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Showing posts from November, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

The Simple Woman's Daybook
For Today (November 30, 2010)

Outside my window... Sunny and chilly 54 degrees

I am thinking... is it really already December tomorrow? The year has just flown by!

I am thankful for... our friends here in Monterey. I had a great time with them on Thanksgiving and hanging out with the Griffins on Saturday playing Guitar Hero, Nertz, and Taboo.

From the kitchen... Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie. We had extra batter from Thanksgiving and I finally baked the rest last night. Yummmm!

I am wearing... purple top and comfy pants

I am going... nowhere. Just hanging out with my boy at home :)

I am reading... for leisure: none; The Daily Devotional Bible---currently at 1 Samuel and last two chapters of Luke

I am hoping... the maintenance shows up soon to fix our washer drain. Water leaks every where when we washed our laundry and this had happened before. I was told last time that they just need to "snake" something through the drain pipes once in a while to clean…

Birthday and Christmas Spirit

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I can hopefully finally focus at planning Nathaniel's two first birthday parties, preparing for our trip to Indiana in less than(!) three weeks, and the holidays. Dean also has his first DLPT next week so we really have to get through that first before anything else.

Being a December baby, I knew a little bit of the birthday spotlight will be taken away from him because of the holidays. And I feel reeeally guilty that no matter how hard I try to focus, I still get sidetracked with all these holiday recipes floating around the web and thinking about affordable gifts to give our families for Christmas.

Because of this, I am even more determined to always celebrate his half-birthdays in June. And hopefully, it will not always be this busy in our household.

Recipe: Pecan Covered Cheese Ball

Thankfully, we had a good and blessed Thanksgiving. We had twelve people over for Thanksgiving and everyone seem to had a good time. All the foods were delicious and we barely had any leftovers. I suspect that if we didn't buy a 23-pounder turkey, we wouldn't have any of that left either :)

I originally made this cheese ball on our first hosted Thanksgiving last year and since Hubby loved it so much, I decided to serve it again this year. It is very easy to make and very versatile since you can use your favorite cheese and nut type/combination or whatever you have on hand.

I find that these taste better if made the day before to give the flavors enough time to blend together. For some reason, they are a little bit salty when consumed right away.

Makes 5 tennis ball-sized cheese balls
 Ingredients: 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened 1 (1oz) package ranch dressing mix 2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
In a medium size bowl, mash the cream …

7 Days of Thanks: Day 7

Day 7:Freewill and the people who maintains that freedom to choose

I am thankful that God gave us the freewill to choose what we want to do. Instead of being like slaves, he gave us the option to choose to serve Him. And even if we fall off the narrow path, we could always go back to Him if we so choose and He will accept us with open arms. I am also thankful for the military service members that fight to keep that freedom. I am the first to admit that I probably took for granted what these people do and sacrifice just so we could be safe and do what we want without the fear of negative repercussion. And now that I personally know what those sacrifices entail, I know I was a fool for only now being truly thankful to them.

7 Days of Thanks: Day 6

Day 6:Two Working Vehicles

I am thankful that my husband and I each have our own vehicles. We've had them for more than four years and they're not the nicest vehicles out there but they don't give us problems and they get us from point A to point B. Nowadays, it is not really necessary for us to have two vehicles since I don't work anymore but it's good to know that Nathaniel and I can go wherever we want if we feel like it. It is also good to have that extra vehicle ready in case of an emergency. I am itching for a new vehicle (one that has more room for Nathaniel and his future siblings) but for now, I am content and grateful we have two working vehicles.

7 Days of Thanks: Day 5

Day 5:Internet

This might seem silly to be thankful about but the internet allows us to stay connected and up-to-date with our family and friends especially since we are thousands upon thousands of miles apart. It indulges my addiction to cooking and baking and helps us save a few bucks with the deals found here, here, here, and here. I'm able to access this video within seconds whenever Nathaniel gets cranky and needs it to lift his mood up. I know my husband is thankful for the internet too because it means he can play this, although it has been months if not more than a year since he had really sat down and played this game. Internet sure does make our lives just a little bit easier.

The Simple Woman's Daybook

The Simple Woman's Daybook
For Today (November 23, 2010)

Outside my window... Rainy and cold 54 degrees

I am thinking... what a great idea it was to buy our Thanksgiving groceries last night. The Commissary is normally close on Mondays so a lot of people did not know they were open yesterday to give people extra time to go grocery shopping :)

I am thankful for... the base for giving us $50 commissary voucher. We used that money to buy food for Thanksgiving and in turn we're paying in forward by feeding eleven people (who would normally just eat at the chow hall).

From the kitchen... freshly made cheese balls---all ready for Thursday!

I am wearing... my white-water rafting shirt from West Virginia, pjs

I am going... to Michaels to look at cookie cutters

I am re-reading... Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I am hoping... for no food mishaps!

