Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Signs of the New Year?

Another pleasant surprise this morning while I was baking my birthday cake/New Year's cake. Winter makes me appreciate the sunshine so much more. Praise God for different seasons!

The New Year always makes me a little more introspective. L and I make goals every year, and so it always puts into perspective how we want to live our lives. We've discussed making some changes to simplify our lives a little bit, and what will remain the same. It's been a great conversation piece the past few days.

Happy New Year, All!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


So this is how L and I have been spending some of our evenings since Christmas. This was part of my Christmas gift from my mom. I tried to think of something for her to put under the tree for me, and this was one of the few items. Games, conversation, and books are much better ways to spend our evenings than in front of the television, which we've become a little too familiar with.

Anyway, it's been some fun "date nights" so far... what can I say, date night is different now that we have a kiddo. :) I will admit that we're not great at the game, and have stretched a little bit on words, but hey, we can play how we want, right?

Anyone else have some fun, cheap date night activities?

And the Motivation Keeps On Coming

More proof that our kiddo walks in small amounts of snow.

For some reason this is such a big deal. Kids can get very heavy when they're bundled up, plus carrying whatever it is I need to take with me. So, good job, E!! Keep it up!!

So this break has been pretty productive, thankfully. This is what we've done so far:

1. Found places to put E's toys. I don't know if this is a challenge to anyone else, but wow, this took a little while. Still, we conquered.
2. Cleared out our "family" closet (yes, there is only one big closet for all three of us to share), and found space for #2's stuff.
3. Went through E's dresser and found a way to condense her clothing down to three drawers, thus creating two drawers for #2.
4. Organized E's clothing totes downstairs so that a friend of ours can borrow them. This is going to create so much more space there!
5. Play. Come on, E and I are on vacation, and we're going to enjoy it!!

What we're still doing/plan to do:
1. We've been stripping the border off of the wall in our room for some time without much success. I think they superglued it to the wall or something. L read somewhere that vinegar and water is a great wall paper stripper. Oh, vinegar, now I love you even more...
2. Paint our room.
3. Play some more.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Glimpse of Sunshine?

We have made some serious progress in the way of E going outside in her snow pants. It was fun getting her out in the snow (and rain) the past couple of days. Yesterday we just took her outside in her pants, but today we put her snow pants on, and she was pretty comfortable (see pic below). By the way, if you look at the picture above you'll notice some sunshine behind us. I think it's the first glimpse of sun we've had in days... and boy, it really lifted our spirits.

I've also been a little more motivated to cook the past few days. Sometimes I really enjoy being in the kitchen, and this was one of those weeks. Some of the recipes were so/so, but one that we all enjoyed was this recipe. When all three of us like something, it must be a success. We'll be making this one again soon, and will probably end up in our regular food routine at some point.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas and Outdoor Plumbing

We hope that you all had a lovely Christmas. We had our own little Christmas on Sunday, which consisted of us giving E her gift and her stocking, going to church and hanging out for a long time afterward, going outside, and just playing in general. We read the Christmas story to her (well the kid version in her bible at least). Since her aunt and uncle got her the Christmas story as a gift, she keeps bringing it over to me to read, and calls it "Jesus".

We spent Christmas Eve with my family, and Christmas Day with L's family. E handled the trip pretty well, though, she was exhausted by the end of it. She loved all of the attention, no doubt, and had fun seeing some of her cousins and the rest of the family. She's been talking about Papa since we left (I don't think it matters which one), so it's sweet seeing that attachment grow.

Anyway, it was a fun holiday, and it's nice to have some of time off to relax and hang out with E. In fact, I don't go back until the 7th of January, so we'll have lots of time together to play with all of the new toys. Thankfully I've gotten the motivation back to clean and organize my house, so let's hope it lasts.

This is E peeking to see which Aunt and Uncle were coming next.

Oh, and we should also say that we had our ultrasound this week, and found out that we're expecting a boy this time around! Our ultrasound tech called it "outdoor plumbing". We're excited, but I was especially so when L's mom got us a little blue sleeper for Christmas. For some reason it just made it more real. That was a great gift to find out, no doubt.

Anyway, we hope that all of you are having a great time with friends and family, and that we all have beautiful surprises in 2009. God bless!

Monday, December 15, 2008

"What Do You Want for Christmas?"

Really, I have no idea. Not a clue. I don't know what to tell L, or either set of parents, or my grandparents. You'd think that if you never buy anything for yourself over the year that you can come up with ideas for others by the end of it. Nope. Still nothing.

Part of this could be because I don't shop. I've heard some women say that they enjoyed shopping more once the kiddos came along - it acts as an outlet. To me, it's the same. I didn't enjoy shopping before, and now with a kiddo, it's even more burdensome. So maybe I don't want anything because I don't know what's out there? And am I the only female who doesn't like shopping?

Sigh. I should probably come up with something. Any ideas?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Last night was L's company Christmas party, which basically means it's the one time of year all three of us get dressed up. As E was dressed in her Christmas dress, we had the great, bright idea to get some Christmas photos of her. Um... it didn't really work out, but the photo above was one of the ones that were okay.

This was our sixth company party with L's company, and I will admit that his company does a great job each time. The party was at an upscale, we-couldn't-afford-to-eat-there-unless-it-was-a-special-occasion-kinda-place, with large windows overlooking the water and the snowfall. The parties are always family friendly - so friendly, that there are gifts bought for each child in the company. After dinner and dessert, the kiddos find the gift with their name and can tear into it. E got a Little People toy of some sort, and she LOVED it.

E was able to sit with her little friend, B, who is like a foot taller, but like two months older. :) They fed each other, fought over plates, babbled to each other, ate off of the other's plate. It was cute.

E's daycare worker was also there, as she is married to one of L's co-workers. At first it seemed like E was a little skeptical like "Why are you out of the house?" kinda thing, but then the rest of the night if she wasn't with B, she wanted to be with D, sitting on her lap, eating off of her plate, eating things for her she wouldn't eat for us. It's moments like that I realized we are SO blessed to have found someone who loves E as much as E loves her. D is like a third grandmother to E (and a thousand other kiddos). D has a gift that not many other people have - like God created her to take care of children. I'm glad that there are women out there like her.

All in all, it was a great night full of good friend and great company. Hope you guys have great parties like this one!

Friday, December 12, 2008

How Have You Been Blessed?

The month of November was a rather hectic and irritating month for us. This is mostly because of our vehicles. Who knew inanimate objects could cause so many headaches? I noticed as I was driving from work one day that our Sebring was acting very strangely, and had a difficult time accelerating. Lance didn't have much time to do any work himself, so we took in to the mechanic. It's the transmission. Right. Not a cheap fix, but okay, we'll suck it up and pay it.

Life moves on, and I'm going to get E from daycare in our old, rusty Saturn when I switched from reverse into drive, and my car starts convulsing. Seriously. It was terrible. We find out that it's a semi-priced fix, but worth almost as much as the thing is worth. So, we decide to junk and get a different car.

