Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to me (yesterday)!

I am now 28. Please no comments about how that is SO young because I've definitely met people that think it is SO old, and either way, it just is what it is, without apology or boast. I am what I am: 28.

I'm 28. I'm very happily married - in love with my husband more than I can express, and loved even more in return. I am being prepared by the Lord to be a mother someday. I have a family who loves me and calls to sing happy birthday. I have been blessed materially, and even own one too many houses at the moment. Over the last year or two, the Lord has been answering my prayer for dear girlfriends, and now have an abundance of woman who I care about deeply.

My birthday comes right in between Christmas and new years, a time when I get overly reflective and sometimes a bit glum as the Christmas glow has left the masses and they fully swarm the local merchants to consume more than can be consumed of clearance finds and somehow fulfill vacation day boredom. It was a good day though, although busy. I cleaned a bit, got a great gift from hubs (more in a sec), had a long visit to the fabric store, and had our traditional kel's birthday dinner. What I really long for on my birthday is either a party with my friends, which is hard to do (and has been since the day I was born; my party was always in January) since so many people are still out of town from the holidays, OR go away for a couple days to Leavenworth or Whistler to go skiing with hubs. This year that wasn't possible due to all the house projects still being done (at both houses, thanks to the windstorm). It was lovely though and, aside from going on a mini-holiday, I wouldn't have changed a thing.

One of the gifts I longed for this year was a mini trampoline. There is a great infomercial out (FYI - I'm an infomercial junky) for "urban rebounding" which is basically workout DVDs for jumping on a little trampoline. I think it looks like fun! (Note: they charge WAY too much for the trampoline and DVDs - I'm not endorsing their products at all!) Anyway, for Christmas/birthday, I really wanted a trampoline and workout DVD. When we arrived at my parent's house for Christmas dinner, there was a huge roundish box next to the tree. I was so excited: I was actually going to go get the trampoline! I looked at the label on the huge gift to confirm my suspicions...and hope was dashed! My dear trampoline was for my three year old nephew. (Does it mean anything bad that me and the nephew wanted the same thing?) He loved it!

On birthday morning, after I pestered to the limit, hubs sent me on a treasure hunt for my present (unwrapped and behind two closed doors), which I found on the first try - HA! I was SO excited to find a huge, roundish box; this time, all for me! I am so excited.

Then, I spent the afternoon at the fabric store, since my mom gave me a sewing machine for my birthday (which I got a few days ago). A friend of mine had a baby girl two days ago, and I'm going to make her a baby wrap-thing. I'm hoping I can figure it out. The fabric is all a soft flannel - nice and cozy. Here's what it looks like so far: (the red in the bias tape really does match the fabric. By the way, I'm not sure yet how to use bias tape.)

And the pattern:

Then we went to the restaurant we go to for my birthday dinner every year: Jak's Steakhouse. Yummy! They are super good, less money than other local high-end steak houses, but don't take reservations. We put our name on the list, with a 2.5 hour wait, then went to some local stores. The food is superb. Truly.

I really need to go do some jumping on that trampoline now.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sew Easy

As an early birthday present (I was a late Christmas baby, so after the family Christmas presents are all done, I usually get handed 2-3 birthday presents to open from family who won't see me for a while), my mom got me a sewing machine. I'm SO excited (or sew excited...ha ha ha)! Actually, she has had it for about 9 months, and I've known about it. That has hampered the excitement a bit. I was all set to go buy myself an on-sale sewing machine last year, because there were things I wanted to sew. She let me know that she had already bought this one (a good Pfaff model on sale), so I wasn't to go buy myself a sewing machine, but that she wouldn't give it to me until my birthday. So, I've spent the last 9 months not being able to sew the things I've wanted to sew. Aside from the 9 month sewing machine drama, I am very glad to finally have a sewing machine.

After all of the discussion of aprons lately, especially at Mommy Life (whose site I can't get to work right now - anyone else?), I went to the store right after Christmas and bought a pattern for retro aprons. I cannot wait to make one. However, just looking online, and I like this McCalls pattern even more:

I'm totally going to buy it in store or online tomorrow or Saturday. When I came home with the first apron pattern, I very excitedly showed hubs my find. I think he generally was under-whelmed (just can't grasp the excitement of an apron), and his response (shared w/ permission) was something like:

Me (yes, kind of yelling and talking really fast): Look! Isn't this so cool!? I'm so excited!!!

Hubs: Well... yeah, if there was nothing on under it.

Yep, that's my hub. I'll have to tuck that one away in the back of my mind for a rainy day. Anyway...back to the sewing. I do still need to go find fabric for my apron...let the hunt commence! I'm excited to learn to sew on my own. I was in 4H as a child and sewed several outfits, then we moved, I stopped, and forgot it all. However, my varied childhood experiences did leave me with one thing: great confidence (probably more than I should have) that I can figure anything out. Especially sewing things, because I know I used to know how. I've sewed a few things as an adult, although always with the help of my mom... which means my mom has sewed them and I've helped. :-)

Pictures are definitely to come. Feel free to pass on the tips or favorite beginner projects!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

The Verdict
This was a good Christmas, although I think it still could have been better. I wish we had been able to relax more this past month, focus on advent (for our advent wreath never made it out of the box), do more for others, and make more homemade gifts. I have vowed that next year, my Christmas cards and shopping will be done by 12/10. I'm aiming for November, but hubs thinks my deadline should be 12/10 to get some of those post-Thanksgiving sales. We'll see. Really... as Christmas nears, I want to be making goodies, making gifts, visiting with family and friends, going to concerts and holiday events... making memories, not "scheduling" a shopping trip to finish up, and not "scheduling" evenings to wrap presents.

