photo about-44.png photo behind-1.png photo recipe-1.png photo hope-1.png photo contact-27.png photo subscribe-10.png

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bake it or Make it: Introducing PinterTest Kitchen!

Happy Wednesday/almost Thursday, friends!

This post is for those who pin.  And have blogs.

And will reference things like linky parties and linky buttons.

If you have no clue what I'm talking about,

you may be asleep already.

Or think I've gone mad.

But if you DO pin, blog and love linky parties,

this is the place to be.



So here's the deal.

If you're like me, you've pinned hundreds of recipes and crafts.

Well, it's time to do something with them.

And we're going to do it together.


Bake them.

Make them.

Document the process with words and photos.

And link up here.

On the first Thursday of each month.


The first Linky Party starts next week!

Be there or be a lemon square.

Or a quilt square.


Can't wait to see what you've all been up to!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blog Sugar


I went to a blog conference over the weekend.

With about 200 other women.

I know.

Weird, right?


Random people asked the reason for our trip.

I tried to avoid specifics.

Dry Bar Stylist:  "Why are you in the area?"

Weirdo Blog Conference Attender: "For a girl's trip."

DBS: "Oh fun!  What are you guys going to do?"

WBCA: "ummm.  We're going to a conference."

DBS: "What kind?"

WBCA: "A faith-based blog conference."


Dead silence.  Back to blow drying.


I will say that Dry Bar Stylist has it all wrong.

It was amazing.

And kind of overwhelming.



Kim, EMJ and I stayed with Jules.

And had late night discussions about life changing things.

Like dolphin fin prosthetics.

And how to avoid physical therapy.

These girls learned how to Tweet.

She brought us beautiful jewelry.

I wanted to pack her home in my suitcase.

She hates dolphins.  But preaches like John Piper.

We ate lots of yummy stuff.  Like this.  And these.

And had dinner with her.  And her.  And her.  And her.

I got to hug her.

And see her sweet little face in real life.



We learned about using our blogs for good.

And always for the glory of God.

We learned that God has a purpose for each of our blogs.

One that we usually aren't aware of.

Until it accomplishes something bigger than us.


We learned about the importance of telling our stories.

Happy stories.

Funny stories.

Difficult stories.

All our stories.


I miss these blog friends already.

Because now they are real friends.

And that's not weird at all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Miscellany

Indian summer is here in all it's splendor.

And it is sweltering.

Like house-never-cools-down sweltering.

Dog-pant-stains-all-over-the-carpet sweltering.


I love summer.

But I love fall, too.

And by the end of summer, I love fall more.

Also, I do not love carpet.

I cannot wait to rip it all out.


I saw this tweeted this morning.

And I kind of love it.

I took a screen shot so you don't even have to click.

Also, did you know that if something appears in blue on here it's clickable?

My cousin didn't.

So I'm sharing.

In case other people are like my cousin.


This weekend, Kim and Emily and I will be in So Cal.

We are going to this.

And staying at her house.

With her.





And her.


Remember blue = clickable.

Check their blogs.

They are all some of my faves.


I am making this.

And I'm nervous.

It's my MVP dessert.

But I'm in the company of some major baking players.

And sometimes the sides burn and I have to chop them off.

No one really sees.

But now they might.


Also, Ashlyn is back at school today!

Woo hoo!


Oh and one last thing.

Everybody needs to relax about the new Facebook layout.

Mark Zuckergeek has probably changed it 200 times since its' inception.

And EVERY SINGLE TIME everybody freaks out.

But 5 minutes later we can't remember what it looked like 5 minutes ago.

The guy's a gazillionaire dork for a reason.  I'm sure he knows what he's doing.

Deep breaths, people.  It's all going to be OK.


Happy Wednesday, friends.

Stay cool, locals.

Friday, September 16, 2011

InstaFriday: One Crazy Week


With one kid back at school and the other still coming out of one hefty dose of anesthesia,

there's ample time to blog.

Because there's no more laundry to do.

Kind of like having your first newborn.

Minus the episiotomy.



So here is our crazy week.

Via Instagram photos.


My parents country club celebrated it's 100th birthday on September 10.

I like the club.

Even if sometimes it makes me feel like Miss Celia from The Help.

It's also paints a great picture of heaven.

One big party. Lots of food.

All on my Dad.

Well, and my mom.

That's where the analogy kind of crumbles.

Anyway, they had carnival rides.

Awesome food.

A great band.

And a too-close-for-comfort-leave-with-shrapnel-in-hair fireworks show.

And September 10th may have been a poor life choice date for fireworks.

