Sunday, January 31, 2010

Perfect Pairings - James 3:2

James 3:2

 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

The M&M's are taking skating lessons on Thursday nights along with their dear friend Abby.  There are many stumbles to go around for everyone, but this little guy in Maren's class does it with such charm. He's a cutie to be sure.  Maren says, "But Mom, he's not my boyfriend".  I think she has a secret crush on her teacher - Big Jake.  There will be more to come on the subject later. 
Baloney should have some more Perfect Pairings linked to her blog - unless she is iced or snowed in. Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Honor of a Snow Day

Yup, we have ice.  Not as bad as I thought it would be, but enough to call off school for the day - AGAIN!  Princess Maren may actually get to celebrate her birthday (7/4) in school this year at the rate we are going.  Oh well.

Snow days call for baking.  It's a rule. Since I am on a diet new eating plan, didn't think I'd better break those rules and tempt myself by baking and therefore eating in abundance whatever I happened to bake.  I actually took the pictures in the fall for this post.  So, if I think back really hard and take a big snifffffffff, ahhhh, I can almost smell that banana bread.

Banana bread.  Food of the gods, according to Marissa. She has never met a banana bread she didn't like.  Course she was raised on the best.  And that would be my Grandma's banana bread in my humble opinion.  I can only aspire to make banana bread as good as hers.  She gets it just right every time.  Mom's is pretty darn good too.  Marissa's official ranking is Grandma Gigi's, Grandma's and mine is a lowly third place.  But I do consider myself to be in pretty good company.

This is the cookbook my mom gave me for Christmas one year.  It has many of our family favorites in it.  I keep it in the box because I have a slew of recipies I have ripped out of magazines and such that I have collected over the years just running amok in the box too.  I am so organized like that.  Sigh.

So Mom wrote out the recipes for me.  That in itself is something to treasure.  Who writes out recipes anymore? She then attempted to catagorize them appropriately.   So you look for the banana bread recipe under this tab...

Of course you do.  Did I tell you I got all my organizational skills from my mom?  Actually,  she is not far off at all.  In our family, bread IS a dessert.  I'm not moving it to the correct spot.  I like it that way.  Besides then I would have to move the pancake recipe out of the bread tab and put it under breakfast foods.  Not moving that one either.

Here's the recipe.  I was thinking about re-typing it, but this works. Grandma puts a little different spin on it, but I will show you that later.

I only had two bananas at the time.  It worked just fine.

Mashed up nanners.  Take out all your frustration and smush 'em good.

Soured milk. See the curdle?  I guess you could use buttermilk too, but why?

Just throw it all together wily nilly. I never listen to those recipes that say to measure out the dry ingredients and then incorporate the rest.  There's probably a reason for it, but I am too lazy to want to know why, or to actually do it.

Then just beat it, beat it, beat it, beat it.  No one wants to be defeated.  Whoops - snuck a little Micheal in on you there, didn't I?

Now this is my Grandma's twist on things.  She bakes her banana bread in cans.  And after many attempts with the crust too brown and the middle still a little under done when using a loaf pan,  this is what I do too.  It works great! These are two of the larger size cans (20 ounce, I think) and they work perfectly to split one batch of banana bread.  Be sure not to fill them too full, because they tend to rise and bubble up and over the top.   Not that that has ever happened to me. Ever.

Then stick them in the oven for an hour and let the smell waft through your home.  Now you have 60 minutes to go outside and take pictures of your dog.

We call this one"Under the Underbite" - Part I.

  Under the Underbite - Part II. 
Wow! We actually did have a lawn and green grass at one time. Wherefore art thou, lawn?

And then when you come back in the house you should have this.

Aren't they cute?  And they make a really nice gift too.  Wrap them up in some plastic wrap, tie a bow on it and tell your neighbor thanks for scooping your driveway.

I barely got this picture taken before Sweet Marissa descended upon her prey.

