Monday, June 30, 2008

Just Because...

she's beautiful, and because her dad's a pretty talented photographer. Thank you, God, for all the good things in life.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Berry Good

Early this morning we went berry picking. E was tired, and wanted to nap, but my mind was made up to find some strawberries and pick as many as possible. Who could resist this glorious goodness above? I'm hoping to freeze most of them, and possibly make some jam, if I'm feeling ambitious. We'll see.

E did well for the most part, but she melted down at times. This would be a great little outing for kids a little older. What a great way for children to see where their food comes from, and a great way to keep them involved. I'm noticing E loves to help out, and feel like a "big girl". :)
Here sits the 10 pounds of strawberries that we picked. I have no idea to know if this is enough or not, but it'll do for now. Yummy deliciousness is what this is. :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Skin Deep

Hey you guys - I discovered a really neat website the other day. Go to Skin Deep and type in one of the products you're using on your body.... this site will tell you how toxic it is. It wasn't very surprising to me, as I've known that many of the facial/body products (makeup, shampoo, soaps, etc) house ingredients that aren't healthy for you. Still, once you see it on paper how it can affect your body, well... it's a little more eye opening.

Just another reason to be a more educated consumer.

Let me know what you think of the site.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mint Tea Punch

Since I bought mint at the farmer's market, it's been fun trying to incorporate in different recipes. I tried a punch over the weekend, and it was a hit amongst family. It's kind of a like an iced tea (which I don't like), but much better. :)

I found it on allrecipes, but here is the recipe:

Mint Tea Punch:

3 c. boiling water
12 sprigs of fresh mint
4 tea bags
1 c of white sugar (adjust to taste)
1 c orange juice
1/4 c lemon juice
5 c of cold water

Place tea bags and mint in pitcher, and pour boiling water over them, letting them steep for about eight minutes. Remove and discard tea bags and mint leaves, squeezing out any excess liquid. Stir in sugar until it's dissolved, then stir in orange and lemon juice. Pour in water and ice cubes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Some Outdoor Fun

We spent as much time outside as we could this weekend. What beautiful weather to welcome the first day of summer! I hope summer stays FOREVER. :)

Every time I see this picture, the word "joy" just pops in my head. This photo (all were taken by L, of course) just made me realize how blessed we are to have such a wonderful life, and such an amazing daughter to remind us of that!
E's footprints in the sand. Aren't those little feet cutest little feet?!! So precious. :)
This is E's favorite thing about the beach. Rocks. She loves picking them up, feeling them, throwing them in the water, putting them in her mouth, carrying them around. She's so curious. All of the time.

Hope that you all had a lovely start to summer!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Farmer's Market Junkie

I love farmer's markets - really I could go every day of the week, and just enjoy all of goodness surrounding me. Of course, it wouldn't be budget friendly for me to do that, so it's a good thing it's not an option. This is what I bought at the BC Farmer's Market... I'm looking forward to CVX starting their market soon, so it'll be more convenient to go.

I bought rhubarb, spinach (which is SO yummy), tomatoes, mint, and green garlic. YUM.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Garlic-y Goodness

This was a meal that I made initially for a family in our church. It was a simple dish to make, and it called for six cloves of garlic-y goodness. What could be better? It is a vegetarian dish, which could quickly be remedied if you added chicken.

I did use fresh spinach that I got from our local farmer's market, but quickly ran out so I had to go out and buy from the store (which did NOT look as nice by the way). Anyway, the dish was yummy.

Please forgive the poor photo - my photography skills are limited, and the babe was on my heels. :) Here is where I found the recipe. Enjoy!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I think I'm over complicating the decision to go back to work. Part of me is just ready to get out and back into the professional field for a little while, even if this position isn't related to social work at all. Another part of me wonders if this is the best way to spend my time. I've been thinking a lot about precious time is, and if this is how I want mine to be spent... My reasoning isn't financially driven, so in some ways, I'm having a difficult time justifying the decision to go back. Of course sanity is important, too, sooo...

Seriously. I think TOO much at times. Maybe I should wait until I actually get the job before I stress out, right?

In more interesting news, E loves to water her flowers, and so that's been fun for her to do. Granted, she loves to just play with water, in whatever capacity she can get it. It's so fun getting her involved in projects now - from cleaning to planting flowers to art projects. This is such a great age.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


This is a photo that L submitted as part of his photography class. It made us chuckle, because it's a shadow of E with my shoe on her hand. Random. Who needs shoes on their feet, when you can wear them on your hands?

