Spring Break, Part 4

I guess the last exciting thing we did over break was celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  Being one of my favorite holidays, I went all out this year.   Kyle made plans to go out with some guys to The Bleeding Deacon for an Irish dinner, so I had my friend Kim over and made her a traditional Irish dinner for two. We listened to some Irish pub tunes on Pandora and had a great time just being together.

St. Patrick's dinner

I set the table with my two, green Anthro glasses, my (Irish) great-grandma's lace table runner with a piece of scrap green fabric I had in the closet underneath, and added a sweet little pot of shamrocks on top, which are still bringing joy and color to my kitchen.


For dinner I made delicious beef and carrots slow-roasted in Guinness, champ, green bread, and a whiskey mousse pie, which could get you a little tipsy if you're not careful.  Served with your choice of Harp or Guinness, of course!

St. Patrick's dinner

It was a really fun way to spend one of my favorite days of the year.


Spring Break, Part 3

On Wednesday of our break, we decided it was time to get up and out of our pajamas and do something fun.  The weather was nice and there were a couple things we'd wanted to do since we moved to St. Louis.

Self-portrait 2
We got dressed and headed out into a gorgeous day.

Get ready

First stop, the Zoo.  I had not been to the St. Louis Zoo since I was in high school and I didn't remember just how huge it is!  It doesn't seem possible that such a big place exists in the middle of our fine city.

St. Louis Zoo camel

St. Louis Zoo Penguins

There were so many cool animals to see, and I took about a gatwillion pictures.  I won't bore you with all of them.

Next stop, the Cathedral Basilica.  Can I just say, AMAZING?  It really is an incredible structure.  It's open all day, so the next time you're driving down Lindell and you have 20-30 minutes to pop in and look around, you really should.  It's a beautiful place with a unique part in the history of this city.

St. Louis Cathedral Basilica

By the time we got done being tourists in our city, we were exhausted.  That night we went home and crashed on the couch with a marathon of Parks and Recreation.  Another glorious day on our break!


Happy birthday, Watson!

Today, our puppy boy turned 1 year old.  Happy birthday to my favorite little puppy in the whole wide world!

Here are some things about our puppy who is no longer a puppy:

Watson will do just about anything you ask of him for the chance to chase a ball or eat a single piece of kibble.  Just wave one of the above in his face, and you will find yourself in command of a highly obedient pup.  If, however, you don't have one of the above, you might as well forget it.

He is a serious chewer.  He chews anything and everything.  We have to be very selective about the types of toys we give him or else they'll be gone in a flash.


His favorite everyday toy is definitely his green ball, but his favorite toy of all time is still Quacker.  We are now on Quacker #4, and we no longer let him play with it unless he has direct supervision.  He loves to eat the fur and tear it to shreds, so we keep it put away most of the time.

His favorite place to lounge is on the bed in our spare bedroom.  This provides him with a clear view of us in the living room and the opportunity to monitor the hallway for his kitty sister.  He really, really loves to chase his kitty sister.


He always knows when we're about to leave the house.  He lays on the floor next to my vanity and pouts while I do my hair and makeup.  It's just about the most pitiful thing I've ever seen.

Puppy knows.

Every day we give him one or two small carrot sticks to munch on.  They keep him occupied and out of trouble and they are good for his digestion.  Carrots = Winning.


Since the weather turned and the windows have been open, he now sees it his job to sit in the window and bark at watch the alley.  He is protecting our house from intruders and squirrels.  Mostly squirrels.


He loves, loves, loves his daddy and going on walks with his pack (that's us).  Despite his love for walks, he is a terrible walker.  He constantly pulls on the leash.  We've tried multiple collars and harnesses, walking sticks, reading two Dog Whisperer books to work on our "calm, assertive energy" as pack leaders, and puppy training classes.  He is still terrible on the leash.  We now walk him with a Halti.  It helps a lot to prevent him from pulling, but he constantly paws at his face and whimpers, even on hour-long walks.

We just can't believe this crazy little puppy we brought home from a dirty shelter is already a year old.  When we brought him home he was very calm and scared of everything.  Now he is affectionate, happy, and outgoing, and constantly battles to try and run the show.

Sad Face

He may never be the world's most obedient dog, but he is dearly beloved by us and so many others.  Happy birthday, Watson Bass!


Spring Break, Part 2

After we returned to St. Louis, we had the great joy of babysitting this little guy.  His name is Gus.  He's 10 months old.  He was a super easy baby to watch.  I was happy that all the toys and books I've been saving were finally put to good use.




