We watch a lot of movies at our house and about half way through, my husband will ask, "What's for something?" I usually make a quick snack and lately I have been a bit bored of the usual options. I decided to throw this tasty treat together and it is a new favorite at our house. First you taste the buttery flavor of the cracker with the salt of the kalamata olive. Then you taste the creamy goodness of the goat cheese complimented with the sweet guava paste. I hope you like it!
Fierce (my 2 year old son) and I were painting one morning and I thought to myself, "Why not paint the Periodic Table of Elements?" Next thought, "Just buy a poster board." "Naaa, it will be fun." So I got out a bulletin board and set to work making my custom colored Periodic Table complete with gold trim. I measured and painted away. The hardest and most tedious part was painting in all of the names of the elements.
This was meant to just be an introduction to the elements so I decided to build [...]
This morning I gathered yellow honeysuckle for my morning tea. The tea has a vibrant yellow color, smells a bit like grass and has a very calm or mild green tea taste. It was a beautiful way to start my weekend :)
Honeysuckle...to be or not to be?
To Be: Honeysuckle petals make a delicious and fragrant tea. It is said to help with coughs, reduce temperature and to remove toxins from the body (laxative). Avoid putting the leaves of the plant in the tea because it will make it taste bitter.
Not To Be: Do NOT put the honeysuckle berries in your tea or eat them. They are poisonous!
To Be: Hummingbirds love these plants so you will be able to [...]
Last year I had a terrible time trying to find Viola Ordata plants. One greenhouse owner told me I should just stop by someones yard and dig them up myself. Ya...I can just see me trying to explain that to a homeowner. I finally found some on Etsy, but I wanted them in the same raised box as the other tea plants which has full sun and Viola Ordata likes shade. Anyways, they are super small yet and I don't know if they are going to live or die.
All of this background to say that I was at my friend's house and I stopped cold with excitement when I saw them in her yard. She let me take [...]
Our final day has come. While I was packing, Fierce picked up the hotel phone and said, "Sawat De Kah" as if he was talking to someone. This means "Hello" in Thai...I guess he was paying attention this week! I know he picked up on the fact that people were not speaking his language quite early on because I heard him saying "Opengado" to people and this is his way of saying "Obrigado" or "Thank you" in Portuguese. It was pretty cute.
We finished packing, checkout out of the hotel and brought our bags to the pool. We stayed there most of the day and took turns getting lunch so someone was with our bags. We took a taxi [...]
First things first, we had coffee on our usual corner and then we had a delicious spicy soup about two blocks down. Then we were ready to tour. Thailand is known for its silk so my Mom, Fierce and I went to a reputable silk shop and had lots of fun looking at all of the beautiful fabrics. We both bought a few items and then stopped at a coffee shop. I bought Fierce a cake, but it was so bland he ate the free sugar packet instead ;) lol Back on the street, my mom saw a tall building and swore she thought it would be a mall so we headed over there and sure enough [...]
Today we chilled by the beach for a while and then moved 10ft over to the pool. We decided to go see Koh Phi Phi Ley (we are on Koh Phi Phi Don). There is a Viking cave with drawings, but we were only allowed to see the entrance. Afterwards our boat taxi brought us to a cove where we could swim...so fun! We even toasted with drinks :) Then we went to a bay with a small beach, but it felt like you walked into a hidden treasure cave. Afterwards we ended our boat tour at the more populated Maya Bay. It was a three hour tour in total and Fierce slept through the whole [...]
The journey to Koh Phi Phi sounds worse than it actually was. From start to finish it might be one of Fierce's favorite days because of all the transportation types involved ;) We took a taxi to a local airport then an hour flight to Krabi where got another taxi to take us to the pier. We waited for the ferry and then took it to Koh Phi Phi, which is a beautiful island from the minute you see land. We stayed at the Charlie Hotel which ended up being within walking distance from the pier. Our rooms were right behind the infinity pool which gave you a beautiful view of the beach and the Andaman Sea. [...]
Lynnae needed a vacation from her vacation so my Mom, Fierce and I went to Wat Arun. I had asked Fierce what he wanted to do and he said, "Go to a temple, see a statue and take off my shoes." Yup, he has got it down! He especially likes the part about taking off his shoes. This Wat was unique in that we had a steep climb which he also appreciated. There was a little market surrounding the Wat so we did a bit of shopping. There were not many places to eat in this area so we took a taxi to our next destination, the Jim Thompson House and got a Thai lunch at a [...]
Today we explored around our hotel in the Dusit area. We took a Tuk Tuk to Wat Benchamabophit. Fierce climbed up like a pro and decided the side seat was his. Mr. all grown up ;) This Wat was a smaller one, but it had a bridge and you could buy fish and then feed the bigger fish in the pond. Fierce thought this was fun. Then a girl asked to get her picture with us. With all of these photo ops, Fierce might be famous after this trip ;) One interesting thing I noticed on a poster at this Wat is that one should not use the image of Buddah for decoration and certainly not [...]
