Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Wonderland in Aspen?

Doesn’t this look like a winter wonderland? It looks like Aspen, CO doesn’t it? Well it's not it is Seattle, WA. This is crazy! My sister has been giving us an update of the storms that have been hitting the North West area. I didn’t know Seattle could turn into an Aspen, Colorado? They have measured 28” in snow the past few days. The storms continues and we are not sure if we will be spending Christmas with family or on our own? TBD

Friday, December 19, 2008

Another neighbor becomes the victim of cold weather

Well it looks like another neighbor's house has become the victim of the cold weather. Can you say "thermal expansion" folks?

I guess many property owners have failed to understand the basic concepts of thermal dynamics when it comes to that most common substance WATER.

Whenver water freezes it EXPANDS, hmmmm...curious. When this happens to a pipe that's on the outside of your house, you have all the elements to a disaster, a broken water pipe!

I went outside this morning to shovel off a spot in the backyard for our dogs to "do their business" when I noticed a quiet hissing sound coming from our neighbor's house. I peeked over the fence and to my surprise saw that their outside sprinkler pipe had burst and was spewing out water.

This must have been going on for quite some time because the water was frozen all around it, despite the fact that water continued to run all over the ice.

Also, noteworthy was the huge pile of trash in front of their house on the street. Trash day was Tuesday and the trash people, it seems, refused to collect it. This probably had something to do with the fact that it mainly consisted of household furniture: I counted 2-3 TVs, a computer monitor, desks, mattresses, and other household furniture.

Being the "good neighbor" that I am, I decided to go around the back of their house and attempt to shut off the water. I tried the first valve, nothing, the water continued to pour out. Then the second one: success! With the water off I decided to call the City water dept. to have them come and shut off the water to the house.

I followed up this phone call with a call to the HOA to let them know of the huge mess out in the street. Not only does this mess make the neighborhood look bad, but obviously no one wanted the stuff given the fact that the monitors and T.V.s now had over several inches of SNOW on top of them!

P.S. oh yeah, when I saw "another neighbor", I'm referring to a prior incident that happened to the neighbor on the other side of us a couple of years ago. When the temperature drop outside combined with a blown out furnace pilot light, the inside house temperature dropped below freezing. This was enough to burst the pipe, JUST BEFORE the main water shutoff valve. The water dept. had to be called out in this case too in order to shut off the house's water and stop all the water that was leaking out into the living room, utility closet, and spewing out into the street from under their garage.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cold in Colorado!

I don’t want to give you a weather forecast but I guess that is what I am going to do. It is freezing here, literally. The mountains have got most of the snow. We did get a little here in the city and with the temperatures the way it has been it has not melted away. Monday morning I woke up to -15 degrees outside, insane I know! I thought I had warmed up my car well enough but half way into work my clutch felt stiff. I just kept thinking please, please let me just get to work and don’t stall. Monday had a high of about 10 degrees. I found my window fluid to be frozen. I have to say, the magic of the season goes out the door, when you drive with out window washer fluid and the snow begins to melt. ERGH! Yesterday afternoon I finally was able to clean the car window without my help of throwing snow on it. My window fluid defrosted on its own. Yeah! I think today we are getting back into shorts weather at 35 degrees. I hope this cold front has passed, but I think we are still in for a treat with the cold and snow this weekend. With that said, I guess I need to look at the positive things that the cold brings. The fireplace running every night, family cuddles under the feather blanket, snowball fights in the yard, ice skating at the lake, drinking hot chocolate and skiing with no rocks!

The best part of today is knowing that one week from today we will be with my Sister, brother in-law, nieces, nephews, brother, his fiancé and her mother. We will be with family very soon to enjoy Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Hail to the Chocolate!

That’s right Hail to the Chocolate. I have a deep love for chocolate. Not just any kind but the really good stuff. Any chance I can get some really good chocolate I am so there. My love for chocolate began I am sure in my mothers womb. As a child I could only order the chocolate milkshake, chocolate ice cream, chocolate chip cookies. Anything sweet had to have chocolate in it or I would not eat it. As far as I was concerned it was waist of a good cookie if there was not chocolate in it. Then when I was 10 years old I was diagnosed with being allergic to chocolate. My world turned upside down. How can anyone be allergic to this sinful treat? So my chocolate ordering days turned to vanilla shake and carob. Carob, all I have to say is yuck! I still can’t bring myself to eat it. So I would rather go without. As the years passes I snuck the chocolate back into my life. I lived with the consequences of eating this treat. Which were a stuffy nose and a rash on my arms. But that didn’t keep me from the indulgence. As I grew older I think I gained a tolerance to chocolate and it didn’t affect me as much anymore. My favorite candy bar growing up was a Snickers and thus my nickname growing up was “snickers or snicker doodles” If you use this knowledge against me, I will need to retaliate. I still have to watch my chocolate intake and have to keep the amounts small. My love of chocolate will never subside no matter what the consequences are! Rock on Chocolate!
As a family tradition we hand make chocolates and box them up and tie a ribbon around the box and give it away as a Christmas gifts. I remember growing up with tins filled with chocolates at Christmas time. I would sneak into them and eat one and then go back an hour later and eat another one. I would hear my mom saying. “stay out of the chocolates” Yes we would take turns creeping into the dining room and carefully removing the lids as to not make a sound and grab some chocolates, you had to pop one in your mouth and then what you could carry in your hands. Then carefully put the lid back on and the container exactly back where you found it. With 5 kids doing this the loot would go down pretty fast and my Mom would know we had been in there. We would have all sorts of flavors, including orange, cherry, mint, coconut and the Olympian cream. Some years we get creative and produce new flavors. But we seem to go back to our favorites.

Last Wednesday I started to prep for the grand chocolate dipping event. I hoped the stars in the sky would be in alignment and the weather would stay cold and my filling would not turn to sugar. And so I begin with my beautiful red cast iron pot and begin the tradition of making our family chocolates. One batch takes about a solid 2 hour process. If the filling doesn’t turn to sugar than you are jumping up and down with joy. It is a natural high to see it come together and it turn into a creamy wonder. So Wednesday night I made two batches and a batch of toffee, then Thursday night I was able to get another batch made. Friday I was prepared to make the caramels and dip the chocolates. This year I made Olympian cream, you know this one because we always put a piece of a pecan on the top of the chocolate. I also made orange, mint, coconut and cherry. Friday I got off work early and headed home to begin the task. I figured I would do what I could do and then have Adam help me when he got home. So I began with cutting the chocolate. You see I am serious about this; I get my chocolate in a 10lbs brick. So with a sharp knife and a lot of strength I begin cutting the chocolate to be able to melt it for dipping. After the chocolate is cut, or until I am tired, I pulled out the filling and began rolling the balls. This was the first year I did the whole process alone. I would dip with one hand in chocolate and the other hand was free to add the nut on top or the sprinkles. I love to dip chocolates. There is this sense of peace I have when I am sitting at the table, listening to music and you just get in a flow with the chocolate. It is very relaxing. The only relaxing part of the whole process I think. It took me 5 hours to dip about 300 chocolates, make caramels and clean up the kitchen. When Adam got home from work the kitchen and dining area had trays of goodness all over the room. Later that night we decided to go ahead and box them and get ahead of the game. We usually wait a day to box, but they were settled and ready. So we began. With our list we made the night before we produced about 60 boxes to hand out to friends this year. And Saturday and Sunday were the days for deliveries. I think that is the fun part is giving a box of homemade treats. It is the love that is made with each chocolate, the care that is given to each one. With the making of the filling, then the time for it to sit before you can roll. Then each one is hand rolled and then the dipped, and carefully placing on the paper and last the special pinch of whatever is put on the top of the chocolate to mark its identity. I am not sure if those who receive know the love that is behind the generations of this family tradition? It has been passed down and I can proudly say I am a four generation candy maker. I hope that I have the same love given in eat bite that has been passed down with each generation and I want to pass down to my children. I hope they will have the love of sneaking in to grab the treat and enjoy it as I did. I hope they will find the love of making them with me and then eventually when they are old enough to be trusted with the family secret. I hope my children will then pass it on to their children and the tradition remains forever in our families.

