Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday "Little Mark"

Today we are celebrating "Little Mark's" 12th birthday. I can't believe is already 12. I feel old, y'all. REAL old. However, it's been fun, and the grilled flank steak smells yummy. I can't wait to eat it. Little Mark decided to take it easy on me this year and only asked for a "simple chocolate cake." I didn't have to make this or this or anything of equal difficulty. Thank you "Little Mark." ;-)

Loving Sister and her hubby came in last night with the younger nephew. They leave tonight after we have the great "grilled flank steak dinner." :-) Last night they decided to take "Little Mark" back home, so he could enjoy the fire works. In the last 3 hours it was decided that I will be going as well, because it has been years since I have seen some great fireworks. That's it. No planning, just being flexible. As Terry would say, "That's how I roll." So, instead of rushing around the house packing I am here blogging to you lovely people, because I'm thoughtful like that. ;-)

Although, I can't help thinking there won't be much R&R going on for me. Between the 2 nephews, and the 5 year old Loving Sister babysits, we will be knee deep in testosterone. I don't even want to think of how many arguments/fights we will have to break up or referee. I think Loving Sister and I will be stopping by a pharmacy for a mega bottle of Excedrin Migraine. I'm just sayin'.

OH, and I will be teaching "Little Mark" while we are up there. :-) It's great how SOS can be printed so you can "teach on the road." ;-)

So, that's how I will be spending the week, and the 4th of July. How about you? What are your plans?

Wendy Darling

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's a meme...

I totally stole this from Cleggy who stole it from Where Worlds Collide. He made a couple of additions from another meme they had on the same blog, essentially combining the two.
  1. Last film you saw in a cinema?
    "Prince Caspian"

  2. What book are you [re]reading?
    "Little Mark" and I are reading "The Silver Chair". Personally though, nothing at the moment, but I hope the next book I read is "Still Growing" by Kirk Cameron.

  3. Favorite board game?
    I like Monopoly. I prefer Skip Bo, but that is a card game. OH, I recently learned to play Bawlderdash, and that was FUN. :-)

  4. Favorite magazine?
    Taste of Home or Quick and Easy

  5. Favorite smells?
    Yeast bread baking, vanilla, cucumber melon candles

  6. Favorite sounds?
    Children laughing

  7. Which artist/group do you own the most albums by?
    Hmm... this is a tough one. I think it would be a tie between George Strait and Harry Connick Jr.

  8. Last song you listened to?
    Double Dutch Bus, unfortunately ("Little Mark" had it on too loud)

  9. Last album/CD you listened to straight through?
    Why Not Today by Eric Dodge

  10. Album/CD it took you a while to get into?
    Surprisingly, Mandissa's album to awhile

  11. Worst feeling in the world?

  12. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up?
    Most of the time, I pray and thank God that woke up.

  13. Favorite fast food place?
    I really like Schlotzkis, but I don't get it very often.

  14. Future child’s name?
    If I had a girl I wanted to name her either Rachel Diane or Noel Marie. A boy would be either Jonathon David or Christopher Michael.

  15. Finish this statement. "If I had lot of money I’d..."
    Take a very long vacation/extended field trip with the nephews to New England. We would visit all of the original 13 colonies and then head on over to Washington, DC.

  16. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

  17. Storms - cool or scary?
    Cool for the most part, but some can be scary.

  18. Favorite drink?
    Coke flavored ICEE/Slurpee.

  19. Finish this statement, "If I had the time I would..."
    Please, see #15

  20. Do you eat the stems on broccoli?

  21. If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice?
    I've been thinking about getting it highlighted with lighter shades of blonde/brown.

  22. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in?
    Peru, IN; LaPorte, TX; Amarillo, TX; Buffalo, TX; Alvin, TX; and... East Texas

  23. Favorite sports to watch?
    I don't watch much sports, but if it is on I will watch football or ice skating

  24. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you?
    I stole it from Cleggy, and I like him very much. ;-)

  25. What’s under your bed?
    I couldn't even tell you. Many dust bunnies reproducing I am sure.

  26. Would you like to be born as yourself again?

  27. Morning person, or night owl?
    Morning Person

  28. Over easy, or sunny side up?
    I have to be REALLY in the mood for eggs. When I do eat them it is either in an omelet or scrambled with some cheese.

