Monday, November 30, 2009

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

I decided to write a quick (ha! is it ever quick?) note about fitness and nutrition.  And the first piece of advice (or soapbox, whatever) about fitness includes the fact that I am a firm believer in sweating!  Sweat is a WONDERFUL thing to produce.  It cools your body and eliminates junk (yeah, that was scientific sounding).  But its main process is to cool!  You have a built in AC unit in your body!  Why do we need to be cooled?  Because your body is working hard enough to need a cool down!  Like a fan to a hot engine, your body should be working hard enough to need to be cooled off, thus to sweat.  It is in my non-expert opinion that if you are a normal food consuming individual (say, not a rabbit) and you are consuming more than 1200 calories a day, then you should do some sort of physical activity at LEAST three times a week that produces, at the very least, a nice wet, cheek pinkening glow. 

When taking advantage of my (now former) workplace fitness center one Sunday afternoon I found an older couple "working out".  I don't want to cast stones upon anyone's fitness style or discourage a single person from getting physical exercise, but this display danced on the edge of pathetic.  The lady occupied the treadmill, and I kid you not, it was set on a speed of 1.8 mph.  That is barely moving, practically sedentary!  And after an exhausting 15 minutes, she was spent.  While the tortoise plugged away on the treadmill, her husband occupied a recumbent bike and although I didn't see his rpm's, I can assure you it was practically sedentary as well.  Plus, he was pedaling in his house shoes.  You KNOW I'm not kidding.  I couldn't even make this stuff up. 

I applaud them for getting out and working out.  I do.  And if that's the only exercise they can get, then let me be the first to high-five their non-sweaty hands, but my fear is that they go home and think, "Honey, we just worked out, now we can eat whatever we want!"  Which really couldn't be further from the truth. 

When it comes to diet and exercise, if you're trying to lose weight, maintain what you're currently working with, or gain weight, it all boils down to simple math.  Input versus Output.  Technology today on aerobic equipment has made it very convenient to calculate output.  Numerous websites also offer loads of information about caloric needs based on your specific body type.  And digital heart rate monitors quickly display calories burned.  So it's very easy to calculate how many calories your body requires to function and how many calories you're burning during exercise.  All nutritional information is posted on packaging or with a few mouse clicks is easy to research.  Within a week or so of doing all of the math, it becomes second nature to know how many calories is in 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli. 

My quick, overall point tonight (without getting into too many details) is this:  Input vs. Output.  Calculate it.  It's easy.  If you are constantly taking in too many calories, then you will gain weight.  So you either have to lower your intake or up your output.  And my point for output is this:  if you're not sweating, you're not working hard enough.  Put your body to can handle it.  It was made to work hard.  Get sweaty.  And feel good that you're doing something good for your heart, for your lungs, for so many other functions of your body that I won't even name them all (or could I), and for your waistline!!!!

So if you're working off your turkey and potatoes from Thanksgiving, surrender the house shoes, pick up a towel and use it to wipe your pretty, little, sweaty face!  I'm sure I'll have more to talk about on this subject at a later date.

Until next time.  Mwah!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanks Be to God

The holiday seasons always have a way of sneaking up on me.  They're always here before I know it and each year I can be heard saying "I can NOT believe it's almost (insert holiday here)!"  It blows me away how quickly each year flies by.  And each time I say it outloud I can always bet on an older person warning me that it will only get faster.  I'm not sure that's possible.  Is there anything faster than warp speed?  I constantly beg my kids to stop growing.  I try to take time to stop and look at them, watch them, absorb their every move, breath and word into my memory bank, to see them how they are right at that very second.  I hope to never forget those captured moments.  But I do.  Looking back on old family pictures my heart swells to see my children as babies.  It wasn't that long ago, but I forget so easily.  I wish I didn't forget.  (Note to self: need to purchase video camera.)

But with each day flying by at warp speed I am thankful for the holiday seasons because I can bet on at least one day of rest and reflection.  All of the preparation comes with stress and chaos as we decorate the house for fall and eagerly anticipate Thanksgiving day, then tear is down and start over for Christmas.  We are very fortunate because each year we go to my mom and dad's house for Thanksgiving and my in-laws graciously join us.  Sean and I couldn't be luckier to have two sets of the world's greatest parents...and they all get along!  Ha!  Anytime someone asks what we do for holidays, I mention that we were all together and I'm always asked, "Oh, so both sets of parents get along?"  I'm usually surprised by this question, but we hear so many stories of people our age having to go to 2, 3, and sometimes 4 different dinners to be able to see all of the families!  We are so blessed to be able to share our holidays with our families joined together.  We're one, giant, crazy, laughing family.

