Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Aggies, Don't Hate Me

Cause I made this.

On purpose.

But then we sawed off the horns and at them. So it makes it ok. It was for my sister's graduation. However, cakes apparently don't do well after a couple of hours in the car. By the time we got to Austin, the cake no longer looked like it did in the picture. Does anyone remember the cake scene in Sleeping Beauty? If not, just picture a landslide of icing upon a severly deformed longhorn.

Oh yes, there were tears. At least we captured the "before" picture. I decline to post any "after" pictures :)

Here is the pretty UT grad below.

We went up to Austin on Saturday to attend the graduation. It was the best graduation ever! Under an hour. Really. Unbelievable. I didn't even have to bring my graduation-survival-kit (magazine, electronic sudoku, cards, etc). We hung out with my sister and Cody, played with their new dog, then stayed at my Dad's cousins' home and enjoyed a few rounds of catch phrase. It was a fun time haning out with everyone. Here is the gang below.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Now I Know Why People Pay for Pine Cones

I thought it would be a fun thing to collect pine cones, glitter them, then put them in a bowl on our kitchen table. I was inspired by Becky's post. It would be an inexpensive, pretty decoration. Besides, who would pay to buy pine cones at the store when you can find them outside for free? Um, I would.

We went out Sunday afternoon to collect pine cones with one of our couple friends from church. We couldn't find any good ones at first, just the small, smashed, lopsided ones were all that were left. Guess the black Friday crowd hit up all the pine cones before we got there. I knew we should have come earlier. Our husbands were so sweet to try to get us some fresh ones. They were using the frisbee to knock the real beauties out of the trees. Pretty funny to watch as they were determined to get them down. We finally hit the jackpot in the Japanese Gardens. Lot's of good ones there. We filled up our bags then headed home.

Pine cones are so Christmasy. I love them. Oh, but apparently baby roaches do too. Who would have known a small colony of roaches had taken up residency in the pine cones I collected? I unknowingly sat the whole car ride home with a bag of roach-infested pine cones upon my lap. That is sick. When we got home to form the pine cone line-up to determine who would make the bowl, I began placing them in a height line. That's when they came alive. Each one had 3-5 bugs in them. Greg was so sweet. He violently shook each one until all the bugs came out. We are not talking microscopic slow-moving bugs that you can flick out the door people. We are talking small roaches that can do 0-60 in a millisecond. Has anyone ever played the arcade game whack-a-mole where you hit the moles with those big soft mallets? It was like watching Greg play that game while I yelled their various locations. Left knee, 10 o'clock! Above the towel, by your foot! He's getting away! After an intense roach-war, finally all the casualties were removed. I sprayed all the pine cones with bug spray, then placed them in air-tight zip lock bags in case any of them had decided to lay baby roach eggs to carry on their legacy. After a couple hours of suffocation I figured they were all dead and began the glittering process. Here is the final product. I added a bag of bead fillers from hobby lobby.

Buying pine cones might not be such a bad idea after all...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving

"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Col 2:6-7

We had a great Thanksgiving weekend in Waco. We spent several days with Greg's parents, grandma, brother, sister, and her husband and baby girl. We also got to see some cousins on Thanksgiving day. There was plenty of good food the whole time. We played games, shopped, made bows for the Christmas tree, entertained Hollyn, watched football, talked, ate, and laughed. We took plenty of pictures too. The group shot above took about 15 attempts to get a good one of everyone. There were also probably 50 or more shots taken of Greg and/or Jameson jumping while posing with the frisbee. I'll save those for another post. I should make a collage of all the jumping pictures of Greg. I probably have 100 on this computer.

I am so thankful all the undeserved blessings in my life. I have a wonderful husband who is funny, kind, servant-hearted, and loving, having a wonderful loving family, the best in-laws anyone could ask for, plenty of food to eat not only on Thanksgiving, but everyday, a warm place to eat it, safety and protection, living in America with all the luxuries I take for granted daily (running water, electricity, living in peace without daily fear for my life, freedom to worship and speak openly of Christ), a stable job, our church, so many sweet friends that God has brought into our lives, our newlywed Sunday School class, my health, a mind to read and study and think on God's word, the Bible, excellent Bible teachers, and most of all, the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thes 5:15-18
Now if I could only learn to continually give thanks. I have so much to be thankful. This verse clearly states that it is God's will for me to give thanks in all circumstances. Yet sometimes I still find myself complaining. That is the exact opposite of giving thanks. I have been really convicted of that recently. Whenever I hear myself complain, this verse comes to mind and I realize I am in direct opposition to God's command here. Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect on all those things God's has given and remind myself that I should be doing that daily, in all circumstances.

