Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate Good Times!!

On Wednesday, we celebrated a very special day for a very special friend. My friend, Phella, celebrated the big 5-0! She doesn't like surprise parties so I asked her if we could celebrate with a lunch. She worked with us in the church office for a couple of years so she agreed that I could get together a few friends and have lunch at the church. My sweet mother-in-law agreed to make the cake - carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! She is a wonderful baker and the cake was delicious!! I can't believe that I caught the action. I'm used to my trusty rebel 35 mm camera. I had Mark's little "hunting" digital camera. That little camera eats batteries and sometimes the action is so slow that I miss what I'm trying to photograph - but I caught the special moment. This is Phella blowing out her candles.
We had the "friends for lunch" party in our large parlor at the church. It was just right - sort of like a living room setting. Here is a picture of the two of us. Have I said how much I love this friend? I do!! We met when Laura and Glenn were six weeks old and Phella was pregnant with Michael. She already had Chris and Amy wasn't even a twinkle in Guy's eye. (isn't that the old expression?) That means that we have been friends about 23 years. We've raised our children together. We've grown in our faith together through Bible study. We've shared laughter and tears. We've shared many a meal together. We never lack for a topic of conversation. I am blessed beyond measure by her friendship.
These cute girls are Jeanne (on the left) and Amy in the middle and Kristi on the right. I tell them all the time that they keep me young. They are three of the sweetest people and I love working with them.

This is Phella with our friend, Donna. Aren't those two beautiful friends?

I have more pictures to load but it is doing that crazy thing again where it won't let me add anymore. I'll have to try again later.
What a wonderful day of celebration. Phella and I both agree that each year is to be celebrated - another year of blessings - another year of love and friendship! I thank God for you, Phella!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Friday in the life of this middle-aged mom

I once saw a scrapbook page titled, "A day in the life of . . ." and I thought it was a neat idea but I thought to myself, "my days aren't that exciting." I decided that Friday was such a busy day that it would be a good day to document. I checked my work email first . . .isn't that ridiculous? On my off day . . . I worked on the John Ortberg study that we've been doing with the young adults.
I worked on the Sunday School lesson.
I grilled four pork tenderloins . . .three for friends and one for us.

I folded a lot of clothes - many loads :-)
I bought some groceries. Aren't those peppers pretty?

Kristi - this part is just for you! I baked a carrot cake using my mother-in-law's recipe . . .and I wore my shower cap while I baked! Not a hair net . . .but a standard issue - from some hotel at some time in the past . ..shower cap!!

This is the cake I baked . . .using carrots from our Grow Alabama box.We finished off our Friday night with dinner with friends at Dale's Restaurant. We laughed and talked and had a great time. I love my job but I love my Fridays!!

more invitations on the silhouette sd

Mark bought my "machine" for me last June for my birthday . . .and I sure have enjoyed creating different things. I've used it more for invitations than for actual scrapbooking . . .maybe because I've been blogging more than scrapbooking. Some friends and I are hosting a baby shower in May. I volunteered to make the invitations and I had so much fun. The only hard part was lining up the "words" so that I could cut the vellum into the same shape. I know that there is a way to set up registration marks . . .but I've never done it and for some reason, I assumed it would be fairly easy to just type the information and cut it. Here is the inside: I decided to put miniature ball fringe around the neck and a button on the front. Any of you . . .how do you glue vellum? I used glue dots because I thought they would show the least amount.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Folding chairs in the living room?

We have had this chair for years. I think we've had it since we first got married. I believe it originally belonged to either Mark's grandmother or maybe even his great grandmother. We had it reupholstered years ago and guess what? It is finally getting a facelift. We bought this sofa about 25 years ago. At one time, it was covered in peach fabric. . . back in the days when peach fabric was in style - yes, that would have been in the 80's! We had it covered in this fabric when the kids were in middle school and it has been used every day since then. Glenn lounged on it when he was living at home and it is a favorite gathering place for all of us.
But guess what? We've worn this fabric totally out. That is my hand . . .in the fabric. There were holes in our sofa. One side was still good . . .so when "company" was coming over, what did we do? Yes, you are right! We turned it over. But no need to do that anymore. About a week ago, this sweet couple came to our home and carried the sofa through the back door and down the deck steps to their van waiting in the driveway. New fabric has been ordered and hopefully we will have a new sofa in just a few weeks. They also took the old green chair - it is getting new clothes too!! So for now, we are sitting in folding chairs!! They are not as comfortable as our sofa!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A sister is a special friend - yes, she is!!

