Monday, September 29, 2008

Menu plan for the week


Pumpkin muffins
Granola with homemade yogurt
Eggs and toast
French toast with fruit


Though it may still be hot down here, with the beginning of Autumn and dawn of somewhat cooler weather, I think it definitely time for soup again...especially if there's bread fresh from the oven to go with it! :)

Monday- Potato soup with fresh baked bread

Tuesday- Mexican lasagna with salad and bread

Wednesday- Parmesan chicken with twice baked potatoes

Thursday- Breakfast for dinner

Friday- Lots of snacks in the car as we head up to Missouri for Steve's wedding. Hurrah! We can hardly wait. :)

For many more menu planning ideas, visit here.

A day at the beach

Already Monday night.... the weekend just flew by!

On Saturday we took Rosalind to the beach for her first glimpse of the ocean. The day dawned beautiful and sunny without a single cloud and the white sand created a lovely contrast with the deep blue water. After playing, splashing and giggling, she laid her head on my shoulder and fell asleep. It didn't last long, but I treasured every moment.

Much as Rosalind loved the ocean, the sand was even better. Joshua and I tried taking her on a walk, but she wanted to stop every three feet to run the silky grains through her fingers again.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A few of my favorite posts this week...

How would you like to be handed $425,000 from Uncle Sam? This post really made the proposed bailout hit home! Yikes!

The provision of God is work What a great post on trusting God, yet realizing that His provision often comes in forms we might not expect. :)

Art of being a well dressed wife I loved this post for the simple reason that I needed to read it. As a girl growing up I really could've cared less about clothes and still struggle investing the time needed to be a "well dressed wife."

What you might do instead After trying several surveys and other "work at home opportunities"
I quickly realized how low the return was. Here are some interesting ideas of what to do with the time instead.

A life of less It's so inspiring reading testimonies of others who have made it through school debt free!

See other's favorites from the week here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


One of the reasons I love scrapbooking is that it's such a great project to do with friends or family. After a few weeks of crafting by myself (except for little Rosalind's company), yesterday my friend Candace and I got together.

While the girls played we pulled out our pictures and got busy. It was such fun getting to chat, share ideas and give opinions while creating a few pages.

And, this week I finished three pages...which I took to be a good sign. ;)

Though I love working with pictures of Rosalind I needed break, so decided do a page of her Uncle Steve and beautiful, soon-to-be Aunt Jenny. We can hardly wait 'til next weekend!

After seeing a page of my sister Crystal's that used the "torn and stitched" design, it quickly became one of my favorite. It's so easy-- just tear the top page and place coordinating paper behind, then stitch with DMC floss (you don't even have to stitch, but I think it's prettier that way).

I love the way you can use it to dress up a page and make it either classy or cute, elegant or just fun.

Here the design is again with a cool picture Joshua took while in Russia, only this time with tiny stitches.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Our home: the laundry room

When we began our search for an apartment, the first few we visited were lacking in a vital area: the laundry room. After peaking in their laundry facilities we quickly realized it would take a small fortune to keep our clothes clean there. Besides that, the thought of juggling a laundry basket and toddler down the extremely steep stairs wasn't all that appealing to me.

When we found this house, it didn't have an area set aside for a washer or dryer, but the property manager said that we could improvise if we wanted. So we did.

Welcome to our laundry room

The washing machine is in the kitchen but there wasn't an inch of space for a dryer. I'd decided to just go without one until Joshua and his dad came up with the brilliant idea of putting it on the back porch.

I LOVE it! While I hang the bigger clothes and towels on the clothesline Rosalind helps put the little stuff in the dryer and thinks it's just the greatest thing.

It's amazing what will work with just a little creativity! :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

The commonwealth, CSS & classics

Books. The last few weeks I've been looking at all the books on the bookshelf that I haven't read yet and really ought to... and the many I want to read again.

On this first day of Autumn, Katrina posted a reading challenge for the fall. What a great time to get started on that stack of books!

Here's my reading goal this fall. Not a very long list, but there are a couple books that will take me quite a while to plow through.

