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Monday, August 30, 2010

So Long San Mateo Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I love these two.  Almost as much as the cupcakes they are holding.  OK, more.  But barely (they are REALLY good).

They leave on Friday for Azusa Pacific University.  Mikey, a returning senior and Margaret, an incoming junior.  We are used to Mikey leaving but Margaret, not so much.  SAD, sad day.  We aren't even telling Ashlyn.

We said goodbye at church last night with cupcakes.  They help with the sadness.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups cake flour (NOT self rising), 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon cinnamon. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temp), 1 3/4 cups sugar, 4 large eggs (at room temp), 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1 1/4 cups milk.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:  1 package cream cheese (at room temp), 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter (at room temp), 4 cups powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.  Mix together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat until incorporated, scraping along sides of bowl when necessary.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three quarters full.  Bake about 20 minutes and test with toothpick to be sure they are done.  Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.

For the frosting: blend cream cheese and butter on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  Stop the machine.  Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, blending on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated, about 1 minute.  Add the cinnamon then increase the mixer speed to medium and blend the frosting until fluffy, about 1 minute more.

After cupcakes are frosted, sprinkle tops with cinnamon and sugar.  Chill in the fridge before serving.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Five Years Ago

Our country changed forever.  And,  the following December, so did I.  Post-Katrina, Dave went to Mississippi 4 times.  First, in April of 2006 to organize the logistics  of bringing a group to help with the restoration of the devastated area.  He returned with teams in August of 2006, December of 2006 and August of 2007.

I was able to go once.  I was 6 months pregnant with Ashlyn and spent much of my time sifting though the rubble of destroyed homes, searching for  missing treasures and lost heirlooms.  Work that could only be done by one so disconnected from the memories that it was not overwhelmingly painful to find them all broken.

We spent much of our time at Paul and Stella's house.  As the others worked to build a drainage trench around their property, I began sifting.  Stella told me stories about her family, her grandchildren especially.  About the fact that her husband, Paul was a writer.  And about her famous french onion soup she had served every Christmas Eve in beautiful cobalt blue soup bowls.

Most of what I found that day was small, shattered and unrecognizable.  But I continued to sift and dig.  Later that afternoon, I saw a teeny, tiny piece of cobalt blue buried in what used to be their vegetable garden.  I assumed it broken, but to my surprise, pulled out an entire soup bowl, perfectly in tact.   The most beautiful soup bowl I had ever seen.  I called over to Stella and she was thrilled.  We hugged.  We cried.  She ran it back to her FEMA trailer, excited to pair it with its' top that a neighbor had found many months earlier.

We did other things that week.  More important things.  Like electrical work and fence repair.  Lots of yard clean-up and debris removal.  We sheet rocked and painted.  We dug lots of trenches to prepare for their rainy season.  But Stella and her cobalt blue soup bowl, I will remember forever.

God taught me many things in Mississippi.  Earthly treasures can be gone as quickly as they come and it is important that I not find value or identity in them.  I learned that every person has a story and if we claim to care for them, we need to listen.

And, I was reminded that it is  not about what we DO.  It's not about the scope or size of our job or how far we travel to complete it.  It is not about our talents and abilities.  We do not gain favor in God's eyes or earn our way to heaven by DOING.  As Christians, we are saved by grace, not by works.  In our good works, we show our appreciation for the grace we have received and our love for Jesus.

"For by grace you have been saved, through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is a gift from God.  Not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."  Ephesians 2:8-10

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chipotle Sundays

An unspoken tradition of sorts.  Chipotle take-out at our house after service.  I love these nights.  Planning, dreaming, praying for what God wants for this body of believers.  And the best chips and salsa on the planet.

P.S.  You've probably noticed I've remained rather quiet about my weight loss.  It's because there's really not much to say.  It's the chips and salsa's fault.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Not So Friendly Acres

Good thing Kayla doesn't read this yet.  She would not be happy about my little excursion this morning.  But I'm still not sure that I am even happy about my little excursion this morning.  My lower extremities hurt like I just birthed a third child and I can barely type because my palms are bruised from gripping  the saddle knob thing (which I'm sure has a technical name but I'm too lazy to look it up).  Whatever it's called, it's FAR too small.

