Thursday, February 26, 2009

In the Kitchen Part III: Decorating Inspirations

Isn't this kitchen gorgeous? I wish I had a kitchen that looked like that...then maybe I wouldn't mind spending so much time in there!!!!

But, since we do spend so much time, don't you think they should reflect us...our taste, our passions, our personalities? Well I do! But sometimes, I just wish there were some inexpensive things that I could do to make my kitchen more ME!

So, today, I spent some time browsing through blogs and finding some great posts about decorating and re-do'ing kitchen! After my reading, I have been so inspired that I now have GREAT plans for my kitchen! Make sure you stop by toward the end of the weekend and you can see my changes for youself.

Anyways, take some time and read through some of these great kitchen links and then let me know what you would do different to your kitchen. And if you really want to, do your own post and list some things you would change!!

Annicole at Our Suburban Cottage

Melissa at The Inspired Room

Nester at The Nesting Place

Homespun Living

Classic Charm

One Woman's Cottage

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In The Kitchen: Part II

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who participated in the "staples" question. I got SOOO many great ideas for you! So, speaking for all new wives out there - Thanks for help!

Todays post is about recipes! YEA! But instead of everyone commenting with their recipe, I thought everyone could make their own post and link it here. With Easter coming up soon, I thought it would be fun to post our favorite Easter dessert! So create your own post with your favorite Easter goodies!!!

You might remember that last year, I made Easter Basket cupcakes and they were such a hit with the kids, and super easy to make. Here is the recipe again.

Begin with just a simple cake mix - make your basic cupcake just like the box says. I used a golden cake mix.
These are you basic ingredients that you need.
  • coconut
  • Twizzlers
  • A candy "egg" (I used jelly beans and Whopper Robin Eggs)
  • And your choice of icing
Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled, ice with your preference of icing. I used cream cheese icing because its my favorite.
Then make your "Easter basket grass."
  • Put about 2 cups of coconut flakes in a bowl
  • Sprinkle about 3 crops of green food coloring into the flakes
  • mix it up!
Once your iced and the grass is ready, cover half of the cupcake with the grass. Be sure to pat the grass down so it stick. Then curve your Twizzlers and stick both ends into your cupcake to be the basket handle. (be sure not to put it too close to the edge because it will push out of the cupcake.) Then add your eggs. To make sure your eggs stick, you can put a tiny dab of icing on the egg and its stays perfectly.

Monday, February 23, 2009

In The Kitchen

So, I have decided to do a week of "themed" posts! Not a different theme every week, but just every now and then, starting this week of course! Each post this week will be on one particular theme and will definitely be the type of posts that needs comments and participation!

This weeks theme is "In The Kitchen"! There might be some new recipes posted, some questions asked, and some stories told, but they will revolve around - THE KITCHEN! Ever since I got married, I have realized that a wife spends more time in her kitchen (or anywhere revolving around food: i.e. the grocery store, restaurants, take out, the list goes on) than anywhere else in her home. We cook there, feed our families there, clean up in there, make delicious cups of coffee and tea there, and even read in there. This is the simple reason I decided to talk about our kitchens!

Today, I thought we should actually take a brief moment to actually discuss the food in our kitchen. I, although not wanting to toot my own horn, consider myself to be a pretty decent cook. Very few times have I actually cooked something that my hubs did not like; however, I also feel that I don't know how to cook a lot of different things. I mean lets get serious, how hard is it to cook pasta and throw something in it? I swear I can make Italian 4 times a week and not even realize it.

Therefore, I began reading cookbooks to learn about new things and how to cook different veggies and meats. Almost as soon as I started reading cookbooks, I realized that there are many ingredients that I see over, and over again. Thus, I have begun the understanding of "staples".

No I never understood "staples" until I got married and my sister explained what a staple actually was, but I have found myself going back to these few things VERY often in a variety of dishes. So far, my staple lists is as follows:
  • Cream of Chicken soup
  • Cream of Mushroom soup
  • Lipton's onion soup mix
  • a generic red wine, or cooking red wine
  • a generic white wine, or cooking white wine
  • onion
  • diced, or stewed, tomatoes
I could use one of these everyday, yet cook completely different meals.

