Sunday, December 31, 2006

Let her eat CAKE

Want Red frosting? Got 1 1/2 bottles of red food coloring??

Not so sure what to do......

Finally something more my size!

Where has cake been all my life?
And is there any more?

Are you missing a monkey? You can borrow mine.

A very Happy New Year to you all. Go Packers!!!
Blessings, K~

Friday, December 29, 2006


Since I have a little time before Kyra's birthday cake comes out of the oven (She is 1 today!!!), I thought I'd get caught up from my last post--warning, long post as we have several days' activities to cover.

My birthday on the 23rd was great, in spite of turning another year older :(

I was awakened by our beautiful little girl, who was holding a gift in her hands, and saying, "Mama". She could have come empty-handed, and I still couldn't have asked for a better birthday gift!! Anyway, it turned out to be a travel mug, so I can transport my much-needed Starbucks.

And speaking of Starbucks, my parents pulled off
the gift coup by locating 2 giant bottles of real Starbucks Valencia syrup, AND I got an espresso machine. So I now I can make my own Mocha Valencias. BWHA HAHAHAHA!!

The Birthday festivities then continued that evening when David took me to Caprial's Bistro in Westmoreland for my Birthday dinner. We ate so much, they had to roll us out of there. But it was sooooo delicious.

Sunday the 24th came, and we went to the 9am Christmas Eve service at SPC. The music was wonderful, Macy McKenney was too cute for words, and the candlelighting breathtaking as usual. As tears were streaming down my face, I realized this was the first Christmas in a very long time that I was crying for JOY, and not grieving for the one thing I wanted more than anything--to be a parent. Our God is SO good!!!!!

That evening we had my parents over for Christmas dinner, a new tradition for us, as in the past we've always had Christmas Eve dinner at their house. We decided to have it at our house this year, so Kyra could go to bed if necessary. David fixed a Beef Tenderloin that was to die for, and I made glazed carrots, an amazing risotto with fennel and mushrooms, and homemade dinner rolls. Dessert was Christmas cookies, which was just fine, because no one had much room left.

After eating, we read the Christmas story, although we lacked the great illustrations from Sunset's version. Then we opened all the gifts. Kyra made out like a bandit. I was surprised, though. I was expecting her to be more interested in the wrapping and bows, than the gifts, as that's what everyone had been telling us. Not our daughter! The more it lit up, or made music/noise, the better! Forget the boring wrapping paper.

We gave my dad the Apples to Apples game that has become THE game in the Worship & Creative Arts department, so of course we had to play. I won quite handily, and it was pretty fun, although I think it would be more so, with more people--it was just the 4 of us.

The next morning, Christmas Day, we opened our presents to each other, and Kyra got more TOYS. Then we went over to David's parents for Christmas dinner, and yet more for Kyra. David's folks also got us the neatest gift, an annual Zoo pass! Kyra loves the zoo, and it will be fun to have play dates there when the weather gets nicer.

Which brings us to today. Kyra's 1st Birthday :) Right now the birthday girl is napping, so we are trying to take advantage of that and get some things done, like wrapping her birthday gifts--MORE toys, and decorating her cake. Tonight is her party, with our families. Menu: Garlic Jim's pizza and Ladybug cake--homemade I might add, and most likely MORE toys. I will post pictures later--you know, the inevitable "face covered with cake" pictures.

Blessings to you all, and Have a Very Happy New Year~~

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

525,600 minutes x 30-something....

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I've decided that I'm not having a birthday this year. In our house, we'll just go from the 22nd of December, straight to the 24th, and skip right over the 23rd. That way I won't turn another year older. In fact, I think birthdays should just be for the under-21 crowd. After all, they're the only ones I know who actually look forward to getting older. The rest of us just seem to put up with them as an a Fact of Life, like Change and Taxes.

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As it seems birthdays are inevitable, I've decided to adopt the approach to aging that I learned from a wonderful woman I met recently in a retirement home. (Speaking of retirement homes, you should read Matt's take on them and be sure to read the comments!)

