Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I can't believe I have been married 15 years. And I am so thankful for the wonderful man I married. And that having a few days with just my Sweetie and me together was so rejuvenating.

What I'm reading: I'm still reading My Life In France by Julia Child. It is one of those books that you don't want to come to an end.

What I'm listening to: The bird chirping like crazy in the kitchen. He must see another bird through the window or something....

What we're learning: We are studying King Wenceslas, Otto I  and Vladmir I in history. And we are now up to Question 31 in the catechism and I am going to finish reading The Vikings by Elizabeth Janeway in our literature time this week.

What I'm watching: Last week my Sweetie and did something we only do once in a great while: we went to the movies. We saw The King's Speech which we both really enjoyed.

What's cooking: I am making Soba Noodles with Broccoli and Chicken. I'll also make some rice and have Bookworm make Miso soup to go along with it.

What I'm buying: I am looking at thrift stores for a cute little side table to go by my side of the bed. Now I just need to carve out some time to go out....

What I'm thankful for: Grandparents who love to spend time with our children. And who plan fun things to do while they are visiting.

What I'm creating: I need to finish projects that I start....like that crochet hook holder I was making for Bookworm. It is still sitting in the basket by my bed, half done. I am hoping to change that this week.

What I'm praying: For the two families in our church family that are dealing with cancer right now.

What I'm planning: My month of teaching in our co-op is coming up in March so I need to start looking at the materials and deciding what I am going to do.

What we did this last weekend: We came back from our trip (more about that later), then we celebrated and remembered the life of our friend Saturday afternoon. Church was very encouraging yesterday, then home for a quiet afternoon with Tomato Soup, Pesto Mozzarella Panini's, and a nice warm fire.

What I'm looking forward to: This week we are going to a science museum in place of our co-op meeting and then this Saturday we have a rabbit breed show we are going to.

A picture to share:




~January 27, 2011 - celebrating 15 years of love.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am so thankful for our church. After the news that we had lost one of our men last week, yesterday was a day of hugs, tears and encouragement.

What I'm reading: I almost did a happy dance in the library last week when I saw Julia Child's My Life in France on the shelf; I had seen it at the bookstore and it was on my list of books to buy someday....

What I'm listening to: Indescribable by Chris Tomlin is playing right now. What an awesome God we have!

What we're learning: In celebration of our celebration we are taking the week off of school. More on that next week. :-)

What I'm watching: Buds coming out on the trees. We have had warmer weather the last couple weeks and this next week is supposed to be just as nice. We will probably have a rainy February which will really confuse all things that grow.

What's cooking: For the first time in a long time we are having a leftover night. The last three days my eyes must have been bigger than my stomach because I made enough food for a crowd. So it will be Chicken and Rice Casserole, Bean Burritos and Chicken Lasagna with a nice big green salad tonight.

What I'm buying: I need to run out later today for one or two items.....don't you just hate it when that happens?

What I'm thankful for: With what happened this last week, the ordinary things seem like such a solace to me. Like having my husband walk in the door every night. And my children, waking up every morning. I am thankful for the every day blessings that I forget about.

What I'm creating: I am working on taking landscape photos for my photography class. I am hoping to go out and get some good ones later this week.

What I'm praying: For my friend, Betsy, as she begins to start her life over without her dearest friend.

What I'm planning: I can't think of anything I am planning right now.....I am thinking about another recipe blog post though....

What we did this last weekend: We did some things around the house on Saturday, then went to church on Sunday. It was very good to be with brothers and sisters in the Lord that day. We are also saying goodbye to one of our elders who is retiring and moving out of the state so we had a reception for them in the afternoon.

What I'm looking forward to: A celebration happening this week, but then a day of bittersweetness on Saturday; mourning the loss of a friend, yet rejoicing that he is with His Savior.

A picture to share:



~This was in May 2004.....eons ago.....

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Be Still My Soul

This last Monday we found out some sad news. A man in our church passed away suddenly. He was only 49, in very good health and was out jogging when he had a heart attack. He has 2 college age children and a sweet wife, who is going through something that I cannot even imagine. What makes this even sadder is that the week before, he and his wife had buried her brother after a long fight with leukemia, and his wife had stayed behind to tend to his affairs. She was arriving home that day from the airport and was met at the door by the sheriff.....I can not even comprehend the amount of grief that their family is dealing with right now.

Through this sad time I can only trust in God's Providence. Not in my sinful, faltering doubts. I need to trust in His promises of peace and comfort; not in my shaking, grieving heart. These last couple of days this song has been going through my heart and mind and I want to share it with all of you.



