Wednesday, January 30, 2008

She Speaks!

There is a scholarship brewing over at Lysa TerKeurst's website. It's a scholarship for the She Speaks Conference in June I've been thinking about attending. I decided that it would be a very wise decision to try for this scholarship... since my husband has been on this blasted budget and faithfully adhering to Dave Ramsey lately. With a scholarship, I may be able to pursuade him that this is a necessary investment into our lives and ministry.


“Why I would like to go to the ‘She Speaks’ Conference
“Lord please make my Dull Dishwater blog stand out among the entries to win!”.

This entry is the result of a big process! I wrote and re-wrote a bazillion times what I could/should/would say about why I want to go to the ‘She Speaks’ Conference. I started to give my testimony about how I ended up where I am today in ministry, but it was just too. Stinking. Long. I would have bored you to death. Not that I still won’t.

I then resorted to writing about all the benefits I would gain from attending the conference. The list was so serious it made me cry.

After reading my entry over and over, I deleted it. Again. I wanted to tell about how I have been looking at different women’s ministry leadership conferences and sending random suggestive emails to our Pastor’s Wife hoping she’d get the hint I thought we should go.

In the end, the truth is this conference won. It just won. That’s it. It looks like the most fun. The Proverbs 31 website designer needs to hear kudos from me. The site is beautiful and attractive. I am drawn to a great design package, and it really works for me. The colors, the graphics, the fonts… the website sucked me in…and so I read more about it and found that the conference is exactly what our Women’s Ministry needs right now. And hello? North Carolina? Who wouldn’t want to go there?

So there you have it. The truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth. As shallow as it sounds, wrapped up in a lot of other God reasons, the bottom line, is that it looks fun. I can’t think of a better weekend than to hang out with the pastor’s wives and women ministry leaders I serve alongside and laugh and have a blasted good time in North Carolina!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I was tagged for this meme from Ann so I thought I'd play along.

Here are the rules:
(1) Link to the person that tagged you. (I did go and say hi to Ann)
(2) Post the rules on your blog. (That's what this is)
(3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
(4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
(5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

Now the hard part. 6 non-important things/habits/quirks huh? I should ask my family because I can't remember them all.

1. I am crazy insane about my floor being clean. I tell people I don't care about it, and it's just not true. It's a wood floor - and it always looks smudgey or dusty to me and it makes me totally crazy inside so I have to sweep and mop it. Lately I have been busy and I haven't been able to clean it so I thought I was healed, and then this morning, I couldn't sleep cuz I had a lot on my mind so I got up and cleaned the whole floor at 3am. It just makes me feel better....less stressed inside.

2. I have a thing about thin-rimmed cups and glasses. I have grown over the years to be able to drink out of thicker-rimmed glasses, but I really prefer thin rims. It's just more comfortable.

3. I hate "floaties" in my water. I don't know what those things are but some places have them and I can't drink the water. Someone told me once they were particles from ice chips or something but they don't melt. It makes me grossed out. Can someone tell me what in the world that is? Nate? You there? Help me out here.

4. I have said this more than once on my blog, but let me just say it again because it is important enough to repeat. I. Love. Makeup. obsessively. relentlessly. compulsively. it's the truth.

5. I don't like moths. I get all freaked out when moths are around. I am not afraid they are going to hurt me...duh. I'm not that stupid. I just don't like their erratic flight pattern. They are nerve-wracking. seriously.

This is really taking some thought you know.

6. When I sit down to journal or do devotions or Bible Study, or write a note to someone... I have to use a "special" pen. I have a couple of them... and I keep them in a special place. But, sometimes I don't put them back where I found them and I have to look a little bit. But, if I don't have them, I can't write. It's really odd, I know. But, you don't understand. I have a relationship with these pens. They know me. Only "pen people" - and you know who you are - understand a relationship with a pen. shout out to my pen comrades!

