Friday, December 17, 2010

Sweet Christmas Things

This pretty tin belonged to my Grandma Verduin.  Last year my Mom passed it on to me along with a note attached to it, written by my Grandma, that says "Our Stephanie." 

The Veggie Tales nativity I bought Alyssa when she was little.  It has now been loved on by all three of our girls (Yes, Laura the Carrot, aka Mary, is currently MIA.  At least one character goes missing every year but somehow they always turn up again).

Alyssa made me this snowman picture frame in first grade.  The picture it holds is one of my favorites.

'Elfie' became part of our Christmas traditions this year.  Holland adores him and says "where's Elfie" while still wiping the sleep out of her eyes.  When he first came home I watched her lean over his box and whisper through his air hole "Are you real?  Because your skin is shiny, kind of like plastic."  And again she leaned in very close whispering "Are you real?" Elfie made no audible response to which Holland replied: "I'll take that as a yes." 

My love of spicy foods even manifests itself on our Christmas tree.

All three girls have these Walnut Ridge Baby's First Christmas ornaments.  They are no longer made, but my Mom had the tremendous fore site to buy three when she bought the very first one for Alyssa.

Every year this ornament is hung in it's special place at the back of the tree, something that started as a joke between John and I on our first Christmas.  Every year the girls laugh and beg us to tell them why it goes on the back of the tree.  But we'll never tell.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

More unreal things from the land of YTT

Jesus being called a zen master.
Women who have orgasms during childbirth.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Little While Longer

It is late.  She is awake.
We rock.
A warm bundle on my lap, her legs tucked underneath her.  They are longer than they were.
We rock.
Soft hair against my cheek.  Her breath is still a baby's.
We rock.
Her sisters no longer rock at night.  But sometimes this one and I still do.
We rock away babyhood.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook- November 16

Stole this from a blogger friend, now you can steal it from me...

Outside my window: It's a long way down.  Dogs are barking, leaves are rustling, a little girl yells, wind blows branches against my house.  My tree is stunning. 

I am thinking: I don't know if I'm ready to teach yoga yet.  Am I ready to teach yoga yet?  Yes, there is an opening.  Yes, I have enough hours... but those hours aren't exactly in instructing a class yet.  I want to do it.  But I want to be good enough that any students I have will want to return.  I don't want to be embarrassing.

I am thankful for: So much.... but in this moment, my husband's good job, PCPK and the wonderful wonderful women who work there, children's motrin which is making Holland feel better, the ability to go to a grocery store to buy food and that there is food there on the shelves, a new car, a Savior who loves me when I am unlovable. 

From the kitchen: an extra cheesy lasagna, freshly made by muah.

I am wearing: Aero comfys, Aero t, and an Aero hoodie. 

I am creating: Memories.  I'm beginning to put my efforts into Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I love to make the whole month or so special for my three girls and my guy.  John paid me the greatest compliment when he told me he always liked Christmas, but now because of all I do, he loves it.

I am dreaming: of the Dominican, where in three months and three days I will be lounging on white sand beaches with around 20 or so of my closest friends; celebrating the wedding of two of them. 

I am going: to read aloud at story night tonight for my In-Laws, hubby, and big girls.  We are almost finished with our second book Self Raised by EDEN Southworth.  Up next will be The Printer of Udell, which President Regan mentioned as being one of the most influential books of his life.

I am reading: I just finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy aloud to John.  They were crazy good.  And they make most others books seem like a bore after the rate at which the action moved.

I am hoping: The Lord chooses to make me an amazing yoga teacher.  For good things for John and our family.

I am hearing: Holland sounding out words next to me.  How fun to be a kindergartner learning to read!

Around the house: I got every single window in the entire house washed today, inside and out.  The Acadia got a bath as well, and all the laundry is done.  Now if I only I had had time for me to get washed up too...

One of my favorite things: a neat and tidy house, candles burning, a bottle of wine breathing, children tucked into bed, and John with me to enjoy the evening.  Aaaahhhh.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Story night tonight, followed by yoga.  Youth group for Alyssa tomorrow night.  Teaching some small group ladies yoga on Thursday night.  A cigar event with friends Friday night.  Teacher Training all day Saturday, sleepover at night for Holl, and friends over for dinner for us.  Sunday will bring church, grocery shopping, hanging with the girlies, and yoga.  Awesome.

