Archive | December 2012

We’ve Come to the End of the Road (but we can’t let go…..)

Can’t you hear Boys2Men crooning in your ear as you read that title?  I thought it was appropriate for a post recapping my year…..

In true co-blogging fashion, I’m yet again copying Mary-Hall’s blog post and giving you a little year-in-review…this time of my 30×30 list.  I feel like I should have Ryan Seacrest guest hosting, er, guest-blogging or something.  Buckle up.  Here we go!

1. Visit a New Country
I checked this off my list this year in two forms…by visiting Belize on a cruise in January, and then again by heading mainland Mexico in August for my 30th birthday.  (I’d been on a Mexican island before…but never the mainland.)  Keith also got to cross a new country off HIS list this year when he took a work trip to India three weeks ago!

2. Run (complete) a half marathon.
I did BOTH parts of number two this year!  I ran 12.6 miles of…and walked .5 miles of…the Rock ‘N’ Roll Country Music 1/2 Marathon in Nashville, TN in April and then RAN every single step of the Rock ‘N’ Roll XFitness 1/2 Marathon in Chicago in July!  So I crossed the finish line in two out of two attempted 1/2 marathons in one year….one walk/run and one completely run.  And then I got runner’s knee.

3. Read a book a month.
This went well…for the first 8 months….I read my book a month.  and then I read several halves of books after that….and never finished them.  Currently in progress I have “The Fitting Room” by Kelly Minter and “Musicophilia” by Oliver Sacks.  Maybe someday I will finish them.

4. Learn to Use a circular saw.
This went well.  I made an awesome message board that I use every day in our kitchen.

5. Visit a new state OR major city.
I checked this one off by heading to Chicago this past summer.  It was an amazing trip! Maybe I can cross off a new state this coming year.

6.Cook a new recipe a month.
This was one of the best successes of the whole blog project.  I did cook my new recipe each month and since then I’ve been continuing to cook new recipes like crazy.  Especially now that I’m on this Paleo diet, I’m fixing up new things to eat right and left!

7. Reupholster an armchair or build a piece of furniture
I have a half-upholstered armchair in my shed from this list item.  I totally thought I could finish it, but hit a roadblock when the scalloped back of the chair required an industrial sewing machine.  I’m determined to finish this project in 2013.  I DID however add a shelf to the armoire in our living room, so I guess that’s kind of a little bit similar.  sort of.

8. Learn to change the oil in my car.
Yeah.  I’m still really good at finding coupons to the oil change place.

9. Lose 10 pounds.
DONE!  Not only did I accomplish this, I lost a total of 17 pounds between January 1st, 2012 and December 29th, 2012.  I accomplished this by running and calorie counting for the first half of the year, and then boot camp classes and shifting my eating habits to follow the Paleo diet starting about 2 months ago brought the rest of the weight sliding off.  I feel great!

10. Sew a Christmas stocking OR something really useful for my house.
I checked this off my list by sewing 6 throw pillow covers for my couch….and then bought two beautiful stockings at West Elm after christmas for 60% off.  Done and done.

11. Go caffeine free for 7 days straight.
This one took two tries thanks to a delicious chocolate delicacy that I couldn’t resist on day 6 of my first attempt at 7 days straight.  So I had to try again.  But the second time was a great success and these days since I’m hardcore with my Paleo diet, my caffeine intake is limited to an occasional cup of coffee, diet Coke or piece of dark chocolate.  Much better than last year.

12. Stop biting my nails.
A nasty habit I picked up around age four, and a lifelong battle.  Ended.  Done.  I no longer bite my nails, I get them manicured.  Easier on the hands, harder on the pocketbook.  I’ll take it.

13. Write a song.
This is actually halfway in progress.  I started a melody in church one morning on the bulletin…and I will finish it.  2013.  It will happen.

14. Stain master closet organizer
Whew!  This was a big one as well!  When we remodeled our house, the custom shelves I had build in the master closet never got stained or painted and the raw wood taunted me everytime I entered.  So I did a closet overhaul which included not only staining the wood a lovely color, but weeding out clothes, sewing curtains for the window in the closet (left over from the days when the closet was part of the kitchen), hanging a mirror on the closet wall, hanging a jewelry organizer on the wall and putting extra clothes in neatly labeled boxes.  Organization at its finest, people.

