Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Quest for Jeans that Fit

so, have you seen this website Zafu?

it's magic...you answer a few questions and it tells you what jeans, pants, or bras will fit you best. and, as someone who hasn't quite figured out this whole mom-figure thing yet, and who is not the best shopper in the world (i hate it), that is brilliant!

anyway, maybe all of you already look fabulous at all times. in fact, you probably do. but for the rest of us, here's help!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

i saw this on a friend's blog and had to share...hope you are challenged like i was.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Videos

Christy is at choir practice with the boys, so I am taking this opportunity to hijack her blog and post a couple of videos from our camping trips this summer.

The first one is from our trip to the Sand Dunes about a month ago.

video

The second one is from the day we were loading up to go camping at Brainard Lake earlier in the summer.

video

Video # 3 is from the shores of the lake during that trip.

video

Finally, one more from a hike taken during that trip.


video

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ode to a Brown Chair



this chair has been with me since birth
my husband doesn't appreciate its worth
my babies were nursed there
so much more than "just a chair"
may its spirit roam free on the earth

goodbye, sweet chair.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

This is the Place Where

this weekend marked my 10 year college reunion.

wheaton was the place where:
i learned to make the best of a dorm room. shared with a cheerleader.
realized that my best is not always good enough.
stayed up waaaay too late.
found that Jesus is not always easily met in a room full of christians.
learned to be honest before God.
ate food creatively edited from the cafeteria offerings.
chose to speak my mind.
realized that it's not my job to rescue someone who doesn't want to be rescued.
decided to marry my husband.
spent a lot of time on the roof.
got to stand alongside someone choosing to face their past.
learned that truth and love need to balance each other.
saw Jesus reflected in the unexpected places, more than in the status quo.

sometimes i feel like the parts of myself that were most vibrant 10 years ago are somehow buried beneath the details and the day to day of my current life. i hope that this weekend serves as a reminder to hold on to those pieces, to not let them fade away.



Friday, September 12, 2008

Gimme an I! Gimme a K! Gimme an E and A!


let us all shout for joy as the news breaks across the land....IKEA is coming to Colorado! according to the denver post, ikea will be coming to centennial (south of denver) sometime in the forseeable future. with news like this, the question remains: can trader joes be far behind? dare we to hope??

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Please Don't Lock the Bathroom Door

the time is t-minus 5 minutes until leaving for school. the place? the upstairs bathroom. the culprit? my friend daniel estoll, 4 years old.

the kid was having a rough time anyway because he had just woken up. his hair was all frazzled and he was missing a shirt. add to that the fact that we were about to get in the car, jammy pants and all to get his older brother to school, and he wasn't in the best frame of mind. well, neither was i for that matter.

he locked himself in for reasons unknown, and immediately started freaking out. fortunately, he is the most level-headed of my children. he gets it from his mother. after several minutes of "take a deep breath, daniel" and "turn the little lever--no, not the handle, the lever! turn it away from the sink--no! away from the sink!!" we finally managed to spring him from the clink.

we even made it to school on time.

but, in the future, please don't lock the bathroom door!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Million Dollar Beans

the above is a photo of one pound of green beans.  for reference, a pound of organic green beans was selling at the boulder farmers market last week for $5.  five bucks!  the following photo is of the amount of green beans i have in my fridge from just the past 6 days:
so, by my calculations, by the end of the summer, my 1/2 packet of pole green beans should save me approximately $1,039,572 in organic boulder green beans.  take that, $5 a pound!  

(anyone know any green bean recipes?)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Can You Bake a Cherry Pie, Billy Boy

so, an exciting milestone has been reached this week...no, not the tomatoes, cause the first one was 2 weeks ago.  i know, i should have told you.  no, it's the inaugural appearance of the boiling water canner for the season.  that's right, and the victim:  cherries.

i have to say that of all the canning i've done so far (admittedly, not much), cherries have got to be up there in the labor intensive.  granted, these were "found" cherries, picked off a tree in public space, so i was already spending a decent amount of time picking.  but then, oh, then comes The Pitting.  thank goodness for my mother-in-law's fancy high-tech pitter, that's all i can say.  

and, after all that, i got enough to make 2.3 pies.  my husband's favorite, so i hope he knows how much i love him.  yeah, he probably does.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I am an HMTL Wizard

not to deflect from my previous post, but i just have to share my latest accomplishment, which is--messing around with the code in my blog.  i'm sure for "real" bloggers this is childs play, but...

