Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quick Wit

We moved our china hutch from the wall it has been adorning the entire nine years we've lived in this house to the other wall in the dining room.  I had wanted to try this arrangement for awhile but never felt the urge to do all the work.  But Nathan has been pestering asking us to move the china hutch because it sits over the return air grate.  And he wanted to recover the lost Playmobil coins and Lego helmet that had fallen into the duct eons ago.

Last night was the night.  As I dusted the china hutch and rearranged the dishes back into the cabinet in its new location, David and Nathan took off the grate and began retrieving the detritus.

As things were discovered along, in, and amongst, the multitude of dust bunny colonies, condominiums, and high rises, Nathan would gleefully express delight about a now retrieved toy.

David commented, "It's like a walk down memory lane."
Nathan replied, "Wow, memory lane is dirty."

It should be easier, theoretically, to recover those missing items now only having to move plants and not a whole china hutch.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I know you've all been waiting.  I know you have no other thoughts on your minds but what is happening in our lives and patiently await the next post just like I cannot wait to watch the next episode of Top Gear. And having watched our life for awhile you know that the time of year always brings posts on certain events. What we did for Christmas around December 25th, Easter pictures in the spring, vacation pictures in the summer and fall, etc. Being the producer of this particular show of our life which you love to read, I know dear readers, that your favorite post always comes in February and is all about our Valentine's Day Dinner.

Wait no more, it is here. Grab your coffee or tea, sit back and marvel at another wonderful year of Valentine's Dining in our home. Knowing that new readers trickle in, I present first the links to the previous year's posts so this year's is better appreciated.

Year one - in which they cook by themselves for the first time

Year two - in which I apparently didn't blog about their delicious Italian meal

Year three - in which they prepare a German meal

Year four - in which they prepare a French meal

Now that your appetite is great, anticipation is high, I give you wait no longer.

Valentine's Day, February 14th, is a day highly anticipated in our home. David and I love the restaurant we've been dining at the past several years. The children love coming up with a surprise menu and cooking a scrumptious meal for us. But this year February 14th was highly anticipated in our home for another reason. Hannah returned home to us after a lovely three week trip to England.

In planning this England trip with Hannah, David and I were sorry that we would miss our annual reservations at Sous La Maison, but decided the opportunity for our daughter was more important. We were, therefore, quite grateful when the restaurant staff informed us one day that they had overbooked for Valentine's Day and would like to move our reservations till Friday evening, the 17th of February. After a bit of incredulousness that this restaurant where we have dined for the past several years would bump us, their very loyal customers who tout their restaurant far and near, we accepted their apologies and the new reservations.

On Thursday, February 16th, I took the staff along with me to the grocery store. They had placed certain ingredients on my list for me to purchase, soy sauce, Romano cheese, and spinach. That was easy enough, but then they told me they had to buy something that I shouldn't see, so off the three girls trotted ahead of me in Aldi. They made their purchase, hid it in the van, and returned to help me with the remaining grocery list. Of course my curiosity was piqued, and it was even more so that evening when they told me I couldn't be in the kitchen after 8am on Friday morning.

The anticipated day arrived. David and I arose earlier than normal on Friday morning in order to enjoy our breakfast and for me to strain the yogurt and take out a couple of chicken breasts prior to our 8:00 deadline.   While Hannah and Ellie set to work in the kitchen, David did Latin with Nathan and Abby and I made plans for the rest of the day. I asked if it would be helpful for me not to be around in the afternoon and after hearing their positive response, I told them I needed to be around in the morning, but would leave after lunch.

It wasn't too difficult to stay out of the kitchen that morning. I worked with the three youngest on some of their school work, took a couple of them to a speech lesson, and one to a music lesson. Since I couldn't be in the kitchen, I couldn't make lunch for the family. Anticipating eating a substantial meal in the evening, I told the girls to fix us a salad topped with grilled chicken breasts. After lunch, I left with David who had visits to make in the town with the library. He dropped me off and I sat for the next two hours with my Mac Book and Gulliver's Travels catching up on blog posts, article reading, and what Gulliver was doing. Having spoken with the children who suggested we not come home until our reservations at 6pm, when David was finished with his visits and came to pick me up, he suggested we do a little clothes shopping at the outlet mall not far away.

We arrived at the appointed time and the staff at Sous la Maison were ready and waiting. As soon as we sat down at our normal table, which was decorated as always with the red table cloth and a lace covering, the staff came and began the classical music cd, lit the candle-abra, filled our glasses with a Gnarley Head Cabernet, and delivered the Salad.  Note: all descriptions are from the menu.
This salad contains lettuces, and a variation of vegetables and cheeses.  It is served with Creamy Italian dressing.

It was a delicious start to our meal which was quickly followed by Shrimp Francesca.
Shrimp Francesca is a mouth-savoring combination of shrimp, cheese, and our perfect selection of spices.
This was a very tasty dish which we loved. The butter was complimented with a tangy lemon which added to the taste of the cheese and spices. The salad and soup were enough to fill our very hungry stomachs but as in years past, the staff at Sous la Maison were not finished with our meal quite yet. After refilling our wine glasses and setting a water pitcher on the table, our first course dishes were removed and not too long after our plat principal was served.

