I’m Still Alive

Yes, I am.  Although I am tempted to say just barely.  🙂

This weekend was our annual Men’s Advance.  And it went really well (at least from my view of things it did).  I helped it the kitchen, which was great, as usual.  But it is all very, very exhausting.

Very exhausting.

And on top of that, a cold is going around our church, and I could tell last week that, although I wasn’t sick yet, I was going to be soon.  So I did what I could to ward off that cold, but I had it on Monday.

It is appearing to be a real mean one.  As in it isn’t going to let off easy.


Well, I had several wonderful grain free things over this weekend, and now I have been wanting to make them, as well as several other things that I have been wanting to make, but just haven’t gotten around to.  So, instead of making a mental list (which I am probably going to forget anyway, since my brain is out of it), I am going to make a list here.

(I know.  Another food list.  But bear with me.  It is hard not to be able to make any of these things, due to no energy, and the fact that I don’t want sugar while I am sick.  So hopefully this will help me let off some steam.)

1. Quiche or egg casserole.  Probably quiche, since it has crust.  I want crust.

2. Grain-free scones.  A dear friend of mine had these at their home when we were there for brunch, and THEY WERE AMAZING.  And I put butter on mine.  ‘Nuf said.

3.  Grain-free chocolate chip biscotti.  Again, another dear friend of mine made these, and I had them while at there home for brunch.  AND THEY WERE REALLY AMAZING.  And I need some again.  I think they had walnuts and raisins in them too.

4.  Grain-free biscuits.  I got a new recipe from a friend, and it is even better that the recipe I had tried.  I need something to slather some butter on.

5.  I need to make an apple crumble.  I tried to make walnut flour, but due to unforeseen circumstances, my walnuts never made flour.  Just a moist crumble-y thing that reminded me of a crumble. 


So that’s that.

What are you making/craving/hoping to make soon?

Do you have a cold?

Reformation Day Faire 2012

Last weekend was the Reformation Day Faire in Peoria, IL.  This was our second year, and it was very nice.  I especially enjoyed the dance that was on Saturday evening.

This year we rented a motor home, and stayed in that.  It was quite interesting.  Definitely very squishy.  It made for more comfortable traveling, I would have to say.  We also brought Lucy with.  Apparently she got out once while we were at the conference and ran around the church were it was held.  Mom had to chase her around and catch her.  I missed all this, and appeared right after she was caught.  Lucy really liked the motor home.  She was looking for it after we got home.

To give a brief synopsis:

Thursday Dad picked up the motor home and we packed it (this is also the day that I did these self portraits).

Friday we drove up to the Faire.  On the way, Dad surprised us with a copy of “The Avengers.”  I was so excited I started screaming.  😀  We watched that on the way up.  We made it there on Friday in time to hear one speaker.  The concert by the Wintons was that evening.

Saturday there were some talks in the morning, followed by the town square.  The boffer war was at 4:30, and dinner was at 5:30.  The dance was started at 7:30.

We stayed for church on Sunday morning, and left shortly after the fellowship meal.

And that’s that.

Here are some of the photos I took.  I didn’t take all that many during the conference, but I did take a bunch on the way home.  Why shooting through a dirty windshield while flying down a highway at 60 mph is fun I’m not quite sure, but it is.  🙂

Oh, and we also got to see the Wintons perform again!  I have the photos to prove it.  😛 I think this makes a total of 4 concerts in 8 days – 1 two Fridays ago, another the following Saturday, and then one this past Friday, and another this past Saturday.  I think we can definitely be called groupies.  🙂


Getting packed on Thursday evening – Meiling being funny


Friday – Lucy being her normal absolutely adorable self!


My silly brother.  Just got to love him.


Content passengers


Relaxin’, and my view, in a way


I worked on this post on the way up


Lovely view


[Does this need a caption?]


Meiling playing and looking out the window






Hey, look!  It’s the Wintons!


Meiling enjoying the concert


Saturday – walking to the park




An impromptu portrait session with two friends, Lily (pictured) and Josh (a fellow photographer) – see my Josh’s much better photographs here (and check out some of his other photos – he has some absolutely amazing ones of the Faire!).






My friend Bethany  😀


Sunday – on the way home, taking only too many pictures.  🙂


Lu, sitting on my lap


Self-portrait – these were so fun!


Now doesn’t this look like I was standing all calm and serene on the edge of this pasture, instead of flying down the highway?


“So away we go, down that forever road.”


The cards I was using to play Solitaire before I hopped up front with Dad


“Life is a highway…


…I want to drive it all night long.”




Crossing the river


“…makes me want to take a back road.”


Hi again!


Lucy’s here!


I love roads.  Oh, you could tell?  I wonder how you figured that out!


I love the greens in this one


This little blue car was so cute!


I couldn’t believe it, but at the gas station we stopped at, they actually had A DARK CHOCOLATE MOCHA!!!!  I haven’t seen one of these since we went to Branson, and I have looked at several gas stations.  I am so glad I finally found one.  😛


Meiling using her drink for a microphone




Bein’ silly

Of a Conference, Friends, Fellowship, and Exhaustion

Last Friday Mom and us children drove up North to attend the conference “By Every Word,” a conference about the importance of the law of God.  We had left in the morning so that we could make it, not just to the conference on time, but to our friends’ home.  They were making dinner for us.  We would be spending 3 days with them, and I could hardly wait.  Last time we spent time with them, we had so much fun.  That time we still were getting to know them (well, aren’t you still getting to know any of your friends when you spend time with them? we knew the L.’s, but not that well).  To tell you the truth, I couldn’t even remember Kristen’s name.  No joke.  I haven’t forgotten it since (except in those way-over-exhausted moments throughout the weekend).  This time we new them pretty well.  And Melissa, another good friend of ours, was also staying with them.  I knew we were going to have so much fun.

