Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Quote

Quote by Martin Luther

Today I'm linking up with Lori at

 who is restarting Think Quotes, It's Friday. 

If you'd like to participate,  hop over to her blog by clicking here
pair up a favorite quote with a favorite picture, and link up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Catan Cookies

Our kids go in spurts with games. 2010 saw countless Dutch Blitz games. 2011's game of choice was Ticket to Ride. 

So far in 2012, catching the wave a few years late, we've played lots of Settlers of Catan. Learning to play Settlers is confusing.  (At least it was for me.) Be prepared to be confused your first game. Then a light bulb goes off and you're addicted.

We celebrated Keith's birthday tonight and for dessert I made (I'm so proud) Catan Cookies

I found ideas on Pinterest and went from there. This picture only makes sense if you're familiar with the game. It is the cookie version of the game board. The game has 19 hexagon tiles - 3 brick, 3 ore, 4 lumber, 4 sheep, and 4 wheat. It also has 18 numbered small round disks.

First we made sugar cookie dough. Then I cut a hexagon out of a sheet of plastic from my scrapbook stuff. I laid that on the rolled dough (about 3/8 inch thick) and cut around it. 

We made four different colors of frosting - red, green, yellow, and white. The girls had a ball decorating cookies. 

The ore cookies (the black tiles in the above pictures) were eaten first so no individual picture. We frosted them white and sprinkled crumbled Oreo Knock-off cookies on top. 

For the lumber tiles we set a Christmas tree cookie cutter on top the cookie and carefully shook green sprinkles into it. I saw a picture on Pinterest where someone put pretzel sticks on lumber cookies to look like wood. 

The sheep tile is pretty self-explanatory - tinted green coconut. I had planned to stick yogurt covered raisin "sheep" in the "pasture" but forgot to buy them.

Anna had a hard time getting a brick color. I think she added a little green to the red to get this shade. 

Wheat tiles were the easiest. 

On second thought, the desert tile was pretty easy too. The girls swirled yellow and brick for a marbled look. This tile looked much better before someone set another cookie on top of it.

We used Rainbow twizzlers for roads and gum drops for settlements and only placed the first two settlements and roads for four colors. The robber was made of two stacked gum drops. The number disks were too small to put probability dots on them.

My only complaint is it took us two hours to make something that only took five minutes to eat.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Application to Date My Daughter

Found this on Pinterest today and had a good chuckle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Dear Erica and Anna,
While I don't endorse taking your coat off in winter to take pictures

or walking in less than stable places

or wearing holey (sp?) jeans and flimsy footwear

I do endorse being outside

and getting exercise

and fresh air

and seeing beauty

in unexpected places

and having cheap fun

and seizing the day

spending time with those you love,

making memories

and being smart enough to bring a camera to record them. 

Thanks for the pictures, Erica

Your you wouldn't catch me walking on thin ice Mother.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Excuses, Excuses

I've wrestled with weight ever since fifth grade when I first noticed there was more skin around my knees than there used to be. It didn't help to have parents who always made us clean our plates. (Excuse #1)

Just in case you didn't know, I had seven children. (Excuse #2)

I never got morning sickness so never lost my appetite. (Excuse #3)

We can't afford a gym membership. (Excuse #4)

If only I didn't have to cook for my family everyday. That's like asking an alcoholic to work in a bar. (Excuse #5)

Dern menopause slows down metabolism. All the research says so. Makes it difficult for ladies to keep their weight down. (Excuse #6)

I had many more excuses. Those are just the first that came to mind. Weight had slowly been taking up residence in my poor defenseless body. My knees and elbows ached. The knees made sense but why would being overweight affect your elbows?

I hated it. Hated seeing pictures of myself. Buttons strained. Clothes wouldn't fit. 

It's no fun to buy clothes because you've outgrown your old ones. Kiah went shopping with me last summer to buy new shorts. After trying on 10 pairs, none of which looked good, Kiah kindly suggested we try again another time. 

