Tuesday, July 28, 2009

ten smile tuesday

i spent the entire past week a bit exhausted and completely lacking energy...taken down by an icky summer cold....and, of course, it was the end of pregnancy, everything feels a bit worse than it would if i wasn't pregnant, type of cold. fortunately (hopefully!) i am on the backside of it, getting a bit more sleep, and finally accomplishing some much needed "before baby arrives" tasks. but, we're still smiling....

1. Grace...all it takes is a week like this past one to remind me ever so much more clearly of how thankful i am for God's grace toward me (well...toward us all!). grace in the midst of bumbling parenting, grace in the midst of those days i feel like all the girls (and i) did was sit in front of the TV, grace as a wife, grace...grace...grace!

2. our first fresh from the farmer's stand watermelon...

3. BLTs (with some fresh, juicy indiana tomatoes) and sweet corn (that dearest hubby picked up from the farmer on the way home!) for dinner...followed by the perfect refreshing summer dessert...lemon bars! and, just for the record, i'm of the opinion (after being warped by my mom for years!) that a BLT just isn't a BLT unless you slather the bacon side of the sandwich with peanut butter and the lettuce and tomato side with mayo! mike and the girls just think i'm weird!

4. a lovely evening with our monthly prayer group...prayer followed by a tasty cook-out and some hanging out time...these pics of the girls were taken by a friend and passed along...love them! :)

5. the girls' new bunk beds

6. a victory in the "keeping kate in a big girl bed" battle. yesterday afternoon she took an almost 3 hour nap in her big girl bottom bunk. we haven't even attempted switching her from the crib completely...and most likely won't until after the baby arrives and things settle down a bit (HA!)...but a successful naptime was HUGE! :)

7. some quality time with girlfriends (and the kiddos)....yummy blueberry muffins and great conversation...good times! and i couldn't resist snapping a pic of the girls all geared up to head to "aunt" lora's house that morning...yep...looks like maybe we're heading for a summer day at the pool...but, nope...in fact it was a gray and rainy 63 degrees in july when we headed out, but miss elizabeth insisted that she needed sunglasses to keep the rain out of her eyes...and, well, these days kate follows suit in just about anything big sister does! (and for the record...we weren't moving yet...i might need LOTS of grace lately but i do make sure libs is strapped in before actually moving the car!)

8. 35 weeks...and another chance to hear that wonderful, beautiful, magical beating away of the baby's heart at my appointment this morning. and the happy fact that the baby dropping has alleviated some of my horrible middle of the night acid reflux and heartburn bouts....of course, while relieving some of the heartburn issues it has brought other joys that come with the baby being super low!

9. project progress...we finished repainting the dresser and rocking chair for the nursery, so hopefully i can start arranging and getting everything ready in the nursery later this week (and share some pictures!). i'm slowly but surely getting the square of the baby blanket i knit whipstitched together. AND yesterday the "cleaning" side of nesting finally hit...i was able to tackle the wiping down and magic erasing of cabinets, baseboards and doors in the kitchen and 1/2 bath....now lest you be too impressed, i think this might be the only housework related item i've accomplished in an entire week...well, other than the day to day "must-dos"....laundry--the washing...not the folding, dishes, etc. :)

10. the fabulous reality that i haven't had to venture to the grocery store by myself with the girls for over a month. seriously...this is really more related to smiling about how wonderfully gracious my hubby is....he has happily made grocerying and errand running a "family outing" on the weekends...stopped for random items on his way home from work (like the syrup for our pancakes tonight or the corn for our dinner last night...because really, i just can't get it together enough to get everything in one trip lately!)...and spent quality daddy time with the girls while mommy had some alone grocery time....its the little things in life, but oh what a FABULOUSLY huge little thing this in lately!

