Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Elastic Girl

Reagan has taken to calling me, at times, Elastic Girl. I think it was the pregnancy and that she saw my belly getting increasingly huge. Unfortunately, I haven't bounced back, like the fictional Elastic Girl, who was able to stretch her body and back within seconds. Last night, Reagan said, "You're almost Elastic Girl, Mom. Not yet, though." Oh, the mouths of babes...

And just to make sure the point was hammered home, I put on a jumpsuit outfit to take Reagan to school in and the jacket is at least one size too small given my current girth. This is what I felt like this morning...



Oh well. I guess it's time to start exercising.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday's Mixings

I enjoy being in the kitchen. I tend to express myself through my cooking and baking. I love knowing that I have made something good. I have been accused of showing off in the kitchen, but I'm not sure that's such a bad thing. Is it showing off when you can be good at something and enjoy doing it?

Anyways, today was not one of those days.

For dinner I started with left-over turkey, turkey stock, and pie crust. It should have been easy. It should have been delicious. It wasn't.

Anyways, I added cream of mushroom soup, mixed in green beans, green bell peppers, celery, topped with cheese and the pièce de résistance was french fried onions. It was not good. I'm really bummed. The idea was green bean cassarole in a pie crust. I'm of the opinion that everything is DELICIOUS in a pie crust.

It turned out as a soupy slop with a hint of pie crust. What a bummer. The green bell peppers were not cooked well, the celery didn't meld. Basically I was left with green beans swimming in cream of mushroom soup with a side of pie crust.

The meal wasn't a total waste. At least there was cheese and french fried onions. Yum-oh. But now I don't know what to do with the left-overs. Should I try to salvage them? Should I toss them? Keep in mind that I'm fairly frugal with food. I don't like to throw it away. If you have any ideas, please share them.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Man-Made Climate Change is a Hoax

I have always thought that the idea of man affecting global climate change is ludicrous. There is no way we, by going about our daily business of driving, breathing, existing, can affect the climate in such a way that risks our very survival.

And now I feel totally validated.

Here is an article that explains the current scandal regarding the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the data they've been collecting and what they're distributing. I think the article explains the complex science of observing climate change very well and then goes on to elaborate on the actual hoax. I highly recommend reading it, although it's heady.

Here's the clincher:
After all, the stakes are enormous: perhaps trillions of dollars and unquestionably every American’s personal liberties. Tomorrow, over 20,000 delegates from 193 nations will gather in Copenhagen to craft an agreement which would not only force American power consumption to levels equal to those of about 1910, but would also have us pay reparations for an imaginary “climate debt” we’ve accumulated by building the world’s greatest economy of all time. That debt is based on the amount of CO2 our financial growth has purportedly pumped into the atmosphere, which, according to the conclusions of the IPCC and based largely upon reports from the CRU, has selfishly imperiled the planet by inducing climate change.

Of course, asking Americans to pay reparations based on the claim they’ve done harm to other nations by spoiling the climate is like asking me to pay damages to my neighbor based on his claim that he can’t sell his house because my great-grandmother’s ghost is haunting it.

As many have known and as Climategate has proven, both situations are equally preposterous.
You see, this fraud is not about saving the environment. It's about controlling who succeeds and who does not. Who stays in poverty (the developing world) and who does not (the already wealthy).

This web interview is excellent. It really picks up after minute 4. If you can skip to that part I would.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sleep Deprivation

So, today I had a dentist appointment to get a couple of cavities filled. (I never had cavities until I started having children. Those babies take everything I've got, including whatever calcium needed to keep my teeth healthy!) In any case, I found a babysitter for my kids. I arrived at the dentist with 10 minutes to spare.

I should have known something was wrong because the receptionist had a totally blank look on her face when I said, "Hi, I'm Jessica." She said, "Did you have an appointment?" Me, "Yes."

No, I didn't. At least not for today. For TOMORROW!

I rescheduled my appointment for a couple of weeks from today. And my gracious friend let me have a quiet hour to myself, which I spent in the parking lot of Reagan's school reading Voyager. (So Good!)

The kicker is that I did have the appointment in my palm pilot. I just had the days mixed up in my head! Oh man, the sleep deprivation is a killer!

And this is so not the first time this has happened recently. On Saturday I forgot what time a party started and had to call the hostess to find out. We were almost an hour late! And we were going to a wedding a couple of months ago and didn't even bring the invitation with the directions because I could have sworn that I knew where it was. I was wrong. We went to the wrong location. Thankfully we were super early and not late to the ceremony.

I can not wait to sleep more than 5 or 6 hours consistently.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Did Someone Say Self-Control?

There is something about this season that causes me to think about self-control. The food, the parties, the shopping. I find that I have a difficult time limiting myself, saying no to my fleshly desires. I am tempted this time of year to eat more, drink more, and spend more. I went to an awesome party this Saturday. But the next morning I was asking myself if perhaps I imbibed too much, or so I think the headache was telling me.

All of this brought to mind Galatians 5:13-25.

13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Life by the Spirit
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.


I read through that list in verse 19 and I cringe. It's not an easy list to compare my life to. And if I'm honest, I have a hard time with most of those things daily! And then the kicker is what a Spirit-filled life does look like: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. My days do not often showcase those characteristics, I'm sorry to say.

For myself, I read verses 19-25 and then I like to go back up to verses 13. Christ set us free from the law. We are free to love; not free to indulge sinful desires. I'm no where near good at this. But I wanted to share a honest thought with you. Among my other character deficiencies, it's difficult for me to admit shortcomings. I do this in hope that some may be encouraged.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cooking Day

Something about the cooler weather inspires me to cook. And thankfully my KitchenAid is back in business so I decided to bake French Bread. It is one of my favorite breads to make. Who am I kidding? I never made a bread I didn't love. And the idea of fresh baked bread inspired me to make soup. Therefore I found a Butternut Squash Soup recipe on Recipezaar.com.

What came out was amazing! I'm so glad I made this soup. And the hot bread was perfect for it.

The soup came out a bit thicker than I thought it would, but I didn't puree all of the squash. Perhaps it would have been soupy-er if I had. I didn't have heavy cream so I omitted it entirely and I don't think it was missed. I did top with bacon and sour cream. The soup cooked very quickly, within 45 minutes.

Altogether a delicious lunch for a cold day!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Again with Baby Jesus!

Once again this year I have had to remind my children not to play with Baby Jesus. My husband wanted to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving this year. The tension in my shoulders increased by ten-fold.

You see, to me, Christmas decorations mean endlessly telling my children to stop touching Baby Jesus. And that the Christmas tree ornaments are not toys. And that no, we can not watch stupid Frosty again because we've already watched it 50 million times today.

Erik accused me of being Scrooge on Monday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Found in Backyard

We built our home here in Surprise just over 4 years ago. Since that time we have found some random stuff.

We find trash that floats in from other yards. We find nails which scare me since I let my girls run around all the time and frequently they end up outside without shoes.

But yesterday, as I was prepping dinner Reagan came in with a pregnancy stick. Totally without the cap. I kind of freaked out. And no, it wasn't mine. It came from one of our neighbors. And the finding of this particular device now lead to a whole discussion about what it is used for and Mati saying "When I grow up I will use that and a baby will be in my bell." Yikes. Way too early for me to be talking about this. And naturally I told the girls that it was disgusting. And they asked why. And I said because you pee on it. Oh man, what a conversation. And then when we were telling Erik about it at dinner Mati got up and went to try and find it in the garbage. Quite a night at the Wilhelmsens.