It just wasn't fair. I'm a sensible person. I don't like junk food except for Doritos and Captain Crunch. I don't like pop except for an occasional Root Beer. I don't like Fast Food except for Taco Bell. I have reasonable self-control except when it comes to waffles.

Frustrated, discouraged, and resigned to be a pudgy Pastor's wife, I almost gave up. 

Last year an overweight friend, my same age and also menopausal,  joined Weight Watchers. By the time I started paying attention she had lost 75 pounds!! When she first started she couldn't even walk from the front of her house to the back without resting. She couldn't even exercise and here she was dropping pounds left and right.

I'd always resisted Weight Watchers because of the cost. Seems a person should be able to lose weight without having to pay $40 a month. But it worked for her so I decided to give it a try.

I joined last July, not really thrilled about letting someone see how much I weigh. I lost 5 pounds the first week and three pounds the second. Oh boy, I was pleased. Easy breezy. Nothing to it. At that rate I could reach my goal by the end of November. 

Silly me. Apparently those first pounds are the easiest. The rest have been a struggle, but little by little it's going away, hopefully for good.

As of this week's weigh in, I've lost 27 pounds with 13 more to go. Last night I looked at my weight graph and sighed. It took 7 weeks to lose 2 pounds. I was minus 25 pounds on Dec. 15, then managed to gain three pounds over the holidays so had to relose those. At $40 a month, that's almost $40 a pound. Sigh!

The best thing about Weight Watchers is accountability. The weekly weigh in is a huge motivator to behave. The scale is just an objective bystander. It takes no excuses. Doesn't matter if it's a holiday or birthday or a rough week, the scale matter-of-factly monitors my progress. 

Yes, it's harder to lose weight after menopause but not impossible. My friend has now lost 125 pounds. I'm now friends with another sixty-five-year-old lady who's lost 135. When I see the obstacles my friends have overcome I realize I really have no excuse. Even though I didn't eat a lot of junk food, I was eating too much. Too much of a good thing was simply too much. 

I now weigh two pounds less than my Driver's License says. My knees and elbows stopped hurting. I feel better. I don't have that bursting at the seams feeling anymore. I can tuck my shirt in again. I can zip my coat. I have hope again now that I understand I'm not at the mercy of hormones and unfortunate circumstances. 

My friends and I had an epiphany. My single friend said maybe it would be easier to lose weight if she had more people to cook for. It was hard to be motivated to just cook for one person. I laughed as I always thought it would be easier if I didn't have so many people to cook for.

My friend who originally inspired me to join WW said she thought it would be easier if she didn't like to cook. My other friend who doesn't like to cook laughed and said she always thought it would be easier if she did like to cook.

We all had excuses and none of them were very good. Here's hoping it doesn't take another seven weeks to lose two pounds.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Who da thunk?

January 22 is:

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
National Blonde Brownie Day - I kid you not
My late Father-in-law's birthday

And last but not least:  The 30th anniversary of our first date

I'm glad I didn't know Keith in his purple plaid polyester suit wearing days. 

He had improved considerably by the time I met him.

Keith and I started dating January 22, 1982. You can read the nitty gritty details here.  We didn't hit it off well at first. I thought he was a nerd. He thought I was ditzy. He was pretty rigid and I was hopelessly fluid. I noticed his gray flowered shirt and assumed his Mother bought his clothes. 

I know better now. He picks out his own clothes and loves flowered prints. When he preaches Sunday mornings, I look at him and marvel. One Sunday he's in a suit coat, the next he wears an ugly sweater. Sometimes he shows up in a dress shirt and tie, or a sweater vest, or an Hawaiian shirt. 

I think he closes his eyes and reaches into the closet and wears whatever his hand lands on. 
 I rest my case. 

Anyway, back then I also noticed his eyes. Later when we were dating I told him I liked his blue eyes. He claimed they were green and we argued for years over their color. 

