Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happiness Is.....

Alright.

Deep breath here.

I'm about to confess to you a deep, deep need of mine.

Coffee Drinks.

Yes, you read that right.  I said Coffee Drinks.  Yes, Coffee Drinks make me happy.

They are happiness to me.

And since we're confessing things right now, let me tell you that I'm addicted to a local coffee house.  Deeply.  

Here's the deal: I've had coffees in lots of cities. I've had lots of different coffee concoctions.  I consider myself a Knower Of Coffee.  And I can tell you that I have yet to taste coffee as good as my local joint.  Hoo.  The coffee at my favorite joint makes my eyelashes stand straight out and my eyes close in ecstasy.  It's THAT good! One more plus here: it's organic!!

(Yes, I'm easily amused and easily satisfied! Being home alllll day with 8 kids has made me addicted to strange things!)

My husband frowns on my addiction.  But let me tell you, whenever I get a drink, he's right there, trying to bum a slug off of me!

If I were to be honest with myself and you, I would say that two coffee drinks a week would make me so happy.  Any more than that and I start to feel kinda guilty, like I should cut back.  So, if I could spend $24 every two weeks on my drinks, I'd be a Satisfied Mama.

I love coffee because of the taste.  I love the smooth, dark, deep lingering flavor of it.  I don't drink it for the caffeine.  I love the flavor.  I always get a triple shot of decaf in my blended 24 oz drink.  

I've become somewhat of a connoisseur of coffee, and I can tell when the shots are fresh or when they've been pulled down earlier and refrigerated.  Let me tell you, fresh shots make the biggest difference in a blended drink.  Also, milk bothers my tummy so I get almond milk, but my coffee joint used to have hemp, and I'd get that, which  made my drinks really rich.  Alas, they no longer have hemp due to low demand.

Sometimes I want a Coffee Drink so bad it's like a physical ache.  Yikes.  Something tells me that's takin' it a little too far! So, I tough it out and deny myself.

I know, harsh.  But.....most of the time I don't have the money for a drink.  Then.....I must ashamedly confess that.....(blushing)...I have bummed cash off of my very own progeny, my flesh and blood, my KIDS!!! And I have plumbed the bottom of the cookie jar for as much change as I can come up with.

I know.  Depraved.  Desperate.  In love.

My local coffee joint's drinks make me happy.  The tall, cool, rich and frosty deliciousness is an easy way to enjoy myself.  Coffee Drinks are something I can do for myself that isn't uber-expensive and I can swing through the drive-up when I'm running errands some days.  It's a relaxing ritual to me.

Simple me.  

And I thank you for hearing my confession!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Books For Sale!!!

Miles Milton is a prodigal.  After a falling out with is father he joins the British Army.  Journey with Miles as he learns discipline, self control and the realities of war in the brutal Sudan.

Captain Jacob Vane, his son Benjy and his two nephews Leo and Alf search for the North Pole.  Brave treacherous ice floes and blizzards, meet new friends and witness courage and enormous surprises on this journey!
It's the second half of 17th Century Scotland.  Young William Wallace is employed by the King of England to track down and execute dissenters.  While searching for Andrew Black, William has a change of heart and himself becomes one of the hunted.  Will he survive the treacherous Scottish moors AND his former comrades??

Young Martin Rattler finds himself aboard a merchant ship headed to the South Seas.    Before long,  Martin finds himself shipwrecked in South America.  You will encounter alligators, anacondas and hostile Indians in this Amazon tale of survival!

Join Francisco Ramini and his two sons Lucien and Mariano in early 19th Century Algiers, a nest of pirates and raiders who are the scourge of the Mediterranean.  A story of blood, cruelty and redemption! 
Red Rooney is a shipwrecked sailor wandering the frozen Arctic Circle.  A gripping tale of humor, treachery and misguided allegiance.
Dr. Oliver Trembath dives into a 19th Century subterranean mining world in England.  A bracing tale of laughter, love and tragedy~~a tale of successes, dangers and smugglers!



