Saturday, February 28, 2004

Easy Come, Easy Go
Some of my friends have come face to face with loss of possessions this week. One has a neighbor who lost her belongings to a fire. No renters insurance. Two children. Nothing left. Another has a friend who lost her belongings to illness. She and her husband, who are probably in their 50s, both suffer from serious illnesses. Her husband is in a nursing home and their bills are just too high. She is moving from her large, beautiful home into a one-bedroom apartment.

Its all very familiar to me. Both of my parents suffered from serious medical problems at early ages. My father was 49 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. My mother was 54 when she had a brain tumor. They had both lived high, with a large house decorated in the latest fashion. A well-stocked bar. The coolest music. Cadillacs. Vacations. The best restaurants.

I can remember when my mother and I tried to consign our clothes to pay her mortgage after her surgery. We learned quickly that our investment in clothing would not get us far. It was a tough lesson to learn.

And my father has downsized several times. Now he shares a room and a closet with a fellow Parkinsonian in a nursing home. He has 6 small drawers to hold all his possessions.

And having learned this lesson, I still put too much stock in stuff. Its amazing how we find comfort in what feels permanent. Stuff can feel permanent. But, its a house of cards. We feel we need things and services and entertainment. Its folly. I can get lost in plans to redecorate my bedroom. What color the walls? Curtains or blinds? One big rug or 3 smaller rugs? Should I get a new headboard????

I can't take it with me. Not even to a nursing home. And nobody will remember me for my bedroom. 100 years from now, they may not remember me at all. So how am I so easily distracted by the temporary?

I am inspired by the people of the Bible who are remembered for their faith and their Godly examples. We don't know anything about their bedspreads and curtains, but we know how they behaved. I hope I can be that kind of example for my descendants. I want my family to have a heritage separate from mere tasteful surroundings.
I Love Engrish
This is one of my favorite sites. Engrish is what you get when the Japanese try to be cosmopolitan. Using English is way cool in Japan. But, even when they know what the words mean, they don't get the cultural references. Sometimes they clearly don't even know what the words mean. For them its marketing, and it works. For us it is a laugh-snorting riot. (Some things may not be appropriate for young eyes).
Here's Something Different
Its a shakuhachi concert!! Not the same old same old! As part of OU's Masala series, Michael Chikuzen Gould will be perfoming with his shakuhachi, a Zen flute of Japan. Also on hand will be Chieko Iwasalo playing the koto, a 13-stringed Japanese zither. March 23rd at the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall at OU. 8:00 p.m. $8.00.
Who Is This Guy?
I've been hearing a lot about G.K. Chesterton lately. I decided to check him out. Strangely enough, on the front page of The Chesterton Society website is a link entitled, "Who Is This Guy and Why Haven't I Heard of Him?" It seems I'm not alone. I must say I am thoroughly impressed by his description and plan to read some of his works. If any of you care to join me, let me know what you think. Or maybe you already know his works. Let me know what you recommend.
Scalloped Chicken Update
I've heard from many of you that you plan to try the scalloped chicken (see below), but you want to use chicken breasts only. I'm all for making a recipe easy, and I use chicken breast for most of my chicken recipes, but this one really needs the whole chicken. Trust me.


Six Marinades
Thanks to Penny for always keeping me inspired to expand my cooking repertoire! I intend to try all of these marinades. They look delicious!


Friday, February 27, 2004

Crystals From the Sky
"How full of creative genius is the air in which these are generated!
I should hardly admire them more if real stars fell
and lodged on my coat."
--Henry David Thoreau, 1856 [1]


The Passion of the Christ
My friends have been sending me helpful information about the movie The Passion of the Christ. In particular, these websites offer Christians help in explaining the movie to non-Christians. You can see them here, here and here.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

