15 January 2015


Remember how much Josh and I loved to ski when we lived in Norway? We've been itching to ski for the past two winters and we finally got the chance! During Christmas break our friends Brad and Georgann gave Josh a pair of cross country skis they weren't using. When we got back to Wichita there was actually snow on the ground, so we took a little trip around our neighborhood.
There was a bit of wobbling and falling and the conditions weren't as perfect as Norway, but we still enjoyed skiing again. Since we only have one pair of skis, we took turns. The non-skier would run beside the skier. Again, not ideal, but certainly better than no skiing at all.
Happy Winter, friends! And happy birthday to Martin Luther King Jr! I am incredibly grateful for his efforts to bring peace and justice to our world.

13 January 2015

winter break in pictures.

Here's what our winter break looked like:
We played some games. Josh and our cousin Robert were on a team for Yahtzee. 
We opened some gifts. This is our cousin Mary in her newly acquired Broncos outfit.
Layla is learning a lot about nutrition and is doing a sugar detox. 
Josh and Uncle Gary taking a break from the present opening shenanigans. 
Christmas meal. You can see Gregory and Ruthie in the mirrior :)
Robert, Mary, and the dog's cage are great playmates.
Layla, Josh, my mom, and I spent an afternoon in St. Louis one day. We got lunch at Seoul Taco on the Loop, which was amazing, then did some shopping and walked around the Laumeier sculpture park.
Layla turned 20 on January 2nd! We celebrated her life with an awesome sushi dinner at Wasabi and then ate cake (red velvet raspberry with buttercream frosting) and opened presents back at home.
 It was so good to be with family and friends!

06 January 2015

year in review: 2014.

When I think back on 2014 the first thing I notice is that I started and ended the year with my dear friends from college. We're all a bit scattered across the country now, so getting together at New Years when we're all back in the St. Louis/Edwardsville/Greenville area has been the best time for a reunion. I've seen various friends from our tight-knit college group at different times throughout the year, but being (almost) all together like this is a special treat. In the first few days of 2015, I find myself thinking a lot about relationships and feeling incredibly grateful for the friends and family who are invested in my life. 

2014 wasn't the most exciting year of my life by any means. (Two years ago I graduated from college, got married, and moved to Norway!) Nevertheless, it was a good year with lots of learning, laughing, crying, new friends, old friends, painting, singing, weed-pulling, and pottery-making. 

Here are some monthly highlights from 2014:

January: We visited my family for a bit after Christmas and on the day of our planned depature a snowpocalypse hit Greenville.  We couldn't drive home to Wichita on that day so we got to spend some extra time with family, which was really special for me. I remember playing a lot of NERTS and having an inpromtu dance party. That was fun.
February: Josh and I took a short, but sweet visit to Seattle to participate in SPS discernment weekend and hang out with the Cranstons.
March: We went on a spring break trip to Kansas City with some friends from church. There was lots of relaxing, some kite flying (and watching), and some art viewing.
April: For me, the most notable events in April were Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. This year I felt more able to fully realize the significance of Jesus’s death and resurrection. I remember singing and waving my palm branch on Palm Sunday feeling like Jesus was right there amoung us. Also in April, Josh and I dug up a little plot of land and planted onions, tomatoes, beets, and peppers, which we planned to can.
May: Josh turned 24 and finished writing his Master's thesis! Elise and Tyler came to Wichita to live and work for the summer, which was awesome. The three of us, along with a group of 15 or so, started work with Legacy Art Corps to prepare for the Legacy summer camps. We kept our garden growing.
June: June was possibly our busiest month. In the beginning of June I started an Ignatius prayer study with a group from church, which focuses on the inner life and connecting with God. In mid-June, Josh, Mikey and I traveled to the East Coast to visit Michael, Kelly, Niqui, and Jordan. While there Josh successfully defended his master's thesis and graduated from the University of Oslo with a Master's of Philosophy in Culture, Environment, and Sustainability. Woohoo! Go Josh! After our trip out East we stopped in Greenville for a while to hang out with my family. One evening we had a dinner on the back deck to celebrate Josh and sent Chinese lanterns off into the sky.
July:  Layla came to stay with us in Wichita for a week, which was super fun. I turned 24. Josh and I celebrated our 2nd year of marriage. We harvested lots of onions, which we cured in the green house, and lots of beets, which we canned.  It was a good month!
August: Josh and I went to the PNW where we hung out with Josh's family on Whidbey Island for a Kline family reunion and spent a few days in Seattle. After the reunion I started working at Woodman Elementary again and Josh went on tour with his band, The Radio Soul. In late August our friend Benny came to visit us. We met him in Norway and he’s German, so it’s extremely special to get to see him! In August we had SO many tomatoes.  We canned some, but we were still up to our knees in tomatoes. We were all so tired of eating them until discovering this recipe:

