Monday, November 8, 2010

Frozen Grapes

I'm doing Weight Watchers, and it's challenging to find a snack when Costco's Super Premium Vanilla Ice Cream - which, oh by the way, is the best - stares at me from the freezer. In my brainstorming and listening-for-good-ideas, I discovered frozen grapes. YUM! They are sweet little Popsicles of deliciousness. Aaaaand, freezing keeps grapes juicy and round. I'm sure you all know what it's like to buy a bag of grapes and forget about them in the fridge. Not pretty. Not delicious.

1. Buy grapes on sale.

2. Pull grapes off stems and wash.

3. Dump handfuls in baggies and freeze. (Can this be any easier?)

4. Eat and share.

Dear brother volunteered to be my "Vanna White" for the occasional.

P.S. He totally loved them.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sign of a Married Woman

My Rings 

When I was 13 or so, my dad gave me a ring, a simple silver band, a symbol of purity. I made a vow to him, the Lord, and my future husband that I would remain a virgin until marriage. I wore that ring until November 21, 2009 when my dad slipped the ring to Josh at the altar. Few noticed.

Picture by Dan Buettner

I had always worn my purity ring on my ring finger on my left hand until the year I met Josh. Mom told me that I needed to leave the finger open to show that I wasn't married. Reluctantly, I began wearing my little band on my right hand. Since I was on my way to Africa and not planning to get married anytime in the next three years (at least), I felt this was unnecesary.

Weeks later, I was at a Wycliffe Bible Translators meeting. During the meeting I noticed that I had accidently put my ring on my left hand earlier in the day out of habit. (Give me a break. I wore it that way for over 10 years!) I quickly moved the band over, remembering what my mom had told me weeks earlier.

I met Josh that night after the meeting. He asked me out that night. He wouldn't have if there had been a ring on my left hand, he told me later. (Thanks, Mom.)

Picture by Dan Buettner

Now we're married, and I have a new ring. Josh has my old one hanging above his desk at home. My new ring is to proclaim to the world that I am married to Josh. He picked it out with intentionality.

 There are three stones at the top of the ring. The center stone is bigger and stands between the two smaller ones. This represent Christ in the center of our marriage. There are ten little stones, five on each side. (These are ten children! We'll see about that.) I really love this man.

Picture by Dan Buettner

I don't know how accurate it is, but I thought I'd show you a little glimpse of another culture and the importance of symbols of marriage. It may just apply to certain caste. It's an interesting sense of humor anyway.
Vermilion Mark 
"In India, bangles, locket and vermilion mark on the forehead are symbols of a married woman. Daily, the husband applies the vermilion on the wife's forehead as it is believed to be connected to his lifeline. When the husband dies, Rudali's (professional mourners) come and strip the woman off these symbols."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Maria's Marinade

About three months ago, I wrote this to my sister-in-law:
I can't stop thinking about your delicious marinade.
May I have it, pretty please? Lovingly, Ruthie


Being the amazing sister-in-law she is, she responded with the secrets of the most amazing marinade in all the land. (I don't lie, try it.) So being the amazing sister-in-law that I am, I'm making her famous. 

(Disclaimer: There was something about this being adapted from Joy of Cooking, so I better mention it. But Maria's touch is what makes this the best.)

Citrus Herb Marinade

"This is among the simplest and most satisfying ways to give fish, poultry, meat, and large vegetables lively flavor before applying heat. Suit the herbs to the food."

Combine in a dish and blend with a fork:

1/4 cup mild-tasting olive oil or nut oil
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice or dry red wine
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, preferably flat-leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves or other appropriate herb
1/2 bay leaf, very finely crumbled
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black or white pepper, or to taste

Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

So, I don't follow this recipe to a T. I usually estimate the ingredients instead of taking time to measure, though with measuring, you will probably come up with the best result. When I did this on Sunday, I omitted the red wine/orange juice, and put in extra lemon juice, omitted the parsley, and crushed the garlic, which I think produces a more intense garlic flavor than mincing, and is faster. I usually marinate chicken for 30 min. at the least, but a few hours is preferable. Also, brushing the marinade on when grilling is helpful to keep the chicken moist.


