Sunday, November 30, 2008

Naughty or Nice

I whisper in the darkness "oh dear it's almost Christmas" and you mumble through your sleeping sounds something I can not comprehend. I glance back at the bedside clock and see that it is 3 am so I start to imagine Christmas day as I snuggle in my spot. There isn't much you could do for me, my mind racing instead of sleeping. So I listen to your heart and breath and wonder what you dream. And then as if you hear my thoughts you turn and mumble to me another thing I wish I heard between your tired lips. So I gaze at you in the darkened room when I know I should be resting for it's December dear and with holidays near I can hardly close my eyes.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christianity Unsensored

In deuteronomy (11:18) there is a passage that haunts me sometimes, "You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Notice anything?

Everytime I look at this passage I see God telling us what to be in our every day life to show our children religion. He doesn't talk about loading into the minivan and carting them off to the stepford women in the church nursery. He doesn't tell us where to send them on Wednesday nights to recite things over and over until their faith is trained in them like a soldier headed to battle.

God calls us to nurture our children. He calls us to see examples of him in every day life and to point them out to our children and then to talk to them about them when we are home and they feel safe. He calls us to teach them to pray, to love, to forgive, to worship... from our homes and from our day to day journeys.

Do you know why? I think I do. I sit in church and I look around me at a hundred faces. Some of them are really there, really listening but some of them are searching and some of them still are there blankly waiting for the time to pass. I see people who say 'but I'm a good Christian' just before they get in their car and cut someone off in the parking lot impatiently cursing the two second delay.

God knows we can fake it.

I think he calls out to us to be more than a Sunday sermon. He calls out to us to be his voice on Monday, and Tuesday, and Wednesday and every other day of the week. He calls on each of us to be our own kind of Christian so that while you give your personal witness to the people who are just like you... I can give my sermon to someone who is just like me.

Because somewhere out there is someone who is lost, just like I once was, and they curse like a sailor but they love like a mother lion and they are waiting for someone to call them aside and tell them "it's ok to curse when you pray because God already knows you and loves you and he knows you curse... but he wants to hear from you anyhow".

So while he sends you to Raley's on Friday afternoons or to baseball games or to the opera or to where-ever God sends you, I'll be talking to the hippy chicks, the attachment parents, the library staff, the farmer's market vendor and the girl with the spider tattoo... because that's what he put me here for... and that's what he's asked me to show my daughter.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

If anyone needs me I'll be defending my honor, protecting my checkbook and losing my sanity today in the battlefield of commercial demi-gods and morally corrupt housewives.
Is it a sin to pepper spray someone to get them away from the last good shopping cart?
It is?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving...the recap

I awoke at 6:15 am to the sound of whining over a baby monitor and tripped (literally- there were a pair of too small jeans from the day before in the dark hallway on the floor) into her bedroom mumbling "mommy's comin"
She got a clean diaper and we padded down the stairs in the dark to the living room where I turned on the Disney Channel and went to make a warm milk bottle but I had to fight the milk out of the fridge because it was wedged behind all the pies I had already made.
Then I read for awhile as my child danced around playing on the floor to the tunes of Johnny and the Sprites in the background. When I made her scrambled eggs for breakfast I also started my boiling eggs for deviled eggs and did the first of two loads of dishes.
After her breakfast we went upstairs to bug daddy and get another clean diaper. And then we watched the beginning of the Macy's parade on TV while I did some more cooking in the kitchen. When she got grumbly she got put down for a nap and I talked to Jon for awhile as we commented on the parade on TV.

By 11 Jon was showered, food was cooking and the baby was up so I got her dressed and then I took my shower. I finished up plating my share of Turkey Day for my Dad's house (garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, deviled eggs, cranberry relish and three pies-pumpkin, coconut cream and chocolate cream) and we loaded ourselves into the car.

We got to my Dad's at noon and visited, cooked, watched Jack's Big Music Show (we don't get it at home anymore) and then we ate... LOTS and the baby played inside and outside and with every person she could find (Pa, Papa, Teri, Erin, Red, Earl, Daddy, Mommy, Dustin, etc).
Then we ran back home for a change of clothing and to grab another pie and went to Jon's dad's at 3 pm where there was more food, more pie, more laughter, and in addition to playing with people my daughter chased around Doggies for awhile.

When she started to melt-down (around 6) we headed home and she got a quick wash off with a washclothe and put to bed because she was EXHAUSTED. I uploaded some pictures to her site and sent a couple emails to people about the pictures they took today (and thanking them for wonderful meals) and now it's 8 pm and I'm in my jammies already...thankful for a loving husband, great family time, good food...and the pillow I'm about to go lay on.

Encountering Thanks

Albert Schweitzer once said "In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit."

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the people who taught me to live, love, laugh and keep learning even when I thought I knew it all.

I am thankful for the friends who called and stopped by even when my little light was dim. I am thankful for the family who taught me the value of loving people well and the work ethic to keep moving forward. I am thankful for my husband who waited patiently even when he wasn't sure what he was waiting for. I am thankful for my daughter who reminded me that life is brilliantly new and constantly changing every single day.

