Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Random Dozen - September 29

It's time for another Random Dozen from 2nd Cup of Coffee.

1. Do you believe, somewhere deep inside, that blondes do indeed have more fun? That they are "dumber" than brunettes or redheads? Be honest!
I don't think blondes have more fun or are dumber than brunettes or redheads, but I think they are noticed more than brunettes (but not more than redheads). Personality, intelligence, and (true) hair color are genetic, and I seriously doubt those stereotypical combinations show up more frequently than not. I've also known my share of fun brunettes and smart blondes. :o)

2. Which animal would you most like to observe in its wild habitat?
Giraffes, of course! My second choice would be some sort of ape - gorillas, orangutans, or chimpanzees.

3. This week the U.N. announced that Dr. Mazlan Othman has been appointed the official "Alien Ambassador," should any extraterrestrials contact us. Have you, or has anyone you know, ever seen a UFO?
I have never seen a UFO, nor has anyone I know seen one. I don't believe they exist.

4. Name your favorite Hitchcock film.
It would have to be Rear Window, with Dial M for Murder a close second.

5. Would you rather spend time at the library, the mall, a craft store, or home?
Ha! It depends on if the boys are with me or not! If I'm alone, I love to spend time in one of my favorite bead shops (a craft store, since I use them in my craft). If the boys are with me, I'd choose either the library or home. The mall is a distant last place. The only time I go is if I have to buy something, and then I want to get in and out as quickly as possible.

6. Which Disney princess is your favorite? (Or Disney character, if you are a guy)
Being a mom of boys, we don't watch many Disney movies - especially ones with princesses in them. Does Pixar count? If so, I'd have to say Jesse, the cowgirl from Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. Oh, and Boo from Monsters, Inc.. If Pixas doesn't count, the first one to come to mind is Ariel - and I can't remember the name of the movie right now. Instead I keep hearing Sebastian singing, "Under the Sea". :o) Gee, I might need to ask my friend Emma. She's the biggest Disney princess fan I know of. I'm feeling a little embarrassed by my lack of princess knowledge right now... There's Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Pocahontas, and that's about it for me.

7. What kind of art is your favorite?
This is broad! I'd much rather browse a photography gallery than paintings, but if I could see the work of the masters, that would be pretty awesome. I'm not so much a fan of sculpture, however the bronze sculptor in Grapevine had a lot of interesting pieces he had done. I like things I can recognize, not abstract. And nothing obscene - no matter what's it's classified as.

8. How do you feel about viral videos; that is, videos made by amateurs that end up on YouTube receiving thousands of hits?
I usually ignore them. The only time I really watch one is if someone I trust tells me it's funny, wholesome, etc., and then I usually only watch it if it's linked on Facebook or a blog or an email. I rarely go to YouTube to watch anything on my own.

9. Where do you buy your jeans?
I buy them wherever there's a good sale. Of the four pairs of blue jeans hanging in my closet, all of them were purchased at Wal-Mart. Two pair of denim capris that I bought at Kohl's have worn out - and not because I liked them so much I wore them that much. They weren't durable. I bought my two newest pairs of denim capris last spring at JCPenney, and I love them! I wish I had another pair or two. I'll wait until Mother's Day and get some more for myself.

10. Tell me about your first automobile accident.
My first automobile accident, as in the one I was in while I was driving, happened when I was a freshman in college. One Wednesday around noon, my friend Janis and I were headed over to the Baptist Student Union for the weekly worship service and lunch. Since I was still unfamiliar with other routes to the BSU, I left from the front entrance of the school and waited to turn left, where there was no arrow. I had eased out a bit too far and the light changed to yellow. The person across from me stopped and motioned for me to go ahead and turn before the light turned red. As I started across, another car came across the intersection, through the changing light, and hit me. Thankfully neither of us was traveling very fast and there were no injuries.

11. Have you ever been honest when you knew you would benefit more if you would be dishonest?
Yes, though I can't think of any specific instances right now. And I must also say there have been some times when I should've been honest, but I wasn't.

12. If you were appointed "Ambassador to Aliens," what would you show and tell first about life on Earth? What would be the most difficult thing to explain?
First of all, I think the post is ludicrous. I hope that man has something else to do with his time. What a waste. I have no idea what I would show/tell about life on earth. Maybe I would give the aliens a copy of the Bible - if they could even read it. I think communication would make everything difficult to explain.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - September 27

It was great being back to following a regular menu plan last week! I made everything according to the days I had planned, and there's enough leftover chicken & dumplings for Billy to take to work for lunch tomorrow. If he forgets, they're mine! :o)

Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza
The boys don't want that, so they'll have their usual Alfredo cheese and pepperoni pizzas, just without all the extras this time.

