Friday, July 16, 2010

A Reason to Dance

You all know by now that my daughter, Madeleine is a dancer. This summer, a week or so after her dance recital, she was finally old enough to audition for the competition/performance troupe at her dance studio. This past year, she was in a performance only troupe with other girls who were too young for the competition troupe as well. I am proud to announce, that she did make the competitive troupe, and is the youngest girl in it (by 2 days, lol).

However, I am even more proud to show you all a video that I recorded of her practicing for the audition. There were several elements to the audition, but the climax was the performing of a solo dance. The girls were allowed to either choreograph their own piece, or perform a dance from the year's recital. Maddie chose to choreograph her own piece. She chose the music, "Call on Jesus" by Nicole C. Mullen and the style herself, and if she ever got stuck on ideas for steps, she asked one of the older girls for help. Then she just kept working at it and changing it until it became her dance. This is a video I took of her rehearsing a week or so before the tryout. Can you say, "Proud Mama"? [And yes, she is sliding a bit in places...she had shoe issues that day, but didn't want to have to do the whole video thing again. :)]



video

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When All Else Fails...Post Pictures!

My baby boy isn't so much a baby anymore....doesn't he look big?

And if you've been reading here for awhile, you've seen this dress twice before. It was her flower girl dress about a year and a half ago...when she was just 7! Then last year, I altered a hat to match the blue sash, added full length gloves, and it was her Easter dress when she was 8! This year, I took up knitting, so I made her a little shrug to wear over it just one more time for Easter...and now she's 9! This will be the last Easter for her to wear it...but I'm going to miss seeing this...

You can click on any of the pictures to get a closer look if you want to.
Hope you all had a fabulous Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone!




Yesterday morning, I was working on the computer and Dave (4 yo) came in and brought my glasses to me.

He said, "Here you go Mom. You need you glasses."

I said "Thank you, David." And I put them on.

He said, "There! Now I can see you!"

HaHaHaHaHa!!!!

Hope you have a Happy, Happy Easter and dye some eggs...even if you don't have kids!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I Actually Baked a Cake...Imagine That!



Not the best picture of it, but I made this for a pink and brown baby shower. Couldn't get all fancy because it is my famous "Margarita Cake" and the icing on that particular cake is all light and fluffy and can't be manipulated like buttercream or fondant. The bow I made out of chocolate fondant and gumpaste, and the ladybugs and butterflies are gumpaste that I molded and then painted pink and brown. And now I must go clean up the giant mess I made while baking and decorating said cake!
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Cannot Get Enough!


I was surfing the Internet recently, looking for a good recipe for sweet potato fries, when I accidentally came across this avocado dip recipe from Ingrid Hoffman on the Food Network Website. It is the recipe for a dip that she eats with her sweet potato fries. I didn't have all the necessary spices for her version of the fries, but the dip recipe looked really, really good, so I decided to make it anyway and now the girl and I are totally addicted!

We eat it on carrot sticks mainly, but also on "Hint of Salt Saltine Crackers"...because I'm allowed to eat those. I have also put it on my breakfast tacos, and it was amazing there too. I suspect it's pretty good on chips, although I'm not allowed to eat those, so you'll have to try that one out for yourself. I still haven't tried the version of sweet potato fries that are supposed to accompany the dip, but I have several sweet potatoes just waiting to be made into fries, so I'll be checking that out soon too!

As with most recipes, I did change things up just a bit to fit in with my diet needs as well as palate choices. So you can click the link above to get the original recipe, or if you like a bit more avocado and a lot more kick, you can try my version below. One tip I will point out is to use Haas Avocados in this dip. In Ingrid's recipe she mentions that Haas Avocados will produce a smoother dip...she is correct! I used a different kind on my latest batch because they were on sale, and the dip came out with small chunks that I could not process out. It still tastes good, but smoother is just nicer with a veggie dip. Also, the original recipe calls for you to remove the seeds from your jalapeno before adding it to the dip. Ahem. We are Texas women over here, and that would have just been sacrilegious...plus, the girl likes her heat!

TEXAS-STYLE AVOCADO DIP

Ingredient List:
2 Haas Avocados (be sure they're ripe...aka soft)
1 jalapeno
1 tablespoon diced red onion
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
ground pepper

Putting it all Together:
Slice the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop the meat of the avocado out of the skin with a spoon, cut into chunks and toss in the food processor.
Slice the jalapeno in half-lengthwise, then in half-lengthwise again, then dice into smaller bits and throw it all into the food processor with the avocado...seeds and all!
Mince the clove of garlic and add it and the onion to the food processor as well.
Cut the cream cheese into small chunks and throw it in with everything else.
Add the mayo and the lime juice and get ready to blend!
Process at high speed until all ingredients are well blended and smooth.
Add pepper to taste.

