we wish MDE the happiest, the happiest, the happiest...

...birthday of ALL! [just a little family joke--]
but seriously, our precious bee is 19 today! it has been such a joy to watch her grow into a faithful young woman--
i love you, bee!
as the Christmas star in her kindergarten play

a merry christmas to all...just a few days late--

i hope you all had a wonderful christmas...
our little church had a christmas eve eve [yes, you read that right] and our lead pastor gave a thoughtful message that i would love to share with you all--

i hope it was able to be posted--if not, you can go to our church website and find it there, too.


seven words...

yep..seven words.  seven words sum up why the blog is not updated and that there are no new posts since...i don't know when.

christmas is getting the best of me.

BUT on a lighter note--
need a laugh or two or three?
need to waste some time?
check this out--guaranteed fun-ness


just something to think about

well--it's thanksgiving week.  MTSC has the entire week off from high school...MHD graciously took on the crowds at the grocery store and filled his basket with all the items on my long list...my next few days will be filled with preparing side dishes, desserts, and regrettably stressing over table decorations...and my sweet bee will be coming home from college.

yep...it's thanksgiving alright...but this year will be different--not bad, just different.  i love the fact that we are hosting a dinner on thursday and sharing it with several families, each facing different circumstances this holiday.  it will be a time full of laughing, eating, and making memories.

but...i will miss having cousins hanging out, laughing at inside jokes, and remembering funny stories...i will miss my mom making my grandmother's gelatin salad...i will miss my siblings and MHD's siblings--each with their own way of remembering past holidays.

my wish for you all is to have a wonderful thanksgiving...recounting blessings galore and squishing those loved ones around you--even if you aren't related!

i read this article the other day in the newspaper [yes, i still read a good old-fashioned newspaper] and it gave me something to think about...won't you take some time and give it a read?  then--let me know your thanksgiving plans...i am sure they will be special--

POSTED: NOV. 14, 2010
The turkey shrinks as the absences grow

The regrets trickle in. Can't make it this year. Too much going on. Airfare too high. Work is crazy.
Once, missing Thanksgiving was unthinkable. But "once" was a long time ago.
Now there are reasons. Good reasons. At least on paper. This one has a high school reunion. This one just changed jobs. This one is moving houses. This one can't find a dog sitter.
They are all being honest. Their lives are busy. Then here comes Thanksgiving and they're asked to screech and halt?
And Thanksgiving in our family is a commitment, I admit. We've been hosting it for years, for upwards of 50 relatives and lifelong friends. It goes like this: the arrival meal (Wednesday), the holiday meal (Thursday), the leftover meal (Friday), the restaurant meal (Saturday) and the farewell meal (Sunday morning). In between comes talking, slouching, sleeping, eating, talking, eating, shopping, eating.
At least it used to be that way.
In recent years, the holiday has been shaved, like one of those giant wedding cakes that slowly gets sliced away. "It's cheaper to fly on Thursday," they say, so they come Thanksgiving morning. "It's cheaper to go home Saturday," they say, so they leave a day earlier. Someone needs to work on Friday -- "They're making everyone come in," they say -- and so another chair goes empty.
They are all being honest.
The turkey sighs.
The pain of being polite
Once, Thanksgiving couldn't come fast enough. We all lived close. We couldn't wait for a break from the routine. Businesses shut at noon Wednesday. Nobody worked Friday through Sunday (unless it was in a mall). Missing a few days didn't set anyone back. We were thrilled to see each other, to eat like gluttons, to make the joyous noise of a crowded table and a growing family.
Moving houses? Who moved houses? High school reunions? Who did that on Thanksgiving weekend? Work? What employer would insist you work? On Thanksgiving?
Besides, this was family. And family meant obligation. Obligation to eat, even if you weren't crazy about the stuffed mushrooms or the sweet potato casserole. Obligation to listen, even if you had heard the World War II stories a thousand times. Obligation to do dishes. To carry out trash. To lift your grandparents' ridiculously heavy luggage.
To stay.
Today, we shy away from obligation. No one wants to "pressure" anyone else. Everyone wants to say, "That's OK, you do what you have to do." We act this way to be "understanding." I wonder if it's not so that we can expect it will be done for us. Accept excuses, and we can later make our own. It keeps our options open. It lets us wiggle out.
Everyone is being honest.
But why do we want to wiggle out of each other?
Being part of an online family
Maybe it's part of the New Busy, where we can entertain ourselves fully without leaving the house. In the old days, if you weren't at Thanksgiving, the silence would haunt you. You'd wonder what the family was saying, what they were eating.
Today, you can be online, on Facebook, checking e-mail, downloading movies. Or at work, at the mall, at the bar, at the reunion. Family? Who has time to miss family?
Except you are missing family. You are missing a huge part of life, maybe the best part, when the whole ensemble is together, when one funny story tumbles into another, when your history is being told and made.
Christmas is too much about presents. Fourth of July is vacation. Thanksgiving weekend, with its Thursday start and Sunday finish, is a perfect chunk out of the American schedule. Long enough for siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins to reconnect, to hug extra long, to be reminded why family are not the office gang, not the reading group, not the guys at the gym or the women at the salon -- but family.
And you feed a family with turkey and memories, with laughs, with stories, with being side by side.
The older relatives, who always knew this, have sadly passed away. Each Thanksgiving the table gets smaller, fewer chairs are set, fewer pies are eaten.
The regrets trickle in. So sorry. Got tickets to something. Just gonna relax at home this year.
They are all being honest.
That's what hurts the most.


