Tuesday, December 30, 2008

sushi & salsa on tortilla chips

No matter how many times Chad photographed this culinary abomination, it looked inedible from every angle. Clearly a crime against taste buds.
Salsa on sushi = negligent culinary creation. Res ipsa loquitur: a Latin term meaning "the thing speaks for itself." Res ipsa loquitur is a legal doctrine or rule of evidence that creates a presumption that a defendant acted negligently simply because a harmful accident occurred. The presumption arises only if (1) the thing that caused the accident was under the defendant's control, (2) the accident could happen only as a result of a careless act and, (3) the plaintiff's behavior did not contribute to the accident. Lawyers often refer to this doctrine as "res ips" or "res ipsa."

happy birthday to my sweet ilsa ruth

Oh, I can't even believe it has been three years, my little darling.
Happy Birthday sweet girl!

Monday, December 29, 2008

new narnia fan

We rented The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian this last week. Ingrid has been begging to see both for months now, and we thought watching them would be a fun Christmas week activity. She loves them-- she has watched Caspian about 4 times now. Funny little fact: Chad and I saw LWW in the theater two days before Ilsa was born (that was an interesting movie viewing...lots of contractions); we hadn't seen PC, but had heard it was fine for her to see, and it was. Both were enjoyable, unnecessary but interesting plot changes aside. (I guess I'll have to read the books again to really get the stories, but the movies are good, wholesome fun.) They especially made some HUGE changes to the Prince Caspian story. Caspian is about 10 years older, has eyes for Susan, and there's a huge "let's storm the castle" battle scene.

But the funny part was this: Ingrid clued into the whole innocent romance plotline right away. She turned to me and said, "Mommy, would Prince Caspian like me?" She's not even five. Is this normal? I do have to admit though, she has good taste.
PS I just read a couple of days ago that Disney has decided to drop the Narnia series, even though #3, the Voyage of the Dawn Treader is already in production. But I can't imagine someone else won't pick it up...the first two did so well, so I'm not bummed about that at all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

our christmas eve adventure

Have we got a story to tell this year! We were driving home from Christmas Eve services at church and noticed a very poor driver in front of us. Ever since Chad's accident (he was hit by a car while riding his bike home from work), he has been observant of drivers who stray into the bike lane. Picture this: it is a mid-80's era big old white Cadillac, with a driver who is so short that we couldnt' even see her through the back window. Well, this driver wasn't just straying into the bike lane, she was going 20 in a 55 mph zone, drifting, braking constantly, weaving, and at one point went across 3 lanes of traffic on one of the busiest streets in town.

Chad called 911 to report the dangerous driver and kept close to her for about 8 miles southbound. Then she did a U-turn (legally) and headed back northbound about 8 miles. Then she U-turned again and headed back southbound another 8 miles. Chad called the PD a second time to give an update. At this point, it was about 7:00. Church had dismissed at 6:15, the girls are really hungry and anxious for Christmas Eve at home, but quite interested in "the emergency" that was happening (Ingrid's interpretation -- the girl loves drama). So we stopped and parked and waited. We live on a road that dead-ends at the desert, so if she was coming behind us, she had nowhere to go. Well, here she came. She pulled over in front of us. (Eeek!) Chad pulled up, rolled down my window and we asked if she was okay.

She said, "NO! I'm SOOOO lost! I'm not drunk, I'm not on drugs, I'm just really lost trying to find my cousin's house for Christmas Eve!" She appeared to be about 80. Chad introduced himself and disclosed that he was an Air Force major (this might have eased some of her fears that we weren't a family of axe murderers). She then, to our surprise asked, "would you drive me home?" So Chad drove her home, and I followed behind. Alllll the way back up north about 15 miles. To the ritzy side of town. The ____ Country Club Estates part of town. The part of town where it takes $1 million to make a down payment on a house. One house had at least 250 luminaria outlining their giant circular driveway and the roofline of their flat-roofed home. Another home was hosting a Christmas Eve party -- the kind where the home decorations have been professionally "installed" and everyone in attendance is in gowns and tuxes.

So, Chad called the cousin to let her know that her cousin was safe and sound at home. Turns out the lady is only 60, has lived here for about 20 years, and just doesn't like driving at night.

I'm glad it was us, and not some real axe murderer family that found her.

