Friday, October 31, 2008

Project Complete

I got this idea in my head that it'd be fun to make the kids costumes.

It is fun!

It was fun!

But it was a lot of work. Just remind me next August that I want to get started on the costumes, versus waiting until the second week of October to start!

Every late night was worth it, I am so thrilled with the result!

We picked the patterns...

... cut out the patterns (which is my least favorite part of sewing projects, so I was just delighted to have Noah offer to help, and he did a great job!)...

...cut the material...

...preparing the fabric...



Now, I have to make a disclaimer for my friends who will look at this project and say "I don't sew". I look at sewing much like a recipe. You collect the ingredients and follow the directions. Much like when I cook, when I sew, I tend to stray from the recipe. Sometimes that works out and other times it looks a little like I put too much salt in the soup. And as I spend more time in the kitchen or at the sewing machine, the more confident I become. And they say that you'll learn more from mistakes than you ever could from perfection. I learned alot through these projects.

And aren't my kid's CUTE!!!??!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

525,600 minutes

This year has moved by so quickly....

Our darling Magdalyn turns 1 today.

She has been such a precious gift to us, and she has taught us each so much.
She makes us all smile

God has truly blessed our family.

I wonder, just a little, what she'll become. I pray for her every day to know the Lord, know Him well, walk in his will every day of her life.

Part of the inspiration for her name came from the Kutless song "Strong tower" (on the video). Magdala means great tower. We pray that God will always be here fortress and source of strength.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pain not wasted

Ever since the creation of the earth, we, the created, have been turning away from God.
We choose to do it on our own.
We assume our limited wisdom and understanding qualifies us for independence.
We desperately seek to be satisfied with things and other people, that will ultimately disappoint.

Yet, God still desires to extend his love to us, despite our miserable state, completely undeserving.
Watkins Glen, NY taken by Granny Franny

I found a note this morning in my journal from the women of faith conference. Steven Arterburn said:

"God doesn't want to waste even an ounce of pain. There is always grace."

We often get ourselves into these places of pain, but God still desires that through that pain, we could draw closer to his infinite and heavenly wisdom, which, I think, is knowing him.

Good word to hear... listen (stuck part 2)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Last weekend in Dallas

No silly! Not Texas.... Oregon!

We always have a fantastic time.

Grandpa Sings

*video - press play*

Kids bounce

*video - press play*

Love on Louie... best dog ever. I think he's more protective of the kids than I am!

... and this time.... we went even FURTHER into the country to Arlie's Harvest Festival.

The results:

Thank God for creative Grandparents!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Card-carrying member!

Do you remember that time, way back when you were just a little kid?

my cousins Laura and Arlene 1970

Can you tell the story about that one time, you did that one thing? It was so exciting!

My Dad 1957

Do you remember that house? The trees?Our back yard 1980 (I remember peeling the birch bark off the trees)

Do remember being small? Did you have a funny Uncle that always let you climb on him like a jungle gym?
My dad and his neices 1969

How did you remember that? There must have been a picture somewhere that helped....

I love pictures. Love the way an image can usher in memories that have been stored away in the depths of my personal history books. I love the wonder and awe in how quickly things change....

Me and Noah 2002

Not a big secret, I make efforts to devote a certain amount of time to compiling photo albums for my kids, under the guise of "scrapbooking." But, you need to know, scrapbooking isn't all about the love of photos, or for that matter, pretty paper, stickers, punches, stamps or the like.

After the experience of loosing my mom while still in my teens, I realized that life is all too short. Memories are treasures. No one, even with the most photographic of memories, will be able to remember every moment, every look, every feeling, or for that matter, every place, person's name or things that were said. I hope that some day, my children will look at the albums I have created as a gift of memories, that have been strengthened by the documentation of their lives.

At the WOF conference, comedienne, Anita Renfroe poked fun at how we as women pick up our pictures at the drug store, flip through to find the perfect picture of ourselves, give up and toss them in "the drawer"... that is,unless you are a "part of that cult, called Creative Memories!" Well, I proudly admit to be a card-carrying member! ;-)
Me, Lisa and Jennifer working on our albums at "Croptoberfest" (today)

I really do appreciate that CM has helped me to move forward in documenting the life and activities of our family in a tangible format. And I just want to say thanks to my dear friend Jennifer M for being my trusty consultant all these years.
Jennifer working on her daughter's baby book

So next time you are at the house of homer, ask to see an album or two. We would be delighted to share them with you.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Soup's on Saturday - Olive Garden's Pasta Fagioli

We don't eat out often. It has to be either a very special occasion or, usually, fast food :-(. But it is still generally less than once or twice a month. If I do eat out, one of my favorite places is the Olive Garden. And when we go, all I usually want is the soup, salad and bread sticks. Although all the soup options are yummy, Pasta Fagioli is my favorite.

So this week I found myself with some left over, cooked, plain macaroni noodles. It was time for something other than chicken.... so I start ponder.... and it comes to me that Pasta Fagioli would be the answer. A quick google search sends me to CDKitchen's recipe for the Olive Garden Pasta Fagioli! I really liked this site, not only for the recipe, but that it also converts the measurements to suit your family or an army. It started out with a yield of 9 quarts, which is a little more than my family is likely to eat, but 3 quarts was just right.

