Life

Proof

Last modified on 2013-10-01 17:12:46 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

See?

It’s Tuesday and it is dumb.

1st Birthday

Last modified on 2012-10-24 19:33:32 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

I can’t help myself.

I love this little guy!

Here’s my nephew Justin on his 1st birthday last week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy birthday Justin!

Aunt Janna loves you.

Titanic Hunger

Last modified on 2012-02-23 15:05:04 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I don’t care what you think about it, I’m going to see Titanic in 3D when it’s released in April this year.

 

And I’ll probably cry again while watching it.

Just like I did the other 3 or 4 times I’ve seen this movie.

I’m also gearing up to go and see the first of The Hunger Games movies releasing in theaters on March 23rd.

 

If you have not read The Hunger Games series, you must.

I sure hope that the movie lives up to the book.

I love movies.

Especially good ones.

No More Soda?

Last modified on 2012-02-06 14:33:31 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

It’s the beginning of a new year and while I don’t really believe in new year’s resolutions, I have been thinking about my health and at least considering making choices that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

I thought about exercising.

I thought about eating salad with fat free salad dressing all the time.

Thought about exercising.

Thought about cutting out all fast food.

Then I remembered a poster I recently saw about the effects of soda on the body.

Here it is:

 

 

OK, so we all know that soda isn’t the best thing for us. Blah blah blah.

Here’s an article about it to help further convince you, and myself,

http://health.yahoo.net/experts/eatthis/3-shocking-soda-facts

Seeing it all on the poster helped to put it in perspective and I realize that I could limit, if not eliminate, soda from my diet all together.

I said I “could”. Not that I would. Oh dear….so I’m going to try. I want to eliminate soda.

But I do like a cold fizzy drink every now and then. I get my daily dose of caffeine from my morning coffee so I won’t be looking to soda for that.

Thought I could try fizzy water. What’s that stuff called? I even bought a bottle of it at the store on Saturday. We’ll see how that goes.

So, step 1 to making better choices? Eliminate soda as much as possible. I’m not saying I won’t ever drink a soda again. I will. I just don’t want it to be a habit. I want to be more aware of it.

Step 2 to making better choices? Uhhh, dunno.

Perfect 10

Last modified on 2012-01-26 14:49:52 GMT. 11 comments. Top.

Today I have been married to my best friend and love of my life, Luke, for 10 years.

 

OK, so maybe not a perfect 10, but pretty darn close. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Muumuu

Last modified on 2011-08-08 12:33:37 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

Last Saturday my friend Keri and I went to Champaign, IL to check out the Jane Addams Book Store, Cafe Kopi, and a couple of vintage clothing shops.

At Carrie’s Antiques & Jewelry store I found the awesome-est piece of clothing IN THE WORLD.

Seriously, I think this is my favorite purchase of any kind in YEARS.

A Muumuu!

 

Before I unveil the beauty I purchased, a little background.

For some time now I’ve felt that the muumuu should make a comeback.

And really, the uber-popular maxi dresses are just a variation of the muumuu.

Don’t know what a muumuu is?

From Wikipedia,

The muumuu is a loose dress of Hawaiian origin that hangs from the shoulder. Like the Aloha shirt, muumuu exports are often brilliantly colored with floral patterns of generic Polynesian motifs. Muumuu for local Hawaiian residents are more subdued in tone. Muumuu are no longer as widely worn at work as the aloha shirt, but continue to be the preferred formal dress for weddings and festivals …

A muumuu is the perfect piece of clothing in my mind.

It’s loose and comfortable, you can dress it up or down.

Add some leggings.

Wear it with heels and pearls or slippers and rollers.

The possibilities are endless!

Now, before you start rolling your eyes at this idea (maybe you’ve been rolling your eyes already) let’s take a look at some pictures.

The following types and styles of muumuu’s are NOT what I’m talking about.

 

 

Those are no-no’s.

The following, however, are of a lovely vintage variety and are fabulous.

See?  A muumuu can be dressed up!

Here’s one without sleeves.

And now, my very own amazing vintage 1970′s muumuu.

 

Jealous much?

I won’t be wearing mine outside the house but I love it.

Anybody with me on this?

Anybody?

At all?

 

Maho Bay

Last modified on 2011-08-04 12:57:00 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

I’ve just recently returned from a wonderful week of serving as a camp counselor at St. John’s Camp which is held in beautiful southern Indiana.

I loved being with the kids, that was my favorite part of the week.

I did NOT love the heat and humidity.

Thank goodness the buildings and sleeping cabins were air conditioned.

I wouldn’t have made it otherwise.

It’s been a few years since I was at camp and I forgot how exhausting it is, both physically and emotionally, and by the time I get home I feel like I need a vacation to process the previous week and relax.

While I’d love to be able to fly away with my husband, who runs the camp by the way, to an uber-swanky all inclusive private resort, there’s no way our budget would allow it.

Enter Maho Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

My friend Jan introduced me to Maho Bay and while I’ve not been yet I do want to go at some point.

This type of place would truly be a relaxing, private place to vacay with the hubby.

There are a number of lodging options from an eco-tent to apartments, all economically priced.

Here’s a description of the tent cottages,

Although Maho Bay Camps is probably the most highly praised ecotourism destination in the world, we had modest beginnings. In 1976, we built 18 tent-cottages on 16 foot square platforms in the Virgin Islands National Park using hand construction methods which left the natural environment virtually undisturbed. The platforms were connected by elevated walkways to avoid soil erosion which endangers the beach and fragile coral. This sensitive land use stimulated an explosion of favorable press which has encouraged our growth to 114 units, connected by an extensive network of stairs and boardwalks.

 

Check out some of the pictures of the place:

If an eco-tent is your style, they also offer apartment style accommodations.

 

 

Ahhh, yes please.

 

Be A Better Diner

Last modified on 2011-07-12 13:40:59 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I’ve worked as a restaurant hostess and server.

It was an interesting experience to say the least. An experience I hope to never have again.

Maybe it was just my personality or the time in my life but dealing with patrons and co-workers in a food service environment was stressful, lucrative (that part wasn’t so bad), and encouraged an indulgent selfish lifestyle.

My least favorite part of being a server was dealing with patrons who had no idea how to behave in a restaurant or how to treat their server.

I think everyone should work as a server for at least one week of their lives.

Oh do I have stories!

I happened upon the following short series of articles by San Franciscan server and freelance writer Ella Lawrence.

I like what she has to say and honestly think there’s a host of other things that could be included but I guess we can’t tell everyone how to behave in every situation, can we?

Click on the title of the series below to be redirected to the articles.

How to Be a Better Diner

Spektor

Last modified on 2011-07-07 17:58:54 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Ever heard of Regina Spektor?

No?

Me either until last Tuesday night when my friend Kriss told me about her.

I listened to four of her songs and really dig ‘em.

She’s fun and a little funky and that’s why I like her.

I don’t think she’s released anything recently but I could be wrong about that and I’m not gonna go and check.

Below are three of the songs I listened to with the lyrics (note: I removed repeats in the lyrics for the sake of space) before each video.

Folding Chair

 

Come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there’s a breeze
There is a shadow, you can’t see my eyes
And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies

Let’s get a silver bullet trailer and have a baby boy
I’ll safety pin his clothes all cool and you’ll graffiti up his toys
I’ve got a perfect body but sometimes I forget
I’ve got a perfect body ’cause my eyelashes catch my sweat
Yes they do, they do

Ooh, ooh, ooh

Now I’ve been sitting on this abandoned beach for years
Waiting for the salty water to cover up my ears
But every time the tide come in to take me home
I get scared, now I’m sitting here alone dreaming of the dolphin song

Ooh, ooh, ooh

Maybe one day you will understand
That I want nothing from you but to sweetly hold your hand
Till that day just please don’t be so down
Don’t make frowns, you silly clown

Just come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there’s a breeze
There is a shadow, you can’t see my eyes
And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies

There is a shadow, you can’t see my eyes
There is a shadow, you can’t see my eyes

 

 

Anthem of the 80′s

 

You are so sweet
Dancing to the beat

There’s a meat market down the street
The boys and the girls watch each other eat

You are so sweet, so sweet
Dancing and moving to that beat, that beat

There’s a meat market down the street
The boys and girls watch each other eat
The boys and the girls watch each other eat
When they really just wanna watch each other

Sleep
They want to watch, to watch each other sleep, sleep, sleep

You are so sweet
Once more

I’m walking through the city like a drunk but not
With my slip showing a little like a drunk but not
And I am one of your people but the cars don’t stop
And I am one of your people but the cars don’t stop

It’s been a long time since before I’ve been touched
Now I’m getting touched all the time
And it’s only a matter of whom
And it’s only a matter of when

An addiction, two hands and feet
There’s a meat market down the street
The boys and girls watch each other eat
When they really just wanna watch each other sleep

An addiction, two hands and feet
There’s a meat market down the street
The boys and girls watch each other eat
When they really just wanna watch each other

Sleep
They want to watch, to watch each other sleep, sleep, sleep

 Samson

 

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the sheets of paper lies my truth
I have to go, I have to go
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
He ate a slice of wonder bread
And went right back to bed

And history books forgot about us
And the Bible didn’t mention us
The Bible didn’t mention us
Not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first, I loved you first
Beneath the stars came falling on our heads
But there just told light, there just told light
Your hair was long when we first met

Samson came to my bed
Told me that my hair was red
He told me I was beautiful
And came into my bed

Oh, I cut his hair myself one night
A pair of dull scissors and the yellow light
And he told me that I’d done alright
And kissed me till the morning light, the morning light
And he kissed me till the morning light

Samson went back to bed
Not much hair left on his head
Ate a slice of wonderbread
And went right back to bed

Oh, we couldn’t bring the columns down
Yeah, we couldn’t destroy a single one
And history books forgot about us
And the Bible didn’t mention us
Not even once

You are my sweetest downfall
I loved you first

Sarcasm

Last modified on 2011-06-22 13:37:30 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

The husband was looking at some of these last night on Despair, Inc.

Sarcasm makes me laugh.

This first one is my personal favorite.

 

 

 

 

 

:)

5 Things

Last modified on 2011-06-15 13:33:48 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

1. I can’t think of anything to blog about. Nothing. Nada. Got any ideas?

2. I watched a really funny video this morning but unfortunately it’s too inappropriate to post on my blog.

3. Are perms really not in style anymore? I’ve seriously been considering a wave perm.

4. Any movies you’re really excited to see? Either in theaters now or scheduled to be released this year?

5. I know it’s from 2008 but I just can’t help but share it. Especially because in the not too distant future we’re gonna start seeing lots of ridiculous political commercials. I say all candidates should make a 3 minute video like Mos Def did. At least it’s funny and not everything he says is all that bad.

