Posts filed under ‘55th Birthday Yearlong Plan’

5 Quotes I Adore from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (FFF)

I love the idea of a quest and using the word quest instead of to-do item, calling, goal, or adventure.

I love the idea of a quest and using the word quest instead of to-do item, calling, goal, or adventure.

I like reading books written for children and adolescents. I like looking for the “lesson” each one has. The latest book I finished is The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo.

My favourite character was the mouse who stayed true to his calling. He did the hard things even when he thought he couldn’t succeed.

When I read I like to collect quotes. I like to ponder them and see how they apply to my life. For this Friday’s Fave Five, I found five favorite quotations.

ONE. ” . . . an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone , mouse, or man, who does not conform,” (25). The non-conformists are also the ones who are world changers.

TWO. “Say the word “quest” out loud. It is an exextraordinary word, isn’t it? So small and yet so full of wonder, so full of hope.” (221) Reading this quote makes me want to go on a quest. You, too?

THREE.. “… nothing is sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name. Nothing.” (258) Especially if that name is mom, auntie or whatever my non-speaking grand-daughter (she’s not even 3 months old yet) will call me.

FOUR..And hope is like love . . . a ridiculous, wonderful, powerful thing.” (134) Hope and quests are like the 2 parts of velcro. You need both sides to make it work.

FFF daisiesFIVE.Might just as well be happy, seeing as it doesn’t make a difference to anyone but you if you are or not,” said the soldier,” (143). Such wise words. We might as well as take charge of our attitudes, feelings, and actions. No-one else has that power or care.

I see that Amazon Instant Movies has this title to rent. Hurray! I am going to watch that this week. I will let you know how it is.

Your Turn . . .  

  • What are some of your favorite quotes from this book?
  • Any thoughts on the quotes here?
  • Have you seen the movie? Comments?
  • Have you ever been on a quest? I haven’t. But I will be when I go to India later this summer.

Related Posts


This is one of the books I read for my Yearlong Birthday Plan.

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1st Quarter Review of 55th Birthday Yearlong Plan

Thsi year when I blew out the candles, I had more in mind than birthday wishes. I had a plan: a Yearlong Birthday Plan.

This year when I blew out the candles, I had more in mind than birthday wishes. I had a plan: a Yearlong Birthday Plan.

TIME to share how well I am doing with my birthday yearlong plan. I wrote in detail here what I want to accomplish in 9 areas in my yearlong plan.

One. Collect 55 Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. I’ve packed 19 boxes so far!!! Go here for this first quarter update.

Two. Raise $4,000 so I can go to India in July. I have about $2,200. We have had a car wash and yard sale. 3 more events are coming up . . .

  • June 29th – yard sale and car wash (if enough people to help)
  • July 4th – sell food & drink before/during parade
  • July 6th – India Dinner & Raffle

Three. Practice gratitude 55 times. I have not been very intentional about this besides writing Friday’s Fave Five and two posts on gratitude. The posts are Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss – a book review and Choosing Gratitude And Why It Matters.

Four. Move 55 minutes daily. I have not progressed in my daily minutes count – still at 30 minutes 3-4 times a week.

Five. Write 55 posts. I have written 50 posts so far. In April I was part of the Blogging  From A-Z Challenge and I wrote 23 posts that month. I am so sure I can reach my goal of 55 posts.

If you want to see what I’ve written go to my right side bar (towards the bottom). “Stuff I’ve Written and When.” There is a monthly archive.

Six. Create 55 times. Go here to read about the things I created this first quarter.

Seven. Read 55 books. 14 read, 41 left to go.

Here is what I’ve read so far.

1. Fearfully & Wonderfully Made by Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancey
2. Acts of Love: The Power of Encouragement by David Jeremiah
3. Plan B by Anne Lamott
4. The Mysterious Voyage of Captain Kidd by A.B.C. Whipple
5. The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars
6. Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn
7. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
8. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
9. Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith and Science by John Tiner
10.The Quest for Character by Charles Swindoll
11. Masters of Mystery: 56 Short Stories of Mystery, Intrigue, & Suspense (by different authors)
12. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
13. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
14. Secrets of the Vine for Women: Breaking Through to Abundance by Darlene Wilkinson

Eight. Do 55 things from previous bucket lists. I haven’t even looked at these lists, so I probably haven’t done any of them.

Nine. Bake 55 pies. I have made 7 pies so far. Below are the reviews.

1. Raspberry Freeze Pie
2. Derby Pie
3. Apple Pie
4. Dark Chocolate Cream Pie
5. Strawberry Yogurt Pie
6. Toll House Pie
7. Tamale Pie

Tally – 5 of the categories are going GREAT, 1 is okay, and 3 are a fail (so far). Come back in September for the next review.