Okay...that's it. 6 pretty darn random quirks I have. Just because I feel like hearing what their quirks are, I think I will be daring and tag Leigh-Dreas, Chris , Picket Fences, His Girl, Hippy Chicken Girl, and Notes from the Desk of

Friday, January 25, 2008

bad news

The bad news I heard today on the radio on the way to work: you have to eat healthy 90% of the time.

ugh. WHY ruin my day?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I thought it was something that rabid animals get. I didn't know this.

distemper : to throw out of order

I was in such a bad mood that I decided to stay home rathan than distemper the party I was invited to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


1. You know it's cold when you are at work for an hour and a half and you still haven't taken off your winter coat.

2. We have a "stinky" in our house. It's funny because it's the master bathroom. And we all thought it was "something" someone else did... until last night we realized it was sewer gas. Real smart eh? And yeah, we build houses for a living.

3. I impulse bought something today that I think I may forever regret. I'm embarassed to say what it is.

4. Shawn's birthday is in 2 weeks and I have no ideas of what to buy him. See, buying a gift for him is a real challenge. First you have to figure out what he would want. Then, you have to get it... but part of the gift for him is to pay the least possible price to get it. So, if he really wants it AND it's a STEAL, you have bought the right gift. But, there are so many rules to gift buying for him that I usually fail. I'd really like to succeed somehow. I was thinking about one of these. But, they're like $100 or something and he would kill me if I spent that kind of money on one of those. So, if I can find a GOOD bargain on one, then it might be a good idea. (Except that when he reads this blog he will know what I'm getting and then it won't be a good gift any longer).
Maybe I should give him the thing I impulse bought today and pretend I did it for him.

5. I haven't had any coffee today and I really NEED it.

6. Em is learning a new african song at school and she has been singing it constantly. It's an adorable song with a really great rhythm and she sings it so well. But, nobody knows what they are saying and I keep wondering if it's something bad or naughty. So, I asked her what she thought it said. She didn't know. We made up some words that were good and fun. So, moral of the story: It doesn't matter what you SAY, it's what you THINK you are SAYING that matters right? hehe...

7. I read Beth Moore's blog yesterday. And seriously. She has one post with like 2242 comments on it. I feel special when I get 4 or more! Do they really read every comment?? That's incredible.

8. Still haven't found my life journal. I am really in a swivet over this.

9. I have a new Word of the Day Calendar. Yesterday's word was "swivet". It's a pretty useful word to know. Today's word is "vertiginous" – which means "marked by, affected with, or tending to cause dizziness (2) inclined to frequent and often pointless change: inconstant (3) marked by turning". I am not sure that I will use that word much.

10. I have so many random thoughts today it is making me vertiginous.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Although the upcoming 2 hour season premiere on January 31 of LOST is completely and fully on my mind right now, that is not what I am writing about tonight.

Somehow I have lost my life journal and I can't find that thing anywhere! I was wondering where I could have put it. I have looked all over the place. Then I started thinking about when the last time I wrote in it was... not last night, I did the last part of Bible Study last night. Sunday night I read out of the Romans book. Saturday?

Oh good grief. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to start another book because then I will find this one and it will be all out of order. I don't want to write on papers because then I will have to transfer and rewrite it all when I find this one. But, what if I never find it? what if it is lost forever?

I feel like I have lost my keys or my checkbook. Something you REALLY need everyday and for the life of you, can't figure out when or where you last saw the thing.

I guess I could look at it as a blessing. I remember a day when a devotional journal would not have been something I would miss. I remember a day when I would have put even my bible on the desk and not touch it for days or weeks. I don't mean this as a pride thing - at all! But, I have developed a hunger for God and I am grateful that something like losing my life journal causes such distress. There was a time in my life that others talked about desiring the presence of God and it seemed very foreign to me. I would pray and ask God to develop in me a hunger and thirst for His presence and His Word... hoping that someday that would come.

I really hope I find it!

Psalm 119:159 See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love.

list maker

There are two kinds of people in the world. List makers and non-list makers. Which are you? I am definately a list maker. I love lists. I love pens. I love paper. Sometimes I even make lists of lists! You know... a list of lists I need to make sure I make... grocery list, to-do list, packing list, work list, calendar list, honey-do list. I can't even make a list really without a list. That's just how I am.

I was sitting at my desk and after a week away, I realized my "inbox" is a little overflowing. So, I added to my list "empty inbox". I just can't do it without it being on my list.

So, when I got to that item on my list, I took all of the contents of my inbox and put it in one pile. Then, I took every piece of paper out of it and put them into "sub-piles".... invoices here, timecards there, receipts here, letters there, list items here (these are things I need to make a list of and do later). THEN, I RE-PILED them into one pile, with the most important and urgent ones on top so I could work my way down the pile and get it all done.

