Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Bag Lady, Side B

Are you old enough to remember records and tapes?? If not, quit reading now - you make me sick :)

If so, do you remember how the "B" side didn't usually have any radio hits? If you liked the artist, though, it was often a more real selection of their music. Some of my favorite songs were on Side 2 - not radio hits, but real favorites.

Well, we are breaking the mold here at the Bag Lady's Daughter blog. The "B" side is just one more hit after another. Some bold, fresh prints - fabulous color and fabric combinations - and just plain fun. Check it out . . .

If you missed Side A, you can see them here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Take me out to the ball game . . .

This is why I've been waiting for baseball. The entertainment is non-stop!
It starts with the most patient coach . . .

Then goes from there. It was good for awhile.

Then, kinda so, so.

Then, downright BAD. Except not really.

I think he's trying to psyche the batter out.

Isn't that a ballet position?

A little Tae Kwon Do.

It's tough to stay on your feet. REALLY tough.

Now we're getting there . . .

Kind of.


A little outfield conversation.

Where'd it go?

Oh yeah, we're the bomb!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sometimes all a person needs is a little perspective

Book Review

The Noticer
Andy Andrews

I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers as a book review blogger. It's the best book I've received from them to date. It was a fast read, an engaging story, and a strong moral strand woven through the entire book.

Parts of the book, on first glance, seemed take-offs from other popular Self-Improvement type books (Seven Habits, Five Love Languages, etc), but all of them through the lens of perspective.

The hero of the story, Jones, has a gift - for noticing what others miss. An outside perspective that many, entrenched in their battles and struggles, fail to be able to see anymore. Jones meets many people in need of help in his small community, and is somehow able to touch even the hardest of hearts. His first "patient", is a homeless young man, and contains the most touching quote of the whole story:

"My contention is that you are right where you are supposed to be. This
may look like barren sand to you, but nothing could be further from the
truth. I say to you that as you lay your head down tonight, you are
sleeping on fertile ground. Think, learn, pray, plan, dream. For
soon . . .you will become."

An impactful quote to a homeless boy living under a pier is actually a lesson we can all learn from. And so it goes throughout the book. A failing marriage finds "perspective" in learning love languages. A failing business finds perspective in honest dealings. An aging grandmother finds perspective in purposes yet to fulfill.

This book is filled with hope. All of the characters and situations will ring true to you, but I guarantee at least one will completely resonate. If you take the challenge and change your "perspective" that is.

"I am a noticer. I notice things that other people overlook.
And you know, most of them are in plain sight."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wow, that paper's really cool . . . . . . .literally!

So, the scrapbook store in town is closing. Absolutely done on Saturday. :(

Of course, Darla and I had to shop the 50% off sale today. The deals were so good, we'd be losing money if we didn't go.

Unfortunately for her, Darla discussed her budget with me before we left. She's been shopping air conditioners, and had found one on sale at Shopko. Just as unfortunate, her kids also like to eat about 4 meals a day, and this month the two needs were not acting very harmoniously.

Do you ever have months like that? I know I do!

So, Darla made a good decision, and determined to wait on the air conditioner in lieu of food for the next couple weeks. She's a good mom - I'd have fed them Top Ramen.

Then came the SALE e-mail from the scrapbook store.

We just had to go.

And boy, did we find some good deals. We both SAVED $50!!!! Which means we also spent $50, but we're more "glass half full" kind of gals, and we're bound and determined to accentuate the positive.

So, on the way back to the office, we decide the best course of action regarding the food budget, the air conditioner, and the scrapbook supplies. Because memories are important. Sometimes more important than eating or sweating. It's essential the entire family realize that.

Come June or July, when the hot summer sun is beating down on our desert basin, Darla and her boys will gather in the scraproom, each eating their portion of the one top ramen packet rationed for the day, and gaze admiringly on the cool shades of blue and green paper. All will agree the sacrifice was worth it.

