Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas traditions

I was laying in bed last night, trying to remember all of the "little" traditions that our family had at Christmas time. What sweet memories.

*Driving around after the Christmas Eve service to look at the luminaries and lights in Joppatowne
*Putting out milk and cookies for Santa, though we didn't believe in him.
*Eating Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast, with extra icing.
*Dad wearing his brown robe and over-sized matching brown slippers.
*Sleeping in so late that our parents woke US up.
*Getting special Christmas dresses from our Aunt Gail, who now buys one for Isabel.
*Having our stockings stuffed so full that the gifts had to be placed underneath them on the floor

What "little" traditions do you remember from your childhood?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

for real??

I have been doing some online "window" shopping. No money to spend on myself, but I figure when we hit the Megamillions, I should know what I want to purchase! I stumbled across this top at J.Crew. Not cute. And definitely NOT worth $795.00. Oh, but it does come with free shipping.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I use to drink soy milk, because my stomach was weak. Is weak. Usually, I preferred Vanilla Silk. With Isabel's latest milk intolerance, we have switched her to soy (I know, I know, it raises quite a debate). I generally buy whatever brand is cheapest-8th Generation, Great Value-and stay far, far away from Silk. In a moment of desperation, I had to buy it. We were almost out of milk, and there was one grocery store on my way home from work. It was either spend $3.50 for a half gallon or $4.25. I grabbed what I thought was plain, but turned out to be No-Sugar Added plain. Big whoop. Wrong. Isabel refuses to drink it. Too crunchy for her budding, buds.

Don't make the same mistake my friends. Your Trader-Joes loving children will thank you.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

gift giving

Ever think of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and wonder what that extravagant gift giving would truly cost your "true love." I wonder if Miguel loves me $21,465.56 this year?!?

Check out the link for more fun "Twelve Days of Christmas" tidbits.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another cookie recipe

These can hardly be classified as cookies, more like mini cakes. But, none-the-less, they are DELICIOUS! So, without further ado, here is my mother's recipe for Whoopie Pies.

2C White Sugar
1C Shortening
2 eggs
1C Buttermilk (or a little less than 1C milk and 1T lemon juice-let sit 10+ min)
1t Vanilla
1C hot water
4C Flour
1C Cocoa
2t Salt
2t Baking Soda

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and beat. Add liquid and dry ingredients alternately. Drop teaspoon sized balls onto greased cookie sheets. DO NOT make the cookies larger than tablespoon size!

Bake at 400 degrees for 7 minutes. Cool completely and fill.

2T Flour
2T milk
1 1/2C Shortening
2 egg whites, room temp.
1t vanilla
4C 10x Sugar

Beat flour and milk. Cream in shortening. Add other ingredients and beat until smooth.

Spread a generous amount of filling onto one cookie. Top with another. You can freeze these; wrap individual pies in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer safe container. Defrost in the fridge.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Moon Cookies

In case you are interested in trying something new:

(click on the image for the recipe)

My grandmother must have been friends with Jaraslava Pouska, the woman mentioned in the article. My granny got her recipe directly from Mrs. Pouska years ago.

Monday, December 07, 2009

It's time

...time to take up the traditions of the ladies in my family. This Christmas, despite Miguel's protests, I am going to make Whoopie Pies (my mom's recipe, IF I can find it) and Moon Cookies (a Lithuanian tradition, and my grandmother's recipe). Whoopie Pies are a lot of work, so I've never attempted them. I used to despise Moon Cookies, so I've never made them. I am up for a challenge. Bring on the Whoopie Pies. My tastes have changed. Bring on the Moon Cookies.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Isabel, my baby girl, your first birthday is today, and truly the last year has flown by. I miss the sweet little baby you were, but love the crazy little girl you've become. I miss having you sleep contently, with your head rested against my chest. But I love the way you throw your head back and chuckle for no good reason. I love the way you come running to me, your mouth wide open, screaming "ahhhhh" because you want a kiss. When you're tired, you get ridiculously silly which makes us laugh constantly. You run around the room trying to kiss everything in sight.

Right now, you are loving your "Little People" farm books, balls, babies, and of course Cuzco. You follow me around, but also play on your own. You have managed to take every baking and cooking utensil I own out of the cabinets, but can't seem to put them back. The toilet paper is never around the roll, and I can't help but let you do unroll it every time. You laugh and giggle, and my heart melts!