I don't know WHY I have to do this. But, I think it's a way of making a "paper list".

Saturday, January 19, 2008

things are not always as they seem

As I sit in the kitchen gazing out the window, the sun is shining and the snow is glistening. There are shadows cast over the snow from the trees and it appears to be a beautiful day.

It's not. It happens to be -4 degrees. But, the weatherman is quick to point out that it feels like -22 with the slight wind blowing. Things are not always as they seem.

Even though we just got back last night, my sister in law and her daughter came over to visit. It ended up that the 8 year old girls wanted a sleepover, and since we had no plans today, we obliged. They are both running around here this morning with super curly hair. One is natural curls, the other is from the curlers we put in last night. But, really, the curler curls look very natural. I know they aren't. Things are not always as they seem.

I did some of my Romans Bible Study last night on the way home in the car. In three weeks time, I have been unable to peel myself away from Romans chapter 1 and 2. I have notes all over my book from things I have written on the side. This passage of scripture deals with God's wrath against man. I have seen that Paul is talking here not necessarily always only (can you use those words together?) talking about what men "DO". But, it is that man has made (and when I say man, I mean mankind) a prior decision to live for his/herself. Paul describes the antithesis between what people know and what they do. God's wrath is for those who deliberately supress the truth of God for the sake of evil.

One of the questions the author poses to the reader in this study is "How do these passages from both Old and New Testamens answer the popular, modern-day belief that 'human beings are basically good'"?

My answer can't be summed up in the few four lines they give us to write the answer to. Romans reminds us that we are all sinners... unworthy to be in the presence of a holy righteous God. If we think we are "good" or if we think we are "worthy", and if we think others are not because of what we see.... we set ourselves up as judge over our own hearts and others. This in itself is sin, and it negates our own thoughts and brings us back to the basic fact that we are all sinners. Romans is quick to remind us that Jesus will judge. Not us.

So, as I conclude this section of the study, I am struck once again by who I think I am... and who I really am. I see myself in these passages. I go along life thinking I'm doing okay, I'm doing actually... hey, I'm learning, I'm doing great! When, bam, I'm hit with the reality that I too have chosen in so many areas of life to SEE God's righteousness and His goodness... and temporarily set it aside so that I can partake in evil. I am hit head on with the stark difference between His position as righteous and holy as compared to my sinful nature. It seems absurd that we would do that. Know the goodness of God, and consiously choose otherwise. You would think that if we KNOW the goodness of God, we would always CHOOSE the goodness of God. But, then again, things are not always as they seem.

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'the righteous will live by faith'". - Romans 1:16-17

Friday, January 18, 2008


We are home!
The first thing I did was turn on my laptop and enjoy the benefit of amazingly fabulous wireless internet in my house.

We left early this morning and after a brief 2 hour stop at the TJ Maxx store in one of the nearby cities, we made it home this evening to drifting snow and subzero temperatures. Everything is cancelled around here... which is sometimes such fun. No reason to go anywhere and nobody wondering why you aren't there.

We ordered a pizza, and I'm going to spend the rest of the night reading a new book I've been waiting to start called "the Shack".

Thursday, January 17, 2008


SWAG = Stuff We All Get

Builder’s Expo was a hit! I’m almost embarrassed by the amount of stuff we brought back.
I figured out how to get wireless internet here. If you want to stay in the hotel room, you stand by the entrydoor, hold your laptop above your head with one hand, and click intermittently between networks to get one that will connect. It works! It’s a little hard to balance, but if that’s what it takes…

We overslept this morning. We missed breakfast and had to go straight to meetings. Good thing I brought those pop tarts along from home. The girls stayed in the hotel room and did homework in the morning. I didn’t tell them the news that school was cancelled at home. They would have probably chosen not to do the homework after all.

One meeting we went to was interesting for sure. It was on publicity. I found her tips of the trade quite useful.

I am very proud of my husband and his father. They have built a good business. They are well-respected here among their peers. I often get pulled into “my world” when we are at home, and forget that they are the number one builder with this company in the state we live. They are the experts in this field that many people turn to for advice. We kept getting tapped on the shoulder and asked questions and suggestions and tips from others.

