Cranberry Blueberry Muffins

This week we are focusing on the letter ‘M‘. She already has the ‘E’ to her name and now she thinks it’s pretty cool she has not one but TWO ‘M‘s in her name. Thank goodness we didn’t name her ‘Franchesca’ or ‘Anastasia’. ūüôā

We ended the day making Muffins. I allowed her to stir in most everything, she was pretty proud of herself. ¬†And so was I for letting go of any control that crept up. ūüôā

The muffins are made with soy milk, whole wheat flour and flax seed. Along with Cranberries and Blueberries.

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Muffins taste better made by a girl in a tutu. Ask Travis. ūüôā

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This is her finished result. She was SO proud of herself too- it made my heart melt. ]

I filled in the muffin tin while she wasn’t watching.

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They turned out great. Good job Emma!!!

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Condiments

Everyone has their favorite condiments. When we visit Europe I am always amazed they put ketchup on practically everything.

In Seattle, best US city ever, tarter sauce is put with french fries. And while I was in England I was surprised to see so much vinegar bottles on the tables in restaurants.

OK, let me tell you the story that started me thinking about something as random as condiments:

Our family was enjoying our last meal with our Polish friends and it was my turn to order. I ordered a steak well done. No pink. It’s how I like it. And I think I’ve mentioned before how much I like the burned taste. Yes, I know that’s weird.

Later, I told Trav I wish I had ordered what he had and he leaned over and told me, “That’s becaues you order things so well done that you HAVE to put A1 sauce with it. The meat has no flavor!”

I quickly told him he was wrong but internally I realized that I would NEVER eaat a steak without A1. Yuck. It would taste like…meat.

“Huh” I thought. Maybe I eat steak only to taste A1. And that got me thinking….

what other meals do I order only to taste their condiments?

I was shocked to see it was enough for a list. It is as follows:

1. Steak : or meat of any kind with A1. Especially with meatloaf and grilled cheese.

2. Fish¬†: must be accompanied by tarter sauce. Like actually good sauce not the mayo disgusting kind. Unless it’s salmon.

3.¬†Spaghetti¬†with red sauce is a favorite of mine and I’ll eat in any form. However, adding parmesan makes it ‘wow oh my goodness’. Even the cheapo stuff is OK with me. Heck, cheese in any form is OK with me.

4. Kielbasa or hotdogs: give me the sauerkraut!!!! Whether it be the authentic kind (which is awesome) or the cheap cold kind from the jar. Love, love, love sauerkraut.

5. Brownies: If I am forced to eat a brownie (which I¬†generally¬†don’t like-it’s chocolate remember) I need ice cream. Something to soften the super chocolate flavor.

6. Cheesecake: I know tons of people love this plain. But I would rather eat plain sauerkraut over plain cheesecake. I need the cake to be drenched in some kind of fruity sauce. Preferably in a bowl and I just eat it with a soon.

**if you actually read all of the above I am impressed. ūüôā

Can you think of some meals that you HAVE to have a condiment with?

Home tour: Dining room

This is my first home tour. And I’m a little nervous, hope I didn’t take too many pictures….but I guess that’s a good problem. Better too many pictures than not enough.

The main point of the house tour is for you, family and friends who don’t live by us to have an idea of our place. Room by room ūüôā

So, without further stalling: Here is our Dining Room.

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After taking these I noticed my coffee press and wished I had taken it out. Oh well. Can you see how much we love IKEA? ūüôā The black thing, shelves, my aloe plant and pot, the white table and chairs/cushion:¬†ALL IKEA.

The maps are special to us. The top and largest one is a map of Krakow, Poland. Our final destination. The left lower map is of the world and the right is of Croatia. Where we honeymooned and dream of spending anniversaries. *aawww.

The pictures on the shelf are ones we picked up in Paris a couple years ago. And the nick nacks from other travels we’ve taken and want to remember.

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This is our Polish Pottery. We are so happy to be able to display it. (and use it too) The beautiful boxes are carved and ¬†painted in the town Travis lived in. Zakopane, Poland. I love our globe. It can glow. Reminds me of While You Were Sleeping. ūüôā

The picture is from Paris. Such a great trip full of awesome memories.

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Wooden bowl: $1 at garage sale

*thanks Weronika! Great memories searching through many garage sales.

My dad gave me the red glass bowl years ago. It’s a decorative piece that fits perfect in the bowl and I think it’ll look great in the winter time when the colors outside have faded.