Which brings up another thing. The girl next door is troubled. I think she's about 15 or 16 and she hangs out with some questionable characters. And we find plastic chairs by the wall that separates our houses and the screen to what I assume is her bathroom looks like it's been pushed out and replaced. So, either she's sneaking out or someone's sneaking in.

All of this leads me to think that quite possibly the pregnancy test was hers. If so, should I say something to her? Should I mention that I found a pregnancy test in our yard (Which, who would throw it over the side of a wall! Hello? We have small children! Which you know about because you see them and we always say hello. Dude, not cool.) Anyways, Erik seems to think that I should keep my head down. But he's a guy. And from New York. You always keep your nose down over there. But this is my home. And I'm a Christian woman. I kind of want to mention it and ask her if she needs any help or someone to talk to. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Movies

I have been enjoying a wonderful month of readings from The Queen. She's posted every day for one month. I feel encouraged to do the same this month. And since it's December 1, I thought I might as well go for it.

I can not promise anything awesome. But I do so want to get into the habit of regular blog posting. It's so nice to have a place where I can vent or enlighten.

How do you feel about the animated Christmas movies? My husband is an ENORMOUS fan of the animated 60's Christmas movies. Like Rudolph the "Red Nosed Reindeer". However, now my children are sharing in the obsession. Every day it's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Frosty the Snowman". Do you know how annoying it is to sing "Frosty the Snowman" while trying to fall asleep at night? Cause that's what I have been doing every night for the past week. Now in all fairness, my least favorite of the animated seasonal films is "The Grinch". But Frosty should be melted eternally in my opinion. I am so in favor of global warming with Frosty. (This does not mean that I believe global warming actually exists, because I don't. Anyways, another post for another day.)

I do like most Christmas movies, though. Just not the animated ones. I like Mickey's Christmas Carol. So, there's one.

My favorite Christmas movie, which is not really a Christmas movie is "Meet Me in St. Louis" with Judy Garland. It's so good. I just love it. I love the songs. I love that the climax is on Christmas Eve. I love that Vincent Minnelli directed Judy Garland and because of that they married. (Well, he turned out to be gay, but anyways, it's a neat love story.) And because of that movie my favorite Christmas song is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".

My second favorite Christmas movies are a tie between "White Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life". White Christmas because of the Sisters number. I love the part where Bing and that other guy danced and lip synched the Sister's song to provide an escape for the girls.

And "It's a Wonderful Life" always reminds me that life is not hopeless and when we feel small and insignificant God has a wonderful plan for us. We can not know the impact we have on people simply by being alive. I love that movie. Makes me cry just thinking about it.

What are your favorite Christmas movies?




Saturday, November 21, 2009

I love me some satire...

My friend Chandy sent me this link over Facebook. It is quite possibly one of the funniest things I've read. Hopefully this will help distract you from the horrendous things going down on Capital Hill today...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Memory Of...

Have you ever seen those stickers on cars that say "In memory of..." and list of someone who had died? I honestly do not get those things. What, is the driver driving in memory of their dead loved on? Does the driver contribute gasoline fumes in honor of the person who has passed on? And if so, what kind of token is that? I pollute because I loved this person... I just don't get it.

I know this is probably coming from the insensitive-Jessica. (As opposed to the quiet, keep it to myself Jessica.) But I just wanted to get this off my chest.

To me this is just like those stupid Facebook causes. Are any diseases actually being cured by being a fan of one on Facebook? I don't think so. Just like, are you really driving like a maniac in honor of your dead loved one?

Of course I feel horrible for the people left behind. But advertising it on your car?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Growing like a Beanstalk

Jack is seriously big. Yesterday at his month appointment he weighed in at 9 lbs 10 oz. He gained over a pound in two weeks. How awesome is that?

He is the first of my womb-fruit that I am not concerned about milk-supply. Apparently I can finally feed a baby of mine sufficiently, praise the Lord! I am milk-endowed. Maybe I can pump it and sell it for money... You know, it's a hard time right now. Of course I need to keep it going for Jack so I probably won't do that.

Anyways, I know it's no big deal to you but this appointment was incredibly affirming for me. I had a very difficult time nursing Reagan and I ran out of milk with Matilyn. So with Jack, maybe we'll make it a full six months or more. That would be a huge financial blessing for us, now that I think about it. I have always figured formula would be a part of our budget, but maybe not this time. God does know what we need when we need it, doesn't he?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Untitled

My dear wonderful husband gave me one of the best compliments ever. He told me that he could see the positive impact my staying home with the kids has been on them. This was an important thing for me to hear and I'm not sure he knows what that meant to me.

For some time I've been wanting some sort of career in addition to being a mother. It's a financial burden to only have one working parent. He works a lot of hours and has started his own side business. Our families like to vacation and we can barely afford it. We could use new couches, a screen door, would like to eliminate debt, etc. All of which, with one income, are just out of reach.

But when he says that our children are well-adjusted kids and have a secure home life, well, I'm thinking all those wants are really not necessary. I'm still praying about some sort of career. But until God opens that door I'm content knowing that my tedious work here at home is hopefully making an eternal difference.

Mother of Three


As a new mom of three I have a profound appreciation for those other moms with more than 2 kids. Wow. How in the world do they get ANYWHERE on time? How do they balance screaming children with finishing homework? And make dinner? And shower?

I can't seem to shower daily. Isn't that horrible? And yesterday should not have been a skip-the-shower day. Ewww, I know. Today I managed to shower. And go through some very large piles of papers that had accumulated over the last couple of months. So today, I'm feeling good. Like I accomplished something.

The weirdest thing about being a mom of three now is that time seems to actually disappear. It's like I'm stuck in this weird Bermuda Triangle, or in the Time-Space Continuum. The time is gone. By the time I have to go get Reagan from school my whole day is gone. Because once she's home we have homework, Jack has to eat, I have to make dinner (or eat dinner thanks to my wonderful friends I haven't actually had to cook for several weeks), the girls need a bath, a story and a peaceful good night. So far almost none of that has happened because the time is gone! It's crazy.

So, on to update news. Jack is awesome. I'm totally in love. Right now he's sleeping on me a la the Sleepy Wrap. I know this is so not Babywise. But you know, after three I realize that this time flies by. And he won't sleep on me forever. And I'll miss it. He'll never be 19 days old again. I'm enjoying this one. There's plenty of time to nap train him. I am glad that I had the guts to stick to it with the girls because I know that Babywise works. And in a week or so we'll work on the afternoon nap. But for today, I'll take the snuggling.

He's working on finding his thumb. I'm still torn about encouraging it or not. My Reagan still sucks her fingers. So, I'm not sure thumb sucking is a good thing. But if it helps him self soothe...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Update: Jack and other stuff

So, Jack is 2 weeks old tomorrow. I love having a newborn. He's still all scruntched up and red. I love it. He's already gained back half the weight he lost last week. So, things are good all around. Of course, he's waking up twice a night. Can't wait for the sleeping through the night phase. Oh well. Right now he's so adorable I don't mind holding and snuggling him in the middle of the night. Except, of course, when I have been out until 12:30 at the U2 concert. That's not so great.

I had to take Mati to the Dr. today. She's seriously constipated. Been 11 days since her last b.m. I know. TMI. But it's on the list of crap I am dealing with right now.

