Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Pageant of the Masters and the date I didn't want to go on


Twenty-six years ago on a late July evening, I reluctantly agreed to a date with a boy.  Truth be known,  I didn't really want to go, because he was a bit older and a bit geeky, but I didn't have the guts to turn him down.  It sure didn't make matters any easier that he was a friend of the guy I had just finished dating for past three years.  All day long, as I sat on my lifeguard tower at the local pool, butterflies turned in my stomach over the pending evening.


However, I devised what I thought was the perfect strategy.  I'd go, but I planned to give off the "I'm not interested" vibe which would cause him to never want to ask me out again.  It was simple and I was sure I could make it work.  I just had to survive the evening, I kept telling myself.  How bad could one evening possibly be anyways?


So when he picked me up at my house he presented me with a single yellow rose.  Ugh.  Heap the coals on me, why don't you?  Don't like me, okay?  Please let's just not make this any harder than it has to be.


So, we got into his little red Volkswagen GTI and began the long drive to Laguna Beach to attend the Pageant of the Masters. 


I have to admit, I kind of liked the car - and it helped turn his geek factor down a bit.   We began to make conversation, and it was actually quite enjoyable.  I softened up a bit.  It wasn't going to be so bad.  He was actually nice and rather sweet, and was definitely one of the godliest guys I'd ever encountered.


Actually, to my pleasant surprise, we had a completely wonderful evening.  We were hitting it off pretty good.  After the show, we went out for hot cocoa at a sleepy Newport Beach coffee shop. I wasn't anxious to get home or end the evening at all now.

After we drove home, he walked me to my door.  I kind of liked him, so I invited him to my parents' 25th anniversary party, which was the next night at our house.  I don't know what I was thinking.  It just seemed like a good idea at the time.  As I walked up the stairs to my bedroom, I thought to myself, "I could marry him."  What a difference a few hours makes! 


So, he came to the party the next day and met my parents.  Then he asked me out again.  We went out to dinner.  Then a day at Disneyland where he was bold enough to ask if he could hold my hand.  We had a whirlwind six weeks of getting to know each other and were quite inseparable and in love. 

Then on September 28th he gave me a diamond ring and asked me to be his wife.  I think you know the rest of the story. :-)  



Seriously, that's how it really happened!  26 years later, on another late July evening, we found ourselves at the Pageant.  A lot has changed since then, but he still brought the same blue backpack with an extra jacket for me.  :-) 


Over the years, we've gone to the Pageant a handful of times, and even took our kids once.  We love it.  It had been awhile so this year I surprised Rich with tickets.  I got them for July 24th, the exact day we went 26 years ago. :-) Wish I had a picture of us on that date, but I don't. 

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Rich took the day off for the occasion, and after breakfast at one of our fave places we relaxed on Laguna beach awhile before heading to a great dinner at 230 Forest Avenue and then on to the Pageant for the 8:30 show.  



It was a perfectly perfect summer day with my date from long ago.  :-)  My heart was full. 


I don't think many people know about the Pageant.  It's quite a unique event.  It's basically a live art show - famous paintings and sculptures portrayed with real people in them.  There is also a beautiful orchestra and it's all in a great outdoor amphitheater.  There is an announcer who gives the history of each piece which is thoroughly enjoyable, and the live art is really quite breathtaking.  It's hard to describe, except to say that it's an amazing show and an incredible experience to go.   If you are ever looking for something fun to do in the L.A. area (well, a bit beyond, but totally do-able in a day), you ought to consider heading down to Laguna and checking it out.  Don't forget to bring binoculars no matter how good your seats are. You'll want to look at the art in detail.  Click here for more info.   It's one of my favorite summer things to do!

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The show is about to begin!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WDW returns! Yummy, healthy, soft granola bars

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Emma's bestie Kait brought these over for us a couple weeks ago.  She found them on Pinterest of course, and they are really great!  I've never had a good recipe for a soft granola bar and I like these a lot.  The ingredients are all super healthy. You can pretty much use any dried fruit and seeds you like, just keep the right proportions.  I doubled the recipe so I could have a lot!  Sorry for the crummy picture... it was night and I used my phone.  I knew if I didn't take a quick photo they would be gone!
 
ALMOND BUTTER GRANOLA BARS


1/2 cup almond butter
2 small bananas, mashed

1/2 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cherries (I used dried nectarines)
1/4 cup raisins (I used half craisins, half dried blueberries)

1/4 cup mixed seeds (eg. pumpkin, sunflower... I used a combo of   sunflower, chia, and flax)
1 cup rolled oats

Yields 12 bars
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Preheat oven to 350F. Line wide loaf tin with parchment paper.

