Fat Tuesday

I'm going off sugar. 

At least for a month.

Starting tomorrow.

So today is Fat Tuesday.

Translation - eat all the sugar you possibly can.

I'll let you know how it's going.



I'm coping Jordanne today.  She wrote the following on her blog.

"As it goes, all things pinterest seem to be taking over the internet.  I did see this little picture on someone else's blog and thought it a great idea for a short post.  Of course, she got it from pinterest. You should consider doing it on your blog too!  Or comment below and type in your responses!"

Here's mine.

1.  Listening: to the hum of the computer and myself typing
2.  Eating:  cucumbers and hummus for breakfast, nope - not preggo, I just eat weird things
3.  Drinking: coffee
4.  Wearing: jeans, 3/4 sleeve sweater and springtime shoes
5.  Feeling: a little chilly because the space heater hasn't warmed up yet and because I'm wearing springtime shoes / thankful for coffee
6.  Weather: crisp and sunny
7.  Wanting: my husband to have a good day
8.  Needing: nothing
9.  Thinking: I hope my parents / family / friends are doing well / Happy Birthday yesterday to Darci
10.  Enjoying: blogging / cucumbers and hummus / coffee / space heaters

Now, what about you?  Leave a comment with your update!


Foster Care

Mr. T and I are praying about becoming foster parents.  We spoke to a lovely couple from our church last night who have done foster care for the past 9 years.  They have a cutie little tyke that they've had since he was a baby and plan to adopt out of foster care next month.

Now, Mr. T is wonderful with children and kids like him right away.  Especially this little tyke who prefers to hang out with his fellow chums, as opposed to lame girls.  So they played and played as we talked and talked and then it came time for dessert!
Little tyke went into his high chair and got a brownie and some ice cream.  Before we knew it, the brownie was smeared all over his clothes and all through his hair.  Then he played with Mr. T and got some brownie on his nice pants.
This was not a bad thing. 
It was a very NORMAL thing.
We know this.
But this very, very, very SMALL thing was a BIG reality check to what we're considering.  Until then, it wasn't so apparent what a stark contrast the peaceful and almost surreal lives we currently led would be to the other life involving brownies in the hair, on our clothes and everywhere.  
I'm so thankful for the time spent with this precious family!  We had a lot of our questions answered and we were able to obtain a more realistic mindset regarding foster care.  Both of which will help us as we continue to pray about it and see if this is an idea God grows or if he redirects us.  Either way, we hope to glorify him where ever he leads.


Kisses From Katie


To find out more, visit www.amazima.org.


This Makes Me Smile


"I like smiling; smiling's my favorite!" -Buddy the Elf


He's So Proud of His Prize

See this sweet couple?

There were married last summer.

Mr. T and I decided to make the trek to Colorado to attend their wedding. 
It worked out well because the wedding happened to fall on the same weekend as a doctor's appointment I had in Colorado...
then the wedding...
then onto see some friends in Estes Park.

So, with the car loaded we began our 4.5 hour journey towards the mountains. 

Our first stop, see the doctor. 
I think we made it in time, but I'm not sure.  I'm actually NEVER on time.  Many of you know this.
It's my one flaw. 

Post doctors office, we had some time to kill so we went to Target.  Ahhhh - if you live by a Target you don't know how lucky you are.  Living without a Target is like living in Majority World Africa with no running water, electricity, shelter, etc.  It's like being on a mission trip.  A mission trip in a land where WalMart is the only place to shop.  I plan to send out support letters and weekly prayer updates so you can support us as we "do without" for the sake of the gospel.  Just kidding.  It's a fine place to live and we have MORE than enough.  I still might send out support letters though.

Well, we thought we had a lot of time so we lingered in Target too long and forgot to take into account the Denver traffic.  By the time we left to go to the wedding, we realized that we were going to be LATE!  Being late to weddings and funerals is a big time no-no!  Even I know this.

We drove through Denver like CRAZY PEOPLE!  I'm serious.  I was nauseous from all the fast starts and sudden stops and my life flashed before my eyes numerous times and it was not pleasant and I was not having fun.  To add to the chaos, we were running out of gas, so we had to pull over to "refuel" and change clothes in the SMALLEST gas station bathroom I have ever seen.