The Lord is good! I hope that we showed her the love of Christ on this Christmas Eve.

merry CHRISTmas to all of my friends!

I wish all of you a very Merry CHRISTmas. Take some time to reflect on what Jesus has done and is doing. Ponder Him as He IS...Wonderful, Counselor, Almight God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Luke 1:46 - 55

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.

Monday, December 22, 2008

wagon train 2

The train has grown to include an engine, a passenger car, a boxcar and a caboose. It took a little bit of assistance to turn the thing around.

Ingrid said goodbye to her best friend here in Tucson, Faith. Her family is moving this week. The part of military life we just don't love: saying goodbyes too often.
I took Ingrid and Ilsa to The Mall aka, the Temple of Doom, yesterday after church for Santa pictures. We're not a Santa family per se, but we have done this every year since Ingrid was a baby. The pictures are often humorous and do create a sense of continuity for the girls. This year, Ilsa decided, "NO!" She ran away crying. I think she has the right idea. To paraphrase Linus, "That's not what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Finally, a new Ingridism: Hippobottomus - a big bottom. Maybe she has seen me eating too many Christmas cookies.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

wagon train

This little activity lasted about an hour. Fun stuff.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

if anyone cares...toy decision

Surprising, but true. I craftily showed the picture of the castle dollhouse to the girls. Neither of them were thrilled. So goodbye dollhouse, hello....LEGOS! We decided to do individual gifts after all. Ingrid saw some LEGOs at the store and went nutso. I even found a set that had pictures of duckies on the front (bottom right, just from the center). That sealed it. The box is in Chad's trunk until I can wrap it.

from princess to pirate...back to princess

I was reading up on the emotional development from age 4 1/2 to 5 the other day, and found something out that I had suspected. My little princess can turn into a pirate at will. In the past few weeks, Ingrid has started growling, grunting, chasing, terrorizing Ilsa, and hiding around corners to scare the snot out of us. On one hand I'm excited that she is exploring beyond pink hearts, flowers and crowns, but along with this exploration of aggression, she has also developed a bad temper. This has been an issue at times.

Much of the day is spent bossing Ilsa around at the top of her lungs, thusly (I have always wanted to use that word):

Ingrid: "Ilsa, give that to me!"
Ilsa: "No, I want it."
Ingrid: "NOW!"
Ilsa: "Wahhhhhh"
Ingrid: "GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!"
Mommy: "Ingrid, treat your sister with kindness and gentleness. Ask again."
Mommy: "Discipline time...."

This isn't going to be a discipline rant. So bear with me, it gets funnier. Yesterday, I was washing the car. (Ahhhh, Christmas in Almost Mexico...I wore shorts and Chaco's.) She got bored with helping me, so she decided to create a fort in the garage (that's cool) from umbrellas. She used two little ones and one huge obnoxious blue and white diamond design golf umbrella from Munich. She added in the just-washed floor mats to seal up the cracks between the umbrellas. Then she announced, "I need priiiivacy." Here's the exchange:

Ilsa: "Can I come in Ingwid?" (in the sweetest, cutest high little smiley Ilsa voice possible.)
Ingrid: "NO! I neeeed priiiivacy! Just give me TWO MINUTES! That's all I need. Now go away!!!" (ok, I take credit dubiously for the two minutes crack)
Ilsa: "But IIIIII want to be with Ingwiiiid." (half whimpering)
Ingrid: "Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrrggggghhhhhhhh!" (pirate voice)

And as suddenly as the pirate emerged, the sweet princess will re-appear, though not as often. Usually the sweet, gentle, quiet, timid Ingrid shows herself at pre-k, when she doesn't want me to leave. The other night I wanted to go to the gym to work out. She sobbed at the learning that I was going to leave (10 minutes before her bedtime). I stayed and comforted her for a while, and within minutes she was back to herself.

Is this split personality normal for almost 5 year olds? I want to know. Tell me! When is it going to end!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

shopping local

Shopping locally is all the rage for "socially conscious" shoppers this year, but economics has to play a role, too. For example, there is a local independent toy store here that I just love. They have stuff there you can't find anyplace else. The shop keepers sprinkle pixie dust on the children and blow bubbles (they're not weirdos, just a lot of fun). There isn't a licensed cartoon or movie character in sight. Stuff is built to last. And unfortunately, the prices will break your bank account, too.