She said it was good, but still not as good as Grandma Gigi's.  Traitor.  What can I say, she knows her banana bread.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Small (but Beautiful) World

I know.  Another post about the weather.  Really.  That's what happens when you live in Iowa.  There's not too much else going on besides the weather.  Actually, someone should slap me silly, because I honestly don't know if I am coming or going it has been so crazy busy around here. That's a whole 'nother post entirely.

But I am going to attribute the coming or going confusion to the fact that for the past week or so, we have had a lot of fog.  Dense fog.  Can't see your hand in front of your face fog.  Pea soup thick fog.  Wow, that's another area in which I am deficiently Dutch.  I have never made pea soup.  Give any good Dutch woman a ham hock and some peas and she will make you a pot of steamy pea soup.  Ewww.  Don't like pea soup, but to some in these parts, pea soup is a delicacy.

I digress.  So we have had all this pea soup - uh, fog.  I makes things sort of gray and dreary and I can feel all my Vitimin D just seeping out of me.  Sun? Wherefore are thou sun?  It sort of reminds me of the movie Narnia.  You keep waiting for the White Witch to come around the corner with her freaky sled and freakier hair. 

BUT, for all its dreariness, there is this.

Every little branch, every little left over leaf is a work of art.  Just simply beautiful.  And you know, only God can create this sort of wonder.

Once again, I wish I could take better pictures.  You are just going to have to believe me on this one.

Can't help but think of my high school art classes when I see this one.  Mrs. Kramer tried her darndest to teach us about perspective and that whole vanishing point thing.  I get it a little better now, but still not so much.

The Captain took these last two shots.  We both got home from work and had the exact same idea. We're weird like that sometimes. We both thought we had to get some pics of all God's handiwork around us.

The Captain has a fascination with our courthouse.  It is a pretty building, but I bet I could deck out a whole photo album dedicated to the Sioux County Courthouse.  I guess there are worse things to look at.

Silver linings.  I think God likes them.  He loves to give us a look at the bright side, if we are willing to see it.  I know many of us have had the whole tragedy of Haiti in our hearts and minds.  Hitting close to home, our former pastor and his wife have been in the process of adopting a little girl from Haiti.  She has been with them for quite some time on a medical visa.  The adoption has had its fair share of red tape and slowdowns, but things are moving along pretty quickly now.  I'll find whatever joy I can out of that situation. 

Tomorrow there is freezing rain, aka ice, in the forecast, and a weekend of snow and blowing snow.  Anybody got any Vitamin D?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Two Peas from Different Pods

And the two pods would be mine and my SIL Kim's.  The MM's always love seeing their cousins.  They especially love hanging out with the Fabulous Niebuhr Boys.  This becomes very apparent whenever they get together.  Our girls love to giggle, and the Niebuhr Boys have no problem coming up with the material.  It also becomes very apparent that Sam and Marissa are an awful lot alike.

Both very intelligent.  Both a little dreamy.  Both really good kids.

The freckles. The hair.  The eyelashes.

The bathroom humor.  The boundless silliness. If no one else gets it. These two will.

Sam, I was too lazy to send these pictures too your mom via e-mail.  Is that the height of laziness, or what?  So I put them here instead.  Just wanted her to know how handsome you are, but she probably knows.

Can't wait for Tulip Time!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Perfect Pairings - Luke 4:4

Luke 4:4

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”

Sweet Marissa took this picture.  This is Nanny Joy's lemon bundt cake.  Fresh from the oven.  Sweet Marissa proclaimed it was good - very good.  She decided she loved it so much she was going to marry it.  The measly half that was left.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Cold Was It?

It's so cold my blankets were trying to crawl under me~CNN

This was one of my friend's status posts on FB this morning.  She lives here in town and this is so very appropriate for today.  My is cold.  And snow.  We have snow up to our eyeballs.  I kid you not.  And wind.  Bone chilling, mind numbing, booger freezing wind blowing the snow up to our eyeballs and beyond. And I just have to wonder why in the world we live in Iowa in the winter.