Your Turn . . . 

  • Did you make any goals on your birthday this year? If yes, how’s it going?
  • If not yet, what would you like to accomplish before your next birthday?

Related Posts . . .

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1st Quarter Review of 55th Birthday Yearlong Plan: Collect 55 OCC Boxes

There are about 20 weeks until it’s time to turn in Operation Christmas Child boxes. That seems soon, right?


What’s in your cupboard? Some of mine are full of Operation Christmas Child Boxes.

My goal is to collect 55 boxes and shipping fee for each box by the November 2013 deadline. Right now I have 19 boxes. 10 for boys and 9 for girls.

There are 3 age ranges to buy for: 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14. From what I’ve read the most popular group to buy for is the 5-9 year old group. So I’ve been concentrating on the 2-4 age group and most especially the 10-14 year old group.

During this next quarter I am going to collect enough stuff for 15 boxes for the oldest group: 10-14 year-olds.

Several folks have asked if they could help me with this endeavor – YOU BET!!!!! Below is a list of items I’ll be collecting. This list is geared toward the 10-14 year olds.

The recommendation is to put at last one thing into the box from each of the following categories:


  • Bar Soap (MILD) and bagged to keep smell from getting into candy
  • Comb or Brush
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Grooming Supplies: good quality – nail clippers, tweezers, emery boards
  • Hair Accessories: ribbon, larger hair clips, elastics
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste – make sure it isn’t expired
  • Washcloth


  • Blank cards for writing notes to friends/family
  • Crayons/Colored Pencils
  • Eraser(s)
  • More complicated coloring books or sketch pads
  • Paper/Notepad
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Solar Powered Calculator


  • Fishing Kit: pill bottles with fishing hooks, line, sinkers
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Knitting needles/crochet hook and yarn
  • Sewing Kit: needles, thread, buttons, ribbon, pins, fabric (1 yard), scissors
  • Small Tools: Good Quality – hammer, screwdriver, nails, screws, measuring tape (metric), duct tape, pliers
  • Water Bottle or Cup


  • Balls, deflated with pumps or beach balls
  • Toy Cars
  • Harmonica
  • Jacks
  • Jewelry or beads to make their own
  • Jump Ropes
  • Legos
  • Marbles
  • Model Kits for the boys
  • More difficult craft kits like cross stitch or embroidery
  • More difficult puzzles
  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Toys like paddle ball, yo-yo, cards or card games, travel games


  • Chewing Gum – double bag the gum
  • Hard Candy & Lollipops – double bag these


  • Stuffed animal


  • Flip Flops
  • Gloves/Scarf/Winter Hat
  • Purse/Small Backpack
  • Socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Underwear


  • $7.00 Shipping Fee
  • Greeting Card/Note to Child
  • Photo of your family
  • Shoebox – either cardboard or good quality plastic
  • Tote Bag

Your Turn . . .

  • Have you ever packed an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox? If yes, what is your favourite thing to include? Have any buying or packing tips?
  • If you’d like to help with this project, leave a comment or email me.

Related Posts for What to Put in a Box. . . If you make any extra of the following and want to donate here, please do!

Related Posts from Frutifulwords . . .

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1st Quarter Review of 55th Birthday Yearlong Plan: Create 55 Times


Sewed a piggy bank. I keep this cute feltie in my purse for any quarters that come my way. I am saving this money for spending money for India July/August 2013.

This year I am doing unexpected things all because I am 55. To read more about the 9 things go here for My 55th Birthday Yearlong Plan.

This post is about Number Six: Create 55 times. That means at least once a week I will engage in something creative. I just feel so much better (emotionally) when I set aside time for this.

I have created 12 times so far. Here’s the list which is also on my right side bar:

May 20, 2013 Flowers on patio wall 007Planted Spring boxes. My garden lacks sunshine. So I am pleased that there are a few shade loving plants I can grow on top of the patio fence. I have begonias, impatients, and a columbine. Although the columbine isn’t doing so well.

Played Scrabble in Spanish. This is a lot more work than playing in English at least for me since Spanish is not my native tongue. As you can see I am liberal with my definition of “create.”
March 27 Crosses (salt and flour) 081 Created Salt Clay Crosses. This idea is from That Artist Woman. Several Sunday school classes enjoyed making these at Easter time. In fact, the 4th/5th grade class still has their crosses on the bulletin board in their classroom. Do you think they’d notice if I snuck them home?

I still have dough in my fridge. So I am ready for another time of making salt dough creations. I wonder what summer item I could create? Perhaps a sand dollar or star fish?

