June 30, 2011

Perfect Side Dish for the 4th of July

I was reminded of this recipe by my next door neighbor today. I have been thinking about what to make for this year's 4th of July. This is definitely going to be part of my menu.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Roast 1 pound of frozen corn at 450F with 2 Tablespoons oil, turning often for 15 minutes.

In very large container mix:
The roasted corn
1 cup chopped cilantro
3-4 plum or roma tomatoes chopped
2 jalapenos chopped and seeded
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped

Mix Dressing:
2-3 Tablespoons oil
6 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cumin

Pour Dressing over corn/bean mixture and mix well. Marinate for a few hours. Just prior to serving, chop and add 2 large avocados.

Enjoy!! I would love it if you would share with me in the comments any favorite recipes you will be preparing for the 4th...I need more inspiration!!

June 28, 2011

Weeping Unsrestrained.

Today a young man will be laid to rest. I don't know this family, but my children attended school with him. He, his twin sister, and a friend were on a country road after dark and a car driving down the road did not see them. The boy was hit and a couple of days later he went on to be with the Lord.

I read this blog post today at The Mannaman's Blog and thought of Hayden's mom.

There is a verse in scripture included in the linked blogpost that pierces my heart each time I read it...

“A cry of anguish is heard in Ramah—mourning and weeping unrestrained. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted—for her children are dead.” Jeremiah 31:15

May we always be sensitive and understanding as those around us who have suffered the loss of a child. If the English language was similar to the Greek in anyway there would surely be a new word for suffer that would include present and future suffering that really never ends. When a part of your heart leaves the earth before you do there is a pain that stays with you forever. I saw my grandmother suffer until her death when she spoke of my father who died before she did. He was almost 60 years old. I don't guess it matters how old your child is, if they pass before the parent there is a scar that never leaves.

May we put our hope in Christ, and know that His suffering made it possible to be reconciled with those in heaven, who we will miss so dearly while on earth. However, may we never expect our friends and family to be as though their child's passing would not affect them forever. May we enter into the lament with honesty, putting aside our desire, as it is not possible anyway, for a life to ever be the same. May we rise to the occasion with the help of God.

June 26, 2011


I never thought I would intentionally be drawn to Greek words again after my semester of Biblical Greek, but I was wrong. I just needed a break I guess. I will be attending a fine art photography conference/retreat in July, in Boston, in the oldest Inn in the nation, built in 1791. I'm excited for all the above,...photography, Boston, an old - the oldest Inn to be found in the good old U.S.A. One of our assignments before the seminar was to send a picture for us to use with a mixed media session and an old antiquing process, done with chemicals...not the computer. I had the option of sending two pictures, but I just sent one. The image above. This image is filled with items that belonged to the women in my family. Two grandmothers, and my mom, along with a couple of my pieces. I arranged all the jewelry and a hand sewn detailed hanky. I worked the image a bit in Photoshop, added a texture and butterflies that always remind me of my mom, and the word Eucharisteo, which means to be grateful. I certainly am grateful for the women represented in this image. They all had kind and generous hearts and left a legacy of love and faithfulness for the future generations to embrace.

June 25, 2011

Couponing is Crazy Fun!!

It has been one week since I started couponing. I am so excited for the newspaper to go on sale tomorrow so I can get my next batch of Sunday coupons. I think it is the weird part of me that likes organization that totally freaks out with excitement in this process.
Here is my couponing album. I blocked out my cell number. I thought if I ever left it behind that someone might call me and let me know...it's nice to live in a smallish town.

Here is what it looks like on the inside. On the left I have my CVS card and Green Tag which I will use when I am in the store. I also made an envelope and taped it in to hold coupons from the current store I am in. Whenever I choose a product I double check the expiration date on the coupon then place the coupon in the envelope. Once I get to the check out line, all my coupons are in that front pocket. I used this system today and it was SO easy.

I marked each section...manufacturers coupons and had them separated generally in sections...dairy, cereal...then I have each store separated for specific store coupons within a selected store...i.e. Target, CVS...

