Monday, December 6, 2010

What's Wrong With These Pictures?

For those of you who knows our family, it's obvious, right?

Was it my longer hair or that my daughter's almost as tall as me at 11? (ok, something's wrong with that, too, but that's not it...)

Is it the change in the outfits and hairstyles? Nope!
Or the big smiles being displayed (after much begging?) Not quite...
Or how about this ultra rare, almost impossible, can't believe it happened, great smile on my face right next to my husband's gorgeous one? Close... Nah!

What's amiss is that our eldest, who is now a college gal is not due to be home until mid-December. So until then, you'll only see the four of us in group pictures.

2010 has been a whirlwind for us, for sure!

Enjoy the cold!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

One Dinner, Countless Gratitude

Another year, another Thanksgiving Feast. What a blessing... To have the resources and ability to create and enjoy a feast. Our hearts are full.

Summer seemed endless this year, hot and bright. Then the breeze picked up cooling the air on different days. The rain seemed to tease as well though the gardens everywhere around us were definitely grateful for the quenching drink.

Then on the day before Thanksgiving, I wake up to this...
A lovely reminder that Fall is here-- time to rejoice and slow down... After much decorating, where top and bottom were dressed as the outside...

It was time to prepare the dining room and set the stage for the upcoming feast...
So the mirrors were dressed up to be witnesses to the falling leaves dancing with the chilly wind outside... And the table was set to feed a family and two LDS missionaries with great sense of humor who again taught us that Jesus Christ is alive and here to teach us about life.
So to express our gratitude, we fed them some "home-made from scratch" dishes that even the chef and best critic of the house were impressed.
Autumn Soup (butternut squash & potato with leek and coconut milk) with Texas Toast & Cocktail Shrimp topped with Roasted butternut squash seeds; Cliff House Clam Chowder (a Maine recipe tweaked); Glazed Spiral Ham alongside Sausage & Corn Dressing (home made sausage); Oatmeal Dinner Rolls; Roasted Game Hens over Portobello Couscous. We drenched our thirst with Cran-Orange Fizz & Ice Water. It was rounded out by desserts of Sugar cookies, Pecan tarts and Apple pie, Thanksgiving Pie. It was indeed a feast... What a blessing to have such opportunity in the midst of this depressing economic trials we are facing.

We were a little down since our eldest girl is in Hawaii, but soon she'll be home with us and that helped us to cheer up and wish her the best Thanksgiving as well in her BYUH home... The ward fed them both spiritually and physically. Can't beat that...

And of course, we can't ignore our newest source of gratitude... Our new family members, our new "babies"-- Zeus Bolt & Percy Jackson! (think mythology and you'll figure out which is which)

They are absolutely a delight! They keep us on our feet and keep us cleaning the carpet. LOL

We wish and hope that you and yours... Also had one dinner, a feast over countless gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wow!!! Amazing!!! Awesome!!!

Just some words to describe all of the great news happening within our family circle.

A brother-in-law finally getting to adopt my niece
A new house almost finished
My daughter turning 18
My daughter finally getting used to college life
Getting VT done on the first week of the month
Getting the bigger furniture out of the storage
My MIL's birthday
First Thanksgiving in our new and more permanent home
Having a house of our own to clean and beautify
My nephew in Canada is now 3 months old and giggling
My nephew in San Jose, CA racking up class awards for Reading
Our trees finally turning colors

Each day is amazing, wow and awesome... How can I not be grateful?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

After 18 Years...

...and much prayer, one of my heart's deepest desires came true: For my eldest daughter to turn 18, go to college and that I would still be around to see it.

L has turned out to be all that I imagined her to be: Kind, stubborn, friendly, firm, sassy, intelligent, funny, beautiful and strong. She is amazing, just truly amazing...

November 9, 1992
Monday, 9:35 PM
8 lbs. 9 oz.
21 inches long

Happy 18th birthday, Sweetheart! We love and miss you. Can't wait to see you next month!

I am blessed... and grateful to have a child among three who is learning the world on her own armed with the gospel and strong sensibilities that most teenagers only dream of.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Organization Rocks!

Leather Planners dot net

Planners, All manners of Calendars, Phone reminders and computer software. All help to get you organized and bring structure to your life. Who wouldn't want that?

I often find myself surrounded by papers and note pads that remind me of things I need to do, but not until I have one tucked in my purse that I actually feel organized.

I collect coupons, save receipts, remember numbers and come up with dishes on the fly, but the actual feeling of being organized is more my New Year's resolution more than losing weight. (I know, I'm nuts!)

