Swan dives and the edge of the Earth

Hello!

It’s been a long, long time!

I’ve missed you so very much!

Really I have!

I know I’ve been so bad by not paying you any attention. Left you hanging with an empty promise. No new blog, it’s like I fell off the face of the earth.

I know!

And all I have to offer is lame apologies and hollow excuses. I’ve been out living, working, sleeping, being a mom/friend/selfish-self and a very neglectful blogger.

But I am going to try it again. And this time lets all hope I do better!

Lets hope I become a more regular. A more regular BLOGGER, I’m not trying to inform you of my *Ahem* daily functions…

Lets hope I don’t really find the edge of the earth and take a swan dive.

M’kay?

Do you forgive me?

Please do.

I’ve missed you so much.

Mwah!

It’s National Peanut Butter Day!

I didn’t even know peanut butter had it’s very own day! How cool is that? Yay for peanut butter! I think to celebrate we should eat it in some form for every meal today…or maybe not…or maybe yes!

Breakfast was Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal! The Cap’n’s is definitely our favorite! I’ve been eating this cereal for years. Back in the day they used to put prizes in the box. It was good fun to dump the entire box out into the popcorn bowl to fish out the prize which was always at the bottom!

Lunch is easy, but L’il k has decided to veer from the peanut butter menu and is having a ham sandwich. Since Big K is home sick and hasn’t eaten anything in 24 hours he may also veer from the menu. Me however, I can honor it: PB&J for me! It’s one of my favorite sandwiches ever. I wonder how many I have eaten in my life…I only know it’s a lot! I have totally earned the right to wear one of these cuties:

Dinner. That could be a tougher way to eat some peanut butter…unless I make some Asian Noodles with Peanut Sauce. I don’t have quite all the ingredients to pull that one off though. Instead I could make my awesome peanut butter cookies for dessert! Yes that is a good plan! I’ll share the recipe with you, but this recipe is only for the true lovers of peanut butter. These are peanut buttery dense cookies!

Only if you LOVE Peanut Butter Cookies:
2 cups Peanut Butter
2 cups Sugar
3 Eggs

Put all into a bowl and stir till well mixed. Then drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with fork tongs in a cross-hatch pattern.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

This is a delicate cookie and cannot stand up to much- but they can handle these tempting variations:
crumble over ice cream
dip half the cookie into melted chocolate

Oh they are yumminess!

I think I’ll make them soon so I can ‘sample’ them to make sure I got the batch right. Ya know, just in case I may need to try again and make another batch…

Cake Class 201

Today was a fun day! Despite the fact that Big K has the flu. You can’t get me down stupid flu! Ok you totally can, but I always get back up again…eventually.

Back to the fun!

I went to Cake Class 201! With my best friend Stacey!

Double win!!!

We had so much fun! LuAnn is our teacher and she is great! We learn so much and the best part of cake decorating is…drum roll please…you get to eat the cake! (You totally saw that one coming right?) But before I demolish cut my cake I took some pictures for your eyes to feast upon. If I could, I would send you a slice through the world wide interwebs. Since that is currently not possible you’ll have to make do with only seeing the frosts fruits of my labor.

Remember I am not a professional. But I don’t mind playing!

This is the scrollwork side. It’s very free-hand but with a pattern that is not a pattern. Tricky little thing! It has a fancy name, but I can’t remember what it’s really called. #notapro

This fourth of the cake is the balloons. They are quick and easy! I found that if I kept them on the smaller side, they are cute! The border is called a rope border. Took me awhile to figure out how to get it right. I still am not sure mine looks like a rope, but this is the best side. Practice is key in all this decorating business!

This corner is the rose corner. My frosting was too soft to really form a rose but this one was pretty good. I’ll have to work on my frosting recipe for a better rose.

I should pause and explain the why the top of the cake is all un-matchedly decorated. LuAnn had us divide the top of the cake into fourths on purpose. That way we could use each fourth for practicing everything we learned today. She is so smart!

