Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Anniversary Give Away

I can't believe it has been two years. Where does the time go? I believe my first blog was written on July 18, 2007. My little one was only 4 months old, Soph just turned 5, and Em was 7. It seems impossible that was just 2 years ago, but it was. I've written about daily life, shared funny stories, complained, celebrated, and grieved. Thanks to all of you who have stuck around and been my friend. It truly means the world to me.

In celebration of my two years of blogging Digital Room is offering a give away I'd like to pass on to you.

They are offering one free 18X24 poster print to one of my readers! If you need any poster printing or a custom print poster they are the ones to go to.

I'm thinking I'd like to have this picture that appeared on our Christmas card last year:

To enter the drawing just leave a comment telling me what picture you'd like to have enlarged. If you'd like to mention it in your blog post or twitter it or facebook it come back and tell me so I can enter you for more chances.

Thanks again for all your support with my blog!

**Whoops, I forgot to say that it ends on August 5th!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Am A Writer

Every time I go to the doctors office or sign one of my kids up for an activity I always pause at the space for occupation. I stare at the blank and try to think of what nifty little title I could give myself.

Here are a few I like to play with:
-Servant of God
-Teacher to Three
-Wife and Mother, not to mention Daughter, Sister, and Friend.
-Slayer of under the bed monsters and all things that go bump in the night
-Bedtime story reader
-Arts and Crafts Director
-Social Coordinator
-Keeper of all things important
-Housekeeper ( I use this term lightly)
And on and on I go. Never, ever, has it even crossed my mind to say writer.


Maybe because I don't get paid to write. But looking at this list I don't get paid for any of those things either. Not monetarily anyway.

Which leads me to the question of what makes someone a writer? The words that come to mind are these:


Hmm, no mention of money there. No mention of published either. So maybe making money and getting published are the accolades of writing. Maybe just the act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard makes us writers.

Now I have one more title to add to my list of occupations.

What are some things you think makes a person a writer?

Friday, July 24, 2009

An Award and An Anniversary

My friend Jill over at the Jill Kemerer Blog gave me this award. Thank you Jill, I am honored. You need to check out her blog, especially if you are a writer. She helps to keep me motivated and inspired.

The rules of the Honest Scrap Award are to reveal 8 honest things about yourself.

1. I was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but will fiercely declare myself a southerner since my parents only lived there long enough to have me and let me romp around in the snow for a bit!

2. I have to have a coke, real coke, every day. It's my treat and if I can have it with a salty bag of chips I'm in heaven.

3. My husband still makes me weak in the knees and I'm happiest when he is around (unless I'm shopping).

4. I went to a Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer concert when in college...Ice, Ice, Baby.

5. My wedding cake was Italian creme. It wasn't until our 1 year anniversary that I realized it had coconut in it, I hate coconut.

6. I'm not a fan of yippee dogs, dogs that wear clothes, or get their nails painted. It just seems wrong on so many levels. Kind of like putting a monkey in diapers and thinking it's not a wild animal that might eat you one day. (If you dress up your dog, please know I still love you)

7. Sometimes I get carried away. Number 6, case in point.

8. I have no tattoos or body piercings, except for 1 hole in each ear which I didn't get until I was 16. After spending a summer at the pool I realize that I'm not the norm. Hmm, maybe I could start a trend:)

Okay whenever I pass on awards if you do not wish to participate that is a okay with me. But I am going to mention you right here, right now, on my blog just because I want to!

Aimee at Aimee's Land
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Sasha at Cherished Moments
Warren at Family Fountain
Pat at Pat's Place

Okay, there are many more blogs I could mention, but I'll save them for the next time.
I'm off for a little trip, but I'll be checking in. Oh, and I missed my 2 year blogging anniversary last week so to make up for it I will be hosting a give-away next week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Chirstmas Card Letter

It's early to be thinking about Christmas, but I have to admit I'm looking forward to some cooler weather. Along with cooler weather comes the holidays and the dreaded Christmas card. I was raised to always write a personal note in each of my cards. I remember my mother opening cards from friends she hadn't talked to in ages only to find a Hallmark greeting inside with a signed name. Sometimes there was a typed note inside. Not really a note, but a bragging list of all that family had accomplished over the year. If during the holidays you don't have time to reach out and send a personal note or thought to your loved ones, than maybe your missing the whole point of the holiday altogether was my thinking.