So today, I pose this question:
What are your staples? What are the few items that your kitchen is never without, that you buy even when you don't have a recipe calling for them because you know that sooner or later, you WILL use them????

And thanks in advance for your thoughts! The newly married people appreciate it!!!

Oh, and just for your enjoyment, Sister, Kate and Ethan came to have lunch with me are some pictures! I had a picture of Ethan, but it was really blurry (Sorry E!)

and look at my sister being fashionable and trendy sportin' her hot pink scarf! LOVE IT SIS!!! (Can you tell we read "Bring the Rain"?)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Great Weekend

I had such a wonderful weekend. On Saturday, I got up early so I could get on the road to Palestine, where a lot of my dad's family lives, including my dear cousin Amy. Amy and her husband Zac recently welcomed home their precious new baby girl, Isabelle Grace, last Wednesday. So I drove down to visit Amy and Baby Izzy on Saturday. She is so darn precious, and so tiny...Izzy was only 6 lbs and 17" long...literally about the size of her daddy's hand.

Me and Izzy - she is just to tiny!

This is my cousin Amy and her prcious new baby. I just love this picture where Izzy is looking up at cute.

Then Saturday evening, I had dinner with some girlfriends from college: Jessica, Jill, and Mary. Jill and Mary both have precious baby girls, and of course, Jessica is expecting Baby Cash in June! We had a delicious dinner and just spent some time gabbing as always!

This is Miss Mallory - how precious is she and check out that bow! LOVE IT!!!
This is Mary and Mallory. Mallory is just as cute and sweet as her mom!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Life's Circumstances

If you have ever needed a reason to not feel sorry for yourself and the circumstances life can bring, watch this video.

This sweet man is 90-years old and lost his ENTIRE retirement and life savings because they had been invested through Bernie Madoff. Now, to make ends meet, he is working as a greeter in a grocery store for $10 an hour, 30 hours a week. But he doesn't feel sorry for himself and doesn't blame anyone for his life's circumstances, he is just doing what it takes to pay his mortgage and wife's medical bills.

So look at the bright side of things today and see how blessed you are.

Deuteronomy 12:7

"There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you."

Oh, and go check out Sister's blog. She has a great tip from Opera's show yesterday with a 20% off your entire purchase coupon to The Container Store.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Robbers got Robbed

I saw this story on-line this morning and LOVED it! Take a moment to watch if you can.

Second, I read this story at, and it made me MAD! I, as mot human beings, know that smoking is bad. Regardless if you are a smoker or not - you KNOW it is bad for your. So can someone PLEASE tell me why a jury awarded this woman $8 million because her husband dies of lung cancer after being a 40-YEAR CHAIN SMOKER?????????

I understand that losing a loved one can be terribly heart-breaking, but I do not feel that blaming someone else for your mate's choices is the right answer. Granted, this woman's entire case was based on the fact that she claimed her husband "could not quite" and therefore, smoked for 40 years.

Sorry - this has just turned into a "ranting and raving" kind of post, and I did not mean for it to be, but it really makes me angry. Can we, as people, PLEASE take RESPONSIBILITY for our OWN for our actions????????

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Little Legal Humor

I was sent this email this morning, and given my professions, I found them quite humorous! These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters that had to stay calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!

ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?
WITNESS: No, I just lie there.

ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?

ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.

ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He's twenty, much like your IQ.

ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you ******** me?

ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid.

ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?

ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.

ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.

ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.

ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.

ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?

And the best for last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A bedazzler!

So, I was reading McMommy's Chronicles today and she is doing the POW party (that stands for Post Of the Week) and I was reading a few. Well I discovered Happy Meals and Happy Hour and this hilarious post literally had my laughing out loud! Go get a good laugh and let me know what you think!!! I sure hope you're not a bedazzler!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon

So Brant and I did not go out for Valentine's Day - we just stayed at home and relaxed. However, I did manage to fix a delicious dinner that was incredibly simple, so I thought I would share - Brown Sugar Glazed Salmon.

