Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Poof fail

Well, here's how it started.

Last night, I accidentally fell upon this video. A 12 minute, step-by-step tutorial on how to get your hair to do this amazing thing of beauty and joy forever:

(taken from brodyfrancis.blogspot.com)

I mean, have you ever seen such a poof?!?

Impressive, right???

(And let's please try to forget about the fact that it might be nice to be blond, skinny and work a pink top like that. Moving on.)

Now, while that might be just a wee bit more poof than I'm comfortable with, I think she rocks it, and this whole thing has fanned aflame in my heart my intense love of hair.

I really like messing with hair.

I wanted to go to beauty school.

My bangs miss the 80's.

I study everyone's hair.

I ask annoying and numerous questions in the presence of any hair care professional.

And if you know me, you know that I also really enjoy a good challenge.

Challenge: The Poof

Culprit: My Poor Hair

Contender: Girl With Too Much Time On Her Hands

The Fine Print: while I do have naturally curly hair, I straighten it. And when I straighten it, it forgets it was ever curly and acts like fine, straight hair...with an attitude. I also never, ever use hairspray. I think my hair went into shock today. That's all I know to say.

I did everything she said to do. I divided my hair into sections at the crown, sprayed, then teased. Oh, how I teased.

The results?

Well, you may need a bucket or a lined trash can but here you are.

The things I do for you.

Just a word here about how special you are.
There is not one molecule of makeup on my face.
I never let people see my real face.
I am also still wearing my pajamas.

Now go back to your freak show.

Raked through and tied down....

please note the lack of poof.

So, in reflecting on this valuable experience, I think the moral of the story is 2-fold.

1. I need to find something else to do during the boy's naptime.

2. The art of "Poofing" should be left to the Alabama pageant girls.

Here's to hoping your hair adventures show up on your blog too. :)

It's Tough Being a Woman

I just started this study by the wonderful Beth Moore this morning, and was immediately reminded of why I've always liked her so much.

It's like she knows I just need so much help.

I was telling Stacey this morning that I can feel bad needing a lot of help to get into God's Word....but I really, really do. Things have been kinda dry lately.

Thankfully, I really do have the desire to meet with the Lord in a significant way every day, and I can honestly tell you I have gone through looong seasons where this was simply not the case.

My issue right now is that I just think I'm a lot dumber than I used to be.

(I'm sure you're all thinking gracious and kind thoughts about me right now, aren't you? Yes you are.)

And I'm more tired and distracted. A lot. More. Huh? What? Distracted.

Is it just the young mommy thing? Is it just me? Anyone???

One small indication of this is that I currently own 2 Beth Moore studies: "Breaking Free" and "Living Beyond Yourself." I started them in college and didn't finish either one.

(my spiritual gifts are clearly diligence and self-discipline)

Neither of them really appeal to me right now because they sound like they're a lot of work. I mean "Breaking Free"???

"Living Beyond Yourself"??? I'm doing good to just get through my own daily life.

I know, I know. That's not a fair assessment... of me or of the studies.

But truthfully, it was the "It's Tough Being a Woman" part of this title that won me over. I think it's my need for someone to sit beside me, play with my hair and feel very, very sorry for me.

(Martyr??? What's a martyr???)

I have a feeling good ol' Beth isn't going to do that though.

I just can't seem to focus and draw out deep observations and hidden treasures from the Word like I used to. I really feel like I need her promptings and specific questions to keep my mind on the right track.

One of the questions she asks you on the first day is what you're hoping to get out of this study. I thought I'd share that with you, and maybe this will help me make sure I finish this so I can come back at the end of it and tell you how God answered my prayers.

1. To be drawn into God's word in a fresh way.

2. To see who God is in ways I haven't before.

3. To fall more in love with who He is as a result.

4. To hear what He has to say to me through this study.

So, there you have it. And if anyone is interested in doing this study too, maybe we could discuss it in one of those cool chat rooms? ;)

You can even get the first chapter free here.

And just to tease you, you'll finally learn what a "megillah" is!

