Monday, February 28, 2011

The Beginning-The Middle- The End

Beginning of last week - Peace

Middle of last week - Devastation

End of the week - Revelation

This was my week last week. It was a roller coaster of emotions. I am not sure that I have ever been so confused, angry, sad, relieved and did I mention confused in my life.

The weekend brought some good stuff though. I was able to enjoy a Women's Retreat with some women from Bible Study. It was wonderful to be far away from reality, where I could focus on what was important and relax as well. On Saturday we had a speaker and she was wonderful. Her message was focused on the bond we need to have with God, in personal relationship with Him. The entire message was great, but as usual I think everyone has a different part that sticks. I love how God is able to speak to each of us individually when we are sitting in a room with many others. The part I loved was a reference she made using a song. The song was, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." I can't begin to tell you the comfort I felt in the reminder of those five words.

It is so easy to become distracted from my ability to find peace in just resting in His presence. I get so distracted by what is going on I forget I can find Him right where I am at in the moment that I need Him. I forget to call for help.

I think the most devastating part of the news I was given on Wednesday was the fact that I had found so much peace at the beginning of the week. I felt robbed. So quickly I forgot the peace that I had, so quickly I forgot that if I asked I could keep that peace. So quickly I forgot that I could ask for the comfort I needed. I forgot to keep my eyes on Him. And when I did that I was distracted from the truth and blinded by lies.

I need to remember that my time on this earth is so short compared to the eternity that I will get to spend in heaven. The problems and trials I experience here are just stepping stones to get me to the finish line. And someday there will be nothing that can try and get in between me and my love for HIM!

This song is one of my favorites. I have been singing it my head and humming it in my step since Saturday. It is a comfortable reminder of where my focus needs to be.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
look full in His wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!


Yeah Julie you won the cookie scoop. I know you said you were going to gift it your mom if you won, and since she is one of my favorite people in the world, I am so happy you won. I will get this to you on Wednesday.

Thanks for reading kitchen must haves!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kitchen Must Haves + A Giveaway

I am so excited for this weeks kitchen must haves. Homemade baking is something that speaks to my heart. I have fond memories of my grandma's home made cookies cooling on the counter waiting patiently to be devoured by tiny mouths. I also remember my grandma scrub my fave with a dish cloth until my skin hurt, cleanliness is close to Godliness right.

So we do a lot of baking around here especially cookies and thought that maybe sharing my cookie baking must haves would be a good topic for today. Including a new recipe find.

Here are two of the tools I use when baking cookies.

The colored mats are silicone baking mats that I use in place of parchment paper. I find they help with more even baking and I at they same time they keep the cookies from sticking to the pan, the cookies just slide right off. The other nice thing about the baking sheets is they are reusable for an amazing amount. I have read that you can use them 100's of times before needing to be replaced. When cleaning you just wipe they with a damp cloth and most everything disappears. For stickier uses such as meringue cookies or something with lots of chocolate you may need to use some warm soapy water, however no scrubbing needed

The second tool I find to be a kitchen must have is a cookie scoop. Pictured above is an OXO brand cookie scoop that my Grandma gave me years ago. I heart this tool. It makes all of your cookies the same uniform size and prevents the rogue extra large cookie from crowding its neighbors space. This also helps all of your cookies take the same amount of time to bake.

The last piece of info will answer a question I get a lot....what type of cookie sheets do you use. There are 100's of types of baking sheets out there and I have tried a number of them, however I have completely switched to a plain jane commercial style cookie sheet. You can get them at any wholesale market, in our area I get them from cash and carry. They are not fancy by any means, just plain stainless steel. I like this because you can scrub them down without ruining the surface and they are good to go for the next time. They also work for many other cooking needs.

The giveaway item is a brand new OXO Cookie Scoop . Hope you are excited, if you don't use one already it will change the way you make cookies for sure.

So that leads us to the give away and rules for winning. You can enter in one or both of the following ways.
1- Leave a comment telling me what your favorite kind of cookie is. Leave your email so that I can get back to you if you win.
2-For an extra entry- Post about the giveaway on your blog.
Any one is eligible to win and I will ship the cookie scoop to whoever the lucky winner is.
By the way I will allow entries until Saturday at 4pm Pacific time.

