Monday, June 30, 2008

Simple happies

It's Muffin Tin Monday again! Today Haven's lunch included whole wheat pretzels, ranch "dip", carrots, cantaloupe, chicken breast, and a string cheese. She ate up EVERYTHING. It's such a simple thing, but Haven really gets a kick out of her tray with little cups (as she likes to call it.)

Sorry for the dark picture. And sorry if you think it's weird that I post pictures of my daughter's lunch in a muffin tin. Actually, I'm not sorry because she loves it!

I've been making a real effort to do more crafty and hands-on projects with Haven the last several weeks. She loves working together and getting to use glue, scissors or makers in any way, shape or form. I've also been trying to incorporate some hands-on activities that she can do while I need to be doing something else. Enter "The Rice Game". Seriously, I had no idea what a huge hit this would be, but she loves it. What we did: set out two small, shortish cups, glasses or bowls onto a small tray or cookie sheet (to help with clean-up). I filled one cup with rice and gave her a small little baby spoon and told her to transfer the rice from one cup to the next. It's a great hand-eye coordination activity and it has literally kept her busy for hours in the last week. Sometimes she gets tired of using the spoon and starts to pour it in. I've loved watching her problem solve and come up with her own ways to do it. Sure we've had a few grains of rice on the floor, but her enjoyment of this activity outweighs the clean-up by far. Simple things keep her happy!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The sky is falling...

....no wait, that's just my bathroom ceiling! We discovered a crack in the downstairs bathroom ceiling on Friday morning. It became much worse, very quickly. Granted, Cale aided the downward progression by cutting holes in the ceiling trying to assess the damage. We have known for a few weeks that the upstairs bathroom toilet was leaking, but obviously had no idea how bad it was or we might have moved a little quicker on fixing it.

This is what it looked like at 11pm last night.

I told Cale we were going to wake up to it having caved in.

And I was right!

Yuck.

We actually heard it fall around 2:30am. Cale and I had been awakened by the storm and so we trekked downstairs to use the bathroom. We had just settled back in bed when we heard the crash. It initially sounded like thunder, but then we realized it was coming from beneath us. Curiosity got the best of Cale and he came to survey the damage. He said it wasn't as bad as it could have been, so I went back to sleep. Cale wasn't so fortunate and he tossed and turned for quite a while. We found out yesterday that our home owner's insurance isn't going to give us a dime for this so we have some major expenses in our future!

So our current situation is that we have a large hole in our bathroom upstairs where the toilet used to go. Cale ripped it all up and all the nasty, moldy flooring yesterday. Downstairs we have a huge hole in the ceiling, with more coming down as we speak. We've got a working toilet downstairs and a working shower upstairs. At least we have one of each. Given the current state of our home Cale pointed out that it is a wonderful thing that our home study visits are over. Praise the Lord for that!

Between our falling apart house and Haven being sick we've had a very eventful weekend. And unfortunately, there is no end in immediate site!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Checkpoint

Today my nephew, E, turns six years old. Since he was only a few months old at our wedding, his birthday always makes me reflect about the growth of our marriage. Looking at E and seeing how much he's grown and changed in the previous year; what he's learned, what's important to him and how he likes to spend his time. In my mind, there is a perfect parallel to mine and Cale's marriage.

-Have we grown (together and individually) in the last year?
-How have we changed and is it for the good or not so good?
-Are we helping each other "to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18)?
-What have we learned and how are we putting it into practice?
-What's important to us these days? Has it changed from last year? If it's changed, why?
-How are we spending our time- as a family, as a couple, individual pursuits? Are they worthy things or just busyness?

Cale and I try to talk through questions like these around our anniversary, but I'm thankful for E's birthday to remind me to stop and do some evaluating of my most important earthly relationship.

Happy Birthday to our sweet, E! Thanks for reminding us of important things today!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

...a summer tuesday...