But now I'm grown and I realize that there are a lot of people on your list you want to wish a Merry Christmas to. People that you don't get to talk to on a regular basis, but would love to catch up with. I began to see the Christmas letter not so much as evil, but as a form of desperate communication. I still cringe when I read a bragging list of accomplishments, etc., etc. So it has became a challenge for me to write creative Christmas cards. Cards that let people know what we are up to, what we have done, but didn't ooze "look at how great I am". Honestly, I just have a lot of fun whenever I get to write and this is just another excuse.

I just found our card from a couple of years ago. I used the format of The Christmas Carol, with Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Future. I've written poems, used scripture to tell our story, even interviews of the family. I love to write like this because not only am I getting my creative juices flowing, I'm writing a living history of sorts. One that won't ever be published, but one that will be read and cherished by my family and friends.

Which leads me to a question. Do you put your writing skills to use outside of the project you are working on? And I have to know, what are your thoughts on the Holiday Letter?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

You Can Always TRI

Okay, so I write a lot about WB. This post will be no different. I need to take a quick trip down memory lane.

We met at Tech and he still had the cross country runners body he had in high school plus the token college pounds. Then came grad school, long hours working on his thesis and finally graduation. He found himself working a new job, spending less time exercising and with more money for food! The pounds slowly crept on.

This was us on our wedding day. I have to say my body has changed shapes over the years as well!

Anyway, back to my story. After a few years of my cooking and living a busy and at times stressful life the pounds continued to add on. With a new baby in the house there was even less time to exercise and it was easy to grab a quick and not so healthy meal.

After our second child was born the doctor told him he would have to go on medication for high cholesterol. He tried to alter his diet somewhat in hopes his cholesterol would go down. It didn't. The doctor said he would probably just have to take the meds for the rest of his life.
Several things happened soon after. He got laid off from the job that was making him miserable (he wouldn't say that because he doesn't complain so much, but it was), he had some blood work in which his liver function was off (the doctor said it was probably just the meds and switched them), and we lived through some of the darkest moments of our lives. I believe he began to see the light at the end of the tunnel with God's roaring voice giving him a few suggestions along the way.

He started making little changes at first. There were set backs and frustrations of course. Eventually, he completely changed what he ate and began exercising again. It was a lifestyle change. It didn't happen overnight, but within a few years he lost 40+ pounds and his cholesterol is now normal without the medication.

I see in him today, what I saw in him 15 years ago, the man God wants him to be. And I'm just so proud of him. Which is why I will now post these pictures from the second triathlon he has completed in a year, despite a long recovery from a knee surgery. He continues to push himself and do the unexpected.
The girls and WB waiting for the start. The finish line!
WB with his fan club.

He's an inspiration to those who know him, especially his family. God has blessed us tremendously. So I write not only to once again tell everyone how much I love my WB, but to share a little bit of our story in hopes it might benefit someone else. After all God works in mysterious ways!

Posted with WB's grunt of approval!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Obstacles or Blessings?

I've been trying to post now for a week, and one obstacle after another has gotten into my way.

First the upstairs AC is out, which makes the 105 degree temperatures outside for the last week feel cool compared to my upstairs office. My laptops Internet card broke, which means I can't sit downstairs and work. Then there has been club volleyball for the oldest. Practices and games take up three evenings a week, swim lessons for Soph, and grumpiness from the 2 year old who just got her shots fill the rest of my days. Next up was the meeting my husband had at our house for the homeowners association. I did a much needed scrubbing of the downstairs and in between running my kids around made banana pudding from scratch for the guests. Not to mention WB is still working long hours and I can't seem to get him home for two weekends in a row. That means I get to mow Cotton-Top Hills on my own. Herding has become my latest occupation. The big, brown momma cow from the ranch behind us likes to hang out in our garden. The same garden that is drying up and about to blow away. Momma cow managed to eat all the corn that was still alive though, bless her heart.

I long to sit at my computer, as a cool breeze blows past my face, and write. Write my blog, write my articles, write my stories. I want to read what everyone in the blogging world has been up to. Darn the obstacles that keep me from it.

