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.


Wacky Wednesday!*

March 26, 2008 - 7:45 PM

It all began
with the alarm's ring.
An alarm's ring... ?
Shouldn't be a thing!

I woke up and said,
"Why didn't I wake
for the gym Tuesday?
Now I am going
on a weird "off" day!"

Oh, MAN!
And that's how
Wacky Wednesday

I looked out
the window.
And I said,
More things were wacky
And I saw three.
(the neighbor's garage door open
with light on,
the other neighbor's interior lights on
at 5:45AM, and
a thick chunk of ice on the windshield.)

I went
to the gym
and I said,
Three more things
were wacky today!
(2 deer crossing our in-town street,
a car parked in the middle of another street,
a car driving down the wrong way on
the one way for a long time.)

At the gym,
At the gym,
(a filled parking lot at 6AM,
tons of middle aged men playing b-ball at 6AM,
a group of swimmers at the pool at 6AM,
a strange older gentleman staring at me the whole time.)

And the family back at home?
They looked wacky, too!
They said,
"Nothing is wacky
around here but you!"
(Josh making 6 shots of espresso
using actual shot glasses and he just kept brewing,
Miriam climbing inside the back of my shirt
and sticking her head through the neck hole
and arms through the arms holes
while I am still in it,
Zeke asking for juice instead of a cappuccino,
Max sleeping in till 9!)

5 MORE things!
I got scared.
And I ran
over to visit
CIT's van.
(a moving truck ripped open
like a sardine can going
under the Iowa bridge,
the river's water nearing
touching said bridge,
children eating celery without complaining,
making it in and out of the
library within 20 minutes,
Max checking out a book to learn to read and write Chinese)

"I'm sorry, Cramer IT."
That's all I could say.
"Don't be sorry," they smiled.
"It's that kind of day.
The internet was down
but it wasn't our fault!
Be glad!
And HEY!
Wacky Wednesday
will soon go away!"

"Only 6 more things
will be wacky," they said.
"Just find them
and then
you can go
back to bed."

(The blinker and fan are working
in the van again miraculously,
I don't have to go back to the chiro
for 3 weeks instead of 2!,
2 lovely ladies I know being baby due
at almost the same time
(Yeah Nancy and Maren!),
not being able to yawn again - bum!,
the kids ate in no particular order:
wheat noodles,
feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes,
white sauce with cauliflower on the side,
Mom ate said cauliflower too!)

Wacky Wednesday was gone
when I counted those things.
And for tomorrow, I will be rid
of that alarm's annoying ring.

I yelled aloud
before falling asleep.
"That will teach me
to sleep in Tuesday
next week!"

My alarm chuckled
as it whispered to me,
"It's not over yet since
You're still off a day.
Now, you'll have to go to the gym on
Freaky Friday."

*Thank you Theo. LeSieg's Wacky Wednesday

When God hands you a bicycle... make dinner.

March 24, 2008 - 10:49 PM

For the family budget we had 2 huge planned events happen this month: one, some major car repairs and two, lots of gas for 2 very (and very, very) long MN trips. All month long I had been working the budget and planning on finding ways to find or save money in other places (ie all the not-set-in-stone areas of which I primarily am in charge of) instead of using our savings. Along the way there have been blessings of wise planning, inexpensive meals, free bread makers and I even received a nice HyVee gift card from a friend whom I babysit for out of the blue a few weeks ago. All super, wonderful things!

This morning, doing reports and the budget, I realized this month had one week left and it wasn't looking as well as I had hoped, things were adding up more than I expected and welp, I was at a loss. Technically, I know, we have resources available but for some reason really I didn't want to go there, we want our budget to make it work, and I hung my head and prayed a rather hodge-podge prayer...

"God, it would be great if you could provide us another HyVee gift card... I haven't asked you for something crazy like this in a long time and I know you have provided for us in so many ways for us already, and I feel silly asking, but that would be really great right now."

I honestly felt silly praying it. I mean really, we have savings but, ugh, you just hate to spend your savings don't you? And it is technically for other things and heaven forbid you get in that habit of using it. And, HyVee? HyVee is great but wo/man are they expensive. And, I can think of a handful of other ways it could've worked out, but, wo/man, I am simply writing you my honest prayer, no matter how far fetched or selfish or ridiculous or whatever, you could say it was, that is what I prayed.

Sure enough, our day continued to pass, as they normally do (sans Joshua 10), teaching school and the normal grind, and by late afternoon I had forgotten my prayer and was onto reworking my menus and whatnot to try and make it work for one more week.

Then our doorbell rang.

