Monday, December 31, 2012


I feel a little funny writing about this, but at the same time I wanted to simply remember this day as a motivating factor for myself and hopefully for others.  No, I’m not turning 40… yet (thankfully I still have 1 yr, 8 months  and 9 days before that happens… gee no counting here! J ) but I wanted to mark another big 40 in my life …. 40 pounds… gone!  I started this journey in early April and I gave myself 1 year to lose 60 pounds.  Even though I knew I had been seeing results over these last few months, I was still surprised to realize early this month that I was very close to reaching the 40 pound mark.  At first my goal was to make it through the holidays without gaining anything but then when I realized I was so close to such a big marker, my motivation grew and I was able to lose this last little bit and hit my 40 pound mark this past Saturday!! 

It is strange to be in this deep on my journey.  I am a different person, with different cravings and different motivations than I have ever had in my entire life. I still LOVE food, I still LOVE to cook food, I still show MY LOVE to others with food, I just don't "live to eat" anymore; rather, I try to simply "eat to live".  I still enjoy all the food I make, just much less of it.  I can also recognize now that exercise and daily life can go hand in hand. Running is something I now desire to do, always.  I am perusing a book right now titled Run Your Butt Off and one of the writers describes being “hooked on exercise” in the following way. 

“For a while – a long time, it seems – we only appreciate exercise when it is over.  We feel virtuous for having done it, and we’re glad we pushed ourselves out the door.  Whew. Check that off the day’s to-do list. But there comes a point when the actual “during” portion of exercise isn’t so bad, either.  You’re out there and you start running, and it feels much easier than you anticipated it would before you started. You feel like you’ve got a good stride going. In fact, it’s downright invigorating. It goes by quickly, and you’re sort of sorry it has to end. “

 When I began running this spring, I remember praying that I would just stick with this, stick with something that could make a difference.   The Lord graciously answered my prayers.  Now it is not a matter of sticking to it, but the simple fact that as someone who initially detested running, I now truly enjoy it.  As strange as it seems to type it, I think I can officially say … I am a runner. I am not a fast runner, I am not a long runner, but I run. The beauty is that anyone can run.  One thing I have learned over these months is that my view of who a runner is has been skewed.  I have always thought of running as this elite group of people who must be super- human in their desire, motivation and skill. What I have learned is that there is a vast gamut of runners out there.  Very definitely there are your “super-human amazing runners”, but there are also your overweight, clumsy, absolutely NOT athletic, slow runners out there and everything in between.    Another very special factor is that those who are amazing runners are extremely encouraging to those of us who definitely are not. Wow.  It has been a very sweet journey for certain.    

These last few months have also further revealed something special that I was aware of but have been blessed to experience to the fullest recently.  I am surrounded by encouraging and generous people who love me.  Family and friends who are generous with their words of love and encouragement and truly take joy in seeing you succeed.  WOW, what a treasure they are to me.  My biggest encourager has been my dear husband. God has used these last few years and in particular the last few months, to further reveal to me the depth of the man I am married to.   NEVER in all our years of marriage has he said a negative word about my weight, no matter where I have landed on the scale.  He has loved me as equally and fervently in recent years as he did almost 19 years ago when we said “I do”.   I cannot tell you the countless, (literally countless) times in the last few months that he has told me “I am so proud of you” as we kiss goodnight.  His words are true, honest and like gold to me. 

It is strange to be at a weight I haven’t seen in years.  To be in a size I haven’t worn since before Mitchell was born. This past Sunday I wore a dress, a full-fledged dress … something I haven’t done in probably 9 or so years….my girls were thrilled!  Over the years they have asked me why I don’t wear dresses and I simply had to say I didn’t feel comfortable in them.  I know I still have a bit of a journey left.  My initial goal of 60 pounds might change to 70, I don’t know.  I do suspect that these last 20 pounds will be harder than the first 40, but I am ready for the challenge.  Excel still more.


MARCH 2012

 (sorry for the crummy lighting)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Week Memories

Just a few photo memories from this last week!

