Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Friday, January 29, 2010

Creative Storage Solutions

Growing up I really enjoyed playing board games with my siblings. I have to admit that my favorite game was one called Bargain Hunter. I think my parents picked it up at a garage sale. It was kinda like Price is Right in board game fashion.

Hubby doesn't really like to play games, so hopefully my nephews or future children will so I'll have someone to play with. If that's the case, I'm definitely going to need some creative storage solutions.

I recently found this blog and was looking through some back posts and came across this great idea for storage/art using board games. I thought it was brilliant!

Some Delicious Meals on the Way

My friend Shelly who blogs at Frugal is the New Sexy had an awesome giveaway this past week. She was giving away three prizes, but the one I really wanted was this:

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl

I've made a couple of Ree's recipes and they've been downright tasty for the most part. I can only imagine how much deliciousness this book contains.

Boy was I surprised when I clicked over to see who the winners were. Lo and behold there was my name right next to the PW cookbook! Yeah! Hopefully I can find some FBD friendly meals in there. If not, there's always time for a "cheat nite" now and then.

And, speaking of giveaways, I haven't forgotten about the one I promised. I'm hoping to settle on something this weekend and will let you know what I come up with next week.

If you haven't checked out Frugal is the New Sexy, I highly recommend you check it out now. I've already taken advantage of many of the great deals Shelly tells us about. Even my hubby has gotten hooked on checking out this site daily.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2 Days in a Row? Seriously?

I give up on being able to use the toilet at work anymore.

We recently split our building in half and my nice private bathroom (thanks to the fact I was the only female here) stayed on the half that's now rented out. That means I now have to share a bathroom with men. Dirty, smelly men.

I finally convinced the boss to let me buy some seat covers (or a** gaskets as his son referred to them...I have to admit that gave me a good chuckle because I never heard them called that) only to realize yesterday that it clogged the toilet when I went to flush it. Bring on embarrassing situation #1.

"Yum, excuse me boss. Do we have a plunger anywhere?"

That's one question I never hoped to have to ask at work.

Well, remember that nice private bathroom I used to have? Turns out our one and only plunger must have somehow got put in there when we split the building. Bring on embarrassing situation #2 - drive down the road to the plumbing supply store where a bunch of men work and ask them if they carry plungers and if so can I purchase one.

I didn't possibly think it could get any worse. Boy, was I wrong.

Braving use of the bathroom again today, I proceeded to flush only to have the problematic handle which is known to fall off from time to time fly up in the air and land smack dab in the toilet right as everything finishes flushing down the drain. Down goes the toilet paper. Down goes the seat cover. Down goes the handle.

"Yum, boss. Know that handle that falls off from time to time? Well, it fell into the toilet right as it was flushing and it kinda went down the drain."

Provided I still have a job tomorrow after messing with the toilet two days in a row, I'm never using the bathroom at work again.

Thankfully my boss has already pretty much told me I could do whatever I want and he doesn't care. He might reconsider after this, though!

UPDATE: Boss just came in to report that he's going to have to take the whole toilet off because the handle is not in the trap. Hopefully we don't have to bust up the concrete floor that the pipe runs under. Why does stuff like this happen to me?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I Will Still Love Him

NOTE: I intended to write this post before I just read a friend's announcement on Facebook.

Facing the Giants

Over the weekend hubby and I watched Facing the Giants again with his parents. This time, their struggle of starting their family really struck me, especially one line spoken by Grant to his wife that basically asked her if the Lord never gives them a baby, would she still love Him? (Him being God).

I know I mentioned on my bucket list for 2010 to "start a family". What I haven't mentioned before is that we've been trying to get pregnant for a year now with no success.

I'm not going to lie. I experience very mixed emotions when I hear about others who are expecting...especially when they weren't wanting to start a family yet, or they got married or started trying after we did, or it's their 2nd or 3rd child, or they're choosing to adopt before they start a biological family.

