This Is Me

Jessie Bee
I am a seeker of God, a help-meet to my husband and a mother to my 3 children. I love hot lattes, good books, cold weather and anything that inspires me to be creative. I desire simplicity and authenticity, but often have to remind myself to seek those .
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Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm a bad blogger.

Not kidding.  Just google "How to write a good blog" and I promise I'll show up under the section "examples of bad ones."  I break all the rules.

1. I don't blog consistently.  I lead a rather mundane life of raising kids, cooking dinner, and cleaning toilets.  Therefore, I don't have a consistent repertoire of suspenseful anecdotes to share.    

2. I'm a pathetic photographer.  No, seriously.  Most of the authors of my favorite blogs use "THEBESTCAMERAEVER 3000" or a similar model.  My pictures come from a smorgasbord of ridiculous snapshots taken from such mediums as my awful camera phone, my yogurt-crusted pink point-and-shoot, and my husband's iphone (when I can manage to sneak away with it).  And I have no motivation to change.  Sorry folks.

3. I use too many commas.  But honestly, nothing is as cool as possessing the power to make a reader pause, if only for a second.  =)  But for grammar fanatics, I'm sure its just annoying.

4. I don't stick to a common theme.  You know, I really don't even want to discuss this one.  If I ever get around to Project Pizza: Attempt #2, then at least I'll have two blogs in common.

5. I call posts "blogs".

6. I don't link, I don't archive, I don't copyright and you can't subscribe. In fact, I JUST learned what an RSS feed is tonight.  All my favorite blogs have links to previous posts right on the page, they have easy access to their archives organized by theme (snobbish, I agree), and they include the ability to subscribe via a little RSS feed.  And I'm so clueless, I don't even know if I explained that right.

With all that said, I'm stunned I have any readers at all.  (a quick aside:  does anybody else find it creepy that blog readers are called "followers"?)  But if General MacArthur is correct then, when the internet becomes obsolete and blogging is an extinct form of art, my blog will be one of the few people will talk about.  Well, at least the 20 of you on the right hand side of my computer screen.  =)

“You are remembered for the rules you break.”

-George MacArthur

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Project Pizza

When I began a relationship with my [now] husband 9 years ago, I knew how to cook two things:  apple pie and pancakes.

About a year into our courtship, my husband went to a friend's house to have a sleepover.  

Sleepover?  Do guys even call it that?  

In the morning, my husband's friend's mother made some pancakes.  Apparently they were good pancakes.  As in, better than my pancakes.  The next time I saw her, she was wearing a crown and he kept referring to her as the "Pancake Queen." 

You see my dilemma.  

Since apple pie wasn't going to carry me through a marriage, my mom began a mad rush to teach me cooking essentials like searing meat, making a good roux, sauteing vegetables, roasting chicken, using a crock pot.  Everything...except pizza.  She left that up to Papa John, and all I learned from him was that pick up was $3 cheaper than delivery.  

Eight years after the dreaded pancake episode, I feel I can probably succeed at almost any recipe I attempt.  However pizza is to me what garlic bread is to my mom:  a complete joke.  

And that is what has brought me here, to Project Pizza.  I am going on a journey in an attempt to make the PERFECT pizza, but with one caveat:  it must be from scratch.  No premade pizza sauce or packaged dough.  Obviously I can't be expected to make my own cheese, and my tomato plant hasn't produced a single tomato since last November.  Yes, obviously I expect a little grace.

With all that said, here is attempt #1.  Okay, technically not attempt #1 or else I wouldn't know how truly pathetic my skills are.  Like, have you ever had one half of your pizza rise 3 inches and the other half stay flat as a pancake?  Not sure if that was my subconscious attempt to outperform the Pancake Queen by simultaneously cooking two dishes at once, but it'd probably be safe to say I failed.  At least I don't remember getting a crown for it.

Okay, I know.  At first glance it doesn't look too bad.  Well, if you like pineapple on your pizza.  If not, just squint and pretend its yellow peppers.

Then look closer....

Is it just me or did all my pizza dough somehow manage to scoot to the outer edges and form a tumor?

Oh, and you know that magic trick where they put someone in a box and pretend to saw someone in half.  Pretty sure I did it wrong.

Or maybe I was just trying to extricate the tumor?  And no matter how great (or odd) a pizza looks, perfection includes the taste.  This one tasted slightly too yeasty.  

If this were a throwdown, then Bobby Flay won.  Stay tuned for round 2.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Poem

The bathroom, though a wonderful invention,
Elicits a rule in need of attention-
That is, when I enter inside,

thank you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Going Frugal.

I'm aware being frugal was a way of life before the introduction of debt.  But much like peasant tops, soda made with real sugar, and starbursts (no, not the candy), the word "frugal" is making a rapid resurgence into our everyday vocabulary.  I had a professor who said that if I used a word three times, it could be mine too.  I hope writing it counts because, guess what readers, IT'S MINE!  Well, as long as the title counts.

I urge you to try it.  Tired of those calls asking for donations for the firefighters and prepared dinners delivered in automobiles?  Let them know you wish you could help, but you have to be very frugal with your spending now.  Sure, they're just going to ask for a smaller donation, but now you only have to use the word two more times and you, too, can own it.  

Anyhow, because I now personally own this word, I have tried to figure out how to actively use it.  And not just in a blog.  A blog is like a book report, and I was looking to make a diorama.  Remember those?  Pure awesomeness.  I wanted to make my new word active and alive.  So here are a few of my attempts:

1. Bedding:  my girls desperately needed new comforters.  Why?  Because their mom wasn't looking when the youngest child personalized them with permanent marker.  Bad mom.  Instead of putting out $70 for two new comforters, I went to Ikea and spent $20 on two duvets to cover the perfectly usable comforters.  

