This is My "Real" Blog: July 2007

Angie's Blog!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One of These Days. . .

You're gonna see my daughter performing on a stage somewhere. But for now, we'll settle for the 2nd step from the top. Mark took this great picture of her singing, "If You're Happy and You Know It" at the closing program for Preschool Camp last week. She is sitting next to Trevor. (And yes, I realize that she's looking AWAY from Trevor in this picture)
Trevor is her heart-throb, at the moment. According to my calculations, she only took her eyes off of him for about 5 minutes total the entire week. And Sunday, after church, whenever he walked past our table, she spun around to see him until he walked out of her line of vision.
One time, Trevor's dad was with him, and he picked up on Caroline's gaze (gawking stare) as well. He thought it was cute. (phew!)
So, there she is. . . singing for all she's worth. I'm just glad she didn't cry!

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Boys are Back in Town

. . .and Becca, too.

Yesterday, my mom drove to Middletown, OH, to meet my sister and pick up her three kids. Daniel (16), Andrew (13), and Becca (6 1/2). They have officially "landed" at Grandma's house, and my kids couldn't be more excited.

Edison and Daniel have a neat friendship. I keep worrying that one of these days, Edison is going to be out-grown by his older cousin. But so far, that hasn't happened. Daniel has a great (still-growing) sense of humor. It's actually fun to have him sit at the adult table for dinner!

When we left Mom & Dad's house tonight, Daniel and Edison were somewhere on the farm--we could hear them laughing as we got in the car, but couldn't see them. It had been storming, so I assume that they knew enough to get under some shelter. One would hope, at least. . . .

Dinner was great. Mom made grilled chicken (okay, Dad and Mark made it). But, we also had baked potatoes and I made a broccoli casserole. (Paula Deen's recipe. . .it was good) I embellished Paula's recipe by adding a jar of sliced mushrooms (YUM) and used fat-free mayonnaise in the recipe. I'm doing what I can to keep losing weight--even if it means desecrating a broccoli casserole! ; )

Tonight, I have to make an egg casserole for Mark's work tomorrow. They're having a retirement/relocation breakfast for a couple of the guys that he has worked with for the past 8 years. It won't be the same--not having them there at work when we go for a visit, but change is part of life.

So, as I finish this entry, I need to go get my jammies on, and get ready to start cooking. It's going to feel (sort of) like Thanksgiving Eve. This is the breakfast casserole I always make the night before Thanksgiving. I'm not nearly ready for it to be that late in the year, so I'm really glad that it's just the end of July. There's still lots to do, and I feel like time is slipping away very rapidly.

I hope your Monday was a good one. It was rainy here, but with the drought, I felt totally the opposite of Karen Carpenter's song. In fact, I celebrated every drop of rain that fell! What a blessing.

Until tomorrow. . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Just the Cake. . . and a HUGE Surprise!

Everything else got eaten up.

I actually got a small sampling of my potato salad, but by the time I made it through the line, my baked beans were history. Really, that's allright. I'm glad to have some cake.

Now for the surprise. . .this really blew my mind. This morning, as I made my way out of the worship center, Dad says to me: "Do you remember the name Mickey Gruberman?"

Now, most of you may have never heard that name. I, however, remember that name quite well. The Gruberman's lived across the street/around the corner from us growing up. We played games at their house, they played at our house, their mom hosted a cool Halloween party, and we just grew up together. But, this was back in the stone ages. . .you know the 70s.

He was at church this morning. . . with FOUR of his SEVEN kids. Whoa, baby. His kids are beautiful. His wife is beautiful. It was just so cool to reminisce about old times, and hear him say names of old friends that I haven't seen in over 20 years.

In fact, I think we just about solidified that the last time we saw each other (that I remember) was 26 years ago. . .at his dad's wedding. His parents divorced sometime in the midst of our junior high/high school years. When his dad remarried, they asked me to play for the wedding. As I recall, the gig paid pretty well. ($50 seems like a lot of money to a poor high school/college student).

Mickey's step-mother asked me to help play a joke on her husband. . .so during the recessional, I played the traditional Wedding March - and then broke into it with a couple bars of "Another One Bites the Dust" by Queen. Mike (Mickey's Dad) was Fire Chief in our hometown, and I guess that was a HUGE joke with his firemen at the station. They laughed, and if memory serves, she paid me an extra $50 for my creativity.

That is not, by the way, the only time that I got "creative" with wedding music. When my friend Bonnie married her wonderful husband, Chris, it was a "Brady Bunch" wedding. She had three kids, he had two.

So, during the pre-wedding music, I played a very pretty balladish version of the Brady Bunch theme. Honestly, it sounded a lot like the praise & worship chorus "I Love You, Lord," and very few people knew I had even done it. (Again, at the request of the bride) I didn't get extra money for that, but it was something special that Bonnie requested, and I was only too willing to oblige.

I really *do* take the ceremony and commitment of marriage seriously. But, at the heart of it all, I am a musician. We do anything for a gig. . .and we'll do anything at that gig for money. Just ask us. You'll be surprised.

Happy Sunday. . . .get some rest and enjoy the beauty!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Taters, Beans and a Sugar-Free Cake

That's right. . . .it's a potluck at church. Can't you tell?

Tomorrow, we're having a special community outreach day at church. I'm not sure how much of the community is actually going to darken the doors, but I still made a huge mound of potato salad to feed the masses.

If I can, for just a moment, I am going to pat myself on my back. You see. . . I make kick-butt potato salad.

It's true. I do. I didn't learn it from my mother, however. I'm still waiting for her to teach me how to make pie crust. It's heaven in a pie plate, I'm telling you. But, the potato salad came from my friend Betsy - by way of her mom, Jean.

