Friday, December 31

New Year's Eve

Adam doesn't get off work for another hour, then it's just one hour until the new year. I've sent Rosi to bed, three or four times now, and I'm currently watching the second Baby Signing Time DVD with Ian. He's being cranky and fighting sleep. He's also got molars coming in and he keeps biting me, which is making me cranky.

At least we get to chill out tomorrow. Our big plan is picking up a fruit basket from the local supermarket (that was our "Christmas bonus" from Adam's company). Then we'll come home, eat fruit and popcorn and watch the original trio of Muppet movies.

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous new year. I'm going to try putting my baby to bed.

Sunday, December 5

So Long as It's Not Radio Equipped

My sister tagged me for this meme.
  1. What time did you get up this morning?
    This morning, 4:00 am. Normally, about 9:00.
  2. How do you like your steak cooked?
    Depends on the steak--the better the meat, the rarer I like it. What we can normally afford should be cooked no less than medium-well. I once got a steak at the restaurant at the Chicago Symphony Center and it was really yummy rare.
  3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
    Uhm ... I think it was Toy Story 3. I was previewing it to see if I should take Rosi, but after watching it, I decided she'd be a bit traumatized.
  4. What is your favorite TV show?
    Sunday Night Football
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
    Of the places I've visited so far, my favorite is probably Auckland, New Zealand. Otherwise, anyplace where shoes are optional gets high marks.
  6. What did you have for breakfast?
    Soy Live strawberry yogurt
  7. What is your favorite cuisine?
    Overall, probably Italian, but so much of it is stuff I can't eat. Chinese/pan-Asian foods probably have the most variety that I both like and can eat without everything being specially prepared with my dietary restrictions in mind.
  8. What foods do you dislike?
    I'm not a big fan of fish and fishy-tasting things.
  9. Favorite place to eat?
    With friends and family.
  10. Favorite dressing?
    Stove Top? I prefer my salads naked.
  11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?
    Saturn sedan
  12. What are your favorite clothes?
    Comfortable clothes that don't make me look like I'm wearing my jammies.
  13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
    Just about anywhere.
  14. Cup half empty or half full?
    Completely full! Half full of water and half of air. I tend toward pessimism in real life though.
  15. Where would you want to retire?
    Someplace warm most of the year, but has some nice snowfall in the winter that I wouldn't be responsible for shoveling or driving through. Mountains and ocean would be a big plus.
  16. Favorite time of day?
  17. Where were you born?
  18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
    (American) Football
  19. Are you satisfied with your life?
    Overall, yes.
  20. Are you a morning person or a night person?
    I'm a middle-of-the-night person.
  21. Do you have any pets?
    Does the baby count? Or all of the imaginary animals my daughter keeps?
  22. If you only had one day to live, who would you spend it with?
    My family, of course
  23. What did you want to be when you were little?
    A movie star, a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer (about in that order)
  24. What is your best childhood memory?
    Playing with my siblings on vacation
  25. Are you a cat or dog person?
  26. Are you married?
  27. Always wear your seat belt?
  28. Been in a car accident?
    Yes, though I was only at fault once when I was 17.
  29. Any pet peeves?
    People expecting to be taken seriously when they don't even bother to check their writing for spelling or grammatical errors.
  30. Favorite pizza toppings?
    Pepperoni, spinach, and pineapple (yes, all together).
  31. Favorite flower?
    Gerbera daisies
  32. Favorite ice cream?
    My favorite real ice cream is Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby, but since I can't eat that anymore, I like Purely Decadent Peanut Butter Zig Zag.

Saturday, November 27

The Rosi Show

My daughter thinks she's on her own television reality show most of the time. I'll find her all alone in a room explaining to her imaginary audience how to dance, the sound of the letters "sh" or some other random educational tidbit.

Sometimes, she even has her facts straight.

This morning, I overheard her segments on crying:

Crying means sad. And sad means crying.

And the purpose of blinking:

When you close your eyes and open them that's called blinking. You do that to keep your eyes clean and watered.

Monday, November 22


I can't believe it. No, really, I simply cannot fathom that a whole year has passed since my baby boy was born.

