Saturday, December 25, 2010


As I sit here my computer clock has just turned to 12:01am.  A Christmas Story has just ended and begun again. Our little boys are snug in their beds (in matching pjs) Jonathan and I are on our computers, he seems to be reading up on Ski care and repair.  I'm perusing FB and Reader - and dreaming about maybe finally going for it and purchasing a stand mixer.

As I think about the fact that it is now officially Christmas, and think about my life right now, the word that immediately comes to mind is blessed.

This year has been full of blessings. Life is good.  We are healthy.  There is a new life growing.(Pretty sure I've felt him or her a few times. :))  I'll soon be an aunt.  We have wonderful family.  Life is amazing!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

There's more to the World than Meets the Eye

So I have a question for you all.

A very serious question.

Did anyone else have a cassette tape of Alvina and the Chipmunks Christmas? It wasn't just music - it was a story too.  About Alvin and his Golden Echo Harmonica?  Anyone??  I LOVED it!  I was trying to find a clip on YouTube - and it delivered.  Apparently it was also turned into an animated version, although in the one clip I watched I could tell there were some differences.  Mostly missing the descriptive parts - obviously, since it was showing it.  But anyways, here is one part that I remember very well.

Another one that we always enjoyed was Twas the Night Before Christmas.  The title of this post are lyrics from the one song.  This was probably my favorite as a kid.  It seems like this one isn't that popular, but is also on YouTube. (isn't everything?)

Then there is Santa Bear's High Flying Adventure.  (I think that's the actual name)  This can be purchased on Amazon for the low low price of $108... seriously...  this one is pretty obscure, apparently.  But as usual, YouTube comes through.

We also watched the usual - Frosty, Rudolph, Looney Tunes  Good times.  I remember pulling out the Christmas VHS tape that we had recorded them all on from TV.  I should pull it out again - and laugh at all the commercials. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cut Outs

Cut Outs, originally uploaded by mal1017.

We made some cut out cookies yesterday and frosted today. I decided to try out something new, and I think it turned out pretty well.

I mixed some jam in with the butter cream frosting. Mmmmm I had done this for a cake filling before, with red raspberry jam and frosting, and it turned out wonderful. This time I used what I had on hand - black raspberry jam. I think it turned out wonderful too.

My frosting recipe:

Powdered Sugar

Yeah... I just wing it with the measurements. I know I used a cup of butter, lots of powdered sugar.... probably at least a pound... Just a bit of milk, and a tsp of vanilla.

Blend it all together - taste it - add what it needs to taste better... Really just trial and error. I've never had to throw away frosting because it was bad... just because I may have made too much.

For the jam mix - I had about a cup of frosting and added a spoonful of jam - but really, this is just whatever suits your taste - don't think you can go wrong with it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kitchen Organization Win

Kitchen Organization Win
Originally uploaded by mal1017

This post is a long time in coming. A couple months ago I bought this (very) cheap book shelf. It has been such a great addition to the kitchen. I had been using my computer on the kitchen counter... which was starting to make me nervous, what with my track record of klutziness in the kitchen. I used a wooden stool we had that wasn't serving any other purpose to bring the laptop up to the perfect height. Found a basket that fits under perfectly for pens, scrap paper, etc. My cookbooks moved from the top of the refrigerator (so unhandy). The bread machine has moved into the bottom shelf, along with our many water bottles. One of the most useful $15 I've ever spent.

And on a pregnancy note - First trimester is over!! 2 days after my last post the nausea just about completely disappeared. I'm feeling so much better. My energy and mood haven't returned yet - I'm hoping maybe for Christmas. Speaking of which - next week is Christmas!! Seriously - how do these things sneak up on me... I still need to finish up some crafty Christmas gifts. And get them up here on the interwebs for you all to enjoy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Ugly Truth

This is how I feel about being pregnant:

 (Well, ok, infinitely more happy than getting a Doxie calendar... but yes, very happy. :))

This is how being pregnant is making me feel:

Small confession - these pictures are both 6 years old.  I had to dig them out because I knew there would be good ones to display the bluh side of things - and I didn't want to take staged ones at the moment... 

