Monday, March 29, 2010

Whats In A Name?

When naming your children there is a lot to take into consideration? Do you want to name them after someone, will you go with a theme, Biblical name, Trendy Name etc. For us there were two requirements- 1.It had to mean something...-2.The middle name needed to be a family name. Graces name was picked for sometime. The word Grace has always meant so much to me, and I always wanted my first daughters name to be Grace. I have a lot of other feelings about the name but until now I haven't been able to put them into words.

Recently, my friend Pam, asked me why we had chosen the name Grace. I tried my best to explain my choice but it always comes out sounding sort of cheesy and not very genuine or authentic. She then informed me that her mothers name is actually Grace. She went on to tell me a story of her mom growing up and being the middle child of I think 7 children and went through a time of feeling unimportant and a bit forgotten at times. She said in this time her grandfather had actually written her mother a poem in reflection of her name. She went on to say that the poem would be able to reflect exactly what I was trying to say. Just a couple of days ago Pam's mother Grace shared her Grace Poem with me to save for my Grace.(That's a lot of Graces)

Anyway here it makes me cry, it makes me smile and it is exactly what I had in mind when I chose Graces name!

You know, Grace, what your name implies-
There's no salvation otherwise;
And ever, as one works or plays
One still depends on gifts of grace.
So Grace, in all you say or do,
May Heaven's grace be leading you.
May grace abundant be your share...
Then, Grace, my dear, we'll meet you there.

Written by Arie DeRooy 1938
for Grace DeRooy VerHoeven (copyright 1980) yes it has been published

Thanks for sharing this with me Pam and Grace. I will hold it close to my heart as I am sure Grace will as she grows older!

And Grace if you read this someday, please know Gods promises for you are great and his love for you is something that is so much bigger than anything else you will ever experience. His plans for you are bigger than anything I can even pray for you. You are an amazing little girl and I can not wait to see the beautiful woman you become.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Big Ugly Cry and A Lot Of Uncertainty

We just recently finished a sermon series at our church that was all about our SHAPE. It was great!! I loved it and I found it very applicable. Basically it covered how we get to be who we are and what that means.

Each sermon was based on a letter from the word SHAPE and each letter stood for something. E was the last sermon and E stands for experiences. Our Pastor talked about how we all experience different things in our lives that SHAPE us into who we are. Some good, some bad, some hard, some easy, some happy, some sad. Well the last 9 months have held a lot of experiences for this here woman:) And the last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind roller-coaster of emotions, experiences and changes. Not all of them have been bad however most of them have been confusing and all of them have brought me to my knees in prayer. On this particular Sunday it all came to a screeching halt and after listening to an amazing sermon that dealt with everything I was going through and questioning we joined in communion. Well this really made my emotions pour over the edge and I melted into a Big Ugly Cry. The kind where one tear falls and you know there is no stopping the ten million you have been holding back for a week or so. So there were tears and there was snot and there were prayers and thoughts going through my mind in about 1 million directions.

In sharing all of this I must say I am so thankful for a Savior who loves me for me. A Savior that uses these experiences, even the ugly ones, for his glory. Once again us four Jagers are traveling by the seat of our pants, with unexpected job changes, broken business ventures, a remodel project that is larger than life, family issues up the wazoo and much more. But the road we travel on is one that leads directly to the cross and even though I am not sure why all of these things are happening at the same time I am confident that God knows the why, the how, and the forever! And a Big Ugly Cry is sometimes what it takes for me to fall at His feet once again and allow him to take it all from me!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trying Something New

So the fast is over. woohoo.

My conclusions from it are as follows-
-More whole grains.
-Meat will be free range and antibiotic free. ( I have already found a local meat source and we will be making our first order next week)
-Less dairy. Milk will be bought from a local farm.
-More vegetarian eating on a regular basis.
-More local foods.

I think these things are the best choices Brian and I can make for our family. The fast was a great way to really analyze what we eat and focus more on what our bodies actually need. We lost bit of chubs in the process which was an extra added bonus.

