Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A week to cherish...


Ready to go to Radiation

This little boy melts my heart!
Love this family so much.

My Sisters
Love the darling Pixie cut!
I recently returned from a trip from Oregon to see my sister. I spent 10 glorious days with this precious family. I am so glad I had the opportunity to spend so much time with my sister. I drove her to radiation every day, spent countless hours talking to Steff and playing with my precious nephews. I was able to see for myself how she was "holding up"! She is doing remarkably well. All of the Dr's. are amazed at how her body is handling chemo and radiation and how her spirit is handling cancer. She is truly the example of a godly woman. She is finding joy through this trial and coming out victorious. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow my sister starts radiation. My sister is at such peace about all of this. She is truly putting to test all that we have been taught about trusting God through trials in our lives. I am so proud of her. Steffy recently had a friend offer to take family photos for them. I love how they all turned out! It captures her spirit and the joy that radiates out of her. Love you sister.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My sister

 It has been a rough month on our family. My beautiful sister was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Mulitforme Brain Tumors at the end of August. I had just posted about the wonderful time I had at home visiting our family. It is crazy, shocking and unbelievable. How does such a HUGE change happen in just a few short weeks? There is no answer. Sometimes this just happens to young, healthy people.
I am standing on Gods Word. God does not change his character no matter what happens in our lives. I am believing and trusting in my Saviour for the days, weeks and months ahead. My sister is amazing. She always has been from the time Jenny (my baby sister) and I were little. She is the best story teller and would make up amazing stories to tell us. She is kind, encouraging and such a wonderful Mom. She is humble and graceful. I always wanted to be just like her when I was little.
My beautiful sister and her husband.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

When friends come to town...

Making Brownies with Anna

 Girls night

Enjoying a visit and espresso
My friend Holly came to visit this week. I had such a great time catching up with her. She moved away a couple months ago and left a big hole in my life. She has been one of my running friends for the last couple of years. It worked out that she was able to stay a couple days with me. We did so many fun things together. We got to go on several runs. She has become quite the speedster. We definitely challenge each other in our runs. We also got to do one of our favorite things. Goodwilling! When she lived her we would go several times a week after the gym. It was such a fun day. On Tuesday night we had our friends over for an appetizer/wine evening. Holly and I both love to cook and share recipes. We spent the afternoon preparing for our special dinner. She made Ina's Brownie Pudding with Anna. YUM! It was an absolutely lovely evening visiting with friends. I did something that I never do on a "school night". I went to a 9:30 movie with several of the ladies. We all wanted to see the movie "The Help" and didn't think our husbands would enjoy it very much. I am glad I drank the espresso at 3:00 PM to keep me awake for the movie but I wish that I had been able to fall asleep before 2:00 AM. I guess that is the side effect of coffee too late in the day. Holly had to head home today. It was such a good visit and I can't wait for the next one!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The many adventures of summer on a farm.

We just got home from a two week vacation to Oregon and Wa. We go home every summer to visit our families. It is definitely one of the hard things about being so far away from "home". Our kids don't get to spend a lot of time with there grandparents. The kids had an especially good time this year.
Anna loves helping in the garden, gathering eggs, riding the neighbors horse and feeding the sheep at my parents small farm. It is so fun seeing her having so much fun with her baby cousins and soaking up time with my parents. They even took the kids camping and on a fishing trip.
At the other grandparents house they played with cousins, picked blueberries from some of there many bushes, rode the four wheelers and played in the woods. Marks parents live on a wooded lot and it is great for building forts or just having adventures with the cousins that are all the same age.
Oregon Coast

The cousins at the beach

Farmer Anna gathering eggs

Mark got to borrow Papas jeep for some adventures.

Jonathan and his cousin Sawyer. They became wrestling buddies!

feeding the sheep

My sweet sister met us at the airport for our last "goodbye"!

Anna and Addy 2 peas in a pod!

Grandpa with his two oldest grandkids.

Anna and our precious Calvin

Celebrating Steff's birthday. Check out her beautiful kitchen.

Dinner with Papa and Grammy.

Cowgirl Anna

Family time

Anna and Calvin

My darling niece Laura!

The cousins!
It would be great to live closer to our family and maybe one day it will happen. I am so thankful that we can go home to visit and pick right up where we left off last summer.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cheesey Pasta = perfect comfort food

Yesterday was the kind of day when you need a bowl of comfort. Yes, it was a hot and humid but we have been eating so many salads and fresh vegetables over the last few weeks. We needed a change. I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman's blog and did a little tweaking. Mark ate the entire bowl of gnocchi with cheese, pesto and cherry tomatoes. I served with a side of farmer markets marinated fresh tomatoes. It was so good!
Gnocchi with Pesto, Cheese and Cherry Tomatoes
I used a package of Gnocchi and cooked according to directions. Save 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
1 (8 oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 TBS fresh pesto
1/2 cup cooking water
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
Transfer hot gnocchi to large bowl and add cream cheese, water, cherry tomatoes, garlic, pesto and basil. Mix well so cheese melts. Season with salt, pepper and add Parmesan. Enjoy.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Our last Runner Girls lunch before Holly left.

Last day of school!

