Monday, January 24, 2011

How Not to Sled

One of the highlights of our Christmas trip to Chicago was taking Abigail sledding on the same hill that I played on as a child.  Matt, being a Floridian, had never been sledding either, so my excitement was doubled, knowing that I could introduce my precious family to a childhood memory.  I boasted about my sledding ability and even gave tongue-in-cheek tips to Matt about weight placement on the sled. 

Below is shameful evidence that I have forgotten how to sled and am apparently afraid of fast (?) speeds.  For your viewing enjoyment, please follow along with the commentary below the video and try to understand what was going through my mind.

0:01 - "All ready to go here in my orange sled.  Abigail is safely tucked in my lap.  Just sitting here, waiting for the hill to clear at the bottom." 

*** Yes, it took me more than half the video to finally start moving.  Sorry you just wasted 24 seconds of your life watching me contemplate going down the hill.

0:25 - "Here we go!"
0:26 - "Oh no...this is way too fast!  Stick those feet out to brake!  Brake!"
0:29 - "What's that shrill screaming that I hear?  It sounds like Abigail.  (Look down)  Oh my goodness, I'm spraying snow in her face!"
0:31 - "Quick!  Cover her face with my hands so the snow won't get on it!"
0:38 - "Oh no!  I just covered her face with my snow-covered gloves.  It is all over her face, eyes, and in her mouth!"
0:41 - "Brush it off!  Brush it off"
0:43 - "Give her to daddy...I am a failure of a sledder and a terrible mom."

And just in case you missed what happened, here's a still shot.  Yes, that's my 22-month-old daughter in the pink with snow spraying her and her mother's freezing, snow filled gloves smothering her face.

I obviously cropped out my face.  You do not want to see it.  The expression I am making is rather embarrassing.  If this isn't embarrassing enough.  I am never going sledding again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Bouquet of Friends

As a wife of a pastor, I came across this article regarding the importance of friendships in ministry life.  The author challenges women to look for multiple friends, eliminating the all-to-common problem of expecting one friend to fill all the friendship roles.  I think the article's list of various friendships are an encouragement to both ministry wives and women in general (and guys too...just adapt some of the examples).  So, I thought I would, I like lists :)
A Challenger
Find someone who spiritually challenges you, who encourages you to love God more. She inspires you to go home and be a better mother and a more loving wife. She helps you stay disciplined on your diet. She helps you try to improve in areas of your life.

A Mentor
This friend can “speak into” your life. She is a little bit further along in her walk with God, a role model of a Christian wife, mother, or ministry wife. This friend is someone who prays regularly for your family.
An Encourager
Everyone needs a friend who makes her feel happy and uplifted each time you’re together. She gives you perspective, because she takes your mind off of your challenges. You laugh when you’re together. This friend sees the rainbow behind the cloud. Though she may never know the details of your life or ministry, her role is to remind you that joy is available for you!

A Confidante
You need one person with whom you can share your deep and honest feelings, a friend who refuses to “pass on” the secrets of the pastor’s wife. She is tried and true. Finding a confidante takes time. Start by sharing little things and see if she really is a “secret-keeper.”

A Ministry Partner
You share the same passion. You both care about kids, or senior citizens, or the homeless. You spend hours planning events together. You can count on her to support the ministry effort. Sometimes these friendships are more short-lived, but wonderful to enjoy for a season.

An Old Friend
You might not be able to live near each other, but you stay in touch. She loved you through a lot of challenging times. You pick up where you left off each time you see this friend. She prays for you without being asked.

A New Friend
Every ministry wife needs new friends. Keep your heart open for who God will bring into your life. Remember that “old” friends were once “new” friends. God brings different people into our lives for a season. Enjoy the spontaneity and freshness of a new friend.
(List adapted from "Fresh Friendships" by Nancy Nelson.  Read the full article here.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Frugal Friday: Children's Clothes for Cheap

Since we moved North Carolina a few years ago, we are pretty far away from family and friends.  That means no children's clothes hand-me-downs for us :(  Most of our friends here have children the same age or younger, therefore, I am forever trying to find ways to reduce spending on Abigail's wardrobe.  Here's what I've come up with so far:

1) Consignment shopping
I buy the majority of Abigail's wardrobe at a HUGE consignment sale that is held twice a year at our state fairgrounds.  Huge is not even the word to describe is GIGANTIC ENORMOUS BIG.  I usually spend 3-4 hours looking though wonderfully organized racks of shirts, pants, and dresses that cost around $1-$4 each.  The last time I went, I found the Columbia jacket that Abigail has been wearing this winter for $8.  If you are in the Raleigh area, you are in luck, because the Kid's Exchange is being held next week!  Check it out here.

While you might not have something like the Kid's Exchange in your town, there are probably smaller consignment shops where you can get amazing deals on gently used items.

