Friday, April 30, 2010

Bad Bottle Cap!

I save money by washing water bottles in the dishwasher, filling them with filtered water from the refrigerator, and then keeping them in my mini-fridge at school. Yesterday morning I dropped a bottle cap as I was putting it in the silverware caddy of the dishwasher. It bounced and rolled and fell into the small cranny in the hinge of the dishwasher door. Yep. Truly. It happened. My bottle cap was between the two parts of the dishwasher door. Wow...I'm talented.
Last night, Isaac took the drill to unscrew the inside cover from the outside part of the dishwasher door.

Then he reached in and found the bottle cap.

Ta-da! Problem solved. I was told to never, ever drop a bottle cap again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Girls' Weekend

Isaac went to Ohio for Mark's bachelor party (serious go-kart racing, wiffle ball, and grilling...perfect man day!), so I went to Arlington to be with my brother Jeff's wife and two girls while he's away in Zambia visiting his siblings and cousins for the first time in 12 years. It was the most perfect weekend! To think I almost wanted to fuss about the long drive (not my cup of tea...after 2 hours, I want OUT of the car!), but when Jeff texted me Saturday morning me with, "thank you for visiting my girls this weekend, sister", all travel qualms were history. That word is still so precious and sweet to my ears. Some day, I will share the trafficking story about my brothers, but that's a sad post for another time. Today is happiness!
After being in car for 5 hours on Saturday, I asked Bridget if she had ever taken the girls to the Ft. Worth Zoo. It is one of my favorite zoos in the country (I visit zoos every time I travel, if at all possible, and FW has always remained high on the list), and the weather was an absolute joy. They had not gone, but Bridget thought it was a fabulous idea, so we packed up the girls (Tina, 4, and Joelle, 8 months today) and headed 20 minutes west to the zoo. Tina quickly figured out the zoo map (yay for pictures!) and led us on a great adventure of animals galore!
Sweet favorites, along with the elephants!
Tina with the Queen of the Jungle!
Gorgeous family!

My brother has a FABULOUS family!

This morning we nearly missed church when we opened the garage door to see that the neighbor parked a car right in front of it! The townhomes share four garages to a driveway, and there is plenty of parking 10 steps away,(literally, I counted), but this neighbor didn't pay attention to that. Bridget tried to get them to answer their door, but they wouldn't. So, what do two, quick on their feet, resourceful women do when the Holy Spirit is calling? We each grabbed a car seat, anchored and belted them into Ol' Sarge, and off we went to church! Take that Satan, trying to keep us from hearing our Lord's message. I don't think so, buddy! A guy that was a few years old than me in youth group at UBC, Clint Dobson, is the pastor of their church. Small word! Clint and Bridget were amazed at the connection. I enjoyed getting to discuss the sermon with Bridget. What a treat to have another woman to share with!

I'm struggling to put the emotions from this weekend into words. Seeing how God has brought the love of a family full circle from 14 1/2 years ago is humbling and a blessing. Jeff, Fred, Yona, and Kelvin are my brothers, regardless of the looks we get, and their families are as dear to me as Laura and her family are to me with David. To be snuggled up on the couch with both Tina and Joelle last night and this morning while visiting with Bridget brought such peace to my soul. Knowing that a nightmare situation of abuse and hatred has butterflied into a loving, beautiful, happy, family is nearly more exuberant joy than this heart of my can take. Then, when I called Bridget to tell her I made it home safely, they all told me they missed me already. I can't wait for our next visit in June! Our God is so good.

Bridget was so patient with me as I picked her brain, asking question after question about life back home in Lusaka. She was a fabulous teacher, and I came home with much more understanding of the inner workings of the city. Of course, now my heart is even more anxious to visit, but God has a time for that, and I must wait. I also came home with recipes for nshima! YAY! I hope I don't botch it too badly the first time I try it.

