Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A House Divided

patriots vs. giants

I had to post this morning, real quick.
I'm still torn about last nights game. While I am so thrilled that the Pats are in the history books - perfect season- great job! I am also sad because of my dear NY Giants. To be honest I wasn't even sure who I was going to cheer for last night, until kickoff!
Here's the background: I grew up a NY Giants fan. My dad was a Giants fan and my great-grandfather was a Yankees fan, so my love for NY teams started before I even knew what was going on. In middle and high school my dad and I didn't miss a Giants game, we always tracked the Pats because my oldest brother was a crazy, go to Foxboro paint letters on his chest in freezing cold weather Patriots fan!

But the Giants were my team.

I had the shorts and the shirts and the jacket and the posters, then in 1993 something happened. While at a high school cheering competition the NE Patriettes, the Pats cheerleaders, came and performed and spoke about trying out for the team. In May of that year a friend of mine and I traveled down to the practice fields where we tried out for the squad.
It went something like this:
We got there early, I mean early; so early I was contestant #1 and she #2. We checked in along with 350 other girls from all around New England. We were taught a dance routine by going over it 3 times then practicing it 3 times as a group. The it was contestants #1-3 on the stage to perform it.
Then the first cut was made. They cut us down from 350 to 175 girls. Both my girlfriend and I made the cut!
Then we were taught another dance and this time went over it even less than before; again I took the stage and performed. The next cut came from 175 girls to 75 - I made the cut, my friend did not. I then made and interview appointment with the coach and traveled back down a week later for that interview. It was at that time while walking down the hall to the bathrooms that I saw Bill Parcells and I realized how torn my heart was. Bill Parcells had been the Giants coach for oh so many years and I learned to view this guy as the greatest coach of the greatest team- now both he and I had to make a change to become Patriots fans, a feat I'm sure was easier for him as he had a healthy paycheck. Anyway, after the interview my mom and I travelled back down 2 weeks later to try out again, this time along with the returning Patrietts. I was contestant #12 and this time in groups of 2 we hit the stage, it was me and a 6 year veteran. The judges consisted of dance experts and players. Hey I thought thee was no fraternizing?

Anyway that day the team was formed and I did not make the cut. In a follow-up interview I was told that being 18 years old I would have made it difficult for scheduling purposes because I couldn't do beer promotions- and those girls did a lot of beer promoting.
So as you can see when I sat down to watch the game last night my heart was torn.

Then, it happened.

To be quite honest I saw the NY uniform and my heart went pitter-patter - Go Giants I yelled! And then I had never seen my own flesh and blood turn so quick on me.

The sofa we were all sitting on vacated quickly and was named the Giants loser sofa, I got booed and when I got up to get a drink I returned to a sofa that had been vandalized. That is the cushions were all on the floor. Nice family I have, huh? They even made all the animals sit on their sofa with them.

I pulled out my old NY jacket and settled in for a late night of yelling and until the 4th quarter happy because a victory I thought we'd have.

Then, and if you watched the game, my beloved men in their ever so nice to look at tight pants, began to unravel. Two plays back to back in the 4th quarter brought out my ever so popular Cuda yelling voice, shouting out tips and plays to the coach and players until we eventually lost 38-35. Good game boys and when I leave the house, call me a traitor or whatever you want to call me, but I'll be happy to be a Yankee and a Pats fan.

Hey I'm in enemy Dolphin territory, a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do.

NY Giants

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

So to solve the Lego dilema, we'll have to resort to this box of 701 Lego pieces!

They asked for 2, but will most likely get one.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mars and the Moon

This is so cool. Mars and the moon.
December 23, 2007.
We first noticed this while at the Living Nativity and debated whether it was Mars of Saturn, as you can easily see - it's Mars.
So cool!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Busy in the Kitchen

Wanted to give a photo update on my day of baking.

