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Friday, July 29, 2011

National Night Out / Tuesday August 2, 2011 Get to Know Your Neighbors

Do you know your neighbors?  We are fortunate enough to know quite a few of ours.  We have lived in our home for almost 13 years.  Many have lived near us for far longer.  Several of us get together on the major holidays--Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day,  and around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Another night we have been eating a meal together (usually a cookout) is National Night Out.

This night was instituted as a way for individuals in communities to befriend each other, watch out for each other and be alert to ward of possible crimes.  To symbolize that we are each doing that, porch lights are kept on from 7:00 p.m. (or when it gets dark) until at least 10:00 p.m.  Some people leave them on all night.  Our street always has  a meal together.  Everyone brings a dish, one neighbor sets up a large canopy tent, everyone brings their lawn chairs and we just eat and chat for a few hours.  It's really quite enjoyable.

Get together with your neighbors this year on this night or another and find out who they are, what their interests are, their children's names, etc.  This is of special importance for  singles and the elderly who may feel like they are all alone.

For more information on this event, go to THIS LINK.

Unfortunately, I have a mandatory school meeting that night so I have to miss ours (or at least go very late).  My husband and son will attend the one on our street on Tuesday night.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

National Lasagna Day July 28, 2011 Free Lasagna at BUCA DI BEPPO

Buca di Beppo is offering free lunch-sized portion of lasagna WITH THE PURCHASE of any Buca small or large pasta or entrée.    For more information, go to THIS LINK.

To print  your coupon which is valid only on  Thursday, July 28,  click HERE.

OR you can bake your own lasagna instead.  Here's the recipe that I love to use.  

Novel Destinations: Scrapbooking Your Vacation Memories FREE WORKSHOP

If you live in the Orlando area (toward Oviedo), the local library is having a free scrapbooking workshop this Saturday, July 30.  Go to THIS LINK for more info.

Saturday, Jul 30, 2011 Novel Destinations: Capture Your Vacation Memories Scrapbooking Workshop
10:00 a.m.- Noon. Capture your travel memories in this scrapbooking workshop. Bring your own vacation photos.  Explore creative layouts and designs for preserving the fun you had. Complete two beautiful scrapbook memory pages with tips and advice from our scrapbooking hobbyists. For teens and adults. East Branch Library (Oviedo), 310 Division Street, Oviedo, Florida.  Call 407.665.1560 for more information. Pre-Registration Required.  FREE for teens and adults.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Weekly Ironing: A Lost Art?

Household chores, whether you are a mom at home or working outside the home, can get the best of  you sometimes.  One that I have learned to somewhat enjoy is ironing.  [I have to admit though, that I miss the days, three years to be exact, when a piano student paid for her lessons by sewing, IRONING and baking!].  Since I do not work outside of the home, I have time to do this during the week.  I would send these items out to be pressed if I worked full-time, so don't stress out about doing this if you do so.

If you're trying to be frugal, doing it yourself does save a bit of $$.

The secret to accomplishing so many chores is my kitchen timer.  For ironing, I set it to one hour, although usually I turn on a TV program to listen to / watch while ironing.  It makes the time go quickly [the spoonful of sugar in this job]  and since I know that's all the time for the whole week I'll be ironing, I pretty much blitz through it.   I usually iron on Thursday or Friday afternoon.

As a side note, I don't use the timer because I have every minute of every day packed to the fullest (although some days it does feel that way).  I do it to accomplish things I HAVE to do so that I can get on to the things I WANT to do.  :)

Here are my steps:

1.  Gather all my supplies together in the kitchen--iron filled with water, spray bottle of water, measuring cup with more water.  I move my kitchen rolling cart so that they are just a  hand's reach from the ironing board. 

A sweet friend made me this new ironing board cover recently and just seeing the bright colors helps, too.  :)

2.  Gather up all the clothes to be ironed.  I have my husband pick out 6-7 shirts for work and I usually have a few items to do as well.  My son has one pair of pants that I like to iron for church.

3.  Turn on the iron  and turn on the TV.  This particular day I was watching Martha Stewart which is a one-hour program.  Our kitchen opens into our family room so it's easy to work in one and be "in" the other as well.  I love this floor plan.  Sometimes I listen to the radio or iPod music.

