November 26, 2009


Last night we went around the table and said what we were thankful for.

Aaron: I'm thankful for my job.

Angela: I'm thankful for warm soup.

Sadie: I'm thankful for the sandy spot next to the driveway. It is the perfect place to lay in the sun.

Scoop: I'm thankful for grass squirrels treats blankets rawhide bugs lunch naps running morning bedtime trees birds porch couch neighbors car-rides walks leash smelling frogs licking moths jumping dogs deer rabbits baths (wait, not baths) vet ear-rubs mud creek chair garage ocean vacation sun windows noises barking back-door outside inside street field rock stick toy rope ball stories music stretching wagging yawning hugs {this is where I stopped listening. she went on for another five minutes, but I was busy enjoying my soup.}


November 25, 2009


Like a teenager in tantrum, selfish, unwilling, I scream I don't want to! Why? You just don't understand!

And He answers simply, Because I know best. I can see things you can't see. Because I love you.

Yet I storm off...prideful, hurt, ignoring, certain I can make my own decisions.

So I wallow...flounder...squander.

But He comes for me and knocks, again, on my door. Child, I am always here.

Still I wallow...flounder...squander...starve.

Then I turn towards home and look again for the bread of life.

Grace, Father running to me long before I'm at his feet begging forgiveness.

Grace, Father feeding me what I have not earned.

And I rest...trusting...grateful...fed.

November 20, 2009


Text messaging between Aaron and me yesterday at 7:15 a.m.

ATB: Have you heard?

No, what? (at home brushing my teeth, mind racing, oh no, what could it be? I have the news on, surely I would have seen some breaking story by now.)

ATB: About the bird bird bird. the bird is the word.

This is really funny if you've seen this episode of Family Guy and if you're Aaron Bussey.


November 19, 2009


photo source: Amanda SG

My Dad is in town for a meeting and took me to breakfast this morning.

I am thankful for a thousand things wrapped up in that hour.
{Not the least of which was the bacon.}

You learn to speak by speaking,
to study by studying,
to run by running,
to work by working;
and just so, you learn to love by loving.
- Saint Francis de Sales

November 17, 2009


Yes, that bowl has a nose.

This week's soup was French Onion. Oh la la and très délicieux and savoureux beaucoup!
Did you know I took French in high school and college?

In the spirit de cuisine français, I listened to Nouvelle Vague while I cooked. Except during the onion preparation, I paused the iPod and instead sang the song the French cook sings in The Little Mermaid, only I changed it to onions instead of fish - Les oignons, les oignons, Hee-hee-hee, HAW-HAW-HAW!

Englishly speaking, this has been the easiest soup to make so far.

I started out using a recipe I found online, but it called for five pounds of onions and I got tired of slicing onions after about two pounds worth. And I started to get anxious that I was losing my concentration and I DID NOT want a repeat of the onion-fainting incident. Hee-hee-hee, HAW-HAW-HAW!

So I went to my trusty Joy Of Cooking cookbook and found the recipe there that thankfully called for only two pounds of onions. Fantastique!

The recipes were very similar, so I incorporated ingredients and instructions from the online recipe into the book recipe, for instance adding a bit of brown sugar to the onions as they caramelized. I like it because my cook book now has notes written in the margin. I hope to some day have a cook book full of handwritten notes.

That's pretty much all you do for this soup. Slice onions, put in pot with butter. Watch as they magically produce sugars and colors and smells from deep within. Add a pinch of this and that, plus chicken stock. Simmer. Top with toasted bread and gruyère. Melt, et voilà!

At the last minute, Aaron suggested we invite our neighbors over to share the soup with us. I was a tad nervous because I had no idea how the soup was going to taste, so when I called to ask them to dinner I added that we might all end up eating chicken nuggets and green beans off their two-year-old's plate.

Ah, mais oui, ca c'est toujours delish!

November 16, 2009


This is a little Thanksgiving banner I made for my Momma.
(isn't her kitchen pretty?)

I chose for it to make the statement "Gives Thanks" rather than the directive "Give Thanks" because my Momma has always lead by example.
She's a show-not-tell kind a gal.

And she doesn't need a special holiday or month or season to be reminded to focus on blessings.
She always gives thanks.

November 13, 2009


My Mom invited me to go to the Texas Conference for Women with her in Houston last Thursday. It was a fun day together.

My Mom arrived in Austin Wednesday evening, and Aron took us to dinner. We lingered long over conversation, soup (imagine that!) and sandwiches. Aaron even snuck away and returned with a brownie for us all to share!

We took a shuttle bus from Austin to Houston - which was fun because we watched movies and watched the sun rise as we drove through Giddings (one of my new favorite places, by the way, since Aaron and I spent some time there on a recent roadtrip) and the rest of the foggy morning along Highway 290. Then as we got into Houston, at rush hour, we had fun peering down into commuters' cars from our perch in the big shuttle bus. It's a different perspective when you're up that high. Makes me wonder what all those people are thinking about, praying about, fretting about, and thankful for as they drive to wherever it is they're going.

