Monday, June 27, 2011

Awaited Recipes

A while ago, I talked about some recipes that I had tried out and I got a lot of requests for these recipes. Well, I am finally going to post them :)

I am always looking for new SIMPLE and CHEAP recipes. I don't have a lot of time to cook and I also don't have a lot of money to buy ingredients with so here are a few of our favorites that we use often!

Homemade Flour Tortillas: I thought this would be a lot more work than it actually was. They are pretty simple to make and cheaper than buying at the store and are SOOOOO yummy!

You can find the recipe here:,2357,154176-235203,00.html This recipe makes about 8 tortillas so you might want to double it. Our very favorite way to eat these is with black beans, some cheese, corn, and rice - simple and very good!!! We also have used them for breakfast burritos and tacos!

Another family favorite is Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese. We used to always reach for the blue box but as we are trying harder to cut out artificial foods in our house, I decided to try it out. It only takes a few more minutes than the blue box and it is sooo much better! And this recipe makes a BIG pan of the stuff!

The recipe can be found here: After I make it, I always put breadcrumbs on it and bake it for about 10 minutes at 350. It is wonderful with some fresh corn on the cob and bread rolls!!!

A new, cheap and very easy recipe I am trying today is Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Drumsticks:

This was so simple and very cheap. Drumsticks come on sale a lot so I figured why not try this with my sweet and sour recipe. So I threw them in the slow cooker today and they smell fabulous!

The recipe for the sweet and sour sauce is:

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp Ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce

I just poured that over the chicken in the slow cooker and have had it on low for about 8 hours and it looks really good. I will throw some rice on before Peter gets home and I am sure it will make for a great dinner tonight!

Anyone else have any cheap and easy dinner recommendations?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Our Story - Part 3

Finally we were to our year 1 of marriage together!

So far, we've gone back and looked at our 7 months of dating and our 18 months of engagement to get to this date - our wedding day! We spent an entire 18 months planning and preparing and it was finally time to walk down the aisle and start our lives together!

For the most part our wedding day was everything we wanted it to be. There of course your typical wedding day glitches (um, what photographer FORGETS her camera!?!) but it was a great day, that went way to fast for all the hours we put into planning and we were quickly done with it and on to life together!

For the most part I was a very calm bride. I didn't get nervous until RIGHT before the wedding when they said it was time to go. Then I really started wondering why in the world we chose to have a big wedding. But as soon as Peter was holding my hand, my nerves calmed and everything was okay. We did our wedding traditionally and Peter did not see my dress until he saw me walking down the aisle.

And we were married!!! Amazing how reciting a view vows, placing a couple symbols on your fingers, and sealing it with a kiss creates a permanent, lifetime union! We were ready to face whatever life could throw at us together!

My most important piece of wedding preparation was my cake! This was the item I spend my childhood looking up in cake decorating books and thinking about. We did a Disney themed wedding reception and the cake was the most important piece of the puzzle. The glass castle cake topper we purchased when we got engaged in Disneyland and everything else was made around that. The main cakes wrapped around saying "And they lived happily ever after..."

The smaller cakes had gold mickey mouse heads. I pretty much loved everything about the cake!

Our reception was done at my great-grandmother's old farm house. It was such a blessing for me to get to have my reception at such an amazingly beautiful location!!!

I just can't even begin to say how much excitement we had at finally being husband and wife! We had waited so long and we really felt sooo ready to start life together!

Oh and can't go on without showing a picture of my incredible amazing wedding shoes :)

And that was that! A couple hours at the wedding reception and we were on our way to forever!

I know most people wouldn't consider Disneyland the perfect honeymoon destination, but for us it was the most perfect honeymoon a person could ask for!

The view from our room:
We had soooo much fun!

And Disney sure did try and make everything special for us!

We ate so many chocolate covered strawberries. I always associate strawberries with Disneyland now - they were sooo good. We picked up at least a few everyday!

Our Honeymoon picture in the engagement spot!

Umm, pretty much the best dessert ever at our favorite restaurant The Blue Bayou. Imagine my EXTREME disappointment when I discovered on our last trip that they discontinued this - bad form Disneyland.

It was so hot! Seriously, just a matter of minutes and our icy drinks were totally melted!

The official honeymoon ended, but we still had a fabulous first year of marriage. A few weeks after returning from Disneyland and we got into a normal routine. I went back to work and Peter went back to school for his Junior year. He was very busy with school and working 30 hour weeks, but life was so much easier than it was being engaged. It was so nice to come home to each other every night!

We had heard so many times how difficult that first year of marriage is or people would say "oh, I would never want to go back to that first year" but really, it was pretty great. We consider ourselves very fortunate and blessed that the transition into marriage was so smooth!

New Years Day 2007

To celebrate making it through another year of school, we headed off to our very first trip ever at Disney World! It was a fun little get-away at the end of a busy school year! We had just one more year of school to go! We could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!

In Peter's first effort (of many) to delay children, we got our first little pets - our baby chinchilla's!!! (who btw are still going strong!)

As we approached our one year wedding anniversary, we headed over to Eastern Oregon for a family reunion. It was a lot of fun and so beautiful!

Looking back now, I think we established a very strong foundation that first year of marriage. As I think about that first year I just think of a lot of fun. We were so happy to finally be living life together and starting our life as young married adults!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Malachi's Gotcha Day

Enjoy :)

1 Year Ago.....

Today is a day that holds a lot of significance. It is my Grandpa's 80th Birthday, which is special, it is also the day 2 years ago that my very dear grandmother passed away. AND it is also the day, one year ago we found out we were going to be parents for the second time!

I can't remember exactly where we were in the court process, but I believe by this point we had our 3rd court appointment and found out we hadn't passed. It was such an emotional time and I just wanted my son home. My spirits were very low and I figured I was just upset about the delays in getting him home. I was very worn out and more exhausted than I had ever been before. Which was odd because just weeks prior to this I had quit my job and now truly had no reason to be tired! I definitely just felt "off" and so on the spur of the moment, without even really thinking about it, I took a test.

I walked away from it, because I really didn't have ANY expectation to see two lines and I laid down for a couple hours to rest. When I woke up I noticed the test sitting there and a very faint second line. I had never seen a second line before. And as scary as it was to think of possibly having two babies, I couldn't help but smile! And then I proceeded to take about 3 more tests all of which said the same thing. I then had to break the news to my dear husband. I was sooo nervous and lets just say he was completely shocked and it took him awhile to process that information. The most important thing to us was NOT jeopardizing our adoption (which BTW our adoption agency was totally great about trying to be a help to us once we broke the news to them AFTER our son was safely home!)

I don't think it is ANY coincidence that I found out I was pregnant on the anniversary of my grandma's passing. If you knew her, you know she LOVED babies and was so excited everytime she found out one of her grandchildren was expecting. So in this case, she probably knew about Elias before I did and with her very fun sense of humor probably had a great laugh about the fact that would be getting two babies! Yes, God DOES have a sense of humor.

I wouldn't trade this life I have for ANYTHING. While it was rough traveling and trying not to puke on the flights and drives in Ethiopia, and while just a few days ago I had two crying babies on my lap when Peter walked in the door from work, and there are days I am covered in baby puke and sticky pieces of fruit snacks, or have changed 6 or 7 poopy diapers by the time the lights go out at night - my life feels soooo perfect!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

To my amazing husband who became a daddy on August 8th 2010. I saw how deeply you fell in love with your son even from the first time you held him in your arms!

Instantly, I saw this fire ignite inside of you to take God's command to care for the orphan and defend the fatherless!

You were ready and willing to do whatever it would take to make our son feel safe and secure and to make him know that you were trustworthy and loved him, even if that meant walking around the hotel room in a foreign country for hours to offer him the comfort he needed.

On February 4th 2011, you became a father for the second time. I saw a new side of you, a deeply concerned, protective side of you as our son was born sick. You did not want to leave his side and you wanted to comfort him anyway you could, even if the only thing you could do was hold his hand through the hard days.
Through the exhaustion of days spent at the NICU, you were still there to take care of us all. I specifically remember coming home from the NICU one night and I was so worn out, you got me dinner, made sure I took my medication, tucked me in and then went to spend time with Malachi who also needed us to be there for him. You were so tired yourself, but you still made sure to take care of every member of your family!

And even though you play rough sometimes, and hit your son in the head with snowballs you are still there when he needs you.

You are always there when THEY need you!

It makes me so happy to see how happy you make our boys. From the giggles that Eli ONLY gives you, to the smile that spreads across Malachi's face when he sees you walk in the door at night.

To the games you come up with to make Malachi happy and have fun!

You are something amazing! I have always loved you, but seeing you take on this role as a daddy has made me fall deeper and deeper in love with you. There is no greater blessing a wife can have than a husband who loves his children with all of him.

Daily you set an amazing example for our boys and that is the greatest gift they could have. You are a one of a kind dad!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Family Date Night to the Park

When Peter and I were dating, we started a weekly Thursday night date night tradition. We have kept this tradition together all these years and still really enjoy and look forward to this special time. Over the last year our tradition has changed a little bit. It is very rare for us to go out on date night alone, so for the most part date night is now - FAMILY date night. Someday I am sure we will start hiring a babysitter and go out just the two of us again, but for now we do enjoy having fun as a family!

As we continue to try and find ways to save money, we decided to purchase a 2 year state parks pass. It was relatively cheap and will give us lots of opportunities to go out and have some fun as a family! We live just 10 minutes away from a state park so it will be easy to go out and use it hopefully often during these summer months. Last night we decided to pack up a little family picnic dinner and enjoy the park!

Malachi enjoying his pb and j dinner!

Eli just hanging out while the rest of us ate dinner (this was short lived before he wanted some dinner too!)

Malachi making silly faces at me while we packed up dinner

Eli was getting a little chilly so daddy bundled him up (Peter has a great skill of wrapping blankets up all snug around you- a skill I even take advantage of from time to time!)

Taking a little walk!

Oregon is truly the most beautiful state. It is something we don't think about on a daily basis, but after traveling around to other states you realize just how perfect Oregon really is! On the way back Peter noticed this owl sitting in the tree!

Beauty all around us!
Beauty comes at a price - can you say ALLERGIES!!!

The boys were wearing out as bedtime approached

Big ole yucky slug. Good thing Peter was paying attention or else we would have ran it over with the stroller - Yuck!

Sleepy boy!

It was a fun time as a family and we look forward to going out there again soon! Next time we will let Malachi and daddy run around! Date night has definitely changed around here but we still love it!!!