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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Some Beautiful Places

Eliza Island, WA
White Sand (Black Hills, SD)
Antelope Island (Salt Lake City, UT)
Just North of the Valley of the Gods, UT
Minnesota (not sure which lake!)
Palisade Head (North Shore of Lake Superior, MN)
When the late January blues hit and all the snow starts to look the same, I like looking back at all the beautiful places I've seen. So blessed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

-4 Letters.

Dear Hubby, you are sick. I'm okay with that. It's all of -4 degrees outside at the moment, and you're in our bed, safe and warm and not lifting heavy things, breathing humidified air and drinking a Avocado/Banana smoothie.

Dear computer, How come it's so much more fun to check Pinterest and Facebook and Blogger than it is to work on online classes?

Dear pile of dirty laundry, Stop looking at me like that. The washer and dryer are in our bedroom, where my sick husband is sleeping. You'll have to stay dirty a little longer.

I'm content right now to sit on my couch, keep the curtains closed to the cold outside world, and cut out quilt squares from Zeke's old, beat up coat. To smell the pot of water, orange peel, and cinnamon I have simmering on the stove. To forget about the dishes and just be for a little while. It's enough.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Maintenance Man Monday

Welcome to the first installation of my new weekly series!

When did it become socially acceptable for women to whine about their husbands? I have several married friends and work with many married women at schools, and the one thing that most married women have in common is that we complain. About our men. It almost becomes a contest sometimes- who's husband is the most disgusting/most inconsiderate/dumbest/laziest. Why do we do that? We should be raising our husbands up, being grateful for them and praising them in private and in public. Instead, how many times do we complain to our friends about his latest failing?

I, for one, am going to start bragging about my hunky maintenance man husband!

The other day, I heard someone say, "Women go into marriage hoping they can change the man, and men go into marriage hoping the woman will never change." Is this true of you? Do you sometimes wish you could change some things about your husband? I know I do sometimes.

One of those things is that my husband tends to empty his pockets all around the house, leaving little piles of stuff wherever. Yeah, it drove me crazy for a little while, and yes, it would be nice if he would just empty his pockets into a basket by the front door.

And then I started looking at those little piles. No one but a maintenance man, or maybe a mechanic, comes home with such a variety of things. I started taking pictures of his little piles of junk (before putting them away!). I've come to appreciate all the things he does for me and all the work he does around camp, and those little piles are just part of his work ethic and commitment to his job.

HH always takes a personal interest in whatever he's doing. He takes ownership, and whatever he does, he does well. It's one of the things I love most about him. And those little piles remind me of that.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Frugal Friday: Water Bottles

Money escapes our homes in big ways and in small ways. The bigger things (like tuition payments, large purchases, insurance) are the ones that stick in our minds. We keep track of how much we spend on those big-ticket items.

However, as much as the big stuff hurts our wallets, the smaller items are the ones that sneak into our pockets and end up costing us a lot of money.

One of those things are disposable water bottles. We drink a lot of water around here, especially in the summer, what with a constantly working maintenance man and all. Water bottles are convenient, they may taste better than your tap water (my tap water tastes like lake in the summer... ew), and they don't seem that terribly expensive.

Oh, but they are. Just do the math!

Our solution?

We bought a bunch of BPA-free water bottles (and found one- it was in the lost and found for four years!). Every time one is emptied, it gets washed, dried, refilled, and stuck back in the fridge. Not only is this a better option cost-wise, but it's also better for the environment.

 What about the taste? We also purchased a filter to put onto our kitchen faucet. This one switches from filtered to non-filtered by turning a knob. So far, we've only gone through one of the disposable filter inserts, and we've had the thing since July... so... six months. And like I said, we drink a lot of water.

It may seem like such a little change, but every little bit helps! If you're a big plastic water bottle person, give it a try!

Even if you don't drink a lot of water, consider changing switching to good old H20. Sugary beverages are super expensive, even more so than water bottles. Convenient? Yes. Delicious? Yes. Good for you? No. Cheap? No.

Making small changes to make yourself just a little more frugal is what it's all about.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Regrets (a Tattoo Story)

Confession time.

I have a tattoo. Well, two of them actually, but they're in the same general place and are linked together to look like one, even though I got them at different times.