Trimester 2 will be here in about 2 weeks - I'm hoping and praying it brings some relief from this nausea.  It usually does.  Until then, don't be surprised to see the above look on my face.  :)

I have more posts I would like to write.  This week is looking to be crazy... so hopefully someday they will make up here to the interwebs.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


This weekend I traveled with two other ladies to PA to visit my best friend!  We had so much fun.  There was lots of talking, shopping, and relaxing.

The big event for the weekend was going to see Harry Potter.  There was a brand new IMAX theater in town, so we saw the movie there.  It was amazing.  I love the books - and to me, this one was the best adaption from book to movie yet.  I loved it.  Now, my husband, he saw the movie this weekend too - because some of his friends wanted to see it. He hasn't read the books - and he just thought it was ok.  And I can see that.  I'm not sure how I would feel about the movies if I didn't love the books so much.  I'm so excited for the final movie.  Although it is slated to come on in July of next year.  About a month after my due date.  Should be interesting trying to get out to the theater. :-D

Also - one of the previews that was before the movie was for Cars 2!  I think we have a good second movie for Ohlen to watch at the theater. He is going to be SO excited. :)  I think that one will be out in June... so looks like it will probably be a Daddy date for that one. :)

Tonight I jokingly told Jonathan that I bet that as soon as the nausea goes away the heart burn will start.  And guess what?  I had a slight bout of heart burn this evening.  Apparently I have jinxed myself...

I'm officially 10 weeks along now.  Baby is growing finger nails - and has all its vital organs.  Just such an amazing miracle life is.  Just have to keep reminding myself that through the nausea - it's all happening for a wonderful reason.

Also got to see my brother and sister (in law) tonight!  She is expecting - due in 2 months.  I'm so excited for them, and can't wait to meet my very first nephew!

I love my family. Immediate and extended.
And my friends.
So thankful for all of you!

Now on to Thanksgiving week. Lots of cooking to do.  A long road trip for Noah and I. Then back for some more cooking/baking and a few more family gatherings.  And sometime in there it will be time to get the tree all set up and the house all Christmased up.  I LOVE this time of year!

Friday, November 5, 2010


This is a single shot of Lov.enox, a blood thinner.
If you see these around the house it could mean a few things, I've either had a major surgery (I haven't), I'm getting over a blood clot (I'm not), or I'm pregnant (ding ding ding!!)

I have a couple mutations that make me more susceptible to getting a blood clot during and after pregnancy, plus there is also a risk of there being blood clots in the placenta and umbilical cord. (At least as far as I understand.)  So each time I am pregnant I have to inject myself with a shot of blood thinner daily.  It really is not too bad.  And the payoff is so worth it.  There is always the question about whether it is really helping, since I've never had blood clotting problems - but I'd rather not test the theory.

Right now I'm just about 8 weeks along.  My current due date is June 19th.  We're over the moon! :)  

I'm also feeling horrible.  lol  I feel really good generally before breakfast and after supper.  The time in between though, is one tired, nauseous blur of a day.  All I want to do is lay on the couch.  But that is kind of hard with 2 little ones running around.  So ready to be out of the first trimester.  So glad it is over half over already. :)  I try not to complain too loudly though, because I know there are women that vomit daily during the first trimester (and beyond) and that would just be horrible.  So I'm so glad that that is not the case. 

So now this site will probably be peppered with pregnancy news here and there.  And there will be some project completions soon.  I finally started some work on the comforters I'm making.  And really those shouldn't take a whole lot of time, it's just being in the "mood" to do something (anything!)  

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quilt Festival

 A friend of mine blogged about the Quilting Festival, and I thought it looked like fun.

This is definitely not a new quilt.  It was started about 3 years ago.  It is special to me though, because it was the first quilt I ever attempted.  The first time I ever pieced anything.  The first time I had to figure everything out.  I didn't have great "gear" for the project either, but overall it went well.  It took over one level of our house for quite some time as it was slowly quilted.  I had quilted before, but never had taken on a whole quilt by myself.  And the kicker - it wasn't just any quilt, it was going to be a wedding present for my little brother and his wonderful wife to be. 

