Thursday, October 30, 2008

Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?



In the car the other day...


"Mom?"
"Yes, Meiners?"
"You know those girls that love me too much?"
(Stifling a laugh) "Yes, Honey, I know those girls."
"They always want to sit by me. I tell them to sit somewhere else."
Well, Dear...one day you'll be wanting to sit by them.
I guarantee it.
(and maybe we should be a little nicer to them until then...)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Demons


Do you hear the voices? The ones that whisper

you can't...
you haven't...
you didn't...
you won't...

into the cobweb~entrenched recesses of your mind?

I read a post last night from a mom who admitted that, at times, she feels like an absolute failure. Her words oozed wisdom from the very trenches of womanhood. She had obviously heard the voices of doubt, fear, shame echo through her skull, rendering her stuck in the moment with her disabling emotions. My heart ached for her last night. And today, I felt a connection.

I don't know why today of any day I felt helplessly lost in the negative. As I looked around, I saw unkempt piles here and there. I saw laundry unfinished and dishes to unload. I saw carpets unswept and an unhappy toddler. I saw unchecked boxes on my To Do list. I felt unloved. My heart felt overwhelmed.

How do you get through a day like today? It was an ordinary day by any standards. Kids to school, errands to run, meals to prepare, home to maintain. How do you get through a day where everyday tasks are ineffable?

I took a breath. I repeated: The Lord God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph. 3:17.

Really? He sings over me? He rejoices in me when everywhere I turn there are needs I haven't met? He delights in imperfect me? What kind of God stays with me, saves me, when the demons in my mind are no longer whispering of my imperfections but shouting their accusations, screaming them into my ear?

He quiets me.

He silences them.


My God.



Monday, October 27, 2008

Tag - You're It!


OK, you all. I've been tagged here and there. And I've always sort of shrugged off figuring out how to snag the picture image or respond, and then I go about my life, none the wiser. I shared last night with My Man about getting tagged or receiving blog 'awards' and all that. He was stunned that I've left them out there floating. I responded to Melissa's by posting about 'a few' of my favorite things. And D tapped me on the shoulder for random things...I promise I'll go back and look at what the other things have been. But, here's my post all wrapped into one.


Random things -

1. My first car was a used red Subaru Justy (like a Ford Festiva, only less American) that I drove until the front end was destroyed (yes, by me) and the air quit working. I drove straight to a Chevy dealership without air conditioning in Missouri in August and traded in for a brand spankin' new Cavalier --- before I even had a real job lined up to cover the payments.

2. I traveled with my mom to Tijuana in junior high and made a promise that I would learn enough Spanish to return and translate what the school boys were calling to me across the street. I took International Baccalaureate Spanish in high school and studied in Mexico one summer, but never really could translate what any hispanic school boys might be saying.

3. My parents were divorced when I was very young - I spent many summers returning to my dad's in SD and driving tractors through fields and pick-ups through ditches. I belted Glory of Love at the top of my lungs in our new John Deere, complete with FM radio, the last summer I went to my dad's. I pretended to kiss Ralph Macchio - I mean my pillow.

4. I moved from a rural town in Missouri to the Big City in 7th grade - after my mom had spent two years commuting two hours one way to work five days per week. She used to wake me up in the dark to french braid my hair before sending me back to bed for my last few hours of sleep. She didn't move until I told her I was ready. I'll never forget the girl that showed me around my new junior high school. She was the cousin of one of my 'country' friends - and this new girl wore all banana yellow - from her Kirk Cameron up-turned Polo collar down to her low heeled pumps. I'd never seen the likes of it before in my Simple Life. And that same girl turned into a total grunge kid before we graduated. Weird.

5. My brother used to make us breakfast every morning - he alternated between french toast and pancakes (I prefered french toast - still do). I would make our lunches. Mom had to get involved when JJ began only making pancakes day in and day out.

6...I am painfully shy, hopelessly self critical, and an imperfect soul saved by grace alone.
OK. Maybe you knew all that already.


Now, I've gone back to all the blogs from whence I recall receiving awards and tags, and really, the only thing I have left is to tag others. All the blogs I read have received these awards. I think. Plus, I only have about 8 on my blogroll. So if you haven't got these, then grab the picture. I didn't write down the rules. Make something up. Tag others. Share the love. Have a glass of wine and get some sleep. That's what I'm going to do, anyway. You do what you love for yourself.