DIG IN!

*Note: the above picture is random, not an actual picture of this dip. This dip will be a lovely pale, pale green and very smooth. Also, I have tried this with low-fat cream cheese, and light mayo. I kept the light mayo, but went back to regular cream cheese because it made the dip too runny to use the low fat version...AND the low fat/fat free cream cheese has more salt in it than the regular version. While I'm allowed a very small amount of dairy each day, salt is a big no-no, so that influenced my choice as well. But feel free to experiment with what you like and make it any way you want!




Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Please Help Spread the Word!

My dear friend,Kelli got some more bad news last week regarding her quest for a new kidney. The living donor that was looking so promising has been ruled out, and they are running out of people to be tested. This is just one in a several setbacks Kelli has faced on this journey, and she reveals many of them, including how YOU might possibly help in this post. If you can't do anything else, could you please help by spreading the word through your Twitter, Facebook, and blogs? You never know who is out there reading who may be able to save the life of one of my best- friends-that-I've-never-met. :)

Thank you so much!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

There's Something in the Air

As I've been lying around doing a whole lot of nothing other than coughing and moaning pitifully, I managed to catch up on my blog reading. I have missed visiting everyone and it was fun to get back in touch. But this post by Bev had me in stitches! Just trying to picture Bev shooting snakes and scorpions from the safety of her front porch was a mental video worth watching, but this little paragraph hit home the hardest.

"My Dad tells me you need to stand at least 12 feet away from a skunk before you shoot it. He learned this after pelting one with a big rock, and coming home to have his mother strip him bare naked in the front yard and put him in the horse trough before she'd let him back in the house. I'm taking his word for it when I deal with the skunk we've seen on our carport twice already."


You see, last week, my next-door neighbor told us that a skunk had gotten into her garage and sprayed the place (perhaps one of her bajillion cats gave it a scare, who knows), but the spraying was strategic. It was almost like an episode of "24" if, you know, terrorists were, in fact, really skunks.

Said skunk, not only stunk up her garage, but managed to get the spray into the heating system of her house!

We had a little cold snap here recently.

And now her whole house smells like skunk.

She said she couldn't even sleep there. I'm thinking that would be the least of my concerns. I mean seriously, I bet that smell is in everything: the furniture, the walls, ALL OF HER CLOTHES!!!

I'm also thinking she's probably really glad she's got that camper parked in her driveway so that she at least has a place to breathe. But I bet she's wishing she had put a few extra sets of clothes in that camper right about now....and maybe that Jack Bauer had been on the case...those terrorist-skunks wouldn't have had a chance!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hey There, Remember Me?

Well hello there strangers! I know, I know, I've been MIA for a month! When I last posted, I told you we were all sick over here. We were sick for 2 weeks! BLAH! Then, once we started to feel better, I was spending all my time trying to catch up on schoolwork and housework around here. Then just as I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel, we got hit with another virus...UGH!I'm telling you, my kids are rarely sick, and never for more than a day or two, but this winter has been awful! I know there's a lot going around, but good grief!
Anyway, I decided it was time to at least poke my head in over here and check in with everyone.
Besides being sick, we have been extremely busy around here since Christmas. I've drastically cut back on the number of cakes I'm doing because life was getting out of control, but I did do this one for my church friend's 40th birthday surprise party. She loves flowers, so I was able to put to use that gumpaste flower class I took 2 years ago. :) Unfortunately, this was right after I had burned my thumb and I found it really difficult to form the roses, so there aren't nearly as many on here as I would have liked.

I made another cake for a wedding shower during this time, but I don't have that picture on this computer, so I'll have to post that another time.
Both the girl and the #2 boy had birthdays at the end of January, and while the boy wanted nothing special, and no fancy cake, the girl had other ideas! She had her first-ever sleepover party with two of her friends.


There was lots and LOTS of Disney's Sing It on the Wii.

After they were all sung-out, they all got in their jammies with popcorn and their new Knifty Knitters (party gifts) and watched The Game Plan.

And of course, there was cake. Mmmm, chocolate microphone!