I was attending a great Christmas concert at Cornell Estates, put on by the JuST trio, three very talented musicians who attend Sunset Pres. Afterwards, many of the residents, who had been encouraged to dress up in their Christmas finery, as the concert was part of their Holiday party, came forward to thank them for coming. One lady, in particular, looked absolutely stunning, in a purple and green silk jacket and pantsuit.


I complimented her on her beautiful jacket, and she said, "Well, it keeps me feeling young." I said, "That's very important." She then said, with a twinkle in her eye, "Especially when you're 91." I said, "You're kidding me. You can't be 91," as she didn't look a day over 70. She said, "Well, if it helps, everyone says I'm really immature!!" Then she said she needed to go as her friends were waiting for her :)

What a great attitude! So I guess if I have to have another birthday, I hope I can choose to be as full of life as this lovely woman was.

Blessings, K~

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Singin' in the Rain!!!

Besides this being one of my favorite musicals of all time, I love the concept! Since we live in the beautiful state of Oregon, where it rains 9 months of the year, if you don't make a pact with the rain, to at least get along, you won't survive :)

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Today is one of those Liquid Sunshine days, and as I look out my window, I realize I can respond one of 2 ways: I can moan & groan, and say, "When will the sun come out again? Am I starting to mildew?" or I can say, "What opportunities does the rain give me?" As for me, I'm choosing the second! So here are some rainy day activities to keep you singin' in the rain:

Puddle Jumping: I borrowed this one from a great book called, "Creative Dating", by Doug Fields & Todd Temple. It's described in the Cheap Dates section, and goes like this:
"Rather than let a rainstorm drown your fun.....(go) for a walk through the streets, seeking puddles of water to play in. You can do many things with a water puddle. Have a splash war, splash for distance and height, or try to splash out all the water. Stand on a street corner and wait for cars and buses to douse you as they dash through the flooded intersection. For more fun, let the driver think you were caught unaware; fall down and send the culprit away with a great laugh. If there's a playground nearby, take advantage of the slide, which, in addition to being very slippery, is bound to have a juicy puddle at the bottom to cushion your landings. For more adventurous thrill seekers, get a flexible, plastic toboggan and try your luck on a wet, grassy hill. When you return from your puddle-jumping excursion, recuperate in front of the fireplace with some hot liquid refreshment."

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Library Exploration: For some people, the idea of a library brings up memories of school & homework, and always being told "SHHHHH", but if you open your mind to the possibilities, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Your local library, in addition to having a multitude of different books to check out, all for the low, low price of FREE! with a library card, also has DVDs, music CDs, as well as many community events like Children's Story times, and Book & Poetry Discussion Groups. The Main Branch of the Multnomah County Library, located on 10th street in Downtown Portland, also has special events from time to time, like local theater groups presenting free sneak previews of upcoming plays, and even an Art Gallery located on the third floor!

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Did someone say Cookies?: Kids love to help out in the kitchen, and you will find the messes they make are nothing compared to the memories you will make together. I can still remember making Christmas cookies with my sister & my mom when I was younger~~I think we ate more cookie dough than actually got baked, but isn't that half the fun! And if you're not one to collect cookbooks, the Internet has thousands of helpful websites, right at your fingertips. Some of my favorite sites are Epicurious, Top Secret Recipes (where you'll find all the "secret" recipes from your favorite restaurants) and Caprial & John's Kitchen.

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Cleaning/Organizing/Decluttering: Although this would not be my first choice for a rainy- day activity, we do have to do this occasionally!--Or if you're like my friend, Jenni, done a lot!--Love you, friend! :) Anyway, besides being Biblical~~Ecclesiastes 10:18 If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks~~it's just necessary. Luckily, there is a website for people like me. It's called FlyLady and it's amazing! It gives daily tips on how to gain control of your house and home, while avoiding the overwhelming factor. She is also very down-to-earth, and has helped thousands overcome their CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). So, check her out, and you'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

Blogging: Enough said. And since I've managed to burn most of an rainy afternoon doing just this, I think I'll stop for now.

Blessings, K~

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Blog Bites

Have you ever been in a conversation or situation, and something happens, and your response is, "I feel a Blog coming on!" or "Wow, I need to Blog about that."? Then you have been bitten by the Blog Bug, my friend.

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This happened to me yesterday. My husband and I had just gone to Starbucks, where I was told they no longer served my absolute favorite drink in the whole world, the Mocha Valencia--something about not selling enough of them to keep the syrup from going bad in the requisite 30-day-period. If you never got the chance to experience one, they were like a Chocolate Orange in a cup!!

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Anyway, as I settled for my second choice, the Peppermint Mocha, and was mourning the end of an era, my husband said, "That's okay. Orange syrup is orange syrup. You can always go somewhere else. They're all the same."

In that split second, I was bitten by the Bug! I said to my husband,"You are going in my Blog! Would you care to repeat that so that I make sure to quote you correctly?"

Orange syrup is NOT orange syrup. I don't care what anyone says. I've tried orange mochas at other coffee places, and they are NOT the same. In fact, most of them taste like someone dipped an orange Otter Pop in coffee! EWWW!!

I guess from now on, I'll have to find a new Starbucks favorite, and just buy out all the Chocolate oranges this Christmas for my year-round Orange Mocha fix :)

Blessings, K~

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Imminent death

I think my microwave is dying. By the way, the picture below is not my microwave, but a free image from Google--Just wanted to point that out, as my kitchen walls have geese on them (left over from my grandmother), not this nice tile~

Anyway, I was making Kyra's lunch today, and the plan was to reheat the carrots from last night. I put them in a Rubbermaid container, like always, entered 15 seconds and hit start. All of a sudden, snap, crackle, pop, and FLAMES were shooting around inside the container. I immediately opened the door, and took the container out, thinking there must be some metal on it somewhere that I didn't see. A second look didn't find anything obvious, so I put them in again. Yep, you guessed it--More Flames.

At this point, I called my husband and asked him if he knew what was wrong with the microwave. He didn't, so I thought it must be the carrots. They were cooked in a pot on the stove last night, so maybe they had picked up some of the metal flakes from the bottom of the pot???? Needless to say, I was not going to feed Metal-filled carrots to my daughter, so I dumped them in the sink and went to vegetable option #2--reheated squash, which had originally been cooked in the oven.

In the meantime, Kyra is crying, because she's hungry, and no food is appearing. I gave her her sippy cup with some milk, to tide her over, and went back to tackling the microwave. This time, I put the squash in a container that I know has no problems, and tried again. Although there were no visible flames, the same sizzling sound and a new player showed up: a burned-hair smell. Although I'm not a big fan of squash, I Know it's not supposed to smell like that!

So I gave up trying to use the microwave, and Kyra finally got to eat---Mac and Cheese and applesauce, which she probably preferred anyway :) And David said he'll look at the microwave when he gets home. Isn't it funny how we can take something like a microwave for granted, but then when it doesn't work, we suddenly realize how much we rely on it? How am I going to reheat my coffee? Maybe I'll have to go to Starbucks instead?!?!??! :) Blessings, K~

Saturday, December 2, 2006

The Christmas Tree Hunt

Today our mission was to locate the perfect Christmas tree. And in my family, that doesn't mean a Parking Lot Tree, although for some people I realize that arrangement works well for them. Not us! Unless you're covered in mud, and/or have hiked for several acres, over hill & dale, you've not had the True Christmas Tree Hunt experience--Think Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when they hike through the backwoods---classic!

The journey began at our front doorstep....Daddy & Kyra wait for Mommy to grab her warm coat, gloves, etc.

We loaded up the car, and met my parents, who were also on a Tree Hunt, for breakfast at Elmer's. After filling our tummies & stocking up on hot coffee, we all drove out to the Reichen Christmas Tree Farm, where the weather was absolutely glorious, and NOT RAINING!! Wow, I just realized, what are the odds of Pumpkin & Christmas Tree Hunting, both not with umbrellas?!?! Kyra won't know what to think when we have a typical Oregon Fall/Winter....