You just cook potatoes (the butter gold/yukon gold) until they start getting sorta mushy on the inside. The skin will crack. Now we're talking "new" potatoes - but with the light brown skin, not the red skin. Once they're done, cool them off, and peel them. I usually let the peeled potatoes sit in a big bowl until I'm ready to cut them up. It gives them a little time to cool, but they're still HOT.

After they're cut up, I mix in 4. . .5. . . 6. . . 8. . . however many hard-boiled eggs that I want to. Today, I made 5# of potatoes, so I made 5 eggs. (That's not a scientific formula. . .it's just what I did).

After the eggs go in, I sprinkle in 3 or 4 Tablespoons of dried, chopped onions. A couple dashes of black pepper. (There's salt in the water the potatoes boil in, by the way) Then, I throw in two BIG heaping spoonfuls of sweet relish, and 3-4 good (long) squirts of yellow mustard. Then you start adding Miracle Whip. Today, I added 3/4 of a jar of Miracle Whip. Again, it's not a scientific formula. . .you just start adding it until it mushes together.

Note: Do not. . .you may not. . .I will come and hunt you down if you do this. . .do NOT use regular mayonnaise. It has to be salad dressing. . .and in our house, it has to be Miracle Whip.

Stir the whole mess together, and don't worry if some of the potatoes feel more like mashed potatoes than chunks. That's the good part.

My friends. . .that is potato salad. And there's a HUGE bowl of it in my refrigerator.

I also made what I call "Calico Beans" which is basically baked beans with some "extras." What, you ask, are the "extras?"

Ground beef that's been cooked in bacon drippings
Chopped bacon
Brown Sugar
Extra kidney beans
Extra butter beans (if you have 'em)

I didn't take all the necessary steps tonight, however. I had some leftover sloppy joe meat in the freezer. My sloppy joes consist of meat, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, salt & pepper, worsteshire, and chopped onions. So, in went the sloppy joes - along with 1/2 pound of cooked, crumbled bacon, two large cans of Bush's baked beans, and a can of light red kidney beans. This one is going to be awesome in the morning.

And just now, I stepped away to take my sugar-free (sort of) cake out of the oven. This is a Weight Watchers recipe. If you are counting points, or watching calories, or doing anything to better yourself, this is a cake recipe you need to use.

Take one (1) white cake mix. Stir in one 12-0z can of diet soda. Bake in a 13 x 9 pan that's been sprayed with cooking spray. 350 degrees for 33 minutes.

After it cools, top with one container of Cool Whip FREE. It's in the aqua-labeled container. Store in refrigerator.

I believe, if you cut the cake in 12 pieces, each piece is 3 points. That's amazing.

Tonight, I made the Dreamsicle Cake. (using Sunkist Orange Soda) But, I have made, or have tasted these tasty combinations:

Chocolate Cake with Diet Root Beer
Chocolate Cake with Diet Cherry Coke
Spice Cake with Diet Ginger Ale
White Cake with Diet Strawberry Soda

I have heard through the grapevine, that Diet Mountain Dew doesn't really add that much flavor to ANY of the cakes. (eeeeew!) But, the Dreamsicle Cake is amazing. I think I'll label the cake "Sugar Free" or "Weight Watchers" tomorrow at the potluck - so I can guarantee that there'll be a piece for me and my dad. (hee hee)

So, that's it. My cooking lesson for the day. It capped off what has been a long, but somewhat productive day. Tomorrow I'll be tackling another round of zucchini bread. Dad's zucchini plants are not nearly done. There were seven of them on the dryer when we went to Mom & Dad's tonight. I took two. I can handle making some more bread tomorrow. I'll probably send it with Mark to work on Monday. I may even take some in with me. Won't that be a surprise!?

Happy Weekend, everyone!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Can I Show Off a Little?

I have promised some of my new friends a glimpse into my creative side. I finally had a few free minutes this afternoon with the camera. Here are the results of that free time:

This is a table runner that I made a few years ago. It's just a simple strip quilt. Very easy. Very rewarding. I can also take a little credit for the egg basket on the right. YEARS ago, my friends Holly, Pat, and Liz decided it would be fun to weave a basket. I hated every minute. Of course, this was one of the hardest baskets to start with.

Thankfully, my sweet mother-in-law, who is (in my humble opinion) a master basket weaver, finished it for me. If memory serves, what took me 8 hours to get to a halfway point, took her about 45 minutes to finish.

Oh well. . .basket weaving is not for me. But, I can surely enjoy her talents. . .and I do!

This is a yo-yo table covering I made. I don't even remember when. I love making yo-yos. So easy to do while you're watching TV, traveling, or just sitting around. The most time-consuming part? Cutting out the circles.

This is a little Log Cabin wall hanging that, up until we moved, hung in Mark's and my bathroom. I think it's going to be part of the new decor of the kitchen. Still have to figure that out. It is just a little scrap quilt - but those are my favorites, really.

This is the little dresser scarf/quilt that I just finished for Caroline's room. I have it "posed" here on the kitchen table--with another of my Mother-in-law's basket creations. Honestly, Caroline had just gone down for a nap when I took the picture, and I figured I could take it "out of context" and you wouldn't mind. Right?

So there you have it. . . a bit of my creative side that doesn't involve paper, stickers, and scrapbooking. I really do have a coffin-sized container of fabric in Caroline's closet. And, I really do have big intentions of getting into that fabric, and playing. Very, very soon.

Thanks for letting me show off a little!

6 Minutes Into Thursday. . .

. . and here's what I did. I'll post these out on the web tomorrow--complete with credits. But for now, here are the two layouts. Goodnight!

I've done a layout with this picture of Mom & Caroline before, but it just seemed like the right picture for this kit.

This is one of my favorite family treasures. Mark's grandmother (Effie) is the younger of the two girls in this picture. My favorite part? The bow in her hair. Such a step back in time!!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just Another [uninspired] Wednesday

That's right. I got nuttin.

