Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

clean sweep(stakes) March 31-April 6

This week’s book giveaway is for a set of two books, The Decision of a Lifetime and Assurance for a Lifetime Both books were written by Women of Faith speaker, Marilyn Meberg. Although I’ve been a Christian for a couple of decades and some might say these books were written with the new Christian in mind, I recently read them both and as usual, I found Marilyn to be down to earth and LOVED the way she relates pragmatic, real life examples to spiritual growth and understanding. They are both in very good condition and would make a nice gift.

So how do you enter to win these books? Give me advice in a comment. (Don’t have any advice, but want to enter the drawing? Just leave any comment and you’ll be entered to win!)

My request today? I need help making a decision about my fireplace mantel.

I used to have it “merchandised” but I’m becoming more of a minimalist and I’m tired of dusting a bunch of stuff I don’t really love. Last month, I cleared everything away and bought 3 ceramic boxes, re-framed a favorite print and it looks . . . okay. (BOR. ING.) I can organize anything in an aesthetically pleasing way (all the DVDs on the bookshelf are alphabetized), but there’s nothing to organize on the fireplace.

What should I do with this “focal point” in my home? If you have a fireplace mantel, what have you done in your home? I’m open to any suggestions. Although the entire family agrees that TV should stay on the right side of the fireplace (for functionality), I’m thinking about alternatives for the cabinet too. I HATE the open doors when the TV is being watched.

(click on the photo to see a larger image)

Don’t want the books I’m giving away this week but have a suggestion for me anyway? I’ll take it! Just note in the comment that you don’t want to enter. And thanks!

Only the comments on THIS post will be eligible to win.
The books I give away here are usually “treasures” in “very good ” to “like new” condition.
I’m trying to give away a book a week, so I can only afford to ship within the U.S. So sorry!
Check out the list of previous winners and the books they won!

I’ll close comments Sunday evening, April 6th and use a random number generator to pick a winner!

March 31, 2008 Posted by | clean sweep(stakes) | 9 Comments

i can see clearly now

When you read text on your computer monitor, do the fonts seem . . . grainy? Do the edges of the letters appear ragged? Especially italicized text?

On my Pragmatic Computing blog, I posted a “Pragmatic Tip” explaining how to make fonts appear clear and sharp. I LOVE the way text looks on my computer monitor now!

In honor of Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer, I thought I’d invite you over to the Pragmatic Computing post to check it out!

Changing this one little Windows setting can make a big difference. It works for me!

Vista users:  Clear Type is the default setting for Vista, but I’ve updated the Pragmatic Computing post to include instructions to change it, just in case someone is interested.

March 26, 2008 Posted by | blogosphere, pragmatic computing | , , | 3 Comments

Bake Ahead Egg Muffins

When I make these, it’s usually on a Sunday afternoon. Then I store them in quart size Ziplock bags or Rubbermaid containers in the fridge. Weekday mornings, we just pop a few into the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds.

Prep Time: About a half an hour.
Bake Time: 20 to 30 minutes

Ingredients: (makes 24 muffins)
12 eggs (we use Eggland’s Best)
12 servings of egg whites (1 serving = 1/4 cup)
12 ounces of ground Healthy Choice sausage
1 box of chopped frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
12 ounces of shredded cheese (we use 2% sharp cheddar)

1. Start defrosting the frozen spinach (we use the microwave).
2. In a BIG bowl, crack the 12 eggs and whisk (I use a fork).
3. Add the egg whites and whisk even more.
4. Add the Healthy Choice sausage (I cut up the sausage into chunks which will fit in my food processor, chop/grind the sausage (whatever consistency I prefer) and then I stir the sausage into the egg mixture.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Drain the spinach (I squeeze it between two colanders).
7. Thoroughly stir the spinach into the egg/sausage mixture.
8. Stir in the shredded cheese (I add a little at a time – it gets sticky).
9. Spray two 12 cup muffin tins with vegetable spray, if needed.
10. Pour mixture into muffin cups.
11. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (they’re done when an inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean)

I add different hot sauces for FirstHusband and FavoriteSon. You can add any spices your family likes, switch out ingredients, make a smaller number of larger muffins, bake in a large pan to cut into serving sizes – this recipe has LOTS of possibilities!

