Monday, November 30, 2009

One More Day...

Typically Mondays aren't my favorite, but today I'm happy to have one.

I get to spend this entire day with The Mister.

The best part?

For at least six hours we get to spend this day alone.

Well, if you don't count the other people at the mall.

After 16 years of knowing this man, I still really like him.

He's speaking my love language this morning....he said he'd buy me a latte. So I'm not gonna take too much time here on the blog. to me....

Tell me one favorite memory that happened on your Thanksgiving....or tell me if you braved Black Friday....or if you are hoping that today, when you hit the mall, everybody will be at home on the laptops for Cyber Monday...

Happy Day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From My Humble Table To Yours...

Happy Thanksgiving!

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, 
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him.”-

~Col 3:17~

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random Thoughts of a Happy CoffeeGal

The La Vida Academy is officially on Thanksgiving vacation!

Which mean the Sweet Shop is now open full time.

Today I hope to do a twenty-minute-tidy on the house, and then I'm locking myself in the office for the day.

Today I am working on these for my beautiful and sweet pre-teen nieces:

I'm tempted to make one for myself....

I'll probably need to find some time to bathe my dog.

She ran out last night in the rain and found some nastiness to roll in....

If I didn't love her so much I'd be tempted to make her be an outside dog for good.

I also need to start the dough for my Southern Refrigerator Biscuits....which is a lovely, super-buttery, sweet bread I always make for Thanksgiving.

Oh, and yes, I need to take  the turkey out of the freezer...thanks for reminding me.

Some of you already know this....but I get my bird drunk every year. I already posted about this here (four years ago????) ...but I get such a kick out of it that I'm telling you again.

Ok seriously, how does time go so fast? And how much better does my kitchen look with the white cabinets!

But back to the turkey... several years ago when we were living in Texas I was so excited because I found a turkey on sale for .28/pound (or something ridiculous like that) and so I picked the BIGGEST turkey I could find.

I didn't take into consideration that we are just a party of four. Nor did I consider that half of our family was under the age of 5...I was temporarily blinded by .28/pound.

I was so proud when I came home with a 25 pound turkey. I had to throw out nearly everything on the top shelf of the freezer to get it to fit, but it was totally worth it.

Of course I forgot to pull the turkey whopper out of the freezer, and it wasn't until Wednesday morning when I realized my mistake.

I called the turkey hotline and the turkey expert told me to quickly take my bird, and put him in the bath tub filled with cool water.

So that year the bird got dunked twice. Once in the tub and once in the keg.

Oh, and you know how long a 25lb. bird takes to cook? And how much meat you get??

Alot.  We ate turkey of one variation or another for a very- long- time.

But look at the memories I have.

This year my bird weighs a whopping 12 pounds. Perfect.

How about you? Are you cooking this year? Will yours be a big feast with all the extended family, or a small affair like ours? What is your favorite Turkey Day dish?

Happy Tuesday!

PS: I do have some time scheduled to catch up on blog reading...and to check in on all you new gals who have been recently leaving comments! Thank you for stopping by, and saying hello!, and I look forward to using some time this holiday week to pop-by your place!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks Giving

It's quiet here this morning.

It's cold and rainy, and yet, the day ahead holds promise.

I am thankful for that.

I love this week of Thanksgiving...and the quiet here this morning is lending itself to pondering...

I'm thankful far away.

On Friday I had two telephone conversations:

In the early afternoon I spoke with my sister-in-law. We hadn't talked in a very long time, but as good friends often do, we slipped into encouraging conversation immediately.

Much later that night I had a conversation with my brother. He had just arrived at home from the hospital.

He's a police officer, and while on duty he was hit on his motorcycle by someone who ran a red light.

It was rush hour, on a very busy intersection...he was thrown 75 feet from his bike.

He was banged up, but for all intents and purposes, his injuries laugh in the face of the tragedy that could have been.

To hear his voice that night was soothing to my soul.

I am thankful...that his life was spared.

On Sunday we celebrated The Misters birthday with steak and chocolate cake, and spent the evening around our fire-pit in the back yard.

I am thankful for....a husband that is strong and tender, smart and wise, loving and honorable. I cannot figure out how in the world I got to be his beloved...but I am so very grateful.

