Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Loss, Hope and Thankfulness

Dear Friends and Family,

My abandonment of this blog is due to my love for my sweet little family and the busyness of our lives. Simply put, most days I'd rather just be with them and do life than spend time typing something up for the blog. But alas, today I feel the need to write something to document the things that have been happening in our lives.

Loss and Hope...

A few weeks ago we were so excited to find out that we were to be expecting our third little baby. What a gift. After praying and yearning for another child for a long time, God blessed us with this little one. However, after just over a week of officially knowing that we were pregnant, we lost our little baby. It has been a tough but good week. Our friends and family members have rallied around us and have been so encouraging. We are so grateful. My dear man has been incredibly loving and sweet and that has meant so much to me. We have felt uplifted in prayer and have truly known an immense amount of peace. Praise be to our God and Father. One of my very dear friends who has been through similar loss said to me, "nothing anybody said really helped me, but the one thing that got me through was knowing that my little babies were safe in the arms of Jesus." Amen to that. I've thought of that so much this week. Thank you, sweet friend, for sharing that with me. And not to be pessimistic, but I just have to say that I really felt that I might lose this child. It was as though God had been preparing me for YEARS for this to happen. I have heard so many stories of miscarriage, infant and child loss and have always wondered not if but when would it be my turn to experience that. And here we are. Again, I have so much amazing peace. And I am okay. And I know that God is absolutely in control of this situation, just as He has been in control of every other situation in my life. And I also have great HOPE that perhaps He will bless us with another child in the future, if He should so choose. For now, we rest knowing that He knows the plans He has for us.


This Thanks_giving time, I am so filled with thankfulness for my family and my friends. God has blessed me with such a dear bunch of people in my world. To my husband and our sweet Bug and Buzz, thank you for being connected to me. Thank you for loving me even when I'm kind of out there. Thank you for sticking by my side through thick and thin. This has been a seemingly interesting year of that. But HE will be praised, and we will glorify HIM together through this.

I am thankful for the family I was born into. Thank you Mom, Dad, and brothers for being there for me and for sharing life with me. This Thanks_giving, we are all so filled with gratitude to have my brother Joel here with us after his very challenging and difficult year of cancer and surgeries and trials. If you have been following his story, right now is another interesting turning point for him. Please please pray for Joel and for his family. And may the Lord be glorified through Joel's life and through this entire situation.

What are you thankful for this week? May the Lord bless you this Thanksgiving. May He clearly show you His presence in your life and His truth.

Much Love from the frozen, beautiful, snowy north land...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I've been making this DELECTABLE chocolate zucchini bread for a few years now, recipe courtesy of my friend from MO_PS, "AP." Thank you AP for this deliciousness!!! I typically change only a few things which I will note. ENJOY!!!

3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla (I always double vanilla, so 4 teaspoons)
2 1/2 cups flour (I sometimes use just whole wheat pastry flour and other times a combo of white and whole wheat, or white and whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I usually double this as well, 2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup dark cocoa (I think last time I made this, I added a little bit more cocoa because I love it - probably more like 3/4 cup cocoa)
1/2 cup milk (I add a bit more milk if the mixture seems to "dry" - it should be pretty "wet")
2 cups zucchini, shredded (I probably added more last time - perhaps more like 2.5 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients (through cocoa) and then add to egg mixture. Add milk and fold in zucchini.
3. Pour into 2 greased 9 x 5 inch baking pans.
4. Bake for about 50 minutes.

AP's cooking tip: instead of 3/4 cup oil, you can substitute 1/2 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup. You can also use four smaller loaf pans and bake for only 30 minutes. Or you could make one large loaf pan and the rest as muffins/cupcakes. Any way you bake it, it freezes well.

*I did the muffins/cupcakes and frosted them with vanilla buttercream and they were SO good! I was also thinking that cream cheese frosting would be delicious.

Hope you love this as much as we do!!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Banana Cracker Recipe!

Hi Friends!

Today I was feeling very "homey" and decided to bake some banana crackers with the bananas that were VERY dark and mushy on my counter. They are the best for breads or in this case, crackers, when they are mushy and the skins are spotted brown! I found this recipe a few years back on a kids product website and just now tried it - VERY yummy and healthy too! Bug helped me make the crackers and she thought that was great fun. The kids LOVED the crackers and kept wanting more, and so did I!

