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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Meal Planning

Before I had Isabelle, meal planning was a weekly scheduled task for me. I'd plan three meals for the week and make a big batch of each meal so that it would last for six days total. On Sundays we'd have left-overs or something made out of the left-overs (such as a pasta, pizza, quesadilla). It happened every week.
Then Isabelle was born. At first I was giving myself some slack. After all, we just had a baby. Well, she's four months old. That excuse just doesn't work anymore. Last week one of the blogs on the sidebar started a series on meal planning. That was the nudge I needed. So, in order to keep me more accountable, I will try to post my weekly menu plans here. (We'll see how it goes.) Maybe you'll find some great new recipes for your family.

Muesli Parfaits (Nathan adores these. So do I.) - Ellie Krieger
Oatmeal cooked in milk with brown sugar & maple syrup
Vanilla Granola - Allrecipes
Pancakes - Ellie Krieger

Our lunches are always platters of fruit, cheeses, veggies, yogurt, sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs and the likes.

Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps (yum!) - Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Pot Roast - Pioneer Woman

Blackberry Cobbler #1 Pioneer Woman (oh, so good!)

Peanut Butter Puffs (Healthy rice crispy treats) - Lisa Atwood's Cookbook for Kids
Oatmeal Whole Wheat Quick Bread (first try) - Allrecipes
Whole Wheat Carrot Zucchini Cake (first try) - Finding Joy in my Kitchen
Strawberry Freezer Jam - recipe on pectin boxes
Vanilla Granola (see breakfast)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Little Sisters

When Isabelle woke up this morning, Abigail wanted to sit on the couch and hold her. She made up a song for Isabelle.

Here is Abigail's song to Isabelle:

You are my joy,
Joy of my heart

I give you a kiss (gives kisses)
I give you a hug (gives hugs)

Chorus (repeated approximately one hundred times)

Then Abigail wanted to read Isabelle a book. Abigail let me know that she'd make up her own words since she couldn't read the real words. So she read her a book as well. Then she covered her in kisses and even more kisses.

Made my heart sing.

(photograph by my sister-in-law, Megan)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

School Boy

With the end of summer looming, school was just around the corner. The closer it came, the more excited I was for Nathan. Nathan, as any 5-year old, was pretty calm about it. He was probably more excited about the prospect of his Schultüte (a candy-filled cone given to German's on their first day of school). But he was also admittedly excited about going to school.
Nathan was able to go to his classroom prior to the actual start of school and sit in class with his teacher. They read a story, colored, went over numbers and letters and played. He got seeds for a zinnia to plant. His teacher told him that when the flower bloomed, it was time to come back to school. Unfortunately our cat Twig at the small plants. I guess the cat really did eat our homework... Nathan was quite dismayed at this. He looked at me confused and asked: "Now how are we going to know when I have to go to school?" :-) Thankfully his teacher wrote him a very nice letter before school started.
The first day of school came quickly. Parents got to stay a little bit the first morning and see their kids' check-in routine. Man, I recommend all new mommies get some pointers from teachers! Within minutes I learned so much that would have been very useful two years ago. :-) Simply the way they easily and right away set up routines. Nathan was a little unsure of himself. He likes to observe new situations first rather than having to do it right away. He did great though. You could tell he had a hard time letting us go. He kept calling us in and his dad needed to say good-bye twice. We were very excited for him. Just about until I walked out of the classroom without my son. Then I got really emotional. Guess it's a rite of passage. Thankfully I had David to lean on. And the fact that Nathan's teacher is fantastic. So leaving him with her made it easier.
It was a long first day, but it was amazing how much different our family dynamics are on schooldays. It gives Abigail a chance to be the biggest one at home, taking more responsibility and more leadership. But I sure do miss my wild child. It's hard to imagine him sitting quietly in a chair....
Nathan entering his classroom.

Abigail and Isabelle came along for this special event.

Later on at Grampy's - little cousin Olive and little sister watching on as big brother opens his Schultüte.

Uncle Matze & Mandy tricking Nathan into trying some sour German candy.

Oh yes! Even though school was awesome, this is really what it was all about! :-) It is a German tradition, that on your very first day of school, you get a cone filled with candy and school supplies. School pictures are taken on that day, next to a blackboard that states "My first day of school" and the year. Then, when your first day is over and you come home, you get to open the cone. Since we didn't have a blackboard, Matze & Mandy made this sign.

