Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Throwing Mother Nature under the bus...

Read this article, laughed and had to share... They're building a giant snow-santa in China.

My take away: That it's OK to throw Mother Nature under the (diesel) bus now that we're in an economic downturn.

The Reuters reporter sites that the effects of global warming are taking their toll, making the build process more hazardous, and admits that snow had to be artificially made (gasoline powered snow-making machines I'm sure).

He then wraps up the story by siting a tourist who says it's all worth it to "stimulate the economy and consumption".


If you're on the man-made-Global Warming, hydrogen-powered wagon, aren't consumerism and fuel consumption claimed to be the primary causes?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? No - Be patriotic! Buy, Spend, Use!

Catch-22. I give up.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

But what to call them...?

I created a new cookie last night... and am now at a loss for what to call them. I think cookie names should be descriptive and fun. It should give people an idea what they're about to bite into; but the name itself shouldn't be a mouthful.

Help me out if you would (and make a batch to enjoy for yourself too).

Yummy chewy, oatmeal, cranberry, orange-y with chocolate chips, cookie yet-to-be-named...

1 1/4 cups oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

8 tbsp (1 cube) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup orange flavored dried cranberries
(sub.: 1 t orange zest and increase regular dried cranberries to 1 cup)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Place flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Add oats, cranberries and chocolate chips, toss to coat.

In a large bowl or food processor, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, vanilla extract (and orange zest if using).

Add to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons on to cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 cookies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Marshmallows

Powdered candy canes add extra zip to these melt-in-your-mouth mallows!

If you don't own a stand mixer, borrow one... You'll be happier making this recipe if you do!

Servings: 90 mallows (approx)

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot tap water
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 envelopes (or 2 T plus 2 1/2 t) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water

2 large egg whites*
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
*if egg safety is a problem in your area, substitute powdered egg whites reconstituted according to manufacturer's instructions

Sift together:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup corn starch
3-4 candy canes, powdered in blender.

Oil bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 x 2 rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with confectioners' sugar blend. You can also line with parchment paper, dusting bottom only.

Preparation:First, in a large bowl, or in bowl of a standing electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften. (add an extra tsp of water if necessary to wet all gelatin)

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stir to combine then increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, 10-12 minutes.

As sugar mixture comes close to temperature: In a medium bowl, beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they hold stiff peaks.

Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture. Stir until gelatin is dissolved. Removing any un-dissolved bits before whipping.

Beat sugar and gelatin mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about 5 minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. Be careful this taffy-like mixture doesn’t take over your hand mixer!

Beat whites and vanilla into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and sift 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar blend evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert onto a large cutting board. Lifting up 1 corner of inverted pan loosen marshmallow with fingers and let drop onto cutting board. With a pizza cutter (or large knife) trim edges and cut marshmallow into generous 1-inch cubes. Sift remaining confectioners' sugar blend in large bowl and add marshmallows in batches, tossing to evenly coat.

Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1-2 weeks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Brother, the Chef

This is my brother Charles. He is a chef. It took him a while to find his passion, but it certainly is that! He's so happy... happier than I've ever seen him in his life. He's working hard and doing well for himself.

Everyone at the restaurant where he works wanted to come meet his family - so you know they like him, that they wanted to see where he came from. (well, that or they think he's crazy and wanted to see the loons he grew up with... but I'm gonna stick with the story that they like him)
The food at The Wilshire was amazing. I could go broke eating there and be happy doing it. I've never had such AMAZING food. Now I understand why people make lives in the culinary arts. There is a whole world of food out there I never even knew existed! And my little brother is a part of the club! How cool is that?!
And then he made the gravy for Thanksgiving. I think our friend Marilyn said it quite appropriately "I just want to pour it all over my fingers [so that I can lick them clean]". It was truly awesome. And then he made pot d'creme... let your tastebuds imagine with me: the best hot chocolate you've ever tasted, rich, smooth, creamy, not so sweet that it overwhelms you but just right - turn that into the tastiest chocolate pudding you've ever had and you're close to what Charles made. And he just whipped it up! :) He's so comfortable in his skin. I'm so very happy for him. (and sad that we don't live closer to enjoy his culinary musings more often!)

Hooray for Charles. For coming and spending time with us, for sharing the passion that is food, and for being my happy, sweet brother again. It's so good to see you doing so well!!! I love you kiddo. Even if I do have to look up to you nowadays! :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Family Thanksgiving

This is my family!
Richard, Charles, Ben, Papa
Stan & Alex, Me, Mama

This is an outtake of my family:

I don't even remember what Alex did but Richard's girlfriend, Debi, was snapping the photos and doing her best to be a loon and get Alex's attention for a good picture!

It's the first complete Yoder family photo since Alex was born! He'll be 3 in January... you'd think we were all cameraphobes. Isn't it a great looking picture though!? I'm so happy we all got together - and that we have proof!

*and if my brothers are listening... I'm calling dibs on Raindrops! :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cruise Control

I got my first speeding ticket this morning. Big one.

And I feel really bad about it, because it's money we just didn't need to spend.

I don't actually feel bad about the speeding, however I realize now that my habit of speeding isn't a line item in our budget. Nor am I willing to make it one.

Which means it's a habit I have to break.

Hello cruise control.