Heat your grill to medium heat and prepare a slab of foil with folded corners (brown sugar is a great flame-starter - and no, I don't know that from experience). Place your salmon on the foil and season with a season salt (I used McCormicks Monterey Chicken Seasoning and it was FABULOUS!) Then cover your salmon with brown sugar - you want it to be completely covered showing no pink. Then put it on your grill for about 10 minutes!

When I went to the store to get the salmon, fresh gulf shrimp was also on sale, so I got about a dozen. I put these on skewers and set them alongside the salmon on the grill. When I was about to take the salmon off, I took some of the excess glaze that dripped off and brushed just a taste of it onto the shrimp - its was delicious!

So any salmon lovers - this is definitely a quick, yet great way to make salmon. Try it out and let me know what you think!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I love Digital Scrapping!

Now, I have always enjoyed scrapbooking and have paper scrapped for years, but I have officially fallen in love with digital scrapping! If you remember this post, I was very reluctant to "going" digital, but finally did so after Sister convinced me of how great it truly was.

We Sister recently took an advanced online class by Jessica Sprague (who, by the way, is AMAZING!) and taught me some of the great creative techniques she learned. I thought I would share a few of the weekly pages with you.

This was week one and focused largely on how to mirror your images by rotating them, and then changing colored photos to black and white then restoring one area or element back to its original color.

This was week 2 - concentrating on shortcuts on cutting without changing elements, and altering colors. These pictures are from when Brant and I went with our dear friends to Cancun, Mexico this past summer.
Week 3 was probably one of my favorite tasks. Notice how the bottom of the page has the original photo burned into the background of the paper - now you tell me how to do that paper scrapping! This page includes pictures from when Jessica and I took Riley and Kate to the Neiman Marcus Children's Parade in December.

This was the most recent thing that sister taught me. This week's lesson was focused on making a 2-page spread. Originally, this we done with a 2 12x12 page spread. However, I am in the middle of making a wedding album for my grandmother, and decided to take the same steps to make this 2 8x8 page spread (since my album is an 8x8). These photos were from mine and Brant's wedding back in July os 2007.

One Saturday while I was at Sister's learning about these techniques, she said that Jessica was doing a 30-minute challenge. This challenge isn't just the page, you had 30 minutes to take pictures, download, and do a full page spread. Well here is my 30-minute challenge page!!!

This is just another page for the wedding album.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kristi is Dancing in the Kingdom

From John Durham this morning:

It is with hope-filled grief that I share with you that Kristi Walker went to be with her Christ this morning. I talked to Chuck soon after her passing at 8:15 this morning, and he was about to drive home share the news with Cade. I think perhaps that would be the most difficult moment of the day for him...let’s pray for Cade’s heart, for Mason’s understanding and for 5-month old Zane’s little heart as well.

The past few days were difficult for Kristi physically and most definitely for Chuck, Mike, Anne and Amy emotionally. I pray that you see God’s goodness in transferring Kristi from a painful place to a peaceful place...and transporting her from a temporary, sick body to a literal Kingdom where there is no pain, mourning or tears. Kristi has been swallowed up by life!

I will be emailing again today with funeral times and arrangements. Thanks to each of you for your intercession, your care and compassion, and being the Church and the Body for the Walkers during this time.

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Cor 5:1-5

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

All About ME!

This is from Tricia'Nae's blog and I thought it would be fun to play along...

What were you doing 10 yrs ago?
I was in the 2nd semester of my junior year of high school - working for a great real estate agent names Shirley Smith in the afternoons.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
I was a newlywed, and working as a corporate paralegal for a company called Cottonwood Financial.

Name 5 Snacks you enjoy?
fruit (especially dipped in Nutella), warm chocolate chip cookies, brownie sundays, ice cream, Sissy cake (which is cake made only by my sister that is some of the most delicious cake in the entire world!)

5 songs you know all the words to?
When you Say you Love me (Josh Groban), Bring the Rain (Mercy Me), Glory (Selah), I Will be Here (Steven Curtis Chapman), Everything (Michael Buble)

What are 5 things you would do if you were a millionaire?
Pay off ALL debt, stay at home with my children (future children that is), Travel around the world, Buy a boat!

What are 5 of your bad habits?
I worry a lot, I eat a lot, I don't always think before I speak, I am addicted to coffee (although I am getting a lot better), I talk too much!

What are 5 things you like to do?
sleep late on Saturday mornings, shop, read, scrapbook, play with my sister's babies!

What are 5 things you would never buy/wear/get again?
This one is kind of tough...I would never GET my wisdom teeth pulled again, I would never BUY a McDonald's Big Mac again, I would never WEAR daisy duke shorts again, I would never BUY celery again if I didn't have to have it to cook with - I HATE celery! I would never GET the baked salmon roll at Suzushi (it tasted too fishy).

What are 5 of your favorite toys?
my computer - for digital scrapbooking purposes of course!!! My books - I love to read, especially Mary Higgins Clark, John Grisham, and Karen Kingsbury!!! My Dax - you may not think of him as a toy, but he is so much FUN to play with!!! JalapeƱo seeder - I love making stuffed jalapeƱos, and this is one of my favorite toys to use - you just cut off the top, insert the seeder and spin it around. All the seeds just fall out!!! My cell phone - I just don't know what I would do without it!!!

Prayers Needed

Here is the update today on Kristi Walker. Please be in prayer during this critical time and pray the the Lord will heal Kristi's liver so that she can continue on with cancer treatments.

"Chuck, Anne and Mike met with Dr. Graham last nite for 2.5 hours to discuss Kristi's status. Dr. Graham confirmed the obvious that Kristi is in a critical condition and needs the care of ICU where she will remain for the foreseeable future. We reviewed the CT scan that showed her liver and other organs. Good news is that her heart, lung, and kidneys are healthy. Fluid is present outside lungs, but doesn't seem to have gotten back into the lungs. Docs seem to have gotten crazy blood sugar counts and sodium counts in improved ranges and stablilzed.

The troubling news that has been apparent with recent trends is that the liver is not functioning properly. This is evidenced by fluid accumulation in the abdomen and chest area and by lab reports. We have all been troubled by billirubin counts that were escalating. Other numbers indicating liver function have been more stable and in some cases slightly improved so that all indicators aren't trending negatively, but there is clearly a significant issue with the liver. The scan shows scars evidencing locations where tumor had been located but was no longer present. There were no signs of masses of tumor, but from the beginning, the tumor in her liver has been diffused internally and not been indicated by more typical masses that could be seen on the scan. We just don't know if that tumor continues diffused within the liver. Because of low platelets and Kristi's overall condition, the normal biopsy to determine presence of tumor is not an option. Bottom line is that the problems with the liver function are significant and need to improve.

Dr. Graham will be running a count on cancer cells in the blood to determine if the cancer is active and running through the body. Results of that report will be available by end of week or Monday. Please pray as that will be an important indicator in decisions for future care.

Dr. Graham believes that the next one to three weeks will be critical to determine if liver function will improve. If he doesn't see an improvement in that function within that time frame, he will likely recommend that treatment of the tumor cease as the liver will apparently not be able to recover its function. It is very clear that Kristi's liver was significantly damaged by tumor at the time the cancer was discovered. The good news about the liver is that it is the organ best able to regenerate itself, but Dr. Graham is not seeing signs of that regeneration at this time.

Our prayer request is for the liver to start to function properly and to regenerate damaged areas. We have a very short time to see that improvement or the medical folks will have no choice but to determine that improvement will not occur and that further medical solutions will not be available. The ability to treat is now limited by very low platelet counts. Please pray for those platelet counts to increase so that full treatments of chemo may be given to her to attack the cancer in her body. Also pray for Kristi to feel better. She is very sick with a lot of complications that cause her to feel pretty lousy or to simply sleep a lot. We all want her to be able to be awake without severe pain so she can spend time with her family.

We know that God is good no matter what happens with liver reports or platelet counts. We praise Him for a caring doctor who has once again decided against advice of others that he should continue treatment of Kristi. We praise Him for the additional time in which we can join with all of you in lifting her up for healing. We praise Him for the tremendous love that has been shown to Kristi by a community of friends and strangers around the country. God is continuing to love her more than any of us could ever hope to love her and we praise Him for the promise that His plans for her and for each of us are greater than we could ever imagine. Thanks to all of you for your fervent prayers at this critical time for Kristi."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kristi Walker update

From an email from John Durham this morning:

Good Monday to all,

Chuck and I talked for a while on Saturday...I would say it was the most emotional he has sounded since this medical journey with Kristi began. Kristi has been in the hospital every day since Christmas, except for 8 sporadic days. This past week and a half, she has only been conscious and awake about 4 hours a day and the rest of the time asleep. In Chuck’s words the past few weeks have been “a small step forward and huge leaps backwards.”

Some of the counts for her blood sugar and sodium levels are literally off the charts. Normal blood sugar counts are between 80-110, she was over 300 last week. She is almost constantly on an insulin drip, as well as all the other medications to keep all systemic problems under control. Chuck’s doctor said on Saturday that right now all balances are being maintained, but that there are so many things at this point which could send her into a coma or take her life quickly.

Chuck’s main prayer request at this point is for wisdom, as he has big decisions to make in regards to continued chemo for Kristi, life quality, finances, and medical options. He knows Kristi will experience healing – whether in this life or this next. But he misses his friend Kristi, and of course wants to comfort his three sons on their own levels during this time as well.

To end this email on a more positive note, the fund-raiser last week at McDonalds for the Walkers raised over $25,000 for them. Another fund-raiser is being planned in the coming weeks. This money will help with medical bills, the boy’s college funds, transportation bills, etc...the story was on an NBC affiliate in their area:

LORD, it is You who establishes peace for us; all that we have accomplished, You have actually done for us.
O LORD, our God, we have allowed other lords besides You to rule over us, but Your Name alone do we honor.
Isaiah 26:12-13

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What a Day

Well, it has been quite a day. I actually slept a little late since I wasn't going into work. We got the dentist office around 11:35 and they were ready. I went back, got set up to some "Laughing Gas" and then waited...and waited....then got numbed (I opted for just a local anesthetic) I had to get 3 fillings (on the first cavities I have EVER had), then they began working on my wisdom teeth. The first two came out well, then the last one took some work. The tooth had to be broken into about 10 pieces AFTER they drilled away some flesh. They pulled the roots out separately and I actually got to see them. They were crooked like the letter "J". CRAZY!

The drugs started wearing off about an hour after the surgery and I was in quite a bit of pain, but thank Jesus for Hydrocodone! So in a whole, I would say the day went well and I hope to feeling back to normal in a day or two.

Thank you for all the prayers and well-wishes! They are much appreciated.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wisdom Teeth and FireProof

Topic #1
Tomorrow I will become wisdom-less...or at least, I will have no more wisdom teeth! That's right - I am having them taken out by one of the world's greatest dentists, Dr. Kirk Hampton, DDS!

Most people have horror stories about having their wisdom teeth pulled, but Dr. Hampton uses the Waterlase laser by Biolase...whom my dear brtoerh-in-law just happens for work for! By far, Dr. Hampton is Michale's #1 recommendation and after my appointment with him a few weeks ago, I understand why. Hopefully, the process will not be too bad and I shall be back up on my feet in no time, altough it might be nice to be "in bed" for a few days!

Topic #2
I won a free copy of the new released movie "Fire Proof" on DVD. This week, KLTY 94.9 (my favorite Christian radio station) was doing a bit where they ask people to call in with their most memorable and romantic Valentine Day stories. Of course the day Bran't propsed was probably the most memorable Valentine's Day for me, so I called in. Each person that called in was entered into a drawing to win a free copy of the movie, and I WON, and I was on the radio!!!! I didn't get a chance to go see the movie in theatre, but have heard wonderful things about it. I cannot wait to see it!

Well I hope everyone is having a wonderful week so far!