Friday, February 29, 2008
I NEED You - Mary Poppins!
It's just flat nuts around here! I thought I'd lean heavy on the "show" and lean on the "tell", for a change. Here's what we're up to:

The basement project is moving along - we've got a new door to the garage, not real thrilling but we're expecting the next owners will like it much better than the old ratty one. We needed more painting projects anyway.

We've got walls in the new storage room and craft room. And closets. This weekend the wonderful process of sanding joint compound starts. Anyone who has lived through that knows it's a blast. I'm hearing by Tuesday I can put back all my sewing stuff, and move storage back into storage, versus having it all over the basement. This painting project has to wait til April after some family visits, knee surgery (his, not mine), birthday celeberations, etc. We'll have to paint the floors, walls, shelves, etc. so it's not a one-day job. For now we're going for a bit of order. Almost done with this monster!

A nice four foot closet just for storing my fabric, patterns, yarn, etc. Mr. Carpenter (aka DH) is putting in shelves exactly where I need them, so this will be great! I'm so so excited to have this nice place to work / play. My sewing stuff has been all over the dining room table for a good month, amazing what a mess you can make trying to tidy things up!

Since I couldn't really do much in the basement while DH was working, I started painting upstairs. The nursery became Command Central - a great place for drop cloths, paint supplies, etc. In other words, another room temporarily trashed.

We're going with NEUTRAL to the extreme. Our master bedroom was some shade that had a rosy tint to it, I never liked it from the day it went on. This is much better! I call it Mocha although the paint store called it something like Cincinnatian..... I think it makes the white woodwork pop out more.

You can see the new color is much better, right? If DH could, I figure any female can!

We also bought new bedding, neutral, a few more pillows that DH couldn't live without (does your husband complain about all the pillows?). Window treatments are a nice soft green and will go up this weekend when DH gets bored.

The closets, baseboards and windows need a fresh coat of white, so that's still on The List, the five-page Excel spreadsheet list. I'm glad to have this room painted. The Master Bedroom is awful to paint, especially when you can't move out the furniture! This room still doesn't have quite the POP I want it to, but we're moving in the right direction.

Does anyone else do this? I wanted to know what I thought about the new color? I also needed to do the 'point of no return, can't weazel out of it' thing. Two splotches of that mocha and there's no looking back. Second bedroom redo is underway.

One wall down, first coat. I do like it much better, this room is going to be mocha walls, white bedding, accents of kiwi and robin's egg blue. I think it'll be a nice soothing place to sleep! That new chair we bought a month or so ago is going to look much better against a neutral background. Before, it looked a bit like a pig fighting its way out of a clingy dress.

We had the bathtub guy over, he's going to recoat the tub, and also paint the lovely mint green shower tiles white. The next owners will likely prefer that too. So next, after the second bedroom, I'm painting the master bathroom walls, sewing a new window treatment, freshen up the bathroom cabinet paint, buy white monogrammed towels. We're slowly making progress.

And where am I on the 99 gabillion photos? Thanks for asking! I'm 75% through sorting, tossing, filing away. This has become our new Family Room centerpiece! Holds 4800 photos, and it's filling up quickly. All the photos IN ONE PLACE - that's the goal, and I have to say I've had fun going through them. Maybe not all 4800 but it has been a fun ride down memory lane. And I've got one of our kids' wedding photos partially in the scrapbook, be still my heart. The scrapbook area is fully functioning now, and I've got a scrapbook date scheduled for once a month to keep me on track.

I could use a little Mary Poppins around here, open that big carpetbag, pull out a few things, and then play "Tidy up the Nursery", alas it's not going to happen. Soooooooo.....

(NICE DEEP VOICE......) "Making progress every day."

PS: I changed my template (again), don't love the green but it'll have to do for now, added some sidebar stuff, changed things around a bit, then changed my comments to Haloscan, and it ate all my lovely Blogger comments, that I did so appreciate. Just didn't want undue sympathy that nobody had ever commented on my little blog! I heard you can get them back, but life is short, and we're just too busy around here to fuss over the details. Okay, off to pay bills, paint a bedroom, then set up for scrapbooking. I'd rather burn out than rust! Happy weekend, everyone. We'll be back when the dust (literally) settles.


  posted at 9:17 AM

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Dancing White-Clad
It wasn't saying goodbye that weighed heavy on me as we drove to the airport. Normally when my son would head back to school after winter break, I'd fight back tears all day long, knowing how long it'd be til he was home again.

Instead, fear blocked out every other emotion. Fear of a sky full of flurrying snowflakes. The roads weren't slick, we didn't have any of that wintery mix, just snowflakes that melted before they hit the ground. He drove because I was too afraid. We didn't really speak. I hurried to hug him goodbye at the curb, and drove away, scared to make my way home, back in January of 2004.

That long winter was spent watching the weather report every single night, then lying in bed worrying over tomorrow. Few commitments forced me to get out - mostly I hid at home, safe in my little comfort zone. At night, I sat up in bed with a workbook on "Overcoming Fear and Anxiety". It felt surreal. Was this really me? Me who has lived in the snowbelt my entire adult life. How on earth could this have happened, how did I reach this point?

The reasons that brought it all on don't matter. Black ice, blah blah blah. Whatever fear each of us faces likely has reasons, explanations. What mattered was that it felt like I'd never get past the wall I'd hit. Would I ever again look out on a wintry storm and take in the beauty of it? Snow that coated every branch like a slender white glove, snow dancing like young girls clad in filmy white fabric around the light of the lamp post, snow that made for a sense of adventure, tromping out in winter garb to clear a path to the mailbox, shouting out to the neighbors as they ventured out of their cozy homes. Snow that made a crunchy sound under my red boots, as I filled bird feeders for feathered friends. Snow coming down outside, making me feel blessed to be inside, curled up cozy with a cup of cocoa. I was inside allright, inside hiding in fear.

I was mystified - how and when had I fallen out of love with snow; instead of seeing God's handiwork, the beauty of the changing seasons, when had it become the three-headed beast that held me prisoner?

That winter, inch by inch, day by day, prayer by prayer, and with a deep realization that nothing feeds fear like giving in to it, I fought my way to freedom. It became a challenge, a test of faith - if I would trust enough to go out in it, if I would swing into action rather than be paralyzed with fear, God would not only keep me safe (which for some reason was never the point of it all anyway, I was never scared of being hurt, but rather, not being in control), God would help me overcome this. Actually, he would just do it all since I was helpless to do so. I didn't understand how I got to this point, I surely didn't see the way out. I took it one scary day at a time.