Since it was our first day just exploring we decided to walk and see if things were easy to get to, etc. Lynnae found a little walkway to the river and we saw our first long boats racing passengers up and down the river to different destinations. This set off a buzz of [...]
I have to admit right off the bat that I was trying to prepare for a 18 hours worth of flights so I didn't pack light this time...plus my mom already said she would help carrying some bags ;) I made "busy bags" or small crafts for Fierce like making Mr. Potato Head out of felt pieces. I also brought books and a LOT of toys for him to play with. My mom spoiled him with a few which included his new favorite toy, Marshall by Paw Patrol. I think Marshall is in every photo of the trip. One of our friends, Susan gave him a few books as well. I can't tell you how many times [...]
11/18/2017 Once upon a time there was a boy named Fierce and he was a lighthouse keeper. It was a dark and stormy night. One of Fierce’s favorite things to do on nights like this was to look through his telescope and watch storms roll in over the water. He loved the beautiful light show […]
Fierce loves for Wes and I to tell him stories and lately he has been coming up with a few of his own. I thought it would be fun to use his stories as writing prompts for short stories I could tell him later. The words in green are his words. My Cat: Once upon a […]
While I was finishing up Chemo I met and befriended a lady who works at the Botanical Gardens. She introduced me to the book "Homegrown Tea." I dove into the book, highlighting and figuring out what would grow in our area. It was so much fun to plant and now see come into bloom. Well, she was able to join me for tea last week and it was so fun to talk "plants" with her while sipping our delicious Echinacea Tea. No sweetener needed, it has a honey taste to it all on its own. Most people use the root, but you can use the flowers and leaves as well. I dried out the flowers and a few [...]
We had a fun filled Tuesday this past week. One of my friends brought over her two kiddos for a tea party to taste test Bergamot Tea. The three year old girl even wore her Cinderella dress for the occasion.
Bergamot is probably the most beautiful tea flower in my garden. It smells really spicy, but tastes like an ordinary black tea. It is often used in Earl Grey Teas so I am not at all surprised that I really liked it! We had let the flower steep for three minutes in hot water, but if you let it soak over night the water takes on that same spicy taste as the smell.
I honestly find this plant to be [...]
Nasturtium found its way into my tea garden to shade my violets which were about to die because I had put them in a full sun planter...oops. The flowers are a brilliant orange and yellow that really make my tea garden pop with color. I had a friend over to try the tea. I just placed the fresh flowers into hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. My friend really liked the tea, but I thought it needed a bit of honey to calm down the slightly spicy taste. The leaves of nasturtium smell exactly like cracked pepper. I did not try the leaves, but I have heard they are really good on salads so [...]
I love the smell of lavender and it is a gorgeous flower, but I was seriously doubting whether or not the tea would be bland or just "off" tasting. I wanted to try the fresh version of the tea with no other added blends so that I would know exactly what lavender tea tasted like all by itself. For this first experiment from my garden, I called a friend over to taste test it with me. If you know me, you know I set the table up for a lady's tea and had scones and strawberries for our little tea brunch. In each tea cup, I simply put hot water and then let about eight flowers steep for three [...]
Soooo...Pinterest sparked my intrigue and now my tea garden has moved indoors as well. I now have Sweet Basil along with a few other herbs growing in my windowsill. Please remember that I tend to kill indoor plants so the fact that they grew at all and are still living after a few weeks is AMAZING! It definitely helps that Fierce thinks it is super fun to put rocks in the bottom of the jars followed by the soil and seeds. He also likes to (over) water them ;) It has been a really fun project for the two of us.
This week I found that Tulsi/Holy Basil is in my Homegrown Tea book by Cassie Liversidge and [...]
He got tired so I took him on a walk to this lunch spot on my tour guide book. It was quaint with expensive shops. It attracted locals and "uppities." The two girls next to me had all name brand accessories and took 45 min to take [...]
My tea garden is planted!!!! I am so excited!!!! I started out at a local garden center, but they didn’t have any of the plants I wanted and they couldn’t order them either. I happened to run into one of my neighbors at the grocery store and she suggested another local grower, Sandy’s Back Porch. […]
We had an extremely early flight so we arrived in Greece around 8:30 am. From the airport we took the metro/train and Fierce LOVED it! He was so excited and wanted to take note of every detail. After we checked in at our hotel, we went to the Kemeikos ruins. It was kind of hard to find. I even asked a local restaurant owner and he didn't know where it was. It ended up being basically around the corner -up the street and then a left onto a street that looked like no one goes there. It was worth the pictures and a chance for Fierce to run around. lol He found several rocks to put in his [...]
