Saturday, December 12, 2009


Really? Not a single person has a comment to leave about the hilarious pictures below? Come on!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

More reasons to love my family ... OR

... more reasons that I might end up in the loony bin.
Benji cried after Chad took away the marker he was chewing on:
Fat lip after a fall in the bathtub:
Ethan took this picture of crazy Daddy. Need I say more?
Ethan took this picture of Benji:
and this one:
And the following are me trying to get a decent picture of both children at the same time. Not an easy task:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ten things you probably don't know about me

1. I wish I was Anne of Green Gables
2. I love my Schwinn Free Wheeler AL Swivel Double Jogger Stroller that I got free from Christie almost more than life itself.
3. I also love my garlic press from Pampered Chef an enormous amount. It is the greatest garlic press known to man. If you get one, you too will experience the joy that I have experienced.
4. I've been listening to country music lately. For years, I hated it; now there's a whole new genre that my eyes are being opened up to.
5. In college, I took an aesthetics class with Chad to prove my love for him. I tried so hard to understand it, and somehow got a B, but I really hated it, and it caused many fights between Chad and I
6. I used to fold my underwear carefully in a specific way and put the freshly washed ones underneath the older ones, so that they were rotated and all got used evenly. I quit doing this about 2 weeks ago; I finally realized I don't have time for this. Now, they're wadded up in the corner. It'll probably take another month before I'm really okay with this new change. YIKES!
7. My lifelong dream is to publish a book and have it fill the shelves of Barnes and Noble and be on the New York Times Bestseller list.
8. I had a poem published in a Canadian magazine when I was in college.
9. I used to shampoo my hair every single night, always, no exceptions. Then Betsy told me about a girlfriend of hers who has truly amazing hair, and she only shampoos once a month. Since that night 3 weeks ago, I've only been shampooing every other day. On the off-days, I feel ugly and dirty and greasy, but I really want amazing hair.
10. I haven't ovulated in 2 1/2 years.


First of all, are we not the most adorable Peter Pan family you've ever seen? AND, I must add that our costumes were homemade! I made Benji's shirt, all of my costume except the wings and the shoes, all of Ethan's costume, and Chad's coat and cravat. Isn't that Martha Stewart of me? Thanks, Michelle, for making Benji's hat when I failed at it.
Here's Captain Hook and Tinkerbell, putting aside their differences for the sake of love:
Here's Ethan trick-or-treating at University Center:
Chad and Benji trick-or-treating at Uni Center:
Benji takes a break in the stroller and enjoys a lollipop:
Here's Ethan with his good friend Gugi:
Here's Ethan with his good friend Kate:
And here's Peter Pan with Mr. Smee:
Here's me with my sweet, darling, chocolate-drooling, sugar-saliva-encrusted children (By the way, Benji refused to let go of his pumpkin all night; he wanted to keep the candy close at hand):

Monday, November 2, 2009

List of things I did NOT do today

1. work out
2. eat healthily
3. sit on the floor and play with my kids
4. have patience with my children
5. go to the WIC office
6. buy plane tickets
7. pay rent
8. talk to good friends
9. read my sister's long email
10. read any of my book
But I DID wash, dry, fold, AND put away 3 loads of laundry, which is quite an accomplishment for one day. And I took care of two kids all day. And I squeezed an hour-long nap in while the kids were down. And I ate tons of Halloween candy; it's taking over my life and my kitchen, so the best thing to do is eat it so it's all gone.
I feel lousy about my lack of accomplishments today, but I need to get over that. I need to be more of a be-er and not such a do-er. It's one of my hubrises.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Make over

What do you think of my sultry new red-headed friend?
(Only positive comments allowed here).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hi, my name is Benji, and I'm an addict.

