Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!!!!!

It is so hard to believe that today is the last day of 2007! It's true what they say, "The older you get the faster time goes by." We are planning to have a small family party, and the boys will be staying up until midnight. "WHAT ARE WE THINKING?!" :-)

This year I have had a lot of wonderful blessings. :-) I reconnected with my cousin (and new friend) Sarah, who I WILL be meeting one day. ;-) I changed churches and am loving it. They have such a great Singles Department. I have made a lot of new friends, as well as strengthened relationships with the old ones. I adopted a soldier, and I have heard from him. ;-) I lost weight, and joined a gym. I learned that I LOVE to exercise. :-) I am going to lose more and be even healthier this time next year. We have actually had cold days in the winter this year. ;-) I have had so many blessings I can't even list them all.

My prayer for this next year is that I continue to improve my health, that I improve my relationship with God, that I constantly stay in a Bible Study, that I always have great relationships with my family and friends, that I get out of debt, and that God will use me to help others, and that I am able to be a, effective leader/teacher. :-) They are not really "resolutions", because I don't like making resolutions. These are more like life goals for the next year. :-)

How about you? Do you have any life goals for 2008? What were your blessings in 2007? If you blog about it be sure to let me know in my comments so I can share your joy and encourage you. God bless you all. ;-)

Wendy Darling

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Monday, December 24, 2007

We will resume regular broadcasting after this commercial break...

Well, I did it. I have pre-made almost anything that can be pre-made, or prepped ingredients, that can be done ahead of time. I have made my cheese ball, and it is wrapped in plastic wrap and sitting in the fridge. I browned the sausage for the Jimmy Dean dip, and it is in a bag in the fridge. I have cleaned the celery for the veggie tray. I have made the sausage balls (all but actually cooking them) and they are in the freezer ready to be cooked tomorrow, and I have chopped all of the ingredients needed for the omelets in the morning. WHEW!!

Tonight we will pre-make the "mini-pigs" (Little Smokies wrapped in pieces of crescent rolls). They will be in the fridge awaiting to be cooked in the morning, and we will be doing omelets in a bag, so everyone will bag their own ingredients tonight and all that's left is dropping them in the boiling water in the morning. The rest of the stuff isn't anything that can be done ahead of time, but it is SUPER SIMPLE stuff.

The only things I plan to do tomorrow are eat and play. I will get on the computer long enough to read the next segment of "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels", but that is all. ;-) I'll be back to posting in a few days.

Until then, have a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year. :-)

Wendy Darling

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Little Christmas Fun...

If you need a little something to keep the kids entertained while your trying to cook and do prep work tomorrow, just let them make the centerpiece for Tuesday. :-) All it requires is some green icing, a ziploc bag, an ice cream cone and some red candies or fondant. "Little Angel" came to visit on Wednesday, and we made this:

It was a lot of fun, and kept her entertained for at least half and hour. :-) You can't see it in the picture, but we actually put white edible glitter on it to resemble snow, but if you have the materials the kids can really get creative with it. :-) And, again, you can use as the centerpiece. :-)

I think the directions are pretty self explanatory, but I'll post them anyway. Set sugar cone upside down on some icing to glue it down. I used a star tip in a bag, and began at the bottom. Just squeeze, pull out and let the icing fall. Work your way up the cone and decorate as desired. :-) Have fun!!


Wendy Darling

Saturday, December 22, 2007

For me, this is the best part of the show...

Wendy Darling

Thursday, December 20, 2007

God speaks to us in the weirdest places....

The last few weeks I have had an opportunity to have God speak to me. The last few weeks have been kind of stressful, and I began to wonder how God was going to use the situations for the good.

The first opportunity came about 2 weeks ago when I was in the Christian Bookstore. This particular store has a room in the back that is like an ongoing clearance areas. We always check it. I was in this room alone, and looking at the books. One title caught my attention "Facing Your Giants: A David & Goliath Story for Everyday People" by Max Lucado. I thought, "OK, God. How do you plan to help us fight this one."

I then heard a voice in my heart and head began to speak to me. The first thing it said was "STOP! Be still and listen to me." I immediately stopped and closed my eyes. Then I "felt" all of the following as if God was speaking to me. He said, "Be still and know that I am God. He then asked, 'Am I bigger than this problem?" I responded, "Yes, you are." (I'm thinking this mind you, not speaking out loud. Even in a Christian Bookstore someone might think you are crazy if you talk out loud like that.)