Sofia is a quiet city compared to most capitals. It has a very homey feeling in the air. Our first day was filled with markets and churches. My favorite was an outdoor market. The building structures were permanent, but it was full of things for sale that you would actually need like flowers, fruits, nuts and clothes. Fierce followed the pigeons around until he spotted two little boys riding a bike and a scooter. He followed them for quite some time as they raced this way and that. I think he wished he was bigger so he could play too. There was an indoor two story market very similar to the one in Budapest. This has your fish, [...]
After we settled into our hotel, I took Fierce to get some dinner. He fell asleep and woke up in the restaurant to the smell of Italian pizza. He looked up with such gratitude..."Thanks mom for some yummy food that I recognize."
We explored the Castle that afternoon. Fierce led the way through which meant we didn't follow the normal flow of foot traffic, but that's boring anyway. At one point we looked through one of the window eyelets and saw a puppy. This meant that we were on a puppy search from then on :)
One our way back we stopped for a huge helping of gelato about a hundred feet from St. Peter's Basilica. The owner was so [...]
We visited a couple of churches and found a street art display to climb on for a bit. We walked to the water next to the canals full of boats and flags. This area is called Nyhavn and is known for its colorful buildings. The day was overcast and it had a beautiful old-world charm. Fierce liked looking at the water and even though it was cold, I think he would have liked a boat ride...crazy kid. Instead, I for one needed to warm up, so we ducked into a coffee shop and had cake and coffee (hot cocoa for him). Fierce blew out the candle on the table because why not? That is why you lit [...]
I thought the zoo would be fun for Fierce. Of course I walked because I walk everywhere no matter how far it is and the zoo was pretty far. Right before we got there it started to rain a cold, miserable rain. But thankfully, it didn't last long especially since I had taken a wrong turn...aaahhh! Once we arrived, we really did end up having fun. All bundled up in his hat and mittens he liked seeing the farm animals the best and playing in their maze-like play sets.
That afternoon we went to a hotel/gym that was only a few blocks from our hotel that had heated toddler pools. The place was huge and only $5. You need [...]
To back up a bit, Fierce did great on the first two flights. I let him run around/play during the layovers and since it was a night flight for us he slept most of the time. During the first layover, he met three sisters that just thought he was the best. The oldest gave him a ride in their stroller and the middle sister was giving him hugs. They all had a lot of fun. The 3rd flight [...]
Plants for garden bed:
Viola Odorata: Grows to 6" high and should be planted 6" apart. Should start with a plant rather than try from a seed.
Blue Hyssop: 2' / 1' / Seed in early spring
Lavender: 2' /1.5' / Plant
Echinacea: 4' / 10" /Plant 3 years old
Bergamont: 3' / 2' /Seed in early spring
Today I had my LAST treatment! I am officially
Fierce helped me ring the bell. Everyone gets a kick out of him because he claps his hands every time someone rings the bell. He gets so excited! Before I left, the staff gave me a card and a pin, the radiation technicians awarded me and Fierce certificates of achievement and the nurses and social worker spoiled Fierce with a whole bag of toys which included a super hero bear. One of the nurses bought him a whole pack of cars. Everyone was so sweet and blessed us beyond measure. As I left, I took a deep breath and blinked away a few tears and said a prayer [...]
I am 2/3rds done with radiation therapy! Overall, I am doing well. If I am tired, I just take a nap when Fierce goes down, but it really is not that bad. My skin is getting pinker, especially by my clavicle. I had forgotten they were radiating that far up and hadn't been putting any lotion in that area...bummer! The pores of my skin are getting larger and look like small freckles. I am not getting any hair growth in my underarm and the Dr. said it may not come back---hey, less shaving! lol
I am on a pill called Tamoxifen which is an anti-estrogen pill. Despite this, my estrogen levels are normal so my Dr. is not too [...]
Let's just start by saying that the nurses are AMAZING! Fierce lights up when he sees them. Cynthia, Anita & Tina spoiled him with tons of attention today. ShauntA bought him a Christmas present and LaMont gave him a Joy Jar filled to the brim with little stuffed animals and such.
Besides a bit of pink skin, I don't have any noticeable side effects yet (they set in near the end, I am told). I apply corn starch on my skin during the day and put hydrocortisone cream followed by a lotion they gave me on at night. I am usually up at 7:30 or 8:00 am with Fierce, out the door by 9:30 am in order to make [...]
Today was my first day of radiation and it went great!
I was shown the routine and dropped Fierce off with a nurse. Then, they lined me up with the machine so that I am positioned the same way every time I get a treatment. When the machine started, I thought to myself "Oh crap, I forgot to ask what it would feel like! Is this going to burn, sting, etc..." I refocused and honestly, nothing happened. It was over soon enough. The machine as a whole moved around me a few times. One section of the machine had a glass pane and behind it, little teeth like metal pieces kept re-calibrating making different formations -super interesting. I will definitely [...]
