Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A New Christmas Me

I love to be organized but rarely am.  Christmas always comes so fast.  I think I enjoy the day-to-day too much to stop and lay out a plan and prepare.  With the help of digital scrapbooking though, I do have to toot my horn over the fact I actually mailed out Christmas cards to family this year for the first time in quite a few years.  It gave me a ridiculous sense of pleasure to have accomplished that. LOL

We have been enjoying an early Christmas present.  We finally got a Wii.  Because our last name starts with Z we named it the Zii Wii. LOL I had been hearing the kids play, but I had never played it myself.  One night recently I tried it for the first time and now I am hooked!  I think it is so fun, and we had a fantastic, very blessed time as a family, bowling, tennis, golf, etc.  One thing about me...I don't appear to be competitive.  The truth is though, I am a closet competitor.  I love to win. wink Jack loves to golf in real life so we have had some interesting games. LOL The bottom line is that this has been very good for our family and very good for me.  I am sure I am using muscles I haven't used in over a decade.

In other news, last Saturday was a cozy holiday snowy kind of feeling day.  The kids had always wanted to see what I would look like with straight hair so that was our indoor entertainment for the afternoon.  Having been ultra-curly my whole life, I really was quite amazed and so were they.  They feel like they have a new mama. wink Not sure how long or often I will keep it straight, but it is a fun adventure.
 Christmas me

Here is one of me and Molly.
Pam & Molly

Has it just been ridiculously cold where you live?  It has been hard to believe.  And yet, Jack read that we were -11°F last year one day in December, which I had not remembered.  It's just been so consistently cold though which is making winter feel long before its time and it isn't even Christmas yet.  Perhaps though it will keep the stomach flu germs at a minimum and I'm all for that!

Well, I should go plan. wink There is a lot to do in these remaining days.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thank You and Thankfulness

First of all, thank you all so much for the sweet words you've left about the blog redo and the scrapbooking header!  Truly, I'm with you...because I'm just in awe of Shabby Miss Jenn's wonderful scrapbooking kits and supplies.  I have lots of scrapbooking artists I enjoy, particularly whimsical kits and bright colors, but Shabby Miss Jenn designs, almost no matter the theme are must haves for me.  She has a very special quality about her kits which really sets her apart in a beautiful way.  Every time a sale rolls around, and they are frequent, I'm there fighting with myself and justifying this and that. wink  As was the case when I realized how utterly easy coming up with a Christmas card would be if one were to use these beautiful kit elements.  How fun.  I really enjoyed putting it together, and it was a great pleasure to share it with you.  She has a beautiful little mini kit featured at the moment on Digital Artist Magazine on Day Three of their Seven Day Giveaway.  There are several scrapbooking stores, such as Weeds and Wildflowers, sharing daily advent-like gifts during the holidays.

Oh, I realize not having blogged regularly there are so many things I won't even remember to blog about.  I guess one just picks up where you are at the moment.  One thing that stands out, a blessing to share.  I went recently for my glaucoma eye check as I do twice yearly when things are stable.  One of those two visits I take a visual field test which detects any change in my sight.  Though there is initial damage from before I realized I had glaucoma, it has remained unchanged in the last ten years which is wonderful.  This last visit my pressures were the same in both eyes and the lowest number I think I have ever had, so that was quite a lovely thing to hear.  But the real blessing comes in this, my analysis as I thought back in time.  Awhile back there was a space of about two years or a bit less which seemed to yield only disheartening news each visit and there were lots of visits then.  I had laser surgery in one eye but it made no difference which was really disappointing.  At that point I had thought laser surgery was in my future.  I suddenly found it was already in my past.  With some hemorrhaging in one eye, which meant it was not happy with the pressure, there was always the threat of surgery.  Things eventually evened out as I tried a new drop called Lumigan which I had not really wanted to use as it has a tendency to make your eyes look a little raccoon-y and darker, not in a flattering way but rather more sinister. Eye-rolling Still, this additional drop has worked wonderfully for me, and I am thankful that it is buying me time.  My goal is to try and avoid cutting surgery which will forever alter my eyes and still not bring any guarantees.  But.  The blessing.  I wondered why I needed to have that bad patch of time.  Looking back I see that it was what changed the doctor/patient relationship I now have with my doctor.  I'm a rather stoic person, especially when it comes to medical visits.  So the vulnerability I felt during this time caused me to open up and tell him that he would probably never know how I truly felt inside as he dispensed bad news.  He said it was good for him to know that, and in subsequent visits his hello went from a formal Mrs. to Pamela and then to Pam. smile Trusting your doctor with your disease, feeling comfortable, and knowing that you are not just a patient is so important and a true blessing for me.  I now understand more and appreciate what those hard times accomplished.