I know!!! ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

To ease your concern

In the event you have been losing sleep, burnin' the midnight oil and holding vigils for your friendly neighborhood lawyers and legal assistants....

fearing the worst has happened...

that they have become....





Fret not yourselves!!!

For they are aliveth and kicketh and filleth upeth thine mail receptical!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

So, today sucked

Can I just complain for a second?

It was a rough day. It could have been a MUCH, much worse day. I'm incredibly grateful for that, and I realize that my small little annoyances are just that.

Especially in light of the horrific things happening in the world right now. I really do know that.

But, alas, here is The End of the Disclaimers.

So, I went to work this morning, and since Josh was off today, he decided to take the boys out on an errand. He realized he forgot something at the house, and when he turned the car around a truck came up on his blind side and hit him.

Thankfully (SO thankfully) the truck hit the front left corner of the car. No one was hurt at all....except Josh's pride. The driver got out and yelled at him for awhile, but calmed down once he saw the boys, and ended up being really nice by the end of it all.

Funny how we'll treat people any ol' way until we see kids in earshot.

The car, however, is in bad shape and it will more than likely be really expensive to fix.

THEN, while I was driving home from work, a cop pulled me over for having an expired tag. It expired 6 days ago.

The cop looked at my license and asked, "Did your husband have a wreck today?"

"He did. It's been a great day."

"Yeah, I recognized the name. I worked that wreck. I'll be right back."

(a few humiliating minutes later...)

"Well, I'm not going to give a husband and wife a ticket on the same day. Here's your warning. Go get it taken care of."

Josh is usually really on top of stuff like that so he was surprised because he hadn't received anything in the mail telling him to renew it. Apparently, we're supposed to actually look at the sticker, but whatever.


All of today's events were made more dramatic in my heart because 1) a very precious family member is struggling greatly with cancer and discouragement right now, 2) several dear friends are grieving the loss of people they love, 3) Haiti, 4) it's January and January and I historically don't get along and 5) it's cold and rainy outside....I don't get along with cold or rain very much either.

I'm not gonna lie. I said some ugly words today. Real ugly.

But here's where the story gets better. Are you ready???

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart!
I have overcome the world.

(John 16:33)

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."

The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.

(Lamentations 3:21-25)

Deep breath.

That changes things. A lot.

It would be so easy for my to spiral down into my pit (as I often do during the winter...maybe I'll write about that one day), but instead, I'm met with incredibly good news!

I mean, REALLY good news! He's OVERCOME THE WORLD, people!

Not cancer, not bad news, not death, not wrecked cars, not dark, gloomy January days, not expired tags, not even destruction of bible proportions.

He is our hope. We have a glorious inheritance to look forward to!

"...an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—
kept in heaven for you,

who through faith are shielded by God's power
until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice,
though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold,
which perishes even though refined by fire—
may be proved genuine
and may result in praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed.

(1 Peter 1:4-7)

I was talking with a really sweet friend the other day and we were just reminding each other that this isn't how it ends. It won't always be this way. He really will wipe all our tears away. He really will redeem this whole big mess called our world. It's gonna get good.

Jesus changes everything. He just does.

Even as I write I'm reminded of so many ways He's cared for us today in this car fiasco.

--Right now, my father-in-law is in the garage with Josh helping him do some maintenance work on our old honda, and moving the car seats into it. He's the one who gave us the car that was wrecked this morning. It was our third car. We don't even have to mess with the hassle of getting places with only one car.

--The cop didn't give me a ticket.

--My father-in-law knows a cop who may be able to keep points from going onto Josh's license.

--Josh, Isaiah and Manny walked away completely unharmed. I mean, hello, Dana?

--My father-in-law also knows an old man who works on cars like ours, and will save us a lot of money.

--We have food, heat, clothes and everything else we could possibly need. We don't even have to go to the grocery store tonight. :)

--We have been flooded with phone calls and messages from people who love us, making sure we're ok.

I guess I need to look up sometimes and realize that, though it can feel like this all just really sucks, Jesus makes the future bright and beautiful and sure and good...

