Friday, February 27, 2009

Looking for deals??

OK, this blog is so much fun, if you're into saving money. I just found it today! I just wanted you to know about it, too. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Friendship

Have you ever noticed times in your life where you could see God's handprint over the circumstances at that moment?

It’s amazing how He will bring people into our lives at just the right time…and it’s just what we need to draw us closer to Him. It’s powerful.

I have been blessed to meet many wonderful Moms in my neighborhood. It’s somewhat of an intimidating process…even for a “people person” like me. Infiltrating an already-bonded group of women is not easy. And can actually give you flashbacks of junior high school…and all the insecurities that encompasses.

But in every group such as this, there is usually one person who is gifted with fellowship. She’s the out-reach person. She’s phenomenal at bringing people together…she’s inviting….she’s authentic. I’m so thankful that God allowed me to meet her in this group.

I am blessed beyond measure with rich relationships. But the addition of these ladies in my neighborhood has been wonderful. These women love the Lord. They have incredible hearts for their husbands and children. I am thankful God has me right here, right now. He has already used them to minister to my heart on so many levels.

If your group of friends doesn’t happen to have one of these people in it, why not try to BE that person? You may truly be a blessing!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whole Wheat Tortillas...and laundry soap

What do these two have in common, you ask? Absolutely nothing. Except for the fact that I made both from scratch today.

If you're as interested in frugality as I am, you may like to know how to make these.
If you're interested in products with nothing strange added to the ingredients listing, you may also be interested in how to make these.
If you couldn't care less about either of those things, you may want to close this blog for today.

The tortillas are really good! As good as any whole wheat tortillas you can buy in a store...and so easy.

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 T olive oil (Extra virgin would probably be best...but I always use up what I have on hand)
1/2 cup warm tap water
(I double all of this...I like BIG tortillas)

Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add olive oil and stir until well combined. Put in warm tap water one tablespoon at a time, until dough can be gathered into a ball. (Add more water, if needed, one tablespoon at a time.) Knead on floured surface 15 - 20 times. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.

Divide dough into 10 -12 equal portions and shape into balls.



On floured surface, roll out each ball from the center into a circle.
Notice my great-grandmother's glass rolling pin. I absolutely love it!

Cook on an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat on each side about 30 seconds, or until puffy. You can cook them longer, until they are crispy, if you'd like.

Ta da!!! A plate of whole wheat tortillas!

You can use for anything you would use tortillas for. They roll up nicely, for fajitas or tacos. Today I stuffed them with beef fajita meat and whatever else we had on hand. Tomorrow I will use them for quesadillas.


Laundry Soap
Ingredients:
6 cups water
1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
1/2 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup Dawn
1/2 cup Febreeze

Mix Fels Naptha soap in a saucepan, with 6 cups water, and heat on low until dissolved.
Does anybody know what that pink line is in my picture??

Stir in Washing Soda and Borax. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Add 4 cups hot water to a 2-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and mix well.
Again, what is the pink in the picture?? I promise the detergent isn't nuclear.
Fill bucket with hot water. Add Dawn (to cut grease) and Febreeze (for odor-prevention), and mix well.
Set aside until mixture thickens.
Then I pour mine in these to store above my washer.

The recipe calls to use 1/2 cup of mixture per load.
I use one cup. But even still, it lasts a long time.
And the total cost for all those ingredients was less than $10.
Let me know if you try either of these and what you think!

Happy Birthday, Dear Friend!


Four things I love most about you:

(1) Your undeniable authenticity
(2) Your sweet, hospitable spirit
(3) Your love for the Lord
(4) Your ability to speak the truth, but always in love

May your next year be blessed.
Happy Birthday, Pam!

FUN GIVEAWAY!

I have not gone away....I've just been a little busy. I DO have some things to blog about later today...and this week.

But for now, you should head over to this cool website and check out this great giveaway....a pink tool belt!!!!! Every girl needs one!!!!

The Remodeling Guy has a fun website, with great information. You ought to go check it out!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday Night Fraps!

Last night was my first FRIDAY night to work at Starbuck’s. AND it was my first night to have a “bar” all to myself. I was in charge of cold beverages. Frappuccinos, iced coffees and shaken iced teas. If that was your desire last night at Starbucks, then I was your man…uh…woman.

