Friday, May 20, 2011

The Starbucks Chronicles - Day 1

So, here I sit at my favorite Starbucks.  Isn't it funny how everyone has their favorite one?  It throws my mojo off to go to a different Starbucks.  Just like I can't order coffee at a non-Starbucks establishment, I get bewildered and confused, I only speak Starbuckese now.  Yes, I have drank the cool-aid (well, the coffee).  But I digress.

Observations of the day:

At a small table for two ... this couple? I'm guessing, but the guy looks like he may not really be all that interested in women if you know what I mean (I wonder if his lady friend knows this?).  They have been sitting there for a while with their tall drinks, both dressed in workout gear.  They have spent most of the time talking with their hands covering part of their mouths (I'm guessing they think people are watching them, reading their lips?  Maybe they have been watching too much tv and think that a profiler is sitting nearby.  Well, I am watching them, but only guessing at their conversation, and am not affiliated with either the CIA or the FBI ... or am I?) with their eyes darting about, laughing.  Yes, I believe they are making fun of the other patrons.  Can you believe that?

At two leather chairs (yes, the ones that are envied by the commoners (i.e.the "table" patrons)), with two chairs pulled up beside them, are four ladies.  They have been chatting away for quite a while, but really aren't interesting (maybe because I'm not close enough to hear their conversation!).  Would it seem odd if I left my comfy chair (yes, a leather one) and moved to a hard, wooden, uncomfortable chair next to them?  Would they think I was easedropping ... well, maybe, so I won't risk it today.

Beside me is an older lady, who was also lucky enough to snag a good chair.  She has her coffee, pastry and newspaper, complete with cute little reading glasses.  Well, the DMN must be reporting some good, funny stuff today or this lady is seriously warped.  She is just cracking up (out loud) ... too bad she doesn't have a friend to share with :( maybe some day.

There are others in here too - but no one of any real interest (at least not to me) - so that will be it for today.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness: Week 8

Assignment:  Join Leigh vs. Laundry's quest to scout out happiness for a whole year?

How:  Simply post a photo of something that makes you wildly happy and tell us all about it.
Stop & Smell the Roses (well, tulips)

Recently we had three generations of women head off to the arboretum (my mom, me, and my daughter).  I think this is the first time we were all there together - and it was my first time there with my new fancy, dancy camera (yes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me!!).  I just had a blast taking in all of the colors and shapes of the flowers ... actually taking TIME to stop and look and photograph the flowers.  So nice and peaceful.

Some of my favorites

Photos taken at The Dallas Arboretum / Dallas Blooms


Monday, April 25, 2011

Shutter Love Tuesday: EASTER


I have decided to get back into the photography groove (since I have my new fancy camera - Happy Birthday to me!).  Each week over at The Trendy Treehouse they have a feature called Shutter Love and a them for the weekly photos ... this week's theme is EASTER! 

Well, here's my photo ...

Bunny provided by Rescued Rabbits ( )

Monday, April 18, 2011

BBQ Cornbread Casserole

Recently I ran across the recipe for BBQ Cornbread Casserole on a blog that I follow.  It sounded really good (not to mention easy).  So I made this on Friday evening (as I just happen to have all of the ingredients in my pantry and fridge ... love it when that happens).  Here was the end results - not the most beautiful of dishes ... but, hey, we were still willing to give it a shot (it did smell good).

Well, hubby and I dug in and we weren't all that impressed.  Seemed like too much cornbread in relation to the meat (and guts).  I could really tell DH didn't care for it as he only ate one helping, very unusual for him.

This recipe goes on the "well, tried it, but will not make again list."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SaveOnEnergy Could Pay Your Electric Bill (up tp $250)!!

Last week's winner was Susan Crean from Maricopa, AZ! Congrats! Now is your chance!

Register to Win One Month FREE Electricity! Save on Energy wants to pay your electric bill!

Summer is just around the corner and now is the time to compare providers and make sure you have the lowest rate locked in before the heat waves hit!

Enter to win a weekly drawing for $250 and follow Save on Energy on Facebook.

Save On Energy is the #1 site in North America to shop and compare energy rates. They have done the work and pre-screened suppliers so you don’t have to worry about quality. Just pick the rate that’s the best fit for you and start saving money immediately.