So, here I am, sharing with you how grateful I am that I feel organized this Fall-all because I found a planner small enough to fit in most of my purses and big enough to write down all info I need to keep me on top of things. And a wall calendar for my family.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wind And Rain...

How often do you say to yourself, "Dear Heavenly Father, I thank for the rain and windy days."? I do. Only because rain brings its own refreshing effects on this often parched terra we call home. The same can be said of the windy days that we encounter.

We have been lucky all of our lives to have had dwelling strong enough to withstand said windy days in Autumn. But now, to experience them in a home we call our own, it is a great experience. Will we eating crow when a glass explodes from too much wind pressure? No, only because I know that things happen for a reason. Will I hope that if it does ever happen, no one I love gets hurt? Of course!

I can look at it this way (if no one got hurt)- It's time to replace said window(s) or we need to prepare ourselves in blocking wind sheer against said window(s).

It's easy to blame bad things that happen, but it's much better to find a good reason for those bad things; it'll propel you to be proactive and be more educated in another life lesson you may not have been aware you needed in the first place.

So yeah, I am grateful for Autumn's wind and rain...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Set of Babies For Me!

If you can imagine taking on two unbelievably adorable purebreed Shi Tzus, then it's like having two more babies in the house.

We have always talked about having a dog. For so many years, after playing with or seeing cute, small, big and gorgeous dogs, we would come back and have one unreachable gift we utter: "We should get a dog for Christmas." It was no different this year; except our Christmas wish was realized two days ago when one of Mr. Man's co-worker gave us two! Totally FREE!!! The biggest and the runt of the litter. Two balls of energy. Two boys.

Since we've been all about Mythology here later, the bigger one was named ZEUS and the little one, was named PERCY. Ring a bell? LOL

Without further ado... ZEUS and PERCY!

ZEUS (Gray, brown and white-all fluff) / PERCY (Black and white-petite)

Mr. Man introducing our cockatiel, Dexter to the new members of our family. Cece, our cat is still waiting for the verdict of she likes them or not. Hee hee...
I-Dude and J-Pony totally surprised when they came home from school and discovered the puppies! And instantly fell in love!
We are so grateful for these puppies; they are adorable and quickly made us fall in love with them. Sometimes, a family is never complete until a barking furball come scuttling behind you.

To say a big THANK YOU to Chad and his family for these cuties, I baked them Chocolate Almond Bread. Hope they like it!

Enjoy your pets! They need love, too!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Little Update... And Gratitude Time

Ok, so I'm so behind on blogging. Let's see if we can catch everyone up.

As for Fall Desserts; I've made... Brownies and Cakes for Halloween, Smoothies and Sorbet in October.

This is our transformed Foyer, as you come in...
What awaited the trick or treaters, another table... full of sweets!

Dinner was quite colorful with accompanying "gross" menu! Perfect for Halloween! "Sausaged" Thumbs, Alien Worms, Meteorite Brownies, Moldy Quiche, Bewitched Cake Squares with Slime and Witch's Brew! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!

These were from 2008 collection at our local Kroger that I got between 75-90% off! The Canopy Red solid plates, from Walmart.

As far as Cooking, I finally tried making quiche and quickly found out that I like the basic kind, eggs and cheese only. I've also made several types of omelettes. Can you say great deal on eggs? Woot!

I've been on Shopping Hiatus on my own; only buying food items we absolutely need and it's been almost 2.5 weeks. I've made so many dishes and I'm getting pretty fast on prepping and cooking.

Tonight, I made Braised Beef Ribs with Root Veggies over Garlic Couscous and the whole meal cost me, less than $3.oo! For recipe, click on link.

Ok, since it is November once again, it is time to highlight what I am grateful for:
1. After 14 years of marriage, we finally have our own home and we totally love it!

2. We have enough holiday decor from previous years to not shop for anything new this year. How exciting it is to see our old decorations in our new home and how well they fit in.

3. My family who is loving our home as much as I am.

We feel quite blessed...

I hope you're having a great week...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Helping thru What you LOVE to do

For me, that is simply, cooking. I love to cook. Do I do everyday, every night? No, but when I do, I will find a way to make whatever ingredients are around, and make a delicious and nutritious meal.

No I'm not a health nut, not a vegetarian, not a food professional or stuck on organic goodness.

What I am is a mother of 3 highly intelligent children whose educational background on food and nutrition includes 3 different semesters of Chemistry, listened to Alton Brown, since 1999 explain how certain foods react to heat and disperse its nutritional content, a self-taught cook since I was 17, a semester on Food Nutrition who wrote A papers on Pro & Cons of Organic and Current Farming, Malnutrition and its Psychological Effects, and 3 Psychology classes (Family, Educational and Sociology) and an avid researcher on the latest reports on healthy eating.

