Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Post Christmas Post / Happy New Year

OK, especially to Nancy, I'm sorry about the delay on my post about my Christmas. I just didn't feel like doing any blogging while I was on vacation. So here it is. . .

I had been planning for months to surprise my Dad:) If you know me you know I like surprises! Anyway, I had been dodging his requests to know when I was coming in because I didn't want to lie. However, I realized that if I didn't say something that he would definitely know that something was up, so I told him I was coming in on the Saturday before Christmas, when really my flight was scheduled for Friday;) Which ended up being a smart move on my part because if I had really left on Saturday I might have been stuck thanks to the snow. As it was it took an extra hour for the SeaTac Shuttle to get off the island. Hiking, normally it would be a reasonable walk, gas station to meet the shuttle in the snow and ice was no fun. I'm really lucky I didn't sprain my ankle slipping on the ice.

So how did I get home if my Dad thought I was coming in on Saturday? For this stage of the plan I enlisted my step mom. Once I arrived in SFO I caught the BART train into downtown SF and waited for her, to be done with work, in the Embarcadaro Center. I had lunch and watched people pass by and the kids skate at the open air rink that is down there.

Then I bought a red hat! Seriously, it's way cute. Merry Christmas to me! However, on the car ride home my step mom wanted to concoct a plan for me walking into the house. SO. . . I told her to tell my Dad that after reading my post "Be Still and Know" and seeing all the snow I was facing that it looked like I might not be able to get off the island. I don't really know how he reacted to that news, he was probably a little bummed albeit relieved as he and Nancy had a memorial service to attend for a friend of hers on Saturday, and they were trying to figure out how to pick me up in the middle of Saturday and still attend the memorial (see my sneakiness worked all the way around). However, about 5 minutes after she told him about the snow I walked through the door, after narrowly sneaking by my little brothers that were playing in the backyard. He looked up in total surprise, as he was in the process of cleaning for my arrival (he even gave the dog a bath for me). He was very surprised and hugs were exchanged before I went off to go and surprise Matthew and Jack. There reaction though was a bit more subdued. I was for sure that they would have been jumping up and down. But when I walked outside to see them, They were like just like "Oh Carolyn", like I'm there everyday. Although I did get accosted with them showing off their new bike tricks, which they know I haven't seen, so it was all good.

I should also note that around this time I had been battling a sore throat and a cough for a couple of weeks. Ever since I returned from New Orleans (which is another post I'm overdue on). It made it very hard to sing during my churches Christmas cantata as well, but the show must go on. Although I was in a fit of coughing seizures afterward. My coughs had not been this bad since I had my tonsils removed 8 years ago (that's a story in and of itself). Trust me though it was bad, so I knew that this wasn't just a cold or regular voice strain from singing, but without health insurance . . . What's a girl to do? So I suffered through it praying it would get better, ummm it didn't. On the ride home I said something to Nancy about it and she mad mention of a program that my Dad had with our family physician. Under the plan all my Dad's children, whether insured or uninsured, could be seen by Dr. Varady for about $35 up until they are 30 (I'm 29). So I told my Dad what was going on and asked if he thought he could get me in. He made a call and was able to get me in that day (I'm pretty sure that Dr. Varady had stayed late because there was no one else in there). PTL, because I felt awful. It was really weird seeing him again after 15 years (I wasn't a very sickly child growing up so that's not unusual). Anyway, he asked me about what I was up to and the usual pleasantries, and then he did the usual. He checked my throat culture and saw it wasn't strep throat, but once he listened to my breathing he diagnosed me with Bronchitis (looking back I can't believe I hit that A note during the cantata while having Bronchitis). So, knowing I didn't have insurance, he gave me some free Anti-biotics that he had in the office and a prescription for some cough syrup, with Codine, so that I could get some rest. With the throat culture that he took it ended up being $45, but my Dad ended up paying for it and the cough syrup was only $10. So I felt really blessed that I was in the right place at the right time. Plus it was really nice to feel taken care of. It's definitely something that hits me more the longer that I'm on my own, and taking care of things on my own. I felt a little loopy from the Codine on Saturday and Sunday, but the Anti-biotics started working right away which made me feel so much better. I would have hated to suffer through that on my vacation so I'm really glad that I thought to ask for help.