....and today gets a little better.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010



Now, listen. It's high time we reclaim the "hooters" for the rightful owners.

I'm not talking about people who are um, let's say real as opposed to fake.

Naturally, I'm talking about the owls. Duh.

So. Teenage boys who think you're being cute and thought you'd find something else by typing "hooters" into google... go read your bible.

And wash your mouth out with soap. It just feels like you should.

(can you tell I'm a mom who's been waiting to be able to say that?)

Or, better yet, go memorize a chapter of the bible and recite it back to your mother to regain your computer privileges.

That's what I had to do in the 8th grade to get my radio back after my mom found the lyrics to "Baby Got Back" in my pocket.

It was 1 Corinthians 13. I know it's about love. Love is patient and kind and doesn't envy or boast. Oh, and it keeps no record of wrongs. And it always encourages.

That's pretty good, right?

("I like big butts and I cannot lie. You other brotha's can't deny, when a girl walks in with a itty-bitty waist and....you can do side bends or sit ups but please don't lose that butt...so Cosmo says you're fat, well I ain't down that cause your waist is small and your curves are kickin...." I need to stop.)

Uh oh, Momma. It didn't work.

I'm REAL sorry. Sir Mix A Lot sticks a lot. My brain just won't let it go.

(Also, in other related news, if you're name is Courtney and you're carrying a cute little baby in your belly named Nathaniel, you're not allowed to read this either.)

Now that I'm tired and have fond sentiments of large posteriors running amuck in my head.....

I just wanted to show ya'll these adorable owl cookies I made the other day. I'm helping put on a baby shower for my friend Courtney this weekend, and her theme is owls.


These cookies will be put in cute, little baggies and handed out to guests as favors.

I was surprised at how simple these were to make. A few of them fell apart and we were, of course, forced to eat them on the spot, but other than that....easy-breezy.

Here's the recipe, but brace yourselves. I'm about to do that whole "channel Ree" thing and attempt to explain what I did.

Go get yourself a cup of coffee and a kleenex...because....oh, the beauty.

You start with a roll of sugar cookie dough. Divide it into thirds. Separate one third. (This does require some high level math guesstimation...don't feel bad. I'm challenged too.)

To that third, add 1/4 c flour. Knead until smooth.

To the other section, add 1/3 c cocoa powder. Knead until smooth.

Take the floured dough and roll out into a log about 1 inch thick and 10 inches long.

Here is where we get very advanced in the kitchen.

Go to your junk drawer. Pull out your husband's very yellow, industrial measuring tape.

(Fyi, if it's not yellow, it's not industrial enough.)

Lock that bad boy at 10 inches and that, my friends, is the only way a true culinary expert can be sure the log is indeed 10 inches.

You're precise and your husband is proud to know you. It's a win-win.

Then take the chocolate dough and, using your wicked measuring tape skills (if you're still here, teenage boys...that was for you), roll out into a rectangle that's about 10 inches long and 4 inches wide.

I've heard the men talk about things being 2 by 4.

Perhaps, 10 by 4 would be appropriate here. I'm not entirely sure.

Now we get really crazy. Place the 10 inch long roll ON TOP OF the 10 inch long rectangle.
(this picture makes me dizzy...I guess I was in the middle of my cartwheel when I took it.)

Roll the chocolate dough around the log and pinch the edges. Then gently roll to smooth out the seam until you have something that looks like this beauty.

I mean, what's not appetizing about a long... brown... log?

I feel sure there's a joke in there somewhere. Teenage boys?

Ok, wrap it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 mins.

Then take it out and cut into 1/4 inch slices.

Lay two slices next to each other on a cookie sheet and make sure they're touching. I kinda pinched them together a little. I also decided to pinch little points on the top corners like this.

You can see where this is going now, right?

Take a whole cashew and press where the two slices meet.

If you're still trying to figure out what the heck this is, the cashew will be the beak.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-11 mins. Let them cool. Then, using a dab of frosting, put M&Ms on for eyes.

