Friday, December 7, 2012

Boo! Wait . . shouldn't that be Merry Christmas?

yeah yeah yeah . . .I'm just a little behind . . .just a couple of months. I sure do miss having to make Halloween costumes. I NEVER thought I would say those words back in the days when I was slaving over red felt as I made a power ranger costume or pink slinky material that kept sliding off the sewing machine as I stitched a princess costume. Or wait . . .how about the year I made a Zorro or Vampire or something or other black cape for Laura's boyfriend who was six feet five (or more) inches tall? That was the biggest cape ever!!!! I miss it. Dang!! I miss it!!! This year, I had to borrow my friends children just to take a few pictures. This is the little girl of one of my friends . . .she is not dressed in her costume but she was Cindy Lou Who (is that how you spell her name?). Her hair is perfect!!  She came to visit us in the office and she was a willing subject for me and my camera!!!

I LOVE this one . . .(below) look at those eyes.  Kristi - you have some pretty kids!!  I know you are proud!!
Can you guess who this is?  Indiana Jones himself!!  He came to visit us in the office and his whip made realistic sounds and he was quick to show us.  He had the leather jacket and the hat and the whip and the bag!  He was a great Indiana Jones!!!!
This is his little sister.  She was a cute pumpkin.  Don't you just love that hat?  It just makes me laugh every time I see it!!!  I've said it before - I love working with all of these young parents because they bring their sweet babies to see us in the office. 
Here is a picture of Indiana Jones and his serious face.  He was all business in this one!!
Here is Miss Pumpkin without her pumpkin costume.  She was too hot and got rather fussy but was rather happy when mama took off the costume.
We had the grand total . . .drum roll please . . .of TWO . . .yes, count them . . .TWO trick or treaters and I almost missed them!!!  I was just pulling into the driveway from work and they were walking back home.  I don't believe I have ever seen a pink batgirl before but our next door neighbor sure made a cute one!!!
She and her brother were our only trick or treaters.  When our kids were little we had tons of trick or treaters.  Seems sad to me that we only had two this year. 
Isn't he a cute buzz light year??
Later in the evening, our door bell rang and I was so excited because I thought we had more trick or treaters . . .but I opened the door and it was the mom and dad and teenaged daughter from across the street.  I tried to give them candy but they wouldn't take any.  They said that they were out walking from house to house and they were treating the neighbors.  They had home baked goodies and they were tied with ribbon and they had a nice scripture card on them - nothing pushy - just nice.  They know that we are Christians and they know that we host a Bible study in our home each week and we talked about that and about the fact that another neighbor hosts a weekly Bible study, too (thank goodness it is on a different night!!).  They didn't even say anything about the fact that they were treating the neighbors because they were Christians . . .as a matter of fact, I didn't notice the scripture on the card until after they left.  Isn't that cool?  What a neat way of sharing their faith without being all in someone else's face.

Anyway . . another Halloween has come and gone . . .the year is flying by!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Oh we're so wild so wild about the wildcats . . .oops!

Wrong team!! My high school team was the wildcats. This team is the Patriots!! I was in the colorguard at my high school so when my niece, Grace signed up for her high school band, I was excited!!! I was finally able to make it to one of her games at the end of October. The husbands were at the farm so I met Alice at the stadium and enjoyed the game through half time (yes, I left after half time). To be honest, I did not do a lot of football watching . . .though the Patriots were playing better than our Auburn Tigers played this year. Alice and I chatted a lot and I ate a Chick Fil A sandwich from the concession stand - yes, they sold chick fil a sandwiches!!! I did a lot of people watching. That is always the best part!!! I also took a lot of pictures. I was excited to practice using my new big lens again. It is amazing that you can be sitting on one side of the stadium and take a picture and it look like you are right on the field. Doesn't take much to make me happy!! 

I was trying to be discreet with my camera.  My niece is shy and quiet.  She isn't like me - loud and noisy - so I wanted to respect her and not embarrass her.  I want her to like me not hate me.  I kept trying to take pictures by aiming around the people on the row behind us.  This one is pretty good.  I guess I could have cropped out that lady's arms.  Oh well.  This is the south - look at how much jewelry that lady has on at a high school football game.  Don't you love it??

