Pragmatic Compendium

inspiring the pragmatic practice of intimacy with Christ

a shout out to pinkgirl!

Welcome to the blogosphere honey!

PinkGirl asked me to help her make a blog this weekend and after explaining the boundaries (no real names, mom helps with any photos and most importantly – mom approves the post before she clicks “Publish”), she is up and running at:

I told her that it was HER blog and that I would not be taking dictation. And she is required to use the home keys. I’m so mean.

Family and Friends please comment on her blog posts. Please. please? (Gram, that means you too!)

September 30, 2008 Posted by | blogosphere, family | 2 Comments

frozen chicken, cream cheese chicken II

Back in April, I posted one of our family’s favorite recipes, “Cream Cheese Chicken..” (The original post has a printable version of the recipe in PDF.)

Yesterday, we made a little change and it turned out pretty good, so I thought I’d share.

First, I doubled the recipe except for the chicken and the cream cheese (I have a large crockpot). But this time, we rolled everything up in flour tortillas and made burritos! Next time I either need to use less salsa or maybe just take the lid off and let the mixture stand a little to thicken up, the burritos were a little too runny. But they were GOOD.

It does take an extra few minutes to roll burritos after everything is cooked, but it’s still only 5 minutes to prepare on the front end!

September 30, 2008 Posted by | 5 minutes, recipes | , , | 4 Comments

Would You Like Chocolate With That? Disturbing M&M’s

Patrick Warburton (aka Krunk) is a favorite in this house. We like M&M’s too.

If you have anything chocolaty to share, post and link to Would You Like Chocolate With That? hosted by Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolate!

September 25, 2008 Posted by | chocolate, flashback, laugh!, youtube | , | 1 Comment

“…therefore I quote” Ibarra, Pasteur, Hybels and Mode

I read, therefore I quote. I can’t help it. It’s what I do.

I was reading Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career by Herminia Ibarra and she quoted Louis Pasteur:

Fortune favors the prepared mind.

I immediately thought of Edna Mode’s version:

Luck favors the prepared.”
(Anyone want to guess the movie? Hint: Don’t forget we are Disney freaks.)

Back to Herminia Ibarra’s thoughts about Pasteur:

“Pasteur was ready to make a discovery when a favorable opportunity presented itself because he . . . had primed himself through years of study and hard work . . .

. . . It is also no accident that the vaccination idea came to Pasteur right after his summer break. Having stepped back from his direct work on cholera, he was able to ssee his old problem in a new light. This is the famous “incubation” phenomenon, in which, “after ceasing to consciously work on a difficult problem, [artists and scientists] sometimes experience an apparant flash of illumination, during which a solution appears to them unexpectedly . . .

. . . Professional reinvention also requires a stepping back to obtain a new way of seeing what is. The full emotional and cognitive complexity of the change process can only be digested with moments of detachment and time for reflective observation. It the same way, time away from the everyday grind creates the “break frame” that allows people in transition to articulate intellectually what they already knew emotionally . . .

. . . It is hard for people to achieve the objectivity they need to question and change their daily routines while they are still actively immersed in them. Time-out periods help people make changes by providing a space for reflective observation. Stepping back makes room for insights we have been incubating but cannot yet articulate.”

In my thought processes, Ibarra led me to “Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God” by Bill Hybels:

“No one can become an authentic Christian on a steady diet of activity. Power comes out of stillness; strength comes out of solitude. Decisions that change the entire course of your life come out of the holy of holies, your times of stillness before God.”

I can’t take a vacation right now. But I can schedule some solitude on a regular basis. Maybe I won’t be able to keep the appointment every day, but I’ll take what I can get.

If you have a quote to share from something you’ve read recently, feel free to comment and/or include a link to your own “. . . therefore I quote” post. I’ll try to make this a regular Thursday theme. If you do join in and write your own “. . . therefore I quote” post, please include a link back here? Thanks!

Want to learn how to paste an attractive link with a label? Click here!

(Mr. Linky doesn’t work well with, so feel free to paste a link right in your comment!)

September 25, 2008 Posted by | books, intentional living, therefore I quote | , , , | 2 Comments

teenager school lunch

What is FavoriteSon’s favorite school lunch these days?

Cold pizza.

The “take and bake” Walmart pizzas for $8.00 are an easy way to go on this one. We bake the pizza on Sunday, cut it up into 10 pieces and FavoriteSon packs 2 slices in his lunch every day. Of course, since he’s 13, that’s not ALL he takes for lunch, but it’s a good start.