Today, sitting over a long cup of tea with girlfriends, inside a shoppe with no windows, the peace that sat softly on my shoulders felt not like something that called for fanfare, but rather quiet worship. I sat and sipped tea for well over an hour, fully enjoying the time catching up with friends. After a bit, saying goodbye, I bundled back up and headed out to see that Mike the Weatherman got it right. What greeted me outdoors looked like something out of a Christmas movie - huge, fat flakes falling down like nobody's business - the air filled with white-clad dancing girls. Surely they shouted out in victory as each stuck to the pavement when they landed. Snow will fall all through the night, while I'm inside enjoying a quiet evening, snow will greet me tomorrow as I pull on boots and head out to get the paper, snow will cover the deck and steps to the backyard, where the dogs will take it all in as a special present delivered just for them, and a crunch will sound under my boots as I take each step tomorrow, when I venture out to run errands. Powdery white snow will remind me God IS faithful, He "did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)

Four years later, I'm amazed He ever brought me to that place. Surely it had little to do with snow, or driving, but rather coming to an end of myself, seeing how fragile I am at times, and then, day by day, trusting that the One I profess to follow really is faithful. If He's faithful then I can pull on those red snowboots, get in that car, and pull out of the driveway. If this faith doesn't equip me for living, then what good is it? How can I sell it to anyone else if it doesn't make a difference in how I live?

Maybe that's part of why I spent that time there, in that fearful place. Today, hearing snow crunching under my boots, this side of fear, deep inside, where it counts, I'm one of those white-clad girls dancing in the light around the lamp pole.


  posted at 6:10 PM

Monday, February 25, 2008
Walkin' the Mile, Walkin' the Mile.....
Look what arrived at my doorstep yesterday!

What? Isn't that the way everyone orders their Girl Scout Cookies? By the carton, by the dozen? People, they only come once a year, so you just can't mess around with that "I'll take two boxes please" thing. These have to last me us twelve months!

When the kids still lived at home, we compiled our order, a few Thin Mints (I really dislike them), Peanut Butter whatevers, I don't even remember the names of the others because really, in my mind there's no reason to make more than one kind - Samoas. Every year I order 12 boxes, one dozen of our favorite kind the only kind we really like.

And $42 is perfectly reasonable to spend on cookies, if you only think of it in increments of $3.50 per month, or even better, $0.12 per day. That's likely laying somewhere in the bottom of my purse, amongst the cracker crumbs and extra ink pens.

So they're sitting here on the kitchen counter and I'm just enjoying looking at them, waiting to move them to the downstairs freezer. (They're even better frozen.) Because we're still working on last year's order, albeit the last box. A few months we've actually missed eating the entire box and so we tucked a box into a meal we delivered to someone, or set them out when the sewing group came over. Sometimes I'm completely sacrificial like that.

Here's how I see it:

75 calories each (and they are nice enough to admit you need two to be a serving, so 150 calories, but then that's a bit like telling us a teensy carton of Hagen Daas has more than one serving in it, come on, especially if it's that Heath Coffee stuff?!), 75 calories each and 16 to a box, so a box is 1200 calories, which is lower than the suggested caloric intake for a typical Weight Watchers Day! I could eat just Samoas every Monday and be sticking to my diet! Makes me a little light-headed to think about it all. If I were to eat the entire twelve boxes in one sitting that would still only be 14,400 calories and since we all know you have to burn 3500 calories to kill the 4.12 pounds I'd gain from eating them all, I'd have to walk


Okay, that is a bit much.

Wait, that's to and from the mall 7.2 times. Completely doable.

And if we stick with past behavior and give away a couple boxes here and there, a few of those shopping trips can be by car.

I love it when I make complete sense! Happy Math!

If I were to eat two - cookies, not boxes - with coffee, and call it breakfast, that's only 150 calories, which is a lot less than a bowl of cheerios and way more fun. And I found this in the Parade this morning:

"Wake up Hungry", "Waking up hungry for breakfast is a good sign YOU'VE LIKELY LOST WEIGHT WHILE SLEEPING! (Shoot, who doesn't wake up hungry? I wake up starving, so obviously I'm losing weight!) Too many people eat late at night and then wake up with a food hangover. Instead, make sure to fuel up during the day and diet by night. Eat every FOUR HOURS: breakfast at 7 am, FIRST LUNCH AT 11 AM, SECOND LUNCH at 3 pm, following by a light evening meal." Nancy Clark, author of Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

That Nancy, what's not to love about her thinking. I can live with no Samoas after 7 pm, if it means I get to eat like a Hobbit guiltfree, SECOND LUNCH INDEED!

I swear sometimes life is just so rich and good I can barely stand it. Where are those tennis shoes anyway? BTW, if my math turns out to be wacky, I don't really need to know that. I'm happy with it just the way it is!


  posted at 2:00 PM

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Back in Touch
This was in my email inbox this morning:

Hi Bev. It's about nine thirty p.m., Feb.23. Dwain put computer together, and showed me a few details about it being so different from what I was used to. I don't have email address list like before to just click them on, so typing them in feels so slow. Can tell I have much to learn, but I will. Please tell the bloggers I've been out of touch with so long, as soon as I can figure out how to use Flight Song again, have many stories to share with them. Now I need to surprise Barb with an email too. Much much love, Mom.

She's been without a working computer, or email, since Christmas. Oh, how I've MISSED seeing her name in my inbox throughout the week. Especially when my brother was so sick, and she was a bit overwhelmed with caring for him, on top of her recent move and everything that came with that, and what seemed like relentless snow storms.

Not that we haven't talked, of course we have, but with our different schedules and the time difference of two hours, it's been much harder to stay in touch. Not only that, she told me she missed being able to read blogs of her daughters, and granddaughters, seeing recent photos of the family, and what they were all up to. What a nice gift this morning, a "Hello Bev" to go with my Sunday morning cup of coffee. (And what kid, no matter the age, doesn't love a note that ends, "Much, much love, Mom"!) Indeed it IS the little things, isn't it!

You can go HERE to read her most recent post. That blog of hers was getting downright dusty!

P.S. The 'being so different than what I was used to' refers to her new operating system, Vista I believe. I think it must be making things look a bit foreign to her.


  posted at 8:58 AM

Saturday, February 23, 2008
Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend????
Truth be told I'm a bit of a tightwad. Even when I have the money for something I still hate to spend more than I have to. On most things.