Mostly, I am thankful to God for giving me a set of everday angels to remind to love, to teach me to change, to be honest with their own weakness so that everyday we could find the strength to worship him a little better.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. ~ Hebrews 12:1 ~

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

Something that works incredibly well at our house is the Car Toddler Kit. The kit is just a freezer size ziploc bag with several useful toddler items in it. I keep it ALWAYS stocked and in the trunk that way if I have to run a quick errand I don't need a diaper bag and if I go someplace with a diaper bag I have extras in the car in case I run out of something.

The toddler kit includes:
a change of baby clothing including matching socks
a burp cloth (even though we don't normally need them)
diaper rash cream & sunscreen
4 diapers & a travel pack of wipes
1 toddler warm up meal (you know like a gerber graduate) & a couple packs of snacks
an empty sippy cup and an extra pacifier
1 bottle of water

We keep a blanket in the trunk too because you never know when you'll have to change a diaper in a parking lot or want to sit at a park or when someone will be cold in the back seat and want a snuggle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


She is everything I've ever done right & everything I've ever done wrong.

I always knew there were moments looking at my life that I'd look back on late and say "that made me who I am today" but now I look at her moments and think...

"for you I'd do it all again, a thousand times over then over again, to the moon and stars and back again"

Christmas Sparkle

The shower takes a moment to warm up so while it does I humm the tune under my breath and pick myself apart in the mirror
I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
I take a long glance at the age lines that found their way to my face this year and the single gray hair gracing the top of my head.
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice
I trace the faint start of a laugh line along my right cheek and marvel at the three inch roots from my last highlights almost six months ago.
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
I sigh as I step into the second half of the bathroom. The door opening pours hot steamy air on to my naked body as I cough once adjusting to the moisture in the air.
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry well
Maybe just a half a drink more - Put some music on while I pour
As I step into the shower and as the warm water wraps around me like a womb the room fades into the sound of my own voice and a small steady rain of water on tile.
The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink - No cabs to be had out there
I start singing the words to my favorite flirty Christmas tune as I lather my body and rinse my hair, autopilot guides my hands from years of practice, I don't even have to think.
I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
Christmas used to be about romance, hidden potential would be noticed under the mistletoe, framed in the twinkling light of a fragrant pine tree, I'd be lovable to someone this Christmas.
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride
I used to cling to the romantic Christmas duets waiting for that ever popular Christmas wish come true kiss at the end of each Christmas special. It was Christmas, anything could happen.
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ahh, but it's cold outside
C'mon babyI simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
I dressed the part the entire season back then. I'd put on my best red shirts and my sparkly green necklaces. I wore the best shoes and I gave the best gifts.
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside
This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm -- Look out the window at that storm
I splashed the water gathering in the tub with my feet and noted my chipped toenail polish left over from Halloween even though it was almost Thanksgiving.
My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look so delicious
My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
My "Where are you Christmas" moment washed over me. I'm worried about money, I'm worried about work, I'm worried about being a good wife and a good mother. It was easier before...
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips look delicious
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before
I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
It wasn't easier before, I remind myself in my best mom voice. Before you worried about different things but you still worried. You need to focus. I turn off the bath water and step back into the cold room to grab a towel.
Say, lend me your comb - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - Your eyes are like starlight now
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me
You used to sparkle, that evil little voice in the back of my head whispers. You used to shine like starlight. You still can.
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that old out
Stepping up to the mirror, focused again, I pick them out... my big eyes and my dark framing eyebrows... my complexion, clearer than most, my teeth straight and my smile bright... I'm still in there somewhere
Ahh, but it's cold outside
Baby it's cold outside
Brr its cold….It's cold out there
Cant you stay awhile longer baby
I go back to humming and start the hair dryer for a change. Perhaps if I just put a little more effort it would all come back to me... my Christmas sparkle.
Well…..I really shouldn't...alright
Make it worth your while baby
Ahh, do that again….

Monday, November 24, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Beef Stew & Biscuits
Ham Fritatta with Mushrooms
Chicken Fried Steak and Mashed Potatoes
Thanksgiving with family
Roasted Chicken and Brown Rice
Chicken & Cilantro Soup
Enchiladas & Green Salad

Must be Santa Monday

I skipped a Must be Santa Monday last week on accident so this week I'll be giving you two things from Layla's list that I know she'll be getting.
Baby Cakes! a board book by Karma Wilson (which by the way is a great name)
We got this book from the library and Layla loves the little song, it has a great rhythm to it and it talks about kissing people on the nose and wiggling toes and things that Layla loves to act out along with the book... so I'm going to buy it. You can get it from Amazon for under 5 bucks.
The other thing I know Layla will be getting this year for Christmas is a set of Alphabet fridge letters, they are good for kids learning their letters and learning to spell. I'll be putting hers on the fridge to keep her from playing in the dishwasher... but that's another subject all together about distracting your child as a style of parenting. *sigh*

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mt Erebus

There is a cross on Mt Erebus, it marks the site of a disaster and stands as a solemn reminder that there is always hope. The cross originally put there (shown here) eroded and was replaced with a metal one, a reminder that hope does not fade.
For me this picture has long been one that reminds me of the strength of God. God was on this mountain long before that disaster and the people there that day left this lonely cross to remind us that he will be there long after we've forgotten why it mattered.
I used to think having hope was a choice we made, as I grew up I changed my belief. Hope is not a choice we make. Hope is always there... our life is just about whether or not we choose to acknowledge it.
"So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth." ~Job 5:16~

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tag I'm it AGAIN

I got tagged for another writing prompt thingy. This one you list 10 random things about yourself and FOOD...

