Friday, September 30, 2011

rag wreath

I love to do "crafty" things. All of these years, I've been thinking that when my kids were grown, I would have hours upon hours of time to "craft". What a joke!! I think I am as busy or busier now than I've ever been. One reason is that I work . . .in an office . ..every day but Friday. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE my job and the folks I work with every day BUT I need some craft time.

The point of all of that talking about needing some craft time is this - I started this wreath weeks ago and still haven't finished it and I don't foresee(Kristi - are you laughing about me using the word "foresee"?) having time to complete it this weekend.  It is going to be so cute though.  You start with at least two colors of fabric and a metal wreath form.

You begin by tearing (don't cut yet) the fabric into strips that are about an inch wide.  Now you can cut the long strips into pieces about 10 inches long.

This wreath is so simple to make because after tearing and cutting, you simply tie the fabric onto the wreath form.  I did tie each piece with a double knot.

This wreath is going to be so cute. Maybe when I finally finish it, I will post a completed picture.

Oh, by the way, if you are like me and HAVE NOT been lifting weights or doing other arm exercises . . .expect your arms to sore from all of the pulling as you tear the fabric. I think I've discovered a new "upper arm firmer" exercise!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

dream house

While riding around on Lake Tuscaloosa, we spotted this home. Oh my goodness - I love it. We have a small private lake in another part of the state and I would love to build something like this on that little lake. I actually made about 25 pictures of the house and pier but did not think y'all would want to see the house from every single angle.  So I'm only going to bore you with about five pictures.

Yes, this is indeed a "glass house." Windows on all sides - isn't it amazing? I don't think you can see it in any of these photos, (actually, if you look closely, you can see it in the right front window!!) but there was a round mattress propped against one of the windows. Where do you even buy a round mattress? I know that I could google it and find one but I just wanted to ask that question. Do you know anyone who owns a round mattress?

The house was all by itself so no neighbors peeking in the windows . . only folks like us who drive slowly around the property peeking along the way!!

I can just imagine having a party with folks all over the boat dock/pier area and burgers cooking on the grill.

I want one of these houses . . please and thank you!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

These guys ARE NOT old!!

A few weeks ago, we were invited to spend the day with our good friends at their lake house. As soon as we arrived, the two hubbies were out on the deck looking at the fishing poles.

The day was one of those spectacular days - the sky was blue, the air was warm yet had a hint of fall.

We spent time riding in the boat and the sun and fresh air felt wonderful.

Mark decided that he needed to ski . . .he usually only gets to ski once a summer and this was his time. He has to make sure that he is not old yet!!

I was pretty impressed!!

Then Guy had to ski also.  He is not an old man . . .he is younger than both of us!!

I love this picture of Phella driving the boat with her hair flying in the breeze.

Guy definitely does not look like an old man in this picture - look at that - he was crossing the wake and he is in the air!!


What a wonderful day - we had so much fun and give thanks for good friends, sunshine, laughter and a day at the lake!!  (oh and Mark gives thanks that he is not too old to ski!! - good thing he doesn't read my blog!)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

pulled pork for a crowd

I learned how to cook something new!! A few weeks ago, I wanted to make "homemade BBQ" for our Tuesday night group. I needed to make enough to feed at least 25 people. I called my mother-in-law, the one who can cook anything, and said, "how do you cook pork in the crockpot to make BBQ?" I had already looked at numerous websites and had an idea of what I wanted to do. She told me something totally different!! I did it and it worked beautifully. I had purchased a couple of packages of pork roasts at costco. There were two in each package and they each looked a little like a giant pork tenderloin. Each piece of meat had a thin layer of fat on one side. She told me to put those pork roasts in my crockpot and cover them with water. Yes, I said cover them with water!! I also added some onions. Next time, I'm going to add a little more spice. I turned the crockpots on low and let the meat cook all night. Two or three times during the night, I awakened and thought to myself, "mmmm something smells yummy!!" When I got up the next morning, I removed the meat from the crockpota. During the night, all of that fat had cooked off the meat. My mother-in-law told me that is called "rendering the fat" . . .who knew? Obviously, I didn't!! I then placed the meat (with NO fat!!) into one of those giant disposable pans and I used two forks to "pull" the pork apart . . .once again, that is why it is called "pulled" pork. I love learning something new!! I added three different kinds of BBQ sauce - one for sweetness, one for spiciness and one just because I liked the label. I then placed the meat back into the crockpot. It took two crockpots to cook all that meat but it all fit nicely back into one crockpot. See?
Since it all fit into one crockpot, the other crockpot was available for the baked beans!! I put the liner from the crockpot with the meat in it into the refrigerator and left the beans cooking all day in the other one. When I got home from work, I put the liner of meat back into the crockpot and turned it on high. By the time the young adults arrived at six p.m., the meat had heated through. It was delicious!! The "recipe" was very easy but a little time consuming. It took me about an hour and a half to pull all that pork from four roasts.
This picture has nothing to do with the pulled pork and baked beans . . .except for the fact that I've been using these jars as centerpieces . . .a lot!! I've changed the ribbons three times to match the tablecloth and dropped some new candles down in the jar.
So . . .if you need to cook pulled pork for a crowd, this is a great way to do it!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Help - I have to escape - they won't let me goooooo!!