4.  Wet each item to be ironed.  I always hold up one item, spray it completely with water while it's on the hanger, and then start STEAM pressing in this order:  collar front, sleeves/shoulders, inside plackets (where buttons/buttonholes are), right side, back, left side.  Fold collar down and repress it.  DONE.   About 3-5 minutes.

5.  Hang to completely dry from the steam.  I use the door frame into the kitchen for this and sometimes the kitchen chairs for short items.

6.  When the hour is up, STOP.  When the buzzer goes off, or the one-hour program is over, STOP IRONING.  Well, maybe finish the one you are working on, and don't look back.  If you discipline yourself to do this, you'll actually iron faster and get more done in the time you have allotted.    

Let's one hour I ironed: 
  • 5 cotton men's short-sleeved shirts
  • 3 cotton men's long-sleeved shirts
  • 3 pullover men's tops
  • 3 women's tops
  • 1 skirt
  • 2 pairs of pants

7.  Put everything away.  Put clothes in the closets, fold up and put away  ironing board and accessories.  Try to not delay doing this so that everything is tidy again and there's no stress from the mess.

This is a fairly pain-free  way to do a much-needed chore.  Money saved?  At our drycleaners, laundering and pressing one shirt is about $1.50, so based on what I did this week, which is the usual amount for our family, that would be  roughly $25.00 (17 items).  Over a month, that would be $100; over a year, $1,200.  I think it's worth one hour a week.  :)

Proverbs 31:27 
She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My New Favorite Tea: The Republic of Tea GINGER PEACH

I had breakfast / tea with an old roommate this morning at Panera's--my husband and I often go there on Saturday mornings after hitting yard sales together.   Today I decided to have hot tea instead of coffee.   I'm finding, much to my dismay, that coffee is starting to be a little hard on my tummy.  I didn't know what brand they had (actually, I am OK with just about any brand of tea) and when I was able to choose the one I liked, noticed that they sell flavors from The Republic of Tea.  What a treat.  We were first introduced to this brand a few years ago at Seasons 52, one of our favorite "celebration" type restaurants in the area.

My new favorite flavor is their  Ginger Peach Green Tea.  Add a little honey and mmm....  I think I had three cups of it.  If you're looking for a new flavor, try it.  As much as I love peaches [see previous blog post]  I enjoyed this tea VERY much.   I hope it's not just a seasonal item like the fruit is.   This tea makes a great gift as well.  I'd love to see some with my name on it under our Christmas tree!  :)

Friday, July 22, 2011


Have you tried the new (at least new to me) website called Pinterest?  It's like a virtual bulletin board.  If you visit websites often and see things that you like but don't want to fill up your bookmarks toolbar with endless links or keep a list elsewhere, this does it for you.  As far as I can tell, it is for PHOTOS only but you can add as many comments as you want in the description.  You can make your own categories of your interests.  It appears to be public only, rather than private...but may come in handy so I'll give it a try.  HERE are some of my "boards". 

How  about you?

If you'd like to try it, click on THIS LINK for more information.

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

COUPON Pinch A Penny Pool Supplies Expires July 31, 2011

Here is a  coupon for supplies to keep your pool clean and sparkling.  The chemicals can add up and every little bit helps!   They expire at the end of July 2011.

To print, go to THIS LINK.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Welcome Home To Our Troops / USS Enterprise

Have you ever attended a welcome home celebration for our military servicemen and women?  I have had the good fortune to have been  one at Jacksonville's Naval Air Station when a carrier returned many years ago.  Somehow my dad arranged for our family to get onto the base and watch this event. To this day, I have no idea why they let us in since we didn't even know anyone coming in that day.  What excitement!  What incredible joy among the families.  I was glad we had paper towels in the car because I think we were all crying just watching everyone around us--  couples hugging and kissing, kids crying, planes flying over and all the men in uniform...It was an event that is as fresh in my memory as when it occured some 25+ years ago.

