Friday, March 30, 2012

Think Quotes, It's Friday

I found this picture on Facebook or Pinterest or I don't exactly remember where, but I liked it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Surprise

More pictures from last week's muddy outing.

What do you do when you live in Northern Wisconsin and it's 80 degrees and sunny in the middle of March? 

Abandon all plans, seize the moment, and be kids!

Little Girls Point near Ironwood, Michigan

 Good thing we have a short last name.

Snowman Graveyard

 Superior Falls

"Um, Dad...That fence is there for a reason."

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Difference Between Adults and Children

Normal March weather is cold.

Not this year. Today was 80 degrees.

Keith and I passed this mudslide today at Little Girls Beach near Ironwood, Michigan and said, "Wow, what a mess. The county should do something or the whole hillside will erode away. "

Our girls walked by the same mudslide and it called their name.

 And they listened

I'm thankful they took their shoes off.

Anna channeling her inner Mountain Goat 

Would it be a stretch to call this Mud Painting 
"Art" and count it for homeschooling?

Only Anna could play in the mud and climb a mud hill 
wearing light colored shorts and not get her clothes dirty. 

Lani, on the other hand, is a different story.

No children were harmed in the making of this blog post

This gives the word "Mud Boots" a different meaning

Stick in the muds.

Muddy Buddies

 And the prize for the muddiest child goes to...

 Not to be outdone, 
Keith JUMPED out of a swing 
(at his age, mind you)
and landed in the mud.

"Oh nobody but the rosebush knows
How nice mud feels between the toes.
--Polly Chase Boyden--

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"The Coincidence"

I married my husband for his typewriter. 

I had an old clunky manual typewriter and his nifty Smith-Corona electric typewriter with correcting ribbon looked mighty fine. 

That and his Olympus SLR camera and his cute marine blue Volkswagen Superbeetle named "Feather". 

Oh, how he loved Volkswagens. He loved the look. He loved the smell. He loved the sound. Feather was his pride and joy. 

That pride and joy broke down on numerous occasions and he learned the hard way through the school of hard knocks and no budget for a mechanic the ins and outs of VW repair. 

Breakdown on the way home from our honeymoon
Shortly after Christina's first birthday he announced that we needed a bigger car. I wondered why since we only had one child.

My intuitive hubby overuled his practical wife's objection and traded his beloved VW bug for an equally cherished VW van. 

Oh, how he loved the sight, the sound, and the smell of his VW van. VW van owners do this quirky pinky-thumb wave when they pass each other on the road. 

Immensely proud of our creativity, we named our van "Vincent" after Vincent Van Gogh.

This "new" (to us) van also broke down at regular intervals and Keith further honed his mechanical skills. 

One summer we traveled in our cool, but unreliable van from Portland, Oregon where we lived to Rock Rapids, Iowa where his parents lived. 

While driving around his hometown one day, Keith spotted another VW van. In a state where nine out of ten cars are American, VW vans stick out like a big, fat thumb. 

When my VW-loving hubby discovered the other van's owner wanted to part out his broken down van, Keith jumped on it.

I gave Keith the look. You know, the look that says, "What were you thinking?" Our Daddy-working-himself-through-seminary budget was already stretched thin.

To top it off, we didn't have room in the van to bring the van parts back to Oregon with us. I wasn't happy that we had spent $150 only to leave the parts in Iowa. 

The next summer, we made the long trek from Portland to Iowa again. This time Keith made sure we had room to bring the van parts home with us. 

On the return trip, just west of Cheyenne, Wyoming the van lurched, made a few ominous sounds and quit moving forward. Keith knew right away that the transmission had died. Cheyenne is almost halfway between Oregon and Iowa so no help would come from family or friends. 

This was before cell phones and we couldn't afford a tow truck even if we could call one, so Keith stuck the van in first gear and we limped back to Cheyenne. 

We checked into a Motel 6 where Keith said that he just happened to have a spare transmission along. I went swimming with Christina (3) and Andrew (1) while he dropped the engine in the Motel 6 parking lot and installed his "spare" transmission. 

We got a good night's sleep and continued on our way the next day, thankful for God's provision of a spare transmission a year in advance. 

Some might hear this story and think "What a coincidence." But we know better. 

It was a God thing. And if you don't believe me, I have at least fifty more stories where that came from. 

I'm linking up with Jennifer at Getting Down With Jesus for her blog hop, God-Bumps and God-Incidents. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My New Hobby

On occasion I take perverse delight in yanking my oldest daughter's chain. She often shakes her head over my fashion sense or lack of one. 

I saw a fun pair of reading glasses in the dollar store and couldn't resist. A dollar was a small price to pay for the reaction I knew I'd get. 

Later at home, I was talking to Christina in the kitchen. I had my back to her and when she asked me a question I slipped these beauties on and turned around to answer her.

She's so predictable. 
She gasped. 
She sputtered. 
She squeaked out, "Mom! You're not going out in public with those things are you?!?!"

I've since acquired a nice collection of "Pretty" reading glasses. 

If I have to wear reading glasses, I might as well have fun with it. 

They're funnest to
wear around people who haven't seen them before. They don't know if I'm serious and it's hard to concentrate when you're talking to a grown woman wearing tie-dyed zebra-striped cat-eye glasses.

And now for the grand finale. 

The family, with everyone but Keith and Christina wearing a pair of my reading glasses. 

You're welcome.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Rest of the Story

I last posted about our Japanese Spring Fling. 

Everything looked nice, people had fun, and the pictures turned out good.


Behind the scenes all was not as it was supposed to be. 

