Friday, October 31, 2008

My little trickster

Happy Halloween, everyone! Trick-or-treat was last night in our neighborhood so we snapped a few pictures before we headed out.

A lovely, fake smile from my little ladybug


Demonstration of how her wings work

Just plain cute

Cutest ladybug I ever saw!

Practicing "trick-or-treat" before she hit the streets.


Haven was also a ladybug on her first Halloween, two years ago so for the sake of nostalgia, here's pictures from then.

A grouchy ladybug?
A happy ladybug!

She is the sweetest little trickster I know! Happy Halloween!



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Green Chicken Tortilla Soup

Souptacular08



Here's my offering for BooMama's Souptacular Crockpotalooza!

Green Chicken Tortilla Soup
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
3 ears of corn, kernels removed (or used frozen- as much as you think looks good)
tortilla chips for the bottom of your bowl
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1 package (3 pieces) chicken thighs or breasts, cut into small pieces or strips
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 teaspoon cumin
1 jalapeƱo pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jar of salsa verde
1 cup fresh cilantro (good without, too)
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 cups jack cheese, shredded

Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat with the oil, about 2 turns around the pan. Add the chicken, browning on all sides, continue cooking until juices run clear and no pink remains in the center. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from pan and set aside.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan. Add the onion, garlic and cumin, and cook till soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the corn kernels along with the jalapeƱo. Stir in stock, water and jar of salsa verde. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Return chicken to pot and heat through. Remove the soup from the heat and add in the cilantro, lime zest and juice. Crush tortilla chips into bottom of bowl and then ladle soup on top. Garnish with cheese.

*You can easily add some beans to stretch this farther and use less chicken. It's pretty much a no fail recipe!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scarecrow Cookies

Our little scarecrows turned out pretty cute and were our offering to Haven's Harvest Party at school today. The original idea came from here, but I read about it here. A little time consuming, but I had my best helpers by my side. That Cale knows how to frost a cookie!

Haven was a big fan of the cookies and since I was catering to the three year old crowd, I was happy to hear that she liked them! She came out of her classroom covered in crumbs and frosting. Sugar high, anyone?

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Feeling inspired to write something here, but scattered in thought, I came across this today and thought it was a great idea.

Outside my window...the leaves are blowing around under an overcast sky.

I am thinking...that I really love Mondays.

I am thankful for... my husband, who not only sent me off with Amber for the day on Saturday, but also painted Haven's new room while I was gone.

From the kitchen...a new recipe- Creamy Chicken Apple Chili with some fresh bread for dinner.

I am wearing... khakis and my first sweater of the season. Have I grown since last winter because the sleeves seem kind of short!

I am reading...my latest issue of World magazine.

I am creating...four loads of fresh laundry ready to be put away. And a fuchsia tutu for a certain little girl's Christmas present.

I am going...to make scarecrow cookies for Haven's Harvest Party at school tomorrow.

I am hoping...for snow! There's a possibility of it and I'm probably the only person who gets excited about snow in October. Especially where we live!

I am hearing...the dryer working away in the basement. The clock ticking reminding me that Haven will only be asleep for a little while longer.

Around the house...the kitchen needs swept and the carpet needs vacuumed. I am resolved to clean a few cupboards this week as well.

One of my favorite things...going to bed on a Sunday night with a thankful heart for a fun, but productive weekend.

Plans for the week...learning about the letter "I" with Haven while making homemade ice cream, Indian vests, and instruments. Taking lots of pictures of our little ladybug for Trick or Treat. Enjoying a meal with good friends on Friday night. Beating Cale at Boggle a few more times.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rainy Friday

It's cool, rainy and overcast here today, which is the kind of weather that just begs of huddling up on the couch with a good book and a mug of cocoa. Yesterday found me very productive and I was able to cross a number of things off my list. So I 'm thinking that today will be the bare minimum to keep things running around here. My daily cleaning is already done and dinner is in the crock-pot. And with that done, I'm pretty sure that come nap time you'll find me curled up on the couch with a book and some cocoa.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple pie and a show

It's been an afternoon of baking at our house. Here's my helper making the crumb top for our apple pie.


I shared this at our Recipe Club last month thinking that it was an old family recipe. I don't know what I'm talking about apparently. My mom said it came from her an old magazine clipping that she cut out years ago. So it's not my grandma's pie, but I will give credit to my mom. It is hands down my favorite.

We are going to go cut into it right now and watch "that show when you wear that dress and you're dancing and Papa holds onto you" also known as our wedding video. Haven's been asking to watch it since this weekend so we are going to oblige. It's a good way to end our day together.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekends just aren't long enough

We travelled to Cleveland with a dual purpose this weekend: celebrate our nephew's second birthday and go away overnight to celebrate our anniversary. We accomplished both in great fashion, but forgot our camera at home so have little proof to offer. Cale took off from work early Friday afternoon so we could get an earlier start which enabled us to meet Jess and Curtis for dinner. Since the rest of our weekend was pretty jam packed, it was so good to squeeze in some extra time with them.