Christianity and the Commonwealth by Charles B. Galloway- With elections just around the corner, this set of five lectures by Prof. Galloway looked really good.

The Law by Frederic Bastiat- It's been ten years since I read this great little gem and it's definitely time to read it again. Besides, can't let Joshua be the only one in the family reading 'bout the law, can I?

Female Piety by John Angell James - A great classic for Christian women that I want to reread. Though written over a century ago, it's still practical today.

CSS Mastery by Andy Budd- Yeah, we'll see about this one. Definitely one that will take lots of time and discipline to conquer, but it will be good to study something new and challenging.

...and some fiction...

The Aeneid by Virgil- A lit. major and haven't read this classic yet. Oh dear, better remedy that!

St. Bartholomew's Eve by G.A. Henty- Growing up I just loved Henty's books and am in the middle of recording one for librivox. Really want to finish it up!

The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott- After devouring Ivanhoe, Joshua and I picked up a copy of his St. Ronan's Well. It was one of the most dreadfully disappointing books ever! After a great build up to what seems will be a perfect ending, I think he woke up with a hangover and decided to write the worst ending in history. Ugh! Anyway, I've heard great things about the Talisman and am going to give Scott another try.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A debtor to mercy alone

A debtor to mercy alone, of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on, my person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God with me can have nothing to do;
My Savior’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began, the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen, and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now, nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo, or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains, in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure, as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure, the glorified spirits in Heav’n.

How beautifully these words by Augustus Toplady, author of Rock of Ages, express our security in the love of Christ!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Shopping and a menu plan

Shopping. Some love it. Some don't. Rosalind is one of the former. The moment she spots my purse within reach she immediately puts it around her neck "like a big girl" and grins as she toddles to the door.

Having a baby totally changes shopping. Not only do you have to add in the extra time getting them in and out of the car, but also the moments they spend giving grins to fellow shoppers and the store's employees. I love the way even such a little munchkin can brighten another's day. Rosalind already has "shopping friends". :)

It's a good thing she enjoys it (for the most part at least) 'cause shopping at new stores in a new town has taken some getting used to. Before moving we only went "real" shopping monthly and then made quick trips to the stores within walking distance to get milk, veggies...

Since moving and experiencing a bit of sticker shock, we've been in and out of several stores a week grabbing great deals found on Crystal's blog and trying to make up for loosing Aldi by shopping the store ads.

Much as Rosalind may like it, I've found it quite exhausting and know it's time to change plans. So, I'm going start shopping every other week and just getting the essential perishables (and any can't pass up deals) in between. I'm looking forward to no "real" shopping next week!

Anyway, here is our menu plan for the week.


Granola with homemade yogurt
Cinnamon rolls and fruit
Eggs and toast
Banana nut muffins


Sunday- Meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls and salad

Monday- Gayle's Nacho casserole

Tuesday- Chicken pot pie

Wednesday- Sour cream chili bake with salad

Thursday- Pumpkin pasta (from my new friend Candace) with homemade bread and steamed veggies.

Friday- Western burgers - yum!

Saturday- Stuffed zucchini- a family favorite!

After a meeting at school yesterday, the students were asked to please bring food home. So Joshua brought back dessert for the week. :)

Check out more menu plans here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Movie time

Well okay, not really. Just a Rosalind clip.

On Sunday afternoons, Joshua likes taking his girls to a park a few miles away. Surrounded by a large grassy lawn and massive trees there is a lovely fountain for children to play in. On our first few trips over, Rosalind wanted nothing to do with the water. She might touch it with the tip of her finger, that was it.

This last time though, she figured out how to soak Papa and was soon thoroughly doused herself... and having a great time.

Fun in the Water from Anna Christensen on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Never put off 'til tomorrow...

"Never put off 'til tomorrow, what you can delay 'til next week". Years ago I saw this quip on a set of sticky notes and it still brings a smile when I think of it. But though humorously put, it does hit a note I'm really trying to work on.

Procrastination. It's so easy for me to tidy the house and get dinner going, thinking, "oh...I'll make that call after I'm done." But by the time I'm finished, it's past five. "Too late, oh well, I'll call tomorrow." And tomorrow repeats the scenario.

