Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What's Still On My Nightstand: April 2010

I am so proud of me! I managed to finish several books this past month, making a pretty good dent in my 'to be read' pile. Even better, I have not bought a single new book since last month's post. Well, technically I did buy one, but I will tell you about that in a minute.

Books I Read:
So Long Insecurity: You've Been A Bad Friend To Us by Beth Moore. If you are of the female gender and have not picked up this book yet...I cannot encourage you enough to do so now. Not in a minute. Now! I love Beth's willingness to talk candidly with her readers. This made the revelations of my own insecurities so much easier to swallow. I mean, if she can admit to some of the foolishness her insecurities have led her to commit, it is easier for me to confront my own. Even if you think you are immune to insecurity, I encourage you to pick up this book. You might be surprised at yourself...and I promise you will be better able to understand those of us out here who willingly admit to ours.

Creative Journal Writing: The Art And Heart Of Reflection by Stephanie Dowrick. Let me be totally honest with you. I only made it about 3/4 of the way through this book. It had some good ideas for prompting you to write creatively...but about halfway through, it started being rather monotonous. I did pick up a few tips for keeping a better record of my thoughts. Things like, recording the time of day as well as the date...and even where you are and your mood as you write.

Bridge To Terebithia by Katherine Paterson. I listened to the audiobook. Having somehow never read it while my kids were in elementary or seeing the movie, I enjoyed the story. It took me less than three days of commuting to listen to the entire story and the post-interview with the writer.

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. This was my first book to read by this New York Times bestselling author. It was worth the wait. I will try to post a review for "I Read It!" next Tuesday.

Books I Am Reading:
66 Love Letters: A Conversation With God That Invites You Into His Story by Dr. Larry Crabb. This one was added to my nightstand just before last month's posting. So, technically, it is not new. However, while thinking over today's post, I decided this morning to download the audiobook to my iPhone. Hence, the one new purchase. I have been looking for some new devotional material since we completed our weekly Bible study on the life of David. While thinking over how much I enjoyed listening to "Bridge To Terebithia" last month, I thought 'why not get a new book downloaded to my phone?' And if I could do both at once...listen to a book devotional-ly on the way to work...wouldn't that be even better? I heard an interview with the author and the introductory chapters this morning. I will let you know how it goes.

I am still searching for a good workbook style Bible study, preferably with audio lectures, for my quiet time. I just do better when I have to look things up and record answers versus just reading.

Books To Be Read:
Love And War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of by John & Stasi Eldredge.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence.

Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.

The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller.

Sunflower And The Secret Fan by Lisa See.

I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman by Nora Ephron.

The Ghost In The Gallery by Carolyn Keene.

and the first three books in the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich, One For The Money, Two For The Dough & Three To Get Deadly.

So, that is what's 'Still On My Nightstand' this month. Hop on over to 5 Minutes For Books to see what everyone else is reading.

What's On Your Nightstand

Monday, April 26, 2010

Custom Crawfish Boil

What in the world did we do on Saturday?

Well, many of you guessed a cookout...and you were right. It was our annual Custom Fire Protection Crawfish Boil!

Doesn't that look good? It sure tasted good! Crawfish, potatoes, corn, mushrooms, and artichokes...YUMMY!

Here are a few pictures of our guests getting their grub on:

I warned them all before I took the pictures, so if anyone has their mouths wide open (hint: Bri and Chris)...they were just too involved in the crawfish goodness to stop eating long enough for me to snap the picture.

After 164 pounds of crawfish were consumed...the players took their turns at the annual horseshoe tournament. Since we had to change the venue from our house to the office due to the 60% chance of rain that was forecast (yeah, I don't see any rain in these pictures either), we had to adjust from horseshoes to washers for this year's championship.

Jack and his dad, Grady, will have their names added to the Championship Plaque alongside the 2008 Champs (Jim & Chris) and the 2009 Champs (Derrick & Billy) for all to see. So far, there is no one that can claim more than one spot on the trophy...so bragging rights are still up for grabs next year!

The Lord gave us beautiful weather despite the vicious forecast of rain for two day before and thunderstorms the day of the event. As a matter of fact, I had to go outside and water my strawberry plants yesterday!
So, what did you do this weekend?
(Note for Doug: Yes, I needed that huge bag of coffee to keep me going through this day long event. We start at the break of day and do not wind it up until well after dark!)
(And Rita: Surprise! I am posting before Wednesday!)
(And to anyone who cares: Why doesn't spell check like the word 'crawfish'? )

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What In The World Are You Doing This Weekend?

Thursday I went to Sam's and bought this:

Can you guess what we are doing today?

I will be back on Monday with pictures to see if your guess is correct!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Perfect Pantry? Fact Or Fiction?

Is there really any such thing as 'the perfect pantry'? There are blogs dedicated to the idea, magazine articles instructing you how to achieve one and pictures like this and this all over the Internet as proof that they do exist...somewhere...in some one's home...but probably not someone who actually cooks...and definitely not my pantry.

After reading one such eMagazine article, I decided to take 30 minutes on Wednesday night to tackle mine. I printed out the article and promptly left it sitting on my desk...at work...45 minutes away from my house. But never fear, I was able to pull up the same information on my iPhone. So, upon arriving home on Wednesday evening, I started a load of laundry and determined that I would work at cleaning and organizing my pantry until the timer indicated that the load was complete.

This is what I started with:

Basically, I could find the Velveeta macaroni and cheese dinners and the Ziploc bags...but only because I had just been to Sam's to pick them up and they were on top of everything else!

And I hate to show you this, but this is what the floor of my "L-shaped" pantry looked like:

I have several electric appliances built to feed an army and they take up about as much space as an army staging grounds to store. Somehow, over time, they had floated out from under the bottom shelf of the pantry all into the corner.

SO, with the timer ticking, I started emptying shelves with a vengeance. I was checking expiration dates, throwing the old stuff out and stacking the new stuff on the kitchen island for sorting. I had made it through two rows of the SIDE shelf when the laundry time went off!

I had not made it one fourth of the way through my pantry and my kitchen was a disaster. There was no way that I could leave all of that stuff out until I had thirty more minutes to dedicate to the task!

Needless to say, I was still at it when the timer went off letting me know that the dryer was finished as well.

BUT three hours, two trash bags (of old food and empty boxes) and much conundrum on how to organize properly later...THIS IS WHAT MY PANTRY LOOKED LIKE!

It was a thing of beauty for my tired old bones to behold! So, I took a long hot shower and called it a night!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ode To Spring

Spring in Texas can be an odd thing.

As odd as the sign in this pasture full of Longhorns that tells the passerby to "Put A Longhorn In Your Yard". Yeah, 'cause Longhorns in the front yards of Texas are as common as gnomes in the gardens of the Netherlands, right?

We are still experiencing the crazy, mixed up weather patterns around here. Most years in early to mid-March we get a few 'spring-like' days in a row and we joke that you better get outside and enjoy it because summer will be here by week's end. This year, spring has decided to stick around for nearly a month. And we are loving it.

See my tree? This picture was actually taken in mid-March and the leaves have filled out considerably since then.

I planted these strawberries around the same time. I would like to say that if I took a picture of them today they would look even better. But a few cool snaps have stunted their growth and they look much the same as they did the day I planted them!

This beautiful Wisteria grows along one of the roads I travel to work. The blooms fell off around Easter...but they were amazing while they lasted.

(NOTE TO SELF: buy a wisteria plant this year!)

And this amazing display of wildflowers growing along the ditch bank at my third stop sign has delighted me for weeks on end!

These grow along the road opposite our property and I just know that Jim is going to mow them soon. So, I stopped and walked out amongst them to take a picture the other day, just so I could remember how pretty it is.

These beauties were an early spring delight, until the cows came home...then they ate them!

As much as I want to remember the sights and sounds of our amazing Houston Spring of 2010, I would be remiss if I didn't share the sight closest and dearest to my heart these days.

Yeah, the price we pay for having a long and enjoyable spring!

(I know the picture is blurry, but if it makes you feel any better, I see blurry most of the time from the allergies anyway!)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

From Carnaval To Praise: A Night Out With The Girls

Sunday night,Meagan, Kelli, Bri and I had our annual Girl's Night Out At The Theatre. (Teri, Derrick's mom, joined us too. Fun, fun!)

This year's selection was the 2008 multiple Tony Award winning musical: In The Heights performed by Broadway Across America. (Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.)

According to the official website:
"In The Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in Manhattan's Washington Heights - a place were the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It's a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind."
The Latin & Hip Hop infused music was delightful. And while Carnaval Del Barrio was just as festive as the title implies. My favorite song of the night was Alabanza. I have to say it was the first time I heard praises sang to the Lord from a Broadway stage.
From the lyrics: "Alabanza means to raise this thing to God's face and to sing . Quite literally "praise to this"
And so, I raise the memories of the night to God's face and sing praises for a wonderful time with my girls. Good food, good company and a wonderful performance. It doesn't get much better than that.
Alabanza, Senor!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Texas Turkey Hunt 2010

I told you about the CRAZY week I had while Jim was out of town on his annual Spring Turkey Hunt. So, I thought I would show you what his week was like while mine was spinning like a top.

They were able to hunt two different ranches this year. Jim didn't take a bird at the first one, but here he is with his turkey at Rock Springs. (He also got a couple of hogs, hence our fresh ham at Easter!)

