Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Works For Me: Kitchen Edition

Organizing A Grocery List

Well, Shannon has inspired us to share our best kitchen management ideas.

Since I am not known for being organized (at least not at the level of having any helpful tips), I want to share with you how I organize a grocery list.

Whenever I make a grocery list, I divide it into categories, leaving space under each one. Then, I fill in the items I need. Here is an example:

1/2 pound turkey breast


ground beef
chicken breasts
something for dinner tonight

Frozen Foods
box broccoli
toaster strudel

sour cream
cheddar cheese

loaf bread
rolls for dinner
hot dog buns

something for lunches
tortilla chips

diet coke
bottled water

Misc. (like detergents, cat food, etc.)
dryer sheets

I also separate the list into certain aisles. After I've shopped at a store a few times, I remember that the salsa is on the same aisle as the soups or the spaghetti sauce, for example. So I group those items together on my list.

Here is an example of separating them by aisle/type of canned good:

cream of chicken soup
beef broth

Spaghetti sauce
Parm. cheese in the can

You can just divide up your list each time or, if you are really organized, you can make up a grocery list form on your computer and print one out every time you shop.

Grouping items on your list together that are near each other in the store keeps you from running from aisle to aisle and then back again.

You know that feeling. You are in the dairy section and look down at your list and say,"Oh Man, I need some tomatoes!"

Then you go back to produce to get the tomatoes, look down at your list and see "sour cream."

I hate that.

Do you have any more tips for kitchen management? Share them over at Shannon's.

Well said.

Something worth reading today.

Growing Legs To Walk the Talk by Grafted Branch, Restoring The Years

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not that I'm biased or anything.

I saw Fireproof with a friend over the weekend and I thought it was great.

Of course, it was made in my hometown of Albany, GA, filmed partly at Phoebe Putney Hospital where I was born, and stars everyday people from the church that started it all...

But, it was very good. Whether you are a believer or not, you'll enjoy this movie. Kirk Cameron stands out in the amateur cast and adds star quality to the film.

I promise you will laugh and cry. There are even few scenes that may have you on the edge of your seat.

I just want to thank God for this movie. It was number four at the box office over the weekend. That says something to Hollywood.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fireproof opens this weekend.

So, have y'all heard about Fireproof?

The film, starring Kirk Cameron, tells the story of a firefighter husband who takes a stand to save his marriage and protect his wife's heart.

Wait a minute. A movie about people who want to save their marriage? Huh? Yes! It's true. Imagine the impact this film could have if only we would support it.

Another movie opens this weekend. It promises to be romantic, entertaining, the perfect "date movie" or "girl's night out." It's a little different from Fireproof. Just a little.

If you are browsing the movie schedule this weekend, I encourage you to choose Fireproof over the competition.

Hollywood is listening. It's time for us to speak up for marriage.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Trying to be a steel magnolia while dodging tumbleweeds.

When I started writing this blog over two years ago (my how time flies when you are boring people to tears), the reason for the blog name had a meaning.

I knew I would write about The South, being southern, and what all of that means to me. I knew that most of it would be a little "different" (the southern way of saying something is strange or odd.)

People in The South just do things their own way. We're sometimes known for elegance and manners, but we are anything but refined and fancy. Our food is famous for taste but not-so-much for fine dining. We appreciate good shopping, but not the big city lights that shine on the storefronts.

We're simple in a lacy doily, lots of rules, let me tell you why you can't wear those white shoes on Christmas way.

To sum it up, this ain't New York.

The blog name stuck like an old windowpane in humidity and now I'm writing about eating White Lily biscuits made thanks to the loyalty and sympathy of my Mama and (cough, cough) Newman.

I'm living in Smalltown, New Mexico and, guess what. This ain't New York either.

I feel a little bit like a fish out of water.

You could say I'm out of my natural environment.

My natural environment is filled with hair spray, make-up, cleaning products with every combination of letters and numbers from the Periodic Table, artificial plants (unless you count my potpourri) and let's don't forget my beloved Febreze.

