"logic" can be relative

In case you ever find yourself wondering whether it is conceivably possible to go to bed at 9:30 pm (yes, you read that right), wake up at 6:30 am(since I'm an accountant married to a math teacher, I'll do the complex math for you - 9 hours) and still have dark circles under your eyes? I am here to tell you that the answer is yes! Did I mention I took naps both Saturday AND Sunday? I am the woman who hates naps! They just happened without my consent!! As my sick-looking, dark, shadowed eyes stared back at me from the mirror this morning, I half-kiddingly asked my math man, 'do you think we could have mono?' (he woke up saying he was still tired also after sleeping 9 hrs last night...never mind that he hadn't been to bed until 3 am the night before, and the sleep he did get was in a cold, wet tent on school property with loud teenagers about...) His non-verbal response to my semi-ridiculous (ok, fine! totally ridiculous) question was immediate...he raised one eyebrow, furrowed the other and looked at his wife in a 'I know you aren't crazy, but are you crazy?!?' kind of way. His verbal response was something more like, 'Um...no, if we had mono, we would have NO energy.' I was like, 'yeah! exactly! and??' He lovingly shook his head and smiled, but my answer was clear. The interaction made aware of how grateful I am for the reality check we each bring to each other, in different ways. For example, I lovingly shake my head no when he asks to use various kitchen tools as objects for which they were not intended. This permission/sanity check is sometimes bypassed, however. Last year, one of my favorite spatulas (wooden, sturdy, very useful!) disappeared. I kept waiting for it to turn up, much like you wait for the missing sock to come out of the next laundry load...and wait. and wait. Well I started looking in places I conceivably could have mistakenly put it away, searched drawers/cupboards with no luck. I thought, 'well? Maybe Eric accidentally put it somewhere I don't know to look when he was unloading the dishwasher.' PS When Eric can't remember where something goes, he makes it into a little treasure hunt for me the next time I go looking for it. But I don't complain! Having the dishwasher unloaded in any variety is always welcome! Anyway, back to my spatula. So I ask Eric, 'you haven't seen my wooden spatula, have you? I just can't find it anywhere!' Immediately a sheepish, caught-red-handed look sweeps across his face, like, 'uh-oh...she noticed.' Well come to find out, he'd been using it for weeks as an ice-scraper for the car!! I've since reclaimed it as the kitchen tool that it is, but now I know to keep an eye on it in the winter...;)
Anyway, I am glad my husband is compassionate and sympathetic, but draws the line at feeding into my occasional over-the-top woes. ;) Just the right balance. I only hope I am the same logical balance the days he suggests Taco Bell for breakfast. not even kidding.


Not what I expected...

So this weekend wasn't quite the bliss I was hoping for. Sure, I didn't have to work, I was home without a lot of responsibilities, plans, commitments to go to, but honestly? It was pretty lonely. The game did not get cancelled Saturday (despite all my secret wishes) so Eric left at about 9 am and didn't get home until 6:30 pm. Thankfully they won (yaay!) AND the best part for Eric was that the bus didn't have room for him so he hitched a ride with the varsity coach driving his own truck down - how awesome is that?! He was so happy, plus the varsity coach is a good buddy of his, a fellow teacher at GDS. So Saturday night, he was toast from such a long day...then last night, you won't guess how the fun continued... He is a chaperone for all the student council events at school and last night they had a lock-in! So poor Eric headed back up to school at 5 pm Sun night and hasn't been home, nor will he get home until this afternoon! I am venturing a wild guess that he will be sleepy, groggy, and completely exhausted tonight. That is, if he isn't in bed already when I get home from work! My kitchen did get a good cleaning, but then all my cooking/baking dirtied it up again, so I cleaned again, then used it again, ugh, the cycle is endless, amen? I did straighten the house up to a point that when Eric got home Sat. night, he let out a big sigh of relief upon entry and said, 'you have no idea how relaxing it is to come home to such a clean house' - yaay, victory! I love that. I also collected and folded all the runaway laundry from my spare room, but...it is still neatly tucked in two laundry baskets waiting to be put away...