This week, he talked me into taking him (and his sister) to American Pie for dinner while FirstHusband was on travel, so he’s eating Amercian Pie leftovers for the next few days. That wasn’t $8.00.

Posting this tip was FavoriteSon’s idea. Good job, bud.

Find more ideas over at Kitchen Tip Tuesdays hosted by Tammy at Tammy’s Recipes!
And even more great ideas about everything at Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | pragmatic parenting | , , , | 5 Comments

Would You Like Chocoloate With That? Lucy and Ethel.

It was only a matter of time until I included this in a “Would You Like Chocolate With That?” post.

If you have anything chocolaty to share, post and link to Would You Like Chocolate With That? hosted by Lisa at Stop and Smell the Chocolate!

At Kim’s request, we’ve joined Friday Funnies today too! Click on over!

September 19, 2008 Posted by | chocolate, flashback, laugh!, youtube | , | 9 Comments

Word-Filled Wednesday: Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12

In November of last year, I wrote a devotional on this verse and what it meant to me. Over the last year, as I supported my friend who is battling stage IV breast cancer, this verse has come to mean so much more. Here’s an excerpt from the November devotional over at Pragmatic Communion, entitled, “i am not alone.

“I’m the book lady. Every year, my church has a HUGE rummage sale. Two full weeks, weekends included, are spent unloading storage units, picking up and accepting donations, sorting, pricing and basically setting up an entire gymnasium for the annual “Whale of a Sale” held the first weekend of October.

I’m the book lady.

I take two weeks off from clients and work the Whale, every day. In that two week span, I literally touch thousands of books. They are categorized by topic and fiction is alphabetized by author’s last name. They sit on three rows of 6 or 7 folding tables (the big ones), in boxes, spine up, facing the shopper. Each box has a sign sticking up from it with my handwriting on it, indicating the contents of the box: Cookbooks, Physical Health, Emotional Health, Parenting, Travel, Military History, American History, World History, Gardening, etc. In each box, you can see the name of nearly every book without having to touch a single one. If you are looking for a particular book, just ask me. I”ll tell you if we have it and, if so, exactly where it is. The comments from people who see it range from, “Wow. This is amazing.” to “Who did all this?” (in a “that person is insane” tone of voice.) In the first few years, I did much of it myself, but now there are actually a handful of people who “get” me and can help sort without messing up the system.

The added benefit is that I get first pickings. At a $1.00 per hardback and $.50 for paperbacks and children’s books, I bring home a bookcase worth every year. My I.O.U grows ominously for two weeks as I sneak boxes of books into my house. Some women buy clothes, secretly hang them in the closet and when their husband comments the first time the clothing is worn, the women say, “This? I’ve had this for years.” Not me. I bring home books, quickly pull off the price tag and shelve them. I don’t say a word. I read so many books at one time, I never get asked, “Is that a new book?” My husband can’t keep up. This year was more difficult. I ran out of shelving space and had to reorganize the playroom. A six foot shelf that used to house toys, games and puzzles now houses fitness, diet and health books. (The shelf is right next to the treadmill after all.) . . . “

Click HERE to continue reading and to see photos of the freakishness.

September 17, 2008 Posted by | books, devotions, freakishly organized, pragmatic communion, Word-Filled Wednesday | , , , , | Leave a comment

veggie box

I’m going to be a bum and combine my Kitchen Tip Tuesday post and my Works for Me Wednesday post into one.

Way back in May, in a post entitled “5 minute Panera Wannabe Salad,” I mentioned that I stored veggies pre-prepped and that I would post more on it someday. It is someday.

This idea was an accident. It was January of 2008. Mexican night. The table was covered with lots and lots of small bowls with “fixins” like diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, chopped onions, diced red bell pepper and of course shredded cheese, salsa, queso and more. At cleanup time, we put everything into individual Rubbermaid containers and piled them in the fridge.

The next night, we had salad with dinner and pulled out all the little containers to add the fixins to our salad. At cleanup time, the lids went back on and everything went back into the fridge. THAT was easy! We liked the convenience so much we decided to add some other pre-prepped veggies into the mix for future salad building. Soon we had individual containers of (raw) broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, red, yellow and green diced bell peppers, scallions, carrots, mushrooms – we went all out.

The problem was that when we tried to get something from the fridge, these little individual containers would fall over and out onto the floor. (Is this the underwear principle at work or what?)