She's saving the reds and oranges for the winter, when the heat's off and they're trying to keep warm.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hold on - there will be a day

Jeremy Camp : There Will Be A Day

Songwriters: Camp, Jeremy Thomas

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have

But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab

The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth

That we will enter in this rest with wonders a new

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings

That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears,

no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place,

will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

I know the journey seems so long

You feel you’re walking on your own

But there has never been a step

Where you’ve walked out all alone

There will be a day with no more tears,

no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place,

will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always

Troubled soul don’t lose your heart

Cause joy and peace he brings

And the beauty that’s in store

Outweighs the hurt of life’s sting

I cant wait until that day

where the very one I’ve lived for always

will wipe away the sorrow that I’ve faced

To touch the scars that rescued me

from a life of shame and misery

this is why, this is why I sing

There will be a day with no more tears,
no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face

Thinking about my friend Erinne today, and the burdens that she bears. Unbearable, were it not for Jesus. Hang on, my friend. We are praying. There will be a day . . .

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How do you know if you blog too much?

I'm going to let you listen in on my lunch room conversation today:

My Very Good Friend - I have the funniest thing to tell you!

Me - Really? What?

My Very Good Friend - You have to promise you won't blog it, though . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day - I'm greener than I thought

Maybe like pale, pukey, limey color of green - not a deep, rich, vibrant, march on the capitol steps kind of green - but hey, every little bit helps, right?

I saw this post over at Simple Mom, and thought I'd test myself. Now I'm challenging you to test yourself as well. How green are you??? Bold the ones you are currently practice, and italicize the ones you either plan to do or wish you did.

40 Easy Ways to Go Greener at Home - Besides Recycling
1. Plant an herb garden. It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates.
Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs. (all but the dimmers)
3. Create a homemade compost bin.
4. Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).
5. Stop using disposable bags - order some reusable bags, or make your own. Thanks Mom!
6. Buy a reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles

7. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.
8. Turn off lights when you leave the room.
9. Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can - open your curtains and enjoy natural light. Not on purpose, though - I usually forget until I can't see :)
10. Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.
11. Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.
12. Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.
13. Turn off your computer completely at night.
14. Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.
15. Pay as many bills as possible online.
16. Put a stop to unsolicited mail - sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.
17. Reuse scrap paper. Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.
18. Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.
19. Subscribe to good eco blogs. My favorites are The Daily Green, No Impact Man, and TreeHugger. You can find many more at Best Green Blogs.
20. Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle. Nickel Saver, Ebay, etc.
21. Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.
22. Fix leaky faucets.
23. Make your own household cleaners. I’ve got quite a few recipes in my e-book.
24. Line dry your laundry.
25. Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.
26. Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world. Compassion is great for this!
28. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
29. Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
30. Repurpose something - turn one of your well-worn t-shirts into basic play pants for your baby. Or save egg cartons for paint wells, seed starters, treasure boxes, or a myriad of other crafts.
31. Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.
32. Switch to cloth diapers - or at least do a combination with disposables. Just not sure I EVER could have done this!!
33. Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label. Is Starbucks doing this for me?
34. Use a Diva Cup for your monthly cycles.
35. Make rags out of old towels and t-shirts, and forego buying paper towels.
36. Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.
37. Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and open your eyes to the way conventional food is processed.
38. Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage.
39. Five-minute showers - make it a goal for yourself. Ummmm. No way.
40. Donate to - and shop at - thrift stores such as Goodwill. You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, and you’ll be supporting your local economy.

As they pointed out in the Simple Mom article - 9 times out of 10, being a good steward of resources if often the more frugal option - which definitely speaks to me! Give it a shot . . .

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What does your mom do?

My mom's retired, so she gets to do whatever she wants. She worked hard to earn that privilege, so I'll work hard not to be too jealous :)

For awhile, she was a stained glass artist. Makes fantastic things for the garden.

The last couple years, she's been a quilter. We have all benefited from this fabulous change of direction. Everyone in our house has their own "blankie", and it's a good thing - we live in a 100 year old house, and for $$ sake, keep the heat between 62 and 68. YIKES!

This year, she decided to become a bag lady.

I'm not one to criticize anyone for their employment choices, as long as they are trying, so I'll not criticize my mom.

Especially when she makes gorgeous creations like these.

You may have seen Darla's post about her bag. She loves it.

It is the perfect Mother's Day gift, teacher gift, friend birthday gift, etc.

Her talent with putting fabrics and colors together makes my scrapbookers heart ache with pride. She is amazing. With most of the bags I see, I want to find paper exactly like what she's put together and make a page immediately!

The bags always have fun little pockets on the inside - not made of plain, cheap, run-of-the-mill fabric. It's still the good stuff. It makes you WANT to have to dig for your keys.