Blackened Tilapia
Pasta Salad
Green Beans

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Country White Bread
Since Caleb chose what he wanted for soup night last week, Jacob chose for this week - much to Caleb's disappointment. He claims he hates broccoli, but he's eaten it without complaint the last several times I've cooked it. He finally relented and said that he'd try it again. I'm betting he'll end up liking it, especially since he'll have some fresh homemade bread to dip in it.

Sausage & Gravy
Scrambled Eggs
This was Caleb's choice for the week. When I was doing my weekly grocery shopping at ALDI on Friday, I couldn't find any frozen biscuits or white gravy mixes. I'm going to make homemade biscuits (something I haven't done for a long time) and try my hand at making sausage gravy - for the first time ever. I suppose I could always run up to Wal-Mart and get what I need, but do I really want to? We'll see how the week goes...


sandwiches or leftovers
It's home team night again, and I'll be focusing on keeping the house straight and preparing the evening's Lord of the Rings-themed snacks. :o)

sandwiches or leftovers

For more menu plan ideas, click here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flashback Friday: Books!!!

I recently found Flashback Friday when I was reading Linda's blog, 2nd Cup of Coffee, where I get the Random Dozen each week. I'm always up for a good meme, and since those sites seem to have fallen by the wayside lately, I was thrilled when I found these two. Initial thanks go to Cindy Swanson at Notes in the Key of Life. (See, there are still some good bloggers out there in spite of Facebook!)

Since my Fridays are so hectic and I don't have much time for blogging, I was thrilled to find the prompt for this week's topic already up. Read on!

Did you like to read when you were a child? What were your favorite genres, books or series? Did you read books because of the author or because of the title/plot? Did you own many books? Did your school distribute the Scholastic book orders (or some other type)? Did you visit the library often? Was there a summer reading program when you were young, and did you participate? Do you have any particular memories of your school libraries? What were your favorites and least favorites among the classics (the ones high school English teachers assign!)? If you didn't like reading, do you like it more today than you did then?

Did I like to read?!? How many times did Mama tell me to get my nose out of my book and do something? If I was inside, I had my nose stuck in a book. (I'm still that way - and I carry a book in my humongous purse everywhere I go. You never know when you're going to have some time to kill...)

The first book I remember reading repeatedly was Jack London's Call of the Wild. I would read it every summer when I went to stay with Aunt Pat. I also loved reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series. My favorite library book was Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. The plot is what pulled me into stories, then and now. I'll read just about any genre and any author, as long as the story is good. If I do find an author I like, I'll usually read several of his or her books or series. The only problem with that is that I sometimes burn out and don't read their work again for a long time - Danielle Steel, John Jakes, John Grisham, and Karen Kingsbury, to name a few.

I had quite a collection of books when I was little. I mostly remember having the hardback versions of the Little House series and a lot of Dr. Seuss books. My favorite of those was I Wish that I Had Duck Feet ("...and I can tell you why. You can splash around in duck feet. You don't have to keep them dry.") When I was older, I collected Sunfire Romance books. They were clean romance novels written for teens. Most of them had a historical fiction element to them. Any time I had some extra money in my pocket, I'd buy another one. I wonder what happened to those... I would also scour garage sale tables for good books. I found many James Michener novels that way. Unfortunately I didn't get around to reading many of them before I had to pack them all up because of a lack of space.

One of the things I most looked forward to in school was the day the book order forms were sent home. I'd spend probably an hour poring over the books available, circling the ones that interested me and figuring how much money I'd need to get the ones I most wanted. When I was a teacher, I always looked forward to getting the book order forms in. I'd look through the books for students and choose a few for my classroom library. Then I'd pore over the offerings for teachers and figure out how many points I had and how many points it would take to order the books I wanted.

I remember Mama taking me to the library frequently when I was little. I remember checking out a big stack of books each time, and I probably read them all the first day I had them. I don't remember going much when Melissa and Lindsay were little. I probably only used the school library then. When I started junior high school, I started visiting the school library more frequently.