See? It's an owl!!!

Now, go tell your friends that you have about 20 hooters in your kitchen!

And of course, be prepared to explain why you have a bunch of owls in your house.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Reason #967 why I love my husband

Because, despite what might be expected from a small town, country boy who grew up in the deep south knowing only a handful of people who didn't look just like him, he loves people.

And not just people who look like him. In fact, few things make him sicker than that mentality.

He truly values what makes us different. He fights against the culture of the south to value that.

His relationships with family and friends alike reflect that value in his life. He just loves people.

And he believes with all his heart that God created all people well....that they all reflect their Maker in some way, and therefore should be treated with same dignity, love and respect we want to receive from each other.

(This, among other reasons, have led him over the past several months to consider and discuss a possible future here. I'll keep you posted.)

And because this is who he is and what he deeply values, he reads this letter to his students every year about this time. He reads it because they need to hear it.

Sure, he teaches math. And no, this doesn't really have anything to do with math, but he knows that what is written in this letter is important enough.

And necessary enough.

It's his heart.

There hasn't been a time yet that he hasn't had to stop reading at some point to regain his composure.

And for good reason.

If you've never read it before (and even if you have), I hope you take a few seconds to do just that.

Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt
the stinging darts of segregation
to say,


But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will
and drown your sisters and brothers at whim;

when you have seen hate-filled policeman curse, kick,
and even kill your black brothers and sisters;

when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers
smothering in an airtight cage of poverty
in the midst of an affluent society;

when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering
as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why
she cannot go to the public amusement park
that has just been advertised on television,

and see tears welling up in her eyes when she’s told that
Funtown is closed to colored children,

and see ominous clouds of inferiority
beginning to form in her little mental sky,

and see her beginning to distort her personality
by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people;

when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking,
“Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”;

when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep
night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile
because no motel will accept you;

when you are humiliated day in
and day out by nagging signs reading
“white” and “colored”;

when your first name becomes

your middle name becomes
“boy” (however old you are)

and your last name becomes

and your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”;

when you are harried by day and haunted by night
by the fact that you are a Negro,

living constantly at tiptoe stance,
never quite knowing what to expect next,

and are plagued with inner fears an outer resentments;

when you are for ever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodiness” --

then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over,
and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.

I hope sirs, you can understand our legitimate
and unavoidable impatience.

(M. L. King, Letter from Birmingham Jail)

You can read the full letter here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I would like to dedicate this song to my former middle school students

Dear former middle school chorus students,

HI. It's me. Your favorite chorus teacher ever.

I would like to take this opportunity to dedicate this song to you.

Please allow the words to wash over you and dig deep into the far recesses of your brains.

(notice that I am not even requiring you to take notes. You're very welcome).

If I were still your teacher you can bet your bottom dollar that you would be required to commit this song to memory, and would recite it to me often.

In my absence, I would like to gently remind you that your teachers (and most other reasonable humans) are incredibly uninterested in your choice or lack of choice of undergarment for any particular day.

Unlike some of your discernment-challenged peers, we do not find it interesting, cute, funny, sexy, cool, amazing, awesome, special, unique, hot, dope, bootylicious, sweet, bad, bad a**, crunk, da bomb, fa-sheezy, b*tchin', bangin', bumpin', or anything else.

For Alex and others of you who had pleaded with me countless times out in hall to no avail, I do understand that your pants may be too big, which is a whole other topic for a different day. You might be relieved to know that you do not have a 50 inch waist.

But as long as you insist on wearing pants 6 sizes too big, might I suggest a belt or any long, thin item that might serve useful in keeping your waistband near your...um, well....waist?

I know that sounds very "old skool" but just give it a try. You might even enjoy the freedom that comes with not showing the world that your underwear is, in fact, the same underwear you've worn for the last 3 days.


No one really needs that information.

And especially not your teachers.

Yours Truly,
Mrs. H.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Behind a frowning providence

I can't make sense of it. I have more questions than answers.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that tragedy like this threatens to rock my theology at it's very core.