Hey there!! These books are for sale! They are PERFECT for young men ages 9-14.  Each book has been read once and put away for years, so they are like new.  Each is cloth bound and hardback and VERY high quality.  Brand new, each book sells for $20.00.  I am offering these to you for $15.00 each, which is a $5.00 per book discount! I will also sell them all, in a group, for $90.00.  Really, these books are such good character building stories in addition to the high adventure, suspense and shenanigans! My son read them all once and now, alas, he has grown out of them.  If you would like to purchase one or all of them you can just leave me a comment and we can iron out the details through email.  You won't find a deal like this anywhere else.  R.M Ballantyne is a VERY popular author and this is a phenomenal deal!



Thursday, August 23, 2012

39 Things

This is another idea I stole from someone else's blog.

Without further ado, I give you......

39 Things You Never Wanted To Know About Me!

1.  If I could, I would have a Red Leaf Triple Decaf Arctic Coconut Mocha with almond milk and extra coconut twice a week.  No whipped cream.  Sigh....

2.  I think I was born in Western Washington.

3.  I had never seen snow until I was 13 years old.

4.  I adore sauteed cabbage with tons of butter and a bit of vinegar.

5.  I didn't dream about getting married or having a family when I was a little girl.

6.  I really want to have more kids.

7.  I wish we lived near the beach.

8.  My mother and father divorced when I was about 2 years old.

9.  I never knew I had a brother who was 16 months younger than me until I was a teenager.

10.  I have no idea what nationality I am or where my ancestors came from.

11.  I asked Jesus Christ into my heart when I was 13 years old.

12.  I love Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, the books and the movies.  Lucy Maude Montgomery is one of my top 5 favorite authors.

13.  I love to go on road trips, and I love to do the driving.

14.  I get extremely homesick whenever my husband and I try to go away on a trip or even on a date.  We haven't been away by ourselves since about 1996.

15.  I don't like dogs or cats.

16.  I like to talk and talk a LOT.  Many years ago, when my husband and I were dating, we went to the beach together, and on the way there, I talked constantly.  I never stopped for breath. It was almost a two-hour drive! If I'm excited I talk a lot.

17.  I always wanted to have sisters.  Now that I have 7 girls, I feel like they are much more to me than daughters.  They are much better than sisters to me! And so, I do not long to have sisters anymore.  I'm so grateful that my girls have each other and I tell them that a lot.

18.  I'm the short one in our home.  Both of my oldest girls, at 15 and almost 14, are at least an inch or two taller than me.

19.  I hate bikinis.  The last time I wore one was when I was 6 years old.  You'd never, ever catch me in a bikini, or any type of two-piece swimsuit, for that matter. But I love to swim and be in and near the water.

20.  I love skirts.

21.  I've only been drunk once in my life, and it was one of the most sickening, terrible feelings I've ever had.  I cannot understand how someone can like that feeling or think it's fun!

22.  I've always wanted to become fluent in French and I would have if my high school hadn't cut the French 3 class in order to keep the football team.  I don't think I've gotten over that yet, 20 years later.....

23.  I met and fell in love with my husband when I was 15 years old.

24.  I'm not a dessert lover.  I'd rather have a coffee drink from Red Leaf than any piece of cake, pie or cookie.

25.  I love to grocery shop.

26.  I love to iron.

27.  I don't mind doing dishes.

28.  I have a bit of an addictive personality, so I really have to watch out with stuff like Facebook (or computer stuff in general) or TV.

29.  I love cookbooks but never make the recipes in any of them.

30.  One of my dreams is to have a tiny, gluten free bakery in which I can make and sell my loaves and muffins and cookies.  I don't happen to have $250,000 sitting around!

31.  I once kissed one of my newborn's buns.  

32.  I don't shower every day.  Or even every other day.

33.  I'm good at finding out what's in a recipe just by tasting it.  I have a very sensitive palate.

34.  I'd love to take my voice class for one more quarter but I can't afford it the $215.00 tuition.  Sad.

35.  I still have a massive and very powerful crush on my husband.  When he kisses me, the bottom still drops out of my tummy.  When I see him across a crowded room, I still can't believe he's mine!