I stumbled through making my first beverage of the night, only to have it handed right back to me to be re-made. What could possibly be wrong?? Except for my long hair hanging out of the drink, it was most likely a perfect Frappuccino!

Fortunately, I worked with two lovely girls who had to babysit me all night on how drinks were made. They were willing, and always had a smile…that is, until the line became about 15 people deep, with marked cold beverage cups lined up across the counter, waiting to be filled with delicious cold beverages. I would stop one of these ladies racing around making hot beverages and say, “what does this abbreviation on this cup mean? What am I supposed to make?” Meanwhile, people were lined up at the hand-off plane to receive their drinks, again, about 15 people deep.

Let’s just say…I was politely moved out of the way, so the real baristas could work.

Anyway, after a long, successful night of learning, it was time to clean up the store. It closed at 11:00 and we had another 45 minutes of cleaning ahead. I washed dishes, sanitized, re-stocked and even mopped the floor. I almost successfully finished cleaning, that is….until I accidentally dumped the entire industrial-sized wash bucket of nasty, dirty water back onto the clean floor. Everyone had to stop what THEY were doing to help “the newbie” mop up the dirty lake in the store.

I fall into bed at 1:15 am. I woke up to precious, happy kids this morning at 7:00. Tired. But Braden reminded me this morning why I am doing this…and it’s all back into perspective.

video

Blake had another opinion….oh well, you can’t win them all!

video

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Heart Surgery

What does it mean to have a heart of service? To me, it means lots of things. The most obvious to me is service to my church. My family is involved….we give…. always with a happy smile, and most of the time, with an equally happy heart.

Then there is service to friends….who needs a meal taken to them? Who needs my prayers? Who could use our baby’s hand-me-downs? Who needs free babysitting…or their lawn mowed? Who just needs a cup of coffee and a listening ear?

These seem to be the easiest, although they still require thought and effort.

The area of service closest to my heart…and yet definitely the most difficult for me…is the one to my husband and children. They have my entire heart….but they may not always have my most loving attitude. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed or obligated, instead of drawn to them in a heart of service.

Serving my kids means remaining loving and willingly submissive when I hear YET ONE MORE TIME, “Mommy, will you…?” Or “Mommy, please get me…” or just plain whiny “Mommy!...” It’s following through with the actions, yes, but also having a heart of love, not giving in to the exhausted, “poor me” Mommy feelings.

Service for my husband may look like… stopping my dinner-making routine to greet him as he walks in the door from work, just to give him a kiss…and a FOCUSED eye-contact “hello, how was your day?”, that hopefully speaks “you’re important to me…and I’ve missed you today.” Or handing him a cup of coffee in the morning, when I really just want to get my own cup and work on waking up.

There are endless ways to have a heart of service.

Service is not in my natural giftedness. I have to work at it, pray for it, strive to do it.

But the most interesting area of service in my life lately is in the area of work. Being a barista, and making cool coffee drinks, is really quite fun. I tremendously enjoy the people! They’re fascinating. But equal to making cool drinks in this job, is washing dishes, scrubbing floors and bathrooms. Wow. Talk about a heart check. Am I above this? Absolutely not. Do I struggle at moments, thinking I am? Sure.

I think about Christ…and how he washed his disciples dirty (and probably smelly!) feet….or when he touched the skin of the leper to heal him…or was seen in the company of society’s most despised…all in the name of service to and love for others.

My heart’s desire is to be more Christlike. It really is. And I have a long way to go. Perhaps washing dishes, scrubbing floors and commodes (that are not my own) is good for me. Perhaps I’m having a little daily heart surgery.

I do know I’m eager and excited to see what God is teaching me and preparing me for. Hopefully, I can truly show others a little bit of Christ in my life as I learn to serve better.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Capital "T" for Trouble

Life…it has so many twists and turns. Just when it’s smooth and straight for a time that you get comfortable, a sharp turn suddenly appears.

I have to admit. How long have I been blogging? All of….let’s see…2 weeks, perhaps. It is no exaggeration that life seemed to be a smooth, straight, almost boring road….until then. I opened my big mouth in writing to declare that I love my life, and all things simple...and it’s been a sharp turn after another, ever since.

Hmmmm.