I was listening to NPR this afternoon as they were discussing how the horror in Haiti has affected their faith.

One man called in and said, "I understand why you feel like you need to have faith, but the idea that a god or deities are up there orchestrating all of this is cruel and illogical. Buildings have fallen and crushed children. That's just cruel."

Another caller said, "If you want to hold to your faith and pray for what's happening, I fully support you, but if you really want to make a difference, do something! Let your actions speak for you because God and your prayers isn't going to do anything for those people. Other people are what's going to help them."


But I understand how they feel this way. They don't have eyes to see and ears to hear. I would feel that way too.

And am tempted to feel some of it now.

But now is the absolute worst time to lean on my own understanding. Now is the worst time to look through the lens of what I deem fair and just.

Who am I? Who are we?

We don't know. We just don't.

So, I'm taking my real questions and real doubts to the One with the answers. The One who will one day redeem it all. The One who will wipe away every tear. The One who will restore what the locusts have eaten. The One who's thoughts are infinitely higher than ours.

That's all I know to do with my heart right now.

Trusting that, though today we see a frowning providence, behind it hides His smiling face.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

--William Cowper

**Note: if you are struggling like me with your thoughts of who God is in the wake of this incredible tragedy...this, in my opinion, is an incredibly frank but helpful sermon to read that was written right after an awful earthquake hit Turkey in '99.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Help me bring sexy back

I can't believe I just titled this post that way. Josh would be disturbed and a little embarrassed.

"Really, Dana? Justin Timberlake?"

Oh well. Moving on.

I'm about to give you an unsolicited, untouched, real-life tour of our bedroom.

You know, where the "magic" happens.

(please don't throw up...it was just a small joke.)

Now normally, if you were to come to our house, unless you're family or friends that are basically family, this room would be locked and boarded up.

But today, because I'm such a good Christian, I'm putting what little pride I have aside.

(I realize I might be able to get away with that line, except for that fact that most of you know me....but if you happen to have found me by some random google search, please know that the above line is completely true. Really. You should get to know me....my lack of pride exudes. And as you may have already noticed, I am also very self-aware and honest. :) )

And the reason I'm showing you this room is because...

I need help.

This room is very unsexy. And I think the master bedroom should be a restful, peaceful sanctuary in the house. Mine is not. And here are a few of the reasons:

1. It is small.
2. It doubles as our office.
3. We are unorganized.
4. We don't know what to do.
5. We've crammed a lot of furniture into it.
6. I had a small obsession with wedding pictures 6 years ago.
7. I am apparently fresh out of any material that could be used to remove dust.
8. It is small.
9. My husband likes to collect computers so he can one day build the Fastest Computer Mankind Has Ever Seen and take over the world.

("What are we going to do today, Brain? What we do everyday, Pinky...")

So, it's time to make it over. Here's where you come in.

I have a few ideas I'll share with you, but then I want your feedback.

Preferably not feedback like,
"Oh wow. That would suck."
Or "this is just a great reminder of how blessed I am."
Or "thanks for helping me reach a new level of contentment."
Or anything starting with, "bless your heart..."
Or "So just 2 kids, huh? Plan to have anymore? Hmm."

Now, I would like you to remember your good southern manners, but don't lie to me. In fact, a bit of northern directness would be refreshing, but please don't hurt my feelings.

Let's say Virginia....for good balance.

Just kidding. I'm a teacher. I have to give directions or I feel irresponsible but, like my students, you can ignore them.

Let's begin the tour, shall we?

Door to the bathroom:
Printer, filing cabinet, haven for all loose papers, bills, etc:

Office/dresser with tv/computer:
(See? I didn't even remove my breakfast bowl, that's how prideless I am...)

Top o' dresser #2....a subtle shrine to our union:

Stress zone aka office aka the problem:

Closet and life size picture of me in my wedding dress, in case you missed the wedding:

Um, not sure what to do with these. They were on sale right after we got married:

My night stand (Josh didn't get one and sometimes he likes to bring it up):

So there you have it. Now here are a few ideas I've had:

1. Paint the room red (and change bedding). Think Behr Pottery Red or some kind of wine color.

2. Come up with a new system for organizing the office in a way that can be contained and out of sight if we want it to be. And we do. Perhaps a wardrobe or armoire? This would require taking out one of the dressers, consolidating and purging clothes. We're so fine with that.