Just thought I would snap a few pictures of the players and cheerleaders.  I won't bore you with all of them.  The team colors are red, white and blue but since it was October and breast cancer awareness, the cheerleaders had pink pom poms (at least that is what I'm guessing).

The band has four drum majorettes and two of them (I think that is correct) go to our church.  One of the Trinity girls made the Army All American band which is a huge honor and she will be playing on the field . ..well, I just googled it so I could tell you where/what game/parade and I can't find it but I promise it is a HUGE honor and she is going to be playing at something really important.  She plays the flute and has been playing in our church orchestra for years.  She is very talented.

This is another way that you can tell we are in the south.  We have huge dance lines and this high school is known for their dance line.  Little girls start training from preschool to be a "spangle."  A friend of ours told about her daughter seeing the Spangles in the Christmas parade as a little bitty girl and being fascinated by them . . .and she is indeed a spangle now.

Grace is the last one on the row on the right (I think).

Here she is the last one at the back of the picture - right there in the middle.

Here she is - last one on the row on the right.

This is Laine - Kevin and Linda's (friends from Sunday School) daughter .. . .who just happens to be the little girl in the story above who quivered all over when she saw the Spangles in a parade.  I think she was about 18 months old!!!

I've always had a thing for the drumline and they have a great drumline.  I always loved going to drum and bugle corp competitions back when I was in highschool!!

They have a huge band.  I think a third of the high school is in the band . . .then about a third is on the football team so you only have about a third to attend the games along with the parents.

This is a better picture of Laine.  I don't know if you can tell . . .but the girls have on lipstick that matches their outfits.  It is some shade of Mac lipstick and it has some sort of glitter that is "food grade" in it and that lipstick matches perfectly.  Once again . . .only in the south.  I love it. 

It was a fun night and I hope to go to more of the games next year. There is just something about Friday night football in Alabama . . .the smells, the sounds, the music - makes for a good night!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

our hearts are broken but yet we know . . .

Life is so hard.  We have cried many tears since 12:09 on Sunday morning when the phone rang.  When the phone rings in the middle of the night it is rarely good news and this was no exception.  We received word that our sweet friend had died unexpectedly in an accident in her home.  I was looking through some of my pictures tonight and came across this one of Butch.  Look at her smiling face.  She is on the left in the red shirt.  She and her daughter, Mary hosted a shower for Glenn and Lauren in December 2010 and this picture was taken that night. 

I want to tell you a little about Butch but I don't even know where to begin.  I've been trying to think of my first memories of her and I think it was back when Mary was in college and Butch and I were in a weight loss/Bible study group together at church.  I remember liking her a lot.  Over the years our friendship grew and our families intertwined.  I was right in the middle.  Butch was 15 years older and Mary was 15 years younger.  Butch was like me (Mary, too).  We are loud and we laugh a lot and we talk a lot.  When Laura and Glenn were six years old, Mary started babysitting for us.  Butch and Mark's momma were off on some trip together . . .somewhere around the world . . .perhaps in Egypt . . .climbing a pyramid.  No, really.  They were.  Mary babysat for us until we didn't need a babysitter anymore.  She would put our kids in the car and head off on an adventure.  Our kids adored her.  They called her "miss mary."  So our families now had a multi-generational friendship.

Butch was so generous.  She was generous with her money and she was generous with her time.  She was chairman of a circle for years . . .until all the little ladies died off . . .and she was MUCH younger than those little ladies.  That was her ministry at the time.

oh my next memory of Butch was another circle memory.  I was in the "young mother's" circle which meant we were a daytime circle and a nursery for our children was provided.  If you don't know what a circle is . . .it is a group of United Methodist Women that meets monthly.  Butch was not a young mother but she was keeping her brother's young child and she needed a nursery.  I loved getting to know her even more.  Once again she was giving of herself . . .keeping her brother's child.

Butch gave freely.  Just Sunday afternoon . . .hours after she died . . .I was baking a cake and I said to Mark, "Butch gave this measuring cup to me."  Might sound trivial but touches of her are all around us.  She was always thinking of others.