And then, in my spare time...lol...I've taken up knitting! It started as a way to avoid snacking while I watched tv with the family, and has ended up a passion. I started with hats due to the fact that the girl and I needed stocking hats with ponytail holes in them. I mean really, have you ever tried to wear a stocking hat with a ponytail...it looks like a tumor growing out of the back of your head! So I made a few hats and scarves, and then I made a couple of shoulder shrugs for the girl. Then, I got an invitation to a baby shower and decided to try and make my first baby blanket. I've got to find out how to take those really good pictures that show the detail of the stitches, but for now...here you go.
And that should pretty much catch you all up on life around here lately. We are heading toward the Spring Dance Recital for the girl, and she will dance 10 times in this year's recital! So that's going to be a blast, and the boys are off this weekend for another motorcycle event. They all got trophies at the last one, so the year has started off well for all of our extra-curriculars...now if we could just quit getting sick...2010 will be a MUCH better year!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Late to the Party...as usual

Hey there, I'm lying here sick as a dog and catching up on email messages when I saw that I had missed a very important message.

My dear, dear blogging sister Kelli has been waiting almost 4 years for a new kidney. Obviously, this is an issue close to my heart. It is time for Kelli to get her kidney. Things are finally in place to test donors and the search has begun to save my friend's life. Since, as I mentioned, I'm really sick and coherent thoughts are not possible, I'm just going to copy and paste the information I received.

If you don't know Kelli, I highly recommend that you spend some time in the archives of her blog Living in Grace. After you get to know her, please consider how you might be able to help. Not only does Kelli need a living kidney donor, but she also needs financial gifts to pay for expenses associated with the whole process that insurance doesn't cover. Thanks for taking the time to pray for and help my friend.

I will now return to my not-quite-but-really-close-to-death bed.

Thank you for offering to be a part of the call for living kidney donors, and to help with our fundraising efforts. It is a true blessing for this family, and we love you all.

Here is the basic info on being a living kidney donor and the process. Feel free to put in out in whatever way you see fit, letting me know if you need further info or anything.

1) I will be listed with OHSU in Portland, OR. If someone is interested, they should contact us at jkbach@comcast.net and we will get them the contact info they need.

2) Because of some complications, I will most likely not be able to use a cadaver donor, although I have been listed with another hospital on the UNOS list for 3 years.

3) I will need donor with the A or O blood type. If you don't know your blood type, they will have you get tested.

4) All medical costs are billed directly back to OHSU where my insurance covers 100% of all incurred costs. This allows the donor candidate to have all testing up to the end done at their local hospital or Dr. office at on charge to them.

5) Pre-screening involves an over the phone health questionnaire, then a simple blood test where my blood and theirs are combined and cross-matched. If that is ok, then they will have a series of tests done locally to them and billed directly to my insurance.

6) All this will lead up to a scheduled date for everyone to meet in Portland for transplant. The process, from the time a suitable candidate is found, is about 3 months to the actual surgery.

7) Fundraising is currently under way for all costs not covered by insurance (all non-medical). This includes things like travel and lodging for the donor, my housing and support for the month or more I am required to stay in Portland after surgery, etc.

We are going to be using giveitforward.org for the fundraising efforts.

The fundraiser is located at:

http://www.giveforward.org/kidney4kelli/


Thank you again everyone, and please let me know if I can give you more information.

Kelli

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

She's Back!

DoubleTrouble

P.J. Sugar that is! If you recall, two of my favorite fiction characters by Susan May Warren are Josey, and P.J. Sugar. Both are intriguing, insightful, and very, very funny. So, I was absolutely delighted when I received my copy of the second book in the P.J. Sugar series, "Double Trouble"! The story picks up almost where the "Nothing But Trouble" left off, so I don't feel as if I've missed out on anything while waiting...patiently, ahem...for the second book. :)

The story is filled with all the things I loved about the first book: P.J. getting herself into dangerous situations that she thinks she can handle by herself, but never can; two guys fighting both to protect, and love her--one a former Navy SEAL, and her boss-- the other, her high school sweetheart and fellow trouble-maker turned police detective. Romance, mystery, and lots and lots of laugh-out-loud humor make this yet another of my favorite Susan May Warren books. It's a fun and entertaining read that holds your attention and leaves you wanting more.

And more there is! Susan is giving away an amazing prize package to celebrate the release of the book, and it is just as fun as the book itself! You can click on the "Double the Sass" button above to enter the Double Trouble Prize Package Giveaway! The giveaway ends February 28th, so hurry up and go enter! Details are below.