I am thankful for... my church family.

We are a small community and last night we met for our traditional Thanksgiving meal.

After dinner we had the opportunity to give voice to our gratitude. As a handful of the men and women stood up to give thanks it was clear that we have each been given to this community for specific and real reasons.

Honestly, I have often doubted what my purpose might be for this little church, but last night, I didn't doubt.

I am thankful...that God has a very deep and meaningful purpose...for my brother, his family, my church family, for me....

He has great purpose for you. 

Don't believe otherwise.

Sometimes it is difficult to see, or to understand...

So, I am especially thankful for this:

"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—
plans to take care of you, 
not abandon you, 
plans to give you the future you hope for."
~Jeremiah 29:11
(The Message)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Raising Enablers

One of the things I love about my kids is that they know me.

They really do.

They know that my favorite animal is the giraffe.

They know that I don't really have a favorite color, but if you press me to give you one I'll tell you pink.

They know that I love reading and I look forward to Wednesday Night Date Night with their dad (aka: Wine Wednesdays...I almost always have a glass of wine with dinner on Wednesday.)

They know I enjoy homemade gifts, and that I have this super-love for babies.

They know that the songs Happy Birthday and the Star Spangled Banner will make me cry every. blessed. time.

However, if you asked them what advice you would give someone about me they would say:

"Don't talk to her before the first two cups of coffee."

Sad, but true.

Yesterday, the kids were building Legos while listening to Old Yeller on an audio disk.

When we were done, The Boy came to me and said, I made you something!

Its a state-of-the-art coffee maker that cleans up after itself, with a JUMBO sized coffee cup.


They know me.

I love them so....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lessons from the Coffeegal

Last week I was very concerned because our copy/fax/printer/scanner wouldn't work properly.

( I was also griping, because I buy elastic pony-tail holders by the dozens, but can't ever find one when I need it.)

Finally, on Sunday, we had a moments time to sit down before lunch to figure out the issue with the machine.

And by "we" I mean, The Mister.

He got out the manual, and Q-tips, and cleaning solution, and pushed buttons, and cleaned rollers, and did a bunch of really cool and official looking stuff.

(Have I mentioned lately that he's exceedingly handsome when he's trying to save the day? Which he does very often....but digress.)

His diagnosis?

We might have to take it to an "'official dealer" to solve the problem.

All I could hear was "ka-ching!" ringing in my ears.  Of course this would happen right before Christmas.

We decided to go drown our sorrows in a turkey sandwich.

After lunch he went back to the machine, just to take one last look.

Within a few moment he starts to laugh.

Not that funny "hee-hee-hee!"-- this is hysterical laugh.

It's the "ha, ha, ha"-- I cannot believe what I just found in this expensive machine laugh.

He reached into the depths of the inner workings and pulled out a black, elastic pony tail holder.


And now?

The machine works like a charm. Better than ever.

What have I learned from this?

I've learned to always take one last look, and as a bonus, I figured out why my hair accessories are disappearing.

The copy/fax/scanner/printer machine is eating my elastic pony tail holders.

(Since I am not entirely sure I can blame the kids for this issue, that's my story and I sticking to it.)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

She's Watching Me

"You're so skinny."

Three magic words I've always longed to hear...

Until they came from my daughter.

For those of you who are new readers, 18 months ago I shared a secret here on the blog. Mostly because I wanted to bring attention to the True Campaign, a ministry that is dear to my heart.

I don't struggle with eating disorder as I did in the early part of this decade, but honestly there are still days when I choose to think things about my physical self that just aren't true; when I let feelings and the culture I live in dictate what I think is attractive.

Several week ago I received catalogues from two very popular female oriented department stores. The models on the covers were very...willowy. The Mister saw those catalogues sitting on the the counter, and was immediately angry.

"Kellie, the girls on those covers are way too thin. Why do women think that's attractive?"

My answer?

"It isn't the women I'm looking at, its the product, the clothing, the beautiful household things they sell."

He stared at me long and hard and I knew he wasn't buying it. Without any words, he called my bluff.

I know he is right.