What's that you say?  Amateur frugality?  Then try this:

2. TV stand:  I found someone giving away a free tv stand on craigslist.  I picked it up and, when I finally get around to putting a couple coats of polycrylic on our free one, I'll swap it out for our current stand (which is our old coffee table which doesn't even fit our dvd player).  I'll then SELL the coffee table for...let's say...$20?  Awesome.  Oh, wait a second.  How much did I spend on those duvets? 

Look who's amateur now?

3. Spaghetti sauce:  Costco sells three jars of spaghetti sauce for $7.  Not too bad.  Oh, but stop.  Remember that new vocabulary word?  Right, frugal.  Costco ALSO sells cans of tomato puree and diced tomatoes for $2.50 each.  I bypassed the spaghetti sauce, purchased the large cans, and went home and made about 6 batches of spaghetti sauce (using less than $2 worth of spices).  

Can you say "frugal"?  Well done - the word is now yours too.  =)

4. Menu planning:  Instead of staring into my fridge for 5 minutes, walking over to the pantry and spending equal amount of time there and repeating that process until dinner decides to crawl out, I've begun a simple yet little-known process of menu planning.  I know - what the heck is that, right?  This strange custom involves sitting down and inventing 5 meals that I'm going to make in the next 5-7 days.  I pick 5 because we usually have left-overs or have plans to eat elsewhere (can you say "parents"?).  I then write out the ingredients those meals require and purchase ONLY THOSE, preferably with a coupon if available.  I'm a pair of heels and a pearl necklace shy of looking archaic.  

5. Buying in bulk:  I'm pretty sure that a synonym for being frugal is "buying in bulk."  But at the same time if you need rice for dinner that night, spending $2 on a bag sounds cheaper than spending $7 on one.  However, this is where menu planning and b.i.b. mesh.  You see, long ago when I didn't plan menus (i.e. March), I would need some rice for dinner that night (because the dinner that crawled out would demand the presence of rice) and run to the store and get said rice for $2.  Let me clarify that.  I'd get a pound of rice for $2.  Because of menu planning, I can plan for buying in bulk (meat, flour, sugar, etc) and go ahead and purchase that rice for $7.  Oops, more clarification.  I can buy 25 pounds of rice for $7.  I need to come up with a frugal dance for wins like this.

Okay, so none of this is life-changing.  No extreme couponing, no mad bargaining skills, no eating solely off a home garden.  But aren't diorama's a third grade project anyway?  I'd say I'm doing pretty decent for a third grader.  

At least I can make spaghetti sauce.  

I'm dying to know - what are YOUR frugal ideas?  

Oh, P.S.  So tacky, I know, but I created a Facebook page where you can comment if you don't have a blogger account.  I know a few people have mentioned that problem to me, so hopefully this helps!  I'd really love to hear your ideas.  =)

Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Body

All throughout the New Testament God likens the church to a body.  Not several bodies; just one.  As individual believers, we make up different parts of that said body.  My husband recently said that even if a Christian is good enough to qualify as an entire eye, he is still useless without the help of the rest of the body.  We have been uniquely created to be interdependent on each other.

I do have a point to this so please keep reading!

On Tuesday night, May 31st, I was sitting at my computer.  Wait, quick pause.  My husband and I one day hope to adopt and we've been leaning towards Russia.  We've recently paid off our debt and are now focusing on acquiring another route and saving.  But since we're not actively in the adoption process, it's so easy to lose fire for that mission.  So back to my computer - I was sitting at it, looking up Russian adoption blogs.  I haven't done this before, but I did it.  On Tuesday night.  The 31st.  

While skimming different blogs, one in particular caught my eye.  It was a couple with a burden to adopt a little girl from Russia, and to do it debt-free.  I spent over an hour reading their story and, by the time I was done, was motivated to donate to their cause.  The date is important now, because it was the very end of the month.  My husband and I allot a minimum amount to give away each month, and I opened up our budget to see if we had reached that minimum.  We almost ALWAYS do all of our giving at the beginning of the month so that we don't have an excuse not to later (i.e. we ate out too much and now we don't have enough money to give).  However, this month we hadn't.  This is rare.  But it made giving to this couple rather easy.  It was a modest sum....pennies compared to what I know an adoption costs.  Thankfully I know God's not looking at the amount.

The next morning I received an email from the wife.  Little did I know, that night - Tuesday, May 31st - her and her husband had just finished 7 days of prayer and fasting regarding their adoption process.  She wrote this to me:  "we just dedicated the last seven days to fasting and praying with the Lord, being open to direction, guidance, just basking in His love and whatever He would bring to the table...And then, on the very last night of fasting, last night, I get this donation from you and your husband and I think, 'Wow.  God is just really speaking to me that He will provide!'"

I'm not attempting to brag about our gift because, honestly, it was small.  Her full response would have been better suited if there were a couple zeros added onto the end of our gift.  But what really spoke to me was how little is required to ensure that our body - the one Christ has made us all members of - stays blessed and encouraged.  I think of my friend Andrea who did a bake sale to buy socks for homeless children.  I think of my sister and her husband who couldn't buy from the bake sale, and so gave a little seed money to help Andrea buy ingredients for it.  And my friend Megan who took up a collection for a pregnant mom who didn't have a car seat or any essentials for her expectant child.  And my Dad who will spend an entire wedding in the kitchen doing dishes.  I think about the homeschoolers I know who volunteer their time to remove the flags from the graves of our fallen heroes after Memorial Day each year.  And the ones who decorate a local assisted living facility with homemade cards and decorations.  I think of all my friends and family who willingly make small sacrifices despite a lack of accolades, simply because they want to take care of the Body.  God is not asking for riches - He has those.  He's only seeking what He's already enabled us to give.  I thank those of you who model this and have spurred me on to do the same.
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