  29. Favorite place to relax?
    Anywhere the family is.

  30. Favorite pie?
    Cherry or Pecan

  31. Favorite ice cream flavour?
    That's a tough one. I prefer chocolate, frozen yogurt. If I had to pick an ice cream though it would probably chocolate and peanut butter.

  32. Of all the people you tagged this to, who’s most likely to respond first?
    I'm not tagging anyone this time. If you would like to do it, please leave me a comment so I can come and read yours. :-)
Wendy Darling

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Last weekend/another milestone

It's been over a week since I told you I would tell you about last weekend. Sorry. :-) Well, we had a lot of fun. Every year our little town celebrates what we call "Tomato Fest". Our town has quite a history with tomatoes. At one time (1920s-1950s) we were known as the "Tomato Capital of the World." So, we remember our history with this little festival each year.

It is interesting though, that I have lived here 16 years, and this is the first time that I actually attended "Tomato Fest." Well, there was that one year in college that I participated in the "Battle of San Tomato." Our college and the rival college spent about 10 minutes throwing rotten tomatoes at each other. The winner was the one who had the largest/loudest group of support. We won. :-) But, I have been promising "Little Mark" for several years that we would go, and this year we actually made it.

Just take a look at that sky. It threatened rain all morning, and the wind did get a little strong at times, but it sure made the morning cooler. ;-) There were 150 booths this year, making it the largest "Tomato Fest" to date. We were expecting between 8,000-10,000 people to attend that day.

With so much locally grown produce we didn't have to worry about the salmonella outbreak with the tomatoes. As a matter of fact, the local growers are having a very productive year, and more people are "buying local" than ever. :-) Most of these vendors were sold out by early afternoon. :-)

So, what kind of "booty" did I leave with? A very good jar of locally made hot sauce. :-) "Little Mark" got a sausage on a stick, a hot dog and a bottle of water. Played a few games, in which he won one of them. Made a wand of "sand candy", and bought an official Houston Astros cap. (His favorite purchase of the day) All in all it was a fun day. :-)

And what is my milestone you ask? This is my 300th post. :-) I thought of doing something thought provoking, something sentimental; but I decided to just go along with my "fun post" I original had planned. :-) It's not a huge "Ta Da!" post, but let's face it... I didn't think I would last over a week or two at this whole "blogging thing." So, this is major for me. ;-) Thank you for sharing it with me. :-)

Wendy Darling

Friday, June 20, 2008

Shout out to Gayle!

Last night I stayed up a little too late, again. What was I doing you ask? I was learning how to become a better homemaker. In the last 24 hours I have learned a few tips to lower my grocery bill. I have learned how to make my own dryer sheets/fabric softener, "GermX" wipes, and some new recipes. :-) It's a winner. (I fully intend to try this recipe and this one very soon. ;-)

Now, Gayle's blog is not new to me. I have been reading it for awhile, but I am sorry to say that I did not REALLY read her "grocery challenge" blog until last night. I skimmed it, but did not
really read it to LEARN something. Oh. My. Goodness. This might just change my life.

It affected me so much that I actually looked through my freezer to see "what I could make for dinner that I already had ALL of the ingredients for, so I didn't need to spend extra money."

How is that for a run on sentence?

Doing this was good, because I actually, you know, COOKED instead of ordering pizza, or going to the old standby of spaghetti or something.

