Friday, July 30, 2010

Sabbath preparation

I am SO glad that tomorrow is Sabbath. We will not be attending church as my hubby isn't feeling very good. But to have a day to stay home with no chores and all that time to study the Bible or read or sleep! It sounds lovely.

Today I cleaned the apartment quite a bit for the Sabbath. I like cleaning the bathroom on Sabbath because that somehow makes the whole apartment feel cleaner. I just have to put a plug in here for 7th Generation tub cleaner. That stuff is super cleaner! My tub just keeps getting cleaner and cleaner every week that I scrub it out. I also washed our sheets, vacuumed the floors, swept the kitchen, washed all the dishes, ironed our church clothes, and straightened up around the living room.

This morning I decided it was time to make beans. I have a recipe to make refried beans in the crock pot with no added fat, so they aren't technically "refried." They taste pretty good, though. The beans have to cook for six hours but don't require an overnight soak. They were done at 4:30 this afternoon, so I mashed them up and stored them in the fridge.

The plan for dinner this evening was to have burritos with beans, rice, tomatoes, etc. We were out of fresh vegetables so we ran to the store after hubby was off work. On a whim, I checked the frozen section to see if Morningstar Farms is making vegan burger crumbles yet (nope, no luck). Instead, I noticed that Boca Burger now has a vegan burger crumble. Hurray! We bought a bag and quickly switched to soft shelled tacos. AFTER I made beans, of course. Oh well. They'll be good for the weekend and early next week.

My kitty seems to be feeling a bit better today. He's not as hot to the touch and he has a little bit more energy. He still spent most of the day sleeping on my pillow, but I think he's on the mend.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Flexibility, cookies, and a sick kitty

I had grandiose plans for today. Haha. Best laid plans? There's a text somewhere in the New Testament that talks about people making plans and how they should say "IF the Lord wills, we will do such and such." That was basically my morning.

Hubby has been working late nights and I've been staying up to keep him company. I think last night we went to bed around 11. I woke up at 6 and stumbled out to the living room. After nearly falling asleep just sitting on the couch, I decided I needed to go back to bed. I promptly passed out for another two hours.

After getting up, hubby was immersed in phone calls with clients. During that time, I ensure that the clients can't hear me in the background. That means I don't have much I can do. I can either read or do something on the computer or... that's about it.

Around 10:30, I finally got my chance to make cookies. Yay! The batter mixed up really well. It smelled great. It baked nicely. And... my peanut butter cookies didn't taste like they contained peanut butter. They were pretty good, just not peanut butter cookies. Some of the reviews mentioned that, but other people said they tasted great. I will either have to continue looking for the perfect peanut butter cookie or tweak this one so it tastes like peanut butter.

I realized how poor some of the quality of our ingredients is. The cookies are supposed to be sugar free, other than what is in the tiny bit of maple syrup. My cookies were not sugar free. The maple syrup (fake, cheap stuff) contained high fructose corn syrup. The almond milk had added sugar (I didn't know that!). And the peanut butter had added sugar! I thought I had bought a natural peanut butter without added sugar. I guess not... So much for sugar free cookies!

My kitty is sick, I think. He's been hot to the touch since yesterday. He's extremely clingy and really likes sleeping on my pillow when I'm in the bedroom. Poor baby. :( He's eating a bit less than normal, but still eating. I'm just going to watch him and see if he gets better on his own. I really don't want to take him to the vet and get him shot up with medication. Hubby reassured me that we will spend money to take him to the vet if it comes to that. I just want him to feel better!

I hope this post doesn't sound all doom and gloom, because I did have a good day. It just wasn't what I expected!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I'm going to make peanut butter cookies for my hubby first thing tomorrow morning. Shhhhh... Hopefully he won't find out until they're coming out of the oven!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Today's been an interesting but fairly laid back day. I went to bed last night at 8:30 and woke up this morning at 7:30. For some reason, I've been needing a lot of sleep lately. Yesterday I woke up before 6 and had most of my housework done before 9! Today I was still eating breakfast at that time.

I had an awesome banana/strawberry/spinach smoothie for breakfast. Then I completed all of my housework. After that, I spent over an hour studying Japanese. Then I took a nap. haha. For some reason, despite my 11 hours of sleep last night, I needed an hour and a half long nap. Bummer. There went my afternoon!

Hubby is working tonight. He's doing something server related for a company, which means he has to work during that company's off hours. He's scheduled to work from 10 to 6:30 tomorrow morning, but thankfully, he's working from home. I thought about staying up all night to keep him company but hubby said he'd rather I got a good night of sleep tonight and was available and cheery for him tomorrow. I get a bit grumpy when I haven't had enough sleep...