Preheat oven to 325 F, cut tomatoes in half and set them on a greased baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle parsley, salt, pepper, minced garlic over top and bake for a couple hours. Enjoy fresh out of the oven!

September: We got a cat! Amelie was the cat of Josh’s cousin April, but due to cat conflict in her home she gave Amelie to us. In September I started doing yoga regularly, which was wonderful.
October: I flew to Chicago to hang out with Layla and my parents at Trinity for a long weekend. I got to see Layla play soccer and we went on several walks near Lake Michigan. Over the summer I partnered up with my friend Kelly to create The Winsome Press. In October we sold our art and handmade goodies at a couple handmade markets and we opened an etsy shop.
November: My parents met us at Lake of the Ozarks State Park for a wonderfully relaxing cabin weekend. We celebrated Thanksgiving with our family and friends here in Wichita. Josh's parents came for the long weekend, which was extra special.

December: Josh started making an electric guitar (out of wood) with his cousin Dan. This is a new and exciting venture for Josh. This semester we joined a choir; we prepared songs to sing at a candlelight Christmas worship service at our church. My favorite song was Ave Marie by Biebl. This month, of course, we celebrated Jesus. Josh and I drove to Greenville to be with my dad’s side of the family for Christmas. We had a great time playing games (NERTS, ping pong, soccer), talking, opening gifts, and just general hanging out. 

 2014 was a pretty great year! I'm enjoying the fresh start with 2015 and look forward to all this year holds for me. 

27 November 2014

thankful for...

photo taken in Tønsberg, Norway

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends!

This year I am giving thanks for....

A warm home and garden produce

My husband and the ways we’ve grown together over the past couple years

Pottery, painting, sewing, knitting, and creativity

Friends, new and old, near and far

Legacy Ministries

The chance to visit my sister this Fall and see her college world 

Students who remind me why I want to be a teacher

My family and how they love, support, and encourage me

The ability to bike to work

All the birds along the river that make my ride to work more enjoyable (the other day I saw two bald eagles on my way home!)

Opportunities to travel, experience different cultures, and meet new people

God, prayer, and our church family

The inspiring beauty of nature

What are you especially thankful for this year?

16 November 2014

cabin weekend with parents: 2nd edition.

A cold spell hit Wichita this week. On Wednesday I biked to work. I knew it would be cold, but wasn't really thinking and I just went for it.  Oh man, was it frigid and windy! I heard later that the wind chill was at -1 degree. I took a long, hot shower afterwards to warm up and then drank a cup of steaming hot tea.  Today I woke up and saw pure white as I glanced at the window. I can't deny the beauty and peacefulness of snowflakes drifting down from the sky, but I am so glad that all this cold weather hit our area after our annual cabin trip with my parents.
Over veteran’s day weekend Josh and I met up with my parents in Lake of the Ozarks State Park.  We had beautiful, sunny weather, which made the hiking just glorious. This was pretty much a repeat of last year’s trip; same cabin, more hiking, more good food, and definitely quality time together. We had a prayer service on Sunday morning and sang Taize songs and hymns together. This year we even went to a movie; we saw Interstellar. It was interesting and aroused a lot of discussion. Have you seen it?
A highlight of the trip for me (other than hanging out with my parents and Josh) was our hike on Sunday. We were walking past open fields of tall grass and up and down rocky hills. We stopped at a natural spring to cook our quesedillas and eat on the flat rocks. Somewhere along the trail I was filled with awe and peace. I felt so refreshed, energized, and grateful for the beauty of creation.
Another highlight, oddly enough was discovering wild persimmon trees along the road that runs through the State Park. One morning while walking, I noticed the orange fruit hanging on a bare tree. We saw evidence of a deer nibbling on the fruit and we decided to try it too. We were hit with instant cotton mouth! I love persimmons, but it seems hard to get them at the exact right ripeness when they won’t attach your mouth with dryness. Nevertheless, I was delighted to identify the plant and to see that fruit is growing in the forest.
I tried some new recipes I found through the internet and wanted to share them with you. Sometimes I need a little inspiration for camping cooking and I’ve found good recipes at dirtygourment.com. 

Lunch: quinoa and kale salad with quesedillas-- We bought pre-made guacamole to add to our quesedillas. If you have backpacking stove and skillet these are easy to make on the trail. 

Dinner: skillet lasagna--We started with homemade marinara sauce, which was delicious! Make sure to cook all the veggies first. We skipped that step and it was a mistake. Cooking a lasagna in a skillet works well when the vegetables are hot; the cooking is really just to melt the cheese. 

Snack: banana granola bars-- These didn’t really stay together like bars, but ended up more like granola. Still, this was delicious and I recommend the recipe.  
I love those parents of mine and am always thankful to spend time with them.

03 November 2014

the winsome press.

I’m so excited to tell you about my new creative project, The Winsome Press. This is a new thing that my friend Kelly and I have been working on for some time now. It started last Spring when we both wanted some motivation to make more art. We started giving ourselves weekly project ideas, which later morphed into a decision to focus on getting better at painting with watercolors. Over the summer we both practiced watercolor painting and it was fun! We learned some things and enjoyed being more creative. Somewhere along the way we were asked to participate in a craft fair here in Wichita and we decided to start an etsy shop. So now we have The Winsome Press. This is a way for Kelly and me to paint and be creative, and also to share our creativity with you! You can take a look at our etsy shop here
I had a fun time kicking off our new business at Craftacular, a handmade market, in Wichita a couple weekends ago. I was unsure how this would go. Would it be worth all the effort? Would anyone buy anything? Josh helped me with the set-up and display quite a bit; during the first hour we debated over where I should stand and how much I should talk to people. Do people want to chit-chat while they’re shopping? The first hour was a bit slow, but eventually more and more people stopped to look at our art. And finally, someone bought something! I told myself before the show that if one item sold I would be happy.  That first purchase boosted my spirits and I felt more confident to greet and talk to people that walked past or stopped to look at my booth. I ended up having a great time chatting with shoppers and other vendors. I was especially blessed by visits from family and friends who came by the craft fair. 
It was a good experience to participate in a craft fair, but now Kelly and I are focusing our attention on the online marketplace. We look forward to sharing more about our creative process with you here on my blog in the weeks to come. And if you’re interested, check out our etsy shop!

18 October 2014

around here.

Here's what's been going on around here this fall.
It's apple season and my housemates have gone apple crazy. Josh, Lauren, and Daniel have been making applesauce on and off for weeks. We have tubs on tubs of the stuff in our garage freezer and Lauren and Daniel are bringing back more apples from an orchard today! We hope to have enough applesauce to eat all winter, spring, and summer. It's wonderful!
Josh is a bread baker. Look at this loaf! The night Josh made this loaf we happened to do "highs and lows" (aka "pows and wows"). This beautiful and tasty loaf of bread was my high for the day.
We have a cat. Josh has been advocating for getting a pet cat for a while now. We tried to get a kitty last spring, but it didn’t really work out. When we told our woeful story to Josh’s cousin April over the summer she offered to give us one of her cats. Her two cats were not getting along, so towards the end of August she drove from Ohio to Kansas with one of her kitties. Now we have Amèlie! The transition was pretty tough. Amèlie hid under the couch for the first three weeks, but now she lounges all over the house and makes us laugh by playing with twisty ties. She has the softest fur! We love her.
I'm enjoying this tasty coffee roasted right down the street from where Layla goes to school.

Last weekend I was with my parents and sister in Chicagoland, walking along Lake Michigan and watching Trinity International University Sports. I sure do love my family.
I am getting ready for a craft fair next Saturday, hence the messy desk. There's lots to do and make, but it's lots of fun. I'll share more on this later.

What's new with you? Do any of you have a newfound skill or a new pet?

Happy Saturday!