Even the preschoolers seemed to have "hit the wall" today. They were tired, they were a bit cranky. Their "glub-glubs" lacked enthusiasm.

But hey, we've made it to the halfway point.

I finished my little dresser scarf/table runner that I was working on last night. Unfortunately, it's already adorning Caroline's bookshelf. . . and she's just now falling asleep. This picture (like so many others I've promised) will just have to wait until tomorrow.

I'm downloading files [very slowly] from my friend, Christy. She's designed a new kit in honor of her Mother-in-Law, Dorothy, who passed away a couple weeks ago. It's a beautiful kit. . . there's even a lace doily. I have so many ideas for this kit.

However, the download is taking forever. When it's done, I have some serious scrapping to do. I haven't digi-scrapped for a couple of weeks. I have gotten some "regular" scrapping done, as well as some serious crocheting and sewing done. So, it's not been altogether unproductive.

But tonight. . . maybe it's the rain. Yes, I said RAIN. We've probably received 2 or so inches of rain the past couple of days. (Yea, God!) I don't know. . .maybe the rain is making things seem slow, plod-like, and drab. The grass is greener. . .and it has nothing to do with the placement of the septic tank. The air is cleaner -- and I love it! But, rainy days have that tendency to bring our spirits down, ya know?

So as I close, I can hear my pretend celebrity boyfriend (Sam Waterson) on a rerun of Law & Order in the background. I just guzzled down my 2nd consecutive 16 oz. glass of Crystal Light lemonade, and my files are 73 and 77% uploaded (respectively). As always, any new pages done with this new beautiful kit will appear here first!

Enjoy Thursday. . . .it'll be here before you know it!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Life in High Gear

Wow! I'm exhausted, and it's just Monday!!

We are knee-deep in preschool camp at church. For the past couple of years, our church has opted not to do a traditional Vacation Bible School, but rather a program that is more geared toward specific interests for the kids. This is where I came up with Music Camp -- which we used to call "Fine Arts Camp." Then came Sports Camp, Science Camp, Preschool Camp, and this year, we have added "Art Camp" to our roster of children's activities.

Both Art Camp and Preschool Camp are taking place at the same time. Something about "peaceful co-existence" and cooperation, and all. They're doing great - the camps and the personnel leading these camps. I'm very proud that my little program has birthed these two camps. The big draw from the community for Preschool Camp is that we take kids 2 and older. Most VBS programs don't take kids until they're 4, and any 2-years olds that they take are just the helpers' kids.

Nope. Not us. . . we take 'em all. Of course, today, one of the 4-year olds threw up. You just have to chalk it up to Preschool Camp.

The theme for both camps is fishing. The Bible uses the metaphor of fishing, fishermen, and fish a number of times. There's the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with two fish and five small loaves of bread. . . or is it two loaves of bread and five fish? Jesus was obviously not a low-carb kind of guy.

Today they learned about how the disciples were encouraged to cast their nets over the one side of the boat -- even though it seemed doomed to fail. Caroline came home with a cute little fish net -- which on one side is empty--but the other has fish inside it. It's on the refrigerator. When I can bear to take it down, I'll photograph it for you, and post it here.

There will be "fishy" snacks. . .Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. . .Swedish Fish (gummy). . .and many others.

All in all, it's a great week -- and lots of fun for everyone. Including me, I suppose. I'm the "Music Lady" who gets up first-thing, and tries to get 2-4 year olds to sing such classics as "Deep and Wide" and "If You're Happy and You Know It."

. . .that 2nd one works because you add the fourth verse. You know the one that goes:

"If you're happy and you know it, be a fish (glub, glub). . .if you're happy and you know it, then your gills will surely show it. . ." Come on, you haven't sung that verse before? Phillistines!

I was quite proud of Caroline. She's in the 3-year old class. I figure she can handle this age grouping. Of course, her class consists of 7 boys and her. I would have loved those odds in college. But, she's far too young to appreciate the law of percentages.

Edison's still enduring Football Practice each morning. According to him, today, he nearly threw up. Good times. Memories.

He should be participating in a "mini Mission trip" later this week. I think the junior high youth group is going to do local service projects, and they're probably going to camp out at the church instead of coming home each night. Sigh. My little boy is growing up.

Other than that, all is normal around here. Our local Down syndrome group DSAG (linked on the right) had its carnival on Saturday. Caroline wasn't real keen on the clowns. And when Clifford the Big Red Dog came to see her, I thought she was going to tear a hole in the side of Mark's neck.

But, they tried the cake walk, and she ate ice cream. We met a couple new families, and really had a good time with our friends. I can truly say that these people are becoming my friends. . .not just my acquaintances because we have kids in common. But, they celebrate my daughter. They offer advice, friendship, hugs (sometimes), and a common bond.

In my book, that's where friendship begins.

There's no other news to speak of. . . I'm sure I'll think of something when I hit the "publish post" button. Until then, I'll just sign off with a promise of more stuff in the coming days.

I know, I know, I haven't posted pictures of the pictures hanging in the house. But, we're not nearly done, and I kind of want to wait until I can say the job is complete. Is that too A/R . . . even for me?!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Life in Color

Black and white pictures are beautiful. Classic. Chic.

. . .but there's no color.

I realized today - how much I value color in my home. If you've been reading the blog for a while, you know that when we moved to the new house, every room (except bathrooms) got painted. . . a color. Sage green, seafoam green, sandy beige, cotton candy. (I really cannot remember the names of all the colors, but you get the idea)

Life in color is so vivid.

This morning, as Caroline was eating her breakfast, I was struck by the colors. She loves Trix yogurt. I love that she loves yogurt. She always has "ohs" (cheerios) and "woops" (fruit loops) with the multi-colored Trix yogurt. Her juice cup changes colors, so they range from blue to orange to green to purple to pink.

Life in color.

