January 29, 2011

Project 365 - Week 4

 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith in my sideview mirror. The driver looked like he could have been a mobster. Mr. M would urgently tell me to put my camera down every time it passed us. Too funny!

 Song of Solomon, chapter 2. Heard an inspiring message related to this passage.

 Ice before the big snow.

January 27, 2011

Long-Lost No More

I have no childhood friends. You know, those friends that you grew up with since you were in diapers and had gone through all the ups and downs of life with. I am going to admit that sometimes I am jealous of Mr. M because he has those friends. For the longest time, I felt like I had this empty part of me that yearned to be filled by a lifelong friend.

I grew up moving every three years or so. My dad was in the Navy. In my lifetime, I have lived in 13 different homes (not including my college dorm) in 5 different states.I think all of the moving has helped me adapt really well to change, although I notice since I am getting older, I tend to like it less and less.

The first time I had to change schools, I was in fourth grade. I thought I had a childhood friend in V. Before my family moved, we promised each other we would keep in touch. I tried my hardest on my end to do so, but somehow contact just wound up dwindling away. I then had other major school changes in seventh grade and then again in eighth grade. I had good friends in both schools, and we all promised to keep in touch. It never lasted long.

In my lifetime, I have had a lot of incredible friendships. And since the dawn of social media, I can now happily say that I can keep in touch with a lot of those great friends, including V, whom I never thought I would ever hear from again. I sometimes get sad that I cannot physically be there with them, but being able to get in touch with just a few taps on my keyboard and the click of my mouse fills that empty part of me as best as it will ever be filled. I have awesome friends in California, Alabama, Colorado, and many other states, and it is great to be able to keep in touch with all of them.

I know I will never have those childhood friendships like Mr. M has, but I am happy with the background I have. And I am now very thankful for social media that allows me to stay in touch with long-lost friends that are long-lost no more.

January 24, 2011

The Power of Water

It is a good thing I had to stop and get gas before I drove in to work this morning. I was just a few minutes behind my usual arrival time when I approached the US 50W/95S interchange. Signs on the highway mentioned an accident blocking all lanes of my route, so I proceeded to take an alternate route. While on my alternate route, my boss called to tell me to stay home today as there was no water in our building due to a water main break.

It turns out, it wasn't an accident on 95S that shut down the highway, it was the water main break. And, after looking at several photos captured by a local news station, I was in awe of the sheer power of water and happy that I had to stay home.

The power of the water literally peeled the hood of that truck away from the windshield! And I am sure it managed to flip that other car, too.

And the whole side panel of that flipped car was ripped off, along with who knows what else that is submerged in the water. I was pretty amazed by this and the fact that the water rushed across all lanes of 95S.

And if that does not convince you that water is one of the most powerful forces in nature, maybe the following picture will!

All images courtesy of WUSA9.com.

Homemade Instant Oatmeal

Mr. M and I are not fancy breakfast people, especially during the work week. The quicker, the better for us. For the longest time, we were buying instant oatmeal, generic for me, and the Weight Control (I forget the brand) for Mr. M. I think he liked the weight control kind just because it made him feel more responsible for what he was eating. In reality, he was eating much more sodium than he would ever need in oatmeal. Who really needs sodium in oatmeal? Also, in some brands, there is so much added 'stuff' that you really do not need. My philosophy? The more simple and natural, the better.

Also, don't you think instant oatmeal is expensive? I do! So, one day I surfed the web to find inspiration on quick and easy breakfasts that were inexpensive. I found several websites showing how to make your own instant oatmeal packets and I thought that would be perfect for Mr. M and myself. The next time we went shopping for groceries, I bought my own ingredients for homemade instant oatmeal. If you have about a half hour of extra time and the ingredients you need, you could have at least two weeks' worth of homemade instant oatmeal for much less than buying the individually packaged instant oatmeal. And you know will know what you are putting in it!