Friday, July 24, 2009

movin' on up....

can you guess what's causing this big ol' kater grin?

just where exactly is she?!

does this give you a better idea!?just chillin' in her bottom bunk...(and hopefully having a successful "trial run" naptime there!)

mike took his half day friday off today, and while mommy and the girls went to do a sewing project for MOPS (making next years baby gifts) daddy was able to finish up the final touches on bunk assembly. both girls were beyond thrilled...jumping, squealing, giggling, smiling ear to ear...upon discovering their fully assembled new bed. unfortunately, i didn't have my camera to catch that moment or the glimmer in their eyes (but honestly, that's okay...i won't forget...and i probably enjoyed seeing it more when i wasn't peering through the lens of the camera). but i did grab the camera and catch these shots of kate while daddy was reading elizabeth some stories and settling her into her "rest time bed" in the playroom. no worries...i will get some shots of elizabeth chillin' on her top bunk with the monkeys to share soon!

and to answer the question i know some of you may ask...no, we aren't set on the idea of kate officially moving to a big girl bed before the baby. we have already borrowed a second crib and truly had no intentions of moving her until it was absolutely necessary (ie...she was trying to crawl out of the crib--which she fortunately isn't)...but we decided we can start with naptimes, when she is in the room alone (or should i say, not influenced by her sister who has recently struggled with the concept of staying put in her bed....we're working on that one!) and see how it goes!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

ten smile tuesday

this most definitely encompasses more than just the past week...but i suppose you will have to forgive me...i'm not sure where one day ends and another begins these days! :) we had a fun-filled whirlwind week of VBS last week...and while i had a blast helping out and the girls had a blast hanging out, i must admit i am thankful for a more restful week this week to relax a bit and catch up around the house! hopefully i will have time in the next day or so to work on a post that has been rolling around in my head the past few days...related to the motives of the heart...particularly when it comes to "mommy-hood"...inspired by our sermon this past sunday. but for now, i simply share some smiles!

1. a freezer stuffed to the brim with yummy food...preparations for both now (when i find myself exhausted most days) and after the baby arrives. mike has joked with me that i must stop cooking and find some other outlet for my nesting instincts...as we are really and truly running out of freezer room! the latest additions to the freezer were our favorite berry waffles (and i must brag on my husband...though i mixed the batter, he was the one manning the waffle iron!) and these oh so delicious pigs in a blanket (and my variation...'lil smokies in a blanket...a quick breakfast solution, which has been a huge hit around our house!)

2. the joy of dessert...kate was quite delighted by this pudding cup...and whats better than an ooey-gooey chocolaty grin! :)
3. VBS...elizabeth LOVED her week of VBS....incredibly creative crafts...lessons saturated in Biblical truth...having bike parades during recreation time...the gospel fuzzies (and she is loving walking around the house singing the song to go with her fuzzies). she woke up every morning eager to skip out the door and into her classroom....this little smile plastered across her face. almost makes me wish VBS was two weeks long...but oh my, not sure i have enough energy for that! :)
4. our annual neighborhood ice cream social...and a husband who was loving enough to walk home alone to get the van in order to spare an exhausted, swollen ankled mama the walk home!

5. afternoon naps...seriously, can't get much better than that these days!

6. delightfully (and unseasonably) cool weather...it feels more like spring or autumn around here lately. how lovely to open up the windows and feel the breeze...and to actually enjoy sitting outside on the porch in the evenings, playing with (or watching) the girls. one evening we even enjoyed a nice cook-out on the back porch...a nice change of pace since the heat had me pretty much hiding out inside!

here the girls are trying to "plant" the flowers (err..weeds!) they picked in the garden...as you can see, we didn't quite get around to planting the garden this year...but there's always next year!
7. a Saturday morning home alone...mike took the girls and met his parents at the zoo--giving me the chance to simply put my feet up and relax for the entire morning. it was fabulous...and definitely much needed after the week of VBS. and i just might have ventured out for a trip to the local bakery for a fresh-made donut for breakfast while there wasn't anyone around to ask for a bite...just maybe!

8. our evening at the county fair

9. having our dear, dear friend miss jill (not to be confused with aunt jill!) and a few of her friends visit our church sunday morning. it was so enjoyable to catch up...even if briefly. it did make me wish we were a wee bit closer on a regular basis!

10. this fabulous CD...i mean FABULOUS--encouraging, mellow, worshipful...i can't stop playing it!

