The ramblings of a woman,
wife, & mother, who loves:
Jesus / my man / the three,
learning about parenting /
mamahood / childbirth,
cooking foods healthy /
international / yummy,
pretending to garden /
write / design,
attempting to run /
exercise / lift weights,
enjoying traveling /
camping / adventures,
finding ways to love /
serve / sacrifice for others.

It is not to say she does these things
with style or grace, or even skill.

A WORLD OF MANY HATS AND NOT ENOUGH SHOES

Horn Tooting and General Merriment

October 31, 2007 - 10:55 PM

If you haven't checked it out yet... Mars Hill just officially launched their new website, yeah!!

The site was designed by Artypapers and it has the Content Management System of Markup Factory, a CMS product of Cramer Development. This is all very cool and very exciting!

Once the site was officially launched it was on CSS Beauty. If you are a computer geek, or friends with one, you know what that means. While, I had been told to not pay much attention to their comments, I just can't help but.

Now, I know any issues in Firefox, IE, or Safari are still getting worked on and I am fine with those comments, it is it's first launch. I looked at Mint and I don't think they are similar but maybe I am missing something. I also don't know what the logo comment is all about since we have had the same logo for years? But I'd have to ask someone who they are referring to.

One comment I found interesting was the comment that it doesn't look like a church website? Which at first I didn't understand but then I figured it out...

What is odd, is that our church website is not all lovey/dovey touchy/feely... our church website is there to get things done.

You want to know who is using the church Tuesday night, bam!
You want to hear the latest podcast, bam!
You want to get the church cleaning schedule to make sure you don't forget, bam!
You want to confirm the next service project, bam!
You want to get the prayer list for your prayer group, bam!

(If I could, imagine all those "bams" as if they were from an episode of Batman, :)!)

Now, I know my criticism of the site is slighty biased, which I can accept. At the same time, I do think it is a wonderfully designed site and very useful, and that I would say without nepotism.  I really love how bright and fresh it looks, I love incorporating Tony's booklet into the front page, and I really love the usefullness, which I think our church is on the move so we need a site not only to inform but in reality, to help us stay organized and on mission in our city.

There are lots of wonderfully designed, useful church websites out there, some are dark, some are taupe, some gray, some rough edged, so I am not saying ours is the end all be all by any means... I am very excited about it and proud of all of those who worked on it, tirelessly, in rare spare time, to make it happen over the last 6 months. Way to go guys and girl!

I also understand taking criticism well and I am glad for any comments you or anyone else have. Though, at this point, we won't be making any big design changes for a while, if you notice a typo or crazy error, etc, let me know and I will get it in the hands of those who can fix it! :)!

The Rules for Having a Fish in Our House

October 26, 2007 - 8:54 AM

I am not a pet person and I know this comes as no shock to any of you, but even my cold-hearted, pet-unappreciating self, I have told the kids that when age appropriate they could get a fish, and even a fish is in grave danger in our house.

SO

Josh took the boys to the pet store a while back and they told him to keep a goldfish they needed, this that and the other and we got totally turned off on the idea.  What ever happened to just a bowl and a fish?

THEN

Zeke had an exciting conversation with our friend Leslie, who said that Betta were really easy and liked little bowls.

SO

Zeke really wants a Betta fish.

BUT

Just like all pets, I am not going to take care of this fish, so Zeke has to prove his responsiblily and I told Zeke he had to bring it up at a house meeting.

THEN

Zeke proposed it at a house meeting, saying he would pay for the fish and whatever it needed, but as Leslie said, "It's just a small bowl."  Josh, being the ever so wise half of our union started asking important questions to Zeke about the care of a Betta fish.  Zeke, taking on the ever so smarts of his father said, "I will go to the library and check out a book on how to care for a Betta fish and then I will make a list of all I need to do."  

BUT

Again, my ever so wise husband then throws out the scenario, "But what if when you (Zeke) are cleaning the tank the old water spills everywhere?  Do you think you are capable of cleaning up a big water mess?  Can he do that?"  I think for a moment, "I don't know but I do know that I am not going to do it."  My ever so wise husband says, "Then how about we find something that Zeke can practice cleaning up so he can show he could clean up a poop filled fish water mess?"  "He can clean up after his sister pees on the floor?" I reply. "Ok, Zeke, you have to clean up your sister's pee messes for 7 days to get your fish, and even after those 7 days, if she ever does have an accident, you still have to clean is up."  Zeke, "Deal!"

AND SO

Zeke got his book about Betta.  And they do only need a very small bowl because that is how they live in the wild in the Thai rice fields, who knew!  He made his list of things he needed to get and remember to do to make his fish survive.  And he knows that if at any point he neglects this fish it is *flush* down the toilet.

