Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This is my 700th post.

That's just crazy.

700 posts of recipes, randomness, and rambling.

But since it's a milestone, let's do something fun.

Leave a comment telling me one goal you have for the next year
and I'll randomly choose a winner
and send the winner a special treat!

(You can also leave a suggestion for what you think the treat should be!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Morning Question of the Day

I'm visiting my sweetest friend Dory this week and am having a ball.
We purposefully planned not to do much- to just hang out. 
It's a joy to just sit around and talk and laugh and visit, in person. 

So my question today is
What's one thing you think we should do
 this week while we are together?

Friday, December 25, 2009

O Holy Night

Wishing you sweet memeories, blessings
 and abundant joy this Christmas morning.
Merry Christmas!

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh hear the angel voices!
Oh night divine! Oh night when Christ was born!
Oh night divine! Oh night! Oh night divine!

Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother,
and in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his holy name.
Christ is the lord, that ever, ever praise we.
Noel! Noel! Oh night;oh night divine!
Noel! Noel! Oh night; oh night divine!
Noel! Noel! Oh night; oh night divine!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 16 Tea of the year. 
My favorite tea is one sold only during this holiday season.
It's Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride Tea and it is YUMMY!

December 17 Word or phrase.
A word that encapsulates your year. "2009 was _____."

December 18 Shop.
Online or offline, where did you spend most of your mad money this year?
To be 100% honest I would have to say most of my mad money
was spent at Sonic, the nail salon, and on trips to see my sweetest friend Dory.
 (BTW.....did I mention I get to see her in only 3 days? I CAN'T WAIT!!)

December 19 Car ride. What did you see? How did it smell?
Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with?
Madison and I drove to visit Dory and her family
this past summer and we had a great time.
For the first time I ever, I let her ride in the front seat.
Although I was worried about her safety,
I have to admit that we had some fabulous conversations,
lots of laughs, and some great memories.
It was a long drive- 5 states in one day- but one I won't ever forget!

December 20 New person.
I've been blessed to have made several new friends this year-
Jamee, Karen, Erin, and Mary Beth to name just a few. 
So blessed to have each of them in my life!

December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you're proud of?
I started a new technology blog
technology rocks. seriously. 
 and I am proud of it-
and have lots of ideas and plans for it in the coming year!

December 22 Startup. What's a business that you found this year that you love?
Who thought it up? What makes it special?
I love love love Etsy.
Etsy is a site where you can buy some of the
most amazing handmade items. 
If you don't know about it- be warned.

Once you click on that link and start looking at all of the amazing items
you can buy, you will be clicking away for hours and hours.

Christmas Swap

My sweet friend Becca organized a Christmas Swap that was so fun!

It's always so fun to pack up a box of goodies and
then wait for a box to show up on your front porch! So fun!

I was lucky enough to get a fabulous package from
Lori of Beyond Dirt that was full of goodies!

She sent me:
  • some yummy caramel corn
  • a jar of cowboy cookie mix
  • a jar of hot chocolate mix
  • a CD of family recipes (LOVE LOVELOVE this!)
  • an adorable Christmas apron and pot holder (I LOVE aprons)
  • yummy smelling Bath and Body Works lotion, shower gel, and hand sanitizer
  • some yummy fudge
Thank you so much Lori- what a fabulous package!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not that I'm excited or anything but.......

Monday Morning Question of the Day- Christmas

I love Christmas music.
From the traditional carols like We Wish You a Merry Christmas,
to the classic hymns like Silent Night,
to the current day songs like Mary Did You Know-
I love them all!

What's your favorite Christmas song?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Flashback Friday- Christmas

This picture was taken on Madison's first Christmas morning. 

These gifts were ALL for Madison-
and there were actually more to the side of her
that you can't see in this picture.

She was the first grandchild on both sides of the family,
and she had a RIDICULOUS amount of gifts. 
So many that she actually fell asleep opening them and
we had to do it in three different groups. 
Bless her heart, it was exhausting. 

I love the sweet look on Maddie's face in this picture. 
Between he cute expression and 
the adorable little holly tights she had on,
this is one of my all time favorites!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Unattended Children

Saw this sign in a store today and it cracked me UP!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 13, 14, and 15

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 13 What's the best change you made to the place you live?
We didn't make tons of big changes this year
but I did finish redecorating my guest room.
It has my super cute craft table in it and
is such a peaceful and calm room that I absolutely love!
We also spray painted our china cabinet and
I LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out!
Sometimes, it really is the little things!

December 14 Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?
Um....I'm drawing a blank on this one. Sorry.