So, after investigating the freezer I discovered that I had 2 bags of frozen, chopped spinach. I looked on the Internet for a spinach recipe and came up with this one. Again, it's a winner. :-) Thank you, Gayle. I may just become a better homemaker because of you. ;-)

Spinach Bake

1 lb. of frozen chopped spinach; thawed and drained
1/4 cup of flour
3 eggs; beaten
1 C cheddar cheese
1/2 C bread crumbs
1/4 C melted butter
1 C milk
1/2 medium onion; chopped
1 clove garlic; minced
1/2 t salt
1/8 t pepper ( I like a little more)
dash nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly squeeze all of the water out of the spinach and place in a greased 2 quart dish. Put just a little oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic. Set aside. In another bowl put the milk, eggs and flour. Mix until it is smooth. You don't want any lumps from the flour.

Melt the butter in a small pan. Sprinkle the top of the spinach with a dash of nutmeg and a little salt and pepper. Mix with the onion and garlic. Pour the bread crumbs over the spinach. Put the cheese, salt and pepper and butter in the milk mixture and stir. Pour over the spinach and bake for 50 minutes. Top with about 1/4 cup of cheese and put back in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Enjoy. :-)

Wendy Darling

Thursday, June 19, 2008

We're having a luau... I need advice :-)

"Little Mark" is having his birthday party in a couple of weeks. This time it will be small; just the immediate family. He decided to be nice to me and agree to a luau, since I still have decorations and leis leftover from VBS. :-)

SO, I need some ideas as far as food. I am planning some fruit kabobs. (strawberries, pineapple and kiwi) And I was considering grilling. Do y'all have any ideas? I am on a small budget, so please keep that in mind. ;-) The cake is taken care of already, so I don't need to consider that. I really need food ideas though.

Thank you for your help. :-)
Wendy Darling

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My list

Cleggy put together this list on his blog. I really enjoyed it, and thought that I would take him up on the challenge. So, here is my list. I am also "stealing" his explanation, because he did it so well. :-) (I hope you don't mind, Cleggy.) :-) Here we go..

So, there's this radio show on the BBC that's been on for decades (since the 1940's, actually) called
Desert Island Discs. Basically, they get a celebrity (or some other important person) and ask them: "If you were stranded on an island and could only bring eight records with you, what would they be?" (Sometimes the answers will surprise you; for example, who knew that Colin Firth was such a fan of Curtis Mayfield, Beck, and Tom Waits?)

They also make them choose which of the eight they'd take if they could only take one, which book they'd take (although they give them The Bible and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare), and they can have one luxury item.

I decided to take this a little bit further. On the show, they have to choose singles. Sorry, can't do that. If you're allowing me to take a single, then there's obviously a turntable and it can play an LP as well as a 45, so you can go stuff yourself. Besides, in this day and age, it's probably a CD player, at least.

So, in my rules, I've allowed myself to choose eight albums.

(Thank you, self.

You're welcome.)

I will allow a two-CD set if it was made as such, but no cheating by saying "A Box Set of the Complete Works of So-and-So." Believe me, I was tempted, but you can only carry so much.

Oh, and I gave myself a Swiss Army Knife so I wouldn't have to use up my luxury item for that.

(Thanks again, self.

No problem at all.)

I appreciate the Swiss Army Knife, and I too will take it along. :-)


My Eight CDs:

  1. Casting Crowns- Casting Crowns

  2. Why Not Today - Eric Dodge- Cleggy MADE me choose. I couldn't do a "compilation" of the two. :-(

  3. American Graffiti Soundrack - I have liked this movie since I was little. I love the music, and I will need some variety on the island.

  4. Free At Last : DC Talk

  5. 50 Number One Hits - George Strait

  6. The Best of Guy Penrod - Guy Penrod

  7. Treasury of Christmas: Holiday Memories - Time Life Music - Yes, I am dead serious on this one!

  8. Best of GVB - Gaither Vocal Band

If you could only have one of the above?: This question is TOO HARD! I refuse to choose. I have to? :-( OK..... I choose.....Casting Crowns. (Sorry, Eric) :-)

If you could only have one book (not counting BIBLE and Complete Works of Shakespeare)?: I am taking Cleggy's answer. I know I am a girl, but I do want to survive, and this book looks like it has good information. :-) So, I am choosing The Dangerous Book for Boys or Every Boy's Book of Knowledge

If you could only have one luxury item (not counting Swiss Army Knife)?: I am assuming that since we get to take along CDs there is already a CD player with electricity or batteries. So, I don't have to waste my luxury item on that. :-) I am going to say a fully stocked tool kit. I will need something to build shelter, etc.