She's taken to sprucing up my reusable shopping bags, too. I have some embellished with Mary Engelbreit, some with the exercise pig that hides on the inside of Darla's bag, and some really cute friends fabric. The ladies at Safeway absolutely love them. Wal-Mart's not so impressed, but I think they're probably overworked and underpaid and too tired to notice the brilliance.

This one's reversible - perfect for anyone heading to the beach or the pool.

This one is a lunch bag. So cute.

So, here's the deal. If you are still struggling with Mother's Day, and upcoming birthday, or an end of the year teacher gift - you can buy one of these bags! She has coined them "Potato Bags", and they sell for $38. Each one is one of a kind - I guarantee no one else will have a bag like yours.

I'm sure she will do requests, too. Just tell her (via me) the colors you like, as well as what you don't (sometimes she sneaks them in on the inside to get a chuckle out of you both), and let her work her magic. These are just a sampling of what I have at my house--she has lots more, so she may already have one made that would strike your fancy if these didn't.

Let me know if you're interested. Even if you don't need one, go ahead and tell her how cool they are in the comments.

The Bag Lady's Daughter

Friday, April 17, 2009

So, tell me about your counters . . .

Based on my good friend Darla's account, I'm going to tell you "the rest of the story".

It started a couple weeks ago, with Matt coming in the house and saying - hey, do you know your tabs are expired? Are they really, or did you just forget to put the stickers on?

Well, the stickers are nowhere to be found, so I'm not really sure one way or the other.

I make a mental note to get on the DOL website and check.

If you saw my spring calendar, you would know why mental notes no longer stick.

Episode quickly forgotten.

Until yesterday.

Darla and I went to lunch with our boss, then stopped in at the scrapbook store in town - which we thought was closing but now isn't closing - so it was a really good little break in our day.

Until we hit 5 corners.

I see a police car behind me. He is actually studying my car. Then I see him grab his radio.

I tell Darla - we're about to get pulled over.

For what????

I think my tabs may be expired (note my continued optimism).

Sure enough, lights come on, and we pull over right across from Safeway.

He asks for my license, registration, and insurance. Thanks to my handy new wallet (thanks Darla), my license was easy to locate. My insurance card was in my little visor compartment that's supposed to hold all the important car info. Alas, no registration.

I ask Darla to look in the glove compartment on the passenger side.

If she can stop laughing long enough to open the latch.

She digs a bit and pulls one out. It says 2007 on the top. "Oh no," I say, "that's an old one. Keep digging."

At this point, the kind officer chimes in - "No, ma'am. I think that's probably the one. That's the reason I pulled you over. Your tabs are expired since September of 2008."

Well, I knew it was bad, but believe me, I didn't know it was THAT bad!

He leaves with all his loot, back to his radio to run many checks on my car, my license, my family, my friends, my dog, and of course, Darla - at least, that's how long it felt like it took while we sat there, most conspicuously, on the side of the road.

I may or may not have uttered a couple of swear words from the moment he pulled me over until now. I'm not completely sure, and Darla's account, showing much grace and mercy, leaves them out. Thank you, my friend.

Anyway, the very thorough officer comes back to the car with some great news. Well, it's great in the grand scheme of this traffic stop, anyway.

"Ma'am, your tabs are actually current. You have purchased them, you just forgot to put the new sticker on."

Insert here, me stammering some unintelligent sort of apology.

"I would suggest you check your counter at home, or maybe any baskets you may have where you might store things. I find usually people just forget to put them in the car. If you don't find it, you'll need to go to the DOL and pay for a replacement set. But, really, my advice is to check your counters before you go and spend the money."

Thank you, sir. Yes, yes, have a good day. Yes, certainly I'll have this taken care of right away. Thank you, sir.

I'm now on autopilot. I'm in a stupor of disbelief.

He turns off his lights, and I drive away.



Darla's still laughing.

Be quiet, Matt.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Trusted by NASA, the US State Department, and the Wal-Mart Deli

We were heading to a BBQ on Saturday, and had to stop at Wal-Mart to grab some cookies to bring along with our other meager offerings. We were asked to bring a side dish, and I went with a purchased vegetable tray and purchased cookies - I am a busy chef extraordinaire.

The boys decide they want some deli food.

Knowing Chance doesn't like hamburgers, hot dogs, or my vegetable tray, I concede, if only so that he has something in his tummy besides the cookies we're buying.

We get in line at the deli.

The girl in front of us and the deli worker are both Hispanic. She begins to place her order in Spanish.