So this morning I decided to tackle those long procrastinated calls first thing. Though it took even longer than I'd expected on the phone, it is exhilarating to be able to finally cross it off my list.

That done it was time for some crafting. After such a fun time last week, I decided to declare Tuesday my craft day and have been looking forward to pulling out the paper and pictures all week.

Last time I made just one page, this morning I finished two. If I follow the pattern, in a couple months I'll be doing pretty good, huh?

I love these color washed pictures from Rosalind's first birthday, especially since most of our families are in them. She loved looking at her aunts, uncles and cousins as I figured out the layout. Much of her baby book is pink, so I decided to go with a green background and just add the pink as accent.

Read what others are talking about at Talk About Tuesday.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

College: the non-traditional way II

Last week I began discussing how we were able to be self-focused with our college studies, while completing our degrees more quickly and for a fraction of the cost of a standard college.

The first method is taking CLEPs. But CLEP tests will only get one so far. Colleges generally only award them lower level credit. But there are two other methods that we used to gain upper level credit: Dantes (or DSST) and the GRE.

DSST or Dantes Subject Standardized Tests: These were originally designed for the military, but civilians can now take them. Many colleges across the country accept all or at least part of them for credit (search to see if your college does here). And many of the tests are awarded upper-level credit!

DSST cover 37 subjects including Human Resource Management, Banking and The Rise and Fall of Soviet Russia, which I took.

The tests cover the subject thoroughly, but are multiple choice. Here is an example from the test on Soviet Russia.

The purpose of Gosplan was to
  1. coordinate secret surveillance of dissidents
  2. provide direction for economic development
  3. coordinate policies of the Orgburo and the Politburo
  4. train spies to infiltrate NATO
Practice questions for each of the exams can be found here. To prepare, I used the same sources as for the CLEPs--listening to the Teaching Companies lectures on Soviet Russia and using the Instant Certs program for review.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE): This method only applies to a limited number of schools, including Excelsior, but is an amazing opportunity to earn credit.

Basically, the GRE is the admissions test for students who have completed their undergraduate degree and want to get into grad school. The reasoning is that if you score higher than the average Biology major on the Biology GRE, you have a good grasp of the subject and should be given credit.

If taking a GRE is an option for you, I would strongly recommend pursuing it. Yes, they're tough, but you can earn a lot of credit this way. Excelsior awards up to 30 credit hours if you score above the 80th percentile. That's right 30 credit hours for a three hour long test!

There are eight subject GREs including chemistry, physics and literature. They are definitely not easy and require hours and hours of studying to prepare for, but for me it was well worth it. I took the Literature GRE and loved getting to spend more time reading authors like Shakespeare and less on Joyce (though, yes, I did suffer through him too).

Like CLEPs and DSSTs, the GRE is a multiple choice exam. However, there are five answers to each question and a penalty for incorrect answers.

Two resources made studying effective and fun.

  • Princeton Review's Cracking the GRE was invaluable. Chock full of pertinent information with a full length practice test and detailed answers this book is worth every penny. Not only did it help focus my attention on the areas I was weak in, it cemented the knowledge I'd gained from all my reading.

  • Once again, I used the Teaching Company lectures. In literature alone, they offer well over two hundred lectures including in depth looks at the works of Twain, Milton and Shakespeare as well as overviews of Greek, British, American and Russian Literature! Okay, I really, really love the TeachCo! :)

By combining these three methods we were able to save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars while getting our degrees.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Justitia Caeca Sit

All afternoon I've waited with bated breath to hear the results of the election...

Any breach of rules in law school is handled entirely by a student run Honor Court. Penalties for cheating are often severe, including failing the class, getting expelled and permanent marks on one's record. Though strict, the Honor Court helps maintain a level playing field for all students.

Each year the incoming law students vote for four associate justices to begin serving on the court. Any first year student can run, so Joshua decided to give it a try.

Absolutely no campaigning is permitted, except one 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper hung above the election booth. Though posting a resume is allowed, it was made clear that the sillier the better
Posted by Picasa

...and it WORKED! Hurrah!

