Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Chardonnay Day

Tonight I'm enjoying the only white wine in this month's wine club selections. A 2006 Chardonnay from Milbrandt Vineyards. I'm normally not a big fan of chardonnay as it can feel like the tastes from the barrel overpower the taste of the wine. This taste is not overpowering. Light citrus, creamy texture and a slightly spicy finish. I'm adding this to the list to find again!

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Walking to Emmaus

Two weekends ago, I wrote about Rocky being on a spiritual journey and that I would go the following weekend.  So I’m back.  It was an unbelievable weekend.  There were times I wondered why I chose to attend, but by the end, I was convinced it was the best way to spend that weekend.  It truly was where God wanted and needed me to be.

It’s difficult to describe the weekend and the only way I’ve been able to come up with is it’s a weekend filled with God’s grace & love.  I felt his grace & love in ways I never have before, and in ways I don’t anticipate feeling again.

I was fortunate to know many of the women on the walk.  There were several from our church, most from our small (growing larger) group.  It was nice to be have women there I was already comfortable with, who knew who I was leaving behind.  It was hard.  It was really hard to leave my girls behind, knowing I wouldn’t be able to see or speak to them until Sunday.  I couldn’t help the tears of sadness Thursday night and on Friday.  It was the first time I have slept alone since before Jessie was born.  Amazing, when you think about it. 

I learned things about myself and about God.  My weakness, my sins were laid before me.  But I was also able to spend time in His Word, without really being in his Word.  I wish I had brought my Bible as there were many verses, passages I wrote down that I wanted to mark then and there.  It feels different for me, to mark scripture in my Bible rather than just writing down the verse.  Seeing it in context, to the book, to the rest of the books.

Things come to me at odd times now that I’m back in the real world.  I don’t feel different, yet I know I am.  I find myself wondering why other people aren’t different – then I remind myself that I have changed.

The women’s weekend theme was a Red Door, which means welcome in old American tradition.  A red door would tell a traveler that this is a welcoming place of rest.  A traveler would know that they would be welcomed in, given food and a place to stay.  And that’s what the Walk was for me.  It was a welcome, a re-welcome, to God and to new Sisters in Christ.  I was given food (oh Lord, was I given FOOD!)  And it was a place of rest.

But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.  Luke 24: 29

Monday, January 16, 2012

Maggie on Martin Luther King Jr

Last week, Maggie pipes up from the backseat to tell me about a book her teacher read at school about Martin Luther King Jr.

Mom, you didn't know that in the olden days some white people weren't very nice to black people. And they made black people sit in the back of the bus. And then Martin Luther Kings Jr came and told people to be nice to each other. And then, and Mom this is the sad part, somebody shot him. But we remember him now because he just wanted people to be nice to each other.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Girls’ Night In

Rocky is currently on a spiritual journey at church – the Walk to Emmaus.  It’s 4 days at the church, time spent in fellowship with other men.  I know he is, well, not sure if it’s a fun time, but I know at the end of the week he will be stronger in his faith.  This 4 days includes no contact with the outside world, so I am single parenting it this weekend.  This is the longest we will have been apart with no contact since we started dating back in 2000, and the longest he has been away from the girls.  I will go on the same journey next weekend, and while I’m looking forward to growing closer to God and to some women in the church, I know, as I’m sure he is, part of me will be worried about Rocky being the single parent.  I know he will be MUCH better at it than I am, but the nights worry me a bit.  So, to help pass the time this weekend and because other women’s husbands are busy with the Walk, I hosted a girls’ night in last night.

9 women from church came over for some good food, good wine, the movie “Bridesmaids” and a LOT of laughter.  6 bottles of Cupcake varieties and 1 Apothic Red, which went very nicely with the Cupcake reds.  My wonderful church Sisters brought more great food than we could eat and we talked and laughed and ate.  And watching “Bridesmaids” with these women was much more fun than watching with my husband [he didn’t really get it in the way that we did] where we laughed and laughed until tears streamed down our faces.2012-01-13_17-39-38_37 2012-01-14_05-59-39_972

I love the times I am able to spend with these wonderful women.  After we left Michigan I prayed for a long time for God to bring us some Godly friends.  It took some time, but I’m glad that he was able to bring us to this place at this time to be with these people.

Luke 2:10 … you have saved the best till now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 2012 Wine Club

A new year, a new monthly selection! I went online tonight to see what I could find out about this month's selections. The first is Benessere Sangoivese, a Napa Valley 2012-01-07_10-08-51_508winery that specializes in Italian grapes/wines. "Benessere" is the Italian word for well being and prosperity. Sangoivese is an ancient Tuscan grape that blends as many as six different clones of this noble variety, grown on an estate north of Saint Helena, whose gravelly clay and loam soils are perfectly suited to the production of this aromatic and complex wine. Their website mentions that this would go well served in a large glass at room temperature with a Tuscan style steak. I'm not sure what exactly a Tuscan style steak is [I will have to utilize my Google-fu skills to find a recipe], but this sounds like a good reason (like I needed one) to purchase extra large wine glasses, ala Cougar Town.

