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Life for Dessert

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blogging from the Bush: Letters from a Sailor

I have a confession.  I haven't posted the letter from my Navy Sailor brother yet because I've been hemming and hawing over if the total blunt truth straight from the mouth of a semi-salty sailor would put you all over the edge with me.

I've sent the letter to a couple of friends to gauge their reactions and we all agree it's completely and harshly stereotypical of sailors, females on board, and human behaviors in general.  The letter contains a lot of truths, some hilarious exaggerations, some offensive generalizations, and a dose of real life on an aircraft carrier for months on end.  That being said....here it is.  If you hate it, don't hate me.  If you love it, send my brother a carepackage.  If you think his letter is offensive but still appreciate the fact that he's out there on a boat for months away from friends and family, send him a letter?  A nice one?! :-)

A few things you should know:  My brother calls me Gogie, I call him Buds.  He is a great and decent guy with a fantastic sense of humor.  I love him to death and if you say anything mean about him, well...do it elsewhere.  This is my blog and I'll not tolerate anyone hating on my family.  Remember my post the other day?! He wrote this letter June 14th...I've been sitting on it that long.  That being said...here you go. 

Hey Gogie,
Sorry it’s been a while, but with all the port visits recently it’s been difficult to sit down for more than a minute or two and write.

So we left Italy and are finally headed out to our area of responsibility, so no more port calls for a while I don’t think.  The entirety of deployment is looming pretty large right now.  We’ve not done very much and have so much left until we can return.  Some people count down the days, but that doesn’t help me a bit.  I like to just kind of zone out so that when I do think about it there’s more chance for a pleasant surprise of a week having gone by without noticing it…Or something along those lines. 

Having been a month out, a lot of guys are starting to get what we refer to as “boat goggles”.  Kind of like beer goggles, but longer lasting and infinitely more dangerous.  The females on board that aren’t worth a second glance are starting to look PRET-TY good.  

      “Whateva bro, I think that snaggletooth is kinda distinguishin’ like.”  

Yeah, that stuff is starting to pop up in conversations, and although it’s not very severe right now, well…5 months from now its gonna be really, really, REALLY bad.  

“Wow!  That chick is pretty hairy but she’s got a killer body!”  “Yeah, once you get past that and her hunchback she’s not bad.  And those festering sores around her mouth.  And her brutish Neanderthal brow. But yeah you should totally go for it!”

I’m not looking forward to that.  But once we do get back to the states the real women are all smoking hot.  It’s an unexpected silver lining.

A pretty interesting phenomenon I see in port is that even though we’re in some pretty awesome and exotic ports, I still see people going out and eating at McDonald’s or Pizza Hut or something along those lines.  I’m kinda embarrassed, actually.  There’s a lack of creativity I guess.

Fortunately tonight my shop doesn’t have much work to do.  We are waiting for another shop to test run a jet before we re-install the motor we removed so they could replace their equipment.  And then once we re-install the engine we have to run it up again to Op check that.  And there are a lot of little tasks to do, too, like corrosion prevention measures, documenting training, cleaning out toolboxes, and finding a working toilet, etc.  

Alright sis, I’ll write some more later,
Love you,
Buds

So, there you have it.  I'll have him get a few others to send in some letters as well and keep up the original "Blogging from the Bush" plan of highlighting a different sailor every few weeks.  So for the next couple of weeks I'll post my brother's address on the bottom of each post so that you can send letters, carepackages, etc to him.  I sent him a package today with 2 loaves of vacuum sealed banana bread, a pkg of new boxers, a funny tshirt, some candy, some beef jerky, and a few other odds and ends.  Thanks for supporting our military...this coming holiday weekend wouldn't be celebrated if it wasn't for our military!  So show some love and send a sailor a package!


 Send a Sailor some love:

AD3 Lane, Landon
VFA-15
Unit 60143
                                                      FPO AE 09504-6201
Standard shipping rates apply (meaning, it costs the same to ship to them as any normal letter)

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Keeping it Classy....

You know I've mentioned before that I'm the Care Coordinator for my neighborhood, right?  Well, this past week one of my sweet neighbors had a death in the family, so it's my job to make sure they have some meals, a card, flowers, etc.

This particular neighbor didn't really want lots of meals throughout this week because there are just 2 of them, so I came up with the idea to have neighbors make frozen casseroles, lasagna, etc and drop them off to me to take over all at once today.   This way they'll have meals for when they need them, but don't have a barrage of people coming every day either.

The upside of this role for me has been seeing some neighbors who I haven't had the pleasure of meeting before.

Night before last, a neighbor I'd never met came by to drop off some food, and we got to have a really nice visit.  The Hubs had been out in the yard doing work and had just come in and showered off.  He threw on some wear-around-the-house kind of clothes and came downstairs just about the time I was meeting this neighbor.  Of course he said "hello" and introduced himself and then he went about his business while I chatted with my neighbor.

Later when he and I sat down to eat (after our kids were in bed and the neighbor was gone,)  I looked across the table and noticed he had thrown on a tshirt that he got for free at a work conference.  It was a security software tshirt, and emblazoned across the front was this....