Click here for a print friendly version: Bake Ahead Egg Muffins

(this is our family’s variation of the South Beach Diet egg quiche recipe.
thanks to Christy for reminding me about it!)
(For more recipes and some kitchen tips, check out Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at

March 26, 2008 Posted by | recipes | | 2 Comments

clean sweep(stakes) March 24-30

And the Winner is: infinitygoods! Congrats!

This week’s book giveaway is for the hardback edition of the book: Mothers Who Think edited by Camille Peri and Kate Moses of The link should take you to the “Look Inside” page (for the paperback edition) on so check it out! I’ve read it and found each contribution to be unique. Some contributors made me cry, some made me laugh, and some made me remember that I’m not alone. Some entries didn’t interest me and made me turn the page and skip them. For my Christian readers – it’s not a “Christian” book (but I read everything through my perspective as a Christian).

So how do you enter to win this book? Give me advice in a comment.
My request today? We need some different breakfast ideas for my 7 year old daughter. She just does NOT like to eat in the morning. It’s a real struggle, because she has hypoglycemia and NEEDS to eat breakfast. So far, we can still get her to eat something, but it’s always a chore! We need some new ideas! We’re in a rut. (I’m not going to say what we already have in our “breakfast repertoire” because I don’t want to limit any contributions!)

Don’t hesitate to repeat/agree with a suggestion already submitted in a previous comment. It just tells me that a suggestion is working for more than one family!

Only the comments with a kid breakfast idea will be eligible to win.
Only the comments on THIS post will be eligible to win.
The books I give away here are usually “treasures” in “very good ” to “like new” condition.
I’m trying to give away a book a week, so I can only afford to ship within the U.S. So sorry!
Check out the list of previous winners and the books they won!

I’ll close comments Sunday evening, March 30th and use a random number generator to pick a winner!

THANKS to Lisa over at Domestic Accident for giving me an AWARD!

March 24, 2008 Posted by | clean sweep(stakes) | 9 Comments

need a comment do-over?

Ever leave a comment on a blog and REALLY want to remove it later? Maybe you have an embarrassing typo, maybe you shared just a little too much and have “commenter’s remorse” or maybe you accidentally posted a comment on the wrong blog post. I’m sure there are other reasons.

The good news? You may have some options!

You have a blogger account* AND
You are logged in AND
You leave a comment on another blogger blog

Go to the blog where you left the (unwanted) comment.
Find the page where your comment appears.
Next to the comment, you should see a trash can icon. Click it.
On the confirmation page, click “Delete Comment” and you’re done!

See an example here.

*Did you catch what I wrote? A blogger ACCOUNT. I didn’t say a blogger BLOG. At least, not an active, public one. You don’t have to switch your blog platform. You don’t even have to create a “real” blog. You can create a blogger account, create a “bare bones” blog, make it private and ba da bing. You have a blogger account. Then, when you comment, use OpenID to link to your active blog, whatever its platform – BUT make sure you are logged into blogger when you comment.

Because, if you aren’t logged in to blogger when you comment, you won’t see a trash can next to your post later.  Here’s the thing. If you have a blogger account, but use OpenID to sign your comment, you won’t be able to delete your comment UNLESS you were logged into blogger when you posted the comment.

ohhhhh. (in the link above, blogger explains a few other reasons you may not see a trash can next to your comment)

I did that this morning. And then I had to email the blog owner to beg her to delete my comment for me! (no. I’m not telling who it was. you’ll go read my comment before she deletes it. I’ll give her public credit for inspiring this post AFTER she gets a chance to remove it.) UPDATE: Thanks, Amy for deleting my stupid comment.

You can also manually add a “delete” button on your blogger blog by inserting some code into your template. I found these instructions which provides the code allowing the comment author to delete it. I get the impression this would be for commenters who don’t have a blogger account. I haven’t tried it yet, but I probably will (Pragmatic Communion and Pragmatic Computing are hosted by blogger).

Unfortunately, if you have a WordPress blog, you don’t have that option. Here’s a WordPress FAQ (frequently asked question) and their answer:

Can I edit comments I wrote on another blog?

It is unfortunately not possible to edit or delete any comments you have left on another blog.

The best thing to do would be to attempt to contact the blog owner.


Anyone know how is this handled by Typepad? What about other blogging software platforms?

A BIG Thanks to Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer for inspiring this post for her Works for Me Wednesday series!

March 19, 2008 Posted by | blogosphere | , , , , | 8 Comments


On Monday, March 17th! What a nice surprise!