15. Surprise my husband (somehow)
I pulled this one off in grand fashion this past February when hubs turned 40 and I whisked him away for three days in New Orleans where we ate yummy food, listened to jazz, bummed around our amazing hotel, and saw the city on foot, taxi, horse-drawn carriage and cable car.

16. Taste one new food a month
This was another highly successful list item.  I not only tasted a new food a month from January-August, but then I kept on tasting like crazy.  This month alone I’ve tried brussel sprouts, butternut and acorn squash and last month I drank almond milk, FINALLY worked up the nerve to try asparagus again and liked it….my dietary horizons are expanding every day.

17. Blog more regularly.
This, folks, is my 98th post (and post number 202 for the Blog as a whole!) so I think that counts! I can’t believe that what started as an email from Mary-Hall last December has turned into something I do twice a week on an average!  And we ain’t stopping.  More on that in days to come!  Mary-Hall has been working her magic and we’ll have some exciting news to roll out soon!

18. Take a yoga class
I stretched and posed into all kinds of crazy positions this summer in the park in Chicago.  Namaste.

19. Do some sort of musical and kid-related volunteer project.
This item got added to the list by our friend Alice from highschool.  She suggested something involving my violin and a Title 1 school, and what evolved was teaching a one-session “intro to violin” workshop at a school in Huntsville, Alabama for kids in a particularly economically depressed area of town (where incidentally, my grandmother used to work in the early 1900’s!).  The kids paid attention and asked marvelous questions and I had a blast.  Thanks Alice for your awesome suggestion!

20. Take an official cooking class
I squeaked this in by attending a guacamole class on my birthday trip to Mexico.  (A nasty case of Montezeuma’s Revenge coupled with a tropical storm prevented me from also attending the ceviche class).  I would LOVE to take a real class this year.  The Whole Foods in Green Hills offers some excellent options so this year I’m going to plan ahead and take one.

21. Learn Bach’s Concerto No. 2 in E Major. 
I do know parts of this concerto now.  But I could not, by any stretch, perform the whole thing.  Maybe the beautiful wooden music stand that my parents gave me for Christmas will help me find some inspiration.

22. Memorize the Book of James
Inspired by Beth Moore’s challenge put forth in her study on the book of James, and a previous failed attempt in college, I thought this year would be the year.  But it wasn’t.  I did read the book several times through.

23. Watch Gone With the Wind
My lovely friend Annie of AnnieBlogs and I curled up in my living room one day with some fabulous cheese grits and other Southern fare and watched this slice of classic cinematography.  I cried.  I gasped.  Rhett didn’t give a da**.

24. Learn to speak Spanish conversationally
No habla Espanol.  Still.

25. Read at least through Luke 13 or the entire Bible.
I did make it to the New Testament which is quite a feat considering the begats and other various lists in the Old Testament can bog you down.  I’m going to keep going on this one.

26. Create a daily schedule.
I did this.  But I did it before I got a job and life changed a bit.  It’s one I consider checked off, but that I look forward to re-visiting.  I’d like to work daily times for running and reading (the Bible and other things) into my schedule as well as cooking dinner a few times a week and work and everything else that needs to be done.  I shall revamp and update you.

27. Eucharisteo
It started with reading a book and turned into a jar and then into a painting and a way of life.  I am THANKFUL for so many things tonight as I sit and reflect on the year past.

28. Family History Tour of Lincoln County, TN
We never did make it to Lincoln County this year.  Or figure out how my family is related to Jack Daniel.  I am moving this to the top of the 2013 priority list.

29. One week of no iPhone games.
I did this with great determination and success, but I probably need to revisit it again as I’ve gotten back to my old techno-gaming self. (Angry Birds seasons had an update…..).  But smoking my husband, niece, brother-in-law and mother-in-law in Words With Friends is just too fun to stop….

30. Complete a sprint length triathlon.
I also managed to swim, run and bike my way across the finishline in Hendersonville this past year…in between my first and second half marathons.  It was crazy.  But I finished.  And I’m going to do it again, thanks to the awesome new triathlon suit my parents gave me for Christmast this year!  Bring it.

As I look back over what I did and didn’t accomplish in the past 12 months, I find it quite comical that most of what I completed required a lifestyle change: running, eating a new diet, not biting my fingernails….but some of the things that I could have just taken an afternoon to do DIDN’T happen like the oil change or finishing that dang chair.  Was it really easier to change my entire life instead of accomplish a simple goal?  It’s so funny how my brain works.