Well, that leaves us with zero cars. And while L walks to work every day, my job isn't one that I can just be dropped off and picked up in eight hours. My car IS my office. So we drove down to L's parents and they were kind enough to let us borrow an extra vehicle they had. Yay, we have a car again until we find another car or our Sebring gets fixed.

What do you know? Two or three days after driving the thing, that car is losing brake fluid at a much faster pace than it should. Is there a leak? Probably, but L didn't have time to fix it before I had to work the next day.

Praise God that L works for a company that is incredibly laid back in their policies. Family members are allowed to drive the company vehicles. I prayed a million times that I wouldn't break it (seriously, I felt like I broke every vehicle I drove). I did NOT want to be the wife that broke the company car, you know?

My prayers were answered, the truck didn't break, but we had to buy a vehicle for me to drive. Now, L and I were pretty happy with our two paid off vehicles. Honestly I was hoping our Saturn would last a lot longer than what it did. We've also tried to prevent taking on any more debt - it certainly has made us feel like a slave (Proverbs 22:7).

Quite honestly, I was pretty disheartened. L and I have made some serious sacrifices to save what we've saved, and we were so very very close to being to our goal for the year. Now, though, I am just so thankful that God has given us the desire to make those sacrifices, as well as the means to save. Just last night we've heard of three people in our church losing their jobs, and here I am, complaining that I have to take some of our savings to buy a car. Praise God that we have steady money coming in, and that we still have money in our savings. Actually, that's just one area in which we're blessed.

In the spirit of the Christmas season, how do you feel that God has blessed you? He's a mighty, wonderful God that we serve. Let's praise Him in this.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Tree Goes Up

I was pretty excited this year about getting a tree and watching E decorate with us. It was pretty fun - we played Christmas music, sipped hot chocolate, and pulled out our decorations. E had a good time - she tried putting the bulbs on the tree, but didn't quite catch the concept of the hook, so she mostly handed us the decorations. The tree has helped teach her how to discriminate colors, and she's great at leaving the decorations alone. Good times.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Snow is Here to Stay

So I guess I wasn't really ready to "be back" as far as the blogging world goes. Life gets a little busy, and I forget to blog or just don't have the time to do it. Ah well. I hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season thus far.

The pregnancy is going well. Getting more and more energy. Able to cook meat again. Wanting salads again. Feeling the desire and having the stamina to contact friends and see them. Life is good.

I'm feeling a bit more pressure to know what we're going to do after baby #2 is born as far as my job goes. My supervisor and my daycare worker have just kind of mentioned it in passing, and really I don't know what to say. The pay is good, but once daycare is taken out for two kiddos, it kinda makes you wonder at what point do you decide to stay home full time?

Anyway, we've gotten quite a bit of snow lately. E seems to have a fascination with it, but as soon as her feet touches the ground, she freaks out. Today we did make some progress - at least she's saying "cheese" in this picture. She would stand in one spot and refuse to move unless I carried her and then she threw a fit when I brought her inside. Hmm.... tricky tricky kiddo to figure out sometimes. :)

Anyway, with all of this snow on the ground, I am really in the Christmas spirit. I have our stockings nearly finished - just need to do the embroidery. We've been reading the Christmas story to E, and she seems to enjoy it. I'm about half way finished with the shopping - and we really don't buy much, so there's not much left to do... I just need to do it.

With that said, I think it's time to do a little online shopping... hope you all have a great week!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's Christmas in November

Well my kiddo seems to enjoy the outdoors even when it's cold. She's fascinated with leaves - how they dance in the wind, how they sound when she jumps, rolling around in them, etc. It's cute in my opinion.

I mentioned in my last post that we're pretty excited about Christmas around here. Well, it's mostly me, but L and E have played along. We've been pretty traditionless here in our home, but now that E is getting a little older, we're trying to think of some to incorporate. Anyone have any special traditions they don't mind sharing?

One other thing that we don't really do around our house is buy a lot for Christmas. Mostly because we're not into stuff, and also because we want to remember the meaning of Christmas. But we do want to do something a little special, since we didn't get her anything for Christmas or her b-day last year (are we terrible parents?),

I know that we are going to fill her stockings with books. This kid is a book worm, which L and I love. In fact, once I timed it, and we read stories for an hour and a half - crazy, eh? Still, after reading "Goodnight Moon" for the millionth time, I decided it was time to expand her library a bit more.

Anyone have a favorite book that their kiddo loves to read? Taking suggestions. :)

Happy Friday to you all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So It's Been a Month...

Wow... it's been a month since I posted last. I can't believe that in a couple of weeks Thanksgiving is going to be here, and then the Christmas is fully underway, which is pretty great in my opinion.

Anyway, life has been going well and fast. Some big news in the works for us: we are expecting baby #2 in May. We're pretty excited, and it's hard to believe that three months have passed already. Yikes! This kiddo is going to be here before we know it.

So part of the reason for lack of posting is that I've been SO TIRED this pregnancy. I never struggled with morning sickness or this much exhaustion (I don't think anyway) with E as I am with this babe. Really, it could have been worse, but my body isn't designed for morning sickness. :) Praise God though, we made it through and I'm feeling better and better with each day.

Things are going well on the job front. Work has settled into more of a routine, and always goes by quickly. I've learned of a new parent coalition that's starting in our area that I'm hoping to get plugged into, if it's not too much of a commitment. Also my job has given me so many ideas on how to link our church (and other churches) up to different non profits or other service projects going on. Yes I'm PRETTY excited over that.

E's doing well. Talking more. Getting closer to two. Loving books more and more. Cute as ever. What can I say? I love this kid.

And what else can I say, but I've been doing some sewing since my energy has come back. Some stockings are in the works, some garland, and a quilt for a bed E will need to transition to soon. I can't tell you how great it is to be past that first trimester stage. Really.

Anyway, hope all of you are well, and will try to get up to date on blogs now that my mind feels more clear. Stay warm all of you Northerners!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Well, as you might have noticed, I haven't been keeping up with blogging as I initially was. Part of that is due to less time... some of it is due to my decreasing interest in keeping up with it. I have decided, for a few reasons, to take a break from blogging. I will occasionally update when inspired to do so, but until then, it's time for my blog to take a backseat.

I've pretty tired by the end of the day, and it's been pretty tempting to veg out in front of the television or the internet, and it's not a good use of time. And I'm becoming increasingly aware at how quickly time passes, and how it should be spent wisely. So I'm limiting my time with both, and will spend the extra time with my sweet husband, who has been kind enough to make dinner, my daughter who is cuter and funnier than ever, God - who deserves so much more than I give Him, others.

I apologize if I don't get to read your blog as often as I used to... I will try to stay somewhat up to date. :) I've been very blessed by many of your blogs.

