Tuesday, December 4, 2012


“What makes art Christian art? Is it simply Christian artists painting biblical subjects like Jeremiah? Or, by attaching a halo, does that suddenly make something Christian art? Must the artist’s subject be religious to be Christian? I don’t think so. There is a certain sense in which art is its own justification. If art is good art, if it is true art, if it is beautiful art, then it is bearing witness to the Author of the good, the true, and the beautiful”
R.C. Sproul, Lifeviews: Make a Christian Impact on Culture and Society

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


“May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”
― Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Living Room Art

Thinking of doing that DIY canvas art that's going around pinterest with this picture from my trip to Colorado.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Zeke's room!

 I finally got to decorate a room for Zeke! But I quickly realized that his room isn't a nursery anymore. It's a little boy's playroom. So it's not quite so dear and sweet, it's more cute, kid-centered, and functional. Here are some pictures of where we are now:

His bookshelves, with bins and baskets of toys interspersed with his books.
His clothesline of pictures (via pinterest of course) which he LOVES.

The second hand rocking chair and the beloved boppy. And his Daddy's bear and old wooden train.

The little blue dresser which was his Daddy's childhood dresser and his Grandpa's before that.

He loves his room and so do I! It's so HIM. And it's wonderful to be able to put his toys away every night and have a nearly toy-free home to be a grown-up in! The only things we bought are  the curtains, the cube baskets for toys under his crib, and someof the toys and books. Everything else was given to us. It makes his room so, so special. The main thing I want to get now for his room is a rug. Maybe one those awesome street and city rugs? Like this one.

Dearest of Zekes- 15 1/2 Months

Well, it's been a while my Lovinest.

You have grown so much. There really isn't very much Baby left. You are a little boy. It makes me sad ang glad at the same time.

We moved and you have your very own room. It is wonderful. We no longer trip on your toys constantly. They are organized in bins on your bookshelves and under your crib. You love being able to find whatever you want to play with all by yourself. You also have a shelf in the kitchen which has a snack and a cup of water on it that you can reach and I love when we come inside from playing and you walk straight into the kitchen for a drink without having to whine for one. It seems so old for some reason.

You are finally trying to talk and sign. You say Dada and Bug and Ball! You also call dogs "Ba." That was your first word if we can count it. You occasionally say Mama but can't really use it consistently yet. You use the sign for more whenever you want something repeated or if you want something to eat or just if you want more. When you want to nurse, you follow me all around the apartment, dragging the boppy behind you. It is so adorable. You also do a lot of animal noises: bear, elephant, bunny, monkey, lion, squirrel.

You no longer waddle. You tramp around as if you own the world, confident and sure-footed. We sometimes cringe when you race around corners and it looks like your going to walk right into a wall, but you somehow make it. You can climb up the stairs and go down the slide at our little tot-lot all by your self and are so proud when you do it. The playground is right outside our apartment and you would live out there if Mama let you.

You still love to read. Your favorite books now are Dear Zoo and My Big Animal Book and anything with flaps. You are also now obsessed with bugs (especially lady bugs), trains, the "Lonely Goatherd" song on The Sound of Music, and clocks. Yes, clocks. I don't know why, but you get SO EXCITED when you spot one.

You of course still love balls and learned to kick a soccer ball, to your Aunties' delight and you are developing a pretty good throwing arm. I find myself ducking when we play catch.

You have become SO much more sociable in the last month or so and we can leave you with both Grandma and Lola with no crying at all. If we are with you, you will also go up to other people and play with them. You wave and smile at strangers instead of frowning. It's so much more fun for everyone.

Your sense of humor and fun is developing beautifully and we love to hear your laugh! Your favorite game is hide and seek with Daddy. He hides and then jumps out and chases you and you run shrieking with laughter into my arms for "protection." You get into EVERYTHING and I'm constantly finding new piles of random stuff that you have scattered about the floor.