I'll actually start with the dinner I made. This is a great and easy thing to eat at home or take to a holiday party.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
10-12 oz grape jelly
1 jar chili sauce
1 package Armour brand frozen meatballs (or make your own)

Mix grape jelly and chili sauce
add meatballs
serve over rice or eat as an appetizer
Here's a picture, yum!

Now onto cookies. Since I made three different types I first layed out all my ingredients. I use a cookbook from when I was a kid. I made 3 types.

The first was ribbon cookies. After making the dough, you separate it and add food coloring for any color you want. I chose red, green and white. You layer the dough in a bread pan, or Rubbermaid container if you don't own a bread pan, and let it harden in the freezer for... however long the recipe says or you can do like me and leave it in there until you think it's ready. *smile* Here's the dough in the pan:

Next you take the hardened dough and slice it, then bake it. Currently these are still in the freezer. Another yummy treat!

I also made brownies. The easiest bake of the day because it's from a box! BOGO at Publix this week! Today I made the chocolate, turtle brownie!

Lastly, and my personal favorite, are the cyclops cookies! Here's the balls of dough ready for the oven!

And the final product.

Cold Hands
Warm Heart


#4105 Where Have You Gone?

So we went last night to finalize our Christmas shopping, mainly to get Legos, and I must say I was greatly disappointed. Wal-mart, Target and Toys R Us had a sorry, sorry selection of Legos. So sorry that told Steve I may not purchase my legos at these stores anymore, yes I often speak out of sheer emotion with no consideration of my wallet.

Yes, they had cool kits. The Police Station, the boat, but it was a specific red box of Lego bricks we were looking for. The one that's $9.97 and has 487 pieces, you know item #4105!!!! When I spoke these words to the Toys R Us guy he looked at me like I was a very strange, way to old for Legos crazy lady - oh how glad I am that I travel with a rather large husband, who I'm sure scares people away from calling security on me.

No where in our shopping area did I find this red box of Legos, and upon looking on the website Lego is to blame - I'm not sure they carry it anymore. So the boys will for the first time in 14 years will be getting a Lego gift certificate; which to all you Lego fans out there is probably the best Lego gift they could receive because of the following that is offered at the Lego store in Orlando. It's the fill your cup for $12.99 deal. This allows them to get just the pieces they need.

Nevertheless, I'm ticked that not only did I have to visit 2 Targets, 2 Wal-mart's, but that I had to subject myself to K-B toys, where they tried to sell me mega blocks claiming they're "just as good as Legos"- what? who are you and why haven't the Lego police arrested you yet?

So under the tree will sit these two Lego products, this one simply because I like the skeleton horse, and this one because I like the alien and the boys could always use ship building pieces.

I apologise for the content of this, afterall this season has nothing to do with the size of our Lego collection and everything to do with Jesus, it's just that the red box of Legos is such a staple around here and I'm still upset!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Our Week in A Nutshell

Wow! It's been a busy week.
Sunday was Steve's birthday, 32 years old! We went to see I Am Legend with friends and then came back to our place for pizza, cake and ice cream while hanging out around our new fire pit!

Monday brought work and our first day off from homeschool! I had my office Christmas party and gift exchange, luckily I came out with some homemade goodies!

Tuesday began with the norm and the high schoolers had their weekly meeting and Christmas party. Branden and I went but I had to slip out early because it was our Boy Scout Christmas party as well. I took the chocolate covered saltines and they were a big hit! Steve and I snuck in an hour and a half of out first Christmas shopping of the year! We got just about everything.

Wednesday was out last night of Wired, middle school youth, before the holiday break and the kids were off the wall. My group of 4 girls has grown quickly to 10 and they were all over the place. The game this week was a little bit of one on one competition, I hope to post the video below. Good times we have with 80 middle schoolers each Wednesday night!

Thursday, sweet Thursday, was my day off... and both boys went to a friends! Steve and I used the time to return to Target, where I had been overcharged 2 days before and we ventured into Super Wal-mart.