In other news, I want chickens.  And a compost pile.  And you were worried the blog might end……..pshaw.  These “Two Girls” are just getting started……..

The Final Countdown

This post is kind of like the end of those movies where they show “follow up” pictures with little subtitles like “Jack and Jill later had 7 children and opened a successful cupcake shop”.  Those are always so satisfying even when they’re 100% fictional just like the rest of the movie…So here we go, a wrap up of the ole 30×30 list.  Warning:  Its gonna be LOOOOONG.

1. Make cinnamon rolls
I never did repeat the effort although I kinda thought about it for Christmas this year.  BUT, my mantra for Christmas was to take it easy.  So I bought some frozen Cinnabons from Wal-mart.  Guess what?  They were GROSS.  Maybe some time in 2013 I’ll restock my freezer with frozen homemade ones.

2. Cook for an entire week from scratch.
Proud to say that I’m still doing pretty good at this one.  Hamburger Helper is rare… Kraft Mac-N-Chese still happens.  Hello, I have a toddler. But seriously, I have developed a new system of freezing leftovers and when I don’t get around to cooking, I head for the freezer. Frankly the microwave defrost function is even easier than pre-processed astronaut food and tastes much better.

3. Grow vegetable garden
Well, as you all know I kinda punked out on this one and instead visited a farmer’s market.  That was a good experience though, and I just got a tip for an even more awesome spot selling veggies by the bushel. So yeah, canning and freezing, here we come. (Third consecutive mention of the freezer. I know.)

4. Crochet this one pattern that I’ve never been able to get right
The little eggs went off to their new home in a wee Swedish kitchen.  I made another gift from that book as well – a little pink bunny.  For Ransom, because he requested it, multiple times.  And don’t tell the eggs, but the bunny turned out WAY cuter.  I think the difference is in the yarn I used.

bunny

5. Sew an apron.
Did that.  Gave as wedding gift.

6. Take ballroom dancing lessons
Did that too.  Can’t remember even the first step.

7. Figure out how to take pictures that are in focus
I do love my new old camera, and I think it was well worth the $200 investment.  I still have OBVIOUS room for improvement but I’m satisfied with my progress.

8. Read one book per month
Well, I read 8 rather than 12 but hey – That’s better than zero. And there’s one more I may squeeze in before 1/1.

9.Get a pedicure.
Did it.  Loved it.  Too cheap to do it regularly.  HA.  True though.

10. Wear eyeliner
I paid a professional to apply it the first time, but guess what, I put a little on myself for a corporate Christmas party.  It didn’t look half bad.  But it DID cause another minor allergic reaction.  Fiddle.

11. Learn a new hairstyle
OOH, I should work on some more of those. Now that I telecommute, I can wear my hair however I flippin’ want to, with no judgement from anyone except the cat. Cats are pretty judgmental though.

12. Get ears pierced.
Love wearing earrings but my fears of sensitive skin were sorta true.  Its pure gold for this chick.  I’m exaggerating, pure silver is fine too.  And some hypoallergenic ones are fine too.  Otherwise, 3 hours in and I’ll have itchy ear lobes for a week.

13. Figure out what kind of wine I like.
Turns out I don’t like wine.  If I’m at a restaurant with my boss’s boss and need to look legitimate, then I aim for a “riesling”.  Otherwise, why put on airs when I can just order a margarita?

14. Go to a Caribbean island
Did it.  Loved it.  Want to go back.  Torn between going back to Jamaica or trying something new.  Oh how I love to try new things.  Any suggestions people?

15. Weekend trip to Moab
I am thankful that this list forced me to force my husband to drive us to Moab on one of our last weekends in Colorado.  What a great trip.  I miss the West and its plethora of national parks.

IMG_2081

16. Take the train somewhere
Womp womp.  In Colorado, there are trains EVERYwhere.  Scenic trains.  Tourist trains.  Train museums.  In Mississippi, the options are quite a bit more limited. There’s Amtrak, and the train at the zoo. And we went out to the zoo in a last ditch effort of check this off the list, only to find that the train was out of service. So we rode the Merry-Go-Round instead. Alone. CREEPY!

The train ride has thus been postponed until we have a full weekend to devote to taking our Amtrak line to somewhere awesome.  You can ride it to New Orleans (4 hours) or Chicago (many hours).  Maybe this spring.

17. Take Ransom camping.
Ohh, he got the CUTEST sleeping bag for Christmas.  Maybe it will help him sleep better for our next trip.

