Modern Day Pilgrims

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Vacation, Part 1

We've arrived safely at destination #1: Miami. We've enjoyed catching up with some old friends and look forward to a couple more days with them. We've also had a great time as a family. I know Chris is so excited to spend more time with Charlotte since the crazy amount of hours he has to put in at work limits the time he has at home. I'm going to try and do a super job of taking my camera wherever I go, even if I annoy people with it! Here's some pictures from day one, with most of them being sweet Daddy/Charlotte pics:

Charlotte's first time in the grass!

Relaxing by the pool! Haha!

I love the look on her face...too cute!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Little Rest & Relaxation

Our summer vacation starts tonight! We are leaving Bahrain this evening, and I feel a little overwhelmed. It seems like today snuck up on us even though we've had it planned for awhile. I should probably be getting things ready instead of typing another post for the blog! We're a little nervous about how Charlotte will do on the flight, but we're hoping for the best. We're going to take a direct flight from Bahrain to Washington D.C. and then down to Miami, so it's going to be one long stretch of flying from here to the states. We have plenty of formula and snacks packed to hopefully help if Charlotte gets fussy on the flight, but we're hoping she sleeps. I posted the map above to give you an idea of where we'll be. We'll get to see 8 of the 50 beautiful states - mostly in the heartland. Chris has to leave after stop #7, and the remaining stops are for Charlotte and I. Chris only gets to stay for 3 weeks, but Charlotte and I will be in the states until September (yay!!!).

I cannot wait to be home sweet home again!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My First Attempt At Creating a Sewing Pattern: FAIL!

So I don't know what overcame me yesterday, but I decided to put aside everything else that needs to be done and try and make my first pattern. I think it would be so cool if I could learn to design the clothes I sew instead of just buying a pattern, so I decided to make Charlotte a dress out of some yellow gingham I had lying around. It was fun to try, and even if my first attempt didn't turn out perfectly, I don't think it turned out pathetic, either!! I would still classify it as a big ole FAIL since I didn't quite get a few things right. The dress was meant to be a 2T, but the waist is more like 12 months, which threw everything else off. I wanted the top to be a boat neck, but I didn't quite get that right, either. The front has enough room for boobies even though Charlotte won't have any for a few years yet! Haha! Perhaps if I had gotten the waist right, then the top front would fit properly. Anyway, I also wanted the sleeves to flow from the front instead of having to sew them on separately, but now I know why dresses aren't made like that. It bunched at the armpit and I couldnt fix it even by clipping the corners. Oh well. Perhaps I'll try to fix my errors and see if I can get it right. Even if the dress is a pitiful sight, you can still enjoy the pictures of Charlotte in it!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I'm Glad I'm Not The Only One....

C.J. Mahaney wrote the following on the Sovereign Grace Ministries Blog, and it was encouraging to read that I'm not the only one who has the problem of forgetting almost everything I read:

"I have friends who can accurately reference specific footnotes from books they read 20 or more years ago! Those friends not only read a lot, they remember just about everything.

I find this very discouraging.

I recently finished A. Lincoln, a 676-page biography by Ronald C. White, Jr. And yet when I closed the book and communicated to others how much I enjoyed the book, there was really only one sentence I clearly remembered—which is one reason why I dog-ear and mark paragraphs and sentences in my books.

I try to read a lot but unfortunately I forget a lot, too. (Did I mention how discouraging this is?) But over the years I have read many unforgettable sentences and paragraphs that have made a lasting impact on my thinking and on my ministry.

Is reading worth the time investment when so much is forgotten? John Piper says yes. 

In a message long ago (July 12, 1981) he said this:

What I have learned from about twenty-years of serious reading is this: It is sentences that change my life, not books. What changes my life is some new glimpse of truth, some powerful challenge, some resolution to a long-standing dilemma, and these usually come concentrated in a sentence or two. I do not remember 99% of what I read, but if the 1% of each book or article I do remember is a life-changing insight, then I don’t begrudge the 99%.

Read, but not to remember everything. Read because that 1% that you remember has to potential to change your life.

Although I remember only one sentence from A. Lincoln, that sentence has informed my leadership in a number of ways.

So keep reading."

Mormon Evangelism Videos

I was recently informed about a ministry called Source Flix & Living Hope Ministry that seeks to evangelize Mormons and win them to Christ. They just came out with a new movie entitled "The Bible Vs. Joseph Smith" that looks really good. They are selling it for $7, so I'm going to buy a copy for our family. They also had some other videos available on their website for free:

DNA vs The Book of Mormon

Called To Be Free

Lifting The Veil of Polygamy

I watched DNA vs The Book of Mormon and it is pretty good. I learned some things about Mormonism that I never knew before and I hope will be useful when evangelizing to my Mormon friends.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Free Christian Downloads

I posted this on my facebook page, but I wanted to post it here, too, to make sure no one misses it. gives away a free audio book every month! I wish I heard about this sooner, as I keep thinking about all the free books I have missed! This month's book is Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I've had the privelage of hearing Francis Chan a couple of times and I highly recommend him. When I had the privelage of attending The Master's College in southern California during the 2001-2002 school year, Francis Chan spoke at chapel a couple of times. You see, Francis Chan also went to The Master's College and later to the Master's Seminary and was pastoring a church in Simi Valley at the time.

