Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a joyous Thanksgiving! This year, our family celebrated a quiet Thanksgiving at home for the first time ever (or at least for as far back as we can remember ;-). We were blessed to have our dad's parents (affectionately known as Bop and Nanny around here) with us for the holiday.
Julie and I (Amy) volunteered for the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year. I was so thankful that we got to cook our first big holiday meal together. We made a great team, and even invented our own spice rub for the turkey, which turned out fabulously (if we do say so ourselves ;-). I'd share the recipe with y'all, but there isn't one. We called it "Guntzel Girls' Dump-and-Stir Turkey Rub" and used everything from nutmeg to paprika to spice up our bird. We had fun digging through our hopechests to make a makeshift centerpiece for our Thanksgiving table. We set the table with the china Mom inherited from her grandmother and fancy gold cloth napkins. Decorating is one of my favorite parts of every holiday!
The above picture is a little dark, but that's what our table looked like just before we added the food. So festive!
Katie did a great job helping me find decorations for the table. Thanks, Katie!
We are so thankful that Bop and Nanny were able to come. Nanny baked up some delicious homemade rolls for our meal, and a beautiful mincemeat pie for Bop and Dad's dessert. She also helped prepare the stuffing, gave us some great tips on roasting the turkey, and taught me how to make gravy. I don't know what we would have done without her! Thanks, Nanny, for all your help!
We are so grateful to have grandparents who love the Lord and their families. We always look forward to our times together!
Our Thanksgiving meal consisted of roast turkey, two types of stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, homemade rolls, lefse, pickles, carrots, pepperoncini, and cranberries. It was very yummy!
Thank You, Lord
For food on our table,
for a roof over our heads,
for material blessings,
and cozy warm beds.
Thanks for family by our side,
and those so very far away;
thanks for fellowship and friends
and for the dawn of each new day.
Thanks for guiding and sustaining,
for never leaving us alone.
Thank You for the peace You bring,
and the hope of a heavenly Home.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I (Julie) found this cute set at a gift shop for $1.25!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Project Picture 3

I went to a friend's house on Friday night to watch a movie, so I got a lot done!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cappuccino Mousse Trifle

Amy let me (Julie) make a trifle for the potluck her class is having today. I hope there's leftovers!Cappuccino Mousse Trifle
  • 2 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1/3 cup instant coffee granules
  • 2 packages (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 carton (16 oz) Cool Whip, thawed, divided
  • 2 loaves (10.75 oz each) frozen pound cake, thawed and cubed
  • 1 square (1 oz) semisweet chocolate, grated
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
In a mixing bowl, stir milk and coffee granules until dissolved; remove one cup and set aside. Add pudding mixes to the remaining milk mixture; beat on low speed for 2 minutes or until thickened. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Place a third of the cake cubes in a 4-qt. serving or trifle bowl; layer with a third of the reserved milk mixture and a third of the pudding, and a fourth of the grated chocolate. Repeat layers twice. Garnish with remaining whipped topping and chocolate. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serves 16-20. (I used white chocolate on top of the layers because we didn't have semisweet, and I put mini chocolate chips on top.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I (Julie) have been cross stitching since I was about 8. I think I like it so much because you don't have to be artsy to do it - just follow the pattern. I usually have two projects going at one time, a big one at home and a smaller one in my purse (in an empty concrete screw box - can you tell I work at a lumberyard?). The one at home gets worked on quite a bit, because whenever I have a little down time or I'm watching TV, I take it out. The one in my purse, though, usually takes a little longer. So, in order to try and make the one in my purse get done faster this time, I am going to be posting pictures of it as I work on it. Hopefully this will motivate me to work on it more! Here's what I've done so far...can you guess what it is?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For Laughs