18. Finish reading the entire Bible
Did it.  I’m contemplating starting over again on Jan 1.

19. Hang up family photos
Yep, I technically did this, even though the photos are currently just taped on top of some other frames.  I hemmed and hawed and finally decided I just can’t commit to framing things until we move in to our next house. On the upside? I kind of love having those old people looking out at us.  House guests may feel differently?

family_photos

20. Clean out closet and dresser
Well yes, I cleaned them out and packed them into boxes that are still packed and in storage on the porch.  Neatly organized, mind you.

21. Finish re-upholstering couch
She was a beaut.  And some nice lady snatched her out of my yard about 20 minutes after listing her as free on Craigslist.  Possibly should’ve sold her for $50 huh.

22. Run the BolderBoulder 10K
Sea level is for sissies.  That’s the Bolder Boulder’s motto.  I later ran a quick 5K last summer too.  Shock of the century, I really like jogging.  Me and every other 20-40yr old female in the greater Jackson metro area.

23. Make a life list
Did.  I have to add something – own a farm animal.  I’m thinking pygmy goats.

goat

24. List something on etsy
Did not.  This is complicated people. I have a few things I want to list but they are packed and I don’t know how to photograph them. And lets face it, Etsy starts and ends with photographs.

25. Write a children’s book
Public service announcement: Pregnancy and having a newborn wreak havoc on your hormones and I read somewhere that a lot of people get a surge of creativity… So if you fall into that category, be ready! I had this idea for a little girl’s adventure book, based on a true story, and I will write it one day but I haven’t yet. Its not the writing that scares me, its the illustrations.

And, one time in 5th grade gifted class, we did a project called “Written and Illustrated By” where we wrote an entire book and did all the drawing and binding and so forth. And guess what? Mine was titled “Into A Well” and it was …. bad. IS bad because I still have it somewhere. Will find and post for your amusement. And I really am not interested in my great idea ending up next to “Into a Well” in the halls of history because I didn’t do my idea justice.

After all, little girls need more adventure and less princess, IMHO.  So I will just wait until the creativity wave hits me again. Okay here’s a sneak peak:

DSCF0879

26. Learn to play OCMS’s “Wagon Wheel” on the banjo.
You guys, I did this too. I even played it for my family. I’d kinda like to record it for you guys too but the problem is, I need a singer. I can’t sing and play at the same time, not even a little bit. And my husband who is a great singer is probably not down with singing for the internet on my 30×30 blog. I could ask him….

27. Go to the dentist!
We went TWICE this year.  YAAAY for us, not letting our good insurance premiums go to waste as we so often have.

28. Sell our house and move to Mississippi
Here I sit in Mississippi.

29. Take a Sabbath rest
Perhaps we should do this TOMORROW. Because that is the last weekend of the year.

30! Start a new blog!
We did.  And we’re gonna do it again.  On Jan 1.  Both of us of course.  Wahoo!

Christmastime is Here….

Screen Shot 2012-12-24 at 10.54.46 PM

If we’d sent you all a Christmas card, chances are, it would have looked something like this. So here it is. Merry Christmas from the “Two Girls Turning Thirty” to all of our awesome readers!

Even though Mary-Hall and I currently live about 7 hours apart, our parents conveniently live only  20 minutes apart, so we always try to plan our holiday trips to intersect in some way.  [And sometimes they intersect even when we don’t plan for them to, which happened this past Mother’s Day.]  Two years ago, Keith and I went to MH’s parents’ house and ate some yummy chili with the Dale family.  Last year, MH and August ate lasagna with my family.  This year, they came back again  for Christmas Eve – Eve dinner and we decided to have chili again….except this time, I made my Caveman Chili recipe.  [I made a not-so-spicy version and even my anti-spicy-food-Mama enjoyed it!]  I guess next year, I’ll have to concoct a Paleo-Lasagna recipe to keep the alternating tradition alive.  As always, it was so fun to laugh, catch up, swap old stories and generally have a festive ole time.  Oh…and it was so fun to have MH’s parents stop by with Ransom who sported his plastic fireman’s hat backwards and insisted that my mom’s tiny dog was actually a cat.  [Side note: my cat is actually larger than mom’s dog, so give the kid 10 points for logic on that one.]

August, Mary-Hall, Bethany and Keith.  So thankful for these awesome husbands!

August, Mary-Hall, Bethany and Keith. So thankful for these awesome husbands!