I wish the picture could do it better justice, but truly, this day it was stunning.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You're killing me. Or am I killing me?

Let me a create a little picture for you.  It's 8 am.  The morning has been pleasant: up early, kids fed, a movie is playing in the car, Anna is strapped into her carseat.  This part is the best part.  She calls to me "Mom!  Mom!  Guck.  I guck."  I respond with a smile, "No honey, you're not stuck, you're in your carseat." 

We arrive at the kindergarten at 8:30.  We get out and make it through the doors and waabam!  Anna is no longer 'guck,' she is running full board down the hallway, ignoring any attempts of mine to try and control her.  She steals kids' binkys.  She hits little boys playing with trucks.  She colors on papers that are neatly waiting for their actual owner.  She drains the wall mounted automatic hand sanitizer dispensers of every last drop they hold.  She screams bloody murder any time I try and corral her.  Lord have mercy.  This kid is killing me. 

Or am I killing me?  I realize that some of this is my fault.  I have become far more lazy in my discipline then I ever have been.  The big girls are really quite obedient and lovely girls.  And I know that that is due in large part to diligent consistent discipline.  Now, Anna really is a pistol, I'm not just saying that.  But I have got to step it up.  I just have to make up my mind to do it.  I also really need to get back to reading the basics in my old standbys like Parenting is Not for Cowards, Dare to Discipline, The Strong Willed Child,  BabyWise II, etc.  Time however, is not on my side.  I've been contemplating getting up at 5 (and if you know me, you know that I do not get up early) just to find some more time.

For now I'm off to go face more embarrassment at the hands of a two year old.

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  Proverbs 22:6
The Culprit

Monday, November 8, 2010

Driven to Distraction

When I sit down to do my Bible study it is amazing the burden I develop for things like... Laundry.  Dishes.  Closet cleaning.  Amazing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Things

Last night we went and picked up our shiny new Acadia.  The first new car we've had in 5 1/2 years.  We picked it out in about a day.  And bought it within 24 hours.  I was too excited to sleep last night.  I just love getting new things.  And a car, weeellll, that's a big new thing. So many buttons to play with. So much horsepower to experiment with.  Six levels of heat on my seat heater, which by the way, should have come with a disclaimer: "Unless you have frozen your behind into a sort of assicle, don't use level 6."

Unfortunately the ride home wasn't quite as fun as it should have been, what with 'the knock' and all.  Yes, my shiny new car had a knock you couldn't ignore.  That's enough to spoil a new purchase.  I had it in to the dealer this morning where they promptly tightened it's loose sway bar, but still!  I just bought the thing last night!  I'm sure it will be fine, after all I did buy the big warranty, but that was a downer.

This major let down in my new car got me thinking about joy and happiness.  New things make me feel happy.  I love going to bed on a Thursday night, when my house is a clean, and I know that the next day I'm going shopping for New Things.  And then it's really fun when I can plan places to go in my New Things.  With a lot of my new things however, the happiness doesn't last.  Don't get me wrong, I really do try to be a grateful person, and I strive to be content with everything the Lord gives, or doesn't, but... when it comes down to it though, happiness just doesn't last.  Joy lasts.  And joy doesn't come from things.  Now true, joy isn't always going to be bursting forth, bubbling out of you.  I remember Richard Wurmbrand talking about when he encountered Russian believers during WWII and they explained to him how there just wasn't any joy in them.  They had been so oppressed and so stripped bare there was nothing left but to cling to the hope of the Lord.  It wasn't mentioned in the book, but I wondered if they were able to choose joy.  Deep down I just know that when push comes to shove, that the Lord will grant me at least some joy in just knowing that I am His, that He has a place waiting for me, and that no one can separate me from His love.  I don't know if I'm strong enough to choose joy in really dire circumstances, but I am certain that He will be faithful to give it.
Car knocks, new things, and joy.  Who'da thought.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Music

About one week before Halloween I try to start planning for the upcoming seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I find that if I'm not ready by Halloween then I'm already behind. And we can't have that, now can we?

