Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V is for . . . #AtoZChallenge

V is for . . .

Vampires

I don't do vampires . . .I don't like vampire movies . . .they make me have nightmares . . .EXCEPT I can watch the old movie, "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" with Leslie Nielson directed by Mel Brooks.  It is quite funny and Mark and I have seen it enough times that we can quote some of the lines.  At one point, Dracula says, "It is nighttime, so it wasn't real, I was having . . . a daymare!"


Vacuum

We have the best vacuum cleaner.  It seems to really clean up the cat hair and dust bunnies.  Our vacuum cleaner is even better . . .because Mark is the one who vacuums every week.  One of the unique features is the attachment with a terry cloth pad . . .sort of like a Swiffer attached to the vacuum cleaner!!

Vehicle

Mark is around cars and trucks every day and he often calls them "vehicles" -- I just say car!  I do love my little red Ford Escape.  My favorite feature is the self parking feature.  My car's name is Ruby (yes, I'm one of those crazy people who names her car) . . .Ruby can park in the smallest of parking spaces.


Veggies

Do you feel like you eat the same veggies all the time?  I need some new, "not fattening" veggie recipes - not casseroles - just good clean and tasty veggies.

Yes, the green beans below have bacon in them but they are definitely tasty.  I have a couple of green bean recipes that are good.


I love a good wedge salad!


I was evidently doing meal prep with all of the veggies pictured below.  I roast asparagus and Brussel sprouts often!  Not pictured - I also love roasted carrots.


There is nothing like a giant pan of fresh squash!  We also eat a lot of broccoli and baby green peas.  What are some other veggie ideas?


V is for Volcano

Have you ever been to a volcano?  Mark and I went to Hawaii about 29 years ago.  It was a wonderful trip - we left our six month old twins with my mother-in-law and off we went . . .flying across the country and across the water.  We stayed on the Big Island at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (at the time it was a really cool hotel - not sure about now??).  I will never forget as our flight descended . . .all we could see was black landscape.  It looked like we were landing on some outer space landing strip. 

V is also for Vegas

Mark had a business trip to Las Vegas the week of my 40th birthday (quite a few years ago!).  We spent several evenings roaming the streets and checking out all of the casinos.  I can't imagine how much it has grown up since then.  We saw a great show and ate some amazing food (and some not so amazing food!).  I guess this was before we had a digital camera and I remember taking some panoramic photos - I think we used a disposable panoramic camera!!  Have you ever been to Las Vegas?  What did you think?



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for . . .#AtoZChallenge


U is for . . .

Unicycle

When our son was about 11 years old, he received a unicycle for Christmas.  It was his "big" gift that year and UPS finally delivered it around 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve - whew!  I was holding my breath!  On New Year's weekend, we had a death in the family and we were all home getting ready to go to the funeral.  It was cold and yucky outside so Glenn was attempting to ride the unicycle in the basement and had a crash.  Mark was piddling at his work bench (or weight bench) in the basement so he was immediately available to help Glenn.  I was getting ready to go downstairs to assist when Mark yelled up to tell me to stay upstairs . . .Glenn had thrown up . . .and I DO NOT DO WELL with throw up.  (thank God for Mark!)  We called the pediatrician (good old Greenvale Pediatrics!) and they said bring him in - sounds like a concussion.  I frantically drove to the pediatrician, they checked Glenn out and said "keep an eye on him" and we all rushed to the funeral.  The end.  (addendum - I don't know if he ever learned to ride the unicycle - I can't remember!!)  I should totally make up a new ending to this story . . .so after, the funeral . . .Glenn learned to ride the unicycle and juggle (he really can juggle) while riding . . .and became a FAMOUS circus performer!!


Uniform

I think I have blogged about these horrible P.E. uniforms before.  Back when I was in middle school, we had to "dress out" for P.E. everyday.  Everyone HATED these uniforms.  I can still remember having to tumble, play basketball, tetherball, and volleyball wearing this uniform!!


United Methodist Church

I blogged yesterday about Trinity - our church.  We are a part of the United Methodist Church and we are a connectional church.  I found this on a website and thought it was pretty good:
Distinguishing Methodism from other denominations is the structure of the United Methodist Church (UMC). It is organized for ministry at several levels that maintain “connectional” links with one another. Both clergy and laity are elected to serve on governing bodies of the church, locally and across our conference.

United Methodists think of the local church as the visible extension of Christ in the world today. Ordained and lay ministers lead the local congregation, although every United Methodist is called to minister to others.

All people are welcome in the UMC – with open hearts, open minds and open doors. United Methodists speak many languages and live in many different countries with many different cultures, ethnic traditions, national histories and understandings of Christian faith and practice. Each congregation is linked in a covenant community of faith across the connected congregations.

I was trying to think of it in a more simple way -- our church is part of the North Alabama Conference.  I feel like I can go just about anywhere in the state and run into people that I know from other churches in our conference because we are so connected.  Our pastors are appointed each year - think of it as a large corral of pastors (sorry friends!!) -- all of those pastors are a part of our North Alabama conference.  Our Bishop and District Superintendents, along with a cabinet, appoint our pastors each year to serve in a church.  We have been BLESSED at Trinity -- our last senior pastor was with us for 22 years and we are hoping that our current senior minister will be with us that long, too.  Each church has a Staff Parish Committee and they are allowed input to the bishop regarding appointments.  You  have to remember that I grew up Southern Baptist where we issued a call (each individual church) to a pastor.  My explanation is probably not very good . . .but that is how I see it.

I'm worried about our denomination.  Right now, we don't agree on some issues.  If you are a praying sort, please say a prayer for the United Methodist Church.  We are good people and we all want to do God's will . . .we just seem to be looking at it in opposite ways.

Unicorn

I thought I had a picture of a pink unicorn on my phone but I guess I erased it.  I was in a store right after Valentine's Day and the stuffed animals were marked down 95% or something equally as ridiculous.  I bought a couple of unicorns and gave them to the daughters of two co-workers.  One unicorn as made its home in my office for when she visits . . .and it makes me smile.  It looks sort of like this - but cuter!!
I've been working on the remaining letters of the alphabet -- any suggestions for V, W, X, Y, and Z?


Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for . . . #AtoZChallenge

 

After a Sunday blogging break, we are continuing on with the A to Z Challenge - this is our last week!

T is for . . . .

Tea - not the drink!

In our area, we love to host a good party.  When a person is getting married, friends love to "entertain" for each other.  One of the parties hosted for most brides is a Tea.  There is no tea involved. 

On Sunday afternoon, I was privileged to help host a tea for a friend's daughter.  We started planning several months ago.  Invitations were made and mailed.  Food assignments were made.  Last minute details were worked on into the wee hours of yesterday morning.

Debbie was in charge of the flowers and she did an amazing job!  Look at that basket on the door - it is beautiful!!


The hostesses usually purchase a gift together as the "hostess gift" - Michelle was opening our gift before the party started.  We gave her several pieces of All Clad - she will love cooking with those pots and pans!!


We served Baby Bites from a local bakery - they are soooo good!  We also served candied pecans, cheese straws (if you aren't from the south . . .these are not pieces of cheese - they are delicious yumminess!!), teeny tiny finger sandwiches - both pimento cheese and chicken salad; fruit kebobs; wedding cookies, handmade mints, lemon water, and punch (non-alcoholic).


Here is a picture of the bride and her mother and all of the hostesses.  The weather had been yucky and rainy but turned into a lovely afternoon.  My job during the tea was to open presents and call out the name of the giver and a detailed description of the gift which was entered into a spreadsheet by another hostess.  At a tea, the bride doesn't open the gifts.  They are opened in a back room (usually a bedroom and bathroom1!) and then displayed in another room for all to see.


She received some beautiful pieces of her china, crystal, flatware, and pottery.  She also received many beautiful towels and monogrammed sheets and some fun kitchen gadgets.  She also received more pieces of All Clad so she can cook up a storm!!  Parties like this are never hosted by family - always by friends.  I've heard that is different in some parts of the country.  A tea is a "dress up" affair - Sunday dresses or nice slacks.  We do host fun showers, too -- bar showers; recipe showers; tool showers, etc.  Those parties are often more casual - often couples - with a theme and fun food.


T is for Tarrant

I grew up in a small town.  We walked everywhere or rode our bikes.  We used to go to Kessler's Pharmacy and get a coke float or an ice cream cone (along with whatever our parents needed!).


Our family didn't have a lot of disposable income.  Looking back, I guess we might have been considered poor by some folks but I NEVER felt poor.  One of our BIG treats was a Friday night trip to Walker's Restaurant.  They had the best country fried steak!  They brought the cream in these tiny little glasses (for the coffee) and they would always let me drink it!  My sister found one of those tiny glasses in an antique shop and gave it to me for Christmas!!


