Breathing

Last night, my house was filled with the beautiful sounds of laughter and conversation that only a group of ladies can bring. It made my heart so happy. I love being around people and learning about them. I especially learning the crazy little trivia factoids that eventually bring inside jokes and laughs just when you need them.  I love it when you catch the eye of someone when you are connecting with them and you both just know you made a connection. It was like an energizing breathing, in and out, going through my family room, dining room and kitchen. I felt renewed. I experienced joy. In a way, it was like the first flutters of a crush. You get a little jumpy. Your heart beats a little bit faster and you are thinking, “this is great, I want my heart to sing like this again!” What a gift – to realize that you can be swept from everything familiar and comfortable and pleasant in your life and find yourself in this bit of bliss. It brings hope. It brings dreams of things yet to come.

This morning, my breathing was a bit more labored. I was up before dawn, playing possible scenarios in my mind of how my upcoming medical test was going to play out. I had to be at the radiologist bright and early today for a second, more in-depth ultrasound. Think pink ribbons. Think La Leche League. Yeah, those. I had already received a report of “suspicious” and “irregular” and here I was on the precipice of “what-if Land.”  I had peace about how it was all going to end, I just was uncertain about the middle. In my mind, (a scary place, indeed) I pictured every possible scenario. I am not the kind of person to keep things to myself, so I had a few people in my life who knew what was going on. This still doesn’t always make you breathe easier, does it?

It felt like I had on a snorkel with a hole in it as I swam in the ocean. I was getting air, but other stuff was getting in, too. The radiologist did such a great job with me. I could feel myself getting more oxygen to my brain the longer I laid on that skinny table. I watched the screen as if I knew what I was looking for. As if the bad image would have flashing lights around it, shouting with frenzy, screaming, “Look here! Don’t miss this!” But those images never appeared for me. In fact, the radiology tech made a point of showing me exactly what we weren’t seeing. Breathing slower now, eyes closed, smelling sweetness all around me. I literally ran to the waiting room where my precious boys were sitting and breathed in their beauty and goodness and the Grace that I was experiencing flowing over me like the chocolate fountain from the night before. It was bliss.

Tonight, I feel more hope than I have for a long time. What the plans are for me. What my future might hold. What my life might look like in this new land. I breathe. I breathe deeply. I let the scents of  past, present and future mingle around me and I try to capture this new aroma for a while. I breathe.

~Janna

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Look what I made!

Today I made cinnamon rolls and tortillas. After making 4 pans of cinnamon rolls, I still had lots of dough left but wanted to make something else. I remembered a recipe for shredded apple pie my sweet friend, Vanessa sent me and decided I would play with that idea. Here’s how it went:

Rolled out dough just like cinnamon rolls. Sprinkled apple pie spice on the dough (I have this in bulk). Sprinkled organic natural granulated sugar over spice mix.  Peeled and shredded 3 Granny Smith apples and sprinkled over sugar and spice (and everything nice!). Rolled up, cut and baked just like cinnamon rolls. I made a glaze with powdered sugar, vanilla and evaporated milk and drizzled that over the top.

Can I get an Amen?

Plain Janes

Cinnamon Rolls in giveaway pans

 

 

Apple Pie Rolls

Forgot to take a picture until after I had served some! We were excited.

 

Here’s the “Plain Janes” Regular Cinnamon Rolls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s our big pan of Apple Pie Rolls. This was my Gramma’s pan. It makes me happy every time I use it. I can still see where her rolls were placed, time and time again, in the bottom of the pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tortillas were yummy, too. Easy peasy. Wheat flour, oil, salt and baking powder. I love my tortillas press. It is made by Villaware. Once I figured out the secret of using it, I was in serious love. It took a second,, though. It was supposed to be so easy-anyone could do it-that kind of thing.  I kept making these ripped up, sad looking bread pieces. Here’s the secret, just in case you ever find yourself with this gem of an appliance: Listen for the tortilla to scream. The second it does, you life the handle. Perfect tortillas. Just thought you should know.

 

The lonely one

The last tortilla. Left alone on the cutting board. So sad. If H knew, he'd be on that with the butter and honey in 2 seconds flat!

 

 

We went to Matamoros yesterday for lunch. It was great. I did not eat the goat, although it is the specialty. I am still getting used to the fact that yellow cheese and sour cream don’t come with the fajita plate down here. I miss those accessories.  We did some shopping and walked around the streets. It was great. The border crossing back home went fairly easily also. We hear that can be a lonnnnnng wait sometimes. I was happy to use my passport. No stamp, though. Truthfully, I was a little sad about that.