**To allay any concerns, rest assured that "No supreme court buildings were harmed in the making of this poster**

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bits of paper and red plastic blocks

Before leaving Missouri, Tuesday was named "Scrapbooking Day" at the Christensens. Every couple weeks Rosalind and I headed over to spend the day creating scrapbook pages, talking and enjoying time as family.

I miss it. I miss chatting for hours about everything under the sun while having Rosalind happily entertained by aunts and uncles and getting to copy Crystal's great ideas. There's something so special about working on projects together.

But my brother Erik gave me an awesome scrapbook idea book for my birthday. And since we can't get together with family, it inspired me to declare today my own scrapbook day.

I began with visions of whipping out the pages as my mind brimmed over with creative ideas.

Yeah, well... I did get the pictures out and thumbed through the book. Then I read to Rosalind and made lunch. Then Rose played with the buttons as I tried to get the page laid out. Then we played with her blocks...

At long last I finished one page.

Just one. But Rosalind is happy and didn't swallow a single button--which is the real accomplishment of the day. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Menu plan for the week

Wow! Already Monday night... time to get the menu plan for the rest of the week figured out. :) I loved following one the last couple of weeks.

For dinner tonight we had one of Rosalind's favorites. Black-eyed peas over rice. While she "helped" me prepare dinner she must have consumed at least a full serving of peas before I finally made her save a "bit" of appetite for later.

It's such an easy dinner to throw together after a busy day.

Combine and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

1/2 pound black-eyed peas, soaked and cooked
A can of diced tomatoes
1/4 pound of sausage
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin

Serve over rice with cornbread and a glass of milk.


Cereal with dried fruit
Eggs, hash browns and toast
Banana bread with smoothies
Homemade yogurt and granola
Sausage egg casserole
Blueberry pancakes

Dinners for the rest of the week~

Tuesday- Chicken broccoli casserole (in the freezer) with salad

Wednesday- Tacos with home made tortillas-yum!

Thursday- Spaghetti with french bread and salad

Friday- Hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes with steamed veggies

Saturday- Going to my first college football game -- so something easy like nachos before we head out.

Sunday- Chicken pot pie

Check out Menu Planning Monday for more menus.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What's for lunch?

While visiting my family this past week, I was treated to the most unusual sandwich I've ever tried: hard-boiled eggs with pickles and tomatoes. Yikes- what a combo! But the flavors blended amazingly well and I thought it delicious. Thanks Heidi!

Egg & Pickles Sandwich

You really should give it a try! I think you'll like it. All you need is:

4 slices bread
3 hard-boiled eggs
2 Roma tomatoes
Dill pickles

Lightly toast the bread. Spread with mayonnaise and mustard. Top with sliced eggs, tomatoes and pickles. Enjoy!

Check out more recipes here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

College: the non-traditional way

Joshua and I chose to get our college education primarily through non-traditional avenues, so from time to time we receive calls from fellow students or students' parents. How did we earn our college credit in less time, for a fraction of the cost of a traditional college classroom? And, why did we choose to go this route?

Getting a B.A. is simply one step towards entering one's desired career, attending graduate school or ministry. Must one spend four years in a college classroom to do so or are there other options? The more we looked into it, the more we realized that there are many ways to accomplish this step.

Though it's certainly not for everyone, the option we chose was to do most of the studying on our own and test out of many classes. Though I really enjoyed the semester spent at a local college, I learned more studying on my own than when actually in class!

Most colleges award at least some credit for testing. Others let you obtain most of your degree through testing. Some of the most popular of the latter kind are Thomas Edison State College, Charter Oak and Excelsior College-- which is the one we chose. In addition to regular and online classes, Excelsior accepts credit earned through a variety of other means like CLEPS, Dantes and GREs.

CLEP tests: These tests are a popular way to test out of entry level college courses. For a 90 minute test that costs just $70, you can earn between 3 and 12 credit hours! Nearly 3000 accredited colleges nation-wide award credit for at least some of the tests. Just check with the college you plan to attend to see which ones they grant credit for.