He's as real as they get.

Forgotten God is about the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives, among other things. Under the title on the cover, it says "reversing our neglect of the Holy Spirit". Chris and I have listened to half of it so far, and I'm not exaggerating or kidding when I say that I have been deeply challenged and convicted to change my way of thinking about the Holy Spirit and His place in my life. Why not download his book for free and see for yourself?

Visit to download it. You'll also see other free downloads and a few discounted audio books. I just downloaded an interview of John MacArthur by Mark Dever entitled "Four Decades of Ministry with John MacArthur". Yeeees!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Baby Recipes, Part 4: Vegetable Curry

Besides being a fun baby food dish, this would also be a nice, quick soup for you and your spouse! This recipe has a soup consistency because of the yogurt and zucchini that's in it. When I give it to my daughter, I add rice cereal to help make it thicker. I would say this is a phase 2 or 3 food, but always check with your pediatrician to find out what's recommended for your child.

Vegetable Curry


  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, chopped
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 6 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh mint, minced
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 TBSP curry powder
  • 1/2 TBSP turmeric powder


1. Place yogurt, mint, and cilantro in a blender and puree. Pour into a small bowl and set aside. This can be made ahead of time, if desired.

2. Saute celery, carrot, and onion in olive oil until tender, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.

3. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and mushroom and cook for a couple of minutes. Add yogurt mixture, curry powder, and turmeric powder. Stir occasionally until vegetables are cooked through.

4. Move vegetables to blender and puree until smooth. It will be a soup consistency.

5. Let the curry cool and then portion into ice cube trays or baby food trays and place in freezer. I generally portion about 3 days worth into baby food bowls and place in the fridge.

Baby Recipes, Part 3: Applesauce and Pear Sauce

Apple sauce and pear sauce is very easy to make and it makes the house smell heavenly! Apples and pears are both stage 1 foods, so when the apples and pears are cooked, puree them to a phase 1 consistency. Otherwise, this recipe is great for stage 2 and above.


  • Apples of different varieties that are peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges (The number of apples depends on how much applesauce you want. I usually buy 15 apples of five different varieties)
  • Cinnamon, to taste


1. Place apples in a large saucepan over low heat and pour 1/3 cup water over the apples.

2. Place a lid over the saucepan and let the apples slowly break down, stirring the apples occasionally.

3. When the apples begin to break down, sprinkle cinnamon over the apples, to taste. You can always add more later if you feel it's not enough.

4. Applesauce is done when the apples are all broken down. This will take a few hours, but you can further this process along by breaking up the soft apples with a wooden spoon, or you can leave it chunkier for bigger babies.

5. When applesauce is done, remove from heat and let cool. Portion into ice cube trays or baby food trays and place in freezer. I generally portion about 3 days worth into baby food bowls and place in the fridge.

Pear Sauce

  • Pears that are peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges (More pears will yield more pear sauce. I usually buy around 15.)
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • Ginger, to taste


1. Place pears in a large saucepan over low heat and pour 1/3 cup water over the pears.

2. Place a lid over the saucepan and let the pears break down, stirring them occasionally.

3. When the pears begin to break down, sprinkle cinnamon, ginger, and a pinch of nutmeg over the pears, to taste. You can always add more if you feel it's not enough.

4. The pear sauce is done when they are all broken down. This will take awhile since it takes pears twice as long as apples to break down, but you can further this process along by breaking up the soft pears with a wooden spoon.

5. When the pear sauce is done, remove from heat and let cool. Portion into ice cube trays or baby food trays and place in freezer. I generally portion about 3 days worth into baby food bowls and place in the fridge.

**You can also make an apple-pear sauce by cooking both together and just using cinnamon to flavor. The picture I posted above has apples, pears, and half a bag of frozen strawberries in it (fresh strawberries are expensive here) with cinnamon.

Chris taught Charlotte how to drink out of a water bottle a couple weeks ago. She can't do it herself, but she loves it when we hold the water bottle up to her mouth and give her a bit of water. I guess this has translated into our drinking cups. She doesn't quite get that she has to lift up the glass. If baby's could use straws, she'd be in business!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baby Recipes, Part 2: Broccoli and Cauliflower Puree

Here's another recipe that is very simple yet fresh tasting and full of flavor. It only has 3 ingredients, but the three ingredients go together very well. I like it so much that I'm going to start making this for Chris and I for dinner. I didn't write any measurements down as I just did it all by taste. I'll try and give you a general idea of how I made it below. This is easily a level 2 recipe and could even be a level 1, but I would recommend talking to your pediatrician first about when you can start introducing certain foods.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Puree


  • Equal amounts fresh broccoli and cauliflower florets
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup cream cheese, or more to taste (it also depends on how much broccoli and cauliflower you use. You don't want the cream cheese to be too overpowering, so start with the minimum and work up from there.)