Basically, I've found that Cinnamon Apple-scented dead flowers and a mist of Linen Fresh work well with bleach. It gives the illusion that you've cleaned the entire house while doing laundry and baking fresh pies.

How did I get off on that subject?


This blog o'mine, still aptly named, has taken on new meaning in every sense of the word. And I love using every word I possibly can.

Only now I will be using words like "isolated beyond a Target's reach," "dryer than a new wife's first Thanksgiving turkey," and "Lord, give me understanding 'cause I'm all out of Won Ton Soup."

Or something like that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Works For Me: Easy Fall Wreath

I like crafts. Give me a glue gun and I am in Hobby Lobby Heaven.

But, I realize that the glue gun, besides the fact that it will singe a layer of skin from your fingertips (hmm... may be an explanation for this), can be intimidating for the non-crafter.

By the way. I've noticed that people who aren't crafty can usually bake.

Just an observation.

(I don't bake.)

Except for biscuits and cornbread.

So, here is a tip for those of you who may not tackle a fall or Christmas wreath from scratch, but want something with a little more pizazz than a store-bought wreath.

Purchase an inexpensive decorated wreath. Then, look for a few seasonal items you like and add them to your wreath.

For example, you could find a fall-ish wreath with say, leaves and a few flowers. Then, add a few artificial pumpkins, gourds, or other items you like. Wal-mart (and they aren't paying me either) is a great place to look. They usually have wreaths ranging from $10-$20 and a 97 cents display with great floral picks.

And, remember, you don't always have to have ribbon. You can make a wreath look great without bows.

This is also a great way to freshen up last year's wreath!

For more ideas, see Shannon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

So, sometimes Newman and I CAN get along.

After a very pitiful and desperate recitation of my wish list, Mama went on a Good Baking Flour quest.

Finding White Lily and Jim Dandy grits was easy.

The Chicken Won Ton soup? Not so much.

My daughter loves Campbell's Chicken Won Ton soup and Campbell's has not paid me to say that. Although, I am not above any form of monetary compensation.

We can't get the Won Ton here. Apparently, folks around town are not fond of the Won Ton. However, I can get lots (and I mean lots) of corn, red or green chile sauce, and some seriously delicious salsa.

Because people like to say, "salsa."


Mama searched high and low for the Won Ton soup. Harvey's. Winn Dixie. Wal-mart. She finally discovered the treasure of the concentrated, high-sodium goodness at Publix and bless her heart, she bought six cans.

Six cans!

Do you know how heavy cans are for shipping rates?

And bags of flour?

Not to mention boxes of grits?

So, last week a very heavy package, loaded with Authentic Southern and Faux Chinese goodness arrived on my door step. It was Christmas in September, y'all.

Now, all I have to do is buy a new sifter and we will be slathering the butter on some melt-in-your-mouth light and flaky biscuits.

I'm telling you, White Lily biscuits are so good, they'll make you wanna slap your mama. Unless, of course, she mailed you the White Lily...

Monday, September 22, 2008


I had seen the commercials at dinner with a man cradling a child, a shack in the background. I felt real compassion for them.

I did.

And I turned the channel.

I read Shannon's and Sophie's blogs and I felt like I went to Uganda with them. I cried over their stories about children in poverty and I've laughed about Shannon's monkey alarm.

I prayed. Really. Prayed. I knew that one of those kids was supposed to be a part of my own family.

In fact, one night I was on the Compassion website and I saw a little girl in a Girl Scout uniform.

Meant to be?

I went back to the site again and saw that she was sponsored- Thank God.

I felt a tugging at my heart and I honestly felt guilty for not letting the tugging pull me in, but somehow I felt like I was supposed to wait...

Then I saw her.

She wore a dress that looked like it was too big for her. She stood straight for the photo, her hair plaited, and she didn't smile. She was a little girl in Haiti who could have been eating cookies made from dirt for dinner. I knew that it was time to let that tugging pull me as far as He wants me to go.

I filled out all of the necessary information, name, address, credit card number. It was all so matter-of-fact for such a profound, important step. One last button was left. I moved my mouse and clicked.