And then with the passing of Thanksgiving, Christmas lurks around the corner.  I love this time of year.  I absolutely LOVE this time of year:  Christmas music on the radio, people decorating their homes inside and out, malls over-stuffed with people, Salvation Army bell ringers making me feel guilty that I don't donate to every single one of them, each department store's ads boasting they have the best sales, Christmas candies, Christmas parties and more time with friends and family. (As if I needed an excuse!)  I love my family.  Even if I see them every day to once a week or once a year, I absolutely enjoy getting to see every single-crazy-one of them. 

I love having people in the house and getting ready for parties and everyone wearing their Christmas best!
I love decorating our house with pine garland and being able to smell it when I walk in the house and to illuminate our living room with only the twinkle lights from the Christmas tree.  It feels like a special time of year because it is a special time of year.  It's the one time of year that we get together with my parents on Christmas Eve and eat the fattest, juiciest, plumpest, jumbo king crab legs you've ever seen.  If that wasn't filling enough we wash down the crab legs with a thick, beautiful filet, stuffed baked potato, burgandy mushrooms and Caesar salad.  If I ever had to have my "last meal" or if I get to eat whatever I want in heaven, that's my choice right there.  Every Christmas Eve I thank God profusely for creating the king crab.  Sean swears I was a sea creature in my formal life!

Pastor Gary said something during a prayer once that really stuck with me.  He prayed for God to allow us to feel again.  It struck me as odd, but I realized how heart hardened people have become that they can hear about staving children but can't fathom what that actually means.  I think a lot of people take Thanksgiving for granted.  Yes we say all the right things, we are thankful for our families and our friends, and the roof over our heads and for the military fighting for our freedom, but do we really FEEL it?  Feel it in the pit of our stomachs and the depths of our hearts?  I join Pastor Gary in praying that we, as super-busy-material-lusting-bargain-shopping Americans will be able to actually FEEL thankful for what all we've been given, and mean it.

So this holiday season I am making it a point to slllloooowww doooowwwnnn.  A familiar scripture keeps popping into my head lately, "Be still, and know that I am God."  And I usually laugh.  Be still?  I'll be still when I'm dead.  But I've been called to be still, to know God, and maybe through taking a step back I will be able to better FEEL the thankfulness and love that I have for all of the wonderful people and things that I have in my life. 

I'm thankful for the two hands that I have to be able to type out my words and publish them to the world.  I'm thankful for the heart that so strongly beats in my chest.  I'm thankful that I have two functioning legs and feet so that I can get out each day and work my body to a sweat to keep it healthy.  I'm thankful that I have loving, supportive parents who raised me and gave me away to a man who does the same for me every, single day.  I'm thankful for two strong, healthy kids who take me to my wit's end then completely fill me with joy and pride in the next second.  I'm thankful that even though I'm currently jobless God has given me a gift that I'm able to share with others to bring a little more cash into the home and that not running off to work has allowed me to spend more time with my children.  I'm thankful for friends who can laugh with me and at me all in the name of love.  I DO have a lot to be thankful for...and I'm not just saying it.  I know it.  I feel it.

During this Thanksgiving break it took me three days to get down all of the fall decor.  Not that I actually had SOOO much decor, but because we have been visiting with family and resting when we can.  I've also been feeling guilty for not writing on my blog.  (gulp)  So now, it's Sunday evening and I'm all caught up.  Now I will get the Christmas boxes from the garage and bring them into the house.   If we're lucky, maybe a few things will actually get put out!  Baby steps, people!

Until next time.  Mwah!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Not-Really-A-Post Post

With Thanksgiving break upon us, that means Gavin is out of school (he's actually out from Wednesday through Monday!).  So tomorrow I will have both kids, plus menu planning and Thanksgiving grocery shopping to do.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining.  In fact, I'm excited.  I'm going to have the kids help me with the food and do a project mom has requested, so it should be a fun-filled day.  With that being said, I'm not going to rant about anything tonight.  I'm already tired from Sean's not-really-your-birthday-yet birthday celebration.  So I'm saving my topic for tomorrow. 

But two things I did want to mention (completely unrelated): Firstly, I LOVE when the Food Network does specials based on the current holiday.  Talk about getting into the festive spirit?!  I love this.  And secondly, did you notice I got my page figured out?  With my blog title nicely centered in the header of my choice?  Uh huh, that's right, I mastered me some HTML.  Ok, not really.  The header was done in Publisher but the post divider lines totally WERE html!!!  Woo hoo for me.  I can follow directions!  And now I'm directing my self to bed. 

