Saturday, November 29, 2008

I think she must love me....

I had a surprise dropped off at my house today. If you recall in this post I mentioned my love for the "Butter Rum Life Savers". I also mentioned that they are next to impossible to find outside of a Life Saver's storybook.

Apparently, my forever friend, C. took that as a challenge and today her husband and daughter brought this by my house.
Can you believe it? An entire case of my most favorite flavor of Life Savers! Woot-Woot!!

When I called to thank her, she said there was no such thing as "impossible to find" and that she took that challenge...but personally, I just think she loves me. In spite of myself.

And I love her too. :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's FINALLY the Christmas Season

I like to get at least one new Christmas CD each year, and today I bought Amy Grant's latest. Her original Christmas Album is still one of my all-time favorites, but alas I only have it on cassette, and it has been eaten in a tape player on more than one occasion. :( Although the new one doesn't have "Heirlooms" on it as I hoped it would, it does have many of my old favorites from the first album as well as 4 brand new ones. Now that Thanksgiving is finished, I say, "Bring on the Christmas Music!" Yee-haw! What is your favorite Christmas album?

I have also put up a temporary Christmas background here on the blog. Let me know what you think. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Melody is thankful for...

my beautiful children who never cease to amaze me!

Last night as we were setting our family table to be ready for our Thanksgiving breakfast, I put out some new placemats and I wrote this at the top of each one "__________ is thankful for..." (Obviously the blank was each child's name on their own placemat.) Then, I just laid out 4 markers and told the kids to finish them. I helped Dave with his by writing whatever he told me (he doesn't know how to spell yet :)) I think Maddie asked me how to spell a couple of words, but other than that, I knew nothing of what they were doing until they were all finished. This is what I saw when they were all finished...

David's current favorite PBS show is "Super Why" in case that didn't make sense to you. :)

If you can't quite read that, Maddie is thankful for "Jesus and that He made my heart, and the Army." When she asked me how to spell "Army", she told me, "'Cause we have to be thankful for them because they fight for us and keep us safe." I'm not sure what made her think of that, but I was quite proud of her for thinking of it.

This is the one that brought tears to my eyes. Jon doesn't talk all that much, and he gets sullen and angry at the least offense, so when I read that the first thing he thought of was "The Lord" and the way he emphasized his "LIFE", it just melted my heart. If you've ever read "The Shack", you'll understand when I say, "I'm especially fond of that boy!" :)

Really no surprise here, but I was grateful that Benji thought to put the Lord before his motorcycles!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Less Mess Cinnamon Roll-Rolling :)

If any of you have ever made cinnamon rolls from scratch, you will know what I mean when I say it is a messy, messy job. While making them in the first place is a labor-intensive and time-consuming endeavor, the worst is cleaning up all that butter and cinnamon sugar that leaks out onto your counters, or table, or whatever you are rolling them out on. (And yes, I'm aware that my grammatical sentence structure is in poor form today...I'm short on time and interest in "talking right" today. ;))

So, back to what Works for Me...this time when I made THE cinnamon rolls, I did something just a bit differently. Instead of rolling the dough out on the counter or table, I rolled in out in smaller batches in a large cookie tray (the commercial size with sides). I just floured the tray and rolled the dough right on it. That way, when I rolled up the dough and some of all that butter and cinnamon gooeyness started to leak out, it was all contained in the tray! Yee-haw, Hallelujah, Amen, and Amen!

The added bonus to this little trick was that I was able to save all that gooey-deliciousness, and using a silicone basting brush, I got it off of the pan and spread it over the tops of the cinnamon rolls thus adding even more cinnamony/buttery yumminess to the rolls themselves! Can you say "stair-master"? Yeah, I know...but TOTALLY worth it! Besides, I think all that stirring and rolling, and sprinkling, and cutting had to have burned enough calories to counteract at least two bites of the things! :)

For more "Works for Me Wednesday" ideas head on over to Rocks in My Dryer! And now, it's back to my holiday baking/cleaning marathon. :P

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's Gratituesday!