 Last Saturday we had a great afternoon watching the Washington vs BSU game .... an excellent game that ended with BSU taking the victory at 28-26.
The game was fun but as usual the fellowship with our dear E family
was the sweetest and far exceeded the game!!

Traditional opening and then silly photo of Christmas Eve PJ's from Grandma Honey!

Christmas day with Grandma & Grandpa!

And some general silliness.... possibly too much Christmas sugar!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012


In some ways these 2 years have gone so quickly and at other times the moments have seemed to drag.  I cannot imagine what these last two years have been like for my Gigi. In Heaven with all its splendor, glory, and beauty and being face to face with her Savior; I can hardly wrap my mind around it.   Two years in Heaven is not even a dot on the page in the book of eternity.  To see the physical realities of the faith you treasured, what an amazing hope we have in Christ. 

We miss her, we miss them.  I know it sounds cliché, but I truly will miss them until the day I die. It is no cliché, it is reality. There really isn’t a day that goes by that in some way, somehow I don’t think of them.  We talk of her, we reminisce of her, but I still have a hard time looking at photos of her, of them. They are all around us here as it is mostly framed pictures of Papa and Gigi that grace our home.  The photos are here but I struggle to really look at them as my heart aches when I do.  You know how when you really look at a photo, the memories flood back and you are transported to where you once had been and it seems so real.  Hard to do. 

We will have Top Ramen and Garlic English Muffins tonight for dinner.  A funny memorial dinner isn’t it? Definitely not because that was all she could cook … no way!  She was an amazing cook and the consummate hostess.  We really could be having Stuffed Mushrooms, homemade pasta, Italian Chicken or steak and spaghetti with oil and vinegar salad, Manicotti or one of my favorite birthday dinners she used to make me as an adult …. Calzones!  She was a masterful cook.  No, we are having Top Ramen and Garlic English Muffins because that is what the children remember most that she made for Papa and for them.  The years they lived with us she didn’t cook much at all but Papa loved Top Ramen and Garlic English Muffins, and she loved Papa, so she made him those as often as she could in the early years of living with us.  Mitchell and Isabelle especially have memories of slipping next door to the trailer and joining Papa and Gigi for a lunch of Top Ramen and Garlic English Muffins.  Silly dinner I know, but it fits the memories and gives us a little part of Gigi for the day.
XOXOXO Gigi, I love you. 
"There is something keeping for you, which is worth the having.
Less of you resides out of Heaven now." Samuel Rutherford


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Baking

 Yesterday was a very fun day of Christmas baking with dear friends.  Jodi and I have been friends for many years, she is a treasure to me!  We met long ago in MOPS when all of our kiddos were little, Mitchell was 4, Isabelle was just 6 weeks old and her two, Alyssa and Riley were just 6 & 2!  The Lord has knit our hearts together over the years, and through the ebb and flow of life He has created a strong and deep friendship between us.  I am so grateful for the sovereign hand of the Lord intertwining our lives together as sisters in Christ and dear friends!  Years ago we did Christmas baking together but as our families got bigger and busier our baking together slid by the wayside.  I am happy to say we resurrected the tradition this year and have all intentions to reinstate the baking as an annual event … hopefully! J

We made lots of nummy stuff….  Frosted Sugar Cookies, Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies, Peanut Butter Balls, a perpetual favorite…..Rolo Turtles and our new absolute favorite … Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti from … wow those are CRAZY GOOD!


 Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
1/4 cup olive oil                1 3/4 cup flour             
3/4 cup white sugar           1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract          1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. almond extract      1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 eggs                                 1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended.  Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs.  Combine flour, salt and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. 
- Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand
- Divide dough in half.  Form two logs (12x2 inches) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  Dough may be sticky; wet hands with cool water to handle dough more easily. 
- Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown.  Remove from oven, set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees.
- Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 - 1 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet.  - Bake approximately 8-10 minutes or until dry.  Cool. 
*A couple notes- the dough is VERY wet and seems almost too wet to form into a log but it does work.  Also, we dipped ours in chocolate for extra yumminess!


