Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trying to catch up...

So this will be a random post of pictures...

Keegan frequently holds her hands like this...I think she is ready for a life filled with prayer...

MacKenzie "counting" her money. She would put all of the money in the plastic bag, then transfer it back into the purse. This went on for some time...maybe a life filled with investments is in her future!

MacKenzie got the money from her Great Grandpa. He wanted something to give to her and felt that learning the value of money was a good one to learn...

Keegan and Great Grandma got along fabulously, Keegan cooed at her for at least half an hour...

Gnocchi and Roast Chicken

Last week I took the time to make gnocchi. I love gnocchi. I love the simplicity of the actual gnocchi and how you can keep it simple or knock it out of the ballpark with the toppings and sauces! Gnocchi is a potato dumpling that, when made correctly, is like a fluffy pillow of pasta with ridges on one side to catch any sauce or cheese that has been tossed with the gnocchi. I like to make mine a little rustic, thus some are smaller, some are larger, some have evenly placed ridges and others have ridges off to the side.

3 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 pinch salt

Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft. While still warm, peel (rub potatoes with a clean, dry kitchen towel and they should fall right off) and pass through vegetable mill or ricer into a bowl.

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Set up ice bath.

Sprinkle potatoes all over with flour.

Place eggs and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch (I had to add extra flour, but this might be because I was making an exceptionally large batch).

Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into long ropes and cut off one inch by one inch size pieces (approximately). I sort of roll them over a fork, but I am sure a quick search on you tube would show you a real method.

Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, repeating and watching for floating gnocchi. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with olive oil and you are ready to go.

I merely served these sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and parmesan, but you could go crazy with options. We like a super light tomato sauce and italian sausage cut into rounds that match the size of the gnocchi, or a creamy and rich gorgonzola sauce, or I am inclined to believe that they would be phenomenal with a fresh basil pesto. Or you could be like us and just eat them by the handful as we are prepping the rest of the meal!

We also roasted two chickens we had in the freezer...


I chicken, whole
1/2 onion "chunked"
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
seasoning of your choice (I used salt, pepper, and herbs de provence on one, Korinje spice rub on the other)

Preheat oven to 450. Place carrot and part of onion on bottom of roasting pan to keep chicken elevated out of the juices (otherwise part of your chicken would be roasting and the other part braising). Remove the "extra goodies" from the chicken, do with them what you will, and pat the chicken dry. Stuff the cavity with remaining onion and garlic, place breast side up on top of veggies in pan. Rub in the seasonings of your choice all over the chicken. Roast for 1 hour 20 to 1 hour 45 minutes or until chicken is 160 degrees internally.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Foxy Lady

Fox Crossing, Beaver Creek, CO, 2008

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

19 months for Mac


Today you are 19 months old. We have had a busy month, between your dedication, a surprise road trip, and all of our other social engagements, it is hard to keep up with the days sometimes. You have continued to develop into more of a ham and you are the funniest little girl. You make Mommy, Daddy, and others laugh so much.

As far as your personality goes, you are definitely a charmer and you can be very sweet, but you also have a little bit of an aggressive streak if you need or want something. We are working on teaching you to share and be nice and you are doing very good, but need reminders from time to time. Mommy is hoping to catch you in the act of pushing or pulling hair (your two main infractions) soon so that we can correct that behavior. For the most part though, you play well and are generally very happy playing near others. You are getting more and more like a little cuddle bug, especially if you are tired or if it is time to read a book. You are independent and happy to go with the flow of our busy days.

You are a champion eater and love food. You have started eating salad from time to time which is a new development and you will eat anything that you can dip in dressing or sauce. You have learned that the grocery store has cookies so you will ask for a cookie as soon as we walk in the door. Other than that, you like a few bites of sweets, but will not eat a whole bunch of dessert at one time. You love peas, green beans, and corn and you will much on beans and crackers. You favorite kind of meat is either link type sausage or chicken nuggets. You still love eggs or oatmeal for breakfast, especially if Mommy adds raisins to your oatmeal.

You sleep well, you will lay down for several hours after lunch and your bed time is usually around 8:30. We will ask you if you are sleepy, you will make the sign, say peepey, give me and Keegan kisses and run to the stairs. Sometimes you will play in your crib, but usually will go right down. You sleep through the night until around 8 in the morning. You love to take a bath before bed and will splash in the tub as long as we let you. You insist on brushing your own teeth and will chew on the toothbrush so we need to get you a new one! You love to climb up and down the stairs on your own and we have to remind you to hold our hand coming down the stairs because they are so steep.

This month we have done so many things... We went on the road trip for Greatgrandmother Honey's funeral. We played at the splash pad which you loved and went to a couple different parks. We walked the mall a few times and had a play date at the church gym so you and your friends could run around like the wild maniacs you are! We have started the swimming season and you love it even more than last year. You have a little climber in the backyard and a little plastic pool that you like to play in and we try to play outside a few times a week (which we should probably do more).