I've dealt with these emotions when I learned my sister was pregnant with number 2 (whom she conceived while on the pill; same with number 1). I've dealt with these emotions when I learned friends who got married after us are already unexpectedly expecting. I've dealt with these emotions as some of my friends are praising another friend for choosing to adopt before starting a biological family. I've dealt with these emotions as many good friends have had 2nd or 3rd babies before I've been able to get pregant with my 1st. I've dealt with these emotions every time someone asks or jokes that it's about time we had a baby.

On the outside, I try to appear happy for those friends who are expecting because I know deep down inside I really am happy for them. But it's hard. It's very, very hard.

It's hard because I know most people's response is "you can always adopt." Don't get me wrong. Adoption is a great thing and maybe someday it will be a road I walk. But choosing to adopt and having adoption as your only option of how to grow a family are two very different things.

This post is not intended to be a "poor me" post. It's not intended to belittle the joy and excitment of those I know who are expecting. This post is to hopefully explain to some friends why I may not seem overly excited for them. This post is to request prayer that the Lord will bless us with a biological baby, and that if that's not His will that He'll open our hearts to adoption. This post is to say that no matter what, I will still love Him.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bang Hack Job

One lesson I learned this morning:


If one ignores this rule, the result will be bangs that look like they were cute by a two year old wearing a blindfold. They'll be long where you wanted them short and short where you wanted them long. All a result of rushing and not double-checking your angle before snipping.

Lesson learned.

Looks like I'll be investing in some bobby-pins or hats for the next couple days until they grow out a little to correct my trim.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Insider Recipes

Earlier this week a friend of mine sent me a digital cookbook containing the BEST recipes. This book is full of recipes for various items from a variety of restaurants, recipes to make your own name brand condiments or candy bars, and much more.

I already know what recipe I’m going to be trying out for my birthday…Outback’s Alice Springs Chicken. I order this every time we go to Outback and it is so good. I’m anxious to see if this recipe really is as good as the original. Of course, I’ll have to wait two weeks to celebrate my birthday so that I’m finished with my Flat Belly Diet experiment.

I’m also going to have to try the recipe for Butterfingers.

Of course I couldn’t keep all these recipes to myself. If you want the book, click here to open up a .pdf file containing over 450 pages of delicious “insider” recipes. It may take a little bit to open, but it should work. If not, e-mail me at brieblogs (at) optonline (dot) net and I’ll send you the file as an attachment.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

*FREE* Family Circle Magazine


Thanks to Frugal Is the New Sexy for making me aware of this great freebie going on right now. If you want to get 3 FREE issues to Family Circle magazine, click here. Don’t know how long this offer will last, so go now!

I Love My Followers & Commenters

Just wanted to send a big thank you to those of you who follow this blog and take the time to leave comments. There have been so many times where I wanted to reply to your comments, but there are a few things that have often prohibited this.

The first matter is this is a “semi-anonymous” blog in which, per my hubby’s request, I don’t use my last name and just post the general area of the country where I live. In fact, it was only recently that my hubby give me permission to no longer block his face out of photos.

There’s one tiny problem, though. The only e-mail addresses I have are linked to where I work (which would reveal where I live) or have my full name in them (which would obviously reveal my last name). I know you can easily set up other e-mail addresses, but I need to get the password info from my hubby to add another e-mail account that would not have my last name in it and would work seamlessly with my Outlook. I just received my laptop back with a full upgrade so hopefully this weekend, this issue will be resolved and I’ll have a “semi-anonymous” e-mail address.

The second matter is that often I want to reply directly to a particular commenter, but there is no e-mail address associated with their blogger profile. Personally, I don’t go back and check the comment section of a blog once I leave a comment, so if the author was to respond there, I would never see it and thus I don’t like to respond via the comment area. Plus, I like e-mail because then it’s possible to carry on the conversation further if interested.

So, if you’d like to start receiving replies to your comments (which I would love to be able to do!), please either leave an e-mail address where I can reach you in your comment (you can use (at) instead of @ and (dot) instead of . to cut down on spammers) or go to your blogger profile and under the “Privacy” section, check the box that says “show my email address”. This way, when you leave a comment, instead of saying “” it should show me your e-mail address.