The girls have been pacified most of the day with $10 for video games and a lot of waterpark fun. Their eyes lit up incredibly when Shawn handed them the money and said they could spend it ALL on videogames if they wanted. They immediately started figuring out how they could save some of the money to buy Dippin’ Dots too.

The chef at this hotel kept up his reputation with lunch this afternoon. It was baked chicken and noodles with a mushroom sauce, and green beans so fresh you could hear them crunch. It was served with a purple flower on the side. I kept wondering if any of the homebuilder / construction crew people at the meeting cared much about the presentation of the meal… or was it just me? The dessert – my favorite part of the day – was a cherry crisp with whipped cream. The cherry filling was perfect – not too tart and not too sweet, but a bit of both.

We have a bit of a break and then we get to go to the Expo – which, to me, is the best part of the week. You get to walk around to the vendors we use in our homes, and see all the new things they are coming out with, enter the drawings they have, get FREE PENS (I always know a good company when they give away a really good free pen to their customers)… and they have food and drinks at all the booths to sample.

We got several inches of snow here in the last day or two, and if the weatherman is correct, we may be driving home tomorrow afternoon in a blizzard. OR – egads! – staying another night. (for our safety of course)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hotel Critic Extraordinaire

Well, it’s 10pm. We’re in our hotel room. I have to admit… this hotel is much much nicer than the one we stayed in last night… and for the same money. That is one of the benefits of a big business meeting. Good rates at great hotels. However, the wireless internet here is pretty much stinky. Really stinky. Okay… really really stinky. So, despite the indoor water park, condo“ish” room, arcades, starbucks (yes, this is a big bonus)… I still have to say one negative – sorry.

I have tried various parts of the hotel room to acquire the wireless access. The sofa worked for a while, then quit… the bathroom worked once,… and now I’m sitting on the floor in front of the door… maybe if I stand on my head and just. try. to.….. nope.

Here is a recap of the day. Our room is (as mentioned above) condo“ish”. I say that because although it is in the “condo” area, it is actually a room with two beds, a sleeper sofa, a mini microwave, and a tiny refrigerator tucked under the sink. So, it’s really just a room with a condo title. Hence “ish”.

We arrived here just in time for lunch today. Lunch was lasagna and mexicorn. Kind of an interesting combination. Then, we went to “meetings”. Okay… I can’t lie. We skipped the meetings and went to the waterpark with the girls. I thought nobody would notice. We just kind of thought it would be a good opportunity to have some family time. Then, later at dinner, a bunch of people came up to us and said “hey… we missed you. I heard you were at the waterpark”. Uh? Huh? Er…well… uh… you know. Oops. Busted.

So, after the waterpark, we went to dinner. Yeah, okay … food to food to food. We are such lushes. But, hey, that’s the way it is. So, dinner was ohmygosh… fabulous. Salads… cream of potato soup that was… we were already getting full. Then, the main dish came out. Yummy baked chicken AND filet mignon (yes both), twice baked potato, steamed veggies, whole wheat rolls. And just when I thought I was going to explode with yummyness, they brought out the dessert. It was the absolute most fabulous dessert I think I have ever had in my entire life! No kidding. Emily’s words were “mom, this dessert makes my toes tingle”. Mine too! And I have had a lot of fabulous desserts. I think they called it Lemon Berry Torte. It was a very moist layered cake that had like a lemon cheesecake filling, and a sugared berry topping …. I was so full but it was so delicious. I lavished every bite then wanted to go and casually stuff the leftovers into my purse to gorge later on. I now know the meaning of “visions of sugarplums dancing in your head”. So far, in the food category, definitely five star here. And just the simple fact that we have had dessert with. Every. Meal. Is enough to tickle your taste buds. We were just wondering a while ago if we would get dessert in the morning too? Please?

After the dinner, there were some awards and I beamed as my husband walked to the front and gathered the one for our company… silently praying he didn’t trip or anything like that. For a really tough year for home builders, we’re still alive and kicking.

Truth be told, I think I could start a new business in hotel-reviews as a backup. I could go to all these fabulous hotels and then write reviews on the experience. Do people do that? I should really look into that. Hotel Critic Extraordinaire.

Ah… the night ends here. With me typing this entry for my blog, and Shawn and the girls watching a show on cable about venomous snakes and how they kill or something like that.