I'd say the highlight of my weekend was that first bite into warm, cinnamony, soft, sweet goodness that filled my house with warmth Sunday morning. I took a few pictures and will post them, along with the recipe as soon as I figure out how to get the pictures off Eric's high-tech phone onto the computer.

Also? I am falling in love with our foster kitten, therefore adoption bells have begun to ring. I fear any more attachment and she will bear the last name 'Shilling' before long. I caught a special moment between her and my Marzell (who, when others are watching, pretends to hate her, but she is working her way into his heart too!). I will post that later too.

One more complaint? This morning I wanted to be sweet to the cat farm and got out some wet food (which they hardly ever get and is a major treat when they do!) I also got out the little dishes I spoon it onto for them. They are perfect little individual sizes for them - nevermind that they are my hand-painted-Italian-William-Sonoma-olive oil dipping bowls that match accompaning bread plates. Ok, I realize at this point, you are thinking, 'why, again, do you let you cats eat off them??' but they are the perfect little size and easy to wash! Anyway. I got those out also, and set them on the counter. I then went over to get my coffee going so it could brew while I dished out the wet food....+C-R-A-S-H+!!!!! Marzell had batted one of the mini-bowls off the counter and being made of porcelain, it smashed on the floor below. *GASP!* "NOOOOooooo!!! Marzell!!!!!" I immediately scooped him up, and threw him into the dark guest bathroom for a 'time out'. Did I just say I put my cat in time-out?! Yes! Because how do cats respond to being smacked or scolded? They get madder and mean! So the only way I could "punish" him was to isolate him and take away the treat he was about to receive. UGH, anyway, I let him out again before I left, but I just hate that 1) one of my beautiful dipping bowls is broken!! (yes, I realize its my fault for using them, thank you very much!) 2) Started the day off frazzled, mad at myself and the darn cat 3) still crabby after having to sleep alone last night!

I need more coffee this am! I'm thinking the rule, 'If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all' is about to apply to me ASAP! Have I already missed my cue??


Weekend Plans

Oh, I am so excited it's Friday. Nothing better than being just a few hours from a blissful weekend ahead! And I couldn't be more excited about our plans. What are they, you ask? Nothing!... isn't that beautiful?? Well, I shouldn't say nothing, because I do have plans: to make a big batch of delicious cinnamon rolls, my darn kitchen has been asking me to clean it (its so high-maintenance these days), and of course my hubby might appreciate if I collect, fold, and put away the clean laundry that has literally taken over our guest bedroom. Imagine what a bomb of clean clothes exploding in a room would look like and you get the gist...hey, at least they are clean, right?? Could be worse...like my bathroom. *clearing throat* ...Moving on, shall we?

Oh, another plan for the weekend is taking care of Snoopy, my beloved childhood dog, who at this point, is hobbling around, the poor thing, due to arthritis and allergies. I really feel for him, he used to love walks, chasing squirrels, and would give my cats a run for their money! But now, he is pretty sedentary due to the pain in his poor little legs. Anyway, I hope I can show him a little affection this weekend like the good ole' days when he was my sweet puppy dog.

Eric has a soccer game tomorrow in Charlotte, which means a day long event, leaving at 9 am, not to return until probably 4-5 pm. Doesn't getting up early on Sat. to ride on a bus for 2 hours with hyper & nervous underclassmen excited for their game, then coaching the big game, then having to sit around to watch the varsity game, then riding back home on that same bus with now sweaty, stinky, either very elated and more hyper (from a win) or crabby (from a loss) junior-varsity players, sound like a blast? Can't say I envy his plans tomorrow! but he loves it and only the Lord knows why! ;) I secretly wish he was going to be home with me and my marvelous plans of filling the house with the sweet aroma of warm yeast and cinnamon...and with the 70% chance of rain after a drizzly down-pour all day today, my odds of him being home after all are looking pretty good. I do realize that is a selfish desire on my part...but... but, what can I say? I love when he's home! Is that so bad??

If the recipe works out as well for me as when Maria made the world's best cinnamon rolls, I will share the magic of gooey goodness with all.


Delicious Stuffed Zucchini!