High fives are at an all time high.

Yes, yes they are.

Last modified on GMT. 0 comments. Top. Edit topic.

Playlist – Carrie J

Last modified on 2011-05-30 12:57:21 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Introducing Carrie J.

Not to be confused with playlist number 1 Keri J.

A great friend who has fun and eclectic taste in music.

I like that she included some good dance music. :)

Notes about the band or song are Carrie’s.

Disclaimer: not all lyrics and/or videos may be suitable for children or teens. I don’t know really. Just felt like I should have some sort of disclaimer just in case. I’ll put the same disclaimer up for all the playlists and videos I post.
 

Carrie J.’s Playlist


1. Patty Griffin – “Top of the World”, Impossible Dream – AMAZING artist! Love pretty much everything she has put out! One of my dreams still….her concert in Colorado Springs at one of our parks outdoor, picnic perfected with a bottle of wine OR two:)

2. Michael Franti & Spearhead – “Say Hey – I Love You”, All Rebel Rockers.One of my favs b/c it was being played at the end of Ramona And Beezus movie and my whole family was dancing to this and the end credits!:)

3. Train – “Marry Me”, Save Me San Fransisco. Great sound, lovely lyrics.

4. The Decemberists – “January Hymm”, The King is Dead. Really enjoy The Decemberists…easy and light this one!

5. Usher feat. Pitbull – “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”, Booom 2011. Dance music, and HEY, I like to dance!

6. Rihanna feat. Elephant Man – “Pon De Replay Remix”, Rihanna Music of the Sun. More dance music…I think I am ready to go dancin!!

7. Rosie Thomas – “Since You’ve Been Around”, When We Were Small. Probably my ALL time fav artist….EVERY song she has put out-AMAZING! OK, well ALMOST every song! I had the privilege of seeing her in concert and it was everything I had hoped for! Truly amazing!

8. Jason Mraz – “I’m Yours”, We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. Pretty close to Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ ole which I might as well add….a classic! Love it as much as the first time I heard it, which now I am wondering when THAT was???

9. Natasha Bedingfield – “Unwritten”, Unwritten. Makes me think of summer and of friends and it’s my ringback tone currently! LOVE IT!

10. Jay Sean feat. Lil’ Wayne, “Down”, All Or Nothing. OK, another fun dancy song. :)

Thanks Carrie J!

I’ll feature two more playlists in the coming weeks.

Graduation & Wine

Last modified on 2011-05-25 11:24:36 GMT. 9 comments. Top.

My husband and I spent about a week in Santa Barbara, CA recently.

We traveled out to sunny CA to celebrate my friend, Angela, graduating from nursing school by attending the pinning ceremony.

And to go to the beach and wineries.

Here’s a picture from the pinning ceremony.

Because of the lighting and because I was using the camera on my phone this isn’t a great picture.

You can’t tell from the picture but just outside those windows is the ocean.

It was beautiful.

Congratulations Angela!

Here she is being pinned.

I totally stole the following three pictures of Angela from my new BFF  Crystalyn’s facebook page.

Just trying to give credit where credit’s due. :)

 

 

Ange in action earlier this year.

In addition to celebrating Angela’s graduation we visited one of our favorite wineries, Fess Parker.

The picture below was taken two years ago at Fess Parker Winery when Luke and I visited Angela and her husband Andrew.


The grounds and vineyards are beautiful and the wine is fantastic.

Would you say I looked a little loopy in the picture?

I would.

Funny how those little tastes of wine really sneak up on you!

Moving on…Luke and I went on a little date while in CA this time.

We drove to Carpinteria, CA in our rented Toyota Prius which was friggin’ awesome.

Decided to have dinner at Corktree Cellars Wine Bar & Bistro.

 

A cute little place with a nice menu and fun wines to try.

Corktree was the second place in CA we visited that used the term “Flight” for an item on their menu.

Remember my post about the winery with the cupcakes?

How I ordered The Flight which was a sample of each of the cupcakes?

Same sort of thing at Corktree except it was about wines.

From the Corktree menu,

Wine Flights
Here is your chance to fly at cruising altitude and try three wines from different regions, varietals or styles. Our flights are three 3 oz pours which equals about 1 1/2 glasses of wine. Each wine is also offered by the glass. So come on board and get ready to fly!

I decided on the Pinot Grigio Flight.

Below shows how the wines were served.

Fun times.

 

A description of the wines is on the card behind the glass and around each glass is a rating circle.

Three pennies come with the Flight for you to use on the circle to rate each of the wines.

 

This was really fun.

The food was good and I was thankful for the little getaway and another chance to try more wine.

And no, I didn’t keep the pennies.

Congrats again Angela and thanks for letting us crash at your place.

 

Playlist – Luke B

Last modified on 2011-05-23 12:14:54 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Playlist contributor #2 is Luke B.

My favorite guy, he has great taste and I think you’ll like at least one of the songs and/or bands below.

According to Luke, “I’m pretty sure it’s the best list ever compiled by a man.”

What do you think?

Notes below about the band or song are Luke’s.

Disclaimer: not all lyrics and/or videos may be suitable for children or teens. I don’t know really. Just felt like I should have some sort of disclaimer just in case. I’ll put the same disclaimer up for all the playlists and videos I post.


Luke B Playlist

1. Mumford & Sons – “Awake My Soul” – These blokes are quickly gaining popularity thanks to their appearance on the Grammy’s, and thank God for that – they’ve quickly become one of my new favorites. This song especially is a good one for Spring and waking up from a long Winter’s nap.

2. Bob Marley – “Thank You Lord” – One of the lesser known tracks from the Hon. Robert Nesta Marley, it’s become somewhat of a theme for my wife and I these past months – something to be said more like a mantra when times are tough and it’s easier to wallow in despair. It’s in my top 10 favorite songs of all time.

3. Richard Hawley – “Tonight, the Streets are Ours” – I discovered Richard after watching a great documentary with my friend Andrew C., and have been listening almost solely to all of his stuff the past couple of days. A Brit from Sheffield who looks slightly like Elvis Costello and has a wonderful baritone voice. Highly suggest checking his other stuff out – very earthy – very good.

Guided By Voices – “Hold On Hope” – Indeed.

4. Death Cab for Cutie – “Transatlanticism” – In agreement with Keri J, Death Cab is one of my favorite bands. Lead singer and songwriter, Ben Gibbard, whether with DCFC or one of his other projects (like The Postal Service) has a way of writing music that digs into the soul. This track is older, but has been in my playlist often this past Winter, during the long, cold, “months of longing”, when I feel most cut off from the world in our drafty old farmhouse, wanting above all, warmth, wandering, and those whom I’d like to be so much closer…

5. Bill Mallonee – “Every Father Knows” – Bill Mallonee is perhaps the world’s most underappreciated artist and poet. Of his hundreds of songs, this one caught me off-guard one day a few years ago on a particularly grey day in the city. Technically a Christmas song, it’s so much more, and is an ever present reminder that we’re never alone.

6. Band of Horses – “No One’s Gonna Love You” – Reminds me of Southern California and the good times with the small men’s group I’ve been a part of for over a decade. :-)

7. Passion Pit – “Dreams ” – PP Cover of The Cranberries classic. One of my favorite songs from the 90’s redone by one of my favorite newer synth-pop bands. Other Passion Pit songs to check out – “Little Secrets”, “To Kingdom Come”, & “Eyes Like Candles.”

8. Over the Rhine – “Born” – OtR is based out of Cincinnati and has been putting out incredible music for nearly two decades. First heard them at the Cornerstone Festival back in ’92 and have listened to them ever since.

9. Iron & Wine – “The Trapeze Swinger” – Sam Beam (He IS Iron & Wine) = brilliant. IMHO, no acoustic or coffeehouse playlist would be complete without some Iron & Wine.

10. Bob Dylan – “Thunder on the Mountain” – Whether you like his voice or not, Dylan is by and large one of the most prolific and talented musicians and singer/songwriters of this century. This track in particular, off of the Grammy award winning Modern Times album, is one of my favorite folk/blues/alt-country songs, and makes me want to go pick up my guitar and sing…right now…see ya’ later!

Weekend Stuff

Last modified on 2011-05-03 12:13:29 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

Happy Tuesday!

Hope you had a nice weekend.

I sure did.

Friday night we met some friends at 9 Irish Brothers for some good times and good food. One of our friends, Elisha, wanted to try an Irish Car Bomb so she ordered one and so did my husband and another member of our group, Sam.

Here’s the video of the three of them. Good job Elisha!

Uh, wait.

I can’t figure out how to upload a video from my phone!

Well, you’re gonna just have to trust me that they all did it and it was impressive.

THEN I heard from a friend that a local grocery store had….drum-roll please……RHUBARB!

So I went and bought all they had. mwahahaha

Hello beautiful.

 

 

 

Guess what I’m made last night?

:)

 

That’s right. Strawberry rhubarb pie. The recipe above is my favorite.

Heaven.

P.S. Thanks to Jan W. for my first taste of rhubarb this season!

Birthday Love

Last modified on 2011-04-26 12:15:23 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

Happy Birthday, my love.


P.S. You’re hot.




Reading List

Last modified on 2011-03-22 14:22:20 GMT. 9 comments. Top.

I’ve asked you before and I’m asking you again.

Whatcha reading and what’s on your reading list?

I just finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett and really liked it.

About the book from Wikipedia:

The novel is told from the perspective of three characters: Aibileen Clark, a middle-aged African-American maid who has spent her life raising white children and has recently lost her only son; Minny Jackson, an African-American maid who has often offended her employers despite her family’s struggles with money and her desperate need for jobs; and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a young white woman who has recently moved back home after graduating college to find out her childhood maid has mysteriously disappeared. These three stories intertwine to explain how life in Jackson, Mississippi revolves around “the help”; yet they are always kept at a certain distance because of racial lines.

My mom let me borrow a couple of James Patterson books recently. Maybe not the best idea to read them back to back as they all started to seem like the same book. Entertaining nonetheless. The two I read were Mary, Mary and Honeymoon.

Also from my mom was, 90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper.

Certainly not the best writing and I started skipping sections because it seemed the author would repeat himself or include lots of details unrelated to his story. The heart of the story, the authors true story, is fascinating and inspiring.