I have this wonderful book by Barbara Rainey, Thanksgiving A Time to Remember. It is beautiful , incredibly well researched, and brilliantly done. The stories in this book will amaze you: the fortitude of the Pilgrims, the Hand of God upon them, the extreme conditions they barely survived, their unwavering faith. You can read about it by clicking on the title above. Even very young children can enjoy it by the clever way in which she wrote it. It came with a CD of Thanksgiving music as well, which I loved, but have lost. I may need to order the book again just to have the CD. I love the idea of having music for Thanksgiving.

Come Ye Thankful People Come
Now Thank We All Our God
We Gather Together
For the Beauty of the Earth

Each of these songs stir up feelings for me. Of fall. Of bounty and harvest. A great sense of appreciation and gratitude to the people who risked everything for the generations yet unknown to them.

Itunes has an eclectic little mixture of songs under the title Thanksgiving Dinner. They aren't exactly worshipful, but they are fun.

Go ahead. Go make your new Itunes playlist. Let me know what you picked!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Current Obsessions

Yoga. Mmmm, yumminess. Seriously, I don't know what I did before yoga. My body has completely changed in these last several years. My muscle is long and lean (not to mention, I actually have muscle now). My flexibility has increased 10 fold. It has also been an amazing mood lifter for me. Especially at certain times of the month... when normally I'm volatile at best. Yoga releases endorphins and makes me feel oh so much more stable.

Enchiladas. I don't know why, but I have been on a major enchilada bent lately. Especially this version from all recipes, which I have made every week for the last four weeks. Along with the yum yum yummiest salsa it makes me the hap hap happiest.

The Hunger Games. I don't care that it's young adult or that it is about kids being forced to kill other kids. It's good.

The Pioneer Woman. Truly, I love this woman. In fact, I'm not sure why I'm even writing this here, since I want her all for me (she has like a 30,000 person following so I guess the secret is out). She cooks, writes, photographs, herds cattle, home schools, refers to her husband only as Marlboro Man (this may be my favorite part), and gives away really fun stuff. You can link to her site from my blog: Confessions of a Pioneer Woman/Ree Drummond. Just remember I told you about her (I don't know why that matters).

Leg warmers. Because.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

And did you know...

In TT (teacher training) last time we were talking about the lungs, diaphragm, and all that good anatomy stuff relating to breathing.
Pregnancy came up, and one thing led to another, and my teacher informed us that for 45 minutes after a woman gives birth you can push your hand straight through the stomach and touch the spine. Yiy!
All the organs had been moved aside to make room for baby and after 45 minutes they are back in place. Awesome.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The yum yum yummiest salsa

I LOVE restaurant salsa. Madly. Deeply. Love. And I have been madly trying to duplicate it at home for pretty much forever. I finally stumbled upon a recipe that has the secret. And the secret is not at all what I thought it would be: canned tomatoes. Yes it is. The secret is canned tomatoes. I tweaked the recipe slightly, because that's how I roll.

1 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4- 1/2 C loose cilantro (depending on how much you like)
1/4 yellow (or sweet) onion
1 clove garlic
jarred jalapenos (yes, I mean jarred) to taste

In a mini chopper (okay, it doesn't have to be a mini chopper, it can be one of those nice big food processors, that I don't have) combine your first four ingredients. Add a good squeeze of lime and some salt, and hold onto your sombrero. It's good. Restaurant good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Things that make you go Hmmm

I've decided that I should share some of the weird things that I learn in yoga teacher training. And by weird I mean, holy crap, please don't ever mention that again, weird.

In India swamis and yogis practiced something called 'tongue milking.' As if that doesn't sound gross enough, here's more...

The largest nerve in our body (so I'm told) is called the vagus nerve. It's name in Latin literally means 'wanderer,' which is fitting since this nerve winds its way through the length of our entire body. It has been found that by stimulating the vagus you can actually lower the heart rate.

Now, stick your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Do you feel the hardness of the palate there? Now reach further back with your tongue and you feel where it is softer. Way back there is the vagus nerve. Swamis and monks in India had the idea that if they could reach their tongues way back there and press on the vagus nerve they could induce a more relaxed state. But... your tongue isn't long enough to reach back there, you say? Yeah well, they found a way to solve that problem.

