November 20, 2012

Let the Rejoicing Begin!

And it begins....

We are two days away and we start with the brine for the turkey. Our particular favorite is full of spices and apple cider!

And Dad has started as well.

He is just getting read to put the pumpkin cheesecake into the oven. Mmmm.

Tomorrow is full of preparation: tablecloths and napkins need ironing, pies need baking, sauces need mixing. There is such blessing in the work it takes to bless those we are so grateful for. It's the least we can do.

What are you all doing to get ready? I would love to hear!

November 18, 2012

Recipe review: Pumpkin French Toast Bake

Baked Pumpkin French Toast
So this Saturday I tried an entirely new recipe (c/o Pinterest). I'd never made french toast before, let alone baked pumpkin french toast. I used this recipe, and for baked french toast I thought it was okay, but I'm really not  fan of baked eggs in anything. Like. Anything. Shoulda thought of that before I picked this out as my weekend splurge. sigh  I really couldn't taste the pumpkin; but that might have had something to do with the fact that I used pumpkin puree not pumpkin butter, and that I only had cinnamon not pumpkin pie spice mix. Ah well, that's life. Noel really liked it, which is always handy when you forget that you're only feeding two people and accidentally make a 9x13 pan of it anyway! At least it keeps in the fridge for a few days. So, *if* you have pumpkin Butter and/or pumpkin pie spices (also, if bread puddings are *totally* your thing) then you might really like this. But if you're like me, and don't have pumpkin butter or the spices and you really are not a fan of baked eggs of any sort, I'd wager that your life would continue on just nicely without it

My kitchen has totally scary retro counters and backsplashes....

November 14, 2012

Chicken Parm Meatloaf

Tonight I tried a new recipe for Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf, and it was so tasty! I was a little concerned when there was still a *lot* of liquid in the bottom of the pan at the end of the cooking time, but I figured that must have something to do with the water content of my onion (or something, I really don't know, this was my first meatloaf of any kind) and it didn't seem to have any effect on the finished product.  Noel and I both liked it immensely; the seasoning levels were perfect and the melty cheese on top made my day. So, go! Eat! Be happy. :) 

(Photo c/o the actual author of the recipe. One day I will remember to take my own photos!)


November 13, 2012

New recipe success!

I like to keep things interesting around here which, for me, means trying new recipes on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes two or three times in a week, (but sometimes none!) it really depends on how much energy I have whenever I plan on which meals to make for the week. Anyway, this week I made plans to try two (possibly three!) new recipes and I have to tell you that the first one was a smashing success! 

 Ladies, let me introduce you to Italian Chicken! (I'm going to go ahead and borrow a picture from her blog since I forgot to take any of my own, so props to her for pretty pics!) 

 The recipe was exceptionally straight forward and it turned out beautifully. I didn't even have any fresh basil on hand to sprinkle over it and it was *still* yummy. Also, I feel like this is one of those super handy dishes that feels fancy enough (thanks to the artichokes) that I would serve this to company in a heartbeat, or if I was feeling greedy just make it and keep it all to myself.

 Happy eatings!

September 9, 2012

Apple Pie!

So this week I baked not just one but *two* apple pies;
basically by myself. It's pretty much been a good week.

July 3, 2012

Simple Dressing...or simply delicious

I am not eating buttermilk right now due to allergies so how can I make yummy salad dressing, I am wondering. Then the light bulb turns on and I see clearly that the answer is so simple. Creme Fraiche.

So with four simple ingredients I have some pretty good stuff.

Here we have homemade mayonnaise, homemade creme fraiche, fresh garlic and some dry dill. I am afraid I didn't measure...shocking to those who know me best. Equal parts mayo and creme,  a couple cloves of garlic, pressed, and a pinch of dill. 

I tossed it with spring greens and didn't even miss the Parmesan... although Parmesan is definitely a must if you can eat it!

June 8, 2012


We Handermanns are doing a detox diet this month (and seeing great results with our eczema: we're pretty excited!). But right now our food choices are limited by that: it's been meat and veg boiled in broth for the last week, for every meal. Tomorrow we get to have scrambled eggs for breakfast and I am so thrilled. I keep talking about it. And really, I keep thinking about food in general -- all my favorite foods that I will be so grateful to get back to!

I hadn't realized before just how much food is part of my daily routine -- Ryan laughed when I said this to him. But, look, until this week I ate two eggs for breakfast every morning, I had a cup of tea with cream in it while Blaze was down for his nap, salad or soup for lunch, a meat dish for dinner and sometimes a little something sweet or even some popcorn for winding down with Ryan in the evening. Having just soup really throws off my day! It's hard to feel the rhythm without my markers.