In retrospect, we probably shouldn't have let him feed himself so much, but he was sure cute with ravioli in his ears.  Watson enjoyed the floor cleanup duty.




We had to hose Gus down in the kitchen sink, but he didn't seem to mind.


What a doll!

If you are viewing this post from Facebook, please be aware that I will not be able to see or respond to any comments unless you go to my blog and leave one there.  Please leave one!  I miss you people.  I'll be back on Facebook on April 24th, after Lent is over.  See explanation here. 


Spring Break, Part 1

I spent the first part of my spring break with my family in and around Springfield. I don't know what to say about it, other than that it was awesome, so I'll just show you.






Winter on the Prairie





Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's is absolutely one of my favorite days of the year.  I enjoy it in so many ways.

I love it because my family is Irish.  I love it because it's perfectly okay to celebrate it even if you're not Irish.  I love it because it's perfectly acceptable to drink a Harp before noon.  I love it because I get to cook traditional Irish food.  I love it because I get to watch The Quiet Man.

I love it because St. Patrick was a man who loved God and shared that love with countless others.  He didn't really drive out any snakes, but he did drive out paganism and teach the Gospel.

St. Patrick's Breastplate:
Christ be with me
Christ before me
Christ behind me
Christ in me
Christ beneath me
Christ above me
Christ on my right
Christ on my left
Christ where I lie
Christ where I sit
Christ where I arise
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me
Salvation is of the Lord.
Hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick's day, however you celebrate it!



I am at an age in life where it seems as though every day some friend somewhere is making some exciting announcement about his or her life.  I'm going to backpack across Europe! I'm engaged! I'm pregnant! I'm moving to (insert glamorous place) to (insert glamorous job)! I'm awesome at my life and marriage and career and reproduction!

These are all wonderful things.  After a while, though, one starts to hear these things and feel really insecure about her own life.  It starts to feel small, drudgerous, and flailing.  That is, at least, if you're anything like me, which I suspect many of you are.  

It isn't that you aren't happy for your friends and their beautiful homes, budding careers, shiny cars, flat stomachs, and fertile wombs.  It isn't even that you feel you deserve it any more than they do.  You know that we're all completely and equally undeserving of such wonderful blessings.  So what is the problem?  Why does it hurt?  Why does this happy news make you feel so unhappy?

In my life, I can usually answer this by simply stating "I'm just not content with where God has called me."  I feel like my plans and my desires are better.  On paper, it sure seems that way.  Who wouldn't want a real job and an income instead of accruing sickening amounts of debt in grad school?  Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to own a home instead of paying ridiculous rent for a crummy apartment for 5 years?  Who wouldn't want a naturally lean body instead of having to work out or count dumb old points?  Who wouldn't want ovaries that work instead of a bunch of little cysts that give you facial hair? 

Well, I guess I now have to raise my hand and say, "I wouldn't."  For the first time in a long time (maybe ever), I am beginning to look at all aspects of my life and see them in a much different light.  I am reaching a point where I can confidently say that I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  I know there is a greater purpose in everything.  It sounds so cliche, but it's true.  I know it.  I feel it.  God's word affirms it. 
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Don't misunderstand this verse.  God isn't telling Israel that it's going to be a bed of roses.  In fact, they're about to face 70 years of exile from their homes.  They're going to serve an earthly Babylonian king who is corrupt.  They're going to face famine and disease.  So what is their future hope?  It is the same hope God gave to Abraham over 1000 years before:
The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward. (Genesis 15:1)
The Lord himself is my hope, my future, my delight, my reward.  It isn't in my earthly circumstances.  This is marvelous.  God himself.  Just think of it.

I feel a shift in my heart.  I can be happy for my friends and admire what they have without feeling so terrible about my own life.  How? Because I know that while my life may not look so fabulous to others or even to me at times, I'm where I'm supposed to be.  And I know that when this is no longer where the right place for me, God will open a door to something different.  For better or worse, my hope is built on nothing less.

If you are viewing this post from Facebook, please be aware that I will not be able to see or respond to any comments unless you go to my blog and leave one there.  Please leave one!  I miss you people.  I'll be back on Facebook on April 24th, after Lent is over.  See explanation here. 


Some things about today.

