Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday -

I absolutely love books. I could spend the rest of my life in a book store and be perfectly happy. These days, I frequent the library a lot more than the book store, but if funds weren't an issue, I'd much rather have my own book so I can write all over it!

A friend of mine recently turned me on to, and let me tell you - it's really working for me! Here's how it works:

1.You post the books that you are no longer using and are willing to ship at your own expense to another member. Once you have posted 10 books, you automatically receive 2 free credits.

2. Using your credits, you can choose any of the gazillions of books listed by all other members and have it shipped to your door completely free.

3. Once you receive an email from requesting a book that you've posted, you ship said book at your own expense to the member requesting it. Every time you ship (and the requesting member receives) a book, you are given another credit to use.

It's that simple! Easy as 1 - 2 - 3!

For other great tips, check out We Are That Family.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kiley, The Elderly English Setter, Strikes Again

From the very beginning, our oldest dog has been a handful. I guess when the breeders named her Sassy, that should have been a clue. Now don't get me wrong, she truly is a great dog. And cuter than a bug's ear. But that dog? She has been a handful.

When she was only a couple of years old, she jumped two fences and went in the neighbor's doggie door. At 2 am. Thankfully, they were friends, dog sitters, the above mentioned breeders and my boss and his wife. It's a lot funnier now than it was then...

She has always been a runner. English Setters are bird dogs and they are born hunters, so this is not entirely her fault, but her sweet little sister (same mom and dad, different litter) manages to stay home, so part of it is definitely temperament.

She loves to steal stuff off the counter. Once, she ate a pound of Mackinaw Island Fudge. Okay, that would make me sick. She mostly has a stomach of steel, but she once swiped a chocolate cake off the counter that resulted in an overnight emergency vet stay and I won't even tell you what that cost us. Let's just say if I had that money back, I wouldn't be looking for a job...

Speaking of swiping food off the counter... Just a few weeks ago she took off on on of her adventures and when she came home, she was carrying a loaf of bread! Not our bread, either. I have no idea where it came from.... It's a long way to the grocery store, so I'm guessing a neighbor was missing a loaf of bread. Unbelievable.

A couple nights ago, I go to let her in the back door and she has the skull of a deer in her mouth. And thought she would go ahead and bring it into the house! Um, yeah... NO.

That brings me to the attempted murder today. I took off for my daily run and let the pooches come along. When we got out to the track, I saw that the neighbors guinea were in our yard. I probably should have tried a little harder to call the dogs off, but I thought the birds would, ya know... FLY AWAY. They went the opposite way that I did and I decided to let nature take it's course. Bad idea. I get around the track and head back to the house. As I'm running up through the yard, I see one of the birds in the yard. Alive, but unable to move. Awesome. I get up to the garage where The Hubster is working and let him know. I later find out that he knew, since Kiley was trying to bring IT into the house, too. When I was done with my run, the bird was gone so I come find Hubs to see what the verdict was. Apparently, it was just suffering from the upside down turtle syndrome. Once he flipped it over, it took off. I'm hoping it went back and shared with it's little friends the top 10 reasons to STAY OUT OF OUR YARD. I guess we'll see...

What is the craziest thing your pet has ever done?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mark It Down

For the first time in I don't even know how long, I am running.

And no one is even chasing me.

I hate running.

I hate exercising.

I even hate the stairs in my house, that I find myself running up and down multiple times a day.

But I'm not getting any younger. In fact, this very day, I'm a year older. (Feel free to send cash. I also accept checks.)

So back to the exercise... I just don't like it. I especially don't like to do it alone. A gym membership is not in the budget, and I wouldn't go even if it was. Unless it was right next door, and then I still probably wouldn't go.

A few weeks ago, some dear friends and I went up north for a weekend away from life... Everyone except for one of us who was pregnant and one of us who is lazy (me), exercised every day that we were there. One of the days, I power walked with them and thought I might die. I know I need to exercise, but like many other things including dieting, if you don't really want to do it, you just won't. No amount of anyone telling you that you should can make you do it. Especially since I KNOW that I should, I just don't want to.

Here's the funny part. I get the urge to exercise about twice a year. I refer to it as the semi-annual urge to exercise... I'm usually able to resist it until it passes. I've honed that skill... ;) But this year, when the spring urge struck, as hard as I tried to ignore it, I continued thinking about it and even began wishing there was some way I could incorporate it into my already hectic life. If anyone is thinking, "how hectic can the life of a stay at home mom be - thanks for asking. I dare you to try it and then we can chat. ;) I didn't think too much about it though, until I went up north with the girls. (If you're not from Michigan and don't know what or where up north is, read this....)

We have a horse track on our property, so I decided after Mommy's Weekend Away, that I would start walking. I figured twenty minutes of exercise a couple times a week would be better than the zero minutes of exercise that I was currently doing consistently.

The first day I walked for a bit. Then I thought, well, if I'm trying to exercise, I suppose I should try to get my heart rate up there. So I ran. And nearly died. But the next day, I did it again. Believe this one or not, I even started looking forward to rolling out of bed early. One day I even posted on facebook that I needed a running buddy at 5:30 am, and actually got a bite! I'm loving that more than I ever thought possible. The days The Hubster goes to the office, I have a small window of opportunity and well - it opens at 5:30... My sweet friend Lindsay and I are running twice a week at the obscene hour! You can't imagine what you can accomplish with a little motivation, a little free time (even if it is at the booty crack of dawn) and a healthy dose of endorphins. Dust bunnies beware!

So, there you have it - I'm running. Consistently. And since it's only been a couple of weeks and history dictates that this comet will be fizzling out very very soon, I thought I would share with the whole entire universe, (at least those on the internet that find their way to my little slice of the interweb) so I'd have some accountability. Hold me to it, dear friends. My little heart depends on it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Super Delicious Summery Salad

I love love love beans. So. Bean salads? Oh yes, they make me happy. I'm also really kind of tired of pasta salads and potato salads. So, when my friend Grace (the one who looks EXACTLY like Lacey from American Idol) made this amazingly delicious salad last summer, it carved itself on my heart and I finally asked her for the recipe. And when I made it, angels sang, confirming what I already knew, this salad is heavenly.

The original recipe is here, but I will share my rendition.

  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1//2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans , rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 2 avocados - peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Toss the avocados in the dressing. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Finally, pour the avocados and dressing over the rest of the ingredients and mix well to coat. Enjoy!

What's you favorite summer time salad?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Who You Are

I'm sharing something from The Trysting Place archives again today. It definitely bears repeating. Who or what are you allowing to determine your worth? You are worth what someone is willing to pay for you. Jesus paid it all, so to Him - you are worth everything. Anything anyone else has to say is a lie from the pit of hell. Send it home, friends.

Consider this: A crumpled up 20$ bill is still worth 20$. Because it's pretty? No. Because it smells nice? No. Because people like money? No. Because it's a 20$ bill and the people who make 20$ bills say so. Until the person who made it decides it's worth something different, it's worth 20 bucks. God made you and HE alone gets to decide what you're worth. If you're the type to say, "God never did anything for me." I would encourage you to take a deep breath. How's that oxygen working out for you? He made that, too. If you haven't met Him or haven't touched base with Him in awhile, He's waiting to hear from you. He doesn't force Himself on anyone, so you have to take the first step. If you have any questions about what that might look like, I'd love to answer them or direct you to some resources.

The following is from the original post. Soak it in. It's the Truth.


God has written us the most beautiful love letter ever written. In it, He tells us who we are and whose. Let me challenge you to read through what He has to say about you.

*The following was copied from a paper that I got a few years ago. The source is not listed, so I can't give any credit - but you'll note that it is simply the Truth of God's Word. So, mad props to God. :)

God says that, in Christ, you are

A New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! I Corinthians 5:17

22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Adequate In Christ

5Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 6He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6

Totally Forgiven

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

Of Great Worth and Value

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:30-31

8For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. I Peter 1:18-19

God's Child

2Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12

1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. I John 3:1-2

God's Co-worker

For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. I Corinthians 3:9

As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. 2 Corinthians 6:1

God's Masterpiece

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Jesus' Friend

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

One Spirit With Him

17But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit. I Corinthians 6:17

Perfect And Complete

and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority Colossians 2:10

because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. Hebrews 10:14

Free From Condemnation

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus Romans 8:1

Holy And Blameless

But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:22

4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:4

Completely Accepted

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:7

Partaker Of His Divine Nature

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:4

Empowered With His Strength

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, Ephesians 1:18-20

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Unconditionally Loved

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. John 15:9

No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. John 16:27

Dead To Sin

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2

Being Transformed

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Joint Heir With Christ

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17

Reconciled To God

And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I Corinthians 6:11

1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1

Never Alone Or Forsaken

God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5b

Indwelt By God's Spirit

Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? I Corinthians 3:16

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; I Corinthians 6:19

No Longer Under The Law

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" Galatians 2:19-21

Precious In His Sight

Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life. Isaiah 43:4

Eternally Saved

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Ephesians 2:8

11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.13I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. I John 5:11-13

Safe And Secure

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Selah Psalm 32:7

Psalm 91

But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead. Isaiah 43:1-3

Chosen By God

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. I Peter 2:9

Absolutely Righteous

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. Romans 8:10

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Uniquely Gifted By God

I Corinthians 12

4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Romans 12:4-8

A Victorious Overcomer

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. I John 4:4

Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

Soak in that, dear friend. Do not listen to the one who has come to kill and steal and destroy. Listen to the one Who came to give you life. Abundant Life.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday - The Ultimate Crib Sheet

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Listen, friends. The irony is not lost on me that last week, I shared what was working for us with potty training. But this week, I can share with you what is not working. Little Miss Chloe has decided that she is too lazy, or busy or bratty to be bothered with putting her potty in the toilet when we are at home. When we're out and about, no problem. I probably ask her about it more, especially now that a little smidgey of paranoia has started to creep in... She had been doing so well for a month. A MONTH, PEOPLE. So I had gotten very lax about asking her while we were at home. She would always tell me. Especially in the morning. She would say, "Mom - Imma potty!" I'd hear her over the monitor, spring out of bed wondering what day it was and everyone lived happily ever after.

Then I went on a Mommy's Weekend. A long, fun, GLORIOUS Mommy's weekend. I want to believe the timing was purely coincidental, but I'm just not sure. Regardless, she hasn't been doing so hot ever since...

Once upon a time, when Chloe was a tiny baby, also known as seventeen seconds ago, a friend recommended the Ultimate Crib Sheet. Come to think of it, I think I was still pregnant, and had no clue about half of the baby contraptions and paraphernalia. Anyway, I bought the thing and totally didn't understand how to use it.

Short aside: I wonder if it was the hormones? I am a smart person. Now that I'm finally using it, 2 years later, I can't figure out for the life of me why I never used it when she was younger, but I distinctly remember being confused about how it worked. Buy it. Use it. Then laugh at me for my inability to use the most simple and useful thing in my nursery.

Back to it... So, Chloe started having accidents and I remembered this sheet protector type thing and got it out.

It is the easiest thing ever. Still shaking my head about my dunceyness.... It is a water proof sheet that snaps onto the spindles of the crib. That way, when there is an accident, wetness from a diaper, spit up or in our case, a potty accident; we just unsnap the sheet and the bed is alreay made underneath. All that has to be washed is this one easy to remove sheet. It's genius!

Check it out.

The other thing that has worked is a sticker chart, if you call a blank piece of paper with 'Chloe's Potty Chart' written in crayon across the top a sticker chart, that is. (Crafty, I am not.) She gets to put a sticker on the chart every time she uses the potty when we are at home. It has actually helped a lot. She's only had a couple of accidents since we made it. It had become apparent that something needed to be done, and I refuse to bribe my child with candy until she's 25. Stickers, fine. It's working, so I guess that's the point.

What did you do when your child had set backs after doing really well for a long time?

For more great tips, click over to We Are That Family.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Surely There Is An Age Requirement For Back Seat Driving

Chloe, my two year old, was barking orders at me from the back seat the other day. Are you kidding me, right now? I thought I had a good 5 years before I'd be dealing with that.

Faster, momma!

Go, momma!

Almost home!

This way!

To borrow a hilarious line from a Beth Moore video I recently saw, You better hush child, before I snatch you bald headed. I don't even know what that means, but I. LOVE. IT.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Would You Like Advice With That?

I talk a lot. A lot. I love to jabber. It runs in my family. I'm also a good listener. When I take a breath or a drink, and someone gets a word in, I'm a great listener... I always find myself giving advice. Not offering advice, but just serving it up unsolicited. Now honestly, I would imagine that most of my friends know better than to share anything with me if they aren't interested in hearing my opinion. They would also probably say that I usually give helpful and solid advice. But lately, I've been feeling a need to step back and listen more and talk less.

Maybe I'll just run a marathon instead. It might be easier. (If you know me, laugh. If you don't, just know this: I would be as likely to walk on my hands for 26 miles as I would to run it.)

For a long time, it has been my prayer that I would think before I speak. Novel idea, right? I struggle so much in this area. I'm way better than I used to be, but I still have a long way to go. (Wow, that statement applies to so many areas of my life... Thank you, Jesus, that you will not give up on me until you've finished what you've started. Hallelujah!) These days, I'm more app to say, "Well, if it were me, I'd blah blah blah." Or, "Well, for me, yada yada yada." For the most part, gone are the days when I would bluntly, and in the most non-gentle way possible, say, "Girl, you need to tell him this, this and this. And quick!" Or, "What were you thinking? You should yada blah blah." My filter has gotten better, but there's definitely room for improvement.

A couple of years ago I had a serious Aha!! moment when I read this verse:

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

I realized that just because I feel like saying something, doesn't make it beneficial. Even if it's timely, sound, life giving advice. If it isn't asked for, appreciated or wanted? Well, it could do more harm than good. Especially in relationships where no accountability has been agreed upon. It is so not cool to try to hold someone to a standard that they haven't asked you to hold them to.

While it would be awesome if someone read a lightning fast disclaimer (not unlike the horrifying drug commercials) before or directly after venting about this, that or the other problem, stating: This grouch session is solely for my benefit and your only requirement is to listen, nod and agree with how wretched my life is; I'm guessing more often than not that won't be happening. So it is my job to listen, nod and (possibly) agree with whatever, but it's also my job to ask...

Would you like advice with that?

Either way, bless you, drive through. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I found this recipe while I was avoiding chocolate. They are not brownies, but they are SO GOOD! I made them again this week for our end of the year MOPS picnic, and several people made comments about the deliciousness...

Ironically, the site I found them on is called My Baking Addiction, and I would say that's pretty accurate. I could easily crawl into the 9 X 13 and spend the entire day with these delicious blondies...

The best thing about them is that all of the ingredients are things that I keep on hand. Including freshly grated nutmeg. (I triple puffy heart ::LOVE :: nutmeg.) This is a great recipe to throw to together for a last minute gathering or even for an impromptu snack.

From My Baking Addiction, I give you:

Snickerdoodle Blondies

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature (Half the time, I warm mine in 10 second increments in the microwave until it's softened but not melty.)
2 eggs, at room temperature (I normally use cold eggs.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
a pinch nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/or line a 9×13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.
3. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be very sticky
, I spread it out with my hands). Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. ( I baked mine for 35, but I like my brownies/blondies chewy. My oven is also misbehaving, so start out at 25 min.) Cool before cutting. Makes 20-24 bars.

5. Feed them to your friends who will want this recipe.

6. Send them to my blog. :)