Butch loved Jesus.  Butch loved Jesus so very much.  We were so blessed to be in the same church family and even in the same Sunday school family.  Butch drove Mark's momma to Bible study every Wednesday night.  Butch was always giving of herself.

I started writing this post days ago . . .I still can't write enough . . . I still hurt . . . I know this post is rambling and probably makes sense to no one but to me . . .and maybe some day not even to me . . .but Butch loved to dance and I know that Butch is dancing with Jesus.

My son, Glenn and I had a conversation this week about heaven.  We talked about whether or not we will actually know others in heaven.  Of course, neither of us really has an answer to that question.  I know on a theological level we probably won't know others . . .but this week, I've needed comfort.  This is the same week that my momma died and was buried many years ago - way back when I was 15 . . .there is that number 15 again.  I wonder if Butch met my momma this week.  I hope Butch shared with her that I grew up into a woman who loves Jesus.  I hope they can be friends in  heaven . . . .another link.

Our hearts are broken . . . but we know she is with Jesus.

Friday, November 9, 2012

one of those days??

do you ever have "one of those" days?  You know . . .you wake up . . .you KNOW without a shadow of doubt that you have so much for which to be thankful . . .you know you are loved . . .you know you are forgiven BUT you are just sad.  Do you ever have "one of those" days?  I'm having one today.  I'll be fine.  I'm a "glass half full" person.  My number one strength is positivity.  I'll be fine.  But for the moment I'm sad.  I just am.  I feel like I'm losing a friendship and I don't know how to fix it.  Most of my blog posts are about the fun things that I get to do as a middle-aged mom but sometimes . . .sometimes . . .life is just hard.  That is all there is to it.  Sometimes life is hard.  I think that I always thought that by the time I was "whatever age" I am, there would not be days like this.  Of course, I knew that there would be REALLY sad days.  You know about those kinds of days . . .the days where a close friend dies or someone loses a job.  Those are supposed to be sad days but I don't think I thought there would be days where I would be sad just because I couldn't fix something.  The situation may not have anything at all to do with me.  I often have to remind myself, "This is not about me."  Everything in the world is not about me.  I know that.  I have learned that fact in my "whatever" years I've been on earth.  But sometimes it feels like it is about me and I don't know how to fix it.  Did I say something?  Did I do something?  Does it have anything at all to do with me?  I've tried to "make amends" if amends even need to be made . . .since I don't know if it is "about me" . . .I don't even know how to go about fixing it. 

for the friends who read this and for my sister - I'm not going off the deep end.  You don't have to call me or text me.  I might not even answer because I don't really want to talk.  I'm really ok.  I'm just sad.  I felt like if I sat down and typed out these words, it might be cathartic.  (ok I'm already chuckling a little - just looked up cathartic to make sure I was using it correctly and had spelled it correctly -- the word fits!!) Sad will pass.  Sad will indeed pass (chuckle).  I'll get busy in a little while working on my sunday school lesson and I'll feel the peace of God wash over me.  I'll go out in the sunshine and smile at the pharmacist as I pick up my prescription.  I'll pet the kitty cat and as I hear him purr, I'll feel better.

but for now . . .for right now . . at this moment . . .maybe for the next few hours, I am sad.  plain and simple.  I feel like I'm losing a friend and I don't know how to fix it.  I'm just sad. do you ever have "one of those" days?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Whose da boss?

My plan was to update the blog at least once a week . . .yeah yeah. Life just keeps running so fast and I'm always running trying to keep up!!

Boss's day was Tuesday, October 16. We combined our resources and bought a gift for Ann and we told her not to make lunch plans. Sweet Mary didn't keep our secret and spilled the beans about lunch . . . so it wasn't a surprise but it was still fun! We have lots of great restaurants in Birmingham and one that is a casual dining place - not too expensive and one of my personal favorites is Tazikis. They have great greek salads and other yummy foods and they have a dish called "Friday Pasta" that is really yummy. In the past, you could only purchase it on Friday but it is so popular that you can now get it all weekend (and if you have them cater an event or dinner, you can get it during the week!!) It is made up of chunks of chicken and balsamic dressing and ziti pasta.  Yummy!  I don't remember the name of what I ordered that day but it had chick peas in it (I love chick peas) . . .but they forgot the chick peas . . . so the waitress brought me a little cup of chick peas!! 

