Monday, May 30, 2011

Company . . . in real time

If you have been around the blogging block with me a few times, you know that we have a fair amount of company. I love having company. It involved a lot of planning and work to cook for a crowd, but it is fun.

But, sometimes company comes . . . in real time. Like Jack Bauer in 24, he was sometimes captured by the Chinese, his former work partner, the mafia etc. before he had time to eat or sleep . . . in real time.

Our company last week was like that for me. No huge deal, just a little lack of energy after:

*oral surgery last week
*anticipating plastic surgery next week
(removal of a spot on my left temple)
*my dad was back in the hospital for a few days
with an irregular heart beat
*a couple nights of not sleeping well
*and a whole host of good things, too

So . . .


1. Clean the house early in the week. I cleaned our apartment on a sunny afternoon when I was home alone, with music blaring, which restored some energy.

2. Ask for help. My husband did the grocery shopping. (Yup, he is very cool.) And his administrative assistant brought some of the food for one of our all day meetings. (Thanks, S.)

3. Choose some easy menu items . . . NOT ALL HOMEMADE. Let me say this again, this is not the time to be Martha Stewart.

For breakfast one morning, I served Costco's delicious apple turnovers. Put it on a pretty plate, throw on a few blueberries, add a colorful napkin, have my husband make his delicious coffee and voila . . . super easy.

For one dinner, I used Bertolli Oven Bake Meals, specifically, Meat Lasagne Rustica, which I put in a pretty baking dish. This was 30 seconds of work. I made one of our favorite quick salads (cucumber, grape tomato and avocado with Italian dressing) and we had a delicious, easy, company worthy meal.

This is where knowing yourself, pays off. Pay attention and be kind to yourself when your energy level is low and you are tired. I am sure you can think of many areas of your life where this principle will benefit your mental and physical health.

How is your energy level today? What is one way you can be kind to yourself?

Linking with Jen and the lovely Soli Sisters.

8/4/2011 - Hop over to this fun link for other great ideas.

image credit:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I am Wondering . . .

Gg - Notes on the Journey has 197 followers. I am wondering who will be my 200th follower?

Will it be you?

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Favorite Cleaning Supply . . . MAGIC ERASERS

I love Tuesday mornings. My mind drifts back to all those wonderful Minnesota women that studied the  Bible together, under the gifted teaching of our friend, Holly. And Tuesdays involved great times of creative ministry with my friend, Kate. (This is the same Kate that drew my blog caricature, which I get asked about so often.)

Then in Seattle, again, loving Tuesday mornings. Getting to be a small group leader as we studied under the gifted teaching of Beth Moore. And spending time with my ministry partner, Carol. How I loved praying and planning with this dear woman. This is not the point of this post, but it is screaming out to be said . . . The best way to make friends (in my humble opinion) is to study the Bible together and to go even deeper in friendship, become ministry partners.

So  . . . I am sure you are beginning to wonder . . . what does this have to do with my favorite cleaning supply?

I discovered Magic Erasers while we lived in Minneapolis. One Tuesday, just for fun, because I love Tuesdays, I brought a box to my small group and gave them each a Magic Eraser. For months we talked about Magic Erasers before we began our Bible Study. Each week someone discovered a new use for them . . .

* have you tried cleaning the handles on your refrigerator?
 * your white athletic shoes?

We often said that we should get a commission for getting so many women equally addicted to their Magic Erasers.

Here is the Magic Eraser scoop:

     *always use it wet (and rinse it out every few
     *always use it lightly (it can remove paint if you
       press too hard)
     *always rinse the area off when you are done
       (it leaves a light residue)

So there you are . . . your bath tub will never look so good, for so little effort. Have fun and tell Mr. Clean, Glenda sent you.

What is your favorite cleaning supply?

image credit:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Orange Muffins and a Fun Orange Lunch for Kiddos

Our house was full of company again last week (yeah.) I pulled out a recipe my mom gave me ages ago, that I had never tried . . . orange muffins.

I love seeing my mom's pretty handwriting.

These muffins are easy to make


and fun to serve.

Mom's Orange Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated raw carrot
1 can mandarin oranges, drained and chopped
(I added 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour

Using electric mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, orange juice, milk, carrots and orange pieces.
Add dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Spoon batter into 12 prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Cool three minutes before removing them from pan.

Great with butter and honey.

And speaking of orange, reminded me of past days when I was a young mom with two wee kids at home. Sometimes when the girls needed a little pick-me-up, I would give them three colors (based on what was in my fridge) and let them choose one. I would then serve them a lunch with only that color.

