Welcome Awna-Jolie Cross

Tim’s brother Wayne and his girlfriend Amy welcomed Awna into the household yesterday (February 25) at 9:58 pm. She weighed 7.8lb and was 19inches long. Isn’t she just a beauty?  Congratulations Wayne and Amy, we’re all excited to meet little Awna and welcome her into the family. Eden has been cooing at the above photo, it will be great to see her reaction to her new cousin in person!

Where I’ve Been This Week

Here are some interesting links that I came across this week that I think are worth checking out!

Keep Flat Surfaces Clear @ orgjunkie.com (clutter drives me crazy too, especially piles of miscellaneous paper)

Are Disposable Diapers Really That Bad? @ allaboutclothdiapers.com (we love using cloth at our house!)

What’s the Point of Marriage? @ relevantmagazine.com

Loosen the Grip of More Stuff @ smallnotebook.org

Alone Together @ kellehampton.com (I love, love, love this blog and her playlist – I think that we all feel this way sometimes as moms)

Scrapping on Canvas @ katescreativekitchen.blogspot.com (This is a great idea! Oh to only have a Cricket)

I think that’s about it for now. I’ve also been thinking about “The Eat-Clean Diet” lately. I’ve heard good things about it and as the primary chef in the family I have the ability to change our bad eating habits. I’m thinking I need to go to the library to see if they have the books I would need to get started. I love trying new recipes and foods so I actually don’t think it would be that difficult to make a transition like this. Do you know anyone who has tried this diet or have you heard of it from your peers? I would love to have some feed-back on it.

I just have to share this quote from Dr. Dave on The Mom Show this week, “I think antibacterial hand sanitizer is a scam”.  Amen Dr. Dave!

What have you been reading online this week?

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Homemade Baked Beans, Bread, and Cheese

Tuesday: Lasagna Rolls and Caesar Salad (also making a casserole for a family in need and muffins for Alpha at our church)

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Spinach and Mushroom Omlettes with breakfast sausages

Friday: Chicken Drumsticks baked in Fig Sauce with Rice (we’re attempting to serve an international meal each week, this week is Iraq)

Saturday: Encore Turkey Lentil Soup (using frozen leftover turkey)

Sunday: Leftovers (we’re moving so I didn’t want to plan anything extravagant)

For more great menu plan ideas check out this link!

What’s on your menu for the week?

Tough Questions for Atheists

As you’ve probably guessed already, this is a post by Tim (general rule: Tim’s posts are about philosophy, religion, or science, whereas Kathryn’s are about Eden or recipes and have pictures).  Hope you enjoy this one and that it makes you think about the deeper issues in life!

There are many people who think that Christians live by faith and atheists live by facts, but anyone who has examined the two belief systems in any detail whatsoever knows that this is simply not the case. When I was in high school, and even throughout my first year or so of University, I’m going to be honest: I would have loved to be an atheist. There are so many appealing factors about atheism: no need to go to church or follow silly religious traditions, apparent freedom from conviction and guilt as a result of – what Christians would consider to be – immoral behaviour, basically no obligation to do good to others (outside of one’s own personal desire, which is generally very little)… the list could go on, but when it comes down to it the most appealing thing about atheism for me was freedom from the constraints of religion.

I’m not going to get into why all these perceptions of Christianity vs. atheism are fundamentally false, but I would like to point out some of the barriers to atheism for me. These are what I found to be a few of the tough questions; the ones that made me realize that plunging in would require at least as much faith as committing my life to Christ. Atheists – I welcome you to defend your beliefs in response:

  1. WHY does anything exist? It’s one thing to come up with various theories on how the universe came to be, from a physical, historical perspective, but that’s an entirely different question. Atheism (or naturalism, we’ll say) is grounded in the belief that truth can only really be known via factual evidence, repeatable experiments, etc. It’s basically an extension of the scientific method to the entirety of existence. What gets me though, is that one of the most basic principles of scientific reasoning is that of “cause and effect” – nothing just happens without a cause. In order to cause a change in the trajectory of a moving object, for example, there must be some kind of intervention. So why (not how) did this vast expanse of matter we call the universe come into being in the first place? What could have initiated it from the state of nothingness that preceded its existence? As far as I can tell, to believe it just happened requires as much blind faith as believing it was intentional; in fact, the former belief strays further from basic reasoning than the latter, in my opinion.
  2. Genetic mutations lead to improvements? Seriously? I don’t believe DNA is a conspiracy or sinister invention of ‘evolutionists’, but I just can’t wrap my head around the concept of mutations being the basis of improvement (or, to be less subjective, of increases in the complexity of organisms, since naturalists could easily argue that humans do not represent an improvement over cyanobacteria). Here’s how I see it: we already have names for the effects of genetic mutation: most commonly disease and disability. Genes are highly specific sets of instruction for the production and assembly of each of our bodily components; when they become damaged, by errors in transcription, UV (or other) radiation, etc., depending on the location of the error on the gene and which aspect it was coded for, the result is generally (can I say always?) loss of intended function. Loss of function results in disability, disfigurement, disease (e.g. cancer), and so on… if this is the best explanation we can come up with for advancements in organism complexity, I’m not buying it.
  3. How can we explain the changes you see in peoples lives when they come to faith in Jesus? Becoming a Christian often leads to pretty radical changes in the lives of new believers. People are often ‘delivered’ instantaneously from addictions, crippling guilt, various kinds of spiritual oppression, etc. Some are miraculously healed (either upon conversion, prior to, or sometime afterwards). Sure, there have been plenty of scams and fakes out there over the years (Jesus anticipated that people would try to use his message for profit), but this stuff really does happen and it’s amazing. I personally know people who have been healed from physical ailments through prayer. I actually was healed once myself, much to my disbelief, as discussed in a previous post (on my old blog). If the basis of science is accepting the most reasonable conclusion based on observed phenomena, doesn’t this evidence speak for itself? What else can you do with this evidence? You can’t say, “well there are some things we just don’t know the answer to yet” – that’s exactly the stance that Christians are criticised for by atheists, only we hope to hear it from God one day when we meet face-to-face, whereas naturalists wait to hear the answers from men. If you do accept that there are some things that may never be understood, you are indeed placing your faith in your beliefs.