I am hearing... The rain and wind outside

Around the house In the fridge... a 23 lbs turkey

One of my favorite things... cooking :)

Inspired by …

7 Days of Thanks: Day 4

Day 4:Military Benefits---Housing and Health Insurance

I am grateful that even though military pay is close to pittance, we at least never have to worry about making sure we have enough to pay our house and utilities and to keep our medical insurance. Especially in this economy where families are losing their homes because of the inability to make the payments, mortgage is one less thing we have to worry about. And God-forbid one of us gets in an accident or get really, really sick, we at least do not have to debate about seeking medical help because of the fear of medical bills.

My calla lilies are finally blooming!

7 Days of Thanks: Day 3

Day 3: Church and Fellowship

Being in the military means friends are always coming and going and one of the many benefits of being a member of Church of Christ is you make/have instant friends. We have been here in California for a little over a year and we finally found a church that welcomes and makes us feel like our Church in Indiana. We first attended a different congregation for eight months but it never felt quite at home. The people were nice but even after several months, we still felt like newcomers. We visited different locations and finally placed membership with the congregation in Marina. I really love the fellowship and also happy that the preacher's wife has a baby (youngest of three) who is older than Nathaniel by just a little over a month. I enjoy coming to the weekly ladies class and getting to know everyone while growing deeper with Christ. For a long while, I struggled with only having acquaintances here in our military lifestyle because I can&#…

7 Days of Thanks: Day 1 & 2

I am a day behind but I am joining a fellow mama/blogger with her 7 Days of Thanks. Hannah is encouraging us to blog everyday for seven days about something or someone we are thankful for. I hesitated at first because it seems like quite a commitment but then it hit me: coming up with ONLY seven things to be thankful for should not be such a difficult task---after all, I consider myself one blessed woman. And so, here are my Day 1 and Day 2 of 7 Days of Thanks.

Day 1:My own Family

I am thankful for my husband who is not only my life-partner but also my best friend. He knows how to comfort me and how to push my buttons. He provides for us, leads us, and tries to always put us as his top priority, which could be challenging when one is serving in the military. Dean is by no means perfect but he gives his all to be the best husband to me and father to our child.

May 16, 2008 by Kevin Monahan Photography
I am also thankful for my little boy. It has been such a blessing to be Nathaniel's…

The Simple Woman's Daybook

The Simple Woman's Daybook
For Today (November 16, 2010)

Outside my window... Sunny 55 degrees

I am thinking... I need to finalize our Thanksgiving menu and start the grocery shopping list.

I am thankful for... my marriage. Today is our half-year wedding anniversary: 2.5 years and counting!

From the kitchen... homemade hummus and pita bread

I am wearing... Red blouse, shorts

I am going... to Goodwill to see if they have decent pie glass plates. I only have one and I'm making 2-3 pies for Thanksgiving.

I am reading... for leisure: none; The Daily Devotional Bible---currently at Ruth and Luke (plus Psalms & Proverbs of course)

I am hoping/praying... my cousin in the Philippines is starting to feel better. He was admitted in the hospital yesterday and we're still waiting to hear how he is doing now :(

I am hearing... Nathaniel is starting to get cranky. It is only 9:40am but he is already nearing the I-need-a-nap stage. We are still trying to adjust with the time change due to DS…

Eleven Months Old

Nathaniel is 11 months old today!

The little one knows how to clap, wave hi and goodbye, and give high five. He says buh-ba (bye) while waving and even attempts to say high five (haa-pa). It sounds a little like high five and he only makes this sound whenever we ask for it. Nathaniel still uses his modified crab-walk to move around but we know he can crawl properly because he will do so whenever he is on bed or carpet. He is also able to stand on his own for a few seconds so we're hoping he will take his first steps soon. Nathaniel is becoming more and more of a Daddy's boy and often cries while knocking on the door whenever Dean leaves.

I can't believe this is his last month as an infant! Time sure does fly fast.

235th USMC Ball

It has been a great four-day weekend with the family. The Marine Corps ball was last Wednesday and we took advantage of the free meal for veterans on Thursday with a couple of other service members. We started and finished the last season of House (it has been in our DVR for over a year!) and we even went to see Megamind in theaters. I am very sad to see this mini-vacation end but we only have this full week before we have another 96 because of Thanksgiving. Yay!

Anyway, here are few pictures from the Ball...

The Devil Dog in his sexy dress blues and his adorable Devil Pup

There wasn't a sitting arrangement this year so we chose a table where we could actually see what's happening!

We left shortly after dinner and saying hi to everybody.
Nathaniel stayed at home with two lovely female Airmen and they all seem to have had a good time.

Recipe: Homemade Protein Bars & a 235th Birthday!