The yogi would pull out his tongue and with a knife he would slit the tendon underneath, pour turmeric on the wound and then wrap it. This would be repeated everyday until that tendon was completely severed. Once that occurred the yogi would begin pulling his tongue until eventually it was long enough to reach back and press on the vagus nerve.

I know.

Simple Things

Cookie baking with all or one of my girls falls into the simple pleasures category for me.

Today it was just Holland, me, and a roll of store bought sugar cookie dough. I pulled out the Halloween cutters, whipped up some butter cream frosting (that she turned orange and purple) and off she went.
Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I'm not crazy. And my mail is truly that bad. When I walked into the insurance office yesterday (yes, I got the issue taken care of yesterday) Diane says "Oh Steph, it's so funny that you're here. I had a call from the home office just this morning asking for your new address." To which I replied "Huh?" Apparently, all the mail they have sent me lately has been returned to them.
Isn't that nice? To which I repeat: can you sue the post office?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I have this weird 'thing' with getting certain things done. Things like making doctors/dentists appointments for my kids. Or when I have a bill issue (IE this week my life insurance lapsed b/c I thought I was on quarterly, never received a bill because my mail here is atrocious, and now I have to fill out an insurability form and mail a massive check. Isn't this the post office's fault? Can you sue the post office?).

I don't think you can call it procrastination, even though it does result in things being drawn out. It's more like I get feelings of dread and the overwhelming sense of not being able to handle it. In some ways it's crippling. Our 'well baby' visits are usually a month after the girls are due to be seen. At the beginning of the school year, when physical forms are due, I'm the mom calling to say that the appointment is on the calendar for October. Of course I fail to mention that this is because I didn't make the appointment until a week before school started. And often bills get pushed to the last minute, narrowly avoiding being late.

Yes, I realize this is very strange. I have dreams of using my yoga money, when I'm making some, to hire a sweet little personal secretary to pay my bills and take my children to the doctor. I might really have to do that, because I just don't see this changing for me.

I'm glad we had this little talk. Now I have to go find other ways to busy myself so I don't have to call the dentist's office.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Holland is at my favorite age right now. Nearly everything about her is joy to me. And so, because I know I really won't always remember some of this stuff I have to get it down here.

A couple of weeks ago it was just the two of us in our darkened living room, early in the morning. She was looking at wedding pictures on the wall and asks if I will help her plan her wedding some day (does she know me?) to which I replied "of course!" Then she says "Mommy, remember how you had that dream about getting married again? Who did you marry?" Me: "Daddy, he's my guy." She says "Yeah, Daddy is really handsome." Me: "Yes, he is, isn't he honey?" She sits for a moment and adds "And he's got great hair."

This week she was helping me clean out the pantry and she asked "Who's this?" I told her it was Mrs. Butterworth. She asked who Mrs. Butterworth was (we don't normally eat store bought syrup). I explain and she goes on building a fort with cereal, triscuit, and buckwheat pancake boxes. When I'm ready to reload the shelves I say "Okay Holl, I need to take down your fort and get the boxes put away."


"It's okay Holl, you can build another fort with something else."

"No! You can't take it down! Mrs. Butterworth is changing in there!"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


My blog is fixed! My blog is fixed!

Friday, July 9, 2010

My last baby

One day she will be me. Early thirties, holding her own baby, with a home outside the nursery door to care for.

But today she is mine. And she is warm and soft, with silky hair and big eyes, gentle breath, and delicious giggles.

Not much longer.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grocery Store Friends

For the last couple of years I have been making friends with the workers at my local Walt's. My first Walt's friend was a manager named Bob. From there it was a guy in frozen who ended up referring to me as 'sexy' in front of the man in the pharmacy. I've had to stop being his friend. There's Jim, who loves tennis, is my age, lives at home, and is gay. Rita is a cashier who in her mid 60's works another full time job at a trucking company. When she realized I was pregnant with Anna (I was about 7 months along before she could tell) her eyes lit up and the sweetest expression crossed her face. Dan was employee of the year last year. He just completed his first year at a local community college, and is now in his summer session. He has six brothers and sisters. One of his brothers has severe epilepsy and I can tell immediately when he has been hospitalized again. His Mom is remarried and currently finishing her doctorate; she is the dean of students at ITT. Then there is Joe. I haven't asked his age, but he is old. He walks to work and I often stop to pick him up. The girls are torn between thinking that it's nice of me to do this, and that I'm strange. Joe is a prostate cancer survivor, still has his Boston accent, swears like a sailor, and smells bad. I'm sorry, but he does. He's called me his guardian angel. Today for the first time he heard that I follow Jesus.

