Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lori and Lukas Lockets

Oh my goodness. This is the coolest idea ever! Lori gave me one of her lockets when her son Tommy graduated from Kindergarten, and I LOVE it! I wear it every chance I get. (I'll add a pic of mine on here later.)
Well now, Lori is making some with Lukas' pictures in them. They are fun and old-fashiony looking. Right now Lukas is offering one as a little prize on his site. If you fill out an entry form, just say I referred you please. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Back in the Old Days...

On a rare occasion, some member of my family will come across a group of old photos. I'm talking ancient. Okay, not ancient. Just ones of my mom or dad when they were younger. Tuesday night was one of those occasions. My mom was ransacking a drawer in the garage for some material (she's teaching Dany how to make a quilt, one of those skills one must acquire as a new mother apparently), and she came across some photos of her and my Aunt Donna when they were in college.
Oh the joy!
Some may be a tad embarrasing, but overall, I think my mom and Aunt are gorgeous in these, and what style! I hope my kids look back on my photos someday and are fooled into thinking that I am as chic as I think my mom was. :)
What I love just as much, if not more, are the stories that go along with some of these.
For instance, the character below is named Gordon. He was my mom's lab partner in college. My mom made Gordon cry. They had to do a series of experiments with baby chickens and Gordon had to snip off all of the chicken's heads near the end of the experiments because none of the girls wanted to do it. Snipping off all those chicken heads did not phase Gordon one bit. However, when my mom mixed the wrong reactants and ruined the results of all their work, that was what released the floods from poor Gordy's tear ducts.

The "young man" in the next picture is Virgil. Yes, that's right, I said Virgil. He had nothing to do with my mom; he was all about Aunt Donna. Aunt Donna never made Virgil cry. She made my Grandma Shaw cry. Because she rejected Virgil. Aunt Donna was just not into Virgil, but my Grandma thought he was an angel. Virgil asked Aunt Donna to the prom long before anyone else had the chance and I think she resented him for that. Yep, life was pretty miserable in the Shaw household for awhile after that. My mom promised to never do to me what Grandma Shaw did to Aunt Donna. She didn't exactly keep her promise, but that's another story and not for another time.

There aren't any stories to go along with the next group of photos. I mean, really, they speak for themselves. The first one is of my Aunt Donna, a few years after the Virgil days.

The next one is of my Grandma Shaw with my mom's cousin, Leonard. I think my Grandma was beautiful. You can't see her dimples in this shot, but I'm sure she lit up a room with her smile.

The following three are of my mom. I love her short haircut, but I could never pull it off. And I adore her coat and hat in the last photo. If only it snowed in California...

The cute little puppy in the next three photos is Puff. Puff once had puppies with a dog specifically "chosen" for her. Only during the waiting period, the dog next door also spent some time with Puff. The scruffy mutt dog, Dudeny (that's dude-knee) from next door. So when Puff gave birth, most of the puppies looked like the nice purebred dog, but one of them turned out like Dudeny.

My mom made the picture and the alligator below. Apparently, the alligator was a pajama holder. You could unzip his mouth and stuff in some pajamas. Both are so 70's. I love it.

These last two are of Puff and my mom. If I could be a professional photographer, this is the look I would want to give to my photos. A kinda retro, poloroid feel. I think the flowers in the first one are so sweet and fun. I want to grow some in my yard right now. And isn't my mom just too cute? Gotta love that 70's hairdo!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Little News...

Well, the computers are down at work, so I thought I would use the time to update the blog that I have neglected for however many months.
Why would shut down computers impede my work to this extent you might ask? Don't I have a classroom full of kids to deal with? Nope. I have a new job. Customer Service at Grace to You. And I'm thoroughly enjoying it. :)
I do miss the little kiddos and their crazy stories and questions and interesting views on the world. But I am loving the short commute. I love talking to and helping people on the phones. And I love the people I work with! And I am so thankful to have a job. A full time job. With benefits. God is so faithful. :)
Next blog post I promise pictures and hopefully more interesting content...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Marvelous Lovingkindness!

It feels like it's been a looooooong time since I updated this here blog o' mine.
Life has been nothing short of interesting lately. Two weeks ago I was sideswiped on my way to work and my car was totaled. Two days later my mom was in an almost head on collision. Thankfully hers is fixable and I will most likely keep mine and get it salvaged. Little less expensive than buying a new used car. God was so gracious in keeping all of us safe. (I was taking my friend Abby to school when I was hit.) And I have been able to ride into work with Emily since we work at the same location. :)
Another big piece of news. Maggie had puppies! Three girls and one boy - Mimi, Otter, Maple and Rudy. They are adorable and so far, not as hard to take care of as we expected. Of course, I'm sure I'm speaking too soon. They are on the cusp of being able to get out of their box. A few mornings back I came down the stairs and found Maple (#3 dog) laying right outside the box! I still don't know how she managed to do it, but we have since moved a chair to block the main entryway. They are at a super fun stage right now. Their eyes and ears have fully opened and they have found the use of their legs. So they love to play with each other. It's so cute to see their little wobbly legs fall out from under them! We took them outside yesterday and all of them freaked out except for Mimi (#1 dog). She most definitely has an adventurous spirit. We just love them! It's going to be so hard to part with three of them!
I am still in love with High School ministry. I love our Bible study and I have the best group of girls ever! I'm sure most small group leaders feel that way. :) God teaches me so much through my conversations with them.
The last piece of news is that the Kindergarteners graduated on Friday. :( I will miss this group so much. They were such a loving little group. They melted my heart! How much cheesier sounding can I get??? The parents are extremely gracious and give us such nice gifts at the end of the year. One of the families gave me a morning devotional book by Spurgeon and I just have to write out here what is written for May 20th.