The last 48 hours may give a small glimpse.
On Thursday morning, I walked the boys out to the curb for their carpool pick-up for school, only to find myself locked out of the house when I tried to get back in. Fortunately for me, it was one of those rare days when I actually took my robe and pajamas off to go outside…I had on torn jeans, an old sweatshirt and house slippers. With no way to get in (I have to admit…I’m a little more pleased with the security of my home), I hopped our 8-ft. fence in the back. In a frenzy, I proceeded to try to BREAK an already cracked window over my bed, by beating it repeatedly with a baseball glove on my hand. I had to be at my new job in about an hour and with no end to this frustration in sight, I resolved to drastic measures….all the while cussing at myself for NOT giving the neighbors a key, as I had intended about 4 times…and never followed through with!

The glass would NOT break. I am either a wimp…or God was protecting me from what could have been a disastrous injury to me.

Long story short, after an hour, I finally did get in. Thank you, my dear friend, Chris Wilson, who basically got out of bed and drove over to save the day.

As I got into the house, I then received a call from my boy’s school. The Valentine’s cookies that I had stayed up very late making…and sent with them to school….were nowhere to be found…and could I bring some more? Uh….NO! But instead of letting my answer be strong within me, I worried about those cookies….and what were the teachers thinking about me… the Mom that didn’t follow through with her cookie committment? Did she REALLY make them?

But what I want to know is where ARE they? How a 4-year-old can LOSE a container of cookies between the car and the classroom is beyond me!?

I made it to work…and survived the day. Tomorrow will be better.

FRIDAY….Bill and I wake up to a horrible, insidious, awful stomach virus! Seriously. How can we take care of two little guys, when we can’t even sit up (unless we’re throwing up) or even THINK about food, while their saying, “Mommy, can I have some pancakes?” Oh for the love…..!!!!

By 2:00 in the afternoon, Blake was sick, too. What a day.

Tomorrow will be better.
And it was….relatively speaking. We could eat. And it stayed in.

SATURDAY NIGHT…I was up ALL night, with one kid or another, for various reasons, unexplained to me by the Powers that be. I think I slept a choppy 3 hours.

Here I am… SUNDAY morning. Today will be better. Please, Lord.

But this is what is on my heart today.
Jesus said in John 16, “…In this world, you will have trouble….” I used to think that meant this ominous T-R-O-U-B-L-E, in all caps. I am starting to believe that means, in this world, you will be frustrated, irritated, life won’t necessarily be easy, in fact, sometimes it will be downright hard! But before Jesus tells us that we will have trouble, he says “I’m telling you this, so that IN ME, you will have peace.”

OK, Lord. I understand. Life is loaded. But in YOU, we can have peace in spite. Lord, lead the way. My life may not be picture perfect….or always simple…but I can have peace in you. And…oh yah, Lord…THANK YOU for the simple moments in between the troubling ones.

At the closing of my writing this post, my 4-year old came into the computer room and told me that his toilet is leaking on the floor. I have to laugh!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The New Adventures of Old Kathryn.....

Well, I've gone back to work.




Bill and I decided that we need to wrap up our debt, once and for all...and send it on it's weight-bearing way! The boys are now a little older. I've been blessed not to have to work outside of the home. But the flip-side of that, is that the paying off of debt has not gone as quickly as we would have liked.



During our 4-year pay-off period so far, with me not working outside the home, we decided to add to the mix things like...having another baby, buying a house and a career change for Bill.

But now it's time to wrap it up. So I went back to work....




You are now looking at (or would be, if you were here) the newest Starbucks barista in Richardson. Ta da!

We decided this was the most perfect solution. Work part time. Get FULL family benefits. The kids would not have to be in additional childcare at all.

So, in theory, my going back to work sounded like the most perfect solution.
Reality is sometimes quite different than theory.

I started work this week. I am still in training. So I've really been processing WHAT to write about it. It's been an interesting journey already.

These are the 3 things I've learned in my first week:
(1) I can choose my attitude.
I may not WANT to work outside the home, but because we've chosen to do it, I can make the best of it...or I can make everyone in my home "pay for it" as I play the martyred MOM.
(2) Fancy coffee is harder to make than you would think.
Enough said.
(3) A smile....and of course a cup of coffee...can completely change someone's countenance immediately!