You still love reading, especially these little animal books from Chick Fil A. Today when we visited Grandma Dee in College Station you loved the little Leap Frog lap top toy she got you and Mommy is hoping it will further help you learn your letters (you know about half of them). You love music and dancing and you love when Mommy puts you down and says "Do you want to run"...you will wave your hands in front of you as you run as if you are trying to push the air to the side. You can correctly identify many people in our circle of friends and family and you will say Dee, Tuh-Tah (KiKi), Pupi (Popi), Paw-Paw. You have also started signing cookie, cracker, candy, wet, dry, cereal, and cold more consistently. We are working to identify more animals and starting some work on your colors.

Mommy and Daddy love you more and more each month and more and more each day.

Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keegan is 3 months!


Today you are 3 months old...at about this time Mommy was hoping for a bit more progress as we talked about giving you some help with pitocin and I was just starting to feel conractions a bit more intensely. Who would have known that in two hours you would be in my arms!

You are such a sweet cuddle bug. You love to snuggle, but lately have started to insist on sitting up more and more as we hold you. You will strain against the car seat buckle to try and lift up against the straps. You enjoyed sitting in the bumbo the other day and are getting a lot of neck and back control. You want to see what is going on in the world around you and I think a lot of that has to do with your sweet big sister who is becoming more and more affectionate to you each day. She loves to give you kisses and toys and she is getting good at making you smile. You are so giving with your smile, it does not take much to get you to open that mouth wide and give us a big grin. You have started laughing a little bit at random things, but your laugh is more of a yelp. I know what you are doing though. You coo a lot and your coo sounds a lot like you are saying "Hi" really loud so we joke about that being your first word. MacKenzie will say Hi and wave at you whenever you say it!

You are a much quicker eater than MacKenzie, in about 10 minutes you are usually done. It is nice, but unexpected considering Miss Piggy would nurse for 45 minutes at a time. You get very mad at Mommy if you are done and she hasn't realized it yet. You don't usually fall asleep on your side either, you like to be held upright and will snuggle your head as close under mine as you can. You have horrible sleeping habits though. You will do great for two or three nights and only wake up once, then wake up every two or three hours for the next few days. We cannot figure out what is making you stay up... I do know that no matter how tightly Daddy swaddles you, you will break loose and wiggle yourself around the pack and play in our room. You love to sleep on your tummy and while Mommy is good with that for naps, she worries about you at night. I have to keep telling myself that if you are strong enough to wiggle onto your tummy, then you should be ok.

We have done a lot this past month and Mommy is working hard to keep you two entertained by going to the park, on walks, on little shopping trips, and to the library. You enjoy sitting in Mommy's lap watching the librarian do baby time or watching MacKenzie and the other kids at the park. You love to sit and kick your legs as forcefully as you can. You went swimming this month too and liked it, time will only tell if you are as much of a water baby as MacKenzie, you certainly enjoy your baths as much as she does.

It goes without saying that we love you so much. We beam every time we look into your big, expressive eyes (which are already turning...brown or hazel) and when you make a little pouty face or furrow your eyebrows. Thank you for being a perfect little baby that we couldn't imagine our lives without!

Mommy and Daddy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hold on...

Liam "holding onto" Daddy, Durham, England March 2009

Monday, May 16, 2011


Matt and I always find that we reconnect best on a road trip. He has something to "do" by paying attention to traffic and directions, but it is not so all encompassing that I don't feel like I am getting one on one time with him!

We had to make the 7 hour drive to Ruston, LA this past week to attend Matt's Grandmother's funeral. Honey passed away last Monday after we saw her for the last time on Sunday. We were glad we made the last minute trip to see her on Sunday so that we could honor her one last time. The trip to Ruston went insurmountably better than we ever could have expected. Both girls were only slightly fussy and they slept better in the hotel than we did. It was nice to see family and loved ones while paying our respects to Honey and her life. I really enjoyed the hymns sung at the service and feel like Honey would have appreciated everyone that came and how her services were handled.

We are still a bit tired from the trip and we will be getting back into our regular routine today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In Memoriam...

Cybil "Honey" Henry, Matt's Grandmother who passed away Monday

Monday, May 9, 2011

Girl's Dedication

Yesterday we dedicated the girls at our church. The church holds one of their dedication ceremonies on Grandparents Day and one on Mother's Day. Last year we were out of town for Mother's Day and once Grandparents Day rolled around we already knew we were pregnant again and wanted to dedicate both babies at the same time. It was a wonderful way to celebrate Mother's Day and while I obsessed over every detail from food for the luncheon to what the girls and ourselves would wear, I am extremely happy with how the day went. I had to keep telling myself as numerous things went wrong (not having the right cooking ingredients, my bread maker not working, overcooking the cake, ect) that this was not what the dedication was about. However, I hope that I pay this kind of attention to detail in every aspect of my children's lives.

