things i thought about blogging on this month but didn’t…

i had told myself when i started writing again that three times a month was doable and wouldn’t be overwhelming, but i just realized that my last post was the first of the month and now this is the last of the month with no posts in between. so, twice a month is obviously not too demanding, although, to be honest, this has been a crazy month.

:: first ever Pumpkin Day (which i think i am going to have to make an annual occurrence)…we made these fabulous pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin lattes. and before you get all “well no wonder she’s not losing any weight, good-bye skinny girl” on me, we had a seminar at church that night and i took all the muffins and all but four of the doughnuts (jimmy would have protested if i’d taken all) and put them out with the coffee

:: driving “home” when you’re going to the hospital because your mom was in a crazy, freak bicycle accident is really strange. i took the wrong exit out of habit – meaning i took the right exit to go to dad and mom’s but the wrong exit to go to the hospital – and had to drive along the road i grew up off of and nothing was the same. and nothing looked like it belonged. and i kept thinking how i didn’t belong here, driving on this road to the hospital

:: mercy’s little personality coming out and how she is so different away from jameson and patience. i took her with me one night to visit mom in the hospital and she was such a firecracker. a little social butterfly who enjoyed being the center of attention all on her own. i am going to have to make sure she gets more outings by herself every so often

:: visiting the beach with some Long Lost Friends and watching them play with my kids

:: trying to explain to jimmy why i was so excited about the new (to me) nikon D70 i was going to pick up the following day. !!!!!!! i said it was like i got a little piece of myself back – of who i was before we had kids. i know it might sound incredibly disloyal to say it like that, but all i can say is that i don’t mean it that way and i love being a mom. anyway, he understood and said that he still doesn’t have a working airboat, so (not mentioning the incredible price difference between my Piece of Myself and his Piece of Himself) i told him that we’d all celebrate with him when he gets one again

:: how i love catching up with my good friends on the phone when we haven’t had a chance to visit in a while. as i hung up after talking with ashley, the call length was flashing 01:40:22  and i thought what a Wonderful Thing it was to have spent the last hour and forty minutes hearing about her little growing family and how she is being blessed and being a blessing.

…and hopefully next time, there will be pictures!



it’s the season of pumpkin lattes, my favorite pumpkin bread with cream cheese filling, publix pumpkin ice cream, and olive garden’s pumpkin cheese cake.

so, anyone want to make these for me? i love cooking and baking, but whenever the recipe calls for a thermometer…i’m out. so, if you would like to come over and make these, i will supply the ingredients and the mimosas! thanks

pumpkin doughnuts

stuff before we leave

it’s fantasy football season!!! woo hoo! and i won my first game, which doesn’t mean much yet, but is still exciting.

i’ve been working with mercy to come when i call her, so yesterday while doing my devotions, i overhear this:  now mercy, when i call you, you come to where i am and say ‘yes, jameson!’

taking the kids to my parents’ tomorrow night…and leaving them. then thursday, jimmy and i are off to colorado for four wonderful, crisp, autumn days of wine festivalling!

cows are very noisy. at least, they can be very noisy…especially if one of their friends gets put into a pasture two fields over and they can’t “herd” together. and then they become really annoying…especially when you might like to sleep until 7 am but they wake up with the sun. even jameson thinks so because yesterday, he stalked through the kitchen while i was making breakfast and said, i’m sick of those cows!

couponning: not yet a word recognized by my spell checker, but probably will be soon. so i am taking the plunge. well, not plunging necessarily, but at least dipping in to try it. i keep hearing my friends tell me how they save more than they spend and blah blah blah…so i’m going to try it. as yet, no good deals because i have not spent the time going to the sites to check it all out, but i did get 40% off our new crayola twistable crayons. i think i’m more excited about them than the kids are.

and last…

best and easiest summer dessert ever fruit brulee. this is from my joy of cooking day calendar (which, when i went to insert the link from amazon, i noticed is going for $149.73 new!!?! forget couponning, i’m just going to buy a bunch of 2011 joy of cooking day calendars and sell them off at the end of the year)

fill a 9-inch pie pan with fresh summer fruit. top with a cup to a cup and a half of sour cream mixed with a teaspoon of vanilla. chill until set (or up to 8 hours). top with 1 cup packed brown sugar – so all the sour cream is covered. put under pre-heated broiler 3 minutes or until caramelized.

that’s it! i make it in my deep pie dish and add extra fruit. i’ll try to take a picture of it next time i make it to post, because it is pretty and tasty!