With love,

P.S. from me:

I have definitely put this recipe to use in my own way. I don't follow it to a T, but you know how that goes. I often use Italian seasoning instead of thyme, and cilantro instead of parsley... so delicious! Grilling is the best of course, but it works beautifully stove-top as well. I totally made the chicken in the picture at the top and served coconut rice. Yummmm!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Iced Coffee - What about the cubes?

I heart iced coffee, but you know what's gross? Watery iced coffee. I like to drink my coffee slowly and kinda let it sit. So, I needed a solution. You know that little bit of coffee at the end of the pot?
  1. Pour left over coffee in ice cube tray. These are the best.
  2. Freeze.
  3. Empty cubes from tray into ziploc bag.
  4. Store in freezer until you crave this.

    P.S. I most definitely use Splenda or else you all know what would happen.
    Remember the granola?
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    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Oven Liner Shout-Out

    I want to give a shout out to my oven liner. It performed over and above last night and deserves recognition. The evening started with making an apple pie. You know where I'm going with this...

    It was delicious. (Thanks, Mom!)
    The crust was the flakiest in the land.

    But, I'm not Mom.

      It happens. I'm learning to wife.

    It was pretty much the most disgusting pile
    of burnt apple pie insides a new wife ever saw.
    But when new wife shoved said pile,
    it slid right on over and looked like this. True story. 

    And with a wipe here and a wipe there ...okay it was like one wipe...

    I know, right?!

    I could hardly believe it myself.

    Ask new husband and brother,
    I was leaping all over the apartment with joy.

    (No, oven liner makers did not pay me. 
    They should, cuz I'm going to tell you where I got it. Where else?)

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    Protective-Restrictive Difference

    We hit 10 months of marriage, and we've been learning more about our differences. For one, he's a Honda guy and I like Toyota. Another difference that seems a little more significant for our marriage right now is our Protective-Restrictive Difference. We can look at the exact same situation and think totally different things.

    Some Small-scale Examples
    Josh always wears shoes outside, and I would endure much pain if I can remain barefooted as long as possible. Shoes to Josh are protective, to me, restrictive. He would carefully take out a cutting board, and I'd dice the tomato from my hand. He would turn on lights, and I would run through the dark... while thinking, How far can I make it without running into or stepping on something? I totally used to do this as a kid through a yard with dog mines. True, the chance of injury (or stepping in poop) is greater for me, but time saved somehow seems worth it to me.
    I'm time-oriented, and Josh is quality-oriented. We're grateful for this.

    For me, I get some sort of thrill with the challenge. Josh is a little more practical, I think. He doesn't care so much if I swim across the pool faster, because in the end, he won't be the one who lost a contact, got a charley horse, and swallowed a bunch of chlorine.

    How does this Protective-Restrictive Difference apply to life on a larger scale? I haven't quite figured that one out.

    So when it comes time to buying a mini-van (cuz everyone's doin' it), which do we get? Honda or Toyota?

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    #1 Organizer - Tubs

    I've been throwing away our can't-see-inside-falling-apart-multiple-sizes-cardboard boxes by the stacks, and I'm replacing them with these.

    We looked ridiculous pushing two carts of tubs around Costco, but you know what people were thinking? Organized. That sure was what we were thinking. When I got home, I organized hand-me-down baby clothes from my sister into half a dozen of them - and labeled them by sizes. I'm feeling like a motivated wife.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Cat's Pajamas

    "Cat's pajamas" was a phrase used frequently in my dad's family. I heard it all the time growing up. True story: my little brother totally just brought it back. It was originally used in the 20's, kinda meaning cool or maybe radical, groovy, da-bomb, neat-o.

    Cat's Pajamas
    a haiku by me
    he's the cat's 'jammies
    so in love with him i know
    my hubby joshie


    Sometimes after I talk to Josh, before I walk away, I bend my knees, twist, and bow a little. It's sort of to let him know these things.

    I respect you. 
    You are so worth my time. 
    I love talking to you. 
    I wanna be your girl.
    You're pretty much the cat's pajamas. 

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    Spoil Him - Pack a Lunch & Write a Note

    I pack Josh a lunch everyday, unless work provides lunch. Okay, there have been a few times that I just plain forgot! Yes, I felt so bad. Men need their lunches. Here are some things that I think about to make this easy.