A lovely side effect, though, is that during all the thinking I'm doing about food, I've been reminiscing about the key foods I remember throughout my life. So many of my big memories are tied up in food! Sitting with my dad at McDonalds, learning to eat french fries just the right way (two at a time, dipped in ketchup). Chocolate-tofu pudding during Mom's meatless kick. Dad's guacamole, and his omelets! Pumpkin pie for breakfast every Thanksgiving morning; swedish hots with berry syrup for breakfast on Christmas or New Years. Summertime shopping dates with my mom and sisters, getting Safeway chinese food and two-scoop waffle cones on the way home. Coffee shop cinnamon rolls during finals weeks at college. Barely-browned hamburgers with Ryan on our dinner dates while we were engaged. Just a spattering, but it's been a tasty life.     God has definitely given me my daily bread.

(I'm already making my recipe to-do list for next month...I've never wanted to meal-plan this far in advance before!)

May 11, 2012

Quiet On The Home Front

Well, the blog front anyways. In reality it's a madhouse over here! We've moved out of our apartment and are currently staying with our (super gracious) in-laws while we wait to move into a slightly more permanent abode. Which is why it's been pretty quiet over here! Everything is all packed up and I'm using this time of transience as a mini-vacation. (If you can call *anything* a vacation when you have a baby. :-P) But at least she's cute, right?

April 30, 2012


It's been a full month!

We did a little of this...

Blaze with our sweet friend Lynnette

And a little of that...

Trying out a dandelion crown, as we try to use up all the dandelions in the yard before they go to seed.
And a few other things:

Tasting frozen berries on an almost 90 degree day...they were not a hit!
And of course we've done more than just play outside, although that has been a hit with the crazy almost-one-year-old that hardly naps. We've been working on our garden, and Ryan is creating a bunch of bucket plants that we can use in the backyard. Our actual garden is at church, since our landlady understandably doesn't want us to dig up our lawn.

April 3, 2012

Good Friday -- Funeral in Preparation for the Most Glorious Day...Ever.

       As Christians, Easter is our most important holiday.

       The Son of God, Jesus, came onto Earth as the son of man, was murdered, conquered death, saved us from our sins and God's wrath, and then rose again. This is how we comprehend Easter.

       Easter is a huge celebration of Jesus having conquered the grave and washed our sins away, "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus..." A familiar tune to most of us, right? Right.

       So why am I posting on this subject? I got this empty feeling one night as I was going to bed and thought to myself, "Instead of vegging out on Hulu or Netflix, why not watch a sermon?" It was Palm Sunday and I was sure to find something filling at Mars Hill. I did.

       I am compelled to share it with all of you today; it really hit my soul hard and maybe it will hit you, too. Here it is! I hope you gain from this. I was going to say, "enjoy" but this sermon doesn't really give you something entertaining to enjoy but rather something worth understanding and pondering.

       Dante warns his readers not to pass a certain point in his Divine Comedy unless they are reverent and truly pondering the worth and meaning of his words. He explains that entering through the gates of Hell in a lighthearted manner and looking for amusement will ultimately lead to destruction and death. Dante knew that people could find amusement in his Inferno.

        Hell is real. Sin is real. Evil is real. It isn't to be taken lightly. I'd like to give the same warning; I would encourage you to NOT watch this video if you are looking for amusement in listening to a Mark Driscoll rant. Granted, they are amazingly wonderful and Biblically correct and sometimes very funny -- not this time.

        I imagine some could find amusement in the most horrific of murders. After-all, don't we entertain ourselves when reading a murder mystery or listening intently to details of the latest murder on the news? Yes, yes, I'm pulling from Neil Postman -- appropriately.

        Ironically, and because of this murder, I hope you all have a wonderful Easter, filled with joy, laughter, and God's blessings.

         Much Love,

P.S. I know the video is an hour long but it is worth listening to. :-)  

March 30, 2012

Made Something from Pinterest!

Gingerbread "Larabar" Balls -- from here (she made hers into gingerbread men, but I made mine into little balls. :)). I found them on Pinterest, and they are definitely tasty.

Sorry for the blurry! My camera is being rotten.

I made the gingerbread ones, but the girl had recipes for lots of flavors. Most of them were girlscout cookie flavors, which I don't really like. But these gingerbread ones were SO yummy! I think I added some extra spices, but I left the other proportions as is. Oh, and I soaked & roasted the almonds to make them more digestible. I am definitely going to make these again! Next time I might try switching out some of the dates for a tarter dried fruit, because Ryan thought they were a little sweet. But I was really impressed that they didn't taste very much like dates!

Anyway, if you like Larabars, you should try these... :)


Snack Fix

I get a pretty decent case of the munchies between meals but I seem to have a hard time resisting the bad-for-you stuff. However, after watching a video about the crazy stuff that's in processed foods yesterday I was feeling inspired so I made (drum roll, please!) Kale chips! And they weren't half bad. Haha, I mean if I was able to munch down a baking tray of them they really must have been pretty good! Although I attribute most of their eatability to the garlic. Also they shrink up a lot so what started out as a single layer of leaves filling a baking sheet cooked down to a teenie-tiny amount. (Note: To watch the video you sign in with your name and email but I haven't gotten a bunch of junk mail from them, also, the video is only up for another day or so... eh heh)

Here is the recipe I used:

1 bunch curly kale
1 TBSP cold pressed olive oil
1 clove garlic
(Optional: Sea salt, paprika, cayenne pepper, or chili flakes in you want some extra zip.)

