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.


PE in Winter for this HS Mama

November 29, 2007 - 10:40 PM

(Maybe I need to hang out with more homeschooling mamas, so this is probably a no brain-er...)

I got a brilliant idea this last week!

See, it is getting colder and colder around here with each passing day and while the kids and I used to take bike rides and walks every day or so, we are now in need of new physical activities because, well, it's cold and I am a wuss. (And I don't jog/run.)

My brilliant idea... EXERCISE VIDEOS from the library!

My first brilliant choice... Sweatin' to the Oldies! 80's Songs! with Richard Simmons!

All this week we have been sweatin' to 80's music for a half hour each morning. Wo/man, do I sweat! Naw, the video isn't that hard, I am just not an actual exercise type of person and am not in shape for a daily exercise video. I *heart* my nordic track and I have done abs/crunch videos, but this is actual jazzercise type of stuff, continuous jumping and bouncing (though much lower key I guess?) and wo/man does it keep you moving.

I don't think Richard is off his rocker either.

There is something to be said for exercising, watching Richard Simmons, watching all these regular people of all shapes and sizes, all the bright colors of the costumes and stage, the regular people smiling their hearts out while doing 30 minutes of moves. As crazy as Dave Letterman makes Richard out to be, I think this video series is inspiring. The outrageous-ness of the whole premise can reel you in but then listening to Richard encourage the viewer on, you can tell that he is actually sincere. He actually cares.

Granted he didn't go to school for this but still, the guy wears sparkly shirts and can make a grown person cry, he has lost considerable amounts of weight himself and has helped thousands of people do the same. Did I mention the sparkly shirts?

And the kids? They like it and are singing the songs and doing little versions of the dance moves here and there just like I am. Miriam the most, then Max, and Zeke fluctuates between trying to break his continuous jump rope record during the half hour, which is still a half hour of exercise in my book, so I am cool with that. It is a great PE class time for them and even though they don't do everything exactly like Richard, they are moving and jumping and getting their little hearts working and loving every minute.

The video is due on Sunday (major bummer to the whole library portion of my bright idea) and even though my initial plan was to swap out with different exercise vids each week, I am now leaning toward a Richard video theme for a while... we still have the 70's and 60's to try out.

8 Years of Bliss!

November 27, 2007 - 7:37 AM

Happy Anniversary My Love!

Happy 8!

Just as you always say, I too look forward to the day when we have been married longer than we have been apart before marriage... only 15 years to go! When that day comes, can we go on an Alaskan cruise to celebrate? (Who says you can only celebrate big every 5 years?)

Instead of barfing all over you lovey-dovey mush... I thought I'd go the other direction...

Throughout these 8 years I have learned a lot about what marriage is and isn't. One of the things I have been most thankful for over those years has been the trials and the struggles.

My verse when we were first married was, "Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything." James 1:2-3?

This was a time when our backs were against each other's, everything life could throw at us, it did - job losses, death, new company, mortgage, birth, no money, etc. Being an eternal optimist, I trusted in God's good during that time, and clung to the fact that He would work all these things for good and it was ok if I never got to see what the "good" was. Looking back, it was those intense years of hardships and struggles in the beginning that truly united Josh and I closer than if life had been all peaches and cream. And since then as life continues to throws things a new at us, we are locked and loaded.

(An aside - Writing that reminded me of that scene in Mr & Mrs Smith, in the end, when they are fighting all the people trying to kill them while back to back, spinning around, somehow finding more ammo and weapons but still firing at their enemies... yeah, just like that. And just think, if we were all of a sudden on separate teams and we did fire on each other during that time, think how terrible the damage would be?)

(A second aside - This also reminds me of my friend who had an arranged marriage. Within months of marriage, life got very intense for the 2 of them and instead of fighting against each other, they clung together and fought together and now they, who hardly knew each other, are completely melded together for life. How beautiful!)

In all honesty, we are human and when it is the two of us throwing things figuratively at each other (which thankfully are generally minor things but still)... I always remember a pastor telling us a marriage conference, "Go home, and die some more." And a book I read called "Marriage takes more than Love." And a good verse I read, "WHEN the storms of life come." And another good verse I read, "Better to live on the corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." And then the ultimate thought that Josh is dying again and again for me as much as (if not more) than I am for him.

Marriage is tough and I don't even want to pretend to have it all together. I am putting my hope in the grace of God and with every year, I thank Him for being the King of our hearts and lives. I am thankful that we do each have the Spirit of the Living God inside of us, Who is molding us and shaping us and transforming us. I am also really blessed that the man I get to go though all this with, the incredibly good, the pretty bad and the really ugly is my best friend, my soul mate, my lover... wow, what more could a girl ask for?