Precious baby girl, our prayer for you is that you will grow up to love our Savior. That you will be a beautiful girl-inside and out. That you will cling to His faithfulness and goodness, no matter what the coming years hold. We love that God chose us to be your parents and truly cannot wait to watch you grow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

coming to terms

Messes used to make me cringe. I'd get the heebie geebies when I saw my carpets strewn with babies, blocks, and books. When Isabel first started "getting into" things, I would follow closely behind her. Putting away the books as she moved on to the blocks. But, as soon as the books were put away she was through with the blocks and back to the books. You know the drill. I spent all day: books put away, blocks cleaned up, books re-sorted, blocks neatly stacked. Then she discovered toilet paper, and I thought it was cute. She'd pull off one little square and eat it. So cute, right? Then she realized she could keep pulling, and pulling, and pulling...After most of the paper was on the floor, I would wind the entire roll back around the tube.

I was driving myself insane, all in the name of keeping a neat, organized home. Then, last week, I had a revelation of sorts. Why not save the mental and physical energy during the day and do one big clean up after Isabel is in bed for the night. Wow, earth-shattering.

I have learned to be OK with this (at least for the 12 hours Isabel is awake):

And this (quite possibly until she grows out of this phase):
Now, I have *huge* reserves of energy for things like reading and watching t.v. once she's safely tucked in bed, unable to destroy my house until tomorrow.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


I am not one to collect "stuff." This has trickled down to Isabel. Poor girl. She has very few toys, and even fewer that we've purchased for her. But, as she's getting older, I've realized that she needs at least a few things to play with! ha. With her birthday and Christmas both right around the corner, I have been trying to come up with a list of toys, books, puzzles, etc. that we would like for her.

I would love to know what your favorite items were for your 12-18 month old! What books did your kids most enjoy? What toys kept them engaged?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

um, yum!

Chocolate and peanut butter. Need I say more?! (click on the picture) The entire site is dedicated to all things chocolate and peanut butter. I'll be visiting this site regularly!

Monday, October 26, 2009


These could quite possibly be the prettiest slippers I have seen. I want a pair (from L.L. Bean). I think even Stacie London and Clinton Kelley would approve.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

11 months

Isabel is 11 months old today. Over the past three months, she has gone from barely crawling to almost walking. She's so funny; she takes six steps and then flies through the air to get to her final destination. She's gone from being toothless to having her two bottom teeth. She's gone from being a shy little baby to a loud, screaming little girl. She imitates us vocally when we cough, blow raspberries, or scream. She loves food more than ANYONE I know, and refuses to share her food with the dog (unless it's Cheerios). She loves to be scared by Daddy sneaking around corners, Mommy chasing her, and Cuzco coming to lick her. She lights up when she sees her cousins, Oren and Zion. She plays with Oren and loves on Zion. She carries her baby doll around, and will kiss it when told to, or when she feels like it. Though all girl, she is tough. She will take a nose dive, and get right up without crying. She truly has brought such joy, entertainment and growth to us.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Thanks, Laura

I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed out lately. There seems to be no time to slow down, relax, or have fun. However, this Youtube video has kept me laughing. I think I've watched Anjelah Johnson's Bon Qui Qui about ten times this week!! Enjoy, and i hope it makes you laugh, too!

Saturday, October 03, 2009


I love S'mores. The gooey marshmallows, the melted chocolate, all smooshed between two crunchy graham cracker. Today, I was introduced to a more sophisticated version of the good ol' standard. S'mores made with a Reese's Cup instead of the Hershey's bar. OHMYGOODNESS! Try it; you'll wonder why you ate boring S'mores for years and years when this fabulouness was just a Reese's Cup away.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Nothing says fall to me like:
1. Raven's games
2. Sleeping in socks
3. Bonkey's pumpkin ice cream with a scoop of toasted coconut ice cream
4. Making soupWhat do you love about fall?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

oh poo, pt. 2

A little clarification. I felt the need to tell Miguel about the poop situation. I was trying not to laugh the entire time. His only comment was, "That wasn't the SMARTEST thing you've ever done!" He insisted that he had washed the spatula. But I've seen him do dishes, and well, let's hope he at least rinsed off some of the major chunks ;-) The spatula has been boiled and is safe to use again for flipping eggs.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

oh poo.

Yesterday, I took Cuzco, our dog out for a walk. He pooped out what looked like clear jello. Gel-like, oozy, and just plain disgusting. As soon as I plastic bagged it, he had diarrhea again. I untied the bag and scooped that up. I walked him one last time before bed for good measure. However, this morning, I woke up to a nice large pile of diarrhea on my living room floor. Poor dog, he must be sick. Not a pleasant job to clean it up, but it had to be done. I tried to figure out how to scoop it up, without making more of a poopy mess. So, I grabbed a spatula and scraped it off the floor, and that worked perfectly. Quickly, while holding my nose, I rinsed all visible signs of poo off the spatula and put it in the dishwasher.