I realized after we had boxed them all up there was none left for Adam and me. So Saturday night and Sunday I made a batch each night. And for our family home evening tonight Adam and I will be dipping our own chocolates to eat for the holidays. These will not be boxed, they will be stored in our Christmas tins and when ever a visitor comes to our home for a visit or stops in, we always offer a chocolate to them.

I have to say it’s nice to be the adult and I don’t have to go an sneak a chocolate, I can now just go get one or two or three.

Emily Creations!

I want to give thanks to Emily for the awesome Christmas card she designed for my family this year. I had to put it on the head of our blog.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Thanks for sharing your talents with us!

Every family should be able to elf themselves and send out the fun!

Actually I have seen a few and it has been awesome for those of you that have shared it with us. We enjoyed them. We have see about 3 families we know who have elfed themselves and sent us get video footage of their families.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the fun!

Go elfyourself this year!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Memoirs of the islands...

This is a picture I actually took myself when I was on one of the islands. I told you I enjoyed photography. I'll have to post more images when I find them.
This one was taken from a rooftop on a particularly clear day. On clear days you could see between one island and the other. Notice the round water tanks on top of the roofs. That's how they got their water into the apartments.
This next one is actually from a postcard that I scanned in of the local plaza. Large cruiseliners would come in here on one of their "ports of call". This was the destination on one of my famous "jetfoil rides". Notice how green it is!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Excuse for a Date

Saturday night Adam and I went to his work Christmas party. It turned out to be a fun night. We arrived at 630pm, expecting to stay for maybe an hour or 2 but we ended up staying for like 5 hours that night. Their Christmas party was at the museum of nature and science; they rented out the whole building. We arrived and after meeting a few of his co-workers and spouses we were ushered upstairs to eat dinner. We ended eating in a room with Mountain goats. We were able to hang out with a couple before they headed off to their Imax movie, after they left another co worker of Adam’s found us and came and ate with us. We spent the most part of the evening hanging out with Andrew and Tatiana.

They were a great couple to get to know. They have a 3 year old daughter and Tatiana is pregnant with their second. We will be anxious to find out the sex of the baby in a few weeks. Andrew works with Adam and his wife has a very interesting job that takes her around the world. It was really nice to chat with her about all the places that she has gone and is going in the next few months. It was a pleasure to meet them and spend the evening with them. After dinner we went to try out a few desserts and chat some more. The desserts were in the other end of the wild life exhibit. So we enjoyed our little cakes and cheesecake while admiring the different kinds of cats jumping in the air. Lucky for us we all had tickets to the 8pm IMAX Theater there at the museum and so we went together to view the movie, which was on Alaska. It was good. I think my favorite part of the movie was the big black bear playing in the water. He was splashing around like a child in the water. It was fun to watch. After the movie we went to go see some more of the exhibits. Where we were able to find some hands on items, with help from Adam he taught me how to park a space shuttle at the dock before running out of gas. It took me a few try’s to get it docked. Adam seemed to pick it up quickly; it must be the pilot in him? After the fun we made our way to the Chocolate fountain where there I found my love of treats and goodies to dip. BTW the chocolate was really good.

Adam and I then decided to get a portrait taken together. As we are standing in line with the other people, I felt like I was at my prom, waiting to take my formal picture together. The picture I think turned out just as cheesy! After our picture we decided to end the evening with a carriage ride. We were taken away with a white carriage drawn by a white and black spotted horse. There was a heavy velvet blanket that he had on our laps to help us stay warm for the ride. I loved to hear the clicking of the horse’s hoof as he walks on the pavement. The ride only took us around the museum, but there was the one point on the ride you could view downtown and all the lights at that point Adam leans over and gives me a kiss. It was the kiss that warms your heart and the chills that you were feeling all go away. He wraps his arms around me and we sit in complete silence just enjoying the rest of the ride. Over all it turned out to be a very romantic date night.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Learning how to create my first DVD

Last night I played around with making my own DVD and it was kind of fun.

I have been recording one of Nikki's favorite soap opera's "Days of our lives" with our new TV card. Trouble is the recorder doesn't seem to know when to shut off :-)

So, then the files are so large there's no room for anything else. I figured out how to save them to DVD and have made a few DVDs for Nikki so she can watch her shows when she's ready.

My Brother, Nathan, learned how to do all this years ago, but I never had the right computer gadgets to do it until now. It's kind of fun. I'm planning on making some more DVDs from family videos of the past.

-- Adam

Magic in the Air

Yesterday was a normal day with a magic twist. As I was driving into work there was a light snow falling. I had expected there to be more snow when I had woke up that morning. But through out the day I would head to the windows and peek out and watch the light snow falling. It snowed all day but the snow falling was so light and fluffy. When it came to going home, the sun was almost set and the wind was blowing and the snow was still falling. As I am walking out to my car I notice a twinkle here and there on the ground. I begin to look at the snow filled parking lot, then the trees and cars which are covered in a white blanket of snow. Everywhere I look I see twinkling. It is as if the snow is magical. This precious white blanket has thousands of tiny gems in it. I thought to myself how beautiful it was and enjoyed the rest of the walk to my car. As I pull out of the parking lot, onto the road my radio is turned to Christmas music and the song that is playing. “let it snow” I have to laugh to myself because it was so appropriate to be listening to a song about snow when it is snowing outside. The commute home was long and slow and as I am driving at 30MPH I am pondering many thoughts from the day, and from the week. The excitement from an email we received on Monday to our weekend plans. The drive into my neighborhood was nice and quiet, the roads where snow packed and you could hear the crunching of the snow as the tires drove on the street. As I walked in the back door I am greeted as I am every day by Roxie who is so excited to see me and wags her tail with excitement I lean down to give her a pet and tell her hello and I missed her too.

This gave me a memory from last year at this time. When my sister and her boys were living with us, I would come home from work anxious to get home because I had a house full of people. The boys usually were sitting at the bar eating an afternoon snack or working on homework. Foster would be in his highchair eating his snack or crawling around on the floor chasing the dogs. This one day I came home and as I come through the back door like I do everyday I am greeted by Roxie and lean down and pat her, said hello and she ran away. I walk a few steps and Lizzy came up. I leaned down and pet her, said hello and she ran away. Then I walk a few steps, I am greeted by Foster who has just crawled over to me and I lean down and pat him on the head, said hello and he happily crawls away. I continue to enter the room to take off my coat and put down my stuff. While I am doing this my sister Chris is standing there watching this whole thing and bust out laughing. She says to me. “Hey don’t treat Foster like a dog” I looked at her with a puzzled gaze, I didn’t even realize what I had done. We both start to laugh and the whole experience.

It was the best experience to have her and the thress boys come and live with us. We were unsure if it would all work, but all I have is wonderful memories and the opportunity to really build a relationship with my nephews. Oliver will not know us as well as he was still in mommies tummy at the time, but with the relationship I have with the other boys they will let him know that Uncle Adam and Aunt Nikki are ok. I can’t wait to meet Oliver in person. But for now we have Skype and that is how I am able to keep up with the boys.