With all that has been going on in my life, I haven't taken the time to formally thank Wes for his incredible commitment to our country these past 21 years.
Thank You Wes.
Your service to the Army National Guard which included 2 tours to Iraq is appreciated beyond measure. Not everyone uproots their life and risks it for the nation's safety. I am so in awe of your pride in this country. USA! America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. You are certainly the brave and have earned your freedom.
This past June, his army buddy, Chris Larsen, and I through him a retirement party and below are a few of the pics from our celebratory [...]
I was soooo excited for surgery. In and out, a one day deal-this was going to be the easy part of the 3 step process. Ya, about that. I woke up and found out they had to remove 11 lymph nodes because the chemo didn’t take care of all of the cancer in the affected, […]
I closed the door to our apartment with my hands full, got Fierce in the stroller to go for a walk around the lake and realized I forgot my scarf…ugh. Oh well, skip it. Fighting off a little self consciousness and a smidge of regret I strolled on and it was awesome. I felt the […]
Fierce turned 1 on July 19!
We celebrated a few days earlier so we could have the party at Sandy Pines and invite all of our family and close friends. I can't believe how many people ended up coming and spoiling Fierce. Thank you!
Before the party started, it just so happened to be family day at Sandy Pines so there was food, games and a petting zoo to explore. It was so cute to see Fierce's love for animals as he rode the pony, petted the goats and bunnies, and held a baby chick.
Later we went to my parents trailer and had our race car themed party. Fierce loves wheels of any [...]
We are settling into St. Louis. We actually live just across the state line in O'Fallon, IL. Apartment living is like camping for now. The mattress is on the floor in our room and Fierce is using his pack 'n play. The really neat part is that the minute you walk out your door all of our neighbors are incredibly friendly. The neighbor right below us has a little boy who is 2 years old so we have been spending a lot of time together. The Gorillas at the zoo caught Fierce's amazement and the play place at the St. Louis Science Museum was Aniah's favorite. There are a LOT of mommy and me things to do around [...]
This week I wanted to get my focus off of the anticipation of nausea as I received chemotherapy. I asked my friends and family for their prayer requests so I could focus on God and others. I may be a wounded warrior, but I am dedicated to taking back for God more than has been taken from me.
Another thing that I am really grateful for is the insurance plan we have through Wes' job at ScientiaMobile. Without it, this could be a financial nightmare. I feel like every aspect of going through this crazy time has been taken care of and I am so incredibly thankful.
The aftermath of chemo was the usual unpleasantness. On Wednesday, I went [...]
Sitting there getting pumped full of life saving chemicals was making me nauseous, which is physically impossible because of the anti-nausea drugs. I realized my brain was warning me "THIS IS WHAT MAKES YOU SICK!" Alright, so the mental battle has begun. I decided to get my mind on something else so I turned on a song my cousin's daughter, Ava, sang acapella for me a while back called "I will trust in you" by Lauren Daigle.
Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I [...]
My Aunt Deb gave me the book, Biblical Healing by T.L. Osborn. At first this book is pretty intimidating. The first half of the book focuses on having faith in Christ and believing Him for instantaneous healing. Pastor Osborn started out doing pastoral work, then went to India to be a missionary only to find that […]
I was pretty tempted to play hookie or perhaps not go back at all, but I walked through the doors and into the waiting room. I poured myself some hot water and pulled out some ginger tea from a bag of goodies my friend Sheena gave me. Soon, I had my blood drawn and met with the nurse. The week before my white blood cells were low, but not dangerously and after the Nulasta shot my WBC were high. That made me feel reassured before doing this next round of chemo. Then came the hook up. The nurse poked a needle through my port and started running the chemo drugs. I read a book for a bit and [...]
I walked up with my neon pink wig and was greeted by a sea of loving people decked out in the most brightly colored wigs you can imagine. Beth's wig was baby pink with pigtails -totally anime. My mom's wig was long and bright blue -it looked adorable on her! One girl came up to me and I didn't recognize her, she had this auburn red wig. She spoke and I exclaimed, "Sara!" The girl rocks red [...]
The day actually started out with surgery at 6am to put in a port on the right side of my chest just under my clavicle bone. The nurses were really sweet and let Wes and Fierce visit with me up until the time I had to go [...]
Later in the day we went to Mongoose Junction and other little shops. I bought Fierce a pirate book and a few other touristy items. We (my Mom, Blake, Tatum and I) ended our day at Woody's. It is a tiny little space to get drinks and bar food. My mom ordered us some conch fritters. Honestly, I have yet to have anything with [...]
Our first stop was still in St. John because our guide, Mindy, had to fill out the entry paperwork in order to enter British territory. We stopped at Moho Bay and snorkeled. I saw two big tortoises and one baby one came up to get air not five feet from my face! Blake and Tatum said [...]
