Friday, January 20, 2012

My Purse: The Garbage Bag

I happen to like big purses.  I mean, who KNOWS what I'll want to throw into it.  It needs to be ready for anything.  Anything.  

I was at a wedding this fall.  I was sitting, minding my own business in the nice little church pew, when the lady next to me (who I didn't know) looked down at my bag and said, "Is that a purse or a suitcase?"  Although my sinful nature wanted to say something not-so-nice back to her, I smiled politely and said, "Both."

A couple of weeks ago, though, I realized that I sort of lied to the lady.  My purse isn't really a purse OR a suitcase.  It looks more like a garbage bag.  Obviously, I have not been keeping track of what has been inside.  I keep dumping and dumping stuff in.  Whoops.  This is what I found inside my Mary Poppins bag:

BEFORE:  1 wallet/coupon organizer, 1 pair of sunglasses, 4 stretchy headbands, 1 regular headband, $3.47 in change, two jump drives, 1 iPod, 1 camera, 5 tupperwares of vitamins, 1 bottle of ibuprofen, 1 bottle of nail polish, 2 bottles of lotion, 6 chapsticks, 1 pair of gloves, 1 scarf, 1 pad of sticky notes, 1 comb, 5 pairs of earrings, 5 paper clips, 1 straw, 1 spoon, 1 makeup bag, 1 christmas card, 1 brochure, 1 string of beads, 1 bottle of dry shampoo, 1 bottle of curly spray, 1 compact of powder, 1 huge pile of garbage, 15 random receipts, 4 pens, 1 pair of tanning goggles.

AFTER: 1 pair of sunglasses, 2 jump drives, 2 chapticks, 1 pen, 1 pack of gum, 1 hard drive, 1 iPod, 1 wallet/coupon organizer, 1 pair of tanning goggles.

The "after" photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, and I ashamed to admit that my purse is starting to seem more and more like a garbage dump all over again.  I think I will clean it out before Mark and I head to Florida.  I do not want the TSA airport security people to think I am a weirdo or turn me into that hoarding show on TLC.  Yikes.

Let it be known that if you ever need an extra headband or chaptick or spoon or tupperware of vitamins, I will save the day for you.  Free of charge.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

CROCK POT: The Best & Easiest Salsa Chicken You Will Ever Make

Turn your crock pot to HIGH, dump in 6 frozen chicken breasts, 2 cups of salsa, 1 packet of taco seasoning, 1 1/2 cans of cream of mushroom soup.

Yes, cream of mushroom soup.  It is the secret ingredient.  It makes ALL the difference.

Cook for 4ish+ hours...long enough to shred the chicken with a fork.  Serve with lettuce, sour cream, cheese and whatever else!

It is AWESOME.  Like crack.

Not that I've ever had crack...

But I hear crack is addictive.  And so is this stuff.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

(adapted from THIS recipe)

Prickly, White Piles

One morning, I woke up and groggily walked out into our living room.  Sat down on the couch.  Noticed a white something out of the corner of my eye.  It took me a second to figure out what it was.  A pile of something prickly...

A pile of TOENAILS.

Sitting there in a nice little pile on our couch.  How nice.

Dear Mark,

You are so neat and tidy.  Thank you for leaving your toenails in such an orderly little pile on the couch.  I imagine other husbands out there (who are not nearly as awesome as you are) leave their toenails scattered all all around and messy-like.

Thank goodness you are not like THOSE guys.  Phew.

Hugs and Kisses,
Liza Jane DeYounge

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crock Pot Loaded Baked Potato Soup

This soup might change your life.  It is delicious and nutritious worth the calories and EASY.  Here my recipe, which is adapted from a similar recipe on

Put this stuff in your crock pot:

  • Peel and dice at least 6 russet potatoes.  6 if they're large, more if they're not.
  • Chop 1 big yellow onion.  5 bucks if you don't shed a tear!
  • 1 quart chicken broth - I like Rachael Ray's chicken stock.
  • Mince some garlic cloves - depending on how much you like!  I used...5.  (insert sheepish grin)
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into chunks.
  • A handful of bacon crumbles
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
Turn your crock pot to HIGH and cook for about 4 hours, or LOW for about 8 hours.

When time's up, the potatoes should be tender.  If you are daring, use a hand mixer to "mash" the potato mixture in the crock pot.  If you are not daring, like me, ladle the cooked potato mixture into a blender and blend until it is less chunky and more soupy.

Let the soup cool a bit, so the following ingredients don't curdle up.  Then, add:
  • 1 cup of half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • (optional) 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Mix it all together, and serve out of your crock pot.  I set mine to WARM.

Top with sour cream and crumbled bacon!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ron Paul and Star Wars

I figured out why I was so glad that Ron Paul didn't win the Iowa primary.  At first, I thought I didn't like him just because I don't agree with his stance regarding Iran and Israel.  But, today I was listening to NPR and heard that his campaign "theme song" is the Imperial March from Star Wars.  What?!

Star Wars = Fantastic.

John Williams = Double fantastic.

But, for my poor friends who do not know much about Star Wars...

Imperial March = THE theme music for all the BAD GUYS in Star Wars on the DARK SIDE of the Force.

I KNEW I had a bad feeling about him.  Anger?  Fear?  Aggression?  I wouldn't be surprised.  Nothing good comes when that song starts playing...

Dear Presidential Candidates,

If you adopt Coronation March as your theme song for your campaign, I will very likely be swayed to vote for you.