So there you have it. If you'd like to take on the challenge, please do; and let me know about it so I can read all about it. :-)

Wendy Darling

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm back. :-) Did you miss me?

It has been about a week since I last posted. Sorry about that. Last week was pretty busy. I have several things to share, but rather than stuff it all into one post I will spread it out for you over this week. (That way I am guaranteed to have something to blog about) :-)

That sounds like a song.... "Let's give them something to blog about...." Oh, I kid. I know that isn't how the song goes.

Now I have that song going through my head and it won't go away... Bonnie Raitt totally rocked on that song, y'all. :-)

Anyway, last week was Vacation Bible School at our church. I did the crafts for the 3rd-5th graders. It was sure bliss I assure you. I haven't seen 80 kids use so much glue in a long time. I can honestly say I can wait another year to see it again. Seriously, it wasn't too bad. The best part is that several children did get saved last week, so any time I spent with the annoying children was totally worth it.

We used the "Outrigger Island" VBS theme this year. I loved it! :-) Our volcano actually had smoke coming out of it. The kindergartners and I were completely awestruck. :-) If a church near you is using it I encourage you to take your children, and hang around yourself. It is a lot of fun. :-)

Also, I was on TV last week, y'all. Let me explain...

You know I am a volunteer with "Soldiers' Angels", and I am passionate about this organization. I am for whatever supports our troops. So, I contacted a local news station and told them they should do a segment about it. I sent them the info and thought , "They'll look it up, do a nice little story about it and we will get lots of new volunteers."

About a month later they contacted me. On Wednesday of last week I got an e-mail saying, "Please call me. I want to interview you."

Interview? Me? I was scared.

I called and the lady was very nice. We set up a meeting for the next afternoon at 12:30 pm. I got home from VBS about 12:15. I touched up my make-up, double checked the room we would interview in to make sure it was clean/straightened. I looked at the clock and realized I had 5 whole minutes.

What does a girl do with 5 minutes? I plugged in my curling iron, brushed my hair out and prayed for them to be late. :-) It worked and my hair looked much better than it did. If you are just really wanting to see it go here.

If you have not yet checked out "Soldiers' Angels" please do. We can use all of the volunteers we can get. :-)

So, that has been my week, and explains why I didn't post. ;-) I'll tell you about my weekend tomorrow.

Wendy Darling

Monday, June 09, 2008

I am very honored!

honored me with The Sharing the Love award. I am very honored.
It was created by Crystal at Memoir's of a Mommy. She created it to honor the donor of the heart for son's transplant. You can read more about it there. Just click on the above link. Her intention is to raise awareness for organ donation.

Once you receive it, you are to pass it along. She says,

"SHARE THE LOVE!!! Share this award with all those blogs out there that you love. All the people who make you smile. All those that make you laugh. "

So, I am passing this on to Cleggy, Cheri, BooMama, Big Mama, DeeDee and MBI. :-) Thank you for always bringing a smile to my face. :-)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I was SO in LOVE with Shaun Cassidy...

Isn't it amazing that a memory of one thing will bring up memories of something totally unrelated to the first memory? Earlier tonight we watched a rerun of "Welcome Back Kotter". I used to love that show, and I wondered what happened to those actors, so I looked them up on Internet Movie Database. That led me to think about songs from the 70s that I really enjoyed, so I began looking up videos on YouTube. I watched Leif Garrett, the DeFranco Family and others; but NONE were as good as Shaun Cassidy. At least, that is what I thought when I was about 8.

I remember watching the Hardy Boys, and even at such a young age I swooned over "Joe." ;-) So, what is a girl to do? I looked up Shaun Cassidy videos on YouTube. I found quite a few. ;-) Not only music videos, but someone was kind enough to post all of the episodes of the "Last Kiss of Summer". ALL 18 , 5 minute segments. And I watched them all.