Hiking was on the agenda today. We started down the Reef Bay trail and ended at a rocky beach next to a sugar mill ruin. This is not a little hike, by the way. It is only 2 miles or so down, but you have to watch your footing because roots grow wild over the trail and the path itself is full of loose rock. I had Fierce in a carrier first in front of me, then on my back and finally I just carried him because he was tired of being in that thing. I am so glad I have [...]
The morning started with eggs -scrambled with spinach…according to everyone else ;) Fierce and I were up and ready to go long before that.
Our first stop was to the Anniberg Ruins. The beginning of the trail started at the slave quarters and then went up to where the horses would walk in a circle to move the sugar cane crusher. They later built a windmill, but when there was no wind they still used the slaves and horses. Around the back of the ruins a man named Charles was breaking coconuts for everyone to try the meat. He gave my mom some coconut oil and said it was good for red bumps on the skin and sun burn. He [...]
Fierce took his first flight yesterday!
There were several layovers so I made sure he got his wiggles out by having him "walk" the halls. In the NY airport on the way to San Juan there was a little treasure chest play area for kids. He leaned up against the bottom of the slide and had a blast watching the older kids zoom past him. Some of the kids tried to speak to me, but they all spoke Spanish and I am a little (a lot) rusty.
Fierce waves at just about everyone going by and people just melt. I think they forget that they have their own gate to get to entirely. One passenger even handed their phone [...]
Today was the big day! Amid the ocean breezes, Tate and Samantha said their vows to each other.
The whole day was truly beautiful. My dad & John babysat Fierce so I could take pictures of them getting ready and Lynnae could do Sam's makeup. Sam looked stunning. She didn't seem stressed at all, simply giddy with excitement. I loved her dress that flowed with the wind and her flower halo. With the setting sun, she just seemed radiant. My brother, Tate, looked so proud to become her husband. Their destination wedding to St. Thomas couldn't have been any better. My parents soaked in every moment and kept repeating what a wonderful evening it had been. At the rehearsal dinner [...]
Today, I had a unique opportunity. My cousin Audra works at the Van Andel Research Institute doing gene modification and she invited me to meet her co-worker Carrie Graveel, Ph.D. Carrie has been studying breast cancer for the last 10 years so I was thrilled to be able to talk with her about my diagnosis.
You have to get special clearance to even enter the building, so this was an amazing blessing. The building is very grand and the interior has a very modern, space-like or futuristic feeling. Once in a conference room, she explained that of all of the cancers to get, mine was the best because so much research has been done on the ER+/PR+ breast cancer (cancer [...]
Ever wonder where your donations go when you give to the American Cancer Society? Well, last week I went to a Look Good, Feel Good class. A volunteer named Rhonda gave each of us a bag full of donated [...]
Almost as soon as I told my soon to be sister-in-law, Samantha Emelander, about my breast cancer diagnosis, she offered to meet me at the Downtown Market to give me some nutrition tips. My mom took Fierce so we could chat uninterrupted…thanks Mom! Sam came prepared. I couldn’t believe how much research she had done. […]
I was recently diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer that feeds on estrogen and progesterone. I had found a dime size lump a few years ago, but it had shrunk to a pea size so the breast center said it was hormonal and that bad things don’t get smaller. I was told that because it […]
We had such a lovely Easter this year. Christ is Risen! It started out with a Good Friday meal hosted by my brother and sister-in-law, Will and Sara. Each thing we ate symbolized a part of the Passover or Resurrection of Christ. Fierce partook in the unleavened bread and apples ;)
Saturday, the Almeidas came to our house for food, an Easter egg hunt, and decorating Easter eggs. It was Asher's first time doing the dipping eggs in dye method so it was pretty fun to see his mad scientist ways as he mixed the blue and yellow to make his favorite color, green. We also found out that Gratian is a chocolate lover and therefore, can remain [...]