So in honor of orange muffins, today I choose orange. Here is what our orange lunch might have looked like:

cubes of cheddar cheese
sliced oranges
cheddar fishy crackers
tiny carrot sticks

You get the idea. Have fun. (I was not always a fun mom, but I tried to be one once in awhile.) Ask me later about toothpick lunches and cookie cutter lunches.

Linking to the lovely Pamela at A sheltering tree.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ancient Grains and Ancient Truths

On a recent trip to Costco, I discovered a new (to me) delicious organic cereal, Ancient Grains.

It is full of all those yummy and very healthy grains:

kamut khorasan wheat

It is a perfect match to my morning quiet times, where I study Ancient Truths. This summer I am studying the book of Proverbs, which is basically a long Hebrew poem.

I want the wisdom, personified as a woman crying out at the city gates, (Proverbs 1:20 - 21) NOT the folly, personified by a woman calling out at the same gate. (Proverbs 9:13-14) What is the difference? That is exactly what I am out to discover this summer.

Ancient Grains and Ancient Truths are the perfect combination for my body and my soul.

Linking with the lovely and wise Soli Sisters at Jens and with sweet Michelle.

ps. My dad is back in the hospital tonight with an irregular heart beat, after a week and a half of being home and feeling amazing. I would love your prayers that his heart will correct itself. (added Monday night.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Anatomy of My First Cubs Game

Find street parking and then take the bus
the rest of the way, while enjoying
the amazing homes in Wrigleyville.

Arrive early for 25% discount on Chicago
dogs and to get our free Cubbies cereal bowls.

Yup, it is my first cubs game. Check out
the roof top bleachers. Creative homeowners
making a lot of money.

Settle in for a great game

 while learning the names of the players.

Enjoy a beautiful sunset

that turned into a huge and beautiful
thunder and lightning display.

Staying dry

for a 90 minute rain delay

and a fantastic "keep the field dry" production.

The Cubs were first up after the game started
again . . . and scored 6 runs. (Sorry, no pictures of me yelling very loudly.)

Final score ~ 11 to 3

Go Mariners, I mean Cubs!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Creating a Blog Book: one way to protect your blog from disappearing into cyberspace

It was a lovely afternoon, when my long awaited package arrived on my front door step. Dave was out of town, so I knew I would read it in one sitting. I wanted to celebrate the moment, so I put the tea kettle on before I even opened it up. 

And there is was, even cooler than I had hoped . . .

 . . . my very own blog book.

my titles

my words and pictures

One full year (my first) of blogging all neatly bound in my very own book. And I did read it in one sitting. And I was very pleased. One year of blogging that cannot be lost in cyberspace.

With the recent blogger scare, which gladly did not end up to be much of a deal, I have decided to have my book made every six months. I highly recommend it.

Here is the link to the company that I used:

What other ways are you protecting your blog?

image credit: I am a big fan of giving credit for any image I use on my blog that is not my own. I misplaced the link for the adorable tea cup. Please contact me if you know the source.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

And the winner is . . .

Thank you so much for the great response to the personalized sign giveaway. And thanks again, to Andrea for her generosity.

OK, here is how it worked. I wrote every ones names, all 43 of them, on little slips of paper. Then I put them in one of my favorite bowls from Poland. It is high tech all the way for me . . .

After giving the names a good mix, I closed my eyes (really), and drew the winner.

 Are you ready?

Congratulations, Lia. You will have so much fun checking out Andrea's website and choosing a sign for your home. Lia is not a blogger, but she is a faithful reader of my blog.

Remember that there is a discount available for one more week, if you want to purchase a sign. Use the code GG5OFF in the comment section of your order for $5 off each sign.

Forgive me for posting the results a smidge early. Tomorrow morning when I usually would be posting my blog . . . I will be sitting in the oral surgeons chair. That same tooth of the root canal fame, is still betraying me. It is becoming blog famous. Trust me, this is the last time I will be blogging about said tooth. (Pray for me at 9 am.) My just sent me a note reminding me to be glad it is not open heart surgery. Ah, perspective.

11:00 update ~ I am already home resting. My oral surgeons office is one block from where Rahm is being sworn in today. (crazy Chicago) I have pain pills, ice pack, a huge stack of magazines, a good book, snacks, a husband to bring me anything I want and YOU. What else could a girl want.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Patio Time

Spring AND summer have come to Chicago this week. We set lots of records with a hot and humid 90 degree day midweek. It made me very glad that I had finished my patio.

 I love both of these pots. First, because I got them at Homegoods for only $12 and second, because they are made in Viet Nam.

I love a morning at the patio table with a cup of coffee
and . . .

my Bible, journal and study. This summer I am studying Proverbs: The Ways of Wisdom by Kathleen Neilson.