Princess Kyra then climbed aboard her chariot, and the search was on...

We found our tree, in what must have been a New Family Speed record, and while Kyra & Mommy stood by and offered plenty of moral support,

the mighty hunters felled the tree. After also helping my parents find & cut down their tree, we loaded both trees onto the truck, and headed for home, with Kyra checking out during that short drive. Sweet dreams, little girl!

Now all that's left is to decorate the tree & then put all the loot, as David calls it, under it. I'll be sure to post those pictures, as soon as we've finished. Although, I think we'll leave all the decorating for tomorrow. I think tonight we'll just relax with a cup of hot cocoa & watch a movie, or something. Blessings to all! K~

Thursday, November 30, 2006

First Blood

No, I'm not talking about the Sly Stallone movie.

Today, while Kyra was at Grandma's house, she leaned against their coffee table, which is actually an old, refinished trunk that's just at her height, and tried to reach for something that was on the other side--like she's doing in the picture below.

This time, however, we weren't watching her as closely as my sister did :( She lost her balance, and down she went.

Her face collided with the edge of the table, and as you can imagine, there was the requisite 30 seconds of silence, followed by a loud cry. Then more silence as she gathered her wailing voice, and then this tremendous crying jag. As this is not the first time she's gotten a Boo-Boo, I picked her up, snuggled her, and tried to reassure her it was okay, like always.

Then my mom noticed the BLOOD on her chin. Da Da Da DUH!!! By the way, we've been very lucky & gone 11 months without any blood appearances, other than the occasional scratch from too-long fingernails, but today that streak was broken. So, Grandma got the washcloth with ice cube, and I tried to see where the blood was coming from. There were no obvious signs, like a split lip, or bump on her chin, and there wasn't any way she was gonna let us look in her mouth.

We finally decided she'd probably just bit the inside of her lip, and will live to see another day! It's still hard to see them get hurt, though. But this is yet another part of parenting, and as David said, "When you walk, you're gonna fall sometimes. It's part of learning to walk and part of life". How true!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Giving T.H.A.N.K.S.

I would like to share some of the things I am very thankful for, at this Thanksgiving season, so without further delay:

Time Together

David had Thursday off, and took Friday as well. This gave him a 4 day vacation, which has been sooooo nice. Kyra loves spending time with her Daddy, and it's nice to have the extra help around the house! In addition, my family came from all over the Northwest, and we had Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' house. The picture below was taken right before dinner.

H: Hunger was absent (at least for a couple hours! Then we got Second Dinner!)

My mother is a fantastic cook! But even she knows it's not possible to do it all, so we all pitch in and bring something. This year my contribution to the event was to bring the Pies. Over the years, I have honed my culinary skills, and if I do say so myself, I make a pretty mean pie--The secret is a good crust, using VINEGAR, I know it sounds awful, but it makes all the difference in the world, and I've been kind enough to include my never-fail crust recipe here.

Anyway, Mom's request was for 2 pumpkin pies, as everyone likes pumpkin (except for me, I'm an apple pie girl). When David heard I was in charge of the pies, he said, "You know we need an apple & a pecan pie as well."

My Wednesday morning was spent making 4 pies, and though they weren't pretty, it was nothing a good amount of whipped or ice cream couldn't fix. Unfortunately, my pecan pie ended up having some major issues. I think I should have been worried when the recipe said to cook at 325 for only 25 minutes. Most pies cook at at least 425 for the first bit, and then 350 for the remaining time. Also, I got to the end of the directions, and it still hadn't told me to add the last bit of liquid....So rather than not add it, because the instructions didn't tell me to, I thought it must have been an oversight, and I added the remaining 1/4 cup. Alas, this poor pie never firmed up. We tried cooking it again, which only succeeded in burning the pecans on top, and the middle is still soupy. Oh well, it will be great as an ice cream topper :) But the apple pie was great, and of course, you can't go wrong with the pumpkin pies if you use the recipe on the can.

A: Aunts & Uncles

My parents' house was filled with Aunts & Uncles this Thanksgiving. And what was really weird is that for the first time it hit me: My aunts & uncles have become the Great Aunts & Uncles and my sister & I, along with our husbands, are the aunts & uncles. Although everyone took on these roles eight years ago, with the birth of my niece, and again, 11 months ago, with Kyra, it was this time with everyone being together, in one place, that got me thinking. Maybe it's because I never really knew my Great Aunts & Uncles, but aren't Great Aunts & Uncles supposed to be really old?? Maybe it's just me that's getting old! EEK!

N: New "Traditions"

In years past, after Thanksgiving dinner, my family is like a lot of other families. We'd watch movies, or play board games, or try to drag ourselves out of the famous turkey coma. But this year a new "tradition" presented itself, one which I hope will not stand the test of time. It all started when my uncle brought out his laptop to show us pictures of their trip to Mexico & his new hotrod. This prompted my sister to pull out her laptop, and of course I had to grab my mom's, in order not to be left out. I kid you not, the family room looked like "dueling laptops", and the lights seemed a little dimmer....Of course, it was quite amusing when my sister tried to log on to my parents' wireless connection, and ended up with the neighbor's wireless connection by accident!! So, although I wouldn't say I was thankful for this "tradition", at least we were spending time together (see "T" above)

K: Kyra (of course!)

This was Kyra's first Thanksgiving, and there are so many reasons to be thankful for her. She's beautiful, healthy, growing like crazy, amazingly smart, and so sweet. We've waited many, many long years for her to join our family, and our lives would not be the same without her. Thank you God for our beautiful blessing!!!

S: Security

I can't say enough about how thankful I am to live in a country like the USA, where we are free to worship our God, live in a warm, dry house and raise our child the way we choose. Many families can not say this. I'm extremely grateful for all that God has blessed us with. Let's make sure we thank Him every day, and not just once a year.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Disco is NOT dead, Disco is LIFE!

I thought that might get your attention :) That quote is from one of David & I's (well, mostly David's) favorite movies, "Mystery Men", which is a spoof on Superheroes, and quite funny.

Anyway, Tony, the character who says it, gets very upset when the main villain, Casanova Frankenstein, who's been in prison for the last several years, tells him it must be hard for him that Disco is dead, since it was his whole life.

Although Hollywood is poking fun at the 70's and all things Disco, there's a lot of truth in how big a part music plays in our lives, and who we are. In fact, I just got finished reading a great article in the December issue of Parents magazine about the importance of introducing children to music. They say there's no documented proof that music will make your child smarter--so much for the Baby Einstein/Classical music theory!, but they will definitely be happier.

Speaking of music, anyone that knows us, knows we are a musical family. David played the tuba in high school, and I've played the piano since before I could walk. My parents actually have a picture of me reaching up to the keyboard, and I must not have been more than 9 or 10 months old.

And now our 11 month old daughter, Kyra, has joined the ranks of music lovers. She has a floor gym that plays music if you jiggle the overhead supports, and wouldn't you know it, when it stops, she goes over and shakes it to start it playing again. AND, if it's not a song she likes, she'll shake it until it plays one she does! Already a discriminating consumer at 11 months :) She also loves to dance, and like her mommy, has discovered the piano. So, I just had to take this picture of her reaching for the keys, like I did, so many years ago.

David also took a video of a "duet" she & I did, but youtube isn't cooperating, so oh well. Enough for now.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My first post

So here I am, posting on my very own blog.....Thank you Jenni Clayville, for encouraging me to finally join the blogging world :)

Ironically, I've been toying with the idea of blogging in the past, but several things were holding me back:

  1. I've never been much of one to journal, except when I had to for a school assignment or at retreats.
  2. Can I be funny & insightful, or will I end up just another boring post-er?
  3. Can I follow all of Jay McKenney's Blog rules? :)

Anyway, I thought I would give it a shot. And I can always post lots of pictures, which is Jay's rule #4....

Speaking of, here are some pictures of my little family from this past summer & Kyra's first Pumpkin Patch adventure. Enjoy!