Submit is a word that gets a whole lot of bad press in our day. The world tells us that submitting to anything or anyone (except our own desires) is weak, pathetic, behind-the-times.

Let me tell you, friend, once you let go, once you stare into those eyes and let them stare back at you and into your heart, all you want to do is submit. You feel that tugging and you let Him pull you in.

The first time we received a letter from our sponsored child, we were thrilled. I cried when I unfolded her letter. Through an interpreter, the little girl I saw on a website shared her love for Jesus. I treasure all of her letters and drawings.

She is so much like any other 6-year old girl. She needs love. She needs school. She loves crayons. She loves Jesus.

We keep her picture on our refrigerator and when we moved, I placed her picture in a box we always take with us. The box holds our family photos.

Just over a week ago, as Hurricane Ike closed in on the Caribbean, I thought of our sponsored child. I worried over her picture and prayed in His Name. I imagined her huddled in her home with her mother, listening to the howling winds and pounding rain.

In my growing concern for this sweet child was a seed of hope. I knew that through our sponsorship, a Compassion worker was there in Haiti. There when I could not be. There with this little girl and her mother. There in the name of Christ.

They are still there. Compassion workers are reaching out to sponsored children, to hurting families and communities. They are able to do so because people just like you and me let that little tug pull them in. Then they moved their mouse over a button on a website and clicked.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Mr. Poe, I've got one for ya.

So, I'm sitting here this morning watching Regis and Kelly, sipping on my coffee, and catching up on blogging.

I hear a squawk coming from the back porch.

Then a screech and another squawk. It is obvious that there are at least two birds back there so I tip toe to the back door for a peek.

Two crows were perched on my daughter's play set squawking at their friend on the fence. One other unknown bird was on the glider on the porch and another (maybe his cousin?) was resting nicely on the patio table. Goodness knows what else he was doing on the patio table.

None of them saw me. They just made themselves right at home.

Meanwhile, Maggie the Lame is sleeping peacefully on the couch, completely oblivious to any crow or other unidentified bird out back.

That forty bucks we wasted at the Humane Society? Best money we ever spent.

So now I don't know what I am supposed to do- buy a new bird feeder or a scarecrow.

Either way, I get the feeling, they'll all be back.

Yeah, this ain't New York.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jimmy crack corn or just cracked.

Just so you know, I haven't met the snake. He is probably somewhere deep in the corn field behind our house.

(Insert my friend Nancy's Children of The Corn joke here)


I am trying really hard to become acclimated to my new surroundings. It is times like these that I wish I were more like a real chameleon as opposed to just a hair chameleon...

But I digress.

The air here, it is dry, dry, dry and I could use some tips from the peeps. I have managed to find a great hair and skin regime, but our lips are literally cracking. My poor daughter is having the worst time.

Any tips or ideas on what to do for dry, cracked lips? We are applying really good lip balm before bedtime and in the morning.

Any certain brands?

Other ideas?

Thanks, y'all!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Eve never had to deal with this.

Y'all remember that pond we used to have out back at our old house?

With the water moccasins?


The other day we found the remnants of a snake skin out behind our house here.

It was a whopping 5-feet long.

If it were standing up, we'd be nearly eye to eye.

My heel isn't big enough to handle that guy.

Monday, September 15, 2008

When God walks with us.

We all want to be a Daniel. He had an unwavering commitment to obey God.

Today I'm over at the Internet Cafe sharing about Daniel's friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

Grab a cup of coffee and come on over!

Friday, September 12, 2008


I can't really write anything today without thinking about all the people already feeling the effects of Hurricane Ike.

If you are fortunate enough, like me, to have the luxury of power, water, and a day without fear, please join with me to pray for these precious people.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Choose To Remember

Originally posted September 11, 2006

My grandparents could tell me where they were the day of Pearl Harbor. My parents could tell me where they were the day Kennedy was shot. Now, I will tell my daughter where we were the day her world changed, September 11, 2001.

We were traveling home from a visit with my family. It was a long drive and we decided to spend a night in a hotel en route. Traveling in the car for long periods of time with a little one is not easy.

