Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shabbat Shalom


Photo courtesy of and copyright to my newly-engaged-to-his-darling-Carrie friend Billy Fairchild. Thank you, Billy!

God thundereth marvelously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.Job 37:5-7 King James Version

I love the way this version puts it:

At God's command amazing things happen, wonderful things that we can't understand. He commands snow to fall on the earth, and sends torrents of drenching rain. He brings our work to a stop; he shows us what he can do.Job 37:5-7 Good News Bible

Friday, January 30, 2009

Guided By Him Snacks and Interview

Yesterday I introduced you to a new book, Guided By Him, and promised you an interview and some snack ideas for today. Lo and behold, I'm actually with it enough to get the post done - look at me go!


It seems like everyone is endorsing, writing or following some kind of diet plan these days. What prompted you to write Guided By Him, when there are already so many programs out there?
Julie- I wanted to share a fun and easy way to lose weight--especially designed for busy people who overeat when they feel stressed out. I know personally that this program works. It helps overwhelmed overeaters lose the weight... and worries... that weigh them down. Guided By Him (GBH) is encouraging, inspiring and can be done in just a few minutes a day!

You introduce 12 Steps for weight-loss in your book. Briefly describe the process and importance of these steps.
Julie - In 1982, when I first read AA's 12 Steps, I knew they were the answer! I had been trying to figure out how to rely on God's power when I lacked willpower with my eating and the 12 Steps showed me how to do that. The 12 Steps were written by Christians over 70 years ago and have helped millions of people around the world to overcome their weaknesses. GBH steps are similar to AA's, but ours are shorter and they focus on Jesus helping us to quit overeating.

You offer many practical tips, called Stepping Stones, to encourage participants to make intentional choices regarding food. Share a few of these with us.
Sarah - We teach you how to spend 10 minutes having a daily Quiet Time that will literally change your life. In those few short minutes you will learn how to draw closer to Jesus, recognize things that are driving you to the refrigerator that day, and surrender them to Him. We also teach you how to use a Prayer Journal so you will learn to cast your cares on the Lord, not the refrigerator, and Food Cards that will help you to eat in a well-balanced way without having to count calories. Other Stepping Stones provide practical ideas that help you to lose weight. Here are some simple weight-loss tips:

  • A good way to decide how much a serving of meat is: look at a deck of cards.

  • Never eat while standing.

  • Make eating a meal a relaxing event (I'm finding that's really hard with a toddler!).

  • Brush your teeth frequently. It helps you reduce snacking.

  • As much as possible, stay away from foods that trigger your cravings (mine is peanut butter).

  • Chew gum or wear a mask if you're tempted to nibble while you're cooking.

You're a mother/daughter duo. You both bring years of experience to the writing table. How did your careers help you in the writing process of Guided By Him?
Julie - I am a wife, mother and new grandmother. I have been a secretary at the Pentagon, Spanish teacher, lay counselor, and RN. But the experience that helped me most in writing GBH was doing things WRONG for so many years, and then watching amazed as God helped me to change. I lost my extra pounds over 25 years ago and have kept them off. And God has changed my misery to ministry. I've been writing, speaking across the country and leading weight-loss groups since 1992.

Sarah - I am a wife, new mother and Licensed Professional Counselor. I have counseled people from two to 92. I have worked a lot with overweight people who desperately need to lose weight, but are overwhelmed at the thought of doing it. I love teaching them new ways to deal with stress, facts about healthy living and easy things they can do to help them become more like the people they want to be.

Sarah, how do you incorporate the principles in Guided By Him in your counseling ministry?
Sarah - I use them in many ways. I teach my clients how to use Anger Busters, Victory Lists, and Prayer Journals. And I teach them the fun-filled food facts and fitness facts in GBH. I talk to my clients about how quitting their Stinkin' Thinkin' can change their behaviors. One example of Stinkin' Thinkin' might be: "I have already blown it today so I can eat anything I want." I encourage changing that to "Shrinkin' Thinkin': "I need to plan a healthy, filling meal tonight because I am starving!"