Erik and I went to U2 last night. It was awesome. Black Eyed Peas opened for them and they were really great, too. I was very pleased. Of course they have mouths like truckers, which isn't so great. But the performance was very good. U2 was awesome. I can not imagine the intensity it takes to be able to perform at that level. They were amazing. They have intensity and sincerity. I think that in order to keep an audience plugged in a performer must be a really good salesman or sincere. Maybe U2 is a bit of both. They actually believe or feel what they sing. And it was evident every moment. Well, I had to leave early. My post-surgery body decided that the decible level was a tad overwhelming and exhaustion was taking over.

Speaking of post surgery, I am moving around a lot better this time. God has been incredibly merciful. He knows what I can handle.

Is it too early to exercise? I'm dying to get into jeans for the fall. I'm not sure how realistic that is though. But I honestly don't know what I'm going to wear for the next two months until I can fit into jeans again. Oh well. I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Lastly, I know you would love some more pictures of Jack. I don't have any. Did I mention that I'm exhausted? I'll try and take some tomorrow and post them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unto us a son is given

We welcomed Jackson David into the world on 10/8/09 at 7:50 am. He weighed 8 pounds 15 ounces (woo hoo!) and was 21 inches in length. Thanks for your prayers and well wishes.

Love,
The Wilhelmsens

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I need to get some things off my chest

This is probably a girl only post. So, if you're a male, uh, you may feel uncomfortable. I hope I don't know you personally.

So, as most of you know I am pregnant and now I am within 2 weeks of delivery. (Praise God!) Seriously, I am pretty done. Of course the reality is that 2 weeks from now I will have a newborn to care for. Yikes.

I haven't been blogging for real for some time. It's like I have way too much to say and most of it is probably inflammatory, so I haven't wanted to post. You know, like Obama-care will be a disaster for the country. And if you really want health-care REFORM the Congress will vote to allow insurance companies to compete across state lines-thus doing away with all the unnecessary state mandates which govern health insurance currently. Think Progressive, only for health insurance. And not Government run. Yeah, government-run health insurance will work. When hell freezes over.

See, inflammatory.

Anyways, there are other things on my mind. Like the fact that my daughter has taken Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches to school for the last (at least) two weeks straight. I have justified this with organic, sugar-free peanut butter, all-fruit jelly, whole wheat bread, and a sprinkling of flax seed meal mixed into the peanut butter.

And then there's the dessert. I am one of those moms who lets her kids eat dessert. Like almost every night. I don't have the energy to say no, or have some healthier alternative. So, we have dinner and then they can pick whatever dessert we have in the house. I feel guilty. Am I a bad mom because I let my kids have sugar?

I totally let them have fruit snacks, the gelatinous kind which come in all different sorts of shapes, mainly princess shapes. Additionally, I totally give them pop tarts and toaster strudels for breakfast. I know! How bad! At least I try and serve an egg along side it.

And also, I have almost forgotten to serve two different veggies with meals. I sometimes can barely get in one... And I feel bad about that, too. Yeesh, I should get over that. My family probably loves that I've backed off...

And most significantly, instead of my breasts growing with pregnancy, they are growing more lopsided. WHAT in the WORLD, right? Who has ever heard of boobs not growing, only growing worse. Ugh. I hate it. I watch the Victoria's Secret commercials and think, "Yeah, the Bio Fit is exactly what I need to perk these puppies up." But it's not worth the $50 because who knows how the boob situation is going to look in about 6-9 months. I'm thinking I am going to need a more permanent solution...

Barely anything fits right now. My shirts don't even cover my belly fully. This kid better come out at least 8 pounds. But I don't know because of how not-healthy I've been eating. I'll probably end up with a 5 pounder. Oh, I really hope not. I've gained enough weight, I really want a big baby boy.

Well, thanks for hanging with me. I know that eventually I'll be back to actual postings. :)


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lettuce Wraps

Last night I made lettuce wraps for dinner. I got the idea from the Good Deal Gal. But her recipe was a little intimidating. I don't have a bunch of those ingredients and I really hate going to the grocery store for individual items. So I decided to look for a similar recipe on my favorite recipe site, Recipe Zaar. And I found one that is similar to the P.F. Chang's recipe, only with ketchup. :)

Here's the recipe. P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps

It was delicious. I got a head of ice berg lettuce from the co-op this weekend. I personally despise ice berg; I'm not sure if that's a pregnancy thing or my tastes are more refined. So, using ice berg as a means of transporting the delicious mixture of minced chicken and yummy sauce is the way to not waste it, in my opinion.

Erik and I loved dinner last night. I served it with veggie fried rice. That was good too. I think the girls liked it too, especially the sauce. Reagan especially enjoyed eating the lettuce cups with rice and chicken in there.

I was a tad nervous about how this recipe was going to turn out. The special sauce has ketchup and granulated sugar in it. I spiced it up with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, Red Pepper flakes, minced garlic, spicy brown mustard, and a bit of Hoisin sauce. Tasting the sauce on its own was underwhelming and disappointing. The sauce, however, once allowed to sit for a while and then over the chicken mixture was delicious! Next time I will reduce the amount of sugar and ketchup. I prefer things more spicy with a touch of sweet.

All of this brings to mind a potential issue. Is it wrong to create a recipe based on a well-known one and then mass distribute it? I love to recreate restaurant dishes at home. I love the taste and hate to spend all that money eating the dishes I go back for again and again-like lettuce wraps. Do you think it's wrong in some way to publish a recreation of a well-known dish? Is it like selling knock-off paintings?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Things I Didn't Miss...

With the start of the regular football season, there is a lot of anticipation in the Wilhelmsen home. We love our football. It's our favorite season. Anyways, while I am watching the Cardinals first home game, I'm reminded that there are certain things about watching the Cards that I absolutely didn't miss.

1. The endless string of penalties by the Cards. I mean, really, how many times do we have to stop play to get them to settle down and play the darn game?
2. The racing at the end of the game/half to get into scoring position. How is it that the Cardinals don't decide to play the game until the last two minutes? It drives my blood pressure way up!
3. When the Cards are winning the game, how do they manage to let leads slip away? I am not looking forward to the feeling of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory this year. Hopefully it won't happen too often.

Well, that's it. At least I have two teams: The Cardinals, and The Cowboys. One of them is bound to do well this year.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Family Stone

Monday night I watched The Family Stone on television. It stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Luke Wilson, Diane Keaton. And my girl Rachel McAdams is in it. I love her. I think she's fabulous.

Well, when I first saw this movie I was a bit ambivalent about it. There are so many different stories, not a lot of focus. At first glance it's a great ensemble movie-movies that get together a bunch of great actors and since everyone is just as great as the next the story doesn't really go anywhere.

Anyways, the other night I watched it for the second time. There was nothing else on. The Rachel Zoe Project was already over... :) The movie is okay. My main problem with it is that the family only works in Hollywood. There is way too much dysfunction for this family to be in the real world. Not that dysfunction does not exist-it does. But there is no way a family where two of the brothers basically switch lovers does not affect future family gatherings. And then there's the line from the mother character (played by Keaton) who says to Meredith (played by Parker) that she prayed for a homosexual son. In fact would have loved all of her three sons to be gay. Uptight Parker of course does not understand.

Personally, neither can I. I understand that our children will be subject to some ridicule because of their faith. Maybe I have that in common with the Keaton character, however misguided she is. (Or perhaps she would say that I am misguided...)

The Family Stone is evidence that there is a new style of Hollywood ending. Whereas the movies prior to the 1960's specialized in a super fantastic endings, with the leads falling in love, family's pulling together, good virtue being exhibited and praised, nowadays Hollywood endings are not just unrealistic but also extremely far-fetched. Gay couples do not have the blessings of families a lot of the time. A brother falling in love with and stealing another brother's lover is not cool. And if the leads do fall in love, they very rarely get married. Instead the ending will stop at sleeping with each other after one has confessed to loving the other. As if that's enough to sustain a commitment. And we're supposed to buy it!