You see, my Walt's friendships started out innocently enough, but now I have an ulterior motive: Jesus.

I'd been torn on how and when to speak to Joe about Jesus. Two days ago, when I asked Joe how he was, he said "not so good. " He had fallen and badly bruised his ribs on his right side. He shouldn't have been working as he was unable to even bend over to put a tee in the ground (the man loves golf). But there he was, bagging groceries. I told him I'd send up a prayer for him, he acknowledged it, and I was true to my word. I prayed for fast and complete healing for Joe.

I was at Walt's today and stopped by Joe to check in. I asked how he was and he told me he was much better, every day he is feeling much better. I wasn't surprised, but I was thankful. I told him in no uncertain terms that I had prayed for him and asked Jesus to heal him. He said "Have a direct line do you?" And I said "Well, I have a relationship with him, I know him personally." And he says with a smirk," You talk to him all day?" And I said, "Yes, of course." He gave me a "Good for you." Again he said that he was doing much better and I said "See? Jesus heals." At this point I'm thinking he thinks I'm a nut so I ask him about Father's Day and then we say goodbye.
I'm so glad that I finally had this opportunity today, and I'm hoping more comes of it.

I had a little inroad with Dan today too (it was a good Walt's day!). I found out he and his family are conservative. As he went back to work I threw in a "Dan, I'm so glad to find out that you're conservative, now we can really be friends." He laughed, clearly pleased. For whatever reason, this fact makes me feel like I'll be able to talk to him about Jesus at some point too.

I have loads of other stories based around Walt's. I know, it's weird, but it's kind of my mini-mission field. David Jeremiah reminded me in my devotional today: "One person praying on earth can move angels in heaven." Isn't that a great thought? I am so thankful to have prayer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't you love ribs?

I love summer nights. And I especially love the smell of my grill cooking up some ribs. Mmmm. Like tomato basil soup and white chocolate fruit tart, I also happen to make really good ribs. And I make my own bbq sauce. The ribs are simple. The bbq sauce, not so much. And since I'm considering bottling the stuff, I'm not sharing. The night I first made it I only made a small portion, figuring it wouldn't be anything special and that John wouldn't like it. At the table he looks in my little bowl of homemade sauce and asks, "What's that?" I answer that it's just something I mixed up. He tried it, sat back and proclaimed "That is the best sauce I have ever had. That is everything bbq sauce should be!" Score!

I know, so rude to talk about it and then not divulge. I will however be happy to have you over to try it. That is, if you like a good KC style vinegary sauce. Oh man, my mouth is watering.

Anyway, the ribs:
Huge sheet of tin foil
baby backs
raspberry vinegar*

Lay the ribs out on your tin foil. Douse each side liberally with the vinegar and then rub in a light sprinkling of paprika.
Slow cook for two hours, flipping occasionally.
That's it. No par-boiling and only two ingredients.
*Apple Cider vinegar will work too, but the raspberry really gives them a great flavor.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Statements that I love, by Holland

"Daddy look, I can see that police officer's arresters!" (Handcuffs)

While explaining to me the food pyramid, she then pointed out it is only for people in the desert.

On how I should tell John we need a water slide: "You just say 'Hey! I'm the Mom here, and I want one'"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm a what?

This has been in my 'crawl' (as John would say) for the last few months. Popping up every now and then reminding of my new 'shame.' Background...

Back in April I combined Easter with Alyssa's 11th Birthday party. Great day, delicious food, family. Then extra family showed up. My uncle and his daughter were out on the Harley and stopped in to chat. Fun! I love company! I turn on my hospitality charm and offer drinks and food, chairs and conversation. In a little while Alyssa pipes up asking to open gifts and I say 'Yes, but first let me get all this cleaned up." From the other end of the room my cousin pipes up: "When did you turn into a fuddy duddy?" "Accchh, acchh (coughing, maybe gagging). "

Fuddy Duddy? Immediate thoughts: 1. You just used the term 'fuddy duddy.' What does that make you? 2. Cleaning up cake plates before opening gifts makes me a fuddy duddy? Oh boy. Good thing she isn't here everyday.