That morning, my husband had already returned from breakfast. I always either go down for breakfast later, or my sweet husband brings breakfast and coffee up to our room. He has done this since we first married.

He was in the shower when the first plane struck. I was watching the Today show. Katie and Matt detailed the facts they had at the time- that a plane had hit one of the towers of The World Trade Center. No one knew why or how a plane could collide with a tower in broad daylight, on a clear day. Cameras were rolling as smoke filled the air from the crash.

I yelled through the bathroom door and shared the awful news with my husband.

"Must have had been off their IFR," he said.

Then, it happened. The second plane hit. I was sitting at the end of that hotel bed and just began to sob. I told my husband the news. By then, we both knew this was no accident.

My daughter was very young at the time so, I was able to watch the news without her knowing what was truly happening. I just kept sobbing and sobbing, and praying. Those poor people.

I remember going down to the hotel lobby and watching the news with the other guests. We were sipping our coffee just like any other morning. But, even then I think we all knew that this was something big, something bigger than we had ever experienced in our lifetime.

I asked my husband if it was safe to be on the highway again. What would happen next? How do we know what is going on? How will we know if it is going to be safe on the roads? He explained that we were probably safer on the road, than in a hotel- full of people- a prime target for an attack.

We packed our things and headed home, listening to the radio to the rest of the terrible news. The Pentagon. That Pennsylvania field.

The image that will never leave my mind is the photo of the person pushing a grocery cart full of small children, running away from the towers to save their lives. I will never forget that.

I will never forget the events that took place that day. I choose to remember. I choose to remember so that I can learn from what happened, and by remembering, I can one day tell my own daughter where I was September 11, 2001, the day my world changed forever.

But it goes deeper than that...

I have to tell her what it felt like to be afraid of strangers who looked different from me. I have to tell her that I felt guilty for those feelings.

I will tell her how I was afraid to open the mail, and that I would always wash my hands immediately after getting the mail from the mailbox.

I will tell her how the military sprang into action to protect our President, our air space, and our own lives.

I will tell her that I was afraid to go to the mall or downtown, for fear of another attack in a public place.

I will tell her that many people died as a result of these attacks. Some of them died that day. Others died years later in Afghanistan and Iraq while protecting our freedom.

I will tell her that the attacks on September 11 were an act of religious war, no matter what people say.

I will tell her that Jesus Himself said we would be hated for His Sake.

And I will tell her that our God is a God of judgement and soverignty. He is also a God of Love, and because of that Love, He sent Jesus to die on our behalf. Once we ask forgiveness of our sins and ask Him into our hearts, He will dwell there forever. He died for all people- for me, for her, and for Osama Bin Laden. But, we choose to receive His gift or turn it away.

To live in fellowship with Jehovah God, we must take the only path He has given us- through the blood of Jesus Christ. Then, and only then, can a person live and die in peace. Once Jesus dwells in her heart, nothing will separate her from God. No bomb. No war. No man. Nothing.

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 35-39

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Works For Me: Journaling with kids

My daughter loves creative writing. This year we've decided to journal at home every day when she gets home from school.

I found some cute, themed bulletin board cut-outs. The theme I'm using now is fish. Every day before she comes home from school, I write a topic on a Post-it note, stick it to the back of the fish, then tape it somewhere in her room. When she comes home she has to find the fish.

Using the Post-it note makes it easy to recycle the fish. You could use any shape or cut out that you have designed yourself. My daughter loves the ocean, so fish was an obvious choice.

Be creative and silly with topics. It doesn't have to be prize-winning. Anything that can be a springboard for creativity is key.

Examples to get started:

"What I Did This Weekend"

"My favorite (you fill in the blank) is ..."

"If I were any animal, I would be a (blank) because..."

Other ideas:

1. Give your child guidelines and goals, depending on age. Five sentences may be enough for your child, or too much. As their writing improves, they will naturally add sentences on their own.

2. If your child is a perfectionist or over-achiever and gets stressed out easily, limit their journaling time and tell them the journal entry does not have to be complete. The entry is not an essay.