an attempt

bear with me, will you?
because i was not the most faithful of posters this summer, i have so many 'old' things to share with you--events, crafts, etc....

for my first 'thing of the past', i would like your opinion/thoughts on my attempt to copy take inspiration from an etsy designer.  i know it's not exactly the best thing to do--that is, make something that is being offered on etsy, but i just wanted to see if i could do it--i would never think of marketing it.  it's just that it is so cute and i love a challenge.

here is the original from clairelafaye--

and just so you can see more of the details--

beautiful, huh?  but $88?
here is the copy designer-inspired tank i made for MDE--
the front

the back



1st annual rooted church chili cookoff

last sunday, november 7, our small little church held its first ever chili cookoff--a friendly competition among our seven city groups.  a city group is: 
a missional community – a group of people seeking to be shaped by the gospel and to live out the mission of God together. -www.therootedchurch.com

so, on a beautiful, perfect, sunny day, we invaded a quiet neighborhood park and had the most fun imaginable.  each group was to bring chili, a dessert, and a booth, complete with decorations.  prizes would be awarded to the best in each category:  the golden ladle (chili), the golden gnome (booth), the golden pear (dessert)--

i thought our city group had the booth decoration award in the bag...
tell me that this idea isn't awesome [do you sense bitterness in our losing?!]
Title:  Our Chili is inTents [note the pun]
Theme:  Camping
even the kids liked it...they pretended the pup tent was a bounce house!
note the features besides the punny sign--
plaid flannel tablecloths, lanterns, 'costumes' of plaid and camo, and of course, tents!
but the piece de resistance had to be the 'campfire'
...complete with simulated flickering flame, 'logs' from my yard, and barbie-sized real roasted marshmallows on skewers--

but alas--we lost to this well-deserving group...
Ethiopian theme

the golden ladle for best chili [a white chili] went to a new member of this city group that meets by tcu--
and lest you think we went home empty-handed...
we did win the golden pear for best dessert--
an appropriately camping-themed s'more cookie bars

sooo yummy!

our group picture [minus about 1/2 the group who couldn't come to the event]
i know it was a lot of work for the group that planned the entire event, but i sure hope this can become a tradition...and if it is--i better start thinking about the booth decorations soon!

have you ever been a part of cookoff?  and if so, what were the results?  and aren't they fun?


i cannot wait....

