Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Madly in Love

It is finals week for Diva.  The culmination of this semesters' teachings wrapped up in a stress-filled whirlwind race to the finish line of her inaugural year in high school.

Engineer went on a business trip during this time; but, before he left at the crack of dawn, he left Diva a little note of encouragement at her spot at the breakfast table.

I didn't know he was going to do that and it made me smile like a Cheshire cat when I discovered the letter.

This school year has been almost amorphous with change. 
We changed houses, hobbies, and churches. 
Diva changed states, schools, piano teachers, and styles of education. 
Engineer changed jobs and with that, travel schedules. 
My roles have been modified accordingly. 

All of the adjustments have not been smooth ones.  Now we have come through the other side with the beginnings of routines forming....just in time for summer's distinct lack of routine.   

Back to the note. 
I am so thankful for Engineer's thoughtfulness in recognizing that Diva's journey hasn't been an easy one this year, but that she has been diligent to the very end.  He made sure to tell her he is proud of her accomplishments and that he was thinking of her.

Gosh I love that man of mine.

1-4-3 EM & DM!  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Purex Plus Clorox 2

*I was sent a bottle of Purex plus Clorox 2 to review.  All opinions and horrific messes are my own.

So this happened...

Once again I am literally displaying my dirty laundry.  The napkin pictured above was the nearest thing to me when I went to wipe up an unfortunate pasta sauce incident.

In our house, we don't tend to use paper towels.  We never have.  Instead we use dishrags and cloth napkins.

I've written before about the genius of using red napkins.  Obviously, those were not available at the time of the aforementioned saucy explosion.

Both sides were affected
Unless we are having a special meal at the dining room table, these napkins are what we use - even when we have "back door guests."  (You know what I mean, folks you are so comfortable with in your home that they come through the back door like family instead of using the front door like company.)

And although for the three of us well warn napkins aren't a big deal, I'd rather not have my guests use napkins that look like they've been used in a crime scene.

Fortunately for me, the good folks at Purex had recently sent me some detergent to review.  This is not just any detergent but detergent with the stain fighting action of Clorox bleach.

Boy did I have a doozy of a test for that stuff.  Not only was the napkin heavily stained, it was found in the bottom of the laundry pile days later.

Since the stains were so caked on, I followed the directions and pre-treated the areas with the liquid detergent for 5 minutes before washing the load.

Here was the result:

Did every trace of sauce get removed?  No.
Would I be embarrassed to use the napkin in front of non-Moppins family members?  No.

My only real issue with the detergent was that it was a bit heavy on the scent.  I prefer a lighter perfume in my detergents.  Saying that, the laundry out of the dryer did not have that strong of a smell.

I feel like the Purex plus Clorox 2 did the best job I could hope for seeing as those stains were thick, sticky, caked on, and had been there for several days.   

Monday, April 18, 2016

Texas Pecan Cakes

Two of my favorite things:  roses and cake!
As I said last Friday on my Facebook page, you know it's going to be a good day when a package from Collin Street Bakery shows up on your doorstep.

What made that delivery even sweeter was that we were scheduled to have dinner with some friends on Saturday night and I was going to bring dessert.  So instead of a messy kitchen and a bundt cake that didn't fully come out of the pan (does anyone else have this problem?) I had a clean kitchen and a rock star dessert for everyone to try - a Texas Blonde Pecan Cake.

Of course that also meant that for 24 hours I had to continually swat the hands of my people who really really wanted to cut into the cake, you know - just to make sure it was acceptable.  Mmmhmmm...right...

Why were they so eager?  Because it was a Collin Street confection!  Enough said.
We are fans of their cheesecakes, their fruitcakes, their cookies, their breads, and now, we can add Texas Pecan Cakes to that list.

Please believe me that our affection for Collin Street Bakery is legit and deeply rooted.

In fact we like their baked goods so very much that we sent a fruitcake to England this past Christmas (it was received to rave reviews) and we're thinking about sending Texas Pecan cakes out for Mother's Day.  Shhh...don't tell our moms...

Back to our dinner party and the introduction of Collin Street's cake to our friends:
Everyone loved it!
One of the guys said, "I took a bite just to be nice, (I don't like fruitcake) but I ate the whole piece because it was delicious!"

I found myself in the company of a photographer, an artist, and an interior designer so yes, there was some amount of fiddling to get the photos just right. 
While we were photographing the cake, us girls were nibbling on the sliced piece.
Not one person disliked the cake and everyone thought it was the best fruitcake they had ever had, even though it technically is a pecan cake and not a fruitcake.*  

There are actually five different flavors of Texas Pecan Cakes:  apricot, pineapple, apple cinnamon, strawberry, and blonde. Each one is moist and dense in the best possible way and chock full of native Texan pecans. 

