Archive for May 2009

Foodie Friday

Friday, May 29, 2009

My friend Kristen is a fabulous cook. While visiting her in Indiana recently she made this delicious pasta salad for lunch. The dressing is what makes it so divine. I couldn't get enough of it and found myself rummaging through her fridge for a midnight snack and was thrilled to discover some leftovers. (are you reading this Kristen?) I don't know about you, but I'm always searching for a good side dish to take to a BBQ or potluck. This is the perfect summer choice. Bon Appetit!

Book Club Pasta


  • 8-12 oz cooked bow tie pasta
  • 2-3 c. cooked chicken
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts (roast in skillet)
  • 1 c. snow peas
  • 1 c. asparagus
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 c. fresh chopped basil


  • 3/4 c. Olive Oil
  • 6 TBSP tarragon vinegar
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 t. tabasco sauce
  • 6 T. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic (soak in dressing, then remove before serving)
  • dash of pepper
Mix ingredients in a blender.


M.I.A. has now been found

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I have so missed sitting in front of the computer screen sharing the overflow of my heart. Once I returned from my Midwest tour (wow, I sounded famous there for a minute) , there was no rest for the weary. My head finally hit the pillow somewhere around 2 a.m. and the first child stood at my bedside for a hug four short hours later.

In my absence, Mimi and Papa Jim arrived for a 12 day visit. Fortunately they thought highly enough of us to pack some Florida sunshine in their suitcases. Because of this unrelenting bright stranger known as the sun we felt the need to be outdoors every single day because "you never know how long it will last." Needless to say, I have been preoccupied.

I've been begging other parents to forward me their photos from the significant events I missed during my seven day absence. (that sounds much more realistic than a "tour", huh?). In the post about my trip, I promised an update on these events with proof. I can prove a couple of them, but with the others, you're just going to have to trust me that these 'five minutes of fame' did actually occur.

#1: Ben proves to be a budding actor with his starring role in the first grade musical production of "E-I-E-I-OOPS"

Do you think there were a few grandparents in the audience?

Ben is "Old MacDonald " ( Middle of second row) Are these some fabulous costumes or what??

Mr. & Mrs. Old MacDonald; Mr & Mrs. Farmer in the Dell

#2: Ian's team takes first place at the Junior Ski to Sea event in the boys' division and third place overall. The reason this is a big deal is because rarely does a fourth grade team place that high.

Go Pink Paparazzi! Ian is front row, furthest right

#3: Quinn broke the sixth grade record for the mile at his middle school

No picture. But what I most love about this feat is that both Trey and I heard the news from other people several days after it happened. Quinn never mentioned it. May he always remain so humble.

One more pretty cool thing: Quinn won the middle school divsion raffle at the Ski to Sea race and scored a brand new Trek mountain bike. I know we all say "we never win anything" when something like this happens but it really is true in our family. Obviously none of this was a result of anything Quinn did but simply God's grace blessing him. When I heard this, I was hoping someone took a photo other than the online professional photography company that wanted $29 for a digital image. Well my prayers were answered this morning when I learned the award ceremony was posted on You Tube. Go figure. (Fast forward to 6:37 in the video below unless you want to see all of it) The best part is the emcee yelling over and over again for Trey to make his way to the front. He so hates to be the center of attention so I'm sure he was dying!

If you know me well, then you also know that bragging is not my style. But thanks for letting me indulge in a few proud mama moments. I'm tellin' ya though, this is not the usual fare for a week in the life of our household. Maybe I need to leave more often.

It's so good to be home. More tomorrow.


How can one not love this guy?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I know this is a shallow post but I couldn't resist. No matter who you were rooting for, or if you even watch American Idol at all, how can you not love this kid? He's 23 so I can legitimately call him a kid. He's just so darn adorable, humble and sweet. If even one of my boys somewhat resembles him as an adult, I will be thrilled. I liked him from the beginning and although Adam is talented in many ways, his makeup, jewels, nail polish and Gene Simmons-like tongue just didn't do it for me. Big surprise that I prefer the clean cut, boy-next-door types, huh? Go Kris! I loved cheering for the underdog.


