Friday, February 27, 2009

Saddle Up Your Horses

I know, I know. You are thinking....She said she is going to limit her time on the computer BUT she has posted 4 times this week.

I know.

I have limited my time on the computer. I've barely been on it! You'd be so proud.

But, when there are things to say and share, it just is what it is. I'll probably be totally off the radar next week.

Anybody within a 100-mile radius knows the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo begins today. I love me some Rascal Flatts and corn dogs. If the Trail Riders on the feeder roads didn't tip you off, perhaps the lines down the feeder road to get into the Cavendar's Boot City parking lot might. I was in that line getting a hat for my roughrider yesterday.

I also found a shirt that suits him perfectly. It says "Breaking Hearts and Horses....It's a Hard Life". Love it.

JT chose to opt out of dressing for the Western Day festivities and wear A&M baseball gear. True that, dawg.

If you haven't succumb to the pressure to buy some new duds for rodeo, I have a new find to share, courtesy of my friend Sarah. It's called the Texas Junk Company and they tout Houston’s largest collection of used cowboy boots and a great selection of random Texas junk. Their site says they are open 11-6 PM, Thursday-Saturday, so call before heading downtown to visit.

This little treasure will save you muchas dolares on kids' boots that they will most likely outgrown before the next Rodeo season and also prevent your child from looking like a vaquero in the high-heeled Wal-Mart-variety. I'm just sayin'...that kind of stuff can scar a kid for life.

And Jenny, I'll be sure and keep this place a secret from your Dad...unless he's already BFFs with Bob, the owner.

Any other Western wear finds you care to share?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something to Chew On...

Ok, really quick...

I made a deal with myself. The amount of time I spend working on my fitness or studying the Word, I get equal time on the computer. Since I did me some Turbo Jam this morning, I earned some time. Yippee!

Often there are ladies that are put in your life, ones who have walked the road your walking for a bit longer. These ladies are sometimes called Titus women (from Titus 2:3-5). These ladies can offer wisdom, encouragement and priceless advice.

Through the miracle of the internet, I got a Word from one of those kind of gals yesterday. Her name is Gail Hyatt and her husband, Michael, is the CEO of a Christian Publishing Company. Another blogger, sharing life experiences.

Please go here to read what she had to say about encouraging your man. I promise, once you read it, you will keep chewing on it.

And then, go here to read what her husband had to say about her.

Now, don't get in a pit over what either of them said. I posted their words to show you what God can do in a marriage if allowed the room to do so.

How's that 40-day decision going for you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A 40-Day Decision

These days find me a bit distracted. Why are so many things that aren't truly that important grabbing my attention?

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and marks the beginning of Lent. Lent has always been tricky for me. I grew up Presbyterian but had several Catholic friends who observed Lent. I remember them describing the 40-day period of sacrifice and no meat on Fridays. I didn't really understand why I was being challenged to give up Coke for 40 days, but the rule-follower in me just went with it.

Did I just admit that outloud? Nice.

I now understand the purpose of Lent is to prepare our hearts, through fasting and prayer, to receive what Good Friday and the Resurrection truly are.... to shift our focus to Christ and His sacrifice.

How's that for summing up years of history?

But the question is this.....Why do we often choose something to fast from that either is a semi-sacrifice on our parts or maybe isn't really that important? And then what happens after the 40 days? Back to status quo? Here's an example....When you want to eat chocolate or drink that Diet Coke, you are to remember the sacrifice Christ made on the cross and don't eat the chocolate or drink the Diet Coke, thus you are making a sacrifice by not giving into your desire to consume your favorite thing. And thus, this will remind you to pray and change your focus.


When put that way, it just seems a bit silly, right? How can the enormous sacrifice of the Cross even be in the same category as things that can be bought 2 for $5?

As a rule, Baptists aren't known for observing Lent as some, but I believe choosing to fast and pray is a very important part of Lent. But I'd like to introduce another idea.. what about also adding something over the next 40 days to make a lasting change or investment? I don't want to go through the motions just to check something off my list. I'd rather choose something that will change me over the next 6 weeks.