Where has the time gone? Surely it's only been six, or maybe nine months. He's not a little baby anymore. Sniff. He's a husky toddler stomping around the house is his snow boots and grabbing things off the counter.

I look at all the adorable little "My First Christmas" sleepers and wonder if he ever really was that small.

I know he was. When he was first born, even the 0-3 clothes were much too big for him. Now he's outgrowing all of his 9-month stuff. Sigh.

Adam and I have finally decided what to call him ... on the blog, I mean. We went ahead and named him right away in real life. It is with great joy that I present to you the birthday boy: Ian Gray.

Happy first birthday, Buddy! May you greet the rest of your years with as much verve and determination as you have this one. With much love, your Mamie.

(Birthday drawing by Rosi, who says, "I drew his age, too, so everybody would know he's one year old!")

Monday, November 15

I'm a Pop Star

Longtime readers of this blog know that I often enjoy, or am forced by my family's allergies, to made homemade versions of treats readily available at the grocery store. I've made popcorn on the stove for years, mostly for the cost savings, but also because so much microwave and prepackaged popcorn contains milk proteins. Still, it wasn't until just the last month or so that I considered the true versatility of stovetop popcorn--or how easy it really is.

bowl of popcornBasic Buttered Popcorn
2 T oil
1/3 c popcorn kernels
½ t salt
1 T butter
  1. Combine ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan, making sure popcorn kernels are in a single layer.
  2. Heat on high until popcorn begins popping.
  3. Shake pan vigorously every 30-45 seconds until popping slows to 1-2 seconds between pops.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into large bowl. Serve hot.

Kettle Corn
2 T oil
1/3 c popcorn kernels
½ t salt
2 T sugar
  1. Combine ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan, making sure popcorn kernels are in a single layer.
  2. Heat on high, shaking every 10-15 seconds until kernels begin popping.
  3. Shake pan continuously until rapid popping slows.
  4. Remove from heat; continue to shake until popping slows to 1-2 seconds between pops.
  5. Pour into a large bowl. Shake and let cool 2-3 minutes. Shake again before serving.
Buttery Kettle Corn: Add 1 T butter.
Cinnamon Corn: Add ½ t cinnamon.

Wednesday, November 3

Election Rants

I'm generally not a news junkie, but I have this weird thing for watching election returns. In 2000, Election Day coincided with my birthday. I was house-sitting for my brother that week and spent the whole night glued to the television as though they were going to suddenly announce a winner at 4:00 AM. I had a similar fixation on the impeachment hearings during the Clinton administration. I was in grad school at the time and spent many a morbidly fascinated afternoon glued to C-SPAN while I corrected papers for the classes I TAed.

Given this propensity I seem to have for dramatic politics, I suppose it's not surprising that I spent my whole evening last night watching election returns. In fact, I probably shouldn't have found it odd that I was frustrated when the local NBC affiliate ended their broadcast day at 1:35 AM--right in the middle of a comment from some national pundit or other. Actually, until I moved here, I didn't even realize that stations still went off the air at night. In Chicago, the broadcast day never ends, it just turns into an infomercial marathon. But that's a rant for a different day.

While spending an inordinate number of hours last evening listening to newscasters, political commentators, and random professors from local colleges invited to offer their expertise on the current political climate, one of the main points I heard repeated again and again was that voters were overwhelmingly electing Republican candidates to the U.S. House and at the state level, yet they had allowed Democrats to maintain a small majority in the Senate. Nearly everyone I saw on TV seemed obliged to comment on this.

Now, I recognize it is significant which party holds the majority of seats in congress, especially when one party has the majority in both houses. However, the main point that the whole collection of talking heads seemed to be making was how this seemed to show some sort of indecisiveness on the part of the voters, that the country was not sending an across-the-board conservative mandate. Really? Surely I'm not the only one who did the math, am I?

Let's start with the House. There are 435 representatives in the house, each elected to a 2-year term, so every seat could potentially have changed parties. If the Republicans win the projected 243 seats, that would mean that voters chose a Republican candidate 56% of the time.

Now let's look at the gubernatorial races (because it gives me an excuse to use the word "gubernatorial"). Elections for governor were held in 37 of the 50 states. Republican candidates won in at least 21 of those 37 races, or 57% of the time.

