Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Not very Beautiful Beans & stuff

I am thinking about this cake.
I would make it, but I can't.
Lent and all.
I'll plan to make this for Easter, I think.  I can't imagine any better ideas coming.
Can you?  the perfect party cake + lemon syrup + black tea frosting.
(My tea will be Earl Grey with lavender)

But let's not talk about cake right now.
Let's talk about beans, right?
We've are on day 7 of our simple eating.
I had told the kids no fancy food during our 40 days.
Peyton then renamed it as- no beautiful food allowed.
He'll ask, Mom, is milk beautiful? etc.

I was feeling rather proud of myself for how well we were doing.
Baking our bread, boiling our beans & thinking it all tasted good,
spending $15 dollars at the grocery store for vegetables & tortillas.
And then came yesterday.
Aunt Flo came for her monthly visit.
It wasn't exactly a surprise.
But it was a bit surprising how much more painful the lack of treats became.
I have a huge box of girl scout cookies that didn't get delivered until Lent had already begun.
(huge bummer.  I usually eat one whole box on the day I get my order.)
Boy, did I want a glass of wine.
And my husband was tempted to give me one.  (He is ultra safe.)
We did put Biore strips on our faces & watched 3 episodes on Downton Abbey.
He is a good friend to me.  

And with all that I forgot, for the first time this week, to put my pot of beans on to soak.
I had to do the quick soak/boil version.  I always get nervous about this.
I like to be traditional on the soaking of beans.  It feels safer.
I have had more than a couple nights in my married life
when I have had to declare last minute that dinner was inedible,
due to beans not cooking all the way.
(I also have had a Sunday meal in singlehood when I served up
hard as rock while bean chili to my whole family, plus another entire family, plus Scott.
When he & I were "just friends".
In a effort to prove his devotion, he ate 2 full bowls &
told me it was delicious.  And got quite sick.)
White beans usually seem to be the ones I struggle with.
And wouldn't you know it, white beans are on the menu tonight.

Emergency "quick" version for dried beans -
Rinse dried beans in cold water.
Put in pot & cover with cold water + a few inches on water above beans.
Bring almost to a boil.  Cover pot & remove from heat & allow to sit for 1 hour.
Now you can carry on with cooking, which will still take a few hours.
I start my beans before lunch usually & then turn them of & let them sit.
I like to be on the safe side.
Especially right now.  No treats.  No take out dinner to the rescue.
I've got to get these white beans cooked through.

A big no-no for dried bean cooking, that I think has been the death of me
on those times when they just would not soften, is don't add the salt until the very end.
Salt will keep your beans from softening!
Make sure they are already soft before you put it in the pot.

Okay, so here's the lowdown on cooking beans.
Plan a day ahead.
Rinse your dried beans under cold water & put in your pot to soak overnight.
Water should be a couple inches above the beans.
In the morning, rinse your beans again & fill pot with water again,
to cover beans by about an inch.
Chop an onion & toss it in.  Smash a couple garlic cloves & toss them in.  Splash olive oil in.
A sprig or two of fresh thyme can be lovely &/or a chopped jalapeno.
Bring your pot to a boil then lower the heat & keep pot partially covered.
Keep your pot going at a gentle simmer & add water if needed, to keep the beans covered.
I cook my beans gently for about 3 hours.
See if they are soft before adding salt to taste, and fresh pepper, too, of course.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Embracing the Dunes

Beach day at Pajaro Dunes.  
Perfect, even in February.

I can'think of anything to say right now.  
My mind is a blank.

Wait for it...  something may come.....

So, this trip was right after church last Sunday, for Peyton's birthday.
I didn't change out of my "church" clothes.
Guess what?  Walking in the sand with heals is pretty great.  Far better than flip flops.
I still have a lot of sand to get out of them, though.
And wearing tights, while sitting in the sand is fabulous.  
You can feel the softness of the sand, but you stay clean.
I will definitely be donning tights to the beach more often.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Springy Gift Bag {win it}

We have a collection of springy items for you to have for your Easter celebration.
Be entered into the drawing to win by giving $5 toward our adoption!

Here's what you can get -

Fun Spring Shoulder Bag made by Monica Emmert- see details here.

a Stuffie Elephant made by me, out of Hilary Lang's pattern - see more here.

Beehouse teapot in lavender & 2 Beehouse tea cups in butter yellow - check out the line here!

Paper party straws in pink, gray & yellow (bundle of 15) - see more about them here.

Blackflower & CoHibiscus Mint tea - gorgeous color for spring drinking. - see details here.

Blackflower & Co. Signature Chai tea - drink it, of course.
But you can rub your Easter lamb with these spices, too. - see more here.

Little boy bow ties for Easter handsomeness - this onethis one.

Celebration Pennant Flags in bright colors {quantity 2} - see length details here.

Jar full of Italian Puntini gummies in spring flavors - I love these little candies!

A book for the grown ups &  book for the little kids.


Rabbit Ears!  These 3 pairs are for you, the winner.

Value of this Easter package is over $100!

Details for entries in the drawing ::
1. Give $5 to our adoption through Paypal for first entry.

2. "Follow" this blog for a second entry. (and tell me in your comment that you do follow.)

3. For each additional $5 given, you will get another entry.

For example, if you follow this blog & give $20, you will have 5 entries into the drawing.
(first $5 1 entry, follow the blog another entry, $15 additional given make for 3 more entries.)

Join us as we work to bring another little one into our family!
We are currently in the waiting stage for a referral for a toddler little boy from Ethi0pia.
We will hold the drawing on March 18th, 6pm {pacific standard time}
Remember to check back before then for an update of new items in the Spring Bag

missing one

p.s. you can also buy coffee from the Just Love button on the sidebar.
$5 per bag bought goes to our adoption fund!

**A special thank you to Blackflower & Company for the tea donations
& the Beehouse products.
Like them on Facebook to keep up the latest tea news!

Thank you to everyone who gave!  We raised $165 on this little giveaway. 
We are so grateful for your gifts of love! 
Hope Brownlee is the winner of the bag & all the goodies!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Peyton the 4 year old is interviewed

How grown up is our little man looking? 
It is a bit mind blowing for us.

January 2012
We cannot believe he is 4 years old today.  
Here's what he thinks of life right now - 

 An Interview with Peyton

What is your very favorite food?  Hot dogs and Hamburgers
What game do you like playing the most?  Outland (with daddy's help) 
(editor's note - this is a xbox game)
What is the best t.v. show to watch?  Spiderman
Who is the coolest person you know?  Jacob
What is the neatest thing you have learned in school?  about Jesus healing and sharing
What is something you are super good at?  games
If you could take a trip anywhere in the whole world, where would you go?  
Grandma and Grandpa's 
Where is your favorite place to go?   Grandma and Grandpa's 
What is your favorite animal?  Rhinos
What is your favorite color?  Golden
What would you like to be when you grow up?  
A baseball player and have an Iron Man costume
What is your favorite song right now?  Star Wars 
What is the best book you have read lately?  Book of Bugs
How would you describe yourself?  Good at games and being nice.
When you where younger, what did you do?  I touched  the oven
Did you learn some thing from  that?  yes.  to stop doing it.
What is your favorite snack food?  Crunchy Noodles
What food is the yuckiest to you?  tomatoes
If you could have one wish, what would it be?  
I would have a real light saber and a remote control airplane 
What is you favorite memory?  learning at church

Scenes from his day -

breakfast choice - chocolate chip scones & orange juice

outing choice - head to the beach after church

Iturned outo be a gorgeous day.

Wrapping up the day with burgers & a gumball cake at Grandma & Grandpa's house.

We love you sweet little man!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Learning a Little about him

I am working to come up with some fundraiser ideas for our adoption fees.
Buto starthings off, we are doing a family fundsaver.

Now that we have a bed for future brother in the kid bunk room, the children ask about him often.
When is going to sleep there?  
When are you taking us to Grandma & Grandpa's so you can go see him?
Where will he sit athe dinner table?  Can I sit nexto him?
What will his name be?

For our 40 days of Lent (firstime, folks!  We have never given up anything for Lent.)
we are going to have an adoption fundsaver 
& a time of trying to learn a little bit more what little brother's meal time is like.
We are going to cut way back on the groceries.

I'll be honest, I am pretty nervous abouthis.
We are so spoiled with what we eat & drink. 
I've never really dieted or denied myself anything I wanted to eat.
I know, right?  Spoiled.

Our plan is no boxed cereal for breakfast.  Oatmeal instead.
No meat - mostly rice & beans & veggies.  
No candy, chocolate or goodies.
No alcohol.

We will save a lot of dollars, to save for adoption fees.
And hopefully we will learn a tiny bit what it is like to live with much less.

Does anyone have some good beans & rice recipes?
I found a few Ethiopian recipes I'll try- red lentils, chickpea wat &Injera.
We'll have pintos & spanish rice.
White beans & winter greens.
We'll have black beans & rice.
Veggie & barely soup.
Can anyone help us out with ideas?

For Ethiopian recipes, I boughthis book 5 years ago 
& don'think I've ever made more than one thing from it.

Source: amazon.com via Erin on Pinterest

Now is the time to dive in.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sweetheart Date (Dinner at Eight)

My sweetheart & I had an at home date for V-day, after the kidlets were in bed.
We've had good at home dates before.
Buthis one was fabulous.  We had a greatime.
At home dates kill the competition of going out.  
(But I still like going out, so long as the food is good.)

I attempted a Maiden Braid "headband".  I thought iturned out pretty swell.  
But it looks a bit retarded in the photo, with my hair sticking outhe side of my head.
Oh well.
Also, seems my button was coming undone, when I took my outfit picture.
Oh well.

I love this dress (heart buttons!) from Modcloth.  
Jewelry by 31 Bits is also awesome, of course.

We had a tent of sorts that we built in the living room.  
Sheets, tulle, lights, sparkle hearts.

Rib Eye Steaks with Blue Cheese,
Heart cut Beets on pea shoots, 
and sauteed Spinach.
All could be done very quickly once the kids wento bed.
We opened a bottle of our favorite wine (for special occasions only) Topel.
And we dined fireside.

Dessert was sharing a little box of Lula's salted Caramels.
(SO good.)

She & her friend Andi are challenging you all outhere to try dating at home.
think you'll love it.

Ours was so lovely for us.  We talked & shared.
We read love letters to each other.

Oh.  And we broke one of the cardinal rules of married dating.
Have you heard that you aren't supposed to talk abouthe kids?
I just heard Gary Smalley give this instruction 
when I was listening to K-Love this last week.
Don'talk abouthe kids or finances, he said.
Instead, he said we should remember the good times.
So, kids aren't part of the good times?
We think they are.  We think they are a good date nightopic.
Even the idea of "remembering the good times" is one I am notoo fond of.
We are one.  And we walk through the good & the bad together.  
We are not going to avoid talking abouthe hard stuff, 
in an efforto make a date more romantic.

My sweetheart & I bond over our love for our kids, 
over good memories of the past,  
over telling each other about our struggles of the day,
over learning how to cook a steak sans the outdoor grill, 
over grief shared, over scary roads, 
over trusting God's goodness,
over dreams for our future,
over love notes, whether written on letterpress cards or company letterhead.