Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful...

...time of the year!

Yes, I've always loved the old Staples commercial showing the parent shopping for school supplies with the kids. The parent's face is ecstatically happy...the kids, not so much.

Besides my deep adoration for office supplies (another post entirely), I have always loved sending my kids back to school when they were younger. Unfortunately, I was never the parent that took pictures of the kids on the first day of school getting on the school bus.

I always thought my memory would be so good as to take that mental picture, file it away in my mind, and retrieve it year after year after...well you get the picture. Memory, smemory. I should have taken pictures. Sigh.

So now that I have a new digital camera I wanted to take pictures of my "kids" as they leave for school. It's not their first day per'll see what I mean below.

Goodbye "Evil Genius"! He's driving away for his first in-service teachers' days. He'll be teaching middle school math beginning on September 7. We're proud and happy and excited for him as he begins his career!

Goodbye Young Sweetie! She's driving back to her university (her third year) and her first time with having a car available to her on campus. We're proud and happy and excited for her as she begins classes on August 30!

Our nest is now empty (except for school breaks). It's time for me to begin de-junking cleaning their rooms. And Wonderful Husband and I are planning our vacation for September. Woo hoo!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blueberry Cobbler

Happiness in a casserole dish....

I must admit to getting the recipe from Mary The Kay The Blog and she noted that the recipe came from her sister's dear friend Wendy. (You can click the link above to see MarytheKay's original post.) I tweaked the recipe a bit below.

Blueberry Cobbler

1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup whole milk
4 cups blueberries

Melt butter in 9 x 9 casserole dish.
Mix flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and milk.
Pour berries over the melted butter and drizzle batter on top.
Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup sugar over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, up to 45 minutes.

Here's the most important part....serve with vanilla ice cream.

It's an easy recipe and delicious! Thank you MarytheKay and Wendy!

In fact....I also made a peach cobbler using this same recipe (6 peaches) and it was delicious too. I guess it was so delicious that I forgot to take a picture before we dug in and finished it off.

Once again, don't forget the vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Outside My Comfort Zone

Marie, a member of my church, called to see if I was interested in a field trip to Philadelphia. She had an appointment about four blocks from Bridgeway, Inc. (We served on the Mission Committee of our church and heard a presentation by one of our members explaining how our church's relationship with Bridgeway had begun years ago.)

Our church is one of three churches that provide support for Bridgeway, which is located in the middle of the Tioga neighborhood in Philadelphia, and seeks to build community and strengthen the lives of its members and neighbors.

I tried to look up Bridgeway online and discovered they don't have a website, yet a documentary is in the process of being made by Scribe Video Center.

Marie and I visited with Emily who lives on the premises. She spoke of how she began this ministry and we met three men who stopped in while we were there. Emily asked about our interest in Bridgeway and we explained that we were wondering how to develop a more "hands-on relationship" with her ministry. While financial assistance is needed (and appreciated), we were wondering how we could "contribute" further.

She handed me the following write-up:
"Advice or Personal Help from Bridgeway - Though an often under-valued function at Bridgeway; it represents one of its most valuable services. From day-to-day this is the most taxing activity where a dozen and a half people, not including a similar number of those that simply just call, may come seeking advice for critical decisions they may be facing. Spiritual, relational, and economic advisory sessions encompass topics of social action, self-action, and self-realization. Bridgeway addresses daily giving much needed insight and alternatives to people who may be too distressed to see and discern for self."

So Emily's suggestion was that we could be helpful in teaching life skills.

I have to tell you that when Marie and I left, my mind was spinning. I was able to tell my family about the visit. Yet it's taken me four weeks to organize my thoughts, to write this "short" post, and I'm still wondering what action to take given the information I've received. I've also come to realize that the Tioga section of Philadelphia is a high crime area and admit that I am afraid.

Hand-written on a poster on the wall at Bridgeway said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

Please pray for me, that with God's guidance I can discern what to do with this opportunity and thank you.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A New Experience

Before I had someone close to me die, I never knew what to say to people who suffered the loss of a loved one, so I was silent. 

I'd think about sending a card and probably didn't do that either.

Then my father died (over 17 years ago). His memorial service was in Texas and after returning home to my family in Maryland,  I had to jump back in to the daily responsibilities of being a wife and a mother.

I wanted the world to slow down or stop.

But the world kept on moving forward.

There were days when I seemed to be living in a dream-like state. Where I'd think that I should call my dad and then remember that I'd never pick up the phone and talk to him again. I'd have to remind myself that he was dead.

During those foggy days, I received sympathy cards from friends and members of my church. The cards provided me with something tangible from people who acknowledged that my life wasn't "normal" and everything wasn't "fine." I still have every one of the cards.

From my father's death, I learned what to say and how to send sympathy cards to people who are grieving the death of a loved one.

So here is where the new experience comes in...I know you were wondering when I'd get around to that.

While leaving church, I was speaking to Linda and asked how married life was going with her daughter. (Over a year ago Linda was in the process of being the Mother-Of-The-Bride and I hadn't seen her since then.) She paused and said the marriage is going well but that her daughter had until recently been pregnant and for no known reason at 28 weeks, the baby died in utero. We spoke for a while outside the church. We hugged and I told her that I'd keep her, her daughter, and son-in-law in my prayers.

I am a card sender and was planning on looking through my stationery to write Linda a note when it occurred to me that I should send her a sympathy card. She is grieving the death of her grandchild.

My hope is that the sympathy card provides Linda comfort knowing that she, her daughter, and son-in-law are being prayed for during their time of mourning.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lifestyle and Stress

I had decided that I had better results with marking off 10 week increments while working on my lifestyle change. My plan is to eat less and move more.

So this is my Week 5 Update and I've lost 1/2 lb. in 5 weeks.

Can anyone say yo-yo? That's what my scale has been in the past 5 weeks.

I've been doing well with the move more part. I've been on the treadmill at a 2% incline, 3 mph, for 5-6 days per week. I've also been lifting 7 lb. weights trying to firm up my flabby arms and have seen improvement there too.

So the issue during this 5 week period has been the eat less part (and making more healthy choices). I've always known that I can go a bit bonkers when I'm stressed, so my lack of weight loss results have not been a suprise to me, yet it is disappointing.

Although I could list the reasons for the stress, it's been nothing tragic or mind boggling so I just need to get a grip and re-focus my efforts.

My next Losing It/Weight Loss Wednesdays blog update will be on Week 10 (September 15). In the meantime, I'll be checking in at House of Hills (on Fridays) and will be commenting on Karen Ehman's Weight Loss Wednesdays.

How has your journey been lately?

Update: Since Karen has decided to discontinue Weight Loss Wednesdays posts on her blog in a couple weeks, I'll be hanging out with my Losing It buddies at Kathy's House of Hills. The journey continues...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shoo-Fly Pie

Happiness in a pie plate....

Years ago my mother-in-law gave me this recipe. She said it came from the Pennsylvania Dutch. It is simple and delicious and because it's not super sweet, our son will occasionally eat a piece of pie for breakfast.

It makes 2 pies....and you're welcome :)

Liquid Ingredients:
1 full cup Karo syrup (dark)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup boiling water

Crumb Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter

2 pie crusts

Combine liquid ingredients.

Combine crumb ingredients.

Pour liquid mixture into pie crusts. (Remember this recipe makes 2 pies.)

Sprinkle crumb mixture into liquid mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.