(And one more thing... A Happy Birthday to a Mr. Gourley! Uncle Chad, the boys miss you! Hope you have a great day today!)

Not going home empty handed... Take 2!

November 21, 2007 - 8:47 AM

Yeah! I got the Em's Delicious Cranberry Salsa Recipe!

Now, even though this is Em's special recipe, I did find it out on the Internet as well with several people claiming it their own. (I have always wondered how people can call a recipe their own, :)!) But here is a photo from What's Cooking and the recipe is the one I got from Em. This is an absolutely addicting salsa that will keep you snacking until it is gone!

Photo from Whats Cooking

Em's Delicious Cranberry Salsa!

1 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries (rinsed)
4 green onions minced (about 1/2 cup)
2 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (about 2 Tbsp)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
2 Tbsp ginger, finely grated
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Put cranberries in food processor until finely chopped, but not mushy. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in all other ingredients, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours to allow flavors to develop. The flavor mellows and sweetens over time. Will keep in refrigerator for a week.

(Em always serves this over cream cheese with a "Ritz" type cracker, the brand that has sesame or wheat varieties, not "Ritz" versions, and I highly recommend going that way too! If only I could remember the brand name!)

Also, I was talking to my husband and thinking about these two recipes and decided that maybe you will not fawn over them like I do. I just love vinegar, hence why I love the POM Salsa and I just love ginger, hence why I love this Cranberry Salsa. Which ever tendency you have or don't have, I hope you will at least try it for fun, you will not be disappointed in the presentation for sure!

For those in MN, this will be coming your way tonight! It is absolutely heavenly!

As for the car... the epoxy is drying exactly right in the right place and everything! Yeah!! The extra wire I used is really doing its job too! Yeah!! I'll keep you posted! The plan is to re-install it at 2 today! How exciting!

You break it / You fix it or Isn't it ironic... don't you think?

November 20, 2007 - 2:55 PM

Oh, the irony of it all!

We finally fixed the ever-so-expensive AC issues the Buick was having (which as an aside, if there is ever a part to your car you want to pray does not go out, have it be anything involving the AC - sooo expensive!)! It was an exciting day for us for sure. We even debated buying a new-to-us car instead of fixing it but decided fixing it would be best for now.

The next day, pulling out of the garage, hoping not to hit the lawn mower precariously placed on the right side of the car, I compensated too much to the left and *CRASH!*

I ripped off the driver side mirror on the garage door. Beauty.

Oh, the irony of it all!

And the handy man's secret weapon would not hold it in place. The only options are to take it into a shop to have it replaced or do it yourself. The idea of finding a side view mirror at a junk yard, the pain and time of taking apart a car door (which if you have ever done you know is a near impossible task!) and whatever other costs associated to fix such a thing, were not sitting well.

Thankfully though, when I was dropping the kids off at my parents house for the weekend, my dad gave me specific instructions on how to fix it myself using the tools I had. Instead of spending hours primping for my hot date that night, I began taking apart the driver side door, piece by piece. It is definitely a hard task! I managed to get so far as to having one bolt left that was hiding under something I just couldn't get at.

Today, Josh helped me find the last bolt and I got to go about finishing my, yes, my dirty job, removing the final parts and unscrewing the bolts from the mirror. I broke it, I will fix it. After I got the bolts off of the mirror itself I then had to drill holes in the mirror, twist wire from the broken pieces to the mirror, epoxy and twist wires and then epoxy again. (I was ever so glad for all my previous epoxy experience in college!).

I did use the handy man's secret weapon to jerry-rig everything into a good place to dry in for the 24 hours it takes to solidify perfectly. I will keep you posted whether it does the job or not.

Again, oh, the irony of it all!

Lessons learned: Having been reading Hebrews 12 for House Church, I had the verse, "Endure hardship as discipline" running through my brain. My reaction to breaking the car was not anger but it was "This is a hardship, this is discipline, what should I have done?" My initial thought was I should not have been lazy about the placement of the lawnmower and just found a safe winter resting spot for it in the garage. There may be more lessons God is teaching me, and I am praying that He will continue to reveal them to me.

Oh, how thankful I am to be considered a daughter of God! (Heb 12:6)

Not going home empty handed or Pom-a-what?

November 18, 2007 - 10:26 PM

Holidays are here!  For us that means... traveling to relatives distant or near... walking into homes that smell of beautiful aromas you could eat in of themselves... then eating huge amounts of food in small time frames then laying down to digest while the children run circles around your now rounder shape... Oh but they are so much more than that, aren't they?

Holidays are here also means the items in stores change and as expected, everything is red and green.  But there are always some strange items that show up, specifically in the grocery stores during this red and green time that I usually pass by without thought... things like those jellies for making fruit cakes, santa cookies cutters, fudge supplies.  (Can you tell I am not a baker?) 