My sister, Becky, had hers when she was here visiting and I thought it was a great way to keep all the coupons organized and easy to find. She was smooth enough to get her album for free with a coupon, I paid $5 for mine at Walmart. It is just a regular photo album that I trimmed the outside page edges off for easy access to the coupons.

I took this picture of Rob on the sly today. Well he knew I had just taken a pic of him, and he was laughing at me so I grabbed this one, too. I love that smile.

In my couponing craziness this week I bought uncooked ribs for the first time EVER. They were buy one get one free from Albertsons. I am thinking the meat deals at Albertsons are not any cheaper than just buying meat from Sam's. But I was there, and had already planned to buy them, so I chose two packages of country style pork ribs. I made them tonight. I combined a several recipes to make this...

Tammy's Delightfully Sweet and Salty Slow Cooked Ribs

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Salt
2 Tbls. Paprika

Mix these three ingredients for the rub.

Press each rib into mixture to cover on all sides. If you are like me and don't like to touch raw meet, go to your happy place... mine's the beach and imagine you are tickling your toe's in the frothy ocean water, that works for the first two, then just pretend that you are not really there at all, you are watching someone else touch the raw meat and being glad that it is not you. I also have great peripheral vision, I don't really even need to look at the meat directly.

Place ribs in a large baking dish with tall sides.

Pour apple juice into the baking dish to about half way up each rib.

Bake uncovered at 250 degrees for an hour. Turn the ribs and bake another hour at 250.
Remove ribs from baking dish and put them on a medium to medium low heat on the grill. Grill for about 10 minutes per side, then baste with barbque sauce and cook an additional 5 minutes on each side. This grill time can be adjusted to the size of you ribs. Ours were huge and meaty so they held up well to the extra time on the grill. If they are smaller you might reduce the first 10 minutes on each side to 5.

We served these with Texas Toast, corn, beans and fresh strawberries.

I loved that these ribs had a sweet and salty bite from the rub. I mentioned the sweet/saltiness several times while eating my rib. I told Rob I was going to write this recipe on my blog and he said to be sure and mention how you could taste the saltiness and sweetness together and it was delicious. He was being funny.

And I would like to announce to the world that after a long week and wonderful mission trip Derek came home and slept 15 hours. I woke him up at almost 3pm today. I went to the store just after lunch and assumed he would awake soon. I normally would not let him sleep that late, but he was exhausted from a week of house building, vbs-ing, and general crazy fun. So at 2:45 I woke him up. Much to my surprise, I think he grew several inches last night. When he woke up today he was taller than Rob. Here is a pic of Derek I took to show my sister we received her wonderful gift of Fluxx. It was his pensive look ; )

And one more picture...I took this phone pic of Jack last week and I love it.

Have a blessed day!!

June 22, 2011

Dear 16 year old me.

Thanks to my friend Katie who posted this video on her blog at . It is entitled Dear 16 year old me.


I decided to give couponing a chance. I have been inspired by my sisters' efforts and all the money she is saving. The toppling moment came when she was visiting last weekend and said she never pays more than .70 cents for a box of cereal. Hello, I am going broke keeping my kids in cereal. I love cereal. I could eat cereal three meals a day and be content. So to support our cereal habit here at the Marcelain house I decided to give it a try. We do have some nationwide stores here in our mediocre sized town with a big heart. Target, CVS, Walgreens and Albertsons. So the couponing was possible. Becky gave me some great helpful hints and I came across two popular couponing blogs at:

The Krazy Coupon Lady

Coupon Mom (I love this blog because it gives regional deals, such as HEB)

Both blogs have a couponing 101 feature to help beginners like me.
Both of these blogs are helpful in the way that they tell you what current ad matches with a coupon in the paper. And, the best part is you don't sit down every Sunday and cut coupons out, one of the methods is to just get a bin and put your ads in it each Sunday, then about 3 weeks later there will be a sale on the item that you have in your bin. These blogs list those sales so you just grab the right edition, cut the coupons that match the weekly ads and voila...go to the store. This sounded much more doable to me. I might just stick to the weekly paper ads, but they also give links to the vendors who have ads on their websites once you register. I did follow the links and register on some sites that I thought would be beneficial...such as Kellogg's for the cereal. There is a learning curve, and it does take a bit of time, but the money saved could be worth it. I thought I would try it over the summer and re-evaluate once school starts in the fall.


