Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Sick Bug comes in June

Both girls have come down with a case of the bug this past week. First Cadence got hit with it on Tuesday with a fever and runny nose, which meant only time would tell when Veronica would get it as well. Sure enough, come Thursday Veronica was dawdling a bit more than usual and getting snuggy with her blankie. We were going to go to playgroup, but upon the third time checking her temperature it had increased to 101.

Now rewind one day to Ben's office. Us girls decide to visit daddy and his co-workers and try to hit Wednesday's Farmers Market (Veronica actually told Ben that morning that she wanted to go to the Farmer's Market without knowing that there was one, which makes this mama so proud). Well, by the time we get to daddy's office, Veronica was slowly fading fast. She started getting sad that she didn't have her blankie and said, "Mama, hold you (she hasn't figured out that she should say me, not you)!" Then, she proceeded to say, "Go home, Caca lay down, Caca lay down." So home we went and even after dinner she was dragging Ben upstairs to hurry through bedtime routine.
Ben said that he would drag out bedtime since it was only 6:00 and she goes to bed at 7:00. However, by 6:30 she was asking for her songs to listen to (waffle song and Spanish song) and told Ben, "Light off, daddy go!"

That night as Ben and I were lying in bed I recalled the events of the day to Ben and said, "Wow Veronica put herself to bed tonight, maybe it's a sign that she's growing up and she's past the screaming stage?" Ben replies, "Yeah!"

Next day rolls along...I retract my statement and realize it's just because she was coming down with the sick bug.

Some of our favorite Veronicaisms to date:

Veronica who had been talking about going to Sunday School all week.
On Sunday Ben says: "Veronica it's time for us to go to Sunday School."
Veronica with much sadness: "No Sunday School, lay in bed, go to sleep."
They ended up not going

After both girls have gone down for the night and I'm walking downstairs all I hear is this:
Veronica repeatedly: "Angel Food...ANgel Food...angel FOOD?" over and over
(she's referencing Strawberry Shortcake)

Veronica: "SchNape!" This is her curse word and we're not sure if that is what she's saying, but she definitely says it when she's frustrated or angry.

A noise is heard somewhere in the distance. Veronica is playing and stops to look up.
Veronica says with a serious voice, "I hear that!"

Veronica: "No! Baby Cadence sleep in crib! Baby Cadence sleep in crib!" as Ben puts Veronica to bed and Cadence hasn't been put in her crib yet due to nursing in our room.

Me: "Cadence, your bangs are long!"
Veronica breaks out laughing and saying, "BANGS! BANGS! Say again!"
I repeat the word bangs to which Veronica laughs more.

After leaving playgroup and driving home here is our discussion.
Veronica: "Go home and eat lunch?"
Me: "Yes!"
Veronica: "Eat, Quesa-Dilla?"
Me: "Yes we can eat a quesadilla."
(right after I say this a school bus drives by in front of us, one of Veronica's favorite things)
Veronica with pure delight: "A SCHOOL BUS!"
Me with added mommy excitement: "Yes, you're right it IS a school bus!"
Veronica with a reflective/excited tone: "Oh my, This is the BEST day!"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

An Important Update

I've been pinning this whole private or public blog thing lately. I changed our blog to invitation only a couple months back, but returned it to public. The reason for changing it to invitation only is that we did not want just anyone reading about our girls, which could lead to some scary stalker (seriously, no joking here). The only way around it would be to change all the girl's names in posts to a nickname so they would be anonymous; however, we say their names in videos (we can't change that part).

The only con about changing the blog to private is if we are listed as a frequent blog you read in your sidebar, it doesn't update saying we've added a new post.

So all that to say...

1. We will be changing our blog to private on July 4th, so that means you have to be invited to read. If you would like to read it, than send me a message on this post to add your email to our list.

2. If you have our blog on your blog reader list, then please continue to check our blog even if it shows that we haven't updated it in two weeks (or two months).

3. We will also be changing this blog to just family stuff, no more recipes, or anything that doesn't pertain to family life.

4. However, I am starting a blog dedicated to my cooking & baking & thoughts on life at:
If you would like to check it out, I'd love that. I still have, but that is merely recipes that I most likely won't update as much. I suggest the evangitality one.