I got the first one when I was sixteen, with my parents' permission (what were they thinking?). It's a small Japanese symbol on the right side of my lower back. It means "light."

My mom said, from the get-go, that when I'm fifty, I'll say "dumb-head."

I got "light" to remind me to be light to the world. I was very over-dramatic about the meaning, the tattoo... I tried to be a very deep teenager. Philosophical. In all honesty, the main reason for getting the tattoo was the attention. I thought it would be cool.

Two years later, I wanted to expand on the idea (and wanted more attention), so I added "moon" to the tattoo, making it "moonlight." Once again, I was very philosophical about it- as moon is the reflection of the sun, so am I supposed to be a reflection of the light of God. I said that exact sentence anytime anyone asked me about it. Like I said, over-dramatic.

It's been six years since I got the second part. Half the time, when I see the tattoo in the shower, I'm surprised. I forget it's there. The other half of the time, I'm embarrassed about it. I wouldn't get it again. The idea of putting something permanent on my body... forever altering what God designed... I don't know. I guess it's just not my style anymore. My husband isn't such a fan of it (he says I'm beautiful just the way I am), and I don't think it's nearly as cool as I used to. I'm glad I had the foresight to get the tattoo somewhere where I can easily cover it up, but that's about the only thing I still like about it.

It's a regret. When I'm asked about it now (like at the pool or when my shirt rides up by accident), I usually say that it was a stupid decision that a silly immature me decided on. Zeke says that I should stop saying that. And he may be right.

Because you know what? Even at the immature and silly as I was at sixteen, and then at eighteen, I knew who I was. I knew that I was (and am) a child of God, a light to the world. Yeah, the way I chose to express it isn't the way I would do so now. Despite my regrets about the tattoo that comes everywhere with me, I have no regrets about who I am in Christ.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Pet shaming
 I thought Tucker Turtle could use a little shaming...

Maintenance Man Noir...

I'm working on a quilt! Isn't it pretty?!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Juicing Update

After that long and drawn out post about why we're juicing, I'll make this one short and sweet for you! Here's the report of how we're doing:

Friday: We continue on our two-meal-replacement juicing. We had the Giggling Gorilla Smoothie for breakfast- 1/2 head of romaine, 2 peeled and frozen bananas,  2 peeled and seeded oranges, 1 mango, and 2 cups water. We added a little ice, too. I should have cut out some of the more "stemmy" parts of the romaine, and I should have peeled the mango (I was in a rush!)- that would have improved the texture a lot. The flavor wasn't bad. Zeke said it tasted "good, and then like a garden." We had our solid lunch, and then for supper we had Be A Man Juice- 1 bunch kale, 2 apples, 3 lemons, 4 celery stalks, and a thumb of ginger. I abbreviated the name of this juice on the menu board to "Man Juice"... which got an eyebrow raise from Hunky Husband. Wow. This juice was SOUR. Those lemons were the primary flavor, and they really took over the juice. That one'll grow hair on your chest!

Saturday: The last day of one solid meal before we launch into full-time juicing. We started out the day with Jet Pack Smoothie- 2 cups seedless grapes, 3 peeled kiwis, 1 peeled and seeded orange, 5 leaves red leaf lettuce, 2 cups water, and a little ice. I liked this one. It wasn't very sweet, but the flavors worked pretty well together. We ate at a Chinese buffet for lunch (Hunky Husband's "last meal" request), and then had Lemonade Zing Juice- 2 cucumbers, 1 bunch red grapes, 1 lemon, 1 pear- for supper. I added the pear onto the original recipe because our pears are really ripe and I wanted to use them up. This juice was a total hit. Both of us loved it. This recipe made a lot of juice, so we shared one batch, but it was so good that we each could have downed a whole batch ourselves. I noticed that I was still going strong at 10:00 pm- not sure if it was the juice, sleeping in this morning, or having a later supper after washing Zeke's truck. Either way, I'll take the extra energy anytime!

