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I’m serving it up light and fluffy today at with some commentary in defense of the cookbook (with props to Lauren Winner).

I also share the one cookbook I’d take with me to a deserted island should that dreaded (or blessed, depending upon your perspective) event ever take place.

What would be your cookbook of choice if you had to choose only one?


Earlier this month, Lauren Winner, an author and assistant professor at Duke Divinity School, wrote an article for Books and Culture on why she still uses cookbooks as her primary source of culinary consultation instead of internet inspiration. She writes:

“I see the appeal of Recipe-By-Google. Indeed, I remember the first recipe I found randomly online and prepared-a raspberry almond tart, which I made for a dinner party I attended in 2002. It was great, and easy-fool-proof dough, raspberry and sugar alike supplied by Smucker’s. Since then, I have made a number of tasty meals from recipes I found online. But in the last year or so, I have begun to return to cookbooks. The service a trusted cookbook supplies is vetting. I still go to the Cook’s Illustrated website at least once a week. But simply typing in (as I did after Thanksgiving) “easy appetizers” or even “shrimp cups” proved overwhelming. My searches turned up three zillion recipes, and I didn’t feel I had any way to sort them.”

I feel her pain. I just glanced over and counted my own collection of cookbooks: I have 50, and this is a pared-down number. Yet I’ve still been guilty of turning to the search engines when I’m in a pinch; it seems much faster to search for a recipe this way than by pulling out a cookbook and hoping it has the answer I’m looking for. But when there are 5,000 variations on a theme (and usually there are many more than that), I want something trusted. That’s when I usually default to Fannie Farmer.

Fannie Farmer isn’t perfect, no. There are two recipes with penciled X’s through them so I know not to make that mistake again, but her imperfections make her all the more endearing to me-almost like she’s standing beside me in the kitchen giving me cooking lessons. She taught me to make a pie crust from scratch; she taught me how to make homemade rolls; she’s always there when I’m curious about a certain cut of meat and just exactly what is it I’m supposed to do with it anyway.

The extension to the rest of life is pretty easy to make. Just as I’ve been guilty of doing a quick search when I’m looking for some specific recipe, I’ve done the same with relationships, looking for friends and community on my own terms and at a time of day that’s convenient for me, when I know the better thing is just a phone call or cup of coffee away. The vetting process Winner alludes to is an important one when it comes to all things internet-related-it saves us from a bad pot roast as well as potentially shallow relationships that are accessible but not necessarily healthy.



Hard to believe that she went from this:

Maddie with Milk_2to this:

Maddie Standing on Beach_1to this:


to this:


to this:


Twelve. We've made it to twelve. And we're looking forward to seeing what the next twelve years hold.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

I’m Saving You From Asking

A gal I don't know sat down next to me during the opening meeting of the women's Bible study I'm attending this year. As she walked in front of me to take her seat I couldn't help but notice the scent she was wearing. I liked it very much…so much that between songs I leaned over and told her. I had to ask: What is it that you are wearing?

She giggled a little as she said, "I sort of hate to tell you. It's called Glow by JLo ." I laughed too because, well, who would have guessed it?

And who would have guessed that I would request some for Christmas?

Picture 1 Yet, I did. And here you can see it. It's not exactly my style, nor would anyone on the planet ever, ever, EVER accuse me of having anything even remotely in common with Jennifer Lopez. But I do like her taste in perfume.

And now I have some of my own.

And if you catch a whiff of it on me the next time you see me, please don't ask. You already know.

And I still blush like a school girl when I'm embarrassed.


Merry Christmas!


No need to dream of a white Christmas here because in St. Louis, a white Christmas was reality:


We spent the two days before Christmas at the farm with Craig’s family. We spend the two after  with mine. It was good to be with Craig’s family and it will be good to be with mine. But we really really enjoy this day in the middle where we’re just six and we’re just home and jammies are the norm as is all-you-can-drink hot chocolate and the like.


Hope your Christmas day was what you were hoping it would be.

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.


Peace tonight to all who enter in. Peace to you who are hurting, who are weary, who are angry. Peace to you who are alone, who are confused, who are questioning. Peace to you who are none of these things and yet still need some.


I pray tonight that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Merry Christmas tonight.

Help! We’re LOST

We know, we know. We're terribly late to the party, but we just spent the ENTIRE DAY watching season 6 of LOST.

Not to sound completely sluggish, I did manage to get my entire ironing pile up to date (and lo, it was massive – took about 4 episodes to do that) and sorted about a bajillion socks into matching sets.

But back to LOST. What? I purposely avoided reading any online commentary the entire time it was going on, but I'm scratching my head here.

(Apparently this was actually a spoiler post for one poor soul, so consider yourself warned if you click to continue! And sorry, Mary!)

