Monday, August 29, 2011

A post from the past that seems fitting today...

"So many pieces of who I am and what I value have been acquired through years of watching and listening to my big brothers. They have, in ways that I'm sure I don't even recognize, shaped understanding of family, of love, of friendship, trust, parenthood, faith. In unique ways, they each continue to challenge and sharpen my understanding of who I am, how I perceive and think about the world, and how I know and love my Creator.
Different seasons of my life have particular memories of times spent with each one of them..."

(And since today is his birthday...I pick brother David to celebrate.)

Some of the only times in my life that I've felt physically strong, athletic, fast, were the hours I spent practicing basketball in our driveway, learning to dribble and shoot with David, or attempting to copy his jump-rope routine to become a higher jumper. Along with my dad, it was David that taught me to kick a soccer ball, shoot a basketball, serve a volleyball, bump, set....and well, (I watched him) 'spike'.

He made college seem magical when I visited him for 'Little Sibs' weekend. I have a truly terrible memory (I'm realizing this more and more), but strangely, I have remarkably solid memories of those weekends with David, just going to his classes and drawing in my sketch book, 'hanging out' with his friends, playing in a sibling 'game show' with him on campus (we didn't win, and I still remember the 2 questions we got wrong), having my presence announced in his dorm by loud shouts of "Woman in the hall!!"...I was probably about 10.

I fondly remember sitting in his classroom as a high-schooler, feeling proud, happy, and actually challenged to think (too often a rarity in high school). My friends loved and respected him so much, and I loved knowing that. He shaped a lot of my friends' lives too.

And in more recent years...I smile when I think about running back and forth between our houses to borrow a vaccuum, an egg, a spare key, a lawn mower, dinner, to share cookies, to use a shower, to return a run-away dog, to ask a question. He always seems to be close when I'm locked out of my house, my car won't start, I'm stuck in the snow, or I've run out of gas. David has rescued me a lot. He does that well. Only, it was way easier when we were neighbors. I do miss Forest Hills.

And now, I get to watch the way that he loves my daughters and they love him. His eyes shine when he bends down to hug them. Sometimes they run for their hug, but sometimes they giggle and run away. He is the self-proclaimed "Yes Uncle." He explained it to me once, "if they ask me for something they want, I say yes." I laughed and rolled my eyes a little, I think. It isn't really true, I hope.

And once again, I get to sit in his 'classroom' sometimes. Lately, he's been preaching about love from I Corinthians. And I feel like I hear him just a little differently than most of the people who hear his teaching, because I'm lucky enough to know how he has always shown me love in his own quiet and steady, always dependable, never selfish, frequently rescuing, and even tender-when-necessary way.

Happy Birthday David. I love you.

I posted a similar blog post back in 2008. I've used several quotes from the original, but added and deleted some as well.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


In early August, we embarked on a whirlwind trip to visit cousins in Ohio, cousins in Springfield Massachusetts, and even a 'quick' trip to Philadelphia to see more cousins for a total of 16 cousins, 2 Aunts, and 2 Uncles visited in three different states in just one week. This post is only going to attempt to cover the four days spent in Massachusetts.

Day 1: The Springfield Zoo...
...was a little sad (in the way that all zoos can be), but then, the day was just a little wet, dreary, sticky and hot, with threatening thunder and lightning. It had a classic sort of look though, which Ryan loved. It seemed to be the kind of zoo that is always in storybooks, like Curious George or Goodnight Gorilla. It was a short adventure, a quiet way to start the week of fun.

Ice cream on the farm.
There is something pretty great about hearing 'moo-ing' cows while licking your ice-cream cone.

Day 2: A Colonial New England kind of day at Sturbridge Village

We packed our lunches and took a beautiful drive to fun place, a restored colonial village where all the employees dress in authentic colonial clothes and demonstrate what life was like long ago...caring for sheep, sheering the sheep, spinning the wool, growing the food and herbs, dyeing the yarn with plants from the garden, knitting the yarn,...
It was quite an experience, the kind of place where you just kept discovering more and wishing you had more time.

