Monday, May 31, 2010

Mark and Anna's Wedding

This is way over due!

Isaac's best friend Mark married the most darling woman last weekend. We were blessed by the opportunity to travel to Ohio May 20-24th to celebrate with Mark and Anna. I wish I could say this about every wedding I attend, but there is absolutely no doubt that Mark and Anna were stamped by the Lord to be together. We're looking forward to lots of adventures together! :)

Anna has always wanted to be married in her own backyard, which is right across from the Ohio River. The Harvey family poured so much work into making the house and yard an elegant afair for the wedding. Every little detail was covered with the love of family, and it felt like a recreation of "Father of the Bride".


All of us at the rehearsal dinner

BJ, Mark, and Isaac: College buddies

All the girls about to jump for one of Anna's favorite poses!

One of the guest tables, the gazebo Anna's dad built for their dining pleasure, and the tents in the background

Our table

The alter Anna's dad built

Best friends!

All the men
Here come the GORGEOUS bride!



Husband and wife!

Groom's side of the plane had their names, and the other side said "Camping or Bust". Mark strung Anna along for weeks saying that he was taking her camping for their honeymoon. Really, he had beautiful accomodations planned in Park City, UT for a week. I can't wait to hear the stories from their trip!

Beautiful wedding cake

Down the hill from Anna's house is William Henry Harrison's tomb. It's a stunning memorial, which I'll post about later, and it overlooks the river, so the wedding party took lots of photos there. Lots of fun!

My handsome groom and me

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Mark Stecher!

I loved their private gazebo.

First dance
Mark and his mom

Anna and her dad

It's disturbing to admit my husband did have a part in this. Mark's poor car!

Meal Planning Monday

Last week didn't go as planned. We went to dinner with friends one night and Isaac was fickle about what he wanted to eat, so all sorts of things from last week will be tried again this week.

Monday: Carabbas with my family

Tuesday: Left over Carabbas

Wednesday: Grilled check in Baja Chipotle marinade, corn on the cob

Thursday: Pasta Bag, homemade garlic bread

Friday: Cranberry glazed pork loin in the Pampered Chef microwave baker, baked potatoes, steamed veggies

Saturday: leftovers from the week

Sunday: Sloppy Joes, fruit, and chips

Monday, May 24, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

Monday: Sandwiches as we were flying home from Ohio today.

Tuesday: Grilled salmon and roasted asparagus with mushrooms

Wednesday: Grilled steaks and baked potatoes

Thursday: Spicy Cranberry glazed pork loin with steamed veggies

Friday: Movie night at home with popcorn and M&Ms

Saturday-Sunday: We're planning on lots of family time, but if that falls through, we'll be munching on leftovers from this week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

This week is so simple it isn't hardly believable!

Monday: Cookout for Ashley and Tim at the Tanners. Isaac did make the cake for it, so I'll post pictures of that soon.