Our speaker said the Japanese are very picky about their rice. Apparently ordinary white rice isn't good enough. She had ordered special rice from an online Asian store and said that it would come from California.

A half hour before the luncheon started I  poured two thirds of the rice bag into a pan of water. I noticed tiny black specks but assumed that since this rice was different the specks were supposed to be there. 

Meanwhile I got nervous that the rice wouldn't get done in time.  I know a watched pot never boils so I wondered how much I could stare at the pan, willing it to cook, without impeding progress. 

We flew around the kitchen attending to last minute details. I took several bites trying to tell if the rice was cooked. Finally I asked my friend Pat if she thought the rice was done.

Pat said in a concerned whisper, "There's little black things in the rice."

I assured her, "Oh those. They were there when I poured the rice out of the bag. It's California rice. It's okay." 

She looked into the pot unconvinced so I asked, "Are you afraid the rice is burnt?

Pat smiled, "No, I'm afraid those are little bugs."

We were down to the wire on time with no plan B, so only desperation and denial could explain my behavior. "Nah, it's just California rice. I've had bags of wheat berries before when I've had to pick pieces of chaff out. Just mix green onions in so the black pieces won't be obvious."

Pat politely resisted so we asked the person who bought the rice if the black things were supposed to be there. Jan (mid 50's like me) got her reading glasses, took one look in the pot, and said, "I see feet."

I was still unwilling to concede. After all, rice was one of the main components of the meal. We couldn't have Japanese Curry without rice to pour it over. I grabbed the rice bag and looked inside at the remaining uncooked rice. 

Then looked back up astonished. "The black specks are moving."

So what do mature well-adjusted people do in an emergency?

Laugh.  Of course. 

Pat suggested maybe it was our fault since the last time we were together in a kitchen her dog licked a big spot of frosting off my ugly birthday dessert.

It was now five minutes before start time. Jan lived closeby so we asked if she had any more rice at home. 

Nope. Oh to have a big box of Minute Rice in the cupboard.

One sweet young girl noticed that the bugs were mostly around the outside of the cooked rice and suggested we spoon from the middle. After five minutes of picking out good rice and only having one cup, we abandoned that idea.

Grabbing at straws, I suggested that since boiling the rice had killed the bugs, we should just chop up green onions and mix them in. I looked through the cupboards for Parsley flakes, hoping people couldn't tell the difference between green leaves and dead black bugs. (I'll understand if people never want to eat at my house again.)

My fellow cooks vetoed that idea. Jan suggested we wash the remaining uncooked rice REALLY good. She said it's like panning for gold. The rice is heavier and sinks to the bottom and the dead bugs float right to the top. 

Sure enough. Who knew?

We threw out the first batch and started cooking the second. Buying time we rearranged the program. 

Jan and I watching the rearranged program while appearing cool, calm, and collected as the second batch cooks.
Jan's husband Rick just happened to have a beautiful 20 minute slide show on their life and ministry in Japan. 

Jan thanked the women for their patience, explaining that the first batch of rice hadn't turned out, and now there wasn't a lot of rice so to please go easy on it. There was probably enough for everyone to get a couple small spoonfuls. 

I was finally able to relax and enjoy the rest of the program but us cooks giggled every time we looked at each other, certain that we'll never be able to look at rice in the same way again. 

To add insult to injury, Rick was being servant-hearted and took out the garbage. As he rounded the corner with a big white garbage bag full of trash, the bag popped a hole and a good portion of the buggy rice fell on the floor. I looked over to see Jan and Rick on their knees putting globs of rice back in the bag. 

Someone got up to help and was politely shooed away, since the cooks had agreed to not divulge what had caused the demise of "the first batch." Whenever people asked what had happened to "the first batch," we gave polite evasive answers. So I will most likely be voted off the cooking committee for spilling the beans. 

So now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.

Just so I know this doesn't only happen to me, anyone else have any cooking rice or food flops when company's coming stories?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Japanese Spring Fling

Our church ladies recently had a fun event, complete with luncheon and speaker. Since our speaker and her husband had spent the last six years as missionaries to American and Japanese military in Misawa, Japan we went with a Japanese theme. 

I scoured Pinterest and the internet for Japanese party ideas and true to my OCD nature found way too many ideas to use. The ideas that made it through the budget filter and my frugality had to finally pass "my time allotted to get the job done" test. 

I couldn't find Oriental looking napkins so went with spring colors. 

The blue bottles and geraniums were already on the tables so we stuck cherry blossoms in there which surprisingly looked really nice. Christina made the tables look nice. 


(We're listening to special music.  Without planning, the speaker 
and I wore matching outfits. Only she's tall and classy and I'm short and lumpy) 

Japanese Curry and rice
Veggie Tray
Oriental Slaw
Asian Salad (recipe here)

Fruit skewers 
(which didn't look as nice as the idea I took it from - click here for source)

Mock Sushi
(Rice Krispy bars, Gummy Worms, Fruit by the Foot - Recipe here)

Funfetti Fudge 
(not Japanese but looked cute - recipe here)

Japanese Flag Sugar Cookies
(Not near as nice as the original but I ran out of time. They tasted good though. Source here)

Red Velvet Cupcakes with cute Japanese umbrellas

 Special Feature
"Letters From Bayfield"
Historical monologue

Neat lady, touching and inspirational message


With cute babies around, who 
needs other entertainment? 



Anna and Kiah



Lani looking like a pink Yoda

Even though it doesn't look like Spring around here, 
we thoroughly enjoyed our Spring Fling.