Monday, March 31, 2008

My Knowledge Knows No Bounds . . .


Okay, so those of you who are bloggers know what the little Sitemeter thing is on the side. For those who aren't, it's a free service that tells you things like: how many hits your blog gets in a day, how many different pages on your blog they visit, how long they stay (minutes), and how they got there in the first place.


It's a fun thing to watch every once in awhile. You can tell what part of the world people are from who are reading, and it puts that info on a fun little map.


For the most part, because I have a very small readership, and I personally know most of you, it's a pretty uneventful visit. But, sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me, and I look into my blog hits from Google - which tells me what the search string was that led someone to my blog. This is a most entertaining leisure time activity. Since most of you do not have the leisure time to peruse my extensive Sitemeter archive, I give you the top 5 Google searches that led people to my blog:


5. Multiple Hats - while this one may seem obvious, it actually fell a little ways down the line. And, imagine the surprise of those unsuspecting folks who actually wanted to learn about hats!


4. Wilted Spinach Salad - further proof for Matt that his family secrets are being "sold down the road to increase blog hits." Unfortunately, the ones I looked at stayed less than 1 minute, so I'm assuming they did not find what they were looking for, at least on my site.


3. Send This To 10 People - This is a proud day for me. You see, if you type that into the Google search engine - I'm actually the first on the list!! And apparently there are still people out there, getting the "send this to 10 people" e-mails, and wondering if they are true. The Google placement is a result of this post, in which the phrase was completely sarcastic. PS - If you came here wondering if the "send this to 10 people" e-mail is true - it's not. Sorry to break it to you. The Easter Bunny isn't real either. The jury's still out on Santa Claus . . .


2. Deep Water Faith In The Shallow End - The biggest thing this tells me is that Casting Crowns is making an impact. I am so thankful that I link to them in the post people are finding, and hope they find the info they are looking for. Hopefully I'm helping their cause - which, in the end is all of our cause - bringing people to Jesus.


1. CBC & Chem 7 - Yes, it's the now infamous Nurse Heather post! The fact that people are navigating to my blog while searching for pertinent medical information is more than a little scary. What's even scarier is that the hits are split 1/2 and 1/2 between a regular Google search and a Google Image search - in which people are ultimately looking for a "sexy nurse" picture. Hope I was able to be of assistance . . .


Isn't that fun? Doesn't it make you want to start a blog, so you too can keep track of oodles of useless information?? Lastly, here are some searches that have appeared very few times, but are either funny enough or disturbing enough to deserve mention even with small numbers:



Fat Guys in Polyester


Spot Mat Flat Hats


Really Old Basketball Hats


Grandpa Shoes


.......and my personal favorite


Pooping in the Wilderness - yes, someone found my blog while trying to learn the intricate ins and outs of pooping in the wilderness. I am so proud.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Good Morning Colton . . . . . .Love, God

"Mama?"




"Mama!!"




"MAMA!!! COME HERE!"




I race to the living room, to see Colton with his nose plastered to the front door window.




"See what God painted in the sky?"




"It's beeeee-you-da-fullllll!"


......Yes, son, it most certainly is.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Love Languages

It is so busy right now, so just a quick update. We had a fun Easter weekend, filled with egg hunts, Easter bunnies, baseball tryouts, family time, church service, and so many other fun things. I'd love to think I'll be back later to catch up on all of that, but it is highly unlikely. Just know that it was wonderful.

Awhile ago, I posted about Love Languages, and what one of mine is. Well, this Easter weekend, Chance hit on another one - saving money! He is so patient (mostly) when we go grocery shopping, as I shuffle through the coupons. Usually both boys add to my stack with the ones from the little machines in the aisles. Such helpful little guys!

So, Chance decided that he would give me something for an Easter present, and here's what he came up with . . .


Great little entrepreneur that he is (or, bucking for a great Easter prize), he said I had to buy the eggs, the bunny, and the basket to redeem the 40 cent savings!