WOW.  Nice to meet you Barbara.  Hope you like "fast and easy" too...or at least aren't offended after meeting us now!

Keepin' it classy ya'll.  Keepin' it classy.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One of Those Days...and a Recipe for Cobbler!

Today has been one of those days with my kiddos....well, with one of my kiddos.  Which is why I haven't posted til this evening.  I'm feeling pretty emotionally raggedy after the past couple of days with my 5 year old.

I must confess that I have no idea how I ever could have thought that a strong willed mother and father could end up with a passive child.  Clearly I didn't.  I got a boy version of myself as a child in many ways.  Strong willed he is for sure.  Laugh now Mom...I know you want to.

I know we're in another phase right now and that this too shall pass, but good night people...I'm starting each day here lately with what feels like less and less in my "patience tank," as a friend of mine put it today.

Today, Tid Bit spent a large portion of the day in his room for whining, complaining, willful disobedience, and then the real icing on the cake was the complete meltdown while I was at the post office mailing my Navy Sailor brother a carepackage for his birthday (which was yesterday.)  Embarrassed I was not, frustrated to almost tears I was indeed.  Especially since the past several days, really some large portion of every day since returning home from our Montana vacation, have been similar in his behavior.

I lost it yesterday.  And it wasn't over anything major either.  Just about the 700th time he disobeyed again and I screamed "Go to your room" in a voice (and at a decibel) that honestly freaked me out too.  It was one of those completely un-awesome moments in mothering that I apologized for about 45 minutes later when he'd calmed down and I had too.

But today, it was more of the same on his part.  I handled it all a bit better, but when my husband came home tonight, I fell apart and did what any tired mother wants to do at the end of a hard day when her bathtub only holds 4 inches of water....I made a peach and blackberry cobbler.  Tis the season for both fruits, and twas the day to enjoy them for sure!

And since my longtime friend, Laura Parker, is featuring one of my favorite summer recipes on her blog tomorrow (Wednesday,) I thought I'd finish my day well and share a great recipe with you (and since it's been a little bit since I've posted a recipe.)

So here you go...easiest cobbler recipe ever.  I have another, perhaps even more amazing, peach and blackberry cobbler recipe that I'll share with you later, but this basic cobbler recipe is perfect with pretty much anything.  I almost always have these few simple ingredients on hand as well.  My favorite version of this is to use tart plums to make it...delish!

Ingredients:
3/4 stick butter
3 c. fruit (for peaches, plums, etc...peel and slice)
1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt the butter in a baking dish (I usually do it in about a 9x13 because I like lots of the crunchy top parts) in the oven.  While the butter is melting mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and milk.  Once the butter is melted in the dish evenly pour fruit into the dish.  Then pour the mixture evenly over the fruit and do not mix up or anything.  Bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes or til it's nice and brown on the top.  Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream.  I promise, it'll make a bad day so much better.

See....


Day made much better... in a bowl. 

And as Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day!"

Jesus said it too...but better for sure.  No shock there.  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matt 6:34

Ain't that the truth?!  And thank heavens for new days huh?!


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Potty Talk...Bathroom Inspiration

I don't know about you all, but sometimes there are certain rooms in my house that completely elude me when it comes to how to decorate them.  Bathrooms are generally harder for me than other rooms..mostly because there are the same certain elements that you have to deal with and unless you're overhauling and re-doing tile and cabinetry, you're kinda working with what you've got.

I love wallpaper in a bathroom but it's more money than I generally want to spend.  Painting designs is a great idea too, but typically I don't want to spend that much time.  Thank heavens for fabric you can put on a window treatment and shower curtain, but still, you have to be careful that you don't divide the room even more with a heavy looking shower curtain.  All to say...I think they get tricky.

My boys' bathroom has been on my list of "make it so I like it" things for awhile now.  It's painted a nice yellow (which, though yellow is a pretty color it is not my favorite) and has a super cute Curious George swinging on a vine that I painted on the wall.  I started painting a bird on a sign near the toilet about a year ago and never have finished it.  


I just can't get into the whole cartoon character themed room thing.  I've never done it...I'm just not a fan.  Tid Bit said he wanted that... and ONLY because Curious George is old and super cute did I agree.  No offense intended if your kid's room is all tricked out with Dora or Diego or Backyardigans or something...it's just not my thing.  Even George was a serious stretch for me....which is pretty much why the room has never been finished.

As of late, I've been really thinking about what I could do to make the room feel more "us."  I've thought about some stylized camo, military looking something or another, but haven't settled there because if we ever have a girl that's just not the direction that I'd want to go.  Finally the idea hit me when I saw a really cool print at a gift shop when we were in Glacier National Park in Montana.

Vintage-style National Park Signage


Above here is the first print and some super cool stickers that I found.  See where I'm going with this?  Then I found a copy of the road sign for the Going-to-the-Sun Road, that sadly we couldn't go all the way over during the trip since they were still clearing feet upon feet of snow from it through the higher elevations.