Now today I remembered this: this cousin who with another cousin (now, I'm just going to tell you, these girls are between 5 and 8 years younger than me), told me two years ago they were thinking of going to visit another cousin (we have a big family) in Mexico City, and that while talking about it, they decided there wouldn't be anyone more fun to go with then, ahem, me. Heck yeah! You know it ladies, I'm fun! F-U-N! Fun!

Fast forward two years. I'm F-U-D-D-Y D-U-D-D-Y.

I have this thing with my memory... it's not real good. Sometimes that's great- I can't remember every dumb thing I've ever done. Sometimes it's not so great- like how I can't remember upcoming events (both major and minor). So, I'm guessing that it's this 'thing' with my memory that caused me to forget that I'm not who I was. The change came so completely, and yet so subtly and gradually, sometimes I forget that I changed at all.

Hence the shock at being called a fuddy duddy. I never got the memo. Hopefully my girlfriends don't' get the memo either, because I love them and don't want them to catch on that their friend is lame.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More food posts...

White Chocolate Fruit Tart

Oh my word. This is my favorite thing in the world. It's not my recipe though, it's from allrecipes, but I will put it here for you to drool over. The picture however, is mine, this is the one I made for Memorial Day. The star is a peach cut out with a cookie cutter.

Crust (basic shortbread):
3/4 Cup butter, softened
1/2 Cup confections sugar
1 1/2 Cup flour

1 8oz package cream cheese
1 12 oz package white chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/4 heavy whipping cream
1 can pineapple chunks, reserve the juice
peaches are really good too
mandarin oranges, kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, etc have all been tried and approved as well!

3 T sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp lemon juice
this makes a lot of glaze, so I usually half it.

Cream your butter and sugar**. Slowly add your flour and mix well. Press into a spring form pan (this is what I use, they are the ones that the bottom releases from) or a pie plate. Prick the entire top with a fork to keep it from puffing. Bake at 300 for 25-30 mins or until lightly browned. Let it cool on a wire rack.

For your filling, mix your melted and cooled chips with your whipping cream. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Spread over your cooled crust and refrigerate for 30 mins*. Drain your pineapple, saving the juice, and decorate your tart with fruit.

For glaze, in a small sauce pan mix sugar and cornstarch. Add lemon juice and reserved pineapple juice and stir until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, constantly stirring to thicken as you would a roux. Cool, and brush over all of your fruit. I use a small paint brush.

*I often make this ahead of time by prepping the crust, baking it off and covering. I mix the filling and refrigerate overnight. I then assemble the whole thing shortly before serving. I've made them as little individual tarts, and that works great too.

** I use my kitchen aid for all the mixing/beating steps. A hand held mixer will work great too, make sure your bowl is large enough to prevent having to clean filling off of your walls.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup

I'm sure some people would think it odd to blog on food. Not this girl. I LOVE food. And I make the best tomato basil soup on the planet. And now I will share it with you.

5 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 46 fl oz bottle of tomato juice

1 stick of butter

1 Cup of heavy whipping cream, okay, I add a little more than a cup

(and right now, you've realized why this is so good)

10-14 fresh basil leaves

salt and fresh pepper to taste

Pour your whole bottle of tomato juice into a stock pot. Add your tomatoes and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add your stick of butter and whipping cream. Chiffonade your basil (stack the basil together, roll it up, and and then slice the roll). After the butter has melted add your basil and continue to cook until the basil has softened. I usually just leave it go until the bacon for my blt's is ready (because that is what I typically serve with this).

Crazy simple and it freezes great. I pull the leftovers out of the freezer to go with grilled cheeses on Saturdays.

Mine is happily cooking on the stove right this moment.

Oh yeah, this is totally South Beach friendly, just in case you were wondering;).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yes, I know I am the most inconsistent blogger ever.