A friend of mine saw my blogs on Bible Q’s recently and wondered about this passage in Genesis about sons of God marrying daughters of humans. I honestly never even thought twice about it before so I was glad she pointed it out and hopefully we can learn more about this curious section in the […]
Exodus 32:25-29 “Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, ‘Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.’ And all of the Levites rallied to him. […]
God has chosen Moses to lead the people of Israel out of captivity and he is on his way back to Egypt. …and then out of nowhere…. Exodus 4:24-26 “At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut offer her son’s […]
I HATE BRUSSEL SPROUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Until today. My sister convinced me that roasting brussel sprouts in the oven was actually good so I experimented a bit. Recipe: 2 tbs coconut oil A handful of brussel sprouts A pinch of nutmeg A pinch of cinnamon 1 tsp cyanne pepper 1/2 lemon Put coconut oil and brussel sprouts […]
Exodus 3:13 -14 “Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are […]
Week 2 is here! Apple-Nectarine-Strawberry is delicious! I tried it and think the name is a bit misleading because the parsley is pretty prominent. I would have never thought to juice parsley, but it really wasn’t bad and disguised with the other fruits, the drink as a whole was great. Apparently, parsley is really good […]
Exodus 3:1 “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.” Why was this the mountain of God? Why was it special? Did people just make it their meeting place […]
Exodus 2:1-2 “Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. The Israelites are being persecuted and Pharaoh has ordered his men to throw all of the […]
Have you ever come across a verse in the Bible that although you have read it a thousand times before, for some reason it stands out or you question why it is included or what further meaning it might have? Well, it happens to me quite often. I decided I would write about them and […]
JoDe and I are juicing again! Once per week we will post a new juicing recipe. This week we are trying Gingery Beet-Apple. Try it and let us know what you think. Recipe: 3 Yellow Beets 1 Green Apple Knob of Ginger. Also let us know if any of your substitutions were tasty as well […]
After 3 flight delays, we had to change in the airport, but we made it to Wes' work Christmas party on time! Whew! Thank you DC for making everything at the Dulles Airport easy to get to and extremely accessible. The dinner was great and it was wonderful to see all of the people Wes works with again. They are truly very sweet and fun people.
It was our first trip away from our five month old baby, Fierce, and it was nice to tour around and do things just the two of us. We saw a movie in the theater! I hadn't even realized we had not done [...]
Every year I decorate my gifts with ornaments. This year I decided to make one of the ornaments a name tag by writing the person's name in puffy paint on a clear bulb. Then, I put a little memento in each bulb. For example, my sister is a makeup artist so her bulb has a bit of eye shadow inside. My brother Tate likes to draw, so I put a pencil inside his bulb and I put buttons in my mom's because she taught me how to sew. My favorite is Fierce's, because after much effort, I put his hospital cap in his bulb. I really like how they turned out and I can't wait to celebrate the birth [...]
There is a fine dusting of gold glitter in my dining room and gorgeous pumpkins as a result. My sister should definitely get an award for hers, it is absolutely beautiful. There were plenty of pumpkins to be painted because Palmbos Farm gave me five white pumpkins [...]
This month my cousin, JoDe, a few friends and I are all going to make one soup a week. We want to make an effort to cook fresh, but warm, feel-good foods as the weather becomes cooler, so soups sounded like a good idea. Join us and comment below on any thoughts or changes you make to the recipe, especially if you have a substitution that worked really well.
This week's recipe is from The Brazilian Kitchen by Leticia Moreinos Schwartz.
Portuguese Soup: Caldo Verde:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lbs small yellow potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2 " chunks
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
3/4 lb pork sausage (linguica or chorizo)
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper and [...]
It was supposed to snow, but my die-hard self, mother and aunt still wanted to go explore the Holland Farmer's Market. It was windy and cold, but the sun shone through and it was a beautiful crisp fall day. One guy was playing his guitar and singing in his bare feet while the rest of us were clutching our coffee cups as we braved entering the market.
There is something about seeing all of the stands of brightly colored veggies, fruits, flowers, fresh breads, soup mixes, pumpkin stacks, etc. that just makes me smile. The whole scene is just beautiful. All of a sudden I am inspired to decorate my front porch for the fall, my mom is [...]
I have been working hard to increase my endurance level of walking. Although I am sure I had one of the easiest pregnancies known to man, I had terrible ligament pain which made it difficult to walk very far. Then I tore pretty bad during the birth of my son, Fierce, which didn't help. Well, now it is just over 2 months later and I feel great! This past Tuesday I realized that if I still lived in London like I did in college, I would not think twice about walking miles and miles and miles and miles to buy groceries. Our Meijer is only 3 miles away so I wanted to see if I could make [...]
This week was my birthday so I decided to switch it up a bit and pick a juice from “The Detox Health-Plan Cookbook” by Maggie Pannell. It was a gift from my brother Tate and his Fiance Samantha. I picked one that gives a nod to summer as we grasp for the last warm days […]
Wes took me to Saugatuck for my birthday this year. We ate dinner at the Belvedere Inn. It is a beautiful old house that has been converted into a restaurant. The food was really delicious. Not only was the Filet Mignon 'melt in your mouth' good, but the broccoli and potato gratin were also delicious. How often do you remember the sides you had with dinner? I was also gifted both of my hands to eat dinner with...My Mom and Dad were really sweet and drove out to Saugatuck and took Fierce for a walk around the stores while we ate. They also left some birthday money for me to go shopping with the next day. Thanks Mom [...]
Week 2 is here and after really enjoying the detox juice last week, I am pretty excited to try our next recipe! If last week’s recipe had a kick to it, I am expecting this week to be really spicy. Spicy Apple-Cucumber 1 lemon 1 Cucumber 4 Green apples 1 Small hot red chile Knob […]
I called my Dad back after missing his call the other day. He had a great idea and I got to carry it out for him!