Skinniness still holds a powerful attraction to this former disordered eater...I no longer have the energy or drive to wear skinniness anymore...but I'm still sometimes seduced by its call.

And now, its slowly, deceitfully, almost innocently, calling my nine year old daughter.

I've always thought I was so good about keeping my issues contained around the kids. I don't talk about dieting, I don't weigh myself with them around, I try to be balanced in what we eat--not talking about certain foods being "good" or "bad". I now exercise in moderation; enjoy people and things around me.

Being outwardly grateful for the body I have...

But, we're only as strong as our weakest link, and the catalogues on my counter tell it all.

If my daughter can't escape from the images that bombard our minds in the safety of her own home, where can she rest?

The truth is I look at those models and sometimes wish...

And my daughter?

Well, she looks at me.

Her statement that day she as watched me dress rang an alarm from the depths of my soul that refuses to be silenced.

In that moment of truth, a deep place I hadn't realized was chained to the bondage of 'thin' was awakened. Released. --A tiger no longer caged, who's cubs are at risk.

I may not be able to stop all things that stand in the face of my daughter and beg her to compare herself to an unmeasurable standard, but I can will take her hand and lead by example.

She may be called by pictures, by culture, by peer pressure, by fashion, by media, and all things that "set the standards"....

...but, she is watching me.


If you are not familiar with the True Campaign go on over and check it out. On this page you can be a part of the True Campaign by signing up. If you only have time to do one thing today, don't leave a comment here and use that time to check them out. It's time -- Challenge the Culture and End the Crises.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ladies Who Lunch (And other fun stuff)

Thanks to all who played If I Came To Your House Today on Friday.

That was some serious fun, and I look forward to doing it again in the future!

This weekend was chock-full of exciting events and it all started out with a lunch date with The Carpool Queen on Friday. She had some VIP's in town for a short stay, and was generous enough to share a couple of hours of her visiting time with me tagging along.

I was very excited to meet the ever witty and famous ImNotNed. He actually has his own blog, but I found him through the comment section over at CPQ's place.

Anyway, ImNotNed (who really isn't Ned, but whom I almost called Ned five bagillion times) was just as fun in person as the guy he plays on the net. And I would say that even if he hadn't bought everybody's lunch. (Thanks again!)

I really enjoyed talking with Imnotned's beautiful wife, Momologuer.

I hope I didn't appear too weird.

You see, she reminded me of someone, so I kept staring at her while my brain was in overload trying to figure it all out.

I kept wishing they were gonna be here awhile so that I could kidnap CPQ and Momologuer for the afternoon. I just knew that we would be kindred spirits, should time allow. (Hmmm, I've seen her somewhere....)

How did I know?

Well, other than the fact that Momologuer seemed very calm, relaxed, and personable, in her beautiful winter-white wear, but when she found out I was on the way to Michael's for a few crafty things she dug in her purse to see if she might have a coupon I could use.

Friends, that is share a Michael's coupon with a stranger.

(who does she remind me of?)

As we said goodbye and walked out into the rain I was still trying to figure out who Momologuer looked like...when I got into the car and put the key in the ignition it came to me...

Kate Hudson....she totally looks like Kate Hudson.

On a complete random say that I am not an adventurous eater would be the understatement of the year. I am especially a not a fan of anything that has anything to do with cream, or cream sauce-- anything that is colored white, really. (Sweet things and coffee creamer excluded.)

Listen, I never said I didn't have issues.

But for some weird reason--and I am not sure why--when I am with the CPQ I try to be very foody forward.

Case in point: Chicken Pot Pie Soup.

It was rainy and terribly cold outside and I knew soup was the answer. Normally I would go for French Onion or Chicken Veggie, but when the waitress walked up I ordered a big bowl of the Chicken Pot Pie soup like I had just won the Dairy Queen crown.

Next time I won't be such a poser.

Ok, this post is getting foward, Coffeegal.

Saturday we went to Richmond VA, got lost downtown in the middle of a marathon, toured a musuem, and a historic home, went to a wedding receiption for some friends, drove home, slept late Sunday, made french bread, read in the first sunshine we had had in almost a week, crashed in bed last night, and now I am here. Whew!