Really, I know I am. I don't know how people find the time to do this. And I'm not sure if that makes me a terrible time manager or just really hell-bent on doing things non-stop around my house. (I do have it from a certain friend, who will remain unnamed;), that she has, on occasion, sacrificed home duties for blogging pleasures- love that about you girl). I did find time in the mis-management of my time and my crazed 'doings' around the house to take a trip though. A little recap for ya'll!

Cancun. Eight days. John and I, ALONE. I know this sounds weird but God gave us that trip. And because of that fact, I'm not sure that I will ever have a vacation that spectacular, in my life. The weather was perfect every single day, it rained once briefly, and was otherwise sunny and 85 to 90. Aaaahhh. Our resort was great, pretty room, nice view, comfy King size bed. The staff were truly the best part- kind, warm, helpful. They wouldn't even let us carry our plates to the table from the omelet bar, always responding "it's a pleasure." Love these people!

We did some fun touristy stuff, why not right? Zip lining, jungle tour with snorkeling. We visited a sister hotel (The Sun Palace) and realized we made the right choice in our hotel, deciding a hotel crammed on the strip wasn't for us. We liked the miles of resort we stayed at.

Every morning we would get up around 7:30 or 8 and walk down to our nearest and favorite restaurant, Caribeno, Edgar would be our waiter, I'd order a bloody mary (yes, EVERY morning, and sometimes I'd have two), and we'd have coffee, and sit and chill until we finally decided it was time to wander up and have breakfast... consisting of whatever we wanted. Fresh waffles, omelets, cereal, pancakes, whatever. And then they'd carry our plates.

By the time I'd get back to the room after this, my bed would be made. Bananas.

Okay, I'm going to have to pause here due to the fact that I'm going to go and cry for Cancun now. No not really, but Anna Banana is sick and it's going to be a long night.

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Invisible Mother

I received this from a favorite Aunt today, I loved it, and thought I would share. For all of you seemingly invisible Moms out there...

Invisible Mother.....

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history
, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.
I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devoured - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1)

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2)
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3)
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4)
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend

in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked,

no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself.

I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Great Job, MOM!

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know... I just did.

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

This is beautiful and makes a ton of sense.

To all the wonderful mothers out there!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Really? Who thinks that is a good idea?

I had coffee with a Mom friend from Alyssa's school this past week, and was treated to quite a revelation. A friend of hers, whose children attend our same school, informed her matter-of-factly that she is teaching her sons to be sneaky.

I'll let that sink in.

Mom of the year award? I think not. Raising dating material for my daughters some day? That would be a no. Permission to tell this Mom she is foolish? Yes please.

Apparently she wants them to be able to do as they please without getting caught at school, and is therefore grooming them in the fine art of 'stealthiness.' Brilliant. Has she no forethought? So, this means that when her sons are in high school sneaking off to get rocked at parties she'll be thrilled that she taught them so well? Or, when one of them gets his girlfriend pregnant she'll expect congratulations on a job well done? Sheesh.

Yes, Mom's of Daughters, this is what we're up against: not just raging hormones and peer influence, but this type of parenting. Mom's of Boys in my life- I'll be seeking the betrothal of your sons to my daughters next week.

I had recently begun praying about the kids that will be coming up with and around my girls in school. Now I'll be adding the parents.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I gotta stop making these!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars are all the rage at my house right now. John has amazing will power for anything... except these. And while I can't make them anymore, YOU should.

1 Cup butter, melted

2 Cups graham cracker crumbs

2 Cups confectioners sugar

1 Cup peanut butter

1 1/2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 Tbs peanut butter

While your butter melts, mix together your graham cracker crumbs and confectioners sugar in a large bowl. Put in your peanut butter and then pour your melted butter over the top, the warm butter will help soften the peanut butter making the whole thing easier to mix. After thoroughly combining, spread into a non-greased 9x13 pan and pop in the fridge for a bit.

Melt your chocolate and peanut butter on low in the microwave (slowly) or over a double boiler. Stir until smooth.

Spread over your slightly chilled crust and refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Yeah. We eat ours before they've chilled for an hour too. You're not alone.

Friday, February 19, 2010

For Granted

Sickness settled on our house the last couple weeks. Everyone is pumped full of antibiotics now and on the mend; which leaves us all feeling much more positive than in recent days.