I am finishing up my first required reading for the Growing Deeper Program at the Institute for Christian Spirituality at Lipscomb. The book is called...Living God's Love, An Invitation to Christian Spirituality, written by Holloway and Lavender. This book has been a great read. It really is set up more for a small group to work through together, which I highly recommend for the most benefit. But, I have enjoyed reading it on my own, too. This book is very well written and does a great job of leading the readers through ways to open up space in their lives for devotion to God and service.

I have a day at home today...so it is time to get to work. Have a blessed day!!

June 14, 2011

Happy Day's

Tuesday morning. I am not sure that I could have put one more event or breath in the last couple of days. Each moment was a blessing (well most, there is that lantern...). My sister, Becky, and her sweet family came to Abilene to visit for 3 whole days. We are a stop through on their trip from Arizona to Kansas to visit grandma. We normally get them for two days, this time we got an extra day and we didn't want them to go.

In the midst of a family visit I shot my LAST wedding, well kind of my last ; ). It is very clear that even though my heart loves wedding photography, my back, feet and weary body are very mad at me for days after. I was blessed to take pictures of sweet Hallie and Colby this weekend. I have watched Hallie grow up and I am so glad to have been the one behind the camera to take pictures. I did, however, have a meeting of the minds with a lantern that was hanging from a tree. The wedding was outside on Colby's family property, under the oak tree's. The decorations were beautiful and included many lanterns and chandeliers with crystals hanging down from the trees. As I was setting up the first set of pics with the Bride and Groom I walked right into a lantern and it drew blood and left a big knot on my head. I ended up with a bandaid across my forehead for the rest of the wedding day. I am thinking that it could be the next trend for those who want to look like a big...idiot. Really it shouts out...look at me I don't watch where I am going. I embraced humility and swallowed my pride and wore my bandaid with my head held high for the rest of the night. The day was beautiful and my head will heal, but most importantly there is a new Mrs. Rideout in the world.

I arrived home to my family playing the card game Fluxx at the dinner table, it looked fun and it was a game for kids and adults alike.

Sunday morning arrived a little to soon, but with a smile on my face I knew that there would be a great morning ahead at church. Not only would I be worshiping with my sister and her family, earlier in the week I had been asked to take pictures of a wedding to take place during bible class. I couldn't wait! Our church has been blessed to welcome in refugees that are placed in our town. On Wednesday nights many people volunteer to help the refugees learn English. Right now we have a wonderful group made up mostly of Nepalese refugees. They have stolen our hearts, they are the most amazingly kindhearted and loving group of people I have ever been around. This group has lived a very difficult life being sent out of one land to another and living in tent cities for years before arriving in the U.S. You would not know that they have been treated so poorly by the rulers of their lands because they are gracious in every way, always ready to give a hug and shake a hand. Many of the refugees have chosen to make Christ the Lord of their life, the only God, not one of many gods. It has been a blessing to see how just as they have warmed our hearts, Jesus is warming their hearts.

The bible class would start with the groom's baptism. He wanted to start his life with his bride as a follower of Christ. He was baptized with all of his friends and family there to cheer him on and celebrate his choice, then he immediately changed into his tuxedo. His bride, in a beautiful gown, was then ushered down the aisle where they would join hands and be married. This was probably the first American style wedding that most of the refugees had attended and their was a lot of excitement. Once the wedding was completed in English and Nepalese languages, the reception was held in the foyer of the church. We have some very special women in our church that has taken this group into their hearts not just in spirit but in actions, they provided everything including the bride's dress, food, cake, decorations. It was a true wedding feast like the one in Cana (minus the wine ; ). God's people were welcoming and providing for those new in their land. I am so thankful to God for these special women and our new friends.

