Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My dad got married!

Dad & Mili

My devoted mother passed away almost 6 years ago, at the young age of 63, and my dad has found love again! This is Mili (a nickname for Mildred), and she is actually a friend of both my parents from long ago. She was in my mom's 2nd grade class and Girl Scout troop, and went to high school with my dad. My dad and her even signed each other's yearbooks - sentiments that are quite cute looking back. Anyways, they were each married more than 40 years to their respective spouses, my dad losing my mom suddenly to a heart problem 6 years ago, and Mili's losing her husband Ron, 2 years ago to cancer. Each have enjoyed children and grandchildren and lives that never intersected until about 6 or 7 so years ago, when Mili met my uncle at a voting poll in her neighborhood of Huntington Beach. She recognized the name Vida, and gave my uncle her telephone number to give to my folks. My parents actually ended up meeting with Mili and Ron and caught up on the years. Mili came to my mom's memorial service, and a few years later, she let my dad know about Ron's passing. Then, a few months ago, my dad suggested in just a friendly way that they might plan a time to meet for coffee, and as they say, the rest is history. They were married in a private ceremony yesterday in Catalina. My sister and I have the joy of throwing them a big 50's style reception at our home at the end of September.

Meeting Mili was like meeting someone who has known and loved you your whole life. We connected right away. She began by filling us in on her life story, showing us many family photos. She loves my dad dearly and that makes me very happy. He was widowed too young, and had a lot of love left to give, and so does she. I am happy that he won't have to be lonely anymore. I truly thank God for her, she will be a blessing. As she said to me recently, "I love you so much already!" And I feel the same.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Recap

I've been blissfully silent on the blog this summer. For those of you who haven't given up on me, here's a few snippets of our summer:

First we had a wonderful visit from Emma's dear friend Alyssa. She was so very kind to fly down from Sacramento and come to Emma's graduation as well as spend a week with us. We invited my sister and decided to go on a little tour of Hollywood with our little tourist. We started at the Grove, and even got a bit part on the show Extra (ok, they asked us to walk behind the interview to look like shoppers), ate wonderful crepes at the Farmer's Market, and then went on the convertible "Buddy Fun" bus (basically a hacked off Ford Econoline van)to see the Hollywood sign and stars' homes. I didn't really know who half the stars were but I did swoon over Lucille Ball's house. We finished our day with dinner at Roscoe's Chicken and was so fun!



Me and my sweet sis. The tour guide asked if any of us on the bus were locals - we were the only ones who raised our hands! Funny, we've never had our picture taken in front of the Hollywood sign after living here all our lives!

At the end of June, we sent Emma off to the Resolved conference with the high school group for the senior trip. It was a joy seeing her off with these kids, her lifelong friends who just happen to be the kids of some of my dearest friends in life. What a blessing!

left to right: Taylor Dempsey, Kaitlyn Guyle, T.J. Brooks, Emma, Robert Jensen... these kids are such godly young people and blessings to our family.

I'm glad our summer included some food adventure! Good times were had on a recent "Asian tour" with Albert & Alik Lin, as well as their sweet baby Sarona. Albert & Alik are sweet friends, wise beyond their years, joyful and inspiring servants of the Lord. Oh, and not to mention, fine fellow foodie friends!! Because Alik is Armenian, and Albert is Chinese, they have led us to many fantastic food finds from their cultures. Recently on a Saturday afternoon, we went on a 3-stop extravaganza: the best ever egg rolls from the Vietnamese restaurant Golden Deli (also known for their amazing Pho) eaten in a parking lot, then to-die-for dumplings at the Chinese Luscious Dumplings, and finally our last stop for Japanese food at a food court of all places- amazing soup and a yummy rice bowl. We were happily stuffed! Thanks A & A for a great time, we must do it again soon!



Shamelessly stuffing our faces in a strip mall parking lot.


My favorite part of the food tour - the dumplings. See that little bowl of sauce. Oh man it was spicy/yummy. Albert showed us how to do it right.


Little Sarona was completely content the whole time to just watch us eat. Future "foodie-cutie" in training! I just love this sweet girl.


The last stop. Doesn't this just look awesome?

And what summer would be complete without a camping trip to San Clemente? We were blessed to be able to take some of our extra daughters along, our dear Kait and even Catherine Hardy who was visiting from North Carolina. We enjoyed all our favorites: Pedro's tacos eaten on the beach at sunset, mornings at the Bagel Shack, and even found a new fave - the Sugar Blossom bake shop - their macadamia nut glazed buttermilk cinnamon rolls were off the hook!! (fyi -only made on Sundays).



Drew and Steph


Me and my almost college girl! I am actually 2" shorter than her - I must have been standing higher up!

And lastly, though I didn't cook anything new and spectacular this summer - kind of winged most dinners- I did find a new brownie recipe and it is hands down the best recipe I've ever made. These babies are the perfect texture, the perfect taste, and are super easy to make. They truly make you *sigh* when you take a bite. You will want to make these soon. Trust me.


Kristine's brownies

4 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. instant coffee granules
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 12-oz package of chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
2 cups of miniature marshmallows

Chop chocolate and butter and melt together in microwave; cool slightly. Transfer to mixer bowl and beat butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add coffee granules, eggs, and vanilla and again bring to a nice fluffy consistency. Add flour, salt, chocolate chips, and marshmallows. Mix just until blended. Pour into a well-sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Cool a bit before cutting and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

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