Hop back in the car, drive super fast up, up, up the mountain, using every sense we have, excluding common sense, to help us get to our destination.  We found the road we needed, grimaced as we accidentally drove right past it, turned around and made a mad dash down the driveway to approach the wedding ceremony - five minutes late!

But ooh - what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a vacant/abandoned/ghost town of a wedding site.  Not a person to be seen.  So I pulled out my cute little invitation and said, "Huh, the wedding is on the twentieth, not the twelfth.  We're not five minutes late.  We're eight days early." 

And that's the exact moment Mr. T realized what a prize he had married.  Boy was he proud of his choice.  A lovely girl who loves the Lord and cares for people, but lo and behold - she can't read!

"I'm sorry I can't read good," I said sheepishly.

"That's okay honey.  Let's go get something to eat."

I was hungry for Italian and saw a little Italian Mom and Pop restaurant.

"Ohhh, that looks good.  Peen-OOOH-CHEE-ohs," I said.

"Pinocchio's," Mr. T replied, (as in the little wooden puppet with the nose that grows).

It was not a good reading day for me.


Broccoli and Cheddar-Stuffed Potato Skins with Avocado Cream on the Food Network

I made this yesterday.  It's slightly time consuming, but not difficult and totally yum!

Broccoli and Cheddar-Stuffed Potato Skins with Avocado Cream on the Food Network

There's also a video here.


Healthy Appetite / Happy Hour


We'll Take A Break From Our Normally Scheduled Programming To Bring You

Ever read it?

If not, you are TOTALLY missing out.

One of the funniest - Laugh. Out. Loud. - funniest books I've ever read!

I LOL'd with almost every page turn.

It was recommended by the Highly Esteemed Brooke Grigg who reads like a book a night, so you really pay attention when she says a book is good.

Plus, it only takes about an hour to read - for normal people, that is.  A little longer for me because I read slow.  Not because I'm dim-witted or anything like that.  Just because I take time to stop and IMAGINE what I just read.

My former roomies, Jordanne and Melissa would make fun of me relentlessly for this by looking at a book then staring doopily into space and saying, "who am I?"  The other would laugh and say, "you're Patty, i-maaaaaa-gin-ing."  Melissa would then point out the fact that she, "imagines WHILE she's reading." 

To each his own, I say.

So, I went to the library to check out the book but I forgot who wrote it so I figured I could just scan the rows of books until I found it.  I found the books labeled, "Young Adult Series."  Not there.

Then I asked this group of girls, "hey, do you know who wrote 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid'."

"I think it's over here," one girl said, as she led me around the corner to a different row of books.  "These books are for, like, 10 year olds."

"Oh, okay thank you," I said.

I was taking a moment to ponder what she said and realized I just read a series written for 16 year olds and now I'm in search of a series written for 10 year olds and how someday I should probably start reading Big Girl books....and I must have looked lost because the librarian came over and asked if I needed help.

"Nope," I said.  Which was kind of a lie.  But the kind of help I need, she's probably not qualified to offer unless she has some sort of doctorate in something related to helping people who have a screw loose.

Plus, she works in the children's area at the library and she is super sweet and super helpful, but she's often suspiciously asking if I need help and it makes me feel like I'm some sort of creep-o for being in the children's area.  And I'm not a creep-o!  I'm just a slow reader!!!

Whatever - basically, what I'm trying to tell you is that if you're not doing anything tonight, you should read, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney.  I think you'll like it.



Winter...it's growing on me.  Of course, we've had a mild winter, so that helps.

I used to hate winter and dreaded the looooooooong gray days and bitter cold wind, but now I see its potential.

A few things I like about winter:

1) No allergies.
2) No fleas.
3) Hot drinks.  Tea, hot chocolate, cider, coffee, and so on.
4) No lawn care (except for shoveling the sidewalk when it snows, which Mr. T does.  I wouldn't mind it, but Mr. T always gets there first.  I think it helps him feel more manly.)
5) Blankets of snow - lovely!
6) The quiet still that comes after a big snow storm. 
7) Driving into big snow flakes as they swirl on the street in front of you and swish past the side of your car.  I feel like I'm a Disney ride...like Space Mountain...best ride ever!
8) Basically, I like snow.  "Snow!  Snow!  Snow!  I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow."