When tempted to cheat on your healthy habits, what snack do you each reach for?
Sarah - When I'm snacking, I try to balance carbs and proteins so my body stays balanced. And I drink a lot of water with lemon or lime slices.

Because scripture is emphasized in this method of weight-loss, what is your favorite verse to use as a defense against overeating?
Julie - There are so many! I guess my favorite is 1 Corinthians 10:13 "...God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." For many years I thought the only way out of my temptation to overeat would be in heaven because I was sure that I'd always be tempted by unbearable food cravings while on earth.

How do you reward yourself for achieving your goals?
Julie - This sounds really goofy, but I'll tell you anyway. Every week, I tell my friend Sue how I have done with my eating, exercising and other goals (like not being grumpy). If I have achieved more than 80% of my goals, she gives me a pretty colored sticker. I love having a sticker on my Victory List each week. And I HATE having to tell Sue that I've done badly! But the biggest reward is that I feel so much better when I'm on track with my eating and exercising, and I really feel crummy when I'm not.

Sarah - For my rewards, I make extra time for myself to give myself a manicure/pedicure or to watch a favorite TV show. Sometimes I do "Wal-Mart Therapy" where I buy $10 worth of things that I don't normally buy at the grocery store (shower gels, an unusual tropical fruit, a new nail polish).

For moms out there trying to help their children to lose weight, what advice do you have for them?
Sarah - I have a two-year-old so I am finding ways to reward him with things other than food. They include hugs and kisses (of course!) praising him when he obeys and Play-Dough time (his favorite reward right now). I think it is super important to keep kids active, limit TV, computer and game time. Those things are privileges--not requirements--for kids. Other advice to help your child lose weight: exercise and eat in a healthy way as a family. They will do what you do. No pressure!

And as promised, here they are!
10 Super Snacks to Super Size Your Healthy Lifestyle


1. A sandwich made with low-calorie bread (40 calories a slice), fat-free mayo and low-calorie ham and/or cheese (30 calories a slice) cut up in four pieces and arranged nicely on a plate

2. A sugar-free Popsicle in the summer or sugar-free hot chocolate in the winter

3. A smoothie made in a blender with fat-free milk, ice cubes and sugar-free hot chocolate mix (25 calories) or fruit with artificial sweetener

4. A baked apple—cut up, seasoned with nutmeg and cooked in the microwave for a few minutes, topped with fat-free margarine

5. A steaming bowl of low-calorie soup or a package of instant oatmeal—cooked in the microwave after adding water

6. Bruschetta—a whole grain slice of bread or large cracker, topped with a slice of tomato and low-fat cheese on top—microwaved for a few seconds to warm it up and melt the cheese

7. A 100-calorie bag of lite microwave popcorn

8. A raw vegetable platter, with a variety of vegetables—cut up in little pieces and arranged nicely on a plate, with a serving of fat-free dressing in the middle. Or several stalks of celery stuffed with fat-free cream cheese—seasoned to taste

9. A parfait—served in a tall glass filled with 4 ounces of plain yogurt, layered with fruit (no sugar added) and topped with a pinch of Grape Nuts or other high-fiber cereal

10. Little carrots served with spinach dip—fat-free sour cream, seasoned with dry soup mix and raw chopped spinach (defrosted, if frozen, with all of the water squeezed out of it)

Don't forget to go comment on the introductory post to be put in a drawing win this and two other books by Julie!

January's Last Friday Fill-in


1. I'd really like to never drive again in my life right now. Either that, or go shopping for an entire day and buy all kinds of stuff.

2. Gee-e-e-e-zzzzz (trying to stop before I yell Jesus *blush*) is the word you'd most often hear me say if I stubbed my toe.