After getting in my Dad handed over the keys to his Jeep Wrangler:), I love driving it! However, his Jeep key and my Saturn key look an awful lot alike and I accidentally ended up putting my Saturn key into the Jeep's ignition, and as you can imagine it did get stuck. ARGH, was a start to my Saturday! I tried to loosen it w/some WD-40, but that didn't work. Of course there's always the use of shear force, which I didn't want to pull to hard and have the key break off inside the ignition (that's happened to me with one of my old cars and it's not fun). So I called around to a couple different tow companies. The first guy I spoke to was really unhelpful, the second was just as bad, finally I got a hold of one that was willing to come out and at least see if he could help. After he came to my rescue it didn't take him but 30 seconds before he was able to jimmy the key out of the ignition, and check for any damage to it (thankfully there was none). However, after that episode I took my key off of my key chain so that it didn't happen again. That's a $66 mistake that I never want to make again.

Sunday also ended up with a funny story. When I visit my family in CA I visit Calvary Baptist Church in American Canyon. Well after their morning service they were having a lunch, that all were invited to, so I went. As I started meeting people everyone kept asking me if I was Michelle's cousin. Of course I had to say no, because I don't really know anyone at the church accept for the Pastor and I don't have a cousin by the name of Michelle. But after being asked by a few different people, I assumed that there was someone there that I share similar traits with. As it turns out the woman I was sitting next to during the morning service was Michelle, as I ended up meeting her at lunch. It turns out that people were asking her the same question. However, besides the blue eyes and prominent dimple that we both share, there really wasn't much resemblance. Although we did both think that it was pretty funny that people should think that we were cousins. However, I do have a habit of being "recognized" by people who think that I'm someone totally different. I guess I have one of those faces, but the funny thing is that I asked her if she has the same problem and, as it turns out, she does.

The rest of the week was pretty cerebral. I saw my mom on Tuesday night for our present exchange, since she was planning on being in the mountains with my aunt. It went well and she made some good homemade Chicken soup. She liked what I gave her (the movie Sneakers and a biography about Sidney Poitier, there's a big story behind the significance of the gifts, but that's for another post). I also made dinner for my family 4 nights that I was there. Every other day so that I could have leftovers without my Dad having to go to a lot of trouble to accommodate my dietary needs. The menu is as follows:

Saturday: Plum Good Chicken (yes those are pomegranates, which added a nice juicy tang to this already delicious dish)

Monday: Crunchy Chicken Casserole (I'll be reposting this one with a GF substitute sauce for the cream of mushroom soup)

Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese (sorry no pic, my batteries died)
Friday: Taco Soup
(All GF of course)

Everyone really enjoyed it. I think that the favorite was the Plum Chicken, but I forgot to ask my Dad so I'll have to get back to ya'll on that one. But Nancy's favorite dish was the chicken. It seemed like my Dad really like the Mac and Cheese. Jack liked everything, but Matthew not so much. Oh well, I usually cook for adults anyway so it gives me practice with kids. Kids rarely like what's put in front of them to eat, so my feelings aren't hurt.

Then Christmas came. My brothers were bouncing off of the wall with anticipation. Since both me and my families church services were held on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day was very relaxing. Everyone seemed to like what I got them. I love buying gifts for people anyway, but for whatever reason I find is especially fun for Christmas, even if my shopping is usually done by Thanksgiving (Black Friday is my day to shop for me). Disclaimer: I'll make a Thank You post for my Christmas presents separate from this one since it's getting very lengthy. Joey stopped by and it was fun seeing him for a bit.

Here's Joey playing the Little Drummer Boy

However, as in my previous post, probably my favorite thing that I did that day was read straight through. I also creamed Matthew at Monopoly and, later that week, took 1st place in the Wii Fit Ski Jump game!!! I also played with my brothers creating Mad Libs. They were some very silly Mad Libs I might add. Some Christmas Carols will just never be the same. Mad Libs are a great way to connect with your inner child, especially now that as adults we know a lot more words (Nancy be sure to keep the one I got you. We'll have to go through that one next time I come town).

Before I knew it, it was time for me to come back up here. Matthew tried guilting me into staying, but alas my job here awaits. Plus there's just no room for me to stay permanently in my Dad's house. And I can't miss out on Pastor Sargent's annual Bible quiz. It's usually a fun time especially watching us all compete for a chance to answer a question that someone misses. So now I'm home. It's very quiet at the moment, although winter quarter will soon cure that. I'm glad I got to go back to CA this year for Christmas. My brothers were a lot of fun, plus it's just nice to see my everyone anyway.