One side note: In the middle of all that activity I tried the Peppermint Chocolate Shake at Chik-fil-A. I had heard rave reviews on Twitter and other blogs.

Don't hate me, but....I'm not a fan. It's like drinking a gravel milkshake. It tastes good, but all the crunched up candy cane is like drinking rocks.

However, to confuse you even more, since I have written my disdain for all things creamy, I do actually like one Egg Nog shake during this season...

I know, I even confuse myself...

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Carnival: If You Came to My House Today

***Updated!!!! For some reason the Mr Linky link is requiring that you click on it to add your link, or see the links of those already posted. Be sure to click the Mr. Linky page to go Visit Others at Their House Today!***

Step right up!

For three tickets, or the price of linking your blog up in Mr. Linky (below), you can join this carnival!

If you don't have a blog, then just look around, and enjoy the ride!

I will leave this carnival open all weekend. But then I'm packing it up and we're movin' on into the next week of blogging.

***if you are unsure as to what a carnival is, or what this carnival is about, click here.***

With out further adieu:

If You Came To My House Today...

If you came to my house today. Yes!
You'd see that I've much here to say, But
The talk is diversion,
For those with aversion,
from the dog hair that lies yonder way.

(And those are also framed pictures that I have yet to hang up since we moved back....its only been a year. See...that fur ball almost blends in with the hardwood.)

If you came to my house today...
You'd see that the sky is quite gray,
Inside we'd be warm
From that cold, wet storm.
Sipping coffee, or tea, hooray!

If you came to my house today...
You'd see my desk's great dismay.
This cre-a-tive mind,
Is messy you'll find,
For she crafts as if at a buffet.

If you came to my house today...
You'd see this brown couch right away.
We'd sit and we'd chat.
I excel at that!
We'd be happy with our small soiree.

If you came to my house today...
You'd not see perfection. No way!
There's dirt, socks, and dust.
Wash pile is robust...
But I'd choose friendship o'er work anyday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coming soon: Carnival!!!

Who doesn't love a carnival?

The rides. The fried bacon.

The homemade jam. The fried bacon.

The men with missing teeth running the rickety rides. The fried bacon.

.....uh, wait a minute.

Scratch that.....

I'm not a huge lover of bacon. Although frying can make some things better.

Case in point, I went to a Cuban restaurant last night. I had the Ropa Vieja. It was delicious! But the best part? The fried green bean appetizers dipped in guacamole.

Mmm Mmm good!

But that's not why I am here today.

Where were we? oh yes! Carnivals.

I'm having one right here at the La Vida House on Friday.


You write something to finish this prompt:

If you came to my house today...

You can make a list. Write an essay. Do a pictorial. Make a cartoon. Have a puppet show. Whatever. Just tell me what would happen if I, and a million people from the WWW came to your house today....or tomorrow, or  6am in the morning when you were supposed to be having quiet time. (Not that I know anything about that.)

When you've finished writing, come on over here and put your link into Mr. Linky.

Sorry, no fried bacon, but I assure you that when you ride on this bloggy ride you'll get a full-toothed smile.

Now, for an about-face, and with as much sincerity and respect I can give to the written word, I want to say this....

It's Veterans Day.

The kids and I have been studying the Civil War.

600,000 Americans died in that war.

Men and women have fought (and fight!) for this country... To win the right for me to sit here, and sip my coffee, and type these words.

I am the daughter of a Veteran who served in Vietnam.

I am the wife of a Veteran who served in the Gulf War, and who still serves his country today.

I am proud of those who serve the greatest country in the world.

To these veterans and to the ones I have never met, thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 on the 10th

It is once again time for 10 on the 10th: Hosted by Mer at Life at 7000 Feet

Which is fun because did you realize today is 11/10/09?

Speaking of random....I present

Ten (more) Extraordinarily Random Things:

10. At night I have been weirded out while I am down stairs alone because a strange sound happens, and it sounds like it could be in the garage. Turns out, it just the ice maker.

9. I am reading so many different things right now that make me think-y. Which is a good thing-y.

8. I am going to host a carnival at the end of this week that I really want you to join. It's inspired by the writing prompts of Kellie's Second Grade Stories. The topic? 

If You Came To My House Today....