Throughout the rest of the trip I found a few other great prints and some vintage looking postcards as well, and now I'm super excited.  There are these awesome red car-style buses that tour visitors around and we saw them all over.  They are sort of iconic...called the Red Jammers, and I just adore them.  I think that'll be a fun way to get some bursts of color into the room.  I'm thinking the walls may go sort of taupe and I'm considering painting the base cabinets a nice bluish gray color. I'll load the walls with all of my great finds as well as some family photographs from this trip. 

So, here is sort of a grouping of everything that I've picked up so far.  I think the ultimate goal would be to begin collecting this style of art from other family trips and see the bathroom evolve over time into a nod to fun family adventures.




I don't know exactly if and how I'll use each thing in the room til I get a chance to mess around with it all, but for now, I'm super inspired and very excited to get going on it! Stay tuned for this project to come!  You know how I get excited about a new idea and can't wait to get started.  At least this time I have "Before" pictures!

- Logan


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Friday, June 24, 2011

And The Gloves Came Off.....

Oh ya'll, today I had a moment.

I bet you were wondering how long it'd be before the crazy person in me decided to jump out and surprise us all again.  Aren't you glad you didn't have to wait too too long?  Yeah...sorry to say I guess I'm a little predictable like that.  But the crazy person made an appearance today for sure.  This time instead of a mother bear though, it was more like this....


A Mean Old Lady

What I really want to say is "mean old bitty," but I won't say that...at least not in enlarged font.

So here's the scenario.  I'm standing in my living room talking to 2 friends...one who was hanging out and the other who stopped by to drop off a gift for a lingerie shower I'm throwing this weekend.  We are all three standing there talking, and out of the corner of my eye I see a golf cart with freaking monster truck tires driving like a bat out of hell around the corner.  The thing almost flips over as they round the corner, they do like 3 donuts in the culdesac, pull forward and then back up into my yard (over the curb mind you) and begin taunting my dogs.

I had visions of a 15 year old boy flipping (yes flipping) his car into my back neighbor's front yard and taking out their mailbox about 2 years ago.  Every time I have that vision...that memory...I also think about what if that mailbox had been my kid innocently playing in the front yard.  And I get fired up.

The 3 dog-taunters driving this donut-doing, souped up golf cart today happened to be probably 13 year old boys.  They didn't have a care in the world, weren't paying a lick of attention to anything around...probably because they had their heads so far up their....well, you get the picture.  They were being reckless.  And on our culdesac we have 5 young kids who often play in our front yards.

About the time I saw them backing over the curb into my yard and taunting my dogs, I thought it was time to, you know...take the gloves off and have a nice little chat.
I marched outside and started motioning them to stop the cart and get it out of my yard.  The boy driving was still not paying ANY attention until one of his buddies practically smacked him in the back of the head to turn around.  The kid looked at me and started to speed away and I walked right up to the side of the golf car and said "You stop this cart right now."  And then the following conversation ensued:

Me: "You boys need to be careful out here.  There are 5 small children who live on this street and there is absolutely no reason for you to be joyriding like fools on it.  I don't appreciate you driving your cart into my yard and I don't appreciate you bothering my dogs.  Now... You driving, what is your name?!"

Boy: *whispering* "Matt"

Me: "Matt?  Matt what?"

Boy: "Matt buzzulubumblezzzmmmzzmmm" (that's me doing my best to show you a mumble)

Me: "I'm sorry Matt, what is your full name"

Boy:  "Matt buzzulubumblezzzmmmzzmmm"

Me:  "Matt, I cannot understand what your name is when you say 'Matt buzzulubumblezzzmmmzzmmm,' so how about if you speak clearly and tell me your last name."

Boy:  "Matt Simpkins. (and then he tried to get all tough on me) Why do you want to know?!"

Me:  "So Matt, that I can know who's mother I'm calling today.  Now you boys go home and I do not expect to see you driving like this down my street again."

The end.

If I ever wondered if I have reached full maturity as an adult up til now, I'd say with that little motherly tirade today, all questions have been fully answered.  Indeed, I am a grown up.  A mean old mommy who ruins other people's fun.  And I don't feel one bit sorry about it either. 

I may like to think that I'm cool and hip and young, but truth is, I'm just another old lady ready to smoke anybody who messes with my family....


 Bring it!





*I changed the kid's name here just to be nice.


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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Food for Thought: Escha-what?!

Ok. So I wrote the post about the weather last night, but am making an addition now here with some interesting things I came across today.


Eschatology...is basically the study of end times, and this morning when I was having some time with the Lord I most interestingly (but probably not coincidentally) ended up reading about eschatology.  I started out with some reading in Psalms because our church is reading through the Bible this year.  Somehow a cross reference ended me up in Matthew, and then my eye jumped from the cross reference to some verses that I had underlined on the opposite page.  So I ended up in Matthew 21:18-22 which talks about Jesus cursing the fig tree and willing it to wither and die.  Then subsequently he tells the disciples that if they have faith and do not doubt, then they can do like he did to the fig tree, they can command mountains to fall into the sea and it will happen.  That the things that we ask in prayer and believing, we will receive.

