Thursday, February 25, 2010

WWWday 02.25.10

A few items have really spoken to me lately and I'd like nothing better than to share them with you.

(OK, that's not entirely true. I'd like to make it be Friday already more than I'd like to share these links with you, but since that's selfish and impossible, I'm all about the share. I'm giving like that.)

This speaks to my sensibilities:

If you live in the 21st century, use a search engine on a regular basis and enjoy getting free stuff, then you should sign up for SwagBucks. It's the 2nd birthday of SwagBucks, so you earn more bucks by signing up NOW.

(SB is simply a search engine (ala Google, Yahoo, et. al.), but when you search you can earn bucks and your accumulated bucks can be exchanged for some cool stuff, including gift cards to, iTunes, or Starbucks. So join today!!)

This speaks to what a loser I am (Sing along with me- Soy un perdedor. I'm a loser, baby, so why doncha kill me. (I don't really mean that last part, but I am a terrible horrible bloggy loser)):

LynnAnn is the lucky winner or the giveaway I held so long ago that everyone has probably forgotten about it by now. LynnAnn is one of my IRL friends from college who also writes a hilarious blog she calls RULES. Please read it.

These things speak to my heart:

A video over at is a good word on anger that really spoke truth and conviction into my life today. If you click nothing else, click on this one.

Another video from the Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center. So many people in need should not leave us unmoved and apathetic. Please don't be apathetic.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lessons Learned From a Snow Day

Alternate Title: Photographic Essay of Texas Family Poorly-Equipped to Handle Literally INCHES of Snow

Snow is such a novelty across much of Texas. Sure, once you get up into the panhandle snow is much more likely, but across North Texas and farther south, snow is about as common as a football bat.

My heritage is Houstonian, so although I recall a dusting here and a dusting there of the white stuff, I'm 99% certain that in my life I've never seen as much snowfall as we received here in Central TX yesterday.

It was beautiful!

And since snow is so rare, I felt like it was the single chance my children might have in THEIR lifetimes to experience ALL the fun things an Northern-dwelling family might experience.

With the exception of sledding. And ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, and really there's an entire host of winter recreational activities that we are even more poorly equipped to handle than simple snowman-building.

In other words, we made snowangels, built snowmen, and had a snowball fight. The end.

There is no other word for my children's snow attire than pitiful. Plain old downright pitiful.

But here are a few of the things I learned from one snow day:

1) When I ask a child to put on a hat and white flakes are falling from the sky, be more specific on what type of hat fulfills the requirement.

In Micah's defense, he didn't have many choices of thermal headgear. But he IS wearing one of his favorite t-shirts under his unzipped coat, so shout out to our friends Justin and Jana, creators of I Choose To Love. Please click over to their site and support their adoption process!

2) Building a snowman is not NEARLY as easy as it looks or sounds, particularly to the inexperienced snowman engineer. The proof is in my screaming quadriceps.

I should probably get moving more.

Once we figured out the rolling technique to build up each snowball for Frosty's tri-bod, we still had to pull out all of the leaves and grass that kept sticking to the snow as it pulled up from the earth below.

And the facial accoutrements do NOT magically adhere to snow.

The eyes were once whole cookies, until they fell off of Frosty's face and shattered on the ground. Then they became sad cookie fragment eyes.

Due to our meager stock of vegetables, the children used an empty bubble container for Frosty's nose. Raisins made the mouth, but each raisin had to be inserted into holes indented individually by fingers protected only by Halloween novelty gloves.

I have no idea what happened to the part of the mouth that appears to be trailing down Frosty's body. Except Piper.

3) When you're 3, there is no better snow fun that marching around the yard leaving foot tracks.

No, she didn't have a single pair of shoes more appropriate for playing in accumulated frozen precipitation. Pitiful.

Yes, she did this for almost the entire time we played outside.

4) In the future, I should always consider that stuffing my flare leg yoga pants into my tall, heeled black leather boots for the sake of keeping my feet dry in the snow might serve it's purpose, but not without serious consequences.

Because I felt like an incredibly ridiculous and embarrassing spectacle when every other person in the neighborhood was also running around outside visiting with one another. The low point was when our across-the-street neighbor came over to introduce herself and her children for the first time. I was never more aware of my bizarre garb than I was at that moment.