Prize Details

Double Trouble, the brand new PJ Sugar novel by Susan May Warren, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re running a HUMDINGER of a contest!!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 SUPER SLEUTH prize package that includes:

* A brand new iPod Shuffle (perfect for those all-night stakeouts)

* A $10 iTunes gift card (we recommend the ALIAS soundtrack)

* A $10 Amazon gift card (why yes, they do sell spy pens)

* A $10 Starbucks gift card (for fuel, obviously)

* A pair of designer sunglasses (be stealthy AND super chic)

* A gorgeous scarf from World Market (can also be used as a blindfold, and/or for tying up bad guys)

* AND signed copies of both Nothing But Trouble & Double Trouble. (romance! danger! intrigue! sooo much better than Surveillance for Dummies!)

We’ll announce our super sleuth winner on March 1st.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Giveaway Going on Over at The Preacher's Wife!

One of my all-time favorite blogger/friends has written a book! I can't wait to read it myself, and I definitely plan on buying a copy or three for some friends of mine. But Lisa is also giving away copies at her blog, so go over there and check it out!

Check out my book!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Compassion International Disaster Relief Updates

Through Compassion International, I was able to give just $35 and provide food and clean water to a family of Earthquake victims in Haiti for an entire week. There are many other ways to help if you want to as well. If you have a link or information to share, please feel free to leave it in the comments.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sad and Proud....all at the same time.

It's no secret to any of you that I'm a fan of The Texas Longhorns. But this past 4 years, I've become not only a team fan, but a player fan as well. For the past 4 years, my team has been led by Colt McCoy. This picture is my computer desktop wallpaper. And I chose it because it's obvious that Colt is giving God praise, but when I opened the thumbnail in full screen for the first time, I liked the picture even better. If you click on it to enlarge it, and then look at Colt's right arm, you will notice a wristband that reads, "I Am Second". I wear that same wristband. It's a testament to the world, that in my life, and Colt's :), God is first...always.

In fact, Colt doesn't just wear the wristband. He recorded a video for the "I Am Second" project. Here is what he had to say about both God and football.



Just words? It's easy to sit in a room full of Christians and talk about living out your faith on the football field, but how easy is it to actually do it? After being injured in the opening drive of the biggest football game of his life, and having to endure the suffering of watching the team he has led for 4 years fight for victory and come up just short of football glory, this was his response to the world.




And it isn't just Colt either. His favorite receiver and best friend, Jordan Shipley, openly shares his faith, as does field goal kicker, Hunter Lawrence. In fact the two of them are known for sharing scriptures with each other before games, and during games for encouragement, and confidence.

All in all, this has been a wonderful class to be able to cheer for at The University of Texas. So, while I am sad that they didn't get to bring home the national championship, I'm very proud to be a Longhorn fan at this particular moment in time.

Oh, and Colt, if you're reading this, I have an amazing daughter who is about to be nine, if you could just hold off finding Mrs. Right until she is old enough to date, I'd really appreciate it. :) [It's only going to be about 15 to 20 years...you can wait that long, right?]

Friday, January 8, 2010

Seen and Heard

Today I was working with Maddie on a History review. The material was comprehensive including all that we have studied so far this year. Since we take off school from Thanksgiving through the New Year, it's been a little tough to get back into the swing of things. And some of that material from way back in September can elude the 8 year old brain, you know?

So, taking this into consideration, I was trying to prompt her with some leading questions to see if she couldn't bring some of that long ago information back to mind.

Her question read something like this, "______________ time is when the farmer prepares the meat for us to buy in the market."

She was struggling to remember, so I prompted her with this question.

"What do you call it when they kill the pig to get the meat?"

Her answer, "Pork?" :)

"Well yes, the pig meat is called pork. How about the man in the market who cuts the meat so we can buy it. Do you remember what he is called?"

Her answer, "The Pork Chopper?" Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

*By the way, the answer is Butchering Time... in case you were wondering. :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ask and You Shall Receive!

Okay, so after having absolutely NOTHING worth posting yesterday, I had my eyes wide open for anything that might be remotely interesting to post. Lo and behold.....

On our way home from dance class, we had to stop for a red light. As we were sitting there, the lady one lane over and one car up from ours, opened up her door. My attention turned to see what she might be doing, and I noticed that she was holding in her hand a travel mug. I assumed that she was about to pour an old beverage out onto the street.

But I was wrong.

As I watched, I noticed that she was dipping a tea bag up and down in her cup. I was wondering why she was about to pour out a cup of tea that she had seemingly just made? It occurred to me that perhaps it wasn't the tea that she was pouring out, but I just couldn't fathom that I could be right about the only other possible thing she could be doing.

But I was right.

She then proceeded to squeeze the tea bag and DROP IT IN THE STREET!

She then closed her door, the light turned green, and she drove away!

Honestly, have you ever seen anything like that?