3. Possession is really a pain in the butt a lot of times.

4. There is no pirate like Captain Jack Sparrow.

5. Marshmallows and fire go together like living and breathing.

6. This is the song that never ends! It just goes on and on my friends...

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleeping, tomorrow my plans include telling the children's story at church and Sunday, I want to take down the Christmas tree, dangit!

Guided By Him - To a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You


Guided By Him
Published by: GBH Press
Pages: 222
Release Date: Dec. 7, 2008
Dim.: 8.5in X 11in
Cost: $14.98
ISBN: 978-1-60702-886-4

Lose the Weight...Lose the Worry!Mother and Daughter Team Up to Share the Plan
(Birmingham, AL) - Does the idea of starting a diet make you hungry? Can you eat more than your children's combined weight in twinkies? Don't worry! Help is on the way. Author Julie Morris, RN, and her daughter, Sarah Morris Cherry, have developed a proven method for losing weight and keeping it off permanently. The Guided By Him method not only helps people lose weight, it also helps participants learn how to cope with stress. After years of struggling with her weight, Julie has developed a strategic, humor-filled plan designed to keep participants motivated, laughing, learning and yes, even eating.

What Others Are Saying...
"I lost 40 pounds in 12 weeks while reading Guided By Him!"
Maryanne - participant

"I lost nine pounds in a Bible Study Group that used Guided By Him."
Robert - participant

"I loved leading the group! It was fun, easy and took very little preparation."
Ginger - Group Leader
In Guided By Him, readers embark on an adventure in weight loss. Julie and Sarah use uplifting scriptures, thought-provoking questions, daily devotionals and fun-filled food facts to ensure readers keep a positive, light attitude toward learning a leaner lifestyle. Julie's experience as a nurse and Sarah's knowledge as a certified counselor, make this a pair of enthusiastic, highly qualified coaches. This study could be used alone in the comfort of home or led in a group setting. It's great for casual girlfriend meetings, church small groups and even the lunchroom at work! Accountability questions keep participants honest and real with themselves and others.


Guided By Him authors
Julie Morris & Sarah Morris Cherry

About the Authors
Julie Morris and Sarah Morris Cherry

Julie Morris is a wife, mother, nurse, author and teacher. Since 8 years of age Julie has struggled to control her weight. That struggle of overeating, along with high blood pressure, sent her searching for a solution. After discovering the Christian 12 steps she began seeking God's guidance toward health and wholeness. Now, 25 years later, she's excited to share these tips with others. She is the founder of the Step Forward weight loss program. Guided By Him is a lighter, easier version of Step Forward, for today's busier lifestyles.

Sarah Morris Cherry is a wife, new mother and Licensed Professional Counselor. She has counseled people from two to 92. Whatever the age, she enjoys teaching people new ways to deal with stress as well as facts for healthy living. She coaches them with simple things they can do to become more like the people they want to be. She speaks from experience, having overcome many overwhelming health problems by putting these concepts into practice.

***Prize Alert!***
If we receive 10 or more comments on post, one of the commenters will be eligible for a grand prize drawing for three of Julie's books: Guided By Him, From Worry to Worship and From Worthless to Worthy. But remember, you only have a chance to win if we get ten comments on this post, so tell all your friends to come visit and comment!

And, check back tomorrow to read an interview with Julie and her daughter Sarah, along with a peek into some chapter titles. (In best paid advertisement voice) But wait - there's more! You'll also get a jumpstart with 10 Super Snacks to Super Size Your Healthy Lifestyle, so be sure you come back tomorrow!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Apparently, all my posts disappeared while I was working on a new one. I'm trying really, *really* hard to be patient while what Michael calls a "database connection problem" gets cleared up. In the meantime, bear with us, and *hopefully* things will be back to normal soon...


Michael is once again my knight in shining armour and has saved/fixed my blog. Huge Sigh of Relief.

25 *More* Things About Me

The joy of Facebook, lol.

Ok, so I've been tagged and done this once before, but I got tagged again and decided to do it again just to be funny... or annoying - you decide. Just don't tell me if you decide annoying, 'k?