I have a thing about figs.  I've posted recipes with them before and will do more when fig season is upon us later this summer.  And I started thinking about how often I've noticed that figs turn up in scripture, and I got to wondering.  "What is the deal with figs?"

So i googled "fig tree" and also searched it on BibleGateway (which by the way is a really great, FREE resource for different Bible translations, does searches...it's awesome.)  I found 49 instances where figs were referenced in the Bible.  Many of those references point to figs being a symbol of prosperity in Biblical times.  And then i looked up figs on Wikipedia as well to learn more about them.  That ended me up reading about the Parable of the Barren Fig tree that I just told you about, and from that reading about Figs in the Bible.  Figs are mentioned in what is called The Olivet Discourse which is a biblical passage found in the Mark 13, Matthew 24, and Luke 21. Apparently it is sometimes referred to as the "Little Apocalypse" because it includes Jesus' descriptions of the end times.  So you see how this happened?  Psalms to figs to end times?
 
I know...it's a serious Biblical ADD...or maybe just what I was supposed to be reading today after posting about the weather and end times last night.  So then I started reading all around about end times and eschatology and tribulation and views on it all, and I determined something....

I will not determine or know what time is the "end time."

And from what I can tell that the Bible says, noone but God will know.  But boy are there a lot of camps about when and how people think it will happen.  I mean, wasn't Jesus supposedly predicted by some people to come back about a month ago?  I'm pretty sure that didn't go like the predictors thought it would.  

I wonder who avoided going to the bathroom all day for fear they'd be raptured while on the can?  Or who didn't drive that day lest their vehicle be abandoned while zooming down the interstate? But seriously...I guess the question keeps being asked and keeps being answered because we, humans, like to be in control.  We like to know things.  We like to have a handle on how to plan, and what will happen when we're ready for it, so that we can get ready.  And what I determined today (and you may most certainly disagree with me,) is that in the realm of eschatology and deciding when and where and how you think that end times will happen, it probably doesn't really matter....because sometime, there will be an end, and I, in my humanity, am not in a position to know just when that will be.

So for here and now, I think I'll do the best that I can to serve well the God who gave me a second chance at a full life through Jesus Christ...and who also gave us all... figs.






PS. If my delving into big words like "eschatology" or topics like "end times" freaks you out, I am sorry...it's just what I've been thinking about lately.  I've also been thinking about redecorating my boys' bathroom with some fun art I found in Montana, so if that's more your speed and interest, stick around...I'll tell you more about that stuff in the next couple of days too!

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Apocalypse Now?...

I don't know about the rest of you and what the weather is like where you live, but it's been crazy around South Carolina the past couple of months.  And from what I can tell on the news, across the rest of the country it's been pretty crazy too.  There have been record numbers of tornadoes, floods, winds, and storms pretty much everywhere.  I have lived the majority of my life in the Carolinas and until about a month ago, in the Carolinas I have never seen THIS.


I was out riding bikes with my family for about 20 minutes last night and stopped to talk to a neighbor.  In about 5 minutes, the sky got dark and the wind started howling, and we got the heck out of dodge if you know what I mean.  Ride like the wind I tell you...and the wind was blowing seriously fast.

I saw this picture last night that a friend linked on facebook of the storm here in town.  It was taken about 10 minutes from where I live.


Ummm.... now listen, I don't know a thing about tornadoes except what I've seen on Extreme Weather on the Weather Channel or on the movie "Terrible Tuesday" that I watched several times in school growing up, but isn't that sort of how tornadoes start?  And whether it is or not, I'd just like to say that I live in South Carolina because we don't have storms like people do out in places like Kansas and Oklahoma....and I like that about South Carolina.  But perhaps we do have storms sort of like that...actually, apparently we do.

Last week when I was in Montana there were storms in town with over 80 mph straight-line winds.  I'd never even heard of straight-line winds until a friend told me that they took out 17 trees in her yard and completely rearranged the furniture at her neighborhood pool.  Look what they did to my yard too.  I guess I'm lucky to just have one tree casualty....still, look where this thing fell. 




(Yes that is directly between the 2 play sets in my yard.  Um.... I'm a little uncomfortable with that.  And the fact that it was entirely uprooted.)

And then last night I also heard of a roof blowing directly off of a building into the middle of a major road.  This does not happen here.  Oh yeah, and when we were coming back from our trip the other night, there was a billboard at our exit that was bent into a 90 degree angle.  Just wrapped around the pole, like it was a piece of cardboard that someone flicked too hard.

All to say, it's weird.  And did you know that apparently one of Saturn's moons lost a ring recently too?  Yeah...random tidbit I learned from a friend who knows tidbits like that.  And I can't help but really wonder to myself...how do you know when it really is the "end times?"  I mean, the Bible says we won't know the exact date and time of Jesus' return, but it does say that things can get weirder beforehand.  I don't claim to know at all ya'll, but I do wonder.  And in the end, what I do know is that however weird and weathery it gets here, when He comes back...I for one am going with Him.