Also, I currently only have time to read blogs in my downtime at work, but now that I have my laptop back, I’m going to try to make a more concerted effort to visit all of your blogs at least once a week.

Lastly, as a way to thank all of my followers/commenters, I’ll be having a giveaway shortly. Nothing grand, but something as a way to say thank you for joining me in this journey called life.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nothing like a little temptation

Today is the first day of my experiment to cure my GI issues on my own with the side benefit of my size 4 pants once again fitting like they should. If you want to read more about that, visit my other blog called My Journey to a Size 4.

And, what better way to start a “diet”/exercise regime than tempting oneself with a delicious Lemon Poppy seed Cake with Lemon Curd Sauce?

Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to eat the cake today, I was tearing the cupboards apart calmly looking through all the cupboards to see if I had any cupcake liners so I could make cupcakes instead of one cake. I didn’t think the birthday boy at work would like it too much if I brought his cake in with a giant slice missing already!

My search for cupcake liners was unsuccessful, but I was successful in convincing hubby to take me out to Chili’s after I picked him up from his meeting at 9pm for some Kickin’ Jack Nachos, frozen strawberry margarita, and a Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie. I really didn’t have to twist his harm too hard, though!

This morning I quickly realized the error of eating all these items past 9pm when I awoke to a stomach three times its normal size. Lovely! What a great time to have to take my measurements!

Anyway…back to the cake.

Today someone at work was turning 60 and thus a cake was in order. The only thing in my cupboards was a box of white cake mix. Can you say B.O.R.I.N.G?

Here’s what I did to jazz it up:


Lemon Poppyseed Cake

To 1 box white cake mix (mixed according to directions on box) add 1 palmful of poppy seeds, Lemon extract (or lemon juice) to taste, and the freshly grated zest from 1 lemon. Mix together and bake according to box directions.

I ran out of time to make the lemon sauce last night because I was gorging myself at Chili’s picking up some important books from the library so I made it this morning with hopes it would taste okay without being able to sample it.

The recipe I used came from my Southern Living cookbook.

Lemon Sauce

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (I just used the spirals I made the night before)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (I used the stuff from the bottle)

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium  heat 5 minutes or until thickened (and it turns into a translucent gel consistency). Remove from heat and stir in butter, zest and lemon juice. Serve warm or cold. Yield: 1-1/2 cups.

P.S. My apologies for not being able to show you the sauce drizzled nicely over a slice of cake. But, my buttocks and thighs will be thanking me in a couple weeks that I didn’t indulge in this cake!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tomorrow's the Day

When all my GI issues will begin to be no more hopefully. Want to follow along? Perhaps you just want to see a really embarrassing photo of me in a bathing suit?

Click here to join me in my journey. I'm going to need all the encouragement I can get!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help Victims of the Haitian Earthquake

I'm sure you've all heard by now about the earthquake in Haiti.

One of my good friends from highschool was adopted from Haiti so I know this country is near and dear to her heart as she has many biological family members who live there.

My friend who's wedding we went to in Italy last April is also in Haiti right now while her hubby is deployed to the Middle East. She's been there for about a month and thankfully is safe.

If you're looking for a way to assist those in desparate need at this time, one organization I always trust is World Vision. Click here if you're interested in making a donation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Special Agent Oso Invitation

My youngest nephew turns one the end of February and I was commissioned to design his party invite.

Supposedly, he’s a HUGE fan of Special Agent Oso. I had never heard of this show before, but a quick little internet search provided some needed details such as color scheme, characters and special phrases the show uses.

I guess Special Agent Oso is a type of James Bond show for kids that teaches them how to do things in “3 Special Steps” because after all, “It’s all part of the plan!”

Here is the invite I designed for my nephew (click on the picture for a larger view):

Invite_no info

Hopefully he has fun at his party. Wish I could be there to join him.