2) Shop the clearance rack for out of season clothes that she can wear in the future.
I usually skip the front part of the store (sooooo hard to do..I need those blinders that horses use so that I don't see all the cute stuff) and head for the clearance racks in the back.  And, lo and behold, I find super adorable things like this:

A lined wool coat from Old Navy for $5.69 (originally $36.50)!  It is size 3T, but I snatched it up, knowing Abigail will grow into it.  ***Side note, you should go run to Old Navy this weekend (1/14-1/17) because all clearance items are an additional 40% off!  I not only got this jacket, but found myself embellished tank tops and shirts for $3.

3) Goodwill
My husband introduced me to shopping at Goodwill when we were newly married.  It took me a few trips to get the hang of browsing, but I finally saw the light and am now a loyal fan.  There is usually a bin of infant clothes for $1-$2 a piece, and I've dug through many-a-piles (and some old, weird looking things) to find Carter's, Gymboree, The Children's Place, and Gap items.  If you look at it like a treasure hunt, it is worth your time!
Hope some of these ideas help!  What are some other options that I can add to my list?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What I'm Reading...

"It comes down to this: God's best is available only to those who sacrifice, or who are willing to sacrifice, the merely good.  If we are satisfied with good health, responsible children, enjoyable marriages, close friendships, interesting jobs, and successful ministries, we will never hunger for God's best.  We will never worship.  I've come to believe that only broken people truly worship.  Unbroken people - happy folks who enjoy their blessings more than the Blesser - say thanks to God the same way a shopper thanks a clerk." (Crabb, Shattered Dreams, p. 54)

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, January 8, 2011

iPhone Christmas



We spend Christmas in Chicago with my side of the family and had a great time!  How nice it was to see everyone and introduce Abigail to many extended family members.

She had a precious time decorating her little tree with Paw-Paw.

What a blessing to see my two grandmas!

Abigail loved opening presents and trying things on right away.  Thanks to my family for the Illinois and Chicago Bears attire.  She can now cheer for Mommy's teams too!

Christmas morning also brought sledding, a first for both Matt and Abigail.  And a first in a LONG time for me.  More to come on my traumatic sledding experience in another post.  For now, we need to think about happy things.

Like the way we felt after eating our Christmas dinner with my family.  See how happy we look?  Our bellies were full and we were happy. Little did we know that my mom had three more meals like that planned over the next two days.  I think we ate too much.  WAY too much.  But it was sure good.

And, lastly, we went downtown to experience the magic that is Chicago at Christmastime...

...and froze our bottoms off admiring the windows.  Thanks, Mom and Dad, for entertaining my desire to be a tourist in the windy city.

But it was worth it in the end.  We had a blast!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Frugal Friday: Soft Shell Crab

I like most food, but I LOVE seafood.  My favorite restaurant is a seafood place that I went to once on our honeymoon.  I've been there only once, but to this day, I still have dreams about this place.  Old Bay Steamer...

While this is a Frugal Friday post, it is also a recipe post.  A couple months ago I joined a group buying site called Redeemio.  I ended up getting a great deal ($5 for a $20 voucher!) to Locals Seafood, a Raleigh business that provides fresh seafood from the Outer Banks.  I thought I would be bold and try something new, so I got tilefish and...

...soft shell crabs!  I had no idea how to cook them, so I went online and found a recipe on  I ended up cutting this super easy recipe in half when I made it.

1/2 c. milk
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 t. Tabasco sauce
12 small fresh soft shell crabs
3/4 c. flour
4 T. vegetable oil
2 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 T. shallots, finely chopped
1/2 c. almonds, sliced
2 T. fresh lemon juice
4 T. parsley, finely chopped

In a flat dish, combine the milk, salt, pepper, and Tabasco.  Blend well. Add the crabs, turning them over to coat well with the milk.  Place the flour in a flat dish and remove the crabs from the milk.  Dredge them in the flour and shake to remove any excess flour.

Heat 2 T. of the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Place 6 crabs in the pan and cook them over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned on one side.  Turn and cook until golden brown on the other side.  Transfer to a warm serving platter and keep warm.  Add remaining vegetable oil to pan and cook remaining crabs.  Pour off fat from skillet and wipe clean with a paper towel.  Add the butter and olive oil, add the shallots and sliced almonds and cook until lightly browned, shaking the pan.  When the oil is bubbling, add the lemon juice and pour the mixture over the crabs.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Here was my finished product, along with some cheese grits and steamed carrots.  And yes, you eat the whole crab since it has a soft shell :)  Success!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Power of the Pen

"Go out and tell our story.
Let it echo far and wide.
Make them hear you.
Make them hear you...

Your sword can be a sermon
Or the power of the pen.
Teach every child to raise his voice
And then, my brother, then
Will justice be demanded
By ten million righteous men.
Make them hear you..."

~ Lyrics from the musical, Ragtime ~

After reading this AP story about there being fewer journalists killed in 2010, I started thinking about these unseen, but widely heard voices.  Sometimes voices of truth, other times voices skewed by an agenda, but free voices nonetheless.  I am by no means an expert on freedom of the press or the consequences of media's influence, but I do know that it has changed the world, opening people's eyes through words and pictures.  And I can't imagine someone being killed for this.  Then again, social influence can be so much more powerful than violence.  Thanks to those journalists out there, using their words and images to fight alongside our brave soldiers.


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