Fall is upon us! Hooray! Autumn is my favorite season and I am excited about the cooler days ahead! Cinnamon, apples, pumpkin... hmmm, and squash/zucchini!! This is a yummy recipe that is inexpensive and healthy! I made this for Eric and myself with zucchini I bought at the farmer's market; we have been enjoying the leftovers all week!

Zucchini with Quinoa Stuffing

1/2 cup quinoa (wonderful grain if you haven't had it yet! You can find it at most health food stores, and who knows, maybe a regular one...it is very inexpensive, delicious, and known as "gold of the Incas"- google it, you will be amazed)
4 medium zucchini
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed (can substitute navy beans or white northern beans)
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered (1 c. canned diced tomatoes works too!)
1/2 cup almonds, chopped (can use less if you prefer)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (I only used 1/2 c. total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oven to 400° F. In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange in a large baking dish, cut- side up.
Fluff the quinoa and fold in the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Spoon the mixture into the zucchini. Top with the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
Yield: Makes 4 servings (or in my case, more than that! They are pretty filling!)

Go, make and enjoy! Then invite me over for the leftovers... ;)

--Thank you, Erin, for such a great recipe! --


Happy Birthday my Dearest Sister!!

Today my big sis and best friend turns 28! How time flies!! I am so very thankful to the Lord for giving me such a wonderful sister and friend to share life with. I desperately miss her and wish she was closer! but am grateful for the blessing of being a call away on my cell phone with only a few hours time difference. My cell phone knows her number by heart at this point - it calls her so frequently! ;)

Katie, I pray this year brings you all sorts of joy, blessings, and adventure. ;) May God use you this year to touch the lives of hundreds/thousands of children at Bethany and may you be stretched in all areas for His glory.

I love you so much!! -Bets


New foster kittens

I have two new babies to add to my ever-increasing flock of cats...I'm not sure that is the correct use of the term 'flock', but it sure feels like a farm around our house some days! Eric is so tolerant; he lets me invade the house with sweet little fuzzy tummies, until I start getting attached and saying things like, 'keep' and 'permanent' and 'forever' - then out they go to adopted homes! Its a pretty flawless system, can't you tell?

Well one night about 2 months ago, we had a lovely good-bye dinner with Steve and Maria, enjoying the fine cuisine offered at our nearest Chick-Fil-A. As we pull out of the parking lot, Steve says casually, 'oh, look, there's a little cat.' Maria and I immediately freak out - 'WHAT?! where??!' as I tell Eric to slam on the brakes! We look to see where Steve is pointing and there is this little itty-bitty, pathetic, 1/2 starved kitten, scavenging for food around the Chick-Fil-A dumpster. Now, if that doesn't break your heart, go to the Dr. immediately and make sure its still beating! Eric stops the car, both of us girls jump out (literally. we were on a mission) and slowly approach the skeptical, scared kitten. She runs from us back to the safety of underneath the dumpster. We spent probably 20 min. or so, which included numerous fails attempts to get her out using everything from a soothing voice to a golf club (don't ask...). Defeated, we reluctantly got back in the car and stopped by the drive thru to tell them about her so they could keep an eye out. They responded with 'yea, we know.' I was so infuriated! You know? Then why on earth isn't there a bowl of water out - its July in NC people! or a little can of kitty food? Seriously. No brains and no heart these days. Anyway, the next day I talk to the cat coordinator (Linda) of the rescue program I volunteer with, and she sets me up with someone who has a kitty trap, which is used to administer shots and neutering/spaying for feral(wild) cats/kittens. So I head back to Chick-Fil-A, hoping the little baby is still there...she was and it didn't take her more than literally 2 min to be baited by some canned tuna - she was nearly starved! I couldn't take her myself, since she was soo tiny and needed all the tests for Feline HIV and other diseases. I just couldn't risk my own cats' exposure and didn't have the set-up for it. So Linda took her in and did all the tests, and in honor of her rescuer named her 'Betsy'! Can't tell you how thrilled that made yours truly! (Granted, I am fairly easy to please...ask Eric, buy me some cheezits and you just made my day!)

Ok, so after that long-winded story, here is the picture of what roly-poly 'Betsy' looks like now!

She joined us yesterday and is affectionately called 'little B' to avoid confusion...but I already warned Eric, that had better not make me 'BIG B'! Noooo thank you. I'm sure her name will be changed when she finds a forever home, but for now, its sweet to find fulfillment in having saved her from the streets!

The other little one that joined us is named Samantha - she was found at 3 weeks old in the trunk of a car in a junkyard, and had to be bottle-fed. She is the sweetest thing ever, slept right through the night with me snuggled under the covers against my stomach. Makes it hard to get up in the morning when they are all purring a storm up and its so cozy! ;)

--Dang it!! I knew I had to have a limit on the number of cat posts... I am going to lose everyone interested in our life if all it revolves around is cats! Not to fear, next up, I plan to post a recipe!--


Moo-Moo's 1st game!

Saturday we had the pleasure to get to see my niece, Molly's, first soccer game!! It was a hoot!! I had never been to a 3&4 yrs old's game and it was the most precious soccer game I have ever seen in my life. First of all, the field is maybe 20x10 yards...and the boundaries are what is considered"out" is semi-lenient. The coaches are right there in the middle of the action, coaching the little half-pints, "over here! come on, guys, follow the ball! that's right! good job!" etc. The time-outs and half-time were determined when over 1/2 of the kids would run back to their mom and/or dad looking for a water break and a chance to catch their little breath.
Moll's face was red; she was working hard! She stayed in nearly the whole game, hustling and staying up with the fastest of them! It was so cute! Also, the little outfits ranged from hard-core to almost dress-up. One little girl had on sunglasses and metallic pink shin guards. She turned out to be the MVP of the opposing team! Little Moo was stylin' with her pink umbro shorts, pink socks, and pink bow with little soccer balls on it. Here she is below with her new friend in front of her.

What a fun event to kick off a great weekend of relaxing!!

Last week, Moo-Moo, A-Pie, and Meg came over for a little walk and dinner while Josh was away on business. Meg and me got to chat while throwing together a delicious (and easy) dinner. ;)
Eric was perfectly content to just settle in on the couch to enjoy a little Princess Jasmine (Aladdin) with the girls. I now have 2 major draws to entice Moo over... my kitties and Princess Jasmine.

Uh-oh - the scary tiger is on!! (not Raja, but the sand tiger) Even Annie is pulling that blanket a little tighter...what's going to happen, Uncle Eric??

Whew - Aladdin and Jasmine are ok! Good thing.


A piece of home

So this morning reminded me of the place that is closest to calling "home" I have and it was wonderful. Although none of my family currently lives there, I don't have any friends there, and the buildings I spent all my days in have changed (even my house!), it still retains the title 'home' for now. It will always be where I spent 10 years of my formative childhood/teen years and a big chunk of my heart was left behind, almost as if it is a magnet, trying to get me to return. The weather today in GSO is foggy, drizzly and dark, and it's as cozy as a day in beloved Kandern can get. I had Michael Buble playing in the car on my way to work this morning when the song 'Home' came on... *Sigh*.
A stanza from the lyrics, "Another aeroplane, Another sunny place, I’m lucky, I know, But I wanna go home, Mmmm, I’ve got to go home" I hear you Michael, I feel the same way.


