Until Today

Until today, I thought that Rudolph was a white boy with a stuffy nose.
Until Today, I didn't have a cold.

Until Today, Soren was 12 and I was going to make him a carrot cake.
Until Today, there was no snow on the fake cranes.

Until Today, I had never seen a note to Santa that had the audacity to ask if HE had been good this year (there's a space for him to answer) or cookies laid out for him that already had bites taken.
Until Today, I haven't said Merry Christmas to all of you!


Straight No Chaser

I don't know about you, but I'll take my Christmas straight, no chaser.


Gye Nyame

Some of the people Cyler does business with are from Ghana, and are specifically Akan. I am preparing to have them for dinner and so I am doing research--food, customs, collective unconscious stuff. (Am I weird in that I want to know what someone thinks about God so I can cook them a good meal?)

Meaning: “Except God”
The above Symbol stands for the omnipotence and the omnipresence of God. “I fear no one, except God.”
From the Akan aphorism “Abode santann yi firi tete; obi nte ase a onim ne ahyease, na obi ntena ase nkosi ne awie, gye Nyame.”
Literal translation: “This great panorama of creation dates back to time immemorial; no one lives who saw its beginning and no one will live to see its end, except God.” (I love this--this is now scripture for me.)
The symbol reflects the Akan belief of a supreme being, the creator who they refer to by various names, e.g., Oboadee, Nyame, Onyankopon Twer.
OK, now I am ready to start building a menu.


Hrithik Weekly Tribute

All I want for Christmas. . .



Ms. Bankhead, the last of the Southern Belles, said that "only good girls keep diaries-bad girls never have the time." I don't know about being bad but I certainly have been busy. Friday I was busy being sick and missing Ellery's Christmas Tea. Saturday I was busy getting ready for a house showing and birthday shopping for Soren. Sunday I was busy at my first pro football game, eating LARGE shrimp and talking about Abu Dhabi and horses with the owner of Derr Steel. And now Monday finds me here at work with no pics to show for any of it. Tonight we are exchanging Secret Santa gifts for FHE (family home evening), and then I get to see my Trophy club girlfriends for a bit. Are we all done with Christmas shopping? hah.


Save 76%

On Vogue Patterns! Till tomorrow! I like the dress above. A good harp playing dress.


To my Favorite Cowboy

Happy Birthday Dad!


The Best Bad Idea

Yesterday we got a bad idea for cash poor fun today. Wake up at 6am (on a Saturday. What??) and kidnap our own kids.Miss the train and have to drive to downtown Dallas.

Eat too much food at Cindi's deli. I could retire here.

Stand outside on a corner in 30degree weather and get mobbed by teenage musicians that are as crazy as we to be out in such cold weather.

Nearly avoid being trampled by huge, otherworldly draft horses.

Survive a wrinkle in time back to 1884. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Brave the Cadence for Clowns.

We were then heavily recruited to be part of a patriarchal militant fascist expansionist hierarchy. We politely declined, commenting that we were already LDS. (Oh please, laugh. It's a joke)

Instead we're looking to join this communal jumprope team.

Here's the gear I wore for the bad idea. A scarf I knitted.

Ellery, after seeing the Downtown Dallas Children's Christmas Parade said, "You didn't kidnap us, Mom. You 'fun-napped' us."
We also saw:
Miss America
Strawberry Shortcake
Pancake Pig
Iron Man
Incredible Hulk
A trumpet band member in a wheel chair
Drill team members in desparate need of cold weather uniforms (I declare their short skirts and flimsy tops a matter of national feminist concern. The poor girls were Fah-reezing!)
Nevertheless, this was the best bad idea we have had since Global Homeschool. And we have had several of them between then and now.


Serious Research

I have been doing "research." Cyler calls it HBS-ing (Hair Brained Scheme-ing). But just look at these two.

Tennesse walkers are naturally gaited so they make great trail horses. They are in Texas. They are half brothers. I want them.


Snow on Rosemary


Hrithik Weekly Tribute


Do You Believe?

A few houses down, a nice older couple has recently returned from Bolivia on a mission for their church. Their grandkids are living with them while their house is being remodeled. They are homeschooled and I can tell their mom is a very devoted conservative Christian. The sweet girls came to play this weekend. While they played American girl dolls, I began to set up the Christmas tree for Ellery's room. We all chatted. Amara asked Ellery, "Do you believe in Santa Claus?"
"Yes, I do. It grows out of adults though."
Then Amara turns to me. "Do you believe in Santa Claus?"
By now I could tell she didn't. She's nine. Should I say that I don't (knowing that I am Santa) and ruin one of the few opportunities my child has for communal fantasy?
I said, "I do."
"We don't believe in Santa. We believe in God. He was born on December 25th."
"Oh, ok." I said "We believe in God too."
Ellery said, "No, God was born on April 6th."
They both looked at eachother like they were crazy. Ellery believes in Santa and that God was born on April 6th. Amara doesn't believe in Santa and that God was born December 25th. How sad that belief systems can run the risk of ruining friendships.
Binary thinking is the pits in my opinion so I don't think Ellery has to disbelieve in Santa to believe in God. Secondly, I may know that a fat, red-suited man doesn't shimmy down my chimney. But I do believe in the story of St. Nicholas who helped people by giving financial gifts anonymously. I also don't care even a tiny bit when Jesus was born. I just celebrate that he was. I also am happy that Siddhartha Gautama, Gandhi, St. Nicholas, Judith Plaskow, Confucius, Jane Addams, and Paulo Coehlo were born. They have made this world a bit easier for me to live in. Hopefully as these girls come slowly to the truth of things, they can remain friends--because they are both so terribly wrong-and right.