Keep growing and learning and we'll try to keep up!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wisdom from The Office

Oscar: You're the one who said we needed more culture.

Gil: This is culture to you?

Oscar: It's her first try.

Gil: Yeah, on Van Gogh's first try, he drew the hands of the peasants.

Oscar: Meaning what?

Gil: Meaning, real art takes courage, okay? And honesty.

Oscar: Well, those aren't Pam's strong points.

Gil: Yeah, exactly. That's why this is... motel art.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dearest of Zeke's- 13 ish Months

My Great Big Boy-

You went on a plane ride! You had a birthday! And a haircut! You are walking! You have two molars! It has been a big couple of months.

Your birthday parties were so much fun. You got all kinds of gifts and probably had more sugar than you have had in the last 12 months combined. But most of all you were surrounded by people who love you. You are a lucky little guy.

You are walking, walking, walking! I call you my pet penguin because all you do all day is waddle and toddle around. You can be seen pacing back and forth and back and forth. Usually holding a toy, your blanket or a gadget but seldom playing with them. For now, the joy of the upright is yours and it is more than enough entertainment.

I cannot even tell you how adorable your walking is. It is the most endearing little wobble I have ever seen.

You have discovered playgrounds this month and we go to one almost everyday. You mostly love climbing up the stairs and going down the slides. And of course, watching the big kids.

You are growing so clever and communicative. You still point to everything, including pictures in books, to tell me what you want. Your favorite thing is to get down your lift the flap book with food and point to the graham cracker or the grapes. I'm thinking of making you some flash cards to help with your communication, because you have zero interest in talking and very little interest in signing. But POINTING. That hits the spot apparently.

You are still a champion sleeper and putting you to sleep is short and sweet. Either Daddy or I will hold you for a little while standing next to your crib and you will rest your head on our shoulder. And then you decide it's time to sleep and point to your crib. We lay you down and you grab your blanket, shove the corner in your mouth and we don't here from you again until about twelve hours later. We are SPOILED rotten with you.

 You are getting to be a little clown and love to join in on a laugh with Daddy and I even when you clearly have no idea what the joke is all about. You love to play hide and seek and peek-a-boo behind our bed. You crack up when we chase you and we have such riotous times that our downstairs neighbor even come up to check and see if we were okay!

Life is pretty nuts these days because we are moving next week. Yay for your own room! You seem rather confused by the boxes and the way that our things keep disappearing but you are rolling with the punches like a champ.

 Chooba-Choob I cannot describe how sweet it is to hold you when you're all worn out from all that learning and walking and smell your little head against my face. It just keeps getting sweeter.

Oh so in love with you,

Thursday, August 23, 2012



You are tired
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.
Come with me, then,
And we'll leave it far and far away—
(Only you and I, understand!)
You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired. So am I.
But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart—
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.
Ah, come with me!
I'll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I'll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

Dearest of Zekes - First hours (birth story III)

My dear Ezekiel, my Chubbermunch, My Booger, My Cheeks, My sweet-baby-sweet,

 I have been putting off this letter because it makes me face the facts. You are one. The first year of your dear sweet life is gone never to return. Too morbid? Sorry. Daddy's always getting on me for that.

Against Daddy's chest in your first moments of life
I've never written about the first days of your life, partly because it's a very emotional subject. But I guess its time now that it's been a year!

The first few hours of your life were sweet and frightening and overwhelming. ( You can read the firsts parts of the birth story here, here, and here.) I couldn't believe how beautiful you were and how perfect. I had to give you to your Daddy because there was something wrong with my body and I was in too much pain to hold you. The placenta that held you and fed you wouldn't be released and  the pain I experienced after you were born dwarfed the pain it took to birth you. Thankfully I had wonderful doctors and the pain was soon over and you were in my arms again. But the sweet moments were quickly ended. Your perfect little chest rose and fell far too quickly. They were afraid of infection and after a sweet tearful hour, they took you away from me. My heart felt torn in two as I watched you leave my arms and they carted you off to the NICU.

