Saturday, May 31, 2008

Call me what you will...

Look what came in the mail today! Yes, I am a sucker. I joined one of those cookbook clubs and am certain that I will beat the system. We'll see how that works out. All I care about right now is that these 5 cookbooks are awaiting my perusal and it only cost me $9 shipping and handling. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to look through them yet. We've been slaving away in the basement hoping to create some better order of that space. And getting these in the mail today made the basement chaos seem not quite as bad. Many an hour will be passed looking through these and many a delightful meal (or cookie) created. I can't wait!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


It's already Thursday! It has been such a strange week around here. Strange, but quiet and so I haven't had much to say. Our life has been so hectic and crazy for the last few months, the relative calmness we're currently enveloped in seems especially sweet.

Although, I have to be honest; I find myself wondering what's coming next? Is this the calm before the storm? I'm not sure why I'm thinking that way. I'm not usually a half-empty kind of person and more importantly I trust in God's sovereignty, so I'm not sure why I'm bracing myself for doomsday. Maybe it all just feels too good to be true. To have such un-drama going on for any length of time seems unrealistic given the fallen world that we live in. And our personal track record seems especially full of pitfalls, holes and messes.

Perhaps I should quit thinking about what's coming next and just enjoy the here and now. If I'm thinking about what might be coming, then I certainly not living in the fullness of today. And if there's anything I've been reminded of the last week is that there are no guarantees of tomorrow. Today's all I've got and I need to make the most of it!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday's are happy

Happiness on a Saturday is:

*My husband and daughter outside planting flowers and plants- laughing, getting wet and making memories

*Long walks together as a family, enjoying our little piece of the world

*The sense of accomplishment when I see my six little jam jars all lined up on the counter

*Standing at the sink washing dishes while a gentle breeze blows by

*The smell of dinner cooking away in the crock-pot

*Going to the grocery store by myself

*Knowing that there is nothing I have to do with the rest of the afternoon!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Not much to say, but here you go

It's been a nice, quiet week at our house. We needed that! I've spent the last few days plugging away at adoption paperwork. Our weekend is looking to be more of the same and since I can't remember the last time we were home on a weekend with no plans, I can't wait! We do have plans, but the involve planting flowers and my little vegetable garden out back. And I do mean little! We bought 4 tomato plants, a red pepper, some basil and some rosemary. My thyme from last year came back much to my surprise. I love being able to go our back and pick fresh herbs! Lots of other projects await us, but I don't mind since it means we're home to accomplish them.

I have spent Haven's nap time in the kitchen with the 4lbs of strawberries I bought on sale at the grocery today. They looked and smelled delicious and they did not disappoint. I made these muffins which turned out to be really good and healthy. One of Cale's favorites is strawberry shortcake so that is all ready for him tonight. I'm going to try my hand at jam making with the rest and hopefully have 5 lovely jars of Strawberry Freezer Jam to show off when I'm done. That's on the list for tomorrow while Cale's out planting my flowers for me.

So that's it. I am so happy it's a long weekend and that we get to just spend it together- doing whatever we want! I hope you have a good one, too!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Moving on up

Gloria and I met seven years ago in Benin, West Africa. We became great friends during our DTS aboard the Mercy Ship Anastasis. We were both a little quiet, kind of reserved (at least initially) and I think that's what drew us to each other. We would meet together during our free time to talk and pray and process together everything that the Lord was trying to teach us during those intense months. We were thrilled to learn that we were in the same outreach team so we would continue to be each other's biggest support and encouragement.

Seven years later and a lot has changed! Gloria has spent the last seven years in NYC going to medical school and becoming a doctor. I've spent the last seven years getting married and having a kid. Completely different worlds, but the friendship has remained. I was thrilled when Gloria emailed me that she was considering a move to Cleveland to do a fellowship. Despite all of our talk of a trip to visit her, one had not yet happened and we'd only been able to see each other a handful of times in the last several years. The thought of only being 3.5 hours a way delighted me. Actually I was, and still am, much more excited about the prospect of Cleveland then she is! But she's coming anyways!