Group: Hi, Benji!
Benji: Well, I'm 17 months old, and I already have two addictions.
Group member # 1: Go ahead, Benji, we won't judge you.
Benji: Well, I'm addicted to trash and to making messes. The trash cans and recycling bins are like magnets to me. I'm just drawn to them; I can't help it. I love to take things out of the trash and throw them on the ground, like raw chicken fat that my mommy threw away, or a sticky yogurt container, or soda can. And if there's any drops of soda left in the can, I like to dump it out on the floor too.
Group member # 2: Go on, Benji. This is good for you. Get it all out.
Benji: I also love to put non-trash items into the trash. Like my brother's shoe, my mommy's mascara and lip gloss, nail clippers, toy balls, magnets from the fridge, socks, pajama pants, cups, toy robots, and spoons. My mommy gets very upset, but I just can't seem to stop myself. I get such a rush from putting things in the trash can! I sometimes clap for myself and say "Yay" after I put a new item in the trash. (sob)
Group member # 3: Don't worry; crying is good for you.
Benji: My other addiction is making messes. I like to destroy entire areas of the house. I'm like a tornado. My parents sometimes call me the Benjmanian Devil. I like to open drawers and take literally everything out of them. I like to carry some of the items to other random parts of the house and leave them under strange places for my mommy to find later. I like to take Daddy's books down from the shelf and scatter them on the floor. I like to take all the markers and stamps out of the craft drawer and chew on the stamps so that my mouth turns pink or blue. I like to take all the rubber bands from the bag and make it rain rubber bands in the living room. I like to throw my food on the floor when I eat, and drip water or juice out of my cup onto the carpet. I also recently realized that I love to drink liquids from my cup, then spit it out on my shirt. And I like to flush the toilet unnecessarily and then clap for myself.
And I like to find the marshmallows and the fruit snacks in the pantry, carry them to my mommy, and whine and cry for her to give some to me.
Group leader: Is that everything, Benji?
Benji: No, I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
Group leader: We do. Thank you for sharing, Benji.
Group: Yes, thank you for sharing.
Group leader: Okay, let's close our meeting. Lord, grant me the serenity...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A "Wow" moment

Last week, we went to Texas to see family. It was an amazing trip, and it surpassed my expectations. All three of my siblings were there with their significant others. I got to meet my niece for the first time. There were four cousins who had a great time together ... except for the frequent times they were fighting over toys. There was a ladies' lunch that was really nice. I got to reconnect with my sister. There were many rousing games of "styroball" in the swimming pool. It was all so wonderful.
The night before Chad and I left was also the night before my sister and her husband and daughter were to return to their overseas post. So we had a prayer time with the adults who were still there (my brothers were already gone). We prayed for safety, patience in travel, etc. We all took a turn praying aloud. A couple of times during the prayer, I looked around at all the people around the table and just felt a wow moment. I thought, "Wow, this is really cool. What a blessing to be a member of this family, all of whom are Christian, are serious about their relationships to Christ, worship God through their lives, and strive to be righteous people." I can't really explain this, but I felt an extremely strong connection to those members of my family through Christ. It was like he truly was there in our midst (Matt 18:20), and we were communing through prayer, reaching a level of closeness that the average irreligious person is not able to experience. It was just such a neat moment of ... realization? ... appreciation? I don't even know what to call it, but it was wonderful and really moved me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Recent Conversations, Benji's Hobbies

Earlier today, while we were all in the car, Chad and I briefly talked about if/when to plan a third child. (NOTHING was decided, so don't get your hopes up). This evening, this ensued:
Ethan (poking my breast): There's a little baby in there.
Hope: No, that's my breast. There's no baby in there!
Ethan: I wish there was a baby in your tummy. That would be cool!
Chad didn't say anything but I saw a pained look on his face.

A few days ago, this conversation happened:
Ethan: Mommy, spies are bad!
Hope: Well, some spies are bad guys, and some spies are good guys.
Ethan: I'm a good spy. You be a bad spy.
Hope: I don't want to be a bad guy. I'll be a good guy spy. Here, why don't you hide under this laundry basket and spy on the bad guys.
Ethan (under the laundry basket): This is my spy lab! I'm in a spy lab.
Hope (laughing): Oh, what do you do in your spy lab?
Ethan: I look for bad guys, because they are bad guys.

After church today, when Ethan was picked up from the 3-year old room, I asked him if he had fun in there. He said, "Yeah, it was awesome."

Benji has a new hobby. He likes to drop things into the toilet ... yes, even when the lid is down. He knows how to open it up. If we forget to close the door to the bathroom, we might find him either playing in the toilet water, or dropping things in there. Once I found a collection of bathtub toys in there. Another time, I found four baby wash cloths mixed up with toilet paper in the bowl.

His other hobby is putting things that are not trash in the trashcan and taking trash out of the trashcan. I mean, I guess I can see how this would be really fun. He's put a pair of shoes in the trash, a new tube of mascara, and one of Ethan's toys. I wonder if some day we'll wonder where something is, can't find it anywhere, and realize that it must have gone out with the trash weeks ago.

Benji also can now say "No," although he doesn't understand the meaning yet. He just copies me when I say it. He once said "turkey" when Chad was giving him turkey. And once he copied me say "Woof woof" when I showed him a picture of a dog. He can also say, "Hi," and he does actually understand the meaning of that word.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I steal

I loved Jessica's post like this so much, that I'm stealing her idea. However, I must warn you that mine will not be as funny as Jessica's because in hers, she describes how 2-yr old Ella told her all about how boys have a penis and girls have a magenta.

Interesting tidbits:
When Ethan talks on the phone to the grandparents, he talks to them as if they're actually there. For example, "See, look at this snail. It's really big," or "I show you a spider web. See, it's yucky."
The other day, Ethan was playing with a transformer, making it run along the couch. He said, "See, it crushes everything in its path." Later that night, I realized it's a line from a book, where "The omnidroid crushes everything in its path."
Ethan's concept of time is limited to the past, but he calls it "next week." For example, "That was where we went next week" or "Where's the toy I played with next week?"
I recently made Ethan instant oatmeal, which he hasn't eaten in a long time. The packaging and the method of cooking it is so similar to Easy Mac, that he confused it with Easy Mac, and called it "mac 'n' moley." "Is my mac 'n' moley ready yet?"
Ethan is obsessed with good guys and bad guys. He asks about every toy, "Is this a good guy or a bad guy?" When we play with transformers or anything for that matter, it's "You be the bad guy; I'm the good guy."
He's also obsessed with flying and powers. He asks me frequently if such and such toy can fly and if it has powers. This morning he asked me if he had any powers.
Watching SpongeBob last week, Ethan picked up an unfortunate word: "butt." When he used it by repeated a line from the show, I snapped, "Ethan, I know SpongeBob uses that word, but we do NOT use that word in our house." He promptly replied, "I can say it in someone else's house?"
I've been babysitting an adorable and chubby little girl lately named Lilliana. The other day, she had her arm up on the table. Ethan pointed to one of the fat rolls on her arm and said, "Wee-anna has strong arms. Her arms are so strong."

Our once-innocent Benjers is already a pro at tantrums. If you take him away from something he wants, he screams "Aah, aah, aah, aah," kicks his legs simultaneously, and shakes his head from side to side. The kid can get so frustrated!
Benji really enjoys throwing things off the high chair, or out of his bed, or out of toy boxes and then saying, "Uh oh."
He LOVES his blankie. At night time after bath, he's usually really fussy and crying. We have a routine where I say, "Let's go find your blankie. Where's your blankie?" He half-laughs and half-cries "huh huh" till we see it. Then I say, "There's your blankie!" and he laughs and rubs his face into it.
He got his first pair of Robeez last week. They're brown summer sandals and they're super cute.
Thanks to Chad, Benji thinks it's time to wrestle whenever I'm lying on the floor. If I lie down, Benji drops what he's doing, laughs, comes over to me as quickly as possible, and lies down on top of me, laughing, expecting me to wrestle him.
He likes to give kisses. He opens his mouth really wide, goes "Aaaaah," and plants a literal wet one on your face.
He's walking more and more and likes to toddle around the house. If he's unhappy, then he toddles around saying, "Mommm-my, mommm-my." If he's happy, then he toddles around saying, "Wuh wuh deesh. Ah bah mush mush, ooh uh, nuh nuh naaaaay no nooo, boosh ayay."

Over the past 3 or 4 years, I have grown to like ice cream less and less and cookies more and more. Cookies are my weakness. Big, fresh-baked, soft, gooey cookies. And I didn't used to care for peanut butter cookies; now I love them. Here's a FANTASTIC recipe for them! Use Skippy natural super chunk.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The best pesto you will ever eat in your life

I have a brilliant plan for this week. I'm going to make the following pesto sauce, and then we're going to eat it all week:
Monday: pasta with pesto sauce, broccoli, grilled or baked fish (tilapia I got on sale)
Tuesday: grilled cheese sandwiches with pesto spread on 1 of the slices of bread, carrot sticks
Wednesday: leftovers from ... last week...
Thursday: hamburgers with the neighbors before they move
Friday: grilled chicken sandwiches with pesto, lettuce, tomato, and onion
Saturday: pesto pizza (spread pesto on the pizza dough, then add red onion, feta cheese, whatever else you want, and mozzarella cheese), salad

So this pesto recipe is from my friend Rena. It is TO DIE FOR; you will hear angels singing when you eat this stuff:
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 Tbsp pressed garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (washed and dried thoroughly)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups olive oil
a food processor
1 cup freshly grated parmesan (the Kraft kind is not good enough for this recipe)
To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin very dry in a salad spinner. Place walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store in the fridge or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Prepare your eyes for pure glamour

First of all, make sure you're sitting down. Then, prepare your eyes to see me as you've never seen me. It is purely glamourous and beatific. In other words, I look darn good. I haven't looked so good or felt so pretty since my own wedding.
This is me in Chad's sister Amanda's, wedding. Chad was an usher, I was a bridesmatron (which is a truly horrible word; it sounds so matronly), and the two boys were ringbearers. The wedding was fun and the kids did great. We were very impressed. It was fun to have my hair done and my nails done and have fancy make up.
Okay, here it is. Are you ready? Ta da!
Do I not look AMAZING?
And here is the lovely bride Amanda with my two adorable children:

Thursday, July 2, 2009


No one appreciated my latest blog post?? I'm offended. I'll have to try harder and be better.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A new reason to love Trader Joe's

Because they have THIS on the wrapper around their toilet paper.
"If you thought the brisket was good, you should try the toilet paper."
"Did someone remember to bring the toilet paper?"
"This amazing bath tissue is a must-have accessory for the modern bathroom. Set on a high-tech cardboard tube, you simply place it on any bath tissue holder and watch it magically roll away your cares! If you're the kind of Joe that likes to be up on the latest in modern gadgetry, you really must stock Trader Joe's Bath Tissue in your WC."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

sushi, etc

Let it be known that I tried "good" sushi for the first time last night, and I didn't like it. Well, I did like the avocado roll and the california roll (neither of which had fish in it). As for the salmon roll and the fresh tuna ... it's a no go. Sorry, folks, I just don't like raw fish. However, I have now tried sushi, so I can scratch that off my list of things to do before I die. Only 585 to go, the least important of which is to try bungee jumping.
Ethan is on his 9th day of potty training. We went straight to underwear. The first day, there were 7 accidents, the next day 5, the next day 3, then about 1 or 2 each following day. Yesterday was the first day of no accidents. He even woke up 3 times last night to go potty, without prompting from us, and woke up with only a slightly wet diaper. WHAT A CHAMP! He has now earned the Buzz Lightyear toy that he's been asking about 12 times a day that was sitting on the top of the China cabinet just waiting for him to complete his star chart. Rewards work!
Another important day in the lives of the Kidds is Monday, June 8th, the day of Benji's first haircut. It was a sad day as the baby curls fell from his angelic  face and he graduated on to his testy pre-toddler years. Oh boy, I can't wait.
Finally, I think something might be wrong with me. Or possibly, this is a common problem with anyone who is an anxious type. I was at Disneyland yesterday, and it was very crowded. I found myself repeatedly annoyed and irritated at the people who stepped in front of my stroller, causing me to stop suddenly and give my children whiplash, and the man who wasn't looking where he was going, ignored my warning of "Sir, sir!" and ran into my stroller, knocking us slightly sideways, and then sarcastically said, "I'm okay, don't worry about it." I got very agitated with the large clusters of teenage kids who stood in the middle of the street, blocking the way, and the populous families consisting of 3 strollers and 8 adults who were sauntering casually down the walk as if they  had nothing more important to do.
Is this is a normal frustration? I know that my anxiety and ability to stress over nothing is something I need to work on, and I am working on it. Anyway, I think anyone who tends to stress easily (i.e. NOT Bridge) does get annoyed with slow people and lack of common courtesy. Oh the days of common courtesy! Are they gone forever?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bikini ready!

Just kidding! I had you fooled, didn't I? I'm not bikini ready, but I DO need advice on where to get a good, supportive one-piece swimsuit (or tankini) that will hold my breasts up and isn't so low-cut that it shows cleavage. (It's okay that I say this on here, because no men read my blog...not even Chad).
Anyway, any advice??