I know I have been sharing a lot of memories lately, but "it’s all good'. Life is about making memories. Each thing we do will become a memory and then over time you find that those memories that may have been hard or those memories that were so joyous become the best ones ever, because they help you find strength in the future.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Welcome Christmas

This is our favorite time of the year. There is something magical about this time of year as I have mentioned before. We enjoy christmas lights, christmas music, baking goodies, giving of ourselves, rendering service, and thinking more about our Savior and all that he has done for us.
As soon as Thanksgiving is over I pull out the boxes of Christmas decorations and fill every room with something. This year we started a bit earlier. I came home from work last Wednesday and went to work at making pies and stuffing to bring to our friends for Thanksgiving dinner. I was in the kitchen cooking and listening to Christmas music. When Adam walked in we greeted each other and he then went back out to the garage and the next thing I know he is bringing in the Christmas boxes full of decorations and pulling them all out. I later asked him why he did it, and he told me. He said when he came home and heard the Christmas music playing and the pie baking he thought it was time to put up Christmas decorations.

Welcome to our home! Where we love to celebrate Christmas. The lights stream across and down the banister which light up the garland. We have the Christmas tree decorated and full of meaningful ornaments. I want to show you my favorite one. This star is the very first one Adam and I bought together our first year of marriage. We bought it in the summer in Park City, Utah. I just fell in love with it and it has become one of our traditions to purchase one ornament each year to add to the tree. It doesn't matter when we buy it. It can be any time of the year, but it is the one we find together and it speaks to us that it is the one that belongs on our tree. This is still my favorite after all these years.

I found this Santa mail box a few years ago and boy did we have fun with it last year. I was thinking about what we were doing last year at this time. My younger sister who was pregnant at the time and her 3 boys came to live with us temporarily while they were in transition for a move to Germany. Her husband is in the military (in the Army) and he was away. So last year when I pulled out Santa's mailbox we learned how magical it really is.
If you put a letter in the box and put up the red flag. The next day your letter is gone and within a week your get a response from Santa. Last year Ethan, our 6 year old nephew, decided to try out the mail box. Ethan and his Uncle Spencer each wrote Santa a letter. I found out that Uncle Spencer asked Santa to bring his sisters what ever they wanted for Christmas and to keep all the families safe. Ethan asked Santa to send him a picture of himself. About a week later we hear Ethan screaming at the top of his lungs that there was a letter in the box. Santa had sent him a letter from the North Pole. In the large envelope was a letter that was hand written on Santa's personal stationary. The top of the page read "from the desk of Santa Claus" Then the letter proceeded to talk directly to Ethan.
Did you know that Santa's favorite color is Red? Well, so is Ethan's. Santa's letter was written with very shaky handwriting. But of course, because he lives in the North Pole and it is very cold there. There was also something else in the package to Ethan. It was a hand drawn picture of Santa. He said his elf "Art" drew it for him at his last Christmas Party and he wanted Ethan to have it. The picture really captured the gleam in Santa's eyes. It was a treasured experience for the kids and for the adults. I am sad my newphews are gone, but it has now become one of our family traditions to send Santa a letter directly from our magical mail box.

My parents gave this to us as an early Christmas gift and told us we could open it up when we pulled out the tree. What a great surprise to find this beautiful handmade Nativity. My parents just returned home from Singapore, where they have been living, just over the past 2 years. They did a lot of traveling while they were there serving a Public Relations Mission. On their travels they went to Indonesia. They purchased this incredible Nativity from Darno, an Indonesian young man, he had hand made this to sell so he could pay for his schooling. He was a senior at Indonesian Nazarene Bible College, preparing for the ministry. Thank you Darno for sharing your talent and the detail is amazing. It is made out of Bamboo. Thank you Mom and Dad for an awesome gift.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day of Cookies and Games

It was so nice to have 4 days off from work and stay home. Saturday I decided it was time to kick off the Christmas season and make sugar cookies. Mostly because I wanted to eat a few, and then that means we need to take them to people we know to get them out of the house before I eat them all gone. So that afternoon that is what we did. We made trees and stars. After we got them cut out and baked we decided to go and play a little Warcraft on the computer. This is something we have not done for a long time together. I remember when we were first married we would spend our Saturdays playing Starcraft. There was this one time I remember when we lived in North Carolina. We were renting this awesome farm house and it had an attic that we housed our computers in. We woke up not getting dressed and ran upstairs in the attic and played. We played for like 10 hours. We didn’t even realize the time had passed and what got us to thinking about the time was our stomachs were growling. So we called and order a pizza and continued to play into the night. It was the best game ever! We were so silly and I miss those days, but every so often we find a few hours that we can go back and get lost in the wonderful world of alienation. What we have learned from our gaming experiences it is best we are on the same team. There are hard feelings when we play against each other. LOL to keep our marriage healthy and our feelings from being hurt we work together to conquer the enemies that we play.

So after our game we went back downstairs and Adam began to make up the colors of frosting. Somehow our red turned out more like a pink and our green looked mintier in color. But who cares it still tastes good. So Adam frosted the cookies and I wanted to add more detail to the trees and stars and put frosting in a plastic baggie snipped of the corner and piped out frosting to add details to our cookies. With all the colors on the cookies and the sprinkles each cookie looked like a master piece. Then we decided on a few families we knew who would enjoy eating them. I think that is the fun part of the cookie making is the delivering of goods part. I enjoy seeing the reaction you get when you knock on a door and they open it up and find you standing there with a plate of cookies. We get invited in and have a sweet conversation at the doorstep. And then we leave each house with a little kick in our step anxious to get to the next house to bring them a little yummy treat. One of the houses we decided to give them a poinsettia instead because we knew they had a special diet and they invited us to hang out with them for the evening. So we finished our rounds stopped and picked up a movie at the Red Box. (love getting a movie for a $1) and heading back where the Sushi had already arrived and we ate sushi and watched this really weird movie. I still don’t get it? Oh well, it was about the company and I got to hold the baby so that was the best part.

I love this time of year. It brings out the best in people and I find we are so much more open with sharing our feeling about the love of our Savior. There is something magical about this time of year. I felt it as a child and the feeling has never subsided. I hope that the children who come into our home will be able to experience the magic that this time of year brings.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Old computer / TV card

Well, Nikki used her "jedi mind tricks" on me and we got a 22" monitor and a USB TV card for $20. I started to try it out to "make sure it works". However, I discovered that one of our computers is so old (about 6+ yrs. old) that it doesn't even have USB 2.0, in only has 1.0 and the card was only designed for 2.0. I tried it on the other computer that is slightly less old (only about 4 years old), and it has USB 2.0 and actually worked!

The good thing is that I can now start using the "newer" computer (4 yr. old) to act as a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) / HTPC (Home theater type of PC). I'm going to test it out next week and record a week's worth of Nikki's favorite shows on the PC and see if they turn out.

The newer card is pretty cool, it even has auto-record and programmable features. The last TV card I bought was so old that Windows98 was the newest thing around, back then. So it will be nice to have one that actually works on a modern operating system.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

I have to say I am one of those fools who enjoy getting up early morning and going out on Black Friday. This year I convinced Adam to tag along with me on the fun. If you know Adam, then you know how precious his sleep is. He will not get up early for anything. So Thursday night we set out a plan. We each went into our offices and found the items we were interested in. About an hour later we met up and went over our list of deals. I was surprised to find that we had circled pretty much the same stuff. As I am trying to convince him we need the 32" flat screen and how there is this cool new gadget that I think I should get called the Cricket, he just sits and laughs at me as I plead my case. Adam is the rational one in our relationship if you couldn't tell. He talks me out of these extreme items and leads me to a more productional path of shopping. So we decide to try our luck at Office depot for the 22" monitor. As he wants to get to the store at 7am I proceed to use my wisdom of persuasion on him that we really need to get there when it opens if we think we have a chance. As his power of persuasion move my thoughts from the 32" TV to a 22" monitor. My power of persuasion gets the man up at 530am and in line at the store 2 mins before they open. What luck we were able to get the monitor. The rest of the day was running around town doing errands and decorating our home for Christmas. With all the shopping done for the season and the Christmas tree and decorations up at the house. We are ready for the season. We wish you and your family the best the Christmas and hope that you enjoy the love and treasures that the season has to offer.