Then there are also those items I walk past and think, "If only I had a decent recipe, I would buy that."  For me "that" is pomegranates and cranberries.  But this year was different and I took the plunge!  I bought 2 pomegranates and 2 bags of cranberries and had no idea initially what to do with them.

With the cranberries, I finally decided to make Em's famous cranberry dip, (which I still need the recipe for *wink, wink*).  It is to die for!  All family members located in MN will get the joy of trying this yummy treat this year!  Yeah! 

With the pomegranates I was stuck.  Josh normally just likes eating them fresh/raw, but I wanted to DO something with them.  On the little booklet by them they had this photo of the fruit with something yellow diced up.  I decided to go to their website and check out what that delicious looking dish was. 


Turns out it is POM Salsa and it is amazing! 

Now here is my plug... If any of you are looking into bringing something to somewhere for your holiday travels, I would highly recommend this!  It is a piece of art to look at and it tastes delicious!  Definitely a winner in my book and one recipe I will do again and again.

POM Salsa from
(With my mods in (), :)!)



Juice from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate,* or ¼ cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice (I didn't do, just used more rice vinegar.)
2 cups arils from 2-3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates (I used however many arils came out of the 2 Poms I bought.)
3-4 teaspoons chopped jalapeño pepper (I didn't do because I didn't have on hand, I used 1/2 a green pepper for color)
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper (I didn't measure, but I think I used more.  I diced up 1 and 1/3 yellow

Ever seen the movie Gattaca?

November 17, 2007 - 9:50 PM

You ever hear things on the news... new discoveries, new inventions, and really think about their implications?

Go to this web site...

Watch the web cast...


Talk Amongst Yourselves.


The Lone Ranger, I mean, Lincoln Rides Again!

November 12, 2007 - 11:05 PM

For those of you who are new to my little neck of the woods... I was hoping to introduce you to my old gal, whom is no longer mine but someone else's... but she is still near and dear to my heart... the Lincoln...

The Loncoln in her glory

I was hoping to link to all my loving posts about her, but they all disappeared when we switched websites... *sigh*

In any event, we did sell her to some friends of ours for a couple cappuccinos a while ago.  Since then they fixed what was ailing her and she has been driven by many a folk and is still kickin' it and livin' large.  

In a wonderful answer to prayer before I even finished my request, we will have the pleasure of driving her for a few days this week!  Since we are down a car, and since our appointments many and are lots of miles away, I was in need of wheels for tomorrow that a bus or Josh's work schedule could not work out.  The O's were kind enough to offer her to us to borrow.

Oh, my head is swooning I am so exited!  Ezekiel too shares my excitement and began jumping up and down when he saw her pull into the drive.

I was reminded of just how much strength her V8 has when she bounded up our drive. 

I was putting the kids' car seats in her and I was once again marveled by just how much leg room is in the back seat and what a wonderful date car she is (for the married, ;)!).

I walked around her outside and realized that even though our Buick is large, nothing compares to her size.

I slipped into the driver's seat, felt the leather upholstery cold with the night, looked out over her 9' and counting hood and realized what a powerful beast she truly is.

She was the one we bought and everybody laughed at, but oh how we loved her. 

She was the one who we could drive on the interstate and feel like you were floating.

She was the one who people would offer to buy from you while driving her.

She was the one who could fit 10 girls in one trip.

She was the one who could pack everything into and still have room for five extra kitchen sinks.

She was the one who could only be rivaled by our other love, a Suburban. 


I can't wait for tomorrow... More importantly, I can't wait until our appointments are over and I can take her down to the car wash, clean her up real nice, condition her interior leather, and show her some good ole lovin' she so deserves. 

Quotes from the abyss of my mind.

November 6, 2007 - 9:16 AM

Son, "Mom, what are we having for dinner?"
Mom, "Battle Casserole."

That same meal,
"Mom, you always tell us that the food you make is good and here you are telling us that you know this meal is bad?"
Mom, "Yep, I will not try to fool you... this is a terrible dinner, but we need to be thankful for it anyway."

That same meal...
"Honey, you know I love your cooking but if you would like for me to start losing weight, then you should make more meals like that one."

"Be responsible for your own encouragement."

Be a "Self Feeder."

"Spiritual growth comes when you pick up this book (the Bible) and read it."

"You've heard it said, 'If everyone did what you were doing at recycling, would it make a difference?' but what about, 'If everybody did what you were doing to share the gospel to the ends of the world?'"

Brother, "You're so cute!"
Sister, "I'm not cute! I'm a big girl who's going to take you down!"