Here's the recipe plus a few notes from me:

Banana Crackers (Yum!) (from Little Jo_ey Sn_ackin Pack)

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 t. honey
1 banana, thoroughly mashed


Preheat oven to 425 and grease a 12x15 inch cookie sheet.
Using your hands or a pastry blender, mix butter, flour and 1/8 teaspoons salt together until crumbly.
Using a fork, stir in honey and banana.
On a floured surface, knead mixture (adding additional flour, if necessary, to form a firm dough - I ended up adding a LOT of flour - the recipe did not call for enough...just keep adding it until it is more stable).
Divide dough in half, and roll out one half at a time on a floured surface.
The dough should be thin enough to cover the cookie sheet.
Place dough on cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon (optional).
Using a sharp knife or a pastry cutter, cut the dough into 1" squares.
Bake 5-8 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Remove crackers with a spatula and place on a wire rack to cool.

*These taste great with honey drizzled on top! Or they would also be good dipped in something...maybe a peanut butter dip?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cabbage Rolls and Stuffed Peppers!

I love cooking and also preparing meals for future use in the freezer. My mom has taught me much of what I know about cooking, and today I had the pleasure of working with her in her kitchen, preparing LOTS of cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers! To start off, mom and I had purchased the peppers and cabbage from the farmers market, and they all looked so beautiful. Mom grew up eating cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers and she has continued making them for our family. I have many wonderful meal memories of eating these things.

Here's the recipe, along with how we changed or altered things:

Haluptsie (pigs in the blanket, or cabbage rolls) (From Mom's German cookbook) (serves 6-8 adults)

Mix the following ingredients together:
2 lbs hamburger (I like Lau_ra's Lean Beef, 4% fat - no antibiotics or hormones)
1 large onion chopped fine (I think I used 2)
1.5 cups precooked rice (we used brown rice, and we used 6 cups)
salt, pepper, garlic powder - season to taste (you can't taste it though as the meat is raw, so season moderately but well - I estimated about 2 teaspoons or more of pepper, same with the garlic powder, and probably 1 teaspoon celery salt & Lawry's seasoned salt combined)
*We also added a jar of spaghetti sauce to the mixture! I like Ra_gu 7 herb. And after you've dumped out the jar, put some water in it and shake it up and then add that to the mix also.

Blanch 1 head of cabbage by removing heart and placing leaves in boiling water until limp. (We just cut out the "heart" and then put the whole head in the pot, covered it up, and checked it in several minutes. Then the leaves start pulling off as they cook...you kind of have to do it in stages as they're ready to come off.) The put the leaves in a bowl until ready to use.

Place a heaping tablespoon (or more - really, I think we did probably 1/2 cup or more) of the meat mixture on each leaf and roll up.

Place in heavy kettle or roaster.

Pour the following mixture over the cabbage rolls: 1 can tomato soup and 2 cup tomato juice.
(OR, you can use 2 cans of tomato soup)
(OR, how I like it is with some diced tomatoes and spaghetti sauce from the jar)
(OR, Mom said you could use some stewed tomatoes over the top)

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1.5-2 hours or until cabbage is soft and meat is done.

STUFFED PEPPERS!!! (serves 6-8 adults)

*Make sure to parboil the peppers for about 3-4 minutes after you've cut them, or leave them whole.

Use the same meat mixture as for the above cabbage rolls EXCEPT fill the cavities of whole green peppers, or cut peppers in half length wise and fill. (or you can take the peppers and cut them in half width wise, just trimming off a bit of the stem but leaving it on mostly until after you cook and serve - then whoever is eating it can cut off the stem)

Pour tomato juice and tomato soup or spaghetti sauce over all and bake at 350 degrees until peppers are soft and meat is all done. (approx. 1.5 hours)

You can also add shredded cheese over the top and place back in oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden once the peppers are all cooked.

Freezing Instructions:
If you decide you would like to freeze some or all of your cabbage rolls or stuffed peppers, you would place them on a cookie sheet or in a pan (lightly grease the pan if you want things to come out easily) and place them into the freezer for an hour or so until frozen. Once frozen, you can remove them and place them into a Zip_loc freezer bag or into a lightly greased pan and cover with tin foil and place inside of a freezer bag. Also, you would leave the sauce over the top until you actually cook the rolls or peppers - do not freeze with the sauce over the top.

**This recipe made TONS! We had about 12 peppers that we halved, so 24 stuffed peppers - they were HUGE peppers. Then we had enough mix left over to make about 20 cabbage rolls.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July Park Pics

Bug is now four years old as of May 19 and Buzz turned two on June 22nd! I can't believe how much they have grown and changed in such a short time. About a week ago, I decided on a whim after church one day that we needed to go to the local park arboretum to take pictures, as it was a perfectly overcast day for doing so! We stopped at home for a change of clothes for the Bug, and unfortunately all her frilly dresses were NOT ironed...SO, we opted for this cute casual one that she has and it worked out just fine. She and Buzz loved the little park we were at, as there are lots of gorgeous flowers and plants and also a water fountain there! Of course, you can imagine that after awhile, they just had to put their hands in the streams of water in the fountain...and little Buzz was soaking wet from that adventure, but he was laughing and having the best time. It was hard to keep them sitting still, so my dear man and I took turns taking pics of them playing. It was a lot of fun! I need to do this more often.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Everyday Cassoulet

I'm SO excited to be subbing for a cooking group through my church this coming week! We each prepare 12 meals, and bring 11 to swap with the other 11 members of the group. I can't wait to see what we'll be eating in the coming months! It will be fun to have my freezer fully of yummy meals.