Midwest Tour Days 2-6

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last I left you, I had embarked on my Midwest tour in search of a computer to download images. No such luck. Plus, I've been just plain busy on this "vacation." It has been a blast reconnecting with old friends--unfortunately I mean "old" by both definitions. I've seen people who knew me from my middle school days, the college years and early parenthood. The time period literally spans over 25 years! Although we've sent the Christmas cards and infrequent emails, nothing makes up for being face to face and getting a real hug.

So far I have managed to rack up over 700 miles on my rental car, gain at least five pounds and sample coffee at five different Starbucks while sleeping the hours of a newborn baby. Here I've shared some highlights along with my favorite pictures.

Day Two: Arrived in Cincinnati late afternoon at the home of Jennifer, Grayson and Hayes Snyder. Jennifer and I were in a newborn playgroup during our Charlotte days. Her daughter Grayson is three months older than Quinn and her son Hayes is three months younger than Ian. They left Charlotte in 1998 and landed in Cincy in 2001. She hasn't changed a lick but boy have the kiddos. We sat out on the screened-in porch, (during a thunderstorm) shared a bottle of wine and caught up on the last seven years since we last saw one another. It was delightful. We played games with the kids, had pizza, watched American Idol and crashed.

Jennifer, Grayson (12) and Hayes (10)

Jen had to work the next morning and since I didn't get up until 11, she left this mug in the kitchen with fresh coffee. It says "Good friends are like stars, you don't always see them, but you know they're always there" How very true.

Their camera-shy Retriever, Deuteronomy (or "Deut" for short)

Day 3: Drove back to Columbus and picked up my mom. We drove two hours north to Bowling Green, Ohio. Never heard of it? Other than Bowling Green State University, their other claim to fame is being the home to Olympic skater Scott Hamilton. And that's about all. We checked in to our hotel, had DQ Blizzards for dinner and tucked in for the night.

Day 4: Tooled around downtown Bowling Green and enjoyed the warm sunshine. Arrived at the church hall to help the Davis clan decorate for the reception. We all burst into tears as soon as we locked eyes on each other. It had been 12 years but felt like yesterday. Our little Emily was all grown up as were her two brothers now in their 20's. I realized how, although time marches on, we really do hold on to the image of someone at the age when we last saw them. It was surreal. We hung out with them and let her order us around (after all those years of me doing that to her, I'm sure she enjoyed it) for a few hours.

The Rehearsal dinner: Jake dressed up for the occasion. Hat and all.

"Baby Jonathan" Their family moved in next door when he was in Shelley's womb. He was also the ringbearer in our wedding 17 years ago. Isn't he gorgeous?

The whole Davis clan: Emily, Shelley, Jonathan, Zachary and Bruce

Day Four: We couldn't be this close to a major midwest city and not track down a Chick-fil-A. After a Google search we discovered one was 22 miles away and off we went. After searching up and down the road it was supposed to be on, realizing it was probably in the mall, and walking from one end to other, we enjoyed feasting on our chicken sandwiches, waffle fries and sweeeeeeeeeet tea. Such simple pleasures. Next was the wedding and I don't think I've seen a more beaming bride. The ceremony was very personalized and the minister who officiated had a long history with both Emily and Jake prior to them knowing each other. This made for a couple of funny and sweet stories

The happy couple: Jake & Emily

Mr. & Mrs. Miley

Day Five: Woke up at 5 A.M. and hit the road by 5:45 to get my mom to back to the Columbus airport for her flight. After saying goodbye (and getting her settled in to her erroneously canceled flight--don't ask) I hit the road again. Three hours later I arrived in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Schoon's. Kristen and I met in a college bible study her freshman and my sophomore year. We've managed to stay in touch with regular phone calls and visits. Her mom lives in the Bellingham area so we get to see them more often despite the distance. I was a little directionally challenged when driving in to the neighborhood so her darling three boys met me on the corner and escorted me to the house. I quickly learned that her life is quite similar to mine (and her boys are similar ages) and I felt right at home. It helped that they are natural hosts themselves. Their home is so comfortable and they even gave me my own room and bathroom. I could get used to this. Ron grilled steaks (again, I could get used to this) and we enjoyed a great dinner. In the middle of the meal, Ryan (8) turned to me and said, "What are the qualities you like most about my mom?" Is that precious or what??? After dinner, we went to Ryan and Peter's piano recital and saw some amazing talent.