...sitting on the back porch in my new (old) chair

a perfect summer afternoon
time spent with the Lord and reading a good book
a glass of lemonade sweating rings on my left
bees buzzing overhead in the fragrant tree that shades me from the bright sun
noisy birds interrupting the silence
my mind and heart full of peace
looking forward to an evening out with the girls

...wishing everyday could be just like this one

Monday, June 23, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday

I read about Muffin Tin Monday over here the other day. I thought it was a fun idea and wanted to do it for Haven. I only had a 12 cup muffin tin though so I was delighted when I went to the dollar store the other day and found a little 6 cup one. It was perfect for her and she absolutely loved our first edition of Muffin Tin Monday! The picture isn't the best, but here's our first attempt:

On the menu: string cheese, fish crackers, apple slices, sweet potato fries, yogurt and more apples (filling six spaces for one kid was harder then I thought!)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our week

My mom has been visiting the last few days, and while we enjoyed having her here, it throws me off. Haven and I have such a rhythm to our days so when there is someone else here, we get out of our usual sync. It's not a bad thing, merely an observation. So the last few days have found me doing less of my normal routine, but more of the fun stuff. Insert list of the fun stuff:

-We initiated my mom to Ikea. She thoroughly enjoyed her visit and came out a few bucks poorer for it. She also now understands why we like to eat lunch there.

-We got to visit my grandma who is in an assisted living facility about an hour from us. It was wonderful to see her and to watch Haven interact with her. I am resolved to go see her more often!

-Cale and I got to go on a date last night. We had a great time with another couple at dinner; we walked around and enjoyed the beautiful evening at the Greene. I don't even remember the last time we went on a double date so it's obviously been too long!

-My mom helped me cross off a major item on my to-do list: cleaning my pantry. I have a huge walk-in pantry which is a lovely and wonderful thing. But it is so large that it can get out of control quickly because I can just throw stuff wherever. It is now in ship-shape and I was able to purge some barely used items. It feels good to have that one done!

-I made Haven some bean bags the other night. Cale is a big fan of them! I used some left over Dick and Jane fabric from her table and they turned out really cute. Thanks again to Amber for the crafty link love a few weeks ago!

-This last one really isn't anything fun that we did, but it is a fun new blog that I found and am loving. Yes, it's a food blog full of great ideas and I encourage you to check out Prudence Pennywise. She's all about fixing healthy, cheap and good food for her family.

I'm off to enjoy the rest of our off-kilter weekend!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Weekend

One lucky girl

When you have low standards, it's easy to be happy with how things turn out. That pretty much sums up our camping trip. We have had some awful experiences in the past, so we weren't expecting much this time around; and in fact, we had a good time. A few small hurdles had to be overcome like wet wood and the fact that two adults and a toddler are not meant to sleep together on one air mattress in a 3 man tent. But overcome them we did! The campground was great and we had nice quiet neighbors. The mountain pies were as delicious as ever and the weather could not have been nicer.

Everything was great until bedtime. I won't bore you with the details but sum it up by saying that it was the longest short night of sleep I've ever had. When Haven woke up with the sun at 6am we were too tired to do anything but pack up camp and head home. It was a lot of work for 15 hours of camping, but we know it can be done and look forward to doing it again very soon. We just need a bigger tent!

The rest of Cale's Father's Day was spent recovering from the previous night. We had a delicious lunch (paninis on the George Foreman grill- where have you been my whole life?!!) and then all took naps. I love my husband for many reasons but one of which is that he is easily pleased. Our original dinner plans didn't work out so when I asked him for his back-up plan all he wanted was a $5 pizza. Done. We went out for ice cream and to the playground and put a very tired girl to bed.

We tried to round out our action packed day with a movie ("The Great Debators" which we liked a lot) but kept getting interrupted by the weather. We had a huge wind storm blow by that wreaked havoc on some of our neighbors trees. In fact, across the street a limb came down on our neighbors car. So at 10pm we were all outside in our pj's surveying the damage from a 5 minute storm.

A lazy Sunday spent together, being thankful for Cale.


