jonathan, this should not come as a surprise to you...ahem.

So, on Thursday, I called the eye-doctor and scheduled an appointment for him to have his eyes checked. They concluded that he was mildly farsighted and had astigmatism in one eye, and that while he could see fine, this condition causes eye strain and after doing his schoolwork on the computer along with the reading and writing assignments, by the time he got to youth group, his eyes were worn out. The answer to this issue was to give him glasses to wear whenever he is on the computer, reading, or doing any other "close up" type of activity.

We headed to the Lenscrafters to pick out his frames, and the same lady who had helped Ben find his glasses was working that day. She led him to the kids' frames, and he looked at a couple of different styles. She looked at him, and pulled out a pair that she thought would look good....

THEY WERE ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME PAIR SHE CHOSE FOR BEN!

I started laughing, because of all the kids, Jon is just about a carbon copy of his dad. If you look at Ben's childhood pictures, you will see Jon...

And here are the clones...aka Thing 1 and Thing 2....now all Jon needs is a mustache! :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Vidalia Onion "Sweet Texas Onion" Casserole

I do believe that I promised y'all some “Vidalia Onion Casserole” goodness a little while back….and I’m finally going to deliver!

Now this obsession-o-mine all started one Sunday afternoon when someone posted on Twitter that they were "so thankful for the ladies church for making Vidalia Onion Casserole"….and my mouth began to water.

So I immediately googled “Vidalia Onion Casserole” and discovered a veritable cornucopia of recipes for “Vidalia Onion Casserole” I chose this particular recipe because it looked like it would be the easiest to prepare, and was easily adaptable to my stupid diet restrictions…humph!

I have taken a few lessons from Barb, and will be posting my own “healthier version” of this recipe in tutorial form…with pictures! Now, you can use the original recipe at the link above if you like, but if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or you know, chronic kidney disease...you're welcome to try out my version! :)

When I was touring with “The Trinity Singers” to try to recruit students and funds for my college, I had the privilege of tasting the renowned Vidalia Onion at a Baptist church somewhere in Georgia, and so I knew that it was a larger, sweeter variety of onion. Therefore, when I went to my local H.E.B. and didn’t find any Vidalia Onions, I decided that “Texas Sweet Onions” would work just fine…and they do.

Since I did need to alter the recipe to accommodate my low-sodium, practically-no-dairy, low-fat diet, AND since I didn’t use Vidalia Onions, I’ve decided just to rename this recipe completely, and I call it:

Texas Sweet Onion Casserole



Ingredients:

4 large Texas Sweet Onions
1 sleeve of “Ritz ‘Hint of Salt’ Crackers” ( real life saver for the low-sodium dieter!)
¼ cup (½ stick) of “Smart Balance 50/50 Butter” (all the butter flavor without all the fat and cholesterol!
2 tablespoons of Coconut Oil (it has less of the "bad" fats, and more of the "good" ones, plus it has a nice sweet flavor)
Grated Parmesan Cheese
“Butter Flavored Crisco Cooking Spray” (or whatever non-stick spray you prefer)

Preparation:

Slice onions thin (I cut my onions into fourths before slicing so I had smaller pieces….just my preference)

Add butter, coconut oil, and onions in a large saucepan and saute over high heat until onions are translucent, soft, and just starting to brown. (Normally, I just use my 14” skillet, but I had loaned it to my neighbor for the evening. J ) This will take about 20-25 minutes…generally.


Crush the crackers until they resemble coarse bread crumbs. (I used a Ziploc bag and a rolling pin the first time I made this, but I used my food processor this time!)

Spray a 2 quart Casserole Dish with non-stick cooking spray.

When your onions are ready, add ½ of them to the bottom of the casserole dish.

Top with ½ of the cracker crumbs, and lightly sprinkle a layer of Parmesan cheese over the crackers. (Because I can’t have much cheese, I just used the Kraft version in the shaker, but I am willing to bet that if you can eat cheese, that REAL GRATED PARMESAN would be amazing!)

Now add another layer of onions, crackers, and Parmesan cheese and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the cheese is brown and toasty! I put the Cooking Spray and Parmesan in this picture because I forgot them in the ingredient photo, and I didn't want them to be left out. :)


Now, this dish is categorized as a side-dish, but at our house, we tend to use it more as a condiment. J

We put it on top of pork chops, steak, meatloaf, and on this particular evening, on baked chicken. YUM!