Whatever sound it is you make when you're annoyed at yourself, but not pissed off because you knew you were going to get caught some day, and really you're only upset because you have to take it home to your husband and it's going to impact your shopping, and result in a good deal of razzing from here on out even though it's your first (and not his)... and that you managed to go ticketless longer than your Mom did... even with her 6th sense for when a cop was around. And, and, and...
That sound, whatever it is - INSERT HERE.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

*thanks to gaping void for the art


I've worn my "I Voted" sticker all day.

And, even though I swore off news until the polls are actually closing, I logged on to for a little fix. I'm feeling better now. I might actually be able to stay away from talk radio during the drive home. Just a few more hours... hang in there!

An Election Day Note: Thanks, President Bush
By Andrew Breitbart

I have a dark secret to tell before the election so that it's on the record. It's something that is difficult to say to certain friends, peers, family and, lately, many fellow conservatives.

I still like George W. Bush. A lot.

For starters, I am convinced he is a fundamentally decent man, even though I have read otherwise at the Huffington Post.

President Bush is far smarter, more articulate and less ideological than his plentiful detractors scream, and, ultimately, he will be judged by history - not by vengeful Democrats, hate-filled Hollywood, corrupt foreign governments, an imploding mainstream media or fleeting approval ratings.

George W. Bush is history's president, a man for whom the long-term success or failure of democracy in Iraq will determine his place in history. He may end up a victim of his own tough choices, but the cheerleading for his demise when Iraq's outcome is yet determined has hurt America and possibly set up the next president for the same appalling partisan response.

The fact that the United States has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001, far exceeds the most wishful expert predictions of the time. Perhaps facing another al Qaeda-led barrage would have reinforced our need for national unity, caused us to recognize the gravity of the Islamist threat and fortified Mr. Bush's standing at home and abroad.

Yet, thankfully, that never happened. And Mr. Bush has been punished for this obvious success.

By most accounts, al Qaeda is reeling from the damage inflicted by our efforts against the once-thriving terror network. Yet reflexive enemies of the president - including Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee - shamefully mock him for not having caught Osama bin Laden.

It's a playground taunt from the same people who never seriously advocated for a strong military foray into the regions where bin Laden could have been caught. These Daily Kos armchair generals also rhetorically ask why we don't invade North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Yet no one takes this hypothetical warmongering seriously, or expects a President Obama to go on the offense in any of these conveniently preferable hot spots. It's meant to hurt, not help, the president.

While President Bush has been marshaling a multinational force to take on modernity's enemies in foreign lands, the American left has decided to go to war against not only Republicans but also moderate Democrats.

Bush hatred was a fait accompli.

Back in November 2000, when Al Gore contested Florida and the demonizing of George Bush began full-bore ("President Select," "Bush Chimp," "the illegitimate president"), I told Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, "You watch, the Democratic Party will never grant Bush his humanity, and they will never let up."

And they never did.

The Democratic Party chose to send a clear message that the impeachment of President Clinton incurred by the newly minted Republican-led Congress and the upstart new media - talk radio and the Internet - would be countered by unprecedented partisan fury.

The media will shape "the truth" that Democrats were always behind the initial Afghanistan effort or were poised to grudgingly accept the president whom they previously mocked as "illegitimate."

But those brave liberals who stood by the president were mostly a small minority, and all of them have since been excommunicated for their apostasy.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and actor Ron Silver were presented as cautionary tales to left-of-center politicians and public figures who would lend support to a wartime Republican president.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who was described as the "conscience of the Senate" when he ran for vice president with Al Gore in 2000, was summarily dismissed from the Democratic Party for dissenting over one thing.

And the youth movement that is fueling Obama-mania is riddled with minds that do not have the perspective of what happened before Mr. Bush, and why the media and the Democratic Party have stood against Mr. Bush and his motivations from the word go.

Much of Mr. Bush's 28 precent approval rating is born not of "failed policies" - of which there are many - but of the ill-gotten gains pilfered from a pre-Bush inauguration strategy to send the message to Republicans that the Democrats play politics harder and better.

Mr. Obama said it best: "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun."

I don't think Albert Einstein could have devised an equation to guide the leader of the free world during the wildly tumultuous post-9/11 realities without a modicum of help from the opposition party and the vast majority of the print and electronic media.

Right now, America appears to be leaning toward electing a man for whom popularity is a paramount concern. That means he must trust the American media and the American electorate to guide him to difficult decisions, not the other way around.

The American people pay closer attention to "Survivor: Gabon" than to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet the majority will soon have a greater say in how we proceed in the war on terror. We are headed to the "American Idol" presidency. The last thing I want is my text vote on the financial crisis to have a say on how we proceed.

If Barack Obama is elected the next president of the United States on Tuesday, I hope the Republican Party and conservatives take the higher road. The republic cannot handle another four years of undeclared civil war while we have real enemies out there to fight.

Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site and is co-author of "Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Miracles Happen

It's a bumper sticker I read on the drive to work this morning. It's had my attention all day. It could apply to many parts of my life right now...

Miracles Happen

-McCain could squeek by Obama via the "silent majority" for a victory.

-I could be given a raise.

-KCP&L could be preoccupied by an ice storm and not be able to hook-up the project that's currently preventing Stan from joining Alex & I at my parents for Thanksgiving.

-ChurchMP3 could take off and our financial life would be turned upside down, in the best way.

-I could read 2 bedtime stories to Alex, get the laundry and dishes done, sit on the couch and talk with my husband for an hour, shower, and still have my head hit the pillow before 11pm. (yeah, that would be a miracle)

-I could pay less than $2.00/gallon for gas... oh, wait! I already do! See, miracles do happen!