PS I had to make sure the monitor works so I am using it right now. It is awesome. Maybe I will be able to convince Adam next year with my mind Yoda powers to get the 32" LCD TV.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I am thankful for.........

Happy Thanksgiving

I have so much to be thankful for where do I begin? I am thankful for family and friends, for our jobs, for our home we have to live in, for our cars that run and have had no problems for a while. I am thankful to have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our life, just to name a few things that I am thankful for.

So Adam and I were planning on being hermits this Thanksgiving, yes the natural introvert in me speaking. We were going to hide out and have a small dinner at home. But a week ago we decided to spend it with some good friends, and then the day before I get a call about getting together with a couple more families. So that’s what we did, we got together with 9 adults and 7 children. BTW all the kids were under the age of 6. It was great. Everyone pitched in for dinner, which was an awesome way to do Thanksgiving dinner. The family who hosted it had a great clean garage to put tables up in and we were all able to eat together in there. As you have seen from my garage there is no way we could have hosted anything in my cluttered, packed garage. The food was so good and the company was even better.

The triplets as you can see are eating their thanksgiving dinner. There was a race with who could finish their bottle first. I tell you Tatum and Carter were neck and neck, but in the end I think Tatum won. The babies look so good. They are a month old now and about a week away from their due date.

Thanks so much for letting us come and enjoy Thanksgiving with your families. We love you all and are so lucky to be a part of the holiday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

One hundred forty-two years ago, our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed:

"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union."

I hope that all of us recognize the great blessings we have, set our mind toward gratitude. As we do our minds will focus on the positive things we have been blessed with.

"Let thy hearts be full of thanks unto God" Alma 37:37

It may seem a simple suggestion, but if you wake up with gratitude on your mind and heart it is almost impossible to feel anything but peace.

I wish all of you a happy, meaningful Thanksgiving,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

7 Random Facts about Adam

Well, I've been slacking off a little and needed to post some content on here too. Here's 7 random facts about me too:

  1. I learned to fly a plane in less than 3 months (over a summer) and got my pilot's license

  2. I once saw the Queen of Spain (only for a brief moment)

  3. I have a voracious appetite for learning about lots of things. I especially enjoy learning how things "work".

  4. I also like to learn little trivia facts about random stuff

  5. I love music and when I'm having a bad day, or just having a hard time getting motivated once in a while, I'll put on a good upbeat tune to keep me going.

  6. I love photography, in my college years I took lots of scenery shots. I love sunset and sunrise and those hard-to-find nature shots (like when the clouds form a certain way, or the sun shines through the clouds, and especially colorful sunsets). I took some pictures on some sub-tropical islands and loved to see if I could take a picture on the top of one island looking towards the next.

  7. I once rode a "jet foil" between two tropical islands. Similar to this one:

Nieces & Nephews...

I was just updating facebook and one of my friends commented that he had 19 nieces & nephews and 4 different time zones...It got me thinking...Hmmmm... How many do I have?

I think I have around 18 nieces & nephews in 4 time zones... Kinda cool eh?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My project is complete

So I got the idea to redo my office this summer, to try and make it a space that I want to be in. I wanted to bring something special to the room that I house my workout equipment, my computer and now my new hobby of sewing. I really thought this through with my plan and I think it all came out pretty good with my budget. I had to really think about the future plans of this room. For now it is my space but as our family grows Adam will be pushed out of his office and into mine. So I wanted something neutral that we would both enjoy. I fell in love with this paint color and knew he would like it once he ends up in the room. But for now it’s still my room and I love it. I love the clean lines; the plant I think balances the room. I took the project on during conference weekend and finished it, but last night Adam took the time to put the pictures on the wall and I took the time to clean up my office and de-junk my desk. Thank goodness for paper shredders and that it was garbage day today. I have added shelves to my closet so everything has a place and the junk can be there just not seen. It’s all about the illusion that I am organized. LOL

Here is Adam in his office, now that is another project. TBD

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fondue Anyone?

We had a blast last night. Tis the season to each cheese!
One of our traditions is to have Fondue during the holidays. We decided to jumpstart the season early and invite some friends over last night for a fondue party. I am completely bummed that my camera was not working. Not sure what is going on there, so unfortunately there are no pictures to post of the great feast. It is a great excuse for me to pull out the china and set a nice table for the event of Fondue. Fondue has a special place in my heart. I lived in Switzerland and with that experience I have a fond love for cheese, the smellier the better I say. So with that love of cheese I have to produce a table setting worthy of the food. With that I pulled out the crystal, silver chargers and the finest china.
Once the group arrived we immediately sat down to start our first course, which was a wonderful salad that Tamra brought. “Note to self – get the recipe” It was a divine! Because I like to multi-task; we had the broths simmering on the table and were able to start cooking our meat. I tried a new recipe this year for my broth and it turned out pretty good, not sure if it was a keeper though, I think I still like my vegetable one that I make. We ate chicken and stake. I had made a couple of dipping sauces for the meat. My favorite was the cracked black pepper dip. When something is made with cream cheese and butter it can never go wrong. We also had BBQ sauce with a little kick, and a garlic dill sauce. When we seemed to have our fill of meat the 3rd course began with the cheese fondue. I use the authentic Swiss recipe for my fondue which is made with Gruyere and Emmentaler cheese. Yeah baby! You really have to pace yourself with this meal. My favorite part of the cheese fondue is when the cheese is almost gone and the cheese starts to burn on the bottom of the pot and there you find the garlic pieces and burned cheese. Oh does it get better than this? I also served an apple herbal tea as the beverage on the side of the meal. Everyone was willing to try at least a cup. The Swiss believe to serve a warm drink with their fondue as to not let the cheese harden in their tummies, and so we drank this wonderful tea my sister sent to me from Germany. With a full belly of salad, meats and cheese it was time to push the limit and have dessert which was a chocolate fondue. Unfortunately one of our couples had to take the chocolate and treats on the road as it was time to get back home and relieve their babysitter. But those who stay sat back played a little of the Wii and ate a wonderful spread that another couple brought of yummy items to dip in the chocolate. One of my favorites off these platters of heaven was the bite size rice crispy treats. I have never thought to add that to the plate to dip in chocolate. Oh where have I been?

All in All it was a great night with good friends, good food and lots of fun, one that we will remember for a life time.

Adam was so helpful; after everyone was gone we had a pile of dishes to do. I tried to keep up with them during the night, but of course as your belly gets fuller and the cheese sits in, you kind of just want to kick back and relax and let the food just settle. Adam helped me clean up after the party and we chatted at the sink as we hand washed the crystal and the china and laughed together into the late night. Once the kitchen was clean, the dishwasher set and the dry dishes on the counter we went upstairs with "the girls" and had our family cuddles for an hour or so, this is wher we just sit together with a big blanket and the dogs find their places with their chewy and we talk about stuff on our minds. It was the best part of the night.
I just want to say how much I love Adam and how good we are together. He is my friend, my companion, and my life. I am so glad that we were able to find each other. The wait was worth it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wait no more....its here

Oh, it is so beautiful. The wait is no more.

I woke up this morning as my ritual I get out of bed and peek out the window and see what the morning will bring. It is sort of a quirky thing I do every morning. I peek out the window with the anticipation that I will see something new. Every morning I see the neighbor’s car parked in the same spot, the light post shining brightly and a quiet calm street and I think to myself, I wish I was in bed. Then I walk into the bathroom and begin my grooming rituals. But this morning was different. As to my surprise I found a light dusting of snow and snowflakes falling from the sky. The light post gleamed with light and you could see the millions of tiny flakes dropping. With this made my heart skip a beat and a whirl of excitement take over. I wanted to wake Adam up and tell him it was snowing. I just looked at the lump of him under the feathers and let him sleep knowing he would have his own excitement when he was ready to wake up.