So, the picture of Ohlen has nothing to do with the quilt, but look how little he was! :)  He was the ring bearer at the wedding. And a picture of Nathan and Aubyn at their beautiful wedding, the inspiration for the whole thing.  Did I mention they are expecting their first baby - in January - I'm going to be an aunt!

I loved the whole process.  I love making quilts.  I just need to find those extra hours to do it.  And the extra money to buy all the fabrics.  :) 

If you like quilts - head on over to the Quilt Festival and check out all the quilts - and add your own to the mix too. :)

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


It has been beautiful lately.  Even yesterday, when it was raining, it was glorious.  I love fall with a passion.  I think it might just be my favorite season.  With winter and spring tying for a close second. And summer in the way back.  I like summer for a whole slew of reasons, but Hate it for it's climate.  Bluh. Give me the crisp bright blue skies of fall, with the crisp cool air.  That's perfection to me.

Things around here have been....  pretty much business as usual.  I've been meaning to post, I've even sat down to do it, but I just never get it accomplished.  So, I just figure that's how it is meant to be with me and this blog.  Not much of a purpose except to give myself a little outlet, and a peek into my life for everyone else.  So exciting I know. :)

So a few updates:

The running - ugh.  I have to admit, it has really gone downhill.  I started running inside because of the lack of light, and I don't really like running on the treadmil.  I don't care if I'm watching the most interesting show on the planet, it just isn't like running outside.  On top of that I've been fighting a cold for over the past week. It seems to be almost gone, except for the coughing and hacking.  That mostly happens at night.  The past two nights I haven't slept well at all, so I haven't stepped foot on the treadmil for about 5 days now.  Maybe tomorrow.... if I actually get more than 4 hours of sleep.  (Seriously, the one night was worse than when I had newborns.)

The weight loss - See above.  I haven't gained any, but I'm definitely not moving down.  I'll have to step it up later.

Christmas pictures - in my last blog I shared some outtakes.  Well I attempted 2 or 3 more picture taking "events".  None went well.  It was almost like torture.  Noah would be looking and smiling - and Ohlen would be making the most cheesy fake smile on the planet.  One would look, the other wouldn't.  But as I went back over the ones I had taken before, I realized that I had one really good one. So I cropped it down a little, and it is going to be the picture.  Too bad it was the VERY FIRST PICTURE I TOOK, during THE VERY FIRST PHOTO SHOOT I attempted.... And too bad I didn't realize that before I gave myself multiple headaches.... :)   A few more outtakes...

Life has been consisting of babysitting and cleaning and cooking and internet browsing and television.  A whole lot more of the first 3 than the last 2.  With a splattering of project working in there.  I have two big projects I'm working on.  One is a set of comforters for the boys for Christmas.  I actually started them last year, but never finished.  And the other is a super top secret project that I can't discuss here, but I will definitely show when I can.

Only about a month and a half until Christmas!  (What?!?!?!?!?)

Friday, October 15, 2010


I tried to take some pictures of the boys earlier this week for in our Christmas cards.  The leaves are so pretty right now.

Unfortunately, Noah was sick and NOT in the mood to be smiley.  I may have gotten one that might work...  So another shoot will have to happen. But I thought you all might enjoy some of the outtakes. :)

I actually really like this one.

This was our attempt at getting  a laugh out of Noah.

Wasn't incredibly thrilled with being on the truck.

Really not happy.

Ohlen's trying.

Not sure

A little over kill

That's my Noah.  :)  I wish they were both looking at me here.

Too much love?

I resorted to giving them rocks.

The rocks just created chaos.


Throw Them!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bread Weekend

This past weekend I had two get togethers to make bread for.  So I doubled up and did all the baking at once. (Well, almost, I did throw in another batch of Corn Bread Muffins the following morning, but that was pretty quick and easy, so no problems there.)