My sweet neighbor Karen
This past month has been full of changes for me. I have had to say goodbye to several dear friends and neighbors. I also had my running partner move to another state. The kids are out of school and home all day. It really is nice having lots of freedom in the summer but I miss my routines. We joined a swim team this month and have gotten to participate in several swim meets. A big first for the kids! My son is no longer in Elementary School. He celebrated his birthday and is now 11. I feel a little lost right now. Not sure what direction I should be heading, I start to feel like this once we get close to moving. I am trying to stay connected and remember we still have a year before our next move but it is hard. I miss my friends and the  routine that I had last year. I loved going to the gym in the morning and running with the same ladies. We shared so many miles together. I am trusting God through all the changes and trying to see where he is leading me next. My verse is:
 Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

When brownies fail, make trifle

My Taste Testers

Brownie Trifle
For the Brownies—

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
2 T. cocoa powder
1 T. instant coffee granules
Stir in:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. table salt
3 eggs
Fold in:
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350° and coat an 8" square baking pan with nonstick spray.
Melt chocolate, butter, cocoa powder, and coffee for brownies in a bowl in a microwave on full power, stirring every 30 seconds (or in a heavy saucepan over low heat). Remove when chocolate is nearly melted and stir until totally smooth.
Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition.
Fold in flour. Spread batter in prepared pan.
Bake 350 for 30-40 minutes
Salty Caramel Topping
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
couple drops of lemon juice
cook in heavy duty pan until color of tea. Swirl to dissolve sugar but do not stir with spoon. Off heat add 6 TBS butter and 1TBS rum. Add 1 cup salted peanuts and pour over warm brownies. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Cool brownies in pan; cover and chill overnight. To cut, coat a knife with nonstick spray and slice into small squares.
If recipe fails cut into chunks and layer with whipped cream, chocolate pudding and toffee bits.

I have made this recipe from Cuisine at Home many times. I love the magazine and have given so many subscriptions over the years to friends. I don't know what happened the other day. Was it the high humidity or was I not paying enough attention to the directions? The brownies failed me. The salty caramel topping was yuck! It turned out hard and way too chewy. I had the best of intentions for these treats. I was making them for a swim meet BBQ to share with friends. I decided it would be best to turn them into a trifle instead. It worked so much better! The bad news is that due to a freak thunder storm, our BBQ was cancelled and rescheduled for days later. I now have a huge bowl of trifle in the fridge calling my name every time I open the door. Glad that I got a long run in so I can enjoy this without too much guilt.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Birthday Boy

We had a good time celebrating Jonathan's birthday. Can't believe how big our first born is! I took some pictures when our good friends came to visit last month. I was comparing the two buddies from when they were little till now. They have grown-up so much. What hasn't changed is the fun they have together! They have been best buddies since birth.  I think it might have something to do with Jen and I having so many play dates together when our kids were little.
  I made a really yummy cake for Jonathan's birthday. The frosting is the BEST part.
Peanut Butter Frosting
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 stick butter
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk 
 2 tsp vanilla
Beat Peanut Butter and butter in bowl until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Add powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, mixing until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
We ate this on the cake with raspberries and then used the leftovers for dipping graham crackers in.
Happy Birthday Jonathan!

Always goofy!
The boys at age 10

When the boys were 4.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Girl Scout Camp

Saturday was another fun day for the Friesen ladies. Anna and I headed off to Camp Whip-Poor-Will for Girl Scout Camp. We chose not to overnight camp since it was over Mothers Day weekend. We took 5 of our 8 girls with us.This was our first year as Leaders and we got to decide the activities for the kids. We did the Climbing Wall, Capture the Flag, Obstacle/Relay Course,Outdoor Cooking and Domino Diva Crafts. We were so thankful that the rain held off for most of the day.
We had a few mishaps along the way. Anna slipped during the Capture the Flag game and fell into a mud hole. She wasn't thrilled about being covered in mud. Luckily, we brought an extra change of clothes for her. We also had most of the girls drop there food in the dirt during Outdoor Cooking.
We all came home happy and tired. Next year we are talking about camping overnight. I don't know how I will do without my coffee. There are rumors that Leaders are not allowed to use the kitchen to make coffee in the morning. Maybe we will just go for the day again.

The 5 divas!

Anna getting ready for the Climbing Wall

All the Girls got at least part way up the wall.

Anna loved it and made it to the top!

5 Girl Scouts ready for there day to begin!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Egg Treats

 Anna wanted to make some special Easter Egg Treats to give to her teachers at school. Her friend Anna came over yesterday to help decorate all of the mini egg cakes. She got them decorated, packaged and wrote notes to send along with them. Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Corn and Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese

I had some friends over and wanted to make a healthy lunch for us. Yesterday was the perfect opportunity to try this recipe! It turned out great and we had enough leftovers to use for another meal. The lunch and the time with girlfriends was so much fun. I did a little tweaking of the recipe and added extra garlic and chili flakes to my bowl. 
Tomato and Corn soup with Goat cheese
1 TBS olive oil
1 onion chopped
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
2 cups water
2 cloves garlic minced
1 32oz can chopped tomatoes
3 TBS chopped Cilantro
1 tsp hot sauce
3 TBS goat cheese
2 TBS nonfat Greek yogurt
Heat oil in pot. Add onion, and saute for 7 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, corn, 2 cups water, hot sauce.  Cook for 15 minutes until reduced a little.  Add cilantro, goat cheese and yogurt right before serving. I served this with the goat cheese on the side and crackers from Trader Joe's.

My favorite view in the kitchen!

Trying New Things

This past year has been a year of change. We moved from a huge running community to an area that does not have the biking and running trails...