Edison was unloading the dishwasher for me. He was wearing his Old Navy pajama pants - red tartan plaid, with a bright red t-shirt. Set against the "Americana" blue (I remember that color name) of my kitchen walls, and the warm oak cabinets, I saw color.

Life in color.

It's so much more vibrant than black & white.

And yet, as I consider decorating my living room with pictures of the family, I'm leaning toward black and white shots of us, in black frames, matted simply with white.

. . . I'm a girl, that's why.

I am also a girl that tends to wait out a trend and see if it's going to work. I didn't jump headlong into scrapbooking right away. I knew about Creative Memories for at least a year before I attended my first class. Now? Well, I'm addicted.

As of today I own my first pair of crocs. Brown crocs. Yes, I know. . .after the first half of this entry, you'd expect me to have bought fuscia or lime green crocs, but there's only so much "froo froo" this 43-year old mom can do.

I like 'em. I'm still wearing them, in fact. They're comfortable. I have a very wide (fat) foot. . .so I wasn't sure that I could wear them. I don't just buy shoes off the rack. But, so far, they're fitting, and my toes aren't tingling. So, I take that as a good sign. They're nice around the house.

Oh, and speaking of houses. . . .we're showing our for a 2nd-walk through this afternoon. A dear, sweet friend is doing some handy man work around the house (fixing a rotting windowsill, painting trim, etc.). Realtor says that looks good to prospective buyers. Say a prayer.

I guess that's it. I need to go unload pictures from the camera, and take a few more pictures of recently-hung pictures. I'm very pleased with our progress last night. We managed to hang my iron/ironing board holder, a plastic bag receptacle, three samplers, one painting, and one print. Watch for an update later today.
Life is good on this colorful Thursday. Live in color. You won't regret it.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hanging out. . .and hanging pictures!


What might seem to some to be a boring night at home on a Wednesday is actually turning out to be quite a fun evening for me.

We Are Hanging Pictures In The New House!!!

I don't think that I could be more excited.

Of course, there are lots of things that we are purposely *not* going to hang. (No, I don't mean ourselves. . .silly rabbit!)

We're holding off on stuff for the living room. . . .mainly because the room is a completely different color than in our previous house. Things that used to go in there don't match at all, now.

We're also holding off on certain areas because when the old house is purchased (notice, I said when and not if) we will be purchasing a few key pieces of furniture. (Nice computer desk, armoire/entertainment center, kitchen table & chairs) and end tables for the living room.

Until those pieces are in place (especially the armoire in the living room) I don't want to hang things on the wall. You know me. . .I'll want to change everything around, and that will not make anyone in this house happy. (especially the husband that is more fun to hang around when he's happy)

So, tonight, it will be samplers in my bedroom, the large picture in the office, and a couple of copper molds and pans in the kitchen. Nothing earth-shattering, but it will certainly make this feel even more like my house.

Other happenings. . . .

Caroline said her first 4-word sentence the other day. She was wanting her ball, which was out in the sun room. As I went to open the door for her, she said, "I go get it."

Four words in one sentence. That's HUGE.

We did a little happy dance. She did a happy dance, too. She didn't know why she was dancing, but she danced anyway.

She's also singing more. Today it was "If You're Happy and You Know it" with Edison. (we SCREAM the "Amen" part) Has to be heard for full enjoyment.

So, that's it. Happy Dances. Four-word sentences. Gallons of Crystal Light. Many trips to the bathroom.

. . . and pictures on the wall.

Life is good.

Yes, of course, I'll post pictures of the pictures. What sort of uncivilized phillistine do you take me for?

Monday, July 16, 2007

I've Been Tagged

My sweet new friend Kate has tagged me. I believe this meme is just to name seven (7) interesting things about yourself. I like doing these things, and I don't like them at the same time, because sometime things surface that are not fun. But, in the sincere spirit of getting to know each other better, I think we should go for it. And by "we," I'm referring to me and the five people I've 'tagged' below.

1. I can say the alphabet backwards - quite rapidly. I guess this happened on lots of long car rides back and forth from So. Indiana when I was a girl. I had lots of idle time, so I used that time to my advantage. I can still do it.

2. I have a bizarre memory for phone numbers. My dad has the same gift. There are people at church who call me - rather than look up numbers in a directory - because I usually know the phone numbers. What can I say? It's a gift. . .? Not really.

3. I have only been in the hospital for an overnight stay twice. Edison & Caroline. Before I had Edison, I can only remember two visits to the hospital at all. Both were as results of accidents. One when I was very young - and needed stitches above (or below?) my eye, and the other was an ER visit after totaling my mom and dad's Toyota. (I still feel horrible about that)

4. After college, I was a telemarketer for a brief amount of time. I sold vinyl siding, replacement windows, and cabinet refacing services. The job was horrid. The pay was decent. The room was filled with smoke. . .as all my coworkers smoked like chimneys. I learned later that one of the girls in the "office" was actually dealing drugs through the office -- and the manager of the branch was in cahoots with her. Yikes. Thankfully, that job didn't last very long.

5. There is almost always a song running through my head. If I concentrate on it, I can change the song, and switch to something else. But often, depending on my mood, or my stress level, I cannot change the song.

6. If you see me in person, and you see my fingers moving. I'm either transcribing the conversation that's going on -- or, even scarier, I am playing the tune that's going through my head (see #5) on an imaginary keyboard. A lot of the time, I find myself trying to figure out the melody that's running through my head. I know. I know. I scare myself, too.

7. I am actually much more shy that I appear -- both online, and at work. At work, I am a worship leader of a church of 350-400 people. I am on stage all the time. . .and am very comfortable there. But, if I feel compelled to go meet someone new, I am most uncomfortable. And, although I come across (I hope) as very friendly online, I am very, very shy. Now, if I got the chance to meet some of my online friends in real life (IRL) I would absolutely jump at the chance. But, because we've already become "friends," I wouldn't have quite the shyness to overcome. But, I'd still tread water in deep waves of insecurity.

