Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh, Happiness

Do you know what my favorite day of the week entails?

Cleaning, laundry, organizing, and basically straightening up and simplifying my life. Usually I do this on Saturdays, but I like doing it on a day Colin works so that I have the house to myself. Am I crazy for loving this day? Perhaps.

Usually after doing all my chores, it is so much easier to relax and enjoy the rest of the week carefree. Then I can focus on cooking, reading, practicing music, and spending quality time with Colin and our kitties. What can I say? I am a habitual organizer. And I love that about myself.

We took down our tree (oh, the pine needles everywhere!) and other Christmas remnants last night. Sad, I know. I just love Christmas. But it is over and time to move on to the new year to come! Today I am also putting away the last of my Christmas presents. My parents spoiled us again, of course. Yesterday I got to go shopping with a gift card and Christmas cash! Oh, joy! I got some great deals on clothing, pajamas, jewelry, and books.

After several recommendations, I purchased Crazy Love by Francis Chan and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I am excited to begin these and pray I can get myself to sit down, relax, and get into the books. I have too much energy I guess! My mom gave me some cute tea mugs with sayings on them about hope and faith, etc. I will have to have some delicious tea with my books.

I hope your Christmas was well and inspirational for the year to come. I pray you hold Jesus in your hearts a little tighter today.

Love to all,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mary and Joseph

Jesus is the 'reason for the season', but have you ever pondered the roles Mary and Joseph took on during Mary's pregnancy and Jesus' childhood? Think about the criticism they had to have taken on, explaining to others that Mary was a virgin, pregnant. Imagine the trust and love Joseph must have had for Mary. When did they realize Jesus, their son, was born to be Savior to the world? Watch this video for a 'relevant' look into what life could have been like for Mary and Joseph, or perhaps what it may have been like in the 21st century.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting to Know You Questions

Do you have any pets?
Yes! Two himalayan cats: Mercedes and Dahlia. My loves.

What was the last book you read?
Showdown by Ted Dekker, currently reading Water For Elephants.

Do you like to cook?
LOVE to cook. Anything and everything.

Do you have brothers and sisters?
I have an older brother, Ryan. He is 27.

Have you ever met a famous person?
Mercy Me and Monk & Neagle.

How do you spend your free time?
Reading, cooking, being outside.

What countries have you visited?
Just Canada and Mexico. So far. :)

Which languages do you speak?
English and sign language.

What are you best at?
Musical instruments: piano, drums, guitar, harp, and more!

Who has had the most influence in your life?

Are you a 'morning' or 'night' person?
I'm more of a morning person...just let me have some coffee or tea.

How many times did you move as a child?
NEVER! My parents are farmers and will always live on the farm.

If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be?
Italy. Although, being Norwegian, I would love to visit Norway.

What super-power would you most like to have, and why?
I would LOVE to fly! It would be freeing and invigorating.

Are you a beach, country or city person?
Live in the country, work in the city, and visit the beach often!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow, snow, snow.

After taking a 3-month hiatus from TTC (while on birth control pills to regulate my cycle and hormones and diminish cyst/s), I am BACK. It feels good. I will be doing natural cycles for the next few months. Colin and I may decide to seek out an RE this coming year, but may not. I am just happy to be off of anything related to hormones for the time being. I barely remember what it is like having the hope of, "Perhaps this could be my cycle!"

On a side note, I made Colin tear up the other day when showing him this Ethiopian adoption video:

I hold international adoption deep in my heart, whether or not I am able to conceive. But for now, I must wait in patient anticipation of the day God says, "It is time."

In the meanwhile, I will sip my coffee and stare out at the falling snow. We in central Wisconsin are in a 'winter storm warning' until noon Sunday. I am not sure how many inches will accumulate, but I do know that it is going to snow, snow, snow! My plan for the day is to catch up on blog reading, do some light cleaning and laundry, and relax. Blessings!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

To linger... did we get here already? It seems just like yesterday that I was wondering the same about December 2009. This year has passed so quickly for me. I wish time would go slower. Although there are dreams that I am chasing-buying our first home, having a baby-I want to be able to savor the journey, no matter how smooth or hard and rocky the road is.

