The gimpest tree on the block

We’ve been pro-real Christmas tree…until this year. We put our’s up this year, started decorating and, yes, it started falling. Caught it, but then realized that it was the “spine” that’s crooked, so we had to turn it around. But now the ugly side faces out. Ugly. And almost see-through. On top of that, it’s shedding needles like crazy! You can hear them falling when you sit near it. We are keeping it watered, but there’s no way this thing is making it to Christmas. So Dec. 26 I’m buying a fake one. I’m hoping to get a pink one! 🙂

It’s all fun and games until it started falling.

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Beckham and Sadie Piper thought we were just putting toys on the tree for them to take off and play with.

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Post tree-turning. It’s pathetic! Sad Brian!

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Thanksgiving pics and fun turkey cookies

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Becks and Jordan

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Aunt Shari and Becks

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Sadie Piper “stuffed”

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Saw these in the coupon section of the newspaper and tried them out! Really easy and super fun! The ad was for Pillsbury and I think they wanted you to go to their website to see how to do it, but it seemed straightforward enough. I also assume that they were going to tell me to use can icing. I don’t have anything against can icing (besides that it’s not good on cookies and doesn’t harden enough to make the candy stick!) so I made my own that I knew would harden and piped it on there.

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My newest vice

I had never been interested in even trying chips called “Salt and Vinegar.” I don’t especially care for either of those ingredients, and they sound kind of gross on chips. Well, I tried some at the Reymonds and I’ve been addicted ever since (thanks Brookie for making me step out of my chip comfort zone!). It’s so bad that I think the bags are too small, but they don’t sell them at Costco OR Sam’s. Pastor Nathan told me this summer that growing up he used to add vinegar to them. This summer (when I was a newbie) I wrote that off as not yummy. Now, I think I want to try it!

So, obviously, I went on a mission to find the best salt and vinegar chips around. I pretty quickly learned that I like the kettle cooked ones better than normal. I like the Kettle Brand ones, but my favorite are Target’s Archer Farm brand! (They are on sale for $2 this week…I bought 4 bags…in one trip.)

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Herb Brooks speech from 1980s USA Hockey vs Russia delivered by little boy to Minnesota Wild. Not quite the same passion as the version in the movie Miracle.

Baby Berkley

DSCF1354Two months ago at Berkley and Christian’s Welcome Baby Shower, they asked us to say something about our babies’ personalities. I had nothin’. “Umm…she eat, sleeps some and insists on having her diaper changed.” Now, at 3 months, she’s getting so much cooler! More for me –and maybe grandparents– to remember (cause this blog is as close to a “Baby book” as she’ll get!) here’s what we know about our littlest girl so far:

-She’s really good at just being set down and hanging out without getting fussy (apparently practice makes you good at this!)

-She sleeps on her stomach (I know, I know, but we all did and we lived! She just likes it better!)

-She’s a drooler…already! Beware, take a burp cloth with you when you hold her

– She likes gnawing on her fists, but has no interest in a pacifier

– For some reason she only wants to be held facing out

-She loves to talk to Brian, but not as much with me

She’s shaping up to be one cool kid!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Theologian Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.: “It must be an odd feeling to be thankful to nobody in particular.  Christians in public institutions often see this odd thing happening on Thanksgiving Day.  Everyone in the institution seems to be thankful ‘in general.’  It’s very strange.  It’s a little like being married in general.”

A friend gave us a great idea to remember daily how much God has blessed us. Every evening we both say three things we are thankful for specific to that day. It’s been great also to hear what each other feels most blessed by. We even have Becks do it and it’s fun to hear that his are “playing hockey with dad” or “that I got to take a  shower” (yes, we bathe them, but he asked to take a shower that day!).

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4

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Three months later and we love mint.com more than ever

We started doing Mint.com three months ago with high hopes. Just an update to that post: we’ve saved more in these three months than we ever have the whole time we’ve been married. We can’t recommend it enough. Of course our goal isn’t to save, but rather to be better stewards of what God has entrusted to us. Like SparkPeople, you have to commit to logging on and checking it to make it work (re-categorizing purchases and checking budgets), but it’s so worth it! The first few months were very eye-opening as we saw where our money was goings, every penny of it. But now, it’s incredibly freeing knowing just that! It’s made us spend smarter, and ironically, we haven’t even felt like we are having to sacrifice. There’s nothing abstract and no guessing. Being held accountable (Mint is a person in our house: “Mint’s going to like that,” or “I don’t think Mint would be happy about that”) makes us both think harder and just make wiser choices.

It takes some time to set up and get all of your accounts on there and then, like I said, time logging on to check it, but it’s the best decision we’ve ever made about money.

Psalm 50:10-11:

For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.

Thoughts on Christmas

Here is a video from the organization called Advent Conspiracy that I believe helps us to think about Christmas. American culture has defined Christmas as a time to focus on consumption, buying gifts and getting gifts. I love the presentation in this video because it challenges us to think about our own practices of Christmas and yet I’m a bit cautious of the organization due to its support by Rob Bell and others who promote a mere social gospel. Certainly it raises questions of how we are to care for those who have needs in the name of Christ while always holding to the historical, Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:14–16 ESV)

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, it is a time to worship God for the incarnation, a time to dwell on God having kept His promise given to Abraham. Spending our money on helping those in need is not an end in itself. I don’t believe we celebrate Christmas properly by simply giving to those in need through various avenues, rather our giving to others is an outflow of our complete satisfaction in all that Jesus is for us so that we quit caring if we get an iPod or a car for Christmas and use our money to love others as God has called us to. Then our focus can move from stuff to the only begotten Son of God so that as we dwell on Christ we will not be able to stop from worshiping God.

Turtle disaster diverted

Brian’s grandma makes amazing turtles and had given me the recipe, but I had never made them until this week. I was cruising right along in the instructions when I hit a speed bump. The caramel and pecan part was stuck to the wax paper, and that was going to make it difficult to dip them in chocolate. Hmm. I tried freezing them, refrigerating them, ripping them off…

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Brian then came in and told me that I didn’t use the “waxy side” of the wax paper. He was dead serious. He still believes this. A quick call to Mayme (Brian’s grandma) did not confirm his “waxy side” argument. (For the record, I should have sprayed Pam on it) I ended up scraping them off and making “turtle balls” instead. Didn’t change the yummy taste!

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Becks loved helping…

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Sadie Piper apparently preferred just laying on the floor playing with a tube of chapstick…

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He likes hockey very much…

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It’s hockey season, so Brian went out and got Beckham a hockey stick and puck so they could play it! It’s an understatement to say Becks has taken to the sport. Brian set up the two trash cans and made a goal for him to shoot at and Brian’s usually the goalie. Becks asks every day if he can go outside and play hockey. So that’s just how we’ve been spending out afternoons:

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So every afternoon Brian’s taken him and Sadie Piper outside; the boys get their sticks and SP gets the chairs. She’s such a girl: The first day they went out there she went into the garage and got a chair to sit and watch, totally unprompted! Then, of course, she went back in there and got another one in case someone wanted to sit by her. So now every evening, the boys get the equipment and SP gets the chairs.

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