Saturday, May 28, 2011


Eric has been learning about some of our planets.  He was super excited and drew some!  Can you guess which planets are which?  :)  It should be noted that I did not tell him what colors to use.

Ok.  Stop guessing.  This one is a moon rock.  I was being tricky.

These 2 are of Mars.  He loves Mars.  He's going to go there someday.  Maybe tomorrow.  :)

It's earth!  So cute listening to him draw this one.  "Green for the grass and the trees.  White for the clouds and blue for the oceans!"

Hint:  The lines are rings.  :)

                                This planet has storms.  Take special note of the lightning!  Oh, Venus!

                   Mommy helped.  Apparently there has to be a sun to go with the planets.  Go figure.


I’ve considered starting to write “So I was thinking…” blogs.  Because I spend a lot of time thinking about things.  Here’s a “So I was Thinking” blog for ya.

So today I was thinking about how God plants seeds in our lives, and when he plants seeds in our lives.  Have you ever noticed when God is doing that?  I’m not sure I ever have.  But it sure is a neat thing to see the results of those seeds and look back and say, “Hey!  God did that!”  Let me share my favorite example from my life.

When I was little, my favoritest book EVER was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (READ IT!)  I mean, five year old me could really relate to this Alexander.  Poor little guy.  Nothing was going his way.  And nobody cared.  It was just awful.  I’m sure at one point I had the book memorized.  If not me, most certainly my parents did.  Years later, dad remembered that this was my favorite childhood book and he bought it for me as an adult.  I loved it.  I didn’t reread it at the time, but tucked it away to read to my children one day.

And that one day came.  I pulled the book off the shelf to read to Eric, so excited to share with him a book that brought me so much joy.  I smiled as I read it to him.  I had forgotten the story all together by this point, so it was fun reading it again.  And then I was stopped short.  The book took me back, but not back to being  5 – back to my junior year of college.

Anyone who knows me, knows I am a homebody.  To the extreme.  Wherever I am is home and I’m not much in the mood to leave said place (whether it’s “home” or not).  I never had a desire to leave the country.  Fear of the unknown was paralyzing, and though it must be neat to visit other countries, I planned on leaving that to others to enjoy.  But, God moved me my junior year to go on a mission trip.  I didn’t know why, but I was ready to take that step and leave my comfort zone.  Well, not completely.

I always knew that if I got brave enough to leave America, there was only one place I would go.  Scotland.  My parents had been there and gushed about it.  I knew people from there, I had seen video from there, I was familiar with the food, the scenery, the accent….everything.  I knew I could handle that.  And it turned out that there were 2 mission teams going to Scotland.  I knew the leaders and I knew the people on the team.  Nothing could be more perfect.   I went to sign up.  Scotland was nearly full, there wasn’t much more room left.  I could still sign up to go if I wanted, but they wanted to know if I would consider going somewhere else.

Uh?  No?  But I looked at what was available.  As many of you know, I ended up going to Australia that summer.  There on that empty sheet of paper was a country I knew NOTHING about, with leaders I didn’t know, and only 1 student signed up for.  And I signed my named.  What?  What did I just do?  What did I get myself into?  What kind of place must Australia be if nobody wants to go?  Yet…it seemed the right thing to do and I didn’t know why.  I met Jim, the other student signed up to go and we pulled together a rag tag team of people to go with us.  Nobody fully understanding what they were getting themselves into, but willing to serve God regardless.  And it was the most amazing summer of my life.  I was far more blessed than I can ever describe to you.

For years, I laughed at the craziness of it all.  I didn’t know why I felt moved to go to Australia, when I knew Scotland was where I wanted to go, but I was thankful all the same.

Excerpt from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:

At breakfast, Anthony found a Corvette Sting ray car kit in his breakfast cereal box and Nick found a Junior Undercover Agent code ring in his breakfast cereal box but in my breakfast cereal box all I found was breakfast cereal.
I think I’ll move to Australia.

I hope you sit on a tack, I said to Paul.  I hope the next time you get a double-decker strawberry ice-cream cone the ice cream part falls off and lands in Australia.

That’s what it was, because after school my mom took us all to the dentist and Dr. Fields found a cavity just in me.  Come back next week and I’ll fix it said Dr.  Fields. 
Next week, I said, I’m going to Australia.

It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  My mom says some days are like that. 
Even in Australia.

Little seeds.  Isn’t that neat?  I watch my boys and wonder what seeds He may be planting in them right now…..

Want to know something even more neat?  Because I went to Australia, I met Doug from OVC.  Doug wanted me to come to OVC, but I was happy at Harding.  Turn of events, and I left Harding.  During my year off of school, I came in contact with Doug again.  He asked me to come to OVC.  I did.  Guess who God had waiting for me there?  :)  I totally owe Alexander. 

Or God.  For planting those seeds!  :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pavlova: A Prequel To That Gourmet Blog....

Yeah.  That blog I promised ages ago.  I don't even know if  I can find that list of recipes anymore...but I'm gonna try!  Just for YOU!  Ok...pavlova...

So for those of you who don't know, Pavlova is an Australian (debatably a New Zealand) dessert.  It's one of my favorites.  Very simple.  Meringue  topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, made absolutely spectacular with a splash of passion fruit. 