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Half-Marathon Success

On Monday, May 25th, I ran the Laguna Hills Half-Marathon. I had been training for this for about 6 months. My goal time was anything under 2 1/2 hours. I kept up with my friends Michelle and Miles for 3 miles, then they sped along on their merry way. I stayed with my friend Rena till mile 10, then she went on her merry way.  I finished the whole thing in 2 hours and 16 minutes (and 7 seconds). Woohoo! I was (and am) unbelievably proud of myself.
A huge thanks to Bridget who came out to cheer us on at mile 4 and at mile 11 (when I REALLY needed some cheering on). And to Chad who brought the kids up there to the finish line, and who let me rest, ice my feet, and take a really long bath later in the day.
This race was SO fun. Finishing was one of the best feelings. I want to do another race; someday, I'll even tackle a full marathon. I'm sad that this one is over.
Anyway, here's me immediately after finishing; I laid down right away because everything was spinning:
And here's me about 3 minutes later, feeling much better.
And since Chad didn't catch me coming across the finish line, we did a fake finish.
Miles of Miles, Michelle the Gazelle, Hope, and Rena the 6-month pregnant lady who can still run 13 miles.
Me with my supportive children who came to see me across the finish line.

Here's Benji the next day, who prefers to think inside the (toy) box.
And here's Ethan who made a collage the other day. He used more glue than tissue paper.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Beware, everyone! THIS could happen if you take your children to Target with you:
And this:
Don't let these photographs fool you. It's even worse-looking in person. And these were taken the day of; it's even more bruised and black today. He definitely has a black eye.
How did this happen, you ask? No, I did not beat him.
Pull up a chair, settle in, and hark to my tale of woe.
It all began on a lonely Friday. I decided to go to Target and get all the things on my list. I got all of them, and then the kids were getting antsy, so I let them get out of the cart while I looked at the children's clothes on sale. Long story short, Ethan was running around, and I felt too depressed and tired to stop him. He wasn't really doing any harm anyway, except endangering himself. He was hi-tailing it around a corner, tripped and fell, and hit his poor little eye right on the corner of a metal shelf.
Of course he started screaming.
The three Indian ladies standing close by shot me glaring looks of disapproval. But at least one of them was nice enough to ask me if he was okay.
At first, I was irritated that he fell, but when I looked at his eye and saw the gash, the immediate swelling, and the immediate purple coloring, my heart skipped a beat. I told myself to calm down; it didn't look like he'd need stitches, and it was barely bleeding.
We got some ice from the food area, Ethan stopped crying, we checked out asap, and drove home fast.
This is why I love and adore SHOPPING SANS CHILDREN. Shopping sans children is one of my favorite activities. 
I ended the day feeling like a failure as a mother because what kind of mother lets her children run wild around the store?
This is not a rhetorical question, so when you answer it, please answer "Even the best ones" so that I will feel better.
Thank you.

Ethan and I made pink lemonade this morning. It was this month's recipe in his High Lights magazine.
And here's Benji doing one of his favorite activities: hanging onto my pants leg. He's really talented at it.
Benji is sick. Possible teething. Fever of 100.6 yesterday, ridiculously fussy and cranky. He's got a really runny nose, some coughing, and is drooling like Niagara Falls. He woke up LITERALLY EVERY HOUR last night except for 1 am. That would be: 11 pm, 12 midnight, 2 am, 3 am, 4 am, 5 am, 6 am and 7 am. That's 8 times my friends, 8 times!!
Back to some good news: Ethan says, "I love you" these days. He's been saying it for a couple of weeks without prompting. He'll randomly come up to me and say, "I like you, Mommy." When I come back from an errand, he'll say, "I missed you." When I kiss him goodnight and say I love you, he says, "I wuv you too." It's heart-melting!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rainy day/Cold day/Hot day/One-child-is-still-napping-and-we-can't-go-outside-yet activities

I don't love being stuck in the house. I get stir-crazy and impatient with the kids. I often can't think of what to do to keep them entertained. A lot of these require supervision and/or a lot of clean up, but they're fun. I've been working on this list for awhile, and I'm finally typing it up for you. Feel free to add to the list if you have any brilliant ideas.
1. Make playdough and then play with it. Try some of these recipes. One is even edible!
2. Clean out the sink. Then dump a bag of dry beans or noodles in there. Give the kids some spoons, ladles, and measuring cups. They can "cook," and all the beans are contained in the sink.
3. Can bowling: get a bunch of cans out of the pantry. Set up 3 in a tower formation. Use a heavy can to "bowl" over the tower formation.
4. Mix corn starch and water. It makes a funny-feeling dough that's fun to play with.
5. Get the kids naked and put them in the bathtub. Smear shaving cream all over the side of the tub and let 'em go nuts. Turn on the shower to clean them off.
6. Look through family photos.
7. Play computer games. I love this website; it has a ton of games for many ages, and they are always adding new ones on there. This one is also good for ages 1-3.
8. Write and illustrate a story together.
9. Turn on some music and have a dance party.
10. Build towers. You can use blocks, Legos, cans, whatever.
11. Get out some pots, pans, bowls, spoons, and spices. Pretend to add spices and make a soup.
12. Make and eat cookies.
13. Call the grandparents. Let the kids talk on the phone as long as they want while you check  your email!
14. Blow up a balloon and play balloon volleyball.
15. Make sandwiches. Set a sheet out on the floor and have an indoor picnic.
16. Color in coloring books.

