Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snow!!!!!

Well...we leave the white wonderland that is Utah tomorrow and will head South and then turn right to head home. I am ready for warmer temps and no snow....its beautiful and all but its not what I am used to...I can't beleive how long it takes you to get ready to go somewhere! You have to put on extra clothes, good feet covering shoes, snow plow/shovel/blow your driveway, get the snow off your car, warm up the car, bundle up, then hope the streets have been plowed so they are actually driveable, then slowly and carefully drive andhope everyone else does too! It doesn't help that it had snowed here everyday for the last 6 nights we have been here! I think the front yard is covered with 8-10 inches of snow. WOW!

Anyway...we are heading back tomorrow and going a more southern route so we can avoid the snow and mountain passes that are closed.

I hope you are all doing great!

My new little niece Lilly was born yesterday and I am itching to get back to see her!

Happy New Year!!! Make it a beautiful one!!!

Heather

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland

HOWDY FROM THE MOUNTAIN WEST!

We made it to Utah Sunday night and just in the nick of time....a snow storm hit late Sunday night and closed the highway that we came in on. It has been snowing almost ever since....We got 4 inches of snow yesterday! My son thinks its pretty cool to look at but hasn't ventured out yet.

Today we are going to visit the Anderson's, some friends of ours who have moved fron Texas. We are excited to see them and their 2 boys. Lindsay worked as my Enrichment Leader while she was in here and we had a great time together and got to be good friends. I am excited to see her cute self again, its been 2 years since we have seen them. Lindsay also is the best hair dresser I have ever had, so I am excited to get a "Lindsay-do" for my hair. It never looks better than when Lindsay does it.

So, I hope you are all having a great holiday season! So many of the seasons holidays have started or are about to, it is such a festive time of year!

Be safe and celebrate what you love with those who love.

Since I am posting from my phone, please forgive any typos. I don't have all the features that I normally do and the keys are tiny!

Be merry, its just more fun than scarey!

Heather

Friday, December 19, 2008

Craft-Envelope Notebook Set

Heelo from a very cold Nebraska....I am currently in Potter, NE and while I applaud the for having nothing open this Sunday morning...my husband really needs a bathroom! So, we found a local church, hopefully they can find it in their hearts to let this poor Mormon boy join their congregation for a song ans a pee!

Anyway..this is being sent from my phone so please forgive the typos....

Below is another simple gift, its a small notepad in a decorated large mailing envelope. You can make a pocket for a pen or stationary as well. Just add ribbon to the end and decorate as you wish.

My husband is now back from his potty break at the Prairie Hristian Church....low and behold their Reverend is from San Antonio, and was nice and even offered him a cup of coffee! He said is was 26 below here last night....brrrrrrrr! We turned down the coffee and are back on our way to WY....we are about 40 or so miles from the border!!!!

Happy Christmas!
Heather













Craft-Paper Box

This is just a little box that you make out of cute paper. You can use card stock to make it more sturdy and accesorize however much you want.






Last minute gift ideas

I had not had the chance to make all the little gifts and things for the people at my son's schools so today I went and looked in my random gifts bin to see if I had some things I could use. I was so pleased that I had lots to choose from and here is one. I will try to post a few more over the next few days.

This is all paper and folds and you just make a little scrapbook. Its a fun and cute gift and I was so glad I had made 2 of them last year at retreat and they were all finished so 2 deserving helpers at his school got them today. When it is all folded up and closed, it is probably about 4 or 5 inches squared.

Its a simple thing and its just paper and accessories for scrap booking, so give it a try. I am sure there is a pattern for this, I will see if Lindsey has it.

































Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Photos-Comparisons & Reference

I mentioned earlier that it is fun to take similar pictures of the years so you can see growth with a comparison. Here is one I took a few days ago compared to the one I took when he was a baby. In both we have the Kermit the Frog as a reference.

It can make for a fun scrap book page as your chronicle their history with the one object. you can do it subtley or very obviously, its your choice!

Have fun! Happy Holidays!





Shepherd Boy

My little boy needs a shepherd costume for his Christmas Program on Friday at school. So, tonight I started to feel human again so I found some scrap fabric and threw together this little number. He was totally mezmerized with Thomas the Train while I was taking these pictures so he isn't paying any attention to me...figures!

He won't be wearing the red shirt underneath for the program, probably just a white t-shirt.

In this one he is playing the giant shepherd...notice the small sheep he has stolen from the Nativity and is holding in his hand....





He also will be singing "The Little Drummer Boy" with his class. I tried to practice it with him and promptly realized that the only words I know for sure are "Par rumpa-bum-bum." I would look that up and sing with him some except that I have absolutely no voice...I am totally hoarse and can barely be heard above a whisper, if I am lucky.

Sicky Sicky Sick

Hello Folks--My son and I both have been down for the count with ear infections and an awful cough. I am sorry for not posting...I will try to soon!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Decorations-Nativity Scenes

I love to look at all the variety of Nativity Scenes out there. There is a Nativity for every culture and Christian point of view. My church where I grew up in the Fort Worth area has an annual Nativity Exhibit where they have literally hundreds, possibly thousands, of nativities from around the world. They decorate the church with Christmas trees galore and have these nativities set up in all the rooms of the church. They even have specific rooms set up for children's nativities. Its a beautiful display! They had large lifelike nativities on down to some that the people are grains of rice....its all very amazing.

This is the nativity that I have. I also have a few smaller ones here and there. I made this primitive nativity many years ago at a Super Saturday Craft Day up in the church I grew up in. I love the simplicity of it.

(Forgive the pictures, I used a different camera than normal)


All these figures are is a block of wood, with a stain on them and then you glue on the fabric. We cut out the dresses robes, crown, etc and just glued them on. Its super simple, it just takes a while. Someday I need to make a pattern of this. I had one years ago but I have no clue where it is now. I will put that on my to do list!

Craft-Part of the Gift is the Presentation

Happy Saturday to all!

This has been a busy day of baking. I am done for the day and have made 6 loaves of whole wheat bread, 2 loaves of honey oatmeal wheat, 4 loaves of pumpkin bread plus a few muffins, and a batch of monster cookies! Whew! I have been in my kitchen all day long! I probably would have gotten more done but I ran out of eggs and had to send the hubby out to get some so I had a slight delay. Anyway, these items are all gifts or things to take to parties and such that I have coming up in the next day or so. Tomorrow is my brother's birthday so I am making homemade Macaroni and Cheese for that...yummy! I also plan to make some toffee tomorrow afternoon and probably some pizza sauce for my sons Pizza party on Tuesday, I volunteered to make the pizzas homemade....its better for them and cheaper and I really don't mind. I made the pizza crust a couple of days ago and popped it in the freezer so I can take it out Monday to thaw and make them Monday night for the Tuesday lunch party.

So...back to the title...I truly believe that part of the gift is in the presentation. So, I always try to make things look nice and take some time on their appearance so that they are even a nicer gift than before. Here are some examples from today.

Please forgive the awful quality of these pictures. I cannot seem to locate my good camera so I used my blackjack for these and they are a little dark.


This picture is really fuzzy...sorry...but its just a little clear sack with some cookies in it, a silver bow, and a card that says "Jingle all the way"

A close up of the loaf of bread...

The loaf of bread...



