Perspective. Some times it's hard to gain. Other times it smacks into us relentlessly like choppy waters against the side of a boat.

Yesterday was a day that found me grumbling and generally crabby with the days events. Sweet Princess Pigtails once again had a random fever and her glands were swollen. Not really any other symptoms, but I was not comfortable going forward with our plans to go to the beach with some friends. So, we were here all day. Princess Pigtails was questionably sick and understandably whiny all day. Whiny makes me crabby.

DH was, by no fault of his own, later leaving the office than I had hoped he would be. Later leaving equates to worse traffic and a longer commute putting him home later than I expected. I try to be understanding about these things. But last night? I was crabby about it. It cramped our time for dinner as a family. I could make excuses about the day wearing on me and that being one more thing. But those would just be excuses for me choosing a poor reaction.

I had a final planning meeting for vacation Bible school scheduled for last night. The hope was that all six of us that have been involved in the planning process could be there. We were not all there and in reality it was fine. But given my attitude for the day, I was crabby about it. Big shocker, huh?

I came home and wallowed in my crabbiness to DH. (Who once again listened and tried to encourage me...) And yet, I went to bed with that nagging feeling. You know. The one where the Lord is gently nudging you to give to Him and let it go. But I wasn't ready. I guess I was having too much "fun" grumbling about how bad my day was and how disappointed I was.

Then this morning my mom called with news that brought perspective upon me with frightening speed. A young woman from a former congregation that my dad served had passed away from cancer yesterday morning. She was 25 years old. We've been praying for her and her family during this 2 1/2 year battle, reading the updates on her CaringBridge site and wondering when she was going to finally get some good news.

Her healing came in God's perfect timing and in His perfect way. The Good News did come. Not in the manner that our human minds and hearts hope for but in a way that our souls unexplainably understand. She is with our Lord now. She is pain free and the struggles she endured as a result of this journey have come to a close. Faith allows us to mourn and celebrate her life and faith simultaneously.

While I was whining, grumbling and complaining--Brittney was called Home. While I was lamenting about how the day could've, should've gone--that dinner was quick, my darling child was whiny and people missed a meeting--a family began mourning the loss of their daughter.

Tears streamed down my face upon hearing the news and the deafening sound of the waves of perpective burned my ears.


Things I Love Thursday--Bagolitas by Janice

I've written about Bagolitas before--but for those of you that missed it...This week, I'd like to introduce you to Bagolitas by Janice! Bagolitas are a line of absolutely gorgeous spunky handbags, tote bags and accessories. You really must visit her website and look around. Every time I visit her site I find something else that I think I can't live without.
Beautiful, sassy handbags like this one:

This is the "beverly" style in the Chicklet pattern. Love it. Love. It.

The bag I have was a speciality bag that her team did as a fundraiser for an organization that I am a part of. DH bought the "benny" style for me and it is absolutely perfect as a tote for my Bible study books and other meeting materials.

So, go and check out Bagolitas by Janice. They are celebrating their third year and have some speciality bags in honor of the occasion. There are bibs, eye glass cases, pursemates and she has recently added a line of spunky kitchen items--spunky aprons, oven mitts and gloves!

And by the way--this is by no means a paid advertisement or product review. Just me, a happy customer with a sassy, spunky bag passing the word on because this is one of the Things I Love and it is Thursday!

For more products that you can't or shouldn't live without head over and see Jill at Diaper Diaries.


Don't Toss! Reheat and Eat!

I cringe every time I toss left over meat or an entire steak that didn't get eaten (after it has sat in the fridge for a week). But what do you do with it--outside of mixing the ground beef in spaghetti sauce or with Manwich? Anyone else dislike that "micro-waved" taste of reheated ground beef or left over steak? Well, I've got two simple little tips for you that I recently picked up. Can't take credit for either of them, but they are too easy to not pass on!

Tip #1--This one that I picked up from my Grandma--When reheating ground beef or left over hamburger patties in the microwave, place a damp paper towel over the meat for the duration of the reheating process. Remarkably, it does help tremendously!

Secondly, my mom discovered that the Green Giant teriyaki stir fry kit (the just add meat kind) is great way to use the left over steak. Just slice the steak, reheat in the skillet and then dump the stir fry kit and sauce in. It's super easy and very tasty. Nearly impossible to detect that "reheated" taste!

For more tips, hints and other things that just work--head on over to Rocks In My Dryer!


A Spoonful of Sugar

We have a huge rhubarb patch in our yard. I am not necessarily a fan of the plant/weed but have begun to acquire a tolerance of it. I actually do not totally turn up my nose at the mention of it now. And I rarely make gagging noises if it is served to me. I'm growing as a person, what can I say?