As you can probably guess, there is a lot of casserole left over when it is only used as a condiment…and THAT is all part of my plan people. For the next week, I will enjoy the leftovers in various forms. Of course, if there is any chicken left, there’s that, but I also top my Spanish beef and rice dish with it...



...and my FAV is to make a plain baked potato and put a healthy helping of the casserole on top and stir it all together. It totally makes up for not being able to eat a loaded baked potato (no sour cream, no cheese, no bacon…you get the point).

So there you have it, my latest culinary discovery! If you decide to try it, please come back and leave me a comment... especially if you come up with something else I can eat with it! :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Is Life at Your House "Boy-sterous"?


"Raising boys isn't easy. Life with them is loud. If it's quiet, they're probably up to something. Boys are messy, competitive, fearless, and proud. Living with them pretty much guarantees that you're in for an adventure."


Does that paragraph resonate with you? It does with me! As the mother of three boys and only one girl, as well as the wife of one large boy, it rings extremely true for me.

I grew up in a house with only sisters, so this "boy's life" thing is completely foreign to me. When I was received Jean Blackmer's book Boy-sterous Living I was ecstatic. In this book, Jean relates stories of mothers and boys. A few of them brought tears to my eyes, most of them had me laughing out loud, but all of them made me nod my head and say to myself, "YES! That's EXACTLY what it's like!"

Reading Boy-sterous Living felt like getting together with other moms and sharing stories. It was therapeutic, and eye-opening, and fun all at the same time!

If you have a house full of boys, or even if you just enjoy a good story, you will LOVE this book!

Have your own funny stories to share?

CONTEST: Enter your grossest or funniest moment as a mom of a boy (No boys? That’s okay – we still want to hear your story!) and you could win movie tickets and a snack for you and a friend to escape! Share your story by emailing your entry to amy@litfusegroup.com or posting it on the Moms of Boys facebook page!


Want to know more about Jean Blackmer?

About the author: Jean is currently the Publishing Manager for MOPS International and she's been free-lance writing for 16 years. She has been published in a variety of local and national publications, including: Guideposts, MomSense, Today's Christian Woman, Christian Parenting Today, American Girl, Proverbs 31 Woman, Chicken Soup for the Mother and Son Soul, Chicken Soup Cookbook for the Busy Mom's Soul, Focus on the Family's Teen Phases, Guideposts Miracle Series, and others.

She also co-authored her first book, Where Women Walked: Powerful True Stories of Women's Perseverance and God's Provision. (Tyndale/Focus on the Family, 2004) This book was nominated for a Gold Medallion Award.

Jean graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder with a Bachelor's (1987) and a Master's (1992) degree in Journalism. She lives in Boulder with her husband Zane; three boys, Josh, Jordan, and Jake.

Author website: http://www.jeanblackmer.com


Want to see what other bloggers have to say about Boy-sterous Living?

http://www.litfusegroup.com/latest/current-blog-tours/89-boy-sterous-living-blog-tour

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Diaper Bag Cake

Are you getting sick of cake posts yet?

Well, I actually have a couple of different things I want to post, BUT this has been a crazy weekend full of activities, so I just popped in today to post a picture real quick for those who had asked to see this cake.

Two years ago I made a diaper bag cake, and I was fairly happy with it. Not completely, but I thought it turned out pretty good. But when I made that cake, it was for a baby shower I was attending, so I just purchased a baby bottle and a few toys to stick in the bag and those were part of my gift to the expectant mom.

This year, I didn't know the mom, and was not attending the shower, so I decided to make all the toys and baby bottle edible. (Don't get too excited, I use molds for most of it, and just paint on details. I'm not very good with scuplting things!) :-) This time I was much happier with the final result.

The cake itself is french vanilla with buttercream filling. (I stay away from the fruit fillings with cakes that are stacked like this as they tend to slide around when they get tall like this.)




Next time I promise to post the goodness that is Vidalia Onion Casserole! Yummm.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Virtue is En Vogue!




Last year my friend Linda got me involved in making cakes for the annual Virtue En Vogue Event that is put on by Vicki Courtney's Virtuous Reality Ministry. Last time, if you recall, I made this "fashion show" cake with real working lights along the red carpet.