Day 3: Boston
One day in Boston wasn't long enough, but it did allow us to see the New England Aquarium, enjoy fresh lobster rolls, wander through Faneuil Hall, eat in Quincy Market, and (almost coincidentally) run into my oldest brother (on a run while visiting Boston for a conference). Sadly, we ran out of time to enjoy "the worlds best cannoli". We'll have to visit again.

Day 4: Eric Carle Museum.

This was a return visit to the museum for us, though our girls were much littler last time. And this place never disappoints. There were tears when we left. (Though the heightened emotions may have had more to do with the need for lunch and nap-time)

Though the food and the adventures were amazing, the best part of Massachusetts was by far the family we miss. Meeting and holding baby Bridgett, playing with big sister Chloe and staying up way too late talking and laughing with Kelly and Sean was worth all the driving...even Pennsylvania. Lucky for us, they'll be in Michigan in just a few days!

Day 5: New York City
"On our way" home, we ended up spontaneously driving into NYC. I was a bit silly with excitement over this unexpected treat. There is more to that story, but it will have to wait...

a great conversation from long ago...

...suddenly remembered.

In the hallway, a strings student, came running up to me with a hug.

student: "Oh hi Mrs. Corbin!! I love strings class!"
me: "I do too, isn't it fun? I love that I get to be a music teacher."
student: " are pretty lucky...but what are you going to do when you grow up?"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ginger Root

We found it at the Farmer's Market last week. I described to the girls what I thought ginger root might look like and told them to hunt for it as we passed each booth. We found our cucumbers, tomatoes corn, peaches, Boston Bibb lettuce, zucchini and squash... but no ginger root. Finally, after circling the entire market, we found it, right next to the booth where we started. Maya spotted it again today in the grocery store, and I was a little proud.

I was surprised by the almost citrus-y aroma of the cut ginger. It has quite a strong flavor in the dish, especially when you bite into a whole piece of it. The root that we bought cost less than a dollar and I only used about an eighth of it tonight. I think we'll have to look for some more recipes with fresh ginger.

Chicken with Ginger


  • 1 three-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions


1. Soak ginger in cold water 10 minutes; drain.
2. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat; brown chicken in two batches, 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
3. In same skillet over medium heat, cook ginger, onion, and garlic, stirring until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar; cook over high heat until thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken; stir to warm. Remove from heat; stir in scallions.
4. Serve over rice noodles, or chinese noodles, or rice.

Thank you, Martha Stewart for a lovely dinner.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I took this picture back in June...

Ryan and I were on a date, leaning against the lighthouse, watching the sunset and the boats coming in the channel. The pier was crowded that night, and as this boat came closer, almost every eye followed it. And I couldn't resist taking a picture (or three). I never guessed that in just a few months, I'd be one of the lucky people enjoying a sunset cruise on that very boat. And I wouldn't have believed you even for a second if you'd suggested that I might be the one holding the wheel. If I hadn't been so nervous about hitting the pier or another boat....I'd have really enjoyed the view of the channel from a different angle.

I can't say I didn't enjoy it though...a thrill I won't forget for a long time. Which is probably good, since it probably won't be repeated for a long time either.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Another rough day at the beach... rough, in fact, that we (2 semi-responsible moms) completely lost track of time. And just after promising ice-cream to four children (who, ran obediently out of the water at the word...'ice-cream')....we realized it was 5:00 PM! So four (or six) kiddie cones later, we hurried home for dinner.

The Beans were having stew (all-day cooking in the crock-pot) and we had one more new dish to prepare from another new favorite cooking blogger I found from a friend's facebook post.

It will be repeated soon in our house...

Creamy Chicken Marsala Pasta

adapted from a recipe at What’s Cookin Chicago
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces or strips
1- 10oz package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup Marsala wine
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup half & half (or heavy cream)
1 pound pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan + more for serving
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh basil, finely chopped

Season the chicken with salt & pepper. Cook the chicken in a large skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer to plate when done.