My Grandma and Grandpa can't get out of their condo on their own so he asked me if I would go shopping and decorate their condo to reflect the fall season. Um...Yes!
I had a blast. I went shopping and picked out glass pumpkins to rest alongside fall leaves and candles in the entryway and along a shelf in their kitchen. I found a gold shimmer pillow with burgundy and burnt orange leaves to dress up their couch. The best part for me was finding the place setting pieces. I am obsessed with dishes and different [...]
Designing Fierce's nursery has been a lot of fun for me. The room was originally our spare bedroom. I had done the gold stenciling and created the map quite a while ago and really wanted to keep those design elements. When I found the gold crib at Pottery Barn Kids, I was beyond thrilled; pretty sure it was one of my first purchases. I received the wooden toy blocks at a shower and continued the gold theme by putting Wes and I's baby pictures in gold frames. I had gotten the plaque in the background from my trip to China and is the symbol for family. The dressers were already in the spare bedroom, but I found the [...]
Three weeks old and on the road with his momma, Grandma, Ret and Linda. My mom and her friends have a goal to see the entire coastline of western Michigan. This year I joined them as they started just south of Muskegon. There is one rule, you can't stop at a place the group has been before. This year they added one caveat "...unless the baby needs something." Are they not the best?
One of our first shoreline stops was at Norman F. Kruse Park. It is so incredibly quaint. I instantly wanted to plan a return trip to picnic here. There is wheelchair access so you can bring a stroller right down to the beach. The beach [...]
I found a variation of this recipe online a few years ago and modified it to my taste. The original recipe added macadamia nuts and only used 2 bananas. Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 40 min (1 hour if you want a crunchy top instead of a gooey one) Ingredients: 3 brown bananas 2/3 […]
Favorite Mini-Euro Meal: * Breakfast: Belgian waffles with real cream and strawberries. * Lunch: Polish potatoes and tomato soup. * Dinner: Norwegian Duck with a sweet glaze. * Dessert: Luxembourg’s gelato ice cream bar. Things That Require Getting Used To: * Limited water at restaurants…please bring me the biggest bottle you have; maybe two bottles. […]
I made my way to the Choco Story, which is a Belgian chocolate museum. I learned all kinds of interesting facts on how chocolate is made. The Mayans used the cocoa bean in a chocolate drink mixed with corn and pepper. The refining process is far from easy. First you have to collect the beans, shuck, dry, roast and then separate [...]
Echternach, Luxembourg is built around the Basilica of Echternach. St. Willibrord was sent here from England as a missionary. He liked the area so much that when he died he asked to be buried beneath the Church. In the crypt you first notice the ornate tombs of some of the other monks. Then you come along a simple slab of concrete with an inscription above it and a little water fountain at the base. This is where St. Willibrord was buried in 739. He was born in 658. He became an archbishop and also received some land in Echternach to build the church. Soon after his death he was venerated as a saint. My guide told me that [...]
Luxembourg is culturally Dutch and French and people here speak these languages as well as Luxembourgish. Some signs are in English, but most are not. When the receptionist greeted me at the hotel, she asked "French or Dutch?" I could tell she was not interested in even trying to deal with me when I told her that I speak English. However, when I mentioned that I could also speak Portuguese, her face lit up and she has been sweet to me ever since. She does not speak Portuguese, but I had heard that there was a large Italian and Portuguese immigration influence here, so maybe that put me in her cultural good graces.
Breakfast at my little [...]
Travel Day! I think I have used every form of public transportation in an effort to reach Echternauch, Luxembourg.
Starting at 6am and arriving at about 6:30pm, I thought I'd give a few tips for traveling while pregnant.
Walking Shoes: Bring good walking shoes that are black or brown so they still match all of your outfits, but you can walk without your feet killing at the end of the day.
Pressure Socks: If you deal with swelling, you can ask your doctor if pressure socks should be used or not. I haven't dealt with this personally, but I have read that they are helpful.
Medical Record: Ask your doctor for your medical record just in case something goes wrong and you [...]
Yesterday, I met Polly, Sarah and Rachel at the Auschwitz tour in Cracow. I wrote a photo blog of Auschwitz. It was so great to have a real and fun conversation with these girls. Being on your own is peaceful, but these girls were awesome Kiwi's (from New Zeeland) and a real blessing. After the tour we had three hours or so to explore Cracow. It was full of brightly colored old buildings, a castle, church and an underground market. We spent most of our time at the underground market. You actually do go under the city into a museum that guides you around ruins that used to be a trade market. It was built to run [...]
Today started at 4:00 am in order to catch a bus and then plane to Warsaw, Poland. By the time I got to my hotel I needed a power nap and then raced through the public transport to see the Castle because for the time I will be here, it was only going to be open today.
