Thursday, March 31, 2011

Top 5 of January to March

Here are my top five favorite photos of Nathaniel from January to March in no particular order:

He is such a silly boy. He wanted to eat the orange peels instead of the actual orange.

One of our favorite parts of the day: Hubby/Daddy coming home from work. Sometimes it makes me wish that I work so I can be greeted with hugs and kisses whenever I come home.

Nathaniel loves the outdoors and I wish I'm able to take him out more often. We just learned about a duck pond near us so I'm very excited to take him there. I'm sure he'll have a great time chasing the ducks.

Just like his Mama, Nathaniel loves chocolate!

Nathaniel wanted to go to work with his Daddy (Hubby is in the blurry background). He even brought his Daddy's lunch bag to take with him!

Linking up to:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hubby's Birthday Cakes

I made two cakes for my husband's birthday this past weekend. I was originally going to make three but we were out of electricity last Sunday for three hours so I obviously couldn't bake. So now, I am going to take the third cake to his work's picnic on Friday instead.

Both of these cakes are from the book my sister gave me for my birthday last year: Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell. They both turned out deliciously great so I'm even more excited to try out the rest. (She has a whole chapter dedicated to chocolate cakes. Heaven!). I might even just take her basic cake recipe and never use box mix ever again!

Rich Lemon Curd Cake

My mouth is watering just looking at these photos and remembering what this cake tasted like! It was definitely rich and tart but the marcapone filling cuts the tartness and balances it with a little bit of sweetness.

8-inch lemon cake with lemon-curd mascarpone filling

We shared this with our Church because it so happens to be our monthly potluck, too. And I heard many good feed backs!

I really should invest on a kitchen scale because separating the batter by eyeballing it so they could bake separately obviously didn't work. But it turned out to be for the best because I used the rest of the batter to make a little cake that we devoured tried the night before.

Red Velvet Bonfire Cake

The cake wasn't as dramatically vibrant red as a regular red velvet cake because I ran out of red food coloring paste so it was really a dark rose bonfire cake :) I also couldn't find chocolate sticks so I had to use chocolate Twizzlers as logs instead. I also procrastinated at going to Michaels to buy sparklers (who knew they close at 7p on Sundays?!) so I bought this "mini-sparklers" at Target, which didn't really spark :(

Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting
and chocolate Twizzlers as logs

But it was delicious (based on the trimmings) and I hope to make it again with the proper ingredients in the future.

Taken with my Hubby's 8-megapixel camera phone;
I'm pretty impressed with the quality!

So two cakes down, one more to go! I'm making his family secret-recipe cake because his birthday just wouldn't be complete with the Ooey-Gooey Deep South St. Louie butter cake :)

Linking up to:

Supermon: Wordish Wednesday 
Project Alicia: Wordless Wednesday
The Paper Mama: Wordless{ish} Wednesday
live and love...out loud: Wordful Wednesday

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today (March 29, 2011)

Outside my window... Sunny(!) 57 degrees. It finally stopped raining!

I am thinking... we really need a nice toy chest to put Nathaniel's toys in since they are in the living/family room for every guest to see. I've looked online but I want to check out Goodwill or thrift stores first and it could be DIY project.

I am thankful for... sunshine!

From the kitchen... a new mandolin purchased with a $10 Kohls cash and 30% off coupon. I love Kohls!

I am wearing... t-shirt, shorts

I am going... to move the laundry to the dryer after this.

I am reading... Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider

I am hoping... to buy essential oils soon so I can finally make the leap to non-toxic cleaners.

I am hearing... Nathaniel playing.

Around the house... toys. e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.

One of my favorite things... the sound of my son being tickled :)

Inspired by the church song... I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

"I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from it's sunshine,
For its skies may turn to gray.
I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said,
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand;
But I know Who holds tomorrow,
And I know Who holds my hand."

A few plans for the rest of the week...
  • Picnic at Hubby's work on Friday
Here is a picture I am sharing... Tickling him with my foot :) Can you hear his belly laugh?

Linking up to: 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Love.

Today is a very special day.

Today is my husband's birthday.