truth be told...i have been a huge fan of the muppets since middle school. [just fyi, the muppet show ran on tv from 1976-81 and the muppet movie premiered in 1979]. my favorite characters have always been the rather eccentric ones--
the swedish chef
but my all-time favorite has to be...
fozzie bear!!!
i think like him so much because i can relate...
you see--i just want to be funny...even if it means telling a corny joke or cheesy pun.  as i stated in one of my very earliest posts, i love laughing. never taking yourself or anything else in this crazy world too seriously is definitely, in my opinion, a wonderful way to live.  somehow i get the feeling that fozzie has a similar outlook on life.

so, you might be asking--why all this talk of muppets.
well--straight from ew.com

It's time to play the music! It's time to light the lights! It's time to raise the curtain on... The Muppets! After a decade spent largely out of the pop culture limelight, doing whatever semiretired celebrity puppets do, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, and the rest of the gang are starting production this month on the first big-screen Muppet movie in 11 years. And co-writer Jason Segel, who also stars in the movie (out Christmas 2011), is setting the bar pretty high, hoping to recapture the magic of the late Jim Henson's vision. ''We've worked really hard to stay true to the original spirit of the Muppets,'' Segel says. ''We've missed the same thing everyone else has been missing.'' —Josh Rottenberg

Image credit: Andrew Macpherson/© The Muppets Studio,LLC
i cannot wait...
anyone else?



i know i said that i would share some of my latest crafts...but this post cannot wait.

from those first scary moments to today--
our God is so good!
happy 16th birthday, charlie brown...


i know it's cliche

i know it's cliche...but when did this happen?
MTSC & his homecoming date
wasn't it not too long ago that he looked like this...?
and now...?

oh..and by the way, MTSC's costume for a party last night--
so--how was your weekend?


weekend in washington, part 4

after the wine tastings, we headed up the road to a place that i had read about in a travel guide--the herbfarm.
A celebration of the FOODS and WINESof the PACIFIC NORTHWEST. A THEMATICnine course DINNER with six matched wines and a SINGLE SEATING nightly.

America’s Top 10 Restaurants ZAGAT SURVEY 2007

Top 50 Restaurants in the World TRAVEL & LEISURE

The Northwest’s most-celebrated restaurant; the ultimate expression of the Northwest’s bounty. FROMMER’S

well…with reviews like this [and many more]—we had to try it! 

the restaurant and garden; one of the resident pigs; looking down upon the restaurant

the place setting--just look how many forks [4] and wine glasses [6]!
each setting was presented with a small flower and a menu 'booklet'
our theme:  great northwest barbeque
upon arrival, the owners meet the guests with a cocktail punch and an informative tour of the gardens where many of the ingredients are grown.  you are also free to explore the wine cellar with its 25500 bottles and 4200 selections, including a madeira from 1795 [you can taste this old wine for a price...$1795/5oz or a mere $375 for 1 oz]
when the dinner begins, the owners, the sommelier, and the sous-chef give a very detailed description of the evening's offerings, often including personal stories to further explain the choices in food and wine they made for the night. it is quite impressive.
and now for the meal...
Along Our Salish Shore--BC scallop w/radish, quail egg
& sorrel~king crab, tomato gelee & basil~totten inlet kumomoto oyster with cucumber mignonette
capitello oregon brut with choice of herbs
Columbia River Autumn-Run King--lightly applewood smoked & slow roasted columbia river king salmon w/zucchini-chive noodles~salmon tartar~smoked steelhead roe~lemon thyme corn cream~baby corn salad
2007 domaine serene chardonnay, cote sud, dundee hills, oregon
Quack 'n' Slaw--local duck breast gently poached w/lovage seed~wood grilled foie gras~hazelnut duck skin crumble~celery root-apple nasturtium slaw w/oregon white truffle oil~caramelized hungarian pepper gastrique
2009 poet's leap riesling, columbia valley, washington
The Rib and the Belly--big-leaf maple-glazed tamworth pork rib & charred pork belly w/fennel-fines herbes~chicharron w/smoked olympic penisula paprika~sammamish valley three bean salad
2007 palotai vineyard dolcetto, umpqua valley, oregon
Grilled Wagyu Ultra--grilled wagyu new york strip w/fried walla walla onions~charcoal fingerling german potato salad [yes, it was rolled in ashes]~young carrots, leeks~housemade worchestershire-sugar beet-jalapeno sauce
2004 corliss estates malbec, columbia valley, washington
Farmstead Cheese & Bacon Jam--sally jackson okanagon farmstead goat cheese w/bacon-thyme jam~texas toast~bitter greens~cider-caramel reduction
Sweet Tea Popsicle--lemon verbena sweet tea popsicle w/melon and cinnamon basil salad
Brown Butter Waffles & Peaches--brown butter waffles w/peach sorbet~butter gelee pat~grilled red haven peach~huckleberry-anise hyssop syrup