That’s a personal high here at Pragmatic Compendium! That’s not 273 visitors.  Rather, all the visitors combined viewed a total of 273 pages.  There were over 100 visitors, though!

Where did everybody come from? WordPress says some of you came from:

Proverbs 31 Ministries
Mocha with Linda
Mommy Brain

and the rest arrived through search engines and readers.

273 VIEWS in ONE day!

but only two people gave me “snow” advice. that’s cold, people. i’m going to freeze.

But after borrowing some really great clothes from a friend today, at least I will be a very stylish popsicle.

March 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

clean sweep(stakes) March 17-23

And the Winner is: MOMMY BRAIN! Now, the cool thing about this is that Mommy Brain won the LAST Clean Sweep(stakes) here at Pragmatic Compendium, but she asked me to pick another winner because she had just won a larger prize during the Ultimate Blog Party and she wanted to give someone else a chance.

I found that people had entered the sweepstakes in two different posts, so I included any comment with “snow advice” in the entries. I use a Excel to generate a random number with the formula @randbetween(1,X), where X equals the total number of entries. (eek. that sounded like a little like algebra.) So, I PROMISE this was random! Congratulations Mommy Brain! I’ll email you to find out what book you prefer!

Check out this week’s Clean Sweep(stakes)!

Once again, I need help, so I seek it with a bribe. A little advice in exchange for a chance to win a book!

We’re taking the family on a trip to Utah to see snow. We’re flying into Salt Lake City and we intend to spend at least one day at Park City. We aren’t going to ski, but we hope to rent snow mobiles and do some tubing and sledding. But we have a problem. We’re not sure what to take or what else we might want to do. (We have borrowed some winter clothing, but we don’t know if we have everything we really need.)

You see, we live in Florida. We are water park people. Beach people. We understand heat, humidity, perspiration, sunscreen, preventing dehydration, beach gear, saltwater fishing . . . you get the idea. We do NOT understand snow. Or cold. Or winter clothing. Or “outerwear.” Or winter sports and activities. My kids and I have never made snow angels, snowmen or even snowballs. We are actually taking our bathing suits so we can swim in the hotel’s indoor pool. (Somehow, that seems wrong.)

We have no idea what to expect, what is possible, what we should be sure to do, what we should be sure NOT to do. Basically, we have no clue.

So that’s where you come in. Post a comment and give me a clue. It can be ANYTHING. What to bring, what to do, where to go, what you’ve experienced . . . anything snow related that might help me.

How to Enter: Just post your advice sometime before Sunday, March 23rd at midnight. I’ll use a random number generator to select a winner! Remember, I think used books are a treasure. (These books are all treasures.)The Book You Can Win:

Commenter’s Choice! Just note which book you would want to win in your comment, along with your tip! I provided the Amazon links so you can “LOOK INSIDE!” for a preview.

Book Choice Number One: A Promise for Ellie (Daughters of Blessing #1) by Lauraine Snelling (Christian Fiction)

Book Choice Number Two: 500 Fat-Free Recipes: A Complete Guide to Reducing the Fat in Your Diet by Sarah Schlesinger (LOVE this – I just have two of them.) The Amazon “LOOK INSIDE!” provides the index – a list of ALL the recipes in the book!)

Book Choice Number Three: Wit and Wisdom from the Peanut Butter Gang: A Collection of Wise Words from Young Hearts

Book Choice Number Four: MEN ARE FROM MARS WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS by John Gray (it has a few stray pen marks I picked up a newer, clean copy yesterday)

(I’m really sorry, but I’m trying to give away a book every week, so I can only afford to ship within the United States.)

March 17, 2008 Posted by | clean sweep(stakes) | , , , , | 6 Comments

spoiled bumblebee

A while back, I posted a youtube video of a dad, named David Crawford singing Pachelbel Bedtime, about bedtime at his house with his two daughters. I discovered the link was broken and fixed it, but in the process, I found out he is making a CD! When I find out more about it, I will definitely post. If he actually records a CD, I’ll let you know where you can get one!