We now have a blue-eyed daughter and a green-eyed son. 

An early memory is a spur-of-the-moment evening drive to Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado. Before seat belt laws, a bunch of our college friends crammed into a suburban. Keith, another guy, and I squished into the space behind the back seat. 

A smidge awkward since I didn't know either guy. The guy on the right had a girlfriend and wasn't interested in small talk. Keith, on the left, being the poster child for Serious Students Inc. wouldn't talk either. I made sure to grab a different seat on the way home. 

We started being friends on a double-date. Keith asked my friend to our Fall Banquet and his friend asked me.

A month later, when he heard I didn't have enough money to attend a Josh McDowell conference, paid my way. We still rarely talked at this point so he was just being nice.

At Christmas, home-bound students crammed into a fellow student's car to ride to the airport--his destination Iowa, mine California. Bad weather cancelled flights and we spent the night in the airport, him on one concourse, me on another. If we'd only known then that we'd get married three years later we could have visited and got better acquainted. 

As I mentioned before he was a serious guy. Serious about his faith and his studies. Focused, intense, and very responsible. Though he was older, I was a year ahead in school.

Somewhere in the spring of 1981 he must have realized there was more to me than the ditzy person he thought me to be. We played games in the student union with friends and every so often would end up talking afterwards. Once he even walked me to my dorm.

Then one day he asked me to pray with him. We walked up to this pretty spot on campus and prayed together. Something happened that day but I didn't understand what. I wasn't interested in him but looking back I know that our hearts had started to knit together. 

We played many games of Rook and Dutch Blitz with friends and he started to loosen up. At the school year's end, he happened to be walking into the Spring Banquet the same time as me and two friends so he sat at our table and hung out with us the rest of the evening. 

My friends had the bright idea of staying up the whole night. Keith had never done this before or since and knowing him now, I'm surprised he agreed. We even toilet papered a friend's house which was another first and only for him. 

My first "Whoa Nellie" moment came after we'd known each other a whole school year, getting acquainted in small increments. One night I asked him for a ride to my friend's house. I explained where I needed to go and asked if that was on his way. He said it was, which was a bold-faced lie. I later learned it was an hour drive both ways. 

At the risk of sounding corny, it was an enchanted evening. We had a good conversation and when we got to my friend's house no one was there. We played backgammon while we waited. I remember being drawn to him but feeling confused because up until that point I had never been interested in him. I looked at him, noticing again his blue eyes, and wondered if he affected everyone that way or was it only me. 

Before we left for the summer, me to California, he to a summer missions' trip to England, he stopped by my dorm to give me two take-your-faith seriously books. 

He sent two postcards from England but except for the backgammon night nothing really had sparked between us. Just a friendship for which I was thankful. He was a neat guy and I had learned a lot from him. 

School started in the fall and I was a junior and he was a sophomore. I expected to pick up where we left off but something had changed. No games, no jokes, no conversations. He sat in front of me in a class for half the semester and didn't talk to me.

In November, a switch went off and he started talking to me again. And they say girls are hard to figure out! Gradually we started talking more. A friend asked if I liked Keith as it seemed like we got along well. I assured her that wasn't the case, stating that we were just friends. 

So on January 22, 1982, after a year and a half of being friends, when he finally stammered out that he was interested in me I was truly in shock. I had honestly thought we were just friends, but as soon as he spoke up I immediately knew that I wanted to be more than friends.  

I'm historically an indecisive person. I agonize over decisions and make long convoluted pro and con lists. This was one of the few times in my life when I didn't hesitate. I thought about what I knew of him, his responsible, steady, stable character and without a doubt instantly knew that if he was offering I wanted to go along for the ride. 

God knew at that point, but we sure didn't, that we had just begun a 30 year journey. I'm glad we were friends for so long as that allowed us to get to know each other without the pressure of being romantically involved. 

So thankful for 27 years of being married to my best friend. 
Happy Anniversary to us!