I (Julie) have been told by many people that I should put this story on here, and I have to admit, it is pretty funny. This is the story of my first proposal. You'll understand why I'm hoping it won't be my only proposal when I'm done. About a month ago, I got a second job ushering at the new events center in town. The majority of the events there are Bemidji State University hockey games. BSU's team is the Beavers, so their mascot is a big beaver named Bucky. The first weekend I worked, I was ushering a women's hockey game. Now, to the team's credit, they have a good record and are a pretty good team. But hardly anyone comes to the women's games, so it is not very exciting for the ushers. All the seating is general admission, meaning we don't even have to show people where to sit. During the men's games, Bucky the beaver is down in the student section leading the cheering and getting the crowd into the game, but during the women's games, he just walks around and plays with kids and gets his picture taken. So I am standing by my stairwell, daydreaming and praying and minding my own business (and, oh yes, I was watching the crowd being as that is what I'm paid to do). Bucky was making his rounds, and he came over to the kids in my section. I hardly noticed him until he came down right next to me. He shook my hand and then he pointed to himself and to me and held up his hand to his ear like he was talking on the phone. He wanted my number. I just laughed him off, and he wandered on. I should interject here that Bucky doesn't talk at all. All of this is through his pantomiming and my guessing what he is getting at until he nods that I've gotten it right, so whenever I say that Bucky said something, keep in mind that there was a process to it. To make it a little clearer, I'll color-code it from now on. Whatever he says will be green, and what I say will be red. A few minutes after he walked away, I hear him coming up the stairs behind me. I knew it was him because the large feet on that costume make it impossible to go anywhere quietly. He tried the phone thing again, and started holding up different numbers, giving me his number. I stopped him halfway through; I still wasn't going to give him my number. Then he started pointing at himself and at the "Bucky" on the back of his jersey, then pointing at me. He wanted my name. I told him, then he spelled out his name in the air, of course, spelling it right to him, but backwards to me. Nice to meet you, I said. I think he said a couple other things, then he left. Ten seconds later, I hear my name from the stairwell. I turned, and it was the guy I had seen walking with Bucky earlier. I guess there is someone that follows him around all the time. He says, "Sorry, Julie, but Bucky wants to know your last name." I laughed. I suppose that would have been a little hard to get across via pantomime. I told him, and he went back down to report to Bucky. It wasn't long, maybe ten minutes, and I hear the clomping up the stairs behind me again. This time Bucky starts by going to the other side of the stairwell and imitating exactly how I was standing, which made me laugh. Then he came over to me and started the whole hand motion thing again. I think it started with if I was going to be there for the men's game that night. Yes, over there (pointing to my section). His shoulders slump, which I understand later is because he has to stay in the student section for the game. Then it was if I wanted to get a drink with him sometime. No, I don't drink. Why? Because I'm only 20 (of course, there are other reasons, but it's hard to get into those in a very one-sided conversation). Then he tried a different route: do I want to go to eat with him sometime? No thanks. A couple times during this whole exchange, kids would come up to him, and while he was wonderful with them and fulfilled his mascot duties, I could tell he wasn't encouraging them to stick around too long. As soon as they went away, it was back to question. Do you play hockey? No. Softball? No, I am not athletic at all. Do you dance? No, graceful is not as adjective you would use to describe me. What do you do? Well, I cook. Then he starts spelling in the air again: f-a-c-e, then holds his hands like a book. No, I don't have Facebook. I don't quite know how one can look exasperated with that big goofy grin plastered across the face, but he did it. Ok, he would try from another angle. Do you go to BSU? No, I work at a lumberyard. He was surprised and made a motion like he was chopping wood. I laughed, yeah something like that. Are you going to go to BSU? No, I don't plan to. Why? Becuase I don't want to spend that much money on a piece of paper I don't want because that's what everyone says I should do. What do you want to do then? I want to be a stay-at-home wife and mom. That caught him off guard. He almost physically jumped backwards. I'm half surprised he didn't forget the whole no-speaking rule. He recovered quickly, and gave me a hug. That was weird. I think he didn't know what to do. If that wasn't awkward enough, he steps back and proceeds to get down on one knee and lift up his hand like he was holding up a ring. Looking back on it, I can't help but laugh because it was so funny, but in the moment I laughed for lack of any better response. He got up, but he had stayed down slightly longer than necessary for a joke. I dont' really remember what happened exactly at the point because I was so flustered. At one point, they were playing music and put him up on the big TV's. He did his appropriate mascot dance for a while, and thankfully, he was in front of me so I wasn't up there too. And as soon as the camera moved on, we were back to our game of charades. A couple minutes later, the manager guy Bucky had sent up to find out my last name earlier came up the stairs. He put his hand on Bucky's shoulder and turned him away from me slightly, though I could still hear everything he said. He sounded like he was trying to come across as frustrated and stern but was having trouble keeping the laughter in. "Bucky, they keep showing you up on the Jumbotron hitting on this hot girl. You have to go make at least one lap around." Bucky's shoulders slump and they walk away. He quickly recovered to his normal mascot self because the kids were clamoring for him, but his manager walked behind him a ways just to make sure he kept going. The was the last I saw of him for that game because it was almost over. Since then, he will often come up to me during a women's game and give me a hug or a handshake, but his manager (different guys since that first game) has always been following him much closer. They must have put him on a short leash. Now you can understand why I call this my first proposal, and why I certainly hope there will be a second someday. Thanks, Bucky, for giving me something to laugh about. It makes me laugh every time I think about it, and I hope it gave you a giggle or two as well!

