Sunday, December 18, 2011

Meet "Love"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

'The Naked Foot House' - A Timeline of Our Short Sale Purchase

In case any of you are interested (and for the record), the following is a timeline of our 2011 experience buying a house via short sale. Overall, we are very happy with our purchase and feel it was worth the wait and various headaches we encountered along the way. But we also want to paint a realistic picture of our experience for anyone who might consider venturing down this path.

February 26 -- We first see the property (a four bedroom, three bath, newly remodeled house in a good neighborhood) shortly after noon. We dub it the “Naked Foot House” after I see the seller's naked foot protruding from beneath the blankets on his bed. He had told our real estate agent he would be in the Bay Area but apparently he overslept. We make a full-price offer today. (For point of reference, we had also made offers on two other short sale houses in the last two weeks; one we withdrew, and the other we ended up as the backup offer).

February 27 -- The seller counters with contract details, and we accept.

March 4 -- The property's status is changed to contingent based on our offer.

March 8 -- The seller signs the contract.

March 9 -- More paperwork is requested by the seller’s agent and is submitted.

March 12 -- The offer package is submitted to the short-selling bank for review.

March 25 -- Seller’s agent update: “"The BPO / appraisal has been returned and we are in the valuations stage of the file. We are a little further behind than I would like to be but not too far off. I will continue keep the file moving forward. Please confirm your buyers are still in."

April 8 -- Seller’s agent update: "Our file is now in the analysis stage which usually takes about a week to 10 days. We should be getting a response in the next week or so."

April 13 -- The bank counters, and we accept. Close of Escrow (COE) is set for May 27.

April 14 -- The hang-ups begin. We’re informed that the bank will take two weeks to get us the bank approval letter to move us into pending. More importantly, we’re informed that there is a federal tax lien on the house. It is estimated that it will take 45-60 days to get this removed.

April 22 -- Seller’s agent expects the bank approval letter within the next week or two. Hmm... didn’t we hear this last week?

May 4 -- Seller’s agent update: He’s still working on the approval letter, expects lien issues to delay things by 45-60 days (wait.. didn’t this timeline start more than two weeks ago? Does the estimated number ever decrease?), and is trying to delay the foreclosure sale date of 5/23.

May 7 -- The short-selling bank asks for more paperwork, and it is submitted.

May 18 -- Seller’s agent expects bank’s approval “this week.”

May 26, morning -- The agent receives the short sale approval letter, which moves the process into “pending”; new COE is 6/20; we’re told that the federal tax lien might take 45-60 days to be removed. We begin to wonder if all time estimations belong to a continuum of which we are entirely unaware.

May 26, afternoon --We find out that the bank sold off the second during the process of negotiating with us. We’re now no longer officially pending, but still seem to be unofficially pending. The seller’s agent is confident the second bank will approve this within the next couple weeks and that this will not delay the sale, as he believes that the second bank will approve the sale before the tax lien is released in 45-60 days. We also find out that there is a state tax lien and some other lien on the house that the seller intends to clear.

May 31 -- The house we had made the back-up offer on in February sells/closes.

June 1 -- The house we had made and withdrawn the offer on in February sells/closes.

June 9 -- Seller’s agent update: he’s still working on getting the second approval and getting the liens removed.

June 15 -- Seller’s agent update: he’s still working on the second approval; IRS has confirmed receipt of lien removal package, which is under review.

June 23 -- Seller’s agent update: he’s “still working on it.”

June 29 -- We are informed that the second bank has asked the seller to bring money to the table, which caused a delay, but he has agreed to do so.

July 13 -- Seller’s agent update: he’s following up about federal lien and should be hearing about the second approval “today or tomorrow.”

July 14 -- Federal tax lien released; should be hearing about the second approval “Friday or early next week.”

July 20 -- Seller’s agent update: he expects second approval “Friday or early next week;” appraiser didn’t get bubble burst memo and valued house $200K more than worth, causing more delays; ordering demands to clear other liens off title; anticipates COE to be end of August.

July 27 -- Seller’s agent expects second bank approval today.

July 28 -- We receive second bank approval with estimated 8/26 COE.

August 8 -- Inspection/Appraisal/Pest reports done; expected COE “by end of month.”

August 23 -- Banks extend “drop dead” (date bank will take the house as a foreclosure if short sale has not closed; no extensions will be made after this point) date to 9/22; expected COE 9/15.

August 25 -- “Drop dead” date changes to 9/9; expected COE 9/6; the seller/seller’s agent “still working on” clearing title (having final liens removed).

August 31 -- We find out that with passage of AB 458, seller is not allowed to bring cash to close the deal as he had agreed to with second bank. Additionally, seller’s ex-wife is now refusing to pay off liens that she had previously agreed to pay. Seller’s agent is still trying to get second bank to agree to less to close the deal, but quite possibly all the problems will kill the deal. According to the seller’s agent, “This is a freaking nightmare deal. Every time I get one issue resolved 2 more pop up.” Our realtor says that in all his years of real estate, he’s never met a person who has gotten himself into as much trouble financially as this seller.

September 2 -- “Drop dead” date is now 9/16

September 6 -- “Drop dead” date is now 9/15; expecting answer from second bank regarding change of expectations for closing by 5 PM following the next day.

September 12 -- The second bank agrees to reduce expectations in order to allow deal to close; the seller’s agent is basically giving his full commission to see this deal close. When asked why, he says he’s doing this so he can say that he was able to close this deal. He’s a pretty big time realtor who specializes in short sales, and this one takes the cake as far as short sales go. Final liens have been cleared by seller’s mom and they are expecting the confirmation paperwork of that tomorrow. We sign all the paperwork today. Seller’s agent informs us that we may have an “occupancy” problem, meaning that the seller still hasn’t moved out of the house. We’ll hold our down payment until we know that the seller has actually vacated, so there’s still a chance that this might all fall together. Or apart. Hoping the seller will move and we can close on Wednesday (Sept 14).

September 13 -- The seller says he has a place lined up to live, but is working in the Bay Area for the week and can’t move out until this weekend. Foreclosure date still set at 9/15. Updated information a few minutes later: the seller’s agent got the bank to postpone foreclosure until Monday, 9/19. The seller says he will be out of the house by Sunday, 9/18 at 5 PM. We should be able to wire money and close on Monday!

September 18 -- Did final walk-through this evening and were happily surprised to find the owner 99% out of house. Seller said he was just grabbing the last bit of his clothing and would be out of there this evening. On course to close tomorrow at noon!

September 19 -- House closes/records at or around noon, and the title agency receives confirmation of this right before 2 PM. At 2:50 PM, I show up at the house to meet the painter and find the previous owner in the driveway on a motorcycle with a couple of his buddies. He seems surprised to see me and I ask him why he is still here. He says the reason why he is still here is because he had just gotten the phone call 30 minute before that the house has closed. I inform him that the house had closed three hours before and that he shouldn’t be here anymore. He tells me his dog is still in the house and he’ll be back in 30 minutes to get him. I tell him that is nice and that I am going to show the house to the painter. He shows up 15 minutes later to get the dog and tells me that he is NOW out of here.

Over the next week and a half, we have the house fumigated and painted; the "growing operation" in the garage is removed as we would prefer being able to park our vehicles in there over using the garage in the manner that the previous owner had. In the process of cleaning out the house, I find two smoked joints and a used cocaine straw. And a riding lawn mower. (Well, that one wasn't actually *in* the house).

October 1 - We move in (with much help from friends and family). Time to unpack!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Video: A Pink Wall and a Bed

See the inside of our new house as our kids saw it for the very first time earlier this month.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Danny!

You're FIVE!! That's amazing! Just like you, kid. You're so much fun to be around, and we just can't get enough of you! You have such a winsome personality. You love everybody, and everybody loves you. You enjoy life and life is more enjoyable, seeing it through your eyes. Even when you're picking flowers while you're supposed to be engaged in your soccer game, you do so with such delight that we can't help enjoying the moment along with you.

We love your exuberant hugs and the excitement you have over each aspect of your life. We love how you sing and dance on a whim. We love how your great big grin is such a part of your regular countenance. We love how caring and gracious and forgiving you are with your siblings. We love how you dance to the beat of your own drum and see things through your own lens.

We can't wait to see what kind of man God makes you into, sweet Danny. We pray that as you grow in age and maturity, that you'll remember what your name means: God alone is your judge. You are accountable, first and foremost, to Him -- the good, gracious, loving and righteous God who created you to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. May you glory in the cross that made a way for you to do just that. As you look up to so many people, we pray that you'll remember that we all fall short of God's holiness, but that He never falls short.

"Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

Happy, happy birthday, dear Danny. May you know this day how very much you are loved!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Birthday Boy!

Happy Birthday, Mikey!

YOU'RE SIX YEARS OLD!! So cool!! We can't wait to see what this next year has for you. All we know is that you'll be jumping into it full-heartedly. Because that's who you are. You do everything wholeheartedly. You love wholeheartedly, you play wholeheartedly, you think wholeheartedly, you pray wholeheartedly. There's no hiding your happiness, and when you're grouchy, you're grouchy with everything that's in you. You even break the rules wholeheartedly. But you also reconcile wholeheartedly. Your passion for life, for God, for people... for robots... it amazes us and it teaches us. Constantly.

Thank you, Mikey. Thank you for being an open book. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you for loving us, forgiving us, teaching us... and thank you for so ferociously soaking in our love, our forgiveness, and our teaching. We pray that this year you'll be overwhelmed with the realness of the God who created you and His love for you... and that this knowledge will grow in you more and more with each year to come.

We love you, Mikey. Happy, happy birthday, Birthday Boy!!*

*Note: I was informed today, "Mom, you don't need to call me Mike or Mikey or Michael or Buddy or Wazowski or anything. You can just call me 'Birthday Boy.'"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Video: Go Tigers!

Here's a video I put together from Mikey and Danny's very first soccer game last Friday. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Happy Birthday, Eliana!

You're seven. I'm not sure we're okay with that. But for some reason, I remember myself saying something like that last year... and the year before.

Eliana, you're so beautiful. You're such a gift of a child. You bless our heart with your quiet steadfastness and devotion.

You amaze us with your orderly assurance and poise. And by the fact that you are SO SERIOUS for a just-turned-seven-year-old. Good thing tickles still bring out that giggle in you.

We love how you look out for those who are younger than you, sweetly taking the time to pour out affection and love on the smallest around you...

We love how you regularly remind us of your love for us and your thankfulness to God for those who love you...

We love your creative, artistic soul that loves to bring out the joy in others by drawing them pictures of things they love. We love that God gave you to us.

Every good and perfect gift is from the Lord, and you certainly are a good gift. We love you and pray that you will continue to grow in your love for God and for others... and that you will experience the joy of being blessed by God, who loves you more than you can ever imagine.

Happy, happy birthday, sweet Eliana!

(guest appearances by Monster Toddler and his Trusty Sidekick)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Farewell... Until We Meet Again

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3)

Last Thursday, at a routine doctor's appointment, we learned that our precious unborn child of sixteen weeks had fled to the arms of our Savior. We're heartbroken, as we had so looked forward to this child entering our household and being a unique and irreplaceable part of our family.

Yet even in our grief, we trust that the very number of our baby's days was chosen by a loving and perfect God, whose character is not changed by our sad circumstance. He is good and infinitely wiser than us.

We are comforted in our mourning by many who love us and have grieved our loss with us. We are grateful for each and every one of you who have been and continue to be instruments of God's grace to us.

We were recently blessed with a gift of a poem, written by a dear friend from church as she grieved for us, and we would like to share that here, as well.

Take Comfort...
Yours was the vessel chosen to house the LORD'S littlest elect. (Mark 10:14)

Take Comfort...
Your precious babe is in the Presence, where He Himself will eternally protect. (Job 3:11-19)
So weep for now my love, yet not in despair... (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

Take Comfort...
Knowing that wee righteous soul lives forever, in the Lord's tender care. (2 Samuel 12:15-23)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

For the Aunties and Grammamas...

We were at an ice cream social at our church recently, and a friend took some really cute pics of the kids (and some really cute other kids, too!). Without further ado, in no special order...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pull up a chair...

It's been an interesting past couple of weeks. My grandparents are all going through some pretty big things, and they are regularly on my heart and in my prayers. But things are good in our home... kids are growing like weeds, and we're loving having such a loud and chaotic life. The house purchase seems to be moving in a positive direction, my pregnancy is progressing along into the not as miserable stage, and everything looks dandy... until the ghost of Capitol Ministries comes for a visit.

Ralph Drollinger, who used to avoid the media at all costs, evidently has had a change of heart; he contacted Capitol Weekly to initiate a news story aimed at smearing the reputations of his former employees and ministry colleagues. Seems that Ralph is looking for sympathy again. Thankfully, the article ended up being relatively balanced and most folks here in Sacramento seem to see through his lies nowadays.

Ralph Drollinger's wild accusations are nothing new to the more than 20 people who have sadly, but voluntarily left his employment over the last few years after watching him spiral into a self-serving world of drama. At one point, he even claimed that he had the FBI investigating his charges that former employees were wire-tapping his phone calls. He makes assertions in his Bible studies that former employees are lawless hackers. He says that elders, board members, and pastors are complicit in covering up the illegal ordeal. He's also made accusations that former employees have stolen medical records and sermons that he wrote, with greedy intentions of copywriting them and charging royalties for their use!

For the record, no laws were broken or crimes committed by the former staff against Ralph. Ralph did not like the way it all played out, but that, thankfully, does not mean that they were wrong. He also seems to have forgotten the old adage, "Innocent until proven guilty." If he truly believes crimes were committed, wouldn't a jury and judge be a more appropriate place for that determination to be made than the secular media? Or would he rather continue spreading his slander than have a court tell him he's wrong?

If Ralph Drollinger was delusional, at least that would give him an excuse for his outlandish distortions, lies, and attacks. Sadly, these attacks are aimed at those who used to call him a friend and continue to fervently and regularly pray that he would repent and be reconciled to the God he claims to serve. Ralph has hurt these people in many ways, yet they continue to pray for him with compassion and concern.

At, he claims Capitol Commission stole its name from his previous use of the phrase during the years prior to its start. This is ludicrous, as those who were most closely involved in the ministry for all those years never heard him use that phrase, and he didn't bother to make this claim until the beginning of this year. Capitol Commission chose their name wisely and with good counsel, and made every effort to choose a name that would not be confused with Capitol Ministries. Capitol Commission has asked Ralph to use a Christian arbitrator to help settle this matter, but he refuses, denies that he has done so, and plays the victim card instead.

The fact remains that, in addition to the more than 20 employees that sadly had to walk away from their jobs due to Ralph's stubborn foolishness, all of his former board of directors, minus his father-in-law and himself, resigned their positions after failing to be able to sway him from his destructive path. More than 30 elders at his former home church also disassociated with him after being unable to support him in his current character, and being unable to convince him that he might be wrong.

Ralph continues to wag his finger at all of them, convinced that they were all in some crazy criminal conspiracy to remove him from his throne. He then hand-picked a group of men to replace his board of directors and "investigate" the charges that had been made against him. According to him, they found him innocent, but they never talked to anyone but Ralph about the issues that had caused the more than 50 people described above to question his integrity. "The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes to examine him." (Proverbs 18:17).

Sadly, Ralph continues to use the donations of well-meaning people who think he is doing the Lord's work to continue to advance his own delusions instead.

I spent Tuesday morning crying, after a weekend of continued jabs and attacks from Ralph and a day of flagging comments from Ralph and his henchmen of slander and attempts to drag elected officials and pastors into the fray. (They've currently taken over the comment stream, flagging and removing anything they don't like while still twisting and attacking it afterward, even projecting statements that were not originally there.) I cried because I was upset that he was continuing the drama and continuing to hurt people who have had to deal with so much. But then I also cried for him, because it is simply sad that he claims Christ but submits to nothing other than his own whims and delusions. He clearly does not know the joy of walking in repentance and serving a God who died and rose again for us, though he professes to do so.

But after I cried for those reasons, I wept. I wept out of sheer gratitude for the grace of God. The grace that has exposed our sin to us and led us to repentance and joy. The grace that has strengthened us and helped us to endure the fiery darts of the evil one. The grace that has exposed the truth of Ralph's lies, protecting hundreds of His sheep from Ralph's deception. The grace that assures me that God will continue to guard His sheep and will not allow the darkness to snuff out His light. The grace that reminds me that what Ralph has meant for harm, God has meant for good. The grace that has given us such deep love and appreciation for those who are in this battle with us.

I was so relieved to leave the year 2009 behind, but I have to admit that it changed me for the better. 2009 deepened my faith in new ways. 2009 gave me a huge warning as to how ugly it gets when a professing believer allows himself to spiral into uncontrolled and unrepentant sin. It caused me to examine my own heart much more closely and carefully, and to entrust the findings quickly to the cross. 2009 showed me a personification of the fool in Proverbs and the false teacher so poignantly warned against in the New Testament. But 2009 also made it clear to me that God is so much bigger than fools and false teachers, and that His purposes will not be thwarted.

2009 gave me an incredible understanding of the burden that our teachers and shepherds carry for us, and the vital importance of praying for them, that they would continue in righteousness and not be swayed away from God, but also that they would be overwhelmed by God's grace, and God's love, and God's richest blessings. Our shepherds are a precious gift from the Lord. I know this better because of 2009.

We could write a book about all the details of how Ralph continues to claw viciously for his throne. But this post is long enough already. I might have to write another post, some day, about the amazing contrast between the humility of John Piper and C.J. Mahaney this past year compared with Ralph's pride. How I read their stories and crave that Ralph would humble himself in the way these godly men have done in dealing with their sin and public ministries. What a delight it would be if he could glorify the God who sacrificed Himself in such a way!

In the meantime, I write this post with the hope and prayer that God might use it, in some way, to protect His sheep from deception and to proclaim His glory to the world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, 'Lijah!!

It's your birthday. The very first anniversary of the day you decided (kindly, in August) to exit the place you were formed a full eight days before you were "due."

It's been such a sweet year, getting to know you... You are a precious treasure to our family. We love how sweetly you love your big brothers and sisters, and how sweetly they love you.

We love how they affectionately call you "Cutie," saying you are too young yet to claim your name of "Cool." (This, we hear, is just around the corner, though. According to Elly, once you become a "taddler" and start walking, that name is yours!) We love Danny's song that he sings to you when you cry. ("Cutie, I wuv you. I even wuv Mommy and Daddy, too!") We love the husky affection in Sammy's voice as he pats your head and declares: "Baby!"

We love how carefully you watch people and how your eyes twinkle when you "escape" upstairs to find your siblings or out the front door to find your daddy. We love how you spontaneously erupt into clapping and cheering.... or dancing, when the beat strikes your fancy.

You are a gift from God to all of us, and we thank Him for you. We love you, and we pray that you'll have a precious birthday, and a wonderful year. And more than anything, we pray that you will know the depth of the love that God has for you and the joy of loving Him!

Happy, happy birthday, Cutie!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Video: Elijah Debate

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sammy!

Oh, ShammySham. We love you. I don't feel like I need to tell you this, as you so clearly know it, at the ripe old age of two. But then again, who wouldn't love a kid that looks like this??

At the ripe old age of two, you do a good job of letting us know how much you love us, too. Your spontaneous hugs and "I WU YOU"s at the top of your lungs... (At least you've figured out to turn your head at the last second when rushing in for the hug to avoid breaking your poor mama's nose!) Your snorts that erupt so easily when being snuggled and kissed. The way you, the monster toddler, become such a gentle giant in a split second whenever you notice Cutie crawling by, stopping what you are doing to pat his head and give him a kiss.

I love the way you play with your older brothers and sisters and I love the way you also do your own thing... you're just such a happy kid, going along with the flow. (Unless, of course, you are practicing those two-year-old tantrums. Ha! You just don't have the heart for them, Kiddo. Sorry!) I love the red-neck blood that is so apparent in your mannerisms, as you wear your hair long (sorry. That's my fault. But it's so CUTE!!) and ditch your shirt whenever you can in order to best show off your gut. That's class, Kiddo. I love it.

I hope you have a fabulous year, my love. I hope that you don't lose your love of life and joy of exploration. But most of all, I hope you know the love of the very One who made you so special.

Happy Birthday, Sammy! We love you!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Capitol Ministries: A Lot More Nonsense

Picture this: You're trying to remember how to find a family blog. There's this family that you know. Cute kids. Funny videos of clueless t-ball players. Where is it again? It has something to do with diapers... Kids in diapers... three in diapers? No, that's not it. Diapers for three. That's it. Doop duh doop duh doo... Probably You try that.

Kind of reminds me of Little Red Riding Hood... Happily skipping along, carrying her cake in a basket, going to visit Grandma. Just instead of a path in the woods, it's the interwebs.

It was a bit surprising today to find that someone had been messing with our blog name. We've been for a while. Today, we found that someone had purchased The site contains this simple statement:
The Board of Directors of Capitol Ministries has investigated the accusations made in 2009 against our President and Founder, Ralph Drollinger, and found them to be unsubstantiated. We have known him personally for years, and continue to stand behind his biblically-based, biblically-qualified leadership of Capitol Ministries.
This site is an obvious response to our 2009 post about Ralph Drollinger and Capitol Ministries. (A friend of ours made a similar post on her blog. Now there is a lovely rip-off of her blog as well.)

Whodunnit? A little research shows it's the same person who purchased in an effort to steal attention and potentially donations from the real Capitol Commission.

Whois shows the registrant is none other than Capitol Ministries and Ralph Drollinger:
Capitol Ministries
22831 Market St
Newhall, California 91321
United States

Registered through:, Inc. (
Created on: 18-Feb-11
Expires on: 18-Feb-12
Last Updated on: 18-Feb-11

Administrative Contact:
Drollinger, Ralph
Capitol Ministries
22831 Market St
Newhall, California 91321
United States
(661) 288-2622 Fax --

Technical Contact:
Drollinger, Ralph
Capitol Ministries
22831 Market St
Newhall, California 91321
United States
(661) 288-2622 Fax --

Domain servers in listed order:
For the record, the board referred to in the statement above was not the same board that all but unanimously resigned due to Ralph's behavior in 2009. And knowing quite well the details of the situation, I can assure you that the extent of the current board's investigation was tantamount to saying, "Well, those are Grandma's clothes, so that must be Grandma!"

But as far as the real story goes, you can find that here.

Moral of the tale? If you're thinking about donating to Capitol Ministries, don't. Unless, of course, you don't mind your money going toward buying women's clothing for the big bad wolf.

Video: Face-off at First Base

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas!!

This is definitely not a food blog, but one of our all-time favorite meals in this house is my mama's famous chicken enchiladas. With a sour-cream base instead of the traditional red enchilada sauce, they are scrumptious and typically a bit different than expected, but quite popular amongst many. It's my favorite meal to bring to new mamas, and with that, I'm often asked for the recipe. I've been meaning for sometime to type the recipe up from the hand-written notes I took while watching over Mama's shoulder so I could share it. But of course, it's taken me a long time and now I can't even remember all the people who have asked for it! So, I'm hoping that blogging about it will serve the purpose of reaching those who want it! =)

1 big onion, finely chopped
1 rotisserie chicken (Mama says to avoid bbq or lemon pepper flavors; I often will get a Costco sized rotisserie chicken and double the batch with it)
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1 4.5oz can chopped green chilis (I rarely have these in the house. Most likely, if I have made these for you, they lacked the green chilis. Sorry.)
1/2 teaspoon adobe seasoning
1/2 tablespoon southwest seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 oz shredded cheese (I used the mixed shredded from Costco. Mama uses mexican or colby jack mixes)
1 package corn tortillas (a single batch typically needs 15-20 corn tortillas)

Saute onion in a little bit of oil in a big pot. Add some garlic powder to taste (or I just typically throw in a small scoop of minced garlic from the big jar I keep in the fridge). Over medium heat, add green chilis and 1 tablespoon of flour. (And keep in mind that all these measurements are estimates from two people who rarely measure while cooking!). Add cream of chicken soup and half a can of chicken broth (you can swish the chicken broth in the the cream of chicken soup can to get the last bits out!). Wisk to stire. Add 1/2 - 3/4 cup sour cream (I typically "lose track" and add a bit extra. You can never have too much sour cream!). Wisk, wisk, wisk. Add adobe, southwest, and salt seasonings. Wisk a little more. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to low to medium.

Pull apart the chicken meat and remove skin and bones. Add meat and any juices to the mixture and heat until thoroughly warmed, then turn off.

Heat oil in a frying pan to soften corn tortillas, making sure the oil is hot enough to fizzle when you put the corn tortilla in. It just takes a second or two on each side. Soften tortillas individually and lay out on layered paper towels.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray 9x13 pan with oil. Fill the tortillas with filling, sprinkle with cheese, roll and line up in pan. After the pan is filled, moisten the tops with liquid from mixture and cover with shredded cheese. (Any leftover mixture is yummy over rice the next day!). Bake approximately 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and looking yummy!

Rice: I typically make rice with this meal. I make my rice in a pot on the stove, and I substitute chicken broth for the water when making rice to go with these enchiladas.

Green beans: I usually saute some green beans in BUTTER and a bit of garlic, then salt to go with this meal. Sorry if any of you thought this side was actually healthy! ;) My mama uses celery salt and pepper on her green beans. They are yummy, too.

Toppings: MORE sour cream and some guacamole go well as toppings on these yummy enchiladas. Or not. Depends on the mood. For my guacamole, I typically just smash up an avocado with a little bit of lemon juice, a couple tablespoons of mayo, a bit of garlic and a sprinkling of salt.

Now I'm hungry. =) Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Video: Money Saving Workshop

One of our plans for this blog was to share "money-saving tips" from time to time. We haven't been very good at doing that lately, but I think this video more than makes up for that.

Christina and two of her friends recently shared their shopping strategies and money saving tips with other ladies at church. Although she does talk about me a lot, I think she did a great job.

Here's the video so you can watch. If any of the tips don't make sense or you need more explanation, feel free to leave a comment below.

You can also find all of the videos, including the presentations by Doria and Margaret, here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby!!

You know, it's hard to find a picture of you when you're the one always hiding behind the camera. Just saying. (Hmmm....)

Gosh, David, you know that I adore you. And I love how much your kids adore you, too. You are an amazing man, and I don't know how many times I've told you that over the years, but I know that I've thought it many, many more times. I'm so thankful that God created you, saved you, and has continued "the good work that He has started in you." You amaze me!

Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control... =) Yeup. You're a good one to imitate, as you imitate Christ. Thank you for being such a good leader for me. Thank you for being such a good father to our children. Thank you for loving us in our imperfection. Thank you for being so quick to notice your own imperfection and, through the grace of God, deal with it.

Thank you for being wise and long-sighted. Thank you for being gentle and compassionate. Thank you for loving God. (And God, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for loving David, first!)

God has richly, richly blessed me through you, David. And I'm very, very thankful. I pray that God will richly bless you this year -- that in all the areas that I can already commend you, you will grow even more, and that your delight in our Lord will strengthen and bolster you. I pray that the prayers of your heart will be answered and that you will know, more and more, the goodness of His will.

I love you, Baby, and I thank God for you. Happy, happy birthday!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Selah!

It's your birthday, sweet girl... three years ago today we first held you in our arms. Your daddy says that you were the model child since Day 1, arriving at a very reasonable 8:30 PM and allowing us all to be in bed before midnight. We all know that three years later, he's still wrapped around your little fingers!

You're a delight. A joy. An amazing child with such a cheerful and helpful disposition. Your smile brings a smile to every face around while your laugh is just positively infatuating. Your feet are never still but your hugs and love are generously given. Like I already said, you are a delight!

We pray that your passion for life will grow and deepen into a never-swaying passion for the Creator of life! He loves you so much and delighted in creating you... and we are ever so thankful that He delighted in giving you to us, too! We pray for wisdom in raising you and we trust in His goodness for directing your path. We love you so much, and we are so thankful that we have such a good God -- we entrust you to Him!

Happy, happy birthday, sweet Selah!

(Guest appearance by Swiper)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Diapers and Robots

What do diapers and robots have in common? According to Wired, the answer is warehouses are a bit of a jumble. Boxes of pacifiers sit above crates of onesies, which rest next to cartons of baby food. In a seeming abdication of logic, similar items are placed across the room from one another. A person trying to figure out how the products were shelved could well conclude that no form of intelligence—except maybe a random number generator—had a hand in determining what went where.

But the warehouses aren’t meant to be understood by humans; they were built for bots. Every day, hundreds of robots course nimbly through the aisles, instantly identifying items and delivering them to flesh-and-blood packers on the periphery. Instead of organizing the warehouse as a human might—by placing like products next to one another, for instance—’s robots stick the items in various aisles throughout the facility. Then, to fill an order, the first available robot simply finds the closest requested item. The storeroom is an ever-shifting mass that adjusts to constantly changing data, like the size and popularity of merchandise, the geography of the warehouse, and the location of each robot. Set up by Kiva Systems, which has outfitted similar facilities for Gap, Staples, and Office Depot, the system can deliver items to packers at the rate of one every six seconds.
In related news, recently purchased So far this development has been a very good thing for us. After Christina signed me up as an Amazon mom, we were able to order pull-ups for less than Costco prices with free delivery right to our front door.

One final note on robots...Mikey is really, really into robots right now. So if any of you have any spare robots that you're not using, feel free to send them our way.