That's it for now, but I will post something new soon about what has been happening around this ole' household. Actually, here's a quick one:

When going to Sunday School, Veronica would fall on the floor crying & saying, "NO MAMA, NO DADDY, DON'T GO!!!!" This would happen repeatedly every Sunday, until recently. Veronica was in her class, while Ben and I were upstairs listening to the sermon. It dawned on me that she didn't go potty before we left the house and she might have an accident downstairs. I leaned over to Ben and asked if he would go downstairs to take her to the potty. He did, then returned back later on and gave me the following report.

Ben: "When I went into the classroom and Veronica saw me she said,"
Veronica: "No Daddy, Stay coloring, Daddy Go, Caca stay!"
It's official, she likes Sunday School and even remembers what they taught in the class.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Solstice Cleaning= Warm Proscuitto Balsamic Dressing

It seems our lovely spring sunshine has been superseded by summer rain, which has given me an itch to clean our house. After spending too much time indoors with winter that whole spring cleaning concept was thrown out the window when spring ushered in warm, sunny days. I have officially renamed it to Solstice cleaning (decluttering, donating, deep cleaning..didn't mean for them all to start with a 'd.'). What I love about a thorough clean is an inner desire to bake and cook everything from scratch. I'm not quite sure why the two are connected, but I do have a hunch. As my hands clean every surface within our home, it stirs up the desire to use my hands to make a home cooked meal. Plus, I know as I clean our home and make a meal, it's a loving way to bless my family.

It especially blesses Ben, which makes me feel great that I can put these practical skills to use to lavish upon him. His love language is acts of service. He is able to relax at home when vertical surfaces aren't cluttered. Now, we both know this isn't capable the majority of the time due to having a two year old running around, I at least try (even if it's one day a week without clutter). Aside from cleaning, being able to come home to a cooked meal is really lovely. I remember when we both worked outside the home and came home to an empty stove top, UGGHH! He works so hard for our family, which makes me want to bless him with this love.

As you know from earlier posts, we celebrated our 7 year anniversary and a week later was Father's day. We have been together for 11 years total and I am truly thankful that he is my husband and my girl's father. He loves us unconditionally. He is quick to speak a patient filled grace into my life. There are so many things about him that make me proud to call him my husband, but one story comes to mind. He has to take an insurance class for his work (he's a financial adviser), which can be done via four-10 hour a day class or study on his own. He was of course going to do the study on his own, because he is a self-starter type of person and could easily get it done in 15 hours. However, he found out that he would have to sign an affidavit stating that he did study 40 hours before he took the test. Then, (which is why I love him) he realized in good conscience he would have to study 40 hours if he was going to sign the document.

It may seem like something so obtuse, some might even call it legalistic, but I would argue that it's completely opposite. It's because of his integrity and work ethic (something we could use a little more of in the financial world), which drive him to do what is right. His integrity, commitment, and work ethic have spoken multitudes to me over the past 11 years. Ben is a man who sticks to his word. He has gently encouraged me (mainly by action than word) how to worship in my work. Whether that was my studies in school, my job before children, and even now as I stay home. I have asked myself how is what I'm doing worship to the Lord? Ben's middle name is Micah, which suits him well reflecting on Micah 6:8, "He has shown thee, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."

Warm Proscuitto Balsamic Dressing over Greens with Goat cheese & dried cherries

For the dressing:

5 slices of proscuitto, cut into 1/2 inch squares
2-3 Tablespoons water
4 Tablespoons Olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tablespoons minced shallot
1 Tablespoon minced garlic

Heat skillet over medium heat and add proscuitto. Stirring occasionally, until proscuitto gets crisp. Add the water to loosen some of the bits & flavoring. Take off heat. Remove cooked proscuitto to plate and try to keep as much of the juices in the skillet. Add the olive oil to skillet with the proscuitto drippings. In a small bowl or cup, add the balsamic vinegar, shallot, & garlic. Stir together and then add to skillet. Mix together and return skillet to medium-low heat while stirring. Stir for about 1-2 minutes then spoon into a cup with spout (or whatever you have). The original recipe called for bacon, which rendered more fat than the proscuitto. As a result, the cooked proscuitto drippings are minimal and doesn't do as well of a job as an emulsifier in the dressing. So, it is best to spoon the dressing on your salad, or mix the dressing and pour quickly thereafter.

