Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Friends are Friends Forever

I can go for months, maybe years and not see friends that have really made my life rich... but not lately. Today I'm waiting for my friend Kara and her daughter Bailey. They arrive in tonight and I can't wait!! It's been about 3 years since I've seen them!

How can it be that you can meet a female friend and let them enter your heart and life... then connect so closely and then realize that you have to leave her and her family and you don't know if you'll see them again. Well that's what happened to Kara and I about 6 years ago. And I knew I would probably never have a friend as close as her again and I didn't. She was my confidant, truth speaker and we seen military life take it's toll and it always seemed like when she was strong, it was I who needed an hand and visa versa. We were there for each other without judgement and shame. Priceless....

What connected her and I first of all was our love for God and then our husbands jobs. Our hubbies were in the same line of work and I could share things and she would understand. We're really very different and then quite the same. And our kids connected too, even though they were at very different age levels.... nonetheless there was friendship all around.

So you can only imagine I was beside myself when she was coming to California for a trip and would be able to stop by and visit for several days.

My Grandpa told me many times when I was growing up that I should consider myself blessed if I found one true friend. Oh you'll have many friends he told me, but a true friend is a hard find.

I hope that you have a friend like that, who would come to your aid in a minute, that you can trust completely!

Like the song goes..
Friends are Friends forever
if the Lord is Lord of them
And a Friend will not say never
and the welcome never ends
though it's hard to let you go
into the Fathers hands we know
that a lifetime is not too long
to live as friends.

I'll keep you posted on all the Java Fun,
Java Girl

Who Can It Be..

Ana, that's who. She's my high school chum and if it wasn't for Facebook and it's amazing match up skills.... I would have not had lunch with one of my dearest friends from my high school days. The last time I saw her was 26 year ago!

I can't even describe today as I waited for Ana to arrive. I was nervous, excited and anxious all in one and when I got a look at her sweet face all these memories came flooding back. She was one of the kindess, smartest and sweet girl's I knew and she was steady like a stream... and even after today she is all that and more!

While at the Tartine restaurant we ate, laughed, looked at the year books and remembered. She could recall things I didn't remember and visa versa, the time sitting and talking was overwhelming, like being transported back in time. A time when peer pressure wasn't that bad and students really did except you the way you were... at least at our school.

As we ended our day on Facebook and trying to figure out if the face in the yearbook matched up with the face on the screen, we laughed and squinted and then got distracted by Patrick who looks like he ended up in LA and is an actor...maybe, we'll see if he answers my daunting question I left on Facebook for him, reminding him of our Senior play. I'll keep you posted on that one!

So I end my day with a challenge to you... make sure you live the life God's given you to the absolute fullest and if you encounter bumps along the way, just keep riding on because it only gets better.

Go Rebels,
Java Girl

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What a Night!

I don't know if you've ever visited San Diego before, but it's one of the greatest cities on earth. There is so much to do and see not to mention the weather. This is my second time living here. Add that up and it makes a total of ten years.

This is the Hornblower cruise we went on for our anniversary last night. This baby is huge... it has two dining levels each with it's own dance floor.

This is the second level we were on. It was so elegant and I was definitely under dressed, but at least I wasn't trying to walk around on a boat with 4 in. heels. Practical Java Girl, that's what I am.

And as we enjoyed every minute of the 3 hour extravaganza. I love to people watch and I couldn't help but think that God just gave some people the dancing gene. They can just go out there and do their thing, while others have robotic moves and then the third kind are the people that don't get the beat the whole time. I just love seeing all the individuality and I'm so glad that we are a variety of people.

Afterwards, we enjoyed dessert... check out my double chocolate mousse something or other and the best strawberry in town RIP. (sorry about the lighting but it was real dark)

And too top the whole evening off, we watched fireworks from the boat and it reminded hubby and I of the fireworks we watched on our wedding night from our hotel room. 23 years ago, where did the time go?

Until tomorrow,
Java Girl

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Marrying His Right

Hello from Java World,

Today is my 23rd wedding anniversary to my high school sweetheart! On the agenda is dinner, dancing and fireworks on a Harbor Cruise. I can't wait!

I thought I'd share some more tidbits of hubby that don't involve energy saving antics. Things I like about him..... first of all he's alway fair, I've never seen him not be fair about anything, and he's humble, humble as they come. But along with that he teases and I love to bring up that he wasn't a perfect child like he always tells me! You know why? Well he use to take his little flavor of the day (elementary school girlfriend) to the lumber yard, where he and his friend Dan had a clubhouse and they would bring girls there to kiss them. That's all, just kiss them.