Word on the street is that they had some pretty irate neighbors.

But it was an amazing show.

Also, Dave and I ran off to Monterey for the night to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary.

Fun. Relaxing.

He golfed. I slept in.

Our favorite things.

Then we came home to this.

And pre-op appointments.


Being a nurse even though I hate blood.

And puke.  And all thing nurse-worthy.

But I would do it a million times over.

Fun stuff.

Scary stuff.

But God is good in all our stuff.

And I will say I'm glad this crazy week is over.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Post Op Report

Our little patient is recovering quite nicely.

My goal since surgery has been to keep her looking like Erykah Badu as long as possible.

I'm a little obsessed with the head dressing.

So far, so good.


And you know.

There's really not much to report.

Surgery went well. No complications.


She spent some time resting on the couch when we got home yesterday.

We gave her a dose of antibiotics around dinnertime.

She had some water and a spoonful of Jell-o and then asked for her bed.

Where she slept until about 10 pm.

She then came into our bed and slept there until morning.


She has been seemingly pain-free since the surgery yesterday.

Her doctors advised to give over the counter Tylenol if she seems irritable.

But we haven't had to do that yet.


Dave had a golf trip planned months before her surgery was set.

He was ready to call it off but I encouraged him to go.

And we both felt comfortable enough with him leaving this morning.

Which means things are good. Really good.


She has a follow up appointment at UCSF next Friday.

At that time we will get her activation date.

Likely to be sometime around mid-October.

That's when all the fun stuff starts!


Thank you for your prayers, texts, phone calls, Facebook messages.

Those that came to the hospital yesterday.

Those that took care of Kayla.

Those that broke into our house and left us food.

The beautiful flowers and balloons that arrived a few minutes ago.


We are grateful.



We have some pretty amazing family and friends.


And we have an even more amazing God.

We are so thankful that He kept her safe.

And even more excited at how He will use her in the future.


She is such a gift.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


You know.

As I blog the life of my family, it's tempting to only tell you the good stuff.

The things that I am excited to share.

The happy parts of our story.


But that is a disservice.

To me.

To you.

To my family.

To my Jesus.


Tomorrow morning we will drive our little girl up to San Francisco.

And hand her over to a surgeon that we've only met four times.

And that surgeon will cut behind her ear and drill into her skull by the time most of you are eating breakfast.

Dramatic, I know.

But it's our reality today.


And I will be honest to say.

I'm anxious.

I know that she is God's child.

On loan to us for a time.

But we still have to make decisions on her behalf.

And we do our best.

But we still doubt.


Please hear me.

We are thrilled.  And excited for the technology that is available to us.

Thankful for excellent insurance that pays for the entire procedure.

But anxious at the process that gets us there.


Will you pray with us?

For her surgeon.

For the anesthesiologist.

The nurses.

All that come in contact with her tomorrow.


Would you pray for Ashlyn?

That she would understand this is for her good.

That we are trying to do what we think will be best for her.

That she would feel minimal, if no pain.

For a speedy recovery.

And that the device would work well for her.

That she would benefit from it.


We are incredibly grateful for our family and friends.

Especially now.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


12 years ago today two kids got married.

One was an EMT/Paramedic in training.

The other thought it would be cute to get married on 9.11.

So the EMT/Paramedic in training would never forget.

Even though the EMT/Paramedic in training always got the bad wrap for the geeky idea.

Little did we know that 2 years later it would become a day no one would forget.

Happy Anniversary, love.

I can't wait to run away with you.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

InstaFriday on a Saturday: I Got Canned Edition

Oh the wondrous glories of social media.




Finding out that AMR is relocating most of our dispatch center to Sacramento.

And that you and 45 of your closest dispatch friends are getting pink slips.

Not the best day.

My part-time life in the blue room as I've known it for the past 4 years ends on October 31.

And these ugly man pants and shoes are going straight to the GoodWill.

Also, I'm thinking of dressing up like Irma (Little Miss Top Seniority) for Halloween this year.

Do you think they'll let me stay?

Upon hearing the news, I had no choice but to make chocolate pretzel crack.


And bring some to 45 of my closest dispatch friends the next day.


So enough of the bad, sad news.

Fun stuff happened this week, too.


Like hanging out at the Richardson's.

Such a comfortable place.

Anything goes.

And they whip up fabulous meals in 5.8 seconds.

While the kids play in the garden.

And dig trenches in the backyard.

To find "hidden gems" that Val buried under the dirt weeks before.

I know some of my children's best childhood memories are going to be of playing there.

And I love it.  More than I tell them.

Thanks Marc and Val.  You guys really are the best.