So, until my next post, enjoy the rest of the autumn. It's certainly beautiful here.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Someone recently asked me if I described myself as a "stay at home" mom or a "working" mom. Well, in my opinion, all moms are working moms. And really, I've never defined my role. I work out of the home three days a week, and home four days. It's a good balance, though, in all honesty, two days would be ideal.

There are mornings when I wish E and I could snuggle, but instead, I'm wrestling to get everything organized so we can get out the door. Or sunny days that would be great for a nature walk, but instead, I'll be in the car driving through two counties to get to four home visits. And there are playgroups that we can no longer go to b/c of my work schedule.

Those are the days when I regret going back to work. And yes, I do have those days.

Then there are the days when I feel like I've connected with a client, or found a way to pay for heat for a grandmother that is taking care of her three grandchildren. And the days when E walks to the door, waves and says "bye", letting us know it's time to go to daycare. Or the days when I feel overwhelmed and burned out when I'm with the kiddo all day everyday.

Those are the days I'm glad I get to get out of the house and go to another job.

Today I regretted the decision. Tuesdays are a harder than normal day for all of us here, as L teaches his class after work, so I'm rushing home to get dinner moving, with a hungry kiddo hanging on my leg. It was just a hard day. I was tired. And work was stressful, b/c if one visit runs late, then they all have a tendency to do that, resulting in me to have two professionals waiting for me at one particular home visit. E was especially tired and hungry for some reason, and didn't like her dinner.

It was just a hard day, but I'm also very glad and thankful for it. I realized I knew one of my new clients, as she is adopting a set of twins, and it warmed my heart to know that these kiddos would have a wonderful home. Oh, my, if she hadn't adopted them, I might have... they are ADORABLE. I'm very blessed to enjoy my job.

And of course, E is so fun. She had three hair clips in her hair, and wanted me to put a rubber band in her hair. She wanted me to read every book on her bookshelf, and gave me a thousand kisses. I love her kisses. How do you stay frustrated when your kiddo does that?

Anyway, it was a hard time, but it was good. Not all blessings are easy. That's why I'm going to bed, hoping for more energy tomorrow. God bless, Friends.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yellow and Sunshine

We've been pretty blessed with lovely September weather over the past week or so. Since we live on the coast of Lake Michigan, we try to go to the beach as often as we can. It's free and what kiddo doesn't love water? There's nothing like listening to the sound of the water, and all of the children laughing and playing. I love lazy Saturday afternoons!

L got back from N. Carolina late Friday night, after being a business trip for a few days. My Friday night consisted of E going to bed, and me laying on the couch, fully intending to watch the debates. I fell asleep a half hour into it, and L came home to a dark house, and McCain and Obama hashing it out. Why do they put the debates on so late? Yes, 9 pm. is late in my opinion. Sad, I know.

In completely unrelated news, a fabric store in our area is moving, and selling all of their current merchandise. I went a little fabric crazy a little while ago, dreaming of making E her first quilt for when she transitions to her "big girl" bed. My own big girl bed needs a duvet cover, so I bought fabric for that. And I found fabric to make E and I aprons, which I'm incredibly excited about making. Then there were, of course, dress patterns for E, and some cute fabric for that.

I noticed a lot of yellow in the fabric that I bought. Normally I don't like the color, but recently we painted our living room wall yellow, and intend on making my duvet color yellow. I think it's b/c our apartment doesn't get a lot of sunlight (especially in the winter), so maybe I'm trying to make some sunshine of our own? Not sure, but we'll let you know how it goes!

Gotta run, but hope you are all having a lovely weekend, full of sunshine!

Friday, September 19, 2008


One thing I really love about living in Michigan is the distinct changing of seasons. Fall is one of my favorite seasons for many reasons, but especially because of the beautiful colors, harvest, sunflowers, and of course, apple season. Yum.

When I was growing up, we did not have a lot of money. My dad worked many LONG, hard days to provide for our rather large family. My mom was then responsible for five busy children, and trying to maintain a clean home (somehow she did a much better job than I do now... hmm....).

Well, each fall meant the return to school, but also harvest season. We had a large garden - I wish I had pictures of it at its largest... it was a lot of work maintaining it. Every year we snipped green beans, made applesauce, picked potatoes, and the most work of all: canning tomatoes.

We hated canning tomatoes. Oh my, we would can large amounts every year. We would stay up late, with shriveled fingers, peeling the skin off of warm tomatoes, cutting them up and putting them in mason jars. Over and over and over again. We'd think we were done, and my dad would bring in several more bags.

My mom often says that we had a garden out of necessity. Feeding seven people is quite an expensive task, especially when you are living on one small income. Sometimes I think she's embarrassed by our meager upbringing, but I'm so grateful for it.

There is something very special about all of us sitting around the kitchen table, taking part in preserving the food that we grew on our own. As a child, I just thought it was neat to play with the bugs and dirt in the garden. Now, it was an experience not many people my age have of preserving the food for the winter, and knowing where my food came from.

Now we are renting, and don't have a garden. That's why I'm so thankful for farmer's markets. Though I don't garden (yet), we can preserve our food by freezing and canning, and enjoy it all year round... even in the dead cold of winter. We've done some preserving, and there's more I want to do - for ourselves, but also for E, who will hopefully have a special appreciation for this useful skill in such an uncertain world.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The 18 Month Old

This was E a year ago...

This is what she looks like today.

Wow. What a difference a year makes, eh? A year ago she was six months old - just starting to move, and now, at 18 months, she's on the run - always. I just look at these pictures, amazed at how much she's changed... and yet, she's the same. The same wide, beautiful dark eyes, and the same incredibly curious personality.

1. She loves music... she knows many of the hand motions to "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and will insist that we sing it over and over. She'll also get very frustrated if we turn the radio off or change it to talk radio. Lately I've noticed that she bops her head all the way home from daycare to whatever song is playing.

2. She's becoming all girl. She loves "boos" (hair clips, bow, rubber bands), and wants one in her hair at all times. She become very alarmed if she checks her hair, and there's nothing there.

3. She's combining words more often now. Tonight she pointed to a picture and said, "That a baby". Of course my favorite is when she told me "love you!".

4. She somehow learned to take her finger, put it to her lips and say, "hmmm" in a thoughtful way.

5. She's emotional.

6. She loves taking her phone, putting it to her ears, and saying, "Hi, Dad", then proceeding to talk in toddler-speak. She'll then wave at the phone and say, "bye!"

7. Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots is her favorite book. Hands down.

8. Her eyes light up when she sees other little (yet slightly older) girls. It's amazing how quickly kids want to be like someone older/bigger than them.

9. She's discovered tantrums. Boy, has she.

10. She's learned to tickle herself (and others). She'll put her fingers on her belly and say, "tickle, tickle tickle".

So, Eden Noelle (one of the few times you'll ever see her name here), we absolutely love who you are becoming! Happy half birthday!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Baking With the Kiddo

As I've stated before, E gets pretty bored with me sometimes, so I'm always trying to think of different activities for her to help me with or craft projects that she would enjoy. Right now it appears to be easier/more fun to let her help me with baking projects, as opposed to cooking projects. Less chopping and more dumping.