So that was my day. Productive in the morning and not so productive in the afternoon. I really wanted to quilt today but it just didn't happen. I need to set aside some time for it like I do with my Bible study and my Japanese studies.

My Bible study still continues with the topic of death and what happens after death. I thought I was coming to the end of my texts, but one text today gave me six more to study! I just follow all the cross references and now I have pages of texts. I still have two pages of texts to look up but who knows how many more texts that will provide. I had no idea that the Bible said so much about death.

My Japanese studies are going really well also. I'm planning on taking the JLPT N5 this December, which is the easiest proficiency exam. Theoretically, I could push myself to take N4 but I'm not sure I'll be ready. I want to pass so that I have motivation to study next year. For me, failing is unmotivational. I've learned a bunch of vocabulary plus the following sentence structures:

it is...
it was...
it is not...
it was not...
I am...

I still don't feel like I could carry any sort of conversation in Japanese but I'm starting to understand sentence structure and some of the vocab in Japanese movies. Maybe next year I'll be able to watch something without the subtitles!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Blog Award

Whew. I've been so busy trying to catch up on blog reading, studying, housework, and other things (including some goofing off with our new Wii) that I haven't been posting. Oops. I really need to get back into that habit!

Missie, over at Fill My Thirst, was so kind to give me a blog award! I'm really honored and don't feel I deserve it at all but I'm grateful.

So... I have to:

1. Thank and link back to the person that gave you the award.

2. Share 7 things about your self.

3. Pass the award to 9 fellow bloggers that inspire you.

4. Let them know about the award. :-)

7 things about myself
1. I have an awesome hubby. He loves me so much that he encourages me to follow my dream of being a homemaker, which allows me to be a better wife.
2. I'm a perfectionist but I struggle with being lazy. If I can't do it perfect, I'd rather not do it at all. Bad habit!
3. I love spending time reading God's word. I'm currently (still) doing a study on death. I try to study every single morning right after getting out of bed and currently have over 10 pages of notes on this topic! Death is mentioned a lot in the Bible...
4. I love to sing but I'm terrible at it. :)
5. I'm studying Japanese so that we can live in Japan for a few years.
6. I love my cat!
7. I'm learning to quilt, though I don't spend much time on it. I have two quilts in progress and need to finish them up so I can start on another, this one for a baby. Because I'm going to be an aunty again!

9 bloggers who inspire me - Oh wow. I read a lot of blogs but how could I ever pick 9?
1. Carrie @ Reading to Know - She inspires me to read quality books and to really think about what I'm reading. Plus she writes awesome book reviews and keeps causing my to-read list to swell!
2. Susan @ FatFree Vegan Kitchen - Her recipes are amazing and every one I've tried has tasted really good! Plus, they're healthy and the photographs are gorgeous. What else can you ask for?
3. Mrs. Smith - What a wonderful Christian lady. She's the one who inspired me to really dig deep during my current Bible study.
4. Lara @ Lazy Organizer - She doesn't really blog anymore, but her archives are a wealth of information. I read her blog posts weekly for two years until she stopped/slowed down blogging. She has just opened up a world of possibilities for my home, my family, and any (future) children. Very amazing lady.
5. Blessings of a Keeper at Home - An awesome Christian lady who lives out her beliefs.
6. Ann @ His Grace to Me - I get so excited when she posts because all her posts are so lovely.
7. Karen @ The Tale of Our Quest - Karen inspires me for the future. Her kids are amazing and I love Karen's posts about childrearing and homeschooling. I just wish I could implement her ideas now!
8. Vegan Hope - This is a new-to-me blog but my mom and I have been reading through her archives and are inspired to eat and live healthier.
9. My hubby - Mind you, his blog doesn't inspire me as it's extremely technological and like reading a language I don't understand. ;) But he inspires me every day to become a better wife, a better person, and a better Christian. I couldn't ask for a better husband!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bruno, my baby

Since my kitty decided to sneak into my last photo, I decided to post pictures of him here. A little over two years ago, someone at my hubby's job discovered a litter of tiny kittens. They accidentally scared off the momma kitty, who never returned. Hubby called me and asked if I wanted one. How could I say no to this adorable face?

We took Bruno to the vet the day we brought him home. The vet said that he looked healthy but that there was nothing she could do for him. She warned us that the kitten may not survive without his mother but we were determined to try. The vet told us that he would open his eyes around a week old. A week later, Bruno opened his eyes. That means we brought Bruno home when he was only a day or so old. Poor baby lost his mother so early!

Once his eyes opened, he was a total fuzzball. Extremely curious, needy, and loveable.

