Friday, May 30, 2008


Wikipedia defines minimalism as "movements in various forms of art... where the work is stripped down to its most fundamental features."

To see more interpretations of "minimalism", check out Photo Friday.

Jason Castro Day

Yesterday was Jason Castro Day in Rockwall, complete with a parade through town and a free "concert" at the amphitheater at The Harbor. The boys and I went with our friends, the Thompsons, for the concert.

We got there early enough to let all the boys play in the sprinkler park for a while. It was so crowded, but they had a great time. Caleb, Jacob, and Mason mostly stayed together on the fringe of all the activity, but Matthew got right there in the middle of everything. He had a blast! It was hard keeping an eye on all the boys, but Caleb and Jacob had on bright orange and yellow shirts, so they were fairly easy to spot.

After about 20 minutes or so, we got the boys rounded up and went to find a place to picnic while we waited for the concert to begin. After we ate, we found a spot closer to the stage. The boys were disappointed that we couldn't see Jason from where we were. We couldn't hear from there, either, so we moved again. As it turned out, we weren't missing anything yet. There was about 30 minutes worth of speeches (from his "manager", the mayor, and a few other local bigwigs) and presentations of a key to the city and other awards. Then there were a few interview questions. The boys did remarkably well during all this. I think it helped that they found a small cedar tree nearby they kept trying to climb.

Finally it was time for him to sing! He started off with "Daydream", then proceeded to sing something I didn't recognize. Then there was a brief "intermission" - a short speech and prayer by his pastor. Jason took to the stage again to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", complete with ukelele, and ended his set with "Deep in the Heart of Texas". I thought for sure he would sing "Hallelujah". I was really hoping he would. But no, he was done. Another band started tuning up for their 7:30 performance.

At one point during the concert, we found a spot where we could catch a glimpse of him. We took turns holding the boys up so they could see him, too. I think that satisfied them - and thankfully they didn't ask to be held up too many times. They're too heavy for that! Oh, and when I got my camera out to try to snap a shot of him onstage, I realized my battery was dead. Go figure! That always seems to happen...

I thought it was really neat that Jason arrived at the amphitheater via sailboat on Lake Ray Hubbard. Once he reached the pier, he walked along touching hands until he reached the walkway leading to the stage. I wish we had known he was coming in that way! We heard several girls talking about how he had touched their hands or how they had touched his hair, followed by, "I'll never wash this hand again!" It was funny seeing the teenage guys there, too. Mostly they were following their girlfriends around and saying (in high-pitched voices), "Oh! Jason Caaasssstroooo!"

Jason did really well at his "concert" - much better than he did on his last few appearances on American Idol. My friend Kim goes to his church and had heard that he wasn't happy in Hollywood, that he didn't like the fast pace or the pressures of being there. Apparently he intentionally didn't do well during his later performances because he wanted to come home and was trying to get voted off. I recall Simon saying something about him looking relieved when he had been voted off. He did, and apparently was.

It was interesting seeing all the people there, all different ages and races. The news reported "thousands of fans" were there, but I don't know if there was much of a way to count that crowd, unless the news helicopters circling overhead were doing it somehow. There were those who went to see and those who went to be seen... I saw one woman (probably late 40s or early 50s) strolling around in a bikini. Her motto must be you can never be too dark. She didn't have a healthy tan; it was more like she'd burned to a crisp, only she wasn't red.

All in all, it was a fun evening. My only regret is that I didn't think beforehand to recharge my camera battery!

And a bonus: I got home in time to watch the last hour and forty minutes of the LOST finale. When it was over, I went back and watched the first 20 minutes. (I remembered to record it so Billy can see it when he gets back from his trip.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Morning Prayer

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace.

Help me in all things to rely on your holy will.

In every hour of the day, reveal your will to me.

Bless my dealings with all who surround me.

Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with the firm conviction that your will governs all.

In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings.

In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.

Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others.

Give me strength to bear the fatigue of this coming day with all that it shall bring.

Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray you yourself in me.


I got this at a seminary wives retreat I attended earlier this spring.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Menu Plan Monday #26

It's time again for my weekly meal plan. Last week's didn't go over as planned. We ended up eating sandwiches or corn dogs and hot dogs or macaroni & cheese for various reasons. I didn't get around to making spaghetti until Friday night, so we had those leftovers last night.

Here's the plan for this week:
Monday: chicken sandwiches and seasoned fries

Tuesday: pizza

Wednesday: chili cheese corn dogs and hot dogs

Thursday: picnic in the park with the Thomsons, then on to the Jason Castro concert :o)
(I forgot it was the same night as the LOST finale, so I'm going to have to be sure I record it!)

Friday: tacos

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday: ???

To see more menu plans, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Difficult Shot

Jacob, Spring Creek Farm, Richardson, TX

It's always hard to get shots of the boys in action with my digital camera. I'm learning, though, to take the shot before the action so I can catch them in action. Make sense?

