31 December, 2007

happy new year!

HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! I pray and hope that in 2008 we all fall more passionately in love with Jesus, and reach a greater understanding of all that he gave for us.

For myself I have never actually made a new year's resolution...not ever. I don't believe there is any magic in this date. What I do know is that you can have a new beginning any day of your life, until it is ultimately too late.

Each day I would like to be more selfless, less keen on living full-on for myself. Each day I would like to be more passionate...not complacent, not falling into a rut of life and just living each day as it comes but purposefully living beyond my own expectations and dreams. I have dreams, goals and now as I have seen things unfold through my short years I know that in no way do they measure up to what is actually planned for my life...and what God has called me to be.

30 December, 2007

kitchenaid love

My mom got me this B-EAUTIFUL! bright red kitchenade for Christmas. I have been wishing for one for a long time. It has been incredibly helpful so far, and I know what I will use it until it dies. This weekend I made:

-4 batches of scones (lavender and chocolate chip)
-8 loaves of bread
-a double batch of chocolate chip cookies
-a doubled batch of corn chips

I am so over mixing by hand! I have to say though that I have good muscles for a skinny girl...due to the bread kneading and the mixing of tons of stuff. We are trying to not buy any pre-made things...at all. (key word "TRYING") our goal is to make/bake/cook and eat things that we know what is going into it...to the best of our ability. That is why this bright red kitchenade comes in handy...THANK YOU MOM!!!

tell me what you see:

This Christmas eve we gave our family the equivalent of an inkblot test...not really meaning too, but that is the way it worked out. Here you are able to see what each of them is thinking about.

Oliver drew: what do you see in this picture? (maybe he was hungry!?)

Ellyn : I think it is obvious that she is anticipating a perfect wedding! yay! (do you see the back of Andrew's van ready to go? fun stuff.)

Brad: this one he drew for me...it is our future yurt home, a wonderful garden...oliver is climbing a tree and jackson is the goat herder. I think he put himself sitting and drinking coffee...and just observing the beauty of it all.
Andrew: He is thinking about his next feat to travel around the US of A! ( according to him the person in the back seat is Ellyn)
Jackson: Well, since it was Christmas eve...guess what he was thinking about? here is a Christmas tree with a smile and a lot of pretty lights.

25 December, 2007



20 December, 2007

Karma and Other Stories

Karma and Other Stories by Rishi Reddi

This is a book of short stories that I loved. It is about slightly interlocking stories about new beginnings, transitions, cultures clashing and living life.
I loved most of the stories, and really liked the rest. Every time one was over I was wanting to know more about the characters! This is a great book. Reminds me of Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, which won the Pulitzer Prize if you have not read that one I highly recommend that one too.


GA-LI-MO-TO, you know! right? If not...let me tell you about my latest thing: those vehicles, usually bikes or cars or trucks that the kids make in several developing countries around the world....some in Kenya, and I saw that they are made in India as well. I went to our local "Ten Thousand Villages" here in Lebanon...it is a beautiful store and I just fell in love with these "galimotos" ! I decided not to buy them for the boys yet because they would be too hard on them. I just cannot stop thinking about them.
They are only $6 and they are incredible. I think I should by some and then make some more! The kids in these countries make them out of the scraps they can find and they are amazing to look at. When you roll them along the ground the little man's legs look as though they are pushing the pedals. I think I will have to go back and buy several. I am thinking of making it the theme in the boys new room...."international fun stuff" or something. Maybe it would be better to decorate my own room in them since I am the obsessed one. yeah?


This is a super serious must-see. There really is no choice in it. If you have not seen it you missing out on one of those experiences that only comes all too infrequently in film. I cannot get enough of this film ONCE. I haven't ever heard anyone say one negative thing about it. It really is just one of those. It is a low-budget, draw-you-in, easy to love film that is quirky, odd and precocious as well. It is about two musicians and their love of music, while trying not to love eachother. It just came out yesterday on DVD...so you better get to it. Brad and I watched it in the theater and loved it, but couldn't wait for it to come out on DVD because we had a hard time understanding what they were saying sometimes and we needed subtitles. If you miss out on this film- it is a pretty serious mistake.

18 December, 2007

happy family (aka dutch baby) recipe

This is an excellent recipe. I have no idea where I found it, but it was when Brad and I first got married. I don't like the name dutch baby...it sounds weird to me... so I changed it to happy family (because it is sure to make the family happy!) I now have to make three of them so that we'll all have our fill. Well, two for sure.

I freeze tons of blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and marionberries that I pick in season so that I will always have enough to last me until they come out again. At our house we never can get enough berries!