1. Preheat your oven to 175. (or 200 if that's as low as your oven will go, mine goes to 160 surprisingly)
2.Cut out the woody inner cores of the leaves and discard.
3.Tear or cut remaining leaves into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl combine kale, olive oil, and garlic. Make sure all the leaves are coated. (Because the leaves are curly I used my fingers to spread the olive oil into the nooks and crannies.)
4. Arrange kale in a single layer (no overlapping) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until crisp, approximately 2 hours.

(Notes in italics are mine.)

Happy Snacking!

March 23, 2012

Will Cook For Food

   I really enjoy cooking. I do. It's just that lately it seems like it takes *all* *day* to get dinner on the table on time which kind of sucks the fun out of it. I'm usually more of a "start dinner at five be ready to eat at six" kinda gal, and I've been cornered into starting prep work at two or three in the afternoon! (One time I chopped stuff up at noon. Ugh.) But! None of that complaining changes the fact that I still like tasty food! So here are some new and some not-so-new meals I made recently! (I promise, we do eat more vegetables, I just never manage to photograph them.)

This one is new! I found the recipe in one of the R.R. magazines that I cut up and put into my recipe binder (a project I finished, btw! whoo!). Ours was not spicy though, since ground turkey was on sale that week and regular sausage was not. I tried to pep it up by myself but I'm afraid I erred on the safe side of spicy. All in all it was fairly easy and pretty yummy! Funny story though. *ALWAYS* go by weight of potatoes as opposed to body count. I ended up with twice as much mashed potatoes as I needed, but thankfully I was able to reuse them in another meal. (I'll eat mashed potatoes twice in a week if you twist my arm hard enough. ;-P) 

Mom's chicken gravy over mashed-potato-biscuits. 
This recipe is not so new, but it is still delicious! I was very proud of myself for thinking to shape the leftover mashed potatoes from the previous dinner into biscuit shapes and then broil them until they were nice and golden on top. (The crisped part tastes just like french fries. Yum!)
                                         Fried Egg Sandwich
Also not new, but we do love a good homemade fried egg sandwich. I like to put Dijon mustard, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and lettuce on mine in addition to the egg and what ever breakfast meat we have floating around in the fridge. (We adore regular bacon, but the Canadian kind will do in a pinch!)

                                     Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls
Now this isn't a meal per-say but it was a quick weekend treat I whipped up on a Saturday morning. I love JoyTheBaker, I follow her blog and listen to her podcast, she is *awesome*. I really enjoy her style of writing. I'm not quite sure if I did these quite right though, as they weren't as cinnamon-y as I was hoping. But who knows, maybe I'll have better luck next time!

 I will try to do a better job of taking photos of our meals  next time so that y'all don't think we exist solely on white flour and mashed potatoes. Because we don't. I promise. 

Happy Meal Time!

March 14, 2012

My List

It's the Courtney edition of Reading:Listening:Watching. :)
(Here is a picture of what I spend most of my time listening to and watching. ;))
--Total Church by Tim Chester. This book is presenting a "new" (Biblical, so not exactly new ;)) view of church community, and presents some practical stories about how that is working out in this guy's church in England. We're working through this in a book study with some of our friends and it is really good so far! Very challenging and thought-provoking as we try to figure out which of the book's principles we agree with, and what to do with them once we agree with them.

-- A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan. This book is described by the author as "a Christian existential horror novel," which I wish I'd known before reading it, haha. I probably still would have read it, since it was for a book club, but I would have been more prepared. Yikes! The book was SO well written, and very gripping...but very horrible. I don't think I'll read it again, and I don't exactly recommend it unless you're up for cannibalism, necrophilia, and general craziness. But I will definitely read other books by this guy, cause they're not all horror, and he's a good writer.

-- The Warden by Anthony Trollope (free for kindle or e-reader!). I just started this last night, even though Kaitie has been telling me about Trollope for a long time! So far I *love* it. I guess it's a dual commentary on hot-headed young reformers (like us ;)) and stodgy traditionalists. We'll see how it turns out!

-- Matt Maher, at my brother's suggestion. Very fun!

-- Sermons from Mars Hill, particularly the Real Marriage sermon series. Too funny, Noble, that you've been reading the book! I haven't read it yet, but I've been loving the sermons. They're encouraging and challenging at the same time.

-- Frasier. This is a 90s tv show that a friend of mine talked about on Facebook the other day, and now I'm hooked. It cracks me up, it cracks Ryan up, and it's set in Seattle. Definitely not from a Christian worldview, but still so funny. (Another plus, it's available on Netflix InstantPlay!)

