Friday, April 29, 2011

Youth Easter Party

This week we had a youth Easter party at our house.  We hid hundreds of eggs outside (in very hard places!), but what made it even more challenging was the torrential thunderstorm that began just as the hunt commenced. 
Vera "helped" fill and hide the eggs.
In addition to the hunt, we also had dinner, a lesson time (on the Passover as it relates to Jesus), and a game.  We had a good turnout and enjoyed spending the evening with our awesome kids!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Messy Eater

Vera is quite a messy eater these days!  (Who am I kidding - this isn't new!)

We love her sweet messy face!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I big fat heart this photo Andrea took of our family on Easter.

And I big fat heart my sweet hubby and darling baby girl!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


As I mentioned before, we picked a bunch of strawberries last week! 
lots and LOTS of berries!
Here's what I made with them:
-10 half-pint jars of freezer jam
-10 baby food jars of freezer jam
-several other miscellaneous containers of freezer jam
-4 bags crushed strawberries (2 cups each - enough to make 4 more batches of freezer jam)
-4 bags sliced strawberries (1 cup each - for fruit salads, desserts, etc.)
-1 batch of strawberry ice cream

And we had all the strawberries we could eat!  We still have a bowl in the fridge we're working on. 

Do you have strawberries yet where you live?  Do you eat them all or do you preserve them?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday

I meant to post this yesterday: my favorite Easter anytime worship song!

We had a great Resurrection Day.  The morning worship service was wonderful!  Here is our family picture (see last year's here).

Vera looked pretty cute, if I might say so myself. (Outfit from Mimi.)

We had Travis & Andrea and their family over for dinner, as well as two of our youth, Ryan and Kevin.  We had wine-rosemary lamb, baked potatoes, cilantro tabouli, tossed salad, crescent rolls with strawberry jam, and blueberry cobbler (oh, and spaghetti for those who preferred that).  After dinner we enjoyed some time outside in the gorgeous weather!

Hope you all had wonderful Easter celebrations as well!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Strawberry Pickin'

One of my favorite things about spring is STRAWBERRIES!  I was so excited to finally go strawberry picking (or, as we say around here, "pickin'") this week.

I wore Vera on my back in a mei tei wrap, hoping she would be content even though it was around her afternoon naptime.  I stuck this cute hat on her so she wouldn't get a sunburn!
A few minutes into picking, she started getting a little fussy.  I talked to her over my shoulder, and in a few minutes she settled down.  I noticed she was pretty quiet, so I turned my head around to see that...
...she was DEVOURING a strawberry!  I don't know if she picked it herself, grabbed one from my basket, or scooped it up off the ground, but there she was, chowing down on a luscious berry!

I had been planning on waiting to introduce her to strawberries since they can be highly allergenic, but so far she hasn't reacted. 

She enjoyed eating quite a few more strawberries before the trip was over, and at the end we were both covered in berries and juice!

(Don't worry, Andrea, your Babyhawk came clean!*)
She loves strawberries, just like her mama and dad!  I made three batches of strawberry jam tonight and I only used 1/3 of the strawberries we picked!

*How to Remove Strawberry Stains (I just learned how to do this)
-Fill a basin or bowl with 1 quart of warm water
-Add 1 Tbsp. white vinegar and 1/2 tsp. liquid laundry detergent
-You can double this "recipe" if you need to
-Soak clothing/baby wraps :) for 15 minutes
-Rinse with cool water
-Machine wash with hot water
-Check to see if stains have come out before drying in the dryer! 
-If needed, repeat or pursue alternate stain removal techniques (rubbing alcohol, bleach, etc.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Zoo Trip

Last week Vera and I went up to Grammy's (Tad's mom's) house while Tad was in Chicago at The Gospel Coalition Conference.  On Wednesday, we went to the zoo!  We had such a great time looking at all of the amazing animals God made and learning crazy-cool things about them.  (Did you know that a giraffe mama gives birth standing up, dropping her baby from a height of six feet? What a way to enter the world!)
We got to get really close to the giraffes.
In fact, a giraffe ate out of my hand!!! Seriously, it was so cool.
Vera was smiling the whole time, but I'm sure she didn't quite know what to think of this big animal!

Vera rode in the stroller for part of the trip.
She also enjoyed being carried by Aunt Angela!
How beautiful is this white tiger?! (Or, as we told Vera, this "big kitty")
Grammy held her so she could see the big kitty through the glass.
Lunch break!
Red bud trees and a black swan
Vera was not traumatized by riding the carousel; she was upset that Grammy tried to take away her water bottle!
We also fed this emu.
It was so cool to see this handsome peacock strutting his stuff around the zoo!  I got really close to him.  (Did you know female peacocks are a drab gray color and don't have long tail plumage?)
Another highlight was getting to see these adorable penguins!
 Vera fell asleep in Grammy's arms by the end!
We made so many great memories! Thanks, Grammy!

Sweet Fellowship

We had our community ladies Bible study again last night, but instead of meeting at the church like usual, everyone came over to our house for dinner!

the lovely and talented Kelly, our waitress :)

We had a salad, a pasta bar, garlic bread, and dessert. (Shout out to my sweet hubby for washing all the dishes!!)
We packed 13 of us around our dining room table!

It was such a sweet time of fellowship!  We looked at lies women believe about themselves, like...

The lie: I'm not worth anything.
The truth:  My value is not determined by what others think of me or what I think of myself. My value is determined by how God views me.
The lie: I need to learn to love myself.
The truth: I already love myself. By faith, I need to receive God's love for me. I need to deny myself and let God love others through me.