About the book from the authors website:

True Story of Death and Life

The victim of a horrendous car crash, Don Piper was pronounced dead at the scene. At least 90 minutes after the EMTs found no signs of life, Don came back to life with only the memory of inexpressible heavenly bliss. 90 Minutes in Heaven shares what he experienced while in heaven and through the recovery following his accident.

Currently I’m reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Interesting stuff.

About the book from the author’s website:

“What Not to Wear” is “What Not to Watch”

Last modified on 2011-03-16 12:49:01 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

Happy Wednesday Friends!

Today I would like to introduce the blog, OGM!, written by my friend April.

A fairly new blog, I’ve enjoyed reading it and found it to be thought provoking and interesting. April doesn’t mince words and speaks from the heart and that’s why I like her.

I recently asked her if she’d be willing to write a guest post on a subject of her choice.

Before we get to the post itself, I asked April a couple of get-to-know-you questions.

You know, important stuff that people want to know.

JB: What’s a secret dream job of yours?
April: Movie editor.
JB: Favorite breakfast food?
April: Jelly Filled Donut…mmmm…
JB: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
April: I have always dreamed of flying.
JB: Would you rather write or read and why?
April: Read, because others have more knowledge, and because someone else did all the hard work and I get the benefit!

Be sure to check out OGM! and without further ado, take it away April!

    “What Not to Wear” is “What Not to Watch”

TLC’s What Not to Wear is a make-over show with all the usual elements – a physical transformation within a short amount of time, a joyful reaction by the participant (often involving tears), and all expenses paid by the producers. The show first aired in the U.K. in 2001, and a spin-off was created for the U.S. in 2003. The show has garnered 7.4 million viewers for a single episode.

What Not to Wear focuses not only on the physical transformation of the fashion-less women, but on the “emotional transformation” as well. Throughout the episodes, the participants explain the reasoning behind the way they dress, and by the end, they share how they have emotionally changed throughout the make-over process, leaving the viewer feeling like something great was accomplished.

Below is a short preview for the show:

Unfortunately, the emotional transformation the participants confess cannot be obtained by simply buying new clothes and getting a new hair style. One of the subtle lies of What Not to Wear is that looking beautiful will heal your wounds and help you love yourself. For example, the participant in the clip below, starting at minute 2:26, had this to say about her emotional transformation, “I found a better Christina today, I found a new appreciation for myself. Insecure Christina is gone. …I want to take on the world. I have the clothes to do it.”

What Not to Wear does not offer a real solution to women’s problems, only a method to temporarily mask them. Furthermore, this show, and make-over shows in general, imply that we can change ourselves from the outside in. The truth is that real change happens from the inside out, as a transformation of one’s mind.

Time for the irony: What Not to Wear finds women who have their priorities in the right place, and the hosts attempt to turn the women’s focus inward, toward their own fleeting personal beauty. For example, this participant is a family therapist that values modesty.

Or, take a look at this participant who is a mother and teacher.

Dressing fashionably takes time and money, and these women have already made the choice about how they want to use their energy – to focus on others rather than themselves. They do not want to be distracted by their clothing. Nevertheless, What Not to Wear encourages these women to be concerned with their outward appearance, while belittling them for wearing too much beige.

If we desire to transform ourselves, and to see others transform, we must learn to see the way Christ sees, not as man sees. We must learn to see past the exterior and into a person of immense value. How can we ever truly love others if we can’t see past the way they dress, or if we are consumed by the way we appear?

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 1-2

April is rather new to the world of blogging. In 2010 she realized she needed an outlet for her thoughts about the messages presented to us in popular culture, and she’s been blogging ever since. She loves nature, chocolate, and original Nintendo games. She is a recent mother to a son who has (obviously) forever changed her life. One day she might get a dog, but only if she’s absolutely forced into it by her husband.

M. Teresa

Last modified on 2011-03-14 17:57:43 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

As quoted in Worldwide Laws of Life : 200 Eternal Spiritual Principles‎ (1998) by John Templeton, p. 448

Spread love everywhere you go; first of all in your house.
Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.

 

Soup’s On Party

Last modified on 2011-03-02 13:21:25 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

A big success!

Saturday night was the Soup’s On party and what a great time we had!

Thanks to all who made the trek out to our house.

I wanted to have a soup party for two reasons.

1. I wanted to get together with other soup lovers, like myself, and enjoy good soup with good friends.

2. I wanted to see what would happen and who would come by just posting an invitation on my blog.

All in all I was pleased with the outcome. I had a great time and received great feedback and am looking forward to having another blog invitational. Maybe in the spring.

Any suggestions for themes?

The soups I served and links to the recipes are below.

I asked my guests to rate which soup they liked the best and there was  an overwhelming response to one of the soups. More info on which one below.

Confession: I need to figure out a way to host a party and take pictures.

I realized two hours in to the soup party that I wasn’t taking any pictures.

Ah!

I ran and got my camera but by that point people had tasted all the soups and there was food everywhere (read: not picture pretty) and people were starting to scatter and chat in different areas of the house.

Duh.

Any ideas for how I can host AND take pictures of the event?

Here are the few pictures I did manage to get.

Below is a little scorecard I handed out.

Notice I didn’t have a column for “Didn’t Like It”. :)

Guests ended up rating the soups 1-4. One being their favorite, four their least favorite.

Why 1-4 when there are five soups listed, you ask?

I didn’t have time to make the fifth soup.

 

The results:

4. Salmon Chowder (I made quite a few changes to recipe but I based it off of Sara Moulton’s recipe linked here)- most guests that tried it liked it but didn’t love it.

3. Chicken and Wild Rice (recipe courtesy of Beth Gibson) – comments were that it tasted good but wasn’t as different as the other soups.

2. Pumpkin Black Bean – folks raved about it.

And the number one most highly rated soup was:

Texas Chili

It was amazing. It was the only recipe I didn’t double and should have. Delish! A little labor intensive but rich with multiple layers of flavor and very satisfying.

I served angel food cake with lemon curd and raspberry sauce for dessert.

Thanks again to all who attended!

Needs Vs. Wants

Last modified on 2011-02-22 20:03:26 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I realize there is a difference between a need and a want.

I need food and water.

I want a new pair of dress shoes.

I need shelter.

I want to go on vacation.

I need oxygen.

I want to sell my house.

I need a Great Expectations clutch from Kate Spade.

Wait.

What just happened?

;)

P.S. only two more days to RSVP for the soup party at my house. Everyone is invited! Email me or leave a comment letting me know you’re coming.

1 Block of Champaign, IL

Last modified on 2011-02-15 17:29:01 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

Once a year my husband and a group of his friends, The Men’s Group, drive over to Champaign, IL for a guys only weekend of hanging out, hockey, pool, poker, and other guy stuff.

Why Champaign, IL you ask?

The University of Illinois hockey team. The games involve lots of yelling and taunting of the opposing team. I understand why that appeals to guys.

I went one time a few years ago, before it was an all-mens trip, and I have to admit it was kind of fun. I did start to feel bad for the other team. Yelling, “YOU SUCK!” at them. Plus there was just too much guy talk and farting and stupid jokes for me to want to go back on another trip.

It didn’t matter to me at all when it eventually turned in to an all-guy trip.

Welllllll, this year when the time came for the annual hockey/men’s trip my husband had already been traveling quite a bit and we needed some time together. Neither one of us wanted him to miss the guy time and neither one of us wanted to forgo our time together.  Our compromise was that I would ride over to Champaign with him.

He would go and hang out with the guys for a few hours while I hung out in downtown Champaign. Then he’d pick me up and we’d have an afternoon and evening together.

I’ve been to Champaign a few times but only with my husband who lived in the area and is very familiar with what’s where. I wasn’t comfortable driving anywhere by myself so I stuck around one city block.

I started at Ten Thousand Villages which I’ve blogged about before. Walked around, window shopped and admired the various wares. I’m pretty sure that their prices have gone way up though.

So, as much as I wanted to, I didn’t buy anything.

Next stop around the block was a vintage clothing shop, Dandelion.

This is from their website:

A note about our hours: they are pretty firm unless it’s really nice out or really crappy out because then we might stay later, or close earlier, we’ll see… maybe you should call first.

Ha!

Around the corner from Dandelion is the awesome-est used book store,
Jane Addams Book Shop



I felt cooler and smarter just walking around in the book store.

Their slogan, Three floors booked solid, is absolutely accurate. The store is completely packed from floor to ceiling with books, glorious books! This is the kind of place you just want to be in. Browsing and marinating in the words and thoughts of thousands of writers.

On the third floor I found the cooking section. There was a 70′s style table lamp on the floor next to a small wooden chair in the corner of this small room. I grabbed two books of the shelf that looked interesting and not like the typical cookbook you’d see on the shelf of a chain bookstore and sat down in that little wooden chair to look at the books.

The first was The American Womans Cook Book byJennie A. Hansey, (1910).

Note: these pictures were taken with the camera on my new phone. I had just gotten this new phone and had, well still have, no idea how to use it.  Sorry for the poor picture quality.

Looked almost like a Bible to me! This page shows two table settings. You probably can’t read the little note on the top right of the page but it says, ”

A dash of originality in a setting of impeccable taste produces such beautiful tables as this for the bridal breakfast and Thanksgiving dinner.

Hmm, yes. I agree wholeheartedly.

In the back of the book were just a few pages in color and I found this page especially charming with its taped in note from a previous owner of the book.

Can you read it?

It’s a little note about cleaning a cast iron skillet,

A little vinegar and salt boiled in your iron skillet will remove the untidy black spots or burns.

So helpful!

The second book I grabbed off the shelf was Feeding the Family by Mary Rose (1916).

Interesting stuff in this book!

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

The first page of chapter ix

Seems very scientific.

I left the book shop because I was afraid I would start buying everything in sight but I really liked being in there. If I’m back in Champaign I’m going back to Jane Addams Book Shop even if just to smell the old book smell again.

I ended my private one block tour at the Cafe Kopi.

An awesome little coffee shop that serves great coffee, plays great soothing music, and serves great food.

Big bonus-you can add booze to your coffee. I could live there.

I ordered a cappuccino and a piece of banana walnut bread (with real butter thank you very much) and sat by the front window. I read my book and drank my coffee and ate my bread and was happy.

My small town hasn’t caught on to the brilliance of the good coffee shop. Last time my husband visited our local coffee shop they played the Best of Guns N’ Roses CD on a loop…

As if on cue, just as I finished the last bite of my banana bread, my husband walked through the front door of the Cafe Kopi and away we went on our date.

Good times I tell ya.

Good times.

V-day

Last modified on 2011-02-14 13:24:21 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

Heard this on the radio this morning….

