Thursday, March 31, 2011


some friendships bloom overnight
and others grow over a long, long time

both are special
yet there's something
extra nice
about the ones
with history

two chubby one-year-olds
play on the floor
look up startled as camera captures the moment

two growing three-year-olds
play in the yard
wear matching clothes
color together
argue about song lyrics during a nap
share a favorite color of red
celebrate birthdays
four days apart
with pink play-doh and popcorn ball favors

two newly-turned four-year-olds
chant rhythmic cadence in chorus
wrap up in blankets to play lovely brides
make glorious mud pies
and sample the dirt
(it tasted like chocolate)
help to plant bulbs
share trips to the store
learn to marvel at their differences

two eager eight-year-olds
meet once again
chatter as if no time had passed
string daisy chains
mournfully part
become consistent pen palls

two girlish eleven-year-olds
make a club house
hike to delightful picnics spots on nearby high hills
have frequent sleep-overs
enact elaborate make-believe tales
chatter and grow

two young teenagers
span the long miles
with pages of writing
year after year
rejoicing when meeting
mourning when parting
always picking up where they had left off

two eighteen-year-old young women
talk on the phone for hours and hours
marvel again
at the similarities in heart
the continuing growth
and God's work in their hearts
laugh as they share the new favorite colors
of sage green and brown
one of them marries the man of her dreams
and the other rejoices as her maid-of-honor

two twenty-three-year-old women
meet once again
revisit old memories
take plenty of pictures
one of them marries the man of her dreams
and the previously-wedded one rejoices
with flute-song joy at her friend's wedding

I feel thanks too deep to express
for God's gift to me of this friend
and for the strong
friendship we share

i am also grateful for all that Benjamin
and my parents gave
to make it possible for me to share
in the celebration of her wedding day
it was beautiful in every way

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's a...

girl! Yes, just over two weeks ago at our 20 week ultrasound we found out that we're going to be having a little girl! We are so excited. Benjamin's heart is already melting at the thought of being Daddy to a girlie, while I've already begun to collect frilly, flowery little clothes during my thrifting outings and making "pretty girlish" things (as Little Man says).

When we told Little Man that he was going to have a new little sister, he thought about it for a minute, and said: "That sounds good." He's actually old enough to understand a bit of what's going on this time and is a lot of fun. Just a couple of days ago, he started rubbing my belly and saying that he can feel Sweet Pea. Brother, on the other hand, still responds with an emphatic "huh-UH" or "no" when we try to talk to him about the new baby and about being a big brother. He'll come around eventually, though, and join the rest of us in our excitement. : )

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

sweet brothers

The week before I left on my trip (wow, that seems like a long time ago!) I had the perfect chance to capture some great brother photos. The boys were happily and spontaneously hanging out together in a natural-light-filled situation. Naturally, I grabbed my camera to try to capture a quick photo of the sweet scene before they caught on to the fact that I was photographing them and turned silly or ran away. Much to my surprise they actually stayed where they were and posed naturally for the camera! It's an opportunity that comes once in a blue moon, and I was so thankful for my nice camera. The following are a few of my favorite shots from out impromptu photo session.


[a wee bit silly]

[just plain sweet]

[a new favorite]

Monday, March 28, 2011

monday menu

fancy dark chocolate from Grenada
a gift from one of Benjamin's coworkers
after a recent trip to the Caribbean

I'm having a hard time menu planning this week after having a little break. I'm just not in the swing of things. After some research, though, I've come up with a couple of new recipes and a menu I'm happy to be making. Here's what I'll be cooking:

M-creamy chicken casserole, corn and green beans (picky ones can choose which)
T-steak, orzo with parmesan and basil, broccoli
Th-tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit
F-Brazilian shishkebabs, beans, rice

Tonight I'm also going to make blueberry muffins just because I want them so badly. : )

All three of the linked recipes are new to me. I'm hoping they'll turn out satisfactorily, and you'll probably be hearing about them soon.

