Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gluten Free Cooking

Three and a half years ago, life in our kitchen changed dramatically.

I had to learn to cook all over again when we found out that Caleb was gluten intolerant.

Shortly after finding out about it, I bought a notebook and started collecting recipes from the internet to help me learn a whole new way of cooking and eating. Some recipes were great, others not so much. But I kept at, and am still adding recipes to that same notebook like the one below: Chili with chicken and beans, one of our new favorites with a few of my own adaptations (like adding in some corn and lime juice!).

Preparing tasty, interesting gluten free food is, I guess you'd say, one of my hobbies now. I still get on the internet a couple times a week to look up new things just to keep us all well-fed and happy.

I was looking through one of my old "pre-gluten-free" cookbooks that used to pretty much feed us every night, and realized something. In the process of transforming our lives to gluten free, we've tried many different kinds of food, developed a lot of new favorites, and I've learned so much more about healthier cooking in the process.

It's actually been a gift, in many ways, to make this shift, and I can honestly tell you...I wouldn't go back to the old way, even if I could! I like cooking gluten free.

Monday, January 30, 2012

When Dave is Gone

This is not how we usually park our cars when we're at home.

Unfortunately, it's how they're parked today because Dave is gone. You know how that works right? Husband/dad leaves and things go wrong. It's a law...written in some thick rule book somewhere. I am convinced of that.

He left for the States this morning, and of course, when I went out to start my car later, the battery was dead.  

It is super cold outside today. That's a piece of ice that froze standing straight up on my windshield wiper!

In times like this, a cute little doggie can only bring you a smile...not fix the problem! Nice try though Kaylee!

Thankfully Caleb is home and gave it a valiant effort. Following dad's instructions (who we were able to reach before he got on his plane), he did all the right steps for trying to get it started. Jumper cables? Check. Battery charger? Check. Heater on the engine? Check.

He even wrapped up the hood in blankets...with the heater going on underneath for several hours.

Kaylee: "Does that work???"

Well, it was worth a try for a few hours. But when all was said and done, we are now waiting for a friend to come and try something else as it's not going anywhere right now.

Oh...I forgot to mention that the van is parked funny too because while trying to sit on an icy slope and jump my car, the emergency brake froze in place so it too is not driveable.

This is what happens when Dave is gone!

To Be Continued...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What's New at Albert

I remember when I moved to Spain in 1984 and had to adjust to new grocery stores, packages I couldn't read, and food that was different than what I was used to.

But there were a couple of items that I recognized and appreciated many a time that year. Any guesses??

What country in the world DOESN'T sell Coke? I was sure glad it wasn't Spain that year! If you know me, you know I grew up loving a Coke at McDonald's with my mom, though she probably shudders now to think she introduced me to it all those years ago, and that I still love it despite the sugar content! Sorry mom!

Ah Fritos...it's not that I grew up loving them or anything...but there they were in Spain that year (I've never seen them any other place in all these years I've lived in Europe)...something that I knew and could rely on! Besides, I prefer salt over sweet so it was a perfect compliment to my beloved Coke that year.

Of course I discovered many foods while I lived in Spain that were local, and not imported, and learned to love them. But there was still just something about making a trek to "supermercado" (had to drive 45minutes to get to the one that had the Fritos!) and getting a taste of home back then.

Fast forward to today. It's a different world here in Europe than it was 27 years ago. There are so many items here that you'd find in the States.

However, there was one item that was never here, but is here now in a BIG way! All the grocery stores are promoting it, and even giving it "end of the aisle" status to promote it.

Have you ever seen so many Oreos?!

Of course it doesn't do us any good now, being gluten intolerant. And frankly, I never really liked them much anyway.

But it does make me smile when I go into my little local "Albert" and there they are taking up a whole shelf!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Still Inside Me

Nearly thirty years ago (gasp!) I was a teacher. Well...it's what I got my college degree in.

