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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

German Potato Soup

I wish I could say this was handed down from my great-grandmother but it is not so. :-) In a way it was handed down, my mother sent me the original cookbook the recipe is adapted from. It's a German pototo cookbook and it'll make your mouth water just seeing the pictures.
Since it is now officially fall, it obviously is a good time to post a recipe for a nice, comforting soup.
This serves about 4 people. You will need:
5 Idaho potatoes (very starchy potatoes that turn soft when you cook them), peeled and cubed
2 Leeks, rinsed thoroughly and cut into rings (use only white parts and some of the green)
1 Onion, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
pepper, salt and nutmeg to taste (preferably freshly grated nutmeg and pepper)

Let butter melt in medium high heat stock pot. Add onions and leek and let cook until they are translucent. Add potatoes and let cook another 5 minutes. Add milk and stock and bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Use immersion blender to puree soup. If the soup is too thick for you, you can add more stock and milk until you reach the right consistency. Add spices to taste. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Potter and the Clay

Nothing in life has brought me more to my knees and closer to God than motherhood. Nothing. Not even close. Sure, I've learned a lot being married. However, David and I had spent 5 blissful years together before we had kids. And I learned some things about God and his love for us. But let's face it, adversity is what really gets you down on your knees and reaching for God.
Motherhood has stripped me bare, showed me all those ugly selfish tendencies and pride inside of me I never knew existed. But the beautfiul thing that happens when we see those ugly sides of ourselves, is that God lovingly gives us a new heart, and puts a new spirit in us (Ezekiel 36:26). What better way to do this than through motherhood. When we are pushed to our limits, we cannot hide behind anything and our true self is exposed. Maybe even to us for the first time. But we are so motivated by love and the helplessness of our children. We can't walk away. We love them. It's so hard but we'll do it for them. Motherhood is a wonderful gift. Maybe much of it so because we see another part of our God, loving and patient, incredibly patient. I want to become more like Him and learn more about His kind of love: Patient and kind, not envy, not parade myself, not be puffed up, not behave rudely, not seek my own, not be provoked, think no evil, not rejoicing in iniquity, but to rejoice in the truth, to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, to endure all things. To never fail in love. (1 Cor 13:4-8)

"But now, O LORD,
You are our Father;
We are the clay, and You our potter;
and all we are the work of Your hand."
Isaiah 64:8
"And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter;
so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make."
Jeremiah 18:4
"O house of Isreal, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Isreal!"
Jeremiah 18:6

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Babies

So we are expecting our third child. We are super excited and amazingly, so are the kids. We didn't expect them to understand but maybe little cousin Olive, who is only two months old, made them understand more. Nathan continually wants to kiss my belly ("the baby"). Abby is obsessed with all things baby now and plays with baby dolls all of a sudden. She lets me know that babies cry because they can't talk yet. Have to remember that one. :-) Both have been so kind to me and let me rest whenever it is needed. Although they have grown fond of listening to the same music CD at least 5 times a day. Insanity may come sooner than later...
This morning I showed them a caraway seed (we didn't have a sesame seed which is the size of our baby now at 5 weeks). Nathan gasped. He didn't expect that little of a thing. Quite cute.
Except for the usual tiredness and nausea, I'm very happy. Surely I will doubt my own sanity once in labor but as of right now, we are blissfully happy. My evenings are wonderfully spent by sitting with my amazing husband and knitting all things small and baby.
Overall, all things domestic have great appeal right now: Cooking, baking, knitting, finishing house projects (got my car cleaned and the swing repainted!), etc. Lots of thinking about the future and to be prepared. We are still trying to figure out what direction we want to take for Nathan for school next September. Private school or home schooling? We've started to teach the kids more independence and given them more responsibility. It's amazing how much little ones will pick up and do if you ask them! For example, Abigail will now make her own bed. What great little helpers!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My First Try With Natural Cleaners

I have officially started my quest to rid our house of uneccessary chemicals and to strive for a more frugal and simple approach. My first two success stories are vinegar and a lemon-baking soda paste.
The vinegar was used instead of a rinse aid in the dishwasher. After the first try there was no difference in my washed dishes. The glasses still had to be polished. Since the vinegar was already in the dishwasher rinse aid compartment, the next load got the same treatment. This time however I could totally see the difference. My glasses were not covered with the usual white film of the detergent. To be honest, there doesn't seem to be a difference to the rinse aid from the store. So we'll definitely be using vinegar instead of the spendy and chemically ladden rinse aid.
The other "dirt" in our house that has been bothering me for a while were black-ish scratchmarks in our white sink. Other cleaners didn't quite get it out. The baking soda and lemon juice (real lemon) paste did a fabulous job of bleaching and cleaning it with very little effort. I let the paste sit for at least 15 minutes and then scrubbed it just a little with the scrubby side of the sponge. Works great!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Little Victories

Strange things have been happening around here... The other day I made burritos for my kids and told them they could choose ingredients but had to pick 3. Here are the options: Refried beans, cheese, corn, cherry tomatoes, spinach (also known as "leaves" in our house), onions. It seems the obvious choice was the first three offered. However, my son looks at me and goes: "Beans, cheese and leaves." What???? Where was the choir of angels singing??? And then my ever so sweet little red-head goes: "Me too; leaves." I think it took me about an hour to regain consciouness but all burritos and leaves were eaten! Without complaints, mind you (that's another miracle in itself).
Yesterday we went to Grampy's house. This is TV, candy, chocolate milk heaven for my kids. They ask and they will receive. Since they don't get a lot of TV at our house, they will be clued to Grampy's TV watching WordWorld or mostly the Backyardigans. Grampy records those shows faithfully for them. So when he offered to turn a show on (this is the first clue: he had to offer it), my children politely declined and went on to play outside. What??? There are aliens somewhere that have my children. I'm sure of it. Nevertheless, both moments where very proud mommy moments for me. Little victories.