Simple dessert, tricky to make for those unskilled in the kitchen *raises hand*  In fact, online it gets a difficulty rating of 4 out of 5.  I taught John how to make it long ago, and he perfected making the meringue, so whenever we decided to have it, I let him make it.

We're having a fellowship brunch/surprise baby shower thingy at church tomorrow and I thought 'Hey!  This would be a great thing to bring!"  I wasn't thinking at the time that John would be too busy working and sleeping to make it for me. 

So it was up to me.  I have a recipe typed out in my recipe box, but I decided I'd better do some more research online to make sure I got this just right.  This is when I realized that it is a very sly and tricky thing to hand some one a recipe with simply the ingredients and oven temperatures.

In my research I found the basic ingredients and instructions.  I wasn't finding a lot that was far different.   Then I started seeing little things that are very important to preparing difficult dishes that most people leave out of their instructions.  Maybe because they assume it is common knowledge.  Never assume.

I found that the meringue would work best with room temperature eggs.  Good to know.  THAT wasn't listed on my recipe.  But before I had a chance to lay my eggs out, I found that the yolk separates from the white easier if it is cold.  Boy am I glad I found that.  Separating the yolk from the whites gives my anxiety attacks.  "Don't let ANY of the yolk get in the whites!" drills in my head as I carefully break each egg.

I also found that castor sugar is best for mixing into the egg whites.  Not good.  I've only ever used regular sugar.  Thank goodness for the cooks who spilled everything.  I was able to create my own by simply throwing the regular sugar into the food processor.  Fantastic!  Sugar powder flew everywhere when the lid came off.  That was fun.

The delicate part of this process is beating the egg whites stiff without over beating them.   I even watched a video to make SURE I could get this right.  Sure am glad I did, because guess what I learned?  Even if the sugar looks like it has completely dissolved into the meringue, you must take some meringue between your fingers and see if it feels gritty, to make sure.  Once again, NOT on my card. 

The hard part is over.  The meringue is in the oven and I've got my fingers crossed it bakes beautifully.    I might even make a second one tonight.  Lesson of the Day:  Never trust a recipe card.

However, I must admit.  Should anyone ask for the recipe tomorrow, this is all they're getting!  :)

  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup of Castor sugar, also known as "Berry sugar"
  • 1 tsp of white vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups of whipping cream
  • Fresh fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit, passionfruit, bananas, blueberries
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 275F (140C) and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a 7 inch circle on the foil with the blunt edge of a knife (don't tear the foil). Set aside.
  2. In a clean, medium-sized metal bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
  3. Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time. Don't just lump the sugar in the bowl and never stop beating the eggs until you finish the sugar. Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
  4. Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
  5. Now gently spread the meringue in the circle on the foil to make a circular base. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the center so you have a very slight well in the middle.
  6. Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a very pale, pinkish egg shell color.
  7. Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.
  8. Just before serving, take the meringue out of the oven and remove it gently from the foil and place on a plate.
  9. Whip the cream with the vanilla extract until it forms peaks. Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing.
  10. Gently spread the cream to the top of the meringue with a spatula and arrange the fruit on top.

Day 22

A picture of something you wish you were better at

Yeah, just like everybody else.....Totally unoriginal I know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Day 21

A picture of something you wish you could forget.

Who comes up with this stuff?  Who keeps a picture if they're wanting to forget?  
This is a challenge because my memory's not that great in the first place, so if there was anything I've wanted to forget, it's forgotten.  Along with stuff I probably DIDN'T want to forget.  Hmmmm.....

I actually had to google "things worth forgetting", but I tend to "forget" those things anyway.

Perhaps I wish I could forget the "what if's".  I'm a big what if girl and I have a huge imagination.  What if's might be a good thing to forget.

Not totally satisfied with this post.  But I just can't remember anything I would like to forget!

Monday, May 9, 2011


So, I got to choose a color for a room in a house for the first time ever!  For me, with great commitment comes great anxiety, but it's always seems to work out and it was no different this time *sigh of relief*  I LOVE the color! 

I wanted a soft, romantic color for the bedroom that would work well with an Asian inspired themed room.  I chose Shadow Dapple Gray.  Or as John likes to call it "Habble Dabble Gray".  I still need to slowly get my Asian accents and contemporary furniture, but the walls are looking just fabulous.  Here are some pictures, though it doesn't really do it justice.

I tried to take pictures where you could see the difference in color by contrasting it against both the black and white.  I can't wait to complete the room and take finished pics!

It's subtle and dramatic at the same time.  I think the bedroom is going to look fabulous.  It's very exciting.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Day 20

A picture of somewhere you'd like to travel

Like I could ever narrow it down to one place.  Here are several places, not that this is a complete list.

Day 19

A picture and a letter

Say, what???  Maybe this was supposed to say OF, but it would still be equally confusing.  So here is my interpretation.  Blogging doesn't get any better than this.  I know you're thrilled to have tuned in today.

Day 18

A picture of your biggest insecurity

I never finished this list, but I feel an obligation to do so.  As well as to finish the last part of the Harding saga.  You forgot there was more, didn't you?  So much that I'm behind on.

So, a picture.
Bet you're wondering what that is.  I suppose it wouldn't be right to not explain it.  These are nerves that are not able to send the right signals.  My biggest insecurity would be my charcot-marie-tooth disease.  Not something I talk about much, but that would be it!