Let me also say that, for me, it's not quite Christmas without a train underneath the Christmas tree. As a child every year my Dad would have his homemade set underneath the tree. It has since evolved throughout the years, I think it's much more kid friendly now, but also there is a little homage to a lot of peoples favorite Christmas movie "A Christmas Story". Now he has most of, if not all the houses from the movie as well as the infamous figurines. Below are the pictures that I took of the train set. This is always a fun toy for young and old alike:) Thanks Dad

Can you recognize what the scenes of this movie are? What do you think of this movie? Is it like nails on a chalkboard for you? Or do you laugh like I do at the way Gene Shepard waxes his vocabulary? Me, I like it. My family watches it every Christmas!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Couch

It may be a lot to take in at first (the purple is actually a lot softer in person because internet colors never do anything justice), but this is the new couch that I've decided to get. It's really reasonable and a very, very cushy reading couch! Plus it will add color to my very, very beige living room. Let me know what you think. Even though it's to late.

#19 on my list, Read 15 new books (#6)

Soon you will all find out about my great Christmas vacation, but for the mean time I will tell you all about book #6 from my list. It ended up being Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris. It's a really good book that takes a look at courtship. Both what it means and how to go about it in the "recreational dating" world that we live in.

A few years ago I read his book
I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which was really helpful for my new outlook on relationships. This one was just as insightful and helpful for me. See, as a young child, I always held to a pretty traditional outlook on what boys should do and what girls should do. Dads work and Moms stay home. Boys do the pursuing and girls do the waiting. This outlook wasn't particularly enforced by anything in my family, that I can recall, it's just what always seemed like the right thing.

Of course, as adults know, we tend to make life more complicated as we grow up. Especially if we don't have strong biblical foundations, but I digress. The point is that as I grew up I succumbed to the pressures that this world offers up in the area of relationships. However, after reading both of these books (as well as my Bible), and sitting under sound biblical teaching on this matter it turns out that the very ideals that I thought were right, and held to as a child, were right. Or I guess what I should say is that they match up with what the Bible has to say about relationships, and it's just been nice to read these two books and have those thoughts confirmed.

Anyway, what Josh proposes, in this book is getting back to the basics which is that a man should only pursue a relationship with a girl once he's ready to get married (men that means you must have employment too). I mean Boaz didn't date around until he came upon Ruth (of course I had to reference my favorite book) and he owned an entire field. He definitely came with his A game. Admittedly, in the book, that doesn't mean that just because you pursue a relationship with someone that you will get married to that person, but rather that unless you are willing to be married to someone you should not be entering into random relationships with the opposite sex. Hence
courtship enters the picture. The term courting was actually born out of the middle ages when knights of the court would try and woo the ladies of the court. It has, much to societies chagrin, evolved into what we now know as dating (I cringe at the thought of it evolving into "hooking up", but that seems to be were it has started to go).

This book helped me in a couple areas. Primarily since I've only ever imagined what this aspect of life can, and hopefully will, hold for me it gave me some practical information as to what I should be expecting from any potential suitors, as well as what I should be bringing to the table and prioritizing in my own heart and mind. This particular edition of the book also has some ideas/guidelines as to basic conversations to hold with each other as well as some pretty fun "date" ideas that accompany the actual conversations. For example, and this one would be a little difficult for me due to my dietary needs, but one of them suggests discussing and finding a way to get a decent dinner for under $10 while discussing your financial history, present and the future. The other thing I liked about the book, was that it's not just for young people looking for guidance, which a lot of books of this particular genre are, but rather it speaks to older people, like myself. It addresses certain issues that many of us, who received Christ later on in life face.

But one of the things that I loved about reading this book was how relaxing it was. At best it takes me a week or two to read a book, which is relaxing in and of itself, but this was a huge exception. On Christmas Day I was allowed time to just sit read, which was sooo relaxing. Because of this gift, I basically read the book in a day. Which is ironic because the last time I was able to do that I was on a C-130 flying to Japan for a deployment. And what, pray tell, was the book that I read that leads to this delicious irony. Well it was none other than Joshua Harris' first book "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". LOL, I love it:) And I hope that all of you who read this get the opportunity to read the book.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Be still and know. . .