Here's what I love:
great Bible study
true friends
a good night's sleep
this season of my life
photography
humor


BUT, if it's decorating, then:
black (picture frames, furniture, & white photos...)
red (every room should have some)
changing seasons (sea shells in summer, leaves and pumpkins in fall...)
hand-made art (handpainted or stamped signs, papercrafts...)
pillows and throws (too bad hubby doesn't agree...)
a good coat of paint (fixes everything...)
candles (that was 7...)

*mwah*

~and thank you for the bloggy love, Ladies!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

HSM3



Yes. Yes it's true. I loved it. I loved the movie High School Musical 3. Yes, that's the love song you're hearing on my playlist. I get choked up everytime I hear Troy start to sing his part. Don't laugh. Don't think less of me. I am a hopeless romantic. And I love sappy love songs. It began with Karate Kid II's Glory of Love when I was, like, 7. And let's not forget Robin Hood's Everything I Do I Do It For You the year I left my own high school - and high school boyfriend - behind!
Aaah. Good times. Good times.
Oops. Back to the present here. So, let me just tell you. Yes. You know the story line already. The apple of 3 didn't fall far from the tree of 1-2. However, I loved the way the musical was woven into the 'present.' I thought the dancing was often incredible (how does Gabriella hold that pose while mid-flight, backwards on a stone wall with high heels on?!?!). And, I'm sorry, but I just adore the main couple - and all the little nuances between the other 6 stars, as well. I read an online review Friday night that said the moms would be swept back to the days of Dirty Dancin' (only without the 'dirty dancing' - another reason to love it: it's squeaky clean! Yay Disney!) when we all swooned as Patrick Swazey insisted, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." Oh yeah. I felt like I was back in high school.
I thought the movie was great. I bought the soundtrack. I nearly wept when the kids went dancing crazy off from chairs like Troy had in the movie and My Man took away my CD (I mean their CD) as punishment to deter broken limbs...We earned it back, though. I mean they did. And we listened to it in it's entirety, and I loved it even more.
Yes. I am 35 years old, and I love High School Musical.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Invisible Woman

While linking from Melissa's post Fuel the Fire yesterday, I was reminded of Nicole Johnson in this post. Our family education group watched her videos often when I volunteered at the center. I still believe I took more there than I gave. Nicole is amazing. She is a funny, dynamic, straight-talking woman of God. Plus, her spot in the internet sphere is www.freshbrewedlife.com - what Caffeine Addict among us can resist that? In response to Melissa's completely humbling award Friday, I am spending a few days showing you some of my favorite "things" in hopes that you, too, will be shown God's grace through these words...

You may have read them before. Just wait 'til you hear them from her (Him).
Enjoy.


The Privilege of Brokenness

I've mentioned The Church Lady a few days in a row now. She has long been my spiritual mentor. I miss my days of going to the pregnancy center for her classes - I mean as a 'counselor.' So often, God spoke to me while I was there. I pray He also spoke to The Girls. But I know He meant for me to be there, too.

Yesterday we met with the cardiologist for Pookie and Meiners' check-up. The news was good. I accept the cardiologist's good news always with a bit of hesitation. Just always waiting for the next shoe to drop. It has so many times. Not recently. Not, in fact, for 4 years. Praise God.

I fell asleep early last night while snuggling with Meiners. So since Baby S's standard 4:30AM wake up call this morning, I have not been able to return to slumber after settling her back in with a clean diaper, a found binky, and a little one-on-one time with Mama. My mind has been wandering while I lay awake. And I recall moments of leaning and learning. I thought I would share some of those here.

If you've never seen Rob Bell in action, I recommend him. One night at the pregnancy center, we watched his video Rain. In it, he describes a time when he went walking in the woods with his infant son strapped in a pack on his back. When they started the trip, the sun was shining and the day was warm. As they walked further and further along the trail, storm clouds moved in. And eventually rain started pouring down upon them. He pulled his son's hood up over his head and started walking quickly back to their cabin. At first, his son whimpered. Soon, he was crying with every inch of his tiny frame. Rob kept telling him, "It's OK, Little Buddy. Daddy's here. We're gonna be OK. I love you. It's OK, Little Buddy. Daddy's here. We're gonna make it." Rob jokes in the video that one day his son will need therapy over this event. He may come to his dad and say, "Dad, why did you make me go through that?" He hopes that his son will see. Rob shares that this was a moment when he felt bonded to his son like no other time. This was an experience they shared together, and he led his son through the storm. Rob concludes the video reminding us that as earthly parents, we love our children with all of our being. How much more, then, does our Heavenly Father love us? How much more is He whispering, "It's OK, Karin. Your Father is here. We're gonna be OK. It's OK, Dear One. Daddy's here. We're gonna make it." And in the end, we are bonded together by a storm where I had the privilege of sharing the journey with my Heavenly Father.
Here, watch...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lovelihood


I have a growing admiration for Melissa Lester of A Little Loveliness. Let's just put that out there. On Monday, she wrote a beautiful post with this quote:

As mothers, so many of us are the memory makers in the family. I joke often that Joe provides our livelihood, and I provide our "lovelihood." What a privilege it is to bring our families together year after year. Pieced together like a quilt, we hope those tender moments will wrap our loved ones in warm memories even after we're gone.