Finally, let's consider the Senate races. This is where the political pundits have me confused. Each state has two senators and senate terms are six years long, so every two years about one-third of the senate seats are contested. A few races are still too close to call, including a real barn burner in Alaska where a write-in candidate may actually come away with a majority of the votes, but let's assume the Republicans win 24 of the 37 seats up for election. That would mean voters chose a Republican candidate 65% of the time.

Now let's look at those numbers again:

Five minutes of simple division makes it seem pretty obvious to me that voters not only were clear about their choices, but that results of the Senate races were even more overwhelmingly Republican-biased than the House or gubernatorial offices. The only reason the Senate maintains their Democratic majority is because they have nearly twice the number of Democratic Senators whose terms are continuing as Republicans (40 and 23, respectively).

It really makes me wonder: How on earth would these political commentators manage if we actually had a viable third party in this country?

Saturday, October 30

Not Your Mama's Mac & Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is one of my hands-down all-time favorite comfort foods. My mom used to make Velveeta Shells and Cheese, which I thought was wonderful ... when I was about 11. I've matured a bit since then, or at least my taste buds have, and since I can't eat processed cheesefood anymore anyway, I had to find a way to make my own mac and cheese.

A decade and half a dozen recipe variations later, I have found an amazing cheesy macaroni dish that not only soothes my nostalgic comfort cravings, but tastes absolutely delicious.

Decadent Macaroni and Cheese

4 qt water
1¼ t salt, divided
5 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
½ lb dry macaroni
2 T flour
½ c unsweetened coconut milk
1 c unsweetened soymilk
6 oz goat's milk cheddar, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 scallions, sliced into rings (green parts only)
  1. Bring water and 1 t salt to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, fry bacon in the bottom of a large sauce pan, stirring frequently, until browned. Drain grease, reserving 2 T.
  3. Cook macaroni in salted water for 6-8 min, or until it reaches desired tenderness. Drain well.
  4. Over medium heat, stir flour and remaining ¼ t salt into reserved bacon grease.
  5. Stirring constantly, pour in coconut milk and soymilk. Bring to a boil.
  6. Add cheese, scallions, and cooked macaroni. Stir together over low heat until cheese has melted and pasta is well coated.
Serves 3-4.

Note: Although I usually I "translate" my recipes into standard, mainstream ingredients, I've left this one as I actually made it. I don't really know what it would taste like with cow's milk ingredients--if I could still eat them, I probably never would have thought to try creating this recipe.

Friday, October 1

I See Dead People

This one is especially for my friends who wear a clerical collar--literally or metaphorically. Happy Clergy Appreciation Month!

We were driving past a cemetery in town recently, and Rosi pointed to it.

"Is that the park for dead people?" She asked.

"Yes," I told her. "It's called a cemetery. Can you say that word?"


I chuckled at the thought of seminars chock full of parked dead people ... hmmm, maybe that's not so far fetched after all ...

"Not 'seminar,' Sweetie, 'cemetery.'"

"That's what I said," she insisted.

"Oh, well maybe I misheard. Can you pronounce it for me again? Ce-me-te-ry."

"Okay." Deep breath, "Seminary!"

Friday, September 24

Round Robin

The term usually brings to mind good things: ping pong games, family newsletters, the first stray scene from City Slickers ... fun stuff.

Unfortunately, we've been playing host to a round robin tournament for bacteria and virus strains living in our house. Each of us has gotten sick with at least two separate illnesses in the last two weeks. Yuck.

I hesitate to say so, for fear of being proven wrong, but I think we are all finally on the mend. If we really are, I have some plans for cooking and crocheting posts in the next few weeks. I had been hoping to post about some projects in the works, but they were pushed to the back burner while we all have been boosting our immune system activity and making sure there is enough tissue in the house.


Dang. Not five minutes after I hit "Publish Post" I was cleaning baby spew off the carpet.

Don't pass out holding your breath for those new creative posts.

Saturday, September 18

Because It's All Ancient History When You're Five

We were driving past a construction site near our house where they're building a pharmacy. I noticed a new sign announcing that the store would be open in a few months and pointed it out to the rest of the family. Rosi asked what it meant.