Papa's little helper

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Date night and beyond

Last night was Date Night and, sad to say, we had a hard time coming up with a plan. We don't get to go out all that often so you'd think we would be full of ideas of what to do on a night out; not so. We did manage to decide that we would do dinner and our only stipulation is that we had to go somewhere that we'd never been. We wound up at a lovely little Italian place that ended up being a delightful choice. We were charmed by the old house turned restaurant and the pleasant atmosphere. Much to our delight, in the midst of working our way through huge bowls of delicious pasta, accordion music started to drift our way. Enter an older (adorable!) Italian gentlemen gently swaying as he played for us. I almost forgot that I was in small-town Ohio as his music transported me to an Italian cafe for a minute. I was already a fan of this new place and the music just set me over the edge.

Our weekend is shaping up to be a good one. We are going to go camping tonight which is going to delight the youngest member of this family. Since we aren't going to be home tomorrow morning Haven and I decided to give Cale his Father's Day presents this morning. She told him the minute he got home yesterday what she got him, so it wasn't all that big of a surprise, but he played along nicely. Haven picked him out a nice new yellow soccer ball so they can play together. (I had to talk her out of the pink one!)

We're off to do some garage sale-ing and then pack up for camp. If last night was any indication of the way our weekend is going to go- we're going to have a great time!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Evidence that my life might be more than a little influenced by "the blogs"

Last night I had a bit of a revelation. My life is being taking over by "the blogs". And I'm not talking about spending all my time reading them (although that can be an issue at times), I'm referring to the growing influence all these strangers are having on my life. Here's the evidence:

-We are having a bit of an ant infiltration here at our house. I recalled that Shannon wrote about this a few weeks ago and that she herself declared Terro king. I told Cale we needed to get Terro. (and it works great, by the way!)

-We are having this for dinner tonight which I read about on this blog. And we're having roasted asparagus on the side which I read about here.

-I just finished reading Leif Enger's new book "So Brave, Young and Handsome". I absolutely loved it but it's not something I would have normally picked up if I hadn't read about "Peace Like A River" on In the Midst of It a year ago. For the record- if you haven't read "Peace Like A River" do yourself a favor and read it now! I am not overstating when I say this is one of the greatest books I have ever read and is so beautifully written you will find yourself wondering about the beauty of words and sentence structure. I'm not kidding. Enger's new book is also wonderful, but that's another post for another day.

-I made this Lemonade Pie over the weekend. Easy and delicious which describes a lot of the recipes on this blog.

-One of my projects for the week is to make beanbags for Haven. I got the idea here from a link that Amber sent here. See, it's very convoluted!

-Cale had a big meeting this morning at work. He usually stops and buys donuts, bagels and coffee for meetings like this, but not today. I decided to provide my own baked goods and give the guys better food and save us some cash. I made these little muffins for him to take. (SO good!) Thank you, Pioneer Woman!

And that's stuff from just the last 3 days! Don't even get me started on the myriad ways that I have been challenged, encouraged, and educated in any number of areas. "The blogs" seem to have a firm position in my life and I don't think they're going anywhere anytime soon!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The best laid plans

Today just hasn't worked out according to my plans. Cale and I had to go to Cincinnati to the US Citizen and Immigration Services Office to get fingerprinted. Our appointment was at 11am so I conspired with Amber to make it a day date for Cale and I. I thought that we would be able to go to our appointment and then have a nice lunch, stop at Ikea maybe; just enjoy a few hours alone.

Well, enter Haven. She got her first ever stomach bug Wednesday night. (And yes, I do thank Jesus that she is 2 years 4 months and this is her first stomach bug!) She was running a high fever into last night and so I didn't think it would be very nice to take our sick-o germs to Amber's house. So there went our date. And honestly I wasn't really upset about that. I just wasn't looking forward to going to Cincinnati with a sick kid. She actually did quite well and our appointment was SO fast. We were in and out, including parking and a potty break, in 30 minutes. We decided to keep our original lunch plans and I'm so glad we did. The smoked chicken sandwich from Montgomery Inn is my favorite. We enjoyed a relatively peaceful lunch overlooking the muddy river. We decided to push our luck and managed to have an uneventful trip to Ikea, too. We made a few more stops and then pulled into home. Even though it wasn't what we had planned, it was still a nice day together.