To Win:

"Like" Save on Energy on Facebook by clicking HERE
Register to win $250 to pay your electric bill

Refer your friends to get extra entries

Register between April 4-30, 2011, and make sure to refer your friends and get an extra entry for each one that registers.

Fine Print: One winner will be randomly selected each week during the promotion period, April 4-30, 2011. Limit one winner per household, not valid for previous registrants of Save on Energy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cheat's French Cassoulet

I had a couple of extra hours on Friday afternoon (3ish actually), so I made the Cheats French Cassoulet.  It took a little time, chopping, browning, etc. but it was really worth it.  I did the oven method (not the crockpot).  I served it over mashed potatoes with buttered, toasted bread we will NOT talk about the amount of butter or calories - sshh.

As you know I never know how the family will react to new meals, i.e. the Garlic Chicken - so I served the hubby up his bowl and held my breath ...

His comment, "Wow, you could sell this!"

I take this as a very high compliment from my hubby!!!

My dear daughter came home a little later, with a friend, of course (we always seem to have an extra girl or two over the weekends) ... and while they didn't say much, they both sat at the table and ate it - so I'm marking that down as a success too!

I'm trying out these recipes because I'm really wanting to start having dinner parties ... I think they are a lost art.  I'm not sure if this will be on one of those menus, but this will be made in our house again!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

SaveOnEnergy Could Pay Your Electric Bill (up tp $250)!!

SaveOnEnergy is running a four week campaign and each Monday they will pick a winner and will pay the winner's electric bill (up to $250)!!!  Wow, great deal huh?

To Win:

"Like" Save on Energy on Facebook - CLICK HERE
Register to win $250 to pay your electric bill
Refer your friends to get extra entries
Register between April 4-30, 2011, and make sure to refer your friends and get an extra entry for each one that registers.
Fine Print:One winner will be randomly selected each week during the promotion period, April 4-30, 2011. Limit one winner per household, not valid for previous registrants of Save on Energy.

For more on SaveOnEnergy- it's not an electric company... it's a website created to help consumers take advantage of the emerging competitive energy markets by making saving money on energy prices simple. It basically compares and contrasts companies which makes it a great way to get savings on your electric bill.  I manage shopping centers and SaveOnEnergy is always my go-to company to get the most competive energy rates.

Friday, April 8, 2011

My "coupon" Shopping Day

So I decided today to get all of my "coupon" shopping done.  I sat down last night and made my shopping list for each store and "relocated" my coupons to the appropriate store sections of my binder ... yes, I am that person. 

A recap of my day (and why it pays to coupon):

CVS:  Listerine Mouthwash x2, Betty Crocker Brownie Mix x3, Oral B Toothbrush x2 and a Gold Bond Body Wash ... after card savings ($12.58) and coupons ($10) = $8.66; then deduct the register rewards to use next time, $4.98 = Net Cost:  $3.68!  Not bad, huh?

Tom Thumb:  Milano Cookies x2 don't judge me!, Langer's Juice x2, Kettle Chips x4 see comment after Milano Cookies!, Jello Temptations, Sargento Cheese, Eggs, Power Bar x4, French Bread, English Muffins, Bacon ... after card savings ($21.65) and coupons ($8.20) = $27.52

Target:  Various Easter Stuff x10 can't say what exactly, on the off chance that any of the children might actually read my blog!, the new beverage enhancer can't think of the name of it and I refuse to move from the couch to go check!, Degree Deodorant, Allegra (30), Trident Gum x2 ... after store savings and coupons ($13.06) = $30.78

Walgreens:  Kellogg's Cereal x2, Purex Laundry Detergent x2, Duracell Batteries (4 pk), Gillette Fusion Razor, Aleve (50 ct), Wonka Chocolate Bar x2 again, sshh!, after store savings and coupons ($36.60) = $16.99 then deduct the register rewards to use next time, $4.00 = Net Cost: $12.99

Total Shopping Trip:  $75 ... a total savings of over $110.  Woo hoo!  Makes me not feel so guilty buying my expensive "foodie" ingredients!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chewy Double Chocolate Coconut Blondies

So, as I stated before, I'm on a cooking kick.  I decided to make some goodies to take to Bible study tonight - to celebrate a friend's birthday.  I'm always nervous about making something for the first time and then taking it somewhere for others to eat.  But, ever since I read this recipe over at Can You Stay for Dinner?, I've been dying to try them.