"It means they'll be done building soon and the Lewis will open up," I told her. "That's what the pharmacy is called."

"State Farm?"

"No," I laughed. "Pharmacy. It's where you go to buy medicine if you're sick."

"Or other stuff," Adam added.

"It's like Walgreens," I tried to relate it to something she knew.

"Except this one is called Lewis," Adam told her. "Like Lewis and Clark."

Rosi considered for a moment, then she asked, "Don't you mean Noah's Ark?"

Monday, September 13

My New Favorite Holiday

As far as celebrations go, I've always considered the 4th of July my favorite holiday. Parades and fireworks and going to barbecues with family and friends ... it just doesn't get any better than that. Or so I thought.

Little did I know, I was missing the greatest holiday celebration ever.

Did you know there is an International Chocolate Day? Really, today is dedicated to celebrate the wonder that is chocolate. I just found out about it myself, and the day's more than half over. To think of all the missed chocolate opportunities this morning ...

So, quick, while we still have the chance, let's celebrate together. Maybe I'll make chocolate pancakes for dinner. Or chocolate popovers. Yum.

If I had the ingredients I'd make S'more Bliss or the best oatmeal cookies ever (just substitute chocolate chips for the raisins).

What a great holiday!

Friday, September 10

You Can't Handle the Tooth

I didn't quite realize it had been over a month since I'd updated this blog. Time flies when you're having, uhm, fun.

I've been keeping busy through the last days of summer working on a deep cleaning and reorganizing of the house, getting my ideas and plans together to really dive into homeschooling this fall, and just generally thinking thoughts that don't necessarily translate so well to a post. The last few days, however, have offered several newsworthy items that I'd like to share.

For starters, baby teeth are busting out all over in our family. One of the kids is growing 'em in while the other one is yanking 'em right out.

"Mom," Rosi told me the other day as I got into the car. "I have a loose tooth!"

Since we had just recently seen the movie Tooth Fairy, I didn't think too much about it at first. But, we had to stop for gas, so while she, the baby, and I waited for Adam to fill the tank, I asked her to lean forward so I could check it out. Sure enough, one of the teeth on the bottom was getting pretty wiggly.

The next day, we were back in the car and she announced, "My tooth came out!" She'd already practiced this announcement several times, so at first neither Adam nor I reacted much. Then I asked to see it and held my hand into the back seat, expecting to get a giggle and reassurance, "I was just joking."

Instead, into my palm plopped a tiny, still bloody tooth. She's convinced that she's a real grown up now because she's getting her grown-up teeth.

Meanwhile, our son has six teeth fully grown in, four on top and two on bottom, with four more not quite breaking through the gums. Oh, and, yeah, he started walking this past week. That makes us two for two on early walkers. Both of them took their first steps at nine months.

All of which leaves me asking myself, where exactly is that pause button on life so we can relax and enjoy these moments a little more?

Friday, July 9

Cheap Stuff

This is just a public service announcement for all of you who don't have a regularly scheduled visit to Walmart each week, like I do. They have started their school supply sale. Yesterday I found:
  • 24-packs of Crayola crayons for 25¢ each
  • 1-subject notebooks for 15¢ each
  • 10-packs of pencils for 50¢ each
  • 2-pocket folders for 10¢ each
They had more stuff, too, but that was all that really interested me. I'm sure other big-box-type stores are starting their own sales this week or in the coming days, so if you're not a Walmart shopper, you can still find savings on all things school supply-y.

Tuesday, July 6

A Swing and a Miss

While on our way to pick Adam up from work this evening, Rosi pointed to a red sign on the corner and asked what it said. Given that there were only 4 letters, I asked her to sound it out.

Rosi: Sss-Teh-Ohh-Peh ... Ope! It says, "Ope"!

Amy: Let's try again. What's the third letter?

Rosi: O

Amy: And what sound does O make?

Rosi: Oh.

Amy: What other sound does O make?

Rosi: Umm ...

Amy: What words do you know that start with O?

Rosi: Octopus!

Amy: And what sound does O make in "Octopus"?

Rosi: Oh.

Amy: No. It's not "OAK-to-pus" is it?