 JUne 8, 2013 Mother's day gifts and park birthday party for 4 003June 8, 2013 Mother's day gifts and park birthday party for 4 004Mother’s Day Gift. The Women’s Ministry Team met 3 times in order to make these Mother’s Day gifts  for the ladies in our church. Lorna was the designer of these. The bag is a brown lunch bag. The sachets are filled with dried lavender. The verse on the backside is Proverbs 3: 5-6.

Copied 2 cards at a card party.
Wrote a rough draft for a paper.

kindle cover made from a book April 30, 2013 kindle cover finished 006 Cut a hardback book into a Kindle coverI gutted one of my hardback children’s books so that I could put my Kindle inside. It was a little finicky cutting the pages, but I LIKE how it turned out.

Boiled 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk to make dulce de leche. I ended up doing this twice. 2 cans for me and 2 cans to share.

Hemmed 2 pairs of pants. Hey, it involved a thread & needle.

That’s it for this quarter. It is fun to have all these completed things on one page. See you the end of September.

Your Turn . . . What have you been crafting lately?

Related Post . . .

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T: TAMALE Pie Review


A chili-type filling topped with cornbread mixture makes for a quick & delicious meal. The left-overs heat up well.

Not all pies have to be sweet in order to be enjoyed. Savory is yummy, especially a savory tamale pie. My mom used to make one when we were kids. I don’t have that recipe any more – maybe my sista does.

So I used this tamale pie recipe.

Yes, this pie, with its cornmeal crust, is filling and quick to prepare – 15 minutes quick. This pie was okay, but it didn’t have quite the taste I remember.

Tips and Observations

  1.  The filling was tasty. 
  2. The corn bread topping was just okay.
  3. Next time I make a Tamale Pie (and there will be a next time), I will find a recipe that uses eggs, less salt, and adds leavening for the cornbread part of the pie.
  4. Cooking it at 425 degrees for 25 minutes was too long. I should have checked it at 20 minutes.
  5. It served up great as leftovers.
  6. I added one cup of black beans and it was delish.

Go here to read why I am making 55 pies in 52 weeks. . . . Pie Count . . . 7 made . . .  48 to go.

Your Turn . . .

  • Have you made a Tamale Pie before? If yes, how different or similar was your recipe?
  • What would you add to the Tips and Observations?
  • What was the last pie you made?

Related Post . . . Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie (2nd recipe on this post)


NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is T. The topic is TAMALE Pie. To find the post for U: UPSIDE-DOWN German Chocolate Cake recipe, here’s the link.

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P: Two More PIE Reviews: Strawberry Yogurt Pie & Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie (aka Toll House Pie)


This pretty looking pie was a disappointment with its bullet hard fruit mixed throughout.

Do you ever pick up the wrong brand or flavour of a product when grocery shopping?  I do. And I am not sure how that happens.

I know that the only yogurt I will eat is Greek.

So when I opened the refrigerator and saw a BIG container of regular strawberry yogurt, I wondered two things.

  1. Did I buy THAT container of yogurt?
  2. What am I going to do with it?

Off to Google I went looking for a pie that includes yogurt. And I took this strawberry yogurt pie to a meeting where amongst other things we celebrated a birthday (LaRee’s).

Only three ingredients were needed which I had on hand.

  • 2 cups strawberry flavored yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups  frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced or chopped

Mix all this together and put it into 9 inch prepared graham cracker crust.

My Tips and Observations:

  1. It took at least an hour to thaw enough to eat, not the stated 10 minutes.
  2. The first time I made this, I put the contents into a 6 inch graham cracker crust. So by adding 1 more cup of yogurt, 3/4 cup off whipped topping and 1/2 chopped strawberries  I had enough for two pies.
  3. For the 1st pie I sliced the strawberries. Big Mistake. Even after an hour they didn’t really thaw and were difficult to chew.
  4. For the 2nd pie I chopped the strawberries. Even though the bullet-hard pieces of fruit were smaller and easier to eat, this hard texture detracted from the pleasure of eating the rest of the contents.
  5. If you want to eat a frozen pie, go make this Raspberry Freeze pie. It won’t disappoint.

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever made a  frozen pie before? If yes, what are your tips and observations?

Related Article . . . Strawberry Greek Yogurt Icebox Pie (

Related Post from Fruitfulwords . . .  First Three Pies: Fruit, Nut, & Frozen


This 2nd pie, the Toll House Pie – is a keeper. I also made this for a birthday, Pastor Bill’s 80th.

A chocolate cookie served in a pie crust? Surprisingly this was a taste hit!

This lovely pie took 10 minutes to assemble. Below are the ingredients and directions.


  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1  9-inch pie crust (I used a deep-dish crust.)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. In a small bowl melt 1 cup of butter. Pour into a coffee cup so it can cool faster. By time you get to step 6, it should be cool enough to add to your mixture.
  3. Chop walnuts. Put aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat eggs until foamy. You can use a hand mixer. I used a fork.
  5. Add both sugars and flour. “Fork” or beat until well blended.
  6. Blend in the melted butter. This turned the dough into a liquidy pie mixture instead of being a cookie dough.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  8. Pour batter into one unbaked 9 inch pie shell. 
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes.
  10. Cool on wire rack.
  11. Put into a carry bag with paper plates and forks to transport to the restaurant. Bring it out at the end of the meal. And after singing “Happy Birthday,” serve to the group.

My Tips and Observations

  • I think a better name for this is Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie. This is exactly what you are eating , a gooey, delicious slice of cookie.
  • Use a deep dish crust as this recipe makes enough to fill one.
  • Be creative in the flavour of chocolate chips you use. I used dark chocolate morsels. And oh my, it was DELICIOUS.
  • Since these morsels are BIG when compared to the regular chocolate chips, the globs of chocolate spread throughout the pie were also BIG.
  • You don’t really taste the crust except for the edges. So a bought crust is perfectly fine.
  • The crust acts like an edible plate for this gooey pie.
  • If you buy frozen pie shells, you don’t have to thaw it first. I didn’t. I baked it, about 5 minutes, while I was assembling the recipe. I didn’t even preheat the oven. I turned it on to 325 and stuck the crust in there.
  • This is a RICH pie. I cut the pie into 8 slices. I think having half a slice would have been perfectly satisfying.
  • To cut back on the rich taste, next time I will use 3/4 or maybe even 1/2 cup of butter. And I am not sure that you have to melt the butter. You probably could just use softened butter. When I try this, I will make a note here as to the results.

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever made a Toll House pie before? If yes, what are your tips and observations?

Related Article  . . . The Chocolate Chip Cookie Was Invented By Accident (

Related Posts from Fruitfulwords . . . 


NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is P. The topic is a PIE review, in fact, two of them!

. at . 4 comments

O: My OPERATION Christmas Child Plan is to Collect 55 Shoe Boxes

Sometimes you have to attempt something miraculous in order to jump start your faith or to change your attitude.


As of April 15, 2013, I have collected 10 boxes. I only have 45 more boxes to go.

That’s why I am collecting FIFTY-FIVE filled shoe boxes for the November 2013 Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoe box drive at my church.

I want my faith to grow leaps and bounds. And I want my attitude to change.

So why am I doing this?

Since mid-February I’ve been in a funk, an age-related funk. I wasn’t thrilled about turning 55 in March. Mainly because I am not where I thought I’d be in most areas of my life. And to be middle-aged and disappointed with yourself (and circumstances) is a yucky place to be.

However, I am not going to let myself stew. So I’ve come up with a plan, a 55th birthday year-long plan. Go here to read the whole plan.

This post will deal with the shoe boxes. Samaritan’s Purse (an international relief organization) sponsors Operation Christmas Child. This is a collection of shoes boxes (cardboard or plastic) that are filled with age-appropriate items for needy children all over the world. Go here to see what’s in the boxes.

I am part of this heart-touching ministry. For years I have donated 2 -3 boxes each November.

I help with this ministry because I am a parent, auntie and missionary. Did you know that you are a missionary too? Read this post to see why I believe this.

So now you know my goal and the why behind my goal. And you probably figured out that this is something that requires the help of God in order for me to accomplish.

Want to help? If yes, then . . .

  1. Pray. Pray that this goal is met. Pray for the recipients of the boxes. Pray for their families, schools, and communities. 
  2. Give  a shoebox, cardboard or plastic. If you donate a plastic shoebox, please give a better quality one. That way it will withstand being packed in a carton and shipped with weight on top of it.
  3. Give items for the shoeboxes. Soon I will post what kinds of things I am collecting. In the meantime you can go to this link for suggestions, in case you want to go shopping TODAY.
  4. Give a $7.00 donation.  A donation of $7 or more helps cover project expenses such as shipping the boxes. I can send the box in your name and you can see what country it ends up in.
  5. Give a filled shoebox. You can do that as a family, work unit, neighbors, or a single person. Of course I would put your name as the sender of the box.

Several years ago I interviewed Kathy, one of the OCC co-ordinators at our church. She had this to say about the importance of our involvement.

t’s our job to be good stewards of our money. The cost of filling one shoebox is a great investment. The blessing goes from the child upwards to the parents who often don’t have the financial means to give a gift to their child. 

For some children this is the first gift they’ve ever received.

Then the blessings go outwards to the community. And whole communities have been changed by one simple shoebox.

I am wondering how and with whom God will answer this prayer.

Your Turn . . . Contact me if you’d like to help through prayer or donation.

Related articles


NOTE: This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is O. The topic is OPERATION Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

. at . 4 comments

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