28 February 2009
Today we did a whirlwind cooking day. I ran off to get groceries all by myself (the kids needed some bonding time with their daddy). That afternoon we cooked until we wanted to fall over. I wouldn't recommend an all day adventure like that when you're still trying to get your strength and energy back. Thank God for bountiful harvest: the freezer full of cooked meals and the fridge full of fresh fruit!
20 February 2009
The crust is made of sugar cookie, the sauce is a mixture of cream cheese and sugar with a hint of vanilla. Topped with fresh fruits. It's so simple to make, looks divine and hits the spot although I've learned that one piece is never quite enough.
Crust: 1 big or 2 small tubes of sugar cookie dough. (The cheap brands will work but the Pillsbury brand is easier to spread.)
Sauce: 8oz. cream cheese softened, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 t. vanilla
Topping: fresh fruit (ie: basket of strawberries, handful of grapes, blueberries)
Instructions for Fruit Pizza
Take sugar cookie dough and flatten in out covering a bar pan (aka cookie sheet with edges). Bake according to the instructions on cookie dough wrapper. Let cool. Mix sauce ingredients with blender. Spread on top of cooled pan of cookie. Cut and set fresh fruit on top. Voila!
*note: I am NOT a chef or person who cooks all the time, as you can tell by my vocabulary of kitchen items :)
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I got to the office and finished up my fruit pizza. Shortly after working at my desk, I got an email from my dear friend Michelle about a 2 month old baby in Ghana that needs a family. Okay, I was already on cloud 9 (whatever that actually means), and the news about a family adopting and the need for more families got my heart racing. I just wish I was at home so I could spend the next few hours digging into this story about the two month old.
As bright as the day started, the dark clouds soon rolled in. I had a birthday greeting from a friend that also asked me to pray for Tanya and Jason. Yesterday their sweet son was born and that began the battery of tests regarding his heart problems that they diagnosed while Tanya was half way through her pregnancy. My heart is aching so much for my dear friends. My eyes filled with tears and my heart filled with emotion for little baby Eli who has the odds stacked against him. Will you please take a minute and check out their blog and leave them well wishes for the journey ahead.
18 February 2009
17 February 2009
For those who know about the Sweetheart Supper, it went wonderfully. The church basement took on a fancier look as we served 21 women a free 3-course meal on china by candelight. There was a fancy salad topped with goat cheese, bacon crumbs, purple onion and home made raspberry vinagarette. The main course was a chicken fettucinni alfredo with roasted vegetables (broccoli, red and yellow bell peppers). The ladies had their choice of dessert: chocolate cheesecake (amazing), white chocolate pie and another chocolate pie. Each lady left that night having had the chance to share/brag for a moment with full tummy's, and knowing that they were cared about. Thanks to those of you who participated.
My Own Valentine
Due to the craziness of preparing for the Sweetheart Supper, I failed to get even a card for my own sweetie, even though I reminded myself all week! I love him no less and am so thankful that I have a sweetheart to celebrate with each day!
It was an early start to the day when I filled in for the 1st grade boys Sunday School class. I hope they learned something. That was followed by nursery duty with the little ones, and then a women's ministries meeting afterwards. The light lunch they served was perfect and I only wish they would have added one thing: ibuprofen!
I was so glad to stay home with the kids. Scott had a little TV time in the morning while I picked up the house. We spent lots of the day playing and having fun. Chutes and Ladders and Candyland are games that Scott loves but have to be played with Bethany is otherwise entertained (aka napping). Scott "helped" with the dishes which means he played in the sink for awhile. We also took a walk outside because we thought 28 degrees with wind was warm. Our walk in the yard turned into playing on his toys - through the tunnels (me included) and down the slide (me included here too). Then followed a walk to the neighbors which meant another hour of playing with their kids while my pj pant covered legs froze in the wind. I eventually pulled the kids away and got them home to have a snack and some hot chocolate before putting them down for their nap 2+ hours late. I almost had supper on the table when Ryan came home but wasn't sure when he'd actually walk in the door (he called to say he was running a bit late). We had an enjoyable dinner, made a quick fruit dip and let Bethany lick the beater before putting her sticky body in the bath! When I finally hit the sack, I was in much need of some sleep but wishing I could have more days like this with my family!
Last night while fixing supper, the kids were playing in the other room. All of a sudden Bethany started screaming which usually means that Scott is bugging her in some way. As Ryan questioned a confused little boy, Ryan noticed that Bethany would look at her hand, then the wood stove, then her hand again.