Saturday we went to soccer games, ate Elmo birthday cake and then hit the road for our 20 hours of freedom. We did some shopping here and watched this movie (which we liked). We ate far too much good food at dinner here (a long-time favorite of ours and a place we love to get to whenever we're in Cleveland). We also squeezed in a drive around some of our favorite places and wished for our camera. The fall deliciousness of gorgeous trees, bright blue skies and fond memories is hard to beat.

Sunday morning we took our good old time getting ready and packing up. That in and of itself is a luxury! We stopped to get a shake from Tommy's and then took ourselves on a walking tour around the Case campus. It was fun to talk about various memories that we have of that place and realize how different they are. Mine are all as a visitor, on the fringes and involve my brother as a student or the slew of friends I made through him. Cale was a student there for four years and has tons of everyday life kinds of memories. We remember the same places and some of the same people, but our worlds didn't intersect very much until the fall of 2001.

And in the fall of 2002, our worlds became one and the same. It only seemed appropriate to revisit the spot where we made our vows to one another on the 6th anniversary of that day. So here we are in the one and only picture we took (on Cale's phone) on the steps of Amasa Stone Chapel at Case.

It was beyond good for us to remember and reflect about our six years of marriage in the city where it all started. Old memories, deeply buried, resurfaced as we drove down the streets where we lived and our love began.

The only real problem is that it was just too short of a time. We had to be back to my brother's house around 1pm so we could watch some football and visit with other friends and family that were coming over to see us. The afternoon flew by with a flurry of delicious food, a LOT of small children and the Steelers crushing the Bengals. It was delightful! Haven was so worn out from the weekend that she was asleep a block from my brother's house. We had a long drive home and an unfortunate trip to Sonic, but we eventually made it.

It was a jam packed weekend and I can't imagine that it could have been any better. Well, one thing...longer!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mr and Mrs: Six Years Married



your arms in mine

any time

wouldn't trade anything

you're still my everything


don't worry i'll catch you

don't worry i'll catch you

don't ever worry


-the get up kids-

Friday, October 17, 2008

My new favorite breakfast

I was on a huge smoothie for breakfast kick this summer. Fresh berries and yogurt in a million different combinations; what could be better? I've got out of the habit now that berry season is behind us, but that changed early this week when I got my new issue of Everyday Food. Each month they share a quick and easy breakfast idea and this month's is my new favorite breakfast. Banana-Oat Smoothie anyone? It sounds kind of weird, but trust me, it is good! It was meant to be as I had some yogurt headed rapidly for it's sell by date, a banana that was showing its age and some fresh from the farm honey I was dying to try. Add to the fact that I got to use my favorite kitchen tool, the immersion blender, and I was sold!

Banana-Oat Smoothie
In a blender, combine 1/4 cup regular oats, 1/2 cup low fat yogurt (I used vanilla), 1 banana, 1/2 cup skim milk, 2 tsp honey, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Puree until smooth. Serve immediately.

Everyday Food November 2008

Happy breakfast!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Halloween Votives

Haven and I made a few little pumpkin votives today; one for us and a few to give away.

I think they turned out pretty cute! It was a fun, easy project that we both enjoyed getting messy for. A glass votive (a baby food jar would work equally well), some orange tissue paper, black construction paper and some Mod Podge is all it takes. If you feel like you need some real directions go here (a great site!). Can't wait to see how they look all lit up!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October

October and I have a love/hate relationship. It is a month ripe with memories; the best of the best and the worst of the worst. It's a month of reflection and remembering. Remembering the joy and the hope as I said, "I do" to Cale and the pain and the heartbreak of saying goodbye to my dad. The two most defining moments of my life all wrapped up in the same month...it makes for an emotional me.

As I was thinking about it today I realized how both of those moments were absolutely saturated in God's grace. They are experiences that reside at completely opposite ends of the spectrum, but are not separate. They are both pieces of me, my story.

A story of a loving God with plans so far beyond what I could ever imagine. He's the one who gave me a dad that showed me how much I was worth and taught me to never settle for anything less then God's best. God's the one who gave me a dad that walked by faith in ways I am still experiencing and gave me a passion for learning and understanding and growing.

And He's the same God who brought Cale into my life and everyday is the best there could ever be for me. He gave me a husband who daily works out this life of faith by my side and encourages me to think and grow and try new things. He gave me a husband who's belief in me is unwavering.