Oh, and Alex. :P

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I love Lean Cuisine's Sweet and Sour Chicken and Chicken Fried Rice mixed together.

2. I eat Chinese food (see above) with chopsticks.

3. My go-to dessert recipe is gingerbread-raisin cake. In fact, I should be baking two right now instead of doing this.

4. I want to learn how to play the piano.

5. I like 40's music.

6. This is for the Tyler Church people to laugh about: I had the biggest, hugest crush on Robbie Bockmann for years.

7. I won't watch scary movies.

8. I want to go stay in Cinderella's castle at Disney World one day.

9. I dream of having a book published one day. Have the concept and the title, just haven't written it yet.

10. I love plaid.

11. I'd like to do stand-up comedy. At least once, anyway.

12. I love the smell of vanilla.

13. I dated someone with the last name Griffin in high school and married someone with the last name Griffitt in college - how weird is that?? And they were *nothing* alike.

14. I'd love to have red hair like my mom and I've always prayed that one of my children would be a redhead (none of them are).

15. I wish my hair was curly.

16. I'm very cold natured. I have been known to wear sweats in the summer. There's probably something very, very wrong with me, lol.

17. I wrote a Vacation Bible School program based on Saul's conversion on the way to Damascus called Saulutations from Damascus.

18. When I was a little girl, Crystal Gayle was my hero because I wanted my hair to be as long as hers.

19. Part of me wants to get a tatoo, but I'm afraid of the pain and the permanence of it scares me. And I don't know what I'd get.

20. Best compliment I ever got: my paternal grandfather told me I sang better than the professional singer at my grandmother's funeral. I sang Amazing Grace a cappella, which I learned from hearing her sing it to herself while she crocheted.

21. I bought the very book I read and fell in love with in high school from the library there just a couple of months ago (Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley). It was like being reunited with an old friend. Thank you, Mrs. Stuart!

22. I think anything that's smaller than its intended size is just adorable.

23. I like to watch ballroom dancing competitions. NOT So You Think You Can Dance or Dancing With the Stars!

24. I love British comedies, especially Black Adder, Red Dwarf, and Coupling.

25. My Christmas tree is still up. Guess I should take it down, huh?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hearts for Heroes


I got permission from eMOM via Twitter today to use their logo for a button, so I can upload it for you guys to use. Again, please feel free to download either of these buttons to use on your own site to spread the word!


As you all know from my push of the Holiday Mail for Heroes program, I am a big fan of our service men and women.* My big brother is an Army hero (Hi Kelly, I love you!), so the armed forces hold a special place in my heart. Now I can show the love at Valentine's Day, too! eMOM (eMail Our Military) is already "Go" on the 7th Annual Valentine's from the Heart project - where you can send a Valentine's Day card or an e-mail to a hero.

Can we say, "Hoo-ah"?

So here's the drill, per the eMOM website:

  1. Register with eMail Our Military. The online registration is currently being updated, so you'll need to register by mail. Download the registration form here (pdf file).

  2. Read the "Welcome eMail" you'll receive.

  3. Adopt a Military Service Member to correspond with.

  4. Send your Military Service Member a Valentine's Day card and/or eMail of support.

  5. Encourage a friend, family member or Military Service Member to register too.

  6. Leave a comment so we know you'll be participating.

  7. Spread the word. Share this post.

I'll be working on a button and/or banner for this project tonight, so be sure to check back here for your free graphic to download and use to help spread the word. In the meantime, check out the eMOM post for more ideas and tips for parents and teachers to involve kids.

*That doesn't mean I agree with the circumstances behind them being where they are - I don't get into that. It means I admire and respect those that sacrifice themselves for our country in that way.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Win a Longaberger Bread Basket!