Day 6: I seem to have stayed on west coast time as I didn't wake up until close to 10:00. What a slouch! Kristen took me on a personally guided tour of Fort Wayne culminating with the children's zoo. It was quite a place and we enjoyed "strolling" without any strollers of our own. I picked the two youngers boys up from school since she and Peter had play practice. When we were getting out of the car, Ryan (my new sweetheart) looked at me and said "I enjoy you being here." My heart is melting over this kid! That night Kristen took me to her favorite restaurant and then to dessert at DeBrand's chocolates. Is it any wonder I am packing on the pounds??

Peter (11), Luke (6), Ryan (8)

So now it's back to Columbus this afternoon and arriving in Seattle at 11p.m. tonight. I have missed some pretty big events with my own family while I've been away. I think I'll have enough material there for a week's worth of posts. Thanks for reading.


Greetings from O-HI-O

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I've always wanted to post on my blog from another location. Preferably an exotic, international locale. The best I could do was the Midwest. Or is it the Northeast? I was just in Cincinnati and they border Kentucky-- referred to as from the South. I'm confused but it's great to be on the east coast again.

So here I am at the Columbus airport waiting for my mom's flight from Seattle. We are heading from here to Bowling Green for a good family friend's wedding. Another girl I used to babysit. I'm aging by the minute.

I took a red-eye flight on Tuesday night, arrived in Columbus on Wednesday morning and drove to Cincinnati yesterday afternoon. (I actually stayed awake 36 hours!) I spent the night with our friend's the Snyder's and they were marvelous hosts. Jennifer and I were neighbors and in a playgroup together when our firstborns were newborns. It was sooo great to see them. Last time we connected was when they came to Seattle sans kids in 2002. I hadn't seen the kids in seven years. It felt like yesterday when I walked into her kitchen and got a big hug. The kids didn't remember me but they did a good job pretending to. I am dying to share pictures but this airport business center computer has no means to put a flash drive in. Maybe when we get to our hotel tonight I'll be able to do that.

More later from your "world traveler"--kind of.

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Remembering the forgotten moms

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A while back one of my girlfriends posed this question: "Whatever happened to women getting together and actually accomplishing something? When do we ever paint someone's room or make a bunch of meals together for someone in need?" She was right. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all about a girls' weekend or a ladies' night out once in a while. But it seems like we think nothing of going to at-home parties where we buy jewelry we never wear, clothes we don't need and overpriced cookware we rarely use. And while we're doing this, there are so many women around us struggling to get by and doing without those luxuries we take for granted.

My heart bleeds for many causes and people but single moms are a group I have always admired and had a burden for. When I've lived through seasons of going it alone, I frequently say: "I don't know how single moms do it. I can't imagine doing this day after day, year after year." And yet, I have never had (or sought out) a friendship with a woman who is raising her children without a dad. My insulated, comfortable little life doesn't present itself with many opportunities and, quite honestly, I've rarely gone out of my way to make it happen. I'm not proud of this at all. I believe we are called to give back to our community, our fellow brothers and sisters. I think about it a lot but rarely do I ever DO anything worthwhile in response to that ache in my heart.

My friend's words kept haunting me. Then they inspired me. About a month of so ago, I read one of those "women who make a difference" articles about a lady who got a bunch of gals together to make gift bags for a women's shelter. I don't think it was for any reason in particular but to just show Christ's love to them. In that moment it hit me. Mother's Day was just around the corner and chances were that the women who were living in our local battered women's shelters would most likely not receive any kind of gift from her child(ren). Between my kids' schools, their sports and our neighborhood I could think of at least 50 fellow moms who would be on board with my cause.

I called two local shelters and shared my idea. They were all over it. One place was currently housing seven women and the other one had nine residents. All of them had at least one child. I perused my email address book, chose 35 women whom I hoped would want to participate and sent an Evite. I asked them to drop by my house this last Wednesday night and bring some items to put in gift bags. Things that they would like to receive for Mother's Day. The response was unbelievable and incredibly heart warming. Around 15 women showed up throughout the evening with their goodies. Many who couldn't come by that night dropped by earlier in the week and left bath products, beauty items, magazines, chocolate or money to contribute. It was overwhelming.