And as promised my new favorite cookie recipe.
I am calling it the Triple Threat.

Triple Threat Cookies
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tblsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
8 oz of chocolate chips
8 oz chocolate chips - crushed up

in a food processor or blender grind up 1 cup of the oatmeal.

Combine - Oats, flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Cream Together - butter and sugar until light and fluffy ( I usually turn on a timer for 5 minutes) and then beat in canilla and peanut butter. Add eggs one at a time.

Gradually blend in Flour mixture.

Add Chocolate Chips, beat just until combined.

Chill cookie dough for 1-2 hours.

Form into balls smashing slightly (perfect time to use your cookie scoop).

Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy and good luck to whoever wins.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lego Man

My Elliot is a Lego Man. He calls himself a Lego master.

This weekend he brought this downstairs, told me this was only half of his minifigs, took a picture himself and told me to post it on the blog.

And since easy requests are my favorite, here you are.


And we live in our house so my desk is covered in whatnot all of the time.

Check back tomorrow for a kitchen must haves post along with a give away and a new recipe.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A little project.

Grace and I love hair bling. We love flower headbands, clips, pretty pony holders and the like. We like ourselves a fancy headband:)

However this "like" costs money and I finally realized with a little effort maybe I could learn to make some hair bling myself.

This is what I came up with. I am still experimenting. I am going to try and make some bigger flowers tonight. Its kind of fun, and its easy on the pocket book as well.

I just used regular old felt from the fabric store, I bought the clip pieces there as well.

By no means am I an expert, but as I get better I hope to pop a little tutorial on here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Art of Discernment

I have been learning much about this lately. I feel tested. Actually I do not feel as much as I know with every fiber of my being that I am being tested. I know that God is testing me. We are having a round and round again. Its all good. And if I felt as if I could write it all down while keeping the tears within my noggin and still keep my vision in hopes of seeing what I am typing I would, however that is not possible at the moment.

So once again I will share what I am thinking about the topic.

Discernment is something you start to learn from an early age. However I think in the younger years it can be clouded and blended together with self control, knowing better, and the difference between right and wrong. However, as an adult it is seems to be so much more complicated and it gets harder the older I get.

It can be leaving out part of the conversation because if you really love someone sometimes holding back a bit means guarding their heart. It can be leaving a job that you love because you know that no matter how hard you try to do it all there is only one job in this world that really matters to you and if you can't do that one job 100% nothing else matters. It can be financial. It can be relational. It can be spiritual. It can be accepting or rejecting opportunities. It can mean walking through one door to watch it close, only to see a cracked window up ahead.

That's all I need sometimes is a cracked window to get the point. To catch a tiny glimpse of what God has in store in this life and for the life here after.

Once again I am a thinker. I have a brain that does not take a break. This discernment thing takes a lot more effort. And in the mastering of it, it is strengthening my faith because sometimes you just don't know what He wants you to do. Sometimes you don't know the answer. I like the faith scary as it is I like the faith part.

However having to use heavenly discernment is getting tiring. I think in all of it I am being stretched once again for a greater purpose. In the last couple of months I have been called to much greater and bigger things than I ever felt were possible. Things change moment to moment, hence the reason for the ten minute plan.

I am so thankful for a God that is present, that is with me in every moment. I am so thankful for the peace only He can wash over me after I discern what in the world I am supposed to do with this life He has given. I am so thankful that even though I have gone through weeks of wonder He can clear it up in a single morning.

I have been waiting for clarity and He sent it and with it came peace. And with that came smile crying something I have mastered and after the cry I felt free to continue with the path that I am on. The path before me once again seems smooth and easy. Although I know He is not finished:) That is the best part.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kitchen Must Haves A Few Days Late

Originally I was in a dream world that included me blogging on Thursday. However the procedure I had on Tuesday had different ideas. Wisdom Teeth removal is not fun however after a follow up visit with the dentist yesterday, and a quick idea on how to correct a painful situation I am close to on top of the world this morning.

So wait no must haves is on the topic of oils:) I know everyone is excited. But I know from experience there are a lot of oil out there derived from different things and they really all do hold unique purpose and ability.

I am going to cover four today, however I would be more than happy to answer questions on any oil..just let me know.

First up Olive Oil.