Crossing the riverHere’s the view as we crossed back into Texas. For a while, the front passengers were in Texas while the rest of us were still in Mexico. 🙂

And with that, I’ll close tonight’s chapter of my adventures. Tomorrow night, I am having Choctoberfest at my house. I’ve invited girlfriends over and I’m ready for dessert and girl talk! I have my chocolate fountain out already. Tomorrow, I’ll go buy the bananas and other things to enjoy in the chocolate fountain as well as the cups and napkins.  I’m really looking forward to it. Of course, it could wind up just being me, myself and I – but I’m going to have chocolate one way or another!

 

Dreaming of powdered sugar glaze and chocolate fountains…

~Janna

 

 

 

 

Tacos..at 6:00 am?


I found this on another site and I’m thinking the boys and I are going to have to go for early lunch (or snack!) Free is fun! I’m just thinking 6 am is way too early for any eating at Taco Bell.

You can get a new Black Jack taco at Taco Bello on Halloween from 6am to midnight. Looks good and even better no purchase necessary. All Taco Bell locations are participating while supplies last.
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Thanks, Melissa!

Field Trip

We loaded up this morning and took a field trip. We had the best time. Mr Darcy (the GPS Mr Darcy) took me to the wrong address at first, but it was just part of the adventure. We eventually arrived at the Palo Alto Historic Battlefield. It’s so close to our house, we could almost hear the cannons firing!  We learned so much more about Texas History and the boys got to laugh hysterically at their Mom who was a bit skittish on the walking trail with all the “Beware of the Rattlesnakes” signs. I mean, who wouldn’t be?  We’ll go back, for sure. Tommy was sad he missed it and we didn’t get to walk the whole trail because C is still recovering from the Big Sick.

Once home, I made the traditional Mexican/American lunch: Quesadillas and Nacho Cheese Doritos. Oh, and apple slices. It was bueno, if I do say so myself.  We were surprised by a package in the mail today from a dear friend which included candy bars.  Whoooo-weee!!  Also in the package, were some beautiful drapes which I hung this afternoon in the dining room. I know, I am pretty handy with the tools….

The new window treatments in the dining room

The new window treatments in the dining room

(Please ignore the lighting. It’s not my personal favorite, but it’s there.)  What a blessing. I’m thrilled. It really made my day.

Tomorrow, I will sanitize the nursery and Pre-K rooms at church and get the lessons ready. The boys just bring their schoolwork and do it in the classroom at the tiny tables. It works.  After that, it’s bake-a-thon Friday!!  I am going to try my hardest to get 6 loaves of bread, bagels, pancake mix and some muffins done. The muffins are last on the list, but I really am wanting some pumpkin muffins, so we’ll see what happens.  Maybe I can try some pita bread, too. That’d be fun and quick.  I have a recipe for copycat Kings Hawaiian Rolls I’d like to try with this wheat. I don’t know about you, but I could eat an entire package of those things from the store. Cold, even. I love them at Thanksgiving so I think I need to do a trial run, don’t you?

Isn’t it funny how sometimes food can trigger a memory of a person? When  I think of Kings Hawaiian Bread, I always think of my friend, Amy.  She was the first person to make spinach dip in a bread bowl. I’m telling you, this lady is waaaay better than Martha Stewart in the entertaining realm. She can do anything with such style and panache. I learned so much from watching her and being in her beautiful homes. I learned how to do casual elegance. As a new Mommy, I learned  how to be myself.  I am so grateful to have been able to have her as my friend. She is precious, brilliant, loving and goes after God like a lightning bolt. She cuts to the chase and you just can’t beat that in a relationship.

That’s about it for me, what are you baking lately?

~Janna

The wheat is waving in the wind

The UPS man just left my house. My Honeyville Grain order arrived. I took pictures, I was so giddy. You wanna see?  I knew you did…

I had to use the rolling office chair to get it from the front door to my work area!

I had to use the rolling office chair to get it from the front door to my work area!

Here it is - plain and simple. 50 lbs of wheat.

Here it is - plain and simple. 50 lbs of wheat.

Here is his new home for the next 24 hours. Our freezer. See the yummy baked ziti on the shelf above it? Mmmmmm.

Here is his new home for the next 24 hours. Our freezer. See the yummy poppy seed chicken on the shelf above it? Mmmmmm.

Now, I just have to wait 24 hours until I can start baking up a storm! Why did I put it in the freezer? To kill all the possible little buggies that might be in there. You know it’s there in all of your grain products, right? Do you not want to talk about this? Plug your ears for a second if you don’t.

If you freeze your grains for 24 hours before you grind them, you’ll kill all the live bugs and larvae that may have gotten in your grain. I’m not saying there’s bugs in the Honeyville Grains product. I do this with any grain product I buy. Rice, oats, even store-bought flour. Better safe than sorry. I’ve been sorry, it’s not fun. After the freezer stay, I’ll transfer the wheat to my giant wheat buckets with Gamma Lids. I’ll take pictures for you when I do that. I know, I know… you can’t wait.