AND YES, 

Sure enough, his sister did not make it to the toilet in time that day and sure enough, he cleaned up the mess, washed the floor and was joyful the entire time... Then when she got into the bathroom but had an accident on the rug instead of in the toilet so he picked up the rug and washed it in the washing machine... then when she had an accident on the carpet, he got out the carpet cleaner vacuum and cleaned the carpet... all with joy and proudly proclaiming, "I am going to have my fish in no time!" 

AND

Lucky for him, his sister's messes are getting less frequent every day. 

Peanuts found in Brain - Exposed!

October 24, 2007 - 1:14 AM

We are reading an autobiography of Gladys Aylward in our history class. She was a missionary to China in the 1930's onward. One of the stories that happened later in her years in China was of when the Communists came to power. She was on a college campus and the Communists made all the students sign a form and at the bottom, it made them agree allegiance to the Communist party. After time, those who did not sign, all Christians, were brought into a courtyard and asked one more time to sign, individually. The first person asked a 17yr old, new convert, said no, she was then beheaded*. One after another they asked the Christians to sign, one after another, they said no, and one after another their heads were cut off.*

Lately, my peanut brain has been trying to get its grasp around just how in the world could they let a school district give out birth control to 6th graders. But this short thought quickly multiplies itself with this that and the other and in the end, in essence, I realized that I am not as "safe" in my government as I thought I was as a Christian.

I understand reality... the Bible says that when the storms of life come, that family members will turn against each other, that the world rejected Christ, what do you think they are going to do with you? But in my peanut brain, I like to think that, oh, everything is fine, it will all work itself out, why get your undies in a bunch over this or that, they are just going to do what they want but you will still have freedoms, it won't go all downhill, why fight it now?

They beheaded 200* students that day back in China, and I can't help but think about the 200th student and what was going on in their mind. Why fight it? They could've just signed... but they didn't.

This week, in Geography, we learned about a small country whose main export is this drug, similar to marijuana. So this week, we, as parents, got to explain what drugs are to our 7 and 5 year old, in age appropriate, understandable, terms, relating it back to things we know are important to them. And, just like a few years ago when we explained to them what cigarettes are and their effects, the discussion did not end that day but it has continued since and now our kids freely can talk to us about both subjects.

We, as parents, want to be the ones to talk to them about sex, both heterosexual and homosexual. And we have already started in little ways, and with each day we add a little more as it is age appropriate. But that is the point, WE, as parents, are doing it, starting the conversations as the issues arise and keeping the discussion open.

Slowly, our government is taking away our rights as parents... oh well, it's all going to work out in the end, why fight it? No, No, No! Above the head of this government is God, He is without political party branding of any kind and like those precious college students, it is to Him we will serve first.

I have never thought of myself as being one to want to get involved in such political matters more than the prayers I lift up for our government each day or voting in elections. I do not know quite yet how this will manifest itself but it definitely makes me more aware and more serious of the things that will start coming our way... but I tell you what, easy or hard, I will fight it.

 

*Beheading was actually a common thing in China even before the Communists and was performed by the mandarin for crimes like stealing and such.
**I am sleepy and it is late, so if I remember, I will double checks my facts on this event. I will say it is a decent paraphrase but probably may have some holes.
***Again, I think the number was 200 but I can't quite remember right now.

My Juice, My Joost

October 21, 2007 - 3:56 PM

Don't get me wrong... we love media fasts in this house. Almost as much as Josh loves his caffeine fasts. So when Josh was going to be taking our one and only TV for the weekend, I was cool with it really, except for one thing that bummed me out - missing Saturday AM cartoons.

Not that I watch the cartoons, but the kids do, and I have gotten into this habit of making my meals/grocery list while drinking a latte and the kids watching cartoons. (I wasn't planning on this being a discussion about Saturday AM cartoon justification or not, but if you want to go there, you can.)

I was up for it even though nervous, ask Leslie.  I made a plan, we would ride our bikes to the library that morning and all being well. What I didn't plan on was the fact that since Josh was gone, I would not get a decent nights sleep and since Josh was gone, throughout what sleep I did get there were between 1 to 3 kids in bed with me. When morning came, all four of us had a rough night of sleep.

By the time we were done with breakfast, I was tired and the kids were too and all I could think was... Joost.

Joost? I am deciding that it's tag line should be, "The Poor Man's Cable."