And I'm a bit cheap. I don't really care much about shoes, or purses or the higher-end clothing lines, or jewelry overall. Maybe it comes from growing up sandwiched between four brothers. I don't care much for all the la-te-da stuff of life overall.

Except diamonds. I don't need a lot of them, they don't have to dangle from my wrists, or ears, or nose, which is good since one of my daughters recently told me I was definitely too old for a nose piercing, and I was quite capable of that 20 years ago, but that window of time has been firmly shut. Nose piercings just don't look so great that close to crow's feet. But I still really like them, for some reason I can't explain to even me, let alone anyone else, although I do wonder what happens when you get a sinus infection, and that alone may have been what kept me from it all those years. But I digress.

So what is it about diamonds? Why do I like them, only a few, but big and bright and shiny? Seriously, I'm not sure. It goes against everything else about me, and since it's so wide-spread today, I'm even relatively comfortable feeling this way. There's something just so girly about it I think. But it has to be more than that. If I like diamonds, why do I like bigger ones better?

Are guys like this with boats and guns and cars? I honestly asked my husband what he thought, and we've been married enough years that he was patient and listened to me, and answered. He came up with something about diamonds being rare treasures; that they signify how much someone treasures someone else by the giving, and he equated it to boy toys like fast, small cars.

But honestly, I'd like to know - what do you girls think? Are we just shallow? Does it have something to do with how God wired us? Is it just part of the consumerism of America seeping into our bones? If you're willing to give me your take on it, I'd sure appreciate it, even if it means telling me I need to clear up my thinking. I'm all ears. Feel free to suck up all the comment space you'd like, I'd love to hear your take on it.


  posted at 5:40 PM

Friday, February 22, 2008
Puttin' on My Big Girl Panties...
Talking with someone recently, in reference to something she was going to do, didn't want to do but had to do, she used this term. After we laughed about it, how completely it fit the situation, we agreed it's not something you can say to anyone else, but you sure can use it to give yourself a talkin' to!

So today - what's on my "Big Girl Panties" list? What do I have to do that I don't really want to do, either because it's unpleasant or boring or nasty or I'm just a bit plain ole lazy?

Make beds, and pick up the house
Shovel the driveway and apply salt off and on during the day
Go through more junk in the basement
Comb the dogs, clean out the gunk in their ears, scoop the catbox
Record the debit slips in the checkbook
Bake cookies to replace all the ones I ate
Put the new bedding on the master bedroom bed

Someone else, who lived a less privileged life, might wake up and feel blessed they don't have to leave home, drive on snowy roads to go to work all day to pay the bills, after they've dropped off their small children. Or those old enough that they shouldn't still have to be out there in the workforce, but they are. Many would love to stay home as I do.

Some might take in the smell of starch on freshly ironed shirts, look around and see the home they've been blessed with, realize it's a privilege to tidy a nest, a way to honor a husband's hard work.

Some might make a cup of tea and savor the experience of sorting through memories of days gone by, really enjoying those photos and memorabilia in the basement.

Some might appreciate the company of furry friends around the house, and be thankful for the income and material blessings represented by those debit slips.

Baking peanut butter cookies, they might even look back and remember the woman who baked those cookies for fifty years before they arrived on the scene, that same woman who raised the man who loves them

Someone else might not have needed to take Advil for the headache caused by choosing all that new bedding. Rather, they might take a moment to thank God for all He so graciously provides for them. For even the blessing of a warm bed on a cold night. Many don't even have that

Someone else might not need to be reminded that somedays you not only have to get up and put on your big girl panties; you might give your whole outlook on life - your perspective - a talkin' to first! Then grab those Big Girl Panties, pull them on, and get busy. There's no mention of big girl lingerie in Proverbs 31. It just said she 'looked well to the ways of her household.' Maybe it was as much her heart attitude as her efforts that got her a mention in the Big Book?


  posted at 8:57 AM

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
A Moment Like This,
Some people wait a lifetime.... okay, so I'm pretending to be Kelly Clarkson, although I've never filled out jeans that well or had great hair with really cool highlights either. And I can't sing A.T. A.L.L. But - this is such a rare moment that I'm completely loving every single second of it.

Guess what?! My sister, Barbtha, over at A Chelsea Morning, is teaching herself to knit. And she isn't really any good at it - right this minute. She told me (not that she told me I can share it with you but I'm going to anyway, even though she might post that horrible photo of me in second grade when my bangs were completely over the top dorky, for doing so) that she's learning to cast on and isn't any good at it.

Yet. Within an hour, or maybe even a whole day, she'll have it mastered, and within a month or so she'll be posting photos of fisherman cable sweaters that she just whipped up, and striped socks, and adorable baby toys. On this I can depend. I know her track record for excellence in all things domestic. But for right this minute -


A little hat I whipped up for Grandson Caiden. (Okay I had to rip out the football five times before it resembled anything like this.)

I truly cannot stand it. This never happens. How completely clever of me to pick up a hobby that she hadn't completely mastered yet.

A little giddy here.

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  posted at 7:23 PM

Does Anyone Know What Time it is?
Time for an update on the disastrous mess straightening up going on around here. Since pictures speak a thousand words, I'll post those instead of droning on and on so much, only droning on and on a little bit :-)

This is cleaned up enough for me to get started on actually putting some photos into albums. I've got one drawer full of photos to be dated and put into baskets, and we just won't talk about the other 5000 still on the pool table in the basement. Those photos can be sorted when I get closer to scrapbooking the albums, or this fall when football season starts up again. My goal right now is to get them all in one place, then sort, toss, date the keepers and put them into the basket for each album I've planned. Enough planning already - time to get moving while I'm still motivated!

Our kids' anniversaries this year will be #11, #7 and #3 - and not a wedding photo was in the $52 album I bought from Creative Memories two years ago. I decided to put all the photos into one album, to bore company much more efficiently. Just hand them the whole kit and kaboodle all at once and watch them squirm! When I tried to get started, I realized I didn't have any more wedding scrapbook supplies. I'd used them all to make the kids' wedding albums. The one page I did was at least in the album, but B.O.R.I.N.G., not to mention cheesy. What's a girl to do?