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tag I'm It: Crazy 8's

Jill has tagged me to answer the following questions. Hopefully I am not the last one this time Jill (aka, blog police!) :)

8 TV Shows I like:

1) 24
2) The Office
3) Law & Order
4) Felicity (I used to watch the DVDs with my college roommates all the time! My new roommate doesn't seem to want to do the same...)
5) What Not to Wear
6) Cake Contest Shows (not sure what the real name of the show is)

I don't watch tons of TV show I can't really think of any other shows that I really like.

8 Restaurants I enjoy:

1) Cafe Red Onion
2) Chuys
3) PF Changs
4) Panera
5) Amazon Grill
6) Canyon Cafe
7) Cyclone Anayas
8) Chili's

8 Things that happened today:

1) I went to church
2) I got frustrated at Old Navy for not giving me the 20% off that my coupon claimed I would receive
3) Made green bean casserole for the first time
4) Washed laundry
5) Cleaned
6) Went to a potluck dinner at a friend's house and ate delicious food
7) Recorded 24 the mini movie, on VHS
8) Planned out in my head my next craft project. My inspiration comes from Becky. She posted a blog recently about collecting some pine cones to use for decoration. I have a clear glass bowl on our kitchen table filled with fake green apples that I want to trade out. I think I am going to collect some pine cones and glitter them and put them in the bowl. Maybe mix in some small round ornaments for some Christmas flare.

8 Things I am looking forward to
1) Seeing Greg's family for Thanksgiving, especially Cutie McChunky. (Picture stolen from Jill's blog)
2) Our office pot-luck lunch on Tuesday 3) Christmas music starting this week 4) Making a gingerbread house at some point in December
5) Seeing my sister in a few weeks and meeting their new dog Duma
6) 5 days in a row of no work over Thanksgiving
7) Watching 24 the mini-movie
8) Shane and Shane in concert at HFBC in December

I am skipping the last set of 8's because it is my "wish list", which i guess would be my Christmas list unless I wanted to list all serious things like world peace. So anyway, I'll leave that one out. Also, I am blogging right before bed and about to fall asleep so better wrap it up! Thanks for giving me some blogging material Jill!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If We Understood Everything in the Bible...

Would we still want to read it?

Would we want to study it?

Would we get bored with it?

Would we even want to go to bible study?

Would that knowledge puff us up with pride?

Would we delight in it?

Tonight I was thinking how great it is that we DON'T understand everything that is written in the Bible. We had some really good discussions at our small group Bible study. Many good questions were posed. Questions that cannot be answered in a night. Or maybe a lifetime. Questions that the great theologians have debated for centuries. Questions that are fun to think about. The kind that make your brain hurt as you think out loud.

For example... What is the wrath of God? I mean, what is it EXACTLY? Jesus suffered the wrath of God in our place. We (all sinners) deserve God's righteous and just wrath. But in God's mercy, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are no longer under God's wrath. Jesus took our place and paid for all our sins. But what exactly was God's wrath that Jesus suffered? Was it His crucifixion? Lot's of people have been crucified throughout history. Was He sent to Hell before He rose on the third day? I don't believe that but I have heard it preached before. Was it the fact that his death was undeserved because he was the only one who could ever live a perfect life and fulfill the standard of righteousness?

I like questions like these. And this may have a simple answer that can be found with more research and study. But in general, I like deep questions that make you think. It makes studying God's word so exciting. If you think about it, it is simply amazing that the Bible never gets old. Can you imagine a book or movie or song that you NEVER get tired of reading/watching/hearing? You could read the bible over and over again your whole life and still not exhaust it. There is infinite wisdom to be grasped. No other author could do this. Only God. No other book could be the best seller of all time. God doesn't even need sequels. He doesn't even need any new material. The same thing just keeps getting printed out and people just keep buying it. How great is that! His revealed word is sufficient to keep us busy for a lifetime.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend in Pictures

I was tagged by my sister-in-law, Jill, to post the 6th picture in my 6th folder of pictures. Here is what we got.

Greg took this picture when we were in California. I think it is really pretty; I love his close-up shots. Although I was hoping for a picture that was a bit more interesting. Something more ridiculous. Something more like this.

Oh well. Maybe next time.

And while I am posting pictures, might as well just post picture from this weekend since there were a lot of good ones. Friday we took the day off work and my parent's took Greg and I fishing out on Sabine Lake with a guide. It was a blast. We didn't catch too many fish but we had fun trying. Here is my cute fisherman.

Here are my parents. I think this is a great picture. My Mom is making my Dad's camo jacket look stylish.

After we went fishing we decided to drive through Bolivar and Galveston to see where our old beach house used to be. My parent's sold it years ago so luckily we didn't own it at the time of Ike, but it was really sad to see Crystal Beach so devastated after years and years of memories spending summers on that beach. You can see in the picture below that this row of houses is completely gone. This neighborhood actually had houses, but some neighborhoods further East didn't have a single house standing.