36.  Espresso brown is my favorite color.

37.  I have freckles.

38.  I'd love to have multiples again, but I know I'd be terrified the whole time, just like I am whenever I'm pregnant, whether it's a single or multiples.

39.  I've never been on a roller coaster and there's not many things I'd rather not do in life than ride a roller coaster.  Maybe get teeth pulled.  Or wear a bikini.  Or have chicken pox again......

I hope you enjoyed learning these totally useless and boring things about me!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Singing

video


Okay.

Here I am.  This is me performing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" for my final in my voice class.

I've never allowed anyone to record me during a singing engagement.  So this is a first for me.

I enjoyed the class but I'm glad it's over!

I'd like to take one more quarter, but I can't afford it at this time.

Watching this last night with my family, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  It helped a TON that my marvelous husband was my accompanist.  I only had one major blooper (gasp) and I am so glad it's over.  It was a very, very challenging song for me.  

That's enough from me.  I'll let you listen. And thanks for listening!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Coming Soon

Alrightie then.

After my husband dropping several hints here and there about me doing a podcast on cooking....

And after ruminating on it for some time.....

After my husband giving up on the idea because I was apparently not listening....

I will be posting a podcast, which to me is a fancy name for a home video, here on the blog! In this video, I will be insanely pretending to have my own Food Network cooking show.  I have no doubts you will be entertained, at the very least.  At least the videographer, my oldest daughter, will be superduper good.  You will be relieved that you will not become seasick while watching said video.

Now, I am not a professional chef.  I have not had the privilege of going to culinary school.  My kitchen is not a commercial kitchen, nor is it very glamorous or pretty.  But it is where I have created most of my recipes.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears has come out of my kitchen, at least on my part, while recipes that have made many people very happy have been enjoyed.  I will tell you that the recipes I will share on this upcoming podcast and each podcast I choose to do in the future will be all original recipes straight out of my own mind. I have been told that I am a fabulous cook.  I know that it gives me great joy to be able to throw together something that makes other people's eyes roll back in their heads and their eyelashes stand up straight.  

And something else you ought to know about me before we get too far into this relationship is that I am obsessed with cookbooks....

But I never use them!

I view cookbooks in the same light that I view good books.  I love to read them and pour over them and enjoy all of the great photos and funny stories, but I never use my cookbooks.  I never make recipes out of them.  I have a place on my counter for honored and favorite cookbooks, which includes, but is not limited to: The Pioneer Woman, Point of Grace, Paula Deen's kids cookbook, and a cherished copy of Betty Crocker from 1944.  I also love Rachel Ray's cooking magazine.  I have many copies of her magazine in with the above cookbooks too.  Just so you know.  Yes, I'm strange.  I'm glad we have that out in the open now.

To amp up the strange factor even further, I often hear voices in my head telling me that this-and-that would taste good together, or put this-this-and-this together.  Upon retiring to my bed of an evening, I will sometimes be unable to go to sleep, due to the recipes that are being created in my mind.  I often taste something, only to get clear messages on what would taste good with it.

Yes, I know.  Not normal.

It's a cross I must bear.

Ahem.

My husband has also been after me to put together my own cookbook.  Sure.  And make it available to the legions of fans and followers who leave oodles of comments on my blog, a la Pioneer Woman, right?

Sure.  Yep.  That would actually be super easy because I have one "fan" who is a regular on my blog, and I'd only have to publish one copy, saving myself gobs of money!

Erin, look for your copy of my uber-chic cookbook in the shadowy future, okay?

So, there you have it.  

And look for my podcast coming soon to this blog near you!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Voice

Okay, let's talk about my voice.

I've said before that I sing.  I've been singing since about 1979, in one choir or another.  That means I've been singing since kindergarten. I'm a soprano.  I sing first soprano.  I like to warm my voice up with a little Julie Andrews, who is an icon in my life.  Or Jane Powell. Think Millie in Seven Brides for 7 Brothers.

It's the thing that I do.  It's the only "talent" I have.  I'm not the kind of gal who does a little of this and a little of that and is good at this and that and the other thing.  I'm not naturally endowed with lots of abilities, especially in the athletic department, but that's another post entirely.