Dean, just like all of us, has flaws but he is a good, godly man. His passion for God and deep desire to spread His word is something I always admire. He willingly and proudly serves his country. He has warned my (selfish) heart several times at how far he is willing to go to save a fellow countryman but not only because that is what a great Marine does, but also because it is what God asks of us. He is a great leader, provider and a wonderful father. He is the best husband and the best, loyal friend any one could ask for.

And the amazing part? Dean is the leader and provider of MY (our) small family. He is the father of MY child. He is MY husband. He is MY best friend.

I truly find my happiness in him. Everyday.

Happy birthday, Dean.

Linking up to:

Ni Hao Y'all: Sunday Snapshot

Friday, March 25, 2011

Project 365: Week 12

Week 12: March 19th to March 25th

78  Stuffed meat-lovers pizza with tomatoes and mushrooms from Papa Murphy's. A friend spent the day with us and we were supposed to have Seafood Gumbo for dinner. However, I got outnumbered and we had pizza instead. I love Papa Murphy's pizza. You can guarantee it's always fresh ingredients!

79  Nathaniel loves his puppy very much! Some days the dog gets more hugs and kisses than me.

80  Nathaniel wanted to go to work with his Daddy (you can see my husband in his truck in the background). He even brought his Dad's lunch bag! And he said "Wub Yu!" (love you) for the first time :)

81  The little one insisted he wants to eat popcorn while holding the bowl himself. It was quite a mess but our dog loved following his trail.

82  When did he suddenly become a BIG boy? Nathaniel put the toy stethoscope properly around his neck by himself. Actually, that's his current obsession: wearing everything around his neck.

83  Jam Sandwich Cookies; Delicious and very easy to make with ingredients easily found in your kitchen!

84  I've been relying too much with my iPhone with taking photos, videos and even my daily Bible reading. In the photo, it is showing one of my must-be-like-this scriptures: Proverbs 31:10-31

Linking up to:

The Daily Wyatt: 365 Days in Pictures
NapTimeMomTog: Project 365
Becoming a Strong Woman of God: Capturing Life... One Photo at a Time
BlueEyedGirl Photography: A Daily Picture Project


Recipe: Jam Sandwich Cookies

A few nights ago, my husband asked what we're having for dessert. Usually, we'll have a bowl of ice cream unless I've baked something earlier. Well that certain evening, we so unfortunately(!) ran out of ice cream and I did not make anything. I don't remember what we ate for dessert that evening but I still clearly remember his response after breaking the sad news that indeed, we will not be having any dessert. He said: "We have flour. We have eggs. We have sugar and butter. You could have made a pound cake!"

Yes, dear hubby. I could have made a pound cake. But I didn't. But I made this Jam Sandwich Cookies out of the ingredients easily found in our kitchen, too. And it was also a great excuse to use my new food processor :)

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes 18 sandwich cookies


  • 4 cups Everyday Baking Mix*
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup seedless jam or jelly

*Everyday Baking Mix
9 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 tbps baking powder
1 tbp salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse baking mix and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk; pulse until a dough forms.

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto sheets, 4 inches apart. (You will fit about 9 cookies to a sheet; bake in two batches to make a total of 36 cookies.) Bake until cookies begin to turn golden but center is still pale, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Spread flat side of half the cookies with 2 teaspoons jam each; sandwich with remaining cookies.

Linked up to:

Paisley Passions: Fun w/ Food Friday
For the Love of Blogs: Tasty Tuesday
Simplicity: Photo Challenge (Sweet)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Wub Yu!"

It is hard to believe we are less than two months away from Dean's MOS graduation. We started this journey when our son was just a teeny, tiny newborn. And by the time Hubby graduates, Nathaniel will just be one month shy of being a year and half. In that "short" time span, Dean learned how to speak, read, and write fluently in Arabic. I say that's pretty darn awesome!

I briefly mentioned yesterday how Marines are mandated to attend extra study hall during the last eight weeks of their class. So on top of seven hours of regular class, he has to go back to work for 2 hours three nights on weekdays and another two hours on Saturdays. So that means 13-14 hours work days since he still has to PT with his squad at five in the morning.

