Posts filed under ‘Firsts’

I’m Eating Spiced Beans in Coconut Milk (Maharagwe) at Church “Airport”

mali_foodThis weekend I am participating in World Focus Weekend at my church which is turned into an “airport.” Four flights will “visit” three countries: Africa, China and Jordan. The “food court” is serving dishes native to those countries.

One of the  African dishes is Maharagwe and is from Mali. Since it is gluten-, dairy- and egg-free my daughter is thrilled that she likes this dish. It is sure to become a staple in our home. Below is the recipe.


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas, drained. Get them without “specialty seasonings” if possible. I think any bean would taste good in this dish.
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Use less if not partial to spicy food.
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder. Use less if not partial to spicy food.
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  •  oil
  • 2 cups cooked rice


  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep pot.
  2. Add and cook the onion and garlic until it is golden and soft.
  3. Partially mash the cooked peas with a fork and then add to the cooking onion.
  4. Add the tomatoes and mix well.
  5. Put in the spices: turmeric, red pepper and chili powder.
  6. Add half the cilantro (2 tablespoons).
  7. Pour in the coconut milk, stirring to blend all the ingredients.
  8. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  9. Serve Maharagwe over rice.
  10. Garnish with remaining cilantro.

Serves 4.

If you make this, let me know what you think.

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Some Days are Dangerous

My daughter made me wear this while doing something for work.

I think I should have worn it at the meeting I was at tonight.  🙂


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Where Have I Been? Flashpoint Is Now Added to My Must-See TV.

Tonight while getting ready for two full days of school (Fri-Sat) I watched the tube. It started out with Flashpoint on in the background, then it caught my attention, and it is now added to my list of shows to watch (along with House and Army Wives). I wonder what can be discerned about my character by knowing what TV shows I watch?

There’s suspense but not graphic violence, deals with real life issues (in hopeful ways) like physical abuse and its consequences, second chances do happen for the goodies, and there are some cuties. Some of these cuties could possibly rival either one of doodah’s fake boyfriends: See letter “e.”  (Hopefully, I’ll still think this is a good show after watching it for awhile.)

So, on Thursday nights at 9 pm I have a standing date with my fake boyfriend Tee, with the last name of Vee.

What show is on your must-see TV? Include the why as well. Maybe I’ll discover some other shows I should have been watching.

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Full Throttle Doesn’t Phase Me

I’m feeling lackluster. . . .energy-less. . . . barely in the crawling mode. . . . because of too many late nights and too many early mornings. And no naps in between. The next several days promise to be B-U-S-Y.

So I did something I’ve never done before. I bought an energy drink, Full Throttle. And drank it all in one sitting.

Just so you know, this 16 oz. drink did not give me any extra energy.

I drank it 46 minutes ago. Maybe it’ll take some time before the B Vits, caffeine, ginseng, guarana, taurine, carnitine & sucrose circulate in my blood stream and ramp me up to full throttle.

On the plus side. . . . It tastes good. And the can looks wicked cool.

I’ll update this in several hours, if there is a change in my energy level.

UPDATED: I did not experience my 2:00 slump until 5 pm. And after a 50 minute rest I was ok. I was able to go to sleep quickly.

Have you ever had an energy drink? Did it help?

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New Blog for C.A.M.P Craft Night Plus

Ladies, C.A.M.P. is happening on Friday, August 8, 2008. It will be 4-midnight at the church.

Go to the Craft Night Plus blog to check out what’s happening. If you’d like to describe what you’ll be doing, leave a comment at either place or email me or Michelle.

Bring your project(s), musical instrument, potluck food item and snacks to share. Or come to view the movie and/or talk. Wanna sing? Sign up to lead us through camp and/or other types of songs.

Hey, it’s your camp experience and you can do what you want. Invite a friend or two.

RSVP to me, Michelle, or the church office.

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Can You Call It Camp If It’s Only 8 Hours Long?

Women’s Craft Night has a date and name change.

The new and improved date is Friday, August 8.
It will be at the church from 4 pm to midnight.
This night is called Craft Night Plus or C.A.M.P.
C.A.M.P. means Cratfs and Multiple Projetcs.

paint set

paint set


You can bring your own projects to work on.
Michelle and Susan will let you know what they are working on in case you want to do the same things.

I.e. Michelle will be painting a bath time bucket, making a cake platter and learning how to set up a blog. Susan wants to make tie on slippers like Doris Day wore, a googly eye necklace, fire starters and pretzels.

We’ll show a movie on the big screen and maybe even have a time of singing, if one of you wants to lead it.