After church was over we had a family meal at church to celebrate my sister's family's visit, along with my grandfather's 91st birthday. It was fun to just hang out and let the kids play in the gym. My sweet grandfather is precious and his love for all of his family is evident. He is a gentle and kind man, who has a great conviction for truth and wants all to know Christ. He will share the love of Christ with others until he draws his last breath.

Everyone wanted to hold onto Gran here ; )

And the type of picture our family does best....

Monday morning we woke up to packing and getting my my sister's family on the road for the second part of their journey. Here are some early morning pics...i.e. that's why my kids are still in their jammies.

As soon as the group headed out we ate a good breakfast at Cracker Barrel and then our first summer lesson of Laundry 101. My kids weren't real excited that they would be learning to do laundry, but such is life. Then we got right to work in the boys room to clean it out and get it ready for Derek's new loft bed that is arriving today. It was a full day. Whew.

June 10, 2011

Letter to a Friend.

I had a wonderful email from a Facebook friend this morning. As I wrote her a response I thought that I would share it with my blog too. I know when I have had a friend make a change, whether it be leave FB, or put their kids in a different school, or homeschool, or maybe change a church, it is always food for thought for me to reevaluate where I am. I think that is a good thing, but sometimes I come away from that experience feeling like maybe I am less spiritual if I choose something they don't choose. I don't think my friend felt that way but the last thing I want anyone to think is that I think it is better to not be on FB. I don't think that. I love so much about FB, I miss it...ALOT. This is really why I am off FB and Social Networking -

"...I am glad you are still on FB, I know God uses voices of light through social networking. I am missing being on it, but the quietness of my mind is such a blessing. I had signed up for a program called "Growing Deeper" at Lipscomb University. It is a 9 month, or maybe a year, program that has guided readings and I will have a mentor, then will travel to Lipscomb twice for residencies that include silent retreats and some guided study. I am so excited about the experience, it was definitely a God thing and his leading was apparent. Throughout my time at home I have some books I need to read and I am supposed to be following a devotional/prayer/study time each morning. I found myself in the midst of my study and wanting to check FB, every morning. Do I check FB first? or do I do my study first? Some mornings my time was short and I didn't get to my study - but I checked FB. I felt like God wasn't necessarily calling me to leave FB as much as He was presenting Himself to me in such a sweet way and I was distracted in another area.
This special time of the Growing Deeper Program I have ahead of me has been something I never thought I would be able to afford or take time from my schedule to do. But God has made both possible. I was not going to miss one minute of Him in the process and my distraction of FB was getting in the way of that. I would hate to look back at the end of this process and feel like I missed out on something, and even though FB in and of itself is only a thing, for me it was distracting.

I wouldn't ever want anyone to feel like it is not a good thing, like you said it is how one uses FB. In this next year I have some roses to smell and grass to run my feet through with God and I wanted my heart to be all in it.
I feel like I have stepped off the edge of the world and am living a more solitary way right now. Before I hit the disconnect button on FB God spoke to my heart and said that He was in this time of quiet and I would survive. I miss the fellowship, but God has been faithful and His presence is abounding in the quiet. I am enjoying His voice and words in a way I haven't since FB started for me".

June 08, 2011

Dinner tonight - Creamy Chicken Taco's

I saw this recipe on the Crockpot365 recipe blog
here. It looked yummy and I always love to prepare dinner in the morning. The only problem with the plan today was that I didn't get to the grocery store until 2pm. So I am adjusting this recipe and boiling my chicken until it falls apart, shredding it up, then adding the other ingredients and letting it cook for 10 minutes or so on the stove top. I will let you know how it turns out.

Edit to add: This was just ok. I don't think I will make it again. No one hated it, but no one really loved it either.