Today is the United States Marine Corps' 235th birthday! My Marine and I will be attending our second ball tonight and I'm excited to see everyone all dressed up. I am also very happy about the long weekend ahead of us.

Since we all know staying fit is one of the top priorities of Marines, I'm sharing the recipe for the protein bars I often make for my husband. They are delicious and pack full of nutrients without the nasty preservatives and chemicals. It is so easy to make and will keep in the freezer for months.

Makes 12 bars


1 1/3 cup oats4 scoops of chocolate protein powder1 cup dry nonfat milk1 cup total of your choice of dried fruits and nuts (I use whatever dried fruits & nuts package is on sale at the time)
5 tablespoons peanut butter3/4 cup water1 teaspoon vanilla Directions:

Mix all ingredients until everything is incorporated (it will be very sticky!). Spoon into a square pan lined with plastic wrap.

Refrigerate for two hours or until firm. C…

Recipe: Filipino Fried Rice

My grandmother often used leftover rice we had for dinner by cooking fried rice for breakfast the next day. Growing up, it was one of my favorite breakfast dishes but since it is usually just me and the little one for breakfast, I tweaked this recipe so it could be more substantial, nutritious, and fit for dinner that the whole family can enjoy.

Serves 4

1 tablespoon vegetable oil1 (12oz) Hickory Smoke Spam, cubed1/2 onion, diced2-3 gloves garlic, chopped2 eggs1 tablespoon milk3 cups cooked rice (preferably a day old)2 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional)

Sautee onions and Spam in vegetable oil. When onions are soft and translucent, add garlic and cook for a couple minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. Pour mixture into the wok/pot and stir constinously until eggs are cooked.

Add rice, vegetables, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Continue to cook until rice and vegetables are hot.

Entertainment for the Neighbors

I have always wondered what our neighbors see and think when they look through our windows. Well, now I know!

Photos by Hubby

Nathaniel's Best Friend

Nathaniel loves our four and half year old Miniature Pinscher Riley. They chase each other all day and Nathaniel learned that he can bribe Riley to come near him by giving her food. I remember bringing Nathaniel home from the hospital and crying because I was afraid that our dog will attack him because Riley has never been around babies before. But she is very gentle with Nathaniel and I am actually afraid of Nathaniel hurting the poor little dog.

Christmas Cards & A Special Shutterfly Offer!

Christmas is still (or is it only?) seven weeks away with Thanksgiving smack right in the middle but I am already thinking about our Christmas cards for this year. This will be our third year and I am very excited about picking one this year because I can take my time to select and design a family Christmas card. Unlike last year, I was too busy being nine months pregnant, then taking care of a newborn and learning how to be a new mother to really enjoy Christmas. What a shame really since it's my favorite holiday!

This year, we will be purchasing our cards from Shutterfly. I have purchased several products from their site before (photobooks, cards, prints, etc.) and have been pleased every time with the quality of their product. I love that they guarantee that if you are not happy with your order, they will either replace it or give you a full refund---but this is an option that I still have yet to take advantage of. They offer many different kinds of holiday or Chr…

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread

I was never really a fan of pumpkin bread but it is one of my husband's favorites so I surprised him with this after being away at work for two days a couple weeks ago. Well, this is now also one of my favorite bread! It is so delicious and moist and the spices sing harmoniously in your taste buds. It reminds of Starbucks' pumpkin bread but even better because it doesn't have any preservatives and you get an entire loaf for the price of their one slice.

Makes 2 - 9x5 inch loaf pans (or 3 - 7x3 inch loaf pans)

1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree (or fresh)4 eggs1 cup vegetable oil2/3 cup water3 cups white sugar3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour2 teaspoons baking soda1 1/2 teaspoons salt1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1 teaspoon ground nutmeg1/2 teaspoon ground cloves1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9x5 (or three 7x3 inch) loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar un…

Sing and Be Happy

Sing and Be Happy is one of my favorite church songs and I absolutely love singing it with my husband. It really is one of those songs that lifts your heart especially on long days like today.

If the skies above you are gray, You are feeling so blue, If your cares and burdens seem great all the whole day through, There's a silver lining that shines in the heavenly land, Look by faith and see it my friend, Trust in His promises grand.

(Chorus) Sing and you'll be happy today, Press along to the goal, Trust in Him who leadeth the way, He is keeping your soul, Let the world know where you belong, Look to Jesus and pray, Lift your voice and praise Him in song, Sing and Be Happy Today!

Often we are troubled and tried, Sick with sorrow and pain, There are others living in sin blest with earthly gain, Take new courage we cannot tell what the morrow may bring, When the dark clouds vanish away then your heart truly can sing.

Oft we fail the see the rainbow up in heaven's fair sky, When it seems t…