See. . . it's not always fun, or funny. But, these are some "interesting" things about me. I hope they seem as interesting to you as they did to me.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to make my bed and fold laundry. I told you. . .I'm living the dream, my friends. Just living the dream.

Thanks for tagging me, Kate. I am now tagging:


Saturday, July 14, 2007

When You Get a Few Minutes. . .

For some reason, I have been able to get another page done tonight. Rather than wait until tomorrow to post it, here it is.

I used Katie the Scrapbook Lady's "Big Book of Me" kit for this layout. Just tonight, Mark got Caroline ready for bed, and she decided to read *every book* in her collection! LOL


Just Getting By

Last night, my wonderful husband took me out for dinner at a new restaurant we'd never visited before. "Mirage" is a restaurant in Downtown Knoxville with a middle-eastern flair. We even watched Dubai TV. Food was good. . .not a replacement for Reza's, but it was good.

Today was a "typical" Saturday for me. Slept a little bit later than I should. . .and spent an hour (or two) down at the church--getting ready for tomorrow morning.

After coming home, I started making plans for dinner tonight (grilled teriyaki chicken, grilled veggies). I also got some kits downloaded for some of my creative team assignments. I was able to complete a layout for Katie the Scrapbook Lady. It's a random photo of Caroline that I'd forgotten all about. I also finished a layout using a new kit from Miss Mint.

So, without any further ado, I present them here. Both layouts feature Caroline. . .what are the odds?!

This is featuring the "June Flower Garden" sampler from Katie the Scrapbook Lady. Like I said, I had forgotten all about this picture. Could she be any cuter? I think not!

This is the Miss Mint layout. Her kit is called "Party Pants" and it lives up to the name, doesn't it? I still wish Mark and I would have been able to see Caroline on the mega-screen in Times Square. I still have to submit her picture for this year--if I am going to do it. Still haven't decided. If we do submit a picture, and they use it, I cannot fathom *how* we'd go see her in Times Square. So, I'm tempted to wait another year. Maybe by then we will have sold the other house. Sigh.

Oh well, enough of the melancholy conversation. I hope you enjoy the layouts as much as I enjoyed making them!


Friday, July 13, 2007


No more heavy metal for me, baby. I'm staple-free. The surgeon (Mr. Personality) released me this morning. He cautioned me not to move any couches. I assured him that was not a problem. He also gave me license to pick up Caroline, so I guess I really am free!

I do feel better--just knowing that I'm back to more of myself. Phew!

Edison survived football practice (5x this week) and is resting in his room. He and Caroline are going to church tonight. The Disability Ministry is sponsoring a "Parents' Night Out" for families. So, Mark and I may actually get a night out by ourselves. We were going to go see the new Robin Williams and John Krazinski movie, "License to Wed," but the critics are saying it really blows. So, I think we'll wait until it is out on video. There's a Middle Eastern restaurant downtown, and I think we're going to go there. Who knows?

Caroline's Mother's Day Out program is on break for a week. She's also out of school next week. Add those up, what do you get? No childcare next week. Thank goodness we have Brittany, our summer babysitter.

Well, that's about it for this cloudy and (sort of) rainy Friday afternoon. I baked those loaves of zucchini bread last night. . .total failure. The bread caved in after baking. Ticked me off.

I changed recipes, and made another two loaves after dashing to the grocery store for more flour, sugar, eggs, and baking powder & soda. Different recipe. Different results. The two loaves from late last night are gorgeous. Mark and I tasted them this morning, and they're delicious. He took the two "reject" loaves into work. They taste good--they're just a baking disaster. His co-workers tend to eat anything homemade, and they're very gracious. I love those guys!!

I tried to find out what happened. The internet "experts" said that too much moisture causes quick breads to rise and fall like that. So, on round #2, I "squoze" out the extra moisture from the zucchini. Whether it was the squeezing, or just a better recipe, I don't know. But there's no doubt: loaves #3 and #4 are excellent.

I've still got one more zucchini to use, and I suspect there are more in Dad's garden. Now that I have a good recipe, I can bake more bread and stick it in the freezer.

So, that's about it. I hope to finish the baby afghan. I'm on the border rows. I'm definitely in the home stretch. I still haven't photographed any SB pages, but that may have to wait until Caroline's nap time. Until then, I'm just going to enjoy my staple-less freedom. It feels gooooooooo-ooooood.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Utterly Amazing

Well, it happened again. Today, at noon, Caroline's school called. She had fallen asleep in the classroom, and when she awoke, she was wheezing again. I am befuddled.

When I got there (another 25 minute drive) she was talking, running away from the teacher, and laughing at everything they said to her. She did just fine in the car on the way home, and talked to me the entire time I was pumping gas.

I am totally confused.

Bottom line: she made it through summer school. She doesn't go back until August 25. She's out of Mother's Day Out for the next two weeks, and I'm going to have to completely re-work my schedule for those two weeks, in order to get everything done with a 3-year old in tow.

Other stuff. . .

I got a couple of scrapbook pages (the paper kind) done last night. I also finished up a few pages that needed refining. I'd like to get them photographed and put here in the blog. The pages of Edison's middle school graduation. . .you know, from LAST YEAR. . .are especially nice. I'll try to photograph them a bit later on. I am so behind in my scrapbooks, it's not funny!

This afternoon, we've got laundry in the washer, and I hope to make some zucchini bread this afternoon. Dad's zucchini plants are starting to *flourish* so I need to do something before he brings me more! I'm going to make one loaf with Splenda so that I can eat it without as much guilt. Not sure how it will turn out. I do have the Splenda for baking, so I'm pretty optimistic.

Edison has football tonight, and Caroline and Mark are supposed to go to a Smokies baseball game with some of the other families from DSAG. Should be interesting. Caroline likes to watch baseball, football, and basketball on TV. . .we call them all "ball." But, live sports could be another animal altogether. The camera is going to the ballpark as well. If there are good pics, they'll show up here first!