Friday, December 21, 2012

A Gathering of the Who's

Izzzy-Lou Who and Shelley-Sue Who off to a Whoville Party with some nummy Who-Pop!
Much fun was had by all! 

The original recipe for the candied popcorn was found here … Fruity Kool-Aid Candied Popcorn … but I will share the Honey Who - Pop recipe with my adjustments. Since this recipe was somewhat similar to my caramel corn I knew how I wanted to adjust it.  I halved everything in the recipe except the baking soda and I didn’t use a candy thermometer.  Having made my caramel corn so often I know you simply get it to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.  We used Tropical Punch flavored Kool-Aid so the popcorn had a “fruity pebbles” flavor, but you could use any flavor you want! 
Honey Who - Pop
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup butter
1 envelope Kool-Aid any flavor
1 tsp. baking soda
15+ cups popped popcorn (I popped 3 batches of popcorn in our Whirly Pop)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Be sure to remove all of the popcorn kernels and place popcorn into a large bowl. 
Lightly grease a large turkey roaster pan or a jelly roll pan.  A turkey roaster pan with sides just makes it easier when stirring the popcorn during baking but I use both kinds of pans all the time. 
In a small bowl combine the Kool-Aid packet with 1 tsp baking soda, set aside.
In a medium size saucepan melt the sugar, corn syrup and butter over medium heat. 
Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. 
Remove from heat and stir in the Kool-Aid and baking soda mix. Stir for a solid 20 - 30 seconds until all is mixed well.  The mixture will foam but that is expected.  
Pour the hot sugar mixture over the popped popcorn. 
Work carefully but quickly and mix until well combined. 
Spread popcorn into the turkey roaster or jelly roll pan.
Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. 
Remove the popcorn and immediately spread it out onto waxed paper or foil to cool.  Break it apart into pieces as you lay it out.  Store in an airtight container to maintain crunch

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pumpkin Snowmen

I felt badly about throwing out our cute pumpkins at the end of fall so we decided to turn them into snowmen. I am NOT a crafty person but, I did a quick search and found this fun blog post and the process seemed (and was) pretty simple.  I spray painted the pumpkins we used for the body and head white and the ones we would use for the hats I spray painted black.  After I initially spray painted them white, the orange was still showing through and Chad suggested spray white primer instead of paint and that worked very well for coverage (then I remembered that the gal who did the post said something like that!).  We let them dry a day or so then we used shish kabob sticks to hold the three pumpkins together, we didn’t use any glue for stacking.  We simply stacked them up with the shish kabob sticks, hot glue gunned on the buttons for eyes, the leaf for a nose and the cranberries for the mouth.  We had to cut the leaf to the desired shape and we found that cranberries cut in half worked better also.  Isabelle ripped some material to make the scarves and wala… pumpkin snowmen!! 




Isabelle named hers "Cindy Lou Who"


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

PJ Ice Cream Run

... minus the oldest Man-Child ...  Mitchell was off having fun at his bud Joel's that night!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.
—George Washington

We have had a fun day in the kitchen preparing for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  We enjoyed listening to the The Legend of Squanto from Focus on the Family Radio Theatre while we worked, it was excellent!

The kids had a whole lot of fun making these Oreo Turkeys!  Ours  look quite different than her perfect examples, but memories were made nonetheless! I spent most of  the morning and afternoon preparing some sides for tomorrows dinner and baking pies; two pecan and a favorite of ours, a Bourbon Cherry pie.  

I am excited about tomorrow’s menu as it is pretty traditional but with a couple of fun twists.  I found most of my recipes for tomorrow’s meal on and  and we look forward to each delectable bite!  She makes her food look so inviting so I thought I would link to her recipes rather than try to repost them myself! 
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow... Happy Thanksgiving!