Now there are many types of olive oil - Virgin, Extra Virgin,Pure, Pomace, and a few others. If you see the word virgin in association with olive oil it just simply means there were no chemicals used in the making or extraction of the oil from the olives. Pure Olive oil is a bit more misleading, it is usually a blend of chemically treated olive oil and virgin olive oil. They chemically treat t to give the olive oil a more neutral flavor. Olive Oil with the word Pomace associated with it is oil that has been extracted from the solid parts of the olive, normally they balance it with some virgin olive oil.

I know this is very exciting already but now I am going to tell you what and what not to use olive oil for. Please use olive oil in salad dressings, sauces, soups, and the like. you may also use it in sauteing.....not frying. The temperature should never be high when using olive oil because olive oil burns and can put off a rancid taste. However this being said if you want to use olive oil at a higher heat a Pomace based olive works wonders.

Dates do matter on most oils, they can go rancid. Best to store oils in darker glass bottles in a dark cupboard or space. Light and heat will make your oils spoil faster.

Vegetable Oil is second on our list.

Vegetable oil comes from plants. Being that vegetable oil is flavorless it is perfect to be used in baking. Most recipes for cupcakes or cakes or even some cookies, quick breads and the like call for vegetable oil for this exact reason. It does not provide some of the same health benefits as olive oil or the others, but it stills serve a purpose. so when a recipe calls for it specifically use it unless you don't mind the flavor of olive oil in your baked goods, which there are plenty of recipes for. Vegetable oil can also be used for frying because it can withstand high heat. I keep it on hand it gets used often.

Vegetable oil has been getting a bad wrap for ages....just don't bathe in it or drink you will be fine:)

Peanut Oil is the last oil up to bat . I actually use Peanut Oil for frying because it gives off a nutty flavor and I think it also make things a bit crunchier when frying. You do however need to be careful if using this and you are not aware of any of your dinner guests possible foo allergies. They say people with nut allergies are usually not affected by peanut oil unless its cold pressed oil...which who really wants to find out if its cold pressed or not, so my advice is to avoid if you know someone with peanut allergies. SO make some french fries and enjoy:)

Lastly my friend Sesame Oil. YUM!

Although Sesame Oil is most often used in Asian dishes, I do not like to classify ingredients like that so much, so I say you never know until you try. I use Sesame Oil to saute, in marinades, in sauces, for can pretty much use it for anything and the flavor is amazing. If you are going to use it to fry use a light Sesame Oil, because it has a higher smoking point then the dark. However I find the dark much more flavorful, so I keep both on hand. A stir fry dish is best place to use this for the first time.

And lastly the secret weapon....Bacon Fat. One last little tip when searing meat I use bacon fat that I have reserved from the breakfast menu on many occasions. It doesn't take much and it will kick up the flavor ten fold. You can keep it in a plastic lidded container in the fridge and it keeps for quite awhile. Its a kitchen trick when you go to a restaurant and order a large piece of meat this is no doubt what they use to give it the flavor. They even will use it in chicken dishes.

Hope this was helpful. Thanks Lea for the idea and the delicious bottle of olive oil.

Next week we are going to have a give away attached to the kitchen must have, so check back to find out how to participate.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wisdom Teeth

I had my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday. So I will be taking a couple days off from my blog. I am hoping to be back on tomorrow to talk about a kitchen must have.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Belltown Restaurant Tour

They actually refer to the tour as Seattle Food Tours because they are always changing up the restaurants for the tour. You can email here to book a tour.

First off you walk from restaurant to restaurant and I can't help but think this would be more enjoyable if we weren't experiencing torrential downpour and unfailing wind. However you stop at a restaurant every couple blocks so you hardly notice the walk. Each restaurant stops last around 20 minutes. At each stop you get enjoy a tasting size portion of a dish prepared just for you. Some are paired with a beverage.

Our guide was amazing her name was Heather. She was super informative and she has been doing food tours for about three years. Turns out she is a baker so she has some great personal food knowledge as well.