By my senior year of high school, I was very familiar with the library. In fact I worked there one hour each day for class credit. I loved straightening the shelves because it gave me plenty of opportunities to find new books to read. I found Robin Cook's Coma and devoured it. Not long after that, I wanted to read every book of his I could get my hands on. I started reading Margaret Walker's Jubilee, but it was the end of my senior year and I ran out of time before I finished it. Some twenty-plus years later, I bought the book at Borders and finally finished it.

While I was in college, I had a student job working in the campus library. I worked in the cataloging department, helping prepare the new books for the stacks. When I had finished that, I would help reshelve books or do some computer work for the acquisitions department. One seemingly boring job of inputting ISBN numbers turned out to be quite interesting after all.

Now I visit one of the local public libraries weekly. I make sure the boys have plenty of books to read, as well as a wide variety of things. I wander the stacks looking for new things for me and usually bring home more books than I have time to read. Oh, and I've found myself straightening shelves on more than one occasion.

I don't remember participating in summer reading programs when I was a child, but my boys participate now. They've earned circus tickets, free meals at restaurants, free books, etc., through them. As an adult I've participated in a few summer reading programs both at our public library and at the church. I've "won" a Starbucks gift card, a deck of playing cards, a book, some coupons, etc. I don't read (solely) for the prizes, but it's a nice perk.

My English teacher my freshman and sophomore years didn't have us read any of the classics. I think she was more interested in looking "cool", so she assigned us contemporary literature. I remember reading War Games and thought it strange that we were reading a book based on a movie instead of watching a movie based on a book. The next two years I had a more traditional English teacher who assigned many classics. I enjoyed most of them: Silas Marner, The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, etc. The one I hated, though, was Gulliver's Travels. I read brief synopses of the chapters to get me by. I can't think of any other book I disliked as much as that one - not even Animal Farm. There are still a lot of classics I never got around to reading that I'd like to. I guess I need to add them to my ever-growing list.

So, what do you like to read?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Random Dozen - September 22

Ooooh, another Random Dozen questions to answer!

1. Have you, or has someone close to you, ever won an award for anything?
The boys have won awards for AWANA and the AWANA Grand Prix. Memaw won an award a few years ago for something senior-citizen related, I believe...

2. Who is the nearest relative to you who has served in the US Military?
Daddy served as a radioman in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. He still remembers Morse Code. :o) I believe he was on duty when the message was sent to his ship that I had been born.

At one point, his ship had a hole blown in the side of it by some mines. They had to lean the ship until they reached port for repairs.

3. Share something that stirs the patriotic spirit in you.
Lee Greenwood's song God Bless the USA always gives me patriotic chills. And when I see men and women being honored for their military service, it always brings tears to my eyes.

4. Where are you in the birth order in your family? Do you think your "placement" made a difference in your personality?
I'm the oldest, and I think it did make a difference in my personality. I read Dr. Kevin Leman's The Birth Order Book and I fit the first-born type almost perfectly. My sisters don't fit their placement, but that's also explained in the book. Makes complete sense to me!

5. Name one trait you hope you carry that was evidenced in your parents or grandparents.
Personality trait: good humor; physical trait: youthfulness.

6. If female, do you prefer wearing a skirt or pants? If male, shirt and tie or polo?
I definitely prefer wearing pants. During the summer, I almost always have on capris. I wear my nicer ones (khaki or black) to church and save my denim ones for the rest of the week. During the fall and winter, I wear flannel pants or sweats when I stay home, jeans when I go out, and corduroys or slacks to church. I did wear more skirts to church last year, though, since I got two nice pairs of boots for my birthday. Boots make all the difference for me!

7. Approximately how many times do you wake during the night? What do you do to go back to sleep?
I usually wake up at least once during the night, but sometimes more. It depends on where I am and how I feel. Most times all it takes for me to go back to sleep is to change positions. The times when I have trouble getting back to sleep, I start praying for people.

8. Share a favorite movie quote.
Just one?!? There are so many,...and it depends on the situation. :o)
Pretty much anything from Steel Magnolias; The Princess Bride has a lot of good ones, too. Since we've been watching a lot of LOTR lately, I'd have to say this one: Bilbo, to Frodo, as he's preparing to leave Rivendell: "Now here's a pretty thing!" - as he takes out the shiny mithril shirt. Another one: Gollum: "My Precious!" Also from Gollum: "Taters? What's taters?" And from Pippin: "It comes in pints?!?"