And, taking up his dad's cause, knowing that there's no way Matt will ever get a pickup without some sort of a discount, here's what Matt's Easter present was . . .


Thanks, Chance - you hit it right on the spot!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Favorite Ingredients Friday - Easter Edition



Last week, Verna told me about a salad she had taken to a church function that was fabulous! She got the recipe from my favorite, Paula Deen. Because of some pretty significant food aversions in our family (mine to onions, Matt's to bananas, all boys to any kind of nuts), I changed some details of the recipe, but think I still stuck to the main overall theme. It turned out great! So, below I'll post my version of the salad, and give you the link to Paula's version here. You get the best of both worlds!




Cornucopia Salad

1 head/bundle/whatever Green Leaf or Red Leaf Lettuce - or 1/2 of each!
1/2 cup diced pepper - I used yellow and orange
1/2 cup diced celery - yes, mom, I put celery in a salad!!
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup peas - still frozen
1 can Water chestnuts, sliced
3 apples, peeled & diced, and tossed in lemon juice (I was so trendy here, I used 3 varieties ;-)
3/4 cup raisins

*
1 cup grated Cheddar Cheese - I used Kraft 2%
10-12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Dressing
2 cups Mayonnaise (I used light/reduced fat)
1/4 cup Sugar (I used Splenda - somehow this makes up for the 15 slices of bacon)
2-3 T Red Wine Vinegar


In a large rectangular dish, layer salad ingredients in the order listed, stopping after the raisins. Mix dressing ingredients and let stand for 5 minutes. Spread dressing over entire top of salad, covering it completely. Sprinkle cheese, and bacon over salad. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.


Head over to Overwhelmed with Joy today to get more recipes that will put your Easter Day celebration over the top!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gross? I guess if you put it that way . . .



I inherited a naming convention from my family. There are nicknames and pet names for seemingly everything. And, no one's name is complete without a "y" or "ie" on the end.

So, Chance becomes Chancey.

Judd becomes Juddy.

Colton becomes Colty.

You get the picture. Heather didn't really fit much with that naming convention, so I became Murphy, Jonesy, Froggy (at mom's office), or any number of pet names like Puddin' Head, Sweet Pea, etc.

So, carrying on tradition, most of the time my boys are "Honey" (Matt), "Chancey", and "Colty", but many times I revert to the pet name, and usually fall back on Sweet Pea. I've been saying this for years.

The other night, after I tucked the boys into bed, I said to each - "Good night Sweet Pea - get some good sleep!"

Chance says - "Mom, do you really think that's appropriate?"

Me - "What?"

Chance - "What you just called us. It's gross."

Me - "What's gross about it?" (admittedly/embarrassingly still not getting it)

Chance - (as Colton giggles in the background) - "There is NOTHING sweet about PEE! And how would you know that, anyway?"

Me - "I meant the flower, you silly!"

Chance - "Well, that's not what it makes me think of. You should think of something else to call us."

Any ideas??

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Comfort Food

So, my friend Jane did a blog about Comfort Food yesterday - listing it as one of her 52 blessings for the year. She didn't throw out a meme or anything, but asked her readers to leave their comfort foods in the comments. Well, it got me thinking, and comfort food has played such a role in my life - brings back many memories. I thought it was worth a post of its own!

My top comfort foods (in no particular order):
  1. My mom's chili - a Sunday afternoon favorite.
  2. My mom's cookies - not picky on variety. (okay so I'll insert here - these will all be my mom's recipes, unless otherwise noted. She is the most fantastic cook. Then, I can save on the typing as we go)
  3. Macaroni salad - especially the next day.
  4. Lasagna - especially the next day.
  5. Pumpkin Pie for day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast.
  6. Ski Hill Hoagies - the famous sandwiches my mom used to make out of a whole loaf of French bread and send with us for nourishment at the ski hill. Don't know if it's the hoagie or the atmosphere, but I've never been able to duplicate that sandwich!
  7. Oatmeal Cake - 'nuff said.
  8. Scalloped Potatoes - Extra cheesy, big chunks of ham, so, so good!
  9. Banana Bread or Zucchini Bread
  10. Chicken Enchiladas
  11. Pre-mixed Peanut Butter & Honey (that's taken on a whole new level of comfort with Matt's honey!)
  12. Rice with cinnamon, sugar, & milk.
  13. Matt's smoked pork loin.
  14. Matt's creme brulee.
  15. Mississippi Sin Dip, a la Big Mama, is my newest entry. It has yet to survive the course of time, but I think it's got the gumption (or the fat grams) to make it!