3. Make sure journaling stays fun and does not become overwhelming.

4. Encourage them to journal the same time every day.

5. Let your child pick out the journal. An inexpensive composition book works well. Have them decorate it with stickers or drawings.

6. As their writing progresses, mix up topics and writings styles. Introduce poetry or ask them to write a joke or song.

7. Don't grade them. Use the journal to monitor their progress without them knowing it! If it becomes a graded assignment, it's no longer fun.

8. Creative journaling is different from a diary. Be sure they know you will be reading their journal.

9. Journaling isn't limited to writing. Encourage your child to draw or illustrate in their journal.

I've found that journaling helps with penmanship, spelling, grammar, as well as creative writing. The more kids write, the better their writing becomes.

Journaling is also a fun way to peek into the mind of your child and see the world through their eyes.

One more thing- Be sure to date and keep them. They are real treasures!

For more tips, visit Shannon.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Steven Curtis Chapman on The Early Show

Steven Curtis Chapman is scheduled to sing his song Cinderella tomorrow morning on the CBS Early Show.

I hope you'll take a moment to tune in and support the Chapman family.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Tactical Precision

Somewhere between the garden and the curse, God gave Eve a very unique gift. Since that time, Eve's genes have been passed down for generations.

And may I just add that I'm glad that her genes, as opposed to her jeans, were passed down? Denim made from fig leaves- itchy.


This gift has kept on giving. It's called "The Ability To Find Stuff." Every mom, since the beginning of time, has had this ability.

Caesar's mom had it...

"Mother, when you are completely recovered from that new surgical technique, could you find my toga pj's?

Women throughout history have kept up with powdered wigs, the crank on the Model T, and stacks of scrolls, slates, Trapper Keepers, and Blackberries.

Moms are the reason nothing is ever lost forever. The only exception was the moms of Atlantis. Who knows what happened there.

In fact, history could have been altered if the Powers-That-Be had only used this ability. I'll go ahead and tell you the flat-out truth, if they had sent Mamas into Iraq, we would have found the WMD's, no one could have hidden them from us, the whole world would have felt safer, and Bush's ratings would have soared.

I'm just sayin.'

Y'all know I'm right.

But, since no one asked me to find any nuclear bombs, I am stuck with the task of finding things like socks, shoes, special toys and last minute items Hubs may need on his way out the door.

This gift of finding stuff is perfected on a very personal level. Some of us find things because we know where we put them. (A place for everything, everything in its place.)

Some of us find things because we can picture the other stuff surrounding the item. You could call it domestic photographic memory.

"Mommy, where's my belt?"

"Probably on the floor with the clothes that you didn't put in the hamper."

I've perfected domestic photographic memory. I can find a needle in a haystack or a saved, dead insect in a plastic tote. When something is lost, my family asks me, before they look for the item themselves.

At any given moment, I'm on call, seeking and searching for dried up butterflies and paperwork from 1994.

It ain't WMD's, but it's the best I can do.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Hanna, Ike and Josephine.

Sounds like a really bad band from the 70's doesn't it?

Please pray for the people and property in the paths of these storms, especially for those areas in other countries that do not have government relief. As devastating as a storm can be, as unorganized as some relief response can be at times, we are still so very blessed to live in this country. Others are not so fortunate.

And, for those still recovering from Gustav- we have not forgotten. You are in our thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Your vote counts.

In the heat of the primaries, I was standing at the grocery store check-out, ready to swipe my card. The cashier and the bagger were discussing two candidates, Hillary and Obama.

Squirming in my flip flops and yoga pants, I waited for the total.

As the cashier gave my total, she looked up at me and said, "I think it would be nice to finally have a woman President. Don't you?"

Knowing my response would not be well received, I gently answered, "Yes. Just not that one."

The cashier stared at me in wonder.

As I pushed my cart away, I turned to both the cashier and bagger and said,"But, that's what is so great about this country. We each have a voice and a vote."