That concrete slab and one post was literally all that was left of our old beach house. My Aunt and Uncle's old house used to be in front of it (which would be to the right in this picture, towards the water) is completely gone along with all the surrounding houses.

Someone had started piling things up on one of the concrete slabs. I found 5 pieces of silverware and added it to the pile. Who knows if the people who owned these things will ever come back for them.

I just think this picture is cool .Greg took it into a piece of broken mirror and my parents are off to the side.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Good Post on Adoption

I read a really good post recently on adoption from a blog that I stalk. It is lengthy, but really good. Really thought-provoking. I just read it to Greg while he was fixing his fishing reel :) We agreed that we had both never thought about things in this way before. The basic point of the post is that it is easy to be anti-abortion. We should be anti-abortion, because as Christians, we are called to not murder. But beyond being anti-abortion, are we actually doing anything to be pro-life? Would we really even consider adopting? This is a great quote from her post....

"If abortion ended tomorrow (how cool would that be?) would there even be enough Christian, pro-life parents who would bring one of those babies home? Would there be enough volunteers at our local crisis pregnancy center?"

I'm not saying after reading this post, that we are considering adoption. I have thought about adoption before, but like she mentions in the post, it is easy to say that you would consider adoption. But you haven't really considered it unless you have researched it or contacted an adoption agency. So we really haven't actually considered adoption. But this has challenged me to one day in the future when we are thinking about growing our family, to put more thought into this. Also, my cousin Jodi is in the process of trying to adopt a baby, which is really encouraging to hear.

I would love to tell more about the main points, but no need repeating everything she says since she says it so well. So if you get a chance, this post is a good one to ponder.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Crock Pot Intervention

When Greg and I registered for wedding gifts, we registered for a crock pot. I really wanted a crock pot. I've never owned one before, but they look like so much fun. I daydreamed about coming home to a big pot of steaming deliciousness after work. Someone was nice enough to give us a crock pot. But 8 months after our wedding, the crock pot is still sitting in the closet. I can't figure out why!

I really want to use it. I think about it a lot. Mostly as I am walking to my car in the parking garage at work, leaving to go home. I think, 'dang it, why didn't I use the crock pot this morning? If I did, then I would have a nice warm pot of yumminess waiting for me; and I wouldn't have to do a thing. Sometimes I even look up crock pot recipes. I plan out meals in my head that will be made in my magical pot. But still, I haven't gotten around to using it. I need help. I need to take action. So I have decided to put myself on a 5 step program.

Step 1: Get out the crock pot

You may be thinking this is an easy step that doesn't even need to be classified as a step. Wrong. The crock pot is not just sitting in a cabinet. No. It is sitting in a box...in a closet...namely, the "wedding closet". The storehouse for all things big and beautiful received as wedding gifts that do not fit in our kitchen cabinets. Even the world champion Tetris player could not recreate what is going on in that closet. And the beloved crock pot is on bottom. You should see Greg's face when I tell him I need something out of the wedding closet. You would think I have asked him to attend a scrap booking meeting with me. Occasionally I get things out of that closet, but the boxes never fit back the same way, and the stacks become more and more unstable. But this step has to be taken. I am giving myself until next Sunday night.

Step 2: Pick out a recipe

This step should not be hard. I actually have a crock pot cookbook, and I have an email list of about 100 crock pot recipes that a co-worker had given me a long time ago.

Step 3: Pick a day to make the meal

I should probably try it out on a Sunday. I could put the food in either before or after church instead of having to get up earlier on a work day to try to figure everything out.

Step 4: Buy the ingredients

Step 5: Fire up the crock pot!

I'll report back after my first crock pot dinner.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Trade a Book Club

Never lend books, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other people have lent me. - Anatole France

I know I have done this to people. In fact I probably have books that have been sitting on my shelf for years that aren't mine. Come to think of it, I think I have my friend Katie's Harry Potter book from at least 5 years ago. Katie - if you read this blog and are still up for lunch tomorrow, I will bring it with me. Surprise! Bet you forgot about that one :)

Also, I know I have lent out books that I have never seen since. Speaking of which, does anyone have my book Chosen by God?

Anyway, even though lending and borrowing books is risky business, it is great fun! So I was thinking, we should have a book sharing club. Has anyone read any really good books recently that they highly recommend? Is anyone looking for a new book to start reading and wants some suggestions? Want to trade books for a while? Great.

First, I have decided to put up on the sidebar the book that I am currently reading. I also put Greg's current book up there if any guys or husbands want suggestions. Now, please don't think I am trying to show how awesome I am by flashing around the books I am reading. I am not awesome. I am not very disciplined at extra-curricular reading. I go through phases. But overall, I enjoy reading and would like to do more of it. I like to know what other people are reading. I like to hear of good books. In fact, the book I am reading now, I heard about through a blog that I follow. So I just wanted to share what I am reading, in case it benefits anyone like I have benefited from others.