The recipe for one happy family:
(if you want two just double it and then pour it into two pie pans)
* 3 eggs
* 1/2 C. flour
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 1/2 C. milk
* 2 Tbs. butter
* 1Tbs. lemon juice
* 2 Tbs. Sugar
* powdered sugar (for topping)

Mix in everything (except powdered sugar!) Pour into a pie pan or a cast iron skillet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 20 min or so. Take out, fill with room temperature berries, apples, or eat with butter and syrup or jam. whatever you think sounds good.

I promise, its incredible.

for those who want Parkour

If you are interested in Parkour training, start out with these simple exercises to get you on your way to the desired fitness level. I can do all the exercises on the clip...what do you think?! haaha. Yah. right....but it is interesting to see just how strong you need to be in order to perform such stunts. Oh, and by the way I am not sure but there may be some bad language in this clip, so mute it if you so inclined (I take no responsibility).

ENJOY! and let me know when we all want to implement this into our lives:

17 December, 2007

Parkour...my dream.

My dream is Parkour. I want to do this so incredibly bad. Today I spent my boy's nap time reading about it...watching tons of youtube videos and as I did that I could feel the blood in my veins, and sweat on my palms. There are some things that make me feel that way and this is one of them. I don't know that that means I was meant to do it, but it calls me like I belong to it. Do you know what I mean? Not that everyone feels this way about Parkour, but everyone must feel that way about something.

What is PK? Well, this is what it says on Wikipedia:

Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or l'art du d├ęplacement[1] (English: the art of displacement) is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body.[2][3] It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment — from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls — and can be practiced in both rural and urban areas. Parkour practitioners are referred to as traceurs, or traceuses for females.[4]

Founded by David Belle in France, parkour focuses on practicing efficient movements to develop one's body and mind to be able to overcome obstacles in an emergency. It may also be a form of entertainment or pastime.

Watch these and feel your jaw drop:


Watch the following video. It is funny, it is from Spain about confessions...just a silly clip.

13 December, 2007


from Selected Poems of RAINER MARIA RILKE

I have faith in all those things that are not yet said.
I want to set free my most holy feelings.
What no one has dared to want
will be for me impossible to refuse.

If that is presumption, then, my God, forgive me.
However, I want to tell you this one thing:
I want my best strength to be like a shoot,
with no anger and no timidity, as a shoot is;
this is the way the children love you.

With these ebbing tides, with these mouths
opening their deltas into the open sea,
with these returns, that keep growing,
I want to acknowledge you, I want to announce you,
as no one ever has before.

And if that is arrogance, then I will stay arrogant
for the sake of my prayer,
that is so sincere and solitary
standing before your cloudy forehead.

So...this is my take on it:

What is my faith like? I love the passion in this poem, this desire to give of oneself, not the 10% in order to meet the requirement...but full on...only out of love and passion. To give and not regret, to go way overboard and not even think for a moment what others would think, what others would say, what others will do, or how we will be treated because of it. What is a relationship that is there out of requirement, or discipline alone? What is a love that no longer has any feeling? There is only one thing that that will give, it will give the appearance of love, but that love has vanished and now been gone for way too long.

How do I want to love my God, give me undignified...what do I have to loose? All that I could loose: myself. But what is so pretty about that anyway? What is worth my sacrifice? What is worth my love? Wait! Thats not right... all my sacrifice, all my love is worth nothing...but He picks it up and blasts me away with what he gives to me instead. He loves my rawness. How could I not become undignified...I have so much to loose.

crap, it's what's for dinner!

Hey...just a thought, an idea...whatever that I wanted you guys to know about ( I am sure many of you do...and in that case...what do you think about it?):

Did you know that even though Europe has McDonald's and Burger King that they do not allow their restaurants to serve the same low-grade quality of meat and other ingredients that are served at the McDonald's and Burger King here in the USA??! When I say low-grade there are many things that I am talking about, the growth hormones, the antibiotics and the general quality of the meat cuts used.

What do you think about that! I have know this for a while...and let's just say that in the last 10 years I have probably only been to a fast food locale MAYBE 5 times.

How do you feel that the person who told me about this insane thing is one of my best friends from Spain, living in Spain and studying Agriculture in a Spanish University? How does it make you feel that they know...and many of us do not!? I know that it makes me feel pretty bad. If this were only about fast-food...but oh,...it isn't. It is about the quality of most of our food in the US. Our standards are too low because we want the cheapest, and the fastest, and what really should not be eaten...we want it all. YUK!

Oh, did you know that 1 out of every 3 health care dollars is spent on fixing the problems caused by bad eating habits?! Yay.

Does that make you feel well taken care of, or what!?

11 December, 2007

tree land...ADVENTURE

Our adventure began after we shoveled our dinner into our mouths as fast as possible in order to make it to the tree world before it closed. We got in the car all warm and cozy and realized just how dark it was once we left the city of the living, and entered no man land (tree land!). We followed our friend Becky's directions to where we thought this place would be, and it was there...it was just very hard to see. There were no lights on, but there was an "OPEN" sign we could see once the headlights hit it. So, it was open...right!? Or did they forget to take in their sign?! Oh, well since we had traveled to tree land we did not want to come back treeless (especially with a 3.5yr old in the back seat, talk about disappointment!).