In completely unrelated news, I got a call from the hospital, and it seems they want to interview me next week. That's good news. Of course, now it means I might have to start looking into daycares/babysitters, and coordinating schedules with L more often. I'm already starting to feel guilty about returning to work part time. Ugh. Guilt. We'll have to see what the schedule entails before any decisions are made (provided the job is offered to me, of course).

And yes, the cloth wipes are going well, though I still need to make a few more and get my set up organized (waiting on a couple of things). I haven't noticed any reaction from the solution I've been using on her. I just made up this solution on my own, and will try others to see if it makes any difference.

This is the solution I've tried so far:

- Squirt of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap
- Couple drops of Lavender Essential Oil
- Couple of drops of Tea Tree Oil
- Water

I'll post others as I try them, but this one does smell nice, and I'm a sucker for nice smelling things. :)

Dinner Last Night: Turkey Chili. I know it's more of a winter dish, but I'm not convinced that summer has arrived just yet, as it was freezing yesterday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Two Week Challenge

L and I are pretty frugal people. We downsized from another rental into the cheapest, decent place we could find, which included all utilities. We are driving paid off vehicles, and hope they run forever. We use cloth for nearly everything, so that cuts down on the cost of paper products. L is able to walk to work, so we save on gas. We're don't "own" a lot of stuff, and don't enjoy shopping much.

But there is one thing that kills us. And we have no will power.

We eat out way too much. It's actually a little ridiculous.

So, as of Sunday, we gave ourselves a challenge. No eating out for the next two weeks. You may think this is an easy task, but truly, not so easy for us, which is a little sad. :) I'm thinking that if we make it the two weeks, we should try it for a month. We may have to work up to that, though. :) I'll try to post what we had for dinner the previous night. Maybe it'll compel me to keep up the trend, right?

Dinner Last Night: Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Bread. It was okay, but it was missing something. Quick and cheap to make, though.

Monday, June 16, 2008

One Year Ago This Month

It was around this time last year that we sold our house. It was a long, 16 months as we waited for the "phone call". It was difficult to be patient, and to continue holding out hope during the thousand (slight exaggeration) showings that we had. It was the most difficult to wait when we moved, as our lives were being built in a new place, but we still felt like home was somewhere else.

It may not seem like a big deal to sell a house, but it can be a very emotional process. It was difficult to move out of our house with our dear friends helping us load the moving truck, trying not to cry. Those people were our family there, and we didn't realize how much they meant to us until that day.

It was difficult to move out of a house and to see it empty, after that place was our home. It symbolized our family structure in a sense; where we decided to plant roots for a little while. We were newly married when we moved in, and so much changed by the time we left. So, it was difficult to move out, knowing it was still ours yet it wasn't at the same time, as our life was going in a different direction.

It was difficult to move to a new place, yet the place you own was somewhere else. It was even harder to answer each time a person asked about any activity on our house. "Nope, nothing yet." was probably mentioned a thousand times. It was difficult feeling so helpless.

And it was difficult to trust God at times. And more difficult to be confident that we heard Him correctly.

But of course, He heard and He did answer. Not on my schedule of course. And not at the price we wanted. Still, He answered. Signing those papers and being free from that obligation was probably one of the most freeing moments I'd ever experienced. Just to have that weight lifted was answer enough, as at the end of the day, it was all we needed, and so much more.

Seeing our house one last time before we sold it made us realize how it just wasn't ours anymore. It felt like we were walking into someone else's place. And I knew that it we had made the right decision.

So, a year later, and hopefully a little wiser, I am thanking God for a huge answer to prayer.

Locally Grown Food = Healthier?

Yesterday was our first meeting regarding our CSA (Community Shared Agriculture). Our CSA is unique that it's a working farm - meaning everyone has to volunteer every week. This allows the cost to be much cheaper than a typical CSA. I'll chat more about this later, but we had a round robin discussion of what made us choose to join the farm.

Someone said that they read something unique, and it caused them to join. They read that our bodies are designed in such a way that it requires the nutrients found in our local climate. That foods that can be grown in locally are more important to us than foods that can be grown in a different climate structure, as our bodies are craving the "local" nutrients.