December 15 Best packaging.
Did your headphones come in a sweet case?
See a bottle of tea in another country that stood off the shelves?
I love cute packaging and have even been known to purchase an item simply for the container it came in. But to be honest, I can't think of anything other than the fact that I found a spaghetti sauce that I like that comes in a cute glass jar that I've been saving to use for awhile now. I purposefully buy this particular brand so that I can have the cute jars. Silly huh?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Morning Question of the Day

When I was a child, my sweet mother would paint
wooden Christmas ornaments
(cut out by my sweet Daddy) each year for
the classmates of both my sister and I.

My mother was a very talented painter and would sit
for hours on the couch painting something.
(In fact, in my mind- that's often the picture I have of her in my head.
Sitting on the couch painting or reading a book. With a glass of sweet tea beside her. )  

I have friends who still to this day have some of those
 Snoopy and Ziggy (obviously this was LONG ago) ornaments.  

This was such a fun tradition and something
we looked forward to each year. 

When Madison was born, my mom 
decided to continue this tradtion with her. 
The ornaments she painted for her and her friends are adorable
and are now my absolutely favorites. 

As I hang them on the tree each year it 
breaks my heart that there are only a few.
They truly are some of my greatest treasures-
because they were painted with such love.

So what is your favorite ornament on your tree
and is there a special reason why?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Invisible Woman

Do you ever feel invisible?
I do, and if you do too, then this is for you.
It's a beautiful reminder that what we do, is for Him.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 10, 11, and 12

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 10
Album of the Year- what's rocking your world?

Truthfully, I'm not a big album person. 
I listen to a Christian music station out of
Houston KSBJ basically all of the time. 
I'm not a big cd or itunes buyer-
because KSBJ is so great and plays the latest music and it's fabulous
(by the way, they have live streaming so you can listen no matter where you live from your computer)

If I had to pick an album (do people still call them that?)
I'd have to pick the last one I purchased,
Francesca Battistelli's My Paper Heart.
Beautiful singing, fun tunes, and a wonderful message.

December 11
The Best Place- A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook?

The Best Place of the year for me would have to be my sweet friend Betty's country house.  It 's a place that for some reason is truly a retreat for me. It relaxes me like no where else.  It's absolutely beautiful, it's out in the country, and it's a place where I feel like I can truly slow down.  The moment I drive though the gate,
it seems like the stress just oozes out of me.

December 12
New food- What food are you now in love with that you
didn't even know what it was in January of this year?

I'm not a very adventurous eater-
because I am actually a little alot picky.
I can't think of any new food that I tried this year that I liked-
probably because I wasn't brave enough to try a new food. 
Maybe next year?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback Friday- Christmas

This was my sweet girl at 6 months with my dad,
 dressed up like Santa Claus.
I love the sweet look on her face.
(and I had a matching denim and black dress that I also wore with black tights- isn't that a hoot?)

This picture always makes me laugh!
It was taken at the nursery at church and
I think Miss Madison was a bit tired at this point. 
She only has one shoe on and the look on her face is adorable.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Randomness on a Thursday Evening

1. I've had serious trouble sleeping lately-waking up around 2:45am each night- as have had many of my friends.  I wonder if it has to do with the many, many things we have to do this time of year?  Last night I was so tired after many nights in a row of only about 3 hours of sleep and I knew I had to get some good sleep.  I read recently that they have done studies that if you wear socks to bed, you will sleep better because you will be warmer. So, I decided to give it shot and guess what? It worked! I'm sure the simply sleep helped too- but I think I'll keep wearing the socks and see if it makes a difference. 

2. Those inflatable Christmas decorations in yards all over town? They kinda creep me out when they are laying down in yards deflated because they look like they are dead.  Blecht.

3. I rang the Salvation Army bell last night in front of our local store that starts with a Wal and ends with a Mart.  Now, I find that highly ironice since I do like that W store, but even though it was COLD, we had a ball! Here are my observations from last night:

  • All but 2 people smiled and/or spoke to us when we greeted
    them with "Merry Christmas"

  • Lots of college boys wear shorts when it's 38 degrees.  LOTS.

  • Most people with kids give money - especially those with small children

  • Most college kids give (which we thought was awesome & shocking)

  • I'm such a fired up bell ringer that I broke a bell!

  • A girl walked in wearing booty shorts and Uggs boots- and it was 38 degrees!

  • The big brother of the Six Flags commerical guy works at our W store. Who knew?