So that means I HAVE to make desserts, yes? That's been my excuse since I decided to make homemade cinnamon rolls. It was cold outside when we made these, and they really hit the spot. Oh did they....

Anyway, they ended up taking more time than I originally planned for, but the outcome was so good. Yum. I'd definitely keep this recipe as a birthday or other special occasion, when I feel more forced to spend the time.

The kiddo mostly played in some cinnamon and flour, and she helped me knead some dough (well, she had her own little ball of dough to knead). The result was a flour covered floor, child, mom, table, but it was so fun having her next to me. And she lasted longer than if she had been doing something else. Note to self though: have ingredients/measurements ready to make the baking go more smoothly.

Of course the result was 18 cinnamon rolls, and most of them would end up in my belly than L's or E's, so we gave some to daycare to enjoy. Now I don't feel any guilt about eating them. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Glimpses of Summer

Streaks of sunshine and lots of smiles

Lots of beach days
Camping with Friends

Taking E to pet the farm animals
Good food
Hikes in the woods.
Berry picking
Quality times together

We had such a fun and busy summer. E just has a way of making the most simple moments in life so memorable. I just love that about her. I'm looking forward to the autumn season, and all that it has to bring. Goodbye, Summer!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Weekend To You!

I've gotten back into the groove of working out, now that we've settled into a routine with daycare, work, etc. When I was training for the triathlon, back in the spring, I was consistently working out five or six days a week. What confuses me is this: everyone talks about how exercising gives you energy, but it just seems to make me exhausted and sleep like a baby. While I like sleeping, I also want that energy people talk so much about. Any thoughts? Am I just meant to be a tired person?

With harvest season underway, we've been eating variations of vegetable dishes, and they are yummy. Last night I made up a concoction of zucchini, eggplant, red onion, tomato with olive oil, oregano and garlic sprinkled on it. It was GOOD. I am going to be so sad when the farmer's market ends, and we'll have to go back to the supermarket to rely on whatever produce I didn't freeze this year.

On the subject of food, we have had a breakthrough with E's relationship with meat. We've been eating a lot of salmon as of late, and we put a little bit on her plate, as we're always hoping she'll try something new and like it. She ate it, thought about it for a second, and wanted more. And more. More good news: yesterday she ate several little pieces of chicken, without any breading and any sauce. We did a dance around the room, I was so happy. :)

On that wonderful bit of news, I'll close this post with the picture below. E had a blast with T, the son of a couple in our bible study. She absolutely adored everything he did, and when he would try to sit up in the chair, she would "push" him back down. :) She is also saying "cheese" in this picture. Cute.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Life in a Nutshell

Sorry that it's been a while since I've posted. Life has been pretty busy in our neck of the woods. We had a nice Labor Day weekend - we saw J and A and the rest of the fam, saw some childhood friends, saw more family, went for a bike ride, and had a beach day with some friends.

Speaking of a beach day with friends, this is a pic of E and M in the approximate place that M's parents, K and R, got married a few years back. We met K and R through church, when R and I were both pregnant. Here we are over a year later, and these two have become good friends. They're even starting to interact a little, and that's been a joy to see.

Today is L's first day of class for the semester. He's teaching an Engineering class at the community college. Last year was his first year teaching the class, and it was pretty chaotic and a lot of preparation. We're hoping that this year is different, as he could use his notes from the first class.

L's trip to DC went well, though he calculated that they worked 87 hours in one week. Yikes. E and I made it through the trip unscathed, and even got into a routine. Hats off to single moms - you are pretty amazing to handle such a difficult task.

Anyway, E would carry L's backpack and say "Daddy" over and over. It was cute and sad. She also learned how to take a phone and say, "Hi, Dad!" when he would call. She's been putting two words together more often since then, and it's great being able to communicate more.

As far as my job and daycare goes, things are going well. It's been a month, and things are in a routine for the most part. Work has gotten significantly busier with the school year starting, so that was a little overwhelming last week. I got my first paycheck on Friday, and it's strange how proud I was to feel like I could help out a little bit financially.

E has enjoyed daycare, and actually, I'm convinced it's helped her sleep in other places. We stayed at L's parents house over the weekend. And she slept all night. And took a nap the next day. What?!! She would have never done this before. So, I guess in that way, daycare has helped her branch out of her only napping at home shell. :)

Well, it appears that I had a lot to say. :) Now that I've prattled on, I should get off and get some chores done. Hope that you all had a lovely and relaxing weekend!


Hi All!

I know that it's been a while since my last post - life has been busy, but we are very blessed. I just wanted you all to keep our bro and sister-in-law in prayer, as they travel first to South Africa and then to Zimbabwe, where they will be doing missions work over there, showing and sharing the love of Christ.

This has been quite a long journey for Jason and Ann to get to Africa - a dream that was planted in them as a married couple two or three years ago when they went to Kenya on a short missions trip. They've felt called since then to go for a longer stay, and will be in Zimbabwe (where L and his siblings were born) for a few months.

We are so proud of them, and have been praying for safe travels and that God's mighty work will be done. Please join us in prayer, as an army of prayer warriors praying over this couple as they serve God in this amazing way!

You can follow their journey in Zim here. Check back periodically to see what God is doing in the continent of Africa! God bless!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's All About Me

Well I have been tagged by Kristi to write six random bits of information about me. Kristi is "supermom" in my opinion - lots of craft ideas, makes her food from scratch, great product reviews on her site. You can tell that she really does her research on her topics.

So here ya go - six completely random bits of info on me. Enjoy. :)

1. I cry during pretty much any movie we watch. In fact I cried watching Benji (anyone remember these movies?) when I was five or six years old. It's been waterworks ever since.

2. I LOVE to journal.... and look for journals.

3. My favorite character in any book I've read is Anne Shirley. A dream vacation would be to go to Prince Edward Island. I'd be nervous that it's not as beautiful as I picture it in my mind.

4. I didn't like ice cream until I was 18 years old, and even now... don't love it.

5. I am terribly disorganized. I use the excuse that L's an engineer, and therefore incredibly organized, so.... it's my job to balance him out, right?

6. I switched colleges four times before graduation, and majors as many times, too. Call me indecisive.

I am tagging my friend, Kristin, who has two lovely little guys. She's a super creative, incredibly talented mom and graphic designer. She's also really athletic and sweet and fun to be around and... we miss them!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Label Reader

Has anyone ever noticed that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is everywhere? In everything? Now that E's palate is broadening, I feel like I spend an extra hour in the grocery reading labels. Let's use ketchup, for example. HFCS is in nearly every bottle, even the ones advertised as "all natural" (beware, people - "all natural" often doesn't mean all natural). I contemplated buying the organic for many minutes, but the price was outrageous in my opinion.