Be still my soul: the Lord is on your side; 
bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to your God to order and provide; 
in every change He faithful will remain;
Be still my soul: your best, your heavenly Friend 
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul: your God will undertake 
to guide the future as He has the past,
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake; 
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still my soul: the waves and winds still know 
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still my soul: when dearest friends depart, 
and all is darkened in the vale of tears, 
then shall you better know His love, His heart; 
who comes to soothe your sorrows and your fears.
Be still my soul: your Jesus can repay 
from His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still my soul: the hour is hastening on 
when we shall be forever with the Lord,
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, 
sorrow forgot, love's purest joy restored.
Be still my soul: when change and tears are past, 
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

~Katherina von Schlegel



"You who have made me see many troubles 
and calamities will revive me again; 
from the depths of the earth 
you will bring me up again. 
You will increase my greatness 
and comfort me again.

~Psalm 71:20-21

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: Right now, just about my day; how I need to muster up enough courage to go work out in the freezer garage, what needs to be done in school and that I need to remember to go out and get rabbit feed this afternoon.

What I'm reading: I picked up an interesting book from the library last week: A Slice of Organic Life. This looks like a fun read.

What I'm listening to: The question of the morning on our local Christian radio station. This morning it was this: What do a third of wives do that their husbands don't notice? What do you think?

What we're learning: This week we are learning the two Latin root words prae (before, in front of) and ad (to, toward), and then the older children are learning about primates in science. And since we have just finished the first semester in our history course, I am using this week to review what we have learned so far this year.

What I'm watching: Fog and dreariness outside. Although I must say that it makes for some beautiful photo taking.

What's cooking: I froze a ham bone from our Christmas dinner so this week I am planning to bring it out and make Split Pea Soup.

What I'm buying: During my errands last week, I forgot to buy the girls more socks. It seems like they go through socks like crazy...

What I'm thankful for: Forgiveness. That in my sinfulness, God extents unmerited forgiveness.

What I'm creating: Landscape shots for my photography assignment. There is a pretty park and greenbelt near us that I might visit later this week.

What I'm praying: My friend is having a couple big tests in the next couple weeks to see if her cancer treatments are working so I am praying that they come back with positive news; but ultimately that God's will would be done and He would be glorified.

What I'm planning: I am starting a new hymn this week in co-op, Eternal Father, Strong To Save; and I need to start lesson planning with it.

What we did this last weekend: We rented Despicable Me and watched it with the kids on Friday. I thought it was hilarious. Saturday we did some errands and things around the house. After a powerful sermon in church and then Sunday School yesterday, we went over and hung out all day with friends. I really love my friends.

What I'm looking forward to: We have our rabbit project meeting this week and then co-op on Wednesday. Then next week is going to be a bit different because we are going to be celebrating something...

A picture to share:


~Mr, Lego, filling in as the secretary at our 4-H club meeting last week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Resolutions

Lots of people try to do resolutions this time of year. And while I am not too big on jumping on bandwagons and following the crowd, it is a good time of year to evaluate where you are, what your goals are and where you are headed. In the last couple weeks, I have been thinking about things that I need to do this year and things I want to do. A couple of them I have already started and others I am still trying to figure out how to implement.

Things I Am Changing

Bible reading


One of the new things I started this year is reading through my Bible. I went to this site and split the reading in half, so I am doing the whole-Bible-in-a-year-thing in two years. This equals out to about 2 chapters a day.



Exercise


 Over the last couple years my 'loose' goal was to exercise 4 times a week. This turned into 3 times a week, most of the time. And then I never had a schedule as to what I would actually do when I exercised; some mornings it was aerobics, other time is was weights and when I was really lazy, it was doing the recumbent bike for five twenty minutes. So my new goal in 2011 is to exercise every week day, as in 5 days a week. I figure if I aim high I will get closer to the top, right? And I have chosen DVD's that combine cardio with weights, so I feel like I am covering all my bases.



Literature time



When the children were younger I was more faithful at reading books in the afternoon to them. We read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Around the World in 80 Days, Robinson Crusoe and Huguenot Garden. I want to carve out a half hour every school day where we gather in the living room and I read to them.



Things I Want To Try/Do.

Finish a knitting/crochet project




Another scarf does not count. Neither does the little crochet hook holder I am knitting; this project need to be something larger. Like an afghan, or sewing a skirt or finishing the 9 patch quilt I started 8 years ago. 



Try out my grain mill


It has been sitting in our garage, collecting dust, and I have a nice bag of wheat berries sitting in the pantry. I have all the ingredients, I just need to pull the thing out and go for it.



Bake bread. Good bread


Not just dinner biscuits or cornbread; this is the hearty, wheat, sandwich and toast bread. A few of my friends bake their own bread and I love how it tastes. I need to sit down, compare all their recipes and start experimenting.



Start my summer garden from seed



This involves planning ahead which I am sometimes not good at, but I really think we could save some money if I bought a packets of seeds for $1.29 and started my plants indoors, instead of heading to Home Depot and paying $3 (!) for one tomato plant.