And now, I am just going to stop. Not because I've run out of comfort foods, but because it is becoming infinitely clear why I participate in the Biggest Loser contest at work each year. That said, this list is by no means exhaustive, and if I have forgotten something important that I told you I really, really like - please continue to make it, and know that even if it didn't make the list, you are still providing me with unheard of levels of comfort ;-)

So, now I want to hear from you! Either in the comments or your own blog post. I'm so curious to know if Cali's foods will be similar to Jane's. And I know Darla can come up with a good list! Someone, please, match 15 entries, and make me feel better!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Go Green!


Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Here's a little quip from Colton to make you smile:
*
Colt - "Mommy, I am going to wear my Sports over shirt, with a red t-shirt underneath."
*
Mom - "Colt, I've already got clothes picked out for you, 'cause it's St. Patrick's Day! You get to wear a Mariner's sports shirt." (notice my sly insert of "sports shirt", in a feeble attempt to make him think it is close to the same thing.)
*
Colt - "That's not an over shirt! I want to wear an over shirt!"
*
  • *Insert - the shirt he is talking about is a pin-striped baseball shirt that goes over a t-shirt.*
*
Mom - "But it's not green, honey, and people will pinch you."
*
Colton - "I've got an idea, mommy. How 'bout if we just don't tell anyone about this St. Patrick's guy, and I can wear my red shirt, and no one will pinch me!"
*
Mom - "I think everyone pretty much knows, buddy."
*
Colt - "Well, who told them!?!?"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

What's for Lunch?


I must ask all of my 7 readers for your "happy thoughts" and maybe even a prayer or two for my good friend Darla. She is not having the best day today, in fact, not having the best week. All of the people of the world who have not been blessed with great intelligence (aka STUPID) seem to have descended on her in the worst way this week. It has been very frustrating.


She needs a lunch break, and I am just the good kind of friend to break my diet and help her out with that.


She wants something fattening and comforting. Again, I am just the kind of good friend to help with that.


Her parting comment, as she headed down the hall, and we are trying to decide what to eat was this:


"I really want something really good, but we can't have Chinese, because I will chew that lady's ASS if she pops off to me today!"


We are discussing a poor Chinese woman, who is a FANTASTIC cook, but admittedly a bit English deficient, just trying to make an honest living in the Land of Opportunity. She is somewhat stingy with the forks, napkins, and to-go bags, but really, nothing worthy of the ASS chewing which my frustrated friend is professing.


Yes, I think I'll spare this hard working woman the wrath of Darla.


We are headed to Kiyoji's - we'll unleash the wrath on the Japanese sushi chef instead.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In The Beginning . . .


Thanks to good friends with tractors, a husband who's handy with a chainsaw, and the tree that almost fell on Granny; we have the beginnings of a tree house!

You can see the wheels turning - plans developing - ladders climbing - and everything else that goes with the mystery and fun of a tree house.
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I know you'll hear much more about this in the days to come.
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Oh yeah - and NO GIRLS ALLOWED!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

That's Just My Cup Of Tea . . . . . or Not!

Because I am very busy, and because even when I am very busy, I still need to laugh. So, I steal another e-mail funny to post as my blog today. Enjoy!