Rabbit Trail.  Excuse me.  Thank You.

Anyway, I sing.  I'm told I sing well.  My voice has been called amazing.  Incredible. Gorgeous.  People who have sat in front of me at church have turned around and said, "Oh! THAT'S where that gorgeous singing was coming from!" My husband is always trying to get me to sing.  He wants me to join that choir and this choir and sing here and there and there.  I've been on this worship team and this worship team.  I've gone to All State Choir.  I've done Music in May.

I don't share that to brag.  I don't share that because I'm feeling particularly arrogant today.  

I share it because I've told myself for my entire life that nobody wants to hear my voice.  I'm so self-conscious about my voice that I haven't used it in years, beyond in private.  I'm almost chagrined to have this voice.  Apologetic.  I'm super shy about it....

But I don't want to be anymore.

Finally, after 33 years of singing, I've decided to accept my voice.  I've decided to even try to  like my voice.

I've learned that hating my voice is actually almost blaspheming God.  After all, He's the one who gave it to me.  He is the only One Who gives good gifts.  He knew it would be perfect for me.....so why do I criticize His work so? 

I've learned that as Christians, we are supposed to be actively using our gifts that God has given us.  I've learned that there is nobody else who can sing like me.  There is nobody else out there who has this voice.  

And He gave it to me to use.  He gave it to me to take it out and use it.

He did not give it to me to pack it away and let it stagnate.  

For my whole life, I've felt that to enjoy my voice is conceited.  Egotistical.  Just plain braggacious.

And so, I've become my worst critic.  My hardest judge.  I'm the hardest one for me to please.

In all of these thoughts, I recognize that not many people can sing like I do.  I'm not saying I'm Celine Dion or Judy Garland......but I have a good voice.  My husband even wants to work with me.  He wants to do a CD of me.  I don't think he'd want to do that if I sounded like a drunk Cookie Monster.

So, the challenge for this period of my life, for me, is to use the voice.  To stop being afraid of it.  To actually know that it's okay to feel proud after a performance well rendered.  My voice makes others happy and it's okay if I feel happy in that too.  I want to also be able to accept compliments and praise graciously and with aplomb, thereby blessing the person who gives the compliment.  

I love to sing.  I love to sing because I love to see people cry.  And smile.  And remember.

Music is a very powerful medium.  And I want to be part of that power.

Sometime soon I will have my husband post me singing on here.

Music is very powerful.  And I'm learning to be an accepting part of my role in that power.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

On Makeup

Today I'm writing to tell you about my saga with makeup in the last year.


It's been up.


It's been down.


My makeup adventure in the last year or so has unfortunately had a few more downs than ups!


First off, a personality trait of mine is that I like to look nice.  I like to look very well put-together and just as nice as possible, every day, even if I don't have anywhere to go.  This makes me feel good.....and I love to see my husband with "that look" in his eyes.  You know the look....if you'll grant me permission to say it....like he wants to gobble me up! I LOVE that. That's probably the biggest reason I like to look nice.  I love it when he flirts with  me and tells me I'm the sexiest gal anywhere or that I have it goin' on! Folks, we've been married nearly 20 years and he still thinks I'm hot and pretty and beautiful....that's pretty special!


And makeup, for me, has a LOT to do with looking nice.


I really do like makeup.  I'm not a Makeup Fanatic, by any means, and I'm not a Makeup Expert! I don't have a tackle box full of makeup in my bathroom.  This reminds me of a blog I recently saw.  The gal was talking about getting rid of some makeup and I was astonished to see that she was getting rid of at least 5 TUBES of mascara! HOLY COW! That's a LOT of mascara! And that was JUST the mascara.  She had at least 10 different eyeliners and at least that many shadow pallettes that she was also tossing out........by jinks, I don't even have days enough in the week to wear all of that makeup, let alone space in my teeny bathroom!