Jeff, my brother, you have the most beautiful, precious wife. Thank you for sharing her and your sweet girls with me! I am so blessed because of the four of you.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

Tuesday: Pampered Chef Party at my mom's

Wednesday: Fajitas from Kroger's meal deal

Thursday: Pasta Bag

Friday: Dinner with family

Saturday and Sunday: Dinner with some of my Zambian family

Bailey's a Big Brother!

A week ago Saturday, Isaac and I adopted 2 sister gerbils from a friend whose cat didn't care for them. Oops. The original plan was to make them class pets, but until I get a second cage at school, I can't leave them up there because ALL power is cut on weekends. I don't want the little girls to roast, and their cage is too big to lug back and forth, so for now, the girls are living in their gerbil mansion on our hearth.

They are sisters and were born in February of 2009, so we've got about 18 months left with these sweet girls, hopefully! Sadly, they're about as identical as identical gets, so we haven't named them. However, they have incredibly different personalities, and we definitely know which one is which within 30 seconds of walking up to the cage. Gerbils don't usually bite, and they are getting very used to being handled by Isaac and me. They sleep a lot during the day, but they aren't loud enough to keep us awake at night (yay!).

Up until Friday, this was as close as Bailey was allowed to the gerbils. I was afraid he might think they'd make a tasty meal. Bailey is insanely jealous when we handle the birds, so I didn't know what to expect with the gerbils. However, each day this week, Bailey watched the gerbils play in their cage more and more. He was mesmerized with how they dug in their bedding, clawed through their food dish, and crawled through their tunnels. Finally on Friday, I let them out of their cage to run around the wooden box in which their cage sits and the hearth. He did really well, and just watched and watched.

Yesterday, I let him get right up with them. Bailey loved that! He seems to think he's their daddy or incredibly over-productive big brother. As he kept a tight reign on making sure they stayed out of the fire place and on the hearth, I decided to clean their cage.

After a bit, our brave little gerbil decided the fire place was a great place to play. WRONG! So, into their pink ball they went. They really don't like the pink ball, but if they want to get into dangerous places, they get the pink ball.
Bailey did a great job of keeping an eye on where they rolled. He eventually realized that the rug was keeping them from rolling where they wanted. I was cleaning the cage in the kitchen, and heard Bailey scratching on something. When I looked up, Bailey had rolled up the corner of the living room rug! He had figured out why the gerbils were stuck in their ball, and fixed the problem!

Then he helped them even more by giving them the gentlest little push. It was adorable how my dog who knows nothing about playing was finally playing with the gerbils. WOW! Not only is my kid a genius, but he's learned how to have fun, too! We always knew he was sweet and caring, but now he's shown us even more about his complex personality. Precious Bailey!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ashley's Kitchen Shower

Ashley allowed Michelle and me to host a bridal shower for her. We were so excited to have the opportunity to bless our sweet friend (at least, we hope it blessed her!). Michelle and I decided to make the shower's theme be all about the kitchen, and every one had lots of fun!
Of course, Isaac made the cake!
Ashley had friends come from near and far, mostly from school and church, to celebrate her. It was so fun to see many ladies who love Ashley together. Michelle game up with two games for us to play that weren't silly or corny but special and fun. She's a genius like that!

Maradee, Joy, Megan, Michelle, and Kim

Diana (Ashley's mom), Amy, Mom, and Nanny

Ashley, Toni, Randa, Casey

Mom, Nanny, Brittany, and Kallae

Ashley and her sweet mom!

Nanny enjoyed holding Megan so Michelle could be a hostess.

Ashley requested a picture with her real family and her surrogate Houston family. So blessed to have played that role!

Love these two!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wise Advice

A very wise woman I dearly love gave advice to Jeff and Fred recently when we were all together playing with their girls. One of the girls mentioned boys at school (she's in Pre-K). Our wise friend off hand mentioned to the guys that she and her husband vowed to never ask their three daughters about 'boyfriends'. Instead, they would ask the girls about their friends at school. As the girls would ramble on about all of their friends, they would ask what they (both the boys and girls) did together at school that made them friends. Their reasoning was that they didn't want their girls starting to get the impression that Mom and Dad expected them to have 'boy' friends since they asked about it, or thought that they weren't complete without a 'boy' friend since Mom and Dad mentioned it so much. In this day and age, I thought that was beautiful, wonderful advice! What a treasure those three girls had in their parents, and still do. By the way, all three girls are happily grown and married, two of them already with children. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

Monday: Pot Roast with veggies (it smelled so good last night!!!)