Hollywood has been marketing dysfunction as normalcy for way too long and I for one am sick of buying into it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Back

I'm back from my trip to San Diego. Thank you so much for your prayers. My sister-in-law is home from the hospital but still has a bit of kidney pain. She was away from her family in the hospital for about 10 days! How sad! But she is doing better.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Off to S.D.

I am off to San Diego to help my sister-in-law out with her children. She has come down with a kidney-infection, not to mention that she is still recovering from her c-section on July 15th. So, I'll be traveling with Mati to S.D. to help take care of the family.

Would you please pray for everyone there? That my sister-in-law would heal quickly. That my brother would be strong. And pray for Reagan and my mom that they would be alright together and not wear each other out.

Erik is off to a staff retreat for work. So, if you would please lift us all up, I would appreciate it.

Quick Thank You!

I just want to thank all the ladies of my book club for throwing me a baby book shower. It was so wonderful and touching. I got some of those great childhood favorites and I am thrilled to read them with my girls and with our future son.

I love you ladies so much. I am always refreshed and energized when I go to book club.

God has brought together a terrific bunch of ladies who love books and conversation. I feel like I have bosom buddies. Or what did Anne of Green Gables call it? Kindred spirits? I can't remember right now. Oh well.

Love you all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Stories from Kindergarten

Reagan is having a bit of an adjustment period at kindergarten. It's understandable since I am a stay-at-home mom; she's never been away from me like this. She's never had to pay attention or sit still for so long and for so many days in a row. She came home last week with several notes about her behavior-from the weird to the normal 5 year old things.

But I think today took the prize. Today when I picked Reagan up from school, the teacher told me that she is having a very hard time sitting still. During story time she got so tired that she decided to do yoga. Her teacher said she was doing a little upward facing dog pose. Well, we do yoga a lot here in the Wilhelmsen house, so that I could understand. I very calmly told Reagan, "Honey, we don't do yoga during story time." And then the teacher said that during Board-instruction time Reagan was so restless that she put her legs out. As the teacher turned around she tripped over Reagan's outstretched legs. Thankfully the teacher did not fall on Reagan, but she was pretty annoyed that she tripped over a child.

So, Reagan is not all the excited about school. I keep praying that this is just a phase and that she'll get used to it. I think she enjoys it once she's there, but I do hope these behavioral things clear up as she acclimates to the school day. At least I hope the tripping of teachers is over.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Kindergarten Pick-Up


I have a kindergartner. My Reagan has turned 5 and has entered the world of higher learning. I am so mixed about it. I can not believe how fast the time flew. I guess I thought she would stay 4 forever! I went through all the emotions. From I still have so much to teach her to she's not old enough to do without naps. But the truth is, she is ready. And I can trust God that He will protect her and give me wisdom about her education.

Story Time! I have now entered into the realm of school pick-ups. And let me tell you, ick. Did you know that you can sweat in a parked car while your air conditioning is going full-blast? And did you know that even if you get to the school early enough to not be the last mom to pick up their kinder kid, you will still have to wait in an atrociously long and ridiculously slow line to leave the parking lot? Did I mention that you can sweat in a running, air conditioned car?

So today in the student pick-up line, a woman behind me asked me when I was due. I said October. She said, "Wow! You're so big! I'm due in September." And I said, "Well, look how tall you are! I'm 5'2"." The amazon woman had to have been about 6'3". I'm not kidding. She's as tall as Erik. It turns out I'm only due like two weeks after her. But whatever. Height matters. And you know what, she had chubby ankles. Of course, I have chubby arms. So I guess we're even.

But yeah, kindergarten pick-up! Thankfully I wasn't the last mom to pick up their little darling today (like I was yesterday...). But I have got to figure out a better strategy for getting out of that parking lot faster. And avoiding other pregnant moms who park in the handicap spots which are convienently located by the street exits.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

NYC Prep

I just wasted the last 45 minutes of my life watching Bravo's NYC Prep-a television show about a group of teenagers living in Manhattan. Seriously, it was kind of awful.

Who has that kind of money? The 16-18 year olds were shopping in Louis Vuitton! If I had that kind of money I think I would insist on my children shopping at Old Navy! There's no way I would fork over that kind of money to my kids.

One girl has a stylist, a voice coach and a producer for her burgeoning music career. Except she hasn't actually been signed by anyone! What in the world.

Needless to say, I'm totally hooked. Of course, this is just to hold me over until The Real Housewives of New Jersey comes back! (Which, what the heck? There's no premiere date! What are they doing to me?)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Random Thoughts Post for Monday

I have had a difficult time trying to come up with things to post about. I have a ton of things to talk about, and absolutely no drive to do it. I'm in, what I like to call, my hibernating phase. Which is what I call not wanting to talk to anyone, feeling overwhelmed by everything, and craving chocolate all the time. Hmmmm, sounds a bit like depression. Huh, never thought about that.

Anyways, just to prove that I'm still alive and kicking, here are some thoughts.

1. I did go see the new Harry Potter movie. In fact, I used one of mine and my husband's date nights to go see it with a friend. Wasn't that nice of him to let me go? He's awesome. So, the movie rocked-if you can say that watching Dumbledore die is awesome. (Which, I was thouroughly moved to see. Also, I love Alan Rickman. He's wonderful.) I thought this was one of the better H.P. movies, actually. They included most of the important parts as well as the funny parts. For me, watching the H.P. movies are a mixed emotion for me. I can't help but think about everything they haven't included. So, that's what keeps me coming back to the books.

2. My daughter Reagan is back from a week at her nana's. I missed her so much. And I'm so grateful to my M-in-L for the break. She really did me a service and Reagan had a BALL. The only downside is having to deprogram... Oh well. One week until she starts school. I've got my work cut out for me!

3. This last episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" had a very beautiful and moving dance about breast cancer. I thought it was beautiful. The choerography was powerful and the dancers were perfect. What an awesome portrayal of the cancer fight it was. But it did make me think: How is it that people survive cancer here in the U.S.? Isn't it because of the awesome health care system we have? Did you know that the U.S. has the highest rate of survival of cancer than any other country in the world?

But with socialized medicine, like the kind of healthcare bill Obama is trying to push through, that rate of survival will go down. There will be fewer doctors. Fewer researchers and less research. There will be longer lines to get into see the doctors. Sure, you won't have to pay for it out of pocket, but your taxes will go up, so there will be fewer consumers, which means fewer jobs, which means higher unemployment. So, yeah, you'll have healthcare coverage, if you can get in to see your doctor. But you won't have much else.

The healthcare bill will be disastourous for America. There is no end to the ramifications of this type of hand-out.

4. Did you see that Janette was kicked off SYTYCD? What in the world? She was one of best dancers this entire season. Wrong choice, my friends. And if Kayla wins this season I might throw up. Why does she keep making it through?


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

First Born Friends

I have just finished The Soloist by Steve Lopez. It was good. I really enjoyed it, and yet was totally freaked out that one of my children could inexplicably come down with Schizophrenia. Anyways, really, that is a post for another day.

Typically, I go from one book to the next. (I'm a read-a-holic. Forget Schizophrenia, I'm an Addict.) Well, I ordered The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman from Paperback Swap and I have not been able to put it down. It's so interesting!