More details to follow, but if you want to play I'm thinking Friday the 13th is the day!

7. There are still tomatoes growing in my garden, even though we have already had a couple nights of freezing weather.

6. I'm contemplating a Twitter hiatus. I don't like thinking thoughts in 140 characters or less. It's hindering my think-yness.

5. I made dinner last night and surprised my family with a  candle lit and decorated table. They all wanted to know if someone special was coming over.

4. That made me little sad. But sadness quickly faded by the look on The Girls face when I said, "Yes. The three of you!"

3. The dog is laying on the floor beside me and her stomach is gurgling so very loud.

2. I hope to learn applique this week on Clinton the Embroidery Machine.

1. My favorite quote I've read this week is this:

The epitome of sophistication is utter simplicity.

- Maya Angelou

Monday, November 09, 2009

Two Posts In One Day!

I'm living on the wild side today.

I'm posting twice.

It's kind of like lightening, only without all the pain of electricity and stuff.

I wanted to tell you all about Saturday.

It was so fun.

I woke up early (for a Saturday) and went to my office with some coffee and got my Crafter on.

I never got out of my PJ's. Not even to make pizza for dinner. The Girl was at a party, The Mister was helping a friend, The Boy and his friend were out in the woods doing things that boys do....I heard that there may have been a magnifying glass and some burning leaves, but I was crafting, so I don't really know...

All this to say, I was left to my self with Clinton the Embroidery Machine, and Kiki the Kuerig.

I haven't actually named the Keurig Kiki.

But I might...

I finished up my secret project....Here's a peek:

I also finished that sweet Gingerbread Girl ornament pictured above.

And made a few aprons.

Which I might have placed in my etsy shop.

Oh, and I made my "To Make" Christmas list.

It was an awesome day!

Then, as if it couldn't get much better, Sunday after church The Mister and I had lunch at the house of some dear friends of ours. They fed us spaghetti and bread and red wine, while we sat on the outside porch in perfect weather.

It was lovely.

Oh, and on Sunday I did actually get dressed.

Lest you start to think I lived a charmed life. Let me tell you that I almost lost my religion trying to teach school this morning.

There was much rolling of the eyes, and huffing, and yelling of "where is that book I was supposed to read?"...oh yeah, and always trying to get in the last word.

And that was just me, I won't even go into what the kids were doing.

All is well now though...its amazing what an afternoon biscuit with home-made apple butter can do for a girl...

Now, I must update the Christmas card list. Which I had scheduled to do in July. But you know, why do something in the summer that you can put of for the busiest time of the year?

Life's more exciting that way!

Happy Monday!

An Open Letter To My Sweet Readers

Dear La Vida Dulce Gals, (and turtle-lover, Imnotned),

I'm certain that above all readers in the blog-world, you are the best.

Thank you for speaking up and making some sweet noise here on the old blog.

It did this LVCG heart good.

I cannot tell you how much I love blogging. It brings the world of writing and friendship into one little space on the net...its a small part of my life that carries a big piece of my heart.

I do have a confession to make, one that most the bloggers reading this page will already know:

I'm not always on the generous end when it comes to comments.

Shocking, I know.

Mostly its my desire to say something meaningful, funny, timely, or (most importantly) original. I think words are it Twitter, Facebook, blogging, or in person. They can build up or tear down.

I've wielded the power of words both ways...often unintentionally. The written word (especially in comments or emails) can be tricky. I am often reminded of the song, "Be careful little mouth what you speak...."

So, at the risk of sounding needy and comment hungry, I wanted to silence the crickets last week because I enjoy hearing from you. I could have checked my Sitemeter to see what the numbers are, but y'all, at La Vida Dulce, you are more than a number.

Thank you for hearing...and responding!

It meant so very much.

Your bloggy-friend,

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday Encouragement

I don't usually post on weekends (and I do want to address Friday's post all are the best!)

However, my friend Charity, over at Considering It All Joy, has posted the most beautiful post at her sight this weekend.

If you are walking a rough and difficult road...

If you are in need of some perspective...

If you are asking "why"...

If you want to know Who to cling to when life feels fragile and unfair...

Go read What It's Like... you won't be sorry.