On a second note we are trying to make everything that requires flour with half if not all whole wheat flour. Some recipes do not allow for this so that is why I am not fully committing. But tonight I made a whole wheat pancake recipe that was to die for. They were very yummy!! We even added some diced apple to them. I made the kids some eggs to go alongside and I made myself some egg whites with sauteed mushrooms (yum).

I also tried another new recipe at my new place of somewhat employment this week ( I will explain the place of employment thing later). I will include a recipe for this as well. It is called Moussaka, the main ingredients (stick with me it sounds weird) are eggplant, potatoes, and ground lamb. I have formed a new respect for ground lamb it is fairly lean and it smells like heaven when you are cooking it. Ok back to the recipe it is layered similar to lasagna, just without the noodles. It is of greek origin and the flavor profile is much different from what I would usually cook. It is a bit of a labor intensive dish but the flavor is totally worth the work. So strap on your apron and let me know how you like it.

I am going to start incorporating some recipes onto this blog because I no longer have time to keep up the recipe blog and the thought of starting another blog is exhausting. So try some of them out and send me a review or any questions in reference to the recipes.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 egg white
3 tbsp applesauce
1 cup milk/soy/ or whatever dairy substitute you may use( I used rice milk)

Add whatever ingredients you would like we tried a half cup of diced apple but bananas or nuts would be yummy as well.

Makes 6 to 8 pancakes

This recipes appears to be a lot of work but so is a great lasagna. So don't give up before you have even begun because it is definitely worth the extra effort.


3 medium eggplants thinly sliced
3 pounds of red potatoes
1 lb of ground lamb (beef/turkey/chicken would work fine)
2 thinly sliced sweet onions
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp of all spice
2 bay leaves
1 tsp of thyme
1 tsp of rosemary

Bechamel Sauce

4 tblsp of butter
4 tblsp of flour
2 cups milk
1/8 tsp of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmagiano reggiano, shredded

Red Sauce/ you can also use a store bought marinara
1 tblsp of olive oil
1 15 oz can of crushed tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of parsley minced
salt and pepper to taste

1-Slice eggplant to 1/4 to 1/3 of inch and lay flat on cookie sheet sprinkle lightly with salt and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until you notice moisture being pulled out. once this happens blot dry with paper towels drizzle with olive oil and put hem n a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until they appear wilted. Pull out and set aside.

2-slice potatoes to equal thickness of eggplant. Pour 2 tblsp of olive oil in frying pan and cook potatoes until lightly browned. Lay them out on paper towels and set aside.

3-Put lamb into a frying pan and cook it through. Salt and Pepper to taste. Spoon the meat out of the pan and leave any drippings behind.

4-Place sliced onions in the pan you used to cook the meat. Sautee them with the garlic, cinnamon, all spice, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary until soft. Combine with the meat.

5- Make the Bechamel Sauce starting with the butter and flour. You are making a Rue. Mix in a pot over medium heat until it forms a paste and starts to turn a soft brown. Once this occurs slowly whisk in the milk. Cook and continue stirring until it begins to thicken then add the nutmeg and the cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

6- In a sprayed 9x13 begin layering the ingredients. First a bit of marinara just enough to coat the bottom of the dish. Next the eggplant followed by a layer of Bechamel, then a layer of potatoes then a layer of red sauce, followed by the meat and onion mixture and topped with a bit more red sauce. Finish much as you began with a layer of eggplant then Bechamel , potatoes and a fianl layer of Bechamel and sprinkle some parmagiano reggiano.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with a yummy green salad and enjoy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It Been Pretty Crazy 'Round Here

We have had a lot of changes take place around here in the last week. I will start with the kids.

Elliot is now reading up a storm and has also decided that he likes memory work again. The reading has always been fine however this evening we shared the load of reading Little House On The Prarie at bedtime. OK he read two paragraphs and then I took over. I am so proud of him, and I also just love that both of my kids love books because reading is one of my favorite past times. The memory work for Bible at school was an interesting think but after a talk about other kids who don't get to learn about the Bible at school (I know a bit of guilt I suppose, bad mom) he said "its a privilege then right?" Thanks for being so teachable Elliot I am so glad we had this talk.