So instead, I found a recipe for ketchup that I plan on making after I'm done with this post (am I crazy?). We'll see how it turns out. I guess it wouldn't be that big of a deal, if she didn't eat much ketchup. Now, E's starting to love the stuff (ugh....), so it makes me more nervous about what she's putting in her body. Plus, I'm a little wary of what she eats at daycare, so at home, I try to be sure she gets good food.

As we've been finishing jelly or jam (it seems like that takes forever for us), and as we've collected other glass bottles, I'm saving them for when we make our own, hopefully healthier version.

Anyway, Friends, please read your labels. Most of the time you're not buying "just ketchup" or "just jam", etc, but other ingredients you don't want in your food. Keep your eyes peeled and read your labels - it's really eye opening.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Random Awesomeness

1. We got to see some friends from our old Bible Study group yesterday. It was fun. J is adorable and completely laid back, and E made herself at home at B's mother's house - trying to steal food whenever she could get it. And I only took two photos of the kids together. Two.

2. I'm addicted to the Olympics, and more specifically, the Phelps Phenomenon. Yay for eight gold medals.

3. I'm not impressed over the whole Russia/Georgia thing - especially during the Olympics when the world is supposed to be able to come together for a week or whatever it is.

4. L's leaving for DC in a couple of days, and will be gone for a week. I'm a little nervous trying to think about working, getting the kiddo ready for daycare and doing all of the chores around the house.

5. E's gonna miss her daddy. So will her mom.

6. I don't think many chores are going to get done. :)

7. E's new word is "water", except that it sounds like "wawa". Completely cute. She is talking so much now.

8. I got my haircut yesterday, and asked the hairstylist if she would like to come and style it every morning, as it's likely that it'll never look this good again. She said no.

9. E blows kisses whenever she says goodbye to her daycare worker. I like their relationship together (and the fact that our husbands work together).

10. I made cheesecake the other night (and it was GOOD), which happens to be L's favorite dessert. Am I the best wife ever or what? Never mind the fact that it's also my favorite dessert, and that I ate the majority of it...

11. I don't know why I've never made cheesecake before. It was easy and much cheaper.

12. L's been working a ton of hours this weekend, trying to get ready for his trip. I'm a little jealous of how close he'll be to the White House, etc, but will live vicariously through his photos.

13. I hardly ever water my plants anymore. How hard is it to remember to water once a week?!

14. E's discovered ketchup, and it looks like even green beans taste better with it.

15. There's an exercise class that I want to join - word on the street is that it's addictive. We'll see if that's true.

16. We watched the Saddleback forum with Obama and McCain, despite the criticism surrounding Rick Warren. Personally, the conversation was enjoyable to watch, and it seemed I liked a lot of what Obama said, and a lot of what McCain said. And some things I didn't like about both. Sigh.

17. E and I are loving the blueberries from the farmer's market. They are SO SO SO much better than the store bought berries.

18. E has learned how to smell flowers. Well, sometimes she gets it. Other times she confuses it with blowing her nose, and so you can imagine what comes out sometimes. Still, it's cute.

19. I'm so lazy today. Hence, two posts.

20. I promised E that we'd head to the beach after her nap, because it's been almost two weeks since we were there last, and it's HOT here. Now it's raining. Bummer. Ah well... off to find other equally fun activities for the kiddo.

Book of the Week

This isn't the best photo, but I really enjoyed reading this book. I'm not the most creative person (though Amanda Blake Soule did help me realize that each of us are creative in our own way). I want to encourage E to be creative, so this book has a lot of great ideas.

There are recipes for all natural dyes, glue, as well as patterns for different projects. She encourages us to get outside, and use items from nature for art projects like pine cones. She teaches that we need to make room for creative play with our children, and that messes are just a part of life. :)

Anyway, for any of you looking for different ideas for your child, or just new inspiration, this is a great book. I really enjoyed it, and am in the process of reading it again.

Hope that you all had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


One of the things I do appreciate about my job is my supervisor. In the very short time I've known her, C has helped rekindle my passion for social work and my attitude for life. In school my profs were very active politically (for better or for worse, they fought for what they believed in) and socially. They make you believe that yes, one social worker can change the world.

Well, you graduate and being in the field was a little disheartening. I just felt like the system (and there are many in the field) was so flawed. The administration was too far removed from the trenches of working with clients, and it was always about numbers. And money. And the lack of money, which means the lack of service.

Truly, there's no wonder why there's such a high turnover in social work. Now, people know going into the field that the pay is ridiculously low, but you believe that making a difference will make it worthwhile. Then you get into the field, and suddenly it doesn't feel like you can make a difference - almost as though the system is preventing change. So you have crappy pay and a frustrating job. Hmmm....

After speaking with C the other day (and many of her views are different from my own), I became very aware of my cynical attitude. She is very involved in many grass root movements. She spoke about change, and how it feels like the system doesn't believe that anyone can turn their life around. We were chatting about one situation she knew about, and in the back of my mind I was thinking "Really though? Do you think she changed?" But I listened politely and asked some questions, trying to get the full story. She had such a refreshing perspective, and spoke with such sincerity and passion, almost to tears over this story. I couldn't help but feel a little chided over my doubtful attitude.

Driving to work today, I was thinking more about our conversation, and it just dawned on me: if I don't believe in change, then what do I believe as a Christian? As a social worker who is also a Christian? Can one person truly change? By God's grace, I've been changed (and it looks like I need more changing!). If I can change, surely anyone can change, yes?

Now I won't get into how closely linked social work and Christianity is in my mind, and how there is also an incredible disconnect. But wow, of course, change can happen... and it does happen all of the time. Christ brought change. Freedom. Life. Thankfully, He is also living in me, so that I may share His love with others, that they too may be changed.

I'm realizing that this is an all over the place post, but I'm re-thinking the role that I've been living, and what role I *should* be living. Boy, in day to day living, it can be really tempting to become complacent and think the worst, blaming it on "reality". As a Christian and a social worker, I have such wonderful access into others' lives. What a joy and blessing to have this opportunity. It's also quite a challenge.

So can change happen? Oh, Lord, please forgive my cynical nature, and give me an active faith to share your love with those around me.

Good Food

One good thing about being part of a community garden is that you get fresh produce each week. The other day it was a little chilly here - in the 60's I think? It kind of put me in the mood for a warm meal, like soup.

It's become my version of vegetable soup, because it was everything in my refrigerator that needed to be used up. I used chicken stock, shallots, carrots (shown above), garlic, onion, broccoli, zucchini and rice in the soup. Bonus points for me: all of the vegetables were locally grown. It was yummy, though the leftovers are still in the refrigerator waiting to be eaten. It's now warm here, and I'm craving summer food. :)

Yesterday was a picnic for my work. We invited all of the families that we serve, as well as all the of providers. It was fun meeting some of my co-workers, and clients, too. I brought a cheese tortellini salad, and it was a hit. I just threw some Parmesan cheese, red onion (though I wish I had added more of this, but I love the stuff), black olives, and spinach in with the cooked and cooled tortellini and some Italian dressing. Three people asked me for the recipe, but it seemed that most people just loved the dressing. :) But seriously. Who doesn't love Italian dressing? It's my favorite.