About an hour later, Miguel made himself fried eggs. He does this almost every morning, so I thought nothing of it. After breakfast, I went to load the dishes and realized that the spatula was no longer in the dishwasher. Yup, you guessed it. He had grabbed a spatula out of the dishwasher because there wasn't a clean one. He used the poopy spatula to flip his eggs!!!! SICK.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I have been doing a lot of thinking and planning and daydreaming about Isabel's first birthday. Nothing extreme or over the top, just family and close friends. And lots of cake and ice cream! All my mental efforts seem silly, but I need to get ON THE BALL now. Nine months have flown by, and I know the next three certainly aren't going to slow down. I do wonder if time could slow just a bit, so that that I could learn how to make this:

Friday, August 28, 2009


Upon signing into Skype this morning and searching for my father, this is what I found:

"Make sure your contact's name is spelt correctly."

My father may not be on Skype, but I bet if he were his name would be SPELLED correctly. Oh happy day! Nothing brings a smile to my face like a grammatical error first thing in the morning!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What I am loving lately... body wash. It smells amazing-a bit spicy, a bit exotic, lots of yummy. I could, quite possible, use it every single day and never grow tired of the scent. Sadly, I'm too cheap to buy name brand body wash. I wonder when Wal-Mart will come out with its "Compare to Caress' Evenly Gorgeous" body wash??!

What is your favorite product scent?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Food Blogs

Someday, I would like to cook really, really yummy food and do it really, really well! Limited resources leave me searching google for "cheap meals" and "budget friendly entrees" and "meatless dinners." Oh the joys! Not super inspiring. But, every once in a while, to boost my culinary spirits, I will check out And on a daily basis, I read Sassy Radish, just to drool a bit.

What are your favorite food websites and blogs?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


She likes the boys. She likes the older boys. Here's proof that we're going to need to buy that shotgun sooner than we had originally thought! ;-)
(It's horrible quality, thanks to my cell phone not having a flash!)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Move over...

Jodi Piccoult. You've met your match in James Patterson. While neither are fantastic authors-I deem them both "beach reads." Both authors have mastered the Plot Twist. Jodi Piccoult's are guaranteed to leave your jaw on the floor. But, after reading Beach Road, by James Patterson, I wonder who the master Plot Twister truly is. The book seemed straightforward. A murder. A trial. A happy ending. The End. Right?? Wrong. In the last chapters, the entire story was turned upside down, and left me asking, "Is this for real??!" It was the twist of all twists-unpredictable, unanticipated, and just plain wrong. Beach Road certainly did not end how I scripted it, but it did entertain. And from a "bead read," what more could I really ask? Thank you, James Patterson, for taking over the spot as top J.P. in my book.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Libby and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

My week has felt pretty much just like the much beloved children's book. Not bad as in "my dog died, and I used sour milk in my cereal." But bad as in "I'm just not quite myself." Let me explain.

On Friday, I woke up with a very sore throat. This sore throat traveled north into the sinuses and has resulted in the use of two entire tissue boxes.

On Saturday, I arrived at the beach to realize that I had forgotten MANY things:
1. Isabel's sunglasses
2. My strapless bra that would go with 3 tank tops.
3. My white cami that would go with my OTHER 2 tops (read: No shirts to wear!)
4. My razor.
5. My contact case.

On Sunday, I went into my HOT car and found my favorite tub of lip gloss...melted all over the place.

On Monday, well, Monday was an OK day!

On Tuesday, I drove home from vacation, only to realize that I had forgotten MANY things:
1. My bathing suits
2. Isabel's bathing suit
3. One cantaloupe, a box of granola bars, and food containers
4. One green towel, one white towel, one washcloth, and one pink pouf

On Wednesday, I had another OK day.

On Thursday, I drove past my exit because I just had to tell Kristin something that I had forgotten to tell her just seconds earlier. I then had to drive 10 miles out of my way to hit the next exit and turn around.

On Thursday, I also managed to buy a box of crackers that I didn't really want for a measly $4.99!!!!!! While browsing the cracker aisle, I saw a new type of cracker with a "Try me for free" rebate sticker on it. All that was required was an original receipt and the rebate form. "No problem," you might be thinking. However, in the self-check out line, I ran into Erika. We chatted while I checked out. I left. Once I was home, I went to fill out the form and realized I had forgotten to grab my receipt. Lovely.

It truly was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad least for my organized, generally put together brain. I think I'll move to Australia. Or go make a list.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

all grown up

I have officially graduated into adulthood. I will now eat tomatoes, well at least tiny cherry tomatoes cut into quarters ;-)

What foods are you enjoying this summer?

Friday, July 31, 2009

Psalm 103

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6 The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.

