Thursday, June 26, 2008

per Tara's request...

I posted two new pictures to my Spark People page, and when Tara saw them she requested I post them here as well. For some reason, she seemed to think that everyone would want to see them. ;) I honestly don't remember the story behind either of these photos; they are just in my recent documents folder because I was using them for gifts. But here they are nevertheless. Send Tara a thank-you! ;)

(I actually think the second pic shows her mischievous personality pretty well). :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

the secret to the perfect corn cake...

Normally I don't post recipes and such here; I live that in Tara's far more competent hands. Check out the Butterworth Family Times link, and from there click on Tara's Kitchen if you want some cooking ideas. But this particular cooking story amused me to no end, so I though I'd share. :) It's too funny not to!

I love IHOP's corn cakes. They're like cornbread crossed with a pancake, and yum, are they good! I have gotten several recipes from the Top Secret Recipes website (, including one for IHOP's pumpkin pancakes. I make those fairly often, and they're always good. So I was pretty excited when Top Secret Recipes posted a step-by-step for IHOP's corn cakes as well. I eagerly printed the recipe and whipped up a batch. win some; you lose some. The corn cakes weren't terrible by any stretch of the imagination; they just weren't quite what I was expecting. The ingredients list was long, and while the recipe was by no means complex it was a bit tedious. I shelved it, and I haven't made the corn cakes since.

Until yesterday.

Last month, we got our first box of food from Angel Food Ministries (wonderful program--check it out at Included in the order was a little box of Jiffy cornbread mix. And lo and behold, on the side of that little box was a recipe for corn cakes. Very simple--just the box of mix, an egg, 3/4 cup of milk, and 2 tbsp. melted shortening (I used olive oil instead). Sarah wanted pancakes for breakfast yesterday, so I decided to try that little corn cake recipe.

WOW! They were delicious. Sarah devoured her breakfast and asked for more at lunch. They were everything I had hoped for in the other recipe...and much, much easier.

So...the secret to perfect corn cakes? A little box of Jiffy Mix! Who would have figured? ;)

A photo of my lovely corn cakes... :)

It occurs to me: now that I've posted about pancakes, this blog has finally lived up to its name! ;)

8 years down, 91 to go...

When Nelson and I got married, I told him we could be very modern and have a "trial period." If, after 99 years, we decided that this whole man and wife thing just wasn't for us, we could bail with no questions asked. :) Yesterday, we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. So, as the title states, 8 years down, 91 to go! ;) (Yes, TJ, I do remember that the joke originated with you! Gotta give credit where credit is due!). ;)

My wedding photos are not digitized, so I blog-lifted this from Tara's website. Thanks, Tara! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

yesterday's swim party

In case you were wondering, the weather did cooperate much better yesterday than it did on Saturday and Sarah was able to enjoy her swim party. We met at a local park for a picnic lunch, sang Happy Birthday and watched while Sarah's friend opened her presents, and enjoy Strawberry Shortcake-themed birthday cake. The party guests even received treat bags filled with Strawberry Shortcake-themed goodies. Here is Sarah modeling some of her new items:

After the cake and presents, we headed to the swimming pool located in the same park. The kids had a terrific time splashing about. Sarah even did some very rudimentary swimming between me and her friend's mother. :) My back got sunburned, but otherwise a good time was had by all. Much more pleasant than Saturday's fiasco, I assure you! :)

very apt quote

My daily calendar had this quote on today's page. I thought it very true and very telling, so I thought I would share. :)

"We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons." --Alfred E. Neuman

Sad, isn't it? I spend a great deal of time reading food labels, and it's depressing sometimes the things we're willing to eat. I would rather eat potato chips with an ingredients list of potatoes, oil, and salt than some of the "healthy", low-fat foods with a long list of ingredients I can't pronounce. I read of a woman who only buys food with NO ingredients list--i.e. fresh produce, etc. I am not quite to that point, but I do look for ingredients that actually sound like food! For example, my favorite guacamole (and I do buy it pre-made) is simply avocado, tomato, garlic, jalapeno, and lime juice. Nothing in it that you wouldn't put if you were making it yourself. I picked up a different brand one time, with an ingredients list that went on for a paragraph (and avocado didn't show up until the 7th ingredient!). I put it back on the shelf.

