Monday, February 23, 2009


The other day my friend Amy blogged about me. Yep. Little ol' me. It was totally unexpected and very flattering. But the really cool thing about the post is that it got me thinking about our friendship and what an amazing influence Amy has been in my life. We met in 1989 when we were 12 and in 7th grade. I still lived in Shoreview but my mom was dating Keith and we would go to his church on Sunday nights, the same church Amy attended. My mom married Keith as I was entering 8th grade and we moved to his town. I started attending the same small private school that Amy went to. What's really funny is that we could get together for coffee, say, this weekend, and call it our 15 year high-school reunion since we were the only two in our class. Anyway, we soon moved to a new house and I was delighted to discover that it pretty much backed up to Amy's house. We spent a lot of time at each other's homes and she became a part of my family. One of my favorite memories ever is the tradition that after every school Christmas program we would go to her house and make gingerbread houses. Ask Amy about Todd Proctor in the window! Riot!
Amy and I would talk about school and church and youth group and boys but I was, admittedly, much more boy-crazy than she was. We also talked a lot about spiritual "stuff". I grew up in a household of believers in Christ and knew all about God. One day, though, as Amy and I were chatting in her room, I mentioned that I had never had that conversation with Jesus that I wanted to start a relationship with Him. Amy made it very clear that I can ask Jesus into my heart at anytime (even when you are 14 years old), so there, on her bed, I asked Jesus to live in me and through me. Amy bowed her head and prayed for me too.
Even though Amy has faced some really challenging trials from typical teenage angst to losing her mother, Amy has always had a heart for God and an amazing faith. Amy has always been a fabulous friend even when life has taken us on very different paths. Amy is a wonderful mother and delights in her children. I believe Amy enjoys scrapbooking. She is insanely creative. She's always had a knack for writing and making me laugh. I think she may possibly like trying new recipes too so I will post a really easy and kid-friendly recipe at the bottom, since she asked so nicely! One more thing about Amy: She has incredible blue eyes and really straight teeth. I've always envied those traits of hers.
Amy, I don't think that I have ever taken the time to look beyond myself to ever thank you for being such a great friend so this is my "Thank You" tribute. I'm sorry I don't have any traffic to send your way other than my husband. But if anyone is reading this, check Amy out. You won't be sorry.

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken

2 tbls olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c dry bread crumbs
2/3 c Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper
6 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
In a bowl, mix the olive oil and garlic.
In another bowl, mix the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil and pepper.
Dip each chicken breast in the oil mixture then the bread crumb mixture.
Arrange the coated chicken breasts in the prepared baking pan and top with any remaining bread crumb mixture.
Bake 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Roasted Potato Wedges

4 large potatoes
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 c water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Cover the bottom of a 9x13 baking sheet with parchment paper
Cut potatoes into wedges (each potato should make 8 wedges)
In a small bowl, mix garlic powder, paprika, dry mustard, salt, pepper, rosemary, and sugar with a whisk.
In a large bowl, place potato wedges and water.
Pour oil and seasoning mix over potato wedges and mix to coat.
Place potato wedges in a single layer onto baking sheet and pour any remaining mixture over them.
Bake potato wedges 35-40 minutes until tender and golden brown.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Last night for dinner we ate tacos with the normal toppings; lettuce, tomatoes, taco blend shredded cheese, and sour cream. Instead of ground beef, we make the taco meat with ground turkey and a low sodium mix. It's really difficult to tell the difference. We do eat whole wheat tortillas but we happened to have some flour tortillas so Josh and I ate those. I love to put guacamole on my tacos but I couldn't find an avocado when I went grocery shopping. Bummer.
We also had whole grain tortilla chips with all natural salsa.
Dinner was delish and I felt very proud of myself as I fed my family a healthy meal.

Then it was dessert time!

This is one of Josh's and my favorite desserts.

I can take back all the pride in my healthy meal and indulge in a little bit of heaven on earth that I call Sopapilla Sundae.

It is a fried tortilla sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, topped with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate and caramel syrups, and surrounded with a few dollops of Redi-Whip.

Just the perfect ending to a taco dinner and I ate every last bite! Josh even licked his plate.

In the words of Rachael Ray, "Yummo!"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Winter Wonderland

We were reminded this morning that winter
is not over. It started snowing last night and went through the morning. It was a heavy, sticky snow because of the warmer temperatures. Perfect for snowmen! Or snowballs!