The 2nd is another American wine, but from Washington State. I must admit I am really enjoying both Washington and Oregon wines. And I'm rather looking forward to the Milbrandt Evergreen Chardonnay. Several hints of banana, pineapple, papaya and nectarines, along with smoke and vanilla, are promised. Sue says there is a lush finish and a food-worthy acidity. And now, to decide what to make with it!

The final wine, Faustino VII, was a bit trickier to find. Google was not my friend for this search. A search for Faustino brought up Married with Children's Bud. I finally found Bodegas Faustino, but it was difficult to navigate. So, to make things easier, I finally just got the bottle and was finally able to locate the wine on A review on said this is a nice every day wine, so I decided to open it this weekend. I'm, unfortunately, not very impressed. I think it probably should have been kept for a while to age a bit, as even my new aerator did not help. I may use the rest of it to make pot roast. [update: as the wine sat, I did enjoy it a bit more. I know I wouldn't seek this wine out again, but may enjoy the rest of it later this week, perhaps with a hearty meal to even out the leathery smell/taste.]

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ice Skating!

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It was Girl Scouts on Ice day at the local hockey rink.  Maggie & I were able to spend an hour learning how to get up off the ice, er ice skate.  I was very very proud of Maggie, who fell often, but got up with a smile on her face every single time.  I was also pretty proud of myself, in that not only did I not fall, but I was able to help Maggie and even skate a little bit myself – which is impressive as I haven’t even been on rollerblades since we left Michigan.

Once we took our skates off, the hunger got the better of her and the crabbiness started.  Fortunately, McDonald’s wasn’t far away and I was able to stave off a total meltdown with some McNuggets, french fries, and a hot chocolate.

Just Like Sissy

Jessie loves her Sissy! And while Maggie does relish her role as big sister, there are occasions of frustration for her.

At 19 months now, Jessie can recognize most major body parts on herself and others. She is starting to recognize colors which they are working on in her room at daycare. Her vocabulary continues to expand both verbal & sign. I had forgotten how much fun it is to watch a toddler learn!  Her favorite word right now is "ah-pee" (open). She is also kind of starting to count: when she wants to jump she will start with "two, two"

I'm still nursing Jessie. I've started thinking about weaning her, but it still calms her and we nurse when she asks - which how can you say No when your toddler signs eat and says "pease" at the same time?

Jessie loves to wrestle and tickle and be tickled!  She loves to dance, giggle, and hug the dogs. Who reluctantly put up with her! I think they both know she is a great source of scraps & will soon be able to play real games.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Ringing in the New Year

champagne Rocky & I are not party animals and we hadn’t even discussed going out for new year’s eve until our friends Tim & Diane mentioned a wine tasting at Simply Wine. And not just any tasting, but a Champagne tasting!  And not just any sparkling wine tasting, but Dom Perignon and Cristal were included!!  This was not a tasting to pass up.  Fortunately, we were able to get a babysitter [thanks Becca] at kind of the last minute [confirmed her on Wednesday before].  We met up with Tim & Diane, and their friend Yvette at Jake’s for a little “priming” and food.  The food was yummy and we then headed to Simply 2011-12-31_19-14-48_593Wine for the main event.  I forgot to get pictures of the first 2, Piper-Heidsick and Perrier Jouet.  I really liked the Perrier Jouet, it was fairly “soft” (can’t think of a better way to describe the bubbles), not too sweet and not too dry.  The third Champagne was Jacquesson.  I liked it as well – of course, there was not much to not like about any of them (other than the price!)

After the Jacquesson, the Cristal was to be next, but we had to wait for a bottle to be opened, so we were served Dom Perignon.  Yes, that’s right DOM!!! [Rocky has already told me to not get used to it.] By far, my favorite. Now, I’m not a big wine snob nor do I drink a lot of champagne or even sparkling wine.  But EVERYONE has heard of Cristal & Dom Perignon and that is enough for me to be excited about these 2.  The Dom was just about as perfect as a wine I could ever imagine.  The taste was lovely.  It wasn’t too dry, which I actually had expected it to be dry.  It went so well with the champagne cupcakes [which I MUST try to make] and strawberries.

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Diane & I toasting with Dom.


And finally, the Cristal. [check out us gangstas! (Diane & me with Yvette & Christa)]  I was a little worried about dropping the bottle – has 3 bottles listed ranging from $189 - $500! (Dom is listed as $149, Jacquesson as low as $69, Perrier Jouet for around $50 for non-vintage & Piper-Heidsick at around $35 for non-vintage). 


It was a great way to spend New Year’s Eve, and we were even home & in bed by 10:30!  Here’s to a wonderful new year!

“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right!” Mark Twain