CLEPs cover 34 subjects including biology, Spanish, calculus and American literature. All of the exam contain mostly multiple choice questions.

There are many ways to prepare for the tests, but we found three resources especially helpful.
  • The Official CLEP study guide:This guide provides sample exams to gage whether you are prepared to take the CLEP or need to study more in certain areas. I checked it out multiple times from our local library and it was a great help in preparing for the real exam.
  • Teaching Company Lectures: I really, really love these! The Teaching Company recruits distinguished professors from around the world to lecture on their area of expertise. They are fairly expensive, but we raided our library's huge collection. Thanks to them, I was able to do much of my studying while baking bread or ironing!
  • Instant Cert: Instant Cert is great for areas in which you need a lot of work. It uses a series of multiple choice questions with detailed answers to quickly help you grasp the pertinent information. I was delighted with how quickly it helped me prepare for my most dreaded CLEP: Math. Membership is $20 a month. If you decide you don't like it during the first month, just cancel and your money will be refunded.

  • Their forum, which you can access for free, is also full of great information about different schools, tests, etc...
Even if you plan on pursuing a traditional college education, I would highly recommend using these tests to save time and money with the gen. ed. requirements. Engineering students really don't need to sit through lectures on the effect of modern poetry in England, do they?

Well, I think this post is getting long enough! Continued here. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Home" for a visit: Part IV

In the middle of a game of Boggle.

Family time at my parent's home means: Late night talks. Competitive word games. Long walks that take at least half an hour to prepare for. Singing hymns. Massaging each other. Chess matches that I'm sure to loose. Lots of laughs. Yummy food. Music.

Having two toddlers running around made it exciting. Just five months before Rosalind's birth, her aunt Kathryn was born. Though I wish I could be more involved as my little sister grows up and often feel more like her aunt than sister, it is so sweet watching two generations growing up side by side. Already they are such good friends and love looking at books, playing on the swings, running around outside together and carrying on quite animated "conversations".

All the girls!

At the piano again, helping U. Kristian

Altogether we had a wonderful time in Missouri, but going back home to Joshua was even better.

"Home" for a visit: Part III

Sunday morning dawned sunny and cool- for August at least. After an outdoor service, everyone pulled out their picnic lunches. Surrounded by aunts and uncles from both sides of the family, Rosalind had a marvelous time munching away on her carrots.

In the middle of it all

Opening a present: a beautiful picture book from A'yi

When lunch was finished, we headed down to the creek for my sister Heidi to be baptized. I was so blessed to witness her beautiful confession of faith in Christ and baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Heidi and Pappa right before she was baptized.

"Home" for a visit: Part II

Joshua and I have often commented on how both of us are blessed to not only have a wonderful family, but family-in-law. We had a great time with Joshua's family the first couple days talking, taking pictures, looking at pictures, scrapboooking, watching a movie and just hanging out.

Scrapbooking with Mom, Becca, Crystal & Mea

After spending the last month almost exclusively with adults, Rosalind was delighted to be surrounded by cousins and all the younger aunts and uncles (and older ones too, of course!).

Playing the piano with cousin Katelyn

"C'mon Uncle Johnny, it's yummy

Fun with Aunt Hannah

Monday, September 1, 2008

"Home" for a visit: Part I

A couple weeks ago, my beloved surprised me with a ticket to go "home" to visit family and friends. Thursday afternoon Rosalind and I met Joshua at Law School for lunch and to say good-bye before flying back to Missouri for five whole days!

Then we headed to the airport. After eventually finding the terminal, getting through security [What? My belt has too much metal on it?!"] and lugging a baby through the airport, we settled into the airplane.

The flight was wonderful. Rosalind laughed the whole take off and not only delighted me, but those around us as well.

As we landed, the aunts and Uncle Philip made a wild dash for Rosalind-- who was thrilled to see all the familiar faces again.

Aunt Lydia, Uncle Philip & Rosalind

My little sis & me

After spending a bit of time with my family, we headed over to Joshua's family's home. It was late when we arrived and the next morning, Rosalind had received a royal welcome.

Daniel, Mac, Rosalind & Aunt Hannah