It was our neighbor and she hands me a card and says, "This is a thank you for all the help you gave us a while ago..."

I give her the typical mid-western response of, "You didn't have to do that..." and we continue to chat about this, that and the other, she mentions she's making a dump run and would love to take my old doors, I say, "Great," etc.

I go inside, back to the kids and open the card. Enclosed is a HyVee gift card. And not just any sized one, but a huge, whopper of a gift card.


I finally remembered my prayer of the morning and began to cry as the kids and I all snuggled together and prayed, thanking God for answering my prayer, over and abundantly, pressed down, more than I could imagine.

Things I note to myself...

1.) The date on the receipt was 3/8.

2.) I normally am not in the habit of praying really specific prayers.

3.) Pre-planned? Maybe. I remember in this book reading about how prayers are sometimes like blue bicycles. A father got his son a blue bicycle for his birthday and the son didn't know about it but over time the father showed the son reasons or directions that led the son so that near his birthday he really wanted a blue bicycle, and wa-la, there it was, his father already had it for him. Not saying prayers are always like that but you could, could, say that here.

4.) An undeserved blessing? I hope one wouldn't say that, but the thought did cross my mind. I have done that before when given cash as gifts I have happily passed the cash into other hands more in need. But I really believe God wanted this for me this time all things considered.

5.) I can't wait to tell my neighbor. I am glad she is coming back to get my old doors because I am so excited to tell her how this, as crazy as it seems, was a specific answer to my<

Tragic Day in IC

March 24, 2008 - 12:51 PM

Even though this kind of thing seems to happen across our nation every day, when it happens in your own town...

Fox News

Press Citizen1 Press Citizen 2


Please pray for the family and friends of this family.

Last Night's Top Ten - Posted Today

March 20, 2008 - 9:44 AM

This afternoon the kids and I found ourselves locked out of our own house and the only other key is 12 hours north of here and the car in the driveway had a flat and I didn't have my cellphone on me. Instead of getting down about the situation, it got me thinking of all the things I am thankful for...

- An understanding of sin... The boys and I have been talking a lot about sin and I realized that understanding sin, accepting the fact that one was born into this world with sin, is a much more complicated concept to grasp than I once thought.

- An amazing counterpart... While I am thankful for my husband in millions of ways, one thing I have really been struck by lately is how wonderfully his personality completes mine as well as counteracts mine, in a good way. I am very thankful God picked him out for me.

- 3 kids who love each other... Though lately it seems like I have mostly been working with them on not fighting with each other, the rewards have been they do truly love each other and work so well together. Like when at a puppet show today Zeke was sitting next to Max as close as could be with his arm around his brother because if they sat that close they could both see the show. It was so sweet.

- Friends physically nearby... When we found ourselves locked out of the house today, my first thought was, "If we could just get to Wendy's house." (What about our technical neighbors? Not home yet.) But it was comforting to me, who was starting to freak out, to know that we did have good friends nearby and if they were home, they would, as they did, loving welcome us, let us play there while we waited for a locksmith. (Also, if the RAV and its flat tire wouldn't have worked, we could easily walk to their house.) They even invited us just to stay for 3 days until Josh's return! How nice! At church they have been talking a lot about living near each other to show community among the saints in our neighborhoods and this was a wonderful example in my heart of just that.

- Girl Scout Cookies sold at the gas station... We had to go in the gas station to get change to fill the flat on the RAV and while in there saw that they were selling Girl Scout Cookies. I love Girl Scout cookies. I haven't had them in years upon years. They are and were sooooo delicious!

- LAN lines... I never thought I would be thankful for LAN lines but with my husband out on an island kissing Canada the only reason I have been able to enjoy a short conversation with him each day is because of the LAN line. Yeah!

- Facebook... I don't know about your family, but lately our whole extended family has been getting on FB. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc, are all getting on there and it has been great to connect with them on a more frequent level. What fun!

- Pre-determined Dinner Menus... I generally make out a week's in advance menu for our dinners and when having finally gotten in the house today the last thing I wanted to do was think about what to make for dinner so looking at my menu and saying, "Ok, that is what I have on hand and what I am going to make" was about the nicest thing in the world. The only thing better would have been if I had pre-made frozen dishes like B&A.

- Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University... It has been over a year since we took this class and I tell you what, at the time, I DID NOT want to do it. Call it, um... pride? But, one year later, I would recommend this class to my older neighbor to Bill Gates to the random stranger at the library. SOOOO good. You can go to his website and find the next class being taught in your area, and I SOO recommend you doing it!