Good Night.


We skipped town yesterday.
We're on our way to some business meetings and we decided to go a day early and visit Lindsey at school. We had some stuff to deliver to her - her car for one thing. :) But then of course the other important things she left at Christmas break - her favorite shoes, her travel coffee mug... the important things she can't live without.

So, we grabbed a hotel on the way and spent the night there. We made Lindsey pack a bag and stay with us for a quick getaway and fun snuggle with her little sisters. Seriously, I love hotelling - some people like camping, some people like travelling... I love hotelling. No cleaning, no cooking, housekeepers that bring you clean towels and take away the mess when you leave. I was born to hotel. There is nothing like it. (Well, the bed was a little lumpy but that's the only bad part). And I had to get up a hundred times in the night to adjust the heat on and off. That was bad too. And I really didn't sleep all that well. That was kind of bad. But, really, I love it.

I plan on updating my blog frequently throughout the next few days just for the fun of it. I'll pretend I'm taking notes in the business meeting :).

It's 7:45am. I am showered, dressed, and have in hand a triple grande carmel macchiatto from the Starbucks across the street. I've read the USA Today (er...well, okay, I'm not that sophisticated... but I read the headlines on the first page).... you know, skimmed it ... like the rest of the business travellers here. That's really all you need to do.

The girls (we brought the two youngest with us) have just woke up and skitted down to the "breakfast" to see what was there... the report? oatmeal, waffles, cereal, muffins, milk, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, these wierd bacon egg and cheese biscuit things you have to warm up... and the nice lady has a tray that she will give them to bring some things up to us if we want them to. (which we do but we're pressed for time so we will just grab on the way out the door)

We're headed to another town now... a couple hours drive away... and I'll let you know how the week progresses.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

John Stott

On Wednesday nights, our Pastor is doing a series on the book of Romans. It started the beginning of January. Along with it, I am reading this book.

John Stott is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
Having never read anything by him except a few excerpts, I did a little bit of research. In 2005, he was honored by Time magazine as being one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World". You can read here about his conversion. I love this story. But, I have to warn you. It isn't anything exciting. It won't shock you. It's almost dull. But, to me, it shows an incredible power of God to slowly infiltrate our lives and change us from within.

In August of 2007 John Stott preached his last sermon. He was entering retirement and moving to the south in England. I read that sermon here if you want to. I was completely intrigued by what someone like John Stott would want to say as his last words to the Christian world. It is humbling and beautiful.

Two things he said in his last sermon that I think bear repeating. On evangelism he quoted John Poulton who said

"the most effective preaching comes from those who embody the things they are saying. They are their message. Christians need to look like what they are talking about. It is people who communicate primarily, not words or ideas. Authenticity gets across. Deep down inside people, what communicates now is basically personal authenticity".

So often we try to have the right words, and quote the right scripture. But, in reality, we are our own message.

Secondly, on being filled with the Holy Spirit and allowing the Holy Spirit to empower you, he quoted William Temple, archbishop in the 1940's who used Shakespeare to make his point.

"It is no good giving me a play like Hamlet or King Lear and telling me to write a play like that. Shakespeare could do it - I can't. And it is no good showing me a life like the life of Jesus and telling me to live a life like that. Jesus could do it - I can't. But, if the genius of Shakespeare could come and live in me, then I could write plays like this. And if the Spirit could come into me, then I could live a life like His."

Allow the Spirit of the Living God to walk in you today.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

i spoke too soon

I said a couple days ago that we got a package of yummy chocolates from germany.

Julia really knows us well!

I spoke too soon.

We got two more yesterday.

oh the bliss.

toffifee, ferrero, giotto, milka,knusper kugeln, lindt, kinder schokolade, smarties (m&m filled hollow chocolate, ritter, and raffaello to die for....

I saved the best for last. Feodora Mocca's and Mocca's Orange.

Now this may be a real problem for me. I may have to find out where and how I can buy this and make up an imaginary friend to buy it for, hide them, and eat them all myself in one full swoop. They are chocolate flavored with coffee. good chocolate. really really really really good chocolate. Let me see if I can describe. Pop it into your mouth like you would grab a chocolate chip out of the cabinet (you know, the stash you hide from your family). It starts with really good dark chocolate melting in your mouth. Then... wait... something else. coffee. you are in choco-coffee bliss.

