Monday, July 26, 2010

Multitude Monday, Take 169

Thanking God this week for...

753. a prenatal workout video, and the hilarity of Elijah doing it with me
754. belly laughs
755. Elijah carefully licking pie crust crumbs from his lips and saying, "mmm, it's good pie."
756. insurance agreeing to fix our car instead of totaling it
757. the sights and smells of the farmers' market downtown

758. orange heirloom grape tomatoes
759. bruschetta salad for dinner
760. time to run and play at Bicentennial Mall
761. finding the sippy cup I feared we lost at the farmers' market
762. This American Life podcasts to make the drive to Nashville go more quickly

763. my Redeemer lives!
764. evidence of grace in friends' hearts
765. friends with whom I can be completely honest
766. strong baby heartbeat, healthy pregnancy so far
767. not being on restricted activity like I was at this point last time

768. Elijah kissing my belly and saying "Hi, baby!"
769. our zoo membership, so we can feel free to spend half an hour seeing the giraffes and elephants and then leave because we can't take the heat
770. chocolate and vanilla twist ice cream cone (the zoo has the BEST soft-serve ice cream ever.)
771. air-conditioning in the car
772. a cold shower and clean clothes

773. lunch and warehouse grocery shopping with a friend
774. Steve and Elijah playing with blocks
775. waking up at 1AM and realizing, "hey, tomorrow is Saturday--I can sleep in!"
776. a freezer and the ability to make meals ahead for this fall
777. my parents are here!

holy experience

Monday, July 19, 2010

Multitude Monday, Take 168

Thanking God this week for...

727. the end of the box of Frosted Mini-Wheats
728. the scent of fresh-snipped thyme
729. a free new cell phone with a QWERTY keyboard
730. toilet paper on sale when we needed it
731. the fact that Elijah isn't picky and doesn't care when I screw up his morning egg

732. giggles and kisses first thing in the morning
733. not *having* to use my clothesline
734. meal planning, and flexibility in my plans
735. waking early and feeling rested
736. being able to easily transfer all my contacts from my old cell phone

737. classmates who are totally on the ball with reunion RSVPs
738. non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening for pie crust
739. first tomato pie of the season
740. the gorgeous tomatoes I've been getting at the farmers' market
741. Elijah "helping" Daddy mud the drywall in the hallway

742. the privilege of intercession
743. Christ who constantly intercedes for me
744. dinner with dear friends on Friday night
745. my friend doing all the dishes and leaving me with a clean sink!
746. backrubs from my hubby

747. more powerful, Christ-exalting teaching from our pastor (you should podcast it!)
748. having the poor, the needy, the broken among us and being stretched
749. dinner in the crockpot before 8 AM
750. extra in the freezer for this fall
751. the peace and perspective that giving thanks brings
752. the contagiousness of gratitude: how once you get going, sometimes it's hard to stop

holy experience

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook ~ 7.15.10

Haven't had the time (or made the time) for a thoughtful blog post, though I've got several ideas. Meanwhile, realized I haven't done the Simple Woman's Daybook for a while...

Outside my window...
hot, hot, hot. I have to admit I haven't been exercising. Meant to go for a walk both yesterday and today...but by the time our meeting was done this morning it was going on 11:00 and the heat index was already 98 degrees. I decided against it. Also, mosquitoes swarming everywhere. Seriously, I have to put on bug spray to hang clothes on the line. Needless to say we don't go out much :(

I am thinking...
that I need to get off the computer for now and start making pie crust!

I am thankful for...
the fact that Elijah sleeps so well. The child actually *asks* to take naps ("take a map?") on a regular basis. It feels so wrong. But amazing.

From the kitchen...
dinner tonight was the summer's first tomato pie...YUMMO. With local, organically grown tomatoes I got at the farmers' market. They are the most brilliantly gorgeous RED inside! Last night I did some baking for the first time in a while--Smitten Kitchen's big crumb rhubarb coffee cake, which Steve said was like something they'd sell at Starbucks, it's so showy, and some banana muffins. This weekend I'm hoping to freeze more meals, including Italian meatloaf and some cream of mushroom soup.

I am wearing...
a t-shirt from my brother's fire station...which barely covers my growing belly...khaki shorts which are maternity shorts but totally digging into my belly...and the uniform black Reef flip-flops that never come off my feet all summer long.