Head to the scrapbook store. I found out it changed hands four years ago, moved locations a year ago. $47 later, I had three piles of paper, letters, etc. to do three different wedding displays. Mrs. Proprietor was even nice enough to put my purchases in three separate bags, so I wouldn't have to go through the make-me-a-little-crazy fun process of picking everything out for three different ceremonies. I decided I'd start with an announcement page, their big photo that had been on our living room walls. I unframed them yesterday. They'll make a great first page for each wedding. The store had such gorgeous supplies, and I figured ~ $15 per wedding was pretty reasonable to actually get these photos into the book. I started with this album since it's a 'done deal' - when I'm finished there won't be any additions to this one. Starting with our family chronological album would have been overwhelming. A book that has a beginning and an end seemed a better one to get back at it.

The only other item I added to this room was a Clock / Radio / CD player so I can break the boredom with listening to the radio or playing a CD while I scrap (or iron for that matter - it IS the laundry room after all!) and keep track of the time so I can still have dinner ready, be somewhere on time, etc. It's easy to get lost in scrapbooking, look up and the day is almost over. I had trouble finding a regular ole CD player - everything is iPod docking station, etc. but I wanted something to just pop in one of my favorite CD's now and then. $49.00 at Radio Shack and I'm set. This room - almost done. Just move the pegboard to the sewing room, clean up a few boxes, bins, etc. and it's good to go.

Next, I've been asked about my knitting project. I finished the chemo caps for a friend, even found yarn to replicate the highlights she lost to the bathroom floor! Since she has a great sense of humor, I think she'll enjoy that. This afghan is the Block of the Month project I'm doing with my yarn shop, Bloomin' Yarns. I'm doing the 'winter' version, by using all 12 different stitch patterns, but not the color scheme. I went with warm and cozy colors that will work in any season. This afghan is costing way too much, and taking too much time, to only have it out one season of the year. In my zanier moments, I've considered leaving instructions to wrap me up in it when I die...

So the first 12" block is done, in a checkerboard pattern. The photo doesn't come across great in blog-friendly pixels, but it's gorgeous and was easy to do. I've already knit the top six rows of the next color, but don't know how to do the 'cross-over lace' pattern it calls for. We meet once a month, tomorrow night, so hopefully Michelle can teach me. I'm tickled that I actually got this one finished with a day to spare. The yarn is from Uraguay and is so smooshy and comfy, I think it's going to be great to curl up with in about eleven months.

So that's it for now - we actually have walls up in the basement, and they'll tape and apply the joint compound this weekend, and then we'll shop for closet doors, etc. I'm hearing the basement should be done in about two more weeks, just in time for spring when we head outdoors to begin the yard spruceup, fence painting, etc.

Today though, we're supposed to get 2-3" of the white stuff, so I'm staying inside and scrapbooking photos that are almost eleven years old. That's me, Miss Up-to-Date!

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  posted at 8:37 AM

Monday, February 18, 2008
Blow Out The Candles....
Wish I could be there to bake you something chocolate, then take the kids for a few hours while you sneak away for lunch with girlfriends. Really, I wish you were this age again, just for a day.

Happy Birthday sweet Sarah. Love, Mom


  posted at 6:00 AM

Sunday, February 17, 2008
The Gift of Caring for His Lambs
Have you been following Boomama and Shannon? Two homemakers who agreed to travel with Compassion to Uganda, sharing their hearts with us.

Sitting at my laptop, a gamillion miles away, I've been moved to tears by the posts, the photos, the videos. And the poverty, a poverty we don't know here in America. I realized I've become so burdened by the needs here in our country that I've rationalized away my responsibility to make a difference across the globe. Guess what? I can do both. God didn't tell me to serve and give to either or, but rather to be his hands and feet 'to the ends of the earth'. I'd forgotten that, or at least ignored it.

Years ago our family sponsored a little girl from what was then called Zaire, named Nakosi. When she was graduating from high school, we were privileged to send a graduation gift of $100; it bought her a sewing machine that would operate with a pedal (rather than electricity which she did not have), and provided her a way to support herself. It was, in essence, the same as sending one of our children through four years of college. $80,000 or $100.00? Amazing! While we were her sponsors we bought a Christmas tree ornament of a young African girl. Every year as I take out that ornament to hang it on the tree I wonder about her, where she is, what her life is like now as a young woman. Is she married? Is she a mother? We also sponsored a young boy from Mexico. I remember the photos of him, holding a soccer ball with a huge smile on his little face. The privilege of making a difference in their lives cost about the same as going to Applebees for dinner, or even a movie with popcorn and cokes these days.

It's been at least ten years since we were sponsors. The posts and videos, from Sophie and Shannon and the team they're traveling with - I can't tell you how much they moved me to see the children, the living conditions. It's time to get onboard again.

I love animals. For years I've told my family I'd like to have a pet lamb. I never said it had to live indoors, but I really wanted one as a pet. It could live in the backyard, and I was going to name it Ivey. Of course they've all told me, over and over the 99 reasons why I can't have one. Zoning laws, hoofed feet, shearing, etc. I didn't really go along with their reasoning, but guess what? There's a different kind of 'sheep' out there. This is what my husband gave me for Valentines Day:

A Compassion child to love. Her name? Gift. Gift Pettiline Ayoo, seven years old. No mother. Dirt floors, carries water. Fun activity is walking. W.A.L.K.I.N.G. I chose her because of her name, and her sad face. I hope I can play a tiny part in changing that, bringing hope to someone a gamillion miles away from me. We both, after all, have the same Shepherd.

Jesus, talking to Peter after He'd risen from the dead, and before He left the earth, asked him,

"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
"Yes, Master, you know I love you."
"Feed my lambs."
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
"Master, you know I love you."
"Shepherd my sheep."
"Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
"Master, you know everything there is to know. You've got to know that I love you."
"Feed my sheep."

You can go to Sophie's or Shannon's site, or to to play a part in feeding His sheep.


  posted at 6:00 AM

Friday, February 15, 2008
The Mother of All Organizing Projects!
Do you remember when I posted this, on my three New Year's Resolutions? Probably not, but bottom line - #1 was get some sleep, which I'm still battling. #2 was take every single thing out of the basement storage room, go through it with the sort, sell, give away, burn, etc. We're well on our way. BE STILL MY HEART- the sheetrock is here, and tomorrow walls start going up between the storage room and the quilting/sewing/creative genius room. I'm so very excited, and will post photos of that as work progresses.

