Thursday, October 30, 2008

Limited Time Offer! Hurry!

Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival Button

I want to kill two birds today.

One, I want to give you, my two faithful readers a chance to win a great prize.

Two, I want to help LovelyDaughter spread the word about her new Etsy shop, RoseGoneWild, where she sells beautiful, creative, woodsy, funky, feminine HANDMADE jewelry and beads. Did I say cute? How about fun? Or interesting? Did I say REALLY, REALLY COOL? Well, I'm not biased or anything.

But you don't have to take my word for it.

Here are a couple of things LovelyDaughter/RoseGoneWild has for sale:

Chocolate Brown Glass Earrings
chocolate brown glass earrings

Brown and Black Choker
brown and black choker

Aren't they beautiful? I'd LOVE a pair of earrings made by LovelyDaughter, except I don't have pierced ears. It's enough to make me seriously consider it, just so I can have some of her earrings!

But anyway, here's how YOU can have a chance to win:

1. Go to RoseGoneWild
and take a look around. Her shop isn't very big yet, but that should make it easy to choose, right?

2. Pick which thing you'd like to have as your prize if your name is picked.

3. Come back here and leave a comment, telling me what you've chosen. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you don't have a blog.

4. I'll draw a name out of a (virtual) hat Saturday night, November 1, and post a winner on Sunday, November 2.

Good luck!

And for more chances to win, go to the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival. There are over a THOUSAND(!) blogs giving away all kinds of great stuff. But hurry, 'cause most of it ends November 1.

Edited to add: I just found my favorite giveaway in the carnival. An Island Life is giving away two pairs of You by Croc shoes. Can you believe it? I never would have guessed that Fashion + Comfort = Croc.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Coming tomorrow: I'm joining the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival. You will have a chance to win a piece of beautiful jewelry, made by LovelyDaughter for her new Etsy shop. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Important Things

This morning my goal is to get split pea soup started for dinner, and then can some more applesauce. I'm hoping to get a little time to go DO something, like shop with LovelyDaughter. Even though we're broke, it would still be fun. We can try on clothes at Maurice's again, or even go to Goodwill and see if they have anything good. Or check out the western store and try on stuff there.

I'd suggest going to the library, but the library makes me tired. Why? They don't have much that's good any more. It's all horrible. Either badly written, or terrible subject matter. Nasty. It's ten to one that any book I discover on the internet that I'd like to read will NOT be in the library. Actually, more like twenty to one. Or fifty to one. Out of all the books I've looked up, I've only found a few, a very few, that the library stocks (if that is the right word.)

This is sad, because I used to take the kids to the library regularly when they were younger. It was an event, every two weeks; it was free, and we could bring home stacks of books, for free.

Ah, let's hear it for the Good Old Days, when I'd pack the children up and we'd drive to town to go to the library, then to the park for a picnic, and then to the grocery store for the next two weeks' worth of groceries. I'd come home exhausted, but it was so worth it to have that time out with the kids, and come home well-supplied with books and food, the two staples of life.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fall Birthday #2: DrummerDude's Chicken Fajitas

Yesterday was DrummerDude's birthday. He and his older brother, GuitarGeek, are six years and one day apart in age.

We celebrated by making fajitas for supper, using a recipe from Taste of Home, and I tell you that just to say this: Those fajitas were every bit as good as the ones we ate at an expensive restaurant in Mexico on a missions trip a few years ago. Every bit as good, if not better.

Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips (I used pork loin of some sort-- it was cheaper)
1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges (strips)
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1/2 medium yellow pepper, cut into strips
1/2 medium green pepper, cut into strips
1/2 cup salsa
12 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed)
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (I used both together)

In a bowl, combine lime juice, garlic, chili powder and cumin. Add chicken; stir. Regrigerate for 15 minutes. In a nonstick skillet ( a cast iron skillet with a tablespoon or so of peanut oil) saute onion and chicken with marinade for three minutes or till chicken is no longer pink. Add peppers; saute for 3-5 minutes or till crisp-tender.

It actually took a little longer than that for everything to cook, I think because I doubled the recipe. There was just more food in my big skillet to get done. Plus, we like our peppers a little done-er (is that a word?) than crisp-tender.

Then I put it on all the table and let everyone make their own fajitas with the meat, the salsa, and the cheese. It was VERY good.

And for dessert? Pumpkin Pie! And DrummerDude and GuitarGeek each got their own personal can of Reddi-Whip. It doesn't get any more decadent than that....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Blog?