Side note. I had not been to Super Wal-mart in , well I don't know how long- maybe close to a year, and I would be happy if I never had to visit that place again! I know some of you just love this place but I can't stand it! All the people, all the stuff... I tried to make sense of the food area but finally just left - no thank you I'll stick to my local "regular" Wal-mart and Publix.

Thursday night we had out Lifeguard Christmas party. Lifeguards are the youth leaders in our youth ministry here at church. I first raided my mothers house and then ever so nicely transferred all her neat decor to our food table. We played some fun games and when I opened my gift in our exchange I was thrilled, really I was, to find it was a candy bar and toilet paper! Practical, right up my alley!

So it's Friday and the Christmas parties are over. All that's left is some gift sewing, cookie baking, and our family Christmas Eve at Yiayia and Papou's. I can smell the Greek food now!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's A Swamp Thing

So I made the chocolate covered Saltines, I posted the Ritz version below. They were so good that they didn't survive the afternoon; of course the 4 boys that were over had a little something to do with that!

Today, I was out sitting by the swamp and I took some pictures to help remind us of what our swamp looks like. It's changed a lot since we moved in. It's been full to the rim, low, mucky and dry. It started with a nice canopy covering it until a tornado went through in 2004.

So here are a few pictures I snapped.

The dead trees, twisted and broken from the tornado.

A little on this one. Winter in Forida can be missed if one isn't paying attention. It's always green here, I took this for granted as a Yankee kid visiting each year. Upon moving here I was just thrilled that I could grow plants, inside or outside here in Florida! Now, I am paying closer attention and this place is full of dry, dead plant life in the winter.

The deadness of winter in Florida.

The big, dead tree, top left, near the boys fort.

More of the swamp.

Well, off to baking cookies, more chocolate saltines and a cake for Steve's b-day!
Yikes, I better be careful what I snack on!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In An Attempt of a Healthier Diet

...I'm making these on Thursday!


1 inch sq. paraffin wax
1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
Ritz crackers
Peanut butter

Spread peanut butter on Ritz crackers.
Melt the square of wax in a double boiler.
Add chocolate chips and melt until cream.
Drop crackers, peanut butter side down, into chocolate.
Use a fork to turn cracker over and slide it up the side of the pan to let extra chocolate run off.
Lay on wax paper and put in a cool place to harden. Store in cool dry place.

...and I'll mopping my floors!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

...and I've started another Daily Practice!

Two days into jogging and I'm enjoying it! And..... I'm actually jogging. I'm not much on exercise, but with the new job and the kids getting older I find my normal, if you can call it that, lifestyle has been more sedimentary. So each morning Fluff and I get up and head out, he hasn't learned the word jog yet he still heads to the van for a ride! He'll get it soon enough.

I weighed myself the other day and it wasn't pretty - I weigh 20 pounds more than when my youngest was 3 months old and 10 pounds less than my max pregnancy weight!

This week I've introduced jogging and a small amount of weightlifting; next week I hope to add squats and sit-ups; then jumping rope and push-ups.

I've also cut sweets out of my diet and since Steve gets grapefruit from one of his customers I've been eating lots of grapefruit - yum. I think with my family history and adding exercise and cutting out sweets, I ate 6 cookies the other day, I should drop some weight pretty quickly; then again the last time I did this I was only 21, and I'm just not 21 anymore??


Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday Music

It's been an exciting morning already. At least I've gotten a bunch done. Don't you love those days! Praise God I have the opportunity to get 'er done this morn!

For your Christmas listening pleasure, I'd like to recommend these Christmas albums.
Regis Philbin : Christmas Album; this has one of my favorites Marshmallow World
Bare Naked Ladies : Barenaked for the Holidays album, here for the song list- our favorite family favorite is Green Christmas, so true living in Florida!
Reliant K Let it Snow Baby... Let it Reindeer album - my boys favorite!

I hope you get a chance to play Christmas cheer in your home as we all prepare for the celebration our Savior's birth; you too may one day get to hear from your child,
"Darnit mom, I can't get the Regis Christmas album out of my head!"
to which your husband will respond,
"I know, me too, what song you do have stuck in your head?"
Happy Day!