I am creating...
an invitation for our 10-year high school reunion. And cursing all my classmates who don't use email in the 21st century...and cursing myself for procrastinating WAY too long on this whole reunion planning nonsense...and vowing to form a reunion committee for 2015.

I am going...
to bed, very shortly...and then I am going to get up extra early tomorrow and go for a walk before Steve leaves for work and before it gets too hot. Really, I am...especially now that I have the accountability of telling the whole internet!

I am reading...
mostly counseling books and birth books--not much time left over for other just-for-fun selections (though I do enjoy both these types of books). Our main class textbook is Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, and pretty soon I'll need to start War of Words. Birth-wise, I'm in the middle of skimming through The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth (it's mostly stuff I'm already familiar with--but so far I would *highly* recommend it) and hoping to order a couple of other books soon as I prepare for the birth of baby #2. One of these days I'll get back to A Passion for the Impossible, a biography of Lilias Trotter that I picked up in May...and all the other books I'm midway through...

I am hoping...
that this birth and postpartum period will be dramatically different than the last one--and that no matter how God chooses to answer all my prayers, I will choose to trust Him and praise Him.

I am hearing...
songs from one of my favorite playlists, a mix of all the Sovereign Grace Music albums I own.

Around the house...
baskets of clean laundry needing to be folded; drywall mud all over the walls in the dining room/hallway; dishes piled up in the kitchen; toys and books scattered all over the living room. You know, life as usual :)

One of my favorite things...
Elijah running to me and asking, "Kiss it?" because he has bumped his head or his toe or his arm--and the fact that at this age, my kisses really do make it "all better" :)

A few plans for the rest of the week...
a friend from church and her two little girls are coming over for lunch this week--for the last time before they move out of state :( I'm glad I'll get the opportunity to spend a little time with her before they go. Then some dear friends from our old church, whom we haven't seen in ages, are coming for dinner tomorrow night!

A picture thought I am sharing...
as Steve has been working on the stairs, he's had a little helper who is GLUED to his side. Elijah is fascinated by all of Daddy's tools. He can barely hold the cordless drill, but it cracks me up that he knows exactly where to put it, on the screws Daddy has already put in!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Quick, Easy, Cheap, Yummy

What more can you ask for on a busy weeknight than a dinner that's wholesome, inexpensive, and can be thrown together quickly from basic pantry ingredients? This easy meal is definitely going to become a more regular fixture on our family's menu.

Steve and Elijah love salmon. It's not my favorite, and it can be pricey, but because it's so healthy, I try to incorporate it into our diet semi-regularly. Steve grills it sometimes, and I've tried baking it, but I've decided that salmon melts, a recipe I got from Passionate Homemaking, are my favorite way to eat this fish. Maybe in part because the strong garlic flavor overpowers the fishiness? :) In other words, beware of your breath!

This recipe uses canned salmon (wild caught--that's important), which I can get at Aldi at the fantastic price of just $1.99 for 14 oz. I've been told you can also find canned wild salmon at Trader Joe's. I've never looked anywhere else.

We've only eaten these two or three times, but the more I make them, the more I like them. It was the perfect meal last Thursday when I was gone all afternoon and didn't get home until 4:30. As long as I keep a can of salmon in the cupboard, I almost always have the other ingredients.

Salmon Melts

1 -14 oz. can wild salmon
1 1/2 t. paprika
1 1/2 t. garlic powder
3 T mayonnaise (or more, to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Remove bones and skin from salmon. Mix with remaining ingredients and spoon over slices of whole wheat bread. Arrange on baking sheet and top with slices of tomato (optional) and sliced or shredded cheese (we've tried and enjoyed both Provolone and cheddar). Bake at 350-375 degrees until cheese is melted and salmon is warmed (about 10 minutes). Makes 4 servings.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Multitude Monday, Take 167

Thanking God this week for...

700. the opportunity to use my gifts in a really small way to help the local pregnancy resource center
701. a great memory
702. my classmates' legwork in tracking down other classmates for our high school reunion
703. donuts from the Donut Palace (YUM!) with my little man and a sweet friend
704. the ability to braid hair

705. Wednesday night prayer with families from church
706. hours at an "old" (relatively--in Tennessee-resident time) friend's house catching up
707. the joy of watching Elijah and her three-year-old have a blast playing together
708. phone call from a truly "old" (the length of our friendship, not her age :) friend
709. purple toenail polish

710. the fact that I can still reach my feet to paint my toenails :)
711. farm-fresh sweet corn
712. Jesus the perfect Elder Brother, who came to the far country to seek and save me
713. Lakeside (my high school church camp), and how He drew me to Himself there 13 years ago last week
714. funny memories from six summers there

