A Truce! Finally!

3:52 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
While I sit here at the computer I am listening to the sweetest music: my washing machine whirring away right outside my office door! And the dryer humming in tune. Sweet, sweet music! I just want to sing along!

It'd gotten bad. Not just bad, but
BAD. Like (since the boys are camping out in the girls room while we replace the flooring in their room and their room is next to the laundry area) we had so much dirty laundry in there that the entire floor was covered with baskets upon baskets full of stinky clothes, muddy socks, and blankets that had accidents on them. B.A.D. Bad.

Since our washer is so old and decrepit, none of the stores had the piece that we needed to fix it in stock, so we were (not-so) patiently waiting for them to order it and recieve it to get our laundry system up and running... but we were basically at the end of our rope!

I went searching through the piles upon piles of dirty clothing in the master bedroom last night, searching for a specific shirt to be able to wash by hand and wear to Nashville today, and guess what I found? The piece that we needed to fix the washer!

Right there! We had it all along! How frustrating!

Actually, it's not. I am just thrilled to have it up and running now! And although it's completely against my cleaning philosophy, I am on my fourth load of clothes for the day (and would be on a later number, but for the trip to David's Bridal this morning!) and I fully intend on staying up until I can't keep my eyes open washing and drying clothes!

YEA! I'm so happy! I get to get my house REALLY cleaned tonight! Whoo-Hoo!

My Three Most Baked

10:46 AM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
I admit it! I am a serial baker. I am addicted. I LOVE baking. And I LOVE baking from scratch! SOO... it comes up rather often when people are completely out of this or that mix that they ask me what is my recipe for some baked essentials!

Here's my favorite three!

My Quick and Yummy Biscuits:
These are on our plates almost every meal! I double or triple the recipe, so I have biscuits to freeze... then just thaw them and microwave for about 30 seconds and they are nice and soft again! As it, the recipe yields about 24 biscuits. They also taste yummy with a teaspoon of jam or jelly added to the top before baking!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups milk

Mix all the dry ingredients. Cut the softened butter into the flour.

Add the milk until a soft dough forms (until all the ingredients are clumped together in the bottom of the bowl in a ball shape and mixing them with a spoon is getting difficult).

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 30 seconds- 1 minute.

Roll out with a rolling pin to 1/2" thick.

Spread softened butter on tops of unbaked biscuits (That's a trick that I learned at a restaurant that's famous for it's biscuits!).

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden brown, but not too dark!


Butter Cake
Butter? Cake? Yes it's true- it's so soft and moist that it literately melts in your mouth! I made this for Harmony's birthday cake and it didn't last more than 15 minutes because everyone kept coming back for more! This recipe makes about 7 1/2 cups of batter...
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond flavoring
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray pans with vegetable pan spray, or use Cake Release.

In mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and almond flavor. Mix flour with baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, starting with the flour; mix well. Pour into prepared pans.

Refer to baking chart, for baking times and temperatures for specific pans.

Cool 10 minutes in pan. Loosen sides and remove. Cool completely before decorating.


Biscotti

Oh yeah. It's been said that I drink coffee through an IV (at times, I even think it's true! LOL) and the absolute BEST snack with coffee is biscotti! This recipe makes enough for 24-30 servings.

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground aniseed (or fennel seed- whichever you have on hand)
  • 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Whip eggs with sugar and vanilla until very light. Eggs will be nearly white.

Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and ground aniseed), fold with almonds carefully into egg mixture.

Pour out onto parchment lined cookie sheet in two long strips.

Bake at 325° F for 25-30 minutes or until firm and lightly browned. Cool.

Slice into 3/4" strips with serrated knife.

Transfer back onto cookie sheet and return to oven.

Brown on both sides, 7-8 minutes per side, until dry.


Enjoy!

Magnets to Men's Eyes.

9:30 PM Posted In Edit This 0 Comments »
Let us not therefore judge one another any more:
but judge this rather,
that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
Romans 14:13


This afternoon was especially lovely. The weather hovered around 65 degrees and sunny. The children were all occupied playing soccer, swinging on the swing set, or jumping on the trampoline with their Daddy. I had been working since Thursday cleaning up all manner of construction debris out of the yard and was sitting down at the picnic table with my mom enjoying my relatively neat yard, contented family, and beautiful sunshine.

I've been a bit concerned about getting a 'farmer's tan' before BJ's wedding... I don't want to end up immortalized in photographs as the matron of honor with two toned arms in my bridesmaid dress, and so I was sitting in the sun in a spaghetti strap shirt. I didn't really think twice about it, except to think to put it on.

But when my mom and I decided to run to Wal-Mart, it was a completely different story. I, oblivious as always, started to gather my things to get in the car, while my husband discreetly tried to get my attention.