Tarrant is not the same place it used to be.  Growing up in Tarrant was like growing up in Mayberry.  Tarrant is a much rougher city today with many people living below the poverty line.  Almost half of the people in Tarrant live below the poverty line.  My friend, Julie, has started a ministry called Overflow Foundation and they are working with the children in Tarrant a few days a month now.

When I lived there, people in neighboring communities wanted to pay tuition so their children could attend Tarrant schools.  We had an award winning band, an awesome football team, and a lot of smart kids!

My last T is for Trinity


Trinity UMC is a building but she is so much more than that.  Her architecture is incredible but she is so much more than that.  Mrs. Barbara is a faithful reader of my blog and she suggested that I blog about Trinity on "T" day.  I know Mrs. Barbara from Trinity.  That is what Trinity is . . .there is an old children's song  - I am the church. We are the church.  Trinity is a whole bunch of diverse people - from one end of the political spectrum to the other - who love Jesus and want to live for him.




Our children's area is so cool -- the Ark!


Almost all of our relationships are with people from our church.  I'm friends with Terrie (mother of the bride above) from church - we went to Israel together last year.

The group below is one of our "out to eat" supper clubs from our Sunday School class.


We serve God together.  This is in our Sunday School room which happens to be the ORIGINAL sanctuary.  We were making PBJ's for a local shelter.




In addition to being my church, my place of worship . . .Trinity is also where I work!  I get to work with some amazing people who actually love each other (most of the time!).


We've been in the same monthly supper club since 2004 . . .with friends from Trinity.


I eat lunch every month with three other mothers - we raised our children together.


Mark and I host the young adults on Tuesday night as a result of Trinity UMC (and a lot of work from God!!).

I can't imagine life without Trinity (and more importantly . . .without God!)

I have NO IDEAS about tomorrow - what in the heck is U for?  Umbrellas?  Unicycle?  (I do have a good unicycle story!)





Saturday, April 22, 2017

S is for . . .#AtoZChallenge

Tomorrow is a rest day in the A to Z Challenge but for today

S is for SHOPPING

It is only 12:26 on a Saturday and between last night and today, I have done a heck of a lot of shopping!

Last night was grocery shopping - you can check out the picture of my crazy cart here!

I shopped on Amazon Prime last night and ordered the movie Hidden Figures.  Oh my goodness - run and watch it right now if you haven't already done so.

I slept a few hours and hit the ground running again today.

Does buying gas count as shopping??  I've done that at the local Shell Gas station!

Does picking up a prescription count as shopping?  I've done that at the local Walgreen's!!

I went to Trader Joe's and made a few purchases. These are the things I bought to surprise Mark.  He LOVES dark chocolate and he loves curry.  I bought a couple of other things and spent $50 . . .after already spending A LOT last night.  Probably should not have done that . . .


After tootling around in Trader Joe's . . .I was waiting on Talbots to open . . .
I sprinted across (hahahaha!) the parking lot to Talbots.


One of the things I love about Talbots is the sales ladies (they may have men but I've never seen one).  I met the nicest lady this morning and we chatted as she rang up my purchases.  Mark has always said that I can "bag my limit" at Talbots!  I'm so excited.  I can wear something new to work next week!!

On my way home, I made one more shopping stop!


I had seen this ad on our neighborhood facebook page and thought I would stop and browse on my way home.  I bought a tiny gift.  I put the business card by the bag so you could tell how tiny the bag with little handles really is!!  Amanda Skinner with Hosanna Beads was incredibly kind.  If you ever see her at any kind of craft bazaar, you should stop and buy something.  She has no idea I'm posting about her but I love to give a local person a shout out!! She has an Etsy shop HosannaBeads!
I also talked to the Matilda Jane rep for a long time about clothes for Emma and she gave me a catalogue to share with my daughter-in-law.  www.matildajaneclothing.com/jennifervann
I'm going to be honest . . .I think I'm keeping those earrings for myself but just in case you receive them as a gift . . .you know I decided I love you more! hahaha!!  (I didn't say any names on purpose!)


S is for SUDS


Now I'm home and I guess my S word will be suds because I have a mountain of laundry and dishes and cleaning to do!!  You can't even see any of my island or counter space because they are all covered in groceries and laundry!

S is for Steeple to Steeple . . .sleepers, too


I know that some of our friends and co-workers participated in the Steeple to Steeple race this morning - isn't that a cool name?  10K run from one church to another - 5K run starting at one church - everyone ends up at the same church for a party!  There may have been some sprinting and maybe a super hero or two at the race.  Lot's of S's today!!  I participated . . .I was a SLEEPER!!  Really!!  I paid on line and was a sleeper.  I wasn't the only one!  Two major churches are competing for the coveted trophy (a giant wooden church with a steeple) and I haven't heard the results. . .I hope we won!!!

