Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ball Game!!

Adam and I have been looking forward to this past weekend for many reasons. One, it would be our first full weekend together for about a month's time. Two, we needed some much needed time together, to just spend fully with each other and no distractions. Third, we were going to see our Angels play!!!!! And lastly, Adam's command let them off work early on Friday and gave them Monday off work. So all these reasons added up to us looking forward to this planned weekend! 

We started off the weekend Saturday morning on our drive over to Sea-Tac (where we would be spending the night). On our way, we stopped at a BUNCH of antique shops that I had googled in Tacoma. It turned out to be a whole little "antique row," which was pretty cool. Although you would have thought we hit the jack pot on this, we didn't. Most of the stores we high-end shops, and everything was over-priced. However, it was fun to look around. During my google search I also found one in Fife that was closer to the hotel. This one was just awesome! Adam and I have gotten this Antique searching down pretty good now. We can tell immediately what kind of store one is from our first walk in the door, meaning if it will have great prices or will be over-priced. We DID hit the jack pot in this store in-deed. I have been on the search for several items for awhile now, yes, for projects that I have seen on Pinterest of course. You would laugh when you hear what they are: a window frame and a pitch fork. It must have been the start to a lucky day, because I found them both here for great prices, and I have been searching for awhile now, not willing to budge and paying more than I think they're worth. I'm SO excited for these pieces and the projects I will create with them! 

**My finds: Window frame, $10. Pitch fork, $6.36**

Later that night we went to this restaurant I had researched on Trip Advisor, called Salty's. It was beautifully located in Redondo Beach. For a moment we thought we were in SoCal for two reasons: the name and the view we had right on the beach! Goregeous! Anyways, it had great reviews online so we decided to go there for a nice dinner. Although everything about its reviews was right on, I forgot to look at the prices while I was reviewing it, it was expensive! And if you know Adam and I, we aren't expensive people! We both told each other that we never go out and this is supposed to be a nice weekend. So we justified it. I was a tad bit weary of this though, because the least expensive item on the menu was $28, unless you wanted a bowl of soup or a side. So we were eating with hopes that this food better be dang good! It was, which was nice, but we weren't looking forward to the bill at the end of our meal. Adam got to talking to this gentleman sitting at the table next to us about the game, the military, and the restaurant, and then he presumed to focus the rest of his attention back on me. ;) Low-and-behold, this guy ended up paying for our entire meal AND added an awesome cake dessert for us! How cool is that?!? I've never had this happen before! I mean, you hear about things like this happening at Starbucks, but that's different. I mean your order might be max $9. Our meal would have totaled $9 X 10 (with the dessert he added and tip)!! We were so grateful. Adam knew it was this guy, so he went over and thanked the man right away (he had moved to the bar), although he laughed and said "for what?" We knew it was him. What a nice treat! Literally! 

**Redondo Beach, WA**

The high from the night proceeded to last to the following day, as we were going to see our Angels play for the first time in 2 years. WAY TO OVERDUE!!! When we were dating, we would go to at least 12 games per season. As much as we could! So not going for 2 whole years was a long time for us fans! Fortunately, the were playing a series against the Mariners this weekend and we hit up the game with Adam's uncle and cousin. We had such a fun time. It was his cousins first professional baseball game and it was SO cute to see his expressions and excitement of the whole atmosphere as the day progressed. From seeing the field for the first time, to getting to actually walk ON the field, to all the special treats that are served at games, to getting to see a game LIVE, it was so fun to see this from a youngins perspective. We had such a blast at the game and even more as they swept the Mariners, winning all for games in the series! It was weird for me, being a fan of the opposing team at the other teams stadium, since we obviously had to wear our matching jersey's to the game!! Adam on the other hand, soaked this in! He loved cheering for the strikouts Wilson laid on the Mariners, the homerun by Trumbo, and all the other exciting plays, with Mariners fan yelling at him to shut-up. Yup, we had a fun time! We had to show his cousin all the aspects of the game ;) 

**Angels Game in Mariners land**

All-in-all we had such a fun getaway together. It ended just as good, as we got to see Baxter when we got home who stayed at the neighbors house. It's fun to see his excitement when he doesn't get to see us for awhile (I know you all are laughing at this). But yes, the life of pooch-parents is exciting.