Coffees, Teas & Native Beverages
A Selection of Small Treats
--our house-churned jersey cow butter~rosemary biscuits~corn bread
2005 thurston-wolfe jtw reserve port

whew...one terrific evening--


weekend in washington...finally, part 3!

ok...i think i know one reason that i do not have more followers--not that it matters--but maybe if i was better at writing regularly [and possibly shorter posts], it would be more interesting.  just a thought.

anyway, i can't believe how long it has been since i have written anything.  so new plan--finish up my travelogue and then in the next few days, share how i have been procraftinating lately.

i think we left off with MHD and i heading to woodinville for some wine tastings.  last time we were in seattle, we met a winemaker named mike januik.  his winery is in woodinville, so we really wanted to check it out.  he shares a space with another winery named novelty hill.  oh, it was so cool--

and the best thing was that they had these cool, comfy chairs by a fireplace.  they looked like this only in a deep orange-red fabric--
well--seeing how i love great chair design, i had to know the manufacturer.  it seems the older i get, the less embarrassed i get when doing something odd...so i stood up, lifted the end of the chair up--yes, right there in the tasting room full of people--and found out they are made by hickory business furniture.
if you click on the link i have provided, you will see that the name deceives...they make some great looking lounge chairs, too.  so--if you visit our home in the near future...maybe you will see one of their beautiful chairs [i plan on purchasing a couple soon].

by the way, we thoroughly enjoyed the wine and MHD had a few bottles shipped home to us.

next, we went to the biggest, most commercial winery in town--chateau st. michelle.  the grounds were beautiful but we decided to just have one glass to share instead of a flight.

after an afternoon of relaxing and wine tasting...we headed to the herbfarm for a nine course dinner.  intrigued?  hopefully i will post about that very soon for the last installment of 'weekend in washington'...


a weekend in wa...well, not exactly

sorry...you may have already seen this video--i think it has been around a while, but i just couldn't resist.
hope it makes you smile--

one question, though--when are the men of the rooted going to do something like this???!!!


another interruption? why, yes!

i can't help but smile as i watch this clip...it looks like they are having so much fun--
i give you the history of rap with jimmy fallon and justin timberlake...

so...did you smile?  aren't they cute?


a wonderful weekend in washington [part 2]

if you have been to seattle before then i am sure you visited the pike place market [that i shared about in part 1]...well, there is a row of shops/restaurants one block off the market on a 'street' called post alley--and it literally is an alley.
but the coolest wine tasting room is located there that we discovered on our last visit to seattle.  we enjoyed it so much then that it was the one place that we had to go to on this trip.

the official name is the tasting room seattle: wines of washington.  what makes it so great is not the selection of wines...although they are fine--but it is the people that work there and the atmosphere.  it's friendly and jovial and they encourage you to play games. it's like you are sippin' wine at a friend's house.

on this visit to the tasting room, MHD and i sat on the tiny patio in the cool sun...in this alley...having a wine flight...and playing scrabble--totally relaxing and fun.
it's funny--but when you sit outside in an alley with people walking right next to your table and you're playing scrabble...it's amazing the number of people who stop to look and sometimes even offer advice!!  

i ended up winning by one point. that's the best kind of game!

we ended the saturday with an early dinner and a movie...then sunday we woke up and headed to the ballard campus of mars hill church.