715. opportunities to practice hospitality
716. the growing farmers' market in town
717. Steve working hard on the staircase; Elijah "helping" Daddy
718. roast beef and potatoes and onions and carrots for dinner
719. three gallon bags of colorful vegetable beef soup in the freezer

720. homemade apple butter--a smashing success, and EASY
721. the fact that Steve only has to work weekends 2-3 times a year
722. our pastor's faithfulness to preach the Word and point to Christ in every text
723. the Son of David, whose sacrifice for sin cost Him EVERYTHING
724. a morning at the park with a new friend and her beautiful girlies

725. the pleasure of watching Elijah have fun--and display newfound bravery--with the girls
726. grace to filter disappointing news through the lens of His faithfulness and wise, sovereign love

holy experience

Thursday, July 08, 2010

You Ask, I'll Answer

Anna at Hope Road did a Q&A post recently, and I thought it looked like a fun idea. So here's your open invitation: What have you been wanting to ask me? I'll try to be transparent, though I'll reserve the right not to answer a question, just in case...because it's my blog :)

I can't reply directly to comments in a nested style--so rather than letting the comments section get all disorganized with my answers, I'll copy and paste questions, along with my answers, in the body of this post as they come in.

Ask away!
Whew, you all ask good, hard questions! I'll try to get to them over the next couple of days. (And I'm still open to more/follow-up questions, if you're late getting to this!)

Zoanna asked: What is one character trait you really admire in other people that you don't possess?
I really admire people who have a gift for drawing others out and making them feel at ease. I'm not sure if that exactly qualifies as a "character trait"--but it's one of the first things that comes to mind.

What is one trait that you have seen God develop in you that you once lacked faith for ever seeing?

Submissiveness. If you could have seen the little elementary school kid who bossed all her friends to death, or the middle schooler who was determined to be the first woman would find it quite astounding that I currently hold the views on gender that I do :) Even my husband lacked faith for seeing this in me before we started dating--in fact it was one of the biggest hesitations he had in pursuing me (not realizing how much I had changed while in college). God had graciously brought a lot of change to my heart in the area of submission after high school, and He continues to grow me in joyful submission to my husband's leadership.

Melita asked: If you were given the power to erase just one world problem (excluding sin itself) which would you choose and why? (war, hunger, disease, natural disasters, illiteracy, poverty, etc)
Whew! I feel like it's cheating to pick poverty--but it seems like if you picked that one, you'd end up eradicating (or at least lessening the impact of) a lot of the others (hunger, disease, natural disasters, even illiteracy). I guess it depends on how you define poverty--if according to When Helping Hurts, the great book I read a few months ago, I get a four-in-one power for erasing material poverty plus poverty of self, poverty of relationships and even spiritual poverty :)

Anna asked: What are you most looking forward to about having two children? And what are you most afraid of?
I look forward to seeing the relationship between my children blossom. I have friends whose kids really delight in each other and have a lot of fun together. I hope Elijah and his little sibling will have that kind of relationship even as young kids, and that it will grow into a lifelong friendship. I also look forward to what our family will look like many years from now--lively conversations around the dinner table and that sort of thing. To be honest, what motivates me to have more children is not this season of infancy/toddlerhood, but looking ahead 10 years (or more) and thinking about what I want our family to look like.

As far as what I fear, it has less to do with having two children and more to do with experiencing "having a baby" again--labor and delivery, the sleep deprivation, the inexplicable crying (both mine and the baby's!)...I fear that the arrival of baby #2 will reveal that I haven't changed much in the last three years after all, that I am still selfishly unwilling to love and serve sacrificially.

Laura asked: At what point in your relationship did you and your husband start talking about finances to see if you were on the same page? ...It's such a private topic for most people yet so central to a healthy marriage.
I'm not really sure, to be honest. I know it was definitely a topic of discussion during our engagement, as we read books like Preparing for Marriage and The Most Important Year in a Man's/Woman's Life. But by that time (when you're already engaged) it's probably not going to be a dealbreaker, even if you are vastly different in how you handle money--and you're right, it's a source of struggle for a lot of couples.

Unfortunately I don't think I have much helpful advice here, because Steve and I were (are) blessed to be very much on the same page with money. We don't have that dynamic where one of us is a compulsive shopper and the other is a tightwad. Both of us learned from parents who used money wisely and we came into marriage with responsibility and understanding of how to handle finances. So thankfully, this hasn't been an area of conflict in our marriage.