Friday, May 25, 2012

YES!! Today is FRIDAY!!

SO HAPPY THIS WEEK HAS FLOWN BY!!!

As I stated in my last post, I was hoping that this week would fly by, so that the weekend could get here already. Pssssssttt...guess what? IT'S FRIDAY!!!!!!! It did fly by! 

I cannot wait to just get away with Adam. We're both going to step away from technology and not even going to use it. I'm bringing our actual camera for pictures, and that's it. Not even going to touch my phone unless an emergency occurs, and that would be just rude if one did (kidding). 

I did want to quickly share a breakfast smoothie recipe that I discovered early in the week on Pinterest, and it has become my new favorite go-to breakfast. Lately, since my work schedule has been from 12-6, I'm falling in the trap of sleeping in. It's terrible! But even the days I do get up relatively "early," I forget to eat breakfast in the business of it all. Adam would laugh at that and say, "you busy. HA!" 

ANYWAYS... here is this delicious breakfast smoothie recipe that you just have to try!

  • 2  whole Chiquita Bananas (best with brown flecks on peel)
  • 2  cups Ice
  • 1/3 cup Yogurt - preferably Greek yogurt flavored with honey
  • 1/2 cup Cooked oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup Almonds
  • 1/4 cup  Orange juice or pineapple juice or a combo! (optional)
  • 1 tsp Flaxseed (optional)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
Nutritional info from website (this is without the last 3 items):  Calories 380; Total Fat 15 g (Sat 2 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 4 g, Mono 8 g); Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 35 mg; Potassium 690 mg; Total Carbohydrates 53 g; Dietary Fiber 9 g; Total Sugars 19 g; Protein 12 g. Percent Daily Value: Vitamin A 2%; Vitamin B6 25%; Vitamin C 20%; Vitamin D 0%; Calcium 15%, Iron 15%.

{The last 3 items on the ingredients list are optional, however, they really up the health benenfits and the taste of the smoothie. I've added them every time and it really tastes so good with them, that I can't imagine it without them! Just sayin.. ;) } 

To Do:
All you do is mix everything together in a blender and pulse for 30 seconds. And BAM! you got a great energizing smoothie, loaded with great health benefits!  

**My awesome, powerhouse smoothie. Yummm**
Hope you decide to venture in and make this delicious,
 and yummy breakfast smoothie!

I think I'm going to just start drinking my breakfast. Really, I like that way better during the week!

Now here's to hopin' today flies by..... :D
 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Menu in Review: May 6-20

In a way to make it easier for me to share yummy (new) recipes that we had during the week, I thought that it would work better for me to do one large post at the end of every week, entitled "Menu in Review." That way, I don't have to write a post for each. Here we go:

The last time I posted a meal plan, it was for the last 2 weeks. Here was our menu:

Monday: Spicy Chicken Rigatoni (This item keeps getting pushed back, but we WILL be for sure eating it)
Wednesday: Spaghetti with garden salad and Mediterranean Sourdough Bread
Friday: Leftover Night
Sunday: BJ's White Shark copy cat Pizza
Monday: Mushroom Stuffed Chicken w/ whole wheat egg noodles and a veggie
Wednesday: Bourbon Chicken with Brown Rice and Asian Green Bean Stir Fry
Thursday: Balsamic Pork Chops Marinade with Whole Wheat Couscous and veggie
Friday: Leftover Night
Saturday: Hawaiian Whole Wheat Pizza
Sunday: Turkey Vegetable Crockpot Soup 
I won't go over everything, just the new hits.
Ingredients:
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons cold water
Hot cooked long grain rice (I made Edamame Fried Rice to go with; yumm!)