4. I made these soft mint chocolate chip cookies recently and they are the best SOFT chocolate chip cookies I've ever eaten. I was very hesitant to try the recipe since it called for melted butter but I tried them and they are fabulous.

5. My husband is ADDICTED to Farmtown and Farmville on Facebook. Farming? Online? I so do NOT get it.  The other night I asked him to do something and he actually said
"Well, let me go check my farms first." Seriously.

6. This version of the 12 Days of Christmas is truly amazing! LOVE it!


7. Holley has done it again. It's like she wrote this post  just to me. It's beautifully written (as are all of Holley's posts) and as the queen of saying "I'm fine" it was definitely something I needed to read.

8. My daddy just called and asked me how to make gravy.
 How sweet is that? I love that man to pieces.
My mom would be so proud.

The Best of 2009- December 9

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 9
Something that really made you grow this year.
That made you go to your edge and then some.
What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

My new job as a technology specialist for two elementary schools has absolutely been a challenge this year- but one that I have LOVED.

There is so much I do not know and I have so, so, so
 much still to learn but I truly adore that!
I truly think learning new things keeps you young.

Although I am mentally exhausted at the end of most days,
I absolutely love it and feel so blessed to have my job!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So.............what do you think?

How do you like my new look?

Sweet Michelle at Polka Dot Dandy did my makeover and
I big puffy heart LOVE it!

Michelle is precious and an absolutely a DREAM to work with!!

She also did my NEW work related blog-

So what do you think?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 8

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 8
Moment of Peace
An hour or a day or a week of solitude.
What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

A week of solitude?
I honestly can't imagine that.

Thankfully I have had many moments of peace this year, but can't think of one that stands out above the others.

I've had some super peaceful and relaxing moments.
I've had moments of peace while getting a massage, while visiting my inlaws (for some reason I seriously relax when I am there), while visiting my sweet friend Betty's country house, while visiting my sweet friend Gina, and manywhile just sitting in silence with God's word and listening to Him.

It's funny but when I was younger I HATED solitude. I absolutely never wanted to be alone and certainly never wanted it to be quiet. But as I've aged, that has changed. I truly relish and savor those quiet, still moments and pray I have many more in 2009.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 7

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 7
Blog Find of the Year
The gem of a blog that you can't believe you didn't
know about until this year.

I read lots and lots of blogs. And I love them all.
Some are real life friends. Some are mom blogs. Some are crafty blogs. Some are photography blogs. Some are cooking blogs. Some are technology blogs. Some are inspirational blogs.

If I listed them all in my sidebar, this page would be L-O-N-G.

To pick one new one from this year is such a difficult task. 
Impossible really.  
I don't think I can just pick one- but I can pick two.

One of my favorite blogs that I started reading this past year is

She's a fabulous writer who works as Senior Editorial Director and Writer for DaySpring (one of my favorite all time companies) and (in)courage. I love her honesty, her vulnerability, her faith, her heart. She truly inspires me!

Reading Holley's blog has lead me to another of my favorite new blogs of the year- (in)courage

(in)courage is an amazing website full of
things written by fabulous Christian bloggers.
It is such an inspirational and amazing blog- I never leave there without feeling God has spoken directly to me. 
It truly blesses me each and every single time I visit there.

Monday Morning Question of the Day

I absolutely LOVE the Christmas season and all that it involves.
Shopping, cooking, decorating, wrapping, singing, partying,
and celebrating our Savior's birth are some of
my absolutely favorite things to do.

One of my VERY favorite things to do during this time of year is
to sit in the living room with all the lights off except for the tree,
all snuggled up under a warm blanket,
and watch Christmas movie after Christmas movie.

Add in a little hot chocolate (or Diet Coke) and
it is a perfect way to spend a rainy/cold afternoon!

So what about you?

What is one of your favorite things to do during the Christmas season?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 6

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 6
Workshop or Conference
Was there a conference or workshop that
you attended that was especially beneficial?
Where was it? What did you learn?

I've been blessed this year with a new job
as a Technology Integration Specialist-
a job that I absolutely LOVE!

As a result, I've been to quite a few conferences and workshop
(Smart Response, Smart Board, ipods & Flip Cams, Moodle to name a few)
and learn so very much at each and every single one.
I learn fabulous new ways to use to technology and in turn I get to show my teachers how to integrate that technology into their classrooms.

I truly love learning new things and
would go to a workshop each week if I could.
I've got several scheduled for next year and
can't wait to see what I get to learn next year!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 5

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 5
Night Out
Did you have a night out with friends or a loved one that rocked your world?
Who was there?
What was the highlight of the night?