Well, I just wanted to share that, because I am thankful.  I'll blog more another time. Wave

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmastime Blog Redo

I just wanted to post a quick note as I change my blog graphics for Christmas.  Sadly, I realized the summer posies had to go! LOL I've been working on our Christmas card so I'm trying it out on you. not one care

I also wanted to say if you have emailed me please accept my apologies for not replying yet.  I am slow lately and besides that, Jack and I are on an at-home vacation this week trying to accomplish some things around the house.

Take care this week and I will update soon. Wave

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cheeseburger Soup

I mentioned this soup some time back and since I was typing it up for my mom-in-law, thought I would share it with you as well. smile

1/2 pound ground beefimage
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced peeled potatoes
1/4 cup flour
2 cups (8 oz) Velveeta cheese
1 – 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup sour cream


In a 3-qt. saucepan, cook beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, sauté onion, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat; blend in sour cream.

Yield: 8 servings (2-1/4 quarts)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Days in America

I'm sure it escaped most if not all, that I removed my pre-election posts.  The why...  Honestly?  I didn't feel comfortable leaving them up.  Besides the fact that after the election you take off your shiny campaign buttons, which is in a small way what those posts were, the face of America seemed to change, literally, overnight.  Down deep, in what feels to me like the new minority, conservatism lives, but everywhere I look I see something that feels very unfamiliar to me.  I feel like I went to bed and woke up in a different country.  Most everything I have read in the last days (not to mention all I read before the election) concerns me, often alarms me.  But, as the world celebrates, I no longer feel comfortable expressing my opinion.  More specifically, I no longer feel safe expressing my opinion.

As we hurtle toward these new changes, just thought I would share this audio/video. It is especially pertinent for us, moms who have offspring, young men and women, between the ages of 18-25.

If this is new to you, then I would urge you to watch the video of Rahm Emanuel's plan for our country (specifically beginning at about 5:00).  In it he speaks about his recent book, his plan for us, "Here's how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They'll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community..."

Also, I have been reading about Obama re-instating the draft, and not only for our sons.  Daughters too.  Please don't misunderstand, patriotism is so important to me, honoring our military men and women, and serving our country.  But I see these plans as ways to strip us of our freedoms.

Did you get a chance yet to visit President-Elect Obama's new web site?  The America Serves tab is no longer clickable.  I wonder if they saw how freedom-loving Americans were freaking out over the wording on the page that is no longer available for scrutiny.  Words like these: "Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year."  The wording was then changed to: "Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal ..."  Now it is gone entirely.  The web site is being "retooled" we have been told.  This all concerns me.  I don't like when things appear to disappear.  Too many take that as a victory when in actuality it is still happening, you're just not aware of it.

Please be vigilant.  Please read and search out these things for yourselves.  It is vitally important we keep our eyes open.  I listened just the other day as Tom Brokaw, a heavy weight in the mainstream media, said, "you've got to be more vigilant, more energetic, and you've got to work harder at where you get your information, and then developing that litmus test about its worthiness, does it hold up? am I being rolled here by someone?"  Odd hearing this from him, but true as we can no longer expect that what we hear in the media is truth.

If this is new to you, then I would urge you to watch the video of Rahm Emanuel's plan for our country (specifically beginning at about 5:00).  In it he speaks about his recent book, his plan for us, "Here's how it would work. Young people will know that between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five, the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service. They'll be asked to report for three months of basic civil defense training in their state or community..."

Also, I have been reading about Obama re-instating the draft, and not only for our sons.  Daughters too.  Please don't misunderstand, patriotism is so important to me, honoring our military men and women, and serving our country.  But I see these plans as ways to strip us of our freedoms.

Did you get a chance yet to visit President-Elect Obama's new web site?  The America Serves tab is no longer clickable.  I wonder if they saw how freedom-loving Americans were freaking out over the wording on the page that is no longer available for scrutiny.  Words like these: "Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year."  The wording was then changed to: "Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal ..."  Now it is gone entirely.  The web site is being "retooled" we have been told.  This all concerns me.  I don't like when things appear to disappear.  Too many take that as a victory when in actuality it is still happening, you're just not aware of it.