1. I won't eat brussel sprouts. When I was little my parents tried to make me and I reinacted the scene from Pultergiest with the split pea soup. No brussel sprouts.

2. I actually have dreams where I am eating garlic goat cheese on club crackers while drinking pepsi with ice and reading a book by the ocean. *Pathetic*

3. I'm allergic to citrus fruits so I have to watch what I eat. Not long ago I hugged a little kid and had a citrus burn hand print on my neck for 3 days.

4. I'd rather eat milk chocolate Hershey bars than expensive chocolate.

5. I buy organic when I can and when it's priced reasonably. When I go back to work we'll be going back to mostly organic like we were before I lost my job.

6. I love food so much I made a website called FatGirlEats to post recipes from my life and childhood on. My favorite recipe there right now is for Cranberry Relish like my Aunt Penny used to make on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

7. I remember times in my life by the things I ate during those times. I once catered a party back when I owned LadyWickedCatering and I served this salad that had a horseradish salad dressing with blue cheese in it. I remember the way it felt in my throat while I laughed flirting with a serving person.

8. I'm such a big girl that I think about what I'll be eating for dinner all day long. Sometimes I think about it so much I over-eat at dinner. If I have plans with someone and they cancel I'm bummer but if it was lunch or dinner plans which I have been thinking about all day I tend to take it personally.

9. I can't make good meatloaf. It frustrates me so much I won't even order meatloaf when I go out now. Stupid meatloaf.

10. I used to make homemade fudge with chilli pepper in it. I had to stop making it because when I did I would eat the whole pan, and then because I felt bad about eating the first pan I'd make another... and so on... until I was sick to my stomach.

Now I'm supposed to tag 5 people who like food...

I tag Lynn, Stacey, Courtney, Mel & Candace... (if they want)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tis the season

My friend Lynn just called me a Christmas Card Guru. I laughed pretty hard.

Truth be told this is the first year I feel like my Christmas cards aren't controlling my future. I'm not dreading it. I guess it's the married with children aspect of my life, I have something to write about and send a picture of.

This year, like last year, I'll be doing the photo card. Last year we did the family picture but this year it will just be Layla. And I'm typing up a little newsletter that will fit on half of a piece of paper. Broken down by month, listing things we did throughout the year.

I'm going to write something personal in each card. This year I really cut back our list which I am truly happy about.

I'll be sending my cards the first day of December and then I won't have to think about them again.

But, at the moment, I need to get that list typed into I'm off to the keyboard.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It had to be you

There are moments when you look at the man you married and think that's totally why I married you. They sometimes get lost in the oh god I wish I knew that before I married you moments. But most of the time they are so blatantly obvious that you can't believe they caught you off guard. You marvel at how you didn't notice them before. You wonder why you were so suprised... I mean shouldn't you expect it.

I mean afterall... men read stories to their kids all the time. They tuck people in bed and chase them around the living room floor on their hands and knees. Men make the baby giggle and men make you a soda while their in the kitchen.

But only MY MAN can make me laugh by making OUR DAUGHTER laugh just like he does when he's had too much to drink.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Yes, I said 5 weeks. I know. I know. I can't believe it either.

This week we're talking about Christmas Music. We've had the Christmas Music Channel on our cable network since the day after Halloween. I didn't start listening to it until about a week ago, but we've listened to it everyday.

For this weeks contest you need to leave me your favorite Christmas song in the comments.

Only one entry per person.

The prize...


I'm giving away a copy of Words of Grace (which is a great book) and a 1 lb bag of coffee from Starbucks.

Good Luck. As usualy this contest ends Sunday night.

And last weeks winner?

Janelle.... you go girl!

Send an email to me at alliejeffery (at) gmail (dot) com with your address. Thanks!

Works for Me Wednesday!

It's Works for Me Wednesday and one thing that works for me at Christmas time is having the baby make Christmas Gifts for other people.

I know... she's 1 but I like crafts and she likes playing with me during my craft time so I thought it was time she did a craft of her own.

I'm going to purchase wooden ornaments from Michael's for around 50 cents each. Mommy will paint them all white. Then Layla will get a paintbrush with red or green paint that she can sprinkle, dab or smear to her hearts content. Then mommy is going to put some glue around the edges and let her dip them in glitter.

Total cost... less than 75 cents a piece. But, they are a priceless lesson. It's a lesson started very young about how a hand made gift is worth more than a store bought one. It's a lesson about how hard work can make something beautiful. It's a lesson for Mommy about how to not curse when glitter is all over the kitchen.

And it Works for Me and my BUDGET! For more WFMW posts click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Toddler Tuesday

Last Tuesday, Layla decided she wanted to empty every block in our house into one pile and sort them across the window siles, around the floor and under the chairs. She spent two hours of her Tuesday making piles, stacks and block ordered chaos all over the downstairs of our townhouse.