But it started me thinking. I think the majority of my friends are first-borns or only-borns. I guess it makes sense. I value characteristics like consideration, values, organization, etc. And if my friends have those things in common, then it's a match! :)

Anyways, interesting right? Do you notice a similar pattern in your friends?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best Cookies EVER

Yes. They are.

The Walmart I went to today didn't have actual Mint Chocolate Chips, so I bought the crushed Andes Creme de Mente. Oh my goodness. They taste a little like Heaven.

And no, I didn't take pictures. Who do you think I am? Katie?

"Incentives vs. Virtue"

I recently read an article by Chuck Colson titled "Incentives vs. Virtue" The article is very interesting and I would encourage you to read it.

Recently, behavioral economics have become increasingly popular and the application runs from school districts rewarding after-school study sessions with raffles for ipods and t.v.s to one N.C. city paying teenage mothers $1 per day they are not pregnant. Behavioral economics is not necessarily new, but this application is. The point is that kids are being bribed into things they should be doing, for their own good. And the problem is that when the reward runs out, will the kids still act in their own best interest? And where does it end?

It brings to mind the welfare problem. Certainly welfare was intended to help, the problem is when does that help start to be couterproductive and inductive of dependence? And how does the government decide when/if the person no longer needs the welfare? Or if the person is just abusing the system? It is the same problem with government-run virtuous incentives.

I believe we are breeding a population that will not know how to do the right thing without a financial incentive.

I think it is different if the incentive comes from a parental role. There the parents can measure whether or not the incentive needs to change or is ready to go away. For example, my parents rewarded me with money for A's in school. But that went away once they realized that the good grades were reward in and of itself for me. I was at the point where I was self-motivated to do well in school.

As a parent, the incentive must vary. For example, potty training. When potty training, I reward like crazy. And then as the behavior become learned, I reduce the reward. Finally rewarding only for bowel movements. And then once those become learned, I reduce those away. What happens with the child is that they learn the behavior is actually in their best interest. It goes from being an extrensic reward (getting candy for peeing on the potty) to being an intrensic reward ("I don't want to mess myself")-acting in their best interest. As a parent I can make those decisions. The government can not.

I am not against a reward system for obedience. Indeed, a reward may be necessary to teach my children behaviors I want them continuing. Rewarding for cleaning rooms without being told, turning off lights and fans, for solving differences without involving me or screaming at each other, etc. These rewards eventually train my children to act the way responsible adults should act.

However I reward my children, whether money or not, is only to point them towards the heart of the issue; sin and selfishness are not in our best interests and will not be rewarded. We act selflessly because Jesus acted selflessly. We are sinners. We are saved because Jesus acted selflessly and sacrificially. We do right when we do the same. That is ultimately our best interest-to serve and please God.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I really need these to sell...

What do you think about my listing?

Word of the Day: Syzygy

Seriously, is that not the coolest word ever? I heard it last night on "The Closer". Awesome. When three bodies are in alignment, it's syzygy. I just like it because it doesn't have any true vowels.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Review: The Carnival

We are so blessed to be friends with the crew at Intentionally Katie. Our firstborns were born within six weeks of each other and we've become best friends because of it.

Accordingly, we were invited to Ryan's 5th Birthday party. And Oh My Goodness. Seriously, it was fun. What a great party. And since Katie had planned everything out so well it went off without a hitch.

But I would be remiss if I didn't give her a smidgen of a hard time. Most of us who have been friends with Katie for longer than six months know that she's crazy about her photos. This party was no exception. She attempted several shots of the 30 3-5 year olds. Group shots. Of preschoolers. A better friend would have helped get all the attentions. But no, I just watched. And then, my favorite part, we sang "Happy Birthday" twice. So she could get the right shot. And the shot was good. She did get it. :) Her camera did not fail her!

The cupcakes were awesome. My three-year old refers to them as the "Camping Cupcakes" because they had marshmallows on them. Like I said, everything went off without a hitch.

I was only wondering one thing-what does she have planned for Ryan's 16th Birthday? Is she already planning it?

For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn? Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Speaking of Loss...

My car was broken into yesterday. At my parent's house. I was parked in their DRIVEWAY! The low, rotten, souless theives broke open my car and took my GPS, the DVD player and all of our kids' DVDs.

There are many things that could have been worse. Like my parent's cars could have been broken into. The girls and I could have been in the car. I could have left my purse in the car. Thankfully none of that happened.

But really. What kind of scum would take 30-40 children DVDs? I can understand the Tom Tom, but honestly, kids stuff? It makes me sick.

Of course I believe that all things work for the good of those who love God. And I hope it's more than apparent how I feel about the Lord. And I can say that the things taken are just materials. Not of eternal value. As my dear Reagan said last evening, "They're just movies, Mom." Yes, she is right. They have a sentimental value to me and Erik, but really, they are just goods. Meant to not last a lifetime. Not of long-term value at all. I'm sorry for the monetary loss. There are few things that rub me like losing money. And you know? God seems to keep at me in that area. Just another example of turning all things over to the Lord. He gives and He takes away. All for His glory. All so that my heart, and the hearts of my family will be turned toward Him.

On a happy note, my parents unexpectedly gave us a new DVD player for the car. I pray their generosity and compassion will be rewarded beyond their comprehension. However, I'm nervous about putting it in the car. I think it'll only be for trips longer than an hour. And also I'm thinking about having the windows tinted beyond limo tint.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lamenting the Loss


My awesome sister-in-law and her husband just bought themselves a new car. You may remember that I recently posted about our mini-van purchase. I was, and am still thankful, for that car. However, when my in-laws drove up in this little hottie, I was suddenly filled with sadness that we were no longer DINK's. (Dual-income, no kids) That car doesn't even have a back seat to speak of. And you can never ask them to help you move! Wow. What a great car. Totally gets them out of a bunch of things! :)

In any case, maybe it's the third kid and all, but I am realizing that I am forever limited by what cars I buy. How sad. Not like we're huge into cars or anything, but you know, if the choice isn't there all of the sudden it's the only thing that appeals.

Stinking pregnancy. When will the kids be moved out of the house?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day Gift

I am a huge Jane Austen fan, Pride and Prejudice being my favorite of her books. In fact, it is one of my favorites of all times. It is a running joke at my book club to not bring up Jane Austen because inevitably I will make some comparison from the current selection to one of the Austen novels. Most of the club actually roll their eyes the minute I say "Jane".

In any case, my dear darling husband supports my love of all things Austen by frequently giving me Austen-ian gifts like shirts with favorite phrases, books that continue the saga of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy (if you do not know who they are you should be ashamed of yourself.), and most recently a variation on Pride and Prejudice for Mother's Day.



That's right, you read correctly. My endearing husband gave me Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance-Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem. The first line of the book is: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." Awesome. I can't wait.

I love you, Honey. You have made me a mother and I am ever grateful.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gardening

I have started gardening. It started because I read this series of books by Terri Blackstock about what would happen if God allowed an electromagnetic pulse which caused total disarray to economies, which included food sources. Basically, I saw how necessary it would become to be self-sufficient. Thus, a garden was formed.

Anyways, I like new things and LOVE new challenges so I started this garden in February. Erik built the box (wonderful hubby that he is) and I started the seeds.




And this is what we have so far. The plants on the left started from seeds and are Italian Parsley, Jalepeno Peppers, and Basil. And then I planted others from pots, Cilantro, Beefsteak Tomatoes, Yellow Bell Pepper and Lavender. Those are the enormous things on the right.

I have learned that I probably shouldn't have planted the tomatoes so close. They are enormous. Add that to how big beefsteaks get and I'm in TROUBLE! I need to stake supports very quickly or they will fall over, as I think they are about to!