Until next time.  Mwah!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Well, Isn't That Sweet?!

During our last supper group we found ourselves on the topic of candy.  I mentioned that I was an anal-retentive candy eater.  I explained how I have a very systematic approach to how I devour my confections.  Here's a short run down on the OCD nature of my candy popping habits:

SKITTLES:  I open the bag and divide each piece into groups based on their color, then eat them in color order from least favorite flavor to my favorite, which is: green, purple, yellow, orange, red.  I actually will suffer through the green and purple ones just be able to make it to my favorites. 

MnM's:  Since these little chocolate morsels coated in a colored candy shell do not have different flavors based on their color, I don't separate them like I do the skittles.  But I will take 1-3 at a time and just let them hang out in the warm jacuzzi environment of my mouth.  And just when they've steamed long enough I crack the tender shell with my tooth and let the warm chocolate ooze out. 

REESE'S CUPS:  I'm talkin' about the regular cups that come 2 to a pack.  I take one out at a time and eat around the entire cup, just nibbling off the ridged edge, then pop the remaining chocolate and peanut butter patty into my mouth for delicious consumption.

OREO'S:  If I have access to a cup of milk, then the oreo gets dunked until it's just about to fall apart, then I suck all of the milk out of the cookie and pop the whole thing in my mouth.  If I don't have any milk, then I tend to separate the cookie.  Now if I'm alone and feeling crazy I'll eat the chocolate wafers, scoop out the middle and pile it up for one mouth watering ball of creamy center at the very end.  If there are actually other people around and I feel the need to act half way civilized I'll twist off one chocolate wafer, lick off the creamy center and eat the wafers last. 

Basically anything with a chocolate coating gets sucked on until it has melted to a nice creamy consistency.  Any type of hard candy just gets sucked on.  Nothing really ever goes in for immediate chomping.  I take my time, savor the flavors and enjoy my candies. 

So as I was explaining my anal, systematic nature with sweet treats to my supper group one guy pipes up and says he does the exact same thing!  Wow!  Maybe I don't need therapy after all!  Maybe I AM normal!!  And the more I think about it, the more I realize what other strange food habits I have.  I used to eat everything on my plate one group at a time; green beans, then the potatoes, then the meat (or whatever I decided was the best part of the meal). I always save the best for last.  I never mixed and matched, bouncing around from a bite of green beans, then a bite of potatoes, then back to the green beans, next to a bit of ham, then back to the pototoes.  I didn't function like this.  And I actually noticed at our last supper group I did the same thing!  I ate each food group all gone before moving to the next thing on my plate.  I have to cognitively think about what I'm doing in order to implement the "mix and match" style of eating.

Anytime I have corn and mashed potatoes I can't help but put my corn right inside of the "gravy hole" in the mashed potatoes.  I know!  That's where the gravy is SUPPOSED to go, but not with me.  That's where the corn goes.  Then they get mixed together.  I know this is just CRAZY to some people who have a thing about their food touching.  Really, I wouldn't even have to eat on a plate...I could just layer everything up in a bowl and mix it all together.  It drives me NUTS when at the end of the meal little pieces of meat and veggies are left lonely on my husband's plate just sitting there hanging out with the meat drippings.  I always tell him, "That's the BEST part of the whole meal...just scoop it all together or get some bread and lather that good stuff up!"  I know he thinks I'm crazy.

But really, this all comes with how we were raised.  My family loves food.  It's entertainment to us.  Vacations and holidays are planned around the days' meals.  I eat at noon because that's lunch time, whether I'm hungry or not!  Sean used to come home starving because he forgot to eat.  WHAT?!  You forgot?  Like, it just slipped your mind???  That's nuts.  While cleaning up from one meal I'm already thinking about what I'm going to have at the next one!  Food is not only delicious, it's fun.  Sorry Dr. Phil but those mashed potatoes DO love me back!  And this is why I go to my 2 hour workout classes.  If food is going to be entertainment so does working it off!

Sean grew up totally different.  He had 3 other brothers to battle for food.  I swear the man can down a Big Mac faster than I can get my meal out of the bag.  I've accused him of throwing it out the window before because I'm amazed at how quickly it's gone.  He doesn't think about it.  He doesn't savor it.  He inhales it  It's not entertainment it's survival!  Must eat Big Mac fast so man not steal it from me.  (to be read in a caveman voice) 

I think I was in college when I realized I used to never set my fork down when I ate.  It was at the Highberger family meals that they would set down their fork, pick up their glass of wine to drink and they'd talk and listen and enjoy each other's company, then pick up their forks again and have another bite.  Meals were long and enjoyable and always filled with stories and laughter (and slowing down long enough to actually set your fork down).

