For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows grace and favor and glory - honor, splendor and heavenly bliss! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Psalms 84:11

Friday, October 30, 2009

Aloha Friday! - FB Apps

From An Island Life

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you'd like to participate with your own question on your own blog, head on over to An Island Life to link up and join the fun!

My question for today is If you're on Facebook, what is your favorite App? Or do you hate all apps of any kind?

I would have to say that over time my favorites change. I really like the Visual Bookshelf app, and these days I'm a little hooked on Bejeweled Blitz and Cafe World.

So how about you?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Way Back When-endsay - A Day at the Beach

Sometimes it's good to get away.

Even if it's only for 2 days.

Just so you can remember how you got there in the first place.

Just the two of us, before there were 4 of us.

It's important.

And sometimes it's good to look back to those short 2 days.

And remember what it feels like to be semi-free!

Way Back in August 2009 in Newport, OR. Seems like WAY too long ago!

Isn't that ridiculous?

For more Way Back fun visit Cheryl over at Twinfatuation!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Give More, Spend Less

For years and years, as far back as I can remember, my family has celebrated Christmas the same way. We wake up super early in the morning, travel to whoever's house is hosting that year (we rotate who hosts between 3 different families) or drag ourselves downstairs (if we're lucky enough to be the hosts), drink coffee, open stocking gifts from Santa, eat breakfast, open "the big gifts" which are not from Santa but rather from each of us to each of everyone else, eat dinner (yes, it usually takes HOURS to open all the big gifts) and then some linger and play games while others go home. That's what we do. Year in, year out.

But as I've gotten older the appeal has gotten stale. You mean, I really have to buy presents for Aunt Hildigard and Cousin So and So? Really? But I only see them once a year. What do they like? I have no idea! Maybe I'll just get them a sweater. Everyone likes sweaters, right? Ok fine, scrap the sweater, I'll just go with a gift card.

Why are we doing this? And by "we" I mean all Americans who follow the same routine.

Last year I found this video on You Tube, someone sent it to me via email. I don't remember who sent it, but obviously I NEEDED to see it! At that point, it was too late to call everyone and change everyone's gift buying plans. Especially since so many of my family members start buying Christmas gifts in June.

But it struck a chord in my heart that's been resonating ever since.

So this year I wrote a letter and emailed it to my family members, because things HAD to be different this year. Of all years. When the economy is in the toilet and there are so many people out there who could use some help. I proposed that instead of giving "big gifts" at Christmas that we make handmade items, and then take the money we would have spent and give it to charity.

And instead of taking HOURS to open presents, maybe we could break out some board games. Or decorate cookies, or cut out snowflakes from paper or... you fill in the blank.

Have a Christmas that's meaningful, not consumer-filled. Give more to the charity of your choice, instead of wasting it on things the other person might not even want. Make it clear to your family and friends that you would MUCH rather receive a donation to your favorite charity than a bobble or trinket. Fill the piggy bank of the poor, rather than the coffers of Target or WalMart.

And then take a nice relaxing breath and think about all the shopping that you DON'T have to do this holiday season!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Big 70 Dad!

As some of you may know, my dad turned 70 this past week. So on Saturday we had a big shindig for him. Plenty of friends, food, and let's not forget, desert. Just the way he likes it!

For those who are interested I used THIS recipe for the cake. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Botany of Desire - Things Everyone Loves

This is a preview of the 2 hour special on PBS that will be on October 28th (check your local listings for times). I haven't read the book, but my mom keeps recommending it to me. It's about four plants: the apple, the potato, marijuana, and tulips. They highlight 4 basic desires of human nature: sweetness, control, alteration of consciousness, and beauty. The book and show are from the plants perspective. The idea is that plants use us (rather than the other way around) to spread themselves all over the world. Since I haven't found time to read the book, I'm really looking forward to this special!

For more Things to Love visit The Diaper Diaries.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Family Update

We had another appointment with a orthopedic surgeon about Hubs shoulder. We liked this new doctor, he really seemed to listen. He even took notes. His recommendation is to try a steroid injection. It could solve the problem, it could fix it temporarily, or it could not work at all. But either way it would provide more info about what might be wrong. Hubs isn't thrilled with the idea of a big needle injecting something right into the spot where he hurts, but hopefully it will help. The injection will probably happen sometime next week after insurance approves it.