For other interpretations of "Difficult Shot", check out Photo Friday.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

13 Favorite Pampered Chef® Products

I'm always needing an idea for the Thursday Thirteen. For a while, I thought it would be easier since T13 had started using themes each week, but that only lasted for about 3 weeks. I'm still wondering what happened with that...

A few weeks ago, I came across another T13 post about favorite kitchen gadgets, including some products from Pampered Chef®. I've got tons of Pampered Chef® products that I absolutely love - so much so that I became a consultant! - so I figured that would be a great T13 post. Now I just have to narrow them down to 13...

1. stoneware

2. Executive Cookware (nonstick!)

3. Cookware Protectors

4. bamboo spatula (and spoons)

5. Garlic Press

6. Food Chopper

7. Easy Read Measure Cups

8. Stainless Mixing Bowls

9. Classic and Small Batter Bowls

10. Egg Slicer Plus

11. Smooth-Edge Can Opener

12. Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer

13. Santoku Knife

I could go on and on! There are so many other products - and spices and seasonings - that I love. Maybe I'll have a part 2 next week...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


My family is such a foodie family. I'm not talking about extended family, either - even though they are, too. I mean my own household.

Last Saturday, our small group from church came over. We always eat together and like to try to plan different things. This time we all brought a different salad. We ended up with an Italian pasta salad; a spinach salad with chicken, oranges, and slivered almonds; a fruit salad with strawberries, bananas, peaches, and pears; and Billy's BBQ Ranch chicken salad - and some garlic bread. Everything was delicious!

Caleb finally decided he'd try the chicken salad. He loved it! We had quite a bit left over, so he had a chicken salad sandwich for lunch Sunday. After Billy and I ate our fill of chicken salad sandwiches, there was still some left over. When I was seeing what the boys wanted to eat for supper last night (corn dogs, hot dogs, or sandwiches), Caleb quickly claimed the leftover chicken salad. Darn! There was too much for one sandwich, but not enough for two. He got the sandwich and I ate the last few bites. Halfway through his supper, he said, "We need to get Dad to make this more often!"

What other 8-year-old kid would rather have a chicken salad sandwich than the standard PB&J?!?

I'm so glad (and fortunate!) that the boys like to eat a wide variety of food. So many kids I know won't eat more than about 2 or 3 different things. Caleb and Jacob love standards like chicken strips or nuggets, pizza, spaghetti, and mac & cheese, but they also like salads, soups (even the broth kind we had at a Japanese restaurant), and a whole range of other foods. They love Mandarin chicken over either fried rice or lo mein. They love to go to Genghis Grill and choose their meats, veggies, and sauces to be cooked together and put over fried rice. They like to get soup to go with their sandwiches from Jason's Deli or Panera Bread. Jacob likes to get refried beans to go with his cheeseburger and fries at Posado's. And he eats them! They like both soft tacos and crunchy. And so on...

You gotta love it!

Menu Plan Monday #25

I'm a day late, but I didn't really have anything planned until late... I really need to get back to planning my monthly menus so I don't have to scramble up ideas at the last minute.

Monday: sandwiches or leftovers from last week (BBQ Ranch chicken salad, Taco Layer Dip)

Tuesday: spaghetti and meat sauce, salad

Wednesday: leftover spaghetti

Thursday: tacos

Friday: pizza

Saturday: We'll be going to Jay and Allison's for Grant's 2nd birthday party. We haven't seen them in a while!

Sunday: ???

To see more meal plans, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie

Friday, May 16, 2008


another picture from our outing to Iron Chefs

For more interpretations of "Fire", check out Photo Friday.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

13 Favorite Ethnic Foods

So what happened to the Thursday Thirteen themes? I was sort of counting on that to give me an idea. Instead I had to dig deep into the recesses of my brain to come up with a topic. Thankfully last weekend wasn't so far away, and all the ethnic food we ate over the course of three days (Vietnamese and Italian on Thursday, Mexican and Texas-style BBQ on Friday, and Japanese on Saturday) is still fresh in my mind. Here are 13 of my favorite ethnic foods, in no particular order.

1. Coconut Curry Chicken (Vietnamese)
2. Lemongrass Beef (Vietnamese)
3. Chicken Enchiladas with a cheesy sour cream sauce (Mexican/Tex-Mex)
4. Spicy Beef Soft Tacos (Mexican/Tex-Mex)
5. Lasagna (Italian)
6. Steak and shrimp with fried rice and stir-fried vegetables (Japanese)
7. Chicken Souvlaki (Greek)
8. Tiropita (Greek)
9. Mandarin Chicken (Chinese)
10. Kung Pao Beef (Chinese)
11. Sesame Chicken (Chinese)
12. Hummus and Pitas (Mediterranean)
13. Jerk Chicken (Caribbean)

No, sushi isn't on the list. The one time I had it, it made me sick. I know that had more to do with the place I ate it than with sushi in general, but I wasn't wild about the texture of the rice, either. You can have mine.

I'm always in the mood to try a new kind of food, and there are several things I haven't tried yet: Thai, Indian, Korean, etc. Do you have any recommendations?