My nephew just returned on this ship--the U.S.S. Enterprise--from a tour of duty in the Middle East.  [Photos above are from its arrival in Norfolk, VA last Friday.]  His Marine aviator fleet, The Thunderbolts, disembarked at NAS in Jacksonville on Wednesday.

Our  family attended  a Welcome Home party and birthday celebration for him on Sunday. Lots of hugs, smiles and cheers for our young man in uniform.  We were all SO glad to see him and relieved that he arrived home safely.   [He will do more training in the U.S. and depart in January 2012 for another 6-month tour.]

Thinking of this reminds me of the Great Homecoming we will  have one day in heaven, although there will be no more tears and no more separations from the Lord Himself and our loved ones who are believers.  To quote a song, what a day of rejoicing that will be.  

1Corinthians  2:9 
...Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, 
And which have not entered the heart of man, 
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.

Revelation 21:4 
...and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; 
and there shall no longer be any death; 
there shall no longer be any mourning, 
or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. 

For some excellent articles on heaven by reputable pastors, go to THIS LINK.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 2 MIDNIGHT PREMIERE JULY 15, 2011

The saga has officially ended.  Unless you live on the moon you know exactly what I'm talking about--the final movie  of  the Harry Potter series premiered last night.  In a previous post I told about my very first midnight premiere for Part 1 back in November.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2,  was well done, staying with the book's details for the most part, and tying up all the loose ends.  If you haven't read the books or seen the previous movies,  you might not realize what all the loose ends were though.   Good triumphs over evil but at extreme sacrifice for many.    

After a quick run to StarBucks for coffee, I attended this premiere with one of my sons (this was his Mother's Day gift to me) and several of his friends, about a group of 20+.  

Before the movie the theatre played a flashback short of the three child actors and how they have grown up over the last 10 years. Here is A LINK to literally watch them grow.

Some people were dressed in costumes...

Most came as themselves, like we did. :)  I again wore my Hogwarts pin, a souvenir from our Universal Studios / WWofHP outing last year, and carried a Hogwarts scarf that I bought at our church rummage sale last month [selling this on Ebay now]. Unlike last year's premiere in the winter, this was a WARM evening.

A fun night but be sure to take some tissues...enough said about that.

If you're wondering if you and/or your children should see this film or any others in the series, or read the books, here are good reviews  on this movie and the book from Focus on the Family's Plugged In entertainment website for you.   Don't be afraid of these books/movies since they are so much of our popular culture but be informed and DISCUSS them with your children and friends.  It's a fantasy world with lots of magic definitely, but also one of enduring friendship and fighting for what is important.  There are also accurate summaries of all the books on SparkNotes  if you prefer to not tackle seven 800+ page books so late in the summer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fresh Georgia Peaches My Favorite Summer Fruit

I grew up in Georgia. Augusta, to be specific, and I absolutely LOVE peaches.   They are my favorite summer fruit which I have favored ever since I was a child.  Funny thing is, I never knew you could eat them WITH the skins on until I moved to  Florida.  Right now, they are in season and are delicious.  My husband and I have been shopping at our local Winn Dixie 2x a week to pick up the most flavorful ones (usually Publix has the best fruit, but not in this case).    

I have never cooked peaches but I'm sure a peach pie is very tasty.  We eat them fresh just out of the fruit bowl...

...sliced plain or with cottage cheese or whipped cream

 ...with fresh homemade pound cake (I'll post the recipe later)

...Over breakfast cereal and a variety of other ways.

I think I'll have one for lunch today.  Enjoy this delicious and colorful summer fruit while they're in season.  I do not recommend the imported varieties.  They're really not as good and could have contaminants on the skins.  Always wash before eating especially if you leave the skin on.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

YMCA Free 30-Day Complimentary Membership / July 13, 2011 TODAY

This is a great opportunity to check out our local YMCA --enroll in the Minute To Move It  challenge tonight [July 13, 2011] from 6:00-7:30 p.m. and get a 30-day complimentary membership  [July 13-August 15] with $0 Joiners Fee.  Check it out.  Great for college students home for the summer or a family who might be wanting to find out what the YMCA has to offer.   More details at THIS LINK.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven July 11, 2011

Just a reminder that TODAY, Monday, July 11 [7/11/11], is Free Slurpee Day at 7-Eleven Stores everywhere from 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. while quantities last.   