Buttered Rosemary Rolls
And some of our traditional favorites...
Sweet Potato Casserole
Simple Stuffing
Bourbon Cherry Pie
3 cups pitted cherries ( I add in some rhubarb)
1 cup sugar
1/4 flour
1 tsp. almond extract
4 T. butter
2 T. bourbon (I double the bourbon)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. tapioca (I actually used 2 T. cornstarch)
1 double pie crust
1 dash salt
Combine cherries, sugars, flour, tapioca (or cornstarch), salt and almond extract.  Pour into a pie shell.  Dot mixture with butter and distribute bourbon over the to.  Add top crust and crimp around edges.  Cut slits in top crust.  Bake for 45 minutes in a 425 degree oven.  Sprinkle a little bit of sugar and cinnamon on the top of the crust when there is about 10-12 minutes of baking left. 



One of JD's turkeys.... I wonder where his chocolate "skin" went!! :-)


So, I wanted to do a quick update on the recipes for Thanksgiving.  I realized after I posted that I would be doing my turkey in my big electric roaster rather than the oven so I went searching for the perfect cooking instructions.  I DID find an excellent set of cooking instructions and our turkey was probably the best one ever done in our roaster!

Both myself and my dear friend Sara tried did the Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries and we both came to the same conclusio n.... way too sweet! Our opinion is that we would cut the sugar in the balsamic mix by half (or maybe even a little more than half) and let the cranberries be the sweetener. 

A couple notes on the Bourbon Cherry pie.  The first time I did the pie was last summer and I put in some rhubarb because I did not have enough cherries.  After doing only all cherries this time I would add rhubarb in if I have it next time. It just seems to add a great texture to the pie that was missing a little this time.  Also, I forgot to say I doubled the bourbon, and I definately like the extra flavor the doubled bourbon gives.  A note for those of you not used to cooking with alcohol ... no worries!  The alcohol cooks away but the residual flavor is outstanding!




Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkey Trot 2012

Yesterday was SO MUCH FUN!!! I was so nervous for nothing!  I did not sleep well at all the night before, even with a melatonin! You know what I mean?  The kind of sleep where you know your brain is still on and running in the background?!?  I was nervous on so many levels.  Afraid it would be a competitive (not fun) run, afraid of the unknown terrain and simply afraid I might struggle to finish it … even though I have been running 3 miles (and sometimes more) 3x’s a week!

 I am so DELIGHTED that I ran it! It was so not what I was anxious over, AT ALL!  It was FUN and the group we had made it much more than fun… it is a precious memory I will always treasure! We had a fantastic group of runners….some newer runners, some old runners and some cold turkey runners!!   I finished in 37 minutes and some unknown seconds, I forgot to look!  I was the last one of our group to come in (and believe me I am SO ok with that) and there was something quite special about having almost 20 people cheering for you as you come to the end!  I had to fight back tears!  Even with no desire to “compete” in my times, just to run and finish it felt like such an accomplishment!!  

It was also very fun to have Mrs. Vandenbos there.  She is a much loved piano teacher for quite a few in our group of runners, including Mitchell!  She is a marathon runner, so this 5K was small potatoes for her I’m sure!  She did great and she joined us for our “after” photo!

So many in our group did so well! There was about 200 - 300 people participating and many of our group finished under the 30 minute mark (or just over)and we even had some ribbons that were won!  Mitchell finished nicely under 30 minutes, which was his goal.  Taylor B. won 1st for her age group, Roscoe P. won 3rd (I believe it was) for his age group, Titus B. got 3rd in his age group and my sweet hubby got third for his age group with a 21:01 and 19th overall.  I am so proud of him! He was in the 30-39 age group but the two that beat him were younger than him!  No one the same age as him or in the next age group up (40-49) finished before him! I keep telling him that he should actually train more over the next few months so when he turns 40 he will be ready to really run!!  He was quite the runner in HS and when we were first married.  He commonly ran his mile in HS in the 4:20’s with his best time being a 4:10!!! He used to finish his 5K’s between 15-16 minutes! The last official race he ran was almost 18 years ago, about a year after we were married, the Frost Bite Foot Race in Anchorage.  This is a race held in downtown Anchorage in JANUARY!  It was in the single digits for temp. and that did not include the wind chill, it was crazy cold!!   It was very special to me to run my first “race” together with Chad and Mitchell.