Our woodpile is covered in snow waiting until we can use it for our summer bonfires. I am ready for all the snow to melt away and for spring to arrive with the promise of a hot, sunny summer.

The little critters made tracks in the snow through our yard. This one is a bunny track (or two). There is an abundance of those pesky garden-eaters in our neighborhood! I am looking forward to a garden filled with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and maybe some sunflowers this year. I just have to figure out a way to keep those pesky little garden-eaters out!

The clouds rolled away revealing a beautiful blue sky and a warm sun to melt away the snow. Did I mention that I am looking forward to some warmer weather?

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Last December, Angie Smith had a scripture memorization "challenge" on her blog. I was so excited to be a part and to "hide" God's Word in my heart.

I made it through verse 8.

Out of 24.

Then I gave up. I'm not sure why but I think it's because I didn't make the passage readily available and I got lazy about looking it up. I fell behind and became discouraged with myself.

Beth Moore is conducting a year long Scripture memorization "program" on her blog. You choose a verse to memorize on the 1st and 15th of every month and record it.I am a bit late in starting it for the year but I plan on catching up these next two weeks with the first 4 verses.

I will memorize Psalm 139 (NIV) which was the passage that Angie had chosen. It has 24 verses which is perfect for the year and it is very affirming of God's love for me.

So here we go! I mean, here I go!

Psalm 139:1-4(NIV)
1O Lord, You have searched me and You know me
2You know when I sit and when I rise: You perceive my thoughts from afar
3You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways
4Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord

This should be very doable and there will be reminders on her blog to keep me on track. I am excited to learn what God has to teach me through His Word.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Valentine

Everlasting Love


Servant of God

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Off to War

Today I was going to post some cute kid stories but then something happened this morning that affected me much more than I expected.

I work at the Veteran's Memorial Community Center in Inver Grove Heights but more specifically, The Grove. I have to be there to open my end of the building at 5am for members to use the fitness equipment, pools and track. This community center, as typical, also houses a National Guard facility.

Just this morning, the 34th Red Bull Infantry division was deployed to Iraq. The ceremony was held around 7:30am and the 7 buses carrying the soldiers pulled out of the parking lot around 8:30am. I watched from my desk as friends and families and members of The Grove, virtual strangers to these men and women, waved goodbye from the grass under The Stars and Stripes.

I knew this day was coming since several of the members of the National Guard are also members of The Grove and have cancelled their memberships due to their deployment. When one would mention their upcoming tour I never knew if I should express sympathy or pride or gratitude, so instead, I matched their stoicism and acted as if it were no big deal.

Even though I have had friends and family of my own (currently a distant cousin and a pseudo cousin-in-law) endure long front-line tours in Iraq and I have prayed for (and worried about) their strength of mind and body and definitely for their safety, their service just never seemed to affect me so deeply. I don't know if it has been ignorance or apathy. Perhaps a mixture of both with a bit of narcissism mixed in to be honest.

So today, as I tearfully watched their departure from behind my desk, I committed to praying for these soldiers who are fighting for our freedom and our safety. I committed to learning more about their mission specifically and the possibility of correspondence. That is so hard to put in black and white because it means that I actually have to do something besides hide in my own little world doing my own little thing. I have to attempt to reach out beyond myself which is not an easy thing for this shy introvert. I read a blog post today that caused me to think about stepping out of my comfort zone. I wish I could remember what it was but it was good.

And then knowing knowing these men and women would miss their spouses, children, parents, friends and Christmas this year broke my heart.

I wish that I could wrap this post up neatly but the truth is that it is just the beginning. I don't want to forget about my commitment so I'll start here. Feel free to check it out and please pray for these soldiers on the other side of the world.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bathtime For Baby

Andy is terribly crabby only about every night and the one thing that makes him happy is a good dip in the tub. He crawls around chasing his toys and making waves. He recently discovered splashing and that it not only makes for a fun noise but also drenches the entire bathroom and anyone that may be in there with him. And sometimes he even inadvertently creates a spa experience with, ahem, bubbles.

But even bathing can be exhausting...

and slightly prune inducing.

I would have some pictures of Josh but it's probably not so appropriate to take and post pictures of a 9-year-old bathing. Just sayin'.

Alright! Alright! Here is Josh acting like his goofy self and me on the other side of my new Canon XSi SLR camera.

I still have a lot to learn about my camera but one thing I do know for sure, Josh is so darn cute!!