9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;

10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I am not a jewelry kinda girl. But I saw this and think that A) I love it, B) I need it, and C) It's a quirky, yet sophisticated idea. Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I honestly feel like I have weeks where I am constantly asking, "What day is it today??!" I've had to reschedule my work appointments so many times, and think this bracelet could be the solution to my "daily" confusion!(Click on the picture to see the Etsy store)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It's been a while since a good old fashioned book review. I had not read a whole lot, and was finally able to get back into the swing of things. I find that if I don't have my next book ready and waiting, I will go months without reading.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Story of a young girl in WWII Nazi Germany. Story told by the omniscient narrator, "Death."

Initially, I was hesitant to read this book club selection. It's on the 9th grade reading list, for heaven's sake! It is shelved in the Juvenile Fiction section of the library. Yet as I delved in, I was pleasantly surprised. The author's writing style was unique, and the plot was more than the typical WWII drama. You will fall in love with Liesel, the book thief, as she grows and changes. You will laugh at her misadventures; hold your breath as she stares Death in the eyes; cry at her losses; and perhaps even feel your heart breaking for her. Warning: I sobbed through the last two chapters of the book.

Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman. Suspense thriller about a private investigator. One of the books in the Tess Monaghan series.

Laura Lippman used to write for the Baltimore Sun, and I was told that all of her books are set in Baltimore. That was the initial draw. It certainly didn't stop there! I couldn't put this thriller down. The writing was excellent, and at times, dictionary worthy. The characters were believable, and the plot was intense. I loved that I could picture Tess walking through town to eat at Burke's. Or the film crew cruising along Locust Point. I will certainly be grabbing the next book in the series. Warning: there is a bit of foul language in the book, though no more than a PG-13 movie would contain.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sneak Peek

On Saturday, we had a family photo shoot with Megan Russell. Check out her website for a sneak peek of the pictures she took. Isabel's silly faces make me laugh. I can't wait to get a few developed, framed, and hung.

Friday, July 10, 2009


As a kid, I spent many long hours at the Harford Square Pool. There were play dates, and swim lessons with Mr. Norm, and push-pops from the snack bar, and yearly swim tests, and cannonballs off the diving board. I was never a great swimmer, nor did I learn to touch the bottom of the pool. I didn't have a ton of neighborhood friends, and was only allowed one snack. But I don't remember those things so much. They weren't important at the time, and aren't now. I can still hear the carefree laughter, feel the warmth of the sun, and see the smiles, even after twenty years.

As I splashed in the pool yesterday, I had this overwhelming desire to ensure that Isabel grow up with those very same experiences. Perhaps it won't be Mr. Norm teaching her to swim. And perhaps she will prefer strawberry shortcake Good Humor bars. It really doesn't matter. I want my daughter to have vivid memories of her childhood, giggling and splashing away the summer hours.

What memories do you have of your childhood summers?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


I think we're in trouble. This girl LOVES her food. Flaps her arms and legs when she sees it. Whines if it doesn't come fast enough. Cries when it's finished. On top of all of that, she is a Barowski, which means she is destined to think ice cream is a major food group. AND, we've become "those" parents that give their children sugar before their first birthday. *sigh* it was a lost cause, why did I even pretend?!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Zucchini with Quinoa Stuffing
Serves 4
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Heat oven to 400° F. In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange in a large baking dish, cut-side up.
  • Fluff the quinoa and fold in the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and 3 tablespoons of the oil.
  • Spoon the mixture into the zucchini. Top with the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
I have been into quinoa for a while now, thanks to Hope. Generally, I've used the pure protein as a substitute for pasta or rice. Last month's Real Simple had the above recipe, and since I had all of the ingredients, I tried it. At the very end, we drizzled balsamic vinegar over it, to add a little flavor. It is a great, filling side dish for chicken, steak, or even fish.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Often I wonder why I am cleaning my house, again; why I am doing laundry, again; why I am persevering through the mundane, again....This morning's excerpt from Morning and Evening brought a bit of light (and encouragement) to my daily, seemingly meaningless tasks.

"We live unto the Lord."—Romans 14:8
Why are His children still wandering hither and thither through a maze...? The answer is—they are here that they may "live unto the Lord," and may bring others to know His love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed; as ploughmen to break up the fallow ground; as heralds publishing salvation. We are here as the "salt of the earth," to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for Him, and as "workers together with Him." Let us see that our life answereth its end. Let us live earnest, useful, holy lives, to "the praise of the glory of His grace." -C.H. Spurgeon

Right now, I am called to live a useful life, a holy life. My areas of ministry may have shrunk drastically, and my contact with "the outside world" may be limited, but I am still called to bring glory and praise to HIM in this season. As I go about my daily chores, as I care for Isabel, and as I carry out those oh-so-boring tasks today, I pray that I will keep my purpose in life in mind.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Middle of the night

I talk in my sleep, this is a proven fact. Usually, I wake myself up, realize how silly I sound, and go back to sleep. Last night, apparently, I was talking but did not wake myself up. Miguel called me this morning and relayed this conversation:

Me: Get it, get it. *sitting straight up in bed, screaming*
Miguel: What is it??
Me: I'm serious this time, it's really in bed.
Miguel: WHAT is it??!
Me: An umbrella, get the umbrella! I'm serious!
Miguel: What's an umbrella going to do??
Me: Poke me in the eye!!!!

When Miguel told me our conversation, I cried from laughing so hard! I often dream that things are in our bed-bugs, animals, people. I have never, however, dreamed that a killer umbrella was on the loose. Too many rainy days in a row, perhaps?!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Psalm 61

verses 1-4
Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.

From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.

I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chocolate Cake Heaven

When I get to Heaven, I pray this cake is on the dessert buffet!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Isabel has been quite the slow grower, weight-wise. However, her doctor is happy, so we're happy. Today, at her 6 mo. appointment she weighed 14 pounds, 10 ounces and was 27" long. That puts her 86th%-ile for height and 19th%-ile for weight. Tall and skinny. Let's hope she stays that way!

Fun things she's doing:
*Sitting up on her own
*Sleeping on her belly 90% of the time
*Blowing raspberries quite loudly
*Feeding herself everything in sight (including rice puffs)
*Eating solid foods and loving every single thing she's tried
*Showing us two very different personalities-loud and silly at home; quiet and reserved in public-wonder where she gets those two opposing traits?!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I love the brown and sea foam green color combination. My daughter's room, my nursing cover, and my wallet are all variations on the theme. Not normally a problem.

Grocery shopping has become quite a task with Isabel in tow. Her car seat is too large, and therefore does not snap into the grocery cart. I either carry her in the baby carrier or put the car seat in the main part of the cart. By the time I am done shopping, the bottom is full, Isabel is surrounded by food, and she usually has one or two items on her lap as well. It's a bit of an adventure, to say the least. Today was no different. The senior citizens were out in force, every line was jammed, and I had a longer than normal list.

As I waited in line, the line behind me continued to grow. I rummaged through my bag to get my coupons and wallet ready. My wallet. The one that I KNEW was in the bag, because I had double checked. As I rummaged around, I let out a sigh. No wallet to be found, just a pretty, sea foam green nursing wrap.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

"ah ha"

Ever had one of those moments. The ones where it just "clicks" and you get it. All the questions are answered, the confusion is gone, and "Ah Ha!"--you know. I had one of those moments this week.

Isabel is a SLOW bottle drinker. Some days it would take her more than 45 minutes to drink 5 ounces. It was to the point that we really hated giving her bottles! The other day, Miguel defrosted some milk and it was therefore warm. She drank it down in about 2 minutes. We realized, duh, that we'd been giving her cold and/or not-so-warm milk. Some babies don't mind, but obviously she was trying to tell us something. She HATES cold milk. Now we heat the bottles, and like magic, she slurps it down in under 5. That's my girl.

What "Ah Ha" moments have you had lately? Any that will spare me months of parenting torture?!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too cute

I want these!!! How cute would it be to hang from my diaper bag, or a bottle, or her favorite stuffed animal, or her soccer bag...the possibilities are endless. I think I could convince myself that this is an investment piece!

Check out the adorable site for more tags and labels.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The journey to contentment (and a car) has been a very long one. For two months, I have wrestled with anger, bitterness, and impatience. After my car died, I assumed we would find another within a week. I could wait a week, even two. As the weeks passed, and all the great deals seemed to pass us, I began to lose hope. Had God not heard my desperate pleas? Had Miguel not heard my desperate pleas?

Contentment. Not the lesson I wanted to learn. Yet, I have so clearly seen God's provision in God's timing. Was I going to have an "Ishmael" car by forcing the issue? Or an "Isaac" car by allowing God to bring the car of his choosing across our path?

Last Saturday, we stumbled across a newly posted Honda Pilot on Craig's List, and the story began. The car was beautifully kept, had low miles, and had everything we were looking for (and more) in a vehicle. But, it was out of our budget. Miguel called the woman, Ellie, and immediately liked her. We decided to go see the car, but had to wait until Monday. As we were walking on the trail, we decided to call her and offer her a lower price, just to see what she would say. Before we could call, Ellie called US and offered the car to us at the exact same price we were going to offer. She said to think about it while she talked with her husband. Monday we drove to see it, and we both loved it. We had our deposit ready until she quoted us a higher price. Her husband did not want her to sell it for such a steal. I walked away feeling disappointed, but honestly at peace. I could be content to wait a few more days, weeks, or perhaps even a month. The next day, Miguel called to thank Ellie for her time and to tell her that we would not be purchasing the vehicle. Ellie immediately told Miguel that she wanted to bless us as a family, and she would sell us the car at a greatly discounted price. Ellie's sister had reminded her that there is blessing in being generous and blessing others. We had our "Isaac" car!

Unbeknownst to me, Miguel had prayed that morning that God would be gracious to us and allow Ellie to offer an even lower price than she had originally quoted. Miguel prayed a big prayer and saw God answer immediately and powerfully. If for no other reason, I truly believe the my VW died to increase my contentment and Miguel's faith. It is amazing the circumstances God uses to mold us and teach us. I pray that in the next trial or test, I will be able to find contentment as I look back and see God's provision in God's perfect timing.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

4 months (a week or so late)

Time has literally been flying by. I teared up last week as I sat and watched Isabel. She is no longer a newborn, and at times seems like a little girl. We have enjoyed every single day of being her parents. Each day seems to be more fun than the one before.

Isabel's favorite things:
*Staring thoughtfully at people
*Watching her dog and laughing as he licks her hands
*Playing with her toys on her playmat

Silly things she's doing:
*Crying at certain (unnamed) friends
*Eating cereal and squealing between bites, almost as if she's saying "more Mom!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tasty Tuesday

Cheesy title, right?! I figured everyone else does it, why shouldn't I? Today found me enjoying Reubens (my all-time favorite sandwich) and ice cream from Bonkey's.

This Reuben recipe was truly tasty:

I even used the skillet and 28oz tomato can that they suggested. It felt silly, but it was fun!

And Bonkey's. There are not words enough to describe the experience. If you haven't been, please come up and we'll take you!!! Homemade ice cream shop housed in an old movie theater; families enjoying ice cream/snowballs/candy at incredibly reasonable prices; little town feel where you always run into someone you know; I love the whole Bonkey's experience.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This clip reminded me of my mom. We often say that if she gets healed, we will confiscate all of her clothing and destroy it before she can protest! I pray this clip will never remind you of ME!

Friday, March 06, 2009

What I'm Loving Lately

This Condiment Recipe for Chipotle Mayo

1 C. Mayo (we use light or Smart Balance)
2 Chipotles in adobo sauce
1 T. Adobo sauce
Juice of half a lime (I use bottled juice and add to taste)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Chop peppers finely and add to mayo
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine
(This can all be put in a food processor and pureed. I don't have one so do it by hand.)

This is a very spicy, flavorful addition to burgers, chicken salad, and even tacos.

Thank you, Bobby Flay for spicing up my life and burgers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fun Finds

I love Target's dollar section. Right now, they have out Easter stuff. I bought a felt bag/basket for Isabel that is beyond adorable! There were too many styles to choose from (pink bunny, yellow chick, purple flowers, eeeeeek). I almost bought 3! I also stocked up on non-Easter cards with great prints and small gifts to keep on hand. For a buck, the stationery they provide is good quality and pretty.

Wal-Mart, at least by us, has their Valentine's goodies discounted to nearly 90%. I purchased an "X" and "O" muffin tin, too cute, for $2; a lip-shaped cookie cutter for $0.50; and ten adorable heart-shaped gift boxes, perfect for giving small gifts, for $1.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


It's the little things in life that bring the greatest joys! Yesterday, Isabel rolled from her tummy to her back, screaming the entire time. The way I reacted, you would've though the Ravens had won the Super Bowl.

What small joys are you finding in life right now?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Movie Review

Miguel and I have been watching our fare share of movies lately, courtesy of RedBox. With a sick baby, we've changed most of our plans and opted instead for lots of Isabel cuddle time. When we couldn't handle watching Ultimate Recipe Showdown for the 5th time, we rented movies. Friday night it was Three Men and a Baby. You've got to watch it for the diaper changing scene alone. I'd forgotten how funny it is, probably made more so by the fact that we are in the throws of poopy diapers! Saturday night we watched Changeling. Angelina Jolie stars in this true story about a mother whose son is stolen and then "returned." The boy she welcomes home is, upon inspection, not her son. After repeatedly protesting and begging that the police continue the hunt for her real son, she is wrongfully imprisoned in an insane asylum. A local minster takes up her cause and helps her fight the justice system and the corruption of the time. The movie is certainly heart wrenching, and hard to believe that such an event actually took place in our nation. Changeling is definitely worth the two and a half hour watch.