I also found his version of Flight of the Bumblebee, about a trip to the toy department with the family. Too funny. SO FAST! My daughter couldn’t understand the lyrics, so I typed them up for her, but I’m stuck. I posted them below the video. Can anyone fill in the missing words? Did I get the rest right?

daddy can I have it, oh I need it, can I have it
will you get it for me daddy, I can’t live without it daddy,
it’s so pretty and I love it, will you buy me what I covet,
I’ll be good, I promise daddy, if you let me have it
I need it and I want it, I can’t believe I never bought it
it’s the newest __________, and it’s the bestest of the best
and there not a toy that I want more in this entire toy store
and there’s a sign that’s on the box that says for a limited time

no no no no no no, no no no no no,

I’ll go ask my mom, and then I’ll tell on you, cause you are mean, very mean to me.

mommy can I have it, oh I need it can I have it,
will you get it for me mommy, I can’t live without it mommy,
it’s so pretty and I love it, will you buy me what I covet,
I’ll be good, I promise . . .

tell me what did daddy say, tell me what did daddy say,

daddy, daddy he said no, but he was being very mean.

you never let me have it, what I want you never give me,
you don’t like me, you don’t love me and you wish you never had me
if you loved me then you’d buy it but instead you made me cry
it happens every single time, I don’t know why I even try
I’m gonna fuss and scream and shout, I’m gonna whine and moan and pout
and then I’ll pitch a little fit, and then my eyes are gonna squint
I’m gonna lay here on the floor cause you don’t love me anymore
you never buy me any stuff and when you do you it’s not enough
what did I ever do except to love and honor you
you never let me have my way, you never listen anyway

you’ve got at least a dozen dolls like this at home
you never play with them, they sit there all alone
you can act this way while we’re inside the store
cause the cameras they are all set to record

but when we get into the van, I’m gonna whip your little can
unless you get up off the floor, cause I can’t take this anymore

instead of buying that new doll, we can go home and play some ball
so let’s go home

March 16, 2008 Posted by | laugh!, music, pragmatic parenting, youtube | , , | 4 Comments

hosanna heysanna

It’s Palm Sunday and find myself singing – as I do every year on this day – the song “Hosanna” from Jesus Christ Superstar. The CD recordings are much better, but here’s the youtube link to the 1973 movie clip of the song: Hosanna.  I know some people may not be comfortable with the movie, so I didn’t embed it.

March 16, 2008 Posted by | music, traditions | , , , | 1 Comment

clean sweep(stakes)

UPDATE: The winner, Mommy Brain sent me the following email:

I was just thinking about how I already won a big prize through Would it be too much trouble for you to draw a new person for your contest? This way someone who didn’t win a big prize gets something? Let me know.

Honoring her request, I ran the random number generator again and Stephanie is the new winner! I popped over to Stephanie’s blog and her Sunday, March 16 post entitled “MMM” follow-up” indicates she could use a little random act of kindness today! Thank you Mommy Brain!

CONGRATULATIONS Mommy Brain! You Won! Could you please email me your mailing address? I can’t find one for you on your site. Thanks!

In honor of the Ultimate Blog Party hosted at 5 Minutes for Mom AND in an effort to participate in Works for Me Wednesday, which is hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer, I’m combining a giveaway with a plea for visitors to share something that works for them!

I’m giving away the book “The Kite Runner” (paperback)

Book - The Kite Runner

Used books are a treasure! At least I think so. I buy my books from thrift stores, garage sales, rummage sales, library sales and online through ebay,, amazon, alibris – ANYWHERE I can get a book and pay less than retail for it. So if you feel the same way about used books, you get a chance to win one right here!

This book is in beautiful condition, the spine isn’t even bent yet! I just happen to own two of them. (So, I forget what I already own sometimes. Just help me purge will ya?)

How to Win: Just comment on this post and share your favorite time saving trick. It can be a gadget, a habit – ANYTHING that saves you time. – personally or professionally. (Can you see the hidden agenda here? Short of getting sleep in pill form, I need to find some extra minutes in my everyday life!) Only the entries with a time saving tip will be eligible to win. (Seriously. I need some help, people!)

I’ll close comments Sunday evening, March 16th and use a random number generator to pick a winner!

Note: If you live in Canada (or anywhere outside the U.S.) please only enter if you can walk me through EVERY step of the process of mailing this book to you from Florida. I need to be able to print the mailing label from because getting to the Post Office during operating hours is a real challenge for me. I mail domestic packages using all the time, but I’ve never shipped internationally. (The customs form scares and confuses me – and even if I figure it out, I don’t think I ever be brave enough to mail anything over 4 pounds.)

March 11, 2008 Posted by | books, clean sweep(stakes) | , , , , , , , | 27 Comments


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