So how does one figure out what to remove/alter and what to add? The process that makes the most sense to me is to determine what eats away the most of my time. Before I open up a big fat can of worms.....if you really sat down and thought through know what drains your time. TV isn't my thing, but I spend a large chunk of time on the computer. I'm an information hog and the internet fills that need nicely for me. So, I will be intentionally reducing my time on the computer whether that be mindless researching, reading blogs or logging onto FaceBook. Which means that all 3 of you that read my blog will be seeing a bit less of me until April.

What do I want to add? Mercy, that is a laundry list waiting to be created. I've certainly got a long list of good intentions, but the one thing I am focusing on for the next 40 days is The Love Dare. I mentioned this earlier this month when I spoke of the movie, Fireproof. The idea behind the book is tremendous and can strengthen any marriage, if given the chance. My Day 1 should have been weeks ago, but I got distracted. Imagine that! It's broken into 40 days...perfect for Lent! I know, turn the page already! I'll stop plugging Fireproof. But have you seen it yet? Have you, have you?

If personal growth is your desire, try A Call To Die or The Passion Of Jesus Christ. Fasten your seat belts. David Nasser and John Piper don't mess around.

Maybe your desire is to do something active or read your Bible each day over the next 40 days. (Here are some reading guides to get you started) Or you might choose to go with the my-body-is-a-temple idea and change your eating habits by reducing sugar and increasing real food out of the ground or off a tree.

Only you know what changes/additions need to be made. My challenge to you is to really sit down, think through some options and seek God's leading on what He wants you to pursue. He might just catch you by surprise.

How will things be different for you by mid-April? Who might just want to extend that 40-day decision.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Change of Plans

The boys planned a camping trip in December and this was the big weekend. Bait and targets had been purchased, challenges created. It was going to be the weekend of all weekends. And I had made plans to go to Big D for girl time with my female family counterparts.

All that came to a screeching halt with one phone call on Thursday afternoon from the school nurse. Seems JT was running a low-grade fever and complaining of chills.

Collective sigh.

A trip to the doctor's office rewarded us with a double-or-nothing diagnosis: positive strep AND flu B tests. Us Mounces....we believe in going big or going home, if you know what I mean.

What's a girl to do? Put on her big-girl-panties and deal with it. I canceled my trip and sent Tray and Weston out into the wild blue yonder. John Tyler did such a great job hiding his devastation until the loaded truck pulled away. Poor guy. I broke my heart into pieces.

I did my best to be Fun Laurie '09. I offered to take him to the movies or to rent movies... He rented a DS game, but it was lame. Upon his request, I build him a rockin' fort upstairs.... He preferred to be downstairs with me and the big TV. I planned on taking him to an A&M baseball game but it was rainy and windy. All in all, he handled it very well. The biggest challenge was keeping him down when he started to feel better.

I tried to trick myself into believing I wasn't disappointed. I didn't want to drive 4 hours anyway. And I did have some Netflix movies to catch up on.

But I was disappointed.

I traded breakfast at Joe's with my parents for coaching my 8-year-old how to get Tamiflu down without gagging. I traded a night of chick flicks and Mexican food for frozen pizza and Man vs. Wild.

But all the disappointment I felt could never match what my firstborn felt. He had been talking about this trip all week and had even written a long journal entry about it at school. It was almost as if he knew his fate Thursday morning. He woke up with a headache and because all the kids have become well-versed in flu symptoms, courtesy of daily announcements by the school nurse, he was convinced he had the flu. I was thinking sinuses until Friday morning... Dern.

Life interrupted. Sometimes it just is what it is.

Here are some things learned from the weekend:

*All the hand-washing and Purell in the world doesn't prevent your son from getting strep AND the flu.
*When you aren't seeing your normal pediatrician don't admit, outloud, that you don't get, or really believe in, flu shots. Big mistake... HUGE. I'm still reeling from that tongue lashing and being warned that I might be the cause of my child catching pneumonia and having to be admitted to TCH. (side note: the flu shot was for flu A, not flu B. Hmph)
*Clorox wipes can and should be a decorative feature in any kitchen. The yellow canister just works, ya know?
*It's never a good sign when one of the side effects of Tamiflu is nausea or vomiting (What?)
*Adding flavor to the Tamiflu barely makes it any better.
*1 teaspoon of medicine can feel like 1 cup.
*Friends checking in via text makes all the difference....until your bill comes in.
*A Girl Scout delivering Thin Mints a week late is a total blessing in disguise.