The last fourth is more rose buds. They are hard to make! At least they are hard for me. So simple but I just couldn’t get the hang of it. My buds look more like ribbons. I will definitely be practicing these little guys. Only on cookies. It’s quicker and easier to make a lot of cookies than it is to make cake. Maybe I should blame it on the soft frosting too…yeah, lets go with that.

This is today’s cake in all it’s mess glory! It’s a chocolate cake made from scratch with buttercream frosting. We can’t wait to eat it but we are. Hoping that if we wait one more day Big K can join us!

Did you notice that the bottom border is all melty? Because it IS melty. On the way home we had the heater on and cakes on the back seat. Turns out the heater in the back is under the seat! Oops. My border melted and Stacey’s cake slid off it’s middle and became one lopsided squished cake. Thankfully these are just practice cakes! No real harm done.

Cake Class is awesome! You learn so many tips and techniques and you get to practice them right there! If you’re stuck LuAnn will help you through until you get it. Best of all it’s soo fun! If you think you would like to give it a try, you totally should! Just remember to bring stiff frosting.

Do you really want to be Debt Free?

Now that is a question. Key word is ‘really’. Because everyone wants to be debt free, but so many of us are not living debt free. Some are really living debt free. I want to be like them. I want to be debt free. And I will.

Soon.

Very soon!

Let me say my disclaimer now, this is a post. This is not a commercial. I have not been paid or endorsed by Dave Ramsey in any way. Below you will find a link to a class that my husband, Grant, and I are leading. It is for Dave Ramsey’s FPU course. Yes there is a fee, but it is for materials that you get to keep. We are not making any money nor is the church from this program. Now back to the blog.

The excitement in our house is palpable! We can taste it! We can see the ‘end’ of our debt. It’s no longer “way out there, we’ll never make it”. It’s right there! If we just stretch one more arm’s length we will be grasping freedom!

How did we do it? Was it easy?

We did it with the help of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Last January we took the class, watched the videos, did our homework and then -oh hear this part because this is KEY- we implemented it. We lived it. We followed it. And you know what? It worked.

I will be honest. It was NOT easy. On so many levels, it was not easy. No. If my husband and I did not love AND like each other, it could have ended us. Easily. But we do love each other and we like to be around each other, (most of the time). So we worked through the harder times. And there were some hard times believe that! But we survived, stayed with the program and now…Oh the joy! True deep down joy! But I am jumping ahead, we’re talking about the not so easy parts.

It is not easy NOT buying ANYTHING. I mean we didn’t go out to eat. We didnt’ go the movies. We didn’t visit the zoo or aquariums that we love so. We didn’t buy any toys, cloths or stuff. We paid the bills, bought groceries and gas. On a very rare occasion we rented a Red Box movie and made popcorn at home. It sucked because we were used to living a lifestyle of buying what we wanted whenever. Going here, going there and just doing things. We still did stuff together, free stuff. Like the park, exercising (bonus there!), family game night. Amazingly it drew us together, closer, happier. How strange no? You would think we’d be bored out of our minds, but we weren’t.

It’s not easy because you have to say “No.” You have to say it to your family. To your friends. You might have to say it a lot. If we didn’t have the cash, we didn’t go to the party or shin dig or what ever was going on. That. Was. Hard. I won’t lie to you. I love my friends and family and I love to party, but putting our freedom first had to be the priority.

It’s not easy because your family won’t get it. You’ll say no, we can’t afford that right now and they’ll think you’re crazy. Off your rocker. They won’t understand. But if you want to be debt free, that has to be the priority, even over the family. But I tell you this, in the end, when you have reached that freedom and you earn the opportunity to say yes again, it will mean something so deep and full of love it will be astounding!

It’s not easy because you can’t buy all the groceries you want. Meat will be eaten less, much less. Pasta, rice, beans and other staples will be the bulk of your shopping trips. You will get bored of eating them over and over again. But look to the result. Look to your freedom! Pray you can afford garlic, cumin and thyme then take another bite. Freedom is coming!

It’s not easy because it will only work if the program is followed. If you don’t do it, you will not achieve debt freedom-ness. Kinda like dieting, if you don’t eat right and exercise, you will not lose any weight.