We also got some last days of summer pool time in.

Ashlyn is 100% swimming on her own.

No floaties.  No adult in the water.

She's also jumping off the high dive.

And races her sister back to the edge to get out first.

She's kind of nuts.


I helped my cousin start a blog on Tuesday.

And as I was explaining it to her.

I realized how mental it all is.

Me: "You comment on other people's blogs."

Her: "Do you actually know them?"

Me: "Of course not."

Her: "Then why do you want to talk to them?"

Go.  And leave a comment.

She'll think you're crazy.


Kayla and Grandmums have big plans.

Can't you see the cake pop wheels spinning?


Dad.  Really?

CurlZ font?  And ASHLEY???!

My eyes are red.  From bleeding.


Happy Saturday, folks!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Pretzel Bark

Have you heard about the wonder that is Pinterest?

No?  Do you live under a rock?

That was rude.


But seriously.

Get an account.

And get pinning.

But only if you're a girl.

Boys that pin make me nervous.




I pretty much only pin food.

Which is helping my Couch to Couch effort tremendously.

I saw this pinned on Saturday morning.

And it was chilling in my fridge 1 hour later.

And made again.  And slightly altered.

And made again.  And slightly altered.

And perfected three batches later.



1 bag small pretzels

2 bags milk chocolate chips

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

finely ground sea salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.


Cover cookie sheet in an even layer of pretzels.


You'll have a double layer of pretzels, stacked on top of each other.


Melt 2 sticks unsalted butter on medium heat.

Once butter is fully melted, add 1 cup brown sugar.

Stir often until caramelized.  About 10-15 minutes.


At the same time, set up a double boiler for the chocolate chips.

Fill small sauce pan 1/4 full of water and set on medium heat.

Place a heat proof bowl on top.


Remove caramel from heat just after it begins to bubble.

Carefully pour caramel into baking sheet, over pretzels.  Cover evenly.

Caramel mixture hardens relatively quickly so move fast.

Spread mixture evenly over pretzels with a spatula.


Bake caramel pretzel mixture for 5-7 minutes @ 400 degrees.


Pour chocolate chips in heat proof bowl on top of sauce pan.

Slowly stir chocolate chips until they melt.


Pull pretzels from oven and sprinkle sea salt on top.

Let sit for a few minutes while chocolate is melting.

Once melted, pour chocolate mixture evenly over caramel pretzel mixture.

Again, use a spatula to cover entirely.

Sprinkle more sea salt on top.


Let chill in fridge for 2 hours.

Pull from foil and break apart.


So good.  So addicting.

So much like Pinterest.

Friday, September 2, 2011

InstaFriday. Again.

I really can't believe it's Friday again.

I'm thinking about renaming this little bloggie.

Keeping up with the Instas.

Life has just been getting in the way.

Back to School madness has sucked every creative thought out of my head.

I've been wanting to bake.

But our normal camera lens is broken so I'd have to stand in my neighbors yard to take pictures.

And it's been hot.

And I've been lazy.

But at the same time so busy.


Those are my excuses.

Here are my Instas.


Do you have kids in your life?

I'm assuming most of you that read this, do.

If you don't, get some.

Make a kid friend.

They're pretty great, you know.


It's not just for moms and dads.

But it is GREAT for moms and dads.

It's changed the way I view Christian parenting.

In a really good way.

And will hopefully change the way I parent.

I'll keep you posted.

This is a watermelon on our bed.

Ashlyn's staging.

Ashlyn's photography.

Ashlyn's filter choice.

iPhonographer genius, I say.

She learns from her lame mama.

Who can't use a real camera.

The girls started school this week.

At the exact same time.

25 minutes apart.


Also means only one got their first day picture taken.

We went to the ballpark on Tuesday night.

Jason and Niki bought tickets for Dave's birthday.

They are good friends.

Even if he's wearing a Cubs shirt.

Jason and Dave used to go to grammar school together.

Jason moved away.  25+ years ago.

Met and married Niki and came back in 2009.  And rented a house down the street from our old one.

But Dave and Jason hadn't seen each other or talked in 25+ years.

Fun little reunion.

They, along with their two little girls, have been a charter family at Hope.

There from the start.  We love them.

We don't, however, love the way the Giants are playing right now.

Who are you and what have you done to our team??!

So sad.

But there were nachos.

Speaking of nachos,

I haven't been very nice to My Fitness Pal.

I've been ignoring her.

And she calls me out on it.

And Couch to 5k has kind of turned into Couch to Couch.

Back to School messes me up.


Happy Friday, friends.

Linking up with Jeannett.