(Yes, that is indeed a Waffle House in the background. They do exist, not just in the movies. But, if you know what's best for you, don't actually go in. Just admire the yellow awning from a distance and trust me that they're much more glamorous from the outside.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

When I grow up...

This has been floating in my drafts box since the day after Sarah Palin accepted the VP nomination. Oops.

I haven't thought of myself as a feminist before this morning.
But last night, I watched the entirety of Sarah Palin's acceptance speech, and loved every minute of it. I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing like the rest of the country at the jabs and verbal poison darts she threw at "O-bummer's" camp. I like a good battle of words as much (if not more) than the next person.

But this morning, it became more. This morning, on my drive in to work, with my husband and 2 year old still asleep in their beds I realized just how much her presence means to me.
The mere fact that she was standing on that stage made me proud. Hilary never did because she doesn't have the same values as I do. Sarah Palin holds the same values I do... freedom, family, faith. Working to make this world a better place for my kid, and his kids. Doing everything in my power to cling to the traditional family unit; dinner at the dinner table with a home-cooked meal, setting an example, even something as simple as nursing... all when a world says that you could just "have it your way", use the "easy button", blame someone else, take a pill for that...
Instead, she's successfully doing what I do on a smaller scale. She doesn't make me feel any less for the fact that I'm not as accomplished, she instead inspires me to be more. There's something about the fact that she could hunt or win a beauty pagent - turn heads or turn legislation - that makes her oh-so-very fairy tale come true.

And I realize that it means so much to me, the prospect of having a great woman in the White House. So much more than I would have anticipated. It means that maybe, just maybe, some day my boss will take me seriously... not just pretend to. He won't ask me if I'm dedicated enough to take the company to the next level because I have a young family at home...
Would he ask a man the same question? Doubtful.
Will I allow the conversation to continue without calling him on it next time? Doubtful.

We are on the front edge of a revolution. The glimmer of which, I can say with confidence, has already changed the environment of the workplace!

Palin is a self-sufficient woman. A get-it-done, and do it with grace, kind of person (in heels, a flawless hairdo and lipstick, BTW). She is strong and caring. She is the absolute opposite of all the women on the liberal left. She does not blame anyone for the hypocricy she meets, she works harder to rise above it. She has never expected anyone to bail her out or do anything for her. She has pulled herself up by her bootstraps, struggled thru, and risen victoriously with a beautiful family, successful career, and her faith in tact. She is the American I want to be. Not without struggles. Not with everything. But with freedom and dignity, faith and family.
When I grow up, I want to be like Sarah Palin.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Life Cycle of a Democracy

I've always found this really interesting, hope you do too:

Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the Univ of Edinburgh in 1787 has this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2000 years earlier A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy which is always followed by a dictatorship The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years.

From bondage to spiritual faith
From Spiritual faith to great courage
From courage to liberty
From liberty to abundance
From abundance to complacency
From complacency to apathy
From apathy to dependence (which is where we are now)
From dependence back into bondage.

I don't want Obama to be the first American dictator... (ok, I don't want a dictator, period)

I'm voting McCain/Palin. I hope you will too. If you don't know who you're voting for and would like to talk about the issues - leave me a comment. I'm happy to talk politics. Just keep it clean! We're all grown-ups!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Enchilada Lasagna

I just shared this recipe with a friend and as I pressed the SEND button it dawned on me that there are probably a lot of friends out there who would love a new recipe. This one is a favorite in our house. No rolling required! :)

Enchilada Lasagna
Preheat oven to 350F
Makes one 9x13 pan

1 19oz can Old El Paso Mild Enchilada Sauce
1 15oz can HyVee Mild Enchilada Sauce
1 10oz can Old El Paso Mild Green Chili Enchilada Sauce
(You'll have some sauce leftover, but they each taste different and blend to make it just right.
If you can't find these brands, just pick any 2 red and 1 green... it's a forgiving recipe!)
4 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or a cheddar blend)
36 +\- white corn tortillas, cut in half
1 lb ground beef
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can black olives, sliced
1 can sweet corn (or frozen)
1 small can diced mild green chilies

Brown ground beef, using directions on taco seasoning packet (also yummy as plain cheese enchiladas).

Cut tortillas, slice olives, open & drain green chilies and corn. Use can opener key to open pour spouts in enchilada sauces. Open/prepare cheese.

Begin with a layer of enchilada sauce on bottom of pan, enough to coat the pan bottom (this will keep your tortillas from sticking).

Then the tortillas, with flat edges along outside of pan - arrange 3 along the sides, 1 on each end, and 3-4 down the middle.

Then 1/3 each of all other ingredients, and ~1 cup cheese. Another splash of sauce, tortillas, ingredients... repeat until pan is full - usually about 3 layers. Finish with a final layer of ingredients and cheese. Cover with foil, shiny side down, and bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.

Serve with sour cream, chips & salsa. Enjoy!

It's so easy to double this recipe and make the whole thing assemly-line-style that I usually make 2 pans at a time and freeze generous portions in quart ziplock bags. They reheat beautifully!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I just have to brag...

I was finally able to purchase my Talented Berry lipstick form Sephora! It's been out of stock for weeks (since I got the free sample) and I was just moaning to my BFF today about how I'd give them my money if they only had what I wanted...