The dedication is a chance for us parents to present our children to the church and publicly acknowledge that we will do the best job possible in raising these girls (and subsequent children at some point) in a Godly manner. It is also a time for our family, friends, and the congregation as a whole to pledge to support us and the girls and to hold us accountable to that promise. It is by no means a baptism as our church waits for children or adults to be baptized when they can understand what that means for themselves. I was glad for the chance to do this, am thankful for the opportunity to publicly acknowledge our commitment, and so grateful for friends and family who came to honor and celebrate with us.

An additional aspect of Mother's Day yesterday was one that I did not expect, but gave me much to think about regardless. Dear friends of ours mentioned that they were considering us to be gaurdians for their baby if something were to happen to them. Now, regardless of wether we actually are chosen, I consider, being considered, a great honor. I was humbled by the fact that someone would even put us on their list of people. It means that in the event that something happened to them, they would consider us to be worthy of caring for, raising, and loving their child in their place. What an enormous concept to take in! It is an incredible responsibility to live up to and makes me want to be an even better mother, "aunt" to their baby, and role model for all I come into contact with. I, of course, hope that this decision never has to come to fruition, but I am honored by the idea nonetheless. We told them to of course continue to take us into consideration as we would be honored to be as much a part of their baby's life as they saw fit! What an incredible gift on Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Key Lime Tarts

When Matt and I decided to go on our honeymoon to Chicago, I knew that we needed to eat at Nick's Fish Market. It was a place I had gone to with my family when we visited Chicago my freshman year of high school. I remember thinking that it was an exceptionally elegant place which had much to do with the low lighting, big red velvet booths, and the roses my dad had delivered to the table for my mom, sister, and I! The food was nothing to sneeze at itself and the seafood selection is incredible considering how far inland the restaurant is. Yes, I realize that Chicago lies on the coast of one of the great lakes, but I am not talking about lake-food! I'm talking about seafood!

When Matt and I visited, we were graciously offered a free dessert to help celebrate our special occassion. Reflecting back, I'm not entirely sure if we asked for the Key Lime Tart or if it was just brought to us. Regardless, it was an excellent choice. The graham cracker crust was slightly chewy, the meraingue was perfectly sweet and airy, and the tart filling barely made us pucker. I knew that I needed to come home and try to replicate this dessert.

The standard filling was not lime-y enough for my tastes so I usually add a bit extra juice (if you want to alter it to your taste, combine the condensed milk and lime first, once you get it to the desired flavor then add the egg yolks, they will not alter the taste too much, but will alter the color). I like a tart key lime tart, almost like a sour candy.

Graham Cracker Crust

1/3 of a box of graham crackers
5 TBLS melted unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar

Best to combine ingredients in the food processor. If not, mix until mixture just stays together. Press into pan. Bake at 350 for 5-8 minutes until golden brown.

"Key" Lime Tart

1 can condensed milk
3 egg yolks (save whites)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Beat yolks and condensed milk. Add lime juice. Zest several limes into mix for extra pizazz (both flavor wise and color). Put into graham cracker crust (I like tart size myself).

Beat egg whites with 1 tsp vanilla while gradually adding sugar (tsp at a time) until stiff and glossy. Top tarts with meraingue.

Bake tarts until the meraingue is set and the peaks are golden brown.

(For problems getting the meraingue to set, add one tsp cream of tartar)

You could obviously make this lemon by subbing lemon for the lime juice and some people make a vanilla wafer crust or regular pie crust.

Additionally, I like to add a raspberry sauce to this to balance out and enhance a bit of the flavors. Merely combine a bag of frozen raspberries, a bit of lime juice (it makes the fruit taste more like fruit), a tablespoon or so of water, and powdered sugar to taste in a pan. Boil until your desired thickness, strain if you so desire (I always leave in the seeds).


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Belly Painting

Auntie J signing her canvas, Our Home, August 2009

Monday, May 2, 2011


Well I cannot post about anything else except for the big news from last night. After 10 1/2 years of active searching, countless lives lost, and additional numbers of people sacrficing time with their families and risking their lives, Osama Bin Laden has been killed. It is strange to write that out. It is a victory to be sure, but it is odd to celebrate. I for one, never thought we would be the ones to do it. I figured we would have found him dead, either dying of some sort of ailment or betrayed by one of his own. But the news reports assure me otherwise, the target was found and our military did what they were trained and ordered to do. I cannot say that I thought about the man every day, but I would say almost every week my thoughts may have lingered over him or his past actions and their effect on this country. He definitely changed a lot about the USA and given the opportunity he would have changed a lot more. He was responsible for so much hurt and hatred, I cannot help but relish in the fact that this country and other countries do not have to worry about that fear any longer. He was so misguided about many things: our country/lifestyles and his own religion being two large ones. Whatever the case, he is gone, and with him, hopefully his stronghold on terror will either destroy themselves from within or fade away until there is even less for us to worry about. It was a long road to this point and my heart pours out in thanks for the numerous families who sacrficied for this cause and who continue/will continue to do so to ensure that this region is free from fanatics like him.

God bless our troops and others who serve the cause of freedom!