This post needs very few words . . .but since it is my blog, I'll add a few!! You may remember way back when, and old man cat adopted us. His name is snuggles bonesaw elliott . . .don't ask. We call him Snugs or Mr. Snug or snugger bugger or all sorts of things. He really is an old man and this summer he got very sick and almost died . . .and so now, he has to stay inside. He can't take the heat.  I'm not kidding.  It was really pitiful.  He had to have an IV and everything and we felt like really horrible cat parents.  You would think that he would like to stay inside but that darn cat is determined to spend as much time outside as possible. Did I mention that in order for him to stay inside more, I have to take two allergy shots a week? Yes, we love this cat. So . . .what story do these pictures tell?  

Well, Snugman knows how to knock on the blinds when he wants to go outside. Our blinds are nice expensive wooden blinds and we don't want him knocking quite so often. We have built all sorts of "fort like" devices trying to keep his inside.

Have I mentioned that he is an extremely LARGE cat? I don't know how long he is from nose to tip of tail . . .but I know that he is very long and he weighs about 12 and a half pounds. He jumped up on the chair, which is bar stool height, so that he could reach the blinds . . .so that he could knock. He is knocking fairly politely at this point.  I imagine he is thinking, "they know I want out.  I always get my way.  She will open this door any moment."  But instead I grabbed the camera.

I obviously didn't get up fast enough . . .I was trying to take his picture - what can I say? He is knocking more vigorously at this point.  Now his thoughts are probably something like, "I want to go outside - NOW!!"  Don't you love our attractive blocking device?  We do move it when "company" comes over.

In this picture, I imagine he is thinking, "HEY people - where are you? I want out!!! You are not moving fast enough!!!" He stretched out to his full length/height (?) and knocked again. It looks like he is even trying to jiggle the door knob.  But alas, he had to stay inside. Such a hard life for an old man kitty cat!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I L.O.V.E. Sumatanga!!

Are there places where you can go and feel as if all is right in the world? Are there places where you can go and feel close to God? I know of several places like that and one of those places is Camp Sumatanga. Camp Sumantaga is the camp for the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church. As a kid, I was not into camp very much. I remember going to Cook Springs (a Baptist camp) when I was a kid and I remember how home sick I was (I actually still get homesick :-) ) I've been to Camp Sumatanga many times as an adult and I love that place. From the moment I drive through the sign posts at Sumatanga, I feel God's presence - whether I'm there for an Emmaus weekend or a "business meeting."

A few weeks ago, we had our fall staff retreat at Sumatanga. We didn't stay overnight so I didn't have to worry about getting homesick. Isn't that silly? Several of us rode on the church van and I really enjoyed the conversations that day. It is fun to get to know others better.

We arrived and immediately went to work. Andy opened our meeting with a short Bible study and prayer and then we dug in. Andy had asked for some numbers about our congregation and I learned a new skill - how to make pie charts and bar graphs using excel. I think it is cool that I'm a middle-aged mom and I can still learn new things!! We learned some interesting things about our congregation of 3,000 plus members. 27% of our congregation are young adults in their 20's and 30's. 25% of our congregation is under the age of 18. I think the average age of a United Methodist member nationwide is about 57 . . .and look at our amazing statistic. The other really interesting thing is that over half of our congregation does not live in the immediate area surrounding our church. Folks (like us!!) are driving several miles to church. I was a little bit (ok - really a lot!!!) intimidated when Andy asked me for all of these reports but it ended up being a fun (not really fun but interesting) project.

Ok - back to Sumatanga - sorry I got kind of side tracked there. We walked over to the dining room to eat lunch and there was a tractor sitting on the grassy area and this hat was just perched there on top . . .and I thought it would make a fun picture.  It didn't turn out quite as fun as I thought!!
As we were walking back from lunch, I coerced some of the girls into climbing up on the rock . . .so I could take their picture!! (do you say take or make a picture? - I've always said "take" but that could be because I'm from Tarrant City!!) See these smiling faces - I am so lucky that I get to work with such wonderful folks.  Haley, Karen, Jeanne and Linda are just four of the special folks that are on staff at Trinity!!  Some of the staff was not with us and they are all special!!  I remember when I was young and working in the corporate world and I remember working with folks who weren't nice so it really means a lot to me to work with all of these wonderful friends.