Monday, May 4, 2009

List of things I did today

Ran 5 miles
Went to MOPS and supervised a lengthy craft
Played with the kids for over an hour in the MOPS room after it was over
Drove home and fed everyone lunch
Put both dudes down for a nap
Cleaned the downstairs (vacuumed, swept, mopped, cleaned tables and the highchair)
Wrote 8 thank you notes
Uploaded pictures from the camera
Washed 3 loads of laundry
Made dinner
Walked with Chad and the kids to Joe's to buy coffee
Took a detour by YogurtLand and ate frozen yogurt
Washed the dishes
Re-cleaned the downstairs because it got messy again

And you wonder why I'm tired.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This just makes me so happy!

I am now done with my grocery shopping for the week. Usually, I only go to Trader Joe's and Albertson's. But this week, I went to Ralph's also because they had some really good deals. Okay, you know how you "save" money at each store by buying sale items and using your card? At Ralph's, I spent $27 and saved $26! At Albie's, I spent $45 and saved $26. I feel so good!
Last week at Albie's I spent $48 and saved $46! Isn't that exciting??
BTW, everyone should go to Albie's this week: 5 lb bag of potatoes for 99 cents, 5 lb bag of apples for 2.99, vine tomatoes for 99 cents a pound, 73% lean ground beef for 99 cents, brown rice for 1.99.
I'm on a high right now. Who knew that saving money on groceries could be as good as illegal drugs?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Menu for this week

I haven't done this is AGES! One reason is because it takes a ton of time...time that I just don't make a priority. The other reason is because lately I've done a lot of experimental recipes that I make up as I go along, and I don't have amounts and ingredients to write down until the recipe is already put together.
But this week, I'm mostly trying new ones: some from the Kraft magazine and some from other friends.
Sunday: orange-chicken rice bowl
Monday: skillet potatoes with bacon and cheddar (YUM), cole slaw
Tuesday: red beans with rice
Wednesday: posole
Thursday: German apple pancakes
Friday: chicken with garlic and parmesan, Brianna's salad
Saturday: leftovers

Orange-chicken rice bowl
This one was from the Kraft magazine, and it was so mediocre, that I won't waste my time writing it down here.

Skillet potatoes with bacon and cheddar
(This one isn't so bad if you use turkey bacon, margarine instead of bacon grease, light sour cream, and go easy on the cheese)
6 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
6 Tbsp sour cream
Cook bacon in skillet on medium heat till crisp (I microwaved mine). Remove bacon, set aside, save 3 Tbsp drippings in skillet. Add onion to skillet; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add potatoes, cover. Cook on medium-low heat 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Top with cheese and crumbled bacon. Cover 1-2 minutes till cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Serve with sour cream on the top.

Fat-free cole slaw
8-10 oz shredded cabbage (about 2 1/2 cups?)
1 cup shredded carrots (2-3 whole carrots)
3/4 cup grapes, cut in half
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
6 oz fat-free yogurt
1 Tbsp splenda (or sugar)
Mix the fruits and vegetables together. Add splenda to yogurt and mix, then blend with the salad.

Red beans and rice
I used 1 lb of dry dark red kidney beans and cooked them according to package instructions. At the end of cooking, I removed most of the water; I like my beans thick and stewy. Then I add the following, and I don't measure, so here are guesses of how much I use.
2 Tbsp bbq sauce
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp liquid smoke (this stuff is so good and so versatile; everyone should own a bottle)
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp teriyaki sauce
salt to taste
I served like a soup over rice.

See this link to Amber's blog.

German apple pancakes
Why NOT have breakfast for dinner???
See this link to Amber's blog.