The restaurants were all self made restaurants, meaning blood, sweat and tears were but into each one to make a go, this being said each holds a rich history within its self. Each restaurant has a menu determined by a chef or cook that loves ingredients, that wants you to experience the ingredients. You will not find freezer food on this tour and because this is my kind of food and my kind of cooking it makes me smile:)

First stop Lola.
This little map shows 5 of Tom Douglas' establishments. He currently owns 7 different eateries and they say by the end of the year he will own 11. He is amazing...his whole idea or vision is to take regular food, or local food and put a spin on it. For example the restaurant we went to Lola. Lola is a Greek restaurant with a modern feel, using hints of Mediterranean, and South African food traditions. The difference is they use all ingredients from the Pacific NW. This gives Tom Douglas an amazing niche in the community, organizing himself with local growers and purveyors to support the local food scene.
OK, OK what did we eat here? We had their homemade pitas(yum, yum, yum) with three different spreads-Tzatziki~cucumber yogurt,Cauliflower~anchovy(my favorite)and Red pepper~harissa. This was a delicious beginning to the tour.
The environment at this restaurant was really nice. It had a really cozy, home feel.

Next Up, Frontier Room.
This place was great. It was previously a dive bar,but has now been turned into a restaurant by day and nightclub by night. We were greeted by a very nice server at the door and seated at a large wood planked table. They started by handing everyone a clean crisp bar towel(our napkin). This restaurant is also locally owned and is primarily a BBQ joint. BBQ in Seattle that is traditionally slow cooked for 20 hours,unheard of. This would be a great place to go with kids. I am sure that food on the floor or less than perfect behavior would not be frowned upon here.

They brought us slow roasted pulled pork sliders here. First let me say they were amazing, this was Brian's favorite taste. They served it dry rub style, topped with coleslaw, which is my personal preference. This way you can really enjoy the tenderness and flavor of the meat itself. They did serve it with a homemade BBQ sauce on the side along with a homemade chili infused vinegar(I want this on everything, I will be making some soon).

The environment was one that I could see myself enjoying with a group of friends on any given evening enjoying each others company.

A little way down the block we found Pinxto. I don't have a card but here'stheir website.

Pinxto is a modern Spanish tapas bar. Interesting tidbit about Pinxto is that they do not have any freezers on their premises. This means they buy everything fresh everyday. Amazing!! All of their food is made at the bar their is no formal kitchen int his restaurant. They make it all to order fresh, just for you!! This is rare and amazing all wrapped into one. All of their beverages are also handcrafted, and created for their restaurant by their bartender. We were told event he design of their space is authentic to a traditional tapas bar. It was long skinny story front that seemed cozy and intimate.

They served us freshly made Spanish meatballs, and goat cheese filled bacon wrapped dates with a glass of their house-made sangria. Holy Capitolie, these bacon wrapped dates for so perfectly made, the date was soft and supple and sweet, with the subtle tang of the goat cheese, wrapped completely in the salty bacon.....yum!

This would be a great place for happy hour with friends. Which I heard is 1/2 off all menu items 4-6pm and then from 10-close.

The next place we stopped was one I was most excited about. Shiro!

Shiro is an authentic Sushi restaurant on 2nd avenue. Some say that Shiro is the best sushi chef in the world, most agree that he is the best sushi chef in America. Shiro was actually born in Japan and started working in Sushi restaurants as a young boy. Now sushi chefs are extremely particular and view all of their dishes as art. I have been told to become an apprentice you aren't even allowed to touch the rice for years. This is no easy task. Shiro still does the shopping himself for his restaurants, this is incredible. All of their sushi is made the traditional way most of their meats have been cured and smoked. You will not find chopsticks or soy sauce or wasabi on their tables, much like you will not find A-1 at a great steak house.

They start your experience off with hot damp towels to clean your hands. From that point forward its finger food. They do serve the sushi with pickled ginger but that is souly for palate cleansing.

We were given to pieces of sashimi style sushi. One being a tuna sashimi served with a smear of wasabi underneath the piece of fish, it was so incredible fresh. Next was a sampling of Unagi(eel) it had been BBQ'ed. Now I must say in the past Unagi and I are not friends,however this is not the type of environment to politely say not thank you, I must say I am glad I didn't, the texture and flavor were perfect. I might now be an Unagi believer;)

The environment is nothing fancy, Shiro says he wants the feel to be that of a traditional sushi house. Modest surrounds to draw focus to the food, which was beautiful.