So yes, it was not easy. But we did it! Almost, again I jump ahead, but yes, we did it! In a few more paydays, the last of the bills will be paid to 0. Zero.

Yes you read that right. Nada. Zip. Nothing.

Excuse me: WOOOHOOOOO!!!

All of our hard work, all of our sacrificing, all of what we said no to, all that we couldn’t have will never again be. We did it once and that was enough to learn us well. No more credit cards. No more loans. No more debt. We will live debt free! The unabashed joy. The deep relief of knowing. Knowing. Knowing! We will be ok when the car breaks down. We’ll be fine when the vacuum cleaner dies. We’re gonna be alright if anything major comes our way. Finances will not add to the stress. The stress will be there, but it won’t be about money.

Money will no longer control us, we will control it.

Ooh. Doesn’t that sound good?

Control money.

No longer will money control us. Yes we’ll still need money, I’m not totally off my rocker peeps, I’m just saying we will be in charge of our financial destiny! We will be in control! And that feels good. Really good.

So I ask, do you REALLY want to be debt free? Because to be debt free requires this:
patience
hard work
commitment

It is possible. No matter your level of debt. No matter who you owe or what you owe. There is a tunnel and you can reach the light at the end without the train running you over. It can be done! If you want it, really want it. And I hope you do. I hope your ready to live in the joy of being debt free.

If you are ready to walk toward financial freedom, then maybe you will join us. I hope you will. The walk is long and challenging, but it is so worth it. And that, my friend, is so worth it.

http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/process.locateClass/

*I am not getting any linky love for the above address. So you’ll have to do the old fashioned cut and paste or type in on your own. Sorry about that.

Time crunch

Oh I’m feeling the pressure today. It’s only day 20 of The Blog Dare…what will the pressure be like at 156 days? Guess I’ll find out!

Pressure. Due to a time crunch.

We just had a four day weekend. No school. No plans. No “had to’s”. Just relaxed bliss. Nothing was scheduled so we just left it that way. Un-scheduled. We slept when we wanted, watched lots of movies, went to a birthday party and bowling. It was wonderful!

Then came last night…

L’il k got a stomach bug and proceeded to vomit every hour throughout the night. I didn’t know you could vomit in your sleep, but apparently she can. It was scary and odd. I made her a ‘bed’ on the floor near me so I could keep a close eye on her. It scared both of us. Thankfully, it passed and she slept in this morning and now is feeling so much better! She is a bit loopy and weak though. Her quote today: “I’ve been laying down so long, my head feels sooo big. Like Skippy Jon Jones’ head!” Priceless!

But my time and rest has been taken from me. Not only do I have all the ‘stuff’ that was today’s normal list: make a cake and double batch of cookies, now I get the pleaure of doing a mountain of laundry too. Including two beddings worth. The plus side is I’m not working today. L’il k can’t go back to school yet, (we are big on the 24 hours all clear rule), so that means as the lesser earning spouse, I get to stay home too.

Then the real crunch- this weekend- is coming. I am powerless to stop it. It’s on it’s way and will be here soon.

This particular weekend is, is not our norm.

It is full.

Busy full.

Two birthday parties at the same time, 40 miles away from each other.

A special presentation at church that we REALLY want to go to.

Church.

Presentation for church.

Friends coming to visit.

Life Group.

Cake 201 class.

On top of it all I still have to work on coordinating FPU. (the post that will come…I promise!)

So you see. Busy.

Oh yes.

I’m feeling the pressure. Maybe I’m feeling it because of the lack of sleep last night. Or was it the nightmares that accompanies the little sleep I did get…

I think a nap is what is really needed. Sooner rather than later. Naps solve so many things! Yes a nap is now added to the day’s list of “stuff”.

*yawn*

Clutter

I wish my house was clean. Well, it is clean. I should re-phrase that sentence into this:

I wish my house was un-cluttered.

Because it seems that it is always cluttered. And it drives me crazy!

I want to see the carpet in the corners of the room. I want to see my beautiful granite kitchen counter tops. I want that never-ending pile of laundry folded and put away.

Now I am just sounding selfish.

But I do want less clutter.

