Wednesday, February 29, 2012

AM~Erica Gets in a Goofy Discussion on Leap Year

So anyway...

Today is one that comes around only once every 4 years...kind of like a comet, in it's own right. But it was actually put on the calendar to help balance time. Since there is supposedly 365 & a quarter days every year, well, every 4 years would make a whole extra day (or something)to even out everything in the "space/time continuum". Right?

As I see's kind of like trying to make everyone happy to try to keep balance, but you are actually screwing things up more by trying to make everyone happy. It has actually screwed with time AND people's BIRTHDAYS! So happy quadrilineal birthday to everyone born on February 29th!

Well, with it being a "special" day, my hubby & I figured that Google would have some kind of special homepage today. Frogs...really cute frogs for Leap Day.

When my teenage son heard us talking about the Google page, he asked what would be used to illustrate Leap Day/Year. I asked him to think about it. He brought up a rabbit. That's a really good guess...but wrong. So we had him guess again. This time he came up with a frog. *DING-DING-DING* We have a winner! Then...this is how the next part of the conversation went:

Son: "Moo. I'm a frog."

Me: Oh, so you're a bullfrog?

HAHAHAHAHA!!! My son & my hubby just stared at me in shock. I told 'em it was a good one. They did agree.

Can you tell the coffee is kicking in early this morning? Watch out today, world! I'm comin' for ya!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

AM~Erica Will Be Your Coffee Surrogate

So anyway...

Today is Ash Wednesday. We begin our journey to the Easter season.

I hope everyone has recovered from Mardi Gras & has prepared to begin their resolve for Lent. (I heard it put that way & love it!)

Let us not forget what Lent is about & some things we can do to help us thru the season for the right reason.

With that being said, I will be happy to give some ideas of things I have done in the past.

* I have given up chocolate before. That was torture & back in a time when I didn't fully understand giving something up for Lent.

* I gave up ALL caffeine one year. That was an ugly, Ugly, UGLY year! I don't think God really wanted that for me. Again, it was before I fully understood the full meaning of Lent.

* There was the year I gave up caring. I wish I was kidding about that. I'm not. I guess you can tell that this was also before I really understood the whole Lent thing.

* Oh! I gave up meat one year. Not so bad, but there was a misunderstanding with my hubby where he thought I said he should give it up to. But it wasn't clear why he was mad, so I would save up my dinner meat, hide it in the fridge & eat it on Sunday. Not the best approach either. Still...not the understanding of Lent then, either.

During those times, I was like many, many others announcing what I'd given up for Lent like I was a saint, martyr, or victim. All the wrong, Wrong, WRONG approach to take!

So, I do plan to offer some help. For anyone who is giving up their coffee (hopefully for the reason that you felt it draws you away from your Christ-focus & it is truly a spiritual decision), then I have been known to step in a few times for those, for various reasons, who need a jolt of coffee/caffeine & cannot consume it right then. I, essentially, become a Coffee Surrogate. If you are in need of my services, please Facebook message me, direct message me on Twitter, or email me ( Do NOT comment on your needs here or on my Facebook wall. I will keep your needs secret & am always happy to step in with some coffee for you.

If it is not coffee you are resolving to give up, then I hope you prayerfully enter your resolve to bring you closer to God. In possible.

Have a blessed Lenten season, all. Enter in for the right reason.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, February 20, 2012

AM~Erica is Trying to Fight Aging

So anyway...

If you know know I try to keep pretty stylish (sometimes in my own way), and don't really act my age. The joke with me & my family is that I am ALWAYS 24. Period.

However, some recent things going on have been eating at me as it appears I might actually be getting older.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat down on the bed to talk to my hubby for a moment. I just sat...I didn't even "jump" on the bed. When I got up, my hip was all thrown out & couldn't move right. This went on for 2-3 days. It got a little better each day...but that was NOT good!

Within a couple of weeks' time, I have gotten a couple of little dark spots on my age spots. You probably wouldn't notice it if you looked right at me & knew they were there...but they are glaring to me! Depressing.