The lie: I can't help the way I am.
The truth: If I am a child of God, I can choose to obey God. I am responsible for my own choices.

The lie: I have my rights.
The truth: Claiming rights will put me in bondage. Yielding rights will set me free.

The lie: Physical beauty matters more than inner beauty.
The truth: At best, physical beauty is temporal and fleeting. The beauty that matters most to God is that of my inner spirit and character.

The lie: I should not have to live with unfulfilled longings.
The truth:I will always have unfulfilled longings this side of heaven. The deepest longings of my heart cannot be filled by any created person or thing. If I will accept them, unfulfilled longings will increase my longing for God and for heaven.

Starting in May, we are going to begin meeting twice a month instead of just once a month.  I love these girls so much and I enjoy getting to learn from them as we study Lies Women Believe together!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vera's Eight Months Old!

she can stand!
fell asleep in Grammy's arms at the zoo
 Vera is eight months old today.  The months are flying by faster and faster!
still loves her blue swing on the porch

Some milestones:
-pulled herself to a standing position
-recently has been trying to stand up without holding on to anything
-will take a few steps around something (like a chair or bench) while holding on
-crawls super-fast now
-has two teeth
-bounces when she hears music or is excited about something
-likes chasing the kitty
-still sucks her thumb
-weighs: ? (I need to check!)
-loves picking up puff baby cereal and putting it in her mouth
-enjoys going on stroller rides
-is still a cuddle bug
-got a new nickname from Daddy: "Vera Boo"
-visited a zoo
-climbed two stairs at Grammy's house
This last picture is my favorite!

And who thinks she will be walking by nine months?

Monday, April 18, 2011

New Ebook: Against the Grain

Modern Alternative Mama has just released a new ebook!  It's called Against the Grain, and it's filled with lots of gluten-free and many GAPS-friendly recipes that are created with delicious, easy-to-find ingredients.  I can't wait to try out some of these recipes.  Until reading this book, I never even would have considered going gluten-free, but I now am starting to think about bringing some gluten-free recipes into our diet on a regular basis.  (With recipes this yummy, my family won't even notice!) 

Here are a few of the real-food recipes included in this cookbook:
  • Spicy Lime-Marinated Beef Strips
  • Fish in White Sauce
  • Fresh Herb Burgers
  • Garlic-Rubbed Pork Chops
  • Tomato-Cream Sauce with Chicken and Zucchini
  • Lemon-Herb Roasted Chicken
  • Baked Potato Soup
  • Italian Chili
  • Onion Rings
  • Salad Dressing
  • Chocolate Brownies
  • Banana Pancakes
Here is some more information about the ebook from Modern Alternative Mama:

Are you grain-free?  Whether it's due to allergy, weight loss, or doing the GAPS diet, grain-free eating isn't easy.  In fact, it can get pretty boring: lots of plain baked or grilled meats and steamed veggies.  Who wants to eat boring, bland food forever?  Especially on long-term, family diets (like GAPS), family members are likely to balk and "fall off the wagon" if they're expected to eat so much of the same all the time.
But grain-free doesn't have to be boring.  In fact, grain-free can include all kinds of interesting flavors, spices, and even sauces. Grain-free can be delicious and exciting.  It can even include breads and desserts!  That's how Against the Grain came to be: a cookbook full of grain-free (mostly dairy-free and GAPS-friendly) recipes that aren't boring, but are delicious and fun to eat. 
Against the Grain is a 55-page guide to delicious grain-free eating.  It contains 30 amazing recipes, including 6 "breads and desserts!"  Yes, you can have dessert, even grain-free!  It sells for just $7.95.
Against the Grain doesn't use any weird or unusual ingredients: instead, it focuses on fresh, delicious flavors that are easily found at any regular grocery store. It also focuses entirely on whole foods -- no weird, science-experiment-type ingredients!  That's a major complaint among a lot of gluten- and grain-free families: strange, processed ingredients to replace the grains or dairy.  But not in this book!  Everything is based entirely in real food.  That means you don't even have to adapt the recipes to be healthy!
Not grain-free?  Against the Grain has delicious recipes that are an asset to any family's kitchen repertoire!  See the Table of Contents for all the amazing foods.
If you're on GAPS, this book is perfect for you.  While there are a couple of recipes that aren't quite suitable for GAPS, most are.  In fact, our family was on GAPS during most of the creation and testing of this book!  (Note that not all are suitable for intro, but the vast majority are for full GAPS.)  There are 27 delicious GAPS-friendly recipes!

Click here for more info about Against the Grain.

The first 40 copies sold are 40% off, with code GRAINFREE40!  This offer will end after the 40th book is sold, or at midnight tonight, whichever comes first.  That makes the book just $4.77, a total steal!
In case you miss out on that deal, get 30% off through tomorrow, April 19th, with code GRAINFREE30!  That makes the book just $5.60 -- still a great deal!  You won't find a sale like this again any time soon, so make sure to take advantage now!
Finally, the book will remain at 25% off through Friday, April 22nd, with code GRAINFREE25!  (Simple codes, right?)  That makes the book $5.96 (totally worth it!).

Purchase your copy today!

*Links contain affiliates. I received a copy of Against the Grain to read. 

Friday, April 15, 2011


 Isn't it lovely how a simple bunch of tulips can totally brighten up a room?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


In case you were wondering, Penny is still alive and well.  She just lives outside now, since our two cats couldn't get along.  She is so sweet with Vera when she tries to pet her!

Who knows...maybe we'll switch which cat gets to live indoors! :)
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