Please be vigilant.  Please read and search out these things for yourselves.  It is vitally important we keep our eyes open.  I listened just the other day as Tom Brokaw, a heavy weight in the mainstream media, said, "you've got to be more vigilant, more energetic, and you've got to work harder at where you get your information, and then developing that litmus test about its worthiness, does it hold up? am I being rolled here by someone?"  Odd hearing this from him, but true as we can no longer expect that what we hear in the media is truth.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lord of the Future

Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious.
1 Peter 2:7

Friday, October 31, 2008

A New Addition to Our Family

Boy time goes quickly!  I wanted to write a little non-political post. wink  Though I'll be so glad when next Tuesday has come and gone.  I am feeling optimistic though, that the people of my country have taken a strong second look at Barak Obama and have learned from his own mouth that his plans for us are not what this country believes in and has fought for.  And that's all I'll say about that, for now.

It is a beautiful day today, a little warmer.  We have had many cold days, mostly cold, and a beautiful snow one day.  I do enjoy so much that we are burning wood again.  We have all our wood for the winter brought in from the woods and stacked neatly outside.  I love the look of that.  Jack continues to cut more here and there, just to get ahead for next year, but we did not take a week off to bring in wood like we usually do.

Jack worked so many long hours through the summer, and is on salary so those hours were not clocked in.  Because of that he has garnered days off here and there that we have used for traveling or what not instead of using up vacation days.  I think I have just been so preoccupied this year that I did not realize until Jack mentioned it, that we still have our three weeks of vacation yet to take this year.  So that was fun to hear as we are hoping to get back into remodeling.  Over the years, and as we grow older, I think Jack and I have lost our enthusiasm for remodeling.  This old house is not an easy remodel, full of reasons that just have made it frustrating.  When you are younger, mental energy is so much more abundant, you just don't even think about how long or hard something might be, you just do it.  Yet, I know that if we get excited again, enthusiasm will grow.

We have never done anything to our bedroom in the over twenty years we have lived here, so that is one of our priorities.  Quite some time ago we had given over our large closet to the boys' room, to make their room larger.  Since then the boys each have their own room, but we still don't have a closet.  So I would love to have a closet again. wink  We have plans for that so it would be lovely if we could get them going.

We've had one major change in the last weeks.  We bought a horse!  This was a long, long time in coming.  Sadly, when we finally got one a few years ago we had a very bad experience over a really nasty horse that ended up in court so we've been a little shy about it.  Because of that, I still find myself wanting to preface anything I feel and say about Baylen, but everything we have seen and experienced with him in the last couple of weeks lead us to believe we have found a very sweet, wonderful horse.  The writer in me wishes I knew his story, his history.  He started out on the race track.  I wonder if he ever won any races? smile Does he still hold memories of those days?  He then went to a girls' school in the Carolinas and from there to a camp in northern Wisconsin.  It has been many, many years since I have been around a horse.  I love the softness of his muzzle, and the feel of his strong soft neck, the sounds he makes, his obvious affection, and the beauty of him.  He is an older horse, of course, but he feels like a good fit for us.  We loved him from the first day he came to live with us, and he seems to love us back.  not one care

Baylen

I have done a little bit of scrapbooking.  This one I LOVE.  I struggle so with some pages, but other pages just make themselves.  This is one of my favorite photos, and I want to thank Judy, my sweet friend, because this scrapbooking kit was one of several she gifted me with on my birthday. Birthday Cake 

Gran berry picking

I have been thinking for some time now that I need to change my blog graphics now that summer and garden are not current, so one of these days I may work on that.  I have come to realize that I may never blog the way I used to . . . well, which was sporadic at best anyway! LOL

Take care...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Old Photos

We traveled last weekend, to my parents for a couple of days and then to my brother's for a couple of days.  It was such a fast trip with so many hours of driving so each visit seemed so hurried but we managed to have good times.  Paint ball fights (in which I did not participate LOL), lots of good food, a fair bit of news and discussion, two LONG walks in the woods, and lots of looking at old photographs.  I brought some home to scan and use for scrapbooking.  I'm so excited about this.  Here is a page I finished yesterday featuring my grandmother and her parents.  I love it!

babygran

I mentioned last summer that my Aunt Helen gave me the shirt and vest my great grandfather wore at his wedding - in the photo above.  This past weekend my mom gave me the hat he wore.  These items are just precious to me.  Mom also gave me a fat little "book" of daily journal papers in which he jotted down little daily items in the year following my great grandmother's death.  I concentrated also on photos of my grandparents, bringing home the camera my grandpa used, the old wire glasses my grandmother wore, and the Just Married sign from their wedding. smile I could have sat for days and days going through these photos so I hope we can make the trip again sometime soon.