I even found a weird hair growing in a place it shouldn't be. I'm going to leave the place open to interpretation. stepdaughter is getting ready to have a baby. So...trying to prep for that. (btw - anyone who uses the 'G' word may very well not live long, or at least see the inside of an ICU room. Just FYI.)

People, my age doesn't even begin with a 4 yet. My newest obsession is tights. Just because I have been addicted to coffee doesn't mean I'm old. I have been under so much stress lately that I am getting teenage-like acne!

My brain & body are so confused right now! I'm harshly getting the realization that I may not stay 24.

I am trying to Ginja Ninja & fight this as long as I can! Just watch long as my hip doesn't go out.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, February 18, 2012

AM~Erica Gives a Lenten Reminder

So anyway...

As you know, Mardi Gras celebrations are going on right now. And...Mardi Gras is actually Fat Tuesday, which is...THIS TUESDAY!

So let's do some planning ahead & thinking as we prepare for Ash Wednesday & the Lenten season.

Last year, I put out there what Lent really is & why we give things up. You can read it as a reminder.

But, I want to add something to that: it's sometimes more that just giving something up. There are times when part of what you do thru the season is adding something to do that brings you closer to Jesus thru the Lenten journey. Sure, it can totally be prayer, but I challenge you to do this anyway.

So, if you add daily prayer on top of whatever it is you are going to sacrifice or add to your daily life through Lent that brings you closer to Christ, then you are truly participating & in the understanding of what Lent is truly about. You can even change it up week-to-week. Just do it for the right reason.

It is a holy season. It is NOT a mainstream, society-based thing you do. There is a purpose. If you want to take part in it, then GREAT! But do it with understanding of why you are doing what you are doing.

Have a fun & safe Mardi Gras. And refer to my other post as to what Lent is truly about.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

AM~Erica Can Fake It (a from-scratch recipe, that is)

So anyway...

I recently started cooking. I actually began doing things that aren't solely done in the microwave about 7 years ago, but I fake a lot of what I do. Seriously. But, even more recently, I've actually attempted things from scratch.

When "special" holidays come up (well, ones you can have fun with food), I try to do something fun with the menu that goes along with the day. And I have a goofy brain, so I like to take things & make food puns or just inspirations...then base a menu based on it. (whether my kids like it or not)

Lincoln's birthday just past. Did you even realize? I knew it was coming & wanted to do something fun. I made a pasta dish for the day. It can also be done on President's Day, too.

I made an adapted recipe from scratch. Just note that I don't do well with sharing my own recipes (like with measurements). I will put down what I did & you can figure out the measurements if you'd like. I just do "a bit of this" or "a bit of that". But I will share what I did & the results.



I placed sunburst & cherry tomatoes along with a diced orange bell pepper on a lightly greased baking sheet (sprayed with vegetable oil), drizzled them with olive oil (EVOO), tossed & placed in a preheated oven to 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. If you want some onion, you can dice a peeled onion & do the same thing. The tomatoes will burst (not explode, like my daughter thought & was hoping for). Pull the baking sheet out; let cool for just a moment & then remove as many skins as possible & place in a pot on the stovetop.

Lightly salt the tomato & bell pepper innards while simmering. Allow to cook down. This took me a whole afternoon. Just keep stirring during the process. Add about half a cup of orange juice to the tomatoes & peppers. Add seasonings like oregano, basil, parsley & cilantro to the mixture. Add some orange zest & grated garlic, too. If you did not use an onion on a baking sheet, add some minced onion to the mixture. Stir.

Keep the mixture on simmer & keep stirring once in a while to keep things going & even. The sauce will thicken during the process.

When it comes time for the pasta, I used penne pasta in regular & whole wheat varieties. Cook according to package directions to al dente. Just before draining, reserve 1 to 1 & a half cups of the starchy water & add to the sauce mixture. Stir.

When the pasta is drained, place it in a large serving bowl/dish & add some butter or margarine to the pasta along with some parmesan cheese. When the sauce is all mixed & a good consistency (may be a little runnier), carefully add the sauce to the pasta & mix it together.