So this past weekend we drove up there to meet Gloria and help her apartment hunt and find the lay of the land. We looked at probably 20 different apartments and got our cardio workout done for the day as many of them were on the 4th floor. The morning hunt was somewhat dismal and definitely had Gloria wondering what exactly she had agreed to do, but our last stop turned out to be a winner. We found a lovely place for her that is walking distance to a grocery store, restaurants and to her, the ever important Starb*cks. In fact, when we walked into her new neighborhood's Starb*cks and saw how big and nice it was she said, "I think I just made up my mind!"

It was a whirlwind trip that was spent largely in the car driving around from apartment to apartment, but it was worth every second and every dollar we spent of $4/gallon gas!

Friday, May 16, 2008


I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes. This morning, on the Today Show, the New Kids were back at. Yes, you read that right. New Kids on the Block are back together, with a new CD and a tour. Hello, flashback!

I'm certain I wasn't the only NKOTB crazy back in the late 80's. My bedroom was lined with their posters, their cassette was always playing in my boom box and I would carry my humongous Joey pin back and forth to school everyday. It had a little stand on it so Joey could sit there and watch me do my fourth grade schoolwork. Joey was my favorite, hands down.

It was bizarre to hear the old songs (and yes, I did sing along!) and watch my own daughter dance around to the music and clap her hands in appreciation. It's as if my world has come full circle or something. But there is something mildly disturbing about the whole thing. There fans don't seem to care and are as crazy as ever. People were in hysterics over them and some had camped out for a few days so they could be close to the stage. I'm thankful I grew out of my obsession back in '91.

So who was your favorite New Kid?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's for dinner? 5/15/08

Tonight we had a little Mexican fiesta at our house and everything was so good I had to share the recipes with you. We had Chicken Enchiladas and Corn and Spinach Salad. The enchiladas were so easy and really good; and while they won't take my number one enchilada spot, for a quick weeknight meal, these can't be beat. The Corn and Spinach Salad might sound strange, but it was a perfect accompaniment to the heat of the enchiladas. Cale was a skeptic about the salad, but after one bite he changed his mind. This salad tastes so fresh and healthy. I will be making it all summer long!

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

2 cans Rotel, divided
2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used fat free cream cheese and it worked great)
8 ounces sour cream ( I used low-fat)
8 green onions, chopped
8 taco-sized flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Combine 1/4 cup Rotel, chicken, cream cheese, and green onions.In a separate bowl, mix together remaining Rotel & sour cream. Arrange chicken mixture evenly onto tortillas & roll. Place seam side down onto lightly greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake, covered, at 350 for 30 minutes. Pour sour cream mixture evenly over enchiladas & top with cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes, uncovered, or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Corn and Spinach Salad- Rachael Ray
**This makes a lot, so I halved everything and we still had leftovers**

6 ears fresh corn (I used frozen corn and it still turned out delicious)
2 limes
2 tablespoons hot sauce (We can't handle that much heat, so add to your taste)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 generous handfuls baby spinach
1 small red onion, chopped (I had a white onion)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

If using fresh corn- fill a tall pot with 2 to 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Add corn ears, cover pot reduce to simmer and cook 3 to 5 minutes depending on sweetness of corn and how crisp you like it. Remove and let cool enough to handle. Scrape corn from cobs by running knife along cob and balancing the corn upright on fat end of cob.

In a bowl combine the zest of 1 lime, the juice of 2 limes and the hot sauce. Whisk in extra-virgin olive oil, and add the spinach, onions, bell pepper and corn. Toss the salad to combine and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

One of those days

It's been one of those days. Spills, messes, accidents and whining defined my day. Bedtime could not come soon enough. I feel like I spent more of my day telling Haven no or to stop or to quit talking back more then I did anything else. I've lately been questioning what is normal two year old behavior and in light of that what needs corrected and what things do I need to let go. Do I have too high of expectations for her? Am I asking too much or her sometimes?

Tonight, I've got no answers. I'm just thankful she's asleep and that tomorrow is a new day!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Weekend

It's been a good weekend around our house. I'm not sure if that's just because we're all so happy to be home or if it's because we had a lot of fun things to do the last few days; probably both. A few highlights worth mentioning...

Yesterday morning we went to the World Vision Experience here. If you live in the area I implore you to go see this. Cale and I were both emotional as we experienced different children's lives and saw how they've been affected by AIDS. There really aren't even words to adequately share about it...just go if you can!

Last night we got to celebrate with friends as they were married. We were Hay-less and it was great to just be together, catch up with friends and not be chasing anyone around. It couldn't have been a more beautiful day to get married and it was simply a joyful celebration of what the Lord has done in their lives.

This morning my husband fixed me a delicious breakfast before we headed out the door to church. We were scheduled in the nursery this morning so there was no leisurely morning or breakfast in bed this year. But that's okay. We had a roomful of kids, but it was a good morning. I have been priming Cale all week with a list of things I wanted to do today. When you sum up my list you'll see I'm a pretty boring/simple person. Cale did his darnedest to accomplish all my "dreams" for the day, but the weather conspired against us. We did manage to go out to lunch and I have to confess the I just wanted a burrito from Chipotle. We've eaten out so many meals the last few weeks, that is the only thing that sounded good. My husband was happy to oblige! (And the other thing that sounded good was a slice of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory which he also produced and I enjoyed in increments throughout the day!)

The other exciting things I wanted to do involved buying ferns and flowers for the front of the house. We managed to get the ferns, but weren't up for flower shopping in the pouring rain. While Haven was napping I laid in bed reading and even dozed off for a few minutes. That was a total luxury to me. Cale helped me get our room cleaned up and switched up some of our bedding for the spring. Being away from home for a few weeks has kicked my domesticity gene into high gear and I'm deriving great joy from getting my house back in shape. I wanted to cook dinner because I've missed cooking the last few weeks and while Cale was hesitant at first, he realizes that I really like to cook so it wasn't a big deal. Haven was an absolute hoot at dinner tonight and had Cale and I laughing our heads off. It melted me when she reached over to hold my hand at dinner and she looked at me and said, "You're the best girl, mommy." I love that sassy little girl more then I ever thought possible!

So while it might not be the Mother's Day of many girl's dreams- cooking, cleaning and a burrito- it was for this girl!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Spring Road Trip: Take Two

Destination: St. Louis

Miles traveled: 1000 (grand total-3000 in 13 days!)

The only vegetable I'm certain Haven ate the last two weeks: Carrots

Most amazing feat: Sitting in the hotel parking lot and telling Haven to relax and take a nap- she did for 45 minutes!

Favorite meal: Jim 'N Nick's Barbeque in Atlanta

Books I read: "A Patchwork Plantet" by Anne Tyler and "Cage of Stars" by Jacquelyn Mithcard

Haven's new favorite activity: Paint with water books (and I remembered how much I loved those things!)

Fun thing we did: Took Haven to her first movie, "Horton Hears a Who"

My first trip to Sonic in one word: Delightful

Free activities that we wanted to do, but couldn't because of the weather: Grant's Farm and the Zoo

Soundtrack: Jimmy Eat World "Clarity"

Our tour of beverages: Sonic- Strawberry Limeade and Vanilla Malt, Steak and Shake- Strawberry Milkshake and Root Beer Float, McDonald's- Iced Vanilla Coffee (yuck- I tried it and wanted to like it but I just couldn't!)

Famous African-American man running for President who Haven recognizes both in print and on tv and likes to talk about: well, you can figure that one out

St Louis Mills Outlet Mall: Witnessed a fight/screaming match between two women, one pregnant, that occurred right in front of the store we were in

What Haven called her hotel beds: Her nest and she was the egg

Best free gift Cale received at his conference that he gave to me (kinda): Ipod shuffle

What I missed the most: my bed! The hotels did have comfy beds, but they just weren't mine.

Best thing about traveling: Coming home again!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Life in the hotel can get old quick, so I'm making every attempt to stay positive. Here are just a few of the many things that are making my day brighter.

*Without a house to care for, meals to prepare, laundry to do and errands to run I have quite a bit of free time to laugh, tickle, play and just be silly with Haven. We are both thoroughly enjoying jumping on the bed, reading a TON of books and working on little crafty projects. She loves to read "Blue Hat, Green Hat" to me.

*We got a call from our social worker and have an orientation meeting next week! Also, we made a decision last night and I'm feeling a lot of peace about it.

*We frequently refer to Haven's bottom as her little buns. She's taken that and run with it and refers to it as her "bunnies", as in, "Please no tickle my bunnies!" And it's also adorable that she calls freckles "speckled frogs". I love this girl! I never know what she's going to say!

*We are going to this on Saturday. If you live in the area you should definitely check it out. I think it is going to me amazing and it's something that Cale and I really care about.