Rosi: (giggles) Ah.

Amy: That's right. O-ah-octopus. Now can you try it again? S-T-O-P.

Rosi: Sss-Teh-Ohh-Peh.

Amy: What sound does the O make?

Rosi: Oh, I forgot. Sss-Teh-Ahh-Peh. (thinks for a moment) It says, "Exit"!

Sunday, July 4

Some of the News Fit to Digitize

So much for coming back to post regularly, huh?

I've started a few updates over the last couple of months, but each time I got interrupted before I could finish, then lost my motivation or my train of thought or my seat at the computer. Now, seemingly suddenly, more than two months have passed.

As you might imagine, our son is growing by leaps and bounds. He's already seven months old. He crawls and cruises and he's been fussing the past 10 days or so sprouting four new teeth! Solid foods are his friend and he has started eating at least one full meal a day of nothing but solids. His favorites are avocado, banana, potato, and popcorn (just the soft puffy bit, not the kernel).

Rosi is doing her best to alternately care for him and torment him. She likes the idea that we'll trust her with the responsibility of watching him for a few minutes while we change out the laundry or check on dinner, but that doesn't preclude her desire to bonk him on the head with one of his stuffed toys just because she can.

She's been really making some breakthroughs of her own in the beginning stages of reading and spelling. She's able to pretty consistently sound out simple words, though the process is still slow. Rhyming is a favorite pass time (and car game) here. Her imagination is really been running wild as well. She enjoys making toys and tools from paper and whatever she finds around the house. The other day she came into the room carrying a dowel rod with her belt tied to one end. "Look, Mom," she told me. "I made a fishing pole!"

The whole family is getting ready to visit Adam's parents for the dedication of the New Testament translation they've finished. We've got our passports and we're working on making the travel arrangements. Despite my own experiences traveling to many places around the world--and not all of them easily accessible--it still amazes me that, in this modern age, there are places that require five days travel just to reach.

I'm also a bit overwhelmed at the idea of trekking through the jungle with my kids in tow. In all the adventure travel fantasies I ever had, I was never toting children along with me. Adam, on the other hand, is excited to be going home. He's not had the opportunity to visit since he left for college, which was nearly 20 years ago, now.

Otherwise, things are moving along. We're still trying to find a church home. It's a bit frustrating to visit church after church after church and still not be able to claim one as "ours." It does make for a bit of a sociological study, though. The biggest hurdle, for me at least, is that we show up on Sunday only to be completely ignored. Now, I'm not the sort who wants to stand up amidst a crowded service and introduce myself and my family, but isn't there even one person willing to go out of their way to recognize and welcome a family they don't know? Apparently such folks are few and far between.

Instead of that personal touch, we've gotten brief surveys, a worship CD, a gift card to the local bakery (because, as the enclosed note explained, "Jesus is the BREAD of life"), and an invitation to be included in the next church directory.

The bread was yummy, anyway.

So, we'll keep at it.

Well, not just for the bread ...

Friday, April 30

Laughing Out Loud

I saw this on a message board the other night and literally* laughed out loud:

*And I mean that literally.