I've never actually participated in Gratituesday before, but since I've been all up on my high horse about being thankful this year, I thought it was a great time to start! Want to join in? Write your post, then go here and sign the Mr. Linky to join in the fun!

I sort of shared this at church on Sunday, and it may seem like a very strange thing to be thankful for, but hopefully, when all is said and done, you'll understand.

We were trying to think of some of our greatest blessings over the past year, and the one thing that kept popping into my head was my iPod. I KNOW, right? It seems like my response to that query should have been a bit more spiritual...but honestly, whenever I started to think about blessings this year, I thought of that iPod! Let me explain...

I received as a gift (whole other L-O-N-G story) a new iPod Nano with Nike+ several months ago. I knew nothing about iPods, but I knew that the only reason I wanted one was so I could have the Nike+ as a running tool. So, when I got the iPod, I loaded it with my favorite music, and linked up the Nike+ and really enjoyed the bonus running tool that it was.

I had an iTunes gift card that came with the iPod, and after I downloaded a couple of albums I had been wanting, I still had a few dollars left. I decided to download one of those "Pixar Shorts" movies just to see how difficult it would be to watch a movie on a tiny little screen. It turned out that the picture is so clear and easy to see, that you hardly notice that it's small at all! Technology, you amaze me! :)

ANYWAY, as I started to experiment with more and more things that the iPod could do, I started looking into ebooks and audiobooks. I happened to find in the iTunes store one of my favorite audiobooks of all time, and I downloaded it and listened to it while doing dishes, and cleaning house, and decorating cakes....etc. While listening, I realized that this would be a great way to get in more Bible "reading" during the day. So, I went back to the iTunes store and I downloaded the entire New Testament! I chose this version because I thought it might be more interesting to listen to AND it came in my most favorite New King James Version!

So, I loaded up the iPod with all 4 gospels and started listening. I wanted to go through each of the gospels for a reason. I was comparing how each of them portrays Jesus...for personal research. But I was able to get through ALL FOUR GOSPELS within 2 days, just by listening while working around the house! This was amazing to me. For me to find the time during the day to sit and read my Bible at this volume is impossible. But not only was I able to hide the Word in my heart throughout my day. I was truly eager to do mundane tasks! It was no longer a chore to wash dishes, it was "quiet time" and "Bible study". I found myself looking for more things that needed to be done, just so I could listen a bit longer!

So, I can say in all honesty that my iPod has truly been one of my greatest blessings this year! And now, I hope that makes sense to you! ;)

What was YOUR greatest blessing this year?

Monday, November 24, 2008

When all else pictures!

It's been ZiCam central around here lately. Ben started it and stayed home from work on Friday. Then it was Maddie and me, and now it's Dave and I think Jon...although he won't admit it. Hopefully, we all got it at a good time, and we'll all feel better by Thursday. It would really stink if we couldn't taste our turkey and pumpkin pie!

Anyway, it's been awhile since I posted any pictures for you...mainly because I haven't been making any cakes! But as you know, we had a wedding here last weekend, and I did make the wedding cake. The weekend before that, we had a baby shower for a very good friend, so I broke my "No Cakes this Month" rule for her, and I made the cake for her shower.

The shower was a "Rubber Ducky" theme, so I made a "Rubber Ducky holding onto his blankie" cake.

Then of course, there was Wedding Week... The preparations for the cake went really well, everything on schedule etc. (Dave did get into one of the cake layers while it was cooling, but he only destroyed the part that I cut off for leveling anyway, so....whew!) The big issue was that it was 80 degrees here when I baked the cake, iced the cake, and covered the cake in fondant. Then, I took the cake to the venue the night before the wedding and left it there to be stacked and decorated the next day. Overnight, the temperature dropped into the 50's...big problem for the fondant. As soon as I started stacking the cakes, the fondant started to crack. I was able to turn the layers so that the cracking was all on the back side of the cake, and it didn't show from the front, but I was so disappointed! It all turned out okay I guess, but not what I was hoping for. I've done 5 wedding cakes and three were fondant-covered. I've never had this happen before, so I didn't realy know what to do about it. The other two fondant cakes were in the summer, so perhaps that was the difference. I did figure out some things that could be done to prevent this problem again...I just wish I had known to do them before...sigh.