  • Today, I can only think about two things.  The first is getting out of here for spring break.  I have this idea in my head that the semester is downhill after spring break.  I'm probably going to have a rude awakening about that, but at least campus will start to turn green again.
    • The second is eating a sundae from The Fountain on Locust with one scoop of mint, one scoop of chocolate, and a generous topping of their signature hot fudge. 
    • I became the Foursquare "mayor" of Nadoz Cafe.  I now get a 25% discount as long as I remain the mayor.  This means that my daily, $.65 pretzel roll is now only $.48.  Big spenda! 
    • Watson has thrown up twice today, but he doesn't seem to be feeling sick at all.  He's is usual, playful, adorable self. 
    • I have nothing due tomorrow.  I can't remember the last time I said that.  Watch out, Thursday night NBC, here I come!
    • I discovered today that ModCloth has a BLOG.  There goes all the time I was saving not being on Facebook.  I really like what I've seen and my favorite feature is the "Blogger of the Moment."  I love the style! *sigh*
    • Speaking of Facebook... I've been off it for two days, and it's only a little weird.  Surprisingly easy thus far.  I do think, however, it will get more difficult with time as I start to feel out of touch with people.  The last few days, I've made a point to email people as I think of them or see something in my daily browsing that I think they would like.  Also, I replaced the FB bookmark in my browser with a bookmark for the study bible.  I can't tell you how many times I have mindlessly clicked on that spot in the last couple days.  It has been eye-opening. 

    My mouth is literally watering as I am still thinking about that sundae.  I better get off here and go eat something healthy.  Three hours on campus tomorrow and then Springfield for the weekend.  Can't wait to see my parents and grandparents, and to stick a shamrock in my hair and celebrate St. Patrick's Day with my favorite Irish lady, my grandma!  We LOVE St. Patty's.

    2010 St. Pat's

    If you are viewing this post from Facebook, please be aware that I will not be able to see or respond to any comments unless you go to my blog and leave one there.  Please leave one!  I miss you people.  I'll be back on Facebook on April 24th, after Lent is over.  See explanation here. 


    Mardi Gras and Lent

    Happy Mardi Gras!  Get all fatty today and celebrate.  I'm not celebrating just because it's Fat Tuesday, but I'm celebrating because I am looking forward to the next 40 days that we call Lent and the coming celebration of Christ's death and resurrection.

    Our love is ethereal

    What is Lent?  Many people who celebrate it or use it to "give something up," don't really even know why, and many people who don't celebrate it think it's a silly ritual.  When I was very young, I thought it was just about giving up something you like to earn brownie points with God.  As I was going through catechism, my pastor explained that it was about using these 40 days to reflect on what Christ has done for us, laying his life down for our sins so that we can know God eternally.

    Many people add in special times of reading, reflection, and prayer leading up to Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  How much more then should we celebrate in the time leading up to Resurrection Day, when Jesus said, "Finished!" When the blood of Christ was accepted as a substitutionary sacrifice, a propitiation, for all our sins for all time.  Hallelujah, He is risen!

    As we reflect on the things above and prepare our hearts for Easter, the resurrection day, sometimes we give up things up that might distract us.  Sometimes we give up things we love because so we can be reminded to depend on God as our greatest source of joy on this Earth.  Some people don't give anything up per say, but add in more time reading their Bibles or praying.

    A few days ago, I felt that maybe I was supposed to give up Facebook for Lent.  No, God, you surely wouldn't want me to do that, right?  The more I think about it, the more certain I feel that I am supposed to, no matter how tough it will be.  I don't even know if I have the self-discipline to do it, but I will depend on God for that too.

    Some people might think I'm ridiculous.  It might be true, but I know I spend way more time on there than any person should.  I really do want this season of Lent to be about more than ritual.  I want to focus on the meaning behind the ritual and I desperately want to draw near to the Lord in prayer and his word.

    I'll still be blogging and tweeting.  I haven't gone that crazy, haha.  I hope that you, too, will find time in the next 6 weeks to focus your heart on God's finished work.

    How are you celebrating Lent?  How can I pray for you?


    On Saturday, my mom and stepdad, Dan, came down for the afternoon.  It was a very quick visit - just long enough to greet Watson and go to lunch.  It was so nice to see them and so nice to be taken out to eat!

    IMG_7739 copy
    Kyle had the splendid idea to take them to The Fountain on Locust, one of our favorite places.  It was a big hit.  The food was really good, as always, and the desserts were even better.  Gotta love that homemade hot fudge.


    It was a fun little afternoon.  Even though it was short, it really worked out great for all of us since Kyle and I are so busy.  Plus, I get to see all of my family again this coming weekend while Kyle is in Peoria for the annual Bass mens' pilgrimage to the IHSA Boys State Basketball Tournament.



    A Little Slice of Pye (sneak peek)

    Sunday afternoon, I had the amazing privilege of doing a little photo shoot for my friend, Jillian Pye.  She needed pictures of the clothes and accessories for the new spring line of A Little Slice of Pye.  It was pretty exciting for Jillian, the models (Josie and Sharon), and me!  These are just a few of my favorites.  The rest are Jillian's to share at her discretion.  I'll post more once she gets a look.