Normally I am very bah humbug when it comes to snow. It used to be that I was nervous about driving in it, but I'm getting better about driving that now, slow and steady gets you home alive. But I really hate having to go out and do anything in it. It never snows on a Friday/Saturday when I don't have anything to do, which would be a nice treat. It always snows on a Sunday, or weekday, that I always have a tons of stuff to do. I'd like to be Sheri and stay at home and just watch it fall while my little doggy sits on my lap dosing, and me catching up on some much overdue reading. That idyllic situation, however, is not my existence. Instead I make sure that I double up on my socks, trudge through the snow, trying to keep myself vertical while I walk on the ice coated sidewalks, to make it into work 10 minutes late. I only live a couple of blocks away from the office that I work in, but I take my time in the snow, especially when it ices over as I have a hill in my town that I have to navigate.

I do have to say though, that I am grateful that we don't live in the Midwest, or New England, states. The ice storms and wind chills they face are not for the faint at heart. WA, and specifically the island I live on and Seattle, get a couple of inches of snow and everything shuts down. People go into a tailspin here. Rarely do we get multiple days of snow like we've received this week so inevitably there are always those that are not prepared for the ma lay that awaits them. Which kills me because it's not like they don't know that it's coming. Between you and me I get a chuckle out of watching the cars on Queen Ann hill slip and slide as they try to scale the obstacle. That might sound mean but we are given a lot of notice prior to these storms coming in so I don't exactly feel sorry for the people that our news anchors choose to interview about their lack of preparedness. However, I do think that the city of Seattle also has an obligation to make that particular incline as salted and sanded as possible to avoid the debacles that take place on that road. For my readers that live in the Bay Area, imagine what would happen if Knob Hill or California and Lombard St. were to suddenly get snow dumped on it and then have it frozen over. Now that would be a catastrophe. (I wasn't able to find a pic of what I was talking about but use your imaginations).

That rant being over with, I have to admit that the snow does offer up a feeling of stillness that is otherwise not felt throughout the bulk of the year. It is a time that people use to stay home from work, depending on the treachery of the roads they are on, and be still. Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God." I don't know how a person cannot notice the beauty and purity that the first snow fall offers and not appreciate the quietness that it offers. Like a peaceful dream. The first snow that I got to experience, here on the island, I was house sitting for my pastor, who was in South America. I was in the Navy and I remember the complete calm that enveloped the piece of land that I was on. The sea of white that lay before my eyes was untouched, it's lines, shared with the ground it covered, were soft, like a cloud passing in the sky. Calm and peacefulness were not adjectives that I would use to describe that particular point in my life, Navy life is, at it's best, controlled chaos, so it resonated very deeply within my soul that this was something to take in and appreciate; and I did. That day the base was closed and I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, and I got to blithely stare out the window, sip on hot chocolate and meditate on this verse. If I had one day to live over and over again that would be the one. That night that it snowed, the snow became a noise and it was the most peaceful sleep that I've ever had!!! (I don't sleep well to begin with so that is saying a lot)

The snow also offers up the hope of childs play. There is nothing so fun as picking a snowball fight with your friends. I didn't grow up with snow in my backyard, but I'm all for instigating a good snowball fight. Game On!

Here are some pics that I took today of our winter wonderland. I hope that you enjoy them and take some time to be still yourself and enjoy the Christmas holiday. Whether you have snow or not.
Frozen Berries
Snowy Lights
A View From My Porch

Can you say Duh! My snowy town

Guess where I took this one?!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fall Quarter grades

School is over for the quarter and I'm happy to say that I passed my Biology class with a 75%. Of course I wish I had gotten a higher grade, but for science not being my forte and having to learn it all online by myself, I think I did OK. Anyway, 1 down 2 more to go. Next quarter is Meteorology! That should be interesting.

Christmas tag

Now that I know what a tag is I'll share it with you, If you already know continue on to my tag. Sheri are you paying attention;)? A tag is a list of stuff that someone posts about themselves and the things that they like. Once it's read the reader has the option to post that list on their own blog. I liked Rachel's list so I'm continuing the tag. . .

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper, and here's a tip. If you want your present to look seamless, tape the edge of the paper to edge of the box you are wrapping. Who knows, you might even get a chuckle out of watching people try to figure out how to open it:) LOL

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. I like real trees, but they can be to much money for something that's just going to die in a few weeks. I don't think I could justify that kind of money.

3. When do you put up the tree? Right after Thanksgiving. I didn't put one up this year though, because I haven't really been home a lot.