Can it be called camp if it’s only 8 hours? It can, if it’s our kind of C.A.M.P.

Look for more information in the bulletins, August CrossRoads, on the bathroom stalls and on the bulletin board.

RSVP to Michelle, Susan or the church office.

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I’m on the Twitter Track

typingI became a twitterite this week. Not sure who uses it for what. My sista and Daughter are on there though. Evidently you get 140 words to tell what you are doing.

This is what I posted a few minutes ago:

I just recuperated from a HOT day in an 80 degree classroom. Should I go to bed, make tapioca, put away the laundry, write a paper or surf?

After I hit send, “laundry” wins the coin toss.

What you doing in 140 words or less?

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11 Hot Air Balloon Observations

11 observations while in my 5oth birthday present – a hot air balloon ride on Saturday, April 19, 2008, Napa Valley, CA.

  1. I’m terrified of heights. When walking across the highest suspension bridge in the world located in Canon City, Colorado . . . . atop an aqua duct in France . . . . while navigating the catwalk in many castles in England, I was sacred white and legless. BUT NOT in a hot air balloon at 1000 feet. My son was sure I’d claw gouges into his arm from fear.
  2. Obey the signs. Except when following the instructions are not in our best interest. There was a HUGE Land Here sign carved into a grassy field. It was tempting to land there. But the pilot wasn’t able to navigate the air currents just right so that we could land safely. He assessed the situation and decided to make a new plan. We liked that better because we got to fly 20-30 minutes longer.
  3. Unseen air currents do the unexpected. So it was necessary for the pilot to carefully watch how the balloons in front and behind him were flying. He also asked for help from those on the ground. Our pilot was surrounded with help before, behind, and underneath. And of course in the basket with us was a simple instrument panel.
  4. My glasses stayed on my face. For some reason I thought my glasses would have this urge to leap off my face. Never happened.
  5. It was noisier in the balloon than I thought. The release of the gas made for a noisy, heated time. The taller people were advised to wear a hat in order to protect their head from the heat.
  6. It was colder than I expected. The guide told us to NOT over-dress because the heat from the balloon would be sufficient. At the last minute I decided to grab my gloves and winter jacket. Good move – I used both as it was still nippy even with the heat descending upon our heads.
  7. Our pilot was a pro. Evidently Bob is one of the best pilots around. In the winter, Bob flies air balloons in Switzerland. A lot of those trips are 2-3 hours and come with food and wine to consume during the ride. We had our champagne breakfast after the ride. I was glad of this – that way my sista could join us.
  8. The time zoomed by. We were in the air for 1 hr 20 minutes and flew 7 miles. The mileage was a personal record for Bob. It didn’t seem like I was standing for that long of a time.
  9. Trouble in, trouble out. I am not the most elegant, graceful or limber of people. I had to have a huge push from behind in order to get over the side of the basket. The side came to the top of my ribcage. I wasn’t too embarrassed – I am getting used to it by now.
  10. Doing something new is a bonding experience. This flight and the rest of the day (thanks to my daughter’s ideas) will rank as one of the best birthday presents. Now whenever I see/hear/think about a hot air balloon, I will always think about that day. There will not be any competing memories.
  11. Hurray for my 51 Things List. I’ve wanted to go on a hot air balloon for awhile, but I don’t always remember what I want to do. This list is a great way to remember and then to decide which things in life I’ll do during this year I turned 50. This list includes Habits and Events.

I am very grateful to my sista, son and daughter for their respective parts in making this day so special. It was WORTH the wait.

Have you ever been in a hot air balloon? Tell us about your experience.

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World Health Day Goes Green: Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption

Today, April 7, 2008, is World Health Day. This year’s theme is Protect Health from Climate Change. Now whether you think there is global warming and resulting disastrous changes going on or not, we can do things that will make a positive impact on our environment and wallet.

The World Health Association has put out an A-Z list of ways we can help. Most of the ideas revolve around going green – reducing our energy consumption and being smarter about waste disposal/recycling. Below are some of the suggestions.

  • Calculate your personal carbon footprint. Then reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. Go to to get your number.
  • Half your emissions by setting the thermostat at a lower number in the Winter (65 degrees) and higher number in the Summer (70 degrees). Keep the filters clean. Evidently almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to cooling. (I didn’t know that.) I am guilty about checking the filters.  😦
  • Off! Turn off appliances when not in use – TV’s, Computers, Coffee Makers, Toasters, Stereos, Lights, VCR/DVD Players and Photocopiers. My TV, Stereo and VCR/DVD Player are all connected to the same power cord. It is easy to turn them all off at the same time. It is not so easy to remember to turn them off.
  • Quit plastic bags. Bring your own bags when going shopping. Did you know that Seattle is considering charging customers 20 cents for each disposable bag? Paper and plastic! Click here for the full post on this.