Secondly, I put up a short list of books that Greg and/or I have read and really enjoyed. If anyone wants to swap books for a bit for one on the list, then just let me know. And you don't even have to swap. Feel free to borrow any of those books if you would like. We have others, but those are our top 10 picks. Anyway, just wanted to put that out there. Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I'm back to the blogging world. These past couple of weeks have been pretty busy and I haven't had time to blog. Greg keeps telling me I better blog before I loose all my readers. So sorry for all those who check and are disappointed every time there is no new blog. I know the feeling. I get disappointed every time I check a friend's blog excitedly expecting an update only to see the same old post. Then I think to myself, why don't I just get those side bar blog update things that shows each person's latest post? But then I remind myself that is no fun because it ruins the surprise of finding out if there is a new post or not.

So last week we got some sad news. My Mom's brother, My Uncle Butch, passed away due to a blood clot in his brain. He had been sick for a while, on dialysis, and was awaiting a kidney transplant. The blood clot was a complication from a procedure he was having done to get rid of an infection. He lives in California, so I didn't even get to say goodbye. The last time I saw him was last summer when him and my Aunt came and stayed with us at the beach. The picture of him below is from that summer. We made fun of him because he caught the tiniest catfish possible on his fishing pole.

Greg and I, along with my sister, Cody, Mom, and Dad, flew out to California on Friday to attend the memorial service. It was a really emotional weekend. The service was nice, and they told many great stories about my Uncle. He had a great sense of humor, always making people laugh. Since I was a baby he has lovingly called me "minor potty" and my sister "major potty". Luckily my diapers weren't as bad as my sister's were, so I get to be minor. Sorry Lauren. Uncle Butch and my Uncle Chuck who also lives in California would always joke around with each other. One time Uncle Butch was at Uncle Chucks house and noticed how the water in the toilets was blue. He said, how did you get that blue water in there? Uncle Chuck decides to give him a hard time and says, "Oh, we have it piped in. It's only a few extra bucks a month to keep the toilets clean. You just have to call the water people". Well my Uncle Butch actually calls the water company asking for the blue water. They tell him there is no such thing. He insists, explaining how his brother has the service, and gives them their address and everything. Uncle Chuck gave him a hard time about it ever since. Uncle Butch had such a fun personality, and will truly be missed.

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging out with family I hadn't seen in a really long time. My cousins had kids I had never even met. It was good to be surrounded by family. We flew home on Sunday and by the time we got back to our apartment we were exhausted. It was only a short trip, but I am really glad we went.

As a side note, since Halloween just passed, look how precious our niece is. What a cutie!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ode to my frugal Husband

To the man who reuses plastic ziplock bags

To the man who heats up the last remains of the peanut butter jar in order to scrape that last bit out

To the man who coasts down hills to conserve on gas

To the man who refuses to use napkins at dinner

To the man who only chews 1/2 piece of gum at a time

To the man who does not use the A/C in his car (when alone)

To the man who goes to the restroom at work so he doesn't have to use up much toilet paper at home

To the man who eats red potatoes at work as a snack just so the extra ones we bought don't go to waste

To the man who goes to the dry cleaners once a year

I love you and your frugal ways. I love seeing all the ways you are wise with our money and are willing to make sacrifices. You are so creative in the ways you save. I love trying to sneak your one plastic drinking glass into the dishwasher when you aren't looking so that it can have it's monthly washing. You are a blast to be married to. You are frugal with money when it comes to you, but not to me. You are a generous giver and never hold back on me. Thanks love!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Fishin Magician

This is what happened this weekend.

We actually did catch a lot of good sized bass but that was my favorite picture from the day. Greg and I went to a lake in Katy that my coworker told us about. We packed a picnic lunch and spent a few hours fishing. The weather was perfect.

There has been a lot of fishing recently. Last weekend we had a "hunting and gathering" weekend. My dad took Greg and Cody fishing while my mom, my sister, and I spent the day together. We mostly "gathered" at hobby lobby. Here are the pictures of the boys.

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Random Facts

I was tagged a while back to do 6 random facts, and was recently tagged again by Lynn. I currently have no blog material, so this is great. I will give 6 new facts...

1) I just bought 3 new pairs of shoes last week, all in one day. Two of them were from Target, and one from DSW. I am not a huge shoe person, but since I wear the same shoes to work all the time they get so worn down. I had 4 pairs of heels in my closet that had the caps of the heels completely worn off, to where the metal spike is sticking through. Sometimes I take them to the shoe hospital to get fixed. But there comes a point when it is no longer worth it. This not only makes walking difficult, but is slightly embarrassing. I have to adjust my walking just to conceal the scraping metal sound that occurs when walking across hard surfaces. Not an easy feat my friends. People notice. And comment.