In light of said growth here's a favorite cobbler/rhubarb recipe. Further proving the theory that anything will become delicious if mixed with a spoonful (or 20) of sugar! Great on it's own, with some ice cream or my personal favorite-fresh whipped cream! Enjoy.

Rhubarb Cherry Cobbler
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
Spread fruit and pie filling in a 9x13 baking pan. Sprinkle with sugar and butter. Cover with crust batter.

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Cream shortening and sugar in mixing bowl. Add egg and beat well. Combine flour and baking powder; add alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Pour over fruit. Bake at 350 for approximately 50 minutes.


Transparency--Not Just for the Overhead Projector Anymore

I have been out of the habit of writing and journaling for so long that it has taken me a great deal of time to find my voice on this blog. There are many aspects of other blogs that I enjoy thoroughly and find myself at times hung up in efforts to emulate other writers rather than continuing on the path of finding the bloggy style that best suites me. Somehow for me emulating something or someone is often easier than being vulnerable and digging below the surface. Why is it that I can fool myself into accepting an imitation as genuine while all the time the genuine, true self would be so much less work?

Perhaps it is the vulnerability required to put myself out there issues and all in both my writing and my relationships. If I just gloss over those issues both big and small, put on a front that I perceive to be pleasing to those around me--somehow that is easier and requires less self-examination. And ultimately how appealing are those flaws? Those issues? And yet I know that when my own friends behave that way, I feel as if I have been deprived of the opportunity to truly know them, to relate and to encourage and/or be encouraged.

I often catch myself behaving in that way with my faith. Glossing over struggles and my own innate sinful nature. Sometimes it is intentional. Sometimes it is subconscious. If I just disconnect and spew the "churchese", I don't have to share my disappointments or my hurts. I don't have to acknowledge the dry seasons of my faith or confess sins. Sharing those deepest aspects of myself would make me vulnerable and lets face it--people can be harsh, hurtful, judgmental and unforgiving. Including myself.

I am slowing accepting that sharing those experiences, those exact hurts are what we as believers are called to do. As difficult as they are to share, to put voice to those hurts and scars--that is what we are to be doing. When we fail to confess, when we gloss over "the living" that we've done, we deprive our own relationship with Christ and one another. We are called to share those things that weigh heavy on our hearts. To carry one another's burdens and to be as Christ to one another. In order to minister and to be ministered to. God is bigger than those things--Christ wants to meet us in those shared experiences to heal us, strengthen our faith and to strengthen our community, our friendships for further ministry.

A deeper, more vibrant faith life and stronger relationships with those around me is what I desire. Why is being transparent so difficult?

"Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day's out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ's law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived." Galatians 6:1-3 (The Message)


Things I Love Thursday--Swaddle Designs

Jill over at Diaper Diaries does a weekly segment on Thursdays called "Things I Love". This week she has invited others to join her and link back to share. So because I'm always looking for bloggy material I thought I would participate.

My first post for "Things I Love Thursday" is to share my love for the Swaddle Designs Ultimate Receiving Blanket. A friend gave us our first Swaddle Designs blanket at a baby shower when I was preggo with Princess Pigtails. To be honest, I really hadn't done much reading about swaddling and wasn't sure that I needed a particular blanket for said business. But I was so wrong.

If you are a believer in swaddling your little one--which I am now-- then you know that not just any old receiving blanket will do. Most are too small and/or have some obnoxious graphic or print on them. The Swaddle Designs blanket is awesome! It is a perfect square and is BIG (42"x42")--which is ideal for swaddling. It is super snuggly soft and maintains that softness despite all of the laundering. I found myself wishing that I had six more--because of the number of times I stood impatiently waiting at the dryer for the blanket to be done so I could wrap the precious one up! The blanket is a great weight and the color options allow for coordination with nearly any nursery. It was a nice transition to a "blankie" for Princess Pigtails once she was past the swaddling stage. You know I ran out and bought one for The Little Man before I could consider the nursery "baby ready"! I should've picked up a package of the absolutely adorable Baby Burpies or one of the Baby Lovies while I was at it!

Head on over to Diaper Diaries to read about more items or products you shouldn't or can't live without!


To do or not to do?

So another full week and a half have gone by without a post. No excuses just that we have finally had some consecutive days of absolutely beautiful weather and I am finally trying to work out the summer routine. As always, I am trying to balance the activities, "at home" time and the to-do list. But that is no different than normal, I guess, only that I also want the moments to just sit out and enjoy the warm sun. Perhaps now that it does not appear that it will be raining/storming/wind blowing 90 miles an hour everyday, maybe it will be easier to get the routine down and work in a few projects as well.