The castle is in Old Town, which is a series of colorful buildings surrounded by the original Barbican and walls. Just the town itself is worth seeing. The castle does not disappoint either. You enter into the Kings rooms, which are gilded, covered tapestries and old paintings. One room was originally covered in silk and then covered in hand paintings. Two of [...]
Despite the chill in the air, I decided to head to the coast. The smell of the sea engulfs me. It is so fresh and welcoming. Boulders of rocks and beach line the water's entrance. I walked the beach and climbed the rocks until I found a spot to soak in the sun trying to fight the cold wind. Sitting still on the black rock was the first time I think I have actually been truly warm in Oslo. It was beautiful.
I spent a few hours at the coast taking it all in, but the tourist season has not started yet so I headed back to the city to eat and shop. The mall was bustling...here is [...]
Today was great. I slept in and then took a bus to the "island" or Bygdoy area. My first stop was the Viking Museum. The first thing you see is this large and beautifully crafted ship. There are two more as you go deeper into the building. All of these ships had been buried with wooden tents to house wealthy Vikings after their death. They were buried with their farming tools, weapons, riches and even some animals. Most of the jewelry had been taken by grave robbers, but many artifacts still remain. There were several wooden animal heads that were ornately carved and jeweled. When found in the grave, they had ropes around them on one end [...]
This Christmas a few people requested my feijoada recipe and since I tend to do it a bit differently each time, I thought I better write it down before I forget 😉 Serves 8-10 people You will need: 7-8 12oz cans of black beans (I usually buy the Goya Brand from the international isle) 4 […]
Bratislava, Slovakia is a small city compared to Vienna and is only a 1 hour train ride away. This was no train ride I have ever experienced before. The train had a connection point, so we all had to get out and then normally, you would just jump on the connecting train. However, this small station only had one platform and the connecting train was on a track behind the original. No walkway in sight, they herded us all down and across the tracks in order to get to the train. The great part of all of this is that it ushered in a "meet cute" for me to meet an English couple. We were all very astonished [...]
From Vienna, I took a 3 hour bus ride to Salzburg which means Salt Castle. The town was known for its salt mines and at one point being the main hub of the country before Vienna became the capitol. The ride there was breathtaking. The Alps are gorgeous especially when you see their expanse as the backdrop to the many lakes in Upper Austria and Salzburg. Moon Lake is the lake featured in the film. There [...]
The girls came over to my house last night to paint pumpkins. I love how each of these women can put a smile on my face. Sam and her sister Stephanie brought Paleo muffins. They were awesome and a totally new thing for me. In case you are like me and don't know, they are made with all natural ingredients. Sam and Stephanie painted their pumpkins to be metallic and then added exactly one gem. The gems were Lynnae's idea. She and her friend Karlee painted their pumpkins metallic and then wrote: "Give Thanks" in gemstones. Adorable! I found out Karlee likes to travel, so she is automatically one of my new best friends ;) JoDe also brought [...]
I bought a Rose Lush Bath Bomb for the first time today. When you drop it in the water, it fizzles filling the bath with rose scents and little petals. With the shopping season around the corner, this might be a great gift idea.
My best friend, Megan Reynolds, just moved into her brand new home! She has gone through quite a bit since being in a car accident 4 years ago, which left her paralyzed from the waist down. I wanted to give her this oil painting because it reminded me of our first trip on our own…no […]
This week, I got to have the most AMAZING facial at Knockout. Absolutely WAY better than any I have had before. Lynnae gave me a full one hour facial complete with shoulder massage. I especially appreciated her giving me a sensory test so that I could pick out which oil scent matched my mood. I chose active […]
On the lookout for a little coffee table I could put in between the two coral chairs in my living room, I finally decided to design a stained glass mosaic table myself. The pattern is based on the stained glass window I did last spring. Instead of one main orchid I did a whole stem […]
My Favorite! The Wind by Gil Bruvel: Gerald R. Ford Museum Luminous: Interpretations from the Heavens and Earth by Ryan Staub; Venue: The B.O.B. Feel Beauty by Hark + Hark (left) & Exposed by GRMakers (right); Venue: Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts Peralux by NewD Media (left) & Great Wall of Bees by Ladislav Hanka; […]
This project was born from necessity. To be more exact, I hated the previous stained glass that Wesley insisted putting in the moon window every summer. He insists that it blocks the sun coming into the living room and I have to admit that it does cut down on the blinding light. This spring, I was proactive and sold that oh so awful thing asap! I knew I didn't have much time, so I signed up for a stained glass class through Rainbow Resources. When the instructor saw my hand made design of an orchid and a willowy stem she said it would be challenging for a first project. I absolutely had to replace that window before [...]
Rest in the reassurance of Christ. He is always holding your hand through the deepest and darkest trials of your life in order to bring you towards growth and a new perspective. In the valleys lost, but not alone. Fully reliant upon Him for every move… Then progress. The challenge still lies ahead, but a […]