We loaded up into our cars (everyone fit in my car except Amy and she decided to ride alone and listen to her music!!). Kristi was able to meet us there and Phella came and answered the phones in the office so that we could all go. I think Ann felt appreciated and we sure do appreciate her. I've worked for some crazy people over the years and Ann is indeed a kind and fair boss. She puts up with a lot of crap from all of us and she still loves us!! Here is the group (minus the one behind the camera!) waiting on lunch!!  See the take out container on the table?  Ginger purchased strawberry cupcakes from her friend for our dessert.  (left to right - Ginger, Mary, Ann, Amy, Donna and Kristi)

Monday, October 22, 2012

will you be my buddy? Buddy Walk 2012 Bham

So . . .guess what Laura and I did a week ago? We walked in the Buddy Walk held at Regions Park which just happens to be very convenient to our house!! I had never heard of the Buddy Walk before this year. One day I was driving down Shades Crest Road and I saw a sign in someones front yard advertising the walk. A few days later, I received a text from Laura asking if I would like to walk with her and the team from her school. I said, "YES!" She said that she was ordering a t-shirt for me. What can I say . . .I'm a sucker for a new t-shirt!! On the day of the walk, we went to church and had lunch at Grandmother's house after church and then rode out to Regions Park. I never dreamed that it was such a large walk.  It is not on the same level as the Susan Komen Race for the Cure but there were a lot of people at Regions Park!! I had no idea what to expect. They had a stage and they gave out some awards - things like the team who raised the most money and the team who had the most members. There were children everywhere - from infants in strollers to "big" kids . . .and I don't think I realized the wide range of abilities for a person who has Down Syndrome. In order to get the crowd fired up, they played some dance tunes and the whole crowd was dancing. They played the Cupid Shuffle (I think that is the name) - seems like that song has been played at every wedding reception this year. They also played Y.M.C.A. and that is what the crowd was doing as I snapped this photo. I didn't know this and I haven't verified this fact, but someone told me this week that many children/adults who have Down Syndrome love to dance. Now I don't know how that compares with the population at large. Lots of folks like to dance . . .and there was dancing going on all over this place.  

The reason Laura wanted to walk in the Buddy Walk is because "her child" that she works with every single day has Down Syndrome.  She told me that I couldn't post any pictures of him on here or on facebook but just let me tell you . . .I got some great shots and I have printed the photos.  I have a set for the special ed teacher (I hope that is still the title for that teaching position - if it is not, please forgive me).  I also have a set of photos for the student's daddy.  His daddy walked with us and it was nice to meet both of them.  Laura's little boy loves to dance and I have some cute pictures of him dancing.  I also have a great picture of him with Chuck E. Cheese!  (that rat had to be so hot in that furry costume!!)

We had turned the corner and I was able to look back over the rest of the folks coming along behind us.  We somehow ended up toward the front of the walk which was nice.  See, I told you there were lots of folks!!!

I met some of the teachers from Laura's school.  Everyone was really nice.  This was their official group from the school. 

Unbeknownst (that is evidently not a word because the "abc checker" won't recognize it -- I've heard it before so I'm wondering if I have it spelled so incorrectly that checker can't recognize the word!!!!) to me, we were supposed to wear lots of bling.  Laura's teacher friend had on her bling.  I had accidentally left my pearl necklace and earrings on with my t-shirt and shorts so I fit right in!!  In the picture above, the girl on the far right with red hair is from England.  She is doing the teacher exchange program.  I loved listening to her talk!

There were inflatables for the children and there were food tents and lots of different groups had their own tents.  There was even a tent for information about adopting a child with Down Syndrome.  I wanted to slide down this slide but I think I'm over the weight limit.  Doesn't it look fun????