Here were the pros:

  • We liked that we didn’t have to prep veggies every time we wanted to eat them. Sure veggie prep took longer, but that’s because we were prepping about a week’s worth at a time! Far less than the cumulative time it took before – and we didn’t have to wash the Chop Wizard so often!
  • We were eating more fresh veggies because it was so flippin EASY.
  • The individual containers took up less room than un-prepped veggies because we were no longer storing the veggie parts we don’t eat.
  • Unlike shrink wrapped broccoli or a bag of bell peppers, the containers were STACKABLE.
  • With small, individual containers, we only grabbed the veggies we wanted. (I had originally considered a multi compartment veggie tray with a lid – but we would have to take the entire thing out even if we only wanted one thing. Besides. They were all round.)
  • The veggies were staying fresh longer because we were lining and layering the containers with dry paper towels. (Amazing discovery! Works great with mushrooms, lettuce and fresh spinach!)
  • We were no longer sacrificing still packaged but rotten veggies to the mold gods every week.
  • No more dry heaves while cleaning out the fridge. (The “what was this?” fridge cleaning game is rarely played in our house anymore.)

Now the cons:

  • We had to prep veggies. (Unfortunately, since we don’t want to pay for pre-prepped veggies, we weren’t going to get around this one.)
  • The individual containers were getting knocked over and falling out of the fridge way too easily.

There was a problem with our “system.”

So, as I mentioned, I shopped/researched what container solutions were available. I finally settled on an unused rectangular plastic box I happened to have. It was the perfect height and depth. I packed it with all the individual containers. Again. Perfect. It’s been working for nearly a year. We can either remove one or two containers or we can slide the box all the way out of the fridge like a drawer. The actual veggies and individual containers change all the time, but the are always stored in the veggie box. And yes. Those are actually oblong containers not square or rectangle, but they work in the veggie box, so they may stay.

We’ve also added two large rectangular containers to sit alongside the veggie box. One with a romaine mix and one with fresh spinach. The photos below only show one – we were out of romaine.

UPDATE: (Inspired by Endless Freebies comment below.)

The photos may be misleading. They only show one configuration of the box. We usually use the smallest containers we can and when space is needed for more veggies, we size down as we use the contents. And we have multiple sizes and shapes!

With regard to the box size – that was a process. (Like I said, The Underwear Principle at work!) We tried a smaller veggie box size, but we had a few problems:

1. When the depth of the box didn’t equal the depth of the fridge we had wasted space behind or in front of it. (Wasted space? Not on my watch.) We tried pushing the box to the back and using the extra space in front for other things, but we HATED moving the stuff to get to the box. Storing anything behind the box? We would forget about it and have to play the “What WAS that?” fridge game later.

2. We tried a shorter box and storing it on an adjustable shelf, but we had too many veggies and needed to stack. When we did, stuff fell out because the sides of the box were too short.

3. The day the above photo was taken, the veggie box wasn’t full. We didn’t have any onions or scallions and only one color bell pepper. Sometimes we have shredded carrots, asparagus, avocado, diced or sliced tomatoes, sliced zucchini or squash – LOTS of choices. So while a smaller box would have worked THAT day, it doesn’t work every day.

I eat a fair amount of salad and we use LOTS of spinach, so the big rectangular containers along the side work out the best for us. (We put fresh spinach in LOTS of things – especially omelets!)

I’m charging the camera battery right now, but later I’ll take another photo of TODAY’s configuration as a comparison.

Find more tips at Kitchen Tip Tuesday hosted by Tammy at Tammy’s Recipes
Check out more Works for Me Wednesday posts at Rocks in My Dryer, hosted by Shannon.

September 17, 2008 Posted by | freakishly organized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

who buys this stuff? $450 sheet set

We’re down to two sets of sheets for our bed – one set is flannel (which I CANNOT deal with in Florida until December at the EARLIEST) and the other set is . . . very old. So, I’m perusing for king size sheets and something caught my eye. I could save $750!!!! I just can’t decide. Pink or Orange?

September 15, 2008 Posted by | who buys this stuff? | 8 Comments

happy birthday to me . . .

happy birthday to me. happy birthday, happy birthday. happy birthday to me!

I just LOVE a husband who will not only BUY me this – BUT (the REAL present) actually RESEARCH the lens I need based on what I want to photograph. (Mainly, FavoriteSon running into the end zone with the ball and PinkGirl on stage singing her heart out!)

