Friday, May 30, 2014

graduation day

an education:

ABCs and 123s
Go Dog Go
and beloved Tonkas in the sandbox
Lego piles scattered in every direction 
Friday outings with Mom and the kids
storytime on a lap or the bed 
and on the couch you all clamor
those endless piles of books and poems to memorize
our library cart filled to the brim every week
maps and globes
puzzles and games on the floor 
"you-name-it-he-knows-it" trivia expert
spelling lists, fractions, verb conjugations, 
and Ancient Greece
geography club, Cub Scouts, and field trip adventures
piano lessons at Mama's house 
Little League and flag football
and before we know it
these seven years of school at home now coming to an end
your world begins to expand
that wide smile of yours
making friends wherever you go
carpools and parent teacher conferences
science fair projects and display boards
spelling and geography bee champion
all night homework marathons
January Winterims and student government
first date and first texts 
Friday night stomps in the gym 
"can you come pick me up?" phone calls
getting all decked out in a tux for Prom
ACT test re-takes to get your best score 
basketball practice sweaty and exhausted
away games and home games
broken finger and broken back
chips and salsa like there's no tomorrow
after school and summertime telemarketing job
stock market challenge pro 
team morale booster pizza party
heart breaking concussion   
Star Wars and NBA 2K marathons with the guys
college application and admission
to the school of your dreams
mission preparation and anticipation of where in the world it will be that you'll serve
springtime Senior-itis, big time
AP tests and end-of-term finals 
enduring to the end to that glorious day in May
this Graduation Day
a culmination, a celebration
these twelve years
of learning, studying
growing and discovering
your future looking so bright.

congratulations, my dear Samuel.
we did it.
you did it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

this week in my kitchen

Hello, friends! Joining the fun with Heather of Beauty That Moves This Week in My Kitchen blog hop.

Here's a peek...

These two photos don't even come close to documenting all the good things that have come out of my kitchen this week. It's kind of pathetic, I know. I have cooked my guts out, and couldn't even slow down enough to take some pictures. But I did want to pop in and share a bit of what's been happening here in the heart of my home.

:: with my son Gary's return from Finland last Thursday, (I'm still on cloud nine having him home at last.) we had a packed house on Sunday after he spoke in church. So many family and friends coming to support and be with us to welcome him home. All throughout that week, I had been baking cookies to stick in the freezer. Peanut butter, oatmeal chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal raspberry bars, lemon bars, cupcakes (with little Finish flags we made to top them with). I was a baking machine! Then I really got to work on Friday and Saturday. So grateful for the help my sister Liz gave me as we worked side by side peeling 10 pounds of potatoes for a huge bowl of potato salad. (Nana's famous recipe.) 

We had quite the spread with even more salads, meats and cheeses to go with the 8 pans of homemade rolls my mother and I made, homemade salsas and dips, etc. I was so thankful for even more food brought in from my kind neighbors and close friends. As is always the case, we did have a lot of leftovers (I always feel it best to prepare too much than not enough.), but they were put to good use the next day for our extended family Memorial Day picnic. (So fun to have all my dad's siblings together for the first time in many years. Oh, the stories and the laughter that were shared!)

:: between the end of the school year events, the boy cousins going together one night this week to see the Lego Movie, and other commitments we each have had, I haven't seemed to make dinner a formal affair this week. Grateful again for the leftovers coming to the rescue as I've just been so wiped out as far as cooking goes. I did make dinner one night this week when it was only myself and Eliza at home and it was really nice to eat outside on the picnic table on the deck. I'm really looking forward to eating our meals outdoors as summer approaches. It's one of my favorite things about the season.

:: a Taiwanese friend of my friend is heading there tomorrow and it was wonderful to be able to put together a birthday package yesterday for her to deliver to Jane. I knew how much she'd appreciate some homemade goodies-- some of her favorites like a bag of granola, a batch of Maple Tamari Roasted Almonds (a favorite from one of Heather's workshops), and a pan of Lunchbox Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Forks Over Knives cookbook). I hope that through these gifts of food, she will feel of her mother's love.

:: Eliza is having some friends over tonight to make sushi. Tomorrow is Sam's high school graduation, and we have another family party to attend on Saturday. My house is kind of in chaos-- room switch-a-roos with Gary's return.  (he's settled in my sewing room until he goes back to college in August.) and now  it looks like I'll have to spend today organizing and finding temporary homes for all my stuff.

Busy, but good times here at my house!  

