Saturday, April 26, 2008

i never would have done this as a child

This afternoon we attended our Homeschool Co-Op end-of-the-year-program. Jeneva was in the preschool class this year and I co-taught the Kindergarten class. The program today involved performances by the various classes followed by food, fellowship, and music performances by 12 student musicians. Some played piano. Some played violin. A couple played trumpets. Most of the performances were done by children ages 10 and older. While we were snacking and listening to the musicians Jeneva spotted her preschool teacher and went and whispered in her ear "I can play Hot Cross Buns on the piano." Of course sweet Mrs. Reeth played along and said "wow, that's wonderful, Jeneva." "I want to play my song up there too." Jeneva replied. Well after all of the performers completed their masterpieces, the music teacher (who overheard Jeneva saying she wanted to play) thanked everyone for coming and said that Jeneva had something to perform. Jeneva slowly walked up front (there were about 100 people scattered about this room) slowly and trying to hide the grin on her face. She sat down at the piano, looked around, took a deep breath and played the little musical number that this very un-musical mom taught her on a whim one day. She played Hot Cross Buns with ease and elegance. I couldn't have been prouder.

frigid morning jog

Okay, so I decided to step outside into the frigid air for just a second to snap a picture. If they are brave enough to do it, I should be too. You need to know that just a few hours prior to this photo the snow was actually sticking to the ground.
Hat. Check.
Shoes laced. Check.
Stretch. Check.
Warm up. Check.
Ready to jog around the block. Check.
Mom inside with hot coffee. Check.

sweet baby jude

we're glad you visited!

Gramma and Grampa Stutzman were in town last weekend and this is the ONLY picture I took. What is wrong with me? Well, it gives you an idea of the kind of day we had. Warm, sunny, walk around Lake Calhoun. Today? It's snowing. The snow is sticking. I'm so depressed I refuse to even open the door and take a picture of it. Yes, it's the end of APRIL.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's "Foody Friday" again

Go to A Latte Talk to find more great recipes!

This salad is yummy and super simple. It would be good alongside your favorite chicken recipe and with some crusty whole wheat or ciabatta bread on the side. Enjoy!

Tortellini Salad

1-12 ounce package pesto filled tortellini
3 tblsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarsely ground pepper
1 clove minced garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1 red pepper sliced into thin strips
2 tblsp. pine nuts
2 tblsp. grated parmesan

Cook tortellini as package directs.
Mix next seven ingredients to make dressing.
Toss cooked pasta with dressing and peppers
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Toast pine nuts in pan. Add pine nuts and parmesan just before serving.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

days like this

aren't we all ready for days like this? sun. sleeveless. ice cream. sheer bliss!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

it's happening

I found 2 big bad gray hairs this morning. Now for the past several years I have dyed my hair slightly darker than my natural shade. I've gotten my hair foiled a couple of times, but felt guilty forking over the ridiculous amount of money that it costs. Seven dollar box dyes fit my budget well. For a couple of years I was cutting my own hair. For the most part I really am low maintenance. Just ask Steve. After having Jude I found my hair that was growing in to be darker than usual and in the shade that I much prefer. Yeah, now I can save seven dollars 3 times a year and not do dye jobs. That may not last long. Now that I'm not "dying" my grays are being revealed. Eek. Yes, two big ones that stood up this morning after I blow dried it. They were obvious against the dark brown. I will be turning 30 in July. Maybe I need to start running again. That may help me at least feel like I'm keeping my youth just a bit longer. That won't make the grays disappear though.

Friday, April 18, 2008

foody friday

My friend, Jenny, over at A-Latte-Talk came up with a great idea for sharing recipes! I'm posting one of our family favorites. You can then follow the link above to her page and you will find some other friends favorite recipes. Our family has so many favorites, including this one. I put this one up first because I just recently sent it to a friend in Iowa and so it was already on my clipboard, pictures and all. The Mango Chutney and the Curry Paste are fabulous together! If you aren't a big fan of curry powder that a lot of Indian dishes call for, don't let the name of this recipe turn you off. My husband doesn't care for that kind of curry, but this dish is a favorite of his. I think because it's curry paste that's used and the chutney adds extra sweetness for a delectable combo!



  • 1 1/2 cups jasmine or basmati rice (any kind of rice works fine)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large, firm eggplant, half peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (I have substituted with chicken before)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
  • 2 rounded tablespoons mild red curry paste, found in the international foods aisle
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup (a couple of heaping tablespoons) mango chutney
  • Salt
  • A handful cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Store-bought naan bread or whole wheat pitas


Prepare rice according to package directions.
While rice is simmering, start the curry: Heat a nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add EVOO, eggplant, onion and bell pepper. Cover pan and cook 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step Add garlic and tomato paste, cook about 1 minute more then add the vegetable stock, curry paste and chickpeas.
Step Stir in mango chutney and salt, and simmer for 1-2 minutes over low heat for flavors to combine. Remove curry from heat and stir in cilantro.
Step To serve, ladle curry into shallow bowls then scoop rice into the center of the bowls. Garnish your curry with lots of cilantro and scallions, and serve with naan bread or pitas alongside.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

tongue comparisons

Jeneva: Corene and Ava have really long tongues.

