Friday, December 28, 2012

DPP // Day 28

{family bus ride}

Thursday, December 27, 2012

DPP // Day 27

{the way home}

{jiaozi prep}

I went to a new part of town today, checking out apartment complexes for the move that will happen sometime this summer when our school relocates to a new campus. Another move on the horizon, but walking the streets helped somewhat to picture it and imagine that, with time, this can be a good thing.

DPP // Day 26


{folding laundry time}

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DPP // Day 25

{coupon christmas}
gifts from the kids... "stop washing the dishes"

{she's so purdy}

{cuddled on the couch}

{adult style}

{kid gifts}
from her brother... a homemade lego kit with instructions

Monday, December 24, 2012

DPP // Day 24 & 24

a quick bite to eat, sweet potato roasted over a barrel, on a shopping trip just before Christmas

My boy plays his first accompaniment during our Christmas Eve carol sing

Saturday, December 22, 2012

DPP // Day 21 & 22

{last lesson}
final chinese class before the break. exchanging gifts and adulations and smiles and baby kisses

{first morning}
the christmas break begins with dominoes and pajamas til noon and togetherness

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DPP // Day 20

{i got spirit}
played in the staff vs student bball game today

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DPP // Day 18 and 19

{the end : read}
A little Jan Brett (Scandanavian artwork that will make you want to jump into the beautiful winter scenes) read by the eldest before bed.

{the end : eat}
lettuce wraps at the end of a long day. party for 80, done. 2 days until the break!

Monday, December 17, 2012

DPP // Day 16 & 17

{mama's turn}
cookies and goodies coming out of my ears...

{package arrival}
my sister sent "hot chocolate and s'mores night in a box"!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

DPP // Day 12-15 Ah!!

The past couple days my evening time to update the blog has been waylaid by VPN issues. 
And I won't say I didn't forget to take a picture one day.

Day 12
{my brood}
outtakes from my photo session with the kids. This one had a few issues but I do love the faces.

{pistachio prep}
much much chopping and baking going on for an 80+ guest party next week

watching my baby snatch at this scene all day long, and thinking about how God humbled himself to become like this little child, so that we could be with him someday in all his glory. 

The tragedies I read about online, the children murdered in Connecticut, and the children terrorized by a knife attack in China, are echoes in a way of the senseless tragedy many centuries ago that also lay a dark, evil cloud over the birth of the Savior- the slaughter of the babies in Bethlehem. 
...Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.
We weep and refuse to be comforted.
It is only the LORD who can and will turn our mourning into joy.
We wait for Him.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

DPP // Day 10... and 11

{a dozen here and a dozen there}


{juzi season is here!}

{menu planning}

Sunday, December 9, 2012

DPP // Day 9

{shmoggy shmoochin}

{made me laugh}

*took some pictures in the park today for a Christmas card that will hopefully, just maybe, get in the mail this year.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

DPP // Day 8

{wrapped in light}

*When you are a kid and you are a kid who goes to church, you hear the Christmas story A LOT. Inevitably, you hear how most good Jews knew there was a Messiah coming and knew a lot of the prophecies concerning him. But then the virgin conceived, and a baby was born in a cow stall, and he grew up in Nazareth, and was the son of a carpenter. This threw everyone off. Way off. 

I have heard about how it was all so "unexpected" and not how anyone had envisioned it, and it caused a lot of people to doubt, or at least struggle to believe that this was the plan and this was the man.

This year, it has occurred to me that I woud probably be lined up with those doubters. So I am all the more intrigued and impressed by Mary's response, by Joseph's bravery, by Simeon's faith, by Anna's endurance, and all the little players throughout the whole of the story who looked at a crazy situation and didn't turn away but believed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

DPP // Day 6

{fuzzy wuzzy slippas}
because with no central heating, the floors are just soooo cold!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DPP // Day 5

{after dinner}

hawthorns, our chinese substitute for cranberries

{teeth again}

some thoughts from today

*It is difficult to decorate large spaces like a school auditorium with a large baby strapped to your chest. Sometimes a babysitter is required.

*When you feel most discouraged or dismayed by life circumstances, it is the easiest thing to doubt God and feel very lackluster in faith. The hard but best thing to do is to trudge on and do just what makes one's faith stronger, which is to be faithful. 

*Chicken pot pie is so delicious and full of buttery goodness but deceitfully shored up with vegetables so that the entire family usually cleans out the entire dish. I think there was at least four sticks of butter in that thing.

*I find that people are hard. I think I must make others feel that way too. I wish I didn't feel this way about people so often. I wish I was a little more happy go lucky about stuff. I don't even like balloons. What kind of person must I be if I don't like balloons? 

*My friend made me another mug on her spinning wheel. She molds these beautiful vessels with her fingers and then gives them to me and I feel like I need to take a class on how to give good gifts to people. She is amazing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Photo Project 2012 {better late}

The Advent calendar was put up four days late, 
so why not the same for the December Photo Project 2012?