How do we do this? I suppose the first thing to do might be to eliminate wasteful time, wasteful 'things'. Simplify life. What is it that allows you to linger in the moment?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas in the Air

Did you all have a nice Thanksgiving? Colin and I had a quaint little meal, just the two of us. Don't get me wrong, there was a lot of food that we are still eating! I like Thanksgiving, but CHRISTMAS is my holiday.

The day after Thanksgiving we went to a tree farm to cut down our perfect tree. It was quite chilly-about 20 degrees-but worth it. We had some hot apple cider at the tree farm to warm up and then got some pizza on our way back. We went home and put on some Christmas music and decorated our tree. I wish I had pictures to show you! We have a blue and silver theme. Later that night we sat down with leftover caramel pecan cheesecake pie and watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It was a blessed day.

Do you have a favorite Christmas song you love? Here are a few of my favorites:

Peace on Earth- Casting Crowns
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas- Coldplay
The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year- Andy Williams
Little Saint Nick- The Beach Boys
Breath of Heaven- Amy Grant
Mistletoe- Colbie Caillat
O Holy Night- Josh Groban

You can listen to them on my player below if you would like. Music is what makes Christmas, Christmas. And Jesus. Above all. I can't wait to celebrate his birth in just a short month. I am filled with cheer just thinking about what this next month will bring!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mourning Has Broken

I was reading the October 2010 issue of Oprah's magazine and came across a short story called Mourning Has Broken. Summary on the main page: "In the weeks following his wife's miscarriage, Ian Wallach found himself adrift in a sea of floral arrangements and casseroles. A report on life after loss".

This story particularly struck me. This story brought tears to my eyes. This story perfectly framed the ups and downs, and ins and outs of infertility, miscarriage, and coping.

The last paragraph states, "In a parallel universe, I'm changing diapers and craving sleep, but in this one, the adoption process is under way, so somewhere there is, or is about to be, a child who will find his or her way to us, and we will all catch and protect each other. In due time, I'll rock back and forth, holding a swaddled child. In a whirlwind of joy, embarrassment, and hypocrisy, I may even shamelessly think that everything happens for a reason".

I have never miscarried (never been pregnant), so reading about the kaleidoscope of emotions, the hopes and failed hopes, the shock, the mourning period, and the new beginnings brought a new light to my eyes of just what someone who has gone through this sorrowful experience feels and endures. It taught me that sometimes the best thing to say is, "I don't know what to say. I love you. I'm here."

I love you women. You are all strong. You are all brave. You are all daughters of God, my sisters. And I am here for you. I am here to listen. I am here to give advice. I am here to learn from you. I am here to pray for you. I am here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chicken Stew with Biscuits

This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe, very slightly tweaked, I just love. So classic, delicious, and warming. This could be made with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey replacing the chicken. Enjoy!

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, preferably bone in, skin on
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
2 cups medium-diced potatoes, blanched for 2 minutes
1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

For the biscuits:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

3. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.

5. Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.


It is the weekend before Thanksgiving and all I can think about is what I will be making on Thursday. We have got our turkey, potatoes, corn, and cranberry sauce. But, I am still looking for recipes for stuffing, a dessert, and perhaps anything else that catches my eye. It is just going to be Colin and me for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately my family is too far away and Colin will be working a lot that week anyways. And, well, his family is in California and Washington, so that's out of the question. But, I think it will be fun. And, hey, we will have a lot of leftovers!

It is our tradition to cut down our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving...unfortunately Colin works 7a-6p that day, so we may have to do it the day before Thanksgiving, or a few after. Last year was really fun; we found a tree farm that had horse and wagon rides through a snowy path to the trees. After we cut ours down, we took a ride back to the main building, sipped some cider, and waited for our tree to be shook and bound to take home. Oh, I love Christmas!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Waiting vs. Life

After writing my post yesterday about being stuck in a rut waiting for something instead of living and fully embracing life, I found this quote in a magazine:

"While you're waiting for later, you accidentally metamorphose into a person who orders half portions and lives a half life." ~Melanie Gideon

Who wants to live a half life? I want a life full of Life! I want to give 100%. To me, Life means staying true to God's plan for me. Not wasting my time with earthly things, but devoting myself to my Creator and my purpose.