Win this Longaberger Bread Basket!
Are you a fan of handwoven, made-in-America-baskets? The oven-, microwave-, freezer-, dishwasher-safe vitrified pottery? Or maybe you're a wrought iron fan? My friend Susan over at Salt and Lemonade has generously agreed to give away a bread basket valued at $42 to our lucky winner!

How to Enter:


Win the Warm Brown basket
on the left!
Go visit Susan's Longaberger site and browse around (don't get lost!). Then come back here and leave a comment with your favorite product's name, item number, and why you think its wonderful! Everyone who posts a comment (that includes their favorite product's name and item number) by midnight on January 31 will be entered into a drawing for a Longaberger Bread Basket in the warm brown stain! The winner will be chosen using

How to Earn Extra Entries:
  • Tweet about this contest, then come leave a comment with the tweet link.

  • Blog about this contest and comment with a link to your post.

  • Subscribe to 3Stairs and/or Salt and Lemonade and leave a comment letting me know you subscribed (and to whom).

Did you count 'em up? You can earn up to FIVE entries!

On your mark; get set; GO!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Link Along With Me

I've been reading a lot of new blogs lately, and I keep coming across things I want to share. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to get around to blogging about all the wonderful stuff I find out there. I decided that it was more helpful just to post links than it was to have fantastic intentions of blogging and then not doing it.

So I'm going to start sharing a post about once a week with links to all the awesomeness I've discovered. I hope that you'll follow these links, read the posts, and become more human and more involved in our world. Sometimes it will make you cry, sometimes you'll laugh, sometimes you'll learn something. You'll always connect.

Welcome to Link Along

The one that started it all:
What started out as a contest entry ended up as a quest to add humanity to the Internet. Her Bad Mother

It ain't just a pretty graphic with a tiny hand; it's Kayleigh's story.

The one ...where laughter lives...

Have you discovered some humanity on the Interwebs this week? Share them in the comments or add Link Along to your own blog and post the link in the comments.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Inauguration Friday Fill-in


1. Oh, I am so cold!

2. Make changes, big and little.

3. During Praise Team practice, I laugh a lot.

4. $150 million for the inauguration; are you kidding me???

5. Right now I'd like to be warm and asleep (without a 3-year-old in my bed!).

6. My cell phone is my favorite gadget (though I want a labeler).

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing nothing, tomorrow my plans include church and ... wait for it! ... a nap and Sunday, I want to sleep for a really long dang time, but I probably won't get to!

More Lies Revealed on Inauguration Day

23 January 2009
I got an e-mail this evening from Jennifer Gunderson, the publicist for MomLogic to let me know that they have clarified the post. Huzzah for sites that listen to feedback and pay attention to what the world is saying. Good show, MomLogic, good show!

Published 22 January 2009
I saw MomLogic tweet a link on Tuesday, and since it said free stuff, I naturally went to check it out. This is what I found:
[caption id="attachment_1002" align="aligncenter" width="525" caption="MomLogic makes vague promises - just like someone else...
Click the screenshot to go to the post"]


The key point:
Right now, until the end of the week (or until product runs out), Macy's, Dillard's and Nordstrom are giving every US citizen who bought cosmetics between 1994 and 2003 between $18 - $25 worth of free cosmetics. No. We are not joking.

I went and checked out the class action paperwork to get the skinny since the post was so short and felt the absolute need to leave a comment.
According to the legal document, only US citizens who bought cosmetics *from those stores* are entitled to a free product. Your post wording makes it sound as though anyone who bought cosmetics period are entitled to free product. Also, the cosmetics counters have not become free-for-alls. Only specific items are designated as free, and those that are marked as such are listed in the documentation. Bad show for not being more up front with details, MomLogic. This post is vague and misleading, and thereby a disservice to your readers.

What do you think? Was MomLogic too vague in this post?