At first it was no big thing. Then I contemplated stopping her because it was messy. But after awhile I decided to see how long she'd play alone.

3 hours

Did you hear me internet people??


So I decided it will be a Tuesday thing around here. From now on during Toddler Tuesday I will not be following my child around trying to contain the chaos that threatens my sanity. Instead, I will let her do what she wishes (within reason) and see how her mind wraps around freedom.

Sometimes attachment parenting is about letting go...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Sloppy Joes and Tater Tots (as requested by the boys)

Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes with Green Peas

Beef Stew and Biscuits

Black Bean and Cheese Tostadas

Chili Dogs

Spanish Chicken and Courtney Corn Casserole

Grilled Cheese and Vampire Hunter Soup

Sunday, November 16, 2008

You can't snooze motherhood

Hi it's me Pavlov. My daughter slept in on Saturday until AFTER 7 am. First off...take that in for a second. The child that never sleeps, slept until 7.

I, on the otherhand, who BEG to sleep in every day for the last few months. I woke up at 6:15 that morning. I laid in bed after the sun came up, and I waited because she normally is up until around 6:30 am.

Then around 6:45 I started to worry. So I snuck into her room and checked to see that yes in fact she is still breathing.

And then I waited, because after over a year of being a mom I don't have the ability to sleep in past when the baby normally gets up. I contemplated how similar I felt to that dog that drooled when the bell rang in Pavlov's home. Then I tried to get comfortable again.

But nothing happened. You can't snooze being a mom. I just sat there willing her to sleep until she was happy to be awake. Willing myself to go back to sleep. And staring at the ceiling against my will because I just wanted to get up and start our day together.

What now?

I know some of you are still hanging on in suspense about my little job interview with the J O B on Friday. Well let me tell ya...

I'm done. There is nothing left for me to do... why you ask?

Because they are doing a background check and testing my references and if they come back normal (which they should) then they'll make me pee in a cup and I will start the first week of December.

They didn't give an offer letter but she told me "we'd like to hire you pending a background check and a drug screen". She told me about the benefits and the pay.

Funny thing... I have another job offer pending. Isn't that how it goes?

This offer is literally 2 blocks from my home and the hours are good and the pay is ok. It's literally just enough.

The other position is a 30 minute commute but they pay is a little better. The hours are a little better too but at a weird time of day.

So I'm going to take job 1 unless job 2 offers me untold amounts of money or PTO or something. Because...well job 1 is looking closer to a sure thing first AND it's 2 blocks from where my baby will be.

Lunches at home & what not are very appealing now that I'm a mother.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Is this us?

Pyzam Family Sticker Toy

I find myself wondering often if I will ever have another baby. When infertility looms around you it doesn't matter how poor you are or how stressed you are you find yourself wondering... is this it? Is this the 1 chance I had to have another baby and I'm not even trying? Am I going to regret this?

I look at Layla, confident one moment and shy the next. I watch Jon, calm and playful while he teachs her how life should be. I see myself, comforting and nurturing in the early morning hours. And I wonder...

Is this us? Is this it? Is this what it is going to be forever. Will there be another? Could I really love another one the same? Is it perfect now...

Should I be doing more...less... differently...


Friday, November 14, 2008

The Preface...

She was pale and her face looked hollow and her eyes were vacant but on closer examination I could see she had a hidden strength inside her. Wet hair still warm from the shower made a halo of steam around her face. Battered arms peeked out from an oversized t-shirt and her body had a broken slump to it. It was visible that she was a product of a beating… both physical and mental. My heart poured out to her as I recognized the signs of a life abandoned in the pursuit of survival.

“Poor small town girl, what have you gotten yourself into.” I said to the face starring back at me.

She said nothing. Her exasperated face eyed me for something more. But there was nothing more to show her.

“You should stop doing this to yourself you know.” I said with an exhausted sigh of contempt.

I watched her sigh, still watching me, expecting something. But there was nothing to expect. I had given her all I could and I was walking away this time. She knew it, you could see it in her stance. Her body language said goodbye even when she said nothing.

I stole one last glance at her before I turned to leave. I half expected her to yell out to me, to tell me something to make me stay but she didn’t. She couldn’t she was frozen and powerless. This time I was stronger than her. I could feel it when I turned away, my back to her as I walked out the door.

Today I was gone. That shattered girl in the mirror might as well have watched me walk away, I don’t know if she did… I didn’t look back.

Twinkle Toes

They were the first part of you I ever saw. You were black and white and fuzzy and they couldn't locate you with the ultrasound so I pointed and said her feet are right here. At which point the tech said I couldn't know that because you were too little. But he stuck the thingy there anyhow and there you were. You were two tiny feet at the end of two very long legs. You were suddenly so much more real.
When you were first born I would sit and marvel at your tiny little feet. I wanted to eat them up. I held them in my hands and rubbed them like a worry stone when things got aggitated and broken in real life. They were tiny and perfect.
Now you're running from place to place, climbing the furniture like a tiny daredevil and dancing to your own little beat. Your feet have gone from proof of life to proof of a life being lived. You are constantly in motion, either running in circles around me or fidgeting while you drift to sleep on my lap.
Sometimes I flash back to your tiny feet which stayed tiny for so long when I am looking at your new toddler feet. They are so similar to those baby feet that I want to nibble them up and yet so different that I am perplexed in that moment by how big you've gotten. And then my mind skips forward to your first dance class on twinkle toes when you are 5 or your first prom.
And I cuddle harder while I still can because you aren't really that big girl yet... and I don't want to miss the chance while I still have it.