PS. For fear that you all begin think I'm some freaky end times theologian or something...I just want to say "stop right there.  I'm not."  Surely though, I'm not the only person wondering what in the world is going on with the world? And with the weather?

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

For the LOVE....

of a dress....

This dress.

Cuernavaca Maxi

I really want this Anthropologie dress.  And this belt below to go with the dress.

Channeled Belt

I think in fact that I need it.  I don't have the dinero for it right now, so I'm on the hunt for some work to get it!  It would be perfect to wear to a wedding that I'm doing the flowers for towards the end of July.  I'm on a mission people.  You will see me in pictures of this dress at a wedding in July.  Now, how to make it happen...hmmmm....

And to the kind few of you who have suggested that I could make this dress....who really wants to find out if I could or not?  Not me...


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Friends for Life...

I'm home from Montana.

And let me tell you what a welcome we got... we had to get our car jump-started in the Charlotte airport Sunday night at 11:45pm, got home at almost 2am to a broken upstairs A/C and 83 degrees in all the bedrooms, storms for days that had uprooted a 90ft pine in our backyard and debris everywhere.  I spent the greater part of the day yesterday having to get a new car battery and new tires (the tire part was overdue) and then had to have a heating and air guy come fix the A/C in the afternoon.  Turns out that it had been damaged from a giant tree branch falling on it during the storms while we were gone.  WOW!  All to say...that's why you didn't hear from me yesterday.

So, I'm rapidly back in the swing of things and have a bridal lingerie shower to plan for this coming weekend.  Whew...it'll happen, but I sure do already miss the pace of Montana.

Which brings me to something I've been dying to share about our trip.  First I should say that for our entire family, this was our most favorite vacation we've ever taken all together.  It was perfect for our kids, gorgeous everywhere, and we spent some really special time with extended family and also some old friends.

The friends part though is what I've been thinking about the past few days.

I wish I could find at least one really old picture to share with you.  But they're old and I'm pretty sure that my mom has the bulk of the ones from when I was a little kid.  When we were in Montana we had the chance to get in a couple days visit with a super old friend of mine and his family who live about 4 hours from where we were staying.  The last time we all saw one another was at my wedding almost 8 years ago.  We've kept up... but it's been a long time, and we've never met one another's kids.

My childhood friend, Jeremy, and his amazing wife LB, came to visit along with their 3 adorable children.  They spent Thursday and Friday nights with us in my aunt's cabin, and Saturday night they stayed in Polebridge (in the cute cabin I'd featured on the blog the other day nonetheless) since my family had to leave Sunday morning.  We adventured over to the east side of Glacier on Friday and hiked, and ate, and in general had the best time all together.  Our kids got along so well that they were actually crossing into being really annoying, LB and I could have talked for days and still not run out of subjects, and the guys honestly seemed to have an almost identical sense of humor.

It was just fun.

Here we all are in the rain before we headed out to Polebridge for part of the day on Saturday.  I'm kinda covering up my Hubs' head, but do you know how hard it is to get a decent picture with 9 people (5 of which are all ages 5 and under?!)


And here is perhaps one of my favorite pictures from our whole trip...all 5 of our kids together.


Jeremy and I first met when we were about Little Bit's age (around 17 months old,) and my mom always likes to tell people that he bit me in the nursery at church the first time we met.  What a way to start a friendship huh?!  But the truth is that it must have been, because he was one of my very best friends for as long as I could remember.  We grew up in church together and had the same group of friends all the way through.  A rare group of friends who all loved and respected one another, and still do today.  The kind of friends you know that you were blessed to have had then, and the kind who you know made you into a better person now.  We were all those kind of friends.  We went to one another's weddings, and these days, life and time has spread us all across not just the country, but even the globe.

I got emotional when we left our sweet friends at Polebridge on Saturday....after adventures in the outdoors, and kids playing together, and meals shared, and late nights talking about faith and life and everything in between.  And I've been thinking the past few days about friends like that. About how rare and treasured and few they are.  Friends who have known you before you even really knew yourself...and who are still around...who have grown into the people you always knew they could and probably would be.  The kind who still top your list of people you admire in life.  

To have known a person since I was younger than my own children, and to share time with the families God has blessed us each with, and for each one of us all to feel even more richly blessed in our lives because of our time all together...it's rare.  And that rarity isn't the least bit lost on me.

So... despite the insanity that greeted us on our doorstep when we returned home, I choose to still feel overwhelmed not by the chaos of daily life...but rather overwhelmed by the blessings of a full life, and some of the same treasured friends still swirling around in it.  Jeremy, LB, and kiddos... I love you guys.  It was time well spent and my heart is fuller now because of it.