Z' Menu:
Cornbread dressing
Gravy (a meal in itself)
Cranberry dressing
Deviled eggs
Mashed potatoes
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green beans
Green Bean Casserole
Lime salad
Pomegranate salad
Ambrosia salad

Z' Desserts:
Lemon Meringue pie
Chocolate pudding meringue pie
Pecan Cream cheese pie
Pecan pie
Pumpkin pie
chocolate butterscotch and cinnamon cookies

Good company. Trivial Pursuit. Aggies and Longhorns game. I'm still full.

Leftover Pumpkin?

Fall Goddess Yogurt Body Mask
(To help relax after hard Turkey Day work)

1 Cup Yogurt
12 T Honey
12 T Puréed Pumpkin

To Make: Drain and purée pumpkin in a blender. Pour into a bowl with the yogurt and honey.

To Use: Draw a warm bath. Lather your face and body with the yogurt mask. Sink into a warm bath and soak for 10-20 minutes. Rinse in the shower, tone, and apply a light moisturizer.


T-Day Antidote Chili

Who wants to make food for the family while busy making Thanksgiving preparations? Try this recipe. It's quick, hearty, meatless and is a great foil for T-day.

Serves 4

1T Olive Oil
1 stalk celery
2 med onions
1 red bell pepper
2 C fire roasted canned tomatoes with garlic
1-2 cans light kidney beans and/or chickpeas in water
1 t black pepper
1 t minced basil
1 t minced oregano
1/2-1 t chili powder
1/4 t cumin
1 bay leaf
1-2 T cider vinegar
1 C cashews

CHOP the celery, onions, bell pepper, then saute in olive oil till tender.

ADD tomatoes, beans with water and all spices. Cover and simmer 10 min. till you're happy with the amount of liquid. Add vinegar and cashews.

ADJUST seasoning. I added more chili powder. Remove bay leaf and serve.



Hrithik Roshan Weekly Tribute

Maybe Heaven is full of Bollywood houseboys.


Great Wolf Lodge

By our house, this family resort has this cool interactive game that reminds us of Dungeons and Dragons. My kids' eyes are red because of their amazing magical powers.
They went on a scavenger hunt based adventures through the entire hotel. When they point their wand, things, amazing things happen. Treasure chests open, crystals alight, Pixies talk.

I sat and made love to a waffle cone.

Someday we would like to try the water park. That huge bucket on top dumps water on peeps down below. What a fun place to have a family reunion (hint, hint, Dad) But it is expensive-any takers, Ence-side of the family?


Leaves and Leaving

Forty bags of leaves gathered from our lawn. The mulchers come to pick it up this year so I am glad it doesn't become useless landfill. But it's a lot of work (for Cyler). I wonder if that is why Cyler is ok with this on our lawn instead of a bunch of leaves.


Island Tacos


Shrimp, shelled and deveined, thaw and remove tails. (Walmart sells frozen bags for a good price.)
Taco Seasoning, your favorite blend or packaged
Avocado, sliced
Radishes, sliced
Leaf Lettuce, for wraps, or taco shells
Lime and Cilantro for garnish

Toss thawed shrimp in the taco seasoning. Heat some olive oil in saute pan and cook shrimp on med heat till just pink. Do not overcook. Assemble tacos with other ingredients.
Soren made this for us and it was "one of those nights." So we just stood around the island (get it? Island Tacos?) and assembled tacos to our hearts' content.

History according to Cavemen

Can you tell I work in Texas by the kind of FW spam I get? I do love this one though--anything that combines history, idealogy and beer merits a look-see from me. For those that don't know about history ... Here is a condensed version: Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter. The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1) Liberals……………………….2) Conservatives……………….

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed. Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. Those became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud or Miller. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, engineers, corporate executives, athletes, members of the military, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America . They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Here ends today's lesson in world history: It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it. A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more liberals just to tick them off. And there you have it. Let your next action reveal your true nature……………………………………………………



Performing for children needs to be a good experience from the get-go. Ellery sang a solo at her baptism and I wanted to make sure she had every chance to have a good time. We prepared for months, sang in front of whoever happened to be sitting in the music room at any given time, and I made her sheet music user friendly. To turn the page easily, I taped a file label to the pages which I soft bound. Keep the music as much like it is during prep--she was used to looking at the sheet music so I didn't retype just the lyrics for her or put the music in glossy page protectors (both things I was tempted to do). The best thing we did is to focus on how fun it is to do music and when some nervousness comes, just sing to Dad in the audience. It worked and she had a good first time.


Trailing Clouds of Glory

do we come. Are you sure? Check this out.



The Nativitiy Exhibit is coming up. I have a love/hate relationship with this event--too labor intensive but the finished product is so nice. Several LDS congregations in our area compile and display nativities from all over the world and open it to the public. Some ladies have around 80 (or more!) sets they have collected through the years. What do you collect? Email me a pic and I'll post it. I would like to collect harps--the one above has been added to the top of my wishlist. I also would collect Havanese dogs if I had hired help to groom them. 'Tis a chore!