Right after we got home Cale decided to walk down and get the mail. Haven loves to go with him so she was out the door the minute he mentioned going. He was just shutting the door when Haven tripped on the edge of her sandal and fell down the 4 steps of our deck. These are big, pretty steep steps and she kind of somersaulted down them. Unfortunately her face hit first, namely her mouth. My poor girl has a humongous fat lip, a black-and-blue knee and a few miscellaneous scratches. We spent the next hour trying to get it to stop bleeding while deciding if a trip to the ER or Urgent Care was necessarily. After calls to our pediatrician, a doctor friend, and of course my mom, we decided to just wait it out. Our pediatrician was concerned that there could be head trauma and wanted us to go to the hospital right away. Our friend talked us down a bit and told me that if this had happened to her daughter (who is only a few weeks older then Haven), she would just watch her and wait it out. My mom told me to go with my gut.

So we stayed home. We got her to eat a little bit of soft bread and a banana for dinner and are going to relax with a movie on the couch tonight. It's been one of those days that just feels like it's been happening for too long. It's 7pm- is that too early for me to go to bed?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Merry Christmas to me!

Last night I finally used one of my Christmas presents from Cale. He got me cooking classes from a local gourmet market and I took my first class. The class was Cooking with fresh herbs and it was wonderful! The chef who taught the class was very personable and liked to interact with the group a lot. I was kind of nervous going it that there might be some food snobs in our midst (including the person teaching!), but my fears were put to rest early on when the instructor made light of the idea. She loves simple, fresh food that is allowed to do what it's supposed to do.

We got to eat everything that was prepared. It wasn't a participation class (although they do offer those), it was a demonstration class. We learned how to prepare and enjoyed eating the following: Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken, Sugar Snap Peas in Brown Butter with Sage, Fresh Herb and Garlic Pasta, Summer Vegetable Ratatouille with Oregano and Mixed Berries with Vanilla Bean and Mint Simple Syrup. Everything was absolutely delicious and I was shocked to learn that I love sugar snap peas! I am not a pea fan in general, but decided to be a good sport and try them. Delicious! The greatest thing about the class is that it wasn't just about the recipes, but about methods. The techniques weren't new to be, but I had never thought about putting together some of the ideas that were presented. One of the biggest reasons why I was interested in taking the class is because I love using fresh herbs in my cooking but find that I use the 1/4 cup needed for one recipe and then waste the rest because I don't know what to do with it. No longer! I've got a ton of ideas and can't wait to try them out. So be warned- if you get invited to my house this summer for dinner there will be a bounty of fresh from my garden herbs in whatever I serve!

The only downer in the whole evening was the 25 minutes we spent locked in the store's bakery. Now at face value I realize the idea of being locked in a bakery doesn't sound all that bad (can you say Killer Brownies?!!!), but the reason we were in there is because there was a tornado warning. It had been pouring down rain the whole time we were in class, but didn't know how bad it was until a manager from the store came in and told us to evacuate. Very exciting! So we all huddled in the bakery together, listening to the radio. I got stressed because they were saying the storm was heading in the general direction of our house. Knowing Cale, he wouldn't even be aware because he is not really a tv watcher. My guess, which was right, is that he was working on something on the computer and wouldn't know what was going on. After trying unsuccessfully for 15 minutes to get a signal, I stepped back out into an area that a few people had had success getting calls through in. I had to literally lay up against a door, but was able to tell Cale what was going on so he could check the news. Then I relaxed!

We were given the all clear a few minutes later and then had to decide to stay or go. It was still raining VERY hard, but we had two more courses to serve. They were quick ones and I didn't want to miss a thing so I decided to stick it out. I'm glad I did because the dessert was delicious and such a great, simple idea for the summer. The drive home was treacherous because of the pouring rain and the lightening. I have never seen lightening like that in my life and it was so bright and frequent it was hard to see. My gas tank was also on empty and I had to go to the bathroom so it was a looooong drive home. My little white house never looked so welcoming!

I had a fantastic time at this class and can't wait to put to use what I learned. And I'm even more excited about my second class next month! Cale, you're a genius!

Monday, June 2, 2008