Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Lisa at Clusterfook is about to die from ovarian cancer. She has candidly blogged about her experience as a dying mother leaving behind two young girls and husband. Her blog was just updated and she is in her last days - she is in severe pain, in and out of consciousness, and no longer recognizes her family. I can't imagine what those girls are going through, but they need our prayers!
Cody Johnson and family- I know they were on here last week, but things have gotten worse. The family took a last vacation to the beach, but they're having to return early because Cody is not doing well. He is in constant pain and has lost his zest for life -they are thinking that the end is very near.
Gwendolyn Strong and family - Baby Gwendolyn suffers from SMA, a degenerative and lethal disease, that is the number one genetic killer of all babies under the age of two. Her parents only hope is for a cure- which is right around the corner! The NIH has said that out of all the diseases - that is the one they are the closest to curing! There is currently a petition to move landmark legislation through Congress that will allocate federal resources to non-profit and research organizations focused on finding a treatment and/or cure for SMA. They need 100,000 votes and they're over half way there. I added a button in my sidebar to the petition or you can go HERE Please check out her website and sign the petition- it's not often that you have a chance to do more than pray but here it is- it just takes a minute to sign!
This is her new thing- wiping her nose after she sneezes. She likes to make a big production of blowing her nose afterward. The whole process can take a few minutes!
I made these red velvet cupcakes a few weeks ago and Spencer really loved them! Of course she likes anything with sugar, so it's not that hard to please her in the sweets department. Recipe from here
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 pound cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Tooth pick test before removing from oven and cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat til combined. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry. I used red sprinkles because Spencer doesn't eat nuts and fresh produce that tastes good costs an arm and a leg in the winter.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Doing my part to stimulate the economy! I think the best one here is from restaurant.com- $25 gift certificates to a ton of restaurants are only $2.50!
Coldwater Creek - 25% off entire order with coupon code: wkh1490
The Childrens Place - 15% off entire order with coupon code: SA29
Ann Taylor - 20% off your entire order, exp 3/01/2009, with coupon code: 98200125
American Apparrel - 15% off entire order, exp. 2/28/2009, with coupon code: e165-fp61534
Bloomingdales 10% any gift item from a registry, with coupon code: BWCNEXT
Hot Topic - 20% off entire order, with coupon code: WELCOME
Restaurant.com - Receive 80% off $25 gift certificates, exp. 2/28/09, with coupon code: DINE
Amazon - 40% off select grocery items, exp. 3/06/09, with coupon code: FBCLEVNT
Lord & Taylor - 40% off ALL clearance items, exp. 3/03/09, with coupon code: FINAL
The Scholastic Store - 20% off any purchase $49 or more, exp. 2/28/09, with coupon code: COUPWIN
Boden - Buy 3 items, get the 4 one for FREE, with coupon code: AH90400C
My Grandpa was a very intelligent man that loved baseball. He LOVED the "Cubbies," as he called them, and anxiously awaited baseball season every year. He played the snare drum in the Army's "Drum and Bugle Corps.," and still remembered almost all of the French he learned while stationed in Paris in WWII. He voted in every election and befriended every dog he ever met. (My Josie dog was his favorite and she was crazy about him!) He would called me "Bu-fee-ul" because I started calling him "Beautiful" when I was two, only it came out "Bu-fee-ul." He read the newspaper every day, even as his health declined and it would take him almost all day to do so. He cried the day that he took me aside to tell me my Grandma had Alzheimer's Disease.
My Grandpa's death was different than any of my other grandparents because he was ready to go; he wanted to be with his Honey. When my Grandma passed away, nine months before Grandpa (5/05), the light in his eyes left, his purpose for being here, gone. Each week that he could, he would buy three perfect red roses and set them by her chair. Red roses were her favorite.
When my aunt was very young, my grandparents brought her with them to the mall one day. Somehow they got separated and they had always told her if that happened, she should stay put and they would find her. She was scared and sat down underneath of a circular clothes rack. My grandparents were searching for her when all of a sudden they heard a little voice saying "Honey, I'm here Honey," and "Honey, Honey, Honey!"
She was just a little girl and she thought her parents real names were Honey, because that's how they always spoke to each other. They held hands, he always got out and opened her car door, she kept the red dress she was wearing the night they met. They were married for 60 years, (60 years!) and I never remember them fighting. He loved her; loved her in the way all women want to be loved.
My Grandma died when I was six months pregnant with Spencer. She had Alzheimer's Disease, and at the end her mind was locked in the past. She spoke to her Honey like they were still newlyweds living in New Jersey. She never knew I was pregnant, but my Grandpa liked to think that primordial Spencer and my Grandma got to know each other then, in Heaven.