A few things I don't like about winter:
1) Socks.  I don't like wearing socks.  Actually, I don't like putting on socks.  Wearing them is fine.
2) Shortage of fresh fruits and veggies.  This year, I'm going to start canning.
3) Refueling the car.  (That's what Mr. T says.)  I say "getting gas."  I guess he's too sophisticated to say, "getting gas" because of what it implies.  Anyway, I don't like to "get gas" when it's cold and windy outside. 
4) Seeing animals that are outside in the cold all night.
5) Icy roads.

All in all, I'm glad to live in a place that has seasons.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot was, in fact, a page turner.

Henrietta Lacks was a woman who has had a great impact on modern medicine and, for a long time, no one had ever heard of her.  For years scientists had been trying to figure out a way to make cells reproduce, but try as they might, they couldn't find a way to make it happen.  Not until they came across Henrietta's cells.

Henrietta had been suffering from cervical cancer.  As was common practice then, doctors took a sample of her cancer cells and found the winning lottery ticket.  Not only did Henrietta's cells reproduce themselves, but it's reported that if you could weigh the amount of reproduced cells, they would weigh more than 100 Empire State Buildings, which is amazing since a cell weighs practically nothing.  Her cells have been used by science to do everything from help to create a polio vaccine to cloning. 

What makes the book a page turner is how the author paints a holistic picture of what was going on in the world at the time.  Skloot weaves together elements of culture, history, and science from a global perspective and binds them together is a lovely tapestry.  You see how the earth, moon and stars aligned at the perfect time for science to make these great steps forward.

Skloot also gives a very personal account of what transpired with Henrietta's family over the years.  As a warning to soft-hearted readers like myself, some of the events are not pretty and difficult to read through.  It is, however, very enlightening to the times, past and present.

For the most part, I didn't feel like I was reading a science book or just another biography.  I felt like my eyes were opened to the past and I saw a glimpse of history that I was previously blind to.

If you hate reading, don't worry.  I think Oprah is planning to make a movie about Henrietta Lacks.  Otherwise, if you're looking for a good book, I would recommend this one.

Next up - When Helping Hurts   



Last night I had a dream that Mr. T died.  He was killing bad guys and he got all of them, but not before he was shot.  He didn't look like Mr. T though.  He looked like John Travolta, but he was Mr. T in my heart.

You know that scene in Top Gun where Goose's wife is crying after he died.  That's the way I was in my dream.  Then I woke up crying.  And continued crying and crying until I told my dream to Mr. T and we both starting laughing. 

After all, he looks nothing like John Travolta. 

I hope tonight I have a dream of the John Travolta version of Mr. T doing the disco.


Getting Better

Top 10 Ideas for Blog Improvement
1) Add pictures.
I'm really bad at taking pictures, but I have a strong interest in growing this skill in my life.  However, photography has some pretty large start up costs so we'll see.

2) Get a better layout.
Like add a cool header and stuff.

3) Blog about the improvements we've made on the house. 
We're done for the most part and if you'd seen it in its original state, you'd know what a miracle that is.  I'm not sure its particularly blog worthy because there isn't much that's cool urban or hyper creative in the decor, but it's home.

4) Blog more about culinary feats/disasters.
Mostly disasters.  Whenever I'm cooking I often picture myself on a new Food Network show called, "Bad Cook".  It would document all the mistakes and mishaps that happen and would perhaps have to bleep out a few unsavory words spoken in the kitchen following said mishaps.

5) Blog more about the things God is teaching me.

6) Blog more about funny/interesting events that have happened in the past.

7) Continue blogging about book/movie reviews.

8) Continue blogging about my sweet family and friends.

9) Begin blogging about the people I meet.  There are some wonderful/interesting/funny people that God has blessed me with the opportunity of knowing.  I'd like for you to meet them as well.

10) Begin blogging about past, present, and future travels/events.

Most of the above describes countless blogs out there, so the ideas aren't very original but I'd still like to proceed.

