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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Inspire Happiness Daily (Project 365 Linky!)



Welcome to our 365 Project and the first official Inspire Happiness Daily Project! Everyone joining us from last week... Welcome back! And if you're here for the first time, we hope you join in the fun!

We'd like to challenge you to take a photo a day and every week link up and share your project with us and with each other. It's quite the task but a lot of fun! And at the end of the day, we're all learning so much from each other. 

Don't have a 365? Don't worry! If you've had a great day or a great week and you want to share with us, please join in the fun. Although many of us are doing our own 365, our goal here is to INSPIRE HAPPINESS DAILY. If that means you join us sporadically, we're okay with that. We're all here to encourage each other and learn, too.

Each week Audrey (
The Daily Wyatt), Tracey (Inspire Me Photography), and Diana (Find Your Happiness) will be picking our Top 5 Photos to highlight on our blogs. In order to be a winner, you must add your photo(s) from the week (not a collage) to our Flickr! group: 365 Days In Pictures. We are choosing our winners based on entries that week, not where you are in your 365. 


Contemplating a 365? Why not start now; it's a motivating way to practice and a great skill-building tool. Warning: it can become addictive :)

Here are some of the details (you may already know):
  • Anyone can join at anytime. Don't worry about missing a week or a day; we know things come up! Just make sure you are challenging yourself - we're hoping to learn from and be inspired by this project.
  • Put all your weeks' photos into one blog post. You can choose to use a collage as an easy way to organize your week.
  • Photos MUST be your own and they MUST have been taken for that week's challenge, hence the 365 Days in Pictures.
  • Linky will be posted every Saturday for your photos taken that week.
  • Link only to your blog POST, not to your main blog url.
  • Include our project button in your entry. Our project button will link back to our individual blogs.
  • Show some love and visit other entries! We all love comments and it's a great way to encourage each other.
Top 5 this Week:

#1 I Love the Light
Far Ouest II
Oh my!  This is so lovely and etheral, just gorgeous...

#2 Kimberly Vensel
2011-04-28
Such lovely texture!


#3 Misty Dawn Photography
4.28.11
Love the DOF and the detail!


#4 Vanilla Sky by Cliff Burns
Vanilla Sky
Love the rays.  It's got a very beautiful and peaceful feel.

#5 Anne U Photography
115/365
Awe, is he posing for you?  Good composition.


Congratulations Top 5!  Here is a button just for you :)  



Inspire




And now it's your turn!
We hope you had a great week and can't wait to see what happiness you inspired in your daily lives.

Join in at anytime by adding our button to your blog post and linking up.
Inspire Me PhotographyFind Your HappinessThe Daily Wyatt








Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Recipe: Coconut Chicken Curry

I made Coconut Chicken Curry last week and my husband has been (literally!) bragging about it to everyone. It really was delicious and taste even better as leftovers because the flavors had more time to marry together. Even our sixteen months old son eats this like a pro whereas I have to take breaks and sips of water every few bites because it's spicy. We also had leftover Lemony Lentil soup with mini-sausage meatballs and greens from the previous day and when we ate both leftovers together, my husband said he felt like he was eating in a local cafe in the middle of downtown Beirut, Lebanon.


You can serve this with bread but best over a bowl of hot rice.

Adapted from Kitchen Shoebox

Serves 8

Ingredients:
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbps olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless thighs, cubed (you can use breasts if you prefer that)
  • 1 tbp chili powder
  • 2 tbsps curry powder (I used red curry because that's what we have)
  • 1 tbp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • cilantro (for garnish)

Directions

Place potatoes in hot boiling water and cook for 10 minutes (still a little raw). Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

In a large sauce pan, heat oil on medium-high heat and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add chicken and continue cooking until the chicken has lost its pink colors.

Add all the spices and potatoes and stir well. Continue to cook until chicken and potatoes are tender.

Add tomatoes and coconut milk and heat until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Serve over hot rice and garnish with (lots!) cilantro.


Linking up to: 

Remodelaholic: Recipe Swap Sundays
33 Shades of Green: Tasty Tuesdays
For The Love of Blogs: Tasty Tuesdays

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today (April 26, 2011)


Outside my window... Chilly but sunny 50 degrees

I am thinking... my lower half body has a love/hate relationship with me right now. I did the P90X Plyometrics yesterday and it was brutal!

I am thankful for... mommy friends. This is such a great post by Stacy at Delighting in the Days. Check out her list of inspiring/encouraging mom-blogs.

From the kitchen... homemade banana bread

I am wearing... long sleeves, pajamas

I am going... to start marinating the chicken for dinner tonight: Sweet and Smoky Barbequed Chicken

I am reading... Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

I am hoping/praying... for no injuries on Dean's first full marathon this Sunday.

I am hearing... maintenance mowing our front lawn.

Around the house... the contents of Nathaniel's Easter basket.

One of my favorite things... finding new recipes to try. I can't wait to try this and this.

Inspired by the church song... I will Call upon the Lord

"I will call upon the Lord,
Who is worthy to be praised.
So shall I be saved from my enemies.