Friday, November 06, 2009

My Name is Kellie...and I'm a CoDependent Blogger?


Its been a busy week.

I have a lot of nothing to write about today.

Oh wait! Here's something...

A couple nights ago The Mister reads my blog and says: Nice posts this week.

 I say: Thanks, but I cannot figure out where my commenters's like crickets out there.

He says: Maybe everybody is busy.

I say: (in my best Eyeor voice) Maybe no one reads my blog.

He went back and looked at my blog.

He says: Kellie you have at least 7 comments on the last few days...that's not "nobody".

I say: Yeah, well last week I had nearly 18 per day.

He says: Honey, don't be a codependent blogger.

I say: OUCH!

And then we laughed. But it got me to thinking...

...about that scene in Soapdish (have you seen it?) when Celeste (an aging soap opera star) and her agent set up a "sighting" in the mall so Celeste can give her ego a boost.

Not that I'm like that or anything...I'm just telling you what I was thinking.

Anyway, go ahead, comment. Tell me something funny. Tell me something random. Tell me something about yourself. Tell me your a codependent blogger too. Tell me that you are an enabler. Tell me that you don't like comments. Tell me that you love comments but you hate the mall....Just tell me.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Freuly Friends

It's been awhile (like nearly two years!) since I have shared some of Kellie's Second Grade Stories.

If you missed the first one, click here.

The year? 1978.

With out further adieu, I give you: A Friend Is Someone Who....

(You can click the picture to see the detail.)

A friend is someone who...
is nice.
A friend is someone who...
is warm.
A friend is someone who...
(Watches) the same show.
A friend is someone who...
is (friendly).

Obviously, I really haven't changed much since second grade. I still think a friend is all these things...and so much more. (As a side note, all my current friends have arms. But I'd love them just the same if they were armless.) Who needs arms when there are flowers to draw?

I still like to write. I still love brightly colored pictures of happy people on sunny days.

Oh and also, this was the year I decided to spell my name differently than how my  mother spells it (to this day I still sometimes get cards to Kelli--and it makes me smile.) But I had strong opinions from an early age and Kellie with one "I" simply wouldn't do.

Apparently on the day this was written I was trying on a "Y" for didn't stick.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Just in Case

Several years ago I had some dental work done that required a small surgical procedure.

Upon leaving the doctors office I was prescribed pain killers.

I never used them.

And... I never threw them away.

I reasoned that I should keep them.

Just in case.

The expiration on that bottle is 2003, which means it was prescribed sometime in 2002. I'm pretty sure that the potency of those pills is long gone.

But still...just in case.

I wish this was the only thing I hold onto... you know ... just in case.

Like the closet full of clothes I don't wear anymore.

Or the scraps of material from projects of old.

Or fear.

Or worry.

Or bitterness...

...just in case.

I've been thinking about freedom....about living life really free.

I've been reading some good books, by good authors who have experienced life.

Pleasure, and pain.

Women like Maya Angleou, Anne Graham Lotz, and the story of Mary and Martha.

And you know what?

They didn't rely on the things of this world to ease a heart that cries for the Eternal.


I flushed those little white pills, and threw out the old orange bottle.

I don't want to be tied to anything that brings the empty promises of ...

Just in case.

Monday, November 02, 2009


For those of you who didn't know, the La Vida House was on "vacation" last week.

How can nine days go so quickly?

I've want to write on a handful of topics today but the truth is I'm in "vacation detox".

What is vacation detox?

Well, its about tough love and hard work.

Its letting go of the care-free minutes of unplanned days and setting the face to flint.

Its reminding oneself of the luxury of nine days of togetherness with The Mister, and the ablility to shed the school teacher hat for a week.

Its about the reality of a weeks worth of laundry and housekeeping gone undone. Its about not knowing if the refrigerator has (edible) food in it, and making a list for the store.

Its about motivating children to be early, eager, and educated. Hopefully in that order.

Its about getting out the calendar and trying to make sure that the schedule isn't too full.

Its about getting a grasp on reality and creatively channelling chaos to look more like peace.


It ain't for sissies.

The good news?

There is always coffee.

(This is a picture of me with the only cup of coffee I could find at the zoo. More pics to come!)