100 Things
Last year my friend suggested we all write down 100 things we liked. The idea was to use the list to make a scrapbook page about ourselves. I loved the idea!
Here's my list (in no particular order):
Snowflakes, hardware, gardenias, glassware, strawberry cheesecake ice cream, cookbooks, fireworks, patent leather shoes, acorns, Colin’s gentleness, down comforters, e-bay, old houses, white Christmas lights, woodwind quintets, jazz piano, hot tea with milk and sugar, theme parties, long skirts, farmers markets, valentines, 4:00 coke breaks with my female relatives, Spencer’s strongman pose, 4th of July, ladybugs, air conditioning, church bazaars, my children playing together, cafeterias, reference books, porcelain chintz tea pots, crystal chandeliers, coca-cola, 65° days, French bread, Crabtree & Evelyn'sTomato and Red Pepper Chutney, college campuses, beads, Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow, mountain rivers, marching bands, cardinals, swimming pools, French Horn, cream scones, worship, cello concertos, girls night out, hot tubs, snow days, Fitz & Floyd, fabric stores, jazz trombone, autumn, handwritten letters, glassware, fireflies, VW Bugs, quilts, New York cheesecake, deep bathtubs, cucumber sandwiches, percussion ensembles, canoeing. light fixtures, libraries, rain, lobster with drawn butter, ice skating, BSF, apple orchards, old church hymns, manicured lawns, beaches, lilacs, A & E’s Pride and Prejudice, auctions, fine lace on white linen, woodland hikes, Chicago. real butter, Rachmaninoff piano concertos, macaroni & cheese, James, picnics, kittens, smocking, college football days on campus, sushi, trolleys, photography, peonies, candles, northern Indiana farmland, sailing, climbing trees, vegetable gardens, crown molding, U.S. Flag, silly questionaires
She's Sue Happy!
I actually read this case. It really is crazy. But, I think the daughter was in on it, too. You see, its the homeowners' insurer that pays for this kind of accident. So, the daughter was out nothing! But, when you wonder why insurance costs are so high, this is the sort of case you should consider. I read 'em every day. You would be shocked! I know I am!
BSF is an in-depth interdemoninational Bible study. It meets once a week during the school year and offers a study for children age 2 and up. Before you can be placed in a class, you must attend the orientation meeting, which is usually the first week of each month. An invitation is NOT required.

Those are the basics about BSF. Now let me tell you what I really think about it. It is the absolute best thing I have EVER done! The full study is 7 years long. I just started last fall. This year's topic is Israel and the Minor Prophets. It has made the Old Testament come alive for me. The history is so rich and God's character is woven throughout. The lessons are difficult, but I can't wait to do them. The classes are so structured there is never a doubt when they will begin or when they well end. I think one thing that makes the study so effective is the fourfold approach to learning. First you read the assigned Bible passages and answer a set of questions that cause you to really dig in and even look elsewhere. Then you meet with a small group to share and compare answers and insights. Next you listen to a lecture about the lesson. Finally you receive a written outline of the lesson with detailed answers to the questions. We use maps, but no Bible commentaries, to answer questions.

My children have learned the same lessons I learn, but on their level. Every child (even two-year-olds) learns to spend 10 minutes in quiet time with God. I have helped once in the children's program and have seen these children pray to God for 10 minutes. It is incredible! And then to hear the boys discussing their lesson with each other just makes me beam!!

In other words....I highly recommend it!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Speed Mouser
Sharpen your mouse skills here. You never know when you may need this particular skill.
Comfort Food
When I was 14 I got my first job. My friend Buzz worked at Katy's Pantry and recommended me when they needed more help. It was a small shop in a strip mall on the right side of the tracks. I think there were 5 employees plus Katy. We made crepes, reubens, grilled cheese, spinach salad and other lunch entrees. Katy's mother made bread every day and brought it to us. But, we were most famous for our giant and lighter-than-air cinnamon rolls, Mississippi Mud, pecan dreams, cake brownies, cream pies and tall cakes. Buzz schmoozed with the older rich women and I hid back in the kitchen preferring the hard labor to romancing the clientele. It was a great job and I loved my boss, Katy. She was beautiful and had a classic look about her that I truly admired. I hung on her every word. We even laugh now that I remember her telling her daughter that her key chain had too many keys on it. It was just, "tacky." (Katy doesn't believe she ever said such a thing! But you can bet I went home and cleaned up my key chain!)

Anyway, Katy has opened a new restaurant in Tulsa that you must visit. It is called Kate's on 41st and, predictably, it is on 41st, just off Highway 44, near Promenade Mall. I recommend you stay and eat because the decor is beautiful. But, if you can't stay, you can still buy dinner to heat up at home. I always get the chicken tetrazinni and a loaf of bread. (The bread is incredible!) You can choose your favorite dessert. Coconut cream pie, sugar cookies, German chocolate can't go wrong. When you go, say hi to Katy for me!
Come Crop With Me!
Signed up today to crop at 7 Minutes Later on March 5th from 6:00-12:00 p.m. Claudia has a great crop room with comfortable chairs, individual lighting, lots of space and your very own cup holder and trash can! She offers a delicious dinner and snacks (aka chocolate). This store is the most unusual scrapbooking store in Oklahoma City, with cutting-edge products and a very modern sense of style. I love to go see what is new. Today I went in to sign up and a design specialist was there with her own scrapbook. It was incredible. She has some of her pages posted here. (You'll have to search for her stuff. Her user name is "khay.") Check them out. And call Claudia to come crop with me! (Angi's presence was specifically requested by Claudia).

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Reading, Writing and Ranting...
Doug Giles wants you to stand up for your children. Me, too.
Les Fleurs
Olivia Bennett is one of my all-time favorite artists. The paintings you are about to see were painted when she was about 12 years old. I think she may be 14 by now. Incredible work!!