These Chewy Double Chocolate Coconut Blondies are so so very good - so so very chewy and gooey - dare I even say decadent!  The recipe is super easy and takes "normal" ingredients (I had everything that I needed to make these in my pantry and fridge).

I baked these this afternoon, let them cool and then cut them into bars (yes, I might have tried a small corner piece - for quality control of course).  I took them to our group tonight, along with milk (of course), and they were a big hit.  This will for sure be one of my "go-to" desert recipes.

Right out of the oven on the cooling rack.

Close-ups of the chewy goodness.

Garlic Chicken in Casserole with Israeli Couscous

I've been on this "new recipe" kick here lately.  So, as I'm doing housework (aka sitting around on the couch) one Saturday morning watching Anne Burrell's Secret of a Restaurant Chef on The Food Network, she makes what looks like an awesome chicken dish:  Garlic Chicken in Casserole with Israeli Couscous.  So of course, I must make it.

Well, of course I bought the package of chicken that was already cut up ... really?  who butchers their own chickens?  I already had most of the ingredients, but I did have to spring for the Saffron ($13!).

It seemed like I worked on this for most of the day yesterday, starting out in the morning roasting the garlic and then making the marinade.  I did the actual cooking late in the afternoon so it would be ready for the family at 6pm. 

It looked really pretty.  The chicken was browned and moist, the couscous was plump.  My mouth was watering as I put it on the table.  Everyone fills their plates ... and I wait for the reaction and comments.

My daughter, Addison:  "Is this chicken?" 
Me:  "Uh, yes."
Addison:  "What is this weird stuff on the chicken?"
Me:  "Skin.  It's a whole chicken with the skin on." (you can tell that we usually only have skinless chicken breasts)
Addison:  "Humm.  What's this white round stuff?"
Me:  "Israeli Couscous.  You like couscous."
Addison:  "I like the other kind, not this one, the texture is ... weird."  (as she separates all of the couscous to the side of her plate)

So, she ended up eating part of a piece of chicken, a lot corn (canned!) and two rolls (formerly frozen!).  I love knowing that I spent hours making the dish she didn't like, and 15 minutes making the stuff she actually liked.  Have I mentioned that she's 14?

Me:  "So, do you like it?"
My husband, Mitchell:  "Yes, it's ok, it's good." (yes, this was the extent of his comments)

So, he ended up eating two helpings of the chicken and couscous (he is the opposite of Addison and doesn't like the other kind of couscous), along with the "quick" stuff.

All in all - it was a good dish, but not great.  I don't think it was worth all of the prep time that it took.  Probably will not make this again ... but at least now I know.

And what's for dinner tonight?  Well, I had lunch out - so I'm not eating; therefore, the rest of the bunch is having ravioli - spinach and cheese (from a bag purchased at Costco today - so it's "fresh").

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

So, I'm just sitting here tonight, with the windows open, tv on, going through some sites on StumbleUpon ... one of the pages that came up was titled, "The Pursuit of Happiness: 15 Lessons to Keep in Mind."  Well, this caught my attention so I just had to read through the list, because, really who doesn't want happiness.  Here are just a couple of their "lessons."

1. The only person that can ever truly make you happy is yourself. Stop depending on everyone else.  While I do believe that you shouldn't depend on anyone else to make you happy, to "complete" you (yes, not even your spouse) ... it's a bit self indulgent to believe that you, and you alone can make yourself happy.  And what is happiness?  Happiness is a state of mind or feeling characterized by contentment, love, satisfaction, pleasure, or joy.