And what about you?
Do you have any ideas for me?
I'd love to hear them.

P.S  I should mention that I don't really do crafts.

P.P.S. Writing a blog is weird because it's like having a conversation but, for the most part, you don't know who you are talking to.  So, to whomever is reading, I just wanted to say "thanks".  This blog has helped me through a big transition in life and it's nice to know I'm not talking to myself.



Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the brokenness in the world. 
It makes me thankful that this world is not my home. 

I don't think I will see the brokenness be restored entirely in my lifetime, but I know the day is coming. 

In our Sunday School class, Mr. T spoke beautifully about how we are in a war and how we are on the winning side.  How God has been, is and will continue to take back what was once his.  How the brokenness will be healed and people will be redeemed.

I can see it, even today.  People fighting and making sacrifices to help make wrong things right. 

People say, "How can God be good and still allow so much pain in the world?"

It's a tough question, but I know that God is bigger than that.  He's bigger than our reasoning.  His ways are higher than ours.  He has a plan.  

And he is powerful enough to turn our brokenness into something that brings him glory.

It dawned on me this morning...

the fact that we value our humanity more than our spirituality

and God cares more about our spirituality than our humanity.

Because he remembers something we often forget.
That it's our spirit that will live forever and that this world is not our home. 
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:14

When we emphasize our humanity in our hearts, things get confusing and it's hard to reconcile the pain in the world with God's goodness.  But when you see the world for what it really is - temporary...and people for what they really are - eternal...it becomes much easier to understand God's great power and love and how, in fact, those two things never exist apart from one another.

I call it "hope".


The Hunger Games

Mr. T and I have been reading The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.  I ashamed to admit we like the books because a main plot line involves kids who run around and kill each other.  Sounds terrible, I know.  It is terrible, but they are total page turners.  It's the popular series written for young adults and I think the first movie is coming out in March.  What am I saying - I KNOW the first movie is coming out in March because I'm somewhat/entirely obsessed with them! 

Unfortunately, Mr. T and I set our budget right before we got hooked on the series, meaning we've had to wait and get the books from the library.  Needless to say, the person who has checked out the books before us does not pour through them as fast as we do.  It's been a tedious task to patiently endure the long days without knowing how the story unfolds.

That is until yesterday when the blessed librarian finally called to say the last book was in.  I felt like I had just won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes.  My heart leapt, my fingers reached for the phone in anticipation, I placed it to my ear just in time to hear the sweet and long anticipated words, "I'm calling to tell you that the book you had on hold, 'Mockingjay' is in.  You have three days to pick it."  Three days!  Whatever!  I said, "We'll be right there!!!"  Breathlessly I called Mr. T to pass on the great and glorious news.

Everything was going so well, except I had to work in the evening.  Mr. T said that he needed to work on his Sunday School lesson all night.  So I figured it's no big deal, we can starting reading the book together later.  (We often read the books side by side.  Cheesy/romantic/awesome...I know.) 

When I came home from work, I saw Mr. T had gone to his office to work on his lesson.  He had taken Annie with him so she didn't have to stay in the house by herself all night.  Cute, huh.  He's a good dog dad.  So, I thought it would be polite to hold fast to our previous agreement and not begin the book.

Mr. T came home.
He asked if I started the book.
"No, I was waiting for you" I said.
"Really" he said somewhat shocked and confused.

And do you know why he was so shocked.  Because the stinker was hoping I would renege on the deal and start reading.  Because that's exactly what he had done.  All the way to Chapter 9!!!

So then we had a pretend fight over a book that was written for teenagers, which I'm going to read as soon as I finish this post. 

Starting now...


Like I Said

Annie is quirky.

Jordanne called last night from Kansas City to let me know that she was putting away her Christmas decorations and found a surprise.  Inside one of the stockings was an old, brown, nasty sock that had come directly from its grave, buried deep in the houseplant. (Refer to yesterday's post.)
Jordanne blames me for this, but I have no recollection of it. 

Kind of like that time when my brother and I were kids and my mom discovered that someone had written on the couch with a pen.  My brother instantly denied it and I racked my brain trying to remember if I had done it or not.  Since my brother was so adamant that he didn't do it, I naturally assumed that I must have and confessed that fact to my mother.  I was grounded for a week while my brother carried on with his carefree life of playing with his friends, playing video games, watching TV and what have you.