It makes you thankful though. For uninterrupted nights of sleep. For being able to smell. For a 17 month old who is content to play on the floor by herself again, instead of following you around whining to be held all day. For energy. For being able to sing (hard to do when your voice is cracking and hoarse). For yoga. For everyone just feeling GOOD.

I know the statement "I took it for granted" always comes after having lost something, such as health. But part of the beauty of having something, sometimes is taking it for granted I think. Just going along, believing it will always be there, causes you not to worry.

Inevitably, I get a taste of it being gone, and it makes me grateful again. And it makes me sympathetic again too. I never get sick, and that had made me rather callous when others were.

I guess that leaves me thankful for my sinus infection- a little attitude check. And now, if you'll excuse me, I need a cup of tea.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Thursday mornings are the worst- I wake up with 'cleaning day' ahead of me.

Thursday afternoons on the other hand... are the best! Clean house, yoga to look forward to, and tomorrow is Friday.

The tea kettle is humming away on the stove, baby is playing in her crib, Holl is content with playdough, and I am caught up for the moment.

This is what life should always feel like. Love it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nope, not good there either.

Anything that crowds out time for God is an idol. That isn't my quote, it's Nancy Leigh DeMoss'.

In the recent past when I had heard talk of idols in the Christian life I immediately thought to myself- "Okay, I'm good there. I don't love anything more than Jesus."

But then she elaborated. And elaborated. And elaborated.

Sleep, family, housework, friends, facebook, books, television. All these things that I never even considered looking at as idols, until I realized how busy they keep me. I make time for them first and then I squeeze in God.

It's amazing how when I sit down for some Bible study how all of a sudden I have a burden for cleaning up the house some more. I lack focus and discipline when it comes to studying God's word, but I can really work my butt off all day keeping my house in order, cooking, doing laundry, and taking care of my kids. It's not right to give my leftover moments. Ugh, but I am not a morning person. Like, at all. I know it's coming down to that I just need to be, because it's wrong for me not to give Him that time. But oh, I love bed.

I'm finding out how incredibly bad I am at this whole "Christian Walk" thing. I don't think there is a single area of my life that I can check off as 'good.' Right now "He's still workin' on me" is playing in my head. I remind myself that I am not the same as ten years ago, five years ago, or even a year ago. So that is progress, but most of the time I'm really looking forward to heaven. No more worries about past failures, current missteps, and future ball dropping.

Doesn't that sound like such a cop out? Oh, I'm too lazy to work harder- just hurry up and get me to heaven where being good won't even be a thought it will just be, well, me. I really do long for it though. It disturbs John I think. I'm all "Won't heaven be great? I can't wait to be there. The smells, the colors, the sounds!" He's all "Yeah, I'm not that excited."

Anyway, one area of the aforementioned change that I have noticed is: decreased sin in my life has led to increased sensitivity to sin. My sense of what is right and wrong is heightened. This saves a lot of heartache for me now. I loathe the thought of hurting someone and also having to apologize.

I've actually had checkout ladies chuckle at me and say "You're the only one that listens" when I put something back in the checkout line and say "that's over my approved budget." This may seem like a silly area to call attention to, but in my home it: A. Shows John I respect him and B. Kills fights over money. I call that a win win.

Some people do it now and ask for forgiveness later, and I used to live that way too, but now I'm big on avoiding the easily avoidable sins. I don't know if this is good theology, it's probably not, but some things are so clearly not right for me to do (IE spending $30 more than what my hubby told me to spend) so I avoid doing it. When I KNOW it's not right and I'm aware of that-it's easier not to do that thing.

All this to say that I'm working on it. I don't have any of it checked off... but I'm gonna keep running the race.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thoughtless thoughts

I sit in the nursery, it's dark. A shaft of light stretches from a crack in the door, widens, falls across a rocking horse. She's asleep on my shoulder, quiet. It's quiet. And so I think.

Of nothing. Of Haiti. Of heaven. Of time. Of the time when she will no longer sleep on my shoulder.

I feel dull. Where have all my thoughtful thoughts gone? I feel sure I used to have them. I begin to explore a topic and stop. My mind seems unwilling to go further. I wonder how I recover?

Oddly, my quiet time with the Lord this morning was soothing and not thoughtless. Honest and real it left me calm throughout the rest of the day.