However, once Christmas eve and Christmas day came, our celebrations were joyful and peaceful. Our Christmas morning devotional time was very nice. Hubs and I had a great time Christmas morning together. Our family events were just...really nice. Often I leave with one thing to complain about or another, and this year... not really. It was just a lovely, peaceful time. (Or maybe...just maybe...those things were all there and I am changing enough that I just didn't bother complaining about them. Hmmm.)

God has been asking me to wait for children, and while I've struggled to appreciate or enjoy the wait, I do appreciate that I have time to learn from others and form opinions about child-rearing before I get there.

I spent a bit of time this weekend thinking about teaching theology to kids. My nephew (age 3), kept saying it was God's birthday. This disturbed my soul - I couldn't laugh about it like the others. He sat on my lap and I told him it was Jesus' birthday, not God's, for God has no beginning or no end. I thought about this further, I decided that I don't like it when the focus is on Christmas as Jesus' birthday either. I think this cheapens it. It is SO much more than a birthday. The BIG deal isn't that it's Jesus' birthday. The BIG deal is that it's the anniversary of when God became man in order to fulfill His plan for our salvation. Emmanuel - God with us, God Incarnate - God became man.... these should be our celebration. It's so much more than a birthday party.

Hubs and I discussed this on Christmas eve, and we spent our Christmas morning devotion time talking about how we were so grateful, not just for the birth of Christ, but for God as man, for God with us, for God's plan of salvation fulfilled in this infant child. (Aside... I tried to teach the nephew to say "God Incarnate" and got a bit roll of the eyes from everyone because apparently a three year old is too young to say in-car-nut.)

I grew up in a church that did not teach theology. It was emotions-based, as are so many other churches in the evangelical Church in the US today. We didn't learn what we believed and why. It is just about how worship makes you feel, how your faith makes you feel, what God does for you. I've spent the last 5 years trying to un-do some of that teaching and am learning for the first time what I believe and why. I've learned that kernels of un-truth can be very destructive. When I have children, I want to be intentional that the kernels planted in them are truth, so they are given every advantage for truth to grow on truth.

Is it really too much to teach a three year old to say in-car-nut, and teach him what it means? Why do we not attempt it?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Tour

I was so sad that I had to miss BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes because of our power outage. But now, our power is back, I have finally been able to vacuum (it's amazing how dirty we are when we're unable to see the dirt!), the Christmas lights are back on, and I finally finished my Christmas cards. It's time for my Christmas tour!

I will preface this by reminding everyone that we just moved a couple weeks ago. All standard house decorations (and furniture) are still at the little house for staging. So...there is no picture or mirror on the wall above the mantle, my nativity set is still in the box because there is no where to set it, and same with my advent wreath... still in its box. Oh well...more to come next year!

And so, we shall commence the tour...

My Christmas wreath...
brought to the house in the first carload (with the dog),
and put directly on the door.

Snowmen in the kitchen window. An early Christmas present this year.

Another early Christmas present...
a pretty Santa table runner. I don't have a table yet (part of the furniture at the little house), but I really enjoy it hanging over the door.

A porcelain nativity also in the kitchen window.

This is a little nativity scene that is usually under the tree.
We still need to trim the bottom tree branches,
so it's currently sitting on the TV. I bought it on

This year's ornament is from Hub's location of education (that rhymes!),
which we visited this year.

And now for the tree and mantle. Hub's stocking is a bit sad. Until now, he has refused to let me make him a prettier one, but this year he has agreed that it is time. So... this year I hope to make matching stockings and a tree skirt. Presents have yet to be wrapped, although I'm working on it.

Last but not least... a look at our outdoor decoration. I still haven't had a chance to post a picture of our storm damage, so here you go.
Seattle windstorm 2006.
We were so blessed that our house and health were protected.
Also, we have really gotten to know our neighbors - they have blessed us greatly in helping us clean up this mess!

May God be glorified in your home this Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Christmas card prayer


Help me to finish these Christmas cards quickly and get them in the mail TODAY, and for my friends to forgive me for getting their cards after Christmas.

- kel

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday - Fire!

Well, we're finally back. Our power came back on Monday evening, and our internet/phone came back yesterday. I am so grateful. That's 3 days without power, 5 days without internet, 5 days without the telephone, 5 days of spotty cell phone service, 3 days of living in the cold and dark, but... several days of getting to know our neighbors and church family very well. Mixed blessings, I suppose.

The other night we were driving home from a friend's house (they were sharing their heat, food, and conversation for the evening...we were coming home to camp out in front of our gas fireplace for the night). On the way home, there was a house fully engulfed in fire that was very close to our home. Actually, from the way we were driving, we thought there was a chance that it might have been our home. When I realized it wasn't ours, I felt so guilty that I was glad that it wasn't ours, for it meant that someone else was suffering greatly that cold night. I pray they are ok.

As we entered our cold home, we soberly lit all the candles - knowing they had the potential power to burn down our home (although, mine are all in protective glass candles holders, but still...). We realized that we didn't have a fire extinguisher out and easily accessible. We had just moved into our house, and it was still in the garage. Even had we been unpacked, it would have been in the "right" spot in the kitchen for a kitchen fire or something.

So, my WFMW tip is that when the power goes out, and you have a jillion candles burning (and it's winter in Seattle so you only have 8 hours of daylight), get your fire extinguisher and set it out on the counter or by a main door...somewhere that it would be easy to find in the dark. The places in the home where a fire would likely start are different in a power-outage than in typical daily living.