He confessed later on that he was actually guilty and boy was my mom mad!  He was grounded for two weeks for lying and then he proceeded to mouth off to my sweet, loving, nurturing mother (something I would NEVER do!) and ended up being grounded for a whole month.  It was obvious that he was tempted to mouth off again and my mother stopped him and said, "you want to make TWO months!"  That shut both of us up.

For you see, we did not get grounded back then the way kids get grounded today.  We were grounded to our rooms!  With NO TV!  NO PHONE CALLS!  NO NOTHING!  We could read, listen to the radio (IF we were lucky), go to the bathroom and come out to eat meals.  Kids today don't know anything about being grounded.  They think being grounded means they are limited to 10 of their favorite video games instead of having access to all 50 of them.  Why, when I was a kid we had to walk 5 miles to school, in the rain and the snow, uphill both ways...

Anyways...what was I saying?

Oh yea - so Jordanne blamed me for putting the nasty sock in the stocking and I don't remember doing it, which means that Annie probably did it (even though it was hanging on the mantel at the time and that would have been quite miraculous), but I'm still sticking to my story.  I'm innocent. 

Come to think of it, we did have a girl from Germany living with us at the time.  Maybe she did it. 
Either way, I'm innocent!  Innocent I tell you!


Meet Annie

Perhaps you've already met.  If not, let me introduce you.

Annie is a little dog that showed up on our porch many years ago.  We (my former roomies and I) were having our annual Elf party in December - an evening when friends from far and wide gather to watch Elf and eat candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup.  Some guests were leaving the party and they returned saying, "you might want to come out here."  Sitting on a pile of snow and ice was our little Annie, completely overgrown and scared to death.  We took her in, cleaned her up, and made unsuccessful attempts to find her home.

After that, she became our dog.  We named her Annie, after Orphan Annie.  She's a dainty 8 pound, white, curly-haired, poodle-like pet who loves nothing more than unending amounts of human affection.  And she's just about the quirkiest thing you've ever seen. 

For example:

1) Annie used to take my roommates socks and bury them in the house plants.  We would carry on and water the plants as normal, only to find a fossilized sock in there months later.

2)  She's always leaving food in our bed.  Always.  It's rare to walk in my room and not find two or three pieces of her dog food sitting on top of the comforter.  Annie usually tries to nuzzle it onto a wrinkle in the fabric.  She'll work on it for quite a while, seemingly making very little progress and then all of a sudden she decides her food is sufficiently buried and moves on to her main task of vying for human affection.  Keep in mind her food is no more buried than when she first placed it on the bed.

3) Annie is a very obnoxious combination of coward/bully.  She does not care for other dogs.  Can't stand bigger dogs.  Will tolerate dogs her size, but doesn't like them.  Basically she becomes a huge snob.  With bigger dogs, Annie will run up behind them and bark when their backs are turned.  But as soon as the bigger dog turns to face her, she'll run and hide behind someones skirt.  This makes my manly, marine husband crazy.  "No dog in my house is going to pick fights with some dog twice her size only to run away like a coward!"  Just kidding.  He never said that, but I can see him thinking it.  When Annie is around smaller dogs, she is no better.  My parents have a dog named Maggie that is about Annie's size.  I don't think I've ever seen this, but my parents tell me that every so often Maggie will just be standing around innocently and Annie will run up behind her and head butt her in the tush.  How rude!

Mr. T is very good with his little ward, but she still has her quirks.  I'm nervous that its reflective of my poor parenting skills, which is why I'm already praying now that none of our children will do any of the three aforementioned actions.     


High Quality

Below are a few things in life that are well worth the money. 
After all, sometimes they DO "make 'em like they used to."
And sometimes they make 'em even better.

Thermos brand mugs.  It's gotta be the Thermos brand.  I've only seen them at Target and they are a little pricey - around the $25 mark.  But they work great!  They do not leak and your beverage will stay nice and hot for hours.  It's simply mind-boggling.