This reminds me of the song Two Hands by Jars of Clay. The lyrics are:

I use one hand to pull closer
The other to push you away
If I had two hands doing the same thing
Lifted high, lifted high

I have heard this song many times, but I find it interesting looking at the lyrics. What I find thought-provoking is that the writer doesn't finish the thought. There is an "if" but not a "then" in this stanza. It lets me think about what would happen to my life if I gave both hands, my all, to God. Later in the song, this stanza is sung:

And if we just keep digging we can reach the foundation
Of our souls
And if we just keep cutting all the chains from our hearts
We’ll lose control

Lose control? That doesn't sound good....but no, we must give up control to let God control. We must break the chains that are holding us back from letting go and letting God.

Random infertility story:
I have been taking prescription prenatal pills since July. Two months ago, I started a 3-month prescription of birth control pills to regulate my cycles and hormones, and hopefully get rid of my ovarian cysts. Well, it happened that I ran out of both at the same time, so I went to our local Walgreens to get the prescriptions refilled. Nothing was said when we dropped them off. Colin and I went in to pick them up an hour later, and the pharmacist wanted to talk to me. I don't know what kind of trick he thought I was pulling, but he questioned me because of the contradiction of birth control pills and prenatal pills. Did he think I was going to sell the birth control pills? I believe my doctor that prescribed them to me told me that women are supposed to begin taking prenatal pills well before they get pregnant, so I would think that I'm not the first person buying both at the same time. I just wanted to point to my husband to the pharmacist and say, "He's a police officer. I'm not doing anything illegal." But no, I had to explain to him in front of other customers and pharmacy techs that I have PCOS and the pills are temporary to get rid of cysts. Anyways, it is never fun having infertility, but sometimes others magnify this for you, and it's unfortunate. Won't it be a nice day when (and if) we don't have to deal with infertility anymore?

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Greetings! Today is Saturday, or my new favorite word, satyourday. I enjoy this concept of Saturday being 'your' day. Perhaps this means taking extra time to relax and enjoy your morning coffee or an afternoon tea. Perhaps it means taking an hour to read a good book or delve into another favorite hobby of yours. Or perhaps it means spending extra precious moments just 'being' with your beloved and family. What do you enjoy most about your day? 

I think I've been meant to realize that I can do anything I want to in life. I need to learn to live in the moment, the here-and-now, not the 'what-ifs'. If you have struggled with the what-ifs in life, how have you overcome it? I could always use some good advice and prayer. May God bless your Satyourday, your spirit, and your health.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Raspberry Muffins

Muffin Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 C canola oil
1 tsp almond extract
1 C sour cream
2 C flour
1 C sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 bag frozen raspberries

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 C pecans
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C flour
2 Tbsp butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Stir wet ingredients.
3. Mix dry ingredients and slowly stir into wet ingredients just until blended.
4. Stir in raspberries.
5. Pour mix into a dozen large muffin cups in muffin tin sprayed with canola oil spray, 2/3 full.
6. Mix toppings together and sprinkle on top of muffins.
7. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sweet Home Wisconsin

I promised pictures and I am delivering! Enjoy the tour of our new apartment.

Golf-course view from our balcony. Peaceful and lovely. Sadly, the leaves have mostly fallen and snow is soon to come. But, I'm sure the trees will look beautiful frosted.

This is a general view as you walk into the apartment. The cat tree takes center stage. Spoiled kitties. My piano and harp are on the right side.

 Our entertainment living area. I love to just lounge around and read a book on the sofa or cuddle with Colin while watching a movie.

The kitchen, another room I love to be in. I always enjoy experimenting with new recipes. I think the kitchen is the heart of the home. You can't see it very well, but that is a Thomas Kinkade calendar in the upper right corner. We love his paintings.

Dining area. Quickest way to a man's heart IS through his stomach!


Office and workout room combined. That's what happens when you go from a 3 bedroom to a 2 bedroom, but it works. This is also where Colin's closet is. What can I say, I have a lot of clothes and shoes!

Dahlia napping.

Mercedes napping. So cute and cuddly.

That's it! Hope you enjoyed the tour. I am off to make Colin and myself a ham and swiss wrap and sweet potato fries. Have a lovely day!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Weekend

Happy Halloween Friends!

On Friday, Colin and I were invited to one of his coworker's house for a Halloween party. Costumes encouraged. We don't own any costumes and couldn't find anything in town on a last minute's notice, so we raided our closets and came up with...