Keep those hands washed, fingers out of noses and stay healthy!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Hope and A Future

This story had been sent to me via email, but to see it, completely undid me.

I thank you, Savior, that You are a God of second chances. When it seemed no one was for us, you stood up and held a banner saying, "There Goes MY Child!" And each time another comes to You, a whole Victory Line erupts in shouts of praise.

Give us Your eyes to see others how You see them and give us Your heart to love beyond what we initially think we are able.

Thank you God, that in You, we do have a hope and a future.

In Your Mighty, Saving, Changing Name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Turn It Around

Last year, right around this time, I had a moment in my local Target. You know those moments when the filter just flies right off and you say what you are really thinking. Outloud. Yep, I did it.

And I'll do it again.

Why, you might ask?

It is is well-known fact, many of the magazines near the checkout are a bit MUCH...if you know what I mean. Much on the topics, much on the skin shown. But Sports Illustrated totally crossed over last year and for some reason, it totally set me off.

Last year's Swimsuit Edition cover featured a young gal wearing nothing but the equivalent of Mardi Gras beads covering her cha-chas. And the beads were so sparse that anybody could see photoshopping was involved to hide things that would have made SI put that darlin' in a plastic wrapper with cover.

Up until this point, when I'd see a cover that was over top, I'd just look away. But not that day. Not only did I turn every Sport Illustrated around so that the back was showing, I even asked the manager, at the register, why the magazine was in plain view. You can imagine the look I got from him. You'll be glad to know he didn't call for Security.

BUT I DIDN'T CARE! And from that point on, any time I saw that SI Swimsuit cover, I would flip it around. I am well aware that they probably didn't stay that way for long, but it made a difference to me.

Not to be outdone, Sport Illustrated released their newest swimsuit edition for 2009 and I was just stunned. The title for this year is Bikinis or Nothing....and the 23-year-old cover model, who has dreamed of being on the cover since she was 15, is featured in a tiny bikini, pulling down one side of her bottoms. She might as well be naked, y'all.

Thank you Sports Illustrated for not only displaying women as objects in the name of publicity but also for taking your magazine down to a whole new low in tempting men into viewing border-line pornographic material masked as sports media. Your photoshoppers had to work overtime to cover up this year's models. Congratulations.

This might not pluck your cord like it has mine, but I am issuing the challenge anyway. When you see this lovely magazine, would you be so brave as to turn it around? You can be need to make a giant scene. And if you feel led, ask a few friends to do the same. Feeling really sassy? Hide the darn thing behind some other magazines. Just be careful to turn it around first. You might shock the pants off some lady looking for Family Circle.

By taking the time to turn those magazines around, I am buying a bit more time before I have to teach my 8-year-old to 'bounce his eyes' elsewhere.

But that's a whole other post.

Make It Your Own

A few weeks ago, menu planning to make life easier was the topic of a post. Although I shared 3 recipes to serve as a springboard, I neglected to include the most adaptable one of all.

Chicken Tortellini Aurora is a totally made-up (I get a little Sandra Lee in me every once in awhile) recipe that I cook at least twice a month. I wish I could claim the brilliance of this sauce, but it originated at a local restaurant and my friend, Nancy Matt, tried her hand at recreating it. The recipe below can be adapted to suit just about any preference you have, from meat, to brand of sauce or type of pasta you prefer.

Chicken Tortellini Aurora

3-4 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 24 oz. jar Classico Traditional Sweet Basil Spaghetti Sauce
1 15 oz. jar Classico Alfredo sauce
1 large package Buitoni 3 Cheese Tortellini (White flour got you scared? Sub in whole wheat pasta)

Cook tortellini according to directions. While pasta is cooking, combine spaghetti sauce and Alfredo sauce, heating throughout. Drain pasta and top with sauce and shredded chicken.