We finished our adventure off with a delicious feast at the E’s home…. Egg casserole, Quiche, Blueberry pancakes, sausage, fruit, cinnamon rolls, coffee and sweet fellowship!   It was a very special morning on so many levels.  Completing the Turkey Trot  was an awesome milestone for me, but experiencing it with those dear to my heart was the icing on the cake!  I can’t wait to do it again!!
 Before the run....

(some don't look any worse for the wear)



Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Well, a seed about the size of those pictured below spent the afternoon in JD's nose yesterday!  Somehow he got the notion to put an orange seed up his nostril!  REALLY?!!?? I had just stepped out of the shower when Shelley comes running up the stairs to tell me that JD had put an orange seed up his nostril!  As I stood there in disbelief, I started thinkin' about what to do. Of course he tried to pick it out, which as you can imagine did not help one bit! I tried to get it out myself with tweezers and then an opened paper clip, closing the other nostril and having him blow really hard ..... needless to say, nothing prevailed.  I started thinking I was going to have to take him in somewhere but our DR's office was closed for the lunch hour and I considered the ER for a moment but thankfully we have our dear friend Dr. Dan E!  I gave him a quick call and he calmed my fears and reminded me that the nasal passages open into the mouth and eventually with some flushing of the nasal passages it should come out in his mouth or he will simply swallow it! Of course this all happens just as we were getting ready to head to my class at church, so with no more available time to begin anymore extraction procedures we continued on to our class, orange seed in the nasal passage and all!  The end of the story is quite simple.  I was going to wait until the evening time to work on the flushing out when Chad was home. I knew we would need Daddy's expertise on this.  When we got home from class, I was in the kitchen when Shelley came in and said, "Momma, the seed is much farther down now, you can really see it."  JD had sneezed a few times in the van on the way home and I was hoping that because of the sneezing it had moved it down a bit and I believe it did!  I put him up on the counter and laid him back.  I could see it much better this time.  At first we tried to use a turkey baster to suck it out...thank you sweet Barb for the suggestion but it didn't quite get it out even though it did help to bring it down a little more. He was of course fighting me on wanting to lay still and allow me to get in there as I needed.  So, with the promise of a bowl of ice cream if he laid very still I was able to get the tweezers in there and wala...extract a VERY LARGE orange seed!  As I looked at it I began to wonder if it really could have made it through his tiny nasal passages! Thankfully we needn't wonder, extraction successful and mission accomplished!
"Never a dull moment", as Papa used to say.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hey, Fat Girl

I wanted to share with you a post I found on another blog. The author is Flint at 

He has a great blog, he is a REAL runner and his post REALLY encouraged me.  Even though I don't run on a track, over these months it has taken every ounce of everything I have to run on the road where everyone can see me! He put words to my insecurities and encouraged my heart just the same.  I hope you enjoy the post.


Hey, Fat Girl.

Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe.

You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you.

You are awesome.

If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others.

You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.

You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.

You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012


It’s hard to believe that it has been one year since my Papa stepped into eternity. Tonight, in memory of him, we will have steak ~ n ~ eggs with sourdough toast.  This was another one of his favorite meals, and the last birthday dinner he chose.  Words cannot adequately express how much my heart aches with missing him.  This morning, when I first woke at 4:38, my heart was heavy knowing what day it is.  Before I drifted off to sleep again, I thanked the Lord that He nudged me to wake up a little after 5 AM one year ago today with a strong desire to go check on Papa as he slept. How thankful I am to have had those last couple minutes with my hand in his as he took his last breath at 5:15 AM.