9. What is your favorite Fall candle scent?
Without a doubt, it's Yankee Candle's "Be Thankful" scent. Unfortunately I don't have one right now and it's one of the fall scents that's NOT on sale. Why not?

10. What is one Fall activity you're looking forward to?
Thanksgiving! I'm also looking forward to cooler weather, pizza nights, soup nights, flannel pajama pants, and curling up on the couch under a blanket with a good book. Why is it I can never name just one?

11. Tell us about a pleasant surprise that happened to you recently.
I don't get many surprises... Maybe when we were eating at Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant in Sevierville, TN, and the apple butter we put on our fritters was so delicious. I've never liked apple butter, but that was absolutely divine.

12. What was it like when you first met your in-laws-to-be?
Well, I officially met them at their house on New Year's Day, I believe. I was nervous and not sure how many people would be over there. There were only a few other family members over. I think Aunt Charlotte was there... We had a lot of fun, and I loved getting to see how Billy interacted with his family.

Unofficially, they scoped me out before they met me. Billy's dad came by the store where I worked because he wanted to see who Billy was dating (or preparing to date). Billy's mom saw me in the checkout line of a local clothing store a day or so before (or maybe the day of) our first date. I think she heard the clerk mention my name or something when I wrote a check... I'm a little fuzzy on all the details after 20 years. :o)

Monday, September 20, 2010

My 10-Year-Old Encyclopedia

That's my Caleb. He loves to read fact books - almanacs, record books, etc., and not so much just straight informational nonfiction. He has surprised me a few times lately by telling me something he read that pertains to what we're studying. Last time I asked him, "How'd you know that?", he responded with, "Well, I read a lot!"

We're studying whales in science right now. Today we were reading about blow holes and whale spouts and such. He chimed in with, "I read once that some whales have two blow holes." I never knew that and wondered if he remembered correctly. As we continued reading in our textbook, it said that baleen whales (blue, gray, humpback, etc.) have two blow holes; toothed whales (orcas, dolphins, sperm whales, etc.) have just one. Too cool! And kudos to Caleb for remembering something like that! He's got a mind like a steel trap sometimes.

I think we might turn this into an opportunity to learn further, if we can. He's learning how to research topics, and since Friday is our library day, I just might have him look up something on whale blow holes and see what is the purpose of having two. Knowing him, he won't think of this as drudgery. He's already noticed the row of World Book Encyclopedias on the shelf next to his favorite fact books and has gone so far as to look through one or two.

Tomorrow during our review (before we continue on with the day's lesson), I think I'll ask him why he thinks some whales need two blow holes. Then I'll suggest we spend a few minutes looking into it when we go to the library this week. I can't wait to find out why myself!

Menu Plan Monday - September 20, 2010

I've got a great menu plan for this week. Looks like I'm back on track! For this week, I let Caleb choose the soup and Jacob choose the breakfast supper. Next week, they'll each get to choose something different. Not only does that make it easier for me, but they get to feel like they're a part of the planning. And after cooking four nights in a row, we should have some good leftovers saved up for the weekend. I LOVE easy weekends with little to no cooking (or housework)!

homemade pizza
Pizza nights are back! Caleb will have his usual Alfredo cheese with black olives and mushrooms. Jacob will have pepperoni with mushrooms and olives. Billy and I will have a veggie pizza, with a little pepperoni on Billy's half.

Tacos, Southwestern-style Rice

Chicken & Dumplings, Caesar Salad

Breakfast Burritos


leftovers or sandwiches

leftovers or sandwiches

For more menu plan ideas, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Random Dozen - September 15, 2010

A big thanks to Cindy for leading me to 2nd Cup of Coffee, where I've found a great meme to help me jump start my blogging when I've hit that mental block.

Here's today's Random Dozen.
1. Do you do garage sales? If so, tell me about one great find. If not, tell me why not.
Many years ago, I would go to garage sales with my mom and one of our neighbors. It was quite a big to-do, complete with scouring the newspaper and mapping our out route the night before. I'd always come home with a paperback or two, a jigsaw puzzle or game, or some little something I could use in my future house. I haven't been since we moved to Dallas seven years ago. One of the main reasons I don't go anymore is that I don't have anywhere to put anyone else's junk. I have plenty of my own that I need to organize or get rid of. (Maybe I should have a garage sale...) However, we're having a community garage sale on October 2, so I just might make it to a few houses on my street and see if anyone has any junk I could use. Probably the main thing I'd be looking for these days is jewelry that I can rework into something new.