Sunday: This is the day we learned what beets taste like. Oh yeah. We had Three Root Juice for lunch- 1 beet, 3 carrots, 1/2 a sweet potato. Ew. Ew, ew, ew. If you like beets, more power to you, but we really (REALLY) don't like beets. They taste like dirt. Honestly. Dirt. This juice was another tough one to get down. Luckily, we had an AvoBanana Smoothie for breakfast to hold us over- 2 bananas, 1/2 avocado, 1 c spinach, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup ice. This has to be my favorite smoothie yet. Yum yum yum! This day was supposed to be our "no solids" day, but Zeke's family came into town... and so we had Dairy Queen with them. Whoops.
Beet juice does make really pretty colors... (Three Root Juice being blended with ice)

Monday: We started the day with a Mile High Smoothie-1 banana, 3 strawberries, 1 apple, 1/2 c yogurt, 1/2 c water, a handful of ice. This was another good one- really thick and filling. For lunch, we attempted to down some more beet with the Velvet Elvis- 4 carrots, 1/4 beet, 2 apples, 1 orange. This one was way better than the last. Beets in much smaller amounts are way more palatable. Supper was the Mean Green- 6 kale leaves, 1 cucumber, 4 celery stalks, 2 green apples, 1/2 lemon, 1 piece ginger. I noticed that today (due to the beets from yesterday) my poop was red. Oh yeah. Personal now.

Tuesday: Breakfast was a filling green smoothie to start the day off right- Green Smoothie No. 1- 2 bananas, 1 apple (or pear), 5 strawberries, a handful of spinach, 1 c water, handful ice. This one was pretty good, too. I think our taste buds might be adapting to a lower-sugar diet! Lunch was Sweet Potato Medley- 1 peeled sweet potato, 5 carrots, 1/2 pineapple. This one was very sweet, and we both liked it. Zeke's dad rolled into town at suppertime (surprise!) and we again killed our diet by going out to eat.

From this point on, we started repeating recipes that we liked (and NEVER AGAIN trying the ones we didn't!!). A couple of highlights for the rest of the week?

- We had noticeably more energy.
- We did cheat a little- if we got really hungry in the evening, Zeke and I would have a carrot or apple to tide us over. I think that helped with keeping enough fiber in our systems because...
- Poop was still present. I was worried that eliminating some of the fiber from our diets would be bad for our digestive... regularity. No issues there, I'd think because of the snacks and smoothies.

We planned to keep up with the all-juice regimen until Friday evening, and then reward ourselves with some "real" food when we went to run errands in the city. Friday evening rolled around, and...

We both lost weight! Zeke lost 15 pounds in just these two weeks, and I lost 3 pounds. Whoo hoo!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Little Wife Pins!

Hey hey!

I'm sure most of you are familiar with one of my most favorite sites- Pinterest! It's wonderful, it's dangerously addictive, it makes me want to do three million things all at the same time. Hunky Husband has even begun to like it, if only for the yummy pictures of food!

You may know Pinterest, but did you know that I'm on Pinterest?!

Yes. I am.

Search me- type Little Wife into the search bar and click "Pinners" and you'll find me! I'd love to have you as a follower, and I'll most likely follow you back. I love stealing wonderful ideas that people have already stolen.

Happy Pinning!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

Here's a peek into my house and life lately...

 My winter theme is gray and yellow... here's my centerpiece.

 I had so much fun making little fabric flowers that I decorated the TV, too.

 It's cold out there! We've gotten quite a bit of snow this winter, and the lakes are frozen over, too.

Repost, I know.. I just love this picture of the Tucky Turtle by our frosted window!

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Dry Erase To Do List

I got sick of writing To Do lists. Don't you? It seems like I write the same thing every week anyways! I came up with a solution.

Dry Erase To Do Lists!!

All you need to recreate these lovelies are some clear page protectors, scrapbooking paper, dry erase markers, and magnets.

Then write your list on the scrapbook paper...

Put your lists in the page protector. I put two lists in each, so I can just flip them over and voila! Two more days! I hang mine up on my fridge with magnet clips.

You can cross off as you go, and add things if you need to (like if you have to call the insurance company. Oh, I have to call the insurance company!! Whoops!).

So there you have it! The newest thing making my life easier!

Friday, January 11, 2013


In light of all of the health-related stuff going on, and also because we just want to, HH and I have started juicing.