One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me.
~
I was about 3 years old and had just recovered from a nasty fall.
~
Someone had given me a little tea set as a get-well gift and it was one of my favorite toys.
~
Daddy was in the living room, engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a little cup of 'tea', which of course, was just water.
~
After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home.
~
My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was 'just the cutest thing!'
~
My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I came down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watched him drink it all up.
~
~
~
~
~
~
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Then she said, "Did it ever occur to you that the only place that child can reach to get water, is the toilet.??"

Monday, March 10, 2008

Believe and Receive

It's a busy, busy day. Thankfully, Max did it again, so I'll defer to him! And, I'll defer to Him as well.

Believe and Receive
by Max Lucado

“. . . whoever believes in him shall not perish . . .”
Can I really trust that “whoever believes in him shall not perish”?
Jesus’s invitation seems too simple. We gravitate to other verbs. Work has a better ring to it. “Whoever works for him will be saved.” Satisfy fits nicely. “Whoever satisfies him will be saved.” But believe? Shouldn’t I do more?

The simplicity troubles many people.

We expect a more proactive assignment, to have to conjure up a remedy for our sin.Some mercy seekers have donned hair shirts, climbed cathedral steps on their knees, or traversed hot rocks on bare feet.

Others of us have written our own Bible verse: “God helps those who help themselves” (Popular Opinion 1:1). We’ll fix ourselves, thank you. We’ll make up for our mistakes with contributions, our guilt with busyness. We’ll overcome failures with hard work. We’ll find salvation the old-fashioned way: we’ll earn it.

Christ, in contrast, says to us: “Your part is to trust. Trust me to do what you can’t.”By the way, you take similar steps of trust daily, even hourly. You believe the chair will support you, so you set your weight on it. You believe water will hydrate you, so you swallow it. You trust the work of the light switch, so you flip it. You have faith the doorknob will work, so you turn it.

You regularly trust power you cannot see to do a work you cannot accomplish. Jesus invites you to do the same with him.

Just him. Not Moses or any other leader. Not even you. You can’t fix you. Look to Jesus . . .and believe.

From 3:16, The Numbers of Hope Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2007) Max Lucado

Friday, March 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Wow - you know how when you do stuff with your kids, especially really special stuff, it's always in the back of your mind that you may be setting a precedent? Creating a tradition, even? And, you have to wonder if you an keep up with what you've started.


Well, in many posts prior, I have celebrated birthdays and special days in true bloggy tradition - I blog about that person the number of things which corresponds to that day - you know, like 8 things I love about Chance, 4 extra-special things about Colton, even 26 things about my brother. It is my mom's birthday today. She is 64. Let me tell you, I'm having some trouble.


I can't keep the list to a mere 64 things ;-) But, it's worth a shot!!


64 Reasons you are the greatest mom in the world:


  1. I never question that you love me.

  2. Unconditionally.

  3. You used to walk to school with me when you had to be to work at 8:00.

  4. You let me come to your office after school.

  5. We went school shopping in Seattle or Spokane every year.

  6. Which resulted in the cutest, pleated, rust-colored skirt for my first day of kindergarten!

  7. I'm only now beginning to realize what a strain those trips must have been on an already tight budget.

  8. You taught me to appreciate nice clothes, and we both know there are some things Liz Claiborne and Tommy Hilfiger make just for us!!

  9. We always bought sea foam at that little chocolate shop that was just outside The Bon in the Spokane sky walks.

  10. We rarely made it home with any candy by the end of the day!!

  11. You taught me how to cook.

  12. You endured more hamburger gravy and creamed tuna than anyone should have to!

  13. You make the best pies in the entire universe.

  14. You could bake your way into any hall of fame.

  15. You always make something special for Matt when we come - I kid you a lot about it, but I love how you make each person feel special.

  16. The boys love coming to your house.

  17. You are in tune with what makes them tick, and I see things at your house you know each of them will like - trains and trucks for Colton, erector sets and airplane making kits for Chance.