Mark and I were talking this past weekend about environmental concerns and living more responsibly. I've even been doing a little reading about energy conservation and living clean and green.

I am not - don't get me wrong - I am NOT jumping on Al Gore's bandwagon. Won't happen. Can't do it. Wouldn't be prudent. (yes, my Republican blood is showing through) But, I have been really made to think about our consumption or over-consumption of goods and materials here in the United States. We are a wasteful people. We are destroying our earth. We were put here to be stewards. . .that does not give us carte blanche to destroy it, and go looking for more.

So, I'm going to continue trying to come up with ways to conserve. Multi-tasking when I'm out in the van. . . recycling - especiall paper. . .taking back those plastic grocery bags that have taken over my garage. I may wind up getting some of those canvas bags for groceries and stop using the plastic ones altogether. We'll see--they *do* make good garbage bags for the kitchen garbage can.

I just think that there's a lot more we can do. . .and I'm going to begin looking for ways I can make a difference. Don't worry. I'm not setting up a windmill or anything like that. But I am gonna try!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Catching my breath. . . .

. . .that's what today is all about. Back to work day #2. Quiet morning. A couple visits from choir members, but overall, a quiet and somewhat productive day. Then, the phone rang.

Caroline's school is on the phone. She was wheezing. They had her in the director's office in the arms of the school nurse when I arrived (25 min. later). They'd had her outside, and she began wheezing. . .and therefore, crying.

They got her inside, and she calmed down and fell asleep. When Edison and I got there to pick her up (they didn't want her on the bus) she was still sleeping, and her breathing had settled down.

We loaded her up in the car, and headed toward home. . . by way of the church, where I'd left my cell phone. Thankfully, Edison has a phone. (details and pictures to follow) We stayed in constant contact with Mark, and after retrieving my forgotten cell phone, we called the doctor's office, and they squeezed us in at that very moment. Thankfully, we were just around the corner.

Dr. Hodge is not our regular doctor . . .but he used to be Edison's primary care physician. He's wonderful. He was stumped, too. He said Caroline sounded clear as a bell, and that her nose looked good. All he could figure is that she had suffered from a heat-induced bronchial spasm. Because we have albuterol and xopenex at home, he said if it happens here at home, give her a dose, and see if that doesn't settle her down.

She told him "thank you," and "bye bye." She was as sweet as could be with him. And, I know he enjoyed spending those 12 minutes with us - but in many ways, it was for nothing at all. . . other than my peace of mind.

We drove through McD's . . .of course, the princess wanted chicken and fry-fries. After all she'd been through, I obliged. I bought a side salad, and put 3 of her nuggets on my salad. Yum.

After lunch, we headed to Caroline and Grandma's hair appointment. Following that zoo, we took Edison to the orthodontist. We had gotten there 15 minutes early, and they took us way ahead of schedule. So, at 4:00 (his original appointment time) we were headed out of the parking lot toward the grocery store.

After shopping, we came home and I cooked brats and hot dogs on the grill. I boiled up a few ears of corn that looked good in the store. Alas, looks can be deceiving. While Edison and Caroline ate supper, we waited for Mark to come home.

As soon as he did, I took Edison to football conditioning practice. I came home, and Mark and I ate supper while Caroline ate "baby crackers" which are the coolest invention I've ever seen. They are Stauffer's Animal Crackers -- only in miniature.

After dinner, Mark gave Caroline her bath, and I put dishes in the dishwasher. Then, before you know it, it was time to pick up Edison at football.

I'm now home. I'm totally exhausted. I remembered to find the digital camera and some craft projects that were squirreled away in Caroline's closet before she went to bed.

I am used to posting my digital scrapbook pages, but I don't usually post my other craft items. Kate and Joni have really re-ignited that flame to be creative. So, I give you a couple examples of some penny rug items I've made. The burgundy/black floral disk will most likely sit under a candle, or something like that.

The heart will probably either be attached to a basket, or I will tie a ribbon on it, and hang it in my kitchen, or on my Christmas tree this year.

There are more projects bubbling under the surface. . .but for now, these were the ones I could find quickly. I've been working on a new baby afghan. I'd say I've completed about 1/3 of it. When I get it done, I will take some pictures of 3 or 4 afghans I have here at the house -- before I give them away. We've got two or three friends (and a family member) with babies on the horizon. . .so I try to always have 1 or 2 on hand.

So much for my "leisurely" return to work and my normal life. I'm totally exhausted from the events of the day, but they all went fine. We're praying that Caroline will sleep well tonight. I'm also praying (selfishly) for a good nights' sleep for me, too. I'll keep you posted. . . as always!

OH. . .I almost forgot. Yes. . . .Edison *does* have a cell phone. We purchased it for him on July 4. The purpose of the phone is safety and a means of communication as he is getting more involved with Youth Group stuff at church.

He spent the first two days flipping it open, and flipping it closed. ( We finally got him to call Nana & Papa in New York on Saturday evening. His first official call!

I couldn't help but photograph it. . . he wasn't amused. But, he knows it's headed to the blog, so he was allright with it. Here's my (growing up too fast) boy on his cool, new phone.

Now, if you will excuse me. . . I've got some crocheting, scrapping, reading, TV watching, and resting to do!!

I've Been Bitten! - (edited)

Yesterday, and the day before, I met some new friends here in Blogland. Joni (Yummers) and Kate, who apparently found me via another blog. Random, wonderful fun. But. . .with new friendships come new influences. And these two women have helped inspire some of my creativity that I've let slip away into the quiet crevices of my life.

I bought fabric today.

Plaid fabric.

Beige and white homespun.

Homespun. Red. Plaid. Fabric.

Curtains for the sun room, and (potential) curtains for my bedroom--if the reds match.