He then said, "Do you believe that I am in control of everything?" I said, "Yes, you are." He then asked "Then what makes you think that I don't have a plan now? Just trust me." I said, "OK, Lord." And I did. I felt so much better. Just like if God had given me a big hug.

Then, today I finally made it back to the gym. (Hallelujah!!) God spoke to me while I was in the pool. I was "beating myself up" for not having gone in the last couple of weeks, and for stress eating. I then felt God talk to me again. He said, "Who's child are you?" I thought, "I'm your child." He asked, "Have I chastised you? Do you expect to beat yourself up everyday for the past? Take today only. Deal with today. Start fresh, and remember your goals and thoughts when you started this journey to health. You are not going to lose it all overnight, and getting upset about the past isn't going to help. You are here, now. This is the first step. Trust me and stay with it." Again, I felt the hug.

I actually had a really good work out, and did not overdo it. I will be back tomorrow.

I am so glad that God doesn't wait to talk to us at "opportune times", because if it was up to us we would never make the time. He gets our attention any way He can, and if we stop long enough to listen He will speak to us. I have had many times when I did not stop, and I have paid for it. So, when we hear that voice say, "Stop and be still" we need to remember that it can happen anywhere, at anytime. If we listen, we will be blessed....

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Never throw away good fudge....

OK, I may actually have to start participating in Works for Me Wednesday. I had an idea today that I think will make even Alton Brown proud. ;-)

A few weeks ago I made some cookies and fudge to send some Marines overseas. The fudge is an old recipe, handed down from my Nana. It's called "Fantasy Fudge", and we have made it before. I don't know where she got the recipe, but I am sure it was from a magazine. :-)

Anyway, it didn't set. I think it was because of the margarine. This is not the first time it didn't come out. So, I think from now on I will try using butter instead of margarine. I know that made a difference in Rice Crispy treats. Maybe it is because of the humidity. I don't know. All I know is it didn't get hard so that I could cut it.

Well, my Mom (in her infinite wisdom) wrapped it in foil and put it in the freezer. Her reasoning? YOU DON'T THROW AWAY GOOD FUDGE! You eat it with a spoon if you must, but you never throw it out. Smart woman. :-)

OK, so last night I remembered an episode of "Good Eats" where Alton Brown made Truffles. So, I thought, "I wonder what would happen if I took out the fudge and formed it into little balls and dipped it in almond bark?" You know what happens? You get these:

Yes Ma'am, those are Truffles!! :-) I had some coconut and some toasted slivered almonds in the freezer, so I pulled those out and rolled some truffles in them. Then I remembered that Alton also used cocoa powder, so I did that too. I had my Mom taste them, and she said they were really good. They aren't very pretty, but real Truffles aren't. They are, however, VERY RICH! :-) So, if I were to give these as a gift I might drop 3 or 4 in a small cellophane bag tied with a ribbon, and voila you have a gift. :-) Alton would be proud. :-) As for "Works for Me Wednesday", I'm going to go post it now. :-)


Wendy Darling

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Was he an angel?

The last few days have left me questioning something about myself. It may get a little lengthy, so I pray you stick with me. ;-)

The last few times my family and I have gone to Wal Mart we saw something we have not seen in our little town before. We saw a homeless person with a sign. Now, this is not a new experience for us, unfortunately. In the large town/city near us it is seen quite frequently, but just not here.

The sign said, "Homeless Veteran..." We were not in a position to be able to stop (wrong lane, traffic, etc.) So, we didn't do anything that day.

I went back to the store yesterday, and there he was sitting on the same corner, with his sign. I was able to read more of it this time. It said, "Homeless Veteran. Will work for $7 and hour or food." I started to stop, again, but something inside me said not to. Why? I have always helped people before. If I had money I would give, we always put money in the Salvation Army can, I help with collections, food drives, etc. So, why was I questioning whether or not to stop for this man?

Have I become so cynical about safety that I am afraid to help when it becomes "personal?" I don't know.

I questioned myself all the way to my next errand. I then decided that, that man could actually be an angel. Maybe he was sent to see just how much we are willing to help. Maybe he was sent for someone specific. Maybe me. The Bible says in Matthew 25:40 " And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

So, I decided, I would go back and "hire" him to rake our yard. I had $15, I could have him do whatever he could in 2 hours, and we would also feed him lunch and give him a basket of food/fruit. I also planned to call the head of ministries at our church to see what we could do about getting this man some shelter. I called my brother and sister to make sure it was OK with them because, after all, this man would then know where we lived. I still wanted to have faith, but that was being distorted (if that's a good word) by needing to be safety conscious in this day and age.

