Why I love hoodies…and other thoughts

Well, hello everyone.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading this blog? I know I have gobs of followers on fb, but I kinda feel like my poor little blog gets forgotten, so to all my Evy’s Tree blog friends… a little info about me:
The above picture was taken from my very poor Blackberry phone {apparently I didn’t pay enough to get the better camera specs}, but it is of the fog rolling in over the San Francsico bay area. If you have never seen this happen in real life, its beautiful and oh-so-soothing. This picture was actually taken off 280 right by the exit of where I was born and spent most of my early childhood before my parents packed us off and headed to the Sonoma Valley wine country…which still has the excellent fog, by the way.
ANYWAY…
This is exactly why I am addicted to hoodies and most people from here wear hoodies year round. I grew up with a jacket or a hoodie stashed everywhere, in the car trunk, in my backpack, in my locker at school. You just don’t go anywhere without layering, because that fog rolls in around 5 or 6 ish in the evening and doesn’t burn off until 9 or 10ish the next morning.
Yes, ideal weather FOR SURE.
And, ok, one more mobile upload:
That’s my son Jake with his Mickey hands and Mickey hat…talking to his girlfriend Emma Love. Is he not a kick in the pants or what?!? Oh boy, I love that kid.
In closing, we lost a very good woman this past week. Katrina Klee was a mother to 5 children, 2 of whom are still in high school, and she passed away on Friday from Bone Cancer. Since my husband is the youth pastor at our church, we have been really focused on this lost. Please continue to pray for the family, that they would be given peace and strength. Especially for her husband Tony.
Anyway, this has put me behind in my orders by at least 3 or 4 days. I am so sorry. If you are waiting for an order, I will either get it out within 3 or 4 days pass the two week mark, or will send you an email and let you know the status. Thank you so much for your patience.
I hope you all have a wonderful evening!
xoxo

Food Friday- Barefoot Contessa's Gaucamole

Well, I have a confession….
I am just a glorified cookbook reader. It’s true. I have everyone fooled. People tell me all the time what a great cook I am, but they have no idea that I cheat and just follow recipes. One entire end of my island in my kitchen is filled with cookbooks and I have them stashed throughout the house as well. I read cookbooks for fun, like a novel, from front to back.
I know, I know, crazy.
But how can you not resist all the great ideas? And the cookbooks with pictures really get me. A cookbook, to really be a cookbook in my eyes, MUST have pictures. At least one every couple of pages or so. If the cookbook does not have pictures, you probably won’t find me reading it. What’s up with that? Can we say VISUAL LEARNER?!?
Anyway, one of my very favorite cookbooks is by one of my very fave cooks, Ina Garten, better known as Barefoot Contessa. My mom and I got addicted to her over 10 years ago when her first cookbook came out, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook . If you do not own any of her cookbooks, I have to tell you, RUN out and buy some, especially her family style one, its FAB.
Soo….my Food Friday is highlighting THE BEST guacamole you will ever find. I hope this is legal to highlight a published recipe, but I figured since it is already on the internet courtesy of Food Network, I’m probably ok?!? Anyway, it is from Barefoot Contessa’s first book, but you can also find it online by clicking HERE.
Disclaimer on this demo: This was a little late night snack for our family. My mom took Evy this week to spend time with her and my Dad, so it was just the three of us. I had some ripe avocados and the boys asked for guacamole…so please excuse how dark and out of focus some of the pictures are. Brandon grabbed the camera and started snapping. Crazy thing is, the next morning I woke up to my friend SoShawna writing on my fb wall asking that I do this recipe for my next Food Friday? Seriously, I think that girl is psychic!!
Guacamole
4 ripe Haas avocados
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
8 dashes hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium tomato, seeded, and small-diced
 
Start by cutting the avocados in half, popping out the pit and scooping out the meat into a bowl
 
Sporting Evy’s Tree…of course!
Then add the lemon juice {quickly so the avocados don’t turn brown}
Add the hot sauce…but be careful its only 8 dashes or else it gets really tobasco-e {I know not a word}
Add the minced garlic, onion, salt and pepper. It looks like a lot of pepper, so don’t be alarmed! I’ve learned that Ina likes pepper! 🙂 Oh and again, don’t try to scrimp by and use regular salt. That big box of kosher salt that you hopefully bought last time we discussed this will come in handy. It makes all the difference in the world. But if DO use regular salt {shame, shame} use half the amount.
Then taking a sharp knife use cutting motions and blend everything evenly together.
Cut tomato into quarters, de-seed and then cut into small cubes, adding them into the bowl. Then gently stir together.
At this point I usually put it into a nice decorative bowl and serve, but my little man couldn’t wait.
 