Friday, January 16, 2009

MLK Friday Fill-in


1. Enough with the pettiness, already.

2. The death verdict causes me to be conflicted.

3. I've been craving steak.

4. Black Adder makes me laugh.

5. I wish I could go to the Junie B. Jones play in Tyler with Brandon next week.

6. My friend Kari has been on my mind lately.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Stampin' Up Technique Club at my friend Lori's house (!), tomorrow my plans include church and maybe going to a wedding and Sunday, I want to take down the Christmas tree (no, I didn't do it last week)!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

25 Random Things About Crystal

I got tagged on Facebook. Of course, it couldn't be for seven - or even sixteen - things. It had to be for 25. Hope you don't get too bored...

1. My hair is about 2' long and hits my hips.

2. I weighed 95 pounds when I met Michael in July of 2006.

3. My favorite color changed a year or so ago - it's now sage green instead of blue.

4. I want to go to the British Isles before I die.

5. I was a disc jockey in college and loved it. I wanted to do a morning show, but they wouldn't let me.

6. I couldn't sing in high school theatre very well, but could and did sing for church. I'm now considered one of the best voices on the praise team at my church. Guess that's a sign of what kind of singing I should be doing, huh?

7. I like teaching kids.

8. I love school supplies! I have a 18-gallon tote box full of pencils, spiral notebooks, folders, crayons, and glue sticks.

9. I want to learn and become fluent in ASL. I already know some and am working on learning more.

10. I can't wait to earn a sign-name!

11. I love alliteration and puns.

12. Yes, I honestly read the dictionary and enjoy it.

13. I was in theater all through high school and college.

14. I'm only 5' tall.

15. I got third place in the Miss Mineola pageant in high school. I was surprised that I even did it and absolutely shocked that I did so well.

16. I love to cuddle little babies and would like to volunteer in a NICU to hold babies one day.

17. It took over two years to get pregnant with my first child. I thought I was barren; now I have *3* kids!

18. I create 60-80-slide PowerPoint presentations for my church worship service every week.

19. I like to sew.

20. I taught myself HTML coding and started out designing web pages by writing raw code.

21. I love to play Scrabble in person and Wordscraper on Facebook (start a game with me!).

22. I love it when someone else brushes my hair and "plays" with styling it.

23. I collect old books. I love the ones with writing in them.

24. I gave Bethany the middle name Anne after Anne Shirley of the Anne of Green Gables books.

25. I want to learn Gaelic.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Vote for Crystal

Ok, so it's a little one-sided: either way, you're voting for me. The question, "Which me?"

*Note: Link will open the poll in a new window/tab so you can vote.

Which 3Stairs profile photo do you like?



Vote for your favorite.

I'll leave a small version of the poll over in the sidebar until... well, until I get enough votes to satisfy my curiosity or I get sick of it.

Ta muchly!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Blogging the 2009 Golden Globes

I've been glued to the computer and the television at once since about 5 o'clock watching the 2009 Golden Globes. Why? Because I'm blogging the Golden Globes for Twirlit. SEO guru Sean's been blogging about Golden Globe winners, too. I don't know if there are any other posts out there, but I'm doing three! Check out the list of some of the eye candy presenters, the Golden Globe movie winners, and the Golden Globe television winners as I post them as they're announced!

Watch for a commentary post after I clean it up!

The commentary post will probably be up tomorrow. In the meantime, I've done a 2009 Golden Globe Awards Fashion post, too!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'm My Own Cousin

Almost a week ago, I was on the computer (as usual) with Twhirl on (as usual) and saw this (not so usual) tweet from Steve Ouch (he of Steampotville authorship):


Naturally, I clicked the link to find out what kind of animal a "cousin" is, and joined the relative fray.


So what is the fray? Steve is "going for the World Record of a profile with the Most Cousins." Join the group, add Steve as a friend and he will make you a cousin. He created the group and posted about it on his blog.

"But why?" you ask.

See, Steve is a children's book author and illustrator. As such, he realizes the importance of encouraging a love of reading in kids and making books accessible to all kids. So, according to the Facebook Be in the World Record of Cousins group,


We are also trying to raise awareness for the BOOK FOR KIDS non-profit: Books for Kids Foundation. It's mission is to promote literacy among all children with a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool-aged children. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books, and partners with literacy programs to develop the critical early foundation and skills which young children need to be successful in life.