I think you can probably get a sense of how a prospective mate handles money just by observation, without intentional conversations--is he generous? Does he seem to live above his means? Is he always buying things? Those types of questions.

One thing I do think is really important is to carefully consider any debt you take on as a single woman, and to do everything in your power to pay it off as quickly as possible. I've seen a lot of couples where one or both partners enters the marriage with a lot of debt, and that affects the decisions they make about work and having kids--they end up needing two incomes not to maintain a certain standard of living, but to pay their bills. The more you can get a handle on your own finances now and avoid/pay off debt, the more you will bless your future husband AND yourself down the road!

Not sure if I've really answered that question or just rambled about related things ;) Feel free to ask a follow-up, especially if you want to clarify "on the same page about finances."

Ali asked: What kind of camera would you recommend?
I use a Nikon D50, and I love it. It was discontinued a few years ago, though, and replaced by the D40, which has now (I think) been replaced by the D5000. This is an entry-level SLR. It takes great photos with automatic settings if you have no idea what you're doing, but also allows you the freedom (and danger) of tinkering with settings if you're trying to learn about photography and shoot more manually.

The person using the camera definitely matters...I know people (Melita above, for example) who get way better shots than I do with a basic point and shoot camera, because they have an eye and know what they're doing :) But the camera absolutely helps. One of the main reasons I upgraded to an SLR is because it's SO much faster than a point and shoot. Especially with kids, by the time you push the button and the camera finally takes the picture, they're no longer making the face! Not so with an SLR. I also like that I can shoot without flash in low light. Turning off your flash (or bouncing it off the ceiling) is one of the most important things you can do to get better pictures. (I don't have an external flash, but I use a Lightscoop to bounce my built-in flash and it makes a world of difference!)

Anyway, I'm extremely happy with my Nikon D50 and would buy it again without hesitation, but I can't speak personally about the models that have replaced it. I do know that the 40 and the 5000 don't autofocus with the lens I use 90% of the time, the 50mm f/1.8 - so that would be a problem for me, because it's a great little lens and CHEAP (as far as lenses go). Then again, I have trouble with autofocus on that lens, who knows. One site I like for photography info and reviews/recommendations is

All that said (and I have photographer friends who read my blog and know WAY more about all this than me--so maybe they will weigh in in the comments!)...I would love to get one of those tiny pocket-sized point-and-shoots, like a Canon ELPH. The one major downside to my SLR is that it's big and bulky. It's not very practical to always carry with me--I can't just stick it in my purse or diaper bag--and a good photographer would *always* have a camera with her :)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Easy Zucchini Sticks

My favorite way to use the fresh zucchini that's abundant now, besides baking it into breads or muffins, is a recipe I got from our CSA last summer: Easy Zucchini Sticks. Try this yummy, wholesome appetizer/side dish soon--you won't be disappointed!

Easy Zucchini Sticks

egg, lightly beaten
breadcrumbs (I save the heels from my homemade whole wheat bread, let them dry out and make breadcrumbs in my blender--works great)
Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning
garlic powder/salt
olive oil

Slice zucchini into sticks (think french fries)--or even round slices; it doesn't really matter. I go for about 1/2 inch thick.

Mix breadcrumbs, cheese and seasonings to taste. (I don't bother to measure anymore, but if that drives you nuts, the original recipe calls for 3/4 c. Italian breadcrumbs and 2 T cheese...I probably use a lot more cheese.) Dip the zucchini sticks/slices in the egg and then roll in the crumb mixture. Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Broil for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with marinara sauce.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Thankful Tuesday, Just Because

I just did a thankful list yesterday, but I'm feeling especially grateful over this holiday weekend because of a visit from my in-laws! Steve's parents and little brother arrived late Friday night and stayed until after lunch today. While they were here...

Steve, his dad and his brother kept busy working on house projects. Their main goal was designing and building trim around the stairs, which for the last three years have looked basically like this (with the addition of a temporary railing). The upstairs renovations at our house still have a long way to go--but Steve decided it would be best to finish the dining room/stairs first, since everyone who comes over sees that part (and since its a particular area of expertise for his dad). It's fun to see it take shape--hopefully we'll be able to paint and post some "after" pictures soon.