1. Steam broccoli and cauliflower florets until tender, about 6 to 7 minutes.

2. Puree in blender or food processor, along with the cream cheese. Add water if needed to get the puree to a smooth consistency. If using a blender, you may have to run it through a cycle more than once.

3. Let cool and portion into ice cube trays or baby food trays and place in freezer. I generally portion about 3 days worth into baby food bowls and place in the fridge.

Charlotte loves this dish!

Baby Recipes, Part 1: Loaded Baked Potatoes

Today I'll start my series of baby food recipes that I have made for Charlotte. It may take awhile to get through it, as I'll need to remake many things so that I can get pictures of the food. Chris didn't give me this idea until I was pretty much done making the loaded baked potatoes this past Saturday, so I don't really have measurements since I threw everything in to taste. I'll do my best to give you an idea of the amounts. I would say this recipe is more of a phase 3 recipe since it's pretty chunky. However, you could puree it further and add more formula or breast milk to get it to a phase 2 consistency (slightly chunky).

Loaded Baked Potatoes


  • 12 baby yukon yellow potatoes or 2 to 3 baking potatoes
  • approx. 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • approx. 3/4 cup broccoli florets
  • approx. 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prick the potatoes several times with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking. Wrap the potatoes in foil. Bake for about an hour or until tender. We left the skins on, but you can remove them, if desired.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, steam the broccoli florets. (If you don't have a steamer, fill a stockpot with a few inches of water and place a colander on top that is large enough to not reach the bottom of the stockpot. Alternately, you can just put the broccoli in the water.) When the water starts to boil, put the broccoli in the colander and steam until cooked and bright green, about 6 to 7 minutes. You'll know they're done when you can pierce the broccoli with a fork. When the broccoli is cooked, let it cool slightly and then chop it finely.

3. Mash potatoes with the butter. Add the cheese, broccoli, and sour cream. Stir to combine.

4. Let cool and portion into ice cube trays or baby food trays and place in freezer. I generally portion about 3 days worth into baby food bowls and place in the fridge. When I'm ready to give it to Charlotte, I'll thin it with baby formula until it reaches a smoother consistency.

Often times, I'll make Charlotte's food when I'm making dinner for Chris and I. Chris doesn't like potatoes, so this isn't a good example, but if I were making dinner for all of us, I would bake a couple large potatoes for Chris and I at the same time I baked Charlotte's potatoes. In this case, I'd probably just use large baking potatoes for Charlotte, too. When the potatoes were done baking, I would split two potatoes open for Chris and I, add some butter, cheese, broccoli, sour cream, and maybe even some bacon. In other words, I wouldn't mash our potatoes like I would Charlotte's, but this way you can easily make both your dinner and your baby's dinner at the same time. And since baby food stretches further than adult food, you won't have to use this technique every time you make dinner...only a couple times a week. Most of the recipes I'll be posting will use this technique so that you can maximize your time.

Big grin!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

8 Months

Charlotte is 8 months old today! I had the hardest time getting Charlotte to cooperate for her pictures. She's so mobile now that she refuses to sit still for 2 seconds. I probably called her name 50 times trying to get her to look at the camera, but she was too preoccupied with crawling towards whatever captured her attention. The few decent pictures I got are below:

To buy these adorable blocks, go here.

On a separate note, I want to let you all know what will be appearing on the blog in the weeks to come. Chris told me yesterday that I should make a few blog entries about baby food I've made. He then said I should write a cookbook. :-) I don't know about a cookbook just yet, but I think I can handle a few blog entries!

Canned baby food just doesn't do it for us. It doesn't taste fresh and most of it is bland. While I don't advocate adding salt to baby food, herbs and spices are just fine. Studies show that if you keep your baby's food bland, they'll be more prone to eat bland food when they're older. You can easily add flavor to homemade baby food and it is way fresher tasting than the canned stuff. It is much cheaper than buying canned baby food, too, and many times, I can conveniently make Charlotte's baby food at the same time I make dinner for Chris and I. Here's a few of the baby foods I've made that I'll eventually blog about, with recipes:
  • Split Pea Soup
  • Loaded Baked Potato
  • Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Apricots
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower Puree
  • Refried Beans
  • Homemade Apple Sauce
  • Homemade Pear Sauce
  • Herbed Green Beans
  • Chicken Tikka
  • Turkey Meatloaf
Have a great Sunday! :-)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Play Pen

Since Charlotte started crawling a few weeks ago, she has been on the move! It's like she knows exactly what she's NOT supposed to get into. Needless to say, it's been keeping us a bit more busy! At a play group I attend, my sweet friend, Laura, offered to let us have the play pen she used with her 3 kids. How could we refuse? We had already talked about getting one but they can be quite expensive. What a blessing that Laura was willing to give us hers. I have a feeling it's going to be really nice to have in the days ahead!