Thursday, March 31, 2011

More fun at the park

I, too, took a few pictures at the park…nothing special, but fun.

My beautiful not-quite-teenager_MG_3914

Swinging and reading_MG_3922

Of course she climbed up there_MG_3924

Elise is getting to be quite a climber, too_MG_3931


She was being really super goofy on this afternoon – and this isn’t even the one I’m not allowed to post…_MG_3942

Bethany was just being sweet and having fun waiting for her first fast-pitch softball game_MG_3945

Would someone please tell this child to STOP. GROWING?!?!_MG_3948

Hello cutie!IMG_3998

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter

With stern warnings of being disowned if anything destructive happened to my camera, I handed it over to Sarah to take some pictures while we were at the park last week. I. Am. Impressed. Turns out, this girl has talent!

All these shots were taken on Full Auto and are Straight Out Of Camera (SOOC) – no editing, no cropping.








Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Moon

A couple weeks ago, there was a special moon. I don’t remember the details, but it was supposedly really big because it was really close to earth. Personally, I’ve seen “bigger” moons – because I’ve seen them closer to the horizon than I can see them from my house. But, it was historic. It was a clear night. And it was a beautiful moon. To God be the glory.

Psalm 8:1, 3-5 – “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A stack of Bibles

In my Bible Study at church, there are a number of women with Study Bibles. They will read a Scripture and then they’ll say, “My footnotes explain it like this…” or “My footnotes say we can apply it in this way…” and I’ve always wanted to have that in my studies. This year, while studying Beth Moore’s study of the Beloved Disciple, John, I’ve found myself wishing for that frequently. Sure, I could use some fancy schmancy Bible Software, but that just isn’t for me.

(If you know us, you know of course that I’m joking. Bible Software is the best thing you could ever own, as long as it comes from Logos.)

So, when the Life Application NIV Study Bible, in the “personal size”, was advertised at the local Christian bookstore as being 50% off, I thought, wow, what a perfect opportunity! Plus, the Bible I was using, which was the Bible we got for our wedding, was breaking and I didn’t want to break it completely.

I started explaining to my DH that I needed this Bible. You see, we’ve recently cracked down on our spending habits in the name of saving for the future. Ed insisted that I had enough Bibles. I kept explaining that I did not have a STUDY Bible, not to mention a Study Bible that was small and light weight for all my travels I do with GEMS. He says, “You can use one of my Study Bibles!”

Okay. Show me.

He brings me a GIANT Life Application Study Bible. I could use it to anchor my boat, if I had a boat.

He brings me one Bible after another, each belonging to him, that he thinks I should use. None are lightweight study Bibles. (Nor are they pretty, and the Bible on sale was pretty)!

I started thinking…I wonder how many Bibles my husband has bought for his own study, compared with mine? I went on a search. I came up with about 6. I showed him. “Look at your Bibles. And I have just 3. Plus this wedding Bible, which we share.” He says, “That’s NOTHING!”

He went on a search. When he was done, our stacks of Bibles looked like this:

photo-3Please excuse the poor picture quality. It was night time and I took this with my phone.                          

That’s FOURTEEN Bibles belonging to Ed there, people!

Needless to say, my DH consented. “Please go buy yourself a lightweight Study Bible.”


Isn’t she pretty?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Party in the USA

The middle school gave a little concert last week. Junior High kids are so awesome. I just get the biggest kick out of them. So I love going to their concerts.

The orchestra played. They sounded nice. The choir sang a song. They sounded good. Then things got interesting.

One 7th grade boy walked away from the choir. He was headed towards the keyboard. The director is whispering to him, “Hey, no, not yet. Come back. We’re not doing that song yet.” Turning beet red, and smiling, he sheepishly walked back to the choir. The director comes to the mic and says, “We’re just a little bit excited about our last song.”


So they sing their second song while all the parents are wondering, “What on earth is the last song they’re so excited about?”

So after the song is over, the boy heads back to the keyboard and the director comes to the mic.

“So, the students are really excited to sing this next song for you. It’s one they voted on and chose themselves to sing for you and they’re just really excited about it. It’s Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus.”

At this, I did laugh out loud again. Seriously? Miley Cyrus?

The director ends his little introduction with a ”Woo-hoo!” in total 7th grade girl fashion. I was totally cracking up. The director is hilarious and there is just no way to even describe how silly this moment was. But I thoroughly enjoyed it.

