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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Help for Haiti in Jesus’ Name

So many bloggers over the last few weeks have posted about helping and donating toward organizations that can help in Haiti.  To this point, I had not posted anything.  I figured all the “big-name” bloggers were doing enough.  And as a general rule, I believe that to be true.  I don’t know that there is anything that I can say or do differently than any of them that would convince you, my 10 dear readers, to contribute to help this people if you haven’t already.

Instead, I am writing today to ask for your prayer for my dad who is currently on his way to Haiti. 

He has worked for quite a few years, even before they left to go to India on mission for two years, with the Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief Team.  He has traveled to places all over the world to respond to those in disaster and crisis situations along with the TBM team to bring help and love in the name of Jesus.  So this is nothing new to us.

Here is our request:  At the very least, please pray for my dad (you can call him CP if you want) and the entire 5 person TBM team that is currently in Haiti.  Please pray for their safety as they travel and as they distribute the water filtration units.  Also pray for discernment as they assess how TBM can best serve the people of Haiti in Jesus’ name. 

Specifically, I ask for prayer for my dad as he is the point person and leader of this trip.  Pray for very specific wisdom and discernment for him in this role.

Now, here is my pitch:  If you have not contributed yet to a relief effort on behalf of the people of Haiti, please consider TBM. You can click here to go directly to their donations page.

Thank you, blog friends.  I always know that I can count on you.

Blessings for this day,

Donna

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies

I just posted a new recipe over on the Way More Homemade - The Recipes blog that I highly recommend that you try.

Soon.

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Cookies.

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Oh, the yum.

And they’re healthy since oatmeal helps lower cholesterol.  Right?

Just consider it an antioxidant cholesterol lowering pill. 

Think my doctor will buy that one?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hello again and {Mama Braggin' Monday}

I know it has been a while since you've heard from me here on the blog. I'm around. Just very busy.

I have so much to tell you and catch you up on, but having the time to sit and write is just so difficult right now.

This next week and a half or so, in particular, are very busy. A committee at church, of which I am a part, is in the middle of some big decisions and we will be meeting 3 times over the next week or so. That's a lot of time away from home and away from my family. But I believe God will redeem that time as I am doing what He called me to do on this committee.

Amen.

Just know that I miss you right now, blogosphere.

So, until I can get back to some kind of normal around here, I thought I'd share with you my favorite Christmas present I received this year.




Mike took the kids to our local pottery painting place and they made me this awesome mug with their handprints on it. It sits so proudly on my desk and I use it for water because I don't want to see how bad coffee would stain it (because then that would make me wonder about my teeth).

I love putting my hand up next to theirs and seeing the difference in size. It reminds me of my job to take them by the hand each day and lead and guide them.

It's my favorite Christmas present.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anniversary Stay-cation? Bliss.

I didn’t really mention it on the blog last week, but my man and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.

Fourteen.

It seems both like it was yesterday and like it was a lifetime ago all at the same time.  But mostly, it’s just been a wild ride and we’re as strong or stronger in our relationship than ever.  (See last year’s anniversary post here.)

And just so you know, my husband rocks.

Our anniversary was in the middle of the week, so we loaded up the kids that evening and went out to dinner to celebrate as a family the formation of our family on the day of our wedding.  We had a good time and only had to remind the kids to use their inside voices 652 times during dinner. 

Then over the weekend, the kids went to visit their Nanny (my mother-in-law) which allowed us to have a weekend.  At home.  Alone.  Without kids.  Or responsibilities.

Ahhhhhhh…..

There have been many times that we have taken a trip for our anniversary.  Like two years ago, for instance, when we went to Las Vegas.  And we’ve had years that we have stayed at home for the weekend.  Both ways have good and bad things about them and have their place at certain points in life.  And right now, at this point in life, the staying home option is just so right for us.

As I thought about it over the weekend, I began to look at it this way.  When we travel, we want to go and see and do all that a new place has in store for us.  We are adventurers.  We want to experience.  And that is great and fun and can be very romantic… in its own way.  But it doesn’t allow for a lot of time just sitting and being in one another’s company. 