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This is what’s on my windowsill. The acorn is a favorite of ¬†mine that my mom gave me. (*thanks mom!) and of course plastic plant and pot from IKEA.

Now on to the next wall: the map wall. Which I love.

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We store our movies and wine/glasses at an easily¬†accessible¬†place. Sounds weird, cause we don’t really drink red wine. It’s more for looks. I use the wine glasses for my orange and grape juice. ūüôā

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Love this picture. We wanted picts of us around our home. It’s important to us- yet most of them are this size…that needs to change soon. The cup is also a favorite of mine. I just like to look at it. Using it whenever.

the aloe plant is one of the only real plants in my home. Real plants are becoming more familiar at our home. But small ones…and a large palm in our bedroom.

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If you look closely at the map you’ll see PULA on the left hand side of the peninsula. That’s where we honeymooned. Loved it. Will be back. The mugs however are from the Saturday market in downtown Portland. They will be traveling with us wherever we go in the future. The tall red one also is used for holding flowers.

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This is a wall that you’ll see as you’re walking to the dining room. All of these are special for many reasons. One’s I’m not sure you’ll be interested in reading. But it changes as the season and holidays do.

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That’s it. Wanna come over and have coffee/tea with me? ¬†ūüôā

Why should I ‘hope’ for things?! It’s not like it will happen….

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I’ve grown up my entire life hearing people tell me that ‘hope does not¬†disappoint’. But there were plenty of times in my life where hope did feel like it¬†disappoint¬†me. Big time. Yes, I know that quote is from the Bible but does that mean I should blindly follow it yet also harbor some resentment at not seeing the things I hoped for happen?!

Well, fast forward to the last couple years. Ever since Emma we’ve been trying to have another baby. What we thought would be an easy accomplishment has turned out to be a¬†grueling¬†emotional journey…that is still not over.

I have a friend who was in the same place with me and I was shocked to see her hoping every month that they would be pregnant. The amazing thing I observed was that even though she had disappointment after disappointment she never stopped hoping. That seemed like such an emotional roller coaster to me. But as our friendship grew and I saw her process her sadness, I came to a revelation about myself.

I was so cynical and apathetic to the whole process of becoming pregnant. I was protecting ¬†my emotions SO much because I was afraid to feel sad…or hurt. But those are ‘big girl’ feelings and as God grows me up I felt challenged to make a choice:

1. Will I stay in my ‘whatever’ mindset and guard my emotions towards being pregnant. Also on the road to bitterness.

2. Will I chose to hope and risk feeling sad, hurt and even isolated? (EVERYONE around me is getting pregnant- yahoo)

I chose the later. Not because I like hard choices- mostly because I knew what was right. And at first it was such a concious choice to keep my walls down. I had to feel my sadness as the months rolled by, but then I also had to show my sadness to the people around me. That was a challenge. ¬†And one I’m still on.

But all this is to first give you a foundation to where I’m going here…and that is to say that even though we’re still not pregnant, I feel sadness, hurt and yes isolation every month…and lots of questions/fear are constantly fought I feel it has also been quite a fruitful journey.

I have learned that basically- hope really doesn’t¬†disappoint. I always thought that phrase meant that we would¬†receive¬†whatever we were hoping for. Wrong. I have since learned that we will ALWAYS¬†receive¬†something for hoping.

It could be we decide to accept bitterness and anger….but for me it has been so enlightening. Basically- being super sad is OK. It will not kill me. I’ve had to learn what it’s like to process these feelings and more importantly how to then transition into hoping again. Not being stuck in sadness or depression. Being hurt is OK, it’s part of growing up. And I now know how to not be stuck and keep on moving towards where God wants me. Most of the time. ūüôā

So even though I am monthly hoping for a baby, I know that I am receiving the gift of endurance, perseverance and patience.

(and between you and me I hope I learn them fully- these are tough exhausting lessons ¬†ūüėČ ¬†)

So I still choose ‘Hope‘. And am a little wiser and healthier for it too- thanks to God.

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For you and me:

Romans 5:5
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

For you mom and dad

Remember walking into my room and catching me singing and pretending in front of the mirror?

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It lives on…..

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such a special moment for me…..:) and then she saw me:

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Moved

Yes, we moved. And we love it.

Things are still being hung and getting used to new sounds at night but over all we feel SO blessed by this place. I’ll give you a house tour soon but I need rooms to be complete first so until then you’ll just get glimpses. Some random things though I’ve noticed since living here all of 2 days.