LB has a blog where she writes about life in Montana, and specifically gardening in the harsh Montana climate.  You can check that out HERE if you're interested.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Polebridge Mercantile Giveaway Winner



Sorry I didn't post yesterday. We went to the east side of Glacier with some friends and had a fantastic and crazy day with 5 kids ages 5 and under.  Yeah...it was an adventure.  I'll write more about that later.  I did want to announce the winner of the Polebridge Mercantile giveaway thanks to Random.org.  Next time I do a giveaway, I have to figure out a better way to number the entrants and need to get all of you guys to leave separate entries for each action...it was tricky to appropriately number your comments based on the time they were left in multiple locations, but my friend who's an accountant and good with numbers helped me do it properly.  Anyways...the number that won was #17 and that means that winner is...

Clay Danner

I have to tell you that I found this particularly funny... because to my knowledge, Clay is the only man who entered the giveaway this time.  He is also the father of 2 girls...so it seems hilarious to me that he now will be the proud owner of a deer antler slingshot.  I put all the numbers into random.org and Clay randomly won.  I actually do know him in real life since he is a good friend of my husband's, and I feel sure he will put the prize to hilarious use.

Congratulations Clay!  I'm going back to Polebridge today to take our friends, so I'll just pick up the prize then and save on the shipping since I know where you live.

 - Logan

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fire for Father's Day...and more....

Since I'm out here in the Wild West doing things like hiking, trekking, wild animal sighting, building fires, and roasting marshmallows, I thought I'd share this super cute craft that I came across a couple of weeks ago from crafts.kaboose.com to do with my kids.  It's a fun way to show a little love to the great outdoors in case you're maybe not one who really wants to build an actual fire.  Or...if you are a pyromaniac, then this is probably still right up your alley because it looks like fire.



What you'll need:

  • Old CD
  • Rocks – about the size of a quarter
  • Sticks
  • A handful of soil, dirt or sand
  • White craft glue
  • Small scraps of red, orange and yellow tissue paper
  • Toothpick

How to make it:

  1. Cover CD with glue  and use a paintbrush or your finger to spread the glue out for an even coat. 
  2. Cover glue area with dirt or sand and tap off excess. 
  3. Use your finger to push back a little of the dirt from the edges, all the way around the CD, to make room for the rocks.
  4. Squeeze out a generous amount of white glue onto the cleared edge of the CD. Press a rock into the glue. Repeat until entire rim of the CD is covered in rocks.
  5. If necessary, break sticks into approximately 4 inch pieces. Using white craft clue, build a "fire" with the sticks by laying them down in a teepee formation, gluing as you go. Let everything dry for 2 hours (will not be completely dry, but won't slide around).
  6. Tear tissue paper into small pieces, approximately 1" or 2" squares.
  7. Place tip of toothpick into the center (don't poke through) of a piece of red tissue paper. Wrap the tissue paper around the toothpick.
  8. Dab some glue on the tip and dip it into the sticks, removing the toothpick once inserted. Repeat around the top of the sticks with several red pieces, and then add a few orange toward the middle, and lastly one or two yellow pieces at the top of the stick mound.
  9. Let project dry completely overnight.
I think it'd be a cute way to do an invitation for an outdoor party or campout as well.  Way more fun to open this than just your standard card invitation. 

Or, just make it for fun...because it's cute and your kids will appreciate you doing a craft with them.  OR...I just had an even better idea!  Make these this week and invite Dad to a family backyard firepit party for Father's Day.  Men like fire...Dad would appreciate the gesture, and to really make the gift awesome why don't you make a special package with the following other items....

S'mores Kit


Leatherman Tool
What Dad wouldn't love a Leatherman tool, a campfire, and s'mores?!  Or at least be able to appreciate the gesture of it?  Oh yeah, and fix meat and potatoes for dinner.  Try out this recipe for Flank Steak and Roasted Potatoes.  I just made Father's Day easy for you...and in case you didn't realize, it's this coming Sunday the 19th!

Happy crafting, cooking out, and now you have a recipe for happy Dads to boot!
- Logan

Don't forget to check out yesterday's post about the Polebridge Mercantile and enter to win the fun prize pack donated by the Mercantile!  Giveaway ends 12noon EST on Friday 6/17!



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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Polebridge Mercantile...one of the coolest places EVER!

Today has been an absolutely incredible day!  My aunt treated Tid Bit, the Hubs, and myself to a helicopter tour over Glacier National Park.  It was another one of those kinds of experiences where words are insufficient.  "Magnificent" is such an understatement.  I could go on and on for days about it and still fall short in my description...get a load of this picture to the left though.  Just breathtaking....

After our helicopter tour, we all went to an off-the-beaten-path place that might just have made it to my list of Top Ten Most Favorite Places Ever (and that's saying something because I've been to some pretty cool places in my life.)

The PoleBridge Mercantile


The place was built in 1914 by a man named Bill Adair.  He originally owned and operated a store in 1907 in what is now Glacier National Park.  When the national park was established in 1910 and a bridge was constructed across the North Fork of the Flathead River, the traffic patterns changed, so Bill and his wife moved to the present location in PoleBridge onto a 160 acre homestead in 1912.  The store was completed in 1914 and an icehouse and shop were added soon after.  From its inception, the store was the social and business hub of the North Fork and a gateway to the new national park across the river.  The 5 buildings of the property (the home, a barn, the mercantile, icehouse, and shop) were added to the National Historic Register in 1983 as a representative of an early Montana mercantile enterprise.  The location has maintained it’s early charm and continues to be one of the last outposts of its kind in the country.