#3 was sheer madness on my part - go through all the thousands of photos, whether they're in boxes, on my computer, the camera, in frames that are outdated, or even in scrapbooks that were overdone and never finished. It's a massive, massive project. So big that I've been double-dared by one of my daughters who will remain unnamed that I will never get it done. Well, you know what a dare does to you - brings out the sassiness living just barely under the surface and By Gosh and Golly, you'll get it done no matter what, whether we go without meals or clean undies. I'm as tired of having this on my resolution list as that proverbial 'lose ten pounds".

So I've finally jumped in with both feet and arms too. Like many post-scrapbookers, who need to sign up for Scrapbookers Anonymous, I've got more supplies than I can shake a stick at, and they are not only unused, they're unusable because they're a horrendous unorganized mess.

So I started here. I'm blessed to have a six foot countertop installed at the end of my laundry room, with shelving above, carts below, a very pleasant place to scrapbook unless the cat has recently been in there. It had become a heap of everything you don't need to scrapbook.

I started by getting rid of tablecloths, chair pads, etc. The pegboard on the wall is for my sewing room, and still needs to be moved. After working all day, and creating some order amongst the havoc, I came down the next morning to see the progress. This is what I saw:

The second shelf came down, dumping everything onto the first shelf, the counter and the floor. Not a great way to start the morning. I didn't curse or cry, both considered both. After a bit of work, it now looks something like this:

Yes, still a work in progress, but if you look closely you can see little green baskets, marked for each scrapbook I want to do. The paper has been sorted by size, and color, so I can actually find what I'm looking for now. The stickers and doodads are in a drawer by category/event. There are files set up in one drawer, the cutting tools are in another. You can't see the little bowl of spring M&M's to keep me going. I also plan to get a small CD player/clock radio for a bit of entertainment while I'm working in here.

After looking online, dragging out some of the 'How to Get Your Scrapbooking Mess Organized" books, articles, etc., I realized I needed a plan. An article said to start by deciding what albums I want to make? That helped a lot. Here's my list:

Chronological Family album

Album for each kid - birth through high school

Wedding album for all three kid weddings

Album for birth to one year on each grandchild, all of them together

Girlz Rule album - my mom, sisters, daughters, girlfriends, etc.

Heritage album for mine and Don's family

Christmas album to put out each year

Vacation album

Homes album - every house we've lived in

Twelve albums - a lot, but just figuring that out helped when I began sorting the actual photos. As I sort photos, they go into storage containers for specific albums. When you're as far behind as I am, it helps that most of the albums have an end in sight. The heritage ones, the weddings, the grandchildren, once they're done they can be set aside, and even Christmas will only need to be updated once a year. Vacations and homes will be a now and then thing too, and eventually I should be able to concentrate on keeping up our chronoligical family album. Piece of cake, right?!

Next - crucial - I needed a Time Line, something I also found referenced online. Not one but actually four. One for our family, and then one for each of our kids because once the youngest is 25 you cannot remember when anyone graduated from high school or got married, or when each grandkid was born for that matter. If I add up our family album and the three kid albums that will cover the first 18 years it equals NINETY-NINE YEARS of scrapbooking to cover. A little overwhelming trying to keep track of events. A timeline was a great solution.

I grabbed a bunch of paper, three-hole punched it, put in four tabs and made time lines for our family as a whole and for each kid specifically, and threw it all in a small three-ring binder. As I go through photos I can make notes on the pages of the timeline, when someone had surgery, or made cheerleader, or broke their ankle, or started to drive, or got their first ticket, etc. The Time Line is so vital, it'll stay on my scrapbook table and will be referred to over and over.

The tabs say "Family", "Sarah", "Leslie" and "Daniel".

Writing on each side of the sheet, at the top the year, and on the side how old that kid was that particular year, what grade they were in, etc. For the Family one I'm making a list of events that year - where did we go on vacation, who got married, graduated, etc.

Then I dragged out the two boxes I paid $35 for (each) by Creative Memories, called a Power Sort Box. Each holds 2400 photos, comes with little dividers which I ordered more of. I mean, I have 99 years to cover!

Miah the cat is my scrapbooking helper. The sofa and the floor - covered with photos! Focus, deep breaths, baby steps.

One box is for our family album, and all photos will start there. I made the mistake of starting with kid albums way back when, and our family album never got done. So instead I'm going to start with the family album, and as I have extras of a photo I can stick that one in the kids' photo files. I outfitted each box with a divider for each year I was covering, so the family one starts with 1980 and runs to 2008. The kids files start with whatever year they were born, and there's a divider for each of the next 17 years.

I typed the labels for the card dividers so they were more uniform which makes them easier to read I think. TV watching is a good time to grab a pile of photos and sort them. Everything gets marked on the back with a year, and then goes into one of these two boxes or into the trash. I don't need six shots of a kid on the swings, just one for us and maybe one for their book. I really think I'll end up tossing about 75% of our photos when I go through them.

It's still a massive project, and I've yet to put a single photo in an album, but am almost ready to begin that. I'm starting with working on two albums at the same time, to get them out of the way, one is a single photo album of our three kids' weddings. And the Christmas album - most scrapbooking advice will tell you to start with current photos and since Christmas 2007 is so recent, I'm going to put those in albums and work backwards. Amazingly, I've found the photos for most of the past 27 Christmases! God is gracious!

If you've let your albums and photos and supplies gather layers and layers of dust, all the while feeling guilty about it, then hopefully this will encourage you. If I can tackle this mess, yours should seem easy. I'll post here now and then about the progress I'm making. It's my goal to have this project under control by year's end.

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  posted at 10:00 AM

Thursday, February 14, 2008
Hearts A'twitter
Years ago we celebrated Valentine's Day by sitting down to a 'fancy' dinner with our three kids. The dining room table was draped with a battenberg lace tablecloth, and covered with china, wine goblets, napkins and lots of silverware. Don had gifts for each of the girls and I had one for our son, Dan. It was good training for all those upcoming proms, wedding receptions, or dinners with the boss at the Country Club. I still have sweet memories of the kids sitting around the table, in their 'Sunday-go-to-meeting' clothes, how grown up and special they felt to be our valentines.

A few years after the nest was emptied I asked DH to add up all the Valentine's Day gifts we had chosen not to exchange and please, oh please buy me a new quilting machine. He did, he's good that way, even though it didn't occur to him to do the same and ask for a bass boat.

This year neither of us was really in for exchanging gifts or even going out to dinner. It's one of those years where we just feel content to have dinner on TV trays, in our pjs, watching whatever's on Tivo. We've been married long enough that, at least for this year, it just feels nice to be together. That's not to say that a few years down the road I won't come up with some contraption that'll make up for the lack of gift exchanges, plus some.

Here's what our celebrating will consist of. Don doesn't share my lack of opinion on chocolate. Actually he likes it in almost any form, and the more often the better. So I made him these:

Zucchini-Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups a.p. flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Combine egg, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just til moistened. Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or til muffins test done.

The recipe calls for filling 12 muffin cups. I do six, and I pour that batter plumb to the top. What comes out is something that looks like it should be behind the counter at Starbucks, costing $2.50 a pop. The zucchini was from the Farmer's Market last August, but you can still get fresh zucchini at the grocery. Just shred it skin and all, and dump it in. It gives the muffins some umph to keep you going through the morning, and makes them nice and moist too.

The chocolate chips and walnuts? Makes you forget you're eating something relatively good for you, and whether we exchange gifts or not, everyone needs a little bit of chocolate on Heart Day.

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  posted at 7:01 AM

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
My Un-organizer!
I really hate Tupperware and all versions thereof (Rubbermaid, Gladwear, etc.) It seems to defy organization, and even when I do semi-conquer it, I have to go back now and then, pull everything out, and a bit like Humpty Dumpty, put it all back together again. Besides that, some things are just more important than being organized.

So I completely gave over this one cabinet in my home for now.

Because it's his favorite.

When he grows a bit he'll become interested in other things. Until then it's the perfect 'toy cupboard' to keep him occupied when he's at my house. He's right there, under foot, and we even put big magnets all over the dishwasher door, right next to this cupboard, just to keep him busy a bit longer. Besides that, I really like the look of a dishwasher with dinosaur magnets all over it.

Spending another 30 seconds finding the right container for the leftover casserole seems a small price to pay to keep this little one occupied. Every other cupboard in the kitchen has one of these nifty little locks on it. I'm not crazy! I quit latching this one as soon as I realized he enjoyed playing in it so much.

I wish I'd fussed less when mine were this little, during that fleeting season of life, and I don't want to miss a bit of it this time around. Neat tupperware cupboards be damned! At least for awhile, then I can go back to the happy OCD place I usually live. For now, I really enjoy seeing this little guy make a mess - when that nest empties out, things can get to be a bit too neat. Someday, not too far around the corner, when he's bigger and I don't live near him, I'm going to look at my neatly organized cupboard and wish I could go back to these moments. So I savor the daylights out of them. Spending time with Grammy is supposed to be fun, and I doubt he'll grow up to be a professional organizer anyway.


  posted at 9:48 AM

Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Bodies Beautiful
Long before I came onto the scene my husband was a pre-med student. At some point he changed directions, went into engineering instead, but the interest has always remained with him. He can still name bones and muscles and systems that we both studied in high school; it's just obvious he studied a little harder. When we first saw the advertisements for The Bodies Exhibit he told me he'd like to see it. Realizing they were 'real' bodies, it didn't really occur to me that it would be controversial. I've seen displays of bodies in museums before, and never thought of it as something controversial, but rather a rare opportunity to see something wonderful .
The tickets were a bit pricey, but Don kept bringing it up. 'I'd really like to see it. It's only here for a short time." So finally, as a Christmas gift to him, I made reservations for the first Sunday after SuperBowl, a good time to schedule anything since most men haven't figured out yet what to do with a slot reserved the past six months for watching football.

As I began to mention to friends that we were going, I got mixed reactions. Scrunched up noses, 'ooh', 'yuck', that sort of thing. A few told me they were hoping to see it too. By the time we actually attended the display I realized people had mixed feelings about it, or were completely turned off to it. Some were indignant that the exhibit even existed.
We drove on icy roads, in sub-zero temperatures to get there, expecting attendance to be low. You had to make reservations for a specific time-slot, to avoid overcrowding inside. When we arrived I was just glad to be there, safe and sound and warm, and was surprised to see how many other people had ventured out. Maybe we're just tough up here in the 'Burgh!

The display is set up in a sequential order. You start with the skeletan and work your way inside, through body systems, muscles, what is skin's role, etc. There were probably six different rooms, curtained off from each other. The lights were low, there was no speaking, no music, no narration. You went at your own pace, and most people took the time to read all the labels that were provided so we knew what we were seeing.

Instead of droning on and on about each part of the display, I'll just summarize here: It was beautiful, amazing, strange, incredible. At times I was so struck by the fact that the 'display' I was looking at was a human being, one who had lived and loved and laughed, they'd eaten, slept, worked, cried, reproduced, raised children - that was hard to take in. They'd lived an entire life, and ended up here, with all of us walking around looking at them. At other times I'd forget a bit and just be so fascinated by what I was looking at. There were displays of every part of the body, done so differently than I'd ever seen or will see again. Bodies stripped of skin to show the muscles at work. Seeing a case that had the entire system of veins displayed. Seeing inside the chambers of a heart, behind the eyes, what the skull looks like from the inside out. When we began walking through I was asking Don, 'where's the liver?' or "what's that?' By the end of the two hours, I could identify most of the major organs easily. It was amazing to look on a display and see eye lashes, real eye lashes, hair follicles, nails, etc. and again realize these were people who had lived. Just like me. That I was seeing what I look like on the inside. What I'll look like someday. One body was displayed holding hands with another, yet we were told it was the same body - one with the skeletan removed and the other with the muscles, etc. Another display was of a body sliced from top to bottom into four parts, each displayed next to each other, so you could see through the heart or lungs or brain. Very strange, very amazing.

There were displays that showed lungs with emphysema or lung cancer, heart disease, body fat in excess, and next to each display was a specimen that had been healthy. There were male and female displays which showed all body parts graphically. One room had a warning which I found interesting. While we'd all just spent over an hour looking at adult human bodies, when we came to the room that had fetuses in it, babies who had lived in utero up to seven months before they died, they warned us we might not want to go inside. I was able to see a fetus at one week, all the way up to six weeks, and learned the heart begins to beat at three weeks. You just cannot believe how small a three week fetus is, yet it's heart is beating! I saw displays of cleft palate and spina bifida, and a fifteen week fetus that had died, but you could see so many details of it's body. I wondered as I walked and looked, what had those parents felt when they lost this child? That it was so small, yet they grieved what it would have become. They didn't grieve the fetus that was as big as the head of a pin, but rather the little girl with curls running through the grass of their lawn, or the little boy, cap pulled over his eyes, with a fishing pole in his hand. I looked, thankful I never lost a child, never had to experience that.