The meal that I prepared is one of my favorites and has been a great company meal here in our home.

Here it is!

Everyday Cassoulet by Melody (& Bet_ty Cro_cker Cook_book)
651-695-1252 if you have questions!

1 lb. Po_lish or smoked sausage (1 giant link…or add 1.5-2 for more meat – I did 1.5 for the group), cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
(*I always use smoked turkey sausage – Tar_get has a generic one that I used for the group, and there’s a natural version at health stores.…)
1 can (15-16 oz.) great northern beans (or cannelini), rinsed & drained
1 can (15-16 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (15-16 oz.) black beans, rinsed & drained
(*For the group, I cooked up 3 bags of each type of bean and that almost covered it, cost MUCH less, and then there is no added salt from the beans…I did end up using just q couple of cans)
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce (or the 29 oz. can if you double it)
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced (1.5 cups)
(*I ALWAYS add more – I think I did 5-6 carrots per meal for the group)
2 small yellow onions or 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced & separated into rings (or diced)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or put through the garlic press…and can add another clove if you like garlic)
½ cup dry red wine or beef broth (I put about 1 cup of beef broth per meal)
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar (you can also use pure maple syrup if you would rather not use sugar)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme leaves (I did generous tablespoons of the fresh thyme…and have tried dry and it does work fine, but doesn’t have quite the same yummy flavor as the fresh)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Then pour into an ungreased casserole/lasagna pan (I prefer my lasagna pan because the sides are taller and this casserole is really bubbly) & cover with lid or foil. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes OR until mixture is hot & bubbly & carrots are tender. (I usually end up baking it for about 1.5 hours, and I usually place the pan on top of a baking sheet since it sometimes bubbles over the sides.
I like to serve this dinner with a crusty loaf of bread and a dark, leafy green salad topped with fruit. It’s VERY hearty and people usually love it even if they don’t like beans! ENJOY!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Yummy Power Bars!!!

Hello gang!

Sorry I haven't been on here now for TWO whole months. I cannot believe how much has happened since I last wrote! We celebrated our sixth anniversary and our birthdays with a great long weekend getaway to Ro_cky Mou_ntain Nat_ional Pa_rk and did lots of hiking and enjoying God's creation. It was amazing! Then we had a big birthday party for both kids and that was a lot of fun. And now, June is all over! Wowsers. I will try to post some pics sometime, but in the meantime, I'm getting ready to go sai_ling with my sweet man and some friends. It should be a good time!

SO, I'll leave you with this...the neatest recipe that I've used in a long time! My friend KN from MO_PS put this recipe in our coo_kbo_ok that we put out a few years ago, and it is AMAZING!!!

Ultimate Power Bar


3.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup raisins
2/3 cup raw sunflower seeds (I had salted ones because my store didn't have raw)
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (I didn't have sesame, so I added more sunflower)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup oat bran
3 tablespoons flax seeds (you need to grind them up in order to get the benefit of the oils inside...and you can use flax seed meal/purchased ground flax seeds if you don't have the whole seeds - that's what I used and it worked really well)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (or you could omit this if you have salted sunflower seeds)
1 cup shredded coconut (optional...but SO delish)
1.5 cups peanut butter (I used Ski_ppy natural smooth)
1 cup honey (I used a local honey)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large bowl, combine first ten ingredients (through coconut). Stir in peanut butter, honey & melted butter. Press firmly into foil-lined or sprayed 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven & sprinkle chocolate chips over bars. Return to oven until chocolate is softened (about 2-4 minutes). Spread chocolate evenly over bars. (mine didn't spread very well for some reason, fyi...but still tasted delish). Cool on rack then cut into bars. Refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours) then remove from pan and wrap bars individually and store in refrigerator or freezer for a healthy energy-packed snack. (I used plastic wrap for the individual bars and then placed them into quart-sized freezer zipper bags.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sewing Frenzy!!!

A couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to start sewing again! I hadn't used a sewing machine since high school, so it seemed a completely overwhelming task. My sweet Grammie wanted me to have her sewing machine - the one that she used to sew MANY quilts! When she passed away I was only eight years old, and the machine that she had willed to me eventually made it back to my parents' home many years later. For many years I thought about taking out the machine to use it, and this is the year that both time and inspiration have come together to make it possible. Because I felt like I needed to have a refresher in how to sew, I decided to take some classes through our local fabric store. First I took an introductory class, and it was helpful to re-learn the basics. Then today I took a HUGE leap and went to part one of a box cushion making class. Whoa...it was really challenging! But the wonderful teacher for the class is really helpful and willing to stay late to help us students. My project that I'm making is not a simple box cushion but rather a trapezoid shaped window seat pillow for our music room area. When I'm all finished with it, I'll have to post some pictures.