What is more magnificent than that? My friend IRL has said to me that her primary job, after establishing a secure family, finances, and home life for her children - is to help build their happy childhood memories. She even has a book with ideas on how to do this very thing --- I'll have to get the title and post it for you (hey, PS, you read my blog, girl - post a comment!) This concept has struck me since she first presented it. I think Melissa's thought reflects the same notion. And it really is just lovely. My friend The Church Lady said it years ago, too --- she always tries to have a roast in the oven on Sundays after church. Growing up in rural Iowa, that's a poignant memory from her childhood, and she sincerely desires to evoke the same smell and taste memories for her own kids.

Lovelihood. Now that the twins are older, I know these days are the beginning of true memories that will be recalled later in their lives. I pray that I am making happy memories for my kids.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Miracle Baby & Prayer Request


Well, ya'll, I made it! I made it through the 10 days of October that I like to pen:

Days from Hades.

Waaaaaaaay too much to get done. You thought I was kidding about the Roman Numeral open box October checklist? I wasn't. And I'm now over half-way through it! Hooray!

Tonite was the 3rd and final stamp camp I (may ever again in my life) held in 5 days. It was for about 40 ladies in a small county south of ours who hold a special place in my heart. I volunteered at the pregnancy center for several years before Baby S graced us with her perpetually awakening and crying existence. Since then, so for the last 16 months, I have not returned to the center. They do a really cool family education group once a month led by my good friend, The Church Lady. TCL called last month and asked me to come help the girls make cards to send to someone special in their lives that they thank God for. (I know that's a dangling something or other. I don't care.)

So, tonite, I laid eyes upon a miracle. 7 months ago, a sweet young 16 year-old entered the center and asked for an abortion. A caregiver sat down with her, counseled her, helped her tell her mom about the pregnancy --- and tonite, I met 2 week-old AnaRose. A tiny little bundle of pink sweetness. And I wept. Because God is good. And because He sends ordinary people. To accomplish extraordinary things.

Amen.

Now, back to me. See, I have a prayer request for myself - which is so much grosser and weird than saving the life of a baby. I have an infection on my face. It is awful. Horrible. Hideous. I might be dying. In the very least, part of my face may fall off. It's VERY painful. Please pray that my doctor would return my calls and get me the prescription I need to vanquish this beast. Seriously. I don't need bad staph infections in my house. Or on my face.

Now, say a prayer for me, please, then go back and think about that sweet bundle of goodness that I watched from across the room tonite because I didn't want to contaminate her with my hideous growing facial infection.

And good night.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spooky Pumpkins

One of the items 'on my plate' this month is helping decorate pumpkins for the classes at the twins' elementary school. And photographing the festivity, as I volunteered to be the PTO Photographer this year (a ploy to get the camera of my dreams, which worked, so everyone wins...) For the principal and her staff, I double-dutied by photographing them to put on the pumpkin. Then, tonite, I found this fabulous woman, who quickly taught me the art of easy silhouettes (mine were a bit more time-intensive and wrought with possible mishaps on a pumpkin), so I now can proudly take these little beauts into school in the morning - and then photograph all the other moms being busy busy busy, cuz I already finished mine!






And just because I uploaded this little (well, OK, big, actually) guy onto the computer at the same time, I thought I'd add him to my post. Cuz he's just that beautiful, too.


Well, he sorta looks like he has two heads and maybe my focus was on the weed in the front instead of him, but I'm working on it, people.

Still, makes a 5-mi. Saturday morning run worthwhile. That and the exercise and the heart health and the weight loss...


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hey, Abdon!

This morning we had visitors in church. They were young adults from Trinedad & Tabago playing in a steel drum band across the US to raise funds to furnish a home they built for about 30 young children whose lives during daylight hours may loosely resemble my own kids' school days. But whose lives at night turn nightmare as their parents choose lifestyles for them that make my stomach turn in on itself.

