merry christmas and a kitchen preview

We had such a great Christmas this year in our new home! I think we're finally starting to feel settled. Little by little we're getting things unpacked and put away. I laughed this morning when I thought about adding Christmas presents to the mix. And next week we have a birthday with a certain young man turning 9. It just never ends! Boxes, boxes and more boxes.

One of the things we love about our home is the amount of company we've had since we've moved. It seems we're on the way to and from everywhere and lots of people have stopped by en route. Yesterday we had friends stop by on their way home to Idaho. This evening, some good friends of ours from Spokane will spend the night on their way down to Southern California. Sometime tomorrow Phil's aunt and uncle will stop by on their way home from Portland, and this weekend his cousin will stop by on her way home from Salem.

We were able to spend Christmas weekend in California with both of our families. The 5 siblings on my side of the family were together again after 4 years. The last time we were together was at my little sister's wedding back in 2007. It was fun to watch all the cousins play together.

Phil had to work Tuesday morning, so he and I left Monday afternoon. We've been kid-less for the past 2 days. :( Our kids stayed behind in Northern California with Phil's parents so they could play with their cousins who arrived from Southern California late the night before. My sister-in-law is driving my 4 and the cousins up to Oregon right now. They'll arrive this evening and stay through the weekend. Confusing? Let me interpret...f-u-n...and lots of it!!!

We miss our Spokane winters and all the snow, so instead we play in the leaf pile out front.

The kitchen is coming along nicely. I was able to unpack my dishes last week. No more washing plastic plates in the bathroom sink!!!

Hope your Christmas was wonderful, too.


a yummy [early] christmas morning

red velvet pancake batter in my new jadeite mixing bowl from Gracie

Today was Christmas morning at our house, since we'll be celebrating with family this weekend. When we unpacked last month, I was so sad to find a broken jadeite mixing bowl in one of our kitchen boxes. Gracie told Phil that she wanted to find one for me for Christmas, so they searched on Ebay, found one and ordered it. I was so surprised this morning!

yummy vanilla bean cream cheese frosting

Christmas on a plate

...and peppermint hot chocolate to go with



"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort."
-Jane Austen

Sorry for another kitchen post.
I'm just having so much fun in here.

It feels so good to be able to cook again and to wear my apron again.
It's the little things...

I always sigh a big sigh as I tie on my apron strings again after a long trip. It just means I'm home again and all's right with the world.


the sweetest day

sweet little red coat ornament found here

We had such a good day today.
It was the first day our family was able to enjoy our brand new kitchen! Phil and I stayed up until 4 a.m. putting things together, installing appliances and unpacking boxes.

It looks so nice in here...the new kitchen, that is.
That's where I've planted myself for most of the day. We slept in this morning, came downstairs, plugged in our espresso maker, then just sat at the counter and drank coffee to our hearts' content.

The kids made themselves comfortable at the counter, too, and played with play-doh and perler beads. In fact, almost our entire day was spent in the kitchen, then we bundled up and drove down the street to a little town to enjoy a little window shopping and a horse-drawn carriage ride.

Are you curious to know what I cooked my first day using the oven? I'm almost too embarrassed to say. I had big plans, you see, but I asked my kids what they wanted and they picked Annie's macaroni and cheese for lunch and Papa Murphy's Take and Bake Pizza for dinner.

When I'm through here, I'm going to heat up on my new stovetop two mugs of the Spiced Cranberry Cider that I found at Trader Joe's
It's true what they say about hard work and enjoying the fruit of your labor.
We drink this yummy cider every year, but I think it's going to taste extra yummy this year.


hello there, part 2

I guess it isn't fair to write a post about being super overwhelmed and just leave it at that. A week ago I felt paralyzed by everything that needed to be done and by the things that had happened which were out of my control.

Last week a very dear friend of mine came to visit. God knew I needed her here. We've been friends for nearly a decade. There's just something about being with people who know you well...people who don't mind if you can't muster up words to say anything important. I felt like I had nothing to give. I couldn't even cook her meals, because of the state of my kitchen.

The truth is, I've been so busy since we moved from Washington this summer, that I haven't really settled in yet. We stayed with family in California for a month, then moved into a hotel for two months while we waited for escrow to close. We've lived in our new home six weeks now, all the while doing major renovations. It's been a crazy few months, to say the least.

But what I've loved about this crazy season is seeing how relentless Jesus has been in pursuing my heart. I can't really explain it, but I feel it. I've doubted Him and questioned Him, even blamed Him for things. But then I find my bearings again because He rescues me from self-pity. I'll never know why. I've been ugly these past few months. I won't lie.

I just can't stop thinking about and grieving over what we left behind in Spokane. Have you ever heard Sara Groves' song "Painting Pictures of Egypt"?

...The places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling after me like a long lost friend

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt

Leaving out what it lacked

The future seems so hard

And I want to go back

But the places that used to fit me

Cannot hold the things I've learned

And those roads closed off to me

While my back was turned

When I went to her concert last month in Spokane, she opened with this song. I was hoping she'd sing it that evening, but she opened with it. It made me cry, of course. My sweet friend, Andi, held my hand and said, "That was for you." I think it was.

I've always thought I relate well with the Israelites. Something about needing to learn the same lessons over and over again, and how God parted the Red Sea for them and it just wasn't enough...as if God would really perform miracles on their behalf and then dump them off in the wilderness to fend for themselves. I love this line from Joy Williams' song, "Beautiful Redemption"

I've walked with sand from the ocean floor on my feet
To turn and say, 'you left me'

I wonder if the Israelites still had sand from the Red Sea's floor between their toes when they spewed out complaints from doubting hearts. Unfortunately, I can relate.

This past Saturday I told my husband and my friend from out-of-town that I felt paralyzed, like I couldn't function among the stress of the boxes and the paint and the microwave and the laundry. Later that evening we found out that her flight home, which was scheduled for the following morning, was cancelled due to weather. Cancelled. Just like that. Our airport is tiny, so her chances of getting home the next day were very slim. Phil thought it would be best if she made arrangements to fly out of the busier airport 3 hours north of us. So we (she and I) packed our things and left right away. We decided to stay overnight in a hotel near the airport so we could be there first thing in the morning. What a whirlwind!

I must say, this whole cancelled flight thing was no accident. Do I really think Jesus would allow that flight to be cancelled so He could restore my soul in the midst of all the chaos? Yes, I think He would do that and I think He did. I realize there were probably a few more factors that played into this whole thing, but my weary heart was certainly one of them. I was gifted several hours of drive-time and the chance to listen to music that turned my heart to worshiping Jesus instead of doubting Him. It truly was a gift. I had this thought last night, that maybe my kitchen isn't the only thing being renovated around here.


my almost-done dream kitchen

I thought I'd take a few minutes to post pictures of our kitchen...things are really coming along!

The countertops will be installed tomorrow morning and we still need to put up the trim, the baseboards, a few more cabinet doors and the cabinet door knobs.

I love the view from the kitchen with the far wall removed. There was a tiny bit of space between the end of the counter and that wall--too small for a table--it seemed like such a waste of space. The countertop on the peninsula will extend out about a foot so we can tuck stools underneath.

Original hardwood floors (c. 1925)

The freshly-painted white cabinets make the kitchen look so bright and cheery!

See this post for a few before pictures.