11. ...and in the next few days/week i am anticipating the arrival of the girls' bunk bed, the pedicure i just scheduled this morning (even better that most of its cost is covered by a gift-card...and oh my, you ladies know how much i am looking forward to this since i can't even reach my toes these days!), a date with my hubby, and even tonight's dinner...an experiment of sorts, a ham, provolone and honey mustard "stromboli" wrapped with pretzel bread instead of pizza crust...

and well...i'm sure there are about a million more "smiles" i am forgetting, but for now, dear friends, elizabeth's interest in her play-doh and cookie cutters is wearing thin, and while miss kate (who turns two in just two weeks--can you believe it!) is tucked snugly away in bed, i think i will snuggle up with libbers for some stories...and then we will turn in for a nap of our own!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

unseasonably cool weather....

...makes for a lovely evening!

it was abnormally cool here in indiana today...like 20 degrees cooler than average...like not even 70 degrees. quite frankly, the kind of weather that makes me smile...the kind of weather that gives my swollen ankles a bit of a reprieve...the kind of weather that makes for LOTS of outside fun.

mike and the girls met grandma and grandpa (mike's parents) at the zoo this morning while i spent some relaxing time at home with my feet up. 33 weeks of pregnancy and lots of walking around the zoo aren't a great combo for me these days...not to mention i was already completely wiped out from my week of working VBS. but they had a fabulous time...and i enjoyed some nice silence and relaxation...and was plenty rested for an outing this evening. the weather was delightful...and it was the opening day of our county fair...so, off we headed!

we were a wee bit disappointed when we discovered that the animals hadn't yet gotten the memo that the fair was starting. i mean, seriously, the animal barns were empty...not a cow, chicken, sheep or pig in sight! we did eventually spy a few horses, and there was a dog show going on...but people, seriously, where were the animals!? but we made the best of it...a tasty once a year meal of fair food...and, of course, we all split an elephant ear and milkshake for dessert! and the girls really didn't need animals to make the evening a success. elizabeth was quite enthralled by the tractors (and the rides...and she did get to ride her first ever midway ride!)...and kate, well friends, kate loves hotdogs...scroll down and see for yourselves!

libbers tries out a tractor...she kept asking mike to start the "machines" and make them go!

and here's libs on the "super truck" midway ride...she was beyond thrilled to experience the privilege of sitting in this truck and chugging around the track...oh, the delight of an almost 4 year old!and here's kate...and her hotdog...
"i love hotdogs!"

"yes, i do!"

"i love hotdogs!"

"how 'bout you!?"

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

i'll have to owe you...

i know it's ten smile tuesday...but its also VBS week (meaning i'm spending the mornings crafting with 250 4th-6th graders!)...and i'm also 33 weeks pregnant and exhausted! :) we have been smiling....and cooking and stocking the freezer (it seems my "nesting" this time around has mostly involved food-ish items)...and dressing up like cows for free chick-fil-a....and making delicious trail mix (and eating it...of course)...and going to OB appointments and hearing a certain precious little heartbeat....and enjoying some long overdue time with dear, dear friends...and celebrating in a pregnancy/new birth boom of sorts as of late...and on and on and on.

my belly just keeps on a-growin' (and seriously, i find myself wondering just how much more it can really expand!)--this time around i am definitely carrying the baby much, much differently...as in straight out in front instead of all over my body. and this sweet little baby...the one tucked safely inside...well, this baby NEVER stops moving...okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but just slightly...really, even as i type i am watching the baby trace patterns across my belly with his/her foot.

elizabeth would love to tell you all about how much fun she is having at VBS...and perhaps tell you all about all of her little friends she is hanging out with. she would surely love to show you her little boat craft from yesterday...or perhaps the "fishy pond" she made today...or, she could go on for hours about riding the bikes during recreation time...or the delightful afternoon she spent with her "aunt" jill and best buddy brennan while mommy visited the OB this afternoon.

and kate...well, she would surely just love to smile at you...and babble away some jibberish of a little story. she could tell you of her absolute LOVE of strawberries...and newfound love of peaches...and that mommy and daddy were elated that this fruit love translated into great bribery training in getting her to eat her entire plate of dinner last night. she would surely smile and tell you all about the jellybeans she enjoyed as a result of that clean plate...and share that in just 3 short weeks she turns TWO (where oh where is time going!).