The present day Polebridge Mercantile boasts a bakery, general store and cabins, serving the most adventuresome families, floaters, fishers, hikers, bikers, artists and "lifers". Nestled up to the primitive west entrance to Glacier National Park, on the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Flathead River and in the North Fork Valley is where you can find them. 35 miles from pavement, electricity and "civilization" you can find fabulous baked goods, spices, t-shirts, prints, books, etc. from Polebridge artists and complete separation from the everyday grind. No street lights. No cell phone service. Unbelievably serene views.  We ate the most melt in your mouth homemade sandwiches and literally bought every last one of their famous huckleberry coconut macaroons.  The food alone is worth the drive out there, but if you don't stick around longer than that I promise you'd be missing out!  And, for just $35 per night you can rent one of their adorable cabins and take it all in even more. 


The next time we come out here, it's on my list of things that absolutely cannot be missed!


The current owners are some of the nicest people I've ever met.  Flannery Coats (pictured on the left above, with staff Caroline Canarios on the right) and her husband Stuart Reiswig bought the Mercantile property just 3 years ago and have been serving up authentically old-fashioned goodness ever since.  Flannery told me that part of the agreement with the purchase required an apprenticeship with the bakers who ran the store for years after the Adairs had passed.  The same recipes are still being served with improvements such as the inclusion of more organic and local ingredients. The original home now houses the Northern Lights Restaurant and Saloon where you can also get a bite to eat and a drink to wash it down.

And for some added fun, Flannery agreed to host a giveaway for all of you, my fabulous readers!  The winner will receive a Polebridge Mercantile t-shirt, a slingshot made from a real deer antler, and half a dozen of their famous huckleberry coconut macaroons!!!!  The contest will end at Noon EST on this Friday, June 17th.

How to Enter
Mandatory entry: Like Polebridge Mercantile on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me you did so.







Additional entries:
  • Follow Life for Dessert on Google Connect and leave a separate comment here saying you did so
  • Like Life for Dessert on Facebook and leave a separate comment here saying you did so
  • (if you receive the feed, you can't just reply to the email to comment.  You must leave separate comments here...it gets seriously confusing to try to order all of the comments from other places based upon when they were left.  If you have trouble leaving comments on the blog, I will count comments left on the Life for Dessert Facebook page towards the entries.)
Loads of thanks to The Polebridge Mercantile for such a fun day today and for hosting this great giveaway!  I promise friends, you do not want to miss out on this!

Happy Trails!

- Logan



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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Never Cry Wolf...

Unless... like my mom did this morning, you see one walking by the kitchen window.

This is not the actual wolf we saw.  We didn't have time to grab our camera and I wasn't about to walk outside to get a closer view.  As it was, the wolf was literally 15 feet outside of the window over the kitchen sink.  The wolf we saw was scrawny, shedding it's winter coat, and very hungry looking.  The Montana animal book says to keep a close eye on small children and toddlers when wolves have been sighted.  Yes thank you...I think I will.

I'm a fan of wildlife sightings and all...elk, moose, deer, eagles, ground squirrels...you know, the non-predatory types.  But I'm gonna be honest and say that the idea of sighting a bear on the property, or maybe...a wolf just outside the kitchen window...not on my list of most favorite encounters with wildlife.  I think I'm perfectly happy that I was inside the kitchen and not camping out in the teepee.

Off for more adventures now...hopefully these involve more far-off animals, mountains, and rivers.

- Logan

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One little, two little, three little indians...

Well, the good news is that even though our kids woke up at 4:30 yesterday morning, we did get to see this view.


Yesterday Tid Bit learned how to build a teepee from my aunt's husband, David. Tid Bit is now convinced that he has what it takes to be a real indian once we return home. I am not so sure however.   I imagine that it would be helpful if we had lodgepole pines.  This morning when I woke up the teepee was blown over by the wind last night...bummer.  Teepee building is now back on the list of things to do today.

I've been thinking since we've been here about what it is for me that makes a trip like this so special. And I think that it's a combination of things...it's life simplified, it's creation magnified, and family focusing on things that are important.

Since we had kids I have missed out on plenty of trips with my family...my parents and my siblings going to New Orleans, hunting trips, etc, without me because I needed to stay and take care of my children. Mind you, I'm fine with that...this is my life and I love it, but it's hard missing out sometimes. This time we're in a place that is kid friendly... that feeds my kids' souls, feeds my own, and ultimately because it's something we all enjoy, it makes it all that much better. Sitting by a stream and watching my baby discover rocks in running water, watching my 5 year old hauling full tree trunks up a hill to make a teepee...does something for me...seeing them creatively enjoy creation.

I just don't see myself getting tired of that...ever.