It is an online TV player that offers a variety of shows from cartoons to dramas to trash (that you can easily remove). You have to download it to your computer and then you can have National Geographic and GI Joe and CSI at your fingertips, for free. It does have commercials, at strange times, but only one at a time and they are super short, like 10 sec and even still are rare. Bummer is that it plays those commercials at an incredibly loud volume. And, like I mentioned above, it does have some trashy channels that you can erase easily.

It is like cable but I don't know much else. I don't know if they are going to upload new shows weekly or how they will keep it fresh. I suppose I should do some more reading on it as well before I get you to try it. :)! But they do have a lot of big name ads, so they are definitely planning on going somewhere and this is only the beginning. My advice is, research it first to see if you want more info, :)!

As for me, I turned my office into a make-shirt lounge.

Brought in all the pillows from around the house, blankets and stuffed animals... moved my monitor to the floor... got the kids their cappuccinos and turned on some good ole GI Joes as we all snuggled in the pile of comfort. They were in heaven and I got to rest my jaw, get my grocery lists done and finally wake up, :)!

Again, we don't need TV and could do without our Saturday morning cartoon fix... but for all of us, after a long week, it was joost nice to kick back and chill.

Super Speed Server Racer

October 18, 2007 - 10:33 PM

My husband switched servers tonight and my site happened to be one of the sites on the new server, and word on the street is the server is faster, so I decided that I needed to write a post (but honestly I can't think of anything fun to write) so that all of you (the 3 readers who you are) could notice the difference from the slow of yesterday to the fast of today because I would not like to think that you were having the same thoughts about my site that I was lately in that opening it was like fingers on a chalk board, or a skip on the record player, or the nag of a child: and I mean, the nagging of a child that does not come until they can speak in more complete sentences, even though those complete sentences, when said in a whine or nag, are short, they are still best said by a child with a bit more age under their belts so they know that the constant asking will be annoying enough to hopefully get their needs met; unless of course they are our children then they know that a constant nagging is not in their benefit (but you can sometimes sneak a fast one on mom if she is talking birth shop); they see the box of Eggos and want it because the commercial looks so great, and to top it off they have labels you can print off online but their smart mother knows this too and prints off the Eggo labels and puts them on the generic half price waffle version and wa-la, just as cool as the commercial... maybe this is one of those times that the sales people should have re-thought their gimmick, but when they put a Bionicle picture on the outside of the box, the kids were amazed that a picture of a Bionicle was on a waffle box and they asked mom for it, not because of what was good to eat inside, but so that they could have a box with a Bionicle picture on it, even though they have many boxes at home, pictures at home, and posters at home with the same picture, this seemed to be more important with it being Eggos and all and they had to ask mom to buy them and in this instance mom said yes, but not because she was suckered but because in their favor, the Eggos were actually on sale and as cheap as generic and so the box was put into the cart which brought the kids to beg the question, "Why did you buy us this?" to which mom happily replied "It was on sale," to which the kids then inquired, "Why do they have a Bionicle picture, is there a Bionicle inside?" to which mom replied, "No, that is the gimmick and they know that if they put a picture of a popular toy figure on the outside of the box then kids will see it and ask their parents to buy it... (this actually went on for about ten minutes)," "But Mom, you never give into our whining, why did you do it now when we didn't whine?" to which mom replies, "It was on sale," and the child understands and repeats back half of her speech, missing some parts but getting the highlights and ending with a, "And that is why they always sell candy and toys and junk food at the checkout too... just to make kids beg their parents until they get it?" which is exactly what mom was thinking and she realizes that when kids are able to speak more, life gets a lot more complicated and the once black and white world of yes and no becomes a series of inquiries into the human condition and the nature of the world around them, and they are learning step, by explained step, to be in the world but not of the world.

Life and Times in 10 Quickies

October 16, 2007 - 12:48 AM

Mom, "You are such a great artist."
Son, "You're not so bad yourself."

Get Rid of It.
We are on our way to lighten our loads.  We have accumulated too much stuff over the years that there was a memorandum issued in our home to dispose of 2 additional garbage bags of stuff to either give away or throw away each week.  Oh wo/man, it feels so good.  My goal is to only have enough stuff to fit into a trailer home, just cuz.  (I am giving myself grace on the furniture, since we could unload that easily when needed.)  But everything else is out.  Do you need something?  Chances are I have it and I can give it to you.

We do not need a pet.
In case you were wondering, our family does not need a pet.  I love pet people, don't get me wrong.  But I have one child who likes to pee on the floor and it is worse than a dog and I am quite content training her and being done with it.  :)!