Anyway, so I guess I am normal. People have weird food habits, whether it's systematically eating your candy, filling your mashed potatoes' hole with corn, or not allowing your food to touch.  I guess the bigger picture is that we should all just be thankful that we have a hot meal to eat and candy to treat ourselves with.  Feel free to comment and share some of your strange food habits with me. I'd love to hear them.

Until next time.  Mwah!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why Didn't I Take More Computer Classes in School?

Today I attempted to do something that I try to do a me. I thought with the limited number of template options, that the rest of the world would probably have something pretty close to my blog's template and I wanted to be different. I wanted to be ME. So I went searching for a new background, ways to add a little spice to my blog. Add little touches that make it more original. So, if you're reading this anywhere close to the actual post date, you can clearly see...I failed! :D

So I got the background to work...but my header is messed up. The name of my blog doesn't fit nicely in the open square provided, so I've been reading about this and reading about that and I am ashamed to say, hours upon HOURS later, I am no where closer to creating the look that I'm after than when I started. OK, not totally true because I was able to change the background, but I tried to change it for a second time to a holiday background...and I did it the exact same process as the first background and guess what? It's not there! Imagine that.

Ask my hubby, I am not computer savvy. Actually, I can figure some things out, if given enough time, but especially if he's around, my personally given time allowance of trial and error is shortened dramatically. I usually end up sighing, "Sssseeeeeaaaannnnnn, can you fix my stupid layout? I can't get it to work!" And he usually answers me with a mimicking sigh, "MMMmmaaaccceeeyyyy, why do you and computers not get along? Yes, I'll take a look at it."

Well, since he's waking up earlier than normal he hit the hay early tonight and I've been trying to figure all of this out. I found some really cool websites (of which I will post a link to some day!) with free fonts, free backgrounds, free info, free everything! But OMG, once I started reading the directions for adding a new font, I almost passed out. That whole process would take me 1/2 a day just to add...and I can almost guaran-dang-tee you that when I hit my "View Blog" won't be right! I'm not an HTML genius.  Heck, I'm not even a novice; I'm still in diapers! I sort of remember my MIS class at OU. And I just remember getting super frustrated with the entire HTML code and thinking there HAD to be a better way to communicate with software!

So, I anticipate more hours upon hours of trying to figure this stuff out. I actually opened up my Publisher tonight, thinking I'd create my own header..and had to wait while it configured the settings since it has never been opened before. Another sigh. But fret no more, I see a future of cute backgrounds, inticing fonts, and due props attached for all the help I find out there on the world wide web...or just after consulting "The Google". I beg you to stay tuned and offer any advice you might have learned through your time with HTML codes! I will listen with open ears and try to keep my sighs to a minimum.

Until next time. Mwah!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Something Like Wal-Mart...Kinda

There's one reason and only one reason I like Wal-Mart: it is THE place to go for low-price-one-stop-shopping.  I can get the oil changed in my car, a gallon of milk, new socks for the kids, a prescription filled, toilet cleaner, AND get my nails done, my hair cut, my bank deposits deposited, and eat at McDonald's all in one mega-store.  Wow!  (I don't actually do even half of those, but maybe I should.  Maybe it should be the new place for women to have Girls' Nights Out!)  That's the only thing I like about Wal-Mart.  There are probably a million things I don't like, but that's not my point here.  (Did you know you can't take pictures inside of Wal-Mart?  Try it.  Like with a camera, not a phone, and see what happens. :D)

One stop shopping is definitely one thing...convenient.  I don't have to run all around town (which I actually end up doing anyway), getting everything I can at Aldi, then going to Wal-Mart for the things that Aldi doesn't carry (cilantro), or quickly running to Reasors (for meat) or Sam's for larger volumes.  I wish more things were one stop shopping.  For instance, a computer+tv+cable+internet+phone+answering machine+alarm in one convenient hand held device, but I'm probably a little ahead of myself.  Oh be the day that I look back and say, "OMG, remember when we used to watch shows on our DVR?!?!  That was soooo 2009!"

No, what I really want is an all encompassing website where I can upload pictures, easily edit them, tag them, share them, and order prints w/in an hour that I can pick up w/in 61 minutes.  I need the convenience of online storage, so I don't bog down my computer.  I want to be able to easily share them, certain ones with the world and certain ones with family.  I know what you're thinking, "Oh Macey, there are tons of options out there that offer all of that."  Yes, and no.  I like to talk.  (NEWSFLASH!  Shocking, I know!)  So this blog is perfect for me to be able just to talk (even if no one is really listening).  I can post pictures here and talk, but can't fix them, or print them.  I can use sites like flickr, but don't have the ability to talk or print and pickup pics within an hour. 