After graduating, I did a long term sub for one semester in the Washington state public school system, and then spent a year in Spain teaching missionary kids.

God directed my path differently from there on, and other than teaching my own kids how to read and write, I haven't been an official teacher since then.

But somewhere deep down inside me, that teacher part of me lives on. After teaching for that year and half period, I found out that the part I like best is time with the students...one on one, if at all possible.

A dear Czech friend of mine has a son who has started attending the International School in Ostrava, which is completely in English, and needs someone to listen to him read in English once a week. That's where I come in! I get the joy of sitting with G. for an hour on Thursdays, listening and interacting with him as he reads. It's perfect for both of us!

Kaylee thinks she's part of the program too - usually spends at least half the time on one of our laps! But that just makes it all the more fun.

So that little teacher part of me - the readin' and writin' kind of teacher - is alive and well inside me, and getting a little fix once a week these days!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why We Build

Last year at this time a construction firm was working on finishing up two of the Malenovice cabins, and I was in the States on the biggest shopping trip of my life, working on furnishing those cabins!

Those two cabins are in use now, full nearly every week-end. Now a third cabin is being built next to the other two. God provided all the funds to complete this one, which should be done by spring.

The lodge is also in progress right now, and due to be finished in just under two weeks! While it doesn't look like it, there will be space for 30 to sleep here.

Petr, our JV construction project manager, has been spending hours working to oversee its completion. He is amazing at what he does! Wish you could see all of these buildings that he's put his heart and soul into bringing to completion.

Next week-end in this room there will be 50 young people for a Fusion week-end. Yeah I know...you are wondering how it could possibly be done in time aren't you?! Me too! But Petr promises it will be!

Color is going on the walls each day and all the small details are being finished...

...making it an even more beautiful place to be!

A building is just a building unless the Lord inhabits it. Our prayer and dream is that everyone who spends time here will sense God's presence, and come to know Him in a personal way.

That's why we build!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Future Me

Maybe you already know about this...but in case you don't, it's something that I've enjoyed and want to pass on.

A number of years ago I stumbled onto a website called Future Me.

It's been written about on CNN, BBC, NPR, The Today Show, etc. Started a few years ago (some say 2002, some say 2007...don't know which it is!) by two guys, one a web designer and the other a programmer, they do it on the side - to this day it's not their full time job. But the concept is basically to send yourself a message by email that will be delivered in the future, at a date of your choosing.

I wrote my first letter in 2007...and promptly forgot that I'd done it. It completely surprised me a year later when it was delivered to my inbox. 

Even just one year later, it was such a good "perspective" moment to read what I'd written - things that I was worried concerned about were no longer issues, things that I'd hoped for had either happened or weren't important anymore, prayers I'd prayed had been answered - some with a "yes", some with a "no". But, most all of the answers made sense a year later. If they didn't...it was a reminder to continue to pray, or to think about changing the prayer request.

Since then, I've written over a dozen letters to have sent to me at a later date - some have already arrived, some will arrive in just a year, and some won't come until 2015!

One of the main reasons I like it is for perspective. But there are a lot of other reasons you might come up with to send yourself a message into the future. If you want to do it, click HERE. And have fun hearing from yourself in the future!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Giggle for the Day

Couldn't resist posting something that not only made me smile, but actually gave me the giggles, which then turned to flat out laughter the more I read!

I was going over a menu to choose food for an event here and came across these little "funnies". The menu was in three languages, one of which was English. Funny how a few misplaced letters can change the meaning!

Spaghetti with oil, garlic and chilly - does this mean it's a cold spaghetti dish?!

Spaghetti, fresh tomatoes, garlic, fred Tiger, rucola, Parmesan - a Tiger named Fred will be appearing in this spaghetti dish? Sounds a little iffy, doesn't it?!

Pork stek with friend Italian Copernicus - this is where I really got to laughing! I wonder how the Italian friend, Copernicus, feels about being on the menu with the pork stek?!