Friday, April 16

Back on the Face of the Earth

I know a few of you must have thought I'd fallen off. Not yet. Life has just been a bit busier than I was expecting. Therefore, instead of getting the series of real posts you deserve, you get this lovely bulleted list with highlights from the past month.
  • Georgie, my beloved 14-year-old Saturn, broke her steering wheel for the second time since the fall. Given her age, Blue Book value, and the estimated cost of the repair, we felt it was in our best interest to buy a new-to-us car. After three days of test driving, comparing options, and recalculating our budget, we bought Jim, an 8-year-old Saturn with a few additional features Georgie never had, like power windows, cruise control, and a CD player.
  • We took Jim on our first road trip since we moved here to Sioux Falls. Over Easter Weekend, we drove to Kenosha, Wisconsin to visit some old friends and have our son baptized. We loved participating in the Easter Vigil service at Light of Christ. Rosi and I went to the Easter morning service as well, but Adam stayed back at our hotel with the baby who was so tuckered out he slept the whole time!
  • We are officially church hunting again. We actually were going to check out a new church this past Sunday, but three of the four of us were sick, so we stayed home and slept in instead. Thankfully, we're all recovered now and looking forward to visiting a local Lutheran church this weekend.
  • I cut my hair! Well, okay, technically, Adam cut my hair. I was getting frustrated with the time and energy it took to maintain my long hair--not to mention how much conditioner it took to keep the tangles down. My hair is now very short in the back and about down to my cheekbones on top. In my opinion, it looks kind of '80s, but the '80s are hip and retro now, right? I've never been the stylish one on the block. I like it short anyway; the time it saves in the shower is amazing, and I'm convinced my conditioner will now last forever because the tiniest bit conditions my entire head!
  • This next week, my dad is coming up for a visit. He was here last year about this time, but he'd flown in to the airport at Omaha, which is about a three-hour drive from us. We only had to drive down once for his return flight, since my brother picked him up when he arrived. This time, he found a flight directly to Sioux Falls, which will make for a much nicer drive to and from the airport. We're hoping to visit the zoo while he's here. We were planning to go with Adam's parents when they were here last fall, but the last several days of their visit were cold and rainy, so none of us felt much like walking around looking at empty animal enclosures.
Finally, I really would like to start blogging more. I think I need to find a time that I can regularly sit down and write a post or two every week. Actually, I think we're getting to the point where we need to have a weekly schedule again. I have found in the past that having a plan for my days really does help me get more accomplished. Otherwise, I feel like I'm constantly performing chore triage and noting much gets accomplished. I was thinking I might start with some easy posts, like a series of my favorite things. So, those of you who have faithfully kept us with me, even when I'm not keeping up well with you, please, leave a comment and let me know what favorites you might like to read about: movies? games? books? cooking shows? What do you want to know?

Sunday, March 21

Growing Up to Be Me

I wrote this for myself about a year ago. I just found it in my files and it really spoke to me again. I thought maybe somebody else might need to read it today, too.

God, when I grow up, I want to be a snowflake. Or maybe a falling star. I want to be lovely and singular. I want to catch the attention of those who would otherwise miss the beauty of the world.

When I get big, I want to take on the big boys and play like I mean it. I want to look out for the little guys and make sure that everybody sticks to the rules. I want to climb out of this box labeled, "Unimportant--Discard" and be heard by everyone who has ever ignored me.

I want to believe in myself. I want to know that I can do it. I want to take pride in my accomplishments.

I don't want to be lonely or left out or forgotten.

I want to matter. I want to be important. I want to know that I am worth ... something ... anything ... a lot.

I want to be cool. I want to be respected. I want to be desired. I want to be admired. I know I am loved; I want to feel like I am.

I want to make a difference. I want to be remembered. I want to be missed when I'm not there.

I want to stop being scared that I don't count, that I don't have a voice, that I'm not ... something ... not someone.

I’m so tired of being scared. Magical thinking, I’ve heard it called. Believing that I have power in situations where I have none. I am afraid that if I say, “I want to know that everyone loves me for me, not just for what I do,” God will teach me this lesson by making me sick or injured or paralyzed, so that those who love me must do so only because of who I am.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I John 4:18

You need have no fear of someone who loves you perfectly.

So, why am I still afraid?
  • Habit
  • Erroneous logic
  • Wanting to be in control
  • Remembering past hurts
How can I heal? How can I know who is trustworthy? How can I have faith in my own belief?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

And, while I'm asking, God, why do I keep having to learn the same lessons again and again and again? Did I not really learn them the first time? Or is it just that I need to learn them on a deeper level now?

Sigh. Growing up is hard sometimes.

God, can I just curl up in Your lap for a while and take a nap?

Tuesday, March 16

The Digital Gap

We're working our way through a free trial of Netflix this month. Rosi has been asking to see more movies through their instant online viewer, so I queued up Jetsons: The Movie for us to watch together.

As it loaded, she asked me what it was. I told her it was a cartoon. I also mentioned that it was something I used to watch when I was about her age.

"Did you watch it on this site?" She asked.

"No," I replied. "They didn't have the internet when I was your age."

"Oh," she responded. "Did you watch it on Hulu?"