The Lord liveth and blessed be the Rock,
and let the God of my salvation be exalted. (2x)
I will call upon the Lord."

A few plans for the rest of the week...
  • Hubby's first full marathon this Sunday!
Here is a picture video I am sharing... 4.25.11 Nathaniel didn't listen to me when I said he wasn't allowed to climb on the chair. Now he's stuck.




Linking up to:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Festivities

The Easter Bunny brought such a great Easter basket for Nathaniel this year! He received a talking Back Pack, Chuck the Dump Truck, Weeble Wobbles, egg-shaped chalks, Spiderman bowl, a book, and of course a chocolate bunny.


Nathaniel went straight for Back Pack, which is his favorite character from Dora the Explorer. It says several different things but he skips them purposely and stops when it starts to sing the Back Pack song.


I wasn't able to take any photos during the church service/potluck, which is unfornate because Nathaniel looked adorable in his Easter outfit and my husband wore his Service Alpha.


Later in the evening, we dyed eggs. We were supposed to do this Saturday night but we were just so exhausted from spending the day at the park with friends. Oh, and this is also my first time dyeing eggs :)

{Linked up to Trendy Treehouse: Shutter Love Tuesdays}



While Dean was busy dyeing eggs (and me snapping photos)...


...all Nathaniel wanted to do is eat the eggs!



And when we were done, we had Nathaniel drink the vinegar-liquid dyes. Just kidding. He is drinking apple juice in this picture and wanted it in the same cup we were using to dye the eggs.


The dyed eggs this morning, which Nathaniel and I ate the orange one for breakfast :)


I hope you had a great Easter and let's not forget to celebrate the true meaning of Easter not just on Easter but everyday.


"Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His abundant mercy
has begotten us again to a living hope through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead"
1 Peter 1:3


Linking up to:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Project 365: Week 16

Week 16: April 16th to April 22nd



106  Spent a day playing in the sand, walking by the beach and enjoying the company of family and friends at the Asilomar Beach (see part 1 and part 2)

107  Nathaniel holding a song book during the evening service.

108  Sweet, delicious cantaloupe

109  It's not too early to start having your 16 month old do chores :P

110  Homemade Yogurt

111 I need to take more photos of me, even if it means using my iPhone. Also, I wish I'm brave enough to actually wear a bright red lipstick outside the house.

112 Nathaniel and I went to Michaels after Ladies' Bible class and we stopped to admire and smell these beautiful flowers on our way back to the car. We repeatedly sang this song, too: "Smell the pretty flowers, smell the pretty flowers with the nose God gave you."


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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Recipe: Homemade Yogurt

Stacy at Delighting in the Days gave me her extra copy of Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time and I was so excited when I saw a recipe on how to make homemade yogurt. I'll be honest in that I haven't been giving Nathaniel the full-fat yogurt because it's just too expensive. So imagine my happiness when I found I could make 6+ cups of yogurt with just the price of half a gallon of milk and 1/2 cup of plain yogurt. Score!

Lemon-flavored yogurt with fresh strawberries

I did opt to follow a different recipe because I am known to burn milk (and butter). I always ask Hubby to heat milk up or melt butter for me but he was out for a six-mile run when I started this. It definitely would have saved me a lot of time by heating the milk on the stovetop instead of using a crockpot but that insured that I would not be wasting half a gallon of milk when I wasn't already sure if this would work in the first place.

Oh but it did work! I was so happy when I woke up yesterday and found the milk had actually turned into thick, creamy yogurt! I have also made vanilla- and lemon-flavored yogurt by adding pure extracts and a touch of honey for sweetness. Many of the comments said using skim or 1-2% milk will work too, as well as adding unflavored gelatin or a couple tablespoons of powdered milk (when adding the yogurt starter) to make it thicker. Or you can put the yogurt in a coffee filter or cheese cloth to drain the excess whey to make it thicker and sometimes tangier like Greek yogurt. Yum!


Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

Makes 6-7 cups

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of whole milk (not ultrapasturized)
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (make sure it has live and active cultures!)
You will also need a 4-quart crockpot and thick bath towels.

Directions:

Add entire 1/2 gallon of milk in the crockpot. Cover, set on low, and cook for 2 1/2 hours. (I accidentally let mine cook for 3 hours but it still worked.)

Turn off the crockpot and leave for three hours with the cover on. After three hours, take two cups of slightly warm milk and mix in the yogurt. Add the yogurt mixture to the rest of the warm milk in the crockpot and put the lid back on.

Completely wrap the crockpot with bath towels (I used two) for insulation and let it sit for 8 hours, preferably more. Store in air tight plastic or glass containers in the refrigerator. (Don't forget to save 1/2 cup for your starter on your next homemade yogurt!)



Linking up to:

Paisley Passion: Thrilling Thursday
House of Hepworths: Hooking up with HoH
Click it Up a Notch: I Learned
Make and Takes: Spotlight
33 Shades of Green: Tasty Tuesdays
For The Love of Blogs: Tasty Tuesdays

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Asilomar Beach (2)

During our trip to Asilomar Beach (see part 1), I was able to capture a decent photo of Nathaniel looking in the camera. Oh how rare this come nowadays!