And these are just little lunch sacks with a whole punched and some fun ribbon. I have the little lunch bag scrapbooks inside them. So simple but so fun!
So, the moral of the story is to take a few extra minutes to make the presentation part of the gift! It honestly just makes the gift nicer!
Night Night All!
Heather

Thursday, December 11, 2008

FHE-Feeding the Thousands

Family Home Evening Lesson on Feeding the Thousands

Supplies: Fish

One day Jesus was teaching a crowd so large it stretched out for miles. The people sat on the sand and grass. They listened and watched as Jesus healed the sick and prayed for them. In some ways it felt like a big picnic. However, there was one thing missing…food. As the afternoon wore on, more and more people complained about how hungry they were. Finally in the evening the disciples came to Jesus. They said he should send the people home so they could get something to eat. Jesus looked at the thousands of people around him. The people were so excited about all they had learned that day, so he did not want to end the teaching quite yet.
Then his disciples Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, came to Jesus and told him there was a little boy who had five loaves of bread and two fishes. Jesus told the people to sit in small groups. Jesus thanked God for giving them something to eat. He blessed the food and broke the bread. Then he passed it to the disciples so they could give it to the people. That’s when something very special happened! Jesus gave more bread and more and more to the disciples. When their baskets were empty they came back for more. Jesus put even more bread and fish in the baskets. Until finally, all the thousands and thousands of people had eaten enough.
The disciples collected the leftovers from the meal. When they were finished, there were 12 baskets still filled with bread and fish. It was a miracle!!
Mark 6:34-44
St. John 6:1-14

High Heels Camp-Keeping it Real & Cardio Guerilla Workout

Hello All--

You know, life is strange. I have REALLY wanted to work out the last few days but my body just has not agreed with me, so forgive me for slacking a little here when I should be kicking my own butt. My knee scab is doing well but its at that gross thick crusty glassed over stage of a scab and it really hurts to kneel or move it too much. I was able to ride the bike for about 20 minutes yesterday morning and it was okay, I just haven't been able to do too much else. Also, its been SNOWING HERE...which may not seem weird to some of you but its REALLY weird to us in South Texas. We have had 2 days of snow! Just to give you an idea, Tuesday it was 77 degrees early afternoon and after night fall it was 47 and then it went to 34 about 3am and started snowing. It kept snowing...then stopped and then in the afternoon, we had a snow storm! Then it got to 27 degrees last night.....brrrr.....and now its up in the 40s and should be in the 50s tomorrow and possibly 80s this weekend....Texas weather can drive you crazy!

So anyway, I have been wanting to go walking or running again but its going to take a lot of motivation for me to get out in freezing weather...and I mean A LOT of motivation.

So....I plan on getting back on the bandwagon and working out more in the next few days. I am hoping my knee will stop looking so gross and will be easily bendable soon!

In the meantime, this is one of my new workouts that I have tried and I really like it. Its fast paced so you want to transition from one exercise to the other very quickly so you keep your cardio going which doing strength training as well. Its a take off of what is called the cardio guerrilla workout.

5 minute easy warm up (I do zombie walk, high knees slow, lunge steps, grapevine, hurdle walk, high knees fast, and tip toe walk up and down my drive way or across my yard)

1 minute Jog a lap or in place
1 minute of arm kickbacks with hand weights
2 minutes Turkish Get Ups (hold weight over your head and go from standing up to laying down over and over)
1 minute wall sits
3 minutes Mountain Climbers
1 minute easy waist twisters with hand weight on your belly button
4 minutes -Run/Jog 1 minute, 1 minute jumping jacks rotating (this is when it gets hard so push it!)
1 minute easy arm curls with hand weights
3 minutes 1 minute squats, 1 minute lunges, 1 minute stair steps (find a step)
1 minute sit ups
2 minutes-1 minute of push ups and 1 minute of Mountain Climbers
1 minute easy of a plank
1 minutes as fast as you can-Jumping Jacks (GO HARD, make it count!)
2 minute cool down

They say that if you do this type of pyramid workout 3 times a week that it can do great things!

I plan on doing this tomorrow...no more excuses!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

FHE-The Golden Rule

Family Home Evening Lesson on The Golden Rule

Supplies: Ruler


Lesson:
“Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
This is one of the things that Jesus taught us while giving the Sermon on the Mount to his disciples. We all know it as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In other words, treat people the way that you would like to be treated, with kindness, love, giving, respect, etc.
Matthew 7:12

It was 77 degrees here yesterday but today...

Today its 34! Brrrrrrrr!

Yes, that is snow on my snowmen in my yard that hardly ever see snow!!

My son was not pleased that he has to wear a coat today, he hates to wear his coat!


I can't beleive that in less that 2 weeks I will be heading into snow country...driving no less...for Christmas. Needless to say, my used to growing up in snow husband will be driving the entire time!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

FHE-Samson

Family Home Evening Lesson on Samson

Supplies: Scissors

Lesson:
Israel was once under the rule of the Philistines. At that time there lived a couple with a special son named Samson. Samson’s parents had never cut Samson’s hair as a sign that he belonged to God. They knew God had a special plan for Samson to begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. As long as Samson obeyed God he was very strong. One day Samson was walking through a field when he heard a strange sound. “What is that?” he wondered. Then suddenly, from out of nowhere, a great big lion came running at him. Samson had no weapons at all, but the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. He became stronger than the strongest man. When the lion was on him, Samson threw him off and killed him. Many years later, Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah. She was a bad woman. She made a deal with the Philistines that she would trick Samson and hand him over to his enemies. If she did this, they would give her a lot of silver pieces. Over and over again she asked Samson, “Why are you so strong? What is your secret?” Samson told her, “Tie me with seven cords.” So that night she tied him with seven cords. When Samson woke up he snapped them right off. Delilah kept asking and bugging Samson until finally he said, “The secret of my strength is the Lord. He makes me strong as long as my hair is uncut. Ever since I was a baby my parents knew God had a plan for me.” That night Delilah called the Philistines again. She made Samson sleep on her lap. She made sure he would not wake up as the Philistines crept in. A man cut his hair and when Samson woke up it was too late. Samson was too weak to fight the Philistines. They took Samson prisoner and paid Delilah her money. But God still helped Samson win. It happened when the Philistines were having a party in a big house. They took Samson with them to the party to laugh at him. There were over 3000 people there. Samson asked the person who led him to let him feel the pillars in the middle of the hall in the house. These pillars were what held the big house up. When Samson felt the pillars of stone, he called unto the Lord to give him back his strength that he might help set the Lord’s people free. The Lord heard Samson and when Samson pushed the pillars with all of his might, the house fell on top of all the enemies. God had saved his people again.
Judges 13:24-16:30

Gift Ideas-Create your own Calendar

I know many people have the same problem I do...you have that one person on your list that you never know what to get for Christmas or birthday. That person for me is my Grandmother in law. I love this woman...she is wonderful and has always been good to my husband and is kind and caring...and has been an answer to many prayers whenever we prayed for some extra help, there have been a few times when a card came in the mail from her at just the right time.