You can RSVP on Facebook for a reminder so you don't forget later in the day.

Just one week after our country celebrates its birthday, 7-Eleven, Inc. customers across the country will raise their free 7.11-ounce Slurpee® drinks to salute the all-American convenience retailer. That’s because Monday is July 11 – also known as 7/11 or 7-Eleven® Day – the day when the world’s first convenience chain celebrates its birthday. 2011 marks 84 years since the company was founded in Dallas, Texas.

Participating 7-Eleven stores across America and Canada will serve 5 million free Slurpee frozen carbonated beverages in special birthday cups on Sunday (while supplies last). “Slurpee-brations” and 7-Eleven birthday parties are being held around the country with music, entertainment, prizes and food sampling. The convenience chain has been celebrating its birthday with free Slurpee drinks since its 75th anniversary celebration in 2002.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Life Lessons from Music Practice: The Song Your Life Sings

These are my notes  and thoughts from my devotional talk at our Ladies Church Fellowship on Tuesday night.  Similar posts are on my FB music page as well.  

Ladies Summer Fellowship                                             July 5, 2011

Intro—about me, my blog

Life Lessons from Music Practice:  The Song Your Life Sings 

Have you ever seen the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus?  It is one of my favorites.  It's the story of a man whose life turned out not as he had originally planned or expected.  He had wanted to be a professional musician, famous for writing an opus [an artistic work, usually on a large scale, written one note at a time], but instead, day by day, throughout the years had an incredible impact on his high school music students.  The final scene of the movie is a surprise for him where hundreds of his former students come together at his forced retirement to remind him just what his life has meant to them--they are his living opus.  Watch the scene at THIS LINK.   It's about 10 minutes but so worth seeing.  Get your tissues ready. It makes me cry every time I see it.   The impact of one ordinary life...  It's especially touching to me being a piano teacher, but also in the sense that each of us lives our lives the same way.  Day by day, year by year, wondering if we have made a difference.  

We are each like individual pieces of music with impact on others who become OUR opus. 

1.  Solo, duet or chorus?
1Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
Have one person sing a single line from a song,  then all sing the same thing together.
How did you feel?  Solo was a little scary, wasn’t it? But the chorus together was fun.   [Kelly was our brave volunteer for the solo.  :)]
How do you do life?  How about your job? Or your ministry? Do you prefer to go it alone? Or with others?

In our little vocalization, you may have preferred the solo (especially if you are a really good singer).  Those who are not so gifted probably felt MORE comfortable with a good singer near them and singing as a group.  What you prefer is not so much the issue as stretching you a bit to being aware of others and including them  in your life (not all the time, of course).   Even if, probably ESPECIALLY if, they are not as gifted or polished or whatever adjective you are (or think you are).  The impact, influence, encouragement and strength we receive from one another go both ways—TO you and FROM you. Sometimes intentional, more often, unintentional, at least to the giver. We occasionally wonder does my life really make a difference to anyone?  Rest assured, it DOESLike George Bailey in  It’s  A Wonderful Life.

2.  Music skills
Psalm 33:3 Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
Even accomplished musicians have to practice to keep up their skills which can get rusty over time.  Practice does not make perfect, only God is perfect. But it can make an excellent, masterful or adequate performance of a piece. (Thank you, Kaye, for reminding me of this.)

We all need each other.  In life, we don’t need to “perform” for people although I’m sure some of us probably do on occasion (myself included) but  practice your manner with other people, check yourself or have another friend check you re: your tongue or your dress or  more importantly, your spiritual maturity.  Sometimes this can be  a bit awkward and usually permission is needed to address someone in these areas.  You can’t just go up to anyone and say you look like you could use some spiritual guidance or  that comment was not appropriate or your dress is too revealing (PC just wrote a blog post about that one).  

But you CAN if you have developed a relationship with that person which is what can begin at a place like this.  No one has this down pat.  We all need work on our people skills.  Let your life song flow but with the constant renewing of your mind in the Word [Romans 12:2] so that what flows is fresh living water that gives each other life, rather than stagnant or distasteful water which harms.  Have you even been in the Word today? Practice by spending time regularly with the Lord and His thoughts and ways will become yours.

