Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Essentials . . . for Summer

In honor of Memorial Day and summer kick-off, here are the things I think you really need to survive a summer in the South!

Body of water (beach strongly preferred, lake acceptable, swimming pool will suffice)

Lemon icebox pie
2 graham cracker pie shells
for filling:
1 tub cool whip
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 can lemonade concentrate
Refrigerate pies a couple of hours to let them set up. Yum!

Knit dress (I live in these during 90+ degree days)

Rainbow sandals

Sweet tea
Boil 8 cups water
Add two family size tea bags and turn off heat
Let steep 10 minutes or so
Add 1 cup sugar
Stir, transfer to pitcher, and chill

What are your summer must-haves?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some Thoughts on Faithfulness

Several weeks ago I asked for suggestions on what to have engraved on my graduation necklace. I decided on "faithful." This is a word I've been mulling over (isn't mulling a great word? but not as pretty on a necklace, ha) the past several months.

"He is Who He was before today." Last week I came across this quote on Angie Smith's blog (Bring the Rain), and it really stuck with me. God is Who He was before the circumstances of today (or yesterday, or whatever tragedy or difficulty or unexpected circumstance) happened. The character of God does not change. He is eternally faithful to His children.

I have to be reminded of this truth every day!!

Lamentations 3:22-23 says that God's mercies are new every morning!
"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness."

And when Jesus taught us to pray, He said, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Luke 11:3). Not our weekly bread, our daily bread. Have you ever noticed how God gives you what you need exactly when you need it? He is our Provider, but He wants us to trust Him to supply our needs. In God's Word, He promises that He will! "My God will supply all your needs, according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

Exodus 16 tells how God provided manna (bread) from heaven for the Israelites to eat. But the bread was only good for one day. Some of them didn't follow God's commandments and tried to store the manna, just in case God forgot to send it the next day. But the manna wouldn't keep. The next day it would be full of maggots, YUCK.

I am often like the Israelites in Exodus, hoarding what I think I need because I don't trust the Lord to provide it for me.


I am learning.


There are some things - a lot of things - I do not know. But this I do know: God is faithful, each and every day.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May Date Night

Was a splendid evening celebrating three years of marriage! We splurged on a scrumptious dinner at a French-inspired restaurant and stayed at the Hilton downtown. The food was great, the dessert fantastic, and the time alone just what we needed to reconnect. I love being married to my wonderful husband. I'm so glad the Lord blessed me with him.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Derby Days

I've been meaning to upload these for a while! A few weeks ago the Gent, Ellen, and I went to a horse race over the weekend. We had so much fun with our picnic and hats! And the races were fun, too. It was a beautiful day to be outside and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.





Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Essentials . . . Golden Rules of Housekeeping

1. A place for everything and everything in its place.
2. Don't put it down; put it away.

Follow these simple rules and it's like magic! You'll never spend time straightening your house again. Or hunting aimlessly for something you lost.

Thanks, Mom, for teaching me these Golden Rules. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

IRS Update

I spent 15 minutes on the phone with my bank yesterday, tracking down a copy of our canceled check.

Then I spent 40 minutes on the phone with the IRS. Again.

Turns out they filed my check under the wrong Social Security number. Really? Really, people? Come on! I wrote the number on the front of the check, for crying out loud. Sheesh.

Anyways, all straightened out now. We should get a confirmation letter in the mail soon. I doubt it will contain an apology . . .

An hour and a half of my life, gone.

Haha reading back over this post it looks like I'm really mad. Actually I wasn't mad at all. I found the entire situation deliciously ironic.

But I do feel a bit sorry for the person whose tax account my check was credited to. They probably got a letter in the mail saying they were going to be getting a refund because they had overpaid their taxes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Three Years

Three years ago today . . .




Happy anniversary, my love. I can't imagine not being married to you!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Thirty minutes and forty-four seconds.

That's how long I was on the phone with the IRS tonight. Why, you ask? Because they LOST the check we sent them to pay our taxes. Let's just say if someone sent me a check for that much money I would not lose it!!!

Long story short, I mailed the check mid-March, it was deposited by the IRS five days later per my bank, and now the IRS can't find it and is sending us letters saying we owe interest and late fees. I don't think so. I don't understand how I am looking at the canceled check on my bank's website, while the IRS's "Ms Johnson" tells me they have no record of it.


Will be calling the bank tomorrow, then the IRS again.

I will probably spend at least an hour and a half getting this sorted out. I hate having to clean up the incompetence of other people.