-- Miss Marple. 4 new episodes just made it onto Netflix InstantPlay, and I just can't resist a good mystery show. :) I was telling Ryan the other day that I've probably learned most of my modern history through mystery shows...I realized I can name a mystery show set in pretty much every decade in the 1900s.

March 12, 2012

The List

You know, *the* List. The list of all the fascinating educational stuff I've been reading. And listening to. And watching.

  Dear Reader:
Give Them Grace by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson - This was a very interesting half-read; it was due back to the library before I could finish and someone else had a hold on it so I couldn't renew mine so I'll have to wait to review it. Not sure I totally agreed with the part I read though so it should be interesting to go back and see how it turns out.

 Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll - I know there was a big hub-bub over a bit of the Q&A section of this book but the rest of the book was*excellent*. Noel and I both really enjoyed it and it gave us some good stuff to talk about.

Management In The Home by Lillian Gilbreth - This book was really fun to read since I *love* the Gilbreths' story. And (of course) there were some really good ideas about organizing your home and your time to accomplish things more efficiently. (I would love to have a "baking station" in my kitchen someday.)

Baby Blues by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott -  Seriously, this comic makes me laugh till I cry. Every strip is excruciatingly and hilariously accurate. The best.

How To Be Free From Bitterness by Jim Wilson - The ladies' book group is reading this right now. It's so good and so convicting!

   Music To My Ears:

 Walking With The Wise by Sovereign Grace Music - I stumbled across this really cool CD for kids while listening to one of SGM's other albums on Spotify. I really like it, the songs are fun and not weird!

 Risen by Sovereign Grace Music - This is the other SGM album I was listening to. I really like the first song, "Alive".  (Momma, I've been practicing the harmony part!)

It Will Rain by Bruno Mars - Somehow this song keeps making an appearance. So does Adele's Set Fire To The Rain. What is is with these songs? I have no idea but they're kinda stuck in my head.

   Visions of Splendor:

Pysch - I have to say I was a little skeptical of this show when I first started watching it but four seasons and five episodes later I am totally into it! This is my go-to show when I have to bounce Addie to sleep. (Which is several times a day.)

The King's Speech - A super fascinating movie about George the VI and his speech impediment. (Disclaimer: There's one scene with an abundance of bad words but other than that it's pretty clean!)

The Young Visiters - Hilarious! And it was fun to see a younger Hugh Laurie.

And there you have it! As you can see I'm  a very easily entertained busy lady and I would love to hear your recommendations for, well, anything! Books, music, and movies, I'm all ears!

Can I get a "Lol!"?

March 6, 2012

Projects from Last Month -- Noble

What month was it? Oh yeah, February. Whew. 

 We did finally bite the bullet and move *everything* around in our apartment so that Noel and I could stop going to bed at 8 o'clock at night when Addie went to bed. (That's not every night, but it is a few.) So one fine Sunday we moved everything around and put all of Addie's stuff in the room with a door, brought the shelves up off the far wall to create a screen for half of the living room and turned the other side into our bedroom! 

Our newly rearranged living room. Nice and cozy.
 Our side of the screen. That wall sticker is actually my other project of the month. Don't let it's imagined simplicity fool you! It came in several pieces that had to be aligned *juuuuuuust* so (which never did happen). And it's even trickier without stable footing; all told I think it took me the better part of an hour.

 Someday there will be a picture of the nursery/office but of course that room is the one that never quite recovered from the move. (Funny how that happens.)

And here is a picture of my other (slightly more time-consuming, but definitely worth-while) project! Ain't she sweet?

March 5, 2012

Projects from Last Month -- Courtney

So this week we're all (cross your fingers!) going to share the projects we worked on last month, so that we can see what's been happening! Not that we don't talk to each other on the phone, but sometimes you forget to mention things on the phone...and you can't really share (good) pictures over the phone.

So my big project from last month was our new house! In fact, I really didn't work on anything else all month (except maybe 1/2 hour total on poor Ryan's pair of socks that will probably be ready in time for next winter). This is our house at this exact moment! You are sharing in our winter sunlight, and our brown Boise lawn. If you were coming to visit me, you could walk right up our driveway (don't step in the oil...since we moved in two of our friends have had their cars break down in our driveway and pour oil), and up the sidewalk...

Stop and admire our cute doormat, and then come in!

This is the view from our front door (sorry for the washout :)).

If you look to your left, you'll see our kitchen:
(I could not make my camera focus for the life of me, but you can still see that the cabinets are beautiful!)
This is the kitchen viewed over the bar. Our shelf is helping out, since the cabinets are scarce. I think the metal gives us kind of a steam punk feel.

And here is a closer picture of our living room area:
See our new brown couch! It was cheap, and comfortable. Also see our new ottoman, which we got instead of a coffee table after my in-laws cautioned us on the hazards of coffee tables for just-learning-to-walk kiddos. :) Not that Blaze is walking yet, but I see it in his future!