How 'bout that? Add a salad and veggie and that is an option for a night that needs a quick-fix dinner. Leftovers also freeze well.

How's the menu planning going so far? Have any tried-and-true recipes you care to share?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Honesty is the Best Policy

I am a big fan of reviews. Who wants to buy something and then it not deliver what it promises? Not me.

A Mom in Red High Heels is here to help. Her goal is to educate Moms on how to look great and feel fabulous. She is there to encourage, support and educate Moms on all things beauty and style. Knowledge is empowering. Her hope is to empower women, just like a great pair of red high heels does.

Her site is quite the wealth of information in regards to all things beauty and she has the credentials... as she calls Califor-to-the-n-i-a home. A fun features on her site is Reader Reviews . I love how she offers an assortment of products that are reviewed by gals just like us. Prices and where to find each item are also included, taking out the guesswork.

The Reader Reviews are just one layer of her site. Head over there and spend some time browsing around. There is something for everyone!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Good Idea in Theory

The 100th day of school has come and have most of the googley eyes on Weston's shirt.

But he DID get big snaps for creativity.

Perhaps it would have been worth it to actually buy fabric glue and maybe I should have done a better job explaining that the eyes will indeed fall off when you beat your chest like Tarzan.

But you know what? Mr. Positive said, "That's OK,Mom, they mostly stayed on until recess."

I SO dig that about him.

I guess my big plans of selling the shirt-of-all-shirts to the highest bidder are a faint memory. You'll have to make your own trip to Hobby Lobby and make the biggest decision of your life: black and white googley eyes or colored googley eyes.

Or will you be that cool Mom that actually agrees to hot glue 100 pieces of dog food to your child's shirt.

On second thought, don't be that Mom.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

100th Day of School T-Shirt Reveal

Last week a note came home describing a very exciting project for Weston. It is widely known when that type of letter comes home that #1- if the project is to be seen in public, assistance is needed and #2- your reputation as a mom can hinge upon such projects.

Because of #2, I called for reinforcements. I consulted some of my bestest friends to pick their brains for 100th Day of School t-shirt ideas.

Believe it our not, Mr. W was pretty picky when it came to his 100th day attire. His ultimate choice (He thinks it ROCKS) will be revealed at the end of this post, but here were some ideas that came in. You'll SO thank me later when this little project comes knocking at your door.. Your welcome for being spared much weeping and gnashing of teeth....or from eating an entire box of Girl Scout Cookies.

*Sunflower seeds
*Bubble gum (can attach Double Bubble to a tall black hat from Party City)
*Small pom pom balls on soccer or baseball socks
*Silver stick chewing gum
*Sew a string from shoulder to shoulder and string with lifesavers or Fruit Loops
*Fish (Swedish would be ideal as the Cheddar would be reduced to crumbs)
*Bottle Caps
*Army men
*Plastic spoons
*Safety pins
*Plastic colored straws - cut into small segments and create some kind of pattern, like a striped shirt
*Post it notes
*Equal packets (all men are created equal) Black history month
*Packing peanuts
*Dog food
*Styrofoam baseballs-cut the balls in half and then take a red sharpie marker to make the red markings
*Use 2 American Flags (50 stars on each)
*Cookie cutters suspended from a block of wood

It seems I have an alter-ego in Dallas. She shares my name AND her Tip Junkie blog is kinda like my blog but all jacked up on Mountain Dew. As luck would have it, she had a post about this very topic. Be prepared to be dazzled.

So, without further ado....I present to you, Mr. Weston and his rockin' googley eye Hundy Day t-shirt. Is he not the cutest thing you have ever laid eyes on? That dude radiates J-O-Y.

Special thanks to: Mr. Chappy, Mrs. Becky, Mrs. Jenny, Mrs. Tami, Mrs. Michele, Mrs. Allison, Mrs. Angela, Mrs. Audree, Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Kristin, and last but certainly not least, Queen Aunt Daray

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Facebook, in a few words

I love to read books. I love to flip through magazines. 4 months ago, you might find me doing these things at night between 9 and 10:30....until I took the plunge and set up a Facebook account.

What a big fat mistake.

Don't get me has been too much fun finding some of my friends with whom I shared life over the past 25+ years (am I THAT old?). And since I am a lover of the photo Christmas card, I am so enjoying seeing the pictures of friends' families. But I have to say, a lot of other memories came crashing back again. I'm sure I was the ONLY one who had moments of insecurity while I added friends to my list. What's even more funny is time seems to be the great eraser AND equalizer. All is well in the world and we're all one big happy Facebook family. Social class lines are being crossed. It's like Can't By Me Love circa 2009.

The upside is Tray is thrilled I won't have to drag him to my 20 year reunion in 2 years. Why go? I have caught up with everyone on Facebook in just 4 short months. No diet or special outfit shopping required. Score!

My favorite observation, to date, regarding Facebook came from a friend in College Station. She said, "Being on Facebook is like reading the writing on the bathroom stall." If you have Facebook experience, you are nodding your head in agreement.

Do I recommend Facebook. Sure, why not? Just a word of caution...Set a limit, in advance, on how much time you're willing to waste on FB each day. And try NOT to add the Facebook application to your mobile device of choice.

I have NO idea why it is so addictive, but it just flat is. And then you'll be stuck with an 8" pile of magazines and unfolded laundry.

Consider yourself warned. Proceed with caution.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Here's Your Sign

Jeff Foxworthy once had a comedy routine that involved signs. He presented the concept that if we all wore signs around our necks that truly described us, much time would be saved getting to know people.

I'm quite sure the below video isn't what he exactly had in mind, but it reveals so much more. It shows how God has restored and changed people's lives through the process of His matchless love, incredible sacrifice and unending grace.

If you had to write out a sign today, revealing how God has changed your life, what would it say?

*This clip is about 8 minutes, but so worth it!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Open Letter

An Open Letter to All the Critters that Live Around My House:

First, let me apologize for all the recent construction. I know it is quite disturbing, emotionally, to watch your home be ravaged by large yellow smoke-emitting pieces of equipment. Change is often hard. There is plenty of forest and you will find that special new home you are seaching for. And don't you'll make new friends quickly. You're not the first to go through this difficult journey. Seek out the advice of others on how to best adapt.

Which brings me to my next point. You might feel finding a human's home to provide temporary residency is the ideal situation, but let me caution never ends well. You might find your way in, but unfortunately, the exit isn't so easy. Trust me on this one....many have gone before you and entered in my MY walls, and one of your own is currently living out its last days. How do I know, you might ask? Because it smells like the biggest poopy diaper has been hidden in my my wall. And frankly, it is quite embarrassing. A nice hollow log is a much better choice. I urge to consider this option.

You might also think you need to seek out protection in the way of varmit gangs. I also much discourage you from this option as the initiation is brutal. Why do you think all those young squirrels and opossum run across the street just as the cars are coming? Coincidence? I think not. And we all know The Vultures have the ultimate power.

I leave you with this. Stick together and enjoy all that The Reserve behind my house has to offer. Don't take the easy way out....take the time to seek out a perfect spot for you and your group and build your lair out of materials that will last. It worked for the 3rd of the Three Little Pigs. Learn from their planning and perseverance.

I am FOR you, not AGAINST you.
A Homeowner Who Cares

PS- Could you also encourage the Armadillos to dig their big fat trenches OUTSIDE of my fence? I'd be so grateful.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Sticky Situation

Hanging pictures can be tricky sometimes. Especially if your blank spot that needs filling isn't a true wall that can accept nails easily.

Enter Industrial Velcro. Those two magical pieces will open up a whole new world of decorating.

I had a blank spot over my kitchen stovetop that was yearning to be filled with something to fill those lonely hours slaving over those burners (HA!). I fell in love with the above picture from Targe' and mounted it immediately.

Note to self...remove paper backing from picture before attaching velcro. I speak from experience here. Let's just say it involved a 2 am wakeup complete with loading a shotgun as defense against the intruder we thought was entering out home. Good times....good times.

I leaned the picture against the wall for several days after the incident before I had the courage (and permission from Senor Shotgun) to mount the velcro to the actual wood of the frame and try again. It will be forever mounted on that tile for the amount of velcro I applied.

Have a mentioned my husband is a saint? Muchas gracias, Senor Shotgun.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Re-gifting Robin

Here is a little Thursday fun.

I don't profess to be a math genius. Heck, I just got a debit card this year because of my lack of skill in the checkbook area. Did I mention my husband and I never banked together up until this year. Um...that is 13 years banking separately. But that is beside the point.

Visit Re-Gifting Robin and see if you can stump her. I sure couldn't.

And then head over to for some no-fail re-gifting ideas. Who's brave enough to admit they re-gift?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In Stores Now

In the Fall, I spoke of a movie called Fireproof that I felt would save marriages, if given the chance.

The movie was wildly successful in a limited release and now can be purchased in stores for around $20. Here is a song from the soundtrack with clips from the movie (YouTube wouldn't let me embed, so sorry). This song will stick with you all day.

It is said in the movie that marriages aren't fireproof; prevention is necessary so that when the fire comes, the marriage can survive without being destroyed. Often we think of 'fire' as major trials or temptations, but may I suggest something? Sometimes the 'fire' that comes to test our marriages is complacency. We get so busy living life that our spouse becomes more like a roommate than the love of our life. Being intentional is overlooked.

In the movie, Caleb's dad gives him a book called The Love Dare. He challenges him with this 40-day 'dare' before ended his marriage. The idea behind the book is too many marriages end when someone says "I've fallen out of love with you" or "I don't love you anymore." The Love Dare discusses how these statements reveal a lack of understanding about the fundamental nature of true love. What I love is each chapter offers a devotional fashioned after an aspect of 1 Corinthians 13 and then ends with a related dare. And as you would guess, this is one of my 20 books under my bedside table. Some gals at my church are ahead of me and are enjoying the challenge. Day One stars for me today. I'll keep you posted.

And finally, one last things...'Slow Fade' is also featured in Fireproof. Thank you, Casting Crowns, for choosing to write lyrics about the hard stuff. People's lives will be changed.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Stain That Remains

Stains don't play favorites. Everyone is fair game. You are never too old to fall prey to their schemes.

Sports is a way of life around my house. All my education on stain removal was gained last Spring when our coach decided to add white pants to JT's uniform rotation. You see, these sparkling white pants were debuted at a field in League City that boasts a clay infield. Did I also mention it rained that weekend? Um, hmm. Those white pants have never been the same since. The clay turned them a delicate shade of peach, when washed. That's magical....

All was not lost. I was able to restore them to 95% status. How, you might ask? Watch and learn, ladies. Watch and learn.

My first step was to travel to my second home, Target, and visit the laundry aisle. Next step? Buy one of everything. $30 dollars later, this is what I had:

Clorox Ultimate Care Bleach
Clorox Bleach Pens

I must mention that I also have Resolve Carpet Cleaner, aerosol variety, in my arsenal. We'll get to that later.

As I have said before, often it is all about combinations. And I quickly learned, sometimes you can have a real-life science experiement right there in your laundry room. Kinda like using Drano crystals to reveal the sex of your baby during pregancy. Are you feeling me, Jenny? Dang that smoke smelled BAD!

The best combination I have found for removing ground in grass stains/dirt is Clorox Ultimate Care Bleach and OxyClean. The bleach is not a thin liquid, but more creamy and when mixed with the OxyClean granules, this creates a stain-fighting paste that can't be beat. will cause a heat reaction but will not smoke. What a relief, right? This works best when left on the stain to really permeate the fabric.

For basic stains, spraying Zout or Shout work well, sometimes both. The key here is to again, let the stain-fighter penetrate the stain before throwing it in the wash. Often we toss the treated garment in too quickly and the stain-fighter is washed away.

The bleach pen comes in handy when you have a spot on clothing that is not totally white. There are two tips to choose from: one skinny and one with a small brush to scrub.

And finally, the Resolve Carpet Cleaner, aerosol variety, works amazing to get greasy stains out of light colored clothing. I thought a pair of khaki capris were ruined and the Resolve totally removed the stain.

At the end of the day, often multiple treatments are required. Just remember...don't dry the stained garment as this will set in the stain.

Any stain-fighting tips to share?