Side note: if you are from California {or anywhere that might sell them, I guess} and have access to Casa Sanchez chips…BUY THEM!! Trust me, you will not regret it. SOO yummy! The salsa is the bomb.com as well.
 
Anyway, we are HAPPY CAMPERS!
Enjoy and happy Friday!
PS…please remember the Klee family in your prayers. Today was Katrina’s funeral. Although we are all rejoicing that she is in a better place, her family is suffering, and it aches to see that. Lord, touch Tony, Timmy, Elisabeth, Jeff, Matthew, and Olivia tonight and give them peace in Jesus’ name!
xoxo

Two or Three?

I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before or not, but I am part of a blended family of sorts. My dad was married before my mom and had two kids, my older brother Jeff {who is 13 years older than me} and my sister Pammy {who is 9 years older than me}. When he married my mom, he had me and then my brother, Bradley.

To be honest, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with my brother Jeff. By the time I was really coherent enough to “hang out” with him, he was already in college, dating my soon to be sister-in-law, Lia {yes, I have known her practically my whole life, pretty cool, huh?} and he really wasn’t interested in being bothered by his bratty younger sister, as you can probably tell from the above picture.
But my sister, well, she adored me, at least I like to think she did. She held me a lot and when I got a little older, she did my hair {anyone remembered the “feathered” early 80’s look?!! Ha} and even let me hang out in her room now and then.

She WOULD NOT, however, allow me to spend the night on the pier during the summers when her and her friends would have sleepovers outside. I was pretty bummed about that one and permanently damaged…
*ahem*
Anyway, as we all got older and we all developed as adults, we created our own relationships with each other. My brother Brad and I were 16 months apart and were raised like twins. I’m sure to this day he has emotional baggage over my mom dressing us alike. It might not have been so bad if his outfits didn’t look like a girl’s outfit….poor guy. 😦

So, as I was saying, Brad and I were very close as kids, but as we got older we went separate paths. He became part of the very high powered business world and I joined the ranks of the poor in body but wealthy in spirit teaching world. He moved to London, remained single, and I got married to a youth pastor and moved to the armpit of California. We really were worlds apart, and besides, I was always HORRIBLY mean to my brother. Said awful things, etc. He is such a kind person, I’m sure I damaged him for life. 😦  Sheesh stupid Amy.
So Brad and I, the “full blood” siblings, we didn’t really turn out as close as maybe most siblings do. Although we have been closer the last couple of years than we have been in a long time, I have to say, there were many months that would go by without us really talking much. I am very happy to say that I learned to not be so mean and we have been keeping in touch. I am so glad about this, because I love my brother very much. He is such an incredible person, with so much to offer. Super smart, loving and kind. And he has been such a wonderful Uncle to my kids.
So, while my brothers and I were doing our own things, my sister and I became really close. I would say for the last 13 years or so, my sister and I have been BEST FRIENDS. We call each other several times a week, cry on each other’s shoulders, vent about our husbands {shhhh…}, complain about life, lack of money, our kids, our health, our weight, our looks, our clothes…you know all the things sisters do.
Thank God for my sister.
And my older brother. I love him. I know I mentioned a bit about him in the beginning, but here is his wife Lia, and such a wonderful picture of Jeff and Evy.
 Actually, I can’t believe it, but I’m kinda getting tears in my eyes. My brother is going to be 50 here in the next couple years. My brother is so kind, has two beautiful children and I just can’t even think of words good enough to describe him. He’s a hard worker and is really a lot like my dad in a lot of areas. Both my brothers are. They are both financially brilliant, a gene I hope to someday develop, but has seemed to be missed in my Wollmer DNA. When my dad is gone, Jeff and Brad will take his place as the Wollmer patriarchs. They good men, and I know that God will bless them and their lives.
Sheesh…WHY am I crying?!? UGH.
Ok, so what’s my point?!?
Well, today as I was in Target….more like RUNNING through Target because my mom was here with my kids and I was trying to hurry, I saw a very attractive mom. You know how you always seem to notice put together people when you AREN’T put together? Well, this mom had her hair perfect, great bag, cute little figure and then I saw her cart…TWO girls and then another cart following behind her with TWO boys, the oldest boy was pushing the youngest.
DEAR GOD… you mean she had four kids and she looked that cute? And she was my age too. How in the world does she do it? I have two kids and I can barely find enough time to look in the mirror, much less find cute clothes to put on. Unless its Evy’s Tree, I probably am not wearing it.  Seriously, am I the only mom who wears the same thing over and over?!?
Ok, I know, that lady probably is the same boat as me. She probably wore that outfit every single day this week and she probably looked at me and thought “how nice, she doesn’t have any kids!”. Things are never as they appear, but it did get me thinking.
Brandon and I always said we wanted to have 3 kids. And I always said I wanted to do it before I turn 35. Well, if that’s going to happen I have to get pregnant RIGHT NOW.

Uh….no, not happening. No way. No how. NOPE. No siree….
I just can’t do it.
I have heard so many mixed thoughts on 2 or 3 kids. Which is hardest…some say three, some say two. But to be honest, going from one to two seriously did me in, and if going from 2 to 3 is harder, well boy oh boy, I’m a goner.
But then I start thinking about my family. And how much I love having three siblings. And how when my parents are gone we will have family. How I have a wonderful sister and how I have two brothers to go to advice for. And of course, there is always that morbid thought, what if something happened to one of my kids? Then the leftover one is an only child and won’t have any family when we are gone. And I think about Brandon and how he is also one of four and how much he loves that as well. And how my kids have lots of cousins.
And then the flip side….we don’t make a lot of money. We will never be “rich”. I grew up being able to go to good schools, have decent clothing, attend any college I would like. I would like to provide a nice living environment for my kids. I want to be able to feed them and clothe them, make sure their needs are met, you know? Not really sure I would be able to do that {at least how I would like} with a truckload of kids. ha.
And then there is the argument, well, good grief, how much more trouble can one more kid be?!
So…I am interested, what do you think? What is harder? Two or three? How many kids do you have and why did you decide to have more or less?
Help! Two or three….?
xoxo

Rambling Thoughts…

My mom is going to be here in one hour. That means I have one hour to clean my house, since my mom likes a tidy ship. That also means I have one hour to finish that giant mound of laundry that is on the guest bed. And that means I have one hour to squeeze in some blogging. 🙂
A little earlier today I was chatting with a friend{thanks Abbie! :)} about business and growing and just trying to find your groove in life. Now, I am no stragner to having a home business as Brandon has had one our entire marriage. But I have to be honest, running a business from home, a creative business no less, is very hard. First, there is the challenge of keeping your house organized{which do not be fooled, mine never is} and then to go along with that task, there is the trying to maintain some type of creative mindset within that lack of organization, which is sometimes impossible. And lastly, on top of all that, you have the “regret” complex.
If you are not familiar with the “regret” complex, let me fill you in. The regret complex hits you when you are browsing the internet or pursuing the mall and you see a beautiful item made very similar to yours, but its not yours…and you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” How did I miss that idea…oh, that must of have been overlooked while I was scrounging through my very unorganized house looking for my brain.
Right.
You know what I’m talking about? Yeah, the Regret Complex is a killer. The why can’t I do that? Or the how come my life isn’t going the way theirs is? Or {a big one for me} why aren’t I selling like so and so?
This morning as I made breakfast, I started quoting some Scripture. Its not a strange thing for me to do, afterall, all those memory verses I learned from Christian school tend to stick around!! 🙂 But as I was quoting the Scripture, it hit me what I was quoting:
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth HIS fruit in HIS season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper…” Psalm 1
Wow…so that means that if I plant myself by the rivers of LIVING water my fruit will come in MY season. In other words, my season is coming. My fruit is coming….maybe not today, but it WILL come!!
It kinda reminds me of giving birth…you know you wait and wait and wait and wait…and end up feeling frustrated, bloated, gasy {ha, yes, I did say that!!} and looking like this:
Us on Easter Sunday, 2009, three weeks before Evelyn was born…
But its so worth it because then you have this:

And it comes at the right time, you know?
Anyway, I have no idea where this all came from other than just feeling retrospective. Thinking about my past, and contemplating my future. Wondering what God has for me. And trusting that whatever it is, if I put myself in His hands, it will come at the right time.
It’s called Patience! 🙂
So be gone, regret complex! I don’t have time for you today. I’m too busy planting myself in the right spot.
xoxo

Remembering

If you read my earlier post from today, you will remember that our friend Katrina went to be with the Lord last night. This is her, her husband Tony and their two daughters, Elisabeth and Olivia. The also have three boys, Timmy, Jeffery and Matthew.  I actually stole this picture off Michelle Monteforte’s fb page {sorry Michelle, I hope you don’t mind!}, so I don’t know the exact date, but judging by how healthy Katrina looks, I would say this was probably at Elisabeth’s high school graduation a little over two years ago and right before Katrina was diagnosed with cancer.
Last night, as I sat with Olivia and Liz in the waiting room, we chatted and laughed, ate yucky salad and old strawberry turnovers from the cafeteria and drank stale coffee. I asked Liz to telll me about her parents and how they met. She got a huge smile on her face and told me how Katrina, born and raised in Spain, moved to Germany to go to nursing school {Katrina was a nurse}. There she met Tony, who was in the service. She met him while he was doing an evangelistic street service and he introduced her to Christianity. They eventually dated and then married and then moved to the states so Tony could attend Bible College.
You could tell, by her huge grin, that Elisabeth thought it was the most romantic story ever, as it was just darling. I encouraged Liz to write a little book about it, since she has memorized a lot of her conversations with her mom over the last two years and tried to ask a lot of questions. She was telling me that she knows a lot of her moms secret recipes that were handed down from her grandparents…she said she had them all written down, except for one. Her mom’s creamed carrots, which were a family fave.
Sitting there in the waiting room with the kids, it just occured to me that this could happen to ANYONE. I mean, Brandon and I , simply through the nature of being pastors at a very large church, have seen a lot of death, a lot of sickness, a lot of saddness really. We see the stuff that nobody else sees, you know the junk you try to hide from everyone else.
We all suffer, in some form or another.
But sitting there with the family, it hit me again. Life is so short. Mine could end tomorrow. Katrina, who was such a beautiful woman with such a spirit of grace, lived a very short time on this earth. It seems unfair, unjust, and sometimes ungodly. It seems like it goes against God’s plan for a happy and peaceful life. But regardless, it will happen to all of us, eventually, in some form or another.
I guess my thoughts, as I listened to Liz, kept coming back to this blog. I kept thinking about how this is my way to leave a legacy for my family. I am gifted with words, but its not just the words. Its the stories, the recipes, the pictures. Its my life, and its being passed on.
I started to think about Katrina. How her life was BREATHED into those kids. Her stories will live on, her recipes will live on, her history will continue, because she took the time to tell it.
So Liz, if you are reading this, I want to encourage you again to write things down. I know you are hurting, grieving…it doesn’t seem fair right now. But I love you and your siblings. Pastor Brandon loves you guys. We believe in you. And last night, while we were all gathered around your mom after she left us, I realized, its your history now. Keep telling it. Your pain, your frustration, your anger…it will all come together some day. Whether it means something to your own kids or maybe just a passerby like me, it WILL mean something.
And to Amy…the one who writes this blog…don’t stop. If something happened to me, I want my kids to KNOW me. They may never really remember much about me, but they have my words. I may not be able to share ALL my feelings and frustrations on this blog, but I hope that they will learn to read between the lines. Hear my voice. See my words forming pictures that maybe aren’t really said on the screen but are helping you make a vision of me in your head. And when I am gone, I hope they take my words and share them with their families, and with others, who might need to know that we are human, we struggle, life stinks, but by God’s grace we are still standing.
That’s what they need to remember.
Jesus, heal the Klee’s broken hearts. Give them peace and comfort. Let them see some light at the end of the tunnel. And let them never forget Katrina, her life lived for You and for them.
“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
xoxo