so i suppose i will have to owe you the "official" smiles...and you will just have to savor these little tidbits of moments! :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

"udder"ly priceless...

today was annual "cow appreciation day" at chick-fil-a....or, in other words, "dress like a cow and get free chicken" day! :) we weren't originally planning to go, but after hearing a promo segment on k-love this morning, elizabeth exclaimed, "mommy...i have a cow costume...can WE get free CHICKALAY!?" and really, how could i resist the excitement of an almost four year old...or the lure of a free dinner!

and so...mike and i fashioned our cow gear while the girls napped this afternoon. well, lucky for us, we had one official cow costume from this past halloween (although kate got to sport it this time since elizabeth's sprouted quite taller since then!). we called up some friends who also were totally into making fools out of themselves dressing like cows...and voila...off we went!

here's our herd...
libbers was particularly enthralled by the whole experience! she even asked to wear her cow costume to bed tonight...
as if free dinner wasn't enough, our chick-fil-a also had a petting zoo, free pony rides, and a bounce house...SCORE!
ride 'em "cow"girl! elizabeth LOVED the pony ride...taking a turn on both ponies! (one more sign she is taking after her aunt shell!)

they also had a goat, bunny, miniature pony of some sort, and chicks for petting..kate got to poke pet a bunny!
...and libbers had her turn as well...
no pictures of their fun in the bounce house...but trust me...they had a great time.

all in all, i would say it was an "udder"ly priceless evening in more ways than one!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

ten smile tuesday

here they are....some smiles from the past week! many of them include our fabulously fun long weekend at the lake! :)

1. 1 sink+2 girls+lots o' suds+a myriad of plastic dishes=tons o' fun! seriously, the girls enjoyed playing together happily in the sink for almost an entire hour! they were drenched afterward...as were the floor and counter-top...but hey, it was fun! :)

2. part of their sink playing time enabled me to whip up a big batch of homemade cinnamon tortilla chips...YUM! elizabeth started out as the designated cinnamon-sugar sprinkle but ended up finding the sink play much more interesting. you MUST try these chips...AND, even better, the fruit salsa that goes with them. i posted the recipe for both here!

3. playful patterns--i picked this up at a garage sale for fifty cents...and oh my, elizabeth is LOVING it...she is so engrossed with all the shapes and patterns and designs. well worth my two quarters--especially since it has ALL the pieces and is in perfect condition. would you believe that the current selling price on amazon is $65.99! its one of our current favorite "school" activities.

4. our first ever attempt at frying a turkey...and it turned out nicely! :) i especially love our handsome "fryers"...and the mind-way through construction background for the frying pictures...makes it look offically "redneck"! :)

the before and after! :)

5. lots of time with grandmommy and poppy! :)

6. the annual fourth of july boat-in pancake breakfast! the gray and cool morning didn't dampen our spirits! :) this is our fifth fourth of july enjoying the traditions on loon lake...and it was fun reflecting on five years worth of pancake breakfasts...our first year--riding over in the fishing boat, just mom, dad, mike and me...the next three years on the pontoon boat with aunt shell and uncle richard (and elizabeth and kate as they came along!)...this year we definitely missed aunt shell and uncle richard...but hopefully we'll see them soon and be able to introduce them to our newest little yak at the same time! :)

7. our molar-growing kate wasn't always in the best of moods, but she did eventually warm up and enjoy some serious giggles and swimming time...i think she's still our water-bug...even if the moodiness dampened her normal bravery at some moments. by sunday afternoon when we were ready to head home i could barely pry her from the lake! :) elizabeth, on the other hand, is still quite enamored by the sand...venturing further into the lake mostly only to retrieve shovels and such that decide to float away! but she does build a mean sand-castle!

8. special time with GG! we were blessed to have GG join us at the lake all afternoon and evening saturday. both girls LOVE their GG...and "GG" is one of the words kate has added to her repertoire! elizabeth had some special snuggle time with GG while waiting for the fireworks...and libbers sharing some sweet memories of Big Bapa had us all in tears briefly...priceless memories. i am SO thankful that my girls were able to meet their Big Bapa and that they have this time now to be getting to spend time with their GG.