See the poll to the right about Christmas gifting? I would love to get the girls this princess dollhouse/castle from Melissa & Doug. Amazon.com is selling it for $57 with free shipping and no tax. The sweet, independent toy store is selling it for $125 plus tax. I would consider it for $57 (as a gift to both girls). I can't and won't consider it for $125. I've looked for used ones on eBay and Craig's List, but they must be awfully popular -- only new ones are available, and Amazon's price was the best by far.

Online retailers seem to have the edge over "brick and mortar" much of the time. But I have found independent online stores with great prices, too, and I try to patronize them as much as I can. They're local to someone, I guess. So what do you do? Shop local or go for best price no matter what? Oh and by the way, I found it at my local We Be Toys (TRU) for $99...so they're not always the best price, either.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

ilsa's purple ahnsahmbleh (ensemble)

Ilsa' picked this outfit out herself. It is very purple. I really don't worry about what the girls pick to wear, as long as it is weather and occasion appropriate, especially for just playing or running errands. I never make fun of what they have chosen. But Chad did stifle a laugh.

I think I might try to always have either the top or pants in the wash so as to conveniently discourage purple flower overload. And then she found this paper gift bag with the gift wrap supplies! And she put my purple crochet scarf inside!!! I guess she likes purple.

By the way, this coordinated outfit includes a top, pants, socks, courdoroy jumper and button front dress of the same purple flower fabric. They were hand-me-downs from a good friend up in Almost Canada; she said that Ingrid (who never wore them because of her button wackiness) was the fifth girl to have them, making Ilsa the sixth. This is a testament to the quality and longevity of Hanna Andersson clothing!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

thanksgiving 2 = 10 things for which I am thankful

Okay, I think that the real meaning of Thanksgiving was kind of driven home to me today, because my day did NOT turn out as I had wanted it to. After four days of preparation, I have to say, the dinner was just "eh". I have a rotten cold and can't really taste anything. I also felt like I had to fight with my mind all day just to focus on what I was doing, and subsequently, I let the dressing burn on top, the rolls were somewhat underdone, I put too much liquid into the mashed potatoes and had to throw some potatoes into the microwave to thicken it up (it was literally potato soup), the green beans were overcooked, and the bottom of the pumpkin pie crust burned black. I'm not complaining, just stating fact.

I felt the cold coming on yesterday when I woke up, and then this morning it was full blown. I am sure I caught it from Ilsa, who seems to be on the mend already.

Then this evening, Ingrid said she didn't feel well. Could mean a few things in Ingridese: 1) I want attention because Ilsa and Mommy don't feel well; 2) I'm tired; or 3) I don't feel well. Number 3 was the winner. You guessed it...she went to bed and threw up on the floor. Out came the steam cleaner again, just as I was finally getting ready to go to bed and just crash.

All of this to say that the Thanksgiving Feast is important, but it isn't Thanksgiving! I think everyone knows that, but I'm not upset about the dinner! I think in years past I would have been, but not now. So here's my list:
  1. I had my husband sitting at the dinner table with me tonight. His bike accident could have just been so much worse, and this could have been a very different Thanksgiving.

  2. I have two wonderful girls. Six years ago, they weren't a part of our lives, but the Lord saw fit to entrust them to us. May we be worthy of this task!

  3. We have a warm, comfortable, beautiful home. Even on our street, there is one home that has been repo'd. I never take Chad's paycheck for granted. Ever.

  4. We had an abundant feast on our table, even if the dressing was burned on top. We have food in our pantry, and refrigerator, and don't have to think twice when we need to go to the store for milk, eggs or butter.

  5. Chad and I both have parents alive and still married to each other. Chad's have been married nearly 45 years, and mine, 52 this coming June. Wow. What great examples of devotion.

  6. I have Godly friends in my life who love me enough to call me onto the carpet when I need to be straightened out, can laugh with me when I just want to be goofy, and encourage me when I am down.

  7. I live in a country that boasts, even in extremely tough economic times, more stability and access to medical care, food, financial assistance, and safety than most people in the world can claim.

  8. My family and I have affordable quality healthcare.

  9. My church preaches the Word of God, and I'm growing, learning and being stretched weekly. As Pastor I. said recently, when I leave a sermon, I should feel "mad, sad or glad" (I think it was a quote from Martin Luther). I always feel one of those three things. My feelings are never neutral.