For those of you who don't know, our mom died when I was a Sophomore in high school. I was the baby and my sister, Becky (the middle child!) was already working at South Central Bell but she was living at home. We became very close over those years and then when we were pregnant at the same time and our children are only weeks apart, we became even closer. Back before cell phones and a million long distance plans, the only really cheap plan was where you could talk all you wanted on Saturdays or something like that. For years and years, Becky and I talked on the phone every single Saturday morning while we make pancakes for our kids and did the laundry, etc. Now that we have cell phones . . .we talk several times a day :-) Becky just had a BIG birthday on Wednesday, April 7. Matthew is away at UT Austin (I don't think that is how he says it) and I didn't want her to be alone on her birthday. So I booked a flight that left in the wee hours of the morning - it was still very dark outside - and flew to Houston Hobby airport where she picked me up. We drove straight to Keemah, Texas to eat lunch on the boardwalk. Actually, we didn't drive straight there - we got a little lost first. We finally arrived!! (good thing because I was getting a little car sick!!) We walked around and looked at stuff. I felt like I was on vacation at the beach. I went "for" her but I cannot tell you what that few hours on the boardwalk did for me. I NEEDED some sunshine and my body seemed to soak it up.
I took lots of pictures of Becky since it was her birthday. A professional photographer was roaming around and he took the best ever pic of us. I'm afraid to scan it and post it since it is obviously a professional . . .don't want to get in trouble. But I'll tell you that it is so good of us - we look so happy to be together!!

We ate outside on the boardwalk at a Mexican restaurant. I think it was Cadillac something or other. This was my plate. I was able to eat maybe half of it. It was a HUGE plate of food. That little blue bowl is some kind of bean soup - we don't have it at the Mexican restaurants in Birmingham.

I told the waiter two different times, "we are here for her birthday - I just flew in from Alabama." He took the hint and showed up with this incredible dessert below. It had ice cream and whipped cream and cinnamon and sugar. Oh my goodness - I took a bite - yummy!!

After we finished eating, I was still soaking up some sun and we looked over at the recently vacated table next to us and this bird was sitting there eating chips. It was so funny. He would grab a chip out of the basket and eat it and then grab another. I guess it is true for birds also - you can't eat just one!!

We went in several of the little shops on the boardwalk and enjoyed walking around. There was a roller coaster - which is my favorite of all time rides - it was even a giant wooden one - but I was afraid to ride it after consuming Mexican food :-) We loaded up in the car and headed back to Richmond (suburb of Houston where she lives). When we arrived back at her house, there was a note on the door. We had just missed the florist. We waited until they came back and they delivered this beautiful surprise for Becky.
That night, we rented The Blind Side which neither of us had seen and we made roast beef sandwiches. Becky remembered how our daddy made them when we were kids and we made them that way. I know that sounds silly to some of you, but our parents have been gone so long that it was really neat to do something that we "used to do." We also popped some popcorn and went to bed at a decent hour since I had been up a loooong time!

On Thursday, we shopped and I found a cute skirt and top and Becky (ever the big sister) bought it for me for my birthday (which is not until June). Then we went to What A Burger - never been there before - it started in Texas!! Then we went to the neatest place. It is called The Enchanted Forest and it is in Booth, Texas. It is a plant nursery and it is the most spectacular place I have ever seen. There are little houses (see one in the background) all over the property and they have all sizes of metal things - like the pineapple.
They have areas set up and landscaped so you can see how it would look at your house. It was truly an enchanted place!! They had these yellow poppies and I don't have a picture of them. I had never seen them before and had to ask what kind of flower they were. They are a winter flower we were told and they were so pretty and happy looking. Look at the pretty end-caps to each of the tables with plants on them - like a little roof shape and you can also see another of the houses in the background.
This basket made me smile and I would love to re-create it here at home.
All too soon, it was time for Becky to take me back to the airport. What a whirlwind trip - I flew in one day and out the next but we crammed some great time in those hours. From my words, can you tell that I love my sister? I do! I really do!!

Beer and Baskets-Easter and Basketball

It is so rare for all four of us to be at home together and to share a meal together and I am so happy when we have some time together. The Saturday night of Easter weekend was one of those wonderful nights. We knew that we wanted to be at home so that we could watch the Butler basketball game and cheer for Ronald Nored. Just to brag a little - he goes to our church!! They played a great game but didn't win. I even boiled some eggs and set up the dye and guess what? I was able to coerce both Glenn and Laura - even though they are 23 years old - to dye at least one egg each.
We grill steaks - yummy!! Side note - we always watch for the Pig (Piggly Wiggly grocery store for those of you not in Alabama) to put their steaks on sale. They have a great sale and we buy quite a few!