We're all sick with colds. It sucks. I'm actually starting to feel better today... I think. Anya is teething on top of it all and is super clingy. I mostly wish I could go into hibernation until it's all over, but then who would cook?

We're about to have a new neighbor. Our next door neighbor who has been trying to sell his house for about 9 months has accepted a cash offer. I didn't know cash offers were going down these days, but there you have it. As a result, he'll probably be moved out and gone very quickly, which makes the rest of us pretty sad. He's been a great neighbor. We only hope that our new neighbors will be as wonderful.

My dad's 70th birthday party is this Saturday. My gift is making his cake. I'm planning to make this Bakerella beauty. I've been itching to make it since she posted it back in February, and now I finally have a good excuse! I'm excited to make it, but wish I had more energy to do my best. I just hope it turns out ok and I don't embarrass myself.

Speaking of neighbors, I've spent a lot of time with one of my other neighbors. We've started a Bible study together, which has lead to other great conversations and spending more time together. How amazing is it that God has placed her in my life during this time!? Here I am, so stressed out most days, just trying to scrape through, and then God brings a new friend who lives kitty corner across the street. Wow!

Anyway, that's about it. Again, wish I had more time, energy, oomph to give more attention to this blog. I have so many great ideas stirring in the back of my mind, but just haven't been able to carry things out the way I'd like to.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Next Day

I'm feeling moody and reflective today. You could call it hormones, or lack of chocolate, or too much cleaning up of poopy messes thanks to my chillin's. So for whatever reason today I was reminded of this poem that I used to ooze over when I was in college. It was sort of my fear of what my life would be, because I knew that I would be a stay at home mom. Just knew it. But what if years from now I became unloved and forgotten? What if being a mom sucked all the life out of me, and I was left used up? That was my fear. Perhaps irrational at the age of 20, but there you have it.

And then I met this poem via Contemporary American Literature class. Yes, I say met. Why? Because when you come across a poem that over time becomes a friend, yes, there is a meeting.

Let me introduce you. Dear reader, meet Next Day.

Next Day
By Randall Jarrell

Moving from Cheer to Joy, from Joy to All,
I take a box
And add it to my wild rice, my Cornish game hens.
The slacked or shorted, basketed, identical
Food-gathering flocks
Are selves I overlook. Wisdom, said William James,

Is learning what to overlook. And I am wise
If that is wisdom.
Yet somehow, as I buy All from these shelves
And the boy takes it to my station wagon,
What I've become
Troubles me even if I shut my eyes.

When I was young and miserable and pretty
And poor, I'd wish
What all girls wish: to have a husband,
A house and children. Now that I'm old, my wish
Is womanish:
That the boy putting groceries in my car

See me. It bewilders me he doesn't see me.
For so many years
I was good enough to eat: the world looked at me,
And it's mouth watered. How often they have undressed me,
The eyes of strangers!
And, holding their flesh within my flesh, their vile

Imaginings within my imagining,
I too have taken
The chance of life. Now the boy pats my dog
And we start home. Now I am good.
The last mistaken,
Ecstatic, accidental bliss, the blind

Happiness that, bursting, leaves upon the palm
Some soap and water -
It was so long ago, back in some Gay
Twenties, Nineties, I don't know... Today I miss
My lovely daughter
Away at school, my sons away at school,

My husband away at work - I wish for them.
The dog, the maid,
And I go through the sure unvarying days
At home in them. As I look at my life,
I am afraid
Only that it will change, as I am changing;

I am afraid, this morning, of my face.
It looks at me
From the rear-view mirrior, with the eyes I hate,
The smile I hate. It's plain, lined look
Of gray discovery
Repeats to me: "You're old." That's all, I'm old.

And yet I'm afraid, as I was at the funeral
I went to yesterday.
My friend's cold made-up face, granite among its flowers,
Her undressed, operated-on, dressed body
Were my face and body.
As I think of her I hear her telling me

How young I seem; I am exceptional;
I think of all I have.
But really no one is exceptional,
No one has anything, I'm anybody,
I stand beside my grave
Confused with my life, that is commonplace and solitary.

Yeah, totally uplifting! I was such a moody little snot nosed brat.

Aloha Friday!

From An Island Life

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that we take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So I thought that on Fridays I would take it easy on posting, too. Therefore, I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you'd like to participate with your own question on your own blog, head on over to An Island Life to link up and join the fun!