In a small pot on low heat melt almond butter and mashed bananas. Stir gently until well combined. Set aside.

In a food processor, coarse chop the almonds and apricots.  Transfer to a bowl.
Fold in raisins and cherries. Mix in seeds and oats. Fold in the almond butter mixture. Press the batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars/squares.  Wrap tightly and keep refrigerated.




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Thursday, July 12, 2012

More Natural Homemade Cleaners


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My son walked in the kitchen the other day while I was mixing up a batch of my homemade window cleaner.  He asked what I was doing and when I told him, he looked puzzled and said, "Can't you just buy Windex like everyone else?  You always make EVERYTHING."  My poor kids, all they ever wanted was a normal mother and they got me.

So, why can't I just buy Windex?  Well, why should I when I can make my own window cleaner using all natural ingredients and without ammonia fumes for PENNIES.  Sorry, Drew, it won't be blue and won't be in a name brand bottle.  Maybe some day you'll understand.

I just love this concoction and it really does clean windows without streaks.   Try some and see what you think.  Here's what you'll need: 


Plain old white vinegar, cornstarch, distilled water, and rubbing alcohol.

Here's the recipe:

Streak-free Window Cleaner


1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 cups warm water (distilled is optional- I use tap)

Mix all together and pour into spray bottle.
Shake well before each use (cornstarch settles). 



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Please pardon Emma's malaria medication in the background!  :-)

I also just tried making my own foaming soap for the bathrooms.  I had some old Method bottles and I was buying the refill pouches for them at around $6 a pop.  One day, it dawned on me that there must be a recipe out there for foaming soap.  Sure enough I found one easily, and I love it.  I can't say if this one saves that much money, since the bottle of Dr. Bronner's was $5 and I'm not sure how many batches I'll be able to get out of it.  Here's what you will need:

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Essential oil of choice, tea tree oil, distilled water, Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soap

Foaming Soap

¼ cup liquid castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s – any scent)
¾ cup distilled water
Tea tree oil – a few drops
Lemon or other essential oil (opt.)

Mix well and put in foaming dispenser.

I also have a recipe for homemade wood furniture cleaner - I haven't tried it yet since I still have some store-bought kind to finish up.  Here it is in case you want to try it.

 
Wood Furniture Spray

2 tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. lemon essential oil
¼ cup vinegar
1 ¾ cups water

Spray on and wipe with a clean rag.



Happy Cleaning - more healthy and less money!



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Monday, July 9, 2012

She's back!

I realized I had not posted of Emma's return from Thailand!  We happily received her at LAX on the afternoon of Thursday, June 28th.  Nick and Kait were able to join us and we were all SO excited to see her!  Ahhh... so wonderful to see her beautiful face!  I was overwhelmed by God's protection over her and the blessing of good health that I could see, even after 46 straight hours of travel.  We brought Team Thailand to In-n-Out burger to blast them back into American culture, and then back to Master's College where they would spend the night and debrief the following day. 

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Here she is seeing her daddy.   I kind of lost it right then.  :-)
And no, that is not her luggage on the left ...ha ha!

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 These two were happy to see each other.  Well, just slightly  :-)


The next day in the evening, the family and friends of the team were invited to come share a wonderful evening under the Oaks at the college and hear the team speak briefly of their experience.  We thoroughly enjoyed hearing how God blessed their trip from everyone's perspective, though Emma informed me later that we heard maybe 5% of what could really be said.  I knew that it would take some time for her to express the experience that she had.  While she didn't suffer a stitch of jet lag (surprisingly), I can see that she is changed by this experience and needs time to process it all.   It was a very different life in Thailand, and she LOVED every second of her time there.  I'm thankful that she could gain this amazing experience and look forward to how God uses it in her life.


I can't tell you how wonderful it feels for this momma to lay her head on her pillow each night and know her daughter is sleeping under the same roof.  Six weeks was a really long time and Thailand is very far away.   I have to say, God blessed Rich and I with a perfect peace while she was gone.  And what a gift Skype was!  One dose of that joyful, pretty face and we could go on.  :-)  She didn't have much time to communicate with us, but we probably got to talk with her at least every 5-7 days and left us smiling each time.


I know she will post something on her blog soon, and when she does I will link it up.  For now, I just want to thank everyone who had a part in helping her go, from supporting her by buying soap/candles from me, or praying for her. 


Here's an instagram shot of Emma, her best friend Kait, and I last week on a girly date.  We got our toes done and had lunch at our favorite bakery, Berolina.   Welcome back, sweet Emma!  

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