I watched Meredith's last day on the Today show this morning. I was surprised that I was so emotional watching all the goodbyes. I was a huge Katie fan, so when Meredith joined the team I was not easily won over. Rob asked me a couple of weeks ago if I would be sad to see Meredith leave the show. I blithely commented..."not at all." Well apparently I lied and I didn't even know it. My heart broke to see one of my morning friends leave the show. It was apparent today that Meredith is beloved by her co workers. They even put on t-shirts to state as much. I tried to find a link to the way fun musical production number to the music of Journey, "Don't Stop Believin'," but I could only find a write up about it. Here is the heartfelt goodbye to Meredith from her Today family.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

I didn't realize how much I did love Meredith's personality and warmth. I am grateful for her example of putting her husband and children first and going a different direction with her career.
Now Ann will be Matt's cohort in the morning. I love Ann, and I am glad to see her take over the left side of the couch.

Off the Facebook for about 18 hours....

Not quite 24 hours off of Facebook. Let me just say...this has not been easy for me. Which screams loudly to me that it was the right thing to do. I look forward to the next couple of days as the habit of pulling out my phone or sitting down to the computer to log onto FB starts to fade. I am missing some sweet people, like my friend, Denise from Tennessee, who became a friend through FB, and my friend Michelle who has been my friend since we were both young women working in a music store together.

But I can also feel some spaces opening in my life. Deeper breaths. Right now those peaceful spaces are fighting off the wanes and wantings to check in. The peace will win out.

off the grid,

June 07, 2011

Facebook - Adieu.

If you sense an urging that calls you to service or sacrifice then there is a very good chance that urging is from God. The Creator. The Alpha and Omega.
Many years ago when Facebook was newish, not everyone was on it, I went to a photography seminar where the speaker said, "If you are not on Facebook as a photographer then you are missing the boat." I came home and the first thing I did was open up a Facebook account. That moment my life changed. Some for the better, but mostly for the worse.

Some of the greatest blessings that have come through my time on Facebook have been a connection with my family, the one's who live outside of Abilene, and the one's who live mere miles away. Along with, keeping up with good friends in a busy world, finding great recipes that someone else has posted or put a link to on their wall, sharing great recipes, finding out who is sick, finding out who is well after being sick, a link to a great commentary on scripture or even a funny You-Tube video. All these little tidbits of information and connection have brought good things to my life.

All that information, however, has led me to information overload. Last week I linked on FB to an article that spoke to the modern human condition of being too connected, leading to a compassion overload that in turns leaves the individual less compassionate in the end. It leaves the individual desensitized to all the bad or sad or even glad things that are happening to friends, around friends, to friends of friends,...or to a friends' neighbor..you get the idea. That article has not left me, it has stayed with me because I can say with utmost truth that I saw my face staring out of me from that article. I have so much in front of my eyes with FB that I tend to not feel anything for more than the 2 seconds it takes me to read the post, next scroll down and I have moved on to a celebration post for something good that has happened.

My focus has been lacking when I need to read for long periods of time for school, even when I pick up a book for fun, I still take a break to check FB periodically. I don't like it. I feel like my lack of focus that has developed over the years is hurting me.

For a couple of years now I have toyed with getting off FB, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. But now it is time. My twins are 12, and when they are 13 they want a FB account. I am not sure what direction we will encourage to go with that, but I feel sure that if we do allow them to be on FB, I will get on to keep up with what is happening on their walls. So this might be a 9 month sabbatical, or it might be forever. But for now, to my closest 500 friends. I bid adieu.

I say that in jest, but truthfully I will miss so many with whom FB is my connection. Many blessings have been posted on my cyberwall, and I am grateful.
I might feel as though I am dropping of the edge of the earth, most probably wont notice or care, but I wont actually be dropping off the earth, just social networking. So if you want to keep up with the Marcelains you can always keep up with us on my blog at www.tammymarcelain.blogspot.com (I might actually start posting again on a regular basis now that I am not on FB), or you can email me at marcelain5@sbcglobal.net.