On a brighter note, I also supplied the flower-girl for the wedding, and she turned out beautifully!

Finally, we had our annual Thanksgiving dinner at church yesterday, and for the 2nd year, I was asked to create cookie bouquets for the kids' tables. The idea is to have something fun for them to look at, and then when dinner is finished, they each get a cookie from the bouquet. So, I made 4 of these arrangements...

...for the younger kids who still sit with their parents (and we didn't really want to arm with sticks!), I made separate cookies and individually wrapped them.
It has been a long weekend, and obviously with the holiday on Thursday, we'll be busy this week as well. So today, we're taking it easy and trying to nurse our colds so we can all be better and back to work tomorrow! All prayers are always! :)

Oh, and I'm still looking for Thanksgiving songs, so if you know of any, leave them in the comments please!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Music???

I have really been in the mood for some Holiday music lately. I've been baking seasonal desserts for parties and get-togethers. I've been adding some fun Thanksgiving touches around the house. I've even been burning some new holiday scented candles, and using the new "Spiced Pear" scented Countertop Cleaner and Dish Soap by Method.

All of this has put me in the mood for some fun Holiday Music. But since I am determined this year to focus on Thanksgiving and not jump ahead to Christmas until the Turkey has been devoured, I'm kinda stuck!

So I got this idea to make a playlist of "Thankful Songs" and make myself an official "Thanksgiving Music CD" to enjoy. Great idea right? Yeah, I thought so too! :-D

But here's where I could use some help. I need more ideas for songs to use. If you have a favorite song that has to do with thankfulness or blessing, please let me know the title and artist in the comments. And when it's all said and done, one of you might just win a "Thanksgiving Music" CD of your very own!

Thanks! And feel free to direct your own blog readers over here to contribute as well!

Now I have to go in and get the girl from ballet practice. (She's in "The Nutcracker" this year!) Later!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In the Vein of Being Thankful....

I bring you a post from Alex Brown of Signing Time. As you know, Signing Time is a favorite around here, and we all love Alex and Leah!

Recently, Alex, Leah, and Rachel all went on a trip to Ghana, Africa to do some work with a deaf school there. You can read all about it over on Rachel's Blog if you are interested.

Anyway, Alex wrote a post for the Signing Time Blog about being thankful. I can't remember how old Alex is, but he's not 12 yet, I'm sure. (I'm waiting on Rachel to Twitter his true age to me! :)) Anyway, Alex learned a lot about being thankful on that trip, and he shares it so very well!

So head on over here and read what young Alex Brown has to say about being thankful. It's definitely going to be required reading for all my kids this week!

And now, I must get back to the Wedding Cake Madness! Pictures and all the gory details still to come! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Few Changes...

You may have noticed the new look to my blog. I changed it because 1) I wanted a 3 column blog, and 2) I wanted a daily reminder to be thankful.

I was reading on another blog yesterday (sorry, I can't remember whose it was!) about the fact that in our country, especially in the retail community, we too often jump from Halloween straight to Christmas and barely acknowledge Thanksgiving at all.

I don't want to dismiss Thanksgiving as a nice meal with family and focus all my attention on the coming of Christmas. I want to prepare my heart to be thankful before Christmas, so that when it arrives, my heart is ready to receive again the news that a Savior has been born.

So my new blog-look has a wonderful fall look and the words "Give Thanks" right there to remind me to do just that! ( I still have some layout issues to work out, but I don't have time for the details right now, I have wedding cakes to bake! :))

I have also been listening to quite a few audiobooks lately, and my favorites have been those by Anne Graham Lotz. Anne has a way of listing things about God that remind me of who He is and why my heart should always be thankful. Because of Who He Is.

I've decided to post some of those lists here on the blog to bless and encourage you as well while I'm off making wedding cakes etc.

