Pie Crust Trash Talk

I'd put this piecrust up against anybody's! Yes, I'm talkin' some crust trash, here, and it's justified. You can use this with anything, sweet or savory, and have success. All thanks to 'Joetta', who gave me the recipe more than 10 years ago. She was in a women's Bible study with me, and had brought the most deliciously scrumptious pie - because everyone knows that you can learn more Bible if you have a fork in hand. I never see her at all anymore, but whenever I make this crust, I think of her. 

JBQ Question: In what four things did the believers continue steadfastly ? 
Answer: apostle's doctrine, breaking of bread, prayer, and fellowship

bread = pie  ;0)


Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Without Mammograms

WARNING : This is definitely a post For Sisters Only!  FSO, alright?!

So the friendly neighborhood GYN gave me the slip - again.  Last time he gave the the mammogram order (mammo), I had good intentions to go, until a lump was found in my neck and I began the thyroid cancer odyssey. Needless to say, I threw the mammo order OUT. No need to further complicate my medical problems. I mean, just look at the illustration on the order! And I cropped most of it out! 

Now it's a year and a half later, and I worked up the nerve to keep the appointment with my GYN for a "female" checkup. Making the appointment is not a problem, since I've become skilled at canceling them, no problem.  (and I only canceled once...) The proper shirt was found, decent bra, clean socks - no holes - all donned with care and attention to super-scrupulus hygiene. Proper shirt absolutely necessary in order to negotiate the Least Possible Embarrassment while in an awkward position armed only with a paper sheet. Lack of the proper shirt, one of the convenient reasons I had to cancel the first time. It's obvious that I attach ALOT of stress to this particular doctor's visit, but I don't think I'm alone - can I get an Amen?! Except of course, at the end of the ninth month, when I'd lay down wearing anything, or nothing, with no thought of hygiene,  and let anybody in hospital scrubs look, if only they will help me deliver the child, and now! And so have all of you. OK, stream of consciousness, there, sorry. ANYWAY, I went to  my appointment, asked age-demanded questions too personal to share, (sigh - I'm over 40, after all), and thereby completely wrecked the dear doctor's schedule for the day by taking entirely too long asking these questions.  I'm a question person. This would make a good post...

All that to say that at the end, he gave me a slip for a mammo, commenting that since my health has taken such a blessed turn upward, that we should 'strike while the iron is hot'. Are there irons involved in the mamo? Sounds like there might be. Are they hot - I think, probably, yes. Why in the wide world would it matter whether or not I have on deoderant? Are my armpits involved, Lord have mercy??? That just does not seem right - it's not a pit check, right? Is it possible to squish THAT MUCH of my uppers between metal plates? So much that my armpits are in play??? This just does not seem reasonable; I think they are trying to get two tests in at once, and I plan to ask more questions about this while I'm there. Will let you know what I find out!

I'm not one to suffer alone, and I have found that this is a handy character quality. Sharing, after all, is what the scriptures command. So I called around and have arranged a Mammo Party. I will go with two other dear friends, the Grilled Cheese Diva and the French Cookware Mistress! We will laugh (I hope, I hope) our way through our mammos and then go to lunch! I'm thinking of suggesting party hats...The Mistress said she might bring her camera...


Men Are Warriors

This is shocking, isn't it! Especially still shocking for me, even after all these years to acclimate to the fact of men and guns. When I taught in the public schools, before I had children, I was very surprised at the levels of "violence" that was so plain among the children during recess. I even did my master's thesis on the effects of violence in the media on elementary-school aged children. So when I had my own little BBs, I declared, "No Guns or Weapons for Our Little Boy!" My brothers, parents, grandparents were not allowed to bring him wee little toy guns, bow and arrows, or knives. They smirked, but I prevailed! My little guys had a weapon-free toybox! Until the day, and I remember it well, when my son was using a plastic golf club as a gun to "shoot" birds. "What are you doing??" I asked. "Shooting!" "Where did you learn that??" "At Grandma's house, I watch 'Fox 'n da Houn'!" he crowed.
Yes, my child corrupted by Disney, and using a common golf club as a rifle to shoot furry things! 

I gave up the fight at that point, much to the joy of every male in the family, who all pointed and snickered at me while offering manfully-wrapped toy weapons to my sweet little boy. My Dear Husband just nodded and patted my arm, much smarter than those male relatives who tend to gloat. 