World Vision AIDS Experience

Wow. What a powerful presentation by World Vision as you see a snapshot into the life of a child in Africa who has been affected by AIDS. Whether they have it themselves, or have been orphaned by the terrible disease spread across the continent, it is a very real way to bring it closer to our hearts and minds. Our church (Westover) hosted World Vision last week and I had the opportunity to walk through the experience on Monday night with my Dad, who was sweet to come with me. Suddenly my hair doesn't need a haircut quite so desperately, my socks with holes are just fine after all, and I am even thankful rather than irritated to have dirty dishes in the sink from dinner! (which by the way, dispenses tap water that I am always complaining about being too polluted for my taste... but what all suffering children and adults in Africa would give to have the quality of our tap water!) How humbling the whole experience was. They travel all over the US year-round and I strongly encourage anyone that has the oppotunity to go! I guarantee, that at the end of the experience and prayer time, you will not be able to resist adopting a child to sponsor. For just $35 a month you can sponsor a HopeChild in African countries and other countries around the world affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic by providing things such as clean water, food, health care, education, and spiritual nurturing (among other things!) For just $5 more a month, you can sponsor a whole family. To me, that is a very worthy use of $35-40! If you are interested, the link is http://donate.wvus.org/OA_HTML/xxwvDoChildSearch.jsp?xxwvOrphan=HOPE or you can just go to http://www.worldvision.org/. It is just mind-boggling how blessed my life is and sometimes I feel so out of touch with my surroundings. World Vision's founding president, Bob Pierce, was said to have what I am about to paraphrase written on the outside of his Bible, 'May my heart be saddened by that which saddens the heart of God.' I thought that was a simple, yet effective gauge in figuring out what is truly important in life and whether time/energy is being invested there.


She's Back!!

Yaay! Dr. Sara Tancredi is re-united with Michael Scofield- what a great start to season 4 Prison Break!! I'm once again interested in the story line - the Sara/Michael duo really makes the show for me! :)


Marty's BD Party!

We had such a great time celebrating my wonderful father-in-law's birthday on Saturday (actual birthday was Sunday). I am so thankful to the Lord for blessing me with such close in-laws, and now it's even better that they are only an 8-hour drive away! I love Marty and celebrate his life!

Here is the birthday boy with his surprise guest who flew in from Colorado to be there! What a joy to have Grandpa Parrett there, it had been way too long since Eric and I had seen him!

Aunt Sandy, Erika, and me (thanks Aunt Sandy for taking all these pics!!)

Here, Eric is lighting the many candles that went on the cake (haha, just kidding Marty!) ;) No, actually it wasn't a cake, it was a traditional English trifle....FRIENDS fans anyone?? I got to help Debbie put it all together - it was so delish. Nope, no 'beef sauteed with peas and onions' made it in...just the layers of jam, custard, and angel food cake. Oh and fresh raspberries. It was heaven on a plate. Aunt Kari and Jena stand by to make sure Eric doesn't set the whole thing on fire... :)

Cousins pic! Its so fun when we all get together (we missed you Megan!!). Notice anything about the color of my husband's skin? My goodness, he looks about 5 shades darker than the rest of us!

Debbie getting to relax and enjoy the party since all the work and prep was done ahead of time!

Thanks for having us!! What a fun weekend! We love you all!


Bleak Menu

So look inside your fridge, mentally remove everything that is in there, now you are looking at my fridge. It is empty, except for those condiments that don't have expiration dates (or do they?), but what can a person make out of mustard, pickles, and liquid aminos? BTW, if you do not know what Bragg's liquid aminos are, you are seriously missing out!! Check it out at http://bragg.com/products/la.html (thank you Maria for introducing me to Bragg's, where would I be without our endless hours and hours in the kitchen together!) Anyway, back to my pathetically barren fridge. Eric and I pulled into the driveway after another precious 8 hours in the car together (things were going downhill near the end as our tummies began to rumble, but we were much too focused on just getting home to stop and eat yet another fast food dinner) and as it was already 8:30 pm, we were both starving. I asked Eric, 'what would you like me to make you to eat?' being the lovely wife that I am, and Eric being the laid-back husband (and completely uninterested in any decisions made in the kitchen) that he is, responded 'whatever you would like.' Darn. That wasn't the divine answer to our fridge dilemna I was hoping for. Hmm...after perusing the pantry, I found a can of organic chicken soup and some organic ravioli that my dear friend, Tiffany, gave me last weekend. So I had 2 options: that or peanut butter sandwiches on bread that has been in my freezer for 6 months! So ravioli and soup it was! How miraculously fast it is to open a can and throw on the stove. (Thanks for dinner, Tiff!)
What was for lunch today? Peanut butter sandwiches on dry bread from the freezer. Sheesh, I need a grocery list almost as bad as clean laundry. Except that I would rather have a full tummy than a clean shirt so scratch the laundry list. Groceries are number one priority whenever I get around to that to-do list. Otherwise the menu for tonight is mustard, pickles, and liquid aminos. Anyone want to come eat at my house tonight?