And so we watched these kids sing Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA. (Do me a favor. Don’t try to watch Miley Cyrus sing it on YouTube. You don’t want to watch that). But there were our kids, in concert dress of black and white, singing it with pure joy.


And that director got them to enjoy music. And along the way, he’s taught them that God is the great Director and the creator of music. And that in all things we glorify God. And that somehow, yes, they can glorify God when they sing that silly song because they are giving credit to the Creator and Director of music and their lives.

And that, my blog readers, is simply what Christian Education is about.

Oh, and then the band played, which Sarah is also in. (By the way, did you find her in that choir picture? Top row, about the fourth girl from the left or so. It’s hard to tell with all those hands…)

Their band sounds very good – their director is talented and has made the squeaks and squawks that plagued our homes the first few months of playing in 5th grade turn into pretty awesome music. My favorite was when they played Freedom by Michael W. Smith. They were proud and they should be. I was proud of every kid in that room that day. Especially this pretty flutist in the middle.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Deep Breath

With a deep breath and a whole lot of prayers, I am jumping into something new. Well, it's sort of new. I'm offering a photography class (photography is not new to me, nor is teaching) to home-schooled Junior High Students on Thursday mornings, beginning April 14! I have a new blog, JBCreations, so check it out! Feel free to pass along the information and to say a prayer that this venture will be blessed by God and will be a blessing to those that take it, to me, and to our family. Thanks!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Making Tiny Treats

Bethany kept herself busy one recent Sunday afternoon making miniature donuts.


(Cheerios with powdered sugar and chocolate frosting)


Very fun.

If you feed a family some beef

If you feed my family some very lean and tender beef from a church boy who raised his own beef cattle, Ed & I might start talking about the old “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” commercials.

If we talk about old commercials, the children will want to know what on earth we are talking about and I will have to search for the commercials on YouTube.

When I find an old commercial, the children will then want to know the name of the song. We will search the world wide web and discover it is Aaron Copeland’s “Rodeo”.

After we know what the Beef song is, we will want to hear the William Tell Overture. I don’t know why.

Because we want to hear the William Tell Overture, we will again search on YouTube. And then we will find this.

And after you watched that, do you have any fond memories of watching that on a Sunday night on ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney? If you have fond memories of watching Wonderful World of Disney, perhaps you should come over for beef sometime.


The girls eating their candy and watching the 1935 Mickey Mouse short.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Muffin Top Pan Review

I have an opinion. The tops of the muffins are the best. This is not so much opinion as it is fact, in my opinion. The tops of the muffins have a completely different texture than the bottoms. It has something to do with the heat of the baking and the butter. Or something. I don’t claim to be a chemist.

Anyway, ever since I heard of muffin top pans, I have wanted one, but they’re rather expensive. A while back I found one at the thrift store for $1.49! I was so excited!

For breakfast on Sunday morning a couple weeks ago I decided it was time to give the pan a try.




The muffin tops turned out pretty well. However, a couple things I learned:

1. Don’t use a boxed bread mix to make muffins, especially when there are not muffin directions on said box. It’s just gonna taste like bread.

2. Through research on the world wide web, I learned that you must fill the muffin top cavities to the brim. This gives you more muffin top and less muffin bottom.

3. My friend Amy said something about butter. I don’t remember. Hopefully she’ll comment on here and remind me. More butter? Less butter? I’m thinking more.

Anyway, tomorrow I am going to try again for my Accountability Group (aka: scrapbooking friends). This time I’m going to use an actual muffin recipe, Snickerdoodle Muffins, from Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen Blog. I figure if I use something as sweet and delicious as a muffin compared to a cookie, it’ll turn out.

After I bake and eat my Snickerdoodle Muffins, hopefully I will have a better review on the Muffin Top Pan. In the meantime, I would {{heart}} to hear tips from my friends who are incredibly talented in the kitchen on using said pan. (Hint, hint, Jessica!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A true Washingtonian

We are all true Washingtonians around here. Even my California-born husband. When the sun begins to shine through a marine layer of clouds, we get out our sunglasses. When it's 65 degrees, the children wear shorts. When it's 75 degrees, they complain it's too hot. We have pasty white skin and get sunburns. If the sun comes through the window of our house, sometimes we have to close the blinds because it's too bright.

This morning, the sun broke through the clouds nice & bright for the first time in literally weeks. It has been a nasty March. Elise practically winced when I opened the van door and the sunlight hit her face. She said, "Wow, Mom! It's really sunny today! Can we go in the sprinkler?"