Now I just have to pretend to be a grown up and actually figure out how to reliably wear lipstick without looking like I'm playing dress up - or having it wear off of my lips all blotchy-like...
I'm a big girl. I have a kid of my own. A career. I should be able to conquer lipstick.

Wish me luck. (Because it's gorgeous!)

The Geese Are Back!

So there are about a million other things going on in life right now, but yesterday, among all the chaos, I noted the flocks and flocks of geese. They are once again passing our way. Before the grass browns or the trees turn - the geese come thru town.

Winter is on it's way and if it weren't for the amazing weather and round of golf last Friday I would feel as though I'd missed summer entirely. My head spinning, buried in paperwork, lost somewhere between a computer monitor and a pallet rack.

I'm taking tomorrow off just to play with my son. There's a trip to the park in our future...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

greeting cards

I have this thing about buying greeting cards without having a specific need for them.

They'll make me laugh in middle of the store, or well up a little - or I'll buy them so far in advance of whatever I do need them for, that I can't find them and have to go back to the store - resulting in yet more unallocated cards.

This one I bought at LifeWay while picking up a card for my BFF a while ago. I stumbled across it today while considering cleaning out my work bag... I think, without knowing it, that maybe I bought it for me because it's what I needed to hear:

You are going through

trials and difficulties

not because God

has abandoned you,

but because He has

chosen you and called you

to know His heart.

-Roy Lessin


"And we know that in all things

God works for the good of those

who love Him, who have been

called according to His purpose."

Romans 8:28 NIV


There is a purpose

in what you are

walking through,

and God would

never allow it if

He could not keep

you close to His heart

and use it for good

in the plan He has

for your life.

Can I just take this moment to confess that no matter how many times I hear that God has a purpose for my life and that he will use all things for good... it somehow sounds new every time.

My heart tingles as though I've never heard that message before. I am God's. He knows me and knows what I need. He put this card in my hand in the store, and again this morning... I believe that - so why does it always come as such a surprise to me?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dropping Gas Prices...

Does anyone else find this interesting...?

Let me outline it for ya:

-People freak out about the high price of gas.

-People buy less gas. (and less of everything because there's only so much room in the budget)

-Gas companies sell less gas. (and other companies sell less stuff)

-Companies see less profit.

-Companies freak out about lowered revenue.

-Investors freak out about lowered revenue.

-Gas prices drop.

-People buy more gas. (and other things)

If I have this straight, we're talking about basic supply & demand here...

Capitalism in our great free country at work!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Irish Soda Bread

This is courtesy my S-I-L. She made it for St. Patrick's Day and I'm suddenly craving it so I had to dig out the recipe. It's on the list for this weekend now. Maybe it will make it on to yours too!

Irish Soda Bread
3-1/2 cups unbleached flour (or use 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour plus 1 cup unbleached)
1/2 to 3/4 cup raw or brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup golden raisins, cranberries or currants (soaked to plump)
1 teaspoon dried caraway seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut the butter into the flour mixture, until crumbly. Add egg and buttermilk. Mix until moistened. Add raisins or currants and caraway seeds if desired.

Form into a round loaf on a greased baking sheet. Use a knife to cut a spiral or cross on the top. Bake one hour.

(She said that she only baked it for about 45 minutes and used all whole wheat flour. The original recipe called to soak the currants in whiskey I think, but she just used water overnight and it was oh, so tasty!)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

He bought me flowers!

These are better than roses. Our front planter has been seriously neglected and I haven't had the time to do anything but shake my head at it... but my husband bought me flowers, and mulch, and killed all the weeds, and yanked out the half-dead plants (ok, he paid a friend to do it, but he got it done):

And didn't he pick pretty flowers!?! It's just fabulous!!!!

And he managed to take my car to the mechanic for new tires and an alignment and all that good stuff that will keep it from falling off the road with me in it!

Never mind about the empty toilet paper roll...

I have flowers!

And new, balanced and aligned, tires!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

toilet paper

I just don't understand.

He pulls a new roll from the cabinet, uses a few squares (because the glue is gone), and leaves it sitting on top of the counter to be lightly dampened by the splashings of handwashing (at least he washed his hands)...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


So last night I hit the edge. An edge maybe, as I've hit it before, made it back to solid ground and begun racing towards it again...

I am exhausted from work and torn in all different directions trying to be boss, valuable employee, wife, mommy, friend, daughter, granddaughter, and volunteer... Still finding time to sleep and attempt to remember who Tracy really is.

Could I get "restful sleep" in a pill form please? I just don't have time for it anymore.

At small group Tuesday night I heard (and preached a little) about the power and importance of prayer... even when you don't know the words to ask for what you need... even when you don't know what you need. So I stopped.

Between brushing my teeth and hopping in the shower I stopped and shared my heart with God. And I cried to him and gave him my burdened heart and heavy head. And he gave me a hug - which I expected. What I didn't expect was that he would tell me something too. He told me "You're doing a good thing" And I'm thinking, what? I'm doing a good thing by working hard and being a good employee that I'm away from the house for sometimes 14 hours a day and only get to see my son for an hour and a half before his bedtime. When I'm too late to cook dinner and too tired to stay awake to even watch a movie with my husband. When I can't remember the last time I just did something nice for a friend "because I could". What could I possibly be doing that's so good, God? "You're enabling your husband to grow and he's going to grow into someone who helps make My Kingdom known"

Well, how do you respond to that?