I had to be cleaned up and fed and wheeled away to a new room, but the moment I was free I found you.

Seeing your precious faced tubed and taped was the saddest moment of my life. Holding you quickened your breath and heart rate. I could only pat and caress your little head and put my hand on that fast moving chest. You had to be fed through an IV because when I put you to my breast your oxygen levels plummeted. I watched you move your little mouth, knowing you were going hungry that first night. Your name means "God is my Strength" and we all needed it. All I wanted to do was hold you and feed you, but I had to leave you to strangers as I went back to my room sick at heart.

You were already smiling at Daddy.
Your Daddy adored you. He was so sweet and caring and I could have never lived through those few days without his strength. I hope that if you are blessed with a wife someday, you will be to her what your Daddy is too me. He got up in the middle of the night countless times and wheeled me down to the NICU. I think he actually did it in his sleep once or twice. He was so scared for both of us in the beginning when a specialist was with you and another one was being called in for me. But despite the fear and exhaustion, he hung in there until it all settled. Then he lost it a little (he loves us so much Zeke, you'll never know how much until you have a child of your own.)

No tubes! You were such a breath-taking newborn.
BUT all of the drama ended quickly, when you coughed up the fluid that was in your lungs. We said a pray more full of thanksgiving than ever before when your oxygen levels rose and your breathing rate fell and we were told you were going to be just fine. Your breathing improved quickly and your nurse the next morning was a lactation consulted who worked hard to get us nursing! I finally got to feed my baby and it was WORK. I had to be at the NICU every three hours for the next two days and it was EXHAUSTING.

It was so worth all the exhaustion as you gained weight, got the tubes removed and got discharged just a few hours after I did! We were so relieved when they could stop pricking your little foot to check your blood sugar. (The nurse who cleaned and re-wrapped your foot is one of my favorite people in the world. It was such a sweet gesture, like she knew how the dried blood was breaking my Mama-heart.) We weren't told up until the last minute whether you could come home with us. You can only imagine our joy as we packed you up! 

You came home with us and changed our life forever!

You have brought us an unbelievable amount of happiness this past year Zeke. I have always known I wanted to be a Mommy but I never knew that all along I wanted to be YOUR Mommy. I now understand the phrase "my pride and joy." That is what you are my Zeke. My heart swells with both whenever I look at you. You are my firstborn, the sweetest and best gift imaginable, and I can never bless the Lord enough for granting the desire of my heart.

Love, Love, Love, Love,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dearest of Zekes-11 Months

I'm only one day late this time Booger!

This month has flown by and you have made HUGE strides in development.

You now point. At everything. You are obviously trying to learn the names of everything you see.

You also point specifically at things that you want. Food, your sippy cup, the boppy when you want to nurse, my phone, toys... It is wonderful to be able to know what you want. Although you often point at things that you CAN'T have, which understandably frustrates you. It's like you think that I don't understand. But I do understand you. I just can't let you hold the butcher knife. lol

You are also trying to speak. You are copying sounds that we make and are trying to explain you self in nonsense syllables. It is so precious. You're favorite sound is "B.."

You eat even more foods now! It is so much fun to see you discover pancakes, mac&cheese, blueberries, baby bananas, Chipotle, cherries, mashed potatoes, and sloppy joes! Eating must be such an adventure for you! You never know what will turn up on your tray.

You are standing for fairly long stretches, but as soon as you realize what you're doing you sit down. My cautious little man.

You got your first real haircut and it makes you look so much older.

The next time I write you a letter you will be one year old. Oh my baby! I love to see you grow but a little bit of me hurts because of it. But as wise lady once wrote, "You silly humans want good things to last forever. They don't. Not while we're in time." -L'engle. Good thing we're not bound to time forever.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Adding a little FLAVA FLAV

So how do you make cheap and easy meals taste expensive and complicated? Here are a few ideas:

(If you have a lot of cooking experience please skip over this since it probably comes second nature to you.)