I knew that he was going to die and I was at peace with that. He believed his Love was waiting for him, was anxiously anticipating his arrival, and he had never- could never- disappoint her. My Grandma was one of the luckiest ladies in the world- she was loved for 60 years by a great man who spent his life faithfully devoted to her.
Happy Birthday Grandpa, I Love You!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Thank you, Katie (not me Katie, her Katie)!
Her first Birthday
I've gotten a couple of emails requesting some more green earrings, a la Angelina Jolie. A few of these are more expensive than the last batch, but there are some really good deals, too!
So back by popular demand, haha, pretty, fake, inexpensive, green earrings!
(Click on the pictures to take to the earrings.)
My Dad, originally from New Jersey - my Mema lovingly referred to him as Yankee- is Catholic. One of the stipulations my dad had to agree to when he married my mom, was that the children would be raised in her faith.
Oddly enough, this never provided any real confusion for me, if anything I liked that I got learn about another view point of Christianity. My grandparents were the real deal, the old-school - wish-masses-were-in-Latin, kind of Catholics. The never ate meat on Fridays, ever- and they gave up meat for all of Lent.
In the Baptist faith, or at least the one where I was raised, there is no observing of Lent. There was never any mention of it, as Christ did all the sacrifice for us, there was no need to sacrifice now. But secretly, I was always jealous when I would hear my friends and family talk about what they were giving up. It was like a bonding experience for them and provided many an awkward moment when they'd ask me what I was giving up. They knew I was a Christian, but when I'd say that we (Baptists) don't do Lent, I could read that their minds were saying "Oh, she's one of those Christians."
Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that used to be such an assured Christian, I didn't doubt what I believed- I knew it was true. I made it through all of high school and college without a doubt that entrance into Heaven required acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, that He died on the Cross at Calvary to save us from our sins, and that without Him we were doomed. I even went on a missions trip to Peru to help spread and preach the Gospel.
I had so many questions, but no answers. Nothing would infuriate me more than having someone tell me "His Ways are not our ways." I became furious with my mom for raising me the way she did, because I was forever ruined - there was no way I could reconcile what I had been taught was true with what I actually believed was true. Even if I could convince myself that I had found "the real truth" there would always be that voice in the back of my head saying "this is wrong."
Since I had Spencer, my faith crisis has changed and evolved. I don't want to raise her with a constant fear of burning in Hell for all eternity, but at the same time, I know it's my duty to make sure she is raised to love and know the Lord and for her to know and believe she needs salvation. It's something I think about all the time, going around and around.
In the last few months I have begun feeling a shift. This entire time I have been using the excuse that since I no longer believe what I was taught, but also unable to actually disbelieve it enough to have faith in something else, then I'll just believe in nothing. But this hasn't worked for me either, especially since I don't really believe "in nothing." In my heart I do believe in "Something."
One of the main things I dislike the most about my spiritual upbringing beliefs, is the constant focus on the afterlife, that this is Satan's world and as Christians we should not be of the world. But I am of this world, I was born here for a reason and I don't think the only reason I'm here is so that I can go to Heaven one day. I believe that as a Christian the most important work you can do on this Earth is be an example of God's love- helping others, giving of yourself to those in need.
I've always been taught that good works will not get you into Heaven, so much so that it seemed that doing good works was wrong. One particular message that I remember vividly, was about NOT donating money to charities- donate to God. I guess I understand the original concept behind this (not letting good works trick people into thinking they're going to Heaven) but the execution of it went a bit awry.
I let all these things get in the way of, and almost destroy, my faith in God and Jesus. But, No More!
I have deeply missed the comfort of believing in something, I have missed not being able to pray because I was afraid if I prayed something terrible would happen. If lukewarm Christianity was akin to dog vomit, then I would just be icy cold; but this hasn't worked for me either.
I have been doing a lot of soul searching, book searching, Bible searching, Internet searching, and I think I'm ready to go back to church, to go back to God. I want to be challenged spiritually, but also challenged to be the best version of myself here on Earth.
For the first time in years I'm excited about my faith again. I still have a long way to go, a LONG way, before I'll be able to put aside the years I've spent putting up a wall against all things related to my Christian beliefs. But it's a start. A start that I felt important to share with you, Internet, on this first day of Lent.
I'm not giving anything up for Lent, instead I'm giving something to myself.
I'm going to pray.
I haven't said a real prayer in a long time but the "effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." I really feel that the best way to restart my relationship 2.0, with Him, is to spend some time everyday with Him in an "effectual fervent prayer" and I'm hoping the righteous part will start to happen.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Oh, how I wish I had her eyelashes. They've been that long since she was born- it was actually the first thing I noticed about her when she was placed on my chest in the hospital. I asked her pediatrician at her first appointment "she's not going to lose those eyelashes, right? It's not like her baby hair, right?"