Oh yeah. We're hippies now. (Just kidding)

But seriously, I eat terribly. I have for a long time. Like my senior year of high school when I'd have a hot dog bun for breakfast, eat a side salad for lunch, and not eat supper... until Friday or Thursday or whenever I got super hungry, at which point I'd bring home an 8x8 of chocolate frosted brownies and eat the whole pan in one sitting. I've never liked fruit and scoff at most new foods, I love making entire meals out of snacks, and I have a lack of self-control when it comes to food.

When I was six, we were at my grandparents' house and everyone left me alone at the breakfast table with an entire pound of bacon. I ate the whole thing.

When I was seven or eight, we went to an all-you-can-eat corn roast. I ate seven ears of corn and a hamburger, practiced my underwater somersaults in the pool, and blew chunks all over the pool deck.

See? Lack of self-control.

Zeke has a much healthier relationship with food- he eats a much larger variety (he actually eats oranges- gross. And bananas- gross.) and he doesn't have the weird "eat everything" mentality I seem to have. However, he likes to eat just as much as the other guy, and he's a big man. A very big man. He's sort of built like a refrigerator- tall and broad. He has a belly, too, one that's been growing since high school.

A healthy weight for Zeke would be about 300 pounds (I told you, he's big), and he's at about 375.

A healthy weight for me would be about 100 pounds (I'm tiny), and I'm at about 120.

We watched a documentary called "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" (or was it "Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead?" Some combination of the three...) which explored the idea of juicing. Juicing seems like a great plan for Zeke and for myself.

It helps with weight loss (both Zeke and I), it provides nutrients from fruit and veggies (that I don't eat), and it increases your energy (which Zeke can always use).

So... we bought a juicer and got started. Here's a little about how our plan is going:

Monday (Day 1): Learned how to use the juicer! We planned on starting out this experience by juicing in the morning to replace breakfast. We had Sweet and Salty Juice- two green apples, two celery stalks. I liked it a lot. I didn't think I would- seems like a strange combination- but it was good! Zeke didn't like his as much- he said he might like it more if it was colder. I planned for that for next time.
Sweet and Salty Juice

Sweet and Salty... Looks so ... green

Tuesday (Day 2): Breakfast for Zeke was Tangy Tuesday Juice (made it up myself)- a peeled grapefruit, a handful of kale, and a carrot. I juiced first, then put the juice in the blender with some ice to make it more like a smoothie. Hunky Husband liked this a lot better than yesterday's concoction! I had Sweet and Salty Juice again- I can't have grapefruit because it reacts with my prescription, and also cuz I was afraid to try making something else! I was really hungry by lunch time and ate a ton, and at supper we ate nothing but junk. Didn't feel like it was a particularly successful day...

Wednesday (Day 3): Breakfast was High Immunity Juice- 1 apple, 3 carrots, 2 cloves garlic, 1 thumb ginger, and a handful of parsley. One batch made enough for the both of us. I thought this would be a good one because I've been fighting a cold for a while. I mixed this up with some ice in the blender again. It tasted horrible, but I got my half down in about ten minutes. Zeke took his to work with him. About two hours after finishing the juice, I suddenly and immediately needed to use the bathroom. (Yes, it's getting real here today). I ended up spending about two hours laying on the couch and using the bathroom while trying to convince myself not to throw up. I finally made a can of chicken soup around lunch time, and got most of that in my system. I started to feel better, but really really tired. I took a two hour nap, woke up groggy, and felt kind of gross for the rest of the day. Zeke didn't have any of these problems- he said he made sure to "chew" and let the juice sit in his mouth a while before swallowing. Maybe that was my trouble- I just gulped it down. We had Southwestern Chicken Soup for supper.

Thursday (Day 4): This started our two meal replacement part of the juicing experience. We decided to replace two meals- breakfast with a smoothie, supper with juice. We had a smoothie for breakfast (to kept our fiber levels up)- Breakfast Smoothie- 2 cups frozen strawberries, 2 cups frozen blueberries, 1/2 c yogurt, 1/2 c water (in the blender, not through the juicer). I was kind of nervous that my stomach wasn't going to take this, either, but I was pleasantly surprised. I made sure to keep the smoothie in my mouth and "chew" it a little. We had our regular lunch, and then for supper had Mean Green Juice- 6 kale leaves, 1 cucumber, 4 celery stalks, 1/2 lemon, 1 thumb ginger. I mixed the juice in the blender with some ice again, and this recipe made quite a bit of juice. I was careful eating again.  Zeke and I both snacked later on- eating some leftover popcorn balls from Christmas.