Me: Oh?

Jeneva: Yea, they showed me in Sunday School. They are long. I mean REALLY long. I wish I had as long of a tongue as they do.

Me: I like your tongue just the way it is.

Jeneva: Well, maybe when I get bigger my tongue will get bigger too.

Me: Yes, maybe.

(So, Jenny, which side of the family does this fascinating trait come from???)

Monday, April 14, 2008

what a day

This was actually one of our nicer days a few weeks ago before all of our recent mid-April snow storms. We thought things were looking up in the weather department. Little did we know we'd still be cranking the heat and squeezing into our snow gear a couple of days later IN APRIL. Maybe it's because Paul Douglas got canned? Are any of you Minnesotans sad about that? My cheeks are still tear stained. He leaves and our weather goes haywire! This picture is actually for you, mom. I know you were at your computer anxiously awaiting a new picture of the kiddos! I'm not sure if Jude was sleeping or shielding his eyes from the brightness. As for Jeneva, I wonder if she's trying to fit into the picture or if she's doubling over in pain.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

how old?

Jeneva's been starting sentences with this a lot lately: "Back in the olden days, when I was just a baby..."

Maybe this is a result of reading the Little House on the Prairie? We are reading the copy of the one I had when I was young, so it's kind of old and worn. She asked me this morning where I got such an "ancient" book!

Monday, April 7, 2008

so long neighbor

Jeneva and Anasia have played together literally their whole lives! Now it's time for Anasia to move away. They played together for the last time a few days ago. So sad, but maybe our new neighbors will bring a new friend!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

a good work ethic

Last weekend I overheard Jeneva telling her uncle Jason that she really likes to organize.

The other day when I asked her to help me with laundry in the basement her response was "Yes, I LOVE to put the soap in! I LOVE to help you do laundry, mama!"

It was that same day that I said I was getting ready to clean the bathroom and she ASKED to help.

We decided to put her to work washing dishes for the first time that evening (note the picture). She LOVED it. "I will do the dishes all day and all night!" She said. Well that's handy especially since we don't have a dishwasher.

Today I got on a spring cleaning kick. Joyfully she dusted the baseboards and helped wash a few windows.

Now Jeneva has been a pretty good "helper" since she's been a wee tike. The question is WILL she exhibit the same excitement for cleaning and organizing when she is, oh, say, 12? Most likely not. So, I must take it while I can get it now while she is yet at the innocent age of 4. Even if her "cleaning" and "organizing" doesn't meet my standards...I would never tell her that.

Oh, I LIKE organization and tidiness too. In fact, one of my favorite past times is to read magazines and books on organization. All that to say, however; I have a difficult time doing it. It probably doesn't help that the closets my lovely 1920's home has are about 3 inches deep. And did I mention that I only have four closets?

So, anyway, how does one instill in their child a good work ethic? Is it a natural trait? Is it learned? Some people just seem to naturally have a good work ethic (that'd be my dad)(oh, AND my mom). Either Jeneva naturally has a good work ethic or we have trained her well. Not sure. Probably a little bit of both.

Steve is a Juvenile Corrections Officer. Basically he works with criminals between the ages of 13 and 18. One day a week they are required to clean the facility that they are residing in. Steve was helping a couple of the boys clean a particular area of the building. A back stair case that was apparently pretty dirty and grimy. Steve was demonstrating the use of the mop/bucket/sponge/what have you to clean the steps. One of the boys said "hey, that looks really good. It's clean!" (keep in mind these are basically gangsta's who come from the hood and most likely aren't typically into cleaning and hard work). A couple of minutes later they were finishing cleaning the steps for Steve. Scrubbing. Mopping. Scrubbing some more. They were actually getting into it and the result was clean shiny steps. They even stepped back to admire their work at the end and were proud of what they had done. That's right. PROUD. Good pride. They were proud of what they had accomplished. They had immediate results and it felt good to have clean steps. What's my point here? I'm not really sure, I guess just that maybe these boys have a somewhat natural work ethic, but just need to be trained and encouraged.

Oh, how I want to instill in my kids a good hard work ethic. I was trained to work hard, for that I am grateful, but my tendency is to be lazy. Grrrrr.

Who needs a real dishwasher anyway? I have Jeneva.

is it a ghost?

If you are not familiar with places in the Twin Cities, can you figure this one out? That's me taking the picture of Jeneva and my niece, Emily last summer.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

grandpa bill...

...came from Wisconsin to visit us this weekend!

we love miles

No, we don't have a new member in our family, but I just have to post this picture of our good friend, Miles. After all, he is the most bloggable kid.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

another humorous jeneva moment

Setting: The dinner table at the Dykstra home. Heavy snow outside. BLT's being served. Light conversation.

Jeneva: When I get to be as tall as you guys (isn't that just lovely that she refers to her parents as "you guys") I'm going to be a mama.

Steve: That's great hon. What do you need to have before you can be a mama? (hoping she will say 'a husband.')

Jeneva: A purse.

Steve: Anything else?

Jeneva: Lipstick.

Steve: Anything else?

Jeneva: Nope. If I have those things, I can be a mama you know.