Friday, March 30, 2007

Green & White Meal

We had a spring colored dinner for Grandparents' night tonight. With it we welcomed home G&G Sisson! We are so glad to have them back with us in good health.

Haley always finds the most beautiful things to grace our table.

Our sweet and beloved Grandmothers.

The hearty eating Grandfathers encourage these happy chefs.
Haley made her "out of this world" Apple Dumplings for dessert. :-)

This asparagus dish was sooooo good. You have got to try it! Here's the recipe:

serves 4

Use a vegetable pealer to remove paper-thin shavings from a block of Parmesan.

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves minced
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1 pound medium asparagus, tough ends trimmed
10 ounces white mushrooms stemmed and quartered
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Adjust oven rack to upper position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Stir oil, garlic, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper together in large bowl. Spread asparagus across rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan; (do not use a deep rimmed glass pan) drizzle with half of garlic mixture and toss to coat. Rearrange asparagus in single layer. Combine mushrooms with remaining garlic mixture and toss to coat. Scatter mushrooms over asparagus.

2. Roast until asparagus begins to soften and turns bright green with some dark brown edges, about 10 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice and continue roasting until asparagus is softened and mushrooms are deeply browned, about 5 minutes. Toss vegetables, season with salt and pepper, transfer to platter and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve.

from Cook's Country magazine

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Meditations: Choosing Joy

On Monday evening Mom, Haley and I drove down to the Skarin's house to hear a dear friend and sister in the Lord, Colleen Moeller, as she shared her thoughts after an eighteen month bout with cancer. I was so encouraged, and what she said was so much in line with what the Lord has been teaching me lately, I thought I would share some of my notes.

· “This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 How often do we glibly read through this verse, not even realizing what it says? This is the day the Lord has made. This interruption, this surprise, this disappointment, this blessing, this frustration. Lord, help me to accept the “this’s" of this day that you have made with joy and gladness.

· Joy lifts the weights that would otherwise crush us. We never know what God is exercising our spiritual muscles for!

· We are not to be the thermometers of our home, our mood swinging as we react to every slight change, but the thermostats. Why? Because we know that our Sovereign God is the filter through which all things come to us. Because we know that He doesn’t waste things, but that the seemingly haphazard problems and trials of our day are carefully planned for our good. And because our trials bring two blessings; the knowledge of our helplessness and the experience of His faithfulness.

· A life of joy brings hope to those around us. Trials are our opportunity to shine.

· The keys to joy: 1. Be content with the “this’s" of this day. 2.Bless others – do something for someone else every day.

And one final thought: Submission is a prerequisite for joy. - GJ

Monday, March 26, 2007

Stitching our Hearts Together

Here are our almost finished quilt tops,
and a few thoughts from our
favorite poet of everyday life. - GJ

"The world is filled with bustle and with selfishness and greed,
It is filled with restless people that are dreaming of a deed.

You can read it in their faces; they are dreaming of the day
When they'll come to fame and fortune and put all their cares away.

And I think as I behold them, though it's far indeed they roam,
They will never find contentment save they seek for it at home.

The peace that is the sweetest isn't born of minted gold
And the joy that lasts the longest and still lingers when we're old
Is no dim and distant pleasure - it is not tomorrow's prize,
It is not the end of toiling, or the rainbow of our sighs.

For the only happy toilers under earth's majestic dome
Are the ones who find their glories in the little spot called home."

- From The Home Builders by Edgar A. Guest

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Rest of the Group

Kara and Nathan came along for the quilting bee. They were such good sports and great company for Matthew. He had a fabulous time as you can tell.

They played board games and many rounds of Risk. Way to go Nathan.

On Saturday while we were sewing up a storm, they headed off with dad to the Jelly Belly Factory Store. There they had a tour and the opportunity to taste any of the Jelly Belly flavors that they wanted.

Yes they came home with several bags of belly flops. (Jelly Belly seconds Yum!)
Thank you kids for giving us the opportunity to sew, sew, sew!

Friday, March 23, 2007

In Stitches

The Criss ladies joined us for a Log Cabin Quilt weekend. It's been a long time since we've had a quilt day, and this will be Haley's first quilt. Here are all the fabrics.

Haley and Aubrie cutting strips in the kitchen. It's amazing how fast it goes with a roller cutter!

More cutting. Grandma Glenna sent her cutting board and ruler over for us.
We've kept all three boards busy!

Birdie and Aubrie at their machines. Notice the M&Ms in the foreground.
It's important when quilting to keep your strength up. ;-)

Mrs. Criss with her lovely burgundy and blue.

Haley chose the perfect colors to go with her cheery room. It's so much fun to see things going together! It's getting late, but it's hard to stop - just one more fabric, pleeeease! - GJ

New Yo-Yos

Nate our resident "expert" got some new yo-yos.

We are trying to learn how to use them!

Matthew's learned quickly and can do a loop d' loop!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sunday, the Lord's Day

On Sunday we had our beloved church family over for Sunday worship and a potluck.