May the Force Be With You,
Liza Jane DeYounge


Friday, January 13, 2012

DeYoungeLife Retreat

Last weekend, Mark and I went to The Royal Straight cabin near Terry Peak with 27 of our Young Life leaders.  It was a team-building, vision-casting, relationship-investing, spending-time-with-the-Lord sort of retreat.  And, it was delightful.

A few of the girls and I before they went on a neature walk, because, after all, nature is very neat.

There was some snowboarding...

And lots of coffee.  (Yes, I am actually using creamer these days.  Weird.)

Great books.  PS - Mom, I am not reading Harry Potter.  Don't worry.

More great books.  

Time with the Lord and some beautiful views...

AND, get this...  There was an official "Star Wars T-Shirt Day" and no one invited ME.  I am mad at these three people right now.

 More time with the Lord and neature.

Take THAT, Holly.  This picture didn't turn out half bad!  

The boys were scoping out the snowboarding jump they made.  They are trying to look tough and fearless.  Oh wait, they ARE tough and fearless.  Silly me.

Great food.  Watch out McDonald's!  Ben makes a killer triple pounder.

Games of all sorts.  I lost in Bananagrams 17 times.

The gross boys made a pact to go #2 ONLY in the girls' bathrooms.  We made Micah plunge away his mess.  From now on, we will lovingly call him "Skids" for reasons that shall not be mentioned.  

Most of the gang.

We are blessed to be on mission with these friends!  


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Crafting for a Cause - Support Young Life Camp!

   Zoey Bloom: Hair Clip, Headband Rosette, Brooch, Scarf Pin    Bella Bloom: Hair Clip, Headband Rosette, Brooch, Scarf Pin    Leila Bloom: Hair Clip, Headband Rosette, Brooch, Scarf Pin

Friends!  I have been doing a little crafting lately - and for a good cause!  In the next months, I'm planning on offering a handful of "pretties" that will be available for purchase.  AND, the BEST part is that ALL (that's right, folks - 100%) of the profit will go to the Young Life of Sioux Falls campership fund.

(Did you imagine me saying that last line with an annoying salesman's voice?  Similar to "the voice" on the Price is Right?  "Come on down!  YOU can help support Young Life!"  Applause, applause...)

But I digress...

Every dollar you spend will go straight towards helping my high school friends in Sioux Falls attend Timberwolf Camp this summer.  Timberwolf is near Lake City, Michigan, and you can visit their website here:  Most of our high school friends that have attended a camp before say that Young Life camp was the best week of their life - high adventure, lots of fun, great food, and excellent speakers.  Kids get away from the pressures of everyday life, have fun with their friends and their Young Life leaders, and BEST of all, they hear the message of God's love in terms they can understand.

Last summer was my first experience with Young Life camping, and let me say, it was fantastic.  There's really nothing like it.  So many high school friends gave and/or recommitted their lives to Christ, and so many positive relationships were built among the kids and leaders.  The Lord was really doing a lot of transformation - things that we are still seeing unfold months later!

If you feel called to help support the Lord's work in this way, you can visit my Etsy shop here:  Click the shop section that says "Support Young Life Camp" to see what items are available.  And, if you don't see anything you like right away, know that more things will be added this next semester!

Some of our Young Life Students!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

One Card, All Occasions!

I have been dying to design these cards for years.  My mom drew her own design and made photo copies back in the 90's.  Now, the idea has been passed on a generation.  Watch out 2012!  These are new and improved!

Check One: Cards are like an entire greeting card aisle in a department store, wrapped up in one classy, multi-functional, all-purpose card.  

Need a birthday card?  Check the "Happy Birthday" text!  Need to let your friend know you're thinking of them?  Mark the "Thinking of You" text!  Use a check mark, an X, or even a little heart to mark your greeting!

Check One: Cards include:

Check one, two or more, depending on your needs.  Include your own sentiments inside the card to make it a little more personal!

Cards are two sided - the backs are just as beautiful as the fronts!  And, they come with their own envelopes.

Visit my Etsy store (link is on the right sidebar) to view pictures and order!  You can also get in touch with me at for custom orders, or to bypass shipping costs if we live near each other!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Treasure Hunters

Oh my word.  I think I have the cutest nephews.  AND they are so much fun!  We went on a Treasure Hunt over Christmas.  I needed to think of a gift that could 1) cover BOTH of them, 2) be inexpensive, and 3) because I am the kind of auntie that values creativity and imagination, I was partial to something that included the right side of the brain.  Yes, I have an agenda.  Big deal.  :)

You can buy inexpensive treasure chests like this at Hobby Lobby (especially if you use their weekly 40% off coupon), and Party America (or any other party store for that matter) had tons of pirate-themed trinkets. I bought cheap gold coins, eye patches and other treasures.  Bandanas are $1 at Wal-Mart, and treasure maps are free if you get a paper sack from the grocery store!  Just be careful...I had the "great" idea of burning the map's edges to make it look more weathered and almost burnt my apartment to a crisp.  Yikes.

From there, "steal" all the treasure, dress up like a pirate, practice your "Args" and "Mateys" (Mark offers very informative lessons), hide the treasure around the house in nooks and crannies, and prepare yourself for an hour of treasure hunting fun.

I promise it will be delightful.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gingerbread Party

Not to worry...  We DID have ONE good party over Christmas with my family!  Here are some snapshots from mom's gingerbread party!  

Our poor little gingerbread men were blind and naked, so we came to the rescue.  Wasn't that nice of us?

Mark's made "party pants" for his ginger man.  I think he looks like a half-dressed African American Santa Claus.  

Who wins?  Me or Mark?  Pick me, pick me!  

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