If you were actually coming to visit, I would have cleaned the bathrooms, and then I would let you see if you want to see the bathrooms, you might just have to come visit! We also have a study, our bedroom, and the baby's room, but you'll have to wait on those for another day...


March 1, 2012

Mairzy Doats?

If you are needing a little pick-me-up try to find this album on Groove shark or Spotify! You won't be able to help yourself when you belt out Polly Wolly Doodle, Let's Go Fly a Kite, Mairzy Doats and Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf. And, of course, Burl Ives and his distinctive voice only add to the fun. And if you want something a little more contemporary  My Flea Has Dogs is very catchy by Casper Baby Pants on their Sing Along! album. What was your favorite kid's song? I loved to sing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah at the top of my lungs while swinging on the swing set in my back yard. Ü

February 27, 2012

A Brief Update

Have I mentioned that I love this girl? I do. She lights up my days. Recently we've been working on getting good naps in the day and still being able to sleep well at night. And things went well over the weekend but then we woke up this morning to discover that the chimney of the house we rent (we rent the basement) is being torn down and rebuilt this week. YAY. So in an attempt to avoid to all the hammering and sawing and pounding of feet (it's crazy that from three floors down you can *still* hear people walking) we're taking a mini-vacation at my dear Mother-In-Law's home today. (Maybe tomorrow it will be my mother's turn? *hint hint*)

 In other news, I've been reading like a mad woman whenever I have a few moments. I have such a hard time making myself be selective with getting books for our Kindle. Whenever I'm out browsing and I see something that looks good I download it! Just like that! (If it's free.) And now I have at least a dozen books on the Dear Reading Apparatus that are calling my name. The one I'm most excited about is "American Woman's Home" by Harriet Beecher Stowe and her sister. The table of contents itself is *awesome* and I can't wait to read the actual book. But I have some books from the library ("Management In The Home" by Lillian Gilbreth being one) that I have to read first since they have a due date and the books on my D.R.A. do not. Arg.

 Also, I recently decided (I must have been in some sort of sleep deprived psychotic episode) to go through all my foodie magazines and cut out the recipes I want to keep in case I *ever* have time to try them, and put them into binders according to dish type (Main, Sides, and Dessert, with sub-categories for stuff like beef, chicken, salads, etc. ((HA!))). So far I have cut out the recipes from two magazines (maybe three? I can't remember last night very well and I'm not at home to verify...) and I have sorted and binder-ized the recipes from one of those.

 "Dear Rachael Ray,
    Please stop printing so many yummy looking recipes.
 A Very Tired Recipe Addict"

(Seriously, I'm a sucker for a good food photo.)

And there you have it; that is my life in a nutshell right now.  Have a blessed Monday!


February 26, 2012

Brain Over-load
...Shutting Down

Lately, I've had so much to think about and do, my brain seemed to go into a jumbled mess. You know the times when you can't figure out your left from your right, 2+3, and what it was you were supposed to be doing before you were standing in the middle of the room wondering what is was you were doing...
We all have our moments. My goal for this week is to to make those moments, more like days or weeks which then turn into months, which then...ok, so I do have some hours of lucidity. Anywho, my goal is to make those amnesia plagued days few and far between. As I am a devout schemer/list maker (I love lists), I've created a list of things I mean to get in the habit of:

N. 1. Not staying up so late! I am terrible about going to bed when my body says it's ready to conk.

N. 2. Drinking minimal amounts of caffeine; this will ensure that I am able to go to sleep when I want to.

N.3. Tut tut to sugar and irregular meals. Keeping to regular meal times should help my body recognize patterns in my day and not binging on sugar will make wanting to eat normal meals easier and it's better for me all the way around.

N. 4. Not taking on more than I can handle. It's easy for me to say "yes" but it tends to pile up like unread mail.

N. 5. Lastly, prioritizing; doing what needs to be done before it becomes last minute (I'm really bad at this).

I was going to say something inspirational here but it ended up sounding like The Little Engine That Could, so I erased it.
Any of you have something you've been meaning to get into the habit of?


February 23, 2012


Ok, so this is a little different...
And it's not a band that I recommend unreservedly (not at all!).

But this is what I've been listening to this week. Blaze loves it, too. :-D

Stereo Hearts

(the music video is pretty fun, too)

February 21, 2012

Everyday French Onion Soup

Ryan *loves* French Onion Soup, so yesterday when he was feeling a little bit sick I wanted to make him some to cheer him up. But I didn't want to wait three hours for the onions to slow-sautee, and I needed it to be a full dinner, not just an appetizer. So I made up this recipe (or mashed it together out of several other recipes :)), and he liked it! It has meat, which is a plus for him, and pasta, which is a plus for me.