This bike was one of my favorite things.  This is either a grandfather or an older father.  His special needs son was usually on the other seat.  I wonder where in the world they found a bike like that so that he could ride and I also wondered if they had made it . . .and I wondered how much something like that would cost.
There was also a boy scout troop carrying signs with a picture of their buddy who was also a scout.

I can't believe it - just a couple of weeks ago, I walked in the mental health walk and then the Buddy Walk.  Neither was a long walk - maybe a mile or so - both walks were short because the short walk allowed those affected to walk with us - to use their abilities!!!

I am so proud of Laura. Not only is she working with this sweet child every single day but she has agreed to sit with another child on Sunday nights at our church during confirmation. He is one of a set of quads . . and he is non-verbal . . .and this way, he can be confirmed with his siblings. I am a middle-aged mom and I am so proud of my girl!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Goin' to Ruffner Mountain . . .gonna get married . . .

Guess what? Another wedding? Yes!! How did you ever guess? I love that we have been to so many this year and I love how different each one has been and how the service and the decor and the food all tell the story of the bride and groom.  Kendall and Nathan got married on October 13 at Ruffner Mountain.  It was a small wedding and Mark and I felt so honored to be included!!  Kendall is a twin (boy/girl) and the same age as Laura and Glenn.  She was in Sunday School with them in junior high/high school (I think - not sure of the exact years).  Fast forward to 2010 when the young adult group started meeting at our house and Kendall came to the very first study!!  She brought her friend, Nathan.  As Nathan was walking up the front porch steps, he and Mark realized that they knew each other.  Nathan's mom had worked with Mark.  Small world.  Anyway, we have loved getting to know Kendall and Nathan and now they are married!!!  The venue was quite pretty.  I loved the sheer curtains that were a "shield" from the parking lot and I loved how they blew in the breeze.  The wedding was held in the late afternoon and the sun was shining directly into the pavilion.  Very pretty (but one side of my face got sunburned!!)  (I just re-read that paragraph and it is all over the place but I am tired tonight so it is going to stay just like it is!!)

Since the wedding was outside, I sneaked a couple of snapshots in during the ceremony.  No flash needed . . .and only a tiny click.  I took my good camera this time - no more phones if I want to take lots of photos.   The groom and groomsmen wore brown tuxes which I don't think I've ever seen but I really loved the way they looked with the green dresses.  Both brown and green are colors that were reflected all around us as the pavilion felt almost like a tree house.

Dave did the service (I'm sure there is some correct preacher lingo for that) -- he performed the ceremony and preached the homily and blessed the elements (that sounds more official, doesn't it?).  It was good to see Dave and Angela and Leo and to visit with them.  He made us all laugh several times which I think is great in a marriage ceremony when everyone is so nervous!!

The reception was held in the actual "nature center" where the exhibits are located.  There was a cupcake table and you can see the nature theme . . cupcakes on a stump!!  We were once again in the trees which was quite lovely.  My only complaint was that I wore high heels (mistake!!) and we walked across the parking lot from the wedding location to the reception (half a block or so .  .) not good for me in high heels.  Funny story about my shoes . . .I hate shoes.  I love to look at them and I love to see them on other people's feet but I hate shoes.  Give me a pair of flip flops anytime and I am a happy girl.  I will still be wearing flip flops in December.  January is about the only month that I don't wear them.  Other people will have on boots . . and I will have on flip flops.  So . . .I had on my brown flip flops in the car because we were going to Bass Pro Shop after the wedding.  (as I typed those words, I laughed out loud - sounds like a red neck date to me!!).  Mark pulled up to the venue (in our big and black and shiny 4X4 pick up truck (red neck??) and to get out of the truck,  I have to slide off the seat to the ground . . .and I didn't have my shoes on.  I was standing there putting them on in the parking lot.  Mark said, "Lisa - why didn't you do that in the car?"  I smiled and looked at him and responded, "I don't care."  He just shook his head and muttered, "I know you don't."  He might drive a pick up truck (which is really fancy) and he might hunt and fish but he also dresses well and cares . . .well, I guess about what people think.  I have a tendency not to care as much.  I am who I am . . .and I love flip flops . . .and you can talk about me and my flip flops . . .but I'm still probably going to wear them.  If I could find just a few pairs of really really comfortable shoes . . .I would buy them.  I have a brown pair of merrells and a black pair and they are almost (not totally but almost) comfortable.  I don't remember the last time I had shoes (besides flip flops) that I would call comfortable.  OK - sorry about that long tangent . . .back to the wedding . . . .