I took the back roads to work so I could slip and slide my way in. I love the rush you get when your brakes lock and you loose control just a bit. But only when you are the only one on the street and you have to be really careful not to end up in the ditch.

I remember the old days, back in high school. I drove an orange mustang, we would take that thing into the parking lot and do donuts with it. Oh the fun we had back then.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

7 Random Facts about me.

Oh where do I begin? Not quite sure what to say.

1. I was born crossed eyed, and through two surgeries my eyes were corrected.

2. I could not tell time until I was 16, I some how missed that class when moving around as a child from the US to Canada back to the US. We only had digital clocks in my house. So that is why I have a fascination with clocks and I like the big ones as you can tell I have them all over my house.

3. I enjoy ice skating, when I was a kid in Canada that is what I did every Friday and Saturday night, go to the rink with friends and skate around and around and only leave the ice when it was time for it to be cleaned. I still love the ice and skating around and around and around. We don’t go anywhere except around and around and around.

4. I am double jointed and found it to be really handy when my mom who was dropping me off at early morning seminary ran over my foot/angle with the corvette. Yeah, it didn’t break or anything. Lucky me. Just got ate up by the gravel.

5. I can make an airplane out of my tongue. Ask me and I will show you.

6. I have learned with all my years of sitting quietly in sacrament meeting as a child to entertain myself with my hands, I can make some pretty cool creatures that will eat the meeting programs. Good Times.

7. I have a pretty good high kick. Ask my sister, I used to use it on her. LOL

Ok Adam ....when you read this it is your turn to add.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Does She Know?

I have some thought today to share.

So much is going through my mind about this opportunity to adopt. I wonder how it will work out, how long it will take and how the contact with our birth mother will be. We want to work at the comfort level of our birth mother. We hope with an open adoption we are able to invite our new family into ours. I want so much for our birth mother to know that her child will always know how special you are to be able to give your child life, and to know that with all your love you choose a family to raise your child. You will forever hold a special place in our hearts and with our family.

We promise you and your child will always know of your love and sacrifice you made for him/her.

Words cannot express the love that is in my heart for you. You are an idea in my mind, I can’t picture your face, and I can’t seem to know who you are or where you came from. Just hoping one day we will be able to find each other.

The love I feel for you is unique, even though we have never been able to speak. How can I thank you for your sacrifice. How can I know the tears you have shed, when I myself have shed those same tears for the opposite result. How can I know of your pain to make your choice on what to do? I wish I could know you and help you not feel alone in this time and help you find peace in your choice.

Does she know that I am kind, will she know that she is always on my mind. Does she know that this child is so wanted and will be a blessing to our home? Does she know that we are content with our life now, but will be blown away when we get the opportunity to be parents? Does she know the void that I feel in my heart? Does she know I have so much love to give and waiting for the opportunity to shower this child in our home with it? Does she know that Adam and I will be the parents that will help her child grow and spread their wings and learn and love live as we do?

Does she know who we are and who we can become in her choice?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Waiting for the first snowfall...

I had half-expected to see snow on the ground by Halloween. In our part of the country, that usually happens. However, this Halloween there wasn't any yet. The weathermen are predicting snow today, but I haven't seen any yet.

The first snowfall is a bit magical. It symbolizes the start of the winter and the realization that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, with Christmas ahead, which is exciting. It means that you can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate after being out in the cold. It also means the start of the ski season (which we're looking forward to this year). It also means visiting with friends and family, and a season of giving and Christmas Carols.

Although the growing season is already over, and I'll miss our garden, it also means I don't have the mow the lawn anymore for a while :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Approved for Adoption!

I feel like climbing to the top of roof and shouting for joy that this has finally happened. I received word today that we are official. We have been approved for adoption. Our profile will be up and active in a few days. Of course I will be searching daily and several times through out the day so find it. The letter should be arriving any day in the mail and reality is starting to sink in that we could be parents one day. I can’t even begin to express the happiness that I feel that this day has come. I know the day we are chosen will also be a blessed day in our lives.

We have had many road bumps along the way to get to this day. I now feel like we are moving forward with our life. I mean it has been so hard wanting to start a family and watching those around me accomplishing something that I have wanted my whole life. I see that it seems so easy for others, yet something so difficult for me. It has been draining both emotionally and physically. But now it seems like we are finally putting our energy in something that will actually help us start a family.

Now it is just taking it one day at a time and possible one year at a time. The average wait for couples are 18 months. We can do that, we have already spent 8 years trying to conceive. So get the word out, let anyone and everyone you know that we are looking for a baby. We are looking for a special birth mother who feels that she can trust us with her child and that her child will receive the love, stability and all that we can provide in life for her child.

Once our profile is up, I will add the link to this site. I am so happy and wanted to let everyone know of our joy!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

"Dog the Bounty Hunter" and his "Paycheck"


Halloween was a blast this year. We had allot of fun with friends and "the girls" Our church throws a Halloween party every year, this year it happened to be on the night of Halloween. We start off with a chili cook-off. I made my Northern White Chili. There were all kinds of chili there, hot and spicy, healthy and vegan. So there is something for everyone. Then there were side dishes and cornbread. All very delicious and everyone left with a full belly. After some games and fun we have what we call a Trick or Trunk. All the cars are lined up in the parking lot and the owners of the cars go out and hand out candy from the trunk of their cars. A very safe way for kids to get candy and enjoy the tradition of Halloween.

Adam and I like to go all out if we can. We dress up and light up the car with a strobe light, flasher and battery candles and pumpkins. We also like to bring "the girls" and they love it. Here are some pictures of the fun night. I went as Dog the Bounty Hunter and Adam was my Pay Check. Nice jail bait don't you think? Lot’s of adults dressed up right along with the kids. I seemed to scare a few of the little ones with my tuff looking costume.

Sara Palin came and I had to take a picture with her. I ran in to Cinderella before the ball and the Wicked Queen was there trying to hand out Apples. HMMM.

Adam found his partner in crime "Buddy Kleiman"

We were able to go stop in and check on our neighbor to see if she had her baby yet. We found her playing the Wii in the front room and handing out candy to the kids. We hope that with her bowling last night it will help her go into labor soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Working on Life

Life is good right now. I mean there are so many good things going on with people around me. Like new love, babies being born and babies in anticipation - soon to be born, parties with friends and get together. The fall going into winter is a great time of year. I like to watch the seasons change and with that I find myself making new resolutions and changes in my life as well.

This week once again has been crazy, planning my time well enough to get all the extra things accomplished. Last night as I sat at my kitchen counter playing with my Bedazzler, it was nice just relax and enjoy making "the girls" costumes for Halloween. I have to say for a first timer with making their costumes I think I did a pretty good job. My girls will be Ballerina's. This is how the idea came to me for their costume. Both Lizie and Roxie will do tricks for a treat (as most of us will do as well don’t you think), and one of their tricks is Dance. They will stand on their hind legs and dance a circle for a treat, only if there are not any distractions. Then it hit me how they are just like a ballerina. A friend of mine Michelle gave me a great idea the night we were crafting, so the next day I went to the Dollar store and got these headbands, a whole package for a $1. Soon the idea all came together and with the help of my mom on the sewing it part, we hand stitched these little tutu's for "the girls". I had to go the extra mile and add the bling; it is all about the Bling for me. You may think I am crazy for doing this that is ok. It is fun and it is the only time of year I can really dress up “the girls” without anyone thinking it is out of the ordinary. FYI at home they don’t wear clothes unless it is a blizzard outside and it is really cold and they are shivering, then I put sweaters on them. We only put clothes on them for company and special occasions because it is more fun for the reaction we get when they are dressed up. But these diva’s are normal little Chihuahua at home “No Mas"

I ended my evening working on my mail in ballet that finally arrived. I dropped that off in the mail today. Yeah! One more vote for America! I would encourage you to vote, your voice needs to be heard and your vote will make a difference.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cleaning Nerd is Back!