Our marinated London Broil boasts a medium-rare ribeye steak, topped with select spices and a dry red wine.  It is served with broccoli, sautéed mushrooms, and a Cabernet wine.
Oh my goodness. This picture and the meager description does not give credit to the lovely taste that overwhelmed the taste buds. The steak was done to perfection.  Just look:

This is the way I like my steak - oh so delicious!
It was a mouth-watering, palate-pleasing, gastronomical-delightful main dish.  It was simply amazing.  Our once hungry stomachs were now busting with all the goodness.  Neither of us could finish our entire meal and the helpful staff graciously packaged it for us to enjoy again the next day.

Now the  pièce de résistance:

The sweet taste of our Strawberry Cheesecake is sure to steal your heart, and your stomach.  This cheesecake is the signature dish of Rachel M., who sends her highest regards.  It is served with strawberries.

This dessert was why I couldn't be in the kitchen after 8am, and it was so worth that sacrifice. I have never tasted a more delicious, melt-in-your mouth cheesecake. It was light, fluffy, and very easily stole our hearts and stomachs. While in England, Hannah shared with Jonathan and Rachel what they were planning to fix for us and mentioned looking for a strawberry cheesecake recipe. Rachel said she had one that was very good, and Jonathan concurred. We are quite thankful she was willing to share the recipe. I don't think I'll make a different type of cheesecake ever again, this one is better than any I have ever made. I can't believe how delicious it was and how perfect it turned out for them, especially considering this was the first time Hannah or Ellie had ever attempted this type of dessert. It truly was the perfect end to a perfect meal.

We once again sing the praise of the staff of Sous La Maison. They are a delightful, thoughtful, talented group of young people with whom we are so blessed.

Hannah, Ellie, Nathan, Abby, and Samuel

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I added more books to my side bar.  This writing down what books I read is really a good thing for me.  It is a joy to write down what I've read and to see the list grow when I write the next one.  At the suggestion of friends I did join Goodreads and I use it to keep track of books as well.  I'm going to keep the list in my side bar though, I like to see it when I peruse my blog.

She's Home!

Last night we picked Hannah up at the airport. We arrived and saw on the screen that her plane had just landed and was taxing to the gate.  We waited anxiously to see her walk through the doors of the international terminal.

Finally she came through and I was too happy to hold the camera still to get an in-focus picture.

But after I hugged her and wiped away my tears of joy, I was able to get a decent picture of her hugging her sister.

She had been up for a long time and said she wasn't tired because she had drank so much tea that day.  We, however, had yet to eat supper, so we went to McDonald's where we peppered her with questions galore while we filled our bellies.  It was only on the way home that the long trip began to take its toll.  At home, she shared some more experiences with us, but her eyes became heavier and heavier and we shooed her to bed reminding her that we would be here in the morning.

It will be so nice to hug her again this morning.  And David and I have decided, like all parents before us, that our kids can't go away to college, we'll miss them too much.  We can just give that edict and it'll work, right?  Well, at least for now, all our offspring are once more under our roof.  Thanks be to God!

Monday, February 13, 2012


"I love you."  "You're the best wife."  "You're a fantastic mother."

When I happen to overhear a husband say these words to his wife I tend to think  "Awwww, how sweet, what a loving husband."

When spoken from my beloved into my ear, how often I want to qualify those statements with a "but. . ."  But don't you know how selfish I am?  But don't you know how I waste the day away at home while you are off providing an income for our family or how I waste the resources that income provides?  But don't you know how I yell and scream and anger the children?

Yes he does, but in his love for me, he sees perfection.

And that is when I realized even more the love of my heavenly Father.  In His bountiful love for me, He sees not the rotten, sinful, selfish dolt I am, but the beautiful, faithful, daughter I am.  Thanks be to Christ! And that two second realization stopped the "but. . . " that was trying to escape my mouth after I heard those words and instead I thanked God for a wonderful husband who loves me as Christ loves the church and snuggled close.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

A Son is Born and a Father Enters Eternal Life

This morning Ruth delivered via c-section a son, John, who is breathing on his own without a respirator.

Praise be to God!

The father of my sister-in-law Beth was called to his heavenly home late last night.  Jim had been diagnosed with brain cancer a few short weeks ago and was to start treatment yesterday.  Instead his heavenly Father healed him completely and granted him the crown of life.

Praise be to God!

Job 1:20-21
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.  And he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return.  The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

God grant His peace which surpasses all understanding to all who mourn and rejoice.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Viva La History

I'm old(ish) and therefore out of the know for what's hot or not in the music world.  Therefore to me the song Viva la Vida is of course the theme song for Issues Etc.

Now when I hear the song I won't only think of great Lutheran theology (it's not about you, it's about Jesus for you), but will sing, "I used to rule the world. . . ."

Saturday, February 04, 2012


Hannah's organ teacher is expecting her first child.  We were delighted to hear the news, but have been sad for her that she has never felt good at any point in the pregnancy.  The morning sickness was not going away.  I got an email from her last week that she would not be able to teach anymore because she was going to Rochester for problems with her stomach.

I began praying even before I found out what was wrong.  Today I found out the not so great news.  She is suffering from stomach cancer and is 7 months along.  The doctors in Rochester plan to induce and God willing Ruth will give birth to a healthy 28-week old child, who will be baptized and then cared for in the neonatal unit.  Ruth meanwhile will then be undergoing chemotherapy for the progressing cancer.

Ruth's husband is Paul and he is finishing his third year at the ELS seminary.  God bless them and keep them, comfort them and give them His peace.

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.