Once the pasta is coated, add some pepperoni (I love using turkey pepperoni) instead of meatballs or ground meat to the mix. Serve.

You can also serve some bread sticks with pasta, too.


Penne Pasta (haha - penne = penny)
Orange sauce (copper color)
Pepperoni (coin-like)
Cherry Tomatoes (cherry tree - Washington)
Bread Sticks (Lincoln Logs)

Yeah...this is where my brain goes!

The pasta sauce has a slightly sweet taste due to the sweet tomatoes used, the bell pepper & the orange zest & juice. Overall, I was very happy. My kids whined about it, but they don't like food change...but we are working on it. My hubby liked it & had 3 helpings of it at dinner.

So...there's an idea for President's Day dinner &/or for Lincoln's birthday next year. (It's February 12th, btw...for future reference.)

If you try it, let me know! Hope you enjoy it!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, February 13, 2012

AM~Erica Wants to Talk Music

So anyway...

I got the opportunity to watch some of the 54th Grammy Awards, last night. After watching the bit that I did, with my brings up a conversation that he & I have had on more than one occasion: Today's Music.

In the last several years, the overall music quality has dropped significantly. There is a lot of copycatiness going on (yes, I just made that a word) & failed attempts at originality that doesn't showcase musical talent at all. It does showcase theatricality, though. I'm all about theatrics...and, if you know me, then you certainly know that. However, for an award show about music, then it is all lost in translation.

In the hopes & aims to reach superstardom, the length these artists go to make such a mark in these major performances just to be remembered end up leaving us scratching our heads. So...that's what someone wants to be remembered for? Just to get them talking about YOU & not your talent? Sad.

The Foo Fighters, rightfully, won for best rock performance. They even included in their acceptance speech that it was a garage recording with no computer anything...totally old-school. Rock on, man. They even got a standing ovation for these remarks at the digs of today's overall music. But then they show up in the dance music segment of the show. You know, the one that counts on over-synthesized & over-computerized techniques for the end product. D'oh!

And...I do want to talk about Niki Minaj for a moment. I think she might have talent. But I'm not positive. Her copycat performance that mirrored Madonna's 'Like a Prayer' on steroids while copycatting a Lady Gaga-type entrance & style is overrated. Simmer down to those who like her. She is colorful & certainly turns heads. She has even spawned a spark in talent from the adorable British kid duo of Sophia Grace (8) & her hype-girl cousin, Rosie (5) that have been featured on Ellen about 5 times in the last few months. Little Sophia Grace has shown more promise of talent than Niki shows right now. Do you know why? You hear Sophia Grace's VOICE! That's why. (Have you heard her? She's amazing!)Niki only concentrated on this crazy, sacrilegious performance that I think could get her some acting gigs in the future. Song? Where? It wasn't there last night...only an attempt at a confusing shock factor of an alter ego. Ugh.

And as for the snubbed Lady Gaga, she is one who appears to be original, but she is a Madonna copycat who is the ultimate parodist! Her songs really are the underlyings of other artists' songs with her own lyrics, but with bigger theatrics. But here's my deal with her...she really IS talented! She is amazing on the piano & in her singing. Really. Did you know that? Maybe not, to the casual listener. But her actual talent is drowned out by her antics & theatricality. It's sad.

There was a writer that compared to blogging to internet graffiti. I have my own opinions on this, but this is not the place to do it. However, the analogy works well for today's music. There's a some wonderful audible art out there, but there is more ear graffiti than the good stuff. (should give you an idea of my blogging opinion)

However, on subject of Grammy performances, the two acts that got the most praise last night? Adele's return & Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney Houston. Why? They used their God-given talent of their voices. No antics, no theatricality...just sharing the amazing gift of singing they possess. Kelly Clarkson had the same thing when she sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl.