Especially the government.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Essentials . . . Recipes

Everyone needs a few go-to recipes. I rely on these often - easy to throw together, filling, and mostly healthy (I use whole wheat pastas, light sour cream, light ricotta, etc).

Baked Ziti
1 lb ziti, cooked and drained
1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned
1 cup chooped onion
40 oz jar spaghetti sauce
cheese filling:
1 lb ricotta
8 oz mozzarella
1/2 c paremsan
3 eggs
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T parsley
Combine sauce and ziti. Pour 1/2 in greased 9 x 13 pan. Spread cheese filling on top, then pour other half of ziti mixture over cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

2 lb ground beef or turkey, browned
2 packages Chilio mix
2 large cans whole tomatoes, pureed
2 cans chili hot beans
onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste
Mix together and simmer several hours. Serve with Fritos, cheese, and sour cream.

Taco Twist
1 lb ground beef or turkey, browned
1 package taco seasoning
1 can tomato sauce
1 small can chopped green chilis
3 c corkscrew pasta, cooked and drained
1 c Mexican blend cheese
1/2 c sour cream
Stir together beef, seasoning, tomato sauce, and chilis. In another bowl, mix pasta, 1/2 c cheese, and sour cream. Pour pasta on bottom of a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with meat mixture and remaining cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Great Saturday

Did you miss me? It was a busy week, more on that later! For now, I'm just enjoying the end of a wonderful Saturday.

Slept till 7:30 and woke up well-rested.
Enjoyed a yummy breakfast with my hubby.
Went to the Farmer's Market and bought some strawberries, turnip greens, and tomatoes.
Went to Auto Zone and bought new air filters for the cars.
Read by the pool for an hour.
Went to a movie.
Ate pizza.
Watched a baseball game.
Made cinnamon rolls and a breakfast casserole for brunch with friends tomorrow.
Off to bed soon for another great night's sleep!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Essentials . . . Gone to the Dogs

This Monday, it's all about the dogs. I have three of them and volunteer with a dog rescue group, so doggies and their supplies are a big part of my life. And budget. Here are a few things we could live without, though Nick might argue about the Nylabones.

First up, the amazing Nylabone! They come in lots of different varieties and they are one of two brands of dog toy that my dogs do not destroy in under five minutes.

L.L. Bean dog beds. My boys' beds have their name monogrammed on top. Because they might get confused without it.

The other wonderful almost indestructible dog toy - KONG!

All you need is a good nylon buckle collar (much more secure than the plastic "quick release" kind)

And a six foot nylon leash. Don't let me catch you with a flexi! They are evil and teach your dog bad habits!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Make new friends, but keep the old

My friend Ellen is living with us for a few weeks while she completes an internship. We have been friends for a decade - wow, we are getting old! I am glad to have her here for a while. We haven't lived in the same city for the past seven years, so we are enjoying time to catch up. Here are some great pics of us over the years, ha!

New Year's Eve, 2000
Ellen New Years 2000

Formal night during high school
Ellen formal night

Ellen was one of my beautiful bridesmaids

And here we are today . . . I think we've grown up pretty good :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Solving Marital Problems

Okay, the Gent and I do not have this problem. :) But!! I have heard that whether to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom up or in the middle can lead to marital spats.

As I was brushing my teeth this evening, I realized Crest had entered the great marital debate. Toothpaste is becoming therapist and mediator. On the back of the tube, it says:

"For best results, squeeze tube from the bottom and flatten as you go up."

Clearly, the women are right on this one. Crest even says so. What more authority do you need?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Essentials . . . for the Kitchen

These are my favorite kitchen gadgets. I could live (and cook) without them, but I'm really glad I don't have to.

My coffee maker. Is there life without coffee? I guess there is but I don't want to find out. :)

KitchenAid mixer. Makes baking bread, cookies, and cakes so easy. Also makes scrumptious mashed potatoes. I love to bake but I don't think I'd enjoy it near as much if I didn't have this great gadget.

Oil sprayer. I usually use olive oil, or sometimes canola. Keeps baked goods, casseroles, scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc from sticking to the pan. And no nasty accelerants like in Pam.

Circulon cookware. I love Circulon - it cooks evenly and cleans easily, what more could you want in cookware?

KitchenAid food processor. It does everything - chops, dices, slices, kneads, and the list goes on. This great gizmo saves tons of time. And fingers, too, since I don't need knives very often anymore. :)

RubberMaid easy find storage containers and lids. I love these for storing leftovers, fruits and veggies, freezing chicken stock, packing lunches, and more. And I'm never stuck looking for a lid that will fit.

What are your favorite kitchen essentials?