Oh, and two coordinating blue prints (one stripe, one floral) that will eventually (hopefully soon) become my new reversible kitchen tablecloth.

I thought poor Edison was going to die of boredom while my fabric was being cut at my local (25 miles away) Hobby Lobby store. I loved hearing the bolt of fabric *slap* on the table as she counted out my yardage. Then there was that sweet "swish" of the scissors as they cut the fabric.

It's an addiction, my friends. Pure and simple.

I also visited the Summit Medical Ancillary Office today for what will be a routine series of yearly mammograms.

I am proudly the daughter of a breast cancer survivor. But in recent years, I haven't been the "responsible" daughter of a breast cancer survivor. Today was a second step in working toward being more responsible.

I endured . . .yes, I said "endured," a mammogram today. Didn't hurt, actually. But, being called *back in* for another look, and seeing the original film on the light/viewer thingie with an area circled is cause for concern.

Luckily, my doctor had written orders for both the mammogram AND and ultrasound. . . so when I went from one procedure to another, I was not (even more) alarmed. Being called back for a 2nd squish was not fun, nor did it give me peace of mind.

However, after both exams, and the ceremonial "wiping off of the goo" from the ultrasound (ick!) the radiologist came in and assured me that I got a little more bang for my buck today, and that things were fine.

I am to go back in 6 months for another diagnostic mammogram, to make sure that the "things" that they say are quite smallish haven't grown or changed. According to him, and I trust him (do I have any other choice?) the fact that these abnormalities showed up on the m-gram ONLY, and not the ultrasound is good. He basically said that cancerous cells cannot hide from ultrasounds.

So, on January 9, 2008, at 9:30 a.m., I get to enjoy the fun all over again. If there is no change, I'll come back in July 2008, and proceed with the every-365-day plan (which I prefer).

So, other than a few minutes of wondering and worrying, I'm good.

My first day back at work seems inconsequential by comparison. But, it was good, too. I have seen first-hand that I *do* make a difference where I work - if nothing else, I provide comic relief to my colleagues. And, alas, I will go back tomorrow.

They said I have to.

And, since it's now 30 minutes into tomorrow, I should get to bed. Ah, life is quickly returning to its normal (frenetic) pace. Happy Tuesday!

p.s. Oh, and my best news of all. . .and that's saying alot, because I bought fabric today. . . but my best news of all is that I was proudly able to wear a shirt to work today that I have not dared to wear in over a year. It was not too snug, it fit quite nicely, and I felt WONDERFUL in it!!

It helped make eating JUST a fruit cup at Chik-Fil-A not so horrible when I realized that I passed up the most delicious chicken on the face of the earth!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Just Like We Never Separated

Our friends, Pete and Erin, were here over the weekend. (Yes, my bathrooms *did* get cleaned--I taught Edison how to do it!) Our friendship with Pete and Erin is the kind where we just pick up where we left off the last time we saw them.

. . .which was last summer. They breezed through town, and we had dinner together. Dinner with Pete & Erin usually involves a new, or favorite restaurant in the greater Knoxville area. It used to be Catinella's. Then, one year, we introduced them to Puleo's Grille. They were notably impressed.

We even took at trip to Chicago with them in 2000. We called the "Pete Loves to Eat" trip. On our way to and from Chicago, we stopped at favorite restaurants, and pretty much gorged ourselves on favorites.

While in Chicago, we took them to Reza's. This is (hands down) our favorite restaurant of all time. Mark took me there about 18 years ago, when we were dating, and it was amazing. Doug and Mark used to go all the time.

We also took Pete and Erin to Aurelio's Pizza. This is (again, hands down) the finest pizza you will ever eat. And, for some reason, you have to eat Aurelio's at the original site in Homewood, IL. They have take-out sites in Naperville, Crete, and other sites around the greater metropolitan area, but the original home of Aurelio's is the best.

So eating is always a part of our reunions.

Last night, we took them to Craven Wings. Our friends from church opened this family-style wing and chicken finger restaurant in Seymour one year ago. I haven't asked them point-blank how their business is going, but the quality of the food is second-to-none. The atmosphere is clean and friendly, and the teriyaki chicken fingers with medium buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing is still the best I've ever had.

For dessert, I made a Chocolate Lover's Cheesepie. I don't know why it's not called a cheesecake. I suppose it's because there's not a springform pan, and the directions and ingredients are very simple. I'll include the recipe, because I'm a giver. It's what I do. You will NOT be disappointed by this recipe. You have my word.

Chocolate Lover's Cheesepie

3 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese (room temp)
3/4 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. (12 oz package) mini semi-sweet chips
1 (extra serving size) graham cracker crust (9 oz.)
2 T whipping cream

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs & vanilla; beat well. Stir in 1 2/3 c chips; pour into crust

Bake 10 minutes - without opening the door, reduce oven to 250 degrees. Continue baking for 30 minutes (or just until set). Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Place remaining (1/3 c.) chips and whipping cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high (100%) for 20 to 30 seconds, or just until chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly. Spread over cooled cheesepie. Refrigerate 15 minutes or until topping is set.

Cover and refrigerate leftovers. (they don't last long!)

This is seriously one delicious cake/pie/dessert. Enjoy!!

Oh, and for the record, there is more to our friendship than just a shared love of food and diet coke. We also played Bohnanza, a game they taught us. I liked it. Mark needs more time to get to love it and know it. We taught them Five Crowns last night. Then after church today, we played Guillotine and the Great Dalmuti. Both lots of fun.

So, it was an exhausting, but oh-so-satisfying weekend. . . and sadly, I have *no* pictures to prove it!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

New Layout

I just had to include this today. . . couldn't let it go by without letting ya'll see the girl.

I used Katie the Scrapbook Lady's "Fresh Fabric" kit to make this layout of Caroline. This is from a set of pictures I took of Caroline last fall. I love these pictures.