There is no photgraphic evidence of my fashion faux pas because I made Jason swear that he would only take pictures of me from the waist up. And he complied because he knows what's good for him.

It was a fun day.

We were a little sad that we didn't have enough clean snow for snow cream. Maybe next time.

When I'll be so old that soft foods will be the only thing I can eat, snow cream will fit the bill.

Parenting Realities

"Mama, can you lay with me?"

Cade, my 6 yr. old, asks me this question almost nightly. He likes for me to lie down next to him and scratch his back or snuggle up for a few minutes before he drifts off to sleep.

It sounds precious, but most days I have a hard time adopting that positive perspective.

Bedtime in our household is not sweet, peaceful, treasured, and snuggly.

3 1/2 hours of homework, dinner, chores, bathtime, playtime, grumpiness, and whining leaves me completely spent.

The day's events combine to wear my body out and my patience thin.

So when the lights go out at 8:00, to say I'm not always in the best mood may or may not be a huge understatement.

Then there's one more demand. At least it can feel that way.

"Mama, will you lay with me?"


Sometimes it's yes. but more often...


The sink is overflowing with dirty dishes.

The laundry fairy isn't coming to fold Mt. Washmore.

The dog tracked in mud, so the floors are disgusting.

Don't get me started on the bathrooms.

I need to get myself to bed at a reasonable hour if there's any way I'm going to function tomorrow.


But those chores will always be there. I know his request won't be, but instead of agreeing I tell myself this in justification:

He'll ask again tomorrow night, so I'm going to say no tonight.

Just one more night.

Simply, there are too many things I need to get done. I need "me" time. Peace. Quiet.

Until last night.

"Mama, can you lay with me?"


How many nights has it been since he the last time he asked? Too many to remember. Was it the weekend? Was it sometime last week? Two weeks ago?

I don't know because I was too busy to remember.

Did he stop asking because I always say no? Or because he's growing up?

So I said yes.


One night, he'll make this request for the last time.

And I won't even know it.

I hope I don't say no.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


**Please forgive me for any incoherent thoughts, incomplete sentences, or improper use of grammar. Or, as I like to call it, my normal writing. I'm typing this with a lack-of-caffeine induced headache.**

I grew up Southern Baptist and Baptists as a denomination don't give much consideration to the church calendar. Oh, there are plenty of potlucks, ice cream socials, and get-togethers on the events calendar, but the liturgical calendar with the seasons of Advent and Lent are not given much air time. So I spent a large portion of my lifetime with the (incorrect) knowledge that only Catholics celebrate Lent.

As an adult, I've come into a greater understanding of the holy seasons, and while I may not fully subscribe to all of the rules and regulations conceived by other denominations/religions for Lent, I believe the overall idea is an appropriate way to prepare one's heart prior to the celebration of Holy Week.

A couple of days ago, my friend Drew tweeted that he is participating in the Forty Days of Water Project, hosted by the Blood:Water Mission. I went to their website and found this information:

"What if water was the only option to sustain us? And what if we had to walk miles to get water - only to have a water source that is contaminated and full of disease?

Choose to make water your only beverage for 40 Days between February 17 - April 3 to help Blood:Water Mission provide clean water for people in Africa who don't have a choice.

By giving up what you'd normally drink in exchange for the water from your tap you can save that money to help build clean water projects for communities in Uganda. You can stay updated on the work you are enabling by reading our blog and Uganda project updates."

As a lover of soft drinks, iced tea, and hot coffee, and as I've had neither in the last 24 hours, I can't tell you what exactly I was thinking when I agreed with myself to participate. Although I know that if you're first thought is, "Oh, this sounds easy!" and you don't already drink water 100% of the time, you may want to think again.

I can also tell you that I have an extreme lack of self-discipline (the evidence of which is too lengthy for this post), and that I'm cautiously looking forward to seeing how the Lord will work in my own heart in the coming 40 days. I know it will be real, but it won't be easy. Change never is.