Food Friday, a little late

Not that anyone is really holding me to the whole Food Friday thing, but I apologize for this being late.
Last night we lost a wonderful lady, Katrina Klee. She went home to be with the Lord at 11:30 in the evening surrounded by family and friends. She fought, with much courage, bone cancer for two years.
All five of her children are either in our youth ministry or serve on our youth staff in some capacity. The Klees are a precious family. When their oldest daughter Elisabeth texted us yesterday afternoon and told us that their mom only had hours, if she was lucky, days, to live, Brandon and I decided to get a sitter and drive the 2 hour trip to Stanford where she was being treated.
We are so glad that we did. Such a beautiful family, hurting, but trusting the Lord. Please pray for them, as they have a long road ahead of them…Katrina was the rock in that family, a lady of faith.
Anyway, I had all the pictures taken for this post, but just as I was about to put the post together, we got the text, so it obviously became less important!
This, again, is not really a recipe, but an idea that was inspired again, by my sister Pammy. 🙂 Yes, she is the smart one in the family. HA
Pammy’s Trail Mix
You can really put anything you like in this. It’s just an assortment of dried fruits, nuts, and pretzel items…but one note I will make:
I find that you want to have an even mix of salty and un-salty. I actually rarely buy anything with salt on it as I try to watch sodium, but the last time I made this, everything was natural and salt free and the mix wasn’t that great. This time it was PERFECT! Here’s what I used {yes, I buy almost everything at Trader Joe’s! :)}:
1 bag of almonds
1 bag of roasted and lightly salted cashews
1 bag of unsalted peanut butter pretzels
1 bag of pretzel slims
1 bag of organic dried banana chips
1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
several handfuls of craisins {I buy a giant bag from Costco, my son loves them plain!}
Using a glarge bowl, pour all the ingredients in…I love this picture, if you look closely you can see me and then Brandon taking pics…cute!
Using clean hands, of course, toss the mixture
Finish product….
I then put into ziploc bags for storage and then take little baggies of them to church and in my purse for when the kids get hungry. It’s a great nutritional snack that I can tailor to my own kids tastes. No more picking out all the stuff they don’t like! 🙂
I get one full gallon bag and a 3/4 full one…
And in closing…here are some more of my very sparse rose crop this year. These are Chicago Peace and Brandy {the apricot one}. These two are the exception to my “must have a fragrance rule”…they are too pretty and add too much color, so I allow them to stick around, even though they are pretty smell-less. 🙂
Lastly, I have a question for you all…how many of you buy Organic Milk? I was talking to my personal trainer/friend Emily about it the other day, so I broke down and bought a gallon of it. It was $2 more expensive!!! YIKES! Not really sure we can afford that in the long run, seeing how much milk we go through, but if it is drastically worth it, I will make the switch.
Thoughts? What kind of milk do you use?
xoxo

The Bordeaux Brilla

I have a new collection of hoodies this fall. They are called “The Candy Collection”. You actually, if you follow me on facebook, might remember the Candy Stripe Brilla.  I never got a chance to post it on the blog as it sold out immediately. It was the first of the Candy Collection.
Items in the Candy Collection are the popular Brilla design but they have a double ruffle around the entire hood and pockets and are inspired by some sort of candy.
I have to be honest, I don’t really eat candy. My husband does, so I see it often, but I don’t really ever buy it. But please tell me who DOESN’T get excited when you walk down the candy aisle at the store? So many fun colors and so many fabulous smells!
The Bordeaux Brilla is actually inspired not by any old candy, but by my very favorite candy in the whole wide world, See’s Milk Chocolate Bordeauxs
Oh boy, there is absolutely NOTHING better than this candy, EVER!! In fact we love it so much that it was the favor at our wedding.
Anyway, this hoodie was inspired by the above candy:
And it comes in adult and mini sizes.
The adult has a nice candy sized button….
The adult is $64.50 and the mini is $44.50.
And here’s the catch…
At this time, I only have enough material to make 6 adults and 6 minis of any size.
And, because I am perfectionist…*grr*
I am selling my sample mini. It is a size two. I made it last night very late and in my exhaustion, I sewed the right front ruffle on crooked. So it is on sale here on the blog via a paypal link.

The rest of the hoodies will be available Saturday morning at 9 AM.
xoxo