we very much enjoyed seeing mark driscoll preach in his home environment and afterward, we headed to whole foods for a snacky type of lunch.  we had plans to go a nice dinner [more on that in part 3] so we ate light.  however, i did get an incredible chocolate dipped shortbread cookie--oh my--my new favorite!

after lunch and a quick stop at the hotel, we headed north about 30 miles to the wine country in woodinville washington...
but that my friends, will be covered in part 3!


excuse the interruption...

i just had to share the latest video from ok go...
it's so awesome. and after practicing several days, they shot it in one take.
note the border collie....love it!


a wonderful weekend in washington [part 1]

so...MHD and i usually take a trip in august by ourselves to somewhere where we can escape the heat.  this year we had to postpone the trip a bit so we could move MDE into her dorm at texas a & m [that will be another post, of course].

about 5 or 6 years ago we had travelled to seattle...had a terrific time, stayed in a really cool boutique hotel that is located over a steakhouse [the inn at el gaucho]. on that trip we did the 'tourist' things--the space needle, pike place market, a fancy dinner on the waterfront, shopped and ate.

so when we decided to go to seattle again, we thought of it differently.  this time we just wanted to go and rest.  moving and getting MDE to college was tiring, not to mention emotionally draining. 

whenever we can, and we are flying somewhere that is at least 3 1/2 hours away, MHD likes to 'cash' in our miles to travel first class.  wow!  what a difference it makes...it may not be the first class of years gone by--but you cannot deny the pleasure of having room to move.  not one bit of claustrophobia is felt.

the seattle airport is relatively small and very easy to navigate.  plus i love it when the rental car desks/cars are on site.  so, needless to say, flying and getting to our hotel was a piece of cake.  we checked in about 6pm seattle time [8pm fort worth time].  we were travel weary, hungry, and feelin' kind of lazy...so we just went to the restaurant onsite.  
the stunning lobby

it was fabulous.  MHD had a gnocchi appetizer and salmon with a lobster sauce for dinner...and i had a fabulous grilled peach/basil/bleu cheese appetizer and the most wonderful halibut.  it came on quinoa...but that is just one grain i haven't fell in love with yet, so i skipped it.

the next morning we were up early...still livin' on fw time.  so we walked to pike place market pretty early.  many of the vendors hadn't even set up yet, but it was nice because it was not crowded at all.  we strolled the market having no idea where we were going for breakfast...and then we happened upon lowell's.  

it was kind of a gray morning...but this was our breakfast table view--
the breakfast itself was sooo yummy!  MHD ordered dungeness crab omelet with chopped tomatoes and parmesan cheese, a short stack, & coffee.  days after, he begged to go back--but it was kind of pricey, so i nixed it...but boy, was it good.  i ordered 'the combo'--two eggs, bacon, and the most delicious vanilla cinnamon french toast & coffee.

if you have never gotten to experience the pike place market, i wish i could do it justice.  it is absolutely beautiful--flowers, fresh fish, fresh fruit & vegetables everywhere...the most wonderful colors and smells.

my $5 bouquet of dahlias...

after breakfast, we walked around a bit and then headed back to the hotel for readin' & relaxin'!  we wandered to the 4th floor pool.  it was actually quite chilly and although they had a fire pit, we choose to recline on some chaises--

rooftop view
i know it is hard to tell...but do you notice anything on the rooftop on the building in the right forefront?  look closely--
it's set up for a rooftop wedding with a view!  how beautiful...
now...we staked our claim on these chaises [really there was only like 4 people out there], MHD got us some coffee, i was borrowing his ipad to read a book, and before you know it...this happens--
i guess i was tired! 
the whole day was basically spent like this...
reading and doing nothing.  

we decided to take a little walk with no intended destination...but then we came across this--
a giant paella!
talk about the right place at the right time!
this great spanish store was celebrating their anniversary and treating passerbys and shoppers with a hearty helping of paella.  it was wonderful.
excuse the photo skills...i was trying to get the 'whole picture' of the paella and store

this helping of paella became our lunch and we headed to a wine tasting place that we found last time we visited seattle.

that fun experience and much more will be shared tomorrow...