My other power-outage tip (I didn't do this, but heard it on the radio), is that if you have a gas hot-water heater, you can fill your bathtub full with HOT water, and the heat that the water lets off will heat your home/room. Apparently, water is very efficient at heating air. You'll want to clean the steam off the walls when the power comes back on so it doesn't mildew, but if you are freezing, this can be a good solution.

See Shannon's blog for more tips!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

In the dark

If you've been watching the national news, you may have heard about the crazy windstorm in the pacific northwest.

My blog has been quiet because I'm without power, Internet, or phone. I'm currently at a friend's house (who does have power) to check my email and warm my feet.

Please be praying...there are so many without power or heat, and daytime temps in the 30s.

More to come...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Well, that was about the most relaxing hour I've spent in a long, long time. Just lovely. Maybe all I want this year is another gift certificate to InnnnnnSpaaaaaaa.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

ALMOST forgot!

Last Christmas, ALL I wanted ( an unselfhish, dramatic sort of way) was a gift certificate for InSpa, a local chain of day spas. What I really wanted was less stress; a massage sounded GOOD. I had never been to InSpa...I've sort of embellished it in my mind. It has turned into something much greater in my head than it probably is. It even sounds a certain way in my head... like a long whisper... InnnnnSpaaaaaaa.

My dear husband, loving man that he is, gave me an InSpa gift certificate for Christmas (along with a few other things, since he knows that I really did want other things). I've kept it in a special place all year waiting for the BEST time to use it. I have one precious gift card and I don't want to waste it on the wrong time. It seemed wasteful to use it in the midst of a stressful and busy time, since I'd leave the spa only to be just as stressed out as I was before the spa. I wanted to use it at the end of a stressful time so it would kick of a period of relaxation. I meant to use it when I started working from home, but this transition has had its own stress - the stress of transition - and so I waited even longner. I've waited and waited for the perfect time... and now it's December again and I still have yet to use this gift card that I wanted so badly.

After 12 months, they will start deducting a couple dollars from your gift card every month. No way. Besides, if I don't use this soon, I risk "telling" hubs that it was a bad gift and he shouldn't do it again. I do NOT want to risk that.

So, the midst of moving and Christmas events and Quarter One deadlines at work, I need some relaxation. Tomorrow morning at 9am, I am FINALLY going to InSpa. I almost forgot... they called today to remind me.... how could I forget?!? This will really help motivate me today.

Here's what I'm in for:

INSPA SIGNATURE (60 minutes)
A full body pampering experience
combines gentle massage techniques
with comforting heated spa hand and foot treatments.

Amen and hallelujah. Merry Christmas to me!

First post in the new house

I honestly don't know what I have to say today, but I can't believe my blog has a week's worth of dust on it's time for a post!

We are in our new house. I still want hold my breathe a little when I say that - in excited shock that seems too good to be true.

I am overwhelmed with the mess... the fact that every single room has half empty boxes scattered about, piles of papers that don't have a home, and decorative items that seem too pretty to put up in a cupboard. I like order and cleanliness, at least in most rooms. This stage of moving is hard for me.

I am trying my darndest to not let that overwhelming feeling overtake the joy of being in our home. I love it - not only because it's beautiful, but because it is OUR home that God has appointed for us. I walk around trying to picture what it will be like to see this same room, but with kids running through it. I'm sitting on my couch looking into the messy kitchen, and try to imagine myself much older... looking into the same messy kitchen. I chase my dog in circles around the house and try to imagine when it will be kids chasing the dog instead of me.

I'm still mourning the Christmas things that aren't going to happen "right" this year. We have yet to even bought a Christmas tree (hopefully this weekend) or put out my advent wreath...I don't have anywhere to put it. There are no homemade presents or homemade cards. In the end, I suppose we will have a VERY simple and quiet Christmas - more simple and quiet than it would have even been if I had had time for homemade lovies... for there might just be more time walking to see the Christmas lights in our new neighborhood, watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, and opening our presents while we sit on our one piece of furtniture.

I am grateful for today... I have today and tomorrow off work. I have a few things to return at the store, then come home and working on putting our clothes away in our closet, and hopefully finish the kitchen.

Good day to you!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday - Shelf Liners

Today's tip: liners for wire shelving.... to me, these are a must! I'm moving into our new house, and I'm so thankful that the closets have nice wire shelving - the kind that is coated in a white plastic. Before putting one single thing on them, I went on a hunt to find shelf liners...preferably something pretty sturdy.

I've made the mistake before of putting clothes directly onto wire shelves... I got bump marks on my sweaters that I could never get rid of - ever. No thank you. I'm always surprised at the number of people who have wire shelves and use them without a liner.

You could use lots of things to cover the shelves - wood planks, cardboard...whatever! I'm getting some plastic liners from The Container Store (LOVE that place!) that are made for the task. They are translucent, so they let the light shine between shelves. They are just the right length and aren't too thick (after all, I need as much space for clothes as I can get).

My shelves (ok, this just a picture from the Container Store website):
My shelf liners:

Works for me!