But the other night as I lay sweltering in my bed, unable to sleep, I heard a voice telling me these weren't obstacles. I began to think about the last week and all the times I've spent with my kids. I hear their laughter, see their smiling faces, and feel little hands grabbing onto mine as we walk across the yard. The very things that were keeping me from what I wanted to do were actually blessings. Lots of little blessings wrapped up in the daily routines of life.

Someday my house will be empty for hours at a time. The pattering of feet, the girly giggles, and the cry for "Momma" will be gone. I suspect that in their absence I will have plenty of time to write. My writing will spill forth full of life. Full of the life I lived not counting obstacles, but counting blessings.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why WB?

My mom made this for WB, the name is sticking.

I joined facebook awhile back and many of my friends asked why I call my husband WB. Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time have read my Love Story and already know why I call him WB. For those of you just visiting I'm not going to tell you in this post why I call him WB, so you'll have to click on these two words Love Story to go back and read how he got this name. I feel an evil laugh coming on, sorry couldn't help myself.

Truth be told before I began calling him WB he was called Scooter by certain members of my family. That name didn't really fit him for I've never seen him scoot anywhere, but for whatever reason it stuck for a little while. When I started writing this blog it seemed like a certain amount of anonymity was needed for my family. Most of you know our real names, many of you who didn't have figured it out, but still it makes things a little more interesting around here if I get to give people fictitious names. That is the writer in me coming out.

Let me go on the say that WB cringes whenever I tell him I wrote about him on my blog. In fact, when I just did a WB search on all my posts I realized he's mentioned in about 3/4 of them. Poor guy, for someone who likes to fly under the radar most of the time, I sure do put a target on him. I think he has stopped reading my blog. He doesn't mention my posts anymore or comment so I figure he's missing in action. Probably easier to just not know what his crazy wife is saying about him today.

And now I'm going to go post this on Facebook for all of my dear friends who were just dying to know where WB came from. Oh, you can at least pretend you are fascinated:)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

For The Love Of Words

I would love to have an Oxford Dictionary vocabulary. If I could just absorb all the words and definitions on those pages surely my writing and speaking skills would be such that people would be in awe of me. Or maybe they'd just look at me and wonder what language I was speaking half of the time, sort of like I do when my husband speaks to me. Oh, just kidding WB. I greatly admire your knowledge of words and their origins.

Seriously though, words can be fascinating. One word has the ability to describe or evoke emotions better than five words put together. It's finding that one word that can be tricky. I've been on a quest for expanding my vocabulary. Not just to know a new word, but to be able to use them correctly, spell them, and understand their history. For instance in yesterday's post I told you about the banister we had made for our stairs. Several of you commented on it, thank you, but you spelled banister with two n's...bannister. I was in a frenzy. Did I spell the word wrong in my post? Why didn't spell check catch it? I am relieved to know that banister and bannister are both correct spellings of the word. Disaster diverted.

My father-in-law, Big Daddy or Dr. Dad as I like to call him, sends us e-mails each day about words. He subscribes to wordsmiths and graciously passes them on to us. My husband and I share this particular e-mail address so I know it was really intended for his son. And if the truth be told I ignored the first fifty word a day e-mails. Then one day, for kicks, I decided to read one. It is very interesting. For example the word portmanteau means: A word coined by blending two or more parts or A case opening in two parts, used to carry clothes while traveling.
It goes on to tell you it comes from the french word porter (to carry) and manteau(mantel). Then it might give you some history. Originally a portmanteau was a court official who carried the robes of the king.

Interesting stuff. I must admit it is hard for me to remember all these words, but even if just one or two stick I find myself enjoying my new word. WB and Big Daddy on the other hand can remember them all and then have in depth discussions about them. I probably won't ever do that, but that is okay. I'm happy with a little bit of new knowledge each day.

Do you do anything to expand your vocabulary? Do you have a favorite word with an interesting origin or history? Please share, I need help!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Memorable Moment Monday

What a wonderful holiday weekend we celebrated here at Cotton-Top Hills. We were all excited that WB was home for three days in a row, yippee. Our banister was installed and my new paint job that was destroyed was patched up quite nicely. Not perfect, but so much better than what it looked like when they first tried to install the banister.