If Valentine’s Day was a real holiday the post office would be closed.

Amen.

HaHa!

Memories of Christmas 2010

Last modified on 2011-01-14 10:59:35 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Each year on Christmas Eve my immediate family (three younger brothers and their significant others and my nieces) gather at my mom’s house to celebrate Christmas.

A few years ago, my mom thought it would be fun to have a themed Christmas get together.

Having a theme means that we dress up and the food we eat for dinner is representative of the theme.

We’ve had a Blue Christmas with Elvis.

A Mexican Christmas with Mexican food and sombreros.

A Knight Before Christmas with renaissance clothing and ate with our hands. We even had a sword fight.

This year’s theme was…..drumroll please…..

A Country Christmas

Turns out there’s more than one way to interpret “country Christmas”.

Most of us interpreted it to mean a country-western Christmas. My mom planned the menu to reflect this. We had fried chicken, potato salad, green beans and corn. She set up a checkers match and we had a picnic on the living room floor. Not sure how all of it fit in with country western but it was fun.

Alternatively, other family members interpreted “country Christmas” to mean redneck Christmas.

At this point I think pictures really would do the story more justice.

Enjoy!

My mom and step-dad.

My brother Andy.

My husband.

My brother Greg.

Me.

My sister-in-law.

My youngest brother, Tim.

And the the food.

Fried chicken.

Appetizer from my brother and sister-in-law.

Can you tell what this is?

Desserts.

All in all a great and fun family Christmas.

This is, by far, my most favorite memory of the day.

I left this one high-res in case you want to download it for yourself.

Maybe use it as your Christmas card for next year.

I have the best family.

Ever.

4 Things

Last modified on 2011-01-10 13:01:17 GMT. 9 comments. Top.

1. I hate snow. I don’t like looking at it, I don’t like driving on it, I don’t like cleaning it up.

2. Had my first mammogram yesterday. Not near as bad as I thought it would be and the momogrammologist gave me a piece of chocolate when she was done, uh…mamogramming me. I almost asked for another mammogram.

3. When I was younger I said, “When I’m older I’m going to hire someone to play with my hair for a couple of hours a day and pay them, like, $10 an hour.” I’d still like to make that happen. Wonder what the want ad would say to not attract weirdos and could I ask for references? What kind of references could anyone really give for this kind of job?

4. I have a hard time picking favorites of anything. Movies, books, food, colors, places, and so on.

That is all.

I’m outta here til next week.

Have a great weekend.

Whatcha Watching?

Last modified on 2011-01-06 14:51:01 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

I like movies.

I’d like to watch more of them.

Here are a couple I think you should check out.

Whip It

The directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, stars Ellen Page as Bliss, a rebellious Texas teen who throws in her small town beauty pageant crown for the rowdy world of roller derby.

I loved this movie in a big way but I love most Fox Searchlight movies.

The soundtrack is pretty cool too.

Seraphine

In 1914, Wilhelm Uhde, a famous German art collector, rents an apartment in the town of Senlis, forty kilometers away from Paris, in order to write and to take a rest from the hectic life he has been living in the capital. The cleaning lady (Seraphine) is a rather rough-and-ready forty-year-old woman who is the laughing stock of others. One day, Wilhelm who has been invited by his landlady, notices a small painting lying about in her living room. He is stunned to learn that the artist is no other than Séraphine. Written by Guy Bellinger

The film is in French but there are subtitles.


A couple of samples of her art.

Driving Lessons

A coming of age story about a shy teenage boy trying to escape from the influence of his domineering mother. His world changes when he begins to work for a retired actress.

This is one of my all-time favorite movies.

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll notice a couple of the main characters. Rupert Grint, a.k.a. Ron Weasly and Julie Walters, a.k.a. Molly Weasly, mother of the Weasly kids in the Harry Potter movies.

I’ve also seen Salt, Eat, Pray, Love, Grown Ups, and My Sister’s Keeper recently.

Your turn!

What really good movies, either on video or currently in theaters, have you seen?

Whatcha Reading?

Last modified on 2010-12-29 18:09:35 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Books are great.

I’d like to read more of them.

Leave a comment and tell us what you’ve read recently and if you liked it and why or why not.

Here are a couple I’ve read recently.

Little Bee

By Chris Cleave

A moving story about two women who meet under sad and complicated circumstances that effects them for the rest of their lives.

From the book:

We must see all scars as beauty.

True dat.

The Thirteenth Tale

By Diane Setterfield

I love this book.

I had a hard time coming up with a short description.

Instead, I thought you would enjoy a snippet from the book.

From the book:

My gripe is not with lovers of the truth but with truth herself. What succor, what consolation is there in truth, compared to a story? What good is truth, at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney? What you need are the plump comforts of a story. The soothing, rocking safety of a lie.

Ohhhh so creepy.

The book is a little slow going at first but keep with it.

You won’t regret it.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

and

The Girl who Played with Fire

By Stieg Larsson

I mentioned wanting to read these (based on suggestions from friends and all the hype about them) so my mom bought them so she and I could share-read them.

There are three in the series but I think after reading the first two, I’m done.

Were the well written?

Yes.

Held my attention?

Mostly.

Had to skip sections because I didn’t want the mental images in my head of the horrible abuse that occurred in the books?

Yes.

Now it’s your turn.

Whatcha reading?

The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas

Last modified on 2010-12-22 19:51:01 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Good Wednesday morning!

I can barely see through my tears of laughter to type after reading the following post on Hyperbole and a Half.

You must read it now and keep in mind the story is from when the author was six years old.

I don’t want a bunch of comments about how irreverent the story is.

Enjoy.

Click on the title below to be redirected to the story.

The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas

by Allie Brosh on Hyperbole and a Half

B-Day Stuff

Last modified on 2010-12-16 17:12:38 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

My birthday was last week.

I spent some quality time with my husband Luke (who spoiled me) and my family (who spoiled me).

The night before my birthday, Luke surprised me with an amazing bouquet of flowers AND a piece of cheesecake from Bucca di Beppo (my favorite place for cheesecake). The day of my birthday he took me to a couple of my favorite restaurants and took me shopping at a fancy schmancy mall.

My mom took me and my sister-in-law Jami, who had a birthday two days before me and is MUCH older than me, to a madrigal dinner which was wonderful.

The next day my three younger brothers, sister-in-law and nieces joined us at my mom’s for a birthday dinner for me and Jami.

I have the best and funniest family. Ever. We always have such a good time together. After dinner we had a Wii dance-off. Andy, my oldest younger brother and husband of Jami, won.

I took videos with my phone of my brothers dancing but can’t figure out how to get them off my phone to share them with you. Bummer because I’m pretty sure you would be impressed.

One of my birthday presents from Andy and Jami (and my nieces) was this little camera keyring from Kikkerland.

The camera is no more than an inch and a half tall and when you push the little shutter button the tiny LED flash flashes a bunch of times and the camera sounds like it’s quickly taking 5 pictures in a row.

I felt like I was walking the red carpet and paparazzi were yelling my name and saying “JB! Over here! Over here!”.

Big fun.

I decided to take a look at Kikkerland‘s website and boy oh boy do they have some fun looking stuff!

If you happen to need last minute gift ideas this is some exciting stuff. If nothing else, maybe just bookmark the website and when you do need a gift you know you can find something good there.

Thanks for a great birthday Luke and mom and stepdad and brothers and sister-in-law and Mary and Jessica!

Epic Use of the Word Epic

Last modified on 2010-12-09 19:36:50 GMT. 10 comments. Top.

Have you noticed the overuse of the word “epic”?

Can you tell me the definition of the word “epic”?

No?

Here it is from merriam-webster.com

…extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope

How can so many things be described as epic?

By using the word to describe countless commercials, sports teams, video games, fights, cars, air hockey tournaments, sales commissions, fails, wins, etc. aren’t we then negating it’s very definition?

Yes, yes we are.

It all can’t be epic.

And something isn’t epic just because modern media or your facebook friend says it is.

I’d like to help the situation, not just complain.

If you really feel that you must use the word epic or something as equally weighty, how about one of these words instead? By the way these words are called adjectives.

bigger than life, bold, classic, courageous, daring, dauntless, doughty, elevated, exaggerated, fearless, gallant, grand, grandiose, gritty, gutsy, gutty, inflated, lion-hearted, mythological, noble, stouthearted, unafraid, undaunted, valiant

Maybe better suited to describe what has recently been described as “epic” I came up with another set of words you might find helpful.

interesting, stupid, typical, garden-variety, tolerable, mainstream, mediocre, popular, typical, different, run-of-the-mill

Amen.

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I need…to…climb….down from my….

Afraid

Last modified on 2010-12-03 22:05:20 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Grab a cup of coffee or a snack. This is a bit of a long one and the only pictures are the ones in your mind.

Last year when I was driving in to work from our house in the country (think .25 mile long gravel driveway to a .5 mile long gravel road, a couple more country roads and THEN on to a “main” road) to my then new job in the closest city to us, I’m pretty sure I had my first panic attack.

I was driving by myself in our old but fairly reliable 1993 Ford Explorer with 4×4 (thank God) on solid ice covered roads.

I start work at 7:30am so during the winter months it’s still dark when I drive leave my house. I started out carefully and slowly along my normal route.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share some wisdom from my grandpa. He said, in the winter always keep your gas tank at least half full.

On this day I didn’t follow his advice and had less than a quarter tank of gas. My truck is a gas guzzler and there wasn’t a gas station anywhere near me. Nagging in the back of my mind during this whole terrifying situation was that I was going to run out of gas and be stranded on the side of the road, or in a ditch, or in the creek.

After carefully driving for about 8 miles, I saw up ahead brake lights and flashing lights so I started to slow down. I gently let off the accelerator and started to push on the brakes. It was then that I really started to get nervous.

The truck was  slowing down on it’s own but I wasn’t stopping. At all. I was sliding. And fervently praying.

I was coming up on a pretty steep downward hill that leads into the city. If I couldn’t get the truck to stop I was in big trouble.  I would not only ram into the back of the vehicle that had stopped in front of me, I would nudge them down the ice covered hill. And I would be right behind them unable to stop.

And I had to pee.

I was eventually able to  stop in time and then starred in my rear view mirror hoping the person(s) in the car behind me would be able to stop before hitting me. The downward hill had been closed by police because it was too dangerous to drive on. At this point I happened to look down at the gas gauge and started to panic. Again.

My thoughts then turned to getting to a gas station. The indicator arm was quickly inching towards the red “E”. I slowly turned the truck around and skidded my way back towards my little town square which had the closest gas station I knew of.