I'll try to keep updating about our juicing journey! Stay tuned!

Alpha-1 (and Trusting God)

Recently, a friend of ours who we are very close to noticed that there were some strange darker patches showing up on her son's skin. Being a Physician's Assistant herself, she kept an eye on them and then took him in to the doctor. They ran some tests, and found that he has Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. Since Alpha One is genetic, both she and her husband got tested as well, and she found out she's a carrier for the gene.

As of right now, they know that she is a carrier, her brother is a carrier, and her father is a carrier. She's waiting on results for the rest of her family members, who also may be affected by Alpha-1.

Never heard of it?

Neither had she.

According to the Alpha-1 Foundation, only about 100,000 people in the USA have the ZZ genotype of Alpha-1, which results in the most damage. 1 in 2,500 Americans is affected. It is not ethno-specific like Sickle Cell Anemia- it affects just about every ethnicity equally. Alpha-1 is caused by a depleted level of alpha-1 antitrypsin, or AAT, which is a protein in the blood. Basically, AAT helps to regenerate the tissue in your lungs. Someone with Alpha-1 has a build up of AAT in their liver, and the AAT doesn't get to the lungs like it should.

How does it work? Let's call a normal gene M. Someone without Alpha-1 has the genotype MM. The mutated Alpha-1 gene can either be S or Z. Someone with Alpha-1 can have a SZ genotype, ZZ, or SS. A carrier for Alpha-1 may have MZ or MS genotypes (and may be slightly affected still, like my friend's son and his skin darkening).

There are varying levels of the condition. Some people with Alpha-1 have liver and lung issues throughout their lives (usually those with ZZ genes), while some may live completely normal lives without even knowing they have or carry the disease. Some people with Alpha-1 die very early, some as early as 35, while others live to be around 60. People with Alpha-1 shouldn't smoke, drink, or be exposed to a lot of dust or airborne chemicals, and have to be careful to avoid common illnesses like bronchitis or pneumonia, because their lungs don't heal the way they should.

If you'd like to learn more about Alpha-1, you can visit the Alpha-1 Foundation website. And as always, we'd appreciate your prayers for this family, for their health and also for their states of mind.

This condition is a little nerve-wracking. My friend's family members could have a milder version and have no symptoms at all, or could be so affected that their daily lives must change. It's really tough to say.

No matter what, though, my friend is trusting the Lord- He knows what's best for this family and their lives, and He loves all of us so much more than we're even capable of understanding.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

How I Hem Pants

The name Little Wife didn't just pop into my head randomly- it came about because, well, I'm little. And a wife. I'm all of five feet tall, which means that I have been hemming my jeans, dress pants, and even the occasional skirt, since I could hold a needle (okay, maybe not that long. But pretty close!). Getting pants professionally hemmed costs lots of money, and though I do recommend it when you're working with something especially fancy or when you're strapped for time, I don't like going the pros when I can just get it done at home.

Now, I'm definitely not an expert on the subject, even though I've been doing it forever. I've probably been doing it wrong forever. But despite my wrongness, I'm gonna share how I hem pants.

The Before.

Note how the pants are so long that they even cover my tippy toes. Yep. Time to hem these puppies up!

First, I take a pair of pants that are already at the length I want. I measure the inseam. In this case, the inseam is 29 inches. Cuz I'm small. I'm a short shortie.

Then, I take the pair of too long pants , turn them inside out, and measure the inseam. I cuff the pants at the right inseam (29 inches) and measure how long the cuff is (4 1/4 inches).

I pin the cuff (loosely... perfection isn't key at this point). Then I try on the pants, still inside out. Since every pair is different, sometimes the right inseam on one pair isn't the right inseam on the next. Or maybe you want to wear heels with a certain pair. Try on those pants with the shoes you'll wear 'em with most often. Decide if you need to go longer or shorter.