Monday, May 26, 2014

homecoming (with a little video)

my boy is home
at long last.
the hole in my heart 
is now filled,
and my joy is full.

photos and video provided by my friend Doug Larson of Pointe Digital

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

well done

photo courtesy of Johan Finne

(from Sunday's email)
"Dearest Gary,
...Your mission became a gift not only for you, but to so many, including me. Your example has strengthened me so much. Who you've become and are as a person-- I couldn't feel any greater happiness and pride in a child of mine. For your total love, devotion, dedication, and consecration you've given to your mission, the Finnish people, your companions, and most especially, to the Lord. With all my heart, I thank you. And I can say with all the conviction of my heart that if the Lord were there to speak to you as you sit down on that plane that will take off and fly over that land that you love-- (I know that your eyes will fill with tender, longing tears, as I felt when leaving Portugal)-- I know that if the Lord was sitting next to you on that plane He would look you in the eyes and say with a sweet, tender smile, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Gary, I will say as your beloved mother and most faithful friend -- the one that knows you better and loves you more than any other soul-- I say now to you these same words:
Well done, my dear beloved son.

...I love you more than you'll ever know. I can't wait to look into your eyes, and feel you in my arms. To shed tears with you. To hear your voice and hear your stories. We will have a lot of time for that. A lot of time to be together and talk. I'm so looking forward to it all, my dear.
Until Thursday!
Mom xoxoxo"

Thursday, May 15, 2014

this week in my kitchen

Hello, friends! Joining the fun with Heather of Beauty That Moves This Week in My Kitchen blog hop.

Here's a peek...

Happy belated Mother's Day to all you wonderful women! If you are a mother or not, I hope your day was filled with love and good food. 

It's been fun to see some new readers to my blog-- especially regarding this blog hop. As always, I thank you for your visits, and for the kind comments you've left in previous "This Week In My Kitchen" posts.

Here are some of the week's highlights:

:: I hosted my family here for Mother's Day on Sunday. While the rest of the family ate their barbecued beef sandwiches, I enjoyed these instead:  Quinoa and Roasted Squash Salad  (from Karen Tews' website Real Food Matters) and  Cranberry Walnut Chickpea Salad  (placed and wrapped in lettuce leaves.) Both so good. With the quinoa salad, I changed it up a little by switching the squash for sweet potatoes and the pomegranate seeds with halved grapes. 

:: speaking of Mother's Day, Keith generously gave me some money to choose some gifts I would like. I headed to our local Bosch Kitchen store and picked out some things I've been wanting. I left with a spiralizer tool which creates "noodles" from vegetables. This will be great when the summer squashes start producing (endlessly!) this summer. I've already tried my hand at making a really delicious Creamy Miso Ginger Sauce  to coat some zucchini noodles. I think for lunch today I want to try something involving sweet potatoes.

I also picked out two baking "cloches" (an oblong and a round)-- covered stoneware pottery which produces wonderful artisan bread. Especially getting the crust and texture I've wanted to achieve. I was so pleased with the way these loaves turned out. This is going to be fun!

:: green smoothies every morning. (feeling the need for more raw and more greens).

:: Cabbage Noodle Stir Fry

:: High Protein Energy Bites 

:: to go along with my bread for dinner last night, I "veganized" an old family favorite: Mexican White Bean Chowder. Adding in potatoes and frozen corn instead of the turkey chunks, and unsweetened almond milk to replace the evaporated milk. I think it turned out even better than before.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


creating:: sewed up some pillows this morning for the front porch. 

drinking:: quart of green smoothie for breakfast. Needing to get back on the band wagon.

making:: bread dough rising on the kitchen counter. Excited to try out my new baking "cloche" with my round loaves. I'll share the results tomorrow.

thinking and feeling:: I know it seems like a broken record, but this foot has been giving me grief ever since I had my surgery at the end of March. Ongoing pain and stubborn inflammation that just won't let up. Not what I or my doctor expected. Trying everything we can to kick it-- oral steroids for a week, two cortisone shots (not fun), a week's worth of laser therapy treatment, no walks and no runs... and now the plan is to wear this boot to help immobilize it. Trying to feel hopeful (even amid the tears I've shed), but it's getting to be so discouraging and hopeless when I want and need to do so much. Now with this boot that I have to wear (both day and night), it's slowing me down even more.

On the positive side of things, you can't imagine how excited and happy I feel to see my son Gary next Thursday night when he returns home from Finland. These two years seemed like they've gone on for forever.

thanking:: So happy to have heard the sound of their voices and seen their sweet smiles on Sunday. The cherry on top of my Mother's Day. 

wearing:: yoga pants, gray long sleeve tee, my new fashion statement boot.

listening:: this song (and video) is cool. Thanks, Eliza, for your hipster finds you introduce me to.

reading:: on my nightstand: Of Love and Other Demons (Marquez), poems (Neruda), Your Sacred Self (Dyer), Mere Christianity (Lewis)

pinning:: this, this, and this

gardening:: Sad that some of my plants didn't make it through the cold snap we had. I'll be going out now to survey the damage. The greens all look healthy, though. More weeding this afternoon is in store, too. The sun is shining, and the forecast looks good for the rest of the week.

going:: Isaac's school choir concert tonight. With the school year winding up, (and Sam's high school graduation on the 30th) lots of end-of-year events to attend. Busy times.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

nonconforming beauty: eliza's art focus this year

so proud of her...

her gift, her skill, her dedication, her perceptibility, her mind, her beauty, her values.

(last year's "ending apathy" show here.)