Monday, December 04, 2006

new house

As of this afternoon, we officially own our new house, and we get the keys tomorrow. I AM SO EXCITED!! Sometimes I get so giddy-excited, that I really remind myself of a 12 year old or something. I don't know if that's good, bad, normal, or weird. I suppose I'm getting older in that even though I just want jump up and down in glee, I also want to cry in response to God's goodness. adulthood filled with gleeful crying. That's me. =)

On another note... My hopes and wishes for a simpler, slower, (looking for an 's' word but can't find one) more home-made Christmas have vanished. I really was hoping to make more gifts, be better at spending less money, etc. this year. I've come to my senses. Between packing, moving, doing house projects on our little house, and getting it ready for sale in early January, I'm hoping to just find time to mail the Christmas cards I've already had printed (it's just that I want to send a Christmas letter with them and I need to print that and get copies made...and that's the hold up). I'm also not sure when we're going to buy a tree, let alone put it up. I wanted to make a few sweet gifts for a few friends that are even sweeter. At this point, I have no idea when I'd make those gifts, or even get together with those friends. So, if I'm REALLY good, I'll buy them something sweet, and maybe put them in the mail (for friends that live 3o minutes away). I suppose it's better than nothing. At the end of the day, I want a great Christmas day at home with my husband focusing on God's gift to us, and that can still happen even if all that other STUFF didn't go quite like I had envisioned. All of my decorating and buying have moved into the fast and easy planning mode, rather than drawn-out and homemade. Perhaps next year. It makes me sad though. I feel like home-made things show love, but I'm trying to remember that it's the thought that counts and purchased things can be appreciated to. For example, my Bible Study is having a fellowship time next week and I wantned to make some Christmas cookies for my group (I lead the discussion for a group of ladies) for them to enjoy with their dinner. However, this is no way that will be possible - to make Christmas cookies. I will likely purchase cookies for them to enjoy and need to trust that they will recognize the effort and enjoy the cookies, evevn if they aren't homemade.

Ok... my husband is barking at me (trying to get the dog to bark at me) to get me to get off the blog and into bed. I think I'd better go - this is a little alarming. =)

Good night!

meme: 6 weird things about me

Kim at Reformed Grits ( has tagged me, so for my FIRST meme, I shall let you into the secret world of me.

(By the way... for some reason I don't have any of the formatting buttons won't let me insert a hyperlink, add a photo, etc... or even switch to HTML and do it. I have no idea why. I'm going to paste in the links myself - sorry it will look ugly.)

There are a jillion weird things about me. Now to think of 6 of them that I don't mind putting out into cyberspace...

1. I hate writing in pencil. Even when I was in school, I did all my math (and everything in else) in pen. If I made a mistake (in math), I would cross it out if I was at the bottom of the page, but if I had only done half a page or less, I would get a new piece of paper and re-write the whole thing.

2. Aside from vegetables, I really don't like food that is green. It just grosses me out. It takes a huge amount of will power to eat pesto.

3. If I eat a chocolate-covered ice cream bar (like haagen-daaz), I nibble off all the chocolate first, and then eat the ice cream. I have always done this, and never thought it was weird, until we had ice cream bars during a business meeting and I was fully informed how weird I was.

4. I absolutely hate listening to voicemail.

5. I don't have children yet, and I'm not pregnant yet, and I'm (well, in a month) 28 years old. I've been told many, many times that this is WEIRD.

6. I hate it when the clothes in my closet aren't all facing the same way. If my husband happens to put the clothes away (yay!)...the wrong way, I will re-hang them facing the same way.

and a bonus one...

7. My purse has to have a hook somewhere in my house to hang on. I don't like just setting it somewhere or putting it on a shelf or something. It needs a special purse hook.

There you have it!

I tag...
Amelia (
Kat (
Jenmom (

...whose blogs I love to lurk on.

And finally...I shall warn you that I'm blogging way early in the morning because hubs banned me from blogging yesterday (I needed to pack since we are getting some new house keys TOMORROW) but I don't have my spell check button. I really have no idea what I've just written or if it makes sense at all. Grace please!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

House decoration dilema

We're moving into our new house next week (and haven't started packing yet...but that's a who different post). I've been pondering how I would like to decorate our home. I love combining things that don't always go together. MY style is one that's rather difficult....sort of a funky traditional (with sort of an Asian influence thrown in there... oh, and a Celtic one too). It's hard to get right, and it makes my husband very nervous. I do want our house to look nice though...a house that is welcoming and warm and inviting.

In my head, I figure that if we put all the things we love together, then they will go together, simply because they are the style of US, and it would reflect US. Yet, this may not be true if other people saw it.

So... I want your opinion. Below are a bunch of pictures I really enjoy. Following my logic, I could put them all up on my walls, and it would all work and be pretty together. But is it too weird? Is it weird to have a totally traditional picture on one wall, and on the next wall have really bold, funky colors? Does the style of the house need to be the same throughout? And for heavens sake, what colors will I paint the walls?

Help? And really... shouldn't I be packing instead of worrying about this?

Oh yeah...I also have a few antique Sunday School posters that I LOVE. They have really bold colors, but really have a very old look to them. I wouldn't put them up to be serious...I really think they are funny. I'm not sure how to pull that in either. Hmmm...

I am midnight

I found this fun little quiz from MomRN. I suppose I do value unique-ness...although given our current schedules, I get rather grumpy when I'm still up at midnight, for I know that morning will come oh so quickly. Always was a night owl though...

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.

Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.

You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

at home

Well, we are snowed in this morning. It doesn't take much around here...the snow isn't the problem - it's the hills and the ice. Especially this time - our roads are mainly packed with hail, not snow...and hail is basically just little ice balls. It's so slippery out - very scary. I was working from home today anyway, but hubs decided to as well. I made us whole wheat pancakes and eggs - that were actually really yummy. I typically don't like pancakes - and haven't made them for him in years and years (I think I have maybe only ever made pancakes once), but these were pretty darn good. The recipe is in the current Cooking Light magazine.