Anyway...she is in her 80s...maybe even 90s...and lives in an apartment community with other "mature" in age people and participates in activities there. She has really everything she wants or needs and what if she didn't have something and needed it, then she bought it. So, what do you buy her? This year my sister gave me a great idea of making one of those personalized calendars. I have seen them before but when Linz called and asked me to take a look at hers before she completed it, I really liked everything she had done. Come to find out, its easy as pie and it comes with predetermined layouts, you just pick which ones you want and pick from a large variety of backgrounds. She uses shutterfly.com and has for years and has always been pleased with the quality. I decided I would make one for Grand Ma of us and her great grandson so that every month she could look at fun pictures of us and her other family members.

It was easy and with all the great choices Shutterfly had, I came up with the perfect colors to match the pictures and season and I am so pleased with it. I should get them in the mail any day and I can't wait to see them. I will post pictures once they get here so you can see how great they turned out.

I think they run about $20 each, but if you watch for sales, you can get them much cheaper. We got ours when it was $20 for the first one and $10 for each one after that. With more effort but probably less money, you could upload the pictures to photoshop and do your own layouts with some Digital Scrapbooking.

I hope this sparks an idea for your hard to buy for person in your life!

Heather

Monday, December 8, 2008

FHE-Faith

Sorry I have not posted these in a while...

Family Home Evening Lesson on Faith

Faith

Supplies:

(Packet of Flower Seeds)

Lesson:

In the Book of Mormon, Alma compared faith to a seed. In order for a seed to grow, we have to plant it in good soil and nourish it by giving it water and sunlight. As the seed starts to grow, we have to continue to take care of it in order for it to keep growing. If we stop giving it water and sunlight, the plant will die. The plant did not die because the seed was bad, but because it was not getting the nourishment and care that it needed to grow. But, if we keep taking care of the seed, it will keep growing and growing until we can pick the delicious fruit and taste it.
Faith in the Gospel is much like a seed. In order for faith to start growing we need to plant it in our hearts by wanting to learn more about the Gospel, and experiment by practicing its teachings. As we do this, we will see the results and have a good feeling inside about what we are doing. This is a sign that our faith, like the seed, is good and is beginning to grow within us. At this point our faith needs to be nourished to keep growing. Some of the ways that we can nourish our faith are by reading the scriptures, praying, keeping the commandments, loving and serving others. If we don’t do these things our faith will start to die. This is not because the Gospel is not true, but because the faith is not being nourished. Throughout our whole life, we need to nourish our faith with diligence and patience and we will feel it grow and grow. If we do this we will taste the fruit of our faith, which is eternal life.
Alma 32:26-43

Scrapbooking--Digital Style

I have been introduced to Digital Scrap booking fairly recently and I really like the things you can do with it. I have some friends who use Digital Scrap booking solely and don't have a lick of scrap paper in their arsenal...its all on the computer and then they just print it out when they are ready to put it in the scrapbook. This is great because you don't have to worry about not liking something or doing something wrong because you can always just back out of what you did or hide that action and not show it on the final product. The downside is that sometimes people do everything digitally and never print it out because they forget or it is expensive, etc. So, you have to figure out what is right for you and go with it. I personally love to scrapbook and work with the paper in my hands and make my creations, however I use digital scrap booking "supplies" for other things as well and I can see how great it would be if I needed to mass produce some pages.

There are lots of free digital scrap booking sites out there, I use http://shabbyprincess.com/ the most often for their free downloads and I just like the style of their designs. I use them on invitations, my blog backgrounds, and creating interesting backgrounds and borders on pictures. You need to have photoshop or photoshop elements or some similar program to be able to do digital scrap booking, but its a fun way to do things and play around with backgrounds and "looks" to see what you really want without damaging anything.

There are also other tools you can use when you need to touch up a photo. One of my favorite bloggers, The Pioneer Woman, has a section on photography and she offers tips and some tools for touching up your photos when you use adobe photoshop. Her photography section can be found here http://thepioneerwoman.com/photography/

Its also fun to do things like play with the color tones. I love the sepia tones and black and white photos, when done well, it makes the use of color superfluous because the black and white (or sepia) tones tell the story without muddy-ing the water with color. I think there is something very pure about it.

So, if you are interested, look around and see what you can find for free. There are lots and lots of free digital scrap booking sites and you will probably find one that speaks to your style more than some of the others. I mean heck, its FREE! You can't beat that with a stick!

I will try to play around with some photos tomorrow and post some digital scrap booking ideas for you...so stay tuned!

For those who were looking for a High Heels Workout tonight, it didn't happen...my scab on my knee is still not quite to the "easily bendable" stage and still causes me quite a bit of pain when doing crazy things like riding a bicycle. Tomorrow should be the day...and there is even a slight chance that later on tonight I will just grit my teeth and ride the bike anyway because I really feel like I need to work out...I am feeling rather bum-ish for the last few days...you know, like a bum. And, while I am feeling bum-ish, I don't want my bum to get any larger so I really need to do something! So, maybe I can at least do some sit ups or something....

Its December...enjoy the season!

Heather

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Random Thoughts--Recovering from the run in with the cement

Howdy,

I haven't been chatting as much lately because I have been recovering from my fall. Turns out that I had dislocated at least one bone in my hand and that hurt. The next morning after my fall, my right hand was still hurting so I had decided I better go see the doc. So, I made an appointment and I could get in at 11am. So, I went on into work and figured I would try to get a few things done. I dropped off my little boy at school and then was driving to work when I heard a distinct "pop" sound....I thought "well, that was kind of a weird pop" and then I realized I must have popped something back into place because all of the sudden I could move my hand better and it was in far less pain...whew, did it feel better! So, I thought I would just cancel my doc appointment but my hubby and staff encouraged me to go and told me all these horror stories about people they knew who didn't go to the doctor and what terrible thing happened to them...so I went! I really do not mind going to the doctor because I love my doctor...and when I say I love him, I REALLY do...because he is my cousin and we have always been great friends...pretty much all our lives. So, he gets is X-rayed and said that I must have popped everything back in place because it looked okay now and there were no cracks or breaks...which I figured, but its better to be safe than sorry. He wrapped up my hand in a brace for me and told me to keep ice on it and take advil and I would be good to go. So, I did and it is doing better now. It was mainly the far right side of my right hand, so the pinkie and ring finger and down...do you know how hard it is to type without those 2 fingers...or at least with those 2 fingers bound together to make one giant finger. Needless to say, that for all my non-business related emails, there were no caps because that it the pinkie finger I use for the shift key (never took a real typing class, so that is--I am sure---the wrong was to do it but oh well.).

So, now today I only wore my brace for a little while...basically until I went o get my nails done because they did not have access to those 2 fingers. But, it seems to be healing nicely because it has only been moderately sore today as I have used it. Really, the thing that hurts the most is my left knee...the one with the big ol' scrape...man alive, does that hurt? My age must make some kind of a difference because I never remember them hurting this much when I got them in elementary school. I have a big ol' scab on it now so hopefully it will heal up soon, but remember that it is a knee and it moves a lot so the healing will not be done in a jiffy, I am afraid. Meanwhile I have a bruise on my other knee and just light scrapes or small bruises in various other parts that collided with the cement. I hope to be good as new soon!

But, with all the above, you can guess that I have not worked out as much over the last 2 days...nope, I have not. I figured I better let my body recover and then I will start again on Monday. Besides, your body just aches when these things happen so I have come home from work and just laid on the couch and rested because I was plum tuckered out!