*drumroll please*

...i changed the blockquotes code in my blog!  and i only twitched a little bit with anxiety before making the change, worried that i had irrevocably messed up my blog forever.

what are blockquotes, you ask?  well, let me tell you.  they are the thing that makes the quotation stand out differently from the rest of the text.  i got the idea for mine from this really helpful site called Blogger Buster, which had a bunch of ideas for customizing your blockquotes.  here's a copy of what i used, handily offset by the blockquotes themselves:
blockquote {
margin:1em 20px;
font-weight; bold;
font-style: italic; color: #87cefa;
border: 3px dotted #87cefa;
padding: 10px;
}
i even made up my own color scheme, and everything.  now, wasn't that fun?

James Dobson Doesn't Speak for Me

in another round of ways that the "religious right", while sharing much of my understanding of faith, does NOT share my understanding of politics and the intersection thereof, i bring you james dobson's recent attacks of barack obama (if you want to listen to it, scroll through to about 10 min 30 sec or so, because the whole first part is about something else).  as i've said before, i don't believe that either political party has cornered the market on being christianer-than-thou.  i have real issues with some of the "party lines" of both sides, but i get very frustrated with the assumption that christians can only morally vote for a republican.  there are some planks of the republican party that stand in direct opposition of my understanding of the christian faith.

i also feel that dobson in particular has been irresponsible during this campaign, telling his followers in february that faced with his current choices for president (mccain, or hillary/obama at the time) he is simply not going to vote.  i'm sorry, but for a public figure with as much influence as he has to tell people he won't vote, that is not only irresponsible but also strikes me as fairly like a petty tantrum.  in my house, people who have petty tantrums have to go to their room for a while.

this line of thought began last week because of an email that a friend sent me, where jim wallis (the author of the book i blogged about here) points out how much distortion james dobson uses in his attack on obama.  you can read jim wallis' whole essay here, but in a nutshell he sums up a lot of what i have been feeling in these last few paragraphs: 
Instead of saying that Christians must accept the "the lowest common denominator of morality," as Dobson accused Obama of suggesting, or that people of faith shouldn't advocate for the things their convictions suggest, Obama was saying the exact opposite -- that Christians should offer their best moral compass to the nation but then engage in the kind of democratic dialogue that religious pluralism demands. Martin Luther King Jr. perhaps did this best, with his Bible in one hand and the Constitution in the other.

One more note. I personally disagree with how both the Democrats and Republicans have treated the moral issue of abortion and am hopeful that the movement toward a serious commitment for dramatic abortion reduction will re-shape both parties' language and positions. But that is the only "bloody notion" that Dobson mentions. What about the horrible bloody war in Iraq that Dobson apparently supports, or the 30,000 children who die each day globally of poverty and disease that Dobson never mentions, or the genocides in Darfur and other places? In making abortion the single life issue in politics and elections, leaders from the Religious Right like Dobson have violated the "consistent ethic of life" that we find, for example, in Catholic social teaching.

Dobson has also fought unsuccessfully to keep the issue of the environment and climate change, which many also now regard as a "life issue," off the evangelical agenda. Older Religious Right leaders are now being passed by a new generation of young evangelicals who believe that poverty, "creation care" of the environment, human trafficking, human rights, pandemic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and the fundamental issues of war and peace are also "religious" and "moral" issues and now a part of a much wider and deeper agenda. That new evangelical agenda is a deep threat to Dobson and the power wielded by the Religious Right for so long. It puts many evangelical votes in play this election year, especially among a new generation who are no longer captive to the Religious Right. Perhaps that is the real reason for Dobson's attack on Barack Obama.

i very much identify with what jim wallis describes as "a new generation of young evangelicals" and the issues he describes.  i am excited for the "moral issues" of our time to include more than just The Big One that the religious right has said is important.

for the record, the speech by obama that dobson is so adamantly attacking is here.  i find after reading it that in my opinion, the more vitriolic and low-minded speech goes to dobson, not obama.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Banketstaaf, or How a Mexican Fiesta Led to Dutch Pastry


this post is for My Friend Judith from High School.  or, more correctly, My Friend Judith from High School's Mom.  you see, judith's family came from the netherlands, and her mom for christmas one year made these amazing dutch pastries called banketstaaf.  believe me when i tell you that they were amazing.  cause they were.  and i always remembered them, even though i'd never heard of them before or since.