I've been thinking about this all day long and I know I've had lots of fabulous evenings but I can not for the life of me just pick one.
I'm blessed to have lots and lots and lots of wonderful evenings full of laughter with friends and family.
To pick one as the best is just impossible!

I'd say that makes me pretty darn lucky!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 4

I'm doing The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 4
What book- fiction or nonfiction- touched you?
Where were you when you read it?
Have you bought and given away multiple copies?

My favorite book of the year had to be

It's an amazing and thought provoking story-
one that I've thought about many, many, many times since reading.

It's a book I want others to read so that I can discuss it with them.
I loved it so much that I had my book club read it in
March which lead to some interesting discussions.
I've also shared it with several friends who have in turn shared it with others.

In fact, if you would like to read it,
let me know and I'll send you my copy to read!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Best of 2009- December 3

I'm doing the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge by Gwen Bell.

December 3
What's an article that you read that blew you away? That you shared with all your friends. That you referenced throughout the year.

I think the article that really stuck with me, one that I read many times
and shared with friends was
I Have a Confession by Holley.

It stuck with me because there was
so much truth, so much honest, so much of the struggles I face daily in it.
Because being a woman is tough. Super stinkin' tough.

I struggled daily with being enough.
With living up to the expectations of those around me
and the ones I set for myself.

Because I worry about what people think about what I do, what I don't do, what I wear, what I say, how I look, how much I weigh, how I mother, how I keep my house, how I live my life, how I live my faith. I worry about everything.

I worry that in comparison I will fall short. That if people knew the "real" me, they wouldn't like me at all.

Holley's article reminded me of the truth.

The truth that we are beautiful, wonderfully made, and cherished by Him.

The truth that we are chosen, created,
and have all we need to fulfill God's plans for our lives.
He has made us exactly how He wanted us to be.

And in His eyes, the eyes of the only one that truly matters, we ARE enough.

Randomness on a Thursday Morning

1. Enough about Tiger Woods- please leave him and his wife alone. He obviously did something wrong- something I do not condone or approve of in any way, form or fashion. And I know he is a public figure and part of that means sharing your life- the good and the bad- with the world. But seriously....do we really need to know every single sordid detail? I truly do not. As someone who was once in a marriage where infidelity occurred I can tell you that when other people find out- it is horrific and embarrassing and mortifying- and my experience was a regular person. I can not being to imagine how awful it would have it spread all over the TV, Internet, and paper. If Tiger and his wife have any chance of saving their marriage, everyone needs to give them the time and space to do it- and pray heavily for them. Okay....getting off my soapbox now.

2. I love love love this time of year and the colder weather is FABULOUS. I've always thought I would love to live where it was colder but I think I have changed my mind. My friend Debbie moved to Montana earlier this year and when I looked on my phone this morning and saw this was her current temp
I decided I was happy here in Texas. Negative degrees? I can't even begin to comprehend that. If it was that cold I would be a hermit who never went anywhere. A FAT cold hermit because I love all the cold weather food and would cook it all the time.

3. The Pumpkin Smash smoothie at Jamba Juice is AWESOME. It's like pumpkin pie in a cup. YUMMY!

4. Why can't you smell your own perfume? I wear it everyday and sometimes can't remember if I have put it on and have to smell my own wrist. Sometimes I can't smell it but when I ask Tony or Maddie they can. Why is that?

5. I'm starting another blog- one where I can post sites and resources for the teachers at my school and I need a name for it. I posted my plea for help on Facebook yesterday and got tons of responses- but still can't decide on one. I got some input from teachers who said that having the word tech in the title might scare some teachers off so I'm trying to stay away from it. I want it to be something people can remember and something cute (of course). So I've been trying to think of something more general. Maybe with one (or more) of these words: seriously (I actually thought of just calling it this since I say it all the time. seriously.), nerd, geek, dork, (Madison thinks I am all those things for starting a blog about technology stuff :), random (because I am), or Long (since it's my last name). Any suggestions?

6. Is it a rule at your house that the first person who arrives home turns on the Christmas lights? It is at mine but for some reason no one but me seems to know this rule. I LOVE coming home to a lit up tree and house. LOVE it. A tree with the lights off is just plain old sad.

7. For some holiday fun check out the Reindeer Holiday Orchestra. So so so so fun! Be sure to turn on your sound!

8. Can't stop a list on an odd number (unless it's 5) because I'm a tad OCD... so I here's a funny video that you may have already seen but I hadn't. It's by the Improv Everywhere group that does fun pranks in New York and videotapes them. This one is a hoot!

Happy Thursday!