He loves God, yes he loves God with a passion... I really like that about him. And another thing is that he very intuitive about people. And he can also be down right crazy, like the last time he went to buy a car and I couldn't stop laughing, because there was no way he was getting ripped off. Oh the DRAMA at that last car buying experience was too much and then after we decided on a price, everyone started laughing!

He's a walking geography book... when ever my girls have a question about a city or place they can ask him and he's usually been there, so he knows the food, climate, ethnic vibe and where to buy underwear.

Has it been easy this crazy matchup between him and I... usually. What about the hard times? There have been many of those. Do I regret anything? Absolutely no! It's like over the years that we've build this house and we added first the foundation and the realized we didn't build that foundation right, so we had to go back, just like our walk with God, we didn't start out with Him in the beginning. But after repairing that, we now have this big strong building that can withhold anything.

So today, just for me... if you have that special someone, give them a kiss for me and remember that all the hard work and time is well worth it.

I Do!
Java Girl

Thursday, July 23, 2009

If Dogs Could Talk

I'm perplexed and the reason I'm perplexed it that our wonderful Doberman/Lad mix is not feeling well. I'm not sure what has happened, but after a visit to the Vet it was suggested that he has neck problems. But I don't understand how it could have happened so instantly.

But after staring at him and psycho analyzing his every move..... I can only come up with one thing. I think that one of my youthful neighboring sharp shooters probably used Snoop as a target, because he is suddenly fearful to even step into the back yard. And if you know Snoop... he loves his backyard.

I wish that he could talk to me and tell what's wrong or what happened, I'm feeling the same feeling I had when my babies were sick and I couldn't tell what was bothering them.

Tomorrow my hubby comes home from a trip and I'm glad, because he is labeled "Dr. Diagnois" he can find and treat aliments of all sorts. For example when our youngest was about 3 yr. she had the worse stomach pains, even my brother-in-law doctor thought we should take her to the hospital. But my honey walked in, inquired what the problem was, took our little gal in the livingroom and tickled her. And then after a large noise, hubby turned to me and said, "I knew it was gas!"

Oh the stories I could tell you!

Until tomorrow,
Java Girl

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Things I've Learned as a Homeschooler - Part 2

As life goes we have had some challenges, first of all we found out that I had cancer and I'll admit we didn't get a lot of school done, but what I believe our girls learned is that life happens and that's where you learn to be there for each other. They cooked, cleaned and helped me through some of the hardest months of my life. And I'll never forget how grateful I was to have them. They learned compassion, that everyone must die one day, that healing takes time, that their help was so vital to our family's well being. And I'm happy to say that I'm cancer free.

Then came my oldest daughter's turn to be taken care of. And we did school when we could and we were busy going back and forth to doctors and that's when my youngest stepped up. Thank goodness she's a self learner because there were days that that was the only way she was going to learn anything. And with even all we had on our plate... my girls both did very well on their testing each and every year!

We have put a huge focus on Life Skills. We've learned that they can learn all they want, but if they don't know how to balance a check book or only buy what you can afford, then my husband and I have failed. Home schooling is this huge spectrum and you have to try to give your kids a whole well rounded vat of knowledge to make it in this world.

And my blessings have been unending... I have two beautiful, intelligent, Godly, critical thinking, strong minded daughters. They know they're loved and they don't look to the outside world for their value. At 19 and 17 they have never been on a date... and that's O.K. because they want to save themselves for Mr. Right.

It's funny, when they were little they needed my physical help (bathing, feeding)... but now that their young women they need our listening ear and counsel and watching them make good decisions is so rewarding.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing and I would tell all of you out there that the worst day of homeschooling is still the best day when it's spent in the company of family.

Take it one day at a time,
Java Girl

Monday, July 20, 2009

Things I've Learned as a Homeschooler - Part 1

First I have a disclaimer, I'm not the most accomplished homeschooler by any means and I don't claim to know it all. But I do know what works for my family and homeschooling has. I can tell you that our motives for schooling at home have changed over the years.

We first started homeschooling when the school our Kindergarden was going to attend had a openly gay Principle. Then as a friend came long side of me and suggested homeschooling, we honestly didn't have the money for books, so she gave us her books and asked my husband and I to commit for one year and see what happens. She said, "If you find out the homeschooling isn't for you then you will have not done any damage and she can enter First grade and still be caught up." And I have to tell you that by no great feat of mine... our girl was reading by the end of the school year.

Then as the years went by we noticed how well homeschooling worked with my husbands military schedule. He could be gone for a month and home for a week and that week he loved that we could all be together and not have to send them off to school. What's interesting is that I have run into more and more military homeschoolers because with all the moving, it just makes sense to homeschool and it keeps the kids at the same level without jumping around to different curriculums not to mention the stress reduction of having to contend with a new school.

My first mistake when I started schooling at home was that I tried to bring school home. By that I mean that I made a school room and ran it like she was in school. This was all I knew so as I then had a toddler to contend with, I found out that the bring school home thing wasn't going to work for us. I heard a fellow homeschooler say once that you should find you family's rhythm and set your days accordingly. She was so right!! We then worked during the toddler's nap and would also included the toddler with projects at the table while I was schooling my oldest. That was great because it let the little one feel like she was doing school too.

Just trust... I can't say enough about just trusting God to show you where you need to go with your schooling. I mean in a world that says send your kid to college.. I have to object. Not every kid needs to go to college and some just need to learn a trade instead. I'm amazed at how many college graduates don't even do what they went to college for. I think that's a waste of money! So we've taught our girls to find what you love to do and learn how to get paid to do it and if that means college so be it, but don't send them to college just because that's what everyone does!

Part two tomorrow,
Java Girl

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frightfully Disturbing

My family and I were out walking the other day and we came upon these spider webs.

I don't know if you can see it, but they are huge and the spider(s) who built them... installed a huge funnel in the middle so that any victim could not only get caught, but then fall to it's death or maybe worst, pulled to it's death.

I screamed when I saw these and my hubby just pulled out the camera and thought they were cool. In this picture they are about 20 ft away.

Oh dear, I have to make a confession that going to the little ladies room in the great outdoors was a new experience after seeing these babies.

Until tomorrow,
Java Girl

My Church Family

I love my church family! Being military we have always looked at our church as family, because our own families live so far away.

Some of the strong characteristics of my church family are loyalty to the word and always looking for good in others. I couldn't believe how each person talks about other people like they were family, they really know each other. When I mentioned how nice a lady was that greeted me at the door, the person next to me said, "Oh she always that sweet, I've known her 52 yrs." I'm also amazed at how much fellowship time is spend together. Being in the company of so many mature christians and on top of that being really involved with each other, but at the same time pouring themselves out for others in missions. And I honestly have not seen any dissension between believers, oh I sure there is some... but I am pleased to see so much love.

And my girls acquired so many friends that it was a bit overwhelming at first, and the girls are just like there parents... loving the attributes of others. A holy lifting up of one another, but also a realness that I haven't seen in a long time.

I hope that you have a church family and that they understand how precious and valuable you are to the body!

Until later,
Java Girl

Friday, July 17, 2009

Keeping it Cool

I just have to let you in on a product I found out about the other day it's called COOL MEDICS which are products that you can keep cooler in hot weather when working outdoors. All you have to do is submerge the product in any temperature of water for 30 seconds to 1 minute and it keeps you cool for hours, like an ice pack except not so cold. Check out their site at coolmedics.com

I was amazed at how stylish the vest are...

They also have products for animals too!

Here to help you with all your cooling needs....until tomorrow,
Java Girl

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Death by an altered Dryer Vent

I love my dear husband! He's absolutely the best! I've known him since we both were 16 years old. I know his mannerisms, likes and dislikes. But sometimes he surprises me, like the time the heating bill was too high and he was upset. So he left for Home Depot and I figured he would settle down in a couple hours.

Upon arriving home, he went straight for the laundry room and there was banging and clanging of all sorts. Finally he emerged with a smile on his face and made an announcement, it went something like this.... "I've just changed our heating system, it's now free heat that we receive." I stood there puzzled and wondering what in the world was he up too?

After about 5 minutes I started to sweat and feel uncomfortably sticky and then I looked at my hair and all the hard work of curly and spraying suddenly didn't look like anything but a frizzy mop. Then as I started downstairs it hit me... a stuffy steamy hot atmosphere! My hubby had changed the dryer vent to come into the house!! I found him and said, "This won't do.... I'll have a best complexion with the worst hair do, but we can't heat the house like this!!" He looked at me and said, "But it will save us so much money!"

I laugh now when I think about how my hubby's money saving tips have turned out to be some of the funniest events in my life. Well, minus the frizzy hair. (See my blog called Military Style on 6/19/09 for more of hubby's antics)

Never let you husband spend more than 5 minutes in the laundry room, trust me... I have experience in this area!

In the spirit of Downy's Fresh Scent,
Java Girl

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Best Shower Head in the World! Amen

I seem to be in a product advertising mode lately so here we go......Here in Southern California we have the hardest water I've ever experienced! No lie and after I moved here my family and I went through hair products trying to "fix" our hair. It was horrible. And out of desperation I went online one night and found this April Shower Removable Shower Head and I can't say enough about it, I want to shout from the roof tops and tell everyone that it's changed my life and for only $44.95 you can have your life changed too!

Sorry I got a little carried away.....

The filter is in the handle and it only has to be changed every 4 to 6 months....

Here's everything included in the kit. I, crazy old Java Girl who can't do plumbing was able to install this in about 5 minutes.

Not only does it cure hard water but removes heavy metals and chlorine among other things.

Just keeping it clean,
Java Girl

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

State Fair

One of my favorite movies is State Fair...have you ever seen the 1945 version? It's just the most lovely movie ever made, the music, dancing, wardrobes and fair and farm scenery are beautiful. When I've had a hard day and don't believe there is any good left in the world, I pop this movie in and wait to be transported to another place and time.

And on a curious Java Girl note.... why don't we have gowns like the one's in this movie anymore. They're so elegant and beautiful. And I love Margie's cute dresses too!

So in the spirit of summer and fairs and canning pickles and mince meat and hogs and love.... go get State Fair and watch it tonight,

Until tomorrow,
Java Girl

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tea Time Fun

Aren't these little note tags just adorable. My oldest found them online and when she received them they were even cuter than we originally thought. The possiblilities are endless, just think... you are going to a baby shower at a tea room or you give a tea cup as a present and have this little cutie in the box for them to read instead of a card. They make me want to plan a tea party right now!

Later this week I'll share some of our favorite places to have tea!

One lump or two?
Java Girl

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake

Thought I'd drop in and give you another fantastic recipe from my friend Elise at simplyrecipes.com. The love her food blog and check in frequently to see what's going on in the kitchen.

Until tomorrow, Java Girl
Strawberry ShortcakeE


Strawberries and whipping cream:

3 baskets of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
Whipping cream


Remove the stems from the strawberries. Slice into thin (1/4" to 1/8") slices. Put into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet the strawberries are to begin with) and mix into the strawberries. Set aside at room temperature to macerate (which means that the sugar will soften the strawberries and help release their juices).

After the strawberries have been sitting for 20 minutes or so, take a potato masher and mash them a little. Not too much, just enough to get more juice out of them.

Whip the cream, adding a drop or two of vanilla and a teaspoon of sugar.

To serve, break up one biscuit per person into big pieces into a bowl. Ladle strawberries over the biscuit. Add a dolop of whipped cream.

Biscuits from scratch

3 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Toss with a fork to combine. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. (Or pulse several times in a food processor.) Combine the cream and vanilla in a liquid measure. Make a well in the center of the flour and and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just combined; it should look shaggy and still feel a little dry. Gently knead by hand five or six times to create a loose ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into an 8-inch square, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat, cover with plastic and chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Heat the oven to 425ºF. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Cut the dough into 9 even squares and spread them about 2 inches apart from each other on the baking sheet. Bake until the biscuits are medium golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.

Makes 9 biscuits. (Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, July 2003)

Bisquick biscuits:

2 1/3 cups Bisquick baking mix
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp sugar

The strawberry shortcake biscuit recipe used to be on the side of the Bisquick box. For some unfathomable reason, the company has started to print the recipe on the inside of the box. Talk about not understanding your customers! If you can't find the recipe, here it is:

Heat oven to 425°F. Stir baking mix, melted butter, milk, and 3 Tbsp of sugar in a mixing bowl until soft dough forms. Drop by 6 spoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 6 biscuits.

Gluten-free biscuits:

1-1/2 cups Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour (Bob's Red Mill)
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1 tsp. Guar Gum
1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 cup Shortening
1/2 cup Milk
1 large Egg White

Preheat oven to 350º. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or grease lightly.

In food processor, pulse dry ingredients (flour through salt) with shortening until mixture is consistency of small peas. Add milk and egg white. Blend until dough forms ball, scraping down sides with spatula, if necessary. Dough will be somewhat soft.

Place dough on parchment-lined or greased baking sheet that’s been lightly dusted with rice flour. Gently pat to 3/4-inch thick circle with hands or spatula. Lightly dust dough with rice flour. Cut into ten 2-inch circles with floured biscuit cutter. Shape remaining dough to 3/4-inch thick and cut again. If dough is sticky, lightly dust with more flour. Arrange evenly on baking sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until nicely browned. Best when served warm or gently reheated in microwave oven. Serves 10. (Recipe from Bob's Red Mill)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Top Notch Day

Have you ever had a day that was just top notch. I mean you know the days that just surprise you at how sudden and how special something can come your way. Well that's how I felt today but it wasn't for me it was for my oldest Daughter!

She has had a struggle with her health since a fall when she was 6 years old. And some doctors are suggesting that she may have broken her back along with a severe neck injury, but the doctors were focusing on the neck so the back injury was missed. Not that that was enough but at age 13 a migraine can to take up house in her head and has never left.... no never, she lives with a constant migraine all the time, everyday. The doctors are saying it's caused by her jaw and she's getting care for that but progress is slow and painful. She's amazing and I have been so mad with God at times for making her go through this ordeal. All I've ever wanted is for the pain to stop, I want my first born back...the girl who never got to go to prom or go on a date. The beautiful creature that God gave my husband and I. The girl that I see in her room reading her bible and having the very courage to live out every word she reads.

As I was saying today was a regular day and we were headed to the physical therapist when I got a wild hair to take my daughter over to the ranch that she's been looking at to start riding horses. Yes, she's feeling well enough to consider this feat. She's always loved horses and after a trip to Arizona and the purchase of one turquoise belt buckle and one pair of cowboy boots, she found her identity. So back to the story... as we were driving around to see where the ranch was, we couldn't find it. So we turned down this road that had houses with horse barns and corrals on their property. When we realized that we needed help, there was a man on the side of the road who was getting his mail. I stopped and asked him if he knew where the ranch was and he rumbled off a couple places and then he said, "hold on, let me go get my wife." So we waited and I saw this little sweet women come walking out of the house like she was going to a fire. She was on task and once she reached our truck she had several questions directed our way. She was rough and her husband was sweet, you know the combination. Her husband asked if my daughter wanted to meet one of their horses and my girl didn't have to be asked twice. She was beyond herself standing next to that horse and caressing her mane, the feeling that I had inside when I looked at her and realized that she was living her life instead of her life living her. I wanted to hug the little friend that had so many questions and couldn't do enough to help. I suddenly wanted to put her on my Christmas list and send her an edible bouquet that she could share with the horse. The gratitude was too much!

So after about 15 minutes I realized we must leave and then my little friend and her husband said that they wanted my daughter to come back! I couldn't believe it! They were inviting her to come back and spend time with the horse which is exactly what she wanted. Who would have guessed that such big hearts lived in such a little house.

My girl has needed this, something that wanted her to come back, that told her that she matters and that doesn't identify her as a sick person, but a young women who loves horses and just wants to spend time learning how to care and ride well. I feel now like we're moving forward, that there's a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. And my heart feels light and I feel thankful to my God that I love so much, that He sent my girl a day that filled her with the most joy that I've seen in a long time.

Wishing you the best Friday...
Java Girl

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some of my Favorite Photos

My niece and Daughter #2 at Bronner's Christmas Store..... I have no idea who that lady is or where she came from!

Ukraine where Daughter #1 met the girl in the middle and they've been pen pals ever since...

Rascals playing dolls....

Daughter #1 in Amsterdam...

Mr. Hollywood again...

Flowers are my favorite to photograph...

My sisters barn cat...

Daughter #2 on her 17th Birthday...

Monaska Bay on Kodiak Island Alaska...

Crazy dutch fish....

My friend on crazy hat night at the bowling alley.....

One bad rock in New Mexico with Daughter #2 in shot....

My twin nephews after my hubby gave them this gear then dressed them up and went on a hike...

Our dear friends with Stephan Curtis Chapman after he prayed for them on stage regarding their pending adoption for their second child from China....

Oh, the memories...
Java Girl