The photo above is from this Christmas past. This photo is shocking even for me, and I have grown callouses on my eyes. The guns are air-soft guns, not 'real' guns - see the orange tips, and the freaky mask is actually a safety mask! 

I'm glad there aren't any photos of the knives they received as "gifts"...

Photobucket For more Wordful Wednesday photos and stories, head over to the Seven Clown Circus!


The Cross at the Center of Easter

Eggs. Yeast rolls. Bunnies. Fluffy chicks. Chocolate. SweetTart candy. Bonnets. Neckties (yeah - right!) Ham.  Baskets. More chocolate!

It is tough to  keep the cross at the center of Easter, just like it's tough to keep the manger at the center of Christmas! Some ways we tried to focus the families gaze:

- New clothes for Easter Sunday - In keeping this tradition, we always pointed out that on Easter Sunday, Jesus was clothed in a new heavenly body, and looked different to everyone! And so might they, if they would just put the tie on!

- In making Easter eggs - The whole Trinity displayed in the egg.  I know it doesn't fully translate, but what can, really?? It was a good start for little guys. Vinegar used in the old-fashioned egg-dying kits provided a chance to discuss events at the cross. (And, of course, putting a cross on the eggs, like one of them did.)

- Pointing out New Life in nature - newly sprouting plants and trees that had lookedcompletely dead, return of birds from winter grounds, greening grass... all natural pictures of the resurrection found on lots of nature hikes.

- I concocted a homemade version of Resurrection Eggs that we use every year in preparation for the big day. My version involved an story item and a hand written scripture inside a plastic, numbered egg. Here and here - some options on the net that make very little creativity necessary!

- Every year, I determined to make Easter Story Cookies. Never did it. Maybe I'll do it for the grandkids ... this is a very scary train of thought that may, yes will, require another post.

- Of course, I have a pile of Easter books that I put center stage for the week or two before the Day, and we watched movie reenactments that fit their ages of readiness. I have not shown the Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson. I found this to be almost beyond bearing, myself, and will let them choose this for themselves when they are ready. Clips are shown every Lenten season at our church - these are enough for us so far.  (BTW - the book Riven by Jerry Jenkins. Would love to know if anyone else has read this, and what you think of the ending...)

- We've not ever asked The Sons to fast from anything for the Lenten season, although they are coming of age to do this, I think. Fasting is a basic of faith that I don't think we've passed on well. Maybe because we have only learned its value in the last couple of years, ourselves! Some Hardship will bring you quick lessons on The Value of The Fast, real quick. 

As they are teens now, they don't want to dye eggs, and they know the resurrection eggs by heart...  They still love eating the candy, and as they stuff it in, I'm hoping all the meaning thatwe stuffed into Easter when they were little boys sticks! 


Tulips - Coming Up Soon!

These tulips return every year - and more of them, too!  Yeah! This type of bulb - naturalized - is the only kind that I've had any success with. I LOVE tulips and have planted them in the fall for many years, but have had little luck in getting them to return well in the spring. They make a lovely show that first spring, then pathetic returns every year afterward.  So disappointing...
But not these!  Got them at Lowes, or maybe Biggs, but the label saidnaturalizing - and that is the ticket my friends!  More on bulbs and naturalizing at the Bulb Lady.


Ivy Abuse

the bathroom ivy - small, thriving, rustic clay pot

plucked leaves laying next to the plant

leaves next to the garbage can

"Did you do it?"  

"What?" "Hmmm?" "Oh, yeah, I did."

"Just wanted to see what would happen..."


Thinking of a Road Trip...

We love going to Gatlinburg!  Just like the Queen of Useless Knowledge, when spring starts to trickle in, my thoughts turn toward a Road Trip! Wish it wasn't so - wanderlust is not a comfortable companion. Gatlinburg, TN is handy because it's not so far away and has a completely different natural landscape to look enjoy. Since I've gone with boys most of my life, I don't get all jazzed about the shopping, although I hear others rave about it. One of my favorite places is the Tool Outlet, unfortunately.  Yes. 

When we go, we get up early, eat breakfast somewhere cheap, and head out to the mountains. Hiking is something all of us can do. Except the year we tried to hike some un-godly high mountain - Mt LeConte - I thought I was going to die! I had to keep taking photos of flowers, random twigs, holes in trees, anything just to get to stop and get a breath! It was sad! My Dear Spouse  practically leaped and ran up the mountain - sickening. I love him anyway. Here is the view from the very top, but I don't know how we got up there, as I blacked out near the very top. Extremely dangerous - I don't see how people (like me) don't fall and kill themselves bumping down the steep cliffs to the very bottom. (BTW, my parents hike this every year...)