- Aromatic vegetables: 

Onions, carrots, shallots, fennel, leeks, GARLIC, celery... Almost all dishes can be improved with some combination of the above. Saute or "sweat" (cover over low heat) them first for best flavor. Here is a great article that goes into greater detail. I always have at least onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in the house.

-Herbs and spices: (Want to know the difference? Read about it here.)

It's really easy to grow your own herbs. Just give them sun and good drainage. Most them like to have their roots dry out in between waterings, basil is an exception.) A lot of them are perennial and will give you years of nearly free flavor. You can even dry some for the winter or bring them inside during frost. I personally grow oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and lavender. I used to have a much more extensive herb garden but I'm limited to an apartment balcony now. If you have the space, grow tons! They are easy, beautiful, smell amazing, and have lots of culinary and medicinal uses. Sigh... I miss my garden...

As far as spices go: buying in bulk is definitely cheaper, if you can't use it all split it with a like-minded cook. Keep your favorite spices on hand, but don't be afraid to try a new one every now and then. Variety is the spice of life... or variety is the spice of...spices. I'm not going to list all of the spices in my cupboard but will tell you one thing I do: I add cayenne pepper to almost everything I cook. We like a little kick. I find using spices helps reduce the amount of salt required.

- Alcohol:

I'm pretty new to this but have recently discovered that it is wonderful for making a simple dish taste special. White wine for chicken/white sauce, red for beef and red sauce. Beer is used for marinating meat and chili (never tried it, but hear it's delicious). There are tons of sauces that include harder liquor like brandy, vodka, and of course rum in baking. It's really not expensive when you consider how long a bottle lasts... if you only use it for cooking, that is. ;-) Here's a helpful chart about how long it takes alcohol to "burn off"if your wondering/concerned.


Similar to wine, acids like vinegars or citrus juices perk up sauces and bring out flavor in meat. Keep several types on hand. Juices I like to keep on hand: lemon, lime, and orange. Vinegars: white, apple cider, red wine, balsamic, and rice.


Making canned/bottled sauce is something I've only dabbled in (barbeque and salad dressing are about as far as I've gotten). Store bought sauces may be cheating... but they sure are convenient and can can rescue a kitchen disaster or provide easy flavor to a good start. Some sauces I like to have on hand for cooking: soy sauce, barbeque, ketchup, mayo, several mustards, Worcestershire, Italian dressing, an a couple different hot sauces (I like Cholula, BeefyGeek likes Chipotle Tobasco.)


Don't be afraid of a little fat in your food. If you're cooking from scratch, chances are it's a lot healthier than restaurant or pre-packaged food already. You can use "healthy fats" like olive and coconut oil but they have a low smoking point so you have to be careful if sauteing or frying. Or even in the oven I have found... coating a chicken with a little olive oil before roasting... take out your smoke detector's batteries.  Again, a little goes a long way. You'd be surprised how much a pat of butter can richen up a skim milk "cream" sauce... is richen a word? Anyway... use a little first and you can always add more. Although they are technically not fats, I would include other high fat goodies here like cheese, olives, nuts, and high fat meats like bacon or pancetta. Using them sparingly as a garnish on a plain dish can really up the "yum factor"

Welp, that's about it for now. A super amateur home cooks "secrets" to flavorful home cookin'. What are your favorite ways to perk up your dinner?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

40+ Quick Meals Using Ground Beef or Shredded Chicken

So the whole Menu planning thing on this blog was pretty short lived huh? I think I realized why. I'm more of a "pantry principle planner" than a specific day by day menu planner. What I mean by that is that I generally stock up and have on hand 90% of the ingredients for 90% of the meals that I make 90% of the time. Approximately. lol.