So, being the bibliophile (that's a nerdy word for book lover) I am, I became related to Steve Ouch.

I then sent a direct tweet to Steve asking if I could interview him to help promote his "cousin quest." His response?

"Sweet ! thanks! :)"


So I set to work. I started typing up a few questions. Then I typed up a few more. Then I typed up a few more. Then I sent Steve 29 questions! I was nice, though. I told him to answer as many or as few as he chose.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, without further uh dew...
(yes, I know that's wrong - it's funny!)

What motivated you to do this?
Doesn't everyone like to have lots of cousins and at the same time promote a good cause? You don't have to be blood relations anymore to call a person cuz. Facebook let's anyone be related and well..... if it's on Facebook, then it's official.
Also, Books for Kids Foundation helps disadvantaged kids get books so they can read! I love that. Family, kids, and books, they are all connected from my perspective.

Where are you based?
I am currently at SteamPotHeadQuarters in Portland, Oregon. I plan on moving to Seattle to set up SteamPotCentral in June. There I will continue to reach out across the Facebook world to find as many cousins as possible. The goal will be to reach the World Record by the end of 2009.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?
When I write I feel like it makes me a better man. Someday when I have grandchildren I want to be able to tell wonderful stories to my grandkids. Every time I write it helps me strengthen my storytelling skills.

What do you enjoy the most about illustrating?
Each one of my illustrations takes me about 150 hours. When you spend that much time on a single piece, it starts to tell YOU stories. As my creative process unfolds, it feels like time stops and life becomes miraculous. When SteamPotVille was completed I laughed for three weeks straight. Illustrating makes me feel alive.

It's a good day at work when....
I can convince someone else to take the day off. I love trying to convince people to work less and spend more time playing. (or reading to their kids)

If I ran the internet for a day I'd.....
make everyone take the day off.

What do you find yourself repeating from your parents?
I'll teach you where the hog ate the cabbage

What would you say is the biggest lesson that you have learned in your life?
One word changed my life. "Yes" Now I say it as much as I can.

So now that you know all about it (and Steve), go get related!

Steve's website
Steve's book, Steampotville
Friend Steve on Facebook
Follow Steve on Twitter
Visit the Books For Kids Foundation

There is one question I forgot to ask:
When's the reunion, Steve?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Holiday-less Friday Fill-in


1. It's January; I'm looking forward to the weather to stop going from freezing to 70's every other day.

2. Sleep is what I crave most right now.

3. Cork and wine go together like lighter and bong - never done either one and have no desire or intention to.

4. Laughter with friends is so nourishing.

5. Let us dare to be passionate about something.

6. Someone come clean my home.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to all 3 children spending the night at Grandma's (hopefully!), tomorrow my plans include church and the speech therapist's first therapy visit with Bethy and Sunday, I want to go to Biker church, but I'll probably end up working on taking down the tree!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Win a Handmade Tote!

Cheri over at A Joyful Handmaiden has made an absolutely lovely tote and she's giving it away! And while it pains me to post this and possibly decrease my chances, I'll get another entry to the drawing to win it.
I want it that bad!
So click over to A Joyful Handmaiden to see the corduroy delight, but don't comment! Okay, comment if you really want to, but if you don't it makes my chances better. =D

You Know Your Toilet Paper is Soft When...

. . . your 3 year old decides to take her nap on a bed made of 12-roll packs.


Bethy's toilet paper bed


Is that really toilet paper she's lying on?


Snug as a bug...on toilet paper

And once I took the picture from the front, she decided to get up and get a picture with Bootsie.


Bethy and Boots

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Holiday Mail for Heroes = Success!