3. Remove most of the wedding pics, but leaving the one above the bed.

4. Hang this picture I got from Josh's parents for Christmas. I love it's whimsy. It's kind of the inspiration for the direction I want to go in.
5. Do some kind of window treatments. Nothing bulky and preferably not a scarf either.

Oh yeah, and we're trying to not spend a lot (always the clencher, huh?).

So, what would you do?


Take My Life...

Lots of emotions and tears this morning. Some sad tears, but many thankful, GOOD tears.

And this song, playing itself as a prayer over and over in my heart.

Desperate. Waiting. Longing. Hoping.

"Take my will and make it Thine
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own
it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord I pour
at Your feet its treasure store

Here am I.

All of me.

Take my life.

It's all for Thee."

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Jesus and this drink make me happy

So, here's what happened.

I took both boys to the Dr. this morning. Both have had the crud for 2 weeks now and all of sudden Isaiah can't hear us.

Never good.

Now, I knew going in it would be bad. Isaiah has an intense dislike for any instrument that looks "medical" in any way. He freaks out when I try to take his temp under his arm.

Does he not remember the other way?

We get there and the epic drama begins. He will NOT stand on the scale. We are standing in the middle of the office and he is kicking, screaming, crying. I had to pick him up to put him on it, and, if not for the fact that he's smart and went spread eagle on me, I would have succeeded. It was almost funny that the nurse kept pointing out the Thomas sticker on the scale.

Do you see him??? Really??? But bless her, she was trying.

(Oh yeah, Manny's just sitting in a chair staring at us.)

Then the Dr comes in and it continues at every single step. Temp check, lungs check, ear check...all with full arms, legs and head restraint by none other than yours truly.

She gave up after that, but we're pretty sure he doesn't have a sinus infection.


At one point she was saying to him, "No it doesn't hurt. It doesn't hurt! Sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do. You're sick and we're trying to find out what's wrong with you! If you don't stop, you're going to time out!"

Now, I understand that that seems to cross a line into parenting that Drs shouldn't cross....and normally, I would agree with you. But ya'll, I was just thankful for any additional help. We needed the full A-team in there at that point, and I was ready to pay her to come home and play Mommy for the rest of the day.

(I wonder what Mr. T is doing today....)

But grace abounds. I woke up this morning with my alarm, spent time in the Word and begged God for grace and love for my kids today. Yesterday morning didn't start well either and I was much uglier. MUCH.

I've had joy and love for those boys that doesn't come from me, and that sweet grace from the Lord is the only reason I didn't have a breakdown in the Dr's office too. (Not because I had a quiet time, but because He's really good like that. You understand.)

And I judge none of you who have. :)

God knew Isaiah doesn't need to have "crazy Momma" written in his chart after all that.

THEN, I came home and saw PW's recipe for Dulce de Leche coffee. Oh how it beckoned me! You should really take a moment to drool over it so you know where I'm coming from.

Coffee. Creamy dulce de leche. Kahlua. Whipped cream. Chocolate.

Let's all take a moment to thank Jesus.

I'm not kidding.

Now, I'm not trying to be the Pioneer Woman. I know you must be a little confused right now because her and I are so similar in our many various talents.

Oh, and our love of cattle ranching.

And previous careers as ballerinas.

But I thought I would show you how I made mine in case you want to make this but do not currently possess a block of dulce de leche in your pantry... if you do, I'm thoroughly intrigued and would like to come over, please.

You can find plenty of recipes to make your own, but most of them involve vanilla beans or a can of sweetened condensed milk. Neither of which I had, but if you do, the SCM (don't feel like typing it out...not sure I just saved any time) version is probably the way to go.

This idea came from a recipe review online.