What I need is a combo of facebook, flickr, a blog, and Walgreens all combined with faster than lightening speed.  I don't want to wait forever for it to upload.  I want easy editing tools. I take more than half of my pictures vertically (sorry, dad!) and I want smart websites that recognize this and flip it!  I want it to auto correct red eye. Simply put, I want to upload my pictures, have a smart system auto correct them (can we say "Al"?), allow me to tag them and send them to who I want and when I want.  And when I snap my pictures I want certain ones printed off and put into lovely picture frames hanging on my walls.  Ok, maybe not that part.  Oh, and if my camera could instantly upload to this new, magical site, then that would be even better!)  So Santa, if you're listening, for Christmas I want a photo-editing-sharing-blogging-instant uploading-website, an all in one...kinda like Wal-Mart.   Is that too much to ask?! I think not.

Until next time.  Mwah!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys...Or Maybe So

Monday afternoon I called the Tulsa County Health Department and spoke with a woman who could not have been less helpful. Here's the summary of our conversation:

Me: Hi, I was wanting to get some information about selling homemade food products.
HD Lady: Well, you can't sell food items you make at home.
Me: (Already having read a lot online I pretty much already knew this, but she wasn't offering up any information.) Ok, then what do I need to do to sell homemade food products?
HD Lady: You have to get a license and make them in a licensed commercial kitchen.
Me: Aren't most churches licensed commercial kitchens?
HD Lady: No
Me: Oooooook. What does it take to get a license?
HD Lady: $350
Me: (starting to get a bit smart with her) So, it's that easy, huh? Anything else I should know?
HD Lady: If you find a kitchen that's licensed you'll also need a sales tax permit and we can give you a license.
Me: (thinking to myself that she has been even less helpful than the shlew of info I found on the web) Thanks.

After my underwhelming amount of help and info she gave me, I had an idea. I live in Wagoner County, I'm calling the Wagoner County Health Department. It was here that I talked to Robert, who was a WEALTH of information. We spoke for a long time, then he gave me the name of the low acid canning expert (did you know there was such a person in Wagoner County? Me either!). Eddy Lockhart was my savior. He told me everything (and more) that I needed to know. And then he gave me the name of Dr. McGlynn at the Oklahoma State's Food & Agricultural Products Center. I waited until today to call him.

OSU? Really? I've heard you can send your food there and they will test it and can tell you all sorts of scientific funness about it, but what I didn't know is that I would actually get to speak with Dr. McGlynn himself! He wasn't just a legend, or an answering machine. He was a real live, talking, breathing, informative man! And I got to talk to him. As I sat in the parking lot of Old Time Pottery, while Zoey played with my sunroof, I jotted down the notes that the good doctor told me. He was incredibly helpful (unlike Tulsa HD lady!). He told me that he has only seen a couple salsas ever not quality as "shelf stable". And those salsas were dumb. OK, he didn't say that, but they were filled with corn and black beans, which shouldn't even be given the name "salsa", yet I digress. He said if it is a "normal" salsa and doesn't have anything unusual in it, then it will be shelf stable. YIPEE!!!! At last I find someone with an answer!

The good doctor went on to tell me that if I wanted them to sample it, they could test to see what category it fell under. Huh? Category? Like "Good Salsa" or "Not Good Enough To Be Called Salsa Salsa"?? It seems the FDA is picky. And certain papers must be filed and certain records must be kept if your salsa is unlucky enough to fall into that category. Wow...really, FDA? Really?! (Why do I feel like it's just another way to cover themselves from stupid lawsuits?) I also asked the good doctor if the process of canning my salsa (since canning involves boiling it) would change the taste. He said it was possible. Gulp! He said that we didn't have to can it, that we could sell it as a refrigerated item to preserve the freshness. NOW we're gettin' somewhere. I asked him how long after it's made will it stay good in the refrigerator and do you want to know what he said?? If you consult the FDA's website about refrigeration periods, you have to look at a chart, find your ingredient and kind of guess what your recipe falls under. It suggests a week. And you know what the good doctor told me? 30-60 days! He said it's not going to grow anything in the fridge that would make you sick! I love this man.

So, mommas...maybe it IS okay to let your babies grow up to be Cowboys. They grow up and help us Sooners figure out the shelf life of a jar of salsa! Wonderful. I am going to send the good doctor my salsa and my recipe and have it tested. Even if I don't ever end up selling it to some mass producer, how cool will it be to know exactly what's going on with my lovely jar of deliciousness! Thank you, Dr. rock!!