Anyway it's off to tend to my hungry and tired child. She hasn't napped today (which equals no work on my part), and we have L's work picnic tonight. Hopefully she can make it a few more hours before bed.

Friday, August 8, 2008

And the Week Ends...

So my first week has come to an end. It was a crazy week - working an extra day, adjusting to our new morning (and evening) schedule. Honestly, I have to applaud all you moms who workout of home full time. Wow. Talk about a balancing act.

Thanks for all of your well wishes and prayers. E's adjusted to her daycare routine beautifully, thank God. She has slept both days for lengthy periods of time and comes home in a great mood. Work has gone well for me - I'm already feeling more confident than a day or two ago, so that's encouraging. :)

And more good news about the job - it's just a couple minutes walk from the farmer's market! Oh the temptation!

Working has given me a new sense of urgency to get some stuff done around my house. I've been getting up earlier to do a couple of chores (which doesn't seem to work out well). In the evening the television has been turned off a lot more so that we can spend time with E, and doing more chores. Also, I've been exercising in the evening too - going for bike rides or doing yoga or going for a walk. So far, so good. We'll see how long it lasts. :)

Anyway that's been my life. Not really exciting or probably even interesting to read, but my life. :) Hopefully more interesting reading will come a little later. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

First Day

Well today was my first day leaving E in daycare and heading to my "other job". It was only a half day today, so I was more confident about leaving her. L dropped her off, and later told me that she did well - no tears, etc. When I went to pick her up, she looked pretty tired (and D, the daycare lady, told me that E was laying down on her and probably would have slept, but she was trying to keep the kiddo awake since I was due to come soon).

E loved sitting on everyone's lap, shutting the door (her obsession right now), and listening to all of the stories that were read to her. This made me feel so much better, and now I'm not as concerned about tomorrow. Of course, my kiddo does NOT nap well in other places, but maybe she'll be so tuckered out from playing with the other kids that she'll crash? Here's to hoping.

My day went well - pretty uneventful. I realized that there appears to be much less paperwork up here (and about a 1/4 of caseload as downstate), and the services seem better, too. The system is just completely different here, so it'll take a little getting used to. It does seem to be a very family friendly place to work, which is a relief, too. C, my boss appears very laid back. Yay for that.

Anyway, other than that, life is same ol' same ol'. E did have her very first taste of corn on the cob over the weekend. She enjoyed it, though she had a hard time holding on to it properly (it kept slipping from her hands). She seemed to enjoy it raw more than cooked, but ate it both ways. We're corn lovers in my family (in fact, my siblings and I worked at a corn stand our entire jr. high/high school career), so it seems like E is enjoying its yumminess, too. Though, in this picture it looks like she's kissing the corn, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Blueberry Fun

Yesterday was busy, but my dad and I fit a couple hours of blueberry picking in the afternoon. It was fun and relaxing, though I was hot and hungry after we were done. We were able to grab 13 quarts before we left, so it was a good feeling to know we have some local berries for the winter. I thought about taking the kiddo with me, but after our strawberry picking adventure, I knew that she wouldn't have the patience to be there long enough to pick the desired about of blueberries. Maybe we'll take her again before the season is finished.

So, obviously we've been doing a lot of freezing today. We've already filled one gallon bag of blueberries, and MANY more to go. We've also frozen green beans and peas (thanks, Dad!), too. It's been a busy food day, but it's fun watching our freezer fill with lots of goodies, knowing our tummies will thank us later. :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lavender Body Scrub

This has been a chaotic week, trying to get my schedule figured out for next week, visiting daycare and organizing E's life for that (and ours), buying what I need to buy (all done!), and researching cell phone plans. L was out of town for a couple of days on business, and E is still getting adjusted to her sleeping schedule from camping (who knew it would take this long?). We're getting there, though, so I'm feeling much more prepared for Tuesday.

Thanks to all who offered activities that E and I to do. We've been outside a ton, played with other kiddos, read lots of stories, did chores together. She has started helping me in the kitchen (thanks, Kristi). Just yesterday, she helped me add all of the ingredients to the body scrub we made, and "helped" me stir.

This body scrub was fun and easy to make. I've had my eye on this recipe for months, but was in the process of using up all of my commercial products. Now that we've run out, I made this scrub, and now my skin feels so soft!! I used lavender essential oil (use it for E's wipes), and canola oil instead of olive oil. Anyway, it was a quick project that E and I had a good time doing together.

Well, it's off to do more chores. Now that I'm going to be gone a couple of days a week, I'm suddenly feeling the urgency to do all of the deep cleaning I've been putting off for weeks. I definitely thrive on procrastination!

Have a good weekend, All!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I am constantly running out of Swiffer pad refills, and it drives me crazy how expensive they are to buy all of the time. For a while I was just using old rags and a bucket to wash the floors, but this got tiring really fast (E did love to help, but she slipped too many times for my comfort).

Today I realized that we were out of them (again), and since it was too much of a hassle to run to the store, I read where some make reusable pads. It worked well enough for me to say bye bye to the $5 or whatever it is to buy the refills. I just used some microfiber towels, folded them in half and sewed it. Voila - pads. Less trash and more money. Yay.

In equally exciting news, I feel like I'm getting ready to go back to school with the list of materials I need to buy for work. Pens. A planner (old one donated to L). A lunch box and a water bottle. And oddly enough, I'm pretty excited about looking for these items, but I used to love the fall of the year and getting my backpack ready for the first day of class. Strange, silly me.

Anyway, back to the daily grind of chores and figuring out dinner, before it's too late to thaw anything. Note to self: pull meat out the night before you need it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

And We're Back

We made it through the weekend in one piece. Actually camping went much smoother than what I pictured it my head (one advantage to looking at the glass half empty, I guess). The kiddos did struggle a little bit to sleep (and E barely napped), but it could have been much worse than what it was.
It poured the first evening we were there. And I mean POURED. We ran into the tent, and tried to wait until it subsided. This is a terrible photo, but you can see the large puddle of water until K, R, and M's tent - it felt like you were on a water bed each time you took a step inside of it. We managed to get into the car and get to a restaurant, and by the time we got back, the puddle was gone. Crazy.
This is just a cute photo from the our day trip to the falls. E was pretty tired, but kept pushing forward.
The beach at the campground was gorgeous. The first day was extremely windy, and the waves were huge, so it felt like we were at the ocean. We all enjoyed the beach - M chased bird after bird after bird, E was spent much of the time in the sand and found a log that she rode like a horse. I think that we'll be finding sand for months to come.