Never mind that it was 45 degrees and windy at the time.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Taking a poll

Pioneer Woman is having another photography contest. The theme is “beauty”. It can be anything. But I need your help! I have too many pictures that say “beauty” to me, so please vote in the poll to the right for your favorite!

Already entered:


She’s messy, she’s happy, she’s smiling, it’s sunny. Beauty.

Picture 1:


We don’t like bees at our house, but this one is just doing its job and making beautiful flowers.

Picture 2:


Old barn. North woods Minnesota. If these walls could talk beautiful.

Picture 3:


“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. All things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.”

Picture 4:


Sol Duc Falls, Olympic Peninsula.

Picture 5:


Also at Sol Duc Falls.

Picture 6:


Second Beach, Olympic Peninsula.

Picture 7:


Also at Second Beach, Olympic Peninsula.

Picture 8:


Deer at Hurricane Ridge, Olympic Peninsula.

Picture 9:


Old picture of a picture of my mother-in-law holding my husband.

Picture 10:


Bird nest Becca found while Christmas tree hunting.

Picture 11:


Spontaneous hug between cousins at Christmas.

Picture 12:


Sunset reflecting on Mt. Baker.

Picture 13:


Butterfly (moth?) at Hurricane Ridge

Edited to add: I have been informed by my brother the insectologist that this is a Western Tiger Swallowtail. Thanks!

The assignment is for whatever is beautiful to the photographer. These are all beautiful to me, so I have to narrow it down because I can’t enter this many photos. One per day for probably 4 or 5 days. So, I’m going to make a poll on the side bar and I would LOVE it if you would help me out and vote for your favorite picture of BEAUTY!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Today is Ash Wednesday. The beginning of Lent. The season in which we remember Christ’s suffering. Typically people like to give up something for Lent in order to help them remember the suffering of our Lord. Like chocolate or wine or coffee or TV or something. I read a blog post today that has got me thinking. She said a guest pastor preached about how giving up something for Lent isn’t about giving up chocolate or wine or coffee or a thing. Giving up something for Lent is about giving up a sin. A sin which is exactly what caused the suffering of our Lord which we are trying to remember.

I had a FB friend post today that she’s going to attempt to give up swearing for Lent. She is spot-on. That’s a good one.

Could we all consider attempting to give up a sin such as lying, cheating, gossiping, impatience, or pride? We won’t succeed, but will our conscious efforts make us more conscious of the suffering of our Lord and more in tune with what He has done for us and in turn, more joyous on Easter Sunday morning when we celebrate His resurrection, the promise of eternal life, and our salvation?

I think so. Let’s challenge ourselves.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

do the math–figure it out

Yesterday Bethany participated in the Whatcom County Math Championships with 3 of her classmates. Her teacher gave them a few extra math lessons after school on Mondays for a few weeks and took the group down to the community college to compete in individual, mental math, and team tests.


That’s right. Three girls. One boy. Kind of goes against the typical stereotype there. Ed went along as a parent chaperone and he says that one boy is super-smart. They were doing math problems on the way and Ed says he got every one right. But still. Three girls. One boy. Niiiiiiice!

Many, many, moons ago I also went to the Math Olympiad, as it was called back then. I, unlike Bethany, was not good at Math. But, my brother was going and I think my math teacher thought maybe if she pretended I was good in math and treated me like I was good in math, I might just be good in math. And it worked. For the two years I had that teacher, I got the best grades in math of my life, until I got to college. (Although my getting a straight A in “Teaching Elementary Math” might not count to some people). Anyway, all that to say, teachers have a big impact in their students’ lives. And so far, Mrs. T. is having a great impact on my Bethany.

Since Ed was on the field trip, the pictures are minimal and this is all I’ve got of Mrs. T, but at least she’s being very teacher-ly:


Anyway, Bethany truly is good at math. In the individual tests, she scored the highest out of her group of 4, which earned her a ribbon!


Congratulations, Bethany! We are so proud of you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Under construction...again

I'm trying to find a new design for my blog. I'm feeling the need for something spring-like. I tried to install a few from different websites, and even though I've done it before, for some reason it's not working out for me today. And my lifetime technical support guy is currently out of the house. Therefore...the blog looks weird for the time-being. What I really want, of course, is a custom blog design that will make me smile every time I see it...but I also want it to be free. Anyone?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Women’s Retreat

Last weekend was our much-looked-forward-to church women’s retreat. I know it was a stressful thing for the committee to plan, (I was on the committee for the last retreat in the Fall of 2009), especially since their speaker backed out about a month before, due to unforeseen circumstances. It became a matter of prayer and God provided. God knew who was supposed to speak to us at retreat and He made sure she was there.