What are you making this week?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

(insert clever title)

home is a lovely place to be
especially after a trip

i left two tuesdays ago
on a 2,000 mile round trip road trip
and returned last wednesday

it was a lovely journey
(as little man would call it)
i have so much to talk about
so many projects and pictures to share

but i've been tired
and simply haven't felt like writing

the word floodgates are opening
the gears are turning

prepare for a deluge
of catch up


Saturday, March 12, 2011

finishing touches

This week I finished my log cabin quilt.
We splurged on professional quilting since this quilt was too huge for me to do on my machine, I was short on time, my parents were willing to chip in and make the quilt a joint gift, and we found a good deal. Though I must admit to feeling nervous about entrusting the quilt to a stranger after all the time and care I put into it, it was a huge relief to not have to worry about the quilting! My fears were unfounded, it came back beautifully quilted with the perfect-colored thread.

After the break from working on the quilt while it was away being quilted, I was actually excited about sewing on the binding. (Yes, I do sew on binding the cheater way with my machine instead of by hand...)

I am so proud of how my design turned out! It turned out so beautifully that I'm having just a tiny bit of a hard time thinking about giving it away after all. I can't think of someone I'd rather give all of my beautiful green and brown scraps to than my friend Martha, though. : ) I know she and her new husband will enjoy it and treasure it, and in the long run, I'll never regret the gift.

Oh bother I just now realized while looking at the above photo that the hearts are not centered. Sigh. I won't cry over it. After all, I knew that after it was all sewn together I'd see mistakes for which I checked and double checked but still missed. I guess the asymmetry gives it a cool, modern-y look?

It was very rewarding to fold it up to fit in the gift bag.

There were two extra quilt squares when the quilt was all done, so I made them into quilted pot holders. That way if Martha can't fit the big quilt into her tiny first home, she'll still have something that I made for her to use.

Monday, March 7, 2011

monday menu

Here's what I'm cooking this week. What are you making?

M-chicken parmesan, roasted asparagus
T-tomato-vegetable soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
W-roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, veggie
Th-French dip sandwiches (in crock pot), salad
F-chicken pot pie
S-bring brownies to small group potluck dinner
Su-crock pot roast

Friday, March 4, 2011

extra sunshine

extra sunshine
from Benjamin
on a day that I very much needed it

I heart him

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

recipe reviews

Today I finished sewing together my log cabin quilt top, ironed it, pieced the backing, and ironed it. If you think that's not very impressive, you've never tried ironing a 113 inch by 98 inch rectangle of fabric before. It's a very worthwhile pain. I'm so pleased to have that part of it done! It was incredibly satisfying to fold up the quilt and backing and bundle them up to go to the quilter.

In celebration, I decided to write recipe reviews! Yes, it's a little random, but it I find that if I over-focus on one project it becomes stale, and what better way is there to distract myself than by thinking about yummy food? : ) No, not really. But food is delightful, and I've enjoyed trying a couple of new recipes lately.

. Enter the Cream Cheese Brownies:

The recipe: I have never had good success with making brownies from scratch. I have even managed to make brownie brittle (it was just like chocolatey peanut brittle without the peanuts!) while I thought I was following a brownie recipe. That being the case, I generally stick to making the cheater box kind of brownies. A few days ago, however, box brownies were just not going to cut it, so I thought I'd give it another shot. Enter Cream Cheese Brownies.
The mods: For once I didn't mess with the recipe (guess I was too scared of another brownie brittle incident) other than to half it for fear of making a little brownie piggy out of myself. ; ) I think I may also have not swirled the top two layers as much as I was supposed to.
My impression: They turned out! And they were everything I dreamed they would be...sigh...salivate...sigh...

The recipe: The other recipe I tried recently was Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar (sorry I have no photos for this one). We have been buying a lot of asparagus when it has been on sale lately, and I was getting tired of my usual steamed asparagus.
The mods: I added a grating of fresh Parmesan which was just lovely.
My impression: Yum! Roasted asparagus has a nice texture as well as more flavor than steamed asparagus, and the balsamic vinegar added the perfect, simple extra touch that was needed to finish it off. I'll definitely be making this again!