ALL people.

Because I am obsessive like that.

It is now 1:00 am, and I am blogging about it. How sad is that?! I remember when I watched it the first time. I was so young, and I still remember the feeling of that knot I got in my stomach when I watched Joe and Jamie at there wedding rehearsal. I hid my face when he kissed her. (Jealousy is an ugly thing.)

So, for all of you Shaun Cassidy fans, here is a video. :-) AND, just a sidenote here, I have a question for any of you with a Tween in your household who forces you to watch "Zack and Cody" a zillion times a day; "Don't the twins look like they have Shaun's hair from back then? Seriously."

Wendy Darling

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Home from Camp...

"Little Mark" came home from camp today. :-) They had a great time, and even won "Group of the Day" yesterday. :-) The theme this year was "The Way", and he came home telling us so much of what he learned that I thought I would share it with you. The following is taken straight from their website, and if you want to know more about "Student Life for Kids" just click on the "camp" link above. :-)

Life is a journey full of choices. And everyone is going somewhere. Some take an easy path, the others a road less traveled. One leads to destruction, the other to life. Which way are you going?

People from all ages have had to decide how to deal with this choice. Back in the day—when the church was just getting started—before the word “Christian” was in the picture, people who followed Jesus were simply called “followers of the Way.”

The disciples—the ones we know as “the 12,” set the pace when they left their boats, nets, families and friends to follow Christ. They were obedient and they exemplified how believers are to follow. And that’s how the movement began.

It was radical. And so it was described in Acts 19:23---“About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.”

What about for you? Does your life’s direction cause a disturbance? Or are you content to go with the flow? Jesus told the story in Matthew 7:14, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” He knows the challenge and has provided all we need to follow him.

The initial decision to follow Christ is pivotal without a doubt, but as long as we are in this world we are constantly deciding which nature to feed, what god to serve, which way to go. It’s a process.

Student Life Camp ’08 will provide an opportunity to step back, check the landscape of life across the ages, evaluate where you are and how to walk in The Way today.


Wendy Darling

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A list/And a milestone is reached...

It's been a long day, and I am behind on posting, so I am reduced to listing today's adventures. (Try to control your excitement) :-)

"Angel" came to our home again this morning. (Did I mention I am baby-sitting through the summer?) I am. Apparently she has been sick for a couple of weeks; but we are just learning of it. She has a rather bad cough which I am sure is from allergies. Her personality really blossomed this last year at pre-school. Unfortunately, so did her attitude. NOT good.

Also, the child will not have anything to do with clothes or toys if it does not have a picture of a superhero on it; preferably Spiderman or Batman. She even wears boy pajamas, because "girl pajamas have princess stuff" and she doesn't like that. Her mother told me that my mission this summer is to convince her she is a girl. Angel's mission is to prove me wrong. :-)

Can I just quickly say how HOT and HUMID it is here in East TX? Well, it is! I am trying really hard not to complain, because our soldiers are sweltering in higher temps with no air conditioning , and other places in the world are dealing with devastation from earthquakes and tornadoes, so I really have no right to complain over some heat and humidity. OK, I'll stop now.

"Little Mark" left for church camp yesterday, and it sounds like he is having a really great time. ;-) I never went to church camp, but Cleggy and my younger sister did. They even had a rather famous singer for their music leader. It was Al Denson. I always loved his songs, "Nothing Can Separate Us" and "Thin Ice". VERY much '80s music, but great songs. ;-)

I did reach a milestone! It probably means nothing to you, and shouldn't mean anything to me, but for some reason it makes me smile... I have had over 1000 views on my profile. (I know, I am being shallow.) But, it is kind of neat to think that people from all over the world have visited my blog. Oh, I know several were by accident when they were looking up other things like the lyrics to "Shine Down" by Sandi Patti, or "hope you are doing well"...but still, it's neat. :-)

I'll leave you with an Al Denson video. :-)
Wendy Darling

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Soldiers' Angels Cookie Cook Book

I wanted to let you all know about an amazing cook book that has just been published. It is a cook book filled with recipes of cookies, brownies, bar cookies, etc. It is simply amazing. It was put together by Soldiers' Angels.