Grace had Kindergarten orientation today. I can't get over the fact that I will have two kids in school next year. Grace was telling Brian about it at bedtime this evening when she asked, "What's the name of new teacher at my Ebenezer Squeezer School Mom?" How hilarious. Anywho her teachers name is Mrs. Corkill, this year was her first school year teaching at Ebenezer, however her kids also attend Ebenezer and she serves on the Eagle Booster team with me so i know her quite well at this point. Grace is so ready for school so I am not really worried about her, but it will be weird having such a quiet 3 days a week while she is at school.

I have been offered an extremely awesome opportunity to work with and for another cater who asked me to take on some contract work during the busy season. I started Monday, and worked Wednesday and will be working Friday and then ending the week with Saturday night. As usual being a working mom proves to be a challenge but one I take on with the knowledge that God has laid this chance to learn in front of me from one of the best caterers in town. I am completely humbled by the confidence she has in me and it is proving to be a very worthwhile endeavor. The first day was a bit terrifying though. I walked in fully expecting to have recipes and a list of goals and I was verbally asked to make french style cream puffs each made 1 inch in diameter filled with lemon curd and dipped in chocolate ganache. All of which I have made before but with recipes mind you. I thought I was going to throw up but with some picking of my brain and reminders of cooking temperature for the curd I persevered and I am stronger for it. Nothing like praying over lemon curd to thicken:) Thank you God for making them taste good. Over the next day I made 9 dozen spring rolls and 16 dozen crab cakes among other things. Like I said I am learning a lot. The event is Saturday evening so if I live through it I will give you a full report. God is showing me more and more of my passion for food everyday.

Brian had a somewhat anxious and worrisome week pass. His job has changed once again. We thank God that he still has a job and was actually promoted. We know how much it means to have a job in these times and we thank God daily for ours. All this aside Brian went to a five minute mandatory meeting where they were told that some people would be losing there jobs today and that is what they would be talking about for the next three hours. Way to start off a day:) Thankfully in the next meeting he learned he would not only be keeping his job but they made him the lead for an account for the whole Pacific Northwest region as well as putting him in charge of another single set of stores rather than bouncing between retailers. I realize typed out this is a bit confusing, so the bottom line is more responsibility, a bit more traveling, a bit more money and a huge compliment from the company. This was huge for my husband and was a very big answer to years worth of prayer.

On the home front, the new window is all drywalled in. The front door and trim in the living room is finally painted. The new curtains are hung on the smaller window in the living room. And I think we finally agreed on how the shakes and siding will be hung. We will keep you posted on all of this as well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Adventures of Meatless Meat

Not that you are at all interested but here is my review on meatless meat. I have tried three different products all made by the same manufacturer. The one not pictured was kind of like fajita meat.

Review on the fajita meat- Taste was o.k. but the texture was bazaar. The meat was not firm enough to pass as fajita meat for me. Was not gross by any means.

Review on the ground meat- Pretty Yum. Don't mind it at all. Mixed with homemade spaghetti sauce and put over whole wheat pasta, pretty delicious.

Review on Tofurkey Sausage- My favorite by far in the meatless meat department. It is so yummmy it could easily pass for real turkey sausage.

Tofu is still my first choice. Cash and Carrys extra firm can pass for eggs and is wonderful in everything.

Now you can consider yourself informed on the meatless meat world. Don't you feel enlightened.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What My Wonderful, Amazing and Did I Mention Wonderful Husband Did Today.

You see we are still in the middle of remodeling. A few weeks back we bought a new window for the living room, and new siding. These two projects have been on the list since we moved into our house almost 4 years ago.