Ryan: Bethany, did you touch the stove?
me: Was it hot?
Ryan: Are you going to touch it again?
She has a good sized blister on her middle finger. Tonight when we start the wood stove, do you think she'll be right there with no fear of it being hot?
Scott eventually choked down the broccoli.
After I promised that he wouldn't have ice-cream if he didn't eat it.
12 February 2009
Each night the dream is a little different but each night it does revolve around adoption. I'm not sure if that's just how God is choosing to tug at my heart, or if these are thoughts and emotions stored in my subconscience as I pray and read about adoption.
Regardless, I'm well aware that God has called us to adopt. As I typed this, an old friend called me at the office. I congratulated him on his new baby and we got to talking briefly about kids. I told him that I had two little ones and he replied "well, you were the one who always told me that you were going to adopt!" What sweet words to hear, yet difficult at the same time. God, please use me to be Your hands and feet in loving the orphans and the widows.
10 February 2009
06 February 2009
- Forking and Ricing lawns. There was probably toilet paper involved with that too. I'll spare you the details but it was a time consuming mess to clean up, and a fun little prank that my friend participated in. The excitement in his voice when he explained the process to me was definitely a teen-ager thing. Nothing particularly important about this but a memory that stands out for me.
- Tuesday night youth group at the river. I vaguely remember playfully fighting over who got to ride the jet ski next. I'm sure this involved a chase and me ending up in the river!
- Scott's toolbelt. This memory might stand out because the tool belt was at the funeral but I specifically remember Scott working on the barn with Dayn and the two of them wearing their tool belts.
- Sunday school class, when I first started attending. It was upstairs above the sanctuary taught by Richard and Teri. I seem to have this picture in my head of Scott sitting in that class but there's no noise to that memory.
At one point Scott and I had a brief time where we liked each other. I have fun memories of our innocent junior high relationship:
- The visit at the pool. We spent every week day afternoon at the city pool. I have a very clear memory of Scott stopping at the pool and talking to me. He was on his mountain bike and stayed outside the pool area. We talked for several minutes with a cyclone fence between us before we went our separate ways. I vaguely remember that the conversation was about a relationship with Christ.
- Scott's sweet sister, Amy, taking me to the youth group at the river. Scott was such a gentleman. He rode in the back of the car with me while Amy chauffeured us. That night, after youth group, he asked me to go to ice-cream with him. I can't remember if he went inside to ask permission with me or if he waited in the car. But we did go to ice-cream that night thanks to Amy for driving us.
- Hume Lake Camp. What a week of camp. I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers this all too well. I didn't go to camp that summer. Scott called me from camp multiple times during his free time at camp. And I recall that he didn't get a lot of free time that week. The boys, in all their glory, got caught playing boyish pranks on each other and were forced by our soon-to-be youth pastor who worked at the camp to pull lake weed. This was a special treat for being naughty. They had to wade in the water of the drainage ditch leading into the lake and pull the weeds from the bottom. It was entertaining to hear about the pranks and the punishment. I also remember that during that week, I think it was Scott who took my necklace with him to camp (remember, we were in junior high) which would have deeper meaning a few years later.
I also have fond memories of my dear friend beyond the short-lived summer love. [I'm not trying to insinuate that I loved him. We were just finishing up junior high. I chose the word love because it wasn't a fling and couldn't think of another word]. Scott was a true friend, a real friend, a friend forever. Such a good friend that he was like a brother to me.
- Chatting on the front lawn. Again on his bike, he came over to my house. I remember sitting on the front lawn talking. This was the most important conversation we ever had. I remember Scott telling me about accepting Christ and walking me through what that meant. I wish I could have recorded our conversation. Today that conversation holds such value to me but at the time, we had just finished junior high, I'm sure there wasn't a whole lot of depth to it.
- He got his license first. And he made sure I knew it. For those who don't know me real well, I'm quite stubborn. I have this very clear memory of a post youth group conversation with him. It wasn't your typical conversation either. I asked Scott for a ride home from church since he would drive right past my house on his way home. Like the fun-loving jokester that he was, Scott said he wouldn't give me a ride. Off I went, walking the several blocks home when just a block away, he caught up to me. The conversation that ensued was of him driving along side me with the window down telling me that he would give me a ride home. In all my stubbornness, I wasn't about to get in the car. I [probably loved the chase, what girl wouldn't?] wasn't going to let him win. Today, I can't remember if he eventually drove off or if I eventually got in...
- He went to the dance with someone else! I don't think they called it a dance, nor did they dance, but the idea was the same. He went with Kristi, a very sweet girl. I was a bit jealous, as were many of the girls in our church. I remember asking Scott for a picture [that was back in the day when you gave everyone your picture from school sports, dances, etc] and never got one.
Then there's the memories from his accident and sudden death
- The news of the accident came shortly after I got home from basketball practice. The anger towards my sister for determining that I couldn't handle the news. The heartache of not knowing earlier and it being too late to go to the hospital.
- The time didn't stop but it did occur in slow motion the next few days. I recall vivid details of the next morning in ceramics class with Jake and Jill, two kids from church who were also friends with Scott. I remember leaving class in shock, not even knowing how to cry.
- I remember being without strength when I heard of his death and my dad having to hold me up. And choosing not to go to the hospital after the game because I wanted to remember the Scott I've been telling you about, not the broken friend in a hospital bed.
- I remember second guessing my decision to not go to the hospital where friends and family gathered.
- I remember not taking off my cross necklace [the one Scott had taken to camp] for a LONG time after he died even though I was required to for sports, etc (yes, not only am I stubborn, but you can add rebellious to the list to).
And as sad as all that is, [and before I start bawling about it], there was so much hope in his death. So much life in his death. I know it may be weird for some to make that connection. It just blows my mind; if Scott's life and death had meaning, and it does, how much more the life and death of a guy who specifically came to die for our sins. Thank you Jesus!
It's amazing to me how the memories of a person can develop after their death.
- Buck Rock Lookout [pictured above] is a fascinating place. But it has so much more meaning to friends and family of Scott. It was a place that Scott loved. The place where friends and family gathered to help carry the burden of Scott's parents and sister.
- The bike ride from Buck Rock Lookout down to Hume Lake may be a nice trail for some mountain bikers but for me, it is a place of sacrifice and thankfulness. Some people can make that ride without problem. Old guys like Scott's dad may slowly make it right up that hill. But for me, it was getting sick on the car ride up, and later puking my guts up while pretending to be in shape and ride the 18 miles to the lake. It represents another memory of my friend, the hope we have that though this journey may be rough, paradise is at the end.
Dear friend. Though 13 years have past, you continue to change lives. I'm so thankful that you took the time to invest in my life, eternally!
04 February 2009
- Finish my dishes from last night.
- Read last week's chapters for our small group study on Love and Respect.
- Read this week's chapters and do the study for Love and Respect.
- Take Bethany up to see my friend Debbie who had eye surgery last week.
- Finish addressing invitations for the Sweetheart Supper.
Do you think I'll get any of them accomplished? I could visit Debbie on my way home but I know that she'd love to see Bethany. I know that my husband would appreciate if I'd read my book so I can learn to better respect him. I know that there are just a few dishes on the counter, some that have been there a few days, that need to get done. Take a guess as what I'll get done tonight.
1. This morning Scott made some sort of mention that he wanted his daddy to either take him to my mom's this morning or for his daddy to buckle him in. I can't remember now exactly what it was but it was something that was clearly a result of last night's incident.
And the second item I just shared with Scott's Cubbies teacher but it was cute enough that I thought I share here too
2. Scott woke up on his own this morning and was in a good mood (we usually wake him and he's grumpy). He came right down stairs where I was showering and within a minute rattled off his bible memory verse to me. I praised him for it and he explained why he knew his verse already: so he could get a "lovey" [one of the characters in his Cubbies program] sticker. I know he's only 3 but I want him to learn to make it a heart thing, not just a memorization so he can get a sticker like pavlov's dogs. So I kindly reminded him of another verse he's learned: "God's Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you." He smiled and replied "yeah that too" and went on his merry way.
Stop in for the license renewal. I'm proud that I'm looking good, and even managed to wear mascara for my license picture. Only the mascara doesn't like my contacts and so my eyes were irritated and I had a problem reading the little line at the bottom of the vision screening. Past that and moved on. The lady at the desked filled out all the information in the computer and then said "that will be $20 please". Twenty dollars? Last time I got my license renewed, it was only $11. I didn't even have to look in my wallet, I knew I had $17 and some change (being on a budget will make you aware of the money you have). I asked if she'd take a debit card and she informed me that it was cash or check. Well I didn't have enough cash and I don't carry checks anymore (too easy for me to spend money that way). Embarrassed I asked the lady if I could run to the bank quick (practically next door only there's a river in between) and get some cash. I drove to the bank. Drove to the bank? Isn't it next door? Yes, I too realized that when I made the corner, crossed over the bridge and stopped at the bank. I went in a cashed a check for the cash I needed. Walked back to the bank. Yes I walked back to the bank even though it was in the low teens with a nasty wind. The vain person in me was a little concerned that all my prep work (I don't usually wear make up) would be worthless if my picture turned out to look like Rudolph. I zipped my coat up tight and pushed it over my nose to keep my face warm and I hurriedly walked back to the bank. The lady kindly put me to the front of the line and finished up my licensing.
She mentioned that it would be a a few minutes while it printed it off so I thought I'd make the most of my time and run down to the recorder's office to ask about my passport. The recorder was very friendly and answered all my questions. Unfortunately I have to get a brand new passport and pay the whole fee because I changed my name when I married. Grr. We chatted about not needing the passport right away cause we've just started the adoption process. She informed that it would be $110 to re-do my passport and asked if I'd like to do it then. Considering the time, and the fact that if I didn't have $20, I certainly didn't have $110 in my wallet, I said that I'd come back another time. I left her office and hurried off to my meeting downtown on foot, in the cold and windy weather. It was actually quite pleasant once I crossed the river and the buildings provided a little shelter from the wind.
After my meeting, I need to make a quick stop at the post office and then I'd head back to work. Only I'd walked and the post office was farther through town and I didn't want to walk to the post office and then all the way back to my vehicle so I asked for a ride to my vehicle at the court house. Only my van was parked near the bank, remember, I drove it the half block to the bank. So my dear friend gave me a ride 1 block over to my van. As I was getting out of her truck, it hit me: I never went back in to pick up my license at the courthouse! Who in the world forgets that. My friend graciously drives me to the courthouse and drops me off. I head inside, retrieve my license, which had since been placed in the waste basket because another lady saw it sitting out and thought it was an old one. I then walked back to the bank, got in my van, drove the two blocks to the post office, got my stamps, and headed back to work. When I walked into my office, my boss asked "so, did you get lost out there?I" I politely answered yes and proceeded to tell him about how efficient I was with my time.
My goal was to get things done in a timely manner. I'm not sure I fully met my goal. What do you think?
03 February 2009
Half way down the driveway last night, I made a sudden stop to let Scott get out of his carseat and help me drive. The sudden stop on the hill and Scott fell out of his carseat. I was really confused at how he got his belt off so quickly before I realized that I'd not buckled him in. I was both extremely thankful that nothing happened as I imagined the many things that could have happened and heart broken to realize that I didn't do everything in my power to keep my child safe. I was distraught. Scott had no clue. I apologized profusely and explained to him that any time mommy forgets to put on his seatbelt that I need him to remind me that he needs buckled in. Scott helped me finish our trek down the driveway and we made it into the house where a whole new drama unfolded.
Bethany had been abnormally whiny at my moms and I figured she was hungry. She ate some crackers and seemed fine. We got in the van to go home and she whined some more and said her tummy hurt. Not sure if she was just crazy since she had cotton pants on (vs. the regular jeans) or if the tights under neath were comfortable or if in fact, her tummy hurt. At home, she continued her whiny state and I knew that she needed to get to bed since the night before was a late and crazy night at the superbowl party. But she seemed more than tired so I started paying closer attention. She seemed to not want to sit in her hi-chair and didn't want to finish her meal. The little girl on the go seemed to want to be held. She crawled up next to me at the corner buffet thing and stood next to me eating my food and I continued to watch her. I noticed that she wasn't moving her left arm so I decided to move it for her. She reacted with a whiny cry and her arm was stiff and she said "no touch, mommy" and pulled away. I checked it again and sure enough she was holding it close and not wanting any movement from it. Ryan and I continued our observance while we ate and finally called the emergency room. I just knew that we were about to have another late night, this time in the emergency room. The doctor was sure that her elbow was out of place. He explained to me how to get it back in place, how she would react, and that 20-30 minutes later she would begin to use it again. He told me that if I couldn't or didn't want to do it, I could bring her in and he'd be the bad guy. We hung up the phone and I grabbed Bethany and held her and loved her (already remorseful of the pain I was about to inflict). I did just at the doctor explained and while I held her elbow in one hand, I felt/heard it pop back into place. It was such a yucky feeling. I think it almost made Bethany gag as she made a few gagging type of noises. But she immediately reached both arms up and grabbed me around the neck. Halelujah, she was using her arm. We watched the kids play for a while before going to bed and she favored her arm but used it, especially when I treated her with a chocolate chip cookie for being such a big girl.
