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Friday, June 29, 2012

memory lane and lemon squares

It's such an interesting mix of emotions when we go home.  It's the tug of remembering...the pull of the past.  We always ALWAYS walk down memory lane.  I'm a sap.  What can I say.  I breathe deep gulping in the air, running my hands along the familar banister of home...noticing even the insignificant gravel under my feet.  I take in every little thing trying to imprint it in my memory forever.  I think that's why I take so many pictures.  I want to keep them forever.

There is always an undertone of sadness that comes.  I remember things younger...fresher.  Even neighbors and friends out and about, when I run into them all I can think is how they've changed.

I see it in my parents and how they've slowed. It mellows me. Makes me a little scared. I know it's life and that's how it's supposed to be, but I don't want to think about that rushing freight train of time. I want to think it will always be like this.

That I'll always have my sweet ones folks to call on.  My girls hands in mine.  I know I'm in my prime.  These years right now are probably my finest.  It's true.  I don't want to waste a second.  I don't want to blink or it will be gone.

I was little yesterday.  I was the one running in the yard, playing in the barn.  I was giggling with my friends.  Not a care.  I had my mom and dad to rely on for everything.

Oh to preserve and truly appreciate our loved ones and not take any of them for granted.  To fully live in the moment and not stress about the unknowns.  That would be the ultimate prize right?  I have to remind myself I only have grace for today.  There's no need to worry and ponder the future, but still I have that nagging sadness.  

I'm just not ready for change...for letting go...ever.


As promised my mom's melt in your mouth
lemon square recipe:

Step #1 Crust: 
1 cup flour
1 stick butter
1/4 cup confection sugar
(Mix together and use cookie sheet to press out firmly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes)

Step #2 Filling: 
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
(Mix together and pour over baked crust and bake for 20 min.  Check at the end to make sure the edges don't burn.)  ENJOY!  This is my favorite thing my momma makes.  You will LOVE it!!!

Share a recipe with us.  Grab my button and link up to your recipe post.  Let's FEED OUR FAMILIES:)

Have a blessed day.

640.  FINALLY finding a hair lady
641.  sleepovers for the girls
642.  my little chick reconnecting with a mn friend today
643.  lemon recipes

644.  sleeping in every morning

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

when God steps in

Hello!!!!  We're back:)  It was such an amazing week.  I was homesick, really homesick and didn't even know it.  Everything about Illinois was so amazingly beautiful.  I truly made the most of the week and savored every second.  One of the most memorable things I did this week involved my daddy.

For the past year my dad has been mentioning a mural for his shed.  When he came to our house last Fall he sat at the kitchen table and sketched out just what he wanted.  He told me all the details....over and over again.  He bought a metal truck at Hobby Lobby several years ago and had a vision to see it driving down an old country road with grass between the lanes.  He wanted a red barn, a windmill, a split rail fence, a mailbox with their name on it...a bunny!  Too funny.

For Father's day I thought that would be the perfect gift. 

It was a really hot and windy day to be painting outside in a shed.  Really HOT!  The wind was whipping my hair in my face, and my dad decided to plop down in a lawn chair and watch me THE WHOLE TIME.  I begged him to leave, but if you know my dad you know he's stubborn to the core.  There was no moving him;) 

He didn't talk...just watched.  EEEEK!  I don't work that way.  For one thing I always have a slight panic attack when I paint.  I'm a fly by the seat of my pants artist...and this was important to him.  I wanted it to be really special.  Having him watch me was nervewracking.  I sent him on little errands to find me a bobby pin and to bring me sweet tea;)  And slowly stroke by stroke the painting started to take shape. 

I always marvel at how God steps in.  I had to go back into the house for something and I more or less pleaded with him to help me and I swear he sketched it out.  His hand was on those brushes!!  It turned out so much better than I could have dreamed.  The truck looked like it was meant to be there.  It blessed him down to his toes.  It will always be a day that I remember.  My Heavenly daddy workin' it out for me and my earthly daddy cheering me on...beaming with pride.  Does it get any better than that!   

Have a blessed day.

631.  wide open spaces
632.  lemon squares
633.  antiquing with my peeps
634.  a beautiful momento for my dad
635.  barns!!!
636.  the porch with the perfect view
637.  the finished bathroom
638.  Lori and Marylynn
639.  feeling missed by honey
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Friday, June 15, 2012

botox, measuring up and turkey meatloaf

I'm so glad it's Friday. Today is FINALLY my girls last day of school. WOOOHOOOO! Saturday we are celebrating daddy and then Sunday the girls and I fly home for a week with our family and friends back in Illinois.  It will be the first Father's day I've been home in I don't remember how long.  So needless to say next week I won't be here, but you can catch me on Instagram...farmgirlpaints:)

Okay so recently I went with a friend to get botox.  SHE got botox.  I came along to keep her company;)   

It was her first time.  We sat in the waiting room incognito with the other plastic surgery patients.  Browsing through unbelievable before and after pics.  She signed forms.  I took deep breaths.  I was nervous for her.  She was messing with her face.  That's scary business. 

She was so brave.  I distracted her with all my photo taking and questions to her doctor.  It was good fun.

I hesitated posting any of them because it's a little taboo to talk about plastic surgery. We're supposed to be happy with aging. Grow old gracefully and all that. I probably won't ever get botox, simply because I look sorta cute with bangs, and that seems less invasive and cheaper;)  And sometimes things go wrong, like plumped up, misshapen lips and Meg Ryan...just sayin'.  But I don't see anything wrong with trying to fight the clock a bit. I use eye cream and wrinkle fighter. Is that a bad thing?

The thing that stuck with me the most that day is that Joannie confessed to me she had a blog.  I've known her for almost a year and she just now told me.  She didn't even want to tell me the name!  I was like WHAT??  How could you keep that from me?  Here I've talked about blogging and thought you didn't understand me.  'Cause let's be honest.  If you don't blog...bloggers probably seem a little strange.  But she did get it and didn't say anything.  She said I was a pro and her blog wasn't what she wanted it to be etc... I was mortified because I get it.  She was comparing and didn't feel like she measured up.  I so get it. That's what we do as women. 

I've had other friends tell me lately that my life seems so "exciting and happy".  That it's probably hard for me to make friends because I'm "intimidating" etc...  Uh are you really talking about me??  INTIMIDATING??!!  That's just weird.  Here's the thing.  My life is good.  I'm blessed.  I show fun things, because that's more interesting to write about and read, but I try to keep it real.  I'm FAR from perfect. 

I struggled with depression off and on all winter long and didn't talk about it much because for cryin' out loud I thought my lows were related to winter and I live somewhere fairly warm and sunny now. It's almost embarrassing. There are no excuses, except maybe hormones. There was nothing to be low about and still...the struggle.

I'm doing better now. Feeling wonderful actually, but I censored myself a bit because when we let people in we open ourselves up to criticism and it hurts. I know.  I've had my fair share of digs. But the thing is this is my blog...My thoughts. They aren't always going to be the same as yours and that's okay. We are individuals. And in that individualism we need to remember there is only one you and only one me. We don't need to compete. We don't need to measure up with each other. We are all on different paths, and if we let our self worth be affected by looking around at what other people are doing and then feel small we are cheating ourselves out of God's best for our own lives. Trust me. I know about this. I've done this so much. These are the words I say to myself!  The only answer, if there is one, is to take our thoughts captive Keep focused on our own walk and ask God to forgive and help us when we fall into comparison.  So whew got that off my chest. I feel better now. Like frown lines erased good;)

Quaker's Oatmeal meatloaf

You need:
1 1/2 pounds of lean ground beef or turkey.  We used turkey.
3/4 cup Quaker Oats
3/4 cup finely chopped onion.  We used flakes.
1/2 cup ketchup
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon, Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oven to 350.  Combine all the ingredients.  Bake for 50-55 minutes until meatloaf is not pink in center and juices are clear.

The thing that MAKES this really good is the sauce.  About 20 minutes before it's done heat up a cup of ketchup, 4T of brown sugar, 4T of vinegar, 2T of Worchestershire sauce and pour over the meatloaf.  Finish cooking.  SO GOOD!

Now it's your turn.  If you have a yummy recipe to share grab my button, link to your post and let's FEED OUR FAMILIES:)

Have a blessed WEEK:) 
I'll miss you.