Monday, February 23, 2004

Animal Exercise
One of our favorite videos, Move Like The Animals, makes a great workout for children and their parents. The music is entertaining and the animal moves make the exercise fun. In fact, it doesn't even seem like exercising to a child (but adults will feel it!). See the creator's description here. The video is available at the public library, except when we're borrowing it, of course!
Scalloped Chicken
Here's what we're having for dinner tonight. It is my grandmother Margaret's favorite recipe. It is NOT low fat, but it will be perfect for this rainy, cold February evening. This makes enough for two families, so you could put half in the freezer for another cold day, or take half to some friends to they don't have to cook!

5-6 cups cooked chicken, pulled or diced (about 2 chickens)*
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 oz. pimiento (optional)
1 can chicken broth
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter
5 slices bread, cubed

Melt butter. Stir in bread cubes. Combine all ingredients. Salt to taste. Pour into greased casserole.

1 stick butter, melted
1 1/2 cups butter cracker crumbs

Mix together and pour over top.

Bake at 350 for 60-90 minutes.

Suggested sides: baked sweet potatoes, salad, fruit and/or a green veggie.

*I cook two whole chickens in my crock pot. Put 1/2 an onion inside each and then sprinkle with savory, salt, pepper and some cloves of garlic. Cool them, pull the meat and keep the meat on hand for such recipes. It can be frozen for a month if you seal it well. This time I cooked the chickens this morning, which was NOT brilliant. A brilliant cook prepares the chicken just before the trash man arrives so she has nothing around the house to attract animals!! Word to the wise.


What Are We Going To Do With This Generation?
You know, this generation just needs to learn to be patient. Learn to work out problems with words, not fists. Take your turn. Stand in line. Avoid manslaughter. And, by all means, don't sue the THEATRE!!
Spiritual Gifts
I have just taken an assessment to determine what my spiritual gifts are. My number one gift was Faith as described below:

Faith: "The special ability that God gives certain members of the Body of Christ to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purposes of God for His work."
This gift is a practical gift. Those with this gift often scare other people with their confidence. People with this gift are often very irritated by criticism, as they consider it to be criticism against God and His will. Probably the biggest danger for those with this gift is that they often try to project their gift onto other people. Scriptures: Acts 11:22-24; 27:21-25; Romans 4:18-21; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 11.

"To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculour powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues." I Corinthians 12:8-10

"News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord." Acts 11:22-24

"After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete: then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island." Acts 27:21-25

"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead - since he was about a hundred years old - and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised." Romans 4:18-21

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

If you would like to take an inventory of your gifts, go here.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

James and I had dinner in Tulsa tonight with our friends. We talked about our favorite movies, and I thought I should share mine with you. I don't really enjoy ranking, so I'll just give you some of my favorites in no particular order!
Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa)
A&E's Pride and Prejudice
Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing
Sense and Sensibility
Shall We Dance (Japanese version)

I have just noticed for the first time that all these movies are either English or Japanese. Hmmmmm.
Torch Song
Sounds like an American lawsuit, but its Canadian. Either way, things are out of hand. See this.
Drum Up Business
Have you ever been to a percussion ensemble concert? Man, they are GOOD! Mark your calendars now for the University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble concert on Thursday, April 8 at 8:00. I promise you will be amazed!
And, while we're talking percussion, I want to tell you about my friend David Anderson. He has his CD, This IS My Real Job!!!, available on David is from Enid, Oklahoma, but now lives in sunny Californ-eye-A. He attended the University of Central Oklahoma, which is well known across the country for its jazz program. You'll enjoy the CD. CDBaby is cool, too.
Okay, and speaking of UCO, check out the Jazz Lab at for a listing of upcoming events. Its a great place with live jazz and Hideaway Pizza. I'm thinking about going March 18 to hear The Civilized Tribe play just because I like to see Jeff Kidwell perform and I love the trombone (which is what Jeff plays). Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 20, 2004

All About Me!
As we begin, I'll tell you a little about me, your dear web hostess. I am the mother of two preschool boys. The eldest is 5 and spends his days drawing, coloring, cutting and playing with Veggie Tales characters. He plans ahead for holidays like his mother (he is presently making Easter decorations). (It is February). My youngest is a Thomas the Tank Engine fanatic, to say the least. He inherited my sensitivity and his daddy's big eyes. My husband and I attended highschool together but didn't begin dating until our ten-year reunion. He has a business conducting market research and is very good at it, I might add. I am an attorney with the best job in the world. That is to say, my boss is allowing me to work only 10 hours per week until my boys are both in school. I play the French horn. I love to cook (although I hate to clean up). I'm learning to be a better housekeeper and my gardening skills are in sharp decline. I'm conservative. I'm Christian. I'm having the time of my life.
Hello There!
Welcome to The Happy Homemaker! We'll be learning about all kinds of things on this blog, including music, law, cooking, cleaning, children and God. Woo Hoo! Let's go!

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Friday, February 06, 2004