2) Greg is laying on the floor looking at his flys while I blog. He is calling out the name of each fly as he looks at them in a very loud, deep, announcer-type voice. "Nuuumber 6: BLACK ZONKER". I just keep typing.

3) I started a new book yesterday. Knowing Scripture, by RC Sproul. I have started this book before, but got busy. It has been a while since I have read a book, and really miss it. I forget how much I enjoy it. I was attempting to read a book recently about Jesus and end times, but it was completely over my head using multiple words per sentence that I couldn't even pronounce. I was just getting frustrated. So I am looking forward to this book, and so far it is really good.

4) I am getting excited about Christmas already. My mom, sister and I made a trip to Hobby Lobby this weekend and were looking at their Christmas stuff. My sister and I picked out stockings for our husbands for when we have Christmas at our parents house. This will be Greg and my first Christmas as a married couple. I am looking forward to the following: looking at Christmas lights, singing Christmas songs (the good ones about Jesus, not so much the cheeseball ones), and making gingerbread houses.

5) I spend 3 hours today at work on rounding. ROUNDING. Decimals are my nemesis. Anyone who works on financial reports can relate. Let's start a support group.

6) It took me 45 minutes to type up this list. I keep getting distracted by the tv. A rerun of the Office is on :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wedding Shower Cake

So I branched out this week from undergarment shaped baked creations. I did my first wedding shower themed cake. This cake was for my best friend Lindsay's co-worker. Lindsay came up with the idea to do a cake in the shape of wedding dress. I thought it was such a good idea! Here is the final product. It was a lot of fun. Now I am looking forward to trying to make a baby themed cake in the shape of a onsie. I'll post pictures when I get the chance to try one.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Greg and I just saw the best movie this weekend! Fireproof is a movie currently in theatres put on by Sherwood Baptist Church, who also created Facing the Giant's. I first heard about this from Chelsi's blog (thanks Chelsi for getting the word out!) She gives a great summary of the movie which you can read about here. This was the best movie we had seen in a long time. Kirk Cameron is the main character in this movie. He is a firefighter and local hero, while at home his marriage is falling apart. This movie was amazing! It was made me tear up, laugh, and it had a great love story. Not the kind of love story we typically see in movies where someone is falling in love with someone other than their spouse. This story is about loving the person you are married to. But not the feeling of love, the action of love. And this was not just a chick flick. Greg loved this movie. We both keep talking about it and encouraging everyone to go see it. I am just so excited that this movie is in theatres. I am praising God and so thankful that a movie like this is at the box office. It is not just a clean, morally good movie, but has a clear gospel presentation. It is presented so well, with great analogies and real life situations. It is interesting to read about the movie too - none of the actors were paid. Kirk Cameron was the only actor offered money, and he instead had it donated to a ministry. Also, in the scene where he kisses his wife, he doesn't actually kiss his on-screen wife. His real wife fills in for that one shot. How awesome is that! Anyway, I am praying that people go support this movie. It is rare and so refreshing that a movie like this is ever in theatres. I am looking forward to future movies that this ministry creates. So go see this movie and spread the word!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Need a Cake?

Note to readers:

If you are a boy, and are reading this, it is really a girly posting. If you are a girl, and are going to be offended by pictures of a lingerie cake, you probably shouldn't read this. These are not inappropriate, they are just clean, fun cakes for a soon-to-be bride, all in good taste. I think that bachelorette parties / lingerie showers should be God honoring, not trashy, and in celebration of someone entering in to marriage. But I don't know who all reads this blog, and didn't want anyone who does't know me to get the wrong idea, so just consider yourself warned.

I have had the chance to make the cakes for a few of my friend's lingerie showers, and it was really fun. How come I seem to only be good at women's intamite apparel when it comes to cakes? I feel like these ones look better than the ones I did in cake class, which seemed a lot more sloppy. These have lost of decorations though, which conveniently hides and non-smooth surfaces.

So, if anyone has a friend's shower coming up, and would like me to make a cake, let me know. Greg's hoping my cake business will take off so he can take next year off. These are cut out of regular rectangle cake pans, so I can do different designs, and different colors too. I will obviously not do anything distasteful. Here are the pictures of the cakes I have made so far. I need to get a little faster at making these. They take a LONG time. And the last one I attempted to make while watching the season premier of the Office, so that probably made me even slower. I think I need to re-watch the Office to see if I missed anything.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Recipes, Housekeeping, and Coupons

I tried this recipe tonight and it came out great. I found it in while flipping through Good Housekeeping in the waiting room of the dentist office. Then I went home and found it on their website. This was interesting because last week I got one of those coupons from Kroger that is printed out with your receipt, for a free 1 year prescription to Good Housekeeping. At first I thought NO...I cannot get that. Only moms are allowed to read that. I have a few more years before I can have one in my home. But then after realizing they have recipes in them, I thought hmmm....might be a good idea. I made Greg review the coupon and scan it for fine print, asterisks, and ambiguous binding contracts. He declared it scam-free so I mailed it in. I am now looking forward to reading up on some home tips and new recipes.

