Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Our Christmas "exploits" so far

Merry Christmas! Here's what we've been doing since we finished finals. (We survived!)

Now that Carla has taught me so many wonderful Brazilian dishes, I taught her one of the best recipes from my heritage: Cardamom bread!! We made a party of it; it's much more fun to make bread in a group.

We decorated a whole bunch of gingerbread cookies with the kids upstairs. We made a special plate of penguins for Heather.

My parents lost power for 8 days, so we decorated the tree in the dark (tree lights powered by the generator). How romantic! (or something)

Colin couldn't be there for the tree decorating, but he was there in spirit (that is, Dad scanned a picture from one of the ornaments and photoshopped him in...) The next morning, off we went to Iowa!

We made a special cookbook for Keith's mommy with our favorite recipes, many of which we got from friends and family.

Favorite gifts? Keith's mommy made all of us blankets! The whole family was here this year: Joseph, Catherine, Keith, Celia, Rebecca, Nate, Sarah (and Baby Sweet), and Chris. Ilene took the picture, and Tim was off doing something else.

Nate prepares to bring his Christmas gifts home. No, you can't have the dog.

Christmas will keep right on going when we're back in Seattle with Celia's family on December 30!

Christmas Letter, 2006

Finally we are putting out our Christmas letters and cards. We should be sending them by mail shortly, but here you will find our letter and picture.

December 22, 2006

Dear friends and family,

We’ve had a really busy semester, so we’re getting our cards out a bit late this year. Now we are enjoying some restful time with Keith’s family in Iowa.

This January we started at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada studying theology. This has been an all-absorbing task; we’ve been learning a lot and enjoying the community. A third of Regent is from outside North America, which creates a very different dynamic. We have new friends from Brazil, Japan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. We enjoy learning about their cultures, especially how they cook. We seem to learn just as much out of classes as in them.

We went to school through the summer as well, and rediscovered that we both procrastinate very badly. All the assignments for a summer class are due on the same day. Keith did some career exploration through summer school, thinking about youth ministry and pastoral care. He is currently thinking of teaching in a private school setting. Celia worked through some important questions related to music and worship, and while she wasn’t studying, went to two music festivals. Lately each of us has been busy writing and thinking about a theological topic. Keith has been working through the concepts of predestination, free will, and grace, while Celia has been studying the problems of dispensationalism. Both of us are enjoying our biblical language classes. We decided to “divide and conquer”: Keith is studying Greek, and Celia is studying Hebrew. So far our studies have been very fruitful personally and vocationally. We plan to continue our studies here for another two years or so.

We found a great church (Vancouver First Christian Reformed), where we worship with people from many ages and walks of life. The church has been very supportive of the many Regent students there, putting us to work to serve the community. Keith has been playing piano and organ for congregational singing. Celia occasionally plans worship and teaches adult Sunday school. Both of us sing in the choir.

In news totally unrelated to our studies (and to prove that we do occasionally do something different—we’re feeling a little nerdy as we look over our letter), Keith dug a great big hole in the backyard to make a place for our new patio! Unfortunately he completed it just in time for the rainy season. We look forward to some nice barbeques next summer.

We wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and many blessings in the New Year!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas trees!

Over the summer, I took a class on planning worship. For our final projects, we split into groups and planned short worship services which we then presented to the class. (It was one of the best assignments so far here!) One of the other groups had an object lesson which involved baby Noble Fir trees. Somehow I ended up with four of them. I forgot what the object lesson was, but the trees are really cool. We decided to bring them inside and decorate them for Christmas!

Here they are, hanging out with our advent "wreath" and a couple of presents. The biggest one gets to be on top of the piano.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What to do with pumpkins

Once again, it's a cooking post! I do seem to do a lot of those, but I've also tried to show that I do some studying and cello/viol-playing too. In fact, Keith is practicing the piano while I type, and I went to play viol consort music with some people on Friday night! But in any case, this is pumpkin pie weekend, when we get to eat our jack o'lanterns, so I'll show you the process. It all started when my mom grew sugar pumpkins this year. She kindly gave me 5 or 6 of them for my baking needs.

Carving pumpkins with our neighbors...

Setting them out on display (Mine is on the left, and Keith's is on the right)...

Next step: baking our jack o'lanterns!

Final product: pumpkin pie that is way better than the stuff from the can!! (My pie crusts are improving, too!)

Other things to do with pumpkins: I made 2 batches of pumpkin bars, and our friend, Carla taught us to make Brazilian pumpkin and shrimp stew! We had a lovely feast complete with Brazilian coffee and Brigadiero! By the way, this is outside on our new patio, which we've enjoyed very much when it hasn't been raining and cold... so not for the last month...

Thanks, Mom!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Right now I am supposed to be writing a paper. It is about gnostic tendencies in nineteenth-century evangelical (especially dispensational) hymnody. Wow, the more I read about dispensationalism, the scarier it gets. I really need to quit reading the books and get to work on the paper (it's due tomorrow), but it really holds a kind of morbid fascination, not to mention it being another means of procrastination. Anyway, I actually finished another major assignment a couple of days ago, and I thought I would post it here, since I'm rather pleased with it, and someone might actually find it helpful to sort out the monarchy of ancient Israel/Judah. I found it helpful. Have fun...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Finished Quilt!

That's right, I managed to finish my first quilt!