While most of the other horses at Friendly Acres Ranch walked, paused to eat, waited patiently and followed instructions, my horse, Suerte was straight rogue.  And bff's with the only other rogue horse of the bunch.  It's no coincidence his name means luck in Spanish.  You need ALOT of it when you ride him.

Don't let my smile fool you.  I once heard that horses, like dogs, sense fear.   Right after this picture was taken, his brisk trot quickly escalated into a full sprint.  And he ignored my multiple reign pulling requests to slow down.  At which point, I closed my eyes, began to acquire my palm bruises and pretended to be riding in a convertible.  But screamed like I was on a roller coaster.  The horse whisperer looked at me in disgust.  The things I do for you, Kim.  And your birthday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Camp Coyote, Earth Explorers

Day 2: Marshes and Swamps.  "My counselor says we MUST wear clothes we aren't afraid to get wet in and bring a change of clothes just in case all of us gets wet..."  Not excited AT ALL.  She pretty much slept in those purple camos.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Playing Baby

She really gets into character.  Babies in our house also eat apples, straight up.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Candy Cupcakes and Dave's Birthday

Quite tasty but prepare for a seriously JACKed up kitchen.  Definitely not the best baking choice when 40+ people are coming over  to celebrate your husband's birthday, house is squeaky clean and you've locked the kids in the backyard to keep it that way.  But I think they were worth it.  Recipe here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

35 Reasons

...why I love my husband.  One for each year he celebrates today.  As told (primarily) through picture texts, sent from him to me.

35. His love for the little things.  Including this gargantuan-sized jug of Tapatio sent w/ "Booooooom" as the subject.  His excitement for stuff like this KILLS me.  And makes me want to kill him sometimes.  34. Nothing spells L-O-V-E more than clean (and folded) laundry.  Also, he has wonderfully realistic and domestically liberating expectations as to the cleanliness and organization of our home.  Until he can't find his dental floss.  Then the earth falls of its' axis.  33. His God-given leadership qualities, determination and drive.  Also, his passion for teaching God's Word and shepherding God's people.  This is my favorite picture ever, I think. 

32. He shops for our girls.  He bought those cute little purple Vans for Ashy last year.  And for KK, those skinny jeans and black converse.  31. His love for Chipotle that I definitely share.  Our baby has inherited it, too.  30. His passion for the game(s).  Football, baseball, hockey, golf, curling.  You name it and can play it, he loves it.  He dresses the girls in sports gear whenever he can.  And actually, I find security in his fanaticism.  His loyalty and devotion to teams  like the Giants and the Niners remind me that he will always stick around.  Even when I'm a loser. 

29. He always gives me his heart.  Artichoke and otherwise.  28. His passion for Jesus and serving His people.  This picture was taken while helping his mom rip up her carpet and replace it with hardwood floors.  And actually it's Kim and Kelly serving.  Which brings to mind another reason why I love him so much.  He has an amazing ability to move people to action and he only uses it for good.  27. He takes KK on ice cream dates.  He values his role as daddy and understands the lasting importance of spending quality time  with them.

26. Movie night at Kayla's school.  Speaking of Kayla's school, he has aspirations to be president of the PTA.  Look out, Sunnybrae.  25. He takes the safety of our children very seriously.  24. He loves Friday Night Lights, The Office, Whale Wars and Kitchen Nightmares almost as much as I do.  And Shark Week.

23. He is super helpful with the girls and loves getting them bathed and ready for bed.  And allows Ashy to wear Kayla's PJ's.  Which Ashy loves also.  22. He makes pizza from scratch.  21. He's a fun dad.  And allowed Ashlyn to wear her Halloween costume before even leaving the store.  And for most of the month, actually.