I'm really very excited to see what God does with all of this.
I have been in such a wonderful "baby bubble", if you will...but a bubble nonetheless. It is nice to get out and interact with big people...as Kathryn...not as Mom.

There should be lots of S-adventures ahead! I'll keep you posted.

But until that time....may I get you a 1/2 caff. 2 pump extra foam extra hot Vanilla latte??

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Home Project #1: The Wall

I'm not sure why I'm wired this way...but for some reason, I love to START many projects....all at the same time...and then drive myself crazy trying to finish them. Sounds crazy, I know...but for some reason, it makes me happy. Someone please tell me why a girl who really DOES want a simple life, makes life harder on a daily basis. Somebody please STOP ME!

All of the home projects I'll be mentioning are happening simultaneously, mind you. But I'll share the project taking place on the outside of our home, first.

When we moved into this "fixer-upper" about 4 years ago, we decided at the same time, we needed to begin Dave Ramsey's plan for getting us out of debt. So for four years, my husband has been FOCUSED, FOCUSED, FOCUSED on getting us out of debt. I've been FOCUSED, FOCUSED, FOCUSED on clipping pictures out of magazines, using small amounts of money here and there to paint or fix up anything in this house I could get away with fixing at little to no cost. Actually, I think we've done a pretty great job at making it our own for pennies. (Well...not really PENNIES, per se, but you get the point)

Since 2004, I have wanted to chop down the little wall outside our front door. As you can see from the picture, this home had a little "courtyard" and small brick wall around our front door, with old weathered lantern lights (one of which hasn't worked for some time...nice.)



We first had an electrician come out and disconnect the current lantern lighting and install new lighting above the door.

Then, we had a crew of 3 strong and able-bodied men, who were willing and able to destroy something, come together and BRING DOWN THE WALL!!!!




Now that the wall is down....what do we do with all these bricks???

We decided to haul them to the side of the road...THEN we would figure it out. We planned this all the way down to the fine details, obviously.
Even the boys helped....some. :)

Yay!!! THE WALL IS DOWN!!!!!! For the first time in 4 years, the house isn't "hiding" behind those walls.

Now what do we do with all these??

Here is what our house looks like now.


It's just a blank "landscaping slate". Now the fun part can begin!


FAST FORWARD TWO WEEKS....
Still, these remain.

The neighbors...and the city...are thrilled.

The day finally came to load the bricks into an available trailer to be hauled off (thanks to my brother, Kenny). Some of us load bricks.


Some of us don't.


But that's okay....we get the job done anyway.


And when the work was done.....this is where the rest of us could be found, too.


So what do you think about the end result?

Me likey.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Boys of all ages...You gotta love 'em!

This is what Braden's room looks like normally...


But this is what I walked in on...and it looks much more fun as a slide, don't you think?





But there was no use getting upset over it....according to the boys, they had already put the culprits in TIMEOUT.


Thank God I didn't have to take care of it!

And this is why I love their Daddy so much...this is where I can find him early in the mornings...absorbed in God's Word.
I'm gonna go love on my boys now. :)
I'll write again tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Big "D"

I follow a wonderful blog by Christy from Between Here and Home. She played a fun game in which another blogger friend assigned her a letter, and she had to come up with 10 things she loves that begin with that letter. I thought it sounded fun, so Christy assigned me a letter also. My letter is "D" and here are ten "D" things I love...

(1) Daddy...I ADORE my Daddy! I couldn't have been more blessed to have him in my life.
(2) Dessert
(3) Dinner...am I detecting a theme here??
(4) Diamonds....I'm not shallow...what girl doesn't love them?!
(5) Dancing...namely with my husband. He's a phenomenal country dancer.
(6) Doing...namely home projects (I can't wait to share these with you!)
(7) Delighting....I love enjoying the relationships God has given me....family, friends, new people I meet daily.
(8) Dave Ramsey....yes, I'm a follower.
(9) Dogs...especially our little pomeranian, Lucy.
(10) Daydreaming....thinking about all the Lord has in store for our family, all the Lord is planning to do in and through me...it's fun to dream about.

If you want to play along, leave me a comment below... and I will assign a letter to you, too!
Have a great day.

Monday, February 2, 2009