S is for Saturday


What are you doing on this Saturday?



Friday, April 21, 2017

R is #AtoZChallenge

Today is day 18 of the A to Z Challenge.  I've so enjoyed reading a variety of blogs and I've realized that I have lived a fairly boring life.  I've never been on a safari nor have I seen the Northern Lights - I want to do both of those!  I also want to do a zip line!! 

So R . . .yeah . . .it is Friday night and I am brain dead!  I worked today and right after work I decided that I needed to:

1. Rest and Relax

I went to get a pedicure which is normally very relaxing.  Today was not my favorite pedicure ever and I love the place I go . . .it just wasn't the best.  I imagine it was my frame of mind as much as anything BUT I do have pretty toes right now!!


2.  Rescue

As soon as I finished my pedicure, I rescued my granddaughter from daycare.  Actually, her daycare is very nice and the care givers are awesome.  She and I came to my house and played with her toys until her mommy could get here after work.

3. Rest again

My neighbors were having happy hour on their porch after Emma and her mommy left so I visited with them for a few moments.

4. Ridiculous

Then I bought a ridiculous amount of groceries.  We are having a cookout/picnic in the park with our young adult group on Tuesday night so I purchased those groceries, plus some of our own groceries, plus food to prepare for supper club on Thursday night.  I actually didn't buy everything on my list because I was tired of pushing the heavy cart . . .and there was no more room in the cart!!  I've come up with this wonderful way of fitting extra bags . . .I hang the six pack of diet pepsis over the edge of the cart and then I loop sacks around the tops of the bottles.  I actually couldn't fit between parked cars so I got in extra steps by walking to the end of the row!



5. React

As I was unloading the groceries in the garage, one of my sacks broke . . .and a giant jar of salsa hit the concrete floor and exploded.  I did react.  I wanted to cry but I didn't.  I cleaned it up.  I sort of cleaned it up.  I hope I don't back over glass tomorrow.  I need to wash the floor but I think I'll wait until Mark gets back from the farm tomorrow.


6. Race

I just finished watching Hidden Figures.  It was a wonderful movie.  I wanted to scream and cheer multiple times in the movie.  I LOVED the scene where he ripped the colored bathroom sign off the wall and I LOVED the scene where she convinced the judge to allow her to take classes at an all white school -- to be THE FIRST!!  I loved many other scenes and hated the way we (white southerners) have acted over the years.


7. Robitussin

nuff said?  I need Robitussin.  Allergies.



8. Recycle

Tomorrow is the hazardous waste day in my town and they accept old paint cans, old prescriptions, and a million other things.  I'm hoping they will take my empty helium canister.  I know they will dispose of most of these items but hopefully some will be recycled.


9. Religion

I am a Christian.  My identity is in Christ.  I can't imagine my life without faith.


10. Return

I have to return a dress tomorrow . . .I ordered it for Easter and it just isn't right!!

Yes, I know this is THE MOST BORING post ever but I'm headed to bed . . .after some more
Robitussin!!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q is for . . . #AtoZChallenge

Q is for . . . .

1. Qumran

Qumran is an ancient village on the northwest shore of the dead sea.  It is famous for its caves.  The Dead Sea Scrolls were located in some of these caves.


I have no idea who is holding this brochure for me to take a picture!!  I loved hearing about the Essenes from our tour guide.  Qumran was a very interesting place!!


2. Quilts

My niece, Cissy (her nickname - not her real name!!), makes beautiful quilts and has an unbelievable backlog of orders!  She made this t-shirt quilt for Laura a few years ago.  We mailed a box of Laura's Sorority t-shirts to Cissy and she put them all together to make this quilt.  She has also made more traditional quilts and has won prizes for them!!


I have a friend who lives in another state and her blog is called "My Quilted Nest."  I love the thought of curling up in a big nest of quilts!!

Our senior adult group went to Gee's Bend this week.  You can read about the quilts and people of Gee's Bend here.  I would like to go there someday!

3. Quiet time

I love spending time writing in my prayer journal and reading scripture.  At our old house, I spent that time every morning at our kitchen table and I was surrounded by windows.  At this house, I sit at the kitchen island.  My best time of day for quiet time is early in the morning.  My Bible is held together by a Bible cover from a Discovery weekend from about 10 or 12 years ago.  Yes, I could afford a new Bible or I could ask for one as a gift, but I love this one!


I enjoy keeping a prayer journal and I enjoy having a scripture reading guide of some kind or another.  Two different summers, I have read through all the psalms for a change of pace.


4.  Quiet

I'm not a quiet person.  I love to laugh and I laugh out loud.  I love to participate in a good conversation and the more excited I become, the louder I talk.  I was a straight A student with C's in conduct.  Do they still give conduct grades?  My daddy would say, "It seems to me that someone as smart as you could keep her mouth shut."  What can I say? Obviously, a lot!


5. Quirky

Do you know some quirky folks?  Yeah, I do, too . . .or maybe I'm one of the quirky ones!!


I can't wait to read some other Q blogs . . . those words didn't come as easily to me as have some of the other alphabet letters!!


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P is for . . .#AtoZChallenge

I'm continuing on with the letter P.

P is for . . . .


1. Park

On Saturday, we took Emma to the park in front of our house.  We pushed her in the swing - she couldn't decide if she liked it or not.  Laura went down the slide with her and then let her go down the little slide.  Even Laura got in on the swinging action!



2. Plants

 Our little courtyard looks so pretty right now.  Our plants are all green and leafy.  Mark replaced the pine straw last week.  He planted some new mini mondo grass between the pavers.  He also planted some flowers in the pots.


I love this picture of the front gate.  I snapped it early this morning and I bent over and snapped it using the tree branches as a frame.  We have pretty plants!!

 3. Preschool

As I was digging through pictures tonight, I found some old ones to share.  The picture of Glenn and Laura with their preschool class and preschool teacher just melted my heart!  Laura is on the left and Glenn is front and center - yes, they have on matching outfits.  Yes, they matched a lot!


4. Pools

We spent a lot of time at pools - Laura taught swim lessons all through high school and college.  This picture was at the old Lakeshore pool and she was teaching for the Birmingham Swim League.  Glenn actually taught for the Birmingham Swim League, too.



We spent hours upon hours at the local pool and at Uncle John's pool.  It is a good thing that we all have skin that tans easily.


5. Prom

This picture was taken before Laura's prom - she was a junior in high school.  Her date was Timmy - now a married man with little children (or child).  Someone texted me today asking if I had any lanterns she could borrow because she is decorating for her child's prom. 



6. Produce

J & S Produce . . or Jason and Sheila . . .or the veggie man . . .whatever you want to call them . . .they come to our church parking lot twice a week and sell fresh fruits and veggies.  Yum Yum!!  We have awesome tomatoes and very flavorful peaches in the state of Alabama along with all sorts of other fruits and veggies.





7. Prayer Garden

 Several years ago, I was blessed to work on the committee that planned, designed, looked at stone, had conference calls, and saw this project through to completion.  We have the most beautiful prayer garden, labyrinth, and columbarium at our church.  My friend, Julie, took the top picture.  I borrowed the bottom picture from our church Facebook page.  I'm going to buy a niche.  I want to be cremated and have my service at the church and then be taken right down to the garden.  No, that is not depressing nor sad to me.  It is a lovely comforting thought!


8. Phella

Phella is one of my very best friends in the whole world.  We met when my twins were 6 weeks old and she was pregnant with her second child.  Our children grew up together.  We've been in a supper club together for 13 years!  Our sons were roommates through college.  I won't put her picture on her since I didn't ask but just know that I love her and thank God for her friendship.

9. Pasta

My husband is not a lover of pasta but last week I made Hot Cheddar Pasta and he loved it.  I did mix up the cheeses and used some smoky gouda and some other great cheeses.

10. Presents

I love presents!  I love to give them and I love to receive them.  I give them better than I receive.  My love language is gifts . . .or at least one of my love languages is gifts!!

11. Passport

When we went to Israel last year, we found out that Israel doesn't stamp passports anymore.  This made me sad.

12.  Persnickety

I just think that persnickety is a fun "P" word!!

13.  Perfume

I had no trouble coming up with words that begin with "P" for my list today!  I guess I'll end on this one.  I hate perfume.  Actually, I hate most scented products.  Last night, as our ice breaker, each person made up two extra commandments.  (please don't be offended - it was just a fun icebreaker - we were not be sacrilegious).  I didn't think of this one last night so I'm adding it to my list now -- Thou shalt NEVER wear perfume into public spaces because you never know when someone is going to have a major allergic reaction (that might be me!!).

I can't wait to read some other blog posts in the A to Z Challenge highlighting the letter "P"!!