I was making soup to go along with the first gathering, and the second gathering was also a gathering with soup, so it worked out well. 

I made Corn Muffins, Pumpkin Bread, and Rosemary Herb Bread (and dip to go along).  The Corn Muffins were made in my favorite silicon muffin cups, the pumpkin bread in loaf pans, and the rosemary bread in the bread machine - so really it was the perfect combination.  In fact, I was able to do the first of corn muffins in our toaster oven while the pumpkin bread baked in the oven.

On to the recipes.

To make my life a bit easier, I'll just post the links to the recipes.  I found them all on

Basic Corn Muffins

For these I had some corn meal on hand, so I thought I would try it.  I had never made Corn Muffins with out a packet of mix.  It was so easy! I'll never go back to the premixed stuff. :)  They were just the right amount of sweet.  I didn't think they were overly dry either.  Just a great basic recipe.

Pumpkin Bread

I wanted to make pumpkin bread because I had left over pumpkin puree that I needed to use.  This was the perfect recipe for it.  I did have to substitute pumpkin pie spice for the nutmeg because I was out - but I think it turned out great.  I undercooked by a little, so one of them had a bit of a cave in, but really it was still delicious.  Also, with the talk of pumpkin puree shortages, I would definitely recommend roasting and pureeing your own pumpkin.  It was pretty close in cost (I think maybe even cheaper)  I got about the equivalent of 2 small cans out of one pie pumpkin.  I'll definitely be doing that again.

Rosemary Herb Bread

This one turned out well too.  I was a little disappointed because it turned out a little darker than I wanted it to, so next time I'll set it to a lower setting.  Also, I didn't have the fresh herbs, and couldn't find them at my local grocer, so I just used dried, I thought it turned out just fine.  I also made a spinach dip to go along.  Just a bought mix added to some cream cheese and sour cream.  I think the two together went well. 

Thank you Thank you Thank you Blogger for changing the photo uploading manager!  So much nicer.  :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Knew It!

Alternately titled My Self-fulfilling Prophecy

I knew my blogging would slow down in the summer.
I knew my crafting would slow down in the summer.

I KNEW once I stopped running outside I would lose some motivation and wouldn't do as much.


I do have a few recipe posts in the works - hopefully they will be coming soon.
I also have a whole lot of canning posts I could do - although it is kind of late for that... but I might just do them anyways.

I stopped jogging outside because it is now dark the entire time I'm out there - and that will probably stay the same once we "fall back."  Don't even get me started on Daylight Savings...  Anyways, I've been jogging on the treadmil.  Which is ok - better than I thought it would since I'm now in much better shape than I was the last time I ran on it.  So I shouldn't complain.  There is just something motivating about jogging outside.

Our local festival is this weekend.  Looking forward to taking Ohlen to ride the rides, marching with the alumni band, attending my 10 year high school reunion (Seriously, 10 years already???), walking around and chatting with people, introducing Noah to fair fries, and just soaking in the festival atmosphere.  Notice I didn't mention the fair food for myself.  For some reason this year I really don't have much desire for it.  I'm probably just getting too cheap... :)

Then the next week we are heading to a Renaissance Festival in our state.  I think we are going to take Ohlen this year.  So that should be fun. :)

Stay posted for more frequent blogging.  At least that's the plan.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ohlen turns 4

Newborn Ohlen
Our big boy at 4!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's a beautiful day! (feel free to break out in song... I'll even throw out a lead to my country loving readers.) It's a great day to be alive... :-D

I've been in such a funk the last few days. But something is different today. Not positive, but I'm giving credit to my wonderful mom, who gave me a two hour break last night which Jonathan and I used to hop on his bike and head over to his uncle's for a swim. We haven't done anything alone together for a little while, so it was nice.