There I am, running about, and my sweet Josh "Ahem-ing" himself hoarse. Finally, he managed to catch my eye and give a little tug on his shirt sleeve. It took me a second, but finally I caught on and boy, I was mortified!

I was about to not only wear something out that I was bought to wear as pajamas, but I was going to go out, on the busiest day of the week in our busy little town, which also happens to be the Sabbath (see me cringe, even now?) with some rather private property on display and I hadn't given it a second thought!

Such is the way of an adulterous woman;
she eateth, and wipeth her mouth,
and saith, I have done no wickedness.
Proverbs 30:20


What damage would I have done, unwittingly... sure, but done nonetheless? I don't want to be forward here, but nursing six children has left that particular piece of property a sizable investment! And unfortunately, I would have attracted a bit of the wrong kind of attention.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel,
with shamefacedness and sobriety;
not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly array;
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1 Timothy 2:9-10

*This is me cringing again, BTW.*


I heard a fantastic sermon again this afternoon, after I had my usual elbow-length sleeves and below the knee shorts on, entitled "Ladies, Does how you dress cause men to lust?" by a pastor names Al Martin. In it he, very candidly, discusses all manner of (mostly) unintentional ways that women fail in dressing modestly. I wanted to share his list of common stumbling blocks with you, since they've left such an impression on me; and opened my eyes to several of my own shortcomings in my own personal attempt at modesty. I don't think that I can put it in a better perspective than he, so I am going to share some of the transcript of his sermon, straight from his own words.

These are the 10 Magnets for Men, written and seconded by men in men's language, for the women who walk amongst them and don't wish to cause another to sin:

#1- Dresses or Skirts with Lengthy Slits.
Anything above the knee causes men to think "Oh, a few more inches and what would I see?"

#2- Dresses or skirts that hug the bottom.
When you see pictures of prostitutes, one of the marks of a prostitute, she always has her
buttocks hugged, whether it is a mini skirt, whether it is jeans, whether it is tight slacks,
her butt is always hugged because that is what she is selling. And that is what she wants
men to buy.

#3- Any upper garment that hugs the bosom.
People should not receive an anatomy lesson in mammary glands when they
look at you women.


#4- Unbuttoned blouses or cleavage.
You not only unbutton here and here and here and here, but you unbutton down to one
button away from bearing your bra. And when a man sees only one button to go his mind
goes, I wonder what is under that one more button


#5- Sleeveless blouses or dresses with large armholes.
You look down on your sleeveless dress and you see nothing but your shoulder.
But if it is a large arm hole, a man sitting behind you looks up at the pulpit, sees through
to your bra. And his mind goes where he doesn’t want it to go.

#6- Low rise skirts or pants.
....flaunting their bodies in their gyrations with their so called music. They have made this style popular with the skirts that barely hang on the hip bones and with the jeans that barely come up and cover the crack of the buttocks. I have been in situations with Christian women where I have had to look at the crack of their buttocks because of the low rise jeans, skirts or pants.

#7- See through clothing of any kind.
Clothing that does not cover your under garments to the point where no one can see them. Some of you need to know the function of a camisole.

#8- Skirts and dresses that are just plain too short.
Difficult when you are seated to adequately covered yourself. And then you get engrossed in something in a public setting and you are not keeping your knees locked together and before long the legs are spread a bit and anyone just happening to glance can see clean up to your pants. That is not modest. It is immodest.

#9- Pants or jeans that hug the bottom, thighs, or crotch.
Slacks that either have spandex in them or they are a kind of material that is a stretch material that hugs the buttocks, comes around and hugs the thigh and presses up on your crotch and the crack of your buttocks and you have no idea what that does to many a man when he sees it. You draws the eye to the most erotic part of your body.

#10- A bared midriff and back.
You may look in the mirror and say, “Well, I am fully covered,” but all you need to do is to reach here a couple of inches of your belly are showing. All you need to is bend over and people can see your back and usually the top of your underwear and it has happened right in this assembly.
One man said to one of his elders, “I saw a woman bend over. I could see the top of her
panties and I wondered what it would be like to put my hand down her back,” a godly
young man, passionate to be a holy young man and caused to stumble in this place.


Aren't we all guilty of one or the other? So what should we do, then?

Pastor Martin continues:

Repent. Go to Christ in faith. Find the purging of his own precious blood.

Go to your dresser drawers, go to your closet and remove anything and everything that
has one of these 10 magnets embedded in it.
You say, “Pastor, I will show up in the same outfit for the next five weeks.”
Hallelujah! It is modest. We will rejoice.