Testing 1...2...3...

Today I'm off to the land of the J O B to take a final employment test before they run my background check and make me an offer. Now it's all about me... either I pass or I don't. Lucky me! I'm hoping my past is clean enough and my fingers are fast enough (despite not working for the last 6 months).

My test is at 8:30 and any prayer would be greatly appreciated because I'm nervous.

Have I mentioned I need a J O B very badly?

This one would do quite nicely thank you very much.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


It weighs heavily on my mind. Shouldn't I have my shit together by now? 30. Shouldn't my faith be stronger? 30. Shouldn't my body look better? 30. I joke that at 30 I'll be 1/3 of the way finished with my life. Shouldn't that feel like an accomplishment instead of a goal? 30.


I thought I'd find thirty, beautiful... confident... sure of who I was. Instead I find 30 searching, grasping and unsure of where to go next.


It's coming.

Flirty Girl?

Can someone explain to me why I want this tape so badly?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

One of the things that I find works for me around Christmas time is deciding to give FAMILY gifts. Instead of giving Uncle Max, Aunt Sheri, Billy and Betty 4 individual gifts I make one gift for the family. Here are 4 of my favorite FAMILY GIFT examples...

1. THE FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT- I take a box which is opened on top (no flaps) and wrap the entire inside and outside with Christmas paper. Then I fill the bottom with shredded paper (or other filler) half way. Inside the box I arrange (1) Traditional Family movie- I usually use an older classic movie or a gift certificate to rent or purchase a movie if I don't know the family well (1) Jiffy Pop popcorn skillet (1) package of Twizzlers or M&M's (sometimes both) and a jar filled with homemade cocoa mix with a small Christmas cylophane container of marshmellows (you can even get them shaped like Christmas trees.

2. THE FAMILY GAME NIGHT- For this one I take a board game (which is in a box) and wrap it. Then I find 4 boxes that can stack (smaller) like a pyramid on top of that box. In 1 box I put soda or tea mix or cocoa mix and the fixings with some cookies or brownies. Then the next box up I put a bunch of small bags of chips. The top box I put a prize in. I wrap each box and then tie the stack with ribbon in a pyramid. I put a big tag on the front saying that only the WINNER of the game can open the top box.

3. THE FAMILY CRAFT- For this project I buy a small plastic tub (shoe box size) and I fill it with all the items necessary to make homemade Christmas decorations (precut foam, paint and brushes, glue, kids scissors) and then I make a cute typed set of instructions for a Kid friendly craft and place them on top of tub. I close the tub and wrap it. The best one I ever did I gave the family a disposable camera, a $12 giftcard to get film developed and the supplies to make foam picture frame ornaments for the tree using this years pictures for next years tree.

4. THE FAMILY FOOD FUN- Make sugar cookies in assorted shapes. Don't decorate them. Place them on a round platter in the shape of a wreath. Buy puff paint containers at the craft store and fill each one with a different color of decorating frosting. Put a small tub of base frosting in the middle of your wreath, a few small tubes of different colored puff paint frostings and sometimes I even add a few tubes (or baggies) of sprinkles. Wrap the whole platter with green plastic wrap and tie it with a big red bow. Drop it off to family and friends and let them spend a night decorating cookies. (To upgrade this gift I have given it with disposable cameras or kid aprons to add more value to it)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I saw this little graphic today. It made me smile. It reminded me of a time when all we needed was to think outside the box and we could make something beautiful out of nothing. I saw it and I remembered that we are never alone. I saw it and I thought about all the times that my hands have touched the hands of the people that I love for no reason at all and in that moment the most brilliant spark of life has gone off and I marveled at the closeness of them. Today I saw a little graphic and it brought me hope.
What does it bring you?

Giveaway~ 6 weeks until Christmas

This week for our giveaway contest we'll be talking about what "tastes like Christmas" to us. What is it that makes you remember Christmas in your heart as soon as you put it in your mouth.

This weeks contest begins today and ends Friday November 14th at Midnight (CA time), winners will be announced Sunday November 16th.

It's only 6 weeks until Christmas which means I've already got a list made of the items I'll be cooking for Christmas dinner so that I can find them all before the Christmas rush and store them away in my pantry or freezer (if that's an option).

I think one of the things which tastes the most like Christmas to me is the Sweet Potato recipe my Grandma Gerty taught me to make when I was 8. That recipe will be up on FatGirlEats on Friday if anyone wants it.

This week you can enter our contest 3 ways.

1. Leave a story about your favorite recipe in our comments (or a link to your blog with the story) = 1 entry
2. Leave the story AND the recipe for your favorite Christmas dish = 2 entries
3. Leave the story AND the recipe AND link back to this contest = 3 entries

What will you win? It's a mystery box. It's filled with some of my favorite Christmas tastes and it's valued at $20.00. I'll tell you what's in it on SUNDAY when I announce the winner. Interesting no?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Waiting to Excel

Dear God,

I really want a job now. I believe in you, I really do. But, I'm scared and I feel very alone and vulnerable. Could you help me out with that?