4. When do you take down the tree? After the new year.

5. Do you like Eggnog? NO!!!

6. Best Christmas present? Probably my 10 speed

7. Worst Christmas present? I can't really think of anything that I didn't like.

8. Do you get a Christmas stocking? Not anymore, but when I did get one I loved it. When I have a family I'll definitely be re instituting that tradition, and carry it on no matter how old my children get.

9. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes, a small one.

10. Do you e-mail or mail Christmas cards? I don't really do Christmas cards.

11. Favorite Christmas movie? I like them all. White Christmas (Because I love musicals), It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol (Because they're classics) and then there is a Christmas Story (This is a family favorite that we watch every Christmas. I love this movie! It's so funny!). Last but never least is Merry Christmas Charlie Brown.

12. When do you start your Christmas shopping? I had all my shopping done by the beginning of November. I love

13. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so.

14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Spiced nuts.

15. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night. I don't know why it's not in any hymnals.

16. Do you travel or stay home for Christmas? I usually travel.

17. What do you put on the top of your tree? A bow.

18. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning? Both, Christmas Eve with my dad we open them up and then in the morning with my mom we open some more.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People trying to take away Christ from the Holiday. The people in Olympia need to knock it off! The "church" of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?! Are you kidding me! Who comes up with this stuff?

20. Favorite Christmas ornament, color, or theme? I like the dark red colors and gold. And of course the theme of Christmas is Christ. It doesn't get much better than that.

21. Favorite Christmas dinner? In years past it has always been pierogies, this year being GF I'll have to find something else. I plan on making my Mac and Cheese!

22. Is there anything special that you want for Christmas this year? Not that I can think of. Although one of these years I do plan on getting the wonderful Kitchen Aid stand mixer! In red!

Happy Tagging!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thrifty Holiday ideas

This was originally going to be my first post for December, but being gone last week put a hiccup in my blogging plans. Anyway, I got this list from a coworker a few weeks ago and withing it are some budget pleasing ideas for making Christmas a special and unique one this year. With Christmas just a few weeks away there is still time to take part in some of these fun and frugal ideas to make your Christmas an enjoyable and budget friendly one. I'm not posting everything on the list, just the stuff that I think is fun and practical. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but I think it can be done. I mean hello, that's what baking Christmas cookies is all about:) There are also some other ideas that I found on other websites and, just so I don't seem like a total copy cat, I have a couple ideas of my own on here as well. They're at the end of this post. Happy crafting:)

1. Almost everyone loves
homemade truffles, says Mo. “My husband and I made them last year, and they were a big hit. I had no idea how easy to make they were, and we covered them with different kinds of crushed nuts and such. It was really fun! We then went and bought blank little white boxes and I decorated them with just some wrapping paper (glued) and ribbon. I think all together, we made about 15 boxes of truffles (9 truffles each box) for under $30. And we used good chocolate to boot!” Upside? Yum! Downside? They should be made only a short time before giving, and eaten soon after. If you’ve never made truffles before, try this recipe from Alton Brown.

2. Create a
secret hollow book. Find a cheap musty old classic at your nearby Goodwill or used bookstore. Glue the pages together, use an X-Acto knife to hollow out the center of the book. Now the recipient can store his treasures!

This could be particularly special if you were able to find a favorite book of the recipient of this gift. Any Jane Austen takers?:)

3. Martha Stewart has a great idea: create a
recipe booklet containing a collection of your favorite holiday recipes, and then include it with a small assortment of samples. “Pass your culinary traditions on to your friends.” Who doesn't love Martha, right? Of course the link is just an idea. Your personal ideas are always much more special to those you love.

4. Live in a cold climate? Give your friends the gift of warmth with a homemade hand warmer. If you know
how to make a bean bag, you know how to make a hand warmer. Use wool or cashmere or felt material, but instead of filling the bags with beans, fill them with ceramic pie weights. To use these toasty treasures, simply microwave them for a couple of minutes and then slip them in your pockets.

5. It’s difficult to go wrong with
themed gift baskets. Did you can your own pasta sauce over the summer? Use a colander for a basket, add some garlic bulbs, gourmet noodles, and a wooden spoon — a little taste of Italy. Or consider a breakfast basket. Or a breakfast basket (syrup and pancake mix), a movie basket (popcorn, candy, and a movie rental coupon), or a gardening basket (a trowel, a gardening hat, and some packets of seeds).