I don't stick to one study or school of thinking when it comes to food for my family. I respect one basic fact- they are different from me, therefore, their responses to food will be different from me and from each other. I don't go by recipes either, instead I take a recipe and give it my spin to cater it to how my family eats.

With basic knowledge about food nutrition and combinations, you can find countless meals that can please everyone. That is exactly what I bring to one of my friend's attention when I help her figure out how to best use what she's got in her pantry and fridge. I respect how others eat, but I also show them that if they "tweak" it a bit, like swapping sides instead of the "usual", they can double their nutrition without sacrificing taste and satisfaction. Here's how I approached my friend Heather's needs and wants when she asked for my help.

I listen to my friend first on how they normally eat. Then I suggested a different way of thinking without changing too much their lifestyles to alleviate any onset of shock. When people are shocked into changing how they eat, resistance occurs and damage always follows.

I reversed the dish title, I reversed their eating habits. Instead of Chicken with Pasta, I called what I made Pasta with Chicken. Why? I only used a handful of pulled chicken meat into the packaged pasta dish that they had for me to prepare. I added vegetables and suggested sides and drink to go with the pasta and they ended up savoring the dish and sides, and didn't look for big hunks of chicken breast.

I used what she had; nothing more, nothing less. By looking into what you can use, and use it, you truly see a pattern of how you eat, rather than just how you shop. If you don't eat what you bring home, it's a waste of money. And most likely, would not buy it again.

I made broth and sauce. Both are very good flavor base. Making a thick sauce and reduced broth intensifies flavor that you can easily "thin" out with water or extra broth to make tons of other dishes.

I showed her how to store it. By eliminating the extra air from the container, meals last longer in the freezer or fridge. Labeling for WHAT AND WHEN help to focus your menu and not tire out your palette.

We had a great "on-the-fly" menu today and we created several delicious and nutritious meals in under 6 hours.

Helping a great friend thru cooking, is like asking me to bask in the sun. It relaxes me; it helps me love that friend more. It's the best kind of service, if you ask me!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Too Many Choices

for a post topic that is!

I haven't had my rounds on my blog peeps' sites, but the ones I've visited, their topics were either profound or romantic; thought provoking or hilarious.

As for me, I've been too busy balancing updating our 20-year old house (as in up to code and making sure all switches turn something on and off), gardening, making meals for two families on most dinner nights, getting the kids ready for school, spending time with hubby. You know... the usual stuff that goes on in any household. My head is spinning trying to think of a poignant or heart-tugging topic to write about. Well, so far... NADA, ZIP, BUPKIS!

But for now, while the pain of my lost wisdom has... I mean wisdom teeth has finally subsided that I'm not a pharmacy's fave customer, I can actually think straight and sink my teeth into some great topics to write about: Missing my daughter in Hawaii, my hubby and I's first kiss, messy kitchen, perfect! Gardening bliss and many more... The blogging world is my oyster in choices right now. And I think I've gotten it straight enough to start posting away- next time I remember...

Happy October!

Friday, October 8, 2010

When You are Lacking Wisdom...

...teeth that is, you should always follow the doc's orders. But of course, even with that, complications happen. In my case, glad it's just mild, dull pain. But it's still pain.

Last Tuesday, got my last three wisdom teeth taken out and I ate soup, smoothies and everything soft for 2 whole days. I gargled, rinsed and didn't spit for a whole 24. No "chipmunk cheeks" moment, no aftereffects from the anesthesia, but day 3...

My mouth is still sore, can barely open my mouth, gums hurt at the sockets and the doc pulled on one side too much that I now have a cracked side which hurt more than the sockets, hence the "opening" dilemma. *sighing*

I don't like my house messy if I can help it, so I made sure I cleaned up, but I don't know if that made it worse or something completely different.