2. Name the last thing you fixed.
Sunday evening, my friend Christy asked me to fix a memory wire bracelet her mom had made for her. The beads on the end had slipped off and the wire was exposed, causing it to catch on her clothing. Since I didn't have similar beads to match the other end, I took the other ones off. Then I used my bending pliers to gently curl the wire around in a tight spiral. Finally I filed the rough edges. Five minutes work, tops.

3. Name your A) Favorite item of makeup OR B) Favorite tool
I have two must-have makeup items. I look completely washed out without eyeliner (right now my color of choice is violet) and lipstick.

Bonus: My favorite tools (note the plural again) are my jewelry making tools. I can't choose one favorite because I find them all necessary.

4. Which room in your home needs organizing more than any other?
My bedroom definitely needs some organizing! For a year now (since we moved in!), it's been the catch-all for whatever doesn't have a home. I have arranged a few things and gotten rid of some others since then, but I still have a few piles of junk here and there that need attention. I was going to do that this summer, but we got too busy and time got away from me. I'll put that on my fall to-do list.

5. Which room could use re-decorating?
I don't really have any room that could use re-decorating right now. Everything was redecorated when we moved. One thing that needs attention throughout the house, though, is wall art. I'm adamant about using mine and Billy's photography (or pictures of family, old and new) as our artwork, but I haven't taken the time to pick out and order what I want. Maybe I should put that on my fall to-do list as well.

6. Share something unique about your town.
My community is only four years old. Right now, it's mostly housing with one new store (a flooring store, of all things!), but the plans are for a community of over 8,000 families with schools, parks, restaurants, shopping, etc. We've lived here for a year now and we love it!

7. If you could send a one-sentence message to your great-grandchild, what would it be?
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

8. Do you Facebook?
Absolutely! Probably a little too much, but that's the best way for me to keep up with my friends, especially those who have moved on after seminary.

9. Describe your favorite shoes.
My two-tone blue Speedo flip flops are my absolute favorite shoes. I wear them almost daily during the summer. When cooler weather gets here, probably my black Skechers - but it really depends on the circumstances. For church, I love to wear my boots.

10. Do you listen to more talk radio or more music radio? What kind of station is it?
I definitely listen to more music radio than talk radio. I'm usually tuned in to KLTY 94.9 - contemporary Christian. Occasionally I'll switch over to a classic rock station or to some oldies, but it's primarily on KLTY.

11. How far would you travel for a really good (favorite) meal?
Not far since I cook a lot, and I'm a good cook. Family is too far away to go for just a meal, but when we do visit, the food is always excellent. For a restaurant, maybe 30 or 40 miles. (Dallas is big!)

12. If you were totally honest with yourself (and us) what should you probably be doing right now instead of blogging?
Laundry! I have loads to do since getting back from our vacation. And since I want to get caught up this week, good-bye!

Menu Plan Monday - September 13, 2010

Yes, I'm a few days late with this. Now that we're back from vacation, I can hopefully get in a more regular routine. And now that summer is "over" and we're back to a regular routine, I can get back to my weekly menu planning.

This week:
Baked Rotini

leftovers or sandwiches

Vegetable Soup, cornbread
Yes, I know it's still hot out during the day, but I've missed our weekly soup nights. If I wait until it gets cooler, who knows how long that will be! So, I start them in September and carry them through March, regardless of the temperature outside.)

leftovers or sandwiches

We were on vacation last week and I only picked up some basics at the grocery store when we got back, so it's a boring week. I'm not sure if we'll be getting out to Costco or not. If so, we'll eat out; if not, we'll make do.

It's home team night and my main focus will be on our LOTR-themed dessert (for our first night of LOTR discussion).

Now that AWAMA is back in full swing, it's back to sandwiches or cereal when we get home on Sunday nights.

Next week will be better, I promise. Not only has soup night started back, but pizza night will resume next week. I'm also wanting to incorporate some new recipes into our week and see if we can find some new favorites.

I'm noodling over what nights I'll be cooking what and will hopefully have that all worked out the next day or so. I do know most Friday and Saturday nights will be leftover nights (and Sunday nights will remain sandwich nights), but I want us to have exciting leftovers - and a lot of variety to choose from.

For more meal plan ideas, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie.