Thursday, January 31, 2008

Look. See. Decoupage.

I am pleased to share with you that I was able to cross something off of my to-do list last night. For Haven's birthday we purchased an unfinished table and chairs set. I had various ideas of how to paint and finish it, but decorative painting is not my strong suit. I have a bit of creativity in me, but the idea of painting something cute on the table made me nervous. And then I came across a brilliant idea...DECOUPAGE FABRIC! Decoupaging fabric isn't a widely practiced craft and some doubted the validity/practicality of said practice.

Naysayers be silent, because it worked wonderfully! And I've got pictures to prove it!

I found this really cute "Dick and Jane" fabric that has phrases from the classic books of the same name. I wanted to do something neutral that also worked in our play area. I originally planned to paint the table legs and chairs green to match, but am enjoying the natural wood. I might live with it a few weeks this way and then decide. Either way, I couldn't be happier with the results (well, there is one tiny air pocket that annoys me!) especially for my first attempt.

I might be onto something here!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Home again blahs

A weekend away is (almost) always a really good thing. This trip was no exception. The problem is the day-after unpacking, laundry, errands, no food in the house, grayness that we are currently experiencing. One of our errands even included a stop at the lab so Haven could have her blood drawn. A difficult experience on a good day, but I figured she is already so out of sorts why not get it out of the way today and we will start fresh tomorrow.

All the grayness of today was worth it though. We had a wonderful time in Boston and Haven was a great little traveler. (Many thanks for the prayers that made this possible!) Here she is in the airport with her "luggage".

Who knew she would love a little rolling backpack so much!

Enjoying her flight. Can't you tell she's *smiling* for the camera?!

We didn't really "do" anything this weekend. We weren't touristy and we didn't take advantage of potential babysitters. We just hung out together and enjoyed the friendship that God has given us. We loved on (and got spit up on by) a sweet little baby boy. We ate some fantastic food (Cale claims it was the best lasagna of his life and since he also claims to be on a world wide search for the best lasagna-meaning he orders it out all the time- I'm going to believe him!) We went shopping in New Hampshire where there is no tax. I believe my love for the good deal is well documented so you can imagine the joy that flooded my heart when I went to Old Navy, purchased 13 items and paid a mere $31 for all 13 items. 75% off, people! Now that is a deal! Couple that with good company and we have ourselves a delightful way to pass a Saturday afternoon.

It was a great visit, but it is also good to be home. And the things that aren't so good- like the laundry and the unpacking- are calling my name!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane

We are headed to Boston for the weekend tomorrow morning. We will be taking our inaugural flight on Skybus and I'm a little nervous. Not because of the airline, but because of my travelling companions. One in particular has me worried. The actual flying part isn't the concern, but all the down time in the actual airport makes me have heart palpitations. We are not taking a stroller with us so that means that Haven will be freewheeling. That's what makes me nervous.

I've got a backpack arsenal that will hopefully find me prepared for any situation thrown at us. She will be strapped into her car seat on the flight and Cale has even suggested that if she gets a little too crazy we can sit it on the floor in the terminal and strap her into it. Desperate times do call for desperate measures...but I'm hopeful it won't come to that!

I'm looking forward to a weekend away for so many reasons. Life has been stressful of late and it will be refreshing to be in a different environment and hopefully gain some new perspective on "situations" that need to be dealt with. More than anything though, I can't wait to spend some extended time with good friends and get to know their little boy.

It promises to be a wonderful weekend filled with great conversation, new adventures and cute kids!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Haven talks pretty much non-stop. She loves to "read" her books to herself and it's always funny to hear the dialogue she comes up with. The last few days have found us experiencing a new first at our house: Haven said grace before a meal all by herself. We have been working with her and having her repeat us praying before meals, but on Saturday she said, "No, Haven do it." (which we hear all day long!) We said okay and then witnessed one of the sweetest things to date with our child as she said, "'day..." and a lot more unintelligible sounds until we said, "Amen!" (All the ... indicate sounds that could not be successfully translated even by me, her chief translator!) Now she wants to pray all the time and it makes my heart so glad.