Harvestland brand chicken.  This is the closest I can find to healthy chicken in our grocery stores here.  It's not organic, but it abides by USDA standards of:

*No Antibiotics Ever
*Fed All Vegetarian Diet
*No Animal By-Products
*Humanely Raised
*Raised Cage Free
And it does taste much better.  If I don't get this chicken I always regret it because all the other chicken tastes like rubber in comparison.  Plus, the other day I got a whole Harvestland chicken and cooked it in the crock pot (per suggestion of my delightful friend Darci) and it was yummy-licious.  A little butter under the skin, olive oil on the outside, onion, rosemary and thyme in the cavity and wa-la!  A whole chicken was much cheaper and it made about three meals.  I'm a fan.

Oreck brand vacuum cleaners.  I don't actually have one of these because we don't really have carpet in our house.  Just some on the stairs and a rug here and there.  So our vacuum is a cheap one from Wal-Mart that works just fine.  Actually, I purchased another little one for $8 at a Black Friday sale that is also really cool and works a little better.  Anyway, I used Oreck vacuums when I cleaned houses in college.  They are my favorite and if I lived in a land of carpet, I wouldn't want anything else.  They work well and are lightweight.  I don't enjoy lugging vacuums around so "lightweight" is the main selling point.  I don't think many Oreck vacuums have that hose part that comes off so you can get dirt in the corners.  That's the biggest downside, I suppose. 
We like hardwood floors, so I doubt I'll ever need a nice vacuum, but if we do Oreck is the way to go. 


When An Orange And A Lemon Really Love Each Other

I have a love/hate relationship with Wal-Mart.  They really do have just about everything and it is pretty convenient.  But it is often over crowded and for some reason there is an air of grumpiness about the place and the cashiers can be a little slow at times and the produce department isn't quite up to snuff.

Well, at least it didn't seem so when I first moved here.  It seems better now.  I think because I've forgotten what big city produce departments are like.  Anyway, that doesn't matter.  What I'm trying to say is this:

The other day I picked up a box of Cuties (little oranges / easy to peel / you'll never go back to regular oranges) and went around the produce department to get the rest of the items I needed.  I then spotted a bag of GIANT oranges that looked very yummy - as it has been some time since I thought to buy an actual, hard to peel orange since they have cuties now.  You know how sometimes if oranges have really thick peels then they aren't as hard to manage...well, that's what I was thinking with these.  So I skipped the Cuties and went with the oranges.  And I was right.  They are easy to peel. 

They just aren't easy to eat.

I'm not exactly sure what happened. 

I suspect it had something to do with love. 
Like how Romeo and Juliet were from different circles and not supposed to get together. 
I believe an orange (Rome-e-orange) and a lemon (Ju-lie-emon) met. 
And there was winking, and eye batting, and sweet nothings whispered and all of a sudden a romance bloomed.  And as you know, when an orange and a lemon really love each other, they make a baby. 

And that baby ended up at the produce department in Wal-Mart where it got adopted by a sweet and innocent girl who took it home and decided to have it for a late night snack, only to discover her face beginning to contort into weird shapes, complete with a lip pucker that was in no way intended to be flirtatious to her husband who was not even remotely interested even if it was flirtatious because the face contortions made her slightly less desirable, but all together funny - and that's when she realized that she just adopted the world's biggest lemon!

Not really, but it's the sourest orange ever!!! 

I have a whole bag at my house that I doubt I'll be able to eat, so come over and try one for yourself. 


Books, Check 'em Out...

Via inspiration from my dear friend, Jordanne's, blog - I thought I'd write about some books I checked out of the library today.  They are as follows:

Ever tried to help someone in need?  It's not always as easy as it looks - especially when it comes to helping someone in a healthy way.  Mr. T and I hope to glean some insight from this book. 

"It's just a small story really, about, among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist fighter, and quite a lot of thievery..."  Other than that, I'm not sure what this book is about.  It's more than likely awesome.

According to several people who have read this, as well as Entertainment Weekly, they "couldn't put the book down."  And I'm in the mood for a good page turner.  Even a non-fiction book about a lady whose cells launched a medical revolution and multimillion-dollar industry. 

Book reports coming soon.