Your favorite sinner

You are my hiding place: you will protect me from the trouble & surround me with songs of deliverance. ~Psalm 32:7

Menu Plan Monday

It's that Menu Plan Monday time of the week again. Let me just say that in all honesty I NEVER used my MPM list last week. So here's hoping a do better this week.
Chicken and Cilantro Soup
Black Bean Tostadas & Spanish Rice

Stir Fry & Brown Rice
Roast and Veggies
Chicken Enchiladas & Green Salad
Breakfast for Dinner

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Contest Winner

This weeks Giveaway was determined by my husband picking a random number while he laid on the bed behind me waiting for the PC.

#4 was JJSweep.

JJ email me at alliejeffery (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know what flavor coffee you would like and your mailing address!!

Yay JJ!!

Tune in Monday for Giveaway week #6!!


In the tradition of Thanksgiving (the forgotten holiday of the other white meat) I give you a writing prompt for TOMORROW!

Tomorrow we will be writing about something we're thankful for that happened to SOMEONE ELSE!

It's not about you. Understand?

So make your post and come back and leave a comment... (or leave a comment if you don't want to post) and tell us what you're thankful for.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Who's your favorite FatGirl?

When was the last time you clicked on FatGirlEats? There are lots of new and interesting things happening over there like family thanksgiving recipes and good old fashioned yummy fatgirl favorites. Click and check it out!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Boy vs Girl Brains Video

My mother in law sent me this video in an email. I laughed so hard I almost cried. My husband has a nothing box and he spends a good deal of time there while I ask about it because it's driving me CRAZY. So for those of you out there with a boy in your play and enjoy...

7 Weeks Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget that today is the last day this week to enter the 7 weeks GiveAway for a pound of free Starbucks Coffee.

For more information click this link.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Change is Coming...

I found myself itching for something to do on Election Day (Tuesday) so I packed my kid and headed to the library (which was closed) and then the grocery store (which we only got 2 things at) and reluctantly headed back home to see if there were any calls from the J O B I've had 3 interviews for. (Their weren't)

I shut the garage door on the bumper of my car. My daughter had a melt down before her afternoon nap. Needless to say I was wondering if the day could get any worse.

Then it happened. My phone rang and I could feel change in the air. I don't know why I felt that way I just did. I got a job interview Friday afternoon. Then with a little hop in my step I went to work trying to get the baby to say the world "sarah" and while we were playing "ssssss aaa aaah" the phone rang again. I got another job interview (phone) Friday afternoon... earlier.

I already had lunch plans Friday so I was excited by two things...the thrill of having things to do and the prospect that I might be employable. Forget voting (I already did absentee...but you know what I mean) this was getting exciting.

After the hubby got home I got a mystery unknown number call and when I held my breath for a credit collector I found myself talking to YET another INTERVIEW. I know. Be still my heart. This one was for tomorrow.

Still no word from the J O B down the street. But I'm feeling better about the prospects. And that's something isn't it.

As it is...

I was talking on Election night with the hubby and I commented...

"Doesn't it seem odd that by the time our daughter is old enough to vote, selecting a black man will be no big deal...because it's already happened in her first year of life."

By the time she is 18 your ethnicity won't matter as much as it did this year. 2008. The year I voted for change and the world did change because we all believed in "yes I can". I didn't vote for a Democrat, I didn't vote for a black man, I voted for something bigger... I voted for "unyeilding hope" because right now I could use some...and so could most of the other people I know.

In 20 years this topic won't phase her. Just like casting my ballot doesn't phase me as much as the women who not so long ago stood with signs asking for that same opportunity.

And the world changed... and we were there.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Works 4 Me Wednesday

This week on works for me wednesday (W4MW) we're supposed to talk about toys that are actually worth buying because it's the once a month themed W4MW.

I think Layla's ultimate favorite toy so far was the First Act Fun in a Drum set she got for her birthday this year. Layla is really into drumming on things with things (she's 1 and her father is a drummer) and this set is small and light so she can carry it around. It also came with some other musical instruments which all fit inside the drum for easy storage. It comes with a variety of colors and designs and it's only $30. It's not the type of drum that gets a kid started for Marching Band or Rock Bands in High School but it was a perfect toy for my little one. You can purchase one at Toys R Us by clicking the link here.

Wordless Wednesday- Coo Coo Dance

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Active Parenting

Her hands are over her head making opening and closing pincher grasps as the song is sung...

"twinkly twinkle little star"

Her feet are stomping as the music plays and the Coo Coo bird hops on the tv...

"coo coo cah choo"

Her hands are clapping and her head is turning side to side as we celebrate....

"yay for Layla"

Her head is shaking and her face is bitter...

"oh no no big troubles"

Her lips are smacking and her eyes are wide...

"num num morah"

Her tongue is out and her fist is raised...

"rock star"

Her butt is shaking and her booty bumping as the music pumps from the stereo...

"dancing queen"

Her hands are waving side to side and her beads are swinging...

"round and round and round it goes"

Her mouth is open and her hand is making her sound like an indian at a bon fire...