    1. Cook enough for leftovers the night before. I'm lucky he likes leftovers.
    2. Keep emergency foods in supply... like peanut butter. He loves it. I use it sparingly, so it's like a treat more than a oh-no-I-forgot-your-lunch food. I also send soup cans with him occasionally for a stash for the really forgetful/busy days.
    3. Keep a fruit basket of favorites by the door. He grabs 1-2 everyday if I don't include it in his lunch. 
    4. Make easy snacks. I try to keep foods that last several days in portions, like yogurt and boiled eggs. It's super easy when I have this. So worth it! 
    5. Have salad toppings on hand. It's amazing how some almonds, craisins, and boiled eggs can make spinach and lettuce so happy, especially with a favorite dressing (and grilled chicken if I think ahead). 
    6. Include a note. This turns any lunch good or bad into one of the best parts of his day. Easy!

    The other day I saw a guy quietly loading frozen meal after frozen meal on the belt. I was tempted to say, "You poor thing. You need a wife." I didn't, of course. But I decided that my man isn't going to be ashamed of his meals. My probably motivation is found in his response. Here's a text I got from him today: 

    Josh: "my wife spoils me" - to coworker as I prepare an amazing gourmet burrito. "looks good" he said as he put water into his ramen noodles.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Folding Fitted Sheets - Duh!

    This is Courtney, and she has a website about Living Well. There are some good tips on there, I think.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Doodling - It's what I do.

    I told him that I'm obsessed. I don't think he gets it because he was surprised when I mentioned my doodling habits. Is this just a girl thing? Or is it a me thing? *swoon*

    P.S. This is just stuff I had within reach of my desk.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Gave it all up.

    I gave it all up in 2009 to be with Josh.

    Since then, I've been given it all back... and some!

    Read about it on my other blog.

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Dreaded Thursday

    For real. It's Josh's school night. He's gone from 8am-10:30pm. *wail* I dread it, but it also becomes the perfect opportunity to clean, cook, catch up on projects, etc. So what do I do? I sit down to write this post and write about the things that I want to do.

    I want to do these things:
    • make ice cream
    • make yogurt
    • plan meals
    • do dishes
    • clean apartment
    • do laundry
    • clean "guest" room (family addition is in Russia for a couple weeks, so we're using his room this weekend)
    • think of a way to make Josh feel special

    (Within seconds of posting this, this popped up on my Twitter... I just had to come back and let you know. Go figure.)

    Before I go, I want to leave you with a picture of my niece... okay, two. My hubby and I love to take pictures for my sister's family. He got these a couple weeks ago. :) We call her Banana.

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Can't Stop Talking. It's Normal.

    Mom, you are right.

    My mom was with us for a few days before moving to Naknek, Alaska (read about it). As we were packing up and taping boxes to ship up there, she told me that Josh and I talk more to each other than any couple she knows. She wonders how on earth we get anything accomplished. You might wonder.

    Here's a classic example from just last night.

    Josh and I met after work to go to a coffee shop to be productive. I picked him up so we could talk and drive together. He had a list of things to do, and well, I went to keep him company. Normal.

    We ended up having three significant discussions. Significant, meaning, it influenced our thinking, enhanced our communication skills, and drew us closer together. The goals of all conversations. One was on family, how we interact with various members. Another was on the situation with our church and our amazing pastor, Tom Brock. We are so proud to be members of Hope. The third was on vows and divorce. After a few hours, we agreed to continue at a later time, and he quick returned to studies.

    I love my husband.

    He's my best friend.

    We left his car at work so we could drive home together. On the way home we read Nahum. It was a normal evening.

    This is why we review priorities. What does that mean?

    Amazon Targets Students - Genius!

    Remember Amazon Prime (totally worth it, by the way)? Well, now it's even more worth it... for some. If you have a .edu email address, you're in luck. You get it free for a year - here. No lie. Since the love of my life is the most resourceful person I know, I was pretty proud to have found it first. We get the year free and got money back! Perks of student life. Yesssssssssssssssss.

    Oh wait, it gets better. Everyday Amazon Gold Box puts out lightning deals. Every once and a while we'll get blown away.

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010


    What does 10% of the population have in common?
    What do these people have in common? 
    Nietzsche, Mahatma Gandhi, Charlie Chaplin, Henry Ford, John McEnroe, Isaac Newton, Truman, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Macartney, Reagan, Ford, Bush, Obama, Clinton, Babe Ruth, Joan of Arc, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Bill Gates, Queen Victoria, Beethoven, Neil Armstrong, John Kennedy, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Michelangelo, Ramses the Great, Mark Twain, Napoleon...
    The same thing that the love of my life and I have in common. We're all lefties.

    The other day Josh and I were at the thrift store (this amazing place in case you were wondering). In the midst of taking advantage of amazing deals and half price yellow tag items to boot, I ran across this.


    Yes, it's A Left-Handed History of the World. I almost got it. You see, Josh and I are both left-handed. Ironically, we've had to learn how to sit next to each other at meals. You'd think we'd finally have it easy. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Two lefties falling in love? It's funny, but I have thought about what may come of this. With such a rich history of talented left-handers, I feel hopeful. Will all our children be lefties? *sigh* I hope so.

    P.S. I didn't buy the book, but Josh bought me some gorgeous clothes! Sweet, sweet, provider. I love him.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Settlers Helps Me Be a Better Wife - 3 Reasons

    Settlers of Catan!Image by readmckay via Flickr

    Our favorite board game these days is Settlers of Catan... Cities & Knights, Seafarers, Traders & Barbarians. My family bought them for me when I was planning on moving to Nigeria. What does this have to do with learning to wife? Actually it does, no really, I'm not just putting this up because we L-O-V-E this game. It teaches me a lot about being a wife... uh. Here you go:

    1. Giving Directions: I'm learning that it doesn't work when we try to teach people the game at the same time. It just confuses people. I think this lesson will be valuable in child training and maybe even telling people about Jesus!
    2. Explaining Myself: I play Settlers a lot like how I live life. I just do it. My Love is wonderful at processing and producing well-thought-out results in both Settlers and life (not to be confused with the game). I'm not. When he asks, "How did you win?" or "Why did you build there?" I am challenged to think about the reason for my move and to explain it with clarity. Yes, this is quite applicable. Being married to a quality-oriented man, this lesson is priceless.
    3. Having Fun: This is probably the most common of the reasons. We often use Settlers to bring life to a conversation and find common ground with others. It's true, we use it to manipulate others to come visit us. I'm learning that it's good for our relationship with each other and with others to be able to take off my apron, leave the dishes, and cream everyone in a game of Settlers! :) Love it.
    It's not just a game.

    P.S. Does anyone know where to find replacement pieces?
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    Wednesday, June 30, 2010

    Family Addition


    Well, not quite. He's already my brother, but he has joined our house-, uh, apartment-hold. We are super excited. John(ny) is finishing his last year of college, and we offered our guestroom to save some money. Okay, okay, for way more reasons than just that. It helps that he takes us up on Settlers challenges. We know as newly married lovebirds this change with have it's challenges, but we've concluded that the shaping we'll go through will make it all worth it. My lovie and my brother get along as well as two guys could - so well that I might get a little jealous for both their attention, I think. They've already been talking hours on end about theology, philosophy, and who knows what else. Welcome to the fam, Oot!
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    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Amazon Prime, Totally Worth It

    My Josh is the king of shopping online, and I'm learning. The biggest disadvantage is outrageous shipping costs. So... we have Amazon Prime. How can you beat 2-day FREE shipping? Almost free. There's a yearly fee, but if you shop online as much as we do, it's totally worth it. We even buy paper towels online and save. Costco and Walmart aren't always the cheapest around.

    There are so many more perks about shopping at Amazon. We use it for price checks and reviews. This is the process I go through.
    Image representing Amazon as depicted in Crunc...
    1. Type in what I want.
    2. Limit the search items eligible for Prime.
    3. Sort by department and by bestselling.
    4. Compare lowest and highest reviews of a few options. 
    5. Compare with other sites like Froogle (I rarely benefit from this step).
    6. Dump it on my wish list and talk to Josh about it.
    7. Click buy or save for later, and don't get in my car.
    8. Get it at home two days later. Amazing!
    It saves me a trip, and I don't get stuck with items of poor quality.

