Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm so thankful for God's mercy and grace, for the blessings of a wonderful husband, sweet and supportive parents, loving family, wise friends, and my adorable fur baby! This time of year is usually very difficult for me when we're not with family or close friends, and this year is no different. I miss my parents and close friends that I can't see everyday. However, if you're reading this, you can know that I love you dearly and miss you so much. The holidays aren't the same when I'm not with you.
This year, we spent a couple of days snow camping near Cle Elum Lake on the east side of the Cascades. We had a difficult time finding a place, as every campground was closed, but we scored an open outhouse at Cayuse Horse Camp, and by 3pm on Tuesday afternoon, we were home tent home at site number 11.
It was quite chilly, but hauling our bins to and from the truck and snowshoeing helped us build up some warmth. Also keeping us warm, was Mountain Man's fires. Thankfully, he was able to build a fire in the rain and keep it going long enough for us to cook our hobo dinners the first night. It got dark around 4:30, and poor Bexar was wet and shivering, so we turned in early. This made it a long night in our small tent! After a restless night, the first words out of Mountain Man's mouth on Wednesday morning were, "Happy Birthday," and indeed it was. We made oatmeal for breakfast, washed dishes, and then set out for a short snowshoe. When we got back to camp, we enjoyed a nice cup of hot cocoa by the river then headed back to camp for a fire. It was an overcast night but thankfully the rain held off until early Thursday morning. When we woke up to a steady rain on Thursday, we decided to pack up but spend the day snowshoeing. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving day and came home in time to cook our planned hot dogs and baked beans! Go to our album to see more photos.

Trip highlights:
snowshoeing, sipping hot cocoa by the river, tent snuggling, Starbucks instant coffee, watching Bexar bounce in the snow, scoring an open outhouse, playing "Would you rather" in the tent

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm Coming, Mom!

The sun played peek-a-boo today, so we got out and played, too.

I can just hear Bexar yelling, "I'm coming, Mom!"

After play time, we went on a 3-mile walk. Happy fur baby, happy mom.

Monday, November 16, 2009


This past weekend was Antioch Adoption's Silent & Live Auction, their annual fall fundraiser. I contributed to a party planning package, donated up to 30 invitations with coordinating thank-you cards. This was combined with a donation from Trophy Cupcakes and a catering service. These are the sample invitations/thank-you sets I made to display. I tried to keep these pretty simple for mass production.

This first set was a sample bridal party. I made up all of the names and used Antioch's contact information for both invitations. I printed the wording from my computer and used an old Stampin' Up set, Heartfelt Thanks. The invitations has an "R" charm dangling from the bow that was difficult to photograph on this rainy Monday. The gorgeous paper is Wisteria Dahlia & Stone Wall by Basic Grey.

I wanted to give guests other ideas for dinner parties (other than the usual birthday, bridal, baby shower), and what was more appropriate at this time of year than a Thanksgiving dinner part? I printed the invitation and thank-you on off-white vellum. I have no names for the paper; I will try to get those. I picked them up at my local Ben Franklin I believe they had no name on either one. The bulk ribbon was also from BF. Both include some small gold metal stickers by Mark Richards. I used Beate's Weekend Sketch Challenge for my thank-you card.

If you haven't signed up yet, this is the last day to sign up for the free Jessica Sprague "Holidays in Hand" class. It's her last freebie of the year!

Happy creating!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

For the Love of Roots

Creamed Turnip and Parsnip Soup

1 cup peeled, fresh turnips, diced
1/2 cup scraped, fresh parsnips, diced
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup coarsely ground almonds
1 cup heavy cream
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/4 lemon

1. Gently boil turnips and parsnips in broth until vegetables are soft, about 12 minutes.
2. Stir in almonds and heat for 3 minutes.
3. Mix the yolks and salt with the cream; add the lemon juice; pour 1/2 cup hot soup into egg mixture, stirring well. Slowly pour this mixture into the soup. Stir well.
4. Heat 2 or 3 minutes, stirring, and serve warm.

My Modifications
1. I used sliced almonds and diced them up a bit.
2. The first time I made this for the big group, it sat on the stove on love for about 20-30 minutes. The second time I followed the directions. I think it seemed to taste better the first go-round.

Source: I'll get this from Holly and edit it when I receive it.