Their leader led us in our message, scheduled to be "Encouragement" in our multipart series. If I may, I would like to loosely summarize what this stout, leather-skinned, silver haired fireball had to share.


God loves to say nice things about His children.

Examples:
David. God called him a man after His own heart.

No greater compliment.

Nathaniel.
Daniel.

John the Baptist. "I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist..." (Matthew 11:11)


Now, look to Judges 12:13-15. 'After him, Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. Then Abdon son of Hillel died...'

Hey, Abdon! Are you satisfied riding on your donkey? Are you satisfied riding around on your donkey like your father did, like your sons do, as your grandchildren will? Are you satisfied, Abdon?


Our speaker's final words resembled these:
He was raised a Muslim. He met a missionary from the USA as a child. He converted to Christianity and absorbed every word of the Bible and the freedom God gives His children from sin by receiving Jesus into their hearts.

Traveling around the US over the past 6 weeks, his overwhelming observation has been that our level of Christianity has decreased.


Hey, Abdon! Are you satisfied? Are you satisfied riding around on your donkey? What did you do to allow God to praise you, the God who loves to say nice things about His children?


What are you doing to make sure that you don't lose your sons and daughters, when your sons and daughters are being lost at alarming rates?

Hey, Abdon. Are you satisfied riding around on your donkey?



Several weeks ago, I sat down and made a list specifying every. single. thing. I would need to do in the month of October to ensure that I would accomplish all I had on my plate in this month. I sat paralyzed one afternoon, unsure where to start in the myriad of things I needed to get started on. I spent one whole afternoon and wrote out a list 8 pages long with bullet points, open boxes to check, Roman numerals, etc. When I was done, Ithought to myself, "What does any of this have to do with glorifying God?"

I set about trying to figure out how I could demonstrate God as I went about the tasks requested of me in this life right now. I must say. I can't succinctly say that I have glorified God. Have I? Is there a way to glorify God by baking beans for the teachers hoedown country "Kick It Up" dinner during conference week? Is there a way to glorify God while teaching scrapbooking classes and stamp camps? Is there a way to glorify God while decorating pumpkins for school classrooms and photographing the festivities? Is there a way to glorify God by writing a blog post?

I guess I would have to say yes. Yes, there is. There is a way to glorify God by being Jesus on the Streets, which is what I encourage my children to do. But I think I am only at about a C grade. Maybe even a D. Because I do my fair share of teaching Jesus to my kids during normal every day tasks. But am I truly doing all I can and should be doing so that in my last days, God will look upon my life and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant?"

Or, will God look back on my life with me and summarize it by saying, "Abdon son of Hillel, from Pirathon, led Israel. He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys. He led Israel eight years. Then Abdon son of Hillel died."

I think Abdon lived about a C grade life. Maybe even a D.

I think I can do better. I think I need to do better.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Final Follow-Up

Ever wonder what I've done about my coffee addiction?

Well, my dear friend KF yelled across the parking lot at Bread Co. this week:
"HEY CAFFEINE ADDICT!"

I think she was referring to me. I could be wrong. (Thanks, K' for the shout out!)

Yeah. I gave it up cold. I did really well, too. An entire week went by without a drop of my liquid gold. It wasn't even that hard, actually. But you know, like a potato chip, if you try one. And it hits the spot, then you try another. And, well, you know the scenario. Pretty soon you've eaten the whole bag. (Well, that's what they tell me, anyway. I don't really speak from experience on that one...)

So goes it with an Icee Mocha. You reward yourself one time. "You've gone a whole week," you might say to yourself. So, you go and you buy one coffee. Not a problem. Not a sin.

But then, the baby gets sick. And she doesn't sleep a lot. And then you get sick. And for whatever God-forsaken reason you lie in bed wide awake until 2AM for several nights in a row, only to be waken by said baby at, say, 3AM or then again at 4AM and finally woken for good at, say, 5AM. And the next thing you know. BAM! You're a coffee addict again. And you've decided that, until the kids are older, coffee is a good thing.

And then you come clean to the blogging community. Because, really, when they see you in real life at the Bread Co. and the scream,"HEY CAFFEINE ADDICT!" it's really quite embarrassing if you haven't admitted to the world that that's what you still are. And you aren't afraid to say it.

Hi. My name is Karin. And I love coffee.
The End.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Follow-Ups

Ever wonder what happened to angry Sheen Park Automotive guy? Yes, I really did send the letter. No, he really didn't ever respond. And no signs/water along the trail, either. I just think that is an opportunity lost.