I don't want this to turn into a rant, so I'll stop here. I mainly just wanted to share the quote, and I kind of digressed a bit. :-p But I do feel strongly about eating "real" food. I think the higher fat diets of our ancestors were healthier in the long run, because at least they were eating actual food!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

day at Doe River Gorge

Yesterday our church had an event (sponsored by and a yearly tradition for our parent church) at a Christian camp in Elizabethton, TN called Doe River Gorge. Check out to learn more about the camps. It is an outdoor-adventure oriented camp, with a zip line, a ropes course, kayaking, mountain biking, etc. being offered activities. For the annual church event, there is a baptism service, followed by a picnic lunch and swimming in the lake and such. Sarah (who loves splashing around in the water) was very excited about the day. Nelson was looking forward to a game of paintball on the field available there. And I was planning to enjoy the beautiful scenery (check this out! It's truly a testament to the glory of God's creation!, a bit of swimming, and a nice train ride (

But our plans went rather awry...or perhaps I should say awash. After days and days of relentlessly hot, humid, and sunny weather, naturally Murphy's Law chose yesterday to strike. rained. Poured. Torrentially flooded. :-p It started out not being too bad. It rained during lunch, but we stayed under a tent to eat, and the rain let up a bit. Sarah and I headed to the lake, and Nelson set off for the paintball field. For about 20 minutes, Sarah had a terrific time in the water. It started to sprinkle a bit though, and then she got cold. So out of the lake we went, and I put her clothes back on her. We decided to ride the train while waiting for Nelson's paintball game to end. But alas, while we were on the train, the rain began in earnest. Sarah was now truly miserable. We sat under a canopy, with Sarah on my lap huddled in a towel. "Mommy, I'm cold," she whimpered. "I want my daddy. I want to go home!"

Unfortunately, I had no way to get in touch with Nelson. And the paintball field was a good hike away--not something I really wanted to take on when Sarah was already wet and miserable. So we sat and we waited. Sarah did eventually warm up a bit, making her more cheerful. But she still begged for her daddy to come and take us home. Since the rain had let up a bit, I set off to find a camp worker who could tell me where the paintball field was...and when the game might be over. I was assured that it would not be more than a few minutes.

"A few minutes" is a subjective phrase in the best of circumstances. With chilly rain coming down in sheets and a 3-year-old girl desperately wanting her daddy, a few minutes feels like days. And unfortunately, due to rain delays, the paintball game did not end exactly when projected. You can imagine how much Sarah liked that!

Nelson did come back as quickly as he could after the game was over. By now the rain had created puddles of mud swirling on the ground, and all three of us were soaked through. Sarah and I huddled under an awning while Nelson sprinted to the car to drive it up to us. We blasted the heat (even though it is June!) and stopped for a hot cup of Starbucks on the way home. After a few minutes of dry clothes, everyone felt better.

And of course today the weather has returned to its previous hot, humid, and sunny state. :-p Go figure.

Sarah has a play date at the swimming pool Tuesday. We are all hoping the weather chooses to cooperate that day! :-p

Friday, June 13, 2008

chalk drawings

Sarah did some drawings on a chalkboard that we have here while I was exercising today. She wanted me to share them with you. :)


Last night, we attended a dinner at our church. It was designed to honor everyone who volunteered in some capacity, and since Nelson is such a dedicated worker in the sound booth, we definitely qualified! :) They catered in barbecue for us to enjoy, and they even provided a karaoke machine for our entertainment! The church staff sang first, and later on the elders also did a number. All the dinner guests were invited to participate as well. Nelson joined a group from our table in YMCA (I don't think he was particularly happy about this turn of events). As others started to get brave enough to try it, Sarah headed for the stage so she could dance and play the tambourine to the music! She happily did this through several songs...then she got a hold of the microphone. She and another little girl spent several minutes just talking and giggling into the mike. But later on, Sarah actually joined our pastor's daughter singing "The Farmer in the Dell." Sorry, we don't have any video (you'll have to use your imagination for that), but we do at least have a picture. So here is Sarah's first experience at karaoke--and she was sober! ;)

sometimes, trying a new exercise ISN'T such a good idea!

I actually typed this up and posted it on my weight loss blog over at Spark People. ( if you happen to be interested in a free online weight loss program). But it's a funny story, so I thought I might as well post it here too! And since it's already written, I can just copy and paste! :)

I have been faithfully doing my workouts these last few weeks, and I am proud of the consistency I am building. This week, I have been visiting my mother, keeping her company while my dad is gone on business. I didn't want to miss any workout, but neither did I want to travel with exercise equipment. No problem; my dad has a treadmill and a set of dumbbells, and he assured me I was welcome to use both while I was here. I am not a treadmill user normally, but I figured a new and different exercise couldn't hurt, right?

Famous last words...

Monday's treadmill stint went beautifully. I did some intervals and watched a favorite TV show on DVD. Tuesday I did a few exercises with the dumbbells in addition to squats and such. Today I headed to the treadmill again, turned on the DVD player, and went to work. For about 8 minutes, all was well. I was chuckling over a humorous line on the TV. My daughter was playing with some toys behind me. I was starting to sweat. Sounds perfect, right?