Tuesday: Salmon and Asparagus Biscuits

Wednesday: Teriyaki Bowls

Thursday: Hamburgers

Friday: Leftover Pot Roast

Saturday: Date Night now that the shuttle EVAs are complete.

Sunday: Pasta Bag

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Russian Chicken

This is a favorite childhood recipe. Enjoy!

4 chicken breasts
1 package dry onion soup mix
8 oz Russian Salad Dressing
1 jar of Apricot Preserves
White Rice

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 cooking spray with Pam and put in chicken breasts. Mix last three ingredients together and pour over chicken. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Cook rice according to package instructions. Serve chicken and sauce on top of rice.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Green Thumb

I've been talking for a while about how fun it would be to grow a small garden. We're having great success with the flowers we've planted, so I thought fruits and veggies sounded like a treat. Isaac saw this nifty greenhouse started kit for $5 at Wal-mart and asked if I was ready to begin. Of course I was!!!

Isaac helped me water the peat pellets. They grow once wet; it's fun to watch them, like the little capsules that turned into animal sponges that we all grew as kids!

I took a toothpick and gently pulled back the netting so I could dig little holes for the seeds.

We planted a different kind of seed in each row. I made little flags out of post its and toothpicks so that we'll remember what we planted in a few weeks when it's time to move the seedlings to the ground.

Here's the final product of the planting experience. I know the tags are clear in the picture, but we have spinach, dill, cucumbers, watermelon, pumpkins, green bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, broccoli, and cantaloupe. For now, the greenhouse lives in the garage. Once the seedlings sprout, the greenhouse will be moved outdoors during the day and come back inside at night. After they grow a bit more, we'll transfer them to the courtyard off of our bedroom. I'll keep you posted on the progress these little guys make!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

Isaac has an incredibly odd schedule this week due to the shuttle mission, so I'm not making a real meal plan for the second half of this week. I'll probably be on my own most dinners which means I'll be content with a sandwich, a bowl of cereal, or with my family. However, I did cook tonight, and I have a new recipe planned for tomorrow, so that's exciting!

Monday: Russian Chicken that didn't happen last week

Tuesday: Asparagus Rotelli Pasta from the Houston Chronicle. I'll post the recipe if it's good. :)

Wednesday-Sunday: A fly by my seat kind of week.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Easter is hands down my favorite holiday! God did miraculous things during Holy Week, miracles unlike He'd ever done before, even with creation. Christ suffered so much in the hours before the cross at the hands of those who refused to acknowledge who He was. The agony He suffered on the cross is unimaginable, and all because He loves me (and everyone) enough to be the sacrifice that would tear the temple curtain so that we all could have direct access to our Heavenly Father, if we just chose to believe what He has said and done. As Friday's service so helpfully reminded me, those that loved Jesus and knew Him so dearly suffered fully as well, feeling completely helpless as they watched the One they believed to be their Savior die-fully and completely die. For the rest of Friday and all day Saturday, the believers' mourning must have been monumental. Their faith must have been doubted. The One they had heard claim would never die was dead. Oh, the fear, that must have rendered in their hearts! Then, early Sunday morning, Mary brought the news: HE IS ALIVE! Not just resuscitated like Lazarus or the young 12 year old girl who eventually had to do their dying all over again, but resurrected to NEVER die again. The shock surely was great, and no wonder Jesus knew He must show everyone his hands and sides! What Christ claimed for 3 years of teaching was, and is, true! Over 500 people saw Jesus alive. God made sure there was no reason to doubt what He so wonderfully wants for all of us: a relationship with Him, made possible by His sacrifice because He made us to be known and loved by Him. What a gift! How I pray this gift is yours this Easter!
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