Whew! Made it!

We pulled into Jacksonville last night in record time actually- right at 7 hours! I think it was the first time ever that we experienced no traffic problems in Charlotte, it was awesome. The Lord protected us and kept our car safe the whole way - there was only one 50 mile stretch that made us nervous; we were only 40 miles from Charleston, which was 100 miles from the eye of the beast herself. The skies were a little greenish (umm, scary!) and a little too discolored from the pitch black they should have been to make us comfortable. The rain wasn't bad at all though - actually way less than we expected! With the strong wind gusts and our little car going 80 mph, I half expected to be blown right off the road. ;) I kept thinking as we passed trucks, "please let there not be a 50 mph wind gust that pushes that right into us!" and thankfully there never was. We were surprised how much company we had on the highway (not traffic, but we were expecting to be the only crazy ones out there) while we headed towards the coast racing to meet 'hanna' face to face. Bottom line, we are so thankful to be here for the weekend and that we made the trip; we would have been kicking ourselves to miss this celebration for what turned out to be a little rain and a little wind.


Playing Chicken with a Hurricane

Are we nuts?!? I mean, who in their right mind drives towards a tropical storm?! This weekend we are trying to get to Jacksonville, FL to celebrate my father-in-law's big 50th birthday - we have been looking foward to going and seeing everyone for weeks!! The latest twist on our plans, however, is the fact that we are now in a race with a tropical storm. If 'she' makes it there first, we are toast on our drive. It would make a 8 hours drive to Jacksonville into a ... well who knows how much time it would add, that is if we can even continue safely!! BUT, if we make it there first, we can 'scoot' past before she makes landfall. Let's see, we are leaving GSO at 5:30 pm and it takes approx. 4-4 1/2 hours for us to reach where 'Hanna' is headed (as of 8 am EST this morning according to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/). She is expected to hit at 2 am and we will be passing at 9:30-10:00 pm...Is 4 hours enough time to 'beat' her by?? Hmm...I think I'll let my husband make this call. I love that he gets to be in charge of the major decisions that have a lot of pressure to them - I'd rather be along for the ride. I trust him implicitly, and quite frankly, prefer not to have such pressure on my decisions. My prediction? We'll be sitting on the highway at about 9:30 pm tonight wondering why on earth anyone would try to drive through a tropical storm.

Pray this isn't us tonight!!...

Latest update...at 11 am..."Isolated tornadoes are possible tonight over the coastal areas of South and North Carolina". Considering we hug the coast on good ole I-95 most of the way, I'm thinking that doesn't sound so good....

Another update: Hmm....



Allergy Central

*Sniff*, *sniff*....today is off to a rough start! My nose and I are having a battle; I would like to breathe, but my nose has its own plans and would rather stuff itself up and then drip. I do have the power of medicine on my side, but so far, my nose laughs in my face about it. Gosh, I just had never experienced allergies until I moved to this lovely city of Greensboro, or should I say, pollen/grass/weed trap.

No, in reality, I am very content here, love the proximity to ocean and mountains, enjoy the weather most days, and love love LOVE the seasons. Fall is beautiful and crisp (especially when I get out of sniffling stage around the end of Sept), winter is delightfully chilly enough for a hot bowl of soup next to the fire, but then spring comes and the city blossoms with new beginnings for the year. Summer is hot, sure, but compared to previous residence in WPB, FL? At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I know come autumn, it WILL cool down! :) BUT, having said all of that, I do not welcome the allergies that I have acquired here. How I have sympathy like never before for others who share in this frustration! Now, I know I have much to be thankful for and mine are managable (most days) without the help of Claritin, Zyrtec, etc! But! I seriously have begun to wonder how many times a body can sneeze in one day?!

I found this link online when I was wondering how in the world could a person just suddenly 'develop' allergies...


Check out your city - good ol' GSO is big number TWO on the top 100 worst US cities to live in for allergies! There is my problem!!

Good thing its got everything else going for it...!