So today I'm sad, but God's grace is no less sufficient. My mind is full of memories and I will myself to recall new ones that I haven't yet remembered. Somthing else of my dad to hold on to, even for just a moment.

This weekend, I will be hopeful as I rejoice with Cale at what God has done in six years of our marriage. And God's grace will surround us in that joy, too. We will recount God's faithfulness to us and look to the future with great expectation.

There is much more to this story...but the theme will never change.

"And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." John 1:16 (ESV)

Friday, October 10, 2008

A walk in the park

It's 6:30pm on a Friday night and I'm already in my pajamas. And I like it. Cale unexpectedly took the day off today and we spent a much needed day together. A trip to the farmer's market, a stop to pick up some lunch for our picnic and then a hike through the arboretum. It was a perfect warm fall day and we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, the company and the food. It was exactly what we needed at the end of this week and turned our three day weekend into four. I like that, too.

We took a number of pictures but they were taken on the good old 35mm and we will have to get them developed. When was the last time you shot a roll of film? It's been a while for us, so long in fact that we can't remember what the first three pictures were from on the film already in the camera. Surprises await us when we get them developed. I've got my fingers crossed that at least a few of them came out as well as I think they did.

The rest of my evening consists of eating the rest of our lunch for dinner, bathing and putting a girl to bed (early- no nap today!) and settling in on the couch with my boy to watch a flick. The perfect ending to a delightful day together.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I should have never gotten out of bed

I have had a crappy day. A succession of smaller things, one maybe larger thing, and I'm feeling swamped by the pile. Instead of recounting it all, I am trying to think positive tonight. So here's five things that made me happy today:

1. Laying in the grass listening to Cale try to teach Haven the finer points of hide-and-go-seek
2. A new book to dig in to
3. Swinging through Timmy H's for an iced capp
4. A great friend who lets me vent, laughs with me at my ridiculous behavior and reminds me that Jesus is better
5. Remembering that "The Office" is on tonight

Here's to hoping that tomorrow will be better!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chore Chart

After some debate over the last few weeks we have started a Chore Chart for Haven. She already displays a heart for service even at this young age. She always wants to help with whatever someone is working on- me in the kitchen, Cale in the yard, a baby with a toy, a friend with their shoes. She is always right in the midst of the action. We decided to make the most of that and give her specific, age appropriate tasks. We desire to teach her from a very young age that we are a family working together and it takes all of us doing our part for our family to work the best.

What that means for a two-and-a-half year old is making her bed, emptying the silverware basket from the dishwasher, picking up toys before nap and bedtime and putting away all of our shoes. Cale made up a chart with all of her chores and she gets to put a check mark in the appropriate spot when she completes her task. If she gets all four checks for the day she gets a sticker. If she gets 25 stickers for a month then she will get a special treat. We haven't decided exactly what this means, but think it will probably mean a trip to the dollar store to pick out whatever she wants.

We still aren't clear how that all works. Should we reward behavior that we expect anyways? If we do believe that this is her contribution to our family then does it really make sense to train her that there is a reward for just doing your job? Honestly, in her sweet mind getting "to do chores" is very exciting and a sticker at the end of the day is about all she needs. So should we do more? This question then leads to the allowance debate as well. We agree that she is too young at this point, but is that something we are going to do? While these aren't life altering issues, teaching her about the value of work and being a team player are vitally important to us and we don't think she's too young to start learning. Any thoughts?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Favorites

We have enjoyed this first full week of fall around our house. Pumpkins and apples and leaves, oh my! And tonight we're going to round it out with a high school football game. It's been a busy week and my brain is done so you are going to get a list of some of my favorite things from the last few weeks.

*I know that everyone is trying to keep the grocery budget under control in the midst of rising prices. Grocery Cart Challenge is a great blog I found this week and she totally puts me to shame as she feeds her family of six on about $50 a week! That is some committed frugality! Check her out for some great ideas and recipes.

*Another great blog I've been enjoying is Muses of Megret. She is a creative mom who always has a great idea for engaging her kids. She also has a great links page for preschool activities that I have utilized many times. It's like she did all the work for me!

*The year after Cale and I got married I bought a book by Noel Piper (John Piper's wife) called "Treasuring God in our Traditions." I read it then and enjoyed it, but kind of forgot about it until recently. I started re-reading it this week and am just so encouraged by her perspective why traditions are yet another way to glorify God. It is a wonderful book that you can even read for free online at Desiring God.

*I recently splurged a bit on this address stamp from Sweet Papery's shop on etsy. But can you blame me? I mean look at it! It's adorable and I loved and it and I don't plan on moving for a very long time. Their shop has lots of cute things in it.

Happy weekend! Here's to hoping you have plans for something wonderfully fall-ish!