  10. And most importantly, The Lord chose me. ME! Wretch that I am, to be His child. From before the foundations of the earth, he chose me. His Son Jesus Christ died on the cross for me! ME! He called out to me in the midst of my sin and gave me the faith to believe on Him! Thank you Lord!!!

Oh, one more thing. Tonight I was tucking Ilsa into bed, and I asked her what she was thankful for. (We talked about this a lot today, but this was the best answer yet.) She said, "I'm thankful for my sister who loves duckies."

thanksgiving 1

Preparation is the key, or at least so I am told. This was my schedule. The only reason I'm blogging this is so that I can remember for NEXT YEAR because it actually has worked very well...not an ounce of stress right now at 9:25 am!

Baked 2 loaves of bread for stuffing
Made and chilled dough for rolls
Braved Costco

High aspirations, little accomplished except cubing loaves of bread for stuffing and dried it on the counter.
Assembled granny smith apple/sweet italian sausage stuffing
Made cranberry sauce
Brined turkey (remember this one, Steph, it worked: use the little "playmate" cooler and ice packs)
Made gravy roux
Made turkey stock for gravy using the creepy stuff from the turkey
Baked two pumpkin pies, vacuum-sealed and froze one for Christmas

Got up at a decent hour -- at least decent for our house, 7:00 am
Took turkey out of brine and put in fridge on baking sheet to dry off a little bit
Iced turkey breast-side-down on rack
To be continued...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

10 things for which I am thankful

It's been a while...not in any particular order:
  1. Antibiotics and analgesics
  2. Cable TV with lots of kids programs on all day
  3. A comfortable couch
  4. Meals I had the foresight to prepare and freeze for days like today
  5. The ability to tune out whining
  6. Children's Benadryl
  7. Children's Tylenol
  8. A fast Urgent Care clinic when the Base clinic has a two week wait for an appointment
  9. Saltine crackers
  10. Ice cold water and an ice dispenser in my fridge door

If you didn't get the hint, I'm sick.

kitchenaid woes

Anyone out there who knows about KitchenAid stand mixers? I have a tilt-head 5 quart oldie-but-goodie KSM90. I need to replace the baseplate -- if you don't know what that is, you probably shouldn't offer a suggestion. :) I have received the replacement part from KitchenAid customer service (twice!) but I just can't get it in. The old one was tight, but I was able to just drop it back in after taking it out. Any ideas?

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I heard a good one today: Mommy, I'm sugarfied. (Just ate a snickerdoodle, and her hands were sandy with sugar...)

veteran's day

Veteran's Day is not about blowout sales.

In Flanders Fields
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

sending out a call for encouragement!

HELP! Ilsa is finally in the terrible twos, right before she turns three! We've had relatively smooth sailing thus far. But now we're talking full-on tantrums, screaming "NO!", running away from me in public, collapsing on the floor at Starbuck's, etc. Her favorite phrase is, "No, I don't want you to, Mom!" I have yet to see a smile on her face this afternoon. And this isn't really a discipline issue -- I've been very, very consistent.

And I know I will survive it, because Ingrid is still with us -- HA! I just needs some words of love friends!
Oh, one funny thing in the past few days. We had a salad along with dinner the other night, and I pulled out the Newman's Own Light Balsamic dressing, you know, the one with the beaming face of Paul Newman on the bottle. Ilsa said, "I want some 'Man Sauce' Mommy." MAN SAUCE! Isn't that hilarious?

Monday, November 10, 2008

food for pro-life thought

Check out this blog post from John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute While it is not wholly discouraging, it is challenging and convicting.

While I personally do not believe we should ever give up legislative efforts to legally end abortion, in the big picture the legal victories seem to have been almost purely symbolic because people's hearts and minds haven't been changed. Further, even though symbolic victories do send a message, Mr. Whitehead proposes that the message is not being received, believed nor implemented by the culture at large. This is a bad thing because the pro-life community hangs our hats on these legal victories but doesn't go any further...thereby spending millions and millions of dollars on symbolic victory.
Please don't misinterpret me. Abortion must be stopped. It is murder. Period. But read the article for yourself. Compelling? Give me your thoughts...I'd love to read them!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

the shack

Thinking about reading The Shack by William P. Young? Read this first. Already read it? You need to read this analysis too. So I guess I'm kind of reviewing a book I have never read. How weird is that? My book club voted to put it onto our 2009 calendar (I didn't vote for this one -- I wanted to read Pride & Prejudice for the umpteenth time...I hope I don't sound self-righteous -- I don't mean to). And then yesterday I was surfing the web when I ended up at this review on the Boundless webzine site. I don't think it was coincidence...I think it was a divine Google hit.