Now we're trying to decide about our day... at some point in the next few days, it would be nice to go grocery shopping. I've got meat to last a long time in the freezer, but could use some milk and produce. We also have a rental property - we were supposed to go down tonight (an hour or so good traffic) and switch keys from the old tenant to the new people. That will be all but impossible to get to today. AND...we're signing on our new house tomorrow and need to have a cashier's check for closing. The bank is not easy to get to. Ugh. Oh how I wish we could just stay in by the fire. At least if we HAVE to go out, perhaps it can allow for a trip to Starbucks or Tully's. Yum.

I still would love any tips or recipes for freezing meals. See this post about it. Thanks!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Need something new

I've been struggling lately to keep a good schedule for my home-tasks and get things done. The next month is going to be even more challenging - we're moving, preparing our home for sale, and enjoying all of the Christmas festivities.

I need to make a few changes...I've got a few ideas but would love any that you have too.
  • I'm going to start (well, I started, but then stopped. I'm going to start being consistent!) making a daily schedule the day before of what needs to be done at what time and what chores I need to do. I sort of get stuck during the day and need a prepared schedule to get me on track.
  • I'm going to change my work schedule so that I'm working a bit longer, but only four days a week....well, as much as I can do this. I was going to take tomorrow "off" but then two meetings came up that I need to have, so I'll at least take the afternoon off. I think this will help to have a long bit of dedicated home time, especially with the moving and house projects that need to be done.
  • I'd like to start making more freeze-ahead meals. Crock-pot meals too, but I think freezing ahead will help the most. Crock-pot meals are great too, but they make so much left overs - that's hard. If anyone has some favorite freeze-ahead recipes or tips on doing this, feel free to send them my way! I found this website today ( that I think will help, but I'd like more!
  • Finally, a friend of mine had a fantastic idea of helping each other clean our houses for an hour or two each week - alternating weeks/houses. I think this is great and I LOVE that I have a friend who thinks like me and actually wants to do this. We'll hopefully start next week or the week after.

Seriously... I'd love tips on freezing meals ahead. Favorite recipes? Tips you've figured out? What types of foods freeze well and which ones don't? What containers work best? I'd be fine w/ freezing them in aluminum pans and re-using them, but what do you do for a lid...since they don't come with a lid? Do you just put foil on top and then put the next tin on that? I'm confused. I do need help though... HELP!!!

- kel, in the snow and hail. (BTW - I'm such a grouch. I asked two kids today to stop playing in the snow in our yard. I don't mind if they are in our yard by the street, but they were up right by my house, which was freaking my dog out. Mainly though I was just irritated that they were messing up my pretty snow!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Winter wonderland forming

It is snowing, and it is beautiful. The world seems to slow down when it snows. I live in the pacific northwest, where snow is a treat. We don't get much and it doesn't stay long. It's only been snowing for about 10 minutes, but is actually starting to stick to the grass, so that's pretty cool. Often it will snow without sticking.

My dog - attacking the snow:

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

happy birthday baby

I'd like to welcome my new niece into this big world.
Happy Birthday!

She was born yesterday morning... very, very early in the morning. My sister has been blessed with the ability to have babies very, very quickly. For this dear one, my sister was only at the hospital for 45 minutes before they got to hold her in their own arms.

I'm a very proud aunt indeed!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

WFMW - Christmas #2

Is it bad to have two Works for me Wednesday postings? I hope not! I just thought of another things I'd like to share.

This is a tip that I've thought of but have never actually done. If it sounds interesting to you, and you do it, would you write me back and let me know how it went?

No matter how much I try to keep Christmas focused on Christ, and keep it a peaceful family time, I'm always a little saddened during the gift-opening time. It goes by so quickly and it's just about what am I going to get next.

I think it would be fun to open presents in a way (this would work for birthdays too) where the focus is on the giver instead of the recipient. Currently, we go in a circle of recipients - when it's your turn, you get to open a present. Instead, I think it would be fun to go in a circle and each person gets to give one of their presents to someone else. They could say who it's for, and why they thought of them, and personally give them their gift. To say, "I knew this would make you smile, so I shopped for months to find one" sounds so much sweeter than just picking the next present from under the tree.

I've heard of people doing something similar to this for kids birthday parties where the birthday child sits in a special chair to open their present, and the friends take turns sitting in a chair right next to the birthday child. Each friend gets to personally give their gift, the birthday child gets to say thank you, and it's easier to take pictures.

Anyway, I haven't done this yet, but I would love to change the focus from gift-getting to gift-giving.

- kel

Works for me Wednesday - Christmas!

I don't have any one big tip to share, so I thought I'd just offer up a few things I've done that worked pretty well for me.

  • Cheap decoration: holly! My mother-in-law has a huge holly bush in her yard. When we were first married, I found that holly clippings on the mantle were the best Christmas decoration, and free!
  • Christ in Christmas: I often don't have gifts wrapped until pretty close before Christmas (I buy them earlier, but don't get around to wrapping). I bought a small nativity scene (one where all the pieces are connected) and put it under the tree. It is a good reminder that Jesus is the REAL gift... and it doesn't look so sad to have a gift-less tree.
  • Family time: The first year hubs and I were married, we had been asked to do a Christmas morning breakfast with hubs' family, and we had Christmas evening plans with my family (they live an hour apart). We aren't morning people anyday of the year, let alone Christmas morning! It was horrible to have to open our stockings quickly and hurry though our first Christmas morning. No more. We decided it was important to have time for OUR family (no matter how small our family is at the moment). I have also realized that "Christmas to me" is NOT driving around to lots of places. When I was little, we often lived far away from our extended family. Therefore, we stayed home. Christmas was a very quiet, private time. Sometimes we had a family member visit us, but they just stayed with us the whole time. I hate driving around a lot and being super busy on Christmas day. We decided that hubs' family gets Christmas eve, OUR time is Christmas morning, and my family gets Christmas night.