"wha wha wha"

Her finger is straight because music time is over...


She runs past me and quickly up the stairs...

"upity up it"

She reaches high for my arms to swoop her out of bed...

"get it up"

She toddles away her hands waving bye bye...

"a bye bye i go"

This is what attachment parenting, cohabitational sleeping and interactive play with music has given me. This is what turning off the tv, working with words early and using hand signs has brought up in this little girl. She is a constant stir of active emotion, she is a brilliant flash of sparkly love, she boils over, she bubbles up and she is confident that she can do it... and she's not afraid to tell you that if you forget.

"stop it"
"i dude it"

She takes the toy from my hand and marches off to figure out how it works. My one time demo over and her curiosity abounding. She will figure it out, probably when I'm not looking. But I'll notice, because she is strikingly beautiful in her independence.

7 Weeks Giveaway!!

You guessed it... it's only 7 weeks until Christmas now... so here's another writing prompt and a chance to win... MORE COFFEE from STARBUCKS!! Aren't you excited.

Please make sure you check back to previous weeks and make sure that if you've already won you email me at alliejeffery (at) gmail (dot) com so that I can get your prize to you. Some of you haven't been good about that. LOL

This week we'll be talking about the best gift you've ever given or gotten for Christmas (your choice you don't have to do both unless you want to).

Can you believe it's only 7 weeks until Christmas? Ok moving on...

This contest ends FRIDAY November 7th and winners will be announced Sunday November 9th.

To enter you have 3 options...

1. Post a comment below with the best gift you've ever given or gotten in it (1 entry). Yes! Posting a link you your blog counts for the 1 entry.

2. If you post a link from your blog back to this blog talking about the contest (1 entry), this can combine with option 1 for a total of 2 entries.

3. If you trick get someone else to leave a comment saying they heard about this blog from your blog and they enter our little contest I'll give you one more chance to win (1 entry) for a total of 3 lovely entries.

You may not get more than 3 enteries. Please and thank you. The winner gets a 1 lb bag (their choice of flavor) of whole bean Starbucks Coffee.

Good luck!!

Happy Belated Birthday Mandi!!

This is my sister in law Amanda...only I've called her Mandi since I met her because that's what my husband called her when he introduced me to her. Mandi and I met at an exceptionally weird time in a very weird husband literally took me home and introduced me to his family because he had ALREADY asked me to marry him and I said yes. I thought Mandi hated me when she first met me... in her defense she was EXTREMELY pregnant at the time and her brother was springing a fiance on her like it was no big deal.
Needless to say it took me awhile to appreciate the great things about Mandi because I was terrified of her for awhile. She is unwaveringly loyal, exceptionally forgiving of stupid people, and she has an ability to let her daughter experience life without getting in the way that I am slightly jealous of sometimes when I am hovering over my own child for no reason.
In addition to all those cool things she's also the kind of girl who will almost always be up for going and doing almost anything... like the picture above where she came to a "rock star" party for my birthday all decked out like a rock star without blinking an eye.
Well, today yesterday was her birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MANDI and much love from the suprise sister in law you didn't know you were getting...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Must be Santa Monday

So last week I posted my entire Christmas list and my daughter's entire list is up on her site but because her site is private I know some of you can't get that link to work so I thought I'd talk about one of the top things on her list.

A pretend kitchen *sigh* every little girls dream. Every Mommy dreams of them too... in hopes they will keep a child out of the tupperware drawer in the REAL kitchen, but I digress.

My favorite pretend kitchen was pointed out to me by Grammi Teri who saw it at Costco. It's a vintage kitchen by Kolcraft ...

Isn't it ADORABLE! I know. I mean plastic kitchens are cute but how can anything compare to the cuteness of this little vintage number.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


My mother calls my daughter Adorablistic. It's her own little word for the phenomenon we witness most of the time when we leave the house. She's just a cute kid people, I thought I was bias but I have come to the conclusion she's just too cute for her own good.

People stop us in the grocery store. People talk to her in the cart at Target. Random strangers walk up to us mid meal to talk to her in restaurants. Some people touch her (which pisses off the hubby to no end) almost everyone smiles and waves at her.

I travel with a lot of other people with kids. I don't see it happen so much with other kids. So I started asking. It's just us.

I mean I know she's cute... but geez.

It's like her own little fan club follows her everywhere. I'm worried the world is setting her up for a let down. Or worse yet, that I'll have to give her a smack down when she's in Jr High because she's got a pretty girl complex. *shudder*

This week we went to visit Pops (her Great Grandpa Ira) in the hospital in our Halloween costume. My little ladybug walked (legs still like a Y) all the way across the lobby and down the hall (buzzing from left to right) as people around us flocked, pointed and clamored at how cute she was. Out of the elevator and down the the hall to his room it continues. Someone took a picture of her with their phone. I didn't stab them in the eye with a spork but I thought about it.

My mom and Pop's wife Irene both noticed it on the way to and from the food court. I'd say 4 out of 5 people stop to talk to or admire my kid. It scares the shit out of me. While I should be grateful that she's beautiful I spend every moment with an eye or hand on her. My mom took her for a little lap around the food court while I got her food ready. Every doctor, nurse and random stranger in the joint talked to her or pointed to her and I felt like the world tilted on it's axis. I panicked. I made my mom bring her directly to her chair.