Secondly, Pray for and labor to cultivate a sensitive and well instructed
conscience before God concerning this issue.

Thirdly, Welcome the quality control upon your modesty that should come from
your husband, from your father, from your mother, from the people of God and from your
pastors. You may judge something to be modest because you look at yourself through
your own eyes. Someone else is looking at you through a different set of eyes.


I am glad that I had a husband willing to be my own quality control when my good sense deserted me.

But exhort one another daily,
while it is called today;
lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13


My exhortation today, for my dear blogging sisters, is to please, please, be aware of your own unintentional magnets for men's eyes. Be aware of the traps you set for others to fall into. We will all give an account for our sins, intentional or not... and I don't know about you but I don't want to be the one to cause another to fall short at judgment day.

Then He said unto them:
"It is impossible but that offenses will come:
but woe unto him,
through whom they come!

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
and he cast into the sea,
than that he should offend one of these little ones!"

Luke 17:1-2






"A Passionate Love Affair with a Major Appliance"

10:34 AM Posted In Edit This 1 Comment »
I love the commercial on CMT where Naomi Judd is walking 'Country Cribs' people through her house. Not only is she impeccably dressed (as always!) but she walks over to her washer and dryer, throws her arms around them and gushes "It is possible to have a passionate love affair with a major appliance!"

Gets me giggling every time!

I have a serious affair going on with several of my own major appliances, but they aren't always passionate and they aren't always loving! I love my stove... I baby it, cleaning it several times a day and making sure that it is always in pristine condition. My refridgerator is like my best friend, I always keep it clean and full and smelling good... I even have a little thing going with the dryer!

My washer is a completely different story... My washer in particular is giving me serious problems here lately.

See, my washer is about 6 years old. Up until about a year ago, it lived in a nice comfy house with four people. It was always clean and sparkly and didn't have to work very much at all. Since then, however, it's been moved to my messy laundry room and put into what must seem like a forced labor camp... running four loads on a slow day, and upwards of ten to twelve on a busy one.

But I am sweet to it! I make sure and wash the cat prints off the top and sides, I use good detergent and softener, and I make sure that the pockets are
usually cleaned out so it doesn't have a bunch of stuff banging around in there.

It just doesn't like me very much.

That's ok.
I don't like it very much either. So there. :P

It's very hard to love something that looks for opportunities to break down. First it was a belt. Then it was a hose attachment. Then it was the plug. Then the silly thing wouldn't hold water. Then it wouldn't drain the water.

See what I mean? It hates me! Usually though, we are able to catch whatever problem long before it does any actual damage or makes a huge mess...
Usually.

On Thursday however, it was a different story.

I was in the kitchen making grilled-cheese sandwiches on my
lovely stove when I asked Harmony to take a basket of laundry she and Regan had finished folding in the kitchen floor to my bedroom.

There I am, cooking away, singing "
Just a spoonful of suugggarrr makes the medicine go down, medicine go doooowwwwwwnnn, medicine go down!" at the top of my lungs when I am suddenly interrupted by a shriek! I calmly looked around, counting kids (shrieks are not uncommon in this house!) and realized everyone was playing contentedly except Harmony.

Harmony? She's not a shrieker! What on earth?! I chunk my spatula on the cabinet and gasp to the other five "Stay here! I'll be right back!"

I dash off towards my bedroom and collide with Harmony bolting towards the kitchen.

SMACK!!!

We both stagger for just a moment... it was a hard smack!!

There's my poor six year old, hair put up and curled in pretty bows, wearing her pretty new birthday clothes and bouncing in drenched socks -screaming bloody murder because "THERE'S ICE COLD WATER ALL OVER THE FLOOR!!"

Wait. What?!?

I twist her and turn her around a few revolutions to make sure there's nothing actually wrong with her.

There wasn't.

No wayward spider (Harmony would just stomp on it anyway), no bumps or bruises (Harmony wouldn't have been screaming about that- she once got a splinter under her big toe nail and didn't even see the need to tell me about it!).
No big scary anything.

Yep.

I wasn't hallucinating.

The washer was leaking. Again.

Dang it.

The drain magically popped itself loose and then the washer obliged itself by spraying dirty, soapy water all over the laundry area... and the hall way... and the bathroom... and the girls' bedroom carpet... and my office carpet.

Not only was a good part of my house under water, it was under almost 2 inches of water! How does that even happen?!? The clothes were washed in the washer! I checked! The soap was gone and the clothes were all soaked.

*sigh*

I called Josh at work and, as usual, interrupted him up on a ladder (You know he just
loved that!) just because I was having a minor freaking out session about living in a swimming pool. I could almost hear him rolling his eyes at me! I mean, come on! Anyone would be upset about that, right? (lol)

"Desi," he says with a sigh, "turn off the water valve to the washer in the bathroom. Get out the Green Machine and suck up the water. Quit washing clothes."