well, fast forward to this year when i was making horchata (this cinnamony rice beverage) for Cinco de Mayo.  don't worry, this will all make sense eventually.  anyway, to make horchata, at least with the recipe i found, you need a ton of blanched almonds which were pulverized and strained through liquid to make a milky milk-like substance, which you then transformed into the horchata.  i know, i didn't get the almond-in-the-rice-beverage either.  (as an aside, i found out after the fact that you can purchase horchata in the store, and it's really pretty cheap.  so, needless to say, i don't know if the whole pulverize-almonds-and-strain-them-by-hand thing is gonna happen again.)

but, even so, i had all this almond meal left over, and it seemed very lame to just throw it away.  and if you knew my mom, you would know the evil that befalls anyone who throws away "perfectly good food."  lets don't get started on the broccoli stalks.

anyway, so i threw it in the freezer, thinking i would use it sometime.  and then, i remembered the banketstaaf.  and i looked around and found this recipe to make it.  however, it didn't call for almond meal, but almond paste.  which apparently, costs your firstborn child if you purchase the quantity called for in the recipe (1 lb).  but, fortunately for me i had 3 cups of almond meal in the freezer, so i used this recipe to transform it into almond paste, and voila!  banketstaaf.

where the mexican fiesta comes in again, making a full circle of multicultural delight, is that the almond meal, having been used to make the aforementioned almond-rice-beverage, was flavored with cinnamon and lime when i used it the first time around.  so instead of your run of the mill almond flavor, it was bursting with fiesta goodness.

all this to say, it really was quite tasty.  and, thanks, judith's mom.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Beautiful Sunny Day

so, my husband and the boys were out hiking and playing in the gorgeous june weather today, while i stayed inside at my computer desk at work.  talk about a lame way to spend a beautiful saturday!  and, in order for you to understand just how lame it was, i am posting the video he made of it:


video

Monday, June 02, 2008

Toothless Wonder


well, i have to hurry up and post this, because the first lost tooth is soon to be joined by the second!  yep, that's right, nicholas officially has a less-toothy-grin, as of last weekend.  the excitement began in kindergarten, when the tooth was lost during group time (hardly seems fair to miss the first one like that!), and continued on into the night, as mama, who thought she had more "wiggling" time to get organized, quickly sewed up a little tooth fairy pouch.  chris likes to make fun of me for it, so i will post it here for your enjoyment.  you can't really tell by the picture, but there are cool sparkly gems all around the fairy--every self-respecting fairy needs some fairy dust!

in case you are wondering, the going rate in this house for
 fairies, tooth or otherwise, is 4 quarters, a marble, and a shiny rock.  i know, i know, i think i got maybe one quarter for mine, but hey, with the price of gas these days, what is the poor kid going to do with a quarter?  the marble and rock are special introductory offers only, i'm thinking.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Garden Mania!


well, you may not know this, but chris and i are in the throes of an enormous garden undertaking.  he has been hauling rock for the retaining wall of our new raised bed for the past couple of weeks...literally tons of it.  we now have an area of about 225 square feet in which to plant our garden bounty....this is addition to the weeny one we had last year, which already has peas, asparagus, and strawberries growing.

and, i found this really cool toy online to help visualize the crops as they grow.  it's really fun to play with, so check it out!  you just may decide to plant a mondo one too!  :)  once you drag-and-drop your plants, hit the "grow" button and see them do their thing...

as for me, i am wildly plotting our garden haul, as follows:
tomato plants--8 of them.  i want to can a bunch this fall.
squash--2 summer, 2 winter.  probably a zuchini and yellow squash, and butternut and pumpkin or spaghetti.
basil--tons
carrots
bell peppers
jalapeno pepper
cukes--one eating, one pickling
maybe potatoes or onions, never tried these before
pole beans
quinoa
sunflowers
poppies
cosmos

already growing in the garden:
the above mentioned strawberries
asparagus
peas
sage
thyme
chives (these are the coolest right now...a ton of purple flowers)
oregano
mint
lavender
parsley
rhubarb--left by the previous owner...anyone have ideas for using this with a rhubarb-hating husband?

that sounds much cooler than it looks right now, but i hope to have a ton of food growing in my yard come summer!



Friday, April 25, 2008

Free Ice Cream


it must be spring, the free ice cream is starting to roll out!  so, as a public service announcement, i am telling you to run, not walk, to your nearest ben & jerry's on april 29th....load up the kiddos, your friends and neighbors!  it's free, people!