Monday, March 15


I'd always thought of spring as being heralded by birds in song and flowers in bloom. If that's true, we're not quite seeing signs of spring here in South Dakota Maybe there's a precursor to spring ... a season after winter has ended, but before spring has, um, sprung.

What to call it? Wing? Sprinter? Whatever its name, it is muddy and foggy and, honestly, not warm enough for the shorts and t-shirts I keep seeing folks walking around in.

Crazy people.

I do admit to going out without a coat today, though. It was 40° after all.

Saturday, March 13

Ka-CHING! (or Don't You Love the Sound of Free?)

The internet abounds with free ebooks. I know. I've gone looking for them once or half a dozen times. And, in most cases, when I see the selection, I realize pretty quickly just why these books are free--they're not worth spending my money. Generally, they're not worth spending my time, either.

This is not that book! Not only is this a book worth spending your time reading, but I have actually spent money on it in hard copy. Sushi for One is the debut novel from Camy Tang. It's Asian-American Christian chick-lit, which, frankly, is reason enough to check it out--that's a rare combination right there. Not only is it unique, though, it's funny. It's well-written. It's free, people!

Head on over to Camy's blog for all the details and links for download. What are you waiting for? I've already got mine and I'm really looking forward to reading it again.

Tuesday, March 2

God and Politics

I don't usually post on controversial topics here, but I saw a bumper sticker today that got me thinking. It said,

Pro-life? Pro-choice?
What do you think?

At first, I rolled my eyes--yet another person trying to claim that God supports their political views.

Then I thought about it again. I came to the surprising conclusion that God is both.

Wasn't it His idea in the first place that we humans be given the freedom to make choices? Even poor choices? Even choices that hurt or kill others?

And isn't He also the one who wants us to have life and have it abundantly? To the best of our ability to live at peace with one another?

What I think, when it all comes down, is that God is less concerned about my politics and more concerned about my heart.

Monday, March 1

Sometimes I Forget

Sometimes, I forget that I've lost all touch with reality. I forget that babies are supposed to take multiple-hour naps two or three times a day. When you have a kid that doesn't like to sleep during the daytime, and another kid who likes to make loud noises while the baby's trying to sleep, that can be hard to remember. On the days when my baby does act like a typical 3 month old, I get all nervous.

Like today--he's just been sleeping forever. Is he sick? I checked on him and he's still breathing.

And, suddenly, I'll look at the clock and realize, oh, it's only been an hour and a half. What a nice nap!

Saturday, February 27

One of Those

I'm having one of those days, and I've only been up for 12 minutes!

Dozing in bed, nursing the baby, I suddenly felt him move away. That caught my attention immediately, since his usual motion is toward me, especially while he's eating. I opened my eyes to see Rosi working at tying a shoelace to his ankle and tugging him toward the edge of the bed.

He fell back asleep and I got up only to find that, despite going shopping last night, still the only "quick" breakfast food in the house is eggs. I just can't handle eggs right now. I dug out a leftover chunk of cheese and some pretzels for breakfast. I sat down at the computer to check my e-mail, while I had the chance. Reaching into the (nearly full) bag of pretzels, I knocked the entire thing onto the floor. Upside down.

No terrible tragedies, thankfully, just enough of the little things that MAKE ME WANT TO SCREAM. I don't get enough sleep for this.

Monday, February 15

In Preparation for Pancake Day

I can't remember where I first read it, but somewhere in the last few years I read a snippet about Lenten traditions that referred to Shrove Tuesday as Pancake Day. I'd always heard of it as Fat Tuesday, or more commonly in French Mardi Gras. The concept is the same no matter what term you use, though: eat up all the rich foods in the house so they don't spoil over lent and/or you're not tempted to eat them while you should be fasting from such decadence.

To help you make the most of the decadent foods in your kitchen, I thought I'd offer up some of my own favorite pancake recipes.