Let me tell you a bit about it. The whole thing started when Keith went through his closet last fall (2005), and pulled out a whole bunch of jeans that he had outgrown to give away (that tells you how often Keith goes through his closet). Unfortunately, they were so holey and covered in paint, that no one would want them... but throwing them away would be wasteful! So, I decided to make a quilt with them, supplemented by some homespun-style cotton fabric. It was supposed to be Keith's graduation present in December 2005, but that didn't happen. I had no idea how much work it is to make a quilt! I did most of the work this past summer (aided by the lovely sewing machine Keith's mommy gave me), and finished it on the second day of class. The worst part was tying. To get the thick yarn needle and thick yarn through all the layers, I had to use vice-grip pliers and work gloves to prevent blisters! Honest, I'm not a wimp! Maybe for my next project I'll do some Christmas stockings. Right now this quilt lives on the couch, to make for nice comfy studying. If you come visit, it will be on your bed!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Japanese Cartoon?

I found this cool thing on the internet... I can make a cartoon version of myself, albeit a little too curvy and with eyes that are way, way too big. I really don't know what to do with it, but it's fun to play with in any case, like playing with paper dolls (and it's good to have a little childlike fun every once in a while). So, here is what I would look like in a Japanese cartoon. Enjoy! :)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Finished Projects

Keith and I had a very busy summer, but we managed to do some fun things too. This week, we each completed a big project! Keith made a bedside table with my dad in his wood shop, and I knit a sweater for Janelle and Kelly's baby, Elaine! As I write this, the patio is being paved... and I'm still working on the quilt I promised Keith for his graduation last December! More news to come...

The bedside table (gorgeous cherry!):

The table in its place on Keith's side of the bed:

Sweater, front view:

Sweater, back view:

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

All Summer Long

So... the last time I updated this blog was in May... I had a lot of free time in May. The rest of the summer was pretty busy. Keith took 7 credits and I took 5. Honest, I'll try to do better! Some of the highlights:
  • Keith enjoyed his youth ministry class very much.
  • We had visits from Kyle and Melissa, Colin, and Keith's parents.
  • Keith also memorized and performed more of the Gospel of John for "Word by Heart" class.
  • I (gasp) PREACHED at our church on Romans 7... oddly enough, on our anniversary...
  • We visited Keith's family and friends in the midwest. We visited Keith's grandparents (and I met them for the first time), saw Sarah and Nate's new house, and attended a wedding.
  • I played my viola da gamba at the Viola da Gamba Society of America Conclave in Northfield, MN. I met lots of cool people and played lots of cool music. Meanwhile, Keith hung out with his family in Fort Dodge, IA.
  • I attended another workshop in Seattle, where I played cello and viola da gamba for 17th century opera scenes. While I did this, Keith made a bedside table with my dad!
  • Oh by the way, while I was attending the conference, I was hard at work in my free time writing a paper on the use of instrumental music in worship. While it really cut into the time I would have liked to spend with the people at the workshop, I am really proud of it! If you're interested, let me know and I'll email it to you!
And some pictures...

It's time for a party! We had a Brazilian Barbeque. Our friend, Carla showed us what to do.

Cathy and I helped with the dessert. Mmmm... chocolate!

It was Carla's first time making Brazilian Barbeque. In Brazil the boys do it, but in Canada, we are liberated women!

We finished up the evening with some amazing coffee!

Keith dug a big, big hole that is going to be our patio!

Colin graduated from the UW, but didn't go to graduation, so we dressed him appropriately and marched him around the house to appropriate music.

We hung out in Seattle with Kyle and Melissa.

We made Colin shave off his beard (for the second time) to receive our donation towards his trip to China... here he is with half a beard and half a mustache!

I attended a world cup game at a Brazilian restaurant. We all had to watch outside on the sidewalk because there wasn't room inside... it was a crazy party!!

We spent our anniversary in Van Dusen Gardens, where we admired some ducks and got attacked by bees...

... and Keith made pizza for dinner!

We visited Keith's grandparents, George and Bernice.

Keith and Nate and I had fun at "Storybook Land," the big attraction of Aberdeen, SD.

Here I am performing a piece by Orlando Gibbons at the Conclave. It was my first time performing on treble viol!

I made pie with blackberries from our yard!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

So domestic...

Last week, Keith was in class, and I was not. I spent a lot of time at home doing domestic things, such as cooking, organizing, and working on some art projects. As a result, I finished the top of Keith's graduation quilt (made partially from his old jeans, and was supposed to be done in December but wasn't), made about 6 liters of spaghetti sauce with Julie's wonderful recipe, knit several inches on a baby sweater for Janelle's baby, practiced my cello, and decorated a bunch of picture frames with the help of the children upstairs. Oh, I also found some people to play viola da gamba consort music with! Very fun.

Mmmm... a pot of beautiful spaghetti sauce...

Dayna, one of my family's neighbors, gave me some advice on choosing dishes when we were doing our bridal registry last spring. She suggested that I visualize our dishes with spaghetti on them. I think our dishes pass the spaghetti test...

Now that Keith is done with his class (all the classes during the summer are 1 or 2 weeks), he is enjoying the lovely weather (ha ha) and digging the hole which will contain our patio/seasonal dining room. He's looking forward to removing the retaining wall with a sledge hammer. We are very excited!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Soup and BBQ

Now that our apartment is a hospitable place, we can have people over! There are still things to be done (papers to sort, family pictures to hang, and the never ending cleaning chores), but since hanging the pictures, we've had people over for dinner twice!

The first was a pea soup party at the end of April. (Thanks to Jeff and Tara for the inspiration!) The weather cooperated: it poured all day, so people were in the mood to eat nice, hearty soup. We had leftover (frozen) ham from Easter, so that provided for about 15 quarts of soup!! We had 6 quarts leftover to freeze and eat later... we'll be eating pea soup all summer!

On Sunday we had a spur of the moment shish-kebab barbeque. This time it was sunny, so we got to enjoy the use of our seasonal dining room (the yard). Keith and I were meant to be together: I make a killer marinade, and he does a killer job with the grilling!