So my overall impression? How could anyone see those displays and not believe in God? The beauty that God has woven into the human body, the intricacies, the amazing systems, how everything works together, it was just amazing and felt like worship to walk amongst it.

I've gotten a few emails asking about taking children to see it - there were many, many children there. They were a bit louder than the adults, full of questions. Some were too young to have heard the 'facts of life' but they didn't seem put off by body parts that were very much displayed. The adults kept their voices low, talked to each other in quiet, whispered tones, stooped down to answer the questions of their children, or to point out something they wanted them to see. Once in awhile you heard a child say "yuck" or "cool" - kids are just more honest than we are.

At the very end of the display was a board where you could leave a notecard, and I saw many, many with requests for a relative to quit smoking, or to get healthy, and I saw one card that said, "Okay already, I'll quit!" Signed, "Aunt Cathy". We were glad we went. We'd recommend it to others, but then each of us has to decide for ourselves, so I won't try to do that for you. I will say I was amazed to see an appendix, how tiny it really is and realize my brother almost died from his rupturing. I was completely fascinated to see how small a uterus is, and yet it eventually grows to support a full-term baby. How long our intestinal system is, it even goes up sometimes before heading back down, and after seeing how small a stomach really is, the meals we're serving up here in America are too big! Don and I looked for a long time at knees, how they work since mine don't, and then at the spine, and the discs in the back since he needs back surgery someday. I overheard another woman who was looking at hip bones, discussing her hip replacement, explaining it to those she was with.

I know there is controvery about where the bodies originated. At the end of the tour which took us two hours, I stopped and asked one of the Science Center employees working there about the origin of the bodies. She told me they were all from China, had died natural deaths and been unclaimed, so they are automatically taken to a hospital, where they become the property of that facility. They were sold to the United States for this specific display which is in many locations across the country. None of the fetuses were aborted, but rather were miscarried or died in the womb. I don't have all the answers, can only give you my impression. If you have more questions about that you can go HERE to read about it.

Update: My sister let me know you can also go HERE, click on "Bodies, the Exhibition" on the upper right, then skip the intro, you'll see a body with a soccer ball, and it'll say "About the Exhibition", under that there is a drop down box, and four choices. One of them explains the process, and one has some great videos. If you're interested but won't be able to attend it, it's a great way to see it from your computer.


  posted at 8:36 AM

Saturday, February 09, 2008
A Wowser of a Weekend!
We're running the full gamut of activities this weekend. Here's where I'll be today - and I'm SOOOOOOOOOOO excited. Not that most people would think a knitting conference was 'exciting'. It likely conjures up mental images of a bunch of old spinster-looking ladies sitting around with needles and balls of yarn, knitting and purling while they enjoy a spot of tea. I'm going with two friends, one teaches occupational therapy at a local university and the other is a retired burn surgeon. Both are a bit sassy, and we're ready to have some F.U.N. I've been saving all that money I've made from Craig's List lately, stuffing it in my 'allowance' envelope, so I'm ready to buy some yarn! They're supposed to have demonstrations, classes, etc. I was a bit disappointed to learn there will be no live alpacas visiting. I've wanted a live sheep for a pet for years so I would have really enjoyed visiting the alpacas. It would have been fun to meet the source of so much of the yarn I buy. Being a newbie knitter (four months), I'm thrilled to get to visit one of these so near my home, and of course my wonderful yarn shop, Bloomin Yarns, will be there, and I've got the 10% off coupon Michelle featured in her monthly newsletter.

Then Don and Jeremy are wiring the storage room, lights in the closets and a few extra outlets. I'm a girl who loves all sorts of things that need to be plugged in. Next we're ordering in pizzas for the workers and the women who love them, then off to church. Right from there we're going to see a great chick flick, "There Will Be Blood". I know, but you have to let the men pick the movie now and then. As long as there's a large bucket of popcorn involved I'm good to go for most movies, and I can always close my eyes. I don't normally choose a movie with the word "Blood" in it. We've heard this is really, really good, in a bloody sort of way - Oscars material.

After that, Sunday morning, we'll sleep in til the week's weariness has worn off, then we're off to breakfast out. Speaking of blood and being knit together, right after that we're going to see this:

It's the "Bodies" Exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center. I've gotten mixed reviews from friends, but my husband (who was pre-med in college) asked for this for his Christmas gift. So we're off to spend a day at the Science Center, which is always fun in itself. Real bodies, treated respectfully, showing God's amazing work in creating us.

So it should be a fabulous weekend, stuffed to the brim with all sorts of activities celebrating a zest for life. Hope yours is just as great!


  posted at 8:00 AM

Friday, February 08, 2008
Last Letter Home From Camp...
Note: Dublin will be with us til we move to Texas; I promised his parents he'd write home regularly til his first birthday. You might see a stray note from him now and then, depending on what antics he pulls!
Happy Birthday to you, you smell like a zoo, ..... I'm ONE!!!!!!!! Blow out the candles - it's my first birthday. Since I'm about the same as a seven year old little boy, I thought I'd make a funny joke! Wanna hear another one?
Do you remember what I looked like when you first adopted me? Here's our family photo to help you remember. The woman keeps it on the fridge just for me. Every time I get an ice cube snack I see it and feel all warm and gushy inside. I still like ice cubes a lot.

Remember how tired I used to get after a little bit of play and a nibble of food? Man, I had to take a lot of naps back then. Potty training you guys wore me out!

Mom, remember when you let me drive?! The Woman doesn't do that - she sticks me way in the back, and keeps yelling "Dub, sit D.O.W.N.!" I like driving better. Riding in the back, you fly all over the place. I think it may be the Woman's driving but I'm keeping mum about that.

Last night I made a wish for snow for my birthday, and The Big Guy Upstairs obliged. Such fun, I made tracks all over the deck and yard, and because it's my birthday Woman didn't yell at me when I tracked in wet slush all over the kitchen floor. That usually makes her go crazy. Wonder what else I can get away with, it being my birthday and all? Hmmm, where's the cat box and cat food?

So I went to the dog beauty salon with Elway. Woman said we both stunk to high heaven, so we got baths, pedicures and that lady brushed us like crazy. Then she stuck us both in front of a big whirly machine forever. I didn't like it much, but something told me not to mess with her. She looked like she'd been around the block a time or two. We came home with fancy schmancy snowflake bibs on.