Lettuce with tomatoes, onion, Tune fish and corn - a tuned fish in this salad? Will he play a melody while I eat?!

Mixed salad chef - this sounds like it's the chef who is on the menu! Wonder how HE feels about that?!

Mineral water with gas - if you've lived in, or visited, Europe this isn't so funny, but I got to thinking about someone visiting this restaurant who had never been to Europe and wondered how they'd feel about mineral water mixed with a little gasoline?!

Trout on butter with salvia - although this is actually spelled right, doesn't it look like you're having trout on butter with saliva?!! Oh my - not sure who would choose that item!

Roasted beef sirloin with rocket and balsamic honey sauce - a rocket with my beef sirloin? I'd like to see that!

Spinach on butter and cheese - and this one just made me giggle! Sounds like the main dish is butter and cheese, with a little spinach on top. Cholesterol heaven!

Bon Apetit!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Greg's Epic 50th Birthday Party

Our good friend, and long time JV teammate, Greg Carlson celebrated his 50th birthday this evening over in Poland.

Lots of fun guests at the party like the Shepperson family who just arrived back in Slovakia after six months in the States. So fun to see these two good friends, Emili S and Kelsey, Greg's daughter, back together again!

As well as Gwyneth S. and Jillian, Greg's other daughter!

Greg and I go all the way back to high school - I've known him since he was 15 and I was 16! What an amazing privilege to have served in ministry together for over 25 years (we served in Germany together as well, and Greg was one of Dave's groomsmen in our wedding!).

We all had dinner together at his family's favorite restaurant in Ustron, Poland, then gave gifts to celebrate this epic event. Dave and I found a remote control sailboat for him - because every 50 year old man needs a big boat of his own! :)

Wherever Greg is, there is always lots of laughter...if you've ever been around him, you know what I mean. He just brings out the best in people and puts a smile on your face!

After dinner we headed to an ice skating rink that they'd rented out for the party and skated to music of the 70's...truly epic! :)

As a special gift, one of Greg's Polish friends had a man come and play his clarinet along to the music of "My Way", the great old Frank Sinatra classic. It was one of those awesome "goosebump" moments - so beautiful!

He got a big round of applause afterwards!

Such a fun way to spend a Saturday night, celebrating our good friend!

Friday, January 20, 2012

19 Years

Loved celebrating Caleb and his 19th birthday tonight!

Best card of the evening...from Cece, of course!

Most interested in the presents? That'd be Kaylee!

Tastiest part of the party? Claire's berry crisp...GF and oh so yummy!

I'm feeling a little sentimental tonight thinking about the fact that this is most likely his last birthday at home, probably for quite a while since by next year he'll be at college.

Thankful it was such a sweet evening with family and friends!

Happy Birthday dear Caleb!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Where Were You?

Do you know where you were nineteen years ago today? I sure know where I was!

I was waiting for a certain little boy to make his appearance.

Living in Germany at the time, I'd been on bed rest for six weeks with pre-term labor. My doctor took me off the medication on December 23rd, and we fully expected that little guy to appear any day after that.

My mom left from her home in the States on Christmas Day so that she'd arrive on the 26th, hopefully in time for his birth.

Little did we know it would be almost a month later before he'd make that special appearance!

Within hours of taking this photo (and feeling nothing), I was in labor. Our precious second son, Caleb Joshua Patty, was born on January 20th at 2:11 PM in Schwetzingen, Germany.

Hard to believe that little baby, pictured with my mom and Tyler, is turning 19 tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Outside my Window

As I sit at my desk today, this is what I'm looking at...it's gorgeous!

I am pretty sure it snowed all day yesterday - a rarity that we haven't seen much this winter.

Today the sun peeked its head out from behind the clouds, even showing some blue sky!

I think we got about 8-9 inches of snow which sure makes for a magical looking day outside.

I don't know how this Oregon girl came to love snow so much! :)