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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jogvan Bjorn in Washington DC (aka "We <3 Pictures!")

I'm sorry it took so long to get this up! It's been nearly a week since Jogvan (pronounced yek-vun) was here, but I've been having some technical difficulties. So, without further ado...

Here is our trip to show Jogvan (and Vienna) around DC.
(pssst! Want to know more about Jogvan? Check out his travels on Shinta's blog)

We started our trip by driving to the nearest Metro station to catch the train into the city.

Jogvan was very excited to ride the Metro for the first time. We managed to get a car that was fairly empty at first...

...then we looked out the window for a while and watched the cities roll by...

...Jogvan caught his first glimpse of the Capitol as we were going past Ronald Reagan International Airport...

...but soon, the rocking of the train made him drowsy, and Jogvan settled down in my camera bag to catch a quick nap.

We arrived in DC, and the first thing Jogvan saw was the Washington monument peeking out from behind the Department of Agriculture buildings, so we hurried off to the National Mall for a better look.

Jogvan thought it was beautiful in the afternoon sunshine.

He also really liked the red-roofed, collumned buildings that were nearby.

Silly Jogvan! You can't climb the monuments!

As we walked around, Jogvan settled back into his favorite spot - the camera bag - so that he could see everything. He wanted to see the Capitol again, so we started the long walk down the Mall in that direction.

We stopped at a souvenier shop and let Jogvan choose something to remember his trip. He picked up this little brown bear. It's tummy says, "I love Washington, DC".

We also stopped to get a photo of Jogvan with my favorite Smithsonian building. It looks like a castle, doesn't it? It's a great museum.

Jogvan took a break by this lamp post. (I love it when the metals turn green! It looks so neat!)

We were finally close enough to get a good shot of Jogvan and the Capitol: he was so excited!

We turned off of the Mall next, and headed over towards the Smithsonian buildings. We found the beautiful Mary Livingston Ripley garden with a fountain, and Jogvan begged to go in, so we wandered the garden paths for a while.

Jimmy was ready for a break, too.

Jogvan and I found some pretty flowers.

Soon, it was time to head home, so we went to the Smithsonian Metro station. It's one of the underground stations, and Jogvan really liked the tiled ceilings.

Here come the trains! Time to go back home.

We had so much fun with Jogvan, and we can't wait for him to meet Vienna and give her all of our love.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jogvan has arrived!

Have you ever heard of Flat Stanley, the little guy who school kids send around the world on wild adventures? Well, meet Jogvan (pronounced yek-vun) Bjorn: he's on an adventure of his own.

Jogvan stopped in with us here in Virginia during his travels, and we are so excited to have him visit! Here's his traveling box from Switzerland.

When we opened it, Annie said, "Look! You got Switzerland's golden ticket!" And you know what? She's right. It is like winning a prize. It's very exciting to have this little house guest.

He was so excited to get out of the box that he started dancing.

Then he made friends with our Rottie, Bill.

Jogvan got to be a guest "speaker" at our church today, too. He went up on stage and soaked up lots of love and prayers to take back to his little Vienna!

Pastors Rich and Jay with Jogvan in first service

Pastors Rich and Jay with Jogvan in second service

I'm so excited that all my friends got to meet Jogvan and pray for Vienna today!

We have one more afternoon together, and then he's off to Pennsylvania, and my friend Erin.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yummmmm. Chili.

It's Wednesday, and time for another recipe for my recipe group: What Can I Eat that's Gluten Free? hosted by Linda at the Gluten-Free Homemaker.

This week's recipe? Chili!


Olive oil
2 onions
1 head of garlic, chopped
4 bell peppers, various colors
1 large carrot, sliced

2 small cans green chilis
1 can dark kidney beans, drained
1 can light kidney beans, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes

2T chili powder
1/2t cayenne
1t garlic powder
1T oregano
2T basil
1T cumin

1 to 1 1/2 lb ground beef

A note: This is NOT a spicy chili. If you want spicy, then add several different kinds of peppers of whatever heat level you like. You can also increase the amount of cayenne pepper as well.


1. In a large kettle, heat olive oil over medium heat.

2. When warmed, add onion and garlic. Saute until onions begin to clear.

3. Add diced peppers and sliced carrot. Stir occasionally.

4. Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, brown meat while veggies cook. Drain, if necessary.

5. Add seasoning to veggies and stir well.

6. Add canned items to veggies.

7. Add meat.

8. Stir well.

9. Simmer on low for an hour or two, at least, or transfer to crockpot.

Note: Chili is best if allowed to cook for at least 6-7 hours (overnight). Always best the second day.


(PS - Hats off to my mom-in-law for the original recipe. Which of course I lost. Three times. And then just made up again from memory. Thanks!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

1 Down!

Today was the last day of the first week of the school year, and I think it's gonna be a good one! I have several good groups of kids, nad interesting things to teach, and -ahem- IAMNOTTEACHINGANYTHINGNEW!!!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I am somewhat excited by that.

That's not to say that it's going to be an easy year: I still have four preps (and, yes, that's a lot), and I'm still pursuing my National Board Certification (and, yes, that's a lot), and I still have two kids, a house, three pets, and a hubby to take care of (but that's fun).

But it's gonna be a good year.

35 weeks left!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pork loin with apple-raisin sauce

It's Wednesday! Time to find out what you can eat that's Gluten Free. Thanks, as always, to Linda for hosting: Check out her blog to see everybody's recipes.

Step One:
Slow roast a pork loin (or your favorite cut).
Season with: garlic, onion, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano
Top with: raisins and sliced green apple
Add a little moisture, if you like - a splash of water or broth, maybe

Step Two:
After meat is finished, remove roast and cover to rest.

Step Three:
With a hand blender (or whatever), blend the juices, apples, and raisins
Strain into a saucepan or skillet to remove excess pulp and meat bits
Heat to boiling and slightly thicken with a mix of cold water and corn starch
Season to taste

Step Four:
Slice meat and top with apple-raisin sauce

PS: Sauce is also good with potatoes, even when it's not really quite thick enough to be gravy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Ok, so I forgot that this week was supposed to be an appetizer week! Grr. Well, here's a salad that I usually have as an appetizer. (Does that count?)

Check out Linda's blog carnival (What Can I Eat that's Gluten-Free) for the other appetizer recipes this week. She also just posted the August summary, in case you're looking for some variety.

Caprese - a summer salad

Fresh, vine-ripe tomatos, sliced, room-temperature
Fresh mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil, torn into small pieces
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Optional ingredient: Balsamic vinegar (I always used to add this, but it is mostly an American addition, from what I've been told. I tried Caprese without, and it is better. The flavor balance changes dramatically. It's a very different dish if you add the vinegar.)
  1. Layer the tomato and mozzarella slices on a plate.
  2. Sprinkle with basil salt and pepper.
  3. When ready to serve, drizzle a little olive oil over the whole dish.
  4. If you're a vinegar person, you can sprinkle a little of the balsamic over the plate as well, but just before serving. The vinegar combined with the salt and tomatoes will turn everything mushy if left sitting.
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