Well, the little one seems to have a hard time adjusting to the new schedule. Nathaniel is still asleep when his Daddy walks out the door at 4:30am to go to work.

So when my husband left to go back to work two days ago after a quick family time and early dinner, Nathaniel wanted to go with Daddy. He even grabbed his father's lunch bag to take with him!

This brings so much happiness to my heart and tears to my eyes at the same time. Nathaniel loves his Daddy so much! And I am completely fine with that; after all I'm crazy about his Daddy, too. What makes me sad is that this forces me to think about the big D. Deployment. It's inevitable and I know we have been so very lucky to have my husband stateside and living with us for this long.

Nathaniel said "wub yu!" (Love you!) for the first time as I snapped the above photo. I can tell he really misses his Daddy. Nathaniel spent 30 minutes last night just cuddling with my husband when he got home from work (the second time). I know it's tough on the little guy but I can almost bet it's tougher on the big guy.

So I really am not exaggerating when I say Nathaniel is a Daddy's boy.

Linking up to:

Supermon: Wordish Wednesday 
Project Alicia: Wordless Wednesday
The Paper Mama: Wordless{ish} Wednesday
live and love...out loud: Wordful Wednesday

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is that.... poop? Oh please tell me it's chocolate!

This set of photos reminds me of the scene in the movie Baby Mama where the main character's sister is asking one of her children if the "dirt" on his hand is chocolate... or poop. She ended up licking(!) the questionable brown goop to find out the answer. Of course she already knew beforehand but it still makes me squeal at the thought that it could have been poop! (See video here)

As parents, we have definitely had our own share of disgusting moments. We have been peep on, cleaned explosive poop, and removed dried up chunky vomit. I can only imagine the dirt, bugs, and animals Nathaniel will bring to me when he's older. And add the fact that I used to work as a registered nurse at a trauma intensive care unit and that just brings up another level to my list of disgusting moments.

But don't worry. This is chocolate from the homemade chocolate-covered pretzels I made last Thursday for St. Patrick's Day. We actually didn't let Nathaniel get so messy when it comes to eating until he was about a year old. Both Dean and I don't like a messy eater but it's time Nathaniel start exploring food and feed himself.

Taken with my iPhone. I love how it captured the pretzel perfectly.

We ended up just bathing Nathaniel to clean him up. We would have probably used a entire baby wipe packet if we had tried that way!

Linking up to:
Life with My 3 Boybarians: Sweet Shot Tuesday

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today (March 22, 2011)

Outside my window... Chilly 45 degrees; It's been raining for days and we're ready for sunshine! Unfortunately, not going to happen until next week :(

I am thinking... Marines are too motivated and dedicated. My husband is in the last eight weeks of his class so all services are required to stay for seventh hour (extra school). And the Marines? Of course they take it to the next level! He now has mandatory study hall on Monday-Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. So on top of his marathon training, family time definitely took a hit :(

I am thankful for... a healthy 15-month old toddler

From the kitchen... leftover seafood Gumbo from last night

I am wearing... t-shirt, sweatshirt, pajamas

I am going... to make a list of the things I need to purchase to make my husband's birthday cake(s)

I am reading... Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider

I am hoping... naptime is easier and on-time today. Nathaniel did not nap until 6:15ish last night. He was fine but I can tell he was exhausted. We fully expected him to fall asleep in his high chair during dinner.

I am hearing... Silence :) Mornings are definitely "me" time.

Around the house... a new 12-cup food processor! I finally used the gift card my in-laws gave me last Christmas.

One of my favorite things... my still relatively new iPhone 4!

Inspired by the church song... Holy Ground; We have sang this song in Church for weeks in a row now and although I am ready to not sing it for a while (I know that sounds horrible!), it really has a great meaning.

"You are holy, God
A perfect and holy God.
We will come before You
With hearts made clean by Jesus' blood.

We are standing on holy ground,
And I know there are angels all around.
Let us praise Jesus now;"
We are standing in His presence on holy ground."