The whole thing only took me about half an hour, and it's pretty flexible (so you can use whatever kind of pasta you want, and change out the meatballs for a different recipe if you have a favorite, etc.). The actual soup recipe is based loosely on the French Onion Soup recipe from Nourishing Traditions, and the meatballs at this point are out of my head.

Everyday French Onion Soup (serves two very hungry people)


8 oz pasta (I had some brown rice shells on hand -- yummy)

For the meatballs
 1/4 lb hamburger
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 tbsp milk (I just splash it in)
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Some ground black pepper

For the soup
1 onion, sliced thinly
2 cups stock or broth (chicken or beef, both taste good)
1 tsp arrowroot powder, or 1/2 tsp cornstarch, mixed with the same amount of water
Salt to taste
A handful of your favorite cheese (we used a vintage cheddar that we got as a present)

1. Start the pasta water to boiling, and then cook your pasta. When it is done, drain, and toss with a bit of butter, and a little bit of the cheese that you're going to use as a garnish.
2. While you're waiting for the pasta water to boil, put the hamburger, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, basil, salt, garlic, and pepper into a mid-size bowl, and mix it all up well with your hands. This is a little wetter than my usual meatball can fix it if you want, but it really turns out fine. :)
3. Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a skillet or saute pan over medium heat, until the oil shimmers. Form your meatball mixture into the size of meatballs that you like, and drop them into the saute pan. Let brown on all sides, and then remove them to a dish to wait for the rest of the soup.
4. If your pan needs more oil, add a little more. Then saute the onion slices in the same pan you used for the meatballs, until they're soft and golden (still over medium heat, so it shouldn't take too long!).
5. Add the stock and the arrowroot mix to the onions, and turn the burner up to medium high. Once the stock boils, add the meatballs back to the pan and let them simmer in the broth for a minute or two.
6. By this time, your pasta really should be done! I hope you've kept an eye on it.
7. Serve the soup over the pasta, with a little bit of cheese on top.

If you make this, leave a comment, because I'd love to hear how it turns out for you!

February 20, 2012

Watch this space...

I created a yummy recipe for dinner tonight, so I will type it up for you tomorrow in case you'd like to try it, too. :) Second ever recipe that I've created!

February 19, 2012

Craft Book Love

I LOVE my library. Anybody who knows me well, knows that I think my library is the best library in the country....because it is. One of my favorite things to do is watch the "what's new" list and check out the latest craft books that the library has purchased. And all the wonderful hand-crafters out there are cranking out some pretty fantastic stuff. Here are some of the incredible books I have found lately.

Crochet Adorned by Linda Permann is not really new (published in 2009) but is new to me and wowsa! So many cute, fresh ideas. Linda has a blog at

Signature Styles by Jenny Doh takes an in depth look at 20 stitchers and what defines their look. Lots to look at and inspire...Find it at

Amy Barickman's Vintage Notions is chock full of vintage fun...I may have to own this book! Or at least check it out often to get it all read and accomplish some of the ideas inside. This book is full of vintage reprints of publications from The Women's Institue of Domestic Arts and Sciences published between 1916 and 1934Amy's blog is

Threads Sewing Guide
And the last book on my coffee table that I have checked out several times already because I love it...I really should just buy Threads Sewing Guide. This is now my favorite sewing book. Great photos, clear instructions. This book is sold everywhere. 

Now for a book my library doesn't have but I check often, hoping they get it soon! Spud and Chloe at the Farm by Susan B. Anderson. Susan has another book which I have checked out many times, Itty-Bitty Toys, and I am anxious to see her new book. And here is Susan's blog

Spud & Chloë at the Farm 

What new books have you discovered lately?

Friendship Friday

     "Putting your friend’s welfare before your own: that was Austen’s idea of true friendship. That means admitting when you’re wrong, but even more importantly, it means being willing to tell your friend when they are. It took me a long time to wrap my head around that notion, because it flew so strongly in the face of what we believe about friendship today. True friendship, we think, means unconditional acceptance and support. The true friend validates your feelings, takes your side in every argument, helps you feel good about yourself at all times, and never, ever judges you. But Austen didn’t believe that. For her being happy means becoming a better person, and becoming a better person means having your mistakes pointed out to you in a way that you can’t ignore. Yes, the true friend wants you to be happy, but being happy and feeling good about yourself are not the same things. In fact, they can sometimes be diametrically opposed. True friends do not shield you from your mistakes, they tell you about them: even at the risk of losing your friendship—which means, even at the risk of being unhappy themselves."

 A Jane Austen Education – William Deresiewicz

     (This was supposed to be Friday's food-for-thought post. Oops! ~Noble)


February 15, 2012

A quiet song for a snowy day

We had a little snow last night, and now there is a perfectly blue sky over my perfectly white little yard. It's very beautiful, and if I could find the camera, I would show it to you. But this song is kind of what it feels like. :)

C'est La Mort by The Civil Wars

Much love to you all!