Beefygeek has recently started a new job that has him coming home at later, less predictable hours and this has sent me back to my go-to repertoire of quick, easy meals that I can make during nap time or with a baby crawling around my feet.

I've been complaining about how expensive my foodie blog habit has been lately, so I decided that I'll be the change I want to see. As epic as that sounds...

To help me, and maybe you... I've come up with a list of about forty meals that use either ground beef or shredded chicken (two of the easiest, cheapest, quickest to cook and defrost meats IMHO.) I'm going to keep this list on hand in the kitchen so I can quickly pick something for dinner when need be. Here goes:

Ground Beef (or ground turkey if you HAVE to. But most of these allow for draining and even rinsing the fat off before using. A few articles here and here.)

  1. hamburgers
  2. spaghetti
  3. tacos
  4. taquitos
  5. burritos
  6. enchiladas
  7. quesadillas
  8. sloppy joes
  9. chili
  10. shepherd's pie
  11. meatloaf
  12. stuffed peppers 
  13. "stir fry" (basically just cook up the ground beef with onions, veggies, and seasonings and serve over rice)
  14. omelets
  15. pizza
  16. homemade hamburger helper
  17. meatballs
  18. lasagne
  19. Beef Stroganoff (never made it, but it's on the to-try list. I actually have some leftover egg noodles and sour cream right now...)
  20. any casserole (there are probably at least fifteen variations here alone. just use Amy Dacyzyn’s good old Tightwad Casserole formula.) 
  21. soup (Although I've honestly never made soup with ground beef; I found some interesting recipes online. If you have any go-to recipes, please share!)
Shredded Chicken
  1. Chicken Pot Pie (I often top with biscuit dough instead of pie crust, it's just easier) 
  2. Super easy pot pie variation: mix and cook sauce with meat and veggies on stove top and serve over rice or noodles
  3. white sauce/alfredo over noodles
  4. enchiladas (red or white)
  5. white chili
  6. chicken salad
  7. add to PW's Sesame noodles
  8. add chicken to lettuce salad, Cesar or otherwise
  9. tacos
  10. fajitas
  11. burritos
  12. taquitos
  13. quesadillas
  14. add to any rice-o-roni/hamburger helper type thing, either homemade or bought on sale!
  15. chicken divan
  16. sandwiches
  17. pulled barbeque chicken
  18. add to stir fried vegetables (not as good as freshly stir fried chicken but super fast if you're in a pinch)
  19. wraps
  20. any casserole (use same formula as ground beef)
  21. about a million chicken soups (chicken noodle, tortilla, wild rice, vegetable... use soups like casseroles: to use up whatever is in your fridge)

I'm realizing Mexican food is super easy looking at this list lol! With some notable exceptions (lasagne being the most obvious) these are cheap and you probably already have the ingredients in your kitchen (or you should!) I'm going to go back through and link to some favorite recipes, just so i have them all in one place, but that's about it for now! What are your favorite uses for these quick proteins?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dearest of Zekes- nine-ten months

My not so little one,

You are ten months old. That's right! Double digit months.

You have changed so much the last two months. You are so much nicer to be around now! The screeching and screaming have pretty much stopped and you are much better at communicating what you want.

You are still a facebook celebrity with your "epic baby faces." We talk about making a blog just called "Zeke Memes," because you are a goldmine of priceless expressions.

You climb to your chair when you want to eat and know where all of your toys are when you want them.

You can roll a ball back and forth.

You can bring me things when I ask for them.

You're crib is at it's lowest.

You are pretty much done with baby food, which I'm very happy about. It's so much easier to give you what we're eating. Your current favorites: watermelon, rice cakes, egg yolks, and PEAS! All the peas in the world. Daddy even wrote a song about you called "Pea Boy."

You giggle at the strangest things. I wish I could see inside your head so I could be in on the joke.

Add tissues to the list of things you are obsessed with. Especially used tissues. Ew.