Speaking of projects, BooMama is hosting a "before and after" bloggy extravaganza and I am considering participating. Because I for one could use a little accountability and might actually accomplish one of the projects that way. But then The List. The List is so long. Where to start? And how much can I reasonably expect to accomplish with Princess Pigtails and The Little Man here with me?

But the project I am considering tackling is this: The basement bathroom. Because it houses our only real shower (so really it is the equivalent to the main bath even though it is in the basement) I think that the impact would be significant. And quite honestly it is ugly. It was ugly long before we bought this old house. I've tried to tone it down by painting the upper part of the wall blue and accessorizing with blues and tans, but really how successful are my efforts going to be when the tile that goes half way up the wall all the way around is green. Like celery green. And the towel bars and toilet paper holder? Made of the same tile and tiled to the tiled wall. It is really quite lovely if you are obsessed with celery green in the tile form. And the floor? Varying shades of green in 1" tile. The ceiling also needs to be finished from a dry wall patch job that DH had to do when he replaced the vent/fan.

Possible solutions: Ideally, I would like to gut the whole thing and start over. However, I do not believe that is realistic. So, other options? I read recently that you can paint tile. I could just paint it. I mean what's the worst that can happen? Other than it looks horrible, I hate it and tear it down any way? The other possibility is just to take the leap and pray that the dry wall will be in decent shape and pull the tile off? But what condition can I expect the drywall to be in? Anyone know?
And the floor? Can I just vinyl over top of it? Also, I would like to paint the cabinets. But not sure--black? Paint the walls a warm brown? The towels currently in this bathroom are a light blue, navy blue and tan. The toilet and sink are white and the shower surround is tan. I am open to suggestions. Anyone have ideas?


Biscuits, Coffee Goo and Birthday Cake

It's Saturday morning and with the list of "to-do's" looming, just a quick post to say:

1. Happy Birthday to my mom! Love you and hope you have a great day!
2. Please pray for our friend K. She's been a pretty sick little girl the last couple of weeks. K we love you and hope you are better soon!
3. Southern Buttered Pecan coffee creamer is the perfect compliment to a Saturday cup of
4. DH makes the best biscuits and gravy this bloggy mama has ever had.
5. I'm really looking forward to dinner tonight with DH. Our favorite sitter and neighbor is
home from college, so you can bet Heather will be over here a lot this summer, hopefully!
6. Hope we don't get rained on during our friend Addy's birthday party this afternoon.
7. Remember this big announcement? Coming to an event center near you! The concert in
Toronto sold out in 4 minutes. Sweet.

Have a great weekend! I'll be back next week with more randomness and mundane details.


Eat Your Scone, Tina

It's been a while since I shared a recipe for yummy goodness. So, today I give you my friend Ann's recipe for scones. Ann brought a plate of these by the house after Little Man was born and let me tell you--YUM. She was kind enough to share the recipe so without further ado, the quick and easy recipe for Scones a la Ann. Make them for breakfast tomorrow--or put on a pot of coffee and make them now. You won't be sorry. I promise.

Scones a la Ann
2 cups Bisquick (you can use the low-fat version if that's what you have)
1/2 cup quick oats
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk (or a little more)
1/3 cup cinnamon chips

Mix and drop in 1-2 teaspoon "globs" on baking stone or cookie sheet. Sprinkle sugar and a few oats on top. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350.

A couple of things about this recipe--
1. Yes, "globs" is a highly technical term used by the finest of chefs.
2. I didn't have cinnamon chips on had when I made them the other day, so I used Craisins instead. Also very yummy. I also used a little more cinnamon than the recipe calls for...
3. Princess Pigtails calls them "stones".


Ten Bucks Says You Can't Do It!

Take a look at this picture of the little guy. Go ahead and try to not smile.
I dare you.

Can't do it, can you? Me neither.
No wonder I'm not getting much done around here.
Happy Monday.

It's Not Easy Being Green

This is the year that spring wasn't. At least here in the upper Midwest. But this weekend was finally chock-full of awesome weather. It was a great weekend to work on our "list" and had a very productive weekend.

Saturday morning, I whipped up a batch of oven pancakes (a favorite of mine from childhood) and we discussed the plan for the day. After breakfast, I headed out to our local garden center and got the plants for the pots and baskets around here as well the plants and seeds for the garden.