While I do like to be happy (who doesn't?) - I look at it as temporal.  This type of happiness is fleeting like when I buy a new pair of shoes or a new bag ... that makes me happy.  But, does that guarantee me happiness for all eternity?  No.  The only way for that is through God.  I think so many people shy away from that as God does not promise temporary happiness; in fact the Bible assumes problems will come your way. But God does promise lasting joy for all those who believe in him.  I stick by the FACT that [Psalm 62:7] -
My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

5. The world is never just black and white, right or wrong, one way or another. Try and see things from as many points of view as possible.  I'm not really sure when the "everything goes" mentality started, but it seems to be getting more prevalent.  Things are very often black and white, things are right or wrong, things are one way (not another).  While I do agree that we should be kind to all walks of people and be a guiding light to all those around us (not necessarily by preaching to them - but living an example of the true Christian life) - that doesn't mean that we have to agree with everything out there.  So many people seem to be on the "anything but God" track -- they believe in themselves, the universe, idols, etc. (anything but God).  I hear about it more and more each day and it truly saddens me and I know it has to sadden God as well.  
The point to this ... we have to keep fighting the good fight.  Pray for those around us that haven't made the decision to trust Jesus with their lives, join in their lives and try to be an example and a help ... but without letting go of our beliefs and giving into the everything goes mentality. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Waiting Room

So, those that know me know that I have "noise issues" (i.e. most noises bug me).  Really - I mean most:  breathing, eating, smacking, swallowing, any noise related to gum, finger picking - well, you get the idea.  I wonder if there is a name for my "condition?"  I'll have to look that up later.  Well, my poor sweet daughter has inherited the same trait.

Yesterday we were in the waiting room at a doctor's office.  It was mid-afternoon and packed (and that is saying a lot as the room was huge).  There are always interesting people it seems in waiting rooms, and of course since the doctor is almost always late, you have plenty of time to people watch.  Well, yesterday was no exception.  Here's who we had in the room:

The heavy breathing sleeper ... we started hearing this noise as we were waiting in line to sign in.  Addison looks over at me like "you've got to be kidding!"  Of course I read this silent message and gave her the look back stating that we must sit as far away from that noise as possible.  I guess the sleeper had been waiting a long time and fell asleep in her chair (I think it was a she, we never could tell from around the corner we were hiding behind) - or it might have been a child - whatever, it WAS annoying!  It sounded like this person was on an oxygen tank or something - it was awful.  We waited 45 minutes to see the doctor and this person slept the entire time.  I mean come on!  Even if it was a child -- the mom should have woken him/her up.

The marmish smacker ... so as we took our seats around the corner, trying to hide from the sleeper, we found two chairs that faced in other.  Let me describe the woman sitting next to Addison -- school marm complete with ankle length ugly dress, brown tights and tassled loafers.  Beside her in the chair was a huge old timey canister - like the kind a sleeve of crackers would fit into.  While reading her book, she slowly, methodically, one by one, reached in and took out some type of little morsel.  She then took the tiny morsel and placed it on her tongue where she moved it around a bit and slightly sucked on it.  I mean really, who takes a canister of snacks to the doctor's office?  Addison texted me her death threats for this woman - it was a good thing she was called back to see the doctor ... whew.

The PJ mom ... in comes a mom with her son.  She does look ragged and tired ... I guess so tired that she decided to wear her PJs out of the house and to the doctor's office.  Nothing was too wrong with her -- at least she was relatively quiet - maybe I was just jealous about her being in jammies while I was not!

So, I know all of this sounds trite and whiny ... but well, okay I can't argue against that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I was really convicted today about priorities ... here's the back story.

I have been struggling for a while with STRESS and trying to really find my calling ... wow, what a long, hard road that has been for at least the past year.  I have been so stressed lately that it has effected everything in my life - my private time with God, my family, my sleep, my work (even though that's what is causing the stress!), my memory, my organization and as it finally dawned on me Sunday and then again yesterday - my relationships with dear friends.

I have been so caught up with work (and so stressed out due to work) that I have only thought of myself lately.  The stress has led to selfishness!  In my mind it has been ME, ME, ME.  I have not been Holy to the Lord by any means.

On Sunday, between church services, I pulled out my prayer journal and what do I see?  Well, for one, a long lapse from the last time I wrote and my notes from the last meeting with my prayer group ... um, it dawned on me then that I had dropped the ball in two ways with one of my prayer partners.  Not only had I not being praying for what was discussed, but I didn't follow up with her about how the doctor's appointment had gone with her son.  I felt awful!

Then comes yesterday, I'm having my own little crisis and of course Facebooked it and had a great outpouring of support and prayers.  Monday went by as a blur - then when I checked email this morning - there it was.  One from my other prayer partner who had told me that her company was having a big meeting on Monday ... and she shared with me the results of that meeting, which weren't great.  There I was again ... hadn't spent time praying for her and hadn't followed up with her.  UGH.  Bad friend!