and life goes on

it has been awhile and i’m not  feeling particularly creative. which is why i have been putting this off. i sometimes think that i’m less creative when i’m further from God, the Creator. it isn’t that i’ve been intentionally rebellious the past week or so, it is just that there has been so much going on –  schedule-wise and emotionally –  that i’ve ignored me and the time i need with him, as well as my journal and any meaningful conversations with friends, husband included. i suppose it makes sense, though, that if i am made imago dei, then one of my primary ways to worship is to be creative. and if i have chosen to have a relationship with him and am not where he is, i will struggle to be creative until my heart is with his again. anyway, i guess all of this to say i still struggle to keep my heart at peace in the rough times in life. i tend to put all things relational on hold until either it calms down or i break down, wondering why in the world i let it all get so crazy.

but, being past that now…

it’s summer!!! well, not officially, but i did pull out the kiddie pool today and actually got into it with jameson. i love these days. our first play day of the warm weather is tomorrow and i can hardly wait! ice pops and fruit for the kids; cool chicken salad and sherbet for the adults. um…so i just typed sherbert because that is what i’ve always called it, but my spell checker called me out on it. so i looked up sherbet and it is a frozen dessert made with fruit juice added to milk or cream, egg white, or gelatin, which is what i was meaning. furthermore:

USAGE  The tendency to insert an : r into the second syllable of sherbet is very common. Frequency of misuse has not changed the fact that the spelling sherbert and the pronunciation |ˈ sh ərbərt| are wrong and should not be considered acceptable variants.

wow. so, we will have sherbet tomorrow. i’m deflated. i’ll just post a cute picture of mercy from today in her sun hat and try to move on.

ok, i think i’m ready. i just love that little baby girl!

my new favorite meal has cajun sausage and…garbanzo beans. yep. and my mouth is watering right now thinking about it. i was wanting to make hummus, but lacking a good recipe, thought i’d see if there was one on the back of the bush’s garbanzo beans can. i’ve tried their recipe for black beans and it was fabulous. so, back to the garbanzos…there was a recipe for garbanzo beans and italian sausage. we just got our pig back from the processor and he made a ton of cajun sausage and brats, so i’m trying to find ways to incorporate that into our meals.  i tried to find an online link to the recipe to give proper credit, but can’t, so it’s from the back of a bush’s can…

4 links of italian sausage

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 can drained and rinsed garbanzo beans

1 can chopped tomatoes with italian seasoning

3/4 c red wine or water

brown the sausage. take it out and saute the onions until almost tender.

add the beans, tomatoes, and wine/water. put the sausage back in (i sliced it so it would cook faster)

i added a little oregano and half a lemon (sliced) to give it a mediterranean flavor. and i served it on a bed of fresh spinach, since i’m always looking for ways to include it in a meal. i served it with a slice of lemon to squeeze over it and sprinkled oregano on and it was ready to go.

nothing much

the cold weather has broken at last! yesterday was simply beautiful and jameson and i got to take a walk and pick some of the wild yellow jasmine that grows around our property (hence, the new blog header). it’s beautiful and has a really light scent, not at all overpowering like i find the white jasmine to be. i didn’t even know it grew here until one day my friend, cara, was visiting. jimmy and i were walking her and her husband around the property and i was telling her how i wanted to find a place to buy some italian (yellow) jasmine to plant along the fence line. and literally, when i got done telling her that i didn’t know where i could find a place selling it, she said, “isn’t that some there?” and pointed…and there it was, twining around a scrub oak tree.

tried my cousin’s idea for faux greek yogurt yesterday and i think i have a new favorite snack! jameson, too. i mixed dried apricots and plums into it and topped it with “sprinkles” (aka, the new kashi go-lean crisp). yummy stuff. apparently ashley thought so, too, as she finished it as a late-night snack here last night. and then also, lulu the cat, as she licked the bowl clean when ashley was done and ended up with a cute little furry, yogurt face.