Today's question is: Wear a tie much??

jim & pam Pictures, Images and Photos

Or you could just answer one or more of these questions: Did you watch The Office wedding last night? What did you think??? Your favorite part?

I'd have to say my favorite part was Michael talking to Pam's mom at the church. It's like we got a glimps past the "I'm trying too hard" Michael and got a piece of the real deal, which always makes me feel sorry for him. lol

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dory Cove & Stacy's Covered Bridge Restaurant Reviews - Things I Love Thursday

Two more restaurant reviews by my mom. Hope you enjoy!

Dory Cove in Lincoln City, OR is a classic good choice, even relocated on Highway 101 instead of at Roads End. A fire a number of years back forced the change. A dependable Rave Review for food. Same owners, same cook, same menu. My husband has clam chowder and parmesan cheese bread. This toasted bread is WONDERFUL! Hubby has three clam chowders in three different locations in two days and voted this the best. (Including a well known place that will remain nameless.) I have fish and chips and salad. The salad is crisp and very good. The fish and chips were the same as before and very good. I've been coming to Dory Cove since I was a little girl and that was a LONG time ago - hey I even have a t-shirt! The decor is a bit off putting but when they bring the food it is ALL good. A lot of locals come here and that tells you something. We wish them the very best!

A definite Rave Review for Stacy's Covered Bridge Restaurant in Cottage Grove, OR, on the main street across from City Hall just off of I-5. What initially catches my eye is two winged backed chairs facing a linen covered table, beautifully set, on the sidewalk... We are fortunate to be seated before 6 pm and hence eligible for the special selection of six choices for a three course meal each for $10.95! These choices sound gourmet. I opt for Chicken Tuscany with artichoke hearts and kalamata olives, in a light cream wine sauce. The first course is salad with a wonderful variety of fresh greens -NOT the usual dinner salad- and a wonderful cucumber dressing. Yum! Then the outstanding large serving of chicken. The vegetable is julienne zucchini with herbs. Really outstanding flavor and lightly steamed to perfection. Served hot and not overcooked. The third course is a choice of strawberry or chocolate large ice cream sundaes. Amazing! The decor is small and upscale. The servers are busy but work well as a cheerful team with the owner. The tone is relaxed even though the staff is really busy. This place is a hidden gem. The food is superb! And hey, if you happen to be there in July you can take in the yodeling and whistling contest in city hall. We did!

Come back next week for restaurant reviews from my parent's trip to Nashville & Kansas!

For more Things To Love visit!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash - Fresh From My Garden

This was a total improvise, so I was really excited when it turned out to be so good! But with these ingredients how could you go wrong? Bacon, onions, mushrooms and cheese doesn't make this a light recipe, but a delicious way to use any patty pan squash you have hanging around.

What? Never had patty pan squash? It's a bit sweeter than zucchini, cooks up nice and firm so excellent for stir fry or sautee. My mom likes them best sauteed with garlic and olive oil, and I can't say I blame her. But if you wanna do something a bit more fancy you could give this a try. :)

Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

6 patty pan squash
1/2 pound of bacon
1/2 an onion, diced
1 tomato
1/2 pound of sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup of cheddar
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Carve the tops off the squash and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon or melon baller. Set aside.

Brown the bacon, allow to drain on paper towels. Drain all but 2 teaspoons of bacon grease. Add the onion to the hot skillet, cook until soft and it has taken on some color from the bacon grease. Add the tomato and mushrooms, saute until veggies are soft. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl combine bread crumbs, cheeses and seasonings. Add crumbled bacon and vegetables. Stir well to combine. Stuff mixture inside hollowed squash. Return tops of squash to the top of each one. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place squash inside. Cover loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. You want the cheese to be bubbly, the squash should be firm but hot.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Family Update

No new news on Hubs' shoulder. We're getting the feeling that the doctor that supposed to provide the second opinion is giving us the brush off. So we're researching other doctors. If anyone knows an orthopedic surgeon in the Portland, OR area who specializes in shoulder injuries please let me know.

My parents are back in town after being gone for the past 2 weeks. They attended my dad's family reunion in Kansas and also went to the Christian Counselor's Association Conference (say that three times fast!) in Nashville, TN. So you can look forward to more of my mom's restaurant reviews covering different places they ate while on their great adventure.

I for one am very glad that they are home. I tend to take their help for granted, and whenever they leave I quickly realize how much they do for us. They watch the girls so Hubs and I can go out, they provide a huge and very important part of my social circle, and my mom is flat out awesome when it comes to helping with projects such as canning peaches or making jam. I know I tell them thank you all the time... but seriously, there aren't big enough THANK YOUS for what they do for us.

To celebrate their return, they came and babysat for us last night so that Hubs and I could go out for a date! HURRAY!! And since Hubs birthday is next week, and my parents are going to watch the girls so we can go out again... I decided that it was MY turn to pick where we were going to eat. So I picked On The Boarder. Why? Because we had never been there before and I've wanted to go there for a long time due to rave reviews from friends, and Hubs HATES trying new places... so HERE WAS MY CHANCE!! And oh man, it was GOOD! The first bite Hubs took of his carne asada steak was enough to practically melt him into a puddle, that's how good it was. And my combo plate with beef empanadas, chicken enchilada, and beef taco were all fantastic. The only thing we weren't wild about were their chips and salsa. We both prefer white corn chips, and theirs were yellow corn, so no matter how awesome they were for yellow corn chips they just were not as good as white corn. We also indulged in margaritas, because what Mexican meal is complete without them, right? We started off with their most expensive top shelf margarita, and then decided to try their "shaken margarita. My opinion? The top shelf was excellent, but pricey. Next time I'll just go for the shaken because it too was very delicious and was enough for the two of us to share.

And then we went and bought a Wii! And came home, and hooked it up, and played! So far I'm lovin' it! In fact I'm gonna go play some more after I finish this post. I'm ashamed to say that my Wii age is 74... and I'm really hoping that I can blame that on the margaritas but in all seriousness I just can't hit a baseball if my life depended on it regardless of my alcohol intake. Hopefully I can do better today... but I'm not betting on it. lol

So a lot about me... but what about those cute little kidlets??

Well, the kidlets are doing just awesome! Mommy feels like she needs a vacation though. They are getting SO busy!!! By the time nap time comes around I feel like I'm going to fall down. And when they get up I sigh and think, HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! I'm trying really hard to enjoy it, and they do provide an endless source of fun and entertainment and love (let's not forget the LOVE!), but they totally wear me out. I feel like I'm in a constant state of exhaustion from which I will never recover.

But enough doom and gloom! Weren't we supposed to be talking about the kids??

They are constantly doing funny stuff, and I am constantly running for my camera, and then when I get it on and point it at them they come squealing and running at me and I totally miss the thing I was trying to capture!!! So as a result I have very few pictures of them over the past few months. I think I need to hire a film crew to come follow us around for a day just so I can get some memories on tape!

So what would a film crew capture in our typical day?

-Dancing, lots of dancing. Cute adorable toddler dancing. Dancing that involves jumping, kicking of feet in the air, and spinning around in circles until they are dizzy and fall down.

-Ziva blowing spit bubbles, and then saying, "Buh boowwww" which is the signal for me to pop the bubbles with my finger.

-Books books BOOKS!!! Pointing to pictures, saying words they know, indicating that I should tell them what something is, and for Ziva... identifying a few letters. Her smartness somewhat terrifies me.

-Moving furniture. BECAUSE THEY CAN! Carrying chairs to things they want to reach, and then standing on them, and helping each other out to reach whatever it is they need to get their grubby little hands on.

-Much more proficiency with spoons and forks. Lately I give them each their own serving of yogurt or applesauce (yes, mommy is getting braver!). Yesterday once their faces were all messy Ziva said "Beeeer". What honey? You want some beer? "No, Beeeeeer!" Oh! BEARD! Yes honey, you have a beard. Tee hee!!

-We've discovered the trick of putting their pajamas on backwards in order to keep them ON at night! Yes, for weeks and months I've woken them up only to find them totally naked and soaked. Super awesome laundry practice for mommy! Hoping this whole backwards jammy trick will continue to work for a while.

-Anya is becoming more assertive about keeping toys, and is becoming more territorial of Mommy. Part of me kind of hopes that she's swaying away from the Daddy kick she's been on for a while. But the other part of me really doesn't like to be guarded like a dog guards their food. When Ziva comes close Anya will put her hands on my face and then push her face right up against my faces so that our faces are smooshed together as if she's saying, "I NEED YOUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION NOW!!!" I get it Anya. I do... now can I please have my face back?
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