Banana Pancakes
3 bananas
¼ c sugar
2 eggs
¼ c oil
1½ c milk
2 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
½ t cinnamon
  1. Mash bananas.
  2. Beat in sugar, eggs, oil, and milk.
  3. Add dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  4. Pour by 1/3 cup onto greased griddle over medium heat.
  5. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side.
Cranberry Oatmeal Cheesecakes
2 T sugar
½ c flour
1 c oats
1½ t baking powder
¼ t nutmeg
½ t cinnamon
6 oz cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts
  1. Combine sugar, flour, oats, baking powder, nutmeg & cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl combine cream cheese, eggs & milk.
  3. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended.
  4. Stir in cranberries and walnuts.
  5. Drop by ¼ cup onto a greased griddle at medium heat, spread batter slightly with a spoon, and cook until bubbles form in the center.
  6. Flip and cook until golden brown.
Caramel Apple Oven Pancake
4 eggs
¾ c milk
¾ c flour
7 T melted butter, divided
¾ c brown sugar
2 tart apples
  1. Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add milk, flour, and 3T butter. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Stir remaining butter and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once sugar has dissolved and mixture is rapidly boiling, remove from heat.
  3. Peel apples and slice thinly.
  4. Layer apples and syrup on the bottom of a 9” round (or 8”square) cake pan.
  5. Pour batter over top layer of syrup.
  6. Place pan in a preheated 400°F oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Serve warm.
Fresh Cranberry Pancakes
1½ c cranberries
¼ c sugar
2 eggs
1 c milk
¼ c oil
¼ c brown sugar
2 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
¼ t salt
½ t cardamom*
  1. Halve cranberries and mix with sugar; set aside.
  2. Beat eggs together with milk, oil, and brown sugar.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients and stir into egg mixture.
  4. Fold in cranberries and sugar; stir until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour by ¼-cup onto greased griddle over medium heat.
  6. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side.
*If you don't have cardamom, substitute an equal amount of cinnamon for an equally yummy flavor.

And, if all that's just not enough for you, check out my recipe for Chocolate Pancakes from last year.

Sunday, February 14

Best Quote of the Olympics, So Far

Bob Costas said this Friday night during the opening ceremonies. It made me laugh out loud.

Canadians as a group are among the friendliest most welcoming people on earth, but I don't see anything incompatible with saying, "Hello, welcome. We're very friendly. We're glad you're here. We want you to enjoy yourselves. And now we'd also like to kick your butt."

Thursday, February 11

What Did One Volcano Say to the Other?

Adam was reading this riddle to Rosi tonight. She thought for a moment, then answered, confidently, "It's ten o'clock!"

(For the record, the answer was supposed to be "I 'lava' you.")

Saturday, January 30

Birth Story

I've been meaning to post my son's birth story on this blog for quite a while. Since I never seemed to get to it, I thought I'd just direct everyone over to a write-up I did on the Mothering discussion forum.

Anyone can read the site, but you have to registered as a member to comment. Or you could just come back here and leave a comment below. Your choice.

Thursday, January 21

Do You Like Cartoons?

Are you interested in buying some unique comic and animation art for a good cause?

Check out this eBay auction.

For more on Matt's story, read here.

Thursday, January 14


My friend lives and works as a missionary in Haiti. I just got a short e-mail from her letting me know that she and her family are okay. The only other thing she said was:

Please keep praying - the situation is beyond terrible.

Please, keep praying. If you are able, send a special financial gift to one of the great organizations that is working to help the people there as they begin to recover from this disaster.

But, most of all, please pray.

Friday, January 8

Further Thoughts on the Cold

The McDonald's near our house is offering a special deal right now: buy one burger at regular price and get a second for the temperature at noon yesterday. I'm not sure what the temperature was at noon today, but I'm pretty sure it's stayed below zero all day.

Do you suppose that means they'd pay me to get a second burger tomorrow?

What Does It Mean ...

What does it mean when the dew point is -19°F?

Isn't that an oxymoron?

I mean, by definition, dew point is the temperature to which the air must be cooled for the humidity to condense into water. Except when we're talking about -19, water would be ice.

So, I wonder, if the temperature were to drop a few degrees, would the humidity in the air turn into ice crystals? Would snow just spontaneously form all around us?

That would be awesome.

Meanwhile, Adam's really glad for the hat and muff I made him last year. The temperature as he'll be leaving for work is -9 with a wind chill of -26.

Excuse me. I suddenly feel the need to go put on a sweater and another pair of socks.