The conference was pretty neat. Isabel Allende was a keynote speaker, and she held a book-signing after her talk. That was special because my Mom and I have swapped Allende's books and both enjoy her writing and stories. At the conference, Momma bought Allende's most recent book, The Sum of Our Days. It's Allende's memoir and I can't wait to read it! She's had an interesting and inspiring life overcoming great hardships and tragedy, but "by no means without humor, mirth and wisdom."

Suze Orman was also among the speakers we heard.

Seeing Suze Orman live was one of those things that's just interesting to experience. She is a smart lady and has some good advice for money management.

What I find fascinating, however, is that even though she is billed as this financial guru - what she is really good at is performing. I don't mean that in a bad way - I just mean, there are tons of other people as smart or smarter than Suze Orman, who will give you the same advice as Suze Orman. But only Suze Orman will give it to you standing on a stage in a hot-pink jacket with her polished, commanding appearance, practiced words and anecdotes, and a flurry of urgency.

To me, her success came not from her ability for money management - but from her ability to be a dynamic leader. I guess that's what makes many people successful - they are so naturally influential and motivational, they can't help but share their interest in a way that eventually makes them "famous" for it.

Anyway, I enjoyed hearing and seeing her speak. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some money I need to defer to my 401K.

November 11, 2009


Last weekend we spent a very lazy Sunday drizzling around the house.
Scratch that. We spent a very drizzly Sunday lazing around the house.

Aaron cleaned and shined his boots and kept the laundry piles moving.

I worked on a few sewing projects and wiped mud off the dogs' paws approximately 182 times.

We also put a big pot of Minestrone soup on to simmer.

It was so nice. We had the windows open, and there was a stretch of time where the only sounds were the quiet rain pattering outside in harmony with the knife chopping down through hearty root vegetables (no fingers this time!) and the soft sizzling of sausage and garlic and onions sautéing on the stove.

It was the perfect soup day.

Dinner was ready just in time for one of our favorite t.v. shows - America's Funniest Videos - so we ate our soup on the couch, giggling between bites at the antics of America's zaniest pets, clumsiest adults and adorablest children.

AFV is always the beginning of the end of Sunday for us. It kind of signifies the wind-down of the day and weekend. (Mad Men signifies the end, in case you were wondering.) In the Bussey house, whatever you're doing on Sunday, you better be done by 6:30 and ready for dinner and some hilarity.

The Minestrone soup turned out quite tasty. The author of the recipe notes that the soup is really better the second time around, after it's been chilled and reheated. Aaron and I concur after having leftovers on Monday. Next time, I might make it a day ahead just so we can have it reheated the first time around. And we'll invite the neighbors over for a bowl of Day Old Soup.

November 10, 2009


Before and After. dingdingdongdoong I would totally win on Wheel-of-Fortune.

I know, it's I Dream of Jeannie, so that would never really be a puzzle on WoF, but this would: Not The Point Break!

("Take my hand!" - that's mostly for Renee', and if you get it too - hooray!)

Now on to the real matter of this post a.k.a. something that makes sense...supposedly.

I made these granola bars to take on our camping trip a few weeks ago.

Actually, they are not so much bars as hunks. I've figured out that the things I make at home don't generally present as well as commercially made foods. But they sure do taste good!

That there is a hunk (2 hunks to be exact) of cranberry-almond-honey-oats-and-some-other-stuff goodness.

Very nutritious and delicious... and most importantly Fast and Easy.

They ended up being great for the camping weekend...and we had some to bring home and enjoy with coffee at an after-school snack...and at bedtime with Sleepytime tea...

I've been dreaming about granola hunks. Maybe it's time to whip up another batch.

November 09, 2009


The cool weather and early sun-setting have given me a hankerin' for warm soups simmering on the stove. Oooh cozy.

And I want to use the soup mug my Mom passed on to me. I bet that thing is as old as I am!

Aaron first requested his childhood favorite, Rattlesnake Stew, which I for some reason invariably pronounce Rattlestake Snew. It's one of those wonderfully savory snews to which you can add just about anything you wish and you don't have to measure ingredients. Swirly egg noodles are the namestake facnor. I think they are supposed to resemble rattlestake nails...kind of...maybe...not really. I'm pretty sure the snew got it's name simply because it came from a house full of rowdy boys. Arrgh arrgh arrgh. It might have been dubbed Butterfly Stew (which I can pronounce without issue) if it came from a house of little girls. Wait, that doesn't really work does it?

Next up, Creamy Corn Chowder with Cheese and Bacon, or as we call it, 4Cs&B. In the picture, you sadly can't see the awesomeness that is the chowder - although that topping of cheese looks yummy, eh - but it has corn, red potatoes, onions, garlic and bacon(!). The perfect chunkiness for a chowder if you ask me. It hit the spot. More 4Cs&B please!