Boil the water and cook pasta until al dente.

While the water is boiling add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan then add the garlic, mushrooms and onions. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes. Put the cooked chicken back into the skillet. Add the Marsala, chicken broth and half & half. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cook until sauce has thickened. About 3 – 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta and reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the same skillet and add in ½ cup of Parmesan & the chopped basil. Cook until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce (about 1 minute). Add in reserved cooking water if needed.

Season with salt, pepper and garnish with a sprinkling more of cheese.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Garlic and Lime

We opted for the healthier (and more kid-friendly) plain brown rice over the cilantro lime rice this time. But we loved our corn on the cob and the juicy flavors of the pork (that marinated all day). While we ate, the peaches and blueberries were baking in the oven, covered in a light glaze of brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and melted butter. The warm fruit was delicious, especially with the whipped cream topping.

Garlic Lime Marinated Pork Chops
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 pork chop Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 194.6 • Fat: 7.8 g • Protein: 27.7 g • Carb: 2.3 g • Fiber: 0.6 g • Sodium: 235.5 mg

  • 4 (6 oz each) lean boneless pork chops
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 lime, juice of
  • lime zest
  • salt and fresh pepper
Trim any fat off pork. In a large bowl season pork with garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Squeeze lime juice and some zest from the lime and let it marinade at least 20 minutes. Grill. Serve with cilantro lime rice.

Dessert...and Breakfast

Apple Banana Bran Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins chopped into small bits
1 egg
1/4 cup fat free milk
1/2 cup Stonyfield Farms Non-fat Vanilla Yogurt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 apples cored and finely chopped
2 large bananas smashed
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup All-Bran cereal
1/2 cup Bran Flakes cereal
3 tbsp Flax Seed

1/3 cup oatmeal
1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cinnamon & sugar mixture

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray muffin tins with cooking spray (6 large "Texas" muffins or 12 regular sized muffins will be made)
2. Combine first four ingredients in a small bowl, stir, set aside
3. Combine raisins, egg, milk, yogurt, oil, applesauce, chopped apple, banana, honey cereal, and flaxseed. Stir and let sit for about 5 minutes until cereal is softened.
4. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet and stir only until combined.
5. Mix the topping ingredients together and pulse mixture with fingers until butter is thoroughly mixed.
6. Fill muffin tins almost completely full, sprinkle topping over each muffin, and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of muffin comes out clean.

I created this version of the muffins (adding the flax seed, bran flakes, yogurt, and the oatmeal topping) based on a recipe I found here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Angel Hair with Shrimp and Asparagus

After a long morning of playing inside and out and an early lunch, the girls and I hit the Farmers Market, the discount bread store, then...a marathon Meijer trip. We had lots of coupons and a very long list. The refrigerator and pantry are now full and we actualy have a good plan for our dinners this week.

Tonight... (a recipe from "Gina")

Angel Hair with Shrimp and Asparagus
Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups • Old Points: 7 ptsPoints+: 9 pts
Calories: 378.4 • Fat: 6.8 g • Carbs: 52.1 g • Fiber: 8.5 g • Protein: 31.6 g

  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends removed, quartered
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6-8 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 12 oz large shrimp, peeled and deviened
  • 1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 2 oz white wine
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1/2 tsp herbs de Provence (or you can use your favorite herbs)
  • tiny pinch of red pepper flakes (gives it a little kick)
  • 8 oz angel hair pasta, high fiber or low carb

Heat a large skillet on high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. When skillet is hot, spray with oil and add shrimp. Cook shrimp about 2 minutes in each side until almost cooked through and remove from the pan. Set aside.

Reduce skillet heat to medium, add olive oil and garlic and sauté until golden, careful not to burn. Add tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer about 4 minutes. Add white wine and broth and stir. Add asparagus, salt, pepper and herbs. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes on medium low heat.