And that's not the end of my drama...
As we put the kids to bed, I did the normal bed time routine which includes praying with Scott. I try to enjoy the time rather than rush through it but sometimes get frustrated when I expect my son to say what he's thankful for and he starts asking God when he gets to play the Wii next or when he gets to go to California next. I do have to remember that he's only 3. So we finished our prayer and then I started adding to his list of thankful things, like he's thankful that his daddy loves him and puts him to bed every night, and he's thankful that his house is warm, etc. When I said that he was "thankful cause he has the best mom in the world", he looked right at me and said "but mommy, you didn't buckle me in tonight!" Yes, back to reality... I guess I wasn't the best mom in the world last night. Sorry son.
1 55 oz. box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup Mule Team Borax
2 Cups Oxygen Cleaner
1/2 cup Simple Green
1/2 cup Water Softening Powder
Details about ingredients:
Washing Soda – The Arm and Hammer is the only brand I've ever seen. Walmart and most grocery stores carry it. Strong enough to actually change organic compounds (pee & poo) and keeps them suspended in the water so they can easily be washed away. It is a naturally occurring compound free from enzymes, dyes, and perfumes, and is the main ingredient in most powdered laundry detergents.
Borax – Found in the grocery aisle. Whitens and brightens without phosphates and enzymes. Borax is too harsh, both to fabric and sensitive skin to be used in large amounts, and tends to not rinse out well. Less is more with Borax in laundry. (makes and excellent household cleaner, though).
Oxygen Cleaner – I use Sun Brand…it's the cheapest and most pure….Oxyclean brand has additives and fillers. For Oxygen Cleaner…the cheaper the better. Stain remover and whitener. Oxygen cleaners do not react well with extremely hard water and will add to scum build up. If you have extremely hard water, as noted above, add additional water softener.
Simple Green – A concentrated liquid cleaner…most grocery stores carry it….Walmart has it in the automotive section. If you can't find Simple Green, you can use any concentrated multi-purpose cleaner (ie: Lysol 4 in 1). Provides the necessary surfactants-to lessen the water tension and allow the detergent to become a part of the water and actually get into the clothes
Water Softening Powder – This is a key ingredient…and if you have hard water you will want to double it. White King makes a powder, but it can't be found in all areas. If you can't find a water softening powder, use ½ cup of liquid. You'll need to use a 1 lb box of baking soda for each half cup liquid added to offset the additional liquids so you don't end up with a solid mass of detergent in a couple of days. (I can't find powder in my area, so I use Calgon Liquid + baking soda).
Put all dry ingredients in a large container – (bucket, dishpan) mix with your hands to combine. Put gloves on before adding liquid ingredients as there is a chemical reaction that makes it get rather warm…..and could burn your skin. Drizzle the wet ingredients over the top of the dry ingredients. Mix with your hands until well combined and all liquid is mixed in and there are no clumps. If it still seems too moist, you can add a box of baking soda**. Humidity levels in different parts of the country can make a difference here, as your dry ingredients might have a higher moisture content. Store in a sealed container. I have used Rubbermaid, Tupperware, coffee cans….whatever you have on hand.
Use 1-2 1/8 cup scoops (the kind that came with the oxygen cleaner) per load. You'll have to experiment a bit to find what works best with your water condition and washer size.
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HOMEMADE LAUNDRY SOAP
- 1/2 bar of Fels Naptha soap - my local hardware store stocked this at my request. Very nice, but next I want to try Kirk's Castile Hardwater Soap, because if our water were any harder it would be a rock.
- 1 cup borax - available at WalMart near the laundry detergent
- 1 cup washing soda - also available at WalMart near the laundry detergent
- 1 TBS glycerin - look for it near the first aid supplies
Grate the soap; it's easy, really. It's soft enough to easily grate it on a handheld cheese grater. Heat til melted in 8 cups of water. Simmer a few minutes to be sure it's thoroughly melted. Stir in remaining ingredients until thoroughly dissolved. Add enough cool water to make 2 gallons.
You're done. What? You thought it would be harder, didn't you?
Just pour into a couple of gallon jugs. Give it a stir or a shake now and then as it cools to keep it smooth and creamy. It will thicken as it cools. Ours looks a lot like a thin creamy shampoo, or a jug of heavy cream. Yummy, but don't taste it. Just sniff.
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