With renewed purpose (and some crocodile tears).

I go to work because that's how Stan can start his own company. That's God's plan for him. I'm just part of the plan to get Stan where God has set for him, but I'm part of the plan. All the hard work, stress, and emotional tuggings are worth it because He's worthy. God is worthy and whatever He's going to do with my husband is worthy and suddenly, I'm just glad to be on their coat-tails.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

way cool lightning!

Okay, so this is nothing compared to what the storm was really like. I took about a dozen shots and this is the best I could get.


Because there was SO MUCH lighning that every shot just looked like a boring shot of dusk! aarrgghh. (but this one's really cool.. right!!?!)

This storm was fantastic - lots of lightning jumping from cloud to cloud. Drenching sideways rain. Pea sided hail. And big CLAPS of thunder. So cool! I really wish I could have better captured it's intensity.

Maybe next time I'll be a little more dedicated. This was from our front driveway (for those of you familiar with our place - yes - that's the school zone sign in the very bottom of the frame). I sort of hap-hazardly ran out there, Stan chasing me with the tripod, after we got home from church group. Most of the storm had already passed us. sigh. The tripod's by the front door now and I'm looking forward to the next storm!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

You might have a great church if... follow-up

I told you about Cam Reed. Well, he lost his battle on the 20th... his 83rd birthday. (can you believe that!?)

At church we left 150 chairs set up for his funeral, since it's tomorrow afternoon. I'm really not sure that will be enough.

I am very sure, however, that I want people to say the same when I die... I'm not sure 150 chairs will be enough.

2pm Tuesday at Cedar Ridge Christian Church

Saturday, May 24, 2008

State Fair Potato Salad

This is possibly the best ever potato salad... Yummy! 5 gold stars!! Actually, it was probably a blue ribbon...

State Fair Potato Salad
"Drizzling sweet pickle juice over the warm potatoes is the secret to this delicious salad."

  • 3 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, washed, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup juices from jar of sweet pickles

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped sweet pickles (Vlassic no sugar added baby gherkins)

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 10-20 minutes.  Drain.  Drizzle pickle juice over warm potatoes and stir (this might be my favorite part of the whole recipe).  Cool to room temp.  I place the pot in the sink with salted ice water to speed this process.

While the potatoes are cooking and cooling, chop the celery, hard-boiled eggs, and pickles.  Put these in the large bowl you'll serve in. 

In medium bowl, whisk together mayo, buttermilk, mustard, sugar and pepper.  Add potatoes and sauce to chopped goodies and stir well.  Chill.    


Thursday, May 22, 2008


I drift off to sleep... and fall under the surface.

I try to make my limbs move, but they refuse. Tired from the struggle I suppose. I scream at them and my lungs fill with cool water. I realize I'm not gaining speed toward the air, only drifting backward. A calm comes over me and I stop trying to fight. I float carefully down, no bottom in sight. The light continues to dim and I seem to stop moving.


I need air. Somehow, after a sputtering it's as though I took a breath - but realize there's no air in sight and I feel my lungs panic.


I yell to myself - no sound being produced.


I peel my eyes open, barely- scanning the room only long enough to verify that indeed I was not submerged in a watery grave. But they are too heavy to maintain my view. I drift back to sleep, and back into the water. I gasp for breath again and manage to wake enough to roll over.

The dream was gone. Thankfully.


It wasn't exactly a nightmare, but it certainly wasn't pleasant either.

Is this an indication of my current life? That I feel like I'm drowning and trying to fight, but not succeeding? Trying to breathe, but getting a mouthful of water? Finding peace only by letting go?

Is it sad, or scary, or ok?

What am I letting go of? And who's hanging on in my stead? Am I handing it to God, or just... letting go?

Monday, May 5, 2008


Why you ask?

Well, it all started last week, when my little brother got unlimited text messaging.

We'd been chatting and then he sent me this picture:

Yes, he's taking classes to become an EMT or the like. (He's still deciding. Shut up.)

Our following conversation has me chuckling to this day so I knew it was blog worthy!

Me: Did you really show up to class in a wife beater? Tell me no... tell me you took your other shirt off 'cause it was getting in the way of the bandaging. Please. (I'm the master of 160 characters...)

Ben: Sure, we'll go with that. (did I mention he's the youngest of 4 and placation is his specialty?)

Ben: No, even better. I'm so hot, girls ripped the other shirt off. And I was injured in the process. lol :)

Me: rotflmao

Me: Maybe you should consider stand-up.
(previous conversation... sorry, you'll have to believe me it was funny)

Ben: "rotflmao" What????? (yes, there were 5 question marks)

Me: rollin' on the floor laughing my ass off... get with the times kid! haha

I just taught my little brother tech jargon. Does that make me cool or is it a sad indication that I spend a little too much time on the keyboard?

Either way, it's fun. He feels thousands of miles closer, even if it is just text.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

You might have a great church if...

You might have a great church if... The man who wins the annual "Well Done Good and Faithful Servant" service award is this man:

He's nearly 83 years old. He helps in the infant's room every week (even when he doesn't feel well). He grew up in church serving along side his Mom. When asked what he wanted to tell his family and his church he said he wants everyone to trust the Lord and serve others. And he's dying of leukemia. You heard me. About 4 weeks ago he was given 2 weeks- 4 months by the doctors.

When he's interviewed for church, he closes by looking straight into the camera and saying, "My name is Cam Reed, I'm almost 83 and I have leukemia. What's your problem?"