Colton is concerned.

"Mom, do you know Spanish for ordering deli food?"

"No, buddy, I don't. I'll just order in English when we get to the front of the line."

"That girl knows both Spanish and English?"

"Yes, I'm sure she does."

"Wow. Where did she buy the Rosetta Stone?"

Friday, April 3, 2009

Because the girl scouts, and their cookies, have disappeared for the year

Am I the only one that loves these??

No. No I am not.

Know how I know?

Because when I tried to hide our ONE box from Matt, he found it, and replaced all the yummy Samoas with Wal-Mart brand vanilla wafers. Then he did some sort of "rationing" program, in which I only received 3 cookies.

So, I searched the Internet for a solution.

And found several.

I took the best (read easiest) from each one, and made my own Girl Scout cookies.

So there!

Remember, I said easiest, so we start with a few convenience items:

Here we go.

Get out your muffin tins. You'll need 30 spots total. If you are like me, you get out two sixes and two twelves. You then proceed to fill both sixes, then start in on the twelves. The last twelve (by my bad math skillz) will only be 1/2 full. You won't care until every pan is contaminated with sticky, gooey, caramel mess. Then, you will be wishing you had used your bad math skillz and consolidated, so you didn't have to wash 4 pans. Take home lesson - don't be like me - use 2 twelves and 1 six.

Girl Scout Samoas - my version

1 bag Keebler Simply Shortbread Cookies

1 bag Kraft Caramel Bits
3 cups Coconut
4 T Milk

1/2 (ish) bag Chocolate Chips

Place 1 cookie in the bottom of each tin.

Melt caramel bits and milk. When smooth (about 2 - 1 minute rounds in microwave), add in 3 cups coconut.

Spread coconut mixture over each cookie. Muffin tin will help you keep the circle shape.

While coconut mixture sets, melt chocolate chips. When smooth (about 3 - 45 second rounds in microwave, stirring well after each), dip the bottom of each cookie in chocolate and set on wax or parchment paper.

Once all cookies are dipped (bottom only), put rest of melted chocolate in a baggie, snip the end off, and drizzle over cookies.

Yum, yum, yum!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Dear Children - April Fools! - Love, God

This is what my house looked like yesterday.

On April 1st.

Not sure where you're at on the whole "Global Warming" thing, but if the great Al Gore wanted to come do some studies in my backyard, the last couple of Aprils may not scientifically support his next prize winning movie.

So, I'm guessing he won't come.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fool me once . . .

Oh, what a morning.

I have never been the fooler before. At least, not to any believable extent. Always the foolee.

Until today. With some help from Matt.

With a well-laid plan, we put the boys to bed last night, and immediately went to work.

Every clock in the house set 2 hours ahead. Microwave, Stove, Boys' bedroom, etc.

Had a bit of a hiccup with the Atomic Clock. It sets itself. Had a stroke of genius and put it on Central Time. Perfect!

Woke up annoyingly early, and Matt and I got all ready to go.

It's not very light out. We wait about 10 minutes after our pre-planned time, then decide to go with the overcast/hazy day excuse.

Then, at 8:10 (or so they thought), I rush into the boys' room and tell them my alarm didn't go off, they are late for school, no delay, we must get downstairs, dress faster than ever before, and get in the car.

First groggy words out of Colton's mouth - Ohhhhhh nooooooo, I'm going to be super hungry! I don't like being hungry! How will we get breakfast??!

Chance jumped into high gear, and began, in true Chance fashion, to worry. It's chapel day. Chapel starts at 8:30. We'll never make it in time. The WHOLE school will be in the chapel room. It will be too embarrassing to walk in there late. What will he do? Do we realize it's chapel day? And that chapel starts at 8:30? What will we do?

With as much stress as both boys were under, the hazy day excuse was unnecessary.

Matt goes down to start the cars, and adjust the car clock.

Chance continues to stress.

Colton's still hungry.

We all headed out, and unbeknown to the boys, to the same place.

Chance's stress level hit the all-time high when Matt missed the turn to his school, and headed to the restaurant.

We got out of the car at the restaurant and shouted - APRIL FOOLS!!!!

Neither quite knew how to react. Chance says it was a really dirty trick, and he'll be getting us back before the day is out

By the end of breakfast, Colton says he knew it all along. He could tell. Whatever.

So, did y'all fool anybody today?
Are you gonna?