Let me know what you think when you try it. :)

Reformation Party

10.31 represents a different celebration to us, a celebration of the protestant reformation. So, in celebrating our heritage, we had a reformation party at our house last Saturday. Holly and Anne were the masterminds behind this large-scaled event, but graciously included me in the planning. I think we had 25 people show up, some in 16th century period costumes and some not. We had a 9-course meal (a traditional feast of the 1500's), with each family bringing a dish to share. Jeff made beautiful programs that included the order of events as well as words to songs. Each family served their course in the order given, with Jordan leading us in song in between each course, during the service. With 9 courses, you can imagine one might get full, but we only had a few bites of each dish. Think of it more as a sampling. The dishes were authentic to the 1500's, with a few exceptions. We changed the tripe (entrails) for one recipe to beef. I think that was for the humble pie. Everything was delicious, and much tastier than I expected it to be! I made turnip and parsnip soup and it was so delicious that I made another double batch this week just for us. That was the first time I had ever even cooked with turnips or parsnips, and possibly the first time I had ever eaten either root! I also had currants for the first time, and I enjoyed them.

I must confess to not knowing much church history, but this has certainly piqued my interest. My reading list will begin to include books to help me learn some of this rich history.

One more confession: I didn't take many photos. I was busy playing hostess, and it was fun! Nathan and I both took photos, but our house lighting is really terrible and so many were blurry, even with using the monopod. A few turned out nice, but I posted more than I normally would have because I wanted to share the "feeling" of the entire party. For all photos, see the Reformation Party Album.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Defensive Lineman's Birthday

Stamps: MVP clear set by We R Memory Keepers, Long Grass by A Muse
Paper: Black, green, Football by The Paper Company
Ink: Black Staz-On
Accessories: White gel pen, white twill ribbon

My nephew Braydon, the mighty defensive lineman, is having a birthday soon. He plays on his pee-wee team and just loves it. I thought this was quite fitting for him and it was the perfect time to showcase the fabulous football paper that I've been saving!

I've been terrible about making and sending cards lately, but I was inspired by the Clean and Simple challenge on SCS today. He'll actually get this on time if I get it in the mail this week!

Hope you have a wonderful week! Happy November!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch

Bob's Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch is just right down the road from our house. I had such a fun time walking around the farm today, and even came home with some honey crisp apples and pretty gourds. I'm still such a country girl at heart. I really miss our donkey and goats and big garden that we had in Elgin. Maybe we'll have that again someday. For now, sit back with a nice warm cup of cider and enjoy the pumpkin patch!

Happy Fall, y'all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Burning Bush

So, this isn't actually on fire, but doesn't it look like it? I absolutely love this time of year. This is my favorite tree in our yard. The sun snuck out a couple of days ago and I couldn't resist taking another shot of this tree. (This time, I shot it in RAW, but had to convert to jpeg for the blog.)
I can't help but think of God talking to Moses through the burning bush (in Exodus 3). God instructed Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. What a humbling experience. And I believe Moses was humbled, because he hid his face from God (or tried to); he was afraid to look at God.

May my burning bush be a reminder to me of God's holiness. Lord, make me holy, for you are holy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


We had a nice evening strolling through Marymoor, our large off-leash dog park. Despite Bexar's behavior (I think he had some pride issues tonight), the weather was nice. We felt like cloud walkers, strolling through this hazy layer of fog. Isn't it cool?
After playing some hide-and-seek with Bex, I was in the middle of a field and looked up at the moon. Snap. Memory made.

I hope you can take time to stroll with your loved ones, be it on a sidewalk, in the woods, or in a dog park.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Banana Bundt Bread Treats

I had a surprise friend come over today and we had so much fun together! She decided at the last minute that she didn't want to go to the dentist with her mom, so she came to see me! We made banana bundt bread treats. She was such a big helper, smushing the nanners all by herself.

And here she is now, chopping the walnuts with my chopper. She couldn't get enough of the chopper!

And here are the little bundt beauties.
Aren't they cute?! Next time I'll put walnuts down on the bottom of the pan so they'll come out on top. :) I've been using the Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread recipe for a few weeks now and Mountain Man and I both love it. (And with the mini bundts, I think I ended up baking mine for about 40 minutes.)

Enjoy with a nice big cup of coffee!

Backboard Verse Revisited my last post, I went on somewhat of a rant about Jeremiah 29:11. I have taken a few days to read the surrounding text, specifically, Jeremiah 28-29 in the NIV, The Message, and The Reformation Study Bible, as well as Matthew Henry's commentary on Jeremiah 29:10-11.

In context, Jeremiah 29 is a letter from Jeremiah to the captives taken from Jerusalem to Babylon under King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who would reign for 70 years. In this letter, God tells the captives (through Jeremiah) to go ahead and build houses, marry, and plant gardens, and basically live as you would normally live, but don't be deceived by false prophets. At the end of 70 years, God will return to perform his good deeds, because...vs. 11. He knows how he feels toward the captives (and only He knows His own thoughts), and He has thoughts of peace and not of evil, plans to give them a future and a hope.

I can see how they may be tempted to lose hope after years and years in captivity. They may grow weary and forget the faithfulness of God. I sometimes feel that way and I have no reason for it!

Anyway, I'm over my rant. I'm done and done. What can I say? I think that sometimes a particular verse speaks to someone when they're in a particular place and they can't help but speak it. I'm sure I've done it. This is a good verse. It is good to place our hope in a faithful God, one that will deliver on His promises. He goes on to tell the captives in the following verses,
"Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity..." Yes! He is a faithful God and we can place our hope in Him and not be disappointed. He can be trusted to fulfill what He says.

Thank you, Lord for Your word, that applies to us today just as much as it did then, to the captives in Babylon. Help us to put our hope in you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Backboard Verse

I (tried to) play tennis in high school, and there was a guy, Keith Walker, who was what I called the "human backboard." It didn't matter where I hit the ball, he returned it. It was as if I was hitting the ball against a backboard, as it continuously came back to me.

Well, there's this Bible verse that I've heard so many times that it's as if my brain shuts off when it sees it. I don't even think about it anymore. I have heard it so many times, that I'm actually beginning to dislike it. It's like Keith Walker; it just keeps coming back to me. (Although I didn't dislike him. He was a very nice guy.)

I began thinking about how terrible it was that I was beginning to not like a Bible verse just because of its popularity. It's not a bad verse. If any of you read Karen Kingsbury (who is one of my favorites), you KNOW this verse!

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 (Amplified Bible)

11For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

Jeremiah 29:11 (The Message)

10-11This is God's Word on the subject: "As soon as Babylon's seventy years are up and not a day before, I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Jeremías 29:11 (La Biblia de las Américas)

11"Porque yo sé los planes que tengo para vosotros"--declara el SEÑOR--"planes de bienestar y no de calamidad, para daros un futuro y una esperanza.

Feeling like a backboard yet?

I found Kelligirl's blog just yesterday through Holy Experience and was reading some of her older posts, when I ran across this one with none other than backboard verse (BBV)! Later, I scooted on over to Biblegateway, where the verse of the day guessed it, BBV! I had just read it last night in a Biblical parenting book that I'm reading. I just feel bombarded by this verse. I don't know what the Lord wants me to know from it. SO...I'm going to read through a couple of chapters around it, do some research, and try to be back with some more insight. Maybe He wants me to stop ignoring it. I know He doesn't want me to dislike any of His word, because His word is truth!

Lord, give me Your eyes as I study. Give me a new perspective, a new attitude, and a receptive heart.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What do I want to be known for when I die?

I just returned home from a fabulous workshop, "Discovering Your Life Purpose." They mentioned our universal life purpose (as Christians), but this entire workshop focused on discovering our unique life purposes as invidividuals. What do I want to be known for by God and others when I die? Wow. Ummmmm.

I had actually forgotten about the invitation to this workshop until a friend called an hour before it started to tell me about something else, and I remembered that she had invited me and I never RSVPed with a final answer. I quickly decided to shirk my sanding and painting responsibilities and go. And I’m SO glad did! I met some sweet, wise women and was so encouraged!

I guess I have pondered this in the past as “I wonder what I’m supposed to be doing,” as if there’s a specific job that I’m supposed to do. I don’t believe that there’s a specific job (i.e. nursing, teaching, etc.) that I’m supposed to do, but now that the word “purpose” is inserted, it makes more sense. I could be doing a number of different activities or jobs and still accomplish the same purpose.

Lately, I’ve struggled with being productive around the house. Oh shoot, who am I kidding?! I’ve always struggled with laziness at home. I have never enjoyed keeping the house clean. I like the house clean, I just don’t enjoy the act of doing it! I guess that just lately I’ve felt more guilty when I’m not productive. I’ve realized that I spend way too much time on the computer (am I really typing this?) and not enough time taking care of business around here! I want to be a good wife, a Proverbs 31 woman, glorifying God in all things, but I don’t think that means sitting at the computer for 80% of the day (since I’m a homemaker).