Still cookin!
I made some Crab Stuffed Twice Baked Potatoes the other day from the Silver Palate.  I think next time I will use actual baking potatoes and do a better job of scooping out the potatoes and actually make the special creme stuff and make the correct amount of creme stuff, but otherwise I enjoyed them.

Still in love!
I am blown off my feet by how wonderful a husband God has given me.  Wow... what a guy!

Do I work at all?
Someone asked me that the other day... they meant it nice and about architecture specifically since we had gone to school together... but I realized I missed architecture but I missed the studio aspect of it mostly.  So the kids and I have been having our own little studio time during the day building things out of cardboard.  It is wonderful!

How's school?
Good.  Busy.  Takes a long time.  "But doesn't homeschool only take a couple hours?"  Maybe in your world.  In ours, it takes all day, which isn't a bad thing either.  It actually is nice and there are breaks and stuff throughout the day which is good for the boys and their attention spans.  All in all, it is a nice system and we are all learning a lot.

Don't complain!
While putting dishes into the dishwasher a child complains, "Why do I always have to put dishes into the dishwasher?!"  A parent responds, "Well, it could be harder, and you'd have to wash them by hand."  The other parent adds, "Why not have them do that now?"  "Great idea!"  Child then has to wash the dishes by hand.  Once completed says, "I will never complain about loading the dishwasher again!"  Kisses the dishwasher and says, "Thanks for doing all the work!"

Pay attention!
Talking birth shop with a friend, our 2.9 yr old comes up and hands me a piece of candy.  I open it and give it back.  A moment later, I am approached by her cohort of 3.3 yrs who says nothing but hands me the piece of candy, to which I wise up and say, "You better ask your mom."  Note to self - pay more attention to your kids with candy.

Take my stuff please!
Again, do you need anything?  I have this tub shower install kit that I can't get rid of.  If you come and take it from my house, you can sell it, burn it, trade it whatever!  Just take it please?!  How about a humidifier?  What about... 

Quotes from the Front Lines

October 10, 2007 - 6:14 PM

I am at the chiropractor and getting my jaw adjusted and have all 3 cuties with me in the room. 2 are sitting, one is standing next to me, as I am trying to give direction while being adjusted. The 5 yr old child interrupts my speaking...

"Mom... is that a mosquito bite on your face."
Mom, knowing exactly which big zit on her face her child is speaking about and embarrassingly says, "No, that is a pimple."
"You have them all over your face!"
Still embarrassed mother, now more embarrassed says, "Yes, that happens to me sometimes."
"Humph." Child goes back to wanting to go back to creating havoc... Chiropractor, kindly, finds a nice way to soften the blow...

One day, the child will understand, unfortunately, genetically, I know he will...

But thankfully he didn't point out my mustache, crow's feet, boogers in my nose and wax in my ears as well... 

Shameless Product Placement or A Book Review by Me

October 8, 2007 - 11:02 AM

The Silver Palate Cookbook, 25th Anniversary Edition
Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

Laying in bed, winding down from the day, listening to Diane Reams on NPR, we were in the midst of a conversation when the discussion on the radio slowly ended our conversation and we drawn into theirs. Diane was interviewing two women and the 25th anniversary of their cookbook. Not only were the women authors of a cookbook, but before the cookbook they were chefs / restaurateurs. Diane was praising them about how much their cookbook helped to "change the way America cooks..." then they started taking calls.

Each person that called didn't really ask a question but, unplanned, shared their favorite recipe... one after another, praised this recipe, that recipe, this recipe, and so on to the point that it had our mouth's watering. Josh turned to me and said, "We need that cookbook."

We bought it and WOW!

The Tomato Basil Brie Linguine, the Pasta and Seafood Salad with Basil, the Leek Soup, Salad Nicoise, Ginger Candied Carrots, etc... delicious.

If you ever have a vegetable garden this cookbook is a must have... there is a whole section of recipes that focus of what to do with your harvests... exceptional.

All the little extras, like how to make Pate Brisee or Puff Pastry from scratch, homemade dressings and mayonnaise, great for any novice or expert... insightful and encouraging.

We have thoroughly enjoyed this cookbook and it is already covered in sauces and stains from constant use, and we have only had it a few months. One of their most famous recipes is for a Chicken Marbella made with prunes, olives and capers. I am really looking forward to making this recipe when I can chew like a normal person... it looks and sounds heavenly.

If you are in market for a new cookbook, this is definitely worth your 20 (more or less depending on your suaveness). I would also highly recommend the 25th Anniversary Edition because of the full color pictures. Not that pictures are necessary, but they will make you see the love of fresh ingredients that rings true throughout the cookbook.