Ever wonder what happened to my CFL goes broke letter? No, I really didn't send it to Al. Surprisingly, CFLs are still being sold at WalMart. Shouldn't they get some Green credit for that? My local news did run an expose on CFL bulbs after my post, however. Coincidence? I think not.

Ever wonder about my phone call to Sheryl Crow? She doesn't accept calls from me anymore. It's really too bad. I have so much more to teach her now that I've traveled the broken CFL highway.

Ever wonder what to blog when you don't really have time to be on your blog? How about a follow-up post. It worked for me. Maybe it could work for you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Classy Art

Well, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I try to be a crafty person. Sometimes those crafts don't turn out quite like I expected. For example, if I can be completely honest with you, my cake plates. Now, Melissa's instructions and example of the actual making of the cake plates --- that went off swimmingly. Or, in the fall months, perhaps I should say 'hayridingly.' Or whatever. But, the aspect of decorating them with rub-ons? Now that was a mite-bit tricky. In fact, if you're attending the camp, you'll be given options [everybody likes options, right?! ;) ] In fact, the results of the cake plate poll have been so overwhelmingly arbitrary, you even will be given plate options! (Besides that half the pollants - pollers - polled people, voted on what cake they liked best, versus the cake plate...so, there you go.)

Now, other projects, if I can return to my original line of thought, well, those turn out just as brilliantly as I imagined them in my head (or CASEd...). This next one, Ladies, falls into the brilliant category. You'll have options with this one, too, so come prepared to make decisions! But, until then, here's mine!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Things That Go Bump in the Night

S slept through the night last night,

I, however, did not.

At about 4AM, Loud Dog started to bark. Several choice thoughts flew amuck through my mind in my grogginess, yet I rolled over and fell back asleep. A few minutes later, My Man said, "Karin, I think I heard the front door."

Chilling words at 4AM with a house full of children fast asleep.

I muttered something about it probably being the dogs (because, yes, our dogs CAN open the front door) when suddenly I. heard. the. squeak. of. a. door. And Loud Dog started barking furiously.

Time suddenly stood still.

Every precious thing in my life became perilously propped on the edge of an enormous cliff.

My husband leapt from the bed, and ran screaming into the hallway in a barbaric effort to scare the holy living whatever out of whatever or whomever lurked behind the darkness. Yelling continued, and I cautiously eeked my way out of bed.

The light from the bathroom was now on. I made my way towards it. I looked inside the room. I saw T. Sitting on the toilet. I knelt down in front of him and demanded what was going on. "Were you sleep-walking?" "Did you lose your way?" "Did you lose your mind?!"

He looked up at me, his face pale and confused. "My balloon," he whispered.

A host of emotions raced their way through my core. Relief. Disbelief. Frustration. Anger. Rage.

"Your balloon?!"

Seems that yesterday, at church, T created a project using two balloons. He received one extra balloon from his Sunday School teacher because of a project malfunction. T proceeded to spend the afternoon blowing up his balloon and watching it soar around the room. He told the neighbor about the balloon. He focused on the balloon to the neglect of listening to his mother telling him to put on his socks and shoes to prepare to leave for the Boy Scout Bicycle Rally. He lost the privilege of having his balloon. I put it into my pocket. Before we left for the bike rally, I cleaned out my pockets. The contents, which included a sticky wad of Kleenex, a few balls of lint, and a white balloon, fell into the abyss of our giant, smelly green trash can. Particularly smelly, as it held the remains of a dead, rotting squirrel left in the backyard over the weekend by the friendly neighborhood hawk association.

When T requested his balloon after the rally, I admitted throwing it away and declined climbing into the trashcan to retrieve it. But T, treasuring up his beloved balloon in his heart, secretly made up his mind that at some hour of the darkest night, he would seek the balloon's return on his own. Not knowing that Daddy put the trashcan out on the street in preparation for the morning pickup.

After discovering the trash was not in the garage, T made his way to the dark curb only to realize he had to pee. So he opened the front door to find his heroic, ableit somewhat insanely disheveled father, screaming explitives, and stomping down the hallway towards him.




Sunday, October 12, 2008

Voting for A Little Bit o' Sugar

I'm starting my inaugural (and possibly only) poll. If you are here to see the cakes and cake plates, vote. If you aren't, vote anyway. (It's good practice for Nov. 4). I need help deciding which plates to buy for a class I am teaching on Sunday! Vote on plate design/color, but pay no mind to the rub-ons...the girls will choose their own!

Now, on with my post...


Here is my kitchen tonite:

(I don't show just anyone that reality!)

