Thursday, October 23, 2008

falling in love with WI

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd wind up living pretty much in the middle of metro suburbia when I dreamed about raising a family someday. Especially when I fell in love with a guy who only wanted to talk about mountains, 3rd world countries and places like Tibet. So it's kind of funny that we winded up where we are now. My husband loves teaching at TEDS and we both thoroughly believe that it was a divine appointment that moved us here. I remember the first time we drove around looking for homes (after living on 2 acres in beautiful rural Michigan and where all of our church community literally lived within a 5 mile radius of each other) here in the burbs and we knew family life was going to be an adjustment. Now, four years later we still find heartpangs for places like Alaska & Africa but we are blessed to have made Wisconsin a home and especially blessed by the friends and community we've established here. Earlier this month we were able to slip away as a family and do a fall camping trip to Devil's Lake state park near the Wisconsin Dells. It was one of the most beautiful camping weekends we've experienced and as we drove home our hearts were grateful for our new "homeland".
Playing football with Dad at the campsite. The boys are in love with football...what is it with Josiah? is all or nothing with that kid. First he was obsessed with trains, then dinosaurs, then wild animals, and now football. The other night I had to read an entire book about the Seattle Seahawks to this boy. And twenty times a day he asks me "What's your favorite NFL team, mom?", only to be followed up by "What's your favorite college football team?" I have very limited knowledge (not to mention lack of desire to learn more) about football...but then again I have learned quite a bit about carnivorous animals over the past few years. I suspect I'll learn a bit more about football...
One of the beauties of having a larger family is the ability to have lots of when Isaac wanted to play in the back of the suburban at our campsite. Josiah happily obliged him...and especially enjoyed cleaning up (make that eating) the bag of chips Isaac had dumped out. Josiah is wearing his coonskin hat (prized possession) with which he wants to be Davy Crockett for Halloween this year.Cole helps Maddie organize her beautiful leaf collection.In the parking lot getting ready to head out for a hike. Isaac was very excited that he was "free" on this trip due to the fact we forgot to bring the backpack carrier for him.
The four kids in front of the infamous "balanced rock." The pictures made it look huge but when you got up close it wasn't even as tall as Tom or I. The hike there was beautiful, though, a reminder that the journey is the destination sometimes.
"Mr. I-Can-Do-It-ALL-by-Myself!"

More to come...

Chicken Continental

Okay, I think up to this point most of the recipes I've shared have been desserts (and I wonder why I struggle with my weight?) but I am excited to share a main course this time around. I love this recipe for many reasons. First it is from my dear friend Jill (does anyone else love recipes more because they come from someone you love or is that just me?), second it uses instant rice so it cooks in 30 minutes (move over Rachel Ray) and most importantly it is delicious! It is comfort food to the core.

4 boneless chicken breasts
1/3 c. butter (I use half olive oil, half butter to keep butter from burning)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 T. grated onion
dash pepper
1 T. chopped parsley
1 t. salt
1/2 t. celery flakes
1/8 t. thyme
1 1/3 c. water
1 1/3 c. instant rice

Roll chicken in flour; brown in butter. Remove chicken. Stir soup, seasonings and water into drippings. Cook and stir to a boil. Spread instant rice in 1 3/4 quart shallow casserole. Pour all but 1/3 cup soup over rice. Stir to moisten. Top with chicken and rest of soup. Bake, covered at 375 for 30 minutes or until tender (I usually bake mine a little longer provided I have the time).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

lickin' the brownie bowl

Precariously perched to get a piece of the action(lack of pants due to I think just getting up from nap)...
Aw man, who needs a spoon!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Cole turned 8 at the beginning of last month. It was a low key night at home (our favorite kind) with a visit from Grandma to make the day extra special. Nana & Gramps will be happy to read that his favorite dinner, and request for his birthday meal, was finger steaks. He also had soccer practice that evening and the entire family has really enjoyed cheering for him at his weekly games.A picture on the couch before we opened presents...we took this exact pose last year. Really neat to note the changes of the kids from year to year. You can compare by looking at this post from last year. There was a small piece of cake leftover that Maddie had a glorious time decorating to the hilt. She pulled out sprinkles of every hue and season (ummm....wonder how old some of those are?)
The following pics were taken just this weekend as we are beginning to enjoy the fall colors (unfortunately due to taking these at dusk the leaves don't really show up). Isaac continues to be a hoot to try to photograph. I think some of the passerbys in the park were amused by our efforts...they were all childless couples with enormous cameras simply out photographing the leaves themselves and enjoying the stillness of the woods. We hoped they enjoyed our commotion because any thoughts of "stillness" were quickly shattered by our presence.
Isaac's body stance and facial expression in the following picture pretty much sums up his philosophy about posed pictures.
And lastly, a picture of our four kiddos who were balancing mom on the teeter-totter in this shot. I finally have been returning to the gym with some semblance of discipline again. While it is exciting to be down close to 10's still a struggle knowing your taking off the same weight you'd previously lost last year. I guess that's where I'm at, though. Truly acknowledging for me it will always be a struggle...but one that I hope I always struggle to stay at battle with. Anyways the kids enjoyed trying to counterbalance mom's weight. The look on their face of sheer delight just begged me to lift the camera and try to capture. I'm really trying to take those pictures in my mind every day. These days of childhood are slipping by way too quickly....but I'm so thankful for the journey through them together.

For those of you in need of a picture fix....this post should oblige you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

my favorite time of the year

Oh my it a beautiful day or what? I love waking up to a chill in the air that makes you want to snuggle under the covers...until you hear the patter of little feet that lets you know someone has crawled out of his bed AGAIN at some ungodly hour in the morning (saturdays never stop him). But then there is the reality of a husband who gets up first to take care of said child. There is also the dawning reality that the sky is brilliantly blue (was it ever more so?), the air is crisp, the leaves are dawning a bright yellow...who would want to be indoors today? The beauty in decay...maybe a lesson that death is not the final victor?