Saturday, May 10, 2008


We went to Iron Chefs in Mesquite tonight to celebrate Billy's graduation from Dallas Theological Seminary. Everything was great, and the boys loved their first experience at a hibachi restaurant. Last week, Caleb decided that Posado's would be his new birthday restaurant, but after tonight, he changed his mind...

For more interpretations of "Professional", check out Photo Friday.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Mistaken Identity?

Last night after we got home from the barbecue, I was putting something in the sink and noticed a wiggly tail behind a bowl that was soaking. Not wanting to scare the boys, I quietly told Billy there was something moving in the sink. The boys must have sensed something was up because they were trying to watch Billy instead of going to their room to get ready for bed. I walked them out and left Billy cautiously approaching the sink to see what was there.

A few minutes later, he came back to the boys' room with a gecko in a jar. Since we haven't seen any (definite) signs of a mouse since Tuesday morning, we figured Caleb must have seen the gecko running around the playroom bookshelf instead of a mouse. We tried to convince Caleb of that, told him that since he was thinking about mice he probably thought he saw one when he saw the gecko running by. He's not accepting that explanation. He still adamantly insists that he saw a mouse, not a gecko.

After we all watched the gecko for a while, Billy and the boys went outside and set it free in the bushes. I hope that's the last critter I see in the house for a long time. The only one that belongs is that old, lazy fraidy-cat.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My Little Secret

Jacob and Abby, July 7, 2007

To see more interpretations of "My Little Secret", check out Photo Friday.

Feast 189

It's time for another Friday's Feast.

What was your favorite cartoon when you were a child?
I don't know that I had a favorite, but I remember liking The Pink Panther, Mr. Magoo, Scooby Doo, and The Flintstones. Oh, and The Jetsons.

Pretend you are about to get a new pet. Which animal would you pick, and what would you name it?

Well, I'd just have to get a sugar glider! They used to have one in our mall's pet store and I loved stopping in to watch it - if it wasn't tucked away asleep. They're adorable with their huge, neurotic-looking eyes. I'd name it Brisbane because sugar gliders are native to eastern (and northern) Australia.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy getting all dressed up for a special occasion?
I like special occasions, but I hate getting "all dressed up". I'd say maybe a 2. I rarely wear a dress, but...I need to go shopping very soon and buy a nice outfit for Graduate Chapel (next Friday) and a nice dress for graduation (next Saturday).

Main Course
What kind of music do you listen to while you drive?
I usually listen to contemporary Christian on KLTY, the "#1 Christian Radio Station in America". But when certain moods strike me, I'll put in a CD. It could be anything from Daughtry to Josh Groban.

When was the last time you bought a clock? And in which room did you put it?
I have absolutely no idea when I last bought a clock! Maybe about 7 years ago when we were redecorating our house? If that's the case, we put it in the study. Or maybe it was the kitchen... Clocks aren't that big a deal, but I do need to buy a new watch.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

13 C's

This week's theme for the Thursday Thirteen is the alphabet. The challenge is to choose one letter of the alphabet and describe yourself using 13 words that begin with that letter. I have a feeling I'm going to have to use a thesaurus...

1. Christian

2. creative

3. crafty (as in crochet, not cunning)

4. caring

5. coordinated (not necessarily physically)

6. content

7. curly-haired

8. careful

9. courteous

10. conservative

11. conventional

12. clever

13. competitive

By All Means

Well, we're still having mouse issues. After Caleb's traumatic experience with another mouse yesterday morning, I emailed Billy at work so he'd know we're still dealing with them.

He went by Home Depot again to pick up more artillery. This time he bought blocks of poison to put here and there around the house. They're covered with paper the mouse must chew through, so I guess they're like bait, too. When he checked them this morning, there was no evidence of gnawing.

He also bought two electronic devices that emit some frequency that keeps pests (rodents and bugs) away. I wondered if it would drive our cat crazy, too, but they're supposed to be safe for pets. So far, our cat has acted normally.

The trap in the cabinet has still not been triggered, so that's a good sign. There's one left, but we can't really put it out anywhere. The cat likes peanut butter and we'd hate to catch her instead.

I have an idea the mice like the cat food. I saw a piece of it next to the side of the playroom bookshelf yesterday, but I didn't pick it up because I was curious... When we got home from our errands, it wasn't there. It could've been the cat, but I don't think she'd go for one lone piece when she's got a bowl full. But I can't be sure.

Caleb has declared that he doesn't want to homeschool at the table in the playroom the rest of the week, so we'll be holding our classes in the living room, using the ottoman as our table. Hopefully we can get back to our regular place next week.

Billy and I have a BBQ to attend tomorrow night, but I was concerned about having a babysitter here, just in case there's more drama. I'm not sure how a teenage girl would react, and I don't want to lose any of the few good sitters I have. Thankfully my friend Kim said the boys can stay with them for the evening.

In addition to all the other stuff going on right now, I certainly don't need to be overrun with mice. I hope we can get rid of all of them soon!