As if to (lovingly) say: I still serve the Lord and make a difference in the life of as many people as I possibly can, in the place I think the Lord has called me to serve... I've overcome immense barriers to do so and you're going to sit there telling me about how tired you are at the end of the day and that you might miss knowing who got voted off the island, who can't dance, or who won... and you think that's a viable excuse for not putting yourself out there? Ha! I'm dying. I don't care what you think. This is important. Are you listening?

And there's hardly a dry eye in the house because he's impacted that many people.

That's influence. (I know it is because the bulletin requests for volunteers have been pulled, there were a lot of people new to service volunteering after worship... guess I wasn't the only one listening.)

We should all be so blessed.

And prayers, love, and hugs go out to Cam & Thelma, and their family! We all love you so much!

Friday, May 2, 2008

We're okay...

If April showers bring May flowers... What do May showers bring?


But not to our neighborhood. Just rain and flowers here. Thanks for worrying though.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

girly toes

These are my girly toes.

No, they're not Barbie toes.

And no, they don't get regular pedicures.

Yes, I can pick up pencils and stray socks with them.

And yes, they have been hiding in boots and steel toes all winter so they're kinda,



but they're preparing to come out of hibernation! Look at my pretty pink polish!

It's like my own personal tribute to summer! It just makes me happy (even if they are still stuck in a pair of steel toes most days).

Monday, April 28, 2008

zoom... zip... zing

So I just cleaned the track ball on my computer mouse (something I hadn't done in WAY too long in retrospect) so now, I'm zooming all over the place, missing the target completely. *sigh*

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm a "Phan"

Ever since Emmy Rossum came across my radar as Christine in the 2004 movie Phantom of the Opera I have been infatuated with her.

Enemiesemmy rossum emmy rossumemmy rossum

She came up again today as she hit the scene in yet another FABULOUS ensemble. Not only is she timelessly beautiful and has impeccable taste, but she's hugely talented, and, to top it all off - everything, anyone, has ever said about her indicates that she's a really nice person.

How can you not love this girl!? I want to be just like her when I grow up!

*thanks to

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Silence is Frustrating

I have strep throat. That means that my throat is being strepped. Well, if I had to come up with a new word that described what it felt like that would be it. kinda.

My throat hurts. A lot. I mean, 1200mg ibuprofen isn't denting the pain. I only took 800mg post-delivery (okay, so I had other drugs helping out and some pretty fab hormones courtesy GOD, but I've seriously never taken this much pain medication). So I decided I should probably go to the Dr. You'd think I were a guy.

When you tell the Dr., in as much voice as you can muster, that you believe you'd feel better if you could just remove your throat, they get the picture that you're in a lot of pain. So, even though the shove-a-Qtip-as-far-down-your-throat-as-we-can test didn't say I have strep (I guess it only tests for the A-strain, not the whole family of B-H strains...) the Dr. thinks it's strep and recommends that we don't wait for the culture to come back in 2 days to begin antibiotics.

I volunteered for an injection. A nee-, a needl-, no, I still can't say it. And it sounds just as crazy in retrospect. (I thought now that I was feeling better it would sound more realistic, but it's still just as crazy)

The nurse, a sweet thing... I tell her that I hate needles, but that I know this will work faster than pills... so she tries to be kind and realistic (I'm not sure that's actually possible, but she tried and I give her credit for that) So, she explains to me that I'll have to lower my pants and that it's going to hurt because it's like injecting glue - um, it's really thick - she quickly corrects herself. Now I'm leaning over on the table and she's trying to find the thickest spot on my butt in which to inject the um, glue, so she's poking and pushing - and my muscles are already sore because I've been sick... and there's not a big fleshy spot on me... I'm a whopping 5'1" 105#... there's no excess. So, she finds a spot she likes and pinches me up so it won't hurt as much (nice of her for trying) and OOOOOUUUUCCCCCHHH!!!!!!! THEN - she has to RUB IT AROUND a little after she's done injecting it so it breaks up some... great... exactly what I wanted. Stab me with a needle, then rub the injection site for a while... already I'm feeling better! Then she says that some people have reactions of rashes, dizziness, and fainting so I'll need to lay down for 20 minutes (on the hard table, on my new ouchie) so they know I don't have those reactions. I think she also notes that I'm a little pale from the pain of my brand new dead-leg.

So now, my butt, AND my throat hurt! Isn't that just a miracle of modern medicine!

But, here we are, day 2, and I'm actually beginning to think I WILL get better. Soon. Today's better than yesterday, which was better than the day before. My butt still hurts, like to sit on and when I walk, that's all. But I can eat! Still no talking though.

Not talking is a challenge. Especially at work. On a day that's had 3 conference calls already. I just had a customer walk in and accuse me of ignoring his message... as I pantomime to him that I have strep and he slowly backs away.

I can't answer the phone, but I'm swallowing without cringing and getting hungry! Tomorrow is a new day! Hopefully with real food and real words.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rescued Daffodils

Saturday it snowed. I dashed out to the front yard and promptly picked every last one of my daffodils to rescue them from freezing. I figure, if they're going to die, I may as well get some enjoyment from having them in a vase on my countertop.

Today it's 81.

Tomorrow's forecast for a high of 51 and thunderstorms...