I kept thinking about these two things today and realized that my calendar is filled with "stuff" - meetings, appointments, deadlines, etc. ... everything except the really important dates that should read, "Check with XXX regarding her son's doctor's appointment."  and "Check with XXX regarding her meeting."

I have started working through some of my stress (with the help of prayer) and taking new steps - and just by doing that ... I seem to feel better, be able to breathe a bit more.  Now the next step ... keep my priorities in check.

Thank you God for smacking me over the head with this - three days in a row!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tender Hearts Luncheon / Auction

The Tender Hearts Luncheon and Silent Auction is an annual event which benefits Need Him.  Need Him is this awesomely cool ministry -- that is very technologically (humm, is that a word) hip.  Their "tag" line is:  Intentionally presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people, using all forms of media and providing an opportuity to response.

This year's luncheon will be held in Frisco at the Embassy Suites on Friday, February 11th.  It will be a great event - if you are interested in attending the luncheon, just click here for ticket information.  If you are interested in sponsoring the event or a table, just shoot me a message.  Even if you can't attend the luncheon, you can check out our cool silent auction, which is online.  To see the items, click here.

Thank you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holy To The Lord

So, tonight I'm at bible study ... we're doing Beth Moore's "Here and Now ... There and Then" series on Revelation.  WOW.  It's just awesome.  I'm a mad woman scribbling notes all over my booklet and underlining key words in my bible.  There's just so much to learn, so much that's interesting, so much that's WOW ... well, something struck me tonight like a ton of bricks.

We're talking about how everyone will be marked - with either the mark of the Lord or of the Beast (although these are not visible in the human realm, God has no problem seeing them).  Well, back in the day ... think about the times of Aaron and the priests, back to Exodus.  Stay with me - I do have a point.

Exodus 28:35-37
35 Aaron must wear it when he ministers. The sound of the bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place before the LORD and when he comes out, so that he will not die. 36 “Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal: HOLY TO THE LORD. 37 Fasten a blue cord to it to attach it to the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban.

So, here were Aaron and the priests wearing these turbans and the first thing people saw as they looked at them was HOLY TO THE LORD (even if they were not acting that way).  Yikies!  As Beth put it, wouldn't you love this to be the case today for when your 16 year old daughter goes out on a date (well, not mine because she's not allowed to date until she's 30).

So, I started thinking.  For those that know me and see me often - you know that I wear some type of cross necklace everyday (everything from a simple gold one all the way to the blinged out ones) - just love them.  I always considered this MY thing, MY signature.  Well, after tonight I have a totally different view.  I need to look down at my cross everyday and realize that it's the LORD's thing, the LORD's signature.  I need to imagine that the cross yells out HOLY TO THE LORD.

Will I always act this way?  Uh, no.  I'm realistic.  But, I will do my best to remember each and every day that I am marked with the seal of the Lord.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wait Upon the Lord

So ... tonight was a church night for my daughter and I.  We got to church and each headed our separate ways.  My Bible study ended earlier than usual, about 8:15pm; Addison's group usually lets out at 8:30pm.

So ... I go to the car to wait for her to come out.  Nothing.  I text her, she's meeting with some people.  I continue to wait, and wait, and wait and text, and text and text.  All the while getting ansty, frusterated and a little angry.  I had been going strong since 7am, had no dinner and just wanted to go home. 

So ... while I'm sitting there in my car having a little pity party and drumming my fingers with impatience - it dawned on me (well, God hit me over the head with the thought) --- It's like He said, "HELLO Chasity.  You are sitting in your car, outside of church, with nothing to do and no interruptions, with your Bible and journal sitting in your bag in the backseat!  How about making use of your time and visiting with Me."  Huh, that got my attention.  DUH.  Needless to say, I promptly got out my journal and started my chat with God.  I was still not really happy with waiting almost 45 minutes for my dear daughter - but had a great little lesson while doing so.

I've really let my quiet time with God get away from me lately -- and boy can I notice!  So much time is wasted - when it could have been put to such good use.  Thanks for the reminder God!