February 13, 2012

Granny Square for Adelaide

          My hands have been on a journey with a little afghan for Adelaide. For my birthday 11 months ago I received two skeins of pretty multi-colored yarn. I wasn't in need of a hat or scarf so I racked my brain for an idea to use these two skeins and I hit upon the idea to make an afghan for my first granddaughter-to-be, Adelaide. I scoured for an afghan pattern that only used two skeins of yarn and found a pretty one. So I knitted away on it all fall (I am a slow knitter ;-) and got to the end of my pattern (which was turning out lovely, by the way) but strangely I wasn't to the end of my yarn...HUH. I had no idea what calculation I had wrong...but I knew my brain wasn't big enough to figure out how to expand the pattern. So I took a little hiatus from the project and baby Adelaide was born. And after the holiday flurry, I picked that afghan back up again and set to ripping it out. I searched my stash for some more yarn to go with it and picked out a super easy granny square pattern. And set to work again. When I got to the end of my pretty yarn and the extra purple I had picked out to go with it I was surprised to find it wasn't big enough! It was about this time that I paid attention to the label on my two skeins and discovered the they were DK weight, not worsted weight like I had assumed. (In my defense I did think they were a little thin for worsted weight....duh) What to do it out again...start over....add yarn? So I sought counsel and asked Courtney, Noble and Kait what they all thought. And they all thought it would be ok to just add some more colors...very avant garde of them. So I did and here it is...the first finished project of 2012.

February 11, 2012

A Grateful Saturday

1. Adelaide's morning-person-ness. It is so much easier to get up at ridiculous hours when she smiles when she sees me.

2. Noel's superb husbanding. Seriously y'all, I got the best one. (He does stuff like, all the dishes, grocery shopping, and letting me run out for a few minutes to get some fresh air!)

3. Nursing and bouncing Adelaide; I am getting in such good shape! (My shoulders are especially nifty right now.)

4. My sisters. Kaitlin runs errands for me all the time and comes over to keep me company, and Courtney has been invaluable with her knowledge of all things baby!

5. My Dad. He just had his 51st birthday today!

February 6, 2012


We have been in our new house for over a week! I almost have everything unpacked, so we have gone from looking like the aftermath of a hurricane to looking like the aftermath of a small windstorm. Blaze is very glad. :) I'm still not sure where everything is, including the camera. But when I find it, you can bet that I will have lots of great pictures! We love this house so much, even in its craziness. Blaze has a little playroom, with a twin mattress in it for nap times (and for me to lounge on while he plays -- trying to ward off sickness by getting a little extra rest!). We bravely carried out our master-bedroom-as-study plan, which means that I have a permanently claimed sewing table for when I finish unpacking and have time to sew! Love it! Especially considering how many boxes of fabric I tucked into the closet. I have a lot of material to work with here!

We are also hunting around for a couch, since our current living room furniture will seat 3 people. It feels like a couch is kind of a commitment as far as decorating style, though, so it is taking a while to make up our minds about what we want. Something like this (haha, maybe without the price tag and the octopus)? Or maybe this? I was really considering that last one, except then they went and put it on a billboard in the middle of town....everyone will recognize it! :)

January 31, 2012

A Day Late And A Dollar Short

Sorry about the no-post yesterday, we had a very busy (and tired) day. Of course the night before I've scheduled to spend the day out of town Addie decides to not sleep two hours together so she was *super* tired and cranky all day. Which was such a shame since she'd been sleeping through the night and being an absolute doll for the whole last week!

Let's see... well, yesterday (the out of town day) Mom was a sweetheart and drove Addie and myself to Olympia to run some errands. We stopped by Babies'R'Us to get a baby monitor (I had a gift card, woo!), I got a very nice new nursing bra (it's much easier to feel put together with a nice starting layer) and Costco, which, thankfully, Addie was asleep for so Mom and I got to browse through the aisles and discuss the marvels of warehouse stores. I cannot tell you how much I love Costco; my grocery budget would look a *lot* different if I couldn't get to a Costco once a month. (Back in AZ my apartment was only a five minute drive away from Costco. Amazing!) Some of the basics I always get at Costco are stuff like:

 Frozen Chicken/Ground Beef 
 Peanut Butter (have you seen how expensive this stuff is at regular stores?!)
 Chicken/Beef Base (their price on the Better Than Bouillon brand is awesome)
 Cold Cereal (Noel's breakfast of choice right now, as I'm still sleeping when/where I can)
 Lunch Meat (for Noel's lunches)
 Anything Dairy Related - Milk, Butter, Cream, Cheese, etc. I can get a pint of Half-and-Half for 3 or 4 dollars here in town and get a quart of it for the same price at Costco.
 Olive Oil 
 Coffee Beans (sadly, coffee is getting really expensive but it's still cheaper to make your own than to buy itfrom a coffee shop)

Basically, if I can get it at Costco I usually do. I can't actually remember finding something there that I could get at a better price somewhere else. (And their coupons are nice for the occasional splurge on something yummy!) What about you, do you like warehouse stores? 