on a side note, i tried the newman’s own dried plums and they are really tasty and rich-flavored. now, i want to know why the word prunes has gotten such a bad rap. i am going to say it now, i. love. prunes. really. i could eat way too many every day and literally i have to stop myself from eating more. i think they are one of the yummiest things around. but, ever try to share them? i will admit to having tricked friends into trying them by asking if they have ever had a dried plum. and then after they eat it and say how good it is, i tell them it was just a little prune. and they gag. c’mon! really? what’s the deal? i think that there would be many more happy people in the world if they would just eat their prunes. (you know it’s true)

mercy, happy for a spring day, too

superbowl notwithstanding

what looked to be a mundane weekend at the start, turned out pretty good…

things are tight financially, both because they are and because we are trying to stick to a budget. so even though i included a quarterly haircut in that budget, i did not include pedicures. i was sorely in need of one saturday and decided to do it myself. this is something i usually enjoy doing, especially since i can actually reach my toes for the first time in over two years without straining over a belly. but, have you ever tried to give yourself a pedicure with a two-year old running around? first, jameson decided to take everything out of my “nail box” and line up all the polishes on the ledge behind the couch. then, every time i snipped a nail he had to point to it and say, “shoo, shoo” (translated: dirty, trash). we don’t have a bath tub, so i was soaking my feet in a bowl. jameson loves loves loves playing in water. doesn’t matter if it’s in the sink, the shower, a puddle, the cat bowl, or now my feet-soaking bowl. so he’s throwing water all over the place. after this is the polishing part…”toes, mama, toes” pointing to his own and trying to point to (ie, touch) mine. so maybe i might miss, just a little, the days of jimmy polishing them for me.

had a great family birthday party saturday night at jimmy’s parents. not only did jameson score some great things (including a child-sized camo snuggie ??), but i got some cash and a starbuck’s gift card – so i can enjoy my overpriced coffee guilt-free!

sunday morning, i was scheduled to pray for the last hour of the “forty hours of prayer” at our church with the other elders’ wives. it was the earliest i’ve been up in a while and between my grogginess and trying to gather everything jimmy would need to bring with the kids later, it was a pretty rough morning. as i was getting in the jeep to leave, jimmy looked at me and asked, “why are you so irritated with me? what did i do? don’t you want to go pray?” “not really,” i answered, not very sweetly. ok, just breathe i told myself and then asked him to pray for me, assuring him it was my sour mood, not anything he’d done. he prayed for me, and it was amazing how my heart softened. it prepared me to have a pretty fantastic prayer time with some really great ladies. ended up being a good follow-up to my saturday morning reading

during the superbowl, i finally found a use for that stainless mortar and pestle that i had to have, which has since sat in the oubliette of a corner cabinet in the kitchen, gathering crumbs. (really, how do crumbs get into all those cabinets and drawers?) …toss a handful of mint leaves in the bowl, add three tablespoons of sugar, squeeze half a lime over it and grind until the sugar dissolves. pour over ice and add rum and soda water. mmm, mojito bliss! thank you, jen!

and last, but not least…jimmy is working in kissimmee this week, so rather than drive back and forth, we are going to stay at fcc the next three nights where i will have unlimited access to my very dear anastasia! i’m so excited i can hardly stand it!

guinea pigs

money has been tight the past couple weeks. this is usually a slow time for construction trades – home improvement stuff like jimmy does. how it normally goes – everyone is in a rush before thanksgiving and christmas to get things done around the house before the relatives show up and notice discolored trim or gross out over some stained popcorn ceiling. then january hits and no one has money or the inclination to fix anything. it’s a buyer’s market right now and jimmy is working wherever he can. so (you didn’t hear this from me, but) if you’re ever planning a major remodel and you can be disciplined to not spend the money on Christmas, i’m telling you now, save up and call the guy the second week of january and you’ll get your price.

so this week, other than buying fresh fruits (and veggies if i really get in a bind), i’m trying to use everything in my cabinets. we are going to have some fabulous meals, let me tell you! sunday night was leftover spaghetti: not so bad. last night was that bisquick (ew!) cheeseburger pie, but i added some cooked frozen california style veggies on top of the meat. again, not too bad, and i have leftovers for jameson for lunch. today, a kind friend fed jameson and me and i used the last of the lunch meat for jimmy. so i’ve boiled eggs and am going to make my famous tuna salad for lunch for the rest of the week.

tonight, i kinda cheated. we have some friends coming over to watch the kids so jimmy and i can get a couple things done, and i told them i’d make dinner for them. originally, i thought we’d have money. but then, i realized we wouldn’t and i didn’t actually want to feed them angel hair pasta with black beans and tuna? ew! so, they are bringing taco seasoning and tortillas and we are supplying the rest for tacos. but, i was thinking that if they weren’t coming, we could have had it over tortilla chips and i’ve been wanting to experiment with making my own taco seasoning, so it would have been a guinea pig night. fortunately for jimmy and jameson, derek and ashley have rescued them.

any ideas of what to do with chicken, canned tomatoes, black beans (no rice, ran out!) mangoes, kidney beans, small can of unpeeled apricot halves, and  a stray can of water chestnuts?