I'm not sure why, but Bruno learned to fall asleep in the weirdest positions.

He spends a good portion of his time on my desk when I'm sitting here. He loves falling asleep with his head on my keyboard, which makes it really hard to use the computer!

Showing me how blogging is done:

This is my most recent picture of him, taken last week. I somehow managed to take over 1,000 photos of our cats in the last two years! But I can't help it! They are so cute!

Friday, July 16, 2010


I haven't posted photos of myself in forever because I'm usually shy about the camera. But since I've been making a few new friends lately, I thought I should post some updated photos. These are from yesterday. I know I always enjoy knowing who I'm talking to. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blind Hope - A Book Review

Blind Hope is the story of a broken woman who rescues a blind dog. At first, Laurie believes her dog Mia is the one being rescued. However, she slowly realizes that her dog is actually the one doing the rescuing.

The great - I loved all the photos. Each chapter begins with a photograph of Mia and Laurie. The photographer deserves huge kudos as the pictures are absolutely stunning.

The good - In a world full of books which are labeled Christian but contain a watered down message, Blind Hope delivers a very strong message. Parallels are drawn between Mia's experiences as a blind dog and Laurie's relationship with God. The messages are Biblical and inspiring, though a bit heavy handed at times.

The not so good - I struggled to follow the sequence of events. Laurie and Mia are the main focus, yet the book is written from another author's perspective. For example, the author tells of a ski trip she and Laurie take. During that ski trip, Laurie tells a story about her and Mia. The book is a story of a story and thus hard to follow.

Overall, it was a quick read. I was touched by the vibrant spirit of a little blind dog and wished I could have seen more of her throughout the book. Mia and Laurie learn some wonderful lessons of love, friendship, and the power of God's forgiveness.

Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah for providing a free copy of this book.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Menu planning

One of my worst homemaking skills is menu planning. I don't know why, but I am so lacking in this area. I'm really good at shopping sales to get us great fruit every week, though I haven't figured out how to have ripe fruit available every day.

But when it comes to menu planning, I'm... bad. Sunday afternoon generally finds me scrambling to put together some sort of a menu so that we can go grocery shopping. By Friday, we're usually scraping the bottom of the barrel and wondering what to eat.

This week I'm going to try something different. Yes, it's Tuesday and I haven't gone grocery shopping yet. But I planned out a menu through Friday night and then we'll go shopping Friday as soon as my hubby gets off work. This way I have two days to put together a comprehensive menu that covers Sabbath through the following Sunday evening. That will get us back to grocery shopping on Sundays like I prefer to do.

Wednesday - vegan mac & cheese - This is a really good recipe. I've made some tweaks to it, but I really like it.
Thursday - pumpkin coconut curry from a vegan cookbook
Friday - orange chicken-style tofu - Another really good recipe. I've made some major changes to this recipe so I'll plan on posting mine once I figure out the last change. I've stopped using processed sugars while cooking, only using a bit of honey and dates. So I'm going to figure out if I can make this recipe with honey and then post it. Yum!

I've already put together a shopping list. Surprisingly, we already have most of what we need for each of these recipes but we're missing a key ingredient. No bread for the mac&cheese. I might have everything for the curry. And no tofu for the orange tofu. Oops.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Loving my family

Today was a low productivity day, but I'm okay with that. My brother is stationed in Iraq until next summer. He was on-line this morning and really wanted to play games. We spent almost two hours playing an on-line version of Pictionary. How fun!

After he went to bed, I washed the dishes and picked up around the apartment. I spent an hour learning Japanese this afternoon and then took a nap. Hubby's receiving emergency work calls almost every night and we're both really tired.

So all in all it's been a very quiet day. I'm trying to remember that relationships are more important than feeling like I've been productive enough. I have a hard time relaxing when I feel like I should be doing something. But taking a nap with my husband or spending some time playing games with my brother (who I won't see for another year!) is way more important than a pristine house. Now if I can just learn how to actually relax!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Themes vs. details

When I read through the Bible earlier this spring, I tried to pass over the details and instead concentrate on the themes. Reading 12 pages each day does not really allow one to soak up all the details. Instead, I jotted down any specific texts or topics I wanted to come back to later.

One topic I've been intending to study for the past several years is death. It can be a depressing topic, I suppose. What happens when you die? Is there consciousness after death? And a more recent addition to my questions - is there any conscious existence before a man is born?

The Seventh Day Adventist church, of which I am a member, has an official position on the topic of death. However, I do think it is of vital importance for each Christian to study and know what the Bible says for themselves. I want to know that my beliefs are the same as those of the church that I attend or I may need to find another church. The only way to discover what I believe is to dig into the Bible for myself.