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Corn on the Cob

Wednesday: Grilled Salmon, Wild Rice, and Steamed Veggies

Thursday-Sunday: Ohio for a wedding, so we'll be very well fed there. :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Dear Friends,
Many of you know that between 1996 and1998, my family had four Zambian boys living with us who ended up being the victims of human trafficking (modern day slavery). While U.S. law did not help us at the time, anti-trafficking laws have been put into place, and 3 of our 4 brothers are happily back in the U.S. through the help of human trafficking victims’ visas. We have stayed in touch, and my multi-cultural family is a huge blessing. This is a story that I am learning to be comfortable sharing, as I know trafficking has only worsened in the past 12 years. Please feel free to ask me to share the entire story with you. God worked in mighty ways to keep our boys safe, and I would love to brag on Him at length.
When my brothers were forced to leave in the Spring of 1998, I naively promised them I’d come to Zambia someday to teach school. I have never forgotten that promise, and have prayed consistently since that time for God to open doors for me to travel to Zambia when He was ready for me to go.
Through friends in the Dallas area, I was put in contact with House of Moses, part of the orphanage and school system set up by Alliance for Children Everywhere ( They are in desperate need of volunteers for the month of July. After lots of face-in-the-floor prayer about a last minute trip, I know that God has opened the doors for me to travel to Zambia to keep a promise I made 12 years ago. My travel dates are June 26th-July 12th.
I will be staying in the volunteer dorm at House of Moses and assisting the teachers in the grade schools most days. I will also be rocking babies, playing, singing, and most importantly of all, sharing Christ with children who desperately need to know they are not a mistake, but greatly loved by a Daddy God who created them for a purpose and longs for them to know Him. House of Moses will provide all of my meals and transportation around the capital city of Lusaka. If free time allows, I’ll be traveling into the suburb of Kalinglinga to visit with my brothers who are still in Zambia.
While I have been saving for several months so that money wouldn’t be much of an issue when God decided it was time for me to go, I still lack $1,000. I have never had God not provide when it was His will to do so, so please pray that God will help me find the money I need to complete payments on this trip by the June 1st deadline as I continue to be faithful in my tithes and the giving of my time to His glory. I have learned the value of a penny saved in the past several months! Also, pray my passport with my married name arrives in time!
Please also pray for endurance as I know my two weeks will be a whirlwind as I take in the sights and sounds that were home to my brothers in their childhood. As much as I’m trying to prepare myself for what I’ll see, I know it won’t hit me just how different Zambia is to home until I arrive. One of my greatest gifts is also a weakness: I love quickly and deeply, so please pray that God allows me to let go when it’s time to come home and returned more intone with His heart for the nations.
Mostly, pray for the children and adults I will be working with. Pray they have open hearts to the Gospel, that I am able to be used by the Lord to meet some of the physical and emotional needs, and that my will doesn’t hinder the work God wants me to complete during my stay.
Pray for Isaac as he will be traveling with work much of the time I’m gone.
Thank you for your love and support. With out the encouragement and prayers of my friends and family, I know I wouldn’t be the woman I am.
Until the whole world hears,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Meal Planning Monday

Monday: Leftovers from last night's Mother's Day dinner Floyd's Cajun.
Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner, courtesy of Kroger's meal deal
Wednesday: Grilled Chicken and fresh corn on the cob
Thursday: Pasta Bag
Friday: Grilled Pork Chops with steamed veggies
Saturday: Homemade Pizza
Sunday: Leftovers

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

TV Report

As an educator, I'm constantly amazed at the reports that keep being published about the links between the amount of time children watch TV and the links to obsesity, school performance, social skills, and brain stimulation. To me, it is clearly obvious which of my students are TV couch potatos and those that are not. The fact that researchers spend lots of money studying this makes me laugh because I could prove it for a whole lot less money and time than they take, but if it makes the scientists happy, that's ok by me.

A new study by Canadian and American researchers was publised this week. You can read a brief analysis of the report here. Parents, please, please, please talk to your child's pediatrician and follow his/her advice about how much TV your child is allowed to watch at each age. Your child's teachers (and once s/he is grown, your child!) will thank you, I promise!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Great Bird Escape of 2010


My eyes popped opened when I heard all of the above in the middle of last night. The only thought in my head was that the gerbils had managed to push their cage out of the wooden box, off the hearth, and onto the tile floor. In hind sight, I realize two tiny creatures cannot do such a thing, but in my cobwebbed dream state, that was my train of thought. I jumped out of bed, trying to find Bailey in the dark of the hallway, knowing the 'tinkle tinkle' I had heard, and was continuing to hear, was the sound of his collar tags. The eerie part as I was making my way down the hall and into the living room was how quiet it now was.

The Wii controller charging station casts a soft blue wash over the living room at night, so I could see the gerbil cage was where it belonged, and I could even make out the two round lumps sleeping in one corner. Gerbils...check. In the corner between the fireplace and the sliding glass door, I could see the bird cage, covered by Isaac earlier in the night and hanging ramrod still from its hook. Birds...check.

Bailey. Where was my sweet boy? As I turned towards the piano room, I saw a fluff of light colored fur wag. What was he doing in the piano room? What had he found? What had caused so much noise? I switched on the lamp on my music shelf to discover a pointed dog nose that refused to move from under the curio cabinet. What in the world would be there to interest Bailey?