While sauce is simmering, boil salted water and cook pasta until desired tenderness. Drain when done.
After sauce simmers 10 minutes, add shrimp to sauce to finish cooking, about 1 minutes (Do not overcook or shrimp will get tough). Add pasta to the sauce and toss well. Divide equally in 4 bowls and top with a good grated cheese.

This was surprisingly spicy and flavorful. I think I'll have to fight Ryan for the left-overs tomorrow at lunch time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Love... enduring. It isn't fragile. It is....

...patient .
(PATIENT: "longsuffering, having a
'large soul'--BIG enough to absorb insult and injury like Jesus.")

Love is kind.
(gentle, tender, affectionate. It wishes well.)

It isn't envious,
or boastful,
or arrogant,

...or rude.
(Loving means to give myself up...not ever taking something from others rashly.
Love gives graciously...even when they don't deserve it.)

Love does not insist on its own way.
It is not irritable.
It is never resentful or bitter.
It never delights in wrongdoing.
It always rejoices in truth.

~These are words that cut me deeply. All at once, they produce sorrow and regret, inspire change and hopefulness and bring awareness of my continual need to be transformed.

Mostly, I fail on this love rubric in ridiculous moments of insignificance. Finding that I am just a little bit under appreciated and slightly used, I add a few things to my secret "list of ways others have wronged me and/or those I love." And then, when I am too small to bear this burden of (insignificant) injury, I speak or act out of resentment and my own increasingly irritable mood. I suppose I'm just acting out of boredom and selfishness, when I allow my mind to discover small injuries in which to plant resentment. Sometimes the injuries are bigger, and it's easier to justify my angry list making. In those circumstances, I probably plant my bitterness a little deeper and even nurture it happily, feeling SO right in my anger. I do this destructive planting, with full knowledge... that LOVE cannot be nourished in my life, cannot grow or bear any fruit...if my heart makes room for any of these things that it 'is not.'

This "Love is not _____ List" may be one of the most practical sets of words to meditate on.

But really, my favorite words come later.
The words that help me understand just a little bit better just how wide and how long and how high is the the love of Christ...

...bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never fails.

I just can't get over this beautiful picture of love
and holding up
Hoping (instead of despairing).

... without end.

How ugly and small and foolish....seem all the selfish, delusions of "love" that I am so prone to run toward. How disgusting is my selfishness and pettiness, my doubt and worry... in light of this enormous and powerful picture of LOVE.

I think Paul was kind of ranting on the many ways that love (was then, and) is so often misrepresented and mistaken for cheaper versions of 'happiness' and shallow attraction to things and relationships that seem like they will satisfy. The word 'love' is even used to disguise and justify our most hurtful, self-gratifying, manipulative, destructive acts.

This misrepresentation of love, this epidemic blindness to, and distortion of love sometimes make me feel hopeless. When I look around and see too many broken things, I tend to put people and circumstances and problems into compartments in my mind that to me, are beyond the reach of love. They seem unsolvable and too ugly to be healed by love, so I try to harden my heart around them so that they don't hurt quite as much, and I am not surprised and disappointed by the destruction and loss. But no matter how I might harden my heart and forget what I know to be true....

LOVE still...

...bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

Love never fails.

...thoughts I needed to remember from this morning's teaching from I Corinthians 13.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Panzanella Salad

A day at the beach...and dinner on the deck.

Grilled Chicken, corn on the cob, brown rice, and...

Panzanella Salad:
2-3 Large Red Garden Tomatoes (Roma or other), chopped
1-2 Garden Cucumbers, sliced
Green leaf lettuce (or butter, or bibb, etc.)
Fresh Mozzarella (cut into cubes)
Toasted bread (cute into small squares)
Kalamata olives

Dressing: (recipe from my friend, Erica)
1/2 cup of olive oil with 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar add salt and pepper (I sprinkle in 4 shakes from my salt and pepper shaker) and 2 Tbls of sugar (or 1 packet of stevia).