Click here for directions on making your own shopping bags.

Click here for directions on making a canvas bag.

YouTube has directions for those wanting a video (7 minutes), instead of just words, for making a canvas shopping bag.

  • Read green blogs. (My idea) Here are a few to check out: Things That Make You Go Green, Tree Hugger, and Tree Hugging Family. Please share the green blogs that you read. Also share your favorite post.
  • Use less energy and conserve more of it. Think when using water – turn it off when not needed – like when brushing your teeth, washing hands, soaping clothes or dishes.

When we lived in England, we didn’t have a lot of hot water available for the shower. So once we got wet, the water was turned off while soaping the body and shampooing the hair. Then the water was turned back on for a quick rinse. I still do that – for the most part.  🙂

Another way I am going to use less energy, is by installing and using a clothesline. I’ve never used a clothesline before.

Click here to read how I use an electric blanket to save energy & money.

Check out the whole A-Z list by clicking here.

What are your green ideas?

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Ladies – A Three-Part Exercise: Pick up, Fill Out and Turn In

Let’s hear it now!  Pick up, Fill Out and Turn In!

One more time: Pick up, Fill Out and Turn In!

“What am I to Pick up, Fill Out and Turn In?” you ask.

“Retreat 2008 Registration Forms,” I say.

The forms are avaialbale at the Secret Sister bookcase or I can email you one.

“What’s it all about?” you ask. (more…)

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Lent Begins Today

I have been thinking about Lent.

Here’s part of a quiz I made up last year.

True or False

  • I have celebrated Lent once.
  • Lent is 46 days before Easter.
  • Fasting from food and activities occurs during Lent.
  •  Fasting is not allowed on Sundays and so are not counted as one of the days of Lent. This is why Lent is said to be 40 days long.


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Finding Unique Thing Sent Me Into A Tizzy

One morning our prof started the class with this question:

What’s unique about you.? If anyone else has the same unique thing you’re out of the class!

Talk about pressure. My brain freezes up when I have to speak in class anyway. Add to that a “unique”thing about me. My brain and tongue were in total frozen mode.

Luckily I was one of the last 4 (out of 12) so I had some time to scan my life for my unique thing.

Thought 1. I’ve moved probably close to 40 times and lived in 3 (4, if you count Texas) foreign countries: Puerto Rico some of middle school; Canada – graduated high school, and England 5 years in early 30’s.

Thought 2. While living in Texas I was part of a scuba diving club. On a trip to Galveston, the club was invited to visit Jacque Cousteau’s boat The Calypso. Also during the dive, my partner and I got stuck/lost (seemed like hours) in the underwater boat we were exploring. He pulled me this way. I pulled that way. Finally we cooperated and found our way to the top by following the flow of our bubbles.

Thought 3. When I attended college in Oregon I worked as a night-time receptionist at a funeral home.

Thought 4. I was a homeschool mom.

Thought 5. I graduated from college 30 years after my high school graduation – almost to the day.

I just could not think of a juicy, recent tidbit. I wanted to say something like:

  • I had Christmas lunch with Dolly Parton.
  • The book I wrote was on the best seller list twice this past year.
  • My weight was “normal” for 12 consecutive months probably because I didn’t eat any junk food and I exercised 6 times each week for the whole year.
  • I was celebrated as mom of the year and received a week-long family cruise to Alaska.

Of course, none of these are even remotely true, not even in my imagination. So I gave them Thought 3. Whew! No one else could claim that.

You know what’s sad? That I couldn’t think of something that happened in 2008 or even 2007. If I was thinking, I could have done a search on my blog. This post mentioned some unique things about me. But I bet if I consistently lived with my eyes wide open and moved beyond the caution tape, I could find many such examples.

Classmates unique things?

Unfortunately, I spent so much time freaking I didn’t really listen except to Ronnie Harris.I just HAD to pause my thinking when he said he played in Superbowl 33. Ronnie was a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. The game was against the Denver Broncos, who won. At that time we lived in Colorado Springs and since it was John Elway’s last game, I probably watched it. Ronnie is now a junior high pastor. Isn’t that even cooler?

Just think, I had a seminary class with a Superbowl football player! Hey, that’s my first (cool) unique thing for 2008. And I have an autographed trading card to prove it.

What’s your most recent unique thing?

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