Last year, however, they had an additional 150 people buy tickets at the door, and they ran out of desserts! And no, I was not the only one bringing desserts, I was merely one cog in a machine of bakeries and organizations and individuals that were all donating. So this year, when they were again asking for volunteers to donate desserts, I enlisted the help of my local cake supply/bakery All in One Bake Shop and they were nice enough to donate 100 cupcakes to the cause. I also asked my friend from church if she would help out since she is also a cake baker, and is known throughout our church for her yummy cake balls. She jumped on the band wagon, and along with other volunteers/bakeries we had plenty of desserts for the almost 500 guests this year!

And since my daughter was old enough to attend the event this year, she and I took our daughters with us and we all had a great time!

My struggle this year was in trying to decide what to make for the display cake. Last year, I made the above cake for the main table and then just made plain cakes to be sliced and served and therefore didn't require any fancy decorating. My inspiration for this year's cake came straight from the flyer promoting the event.

I decided to make this girl standing on top of a simple 2 tiered white cake with pink lettering.
I made her out of gumpaste that I colored black and then used pink icing to make her waistband and black icing to add dimesion. I totally forgot my camera, so I had to take this one with my phone, but hopefully, you'll get the idea!


We all had a great time at the event, and are looking forward to next year....but I think I need to start thinking now about an idea for NEXT year's cake now!

If you want to know more about this annual mother/daughter event, you can check out Vicki's Blog, Virtue Alert.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Can you say, BORING?


Hey everyone. Today has been totally boring...

I played some Farm Town, did some housework, and baked some cakes, but I've had this wicked acid reflux thing going on the past couple of days, so I didn't really accomplish all that much. Not sure what the deal is, but it's annoying!

And since I only baked cakes today, and didn't decorate them yet, I don't even have any good pictures for you...sigh. But I do have a couple of movies to recommend to you!

I've seen 3 movies in the past couple of weeks, and two of them were fabulous, and one of them was so totally aggravating that I wanted to a) get my $9.00 back, and b) hand out copies of the book to everyone in the theater who hadn't read it yet. I really liked the book "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Piccoult, and the ending totally caught me by surprise, so I was very excited to see the movie. But in the movie, they changed the ending and made it a totally different story....so in a word, AGGRAVATING!

On the other hand, the movie version of "The Time Traveler's Wife" was WONDERFUL! I was nervous about how it would translate to the screen...especially after the disaster that was "My Sister's Keeper", but they really did an amazing job with it. They left out all the little side stories from the book (which I didn't care for all that much anyway), and they focused on the love story between the main characters. It was really, really well done.

And then just last night, I saw "Julie and Julia", and I LOVED it! I laughed and laughed through the whole thing. Meryl Streep was perfect, and while I was disappointed to learn that Julia Child was not happy about Julie's blog, that was real, so it didn't affect my love for the movie.

So there you go, a lazy day for me, and a bunch of movies for you to go out and see (or NOT see as the case may be).

So how about you? Seen any good movies lately, or read any good books? Let me know in the comments if there's something I should be seeing or reading!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hi Vanessa!

Hello there everyone, and especially Vanessa (because she told me last night that she clicks over here every day, and I never write anything any more)!

Well at least I've been productive while I was gone this time...

Here are my latest 3 cakes, and believe it or not, I have more coming up! So, if nothing else, at least I'll have cake pictures to post! :)

This one was for my great-nephew's 2nd Birthday...He's a big fan of "Wow Wow Wubbzy" (and after doing my research for the cake, so is my little Dave!) It's a little tough to see from this picture, but the reason there is only 1 candle on the cake that is on the cake (confused much?) is that the pink bunny, Widget is holding the second candle and is about to add it to the cake....just wanted to make that clear. :)

As for the particulars square cakes on the bottom are chocolate, the circular cake is white chocolate, the whole thing is covered in buttercream and then covered in fondant. The Wubbzy and the "kickety kick ball" on the top were formed out of rice cereal treats and then covered with a combination of fondant and modeling chocolate.


This is just a white chocolate cake with raspberry filling covered in fondant with a chocolate fondant bow for a friend's baby shower. Sorry, I took the picture before I brushed off the extra powdered sugar off the bow...I'm a true professional aren't I? :)


And finally, this was a chocolate cake with raspberry filling and iced in buttercream. The butterflies and dragonflies I made out of gumpaste and then painted with food coloring mixed with lemon extract. It's hard to see in a 2D picture, but they were all on sticks, so they stuck up from the top of the cake as though they were flying above it.

And that's it for now. It's been a long week, and another long day tomorrow, so I'm heading off to bed for now. But hopefully, I made Vanessa smile when she clicked on here today! :)