Ok, I said I would update my cleaning experience on the bathroom. I am just a nerd. I loved it. It was a little more work than usual, mostly because my bathroom was so bad. Yep I just admitted it. We let it go. I didn’t hassle Adam to get it done, mostly because I wanted to see what this stuff would do to a really dirty bathroom. To my great surprise it did a wonderful job. If you can get past the smell of Vinegar then it is great. I didn’t add any nice smelling stuff to it, I wanted it to be hard core cleaner with no fluff and it was. I have to say inhaling vinegar is much better then the bleach or heavy chemical that I normally use on my bathroom. The trick I found was to rinse the tub and shower with hot water, then spray all over. Go back and spray in sections and wipe or in my case scrub, if you can see the grim is not coming off, spray more and keep doing it until it does. I figure once I get a good cleaning then I can spray the walls daily when I am done showering and that will keep them good until the next deep cleaning. With the tub, you know the black ring that forms. Well it forms, I used the cleaner and found it wasn’t enough so I sprinkled Baking Soda and it worked magic on the tub. My sinks and toilet sparkled. So I have decided I will continue to keep cleaning with my green supplies. Here are some more recipes that I have used and found to be great!
Bathroom Cleaners:

Toilet Bowl Cleaners:
A) Baking Soda and Vinegar: Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then squirt with vinegar and scour with a toilet brush. Cleans and deodorizes.
B)1 cup borax, 1/2 cup white vinegar. Flush to wet the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle the borax around the toilet bowl, then spray with vinegar. Leave for several hours or overnight before scrubbing with a toilet brush.
4) Denture tablets are an excellent substitute for toilet cleaner. Drop two tablets into the bowl and clean as you would with toilet cleaner.

Tub And Tile Cleaners:
A) Baking Soda. Sprinkle baking soda like you would scour powder. Rub with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly.
B) Vinegar and Baking Soda. To remove film buildup on bathtubs, apply vinegar full-strength to a sponge and wipe. Next, use baking soda as you would scour powder. Rub with a damp sponge and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
C) Vinegar. Vinegar removes most dirt without scrubbing and doesn't leave a film. Use 1/4 cup (or more) vinegar to 1 gallon water.

Plumbing Fixtures:
1) To clean stainless steel, chrome, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain or enamel fixtures, dissolve 2 tbsp baking soda in 1 qt of water. Wipe on fixtures then rinse.
2) Vinegar and Paper Towels. Hard lime deposits around faucets can be softened for easy removal by covering the deposits with vinegar-soaked paper towels. Leave the paper towels on for about one hour before cleaning. Leaves chrome clean and shiny.

Shower Heads:
1) Metal Shower Heads:
To remove deposits which may be clogging your metal shower head, combine 1/2 cup white vinegar and one quart water. Then completely submerge the shower head and boil 15 minutes.
2) Plastic Shower Heads:
Combine 1 pint white vinegar and 1 pint hot water. Completely submerge the shower head and soak for about one hour.

Rust Stain and Hard Water Deposit Remover:
Apply full-strength vinegar or lemon juice and let stand until spot disappears, rinse. Repeat if necessary.

Mildew Remover:
Dissolve half-cup vinegar with half-cup borax in warm water.

Lime Deposits:
White vinegar

Borax you can find at the grocery store in the cleaning isle it is BORAX (sodium borate): A natural mineral that kills mold and bacteria. An alternative to bleach, it deodorizes, removes stains and boosts the cleaning power of soap.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here’s to you Kevin and Kristy

Don’t they look perfect together? What a wonderful experience to be able to be at a wedding. The spirit that I felt in the room; my body tingled from head to toe. There is something very special about the temple and the fact that we can be married from all time and eternity. It was wonderful to see two people who waited and didn’t settle to find the right person, get married at the right time and place. I met Kristy for the first time that day and fell in love with her right away. I kept telling Adam that they could not be more perfect for each other. I am so happy for my friend Kevin for holding out and the being able to find his companion. I have to say I was getting a little worried about him. He seemed to be getting more cynical as the years passes. Let me tell you how I met Kevin. Way back, I realized it was 18 years ago we met via an old boyfriend. Kevin lived across the hall from him in the dorm. Kevin would double date with us. Then Kevin went on a mission and then Craig went on his mission and then later I found myself going on a mission. I remember that call that came in on my first night in my pad in Switzerland. My companion hands me the phone and says it is for you. Who could be calling me? Then there is this voice asking me all these questions, I am answering yes to all of them. I come to find out it is Kevin. We ended up serving in the same areas though out my mission. I remember celebrating his birthday one year in Germany at one of our district meetings.

On our way home we stopped at a Halloween store and comprised on a costume for both of us. We will not do what I wanted to do this year, maybe next but I think we will have fun in what we choose for the party Friday Night. On our way home I took some pictures of us in the car. It was a fun day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just Thinking about Stuff

Prison Break
Biggest Loser
Gossip Girl
Desperate House Wife’s
Brothers and Sisters
The Office
Days of Our Lives
Ugly Betty
Osp I am such a TV head

Macaroni Grill
Andre’s Swiss Gourmet

Adoption approval
The weekends
Black Friday
Skiing for Thanksgiving
Going to Seattle

The colors of the trees
Kicking a pile of leaves
The cool weather
Putting on a sweater
Time to sit by the fire
Hot apple cider
Christmas will be here soon

Adopt a baby or two or three
Learn how to sew
Tile flooring in the kitchen
Vacation to Germany
Learn how to make whole wheat bread
Be a stay at home mom
Learn how to decorate cakes
Learn how to shoot a gun

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I did it!

Yes, I did it. I am the master of re-evaluating space. Yes, I have a talent to play Tetris in real life. Adam always says it won’t fit. I tell him give me some time and I will make it fit. This happens with closets, packing for trips and the freezer. And so it happened with our garage. I told him I could get the car, 2 bikes and a scooter with all our other junk in the garage. He told me it would not happen. I had to prove him wrong. Like I said I am the master of re-evaluating spaces. It took us all summer to prepare for this great event of housing at least one vehicle, two bikes and a scooter in the garage this winter. We spend many Saturdays de-cluttering our lives. Many trips to goodwill with stuff that has sat in boxes since we left North Carolina almost 6 years ago. As with all our stuff you have that moment of attachment for an item you have not needed, seen or used in a decade. Come on, you know what I am talking about. We had many of those moments, but in the end we did get rid of a lot of stuff. I have to say there is something rewarding about de-cluttering our lives.

Simplify! It is hard and I still find myself wanting to hold onto stuff like a soccer shirt I wore when I was five years old for a couple of years for the Grasshoppers. I loved that team and loved that shirt. I have all the patches that we won sewn to the shirt. This is one of those items even though it is packed away in memories I can't seem to let it go. So there you have it. We can only simplify those things that don't have the deep connection to. I will think more clearly about the items I want to purchase in the future and how usable will it be in my home or will it be a trinket that I will have to dust that just looks good?

So my sister said to me. I will believe it when I see it. So Sis here you go. Take a look at my garage. Yeah baby it all fits. Once again, what am I? Yeah baby the Master of Re-Evaluating Space!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Apple Pie

Ok it was conference weekend. And I really wanted to bake the best homemade whole wheat ever. Well that didn't happen. I don't know what it is about bread, but I just can't do it. I try and try. So I ground my own wheat with the wheat grinder, I make sure I have good yeast and I do everything just as the recipe says and nope my bread does not rise and it is like a brick. I will conquer this! Just not right now. So today I decided I would master an apple pie. I looked around on the Internet for a recipe and came across one that I thought sounded good. So I did it. I made my crust early this morning and then in between conference sessions I made the pie. It is cooling as we speak. It turned out beautiful. So nice I had to take a picture. Looks good enough to eat!