Look - there was a bear guarding the cakes (the bear didn't stop people from cutting the cakes before the bride had even seen them).

There was a deck outside the reception room and that is where we spent most of our time.  We were so excited to visit with Ed and Amy and Kendall and Nathan and Will.  They are no longer at our church but are helping Dave plant a new church and so we miss them on Tuesday nights.  I am proud of all of them.  Mark really loves talking with Ed and had been telling me things for days . . .like "Ed loves Zombies.  I want to tell him about the Zombie Chase run."  They also really like to talk about guns and other stuff.

The reception table (food line) was between some exhibits which was really nice because there was stuff to look at while you waited.  Leo was fascinated with the turtles.

Here is the lovely bride!!!  Kendall - why is your arm behind your back???  hahahaha!

Her dress was lovely. Her momma looked so pretty, too (I didn't get a picture) and Nathan looked handsome. It was really a nice wedding. Their first act as husband and wife was to serve communion to the guests. That was really special. Kendall's dad died years ago and her twin brother walked her down the aisle. I almost cried when Dave asked him, "who gives this woman to be married . . " and her brother said, "I do on behalf of our mother." It was just such a sweet moment . . .and as one whose parents have been dead a long time . . .it was just special.  Guess what?  I think we have only one more wedding  in 2012. . . in November!!  But 2013 is going to be filled with weddings, too!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

how could it possibly be in such a MESS????

If you are my friend on facebook, you have already seen the before and after pics of my pantry. (as a matter of fact, one of Mark's male co-workers had something snarky to say about the fact that I posted those pictures . . .I unfriended him.)  I've been on a cleaning frenzy for the last few weeks. I was so bothered by all the mess in my house that I actually took a day of vacation this week and have cleaned out even more things!!! Something happened when I went back to work - NOT ENOUGH T.I.M.E. Anyone else have that problem?  I cleaned out my pantry last year and you would think we could keep it clean BUT we can't seem to do so.  I know that some of it is my problem, but my wonderful husband (who really is great) has a tendency to take things out and put things back anywhere there is a space.  If I clean out a closet, he finds something to put in the empty space.  As a matter of fact, this morning when I got up, the baggies were just sitting on a shelf in the pantry . . .hmmmmm.  Anyway, this is what my pantry looked like a week or so ago.  My friend, Kristi, loves these pictures because she says they make her feel better about herself and her pantry.  I'm so glad I can be of assistance.

You  need to know this - buried in this picture are two little shelving units, a turntable or two and a couple of little white bins.

Look at the floor - the mess even spills over to the floor.  I have found out an important fact in my lifetime.  If you really want to organize something . . .you have to start from scratch.  So I did - once again.  I emptied out everything from my pantry.  E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  I wish I had time to paint the inside - it needs it.  Now you can see the little shelves and white bins.
oh my goodness - I shouldn't even show this . . .here is everything from the pantry - overflowing all over my very large dining room table.  Look in the chair on the left - there is one turntable.
I had a helper during all of this . . .he kept moving to the patches of sunshine.
I grouped like things together as I removed them from the pantry (as much as possible).  I looked at expiration dates as I started to put things back.  I actually DID NOT throw away very much.
Now everything has a place. Canned goods are together.  Sauces are together.  Even the cat food (bottom shelf - right corner) are together.  Now look at those two little shelves hanging under the bottom shelf.  "wraps" - foil, plastic, etc. are in the bin on the left.  "baggies" of all shapes and sizes are on the right.  Guess where I found the box of baggies this morning.  Stuck to the right of the cat food????  Really????? 