Speaking of coupons, does anyone cut coupons? Is it worth it? Abby mentioned in her blog recently that she started clipping some coupons and was pleased with the savings. A few weeks before that I had purchased the Sunday paper to do a little coupon experiment to find out if they are worth it. I excitedly sat down with the paper and a pair of scissors, eagerly looking forward to hours of coupon cutting bliss. I was disappointed to find few usable coupons. Most of the grocery inserts were just advertisements. Like, get excited, red seedless grapes for $2.99 a lb. No, I am not excited about that. That is not a pretty little coupon with dashed lines enclosing it that I can cut out. That is not helpful at all. I go to the same store for grocery shopping, and I just look at the prices of food when I'm there and decide whether or not it is worth it. I do not need to look through non-coupons before I go. Maybe it was just a bad week for the coupon section in the Chronicle. If anyone has good coupon tips, please let me know. I think I will try again, and see how it goes. Sometimes Kroger mails me coupons, and they are really good ones so I love using those. But those don't come that often so I need a better source of coupons.

Ok here is the recipe. And it is great because it is a recipe for the full meal.

Almond Crusted Tilapia

2 lemons
2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon(s)salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
4 (6 ounces each) tilapia fillets
1/4 cup(s) sliced natural almonds
1 small onion, chopped
1 bag(s)(12-ounce) trimmed fresh green beans
1 package(s) (10-ounce) sliced white mushrooms
2 tablespoon(s) water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. From 1 lemon, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 3 tablespoons juice; cut second lemon into wedges. In cup, mix lemon peel and 1 tablespoon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper.

Spray 13" by 9" glass baking dish with nonstick spray; place tilapia, dark side down, in dish. Drizzle tilapia with lemon mixture; top with almonds, pressing them on. Bake 15 minutes or until tilapia turns opaque.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high 1 minute. Add onion and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in green beans, mushrooms, water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Cook about 6 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates and green beans are tender-crisp. Toss with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Serve bean mixture and lemon wedges with tilapia.

* Instead of the lemon mixture on the beans & mushrooms, I added 1/2 tbsp. of worcestershire, 1/2 tbsp. of soy sauce, and 1/2 tbsp. of sesame oil. Mmmmm!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Comfort After The Storm

I continue to see more and more effects of Hurricane Ike. Hearing stories and seeing the damage makes it so real. Greg and I continue to thank God for His protection and blessing on our lives. We have been so fortunate and so blessed that we did not suffer any damage or loss during Ike. But so many people did. I keep thinking of all the people who lived in Galveston, whose lives are now turned upside down. Who knows when things will ever go back to normal. And "normal" will look completely different for so many people.

The comfort in all of this is that God knew every single effect of the Hurricane before he even formed it. He has purposes that we know nothing of. We don't understand it, but we serve a supreme, all-powerful, all-knowing God who knows all events, all results, all hearts, all thoughts from eternity past to eternity future.

I came across some verses tonight that made me think about the people that are suffering as a result of Hurricane Ike. Paul writes a letter to the church in Corinth, and tells them how God is the God of comfort.

"For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 1 cor 1:5

When I first think of sufferings of Christ, I think of suffering by persecution, from sharing the gospel. And even though suffering from Ike is a different kind of suffering, it is still suffering (and God ordained for the benefit of believers), and our comfort still comes through Christ.

Also, I thought this verse was really good. "Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." 1 Cor 1:9

A storm of this size proves that we cannot rely on ourselves. We can't build things that will last forever. We can't control circumstances. God is in control. He reveals himself through nature. It even makes me sort of laugh when we watch the forecasted eye path a week before the storm hits. Not because the forecasters aren't smart, but even with the best technology, all we can do is GUESS at what God is planning. He alone is sovereign.

I continue to pray for people affected by the storm (Sidebar: does anyone really know when to use affect vs. effect? I flip a coin every time. Sorry teachers.) But our God is the one who brings life from death. Freedom from captivity. Salvation to sinners. Healing from sickness. Joy from sadness. Comfort from a storm.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How To Get Your Husband To Do Crafts With You

If you are feeling crafty, and want your husband to participate in crafts with you, work on something he loves. In Greg's case: flys. They are actually really pretty, with very intricate details. Here is a picture of one I found on the internet to give you an idea.

They are all different though - made to look like different kinds of bugs, flys, and small fish. Here are the homemade flys that Greg and I made today. This one is called Fuzzy Pop.

This one is Sassy Bassy.

This one is the Pink Prince.

This one is Lil' Stinger.