Welcome to the midwest. You don't like the weather? Stick around for a day or so - it'll change.

fleeting moments

Last night, before I tucked myself into bed, I snuck into my son's room. Daring to interrupt his precious sleep, I pulled him out of his crib and held him. My little angel. I stole snuggles and loves and thanked God for this treasure He's blessed me with.
My amazing special child for whom I could abandon all else just to spend the day discovering this world by his side. Every glorious moment of wonderment at what God has made for us; I am jealous of the newness with which my son experiences life. I am nearly depressed at the time I must spend away from him, ensuring he has a roof over his head, chicken nuggets, and (apple) sauce to his hearts delight.
But it's all so fleeting. This will only last such a short time and I am so afraid that I'm missing it - only too soon to be left behind.
Such is motherhood, regardless your employment situation I think. I just feel very desperately like clinging to him right now, so that's exactly what I did. I held him close and listened for God in his breaths. And I'm feeling a little better now. If not slightly weepy.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Trader Joe's

If I didn't already know Kansas, and all the good it would bring our life, finding out that the nearest Trader Joe's was a good 4-1/2 hours away would have been a deal-breaker!

I have, for the most part, (begrudgingly) learned to cope. For some reason though, today especially, I find myself missing Trader Joe's!

I miss strolling thru the aisles, grazing the sample booth, and reading the signs. I miss the pizza crust, the dairy case, snacks, frozen enchiladas & tamales, and the flowers. The flowers! It's great that I have friends and loved ones in CA who keep us supplied with the things we haven't found substitutes for out here, but it's just not the same.

Trader Joe's isn't just a grocery store - it's an experience. Like a farmer's market. You can't send a friend for seasonal items. Sure, you could say - would you bring back some tomatoes - but if you didn't say that organic heirloom were okay, would they know you'd like them better? (and then there's the whole shipping issue...)

So, I'm reaching out to all my friends here on the WWW! (power in numbers, right) Please join me in petitioning Trader Joe's to open a location here in the Kansas City/Johnson County area!

Gimmie my Trader Joe's! (please)

Thanks everyone for joining in! This "Caliansas" girl owes you a debt of gratitude. Or, a meal... immediately following my first trip to a Kansas TJ's!!


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Eye of God Upon You

Hebrews 4:12-16
12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

My Gram e-mailed this to me today and it sent me searching scripture and stirred up a sermon in my heart. I hope it touches you all too. Thanks again Gram!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spotty & Dotty Paws

My son brought home a small craft the other day with a bunch of Lisa Frank stickers on it!

There's something amazingly comforting in knowing that my dear childhood friend is still around, sharing her colorful (and somewhat phychedelic) spirit. Including, but not limited to Painter Panda, Dancing Dolphins, and my personal favorite Spotty & Dotty Paws! Who doesn't love multi-colored dalmations when they're 12? Who, I ask!!

Hip-Hip-Hooray for Lisa Frank! (who now operates out of a 320,000 sqft facility in Arizona... there's hope yet for the next generation!)

Happy day.

Who wants to play MASH?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vice President, John Wayne

When I heard the audio of Vice President Cheney's interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz I thought


When our Vice President sounded amazingly like John Wayne, my reaction was


So. You have to check this out. ABC is, of course, only playing part of the interview in video clips online. So. I found the full transcript.

Please do me a favor and read the transcript before you go hunting for a video because the only video (I could find) shows just this one little part:

MARTHA: Let me go back to the Americans. Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gain versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives.


MARTHA: So -- you don't care what the American people think?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls. Think about what would have happened if Abraham Lincoln had paid attention to polls, if they had had polls during the Civil War. He never would have succeeded if he hadn't had a clear objective, a vision for where he wanted to go, and he was willing to withstand the slings and arrows of the political wars in order to get there. And this President has been very courageous, very consistent, very determined to continue down the course we were on and to achieve our objective. And that's victory in Iraq, that's the establishment of a democracy where there's never been a democracy, it's the establishment of a regime that respects the rights and liberties of their people, as an ally for the United States in the war against terror, and as a positive force for change in the Middle East. That's a huge accomplishment.


So - there's a whole big meaningful interview I hope you'll read.

I also think that it's ironic Charles Gibson is doing a bit to commemorate 5 years in Iraq. He's talking from the Iraqi's point of view and starts by saying that 55% of the Iraqi people believe the quality of life has improved, up from only 39% last summer.

Did you catch that? Let me break it down for you.

55% of Iraqi's think their life is better because of the sacrifices being made (ours and theirs). Up 16% since the troop surge... up, in contrast, to the approval rating of our Congress which is lingering somewhere around 21%. I think it's also an interesting tidbit that Congress' high rating was last summer, at 37%, and that it's dropped 16% since then... 16%... hmmmm... isn't that how much improved Iraqi's feel life is? I n t e r e s t i n g.

You see - here's the issue I hear being brought up by Cheney's reaction to, yet another question about, some popular opinion poll and how it should be impacting decisions made in the White House.

Our Vice President understands fully the gravity of the War in Iraq.


He's not going to let the opinion of the spoiled brats here at home sway what he knows is good, even if it is difficult. (And did you catch his point that we might still have slavery if Lincoln had listened to popular opinion or quit when it became difficult?) And now we have a mixed race "black" man running for President.