Hope you are all enjoying your days too!
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Jogging Tip 5

The last Tip

Routine makes Habit

The best thing for me has been to find the perfect time of day to jog and to stick with it.  For me that means getting up early and going before anyone else is awake.  It is perfect for me. I used to go in the evening after the boys were in bed, but I was starting to get resentful of my exercise time.  It was taking me away from my couple time/ alone time in the evening.  Plus, if we had something going on in the evening, I would skip the jog.  If I go in the morning, it isn't very likely that I'll have a good excuse to skip.  It also gives me some time to think about the day ahead, what I need to accomplish, errands that need to be run, strategies for not going crazy. 

Overall, the reason I wanted to write these tips is because I have fallen in love with jogging, and I wanted to share the love.  One thing I've learned about myself is that if I want to lose weight, and keep it off, my life is going to have to include exercise.  My metabolism is pretty slow, I need to burn what I can.  I'm not seeing any weight "melt" off - I still need to get my eating under control.  I think I'm doing pretty good, but I know I could do much better too.  And weight isn't the only reason.  I have some blood issues that make me more susceptible to having blood clots (another post for another day) so I need to keep my heart and arteries healthy.  It's all about being healthy.  

I promise some picture posts coming soon.  Those are always more fun. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jogging Tip 4

Edited to add links and fix spelling mistakes.

Good Programs

One thing that has really helped me stay motivated are the programs I use on my phone.  I have used Endomondo and Cardio Trainer.  I really like them both.  Endomondo is found on just about any phone, whereas Cardio Trainer is just on Android (I think).  They both do about the same thing.  You start your workout and (if you have GPS turned on) it will track your route.  At the end of the workout it will tell you how far you went, how fast you went, how many calories you burned, etc.  I've found that they aren't always completely accurate with the distance, but it is usually pretty close.  I love having those stats readily available.

There is also the ability to share information - I think Endomondo especially has a large group of users who share workouts and have challenges and what not.  I'm not into that, but if you are, it would be a great tool.

Oh yes, and they are both free as well.  I think there is a paid version of both, but they don't add a whole lot more content that I've seen.

There are also many other programs out there that will do similar things, you just have to find the one that is right for you.

Now, what if you don't have a smart phone?  Take your car and find out how long the route is!  For me it helped knowing just how far I was going.  And I am sure there are sites around these interwebs that would be able to tell you what kind of mile you averaged and how many calories you may have burned if you plug the numbers in.  I love that technology has provided us with these tools!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Squashing Negativity

This is going to be another non picture post - unless I throw one in at the last minute. (and I did. ooooo :))

Last week was not fun.  I was wholly convinced that I was pregnant.  I thought I was having symptoms - I even convinced myself to take a test early.  About 2 days early.  Well, needless to say, it become evident the night before I was going to take the test, that I was not pregnant.  I was crushed.  It's been about a year.  But it was about a year with Ohlen, a year and some odd months when we had the miscarriage, 6 months after that for Noah.  So yeah, we are "used" to having to wait quite a while.  It just never gets easy.  And sometimes it can really drag me down.  And I can be pretty negative.  There were some dark hours last week.

But then I had to give it away - I had to decide to come out of it.

I was on my morning run - except I was walking, because I really didn't have the will to run that morning.  I was crying out to God about it, plus a bunch of other negative things that I was thinking.  And I realized - I had to give it up.  There is nothing more I can do - I am doing all that I can for this situation - I have to give it up.  There is no use worrying over it. 

The timing in Ohlen and Noah's arrivals was perfect.  The age difference between them is great.  We were at a good point in our lives when we had each of them.  Financially and other wise.  God knows what He is is doing.  There is a reason it is taking so long.  Probably for my own sanity. :) 

So I gave it to Him that morning.  I still struggle.  It wasn't an instant quick fix.  I still struggle with negativity in general, cynicism, paranoia, and not having confidence in myself.  For example:  I was very close to taking down my jogging posts.  Why?  Because I thought that my few readers probably think I am ridiculous for posting about it.  That I have no business posting about it when I am still not where I want to be physically...