I started with Genesis 2:7, which talks about God creating Adam, the first man. Then I looked up all the cross references that are listed in my Bible for this text. When I finished reading all of the cross references, I moved on to the next text on my list and looked up all the cross references attached to that text. I now have 6.5 pages of notes and texts related to creation, death, and the breath of life.

I'm not yet done with this study, but I am noticing a bigger theme that just what happens when you die. God is in control. Regardless of what else I find in my study, I am relieved and hopeful because I can be confident that God is always in control.

Here are several of the verses that illustrate this.

God created man. - And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

God gives to all life, breath, and all things. - God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things (Acts 17:24-25).

My soul is in God's hand. - Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:9-10).

In God, I live and move and have my being. - For in him [God] we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring (Acts 17:28).

Praise the Lord! I can have confidence that God is in control.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fabric strips complete!

I'm so excited! I finished cutting my last color of fabric this afternoon.

Here are all my lovely strips:

I'm not sure I like all of the colors together, but we'll see how it turns out. I need to take a color theory class or read a good color theory book. Maybe then I will feel more confident picking out fabric. Oh well! Live and learn. :)

Now I have to figure out how I'm going to arrange the strips so that I can start sewing. Ooh, I'm so excited!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Maybe THIS time!

Only one more piece of fabric to cut! I'm very excited about working on this quilt and I've been trying to set aside time each day to make some progress.

Here's what I worked on last night while waiting for my husband to finish a late shift:

And here's what I completed this afternoon:

I only have one more color to cut and then I can start sewing! I'm so excited! I know I've caught the bug when I'm already thinking about what my next project will be... My mom and I need to keep working on our Hazel's Diary quilt and I need to continue working on the quilt for my grandparents. My goal is to have it shipped up to Wyoming by Christmas.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I was optimistic in thinking that I'd get to start sewing blocks for my new quilt early this week! It seems my time tables are usually optimistic and that I need to allow more time to complete things. Either that, or I need to seriously curtail my internet time... Hmmm.

Here are the strips I cut yesterday. The picture didn't quite capture the color, but I think it's a wonderful shade of pink. I wish I had bought extra to use in a later quilt that I'll be keeping!

I think I'll take my own advice and get off the internet, as I still have some studying to do. Maybe later I'll have time to cut the next piece of fabric into strips. Only three colors left to go until I can start sewing. I can't wait!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bible in 90 Days

Bible in 90 Days- join in July 2010

I am very excited that the Bible in 90 Days program is starting up again. If you haven't signed up yet, it's not too late to join! The reading starts today but there are also two grace days built into the schedule.

Reading the Bible through so quickly is challenging but very rewarding. Sometimes it's difficult to read the Bible for 45 minutes to an hour each day, especially during some of the "hard" books like Leviticus and Numbers. But reading so quickly gave me a new perspective on how God has worked throughout history. It shows how God has had His hand guiding His people. It's really amazing to see that the God who created and taught Adam is the same God who protected His people during the 40 years of wandering. That is also the same God who guided David and the judges during Israel's rocky history.

I'm not reading the entire Bible during this 90 day period but I am going to be doing some intense Bible study. I have a list of questions from my last read through and I want to try to answer some of those during this 90 day challenge. I'm also looking forward to the opportunity of praying for and encouraging some of the participants.

I cannot recommend this challenge enough. If you have never read through the entire Bible, please prayerfully consider joining. It will be a worthwhile experience!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sarah's Garden - a review

When I saw that Sarah’s Garden (Kelly Long) was available for review, I was intrigued. A combination of gardening, quilting, and a true to life portrayal of Christianity cannot go wrong. I thought the writing was vivid as I could easily imagine the scenes taking place. The ending was to be expected, though fairly believable and welcome. Reading Amish fiction can quickly become monotonous as many of the books are formulaic. This was not one of them and I genuinely enjoyed reading Sarah’s story.

I don’t know enough about the Amish people to recognize if this book is completely accurate in its portrayal of Amish life. But the writing did inspire me to continue in my path to living a more simple life so that I can be open to hearing God’s voice. Without the distractions of constant media or busy schedules, I hope that it will be easier to recognize when God is directing me.

I look forward to reading more upcoming books in this series.

This book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quilting progress

One of the side benefits of my new schedule is that I've been working on my Double 9 Patch quilt quite a bit. I haven't done any sewing yet. There is a lot of cutting to do first.

Yesterday -

Today -

I've cut strips in three different fabrics and have four more fabrics to go. I should be able to start sewing by early next week!