In my case, I decided that they needed to go a little longer. Then I decided how wide a hem I wanted. I like having a very narrow hem, but a wider one is easier... I decided to use a 1/4 inch seam, so I needed 1/2 inch extra for the hem. So, I need to cut 3 1/4 inches off

I cut the extra off the bottom using a rotary cutter and mat. However, if you want to make the back longer, you'll want to mark at cut with scissors instead. Use the age old rule- measure twice, cut once.

After cutting the extra, I fold the cuff over again (at the length I've decided to use for the hem- in this case 1/2 inch). The I tuck the edge under, and pin, and measure again. The pinned hem should be right about at 1/4 inch. I go around the entire leg like this- measure, tuck, pin, measure- until the leg is all pinned, then I do the same on the other leg.

Next, I take out my lovely sewing machine, and, using matching or coordinating thread, I sew my hem.

And then it looks like this. Take all the pins out, and then try them on!

The After:

Ta Da!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Long Weekends.

Ugh. This past weekend was so incredibly long. Not in the "ooh! Three days off!" kind of long... we're talking the emotionally draining, "is it still Saturday," gosh-I'd-like-to-sleep-now kind of long.

Hunky Husband and I went back to our hometown for the weekend. We're blessed that both of our families live in the same town and that we get to see both sets of parents any weekend we head back "home." Primarily, we went "home" to pick up our new-to-us car (yay!). There were lots of things that were much, much less happy, though.

Zeke's dear, sweet, wonderful grandmother has been in the hospital since before Christmas. She's stable now, so they're moving her to a nursing home today. Zeke and I helped pack and clean her Independent Living apartment (where she's been living for ten years). It was incredibly heartbreaking. She won't be able to take all of her things with her, so we had to start divvying up her furniture, dishes, and keepsakes. It just felt wrong to be going through her things like that. She's still with us, but she is way too weak to do any of this herself.

Just seeing her was hard. Last time Zeke and I visited her, she was still alert enough to tell us that she was uncomfortable or that she had a nice nurse that morning. Now, she sleeps most of the time, waking up briefly to smile at us or respond when you tell her you love her. It's hard. She's been such a vibrant and wonderful woman, someone with such a gentle strength, for so long... this is like seeing a shell of her. To make matters worse, she's in such discomfort. She's ready to leave this earth and go be home with the One who created her, the One she's been serving all her life. When Zeke told Grandma that he hopes she feels better, she said, "No. I'm just miserable."

After a long morning, we went to see my family. One of my sisters has really struggled in adulthood... getting pregnant out of wedlock by a man who didn't get to see the baby for six months because he was in jail, bouncing from job to job, living in horrifying conditions with her "friends"... she's been in my prayers for a long time, even though we don't get along very well at all. She came to visit and attend a retreat here at camp a week ago, and she's been dating a nice guy (very unlike her). I had high hopes that things were getting better, that we could finally have a relationship, that she was starting to make good decisions.

Then, my mom told Zeke and I that my sister had found a credit card in the dressing room at Walmart and had committed fraud by using it for three days. To buy Christmas presents and diapers. She told my mom about all this the day before she left to come to visit me. Basically, everything about our fun weekend together was a lie. She's now committed a felony, and even though the police aren't planning on pressing the full charges, this will be on her record and she could possibly lose custody of my nephew if this ever gets dug up by his sleazeball father.

Ugh. Long weekend. All the emotional stress took its toll on me, too... I had a sore throat for a couple of days, but it's now a full-blown bad cold that's really knocking me out.

What is there to do but pray? Pray that Grandma will find comfort, that my sister will get her head out of her behind before it's too late.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I couldn't help but smile when I walked past Tucker's tank and saw this...

Sure, his window may be covered in frost, but he's on a tropical island. In his mind, at least. Reminds me of myself....

Stay warm out there!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dinner Tonight: Creamy Tortellini Tomato Soup

Little Wife's Creamy Tortellini Tomato Soup

2 large cloves garlic
2 Tbs olive Oil (didn't have any, used vegetable)
2 cans tomato soup (10.75 oz)
2 Tbs tomato paste (didn't use it...)
2 cups of half-and-half (or 1 cup milk, 1 cup half and half)
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp onion powder
Italian seasoning (about 1/2 tsp)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheese tortellini (I used a package that said it serves 4)

Ready for the super difficult instructions??