This was the sunset we were able to enjoy the last night we were there. Wow. God's creation is just breathtaking. The nature, the company and the memories are just priceless. I'd say E and M's first camping experience was a success. Good times.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Off to Camping We Go

This has been a crazy week as we start preparing to have me go back to work, as well as planning for a camping trip this weekend. We're going with some friends of ours from church. They also have a daughter, M, who's a few months younger than E. It should be interesting as we are banking on the kiddos sleeping in their pack n play in the tent. I'm praying for cooperation, and decent sleep. :)

We've also been on the lookout for all natural or organic meat that's been locally grown, and trying find something before my work starts. We had been hearing of prices that seemed a little ridiculous to me. However, we have found a place that sells all natural chicken breasts at a very reasonable price. We might be buying a 1/4 of a cow, too, but I'm not sure how on earth we'll eat that much meat. Guess that's what the freezer is for, right?

As we are chatting about food and going back to work, I'm trying to think of either fast or make ahead healthy meals that will deter us from eating out. No point in spending all of the money I make on food, right? So, if anyone has great ideas, let me know.

All right off to bike to the playground, and then back to more packing preparation. I have a feeling I'm going overboard on the packing, yet still forgetting something. Hmmm....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What To Do, What To Do...

E is all girl - she is OBSESSED with shoes. She calls them "eet" (feet), and is constantly asking me to put my shoes on her, L's shoes... pretty much anyone's shoe. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I only have like three or four pairs of shoes to work with, so she gets bored, and wants to walk in Daddy's boots. Right now she's wearing some slippers we got for free that are one size too big for her.
E is 16 months, and a very busy toddler. It appears that she's down to one nap - from two or three the past month and a half. The more awake time means we have to come up with more activities for her to do. We've been going to the beach a few times a week, but she appears to be growing tired of it. Yesterday we went to the playground at the elementary school, and wow... she fell in love. Even after two hours of hard play, she had a mini tantrum when we left. Guess where we will be spending much of our upcoming days?

What are some at home activities that you guys do with your kiddos? What are your child's favorite at home activity? At the moment my kiddo loves books, play dough, dried beans or oatmeal with cups/spoons, markers and finger paints. Any ideas will keep our days moving in a good direction. :)

Monday, July 21, 2008


These are some flowers that we cut from our yard on Saturday. They died on Sunday. At least we got to enjoy them for the afternoon/evening, and L managed to get some photos for his class. Ah well.

Well I found out that I got the job. This is good news, since I was expecting an offer. :) This seems to be a "God thing". A month or two ago, I decided to start looking for something part time - to get out of the house, etc. Found hospital job. Interviewed hospital job. Hated hospital job. Didn't find anything else, so I took it as a sign that staying home was for me unless a social work job that I would enjoy opened up. There aren't many social work jobs at all, let alone part time ones.

So I go to the garden I volunteer at once a week (it's amazing they let me around plants, but that's another story). M, the gardener, asks me how family life is, and if I was planning on working outside the home or not. I tell him that yes, I had just re-entered the job hunt, but it was unlikely to find anything social work related. He asks me if I've ever heard of Early On. Yes, that's where most of my experience is. He says, well my girlfriend is the coordinator of Early On, and they have a position opening up. I ask if it's part time, he says he doesn't know. Later that day, we check out the website, and find out that it's part time. And the pay is good. And the hours are flexible. And the staff is laid back.

So I took the job. And it just so happens that the wife of one of L's co-workers runs a daycare.
And she's a Christian, and has been running a daycare for 28 years, and just recently had a part time slot open up. So I'm hoping that this will pan out and be the "perfect" place.

Enough prattling on with my overabundance of "ands". I'm excited, nervous, scared, but looking forward to the challenge. Thanks for all of your prayers. Please continue to pray as we hunt for a daycare and that I'll deal with the guilt I'm already feeling.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Green Smoothies

Oh, and since my kiddo is taking a long nap, I thought I'd post the smoothie she's been drinking the past few days. Our pediatrician recently suggested that E be tested for anemia, as her sleeping patterns have gotten especially long at times. His main concern was that she doesn't like meat, and therefore, isn't getting enough iron. Thankfully the test came back that her levels were normal, but it still caused me to think perhaps we needed to focus on increasing her iron intake.

So I've been trying to stuff anything with iron into her. So far she's been a good sport. :) Her favorite thing has been a green smoothie that I make for her each day. I know that it sounds gross, but really, it's good, and you don't even taste the spinach.

Here are the ingredients:

Spinach (or any green leafy green such as kale, romaine lettuce, etc)
Blueberries to taste and change the color

Just place it all in a blender and mix until smooth. Green Smoothies are so good for you, and we've been lucky to get a lot of local spinach lately. They help curb your sugar craving, and are full of great nutrients.

Don't knock it unless you try it. :)

The Dirty Dozen

As most of you know from my blog, we've been trying to eat healthier around here. I try to focus on meals that are heavy in veggies and whole grains. We have our good and bad days, for sure. I came across a list several months ago while doing "research" on eating healthier, and the debate between organic vs. non-organic.

This list covers what items you should buy with the label "organic". The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that even after washing, some food items still have high levels of pesticide residue on them.

"The Dirty Dozen":
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes, imported (Chili)
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
Beef, poultry, and milk are also items that you might consider buying organic.

This is a list of items that don't need to have the label "organic" to be "safe":
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Peas
The cost of organic food is still high, so we really pick and choose what we buy organic. Personally I would love to buy organic milk and meat, but the pricing is outrageous in my opinion. So, we try to use the items "sparingly". That's why I'm hoping to buy in bulk or take part in U-Picks and with the CSA, hoping to dodge some of the cost of organic food. A lot of the time, though, I just can't bring myself to pay what organic food costs (though sometimes there are deals, and we "stock up"). I do the bulk of my shopping in the product section, hoping to avoid at least the preservatives that they add to boxed and prepared foods.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


A couple of months ago, A (my sis-in-law), R (friend), and I took part in a non competitive triathlon. My reasoning for doing the triathlon was to get back into exercising, and it really worked... for about two months. I either biked or ran every night... and I felt good. Of course, after the race ended, I took some "time off", and well... it's been quite a long holiday.

So over the past month or so, we've started doing some lengthy walks downtown (we're a little further away than what we were in our last rental). These would generally be "fun" walks - just to get outside and have family time. Well, in an effort to exercise more and use my car less, I've decided to use the bike for practical reasons too. The kiddo and I have biked to the beach a couple of times, and most recently, I've biked E to her doctor's appt. It was a 4 1/2 mile ride total, but it was a little tricky with the amount of foot traffic there was to deal with (tourists), and then there was "the" hill. Of course, I am still getting over my cold, so I felt a little dizzy after my ride. Still we made it back in one piece, and it encouraged me to keep on "keeping on". So, let's hope the trend continues until the snow flies (which is hopefully a long time from now).