On the menu next are Minestrone and French Onion soup. Mmmm mmmm good.

November 08, 2009


Aaron made this little door-hanger for me circa 1999, the year we started dating.

I found it in a box of keepsakes. It found its way on to a door-knob.

Proof Aaron has been privy to my nerdiness all along.
I think he kinda likes that about me.

I'm glad I never threw it away. It makes me smile.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to keep and a time to throw away...
Ecclesiastes 3

It's nice to know that in some seasons of life
I've held on to the right things.

November 06, 2009


at halcyon, hearing the cure, randomly thinking i'd like to remember what i looked like today

there was nothing in the world
that i ever wanted more
than to feel you deep in my heart
there was nothing in the world
that i ever wanted more
than to never feel the breaking apart
all my pictures of you

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6

November 05, 2009


Behold the November mobiles -- Fall(ing?) leaves and some fly(ing!) geese. By the way, I'm not going to call these 'mobiles' anymore, unless they are bats because then I can call them bat-mobiles. I henceforth dub thee Hangers.

To be honest, I'm not very razzle-dazzled by these Hangers. I wish I would have picked different paper in bolder colors. Oh well, now I know. It's kind of funny, though. I spent no less than 45 minutes in the scrap-booking store agonizing over the color, pattern, thickness, smell, taste, musical preferences and carpentry skills of each paper. Because, you know, this is a VIP (Very. Important. Project.) and I would NOT want to make the wrong choice in Hanger paper.

At one point, I was sitting on the floor surrounded by approximately eleven different sheets, trying to make a decision. I kept having to say "oh excuse me, am I in your way?"

Luckily, anyone who is in a store dedicated solely to scrap-booking totally gets why one would be sprawled on the floor seriously contemplating paper, and sweetly replies with something along the lines of "Oh honey, no, you're fine" as they politely step over me.

(Aaron wanted to be in this picture.)
(And please don't be alarmed by the flame-precariously-near-paper-obvious-fire-hazard. That paper is fire-retardant. Duh, like that wouldn't be a criteria for my VIP.)

By the way, sorry these pictures are so lame. I will attempt to do better with the December Hangers.

November 01, 2009


Sometimes I forget how much fun it is to create. I may have mentioned before that I have an issue with wanting to get to the end result of things and forget to pay attention or enjoy the process of getting there. Whether it be baking bread, drilling holes for cabinet hardware, sewing, my spiritual journey, a road trip....

Sometimes this desire to just see the finished product deters me from even starting. I think it's going to take too long, or be too hard, or I don't quite even know how I'm going to do it. But it always happens, that once I get going on a project I love the process, even when I mess it up. And seeing the end result, even when it's not what I imagined, is so much more rewarding for having been through the process.

Being crafty is one area where I'm learning to just jump on it, and enjoy the process. Plus, I figured out that I can satisfy my obsession with patterns and colors with seasonal crafts instead of painting my walls a different color or recovering chairs every few months. And crafting is my favorite way to feather my nest. It feels good to be surrounded by things made by Aaron or me or someone we know.

Earlier this month I crafted up these little bat-mobiles out of scrap-booking paper. Once I discovered how quick and easy it was to cut out each bat and string them up, there was a flurry of tracing-scissors-paper-fishingline-scissors-tracing-paper-fishingline and I ended up with several mobiles to give to friends!

Today, I finally started (and finished!) these framed dog silhouettes, which I've been wanting to do for a few months. I've had all the supplies for several weeks, but it was finding suitable pictures of the dogs from which to make silhouettes that was hanging me up. As it turns out, Scoop was easy. I easily found a picture of a German Shorthair Pointer online, print, cut-out, trace, and voilà.

Sadie was a bit more tricky since her breed is Brown Dog. So I sifted through all the pictures I have of her looking for one that would work. After two failed attempts using photos of her lying down ('cause she's our relaxed doggie) (but lying down didn't work because the silhouette always ended up looking like a cat or a big bat-lion) I found the perfect photo of her standing that shows off her curly-cue tail. She's standing elbow-deep in the ocean in the picture, so I had to fake the bottom part of her legs. I think they look kind of funky, but oh well. It doesn't have to be perfect.

You might also notice that Sadie's silhouette is kind of huge compared to Scoopie's. Oh well, it doesn't have to be perfect.

Oh, and did you see that the silhouettes are framed on top of the mat instead of fitting nicely in the 4x6 area? Oops. Oh well... it doesn't have to be perfect.

If you look really really close, you'll see that I even detailed Sadie's fluffy tail. Maybe no one else will ever see it, but I know it's there.

Anyway, I really love the way they turned out. Mostly because I think they are kind of funny and make me giggle a little bit.

I have a Thanksgiving mobile planned that I'm about to get started on. I don't have all the details worked out yet, but I'm excited to see where the process takes me!

I'm really liking this way of crafting. Just figuring it out as I go. And knowing that it doesn't have to be perfect to love it.