6. Can anyone say home-made almond roca. Here’s
one recipe.

7. At Ask Meta Filter, LadyBonita suggests making
personalized calendars: “You can buy calendar blanks or use a template from a program; add pictures of things or people meaningful to the recipient; add in important dates (birthdays and anniversaries of family & friends); and maybe a special note or quote every once in a while. For parents/students you can add in the school schedule; for homeowners you can add in a home maintenance schedule; etc. for sports fans, astrology followers, on & on. To make them extra special I sometimes add little treats - a couple dollars taped to a summer date for an ice-cream treat; a coupon for free babysitting on a weekend; video & popcorn night, etc.”

8. Here’s another great idea from Martha Stewart: create one of several dime-store games. My grandparents had several of
these modest toys when I was a boy, and they could keep me entertained for hours. The Martha Stewart site has instructions for creating six different games, toys, and puzzles.

9. Here’s an idea from one reader: “This year [my sister and I] are making
personalized mirrors with one word affirmations, like ‘fabulous’ and ‘gorgeous’. We started by picking up a bunch of the smallish (8×8) mirrors from Ikea, I think they are $5-6 for a four pack. My sister is obsessed with fonts, so we had some fun searching for fonts that fit the word we are going to use and the receiver of the mirror. We printed out the words to make stencils that we could cut out on contact paper. We used some glass etching glaze, left over from a candle holder project a few years ago, to etch the words on the mirrors. We added some cheap rhinestones to glitz up the mirrors for the girls and added a masculine etched pattern for the boys. We finished them off by attaching ribbon and twine so that they could be hung easily. I really like that we are giving them a reason to smile at themselves everyday when they leave for work or school.”

10. For several years, my wife and I gave each other
love coupons. Sounds sappy, I know. But it was nice to be able to come home at the end of the day and redeem a coupon for a dinner out, or for a back rub, or for an evening watching a favorite movie. I think that this could also be revamped for kids, i.e. quality time etc. Those are moments you'll never get back. Some of my favorite memories include me and my dad, when he would take me out for a day off of school if I got a B average on my report card.

11. Knip has a fantastic idea for a grandparent or other older relative: a
memory jar. “The most wonderful gift I’ve ever given (it’s still talked about years later) cost me almost nothing. I spent a few months contacting friends and family members and asked them to send me memories and old pictures of my grandfather. Then I wrote one memory (or printed one picture)on each of 365 business card sized pieces of cardstock. I folded each in half and secured it with a bit of tape, then placed them all in a big jar I decorated. Every morning for the next year, my grandfather would take out a paper, open it, and see what other people cherished in him. He loved it.”

12. If you have a funny bone then Fred's idea might work for you. Fred Bloggs has a unique idea. He gives his friends
joke boxes. These are “mostly gleanings from charity/thrift shops, picked up through the year when I see something particularly ugly or particularly good for a silly theme, and wrapped, because they don’t have to pretend to be expensive, in last year’s paper. Or sometimes one can make the jokes almost from scratch: things like knitty’s knitted womb, or my friend’s idea of a ‘rock concert’ — painted stones glued onto a ground with musical notes and dyed cotton bud mikes, that kind of thing. Someone else I know comes up with comic verses, and a token gift to illustrate the verse. Laughter’s a cheap gift, and a good one.”

13. Leanne has an idea that might be useful for college students looking for gifts on a budget. “I have a friend…who compiles a
mixed CD every year and mails them out to all his friends. It serves as a holiday card, gift, and moment of reconnection (we get a sense of how his year has been/things he’s been dealing with or excited about based on the music he chooses) plus we get introduced to new music we might not have picked up ourselves.” This could really work for anyone though. The gift of music is always memorable. Especially if you are able to find songs that remind you of the recipient or can find songs that inspire and encourage them. We are wired for music.

14. Who doesn't love Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate Cones will be a hit. With 15 nieces and nephews, Kellie in Houston had to come up with a great gift that's both thrifty and sweet. To put a twist on this classic winter treat, Kellie created her own hot chocolate mixes, but here's one for you to try. Using a plastic piping bag to hold the mix, Kellie says to start with a layer of cocoa, add marshmallows, and top with chocolate chips. Tie the top with a ribbon, and voilĂ !
Now for my ideas

15. If you have the software on your PC/Laptop (and most new ones do) create your own DVD of photos from your computer and put them to a song that is special to the recipient. Maybe it's a sentimental one filled with pics of special times that you spent together or maybe it a comedic one with photos of them hamming it up. Whatever it is it's always fun to see what other people are able to come up with.