"[S]olid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” - Hebrews 5:14
What is discernment? Tim Challies gives a great definition:

It is “the skill of understanding and applying God's Word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong.” Discernment is knowing what God says to us in the Bible so that we can apply this to our lives and live in the way God would have us live. It is a skill that demands practice and one that demands intimate familiarity with the Bible. It is an ability that allows us, with God’s help, to filter what is true about God from what is false.
If you have already read this book, I humbly suggest that you prayerfully ask the Lord of Hosts, in Jesus' name, to reveal to you through His Word, the Bible, WHO HE IS.

"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." - I Timothy 1:17

  • Click here to go to challies.com to read both Tim Challies' blog post about the book, and download the pdf of his review.
  • Click here to just view the pdf of the review.

Oh, and if you are wondering, I'm taking some Godly counsel to heart, and will not be reading this book.

Friday, November 7, 2008

soggy cell phone

Friday 11/24/08
UPDATE for anyone who cares...

Cell phone is kaput. I did get it to power up, but there was no picture on the screen, and it was always on vibrate.


Good grief! Last night I WASHED my cell phone in my pant pocket. On hot. With a second rinse. Let's just say I was an in a big hurry to get those pants off. Ingrid had thrown up all over me -- twice.

Not surprisingly, cell phone baptism is a common occurence; hence, there are lots of helpful tips on the web to possibly restore life to my mobile lifeline. Right now, it is submerged in rice after a rubbing alcohol bath. Yep. That suggestion was echoed many, many times, not just on some random wierdo's site. The alcohol evaporates faster than water, and takes the water with it. It also helps clean out any residue from the detergents in the wash (or whatever water bath the phone could have experienced: toilet, tub, mucky lake). The rice acts as a dessicant (I learned that word last night) and kind of "pulls" the water out.

So if this ever happens to you, take the battery out as quickly as possible -- and for sure do not try to turn it back oh -- it can short it out; dry it off as much as you can with a towel, and then dry it as thoroughly as you can via "baking" it on the lowest setting in your oven (I wasn't brave enough to do that), submerging it in dry rice, or sealing it into a ziplock or container with some of those silicone packets that come in dry foods and vitamins. Finally, after 3 days (that seems to be the magic rice number) it should be dry. But wait another day just to be safe.

I'll update you on Tuesday. Just don't call me.

Monday, November 3, 2008

a scholar and a warrior

I just can't keep it a secret any longer. My husband has a secret identity. He is......Every superhero has a name...what should his superhero name be?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

candy, candy, here we come!

To quote our neighbor upon seeing the girls, "Steph, you've got your hands full tonight!" It was like two racehorses at the gate...Mama, is time to go yet? Is it now? What about now? (And this was at 4:00.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Princess pumpkins, of course. I got one of those cheapie pumpkin carving kits at the grocery store, and great googley moogley, they work! I found free stencils of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella on the Huggies diapers website. I think that Sleeping Beauty turned out better, probably because my hand wasn't so TIRED.

Cinderella, poor thing, has a swollen cheek -- maybe she had a root canal yesterday.

And if you look at Sleeping Beauty closely, she has a bad case of The Pox -- it was a medieval tale, after all. (I had to use that side to make her luxurious locks fit...the other side was perfect, of course.) But they look cool from a distance!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

my church is just so....relevant. it makes me smile!

Before you ever utter the word "relevant" in regards to church again, read this excerpt from a new book titled, "Christless Christianity". (Of all places, I found the link to this book on the Seattle Times newspaper website!)

(christart.com said I could use this gem of a clip as long as I credited them. Hmmmm.)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

voting like you aren't voting

This election cycle has left me underwhelmed, frustrated and unexcited about any presidential candidate. And I'm NOT an apathetic voter. I have a BA in political science from one of the largest Pac-10 schools. I was the only female member of College Republicans the year I joined. I worked in a congressional office for a quarter. I am not tooting my own horn...just know that I'm an involved voter. I study the issues, read the voter's guide, go to candidates' websites, read the opposition opinions. I really do care. I think it is very important to vote my values! The Lord told the early Christians to be the best citizens in Rome, and that included voting because it was the right thing to do. However...