This gives props to the show 'The Voice' as the blind auditions are solely based on the person's singing ability...not "the whole package" as other shows rely on *cough, cough* (Idol) *cough, cough*

My hubby & I have talked about the days-of-old when music be fun, singable & still say something (maybe). But things are so intense now, or you can't understand them. All in the name of trying to make a point that ends up senseless & make a name for themselves. Bad press is still press, right? Ugh.

So the question becomes...where's the music? What really is good music these days?

Adele is great. I will give her a vote. And my hubby knows that I will give props to Harry Connick, Jr. And those that have put out good music, we are losing quickly. Very quickly.

OK...I've gotten that off my chest. For the most part. Now...can we go support & promote ACTUAL talent? Thank you.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

AM~Erica's Open Post to OMM & JCP

So anyway...

I want to talk about JC Penney & the marketing changes the company has made recently. For quite some time, the company was a parallel to Kohl's in their overall set up. But now a brilliant change has been made all the way around. I applaud the changes.

There was another change up made, too - choosing Ellen DeGeneres as the spokesperson.

This is an exciting & genius choice. She is very recognizable, fun, wholesome, does so many good things, and has quite a reach to a wide array of people. She's big on honesty & kindness to others. So, this brings me to something that upsets me very much:

After the announcement of Ellen being the JC Penney spokesperson, One Million Moms (OMM) has gone on a rampage about this. This is supposed to be a group of Christian mothers trying to make the world a better place...but...they have really fallen off. They have become a group that make those of us who are Christian look really bad.

I have been following this group for quite some time because they were focusing on important things. In the last several months to a year, they have gotten so many things oh-so-wrong. And the media is letting them have a platform of hatred and bullying.

They were once a group that were trying to keep things cleaner & more family-friendly on our screens & advertising. Now they are urging people to take a stance against another of God's children. I find this so disheartening.

(Sorry, here comes a cliche')
I have several gay friends. (Yep, I went there.) Whether I agree with what they do or not, it doesn't change my friendship with them. I look at them as a person, not a sinner. We are ALL sinners. And by pointing out what is so "wrong" about ANYTHING someone else is doing, we are throwing verbal stones.

We are all human...and...we are all God's children. However, as humans, we have this bad habit of judging others when it is not our job. God has the last word on each of us.

There are groups out there who try to make their verbal stoning OK as a ministry. It's sad to see & think that they consider what they do "ministry". When their mission becomes hate done in God's name, where is this OK? The crusades were wrong. And it's sad to see these modern day crusaders trying to make a mark & making the rest of us Christians look bad. Somehow, society begins to lump us all together. The idea of "convert, or else" is awful. We need to live out our faith & convert through our own actions. People should want what we have in our hearts, not be made to feel like they are going to be forced into a faith like a hostage. That's not right.

I am going to circle back around now to let my thoughts on this situation be known. I am a Christian woman, a wife of a pastor, and I believe in true ministry. Even if she doesn't realize it, Ellen DeGeneres does good ministry. She is inspirational & makes those around her feel good. She inspires me. And I believe in her ministry in the world more than the so-called ministry of OMM.

People out there, OMM needs prayed for. Especially if they view their ministry as being OK. I see it, at this point, much like Westboro Baptist's ministry. It truly is verbal stone-throwing.

I also am happy to be a JC Penney customer & have been very pleased with ALL of their changes. I will continue to go there, as well as my family.

Ellen will speak to people as a whole. She is not going to go out & wave a big rainbow flag for JC Penney & tell people that to shop there & be gay. Does that sound ridiculous? Of course it does! She doesn't do it on her show. She doesn't do it just to do it. She talks about uplifting people. She has fun. She believes in the positive.

I love Ellen. I love JC Penney. I love this partnership. I watch Ellen everyday. I am a JC Penney customer. I can no longer stand behind the OMM movement. And I would like each of you to stop & ponder as to which set of actions has been more Christ-like.

Seems to me that it would be Ellen that is the epitome of The Golden Rule.

Keep it up, JC Penney! Keep doing what you do, Ellen!

And I am going to close this post with the way Ellen closes her show daily:

"Be kind to one another."

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica