Thursday, February 28, 2008

30 Day Encouragement Challenge

(I would like to thank my friend Lyndsay for sharing this with me.)

Oh how I love my husband! There is absolutely no one else on this earth that I would rather be with...absolutely no one! I am so thankful for the husband and father he is. I am so thankful for the sacrifices his makes for our family. I am thankful for the way he loves me and his daughters. I am thankful for the many, many times that he is an encouragement to me. I am thankful for so many things, the list could go on forever.

But this is not a post for that...another time perhaps.

This is about how I need to improve, big time, as an encouragement to him.

Maybe I am the only wife that does this. I've had a tiring day of wiping snot, changing diapers, putting Nora in time-out, nursing a baby, doing laundry, hearing a toddler scream, serving meals, and trying to teach my child that not every color is yellow. So, what do I do when my wonderful husband comes home from work? Well, I take my frustration out on him. Am I the only one who does this? Am I the only bad wife in the entire world?

If I'm not, then maybe you would like to try this also. It's called the "30 Day Encouragement Challenge". Click on the link if you would like to find out more about it.

I am so excited about this challenge and pray that I will become more of an encourager to Matthew. I know this will not be easy, challenges rarely are, but I know with a good attitude and a tremendous amount of help from God, I will achieve my goal.

I will probably be blogging about this over the next 30 days, not every day mind you, but when the mood hits me.

Who knows, this encouragement thing might take and even go on longer. I pray that it does.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Food Network made me do it

Sucked in....that is the only way I can describe what happened to me. I was sucked in by Alton Brown. He is a powerful, powerful man. His knowledge of food and how to prepare it is nothing short of amazing. Behind his wire rimmed spectacles is a brain, so full of information that I cannot even fathom it.

The other night, Matthew and I were sitting on the couch watching t.v. It was after 10pm, so we were in the hunched down position, eyes glazed over, trying to get up enough energy to go get ready for bed. While we are mustering our energy, "Good Eats" comes on t.v. Well, I should have hit the power button immediately and turned the t.v. off. But, I kept watching, wondering what food he would be analyzing that night.

I detest coconuts. Anything coconut. I can't stand the texture, but it doesn't end there. I don't like the flavor, the smell, or the feel of coconut. I would be a horrible "Survivor" contestant!

My better half, however, LOVES all things coconut. He can eat shredded coconut from the bag as a late night treat. Gross.

Alton goes on to talk about how coconut cakes these days are dry and tasteless. He complains for a few minutes before going to the store and purchasing FRESH COCONUTS.

At this point, I'm hooked. I'm suddenly not tired anymore, just curious as to how Alton is going to pull this one off.

Oh, he pulls it off. He pulls it off beautifully! And he does such a fantastic job explaining and demonstrating that I think to myself, "Self, you could totally do that!". I know, it was late, I should have abandoned the whole idea and chalked it up to sheer exhaustion. I guess I thought I didn't have anything else to do...yeah, right!

But, it was in my head, and as we are learning in our home Bible study, once something is stuck in a woman's head, it is nearly impossible for it to vanish.

So, off to the store I went to purchase my FRESH COCONUTS.

I tried to document each step that I took, but by the end, honestly, I was tired of the cake and forgot all about my camera. Also, this cake was made around 11pm, so I was doing good to remember the ingredients.Needless to say, it was an experience and I will probably attempt this again in the future. But, when I do, I will make sure we are having a lot of people over who like coconut. I ate zero pieces of the cake and Matthew ate the majority of what was eaten. Sadly, I threw away the rest last night. I thought about maybe preserving it somehow and putting it on display for all to see, but that just seemed silly. Almost as silly as making a cake with FRESH COCONUTS.
The beginning...look at those sad eyes, begging me to not turn them into cake.
Drilling the eyes to get out the coconut water
Draining the water

You have to bake the coconuts to get the shells off easier. I baked them, but it was NOT easy getting the shells off!
With half a shell
Peeling the coconuts (I had a lot of help from Matthew on the front end of the project!)
Shredding the coconut
Homemade coconut extract. It had to sit in this jar for 5 days.
Making the coconut milk and cream...I know, I am CRAZY! I still cannot believe I did this!
Baking the cakes
Yummy frosting!
One of my layers
Ta da! Finished project
I'm thinking, "Why in the world did I do this? I'm not even going to eat any of it!"
Oh, here is why I did it!!!! For my sweet husband...and the challenge.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Birthday celebration

I have not been able to write about Nora's birthday until this minute because I have been busy taking care of a sick little girl. Sunday night, when we got home from our Bible study, Nora was running a fever. And she has been running a fever ever since. The Motrin is kicking in and she is playing with her toys right now. A few minutes to myself...ahhhhhhh.

Here are some pictures from Nora's party. We had a lot of family here: my mom and grandmother; Matthew's mom, stepdad, sisters, and grandma; "family" from our small group (our spiritual family, right Marshall?). It was a great party and I am so glad that it was low-key...those are the best kind!

Nora and Minnie, sleeping the night before her birthday. Minnie is so excited that she can't sleep :). Actually, Nora woke up several times Friday night talking. I told Matthew she must have been excited. Obviously a joke since she didn't really know what was going on.

Nora playing with her Dora house the morning of her birthday. This Dora house was a huge blessing. Our friend, Connie, was getting rid of some of the toys in her house that her daughter had outgrown. She thought of us and we set it aside for Nora's birthday.

My mom got Nora an outdoor playhouse for her birthday. We set it up in the living room for her to play with and then we were going to move it outside before the guests arrived. didn't fit through the door, so we kept it in the living room and the kids played in it.

We had Mickey Mouse pancakes for breakfast...keeping with the theme of the day.

"Let's get this party started! I'm ready!"

Waiting for everyone to arrive

Nora and Gibson having a great time in the playhouse...glad it wouldn't fit through the door!

John David, Nora, and Gibson playing in her room (don't you love how they are interacting with each other :)...each one is in his/her own world)

I did NOT make this cake!

She had just blown out the candle

Trying to show us that she is "2". It's hard to get those fingers in position!
Opening presents (I decided after seeing all the pictures that I HATE my hair and I am definitely looking for something different...maybe grow it out? Whatever, I am ready for something new and for a brand new color!)
Loving opening her presents!

The ONLY family picture that was taken the entire day. Pitiful! I do not usually dress my children in "character outfits". Nora's birthday outfit was a present from her Nonna and she loved it. And trying to get Elyn into the spirit, I gritted my teeth and purchased her the outfit she is wearing. It has a picture of Minnie on least the ruffles are cute!
There are a ton more pictures on Flickr. Go there if you would like to see them all.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Nora!

February 23, 2006
February 23, 2007
February 23, 2008
Happy Birthday baby girl! You are 2 years old today!!!!!! I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. It truly feels like just yesterday we were meeting you for the first time. You have brought so much joy to our lives and we look forward to each day with you. You are so much fun and make us laugh all the time. We are constantly amazed by what you are learning. You talk so many sentences. We have to be careful what we say around you because you are very good at repeating. You are such a great big sister. I know Elyn will always look up to you and love you so much. I know that the next year is going to be fun, challenging, exciting, happy, eventful...I am so glad that you daddy and I get to be a part of it. We love you so much Nora!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cleaning lamps

This is my first time to ever participate in "Works for me Wednesday". While I was cleaning my house today I thought "I have an idea" and it might be helpful to some of you out there.

We have several lamps in our house that have fabric lamp shades. They are HARD to clean. I am amazed at how much dust they collect. Obviously, I can't remove the fabric from the shades and clean them and I am not wealthy enough to just replace the shade when the dust is an inch thick. So......I use my lint roller. And it works pretty well.

That works for me! And maybe it will for you too.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

New do? Oui!

I decided to see how Nora's hair would do in french you can see, it does pretty well. She was surprisingly calm and still while I did this. Maybe it was because she was enraptured by something on t.v. at the time. This will NOT be an everyday event, in fact, it hasn't happened since I did this on Friday.

The girl has a cowlick that is fierce! Just like her mama.
Not wanting to leave Elyn out, I decided to give her a new "do" also
No more comb-over for her!

In an unrelated note, thank you for all of the helpful touristy tips regarding San Fransisco. Amy, I have ordered a red map and think I will love it! You didn't let me down, my blogging friends.
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Saturday, February 16, 2008

T-Minus two months

We are going to San Francisco at the end of April. When I say "we", I mean me, Matthew, and Elyn. Nora is going to be hanging out with my mom for a few days...getting whatever she wants. And since I didn't want Elyn to starve to death while we were on a vacation, I decided she could come with us. I know, I'm mommy of the year.

So, all you readers out there, I have some questions.

We are going to be there for approximately 3 days (we arrive Saturday afternoon and leave Tuesday afternoon). What should we do to make the best use of our time? We are already planning on going to Alcatraz and doing the audio tour. Other than that...what are the BEST things to see/do?

I have talked to a few people already and they said that staying in Fisherman's Wharf is the way to go. Agree?

What is the best way to get around town without building my calves up to double their current size from walking all those hills? I read that a "San Francisco treat" trolley costs $2-ONE WAY. I guess if we do take the trolley, we will take it up hill.

What is the yummiest food?

Remember, we will have a nearly 7 month old with us, so don't get my hopes up with some fancy schmancy restaurant. But, also, don't feel limited to McDonald's...we have those here.

Okay, all of you lurkers/stalkers...start commenting if you have input on our vacation desination. I am so excited!!!!! I like to think of myself of pretty laid back (I am sure that I have a husband who would argue that point), but when it comes to vacations, I like to have a plan.

Unless the vacation involves a tropical location. Then my plan is to LAY ON THE BEACH.

I am confident you can help-please don't disappoint!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Decorating cookies at Mommy and Me


Ughhh...I just realized that I did not get a picture of Matthew and the girls today. We'll just have to re-live Valentine's Day tomorrow, I guess.

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