I was beginning to think we had a snake. I killed one snake a couple of weeks ago, and Isaac killed two more on Saturday. As much as we'd been in and out of the backyard yesterday, I was beginning to fear a snake snuck in behind us and was just waiting to strike. Wait, blondie, snakes don't make things go bump in the night. Duh.

Bailey wasn't going to budge, so I picked him up, and as I started to squat down to peak under the curio cabinet, I caught site of a white head. My head skipped a beat because the thought springing into my head now was that we had a mouse. Why a mouse would make me nervous when we have gerbils is beyond me, but it did. However, as I kept squatting lower, I realized it wasn't a white mouse head, but a white bird head!!! Nika was on the floor, under my curio cabinet, the entire width of the house away from her cage.

It didn't take me long, even in my sleepy, confused state to figure out Isaac hadn't shut the bird cage door before covering Nika and Igor for the night. He's done this before, and while I've wondered if it was the best idea, I take as much responsibility for the escape as he does because I never bothered to voice my concerns. Neither of us really ever thought the'd fly through the blanket and out of the cage, especially since parakeets have pretty horrible night vision.

As best as we can figure, Nika and Igor got into one of their love fights (all you married folk know what I mean) and Nika wanted her space. During the day, it wouldn't have been any problem for her to climb out to the top of her cage, but I suppose in the dark she got confused, started flying, couldn't find a place to land, and crashed into something, creating the noises that woke me. Igor, startled at the commotion must have taken off too because I found him clinging to the brick accent wall. Both birds were so stirred up that they wanted nothing to do with me, and all of my attempts to whisper sweet nothings into their little bird ears and lure them onto my finger did nothing but earn me the stink eye and attempted pecks at my fingers. I honestly thought Isaac had slept through all of this, but when I went to get him, he was wide awake, probably laughing at me. Being the 'all living things whisperer' that he is, the birds came right to him, promptly hopped back in their cage, and went back to sleep.

Isaac also quickly fell back asleep. I listened to him snore, the dog snore, and the cars drive by for the next three hours until the alarm went off. I don't do well with rude awakenings in the middle of the night, so needless to say, the humans in this house have agreed to double and triple check the bird cage door from now on. No more spooked birds in the middle of the night in this house!

By the way, for those of you still wondering why I'd jump out of bed and hurry into the living room to check out weird, loud noises in the middle of the night, I wasn't afraid of it being a break in and finding scary bad guys. Bailey growls and has a very tense bark when something unfamiliar is near us after dark. He's really the perfect child!

Meal Planning Monday

I'm really hoping this summer allows me to cook a bit more than I'm currently able to do so. On the other hand, we have been getting fed for free a lot, so it's hard to complain. Here is this week:

Monday: Grilled Teryaki chicken and steamed broccoli

Tuesday: Left over nshima for Isaac/Training for me

Wednesday: Sweet and Sour Chicken and white rice

Thursday: Left overs from the fridge for Isaac/Training for me

Friday: Hot dogs

Saturday: Date night to celebrate 9 months of marriage

Sunday: Out with the family to celebrate Mother's Day. The moms haven't picked a restaurant yet, but they've said Cajun or BBQ.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


When I visited Bridget and the girls last week, I made sure I didn't leave without recipes for nshima, beef, and cabbage the way it's made in Zambia. Bridget does a fabulous job making it, and I really wanted to try doing it myself so Isaac could taste what I keep talking about so much. Tonight I finally got to try it, and it was perfect!!! My pictures keep wanting to upload sideways, so I'll show the steps later, but here is the final product:

And yes, we were good Zambians and ate it all with our hands. :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Our little seedlings have grown so quickly that they have long been out of their greenhouse. Two weeks ago we placed many of them in larger pots, and by the middle of this week, the rest were in pots.
Transplanting our soon to be culinary delights of spinach, peppers of various types, and dill!

Aloe plant, pumpkins, and poinsettia


Cucumbers and Watermelon


Tonight, this berry was ready to be eaten!

Isaac picked it.

Isaac ate it! He did share a bite with me. :)
The carrots and broccoli never really took, but I have lots of yummy fruits and veggies growing well. It won't be much longer until more of them are ready for my kitchen!

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