Given the fact that I had to work on client site Tuesday (and wear hosiery), I had a pretty great birthday, including a few hours at my sister‘s house holding LittleHoudini and dinner out with the family. But Wednesday felt more like a birthday.

I have the BESTEST friend EVER.

I had gone to work out first thing in the morning and then gone for a cut and color. I was finished by lunch and was supposed to meet my friend at Panera Bread (our favorite place to go together). I got there first and she called me and said, “We’re not going to Panera. Step outside and I’ll pick you up.”


She picked me up and drove . . . to the other side of the parking lot.

SUSHI!!!! yippee!

We had a GREAT lunch (miso, salad and two rolls for only $10 each!) and then she said, “We’ve gotta go. We have one more thing we have to do.”


Then she drove us to an adjacent parking lot.

A DAY SPA!!!! yippee!

She had a gift certificate she had been holding onto for THREE years. (It was a gift from her cub scouts – including FavoriteSon – as they moved on to Boy Scouts.) She had made appointments for pedicures and had brought a gift bag filled with a bottle of wine, two glasses, cheese and chocolate. Is that a BESTEST friend or WHAT?

Unfortunately, we were stuffed from lunch and I was carrying leftover sushi in a box (because I am SO not leaving it in the car to go bad!) AND I had had a mani-pedi on Saturday, just 4 days before. So we rescheduled and got massages! One hour of total relaxation. I turned off my cell phone. Yes I did! FirstHusband was in town. Let the school call him if there’s a problem. Let the clients leave voice mail.

So. wonderful. Told you. BESTEST friend EVER. And you know what? Sure the actual massage was GREAT, but the REAL present was that she FORCED me to take the time to have one in the first place. A massage? On a Wednesday? I NEVER would have scheduled that for myself. I get massages on vacation, not on “Wednesday.” I’m going to have to rethink that mentality. umm hmm. And sushi? for lunch? on a Wednesday? unheard of. gonna rethink that one too. (although PinkGirl scrounged my sushi leftovers, the little bum.)

I had taken the time on Saturday to have a mani-pedi because I had a little time to kill and driving home and back would have been a complete waste of time and gas. (That’s my story, anyway.) I was driving PinkGirl around that morning in an attempt to allow her to attend a cheer clinic from 9am to 1:30pm AND a birthday party from 11am to 1pm.

So I got PinkGirl to the cheer clinic at 9am.
Went 5 minutes around the corner and got a spa pedicure and manicure.
Picked her up from cheer at 11:00 a.m.
Drove her to the (pirate pool) birthday party 8 minutes away.
Stayed with her at the party till 12:45 p.m.
Drove her back to the school for the 1pm cheer performance.

All that includes changing from cheer tshirt and shorts – to a pirate costume – to a bathing suit – back to the cheer tshirt and shorts. Not to mention combing out wet hair and redoing a pony tail. (and all the grousing that goes with said combing)

I’m flippin tired just typing all that.

But – all that aside – you know the BIGGEST thing I did on Saturday? Brow wax. seriously. never had one. I had the spa pedicure and I’m getting the manicure while a tiny little fan blows on my red power toes. Lisa, the Asian lady giving me a manicure says, “Brow wax?”

I immediately turn to look in the mirror on the wall next to me.

“you need.”


“four dolla.”


AMAZING! What a difference! I’ve tweezed UNDER my brow for . . . ever. But I had NEVER taken any off the top. FirstHusband even noticed a difference – in a good way! I also let her do a lip wax but I was VERY worried about that. I’ve had a lip wax twice in my life and both times, I blistered like crazy the next day. Lots and lots of tiny water blisters. NOT attractive. I told Lisa and she confidently said, “I fix.”

well. what the heck?

And she did. almost. She covered my lip with baby powder and then blew on the wax for about 30 seconds before applying it to my skin. I only got THREE blisters. Amazing. I’ll be seeing Lisa again.

Spa pedicure? $20
Manicure? $10
Brow wax? $4
Lip wax? $8
A little calm in the middle of my frantic morning? Priceless.

can’t beat it.

oh. And Saturday afternoon? FirstHusband and I FINALLY ordered and paid for all the tile and supplies needed to re-tile our shower. Baby steps. baby steps.

Today is FirstHusband’s birthday and officially ends the THREE days a year when he is THREE years younger than me. (He prefers to say that I’M three years OLDER.) We’re going out to dinner. Birthday boy’s choice? Sushi.

Somehow, I’ll manage.

September 12, 2008 Posted by | family | 10 Comments


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