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Friday, April 23, 2010

Alphabet Soup

Both Nathan and Abigail officially know all their letters and the sounds they make!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More Freebies

This is just crazy! There is so much stuff to be picked up for free right now! All the stuff below was free!! With coupons. The only thing that I have to mail in for rebate are the shampoos and conditioners in the picture below. If any of you are interested in the website where I get these ideas from, just e-mail me. There are so many people who apparently do this for a living, to figure out all the weekly deals with coupons and rebates, etc. Tonight I saved another $20 at Bed, Bath and Beyond when I picked up my birthday present there courtesy of Hildegard and my mom. Honestly, it's such a rush filling up your fridge and knowing you have just cut your grocery budget in half. Thanks coupon ladies everywhere!


If you can read the print of the receipt, it says $0.00. Figured there were at least taxes to be paid but that was a wrongful assumption. It literally is $0.00.



Apple Seeds

As I had previously mentioned, I recently was very blessed by being able to participate in my church's Apples of Gold program. Here are some of my apple seeds:

Dinner tables are actually now sporting table cloths and doilies (thanks mom and Hildegard!), as well as nice dishes that are plated and are matching. :-) Here is one of our favorites, spaghetti bolognese. Or as Abigail calls it: "pasgetti - ooh! I love pasgetti." :-) That is probably my prettiest looking bolognese I've made. Also trying to make things healthier and added a bunch of red bell pepper. I just have to mention this and please don't think I'm weird. David bought this bell pepper for his salsa and it was the prettiest thing ever. So juicy and red. Most bell peppers these days are two-colored and none of them rich (if they are they are mushy in the back...). This one was perfect and it was admired until the very last of it was eaten. Yep, you have a weirdo for a friend or worse yet, family member. It could be contageous. It could be genetic. Surely it's genetic, right Matze???? ;-)




Hildegard, your doilies are used with much appreciation. Good German table decorations. And yes, I'm actually having candles on my table.... This is so much different than no table cloth, pot it was cooked in and everyone please serve yourself. Not that it wasn't working, but this is actually making me happier too when the dinner tables look nice. My mom used to do this for us on the weekends and we used to always enjoy it. I forgot how good it feels to be especially taken care of. Just makes your food taste better. :-)



Hospitality. This was our final lesson. The thing that struck me the most is that we actually have an obligation to give our home back to our God. Meaning, it should be used for his purposes. Therefore I am now making a conscious effort to entertain at our house. We have had family over to our house of course but never like this with just one of them being spoiled by us. Here is Russell's dinner as we made turkey for him, mashed potatoes and home-made gravy (you know David was just as happy about this meal!!). The turkey is Alton Brown's receipe from http://www.foodtv.com/. It's never failed me and is absolutely fabulous. I'd use grapeseed oil next time instead of canola. Another thing I learned from AoG (thanks Tiffany!): Grapeseed oil and coconut oil have a much higher burning point than other oils, so they are much healthier. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html


The gravy reduction (also Alton Brown's receipe). That was very yummy as well. Mama, I think you would have loved this one. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html



Mashed taters - yumm! Creamy yummy goodness. Russell actually had seconds on this day. If you know Russell, you know that's the biggest compliment.




Look at the napkins! That is the tuxedo fold (thanks Jenn!). Yep, I folded the napkins and the kids loved it. This is Lorena's special night with Dijon chicken breast, green beans, home-made gravy and the easiest ever potato au gratin. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/5-minute-individual-potato-gratins-recipe/index.html They are fabulous and sooooo simple. The kids loved helping make them. Can you tell that Lorena is feeling out of place not doing this herself? She wasn't even allowed to do dishes. We are cruel.



I know it doesn't look all that delicious but it was. If you like potatoes, give this receipe a try.


Other than lessons on table decorating and hospitality, we also got tons of fabulous receipes. Here is one of the many ones my family loved immediately. The pictures are in reverse order but below is what was leftover - NOTHING.



Abigail enjoying dessert.



You know this boy lives for it.



This is one of those dishes that are so incredibly simple, it's amazing. Sooooo good too. Mix one 6oz box of raspberry jello with 2 cups hot water. Put 2 bags of thawed frozen raspberries in it. Then put 1 quart of Breyer's vanilla ice cream in it. Help it to dissolve somewhat but leave bigger chunks (they'll be little pillows when you serve) and refridgerate for one hour. Delicious. And yes, I'm using my mom's dessert bowl. :-) Feels more regal, doesn't it?



Baby Shower

I love going to my sister-in-laws family events. Her mother and sister and herself are just so creative. Luckily for me my sister-in-law just had three big events within the last year and her family and herself did not dissappoint. Here is something they did for the shower which was just so simple and plain genius. Her mother had bought all different sized onesies in white. She had brought multiple fabric scraps and animal/flower templates (or silhouettes). We traced the template onto the non-shiny side of the Steam-A-Seam double-stick fusible web and after removing the first protective covering of the webbing, ironed that onto the wrong side of the fabric piece. We then cut out the template from the fabric. Next, the protective cover on the webbing was removed and the fabric piece was ironed onto the onesie. So fast, so cute! You could blanket stitch around it for more durability. Below is my little bird with leaves. Also couldn't resist putting a matching heart on the baby's bottom....






Easter

I've been posting fast in the last few days , lots of catching up to do. Be sure to check that you saw the last few posts.

The kids just looked soooo adorable in their suit and dress from Grampy. Grandma got Abby the hat, purse, bracelet and hair clips.



Look at Nathan's face....Trouble is coming Abby's way.....



"Dear God, thank you for making me so cute and adorable...."



She's such a girl! A pretty dress and the girl is all smiles. It could be the thought of all that candy waiting at Grampy's house as well....




Family picture time.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Picture Upload

Here are some pictures to show what we have been up to lately:



My birthday presents from the kids. They did such a great job coloring. Abby's is the left one and she always loves to color. But Nathan is the one I'm really impressed with. He usually does a few squiggles and then he's done. As you can see, he really tried hard. Veggie Tales coloring

pages in case you were wondering (www.bigideafun.com/veggietales/activities/default.htm ).



David and Nathan having loads of fun. Nathan needs that physical activity with his dad. He LOVES it when his dad plays with him. I wish I had that energy that David has with him. Maybe I should start drinking coffee....


David's black-eyed pea salsa that he made for my birthday. No, the pieces are not all exact same size, I cut a lot of them. The receipe is the one from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook.





My little man adores birthdays. This year he had this thing that he had to wear a party hat. Fortunately we still had some old ones in the party decorating box. Day saved.



Below are some of the stickers that Oma sends for the kids. These ones are in their bathroom. the kids love them there. The only problem I have is that they try to peel them off and move them which takes away from their stickiness.



Doesn't that just look neat on the cabinet doors? Makes the bathroom so much more fun.



After finding some coupon-chasing ladies on the internet, I've been thrilled to get stuff for free with coupons everywhere. This is one of my proudest outings yet. Everything you see in the picture below cost me: $0.00! That's right. After coupons and rebates, I will even be $2 in the plus! I did return the yellow lotion as their rebate was kind of wishy-washy. But after stamps and taxes paid, it literally did not pay anything (that is if the rebates work out... :-) ).



Abigail and her gazillion stuffed animals resting with daddy. How cute. Can you tell daddy is enjoying this?


Grandma came over for a playdate with the kids. Here she is in the diner with Abigail.




They even talked her into jumping on the trampoline! That woman is just a gem. If I have that energy when I'm her age, I'll be happy.




She may get lost in that box.... Can you just mentally picture the cartoon to this?




David figured out a really creative way to put up my Christmas present. I love it! Only a detailer could figure out how to put an object that can't be put in this corner in this corner.




After reading a book on dolphins, here is the matching art work by Nathan, Abigail and myself (the sky was painted by me....)



My two men mowing the lawn. Nathan was just thrilled to help his dad with this. He kept pushing his little lawn mower behind his father. Ah, these moments!




Our little girl in her big girl bed. No more railings to hold her back. Just like her brother, she will not leave her bed unless I tell her it is ok. Amazing! I got so lucky. And that is her beloved pink bear on the floor and the lamby at her foot.




Nathan thought for a moment that it sounded good to eat ketchup by the spoonful. Then he learned why none of us do that.




Another craft project. Abby's is top left, Nathan's is the one on the bottom. Mine is the upper right one. The kids both put a lot of work into those. It was very fun and we had them hanging by the dining room table for a while.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthdays

In the middle of the picture is the card that David made me for my birthday. The ribbons open the flower petals and writing is underneath. The hurricanes to the each side are another present from Apples of Gold. They are vellum paper that you can print anything on, then glue them in the back. Decorate with ribbon around the bottom and add embellishments such as flowers. Brilliant idea from Jenn who does this with her kids!


This year has probably been one of my favorite birthdays. Yes, I'm getting older but who isn't? And although my gray hairs seem to multiply at an alarming rate, my husband and kids made this year very special for me.
Well, for starters I got two days for birthday celebration instead of one. Still not quite sure how that happened. On my birthday we just had such wonderful family time together, the four of us. We even went for a romantic walk on the waterfront. The trees there are blooming and the kids got at one point showered with white little blossoms falling to the ground. Where is that camera when you need it? We even hit a Starbucks on our way where Matze and Mandy contributed to a new loaded card. :-)




For lunch we all got Taco Bell. :-) That was my request. Sad, uh? I just love their oh so unhealthy food. Back at home David took care of all naptime requirements while I got to do whatever I wanted. All day long he spoiled me with stuff like that. During naptime he secretly worked on something with closed doors. Suspense drives me crazy when he does that. :-)




While the kids were napping and after they woke up we made David's oh so very yummy black-eyed pea salsa. It is very good. Really good. I love the way he cuts his veggies up that he puts in it. They are all the exact same size. Exactly. It's the prettiest thing you've ever seen. By the time we were done it was pretty much time to get up and get ready for our wonderful Apples of Gold dinner (see previous post). What a fabulous end to a fabulous day! I got spoiled...




BUT... we weren't done yet. Oh no! My husband decided it would be a two-day celebration! Ok by me! :-) Sunday morning we went to church and saw lots of wonderful people there. While the kids napped I got to pick pizza (my wish for dinner) and spent my time however I pleased while my husband worked on more secrets.... About 4:30-ish the whole family came to celebrate and we had a wonderful time. The weather was really nice so we all sat outside and relaxed. When it started to get dark, we headed in for opening of presents and cake made by Lorena (also yum!). Now, do you want to know what my wonderful, awesome and amazing husband worked on??? He MADE a card! I adore getting cards from him. So he made me three tulips and the petals are the part you write in! He cut them with the exacto knife and even tied them with ribbons. In Apples of Gold colors (by conincidence). :-) But I also got all the materials to make two stepping stones with him and the kids for our garden. How creative. Love that idea.




So thank you wonderful husband and all others for this amazing birthday! It was truly grand as Pooh bear would say. :-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Apples of Gold

I have not been writing much lately. Life has been busy and I have been so blessed to participate in a program that is called "Apples of Gold" that my dear, dear friend Margie invited me to. The website for the program is http://www.applesofgold.org/. This is such a great program. Anyone who ever gets a chance to go, should really do it. Our church so graceously provides this program for us "younger" women to be mentored by the "older" or more mature women. It is based on scripture in Titus 2:3-5.

For us, it was a six week program where we got spoiled. We went to a beautiful home here in town that belongs to one of the beautiful ladies who helped out. We got to go to her breathtaking(gorgeous!) house every week. We were warmly greeted by my dear friend Margie and other mentors. We gathered around Norma's kitchen bar (all of us fit around it!) and enjoyed lovingly prepared snacks, tea, coffee, wonderful cooking lessons and each other's company. During the cooking lessons we learned much about nutrition, meal planning, meal preparation and all other sorts of helpful information for wives and moms. All the while being thoroughly entertained by the ladies who cooked. It was a blast.