Saturday we celebrated not only the fourth of July, but the birth of my second child Soph. She is 7 this year, hard to believe. She loves having cook-outs on her birthday. WB fired up the fire pit and we cooked hot dogs and roasted corn.
This year she wanted an apple pie for her birthday cake. It was store bought and I'm a little appalled by that. We were at Sam's and as I chased Little One throughout the store, WB and the girls were tasting all the samples. They tried the apple pie and decided it was good enough for Soph's party. I'm okay with that, I think, but I still cringe a little when I think about it. She's having a party with some friends later this summer and I will make up for it with a made from scratch cake!

WB purchased a new, used car. Bless his heart, he was so excited to have a car made in this century. So much so that he got busy cleaning out the garage that has needed some purging for quite awhile now. Now two cars can actually fit into it. Folks, for us this is a momentous occasion. Next is our little barn and when that happens the curse of the pack rats will be broken. Well, for a little while at least.

And I started cleaning out our room off the kitchen for our homeschooling room. We now have a suburban full of things to give away, between the room and the garage. I must say it feels very nice to be rid of so many THINGS.

Which leads me to ask the question what do you do with the things you no longer need?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Winner is...

Thanks everyone for stopping by and telling me some of your favorite foods to take to parties. I might have to get some of your recipes, they all sounded delicious.

I had ten entries and I put them into the Random Generator and came up with the number 6! Congratulations Cathy you are the winner, and if my hunch is right you live close by. I'll e-mail you tonight!

I can't wait to catch up with everyone after the holiday weekend. We've had a wonderful one filled with lots of celebrating. I'll tell you more about it tomorrow and I"ll post some pictures.

Thanks again to all who entered.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Peach Cobbler Recipe And A Give-Away!

Over at We Are That Family it's a special edition of Works For Me Wednesday. We are supposed to share one of our favorite recipes. I'm going to share Jan Karon's Peach Cobbler recipe. First let me say I love Jan Karon. Her Mitford Series was wonderful. Father Tim and his sayings have become a part of my vocabulary. And so when she came out with the Mitford Cookbook, I just had to buy it because it had all the mouthwatering recipes that she wrote about in her books. Which brings me to my give-away. I will give someone a copy of Jan Karon's Hardcover Mitford Cookbook!!

First the peach cobbler. I took this to a neighborhood gathering and everyone loved it. I felt lots of love that night. Later several people called and had to have the recipe and our annual neighborhood gathering was changed from the normal ice cream social to you guessed it a peach cobbler social just so they could have it again. Yes, it is that good. But let me warn you, if you use canned peaches I will hunt you down and well, no I won't do that. Please though, don't use canned peaches, it's summer splurge a little:)

1 Double pie crust or Pillsbury pie crust if you are in a hurry. (Jan's pie crust recipe is to die for but you'll have to get the book for that's only fair!)

10 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, more for sprinkling on top
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

And if you have ancestors that settled Kentucky than you add a splash or two of bourbon. That's my addition by the way.

In a large bowl combine peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon juice. Let the fruit sit for 20 minutes (this is when I splashed the bourbon) In a small bowl, combine the flour, the remaining 2 cups of the sugar, the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, butter, and vanilla. Add to the peaches and mix well.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a 12X8 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Roll half of the pastry into another 1/8 inch thick large rectangle. Spoon half the fruit mixture into the prepared dish. Cut the pastry into 2 inch squares and place on top of peaches. Bake the first layer for 10 minutes, then turn on the broiler and broil for 5 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, lower the temp back down to 400F and spoon the remaining fruit on top. Roll the remaining pastry into another 1/8 inch rectangle and cut into 1 inch strips. Arrange the strips in a lattice design over the peaches (I was lazy and just did squares again). Sprinkle with sugar and bake another 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

I promise people will love you if you make them this. People probably already love you, but they'll love you more after taking a bite of this. Everything I have made out of here has been a hit. Not all recipe books do that for me.

For the give-away tell me what your favorite thing to bring to a gathering is in the comment section. If you blog about this give-away on your blog come back and tell me for another entry. I will post the winner to this give-away on Sunday!

Happy Eating.