So, here is my basic cast of characters. I love raisins in oatmeal. They add a little extra sweetness. Ground flaxseed is used to give us some extra omega-3's and other healthy stuff since we are not big fish-eaters. Light brown sugar is my sweetener of choice. Cinnamon adds a little flavor and is also really good for you. And, missing from the picture are the stars of the show, a huge container of quick-cooking oatmeal (the stuff that cooks in five minutes) and sandwich bags. Also, feel free to add any nuts, dried fruit, and anything else your imagination comes up with. 

For each basic individual oatmeal packet, I add the following:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • As many raisins I feel like adding.

Here is a peek at a packet before adding the raisins. And remember, improvise any way you like. Add other fun stuff if that is what you prefer. Make it interesting! 

This is the end result from one huge container of oatmeal (Great Value brand from Walmart) this past Saturday. There are at least 20 bags sitting there, which for Mr. M and myself will last a little over two weeks. Not bad for buying a container of oatmeal and a box of raisins while using other kitchen staples I already had on hand! And, if you like to be eco-friendly, you can reuse the sandwich bags safely since only dry ingredients are used.

And, to make a bowl in the morning, I just add some milk, less for more dense oatmeal, more for more 'soupy' oatmeal, heat in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, and voila! Instant oatmeal!

January 22, 2011

Project 365 - Week 3

Mother and son. 

My sweet in-laws. 

Current monster-sized cross-stitch project. 

I'm thinking about adding a peg leg and an eye patch. 

Learning what my camera can do at night with no flash. 

January 20, 2011

My Wonderful Man

My husband has so many unique and special qualities that I truly believe God broke the mold when He made him. Others tend to agree. He does possess the usual qualities any great husband has, but he also has some special ones that I think truly make him unique.

First, he cannot tell a lie. He is flat-out horrible at telling lies. Therefore, he is an extremely honest man, personally and in his business. He pulls all permits when needed, which a lot of contractors hate to do. It makes it hard for him to find decent subcontractors that are licensed and willing to pull permits, but I think it is all worth it for the whole job. His employee and temporary help get paid what they are due and are covered by workman's compensation. Some companies don't provide that at all, although they are supposed to, by law. Overall, he gets extremely irritated with people that tell him it is okay to not do everything 'by the book'. In the end, though, he will wind up being okay in everything because he has done everything right. I worry for those other contractors and friends that try to cheat the system.

I love the scar he has on his lip. Chicks dig scars. I can't remember how he got it, but I do know it happened when he was little.

He loves the Lord with all his heart. He takes his job seriously as the spiritual leader of our household. He prays for us, our family, and our friends. Before making any big decisions with his business, he prays for wisdom and guidance. Also, he is not afraid to let me know when I may be pulling away from the Lord, whether it is just my attitude or slacking off with reading my Bible. 

Last, he is the most patient man in the world. A good example of this quality is when he stayed at the mall with me for SEVERAL HOURS while I waited in line and did girly stuff during the the Westfield Style Tour, as I mentioned here. He's not only patient in the fact that he waits, but he is  patient with a great attitude to back it up. He feels if it makes me happy, it is worth his wait. Another good example of his patience is just dealing with me on a daily basis, especially when we first started dating. I am really surprised he did not turn and run as far away as he could! Reason being, before meeting Mr. M, I was in an abusive relationship, both mentally and emotionally (I guess they could be rolled together). I was so brainwashed with what I thought the way things were supposed to be that if Mr. M did something completely innocent and it happened to be a 'trigger' for me, I would break down and sob or get extremely upset. Then, he would have that deer in headlights look because he had absolutely no clue as to what just happened. Luckily for him, I was open and willing to talk everything out with him, and he was so open to being there for me and to teach me what was right and how a man should treat a woman. I am still a work in progress, but I can definitely say he treats his woman like a queen!

And, thank you, Mama Kat for choosing my post as one of your favorites from last week's writing prompts!

January 17, 2011

No-Sew Media Center DIY

To be honest, I am really surprised that I have finished a DIY project so early in the year. I have had the idea for months and somehow I got the initiative to finally follow through with it. 