The first is from my favorite of all time "Just Give Me Jesus"

"Just give me Jesus!
He is enduringly strong,
He is entirely sincere,
He is eternally steadfast,
He is immortally gracious,
He is imperially powerful,
He is impartially merciful,
He is the greatest phenomena that has ever crossed the horizon of the globe,
He is God's Son,
He is the sinner's Savior,
He is the captive's Ransom,
He is the Breath of Life,
He is the Centerpiece of Civilization,
He stands in the solitude of Himself,
He is august and He is unique,
He is unparalleled and He is unprecedented,
He is undisputed and He is undefiled,
He is unsurpassed and He is unshakable,
He is the lofty idea in philosophy,
He is the highest personality in psychology,
He is the supreme subject in literature,
He is the unavoidable problem in higher criticism,
He is the fundamental doctrine of theology,
He is the cornerstone, the capstone, the stumbling stone of all religion,
He is the Miracle of the Ages.


So I will leave you with that, and I'm off to bake more wedding cakes! Have a great day!

*There will be a special Thanksgiving Giveaway happening here. Anyone who leaves a comment between now and Thanksgiving will be entered! More details coming soon!*

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Wedding Week Ya'll!!!

And that means....

I won't be here much if at all. I have some things in the works that I think you'll enjoy when I get back, but I'm afraid that I won't have time to stop in and chat with you all because I am time-management challenged, and everything takes longer than I think it will take.

However, I don't decorate cakes well when I'm twitching, so I will continue to Twitter through Wedding Week, and I'll be visiting all of you through Google Reader during my breaks throughout the day. Whether I have time to leave a comment or not, just know that I was there!

If you don't already visit Especially Heather yourself, you should go and read her latest post. It'll make your whole day!

Okay, I'm off to start my day. If you miss me, just follow me on Twitter!. And if you decide to Twitter yourself, let me know so I can follow you too!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Am Scared...

...but not because I have a new president.

I have felt for months that President Bush has gotten a bad rap (wrap?). I don't believe for one second that he always made the right choice. I don't believe that he is one is. What I do believe is that he did the best he could. Besides the fact that our president does not have absolute power, and many of the decisions made were congressional or judicial decisions, NOT executive decisions, the President is also reliant on advisers and intelligence reports, and many other things. I am sure there were choices made that were the wrong choices. I don't pretend to know what they were or what they should have's all way over my head. But when I see President Bush, and when I listen to him speak, I see a man who wants to do what is best for this country. I see a man who does not make decisions that are self-serving or in his own best interest. He just doesn't strike me as that type of person. I am proud that I voted for him, and proud that my country elected him... twice.

I wasn't sure at the beginning of this election if I could feel that way about either of the new candidates. However, when McCain was asked what he considered to be his greatest failure, and he answered that it was the failure of his first marriage, I caught a glimpse of the heart of the type of leader I could stand behind. When McCain chose Palin as his running-mate, I saw in her the heart of a mother. A mother may not always make the best decisions, but she always tries her best to do what's best for her children. I also saw someone who loves my Jesus. This is the same type of heart I saw in George W. Bush. I was encouraged. There was no perfect candidate, but there was a choice I could stand behind.

I do not dislike Barack Obama. I don't hate or fear him. I know nothing about Barack Obama personally. I don't know if he loves my Jesus or not. I don't know if his decisions will be self-serving or not. All I know is that he says he wants to help Americans in need, and that's a good thing. I also know that he does not plan to help unborn babies in need. That's a bad thing. That concerns me, but it doesn't scare me. I hope that President-Elect Obama will make good decisions for our country and that we will be stronger and more united under his leadership. Heck, I hope I do have more money in my pocket...I just hope it doesn't come out of yours. :) I will pray for him as he leads our country, and I will pray that he leads us to a good place. Yes, I voted for McCain-Palin, but I don't fear Obama-Biden as many have suggested.

Here is my fear. As a nation, we have basically proclaimed that we care more about money than about human life. And that scares me.