20. He is excited about ministering to our community and sharing Christ.  19. He watches with delight when Ashy swings a bat.  It's usually at her sister but he's not really concerned about that.  Definitely more interested in her form.  18. He takes artsy pictures.

17. He shares his bed.  And sometimes gets kicked out.  BAD summer habit.  We'll regulate when school starts.  16. He genuinely enjoys helping others.  Like his mom when she bought a new car earlier this month.  I think in his next life he will be a certified pre-owned car salesman.  He loves the whole process which I think is the weirdest thing EVER.  15. He loves Kobi.  The only other man in the house.

14. Our little Ashy at one of her many doctor's appointments this past year.  I love him because he constantly reminded me of God's plan and purpose through all of it.  And now, I can honestly say that I see this huge trial as a gift.  God is going to use it and her in big ways.  And I am thankful to my dear husband for continually reminding me of that fact.  13. He loves to take our babies to the zoo.  12. And to the beach.

11. And to movie dates with friends.  10. And to the snow.  9. And to Starbucks.

8. And to the park.  7. And to the pumpkin patch.  6. And to creepy, plush m&m factories.

5. He has discernment.  Todd Friel, pictured here, (and who spoke recently at a conference Dave attended) is the host of one of the more "legit" shows on Jesus TV.  Dave likes to watch late night Jesus TV and analyze its' theology.   I don't know why I love this but I do.  I have, however,  banned him from calling the hotlines to debate with the prayer warriors.  4. He listens to a Paul Washer sermon at least once a day.  3. He loves music.  And so does Ash.

2. The CityTeam housecat.  Sent with caption "Show to KK, please."  I love him because he's constantly thinking about his girls, even when he is not with them.  1. Daytime Skyline snow date while girls were in school.  He values our time together and invests in our relationship.  He is a true, living example of a biblical husband and father, who loves Jesus first and foremost, and I am blessed beyond belief to be married to him.

Happy Birthday, babe!  I love you and am thankful for all you do.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Our Oldest Friend

On Tuesday, our friend Danny turned old.  REAL old.  Like halfway-to-dead old.  The first of our close friends to hit the big 4-0.  We celebrated at a San Jose Giants game which, I have to say, was quite fun.  Not as fun as watching him hike over the hill WAY before us.  But still fun.  Let us know how it is on the other side, old man... ;)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Funny Face

Before school wrapped for the summer, Ashlyn and her teachers had been working on different emotions.  Even has a teeny, tiny baby, her face has always been very expressive.  These are a few of my favorites.  I apologize in advance for the see-food.  I had to bribe her with chicken nuggets.

First, we have "happy."

Next, "grumpy."

And, last but not least, "silly."

And yes, she is wearing Croakies.  I realize they are geeky and it's highly likely she will want to kill us when she's older.  But, you see, they prevent her hearing aids from taking another spin in the microwave.  Which prevent us from killing her.  So it's kind of  a life and death situation.  I think she'll understand.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunnybrae 5-Day Club

Last week, Hope hosted its' first annual 5-Day Bible Club at Sunnybrae Park in San Mateo.  And it was really wonderful.  Like most events during these early days of our church plant, it was very grass roots and simple.  And I think the simplicity is what made it so wonderful.

Claire, Camilla (Ashlyn loves her best because she thinks her name is Vanilla) and Jesse Sloan have been trained in Child Evangelism Fellowship and run clubs like these all over the Bay Area.  They, along with their parents have been an integral part of our church since they started attending in January.  And to say that they are gifted is a huge understatement.  They were able to teach over 40 little ones God's Word for an hour and a half, each day.  With little fluff and frills.  Amazing to see.  And such a blessing.

KK loved Club and asked about it every morning when she woke up.  She also emptied her piggy bank to help James, a CEF missionary currently living in the middle east purchase a car.  Ashlyn was more interested in the swings than Jesus.  I told her that Jesus loved her and she said that she loved Cheez-Its, too.  We've got a long road ahead.

"Call to Me and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Jeremiah 33:3