Now I will be really excited if these actually catch fish! I will post the results after we use these.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Surviving Ike

Ike has come and gone. Thankfully we are safe and didn't get any damage. The winds were really strong though and woke us so many times, with electricity off most of the night. It came on this morning, which is amazing because I think most of Houston is still without electricity. We are still waiting for the water to come back on, and getting stinkier by the minute. I am thinking about dousing my whole body in coco-butter scented hand sanitizer.

We walked and drove around this afternoon to document the effects of Ike. Here are some pictures, all within a mile of our place.

The tree was resting on the power lines....not good.

There were so many trees down in the neighborhoods near us. Lots of people were out there with rakes cleaning up the mess. We just found out that there is a city curfew from 7pm to 6am. We were going to have a hurricane party at our place but due to the curfew (and no water), we can't. So we will have to find other ways of entertaining ourselves. Here are some things we have done this weekend:

Played 3 games pool (at our apt. complex)
Played Mario Kart
Watched about 4 episodes of 24
Went on multiple walks
Played cards
Drove around
Attempted to go fishing but the security guard wouldn't let us
Cleaned house

Tonight will probably include a couple more episodes of 24 and some chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Let's Hunker Down Folks

Today, at 10:00 AM I am blogging...from home. Yippee! We just got sent home from work. They had to shut down the system to back it up, which means no one can do any work. The office officially closed at 11:00AM, but everyone was told to leave as soon as their desk was cleared off. While I am hoping Ike will avoid us, I am extremely excited for the days off. I don't think any work was getting done in our office anyway. We were probably overloading the internet server with everyone refreshing the projected paths in 5 minute intervals.

Now thanks to Ike I have a 4 day weekend. But it is a big storm and could possibly cause lots of damage. I am praying that it would be in God's sovereign hands. Also, I am praying for Jenny and Bonnie's weddings, which are this Saturday! My friend Lindsy is getting married on Saturday too (which we are unable to attend), but hers is in Dallas so hopefully the effects won't be so bad. I am just praying that no matter what happens, all 3 brides will have a wonderful, special wedding day they will enjoy, even if it is not exactly as planned.

So what does one do for the rest of the day to prepare for a hurricane? Well I was going to do all of our laundry and dishes so that if they electricity did go out tomorrow night, at least we would have clean underwear. I divided the laundry into color sorted piles, then went to put the first load in. The washing machine won't start. Hmmm. No water. I go to the sink. No water. How is this happening already? I am hoping it is just a fluke and comes back on soon. But now I am trying to decide what to do. It is very pretty outside. I am considering putting on my swimsuit, grabbing a book, and going out by our pool. Would that be ridiculous? Or just plain fun? Hopefully they don't have to ask me to get off the lounge chair so they can put it all away.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Adventures in Fishing

The other weekend we went on a little fishing adventure in Katy. Greg found some lakes and creeks so we brought our poles and a picnic lunch and headed out. This was Greg's first time to use his new fly rod. Fly fishing is all he has been talking about for weeks. He has been searching ebay auctions for flys. Making me quiz him with name-that-fly. We just watched a River Runs through it. Has anyone passed by a field and seen a man standing on the 30 yard line practicing casting a fly rod? That would be my husband. So I'm glad he finally got a chance to use it. We only caught one fish each, but it was fun, and we will definitely be going back to find more lakes. Here I am trying catch us some dinner.

Here is Greg's catch - an infant perch. I caught the same thing.

In case it is too microscopic to make out in the picture, here is my catch on the 5x zoom.

At some point in our trip, I contracted poison ivy on my ankle. Poop buckets. The only good thing about poison ivy is that it is an excellent threat to your husband when he has you in a headlock. It is like the secret weapon. "Keep it up and I will rub my poison ivy all over your whole body and face." It would be the best special power in Mario Kart. Bowser may have the spiky turtle shell but you have poison ivy. Anyone who rams into you or that gets rammed into, will immediately begin itching all over, rendering them temporarily useless and unable to drive.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Unlock the Magic

And then devour the magic.

Thanks to my friend Katie, I discovered these delicious beauties. She made them once and they were sooo good. I looked up the recipe on the internet and made these last week. Can't wait to make them again!

Oreo Balls

1 package regular size Oreo cookies, crushed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 package white almond bark
1 package chocolate almond bark

Using a blender or hand held mixer, mix Oreos and cream cheese together. Roll into walnut size balls. Chill for an hour.

Melt approximately 3/4 package of white almond bark. Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white almond bark. Allow to harden on wax paper. While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark. When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate and white almond bark.

*Pictures by Greg :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

6 Random Facts

I was tagged by Liz to write 6 random facts about myself. Thanks Liz :) I am not going to pass it on, but I will happily take this chance to participate since it gives me something to write about.