The next stop was my favorite on the tour. Branzino.
From the moment we walked in I knew that it was fabulous. We were first introduced to the Chef and his Sous, who was meticulously cleaning up a large piece of meat. They were sharing a tiny prep space to work on that nights offerings. The other thing that was surprising to me is that these guys were noticeably young and you could tell they had the respect of their entire staff. While talking to them over their station, who walks in, Peter Lamb himself. I was starstruck. I have read about all of this guys previous accomplishments, such as Il Bistro and Queen City Grill. He has been marked a genius.

We were seated by the co-owner himself,who we were told is extremely hands on, this is how restaurants succeed, owner operated. Anyway he sat us in a fabulous corner table and quickly served us Pappardelle, which is a dish made with a thick and silky homemade noodle, topped with a house made Bolgnese sauce, and finished with freshly shaved salty Parmesan. YUM! As I said before I could bathe in this sauce. IT smelled and tasted like heaven. You might be interested to know they make all of their pasta here except for the fettuccine, because fettuccine needs to be firmer, homemade just isn't able to hold up to the sauce.

I think I have said this already but I loved this place, we will be going back. Perfect venue for a romantic date or a celebratory event.

Last was naturally dessert. We travelled down a couple of blocks to Macrina Bakery. Macrina Bakery has two locations one in Belltown and a newly opened location on Queen Anne. The woman who opened Macrina has a wonderful story. It was started by a woman named Lesli Mackie who started her based on the love of the product she made, bread. Now she is making bread for more than 200 grocery type establishments as well as her two locations. She is till herself involved in the making of her product.

Here we enjoyed a nearly flourless brownie that I had actually made a few times in the last week because she had made her recipe public in Bon Appetite, a magazine I subscribe to. None-the-less hers was way better, she makes them thicker than suggested int he magazine, maybe that was her best kept secret. Anyway they served it with a hot lovely cup of coffee. I saw all sorts of muffins and scones as well on the menu. One of the other people in our group was celebrating a birthday and she was served a ginormous delicious looking Devils Food cupcake.

The environment was really cute, perfect glass case (a secret desire of mine), old school bakery. Everything is made fresh everyday with a passion for the bake goods she is making.

There was a common thread between all of these establishments and that was they were all making food they believed in with ingredients that became the dishes they were intended to become. It was not just food it was an experience to be had. I do not like the term foodie it gets under my skin. Foodies are people who like food. I would consider myself an ingredient lover. Because the best meals are comprised of the best ingredients, which are typically fresh, local and loved. All of these restaurants held these things of utmost importance. I love it!

So that brings us to the end of the tour. If you have any questions about the places we visited, drop me a line. Again I would totally recommend this tour to anyone it was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Belltown Restaurant Tasting Tour

Tomorrow you can look forward to a full post on a restaurant tour Brian and I went on yesterday in Belltown. We were able to taste lots of yummy food and experience quite a few different cuisines and dining experiences. It was fabulous! And I shook Peter Lambs hand....he's a restaurant legend..having started some of Seattle's most well known restaurants he makes them a success, sells them and goes on to start the next project. His restaurant Branzino was the best restaurant we visited yesterday! I will soon go back and bathe in their Bolognese sauce, it was the single most delicious sauce i have had in my lifetime!

But more tomorrow, I promise. Complete with a brief review of each establishment.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Prayer Request

Just asking for prayer this morning on behalf of a family at our school. Their little boy ( a 1st grader) came down with Strep A this week and was admitted to Childrens. We got word that he would be having open heart surgery at 8:30am today. I can not imagine what they must be going through. I do know that God is with them. Please pray for the Drs. involved as well as for comfort for them as they go through this.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

That's Cute

I have been watching my niece on Thursdays I call her my little mouse. The two girls love to do crafts and eat snacks together. That's Cute!
Elliot and Grace like to take pictures right now. Heres one Elliot took of Kristin and I! That's Cute.
Grace has turned one of her dollhouses into a pony house. There are four ponies in one tiny bathroom...reminds me of our house. That's Cute!
My dog thinks she is a queen. She perches on things like a cat. That's Cute!
My Grandma says she's beyond the word Cute (I think she's wrong). That's Cute!