Today will be so special for those 16 women who probably had no expectations for what this day would look like much less that she would receive a gift from total strangers. Thank you, lovely ladies, for your generous hearts!

We had put together the gift bags with everything that came in the first hour. Ten more people showed up in the next hour and we had to pack more in. What a nice problem to have.

Will you look at all this loot? Wow!

These ladies are going to feel so pampered. There were lotions and body wash galore.

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Foodie Friday

Friday, May 8, 2009

You know that recipe? The one that, no matter what, it never tastesthe same as when Mom makes it. In honor of Mother's Day, this is a favorite dessert bar recipe perfected by my dear mom.

Lemon Bars

  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • dash of salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well, as for pie crust, with a pastry blender. Press into 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until brown on the edges.


  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 6 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine flour and sugar, mix in beaten eggs and lemon juice. Pour onto the slightly cooled crust. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until set. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

As of late it seems like my blog posts primarily consist of anecdotes from my daily life. I so love writing about my family and friends while sharing our current events, but I think that sometimes I do so instead of sharing what is really going on in my heart. I worry that I might reveal too much. Because of my past hurts, I like to decide what information is disemminated, to whom and when. I have no way of knowing who views this blog so I want to be self-protective. Yet the subtitle of my blog is: "ideas, issues, inspiration". I started thinking about how much the "inspiration" part is lacking. And I began to ponder how much I am inspired and encouraged when I read a post on another woman's blog that is real and transparent and yet I hesitate to do the same on my own page. Why do I want others to think my life is glamorous and easy? No one's is and yet there's this part of me that still struggles with desiring to be viewed this way. This helps no one and only puts undo pressure on me to maintain an image. It's silly.

Everyday, in my inbox, I receive an inspirational short email from Internet Cafe Devotions. At the end of the email is the author's bio and a link to her blog. Last week I received one of those that really stood out as inspirational. I linked to the lovely woman's blog page and one of the first sentences in her profile stated "my 17 year old daughter had a baby boy at 18 and became pregnant again when he was 6 months old." My first thought was "why is she sharing this with total strangers?" and then my second thought was "I want to read more of this woman's story." As I read on, I was amazed, inspired and humbled. Surely this wasn't the path she had envisioned when raising her family. You know she was beat up inside with the "you're a bad mother. This is all your fault" talk. And yet here she is airing it out for all to read. All I had to do was view the comments that followed her story to realize that we need to share our disappointments as well as our victories. She allowed God to use her pain to encourage others. Even if it's only one who is changed by our transparency, it is worth it.

So where is this leading? To my own "Ah-Ha moment." Last night I was re-reading an old journal from 2001-2003. I think that period's journal is the fattest one I own. During this time, I had also begun counseling. In the page I first turned to, was a recounting of my session and the reasons I was seeking a counselor. She asked me what were the main issues I wanted to work on. I said, 'anger, forgiveness and expectations.' I don't want to be an angry person. I want to see things from another's perspective more easily and not be so judgmental.

This woman was a very gifted counselor who was ready to get to the meat of my issues. In one particular session she wanted to tackle EXPECTATIONS--especially the unmet ones. One of the exercises she gave me was to list what I believed my life would look like at this age (35) contrasted with my current reality. It was a bit embarrassing to put all this on pen and paper and reveal it to a total stranger but as I began writing, I quickly realized how unrealistic my expectations were. At the same time, some of these are pretty hilarious. With the intention of transparency, and the hope of encouragement and inspiration, I hope you'll enjoy what I recorded.

Fantasy: Happily married with lots of affection, passion and a deep friendship with my husband. Still taking romantic getaways and having a fulfilling intimate relationship.

Reality: A strained relationship where the resentments resurface from time to time especially when a crisis comes into play. Lack of affection on my part because of constant disappointment and unmet expectations. Relationship priority lagging due to finances and demands of motherhood.


Fantasy: We would own a home in a warm climate. A home in which I would have ample room for my family and guests and one where I could fulfill my love of baking, cooking and entertaining. A home where I could decorate and make it a safe haven from the world for my husband and children.

Reality: We owned two homes at one time in two different cities, one of which sucked us dry emotionally and financially. Was forced to sell the home in which we started our family in and where I always saw us growing old together. Have since moved four times and rented for four years. Came within weeks of beginning to build a home, which we designed to meet our family's needs, only to be forced to sell the lot (and give up our dream) when job loss #3 occurred.