It was now 8:15am and I was 45 minutes late to my new job. Oh, and I hadn’t yet had the chance to collect my boss’ or co-worker’s phone numbers to tell them I was on my way but was having trouble getting there. After filling the gas tank and collecting myself a bit it occurred to me that I only knew two ways in to town and I had just come from one of them. What should have occurred to me was to just slide on home which was about 4 miles from the gas station.

Feeling a little better and confident that the other way in to town would surely have been cleared by snow plows and salt trucks I instead headed out again using the other route I knew of to get to work.

I should have just gone home.

This other way was no better than the first. Thick ice covered road with much deeper ditches. I only dared take my eyes off the road to glance to the right of me noting where the best place to ditch myself would be if I couldn’t get myself stopped.

About half way in to town is a small church with a gravel parking lot on the opposite side of the road.  Having driven this route a number of times before I knew I was coming up on it. As I was going up a hill just before the church I again start to see brake lights on the other side of the hill, right by the church. Bad news since I had just increased my speed to get over the hill.

As I came to the top of the hill I could see cars that had slid off the road on both sides and a car had just stopped in the middle of the road, right in front of me. In the church parking lot the people that were driving the now ditched cars were gathering to wait for tow trucks.

There was a car in the other lane coming towards me. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t ditch the truck. There was still the stopped car in front of me.

There was only one thing I could do. I gave the truck a little gas. I slid across the other lane honking the horn, missing the car in my lane and the oncoming car. The people in the church parking lot saw me quickly sliding  towards them and they started running. There was a parked truck in the church parking lot with someone in the drivers seat. I swung my truck around to miss the people but was then sliding sideways towards the other parked truck. Somehow my tires grabbed enough traction in the parking lot to be able to push on the gas again, just enough to miss the other truck and get myself back on the road.

Things were looking up but I was shaken. I kept driving, now half way to work. I forgot about a bridge that was just ahead. I crossed it not really paying attention to the line of cars on the other side of the road NOT crossing the bridge. The bridge was completely ice covered and slanted towards the other lane. Thankfully the cars going the other direction had seen me coming and waited before crossing, giving me the entire two-lane bridge to myself. I started to panic again.

I made it safely across the bridge and at the first side road I came to,  turned and pulled in to the first driveway. I sat in my truck and sobbed. My chest was tight and I was freaking out.

I was just about 3 miles from work. It was now 9:30am and I was two hours late and no one I worked with knew where I was. My husband was at his job an hour away. I certainly wasn’t going to turn around and go back the way I had just come from.

And I had to pee.

After collecting myself a bit I started out again and made it just fine to work. No one else was even in the office because they were smart enough to stay home.

And that’s why I’m deathly afraid to drive on snowy and icy roads and think I had my first panic attack.

I HATE snowy icy weather.

Amen.

Dream Job – 2

Last modified on 2010-11-30 16:28:45 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

#2

Product Tester

I like to window shop.

Maybe because I’m afraid of commitment.

Or maybe it’s because I don’t want to spend my/our hard earned money on a product that won’t do as it says and is cheaply constructed.

When I like something I tell my friends and family and coworkers. I would put the product with my review on my blog for the world to see.

Kitchen & Cooking Products

Home Goods & Tools

Clothes & Shoes

Electronics


I know there are product tester jobs but I don’t want to go company to company and apply.

I want them to come to me.

And this is why I’ll probably never be a product tester.

I did say it was a dream job.

Saturday Pants

Last modified on 2010-11-28 21:56:39 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I’ve really been thinking about this.

I’ve decided that I should start a campaign.

A campaign for Saturday Pants.

I declare that Saturday Pants should become EVERYDAY PANTS!

Who’s with me?!

Dream Job – 1

Last modified on 2010-11-23 16:13:43 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Yes, I numbered this post because I have more than one dream job.

So, #1:

Commercial Rater or Commercial Critiquer

This is sort of a fake one. I’m pretty sure I’m making this job up and if it did exist I’m not sure I’d really want it because it goes against much of what I think is good for me/us/all of mankind.

Generally I don’t like commercials. In fact I am against most, if not all, commercialization of just about everything. The greedy sick way that we’re often sucked in to buying things we don’t need only to make someone else more money…ah well, you get my drift.

Usually when my husband and I watch TV we mute the commercials.

Because most of them are horrible. Bad ideas, bad execution, bad music, bad actors.

I admit I don’t think I could ever work in an ad agency. Having to come up with completely original ideas to market an item or idea isn’t my bag.

But I know what I like and most of the time other people agree with me.

For my fake/dream job, I’ve come up with a five point scale for rating commercials.

1 – Waste.

Waste of my time. Waste of your time. Waste of actors, ad agency, and product time.

2 -Tolerable.

I only remember it because it was so bad.

3 -Acceptable.

I don’t hate it.

4 -Delightful.

Evoked a pleasant thought or feeling and later I’ll probably be humming the theme song.

5 – Brilliant.

I could watch it over and over and will probably tell someone about it.

So, here we go. A smattering of commercials with my ratings.

The do-it-yourself-commercial.

JB Rating: 1

Any political ad/commercial.

JB Rating: 1.5

The Discovery Channel The World is Just Awesome

JB Rating: 4.5

Love this commercial. And song.

Happy Day!

Last modified on 2010-11-17 14:10:02 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

Happy Birthday Mom!

To the best mom ever, hope you have a wonderful birthday.


Gift Ideas – 3

Last modified on 2010-11-17 01:14:56 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I know, I know.

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet but I’m on a budget and have to start thinking who and what and how much I’m spending on Christmas gifts early.

I hate the commercialization, outlandish overspending, and total disregard for the reason for the season when it comes to Christmas and Christmas gifts.

That said, I do think it good and appropriate to give gifts to those in our lives that we care about.

THAT said, I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some fun gift ideas.

Mainly because I think this stuff is cool.

Click on the item title to be redirected to the store that sells the item.

Nest

Nest is a nonprofit organization that empowers female artists and artisans around the world. Using a unique combination of interest-free microfinance loans, mentoring from established designers, as well as a market in which to sell their crafts, Nest helps its loan recipients create successful small businesses. Nest instills pride of ownership, preserves ancient artistic traditions and successfully moves women from poverty to self-sufficiency.

Two ways to buy. From loan recipients or from artists helping artists. Or donate in the name of someone else.

Angie

Made in the USA from 100% recycled polyester fabric.

$24

Elena Necklace

Made on a loom, a 3-tiered necklace from a loan recipient in the Guatemalan Weaving School.

$10

Elie Elefant

From Togo in a traditional batik style.

$25

Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages is an exceptional source for unique handmade gifts, jewelry, home decor, art and sculpture. textiles, serve-ware and personal accessories representing the diverse cultures of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

…the company strives to improve the livelihood of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. Ten Thousand Villages accomplishes this by establishing a sustainable market for handmade products in North America, and building long term buying relationships in places where skilled artisan partners lack opportunities for stable income. Product sales help pay for food, education, healthcare and housing for artisans who would otherwise be unemployed or underemployed.

Six-in-One Dice

Handcrafted from shesham wood, with beautifully inlaid brass number dots. A fun gift for game playing or as a conversation piece.

$18

Handmade Silk Paper Cards

The cards are made by women artisans with Prokritee, which trains village women to produce paper, baskets and other items. With income from this work, artisans feed and clothe their children, send them to school and improve their housing.

$13.50

Oval Bread Basket

Women artisans of Uganda Crafts have adapted traditional raffia weaving techniques from circular basketry, making this unique oval bread basket with extended handles. The core of each coil is banana fiber, around which raffia palm is wrapped.

$24

Gift Ideas – 2

Last modified on 2010-11-08 13:48:13 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

The following selections are all from Spoon Sisters.

Click on the picture to be redirected to the product website.

Bananagrams

Even though I NEVER win, I love this game!

$14.95

The Chef Set – Page Flags to Identify Recipes

Fun idea!

$6.45

Ms. Food Face

There’s also a Mr. Food Face.

$13

Body Double Magnets

If only my fridge was magnetic.

$7.50

Mobile Device Charging Holder

This is pretty nifty. That’s a really old looking phone.

$10

Crayon Rocks

I think these are cool but they look a lot like jelly beans. Dangerous.

$7.50

Spoon Sisters

Hotels Are Scary

Last modified on 2010-11-04 18:41:23 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I need to stop watching shows like 20/20 and Dateline and reading articles like the one I saw yesterday in the Yahoo news feed.

I’ve traveled quite a bit. Been overseas. Been all over the U.S.

Thing is, the older I get the more I want to just stay home.

I’m not a germaphobe even though my boss might disagree with that statement because of the industrial size hand sanitizer that sits on my desk. I tried to explain to her that the 40 oz bottle was just to be used to refill a smaller bottle but then I couldn’t find a smaller bottle so just stuck the giganto bottle on my desk.

I mean, I work around college age boys. They’re gross so hand sanitizer and Lysol have become my BFFs.

Back to hotels.

When I was younger I loved staying in hotels. Someone else cleaned the room before I got there and would clean up after I left.

Conrad Hotel - I've not stayed here before but it sure looks nice.

Or so I thought.

Then came the undercover and hidden camera footage of housekeepers not washing the glasses, not changing the bed sheets, not vacuuming the floors, and only rinsing out the bathtub, toilet, and sinks.

Next was the article about bedbugs and other bodily fluids on the mattresses and bedding of hotels as shown by taking a  black light and running it over the mattress and bedding.

FYI – here’s a list of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Dirty Hotels. Steer clear of these places!

Here’s the article that was on the Yahoo news-feed yesterday: Confessions of a Hotel Housekeeper

MOST disturbing by far is this article that I recently read: Missing Woman Found Under Hotel Mattress in Memphis

Now when I have to stay in a hotel I try to never go barefoot in the room and especially not in the bathroom. I always bring Lysol and spray down the room before we touch anything. I pretty much can’t wait to get out of the place. I’d almost rather sleep in the car.

I wish I’d never seen those articles or TV news stories. Ignorance was bliss.

In conclusion it looks like I am a germaphobe.

At least when it comes to hotels.

And working with college students.

Dangit.

Gift Ideas – 1

Last modified on 2010-11-03 13:16:05 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

I know, I know.

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet but I’m on a budget and have to start thinking who and what and how much I’m spending on Christmas gifts early.

I hate the commercialization, outlandish overspending, and total disregard for the reason for the season when it comes to Christmas and Christmas gifts.

That said, I do think it good and appropriate to give gifts to those in our lives that we care about.