Chicken with garlic and parmesan
4 small boneless chicken breast halves (1 lb)
20 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 caesar dressing
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Heat skillet on medium-high heat and add chicken and garlic. Cook 4 minutes, turning chicken after 2 minutes. Stir in broth and dressing; cover with lid. Cook chicken 4 minutes on each side, or until done (165 degrees). Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 1 minute.

Brianna's salad
See this link to Amber's blog (I'm going to leave out the chicken since the other recipe has chicken).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Shout outs

The first shout out goes to me for surviving these two conversations that happened today.

Ethan: Mommy, I have a booger. (It's on his finger, which he is holding out to me, but I'm in the front seat of the car driving).
Hope: Gross ... well, just wipe it on your jeans.
Ethan: I can't.
Hope: Why not?
Ethan: I'm too angry.
Hope (laughing quietly): Oh, why are you angry?
Ethan (with a sigh): I don't know. (Pause). Mommy I have a booger.
(If you can make sense of this conversation, then you are ahead of me!)

Ethan: Mommy, what is this on my shirt?
Hope: That's ketchup that you wiped on your shirt instead of wiping your face with a napkin.
Ethan: Mommy, did you do this to me?
Hope (with a sigh): No, Ethan, you did that to yourself.
Ethan: Oh. (Pause). It's very messy.

Second, I give a shout out to Wamu's fraud prevention department.
Last Tuesday, they called us about 3 suspicious purchases made on Chad's debit card. Chad cancelled the card that night. One of the purchases didn't go through, but 2 of them did: totaling about $800. On Thursday or Friday, we got a receipt in the mail addressed to us with the wrong zip code. It had some lady's name on it and an address. "Christina Gutierrez" wasn't very smart, although this is probably not the real name or address. By the way, this was for the $500 scale she bought from some healthcare company. Chad took this paper to the police, and they said these scales are generally used for weighing drugs.
Great, now names are connected to some drug scandal...
I will give a shout out to the police if "Christina" can be caught and suffer the full penalty of the law (Yikes, I thought I was over this, but no, still angry about it). Or at least, be caught and be forced into drug rehab.
Thanks, Wamu, for catching it early.

Thirdly, I want to give a shout out to Benji
because he's so cute and makes me smile every day. I get so many comments on how cute he is, how adorable his scoot/crawl is, how beautiful his eyes are, etc. It warms my little heart. I love my Benjers.

Fourthly, a shout out to Ethan-pie
because he says funny things every day, and it makes me laugh. Sometimes, he says something funny or smart or off-the-wall, and I think, "Where did he even get that from?" He's a funny guy. The other day, I was getting him out of bed, and he said, "I like you, Mommy."

Next, I give a shout out to Bridget, Michelle, and Shonda because they are stellar.

And finally, I give a shout out to Taylor Swift because I really like this song.

Monday, March 30, 2009

8 Mile

No, folks, I'm not talking about the Eminem movie that was terrible and came out in 2003. I'm talking about how many miles I ran today. Yes, I ain't kiddin'. I ran 8 miles today with Michelle P. I felt AWESOME. I AM awesome for doing 8 miles. Although now that it's evening, and one of my muscles is definitely pulled, and the rest of me feels weak, sore, stiff, and like jello all at the same time; I'm not feeling so awesome.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hurry, respond now!!!!

My friend Maia is doing this on her blog, and it's such a fun idea. The first 5 people who respond to this post will get something made by me (my choice) for you. Don't you feel super special already?
This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
1. What I make will be just for you (it could be a craft project; it could be something to eat; it could be anything...)
2. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.
3. It will be done sometime before September.
4. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.
The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must re-post this on your blog and offer the same to the first however many people (I chose 5) who do the same on their blogs.
And you have to post a picture of what you win when you get it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why I'm Pensive