I’m linking this project up to Kimba’s DIY day. Click here for more projects and don’t forget to enter one of your own for a chance to win a gift certificate from here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Think You Have the Wrong House

Just after hubby & I had settled in front of the fire tonight -- he to enjoy some poorly made ‘80s movie and me to reload all my programs on my freshly repaired laptop -- I saw the motion sensor lights in the driveway go off.

There was a car that was slowly backing up into our driveway and then proceeded to park and wait there.

My father-in-law went out to investigate only to open the door to two cops who thought that the truck sitting in our driveway was stolen. Thankfully they quickly realized this was not the stolen truck they were looking for.

I don’t know if it was the hay all over it, the mismatched truck topper or the fact that my father-in-law pointed out to them that they were at the mayor’s house that made them come to the realization.

Needless to say, I think the two cops from out of town were slightly embarrassed.

Just another interesting night on the farm!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Vetoed Values

I've been working on this huge presentation for work and one of the slides contains our value statement.

Being tired of boring lists, I spent the past hour developing a contemporary image containing the words that compose the values we hold dear as a company.

I just showed it to my boss to be told, "I think we should just list them."

Personally, I like the "art" version better, but gotta do what the boss says.

Here's the artsy version:
What do you think?

Thank Heaven for AAA

My brother and his girlfriend are visiting for a little bit before they start their last semester of college. They spent yesterday touring NYC and attending tapings of Good Morning America and The Late Show with David Letterman. They also got to see and speak with Chuck in the NBC Studio store in Rockefeller Center.

After work, I took my car for an oil change and met hubby at Chili's (thanks to my bro for the gift card for Christmas) and as we finished eating Brock called to say they were on the train and heading our way. Hubby and I had separate cars and instead of him heading home and me heading to the train, he opted to drop his car closer to home but along the way and ride with me.

We made it to the train station about 5 minutes before their train arrived and turned the car off to save on gas. Brock and Leah get in the car and I go to turn it on only to learn it is completely DEAD. No lights are coming on even. DEAD.

Never have I been so happy to have hubby with me because not having any jumper cables, the only option was to call AAA. The AAA is only in hubby's name. Thankfully, the guy was there in 15 minutes and ran some tests on the battery. He said he'd be able to charge it enough to get us back home, but that we'd have to get a new one anyway. We decided to save the hassle and have him install the new battery then so Brock and Leah wouldn't have issues when they used my car today.

It'd sure have been nice if there was some way the guys who performed the oil change I had just gotten on my way to dinner would have been able to tell my battery was going to be dying in less than 3 hours. Then again they probably would have charged me more than the AAA guy did.

Hopefully now that my car has four brand new tires and a brand new battery it won't need anymore expensive work done before we're ready to get rid of it in a few years!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

From My Bookshelf

There were so many books I read in 2009 that I never got a chance to post about here. Many of them were fabulous reads so as I get the chance I'm going to try to post about them.

In the meanwhile, here's the latest book I'm reading:

Going Rogue: An American Life

This book was a Christmas gift from some friends and I'm really enjoying it so far. I know Sarah Palin is a polarizing figure - you either love her or hate her. Personally, I'm a big fan. Afterall, I don't hide the fact that I'm a conservative Republican. Her book is proving to be a great read and I look forward to learning even more about Sarah and her strong desire to serve our great country.

The next book I want to read is one I heard about on a friend's Facebook page:

The Jesus of Suburbia: Have We Tamed the Son of God to Fit Our Lifestyle?

Unfortunately our county library system doesn't carry this book (maybe it has something to do with the fact that there are few Christians in the area where we live) so I'm going to have to order it here. The subtitle of this book is: "Have we tamed the Son of God to Fit our Lifestyle". I think it will be an interesting discourse on Christianity in America and how we seem to have removed ourselves from the fact that many Christians throughout history the worldover have faced serious persecution for their faith and in America we tend to think if we're a follower of Christ our lives should be filled with only good things.