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Christmas is coming

Our family Christmas picture from 2004. We had JUST moved into our new house; the only thing moved in was the tree. Literally - we had it up at the last place for a family Christmas party, took down the tree, moved it, and set it back up. We adopted our dog just a couple days before this picture was taken. This was probably her first Christmas picture ever! I am currently unable to find any Christmas pictures from last year and I'm very nervous about that!

Christmas is coming, and I am so excited. In my world right now, I'm just sort of skipping over Thanksgiving this year. Don't get me wrong - I love Thanksgiving. I almost went to a college very far away, and one of my reasons for staying local was because of not wanting to miss Thanksgiving with my family. I have a big extended family (6 grandparents, my mom was one of 4 kids, my dad was one of 5), and I LOVE big family gatherings. I love all my cousins. Love it, love it, love it. I actually am very sad that my kids won't be able to enjoy the big family gatherings that I have. I have one sister and hubs has one brother. At most, my kids will have 2 aunts and 2 uncles. That is so weird to me.

Last year, I hosted my first Thanksgiving. It was just for hubs' immediate family, so there were 5 of us (hubs' brother isn't married yet...we're praying... my kids will need all the aunts and uncles they can get). I loved hosting and thanks to all my spreadsheets and planning, I think I actually did a pretty good job on the food, and getting it all ready on time. I love Thanksgiving.

This year, we are moving between December 5-10... that whole week. Well, we won't have a truck until the 9th/10th, but I refuse to let my new house sit empty from the 5th-9th. As soon as we have the keys, I'm in! So, with that timing, my mind has just sped through Thanksgiving, plowed right over it, has gone straight to planning for the move, and Christmas in our new home. I will thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving at our parents' homes this year. head is all into Christmas. As much as I love Thanksgiving, I ADORE Christmas. Not only are we dealing with the move this year, but this is the first time I'm really trying to hold to a Christmas budget and tighten this belt a little this year.

I need ideas! I need ideas for decorating our new house, for semi-homemade gift ideas that are still nice, and ideas for just ushering the Christmas spirit into our home.

  • I can't list my gift ideas here, incase the recipient sees this.
  • We celebrate Advent and have an advent wreath that I made last year - we
    will celebrate Advent every night. (I made an advent wreath for my sister too for her gift last year - she loved it.)
  • I have been thinking (today) about hosting a cookie exchange and cookie decorating party at our house for friends.

Any decorating ideas? Gift ideas? Does anybody still go Christmas caroling?

Merry Christmas!

- kel

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

State of Emergency

I live in the Seattle area where we often enjoy rainy days. Well, I don't know that we enjoy them, but we have lots of them anyway. The last week or so, we have received RAIN. Not our normal "scattered showers" but a continual and constant deluge. We received as much rain a couple days than we normally receive all of November...and then it just continued raining. We had urban flooding, and then as the week progressed, we have had a couple days of serious river flooding. Thousands have had to evacuate their homes and there is a state of emergency declared in 18 counties.

I personally drove through two massive puddles (in a very small car) that covered the road and splashed up onto the hood of my car (going 2 mph). My husband was NOT pleased to hear this (although, in my defense, I did have some very good logical reasoning for doing it! Best of all, I had a few very good minutes of prayer!) and asked me to never do it again.... not for my safety though. He cringed at the thought of our mini cooper being towed away. Oh, I must have been a sight! =)

This morning as the night turned into day, I realized that it was NOT raining and (gasp!) it was SUNNY outside! I ditched my gym plans for a good, long walk outside with the pooch. Sunshine! I was so excited!

During the walk, went went up a hill on a street of very pretty, rather hoity-toity houses. They had their sprinklers on.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

An update

Just an update...

The house plans continue. The inspection went generally well. Hubs and I got our head around all the financing options and decided that we are comfortable with it all and we ARE buying this house. Hurray!

I really, really want a piano in the front room. I only barely play the piano (one year of lessons in the 4th grade and choir all through high school) but I'd really like to learn. I do have "how to play the piano" book for adults and a book of hymns for beginners. Every year for Christmas, hubs and I buy each other a smallish gift, and then we get to pick out a bigger present for ourselves (and still open it on Christmas day). Anyway, there is a beautiful piano on crackles for $175 that I want SO badly for Christmas. Hubs is a little hung up on how we would get it and where we would put it for now. I don't really care - it's only $175 and pretty! We'll see. I'm betting that it won't be mine. =( What if I promised to learn to play a Christmas carol by Christmas day. Do you think that would help?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

THE house - Gratitude

Well Kim & MomRN, ask and you shall receive: an update on THE house. (BTW - I LOVE getting comments. So fun!)

We made our offer, the seller countered the offer. They didn't change the price, just a few clarifications of details and bumped the closing date back by 5 days. Obviously, we accepted the counter as quickly as we could.

So...unless we find some unforeseen problem, this house is ours if we want it. We do have a couple easy outs still if we change our mind, but I think we'd have to find a really, REALLY big problem for that to occur. The inspection is Monday at 11:30 - please continue to pray that this would go smoothly.

Above all, this discovery and process has made me just extremely grateful to God. Not only for the financial blessing that allows us to get a bigger home - that's a given. You know the verse that talks about how God knit us together in the womb.... He personally creates each person and decides who they should be, what they should look like, what their personality should be like. I feel like He has done that with this house - he made it exactly what it is, and then brought it to us as a gift.