We all wrote our names on a piece of paper and Andy shuffled them and then we all picked a name. We then were charged with the task of writing a letter of affirmation to that person before day's end. When we came back from lunch, Scott was already hard at work on his letter. I guess that was what he was doing!! Maybe he was writing a new song for the tuba??? Just in case you didn't know - Scott is our minister of music and he plays the TUBA!!
It was a good and productive day and this middle-aged momma is so thankful to be on staff at this wonderful church!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

You're how old???

Can you believe it? Another birthday post???? This one is for our dear friend, Guy . . .and it was a very special birthday . . .one of those monumental ones that require a party . . .and balloons . . .and fun!!
We gathered in a back room at a new restaurant here in town. The name of the restaurant is Frio en La Paz and I loved their big signs that look like a giant stencil!!  Phella told Guy that Mark and I wanted to try out this new restaurant and that they were going to meet us there. Tricky, isn't she?

Mark and I were the first to arrive (which shouldn't surprise anyone who knows us!!) but we actually had a reason for arriving early. We (actually I) had the balloons. I swear that the ladies at the dollar tree know me by name. I have bought a million balloons there in the last few months!!  Yes . . .we were the first to arrive and I was the first one to order a margarita.  This restaurant has really good margaritas - both on the rocks and frozen.  How would I know that you ask?  I had one of each - yes, I did!!  I enjoyed them very much.
I was trying to snap some photos before the birthday boy arrived. Here is one of Mark and Dave. They look enough alike to be brothers. That is a little freaky - especially since Dave was born on Mark's actual due date. That doesn't make sense, does it? Mark was a preemie identical twin born in August. Their actual due date was in October . . .Dave's birthday to be exact . . .and they look alot alike.  That is sweet little Kim between them.
I'm just an irritant with the camera but we are going to remember all these fun times by looking at the pictures when we are old and can't remember any more!! Here is a cute picture of Laura and Dona.  Thank goodness they love me and will allow me to snap away!!
Here is one of Laura and Dona and Kim . . .and you can see that I am not the only person drinking margaritas that night!!
Our guest of honor arrives - he looks surprised! He did tell us that the hostess said, "Oh Y'ALL are in the back" and he became suspicious at that moment!!
Guy had to greet everyone and everyone had to wish him a happy birthday. There was lots of laughter!!

Lots of hugs and handshakes!!

Here is a picture of our whole group!!  This is our supper club - all 12 of us were able to be present for this special occasion. 

Isn't the back room a cute little room?  The only problem is that there is not an air conditioner vent in the room . . .the owners might have to address that problem before 100 degree days next summer.

Here is the group from the other end of the room.  I love those orange lights over the table!!
Here is a cute picture of the birthday boy and his lovely wife - two of my favorite people in the entire world!!

Last but not least, isn't this so cute?  He tried to give her a kiss and she turned and laughed at that exact moment so it looks like he is whispering "sweet nothings" into her ear!!
Happy birthday to you, Guy! May your next 50 years be filled with joy and happiness!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Three birthdays . . .three cakes

Finally . . .the last post from the three birthdays :-) Mark requested a German Chocolate Cake (which just happens to be my favorite also!!) It is a multi-step cake and Mark's momma says it is the hardest . . . or maybe most labor intensive cake she makes.

Here is the view of her dining room table that day . . .German Chocolate on the left, caramel pecan in the middle and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on the right.  She spoils her boys, doesn't she? 

Mark had many birthday celebrations this year. We celebrated at home with fresh veggies from the farmer's market. We celebrated at Hot and Hot with a divine meal. We celebrated at his momma's house on Sunday.
Happy birthday to you, Mark!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

is this mark??

No . . .this is not Mark . . .this is George, his identical twin brother. We weren't celebrating just Bill's birthday (if you read yesterday's post). We also had other birthdays to celebrate.
Remember my mother-in-law . . .mother to both Bill and George (and of course, Mark) . . .made a caramel pecan cake for Bill. Look at George's cake. George chose carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Neither of these cakes is from a box, folks. She makes them from scratch.
It was a fun Sunday lunch full of laughter and love!!
Can you see under the cake? There is a birthday napkin . . .we go all out for everyone's birthday - not matter how old you are. We have cake and ice cream and sometimes she (she is my mother-in-law) cooks our favorite lunch (yes, we eat with her every Sunday after church . . .and yes, you are right . . .she is not young!). Sometimes we have balloons and ribbons and birthday napkins. Each life in this family is celebrated. We usually laugh a lot and eat way too much!!