It struck me last night driving home how much of a blessing it is to live in America. At any moment, that blessing can be taken from us whether it be via politicians who put things into law with which we disagree or war or who knows what. The important thing is to remember God has blessed us as Americans in an immense way and we are to be incredibly grateful for that. At the same time we need to remember "to whom much has been given, much will be required." (Luke 12:48)

P.S. If you want to order any of these books to read yourself, click on the desired image.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Got Mildew?

We had three towels that must have gotten left in the washer too long one time and though they'd smell fresh before you used them, the moment you went to dry yourself off after the shower the stank like mildew so bad.

I don't remember where I read this handy hint, but I recalled you can use vinegar to remove the smell of mildew from towels. Figuring it was worth a try here's what I did:

1. Using the hottest water possible, add 1-2 cups white vinegar to washer.
2. Add towels and run a wash cycle.
3. Leaving the towels in the washer, run the washer again using the hottest water possible, this time with detergent. (I prefer to use this kind.)
4. Transfer towels to dryer and dry on the hottest setting possible until completely dry.

It worked fantastic! I'm sure there are many other great uses for vinegar. I might have to check this book out to learn what some of them are:
Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile, and Very Good Uses You've Probably Never Thought Of
(click the above image for a sneak peek inside the book)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mexi-Chicken Soup

My mother-in-law’s birthday was this past Sunday but we were busy at parties celebrating my husbands new mayor position so we didn’t celebrate until last night. She’s been sick with a cold and all she wanted was soup.

I did a take on the regular old chicken soup and made one of my mom’s recipes. Hubby is not a big fan of this soup because he doesn’t like brothy soups. I’m normally not a fan of brothy soups myself, but I like this one. To try to accommodate him, I add extra corn and beans to the mix to make it a little more hearty.

If you’re short on time or money, this is a healthy, flavorful and affordable soup.

Mexi-Chicken Soup


3 cans (13-3/4 oz. each) chicken broth
1 can (15-1/4 oz.) whole kernel corn, undrained (2 cans for heartier soup)
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (2 cans for heartier soup)
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins cut into pieces
dash crushed red pepper
tortilla chips
cheese and sour cream to garnish

Cook chicken in skillet over medium to medium-high heat until lightly browned. In large saucepan, combine chicken broth, corn, diced tomatoes, beans, and red pepper. Add chicken and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for about 15 minutes. Put chips in soup bowls and top with soup garnished with sour cream and grated cheese. Serves 8.

Monday, January 4, 2010

So proud of my hubby

Well, the Lord answered our prayers! Yesterday hubby was sworn in as Mayor. I'm so proud of him and know he'll do a fantastic job.

The county surrogate delivered the oath. She and hubby ran together a few years ago when he ran for a seat on the county governing body.

She had the nicest things to say about hubs. She even said she wishes she was his mother!

Taking the oath. I'm so proud of him!

Our newly sworn in mayor.

A very happy day. Now it's time for the real work to begin. I've already been asked what my platform will be as First Lady! Ha! I don't think it really makes a difference in a town with 35,000 residents.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How To Remove Wax

While attending Christmas Eve service, the candle I held while singing Silent Night managed to drip wax beneath the paper holder and onto my black pants.

My mother-in-law had a great tip on how to remove the wax.

Place your pants (or whatever item you get wax on) on the ironing board. Cover the area that has the wax on it with a dry paper towel. Using an iron on the low setting, iron over the paper towel until the towel has absorbed the wax from the fabric.

It took less than 30 seconds and worked like a charm!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Count Me Out

I’ve been thinking of a few different crafts I’d like to try this year and came across a picture for one that I know I will definitely not try.

I don’t know about you, but these:

tie-dyed leggings

just don’t scream fashionable to me. Or classy. Or flattering. They scream a lot of things, but fashionable, classy and flattering definitely do not make the list.

Here is one New Year’s resolution I am definitely keeping: “I will not under any circumstances make and/or wear tie-dyed leggings.”

(My apologies to those of you who may find these stylish. Perhaps I can arrange for you to go on a shopping spree courtesy of What Not To Wear.)