Here are my grandparents on the same porch about 35 years ago! 
Book recommendation: Scavenger Hike Adventures. This guide book has 14 hikes of various difficulties and highlights things to search for along the way! I love scavenger hunts, and kids usually do, too,  so this is an ideal hiking companion for families with kiddoes! Can't go wrong with Apple Barn apple fritters, either - we never leave the Smokies without some...hmmmm - I'm just NOT going to connect the breathless hike up a mountain with too many fritters...
Also, for romantic afternoon lunches, the Wild Plum Tea Room - delish! 


Signs of Life in the Tubs

Found these tubs in the basement when we moved into this house 14 years ago. They're old style wash tubs. Every year, I plant them with annuals and enjoy their color in different combinations. (Not lantana  - too leggy for containers, I think.) Last season, I loaded them with perennials from the garden - extra hosta, lamb's ear, daylily, etc., from the garden beds. These were small, since perennials start small, right, but this year they might be just the right gorgeous size! It would be so nice to have the containers already mostly filled when it comes time for buying annuals! I'd be able to buy just a few of the really nice, showy annuals for color - the ones I usually skip because I need quantity. 

There's a big IF, though. Above ground perennials in containers, metal containers, usually freeze. Ugh! I mulched these really heavily with leaf mulch, hoping to avoid the freezing, and I'm hovering over them watching for signs of life after snow and ice!  So far, I can report that the lamb's ear is showing signs of life, as is the sedum that you can see hanging down on the left tub-front. The daylilies are a no-show so far, while those in the beds are far up, already!  Maybe a case of TOO much mulch...  Will keep you updated.


Please, Not Tree Trimmers

I want my sons to have jobs they truly love - careers that fulfill their calling in the Kingdom. We tell them that they should try to have a job that they would love to do even if there was no paycheck. This is a high ambition, and would be seeking for a rare blessing.  I don't know anyone, or only two, who right now would describe their situation in this way. We struggle along as we try to coach them in the planning of their lives, very shortly ahead, as men of the house - providers for their families. We know that they are called, as are we all, to "make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you.." 1 Thess. 4:11  Also, I know for sure that they are called to fulfill the great commission: "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'" Mk. 16:15  These scriptures do not seem to be directing our Young Men toward SELF-fulfilling goals - happy job, being the owner/boss, making plenty of money for your family, being recognized for your abilities.... OK, so now I have to revise the coaching - revising is not new over here!

But Please Lord, don't let them become tree trimmers!!!  The photo above is from The Farmer's Wife, showing some tree butchering along her rural roads. The road that I have to drive to get to the expressway, and therefore, to get anywhere, had its trees recently "trimmed", and this is very much how they look. And even worse - many trimmed in completely nonsensical ways - why didn't they just drop the whole tree?? I'm heartsick as I drive along. This will seem irrational to many of you who do not feel emotionally attached to familiar trees, but I know there will be some who can identify with me. The branches are so hacked - it just makes me think of amputation and mutilation. The shapes of the trees, the sort of bark they have, the habit of the various species...I weirdly pay attention to all of these things, and yes, I have my favorite trees along the road. If you pass a driver who is squinting, then it's me, trying NOT to see the trees that have been recently "trimmed".

In the quiet moment this Sunday, when your pastor recognizes all who have "unspoken requests", please raise your hand for me - I must need some sort of counseling! But, really, I will be deeply distressed, angry and maybe even ashamed if I see any of my sons on the Tree Disfiguring Crew!


Spring is Fickle - Apron Giveaway

WINNER!!! - Dear Friend Donna has won the apron - she had three answers correct. Another Dear Friend also had three correct, so I decided to use the early-bird-worm thing as a tie breaker. Donna got her answers here the very first - even though it doesn't look like it in the comment box - so she gets the apron! Best I could think to do! Answers below next to the numbers - click the names if you want to see what the plant will look like when full grown. Thanks for playing - it's going to get down to 26 tonight, so Lady Spring has moved on ...for a while!

Wow! The warm weather that Kate was waiting for is finally here!  It's 74 degrees as I sit here typing with THE WINDOWS OPEN!!!  Spring is not my favorite season, because it's so fickle, as Hessie Mayhew tells us via Jan Karon. It pulls back, after sucking me right in, and the snow freezes everything that sprouted in the warmth - Major Bummer that hits me every year. JFTR, I prefer fall.