Fantasy: I was going to have a boy and two girls at 28, 30 & 32. At this point in time two would be in school, and, of course, excelling. The last one would be potty-trained and we'd be entering the next phase of parenting. They would have adorable bedrooms, be obedient and going to Christian school.

Reality: I struggled to conceive for close to two years while everyone around me was pregnant at their first attempt. I had three boys at 29, 30 & 34. They are full of energy and insatiable in their quest for constant activity. One of them breaks something on a daily basis and my oldest attends public school. The two older boys share a room with bunk beds and mismatched bedding. A plastic bin acts as their dresser and the closet is full of unorganized toys--most of which are broken. The youngest has more energy than the others put together and won't go further than five feet away from my side.


Fantasy: I would be a full-time homemaker yet doing freelance writing on the side and maybe have published a book or two. I would have a clean, organized home. I would be showered, make-up on and fully dressed every morning prior to the kids waking up. Their clothes would be laid out the night before and lunches made. I would be driving a Suburban or other SUV as all fashionable/hip moms of the time.

Reality: I rarely sit down from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning. The baby usually wakes up before i do. I'm typically rushing the kids out the door wearing a ball cap, no make-up and exercise clothes that have some degree of snot on them. I am often overwhelmed at the amount of laundry, dishes and general responsibility of raising a young family. The monotony of life is not something I ever expected. The most writing I do is the daily to-do list that rarely gets done. I drive a mini-van.

Boy did I have a fantasy with a capital "F" or what? No wonder I was always disappointed. At the end of this discourse, I had written another list entitled, "What I have now that I wouldn't have had if my life went down my self-directed, unrealistic path:"

  • A deeper walk with God and an understanding of total reliance on Him.
  • A heart for others who have suffered disappointment and unmet expectations.
  • A true longing for my true home in Heaven.
  • The ability to hold my hands open with my material possessions and give them proper priority in my life.
  • The knowledge that trials only make me stronger and that with each one I have been able to look back and see God's hand in it.

Trans-par-ent: Open. Frank. Candid. There you have it.


From flowergirl to bride

Monday, May 4, 2009



You know you're old when that adorable little flowergirl from your wedding is now a grown up, beautiful bride. On Saturday, my cousin Kristin was married in Seattle to her high school sweetheart, John. I'm not sure why I never snapped a photo of the couple together. Obviously I had my mind set on a "then" and "now" scenario and didn't give much thought to the poor groom. Isn't that how it always is? Sorry, John. You looked gorgeous too.

And as if I didn't feel old enough, here we are with Kyle and Kevin, the two "little boys" my sister and I used to babysit back when we were teenagers. They happen to also be Kristin's cousins from her dad's side of the family.


Foodie Friday

Friday, May 1, 2009

Prior to living in the South, I can't recall ever making someone a meal or having one brought to me. I always thought the only event that warranted a home-cooked meal was a funeral. Little did I know there's a different set of rules on the other side of the Mason-Dixon and childbirth ranks right up there with death. Hmmmm. After we brought Quinn home from the hospital, I remember Trey saying: "We need to have more babies. We've never eaten this good." (thanks, Honey.) We had dinners for two straight weeks and, of course, everyone brought us her best Southern dish. When Ian arrived, I will never forget my friend Janice bringing me a fabulous dinner and the only ingredients I could remember were chicken and poppyseeds. I kept craving that delicious dish over the years but lost touch with my friend and couldn't track down the recipe.

One of the blogs, I follow is Kelly's Korner . She's an Arkansas girl who happens to have a separate blog dedicated to a few choice dishes. And lo and behold, there I found my "Poppyseed Chicken". Her variation has a topping that I haven't tried before but how can you go wrong with Ritz crackers and a stick--yes, a stick--of butter?? Bon Appetit!
Poppyseed Chicken

(this is Kelly's picture, too)

  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 16 oz. (2 cups) sour cream
  • 2 T. poppyseeds
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 stick butter, melted

Mix first three ingredients in 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Sprinkle poppyseeds over top, then crackers and drizzle with melted butter. Bake at 350, uncovered for 20-30 minutes.