Old Dogs … New Tricks … and why this isn’t working

I’m HERE and staying THERE and never moving again.
The END!

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This Weekend, I …

  • am still doing stuff since it lasts 3 days
  • flew my flag
  • got the tires rotated
  • ate a bagel
  • washed spit-up off my favorite shirt
  • cut gardenias
  • stuck them in a rinsed out baby food jar for a perfect centerpiece
  • bought tomato cages
  • made BLTs (CLTs in my case … C being cucumber)
  • wore tennis shoes to church

    What kept you busy?

Posted in weekend wonderful | 4 Comments

LOOK! I can COOK!

It’s not easy cooking for two when you’ve spent nearly 3 decades cooking for 4 or 5.  And when the two you are cooking for do not even eat the same things it is even worse.

I do not eat meat.  My hubby does not eat anything unless it has previously breathed.  In fact, his favorite saying is, “If something hasn’t died I haven’t eaten.”

Short of telling him he has to cook for himself, I do the best I can.

So when CSN Stores asked me if I’d like to review an item from one of their sites  I knew exactly what I wanted to try.

Less than 3 days after I ordered them, they were waiting for me at my front door when I came home from work.  “Surprise!” my hubby shouted when I got out of the car, “I got you a present.”

He is shameless when it comes to taking credit for gifts he did not think of.

Shameless.

The plan for supper changed the moment I saw I had new pans. While the oven preheated I washed those beauties with hot, soapy water as directed.  I dried them, sprayed them with cooking spray, and set them aside for their pending premier.  Then I mixed up some biscuit batter and baked biscuits.

While the biscuits were baking I chopped up the red onion(for both of us), green peppers(for me), spinach(for me), tomatoes(for both of us) and Canadian bacon … lots of Canadian bacon (for him).

I whisked some egg batter for omelets and poured the egg batter in the pans, he getting twice as much as me.  I placed the pans in the oven and baked those omelets until they were ALMOST done, then added the veggies (for me) and the meat (for him) and baked them a little longer.

When they were done I pulled them out, sprinkled them with grated cheddar cheese,


and removed them from the pans with a spatula, folding them on the plates, adding fresh diced tomatoes and basil, and telling them to smile while I took their picture.

Besides being delicious, they were the fluffiest omelets we have ever had.


I have never ever in my whole married life had quality cookware.

Never.

If it can’t be purchased at Walmart, picked up at a tag sale, or handed down from my mom (who purchased it at Walmart or picked it up at a tag sale) then I have never had it.

These pans are the finest quality pans I have ever owned. They are Calphalon pans.  The first thing I noticed about them when I opened them up was how sturdy and heavy they were.  And I loved them all the way through to washing them.  They cleaned up great.  They say you can use Bar Keeper’s Friend if you like, but I did not need to do that.

They are called “tapas pans” because they are small.  Think one serving.  Perfect for cooking for one person who gets a baked pork chop and the other who gets baked tilapia.  Which is exactly what I made the next night for dinner.  Using the same fresh bread crumbs that I created from my homemade 100% whole wheat bread and a little dill and crushed pepper for both toppings.

The really great thing is that they can be used in the oven, or on top of the stove.  Versatile I tell ya!  Here they are showing their stuff up top.


I’m definitely sold on the pans.  I am so excited to try a few other dishes … like chicken parmasean for him and oven grilled shrimp with parmesean sauce for me.  Or on top of the stove, a little spaghetti fritatta with sausage for him, and veggies for me

I’m giddy!

Thanks CSN!  I love my new pans.

Posted in in the kitchen, totally random | 8 Comments

TRUST …

My Word of the Year for 2010 is TRUST.  I had no idea how much I’d be TRUSTing when I took that word.  God and I decided on the word before I had moved to North Carolina.  Before I ended up having to look for a job.