You think he is excited?

Uncle Matze & aunt Mandy brought the Schultüte from Germany. They dragged it along as their carry-on and then went to the German store in Portland to get authentic candy. :-) Mama appreciated that just as much as Nathan did, if not more.

I'm grateful to my husband, to be so wonderful and letting our son attend a Christian school. It is such an additional financial responsibility in these challenging times. I hope our children will one day know how deeply they are loved.

"For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration —“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.m13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. " Jeremiah 29:11-13

Monday, September 19, 2011

Please Read

Please click on this link here and read the article about hunger in Africa and how you can help.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ten Years

10 years ago I committed my life to my awesome husband. It has been blissful. He was my best friend then and still is. Together we received the three most beautiful children and created a wonderful home which is our sanctuary. The Lord is welcome in our house and he seems to like it here. :-) There is a lot of work to be done but we all pull up our sleeves and work together. It's been wild and crazy. (Those should be our firstborn's first and middle names...) Ten years have gone by in a flash.
We've most certainly followed God's call to be "fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28) with our three little additions. David has definitely upheld the call to love his wife (Eph 5:22ff). His love for me has transformed me into a much better person. There is not enough room on this blog to tell you what a positive force my husband is in my life. He motivates me to do better every day.
David, I would marry you again in a heartbeat. You are truly my gift from God (which is actually our firstborn's first name). Thank you for ten wonderful and blissful years. I am very grateful. Can't wait to see what the next 10 years will hold for us.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Wedding Planner

2011 has been a good year for my family. First, Isabelle was born. Then Alexander and Kathrin got married. It's David and my 10-year anniversary (!!) and it's my mom's 60th birthday later in the year. But that's not all folks! My middle brother, Martin ,or Matze as we call him, and Mandy got married too! And guess what? They did it over here! So I was able to attend at least one of my brother's weddings.

Mandy and Matze fell in love with the Oregon Coast. So that is where they wanted to get married. Thankfully Oregon has an very easy marriage application process. They were able to get it all done while they were on vacation here. Paperwork, wedding and even a 4-day honeymoon in Maui, Hawaii all fit into their three weeks vacation. Now honestly, how many people do you know that take a vacation during their vacation?

Since I happen to love wedding pictures, you will have to endure with me. :-) Aren't you just lucky?

Oh yes, and I was the wedding planner. But really, I didn't give any visions or ideas (other than honeymoon destination) since I'm not good at coming up with my own ideas. I am however good at getting things done, so once I got my orders from them, all was put into place. My family worked hard on this wedding. :-) I was also the baker, the photographer, David the videographer, the driver, the organizer on the day of, Abigail the flower girl, Nathan the leaf boy (more on this later) and Isabelle the cutie pie everyone needs for their wedding.

These are some shots we took after the ceremony. I tried to go all artsy on this shot.... :-)

This is Mandy's first view of the beach. Matze is waiting with the minister. He had also ordered a small group of singers and a guitar player with which he surprised Mandy. They sang her favorite song "There You'll Be" by Faith Hill.

Nathan always brought flowers for me and leafs for dad (since boys don't like flowers like girls do). When we explained the flower girl to Nathan, he was very concerned that no one was throwing leafs for Matze. Hence, the leaf boy. :-)

Mandy's expression when she first realized she had a live band. Pictures are slightly out of order for some reason. Sorry about that...

This is the cake I made them. The butterflies are edible wafers and they were awesome. I got them on Etsy from Sugar Robot. Mandy's greatest love other than Matze are her cats. Since they couldn't be there, we put them on the cake as a topper. They are figurines we had made by Peanutbutterbandit on Etsy as well.

My sister-in-law Megan has this in her house and the sign was perfect for the wedding. So Megan made me one for them as well.

It was a very windy day and so the veil was lost after a little while. :-)

Look at that Southern Belle!

Matze and Mandy did not know of the American tradition of "feeding of the cake." One of the musicians explained it to them and they caught on very quickly. :-)
I had about 3 heart attacks here. Mandy kept tilting the plate. You have to remember that this is red food coloring saturated cake and we are in a rental house that has very light carpet. All went well though. :-)

This was neat. Mandy decided to get married barefoot, with her toes in the sand.

This captures their goofy side.

The inspiration for this "western"-themed wedding came from old time photographs they took in Lincoln City during their last trip.

You knew I had to get shots of my kids in there, right?