THAT said, I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some fun gift ideas.

Mainly because I like this stuff.

I’ll post several small lists with pictures and prices over the next month and a half-ish.

Click on the picture to be redirected to the store that sells the item.

Ticket Stub Diary

For the person in your life that loves concerts, plays, musicals, or movies.

From Uncommon Goods, $10

Bacon Flavored Envelopes

No explanation needed.

From Uncommon Goods, $7 for 25

Slang Flash Cards

I must be getting older because I can’t understand what kids are saying these days.

From Uncommon Goods, $10

Parking Tickets

In the fight against road rage now you can just leave nasty little pre-printed notes on people’s cars.

From Uncommon Goods, $8

Porcelain Campfire

I think this is really cool and am probably going to have to buy myself one or two.

From Uncommon Goods, $20

Door Mat

Hehe

From Uncommon Goods, $22

Uncommon Goods

Do You Believe in Big Foot?

Last modified on 2010-11-01 11:32:05 GMT. 10 comments. Top.

Is Big Foot real?

Is there enough proof of its existence?

Are the  Sasquatch sightings a hoax?

I’m doing a small and informal research project and want to know what you think.

Leave a comment and tell me if you think Big Foot is real.

3 Things

Last modified on 2010-10-26 13:43:38 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

1. I can’t think of anything to blog about.

2. The thought of strangers rifling through my house trying to decide if they want to buy it and judging me on everything inside and outside of the house really freaks me out.

3. I wish I was the type of person who really loved to exercise. Instead, after even the slightest mention of exercising, I feel a sudden desperate need to take a nap.

Tuesdays are dumb.

Sorry, that was 4 things.

Kickstarter

Last modified on 2010-10-25 19:17:36 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

A funding platform unlike anything I’ve seen before. A place where anything can be put online and a request for funding goes out. If you like what you see you can pledge a dollar amount. The person wanting the funding sets a date and time and if they don’t receive all the funding they say they need, the project isn’t funded and those who pledged don’t have to pay what they pledged.

Bonus – many (if not most) projects offer rewards to their backers if the project gets funded. Could be your name listed in the credits of a film, or maybe a t-shirt or a limited edition of an item.

Pretty cool.

Here are some projects that have been funded.

Blue Like Jazz! the movie

Funded.

Kaissa’s I Am So Happy Album

Funded.

Pop Culture Paper Doll Project

Funded.

Glif – iPhone 4 Tripod Mount & Stand
Funded

God & Bacon

Last modified on 2010-10-21 12:13:50 GMT. 7 comments. Top.

Saw this picture today and it made me think of my husband.

In case you can’t read the text in the picture it says:

Bacon is Like a Little Hug from God

I agree.

Photo from nicodemus green on etsy.com

Speaking of bacon and my husband (who loves bacon) I found these other interesting and disturbing items.

Bacon Wallet

Everyone needs one.

Bacon Floss

Because while you may not want it stuck in your teeth, everyone wants that bacon flavor to last just a little longer.

Bacon Watch

What time is it? Bacon time.

Bacon Vodka

For reals, yo.

Anyone remember the episode of The Office where Micheal burns his foot on his George Foreman grill because he wants to wake up to the smell of bacon?

In conclusion bacon can be dangerous but if you’re feeling lonely or just hungry go ahead and have some.

It’s like a little hug from God.

Toads & Italian Cream Cake

Last modified on 2010-10-20 13:18:28 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

My mother-in-law’s birthday was Monday. Happy Birthday again!

To celebrate my in-laws came over along with my brother and sister-in-law, their three kids, and relatives from Illinois.

We cooked out and hung out and it was great to be together.

Click on any of the photos to make see a larger version.

Here’s my mother-in-law Kathy with my youngest nephew, Jonah.

Niece Annika getting ready to jump off the porch.

Nephew Caleb with a toad. He loves looking for and catching toads at our house.

Annika and Caleb. I love the look on Caleb’s face.

I forgot to take pictures of everyone else that was there which is too bad.

Of course I remembered to take a picture of dessert though.

My mother-in-law requested Italian Cream Cake for her birthday dessert this year. So that’s what I made her.

I sent the left-over cake home with my mother-in-law but I have to admit that I wanted to keep it for myself.

Hyperbole and a Half – Read Now

Last modified on 2010-10-20 00:06:05 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

My co-worker Rachel shared this blog with me yesterday.

Hyperbole and a Half

I have only read a couple of the stories (some are a little long) and was barely able to finish  reading them because I was laughing so hard I was crying. In some ways I think I may be related to the author.

Photo from hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

So far I’ve read:

Texas

A Better Pain Scale

The Party

Happy Tuesday!

Moleskine vs Mead

Last modified on 2010-10-14 15:27:44 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

A while back I posted about being creative and wanting a fancy Moleskine notebook to write all of my awesome ideas in the instant they popped into my head.

Mainly because I have the memory of a 95 year old and in the off chance that I did come up with an awesome blog post idea I certainly wouldn’t want to be caught without some sort of writing utensil and paper so that later I could remind myself of my awesome idea.

And I think the Moleskine notebooks and journals just look cool.

Alas, at $10.95 plus shipping for a pocket-sized notebook, I could not justify purchasing one.

Then this week while at Walmart (I hate Walmart and think it equally as stupid and weird as Jell-O but I go there anyway because I’m a slave to their low prices dammit) I found a Mead brand knock-off of the Moleskine pocket-sized notebook.

And the price?

$5.97 plus tax. Wha?!

I couldn’t get to the check-out line fast enough.

Here she is in all her glory.



Now, if only I could find a pen.

Rhett and Link T-Shirt War

Last modified on 2010-10-12 11:45:39 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

This is awesome.

Who has time to think up this stuff?

Thanks Kayla for introducing me to Rhett and Link.

Trololo

Last modified on 2010-10-07 13:42:43 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Happy Thursday!

And yes, this guy’s for real. Whether this is the first time hearing this song or the twenty-fifth, it’s worth a listen.

His facial expression is priceless and my favorite part of the song happens at 1:26 in the video. Cracks. Me. Up.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia,

“There is a backstory about this song. Originally, we had lyrics written for this song but they were poor. I mean, they were good, but we couldn’t publish them at that time. They contained words like these: “I’m riding my stallion on a prairie, so-and-so mustang, and my beloved Mary is thousand miles away knitting a stocking for me”. Of course, we failed to publish it at that time, and we, Arkady Ostrovsky and I, decided to make it a vocalisation. But the essence remained in the title. The song is very naughty – it has no lyrics, so we had to make up something for people would listen to it, and so this was an interesting arrangement.
—Eduard Khil, LIfe News (Russian)”

This video is so popular that there was a Trololo Look-Alike Contest.

Not sure why all the look-alikes are so greasy looking. The look-alike’s start appearing around 1:27 in the video.

Then, there’s this parody by a Spanish Artist. Love the hair. Hate the voice.

I couldn’t embed the video but you can click on the link and go and watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVHnmAKOGAo&feature=related

Good times.

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Last modified on 2010-09-30 13:52:16 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

This weekend the hubby and I will be traveling to Kentucky for a wedding that’s on Sunday. We’re staying with our friends, Geoff and Kriss. Thanks for agreeing to host us!

On Saturday we will venture out on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. I can’t help but imagine us all in cowboy hats and on horses. Who’s the designated driver in that sort of a situation? The horse?

Photo from kybourbontrail.com

Moving on.

According to Wikipedia (the ultimate source of knowledge):

Bourbon is an American whiskey, a type of distilled spirit, made primarily from corn (maize) and named for Bourbon County, Kentucky. It has been produced since the 18th century. While it may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

Photo from kybourbontrail.com

We’ll be driving from distillery to distillery, touring and tasting. Well I will probably only taste once. I’m not much of a bourbon fan.

Photo from kybourbontrail.com

My husband is pretty excited about this trip. I’ll have my camera and will post pictures soon.

Oh yeah, congrats Lauren and Wes on your nuptials!

Segway

Last modified on 2010-09-29 12:38:50 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

Sad news.

On Sunday, September 26, 2010, James Heselden owner of the Segway company died from an accident involving a Segway electric scooter. Apparently while touring his property on his Segway he plummeted from a cliff in to a river.

You can read the story from the New York Times here.

The story of Mr. Heselden is sad, and I can’t help but think what this accident will do to the image of the Segway. Like, in a bad way.

I didn’t need to hear about Mr. Heselden to know that Segways are bad though. I was already convinced that they are no good.

I remember my previous boss telling me a story about her experience on a Segway.  She rented one as part of a group tour. There was a group of people taking a tour of a town, all of them on Segways. While Segway-ing over a bridge my previous boss leaned the wrong way and her Segway zoomed toward the side of the bridge. She couldn’t figure out how to maneuver it quickly enough and so ran into the bridge railing pinning her right hand between the railing and Segway handlebar.

She hurt her hand but was okay. I felt bad her hand was hurt but laughed hysterically for days imagining the situation.

Photo from segway.com

When I see or hear or think about a Segway I picture mall cops on power trips.

Photo from segway.com

Or the movie Mall Cop.

I’m afraid to try a Segway. I just don’t trust myself.

Then I watch a video like this which only confirms my fears.

So maybe a Segway isn’t the way to go. At least for me anyway.

How about a Levitating Hover Scooter? It’s only $13,000.

Photo from Hammacher Schlemmer

Whatever your mode of transportation, please ride safely.

Shameful

Last modified on 2010-09-13 12:52:44 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

What I’m about to tell you is shameful. I know it and I’m not proud of it.

Below is the list of shows I’m super excited about. I will be completely unavailable in the evenings next week as the season premiers of all of these are scheduled.  I don’t have cable or satellite so fortunately I’m restricted to the following.

Community

I enjoy this show. It makes me laugh.

Favorite characters: Pierce played by Chevy Chase and Abed played by Danny Pudi

30 Rock

This show is hit and miss comedy for me. I love some of the characters though and that’s why I watch it.

Favorite characters: Jack played by Alec Baldwin and Kevin played by Jack McBrayer

The Office

Ah, The Office. I’ve been a loyal watcher since the beginning but after the last season I’m willing to skip it and maybe watch it eventually on Hulu. The writers better get it together! The Office is a comedy not a drama. This is Michael Scott’s (played by Steve Carell) last season. I’m hoping it doesn’t disappoint.

Favorite characters: Dwight played by Rainn Wilson, Creed played by Creed Bratton, and Kelly played by Mindy Kaling

Parks and Recreation

By far my most favorite NBC show! P & R started out a bit slow and I don’t know if they hired new writers or just threatened the jobs of the original writers but this show CRACKS ME UP.