1. HOW is it possible, living on the 5th floor, for us to have an ANT problem?!!! Please tell me because I am shocked. 

2. Man the sunsets are great. 

3. Sound sensitive/ VERBAL/older ladies for neighbors make for a frustrated Alexis.

4. The air conditioning in our place works great. Almost TOO great, I’m wearing pants and a cardigan to combat the¬†arctic¬†breezes blowing past me and it’s boiling outside! Reminds me of Austin, TX and their movie¬†theaters- fa-reeze-ing.

5. Emma having her own room is fab-u-lous. With a capitol ‘F’. She loves it, we love it, perfect.

6. Does anyone else get frustrated with having to plan out a kitchen? Placing plates/cups, mixing bowls and tupperware is stressful to me! lol Weird I know.

Here is a picture of our our old loft. I miss it but only a little. It was perfect for when we needed it and now we are being blessed with an even better place. *Thanks God

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Wanting to be a fun mom

I was struck today, as I was doing the dishes, that I have moments of being a ‘wanna be’. The Cool Mom. ¬†The mom that does fun creative things with her kiddos. And of course, all those ideas just flow so easily too. ūüôā (This is not in comparison to anyone, just an imaginary momma)

I know I don’t measure up to my high standards at all. But before you try to argue with me: Yes, I have my fun days. I like being silly and spontaneous with my girl…but really when it all comes down to it…it’s whenever it’s¬†convenient¬†for me. If I have some free time I’ll think of something fun for Emma and I to do. And¬†that’s alright.

None

But what I was shown today made me think , I don’t want Emma to tell me years later that she wished we would have done more things she liked to do. Basically it’s her childhood, not mine. The $1 TCBY cones are great. The rainbow pancakes, awesome. But will I have a random pretend birthday party for her in her room? Will I sing happy birthday to her over and over and pretend to sip on plastic cups taking my time when I have other things to do?

Sometimes what I think would be fun is not fun for her. I need to be¬†sensitive¬†to that and recognize what really excites her. Like Ring Pops, Dollar store rings and finger nail polish. Snuggling after waking up and allowing her to be more involved in the kitchen. Will I spend an extra $10 and get her nails done at a real salon?! We live right next to one…or allow her to wear a special dress out in a field picking smelly weeds she calls flowers?! (all the while not telling her to be careful of dirt)

Just some thoughts. What do you think?

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Cajun Fish Tacos

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It was about 5:00 and I was looking through my pantry and fridge thinking, ‘what the heck am I making for dinner?!’ Ever been there?

I saw the beautiful frozen Talapia and also the frozen wild rice I have been saving. Suddenly a thought was coming to me…I had a few extra tortillas….and heck even some homemade tarter sauce. BAM!!! I’ve got myself a dinner.

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I needed something crunchy in it too. But since my veggie options are down I chose from what I had in the crisper, match stick carrots.

The fish seasoning was from a shaker. Nothing fancy. But I was generous so it had a kick. I’m silly and like to balance out the creamy tarter sauce with a bit of a kick.

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It might sound fancy, but my homemade tarter sauce is so SUPER easy. Please, read, copy and feel fancy: Basically just add together and mix. ¬†It’s all up to you and your personal taste.

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Now for Emma’s dinnner…the fish was too spicy for her taste buds so fish sticks it is! Couldn’t she be a spokes model!!!

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Her plate, she ate all the fish and carrots. Didn’t touch the rice or tortilla. Oh, well.

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Are your kiddos good eaters? What tricks do you use for them to eat their food? Or do you make special meals for them?

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When Travis came home I told him what I made (house smelled AWESOME) and he said, ‘ugh! I dont’ like fish tacos at all! They’re weird!’

Seriously?! Don’t you just “love” it when family members surprise you with information too late?!

So we had fish with rice and carrots on the side.  lol

my friend

*********************written by emma**********************

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i miss my friend. she and i love to play. she left on an airplane today and won’t be back for a very long time. mommy and daddy say they are hoping we’ll see her really soon and she can show me HER bedroom and toys!

i miss you esterka and wish you were here. see you soon!

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Water fountain

We live by ¬†this little secret fountain. Nobody thinks to go to it on hot days but us. It’s awesome.¬†Especially¬†on days like today, going up to¬†apparently¬†97’F! But I get kinda paranoid and feel like some cop is going to come and tell me not to play in the water. And really is that so bad?! Not the worse thing that could happen…

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She was in heaven. And I was using this time to test out my manual mode on this camera.

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Did you have a nice relaxing Saturday?

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