I go out there every afternoon to check on the moisture level. The girls go with me and it is very rewarding. Unfortunately they have learned how to turn the hose off and on and that's not so much fun for me. Loads of fun for them, however!

This afternoon for lunch I was able to clip fresh basil from my garden and make a spinach basil pesto. It was awesome! I'm thrilled with the progress. And it hasn't been too hard, actually. Thankfully my wonderful husband has had some experience in the gardening arena due to his New York childhood.

All in all, I'm so happy that I got to thinking about the end times which allowed me to pursue a new past time.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Random Thoughts

1. We bought a mini-van today. We went with a used and uber-affordable Kia Sedona. It's great. I love it. I always knew I would be a mini-van owner, so this is not hard for me.

2. We are selling our Pontiac Aztek. But silly us, we neglected to get our title when we paid it off. And we've lost the original lien release. So, based off the lovely Arizona Motor-Vehicle Division's website and a call to their office, all we had to bring to the MVD is the lien release. So, we have our bank fax over a release. And then take it to the busiest MVD in the history of MVD's (the one in Glendale) wait for about 45 minutes only to have the person tell me that they will not accept faxed lien releases. It must be original. ARGHHHHH!!!!!! We own the car! What is the problem? I swear bureaucrats must be sadists who derive pleasure from making honest, hard-working, yes, forgetful people make multiple trips to the devil's lair only to get one piece of paper that would help those same people get on with their lives! As my insightful hubby put it "This is what holds up free enterprise!" Amen, love!

3. What is with all the causes on Facebook? I just checked my facebook friend/cause invitations pages and seriously, it's about a mile long. Let me just put this out there: I know that the causes are good, well, causes. But really? What is '1,000,000 people for the Old Facebook format' really going to change? Or how about 'Join the fight against (fill in the blank)"? I don't have enough time to ignore all the cause I get. And yes, I ignore all of them. And no, that doesn't mean I'm pro-Breast Cancer or Asperger's Syndrome.

Okay, that's it. Bye.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Book Review: The Prince of Tides

Immediately banish any memory you may have of this movie. I have seen the movie, although it took me about half-way through the book to realize it, and the movie is a shade of what the book is. However, in defense of the producers, I can see why they would make it into a movie; people should know about this story.

This book was so good. (Chandy-you can rest safe-you did not over-hype the book!) I cried, laughed, cringed, laughed some more. All in all, Pat Conroy did an outstanding job in developing these characters. Have you ever read a book and wished that the characters actually existed? I feel this way about Pride and Prejudice, and I feel this way about the Wingos. As much as I despised everyone at some point, they were all real and flawed and wonderful.

Also, although the book is over 600 pages, I didn't find that it lagged at any point. Maybe the ending, but I am not sure the story lagged or if it was me anxious to find out what happened. As a self-professed editor, I was unable to find any story that didn't matter, which is why the movie was doomed in the first place. How can you take a 40 year story and condense it down adequately to 2 hours? I just don't think you can. In any case, I didn't take out my theoretical red-pen and line-out whole stories. I loved them all.

One of the books most interesting themes was the kids relationship with their parents. The Wingo kids simultaneously hated and loved their parents. Their childhood was not ideal, far from it, yet their childhood created children wholly unique. And the grown children could not fully fault their parents. Even still loved them. I thought about how most children go through this process with their parents in their adulthood. Adult children usually have to work to an understanding and love for their parents, no matter how ideal their childhood.

I found Conroy's story very moving and redeeming. Thank goodness for the redemption! In this case I did not wonder if the author was being untrue to his characters when he resolved things in a sweet way. I felt it was an authentic ending.

I hope you'll read it. It is worth the time it takes to read. Two thumbs up from this amateur book critic.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tea Party Anyone?

Have you heard about the Tea Parties happening around the country? No? Little surprise. These peaceful protests have been gaining little publicity thanks to the biased media.

In any case, there are Tea Parties scheduled to occur all over the nation on April 15th. Tax Day for all you non-tax payers. There are 14 in the state of Arizona alone. With one in Phoenix at the Capital Building.

I'm thinking this is a great time to introduce the girls to the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. Before they take it away, anyways. What do you think? Anyone interested in going with me?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Coupons Schmoopons

I just got home from an exhausting morning of grocery shopping. (And the morning lasted well into the afternoon-it's 3:00.)

I have become somewhat of a coupon-er. I read a couple of awesome money saving blogs and I have two crazy couponing good friends who get me on track. But I'm no where near the caliber of saving hundreds of dollars while paying $10. That's not me. I usually save anywhere from 40%-50% per shopping trip. Not bad. I know. I'm happy with it.

In order to organize myself, I spend about two hours of going through the sites and organizing the coupons that I'm going to use. It is pretty time consuming. Apparently I am slow. But I get it done. However, I haven't really paid any attention to the whole expiration date thing. I haven't had to. The Fry's Marketplace by my house has never raised a stink about taking expired coupons so I've never bothered to clean mine out. That is, until today.

Here's the story. I make my way through the 1,000,000 square foot Fry's Marketplace and get what's on my list and match the coupons. It takes me about 45 minutes to do all this. (Matilyn is with me.) I get to the check out. The lady checking out is kind of slow, and I notice that as she's checking out the lady in front of me she's examining the expiration of the coupons. Now I go into a slight (read: pretty big) panic. "Oh no!" I think, "Half the items in my cart probably have expired coupons. And I need those half. Maybe she's checking for something else." I say as I attempt to calm myself down.

She's takes my groceries and I hand her my coupons. (Holding my breath...) And, yes, she checks the expiration and eliminates about half of my coupons. I am SHOCKED! I have never had this happen at my Fry's. (It's the one on Waddel and Litchfield,FYI. I'm linking to them so they know I'm talking about them...) She says, "Don't you have any other coupons?" Are you kidding me, yes I have millions of coupons. But she has a line about a mile long behind me and she's suggesting that I go through my coupons. Ugh. I say, "I'll just be returning the items that I didn't get coupons taken for." So, now I've been in the store for an hour. And I do what any reasonable coupon-aholic would do. I pull over to the side, sort through the rest of my coupons looking for non-expired ones, and put aside the items that do not have coupons. Duh. So, my poor Mati has been patiently (for a three year old) waiting for me. And now I march us over to the Customer Service desk, where we wait in another line for about 10 more minutes. Then I have to do two more transactions; one for the returns, and one for the coupons that I did find to go with already purchased items. It was 11:45 by the time we walked out the door. I had been there since 10.

Overall I saved about $51 and spent $44. Do you think it was worth my time?

Anyways, I had two more stores to hit after that and so we just got home. Wow. What a day. But happily I shopped for two weeks of groceries (except chicken (which I'll get tomorrow at Sam's), milk and eggs) and spent about $86. I think it was worth it. What about you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back off of AIG

I am so tired of everyone vilifying business and capitalism. AIG disclosed to Congress last year about the retention bonuses. This is not a surprise to those hacks in Congress.

Furthermore, Chris Dodd (D-Conn) wrote into the stimulus bill that bonuses agreed upon before February 11, 2009 would be exempt. His own amendment!

While the Senate was constructing the $787 billion stimulus last month, Dodd added an executive-compensation restriction to the bill. The provision, now called “the Dodd Amendment” by the Obama Administration provides an “exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009” -- which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are now seeking to tax.


And he is out there spewing hatred for the people of AIG who are getting their bonuses. This after AIG was his single largest campaign contributor. This shows his total incompetence. Let's not forget that he was on the oversight committee of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-the main reason we are in this mess.