In other news, my interview was yesterday. It went okay - it's been a while, so I definitely wasn't at the top of my game. The staff seemed really laid back and fun, so I felt comfortable. Some positives: the pay is A LOT better than I was making downstate, I make my own schedule and can do a little work from home, good mileage reimbursement. Negatives: putting E in daycare, having to drive on wintry roads, wear and tear on my car.

I'm not going to think about the position unless it's offered to me. Then it'll be a mad dash of decision making and daycare finding. :) L was suddenly more interested when he heard the pay, and to be honest, I was too. So, we'll see. Thanks for all of the prayers. :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Homemade Ranch Dressing

We are pretty boring people when it salad dressings. We are Italian (me) and Ranch (L) kinda people. We like other dressings, but we are loyal to those two. Unfortunately, dressings are full of alarming ingredients that we don't want in our food. So I decided to find a recipe to make some ranch dressing, since that was the first dressing we were out of. Here is what I found:

Ranch Dressing
The Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 to 2 cloves garlic
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (use less table salt)

1 cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s or Best Foods preferred)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk or regular milk, to taste
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill, more if desired

Directions: With a fork, make a paste with garlic and salt. Mix all other ingredients, adding optional ingredients as you wish, tasting frequently and adjusting seasonings as needed. Chill for a couple of hours before serving, thin with milk or buttermilk if desired.

Just a couple of notes: We only used one clove of garlic, as it's raw in this dressing. I love garlic, but L has a sensitive stomach, so we erred on the side of caution. L still thought there was a lot of garlic in the recipe, so I added more milk, which toned it down a bit. I also added a little white vinegar, which gave it a great tang in my opinion.

Also, we used dried herbs, as we didn't have any fresh on hand, so we adjusted the measurements accordingly.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's a Tough Job Being a Mom

Sometimes I have a hard time properly modeling how I want E to act.... and it's really beginning to bother me. Boy, it's hard work being a mom - and at the moment, I'm overwhelmed. There were so many things that should have been handled differently over the past week.

I'm a firm believer that actions speak louder than words, and my actions this week weren't that great. As mentioned earlier, the kiddo and I have been dealing with a cold over the past several days. Poor little thing has been miserable - uncomfortable, having difficulty breathing properly, tired... just on edge. She needed more cuddles than I gave her. She deserved more understanding for sure, since I was dealing with something similar, but with the advantage of cold medicine. Yet still I got frustrated and short on patience.

And since I wasn't feeling well, the television was on FAR too much this week. Ugh. I remember being a TV free family, and now I'm thinking that perhaps we need to get back to that. Her interest is starting to grow in the silly thing. I don't care how many educational cartoons they put on that screen, there's no substitute for playing and learning in real life. Yet, how can I say, "Well, E, you can only watch 20 minutes of Elmo in the morning b/c you need to explore life, but I will watch whatever I want whenever I want"?

The TV thing of course leads to the fact that I didn't play with her as much as she deserved. We did get outside a fair bit, but come on - it's summer! We should basically live out there! We didn't read as many books together as we normally do. Or do puzzles, or craft projects.

The TV thing leads to my eating habits the past few days. We were doing well cutting out the caffeine, and it's ridiculous how much we consumed this week. Oh, and the sugar. We may be consuming a lot more fruits and veggies, but the amount of sugar has skyrocketed. Thankfully E has much better eating habits than we do - she loves peas, asparagus, carrots... really mostly all fruits and veggies. I'd like to keep that trend up. She does want what we're eating, and again, it's a "do as I say, not as a I do" sort of thing.

More importantly, my quiet time has really been weakened over the past couple of weeks. And today I nagged and picked at L for no reason. Of course, I want E to know how important a relationship with Christ is, and how important it is to act/speak with love and respect toward your spouse. If I'm the woman E is looking up to for spiritual, emotional, physical and relational guidance, she's been sorely disappointed lately. And that makes me feel very disappointed too.

Thankfully God gives us grace to cover all of our sins, and strength to help us in our weakness. It just shows how MUCH and OFTEN I need to be on my knees daily, begging for guidance, patience, strength, and love. Hopefully E will learn what it means to be a godly woman and see what I've done right, and not so much what I'm doing wrong.

Because seriously. How cute is this kid? She deserves the best.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Christmas in July

Well I have to admit that I do love free stuff... or at least free stuff that we'll use. Recently a friend offered to let me sift through eight totes of stuff she was going to donate to Goodwill. I found lots of Patagonia, Gap, Children's Place and Gymboree items... and E doesn't wear most of those brands simply because of price.

I found quite tons of free items for the kiddo, which made me very happy. I was also very impressed with how well this woman took care of her clothes. Either E is much messier than her children, or my washing efforts aren't quite as successful.

And generally Saturday mornings are my time to get to the farmer's market and stock up on produce for the week. I had to stop off at the grocery store on the way back, and to my surprise they were giving away free bananas that were getting too ripe. I think one of the ladies watching me thought I was crazy grabbing two grocery bags worth of almost-too-ripe bananas. Now that we have our little chest freezer, we can store extra food items like this and pull them out when in need.

Really, though, it felt like Christmas in July. I guess it's the simple things in life that matters, right? :)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Incoherent Thoughts

This is what I wish I was doing right now. E and I have caught a cold from someone somewhere, and now all I want to do is sleep. Of course as a mom, that's not really possible, so I'll have to live vicariously through my kitty. She looks like she's having a good rest, yes?

It's been a quiet couple of days around here. Dinners have consisted of salad after salad for the most part (thanks to our CSA). Time to start thinking of some ways to spruce up our salads, so we're not sick of them by the end of the harvest season. We are enjoying the peas that we've gotten the past couple of weeks. You must eat them straight out of the pod though - they're more nutritious and taste SO much better. Just try it. You won't regret it.

And of course, with the summer season here, I've been loving the watermelon we can buy so easily... seriously. I think I could eat a whole watermelon, it's that yummy. E's still loving her blueberries. Must find u-pick farm for these. As soon as she sees the container of blueberries she'll point and say "Blue! Blue!!" until there are a few in her hands.

Anyway, forgive this post if it's not the most coherent. My mind is feeling very fuzzy at the moment. I can tell because I've been staring at that sentence for about five minutes now... just staring....

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Our Weekend

Hanging out at Grandma and Grandpa's house on the 4th. Cousin A is giving E a hug. A's curly hair is just too cute for words. :)
At K and R's house, celebrating M's first birthday. Yes, little M is in there somewhere. :)

Watching horses at T and L's house on Saturday.

This is Uncle T holding E, as she got "up close and personal" with Nick. She was pretty nonchalant about the whole experience, but I wanted to take the horse home with us. I mean, we have a big garage, right? :)

And of course, the beauty of summer. This is a photo of the sunset on the beach.

Ah, summer...