Anyway--can you believe it is the 6th of December...well, its 12:03am so I guess its actually the 7th. Christmas will be here in no time! Its less than 3 weeks away! WOW! I am getting ready...I have lists upon list of what I need to take for our trip and what not to forget and presents I need to finish, etc and I hope to not lose any of my lists before I actually need them. Having never made a cross country trip with a 2 year old, I am trying to take everything I need without taking unnecessary crap....easier said than done!

I have small gifts for him to open and play with along the way plus we have a few places that we will stop to stretch our legs and such. We also just bought a DVD player for the car...actually it comes with 2 players (one for each head rest) so he and I can both watch the movie. I don't plan on using that for the whole trip, its really more of a last resort but still a way to entertain him as we drive for 12 hours.

I also have to have my house clean before I leave. While I usually try to do that anyway, I have people who will come stay and take care of our small beasts...the cat and 2 dogs...while we are away. We can't let them starve for 2 weeks now, can we?

Anyway--tomorrow is Sunday, so yay for church, and then we will be coming home and changing into more casual clothes and hading over to our weekly lunch or dinner over at my brother's house to eat, talk, have fun...and oh yeah...watch the Cowboys. The Cowboys need to win every game from here on out...including the Superbowl....it that too much to ask? And, my Fantasy Football is hanging on by a thread and hoping for a wildcard in the playoffs, if I lose, I am out...so the pressure is on...and my key player and favorite player, Marion the Barbarian, is hurt. Total bummer.

Anyway--I should be in bed snoozing...or at least reading my scriptures or working on my Primary/Sunday School lesson...so, I think I better sign off!

Stay warm!

Heather

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Recipe-Anne's Spinach and Bacon Salad

This is a super yummy salad that my sister in law Anne made a few weeks ago and I just wanted to lick the bowl it was so good. She even used half Splenda so it was lower in sugar. Below is the recipe as Anne sent it to me with her comments and everything. You really should try this, its good and Spinach has tons of good nutrients in it like folic acid...and it keeps longer in the fridge than lettuce. So, give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

Dressing
3 tablespoons sugar (the first time I made it I used half sugar, half Splenda and it was yummy. I bet you could use all Splenda, following the conversion rate on the package, and it would turn out just as good)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried minced onion


Salad
1 package (6 ounces) fresh baby spinach (I always use a lot more spinach than it calls for)
3 hard cooked eggs chopped
1/3 cup chow mein noodles (I use more of these as well)
1/3 cup real bacon bits (I have always cooked my own bacon instead of using the bits and of course there is more of this!!)

Directions for dressing: in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all ingredients and shake well. I think it taste best after being chilled, but it doesn't have to be.

Enjoy!!

Thanks Anne!!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Random Thoughts--I am a WINNER!

I would say today was my lucky day, but after having fallen from grace while I was running (see post below), I should probably just say "Today was my lucky morning!" Which really makes no sense...but there you go!

Anyway, today was our big choir performance for my work Choir. We were singing at the Division Holiday Party...so in front of all our bosses and colleagues...and we were ready. It went off without a hitch and it was beautiful and fun. I didn't realize how much I missed singing...I have not been singing in a choir at church or anything since I was pregnant...and it was so fun to be in this choir and share in all the traditions of the holidays...Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Jingle Bells, and Snow!

Departments within our division all donate gift baskets and they draw for winners throughout the party...and I was so stoked when they called my number for the BIGGEST and AWESOMEST BASKET OF ALL! I mean, that is the coolest feeling...when you are sitting there watching the little numbers on your ticket and they are matching what the person is saying?!?!? WOW! That so rarely ever happens to me, my big sister was always the lucky one who won contests all the time.

Anyway...here is a picture of my booty...its GI-NORMOUS! It took up the whole cargo area of my car!

So, this morning I was lucky...this evening I was klutzy...oh well, all in a day's work!

up close



in my car

a few things up close...





Let's see if I can remember everything...

Massaging House Slippers
Plush White Robe
Smores Kit
Movie "It's a Wonderful Life"
Movie "miracle on 34th Street"
Movie "Home Alone" Special Family addition
Popcorn bucket with all sorts of snacks
Hot Chocolate--numerous kinds
Huge Basket
Christmas Pillow
Christmas Candle with cute snowman holder
There is more, I just can't remember it all...it was so cool to be a winner of a grand prize! Whoop!

High Heels Camp-Day 5--No pain No Gain

Well, tonight I went running (insert here my definition of running which is nothing like Muna Lee or any other Olympian or any decent runner for that manner.) in my neighborhood. It was after 6pm and already fairly dark so my hubby suggested I take Mia with me...you know, my huge dog that will protect me (she is a Miniature Dachshund, so we are talking fierce!) ....anyway, I had gotten about half way around the block and I fell. The path must be a little uneven because I fell hard. My knee is all scraped up, I have hurt my hand, and worst of all....I ripped a hole in my cool workout pants...total bummer.

Not sure what's wrong with my hand...I don't think its broken because I can move everything but it still hurts...and of course its my right hand so its hard to write and type. I probably just sprained and bruised it...that's the old trainer in me making a prognosis.

Anyway, I thought to myself "well, I am pretty busted up so I better go home"...after I catch up with Mia who loves to go for walks/runs and just kept going until she finally realized no one was holding her leash anymore. So, we are now walking and I am evaluating my body and scrapes and as I get back to my house I thought...well, I am already messed up, I might as well keep going...so I ran/walked another lap and a half! then, it started lightning and I figured I wouldn't temp fate any more so I went home and then got on the stationary bike and rode about 2.5 more miles. I wanted to get a good workout in...and I really didn't...but at least I got a workout in and I didn't quit....so I am pretty proud of myself for that.

These pictures don't really do it justice....but hey, its a war wound! (In my war against fat!)


And my cool workout pants...I am saddest about this....total bummer!





Decorations-Snowmen are universal!


I love decorating with snowmen...they are cute, fun, and festive...and they are politically correct...they don't have a religious affiliation (for the most part) and they come with the Winter Season. I also love that they can stay up way past Christmas or Hanakah because Winter lasts on into the new year.
I have a small collection of snowmen and snowwomen and snow children that I add to every year. Its not near as big as some people's snow people's collections (like my frined Joani's) but I love it just the same and add to it here and there.
You can buy snowmen, make them out of socks, or just collect them as you go...its easy!
This picture is my fireplace Snow Village and the Christmas tree is just to the left.
You can do Snow Villages, Snow Choirs, or just a cute Snowman Centerpiece...just group them together and Voila! Its a collection!
Enjoy the snow! (We have so much of it here in Texas!)
Heather

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Decorating Jelly Jars--Thanksgiving







These are so cute! My sister made all the parts of these turkeys out of paper punches and just glued them together and then put them on the top of her jelly jars. These were out name cards for the Thanksgiving table and we get to take the jelly home to enjoy! What a fab idea!

Monday, December 1, 2008

High Heels Camp-Day 4

Well, I admit, I did NOT want to work out tonight. I was cold all afternoon and it was cold and windy outside and I just wanted to sit on the couch and then go soak in my jacuzzi tub and not do a darn thing. So, I did. I just got in the tub and warmed up and felt better and then I felt like I should go workout so I did. Again, not a terribly hard workout but its better than sitting on the couch or soaking in the tub and then going to bed...although both those things are way fun.