Brad got out of the car and went to the mobile home door and knocked. Soon after that, a man followed him with a light and a saw and tried to illuminate our path through this new and exciting world...it didn't really work too well. The man was in front with the flashlight, then Brad followed...and we all know Brad is much, much taller than any of the rest of us, meaning none of us could see anything. I was carrying Oliver and holding Jackson's hand thought this darkness, I mean adventure.

We kept tripping, falling and all sorts of fun things, but the funniest is when Jackson's face kept getting brushed by those really tall weeds and he asked, " there are no bees here, right mamma?". I about answered no, but our tree land guide turned and answered: No, well I don't think we have any out here right now, they are a little to the east". Uhm, yes...that is not what you tell a nervous, in the dark, muddy, falling over tree stumps 3.5 yr. old!! I held my breath and hopped Jackson did not understand that this man actually had homes to put his thousands of bees in, and that maybe they were not here right now....Jackson did not seem to notice. YAY!

So, we cut the tree, we carried it to our car and left tree land...with one Christmas tree. What more can you ask of tree land than that!? It was a great adventure. Happiness is going home with a tree in your trunk! right?! (and no bees)

fire, oh...fires are good.

In our house, we have two super wonderful fireplaces...my favourite is to have both going at the same time. I don't know why...it is just so neat to me.
Here are some of the pictures I just took of our fires, i love fire...it is pretty and warm, and those are good qualities in an item. aren't they?!

state of my locks

This is Samson slaying a lion. Samson is said to have had locks...in the Bible it says that Delilah cut his seven locks. What else would that mean?!
Besides the fact that some people had them, and some did not...the history of locks is a bit ambiguous, but it pretty much seems that many nations want to claim the idea of locks.
Whatever, anyway....here is an update on the state of mine in stills. I love them, they are so easy to manage and I don't have to worry about having to style them all the time. (I don't think I ever did with regular hair either...but oh, well.) They are actually quite a bit of work as they are forming, but it is getting to be less and less of "palm rolling" and smothering them with wax, and all that. So...here are the pics. (oh, and I put glass beads in them now too...yay!)

10 December, 2007

my yoko

This is my newest addition to the family. I wandered home with her sometime in May. I could not not bring her home from a box outside Safeway. There were two just like her, and I picked her. The lady said that she and her sister were the only ones in the litter like her, and that they looked "seriously Siamese". She does!! but she is not, it really is the best of both worlds: the looks without the nasty personality! hahah!!She is the sweetest cat...kind of, she does enjoy tormenting our other two cats. But who could resist her?!

09 December, 2007

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I just started reading this book, it is for anyone interested in what they are eating, living simply, subsistence farming, choosing to buy locally...etc...

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is about one author's journey along "a year of food life", the choices her family made and why they did it. I have just started it and really, really like it. I can relate to a ton of things she talks about.

have any of you read it?! what did you think?

oh, if not...you should.

07 December, 2007

ya gotta check these out!

Over on my buddy Andrew's blog he has posted some videos about the impact of the media on how we see ourselves. You gotta watch his videos! He is right, we have known this for a while, it is just nice to hear someone say it.

christmas music!!!!!

Oh, I love this season...we started playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving even hit. The best way to do it is just plunk in some Christmas tunes and that will hit the spot. I am sure everyone has classics that they remember from childhood, but here are some of my all-time favourites, just in case you want to spice up your Christmas music collection:

Anything by Bing brings Christmas in a hurry...he is pretty much mi ultimate fave...amazing old time goodness! Go for it on White Christmas...the movie is great too!
The Rat Pack with Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. is another one that we just can't get enough of. Good, great and even better classics in style on this Christmas with the Rat Pack
Oh, Brad Paisley...for that good, true sweet country Christmas....Brad Paisley Christmas it doesn't get any warmer than this, unless you start a fire. Christmas is a time to do country, even if you really don't usually like it that much. ( I love country though...so maybe I am wrong about this!)
Light of the Stable, by Emmylou Harris. This woman can sing, and she does so on this album with others who can also do it really well. This one I just bought this year on itunes, and is on our repeat list along with the rest of the goodies.
Okay, I had to add this one. I actually don't own it right now, but this is one that I grew up on. Amy has had some hard times...but who couldn't love her 80's A Christmas Album!? I do. I need to head over to itunes and see what kind of deal they'll give me.

Yes, Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas...she is not my favourite at all, but her voice is amazing and I had never ever noticed it until I heard this album! Even if you seriously never thought you could stand her, try this one (demos, or library....) I am sure you'll be hooked. It is all the talent with none of the gushy, sexy, overdone, stuff....it is pure and incredible.