And yes, you heard me right. I think most Americans are spoiled rotten brats. Why do you think we have wildly popular shows like Supernanny? In which they prove time and again it's not the kids misbehaving, it's the parents... you know, those people being asked questions in popular opinion polls... (who might not be able to tell you the name of our V.P)

Why don't we hear from our V.P. more often? I think American's would connect with John Wayne, ahem, excuse me - Dick Cheney.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Book Review

I love this book!!

"I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" by Vince Antonucci.

You must go get it now and read it (if I haven't already slid a copy under your nose).

It was like a rollercoaster into my heart! One minute I'd laugh so hard I cried, the next I just cried. I heard God speak to me thru the stories and experiences shared by Vince. I don't think I've had a book affect me so personally before. Maybe it's just me, but I hope that it's the same for you. Because it's been one of those rides where you get off and run to the back of the line to have another go!

It is about being real; experiencing Christianity, not just admiring the brochure. It will ask you who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re going. And as you go along you will find that the answers are demanded in several forms - to you personally, to God, and to whoever keeps you accountable.

Starting March 30th our church will launch an all-church study based on this book and the (free) companion materials offered thru Baker Books and Vince Antonucci. I help coordinate small groups and am so jazzed about this I am positive that the people in our church are going to start calling me the "Lousy" cheerleader... a title I'll wear proudly!

I would like to take this time to admit a couple things for those of you who have read the book already:

When Jesus got in the boat, he asked me "What are you doing?" Not like the friend wanting to know whatcha doin', or Mom scolding you - but in a gentle why-are-you-doing-
that kind of way. I find that I am now asking myself this question on a regular basis thru my day.

I read this book before my husband but couldn't help myself when I got to death-wish dog and read the entire part out loud to him while we snarfled and snorted in fits of laughter.

I have challenged myself to spend more time reading God's word and listening to Him.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lazy Morning

So this morning I woke quite peacefully. Surprizingly so, actually. There was a glint of sunlight when my alarm went off at 40 after and I didn't once hit the snooze button. I was surprised at how light out it was, but I've secretly hoped spring would sneak up on me so I just rejoiced my wish had come true and did a little happy-dance in my head.

I got ready and went downstairs, started my coffee and did my makeup & hair. I had some new breakfast cookies I found on sale at the grocery store so I pulled one of those from the cupboard, snatched one of my son's bananas, donned my coat and headed out.

As I backed out of the garage, I changed the radio to AM so I could hear the traffic. Ugly. I'd take my alternate route thru downtown. Traffic's not usually this heavy, but whatever. I glance at the clock and see that I managed to get out of the house a little ahead of schedule, it was only 23 after and I was already on the hwy! What a deal.

So, I turn north on to I-35, drive past one of my customer's locations and realize that I forgot to enter his order from Friday. Oops. Pricing went up too, so I'll have to manually change it. So I look at the clock again to calculate if the customer service manager will be in the office yet (so I can call and beg her to fix it for me) and realize that it's not 30 after six, it's 30 after SEVEN!!!



I'm supposed to be in the office at 7:00! How is it 7:30?

And then it all makes sense...

I set my alarm for 6:40 instead of 5:40. That's why it's brighter outside. That's why there's more traffic. That's why I didn't jam the snooze button loathing having to leave my warm snuggly spot.

I should really consider going to bed earlier.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Okay, so this is just fun... my friend Liz told me about this.

You enter your blog address and it tells you what reading level you're writing at. I am evidentally still in HS. This makes me believe that I'm not reading enough, but I'm okay with it. It puts me above the LA Times' Jr. High score, so I'll reason that it's nothing to scoff at. Yay for me!

blog readability test

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Stupid People

On one of my regular trips to QT (QuikTrip is the midwest's AM/PM on steriods for those of you not privy to it's splendors) Anyway - I'm a regular so I trot in like I own the place, grab a cup and hit a traffic jam at the ice machine... What? QT is like a demonstration in process flow, even at their busiest times you can breeze in for a sip, so what's gumming up the process?

Stupid people.

So I watch as, oh, maybe 5 different people attempt in vein to get ice from one of the 4, count them *4* dispensers when you can quite visbly see that there's a hunk of cubes lodged in the chute. Braniacs. But it gets better.

Now, I don't exactly consider myself a genius. Bright, sure, but not some more highly evolved version of the human species, I figure I just try harder. Well, maybe I've been wrong. Because I, in all my normalcy, walk 2 feet away, grab a straw and proceed to stab it up the chute repeatedly, dislodge the ice chunk and get my ice. Here's where it gets weird. I then realize that I have an audience. And I'm thinking, is this what the first ape who used a tool felt like? This is not rocket science people... man has been using tools to accomplish tasks for ages, literally. And here I am, straw in hand being sized up by on lookers as some sort of miracle.


Years ago, working on the phone in customer service I doodled a little gal, frazzled, pulling her hair out and screaming "No More Stupid People!!!". I find the phrase threaputic to this day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

sub zero

This morning it was 5 degrees with a wind chill of -9! I pulled out my big coat and am thankful that:

1) I have a garage to park in overnight (that was still 42F this morning)
2) DH put new filters in the heater so we have increased efficiency
3) The sunshine is abundant so it at least LOOKS nice outside
4) I had time to cook this weekend so I have yummy leftovers for lunch without having to step foot out of my office
5) we have heaters in the warehouse so it will be at least 50F

AND I just heard the extended forecast - Sunday we're forecast to reach 61!!!

I can't decide if I'm (finally) going to clean out the planters in the front yard or just take Alex to the children's park and play the whole day!!!