Men always talk about the most important things to total strangers. G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall Birthday #1: GuitarGeek

LovelyDaughter helped me make GuitarGeek's birthday supper tonight, and when she was trying to reach something in a high cabinet I heard her say this to MB3, her six-foot tall brother:

"Oh thou of the blessed tallness, would you come reach this for me?"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Makeover Has Begun, or, Baby Steps

So LovelyDaughter and I went shopping yesterday afternoon. We only managed to carve out about three hours, instead of an entire day, like we had tried to plan for, but it was a good start.

We only had time to go to one store, but we tried on a BUNCH of clothes. It was a little hard to shop with an anything goes attitude. I'm so used to having to be serious when I shop. That is, I'm careful what I choose to try on, I pre-evaluate stuff, I check price tags first. This time, I picked stuff at random, and sometimes even by sheer unlikeliness!

When I got home, Hubby asked me if there were any surprises. As a matter of fact, yes.

I had tried on a little black dress (LBD, for those of you in the know) that had hounds tooth trim, which just goes to show how radical I was being because I've never liked hounds tooth, never worn it, never even tried it on, and planned to never ever wear it. Ha. Times, they are a'changin'.

So I tried this dress-- with the houndstooth trim and large buttons (also something different)-- and it looked pretty good, and I walked out of the dressing room to find a pair of dressy shoes to try on with it. The sales gal wanted to be helpful, and she suggested a pair of black, shiny, very pointy-toed high heels. My first reaction was, "NO. I don't do pointy."

And then I remembered my new plan, and I tried them on.

You know what? They looked good! I HATE pointy toed shoes! But I looked good in them!

Of course, when I looked down at my feet, I felt like an elf. But when I looked in the mirror, I look sleek and sophisticated in my LBD and my pointy-toed pumps. Whaddaya know.

I forgot to take the camera this time, so I can't show you any evidence, but it was an interesting revelation. And an interesting start to my Makeover Adventure.

Next installment coming soon, I hope!

P.S. No, I didn't buy anything. This is just reconnaissance shopping, till I figure out my new style.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fabulous At Forty (-Something)

Friday was our anniversary: Hubby and I have been married 27 years.

We didn't plan anything to celebrate, but MandoNut came out for the weekend, and he insisted on buying us all the ingredients for a fabulous steak dinner. He told us "Happy Anniversary," and then apologized for the fact that I had to cook my own anniversary dinner. I told him that it's a joy-- a joy-- to cook with expensive ingredients and not have to worry about the money.

And then he promptly got sick enough he couldn't eat any of it. He lay on our futon (the one he gave us) for two days, too sick to move, while life swirled around him. We doctored and nursed him and fed him, when he could eat anything, even though he felt bad about being the guy who comes to our house just to be sick.

But really. If you have to be sick, wouldn't you rather be sick where there are friendly faces to take care of you, than all alone in a cold apartment, where there's no one to fix you that soft boiled egg when a little food finally sounds good?

In other news, I finished my "unit study" of The Fashion World. I ended by watching "The Devil Wears Prada," which was interesting, and it was probably more interesting than it would have been had I not been studying fashion already. When the characters threw around designer names, I actually recognized most of them!

There was one line in the movie that caught my attention. One of the characters says something like "This industry is not about inner beauty."

In a way, that is sort of the defining quote of the movie. Fashion industry is all about outward beauty. But there seems to be no relation, except perhaps inversely, between looking good on the outside and beauty on the inside.

Which was a good way for me to wrap up my fascination with fashion, style, and beauty. I have watched a lot of stuff-- makeovers, runway videos, celebrity trends, department store "looks"-- and I balance that with, on the other hand, the scripture that says women's appearance should not be about clothing, and jewelry, and hair. Rather, our beauty should be inward.

Well, I have a hard time believing that that verse means we should be as ugly as we can, for the sake of showcasing our inward beauty! There's a chapter in Ezekiel where God describes Israel as a young girl that he took for his bride, and how he clothed her in fine, embroidered linen, and gave her jewelry--including a nose ring!

The end result of all this has been an interesting thing. I find that there has been a shift in me, somewhere. Up to now, I have been coasting on the fact that I'm small and look young for my age, and still experimenting with as much teenage style as I could get away with. I still felt eighteen. But all of a sudden, I feel like I'm ready to be a grownup. I'm ready to be forty. (Note: I'm 46, and now I'm finally ready to be 40!)