So, this is what I did. I set my stationary bike to 40 minutes, I set it on a course that was mainly in the middle of the difficulty scale but it still had a few ups and downs, then I took my short elastic bands and wrapped them around the handlebars and took my long bands and wrapped it around the back of the bottom of the seat...this way I could do my arms at the same time as I was riding the bike. So, for the first 15 minutes of the bike ride, which was in total about 40 + minutes, I did a steady arm workout of varying arm exercises, I did tricep pulls, lateral pulls, kick backs, butterflies, alternating punch ups, shoulder pulls...and probably a few more....for 15 minutes with short breaks in between. It was good! My arms feel great...and by great I mean sore...and I feel a whole lot better than I did earlier. Once I was done with that, I did a minute of push ups (I only did 20, my arms were tired) , a little less than 2 minutes of sit ups (I got in about 60 in a minute and a half), and a plank hold for a minute, then the cobra stretch...then I had to give my son a bath so I had to stop...but there you go!

I worked out when I REALLY did not want to work out...so that is a victory in itself. But my bike ride said I burned over 300 calories and went over 13 Kilometers...which is no world land speed record but its something!

So, stop reading this and go lift something...then push something...then exercise something...and do it over and over and over again until it feels like it might fall off...then do it some more!

Change your life for the better...and change it for good!

Love ya!
H

High Heels Camp-Day 3

Okay, I worked out Saturday night and this is what I did...I admit that this is not the hardest workout in the world but it is still a lot better than doing nothing. I have a Wii Fit and I used it for part of it as well....

Wii Fit Advanced Step-5 minutes (for warm up)
Wii fit Basic Run-Distance for 4 minutes
Wii Fit Super Hula Hoop for 3 minutes
Wiit fit Lunges, 15 reps on each leg
Rowing Squats 30 reps
1 minute of sit ups
1 minute of push ups
1 minute of sitting shoulder pulls with an elastic band around the leg of my couch
1 minute of backwards flies with elastic band around the leg of my couch (backwards means my back was to the couch leg where the elastic band is tethered)
1 minute of backwards cross punches, left and right
1 minute of backwards curls
1 minutes of backwards straight arms kick backs
1 minute of crunches to the center with feet straight up in the air
30 seconds of crunches to the left with feet in the air
30 seconds of crunches to the right with feet in the air
1 minute plank
Cobra stretch
Cool down and stretching

You know how some people say "I can't loose weight, I just gain it back again." Well, of course you gain it back again because you do not make life changes. Life changes are HARD and its not just about changing your eating, its about changing your health and being healthier, more fit, and feeling better. You have to get up off of the couch to make those life changes. Dieting is not enough...you need to be active and you need to use those muscles every day and strengthen your body so that it and you can perform better. Is it simple? Yes! Is it hard? Heck Ya! But do it...just do it...yes, you...you can do it! You will be glad you did!

I have decided that I am going to try to run a 5 K sometime in early quarter or so of 2009. By running a 5 K I mean just that, running or jogging, not walking. That is my initial goal and then I will see how it goes from there and then make a bigger goal. Since I have some past injuries, I am leery of going all out for a half marathon in March, but I still want to work and train for something big...and to me, running a 5 K is HUGE!

Wanna join me?

Heather

Decorating-Thanksgiving Table

Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving at my sister's house. She sets a lovely table and is very creative. I thought I would post these along in case someone needs some ideas for next year of even maybe inspire you for Christmas!



These were hanging on each chair and have out name on the pumpkin...they are also filled with candy...yum!



Here is the table shot



And the Centerpiece...fruit and flowers...I love to use natural things in my centerpieces like fruits, veggies, and flowers. They can make a lovely, simple, and edible arrangment!







Sunday, November 30, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa season to you all! Whatever you celebrate, make it lovely and warm and cozy.


We got started this weekend with going to buy a Christmas Tree. We are traditionalists and always buy a real Fir Tree because we love the smell and it adds to the wonderful smells of Christmas in our home. We just bought a small 3-4 foot tree this year since we will be gone for a large chunk of the holidays on our trip to the west, but we still wanted the Spirit of Christmas to be in our home while we are here. My 2 year old and I decorated together...

This is what happens when you have a 2 year old helper...you end up with 4 ornaments on one limb of the Christmas Tree...




but in the end, it always turns out lovely...I love to sit in the living room on a dark night, sipping hot chocolate, cuddled in a blanket with my sweetie and watching old Christmas Classic movies with the white lights of the tree just blazing. Its a beautiful thing.

This holiday season, no matter what you celebrate, remember to celebrate the important things like good friends, family, health, and the miracles of life. We see them every day, we probably just do not realize it.

May your days be merry and bright!

Make it a beautiful season!

Heather

Scrapbooking-Turning 2 is fun to Do

(And...last time...the layout is laying on a polka dotten blanket, don't let it throw you off.)

Turning 2 is Fun to Do!










Here is yet another page of pictures taken on his actual birthday when we had cake with family members. This is a simple design and really took no time at all. The papers are all Stampin' Up and actually what made it super simple was that I bought this is a layout pack from my sister Lindsey at http://stampwithlinz.blogspot.com/


She takes papers that go together and basically puts together the parts for a layout and then you just figure out where you want to adhere everything and mount your pictures and go. I really love how easy it is to do this with Stampin' Up because the colors always match...they are made to go together...so the red ribbon matches the red paper matches the red buttons...for me, it makes life so much easier because I love my reds to match---that is just the way I am---I hate it when the color is off!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Craft-Frame Art

(again, ignore the polka dotted blanket underneath)

This is another super easy craft from retreat. This is a normal frame that you can get at Wal Mart for less than $4. The red paper of the back layer is embossed with black embossing powder. I went for the swirled look with a swirly stamp that I stamped in a Versamark stamp pad and then sprinkled with embossing powder, then held under an embossing tool (or you can use another heat source like a stove, just don't catch the thing on fire, please....you just hold it over the heat until the little embossing sand bead things start to get shiny and melt into each other.)



On the white strip, I embossed with an iridescent white embossing powder with the same swirly pattern, although you probably cannot see it. You take that strip and adhere it to the plain black strip, and adhere that to the red strip.



The words here are a cut out of the Big Shot from Stampin Up and Sizzix, so its just a cut out, although you could use vinyl letters or a rub on or something as well.



Then, you glue all those layers to the mat that comes with the frame, make sure it is centered, and then take some ribbon, and thread it in between the glass and the frame and tie a know. Then, with some black think twine, I attached the charm that is a snowflake.



You have so many variations with this and can do so many things. The original design had snow flakes instead of swirls, but I wanted to keep it up all year around so I did the swirls.


Isn't it beautiful?

Heather

Random Thoughts--After Turkey Fun

Howdy and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! Do you like the new layout? I have been playing with it for days and I like this one today, no telling if I will like it tomorrow....so stay tuned. If you hate it or love it, please let me know. If it is hard to read, let me know that too so I can adjust the colors.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family and it was fun, exciting, and memorable. Almost all the men folk ate our early Thanksgiving day lunch and then hit the road for Big D as they travelled to the Dallas Cowboys traditional Thanksgiving Day Game. The excitement was electric...those boys were so excited they could hardly stand it and they all donned their favorite Cowboys paraphernalia and headed north. It was a great game and they had a great time. It will definitely be a memorable day for them to remember. The girls had a good time at home with the kids (I should say that we all had the opportunity to go as well, but I thought I would let my hubby go and I would stay and watch our little guy...but I would have loved to have gone as well!). We played and played and watched TV and played...it was fun and the cousins have so much fun when they are together...never a dull moment...or a quiet one! We are also especially excited to have another little cousin heading our way in just a few weeks, so we threw a family baby shower for Anne and showered her with some last minute gifts. It will be fun to see them as parents and to welcome another beautiful baby into our family.