Thank you, dear readers, for the compliments on my photo. And it was even a self-portrait! :) (How junior high am I, taking pictures of myself?)
Anyway, some of you are wondering why I've been pensive and what it is that I've been pondering. There are two things. The first one has been solved, and it's good news.
1. For a loooooong time, I've been anxious about the Verano housing assistant position. I have applied for this position 4 times, and we had to wait a long time for the hiring committee to make a decision. Meanwhile, we heard rumors and strange things, and we (Bridge, Michelle, and me mainly) came up with radical theories and conjectures about what the heck was going on. Anyway, long story short, after many moons of restless nights, I received the glorious news yesterday that I GOT A POSITION! Yes, it's true, I am the next housing assistant extraordinaire. I have a lot to live up to though...
2. Secondly, I have a good friend from college named Alicia. Her husband John has been fighting cancer for over a year. Last September, they didn't expect him to live more than 4-6 months. (He was only 31, mind you). Then in December, they said that after 4 weeks of radiation, he'd be cancer-free. Then, in early March, they said the cancer was back and was growing. He also had pneumonia and because his white blood cell count was so low from the chemo, he couldn't fight the pneumonia. We were told by Alicia to pray for a miracle. Last Saturday, we heard the news that he was given a matter of hours to live. He held for another 40 hours before he died early Monday morning. Alicia, aged 28, is  now a widow and single mother of a 3-yr old girl.
The worst part of it is that she's already lost 2 children as well. This woman has been through more tragedy and attack than most of us will experience in a life-time. Imagine two children and a husband dying! I can't help but question God in these days. Why give Alicia false hope in December that John would be well again? Why take him at all? Why "Job" her like that by taking so many loved ones?
Somewhere in the back of my head, I know that God knows what he's doing, that he's in control, that he "works all things together for the good of those who love him," (Romans 8:28). But in my heart, which is broken for my friend who is suffering such tragedy, I can't help but wonder. Don't worry, I'm not losing my faith; I 'm not angry at God. I'm simply shaking my head thinking "Why? I just don't get it."
John is in a better place, in Heaven with God and with Jack and Rainee, his two lost children. I imagined him arriving in Heaven on Monday morning, in no more pain, his body perfect, seeing Rainee and Jack and running to them, picking them up, and embracing them, holding them for an eternity because time means nothing to him now. He can look back over his shoulder, see Alicia weeping, and says to her, "Don't cry for me. I'm happy now. I'm with Jesus."
Great, I'm crying now.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Funny things about Ethan and Benji

Conversation between Chad and Ethan as Chad was putting Ethan to bed. Bumblebee is Ethan’s transformer, and Ethan sleeps with it in his crib.
Chad: There’s Bumblebee. Hi, Bumblebee.
Ethan: No! Bumblebee doesn’t talk.
Chad: Yes, he does, if you push his button.
Ethan: I talk without a button. I talk by myself.

Conversation between me and Benji.
Me: Benji, can you say ma-ma? Ma-ma. Say ma-ma.
Benji (with a devious smile): Da-da
Knife in the heart why don't ya?

Benji is crawling now! Or, well, scooting is more like it. He’s been doing it about 3 days now. He gets his arms in the right place and one leg in the right place. The other leg is still kind of under his body, and he scoots around that way. He can go pretty fast and pretty far.

Ethan likes to play gardener lately. He’s seen the gardeners around here in Verano who cut pretty much everything green down. No, seriously, for two days, they were over here in our courtyard weed-whacking all the plants, grass, and weeds. It had looked really green and pretty; now it’s completely brown. I’m not kidding. Completely brown. I just don’t get it. Anyway, the other day, Ethan got a little pair of kid scissors and said “I want to play gardener.” And off he went to snip off leaves and branches of the bushes. Pretty cute if you ask me.

Ethan is really into Bible stories lately. (At last, a sign I’m doing SOMETHING right!) We have a book with Bible stories, written for children with big pictures. Our goal is to read one at night after dinner. That’s happened about 10 times. No, just kidding, we’re a little bit better than that. But it doesn’t happen every night like it’s supposed to. For a long time, Ethan’s liked the story of David killing Goliath. He’d say “Read the giant one!” Lately, Ethan’s been asking me at random times during the day, “Let’s read Bible stories!” He likes Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, and yesterday, we read a couple of Moses stories. When we read the one where he asks “the bad king” to let his people go, Ethan said, “I don’t like this one. He’s scary.” ☺

Ethan has been interested in growing. He asks if things will make him grow. “This chocolate milk makes me grow?” “This hotdog makes me grow?” And sometimes, he’ll say with a delighted smile, “Mommy, these noodles go in my mouth and in my tummy and make me grow!”

Ethan recognizes “the Target sign.” You know, that Target symbol that’s on all the Target-brand things I buy? There are things all over the house, like the baby shampoo, the desitin, the baby Tylenol, his vitamins, etc. Whenever he sees something around the house with the symbol on it, he says, “Mommy, is this from Target?” It’s hilarious.

And, finally, for your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of the boys in the bathtub.

And one of me looking pensive, because I've had a lot to ponder lately (that's another whole post for another day!)