Here is what we threw together (as I adapted it to what I had in my kitchen. If you want to go to the link above for the precise ingredients and amounts):

1 lb ground beef
1/2 diced white onion
1 large carrot slivered
2 stalks celery diced
6 diced fresh tomatoes
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups beef broth from granuals
1 tsp dry oregano
1/2 tsp ground pepeer
1/4 c fresh parsley chopped
1/2 tsp tobasco sauce
3 cups prepared spagetti sauce
3 cups of cooked macaroni noodles

Cook beef. Add onion, carrots, celery and cook till tender. Add tomatoes, sautee for 2-3 min more. Add beans, broth, seasonings and spagetti sauce. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add noodles, cook for 5 minutes more. Serve with parmesean / romano cheese ontop and crusty bread on the side.

Notes: I used garbanzo beans, since it was on hand, but were not as tender as I would have liked. I would use white beans next time. I keep the beef broth granules on hand and didn't have any "real" broth, which I would have prefered. Loved the tabasco sauce, inportant ingredient, but becareful not to use too much unless you really want a kick! Obviously, your flavor will also change if the prepared spagetti sauce has strong seasoning.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Do we need to understand to obey?

Here is a little snippet from Patsy Clairmont, from the Women of Faith conference. Its a cool story, so watch this...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Amber, Gold and Crimson

There is something cozy and comforting about the colors of fall.

So, I have followed suit as my graceful and fabulous friends have shared their changes in seasonal decor.

To be honest, at first I thought it a little silly or frivolous to go and change stuff in the house just because the calendar ticks on. This is not a criticism of them, actually, more of a confession of my own shortsightedness. I am also not one who thinks on decor often. I can appreciate the beauty that others execute, but really... my husband usually does most of the decorating in our house.
Maybe THAT'S why there's a 6 foot Homer Simpson in my stairwell....

I have mentioned in previous posts about our front window box, which does not reach enough natural light or water to grow anything well. My wonderful neighbor, Zelta, as a surprise one day, came and created a beautiful artificial arrangement in the failing window box, appropriate to the season. She returned a few months later and updated for Christmas. What a blessing she is to me! I have since taken on updating the box for the season, albeit often late. Here is this season's display. Most of the flowers come from the Dollar Tree. I especially like the little gourds, you may have to click on the photo to see.

Well, that got me started with the decorating bug.

I updated the side board with a table cloth, place mat and decorative pumpkins.



I also added some gourds and a seasonal towel in my bathroom.

These little changes have actually changed me as well. I see them and find myself grateful for the beauty of creation. So thank you, my neighbor and my fabulous and my graceful friends for unknowingly encouraging me to Praise of the Great God of Heaven and earth!

Psalm 65 8, 11-12
Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The wilderness becomes a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Soup's on Saturday - Sarah's Wedding Soup

I found a love for Wedding Soup while attending college in a small Amish Town in Western Pennsylvania.

NOTE: It was a normal, modern college that just happened to be in a town where many Amish lived.

The Short Stop Inn, one of the few restaurants in town, often served a traditional wedding soup that was quite tasty. Even the campus cafeteria served a wedding soup that wasn't too bad.

A few years after graduating and moving to Oregon, I found myself craving this Wedding Soup. I hadn't really ever had it before college and hadn't seen it since. So I found a few different recipes on the internet and started to make one that sounded good. As most good soup recipes go, I eventually found myself adding a little of this, a little of that. I have since lost my original recipe card, and am not really sure of the exact source, which ingredients were original or which were my own inspiration. It has developed into a very rich hearty soup that certainly will serve as meal. I generally make a large batch and freeze most of it for later. I am certain that you will be pleased if you try it, I get requests for it all the time, and people who have tried it will mention it to me years later. And, no, its not a secret recipe... try and enjoy!

Sarah's Wedding Soup

Oil for sauteeing
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tbs celery salt
1 large onion chopped
3-4 stalks of celery chopped
3-4 carrots sliced
3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 box frozen spinach - thawed, drained and patted dry w/paper towel
6 cups chicken broth
Meatballs ***

In a large stock pot, saute garlic, onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms, seasoned with celery salt for about 5-7 minutes or until the veggies are mostly tender. Add tomatoes, spinach and chicken broth. Heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for at least 1 hour. Add meatballs***, cook for another 20 minutes. Serve with Parmesean cheese garnish. It can be served immediately, but I have found that the flavors are more well mingled when you finish cooking and chill over night before serving. Either works.

You can buy the pre-made meatballs and use them if you'd like. I personally enjoy the flavor of the soup when combined with the homemade meatballs. I have also been known to make a large batch of these meatballs and freezing them to be served with pasta at a later time.

1 to 1 1/2 lbs ground Italian Sausage
1 medium diced onion
2 cloves diced garlic
1 extra large (or 2 med) eggs, beaten
1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs dry parsley
salt and pepper

I take off my rings and mix the ingredients with my fingers.... kinda cool and icky feeling, but the easiest way to mix it. Although, you will see in the picture below that I used the cuisinart to mix it and a pampered chef scoop to drop the balls. I still think hand mixing is my preference.

Heat oil in a fry pan over medium heat... if it gets too hot, it'll burn without cooking through and the oil and fat from the sausage will spit and probably burn your hands. Form 1 inch balls and cook in oil, turning occasionally until cooked through. Don't put too many in the pan at once, they will stick together. Drain on a paper towel.

For other yummy soup recipes - check out Tiffany's "Soup's On Saturday"

Walking on

Maggy started walking a few weeks back and I've been wanting to post a video of the cutie waddle.

This also gives you a glimpse of the normal morning chaos that is the House of Homer, and the reason I just love being a mom!