I seriously love having Homegoods right in my neighborhood. Got these great cushions for $5 each and the darling iron table for $10.

Of course, we miss our view from our patio in Seattle (and the friends that joined us there.)

So we just pretend . . .

(Homegoods, again, for $5.)

What are you growing and studying on your porch this summer?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Half Price Starbucks Drinks and a Fun Frappuccino Memory

a deal

Just in time to match the warm up that has come to Chicago, Starbucks is offering 50% off frappaccinos during their happy hour. Pop in to any participating Starbucks between 3 and 5:00 and chose from their huge new menu. They even have three sugar-free varieties, which is great for Jenny, who is allergic to sugar. We have walked to our cool corner Starbucks (about a mile away) twice already.

a menu

Check out these great choices.

Coffee (Christy's favorite)
Coconut (my favorite)
Vanilla Bean
White Chocolate Mocha (Dave's favorite)
Cinnamon Dolce* (Jenny's favorite)
Green Tea
Toffee Nut
Double Chocolaty Chip

(*Also available in sugar-free)

a story

While we were enjoying our Mother's Day frappuccino, the girls reminded me of a fun story that I had forgotten.

 When we moved from Minneapolis to Seattle, my mom came over for a week to help me unpack. One afternoon, we headed down to Pier One Imports to buy a wicker love seat, to match two wicker chairs that I already owned.

Dave and the girls came along and were doing some other shopping while mom and I picked up the chair. They took a little longer then us.

When they finally came back, they found mom and me, sitting in our new wicker love seat, on our new cushions,  all set up on the sidewalk . . . drinking frappuccinos.

This deal is good through May 16.

image credit:,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Newsy Bits

Dad came home from the hospital yesterday. When I talked to him last night, he was sitting in a comfy chair in his bedroom, watching a baseball game. He sounded so happy to be home. He was telling me how excellent his care was - "high tech / high touch." Thanks, Sacred Heart. And a special thanks to each of you that are praying for him.

And thanks  to Dorothy who stayed each night, except the night dad was in ICU. Dorothy, a retired RN, said that she would never leave anyone alone in a hospital.

The morning after the long surgery day, when I finally got to talk to dad on the phone and I could still hear the joy in his very tired voice when he said, "Glenny" (his nickname for me) . . . well, I was glad that we could only talk for a short moment . . . so I could get off the phone and cry with gratitude.

Job 1:21 tells us that ". . . the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord."  It is easy for me to remember a different hospital room, where we said goodbye to my mom, Hallie. We did bless the Lord. But I am so grateful for this outcome and again, our family is blessing the name of the Lord.

On a completely different note, have you had time to participate in my very fun giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. I will announce the winner on Monday. I meant to add a little ps to my original post . . . "sign is even cuter than my photos show."  Dave likes it too, as it reminds him of the old barn wood we used as wainscoting in our family room years ago.

I have never had allergies before, but I am certain that I am allergic to springtime in this beautiful city of Chicago. As soon as the sun comes up, I am off to Target to buy yet another box or two of Kleenex.

I had a lovely Mother's Day, the first in many years that we have all been together. Church, lunch at Nookies, a walk together to Starbucks, fun gifts (garden gloves and the British version of House Beautiful) and a sweet card from Dave, who also grilled chicken for dinner . . . yup, it was a good day.

The birds are chirpping loudly and happily this early morning. Okay, I think I should have titled this post Random Newsy Bits.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

WORDS, lovely words . . . and a Giveaway

Letters ~ words ~ sentences ~ paragraphs ~  books ~ lectures ~ sermons ~ conversations ~ love notes ~ correspondence  ~ I love them all. My love for words makes me excited about today's special giveaway.

Andrea of Signs by Andrea also loves words and uses her talents to create beautiful signs.

Andrea made a lovely personalized sign for me. I like it so much, I had several places in the house that I thought it would look great.

on the living room bookshelf

on my desk

next to the hutch

on the mantle

with my cookbooks

What do you think? I decided to put my beautiful personalized sign (drum roll, please), in my favorite corner of our house - in our bedroom.

I really wanted it to make a home next to the other Glenda pictures.

This is where it will stay.

And the great news is that Andrea is generously offering to give away a personalized plaque (up to $50) to one reader of Gg - Notes on the Journey.

 All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and your name will be entered into the giveaway. I will announce the winner on Monday, May 16. This giveaway is open to US residents only. (To my faithful readers in other countries ~ I still love you.)

Even if you do not win, Andrea is offering a discount for everyone. Use the code GG5OFF in the comment section of your order for $5 off each sign you order. This discount is good through May 23. This would be great for a Father's Day gift.

Thanks, Andrea, for blessing me and one of my readers with a beautiful personalized sign.

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