My husband decided today was the day he was going to start the project. He did all of the work himself, Justin did come over so nicely and help him set the new window in place(thanks Justin). He worked all day in the coldest weather we have had in awhile until the sun went down. I don't feel bad saying I am totally proud of him.

And you will be very proud of me now because I actually took before and after shots to document the journey. There were not one, not two, but three layers of siding. Oh, the joys of owning a nearly 105 year old house.

The picture with the blue tarp is what I saw of my husband today. I think the tarp is kind of a great addition to the living room. What do you think? And the last picture is what the kids and I did to occupy ourselves this evening. We made bubble machines.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My favorite pictures form a totally great day!

We went to the Everett Childrens Museum on Friday. It was an amazing day! I think we all needed a day away from the rest of the world, where we could be foot loose and fancy free:) So we all piled into the VanDyken Mobile and we did just that. Oh how I love these 4 little ones. Each of them melts me in a different way. Thanks for taking us Jaim I love ya too!!

And by the way if you are looking for a great place to hang with your kiddos this is an amazing option!

I'm Weak, I'm Poor, I'm Broken Lord, But I'm Yours

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am a work in progress. But I am beginning to realize the very things that hold me back are the things that actually make me more vulnerable to accept the Lords hand as I try to bump around through this life. I am so unsure of why things have happened and why they continue to happen. I wonder why it is always those who are supposed to be my biggest supporters that are the ones that continue to fail me, continue to hurt me, continue to throw me into a tailspin.

These are the very things that make me His! I am not sure how I would continue to make it if it wasn't for a God who loves me, who continues to mend my broken heart, who sees a purpose in all of this mess.

There is so much in my life that makes me want to stand on top of a mountaintop and shout my praises to God. But there is so much that makes me lie at his feet and cling to the promises He has for me, because that is all that is all that I can do in many situations. There is much I can not fix. There is much I have to continue living with. The amazing thing is that God has a perfect plan for all of it. The good and the bad will all seem beautiful in the end.

So when I am not strong enough he will lift my head. He provides me with all that I need and that is really more than I deserve. And he will pick up the pieces of my heart when it is shattered. Because I am His and He is mine.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Vegan Living and Other News

Well today is day 4 of our Vegan fast. Not sure what to say about this.? I think I could get over the meat part but dairy I am missing.

What do you eat, you ask? Lots of brown rice, lots of veggies(of course), soup is a big hit, and for breakfast we have a a hash of sorts and oatmeal, among other things.

So, 17 more days and we will be done. I am getting a lot more prayer time in because most of our meals take a bit more preparation than usual. So the extra prep time is used for prayer which is great. We have found that corn chips have now become a junk food, haha who would have thought.

On the home front there isn't much new. The kids are on Mid-Winter Break. Mid-Winter Break seems so frivolous to me. I don't see a real point. I know its for state tournament and all of that but really Spring Break is right around the corner, so another four day weekend seems a little much. Wish we were going to CA to see our favorite Bubba for Spring Break this year, but she is in OH and that is just not as appealing (no offense Bubba).

Elliot had a dentist appt. today for a couple of cavities (I know bad Mom right, the dentist actually said the opposite) and when we left the dental assistant reminded him his mouth was still asleep so if he wanted to pull that loose tooth now would be the time. So he reached in his mouth and plucked it out just like that. I guess the tooth fairy will have to make a trip up the stairs this evening:)

Grace came up with a new pajama fashion, as exhibited in the picture, those are her leg warmers for ballet. She has now informed me that they can be used as arm warmers for bed time. What will this girl think of next?

On the kitchen front we had some excitement this week with the delivery and set up of two brand spankin sparkly new electric convection ovens. We got a once in a lifetime amazing deal on them. You can fit 8 half sheets in each, that's a lot of cookies folks! Can't wait to use them however I can't eat anything I would like to cook in them for another 17 days. That being said if I do choose to bake in them one of you will probably get a cookie delivery or something equally yummy.

Well that's about all! Tomorrow we are going to the Children's Museum in Burlington and maybe I will take some pics.