In response to last year’s word … SIMPLICITY … which was rightfully chosen at the end of 2008, and put into practice first thing in 2009, I ended up simplifying my household and living arrangement in the process of moving.  We downsized from our 4 bedroom 3,000 square foot home to a 2 bedroom 1200 square foot rented townhouse.  We took a 70% pay cut.  We lost our 2 1/2 car garage.  We left our boys in Florida.  We gave away more than half our belongings. We lost our yard full of plants and flowers and vegetables and shrubs.  And we brought only one car.

Those were all pretty practical and very visual aspects of SIMPLICITY.

So in the process of TRUSTing, I chose to settle on the area of my detailed prayer life.  You know, the to-do list of prayer that we sometimes hand to God … as in “This is what YOU NEED TO DO God.”

What?  Am I the only one that does that?

Well, then … I confess.

I do love the way my pretend friend Father Tim from the mythical land of Mitford, NC approaches prayer.  “God, will you please be in this thing.”

Really.  That is about the way he does it.

So along with my Word of the Year for 2010, I took a verse I wanted to put into action.  I chose Ephesians 3:20 which says this, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.”

In my heart, I am giving up all the details of my prayer life, other than acknowledging God’s power within me, other than acknowledging the fact that I am neither smarter nor more imaginative than my God, other than asking for His will and His name to be glorified, I am simply asking God to do “immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.”

Because sometimes, when I hand God my to-do list of prayers, I feel like he is saying to me, “Well, sure, I can do that.  But I had something so much better in mind.”

Example:  When it dawned on us that I would need a job (We had NOT been prepared for the price of health insurance, as our previous employer paid it all), and that it would need to be full time, and that it would need to be more than minimum wage, I asked God to “please be in this thing.”

And I clicked on Craig’s list and found this family who wanted to pay me like crazy to watch their sweet boy, and time and a half for overtime to boot.  All cleanly above the table with a company that would issue my paycheck every other week.

Then we discovered that they lived 3 miles away and were on the way to my husband’s office so the one car thing did not matter.

They wanted me to do additional jobs in the home, for which they also pay me.  Laundry and kitchen keep-up.  Both of those extra jobs happen to be jobs I love.  I hate cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors, and I did not want to be a housekeeper.  So keeping the kitchen up and doing laundry is not a big deal at all to me.

Not to mention I can wear my sneakers and jeans.

And I can bring a lunch.

And I can take a walk every day (when it is not raining for a week at a time).

And I can read a book or play on my computer when the baby naps.

I thought God was pretty darn wonderful to do more than I could even imagine.  I mean, in my wildest dreams, I would not have been smart enough to imagine the details that He anticipated.

But then he added one more thing.  A rose garden.  This family rents their home, which would be considered an “executive home” in a posh neighborhood. They are both physicians.  But they do not plan to be in the area more than 3 years so they are renting.  And the landlord has a rose garden in the back yard, fenced in for the deer, sprayed monthly by a company that cares for it, but no one to tend it.

No one to dead head the spent blooms and no one to cut and enjoy the roses.  The more you cut of course, the more they bloom.  And there are 24 rose bushes of every color.

And this sweet family does not have the time or the inclination to take care of a rose garden.  Or the hydrangeas that are blooming near the house or the climbing roses that are all over the front porch or the tulips that bloomed this spring or the tomato plants they put in last week.

So every week, I cut a huge bouquet for Boo’s living room, and a smaller one for his kitchen table.  And I cut a large bouquet for my house.  Last week I added a nice vase full in Boo’s guest room, for his grandparents who came to visit.

My favorites are the white ones.  I’m so easy to please.

And as someone recently said (and I wish I knew who it was because I would give them credit … speak up you smart person!) “If I TRUST God with my eternity, shouldn’t I TRUST Him with today?”

Posted in The journey | 11 Comments

This Weekend, I …

R
econnected with a friend I had not seen or spoken with in over 30 years … facebook!