What I have is chaos. Cluttered chaos. And it weighs me down. My mind feels heavy when I see the clutter. My soul feels squished. My happiness dims a bit.

I want clean, de-cluttered chaos. I dont’ mind the chaos in and of itself. I am insane like that ok with chaos. I think life would be boring without chaos and change. I just I long for less clutter.

It seems we spend a good portion each week cleaning and de-cluttering. Have you shopped at Goodwill lately? You prolly picked up something that used to reside here. Really, we make boxes of Goodwill donations weekly. Yet why does it seem that our house clutter never lessens?

We have even stopped buying everything we see because we are working very hard to get out of debt. (I’ll save those details for another post). So what is wrong with this equation? Less coming in + stuff going out = still have clutter. Huh?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m losing my mind. Maybe I only THINK I see clutter.

All I know is that my house is full of too much stuff. I want it full of children. But that would mean more stuff wouldn’t it? Yes I suppose so. At least that would be worth it!

I should just be thankful I don’t have to live in the garage. Eep!

Alone

How odd. I think I slept last night. Really slept. Even though I still woke up about three times, the in between bits were full of sleeping. Real sleeping. I feel…(what do you call this? This odd sensation?)…rested.

I’m not a good sleeper. I used to be. There was a time that not even the most obnoxious fire alarm would wake me (scary I know). I slept like the dead as they say. Thankfully no fires ever occured to make that more than just a saying. Ahhh, those were the days nights. They were short lived slept.

Now that I am a mom, a wife, a busy lady just experiencing the trauma sorrow joy beginnings of peri menopause, sleep has become even more elusive.

But not last night.

It joined me. Sleep wrapped her beautiful, warm arms around me and held me for a four hour stretch! I am not sure the last time I slept a whole four hours in a ROW.

Luxury.

Last night was a wonderful night.

It had a secret ingredient to success.

One I had not suspected would result in such rested bliss.

A secret that will be a rare thing indeed, but a rarity I won’t miss because it was something of a two-edged sword.

The secret?

I

was

Alone.

Temptation

We all have it.

Sometimes it’s not fun. Sometimes it is.

It can be for stuff, it can be for sugar food, it can be for love of chocolate.

It’s out there. Temptation. It’s everywhere.

It could be right in front of us, or lurking behind just waiting for the right moment to spring up! It comes and goes. But it’s there.

I have strong temptations at times. At others, they are only little.

I’m just happy that having a temptation is not a sin. There is no fault in having temptations. We are human and we are not alone. So many share the same temptations. Could even be at the same time.

Thankfully, the sin only comes if we make the wrong choice. If we give in and the temptation is un-Godly, then there is sin. Just because you feel a temptation, there need be no guilt for having felt it. No sin in that, in feeling. No sin in being tempted. Unless it’s for sugar. Or 16 pounds of chocolate.

Even better, when that temptation seems unbearable there is always a door that leads to Sees Candiesto the way out before you make the wrong choice. God has given us that promise and un-like humans, God keeps each and every one of His promises.

It is a good thing to understand the difference when it comes to temptation. Make the right choice. Look to Him for the door out if it gets to be too much.

So be guilt free for having temptations in your life. It’s all part of the plan.

Now where is that chocolate bar door again…

The Blog Dare

So far I’ve been doing good with The Blog Dare. If you can call 13 posts in as many days good. But how many does that leave?

Lots, I know.

There is so much to learn. I have so much to learn. And I’m insane busy. I just found out how busy I really am when a friend asked me what all it is that I do. Being the list-lover that I am, and since this conversation was through email, I listed everything I am currently doing. Whoa! I had no idea all that I do! The list wasn’t necessarily a mile a long, but it was involved. Not with little things either. Pretty much everything on that list is BIG. Time consuming. Involved.

I.

Am.

Busy.

Eeep!

Even so, I don’t mind it much. Except when I do. I seem to be getting through it all and besides three of the bigger things have an end date. Rationalizing there is a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

Even with ‘ends’ in sight, I sign up for more. I add more ‘do’ than ‘not do’ to my list. Hmmm…I’m seeing a pattern…am I the only one who is insane ‘do’-ing that?…

I digress…The Blog Dare is what I am ‘do’-ing now. Learning how to do it better and finish. With out further adieu here is what I need to learn in, list form, to finish this ‘do’:

Linky Love: I’m not very good at and need to improve this.