It was SO much fun to kick off our Christmas travels with a Johnson/Bordeaux/Dale/Daniel joint diner extravaganza.  Family and friends certainly help make the season Merry and Bright.  But Christmas is more than just giving gifts and seeing old friends (even though both of those things are pretty awesome.)

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas story is when the shepherds came to worship the baby Jesus and then went about telling everyone what they had seen and heard.  And that was just the shepherds…guys who lived out in the field and kept the sheep alive…not any relation at all to Jesus.  Imagine then what Jesus’ earthly parent’s must have felt!!  But the text tells us that Mary (Jesus’ Mom) “pondered all these things in her heart.” I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to this part of the story. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, and girls love being “in the know,” and this was the greatest secret of them all. Or maybe I’m just amazed by Mary’s grace and maturity, even as a teenager. Or maybe in this age of social media and our need for self-publicity, I find it refreshing that Mary’s response was to reflect, not tell everyone she knew that her kid was Special in a way no other kid will ever be.   At any rate, I found myself pondering things in my heart a bit tonight; events that have happened this past year, and a bit of self-evaluation as well. Some of it is fun and lighthearted. Some of it is heavy. As as I stood at the altar of my parent’s church tonight and took communion, I reflected on the birth of the Christ child and what that meant to me.  I don’t know what, if anything, the birth of the Christ child means to you.  But to me it signifies hope fulfilled, the deepest example of love, assurance that God has provided a way for me to know Him intimately, and that my story…even the messy and sinful parts…has been redeemed.

The sun setting on Christmas Eve on Pennington Lake where my parents live.  Photo Credit: Keith Bordeaux

The sun setting on Christmas Eve on Pennington Lake where my parents live. It seemed to fit the theme of reflection. Photo Credit: Keith Bordeaux

So Merry Christmas from both of us at TwoGirlsTurningThirty.  We pray that you will feel loved and valued by family and friends.  That something you’ve been wanting will appear under your tree.  That you will find encouragement in the close of 2012 and the start of 2013!  We thank you for your support and encouragement this year!  Happy Holidays!!  Oh.  And here are our ACTUAL Christmas cards.  We would’ve sent you all one….but the cost of stamps is up………

Screen Shot 2012-12-24 at 11.58.30 PM

Screen Shot 2012-12-24 at 11.58.16 PM

Christmas at the Camp

Merry Christmas blog readers.  It has been a rough Christmas season for many, hasn’t it?  At this point, I can’t process the tragedy except to be thankful for what I have and try to be cognizant that life is very very short and there are no guarantees on earth but only in heaven.  I have much, so much to be thankful for.

Sharing all the Christmas festivities and revelry with Ransom has been a highlight this year.  He’s at an age where everything is fascinating and wonderful, and that kind of spills over to the rest of us too.   So here is a tour of our living room at the Camp, decked out for the season.  Lately I am trying very hard to “use what I’ve got” rather than buying new anything, and you know what, its working out just fine.

christmas3

Who else has a projector screen in their living room?

For the first time in my married life, our Christmas tree has a TOP.  I made it in 5 minutes out of cardboard, a coat hanger, and LOTS OF GLITTER.  I kind of love it.  The wreath was an unexpected gift.  The stockings came straight down from the Camp’s attic, they’re from my husband’s childhood.  All in all, it makes for a homey, cheery place and I will miss it when its gone.

My sweet sister-in-law Ashley and I had a designated craft day over Thanksgiving. Oh friends, let me tell you, that will become an annual tradition. We had such a blast. I picked out projects that I thought would make nice, easy, kid-proof additions to the tree.  Enter our friend Mr Elk:

christmas1

He has a whole array of little friends too.  And, in case you’ve forgotten, glitter is SO MUCH FUN.  We got so into the glittery sparkly-ness that we also glittered a whole pack of mini clothespins, just because.  You can see a couple of them in the next pic.

The animal ornaments above and the simple paper garland below were inspired by Pinterest, of course.

christmas2

And you know what else? We also have a train that runs around the base of the tree. Its hard to say who plays with it more, Ransom or his parents….

christmas4

That’s our living room these days, folks.  Wish y’all could come over for a cup of cocoa.  Oh wait, its 75° out.  Chocolate milk?  I’m off to wrap gifts and such.  Wishing you all a joyous week!

OOOH PS.  On this note, I’m calling 7. Figure out how to take pictures that are in focus officially DONE.  Thanks in no small part to this blog and its need for photographic evidence, I am pretty comfortable with my new camera.  Yahoo!

Of Thankfulness… and a toilet.

Somewhere, in Ethiopia, is a new toilet.  I don’t know what it looks like, or where exactly it is, but I know it’s there…and I’m grateful beyond words for it’s existence. Some of you may be feeling a bit awkward right now…wondering if I’m being serious, and what in the world I could possibly be talking about.  So I’ll back up a bit.

As most of you know, Mary-Hall and I are both incredibly passionate about the work of Compassion International, a Christian charity that “releases children from poverty in Jesus’ name” by providing cognitive and spiritual education, health care, and other essentials such as food, clothing and school fees and supplies (as evaluated by region and individual need).  Mary-Hall and her husband sponsor a little girl named Alba (you can read more about that here…and get a fun craft idea!) and Keith and I sponsor several kids, Rukia and Tony in Kenya, and Wondosen in Ethiopia.

Wondosen, our sponsor child, with food and candles celebrates a church holiday.

Wondosen, our sponsor child,  celebrates a church holiday with food and candles.

Wondosen and his family!  The back of this photo reads "My grandmother.  My friend.  All are my relatives."

Wondosen and his family! The back of this photo reads “My grandmother. My friend. All are my relatives.”

Wondosen is our newest sponsor child, and the only one that we’ve never met.  We’ve had so much fun getting to know this little guy through our letters back and forth for the past two years and we love that his birthday happens to fall on the same day as our wedding anniversary!  Wondosen lives with his grandmother who is raising several other grandchildren.  His parents are both alive, but not together, and do not live near Wondosen and his grandmother.  While sponsorship only costs $38.00 a month, Keith and I like to give a “family gift” of some extra money when we can.  Although sponsors can designate a specific item they want their gift money to purchase, we usually just designate it for “greatest need.”  (For example, we would hate to buy our child a soccer ball if their family really needed food that month.) When a sponsor sends a family gift, the project worker handles the money and sits down with the family to discuss their needs and how the money can be best spent.  Which brings me to the toilet.

A few months ago, we sent a family gift to Wondosen and his family.  In the past, we’ve had families use family gift money to purchase:

a) supplies for the family business (beads for a hairstyling salon, laundry soap for a laundry business)

b) a cooking stove for the family home

c) school tuition for our sponsor child and their siblings

d) clothing for the entire family

e) food for the entire family

However, we’ve never bought a toilet…..until now. We received a letter in the mail from Wondosen this past Monday thanking us for the gift we sent and letting us know how it was spent. (he’s a little young to write long letters so his project worker sits down with him and helps write the letter…and a translator at the Compassion Headquarters in Ethiopia translates to English).  I’ve posted photos below of the letter in it’s original text, and then the translation for you to read for yourself.

The original text, written by Wondosen's project worker.

The original text, written by Wondosen’s project worker.

The translated text, from a Compassion Ethiopia staff member.

The translated text, from a Compassion Ethiopia staff member.

Just in case you find even the translation unclear…it says,

“Dearly beloved and missed sponsors, How’re you?  Wondosen is well, Praise God!  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  He’s recieved your recent letter and your gift with which his grandma built a small toilet that she rents and deposits the income in the bank account opened in Wondosen’s name and the bank book is in his name too.  She saves every month.  His grandma thanks you very much!”

This thrills me more than anything.  Obviously being able to help a family in any way is exciting.  But to help a family who then takes your gift and makes it something sustainable that will continue to support their family…that is truly rewarding.  I am so grateful that Wondosen’s grandmother is a businesss-savvy lady!  That she is investing in the future of her grandson.  I pray her business will flourish and that Wondosen will learn from her example and be able to be wise as he grows into a man of the Lord.  We are so thankful for this sweet family and pray blessings on them.

***I know that at Christmas especially there are so many opportunities to give back to those who are materially less fortunate than we are.  My husband and I decided that this year, instead of gifts for each other, we would buy gifts for a family through a local organization that supports those in our own community who are in need.  I know many of you support other worthy causes during the holiday season and year round.  However, if you are looking for a way to give back, I would encourage you to do so by sponsoring a child (or even making a one-time contribution) through Compassion International.  You can sponsor a child by clicking on the banner on our website, or by following the link HERE.  And as always, if you choose to sponsor a child through our blog, please let us know!  We love hearing YOUR stories.***

Caveman Chili

In case my blog title made you think about the old Adams Family movie…..which of course is exactly where my mind went after I typed it….I will assure you that NO, my chili is not made from actual cavemen.

But it IS super delicious and I’m sure than any caveman would approve of it as being a recipe that they could easily throw together over their campfire after a long day of inventing the wheel or whatever it was they did.  This recipe (as always) is the product of marrying about 3 different Paleo Chili recipes I found on the internet.  I’ve thrown out some teaser photos on Facebook and have had many requests for the recipe….so….at long last….I give you:

Caveman Chili

Ingredients

*2 lbs lean ground beef (I think you could also substitute ground turkey or ground venison!)

*2 cups vegetable stock

*4 Tbsp olive oil (this is NOT needed if you use a non-stick skillet

*1 (6oz) can tomato paste

*4 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes (I like to use organic, but whatever floats your boat)

*2 small cans verde salsa (I like “Herdez” brand from the international foods aisle)

*5 oz chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 a medium onion)

*1 green bell pepper, chopped

*1 red bell pepper, chopped

*4 cloves garlic, minced OR 1 tsp minced garlic from a jar

*1 tsp ground cayenne red pepper

*1 tsp ground ancho chili pepper

*1/2 tsp chili powder

*2 tsp dry oregano

*2 tsp ground cumin

*1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

*salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Add olive oil to a regular skillet (or use a non-stick skillet with no oil) and brown ground beef (or other lean ground meet) over medium heat along with onion and minced garlic.  Drain grease.

2. In a large pot add browned meat mixture, tomatoes, bell peppers, tomato paste, verde salsa, vegetable stock and all the spices.  Mix well.

3. Cover with glass lid and simmer mixture for at least 20 minutes on medium.  (I like to simmer mine for about 45 minutes)

4. Serve and enjoy!

Notes:

a) this version is a bit on the spicy side.  For a low-heat version, I would recommend the following changes in the recipe….

-omit one can of verde salsa

-omit red cayenne pepper and chili powder entirely

-only use 1/2 tsp of ground ancho chili pepper

-only use 1 tsp of ground cumin

b) while the Paleo diet forbids all dairy, I like to eat my chili with a 1/4 cup of grated cheddar jack cheese on top.  I’m sure it would also be yummy with fresh cilantro on top.  We also like to top our chili with thin slices of avocado.

c) This recipe makes approximately 6-8 servings.  You can totally freeze it or store it in the fridge to eat off of for a few days.  We think it even tastes better the next day!

Paleo Chili on the stove....Christmas dishtowels on the oven door....Tis the season!

Paleo Chili on the stove….Christmas dishtowels on the oven door….Tis the season!

Yummy bowl of Caveman Chili ready to eat!

Yummy bowl of Caveman Chili ready to eat!

In other cooking news, my dear friend Alexis Ward of Vivagood WON the Whole Foods cooking challenge yesterday!  We’re terribly proud to call her friend, and we wish she lived closer and could cook us some yummy dinner!

At Laaaast

Cue Etta James people, I have finished the crochet egg project. My #4 list item was:

4. Crochet this one pattern that I’ve never been able to get right

And now, finally, its done.  Back in March, I wrote not 1 but 2 minor blog posts about this: here and here. Tricky little eggs, these are.  I mean, I’m no crochet expert but the concept here is really simple.  Basically they are just one stitch that you repeat over and over again in a circle.  Simple enough right?

eggs_final1

After much watching of youtube videos, I finally figured out some of my initial problems.  Progress is progress and I’m satisfied with these. My one complaint – Why are they soooo large?  Oh, except for egg #6 – the last one – who came out much smaller, and much more shaped like a real egg.  I liked him a lot.  But why oh why is he different from #2-#5, who were all basically the same. Tension problems, for sure.  Story of my life.

By this point, I no longer care whether they were all the same size or not.  You see, these are headed for a 3-year-old girl’s play kitchen.  And she won’t care.  I don’t think.  Ransom sure hasn’t brought it up as he carries them around in his dump  truck.

Here they are in their carton. Cute, but as I was initially concerned about, the lid doesn’t shut very well.  These are super extra large eggs, from large free-ranging chickens.

eggs_final2

Okay, they look cuter in the picture than they do in real life.

But I digress.  This list item is CHECKED OFF.

And contrary to the evidence presented on this blog, I WILL finish my list by the end of the month, each item address in some form or fashion.  WILL.  End of discussion.

%d bloggers like this: