Friday, August 31, 2012

To be a kid

Coloring day 101:

Step 1: Invite a friend over who is patient and willing to do something silly like this.
Step 2: Use an iPhone (or any other phone/iPod) to take pictures with any app that has special kinds of filters on it.
Step 3: E-mail your favorite photos to your computer that's connected to your printer.
Step 4: Print out the pictures.
Step 5: Find all the markers, crayons and pencils that you might possibly have, and color your heart out.
Step 6: Smile, because it feels so good to have a "kid" kind of day.

Hayley's page
My coloring page
But really, it was a happy day.

It was also the very last day of August! I start school on Monday. Wow. I'm going into my final year of high-school. I think I'll be saying that a lot this year, because it just doesn't seem true! It feels like just yesterday that Caleb started fourth year (and now he's in college!). It couldn't really be time for me to be in my graduating year, could it?!

I'm sure it'll sink in this next year at some point. For now, I'm just taking things one day at a time. Or trying to. :)

P.S. Thanks Hayley for the wonderful day! Love you!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Last JVK Camp

JV Kid's camp* is always a landmark in my year. I have often blogged about it, and each year it is refreshing, fun-filled, and sweet. God has used it every year to teach me things and remind me of truths that I had forgotten.

I have posts about camp from 2007, to 2009 (I skipped 2008 somehow), to 2010, to 2011, and now, to 2012-- my very last JVK camp. I start my 4th year of high-school next week, and will graduate next spring. Then, hopefully, I'll be off to college. But sadly, that means I'll be gone for next kid's camp. I can't believe this time of life is over, but I am so thankful for every single year I've been with this group of kids at camp. They are amazing.

To give you a better view of what it's like to be a JVK, and to be a camper, I thought I'd interview my dear cousins, Becca (14), and Kendra (12). What better way to capture camp than through their eyes?

Wild and Wacky Night
Here we go...

1. One word for who the JVK are: 

Becca: Family.
Kendra: One word for how I would describe the JVK is FAMILY,.

2. How did you get to JVK camp?
Becca: I carpooled with the Jacksons and spent the night at the Vuletic's house.
Kendra: Carpooling with the Wicks and by staying at the Vuletic house! I love how the JV are so giving!

3. Who were you most excited to see this week?
Becca: Probably Kiley, because I really missed her this summer while she was on furlough
Kendra: I was really excited to see... well...everyone how can you pick a favorite brother or sister?

4.  What was the "funnest" moment of the week?
Becca: Volley WHAT?! [something like volleyball played with fruits, vegetables, eggs, a pig's tail, squid etc.- yes, slightly disgusting, but hilarious] and paintball.
Kendra: Wild and wacky night / skit night 

5. What made you laugh?
Becca: Skit night and staying up the last night to jump in the lake and play random, slowly progressing (due to rule debates) games.
Kendra: Watching peoples funny expressions when they caught the squid at volley what and and when someone had the tick [=a clothespin decorated with pipe cleaners that you try to pin on people without them noticing-- if "tick check" is called at any point during the day, whoever is caught with the tick has to do something embarrassing in front of everyone- i.e. singing, interpretive dancing, spelling their name with their butt...] or when they had to get mail [=same embarrassing things, but to get letters from their parents or friends].

6. What made you cry?
Becca: Goodbyes.
Kendra: When we said are good-byes to the people who were going to college I cried a LOT and most of my talks with God.

7. What did you learn that you want to continue on in at home?
Becca: I learned how exciting the Bible is and I want to continue to be excited about it and delight in God's word.
Kendra: Listening to God and reading his Word.

8. Are you excited for next year?
Becca: I am for sure excited about next year! Can't wait to come back with more memories from camp and the upcoming May conference!
Kendra: Yes I am S0 exited I am already talking about it and counting the days 'til next year's! 
From left to right: Kendra, me, and Becca. 
  *A camp for the missionary kids in Josiah Venture

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

You take a little of this...

Gluten-free Angel Food Cake
...add a pinch of this...

Roasted rosemary potatoes
...sprinkle in some of this...

Roasted middle eastern vegetables
...add a little kitchen help...

...and you get a lovely evening with dear friends...

...and one happy Birthday Girl!

Happy 51st birthday Mom!

This is the first birthday she's had in this house (usually we celebrate on vacation in Croatia), so I had the honor of "hosting" the party. How fun it was to plan the birthday meal, cook with Hayley (my best sous chef!), prepare the dessert and celebrate my mom last night.

Mom is one of the most amazing women I know. Yes, I may be biased, but truly, she is an inspiration to me, and to so many other people. She is faith-filled, wise, and enthusiastic about life. She is a prayer warrior and stands strong under Christ. She is stylish, and most of all, wears the happiest smile. I am so thankful I get to learn from my mom, and spend almost every day listening to her kind words, and hearing her joyful laugh. I love you Mom!