Read good books


I still have those books on my sidebar that I put up way back in August 2009 that I want to read; and I am adding to the list. Bleak House by Dickens, St. Augustine's Confessions, and Mr. Mulliner Stories by PG Wodehouse.

The three big things at the top I am going to do; these other goals are ones I really want to do. Keep me accountable, friends! What are your goals for 2011?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Homemade Won Tons

It is said that anything that is deep fried tastes good. I tend to think that is mostly true, except for maybe fried chitterlings. I have never tried them, but when I found out what they really were, decided to pass on the opportunity. Anyways, every once in a great while, we dig out the deep fryer from the garage and fry something. Maybe corn dogs, french fries, Japanese Tonkatsu or Tempura. And a couple times a year we fry up a batch of Won Tons. This is my own recipe, which I have tweaked and changed over the years.

First the filling. I chop up some Napa Cabbage, cilantro, fresh ginger and green onions.




I also add a couple cloves of garlic, minced in my trusty hand mincer.





All of this goes into a bowl. Next goes about 3/4 lb. of ground beef. I am sure you can also put in some ground pork, or use ground turkey; it doesn't make a difference.



At the end I crack an egg into the bowl; this helps to hold the filling together.



This is the down and dirty part; roll up your sleeves and mix with your hands. Clean hands. It is really the only way to do it.

Soon, it will look like this:



Now that you have the filling done, get your wraps together. These are the ones I use; you can find them at any supermarket.



You will need a small bowl of water, a butter knife, and a tray to set your filled Won Tons on.

You put about a tablespoon of the filling onto a wrap.


Then moisten 2 sides of the wrap, like this:



Then you fold it over, so now it looks like a triangle.


This is the tricky part: you stand the triangle up in your hands, pull the two points down...

...and meet at the bottom.

You want the points to come down, not across the wrap.



Moisten the points to make them stick together, then place on a tray.



Repeat until all the wraps are used. At this point I stick them into the freezer on the trays; once frozen I can either transfer into freezer bags to store or they are ready to fry. Now how you use them is up to you. We have always fried ours; before we got our deep fryer we would fill a large pan with a couple inches of oil and fry them in batches. Or you could find a recipe for Won Ton Soup and add them to the boiling broth. Either way, these are fun to make and yummy to eat.


Won Tons

Ingredients:

1 cup finely chopped Napa cabbage
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 T. grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
3/4 ground meat (turkey, beef, pork)
1 package square Won Ton wraps


Directions:

Combine first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Mix well using hands. Assemble wraps by putting 1 tablespoon of filling in center of wrap, then moistening edges. Fold into a triangle, then fold points down until they meet. Moisten tips to secure. If using in a soup place Won Tons in refrigerator until ready to use, otherwise place trays in freezer until frozen. Then transfer to freezer bags to store.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: I'm thinking about how much I don't want to go out into the freezing garage and work out. It must be 40 degrees out there....

What I'm reading: Right now I am reading a Landmark book called The Vikings by Elizabeth Janeway to the kids. We are continuing our study of the Vikings this week and this book is helping it come alive.

What I'm listening to: Chattering voices upstairs. The bird chirping. The heater coming on. :-)

What we're learning: We are starting question 29 in the Shorter Catechism, and learning about Iceland, the Maori and the Zimbabwe of Africa in history. The older children are working hard on their 4-H presentations and Dasher is doing narrations from 101 Dalmatians this week.

What I'm watching: Heavy frost on the grass and rooftops. It has seriously been cold here; the only time I am truly warm now is under my covers at 2am or when I am taking a hot shower.

What's cooking: Tonight I am making Leek and Potato Soup with Parmesan Toasts.

What I'm buying: I can't think of anything I need to buy this week. But big shopping is next week so I need to get going on my lists and menus....

What I'm thankful for: My precious children. I am so thankful that (for the most part) they get along, stick up for each other and help each other out. For the most part....

What I'm creating: I am knitting a crochet hook holder thingy for Bookworm. I have noticed that she looses her hooks and I find them in the most interesting places, so I am knitting her something to keep them in.

What I'm praying: For those around me who are dealing with serious illnesses. That the doctors would have wisdom and that if it is God's will He would heal them.

What I'm planning: This week is my last week of teaching The Lord's My Shepherd to the children in our co-op. I have really enjoyed dissecting that hymn and explaining the words.

What we did this last weekend: We sold one of our rabbits Saturday morning and then did things around the house. After church and Sunday school we had a couple families over for fried won tons, California rolls and miso. We had a great time eating, fellowshipping, and playing Taboo.

What I'm looking forward to: We have our 4-H club meeting tomorrow where Mr. Lego is filling in for the secretary that night. Then co-op is Wednesday and we have a field trip on Thursday.