So this time I bought hard white wheat. We found that our family prefers this over hard red wheat. It’s a less-harsh flavor. It’s great for bread, tortillas, cookies and most anything else except biscuits. We just don’t like those whole wheat biscuits.  I have some whole wheat pastry berries (berries are the un-ground wheat) in the freezer to use for pies. I hear they are good for biscuits. I just don’t know about that. Anyone have experience with that?

That about wraps it up for today. Tomorrow, if the boys don’t still have fever, we plan on visiting Historic Fort Brown. We just got to the part in our Texas History book where the US/ Mexican war began. Did you know it all started right here at the bottom of Texas? The fort has been incorporated into the University of Texas campus down here. I’m pretty excited. History coming to life!

Go make some history of your own….

~Janna

On Target

I was at Target yesterday, restocking our cough medicine, Gatorade and stuff (okay, “stuff” includes a Coke Zero for me) and I realized I’ve been so out of it with the sickness at our house, that I didn’t even check for deals before I went.  Just in case Target is on your path in the next few days, here’s some giftcard deals to help you out:

You can view the full Target ad HERE. (Just click on “Weekly Ad”)

You can find more Target deals over on A Full Cup, one of my favorite couponing forums! Just register for an account HERE, and then head over to the Target section to see all kinds of great deals, including a list of what A Full Cup contributors have found on clearance at Targets around the country!

Gift Card Deals:

Buy TWO participating Vaseline Skin Care products, get a $5 Target Gift Card
Scenario #1:
Buy TWO Vaseline Body Lotion (20.3 or 24.5 oz) – $5.00 each
Use $1/1 coupon from the 10/18 RP
Use $1/1 coupon from the November All You Magazine

Pay $8 out of pocket
Get back a $5 Target Gift Card
$1.50 each after coupons and gift card

Scenario #2:
Buy TWO Vaseline Sheer Infusion Lotion (6.8 oz) – $5.99 each
Use TWO $1.50/1 printable coupons
Pay $8.98 out of pocket
Get back a $5 Target Gift Card
Use $1.50/1 here (print 2)
$1.99 each after coupons and gift card

Buy TWO Fusion Power Razors or Venus Breeze Razors @ $7.94 each, Get a $5 Target Gift Card
Use $4/1 Fusion coupon from the 9/27 P&G
Use $2/1 Venus coupon from the 9/27 P&G

Pay $7.88 – $11.88 out of pocket
Get back a $5 Target Gift Card
$1.44 – $3.44 each after coupons and gift card

Buy FOUR Kellogg’s FiberPlus Antioxidant Bars (5 count) @ $2.33 each, Get a $5 Target Gift Card!
Use FOUR 75¢/1 printable coupons (IE) printable coupons (FF) (it looks like you can only print 1 per computer, so you will need 4 computers to print 4)
Pay $6.32 out of pocket
Get back a $5 Target Gift Card
33¢ each after coupons and Gift Card!!
(This deal is good through 11/2/09)
Thanks, Happy Couponing!

~Janna

seriously?

Well, I am the only one out of the five of us who is not sick. Have you ever pondered how that happens? How Mom is able to stay well when everyone else gets sick? I find this pretty amazing. Now, I know there are times when it won’t hold true, but for the most part it’s the way it seems to work. So, here I am in bed with the laptop and my baby C sleeping next to me. I am happy he is sleeping. He’s thrown up a lot today. He was crying, he felt so bad. I hate that. Everyone has fever and is coughing. Mr Darcy took himself to the ER yesterday in the wee hours of the morning (before sunrise) and got some antibiotics via IV. He is doing a little better.

On a much brighter note, I GOT MY COOKIES IN THE MAIL!!!!! I won them from BakedToOrder.com . I told you I chose the sugar cookies, and they were delish! I received a dozen (all nicely packed) and promptly ripped that box apart and tasted one (or two).  Then I shared with the Lilliputians. Bliss! What a great idea to have cookies arrive at your door and you didn’t have to make them. They tasted fresh and yummy.

Who knows if we shall do school tomorrow. Maybe at least a little bit. We’ll have to see how tonight goes, I guess. Some beautiful friends from church brought us leftovers from the potluck we were unable to attend today. Wow, that blessed us. It really is something how just a small act, call or email can change your day. I need to remember that. I get so caught up in the goings-on of my own life that I most often seem to forget that. I can’t be the only one who needs a bright spot every now and then, right? {Blogger ties ribbon around finger so she won’t forget…}

I also won a free 2-liter of 7up in a contest. I received the coupon on Friday in the mail. Great timing. I spent a half hour at HEB getting cough syrup, bananas, advil, gatorade and that free 7up.  That was a nice happy.

On a final note, how many of you use Skype? I just signed up and heavens to Betsy, I love it. My sweet baby sister uses it and we can talk and see each other. I needed that. I feel like I only live 45 minutes from her again. Loving the technology.

I’ve rambled long enough, I think. I’m tired and can’t think of anything clever to say.

~Janna

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