I don't think the german packaging has to follow the us rules of listing the calories and such on their boxes. good thing. anyway, i would choose not to translate.

75 grams of mocca divine. my life could end now.

I have fully gorged myself until I think I am going to be sick. But then I went to bed last night and an amazing thing happened. I woke up feeling better. So, now I can gorge again.

I am in choco heaven.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

straight to the heart

We got a package from our "daughter" Julia who lives in Germany. Remember her? We miss her so much! (if you are reading this Julia, we still miss you!!!!)
She remembers our addiction to chocolate well... as this package was delivered... and then promptly hidden from everyone. :)
She also sent some very cute robotic salt and pepper shakers that are addicting to "send" across the table in an effort to make them dance.
And alas! Coffee!
Thank you Julia (and Stefanie and Christian) for the gifts. I would much rather have you delivered to my door!
Miss you and love you!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Christmas is over

Christmas is over. It's official.

Emily informed me on Dec. 28 that Christmas wasn't over until December was over. So, darling Em, I'm sad to say... Christmas is officially over. It's January now. I have proof.

Exhibit A - Your dad and I have returned one college student to school. We drove 8 hours in the fog all night long, coming home at 4am to plop our sleepy bodies into our bed.

Exhibit B - College student #2 had her friends from college come and visit as one last fun night before going back to school. We made a great dinner... and the best part is that she cleaned the entire house! (thanks Haleigh!) it's about time.

Exhibit C - You have returned to school. it's about time.

Exhibit D - I feel better. You know how I was sick the ENTIRE Christmas vacation? Well, now that I no longer have any days off work, I'm better! Isn't that GREAT? (grumble grumble)it's about time.

Exhibit E - The decorations are down. Well, with the exception of the few odd pieces here and there that we forgot to put in the boxes. But, hey, we have until Valentine's Day right? it's about time.

Exhibit F - All my children have now officially begun birthday lists. Lists of things that you want for your birthday, lists of things you want to do for your birthday, lists of things birthdays are good for, that kind of thing.
Exhibit G - I am now receiving emails and catalogs for Valentine's !

So there you have it.... Christmas is over. Happy New Year!

Monday, January 07, 2008

What was lost - now is found

Yes, my pen has returned.

I am unsure who took it. But, I have my suspicions.

Alas, it has returned, and as promised, without question as it occurred within 48 hours of it's departure.

Yes, it is a lovely one.
I actually have two. This one in a stunning amaranth purple... and another one in a classy charcoal / gray black.
I am not sure if my pen addiction is normal or not. But, really, what is normal anyway?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

pen plunder

Dear unknown pen pirate,

I am sorry. You were probably unaware that the pen you (perhaps accidentally) "acquired" was my favorite of all favorites. Undoubtably, you were unaware of the great significance of this particular quill. You surely had no knowledge that it is one-of-a-kind in my potpourri of utensils.

Please let me inform you that the instrument now in your possession is of utmost value to me. I urge you to immediately reinstate this item to it's original place (my desk)... if done so within 48 hours, no questions will be asked, and no charges will be pressed.

IF you choose to ignore this warning and urging to recompense, be assured that your conscience shall surely convict you immeasurably and may your mind be consumed and overcome with incomparable guilt!


Devoted Pen Collector Extraordinaire

2007 in food

2007 is the year ...
1. I perfected the Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls (can someone say butter and sugar?)
2. I added three (yes 3) tortilla soup recipes to my book!
3. Working more than ever, I added a whole new meaning to the words "Make Ahead"
4. Two Words: European Chocolate
5. Greek casserole disaster
6. first time ratatouille - :( blech.
7. introduced to Menu Plan Monday - started - then quit.
8. yummy yummy home grown popcorn. we may never go back to microwave
9. saved my starving family
10. soup soup and more soup
11. can I just say one more time that I perfected the delicious Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls?
12. My Dad taught Haleigh the tricks of perfect french bread every. single. time.

edited later: oh! I forgot! How could I forget??? I found more copy cat recipes and made Olive Garden Zuppe Toscana Soup, Olive Garden salad dressing, Carrabbas Bruschette,and Carlos O'Kelly's Chicken Picado, and Olive Garden Breadsticks (which are so simple you'd be shocked).