And an update on my Zoey status. We made our chocolatey chip choochie today. See what you think!

If you know nothing about Twilight, like me, this choochie cake is for a girl who loves the movie and will be going to see the new next movie in the series, "New Moon".

And I'm going to post some pictures of some other snacks I've made recently.

These (above) are my cake balls. I cover them in either white or milk chocolate, then drizzle milk and dark chocolate over the white chocolate covered ones and white and dark chocolate over the milk chocolate covered ones. So far, these things have been a HUGE hit. Probably because the average Betty Crocker makes them with canned icing. Barf! I make mine with homemade icing and I think it makes a huge difference. But then again, I am an icing nazi. I roll my eyes about these little boogers, but they are starting to grow on me. In fact, I'm glad people are buying them because I can't keep them in the house. They're way too easy to eat!

And these beautiful babies are my chocolate covered oreos with crushed peppermint on top, pure heaven in a little bite!

THIS, my friends, is why I have to work out every day. Because when I make these little treats, the chef has to taste test for quality! Maybe I'll send Dr. McGlynn some.

Until next time. Mwah!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I need a raise!

     Stay at home moms (and dads)...(and grandparents) have to be the hardest working and lowest paid people in the world.  Today I was ready for dinner at 4pm and ready for bed at 2pm.  I'm exhausted.  And I'm ashamed to say I've even had help the last two days!  One 3.5 year old asks more questions during her awake time than I even knew were possible.  And if you think, for just one second, you can ignore just one little question, it ain't possible.  No way.  That only means that same question will now be repeated, louder and louder and even louder until it's finally answered. 

     I think Zoey  has watched the Wizard of Oz every day at least twice.  She is beginning to think she IS Dorothy.  I obviously need some kind of curriculum.  Maybe I'll take everything that Gavin brings home from kindergarten and "undo" it for Zoey.  Ok, tomorrow's plan: the letter "Z" and the number "2".  It's going to happen.  (Said to convince myself, not you.)  AND I have a chocolately chip choochie cake to make.  Zoey will also be learning about baking!  Wow, she will be the smartest girl in her 4 year old program next year.  And she will dazzle all the kids with her baking skills.  Ha!  Ok, maybe not.  Besides, she doesn't have to be the smartest, or the most liked kid...just normal,...a normal kid with a desire to learn. 

    Gavin, on the other hand, is reading like a mad man.  We're getting to the point where we can't spell words around him anymore.  In fact the other day I told Sean, "Wow, well, that lady is sure proud of her b.o.o.b.s., but we don't need to see them!"   And Gavin takes a second, spells it to himself out loud, sounds it out, "o. o. says ew"..."bu..eeeww..bu..ssss", and then excitedly exclaims, "BOOBS!  That lady is proud of her boobs!!!".  Darn it kindergarten class for teaching him to read!  Note to self: next time try pig latin.  :D

     Until next time.  Mwah.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's In a Name and In a Closet??

A very important part of this blog's title hit me today. As I was cleaning out the house, touching up and sending out my resume, and delivering my salsa, I was thinking about this blog and about where I want it to go, the things I want to share, and who I want to share it with when it hit me..."daily". Oh my...I did say daily, didn't I? Well, by all means, daily is what you, mister reader, are going to get (at least for now). My life truly is a's a daily parade. And I guess I hope to share it with whoever in this crazy world finds it interesting enough to read, to connect to, to realize that there are other people who go through the same crap...(oops, we've decided to say "tar" instead of "crap")...other people who go through the same "tar", and maybe to find a smile and if we're lucky enough, maybe even a nice, little, honest laugh out loud every now and then. So daily it is. Buckle up. Here we go. Day 2.

After almost four years of living at our house it is absolutely astonishing how much...uh..."tar" we have accumulated in that short period of time. The day we moved into our home I told myself, "We are the first family to ever live here and we won't be the last. Macey, work hard to keep it as nice on the day you move out as it is today." I have to say, it's a LOT easier to keep a house clean that you know was never cleaner than the day you moved in. I know that every nick in the wall and every pile of dirt is MINE. And that's usually enough motivation to get me to fix the wall (or beg Sean to) and sweep up the pile of dirt. I take pride in keeping a clean house.

The motivation to clean has been constantly present for the last four years. But as mega consumers, we have stuffed this house and attic and backyard and every inch of spare space full of "tar". Closets full of clothes that are barely worn, toys rarely played with, and last season's "gotta have's" that now sit, taking up space. It's actually pretty sad. How much happiness did that stuff bring us? Not enough to avoid the ultimate fate of the black hole closet. I wonder if this is how the rest of America lives? I fear it is.