3.  The Conductor / Coach
A good conductor is invaluable, particularly in a group of singers and/or instrumentalists.  He/she directs you as to when to play together, when to adjust the tempo and the volume, when to end simultaneously...musicians who have worked with the same conductor for awhile can read his eyes and face and recognize what he means even with the slightest movement of his hands/baton.  He can pick out a misplayed note from the hundreds that he hears at once.

Colossians 4:5-6 Conduct yourselves with wisdom...making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Let the Lord and the time in His Word be your Conductor so that you will know how to most effectively respond to others.   The Holy Spirit will teach you what to say or do that will have the most impact on those we live with, those we work with, those we occasionally and regularly see in a given week.  He will also show us where we have offended another as well.  Our actions and words show the song that is in our hearts more  than we realize.  This includes the words we speak to ourselves.  Give yourself some grace, too.    Sometimes more salt, sometimes less... [Col. 4:6]  

4.  Going through the motions vs. Interpretation
What a difference between musicians that play notes and those that make you can feel the music.  It's like night and day.  Someone told me once that I make the piano sing.  Ever since then I try to play as though the piano is an extension of me and my heart and voice.   The same holds true for the song in your heart that is "played" for others.

Cynthia Clawson recorded a beautiful CD many years ago titled Hymnsinger.  She is singing about the Lord having shown the great hymnwriters of the faith the lyrics and music that has lasted hundreds of years.  I think these words also apply to the Ancient Words in Scripture as well.   The song Hymns has this as its refrain:

Composer of my soul
Show me all You show to them
The hymnwriter, hymnsinger
Let me know their eloquence
Let me share their offering
Put the notes in my heart,
The lyrics on my lips,
And let the essence of my life
Be a song that others will want to sing

What does your "song"  sound like to others? What are they hearing / seeing in you?

What will your completed opus look like?

If Mr. Holland had been a Christian, can you imagine the eternal  difference he would have made in all those students over his lifetime?


Life Lessons from Music Practice:  The Song Your Life Sings

... And let the essence of my life
Be a song that others will want to sing

·      In any given week, list as many “others” as you can that you interact / spend time with (even a little time) either verbally, textually or in person.

·      What is the song [the essence of your life] that you want others  to sing and do you think your “tone” helps them to want to sing it?  Use your list and those you interact with for this.

·      Think of specific ideas for each other to encourage, build up, make a difference, model His song, in each of these solo, duet or chorus situations (#2 above.) Help each other to “sing beautifully”.

·      Pray for each other.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Harry Potter Movie Marathon on ABC Family July 7-11, 2011

For those of you getting ready for the Harry Potter, Book 7, part 2,  premiere next Thursday night, or those who may have never seen a Harry Potter film previously and want to know what everyone is talking about, ABC Family Channel begins its HP Marathon at 7:00 p.m.  tonight.  So, set your DVRs to review the earlier films (the first one is one of my personal favorites).  Go to THIS LINK for more information.

UPDATE July 21:
ABC Family is running some of these movies again this weekend on Saturday and Sunday, July 23-24.  Go to THIS LINK for the schedule.

Here is the schedule for you:

Thursday, July 7
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at 7:30/6:30c
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at 7/6c

Friday, July 8
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at 3:30/2:30c
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at 7/6c

Saturday, July 9
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at 9am/8c
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at 12:30/11:30c
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at 4:30/3:30c
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at 7:30/6:30c

Sunday, July 10
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at 7am/6c
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at 10:30am/9:30c
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at 2:30/1:30c
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at 5:30/4:30c
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at 9/8c

Monday, July 11
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at 3/2c

We Do Grace...Truly a Home Sweet Home

Love this...  A friend posted this on her FB wall this morning.  Thanks, Linda O.

Colossians 3:12-14

And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;  bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

For parents, check out this book by Tim Kimmel--   Grace-Based Parenting.  It will  speak to your  heart and change the way you raise and teach your children, freeing you to be the parent you really want to be.

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