Oh I HATE it when he's that calm when I am gone somewhere outside my mind!

"BUT JOSH!" I shout frantically into the phone, "THERE'S WATER EVERYWHERE. AND IT'S COLD! WE ARE LIVING IN A DAD-GUM SWIMMING POOL IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER!!!!"

With not even a second thought he answers me, "Well, then get out y'all's bathing suits and put on your jackets." and gets off the phone.

*
ugh*

I toss the phone down and wander around feeling completely helpless for a few minutes while the big kids dare each other to touch the icy water and the little kids are delighting themselves by throwing blocks into it to see how big a splash they can make...

Oh, and THEN I finally remembered that I had been enjoying myself thoroughly cooking grilled cheese sandwiches. Which were now black as soot and tasted just about the same. So now, my stove is mad at me too. And I left the cheese out by the stove and it's all smushed together.... the fridge is not happy with me either. *
sigh*

Stupid washer.

I did eventually (after several hours freezing work) get all the water sopped up and the other appliances contented but I've not forgiven my washer. The stupid thing. I am not speaking to it right now... but it's not speaking to me either. :(

Josh hasn't fixed whatever the problem is yet, and so, for now... the washer has won. I have dirty clothes and blankets just piling up all over the house and I am not happy about it at all.

I have resigned myself, however, to scheming against Washer for the day (hopefully not that far off!) that I will buy a BRAND NEW washer and send this old cranky one for recycling.

Then it can go be grumpy with someone else as parts and pieces and leave me to sing to the stove when I want!

My Winter Blues

12:50 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
I have been in such a funk today- and sadly, I know that it is completely, totally, 100% my fault.

*sigh*

I am suffering from a case of cabin fever and I am so mentally exhausted from being snowed in... I slept 3hours late this morning. My poor kids were starving, running wild, and dirty as could be when I finally woke up! I never recovered from the bad start this morning.

We still have 4-5 inches of snow piled up in our yard, and although the road is finally melting, my van is still persona-non-grata (we think the head gasket is blown) and getting Josh's to start in this weather is virtually impossible... he's been catching rides to work this week. With as much winter weather as we've had, it's difficult for a man who works outside as his primary income to get work accomplished when he's getting rained or snowed on, or the ground is frozen :( so fixing my van (which has been broken down since the first of the year) is going to have to wait either for sunny days, or tax returns...

Harmony's birthday is Thursday and we are almost obviously going to be stuck at home (which she wanted for her birthday a trip to Chucky Cheese's or Monkey Joe's... unfortunately we can't make the trip as a family in a work van that seats 4 on a good day and with the tools stuffed floor to ceiling in the back!) I was going to go to the store this afternoon while she was napping to get a couple presents and some party supplies and groceries to have a mini-party here at home until we have transportation, but I can't get his van started... I will have to go out and try it again in a little while.

Also, we've made it almost all winter without our pipes freezing (with the exception of the day we installed cabinets in 10 degree weather and forgot to drain the pipes)... that is until yesterday morning. We'd left the pipes dripping for the entire weekend, so we wouldn't freeze them in the storm, and yesterday after it finally started warming back up... what do you know happened? The pipe running to our garden faucet froze and popped the coupling! So I have dishes piled up, dirty kids and a huge pile of dirty clothes to be washed! And one of the first times we don't have water at all is whenever Gabriel decides to have an accident in his bed during the night!

*sigh* At least the sun is shining and the snow is melting. Josh has fixed the pipes, and the water is back on.

I have plenty of miscellaneous decorations and craft supplies to give Harmony a decent family party (even if none of them match!), I have plenty of supplies in my baking cabinet to make her a fantastic cake and plenty of money to order her pizza and plenty of games to play at home.

I got my new cookbook in the mail today. (101 ways to prepare pasta! Yum!).

Even if Phil did see his shadow, we only have six weeks left of this winter! LOL!! Once this snow melts, it will be time to start forming up my raised beds for this year and getting the soil worked into them, time to pot all my many seeds I've got stored all around the house, and time to go play in the dirt for a while! I'll (hopefully!) have a chance to clear out some more land space and get the yard cleaned up. We can finish off the last of our winter projects and get started on the spring ones!

I think it's time for me to change my perspective on this particular day and quit wasting it feeling sorry for myself!!
I think it's time for me to stop moping about on the computer and go find something constructive and inspiring to do! But first, I'm gonna find the best cake pattern I can to whip up for Harmony tonight!

..
..
.."Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through HIm who strengthens me."
..
...





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