Then Black Friday is made for SHOPPING!!! My sisters and I love to hit the stores, and although we had one store opening at 4am, we decided to wait and be somewhat sane and not go until 6am. The first store we went to was packed and we waited in line 20-30 minutes just to check out, then we headed to my little sister and my favorite children's clothes store...The Children's Place...we L-O-V-E LOVE that place and you can tell by looking at most of our kids clothes. We took Anne along too so she could experience the love that is Children's Place and she was right there with us, arms full and grabbing some GREAT bargains. We all walked out of there with tons of beautiful kids clothes and bargains galore! We then headed to Panera Bread and ate a quick breakfast before we hit a couple more stores. We love Panera, I had the egg souffle with asparagus and spinach and it was total fab-ness...my sisters had the breakfast sandwich that they said was the best breakfast sandwich they ever had...we all loved it! Then, we headed to our favorite and relatively newly found store...Anne Taylor...we shopped here a few months ago at Anne's insistence and have since been converted. Its all about that whole buy quality thing instead of quantity that I have spoken of before...Anne Taylor clothes are beautiful...the colors are saturated and lovely, the styles are trendy and classic, depending on whatever you want, and when you catch a great sale...it is really quite affordable....and we caught an awesome sale!

You know how you have some outfits that you know you look good in...so good that you want to wear them every day because you know you look your best in...the outfits that you look skinnier than anything else you own...those are my Anne Taylor clothes...My little sister and I had our similarities confirmed as we kept coming up to each other and showing each other the same clothes, or she would say "This is so cute" and I would say "Do they have my size?" Its a good thing we don't live in the same town because we bought some of the exact same outfits. (As a side note, when we both lived in the same town, we would show up at events or church or whatever and be wearing the same thing without ever even talking to each other...sometimes it was a little embarrassing!)

Anyway, I am so sold on Anne Taylor stuff that I wonder if I ever want to shop anywhere again...really, it was that good. And I am hoping we hit the jackpot sometime this week because they are having another sale next week and you can use these $25 coupons we got this week...I could easily go spend a ton more!

Anyway--It was a fun shopping time for us all and now we know better that next time we do not need to get up at 4am or 6am, just wait until 8am when Children's Place opens and then head over the Panera for breakfast until Anne Taylor opens. It will be a beautiful thing!

Another wonderful thing that happened that day was the phrase that Lindsey said to me when I was trying on one outfit...we always come out and model the outfits and she said "I think you need a smaller size"...Wow...that was music to my ears! And, the best thing of all was that my favorite item was a beautiful chocolate chip brown jacket (Linz has one too now) and the largest size they had was a 10 so I grabbed it just to see if I might could fit into it...and it fit!!! I am not in a size 10 jeans yet, but I will get there eventually!

Speaking of sizes...I need to go to high heels camp tonight and get in a workout!

Much love and holiday greetings to you all!

Heather

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope this is the start of a wonderful holiday season for all of you!

(And may all those fmaily members and in laws not drive you crazy!)

Much love,

Heather

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Well, the rolls are done, the sweet potatoes are mashed and in their dish, and the cranberry sauce is in the fridge....I have already put most of anything that did not need to be refrigerated in my car so we are ready to go! After we eat, the boys are heading up to Big D to go to the Cowboys game against the Seahawks...they are so excited that they can hardly contain themselves! In fact, we have been given strict orders that we must start eating by 11:14 a.m. so that the boys can eat and be on the road by 12:14 at the latest...this may be the fastest Thanksgiving feast (actually almost a brunch) EVER! But hey, they are so excited that its hard to not be excited for them...in fact I am thrilled they get to go. They want to go this year to the old stadium and next year to the new stadium...hey, we are fans, what can we say?

There was no High Heels Camp today, the trainer, participant, and coach (all those people being moi!) had too much to do! Which is normally not a very good excuse but I am giving myself a little slack for being on my feet for hours making rolls and other "fixins". I also plan to work out tomorrow, either early in the morning or after we eat I may go for a walk/run around the neighborhood...then on Friday I will exercise my right to shop! But I still plan on working out on Friday as well. I do give myself weekends off most of the time unless I have been a real slacker. so, stay tuned for another high stepping high heels workout tomorrow or probably Friday because I may not be near a computer tomorrow!

I hope each and every one of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and drive safely to and from your destinations...and keep your sanity if they are all coming to you!

Take Care People!

Heather

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Heather's High Heels Camp-Day 2

Hello people,

Today I decided I would do a little bike riding on my stationary bike...mainly because by the time I got home, it was dark and I didn't want to go workout outside. So anyway, while switching the channels between The Biggest Loser (I am so ready for Vicky to go) and Dancing With the Stars (Yeah for Brooke), I pulled my recumbent bike from the guest room out into my living room and started to ride. Yes, it makes a great decor statement there in my living/dining area...so stylish! Anyway, I figure if it is there, then maybe my hubby might also get on it and ride every once in a while...which would be great! So anyway, I get on and set the program to P2 on my machine which is a preset program that goes from easy to medium to hard over and over again, probably 6 times. I set it for 35 minutes and I made it through without dying once...although there were times it would have been REALLY easy to just stop pedalling when it was at those killer levels, I just kept pushing through and breathed a sigh of relief (well actually just caught my breathe) when the machine made that little noise that means it is changing modes. You learn to love and hate that noise, I loved it when I was on the high level and dying to get back to that easy level, and then I HATED it when I was on the middle level and it was going to high. Its a love/hate relationship, me and that pesky noise.

So anyway, I did that for 35 minutes and then did about a 10 minute cool down of just easy riding. While cooling down, I grabbed my hand weights and did random arm exercises: laterals, curls, kickbacks, sky touches, etc for probably 8 minutes.

Next was to the floor...get your stopwatch and do 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of sit ups, 1 minute plank, other random stretches and shake it all out...then another plank.

All in all, I feel good and I feel like I got in a decent workout! Its much better than just sitting on the couch watching Biggest Loser and thinking "wow, she is almost weighing less than I am now!?!" "Do I look like her?"

So, do it...go move your body and be healthier...you may be totally floored like me and find it utterly addicting.

As my trainer says when we all get to that powerful pain threshold where you just want to stop and lay down on the ground and try to breathe normally...he says "Keep Going, Push it, Its just mind over matter!" then he says "If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." So, take the pain, such it up and deal with it, it is making you healthier and possibly saving your life.

Be good, eat good...except for Thursday, just eat in moderation if possible, but try everything and enjoy life!

Heather

Monday, November 24, 2008

Heather's High Heels Camp

Howdy all,

I hope you are all having a nice Thanksgiving week and getting ready to gobble up some good food on Thursday! I know I am excited and ready to do so!