 (Oh, and by-the-by, I finished another book and have already started a new one, so yay for that 2012 goal! I think muffins are next on the list.)

January 29, 2012


"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself." 
-- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

I love this quote. It's a reminder that even if I have an idea about how something should be, it doesn't mean it is correct. Humans can only see so far, God can see for eternity. Humans can only understand so much, God is understanding. God does not have to inch along to see if the ledge is safe, he built the plateau I get to walk on. It is not too dark for him, only me, which is why he is my light, holds my hand, and leads -- it is not that he is deficient,  it is that I am. In fussing it is like saying, "God, you think you know everything but do you, really?" It's obvious when put like that but it's the same thing as, "God, you should do this instead so that it won't hurt me." You might be wondering, 'Where did she get this out of that C.S. Lewis quote?' It's the bit when he says, "He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of..." He is building it to his specifications, to perfection, to something beyond human comprehension. In the process, I don't have to get in a tizzy about how everything is going to go down; I get to wonder, and marvel at his Majesty -- clapping here, praising there, giving a Huzzah! and a Thank you Lord! To us, what God is doing can be a bit frightening at times but in the end what God is doing is truly amazing.

Hopefully that all connected, haha, I am no theologist. I am sure that what I said can be expanded on or even clarified more so feel free to add with your own thoughts.You might even touch on that he is doing all this for himself, I would love to but my brains and eyes are a bit too tired now. :D 


P.S. It's so awesome that God is omnipotent and all-knowing, it fills my soul with peace just writing about it.

January 26, 2012

Quick Mix Tip

Nope, it's not music, it's.... Tea!

People tell us womens (yup) that drinking raspberry leaf tea is good for us, which it really is. But the sad truth of the matter is that raspberry leaf tea tastes like...well... leaves. With maybe a little bit of earthy dirtness thrown in for good measure. But *trumpet sounds* it doesn't have to! My trick for making raspberry leaf tea taste better is to make it per its directions and then, in the last five minutes of steeping time I add Raspberry Zinger tea bags to the mix (because I do like Raspberries), and then finish it off with just a dot of honey. Ta da! Better tea, just like that.


January 24, 2012

What I'm up to...

Over here in Idaho, Ryan and I have found a house to rent! And we're moving in on Saturday -- it's been a whirlwind adventure! I'll keep you posted (with pictures) as we get settled into the new place. God has really blessed us with this: it's in the perfect location, in a good neighborhood, it's much nicer than anything else we'd seen, it's bigger, and it's cute!

We are plotting how to set up our new kingdom...we even have crazy hare-brained thoughts of using the master bedroom as a studio. It has the most lovely window seat, which would be kind of wasted in a bedroom. It would be unconventional, but kind of nice... :)

Right now our apartment looks like this, and we feel about as tight as a snake in its skin. It will be so good to have a little room to stretch! Blaze will be glad when all the hubub dies down, too.

Next week in the new territory!


January 23, 2012

Embroidery Sites

It is January and I am looking around for projects to keep my hands busy (can't give you good reasons why I don't finish all that I have started first...perhaps because a new year makes me feel like new projects are needed!) I love embroidery and would like to do more of it so I have been searching the internet for inspiration. There are so many talented people out on the web! I thought I would share a bit of what I found

 Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread - Tips, Tricks & Great Resources for Hand Embroidery
    This website is amazing! Mary has provided over 50 video tutorials, free patterns, tips and techniques and gobs more. I am hoping to work through her Hand Embroidery Tutorial:

Hand Embroidery Lettering and Text Tutorials on

 feeling stitchy
Feeling Stitchy is a great group of embroiderers and crafters. And they blog about all sorts of things. A fun thing that they do is provide a monthly stitch-a-long. I plan to join them on one of these soon!


Wild Olive is a blog run by Mollie. I only just discovered her but oh-how-cute! are her creations. This is a simple but darling recent project:

hand warmer

HomeThe tag line for Sublime Stitching is "This ain't your gramma's embroidery". Oh so true! Very contemporary and some of it isn't my cup of tea....but....there are a lot of really great patterns that I would love to

Aren't these lovely?!

5. Don't forget MY OH MY....the cutest patterns! Type "hand embroidery" into the search box, and don't forget your hanky in case you start to drool a little.
Sweet Dreams - Hand Embroidery PDF Pattern        Sweet Apple tree (bunny with the golden apple) Hand Embroidery PDF Pattern
Like this from Bumpkin           Or this from FollowtheWhiteBunny

6.  Just one more......
Take a peek some great groups on
The Embroidery Group - There are over 7,000 members uploading photos of their beautiful embroidery.
Hoop Love Vintage Transfers - thousands of scans of vintage embroidery patterns
Vintage Embroidery Patterns - another group of vintage patterns