I think I am going to consolidate my blogs, move all my nature posts and the posts from my secondhand links site into this homemaking blog.  I used to spend far more time online than I do now and it would just be nice to consolidate things.  If I do, you'll be able to pick various posts out by perusing the categories in the sidebar.

Until then...Wave

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Heartwarming Days in the Midst of Political Chaos

heartwarmingsoupsJack picked up this magazine for me the other day, Taste of Home's Heartwarming Soups.  I'm so excited.  It looks like LOTS of really great soup recipes.  I spied one, Cheeseburger Soup, which I'll try soon.  I think it looks really good.

We had such a nice day yesterday.  It was Sam's 16th birthday.  They were out and about the evening before so we had just a nice at home day with fresh-baked cinnamon braid in the morning and sausage and gravy over biscuits for lunch.  It was just a heartwarming time for me to watch my three kids just have so much fun together, laughing and making Sam's day special.  They'd gotten him two CDs, the Newsboys greatest hits and Third Day's new one, Revelation.  So they listened to those while they worked at putting together a Kitty Hawk model airplane.  It was just sweet watching them all working together and having such a good time.  We had planned to go out for supper but decided to stay in and Jack ran in and got some Chicken Alfredo from Pizza Hut.  Was that ever good!!

Are you watching much election news?  I haven't been around to any blogs in weeks now, so I don't know if homemaking bloggers are discussing this.  I had mentioned last post how exciting I think it all is.  But mostly now I just find it all dismaying.  I watch my "fellow Americans" and I just feel sad and angry.  I am strongly opposed to Barak Obama.  I listened to children singing that song yesterday, that Obama is going to "change and rearrange" our country.  Well, I won't be surprised if he gets elected.  People will get what they want.  I imagine I will feel for the next four years like some people have felt for the last eight.  But, somehow, I think that many people, people who just don't get it now, will understand later why so many of us believe he is dangerous for our country.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Politics and Tomato Soup

I wonder sometimes where time goes, but mostly I realize life is full and each day is just at the least, interesting.  I did recover from that UTI, and it might not sound like much to many who get the occasional bladder infection ... but I am not one who can just drink a lot, take in a lot of cranberry juice, etc. and ride it out.  I'm needing to get in to the doctor ASAP before things get really ugly and more than very painful.  So, even though I caught this one early, it is still frustrating to me that it takes a good week for me to feel back to normal.  My birthday was okay, thanks for your wishes!, but a very low key sort of day.

In other dramatics, some of you may know that I am a political junkie.  I just love politics.  Events lately have been positively fascinating so I have been really preoccupied by that as well, reading and watching a lot of news, and much less likely to take those moments to post.  This election season is so exciting, the outcome so vital, I just need and want to learn all I can.

I haven't been scrapbooking as much as I've been learning how to make digital kits.  I simply LOVE scrapbooking, but along with that, I have been fascinated with Photoshop and all the things you can do with it, so it was just fun to me to learn how to make various elements and papers, etc.  This sample below is incomplete and woefully jumbled and thrown together but it is just a sample of some of the things I've been working on.  (One side note, I didn't draw the pretty rose graphics.  They were commercial use purchased as well as other items in the sample.)  So I'm going to keep working on this, just enjoying the fun of putting colors and textures and elements all together.

smallsample

I tried to do too many things at once yesterday while making a very yummy tomato soup recipe I got from my mom.  It is one you make up in a large batch and can or freeze, etc.  Everything that could go wrong went wrong. Silly First, I started to burn the carrots as I was also hanging laundry so it just felt like I wasn't off to a good start.  I got them rescued before any real damage was done, washed the pot, put it all back to rights.  After cleaning and getting a 1/2 bushel of tomatoes on to cook so I could run them through my food mill, I learned how very carefully you need to watch tomatoes.  I had switched them to a different pot that wasn't very heavy and the bottom burned badly giving my juice a lovely burnt taste.  I set about rescuing that and doing a few more tomatoes to compensate, figuring the sugar and butter and flour would mask the burnt taste.  And it did, but then I realized that I had been somewhat confused by the recipe or rather the amount of tomatoes, and I added twice as much sugar, butter, and flour than was needed.  As I said above, each day is, at the least, interesting. wink

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Where Is That Live Writer Shortcut??