Now, I don't know how much validity there is to that statement - I'd have to do more research on that. Still, I couldn't help but wonder if that is how God created our bodies to survive and thrive. And really, it just made me shake my head in wonder of how amazing our God really is, to make everything work in sync. Only a God with an abundance of power could make everything work so beautifully. It's just awe-inspiring.

The photo above really doesn't have anything to do with the above post, except that God also created beautiful landscapes for us to enjoy. Just another bit of awesome-ness from our Father.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I actually had another photo chosen for this post, but E started clapping, laughing and saying "Dad-deeeeeee" when she saw this one. So since this my Father's Day post, it seemed fitting to let the babe choose. :)

Speaking of E; she just loves her Daddy. She loves looking for him when she first gets up in the morning. She hates it when Daddy leaves for work, and closes the door behind him. Oh, she certainly doesn't like that. She gets extremely excited when the door opens at the end of the day and Daddy's standing there. Probably most of all, she loves playing and snuggling with Daddy on the couch.

It's been such an honor to watch L become a father. Some of my favorite moments are of watching him play with E - getting her to laugh, reading her a story, playing with bubbles in the bathtub. Watching them have fun together is such a joyful time for me. I pray that God would continue to provide many more moments like the one pictured above.

So, L, thanks for all your hard work providing for our family, and still coming home with enough smiles to have a little fun. Happy Father's Day! We love you!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008


Ever get a spontaneous urge to do something out of the ordinary for you? E and I were outside yesterday, crossing our fingers that it wouldn't rain, and E stopped, pointed above her and said, "TEEEE!!!!", which, roughly translated, means "tree". :) And for some crazy reason, I had this desire to climb the tree... And I haven't done that since I was REALLY young, when I didn't have any fear of falling.

Of course this tree was HUGE, and I didn't even know how to get to the first branch, so I took the more practical option - staying firmly planted on the ground. But really, don't you just love old trees? They always make me feel like I'm in a magical place.
We've gotten a lot of comments about E's new sippy cup. It's a Klean Kanteen, stainless sippy cup which can convert to a regular water bottle when she's older. L was looking for a stainless steel water bottle for himself (he ended up with a SIGG), and when we stumbled upon these, we couldn't resist. :) They are certainly more pricey than regular sippy cups, but we got ours on a pretty good discount, so it wasn't so bad. The most beautiful thing about it (besides it's BPA free for sure) is this: it doesn't leak. Praise the Lord.

I love the stainless steel look, even if it doesn't look very "child-like". Anyway, it's fun, and she drinks out of it just fine. Happy Days. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cloth Wipes

Other than some, most people don't know we use cloth diapers for E, and have since her birth. She seems to have a sensitive bottom, so the cloth is gentler on her skin. We do use disposables when we're out and about - it's easier (in my opinion), and more socially acceptable. I generally don't talk about my cloth diapering experience, unless someone asks. And really, not many people ask. :)

I have noticed, though, that when she does get a rash, the baby wipes I use irritate her skin. I've used all sorts of different brands, but end up using just a washcloth with water. Of course, this means we're out of washcloths by bath time, so something needed to be done. After months of dealing with missing wash cloths off and on, I've just decided to switch over to cloth wipes completely.

So the photo above is one of the wipes I made. After I organize my system a little bit, I may show my set up. I might also adjust the photo for betting lighting, but probably not, so sorry for how dark it is. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Food Talk

In an effort to be a little more healthy and aware of what we are using in/on our bodies (especially E's), we've thought a lot about how we've been effected externally - switching over to stainless steel water bottles/sippy cups, using natural soaps and shampoos, toothpastes and cleaning products. We've done all these things. Yet, when we think about what we ingest internally, well... that's a whole other story.

Now I can't say this scientifically, but I'd venture to say that what we put IN our bodies is more damaging than what we put ON our bodies. Then why do I eat food that isn't good for me, and yet, turn around and buy special shampoos, patting myself on the back for being "healthy" and "green"?

Of course, food is a sensitive issue for me, and for most people. Food can be a terrible addiction and very emotionally driven. Plus some food just tastes sooooo good, right?

Even so, my body is a temple... and I should be treating it as one, inside and out. Especially when I think about E - she wants whatever we eat, and we've been caught more than once with something less than healthy in our hands. Not good.