Continue reading

Christmas Egg Wreath

Yes, I’m fully aware I dropped out again for a bit. Part of my problem is that my camera quit on me a while ago and I’m stuck using my girls’ much lower quality cameras. They still work and all, but they aren’t nearly as satisfying, you know what I’m saying?

But here I go anyway. I started this wreath a week ago Friday. I then forgot about it until today.

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The weight of the ornaments is dragging the hangar down into an egg shape of sorts and I’m not entirely thrilled with that, but it was my first attempt and I’m not doing this again, so I hung it up anyway.

The Santa Clause

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It’s that time of year again – time to explain to most people why we opted out of teaching our kids to believe in Santa Claus. I wrote about it over at WORLDMag today.


I grew up believing in Santa. There are many photos of me through the years sitting with my older sister and a variety of jolly old men with long white beards wearing red velvet suits. Though clearly terrified in one or two of these photos, the rest prove I managed to reconcile myself to believing in the man with the magical sack of toys and his amazing flying reindeer.

Fast forward to a summer vacation in which we visited some extended family members. I remember where I was sitting in my cousin’s house the day he informed me that Santa wasn’t real. The image of that moment in time is burned in my memory, as what I had been told as truth suddenly wasn’t true anymore, and I wondered what else in life was a lie as a result.

When I had kids of my own, I decided early on that I didn’t want to deceive them into thinking there really was a magical man who would bring them whatever they asked for.

Our kids have never believed in Santa, but my husband, Craig, and I haven’t promoted an anti-Santa protest, either. We taught the girls from the beginning that he (the Santa of our current culture) is a made-up character that began from a kernel of truth about one generous man.

The position we’ve taken hasn’t been the most popular in our social circles. We are usually viewed either as Scrooges for not embracing the Santa culture or as borderline pagan for even giving Santa some face time through decorations in our home. It never occurred to me that a third way of doing things could actually be a redemptive one.

In his article “What We Tell Our Kids About Santa” for The Washington Post, pastor Mark Driscoll writes:

“‘Tis the season . . . for parents to decide if they will tell the truth about Santa. When it comes to cultural issues like Santa, Christians have three options: (1) we can reject it, (2) we can receive it, or (3) we can redeem it.”

Driscoll goes on to explain the three views and why he and his wife have chosen the third way and what that looks like in his family. His primary concern relates to the issue of lying to our children. He elaborates:

“We teach [our children] that they can always trust us because we will tell them the truth and not lie to them. Conversely, we ask that they be honest with us and never lie. Since we also teach our children that Jesus is a real person who did perform real miracles, our fear is that if we teach them fanciful, make-believe stories as truth, it could erode confidence in our truthfulness where it really matters. So, we distinguish between lies, secrets, surprises, and pretend for our kids. We ask them not to tell lies or keep secrets, but do teach them that some surprises (like gift-giving) and pretending (like dressing up) can be fun and should be encouraged. We tell them the truth and encourage them to have fun watching Christmas shows on television and even sitting on Santa’s lap for a holiday photo if they so desire.”

This issue has been our primary one as well and I think Driscoll makes a great case for truth-telling with our kids. The entire article is worth a read through if you have the time.

So this Christmas, if one of my kids spills the beans to one of yours, my humble apologies. They may just be trying to redeem the culture of Santa as their parents are.

Name Your Favorites

I’m going to a party tonight in which we’re all supposed to bring 5 of our favorite things, each under $5. We’ll go home with five other favorites. I couldn’t think of what I wanted to bring so I posted my dilemma on Facebook and got several good ideas which I changed slightly to come up with this list:

  • A CD with 5 of my favorite songs from this year (and yes, I paid for them again so this will be a legal transfer of music)
  • One business card holder
  • Food Network Magazine, the Christmas edition
  • Riley’s Seasoning
  • A few bottles of Mike’s Lemonade (various flavors)

The songs on my playlist are:

  • Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’ by Hanson
  • Stay Here Forever by Jewel
  • Wrapped Up In You by Wayne Kirkpatrick
  • Setting Up The Pins by Sara Groves
  • Listen To Our Hearts by Geoff Moore and the Distance

Two things: I know the Geoff Moore song is ancient. I still like it. Also, Hanson? Don’t judge. The video is addictive.

What would you bring if you needed to come up with five favorite things under $5?

If you were to make a 5-song playlist of your favorites from this year, what would be on it?

Forever Friends

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Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold.

Jenny moved in with us when she was 18. One week after she moved in Katie was born. She only lived in our home four months or so, but it was long enough for her to become family and family she will stay.

We don’t get to see her nearly enough, but you know the type of friend you just pick back up right where you left off? Jenny is that kind of friend to our family. We love her. We’re so glad she came to visit us this weekend and we’re sad she had to go back to Colorado.

Jenny, you are welcome back any time. And you don’t even have to do any dishes. Love you.