It's like... well, you know how in "Miracle on 34th Street" the little girl is dreaming of a house for her family, and then Santa gives her a house and it is exactly what she's been dreaming of? I feel like that. It's not just that He's blessing us with a house that we love and can (miraculously, and by His great blessing) afford, but he put things together in it so that it is exactly what I want. Some things in it are special gifts...things I've had secret desires for, but assumed I would never have...or would have to remodel to get, or would have to pick some (but not all) from my list of wants.

For example... Two months ago I realized that I would like a bay window above the sink when we remodel our kitchen. This house has that. It's very big, but not monstrous (it's about 2500 square feet, which is twice this size of my current house (and exactly the size I would like). It also has a 1000 sq ft deck.), and the rooms that I want the space in are all spacious. The kitchen is funky (but very nice) - decorated in a way I love, and in a way most people wouldn't do. It has two self-cleaning ovens. The laundry area has room for a laundry sink. It is next to a drainage pond (no future building), and has a view of trees in the distance in the back (a protected county park). For heaven's sakes - it has AIR CONDITIONING.

I feel like God knew all of the things in a house that would bring me joy, put them ALL together in this house, put the timing together, made it sunny last Sunday, prompted hubs and I to go for a walk in that direction (we really debated if we should turn left or not, and thank goodness we did!), and prompted hubs to let me go in the open houses (while he waited outside with the dog). I can just imagine God smiling as I toured the house he prepared just for me.

Our God is such a personal God who loves giving gifts to His children. I am so grateful. I wish, more than anything, that my heavenly Father were here for me to give Him a hug and thank Him. I suppose that my best response is just to make sure He is invited and present in my home every single day. He gave it to us, afterall.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

OUR House - Part 1

The offer has been made and we'll hear back around 10 am, or sooner. Oh-my-gosh. Now to figure out exactly how we'll be paying for this... we're meeting with two different mortgage/finance people today. So far I'm extremely unimpressed with their creativity. Our situation is not standard... we have a lot of different options, which is GREAT, but just not simple.

More to come. Hopefully, lots more.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

OUR house - part 0.6

We met a realtor last night at OUR house so we could look around and find out everything we didn't like about it. We love it even more.

There are a few super cool things that I didn't realize the first time I saw it. It has air conditioning. HELLO!! AIR CONDITIONING. For my bloggy friends in other parts of the country, very few homes in the Seattle area have air conditioning. Some people are starting to get them, but for years and years they were non-existent. For most the year they are just not needed. But, for 2-8 weeks in the summer, it can be so hot - you just can't sleep at night. During those sleep deprived weeks, an air conditioner sounds really, really nice. I never thought I'd have a home with air conditioning.

Of course, the ovens (2!) are self-cleaning, which isn't so rare, but I've never been blessed with one. I've had fantasies about self-cleaning ovens. There is a security system, which is a nice luxury, a spot by the washer and dryer to put a laundry sink (there isn't a sink there yet, but I'm happy that there is a place for one), a huge crawl space (we in the northwest don't usually have basements) with tons of storage, and on and on and on. There is a room next to the master bedroom that connects with a door in between, so it would make a great nursery or office.

Outside, the paint color must MUST be changed (who loves the color of puke?) and the tree that was originally planted years ago is now way too big for its space - it needs to go away. Those are the only two "change now" things. There isn't anything inside that has to get fixed or changed immediately. Nothing - we love it. There are a couple things we can envision doing someday when we're ready for a project. The master bath could be updated, the fireplace could be upgraded, etc. For both of those, nothing is WRONG with them, they just aren't as cool as the rest of the house.

So... we're getting pre-approved this morning, and making an offer this afternoon. Please continue to pray for us!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The story of OUR house - Part 0.5

Ok. Tonight we are meeting with the realtor to go see this house so we can get a better look at it and decide if we really love it as much as we think we love it. She called the owner and it is, in fact, still available. (Of course it is... because it's meant to be mine, and so of course it's still available.)


Monday, October 23, 2006

What to do, what to do...

What do you do when you are innocently going for a walk on a Sunday, totally minding your own business, and stop in at an open house (because who doesn't love seeing the inside of other people's houses without having to explain yourself??), and fall in love with the house? When you weren't planning on moving yet, when it's a ton of money, but it's where you want to raise babies and live there for a long, long time, and you can envision big Christmas celebrations with the whole family, and quiet Christmas mornings with your small family, and summer BBQs, and kids playing the piano while you make dinner.

What do you do if someone else, someone WRONG, is buying your perfect house this very moment since you have not yet decided what to do?


(Ok, I know that if this is the house God wants for us, then of course, it will work out. I'm just still working on sitting still and waiting, and it is a HARD thing to learn...)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Day Three - Got the Low-Sugar-Grumpies

Today hubs and I have both been tired, irritable, and just generally grumpy. It's sad - today is a BEAUTIFUL northwest October Saturday. Unfortunately, our attitudes don't match. We keep apologizing and trying to start off on a better foot, but just cannot get over it.

The only thing I can think of is that today is day three of the S Beach diet and we are having a massive sugar crash. To make matters worse... normally, if we were having a bit of a grumpy day, I would appease myself with chocolate, cookies, ice cream, etc. and it would be all better. I think we're just getting grumpier as we realize that there will not be any food that will make us feel better now. Enter temper tantrum. Grrr. We aren't having real tangible cravings, but I can sure tell in our attitude.

We are going to a dinner party tonight, which was a little concerning given our lack of energy and excitement. I think we'll head out a bit early, go get sugar-free non-fat lattes a local coffee house and read or something. This will be fun, relaxing, feel like a food "treat" and most importantly, provide some much, much needed caffeine.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lunch - Day one

Lunch - day one at the beach.

If nothing else, it's very pretty. Thankfully, it tasted super yummy too.