The money raised from the sale of the cook book will be used to help our soldiers and their families. You can order it here.

The recipes in the cook book were submitted by not only Soldiers' Angels volunteers, but also celebrities (such as Dolly Parton and Paula Deen) and also political figures (like Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchins of TX). I think this combination of submissions is simply amazing!! It is a true example of "everyday Americans" coming together to help the heroes we support so proudly. :-)

If you are a collector of cook books, like me, then this one is a MUST HAVE, and you will be helping out our heroes at the same time. :-) Please, check it out.

Wendy Darling
"Bees"... the finale (we hope)

Well, the "bee keeper" came back this morning as promised. He managed to get the board off of the roof in one peace and...... the bees were gone. He "shot smoke" further into the roof and down the wall and nothing came out. Nothing made noise. Nothing was there.

There were still a few bees in that same area, flying in and out of the hole, but the colony was GONE.

I kept asking, "Are you sure they aren't further down the roof or walls?" He said, "No, they wouldn't do that." He even showed me where they started making a hive. Just little dots really, but it was a start. He then said, "For some reason they changed their mind and moved on." I asked him, "then why are the other bees still here?" He said they could very well be scouts from a second colony, and they were attracted to the little hive that had been started. UH OH!

So, he put everything back together and even sealed up the two holes for us. So, no more bees in that spot! :-) We are so thankful it wasn't any worse.

We do have his number, and if I ever see a colony like that, again, I am calling him immediately to come and get them. He did say that "bee moving season" is about over. Late May/June they already have their homes and thankfully it isn't with us. :-) Hopefully, that is the end of the bee story.

On another note, I did take "Little Mark" to see "Caspian" last night. I didn't tell him anything about it, or give him my opinion on the movie, because I wanted his honest opinion of it. His opinion is "I like the book better, but the movie is okay." I have to admit that I did like it a little better the second time around. I guess because the first time I spent so much time going "that wasn't in the book!" I still like the book a lot better, but it was okay.

I did get rather upset with the movie theater though, for several reasons. First, while waiting in line to buy our tickets to see the movie "Little Mark" spent most of the time watching the trailers for other movies on the monitors. He kept repeating, "I can't see that" and "I want to see that." Why is it that almost every movie trailer they showed was for a rated "R" movie?

Then, when we got in the theater we sat through 15 minutes of Verizon commercials. I kid you not! 3 "mini movies" that were commercials for Verizon. Then, in the last commercial they were playing a song called "No sex for Ben." This, before a "family" movie. To say I was annoyed is an understatement. "Little Mark" even looked over at me and commented, "Uh, that is NOT appropriate to play. There are kids in here." He then motioned to younger children sitting in the row in front of us. I was already cringing, because I didn't want to hear a song like that either.

Then, they had to spend another 20 minutes showing commercials for shows airing on ABC. I assume this is because it was a "Disney" movie and "Disney" owns ABC. Even "Little Mark" became very agitated at this. But, once we sat through about 15 minutes of coming attractions the movie finally began. What is it with the movie industry/movie theaters? Which one is to blame for all of that nonsense/inappropriate ads?

We don't go to the movies very often, so this may be something that everyone is used to and I am just now being exposed to it. I am afraid that our "movie theater" experience may be coming to a close anyway. Many in our family just cannot go to the movies anymore, because the volume is SO LOUD. I was almost at that point last night. It was rather loud. Granted, the quality of the film/sound was much better than what you get on a TV, but when it is so loud you can't enjoy it then it is a waste of money to go. So, I am afraid we are now going to have to wait for things to come out on DVD, or go to the drive-in, so we can control the volume. :-) We'll just have to see.

How about you? Can you go to the show, or do you wait for DVD?

Wendy Darling