When I was young, I remember winters with a lot of snow.   We had gigantic snow drifts to tunnel through and sled down.  I used to think that was only my perspective.  I was shorter then.  In recent years it didn't seem like Iowa was capable of producing that kind of snow anymore.  I was wrong.

I'll just take you on a little tour around town.  Not that the pictures do it justice.

Main street.  Not too bad.  Atleast there are some cars out and about.  Have to say the city crews have done a great job keeping the roads clear.

Kids playground.  Hate to think how muddy and dirty they will be in the Spring.

The basketball courts are under there somewhere.

Church parking lot.  Think they have a bit of snow to move before Sunday morning services.

Have to say it is a good day for sundogs.  Caught these two (can't see the one on the left) playing out by the airport.

See all that stuff flying around in the background.  That would be a blizzard.

This is the road heading south out of town.  I don't know how well you can see, or in this case not see, but the road ahead seems to disappear into a whole lot of nothingness.  Pretty sure that is why we had no school today.

And this would be our street.  Sorry about the wiper in the foreground, but I was not about to get out of the car.

The neighbors.  I am afraid one morning we will wake up and find their house completely buried.

Like our mailboxes.  Who knew getting the mail could be such an adventure?

Whoops! Maybe the Captain should have taken the bench in. Don't think I will be sitting our there for awhile.

Just when I think that deck railing couldn't possible hold more snow, it does. 

So that about sums it up.  How did you like that for a nice warm feel-good type of post? 

I'm just a little bitter.
Need to go make me some hot chocolate.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


This scares me just a little.  I didn't ask his permission, but he took it himself and that means it's fair game.

This scares me just a little more.  Seems as if he is passing all his cheesiness down to our children.

But when it is snowing, and cold and I could use a nice back scratching, I miss him.
Cheesiness and all.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Observations Around a Dining Table

We braved the four foot drifts, the sub-zero temps and the un-mentionable windchill here in Iowa and meandered down to Wichita and Tulsa for a nice post Christmas visit to the Captain's family this past week.  Roads were actually good both ways with the exception of an irritating little snow storm that followed us home from Topeka northward, until we were about three miles from our house.  There was nary a flake on the windshield once we drove into town.  Go figure.

We had a great time! The girls love seeing their cousins and how lucky are they to have all their grandparents plus four of their great-grandparents alive and well.  They do get a little confused as to who belongs to who and "where do they live again"?  So getting some actual face to face time is always a good thing.

I had to laugh as I downloaded pictures from the trip.  The Captain and I bought each other a new camera for Christmas and it has been fun experimenting and going through the pics.  I think the Captain had it in continuous shoot mode or something with these shots.  Here we are getting ready to strap on the old feedbag.

Note the three blondes stairstepped down the upper left.  That is my SIL Kim, and my MIL Mom Pat, and Mimi.  I am thinking that gene pool is a very strong and lovely one. Good gracious.

Hmmm,  do you think Maren could love Max any more than she does right here?

Well, apparently Maren does love Max just a little bit more.   Honey, please leave his neck intact.

I think those Niebuhr boys love their Papa Joe just a bit too.

And why is that lady in the black squatting?  Doesn't she know there is no one behind her? DUH!!

Maren - his neck- he may need that some day.

Kent?  What ARE you doing?

I think this is where Kent said, " Hey, can we eat all ready!!!

Yep, pretty sure that was it.  Kent stayed in a low and ready position to keep himself closer to the food.  He was the Food Guardian.  He's in the military. No one messes with the Food Guardian.  In the military.

One thing we can all agree on.  Don't play charades with the Captain. RIGHT?? (shake shake shake) Stick to the day job, Honey.

Thanks for the great time and the hospitality!  We had a lot of fun - charades and all!