Friday, February 20, 2009

3 months

Isabel is three months old today. It is strange to measure in months and not weeks. Where has the time gone?? A few of her favorite things:

*Screaming when she's happy, which is most of the time
*Smiling her big, toothless grin at Mommy and Daddy
*Holding onto my shirt while eating.
*Watching t.v....sigh...when she's supposed to be eating. Miguel is firm in his resolution that she will NOT watch the Bachelor. But Isabel does love the Food Network.

Silly things she has been doing lately:

*Scrunching up one side of her lip and nose (a bit like Elvis)
*Throwing herself backwards while we hold her in order to get a good view of the ceiling
*Pulling my hair
*Outgrowing her 0-3 mo. clothing
*Waking up with "bed head"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

black foils

"Afflictions are often the black foils in which God does set the jewels of His children's graces, to make them shine the better...God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians." -C.H. Spurgeon, from Morning and Evening

Our life seems full of testing at the moment. We have seen God provide for us in amazing ways, only to see that same provision seemingly taken away. This week has brought about new opportunities to see just where my hope lies. Isabel's state-funded insurance has been canceled due to Miguel's new salary. Though he makes significantly less than he did at his previous job, he still makes too much for us to qualify for the insurance she was receiving. So, our application gets transferred to another agency, and we wait. We wait to see how God will provide. We pray for health and safety for our baby girl. At times, I feel like these trials will crush me. I don't always have the faith/vision to see the trials as the black foils. But my prayer is that I will remember HIS ultimate purpose in my current trials. I pray that He uses them to bring me to His feet and make my faith shine brighter.

"Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there."
-C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I wish I had written this article from Newsweek. It was witty and quite honestly, true!

(Click on image to read article)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


I was reading through old posts this morning, and I realized that I used to write better posts than I have been recently. Or at least posts that were entertaining or useful. Without further ado, here's a throwback post.

What is the best Valentines' gift you have ever given AND received?

Best Received: A cook top stove. Purchased and installed by Miguel while I was at work. I got home and saw a gorgeous bouquet of roses on the counter. I didn't even realize that they were sitting on a brand new stove! Miguel then made me a nice dinner on that stove. Perhaps not the most romantic gift, but definitely something I had desired. It was that much sweeter because it was a surprise.

Best Given: I have a horrible memory, so I can only remember last year! I had written a "menu" for the evening, including things like: a romantic dinner by candle light, a massage, etc. He earned "money" to buy the items by finding Hershey Kisses I had placed around the house. In the evening, he counted all of his Kisses and then chose several items off the menu. What he chose was based on how many Kisses he had found, and the value of each menu item. It was a fun, creative way to give him a gift (and inexpensive).

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Things

I wasn't going to do this, but enjoyed reading every ones, that I couldn't help but start thinking of what I would put. And then I had here they are in no particular order.

1. When I make salads for us, I don't wash the lettuce. If we have guests, I do.
2. Miguel picked all of the colors for our house. He has a much better sense of decorating than I do.
3. I hate to mop and have only mopped once in the last two months. I spot clean.
4. I drink my soda through a straw so I won't stain my teeth.
5. I am a closet Justin Timberlake fan. Yeah, I'm bringing sexy back.
6. I hate scary movies, but love Stephen King's books, especially Misery. I had to sleep with the light on one night after reading it in bed.
7. I change toilet paper rolls at other people's houses so the paper hangs OVER.
8. I loved being pregnant.
9. With that said, I wouldn't mind being pregnant again by this summer.
10. I don't like cheese on my burgers, but always get it on the side to eat separately.
11. I have a secret desire to go to culinary school.
12. I can easily shop for and dress others, but have a very hard time doing so for myself.
13. I have a horrible memory. I can't even remember the plot of the movie we watched this weekend.
14. I love technical writing and edit papers on the side.
15. I used to love ice hockey and had posters in my room of Pavel Bure and Sergei Federov.
16. I am a very critical person.
17. I think pretty much all babies are funky looking, even mine when she was born.
18. In college, if I ate on campus, I would order cheese and mayo on wheat with a big pickle. It was the cheapest sandwich on the menu and I love it.
19. As a kid, I hated messes and couldn't finger paint because my hands would get dirty. My granny still forced me to.
20. Irregardless is NOT a word, and I cringe it when people say it.
21. I am ultra competitive. Miguel and I have to be on the same team when playing games.
22. I'm embarrassed when people come over because of all the dog hair. I always offer a lint brush before they even sit down.
23. I would get rid of the dog so I can have a clean house for longer than 2 seconds.
24. I motivate myself to not be lazy by saying, "Do it now." sometimes I have to say it out loud, so I really hear it and listen.
25. Miguel laughed at me when I told him I was a laid back mom. Guess I am not!