I am honestly not sure what happened next. Maybe my feet simply got out of sync with the conveyor belt. Who knows? All I know is I went DOWN. Smack down on that moving conveyor belt. Fortunately, the safety stop kicked in and stopped the machine's movement, but I was already kicked off on the floor by that point. Now I am sporting bruises, scrapes, and what can only be described as "treadmill burn." And all I have to say is "Owwwwww..."

But nothing's broken or even seriously injured, so that's good, and would you believe that I DID get back on that silly thing and finish my workout. My legs look a bit like someone has beaten me, so wearing shorts might be distressing for the general populace over the next few days. :-p Too bad, though, because it is HOT here!

Say, is this what they mean by "no pain, no gain"? ;)

Sarah's new 'do

For much of this week, Sarah and I were in Greeneville, staying with my mother while my dad was away on a business trip. When my mother washed her hair on Wednesday, she rolled it into curlers while it dried. I've never used rollers before, so Sarah was intrigued. She asked for her hair to be put in the curlers as well. Here are the results.

No, we don't have an "after" picture. It didn't really make Sarah's hair curl--it just made it a bit fluffier in the back. But she loved having the rollers in her hair! :)

visit to the museum

Last Friday, my parents took Sarah to the Hands-On Museum in Johnson City. As the name would suggest, this isn't a museum where you simply walk through viewing exhibits. Rather, it is chock-full of things to DO. There is a construction zone, a grocery store, a TV studio, an indoor playground, a theater stage, a music room, a bank, and an animal exhibit, just to name a few items. To get a better idea of all the museum has to offer, click here: Doesn't it look like fun?

Of course, Sarah had a great time. She studied the fish, "bought" items in the grocery store, wondered through Noah's Ark, and played on the playground. But her favorite part was the dress-up stage!! (Yes, they did have a few princess outfits, but we didn't get pictures of those).

All in all, a very fun day! :)

wow, am I behind!

It's been awhile since I've updated this thing, hasn't it? OOPS! :) But don't worry, I have several posts' worth saved up, so you will be brought up to date on all of Sarah's crazy shenanigans! :) Stay tuned to hear about a museum visit, a new hair do, and KARAOKE! :) And maybe I'll even share my own little amusing anecdote of a recent workout mishap! I will post everything as quickly as I can, and hopefully having so many new items to add will make up for being gone so long! Does it work that way? I sure hope so! ;)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

potty on the brain

Sarah is continuing to wear underwear, continuing to use the potty, continuing to do a great job. :) I think we might be a little too potty-obsessed, however. Yesterday, Sarah and I were looking at pictures on Nick and Tara's website (the Butterworth Family Times link to your right). The first picture had Tara's parents, and Nick. Sarah studied it thoughtfully, identifying "Aunt Tara's mommy and daddy, and Uncle Nick." She paused for a moment, then wondered aloud, "Where's Aunt Tara? Is she in the bathroom or something?" (Tara, I hope you don't mind my sharing this! I thought it was funny, though!). :)

Moving on to a different subject, yesterday Sarah got a get well card in the mail from my grandmother (Sarah calls her Mee-maw). Always excited to receive mail, Sarah opened the card and studied the picture on the front carefully. I told her it was a get well card. Sarah agreed that the cat on the front of the card indeed didn't look too well, and she started sticking smiley face stickers on the card, "so he would feel better." I had to explain that the card was wishing her to get well! (Which she is, by the way. As sick as she was Sunday, you'd never even know it now. Kids bounce back so quickly!). But it was nice that she wanted to comfort the poor cat! :)

P.S. Spell check not only doesn't know how to spell Greeneville, but it's also griping about Butterworth! :-p

Monday, June 2, 2008

recovering from illness and three-year-old logic

Many readers already know that Sarah had a stomach bug of some sort yesterday. She got sick at church and continued to vomit the rest of the day and into the evening. We couldn't even get liquids to stay down.

We kept a bucket next to her all day, and when she went to bed last night we placed the bucket on the floor next to her. We also placed a towel on the bed (in case she couldn't reach the bucket). About 2 a.m., she woke up and wanted some water. Thankfully, this time it stayed down. She stayed snuggled in our bed for awhile, then returned to her own room. After I got her tucked back into her bed, I placed the towel next to her again. Sarah panicked. "No, I don't need that anymore!" she shrieked frantically. I guess in her mind, if the towel wasn't there it somehow would guarantee that she wouldn't have to use it!

Anyway, today she is doing better. She has toast and part of an egg, and she has drunk water and ginger ale and a bit of chamomile tea. All are staying down just fine, so the worst seems to be over. I guess taking the towel away really was the key to her getting better! ;)