16. Since most Christmas baking is out for me I have some new homemade recipes for other Christmas food fare. They now include Maple & Brown sugar Syrup and Peppermint Marshmallows. Recipes, and pics, can be found below.

Maple & Brown Sugar Syrup

2 sticks of unsalted butter (1/2 lb.)
2 c. of light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 c. Pure Maple Syrup

1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat melt the butter. Add sugar and salt into the melted butter and stir until sugar is dissolved, adjust heat until it comes to a boil (about 2 min longer). Add maple syrup and boil, stirring frequently, until sauce is thick, smooth and coats a spoon (about 2-4 min longer). Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour into jam jars (or any decorative jar that has a decent seal). Cool completely.

2. Tie a ribbon around each jar with instructions for heating (reheating takes about a minute) and serving ideas ("Drizzle over pancakes, oatmeal, or use for sweetener in

3. Stores in refrigerator for up to 2 months. Makes 3 8 oz. jars.

Peppermint Marshmallows

These were so much fun to make and super easy.

1 c. Powdered Sugar
4 tsp. water
1 Box crushed candy canes

Sift powdered sugar and add water. Mix until it forms a glaze consistancy. Dip half of a Marshmallow intoglaze and then coat in crushed candy canes. Let them dry and then serve in a mug of steaming hot chocolate. Yummy!!!

But if none of these seem to tickle your fancy then click on the Biblical woman hood link on my page she has a post with a lot ideas as well.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It's a small world after all

Don't let anyone tell you that the world is to big, because it's not. My brother ran into my cousin, who were both playing separate gigs, in NYC one summer. And I've ran into countless friends over the years and been connected to others along the way of life. When I was in the Navy I always used to joke that a persons world got small and then after I got saved my world got even smaller. Being a fundamental Baptist in the Navy leaves only a handful (if that) doctrinally sound churches that someone can attend, and because of that little room for not running into people you've previously been acquainted with. Part of the reason that I felt the Lords will for me was to join the church I now attend was because there were many people at Bible Baptist that had been connected with my friends at Calvary Baptist. Laura and Aaron were friends with Ken and Sharon (the leaders of the singles ministry in Sicily) while they were stationed in Virginia together. The choir director, Mike Dolan, said that his brother, Rick, was stationed in Sicily with his wife, after putting that together I realized I had been attending church with him. And Tim, who is now my SPG leader, had his own connection of friends that had passed through Calvary Baptist. The familiarity of the fellowship that was at Bible Baptist when I arrived spoke for itself.

This brings me full circle to the events of today. After 6 years of silent friendship my dear friend Joy and her husband Philip visited BBC today, after finally getting stationed at NAS Whidbey Island. This irony might not seem like much to most people, however the Lord happened to let me be the privileged instrument that brought Joy out to church where she accepted Christ and eventually married Philip. To tell the full story would take up many more pages on this blog, but suffice it to say I was tickled to see them today.

I saw them initially as I was walking from morning choir practice to the auditorium, but it didn't really register. However, being in the choir loft does give a person the advantage of looking out into the congregation to see who's who. And the more I looked at them while I was up there the more I new it was them. After service I approached Philip, who was talking to Chris. It took Philip a second to register who was looking at him, until Chris (who he was talking to) said my name. I just stared at him until he finally turned to me and said "I know you." I said "I know you know me, because I know you Philip." I smiled and then he said "Carolyn! You're Carolyn. From Sicily." It was hilarious, LOL. He went on to say that we needed to find Joy 'cause she would freak out, which once we finally did see each other,happened. It was totally cool! Joy was just like I remembered her, and the same was reciprocated, except that time has left it's inevitable mark on us both. I'm 15 pounds heavier and she's got 3 little girls and a husband. We laughed about how we found ourselves in opposite ideals of the lives that we originally saw ourselves in. And we shared in a noisy, albeit satisfying lunch. We've all changed over time, but being with them today made me think about how really age is just a number and that once souls are knitted together through life's experiences that's all that really matters and makes us who we are.

I hope that everyone has the opportunity to share the excitement of this experience at least once, I don't think that I should get to have all the fun in this matter. I've always wondered if, and when, and event like this would transpire because of already knowing the truth of the opening statement in this blog, It is a small world after all.

What a way to start the closing of a year and the opening of a new one:) I can't wait to see what 2009 holds for us.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin