Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autumn asks: Do you have all girl get-a-ways?

Autumn is going on her first all GROWN-UP girl get-a-way. Not me and my girls....me and BIG girls. It's shameful that I've lived this long without ever doing this before. But I guess you can say I'll enjoy it even if it stinks! LOL! The only drawback is that our mom won't be joining us like originally planned.

So, tomorrow I will drive to Austin to pick up my sister, her mother-in-law and her mother-in-laws niece. And then we will head off for our Bed and Breakfast.

Where we will spend the days not worrying about what to cook for dinner. We won't worry about pool towels left on the bedroom floors. We won't have to wipe noses or butts. Noggin will never be heard in the background. I will not drink juice, or milk - I will drink whatever I so please and not have to share. I don't have to clean my plate or coax anyone to clean theirs. I only have to dress myself and do my own hair.

Most importantly...we will be marching off to Round Top. For the Antique fair to beat all Antique fairs. Yes, my friends, 10 miles of barns and tents full of antiques. And, NO KIDS. This means I will not have to use the phrases:

I don't see you.
Where are your hands?
Don't touch.
What did I say?
Are you touching?
That is not for sitting on.
Okay, its for sitting on, but only if you pay for it!!
If you touch that.....
Do you want to sit in the car?
Should we go home RIGHT now??
No, I will not buy that.
What would you do with that?
You have enough junk that you don't take care of.
Did you bring your own money?

Instead I look forward to saying things like....

WHAT is that?
Did you see that??
So! I'm moms favorite so you can have it.
I need it more.
You already have one like that! Give it to me!
Uuhhh...it must be made of gold.... ($$$$)

Just kidding. It will probably be more like..."did you see that guys butt????"

Some cool pics I've found of past Round Top Antique Fairs...

So, I'm off for a few days to enjoy myself. And since the college loan came through yesterday I might even find something to buy!! And maybe I will not. Either way, I'm going to have a blast!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Autumn asks: Is He the God of little things too?

We all know that God is the God of big things. We take our big prayers to him and hope for big answers. Actually, if we are believing God we wait for the big answer, not just hope for it. I've done this plenty of times -- sometimes with answers, sometimes I thought not.

What I had never done before is ask for the little things. I mean real little things. Things that will not glorify God, stretch his powers in any way or really have anything to do with anyone outside of me. Yes, a self-centered prayer.

This week I asked for a small, self-centered prayer, all the while admitting to God that is was exactly that. I had big prayers also, but this was just not related. I had no reason to expect an answer.

Not only did God answer with a BIG yes to my little prayer...he then turned it around on me and used us to bless three other families in a little way along with my yes.

Did you get that?

He gave me my selfish request and then turned it into a blessing for others.

How can it get any better than that???

Want to really feel loved and blessed? Let him be the God of the little things also.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Autumn asks: What do you like to do when you get bad news?

Kind of a strange question, I know.

I know people that when they get bad news they cry and cry...and cry. And some people call everyone they know and pour their hearts out and gather support. Some go on a shopping spree to end all shopping spree's. I've known all of the above. All of the above are just fine if they work for you.

I like to watch old monster movies.


Yep, old monster movies. Come on, you know your news can't be as bad as being chased by giant crabs or flying turtles! See, it could be worse. Plus, you are going to get a laugh out of these films...they are crazy ridiculous. And they require zero brain power to watch...your mind can be a million miles away, and you haven't miss anything...like a plot.

I started watching scary movies when I was little. When my grandmother would come to visit she would even stay up late with me so I could watch Godzilla, or if I was lucky Gamera. Radon sucked.

I loved the crazy ones like these:

Giant spiders, scorpions, bees, ants, leeches and space monsters of all types. Do you know how gross a giant gila monsters tongue looks? Its all black!

And then then I got a little older and started watching these:

Mutant piranha's, mutant bears, mad grizzlies and the biggest shark ever. And the coolest was the wolves with the extra super senses that are living in the city because their habitat has been invaded.

Older still and you get the classics:

Psycho brother that comes out on Halloween. The kid that supposedly drowns at camp while the counselors were fooling around. The big bad nightmare guy. And there is no one scarier than pinhead and his friends.

And then/now its more about the scary movies with good looking guys:

Vampires everywhere. Mummys. Big worms being defeated by the likes of Kevin Bacon. Rennick. And then the nicely cut scientist.

Some of the coolest looking monsters:

But...my all time favorite series of movies:

Now that's some kind of monster.

Sadly, I like very few of the new scary movies. I do not like ones that could be real. No sick people hurting others for a game. It's only fun when its unreal. Hate movies that deal with satan or evil spirits because they are too real. Freddy and Jason are as close as I like to come to reality.

So why did I drag you all through that? Because I really need a monster movie right now...and I don't have one. But this worked out pretty good! Thanks for helping!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Autumn asks: Got ants?

Yesterday I didn't get anything done on my list. But it was nice out so I decided to go out front and weed the front bed and actually get the rest of the mulch down that we finally bought. I know its the end of summer, but we decided to use that rubber mulch stuff and we just couldn't pay for it all at once so we've had to spread it out. And Mighty Mouse was being very co-operative and helpful and was playing nicely outside -- and then went down for a nap so I actually did what I thought would be a 3 day job in one day.

Of course I could hardly move by the time I was finished. It was definitely an muscle relaxer, pain reliever, anti-inflammatory type night. So I took the edge off and was very self-satisfied.

Then Mighty Mouse needed a before bed snack. I grumbled about dragging myself off of the couch but I did it. MM picked Ritz crackers for her snack and we headed for the table. I reached in and pulled out a package of crackers...crawling with ants. And my hand was crawling with ants. Being a little slow and relaxed I looked down and thought..."Well, that's gross".
So daddy came to the rescue. He pulled the pantry apart and sprayed. We checked all the boxes and we only found one other that had been violated. Get this -- they only hit the Ritz and the Honey Bunches of Oats. The only two name brand things in my pantry(that ants would get into). These guys must have hitch hiked home with me from a much better neighborhood.
So today was spent ripping apart the pantry from bottom to top. Scrubbed the floor and the shelves. Redid the bakers rack. Accidentally pulled one of the hanging baskets out of the ceiling. (Next thing I need to fix.) And then decided now was a good time to rearrange since Songbird can't put the appliances away correctly to save her life.
I had to make a few runs into town for some storage stuff to try and keep this from happening again. I found some cool containers at Tuesday Morning that a snack cracker box fits right into. And it took all day because I had at least a million phone calls to keep me off task. But now, at 10:00 at night I am finally finished with it. Of course it looks great and I really should take a picture because the first time my kids go in there......

Now, I knew how to deal with the ants in Nebraska. How do I deal with the ones in Texas? I did some internet research and figured out they are the pharaoh ant (otherwise known as piss ants). I also found out that this type of ant rarely lives in the dirt...they prefer buildings, light sockets, whatever. So...doesn't that mean they are somewhere IN my house? Maybe the walls or between the brick facade and the drywall or something? I hope I read that wrong.

If anyone has any good ideas on how to get rid of these suckers please let me know. Because I'm telling you, there is only one type of ant I want to find in my pantry.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

My dad and my husband both really like that movie. I think I've seen it at least 20 times since I was a kid. But that is not what this post is about! :)

I recently stepped out in faith and took a small leadership position in our church's ladies ministries. I actually didn't think I would end up there...I think when I volunteered to be a back up I even said I'd volunteer because God wouldn't do that to anyone anyways. And I meant it.

Anyways, to make a long story short I ended up as a leader. DH and I had prayed about it and talked about it and I won't bore you with the rest. The one thing I will mention is that in a meeting we were told that we WOULD be under attack if we did this so we needed to be sure.

Boy did I get body slammed. Physically, mentally and emotionally. Heeellllloooooo! But then, so did almost everyone else. What a learning experience! And this is not a poor me post...its all been rather educational along with the heartbreak or physical pain, but I've never been more at peace either. Maybe this is what growing is all about...

ANYWAYS! The good....we had an FCC (Families with Children From China) event this weekend at the museum out at Baylor. It was fun to see everyone, but Mighty Mouse had a meltdown so we cut it short. All of a sudden she has really learned how to pitch a fit. When your kid doesn't look like you or your husband this can be a bad thing. I need to start carrying proof around with me that she is my daughter. The joys of parenting.

The bad...serious family health issue. Not going to go into that any more than to say its one to shake the foundations and leave my head spinning. And it pretty much came out of no-where.

The ugly...I'm having massive migraines - only days apart. I haven't had them like this in 18 years. I forgot how bad the nausea and eye pain can be. Wretched. And to add comedy to the mix, I twisted my ankle...which is fine, but I can't hardly walk (for over a week now) because of leg pain the is very similar to a shin splint, from my ankle to my knee. How geeky is that???? I'm a blind, puking, gimp. Nice. And this morning it was waking up to extreme ear pain. No way. So I rolled over and said "God, you know I have to lead today, so I'm going to roll over for 15 more minutes and wake up again. You've got to yank Satan's pitchfork out of my ear or I can't do this."

So I woke up and the pain was gone. Well, not 100% gone, but gone enough that I only feel a twitch occasionally. Wow. That was really, really cool. I had never tried that before...I think a symptom of unbelief...and I was shocked stupid when it worked.

And its all because....

God is who He says He is.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Autumns contribution to Keeping It Real

Keeping it real seems to be a popular subject on several of the blogs I read. As a matter of fact I think the first blog post I read was by Angela on keeping it real...and I was hooked on blogs. This last week she had a guest poster that expanded on that theme in a little different way. And we all read it and shook our heads yes and responded with big, You Go Girl!

Heather also did a post on Keeping it real on Wanting What You Have and got such a response that she is sponsoring a Mr. Linky on it. So here's my contribution to what what my house looks like today...and its REAL!

First, you will notice the cabinet doors hanging open in the kitchen. This is enough to drive me to murder. How hard could it be to shut a cabinet door? I mean really?? This is actually not a normal occurrence as it drives me into scary mom mode. I guess it just had to happen because I picked up a camera to show how REAL it is around here.

Excuse the technical difficulties on being right side up. This would be a laundry room where a cabinet has yet to be put up on the wall. The white basket holds all the misc. stuff that needs to be on a shelf or in a cabinet. And its been there for a year and a half.

The reading chair. This would be my number 2 favorite place in the house. I have to fight Mighty Mouse and Songbird off of it. Various people have various books in various states of being read all over the reading chair. And the couch pillows would be at the foot of the chair as Mighty Mouse has been kicked out and made herself a little nest at my feet.

Command central. There is stuff always all over this desk - and even worse...all over my printer (in a spot you aren't supposed to put things even. Notice the overflowing trash can from just paying bills. And this is right off the main room for everyone to see.

My laundry was magically all put away today so I had to hit DH's corner of our room. See the ugly rug his mom made him when he was little...he refuses to give it up. Its orange and yellow. Eeeewww. Under the pillow in the chair is his ratty blanket that Granny made him when he was 4. I can't get rid of that either. It is an ongoing sewing project constantly.

And the best for last....

The GARAGE! Those who know DH will gasp in surprise and horror. That is HIS garage???? NO WAY!

Yes way. Things aren't the same around our household since the back surgery. Plus when your garage is 140 degrees all the time, you just don't work out there!! So ask me about it in January. If its not cleaned up by then he needs to be seriously harrassed!!

So there is my real house. And I have to admit I've been doing Fly Lady and using a Home Management Notebook the last 2 weeks so this is actually quite improved on what it used to look like.

Who else is brave enough to be real?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Autumn asks: What does your dream house look like?

I got the idea for this post from Heather over at Wanting What You Have. You'll notice alot of posts here are kicked off by what Heather is talking about. I must say that this is one person that I could easily see myself as very good friends with. Even when her bed is unmade .... no, especially when her bed is unmade!

Heather would love to live in a nice Cape Code with a white fence. Very cozy looking. I can smell the sea salt and hear the waves in the background.

I love the thought of a log type cabin surrounded by lots of trees. Love a wrap-around porch, or any nice sized porch to relax on. My dream house looks like these:

Notice the nice fire pit out on the patio. Okay, now this is living.

This one is more my speed as far as house cleaning goes. I don't really want a HUGE house because it would take too long to clean!! A girl has to have her standards you know.

And here is the one we could afford...... maybe....

So what does your dream house look like? You know, the one you would if you could. I don't have anything against the house we are in now, its just not my dream.

A poem for moms...

I have this poem printed on the back side of my new Home Management Notebook. I don't know where it comes from but its really nice.

God, I want to do great things for you,

And speak to all the nations!

God replies:

That’s well and good,

But for now

Fix your children’s complications.

Lord, I want to straighten up the world,

Feed the hungry and fulfill someone’s wishes!

God says:

Fine, but for the present,

You need to wash the dishes.

Lord, I want to preach, proclaim your name

And bring salvation to the earth!

God says:

Good! Then teach your children

And preach my name to those you’ve given birth.

At the end of the day,

I think of all I’ve done.

But as I look it seems,

I’ve accomplished nothing for the Son!

God I had no time to witness one on one,

I couldn’t join my church group,

They said I missed out on lots of fun.

My household is the only thing

That managed to be cleaned,

My neighbor is the only one,

Besides my family I could feed.

The only ones I’ve read Your Word

Are those within my home.

God I’ve done so very little

And I feel so all alone!

God says:

I’ve seen the way you cleaned and cooked

And taught your kids My name.

Tomorrow morning at eight o’ clock,

I’ll watch you do the same.

The work you do at home,

Though no one really sees,

Is helping to raise little ones

To grow and worship me.

My ways are not your ways,

I don’t expect you yet to see,

But the precepts that you’ve taught your children,

Will help others bow the knee.

Your children will reach out to others,

Your example in their mind.

They’ll do great work for Me

And their children will respond in kind.

The hand that rules the world,

Also rocks the cradle.

Because of you, your children love Me,

All their hearts are stable.

Though your house is your domain,

Your tasks seem rather plain,

Your efforts will reach the multitudes,

Though from humble work they came.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Autumn asks: Do you have a drama queen?

Unfortunately, my husband comes from a family that has VERY strong drama genes. It's not pretty. And, to make matters worse, our Songbird seems to have inherited a nice sized slice of that piece of gene pie. Now, add a dad that can't stand drama, and a mom that does not understand the mental workings of a drama queen, and you have the recipe for occasional disasters.

We have worked hard to curb the drama gene. We have kept our little queen involved in state choirs and school choirs and drama classes in summer. She really likes that. We try to make sure she understands where drama is appropriate and where it is ridiculous. The phrase "Get a grip!!" is known to pass my lips on a rather regular basis.

But this is not one of those times.

Songbird went in to auditions for the local high school play. She missed the casting auditions and went to see if she could slide into a silent part or even be a stage hand or behind the scenes kind of girl. When she asked me about casting auditions last week she needed to have a monologue prepared....and I don't even know what that is. I suggested she stay after school and watch the auditions so next time she would know. Anyways, she didn't but she jumped at the chance to work on the play in some manner.

So when we picked her up from auditions we were really shocked to find out that she had a speaking part...and is an understudy for an even bigger part on a day that person can't make it to the public performance. What??? How did you go from stage hand to speaking parts??? Only our child.

So for th0se that know my little drama queen, make sure to congratulate her the next time you see her for her part in the Aladdin play.
As the ever practicle mom, I'm wondering how she will make it through the next 2 months. She gets on the bus at 6:45, and now at least 2x a week she will not be leaving school until 7:00pm. Practices are from 4:00-7:00pm. Ouch. Guess I'd better stock up on granola bars and other portable, high calorie snacks to help her get through!!

And here's the real kicker for me. She is the only Jr. High kid in the play. She will be spending all those hours rehearsing with HIGH SCHOOL boys! (Who said there is no drama on my side of the family?? LOL!) NO. NO. NO. Excuse me while I go try on the drama queen hat.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Autumn asks: Who's Birthday is it?

Today is my DH's birthday. We've now reached that point in life where I won't bother to mention just exactly WHICH birthday it is.

So tonight we are going out to have true deep dish pizza...that takes an hour to cook. And of course he has requested a German Chocolate Cake...the only kind he ever asks for. Have you ever eaten homemade German Chocolate Cake? It's to die for! The mixes don't even come close.

So here is a little trivia for you today:

Is German Chocolate Cake really from Germany?

German Chocolate Cake is an American creation that contains the key ingredients of sweet baking chocolate, coconut, and pecans. This cake was not brought to the American Midwest by German immigrants. The cake took its name from an American with the last name of "German."

1852 - Sam German created the mild dark baking chocolate bar for Baker's Chocolate Company in 1852. The company name the chocolate in his honor - "Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate." In most recipes and products today, the apostrophe and the "s" have been dropped, thus giving the false hint as for the chocolate's origin.

1957 -The first published recipe for German's chocolate cake showed up in a Dallas newspaper in 1957 and came from a Texas homemaker. The cake quickly gained popularity and its recipe together with the mouth-watering photos were spread all over the country. America fell in love with German Chocolate cake.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Autumn Asks: Have you heard of the Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid Autumn Festival. Click to send E-card to your friends.How about a little cultural lesson today? Now, I'm not an expert on this subject, it is a learned cultural custom from China. If I get it wrong, please feel free to let me know! Most of my info comes from the internet and word of mouth from other adoptive parents....so I could be way off! LOL! This year the Mid-Autumn Festival falls on September 14th.

The festival is the second most important festival to the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) to Chinese people. Every year, when the festival comes people go home from every corner of the world to meet their family and have dinner with them. It is sort of like America's Thanksgiving.
In China, the full moon is a symbol of peace and prosperity of the whole family.

Mid Autumn Festival has a history of 2000 years. The main celebrations consist of appreciating the moon, eating moon cakes together and Making Chinese Mid-Autumn Lanterns.

Here are some legendary stories for the Moon Festival.
Chang'e and the moon cakes - Mid autumn festival

The Legend of Chang Er

The date of this story is around 2170 B.C. The earth once had ten suns circling over it, each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The earth was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer Hou Yi. He succeeded in shooting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However his beautiful wife Chang Er drank the elixir of life in order to save the people from her husband's tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he didn't shoot down the moon.

2) The Man - Wu Kang

Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal. Wu Kang then went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and he asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal to teach him chess, but after a short while Wu Kang's enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days, and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang's impatience, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there chopping still.

3) The Hare - Jade Rabbit

In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit."

4) The Cake - Moon Cake

During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.

By Chinese Fortune-Telling Calendar

Traditional foods for a Chinese Mid-Autumn feast are red — for good luck. Lobster and salmon are particular favorites along with apples, pomegranates, roasted peanuts, pomelo, chestnuts, fatt koh (sponge cakes) and moon cakes.

The Austin FCC (Families with Children From China) will be hosting their Autumn Moon Festival at the Austin Childrens Museum on September 28th. I hope our family is able to make the drive and attend. One of my only complaints about our community here is the lack of cultural activities available.

My next big thing will be to try and make moon cakes at home. So far I have not done so as I cannot find the ingredients for the center here in this town. And, I'm a little intimidated to try a recipe with ingredients I am so unfamiliar with. So if you have a recipe, please pass it on!