The workshop today really reinforced the fact that I’m wasting too much of my day on meaningless tasks. It made me want to dive into Scriptures, searching for a life verse, something to keep me going day after day, pressing on and fighting the good fight. It made me want to learn how I can most effectively live for Jesus.

So now begins the journey...

“For my determined purpose is that I may know Him; that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly; and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness even to His death.” Philippians 3:10 (Amplified version)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mini Apple Pielets

Last Saturday night was a night for the record books. I actually baked. And baked. And baked. These things took me forever to make (because I'm so incredibly slow), but they were fun and I really enjoyed my time in the kitchen.

Our church had a potluck lunch on Sunday and we were assigned to bring a dessert. We don't attend the potlucks regularly, so this was a big thing for cook for an army of sorts. My definition of an army is more than 2. So...the big question was what to bake. I could have done cookies and brownies but that's my usual "baking from a box" and I didn't want to do that since I was actually preparing ahead of time.

That's when I went to Bakerella, my favorite baking site. She had done some mini pies on a stick back in August, and I was inspired by the mini pies, only I didn't want to include the sticks. I was also inspired by this gorgeous, chilly fall weather we're having and wanted to do something with apples, so there it was. The only thing I needed was a recipe. All of the apple pie recipes I found were for a full-sized pie and included large slices of the apple, but I knew my little pies couldn't handle that,'s what I did.

I started out with Braeburn apples. Here they are, lined up and ready to perform.

I cored, sliced, and peeled the apples.
Here they are naked, in all their glory. You can see that some are already starting to turn brown. This took me some time to do because as I said before, I'm extremely slow but detailed. Next time, I will keep the apple slices in a pot of water with some lemon juice to keep them fresher, but it really didn't matter since they were being covered and going directly to the oven.

Then, I used my chopper (my Pampered Chef one that I don't ever want to live without) to make quick work of them so they would fit into my tiny little pielets. I added butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt to the apples and it was quite tasty! I could have feasted on this mixture alone. (In fact, I had so much left over that Mountain Man consumed some while I finished baking.)

I put the mixture aside and began preparing my pie-lets. I could have made my own dough, but I was lazy and went to Safeway. I found this darling little apple cookie-cutter at Ben Franklin and what could be better for mini apple pielets than a mini apple cookie-cutter?!
I rolled the store-bought generic brand dough out a little to make more pies and I got 48 pielets (that's tops & bottoms) out of 2 packages (of two 9-inch pie rounds each).

I added the apple mixture to the middle, topped it with another apple, pinched the sides together and forked the edges.
I then brushed the tops with egg white to give them that pretty, rustic "Martha Stewart" finish.

And now, without further adieu, I present the pielet masterpieces....
Well, they're not masterpieces yet, but they turned out pretty and rustic and intended. There's still some perfecting to do, as the ratio of dough to apple mixture ratio was still a little much for me. I'm going to try something else tomorrow. (, officially "today.")

Off to bed. We have a long day of working around the house tomorrow.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekend of Renewal

Asparagus mini quiches for breakfast – check. Sandwiches made – check. Food into cooler – check. Bedding and pillows packed – check. Bexar’s necessities boxed – check. Four hours later, Mountain Man, the Engineer and Mountain Dog are finally loaded up in the truck and off for the weekend to their great camping and hiking adventure. A weekend of renewal they say. I like that; I want that; I NEED that! The idea quickly dissipates, as I have a long list of stuff I want to do while they’re gone and not much time to check them off!

Shortly after they have hit the road, I’m up at the computer, facebooking, blog surfing, and e-mailing. It’s overcast and raining and I just want to relax. Production comes to a stand-still as I plop onto the sofa and fire up the X-Box. Uh-oh. This is trouble…hours of trouble! Sure enough, 5pm rolls around and I’m still slouched on the sofa, my sweatshirt littered with white-cheddar popcorn kernels and an empty bowl of what was Bryer’s chocolate ice cream leaning beside my leg. It’s a hard day’s work to eat junk food and slouch around on the couch all day! I finally get up, not because I know I should clean or prepare the walls to receive some much-needed paint, but because I’m hungry! The desire to eat is so strong that it replaces the desire to slouch, so I throw some clothes on and hop in the car. A couple of hours later, after a nice long chat with Tatas, some Ben Franklin browsing, and a run through the oh-so-healthy McFatty’s, I arrive home, satiated and ready for some more chillaxin’. I resume the slouched position on the sofa and the X-Box addiction continues until I realize that I’m really cold. A nice hot tubby should do the trick, with a fragrant candle and a good book! Ahh, yes. Amy Carmichael certainly has a way with words. This book, I Come Quietly to Meet You, sounds relaxing. An old bookmark catches my attention and I turn to it, resisting the temptation to flip to page 1 because it’s been so long since I’ve read it. After turning just two pages, I realize that this certainly was no accident that I picked this book up. Now, I’m the type of person to believe there are no accidents, so this was no surprise, but sometimes I’m shocked that God cares about me and loves me on a personal, individual level. I know I should be, but I am.