But I'm working on it.  It's getting better.  It needs to get better.  That saying about When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy... there is alot of truth to that.  The kids can read my mood almost better than I can.  I don't want to be fake - but I want to be more positive.  I think that I am generally positive and optimistic - this negativity has just been creeping up and needs to be squashed - and with some divine help - I think I'm moving in the right direction.

Does anyone else struggle with this?  Any strategies for what helps you?  There are a few other things that help me:

My few other things  (and a crazy dog thrown in)

Jogging Tip 3

Use the right gear for you.

Jogging is great in that, really, you don't need anything except for a good pair of shoes.  And actually, you might not even need that - (google bare foot running sometime.)  But there other little things that help make it more enjoyable - at least for me.  I have my shoes, which I've already talked about here.  I still love them. In fact, they were the only shoes (minus a pair of flip flops) that I took to Colombia.

Light.  I run in the early morning, so I just recently bought a head lamp.  The first one I bought was cheap and only turned on half the time, so I took it back and got a new one.  I haven't actually used it yet and it seems a little chunkier than I would have liked, but I think it will do fine.  I need some kind of light - especially as the days get shorter.

Music Player and Headphones:  I use my phone to play music while I run.  It also keeps track of my route, how long I run, and how fast I go.

Arm Band:  I just recently bought a nicer arm band for my phone.  It's great.  Before I was using a phone holder from a backpack that had a loop in the back.  I put a handkerchief through the loop and tied it around my arm.  Resourceful - yes, Comfortable - not so much.

And that is all.  There are many other things out there geared for runners, but so far this is what I have found to be helpful to me.  And I still just run in Tshirts and shorts - no special clothing for me.  Although I hear the UnderArmor stuff is good for when it gets cold.  I'm going to be outside as much as I can, so that might be helpful.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jogging Tip 2


When I first started jogging I mostly listened to podcasts.  I was, at the time, well and currently I suppose, addicted to the show Lost; and enjoyed listening to podcasts about said show.  Unfortunately the show ended forever in May. (bittersweet)  So that was also an end to the endless stream of Lost podcasts.  (My favorite show is still going - just not as frequently - and they are starting a rewatch in Septemeber - Yay!)  Annyways - back on topic.  So I was out of podcasts and decided to listen to some music.  What a difference!  I couldn't believe how much of a difference it really did make.  I listen to a Pandora station with dance, techno, house, and trance - so stuff with a pretty heavy bass beat.  The music seems to push me forward sometimes.  Maybe it's the band nerd coming out - I have to stay "in step" with the music. :) 

Maybe this a pretty obvious thing, but I really never realized how much of a difference it would make.  I even think it is better than running in front of the TV. 

3 more tips to go - then I will stop yapping about this jogging thing.  For a little while anyways. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jogging Tip 1

Caveat: I'm definitely not an expert, these are just things I've noticed.

#1 Find a good route

I love my jogging/walking/running route. I just can't do the whole running in a circle thing - or on a treadmil. I couldn't figure out why I was so resistant to running, and I think this is why. Now I really like my route, so pretty, and it makes it so much easier to be motivated to go.

More tips soon.
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Friday, August 6, 2010

The Colombia Post

Finally - it's only been 3 weeks since we got back...

Colombia was amazing.  We met so many people and had some great experiences.  We learned some of the history of the country.  We heard about the wonderful things people are doing.  About all the wonderful ministries they are starting.  We swapped stories.  We played soccer together.  We worshiped together.

We heard their vision for the future.  We saw the hope they have.  We felt the passion they have for God and for telling others about Him, and spreading His message.

We witnessed the beauty of the country.  We saw things many will never see. 

The whole trip was just amazing.  I was pushed to the limits of my comfort zone and came out the other side more confident with myself.  I missed my little boys immensely, but it was definitely worth it.  I will never forget the stories we heard and the people we met. 

Now comes the challenge.

What on earth do I do with everything we experienced?  How do I use this new knowledge?  I don't want this trip to just be a nice trip we took one summer.  I definitely can see a very large change in my thinking on certain topics.  I was pretty naive about many things before I left. 

I want these changes to stay.