I've already run into a couple of snags. I don't know that there's a really good system for calculation how much I have "saved," so I'm making it up as I go along. If we eat out, I usually get a drink. For the next 40 days, I'll skip the drink and add that to the total. No brainer.

But how do I categorize milk? Because I eat a lot of cereal. So I decided that milk as a necessary part of a meal (like for cereal at breakfast), doesn't count as a drink. But a large ice cold glass of milk with a side of brownie counts as a drink, so I'll be skipping those. The milk for Lent and the brownie for my waistline.

Finally, our tap water is pretty disgusting. I realize that bottled water isn't environmentally-sound, but it is sound for my body because I appreciate having a functioning liver and kidneys, so I'm not really committing to drinking 100% tap water. I'll still be buying the bottled kind.

I don't "regularly" purchase coffees or other drinks. It's not as if I'm giving up a daily Starbuck's run because I drink my Starbucks fresh-brewed from home. So the rest will be guesswork. If we have guests over for dinner, I'll calculate in the price of a 2 liter. If I feel like stopping by Sonic for a Route 44 during Happy Hour, I'll add that in with as much honestly as I can.

I hope this doesn't seem like I'm tooting my own horn. Rather, my main reason for posting this is to raise awareness of the project and invite you to join me! Or feel free to share in the comments if you participate in Lent or not. We can support one another. And share some Tylenol.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The best salad you will ever eat in your life. And I'm not even kidding.

I'm not what you'd call a "salad lover." But I'm not a "salad hater"
either. I'm just salad-ambivalent.

To me, salad is what you eat at a restaurant, as opposed to gnawing
off your own arm due to hunger, while waiting for the real food. It's
the costly adult equivalent of the free crackers you request for your
screaming child.

By my definition, salad isn't even particularly healthy- it's lettuce,
cheese, carrots and croutons topped with a fatty salad dressing.
Because if anything moves me from ambivalence to hate, it's fat-free
ranch, which I'm fully convinced is from the devil.

Adam and Eve did not have fat-free ranch before the fall. Of this I'm

Given my non-feelings toward salad, I was pleasantly surprised
recently when J and I had dinner with friends and ate this "Cornucopia

I have no idea why it's called "Cornucopia" because there's no corn in
it. But if cornucopia means "a million fantastic flavors combined in
such a surprising and delightful way that makes salad my most
enthusiastic, yet mundane, obsession ever," then I suppose the name is

Cornucopia Salad

1 large head of leafy green lettuce, chopped
1/2 c. almonds (sliced or slivered)
3 T. sugar
1 granny smith apple, chopped
1 avocado, chopped (but I like it with 2)
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 c. dried cranberries
3 green onions, chopped
Bleu cheese crumbles (however much you like. Just sprinkle some in
there. Or use feta if you're wanting gluten-free)
1/4 c. bacon crumbles (we use pre-cooked bacon that you just heat in
the microwave, but you could use bacon bits. If you use bacon bits,
then please, for the LOVE, use real bacon pieces. Not those tooth-
breakingly hard imitation bits. Thank you.)

Put almonds and sugar into a small skillet over medium heat. Heat
until sugar melts and almonds are golden brown. Pour sugared almonds
onto foil to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. white wine or apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 T. fresh chopped parsley
2 T. sugar

Mix all salad ingredients (including the almonds) with the dressing.
You'll need an extra large bowl. And an extra large plate and extra
large fork to eat it!

Don't judge the ingredient combinations until you've tried it. And if
you think you won't like "fruity" salad, don't be a hater! Give it a

You'll be moved.

P.S. I'm typing this on my phone to email to my blog through the
wonder of technology. That means 2 things. One, the recipe is coming
from memory, which you would know speaks VOLUMES about my love for
this salad since I've got the memory span of a goldfish. But my
measurements may be a bit off. I dont think they are, but it's not

And two, I'm sorry for the wonky post format. Sometimes the wonder of
technology means, "Hm. I wonder how that happened. Because it didn't
look that weird when I sent it." Anyway, my apologies. I'll fix it
when I'm not typing entirely with 2 thumbs on a keyboard slightly
larger than a postage stamp.

P.P.S. I know I'm delinquent in choosing a giveaway winner, but I'll
try to get on it before Monday. Pinkie swear.