I worry she'll get lost or stolen because she's so confident and friendly she'd probably follow anyone with a puppy home. So I bounce between beaming with pride, frustrated, happy and totally freaked out the whole way in and out of any public place.

I guess it could be worse. She could be a bitter beer face baby. They get just as much attention but for the wrong reason.

Stop laughing... you're going to hell with me.

Menu Plan Monday

Fiesta Taco Soup or Stuffed Bell Peppers

Chicken & Mushroom Casserole

Pasta Carbonara (probably spaghetti)
BLT Quesadillas with Guacamole
Chuck Roast with Red Potatoes and Carrots
Italian Sausage and Balsamic Farfalle

And the Winner REALLY is...

Ellie who is from Garland Tx, your email address isn't working hun in the link... so email me at alliejeffery (at) gmail (dot) com and tell me what letter you'd like and what flavor of coffee you want.


NaBloPoMo Again!!

As some of you know already, every November is National Blog Post Month. You can get more information about joining NaBloPoMo by clicking the picture above or clicking this link. The synopsis is a commitment to blog every day for the month of November. I was a drop out two years ago but I made it the whole month last year. Let's see how we do this year. I'll link the randomizer in the side bar tomorrow so you can get more information on other people involved in the NaBloPoMo.
I really did blog yesterday and today I just was a little late with the I'm in...Wish me luck.


There is a little rumble in the bottom of my heart. This month will be a HARD month financially for the family and I am not looking forward to the chaos that will come with having NO money for a period of time. It also marks the last month of my UI benefits and I'll have to try and getting the ever ellusive EXTENSION. I am not looking forward to that.

I'm easy to frustrate and panic when money is this tight and I know it. I feel like I'm walking around with an egg trying not to break it while I struggle with day to day things that could and would be much easier if I just got both hands free.

I clamber for something to do that would relax me. Cleaning no longer works, cooking no longer works, I can't sleep well, I read...but so fast that it's not giving me calm because I'm constantly yearning for more to read. I try to pray... but that makes me feel the void even more.

If this is a test... I'll be lucky if I skim past it with a passing grade. How's that for Christian honesty?

Contest Winner

I am having a little trouble with the randomizer.... so winners for last week's contest will not be up until Monday. Sorry for the delay!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hello November

Like someone had planned it, the weather swept in cool and damp the day before Halloween providing the local children a calm dark evening to creep along the streets in search of candy. Scenes from an old paperback novel recreated themselves around us as we made our trip. Autumn leaves dancing on the wind, little puddles reflecting the headlights of the car, and a slight scent of burning wood wafting over the world around us as we proceeded past the houses with fires in their fireplaces and bite sized candies by the front door.

Anxiously the world watched as a magically evening made children and adult alike pretend to be something more. Something more playful, or scary, something without bills sitting on their desk or work in their inbox. That is what Halloween has become for me. It used to be a pagan holiday filled with so much fellowship for me that the first year of my Christianity it was like trying to avoid the best drug I'd ever had. Last year I was graced with a newborn and halloween was just a flicker on my radar. But this year, I worried would be the year I longed for what I used to be... what I used to do... what I used to know.

Then it was here and I ensured myself that with a busy schedule and a toddler I wouldn't even notice but I still awoke that morning moarning the magic of what used to be. There was a long and silent prayer to God in my heart. A prayer for peace... I suppose.

I guess I shouldn't have been suprised when I noticed the world around me was still magical. I shouldn't have been suprised when I started to see God where I had once seen a different kind of magic. After all he was always there. He was the wind that lifted the leaves around me, he was the light that reflected in the puddle, he was the warmth that came from the fires glow. I had been looking in the wrong place.

So now it is November and once again, like so many times before I find myself making a hard and conscience effort to see it. To open my eyes and let the season of thanksgiving and the season of hope glitter in the little things around me. The little things that remind me of where I came from, where I am, where I am going and of the faith that was always with me.


She is like me. At first it was a way I could not express but as she grows older I can suddenly relate to it and find it in the course of a normal day over and over again.

She is pushing limits and when the adult voice booms over her telling her she was in trouble she cries out crumpling on to the couch and yelling apologetically that she is "bbbbaaaaaddddd". She is me. Her emotions take the smallest amount of energy in a room and amplify it in that second.

She feels the smallest no as the biggest rejection. And she weighs on the air the emotions that swirl around her at every moment. And I am slightly heartbroken for her when I see it in her eyes. After all... I am her. I can relate to the shattered feeling that is in her heart for no reason. I can see her balancing on the edge of the couch like the edge of the world looking to make sure she didn't do something that makes her unlovable.

In coming years she'll learn to control that emotional pulse that explodes so easily inside her. She'll learn that the emotions of some are more valuable to her than others. But for now, she is broken when you are sad, she amorous when you are loving, she is frozen when you are impatient, and she is exalted when you are happy. No matter who you are.

It will be part of her gift, just like it is part of mine. It will be part of makes her who she is...always. And her reaction, as it changes over time will become a definition of her character so I fight the urge to swoop her up and comfort her. Instead I watch my heart breaking as she learns the limits of life and unlimited nature of love.