I guess the solace I find in cleaning out closets jammed packed with consumerism is that not only do I have a cleaner, more organized (and I feel freer breathing) house but that maybe by donating our barely used items we can help someone who doesn't have but a fraction of what this house holds. Let me be the first to admit, I love to shop. Even Gavin, when questioned about what mom's favorite thing to do was replied "to shop". It's true. The thrill of bringing home something new is intoxicating. But that high was cut off real quick after losing my job. Suddenly the impulse buying was quickly combated by an immediate image of myself shaking my own finger at myself , "Uh, uh, uh, don't you do it".

I think shopping, like sugar, is addictive (addicting??). It's a warm, fuzzy feeling that is short lived and only retained by continuously getting and having more. But losing a job and cutting it out cold turkey was exactly what this shopping junkie needed to realize that I don't need "stuff" for a warm fuzzy. I have an amazing family that gives me that same feeling every single day. And some times I don't even recognize it. Even if I'm ready to pull my hair out from whiny and argumentative kids, watching Zoey run through the house with her pants falling off of her lack of a butt and unknowingly displaying her crack is enough to forget all the hard times as I "crack" up laughing.

Losing a job just might be the reality check this family needed, especially me. During this recession (I realized how much I hate that word) and with the impending holidays makes me appreciate my friends and family even more. The reality is I don't need anything in this house. Nothing in my closets is ever going to love me back. But my family and my God always will. This I know for certain. I hope to emit that kind of love to everyone I meet. And I hope the day this family sees two incomes flowing into our bank I remember the over-stuffed closets, the pseudo happiness that the "stuff" brings, and that I will always appreciate the "stuff" I have that wasn't purchased at a family and my friends.

I love you all.

Until next time. Mwah!


These are the blogs that I enjoy reading when I should be sleeping.

Enjoy them. Love them.

A Cherry On Top Photography...
A Family of SEVEN
All Pain ~ No Gain
all these things...and a mom
Baby Bangs
Big Mama
Bless Our Nest
Buns In My Oven
God Speaks Today
It's Almost Naptime!!
Torres Tidbits


Here are some pictures of my MUNCHies by Macey.

*You can't order through this blog, so you'll have to email me if you're interested in an order.


This little jar of goodness is what got this whole thing started. My friend, Suzanne suggestion that I call it Crack Salsa because she swears I put crack it in since so addicting. No worries though, it's drug free!
A pint size jar of this famous salsa is $7.

These little beauties were all the rage this holiday season. They are little cake ball bites of heaven and the flavor combinations are endless: yellow cake with homemade chocolate icing covered in milk chocolate, perhaps? Or maybe red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese icing coverd in white chocolate? My BIL's personal favorite is a white cake with homemade buttercream icing covered in white chocolate. It should be called the "Jason". But they are delish, and also quite addicting. They also became a Highberger breakfast staple. (Doh!)
A dozen of these homemade cake balls are $10.

These bite-size treats were also quite the hit. Who doesn't like cream filled chocolate wafers covered in white chocolate, then topped with crushed peppermint? Really, all the cool kids LOVE these things.
$8 for a dozen.

Here are some samples of some of the Cookie Cakes I've done. These are all chocolate chip, custom decorated. Prices vary, $12-$20.

No need to travel somewhere over the rainbow to find just the right MUNCHies you're looking for. If you don't see something you'd like, just ask.

I also make gift baskets that can be loaded up according to your price range with MUNCHies or other gifts. Chip & Dip sets loaded with Salsa and Chips all ready to go is the perfect hostess gift.

Happy MUNCHing!

Monday, November 16, 2009

About Me

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called sons and daughters of the King!

Anytime I give someone my name, the next question posed is usually, "Oh, like the parade?". My response is always the same. "Yes, like the parade, but with an 'e'." My life mirrors the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in many ways. I don't have large scale college bands marching through my living room, numerous Broadway musicals hitting their marks in my kitchen or huge helium-filled balloons floating around my ceiling, but we do have our fair share of singing, drama, and balloons (normally birthday in nature). Our lives have brought numerous characters waltzing through our door, some clowns and some beautiful parade king and queens. And although my parade is a daily event, not held just once a year, you can bet you'll always find a lot of people huddled together with their faces adorned with huge smiles as they witness the chaos and fun that this parade brings. Macey's Daily Parade.