We arrived a bit after 5, which was later than we had wanted to.  We were still in time for dinner, and had plenty of time to get to the conference.  After dinner (and some talking of course – there would be a ton of that over the weekend) we drove to the hotel, where the conference was being held.

Dr. Morecraft’s talk was really good.  He spoke on how all laws are religious, and how we can’t be neutral.

(Insert funny story here:  I paused typing here to go take care of the laundry.  When I was finished, Noah was downstairs.  I thought he looked a little glum.  So I asked him what was the matter.  He said nothing.  Despite the fact that he said he wasn’t unhappy, I still thought that he needed some cheering up.  So I started singing the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” song.  That’s when Mom appeared on the stairs.

“Don’t you know that the insurance guys are here?”

Great.  No one told me.  I didn’t even know that they were coming.  So here I am (in full earshot) singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

Just as I was getting the guts up to go upstairs (and act like I hadn’t been singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in the basement), I decided to go up the back stairs and enter the upstairs through the garage.  A better way to disassociate myself with the singing.  Then, as I enter the house, I recognize one of the insurance agents.  Great.  No way to disassociate myself now.)

Back to the story: Once we came back to the L.’s house, we all didn’t go to bed like a bunch of good little children.  Who would?  Really?  The party was just getting started!

After some more eating (and Melissa broke out her chocolate covered espresso beans – mmm, where they good!) we migrated over to the family room.  We now spent the remainder of the evening – and some of the morning – talking.

The next day there were 5 talks plus a Q&A session.  Since the hotel had coffee, Laura and I brought hot chocolate packages to make mochas.  And we did.  And they were good.  And they helped us stay awake.

The conference was done by dinner time.  We went back to the L.’s home for dinner with them and another family that we are good friends with.  We then proceeded to stay up very late again, despite our previous late night, early morning, and the early morning tomorrow.  Fun, fun, fun.

Sunday, after church, was the fellowship meal.  I really enjoyed getting some more time to chat with all our friends around the lunch table, and then again after lunch.  We went and sat under the gazebo, where there was shade and a lovely breeze was stirring.  It felt like a lovely spring day.

We left the park at 6:30, and went over to my mom’s cousin’s home for a surprise visit.  We did give her quite a surprise, and she and mom had a nice time talking.

When we got back to the L.’s home, we broke out the leftovers again, since it we were hungry. 🙂  Next, I got the grand tour of Kristen’s closet, just as she had promised.  Then Melissa painted Kristen’s toes and my toes.  Mine are an adorable red that is so absolutely cute.  I am in love with it (if you haven’t guessed that yet).  I am going to have to buy it.  There are no pictures of them now, but don’t worry.  There will be plenty in the next post.  I even did a photo shoot of my toes in the car. 🙂

Since we left the L.’s on Monday morning, this seems like an opportune moment to pause this narrative.  It will be resumed in a later post.


Friday night – Laura, a fellow photographer


Dr. Morecraft


My cute pen


Saturday Morning – Dr. Carlsen


Saturday evening – Aren’t Kristen’s shoes and skirt just so cute!?


Feet 🙂


Kristen – the lighting was amazing

Men’s Advance

Things have been a bit quite around here, I know.  The reason for the calm is this past weekend was our church’s Men’s Advance.  I was helping in the kitchen this year, making the food for all the conference goers.

For me, the Advance started on Thursday, when we went shopping for all the food for the Advance.  It was my first year helping with the shopping, and it was tiring, but very fun.  I spent most of the day with Melissa running around to various stores while everyone else did the Costco shopping.  We purchased so much food!

The Advance started at six o’clock with dinner.  The kitchen help arrived at the church around two o’clock.  In addition to making dinner, we also did some prep for the next day.  Between Friday and Saturday, we made dinner, breakfast, and lunch for 128 and dinner for 250.  That is about 640 plates.

Melissa, Sarah, Lydia, and I got to the church at 5:45 on Saturday morning.  We had to be there that early, since breakfast was at 7:30, and we needed to get everything started.

I had been put in charge of making the wraps for lunch, since I had tested the recipes.  Melissa helped me so much in figuring out how to set up the assembly line to make the wraps.  She also showed us how to wrap the wraps, since I didn’t know how. (Rather funny, I know.  I was in charge of the wraps, yet I didn’t know how to wrap them. :))

On Saturday night there was a concert and dinner for all the families of the men who came to the Advance.  This meal takes the most work, since there are more people to feed.

The concert was given by the Wintons.  The Wintons are a father and his two sons that play bluegrass/gospel music together.  They are quite good.

Even though it was exhausting, it was a wonderful weekend.  I enjoyed making some new friends, visiting with old friends, and working in the kitchen.  Next year will be fun!


Friday – making the egg casseroles for Saturday morning


The casseroles


Lots of eggs


Making the egg mixture for the casseroles




Spaghetti sauce for Saturday’s dinner


There are LOTS of dishes!


Triple chocolate biscotti


Saturday – leftover coffee from the day before, which Melissa made into delicious “iced” (cold) coffee/mochas.


My “iced” mocha


Lunch – Southwestern Chicken Wraps, arranged by Melissa


The concert


Sunday evening – We went to our pastor’s home to spend time with the Morecrafts.  Dr. Morecraft was one of the speakers at the conference.


Hiding behind the camera


Isn’t she just so cute?


Smiling for the camera




Some very dear friends of ours who were in town.  It was so great to see you!