*We've discovered a new favorite snack from Trader Joe's- The Antioxidant Mix with dried blueberries, raspberries and cranberries, walnuts, almonds and cashews. Haven loves it and always wants more of the crunchy ones (aka- nuts).

*I got an email offering a free product for checking out the new and improved Oopsie Dazie site. I have ordered from them in the past and love their clips. Their new site is easier to navigate and order from and I can't wait to get our free Tiny Button Ponies in the mail.

*Our hotel is not equipped with very good cable (as in TLC, HGTV and The Food Network) so that means I have had an inordinate amount of time to surf the web. So of course that means another good food blog- Good Things Catered. I'm making notes of things to try in the next few weeks, like these. Oh and this is a good one, too A Year in the Kitchen.

*My cute new purse from Old Navy. We have a wedding this weekend and I'm wearing a dress I already had so I decided a new purse was in order. It makes me happy!

*And speaking of bags, I've been looking at some different reusable grocery bags for awhile now. I'm not overly save the earth conscious, just sick of plastic grocery bags accumulating at my house. I just placed an order for these, but they look like they'll be perfect and the price is right, too!

*I think I saved the best for last. Cale surprised me this past weekend with an early Mother's Day present. He is so sweet and was so excited that he gave it to me literally 10 minutes after he got home from the store. And what is it you ask? A ruby ring! Why? Because he loves me and seems to think that I'm a great mom. This was Cale's first time buying me jewelry EVER and he did a fantastic job! I love it!

*That's all I've got. I hope the small things are making you happy today, too!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

On the St. Louis

Greetings from St. Louis! We've been in town for just a few hours and are now settled in for the evening. Haven is sleeping on a queen sized bed surrounded by pillows and we're praying she doesn't fall off! (Incidentally, she fell off the end of her bed the other night and I found her sitting in the corner, rubbing her head, disoriented.) We've already found the restaurant strip and been to Target, so I would say we have our priorities in order.

We had planned on staying downtown on the edge of Forest Park with hopes of Haven and I exploring the Zoo and taking advantage of lots of space to roam around. But late last night I asked Cale to double check our hotel reservation. I'm so glad we did because we found out that the Hampton Inn we were booked at didn't have the kind of room we wanted. When we travel like this and Haven and I will be spending a lot of time in the hotel, we really prefer having a 2 room suite so we have a bit more space to spread out in. That Hampton had studio suites or regular rooms. So at 11pm last night, Cale and I started a massive search to find a new hotel. Easier said then done. An hour later, several phone calls and lots of back and forth we found a perfect place with in our price range, but it is out in the burbs. Gone are the dreams of the zoo and getting out and about in the city during the day. But that's okay, because we found an almost brand-new suites hotel that is super nice. It's stranded out in the middle of a business park, but it has a huge yard and a patio so we can at least take some walks and play outside.

So we made it, we're settled in and not too much worse for the wear considering that we've spent 26+ hours in the car in the last 8 days. And let's just praise the Lord that Haven has been an awesome little car rider. (She's been a little rough otherwise, but at least she's been pleasant when confined to small spaces!) She really has been so good- taking naps, entertaining herself, singing and reading her books. I even managed to read a book practically cover to cover on the ride here. I'm such a great travel companion to my husband with my nose stuck in a book. What can I say- it was a page turner!

Let's hope we have a good week in our new little home away from home!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spring Road Trip: Take One

Destination: Atlanta, Ga with a brief stop in Nashville, TN

Length of trip: 6 days

Miles traveled: 1200

Number of fill-ups for 16 gallon gas tank: 4

Different beds slept in: 2

Restaurant meals eaten: 7

Trips up and down in the elevator: 16

Books read: 1 (start to finish)

Arguments resulting from poor navigational choices that got us stuck in a traffic jam (briefly), took us through the ghetto and into an industrial area all in the name of looking for a place to eat dinner only to wind up at The Golden Arches: 1

Trips to the park: 2

Hours spent at Target: 1.45

Peaceful hours spent driving with sleeping child in the back: 5.5

Episodes of "Little People, Big World" watched: 12 (there was a marathon on- what can I say!)

Times Haven requested to go to "A-lana's house": 25 (actually I have no idea, but this seems reasonable!)

Number of trips to the pool: 1

Times Haven fell into said pool: 1

Hours spent at home before we leave again: 43