“Come Forth as Gold” was the title of that tiny three-page chapter. And you can probably guess what Amy was discussing – yep, purification! She asked the Eastern goldsmith of their village how he knows when the metal is purified and he replied, “When I can see my face in it.”

Job 23:10 “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

I’m so thankful that God, my Refiner, is faithful to sit by my side and purify me until He sees His face in me. What a humbling thought! It seems that this shall also be my time of renewal. For these next few days, I will focus on repentance and purification, renewing my mind in Him and His Word. It doesn’t matter what the outside looks like if the inside is in disrepair. The house painting, hair coloring, and cooking and cleaning can wait. This, too, shall be my weekend of renewal.

Monday, September 7, 2009

RSCC #16

I finally made some time to stamp today and was inspired by Dawn's raspberry suite color challenge .

The frayed paper technique was inspired directly from my sweet mom, who used to make gorgeous coats called "fancy rags." She would cut fabric for hours, just like this and sew them onto a lined coat/jacket that she made. Then, after it was all sewn all, she'd throw it in the washer and out would come some beautiful rag jackets. I tried to replicate this technique with paper. I've actually made a couple of other cards using this technique, which I'll post soon.

Card deets:
Stamps: Flower from Inkadinkadoo's Garden Delight set, sentiment from CDstamps' Sept 2008 Stamp of the Month
Paper: Kraft, SU Chocolate Chip, SU orange/gold
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: cream twill, brown button, cream hemp thread, dimensionals

Happy stamping!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico

I just returned from a fantastic visit to Mom's & Eddie's in Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico, which is down near Guadalajara. I enjoyed visiting with Mom & Eddie and meeting the lovely people of Ajijic. They are all so generous and polite. I also learned quite a bit of Spanish while I was I just need to remember it! The town of Ajijic is mostly Americanized because of the many American and Canadian retirees, so it's very easy to communicate with the locals, as most of
them know English. They all say their English is bad, but they definitely spoke more English than I did Spanish - and with better grammar, too!
The beautiful village of Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico from the mountains to the north.

Looking straight down Colon street (I think)
Sipping a delicious pina colada at the Chapala tienge

My sweet, beautiful mom

Mi Papa' Mexicana

Beautiful, sweet Marta


Unopened hibiscus

Loved this combo meal from Viva Mexico in San Juan Cosala

I'll be back tomorrow with some more photos. Adios!

Monday, August 17, 2009

RAW shooting

Well, I finally began shooting in RAW format yesterday. I thought that I had been shooting in it for a long time, but discovered yesterday that this was not the case! LOL Obviously, I'm a noob photographer! I wondered why they were always uploading as jpgs from my camera...DOH!
I took these photos yesterday - my first ones in RAW (.cr2) format. I lost some crispness when I had to save it as a jpg for adding it to the web, but what a difference it makes! I LOVE it!

Our pond

White flower

Japanese Maple leaves

I have a ton of stuff to do today, so I had better get going! Tata!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Julie & Julia

While I loved the movie, I found a site - Christian Spotlight on Entertainment - with a review of "Julie & Julia." This is definitely worth a read before you go.

Everything they say is correct, but I think that when I watch movies and read books, I replace worldly things with Christian perspectives in my mind. For example, Julie says of Julia several times that she saved her, of which I thought, "That's sad." I immediately thought of Christ and all that He has saved me from. Through the rest of the movie, I was thinking of how I could be a better wife and what my gifts are that I can glorify Christ with. So when the movie was over, I was all ramped up and excited to be the best wife I can, to cook more meals at home and not waste time.

With that said, I loved it and went home completely inspired.

What did you think?

Edited: I found another review website, Plugged In. I like the formatting of their reviews better, so here's another reivew of "Julie & Julia" from them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Japanese Gardens

Yesterday, I took the photog group (three fabulous teens) that I'm teaching to the Japanese Gardens to practice our skills. They took some fantastic shots and we all had so much fun!