I suppose I could go on, but I’ve already written enough to make my point and (hopefully) provoke some discussion. If you’re agnostic – that is, you think we can never know one way or the other, so you’re just sitting on the fence – I don’t want to hear about it, because you’re effectively an atheist. When it comes down to it, everyone has to decide where they stand, and not deciding really is deciding in the end, since your lifestyle will be the evidence of your beliefs.

Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps (Raincoast Crisps)

Have you ever bought Raincoast Crisps? Did you cringe at the price? Were you still willing to make the purchase because you knew the deliciousness was worth it? If you answered YES to any of these questions you’ve got to try this recipe. I made these for Tim the other day to show him how much I love him because these crisps are one of his favourite things. They would also make a good gift for someone. Or they are great for a tasty, crunchy, relatively healthy snack!

Ingredients:

2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk (I used 1% milk with about 2Tbsp of white vinegar mixed in and let sit until thick)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup raisins (I used craisins)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (I used sunflower seeds)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seed, ground
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried, just a couple of shakes, I could have added more)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.

Pour the batter into two 8”x4” loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. You can leave it until the next day or pop it in the freezer. (This is what I did.) Slice the loaves as thin as you can and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I sliced one and froze the other for another day.)

Reduce the oven heat to 300° F and bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden. Try not to eat them all at once.

Makes about 8 dozen crackers.

Per cracker: 30 calories, 0.8 g total fat (0.1 g saturated fat, 0.4 g monounsaturated fat, 0.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 0.7 g protein, 5.3 g carbohydrate, 0.2 mg cholesterol, 0.3 g fiber. 23% calories from fat.

Valentine’s Day

I used to hate Valentine’s Day.  That was before I had a valentine.  Tim and I don’t normally do anything extravagant on this day, we normally stay home and spend some quality time with each other.  The past few years Tim has treated me by making me a delicious dinner and he usually even get’s me some flowers! Not roses though…anything but, in my opinion!  Now that we have a wee one things are a bit different but we still celebrated and I wanted to show you how!

Although Tim wasn’t working he was out most of the day with volunteering, taking the car to the garage, and grocery shopping (he had to pick up special ingredients for his dinner).

Eden was pretty fussy during the day, she’s been teething lately so it seems pretty routine these days. In the afternoon when I knew we had a bit of time before Tim was to return I decided to do a craft with Eden. Yes, she’s only 7 months old, but I wanted her to make Tim a card.  I made some homemade paint by halving this recipe, and attempted to get Eden to finger paint the front of a card.

I basically had to stick her hands in the paint and then put the cardstock under them. She wasn’t too keen at all and lasted only about a minute before she was done and needed to be cleaned up.  But oh well, at least we ended up with a cute card!

I like her expression in this one! I also made Tim a card, it was nice to get my scrapbooking stuff out again and create something, even if it was pretty simple.

When Tim returned I was banned from the kitchen so he could do some food prep. We had a minor fire in the oven…but it resulted in a delicious meal!

Here’s the pretty flowers he bought with the card I made.

He served up basmati rice, sauteed asparagus, red pepper and mushrooms, and roasted lamb!  We rarely have lamb because it’s so expensive but it’s a nice reminder of our time in NZ when we were newly weds and it’s so delicious. Lamb splatters a lot when cooking hence the fires in the oven… anyone have any suggestions on how to prevent this for next time? The meal was absolutely delicious and the perfect portion size (we’ve been talking a lot about portion size because it’s so easy to eat way more than you should just by eating large portions, a cultural thing that we’re trying to break in our family).

Tim made these cookies for dessert.  They were so chocolaty and delicious, definitely thinking of me when he picked it because he’s not super fond of chocolate.  They were very rich, so he actually baked only 12 and we froze the rest in little balls to bake later. They’re definitely not something I would want to keep in my house on a regular basis because of the health factor and the fact that I have little self control when it comes to chocolate.

We then watched our game shows…how old are we??? Ha… we wanted to see Watson (the computer) on Jeopardy and it was pretty entertaining. We missed last night because of lifegroup but I hear that it’s doing very well.

After that we played with Eden until she seemed sleepy enough to go to bed. I also signed up for a free Netflix trial so we could watch a movie. We have an excellent internet connection now, good enough to stream a video which is pretty good for wireless from the neighbours. Tim picked out a video while I put Eden to sleep, which took longer than I hoped but, oh well.

We watched (500) Days of Summer which we really enjoyed and would definitely reccomend it.

This is what Netflix says about it:

When his girlfriend, Summer (Zooey Deschanel), unceremoniously dumps him, greeting-card copywriter and hopeless romantic Tom (Golden Globe nominee Joseph Gordon-Levitt) begins sifting through the year-plus worth of days they spent together, looking for clues to what went awry. As he recalls the good and bad times he spent with the commitment-phobic girl, his heart reawakens to what it cherishes most. Marc Webb directs this uncommon love story.

And that was the end of our day! What a wonderful way to spend with the people you love the most eh? As I was writing in my card for Tim I realised how nice it was to stop and focus on all the reasons I love him. I definitely don’t do it enough.

Did you celebrate this special day with the ones you love the most? What did you do?