After the cooking session we'd go downstairs to have a bible study led by one of the mentors. These lessons where on specific topics and scripture as outlined by the program: Kindness, loving your husband, loving your children, submission, purity and hospitality. These lessons where so important and in my opinion, should be taught to all girls, especially when they embark on the journey to start their own families. The way that God's plan is laid us for us woman in this study is just amazing. It has given me so much confidence in my day-to-day dealings. Having the mentors tie these important messages with personal tid-bids enriched them so much more. Our little group grew together so closely during six short weeks and I believe most of us have a real soft spot for each other now.


As if this wasn't enough, after the second hour we'd be called upstairs where tables had been thoughtfully decorated for us and the mentors mixed in different combinations with the students every week for an hour of lunch and coversation. These lunches were lovingly prepared by the cooking helpers who then served all of us lunches, drinks and desserts.

It was such a blessing to be able to be part of this. I soaked up every little drop of it, every last little one. Although I'm a very enthusiastic person, I don't get all that invested in people and events usually. This has changed me a little more. I've grown closer to my God, realize more of his plan for me in my life, am a better wife and mother, have some more yummy receipes and am just such a happier person, having seen what others are willing to do for me because of what God asks them to do. And along the way I got to meet some VERY special woman. I look forward to seeing them and they just put a smile on my face.

Our last get-together was a dinner for the husbands was on a weekend evening. This was David's opportunity to see what I've been up to all this time. Isn't that just a thoughtful ending to the program? David enjoyed himself as well in the company of these warm and caring people. We had good and easy conversation and he got to meet all the lovely woman I'd been telling him about. That meant a lot to me. We had a fabulous meal and they even surprised me with a birthday song, a card, balloons and a wonderful necklace that the husband of my mentor had worked on when he was still with us.

It was such an incredible six weeks and I'm just so sad it is over. Maybe David, the kids and I can move and change our names so I can enroll all over again???


"A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver."
Proverbs 25:11


The necklace I got from my mentor.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Melt My Heart...

After saying good-night to Nathan tonight, he stood in front of me, looked straight at me and said: "Mom, I'd never wanna be with another family. I love you guys." Melts my heart that little man....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Modern Santa?

David was playing Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer (Nathan) and Mrs. Claus (Abigail) with the kids. David was Santa and told Rudolph that they'd be going to Oma's house in Germany.
David: "Ok, we're going to Germany next! Where are we going to go?"
Nathan as Rudolph: "Let's go to Oma's house!........I have a GPS!"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Boy/Girl Moments

It is so interesting to me how different boys and girls are from birth on. It is definitely not taught to them, they just are different. I love the fact that we have a boy and a girl and we get to witness this every day. This morning was one of those days. I've never been a dress-up girl (unfortunately) but Abigail just has it in her blood. She obviously did not learn this from me. For all holidays it's Grampy's treat to buy a suit for Nathan and a dress for Abigail. In addition, for this easter, Grandma bought her accessories for her dress. Last night when I laid out her dress, jacket, hat, bracelet, hair clips and her little purse, she was in love. When I dressed her this morning she kept saying how pretty she was and was twirling around her room - it was sheer bliss to her. Then we left the room and such a boy-girl moment happened:

Nathan saw his sister and as any little boy would like to do, he knocked off her pretty hat, just flicking it. He never touched her but just flicked the hat right off her head. Then Abigail did the typical girl (only 16 years to early and not on her prom night): she burst into utter tears. Not just sniffing, she was sobbing. Then Nathan realizing that he had somehow offended her tried to comfort her by playing rough with her, after all, that is what he would enjoy. She proceeded to cry louder, neither understanding the actions of the other. :-) You have to admit, if you picture it in your mind, it's pretty funny. Fortunately they have many years to learn about each other and hopefully having a brother/sister will help them be better spouses in the end. They ended up hugging each other and then going on with life as it the incident had never occurred. :-)