Haven's other funny comment of the weekend doesn't have any spiritual connotations, but it certainly made Cale and I laugh. Cale was off yesterday and so we just had a good day together as a family. We decided to watch a video while we ate dinner on the couch. Towards the end of the meal Haven needed to go to the bathroom. Cale and I had both just finished our food and set our plates on the coffee table. As Haven's about to get out of her booster seat she looks at our plates and says to both of us, "All done, people? Are you all done, people?" We have no idea where she picked up referring to us as people, but it sure did make us laugh. Which in turn made her keep repeating it.

Yet one more reason I love being Haven's mom....she makes me laugh on a daily basis.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A convuluted trip down memory lane with dinner at the end

Cale has been on a great gift streak for me lately. Not that all his gifts aren't good ones that I appreciate, but there have been some serious standouts of late. On Christmas morning I was delighted that he had bought me cooking classes at a local high-end grocery store. I have been looking over the classes offered this spring and can't wait to take a few of them.

On Tuesday, Cale took me out to lunch for my birthday. As soon as we were situated at our table, he pulled out a large blue envelope with a book inside. Cale had taken all of the blog posts he wrote while we were in Namibia and had them printed and bound into a book. I had no idea he was working on this project and I was completely surprised. It is wonderful to have a record of our time there together all in one place in an easy to read format.

I have been reading through his account for the last few nights and it has flooded my mind with memories. If any of you kept up with our blog while we were gone then you know two things: Cale talked about computer stuff a lot and he felt the need to tell everyone what we ate every day. (Last night I read that we had chicken in vinegar for dinner. I have no clue what he's talking about but I'm pretty sure I never cooked anything in straight white vinegar...maybe he meant balsamic? I really don't know!) He also spent a lot of time talking about what we were learning or reading. Since I have been a very sporadic journal writer for the last several years, I so appreciate his account of what we were walking through during that time.

But back to the food! One of the things that we ate whenever we were out or that was prepared for us was a dish called Bobotie. (Can you even believe that I find a Bobotie article on Wikipedia!) We didn't know it was called that at the time, but it is something that we both enjoyed (even when it was made with kudu!). It is a traditional South African dish that is best described as a sweet, meat stew. Well over a year ago, I came across a Bobotie recipe in Rachael Ray's magazine. As I read over the ingredients I realized that this is what we had been eating in Namibia without even knowing it. Of course, I had to try it and it has since become a favorite here at our house. I've adapted the recipe a bit to fit our tastes, but if you want to see the original recipe go here. Cale loves this and since he's the one that started this trip down memory lane, I will share the recipe with you in his honor!

1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs ground sirloin
1 bay leaf
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 Piquante Peppadew Peppers, drained and finely chopped **
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup mango chutney
1 cup beef broth
2 Tbs curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp lemon zest

1. In a dry skillet, lightly toast the almonds for 3-4 minutes.

2.Heat a large skillet over medium heat and then add the 2 Tbs olive oil. When the oil is hot spread the meat into an even layer in the pan. Let it caramelize and deeply brown (which means don't stir!); then stir and move to the sides of the pan. Add bay leaf, celery, carrots, onion, peppers and garlic to the center of the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook for a few minutes, then stir into the meat. Add chutney, broth, curry powder, turmeric, coriander and lemon zest. Stir vigorously until the broth simmers and starts to evaporate and the meat casserole starts to thicken. Remove the bay leaf and add the toasted almonds. Spoon into bowls and enjoy!

**I have never been able to find these particular peppers so I have gotten creative. I've found a red pepper relish that works well. The key is to add some kind of sweet pepper to the mix. The last time I made it I used some random pepper mix I found at the store as well as a chopped orange bell pepper. It was great. So don't worry if you can't find these as I have found it still turns out great!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kate is Great

This post is in honor of my beautiful, excellent, loving wife on her 29th birthday. (This is her husband posting, by the way.) I consider myself blessed beyond measure. Those who have gotten to know her through this blog have seen a glimpse of her sweet, gentle, funny, and passionate nature; those who know her personally will tell you that she is so much more. I thank God each day that he has partnered me with such an amazing woman! I've learned so much from her about life, godliness, love, grace, and compassion - she has (directly and indirectly) spurred me on more and more to be the man that God desires me to be. She is a phenomenal mom, wife, daughter, and friend. I love to be near her as often as I can be (unfortunately I have to work 40 hours a week) because she is such a joy. Here's to another year of living life with my best friend and seeing what God has in store for us. I love you, baby!

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Boyfriend

Yesterday was a special day. Six years ago, on a long car ride in his Corolla, Cale became my first (and last) boyfriend. And I became his first (and last) girlfriend. We headed out that night to have our DTR after a few months of spending a lot of time together and our feelings for each other becoming more and more apparent. (For those of you uninformed that means Define The Relationship talk.)

Much of that car ride is a blur, but there are a few stand outs in my mind. Right as Cale got to the crux of the issue the song "Tainted Love" came on the radio. I didn't think that was a good sign and promptly asked Cale to turn off the music. To this day, if I hear that song on the radio (which thankfully isn't that often) I am immediately taken back to that moment and the hope and promise and excitement and joy that filled my heart.

I knew that my life was changing in an immeasurable way in that moment, but I had no idea what was really ahead of me. I didn't know that three months later we would be engaged and six months later married. I didn't know that the Lord would send us to Namibia and back. I couldn't imagine the joy that would come with our daughter. I was just a girl on the brink of falling in love with the sweetest boy she'd ever met.

In the craziness of our life today, I need to take more moments to stop and remember how that girl felt. I am still just a simple girl in love, and loved by, the sweetest boy I know.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Many Faces of Hay



Wow- my hands actually fit in my pockets!

That's fantastic!

Now I'm stuck.

I love this girl!

Friday, January 11, 2008


It's been a slow week at our house. Haven and I have spent many an hour playing Memory (well, our own condensed almost 2 years old version of it), pretending in her kitchen and with her baby doll, coloring and having her "help" me clean and cook. It's so delightful to watch Haven do many of the tasks that I do as she takes care of her baby or makes me a cup of tea in her kitchen.

I've also had the pleasure of helping a friend celebrate a birthday with a girl's night out. I have some wonderful friends who are doing the same for me and are taking me out on the town tonight to get a head start on celebrating the beginning of my 29th year. There are some other lunches and dinners in the works for the next few weeks so I'm going to be well stocked on Girl's Nights for a while! Long conversations and emails with friends have left me feeling very blessed to have such godly women in my life.

Since this post really has no real direction, why not add to the randomness with a few of my new favorite things? Great idea! Haven received a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas and one of the books we picked out was a classic, Color Kittens. It's a Little Golden Book and I love this story. It's sweet and clever and beautifully written and illustrated. Haven loves it, too so we get to read it every day.

While we are talking about books, I got Quick Fix Meals from my mom and have made a few recipes already. Healthy, good and easy- what more can you ask for! I'm a bit of a cookbook junkie and have tons on my pantry shelf. But this one will stay near the top of the pile for frequent reference!

Cale and I have spent many an hour watching The Office Season 2 this week. One night we even went to bed at8:30pm and watched episodes on the computer for 2 hours curled up under the down comforter. Add that to my list of faves of the week! I can barely stand the awkward tension between Jim and Pam and I even know how it all works out! We had watched several of these older episodes, but there were some that we missed including my new favorite episode- "The Injury" when Micheal burns his foot on the George Foreman grill. I could not stop laughing!

One of my birthday presents from Cale was the Bare Escentuals starter kit. I have seen all the different mineral make-up infomercials and have always thought I would like to give them a try. I heard from several different people who were using this how wonderful they thought it was so I decided to ask for it for my birthday. After three days of using it, I am a new fan! I do not have/ have never had good skin. My mom told me that I would stop breaking out when I got pregnant. She lied. I still get zits and break outs (although Amber and I joke that our zits keep us looking young). I wasn't expecting miracles- it's still my skin no matter what kind of gunk you cover it up with. But it really is amazing. Even tone, natural looking and easy application. It is pricey, but I know that it's going to last me for a long time. Free shipping from Sephora sweetened the deal, too.

I'm not sure why I feel compelled to share this, but I love clementines. They are hands down my favorite winter fruit. And joy of all joys, Haven has discovered how much she likes them. We've offered them to her on several different occasions, but this week she decided that she was all about them. She easily eats 2 a day. It's quite a habit to keep up with.

Another one of my Christmas gifts was the new Jimmy Eat World cd "Chase This Light". It's been in my car for the last few weeks and while that's not the best place to really listen to a CD, I have to say that I love this album. It's classic Jimmy and I love Jimmy. It's no "Clarity", at least not yet, but it's great, none-the-less. Go buy it!

The weekend lies ahead of me and we don't have a lot of plans. I'm just looking forward to some quality time with my two favorite of all favorites, Cale and Haven.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

That's my girl

After being in the house for the last several days with a sick kid, I decided we both needed to get out for a bit. The after Christmas clearance at the outlets was calling my name so I told Haven we were going to go shopping this morning. She got very excited and was cooperative as we were getting ready to go. The drive to the outlets is about 25 minutes and 15 minutes into it Haven got restless. She started shouting/crying/whining at me, "I wannago shop-pin! I wannago shop-pin!" I told her we would be there soon and she smiled and said, "Target?!"

She is so my girl!

Today I feel as if I truly am training her in the way that she should go!

Next lesson: spotting orange clearance stickers out of the corner of her eye!

Friday, January 4, 2008


I haven been reading The Importance of Being Foolish by Brennan Manning the last few days. The following quote, from the opening chapter of the book, has been disturbing me since I read it. In the book, Manning is quoting author Michael Quoist who says:

"We are satisfied by our decent little life. We are pleased with our good habits; we take them for virtues. We are pleased with our little efforts; we take them for progress. We are proud of our activities; they make us think we are giving ourselves. We are impressed by our influence; we imagine that it will transform lives. We are proud of what we give, though it hides what we withhold. We may even be mistaking a set of coinciding egoisms for real friendship."

These words sting. They make me uncomfortable, squirming in my seat because they speak too loudly the truth of who I am. I am far too easily impressed by myself. My mind is full of delusions about myself, and ultimately about who Jesus is in my life.

It's time to change the way I think.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas almost past

It's already the third day of the new year. I'm guessing that disqualifies me from posting something enlightening about the joy of 2007- all I learned and the great things that God did. That's sooo last year; it's time for looking ahead. But I think that my tardiness also makes it silly to write about all my hopes and plans for the new year. If I really wanted to do that, I should have done it three days ago.

Instead, I sit here on the third day of 2008 with a little bit of holiday hangover (and no, not that kind of hangover!). We were gone for five days over the weekend and New Year's and so I am back home trying to get back into our groove while also squeaking out the last drops of holiday cheer we have left in us. As much as I am ready for the fresh start the new year provides, I am holding on to my last little bit of Christmas for a few more days. I would normally have every last bit of our decorations boxed up and put away by now, but being gone for a few days has made me a bit nostalgic. The snow has done the same. In my crazy head, I'm pretending that I really am having a white Christmas (forget what the calendar says.) So it's a few more days of Christmas music, the tree lit at night and of course, Christmas cookies.

At the rate I'm going, I figure I'll be ready for it to be 2008 by late next week.