And on a side note, if you're interested in the recipes I chose for her meal, here are the links to them:

Chicken marinade - added hyssop, used less soy sauce
Roasted potatoes - added more rosemary
Roasted vegetables - used eggplant, zucchini, red onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and garlic, omitted paprika
Carrot salad- made this one up- shredded carrots, hyssop, sesame seeds, lemon juice, garlic salt, and a pinch of fresh parsley
Ice Limonana - an Israeli drink- lemonade blended with fresh mint leaves
Gluten-free Angel Food cake - topped with "campfire cones"- minus the cones (just the filling!) - so delicious

I can't guarantee these recipes will turn out the same for you as they did for me, because I know I was making changes the whole time as I bustled about the kitchen. I tried to keep a Middle Eastern theme on the dinner (not counting dessert...that was definitely NOT Middle Eastern). Mom said it totally reminded her of Israeli food! Score! I'm so glad it worked out.

 *And a big thank you to Hayley, for helping me! I couldn't have done this without her!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Leadville sandwiches

"What did you say??! Leadville?"

Yes. Leadville hummus sandwiches.

It all started on our drive from Wyoming to Colorado in July. We drove through many teeny towns (even a town called Dinosaur- another story of its own!), and one of them included Leadville, CO. Ok, maybe not so teeny, but it really is only one main street.

We remembered Tyler and Lara telling us about a little cafe that roasts their own coffee somewhere in this region (they drove through here on their honeymoon). So when we saw a sign that said the exact thing, we pulled up next to it. Plus, it was lunchtime, so...all the more reason for this girl to want to stop (I like regular meal times!).

Not only did this cafe have coffee, but they also had gluten-free sandwiches. "Shut. The. Front. Door! No way!" (as Amy H. would say). Hummus sandwiches looked pretty awesome to all three of us after a long drive. A legend was born.

These sandwiches are amazing. And they're perfectly healthy, and vegetarian (even vegan!). They will forever be a memory, and a traditional family fixing from now on. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

(For more on the back story, go to my Mom's blog!)

Leadville Sandwich (inspired by City on a Hill Cafe!)

2 slices hearty gluten-free bread, toasted (such as this one)
A generous spreading of hummus (recipe to follow), about 3 tbsp
Carrots, shredded
Cucumbers, thinly sliced
Bean sprouts, about 1 tbsp (in Czech- can be found as "Baby mungo")
Avocado, sliced

Spread a generous amount of hummus on each slice of toasted bread. Then add shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers, avocados, and bean sprouts. Think of Leadville!

Now for the hummus recipe...

Homemade Hummus (adapted from the Vita-mix cookbook)

2 cans chick peas, one drained, one with liquid
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted until golden-brown
1/2 avocado
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 tsp cumin

Place all ingredients, except salt into the Vitamix (or food processor). Blend until smooth, being sure to scrape the sides occasionally. Add more oil if needed. Season to taste with salt.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vanilly Rhubarb Applesauce

It's summer. Of course we are going to the local farmers' markets and enjoying every fruit and vegetable we can get!! Ahh...I hope it will be fruit season every day in Heaven. It brings me so much joy.

We found the most beautiful red rhubarb, and pink-kissed apples in Poland when we went there last week. Rhubarb applesauce it was then! Yep...a little taste of Heaven.

I made up the recipe as I went, so I'm not sure I can completely recreate it for a recipe, but I'll try!

Vanilly Rhubarb Applesauce

6 sweet apples (best if you mix varieties), peeled and thinly sliced
2 large rhubarb stocks, chopped (about 3/4 inch)
1 splash vanilla extract (about 1-2 tsp)
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp salt
Brown sugar, to taste (or other sweetener of choice)
Optional (but delicious): add 5 strawberries, frozen or fresh

Peel and core apples, slice them thinly. Chop rhubarb. Add a 1/4 inch water to a heavy bottomed pot, and bring fruit to a boil (until fruit is tender). Lower temperature, and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low until it all looks like the picture above. Taste, and adjust sweetener. Have a big bowl-full, and enjoy it on a picnic blanket, or on your porch. Sigh with delight.

P.S. A sweet friend of mine introduced me to (thank you El!)- a photo editing site that is completely free. I'm loving experimenting with their different filters, word art, and such. Do you like the new look, or should I stick with plain pretty pictures with no text or decoration? I'd love to know your opinion!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A season

It was kind of an impromptu thing, but it sounded so lovely to have a summery picnic at sunset. Why not?!

Not every season of life is sunny and bright like this. But God does say...

"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens." (Ecl. 3:3)

Right now just happens to be one of those times to laugh, and be happy (like in verse 4). These past two weeks with just my Mom have been memorable. We've had many a morning of sitting and drinking coffee together in the kitchen, with Kaylee snoring in the corner in her doggy bed. We've watched hours of Olympics together. We have shopped at farmers' markets, and treated ourselves to delicious salads, and mini blueberry pies.