Yesterday, Kjirstin and I spent the afternoon together. We are forcing our little ones to be friends, whether they grow up and like each other or not! =) Since it's not exactly warm and sunny right now, we decided that instead of venturing out, we would do some baking and cooking during our weekly playgroups. Kjirstin isn't eating wheat, because of Logan's allergies, so she brought along this recipe:

Wheat-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

1 C. Peanut Butter
3/4 C. Sugar (we used 1 C., but I would definitely use 3/4 next time)
1 egg

Whisk the egg. Add the PB and Sugar. Beat until well combined. Spoon rounded tablespoon sized cookies onto an ungreased sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8ish minutes. Cookies will set-up as they cool.

I was quite skeptical of these "cookies," but they ended up being quite delicious!! Not to mention they're the easiest cookies in the world to make. I always have the ingredients on hand, so Miguel and I will probably make them quite often to go with our nightly ice cream!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Book Club Update

It's been a while since I have posted our book club's readings. Perhaps this is due to lack of time, or just lack of interesting reads! December's book was "The Christmas Train" by David Baldacci. Cheesy plot, if you can call it a plot; predictable twist; action packed, in a ridiculous "ALL this drama could never happen to one person" sort of way. Need I say more?! I didn't make it to the meeting due to a family gathering.

January's book was "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyers. I had no desire to see the vampire movie when it came out, nor did I have any intentions of reading the book. In fact, I didn't realize the movie was based on a popular young-adult book series. I went into it thinking "Harry Potter." Fabulous, a new series for me to devour. But, what I discovered was little more than a young-adult romance. It held my attention, and I was drawn in, I admit. It was a bit like watching those cheesy chick-flicks -we make fun of the movies, but secretly are quite entertained. However, I am not going to read the series. "Harry Potter," it was not.

Now, a complete shift in genre. "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is our February book. I've found it a bit difficult to move from fluff to heavier reading. Perhaps because I am constantly stopping and starting again between Isabel's feedings...hmmm....wonder how long it will take me to finish?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2 months

Isabel turned two months today and our baby girl isn't so much of a baby any more. I was looking at pictures on facebook yesterday from the past 8 weeks, and teared up. She is so big, and I wonder who let that happen? Major milestones (at least to me!) over the past weeks have included:

-Smiling at us when we talk to her. She smiles and coos the most when she's on her back on the changing pad.
-Holding her head up on her own to look around. She absolutely loves to look over her left shoulder (??weirdo??)
-Sleeping through the night, at least most nights.
-Weighing in at 9 pounds, 14 ounces. OHMYGOSH. That means size 1/2 diapers and 0-3 month clothing.

I have loved motherhood more than I ever imagined I would or could. I am amazed by the most simple of things-watching her sleep, hearing her "tired" cries, seeing her stare at colorful objects. There are many times that I cry as I realize how blessed we are; I want to remember every moment of these sweet and all-too-quickly-passing days.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Perfect Super Bowl Party Food

I am always trying to come up with new "party" foods. At caregroup this past week, Cathy made an amazing Buffalo Chicken Dip. Miguel loved it so much that he had me make it for the Raven's game on Sunday. I think the dip was devoured in under 5 minutes. The dip is simple to make and is sure to be a huge hit at any party you host.

1 lb. chicken, boiled and shredded
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened (I used one low-fat and one regular)

1 C. Ranch Dressing (low-fat)
3/4 C. hot sauce, such as Frank's
2 C. shredded Cheddar Cheese

1. In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and Ranch dressing.
2. Stir in hot sauce and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese.
3. Stir in chicken.
4. Bake in 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 C. cheddar over top and let bake 2 more minutes or until melted.

Serve with tortilla chips, Triscuits, celery, etc.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Extreme Home Makeover

Occasionally we watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I love how Ty has his "special" project room, and the other designers make sure that the kids will absolutely love their rooms. The designers spend time talking with the kids, finding out what would make the room the best possible for them. Sometimes it's a Disney room, or maybe a jungle theme, and sometimes even a Harry Potter room with doors and drawers that open when you point the wand at them. Amazing. I love to see the face of each family member as they enter the room made JUST for them.

As we were watching last night, Miguel wondered aloud what type of room he would want. A snowboarding room? A room full of tools and work space? He decided on a running/gym room, fully equipped with high-end workout equipment, weights, and training gear. Wonder what that room would cost??

I quickly stated that I would want my room to be a library. I can picture myself walking into a room with floor to ceiling bookshelves. Dark mahogany wood, of course. The shelves would be stocked with books of all kinds-classics, contemporary fiction, children's literature...and the book list would go on and on.

What does your "dream" room look like?