Over this last year, I have wrestled with myself often as I relive our last days with Papa. I wonder if there were signs I missed in recognizing his final decline.  As a family, we were by his side by his side almost every waking hour of the last years of his life, especially in those last 7 months he spent bedbound.  We lived our lives in his little part of our home, with him… how could I have missed knowing the end was so close?  We were blessed in our last days with Gigi.  She followed a pattern of decline and so it was very obvious to see that her time was close and we were able to be gathered around her bedside when she took her last breath.  In my heart I guess I assumed it would be the same with Papa. I often rethink the day before and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  We had soccer in the morning so some were gone and some were home, and Ramona came in to help with Papa.  He was his normal self, kind and sweet, with “I love you’s” freely given.  We spent the afternoon and evening in with Papa, watching a Boise State football game, sitting with him, visiting between his sleeping, and holding his hand. I cut the boys hair in there and per usual we ate our dinner in with him.  We had Penne con vodka and fresh bread, a meal he deeply enjoyed.  He had a bite of pasta, a bite of bread and even a little sip of red wine.  We did our family devotions with him and then tucked him into bed.  The only “difference” you could say is that by the time we were done getting him ready for sleep, he was already asleep.  This wasn’t terribly unusual as he slept so much at that point but it was different in the sense that he was always awake to say his goodnight’s, I love you’s and give us all kisses.  How I have agonized over those last hours. Our time with him was sweet and just as it had been every day for a very long time.  Did I miss something?  Should I have been alarmed that he wasn’t awake to say his usual goodnights?  Was there something more in the day that I didn’t see? He was declining of course, eating less and sleeping more but this day seemed to hold nothing different than the days, weeks and even months before.  I have struggled to leave this with my Savior.  I have wrestled with guilt and sadness throughout this last year about how things might have been different had I known or recognized more in those last hours.  I have been reminded many times by Chad to rest in the situation and realize… can we ever know?  He has reminded me that we have no regrets in our years with them.  At the time of Papa’s death we had spent 12 of our 18 years married with Papa and Gigi, and a myriad of precious memories were made with them.
Another truth that has been brought to mind lately is that while I would have taken more comfort in being with Papa longer in the hours leading up to his death, it is not I who would bring him comfort, but his Savior.  I never wanted Papa to be "alone" in death. I have come to see though, that even if I had been with him through his last night in this earthly realm, in reality, that part doesn’t even compare to the comfort he received from Christ as he crossed between the earthly and heavenly realm.  I could not “walk the vale” with Papa, so to speak, but he was not alone.  Psalm 23 gives the reassurance that “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”. I am very aware of these truths in my head, but I struggle with getting my heart to follow. I have been and I still often ask the Lord to take this struggle from me and I need to trust him to do just that. How weak I am in my faith, how much more I have to learn and grow.  How thankful I am that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me in spite of myself.  How grateful I am that He is a sovereign God and that he knew and orchestrated the final moments of Papa’s life to be used for His glory and for the continual deepening of my trust in Him. 

I wanted to share with you a portion of the devotional entry for today, October 2 from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotions. I read it again today and I remember reading it the morning Papa died and I am thankful for this sweet reminder from the Lord. 

“The hope which is laid up for you in heaven” – Col. 1:5

“Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here.  It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there.  Here we are weary and toilworn, but yonder is the land of rest where the sweat of labour shall no more bedew the workers brow, and fatigue shall be forever banished.  To those who are weary and spent, the word ‘rest’ is full of Heaven.”


Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Munchies: Bean and Kielbasa Soup

This soup is delish! It originally came from my dear friend Michele and it fast became a family and guest favorite! I usually serve this with my sweet corn bread and a mix of pickles!  Hope you enjoy!

Bean and Kielbasa Soup
1 pkg beef Kielbasa, sliced in rounds
2 - 14.5 oz can kidney beans
2 - 14.5 oz can black beans
2 - 14.5 oz can butter beans
2 - 14.5 oz can garbanzo beans
salsa (enough to fill one empty bean can)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
This can be either an all day crock pot soup or a quick 1hr. cook in a stock pot on the stove.  Add all the ingredients to your crock pot or stock pot and cook accordingly .... its that simple...and delicious!
Note: The original recipe called for only 1 can of butter beans and 1 can of pinto beans.  Over time we have come to love 2 cans of butter beans instead.  This recipe is so flexible you can do what you please with it and it is still delicious!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday Munchies: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I have been thinking I would love to start posting recipes on here once, maybe twice a week if possible!  For now we will start with the Monday Munchies first edition and see how it goes!