They said it was OK. So, I went home, got the money and my Mom (because my brother did not want me to pick up the man alone.) We went to the place where we had seen him the last couple of days, and where I had seen him not an hour earlier. I prayed on the way, telling God that if this is what He wanted me to do then the man would be there.

He was not there. We ran some errands and came back. Again, he was not there. An hour or so later we went out again. He was not there.

Today I went back to the store, and checked the place on the way in and on the way out. He was not there. So, my question I keep asking is "Did I miss an opportunity to help a fellow human being/possible Angel in disguise, or did God protect me from making a huge mistake by not letting the man be there?" I don't know. In a weird way I feel a "relief", "comfort" that I have been spared from something, but then I feel a little guilty for not helping.

I don't ever want to become cynical or too cautious to the point that I will refuse to help a person in need. I know I would want someone to help me if I were in that position. How do ya'll handle situations like that?

Wendy Darling

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Cleggy!!!!!!!!!!!

Head on over to the White Horse and wish Cleggy a "Happy Birthday." :-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, December 15, 2007

It's "Works for me Wednesday...only it's Saturday...."

This would be a fantastic "Works for Me Wednesday" post, except that it's Saturday; and I don't participate in "Works for Me Wednesday." (How is that for a run on sentence?!) I do however read them. ;-) So, if you read this one, and participate in "Works for Me Wednesday" feel free to use it. :-)

OK, now that I've said all that I guess I should actually post about it.

Have you heard of "Angel Food Ministries"? It is awesome, ya'll. Each month there is a different menu, and you buy a whole box for $26. The food inside should last a single person about a month of meals. Seriously. Where else can you eat for one month on $26.

Our church is the local distribution place in our town. I was actually able to go and help today. It is all done by volunteers, and man it was fun. It's done in "assembly line" fashion, and everyone comes through and picks up their food. We did 200 this morning in a little over 2 hours. That was delivery, assembly, and handing it out.

So, my tip is go to the website, and find a distributor near you. Print out the menu and save on your grocery bill. The food really is good quality. :-) And you get A LOT of food in the basic box. For example, this is what I got this morning:

5 oz.
Rib-Eye Steaks
2 lb.
Family Lasagna Dinner
2 lb.
Split Chicken Breast (2 Pieces)
1 lb.
Honey Roasted Pork Sausage
1 lb.
Fully Cooked Chicken Breast Fajitas
1 lb.
Fully Cooked Meatballs
1 lb.
All Meat Jumbo Hot Dogs
3 lb.
Fresh Apples
8 oz.
Biscuit Mix
1 lb.
3-Way Veggie Mix
1 lb.
Cut Corn
1 lb.
Sliced Carrots
14 oz.
Chicken Broth
24 oz.
Home-style Hash Brown
6.5 oz.
Cheeseburger Dinner
10 ct.
Home-style Waffles
Dessert Item
OH, be advised that beginning in January the price will go to $31 a box. Check it out. :-)


Wendy Darling

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Something is missing....

You may have noticed that something has been missing for several weeks now from my blog. Can you guess what it is? Yep, that's right, it's the weigh in post. Why is it missing you ask? Simple, because I haven't MADE myself go and weigh. I know I need to, but I have also been stress eating lately, and I am sure I have gained at least 5 lbs. back. :-( Do I really need to go to the doctor's office and have that confirmed? (Yes, I know I do. But, I don't want to)

So, I am determined to "get my butt back in gear." I hope to go to the gym tomorrow afternoon, because I have to deliver baskets in the morning which means I can't go to water aerobics. And, I am going to force myself to go to back to phase 1 for a few days. I think this will help.

I really don't want to gain all of my weight back, and I had hoped I would have lost a lot more by now, but it is my own doing. Not to mention the holidays are KILLER! So, I am just going to take a step back, breath, and begin again. :-) It's all about "regrouping".

Wendy Darling

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas edition of getting to know your friends.

Ok. This has made it's way around e-mails, blogs, etc. So, I thought I would post mine here. It's an easy way to get a blog entry, don't you think? :-) Ok, once you've read mine, then please post your answers on your blog. Leave me a comment so that I can visit your blog and read your entry. :-) MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Wrapping paper or gift bags? both

Real tree or artificial? artificial

When do you put up the tree? The Saturday after Thanksgiving.