A picture to share:


~Takes this last week as I was trying to get some landscape portraits for my photography class.

Friday, January 7, 2011

San Fransciso and New Years

On the way home from the Bay Area we stopped in one of our favorite city's; San Francisco. Our first stop was Japantown. They had remodeled it in the last few years and there are lots of shops to look at and fake food to drool over.



Of course we had to stop for our annual purchase of Taiyaki. Sweetie and I had a red bean one and the kids opted for chocolate.



This time the Taiyaki lady was making them so we stopped to watch for a while.



For some reason there is a lot of French influence in Japan. There is a European bakery in Japantown and also a crepe shop. We chose the crepes. A chocolate filled crepe with extra whipped cream.



Needing some exercise, we headed outside. To Lombard Street. We had driven down it a few times but never walked it, so after parking and then walking past all the cars in line, we started down the stairs.



This really is a beautiful city, but you could not pay me to live on that street with all that traffic.

Anything that we walk down we eventually have to walk back up; so after a small breather we headed back up the 221 steps. (Mr. Lego and Bookworm counted.) But we were rewarded with this view of the bridge at the top.


Final stop was Fisherman's Wharf where, with about 7,000 other people, we enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder and a loaf of sourdough bread.



I know this stuff is such the tourist thing to do, but the kids love it and we are building great memories.


After a couple relaxing days at home, we had our New Year's Eve party at a friends home. Mr. P. was the game mastermind and did not disappoint this year.

Here is Bookworm, being the one who volunteered to have her team stuff her into a big shirt with as many balloons as they could.



Dasher is working on getting those balloons blown up....




Here is me and my Sweetie, and from how we look, I would say this is sometime before midnight.



The night was still young to many, so lots of us playing Speed Scrabble into the wee hours.


The next morning we awoke to snow! The kids were thrilled and so were the parents: this meant that the snow trip we had planned for the next day could happen right in their backyard and we didn't have to go out and freeze in the snow.


More games the next day; lots of fun logic ones that when done on only 5 hours of sleep are really hard. Try this one:


Mary's mom has four children.
The first child is called April.
The second May.
The third June.
What is the name of the fourth child?


When you finally get that one you want to bang your head against the wall, especially if you are sleep deprived.

There was another food game and who do you think got the bag with the baby food in it? Mr. Lego.


We had a great time this year with family, friends and just with our kiddos.

Happy 2011!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Family Christmas

After church on the 26th, we headed to the Bay Area to visit family. The first stop was to visit Auntie, Uncle and Obachan. She had made yummy Japanese food for us. Here is the cousins' table.


And here is what we ate, Sukiyaki. Yum-yum.


We took a nice walk and them came back and checked out their new video game system: Kinect. It is crazy, but the thing scans your body and then you play the game, making movements to either hit the ball, ride down the rapids, or dodge the bullet. Basically making you look like a fool to everyone around you.

Here is Mr. Lego and Cousin #3 playing it.


My sister-in -law and I had a turn; I had hid my camera so no one got embarrassing photos of us.

The next morning we had breakfast and the boys played Risk.



Hanging out with cousins is always so fun. It is also great having Obachan live closer to us and seeing her at Christmas time.







The next stop was Grandpa & Grandma's house. They had planned out our afternoon; the guys all went to see the newest Narnia movie in 3D.


The girls went to a very lovely tea party together. We had sandwiches, scones and cake.


We came back and then after dinner and a nice walk to the park, we had hot cider and cookies.



Then with Mr. Lego and Bookworm, we all played Phase 10. I think Grandma won.


We are very blessed to have both sides of our family within a days drive of us. And we had a lovely time visiting them all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Time

Our holidays this year were low key, but filled with fun things to do. Here's what we were up to...

We started celebrating even before Christmas; in the kitchen. I had some kind of beserk mind lapse and felt that we were a little low on our sugar intake, so the kids and I made 4 different kinds of cookies. I really didn't have to, because a couple days later our kitchen counter looked like this with all the treats we had been given.



A couple days before Christmas we went to check out the lights display at the zoo.



A couple of these bears look like they want to eat me, and the other one looks too friendly to be a bear.



Then on Christmas Eve, we had our annual munchy night. Yes, this is what I bought that deep fryer for.

These are the mini corn dogs.





Here is my plate, ready for consumption.



Later that night we drove out to a few different spots to see the lights. At one place the entire cul-de-sac goes all out. So the only thing to do, unless you feel like waiting in line in your car for 45 minutes, is to walk it.



We finished the night with a massive pillow fight.


Take cover....



The boys finished out the fighting with two girls under the covers and another cowering in the bathroom.



We don't make a big deal of gifts in our family; each child buys small gifts for each other and also gets one from us. We relaxed all Christmas day then spent the evening with friends playing ping pong, Speed Scrabble and Pictionary.