This recipe has been loved for years around here! It is delicious and an excellent way to use up your zucchini this time of year!  I will post the recipe as it is written first, then I will tell you my changes.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup veg. oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups grated zucchini
2 1/2 cups flour
4 Tbsp. baking cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups chocolate chips

- Cream butter/oil/sugar
- add eggs, vanilla and sour cream
- stir in zucchini
- add dry ingredients
- pour into a greased 9x13
- sprinkle chocolate chips over batter
Bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes

Alterations: *See new update below as of 10/1/12*

- I used applesauce to replace the veg. oil
- I used 1/2 & 1/2 to replace the sour cream, but you could use milk
- I fresh ground some flour from my Hard White Wheat Berries so the flour was completely whole wheat.
- I was out of baking cocoa powder so I used 1 1/2 unsweetened baking chocolate squares melted.  I added them when I added the eggs, vanilla, etc.

Next time I think I will try to replace the sour cream with applesauce also for a total of 1 cup applesauce.  Also, on a side note, the original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups sugar and I long ago reduced it to 1/2 cup but you could increase the sugar as desired! 

This recipe always gets rave reviews and even though you can see the grated zucchini in the batter somehow it assimilates well and it is not distinctive in the cake!

Let me know if you try it and what you think! Hope you enjoy it!

Recipe Alteration Update 10/1/12:

SOOO... I made a couple more cakes over the weekend and here is what I found:

The recipe calls for baking cocoa but as I mentioned I had been using unsweetened baking squares because I thought I was out of baking cocoa.  I found my baking cocoa and used it this time and liked the baking cocoa better.  I used my Ghirardelli's Sweet Ground Chocolate and since I had originally cut the sugar this sweetened it a little bit more and I liked it! ALSO...I accidentally used 1 tsp. of baking powder instead of 1/2 tsp. and of course it made it a little lighter and a bit taller so that was fun! This is such a great recipe because you can make adjustments and still come out with a great cake!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Our neighbor's "trampoline" ...  UUMM ... I LOVE that we live in the country!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

i do ... Bridal Shower Cupcakes

I meant to post these a while ago but I kept forgetting... I will get better at posting them right away! I want to keep a better pictorial/journal record of the cupcakes I do so I thought utilizing my blog would be good for that.  The only problem is that I forgot my camera so these photos are from my phone and not the greatest. 
These cuties were done for the bridal shower of a dear girl at church.  The original idea came from but a friend found the link on Pinterest and shared it with me.  Bailey’s colors are yellow, gray and black so I tried to match as best as possible.  For the swirl, I just used my 1M tip and topped it with the small white pearls.  For the “i do” sign I used gray cardstock paper with a little bit of texture to it and printed multiple  i do” phrases in the font I chose on the paper.  Then, I used a Martha Stewart tag punch to punch out my desired shape. We tied little knots in black ribbon and attached them with craft glue to the tag then craft glued the tag to the small popsicle stick.  Looking back now, the only thing I would do different is get a little bigger size tag punch.  I think I would have liked the look better with a little larger “i do”.  Overall, they were fairly simple and a whole lot of fun to make!  


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sleeping Under the Stars …. Kinda