Anyway, so I like makeup.  I find that I like it more as I get older and feel a bit more, well, I guess "sassy".  I like to wear makeup every single day.  I love to go into the bathroom and see the makeup sitting there.  I love it when my girls go in and just look at it and talk in hushed, conspiratorial tones about how they can't wait to be such-and-such an age so they can wear makeup.  I love it when they come in while I'm putting on makeup and just watch me, and their eyes get big as saucers and, when they behold the transformation at the end of the ritual, they sigh reverently, "Ohhhhh......you look BEAUTIFUL!"


I'm kind of a makeup snob.  I like the good stuff, I mean, not Chanel and Lancome and Bobby Brown, but I like stuff that isn't Maybelline and Cover Girl and WetnWild. I love Bare Minerals.  I love Origins.  I love the stuff that is more natural.  I care about what I put IN my body, and by the same token, I care about what I put ON my body as well. And since my last pregnancy with our twins, my skin went berserk on me and broke out with severe eczema across my cheeks and nose. That's gone now, but I have to be a bit more careful about what I put on the face now.


One thing that I just have not had any luck with is choosing good eye shadow! Or even eyeliner.  For that matter, I stink at picking out mascara too! I have sensitive eyes, and I've tried a lot of stuff. I want to be able to vary my eye look from vampy on those days I'm feeling spunky, to demure on those days when I want a natural look......


But this is hard when you have sensitive eyes.  Can I get a witness out there?


So, recently I went on a Makeup Buying Binge.  My husband gave me some money with which to do whatever I wanted.  I knew months ago that this money was coming in July and I had been carefully researching what I was going to get for my face.  On the appointed day I went down south to Sephora and I walked in and got a makeover.


Now, I had had to throw every single bit of my makeup out last year due to a recurring eye infection that was causing styes to come and go.  I was using Physician's Formula eyeliner, mascara and eyeshadow, because they make all sorts of gentle-hypoallergenic-nonporeclogging-as-good-for-you-as-fresh-butter claims...and I kept on getting the dang eye problem!


I guess I just didn't think it through.  I thought maybe I hadn't washed my brushes well.  Or maybe it wasn't the eyeshadow....or the liner....or blah blah blah.....and so, after throwing all of my makeup, brushes and odds and ends away, I had been without makeup for over a year.


A strange and odd thing happened to me when I stepped into Sephora.  I was greeted by a guy.  Hmmm.  And not only was he a guy, but....he was a guy who was wearing makeup.  


HUH??


Nothing like that had ever happened to me.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I was bewildered.  And frankly, I was kinda freaked out because guys in MY world just don't do that!


But, I sensed the Lord telling me to go with it.  I did.  I let this man do my makeup.  It was odd.  It was at first very, very uncomfortable.  But I discerned the Lord whispering to me to begin to pray for this man as he worked on me.  And I did.  And that topic's a whole other post.


To make a long story not-so-long, I bought the Bare Minerals stuff he used on me.  I bought  a couple of Clinique things, like mascara, concealer and a lipstick.  


I spent a ton of money.  Oy.  I asked the gals at the front if they had paramedics standing by in the back, in case I had the unfortunate privilege to pass out cold when I saw how much the stuff was.


I bought one eye shadow palette that I liked, but I was going to try Physician's Formula again, just to see what happened.


And guess what? I got a blasted eye infection again!!!!!


And the icing on the cake was that I didn't keep any of my receipts!! 


After less than three weeks of wearing a New Face, and LOOOVING it, I had to trash stuff!!!! Again! I only threw out the eye makeup this time.


I really do know now that it is something that is in Physician's Formula eye makeup that just freaks my eyes out.  I tossed the Clinique mascara, which I loved.  I tossed the Physician's Formula eyeliner and eyeshadow.  I think I've learned my lesson! I'll never go near that eye makeup again.  Funny thing is, I picked up some of that cool-looking Physician's Formula blush that I blogged about recently and I can use that just fine.


I really like makeup.  I want to be able to express myself with it.  But how can I if I can't do my eyes??


The styes, which are really a staph infection, are all gone now and yesterday I put concealer and face makeup on and my eyes were fine.....but the face looked blah without eye stuff.


Argh.


I wonder what's out there to try that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.  Does anyone know??


What should I do?