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March 30, 2010

Easter Meringues

Every year for about five years, I've wished I made these special Easter cookies with a story inside the recipe. Last night we did it at long last, as a family, a bit old for it maybe (with kids now 15 & 12), but still fun and delicious. They bake overnight in a hot oven that has been turned off.

One is supposed to bake them the night before Easter, and eat them on Easter morning, but we won't be home on Easter weekend, so we went ahead a little early. Which means YOU can make them at the right time, knowing they've been tested :-) Or have you already made these? What's your story? I think our kids most enjoyed smashing the pecans with wooden spoons, and were most surprised by the strong taste of a few tiny grains of pure salt. I think the pecans MAKE the recipe. Without them, the cookies would be most insipid.

Easter Story Cookies
To be made the evening before Easter.
*     1cup whole pecans                       
*   Ziplock bag 
*   Wooden spoon
*   Bible
*     1tsp vinegar                                 
*     3 egg whites                                
*     pinch salt                                  
*     1 cup sugar
*   Masking tape

Preheat oven to 300 degrees (this is important, don't wait till you're half done with the recipe!)

Place pecans in ziplock bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.  Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.  Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar.  Put 1 tsp vinegar into mixing bowl.  Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.  Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar.  Eggs represent life.  Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.  Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand.  Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.  Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.  Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing.  Add 1 cup sugar.

Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us.  He wants us to know and belong to Him.  Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.  Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.  Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.  Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.  Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.  Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.  Read Matthew 27:65-66.

GO TO BED!  Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.  Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.  Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie.  Notice the cracked surface and take a bite.  The cookies are hollow!  On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.  Read Matthew 28:1-9.

Posted via email from K's Café

March 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 29, 2010

Symmetrical Purple, Bundt Muffins, Colored Eggs

I published a blog post here every single day from January 24th until March 4th (that's exactly 40 days in a row, hmmm).

Then it petered out. Now I haven't posted in 11 days. And the first thing I have to present is yet another lovely crocus photo from our garden, so prepare yourself:

I love the symmetry of this one, and the shadows.

In the past 11 days:

• Jason came in 2nd place in his high school lunchtimes-all-week chess tournament (out of about 18) - I like that position, because it means you're doing really well, but you still have things to shoot for! Go, Jason!

• Jason also performed as "Garvin" in his high school musical, Footloose. A very fun show to watch, with lots of dancing, singing, and good acting. A local reporter even attended the dress rehearsal and published an article about it. We think Jason's hand made it into the photo, but one can't be sure... :-)

• I made fun shapes of muffins in my new silicone muffin moulds

• We colored Easter eggs with a new type of dye we will not use again - it involved using thin gloves, pouring a few drops of dye onto the gloves, and rolling the eggs around in our hands. Gooey, messy, strange. Next year we'll go back to the regular dye-in-the-bowl-and-dip-with-spoons stuff.

We're getting ready to go on a college tour trip for Jason over Spring break. Hard to believe he'll be applying in the autumn. It's going to be a short, packed and focused trip, sadly without time to visit people along the way. Hopefully Jason will get some insight into what sort of place he'll like to spend four years of his life.

March 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 18, 2010

CROCUS TIME!

During the course of the day, the last tiny remains of snow silently melted into the grass of the lawn, and lo and behold: purple and yellow crocuses POPPED out into existence. The white snowdrops came back with a passion after being covered with the snow relapse earlier.

I am in love with the Inventor of purple.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from K's Café

March 18, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 17, 2010

It's getting away from me

Happy St. Patrick's Day. The whole family managed to remember to wear green shirts. We have Irish in us from both sides of the family.

Despite the ease of posting via email (via posterous.com), and despite the nice comments from my few, but important, dedicated readers, it feels like the blogging rhythm is gradually slipping away from me again.
This morning, my hot chocolate overflowed in the microwave. Jason pulled no punches in telling me that the chocolate glob hanging over the edge of the mug looked like a dead rat.

And now, off to the post office, the recycling center, school to pick up Emily, and Claire's (girly jewellery/accessories store) to let Emily use some gift certificates she received for her birthday...

March 17, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Emily's 12th birthday party

The girls had a great time throwing confetti frisbees, playing ping pong, and decorating homemade chocolate cupcakes with wild colors of frosting. David's a good frosting-maker. After he perused about 50 kinds of icings he could make, and chose one, one of the guests said, "Oh, is this the homemade kind of frosting?" Yes, one of them, anyway! My plain frosted cupcakes looked quite tame after the girls' creativity, but tasty, too.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from K's Café

March 17, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 14, 2010

Cub, the Neighhourhood Cat, Likes Being Petted

Outside in our winter garden. Naturally never allowed in the house, what with two allergic people in the family. She's a real gift, in that we get to stroke her every day but never have to do anything else. We do give her a water bowl, but are forbidden to feed her by her owners, so she doesn't get confused about who she belongs to. :-) We honor that and are glad we get to share in just loving her. She's so soft and cuddly.

Posted via email from K's Café

March 14, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 13, 2010

Wikipedia Game

Everyone has a computer and starts on the same wikipedia page, say, for example, "birthday" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday ).

Everyone then has to find their way as fast as possible to another specified page, say, for example, "giraffe" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giraffe ) solely by clicking on links within wikipedia (no typing allowed, so you can't search for anything, and you can't "find" on the page by typing a word in). No opening other tabs or windows, and no clicking on "back" if you don't like where it took you. You can only keep clicking on links within wikipedia articles. It doesn't count if you find a picture of the thing you're looking for in another article - you need to end up on the page dedicated to the destination in question (e.g. it wasn't enough for us to find a photo of a giraffe on a page about Africa).

"Birthday to giraffe" was an actual round of the game as we played it tonight - our first time. Jason has played it at school with friends before, which is where we heard of it.

We also did "Carolus Linnaeus to Tropic of Cancer." And "credit card to spaghetti."

It seems impossible, but it actually only takes a few minutes. Especially if David is playing. Wow. I didn't win any rounds. But I found it very interesting. Everything is linked together somehow! 

And, of course, Wikipedia has an article all about this: The Wiki Game. Something I thought funny in the explanation of the rules: 
"DO NOT employ automated search tools to find a path for you.
DO NOT edit the start page to insert a link to the home page."

A very odd and intriguing note on a variation of the game mentioned in the wikipedia article:
"'5-Clicks-to-Jesus': A form of Wikiracing that mimics golf, the challenge in this version is to get from a Random Article to the Jesus entry in as few clicks as possible. Reaching the article in 5 clicks is considered 'par', with clicks over or under five being referred to as 'bogeys' and 'birdies' respectively."

Weird, eh? I do see the appeal in getting close to Jesus from wherever you are...and the fact that anyone can get to Him if they want to...

Posted via email from K's Café

March 13, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Every morning

Every morning, I wake up and immediately want to get straight to a lot of different things. Where to go first? I want to shower, to pray, to prepare fresh fruit for my family who won't eat it if I don't, and who get up early. I want to check my email; I want to read my Bible portion for the day. Maybe get a jump on the laundry, depending on the day. I still haven't gotten myself a routine regarding in which order to do these things. It varies. I feel pulled by them all. Usually the first thing I do these days is look out the window to see if it has snowed again overnight. 

This morning, reading in John 6:29-59, I noticed a lot of good, basic verbs of what I need to be doing regarding Jesus:

- BELIEVE in (v. 29, 40, 47)

- COME to (v. 37, 45)

- LOOK to (v. 40)

- LISTEN to (v. 45)

- LEARN from (v. 45)

- REMAIN in (v. 56)

- FEED on (v. 57)

And the result is that I can truly:

- LIVE (now and even more fully after this short life is over, v. 58)

What I shouldn't do: "grumble about him" (v. 41).