When do you take the tree down? New Year's Day

Do you like eggnog? I can take it or leave it, but I prefer hot chocolate or Wassail

Favorite gift received as child? Stereo/Camera

Do you have a Nativity scene? I have a small one that sits on the table, but I would LOVE a big one for the front yard.

Hardest person to buy for? Little Mark

Easiest person to buy for? Mom

Worst Christmas Gift you ever received. I can't think of one

Mail or email Christmas cards? I prefer to mail them, but I like getting either.
Favorite Christmas Movie? It's a Wonderful Life

When do you start shopping for Christmas ? I do it throughout the year

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, and if I give a gift that I am not sure they will like I encourage them to regift it as well.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas ? Anything!!

Clear lights or colored on the tree? I prefer clear, but we have multi-colored.

Favorite Christmas song? TOO MANY to name just one. Seriously. Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas music?

Travel at Christmas or stay home? stay home

Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? of course!

Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We do them in the morning, but I have been told that the boys will get to open one this Christmas Eve.

Most annoying thing about this time of year? grumpy people, no snow.

What is the "corniest" family tradition you do, or miss doing ? I don't think any of them are "corny", but our tradition is to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "Luke 2 1-20", then leave out cookies for Santa and veggies for the reindeer. We also do an Advent Wreath. Then, the boys go to bed and adults play a game. :-)

Ugliest decoration ever invented? There are some stained glass balls that I really don't like.

Themed trees or "homey" trees? I really like the homey, like we have. But, one day I would love to also have a themed tree.

Wendy Darling

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

They're going to the show!

OK, it's not THE show, but to a bunch of kids in 4-H THE show is District Competition. Which you can only get to if you get red or blue ribbons at the County level.

Tonight was the Consumer Decision contest for our county. Little Mark placed 2nd in his age division, which gets him a spot at District. :-) Yes, he is a happy little boy. :-) Now, to make sure he is ready for the Food and Nutrition show in January....

Wendy Darling

Saturday, December 08, 2007

It's a sweet gift. :-)

Ok, I was supposed to go to a Sunday School Christmas party tonight, but we went Christmas shopping instead. :-) However, I did make the dessert I promised, and I thought I would share it with you. :-)

I forgot to take a picture of the "cast of characters", as Pioneer Woman would say, but I can give you a run down.

2 boxes of Duncan Hines Yellow cake mix

2 T Meringue Powder

6 eggs

2/3 C of Crisco Oil

2 2/3 C water

3 cans of Wilton Decorator Icing


Icing Color

Ok, after baking the cake you have this:

Don't you just love how the cooling rack makes those neat little squares? :-)

Now you take the icing:

And color it green, so it looks like this:

Then you ice the cake. I'm pretty sure you can figure that step out by yourself. :-) After that you color the fondant with Christmas Red icing color and knead it until it is all red. Roll it out to 1/8 inch thick and cut it into strips using a pizza cutter.

Then you lay two peices of fondant across the cake to look like ribbons. Like this:

Curl into bow peices. You need about 14 of them. Lay them out so they can "air dry."

Then you peice the bow together using icing as the glue. The white things you see are the napkins. I was told if you put paper inside the loops it helps it to hold it's shape.

The you need to make a tag. use white fondant cut into a square. Decorate with green icing, and place red balls in the corner using leftover fondant from the ribbon. I used red food coloring, the same that I tinted the fondant with, and I painted "Merry Christmas" onto it using a brush.

You then peice the whole thing together and you get this:

It's not my best work, but for the first attempt I am happy with it. :-)


Wendy Darling

It's a tissue alert, ya'll....

OK, I know people say this all the time, but this IS a true story, and Shawe REALLY is a friend of ours. :-) He shared this story with us, and I immediately asked his permission to post it here, because it is so inspirational. :-) I did suggest to Shawe that it would be so awesome to have his daughter sing carols to this woman outside of her home. (I know, it's a Hallmark commercial, but I'm cheesy that way.) It's just to sweet. So, without further ado....