L is very quick to say that our eating habits have changed so much since we married, and that is so true. We eat more whole foods, more fruits and veggies, less convenience foods, etc. Still, I know that we could do better, and this is all a process.

So my goal for the rest of the year is to eat more whole foods and more raw foods, too, as many enzymes are killed when food hits a temperature of 112 degrees. So bring on the green smoothies, because healthy eating, here we come (again)!

Note: Photo found on flickr.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Floral Fun

Today was "flower planting day" in our household. I was excited to get E out and gardening... one of us needs to have a green thumb!!

This is E helping me clear out the weeds. She did really well at this task, and had WAY too much fun with it. :)
This is E "helping" me plant the flowers.

"Okay, Mom! One more!"
Taking a break after a long day's work.

Monday, June 9, 2008

All Grown Up

This is a picture of my baby sister, S, and my mom. Crazy as it sounds, S, isn't a baby any longer. She graduated from high school recently. It's hard to believe that our baby sister is "all grown up" and ready to make her mark on the world. She's certainly the youngest child - full of life, creativity, adventure, and spunk. She's pretty cool - much cooler than I was at her age, so you can imagine how cool I am 10 years later. :) I'm so proud of her and who she is becoming. Congratulations, S... looking forward to the free massages!
All graduations warrant a party, and Saturday was her open house. It was fun and chaotic time of lots of food, E's cousins running around with bubbles, and friends and family we hadn't seen in a while. Here is a photo that L took at my parents' place. She loved having the acreage to run around and explore, with all of her cousins in one place. Good times.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Yellow is Purty....

Over Mother's Day weekend, I decided to tackle a painting job that I'd been wanting to do for a while. It turned into a larger task than it needed to be, but all in all, we like the color that we finally found.

Here is the before shot (sorry for the poor picture):

And the after:

I think the yellow just makes it a little more cheerful, and not as bland. Generally we don't like yellow, but it might be growing on me. Room #1 done... now onto the bedroom...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lilacs Are My Friend

I love lilacs. LOVE them, so imagine my excitement when I discovered we had a lilac bush (or tree, it's slightly overgrown) in our yard recently. Actually it's in a really obvious spot, and I had to shake my head over the fact that this is the first time I've noticed it in the seven or eight months we've been here.

Anyway, I "snuck" a few clippings and brought them inside. The subtle scent of lilac wafting throughout my home makes my day. Ah, bliss. :)

Other than that, things have been pretty same ol' same ol' around here. L has been working crazy hours the past few weeks. He's also been working on our Sebring (groan... we're both sick of this thing), and his photography class started this week, so he's been incredibly busy trying to fit it all in.

I have sent out a couple of resumes to different places in the area, neither of which are related to social work. One place called me in for an interview next week, so say a little prayer for me on Tuesday, if you think of it. I'll need it.

E is still cute, of course. She's now decided that dogs growl, too, so her growling has increased. We were at a friend's place over the weekend, and there was a little ceramic dog on the floor. She's been growling at dogs ever since.

She loves the beach. We've taken our dinner there a couple of times, and she has so much fun playing in the sand, trying to eat the rocks, and running in and out of the water. We have a few pictures on L's new camera that need to be downloaded soon, and we'll post some here.

Other than that, we've been asked a lot lately when we're planning on buying a house. L's co-worker told us about a house that was for sale in their subdivision - ideally located in between Charlevoix and Petoskey. It was at a pretty decent price with a beautiful kitchen. Sigh. I think we still have cold feet or something. We're just not ready. Someday though. We won't rent forever.

Anyway, gotta run. Hope you guys have a great weekend!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The "Working" World?

So, I've been toying with the idea of going back to work. It's been such a blessing to stay home with E since her birth, I'm feeling the "itch", so to speak, to get back into the working field. My goal would be to find something part time, as full time would be too much of a commitment, and wouldn't want to put the babe in daycare for full days every day.

Of course, I'm quickly realizing that the area in which we live doesn't house a lot of social work opportunities, which is more than a bit unfortunate. So either I need to work in a different field until a job opens up, or perhaps go the volunteer route to get my foot in the door somewhere.

I might pursue both and see where I end up. :)

Mostly, it just feels like it's time to get out of the house and work my brain in the capacity that it was once accustomed to. I love being with the babe, but it would be nice to have it broken up a little. So we'll see. Anything can happen, right? :)