However, when you stay at home, you may tend to look around and think to yourself about all the things you need to be doing or getting accomplished around the house while the kids are gone.  Believe me, we fell into that trap when we stayed home the weekend of our 11th anniversary.  It was our worst anniversary EVER as Mike busied himself trimming some trees outside and I may have spent the day scrapbooking inside.  So the key to doing an anniversary stay-cation is being able to turn all of that off (or down a lot) just for this one weekend and do just a little work ahead of time so that you don’t feel the pressure to clean up or do housework over the weekend.

That’s what we did last weekend and it was so wonderful.  We fixed dinner together and enjoyed cocktails and a glass or two of wine before renting a movie on Friday evening.  On Saturday, we stayed in our pajamas most of the day as we lazed on the couch snuggled up together watching a West Wing marathon from the Season 2 DVDs Mike checked out from the library.  We ate grilled cheese sandwiches and sipped wine by the fireplace (it was cold outside) and just talked about plans for the year and the future in general as well as challenges we are facing and obstacles we foresee.  We talked about changes we want to make in ourselves, our relationship and our parenting.  We talked about the kids and the challenges that we are facing with each of them.  We talked and talked and talked until I said finally, “If we keep this up, we will have nothing to talk about over dinner.”

We went out for dinner Saturday evening and what  a dinner it was.  I have blogged before about Reata (restaurant in downtown Fort Worth).  We decided to go there and to the improv comedy show Four Day Weekend (right next door to the restaurant) again and they both served us an incredible night out. 

If you have not been there, Reata is a very nice restaurant serving decidedly Texan cuisine in a gourmet fashion.  I was not surprised to hear from the hostess that the owners of the Philadelphia Eagles had been there for lunch the previous day (as they were in town preparing to be schooled by the Cowboys).  We started off with some very nicely seasoned calamari.  Then I enjoyed smoked quail (mmmm) and a duck breast (that was like buttah) served with jalapeno cheddar grits (oh my!) and green beans while Mike had what he referred to as one of the most tender steaks he’d ever eaten along with some shrimp with a Creole stuffing.  Then for dessert, I can never seem to pass up their dessert tacos and Mike had a molten chocolate cake. 

The improv show at Four Day Weekend was so funny.  The language and material was a little rougher than last time we went a little over a year ago, but we laughed pretty hard the entire show.  It was the perfect way to end the evening.

If you didn’t know, you can become a “fan” of local businesses such as these on Facebook (Reata’s Facebook fan page) and Twitter.  I became a Reata “fan” a while back and have enjoyed reading each day what the chef’s specials are for the day.  Because of some communication I’d had with them over their fan page in the couple of days prior, we got to meet the person who handles their social media, Gigi, and Mike Micallef, the owner and author of the cookbook I received for Christmas last year.  It was really neat for me and made the evening just a little extra special.

I realized, though, as we sat in front of the fireplace and just chatted about life  on Saturday afternoon that we would never have taken that opportunity had we been able to travel somewhere to celebrate our anniversary.  I somewhat bemoaned the fact that we were just staying at home, but had we traveled somewhere, we would have stayed in a hotel and felt the need that since we had either paid for airline tickets or driven so far that we needed to get up, get out and go do it all.  And, hotel rooms are just not as comfortable as being at home.  Period. 

So I would encourage you that if there is any way you can let your kids spend a weekend away from you and just stay at home with your spouse, do it.  You might even decide to do an annual plan like my friend Melinda at Traveling the Road Home does and encouraged us to start doing last year.  But the time we spent last weekend refreshed us and helped us feel like we had been able to communicate on levels that are nearly impossible in day to day living. 

Anniversary vacation?  Nah.  In my humble opinion, the anniversary stay-cation is the way to go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Future Rocker {Mama Braggin' Monday}

While my son is usually the one who does not want to perform in front of people, he certainly likes to show off from time to time. Especially when there is some good ol' rock 'n' roll involved.