But, right now, I'm in the spring mood, and My Dear Husband and I have had our first garden walk! We "Tour the Gardens" like we live on an English estate, pretending that someone ELSE grubs out the weeds, while crooking our baby fingers and sipping tea. (OK, he doesn't crook his finger or sip tea.) 

I ran and got the camera and took the first season's photos - thought it might make a fun game! The prize (!) will be this Red Dogwood Apron made from a vintage tablecloth corner - this pattern is one of my favorites. The waist tie is made from polyester grosgrain ribbon, the red blossoms are embellished with matching red buttons, and of course, there is a black button hidden somewhere on the apron - our trademark.
(This is one of the aprons that I'd like to put in the Etsy shop I plan to open soon...)
See how many of these perennial sprouts you can identify! I tried to take the photo so that it included the habit of the dead plant, which could help you identify the new growth! The person with the most correct wins!  Game ends on Wednesday!


Food or Phone?

Salmon quesadillas were never popular at our house...
Food Wars - I survived, and all of them did, too. 
Let the Official Parenting Record show that food wars are to be preferred over phone wars any day! Cheaper, too - WAY cheaper!

This photo is listed on Wordful Wednesday blog - click here to see more photos and lots of words!


Caption Possibilities - Ice Cream Cow

This photo was taken in an ice cream shop in Hilton Head. I took advice from Krissy and looked back through my photos - it really does cheer the soul. So many good memories! I don't get the camera out for those unhappy moments. She looks good for a few captions:

Whoops - Excuse me??
Do you like my new veneers?
Sorry - did you step in it?
Come to Di-nerrr!
(my favorite) Open mouth, insert hoof.

Anybody else want to play captions?


Mom Among Men - the Medicine Cabinet

This is our bathroom medicine cabinet. It's the only cabinet of that sort in the house, so choices must be made carefully regarding what to put in it. Only the most necessary OTC meds in here, thermometer(s) - more than one in case the first reading is just not believable, ointments, drops, metal train conductor from Thomas the Tank Engine days, etc. What everybody has, I'm guessing. I am the curious sort, but have never been able to bring myself to peek inside someone else's bathroom cabinet; thought about it though. Am considering whose I'd like to see right now...
Look at the bottom shelf - that's the business shelf, I'd say. Where all the most frequently used items stand within the least exerting reach. Notice anything here? Not long ago, it struck me how my little Lady Speed Stick stands out on it's lonesome own among Axe body spray, manly razor (not to be used on girl legs), and "fusion" scented Mennen Speed Stick. No one needed these items just a few short years ago! The cabinet was filled with more innocent things like Barney band-aids, snot aspirators (?), Q-tips, I can't even remember what else! Those baby/toddler things that are long gone from my cabinet! Not that I mind that much, though, but the MAN items in this cabinet do reflect my current situation. I'm no longer a mom of delicious babes or darling toddlers - I'm a Mom Among Men. These people have whiskers, and while they are capable of BO, they prefer to smell good to attract the attention of other people's daughters - It's a different world out here, friends!
Now I see that instead of the years stretching endlessly out (and out and out), they are rushing toward the end of the time when my sons' manly things won't even BE in my medicine cabinet. My influence in their lives is mostly fulfilled at this point. When older people in the grocery lines would say, "They'll be grown before you know it!" I didn't believe them. I knew it would take forever! Well, I turned out to be wrong - again. I don't care so much that they are physically larger, it's really nice in alot of ways, but I didn't realize how much the 'window of influence' closing would unsettle me. The eensy-weensy window of the almost-grown son - - that bothers me.

Sure would like to make the last little bit of influence I have really count for these almost-men. I'm looking for help along the way to being the mother of Grown Sons Who Love and Serve the Lord - some funny stories, direction toward resources, more funny stories, sharing of scripture, encouragement/admonishment/examples, and ... more funny stories. Moms Among Men are in a unique position - it's nice to have friends in the journey and this blog might be a way to do that! Along with my regular posts, I hope to post about my own experiences - I'll label these with the Mom Among Men title. It'd be great to have lots of MAM voices providing encouragement in comments, links or even guest blogs. Maybe I'll make a button to post! Who knows!? Pass this along to any other Moms Among Men that you know, and help us develop a community of support, sharing and laughter!