- Coming Home... I am so excited for where Josh is right now in northern MN and we miss him dearly here (I can't even recount how often that has been said amongst the 4 of us the l

1 down, 4 to go... March is a long month

March 11, 2008 - 12:22 AM

We have survived one week of Battle Dish Month! Yeah!!

Has it been hard? Yes. Has it been delicious? Yes. Has it been economical? Yes.

First....The financial side?  In reality, it isn't as hard as I thought to make low cost yummy meals while adding more veggies and new recipes... I must have been playing dumb.  I do admit that when I take out my huge money-sucking recipes and last minute 5-star-whim recipes, it is much, much easier to keep things on the low down.  In the end, it all comes down to my favorite activity of actually taking time to plan out my list and menu... that has definitely proven to be the most resourceful $ saver in making new recipes and adding new foods.

Honestly, I have not done anything very note/blogworthy so far... I can share with you what we have eaten or will eat?  Let's see... I did make 2 homemade soups with  homemade breads which were new to me since I am not a soup eating/making person by nature or a baker by nature.  And this week I have added a few more new recipes to our mix... jambalaya, tuna pot pie (homemade shell), onion soup, halibut with grilled asparagus and a tuna and rice casserole... again, nothing fancy pants.

The main $ adder is the meat source and now with the whole scare on hormones in meat, ugh... I would like to buy a quarter cow from a safe, local farm & save on the worry... are you in?  As well, a future cost saver will be a stash of homemade canned goods.  Translation: Assuming our garden works again this year & produces a bumper crop & if I do figure out canning then canning will be a great $ saver.

One trick I did learn... if you are really faithful with the list and menu then if you want to plan a fun 5-star-whim recipe that includes, say halibut?  You can!  Because you did so well and saved so well, you have $ to work with... yeah!

Second ... How are the kids?  We are definitely not out of the woods yet on any of these dishes or veggies (Alicia M said 15 times to make it stick and I believe it!) but I know we will slowly and surely make progress over this month.  Again, it is not like we never served hard to eat dishes, the point is that the dishes I normally make had their battles ages ago and it is only right that they are no longer battles.   My hopes for all these new dishes rests on that fact.

Third... How are the parents?  I do not naturally like soups or grainy foods, while Josh does.  I am learning to get them more for all of us, not just him, and to eat them without complaining.  (The children are doing way better with the grainy foods than I am.)  Now Josh has been reeling about the thought of casseroles in our house. To the point that he told me he would take a 4th job so I wouldn't have to make them. (I love that guy!) However, I realized that I need to make a few more of them not only to help our kids familiarize themselves with the ranges of casseroles, their looks and their ingredients but because though we don't make them, others do and we need to be happily ready to eat what is served elsewhere.  (A point that was very clearly brought home to me this weekend, oy! for being outnumbered.)

In any event, last week went fair, this week is just starting. The hardest dish of last week was the wild rice soup. It was absolutely delicious in our mouths but not in the kids'. This week I think it will be the onion soup.  Even though they saw the picture of the Onion Soup and asked me specifically to make it, I think it too will prove a hard one.

On the plus side, I scored a free bread maker from Amber for my honey!  Yeah!

Battle Dish Month

March 4, 2008 - 10:00 PM

Josh and I continually are coming up with grand schemes for life and our family. Sometimes helpful ideas that could benefit mankind as a whole, other times they are downright stupid ideas that we wouldn't try on anyone. Some are gems though, like serving dinner in levels like a video game? Priceless!

This month we are combining our creative forces and going for a month of Battle Dishes! (Said in the Sunday, Sunday, Sunday voice with feedback and everything.)

We have 2 situations we are trying to rectify in one month's time:

Situation #1: Revamping the grocery budget... again.
Situation #2: A recent trend of disgruntled eaters.

#1... I heard of a woman who spends only 50 cents a person a meal for her family. I had honestly never paid attention to meal by meal price breakdowns before, I only think total month. (I am sure some of you have been doing this for-ev-er and are thinking duh, but mind you, cooking for me is a hobby and one I really love, so bear with me.) Then, I started looking at my favorite dishes to make and their cost and realized that some dishes were way out of whack and I could seriously lower our food budget by getting rid of them. Yes, I was blind, but now I see.

#2... When our boys stayed with friends while we were in AK, we heard continual stories from the family and our boys about the foods they ate and their response to trying new dishes. It showed us there was need to work in this area.

Combining, we now have Battle Dish Month!

Here's the deal, I love to enjoy food and see value in cutting costs in this area so I went through my cookbooks and online looking for new recipes that are yummy but also affordable on the cost factor (not sacrificing healthiness or quality). Then, I realized how this will create new dishes and have new ingredients in the house and that the boys may not be as excited about them as I am... in here enters the fact that they need to open their palettes to new things (as well as not buck the normal stuff) and wa-la, Battle Dish Month is born.

