Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Working

I know, I need to post some pictures of our new and improved living room. But until then, here is a pic of Annelise helping Dave put together a fab piece of Ikea furniture. It was PAINFUL to put together, and they actually gave him some wrong hardware, so he had to go back and get the right stuff...but it looks awesome up! Below is a video of the girls...which I think is super funny. Annelise just LOVES when HC wakes up from her nap!

video

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Yummy Recipes

You do not know me well if you do not know that I LOVE to cook. I just love it. I would cook all day if someone was there to eat, and if someone would clean up after me (I tend to be a really messy chef). Dave loves to cook too, and he is actually a much better cook than I am. We enjoy trying new recipes and new foods and new combinations, so there is always some funky food nights at our home.

I usually make at least one new recipe a week, which is super fun, but recently we have been trying a lot of new recipes, and I was thinking I would be happy to share. For the last three weeks we have been eating mostly vegetarian which has been a blast. We are working on Dave's cholesterol, and I am anxious to see what kind of result it will have, but we are also trying to loose some extra pounds and just be more healthy in general.

I also hosted my neighborhood's Bunco night last night. This is SO super fun, and my neighborhood is awesome. I am SO thankful that the Lord directed us to this house and this neighborhood. It is not at all what we thought we wanted, but it is everything that we needed and had no idea. Our neighborhood is very active and fun and loves to be together. We have several organized parties a year, cook outs, egg hunts, Christmas parties, etc. There is a great wide range of age groups, so we have some older retirees, we have some mid-lifers, and we have some young families with lots of kids. At least 6 families have children under 6, and I love getting to know these other families and children. Anyway, once a month some of the women get together for food, drinks and a little Bunco (really it is more about hanging out, but Bunco is a fun game/activity). We rotate and every month someone else hosts, which is fun because everyone has their own unique personality and style which comes out, of course, in their home, but also in the food they choose to prepare.

For my Bunco night I brought a little European flare with some yummy crepes! We had Chicken, Mushroom and Asparagas Crepes, Mushroom Crepes with Poblano Chile Sauce, Jam-Filled Crepes, and Caramel, Pecan Crepes. Oh there is nothing healthy about any of these crepes, but they are super yummy and a fun splurge. I used the basic crepe recipe from "Joy of Cooking". What a fab basic cookbook, a must have for every kitchen. The nice thing about crepes is although folks tend to think of them as a lot of work (and they can be), they can be done in stages. Fab! So I made all the crepes (a stack of sweet and a stack of savory) on Thursday night. I have two crepe pans which makes it super easy. I also cut up all my veggies on Thursday night. Then on Friday morning I made the filling for the CMA crepes and the MPC crepes. I could also assemble the MPC crepes, which I did. So, 30 minutes before everyone arrived, I filled the CMA crepes and threw them in the oven. I grated cheese over the MPC crepes and threw them in the oven and I was basically set. AWESOME!

I also wanted to link to a couple fun vegetarian recipes. I will say, it is a little frustrating to eat healthy because it is more expensive. I hate that I can feed my family for less when I buy processed foods as opposed to whole foods. Irritating! I do clip coupons and it is helpful for some things (detergents, toilte paper...I got tooth paste the other week for $.75 a tube), but what about coupons for chicken, 7% fat ground beef, vegetables and fruits. I do a lot to keep costs down, I make my own chicken broth and use dried beans, I buy block cheese, but...it is hard! Anyway, that was an aside...here are some fun recipes.

Roast Chicken Breast with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes and Paprika I know, you are thinking, wait I thought she said vegetarian. I love this recipe with the chicken, but it is equally as good without the chicken (also a note, I do not use as much evoo as they call for in the recipe, and I use non-fat plain yogurt for the sauce). Serve this over rice...AMAZING!

Shepherd's Pie This was super yummy too, although Dave was extremely bummed that I did not include lamb. Next time!

OK, happy, healthy cooking!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Speaking of Britain...

OK, I have watched this several times and decided it was just too good not to post. You MUST watch this. It is a video of Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent.

Now that you have recovered from that, you can give a little help. We have been working on our living room. So fun! Thankfully Uncle Sam gave us a lot of our money back this year, so we have had some cash we never expected to have. Kinda nice, kinda irritating too (wish I had not given it to him in the first place, but ah well). So, we bought a desk, which is beautiful. It came last weekend and I have been working on getting it all organized and getting all of my things out of the "man room". This past weekend we had some fun at Ikea. We bought an overhead light for the living room, which is SUPER fun. I was skeptical, but Dave has a great eye and great ideas, so despite my protests he put it up and I love it. We also purchased a sideboard, so now all of my china is out of boxes and in its own place (and all those boxes are sitting in recycling). Yea! This is the first time I have seen my china in 2.5 years, since we moved back here from Germany. I do use my china, but when it is all packaged up, why would I dig it out? Anyway, I am looking forward to using it this weekend. Dave is working on editing a few pictures for us to put up on the walls. These are the ones from London that we are considering. I only want one from London (only because London holds no good memories for me since I was prego with HC and vomitting during our time there). So let me know which one you think is the best.
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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Our Neighborhood

Our neighborhood is awesome. I totally love it, and am so thankful for where we live (although it was painful to get here). We have a very active neighborhood which is super fun. The women have been getting together once a month for appetizers and drinks...yes we also play Bunco...which actually is fun. I am actually hosting everyone next week. I am a little nervous, but I am sure it will be fab and everyone will excuse all the projects going on around here...or at least all the projects that should be going on around here. =0

We also have several neighborhood gatherings throughout the year, one of which is an Easter egg hunt. We actually attended this event last year (because we were in contract with our house). This year was actually freezing! It was 46, but the sun did make an appearance. It had rained everyday that week, but managed to stop for our Sunday egg hunt. We had a great time. Hadleigh was able to dye some eggs, and then they ran around yards to find eggs stuffed with candy. Of course we swapped out the candy for a more healthy treat of Teddy Grahams. Either way they are obsessed with having 1 egg in the morning and 1 egg in the afternoon. I am nervous for the day when they figure out I am throwing all the candy away!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Children's Museum

Recently we have received a LOT of rain. It seems a bit extreme to me, but then again, any weather beyond sunshine can seem extreme to me. It is my good CA upbringing. I can handle not seeing the sun for 2 days, by day 3 I begin to go crazy. I still have no idea how I managed to live in Baumholder for so long!
Anyway, it has rained a LOT here in the last 3 weeks. So a couple weeks ago, when it was raining again on a Friday, we headed to the Children's Museum. We had a great time! Hadleigh loved playing with the trains, and would have stayed there all day if we had let her. Annelise enjoyed looking at everything, especially all the balls that went "round and round" in the tracks above our heads. They painted, they played in moon sand (which is super cool), and sat on a tractor. I mean, does it get any cooler?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Miss Hadleigh Claire is 3.1


3.1, three years and one month. Hadleigh Claire is three and all its glory. There are some wonderful things about being three. She is much more verbal and is beginning to communicate funny things. Yesterday she touched me her cold hands (just like Dave does) and then proceeded to inform me that "I am funny!" It was pretty funny, especially since I had no idea what she was doing until I felt her cold hands on my side. I then realized she is picking up little jokes from her dada.

HC chatters on about a lot of things. She always wants to know what I am doing/making/going. When we go for walks we talk about the flowers, trees, clouds, cars, puppies, etc. She asks about her friends and what we will be doing/where we will be going on any certain day.

Recently HC has done a fab job of sharing. This is quite an answer to prayer because (surprise, surprise) sharing is an issue in our family. Lately I will give HC two crackers, or grapes, or whatever and ask her to keep one for herself and give one to Annelise. She has done a great job of listening and obeying and joyfully giving to Annelise. She has also begun giving her 1/2 of her macaroni noodle, or 1/2 her cheerios. I do not care what she is sharing, I am just glad that she is sharing this week. And I hope that we can continue to cultivate that desire in her...let's be honest, even adults do not like to share all the time.

I have realized more and more how much HC and I are alike...poor girl! Sometimes it makes it easier for me to understand the battle she has with her will, and sometimes it makes me more frustrated than ever. It is such a hard/humbling thing to be responsible for a child. We want her to be a good, well-rounded, adjusted child, and we hope that when she is 25 she will not act like a 3-year old (as we have met some who do), so how do you get that end result? It continually takes me to the Lord in prayer. Whenever we have a discipline issue, we pray and ask that God will give Hadleigh strength to obey Mama and that God will give Mama strength to obey God. That is a hard prayer to pray, but I want her to know that it is always hard to obey. Ultimately we are not under our own authority, but under someone elses...our parents, a boss, a teacher, the governement. We have to learn to submit and obey even when we do not want to, or do not understand...and it is the same way with God's authority. We are under it, and we must learn to love and value the authority in our life.

In HC's Sunday school class they have been using John Piper's curriculum Desiring God for toddlers. They have learned the song, "My God is so great, so strong and so mighty there is nothing my God cannot do..." I never really cared for that song, but it has been fun to use it to talk about God with Hadleigh. We have been reading the "Jesus Storybook Bible" (which is FAB and a must-have) every night with Hadleigh. In each story it seems that we are able to talk about how God is great and strong and mighty, he saved Daniel from the lions, he rescued the Israelites from Goliath, etc. I'll ask HC, "Why did God do that?" and she can respond because God is great, and so mighty.

HC is doing a great job with her chores. She is able to empty the clean silverware into the drawer without any help. While she does it, she gives a running commentary, "that is a little spoon." She also helps me put her clothes away in the dresser. She is a fab little worker. Dave and I have been talking about how we need to encourage her as she does these things. We want her to know that as she helps us she is blessing our family. We know the day will come when she doesn't WANT to do these chores, so we want to build up in her a sense of ownership.

With summer nearing I am thinking more about the pool. I would really like for Hadleigh to take some lessons this year. I would actually really like to teach her myself, but I think she might work better with someone else. We will see, we might do a little of both.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Elf is 17 Months

It is true, Annelise is now 17 months old which is incredibly hard to believe. She is quite a little rascal and seems to have grown up quite a bit this past month, and everyone seems to notice how much she has grown.

Last week in nursery, she needed a diaper change (she will tell you, "poopoo" while pointing to her diaper), and after the diaper change the worker put her back down on the floor to play and Annelise turned to Hakima and said "Thank you". What a polite little girl I have!
She has quite a vocabulary of words and uses them often. I am not going to list them for you because only 4 people care (her grandparents) and I will just call them and tell them myself. She is a girl who knows what she wants and has been really resistant to using any sign language. We finally broke through and she will now sign "please" when she wants something. THat is her only sign, otherwise she points and uses words.

We have also entered the world of tantrums. Yea, for us. I think I can count the number of tantrums that Hadleigh had on one hand, so this is new territory for us. She will slowly lower herself to the floor while making a fuss, and when I walk to other room, she will get up and follow me and slowly lower herself to the floor in that room. It actually really makes me laugh. It is hard/impossible to distract her from what she wants, so we just wait for it to pass. Or if it is really bad, I will put her in her crib until she calms down. Her tantrums generally revolve around food (she will see something out on the counter, or in the cupboard) and REALLY want it, or it revolves around brushing her teeth (as in she wants to brush them all the time).
She loves people and whenever we are out she waves to everyone. It is super sweet. She is very affectionate too, and gives lots of hugs and kisses and cuddles and we just LOVE that. We are a very affectionate family, so it would be almost impossible to be one of us and not like hugs and kisses.

This month she had two rounds of pink eye. She came down with it first, and then she passed it to HC, and then HC passed it back. Currently both girls are on drops...I am going to rid this household of pink eye!

I think that Annelise is going to be our naked child. I have heard most households have at least one. The last two mornings we have gone to get her up she has managed to get out of her pajamas...what a feat!