December Photo Project 2012 

December 1 {subway ride} 
christmas shopping with the girls

Decebmer 2 {for the love of an 8 year old boy}
birthday party in action

December 3 {Advent countdown}
hanging the bags... better late than never

December 4 {tree treats}
garland good enough to eat

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Homegrown Recipe

{Roasted Cauliflower and Crouton Salad}

The past few weeks have been very full, and I have failed to let any of it slip out here. I'm not going to recap the month for you. I promise I have more respect for you than that. I know you would rather I just shared a recipe with you. And that is what I will do.

Today was a cleaning out day of sorts. I had to scrape wax off the floor and a table following a near-horrific accident with a candle and a baby last evening. The Baby Boy needed his clothing size rotated. The basil plant badly needed pruning and winterizing. When it came to making dinner, I was planning on a simple pesto and chicken pasta dish because The Man left for a week-long trip this morning and I wanted something simple. This dish is simple because it is made from a packet, and is like a bourgeois version of mac n' cheese. 

Then there was all that half-shriveled basil sitting there. And a head of cauliflower I had failed to use from earlier in the week. Let me just say here and now that roasted cauliflower is my new obsession. It is so, so very good and typically I make it tossed with olive oil, curry powder, red onions, and salt and pepper. But then tonight I thought of roasting the cauliflower and throwing it in with the pesto (minus the curry powder obviously). Then I thought of how I usually have caesar salad with pesto but I didn't have lettuce tonight... and yet, oh how I love those crunchy croutons mixing in with the pasta. And hey, I had some hearty whole wheat bread that was getting a little too dry for sandwiches...and then when I opened the fridge there stood staring at me a near empty jar of homemade sun-dried tomatoes I had made a couple months ago. Lo and behold... a new recipe started forming...

Roasted Cauliflower and Crouton Salad

~1 head of cauliflower, broken into bite size pieces
~couple Tbsp olive oil
~1/4 red onion, sliced into strips
~3-5 garlic cloves, sliced in thick chunks
~dried basil (optional) 
~salt and pepper

{toss all the above ingredients together and spread on a baking sheet, sprinkling with salt and pepper, then roast for about 30 minutes at a high temp... mine was around 425F, watching until it is browned and crispy on top}

~homemade croutons: cut bread slices into bite size squares. toss with olive oil, seasoning like oregano or italian, add some grated parm if you like. toast in oven at 425 until golden and crispy.
~sun-dried tomatoes (couple Tbsp.) chopped into chunky pieces
~fresh basil, roughly chopped

{toss above ingredients with roasted cauliflower and serve}

I eyed the kids as we were eating and they gobbled it up without a word of dissent. Well, Scout did hand me all her onions like she'd scraped worms off the sidewalk or something. Anyway- I thought it was good. Let me know if you try it!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

we went away

The trip was, as we had brashly decided it would be, delightfully Worth It. The train ride to get there was perfect. We had beds in our own tiny, secluded cabin where we could hide from curious eyes and stretch out, resting with books or letting the baby sleep. We watched the countryside go by, blanketed by gray clouds and gloomy raindrops, each station filled with umbrellas shuffling past down below our window.

Our host was a friend of ours who had traveled home this past week to be with his family over the Mid Autumn Festival and National holiday. He grew up in this small village; a forty five minute bus ride out of the city we had trained to, over the Yangtze river and then a short walk to his home. 

We were somewhat self conscious, landing in this friend's home with our six people strong and tactfully forgetting our large bag of delicious fruits and treats we had intended to give as a gift to our hosts. But they were of course exceedingly gracious and seemed genuinely pleased to have us along for the ride. It was after all, a festive time for them as well and each meal had family members from all over the neighborhood congregating around the deliciously prepared food.

Our kids did remarkably well, trying most of the food and though skirting their way around some of it, found enough to munch on that they stayed full and happy and did not grumble about hunger (we had packed stashes of Snickers and noodles just in case). We explored the nearby streets and fields, and followed the train tracks to the local market. It was wet and drizzling most of the time we were there, so a few things we had looked forward to, like touring his Aunt's organic farm across the way, and going up into the Juzi Orchard behind the house that his grandfather had cultivated all his life, could not be done because of mud sloshed roads and our unprepared attire. Nonetheless, we managed to climb around and get dirty and happily fresh-aired as it was.

We spent the train ride home on hard seats, in the stuffy car with 120 other people. Seven hours of people following your every move, asking you repeatedly what country you are from and all manner of similar questions, and trying to manage six people on four seats with very limited activities is a daunting task. But happily, our troupe again did remarkably well. I was so proud of my little ones and their adaptability, patience, and creativity. Actually, I was proud of and incredibly thankful for my Man in this regard as well. He held children, made up little games, played cards, entertained the {slightly} irritating little friend that kept spitting her candy out at our feet, never complained or got tired and kept everyone laughing and smiling until the bitter end. Though it wasn't bitter at all. In fact, despite the hiccups and strains that inevitably come with traveling in China, and that with many small children, we are already thinking of doing it again.