The guys also worked to repair some plumbing downstairs after our kitchen sink backed up...and filled our washing machine...and they discovered that, once again, previous homeowners had done some really "special" DIY work on pipes downstairs.

And, the Kannel men went and picked up a chest freezer for the basement! I typically have our regular freezer packed crazy-full, and we've long been wanting to get another freezer--all the more so as the arrival of baby #2 approaches. Our church will provide some meals at first, and our moms will be around in the early weeks to help cook for us, but it would be so nice if I could do some extra cooking and baking now, while I have the time and energy.

So, after they got the freezer downstairs and hooked up, I went to work in the kitchen. Thus far I have made and packed away:
~two gallon bags of pasta fagioli
~one gallon bag of chicken tortilla soup
~one gallon bag of taco soup
~two gallon bags of chicken noodle broccoli cheese soup
~four dozen super-healthy pumpkin mini-muffins for Elijah
~three loaves of zucchini bread

I am SO excited to be planning and working ahead like this! I completely overdid it on Saturday and paid for it with back and hip pain...but it was worth it. I am still planning to do a little extra cooking as we go--just making double of things I am making for supper anyway, and freezing half--but we tend to eat a lot of fresher, simpler meals in the summer, not the soups and casseroles that freeze well. The beauty of making all those soups was that I didn't even have to heat up my kitchen--all but one could be mixed up cold and then can be thrown in the crockpot all day when we want to eat it.

I'm feeling really motivated to keep at it now that I can see our freezer filling up. I have a list of several more meals and baked goods (which will make for quick & easy breakfasts/snacks) I hope to put up before October.

My sweet mother-in-law was my kitchen fairy, doing endless mountains of dishes as I made messes. She also got in on the food prep, chopping--are you ready for this?--TWENTY CUPS of rhubarb, which we also froze. Awesome. And when she wasn't helping me, she was entertaining Elijah, playing the piano and singing songs with him.

In between the productivity, we played Settlers of Catan, enjoyed Papa John's pizza, and took in a fireworks display. My in-laws even ran to the store and bought ice cream "for the grandkids" (mainly the one in my belly :) ! We were so glad to have a visit from them and spend some extra time together.

So as you can see...lots of blessings to thank the Lord for this weekend. Not the least of which is that my hubby had both yesterday *and* today off work--so we get to enjoy having him home with us. Since he's hard at work now continuing the stairway trim project, I better get back to my own work: the paper I'm supposed to be writing for my CCEF class. Lots of new blog post ideas in the works...stay tuned.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Multitude Monday, Take 166

Thanking God this week for...

666. (generic) Sarna, a bug bite lotion that works better than cortisone or benadryl
667. Elijah's enthusiasm for wholesome foods like eggs and oatmeal, despite eating them almost every single morning
668. hitting the 2/3 mark in memorizing Ephesians
669. inspiration to press on from recent Revive Our Hearts podcasts
670. knowledge to make informed decisions about childbirth and newborn care

671. Steve's selflessly leaving the leftover pizza for me to enjoy
672. cooler temperatures for more bearable walks
673. opportunities to encourage others
674. opportunities to let friends borrow our stuff
675. crepe myrtles in bloom, bright pink everywhere

676. the cup holder on Elijah's carseat
677. a morning enjoying the sights at Centennial Park with my little man
678. Subway's double chocolate chip cookies
679. carts with cars on the front at Kroger
680. the fact that I often don't have to take Elijah grocery shopping with me

681. insights from God's Word
682. lunch with a friend, and how well our kiddos played together
683. flowers from my hubby
684. a new set of pots and pans
685. the improvised pot rack Steve immediately built for them

686. quick, easy, wholesome dinner (recipe coming soon)
687. grace to acknowledge and confess my sin
688. grace that covers it
689. the sensor in our car that stopped me from backing into our other car
690. visit from my in-laws

691. great sale on grass-fed burgers at the farmers' market
692. a new chest freezer, so I actually have space for them
693. good night's sleep to rest my back and hips
694. another Christ-exalting, powerful, relevant sermon from our pastor
695. a Fourth of July church service where our thankfulness for our freedom was acknowledged, but our thankfulness for our freedom in Christ was emphasized, and where we sang praises to Him, not to America

696. the incredible freedoms and privileges and opportunities we *do* enjoy as Americans
697. the men and women who fought and died to secure and preserve those freedoms and blessings
698. Elijah's enjoyment of his first fireworks display
699. the Savior who lived, died and was raised to purchase my eternal freedom from sin and death

holy experience