Now, I'm about to impress you with my ability to explain this recipe in words and pictures. Just like her. Oh, Ree. I love you.

In your LARGEST pot, combine 4 cups milk, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp vanilla.

I emphasize large because my milk stuff overflowed, charred
and then started a small kitchen fire.

Put on medium high heat and simmer/boil for awhile.

It doesn't hurt to listen to Michael Buble either. "Georgia On My Mind" is a very soothing selection after pouring a Brita pitcher of water over flames shooting up from your burner.

The milk will eventually reduce down to a very thick, light brown mixture of goodness. It took mine (after the fire) about 25 mins. You'll need to stir it a lot...especially in the last few minutes.

In the mean time, Isaiah had a little fun with the camera, I guess.

Here's what it will look like. Mmmm.

Please excuse the blur that follows. My camera and I are no longer on speaking terms.

Then you're ready to follow Ree's recipe. Or stay here and check out mine because her and I, we're pretty much the same.

Plop a couple spoonfuls of that wonderful substance into a pot of very hot coffee. Ree says it needs to be really hot so the dulce de leche dissolves.

And I believe her.

Now what you do next is up to you and whether you're a good Southern Baptist or not. :)

For the record, I am not. That's right. Hope you're not disappointed in me.

I just followed the recipe, ok?

And The Recipe says to pour some Kahlua into each cup. I guess how much is up to your convictions, and I'm not telling you mine. Read the beginning of this post for a hint.

Follow with the sweetened coffee and top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

I used Reddi Whip and a shaved Hershey kiss....no shame.

It. Was. Good.

Amen and Amen.

Tilted for a little artistic variety. And yes, that's a beer stein. We don't have those fancy Irish coffee thingys.

I had to pull a Tim Gunn and just make it work.

Let me know if you try it!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

After a brief break...

of doing NOTHING....I'm back.

All 4 of us have had the hacking, snot dripping, congestion crud for the last 2 weeks so when I say we've done nothing, that means the boys have done nothing.

Ok, ok... they've done something.

They have played with new toys (oh, the toys!), napped, ate a little, watched tv and napped.

Josh has started a worm compost bin.

I have watched "Julie and Julia" about 14 times; read my amazing, wonderful, brilliant book; poured over recipes, including Julia's Boeuf Bourguignon...again....and then turned my head in fear and trepidation (it took me 4 times to type it but, DANG it looks good); made a month long meal plan and bought the groceries; used a Netti pot more times than I would like to remember; cuddled with my sweet Josh; cooked; played new board games with friends; and celebrated all the holidays.

Ok, so I lied. None of us have really done nothing, but we've enjoyed laying low and having excuses for not running around and doing a lot.

And slowly, the crud is starting to go away. But Mr. Netti pot hasn't yet.

(and PS... if you're in need of some good, cheap entertainment and your husband has never used a Netti pot before, watch him. )

Anyway, thought I would share a few pics taken with a camera on it's way out.

So, you know, don't judge my photography skills....cause they're REAL good. :)

Christmas Eve!
Sadly, this was one of the only pics I took at
Josh's parent's house before my batteries died.
Christmas there is HUGE.

Just plain cute
(I like how he poses while he counter surfs.)

On my mom's side we draw names and make that person
a gift. My mom had my brother's name and worked
for months knitting him a hat complete with detachable
beard and several detachable mustaches.
He was thrilled.

My incredibly adorable, sweet, Godly cousin Tiffany
gently crushing my uncle Jamie's head.
More about him in a later post.

Chaos. We're a big family.

New Years Eve!

Sweet Keziah.
Love spunky little girl.

What the boys did.

What the girls did.

Shawnda with a mug of her
Really Good Mulled Wine.

The Kovacs' are moving in a couple weeks
and leaving us forever to go to Texas.
I'm feeling very dramatic
and sad about it.

Anyway, this was our last
hurrah with these dear, precious friends.
It's amazing for me to look at this pic of all our of
kids because none of them were there when we
met 5 years ago.

What amazing things our God has done!
We love you Kovacs!