Here are six random things about me:

1) When putting dishes away, I feel the need to implement the FIFO system. First in, first out. I cannot bring myself to place freshly washed plates on the top of the stack. That would subject them to excessive and unfair wear and tear. And just think how neglected the poor bottom plates would feel, never getting the chance to be eaten off of? I do not have a good system for glasses however. Usually only the front two rows get used. It takes a considerable more amount of effort to bring the back rows to the front. If anyone has any suggestions, please enlighten me. Maybe I should make a flow chart where the cups would only be taken from one side, and the cups would move in single file lines while in rows. Ok I think that is getting a bit crazy. Or is it?

2) I am slowly getting rid of my morning "cranky pants". I used to require about an hour grace period in the morning upon waking up where no one could talk to me. If anyone attempted, they would receive evil eyes, or if they were lucky a one syllable grunt in answer to a yes or no question. This worked out perfect in college where my roommate Lindsay also wore morning cranky pants. We were perfectly content to get ready in the morning while ignoring each other. Then after the required time elapsed we would go back to our happy selves. Also, I now wake up in the 8's regularly on Saturday mornings. This was practically unheard of for me 2 years ago. Even 1 year ago maybe. Greg is a morning person so it is rubbing off on me. Dang it. I sort of miss my cranky pants and sleepathons.

3) I really like Law & Order. If you have never heard it and think it is dorky, I understand. I was once like you too. But it is so good. And the best part is, it is always on and there are about 3000 episodes in existence. If you ever turn the tv on, you have about a 95% chance that it will be on. Last year for my birthday Casey gave me a Law & Order birthday card that played the theme song when you open it. Dun dun...dun dun dun dun....dun!

4) When I am reading the Bible, and I come across parts of written songs, I cannot help but sing them in my head. It is sort of distracting actually. I just want to read through the passage so I can focus on the words but my mind insists on sing-reading them. And of course I have no idea how the song should go and some are really long, so the tune always sounds horrible in my head. I mean REALLY horrible. Like I sort of get embarrassed that I would even think up such a disgusting melody.

5) My life long dream has been to become ambidextrous in handwriting. I have tried many times to be diligent about using my left hand to practice writing, but it never lasts. I tried to look up success stories on the internet for encouragement, but was disappointed to find nothing. I haven't given up hope though. One day...I will be writing...my hand will become fatigued...I will toss the pen to my left hand to finish the sentence and the crowds will go wild.

6) I become immune to perfume smells almost immediately. I can only actually smell my perfume the first fraction of a second that it exits the bottle. After that, nothing. Same with shampoo. So every time I buy a new shampoo I buy a different kind than the one I had last. I wish I could have 15 different bottles at one time and have a 15 day rotation going. Then I would have good smelling hair everyday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm a Graduate!

First rule of cake decorating: Always make sure your cake caddy is tall enough to contain your cake before putting on the lid.

Lesson learned. Minor catastrophe averted.

Here is the final cake. Pictures courtesy of Greg. He is so adorable. Each week when I come home from cake class he jumps up, runs over to look at my cake and yells "LOVE IT!". Then gives me a high five, a hug, and then runs to get his camera to take a dozen pictures of my creation.

He insisted on taking a picture with my "diploma" since I graduated from the first level of decorating classes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Duck Duck Zip

This weekend was a blast. We took a little road trip to Austin to visit Lauren and Cody and to use our gift certificates to Canopy Tours that my sweet parents got us. My dad thought of this for us and we had an absolute blast!

We left early in the morning on Saturday. Greg is so sweet to drive on our road trips while I fall asleep after the first 20 minutes. There is something about cars that puts me to sleep instantly. Even after the first five minutes I can feel my eyes getting heavy. It is my perfect sleeping environment. Good music on, hum of the road lulling me to sleep, the movement of the car, and the warm sun. Unfortunately, car-sleeping is not one of my more attractive states. Somehow my mouth always ends up wide open.

We got to the Canopy Tours place a little early to have a picnic lunch. Guess who followed us to the picnic tables.

I have an extreme infatuation with ducks. I had no problem sacrificing part of my sandwich to feed the little bundles of feathery perfection. They would just come up and surround us, eating out of our hands. I was loving it.

Then it was time for some zipping. Look at the Zippersons.

That night Lauren and Cody took us to see one of the famous Austin sites - the bats! Austin has the world's largest urban bat colony and they fly out from under the bridge every night. We sat right below the bridge waiting for it to get dark and for them to come out. We were slightly concerned about getting spattered with bat poo. But we had a plan. We brought a blanket. We were only allowed to sit on the front 1/3 of the blanket. As soon as the first bat took flight one of us would sound the alarm (yelling "TAKE COVER!" in a very thick British accent), then we would all grab our section of the blanket over our heads into the assumed position.

Fortunataley, we made it out of there poo-free. Check out the bats!