Well, with tighter finances and the holidays coming up, I decided to not do my "boot camp" that I have been doing the last 2 months. Its really hard to justify doing it when you have Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up and a small trip and a really large 3200 mile trip coming up in the next month. So, I decided I would save the money to spend on the trip and not sign up for boot camp for this round. It started today and I miss it already but HEY! I can do this on my own. This is my life, I am the "Captain of my life and the Master of my own Destiny" right? So why can't I just try to do this on my own. I have taken notes and have all the emails from the last 2 months and I can count to 20 and have a watch to time myself, so I have decided that I am now my own coach! Yep, that little inner voice in my head is going to be yelling at me and telling me to push it harder...and I am going to listen and to do it by-golly! I decided to call mine "High Heels Camp" because I hardly ever wear boots and who doesn't want their legs to look good in high heels? So, welcome to Heather's High Heels Camp!

So, this evening I started with running some sprints...I am going to try to share some of my workouts with you so that you can do it yourself if you want or just laugh at me for looking silly. Anyway, start out with about 5 minutes of warm up...so I walked basically across my yard and did high knee walks slow, then tippy toe walks, then hurdler walks on one leg, then the other led, walking lunges, backwards jogging, and maybe a few other things just back and forth across the lawn. This is just an easy way to get your muscles working. If it is really cold outside, you might want to go longer to get your body warmed up a little before you take it up a notch. Now on to the workout...

I started out tonight by running suicides up my driveway. For those of you who have never experienced a suicide, here is an example...if you were on the football field and you were standing on the goal line, first you would run to the 5 yard line then back to the goal line, then you would run to the 110 yard line and then back to the goal line, then on to the 15 yard line and back...etc. These are torturous and exhausting workouts but they do great things, so I did them. I just used the tension line spaces in my driveway as my yard lines and I ran back and forth. My driveway is not that long, so I just kept doing the over and over. I would run the sprints constantly going back and forth in 2 minute increments, then rest for just a tad and grab a swig of water, and then do it again. I probably did this for at least 5-6 rounds so probably 14 minutes or so with short breaks in between. Then I ran longer sprints by going from the very end of my driveway to the front door and back over and over again, I again did this in 2-3 minute increments with short breaks in between. I would walk fast if I got too tired to run/job but most importantly, I kept going. I did that for probably about 20 more minutes. It works up quite a sweat! (I should mention, and not to rub it in to those in the colder climates, that is was about 73 degrees and beautiful.)

After that I went inside and did 30 second series of small hand weights, mine are 5 pounds each, of lateral raises, kickbacks, curls, tricept curls, and bent over flies with a twist at the top. (If you need directions on how to do any of these, just post a comment and I will give full discloser!)

Then I did 1 minute of each of the following...
squats (make sure your bent knees are not going past the end of your toes)
lunges
push ups
sit ups

Then I did forward stomach crunches for 30 seconds
left side stomach crunches for 30 seconds and then right side for 30.
Then I did V ups (like a side sit up kind of) for 30 seconds on each side.

Then I did a plank for 1 minute, push ups for 1 minute, then another plank.

Then I stretched with a cobra back/ab stretch and finished with a few other stretches...

And that was my workout! the only equipment I needed was running shoes and hand weights...so there is NO excuse that you do not have a gym membership or the right equipment, it is easily attainable.

Our trainer told us this weekend that we should all set an outrageously high fitness goal for ourselves and then to work towards it, because you just might be surprised at how you do in attaining that goal. my friend Angie wants me to train for a half marathon. While I don't think I would be ready by March, its still a good goal...and the fact that I didn't out and out laugh at her when she suggested it, says that I have come a long way from where I was 6 months ago. She told me I could do it and I actually believed her...so I think I am going to work towards that goal and see if I can maybe do one further away. I think March might be too soon but we will see, like I have mentioned probably before...the word "marathon" of any sort and "Heather" generally do not mix unless it involves shopping, so the fact that this one involves actual running, is quite amazing! We will see folks...stay tuned!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

**Under Construction**

Well, as you can see, I have been piddle-ing around my web page for an hour or so playing with the colors and design.

I wanted to put up a page that had more fall colors for the Thanksgiving holidays....and I did that, I just got a few random reindeer thrown in there as well. So anyway....bare with me while I work out the kinks, but fear not, I will have a new fab layout for the Christmas/Holiday Season and I hope it is spectacular...and beautifully basic too!

Feel free to give me opinions and advice, just don't be offended if I do my own thing! :) seriously, I like opinions, I am just obviously opinionated myself! hee hee

Recipe:Thanksgiving Cornbread Dressing

I made this dressing last year for the firs time and it was by far the best dressing I have ever tasted. Its a good old southern version of the cornbread variety but it does have some bread in it as well. I hope you love it as much as we do! (We don't actually stuff it in the bird since there are health issues with it not getting cooked enough and poultry juices running through it.)


Ingredients
Pan of cornbread (I doubled the recipe and made one that would fill a large rectangle casserole dish), crumble after its done and cooled

1 package of family sized stuffing mix (like stove top, the bread and the seasonings)
1 sleeve saltine crackers
8 tablespoons butter
2 cups celery, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
7 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sage (optional)
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning (optional)
5 eggs beaten

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dreid stuffing mix, and saltines; set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and poultry seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Reserve 2 heaping tablespoons of this mixture for the giblet gravy. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve with turkey as a side dish.

Here is a cornbread recipe if you need one, but I think I used 2 package mixes last year

Cornbread:
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
To serve, cut into desired squares and serve with butter. For stuffing above, crumble cornbread.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Random Thoughts--I have gotten a ton done this week!

Howdy!

Its been a strange week for me this week. Since my son was sick for the first half, I was home with him and got to spend some time around the house. On Saturday, my hubby had to go help out one of his former farmers that he used to work with when he was in the poultry industry, so my son and I were together all day again. We went grocery shopping, then came home for a while and then went to Target. Then he conked out for a nice nap and I got some quality time on the computer making hotel reservations for our Christmas driving trip. I then baked 2 batches of wheat bread (the equivalent of 8 loaves) and a batch of corn bread, plus I mixed up the dry ingredients for 2 more batches that I will make tonight and again later this week. Because I have been home so much, I feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders and things are finally starting to go back to normal at my house. Its been such a crazy semester with Hurricane Ike and our normal super busy football season, plus I am involved with a major renovation on campus and that has taken up extra time as well...its been one of the craziest semesters I have had in the 8 years I have worked for the university. But as of now, all my dishes are clean, my laundry is completely done except for the clothes we wore yesterday....I love that feeling. I have even matches up a ton of socks! The laundry is all put away (except for the socks which are heading there soon.) and things are more organized. Now, I still have a few odds and ends here I need to pick up, but its such a relief to have that all done before I get to the Thanksgiving break! Whew! I have been a busy girl!

And to add to all the craziness, my husband goes to church early to go to some meetings and he called and told me not to hurry and get ready for church today because he thought it would be cancelled...huh? You don't just cancel church? Well, he was standing outside waiting for the fire department to say the building was clear and they could re-enter. There had been a small electrical fire and the building was full of smoke! They didn't think they could get it cleared and get the smell out (that burned rubber plus electrical smell) out in time for church to start in an hour, so they cancelled it. So, I was able to piddle around the house and do a few odds and ends and have a nice relaxing morning. It was quite nice!