Also today, we had the privilege of seeing some friends from college who were in town. Love you J & R! It's always wonderful to catch up with friends that I haven't seen in a long time.

And alas, it has been yet another long stretch since I last wrote. I just find that I'm better at using Fa_ceb_ook than doing the blog. Perhaps I can get on a blogging stretch now! :)

Blessings to you all.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yeah Spring!

I'm SO excited that it is starting to get "springy" outside. YIPPEE!!! When it hits the 40's in this land, I just want to put on my shorts and t-shirts and run around outside for hours. Well, or at least not wear a jacket, which I've been doing a lot lately. It's glorious. Everyone seems happier, and that's a lovely thing.

While I type, my kids are running around with Ea_ster eggs and Mr. Po_tato He_ad parts, chasing each other. It's good to see them playing together.

This post is very random so far, so why not continue the randomness, eh?

My mom just found out that her yearly (or bi-annual?) scans for cancer came back FREE once again! We're so excited! This means it has been 9 years since she was declared cancer-free. Hallelujah! Praise to God alone. We're thrilled. On the flipside, my brother J is still dealing with his cancer and the chemo. treatments. He has a lot of pain after his chemo. and then starts to feel better right before he gets hit up with the treatment again. I guess that's just how it goes. But I don't remember it being quite as painful for my mom when she went through it. I suppose it is hard to compare one's pain to another, as we all respond differently and tolerate pain in different ways. And they have/had very different cancers that manifested differently, so that is part of it as well. Cancer is so interesting. I'm reminded again of the phrase "cancer is not limited." J certainly hasn't let it limit him. He went outside a few days ago to prune trees, even with pain. I'm so glad he could do that. I'm sure it helped get his mind off of everything.

I'm waiting to see if I will be featured in a commercial for a local news station here as well as on the web for the clinic I went to for my colo_nos_copy. I volunteered to be interviewed for the clinic. I haven't heard yet, but I might also get asked to do a news interview in addition to the other interview. That would be neat. I'm so over the privacy of the situation, that I had the procedure done and that a polyp was found. I'm just incredibly greatful for this preventative medicine and hope things like this don't become limited or unavailable if our country decides to change he_alth_ca_re too much. But this is something I don't want to sit and worry about, so I'll try not to do that.

On another note, my honey and I are enjoying lots of time reading and talking together lately. It has been such a good bonding experience. We're learning and growing in our marriage, and I'm grateful for it.

Well, must log off...tis nappy time...hope to post pics soon.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Neglected Blog, Busy Life

I haven't written on this blog for a month or so...life has been so busy and full lately. I find that Face_book is so much easier for regular communication and quick notes of thought from my mind. But alas, here I am on this Saturday evening, typing away! It's hard to believe that January has come and gone so quickly. I LOVE getting through the month of January, because it means that February is right there and Valen_tines D_ay is nearing closer. VDay is a holiday that I really enjoy, since I am such a romantic at heart. Honey man doesn't necessarily love it due to the hype it receives, but we usually find some ways to make it special. Last year I think he was gone for the big day, so we didn't get to celebrate it together. And this year, he has a broomball game on that day! Goodness...what are those guys thinking? Taking away our romantic, sappy holiday? Hopefully we can plan something for the weekend of VDay and then we don't have to worry if it happens right on the day or not.

In other news, I had a test done recently that came back with mixed results, but the news is that I'm fine for now. And I'm learning to trust that God knows my days...His word says that my days are numbered aright. I will trust that. At least today I trust that! And on the days when I don't want to trust that, I will CHOOSE to trust that. I'm grateful for early intervention and preventative tests, and hope that we will always be able to have such measures in our health care.

And on my heart so much lately is the country of Hai_ti which recently experienced a terrible earthquake. Such devastation for such a poor country. I have felt such heaviness for them lately. But I'm so encouraged to hear all the neat stories coming away...of the rescues, the massive adoptions going on, and all the medical teams and other rescue workers going to do whatever they can to help people on the ground. May God rescue that nation and help them in their time of need and beyond. I have always had a passion for adoption, and my man and I have talked about it a lot. We are not sure if it is something for us or not, but we do think about it and like to encourage it in whatever ways we can. I've seen all those babies from H and wanted to take one in...there are so many kids there that need homes.

Well, this is a scattered post, but just wanted to share what was on my mind. Blessings.