I love the things Jesus says in this passage, for example:
"I am the bread of life." (v. 35)
and
"Whoever comes to me I will never drive away." (v. 37)

Posted via email from K's Café

March 13, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 11, 2010

Multinational Baby Showers

Last night I attended a baby shower at which a dozen ladies from our church here in Switzerland gathered:

- 4 South Africans
- 3 Americans
- 2 Swiss
- 1 German
- 1 British
- 1 Canadian

To complicate matters a bit more:

- two of the Americans are married to Swiss men
- one of the Swiss ladies is married to a South African man
- two of the South Africans have dual nationality, one with Germany, and the other Switzerland

Quite an interesting group!

We chatted, ate dessert, played a few games, and prayed over the expectant mother (my favorite part, since it will make a lasting difference in her life beyond this one evening).

I was looking around the room, and noticed that there were three pregnant ladies there, and five ladies who have had a baby in the past year or so...we are a fertile church!
Allison hosted a shower for Jami
Another Allison hosted a shower for Tanya
Tanya hosted a shower for Katja
Katja hosted a shower for Tiffany
Michelle hosted a shower for Diane
Diane hosted a shower for Kristin
Kristin helped Annabel host a shower for Hanni

I have been able to attend five of these seven showers held since we moved here in 2008. What a lovely circle of caring (and productive!) ladies. Thanks for all these friends, Creator of mothers and babies!

Posted via email from K's Café

March 11, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 10, 2010

Fly, by Sara Groves

Musings on Marriage, for my children to think about for their future...

A large part of marriage is focusing on the positives. Looking for the good things about your spouse (it's all you see at the beginning, of course, but I'm talking about LATER), and majoring in those. Counting the blessings that come wrapped up in your spouse-package. Encouraging and praising for the things they're doing right. However, one of those things HAS to be faithfulness. Without that, it's not marriage. Marriage is a one-on-one thang. So another really big part of marriage is trying REALLY hard before you get engaged, to gauge the prospective person's character: Faithful? Trustworthy? Able to commit and stick with it? That's hard to figure out. But essential. Along with perseverance, responsibility, integrity, honesty, industriousness, devotion, and hey, hopefully a good sense of humor and fun.

And after the wedding, what about those other little things that could potentially annoy you? Laugh good-naturedly about them. Don't spend too much time on them. Cover them over with love and patience; pray about them if you like, but with a good measure of acceptance for any outcome of your prayers. Move right along to counting your blessings again.

Another thing: keep filling up your spouse's love bank. It's being drawn down constantly by life happening, and needs generous daily deposits to keep it nice and full of savings for when you're sick or away or in a bad mood or slip into temporary selfish insanity. As soon as possible after you've been the one drawing it down, get back to topping it up: do loving things, take care of a need or expressed desire, speak encouragingly, give tender touches, leave notes, share a chore that's not even yours, or whatever else works to communicate to your spouse how important they are to you, and how cherished, in the midst of the mundane and routine. It goes such a long way. You may not "want" to do something in particular at the moment, but you "want" to have a joyful, lifelong marriage, right? So actually, long-term, you "want" to do the loving thing NOW. It's good planning for your own happiness, not to mention your spouse and your children.

The end of the song "Fly" by Sara Groves, speaking of the loving things done for her by her husband:

Oh how the little things 
Strengthen my tiny wings 
Help me to take on the world 
When you love me there's nothing I wouldn't try 
I might even fly 

I found "Fly" set to the most romantic excerpts from The Princess Bride movie: 

It was funny to find these two favorites together!

Another interesting related thing - someone put the same song to their wedding video here.

The amazing thing about this video, as I realized watching it, is that the groom has no arms. The bride puts his wedding ring on a chain around his neck, the minister removes her veil, and they dance with only the bride's arms holding the groom! Wow. At first look I had just found it weird that he didn't dance with his arms around her! Teaches me a lesson!!! How quick we are to judge before we look for a good reason people are doing things! We need to remember we don't know the whole story.

My husband's calling, got to go! :-)

Posted via email from K's Café

P.S. Commenter Martin's post he wanted to link to is here. Sorry the link doesn't work in the comments, Martin! Good post you wrote!

March 10, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (2)