When we get together, the food is always delicious. Thank you everyone!

The conversation and fellowship encourages us.
We are strengthened by our relationships with each other.

The younger set headed outside in the crisp sunshine for a wild game of Blob Tag.
We moms stayed in and played speed scrabble and talked about the books we have been reading. The Dads stayed in and
resisted the urge for napping . . . . . . . . . . I think.

I didn't hear any snoring!

Diana Sroka joined our fellowship for the day to share her experiences in Guatemala. She is looking for the Lord's provision to return there at the end of next month for more permanent ministry opportunities. Our hearts and our prayers go with you Diana. Thank you for your willingness to be the Lord's hands, and thank you for allowing us to join with you!

Friday Night - Family Night

Andrew joined us for dinner Friday night!
We were blessed to have him before he heads out on his next business trip.
Have a great time Andrew, we love and miss you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Island Adventures: Part Two

On our second full day in Curacao we took a tour of Willemstad and the surrounding areas. I'm not much of a city girl, except to visit, but I was fascinated by the buildings with their European design and bright Caribbean colors! In 1817 Curacao had a rather eccentric governor who was prone to migraines. He decided they were caused by the glare of the sun on white buildings, so he made a rule that you had to paint your buildings in some pastel color. Thus, the uniquely colored city. Government buildings are painted yellow, by the way.

Here's Dad at the floating market. You can see on the right where the boats dock, then they put their produce right on those "counters" behind Dad. Yes, that is a white building on the left. I don't think white is illegal anymore. In the afternoon, we had planned to visit the Maritime Museum - you can guess whose idea that was - but it turned out to be closed. So I, I mean, we, consoled ourselves with thoughts of our coming outing on the Insulinde.

Recognize that fabric? Here's a shot in front of our Hotel with me in my finished "Curacao Skirt".

Here is the Insulinde, a two masted, fore and aft rigged clipper ship that we sailed on our last day. We went around the island to an excellent spot for snorkeling. They dropped us off right by a sunken tug boat, and the place was swarming with tropical fish!

Another treat when we were snorkeling was swimming out over the edge of the reef. One moment you're enjoying the fish and plant life, the next thing you know, the ocean floor has dropped out from underneath you and you feel like you just swam over the edge of the world! I also loved the view sailing back into Willemstad.

It's hard not to smile around a sailing vessel, isn't it. :-) I suppose the sailing was probably my favorite outing if I had to pick, but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. We went to an elegant French restaurant that night, so everything was as beautiful to look at as it was delicious to eat. It was a fitting end to an absolutely delightful trip! Thanks for taking me Dad! - GJ

Friday, March 16, 2007

Count Down to Spring

Less than a week until the official start of spring.
I can hardly wait to smell the lilacs again.
It will soon be time to cut the grass and play catch outside.

Haley's not only our gardener but our lover of God's natural beauty.
She takes pictures of all the things that catch her eye.

It won't be long.

Island Adventures: Part One

Our trip to Curacao was certainly an eventful one. After arriving at the hotel, Dad and I went for a walk along the ocean and came across the ruins of an old fort! It was build by the Dutch in the 1750s and was surrendered to the British in 1804 without a fight; the defenders had fourteen cannons, but no cannon balls! (For more Curacao history, see my previous post entitled Sewing Projects and Island Trips.) Forts seem to be as common on the island as castles are in England. Nevertheless, this history buff was surprised and delighted to stumble across one of them. Positioned as it was at the entrance to a small bay, I could just picture tall ships sailing into the harbor. :-)

We found a few other things on our walk too.

On our first full day, we took an ATV trip with Dad's customers around some of the uninhabited parts of the island. On our way, we drove past was has to be world's only prison painted in a rainbow of pastel colors! It was rather amusing, but definitely in character with the rest of the island. Then we were out in the rugged, dry and dusty wilds, navigating between thorn bushes and cactus.

We stopped half way through our drive and climbed to the top of a sheer cliff via a winding cave in the side of the hill. There were bats flying around, and I didn't think one of the ladies would make it, but it was actually fairly light in the interior. Did I happen to mention that it was very dusty? Everyone was CAKED with dirt by the time we got back! We had a great time, though. I didn't see a single dirty face without a big, white grin!

That night we had a three course dinner in downtown Willemstad at a waterside restaurant. Our group was seated in a little starlit courtyard, decorated with a fountain, lampposts and palm trees. I wish I had a picture that showed just how beautiful it was! Willemstad is divided into two sections by it's deep-water harbor. The east section is called Punda meaning "point", the west is Otrobanda meaning "the other side". After dinner, we walked around the downtown area, crossing over to the Punda side on a pedestrian bridge lit by arching neon lights. When we found that we were having difficulty walking straight, we realized that the bridge was actually floating on the water! We got to see the bridge open the next day, but I'll have to tell more about that in my next post. - GJ