Cleaning out the pantry wasn't enough for that day.  I stopped in the middle of the cleaning and took a quick shower and a quick dry to the hair . . .no make-up . . .and ran to target to get more turntables.  Of course, I looked like crap - t-shirt with a couple of holes and no make-up and not fixed hair . . and I run into someone I haven't seen in 8 years -- AND she looked great.  She even had on pearls.  Alas, the story of my life.  Anyway . . I digress . . .on to the cleaning.  This is my spice cabinet.  I took every thing - every single item out and put it on the counter and I wiped off the shelves.
I bought a small turntable for each shelf.  The bottom shelf holds spices that begin with A-C.  The next shelf holds the rest of the alphabet and the top shelf holds salt and seasoning salt and cavenders and Slap Yo Mama - you know - those kinds of things.  Isn't it lovely????
So . . . what gets ahead of you in your house? Laundry? Cabinets? Linen Closets? Since I went back to work, it seems like I never get caught up. I will admit that I'm feeling just a little better!! Especially since this week, I cleaned out my closet - there is indeed a floor in my closet - imagine that???!!! I had to wear my allergy mask to clean it out because there was so much dust. Unbelievable amount of dust. I bought three big pretty baskets at target for $20 bucks each and put them on the top shelves of my closet and filled one with purses and bags and filled one with shoes that I don't wear often and I filled the last one with "stuff" that was just hanging out in my closet. I filled a bag with give-away clothes and another bag with trash. I still have a sack of stuff to go through but I'm going to do it one night next week. I also straightened the inside of all my kitchen cabinets. Now upstairs . . .that is a whole different story. (haha - pun not intended but funny) We have a huge walk-in attic storage space that is packed. I think that I will get Mark to pull everything out and put it in the guest room since there is no furniture in there right now. Then . . two closets in Laura's old room, a big closet in Glenn's room, a HUGE closet in the guest room and a "toy" closet and a "craft/wrapping paper" closet in the bonus room. Is there an end in sight? The problem is . . .by the time I finish the upstairs, will I have to start over downstairs? Only time will tell.

Friday, October 19, 2012

FREEZE FRAME! Not really!! How do you freeze okra?

There are many perks that come with working on a church staff. It is rare for someone to scream and curse at you (that is a biggie after working in the corporate world!). Let's see . . .what are some other perks? I get to serve communion often (really love that one). We can pray or read our Bible and no one will turn us in to "someone in charge." Lots of good perks!! Today's perk is about okra!! Several times a year, people just show up in the church office with "gifts" for us to share. A week or so ago, one of our fine members (as a matter of fact, he is one of the few members who will ever say "amen" or "hallelujah" out loud!!) brought us some of the bounty from his garden. I brought a giant sack of okra home and fried some (using another church members recipe) and then I didn't want to waste the remainder . . .so I decided to freeze it to use in my gumbo on New Year's Eve. I had no idea how to freeze okra so I googled "how to freeze okra." Works every time. This is what you do . . . the first step is to simply wash the okra.

Next step is to cut off the little stem BUT don't cut down into the seed pod.  You know why you don't want to cut down into the seed pod?  It will make the water and okra all slimy!!  You can see from the photos that I was standing in my kitchen with the afternoon sun pouring through the windows!!

Fill a pot in the sink with ice and water (you will need it soon!!)

Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil.  As soon as the water is boiling, drop the okra into the boiling water and set the kitchen timer for 3 minutes.

Let that okra boil for 3 minutes.  If you  have large pods, let it boil for 4 minutes.  This okra was perfect - small tender pods picked lovingly at just the right time!!

As soon as the timer goes off, pour the okra and boiling water into a colander and IMMEDIATELY drop the okra into the "ice bath" that you prepared earlier.  This stops the cooking process.

I then cut the okra into desired size pieces (just perfect for gumbo or homemade soup) and spread it out on a cookie sheet and popped the whole cookie sheet into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.

After 30 minutes or so, I took the okra out of the freezer and put it into freezer bags. I zipped the closing almost closed (on the baggie) and stuck a straw down through the tiny hole and sucked out all the air (cheap woman's way to vacuum seal!!). The okra will be wonderful to use later in the winter!! p.s. I hate boiled okra but I love to use it in soup and gumbo!!
p.s.s. I grew up in a very blue collar family and we always called it "okry" . . .I believe I was a young adult before I realized that it is really "okra"