Why has this election left me cold? Why have I almost been beligerent in my frustration? My focus was off. I believed that the right candidates could save America. I've been mulling these thoughts for over a year now, and it is only recently that I finally am able to articulate it in a somewhat coherent manner. I'm frustrated because I have heard well-meaning Christians say that if we receive a candidate of a certain party, the Lord has blessed us as a nation; and conversely, if we get the candidate that we didn't vote for, it is clear that the Lord is not blessing us. What about non-democratic nations -- are blessings upon their civic life dependent upon the moral fiber of their leadership? What about Christians in China? What about Christians in Africa who are constantly persecuted and martyred by their governments? What about North Korea, Pakistan, on and on and on...

Ultimately, it comes down to this: The Lord sets kings up and deposes them. See Daniel 2:20 - 23. Don't get me wrong, we are to be involved in our world, not to withdraw. We are to prayerfully vote (not blindly check any old box), but the Lord takes it from there. Further, we are not to become overly despondent, nor are we to be overly jubilant about the election outcome.

Need Biblical proof for this assertion? Click to read this enlightening and balanced article on the subject by John Piper. Here is a paragraph from the article that outlines a bit of his thought process:

...We deal with the system. We deal with the news. We deal with the candidates. We deal with the issues. But we deal with it all as if not dealing with it. It does not have our fullest attention. It is not the great thing in our lives. Christ is. And Christ will be ruling over his people with perfect supremacy no matter who is elected and no matter what government stands or falls. So we vote as though not voting.
Agree? Disagree? PLEASE -- I would love to hear from you. Provide me reasons for either position.

By the way -- I mailed in my ballot last Tuesday morning, happy to live in a country that allows me to vote at all, and praying for my candidate to win.

Friday, October 24, 2008

wear a bike helmet. always.

Last night at 6:45 I received the phone call that I never wanted to receive: "Steph, I've been hit by a car. You need to come..."

I grabbed the girls (half dressed for bed...). Ilsa's dress was inside out in fact... and drove "purposefully" to the scene -- only 1 mile from our home. The authorities had not yet arrived, but there were lots of cars in the area with hazards on, and a group of people standing around. There he was, sitting on the curb, surrounded by strangers. Right there. Next to the offramp from I-10 onto a major north south arterial here in Almost Mexico, AZ.

The driver of the car had stopped to turn left (to go northbound) at the top of the offramp, Chad was proceeding south on the arterial. As Chad continued in front of him, the driver pulled right out into Chad. Chad went onto the hood of his vehicle headfirst, rolled across onto the street. His ankle was hugely swollen, and he had lots of cuts and abraisions, aka "road rash".

We went to the ER, a friend watched the girls (bless you, Cora!), and Chad was checked out. It could have been so much worse. He wore his helmet. Had he not, this would be a very different day in our household.

May we praise the Lord in our thankfulness and joy! This accident was known to him before the universe was created. May we honor Him in our humility and trust. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The past week, we've had a little, ahem, problem...mice. So far, we've "dispatched" two mice (no signs of rats, but doesn't "Rat Patrol" sound better?). Not inside the house, mind you, but on our front porch, back porch and maybe, just maybe, right inside our garage. We are told that this is completely normal in Almost Mexico, AZ in the fall, and due to all of the new home construction, many pests have been displaced from the long-empty lots.

I have reassured the girls that mice in the real world aren't like Gus Gus from Cinderella. They neither sing, nor do they sew. Every morning, the first thing they ask Daddy is, "Did we get a mouse?"
To see the look on Ingrid "The Enforcer" Jespersen's face...frightening...click on the picture. It's worth it.