While I was gone, sans kiddos--BTW!, DH tackled replacing the first of three screen doors at our house that have long surpassed their useful life and just need to go. This is the first time he has replaced screen doors and let me say that I am so proud of him for sticking to it! It definitely took longer than either of us expected and a few "golf words" were used but the completed product looks oh so nice!

Upon my return from the center de gardening, I worked on cleaning out my flower beds and getting things ready to go. To be honest, I always do a very poor job of winterizing my flower beds and consequently have lots of work to do come spring when I am anxious to get the plants in the ground. Anywhoo, got most everything cleaned up and the beds, pots, baskets all planted. Wahoo. And ouch, because Sunday morning my body reminded me of the self-inflicted "manual labor" that had occurred.

Last on the list Saturday afternoon was to get the garden going. For the record, I very much enjoy garden fresh produce. I like the idea of a garden. Having spent so much time at my grandparents' in the summer, I am not unaware of the amount of work that it is to keep a garden up. And yet, somehow in the spring, a garden always sounds like fun. However, in actuality, I do not find gardening to be "fun". There is very little about gardening that I enjoy. It's really not so much the picking of the produce that I dislike. Okay, it is the picking. And the weeding of the plants-which I guess is basically the whole concept of gardening, huh? Possible reasons to explain my lack of fondness for gardening:
  • Tending a garden demands working OUTSIDE regardless of weather conditions--simply not a fan of extreme heat and humidity. Give me 75, sunny and zero humidity and I'd be happy...
  • There are bugs, lots and lots of bugs. The thought that the mosquito should be classified as the Minnesota state bird isn't too far fetched.
  • Did I mention, working outside in the heat and humidity? And the bugs? Enough said.
Typically, we start out each spring with great intentions and then by the middle of June I am done with it. I sit back and hope that enough Miracle-Gro has been used that our plants will out grow the weeds! I do a little better job with my pots, baskets and beds--but I think that is because the whole prospect is less overwhelming. I can do one bed this morning, another tonight, etc. I always feel like I need to take on the entire garden in one setting and that, my friends, is a lot of work.

At some point, DH usually steps in, goes to battle and cleans up the garden. So, this year he shared with me that he had read that you can lay newspaper down around your plants and between the rows in your garden to prevent the growth and spread of weeds. Similar to the black landscaping tarp, only this will degrade and eventually just dissolve into the ground. I guess it would be a "green" weed control option. I'm not much of any expert on any of it, but the thought that it would help cut down the amount of weeding to be done--you can imagine my enthusiasm! DH sent me to one of our barns to grab some old newspapers out of the "burn" pile. Never mind, that as I was spreading the papers on the garden I noticed that the first stack was dated September 18, 2005. Ahh, the weekend that Princess Pigtails was born. Sweet memories... Please no criticism about the fact that we had 2 1/2 year old newspapers laying around. In a barn. That's not the point. So, we laid newspapers out and watered them down. We lost a couple on Saturday night when the wind came up. DH ran out and retrieved them. Sunday--not so much wind, so I guess that's why it wasn't a problem yesterday. But this morning? Another issue.

This was the view out my dining room window:
Here let me zoom in. Does this help?

This was after Princess Pigtails and I had already been out once and collected a ton of papers. Let me just say, where the papers are blown up against the prairie grass? Not right next to our garden. In fact, the grass and the lilac bushes are the only things keeping the newspapers from continuing to blow to Fargo! But Princess seemed to thoroughly enjoy the game of running after the papers and "catching" them. I think perhaps we will play another round when she gets up from her nap!

In retrospect, perhaps we should have placed some straw on top of the papers after they were watered down. Because we totally have some straw around here. In a barn. Thank you very much.


Then What Are We Going to Do?

Princess Pigtails is obsessed about our schedule. It's incredible. Most days when I get her up in the morning, she starts in with her questions. It's constant and usually goes something like this:
PP: Mama, after we find some breakfast and I get dressed then what are we going to do?
Me: Well, Toby will probably be ready to get up and eat his breakfast.
PP: After he eats and we change his pants, then what are we going to do? Are we going some where today?
Me: We'll have to see what how the day goes. (I've stopped even mentioning possibilities, because she locks onto it as being set in concrete and then it results in a melt down if those possibilities do not come to pass.)

I'm not joking when I say that she will run through the entire normal daily routine and then still ask "then what are we going to do?". It is cute and maddening all at the same time. The other day at breakfast, she started in with her questions.

PP: "Where are we going?"
Me: Crazy.
PP: Mama, where are going today?
Me: Crazy.
PP: Huh, Mama? Where are we going?
Me: Crazy.
PP: Can I come too?
DH: Um, yeah. I think you are driving.

Yes, my dear, you are driving! And we love you so very much.