  • wished my mama a happy birthday
  • picked up 3 new books from the library
  • got lost in one of them
  • talked to my college-student niece for a long time on the phone
  • ate dessert FIRST :)
  • wrapped my pesky arthritic ankle and may leave it like that
  • enjoyed fresh roses from Boo’s house*
  • drank a free coffee
  • replaced a bolt on the toilet seat so we won’t fall in
  • finished season 2 of West Wing
  • went to an ice cream social

    What kept you busy??

*I won’t be referring to my sweet little charge by name in order to protect his identity

Posted in weekend wonderful | 8 Comments

I’m Not Even Teasing …

This rented townhouse is not my dream home and boy am I glad about that.  Both bathroom vanities are a mess.  The doors do not close properly and the finish is worn completely off of them.  And there are NO drawers in the bathrooms at all.

The kitchen is the size of a closet.  I am using an old wardrobe just outside the kitchen as a make-believe pantry.  And it is so full that some items are now strategically placed on the shelf of the laundry closet.

Whaaa whaaa whaaa this is not supposed to be a whiny post.  But I just want y’all to be aware that my dream of living next to that babbling brook in an ivy covered stone cottage with Karen as my neighbor is still to come. (Sorry I can’t link to Karen, her blog is private … but she knows who she is ) :)

And above all, I am still trying to learn how to cook for a couple, instead of a family.  A couple that does not even eat the same foods.

CSN has contacted me to do a review of a product.  And I have chosen something that I hope will make my life easier.

Coming soon …

Posted in totally random | 7 Comments

Because I can …

A few years ago during a study of Daniel, we were encouraged to sacrifice something for a six week period. The idea was to become more aware of our culture and gain control over our response to it.

Whatever we gave up, it should represent the selfishness of our culture.  And we were to take control of our urges toward it.  Just like Daniel did.

I chose to give up Starbucks. I wasn’t a daily user.  I was a weekly user.  But the reason I gave up Starbucks had nothing to do with the frequency of my addiction, it was the fact that sashaying up to the crowded counter on any given Saturday afternoon and ordering a grande decaf mocha frapp with light whip made me giddy with cultural relevance.

The mantra I found myself repeating for months after the Daniel challenge (for that is how long I went before I walked into a Starbucks again) was “I CAN … but I CHOOSE not to.”

And it was, singularly, one of the best spiritual lessons I have ever had.

It applies to a lot of things in my life.  Things I can legally and morally do without guilt.  But things which were just not the best for MY life.   And the MY part is essential.  This is after all, MY journey. Y’all have your own.  And your “I CAN … but I CHOOSE not to(s)” will be different from mine.

Enough about Starbucks.

Take away 2 letters and plug in two others and what do you get?

“Alex … you get … what is Swagbucks?”

That’s right for 20 Swagbucks!

I am a user of Swagbucks.  Which shall not be confused with Starbucks, even though once you use one you may easily and freely earn the other.

Are you following me or shall I slow down?

Simply put, I have the Swagbucks toolbar on my homepage.  And every time I do a search on the internet for anything (a recipe, a pair of shoes, who came out on top in AI last night) I go through my Swagbucks tool bar. And because I do, I get Swagbucks.

And here’s where Starbucks comes in.  I just ordered 2 $10 Starbucks gift cards FOR FREE.  With my Swagbucks.  It did not cost me a single penny.  But when I pull out my gift card and treat my husband to a long, cold, iced coffee next weekend I am sure I’ll get double points in his book.

And the best part is that this morning, when I finished ordering my cards, my Swagbuck count went down to 32.  And now, just a few hours later … it is back up to 90.  That is how easy it is.

I’ll tell you what is NOT easy.  Trying to get a link to embed in this post on top of the image.  It is not happening.  I am sure it is just me.  The new WordPress account and all.  But here ya go.  Paste this into your browser if you want to check it out.  Swagbucks is free and easy and worth it.

http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/butlerswife

Posted in The journey | 7 Comments