I am excited for Thanksgiving and all the fun and food that goes with it. This year has flown by and I can hardly believe that it is almost December...with Thanksgiving being late this year, you literally put away the turkey and pull out the Christmas lights!

I hope this post finds you all doing well and happy as we head into the holiday season. This time of year is a joyous time of year and I hope you can find some joy, no matter what your circumstances are.

Happy Sabbath!
Heather

Friday, November 21, 2008

Whole Wheat Bread

Okay--I meant to get this up last night but my hubby had to go out to a farm and so I was home with my toddler and just never got around to it. Here is the basic recipe except that I added whole wheat gluten and dough enhancer....and I can't remember how much....I have it written down at home but I am now at work, I just basically followed what the package directions said, I think it was 1/3 of one and 3 tablespoons of the other...but alas, I do not recall which was which! (I know, scream at me in frustration, I am beating my head against the wall as I type!)

Its good even without that extra stuff....here it is!
(6:45pm Update with all the correct amounts!)

Whole Wheat Bread

5 c. warm water
2 T. salt
½ c. oil
½ c. honey
3 T. yeast
14 c. freshly ground white wheat flour (approx.) ( I am going to admit that I did not freshly ground mine, in fact it came out of a bag from the grocery store....shame, shame, I know!)
4 tablespoons of dough enhancer (optional)
1/3 cup of whole wheat gluten (optional)


Mix all ingredients in large mixer. Mix for 5-7 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Shape into loaves. (Makes 4 regular sized loaves.) Let rise. Bat at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vinyl Lettering--In the Kitchen

Okay, once I saw that Stampin' Up had this new Decor line, I loved it from the start. I ordered these swirly designs specifically to go on my black fridge.


Can I tell you I LOVE THE WAY THIS LOOKS! Love it love it love it....its totally my style.


The Fridge....

Up close and personal-left side

Up close and personal-the right side



And I had a few flowers left over so I put some on the microwave!


What do you think? Have I mentioned that I love it?

I also made the most glorious whole wheat bread today....I took my friend Lisa's recipe and just tweaked it a little by adding dough enhancer and wheat gluten....and I made what I think might be the perfect wheat bread. I know those loaves are a little disproportionate in size, but I wanted one of them bigger....and I got it! It almost took over my kitchen! They say everything is bigger in Texas...this bread is living that dream! I will post the recipe tomorrow!










Random Thoughts Part 2-Strengths Finder

I took a personality test a while ago...I may have told you about it, its one of those Strength Builder or Discover your Strengths type deals where it tells your your top 5 dominant traits in your personality....I like to do these things because it causes introspection and provides some understanding. Here are my top 5...



Activator-People strong in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.



Responsibility-People strong in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.



Achiever-People strong in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.



Learner-People strong in the Learner Theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.



Significance-People strong in the Significance theme want to be very important in the eyes of others. They are independent and want to be recognized.



I have to admit that they got it right, I am all of these for the better or worse. They also talked to me about how my strengths make a nice balance. During one of the exercises with my other Manager Team members, I had a few minutes while I was waiting for someone to finish and the trainer people were looking at my strengths (on a lanyard around my neck for the activity) and talked about how it was an interesting combination (does that mean totally whacked and crazy?) and how they created a compliment to each other and created a really strong personality and leader. Hmmmm, interesting....



The Activator and Achiever work together....that means I want to do it and I want to do it now, stop pussy footing around it and let's get going! You add in the Responsibility factor and I want to do it right and with integrity. Add the Learner...if I don't know how to do it, give me that manual by golly because we need to get started now....and then add in the Significance...and I want credit for it all, please tell me how good I am and let me get the award!



I have to admit that the whole Significance thing made me realize how vain I am...I do like the attention...in some cases I thrive on it....but you know what...I am the only member of my team who has this attribute...so, you know what that means? That means that when we have major events, they are all fine and dandy to be behind the scenes and they want me out front talking to people, working the room, and greeting dignitaries.....they do not want to do that, its just not them and they love it that I can and want to do that part of the event...so see, even something that may seem like its a little selfish, is a good thing for our team because we need a front man out there, the face that people see and know they can come to if something is not going right at their shin dig. It is total serendipity that our team has so much synergy and we work well together, it seems we have just the right combination of strengths to cover the gamut on an event....its a good thing...



An on to my personal life...I was so intrigued by this exercise that I went and bought another book because there is a code in the back and you can take the quiz online to see what your strengths are.....So, I had my husband do it and LOW AND BEHOLD.....drum roll puhlease....



We are NOTHING alike....not one strength do we have in common...nada, zilch...nothin'



Am I surprised? Maybe a little, but really, he and I are very different animals. While I am the do it, do it now type person, he is the "let's think about this, study it, and draw up a plan" for what we want to do and it doesn't matter to him that the plan may never happen or be implemented....he is Deliberative.



He also has Ideation and Analysis...loves ideas and reading about things and then thinking about them and analyzing them and thinking about it some more...then looking up some more info...then thinking thinking thinking...its enough to drive an Activator type C-R-A-Z-Y! So, I guess that whole "opposites attract" thing really does have some merit, and I see more and more that it is true, because we are definitely polar opposites on a lot of things, but that is okay because his strengths compliment my weaknesses, so its all good!



Anyway, if you are curious as to what your top 5 strengths are, I suggest that you take the test. You can find the books at places like Barnes & noble and it gives you a sealed pass code in the back of the book so that you can take the online test...you have to have 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to take the test, because it is timed and they want to know your gut reaction to every question.


Its been good for me to do this and to have my hubby do it too, it makes him make more sense to me and I see how and why he does things....even if they don't make sense to me or drive me batty at times. Plus, I think its always good to rediscover yourself and see where your strengths really lye (or lie? I am evidently having spelling and thinking issues today, its early people, I got up at 5am to work out!), because our strengths are what can make us great.

So, if this intrigues you, you might want to try it to. You have to have a book per person, so you can't share because the code only gives you one chance to answer all the questions (its gut instinct remember and their gut and your gut are different!).


This is what I do, I go to Google Product Search and enter Strengths Finder and then look online for it because I think its much cheaper online. My book for class had the price tag somewhere between $21.95-$25, I can't remember exactly and I don't have it handy (its probably under the laundry). However, I have seen it for as low as about $8 just make sure you get a new copy or one that for sure has the code still sealed. Here is the link to the Product Search I did. http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=strengths+finder&hl=en&cid=16366531195245239933&scoring=p#ps-sellers





There is also one for older kids and teenagers, I think its called Strenths Builder or Guide, and it focuses on what they are good at and can help in looking at what they might want to do in life. I think it might help some teenagers who just don't know what to do or are trying to figure out who they are.

So...go figure out what you do best and embrace it and love it...you can still work on those darn weaknesses, but don't ever neglect your strengths because that is who you are. And your strengths change....they say there are about 10 strengths out of the 36 that are your real strengths and they will move around depending on what is going on in your life, this test tells you the top 5 core strengths and explains all 36 to you.


Make it a Beautiful Day!
Heather

Beautiful Basics

Life is about a journey, and you are the only one who can make yours... So, embrace life: the good, the bad, and the ugly...it is the only one you've got.

Here's to being Beautiful, inside and out!