Our retreat was held up at gorgeous Cedar Springs. It was cold, but pretty and all the water was frozen, which we had never seen before on our retreats up there. Very cool to see how the water froze into swirls as the cold northeastern wind must have frozen layer after layer of moving water. Proof of our creative God.

We began on Friday night with a delicious dinner cooked, served, and cleaned up by Cedar Springs. That’s simply one of the best parts of retreat…three meals eaten in the company of good friends with no thought, preparation, cooking, or cleaning involved. We had devotions, singing, crafts, and games to fill the rest of the evening, followed by multiple trips to the snack table, conversation, and laughter until much, much too late…into the wee hours of the morning!

Saturday morning began of course with devotions and a hot breakfast and the first two sessions from our speaker. She spoke about adopting their daughter from China, and shared about how they worked so hard to bond with her when she first came to live with them. She compared that to how God wants to bond with us as his adopted children. The first of two things I appreciated most about those two sessions was the idea that I can offer my day as my gift to God. I’m all about gifts. Truly. In the love languages, gifts are tops to me. And the idea of offering my day, which so often seems so…annoying (driving so much) and mundane (laundry)…as a gift to God was new to me. And thought-provoking. I know I do these things to serve my family, which is how I serve God. But a gift is different than service. A gift is something I love to give to someone I love and someone else loves to get. A gift is something I love to watch the recipient open. A gift is thought about and comes with love attached. A gift is special. Different than service somehow. I felt as though God put the speaker at the retreat just to speak those words to me…since I’m so frustrated with my day-to-day life lately. Looking at it as a gift to my Heavenly Father puts a whole new perspective on things.

The other thing I appreciated about those opening sessions was when she shared about holding her daughter’s face between her hands and putting her forehead up against her daughter’s forehead to try to make eye contact. She just wanted her daughter to look at her. Connect. After a while, there was some eye contact, and gradually more and more until they connected, face to face. Doesn’t our God do that to us as His adopted children? Isn’t that just a great thought to think that He pulls us to look at Him because He just wants to connect with us? We thought about that image as we sang:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Ah, what comfort. What truth.

After lunch and an invigorating, brisk walk in the cold, we came back for two more sessions with our humble and quiet, yet powerful speaker. I had a few things to learn again…God wants to be near to us and to tend to us as a shepherd tends to his flock. I know this in my head. But, in order to be that near to God, we have to give up control. Yep. That’s all. Of course, I know this. But, as any mom, wife, homemaker, etc., etc., etc. will tell you, giving up control is incredibly scary. If we’re not gonna do something ourselves…well…then…uh…there’s really no one else we trust. We’re trying to teach our children how to do things, but honestly, they’re not quite there yet! Anyway, the speaker pointed out that CONTROL is really a PRIDE issue. I had never thought about that before. I never really thought I struggled with pride very much. I see my failures every. single. day. But I do struggle with pride. Because I certainly don’t think anyone else is any better at any of the things I do, obviously, or I could give up control to that person. So…as I’m working to offer my day as a gift to God, I better give Him control of it as well.

The other powerful part of her talk was about dependence on God…hmmm…I think I’m sensing a theme here. Yes, I need to depend more on God. Just as I need to offer up my day, look Him in the face, and give Him control, I need to depend on Him. That He can do it. That He can take care of it. That He can satisfy.

Psalm 42:1 – “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

Oh, how I want that verse to be true in my life. Every. Single. Day.

Pictures from our true retreat can be found HERE!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Giggling Girls

Since we are on mid-winter break (a.k.a. State Basketball Tournament), Becca had a friend over for the afternoon on Wednesday. Tuesday at school they decided that during their playdate they would finish their February book report assignment of making a puppet of one of their favorite book characters from the books they read during the month of February. There was lots of giggling.

There was giggling before, in the van on the way home from picking up the friend.

There was giggling during, while working on the projects at the homework table.

There was giggling after.




And after the puppets were done?

More giggling.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Last year on this day

Last year on this day, I posted this picture:


Hm. Here’s what it looks like this year:


No happy yellow blooms. And I had to walk on my very soggy lawn to get that picture today. I don’t think it’s ever been that soggy. Spring is late. I am anxious to get out in the yard and start doing my spring clean up and planting and trimming.


Snow is still in the forecast.

It’s gonna be a while yet.