 - Logan

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

I think God lives in Montana

We made it here yesterday safe and sound.  Uneventful plane rides, well behaved kids, and still a full part of the day to spend once we arrived.  We got to Kalispell at 1:30 and spent the entire afternoon just enjoying the view and exploring around.

View from the porch. That's the Flathead River below and Glacier Nat'l Park in the distance.

Can I just tell you that I have cried like 5 times or more.  The view from just the porch is so majestic I can't even begin to put the words in any sort of order to accurately describe it all to you.  We took probably 100 or more pictures already yesterday and now this morning something weird is going on with our camera.  THIS is not time for an "Error" to be turning up on our camera.  We're hopefully going to see if we can find a camera shop tomorrow and get things checked out.  Cross your fingers and say a prayer for me huh?

Little Bit and I were exploring rocks in a tiny stream yesterday on my aunt's property.  Even just the river rocks are a hundred different colors.  God bothered to color the river stones here.  He is SO creative!  When I see a place like this and I think about my God, I am bowled over by his creative love for me.  He could have made the earth flat and all the same...but he didn't.  He made it stunning.  He made it more poetic than even the poetically inclined.  He made it all for us...just to enjoy.  I am inclined to think though that God might live in Montana...at least he is this week for sure.

I wish I was poetic.  Really...I wish I knew how to weave words that inspire and invoke the emotions that a place like this leaves you feeling.  Breathlessness.

The sun doesn't set til late here and the light coming across onto the mountains is just stunning.  At one point last night there was a rainbow, the valley was illuminated in the most golden light, and I made the comment, "The only thing that would complete this perfection would be if a train came around the bend at this exact moment."

Another view from the porch. The river is just to the left
Not kidding.... "Whoooo....Whooo...Whoooo" off in the distance.  Un-freaking-real!  Check this out.



Really....unreal.

I'm going out to enjoy the day.  Will try to post more later.

- Logan

Now the question lingering in my mind is how on earth do you adequately appreciate thanks to the people providing this opportunity?  This cabin and the 100 acres around it belong to my aunt and uncle.  They are letting us stay.  "Grateful" is a word that falls short this week too.  Words are clearly not gonna cut it this week...let's cross our fingers and hope that my camera will magically fix and that my pictures can describe for you better than my fingers on these keys.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Montana Bound...

So, tomorrow I'm finally gonna put my new kicks to work because we are headed out to Montana for a little over a week.

I hope that the state is ready for us!  And more than that, I hope that the passengers on our flights are ready for our kids.  Oh my words...do you remember my last flight with my 5 year old and 15 month old lap child?!  If not, go HERE for a refresher...let me just say that I don't know if you're ever really prepared for travel with children no matter how well prepared you think that you may be.  I'm just asking the Lord that our travel be on time and uneventful....I'm under no illusion that my kids would actually sleep or sit perfectly quietly, and there are certainly other miracles I'd rather the Lord attend to than that!

I'm hoping to post a few times while I'm gone, but in case you don't hear from me every day, just know that it's because I'm trekking around out west!  I'm so excited I can't even tell you!  If I was really awesome I'd have scheduled some guest bloggers while I was gone I suppose, but I didn't...only occasional awesomeness can be expected from here I guess.

I'll do my best to keep you posted on our trip in all of it's snow-capped mountainous glory at least some though.  I'm pretty excited to escape this unbelievable heat wave that's been sweeping through the South lately too...50's, 60's, and 70's here I come!  Can I tell you how pumped I am that I don't even need to pack shorts...and how much more excited I am because that means that I have a week hiatus in the middle of summer from shaving my legs!  Oh yeah...I'm getting granola on you all.  Don't worry, I won't let the pits get out of control though...that's just nasty.

Anywho, I've got to finish packing...there are suitcases and clothes spread all over my room!  I'm determined to pack all 4 of us (and our gear) into just 3 suitcases since each additional one is $50 each way...um no thanks.  Do you know how much chalk paint I could buy with that money?!

Happy trails friends!

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31 Gifts Giveaway Winner!

I bet you've all been wondering who won the super fun bag from Thirty-One Gifts?!

Thank you to random.org for generating a completely random number, and that comment was...

#32 Chris and Katie said...
The large tote is my fave! I want it!!!   
So, Chris and Katie...Congratulations!  It appears that the large tote must have wanted you too!

Also, the second winner selected by random.org to win 20% off of your total order was....

I follow Life For Dessert on Google Friend Connect!

If ya'll would send me an email to LifeforDessert at gmail dot com with your name, address, and emails then I'll pass your information along to Lauren so that she can get Chris and Katie's bag in the mail, and Kenan's discount applied to an order!  Congratulations to both of you!

If you're super bummed that you didn't win, which I always am because seriously, I never win anything, don't be dismayed!  If you order this month then you can take advantage of the following special and still get your tote!

 
Thanks to everyone for entering and I'll host another fun giveaway soon!  Help Life for Dessert reach 150 followers and we'll have one for sure then!  It's fun for me to line up great giveaways and who doesn't like winning something free and clear?!

Congratulations again to #32 and #7!




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