A few plans for the rest of the week...
  • Hubby's birthday on Sunday! Birthday dinner with his co-workers/friends that evening
  • Potluck on Sunday
  • Baking two cakes, a cobbler and another dessert over the course of the weekend
Here is a picture I am sharing... 3.20.11 Nathaniel loves his puppy VERY much and often gives her hugs and kisses.

Linking up to: 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Well Baby Visit (15 Months Old)

Nathaniel had his fifteen month old Well Baby Visit last Friday. He is developmentally on track but still skinny as can be. I think I just have to accept the fact that we have a small baby. Other than (what seems like a month old) runny nose, the little Buckaroo is healthy. (I did bring up my concern about the cold and his pediatrician reassured me that it is expected with babies this age. They are a lot more mobile, hence they are touching every thing and those dirty hands almost always end up in their mouths. I can only hope this is preparing his immune system for bigger things when he's older.)

Here are the stats! (Compare his last visit here)
Weight: 21 lbs 6.5 oz (10th percentile)
Height: 30 1/2 inches (25th percentile)
Head Circumference: 47 1/2 cm (60th percentile)

I was hoping to continue taking his photo with Big Ted but it is nearly impossible. (I mean, have you tried telling a fifteen month old boy to stay still so I could take a good picture? Hah! Good luck, my friend.) So I will go ahead and include his 15-month old post/update here.

Trying to put his socks back on;
It's amazing how he came to this assumption
since we never taught him this

Nathaniel's vocabulary consists of around ten words. He says hi and hello to any one new he comes across with and always says "bayh" (bye) when leaving. He loves to wave at people when we're grocery shopping and have this confuse face whenever they don't respond the greeting. He is appropriately using mama and dada and will use it to his advantage, too! My favorite would have to be "tank yu!" since I haven't even taught him the sign language and yet he is now saying and using it properly. He can also say hey, o-oh, puppy, "ba pa" (backpack from Dora the Explorer), "mm-kay" (okay), and "ah?" (his version of Hello? when answering the phone). He is perfectly content with signing "more," "drink" and "please" so he hasn't even bothered saying those words. I'm sure there are other words he can say that I just can't recollect at the moment.

Nathaniel loves going to church and he is a great singer and song leader! We have been blessed to have found such a great Christian family and with plenty of little children that Nathaniel can play with, too. He also loves to dance and he will move his little bottom to just about any beat. He can entertain himself (for hours sometimes) as long as a parent is in the same room.

Nathaniel is a pescetarian right now. He only eats veggies, fruit, pasta, dairy, eggs, nuts, grains, beans and fish.  He used to like chicken but he is refusing that now, too. The only meat he will ever consider eating is hotdog and it has to be the cheesy hotdog or he won't eat it, too.

Visiting Daddy at work after his Well Baby Visit
and yet he always end up hanging out with the girls :)

Naptime would have to be our biggest issue. He is a great bedtime sleeper (averaging 11 hours of sleep at night) but he is a terrible, TERRIBLE napper! For the past few weeks, Nathaniel refuses to nap by himself. I rock him till he is asleep and when I lay him in his crib, he only sleeps for thirty minutes! If he wakes up when I lay him down, he will cry for 15-30 minutes before falling asleep and again, he only sleep for just half an hour. I have tried a modified version of "cry it out" method but he still just sleeps for 30 minutes! What's worst is that he is more exhausted after his "nap" especially if I let him cry before picking him up. So what we have been doing is napping with him. If we do this, you can always guarantee 1.5 to 2 hours of nap and a very refreshed and happy toddler. It has been both good and bad because it forces me to rest, catch up on reading (thanks to my iPhone and BibleApp!), or spend time with Nathaniel that I normally wouldn't have had the chance. But that also means clean laundry remains unfolded and dinner served late usually three out of five working nights.

We have also began time-out and disciplining. I know many will find it horrifying that we spank our 15-month old but when Nathaniel reaches the nob of our stove or tries to open a heated oven, removing him from the situation and saying 'no' are just not enough. (Also see Proverbs 13:24). In addition to testing his boundaries and new found mobility,  Nathaniel is definitely a boy and loves to explore.