LovelyDaughter and I are planning to go shopping this week, to take a girly day, and I'm going to try on all sorts of clothes, including stuff from the womens department! (rather than just the juniors department). Anything modest gets a fair shake. Because, who knows what I might find? I might find out that I look FABULOUS in something I turned my nose up at before.

Monday, October 6, 2008


That was a sigh of relief.

The newlyweds are home from their month-long trip to Scotland, and they are none the worse for the wear, and are happy to be back.

And we are definitely happy to have them back, and find out for sure that all my fears are unfounded. LovelyDaughter is still LovelyDaughter, even if she is also JD's wife. And JD is still a wonderful young man. (Of course.)

They even brought us gifts! Something that never even crossed my mind, and I feel so grateful and blessed that they thought of it. My gift is a necklace with a piece of preserved heather stem on it--which is much prettier than it sounds--so I have my own piece of Scottish heather.

Oddly, after a month of bee-yoo-tiful sunshine-y weather we have rain today. JD and LovelyDaughter were looking forward to dry sunshine after hiking and camping in a month of rainy weather in Scotland. Ah well, such is the irony of life.

At least they're happy, healthy, and home.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


The count so far:

-Seven quarts of canned pears. I know, not a good count. I still have two bushels of pears slowly rotting on the porch.

-Eighteen quarts of frozen apple slices. That's pretty good.

I've decided that if I have to choose-- which it looks like I am having to-- I will go after apples and let the pears rot. Apples are much more versatile come winter time. Think of all the things you can make out of apples:

apple pie
apple crunch
apple cake
apple prieschka
fried apples
apple compote

Now think of all the things you can make out of pears:

pears in green jello

(*crickets chirping*)

Now my comments will probably possibly be flooded with ideas for using pears.

Actually, bring it on. I need some ideas.

That is, I will if I get to the pears before they rot. Tomorrow I am going to pick and pick up the apples off of our other apple tree. It's a Golden Delicious, and those apples keep their shape when you cook them, and they are fairly sweet, so they work great canned or baked.

The apples I did today and earlier this summer are pretty tart, and get mushy/saucy when they cook, so they make good applesauce and, in my opinion, great pie.

So there you have it-- my points toward being a good Mennonite housewife this week.

(Also adding points are the foods I've been cooking (while preserving): whole wheat bread, apple prieschka, chicken soup with rice, cherry pan kooka (sort of like crepes, or creeps as Swede and MandoNut call them), baked potatoes with greva/cracklings.)

Oh, and by the way, to keep my mind occupied while cutting apples, I have been watching slideshows online of the fall fashion trends. (Why? I don't know. Seems a little inconsistent, doesn't it?)

I've come up with a great all-purpose caption for those pictures of those poor starving girls in those ridiculous outfits:

"Why do you hate me?"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Hope This Isn't All The Better I Can Do

I've been trying to be a good Mennonite housewife this week.

I don't think I'm succeeding.

Monday I was tired from our Sunday activities, which involved early morning worship team practice, helping DrummerDude prepare for his first party, and helping host the party in the evening.

Which, by the way, turned out awesome. It's the first time our boys have ever had a young people party; usually we have family parties. This event involved guys and gals age 13 to 26 from three families, and they all got along famously. When they left they all said "We have to do this again! And next time mom and dad have to come!"

Which I think is pretty cool. How many teenagers do you know who want mom and dad to come to their next party?

So anyway.

I was talking about how STINKIN' TIRED I have been this week. It's just ridiculous.

I did manage to stumble around yesterday and pick up the good apples and pears off the ground under our fruit trees. Out of a couple of bushels of pears, we only had energy to get three --THREE!-- quarts ready to can.

Oh, please. It's got to get better than this. You have here a woman who in the past has been capable of canning twenty, thirty, even forty quarts a day. Not a measly THREE.

However, I also did Hubby's laundry, and baked bread, and made dinner, and supper (I know, big whoop, everybody makes meals, but it needed doing, and I DID it.)

I even took an afternoon nap, which, truthfully, I don't do very often. I limit myself to perhaps a fifteen minute snooze on the couch if I just can't keep my eyes open. But yesterday I slept for most of the afternoon, and I was still TOO STINKIN' TIRED to get much done.

Are you getting the idea? I'm STINKIN' TIRED of being STINKIN' TIRED!

But-- today is another day. The fruit waited for me all night, quietly rotting away, and today I will try once again to be a happy, untiring Mennonite housewife.