2 Christmases ago when my daughter was 3, my wife and I were shoppingwith her at Wal-Mart. They had a lifesize Santa that danced and sang several songs out on display, and my daughter was mesmerized. I wouldn't have minded having one in the house, but the price on it was too prohibitive for this Prison Guard who barely makes above minimum wage. Well my daughter enjoyed it so much, she began dancing and singing with the Santa and really enjoying herself. Pretty soon, I noticed she had attracted a crowd. She didn't seem to notice, though and continued to dance to her heart's content.

After a few more minutes, an older lady whom I had never met, came to us and said "I just wanted you to know how happy it made me to see your daughter have so much fun. I have a son who is in his 30's now but has Down Syndrome. He used to dance and sing all the time when he was a child, and seeing your daughter brought back those special memories. I am going to purchase that Santa for your daughter, and Iwant you to play it for her as much as she wants you to". I tried to speak to her to tell her we couldn't accept a gift that definately wasn't cheap, but I guess God held me back from doing so, because he made sure my eyes were so watery and my voice so choked up I couldn't say a thing.

I later found out that this wonderful lady lives in the same town I do and only a few miles from my house, although we had never met until that day. We still have Santa, and even though sometimes I get tired of hearing the same songs over and over, I remember the lady's voice and relent to hearing "Up on the Housetop" for the 35th time. She made my Christmas so special that year and showed me what the holiday is all about.

This year, her son passed away at their home. Her Christmas will notbe as joyous this year as yours and mine. But I believe she is content knowing that out there, there is a family who is still very happy and very thankful she went out of her way to help us enjoy our Christmas 2 years ago. The best way I can honor her is to tell this story every year which I continue to do. And I also believe she takes joy in knowing that up there in heaven, her little boy is looking forward to Christmas again. And he is dancing for eternity.

Thank you for sharing, Shawe.
Wendy Darling

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ok, I just noticed that BooMama is hosting a "Soup-Tacular" and, well... you just can't have too many soup recipes. So, here's one of my favorites.


1 bag of mixed vegetables

1 bag of whole kernel corn

1 bag of peas

1 bag of green beans

1 C of baby carrots, cut in half

1 cup of celery, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cans of stewed tomatoes

2 cans tomato sauce

about 2 cups of Organic Vegetable broth.

bay leaf

1 tsp. of thyme

1/2 tsp. rosemary

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a very large pot, and place over low heat. Let cook all day (6-8 hours) Stir occasionally. Remove Bay Leaf before serving. Serve with cornbread or crackers.


Wendy Darling

Hello and Recipe

Hello everyone. :-) I know it has been almost a week since I last posted. I have to apologize for that. I will begin posting again, tomorrow. For now, please accept this recipe as a consolation. :-)


Ritz Crackers (or off brand butter cracker)

Creamy Peanut Butter

White or Chocolate Almond Bark

Vegetable Oil

Sprinkles, Decorations

OK. This is VERY simple. Place 1 teaspoon of peanut butter on a cracker and then "Sandwich" it with a second cracker. Make around 2 dozen. Melt almond bark in the microwave, slowly. Stir in between intervals. Once it is completely melted add about 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil into it and mix it in really well. This will help to "stretch" the chocolate further, and it will give it a nice shine.

Drop the "sandwiches" into the chocolate and turn with a fork. Lift with a fork and let the excess drip into the bowl. Lay on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. If you wish to put on sprinkles or candy decorations do it now. Once you have a dozen or so on the pan place the pan into the freezer for about 5 minutes. Enjoy!! :-)

Another variation on the decoration is to cover it in white almond bark and then when you remove it from the freezer you drizzle the chocolate almond bark on it and freeze again. Just makes it look more "gourmet". :-) These are really great for a cookie exchange. :-)


Wendy Darling

Sunday, December 02, 2007

He is a winner!!! :-)

I sure meant to post this yesterday, sorry. :-) Little Mark had his first 4-H competition for the year yesterday. This was the Fall Project Show/Photography contest. He entered 4 categories for the Project Show and this is the "breakdown". Process and Procedures (blue ribbon and LOTS of compliments), Baking: from a mix (red ribbon), Baking: from scratch (red ribbon), Computer Generated Art (red ribbon). He also entered 4 photographs. Architectural (red ribbon), People (blue ribbon), Natural landscape (red ribbon), and the special theme this year was "Flags". He received a blue ribbon for his flag picture, and this one also won him "Best in his age division." We were all very proud. :-)

All of our kids did wonderfully. :-)

Congratulations also to "Laslo" for LSU's SEC Championship win yesterday. :-)

Wendy Darling