  18. They know, whether we are camping, visiting, or out and about - they can come to you for a special treat.

  19. You like to camp with us and spend time with our family.

  20. You share all your fun camping toys.

  21. You have a beautiful smile :-)

  22. Your laugh is genuine, and it's contagious. I love to hear it.

  23. You have a sense of humor - you are always teasing, and you don't mind being teased.

  24. I'm pretty sure I could count on one hand the amount of basketball games you missed from 6th grade - college. (And, I wouldn't have driven to Blue Mountain, either!)

  25. The amount of money you have invested in sporting events - driving, admission, food, hotels - I still cannot even fathom.

  26. I haven't even skiffed the tip of the iceberg, watching the boys' events, and the burden that must have put on our family was huge - I NEVER felt that burden. I would have thought the money for those events grew on trees.

  27. You got all misty-eyed at every Star Spangled Banner. Every time.

  28. You passed that on to me - and I used to make such fun of you for it!

  29. I count it a blessing that, by high school, my friends would have to say "Heather, this is one thing you CAN'T tell your mom." Because I felt like I could talk to you about anything.

  30. Still do.

  31. You coined two of the phrases that still guide my everyday behavior:

  32. "God will getcha!" - reminding me that God always saw what I was doing, even if I thought no one else was looking.

  33. "God will get 'em!" - reminding me that revenge was not mine. Not to waste time on people or situations I could not control - let God handle it.

  34. You and dad have given us kids an example of an enduring marriage.

  35. Not a perfect marriage, and that's okay - but an enduring marriage. It is a blessing.

  36. By your words and example, you have taught me how to "roll with the punches."

  37. I know your retirement has not come even close to what you had planned, but you have allowed God to use your circumstances to strengthen your faith and shine a light to others.

  38. You have taught me that women can be strong, independent, self-sufficient people.

  39. And you have shown me that there will be days when you can't be any of those things, and that is okay.

  40. You somehow balance equality with specialty - I don't think there's a kid or grand kid that can honestly say they are loved more or less - by the same token, each one of us feels so special in your eyes. That's one of your best gifts.

  41. You stuck your neck out and ran for public office - not with grand political schemes in mind - but simply because you knew of those running, you could do the best job.

  42. From your shaky voice in that first speech, to your confident goodbye in your retirement, you have been an inspiration to all of us.

  43. Besides that, I got to skip volleyball practice to go door belling, and who wouldn't want to trade that?

  44. You love my dad.

  45. You make the neatest quilts - even when I think the colors are crazy, they come out looking beautiful!

  46. You didn't care that I would rather play with Tonka trucks in the dirt yard than 100 barbies.

  47. Probably because I was just like you!

  48. You were the best camping mom in the world - at the very least, the best mom in any group that we went with! I remember great meals, shrinky dinks, coloring, reading for hours, and candy bars.

  49. When I decided I was cool enough to drink and smoke in the 8th grade, you stopped me in my tracks. THANK YOU!

  50. In college, when I was brave enough to try the drinking part again, you made me runny eggs the next morning, and made me help stain the outside of the house the whole next day. I still can't smell stain without my stomach lurching. THANK YOU!

  51. You taught me to do my best - if I was going to do it, I'd better put forth the effort to do my best at it.

  52. You taught me about being "Mires tough."

  53. I still can't wear socks to bed without thinking about "Mireses don't wear bedsocks - toughen up!"

  54. You never give up.

  55. You are the best hostess - people feel comfortable coming to your house.

  56. You have opened you house up to so many different functions, whether your family, dad's family, or friends - it seems your door is always open.

  57. You still ride a bike.

  58. I can always call you when I'm in the middle of a recipe.

  59. For that matter, I can always call you when I'm in the middle of anything.

  60. We don't agree on everything, but it doesn't make us resentful of each other.

  61. You were the kindest person to take in Aunt LaVerne. I know there are many days you would have done it differently, but you really put yourself in the back seat to do what was best for someone else.