9. both girlies were delighted by their first taste of a s'more...and both found them delicious! elizabeth was also treated to a roasted "coconut toasted marshmallow"...which she found just as yummy as mommy did! :) plus we all got a great laugh out of the story she told us about how much she loved coconut!

ooey...gooey...yummy s'more!

i simply love this picture of libbers and daddy...he was in the process of roasting marshmallows for the s'mores...

10. elizabeth had a super special saturday evening--getting to stay up for the fireworks for the first time ever!...thankfully, in spite of the gray, cool day the fireworks went off as scheduled. while waiting for the late night event elizabeth enjoyed running around in the wet grass and puddles, savoring some "cheese dessert" (turtle cheesecake made by grandmommy...YUM!), and watching her collection of lightning bugs (caught for her by mommy, daddy, and poppy!)...a little girls dream evening! she most definitely enjoyed the fireworks...especially the green ones! but i think the lightning bugs might have made the biggest impression, since that was the first thing she mentioned upon waking sunday morning! here she is enjoying her "cheese dessert" and watching her jar of lightning bugs!

11. ...and well, these two pictures just make me smile...so i'm sharing them as well!

12. and finally...we enjoyed a LOVELY day today...playing outside in the inflatable pool ALL morning long...and then capping off the day with more pool play and hamburgers from the grill, eaten on the back porch...and then watching the girls run around in the backyard while my hubby and i sat on the porch and chatted. its what summer is all about!

cinnamon chips and fruit salsa

okay...this is a sneak preview of one of my ten smiles for today. those will come later...after we spend the morning swimming and playing in the backyard! :) but these are SO good that i just have to share the recipe...and what better time for sharing than while the girlies are chowing down on their frosted mini-wheats and watching "curious george".

i had a version of this at a baby shower a couple weekends ago, and after enjoying it there i decided it would make a great snack for our fourth of july weekend at the lake. (and i was right!). i looked up recipes on allrecipes and then tweaked one to fit my tastes...and here is the tasty final result!

cinnamon tortilla chips

10 inch flour tortillas (i used 20 tortillas because i wanted to have plenty to share!)
"i can't believe its not butter" spray (or some other spray butter product)
cinnamon and sugar mixed (and poured into some kind of shaker so it is easy to sprinkle)
pam for greasing cookie sheet

preheat oven to 350
spray flour tortillas on both sides with butter spray. (i sprayed them and stacked them on a large cutting board). use a pizza cutter to slice the already sprayed tortillas into 8 wedges. place wedges on greased cookie sheet in a single layer (you will have multiple batches!) and sprinkle thoroughly with cinnamon sugar mixture (i just sprinkled the top side of the tortilla wedges...and this made them plenty sweet). bake for 9 minutes (or until they start getting crispy--they will get crispier as they cool so don't wait until they are brown!). let them cool thoroughly; then package in airtight container or ziploc bag.

fruit salsa

2 lbs. strawberries--washed and hulled
4 small kiwis--peel
1 pint red raspberries
2 large granny smith apples--peeled and cored
3-4 Tbsp. crushed pineapple--i bought canned
1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
sugar to taste

dice/mince all fruit into tiny pieces. i used my food chopper, and it was quick and effortless. i made my fruit pieces quite small...but you could leave them larger if you prefer. place all fruit ingredients into a medium sized bowl (preferably one that has an airtight lid for storage if you won't be eating it all in one sitting!). stir in lemon juice (to help prevent apples from browning...although the strawberries and raspberries turn everything red anyway!) and add sugar to taste. i probably used 2 Tbsp of sugar for the entire batch...but it will depend on whether you like it on the tart or sweet side. ENJOY!

this stayed nice and fresh for a good 5 days (i just finished the rest of ours for lunch yesterday!)...and honestly, it got tastier each day...i would definitely recommend making it one day in advance and letting it sit in the fridge overnight to give the flavor a chance to "ripen".