I was sitting on the couch, watching television last night. Daughter was tucked in bed and Hubs was on the love seat suffering through the minutia of The Republican Convention.

My husband does his civic duty. He stays informed. He votes. He just doesn't get fired up about it.

Politics is for me what college football is for other people. The only difference is that I don't eat chips and dip during the inauguration.

We watched together last night as Sarah Palin gave her acceptance speech. To be candid, I haven't quite made up my mind about McCain's choice. Although I'm passionate about politics, I've always considered myself rational about the election process.

But, last night, as the first conservative woman to be nominated for Vice President of the United States spoke eloquently and boldly before the nation and before her husband, daughters, and special needs son, my emotions crept up into my throat and I found myself crying.

I was moved.

Moved by the idea that I could identify with her more than any other candidate.

Moved by the idea that she could be second in command.

Moved by the idea that she could be in command.

It was then that I could, in some small way, also identify with African-Americans across this country who are moved when Obama speaks.

Let me be clear. This white girl from Georgia can never, ever fully comprehend the past and current injustice of black people in this nation.

I can never, ever fully understand what their ancestors suffered.

I can never, ever know how much those who overcame and continue to overcome the past, those who forgive and march on, appreciate the opportunity to take those steps toward true freedom.

I can, however, understand the emotion.

To some extent, I'm feeling it. At least I did last night. For a moment, I was sucked in.

Conservative, stay-at-home, and working women of all races are talking this morning about Sarah Palin. They're talking about how great it is to see someone like them. They are blogging and emailing in between homeschool lessons and car pool trips.

They're talking about how wonderful it is, how it feels.

Politicians know this. All of them. Democrat. Republican. Independent.

They pay people millions of dollars to design posters and commercials, write speeches, build platforms, and even select wardrobes for their candidates.

All of it is crafted to impress us, to make us feel, not make us think.

They know that an African-American man who experienced the sixties is going to be genuinely moved by a speech touting victory. They know when to tell a cameraman to close in on that man's tears. They're politicians. That's what they do.

They know that a conservative mom sitting on her sofa, watching The Republican Convention is going to be moved by a woman with a family who stands for life and values. They know to tell the cameraman to zoom in on a sleeping baby or a little girl waving to the crowd.

They know that this same man and this same woman will feel a certain way about a candidate.

In fact, they're counting on it.

While it is indeed historical, monumental, and, dare I say, emotional to observe as the first African-American is nominated for President and the first conservative woman is nominated for Vice President, we can not, should not allow that emotion to guide us into the voting booth.

Republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, we must be moved by our own convictions, by our rational judgement of the candidates' policies, by our responsibility to make an informed decision.

We must ignore the camera shots, and the media hype, the policitics-as-usual. We must wipe away our tears because of, not in spite of, historical triumphs.

When we do, we will think through our choice, ignoring racial and gender lines, and clearly see the best person for our country.

And while we must never grow cold or indifferent to the wrongs, the injustices and the victories of this nation, we must use these lessons in history to strengthen and educate us for our future, for our children's future.

Yes, it would be nice to have a woman for President, for Vice President. It would be nice to have an African-American for President. But, I can't let those feelings, those hopes influence my vote.

So, I wait. As do you. We wait and watch as this election unfolds.

Somewhere in this country is a grandchild of an African-American man who triumphed through the sixties and a daughter of a conservative woman watching and waiting for us to make the right decision in November.

In fact, they're counting on it.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

We should have our own show on TLC.

A conversation at our house a few days ago...

Hubs to daughter- "Maggie requires a lot of work. Every morning she meows to eat, then she meows to go out, then she meows to eat again, then she meows to be petted. It takes a lot to take care of Maggie."

Me- "You only have to take care of her for one hour. I have her all. day. long."

Mrs. Duggar, you may have 16, or is it 17 kids? I have one child and a cat. Top that!

Monday, September 01, 2008


Please join us as we pray for everyone who evacuated, those who stayed behind, for law enforcement who remain to protect people and property, and for the relief workers waiting to go in and provide aid when it is over.

Miracles can and will happen in the midst of this storm. God is with you.