  62. And you became the most beautiful gardener!

  63. You will talk tadpoles and fairy cakes with your grand kids all day long, and share with them your love of gardening.

  64. You love God - and you taught Me to love Him, too.

65. PS - Darla says your the best simply because you had me, but that's only because I saved her butt today! Tomorrow, she'll probably sing a different tune ;-)


Happy Birthday, mom! I hope you have a fantastic day - you deserve it!


I love you!

Favorite Ingredients Friday - Mexican Edition

Dulce de leche Cheesecake

Crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs or crushed vanilla wafers
3 tbsp. butter, melted
Filling:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese (24 oz. total)
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup ready-made or homemade Dulce de leche sauce
For Serving: Extra Dulce de leche sauce
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Mix crust ingredients together, and press into the bottom of a lightly buttered 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
3. Reset oven temperature to 325°F (160°C).
4. With an electric mixer beat cream cheese, sugar and flour together until well mixed and smooth. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth. Add milk and mix until well blended.
5. Measure 1/2 cup of the cheesecake batter and pour into a small bowl. Add Dulce de Leche sauce and stir until well combined.
6. Pour plain batter over crust. Top with Dulce de leche batter by placing rounded spoonfuls over the cheesecake batter and gently swirl into plain batter with the tip of knife or spatula.
7. Bake in preheated 325°F (160°C) oven for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cheesecake (this helps prevent cracking). Let cool 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight before serving.
If desired, serve each slice drizzled with a little bit of dulce de leche sauce, or pass around a bowl of dulce de leche sauce for guest's to help themselves.
Makes 16 servings.
Head over to Overwhelmed with Joy for more Mexican recipes today!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

One dollar, two quarters, and two dimes



The boys are having a skate-a-thon this weekend to earn money for their hockey association. Here is Colton's call to Aunt Alice last night - *some of Alice's comments are what I assume she is saying or asking, as I could only hear one side of the conversation . . .

Colton - Okay, we're having a skate-a-thon for my hockey team. Do you want to challenge me or whatever?

Mom (in background) - Sponsor, Colton - not challenge.

Colton - Oh yeah, I mean sponsor me, or whatever she said.

Alice - What is the skate-a-thon for? *

Colton - I TOLD YOU!

Dad (in background) - Be respectful, Colton! You're asking a favor!

Colton - It's to buy hockey equipment. We have to see how many laps we can skate.

Alice - How many laps do you think you'll skate?

Colton - 7 or 8

Alice - ?

Colton - You could give me one dollar, two quarters, and two dimes. If you even know what dimes are - they are the smallest ones.

Alice - How about $10.

Colton - Okay. You can do it for every lap, or just the total. I'm going for the total.

Thanks, Aunt Alice! As you can see, we're going for the total. The total what, I'm not sure yet, but we are determined ;-)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Motivation

Things are picking up at work. There is lots and lots to do, but after a winter of slow, easy, and free, I'm having a hard time getting motivated. So, I went in search of external motivation and found this:



Guess I'd better look somewhere else. Or maybe the robot could find it for me. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I think I'll change mine to Plenty

Colton would like to change his name.

He is adamant - ready to head to the court house this morning.

Angry that I wouldn't take him.

He'd like to change it to Wevin - or Wevan - or Weven.

Many different spellings were discussed. He really wanted it to have an "F" in it, but the actual pronunciation was more important, so we stuck with the "V".

If I won't take him to the court house, he will just change what people call him. Because it's his name, not mine, and if he wants to change it, I can't stop him.

Why the sudden attachment to Wevin?

He wants the name change complete by the time he is 7.

And his name will rhyme.

Because he is competitive about everything like his mama.

And his friend Thor . . . . .








. . . .is four.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Quote of the Day


My favorite part of the weekend.


Donna - "Did she just say what I thought she said? Because what I heard in my head was REALLY funny, and if that's what she said, then it was really funny out loud, too!"


I love you, Donna!


Thanks for a fun weekend, girls.