Glenn decided to fry some pickles and all we had was Wickles - pretty good. Wickles are another Alabama product - made in Dadeville, AL. They are wickedly delicious little pickles - sort of a sweet pickle with a big bite! Mark loves to eat the red peppers out of the jar - not me, though!! They also fried some trout that we got in our Grow Alabama box (program that supports local farmers). Laura and I are both very very picky about our fish and Mark told us not to eat any - Mark will eat anything that swims in a lake or ocean so I was surprised that he didn't think it was good. I don't think I'll be adding that to my box order anymore. (the vegetables have all been yummy - that should be another post!)

Back to the title - Beer and Baskets . . .when the kids were in middle school and were getting up really early on Easter Sunday to sing at the Sunrise service, we started giving our Easter baskets on Saturday night. There was just no way to cram it all in and that wasn't really what Sunday was about anyway. So I had made them both (actually should say three because I made one for Lauren also) Easter bowls this year. I look around and on one table are the pretty colored Easter bowls and on the other table sat this . . .
Yes, a Land Shark beer - a favorite in our household (except for me - don't like beer at all). I started laughing. There is something strange about Easter baskets and beer together. Since I've never been a middle-aged mom with "grown" children, this is new territory for me!! The more I looked at this picture, I realized what that paper is underneath. We have a young adult Bible study in our house on Tuesday nights and that was the Lord's prayer that we had used on Tuesday night. I didn't get very many pictures on Easter morning . . .I'm hoping that either Laura or Lauren got some in front of the Resurrection Cross on Sunday morning and I'm hoping that one of them might share with me!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Since I teach Sunday School, we rarely have the opportunity to visit another church. On Sunday, we were invited to worship at Trinity UMC in Tuscaloosa where our friend, Wade is the pastor. The day was special because Wade and his wife, Julia were having their baby, Wade3 baptized. There were several of us from Trinity UMC in Homewood sitting together. During children's moment, David . . .our student pastor . . .had to go up with his daughter. I love this picture - that big "boy" and his sweet little girl.
Both of the above pictures were actually taken before the service. Our good friend, Phella rode to Tuscaloosa with us. We arrived early (is that a surprise to any of you who know us well??) and had time to snap a few pictures in the parking lot.

Look at that sweet baby!

A delicious lunch of Moe's BBQ and sides was enjoyed by all . . .even by the youngest members of the crowd. What a great day to share with friends!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Too cute to eat - peep peep

Several weeks ago, I had to wait for a long time in a doctor's office waiting room. I read two magazines while waiting and the choices were limited. One of the magazines was Family Fun (or something like that). Considering our "children" are now 23 years old, that was sort of an unusual choice. . . but I found two great ideas and was phone savvy enough (which is a miracle) to take a picture of the two pictures (because I didn't think I could tear the page out of the dr.'s magazine). Below is a picture of my finished project. These were our devilled eggs for Easter Sunday lunch. I'm going to be honest - they were pretty time consuming to make. As a matter of fact, as I was making them I thought to myself, "why didn't I do this kind of thing when my kids were younger?" Then I immediately started laughing because with very active twins, I didn't have time to make egg chickens. Aren't they cute? Laura said she couldn't eat it because it was so cute. I made a nest of shredded lettuce and their feet are carrot coins trimmed to look like chicken toes. The recipe called for capers for the eyes but I chopped some black olives into eye shapes - they look a little like cool chickens with sunglasses :-) The other idea that I found in the same magazine was for sock bunnies. Several posts back, I told you about our stuffettes in the church office and I shared with you how we give them "goodies" for the holidays. I decided to make these sock bunnies. Instructions were pretty simple. I hit the first snag when I went to buy children's pastel colored socks. I found one package at Walmart with one light pink, one grey, one brown, one purple and a bunch of white socks. I marched over to the laundry aisle and promptly placed two packages of Rit pink dye in my cart. The first step was to dye a lot of socks!! They were really simple to make. It took about a bag of lentils per bunny and I cut the teeth and nose out of felt. I think the original directions said to use felt for the eyes but Laura and I thought that the jiggly eyes gave them so much more personality. By the time I finished, I had made enough bunnies for all of our volunteers, all the children of my co-workers and Laura and Lauren. This one is in Lauren's Easter bowl - yes, bowl - when your kids are 23, sometimes you make Easter bowls instead of baskets . . .and yes, they still get an Easter something - that will follow in another post.