More Than My Heart Could Take

Our Fourth of July Holiday was lots of fun. And, I survived in spite of myself. Our family get together started after I came home and took a "nap" after my shopping outing.

It was a fun shopping outing, really. I bought new scrapbooking stuff at A.C. Moore. . . found some gorgeous yarn for a couple new baby afghans, and I even bought some embroidery thread for a couple pillowcases I want to decorate. While Mark finished at the Sprint Store, I rocked in a rocking chair outside of A.C. Moore. Nice day. . . nice afternoon.

But that's not where the heart-stopping action came in. When we arrived at my aunt's house, I realized that Edison was nowhere in sight. Someone suggested that he was out riding on an ATV. That's right. I said my 12-year old baby boy was out riding on an ATV. But, to make it even more eventful, they actually realized that he was out the river...the French Broad River.

Mind you, because of the drought, the river is low. They released some water from the TVA dam earlier in the day, and by 6 p.m., it was getting higher. But, at the time he and Tim were swimming across and back, it was still pretty low.

Caroline went swimming in Kylie's pool, and thoroughly enjoyed it. She also has a new love of gravel. When she gets to Mom and Dad's house, she just plops down on the ground, and sits on the gravel. I don't get it.
So basically, my kids had a ball without me. This is nothing new. This does not depress me. I just hated missing seeing her "swim."

Suddenly, I hear the roar of ATV engines, and this is what I see. .

There is no way that we'll be purchasing one, but as we welcome Tom into the family, Edison is grateful to have a new "buddy" to play with. Especially one with big, fun toys.

After dinner, we all decided to go down to the river. Mark, Edison, and eventually Caroline took a boat ride. Since I was down there with them, I was able to capture Caroline's first ride.
Here are a few scenes. . .
Caroline was quite agreeable. . .to my surprise! Mark said she even liked going up and down the river!!

The final heart-stopping moment came when Edison decided that he wanted to go "tubing" down the river behind Uncle Jeff's boat. I was fine while he was in the boat, but when he was suddenly behind the boat, I was a nervous wreck.

He survived. I survived.

All in all, can you ask for more on the Fourth of July? Oh yes, I would love fireworks that make no noise. . . or at least Caroline would like that!


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Venturing Out. . . for a short bit.

Mark and I are going to venture out to the Sprint Store. Actually, he's going to the cell phone place. I'm going to walk around A.C. Moore. I need yarn.

I'm not going to lift anything heavy, I promise.
I'm not going to wrestle anyone for yarn.
I'm not even going to walk to and from the car. . . curbside pickup, baby.

I just need to get out.

I put my rings and earrings back on today, for the first time in over a week. I feel like *ME* again. And, right now, *ME* feels pretty good.

The shirt I'm wearing seems bigger. And, it's a cotton (non-knit) shirt that's been washed once, and if anything, it should be smaller.

Maybe I'm smaller.

Regardless, I'm going out into the big, wide world of West Knoxville. And, it will be good.

I hope.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I Moved and Spoke Way Too Soon!

Yesterday was a day that nearly did me in.

I had an appointment at the doctor's office--just to make sure things were okay. That went fine. . .and quite quickly. I only had to climb a few steps, but that seemed to be managable.

Then. . .I had to stop at Walgreen's for some "maintenance" supplies. After walking through the store, and nearly being clobbered by some chick with three pool noodles (I'm serious) I was out the door. I needed to stop by the church for a reimbursement check. It was a big check, so I felt like it was a worthy trip.

By the time I got home, I was tired, but not exhausted. Edison and I made dinner. Poppy Seed Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli. Easy, and Edison did all the lifting.

After supper it hit me. I had done too much. I spent the rest of the evening on the couch. It wasn't too bad--I crocheted a little, did a few sudoku puzzles, and watched some pretty funny TV.

Then bedtime rolled around. Mark asked me if I was going to sleep on the couch again. I smiled and said, "Oh, it's allright. I'm not afraid to sleep with you."


Even with the Tylenol PM that I took before going to bed, I wasn't able to sleep on my unforgiving mattress. Bless Mark's heart. Just after he fell asleep, I realized it was pointless.

While I went to the bathroom, Mark relocated me back to the couch. It was much more comfortable, but for some reason, it took me over an additional hour to fall asleep.

I did eventually get some sleep, but I could've used a few more hours. One of these days, I'll learn not to push it too much, and I'll also learn to think before I speak.

If I could bend at the waist, I'd say that my foot was planted in my mouth, but right now, that's not humanly possible.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I swear sometimes. . . .if my grandfather was still alive, he'd be stunned at the ways technology has brought our world even closer together. I'm speaking of my Grandpa Knowles. . . my Poppa Heim lived a lot longer, so he saw modern conveniences. He even had a satellite dish in his yard for a while.

But my Grandpa Knowles would be stunned at technology. While I'm typing this, Duran Duran is performing LIVE at Wembley Stadium. And, I'm seeing it as it happens. And yes, I did tear up as Elton John opened the concert with "Your Song."

It's been a [rough] couple days since I've posted. Suffice it to say that I'm doing better. . .now. Not fun. But better.

Before Mark and Caroline left for church this morning, he sat her on the couch next to me. That was sweet. I wish I knew how she was taking all of this. I haven't held, or *really* hugged her since last Monday. She's not used to always seeing Mommy laying on the couch. She's certainly not used to seeing Mommy asleep on the couch every morning. I'm sure she's doing fine processing it all. . .but I'd love to be able to explain it all to her.

To my dear friends in Canada. . .you know who you are. . .Happy Canada Day! And, to my dear, sweet, wonderful, funny, irreverent friend Melany. . . Happy Birthday, girl! I'd do anything to celebrate with you today. I'd love to go to that pancake breakfast with you, and to play BINGO, and to your parents' for a cookout.

. . .maybe next year.