Listen up people in corporate America. When Chuck Schumer (D-NY) rants that if employees refuse to give back the bonuses that were already promised, then the federal government is going to come in an tax those bonuses at 100%, I sat up. If they can finagle a way to get bonuses from private citizens, (more than what they already get-which is like 60%!) we should all be very afraid. What's to stop them from coming after your business? How long do you think it will take for the government to think that University Of Phoenix's bonus structure is unfair? Or what about Arizona Public Service? Or how about any of the retail stores or bank branches?

More importantly how long will we allow the federal government to tell us what we're owed? What we're worth? We decide that. Not them. That's the tragedy of this whole business. The masses are outraged over something that Congress and the President have manufactured. And you know what? If you want a bonus, then you should be willing to work your tail off for it.

The people Chuck Schumer and the Liberal Democrats are mad at are the individual employees who are receiving those bonuses. Not AIG Corporate heads. After all, AIG is one of Chuck Schumer's biggest campaign contributors. It's not the corporate big wigs who get hurt by this legislation, it's the individuals.

We should all be nervous.

The Newest Little Wilhelmsen


Hey There Everyone! As you may or may not know we are expecting again. I'm 10 weeks along and have finally scanned in the ultrasound to share with you.

If you would, please pray that everything develops healthily.

Here's a picture of number three, or Trey as we have taken to calling it. (Hope that's alright with you, Heather...)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fun with Quinoa

Last week I thought I would give quinoa a try. I'm always looking for good things to feed my family, and I read one of my friend's post on it, and thought I might as well give it a shot.

Anyways, so last Monday I had quinoa all day. Maybe I'm a little extreme, but I was having another friend over for lunch and wanted to serve something interesting. And then I had an eggplant to use up so I found another quinoa recipe with eggplant in it.

So, the lunch salad was Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa. It was pretty good. I think a good dash of feta cheese would have made it a bit better. And also, I won't cook it quite so long next time. I prefer my quinoa al dente, I think.

And then for dinner we had Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant-Tomato Ragu and Smoked Mozzarella. Now this one was a home run! It was delicious! I substituted regular mozzarella for smoked since the wonderful Erik is not a huge fan of the smoked variety. But everyone liked this meal. I was shocked! The eggplant tomato ragu made this wonderful sauce and then the cheese was melted in it and it was just scrumptious. The cakes were not all that difficult to make, but I did take some time with them since I didn't want them to fall apart. And it was terrific leftovers! I toasted the cake in the toaster oven and then topped with warmed ragu. YUM-OH! The only thing that could have made it even better was a nice glass of Cabernet. But, none for me right now.

So, I think Quinoa is worth the try. It's technically a seed that has great protein and amino acids, making it a real super food. And the fact that my wonderfully choosy husband liked it will make quinoa a suitable substitute for rice any day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To The Bunco Babes

I love my Bunco group. They are awesome. And seriously, if you were a part of it, you would love them too. It's one of those groups which is comprised of the perfect combination of funny, wacky, intelligent and crazy. Those girls rock.

So, since I'm missing tomorrow's game I thought I would shout out to those lovely ladies and tell 'em I'll miss them and see them next month.

Lots of love to you!

Confession

I am addicted to sweets. I love them. I know that I am not supposed to love inanimate objects, but I do. Recently it has been of the sweet-salty variety. You know, chocolate covered pretzels and yogurt covered pretzels.

I find myself picking up a bag wherever I am. Like Trader Joe's on Monday. I just had to have a bag of chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels. Seriously. I mean not even the price tag could turn me away. Have you ever had those? Oh my. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself.

And then today, while at Sprouts, I picked up some yogurt covered pretzels. Seriously, they're all gone. However, I did share them with my girls. So, I'm not a total pig.

If you told me that I would lose 5 pounds a week from giving up sweets, I might not do it. Is that sad or what? Anyways, that's me. And no, I'm not about to go all psycho and give up sugar, like some girls I know. I don't know how or why you do it. And you know that I love Jesus and thankfully I have not felt the call on my life to give up sweets.

There are few things that leave me so satisfied as a nice treat. Anyhoo, I felt like confessing. Well, it might not be confessing since I don't intend to change. It's kind of like letting you in on my inner sanctum.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Honk




Two things:

1. I wish the AZ GOP would make these so that my donation would go to them.
2. I kind of wish it said "Honk if I'm paying your mortgage."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Steps to Contentment

I got these from BSF. These steps were put into practice by a missionary's wife in Africa. She and the other wives were struggling with complaining and contentment, so they committed to practicing these simple ideas.

1. No complaints-even about the weather. (Oh this will be tough come August.)
2. No fantasies. The idea here is that God has you where you are (or who you're with) for a reason. To wish otherwise is a rejection of his provision.
3. No comparisons.
4. No "if only" statements or thoughts.
5. No "what if"'s about the future. This is worry.

I find these to be so profound; seemingly simple and direct, but I know they will change forever one's outlook.

I tend to struggle with contentment and envy. I am so grateful for a practical way to combat those horrendous thoughts that tend to go through my mind.

We learned yesterday about Miriam and her jealousy towards Moses. (Numbers 12) She spoke against Moses to her other brother Aaron about marrying a non-Jew (which was not forbidden in this case) and also questioned why Moses was so special. Her complaints prompted the Lord to summon Miriam and Aaron and defend Moses, who was not just any prophet but spoke with the Lord "face to face".

The Lord defended Moses, not only because of his closeness with the Lord, but because He had put Moses in charge. We should conclude that God takes very seriously when we complain about the leadership, federal, pastoral, etc.

(Good thing I don't struggle with that! Okay, just kidding...)

But in any case, Miriam was struck with leprosy and would have had to have been cut off from the Israelites forever if Moses had not interceded for her.

The other thing we can conclude is that jealousy is repulsive to the Lord. So disgusting and contagious that it must be confined outside of the community. This is the mental picture I hope to always have when a jealous thought comes into my mind.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Oscars (or Ugh-Sean Penn)

So, I watched bits of the Oscars this last Sunday night. I like Hugh Jackman, I love fashion and I enjoy seeing what everyone wears, and I also like to see the winners.

That is, unless, they decide to start giving social lectures during their acceptance speech. For some reason watching self-serving hypocrites lecture me about certain marriage referendums or war fills me with such indescribable rage that I practically take out my bedroom T.V. with flying objects.



It's not a bad speech, until he starts talking about the shame we should anticipate in voting for the ban on gay marriage. UGH!

Stick to the movies, Penn.

Monday, February 23, 2009

In Defense of the Octomom

The public outcry in regards to the Octomom is, and should be for all of us moms, disheartening. I'm not about to try and give defense to her actions directly, but the way she has been treated is disconcerting.

Who is the world to say when a woman should have children? I don't think she made the best decision, but it was hers to make. Not the public's. Not Hollywood's. Not the Media's. The only person who has anything to say about this is God. For it is through Him that we are able to share in the miracle of co-creation. He commands those of us who are married to be fruitful and multiply, the only limitation is whether or not we physically can have children. The problem is that the world has determined that only those who are financially able should have children. Well, that's not what the Bible says, is it? We should all pay attention when social pressures go against the Word. This should cause us Christians to stand up and defend what the Word says about married couples bearing children.

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.” - Genesis 9:7

Furthermore, bearing children is an amazing blessing, unlike any other in this lifetime. While money is tight, at least in our family, God has given blessing upon blessing. I believe that it is when we are stretched, financially and physically, that we are able to fully understand the strength of God. And those encounters leave me changed, humbled, grateful. God has promised:

They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. - Isaiah 65:23

This is God's truth about bearing children. He will provide. He will protect.