Ok I am adding to this the recipe since I have had a few requests.

Best Brown Sugar Apple Pie you will ever eat!

1 double crust refrigerated
8 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples
1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into little pieces
Glaze: Milk and granulated sugar

1. If you have not already, prepare the crust and refrigerate for at least one hour, or until firm enough to roll.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger portion of pastry into a 13 1/2 inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Place in pie shell, trim edges and refrigerate. Now is a good time to preheat oven to 400F.

3. Pie shell is chilling in the frigate, make the filling. Combine the apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix well. I like to use my hands and really get into it. Set aside while you roll the top pastry. Lightly surface round.

4. Once the top is rolled out, pull the pie shell out of the fridge and fill it with the apple mixture. Smooth the apples with your hands. Dot the top of the pie with butter, dropping the pieces here and there over the apples. (I forget this step sometimes and the pie is still amazing)

5. Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell with a wet finger or pastry brush. (I used my fingers) Invert the top pastry over the filling, center it, fold over the edges and seal the pie. Trim if needed before. Then pinch the edge and make it pretty. Make several 2 inch long slits in the top pastry at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. Lightly brush the top pastry with milk and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

6. Place the pie directly on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place it on a covered with aluminum foil cookie sheet. Reduce the oven temp to 375F. Put back in the oven and cook for another 30 mins. When the pie is done, you should be able to see the juices bubbling up onto the crust.

7. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and let cool for at least an hour if you can wait before slicing. IF you wait until it is room temp the pie will slice and look like a piece you would see in a magazine. Beautiful and it tastes really good as well.

Adoption Collage

This weekend has been a busy weekend. Among all the things we accomplished the most important thing was to complete our Adoption Collage. We are in the final stages to being approved. This has been a long process. It has taken us 5 months so far to get where we are. We have hit a few road bumps along the way, but in the end it will all be worth it. I don't want to jinx anything so I will not go into how soon we will be live and active. But it is soon. We are so anxious to get our profile out there. To let the waiting to begin. I hear that is the worst part is waiting. But for me I am ok with the waiting part. It was getting to this point that has been the trial. I know it will all happen when it should happen. Our family we be united in the Lord's due time. Boy have I learned this! I am just so excited to be able to adopt, and we are so excited to move forward with our family and building a new one.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Eco- friendly Nerd - yep that is Nikki

Going green has really been on my mind, when I lived in Switzerland it was a way of life and I adapted to it mostly because it was easy. Well, sort of, after receiving several fines and then understanding how the recycling worked and then learning from the locals I made it a part of everyday living. I have often thought about my experience there and how much I had changed when I returned home. My taste buds had changed, my grocery shopping habits had changed my thoughts on transportation had changed. I remember coming home and freaking out about talking to a box to make my food order. Why didn’t we just get out of the car and walk in to talk to someone in person. I remember my brother laughing at me about it. As years past I found myself conforming back to the ways of American living. My taste buds changed from this healthy living to the greasy fast food craving. I found it to be more expensive to eat the European lifestyle. I remember eating more whole foods only because there was no choice in Switzerland. I remember the first time I walked into a grocery store. It was a little market below where we lived. The store was ¼ size of a King Scoopers, there were only a few isles of boxed and canned items, and the choices were very limited, only one brand not four or five like you see in the USA. There were no bottled salad dressings and that is where I learned to make my own. So buying fresh and whole foods were easy, since our fridge looked like the size of a dorm room fridge we could only buy small amounts of food and that kept things from spoiling and also kept us going every few days to the store. So I guess in the long run we actually saved money, because we ate everything that we bought. I don’t know about you but when I shop I try and shop of the whole week. Then I find things weeks later in the fridge that I thought I was going to use and didn’t and now it is time to throw away. Waste! Something I am working on. I am being more cautious about what I am buying and when I buy in bulk these are items that will sit on my shelf or in my freezer for future meals. This summer we really embraced our garden and I found that we ate with the foods we grew. I am learning to eat what is in season and work my meals around these food items. So as the season change so do our appetite, I will miss our garden, but anxious for next year and what we will add to it.

Going green with my cleaning supplies. I am such a nerd. I have to share my excitement with my new cleaning supplies. I have been doing more searches on ways to improve my more eco friendly lifestyle. I kind of went on a cleaning strike at the house and I was hoping to make a point. I guess the only point I found was that I am the only one who noticed the dust bunnies on the floors, they food stick to the counters and cupboards and the dirty rugs and mildew in the bathrooms. Oh well. But to have my house so gross in my eyes, was the greatest time to try out my new cleaning supplies. So after work I made a trip to the store with my list of items that I wanted to buy to begin making my own supplies. When I got home I was so excited to start. Yes I told you I am such a nerd, little thing like this was so exciting to me. I am not sure I have ever been so excited to clean. Well I began conquering the kitchen. I did the dishes and got the counters cleaned off. I mixed my first bottle on concoction and began. WOW!!! Yes this deserves a WOW!!!! I usually have some sort of film on my bar; I clean and clean and there is always some residue left behind. Not any more. This stuffed was a miracle worker. I then used it on my white cupboards, Spray and wipe. Oh baby it is working with out scrubbing. Spray and wipe, can this be my new life? No scrubbing and wondering if I will ever get this stuff clean. Next I tackled the floor. Let me just tell you how much I hate my kitchen floor. It is one of those items that since we moved into the house I have wanted to replace. It is not a priority so we have not replaced it, but it has been a thorn in my side. It is white and unless you get on your knees and scrub with all your might it will never get white. I have done this twice since moving in this house 4 years now. Uh…Yeah…I just admitted that. In the mean time everything I have used leaves a nice residue, so I NEVER walk bare foot on that floor. Oh those days are over. The first brush on the floor, by the way I am not on my knees working I am using my mop. A smile hits my face; I made it through the first section, with much surprise and glee. Then I clean the cloth and go back for the next round. As each round is done, my sink water get blacker and blacker and my floors are getting whiter and whiter. Oh this is too good to be true. They look good, but the test is walking barefoot. I wait 20 mins while doing so I am sweeping the laminate floors and cleaning the other rooms in the main level. I go back for the moment of truth. I kick my flip flops aside and walk around the floor. Oh, I am nervous, but I continue walking around the kitchen as I do I get a little bounce in my step and a little flicker in my heart. It works! I tell you again I am such a nerd. There was no residue, the floors sparkled and they felt so good on my bare feet. I don’t think it will bug me as much to have these floors. Yes eventually I will get them replaced but for now. I will continue to clean them with my new cleaner and be walking happily on them. So here are the recipes below that I have tried so far. I am going to next tackle the bathroom and if I find as much joy in those room as I did in my kitchen I will be sure to write about it. The bathroom I think is the worst place in the house to clean. I hate cleaning the bathroom. I usually have Adam do it; I would rather do the whole house than that room in our house.

This is what I used on my kitchen floor.

Homemade Floor Cleaner
1 cup white vinegar
1 gallon warm water
Mix in your cleaning bucket and use this to clean vinyl type floors.

This is what I used in my kitchen.

All-Purpose Cleaner
2T vinegar
1 t Borax
Hot water
A few drops of a mild dish detergent
10 drops of essential oil, optional
In a 16 spray bottle put vinegar, borax and hot water. Swish around until borax has dissolved. Add the drops of dish detergent and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Add the essential oil (I used tangerine)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thoughts on our Journey thus far!

