Tuesday, August 30, 2011

♫ Get This Party Started ♫

With Labor Day Weekend coming up, I decided to share this recipe for cheese dip with all ten of you again. It's a family favorite. And probably the only reason I ever get invited anywhere.

Do you pop out at parties? Are you unpoopular?

Well, today, I am going to show you how to make the ultimate cheese dip....Once you take this dip to your next church potluck or family gathering.......you will be the most poopular person at the party. (Just kidding!)

So join me in my kitchen, and I'll show you how to make the magic happen in yours.

Here's all you will need to help you pop out at parties.

The first step in making this cheesy goodness is to cut the cheese. (Just ignore me; I live with three boys. Sorry.)

You only need one pound of cheese for this recipe.

Now cut the cheese (again, just ignore me) into cubes. Like so.

Now get out a small saucepan and a can opener. (See how rustic we are; that's right, you can't plug that can opener in. It's a manual one....you know, so I can cook while the power is out!)

Now dump pour the rotel into your saucepan.

The next thing you will need to do is to add one-fourth teaspoon of black pepper. Like this.

Now throw in one teaspoon of garlic powder. Trust me; it will be goooooood!

The last spice you will add is ground cumin. Just toss in one teaspoon of that as well. (This is the secret ingredient; but don't tell anybody.)

Grab a spoon, and stir it all together. Like so.

Place your saucepan on the stove and bring the rotel and spices to a boil. Let them boil for about two minutes. Then remove from heat. (Thanks!)

Now you are ready to dump the cheese that you just cut (sorry) into the blender. Like so.

Then dump pour the rotel and spices right over the cheese. (Be careful though; it's hot!)

It should look something like this.

Now for the most important step of this entire recipe.....Make sure the lid to your blender is on good and tight!

Put your blender on the High speed and blend.
(Note to self: Next time remember to clean the blender before showing it to tens of people on the internet.)

When it is all blended together and looks something like this picture, it is ready!

Now it is time to dump pour it all into your serving bowl. Like this. Mmmmmmmmm!

If you stick your finger in it accidentally get some on your finger, feel free to lick it off......I won't tell anybody!

Now for the "official" taste test. Grab a chip and dip it.


If you still have some left after the taste test is finished.......quickly leave the house and head to the party.....(Trust me on this; if you don't leave quickly, the cheese dip could possibly disappear before you are able to get out of the house. This has often never happened to me, of course, but I've heard stories.)

When you arrive at the "party" carrying a bowl of this cheese dip and a bag of chips.......

All eyes will be on you, and you will start to hear Pink's voice singing in your ears.

Then you'll dance with your cheese dip and chips all the way across the room.

That's right!

Like this........

I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started

(get this party started)

Making my connection as I enter the room
everybody is chillin'
as I set up the groove
Pumpin up the volume
with this brand new beat
everybody's dancin'
and they're dancin' for me
I'm the operator
you can call anytime
I'll be your connection to
the party line

I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started
I'm coming up so you better get this party started

Okay, well maybe I'm exaggerating a lot a little bit, but trust me, if you take this cheese dip to the next social gathering that you are invited to........you'll get invited back!

I'm just saying is all.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fairy Tales, Storms, & Stuff

After 20 years of marriage, Shannon and I finally got to do something we have been talking about for several years. We renewed our wedding vows in a ceremony on the beach.

It was a very sweet and private affair. Just Shannon, me, the minister, the ocean and sand, and God.

During the ceremony, the minister said to us, "After 20 years of marriage, I'm sure you two have been through all kinds of stuff." To which we both very romantically gazed into each other's eyes.....and laughed out loud.

We have definitely been through some "stuff." To say the least.

All marriages go through "stuff." That's an absolute given. It's how you handle the "stuff" that life throws at your marriage that makes the difference between the marriage ending or lasting.

A lot of people like to compare "stuff" in marriages. Since we have made it for 20 years, many people assume that our "stuff" wasn't as difficult as their "stuff," so that's why our marriage has lasted this long.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We have had to work through our "stuff" just like every one else. Nothing worth having in this life is easy. Nothing. Even good marriages.

In the Book of Matthew, there is the story about the wise and the foolish builders.

Matthew 7:24-27
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

If you look closely, you'll notice in these verses that the storms the two houses faced were exactly the same. The only difference was their foundations.

God doesn't want us to focus on the storms in our marriage; He wants us to focus on our foundations.

If God is the foundation in your marriage, you can weather any storm.

The rain can come down.
The streams can rise.
The winds can blow.
But with God as your foundation, your marriage can still stand.

Shannon and I are living proof of that.

We are by no means a "perfect" couple. There is no such thing this side of Heaven. However, we are a perfectly flawed couple, weathering the storms that life throws at us together with God.

During our vow renewal ceremony, the minister said, "You two are promising to love each other for always."


The preacher did not know this, but around my neck was a necklace that I purchased to wear for that special day. It was a little silver heart on a chain with the word always inscribed on it.

Always is now our new favorite word.

The verses on our rings are from Solomon 6:3. "I am my beloved's. My beloved is mine."

This post is not to judge anyone that has had a marriage end due to the storms that happened in their life, but to encourage those of you who are or who one day will be in a marriage to not compare the storms you face in your relationship to the storms of any other couple. Focus only on your marriage and the foundation on which your marriage is built. Work on weathering the storms together with God.

Matthew 19:26
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Later in the evening after our vow renewal, we received the disc of all of our pictures from the ceremony. Imagine our surprise as we were scrolling through all of them and saw this one.

It's our personal favorite.

I once read that what makes a fairy tale so wonderful is not the absence of dragons....but the slaying of them.