Directions:
  1. Place chicken in a 4 qt. slow cooker.  
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper. 
  3.  Pour over chicken.  
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender.  
  5. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.  
  6. Skim fat from cooking liquid. 
  7. Place liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  
  8.  Combine cornstarch and water until smooth.  
  9. Gradually stir into liquid and stir until sauce is thickened.  
  10. Serve with chicken and rice.
I didn't differ much from this original recipe. It turned out really great and the Edamame Fried rice was a VERY good substitution for plain brown rice. I've made just regular fried rice before, but this was even better! Here is the recipe for it (super easy to do!). 

*from skinnytaste.com*
Ingredients:
  • 3 cups leftover cooked brown rice
  • 2 egg whites, scrambled
  • 1 whole egg, scrambled 
  • 1 tbsp Smart Balance oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced 
  • 5 scallions, chopped, whites and greens separated
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat shelled edamame
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, tamari for gluten free (or more to taste)
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Whisk eggs and egg whites, season with salt and pepper. 
  2. In a hot wok, spray a little oil and cook the eggs. 
  3. When cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Let the wok get really hot.  
  5. Add oil and cook onions, scallion whites, carrots and garlic for about 30-60 seconds, careful not to burn.
  6. Add brown rice and stir well a few minutes to heat through. 
  7. Add cooked egg along with soy sauce, scallion greens and edamame, mixing well for about 3-4 minutes.   
 **Stats on the meal: SUCCESS. 
Will appear on the menu again sometime. 
VERY good flavor!**


*From Rachelraymag.com*
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 hass avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise into 12 pieces
  • Crushed tortilla chips
Instructions:
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, lower the heat to medium and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 7 minutes. Increase the heat to high, push the vegetables to the side of the pan, add the chicken and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chipotles and adobo sauce, then stir in the chicken broth. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming any foam. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place 2 avocado slices in each of 6 soup bowls and pour in the soup. Top with the tortilla chips.

**Stats on meal: SPICY!! However, we both enjoy spicy, so it was a hit for us. Besides it being spicy (which you could tame down) it had lots of complimenting flavors. It was VERY easy to make too. The only negative thing Adam said about the soup was that it needed more added fillings to make him full. Nothing new from a guys perspective on soup. ;) **
*From backtoherroots.com*
 Ingredients:
  • 12 ounces whole wheat penne
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 1/2 lb.) chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 10 ounces medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
 Instructions:
  1. Cook penne according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.
  3. Add in mushrooms, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to release their water.
  4. Turn heat up to medium-high and add in shrimp. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and opaque. Remove from heat, add in spinach and cover skillet. Let spinach wilt for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and place skillet back over low heat. Add the penne, Greek yogurt and pasta sauce. Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated. Heat until just warmed through. Divide into pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese.
 **Stats on meal: This wasn't Adam's favorite pasta that I have made, 
but it wasn't bad. I on the other hand really enjoyed this pasta. SO GOOD!!**

New hit #4: Mushroom Stuffed Chicken
*From my recipes.com*
Ingredients:
  • 2 (1-ounce) slices white bread, torn 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions 
  • 8 ounces presliced mushrooms 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
 Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2.  Pulse bread in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Place in a dish.
  3.  Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onions and mushrooms; sauté 10 minutes. Stir in thyme and garlic. Cool mixture 10 minutes; stir in cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4.  Cut a slit through thickest portion of each breast half to form a pocket. Stuff each with 1/4 cup mushroom mixture. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Place eggs in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour. Dip in eggs; dredge in breadcrumbs.
  5. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place pan in oven. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°.
 **Stats on meal: We both liked the meal, however, the chicken breasts that I had bought we awkward in shape and didn't have much room to have an even layer all the way through for the stuffing, so we only had the stuffing in half of the chicken (or it would have torn). I didn't mind it, but that was a problem for Adam. But it wasn't bad. The flavor was good!**

*From melskitchencafe.com*
Ingredients:
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1-2 lemons)
1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-4 chicken breasts

Instructions:
 Combine all ingredients except chicken in a mixing bowl or large airtight plastic bag. Whisk or shake well until the marinade is well mixed. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl or plastic bag so that they are covered by the marinade. If using a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap. If using a plastic bag, press out all the excess air and seal the bag tightly. Refrigerate and marinate up to 10 hours (I would suggest marinading for at least 3 hours at the minimum).

I used the baking method on the site, since we don't have a grill (yet):
 When ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 350° F. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and pour the excess marinade over them. Bake in the oven until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165° F, about 45 minutes (exact baking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.) Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Of course we had to have a fun side with this entree, so I made
Ingredients:
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 firm-ripe medium avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced into 1/2-in. wedges

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 450.
Coat avocado slices in the four, then egg, then panko. Spread on a cooling rack that has been sprayed with non-stick spray, then place on a cookie sheet.  Spray the top of the wedges with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then bake for about 20 minutes at 450, or until they are golden brown (I turned my oven up to 500 for the last 5 minutes).

I served them with this easy sauce I found, which turned out to be the perfect dipping sauce for them:
5 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
3 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1/2 of Lemon
(blend)


**Meal stats: Holy Guacamole this was a delicious meal!! Since I've been an avocado girl since birth, this meal was right for me! Adam LOVED the flavor of the chicken and couldn't get enough of it! He was unsure about the avocado fries, but they turned out SO good. For the amount of avocado it calls for in the recipe, you actually get quite a bit of fries. YUMMY!!**

 *From bigoven.com*
Ingredients:
  • 2 lbs Chicken Breasts, cut into pieces
  • 1 Tb. Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 1/4 Tsp. Ginger
  • 3/4 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Juice
  • 1/3 Cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tb. Ketchup
  • 1 Tb. Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1/3 Cup light Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tb. Cornstarch
Instructions:
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Remove chicken.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved.
  5. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
  7. Serve over hot rice.
 **Meal Stats: This was a delicious meal, with great flavor all around!
 So good and so easy! Adam loved it!**

For breakfast last Saturday, I made a new treat for us:
 *From: Sweetpeaskitchen.com*
For the Muffins:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
For the Glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons butter; melted
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
 Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with muffin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. With the mixer on low speed, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and vanilla until just combined. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  3. Spoon batter into cups, filling the cups, and smooth tops. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Bake until muffin tops are a pale golden and springy to the touch, 15 to 17 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 10 minutes before glazing.
  4. To make the glaze, In a medium bowl mix together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth.
  5. When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. Once hardened, dip a second time  and allow to harden then serve.
 **These didn't turn out tasting liked I had hoped (maybe I had placed really high hopes on them), 
so that was a big disappointment for me. 
With that said, they weren't bad. Oh well.**

Sorry for the large post, but it's due to our menu being 2 weeks long. Next week's review will be smaller since we won't be here next weekend **SO EXCITED for our mini-vaca in Seattle/Tacoma!!** So I only planned one week's menu. Here it goes:

Sunday: Penne Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
Tuesday: Lemon Garlic Shrimp & Veggies with couscous
Thursday: Hawaiian Pizza (we didn't have this on our 2 week menu, we had meatlovers instead)
Friday: leftovers
Cheers to this week (and hoping it flies by!!!) :D

Friday, May 18, 2012

How to use Your Mason Jar, Idea #5

I have been meaning to share another idea to use your Mason Jars for awhile now. This is an idea that I originally came up with by myself without looking on Pinterest (I promise that is the truth). But then I got more creative once I saw a picture on Pinterest. Ready to read/see what it is?

Ways to use your Mason Jars, Idea #5: Beach Scene Night Light (Also a 5 Minute Craft)

**My beach-themed night light**

**Before I turned this into a night-light**

You can see that when we first moved into our current house, that our bathroom is beach-themed. Perfect for both of our upbringings in SoCal AND for my collection of nature, ie. sea shells and rocks. As you can see in this picture above, I originally only had some sand and sea shells in my mason jar. This sand is special to me. I retrieved it back from my first mission trip that I went on in my Sophomore year of high school, when I went to St. Vincent, an island of the Caribbean. We only had about 2 days of actually touring the island, and on one of our outings, we went to this secluded black-sand beach that you needed a boat to get to. The beach was absolutely beautiful and of course I had to bring some of the sand back home with me! I have kept this sand ever since! I kept it all these years in this drink bottle that I brought back with me from there too, this really good drink that I drank during the whole course of the trip. But once we moved here, I decided that the bottle needed to go, and thought, hey why not keep the sand in a mason jar? Badda bing, badda boom, thus the idea for this cute & easy project!

What you will need:
  • Sand (maybe an excuse to go to the beach OR park if you're not even close to a beach) 
  • Sea Shells (once again, if you're not close to a beach, then you can buy some at Michaels, but since I have so many, that's never needed for me :) 
  • Star Fish (Now I did buy a pack of 3 of these at Michaels) 
  • String, ribbon, or twine, whatever is your preference 
Directions:
  1. I placed the sand in the mason jar. 
  2. I sprinkled a bunch of little shells on top of the sand.
  3. I put a votive tea candle (in a glass jar) in the center of the sand.
  4. Then I meticulously placed larger shells and clam shells around the candle.
  5. I started to wrap the string around the lip of the mason jar, placed the starfish in the front center, and continue wrapping the string around the jar. 

Voila! You have got a cute beach-themed Mason Jar Night light!

This also would make a great summer-themed table decoration. Can't wait for it to "officially" be summer, so it can go on my kitchen table! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

For the Love of Being Random

I woke up yesterday morning and thought "I'm going to create a love-themed scavenger hunt for Adam when he gets home." Now, I don't usually wake up and have these thoughts, but let me explain myself. Adam usually only has duty once every 8 days. This week his duty landed on Monday (YEAH for no more duty-days on a weekend for awhile!!). However, someone offered to pay him to take his duty day on Sunday, meaning he would be gone for 2 days in a row. When Adam told me how much the guy was going to pay him, I literally told him that he would be stupid for not doing it! AND THEN the next thing I told him was, "Of course I'll miss you, BUT it's worth it for you to do it!" So now we won't have to spend a dime of our own money when we have a romantic weekend away together in Seattle in 2 weeks when we see our Angels play the Mariners!!! Yeah for that! :D So with the fact that I hadn't seen him in 2 1/2 days, I thought it would be nice for him to come home to a little treat; thus my creation of a scavenger hunt.

 This is what I did. I wrote a note to him, telling him some of my gushy feelings for him, along with how I missed him while he was gone, yadda yadda yadda... And then told him that he was about to embark on a scavenger hunt. I prepared 10 cards, and made cute post-it notes and went on my way. Here are some examples of his searches: he had to search for our wedding verse in the bible, our wedding vows on our bookshelf, stuff that would remind him of our union together and to be reminded of the reasons why I love him. Here are a few pictures of my preparations.

 **A collage of my some of my notes**

**I liked this note: "You cerealsy rock my world"**

For the last spot he found it led him to our bed, and I laid this project I made for him when he got home from deployment: 52 Reasons I ♥ You. 

 **My gift to him**

 **Some examples of my reasons.**

This gift was for him to take on his underways and deployments, so he can have a visual reminder of all the reasons why I love him (of course there are more than 52). This was such a fun craft project and actually a really great reason to be reminded of why you love your significant other. This is also a great gift to give your military husband!
Find the tutorial to the project here.

 It was fun for me to do this for him! I know he would think I was a dork for doing it, but a cute dork. And it's so funny, because that's exactly what he told me. He said, "You're such a dork, but I love you. I had a smile the whole time." Mission accomplished!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!!

Happy Mother's Day to all mommies out there! What a beautiful day (at least I can account for that here in WA) that God has blessed you all with! It has definitely been a window's down, hair blowin' to the beautiful chilled breeze, sun-shiny, country music kind of day here. So beautiful that we're blessed here with this amazing day! 

 At church this morning, the pastor started a new series entitled "Parenthood" that started today and will end on Father's Day (perfect right?!?). I didn't think that I would get much out of it, since Adam and I don't have children yet to parent. But I was wrong. Totally got a lot out of it! The pastor is using Jesus' life to portray how parents should parent their children. He spoke out of Luke 2:41-52 this morning. I never remember actually reading these verses, to where I could remember them. I think these verses have been ones that I read quickly to get to the next "good" part. However, the pastor made some really good points out of these verses here.

"The Boy Jesus at the Temple

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house? (emphasis added)”[a] 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man."

The pastor's first point was that we ought to raise our children as stewards.
steward= one who has the responsibility to manage what belongs to another (ie. Parents are managing their children, who ultimately belong to God).
Central point: Parenting is a stewardship...it is temporary...and I am accountable.
How we parent will determine our degree of influence in the future.

Hearing all of this, and soaking up these verses that I never truly remember, allowed me a good time to reflect on my childhood and the parenting I received from my parents; and since it being mother's day and all, mores specifically how my mom parented me. 

We were raised in a Christian home, given great guidance. Guidance of "doing things on your own" along with guidance from God, and how to rely on His name, no matter what the circumstances may be. It's the little things that my mom did that stood out to me the most. Here are a few examples. 

 My brother and I make fun of my mom now for it, but we were woken up every day to this children kids singer, who I really wish I remembered the name, but he was this duck or something thereof, and he sang this song about patience. Every morning we heard this patience song. My mom would come into the room, and say "rise and shine, it's a beautiful day God has created" and play the stupid lovely cassette. Although we make fun of her for this, not really for her but we make fun of the singer, it was such a blessing to always be reminded of having a "new day with Christ."

There were times in high school where we lived paycheck to paycheck. My mom never for once doubted that God would get us through these rough times. She always stood strong, held her faith, demonstrated it well, and stilled tithed. What an awesome demonstration to me in my adult years now! WOW!

My brother and I went on a lot of trips with my grandparents, and every trip I kid you not, my mom would stuff our suitcases with notes and goodies. This was something she didn't have to do, but she did it because she cared and missed us, and wanted us to know how much she loved us, despite us being away from her. I was looking over a few that I have kept and I guess my mom and I would send "secret letters to each other from the computer." How cute is that!?! Here are a picture of some that I have saved, because they have meant that much to me over the years.


Christmas and Easter were always fun holidays that we loved because we got gifts on those special days, but it was never a holiday built upon the fact that we received gifts. They were holidays that were built on the meaning of what they stood for: Jesus' birth and His death and resurrection and what that means to us as believers. I am grateful for that today!

Tickle time. All of us "Cooney" family members are ticklish. Especially my dad and brother. Sometimes we would have family tickle wars. My mom would usually start them, coming into the room making this "da doop. da doop." sound all the way down the hall until she reached us. These were classic family memories!

The most grateful thing that I can thank my mom for was acceptance and love. I was born with a speech disorder called stuttering. Think of Adam Sandler's character in Water Boy. Although that movie is funny, that was my life. Not being a water boy for a football team, but getting picked on from kindergarten-6th grade for how I couldn't help but speak. Despite all the teasing, my family was very accepting and had patience with me. I went to a speech therapist until 6th grade when I got a procedure that fixed the problem. (You probably wouldn't have known that about me if I wouldn't have said that). Every night in elementary school I would not be able to sleep because I would be crying of all the teasing I received during the day. I would go into the family room and my mom would rock me to sleep. She always reminded me that I was a child of God, and no matter what she loved me for how God created me, and God loved me even more than that. When I finally fell asleep my dad would carry me back to bed. What a blessing her comfort was to me.