The world doesn't care about the souls of the Ocotmom's children. They care about whether or not those children will be a drain on our "precious" resources, or if the mom can "afford" to raise them, or have a "big enough" house. Those things pale in comparison to the responsibility of raising loving, responsible, and independent persons. The important values don't cost a dime to teach.

Let me be clear. I think children should be raised in a two parent (husband and wife) household, as God has designed it. I don't think the Octomom exercised wisdom when she went for the in vitro procedure.

But I don't think she's deserves the world's contempt.



*I have attempted to not come across as judgmental to those of my readers who've decided not to have children. This was not my intention. I believe what the Bible says, however, and I take it seriously. The Word has a funny habit of stepping on toes, doesn't it?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rick Santelli is My New Hero

Have you heard this? Rick Santelli is a Business Analyst for CNBC and he went off on the President's Porkulous Bill. It's Awesome.

And yes, I think we should be organizing a Tea Party for Phoenix. What the bureaucrats in Washington are doing to capitalism is horrendous. And we should all be very nervous.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cuts to State Budget

I know this will probably come across as mean spirited, like my mortgage post of yesteryear. But this needs to be said.

I am thrilled that the state legislature is making serious budget cuts to eliminate deficit spending. This is how budgets work. You take your income and balance your expenditures against that. If something is too expensive, you cut it down. If road improvements are more important than, for example, emergency dental welfare, then you make it fit into your budget. I think the tough decisions the state legislature is making is EXACTLY what this state needs.

Janet Napolitano did us no favors by incorporating all these programs. And yes, I do include all-day kindergarten in that mix. It has not boosted the scores of our children. They are not reading any better than the children were eight years ago; science and math scores have not improved. Truly, all-day kindergarten is simply a way for the state to have more influence over our children. It was sold to us as a way to get our children to a higher learning level, and yet it has not succeeded. Should we keep funding it?

Let me ask you, if you had a pay cut where would make budget cuts? Wouldn't it be in the areas which are least productive and most draining? Certainly!

"But," you say, "what about all those families who can't afford after school programs?" I don't know. What did people do when all-day kindergarten didn't exist? I'm sure they did something.

The danger with social programs is that once a person gets used to it, they are less inclined to do without it. Add that to the entitlement factor (my kids deserve all-day kindergarten!), and you have a real mess when the economy take a nose-dive.

The reality is that everyone has less money. Period. People don't seem to realize that this economic downturn has consequence for everyone. How can we expect our children to learn lessons about personal responsibility and consequences if we ourselves are unwilling to accept the reality of this worldwide economic crisis?

We have an opportunity here to learn how to do with less. God has not promised us economic security. He has promised that we who belong to Him will not be forsaken. As in the words of James, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Now, that's a program I'll get behind.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Adios Mr. President

I will miss George W. Bush. I know, how very unpopular of me.

In any case, he was the exact right man for the War on Terror. He pursued those terrorists without worrying about public opinion, which is exactly what he should have done. We are a safer nation because of him. We have stricter security measures because of him. More people in the world are FREE because he had the guts to go in and route out terrorists. History will get this right and he will be recognized as one of the most influential presidents of this country.

He also cut taxes, which for me has been huge.

I was not a fan of all his policies. I'm more of a hardliner on immigration and spending than he was. But I can forgive him that because he never changed. I was under no illusions about his stance on immigration when he was elected. He never changed his mind. He never wavered. He never took a poll to determine whether or not a policy is a good idea. I don't fault him that. I hope I am as consistent.

Furthermore, no matter what shots the media took, he stayed above it. Never engaging their crassness, whether it was about his style or his intellect. As much as I abhor the media, I love President Bush for being strong enough to handle them.

I think he was surrounded by wise people, he made great choices for his cabinet (with the possible exception of Colin Powel and Henry Paulson.) He chose excellent men for the Supreme Court. He broke new ground with the appointments of Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzales. He is brave. He is fun. He loves his family.

So, I will miss President Bush. I will miss his humor, his resolve, and his integrity.

Poetry Thursday: Psalm 118

Appropriately, I read this on Tuesday. It was a bit of a down day for me, as you can imagine. You know, reading through Leviticus is tough. I mean, all those regulations, and all those sacrifices...really made me think about how deprave we are as humans. How capable of evil and filth we are. And it's only through Jesus Christ that we can be called Holy. It is only through his sacrifice that we can put off our sinfulness and become who God has designed us to be. So, the whole thing really had me melancholy.

Oh, that's not the reason you thought I was down on Tuesday? Well, yes, also the inauguration of Obama had me down. And it's not that I'm still sore about the election, but the extreme jubilation of his followers really irks me. It's like he walks on water. It's as if Obama will save them from their troubles. Anyways, it all got me down.

Imagine my joy when I turned to Psalm 118 that night. I had a fresh outlook. To bad I read it at 9:30 at night; I could have used this much earlier in the day. And it is also my answer to the issue of extreme jubilation over one man. It's something I plan to keep in mind for the next four years, at least.

Excerpts from Psalm 118

1) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
5) In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free.
6) The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
7) The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
8) It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
9) It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
13) I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.
14) The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
15) Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The Lord's right hand has done mighty things!"
17) I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18) The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
19) Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20) This is the gate of the Lord through which the righteous may enter.
21) I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.
22) The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
23) the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.


This is not an easy thing for me to say, much less to live out. I know, and can still be overjoyed, that what God has done is rightly done. Who am I to question the ways of the Lord?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Poetry Thursday

I think it's a good idea to get into poetry. Not so into it, but enough to appreciate it. I want to read more poetry. The discipline poetry takes to create is noteworthy. A poet must take a thought and fit it into stanzas, using only the most appropriate words. Yes, it takes some imagination in order to understand it. But why is that dreaded? We need to exercise our minds. So, in that order, I hereby declare Thursdays Poetry Days.

To start it off, here is a poem by my grandfather, Ron Durham. This Christmas season has been rather sad for me since he recently departed earth for Heaven. He was an artist, a poet, a writer. You can imagine why I miss him so much. This is for your enjoyment.

To a Cockroach
(Or, Bug Me to Live)



Ah, thou cockroach, you endure
Far beyond my overtures
For you to be exterminated,
And myself emancipated
From the gran ubiquity
Of your creep-and-carwlity.
You resist all tech-damnation
You’d survive e’en radiation
From wars that do mere mortals in.
So tempted, I, to hate like sin
Your shuddery longevity
That points to some eternity –
Until I realize your drive,
Against all odds, to stay alive
Is like the very verve I need
To stand against the word and deed
That tempts me to despair of heart.
Live on, thou bug, and life impart!
– Ron Durham, date unknown

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

I bake our family's bread. It saves us money and I really loved homemade baked goods. Me and girls are pretty crazy about it. Thankfully I have some of those Debbie Meyer's Bread Bags which keep the bread very well. Anyways, it's not an original recipe; it's from the bag of King Arthur Flour. My special touch is to add Vital Wheat Gluten.

Here it goes:

Classic 100% Whole What Bread
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 1 packet of active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 tsp of Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 cup honey, molasses or maple syrup [I use honey.]
3 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup dried nonfat milk
1 1/4 tsp salt

Mixing: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer of food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for "dough" or "manual.") Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though no necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8-inch log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 30 to 60 minutes, or until it's crowned about 1 inch above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Baking: Bake the bread in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190 degrees at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pan, and cool it on a rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yields 1 loaf.