I'm so thankful for this time we've had. It has been refreshing. With Caleb having all these health trials, and my Dad being in the States with him for the past 3 weeks, Mom and I could have easily just hunkered down, and awaited the end of this, but God had other plans for us. Despite it being hard, He blessed these weeks, in little, unexpected ways. I love Him for meeting us and being our "Man of the house". 

Dad comes home tomorrow, and I am so excited to have him back! The doctors finally diagnosed Caleb, and they are now going to start a treatment process that will hopefully take away most of his pain. God was taking care of everyone in this time. I really can say that this verse is true...

"The Lord is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him." (Nahum 1:7)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Amazed at His power

I have been LOVING these summer storms. Seriously, they make me giddy every time. You should hear my excitement when I hear thunder. Such happiness. God shows so much power in a storm!

"He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded."
- Psalm 18:11-13


God has this much power, and yet He still chooses to work in each one of our lives. Do we sometimes hide from the storm, tucked away in a corner, instead of look out and watch it? This storm is really a miracle-- the voice and power of God! What would happen if we stopped looking at the "thunder and lightning" in our lives as something frightening, and started watching God do great things?

I love how Job puts things into perspective (read it's amazing):

"After that comes the sound of his roar;
he thunders with his majestic voice. 
When his voice resounds,
he holds nothing back
God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; 
he does great things beyond our understanding."

- Job 37:5

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Ok, you found my weak spot. Yep, you're looking at it.

 Chocolate cupcakes.

I made this recipe for the first time on Saturday for our evening with the Hartmans. I knew I wanted a deeply dark, gluten-free (and hopefully dairy-free too!) chocolate cupcake. I wanted it to be fluffy, not too dense, sweet, with a slight crumble. Oh boy. I found the perfect recipe.

Who better to get this recipe from than Amy, at (I love that name)? I made quite a few changes and substitutions, but I still want to respect Amy's genius at creating recipes, so I will send you to her site for the full recipe.

My substitutions to the recipe...

I used:

Silvana's flour mix (includes white rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and guar gum) - you should buy her book, by the's my favorite gluten-free cookbook!
- A little more than 1/2 tsp ground chia seeds instead of flax seeds...because that's what I had on hand.
- Organic sugar instead of coconut sugar
- 90 grams oil, and 26 grams butter substitute (Vive bio spread, for those in Czech)
- I didn't use the German chocolate cake frosting.
- Buttercream frosting- this is the recipe I used. It is explained in good detail, and has beautiful pictures too. Just be sure to use softened butter, and sifted powdered sugar!

Oh, one more thing...

 I loved these so much the first time, that I made them again the next day for a birthday party in Poland. To make some of them more special, I baked a whole pan of mini cupcakes, flavoring each row differently. I added spices and extracts to create surprise cupcakes- little ones for people to try and figure out. Here were the flavors:

- Lavender- ground up lavender (make sure it's the edible kind, not straight from the flower)
- Coffee- instant coffee grounds
- Peanut butter- peanut butter + water, swirled into the cupcake
- Cinnamon- sprinkle of cinnamon
- Chai tea- emptied a chai tea bag :)
- Mint- peppermint extract
- Lemon- lemon zest

It was really fun watching people figure out which cupcake was which. We definitely made memories!

Have fun making them! Let me know how they turn out for you!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Some days just feel like they're straight out of a book. Or a movie. Saturday was one of those days. Just magical.

We had the Hartman's over for dinner- an amazing JV family who have four fun-loving kids. We ate dinner outside, played with our little doggy, ran races in the yard, ate watermelon, had cupcakes, drew on the sidewalk with chalk, and frolicked in the field at sunset. I felt like a little kid again. So wonderful. It's those little simple things that make life lovely. You just have to look for them!

Aren't they the most photogenic family?! Thanks for coming over Hartmans!

Question of the Day:

What would your perfect summer evening include?

Friday, August 3, 2012

But God

Today I was reading Genesis 8 -- the story of Noah. Two little words struck me:

But God.

I know that people have taken note of these words before, but I never really took them in for myself. I did a word search on, and found 60 references with this one phrase (NIV version). It seems like God wants to prove a point to me.

"But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded." - Genesis 8:1

Big things happen when God intercedes.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

Like my mom posted the other day on her blog, there are some difficult circumstances around us that we are praying God intercedes in right now. The one that's closest to my heart is my brother, Caleb. He has been in constant abdominal pain for the past couple months, and we don't know why. He will visit the Cleveland Clinic on Monday for a four-day testing program with some of the best GI doctors in the States.

God has provided abundantly for us so far, in what He has done for Caleb, and in how He has been near to us. But it still seems impossible sometimes that God can fully heal, comfort, and completely surprise. Faith is what He wants from us.

"So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power." - 1 Corinthians 2:5

Two big words:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I hope you smile

...because when I see this little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel looking up at me, I can't help but sigh and smile down at her. 

I am such a softy when it comes to my own dog. I'll admit it.
 Have a wonderful summery day!