I work alone in my current bakery. For good reason! My life is filled with chaos --- and that includes my kitchen! Last night when I said I hoped I'd put all the vanilla in the various pans, I wasn't joking. I baked 6 dozen cookies for my SIL's baby shower last spring. Forgot the vanilla. For a good smelling, foul tasting little bit o' brown liquid, it'll mess up yer cookin' good if you forget to add it in! So far, I'm 1 for 3 on the cakes. We've only officially taste tested one. I'll keep you posted on the other two.

Now, you'll notice I Melissa Lester'ed these cakes and plates right up (I'm making that a word). I can't do it justice in the manner of The Original (Melissa), but I'm 'OK' with my P.O.O.P.I.E.'s.

But, enough foul chit-chat. Here's the moment you've all been waiting for!

Cake/Plate #1: Edgewood Bakery Carrot Cake
(My FIL's fave - it's a Florida thing. Go 'Gators...)

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 c. sugar
1 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temp
1 t. vanilla
2 c. finely shredded carrots
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, well drained
3/4 c. flaked sweetened coconut
Decadent Carrot Cake Icing (below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch rounds; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, slat, sugar, and cinnamon; stir well. Add vegetable oil and eggs; blend with an electric mixer at medium speed. Stir in vanilla, shredded carrots, pecans, pineapple, and coconut. Ladle batter into prepared pans, diving equally. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cake layers cool for 10 minutes in pans. Invert onto cooling racks and let cool completely. Frost cake layers with Decadent Carrot Cake Icing. (Since this cake in very moist, it is recommended that you place the cake layers in the freezer for at least one hour before you frost the cake. You will like the results, if you try this.)

Decadent Carrot Cake Icing
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 c. butter, softened
6 c. powdered sugar
3 c. flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. chopped pecans
In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and butter with an electirc mixer at medium speed. Gradually add the confectioners sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in cocnut, raisins, and pecans.

If you like carrot cake, you'll never forget this one!!!


Cake/Plate #2 Dark Chocolate Cake with Ganache Frosting


I'll refer you to the Oct. '08 Everyday Foods from Martha Stewart for this dark chocolate cake recipe, page 112, 113 for time sake. Later, I'll post the recipe for my kids...if you have favorite recipes, write them down for your future generations! My two grandmothers were wonderful cooks. To this day, I haven't figured out my paternal grandmother's recipe for chocolate frosting. My mom has given me a suitable alternative for the frosting and for her mom's awesome spring salad, but it sure would be great to have the originals! So. Write those recipes down!

Off soap box.



Cake/Plate #3 Southern Strawberry.

No more needs to be said. You all have seen this beauty before. But for cake plate voting purposes, here she is again!

And Plate #4 (I almost forgot it --- it was the easiest to place the image, but I don't think it'll be a favorite. Plus, where's the cake??)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Retirement & Cake

I have two firmly established goals for retirement. One, I plan to bicycle across the United States with my husband. My friend Vonda and I sat enjoying a meal at my favorite restaurant one afternoon when seated several tables down from us was a man resembling Lance Armstrong in all his bicycle gear. I asked him, gazing at his packed-down bike, how far he was traveling. He said, "Across the country." From that moment, I decided I would keep this goal in my heart for my golden years.

My other dream is to one day run a B&B. The spirit of this goal was rekindled last weekend when my husband surprised me with a trip into our wine country and an unforgettable stay at The Hiding Place. It was love. Me. The decor. And this place. As soon as we walked in, My Man said, "Oh yeah. You're gonna love this." Literally, I asked Debbi, the owner, what paint colors she used on the walls. It was perfect from entry to guest bath.


As part of our weekend, we walked through a quaint German town established on the hills of the Missouri River. And there, amidst the grape vines and country stores, stood this. My dream.


Oh, it might not look like much. But I have the whole place planned. On the bottom floor, The Principal's Office. That's where my father-in-law will make and sell his woodworking. Across from his shop, The Cafe. I'll be up late at night perfecting my latest baked good --- festive cakes for the community and coffee cakes for the morning guests. First floor, four rooms to be rented out (First through Fourth Grade, of course. Maybe I'll name them after my teachers...Let's see, that would be Mrs. George's First Grade; Mrs. O'Riley's Second Grade; Mr. Buholt's Third Grade Room; and Mean Mrs. Wohlfard's Fourth Grade Room (maybe that one'll be haunted ---- nah, just kidding. She taught me a ton. She was just REALLY scary to a 9 year-old!). Then, finally, on the top floor, our family's living quarters. The whole thing's for sale for only $395,000. In the scheme of things, that's really not that much money (except for the asbestos removal and $1.4 million necessary to renovate...but who's counting. I just need a really big loan, and I'll cross my fingers behind my back and wink at the loan officer that really, I will pay it off (wait, that's a different soap box for a different day...)

So, alas. Here I am. With the dream of owning a B&B. And maybe even starting a bakery. Until then, come back tomorrow night - I hope to post pictures of some AWESOME cakes I've been working on tonite. Three cakes. Two and three layers apiece. Hope I remembered the vanilla in all of them...




Friday, October 10, 2008

Eye Candy and The K-log


About a year ago, I started writing a K-log. I fashioned it after my husband's equivalent. He told me then about 'blogs' and we started our own non-online version. His was more to document family events. Mine was about this...
August 28, 2007
OK, it’s my time to start the k-log…I’ll have to think of a catchy title. Or not. It’s about the writing. About the learning who I am, what I like, dislike, want to remember. To be a student of life and learn something every day. Here’s something I know. I want to have a network. A friendship circle. Yet, branching out and developing that circle scares the bejeezes out of me.

Tonite, I held S – I’ve decided I don’t do enough ‘just holding.’ With S, Dear One, it is always functional holding – if I hold her, she doesn’t cry. Life is simpler – obviously more peaceful – without a baby crying. So I held her tonite just to hold her and feel that baby love. And I realized how I’ve turned my nights into something just for me. Maybe a drink (Margarita, please), maybe a toffee almond bar (newest obsession – don’t ask how much I spent to make those the first time…and again tonite, for that matter!). Maybe a surf of the web or stamping or a Designed to Sell episode. And one day – not too long from now – I won’t have those times or those things. Because I won’t be this ‘stay-at-home mom.’ I know The Man wants me to return to work when the kids are at school. And I don’t know that I wouldn’t want to do that. But, tonite, it made me sad to think about the future away from today. Today, it’s hard. Believe me, it’s hard. But I’m home and my work is making it through the day with only one cup of caffeine. And honestly, if I want to head to the Bread Co. and blow another XX dollars on souffl├ęs and coffee drinks – I can and I do. There’s freedom in these crazy days.

So, how do I go about making my today – my right now – better? I want to be more patient with my kids. I want to teach them the things they should know – things I was taught and things maybe I wasn’t taught. I want to say the things that my mom would’ve said if someone called me a name. The things that need to be said to make them feel better. To give them steel skin. Confidence. Love. To know, no matter what, my momma loves me. And she’d do absolutely anything to make me feel better. I want to be That Mom.

Today was a good day – we played games together downstairs and I folded a load of laundry while they played together, too. And then the rush of getting everyone dressed, fed, and off to school before the bus missed them. And Meiners and S and I ran errands this afternoon. That Meiners. He is a hoot. I need to carry a book with me and just write down the things he says sometimes. It’s not always just his words, but purely the way he says them. He is something else. Of course, there’s the classic, “when I was a tid [kid]…” because when you’re 3 you’ve lived a whole lifetime already!!!

With my kids, I’m not a flub-up. (Well, I pray not!) They’re these perfect little people that God has given me – mostly perfect *wink*. They’re so different. It’s astounding. And each of them has their thing. And though it’s hard, they challenge me and it’s mostly fun. I love them. I hold S and I realize it all over again. That I hold them for such a little time. And then they’re off and I’m literally chasing them to catch up. And when we slow down to hold them – just for the sake of holding – it’s a whole ‘nother baby that’s in my arms and letting me hold her. For only a little while.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Man in the Mirror

Edited to add: Did I mention I was feverish when writing this post? Yup, I wasn't feeling well, which added to the desperation I was expressing. And it was more about how I looked that night than the challenge of raising S. Ever look in the mirror and think "Wow! Who is THAT?!"

THANK YOU for your sweet, uplifting responses...


OK, so really, it's about me - the woman in the mirror. Wow. I love and appreciate each of my kids. I think I've said it before, though, that #4 has taken me places I never dreamed I'd go. I mean, I've been through my fair share of sleepless nights with #2. But #4 takes it to a whole new level. Maybe it's because I'm older now. I think I handled three kids pretty well. I remember mostly being happy. I remember sleep. Even with three. But four? Four kids. I looked at myself, wide awake at 3:00AM this morning, after having rocked Baby S for the umpteenth time in the midst of the misery of her teething, sinus infected, stuffed up toddler state. And the person looking at me. That person in the mirror. That was a grandmother. Not a mid-30's young, happenin', hip, cool mom like I think I used to be. I'm old. And tired. And stressed.

The End.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Well Said

No, I'm not trying to make this a political blogspot. Because, let's face it - if stood before a group as loving and accepting as family, I prefer to leave the room vs. participate in political talk. Nonetheless, I have too much on my plate this month to place well thought-out prose onto a computer screen. So instead, I laughed and cried alongside this well-spoken and gregarious like-minded soul. And I think he's worth a listen.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

My 101st Post

Yep. #100 was a discombobulated mess.


Here's what really happened Friday:

  • It was Fall Festival at the kids' school Friday evening.

  • I made a strawberry cake for the 'cake walk' at the Fall Festival.

  • My husband still rocked (after 10 years) and surprised me Friday with a trip - including planning the babysitting, the activities, and the clothes necessary.

  • I received the camera of my dreams as a gift.

I think it looked and sounded in my blog like my husband rocked so I baked him a cake and it just happened to be Fall Festival which had nothing to do with anything. But in fact, it had everything to do with the cake! NOT the husband (who rocks).


Got it?


And here's the recipe, because it truly is divine! Seriously, a 12 year-old recently told me it was the best dessert he'd ever eaten. You can't beat that! (AND it's easy to make! We ALL like desserts that look dreamy, taste divine, and fall into the 'easy' category, right?)


Again, this recipe comes from Southern Living (love them!)

Ingredients
1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
1 (3-ounce) package strawberry gelatin
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
Garnish: whole strawberries

Preparation
Beat the cake mix and next 7 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Scrape down the sides, and beat at medium speed 2 more minutes, stopping to scrape down sides, if needed. (Strawberries should be well blended into batter.)
Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.
Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Spread Strawberry Buttercream Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately, or chill up to 1 week.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic White Cake Mix without pudding.
To make ahead: Place finished cake in the refrigerator, uncovered, and chill for 20 minutes or until the frosting sets. Cover well with wax paper, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. To freeze, wrap chilled cake with aluminum foil, and freeze up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Southern Living, MARCH 2004



Strawberry Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
2 (16-ounce) packages powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
Preparation
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 20 seconds or until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and chopped strawberries, beating at low speed until creamy. (Add more sugar if frosting is too thin, or add strawberries if too thick.)
Southern Living, MARCH 2004




Here's that picture again (now that I make sense and you understand the reason behind the photo):


Friday, October 3, 2008

My Husband Still Rocks!

After 10 years...

Today's the Fall Festival. I baked this piece of Yum inspired by Melissa at A Little Loveliness! I found the recipe on-line and it hails from Southern Living...



Enjoy!







...I'll post the recipe later...Hubby sprung a surprise trip on me --- plus MY NEW CAMERA!!!



WooHoo!

See ya when we return...from who knows where!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Love, The Tooth Fairy

Have I told you lately that my husband rocks? Here's what he does at 10:30 at night when his oldest daughter lost the tooth that gives her an all expense paid ticket to the ROCK Star concert "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth!"

Keep in mind, he's been teasing her that she needs to be paying him the money the tooth fairy leaves...sorta like taxing her M&Ms...

*********

To: Pookie
From: The Tooth Fairy
Re: Your latest tooth
Date: 10/1/08


Pookie – I got a news flash on the Tooth Fairy News Network (TFNN) tonight telling me that you lost your last big tooth during dinner this evening. I’ve been keeping an eye on that one for a while, and honestly, I was surprised you were able to hold onto it for so long……it’s been hanging by a thread for some time and I’ve been telling Mr. Tooth Fairy that we’d be visiting your house soon.

Well, I was very surprised this evening when I came to pick up your tooth…..when I looked under your pillow, do you know what I found? Nothing! The space under your pillow was empty! I searched your room for a little while and I simply could not find your lost tooth. I finally had to pull out my Automatic Tooth Detector 3000 (it’s the latest model – you can even adjust the settings by tooth type…..grinders, incisors, molars, etc…..it’s great). Well, the Automatic Tooth Detector 3000 found your tooth right away….but you’ll never guess where it was……under your Daddy’s pillow!

Don’t worry – the Tooth Fairy wasn’t born yesterday. I’ve seen that trick lots of times, and I’m not falling for it.

I’ve left you $3 for this tooth. It’s a really nice looking tooth, and it’s pretty clean, so it will make a good addition to my collection.

I’ll see you next tooth, and keep on brushing!


The Tooth Fairy
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