I'm sure Collin Street has nothing against brunettes, but this Texas Pecan Blonde Cake sure was tasty.  The Blonde is a fun if not decadent mix of pineapples, papayas, golden raisins, cherries, and of course, pecans.

Maybe an idea for the future?  A Texas Brunette Pecan Cake...perhaps with chocolate chips?  Collin Street, you are welcome to my idea for a new flavor. 

Right now, some of Collin Street Bakery's most popular items are on sale (with code from mailer) until June 20, 2016 - perfect timing for Mother's and Father's Day!
Look them up at to find your perfect treat. 

I received a pecan cake in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions, ideas for new cake flavors, and fabulous friends are my own.

*Collin Street Bakery uses their same honey batter for both their fruitcakes and their pecan cakes.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Winter Hats 2015-16

Last night I won a gift certificate to a local Mexican restaurant for wearing the most fabulous hat at Diva's school's banquet.  So it seemed fitting to post the winter hats that have been worn this season.

These are all vintage:

That is it.
I'm out.
These photos are the last of my winter hats.
It's very upsetting, I know.
I'm just going to have to console myself with a hunt for more...

This is part of WIWW.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Were you There?

The sign in our mudroom entrance

Easter is my favorite holiday.  Oh sure, the holiday season between October 31st and January 6th is my favorite time of year but Easter reigns supreme as my favorite holiday.  No, it's not just because it means a new hat.

I do very much enjoy the beautiful and colorful Easter dresses, the seersucker suits, and the chocolate.  It's a joy to see the Easter Lilies being dedicated at church.  The palpable excitement of children as they ready themselves for an Easter egg hunt is invigorating.

But it is the meaning and the music of Easter that I love most.

Growing up, I would visit my grandparents' church on Easter Sunday.  Never was there a better day for a life-long hymn lover like myself to visit First Baptist Church.

If we were lucky, Dr. Alan Cox would play a phenomenally rousing rendition of "Because He Lives" on the hand bells and a older bass/baritone soloist would sing "The Old Rugged Cross" for The Special (Baptists, y'all know what I'm talking about).

However, when Dr. Jerry Payne on saxophone, Dr. Cox on trumpet, and someone playing trombone would stand at three points in the sanctuary and play "Were You There" antiphonally, that was the highlight of the Easter service for me.

Nothing epitomizes the three days of events more in my mind than that hymn, "Were You There."
The words are incredibly simple as is the tune; yet, the weightiness of what happen at Calvary is felt in every word and with every note.

Vs. 1  Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Yes, I was.  It was because of a sinner like me that the God who spoke stars into existence humbled himself to become a baby, live among His creation, and have to be unjustly tried and sentenced to death on a cross.

John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 

Luke 22:19 - "And He took the bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you:  this do in remembrance of me."

Vs. 2  Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?

Yes, I was...and still am.  Each time I doubt His promises, fear for the future, or think I know what's best for me, I drive those spikes into His hands and feet.

Romans 8:28 - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." 

Psalm 23:4 - "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:  for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."

Vs. 3 Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?

Yes, I was.  All my shame, guilt, and inadequacies were buried with Christ. 

John 10:10 - "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:  I am come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." 

1 Peter 5:7 - "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."

Vs. 4 Were you there when He rose up from the dead?

Yes, I was.  It was in that moment that death lost its sting and that He gave me the gift of a choice to accept everlasting life with Him.

John 14:3 - "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

Philippians 3:7-11 - "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."

Chorus Sometimes, it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

The Creator of every living thing thought of us when He put His plan in motion to sacrifice His only begotten son so that we might have the choice to live with Him in paradise for eternity.  He thought of all of us.  We are all sinful and have equal opportunity to repent and turn away from those sins.

The Almighty God that set the universe in motion endured unthinkable torture, ridicule, and pain for you.  The only truly innocent person to ever walk the earth was falsely accused, convicted as guilty, and put to death in the most gruesome and shameful way for you

The Prince of Peace suffered, died, and was buried for me - a short, slow-driving, cookie monster with an astigmatism.  2000 years ago while in unfathomable pain, God Almighty was thinking of little ol' me.

How can I sing those words and not physically feel the stirring in my soul?
Not sometimes, but all the time, it causes me to tremble.
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