Yes, that is a rocking chair.

But all in all, Nathaniel is great toddler. He is very sweet, loves to give hugs, asks for kisses (especially before naptime and bedtime!), and a big time Daddy's boy.

Linking up to:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Project 365: Week 11

Week 11: March 12th to March 18th

71  "Muffins that taste like Donut" from the Pioneer Woman website.

72  My husband's homework (in Arabic). It's upside down since he was still working on it when I took this photo.

73  LOVE his chubby "baby" feet :) Nathaniel playing with his Daddy's old phone. Read my blog post about a sneaky "leprechaun" stealing my hubby's new phone.

74  Farmer's Market

75  I didn't realize I have not taken a photo that day till dinner time so I quickly snapped a photo of my dessert that evening: SnoBalls :)

76  Green Sprite for St. Patrick's Day.

77  Nathaniel trying to put his socks back on during his 15-month old well baby visit.

Linking up to:

The Daily Wyatt: 365 Days in Pictures
NapTimeMomTog: Project 365
Becoming a Strong Woman of God: Capturing Life... One Photo at a Time
BlueEyedGirl Photography: A Daily Picture Project

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

I was really looking forward to making all things green for St. Patrick's Day but when I woke up this morning, I was just exhausted. I didn't cook potato soup for dinner or bake green-colored cupcakes with rainbows like I had originally planned. Instead, we had Zuppa Toscana, which is Italian but it at least had green in it! I also served it with (whole wheat) garlic breadsticks since I might as well go for the Olive Garden theme.

We don't drink beer so we had green Sprite instead! This has been a tradition for two years now since we went to Buffalo Wild Wings where they serve green beer every St. Patty's Day. I asked our waiter if he could do the same with a non-alcoholic beverage and ever since, I have been drinking green Sprite every March 17th :)

Nathaniel had his own festive drink, too, with green milk! We didn't put as much dye but it still tricked him into drinking more milk :)

 I also made another batch of the Green Candied Popcorn per Hubby's request, which he brought to work. And ever since we bought a $3+ teeny, tiny bag of Ghirardelli chocolate covered pretzels a few days ago, I have been craving for more. So I made our own chocolate covered pretzels and even put green sprinkles on a few.

Nathaniel loved them but it got quite messy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Farmer's Market

I love going to our local Farmer's Market. I wish we are able to buy our produce there weekly (or at least attend every week) but sadly that is just not in the budget right now. Isn't it unfortunate that it actually cost more to eat healthy, fresher ingredients?

Maybe we could just have our own veggie garden someday. On our next permanent duty station, I vow to (at the minimum) plant cherry tomatoes, green onions, and herbs along with some flowers!

Here's Nathaniel enjoying a sample of fresh, locally grown tangerines.

Notice his lack of shoe; I thought his Dad put them on and vice versa. Oopps!

Our first official stop is usually at tea.zing to get some bubble tea. I believe my husband was first introduce with this yummy-goodness when we were in the Philippines in 2005. Ever since, we get bubble tea whenever we come across it.

Nathaniel sure is a fan of his Daddy's Strawberry-Mango bubble tea!

"You want some, Mommy?"
(Linking up to: The Long Road to China and Simplicity)

And from this angle, the large cup looks almost a tall as his torso!

Along with fresh produce, there are also flowers...

One of my favorite flowers :)
(Linking up to: Aspire and Simplicity) music from local musicians...


...and food, specially international food! My husband had this Falafel sandwich and I had Shawarma Beef sandwich. The Falafel was amazing but I was pretty disappointed with mine :( It was not as good as Paprika's, which was actually located just two vendors away from where we bought this.

It was cloudy yesterday so although it made for perfect lighting for photography, we had to cut our trip short because it actually started drizzling. So we just brought our goodies home, along with some baklava, spiced almonds and "spiked" bread budding. I hope we can go back again several more times before our time here is over.

Linking up to:
For the Love of Blogs: Thirsty Thursday
and then, she {snapped}: show{off} your shot
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...