It's not uncommon for us to be driving down the road and a good guitar riff to start off a song and him to break out into an air guitar or for him to grab pencils out of the chairs in the worship center at church and play along with the band on the backs of the chairs in front of him.

It just so happens that we love the book and the movie "The Polar Express." So much so that I bought the soundtrack a year or so ago and we have since all memorized the songs. This is evidence:




My future rocker from WayMoreHomemade on Vimeo.


A few observations:
1) I love his air guitar solo at :23.
2) Extreme closeup with tongue sticking out and everything a la Gene Simmons at 1:34.
3) Not sure what is up with all the summersaults. Maybe that's the 4 year old version of jumping into the crowd or something.
4) He ends with an extreme closeup and says, "Ma nah ma nah!" If you don't know what that is... google it.

As I said, we love the Polar Express. So much so that we drove several hours a few days before Christmas in the driving rain to ride on the Texas State Railroad's version of the Pol-Ex.

Everyone is encouraged to wear their pajamas. There was such excitement as we pulled out of the train station and everyone cheered and clapped as they played the main song from the movie. They play a recording of someone reading the book on the first leg of the trip.

During the book reading, the extensive staff on board, all dressed in chef costumes, served hot chocolate (at just the right temperature, I might add) and cookies to all the patrons. They are all so incredibly friendly and cheerful for the entire trip as they engaged the kids and adults alike to make it a festive and fun atmosphere.


Santa boarded the train once we got to "The North Pole" and gave each child a bell.

While Santa made his rounds, Christmas Carols were being played, everyone was singing and dancing and lots of fun was had.

If you ever get the chance to do the Polar Express train trip, do it. All of us had a blast. Even my dad who kept trying to negotiate being moved to an "Adults Only" car.

But watch out if they're playing "Rockin' on Top of the World." My son may be doing an air-band performance.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday – Shhhhh… don’t tell….

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Open Letter to 2010

Dear 2010,

I have been looking forward to your arrival for time, now.  Your predecessor, 2009, was not all together kind to or easy on us here in the WayMoreHomemade household.  Needless to say, we were not sorry to see her go.

However, as I see you usher in a new decade I realize that this past decade has thrown my way most of the changes that my life has ever seen.  The last decade saw me through the births of two children, the loss of two babies in miscarriage, a move halfway across the country and back again, finding my place working outside of the home a couple of different times, the loss of Mike’s job and the beginning of him working on his own. 

I have to admit that if the new decade that you bring with you has as much change in store for us as the last, I might prefer you to just not show up for a while.  But, in the infinite wisdom of Truvy (played by Dolly Parton) in the movie Steel Magnolias,

“Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize that it’s marchin’ across your face.”

So, 2010, we’re accept that you’re here and we look forward to you sticking around for about 364 days.

Please play nice.

Much love,

Donna

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cherry and Candy Cane Sugar cookies{Flavor of the Month}

Prepare yourself.  This is going to be the lamest Flavor of the Month post you have ever seen.  Not only did I forget about my post until two days AFTER the deadline, I didn’t get around to actually doing anything about it until a good day and a half after that.

Life is what it is, though.

I did make quite a few cookies in the month of December, so here’s a sampling of what I made.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies:  this recipe can be found here on my recipe blog.  It’s actually been there a while, but I haven’t had any pictures to go with it.  I will be adding some soon now that I have them.  These are REALLY good when they are warm and gooey and a little bit of an adult cookie offering.

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Candy Cane Sugar Cookies:  I love this idea for the person who doesn’t want to mess with the cutting and decorating of homemade sugar cookies.  Just color half of your sugar cookie dough red with gel coloring (like used for icing) and make candy canes.  They are a little fragile, but oh so cute.  I was inspired by and used this recipe for sugar cookie play dough but I’m certain any recipe would work fine.

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I highly recommend that you hop on over to Bridget’s blog, Bake at 350, to see more cookie posts for December’s Flavor of the Month.