And here is a picture of my dad at Rock Springs. This was his second turkey of the trip. He got his first one at Weedy Creek...I think the day they arrived.

And here is a picture of the crew that he was hunting with (minus Jim because he was taking the picture.) The Jenkins boys are to the left...Casy, Ricky and Donald (my dad).

Looks to me like they were having a pretty good time!

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Think There Has Been A Bit Of A Misunderstanding

Most of us have probably heard the old expression "getting your ducks in a row."

Wise Geek says of this expression:

"To get one's ducks in a row essentially means to ensure all of the small details or elements are accounted for and in their proper positions before embarking on a new project...When a person is fully prepared for any eventuality and has every element in place, he or she can indeed be said to have his or her ducks in a row."

And World Wide Words says the term refers "to having matters neatly and efficiently organised and all your duties taken care of."

There is debate as to it's origin and the time it was first used, but most agree to it's meaning.

Except, I think somebody misinterpreted what was said:

It's "all your ducks in a row"

NOT "all your ducks in the road"!

At least they were "in a row" while "in the road"!

I noticed these guys as I pulled up to the stop sign at the end of our road this morning and I couldn't help but laugh. Thankfully I had my pocket camera in my purse. Before I could get the camera ready and get out of the truck, another truck drove between me and the ducks. I thought I had lost my chance to share this with you for sure. But they never even moved!

You just never know what I will see on my way to work!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Favorite Easter Peeps

As you can tell, the Easter pictures were mostly about the grand babies...but I did get a few of my favorite Easter Peeps too.
Kelli with Brooke and Maddux. She really is a very nurturing mom.

Derrick, Davin and Meagan...this was the best picture out of several taken. The sun was just so bright!

Kelli and Will. I can't believe how tall he is getting! What has happened to my baby boy?

The three Goode girls...princesses all! Kelli, Meagan and Brianne. We tried to tell them as they were growing up that they would become the best of friends one day. That day is here. They talk to each other more than they talk to me and Jim these days.

And this is the only picture we got of Brian all day...other than overall shots from the egg hunt. He had been in San Marcos for the weekend visiting a friend and had just arrived back home around 1:30 on Sunday. I think he was too tired from his late night playing video games at the EMS station to join in much of the action.
It was great having all five of them at home at once. After the egg hunt, the guys finished watching the Shell Houston Open on television and then we pulled out the board games. Cranium beat out Monopoly, Taboo and Outburst. The teams were: Meagan & Derrick; Brian & Will; Kelli & Bri; and finally, me and Jim. The parents pulled out the win...though Kelli and Bri were hot on our tails.
All in all, me and my Peeps had a pretty good day!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Egg Hunt 2010

After a full meal of fresh hog ham (thanks to Pappaw's turkey hunt) with all the trimmings, it was time to hunt Easter eggs!

I have always loved the egg hunt. I remember hunting Easter eggs at my Grandma Fulton's house every year. The whole neighborhood plus some would usually participate. Grandma had plenty of flowers for great hiding places too!

When my kids were little, my mother carried on the tradition. We would have lots of people over for lunch and the egg hunt. After the official hunt, prizes would be awarded and the adults would return inside for a time of fellowship while the kids hid and re-hid the eggs a dozen times! But then they grew up and didn't really enjoy it so much anymore. Poor Will got the shortest time for egg hunting fun since everyone else was so much older than him. It wasn't as much fun for him to hunt eggs alone.

However, with the new little ones in the family...the egg hunt is exciting once more!

Here we go...time to look for eggs!
Brooke found the first one. (And yes, that blue dye was still on her hands when she left! It sure was pretty though.)

Davin ended up with the most eggs of the day, having found the Queen's Nest which held half a dozen.

Maddux hunted eggs for a little while, but quickly decided it was more fun to ride on Pappaw's shoulders and let Uncle Will do the egg hunting for him.

Looks like he made out pretty well from his perch!

Eggs, eggs, everywhere you looked there were more eggs!

It didn't take this little princess long at all to open up a package of Starbursts!

Davin was just ready to get on the Polaris! (I wish y'all could hear him say it. So cute!)
It will be a couple more years before we can hide the eggs in the deep grass and secret places...but it was still a lot of fun!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Sunday 2010

Yesterday the whole family (except Matt, who had to work) gathered for lunch, an egg hunt and a feisty game of Cranium. I am going to take a few days to post the pictures so as not to bore you. Ha!
Of course, these first pictures are far from boring...my three sweet grand babies, all dressed up in their Easter clothes!

I think I have mentioned before how hard it is to get a picture of all three of them together. These were the best of the day.



Hope y'all enjoyed your Easter Sunday too!