"Dana, we are standing outside a pet store, waiting for it to open with 20 other people. Do you know what I would have said if we would have driven past this sight?"
"What are all those crazy people doing?"
"And now, we are one of them? Let's leave..."

"My leg hair is so long it doubles as a layer of long johns."
"My leg hair was so long, it took 4 razors to remove it." 

Son, "Mom, can you get golden flax next time?"

Mom, "I have never been so worried about a little fish before? I am definitely never letting another pet in this house. This is too tragic."

"You know... love, joy, peace, sanity... is sanity a fruit of the Spirit?"

"Christians don't go to bars."
The group of us who had gone line dancing at the bar the night before, "Does that mean we're not Christians?"
"No, since we just questioned our salvation, it means we are!"

Long, low rumbling... really long...
Little Friend, "Was that the passing of gas?"
"Yes... is that the longest passing of gas you've ever heard?"
Little Friend, "Out of Miriam, yes, but in our house it is nothing."

Zeke owns ANOTHER fish...

November 4, 2007 - 2:17 PM

If there was ever something, in the whole world, that could convince Josh and I that truly and deeply, without any doubt, we never want to own a pet... Zeke having a fish has done it.

Zeke's fish, Bravery I, has died.

He died Saturday morning between 9:00 and 9:30 AM. Zeke was very distraught by this.  Loving parents to our child, we called the fish store once they opened to find out policy on fish returns. They said to bring in the dead fish and a water sample within 48 hours of original purchase and you "may" get a new fish.

At 10:30 AM, Zeke and I went to return the dead fish and check the water. We ended up just bringing the whole tank in, dead fish and water and all. The "fish expert" did not check the water but instead just said, to pick out a new fish. Zeke picked out a new fish, really active and good looking fins. We brought him home and got him situated.

Bravery II

Once again, the new fish, Bravery II, did the same thing his predecessor did. Get home and go numb. He wouldn't move, didn't eat, stayed in the fake plant all day. First thing waking up this morning, Zeke went straight to his fish, and kept watch on it. Zeke was really, really worried and Bravery II was not looking active at all. Both Zeke and Bravery II were absolutely distraught.

At 12:00PM, the whole family treked the fish and his tank back to the pet store, once again. Bravery II was looking too mellow for words. This time, we asked the "fish expert" to test the water and see if we needed to buy a different fish food.

Turns out, it was the water.

The nitrate levels from our IC tap water were WAY high and the fish was slowly dying in the (family's drinking) water. Scary huh?

Zeke went ahead and bought some more fish food and then had to go and buy some spring water for his fish tank. All of his hard earned money has slowly been dwindling over these last few days.

And his parents?

Let's see... 3 trips to the pet store in 4 days... watching their child be in anguish over losing a pet and then be in anguish over trying to keep another pet alive... a trip to the store to buy water... a lot of mini-messes with multiple changes of water... stinky fish food... scoop of uneaten, soggy fish food... watching our son spend all his hard earned money for a fish... ????

Bravery II will be the end of pets in this house until Zeke can drive. And even then, it will still be only fish.

Zeke owns a fish.

November 1, 2007 - 10:08 PM

He did it!

One Proud Parent - Zeke

Went 7 days, cleaning up pee from all over the house... the carpets, rugs, wood floors, beds... that's right beds, had to change the sheets and re-make the bed and wash the sheets and everything...

Tonight, he is the proud owner of a fish and tank, all bought with his own cold-hard-earned cash. He is the first person to own a pet in our house and have the sole, one and only responsibility in that job. He now has to care for something else. He is now very aware of vacations and overnight trips. He is learning to be gentle and patient. He is a pet owner.

The fish's name is Bravery.

Folks, I tell you what... if this fish survives a week under this roof, I think we will throw a birthday party for the fish... oh wait, that will be Miriam's birthday? Perfect. I won't have to buy extra cake. :)!


Welcome! I am glad you're here! If you are new and would like to get caught up on what's going on, check out these quick links to get you started:

About Me and This Blog...

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2012 to CA, MN, CO
   Ladies Trip to Napa Valley
   My Parents Rode in a Plane!

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2012 to MN and CO
   Vacation to the North Shore and Cabin
   Boulder for the Summer
   Life in Boulder

Begin Our Adventures of Winter/Spring 2012 to UT
   The Drive to CO/UT Begins
   Vacation in Moab
   Living in Moab / Denver

Begin Our Adventures of Fall/Winter 2011 to CA
   The Drive to CA Begins
   Living in the SF
   Living in the Suburbs
   Coming Home to IC

Begin Our Adventures of Summer 2010 to Eastern Europe
   Life at Czech English Camp
   Travels in Germany & Austria
   Travels in Czech & Poland


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