Meal Plan Monday

Pizza and movie night with family- watching Planet of the Apes

Chicken Pot Pie

Pot Roast

Beef Stroganof

Cajun Stir-fry, date night, boys with Mimi

Leftovers/ grocery shop

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Day 15

Today I am cleaning out the most neglected room in my house: what I call my Florida basement, THE GARAGE!

Our garage is the kids playroom, or better their LegoLand.
I'll update later!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sunday Linkage

Hadn't heard this in awhile. song on youtube

Idea copied right from Rocks in My Dryer

Oh Well, 'Den

So the brakes go in one car and we break a key off in the other. I have my job and other taxi jobs for the kids, hubs runs a paper route; living without a car is hard around here.

We double duty the van knowing the brakes are on their last leg; I sit at work while Steve runs the kids here and there, we arrive early, pick up late and juggle our 2 car life with only one. Then the kids clothes rip and tear so that they each have one pair of pants left that don't have holes in the knees adn well getting to teh store is near impossible.

When life gets crazy like this, as it often does for us, I think of one of Steve's students from back in the day. Mitch was a gentle soul who's simple words ring in my head when bumps in the road of life arrive.

"Oh, well 'den."

Mitch was a "troubled" kid. He sat in the classroom with a dozen other kids who for one reason or another couldn't sit in a "regular" classroom. Most had been labeled as 1st and 2nd graders and I think they just learned to do what they wanted and the system would push them through. Anyway it was on a day when Steve gave Mitch a choice. Either sit down and do his work or go to the office. "oh, well 'den." Mitch said as he got up and calmly walked to the office.

Mitch had accepted his fate. Granted he had a choice and often life's situations are not what we'd choose, but Mitch accepted that he would have to make the long trek to the office and move on.

"Oh, well 'den." I find myself saying this when things don't go as I'd like. Fussing and worrying does me no good.
So what if the house is decorated for Christmas but not clean.
So what is both cars go down at one time.
So what if the kids wear clothes with holes for a few more days.

"Oh well, 'den."
God's got a plan bigger and better than mine and when a bump comes my way I need to accept it, pray and ask how this situation can be used for His glory- and move on.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
Phillipians 3:13-15

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Day 12, My Day Off

Thursday, sweet Thursdays. I can sleep in, and well, that's about it.

Steve's hitting the books today, with a 12 page paper due on Saturday it's about time he did this; and I'll school the boys before cleaning the ever messy, cluttery house sitting out by our new fire pit reading something.

Making an attempt to be intentional in all I do. Intentionally putting others first, intentionally looking for opportunities to be Jesus to people. I'm also hoping and praying to run into a few of my old friends, Holly and Mickey; and the wisdom of what to say when I do finally see them.

Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Colossians 4:4-6

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Day 11, Truth Cards

It's been awhile since I pulled them out. My truth cards.
Small notecards with Bible verses written on them.
When the boys were little I carried these cards around with me as faithful as their diapers. I'd pull them out and refer to them in the grocery store, in the library and any other place where I wanted to scream or just didn't know what to do. They offered me comfort and strength.
Today I've pulled them out to help me get through.

Not that things are incredibly bad, it's just the persevering thing. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes not. Currently running off to an island and giving up appeals to me more than anything.
But I've tried that, running away - it doesn't work. My problems and issues follow me everywhere, because you see: I follow me everywhere; and my nature is not one of obeying and self-sacrifice. Realistically it's the rebelling against self-sacrifice that is fueling my desire to give up.
So I've pulled my cards out again. Funny how when I drift from certain practices life gets crazy, for instance my cards. It's no wonder I'm beginning to believe the lies I hear, I'm not yoking myself with the Word of God regularly enough to combat the lies with truth. Jesus has said, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Something interesting as I did a word study on persevere, there are no results for that word in my concordance; actually there is one for the word perseverance, found in Eph. 6:18.
Instead it's words like "need of patience" and "endureth".