Monday, November 15, 2010


That means "colors" in Polish. Less than three months, and I (Julie) will be in Radom! It's coming up so fast. But that's not the subject of this post, just thought I'd share my excitement with all of you. Back to colors. When I was younger, if I needed to remember a fact, I would assign it a color/colors in my mind, and then when I needed to retrieve that fact, all I had to do was think of what color it was and I could usually come up with what I needed. Mostly I used it for things like history tidbits. Many eras had their own specific colors, and things in that era would have sub-colors. I had no idea that I did this until we were playing Trivial Pursuit on night (love that game!), and my mom asked me how I had remembered some obscure fact. My very intelligent sounding answer was, "Well, it's dark red and gold." You can imagine the looks I got. I tried to explain, and from then on whenever I was trying to remember something, my family would say, "What color is it?" I kept up this method of filing things away probably halfway through high school, but I think it's one of those things that fades as you get older. I can still do it, but it has to be deliberate. When I was younger, I didn't think specifically about what color something was going to be, it just was that color, but now I have to assign a color consciously and it doesn't always work as well as it used to. Even though I don't remember things that way anymore, colors are still a strong trigger to get me to think about things. Take my beautiful new scarf for example: I love this scarf. It's not red. It's Christmas red. My favorite color. First it brings thoughts of all the wonderful Christmases we have had, all because of the first Christmas. But underneath that, this color always gives me the overwhelming sense of the sacrifice of Jesus at the cross. How appropriate that Christmas red is the same color as His blood.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow."
This is what we woke up to this morning. I (Julie) love snow. I love winter. I love the reminder of being washed as white as snow. As I watched the snow come down last night, it was like every flake whispered ...pure ...clean ...forgiven creation ...beautiful ...peace. Snowfalls are one of those things that I think God sends sometime specifically for me. Not in a selfish or conceited way, but like I was saying before, sometimes it's like God wants to send me a love letter, and I read snowfalls so clearly. A skeptic could say, duh, you live in Minnesota; it's not like it only snows once in a blue moon - don't think those snowfalls are just for you. Yes, Mr. Skeptic, I may live in Minnesota, but you don't know my Jesus. He delights to show His love for me. Especially when I am anxious or worried, a snowfall brings an all-encompassing feeling of peace. Yesterday was a perfect example. I was so anxious all day about something that was going to happen last night (so anxious that I could only eat 5 Saltines for supper), and as the time was getting closer, I looked out the window to see the beauty of God's peace floating softly down. I was still nervous, but instead of the thing I was nervous about being the biggest thing in my mind, I decided to focus instead on His promises. And, lo and behold, the thing I was anxious about went just fine. We serve an awesome God that can show all that by sending frozen precipitation down from the sky.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Can you see it?

Look closely - it's finally snowing!