Belltown Restaurant Tour

My Mom was super creative with Christmas this year, instead of giving each person a gift she gave each couple a gift. I thought that was fun. So our gift was a restaurant tour through Bellevue. Two of the restaurants are marked by James Beard Awards. At each restaurant we will get to have a menu tasting and a tour of the restaurant:) I am super excited, as you can probably tell.

Hopefully I will get lots of pictures. I will attempt to not let you down and include names and overviews of each venue. Each restaurant holds represents a different type of cuisine and eating environment so this should be very interesting as well.

We are also going to double this as a Valentine's Day celebration and head down a little early to do some window shopping. I am trying to talk Brian into stopping for donuts and chocolate milk on the way out of town.....Rocket Donuts please:)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Must Have Kitchen Goods

So I interrupt our normal posting to announce a new segment on the Jager blog.

Must Have Kitchen Goods

Each week I will share one of my must have kitchen goods. I am labeling them goods so I have the freedom to share a gadget, pantry item or the like at my free will. Some will be silly, some will be handy, some will be tasty, some will be cheap and others won't. I would also love to start reviewing some kitchen items so I might incorporate that as well. Feel free to leave questions about particular items,have a gadget that you have never used because you don't know how to use it, have a recipe that never works but you want to figure it out (I might be able to help)...the lines are open any food related question will be answered.

This first item is a cheese grater, I own 4 cheese graters(I have a problem), up until a year ago I disliked them all. I found them hard to clean, hard to hold onto in use, and messy.

When moving my Grandma into a new apartment this past year she passed on a cheese grater she had gotten from my aunt and never used, I think she called it silly.? And for a family of 1 or 2 that doesn't need a lot of grated cheese she is probably right. However in our house we use lots of grated cheese so this thing is real handy.

This grater is from IKEA and it is a handy little guy that sits on the counter top in use (solving the hard to hold onto problem). The best part is the cheese falls right into the little detachable bowl, so no need to dirty extra plates or cutting boards in the prep process. I have also found it extremely easy to clean with the ability to pop off the top you can just spray it off and throw it into the dishwasher, no need to fear for your hand while reaching down into the depths of the grater. On top of this I saw the new ones have a lid as well giving you the option to store grated cheese in the container portion.

Unfortunately I have no idea how much it costs, but being from IKEA it can't cost much.

Sometimes it is the simplest things that make your life easier...this is one of them!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cutest Bowling Kids Ever

Just wanted to share a pic of the cutest bowlers I have ever seen.


What to do on a sick day.?

I have come to find out I am very much out of touch with what to do on sick days. We are sick very rarely in this house....thankfully. We forgot how boring it is.

Elliot came down with Strep Throat last night:( Nearly everyone at school has had it in the last two weeks and it seems it is our turn.

So what have we done today?

-Watched Countless episodes of Mythbusters.
-Scoured Ebay to see if said little boy had enough cash to snatch up some of his wished for discontinued Lego sets.
-Had a quiet reading hour.
-More Mythbusters.
-DS (don't judge the little dude is miserable and bored)

Fresh out of ideas.

Daddy went to watch the Superbowl. I am pooped and I haven't hardly done anything today.

The boy wants a milkshake and since I no longer have a blender (shocking) I think we will go find one at a drive through. Fresh Air will be nice...? Don't worry we won't leave the car, no need to spread the love.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Having a little girl is complicated:)

I have a little girl and her name is Grace. She is the most beautiful little girl in the world. I love her spunk, her independent streak and her ability to see things n black and white (there is no gray area for Grace). I tell Brian so often that I wish I could be more like her in so many ways. God is growing her into the most beautiful little girl. Raising her does not come without struggle however, but that is alright.

I always wanted a little girl and God gave me one. But with mothering a little girl comes great responsibility. There is so much in this world that attacks the image of a woman daily. We are bombarded with images, ideals and standards that seem impossible to live up to. Having a five year old girl reminds me of this daily.

Being at school for Grace has been great, she has tons of friends and she loves to learn. But being outside the home in school with all kinds of kids with all of their own sets of influences has been interesting. I have had to diffuse more girl issues this year than I ever dreamed.