Favorite characters: Ron played by Nick Offerman, Leslie played by Amy Poehler, and Tom played by Aziz Ansari.

Grey’s Anatomy

Drama, drama, drama. Add to that Dr.’s McDreamy and McSteamy and you’ve got a winning show in my mind!

Favorite characters: Lexie played by Chyler Leigh and Alex played by Justin Chambers

Lost

R.I.P. The show is over now but I had to mention it. If you haven’t watched it go and rent the seasons from Blockbuster or get them from Netflix. So intense, sometimes frustrating, good show.

Favorite characters: Kate played by Evangeline Lilly, Sawyer played by Josh Holloway, and Hugo played by Jorge Garcia

**Modern Family**

My most favorite show out right now! So funny!

Favorite characters: Cameron played by Eric Stonestreet, Phil played by Ty Burrell, and Manny played by Rico Rodriguez

V

Another drama but really good. This show is a remake of an 1983 miniseries. Not sure how long the writers can keep the storyline going but for right now it’s pretty interesting.

Favorite character: Anna played by Morena Baccarin. She plays a great creepy alien.

**Glee**

I love this show in a big way.

Favorite character: Sue played by Jane Lynch

Fringe

This show is the perfect mix of Alias and X-files. Haven’t seen either one of those? Alias is an old favorite of mine. You should totally go rent the seasons from Blockbuster or get them from Netflix.

Favorite characters: Walter played by John Noble, Peter played by Joshua Jackson, and Olivia played by Anna Torv

What about you? Which shows are you excited to watch?

I won’t be offended if you respond with something like, “Uh, I have a life and don’t have time to watch stupid tv.” Or, “Maybe pick up a book or take a walk instead of spending hours watching the boob-tube.” It’s ok if you think that. I think it too.

There are a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of them. But I don’t have a library card and don’t want to buy the book.

And I do walk. After work. Before any of my shows are on.  So there!

Are Fanny Packs Back?

Last modified on 2010-08-25 20:13:37 GMT. 9 comments. Top.

What is going on?! I’ve been seeing a lot of fanny packs around lately. Yesterday driving home from work was a young man on a bike with a fanny pack. My friend in California has one.

Here she is. I’m not sure if she’s trying to show off the tractor or show off the fanny pack. The picture is a success either way in my mind.

I can’t remember ever having a fanny pack and I have to admit that I’m not planning on getting one. Sure, I can see how they would be useful. I just can’t get over the every-old-man-old-woman-tourist-has-one thing. I’m certainly not the authority on any kind of fashion but I just can’t wrap my head around fanny packs. Or hip or waist bags. Or whatever you want to call them.

Can someone tell me what’s going on? The world’s gone mad I tell ya.

Here is a smattering of photos I found online after searching “fanny pack”, “fashionable fanny pack”, and “vintage fanny pack”.

Fair Food

Last modified on 2010-08-16 18:32:21 GMT. 4 comments. Top.

My brother picked me up from work last week and we met his girlfriend and my husband in Indy for the Indiana State Fair. I’m pretty sure it was the hottest day of the year but we headed out to try some of the interesting fair food we had recently heard about.

The State Fair brings out the most interesting people. In fact, people-watching is almost as fun as trying the food and going to the free concerts. After we’d stuffed ourselves with fat-free, low-calorie foods we took a trolley ride around the fairgrounds and now more than ever I am convinced that two things are optional when you go to the fair. Bras and teeth. ‘Nuff said.

Anyhoo, I tried three new foods.

#1 Fried oreos

#2 Chocolate Covered Bacon

#3 the Pièce de résistance, the Doughnut Burger.

I can hardly talk about anything but the fried Oreos. Those weren’t half bad. In fact, I liked them. The chocolate covered bacon was just….wrong.  Flimsy undercooked bacon dipped in cheap chocolate and then, just before serving, dusted with powdered sugar. I guess I understand what they were going for with the whole salty and sweet flavors but there has got to be a better way to achieve it.

Lastly was the doughnut burger. A hamburger, piece of cheese, lettuce, and tomato served between two warmed-up Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I could hardly look at it let alone eat it. My brother liked it a lot. His girlfriend thought it edible. Me and the hubby? I almost spit out the bite I took and he had the same reaction. I’m almost gagging thinking about it right now.

I really wanted to try the fried butter but couldn’t talk anyone else into it. I’m glad I got to spend time with my brother, his girlfriend and my husband. The Fair? Well, I’m glad it’s over.

Naps

Last modified on 2010-08-12 13:52:50 GMT. 5 comments. Top.

I’m a firm believer in the power of naps. Power-naps, long naps, mid-day naps, mid-morning naps. Naps.

Preschoolers and kindergartners know what I’m talking about here. I’d like to take a stand, well more like a lie-down, and I’d like you to do it with me.

Other cultures get it but not us workaholic Americans.  For example there’s a siesta (Spain), a bhat-ghum (Bangladesh & West Bengal),  wujiao (China), fica (Sweden). We’re too uptight, too focused on the wrong stuff. We need to slow down and more than anything, take a nap.

In addition to getting a little rest there are all the health benefits to napping. A quick and simple online search will provide ample proof.

And if there isn’t enough time to go home and rest during the work day then I propose a napping room and/or sleep pods at work or school. Even airports are looking into installing a type of sleep box so that travelers can have some privacy and a nap and not suffer a kinked neck from sleeping in airport chairs. Check out the link below to the SleepBox.

Sleep Box

Be sure to watch the video.

How about this sleep pod?

Or what about the Ovei Pod

Or this Nap Shell

Who’s with me?! Let’s all band together and take a nap! Those who nap together, stay together?

[[

Weekend at the Lake…and the Wine

Last modified on 2010-07-26 15:13:56 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Two weekends ago I spent the weekend at Lake Bruce, or Bruce Lake depending on who you’re talking to. I was invited to a girls getaway at a friends family cabin.  There were six of us girls. Two sets of sisters, me and Jody. The cabin was very cool with much of the original character still intact. My friend, Amy, will be the third generation of owners of the cabin. No air conditioning, one small bathroom, screened in porch and beautiful views. Below are some pictures of the cabin and some of the food we ate.

Notice that I didn’t take any pictures of people. That was not on purpose. I just really like food.

Screened in porch with day bed and dinning table. This room faces the lake.

Hoosier cabinet in the kitchen.

Working telephone!

This phone worked. I  just couldn’t believe it! Amy said that on the weekends you can pick up the receiver, an operator will answer and she’ll put you through to a farmer so that you can order fresh eggs. What?! I was so excited. Like weird excited and asked if I could be the one to call for the eggs. Turns out that on both Saturday and Sunday morning I forgot about the phone. What a missed opportunity. Maybe if I’m invited back to the cottage I can call for eggs.

Cottage

Here’s a side view of the cottage. On the top floor was a main sitting room, two small bedrooms, and the bathroom. Down a really steep staircase was the kitchen. Just off the kitchen was the screen-in porch that faced the lake. This was the most popular room that weekend. It was beautifully decorated and the view was awesome.

View sitting on the screened in porch.

Dinning table. Also on the screen-in porch.

View from the lake.

There were four dogs with us that weekend which made for a lively time.

*Side note: I loved the canvas bags in the picture above. They were really sturdy and made well. I’m thinking I need one or two or four. They also come with a zipper closure which interests me. I think they came from LLBean or Land’s End.

Now on to the food. We ate well. Very well. And we drank well. Very well.

Our hostesses, Luanne and Amy, were providing the main course at each meal and the rest of us were to bring sides, appetizers, and wine. We had grilled chicken one night and turkey burgers the other. Lunch was veggies and dip and turkey wraps. I made and took a white bean dip with chopped veggies and tortilla chips to dip. One of the ladies brought sushi and spring rolls which were super good. My two favorite dishes were a mango corn relish and a brie appetizer.

I, of course, forgot to take a picture of the mango corn relish! Amy cut corn off the cob, cut up a mango, red onion, and some cilantro. Mixed it all together and juiced a lime over it. It was amazing and fresh. I liked it! I loved it! I want some more of it!

Another lady brought a brie appetizer. She took a round of brie and heated it up so that the cheese was softened. Once softened, she put it on a plate, spread cherry preserves on top, then sprinkled a nut mix on top. Served with crackers it was deliscious!

We all dug into it so quickly that I couldn’t get a picture of it whole.

Served with the brie was a bowl of steamed edemame with sea salt. Notice the wine glasses. No matter what we were doing, we always had wine.

Saturday morning Amy took me blueberry picking. Just 10 miles from the lake was a u-pick blueberry patch. I realized I had never seen blueberries on the bush. What a fun time. Sider’s Blueberry Farm was a huge place with acres and acres of blueberry bushes.

I followed Amy’s lead when we arrived because the place was set to close 3 minutes after we got there. We walked up to the stand like we knew what we were doing and were supposed to be there. Grabbed a belt and a bucket and walked away. We strapped the belts with the buckets on them around our waists and walked away as quickly as possible trying not to look  suspicious to a far row of blueberry bushes.

Immediately we started picking blueberries and dumping them into our buckets. I found my groove and soon had the bucket directly under where I was picking and could just fumble with the bunch a blueberries and they would just drop into the bucket.

We were running out of time and could no longer hear people talking indicating that they may not know we were there at all and the may lock us in when they closed.

Here’s Amy picking. We decided we should get going. My bucket was only a 1/4 full of blueberries and as we headed for the check-out shack I tried snapping some pictures along the way.

It was super fun. I would eat a handful of blueberries then dump a handful into my bucket. My fingers were stained purplish-blue the rest of the afternoon. That evening Amy made a blueberry pie with our freshly picked blueberries.  Between the two of us we had picked 5 pounds of blueberries in about 10 minutes. I’m pretty sure that has to be some sort of record.

What a great weekend. I made some wonderful new friends, the food was amazing, and the setting beautiful and relaxing. Thanks again Amy and Luanne for your hospitality!

Happy Thursday

Last modified on 2010-07-22 11:42:05 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

Maybe a little corny or maybe just what you need to hear.

Real Quick – 2 Things

Last modified on 2010-07-16 14:00:01 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

1. I hate the bra I have on today.

2. I also hate the shirt I have on today.

Leaving right now to go and purchase a different shirt. Will decide what to do about bra later.

Pastries Plus

Last modified on 2010-07-14 12:47:28 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Not too long ago a little pastry shop opened downtown. Pastries Plus carries a decent size variety of donuts, pastries, bagels, pies, cakes, and breads all made there on-site. I learned this morning that they will also make custom cakes.

I stopped in this morning and picked up a cream cheese pastry. Hello friend.

I also picked up some goodies for my co-workers. It’s a surprise for them and they will hate me for it. Mwahahaha. I figure anything is ok if  you are supporting local businesses.

Have a great day and hope your breakfast was much healthier than mine.

Quinoa, Bill Mallonee, and Ahi Nachos

Last modified on 2010-07-12 13:01:57 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

We just got back from a great trip to see our friends in Colorado Springs. Thanks again Jewett’s for your hospitality!

The night we arrived the Jewett’s had planned a house concert with Bill Mallonee (formerly of Vigilantes of Love) and his wife Muriah. We met lots of people and what a treat for my husband to get to hang out with one of his favorite signer/songwriters. You can’t see it in the picture but out the window was an awesome view of Pike’s Peak.

For dinner one night (it’s all a blur now and I can’t remember what we did on what day) Carrie (our hostess) made quinoa. I can’t for the life of me pronounce that word. I hadn’t had it before but heard about it and knew that it was super healthy.

After the quinoa was cooked Carrie added diced cucumber, tomatoes, orange and yellow bell pepper, and kalamata olives. Once the veggies were mixed into the quinoa she added some sort of dressing and voila!

It was sooooo good! I probably ate over half of it. I need to get the recipe for the dressing from Carrie asap so I can start making this at home. Loved it!  Plus, it’s super healthy so I figured it was ok to eat a ton of it.

Here’s a close up.

Another evening the Jewett’s took us to Phantom Canyon Brewery in downtown Colorado Springs. We sat outside and had a wonderful time. We ordered Ahi Nachos as an appetizer and holy cow were they good.

Please imagine for a moment that I know how to use the camera we’ve had for over 4 years and that the picture below is in perfect focus. My nacho was beautiful and it tasted 100 times better than it looked (in focus of course).

Here’s the description from the menu:

Fried Wontons, Hot Chili Soybeans, Wasabi Sour Cream.

This did it no justice.

Below is how I would describe them:

Succulent pieces of seared ahi tuna served on a bed of shredded cabbage with hot chili soybeans topped with wasabi sour cream. Heaven on a plate. OK, so maybe that description wasn’t good enough either. Dang.

The fried wontons were good but not good enough to include in the description. If I’m ever near a Phantom Canyon Brewery again I might just order two of the ahi nacho plates and eat them both all by my self.

I will admit I had thoughts of snatching the plate of nachos away from my husband and our two friends and hunkering down in my chair slobbering and saying in a Gollum voice….my precious. The rest of the meal was good but didn’t compare to the nachos.

While in Colorado Springs we visited the Garden of the Gods,
Agia Sophia Coffee Shop and Bookstore, a farmer’s market, went swimming, went to church at the beautiful Holy Theophony Church, picnicked in a park in the mountains and spent some much needed time with our dear friends.

OH! On the 4th of July we watched four sets of fireworks going off simultaneously with the mountains in the background. For added viewing pleasure there was a lightning storm happening at the same time. I was so mesmerized I forgot to take pictures (which probably wouldn’t be in focus anyway) but it was amazing. A flash of lightning would light up the night sky and outline the dark mountains and then ka-boom! fireworks would would light up the sky. It was like some sort of psychedelic orchestrated light show.

It was a great trip. Here we are at the Garden of the Gods.

Rainbows and goats

Last modified on 2010-06-22 03:16:15 GMT. 3 comments. Top.

Two weekends ago we celebrated a good friend’s 40th birthday. During dinner at Overpass Pizza, a small eatery with fantastic pizza, a big scary storm blew through. After dinner we swam to our cars and headed back to our house for margaritas and cheesecake.

We sat on the front porch and enjoyed the tail end of the storm while the guys played their guitars. At sunset the clouds parted and below was the scene outside.

Then on the other side of the house

Can you see the double rainbow?

Then last weekend we visited friends at their house. They have goats and I want me some goats! I have no clue how to take care of goats but have dreamed of making goat cheese, goat’s milk soap, goat’s milk ice cream, goat’s milk cream cheese. You get my drift.

Alas, it would seem I have commitment issues. While I do want goats I’m not sure I want the financial and time responsibility. We couldn’t go on vacation without having goat-sitters. What if the electric fence doesn’t work? What if they get sick? So, I figure I’m just not ready…yet. I’ll get there and when I do you can bet I will be pushing my goat’s milk creations on you.

Here  pictures of two of the goats I met.

I  love this little brown one.

The Peonies are…gone.

Last modified on 2010-06-09 02:07:09 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

I’m sad. Our peony bushes are done blooming for the year. The lovely pink and white petals gone leaving the lonely bare green stem and leaves to fend for themselves.  Sorry friends you won’t see those petals again for months.

I have fond memories of the peonies that grew along the fence in the front yard of the house I grew up in and love that we have them growing at our house now. We have a couple different varieties and I have no idea what kind of peonies they are.



Something about peonies growing in the yard or in displayed a pretty vase in the house just says home to me.

This old Ball canning jar was my grandmother’s. After she passed away we found it while going through a storage shed and I asked if I could have it. Seeing this blue canning jar filled with peonies made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. And it made me miss my grandma. Even more than that it made me thankful that I still have my mom around.

My mom and grandma (and my dad in the background).

Circa 1980-something as noted by my mom’s sunglasses (nice mom).

My great-grandmother, grandmother, mom, and me.

Commiting

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:48:49 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

So, with the encouragement of my husband and Pam from work I’m committing to writing a post once…a week…I mean month. I feel confident that once a week/month is a doable goal.

Does this post count?

I lie

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:48:59 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I haven’t posted. I lost the login information to my blog (see first post below).

I’m sorry, I’ll try not to lie again.

Coming soon…

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:49:24 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

an actual post! I’m looking around, going to make some changes and then hope to post more often.

7 years

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:49:37 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Yesterday was my 7th wedding anniversary. 7 wonderful, exciting, adventure-filled, loving, caring years. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 7 (and many, many more) years.

Nesting

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:50:01 GMT. 2 comments. Top.

see all of her artwork at http://www.elliottlouis.com/dynamic/artists/Stefany_Hemming.asp

According to Wikipedia,

A nest is a place of refuge to hold an animal’s eggs and/or provide a place to raise their offspring. They are usually made of some organic material such as twigs, grass, and leaves; or may simply be a depression in the ground, or a hole in a tree, rock or building.

Every time I rearrange my desk my boss makes a comment like, “Oh there she goes nesting again”. We’ve just moved and our house is a mess so I’d like something in my life to be organized and actually feel like home. I do spend over 40 hours a week at my desk so yeah, I guess I’m nesting there because by the time I actually get home I’m too tired to do any nesting.

A place of refuge, that’s the type of home I’d like. So I arrange and rearrange furniture and wall hangings and where to store the toothpaste so that it can be easily found and all of this drives my husband nutso. Surely nesting isn’t unique to women. All this nesting to make a place of refuge, a home, that isn’t simply a depression in the ground or a hole in a tree, rock or building.

“What Not to Wear” is “What Not to Watch”

Last modified on 2011-03-16 12:49:01 GMT. 6 comments. Top.

Happy Wednesday Friends!

Today I would like to introduce the blog, OGM!, written by my friend April.

A fairly new blog, I’ve enjoyed reading it and found it to be thought provoking and interesting. April doesn’t mince words and speaks from the heart and that’s why I like her.

I recently asked her if she’d be willing to write a guest post on a subject of her choice.

Before we get to the post itself, I asked April a couple of get-to-know-you questions.

You know, important stuff that people want to know.

JB: What’s a secret dream job of yours?
April: Movie editor.
JB: Favorite breakfast food?
April: Jelly Filled Donut…mmmm…
JB: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
April: I have always dreamed of flying.
JB: Would you rather write or read and why?
April: Read, because others have more knowledge, and because someone else did all the hard work and I get the benefit!

Be sure to check out OGM! and without further ado, take it away April!

    “What Not to Wear” is “What Not to Watch”

TLC’s What Not to Wear is a make-over show with all the usual elements – a physical transformation within a short amount of time, a joyful reaction by the participant (often involving tears), and all expenses paid by the producers. The show first aired in the U.K. in 2001, and a spin-off was created for the U.S. in 2003. The show has garnered 7.4 million viewers for a single episode.

What Not to Wear focuses not only on the physical transformation of the fashion-less women, but on the “emotional transformation” as well. Throughout the episodes, the participants explain the reasoning behind the way they dress, and by the end, they share how they have emotionally changed throughout the make-over process, leaving the viewer feeling like something great was accomplished.

Below is a short preview for the show:

Unfortunately, the emotional transformation the participants confess cannot be obtained by simply buying new clothes and getting a new hair style. One of the subtle lies of What Not to Wear is that looking beautiful will heal your wounds and help you love yourself. For example, the participant in the clip below, starting at minute 2:26, had this to say about her emotional transformation, “I found a better Christina today, I found a new appreciation for myself. Insecure Christina is gone. …I want to take on the world. I have the clothes to do it.”

What Not to Wear does not offer a real solution to women’s problems, only a method to temporarily mask them. Furthermore, this show, and make-over shows in general, imply that we can change ourselves from the outside in. The truth is that real change happens from the inside out, as a transformation of one’s mind.

Time for the irony: What Not to Wear finds women who have their priorities in the right place, and the hosts attempt to turn the women’s focus inward, toward their own fleeting personal beauty. For example, this participant is a family therapist that values modesty.

Or, take a look at this participant who is a mother and teacher.

Dressing fashionably takes time and money, and these women have already made the choice about how they want to use their energy – to focus on others rather than themselves. They do not want to be distracted by their clothing. Nevertheless, What Not to Wear encourages these women to be concerned with their outward appearance, while belittling them for wearing too much beige.

If we desire to transform ourselves, and to see others transform, we must learn to see the way Christ sees, not as man sees. We must learn to see past the exterior and into a person of immense value. How can we ever truly love others if we can’t see past the way they dress, or if we are consumed by the way we appear?

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3-4

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 1-2

April is rather new to the world of blogging. In 2010 she realized she needed an outlet for her thoughts about the messages presented to us in popular culture, and she’s been blogging ever since. She loves nature, chocolate, and original Nintendo games. She is a recent mother to a son who has (obviously) forever changed her life. One day she might get a dog, but only if she’s absolutely forced into it by her husband.

Frustration

Last modified on 2010-06-02 16:51:06 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

I can’t figure out how to change anything on this blog without my husband’s help. grrr

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