One of us still has ours. The other one was snatched in a matter of hours.

We smelled good for at least a week, til Woman forgot she left us outside. It was such fun running through the wet mulch, chasing each other and laying down when we got tired.

When Woman remembered us, and saw the mud all over our bellies, there was heck to pay. We had to go to jail for hours, or til, as she put it "you can stay in there til the mud dries and falls off!" She yelled something about wasting $80, but her voice got garbled at that point and I didn't understand everything she said. I think that's a good thing.

So - back to my birthday celebration. Look who came to spend part of it with me - the kid!

He had brand new chalk. I thought the blue tasted the best. Better than the goldfish crackers I usually steal from him. Not quite as good as licking his face tastes.

So, wanna see my present? I thought so.

It's the most delicious, wonderful thing - a sock necklace! And it's been worn long enough to be all nice and smelly. Elway and I play tug of war for hours with it and it just doesn't wear out. Wonderful, wonderful.

Woman told me you're coming to see me in just about a month, so we can go to the Dairy Queen drive-through for my ice cream cone then. I wouldn't miss celebrating with you for anything. You're not going to believe how big I am. Hurry, hurry - come see me and we'll play for hours. Maybe Mom will let me drive again, huh, will she, huh, will she, huh....? xoxox Dubbie

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  posted at 1:39 PM

Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Slaying the Perfect Dragon....
In the vein of self-disclosure, to answer the questions - it was the two applique blocks. The tree with the bird, and the drooping sunflower. I got confused over the many ways to do applique and needed a re-teaching.

Is anyone else good out of the starting gate, but then you lose speed (or enthusiasm) for a project if you let it sit awhile? I am. Whether it's decorating, dealing with paperwork, scrapbooks, sewing projects, eating healthy, taking better care of myself, or (maybe especially) exercising; it so easily seeps into most if not all areas of my life. I'm not a true 'dyed-in-the-wool' perfectionist, but I'm picky enough that sometimes it keeps me from keeping on keeping on.

Today I decided to slay the 'Perfect Dragon' and just finish a project. Not do a perfect job of it, not even a real bang-up one; just get it done. My quilting gang does group projects now and then, where we all work on the same project, but each of us our own. I've skipped the last two group projects from being busy with other stuff, and the one they started back in the summer of 2006 had been put aside in a box on a shelf, not finished. Of the sixteen blocks, I had two left to complete. Starting back into the project today was rough - I couldn't remember where I had left off. Had I cut out the block, chosen fabrics? The two blocks that were left to sew were a bit intimidating to me too- I couldn't remember how to do the technique required. So today instead of working on paperwork, or knitting, or anything else to avoid the unfinished project, I grabbed the box off the shelf, and proceeded to bug the daylights out of everyone in the group, asking for explanations, or reteachings of what they'd shown me forever ago. Like most unfinished things, 'once begun is half done'. (Is that how the saying goes?) Anyway, once I dragged it out, looked it over, and got busy with it, I finished both of the blocks, and sewed the whole thing together.

It's not perfect. There's actually a little lump somewhere in the middle, where things don't line up perfectly, that is going to bug me a bit, but if you stand five feet away it looks great! I still have the sides to put on it, but I know now that I've jumped in and finished the part that was holding me back, the rest is a piece of cake. About a week from now it should be hanging on the quilt rack in my dining room, ready to greet spring. Instead of in a box on a shelf in the basement.

It's going to be a nice reminder, every time I walk by it, of how good it feels to push past the tendency to strive for 'perfect' and let it be good enough, and that good friends, patient friends, are a blessing. Thank you Susan and Janice for helping me today.

Another bonus of slaying the perfect dragon - it's going to feel really nice to start something new, quilt free! P.S. That chicken still needs legs - I have to be sure to remember that!

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  posted at 7:00 PM

Final Answer? Pure-dee Comfort Food!
So this is the final wind up - the final recipe which finishes the final answer: Susie, at Pink Carnation in Bloom asked for the three recipes that are standard fare, sure hits at our house. I knew before I even opened my cookbook which three they would be because, well, they're standard fare. I could make them without recipes - all three of them. So the last one is pure comfort food - it doesn't require china and linen napkins. This should be served around your kitchen table, where hungry family and friends have pulled up on a cold night. You could serve it to 'company', and they might just love some good old fashioned comfort food. I don't know where I got the recipe I've had it so long. And of course I'm changing it up a bit. To keep from being confusing (like I was on the pot roast recipe) I'll just tell you what I do, every time.

Chicken Pot Pie, serves 8 easily
You'll need:

*1 chicken, cooked, deboned - save broth and skim off fat that rises to the top
2 boxes frozen mixed vegetables, thawed or one large bag
2 cans cream of chicken soup
15 ounches of chicken broth, reserved or purchased
1 cup milk
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 stick margarine
1 box Jiffy pie crust mix or 1 ready made crust
1 egg
1 tsp italian seasoning

Prepare crust mix according to package directions, and pat out into a 9 x 13 rectangle. If you use the premade one, let it warm up a bit then reshape it to fit the casserole dish. Spray 9 x 13 pyrex dish with pam and place pie crust in it.

Layer pieces of shredded or chopped chicken over crust. Cover with mixed vegetables. Mix all other ingredients and pour over chicken and vegetables.

Bake til golden brown. Will be crusty on top. Bake at 325 - 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Since the vegetables and the bread are already in the dish, it's a complete meal in itself. If you'd like a side dish to go with it, you could add a leafy salad or a fruit cup. This dish can easily be made ahead, refrigerated, then popped in the oven when you walk in the door at night and supper will be on the table in under an hour.

The original recipe didn't call for the pie crust, but I thought it improved the taste and texture a lot. If your family doesn't like mixed vegetables, feel free to substitute a vegetable they do like.

*Note: in reference to my previous recipe post that promoted using a crockpot as much as possible to make life easier, a great way to cook and debone a chicken is to pop it in the crockpot overnight, add a cup of water, then let it cook on low all night. When you get up in the morning, turn off the crockpot. When the chicken is cool to the touch, debone it, shred it, and save the broth. This can be done with a whole chicken, chicken thighs, breasts, wings, legs - whatever you have on hand. Much more economical than buying one of those teensy little cans of cooked chicken, and the broth will be fabulous and low sodium to boot! Buying a rotisserie chicken from the grocery, skinning, deboning and shredding it is also a good way to go.


  posted at 8:00 AM

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