A couple of months ago I was driving Grace to Bellingham for ballet when she burst into tears. I was alarmed, she was unconsolable. It was a messy situation. Once I got her calmed down she told me she didn't want to put her leotard on. I asked her why and she then told me someone at school told her she had a big tummy. Shock, Horror, Outrage and Anger ran through my veins. If you have older kids and have had your childrens hearts broken you know the feeling. Its heartbreaking. The hardest part is in talking to her and explaining to her that she was made beautifully by God. She told me I wouldn't know because this girl was six and grace is only five so this little girl must be right. I know its not right for me to want to beat up a six year old but really. Secondly there is no merit to the statement this child made to mine. Never did find out who this child is. Probably for the better. However I have prayed for her.

I guess I am sharing this to spread the awareness. To spread the awareness that our little girls are already facing body image issues at the ages of 5 and 6. That a uber confident happy little girl can be crushed by soemone elses view of her. Its earth shattering to me.

I have been reading another blog recently that has been featuring a series on body image. It is written by a psychologist that specializes in body image. She is really enlightening. You can find her here. I love her view on the subject. It has given me realization that this is a universal problem. And with this realization comes change and with that change comes promises.

I have kept quiet about this for awhile because every time a woman of my size says anything about this issue others give you a look and if its not a look its a laugh or scoff. I am tired of this. We all have self esteem and body issues...if you say you don't you are lying. And for my daughter and my friends and my mothers and all of the other women in my life I refuse to ignore it anymore.

Because of my recent realization I am pledging the following. I am pledging to exude an air of self love in order to be a good influence on not just my daughter but any other girl in general. I am pledging to give my daughter confidence in her self that is built on a foundation that does not depend on your pant size or what you look like in a bathing suit. I am pledging to raise my daughter up to have healthy body image and healthy life practices in order to produce a healthy body to promote a healthy life. I pledge to make healthy choices for myself so I can lead by example. I am pledging to teach my daughter to love her body because it is the one God gave her. I am pledging to love my body for the same reasons. And we are beautiful because He thinks so. I am pledging to never use the D-I-E-T word in her presence ever! I pledge daily to pray for her self image in order to help her continue to have confidence in who she is.

I know these things will still not be enough and she still will have her heart broken. But I pray that I can aid in her loving her self a lot earlier than I did. A lot earlier than a lot of us do. I want her to know she has a woman in her corner that loves herself to.

I pray that if you have young girls in your life or just girl friends in general that you would make this pledge as well, that you would make a pact to lift yourselves up. That you would would make a pact to love each other for your heavenly purpose not because of the number that shows up on the scale or the number on the tag in your jeans.

Obviously this is important to me. Its alarming to me. It is something that I am on a mission to defeat. And only with Gods help can I even try:)

I am Jessica Jager and I love the women and girls in my life to much to ignore the problem! I hope you do to!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dear Mr Husband,

Dear Mr. Husband, (I will save my more mushy nicknames for just me and you;)

Thank you for asking me to marry you 9 years ago this month on the 9th to be exact. I am not quite sure what I would do without you. I most certainly would not survive my two nights of no sleep due to much prayer over life, if I then couldn't spill my guts to you over a mommy and daddy breakfast date. Thank you for not going bug eyed and pulling your hair out because I am a bit cooky sometimes:) Thank you for singing to me in stores while we are shopping and not listening to me when i ask you to please keep it down, I secretly love it even though strangers stare at us with, what I think is, pity for me(just kidding). Thank you for smiling at me with dimples when I tell you I am have the best dimples in the world, and I must thank you in advance for passing them onto our children and teaching them how to use them on me, its helpful! Thank you for finding my engagement ring when it dropped into the snow atop the mountain you proposed to me on, I would be sad without it! Thanks for making this life fun!! You are the best friend I could ever have! Thanks for ultimately just wanting me to be happy, its the best having you be my personal cheerleader!! Thanks for attempting to set everyone we know that is single up with someone else we know that is single, it reminds me of your grandpa:) Your quest for others coupled happiness is sweet to me, lets just make sure people are really single next time:) Thanks for telling me to write down my dreams so we can get to all of them someday even if it isn't right now! Thanks for knowing whats important to me and trying your best to honor those things and apologizing when you can't!

You are the best Mr. Husband!! I am the luckiest Mrs. Wife in the world! Lets be together forever!