You are a bringer of MAYHEM. You are not happy until anything that can be pulled to pieces is IN PIECES. (The humidifier, your stacking cups, all the bookshelves...)

You sit and look at your books often. You turn the pages all by yourself and my heart swells with pride.

You are VERY cautious and have only just stopped freaking out if we attempt the baby swing. You get all stiff and make a "zombie face" (Daddy's term) when you are scared of something.

You love our apartment building's hallway and yell at the top of your lungs to hear your echo as soon as we enter the building or open our door. You always want to use the door knocker several times coming and going.

You love music and sing and play with Daddy. You love the keyboard, guitar, and your maracas. You particularly like listening and dancing to electronica. Its hilarious.

You cruise all over the place and can stand alone for a few moments before slowly lowering yourself to the ground. You love when we hold your hands and let you walk. You grin from ear to ear. (Seriously, you have such a jack-o-lantern grin. Especially with your newly acquired top teeth.)

Your hair is CRAZY. But I don't want to tidy it up. It suits you my Ezekiel, my little prophet in the wilderness. Thoughtful and introverted and a little nuts.

I try to be more specific than this, but I have to say that this is is simply an ADORABLE age. Your pictures are cute but they don't do you justice. You are just SO CUTE.

Mama was very, very sick last week and you were oh-so sweet and well behaved for me. You played quietly with your toys and let me lay on the floor next to you, occasionally coming over and giving me one of your yell-in-my-cheek kisses. It was like you knew that I needed to rest.

Seeing you grow so big is bittersweet. I miss my baby, but I'm falling in love with my toddler.

I love every inch of you, and can't get enough.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A little organization inspired by YHL

My home is generally neat and reasonably clean. But honestly, if a door can shut, I tend to let what's behind the door get out of hand. I need what I see to be pretty but don't care so much about what I can't see. Especially with a sick baby (first ear infection :-( )

 Over on Young House Love there  an organization challenge. Since my dear husband was the victim of several avalanches over the week end I decided to participate. Organization without buying anything (no bins, baskets or buckets!) Some embarrassing before and afters:

Freezer Before:

 Fridge before:                                                                   After:


Pots and pans before:                                                            After:

Tupperware etc. before:                                                        After:

So yeah, keeping it real. It only took a max of twenty minutes and has already made my life so much easier, not to mention more pleasant. Will I maintain it? Probably not. Keeping it real.

Gratuitous Chunka shot:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Poem

Escape from Reality by Gilderic Photography
Escape from Reality, a photo by Gilderic Photography on Flickr.

"Marah in the Utter East"

Every year, until the years stop coming
That tree makes bitter waves sweet.    1,4

Finally tired of the shallows, as if wakened from a sleep
Deeper in I plunge to join the frolic in the deep.   2

"Come. Farther up and deeper in!" He bids me through the storm. 3,4
Perfect love drives out the fear and I skim the waves unaware.

And he has gone before me, He knows the way I take.
He left his echoes in the water, come follow in His wake.

1 "And he cried unto the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet." Exodus 15:25
2 "There is the sea, vast and spacious,teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there." Psalm 104: 25

3“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Matthew 14

4 CS Lewis references: "Utter East" (Voyage of the Dawn treader) "farther up.." (The Last Battle)

Nursey Art

We're planning on get a two bedroom apartment sometime in the near future and I've been bookmarking ideas for Zeke's room/the nursery. My first nursery art posts are here and here and here. I still love those pieces but I've found more and I haven't posted any Etsy finds on here in a long time because well... Pinterest. But I like to pull some of my ideas together on here. As you can see, I'm all over the place. Star wars, the ocean (these oceany ones are a little girly but I love them so!) subway art, owls, literary references... gallery wall anyone? Lol. So here are a few of my new favorites to buy, inspire, or recreate: (Please excuse the wonky formatting. The new blogger is a challenge.)