Looking back, my parents really gave me the parenting with that of a stewardship in mind. I'm so grateful for how they raised me with morals, values, love, support, acceptance, grace, and guidance. 

Here are a few pictures of my mommy and I. :D








Also have to give a shoutout to my awesome grandmas. The Lord has blessed me to the fullest with some awesome women in my life to look up to as great Godly women!


I'm also grateful for how Adam's mom has raised him to have the same level of morals and values. I could not have been more blessed beyond belief for how solid rock his beliefs have stayed with him, despite all of the negative influence that surround him (So glad that God is watching over us!). This is just one tiny thing of all the lists of things that I am grateful for, for how my mother-in-law raised my husband. I am also glad that she has a special gift of encouragement, because she never once missed a week during deployment, without calling me at least twice to just check up on me just because. So sweet!



We both are thankful for such great mom's on this special day to thank them. Thank you Moms and grandmas!! 


Sunday, May 6, 2012

A busy, yet FUN day!

Today has been a great day! I got done everything I wanted/needed to do, with extra crafts done to spare. How about that for ya!!!! Since Adam had duty today (last duty on a weekend for awhile now!!) I was able to accomplish a lot today and feel proud now. Church was good today, there was a guest speaker and he was funny and his message hit home. Good stuff.

Then I went shopping for the next 2 weeks. Here's our menu plan:

Monday: Spicy Chicken Rigatoni (This item keeps getting pushed back, but we WILL be for sure eating it)
Wednesday: Spaghetti with garden salad and Mediterranean Sourdough Bread
Friday: Leftover Night
Sunday: BJ's White Shark copy cat Pizza
Monday: Mushroom Stuffed Chicken w/ whole wheat egg noodles and a veggie
Wednesday: Bourbon Chicken with Brown Rice and Asian Green Bean Stir Fry
Thursday: Balsamic Pork Chops Marinade with Whole Wheat Couscous and veggie
Friday: Leftover Night
Saturday: Hawaiian Whole Wheat Pizza
Sunday: Turkey Vegetable Crockpot Soup

Can't wait for these yummy eats! Half of the items are new hits, so hopefully they go over well!

I also got to get some good craftin' done, which is always a plus for me!

**Picture in a Mason Jar. A cute way to use your Mason Jar! This is our new Kitchen counter top arrangement.**


Ways to use Your Mason Jar, Idea #4/ FIVE MINUTE CRAFT: Picture in a Mason Jar
  1. Fill a cake pan with 1/2 olive oil
  2. Place picture of choice into oil
  3. Let picture dry and place into selected Mason Jar
BAM!! You're done! 

I also got to complete my Mothers day gifts, which I am really excited about! Can't wait to share them! :D

PLUS: I am waiting for 2 of my projects to dry that I will take pics of and add them to my shop tomorrow morning! Excited to share those with y'all too!

Then I got to skype with my Mom, grandma B. and my second cousin Emily. Always fun to "see" them!

I had a request from Adam to bring homemade pizza to the guys at work, so I spent most of the early afternoon cooking for Sailors, which I don't mind one bit!

**Made a whole-wheat Hawaiian and a whole-wheat Meat Lovers (not shown). They both were huge hits!**

What a fun day!

PS: Thought I'd update you all with the new "house rule."


**Although I kid around a lot about this,
 it really is making a HUGE difference for both of us. 
I mean, 330 pushups is more than I have done in my entire life.
 SERIOUSLY!! So proud of myself!!**

I'm ending my day by cleaning my pores, with this home-made EASY Peasy remedy.

Happy brand new week all! :D