My husband and son definitely had a great time playing in the water. I am glad that wherever we end up for our permanent duty station (NC or CA), there is a beach nearby.


What a precious father and son moment!

Nathaniel tried to run from the cold wave but he wasn't fast enough! Dean was just mean and laughed before picking him up.




Joining the rest of the crowd at looking for Hermit crabs.


Can you believe the photo below is taken with my iPhone 4?


And as we were having fun playing and exploring, the birds were having a great time eating our Cheetos! We don't buy chips unless it's a special occasion so I was really bummed. I tried to chase the bird but it just flew with the more than half of Cheetos bag; it was crazy! I guess I could have tried to stop them once it landed but I wasn't about to eat it afterwards so I just left them alone.


Plus after seeing this, I was very happy I didn't pick it up to stop them.

Probably ate too many Cheetos


I love how Nathaniel is skipping in the photo below. He really had a great time.



It was a great day of enjoying God's beautiful creation with my earthly blessings.

Linking up to:

Project Alicia: Wordless Wednesday
The Paper Mama: Wordless{ish} Wednesday
live and love...out loud: Wordful Wednesday
The Long Road to China: Black and White Wednesday
5 Minutes for Mom: Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today (April 19, 2011)


Outside my window... Drizzly and chilly 54 degrees

I am thinking... maybe I should have breastfed longer. Now that I don't have that extra calorie burning, the pounds are slowly (but oh so surely!) creeping in, even if I had started working out three times a week.

I am thankful for... my husband and his dedication to serve. Two years tomorrow since he left for USMC bootcamp!

From the kitchen... leftover Triple Cheese-Spinach Manicotti. It was yummy!

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

I am going... to try P90X Kenpo today.

I am reading... Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

I am hoping... to make it to the Area wide Ladies' Devotional tonight. I wish I could just leave Nathaniel with his Daddy so I could go alone but he has to go to study hall tonight, too.

I am hearing... birds chirping outside.

Around the house... Nathaniel's Easter basket goodies. I hope to make it to Michaels soon so I could buy him an actual easter basket.

One of my favorite things... successfully making homemade things. I made fruit roll-ups (out of real fruit) yesterday and they taste and look just like the store bought-kind, except without the preservatives, chemicals, or added sugar!

Inspired by the church song... The Servant Song

"Brother, let me be your servant;
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear."

A few plans for the rest of the week...
  • Doctor's appointment on Wednesday
  • Family party on Saturday
  • Easter Sunday!
  • Potluck at Church on Sunday
  • Still in discussion: potluck-type dinner at our house with Hubby's co-workers on Sunday
Here is a picture I am sharing... My husband left this up on his computer to let me know which motorcycle he hopes to own someday. Unfortunately for him (fortunately for me!), it won't happened until after upgrading our main vehicle (to an SUV or minivan [he hates minivans, while I'm for it]), getting a larger truck for him, and maybe this for me? :) I can dream, right?


MRSP: $7,299


Linking up to:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - April 18th

This is my first time participating on Menu Plan Monday over at Organized Junkie. I usually buy 5-7 worth of (dinner) meals every time we go grocery shopping and just cook what we feel like eating that evening, how much time I have to cook, and/or what we have going on that evening (study hall for hubby, church, etc.). But I figured if I plan ahead now and designate each evening with its own meal, it will be one less thing I have to think about that day. Also, it will remind me what I need to prepare (thaw, softened, etc.) ahead of time.


Monday (today): Triple Cheese-Spinach Manicotti

Tuesday: Lemony Lentil  Soup with greens (and I'm adding little Italian sausage meatballs [think Italian Wedding soup])

Wednesday: Coconut Chicken Curry; I haven't cooked this before but it looks very delicious!

Thursday: Cheesy Turkey Sausage Stromboli; another new recipe. I've been looking forward to making this since seeing it at Stacy's Menu Plan Monday over at Delighting in the Days.

Friday: Homemade Calzones (pepperoni, mushrooms, cheese)

Saturday: We're attending a family party but since it's closer to lunch time, my back up plan is Aloha Chicken with Pineapple dip

Sunday: Potluck at Church (lunch); we're usually still full when dinner rolls around but we can always just eat leftovers, which I'm sure we'll have. However, Hubby did just told me his co-workers wanted to have a potluck-type of Easter dinner at our house.

Asilomar Beach

We went to Asilomar Beach last Saturday and spent a few hours playing in the sand, walking by the beach and just enjoying the company of family and friends. It was foggy and a little bit chilly when we first got there but it eventually warmed up (enough for the white boys to get sunburned!) and made for a perfect day at the beach.


Who doesn't love chubby sandy little baby toes?



Nathaniel loved playing in the sand and it kept him busy for hours. He definitely made this $1 bucket and shovel set more than its worth!



He also had his own share of eating sand because he refused to be fed. He wanted to do it himself even though his hands were completely covered with sand.


He is definitely a very curious little boy so he also had a great time exploring.




My two earthly treasures


{to be continued}


Linking up to:

Smiling Sally: Blue Monday
Communal Global: Tuesdays Around the World
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