A couple of weeks ago, Chad killed a black widow spider by our garage. And yesterday I saw the strangest spider I have ever seen. It was about an inch long from front of top legs to bottom of back legs. It's hard to see here, but the red part is actually brith cherry red, not rust-colored. Sorry for the poor quality -- it is a download off of my phone. Anyone knows what it is? I'm very curious to know. Always a new adventure here in Almost Mexico.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10 things for which I am thankful

I just found out there I'm not the only one who does a "10 things thankful" list! There's actually a site that has a whole section devoted to 10 things to be thankful about lists, on tuesdays, called "10 things tuesdays". Here's link:

XBOX Wife Ten Things Tuesday

  1. "An inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4-5)
  2. good news from the "tax man"
  3. a working coffeemaker
  4. The new Costco environmentally friendly laundry detergent that smells like a field of lavender in bloom, rippling in the wind...
  5. mail-in balloting
  6. band-aids as cheap entertainment
  7. mouse traps
  8. our library lets us check out 25 books at a time
  9. "5" gum -- the pink kind
  10. honeycrisp apple time!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

james 3:10

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
James 3:10

Pastor Andy, thank you for the admonishment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

bread = english muffins

I don't think my family will ever let me buy the bagged engish muffins again.

Monday, October 13, 2008

planning ahead

Due to the recent economic challenges, Chad and I have started planning for tough times. Before you start calling us "weirdos", consider the tenuous nature of the world economy. We aren't becoming "survivalists", we believe we are being prudent.

We have been asking local bakeries and buying 5 and 6 gallon food-grade buckets with self-sealing lids to store food staples. On Saturday, we went up to Costco and bought 50 pound bags of sugar and rice and a 25 pound bag of salt. We will be buying 50 pound bags of whole wheat and white flour from Wheat Montana (probably the most premium flour in the U.S. for its high protein content and the grower's "better than organic" farming methods). We might even buy 50 pounds of whole grain and a grain mill. We're going to get some sort of dried bean mixture, and continue to freeze fresh meats, etc. as we go.

I really struggled with this for a while. I felt that we weren't trusting in the Lord's provision, and that somehow we were not living faithfully:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth
corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal... Matthew 6:19

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and {yet} your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a {single} hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is {alive} today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, {will He} not much more {clothe} you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:26 - 34

But then I started to think about the way that the Lord provides: through a paycheck, knowledge of world events, the wisdom of friends, etc. I don't believe that Jesus was telling us to just stop cooking meals because the Lord would drop manna from Heaven. He provides in ways through work. Think about Adam: he was given the job of caring for the Garden of Eden. Before the Fall. Work is good, and planning is important. The Lord gave Joseph special knowledge through dreams warning him of famine in the years ahead. He stored up plenty of food to provide for Egypt and his family.

I'd love to hear your thoughts: criticism? suggestions? ideas?

Friday, October 10, 2008

pizza = sourdough discard crust

Almost anyone who is a sourdough baker at some point realizes that they have to stop throwing away their "discard" because it is such a waste of flour! I started a sourdough discard jar, which is not fed like my primary starter jar. I just dump my discard starter into this big old jar and shove it to the back of the fridge. But I'm always looking for something, anything, to do with this stuff. I've done pancakes, I am going to try english muffins, and today I decided to make pizza crust.
I put 1 cup of discard starter in the bowl of the stand mixer, then added about a 1/2 a cup of water, a teaspoon of kosher salt, a teaspoon of dry yeast (which I probably didn't need to do) and start adding bread flour. I ended up with about a 1:2:4 ratio of water to starter to flour (in other words about, 1/2 cup of water, 1 cup of discard starter and 2 cups of flour). I kneaded it on 2, then upped it to 5 on my KitchenAid for about 7 or 8 minutes, until the dough was smooth, satiny and still a bit tacky, but definitely clean from the bowl.
I divided this into two balls and covered with a tea towel for about half an hour to rest while the oven was pre heated to a blistering 550, with a baking stone placed on the middle shelf.
I have no skill jerking a completed pizza off of a peel, so generally, I stretch my crust and place it onto a piece of parchment on the back of a sheet pan/cookie sheet. I then add my toppings. (I used this technique: flatten into a disc, then balance the disc on the back of my knuckles and stretch with my thumbs, only stretching the outer inch or so. The crust rarely tears and is surprisingly even and thin...the way we like it.) I can then easily slide the parchmented pizza onto the stone.
I think I should have either pre-baked the crust for a few minutes, or just put the sauce and pepperoni on first, and then added the cheese during the last few minutes, because the crust, although cooked through, didn't get that good char and slight crunch on the edges.