-In large pot, saute the garlic in the olive oil . Add soup, tomato paste, half-and-half, stock, and spices.
-Bring to a simmer, stir well.
-Drop tortellini into soup and cook according to package directions.

I stole this picture from here... when I went to go take a picture of my leftovers, it had somehow disappeared! The recipe on this site is a little different, but sounds good, too! I'll have to make this again and take a picture of my own...

My comments: The soup came out thicker than I expected, but man, was it good. Very filling. I'm glad I doubled this recipe! I kept it mostly vegetarian for my sister, who is visiting, but I think adding sausage or another meat would have been good, too.

HH comments: I like it. (He's a man of few words... perhaps the better indicator was that he helped with dishes afterward!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How We Spent Our New Year

I'll be honest. When I pictured Hunky Husband's and my first New Year as a married couple, I envisioned us reflecting on the old year, making resolutions and hanging them on the fridge, getting together with friends, baking cookies (which, now that I think of it, would have gone against our loosely defined resolutions), and sitting down to a lovely meal to begin the year.

What did our New Year actually look like?

Well, Zeke was on call, so we couldn't go anywhere to visit with friends. Zeke isn't much for reflection (at least not verbally), and we actually spent the entire day comfy clothes watching movies. Oh, and Zeke made hamburgers for supper. I didn't lift a finger. I was on Pinterest while he cooked.

So, I leave you with one of our New Year's activities... Grapefruit flinging.

Hope your New Year was wonderful!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Blessings and 2013 Goals

The holiday season, at least in my family, was focused on Christmas. The New Year was just a little post-Christmas blip that kept us out of school for a couple more days. Nothing too special, really.

This year, though, I've found myself reflecting more and more on New Year's. On saying goodbye to the old and welcoming in the new. For me, part of this has been looking back, seeing how much has changed, and giving thanks for all I have, and making goals for the future. 

My Blessings, 2012

1. Marrying the man of my dreams. We spent years and years wishing we could see each other every day, or even once a week. Now, I see my Hunky Husband all the time, even if it's just waving at him as he blows snow off of the sidewalks. It's an amazing thing, marrying your best friend. I think it's the best gift I've ever been given.

2. Our home. Zeke has provided so completely for me. I love our home, even when it seems like it may be way too small to house all of our stuff (I always blame the stuff for that). I love spending time here. I love coming home from trips. I love waking up in the morning and being here. It keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We are also incredibly blessed in that we don't pay rent- Zeke's job covers our housing costs.

3. Our families. We both are blessed with large, happy families. Together, we have two nieces and two nephews, five sisters, and two brothers. Over Christmas time, I was overwhelmed with the fact that I have not only one family that loves me, but two! I'm so thankful for the lessons they've taught me, the patience they extend to me, and the time they spend with me!

4. Not having a job. Yeah, this is a strange one... but not having a full time job this past year has truly been a blessing in disguise. I've been able to take time to figure out how to be a good wife to my new husband, gotten to learn more about my community, and spend some time organizing and making our house into a home.

5. Our camp community. I've never lived somewhere so spiritually uplifting before (and that includes my time at a Christian college!) The people surrounding us are so wonderful, so godly, and such good role models. Their transparency with us, the commitment to sharing prayer requests, and the fact that God is central in our community makes for a wonderful place to live with a wonderful camp family.

2013 Goals

1. Healthier living. We've had a bit of a reminder this year (through some family health issues) that caring for our bodies needs to be more of a priority. Starting next week, Zeke and I will be trying to incorporate some juice meals into our diets, both for the nutrients and the weight-loss benefits. Neither of us has been eating very healthily... and we'd like to change that. 

2. A greater closer walk with the Lord. I think this one is a constant goal, but more specifically, I'd like to spend more time in His Word. I think I have a pretty consistent prayer life, but I really struggle to sit and read the Bible. 

3. Less TV. I've realized that if I watch TV during the day, I get about 1/3 of the tasks accomplished that I do if the TV is off. I'd like to be more productive during my home days, getting my household tasks done and then working on craft projects Zeke gets home. 

What are your goals and blessings? 

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