626.  school's finally out!!!
627.  being able to FLY home
628.  instagram you girls
629.  surprising daddy with a special day
630.  spending lots of time with my friends this past week

631.  my "summer fun" display.  inspired by alicia's happiness project..took a vintage candy display, clipped on all our summer ideas...instant reminder of things to do when we get bored.   

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012 do

Hello friends.  I wanted to share a few things that I'm waaaay overdue in telling you.  Not sure if you've noticed, but I've cut back a little on blogging.  Trying to free up my time, and do other stuff as well, but that doesn't mean I don't have just as much to say;)  It's just hard fitting it all in.

A while back I got a package in the mail from this reader.  She wrote me the sweetest letter and mailed me two necklaces that she handmade.  She put owls on it...sooo knows me well...representing big and little chick.  She stamped some keys etc...  Just really went over the top to personalize and make the gift special.  It's so special actually that I have it hanging on my bed.  It blessed my heart that she took the time to make me something and to express her feelings.  How often do we do that?

Normally I don't talk about gifts from readers because if I accidentally forget to mention someone I might hurt feelings and that would make me feel awful.  But this was a pay it forward type linky thing. I'm not going to do the linky thing cause I just don't want to, but I love the premise.  If there is someone in your life that blesses you, maybe it's a teacher at school, a blogger, the lady at the post office...someone...and they don't know how much they mean to you I really encourage you to pay it forward and do something special for them.  Take a minute and write a letter.  Make them something or perhaps bake them something.  Anything to bless their socks off.  I plan on doing this really soon. 

This is me on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  It was the first time I'd read a book on my iPad.  I've always been hesitant because I love a book in my hand.  Flipping the pages, the smell...Barnes and Noble!  But I gotta say I loved it.  So easy and made me feel really high tech.  Ha! 

A few weeks ago I mentioned a blogger friend that wrote a book and self published.  She was one of my very first readers...God bless her and she's still around;)  I downloaded her book and read it the weekend we went to DC.  I was floored at how good it was.  FLOORED!  She wrote a flippin' novel.  Had no clue she could do that.  I fell in love with the characters...the interesting plot.  I couldn't wait to steal away to see what happened and how it would end.  It was just written well.  So well that I'm wanting to read it again.  If you didn't download it the first time when I hadn't read it now you know it's GOOD.  I would tell you the storyline, but it would give away too much.  Here's the link to get your own.  It's only $2.99 on Amazon.  Great summer read!

And finally I wanted to talk about my friend Jeanne.  I've mentioned her Creatively Made course to you before, but lucky for you she's offering it again for the summer.  Yeehaw!  I learned so many new ways to create after going through her videos.  She just has such a fun carefree way of teaching.  Very easy to follow and when you are done you've created some amazing pieces of art. 

Here's a few pieces I made after learning some of her techniques.  They turned out really cool!  I had an amazing teacher:)  I SO need to go back through and revisit those videos and take LOTS of notes!!!  I highly recommend this course for a fun summer thing to do for yourself.  It will bless you.  I promise...oh and I have little bitty part in it.  I did a vlog for her.  Yikes:)

Have a blessed day.

622.  talented friends

623.  restocking etsy store

624.  rainbow cake...didn't make it, just ate it
625.  sunshine on my shoulders 

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Monticello and healthy tuna casserole

Do you remember me telling you about my camera lens, which I dropped and then couldn't remove from my camera?  I wrote about it here.  Well I finally got that baby fixed!!!!!  I asked a local photographer where he would take it and he said Charlottesville.  I asked a friend to tag along, we loaded into the car and drove the hour or so...10 minutes in the shop, and $20 later it was fixed.  YEEHAW:))))  I felt like doing cartwheels to the car.  Something I'd been worrying about for months was suddenly fixed.  Like that...instant voila!  Now I'm just praying my lens lust won't return;)  I was doing good.

So while we were in Charlottesville we decided to take in Thomas Jefferson's plantation home Monticello.  If you haven't been there you really should add it to your bucket list.  I can't tell you how much fun we had.

It's nestled in the mountains, with rolling hills and lush gardens all around.

Just thinking about all the history, interesting people and things that happened on that land about made both our heads pop off.  At one point Kim turned to me and said she thought she was going to pee her pants.  Uh yeah it was that exciting!  Oh and don't you just love the holey jeans and flip flops??  Mr. Jefferson would be so proud...gracing his lovely garden in only the finest;)

The gardens were lovely, but the house...where I couldn't take one picture...was fascinating.  You know it was all I could do not to whip out my camera.  The thought of being escorted out like the guy at the National Archives in DC was the only thing holding me back. 

The DETAIL!  Holy cow people Jefferson was a detail maniac.  He was a mathematician, master gardener, architect, servant to our nation etc...  He read novel upon novel...7,000 volumes to be exact.  Which back in the day one book cost as much as a cow!  Knowledge was power and he was powerful.  He spoke and read 7 languages.  He loved maps and owned 50...which was unbelievable for that time.  He painstakingly planned out every inch of his home.  It took 40 years to get just right.  And I kept thinking to myself how in the world did he have time to do everything??  How was he SO uber gifted in so many areas.  You know what I think the answer is...NO INTERNET!  I'm just sayin'...oh and slaves to help him do all the work. 

Here's a candid of me.  Just so ya know I don't smile all the time.  I actually do have another face.  It's called scowl...ha!;)

Another interesting fact about Jefferson is that he died at age 83.  That's over twice the average lifespan of a man for that time.  He died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence...along with his very bestie James Madison.  How weird is that?

There's the slave he was involved with that bore his children, and that he died penniless.  Which really stumped me.  He was extravagant, but he was also sharper than a whip.  He had to have known there was more going out than coming in. 

But beyond all of that, the fact that he was never able to live out his own words that all men are created equal and free his own 200 or so slaves.  That's the thing that stuck with me.  I know times were different.  That's all they knew, but it just kind of made me not respect the man as much.  See I'm judging.  Shame on me.  But still to have written those words!  Wouldn't it have been so much more impactful if he could have set the bar??  

Now onto another great man, Rocco Dispirito...ha!  I'm not sure if he's great, but his cookbook is pretty good.  Just got this at Target the other day and that's where my recipe for Feed my Family Friday is coming from this week.

Crispy on the Top Tuna and Green Pea Casserole

This is just the sort of recipe Jefferson would have liked by the way. They made "mac n cheese" and comfort food at Monticello often.

Whole wheat rotini.  I used the whole box.
3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
3/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt.  I used fat free.
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/4 cups reduced fat cheese.  I used whatever I had on hand which was mozzarella I think.
18 ounces canned tuna packed in water.
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup crumbs.  I used Ritz.

Boil noodles to directions on package.  Mix sour cream, yogurt, mustard and cheese.  Add tuna, cooked noodles and pea.  Stir well.  Pour into sprayed baking dish.  I used a 9X11.  Pour crumbs over top and bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes.  ENJOY.  My family loved this!  Yummy and pretty healthy to boot.  SCORE!!!

Okay you know the drill.  If you want to share a recipe grab my button, link to that post and let's FEED OUR FAMILIES:)

And finally the winner of the MAN CUFF is:

Okay sister, here ya go...

I start slow, with my iphone on Pandora tuned into Josh Wilson...I get a nice beat and mix of my favorite Christian contemporary music...Lord knows I need HIM to get my ass running!

then I bag my faith and get DIRTY with Christina Augulera's Dirty album...

to get up those big hills, I put on eyed peas...gets my booty moving!!! And hopefully, smaller....

I start to get out of breath here...but I have at least 20 minutes left, so, I call on my girl, PINK...

her BEST HITS rock...keeps my legs and arms moving!!

now time to slow down...

might work in a little Train, or Jason Mraz..Colbie...Christina Perri...and then I work my way back to my good ol' Christian Contemporary...

LOVE to stretch in my driveway when I am all done, and listen to Laura Story's BLESSINGS...or anything Third Day...

I can NOT run without music.
And I walk the dog with my rosary beads :-)

enjoy and happy working out!

Thank you all SO much for the playlist suggestions.  I downloaded a ton of new music and it has made my workouts much better.  Check out the comments from that post for ideas:)

Have a blessed day.

616.  holding a hurting friend's hand
617.  learning about my nation's past
618.  fieldtrips that ROCK
619.  getting my camera fixed!!!
620.  a week full and overflowing
621.  a proud momma moment with my big chick

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