Now I am not trying ALL new recipes. I kept ones that were cost effective and am bringing back old ones I had forgotten about or had scrimped on by making them more "kid friendly." But there are new ones planned and the boys have been fore-warned.

Is this fair? Well, sure. It is not like we are having them eat fast food every day. They will be doing what they are supposed to be doing as kids their age and eating healthy foods and healthy portions. We aren't forcing it on them or being cruel about it. (Though with a name like Battle Dish it would carry that stereotype.) Seriously, they like apples but not baked apples with cinnamon? See how it is really good in the long run?

Is it going to be hard for us then? Well, sure. Josh wants me to make brussel sprouts (Amy! Quick! I need your recipe stat!) and I am not so excited about that one but he isn't either and he wants to do it anyway. And, I may have to make casseroles here and there, which are not big fav's of Josh and mine but the kids enjoy them and the darn things are very cost effective. Needless-to-say, it will be a month of giving and taking on all sides.

And Miriam? Miriam is like Mikey and will eat anything. The only thing she refuses to eat/drink is anything fuzzy or carbonated. That is one particular we can live with.


If I haven't written it before (the years are getting fuzzy so I may have)... it reminds me of how I was in high school and I would take my little sister to McDonald's (like every day) and buy us food and my siblings said I was a push over and then said of me, "When you have kids you'll say, 'Eat your potatoes.' And they'll say, 'NO!' You'll say, 'Eat your broccoli.' And they'll say, 'NO!' And you'll say, 'Let's go to<

The Devil Drives a MiniVan (No, wait, it's me?)

March 3, 2008 - 10:32 PM

We have been incredibly blessed with our new-to-us minivan these last 2 weeks and I tell you what, the honest truth... the thing is huge!

We have more room then we know what to do with! I used to hate bucket front seats but you know, it is nice because in this van there is nothing between the bucket seats but empty space... no big trash holders or consoles separating me from my honey. You can sit sideways with your legs in the middle and hold your sweetie's hand easily.

Then there are the kids and their seats. The second row of bucket seats is far away from the first row and has a huge amount of leg room even for a 6' 2" husband. Then the back row is miles away. Then the trunk is 3' deep itself!

Then there is the fact that the kids and I can all pile in one door... any door, driver's, passenger, side. (We could probably even use the rear if I could manage to close it.) Then once inside, we all walk around inside it like it is a house. (This is also a perk since the side door is a beast of burden!)

Yes, there are a couple downsides...

Downside #1... there is so much space! I mean seriously, I need a built in intercom system, one for each seat in the vehicle. I initially wanted just permanent walkie-talkies, but I really think an intercom would be best because it couldn't get lost. The boys are constantly saying to me, "Mom, why are you talking in a loud voice?" To which I reply in a normal speaking voice, "Because if I talk in my normal voice you can't hear me." To which they reply yelling, "What'd you say?"

Downside #2... there is so much space! It is a virtual playroom on wheels (not that I let it get filled with toys, just that it is still a grand novelty in having SO much space) and their goofiness factor has greatly increased especially now they are literal feet away from mom, she and them are all strapped in, and in their world they are unstoppable. Needless to say, I think we are going to have to start making trips in the van a new teaching lesson. (I mean, we've done this with the grocery store, but in a vehicle? Crazy!)

Driving around today, basking in the amazing features, blessing and space of the vehicle, I still couldn't help thinking that minivans are the devil. (I know so many of my friends are driving them these days, so please don't take offense, keep reading, it gets better, honest!) Then I started thinking about how they could be like sin... when you're in it, it's fun and exciting, you've got on rose colored glasses (or a nice set of tinted windows) and it is hard to notice anything wrong, but once out of it and looking back you see it for what it is? Honestly, can you sense what a desperate woman I am?

This is where you need to say, in your loud voice, "Dana, eat crow, get over it!"

Dear Readers...hear me now and believe me later... this minivan is so painfully practical and spacious you can't help but... *gasp*like*cough*i mean*cough*twinge*and*wheeze*enjoy*it*cringe*churn*wheeze*. There, I said it.

Oh ok, I'll do it once more nicely... Minivans are *gulp* great.

Oh all right, fine! Minivans are great! :)! (See, I'm smiling!)

The devil doesn't drive a minivan, I do... not that there's anything wrong with that.

... now watch the poor thing die on us tomorrow. At least we can honestly say it was good while it lasted!



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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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