    P.S. Amazon's Customer Service and return policies/practices are the best we have ever seen.

    It's true.

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    Monday, June 21, 2010

    Granola, Helps Put on Pounds

    Josh and I put on some weight when we first got married. We've been losing it now, but it took some research. Granola was our cereal of choice. Sounded healthy. Not! Look what I found out.

    Quaker Natural Granola Cereal
    Worst Cereal
    Quaker 100% Natural Granola, Oats, Honey & Raisins (1 c)
    420 calories
    12 g fat (7 g saturated)
    6 g fiber
    30 g sugars

    "Granola, for all its good reputation, is usually weighed down by a deluge of added sugars. In fact, for the same amount of sugar, you could have a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles more than twice the size-and you'd get more fiber and save about 60 calories in fat. Calorie Equivalent: 8 chicken wings"

    IMG_0245Eat This Instead!
    Kashi GOLEAN (1 c)
    140 calories
    1 g fat (0 g saturated)
    10 g fiber
    6 g sugars

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    Friday, June 18, 2010

    Google Docs & Priorities

    Each week Josh and I review our priorities and make a schedule for the coming week (sometimes two weeks). We have a working google document that both of us can edit simultaneously from anywhere that has internet access. This is important since we often think of things to add/change when we're away from home. This has been one of the most effective tools we've had for doing a weekly review, being productive, communicating expectations, and prioritizing. It prevents an enormous amount of conflict. Josh is a talented system builder and organizer, and I think that this is one of his best! So, I'm going to let you in on the fun. P.S. It's a great opportunity to grab some coffee and cuddle for an hour each Saturday. Do a "Save As" and organize your life!

    Here's the masterpiece.

    Tips Just for You:
    • Designate: We designate each job to make it clear (e.g. r, do laundry; jr, drive to Illinois).
    • Complete: We strike out tasks that are finished throughout the week and then delete them at the end.
    • Project & Prioritize: The 4-section priorities chart is not just for weekly tasks. We have stuff on there for months to come and move them onto the weekly schedule as time allows. We mark time sensitive tasks (e.g. j, buy school books for management course (6/17); r, use shutterfly coupon (7/23))
    • Reminders: Remember the Milk has a great reminder system that texts your phone. I get my task list every morning at 7am.
    • Calendars: We keep separate google calendars and share them online.
    • Have fun! This is to help you, not stress you out. 

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      Wednesday, June 16, 2010

      Too Busy to Cuddle?

      I have a full-time job right now, and I'm married to a man who is working full-time and going to school at night. I anticipate being a SAHM for a good chunk of my life. There are so many opinions out there on what a woman should do -- work outside the home, have a home business, stay at home. Josh and I have been talking about these sorts of things. One thing we've agreed on is that whether I'm working outside the home or not, and whether the Lord gives us kids or not, I need to be responsible for our home while he wins the bread. :)

      I find that this responsibility makes me anxious sometimes. Are the dishes and laundry done? Will I get home from work one time? Do I have dinner planned? Will I accidentally poison our guests? I fall into patterns of I-better-not-have-a-free-moment-or-I'm-not-getting-my-jobs-done. Sometimes I "frantically attempt to erase every trace of relaxation from our days" (a great article). I'm thinking more about these things, and I realize that creating a relaxing, not-too-busy place of refuge for my sweet husband and for our marriage is also my responsibility - even more so than cleaning the fridge! So whether I work outside or inside the home, I must be intentional in planning ahead and learning efficiency so that we can take off our shoes, drink something warm, and cuddle on the couch.

      There are several ways that we practice efficiency and time management. All of them are founded on communication. I'll write more about this on days to come.

      Psalm 46:10 -- "Be still, and know that I am God. 
      I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

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      Tuesday, June 1, 2010

      Green Bags


      It's hard to believe, but these things actually work! AND they're reusable. You know how you've always wanted your bananas to stay green and your bell peppers to keep from getting moldy? This brings hope.

      I love that chalky green banana taste. Yum.

      green bananas

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      Monday, May 31, 2010



      We went to our first Twins game together.
      A friend gave us front-row free tickets! 
       It was cold and rainy, and the Twins lost.
      We had a great time.

      (Thanks, Philip!)

      how 'bout this...

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