Marvelous lovingkindness.
-Psalm 17:7

When we give our hearts with our alms, we give well, but we must often plead to a failure in this respect. Not so our Master and our Lord. His favors are always performed with the love of his heart. He does not send to us the cold meat and the broken pieces from the table of his luxury, but he dips our morsel in his own dish, and seasons our provisions with the spices of his fragrant affections. When he puts the golden tokens of his grace into our palms, he accompanies the gift with such a warm pressure of our hand, that the manner of his giving is as precious as the boon itself. He will come into our houses upon his errands of kindness, and he will not act as some austere visitors do in the poor man's cottage, but he sits by our side, not despising our poverty, nor blaming our weakness. Beloved, with what smiles does he speak! What golden sentences drop from his gracious lips! What embraces of affection does he bestow upon us! If he had but given us farthings, the way of his giving would have gilded them; but as it is, the costly alms are set in a golden basket by his pleasant carriage. It is impossible to doubt the sincerity of his charity, for there is a bleeding heart stamped upon the face of all his benefactions. He giveth liberally and upbraideth not. Not one hint that we are burdensome to him; not one cold look for his poor pensioners; but he rejoices in his mercy, and presses us to his bosom while he is pouring out his life for us. There is a fragrance in his spikenard which nothing but his heart could produce; there is a sweetness in his honey-comb which could not be in it unless the very essence of his soul's affection had been mingled with it. Oh! the rare communion which such single heartiness effecteth! May we continually taste and know the blessedness of it!

"Morning by Morning"
Charles H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Blankets, Birds and Love

So I like photography, especially shooting in can make anything look halfway interesting with macro. I also have to admit, I like my room. So here are pieces of my room, close up. :)

Mandy's Monday Night Soups

Well, I FAIL as a faithful Monday night soup maker and blogger. The last two Monday's I've made NADA. But I did make another soup the previous week that I haven't blogged about yet, so here goes. (Hopefully everything will be back on track next Monday.)

Soup du jour this time...THAI CHICKEN SOUP.

In my opinion, this was one good soup. Ten times better than the one before. It was made even better because one of the girls in my small group, Luda, came over and helped me make it. In fact, she did a lot of the bruntwork...the slicing and dicing, which is not my favorite.

I was a tad concerned for awhile because we couldn't find a few ingredients in the we substituted. But the substitutions turned out fine. And who knows? Maybe they made it taste better! :) Instead of creamed coconut, we used coconut milk and reduced the amount of chicken stock. We also used medium sized egg noodles and broke them up instead of using thread egg noodles. And finally, we couldn't find dry, unsweetened shredded coconut, so we just used sweetened. I actually think the sweetened coconut went well with the soup, especially since it was just a topping.

Without further delay, here are some pictures. I'm actually going to include the recipe this time. :)

Here's the picture from the book:

And how ours turned out:

I think I actually liked the look of ours better! :O

In the pot:

Set up (I tried to give it an Indian flair, although the placemats are from Zimbabwe...courtesy of Dany and Thomas):

And finally, the willing guinea pigs...Mom and Luda. Em joined in later.

Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (6 oz each) chopped
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp hot chili powder
1/2 cup creamed coconut [or coconut milk!]
3 3/4 cups hot chicken stock [I think I reduced It to 3 1/2 because of the coconut milk]
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice [we used lime]
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter [yum! Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE pb???]
1 cup thread egg noodles, broken into small pieces [medium sized work great!]
1 tbsp chopped spring onions (scallions)
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
Salt and ground black pepper
Desiccated (dry unsweetened shredded) coconut [seriously folks, I think sweetened is better!] and finely chopped fresh red chili [remember to wear gloves! We used plastic bags to cover our hands], to garnish

1. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the garlic for 1 minute until lightly golden. Add the chicken and spices. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes.

2. Crumble the creamed coconut into the hot chicken stock and stir until dissolved. [Or just pour in the coconut milk.] Pour the liquid onto the chicken breast and add the lemon or lime juice, peanut butter and egg noodles.

3. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the spring onions and fresh coriander, season well with salt and ground black pepper and cook gently for a further 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, heat the desiccated coconut and chili in a small frying pan for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently , until the coconut is lightly browned.

5. Pour the soup into bowls and serve sprinkled with coconut and chili.

Recipe is from The Complete Book of 400 Soups by Anne Sheasby.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Mad About...

Stained Glass Windows! I loved them long before I realized it. I remember going to different churches ever so often as a little girl and sometimes there would be a giant stained glass window. I would stare at it fascinated by the way the light filtered through. My Grandpa and Grandma Shaw had a tiny one in the basement in their home in Montana. It might sound funny but I love the scene in The Phantom of the Opera when Christine is singing to the long, blonde haired wimpy guy about how she is scared to go and lure the Phantom into a trap. Not only do I think that song sounds beautiful (and it's not on the C.D. grrr...) but they are standing in front of a gorgeous stained glass window! (I like stained glass windows even more when they are in secluded little hallways like that. Perfect place to sit and read or think or pray.) About three years ago, when I was in Calvin's little church in Switzerland, our group entered one of the tiny side rooms where there were extremely tall stained glass windows with scenes from the gospels. Caitie sang a song acapella in there and it was probably one of my favorite moments on the trip.

I found out last summer that New York City is full of them. The one at the top of this post is in the MET and the one below is by Chagall and it's found in the U.N. There are stained glass windows along one wall in the chapel at Grace and this morning I was trying not to be distracted from the message by staring at them.
I have come to a decision. I made it quite awhile ago.

One day I will have a stained glass window in my house.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mandy's Monday Night Soups

I decided to go the way of many aspiring bloggers out there and rip off Julie's idea from Julie and Julia and blog about attempts, successful or otherwise, in the kitchen. Partly, because I need to learn how to cook and I need to have a fun motivation to do more cooking. I like to cook, it just takes time, and when there seems to be little time, cooking goes out the window for me. My friend and former roommate, Christine Low, began a similar experiment making cakes and cupcakes. Just yesterday I was looking through the bookshelf and found a cookbook on soup; 400 soups to be exact. So I thought it would be fun to try and make a different soup every Monday night, hence: Mandy's Monday Night Soups.
Well, my first attempt was made tonight. Soup du jour: Spinach and Rice Soup.

It turned out alright. I have this thing where I like whatever I make to look exactly like the picture (if there is one). Tonight, on that account, I failed.

The Original:

As far as I could tell, I followed the recipe to a T, and this is how I discovered that it's okay to tweak! I think I chopped the spinach, onion, garlic and red chili too finely, due to the Quisinart my sister and I purchased for my mom this Christmas. That thing is powerful, let me tell ya, and I hate chopping so I LOVE it!
[Side note on red chili: My mom was right...wear gloves. We didn't have any, and as I type, my thumb is stinging. If I suck on it, my tongue and mouth sting. If I rub my eye, my eye stings. I've washed my hands a number of times. Trust me: wear gloves.]

The Actual Outcome:

Next time I make this soup, I will use less spinach, a tad more risotto, and one cup less vegetable stock. Other than that, I was pleased and my mom seemed to enjoy it. We also ate some thin bagels which my mom discovered. Brilliant invention. The same taste but much less bulk. Always nice to avoid extra inches to the spare tire.
I had to add a little Italian flare at the dinner table with some placemats and flowers.

If this looks appetizing in the slightest to anyone, let me know and I'll add the recipe.

Friday, March 05, 2010

New Room!

So I'm finally getting around to showing you pictures of my 98% completed room. But who knows when I will get to that 2% so I decided not to wait any longer.
First...two snapshots that got me started. I liked the laid back look. A white bedspread, a painting as a sub for a headboard, and the fun light above the bed:

And the finished product! Here's what you see when you get to my door:

I brought my black desk up from downstairs. I saw the clipboard idea on a decorating site online.

My curtains from IKEA.

I liked the tiny orange seeds. ;)

My comfy bed!

The next picture helped convince me to paint the back wall a fun bright color and the you'll see in the following picture how I wound up with a similar floor lamp.

This is my favorite little corner of the room. A little reading nook. The next picture I found on the internet to show my mom that turquoise and black work together:

And I think it turned out just fine. :) My mom and I found this little side table at the best thrift store ever...Sun Thriftstore in Sunland, and we took it home and painted it black and added new handles.

Cute little chair from IKEA again.

And some pictures I took in NEW YORK! :)

I kinda like having a less cluttered chest of drawers now...just a picture of my mom and dad. A necklace, rose and little bird from Melissa Johnson. The little bird picture is also from her. :) She bought them at the interior decorating store she works at.

The next two pics are the knob ideas I got from Anthropologie and the following two are the knobs I actually wound up buying from there. (About the only things I can afford there.)

This last wall is my least favorite wall of my room, but I do like the picture. I eventually want to finish that little square of pictures on my door and paint/write a verse over it.

And there you have it. My new room!


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