Christian Pumpkins

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin.

God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.

He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff--

including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.

Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you

to shine for all the world to see.

(Source unnknown)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Going to the beach

Tomorrow starts a new way of eating - hubs and I are starting the south beach diet... well, I am anyway, we'll see how long hubs stays committed. I think he's really doing it so I don't have to go way out of my way to make him different food. I've got a bit of extra fluff that I'd like to remove, and I'm really excited about this plan. It sounds so...reasonable.

I know it will be hard though, especially at first. It will keep me disciplined to cooking healthy meals, and extra planning. I've gotten into a lunchtime rut of PB&J, and now I'll have to prepare real food, which will be good but challenging. Today's grocery bill was a bit shocking (ok, a lot shocking) as I totally over-bought groceries to make up for the looming fear of being hungry and not having any snack food to eat. So, I bought food for a month (perhaps a slight exaggeration). In coming weeks, I'll need to figure how to plan good SBD meals that work economically too. It will come... in time. There's a good likelihood that I'll need to buy nothing but produce for a couple weeks anyway. =)

Related but not.... I am completely and totally tired of the red team winning on TBL. They are whiney and mean. The good people should win out in the end, shouldn't they?? I love Bob and the blue team - go blue!

Goodbye, oh lovely cookie dough. May you lose all power over me.
(But doesn't it look sooooo good?? Drooling on my keyboard...)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Daytime world lessons

I've been in Daytime World for about a month now. I have been learning a lot about domestic life, balancing schedules, choosing my attitude (it really doesn't glorify God to cook dinner for my family, if I do it with a grumpy, tired attitude), etc. Lately, I find that I'm need to learn more about scheduling, routines, and self-motivation.

I've developed a very bad habit: going back to bed for a bit after hubs leaves in the morning. Terrible, terrible, wasteful habit. I'm just tired and my pillow and blankets sound so good! It's gotten much harder since it's dark out and cold. But - it's so stupid. I've already gotten up and made breakfast. I'm up! It's just hard to stay up. I think I need to start a new habit where I always do SOMETHING else after he goes before building the energy to shower to clean the breakfast dishes. Currently, I don't have the energy for those things, so I go back to bed. Unfortnately, "quick naps" are not in my dictionary... I end up staying in bed for an hour (or more).

I think I will try to go sit by the fire (hearth and mantle still in progress), and read or do my bible study for a little while. I need my cozy "fix" in the morning. Any day now, our new latte machine (I know it's officially an espresso maker, but I want LATTES - that is its purpose of existance) will arrive, and surely a vanilla latte by the fire will help too.

Wake up. Stay awake. Sounds so simple, doesn't it?

Monday, October 16, 2006

For the love of frappacinos

How WEIRD!!! I took this silly little "what kind of coffee are you quiz" and it's uncanny! It's right on! How did it know that I can be childish and over indulgent? I mean, everyone knows I'm sweet and fun loving, but the childish and over indulgent is a secret, isn't it? =)

AND...i LOVE frappacinos (Especially light mocha frappacinos). How did it know that?

You Are a Frappacino
At your best, you are: fun loving, sweet, and modern
At your worst, you are: childish and over indulgent
You drink coffee when: you're craving something sweet
Your caffeine addiction level: low

What Kind of Coffee Are You?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

showers of babies

Today was the baby shower to celebrate the coming arrival of my sister's second child, a baby girl.

God created a whole spectrum of colors. Our colorful world is one of my favorite gifts God has give us. I love that He loves beauty. Yet, why is it that when some people have baby girls, the child lives in and surrounded by one color: pink? I think this is strange. I have not noticed this monotone phenomenon with boys, only girls. For little boys, baby clothes are given that are all very manly and scream "little boy". It's very cute. Lots of plaids, sports themes, boats, cars, animals...greens, blues, browns, etc. However, for little girls, it's all pink. Don't get me wrong, I personally enjoy pink (well, hot pink and fuchsia) very, very much. I can be a pretty girly girl sometimes.

I've known several women with baby girls, and it seems that for the entire first year of the baby's life, she is wearing pink every single day. Why do we do this to girls? Why don't we want her in purple, red (come on...what woman doesn't LOVE red??), and feminine clothes in blues and greens?

My niece will be born in November, and since her whole wardrobe for at least the first nine months is PINK PINK PINK, I fear that she will clash with all the Christmas decorations. Come on people... Christmas before baby clothes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday - Frozen Cookie Dough

Making cookies in my house is a bit of a challenge. It is a challenge to keep from eating too many cookies all of the time because we LOVE cookies. If there is cookie dough in the fridge, I'll eat it, and if there are baked cookies in the cupboard, hubs and I will both eat them. Especially me. I can't NOT eat cookies in my house. Too many cookies! I try to only bake cookies when hubs is craving them (or I would be eating them all the time), but even if I only make a batch of cookies when he is craving them, then I'm still going to eat a full batch of cookies. Freezing the cookies doesn't work because he loves fresh baked cookies. There lies my final problem - he loves FRESH baked cookies. So, I came up with a solution.

When I make cookie dough,

I make it like normal, except I make cookie dough balls and put them on a plastic plate (after baking a few immediately, of course) and put it in the freezer.

In a few hours, or the next day, I transfer all the cookie dough balls into a plastic ziplock bag and store them in the freezer.

Then, whenever hubs wants some fresh baked cookies, rather than feasting on cookie dough and cookies for days, I can just take a couple (really - just two or three - no extra) and bake them real quick. I've found that they really don't take any longer to bake (maybe just one minute or so... depending on your recipe) than fresh dough, since butter doesn't really freeze hard.