But....the flavor was super good. Pretty tangy. I'm definitely writing this one down and putting into my weekly used recipes binder!

product placement = haiku bags

I love bags. Not expensive Prada or whatever is trendy these days, but colorful, technical, purposed, interesting, outdoorsy bags that don't look crazy with a dress at church. Here's are two that I'm trying to decide between from Haiku . These bags are not leather. But they look and feel exactly like pebbled leather. They are almost indestructible! For the record, I'm not a bag collector -- I don't have a California Closet full of bags. I have one Timbuk2 tote, a few reusable grocery bags (one that I got free from Method, two from our local "granola" market) and a couple of purses that are years (not an exaggeration) old.

The first is called the To-Go. It is roomy, filled with pockets and nice details like a lined pocket for your cell, side pockets for my insulated aluminum Laken water bottle (which I think is way better than Sigg).

The smaller version, called the Grab Bag, is cute too, but envelope thin.

Zappos carries Haiku, as do REI and Title Nine. And to Chad's encouragement and cheering, I'm sure getting practical these days. I used to be a Coach and Clinique girl. Now I'm REI, Timbuk2, Philosophy, Chaco's and Target.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


This morning, Ingrid came into our room complaining of owies on her leg. She had been bitten overnight in two places by an insect of some sort (probably a spider). The bites looked pretty sore and itchy, so I put some topical Benadryl on them. As the morning progressed, it became apparent that these bites were not going to feel better anytime soon. She started complaining of a headache, and feeling generally yucky. I knew she really must not be feeling well when I told the girls that we needed to go up to Base to run some errands, and she didn't want to go. She always loves outings.

One of the stops was the pharmacy to pick up an Rx, so I dropped by the Peds clinic to have her checked out. By this time, each of the bites were easily the size of a silver dollar and raised a good quarter of an inch. The triage nurse told me to give her some oral Benadryl and just watch for changes in the way they look.

As of tonight, the Benadryl hasn't reduced the swelling or redness at all, but they haven't gotten any worse either. Poor Ingy.

Ilsa just has kind of gone with the flow...bless her heart! Oh, and tonight, she didn't even ask for her Sassy once.

Monday, October 6, 2008

mod*mom = giveaway

One of my favorite blogs is sponsoring a contest to give away two smokin' hot new Dyson hand vacs as a way to raise breast cancer awareness.

Click on over to mod*mom for details, and check out the post from 9/22/08 with the picture of the pink vacuum.

sassy is broken...

Oh sweet Ilsa, today I discovered that your beloved sassy (pacifier) had cracked. We promised you that we wouldn't buy you another one. I never thought I'd be sad about it, but I really am. You loved it so much. It helped comfort you when your teeth were coming in; when you missed Mommy and Daddy; on takeoff and landing on trips up to visit your Grandmas and Grandpas; sleeping when the storms blew over our home.

When I told you it was broken and had to go into the garbage, your face showed your heartbreak. I understand. You did a great job sleeping at naptime and going to bed tonight. Sweetheart, Mommy and Daddy will be here to comfort you. Lord willing, when you know Him, He will be your comforter forever.

Love, Mommy

Friday, October 3, 2008

10 things for which i'm thankful

In no particular order:

  1. Quick Domino's Pizza delivery

  2. Banana bread

  3. Cinnamon rolls in a can

  4. Moisturizer & lip balm

  5. My little OXO broom and dust pan

  6. http://www.blueletterbible.org/

  7. The health, physical strength and joy of my children

  8. My husband does what he can to maintain his health

  9. Affordable groceries at the Base Commissary

  10. Strawberries

bread = four day sourdough

Okay, I'm not convinced that this bread was worth four days of preparation. The flavor was really, really good, but not outstanding. I think I can find a better recipe that doesn't take four days, and still yields a great-tasting loaf. To its credit, the recipe did yield three loaves, but this was the best of the bunch.
On the other hand, I got to use my brand new bread lame ("luhmay" - fancy schmanzy french bread slashing tool) to create this pretty cool design on the top of the loaf, and new baguette pan which did help achieve a very crunchy crust. Thanks mom for the great birthday presents!

crochet = mini snuggly baby blanket

Ingrid received a beautiful mini blanket when she was born from a dear friend of mine. Ingrid still loves her "softie" and feels lost without it during stressful times. It used to be pink, and is now sort of dirty tan.

So when a friend of mine had a little baby boy about two weeks ago, I decided to crochet a mini blankie for him. I hope he likes it even a fraction as much as Ingrid loves hers.
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