Last night we had an outdoor movie night and a sleepover under the stars…or under the pop-up to be more precise! The kiddos love to sleep outside at least once over the hot summer days and Chad has been itching to do an outdoor movie with the projector.  It was the perfect night to watch one of our favorites, National Treasure 2 and take our slumber in the great out of doors! The only sad part is that Mitchell has been gone for a week at his BPD Explorer Academy in Pasco so he was not home to join us.  He will most certainly be in unbelief that I actually participated in the sleeping outdoors part! I am absolutely a “motorhomer” not a “true camper”, let alone a “sleep outdoors under the stars-er” but I was determined to make it through the night! I have never yet, in all the years of them sleeping outdoors, joined them in the fun! The phrase “I can’t believe you are still out here Momma” was heard more than once into the late evening!  Isabelle took advantage of the situation and used her fingers to simulate a bug crawling in my hair as we were drifting off to sleep….needless to say, she got the reaction from me she was hoping to hear!  I know we did not officially “sleep under the stars” with the pop-up above us, but I was ever so thankful for the cover as I heard the drip of condensation and dew hit the ground all night!  As much as I was longing for my own bed, it was quite a joy to peek out and see the amazing stars, here the coyotes howling much closer than usual, feel and smell the cool night air and to see God’s beautiful sunrise come up over the berries and farms around us.  Precious memories made.

 it just me or does this photo make Isabelle look like she has a TON of make up on?!?
No make all!

Monday, August 13, 2012

A 30 Minute Miracle

That’s about all I can think to call the fact that I am running continuously for 30 minutes. Today was day 3 of going 30 minutes…totally and completely …. it is truly a 30 minute miracle!  I mean really…this is me….the girl who detests running, can’t stick with an exercise program for more than a few weeks, usually finding any reason possible to skip a day…. and here we are.  I am not nor ever will consider myself a “runner”, they are in a league of their own.   Just a rung lower there is me…. a girl running, slower than what is probably legally considered running, but I’m doing it…. and for 30 minutes to boot!  Thank You Lord!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

12 Years and Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Yesterday marked Isabelle’s 12th birthday…..where does the time go?!? She started off with pop-tarts for breakfast, yes a special birthday treat, not a normal breakfast choice in the Honey home! We spent the afternoon at the lake and the evening eating very nummy food, of her choosing!  Her birthday dinner consisted of steak with the Zesty Flank Steak marinade, thick baked beans, baked artichokes with melted butter and homemade corn fritters with honey butter….yikes it was a delicious meal!! Oh… and I cannot forget, she got her first Mountain Dew!  Soda Pop is a treat here for the Honey children. You don’t get your first real can of pop till your 6th birthday and then smatterings of drinks thereafter.  When you turn 11 you get a pop the first Friday of the month and Mt. Dew is definitely off limits until your 12th birthday!  Per Isabelle style, she opened it, drank barely any, shared it with her big brother and the rest sits in the fridge slowly losing carbonation and becoming a sugary syrup undrinkable drink!  For dessert, she had chosen Pink Lemonade Cupcakes from this neat book …. Fun Stuff Cupcakes.  At first I was unsure as the frosting is a little different and it is intended to look “melted” hence the “lemonade drink” look but they turned out really quite well and they were fun and pretty simple to make. 

There are so many things to love about Isabelle, but here are a few heard around the table last night…. “ I love how she is always willing to play with me and play Little House and she is the best sister”, “I love how she lets me build the cabinets she needs in the red building for Little House”, “I love that she goes the extra mile and helps others”, “she is kind”, “I love her cheeks”!!! She is tender, kind, compassionate, giving, has a tender heart for things of the Lord, an excellent sister, an invaluable mother’s helper and a precious daughter.  She is truly a joy to our hearts. 

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

1 package white cake mix
1 cup water
3 egg whites
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup thawed pink lemonade concentrate, divided
2 T veg oil
5-8 drops red food coloring, divided
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
Fruit slice candies, straws

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 18-22 standard muffin cups with paper baking cups
2.  Beat cake mix, water, egg whites, 1/3 cup lemonade concentrate, oil and 4-6 drops food coloring in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until well blended.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling 2/3 full.
3.  Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool cupcakes in pans 5 minutes, reove to wire racks to cool completely.
4.  Beat powdered sugar, butter and remaining 1/4 cup lemonade concentrate in medium bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add a pinch of milk or cream if frosting is to thick.  Beat in remaining 1-2 drops red food coloring until desired shad of pink is reached.
5. Pipe frosting over cupcakes, garnish with candies and straws.