Buttons: No clue how to get them on my blog. There should be a button that The Blog Dare made especially for the challenge on my posts…do you see it? Me either…

Learn how to add Bullet points to my blog for my love of lists.

Fixing my url: Trying and keep trying. No success yet.

Updating my blog look: I just picked the first green one I saw, but now want to ‘do’ more with it.

Reading the 127 other bloggers that are also insane part of The Blog Dare.

Come up with ‘funner’ (I like that non-word very much) topics.

Learning how to really use my laptop: I know so little about short cut buttons and what nots. When it comes to technology I live in the Triassic Period!

Figure what else I need to add to this list. I’m certain there is much more…it is technology after all…

The Blog Dare is upon us me. I will attempt my best and learn all that I can about the above list. Hopefully in the forever away from now end I will have had fun, enjoyed the journey and made new friends along the way.

Girlfriend Time

I have amazing friends.

They are awesome!

Some are guys. I love hangin with ‘the boys’. I grew up a ‘Tom Boy’ and it’s good to remember your roots. But I have to say, the best times are with my girls! This post is not about the boys, it’s about the girls!

There is nothing like a girlfriend. Nothing.

Girlfriends are the best of times and the worst of times.

Few can forgive and be forgiven as girlfriends can.

Girlfriends can lift you up with a smile, giggle, a wink of the eye. A laugh, a hug. By just ‘being there’ and saying nothing at all.

All friends are important and you should have a handful. Of all kinds. But if you are a girl, get a girlfriend. Or two. Or three. Let’s not be juvenile here, you know I mean a close, trusted, true, treasured friend.

You will be filled, blessed and more. So much more.

Girlfriends are there when you need a shoulder. There when you need to ‘vent’. There when you need a laugh and, maybe the most important reason of all, they are there when you need to dance!

I am one lucky gal, I have many girlfriends. Many. So many I need more than two hands to count them on! I also have a few that are the best-est of best. The ones I trust with my every dark secret, my odd-ness, my life. A rare thing to have someone to cherish that cherishes you right back! I wish it were not so rare, but then, perhaps that is the point…

I bumped into one of my girlfriends the other day on the ferry. We both had been to Seattle for some ‘girl-time’ and happened to be on the boat home together. We chatted about our days and got to talking about the importance of getting that ‘girl-time’ in. She told me something that I thought was perfection. A counselor she knew always gave this bit of advice…to husbands:

“Girls need their Girlfriend Time. Give it to them.”

Wise. Very wise indeed.

That counselor was a man. A smart man. He got it. Actually, he said he didn’t get it, but he knew it worked and that it was important. He is so right. I’m telling ya, a wise man, that one.

Give it to us, our Girl-Time.

Last Saturday, I got a WHOLE DAY of Girl-Time! I woke up and almost skipped my run to get over to her. (I didn’t. The run is important too.) I got on a later ferry than I had planned but I got there. And when I did, it was wonderful! So wonderful in fact, I am still smiling my big goofy smile and am filled to my soul two days later!

What was so wonderful, I ask myself? Everything!

We talked and talked about everything and nothing. We laughed. We ate the longest dinner in history. We shopped without buying much. We just were.

Together.

Her and I.

We don’t get to see each other as often as we would like. I live here. She lives there. We each have full and busy lives. It’s not far, but there is a ferry ride involved. So we must make a concerted effort to spend some time together.

She is a joy. I love her to the ends of the earth and back again. She makes me happy and I make her go dancing with me. (Which she totally loves. Really.) We make each other giggle to the point of peeing our pants! She is beauty walking. She is amazing, kind and wonderful. Spending time with her makes my soul happy.

Sound too mushy? Yup. Do I care? Nope.

For some reason, we girls need all that and more. We need our Girlfriend Time. It’s important and necessary. It centers us, balances us, restores us.

Girl Time. It works.

Be wise, like the counselor. Give us our Girlfriend Time.

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