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Book


my ever-other-sunday small group is starting a new book, and i am pretty excited about it.  while i have always considered myself an evangelical christian, i have often felt like the "party line" of evangelicals does not fit me.  in the politics realm anyway.  i identify with the evangelical movement in its desire to hold to the primacy of the scriptures, and its unwillingness to discount the hard passages just because they are hard or unpopular, and the idea that the good news of the gospel is being forgiven by and having a relationship with Jesus.  however, the political parcel that usually goes along with that (big business, death penalty, downplaying of social justice, environment, education) has always been hard for me to swallow.  

this book promises to address that idea, that there is a subset of devout christians out there who do not fall in line with the religious right, who believe deeply in the fundamentals of christianity, but don't necessarily think that God would vote for only one political party.  and, as well, that many of the sweeping social reforms that have occurred in this nation have had as their driving force a time of religious revival--women's sufferage, abolition of slavery, etc.

at least, it seems like it from the dust jacket.  :)  haven't read much yet. 


image courtesy of good ol' amazon.com.  


anyone out there read it yet?  or relate to what i'm talking about?

edited to add an old-fashioned title and link, since the picture is apparently not showing up!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sooo Handsome





ok, so i know it's been a while....
thanks to W and because we want to do our duty as good americans, we have used our soon-to-arrive tax stimulus package to finally upgrade our computer.  which means, posting will theoretically be easier.  and, in celebration i offer you:
Daniel's New Glasses!

these are circa january or so, but i couldn't get the old computer to do the pictures.  his eyes had been crossing pretty dramatically before we got them, but it seems to have corrected that.  we go in at the end of the month to see if he needs a new prescription (we've already changed it once).  meanwhile, i happen to think he is totally cute!

Friday, March 07, 2008

File This Under: You Don't Have to be a Tree-Hugging Liberal

i came across this website today, and i have to say, it was heartening. many times, i am frustrated by the inertia of the church when it comes to environmental issues. in fact, some treat the very word "environmental" as some kind of pejorative. however, an organization of evangelical leaders have come together to create the Evangelical Climate Initiative is seeking to change that, by acknowledging that the problem is real, urgent, and important for us as Christians to address. it even has a handy tab under their faq's entitled: "Does addressing climate change mean we're becoming liberals?" (just in case you were worried about that.) :) check it out!

love, your favorite tree-hugger.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Things that Make you Wanna Ralph

(in honor of the stomach bug that i had over the weekend...)

ok, so i knew somewhat in the back of my mind that teflon is not good for you....and old, scratchy teflon, worse. however, i came across this link today and it creeped me out! we have been phasing out the we've-had-it-forever stuff, but this makes me even more determined! yuck!

also, this little ditty about scotchguard, that stuff that repels stains on upholstery, clothing, and carpets. well, apparently, it's also used in food packaging like fast food containers, candy wrappers, microwave popcorn etc. apparently, it was phased out of food products, because of the persistent nature of the chemical in humans and animals all throughout the food chain. my favorite quote: "chemicals that cause cancer in animals cannot be used as food additives"--according to the fda. well. thank goodness for that.

off to peruse some secondhand cast iron....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Superfoods List

finished the book Superfoods Rx, by Stephen Pratt the other day. basically a manifesto for eating a whole-foods diet...that is, foods in their natural form, not foods from Whole Foods Market (aka "Whole Paycheck".) he focuses on the idea that foods are powerful agents for health, and while we know a lot about the different vitamins and nutrients in food, many times we don't understand the interplay of them all together in certain foods. not to mention, all the ones we haven't discovered yet. also, while it's possible to overdose on certain supplements, it is next to impossible to overdose while eating foods in their natural form. (that is, if he isn't counting cookies. or cheese. neither of which made it on the list, come to think of it.)

in a nutshell, here are the "power foods" he advocates eating more of:

1. beans--at least four 1/2 cup servings a week.
2. blueberries (and purple grapes, cranberries, bysenberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, blackberries, cherries, and etc. other berries.)--1 to 2 cups daily.
3. broccoli (and brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, mustard greens, swiss chard)--1/2 to 1 cup daily.
4. oats (and wheat germ, ground flaxseed. also brown rice, barley, wheat, buckwheat, rye, millet, bulgur wheat, amaranth, quinoa, triticale, kamut, yellow corn, wild rice, spelt, couscous.)--5 to 7 servings daily. the trick with this one is to find whole, unrefined grains. Look for the word "whole" on the label--don't be fooled by tricky packaging.
5. oranges (and lemons, white and pink grapefruit, kumquats, tangerines, and limes.)--one serving daily.
6. pumpkin (and carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, orange bell peppers)--1/2 cup on most days.
7. wild salmon (not farmed!) (and alaskan halibut, canned albacore tuna, sardines, herring, trout, sea bass, oysters, clams)--2 to 4 times per week. a helpful resource for eco-choices, or if you are concerned about the mercury in some types of fish is the monterey bay aquarium's seafood watch guide. they make a pocket guide that is handy on the go.
8. soy (in the form of tofu, soymilk, soy nuts, edamame, tempeh, miso)--15 grams of soy protien per day. look for organic soy--if it doesn't specify, then chances are it is genetically modified.
9. spinach (and kale, collards, swiss chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, bok choy, romaine lettuce, orange bell peppers)--1 cup steamed or 2 cups raw per day. this category is particulary protective for macular degeneration of the eyes, something which affects my grandmother.
10. tea--one or more cups daily.
11. tomatoes (and red watermelon, pink grapefruit, japanese persimmons, red-fleshed papaya, strawberry guava)--one serving of processed tomatoes (or others) daily, and multiple servings per week of fresh.
12. turkey (or skinless chicken breast)--3 to 4 servings per week. i know, you were worried this was a crazy vegetarian book.
13. walnuts (and almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews)--1 ounce, 5 times per week.
14. yogurt (or kefir)--2 cups daily

i was glad to see that some of these we are already eating regularly, and challenged to add a few of the ones we aren't. how about you--anyone still keeping their "eat healthy" resolutions out there?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ode to a Spare Tire

on my way to cbs last week, i bundled up the boys as i normally do and loaded them in the car. fortunately, nicholas was already at preschool because chris can take him most thursday mornings. i strapped them in and started out, getting about 30 yards before i realized that something was very wrong. it was the thumpa-thumpa-thumpa that really gave it away...we had a flat tire. just to set the stage a little, let me say that jonathan was *already* screaming his face off at this point, because he was so cold.

how cold? well, let's just say it was single digits. eight degrees to be exact. fortunately, since i was so close to home, i just gingerly turned around and limped home, hoping not to damage anything by driving on the rims, jonathan screaming all the way.

so, obviously the meeting was out of the question. i took the screaming children inside (daniel is now crying because we can't go and he loves cbs) and get them watching sesame street. i love pbs right now. and i go back out to figure out what to do, because i have about 2 hours until i have to be at nicholas' school for the kindergarten pickup. i decide i need to figure out how to change the tire. fortunately, it is now warmed up to nine degrees. at least i can go inside and jump around every 5 minutes or so for warmth!

let's just say that the last time i changed a tire was...never. ok, maybe once when i learned to drive, but even that is doubtful. thank goodness for the owner's manual. and stan's automotive shop, whose workers never laugh at me when i call them up and say "ummm....what do i do now?" i will show you in pictures what happened next...






that's right, you perceptive readers....after i got the spare tire on and the car jacked back down, i realized that the spare tire was *also flat*. what are you supposed to do with a flat spare tire? did i mention that it was nine degrees? i thought so. anyway, i did what any other self respecting tire changer would do in this situation...i called stan's. and, just so you know why i love them so much, i will tell you that they sent a guy out with a portable air filler-upper to my house to fill it back up.


so, with 20 minutes to spare before i had to be at the kindergarten pickup, i had a new tire (with air!) to drive on. go stan's!

the whole time, i was also thinking, thank God that this happened where i could have the kids inside watching sesame street, instead of screaming their faces off on the side of the road in single digits while i jacked up the car.

oh, and so you know, my friend chara told me that there is a thing called fix-a-flat or something, and you can repair a flat without all this mess. stan says it's not great for your tires, though.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hungry Planet

i just finished reading this book...anyone else? essentially, the authors visit families in different countries for a week, photographing their life and documenting what each family eats over the course of a week. each family also poses with a weeks worth of food, and there are statistics about each country so that you can somewhat compare. some interesting parts:
  • how much the food in industrialized countries doesn't actually look like food--that is, they are pictured surrounded by boxes, bottles and packages, and very little that you would recognize as part of a plant or animal. by contrast, in developing nations, sometimes they would have absolutely no prepared food, or a couple of bouillion cubes or something.
  • how disparate the amount of food available is, depending on where one lives.
  • how much musk ox meat is eaten by people in greenland...something like 29 lbs per week. per person.
  • all the different types and parts of animals that are eaten around the world...congealed blood or deep fried scorpion on a stick, anyone?

it was also striking the way that the authors would juxtapose different families...for instance, they did 2 different families living in chad, one who was a refugee family from a neighboring war-torn country, and one a local family. also, there were 3 different families from the US, and how different they were from each other, yet really very similar as compared to the world.

overall, a very interesting, somewhat shocking book...anyone else got a good read to share?