    Slice of Pye Preview

    I had certainly never done anything like this before.  In the past I have photographed family, friends, pets, and landscapes, but a staged shoot? No way.

    Slice of Pye Preview 2

    I was so nervous, and I had serious butterflies leading up to the time of the shoot, but once we got rolling, it was much easier.  By the time the shoot was over, we were all exhausted, sweaty, and starving, but I know everyone had fun.

    Then, oh THEN, I started editing.  My WORD, I was hooked.  The editing was maybe my favorite part.  I have no idea if my edits are really any good, but I sure had fun doing it.  I have no formal training in either photography, or in using photoshop.  It takes me forever to do simple things, but it makes me so happy just tinkering around.

    Now that I've dipped my toes in the water, I could so take this little hobby of mine to the next level.  I know that photographers are a dime a dozen these days, and I know that highly-trained, highly-paid photographers tend to disapprove when hobbyists turn into cheap, for-hire photographers, but Kyle and I are broke, you see, and any little job I could get would help us out big time.  So, for my friends who are real pros, I'm sorry.

    That being said, anyone need pictures taken?


    Pasta Fagioli

    Every time I make this soup, people beg me for the recipe.  I've made about a hundred different versions and it never comes out exactly the same, but it's always good.

    I made it tonight for dinner with the covenant members of our church.  Even though I left out several ingredients and substituted some others, it was still good.  I also took some major shortcuts due to time contraints.  I just think you can't go wrong with this soup.

    Here's the recipe I've adapted over the last few years:

    Pasta Fagioli      From the kitchen of Chelsea Bass
    1 lb ground beef
    1 small onion, diced (1 cup)
    1 large carrot, julienned (1 cup)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
    1 15 oz can red kidney beans (with liquid)
    1 15 oz can great northern beans (with liquid)
    1 15 oz can tomato sauce
    1 12 oz can V-8 juice
    1 T white vinegar
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp oregano
    1 tsp basil
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1/2 tsp thyme
    Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
    1/2 lb (1/2 pkg.) ditalini pasta

    1. Brown the ground beef in a large sauce pan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat.
    2. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and sauté for 10 minutes.
    3. Add remaining ingredients, except pasta, and simmer for 1 hour.
    4. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
    5. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes

    Makes 8 servings

    Printable Recipe


    A spattering of thoughts and daydreams

    I often have the urge to blog about every thought that comes to my mind.  Lucky for blog readers, there's now this thing called Twitter (maybe you've heard of it?), which allows me to spill the contents of my scattered mind, moderately guilt-free.  Still, though, there are some thoughts I pretty much cannot resist sharing.  None of them are significant enough to merit their own post, so this is what you get.  Randomness.
    • Every day I bring a snack to class with me and try to wait as long as I can to eat it.  Today I lasted 7 minutes.  That's the record.
    • Our church is growing like a beautiful weed rooted in the Gospel.  I love the people of August Gate dearly.  We are continually growing and challenged in our own faith, and I pray that more will be blessed in the same way.  
    • I haven't seen a single member of my family since Christmas.  You'd think I lived more than an hour and a half away.  Sadly, school has interfered. 
    • I've been averaging 5-6 hours of sleep per night.  This is partly the demands of school, and partly my insomnia, which intensifies with stress.
    • Two more of my non-runner classmates jumped on the C25K bandwagon with me.  We're going to have a lot of fun crossing the Susan G. Komen finish line together. 
    • I often daydream about what I would do if I could quit school and start a different life.  My choice lately would be to move back home to the family farm.  In my dreams, I start my own organic farming business (with the help of expert growers and livestock raisers, Dad, Grandpa, and Grandma) and also use the farm as a location for my booming photography business.  In my head, this is very successful and I am very happy.  I get to work with my family, live on the prairie, be outdoors, use my hands, get dirty, be creative, and bring new life and purpose to our old, dying farm.  This sounds so good.  Why am I in grad school again? *sigh*

    This is the east porch at my dad's house on the farm (Grandma and Grandpa J. live up the hill).  Daddy built me this porch swing before I left for college so I'd always have a peaceful spot to come home to.  Lord willing, it will someday hang on my own front porch.  This is maybe my favorite place to be in the whole world.  It over looks his beautiful, luscious, 2-acre yard, my favorite tree on the planet, and miles of open plains.  It's so quiet.  So peaceful.  I feel really teary and homesick as I write this.  I better stop before I lose it.