These past few months have been a huge trial for us with this whole adoption process. It did not run as smooth as we would have liked. Through the trial we found blessings. I mean when you are pushed so hard and are able to overcome things you grow and then find it to be a blessing from the strength that you have obtained through the trial. Of course it is not over and is a on going process. But never the less it has been hard. For both of us. We are meeting with our case worker later this week to discuss our paperwork and hopefully he will be able to compile our papers quickly to be given to the board for review. At that point once the board approves us we will be able to be active in the system for looking for our family.

I don't even know where to begin to describe how it felt to write our online profile. This has been an on going process since we walked in that day to meet with our case worker months ago. Something that has always been in the back of my mind is how do I talk to someone who is looking at the possibility of giving up a child, how do I write the words to her to see us as a potential family? How can I put this on paper and not sound desperate? How can I put who I am and what I can give to her child in words? It was the hardest profile, hardest letter that I have ever written. I only hope that it will reach the right person and she will know and be touch by what we have said and see the kind of people we really are.

What I have found from this adoption process and with the agency we chose. All the couples who are there are all exceptional, you have to be, to be approved. What makes any couple stand out over the next? Then once you have been approved to be an adoptive parent the wait begins. The prayers now go from please help us get approved to please help us and our birth mother find each other. Please give us the strength to endure!

Adam and I have been married for eight years. Six months after we were married we started to try and have a child. A year passed and I sought for help from my physician. We worked off and on with specialist through out the years. We have tried all sort of methods to help me try and conceive. As I was working with a fertility specialist I was also doing acupuncture, we went to a bio feedback guy who prescribed both Adam and myself vitamins and a diet that I still stick with today. I have taken pills, had all sorts of procedures done, given my self shots to the belly and several IUI over the years. I feel we have literally done all we can do and all my body can take in order to conceive. Each month I find my self hoping this could be the month, and then crying from the disappointment. I have to say since we have been in the process of adoption that pain has subsided. We are the unexplained fertility couple. But the pain is no longer there because I know that through adoption our family will be formed. The children that will come to us through adoption are the spirits who are destined to come to our family. We just need them to come a different way. This is why I am so grateful for the selfless woman who will choose to carry her baby to full term and then with all the love she has be able to give the child to the family of her choice knowing this child is wanted, will be loved and taken care of.

It has taken us a long time to get to this point. But now we are here, I am so excited to see what our future holds.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Adam!

Happy Birthday Adam you old man you! I want to wish you the best birthday ever.

Adam and I meet for lunch today. He rode his scooter from his job to Noodles across the street from where I work so we could meet for lunch and I could get back to work in my 30 mins time frame. I quickly walked across the street to meet him. He had already ordered and the food was there when I arrived. We had a nice lunch together. I sat on the back of the scooter and he drove me back to my building. The best part is he was able to get out at a normal time from work tonight and we met at home. I had picked up a small cake and gave him his present. I bought him a leather coat. The leaher jacket he has wears is really worn out. So he was really suprise to find a new one for his birthday. We ended up going to dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, which is Macaroni Grill. We ended up getting our whole bill paid for tonight with this mile card we had and found out they no longer accept and cashed us out, so that was a nice surprise. On top of that they brought him a piece of chocolate cake with a candle and a very pretty blond sang to him in Italian HAPPY BIRTHDAY. It was a great night and I hope Adam knows how much he is loved.

Re-kindling our Spirits

We decided to take a long weekend and go away, not have to be anywhere, meet anyone and be on our time schedule not someone else’s. That is just what we did. We went to the mountains. We stayed in a quaint town a few miles from the hot springs. I really planed out this trip to be able to really enjoy and have options to do while we were away and enjoying the towns we had not been before. On our way I had plotted out some thrift stores to hit. We had trouble finding the first one then gave up. The second one was much easier and the third store well…after getting back in our car and driving a block we realized that it was the next building over from the one we had just left. We had to take a picture because all we could do was laugh at ourselves for being so silly. We went to the outlets and did a little shopping and then finally hit out destination. We checked into our hotel which was great. The first night we are there we decided to unpack our bikes and ride them into town for dinner. When we left it was light outside. We found our way to Main Street; taking a back road we hit a few speed bumps along the way. We biked up and down Main Street looking at all our restaurant choices and decided to head back to the first one on main street that Adam had originally suggested. I am so glad we ate there. It was one of those places I will always remember the meal. It was that good. It was all organic and they only used ingredient from local farmers and ranchers. Adam had this slow cooked pork with a mango chutney sauce over cheese grits. The meat melted in your mouth and all the flavors were wonderful. If only I could figure out how to make such a meal. I had this yellow squash and goat cheese Rossetto. It was amazing but I kept eating off Adam’s plate because I was floored by his food. They served crusty bread with creamy butter. It was divine. We had spent hours chatting and eating and realized that it was really dark outside and time to head back to the hotel. As we rode back to the hotel the lights seem to fade on the back roads. It became completely dark and so we slowed our speed remembering the speed bumps we had rode over to get there. It was so dark I could not see Adam in front of me. We stopped for a moment and enjoyed the stars because they were so bright and then headed back to our hotel.

The next day we found a local church to go to the services and then headed back to the hotel room to take a nap. It was so nice. When was the last time we had taken a Sunday nap? When we awoke we packed a picnic. When we had arrive to town the day before I made sure we went to the Swiss Bakery and bought some fresh bead, meat and cheese to make sandwiches with. We packed a picnic and loaded our bikes and headed to Aspen for the rest of the day. After seeing the city of Aspen we found the bike path and began our ride. We found this great stop by the creek and sat to rest and enjoy some munchies. It was so much fun. We biked this hill that I didn’t think I would be able to do, but I kept at it and made it back up without stopping to jump off. At that moment I found a really desire to bike.

The next day we planed a hike. We got up early had our breakfast that the hotel offered, packed a picnic and head to this hike that we would end at the top of waterfalls. It was a really steep hike about 1.2 miles straight up a mountain. I got the idea to video my hike for my sister’s kids who live in Germany. So check out the video if you like to see the hike. Now this is my first video and I will get better I promise. We were still learning how to use the camera so we never made the last of the hike on video but did take pictures. I have a thing that I have been telling my nephews for years now. Kind of a song actually. The tune is from Cinderella. It goes like this. “You can do it, you can do it, little __name_____ you can do it, if you put your mind to it, you can really, really do it.” The video it about putting your mind to do it. This was my first hike in years, and my first hike with my husband. We realized this weekend how much we like to hike and bike together. The weekend really showed us new interests. Adam was very sweet and would stop and rest with me to catch my breath and then we would continue on. The hike took us about 2 hours top to bottom, and it was so worth it. After the hike we then had a picnic, and then headed to the hot springs for the rest of the day. That was so nice to rest our muscles in the mineral baths for a few hours. It was the perfect day.

The last day it was time to check out of our hotel and head home. We planed to stop in Fresco and ride to Lake Dillon and back. We found a great thrift store in the town that I had not pulled up on the internet and did a little shopping. I found these great biking shorts and a purse and bought them. Then we went for our bike ride. I did another video feed of the bike ride. This time doing for all the nieces and nephews. The same about putting your mind to it and you can do it. Well, I did do it. It was a tuff ride in a few spots but I kept at it and not once did I jump off my bike because the hill was too steep. I was so proud of myself to see what I could do. After the ride we found this great sandwich shop and ate lunch. Then hit the outlets for a few stores. I got some cool workout clothes for biking and Pilates. We tried to find Adam some, but the discounted items were all too small for him.

This was the best long weekend ever. We had so much fun together. It was like we were dating again, or like little kids. We experienced a lot of first together which is amazing after being married for 8 years. Wonderful all the same! Adam is my true companion, he is my best friend and my lover. We have a saying that we say to each other. “I love you will all my young boy/girl heart” We picked it up from a movie we saw together when we were first married and say it to each other all the time. It is so true and we really experience our young hearts this weekend.