I got an e-mail just a bit ago from PitneyBowes to thank me for my participation in the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign. For my new readers, that's a program where we send holiday cards to active service men and women that are giving of themselves so sacrificially on our behalf. I can't take the credit for myself, though. You guys are the real success behind it. So on behalf of PitneyBowes (and me),
Thank you!


I appear to have fixed the stairs again. I even managed to have all the ads out of the main content area. I might add a few back in later, but for now they're gone.

I've also disabled Spam Karma 2 since it wasn't playing nice with Pocahontis and if I did the settings right, all comments are now moderated, so give me a bit of time to approve your comments before they show up.

If you come across something that doesn't work right, please let me know.


I didn't like how some of the Google ads looked on blog, so I decided to take them out. Apparently I deleted something that wasn't part of the ads, because I royally fouled up my theme. After discovering that the last 3 times I thought I backed up my blog I actually hadn't, I gave up. I've activated a different theme for the time-being while I try to figure out what on earth I did to my index file and how to fix it.

Wish me luck and patience. I really stinkin' hate starting all over again.
*le sigh*

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Busting the Bickering

I know should have posted this two weeks ago, or even a week ago, but my brain was so overloaded I couldn't think. Brandon's principal actually played an excerpt of the Hallelujah Chorus at the end of the day on the last day before the break. While it was funny and (very accurately!) conveyed the feeling of the school staff, I think parents probably heard the Psycho EH-EH-EH music in their heads.

I love my children. Dearly. But having them in the house, bored, and underfoot for two weeks is extremely grating on my nerves. The wanted to watch TV all day. When I nixed that and told them to play, it worked.

For precisely 3.2 seconds. Then the bickering would start.
"You don't do it like that!"
"I don't want to play that!"
"No, you can't have that!"

Here's a typical conversation from the holidays at my house:

"That's mine!"
"No it's not. It's mine!"

Then everybody gets sent to their room with the warning that they can come out on pain of death. Of course, the death threat didn't stop them from coming out every minute and a half asking if they could come out, but you know, those 90-second intervals were bliss.

Since locking the children in their rooms indefinitely isn't exactly a child-friendly option, I thought I'd ask those more experienced than me before Spring Break rolls around.

How do you stop your kids from bickering nonstop?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Crystal's Gingerbread-Raisin Cake Recipe


I've adapted a recipe for gingerbread-raisin cake that uses no molasses and has raisins and applesauce. It's not overly sweet, and it's deliciously moist. Trish Berg tweeted earlier today that she was looking for a simple dessert recipe. Well, this is my stand-by. I make it so often, I keep the recipe taped up on my cabinet!

So for Trish and everyone else out there, here's my Gingerbread-Raisin Cake recipe. You can feel free to print this handy little recipe card (put it in your word processing program and size the picture to 4x6) and bake to your heart's delight. I strongly recommend baking two at a time so you have one to take to wherever you're baking it for and one to keep at home. Refrigerate it to keep from spoiling, but around here it's gone before it has a chance to spoil. It's usually gone inside of 48 hours.

click the pic to open up the original size in a new window

Gingerbread-Raisin Squares

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
½  cup (1 stick) butter
2 eggs
2 ½ cups flour (or 1 ¼ cups unbleached flour and 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour)
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 cup milk
1 cup natural applesauce
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.

Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy; about 5 minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.

Add flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves to butter mixture; pour milk over mixture and beat just until smooth.

Add applesauce and raisins, mixing until raisins are well-distributed in batter.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Powdered sugar can be sprinkled on top before serving if desired.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Friday Fill-in


1. The world is big and scary.

2. Probably something getting on to the kids was the last thing I said.

3. I wonder if I'll ever not be tired or fat.

4. Reflect at the end of all things.

5. There's something to be said for feeling completely and utterly loved.

6. In bed is where I want to be.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dealing with 3 kids that are disappointed that they're not at their Grandma's, tomorrow my plans include church and a nap (redundant, I know) and Sunday, I want to sleep, but I really need to put up laundry and do the dishes!
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