I know many others are hurting far worse than I am... but this is my burden right now. Hope you're having a better one.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lemon Bars

Our Wednesday went like this:

Made sure I-Dude made the school bus, after a late start.
Took J-Pony to her private violin lesson at school.
Had breakfast at Sonic
Went to our first Chiropractic session appointment
Went to Lowe's to get more plants on clearance
Went back home and crashed on the couches
I-Dude comes home
Mr. Man went to his doc appointment
J-Pony comes home
Made LEMON BARS-but forgot to add enough butter to crust- (uh-oh...)
Made pasta dinner-didn't have time to eat it
Took I-Dude to Cub Scouts at church; lemon bars still in oven
Asked Cori to watch, pull out, cool, cut and deliver bars to church
Lemon Bars arrived late, but was a total success- (yay!)
Found pan of rest of lemon bars at home, burned and hard (whooopps!)
Had late dinner of pasta; interrupted
Home teacher arrives-(almost forgot)
Had a great time with home teacher
Kiddos were sent to bed
Had to help Matt move in stuff to our house-with home teacher's help
Mr. Man and Matt go back to Matt & Cori's apartment to finish hauling big stuff
Mr. Man & Matt deliver and go back
Mr. Man & Matt go get ice cream for us wives...
We eat ice cream and chat to relax
All four of us, went to bed @ 5AM!

The first time, last December, I made lemon bars, we also had a hectic day and I ended up making it too sweet. This time, filling is great, but the crust, not moist enough, the sides burned! Good thing the middle section was perfect. Third time's the charm?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Snickerdoodles...

Next... I haven't decided yet. But what I have decided is to make a great dessert once a week in honor of Autumn... Every week, until the 1st day of Winter, I will make something delicious, gooey, or sweet!

I started on September 23rd, the 1st day of Fall. How fitting that I made SNICKERDOODLES, a first for me! They came out moist and, of course, I put my own twist to it- I rolled the dough balls into the cinnamon sugar topping, then after, while it's still hot, I sprinkled some orange sugar on it to customize. They were delicious!

So... what's good to make this week? I'll take any delicious suggestions. Thanks!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A New Season, A New Place...

Picks of Canada

Aahhhh... Fall is here again... I can't recall a time since coming here to the U.S. of A., when I didn't like Autumn.

The air gets crisp, the winds get colder, the leaves turn color and school is in full swing. Now, Autumn means colorful projects, cozy reading moments with the kids, baking cookies that perfume the whole house, and a whole new adventure in a more permanent setting. I can't help but feel blessed about greeting my favorite season in a new home, our permanent home. For so long we've prayed to be where we can put down roots and get to know our neighbors, our community. Now we no longer wonder. We can start...

It's amazing the renewing power Fall has over me, I feel energized, motivated and more secure of myself. I am at peace but buzzing with ideas and memories I want to create. The decor that will eventually color and punctuate our new home for Halloween and Thanksgiving will be embedded more in me than a summer full of activities. The colors of Fall will make me smile and feel awe. I will drown in gratitude for our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Love will definitely add to the warmth of our hearts and hearth.

In our Family room, we chose colors that can complement FALL when it arrives.

I am excited! Fall... In our new home...I hope you all can find the same satisfaction in your lives, even just for a season...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Missing L-Infinity...

Who would have thought that 17 years ago, I would be blessed with a beautiful, intelligent and kind little girl? Her name means"God's promise" in Hebrew. Boy, was she a promise! Heavenly Father listened to my pleas almost 18 years ago and last week, one of the many promises we exchanged have again come to fruition-that I would see her off to college...

Not just any college, but one where He can keep an eye on her; BYU Hawaii, next to the Laie temple... A beautiful place for a beautiful soul...

She earned to be there... Her grades allowed her to be there, at no expense to us, not one penny! Even FAFSA gave her extra money! How amazing is that?! We were able to help her get set up nicely (above and beyond with the money we didn't have to use for college fees) in her side of the room (she has three roommates in a two-bedroom faculty housing unit, and they are all just lovely and all four get along great!)

(After we landed in Honolulu, just right outside the baggage claim)

(Above-at Costco; Below-inside Max's of Manila (Filipino restaurant) in Honolulu)

(A group hug after school blessings)

(Celebrating her move-in and our last night there over a delicious pu-pu platter.)

(These two, right in front of the temple; it's being renovated until October. Her housing unit, is mere minutes away.)

(Inside her unit, in the faculty housing complex. She was lucky to have this, it's spacious!)

(Her self-portrait; at a beach park in Hau'ula where we stayed.)

(At the Dole Plantation Garden tour; their bromeliad collection, a cousin of the pineapple, are amazing!)

Even though we are separated for now, and she is somewhere...

the sun sighs when it shines over...
the clouds happily congregate and tease the water above majestic mountains...
where pineapples grow to be sweet and juicy... I know that wherever she is...
Our little family of five, because we believe in Jesus Christ, will always be together-FOREVER!

Some families get 18 years, some more... I only get 17, but I have never been more looking forward to all the school holiday breaks! See you in December, baby!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hawaii Vacation

What else can I say without making it redundant? It's Hawaii...

Here's some of the pictures we took while there.

More pictures (like thousands of them!) to come later. See ya then!