I am a very active daughter, wife, mom and friend. I thoroughly enjoy spending my time with friends and family: laughing, playing, enjoying one another, and usually eating. Did I say laughing? We laugh a lot. Well, we eat a lot too! My family and I lead a very hectic life, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love staying busy and feel like I'm not doing anything if I'm not doing anything...doh! I love meddling around the kitchen. I love grilling out, being outside and around water when it's warm. I love shopping (even if it's not for myself). I love breaking out into a nice dripping sweat. I love sparkles and the color pink. And I love taking care of the people I adore. Music moves me and I dream about one day being discovered. I'll either be a rockstar or a moviestar...or quite possibly both. (Even though I have no talent for either!) I love this crazy life that I get to call mine. It is a parade. And I am blessed.

But most of all, this princess is in total awe that I get to be called a daughter of the King.

This I Believe...

I believe in miracles.
I believe in impossibilities becoming possible.
I believe in the impossibilities of a virgin birth.
I believe that God sent himself to earth as a baby.
I believe that He lived a humble life on earth.
I believe that the only Son of God offered himself as a perfect sacrifice.
I believe that sacrifice was a ransom for the sin of all those who accept him.
I believe in the impossibility of a man being raised from the dead.
I believe that He now sits at the right hand of the Father God.
I believe I am part of a new covenant with God.
And I believe that He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe that impossibilities only become possible through God.
I believe in miracles.

This I believe.

In the beginning...

I said I would never do it. I would never color my hair. I would never wear capri pants. And I would never write a blog. Who does that anyway? Only people who have time to, that's who! And I don't! Well, after numerous boxes of hair color, many pairs of capri pants, I am now, officially, beginning my life as a bloggest...uh hem...blogger. Watch out world! Here I come.

Today was a big day for the H'bergers (well, 3/4 of us). Zoey and I walked Gavin to school. And when I say "walked" I really mean, we drove 80% of the way there, then got out and walked him as far as we could. Hey, it was FREEZING outside this morning! The plan is to walk him there and back. That's the plan. We'll see if it actually ends up happening. But he was very excited for mommy and Zoey to take him to school. He wanted to know what Zoey and I would be doing today. I said I might go work out and take Zoey to the Kids' Club for a while. Gavin told me, "Yeah, I think that would be good for her." Well, thanks for your affirmation Gav! But he was right. After a bit of acting like a slug stuck to my leg, I pealed her off, and left her to play. She did better than I did. I was worried she would be unhappy and I was sad that I couldn't strap her on my back and do a little Body Step with Zoey in tote. But she did do great. Gavin knew she would.

I've been researching information lately about the necessary (and legal) steps to take in order to make and sell a homemade food product. Let's just say this...IT'S NOT AN EASY PROCESS! I want to can and sell salsa. (RMT (random Macey thought): I have a problem saying "can" when it's going in a "jar", but whatever.) Well, first I need to know the Ph level of the salsa to make sure it's safe for jarring...uh hem...canning. And to do that, I have to send it to Oklahoma State to be tested. (eye roll) Upon testing I can find out if my salsa will be shelf stable once canned. If not, then they will recommend to add things such as vinegar to increase the acidity, thus make it safe to can, thus shelf stable. I stand firm. I will NOT add vinegar to my salsa! And unlike wearing capris, this one I'm sticking to!

After finding out if my salsa is shelf stable, (RMT: I better not send OSU my recipe on my OU stationary...who knows what they will say is in my salsa!) then I am one step closer to producing it...but not so fast. I need a commercially licensed kitchen to produce my salsa, not my kitchen. Ugh. It's not like you can just throw it all in the food processor and then poof, sell it. I have to make it, jar it, and can it (seal it). And anyone who knows anything about canning, knows it's a time consuming process all in itself.

After finding a commerically licensed kitchen (who will probably charge me to use their facility) I have to get my own license. So kitchen must be licensed, I must be licensed and my product must be sustainable. Now for labeling...the FDA requires certain information to be on the label of any food item that is sold to someone outside of your immediate family. (I guess your immediate family knows whether trust your food/decision making skills or not.) The product must list the weight, the name of the product and on the back must list the ingredients, any allergens, and the name and address of the company. (Sigh) I'm not asking for Wal-Mart to carry my salsa...come on FDA...seriously?! And we haven't even sniffed marketing and sales yet!!!

So many questions. So many hoops and loops and inspections to hop through. Believe me, I don't care to give anyone botulism (well, maybe there are a few I can think of), but the process of allowing the regular ole Mr. American to get his product from his kitchen to the market is insane. Honestly.

And I just might be crazy enough to try it.

Until next time. Mwah!