Not convinced yet? Try this recipe. I have made this twice in the last two weeks and it is wonderful. I did eat it the first time I made it against doctor's & husband's orders and better judgement, and it was worth all the additional pain.***

Pasta and Seafood Salad with Basil

1 lb shrimp, raw, shelled, deveined
1 lb bay scallops, rinsed
2 or 3 squid, cleaned / optional**
1/2 lb. pasta (corkscrews or the like)
1 cup tiny peas (defrosted or patter dry if fresh)
1/2 c diced red pepper
1/2 c red onion
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
3-4 T lemon juice
1/2 c Basil Puree*
Salt, Pepper
1 c pitted kalamata or alfonso olives

1. Boil salted water, drop in shrimp and scallops and cook for 1 min, drain immediately
2. Cut squid into 1/2 in. rings. Divide tentacles in half. Boil another pot salted water drop in squid and simmer for 5 min, drain.
3. Bring 3rd pot to boil and cook pasta in salted water until tender but firm, drain.
4. Be certain the seafood and pasta are well drained and toss together in bowl.
5. Add peas, no need to cook them, bell pepper and onion and toss.
6. In small bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and basil puree and season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad and toss well, season as needed.
7. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Allow salad to return to room temp before serving.

*Basil Puree - Process or blend 7 cups washed and dried fresh basil leaves and 1 T dried basil and 3-4 T olive oil. Cover and refrigerate.
** Omit squid if you must, but there is no substitute for what it adds, they say.

Now for<

Garden Attempts by Novices - The final trips.

October 1, 2007 - 9:10 AM

Welp, that's it. It's official. That garden lot is now turned back over to its owner, the city.

We closed it out this weekend. It was hard work and sadness and a little relief. Today, it will be tilled under and laid to rest for 6 months.

In my typical fashion, I went out early on Saturday, as the sun was rising, to do some work by myself.

(And when I stopped by Dan's, it was so cold, all the regulars were sitting in the darkened Blimpies that is attached, drinking their coffee, talking about the homecoming game to come. Too bad all their talking couldn't help our team win!)

I came away with two big pictures about life...

1. Again, weeds are sin, and in the end, everyone has to give account for the weeds, the ones you did and did not pull. For me, it came in the form of the weeds we didn't pull around our fences. And even though we were so good to take out or hide all the other weeds, these weeds at the fencing now have to be dealt with.

2. Man will work the land and toil it and fight it and curse it. Our society really gets the jip of not being able to fully experience this curse with all the grocery stores and availability of food around our society. Though, I know you could say, working endlessly to pay for food at these places is curse enough, true, but there is something to be said for actually growing your own food for your whole family. Our forefathers/mothers were amazing for having done this and lived. We did not live on our garden alone, it was a perk, but not our sole food.

The first big picture I realized when I started to pull out the 140' of fencing we had buried 6" deep. We never weeded along the fencing, it was a pointless task, or so we thought. If you did it, you'd have to make sure both sides were pulled and go out some distance and there were neighbors or lack of neighbors to contend with plus there was the perk of actually using the tall weeds around the fencing to actually block the view into our garden to deter thieves.

Along all of our fence were grasses and weeds that were 3 to 4 feet tall, intertwined around the fencing. The fencing was also in continuous 50' pieces, wrapped corners and itself, tied to fence posts every 8' with wire or hemp. By 5' in I was already bloody and should've worn thick leather work gloves, I realized that I really should've cleared this with my chiropractor, and that I should've enlisted some help.

But I love a challenge and manual labor, so I continued.

By 25' into it, I hit my first major snag. A root... from a weed... 1.5 inches thick... grown/fused around the buried fencing in such a way that it was like a staple that held the fencing to the ground, reaching down the depths of two feet or more. Sooner or later, everyone has to give account, everyone. I dug around it, too deep. I cut at it, too thick. I dug some more. I pulled the fencing. I got out the hoe and hacked at it, cursing it with each swing. I dug some more. I hacked some more. I picked at it with my fingers, pulling it at the splinters. I cursed some more. Finally, after about thirty minutes, the root was free. My hands were more bloody, my back ached a whole lot more, and I could smell myself.

When reading about the ten commandments to the kids last week, I was able to see more clearly how this is a daunting task, being perfect. The task is impossible, sin abounds. We sin so often. We know all our past hurts and offenses more than anyone else. The separation between us and God is intense and even 1 sin, separates us from His perfection. No matter how much we try to clean up ourselves, do the right thing, be a good person, even if we say we are a Christian, it all comes down to, someone needs to die for our sins, will it be us, or will it be Christ?

The Pharisees and Sadducees watched Jesus Christ like a hawk. Why?<

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