Patience according to Webster:
1: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2: manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3: not hasty or impetuous
4: steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
5: able or willing to bear

Endure according to Webster:
1 : to continue in the same state
2 : to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding

Patience. This one stands out to me this morning because I can see how my frustration with pressing on and persevering stems from a lack of patience. "Able or willing to bear", am I able? with God, yes; am I willing? not always - that's a choice I must make each day, each hour, each minute.

Endure. Continue in the same state. Too often it's a change of state that I think will make things better, smoother. God's instructed me to endure just how things are; afterall He's written about each of my days, who am I to try so hard to change that.

So here's what I've pulled out and will carry and refer to in the coming days/weeks.

Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 5:11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Psalm 119:27-28 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

And please, if you know me personally feel free to ask me how my walk is going. I can always use the accountability.
Cold Hands
Warm Heart

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Day Something?, Working Through It

Today was one of those days.
I just wanted to crawl back into bed the moment I got out of it.
I wanted to quit my life, check out and sit on some island somewhere where nobody knows my name.
I managed 'til 11:30, then I crashed for a 2.5 hour nap.

So anyway my life's purpose is floating around in my head.
I get frustrated with the distractions that surround me and pull me toward them and away from serving God.
Basically if Satan can keep me focused on myself and my life then I'm no good for the Kingdom, in fact I tend to represent Christ in a poor manner; like today.

Yuck. I though my now life would be easier, ya know the frustrations and bumps would go away. While today I sneaked away I awoke to the reality that stopping, quitting, running away, none are options. Persevere. Press on. Words I'm not crazy about; afterall I like a smooth ride. Persevere and press on carry with them a sense of work with a little pain mixed in.

So I choose to focus on the truth of God's Word to help me through.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Day 9, Doin' Fine - Sunday Linkage

copied from Rocks in My Dryer

This is all I got this week. Check Shannon for more.

Maps of War

Evangelism Linebacker

Great Pics

A Passionate Pursuit of God (From Pastor Ron at

Love this vintage dress

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Day 8 - Think on This and 2 World Series Trophies

"Boredom is self, stuffed with the self. "
Walker Percy

After you've thought on that one, read on.

Today's the big birthday party and I spent my morning overseeing parking with the Boy Scouts for our town's Annual Christmas Tour of Homes. Vaughan and I were assigned Jack Billingham's home. Pretty cool! It was neat to visit with Jack and his wife, Jolene on their front porch, I speak as if we're best friends;but I will say they are some of the nicest people I've ever met.

One of the things about living here in Florida is the amount of athletes that live here. Larry Csonka lives2 towns away and we've seen him at the local Dustin's a few times, then there's the annual football game against Ken Griffey Jr's son.

Back to today -what impressed me most about the Billingham home was it's simplicity. Really not an extravagant home, but a really extraordinary and unique one; color inspired by the family's dishes, which for the record are the same as mine and a real practical layout. The living, dinning and kitchen we all open with no formal living or dinning in the whole house. The children's loft room was the only room upstairs with a bathroom and med size walk-in closet as a toy storage and play area. The laundry room was off the kitchen and was a sort of butler's pantry as well, very "normal" in size. The master bedroom was not any larger than my own, but the shower rocked! It was large and had plants in it as well as a center hanging rain shower head. The guest room was average size, or smaller compared to some new homes, and there was no pool. Jack's study was as big or small as my own seing room and was the highlight of the house. One wall was lined with old ball photos of him, his family and newpaper articles. Pete Rose and Johhny Bench were the 2 that stood out to me. The neatest bit of info I learned was related to 2 canvas' that were hand-painted. They each had a simple Christmas trees painted on them. Anyway Jolene had seen them in a gallery for $600 and didn't want to pay it, so she painted her own!

It was a neat glimpse into the average life of a retired professional athlete.

So a home tour with the intent on inspiring us all to decorate for the holidays has in fact inspired me to follow sports again; viewing 2 World Series trophies will do that to a girl!

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Cold Hands
Warm Heart


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