Cowboy and cowgirl! It also could have gone farmer and farmwife. We already owned our own boots. We put on some tight jeans and button up shirts, and there you have it, costumes. Colin also wore a straw cowboy hat he found at goodwill, which is what made him look more like a farmer, so he added a twine belt and put a handkerchief in his back pocket. I wish we took pictures to share!

Tonight we are hoping for some trick-or-treaters. I sure hope we get at least a few, because we loaded up on candies!

Hope you have a spooktacular evening!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The following recipe is my favorite to make for breakfasts. It is so fresh and tasty. Measurements may be varied based on your preferences. This combination of ingredients will be sure to please a hungry belly.

2 Tbsp butter
2 green onions, chopped
Small red pepper, diced
Small yellow pepper, diced
1/3 C ham, diced
6 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Handfull fresh spinach, chopped
Feta, cubed

Turn oven on broil.

1) Melt butter in skillet on medium heat.
2) Add green onions, peppers and ham. Saute until cooked, about 5 minutes.
3) Whisk eggs in a separate bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4) Pour egg mixture in saute pan. Add spinach. Stir.
5) Add feta to top.
6) Let cook until just top is left to cook. Broil in oven until top is done and egg just begins to brown. (This should be done in same skillet...if your handles are not metal and may melt in heat, cover them with tin foil.)
7) Serve with bacon brushed with maple syrup about 5 minutes before being done and enjoy!

I like to cook my bacon in a 400 degree oven. I put thick-cut bacon on cookie racks over a pan covered in tin foil if you don't want the mess of grease. Usually after about 15-20 minutes, they are ready to be brushed with syrup and cooked for 5 more minutes. So good!

What is your favorite breakfast to serve?

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I want to share with you some quotes from a study I just got done reading. The book was called When Wallflowers Dance: Becoming a Woman of Righteous Confidence by Angela Thomas. Fellow blogger Andrea mentioned something on one of her posts that reminded me of some certain quotes that I felt like I should share with you all.

"Dancing is used to describe living fully in Christ's love. Dancing is about loving people in perfect step with His love for you and enjoying a grown-up, passionate life, free of emptiness and fear. Inside the strength of His embrace, you can become the woman you have always wanted to be...the one He dreamed of when He created you."

Are you dancing? What stops you from dancing? Perhaps fear, lack of faith, lack of discipline, busy-ness, low self-confidence, sin, or just being stuck in a rut. What are some tools you have around you that encourage you to dance? For me, it is a song, my Bible, a quote on my refrigerator, a picture, a meeting with a friend, or a meaningful sermon. What works for you?

I love the part of the quote that says, "You can become the woman you have always wanted to be...the one He dreamed of when He created you." God had a vision in mind when He created us. He knew the lives we would lead and the loves of our lives. What do you think was his vision for you? I will be pondering these thoughts right along with you this week.

My wish for you all:
"More than God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and dance! Dance the dance of your life for the glory of God!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cheese Danish

•8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
•1/3 cup sugar
•2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
•2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
•1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
•2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
•1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Beginnings

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
~Judy Garland

Cheers to new beginnings! Here are some butterflies springing to life for me:
~Colin got sworn in with the Waupaca Police Department and began his first day on the road Saturday. He is enjoying his field training and is keeping happily busy with his new career.
~It is my second month being on birth control pills. My cycles are back on track, praise God. Please pray that my cysts will dissolve. I have a prescription for one more month. I will be doing a lot of praying to determine what my next steps are in trying to conceive a baby after these 7 weeks are up. God has given me a renewed sense of hope.
~This is the 10th day we have been moved into our home. Everything is unpacked and nailed to the walls. Pictures to come. It is very relaxing here with a golf course view and plenty of trees and squirrels.
~The small community of about 6,000 has been very welcoming and kind. We moved here not knowing anybody, so it has been nice having neighbors and community members step up and help us to feel at home.
~We have found a coffee/sandwich shop called Sisters that we are in love with. It may not be too difficult after all giving up the 1-mile-away-from-us-Starbucks that we had in Eau Claire. I love my espresso.
~I know that one month from today, we will be cutting down our Christmas tree. It is mine and Colin's tradition to get our tree and start getting in the holiday spirit the day after Thanksgiving. I heart Christmas.
May God bless all of you.

"My child, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared."
~Proverbs 3:21-26