I was asking the nursery worker about her the other day about how Annelise is in her class. I wasn't sure if she was really clingy, or independent. She seems to have a little of both. She wants to go out on her own and then come back to someone who will hold her. That seems to jive with what we have observed about her. At playgroup she can hold her own with HC and all HC's friends (all the kids are either a year younger or 1-2 years older) which is fun to see. And it seems that some of the playgroup friends are noticing Annelise as a friend and not just a baby.

I am getting a lot more questions about the girls being twins. I think because Annelise now looks more like a little girl, and when they are sitting in the stroller they seem to be the same size. I still find it fairly obvious that they are not, but whatev.
The other day I was helping HC do something in the playroom. When we were finished I realized I did not know where Annelise was and I could not hear her (BAD NEWS). I began walking around the house calling her name (of course she does not answer yet) and when I went into the family room I saw her in a little corner holding a Christmas bag. She had put her sippy cup in the bag and was drinking from it. HILARIOUS!
I recently posted a couple videos of Annelise on my facebook page, so if you have not checked that out, it is super cute and you need to.

Friday, April 03, 2009

News...

I have been slacking on the blog front. Ugh! So I will give a bit of a decent update on our happenings.
At the beginning of March, Dave and I went away for a weekend...that is right, Dave and I...no children! Dave had his 10 year reunion from dental school, so we flew up to Memphis and had a fun weekend connecting with old friends (or Dave connected with old friends and I met new friends). We rented a BMW convertible 1 series (at Dave's request), and had a fun time driving around Memphis. The weekend was jammed packed, so we did not have any time to ourselves, but it was still nice to be away and sleep in! A couple of our good buds kept the girls for us, and they all had a blast.
I was able to attend Intown's women's retreat this year. I actually did not take any pics (lame), but I did have a fun time. My good bud, Steph and I drove up together and roomed together and since kiddos we do not get to spend a lot of time together, so it was great to reconnect over an extended period of time. It is always fun to connect with new women and reconnect with friends I do not get to see often. It is funny, I actually did not care for the speaker during the retreat, but I have found myself considering some of the things she said in the weeks since. So, it was definitely worth while and I am so happy that I went! That means I have been childless for 3 weekends in the last 6 months (I was able to attend the singles' retreat last fall because Dave stayed home with the girls). I am also looking forward to a girls weekend in May with a couple college buddies! It is great to take advantage of the girls being in a non-needy-mama phase.

On other travel news, we are really excited because this summer we are going on a mission trip to Belize. THE WHOLE FAM! We are so thankful for Mission to the World (the sending agency of the PCA) because they are making it super easy for us to take our 3 year old and (will be) 20 month old on this trip. This is the beginning of a big dream that Dave and I have had for our family. Our ultimate goal is to be able to go overseas for up to a month at a time. Dave can do dentistry and the girls and I can do...whatever. We can help with anything else that anyone else needs help with. This trip will hopefully be the first of many trips we take as a family. We hope that we will always care about all kinds of people, and that we will continue to learn and remember that the world is bigger than our little corner. I cannot wait to get Annelise her passport, and take HC to her 11th country.
The girls are still doing a fab job of sleeping together. I know, I am a lucky sack! They are not napping together, although I am beginning to think we might be able to start doing that in the next month or so. We will see. They are learning to sleep through each others issues (I just ran upstairs because HC was calling for me to change her diaper and A slept through the whole thing). It is also nice because when they wake up in the morning they are entertaining each other, so I have been able to wait to get them out of bed until 7.30. That is a major change from my previous 5.30 wake-up calls! I am still getting up around 6, but it is nice to be able to work-out, check email, and take a shower all before the girls get-up.
Last update is about my garden! It is coming along nicely. I have my little starters , and am hoping Dave will get a chance to build the garden bed in the next couple of weeks, so I can actually plant them in the ground. My compost pile is looking amazing, and it is SO super fun to do. I really hope I can keep it all up, we will see what the spring brings.