I've seen people toss apple cores, chewing gum, banana peels, etc. out of a car window on the highway, but I've never seen someone make a cup of tea and drop the tea bag onto Main Street and drive away. Definitely a first for me!

So tell me, what is the strangest thing you've ever seen on the streets of your hometown?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Well this is embarrassing...

For the life of me, I can't think of anything to blog about! Life seems to be so totally crazy/busy, and yet, I can't think of anything interesting enough to share with you....ho-hum.

I have taken up knitting. And I'm reading the sequel to the wonderful book, "The Friday Night Knitting Club", which is titled "Knit Two", and I'm enjoying that. But neither is really good blog-fodder just yet. I'm not good enough at the knitting yet to show off any projects. And I'm not far enough into the book yet to give it a decent review.

I am excited about the new season of 24, LOST, American Idol, and Burn Notice! But since they haven't started yet, there isn't much to talk about is there?

The Biggest Loser did start last night, and that was fun. It's always fun watching Bob and Jillian torture OTHER people. :)

The grandparents bought the kids a Wii for Christmas, so Ben bought the Wii Fit Plus for me. (Because I asked, NOT because he thought I needed it!) ;)

When I had my first "Wii Fit" Session, it told me that my "Wii Fit Age" was 46...oops! But after only one week, I've brought that down to 34--and since that is 10 years younger than my actual age, I'm liking the Wii Fit just a bit more this week. :)

I'm still not making much running progress, but I did join a "Lose it for Life" class at my church, and we do a 3.2 mile walk together once a week before the class starts, and although the hills are still kicking my behind, I'm able to hang in there with the rest of them, and have worked up to walking an average 18 minute mile. Which is about 2 min. per mile better than I was able to walk before. I'm not sure if it's the kidney issues or what, but my leg fatigue just isn't getting better fast enough for me to be able to jog for more than a few minutes, and then if I go ahead and try to push through it, my recovery time is way too long and I end up not going at all. My doctor recommended that I just stick to walking so that I could be more consistent with it, so I think I'll take his advice on that one.

So that's it. I told you I had nothing interesting to say! I think I need to take some time to go and catch up on reading some of my favorite blogs and try to get some inspiration!

I did make some cookies and one cake over the holidays, but I don't have pictures ready to post, so I can't even offer you that! Sigh.

I think I'll give up now and just sign off, and hope that something GOOD happens for me to share with you all tomorrow! :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

The God Boots

As you know, the weeks just before Christmas were a bit crazy with dancing and whatnot, but what you may not know is that the weather was even crazier. We have had the coldest, and wettest Fall in a sweet forever around here. In fact, it's felt more like Seattle than Texas lately!

Well, as you can imagine running a girl to dance class in cold, wet weather was not pleasant. Add to that the fact that her normal flip-flops were not working to go to class in, and her only boots are made of a very nice suede. So each day, it was a decision to freeze her toes off, or ruin her good boots...sigh. (It is important to wear shoes that are easy to get on and off, because they have to change into their various dance shoes when they get there.) I mentioned to the girl that it would be really nice if we could find her some waterproof boots that were also warm before she had to start her crazy Christmas schedule of 8 dance performances in 9 days! She agreed.

Unfortunately, we were low on cash, and with Christmas fast approaching, new boots didn't seem like a "necessary" expense. So I told the girl that we were just going to have to ask God for new boots. She looked at me and said, "Mom! You can't ask God for BOOTS!" I explained to her that God didn't just provide the basics for His children, but that He loves to bless us as well, and that anything that we need, we can ask Him to provide.

Fast forward to the very next day!

I was making a Sam's Club and she was still at home getting ready to go to yet another dance class. On my way into the store, I stopped to walk around a giant puddle of water, and noticed the corner of a bill sticking up out of the water. I picked it up and it was a $20 bill. I wasn't really sure that we could get what we were looking for with only $20, but I was convinced that this was God's provision for her new boots, and that He knew just how much they would cost.

I called her up and told her to be ready a few minutes early because we had a stop to make on the way to class. It occurred to me that we had not yet looked at Academy Sports for boots, and since there is one right near our house, I decided to try there. I picked her up, told her how I'd found the money and that we were going to see if it would be enough to get her some boots.

We walked to the shoe department and right on the end-cap was a display of weather-proof winter boots ON SALE FOR $17.99!!! They had her size, and they had her colors...pink and black. We bought the boots and with tax and everything, it was just under $20.

What an amazing testimony to my daughter, (and myself!) that God truly wants to bless us, not just with our "daily bread" but with our wants and desires as well. :)