Hi there girls. smile I just wanted to pop in quick and say that I'm here, alive, if not completely well. LOL So many times in the last few days I've intended to post a little blog entry...and then another day will go by.  I think most everyone goes through this...with blogging...times when you are just away.  I began blogging in 2005 so I haven't been blogging nearly as long as most of you, and yet, in all of that time, three years, I have never taken a true break.  It might have seemed I did, but I was always still very occupied/preoccupied with blogging and visiting.  This is the first time in all of this time that I have just been completely occupied/preoccupied with my family and our life.  I have to confess I have loved it...

It's a birthday week for us, Molly's 20th today, and mine on Saturday.  We had plans to be out and about, but I requested they leave me behind. Sad I got hit hard and fast with a UTI this morning and some of us know how truly fun they can be. wink

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Days of Late

Oh, I hope your weather is as beautiful for you as ours is for us today.  I love August, just love it!  We have had some of the most beautiful summery days in the last month.  Early summer was such a disappointment, weather-wise and our mosquitoes were beyond horrible, so this has been a real treat.  Being mosquito-free comes with a price, it is very dry here, but we have had a few little rains.  You can sure feel fall coming though.  Jack said his truck thermometer read 35 degrees (Fahrenheit) when he left for work at 5:30 this morning.

I just wanted to express my joy ... of late ... there have been some very difficult things in the last year, most on-going, things that hurt my heart.  But God is faithful, even through the times I feel like I can't feel Him.  And then when the sky seems to part and I feel the warmth of Him shining down on me/us again, it is all so worth the pain and heartache of trials and learning.

There have been so many times that I have intended to write up a little blog entry.  But honestly, I have just been enjoying being with my family, and spending a lot of time with Jack.  Several notable things have occurred.  Hope you'll read to the end as this post culminates in really exciting news.

Coffee-cupJacob finally gave notice at his job.  It is a good job, and Jack and I are so proud of his performance there, but it has been an awful source of stress.  I've been real concerned about him over the last months.  He gave his notice some time ago, but his co-workers talked him into staying.  Various things culminated and now, at 17 and entering his last year of school, he felt it was time to narrow his focus for awhile and concentrate on school.  It was hard for him working so many hours during the last school year.  So this will be a good change.  His last day is Wednesday.

Coffee-cup Jack bought the movie Flywheel the other night.  We so love this movie.  We saw Facing the Giants some time ago, and I was so so so impressed with that movie that I couldn't wait to see Flywheel.  When we did, I was just so touched.  Both movies from the Kendrick Brothers are just so good.  So I am happy to have both of these movies in our library.  I love to tell about these movies, how great they are! and I hope if you haven't seen them you'll make an effort to find them somewhere.  I am excited to see the new one, Fireproof.

Coffee-cup I am making a concentrated effort to edit Molly's book, Every Tear.  I have so many things I am doing lately, and now with school starting soon, that I think I will have to make myself a schedule.

Coffee-cup We went to another Needtobreathe concert. smile I love their CD The Heat.  They sang the acoustic version of Washed by the Water.  We were all up close.  It was a moment I won't ever forget.

Coffee-cup I am still completely enamored with digital scrapbooking and can't believe I almost never tried this.  The only bad thing is that I can't just have fun doing it, now I had to find out how to make the things that I am working with.  On the flip side, that has been a lot of fun.  I needed something like this and actually feel it was a blessing.

Coffee-cup Other than this I have been doing a lot of laundry. LOL I know all too soon I won't be able to hang clothes out on the lines anymore.  I enjoy this so much.  So I have been a happy clothes-hanging fool.

Coffee-cup And now, I have saved the best for last, for anyone who has read down this far. wink

Jack received a phone call the other night, a Friday night, from a co-worker who was at the stock car races.  He told him that Jack had been announced the winner of a drawing Jack had entered awhile back.  There was always the chance that someone with the same name was the winner, so he had to wait until Monday morning to find out definitively, but all weekend we heard from different people who had also heard Jack's name announced.  So bright and early Monday morning, Jack got a phone call telling him he had won, a brand new four-wheeler.  I was so tickled for him!  He's never won anything big before, and this was a real blessing for us.

the4wheeler
 
Hopefully I'll be back soon.  Various ones of us have been sick. Sad First Jack, who is never sick, then Molly, now Jacob.  He's feeling sick enough maybe he'll even miss his last two long days at work. I hope not, but sometimes things can't be helped.
 
Take care...Wave