Our home is a mix of adult furniture mixed with 'big kid' furniture. Our media center is in the 'big kid' department. And I think it is ugly. 

I have been wanting to cover up the stuff on the shelves for as long as I have owned this piece of furniture. Can I call it furniture? I was originally thinking of trying to find something all trendy like a piece of faux bois fabric, but I have had no luck in finding anything of the sort in the limited fabric stores in my area. 

I had to stop by Hancock Fabrics to pick up a skein of floss for my cross-stitch project and while I was there I decided to float around the bolts of fabric to see if anything would spark some inspiration. Lo and behold, I came across some really pretty fabric that is open-weave and has some shine woven into it. It was neutral, which I liked, so I checked out the price. It was on clearance for 97 cents per yard! That's my kind of price! I wound up getting 3 yards just so I would have a lot of extra to work with on another project later.

Did I mention I hate to sew? How about that for irony? I love cross-stitch, but I hate sewing. I can MAYBE sew a button, but that is about the extent of my skills. Thank goodness velcro and stitch-witchery were created! Hems without needle and thread? Perfect! Velcro to attach the fabric to the media center? Perfect, too!

When I got home, I measured how high and how wide my media center was, then added two inches to each measurement. That allowed for a 1-inch hem on all sides. I cut my fabric as straight as possible, which is almost impossible without a yardstick or one of those cool scissor trenches like they have in the craft stores. Then, I cut the stitch-witchery to the length of each of my edges and used it as directed on the packaging. To make sure I got a 1-inch hem all the way across, I used a ruler and inched my way along the length of the fabric (pun intended).

When I was all done with my first hem, this is what I had.

I did the same process for the other three hems, then moved on to attaching the velcro. The velcro I bought has a sticky adhesive on the hook part to attach to a smooth surface (my yucky media center), and the other part has an adhesive that is activated by heat and can be attached to fabric. Please make sure you read the directions and pay attention to what part you are working with! I actually read the directions first, but still wound up trying to attach the sticky hook part to my fabric. I got maybe halfway along when I realized I was using the wrong part! Luckily, the adhesive wasn't sticky enough to pull my fabric apart. After realizing my mistake, I finally got to apply the velcro to the top and bottom hems of my fabric. Make sure the velcro is adhered really well, especially in the corners.

Then, all I had to do was attach a velcro strip to the top of my media center, like so.

I decided to add just two squares of velcro to the bottom corners of the fabric to allow for easy access to our electronics stuff. To figure out where the pieces should go, you could measure everything. I hate to measure if I do not really need to, so I hooked the bottom velcro pieces to the velcro on my fabric. Then, I peeled the paper off the back of the sticky part and applied it to the bottom of my media center. Having a velcro strip across the whole bottom of the fabric gives it some weight, which allows it to hang a little nicer. And this is the end result!

It is only sort of pretty, and still looks 'big kid', but at least I don't have to stare at all the electronic junk on the shelves anymore. And, as a plus, the open weave of the fabric still allows me to use my remotes with the stuff on the shelves. Bonus!

January 15, 2011

Week 2

Looking confused while taking a craptastic fashion shot with the self-timer.

January 13, 2011

20 Ideas for the Best Year Ever

Take a trip to the beach.

Make more time to relax and chill-out.

Tell Mr. M I love him in more creative ways.

Invite people over for dinner more often.

Throw at least two parties.

Read my Bible every day.

Find ways to have more girl time.

Let Mr. M worry about his business. After all, it isn't mine and I have no real part in it. Well, unless disaster/stress intervention is required.

Travel new roads.

Visit new places.

Eat more veggies.

Explore my neighborhood.

Work out to feel healthy and strong rather than for looks.

Do something completely spontaneous on a more regular basis.

Eat healthier, with maybe the occasional splurge.

Take more pictures.

Mod Buds
Do more cross-stitch.

Treat myself more often.

Make less lists.

Stop to enjoy the little things.

Mama's Losin' It
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