My doctor laughed and said, "No, they're sticking with her."
This is the end of my Academy Awards review, the worst dresses. I always feel badly when I don't like how someone dresses, because I know they probably tried to pick out something that was fashionable, but also true to their own preferences and personality. But sometimes the execution of an outfit just doesn't work out the way it was supposed to and sometimes the outfits are just plain ugly. We are all guilty of wearing "questionable" at some point or another in our lives, at least I know I've worn some terrible outfits! But, you have to make a few mistakes a long the way- trial and error is what helps us grow and learn. Keeping that in mind, here is my worst dressed offenders list,
I don't think I have the proper vocabulary to adequately explain how much I hate Beyonce's dress. My very first thought when I saw it was "Scarlett O'Hara's made-from-curtains-dress puts this to shame!" In my opinion, it looks exactly like they used a pair of curtains/draperies, and made that frock. She is so pretty, and only 27, why does she like to wear dresses that make her look so old?
I was also not a huge fan of Melissa George's dress. She looks very pretty, but to me, it's very "wedding dress gone wrong."
I thought this dress was all wrong, all the way around- although the color does look nice on her. But I think it looks like they took some satin sheets and draped, folded, tied, and tucked into a dress. And what exactly is that thing in the front supposed to be?
I know Heidi Klum likes to be "fashion forward" and a lot of times she takes some good risks and succeeds, but not this time. It's not that it's even a particularly ugly dress, it's just not pretty- although it is a very nice color on her.
I'm not sure why Bridget Fonda's stylist would ever choose this dress for anyone because it's just not pretty. The cut of the dress isn't flattering and the print isn't either. It's not even interestingly ugly, it's just wrong all the way around. Sorry Bridget, I wish your return to the red carpet had been a bit more successful.
Tilda's Swenson usually wears the worst outfits, but I actually think this is one of her better ones - it's feminine and flattering. So I feel badly that she is going into the worst category, but her hair and makeup were not good. It makes her look very severe, which is a shame, because I thought this was such a good look for her.
Men are boring at all these funtions, so even their worst outfits are usually not so bad. But that beanie Phillip Seymour Hoffman is wearing completely killed his outfit. His tux is very nice, and besides the beanie, I think he looks very dapper. I realize he was just trying to put some of his own personality into his ensemble, but the hat was the wrong way to go.
Do you all agree with my choices? Was I too harsh? Who did you think should be on the list?
Monday, February 23, 2009
I was on a mission today to find earrings like the ones Angelina Jolie wore to the Academy Awards. Her earings cost 1.1 million lbs., and well, $20 is more my price range. I quickly realized that they didn't have to look like hers, actually, I didn't want them to look like hers, I just wanted a pair of green, vibrant, make-a-statement pair of earrings.
So this what I have found today, for those of you looking for some green sass of your own. Click on the picture and it will take you to the site selling them! Oh, and I included one other color, because coral and green look good together!
Hand crafted, mother of pearl shell earrings - $31
Victorian Tear Drops - $32
Silver and Jade, $24
Baroque Swarovski Crystal, $11.99
Cabochon Drops, $8.40
The Best of the Best of the Best
Anne Hathaway, in my opinion, had the most amazing dress. This picture doesn't do it justice, but up close, it was beautiful. Natalie Portman's dress is very pretty, but it's the gorgeous color that makes it unforgettable.
This isn't one of my FAVORITE dresses, but it's quite lovely and, more importantly, she was the "angel" in white. I don't think she could have asked for a better first public debut with Pitt and Jolie.
Angelina Jolie's dress was entirely forgettable, but her green earrings were the best accessory of the evening. I think I'm going to have to buy myself a cheap knock off!
I'm normally not a huge of white or any other color in that beigy family, but I think these dresses are just beautiful. Miley's dress was a little too old for her, but it was still gorgeous. In my opinion, Taraji Henson had the complete package- her dress was beautiful and she looked amazing: hair, makeup, accessories, dress- She wins my "All Around Award!"
Normally, I would NOT say this outfit even resembled anything close to best dressed, but it's Mickey Rourke, so the rules have to change a bit. He wins Most Improved! Did you see what he wore to the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and the BAFTA's? He looks leaps and bounds better than he did at those, plus, I have to admire a guy who wears what he wants.
First thing I want to say here, I hate Zac Efron's hair. I had to get that out before I started! Both of these dresses were risky choices, and some of the critics really panned them, but I don't agree- I think they're both gorgeous dress. Sarah Jessica Parker looked like a princess and Vanessa Hudgens' dress was youthful and fun, but also made her look like a little fashionista!