Take your greens, add an ounce of crumbled goat cheese (crumble it yourself), a tablespoon of proscuitto and a handful of dried cherries. Top with dressing and enjoy with a nectarine & glass of wine or water. (if you have some dark chocolate eat that afterwards)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Two & half year old's dream

I have fond memories of being at the baseball/softball fields on summer evenings, or playing soccer with my brothers in the front yard (with Willy tripping us every time, yet we still played). Although I have a very vivid imagination and great long term memory, I don't remember what I enjoyed on summer evenings when I was V's age. However, I do recall in my elementary years swinging on a friend's playset and thought it would be pretty cool to have one in our backyard (pool would always be number one, especially living in AZ).

Much like her mama, V's number one choice would be going swimming every evening, but number two would be a park (with a playground of course). I'm going to hit more parks around B'ham this summer and not just the popular ones, but those little ones as well. Because honestly, V doesn't care as long as there's a slide involved.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

metaphors, Ma, & morning

If my life were a pair of shoes, these are what they would be...Cordaban Dansko Clogs. They go with almost any color (versatility), slip right on and off, dress up or down, and are absolutely comfortable.

I really wish I was a morning person. I dream about being a morning person, except I'm literally only doing the dreaming part. As a little girl I remember spending the night at friend's house who lived on a farm. Her dad and mom would wake up really early and breakfast was ready to go when we awoke from our slumber. It was reminiscent of 'Little House on the Prairie,' because I envisioned myself being like "ma" when I had kids. My mom was quite opposite of this morning person. She was and has always been a night owl (and I do believe I inherited this gene on my DNA strands). There weren't too many times where we had that warm meal to wake up to; rather, my mom was a bit more sluggish.

Although my mom is great and I mean her no disrespect, but I really like the idea of Ma in Little House, or the Proverbs 31 wife & mother who awakes while her family is still asleep making the home cozy. However, no matter how much I long to become this ideal, I can't escape that DNA.
I guess I'll have to do with the house being quiet in the evening, but enjoying it without my Americano.

Although I'm not your typical bright-eyed and bushy tail morning squirrel, there are certain I can't live without. Before having children I would skip breakfast on occasion. I see the error in my ways as I cannot function on an empty stomach. It goes like this...get Veronica her cool milk, have Cadence in her playmobile thingamagigger (or sit on the floor), make Veronica breakfast while making myself a double short americano (there is nothing more ethereal), make Cadence some breakfast and myself, then do some breakfast duty for Veronica and finally sit to enjoy some food. I also try really hard to make sure I make nutritious meals for our family. I believe food is to be enjoyed, to be used to nourish and replenish, and to be thankful for it.

One of my favorite breakfast meals is Oatmeal, which is funny because I hated oatmeal or anything that appeared to have that slop type of texture as a kid through adolescense. I decided in college that I would give it another chance and that I was going to like it. And I did & boy am I glad.

Quick Oatmeal Concoction:

Boiling water (I use the tea kettle)
1/2 cup quick oats or rolled oats (whatever you prefer)
one bowl
one salad plate
1/4 cup frozen blueberries (I must say the wild blueberries from Trader Joes are much better for this meal than big ones)
1/2 of sliced banana
1 teaspoon to tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
Other optionals: sprinkle of non-sweetened coconut, chopped nuts, cinnamon

Place 1/2 cup oatmeal in bowl. Once water comes to a boil and starts steaming, pour desired amount on oatmeal (typically its about 1/4 cup more water than oatmeal) & place plate on top of bowl. Get the frozen blueberries out of freezer and put them right into your hot oatmeal and put plate back on top (this is perfect for kids as they don't like hot food--typically). Add your sliced bananas (another great thing is you can have your child cut bananas with butter knife and include them in the process). Add your optionals and eat it up. It goes especially well with a cup of coffee or an americano.

Life is a whirlwind as a stay at home mom. If my life were in pictures it would look something like this...

...a scattered assortment of food to eat and prepare for my family. It's a tight space, but comfortable & modest.

...our shoe & coat closet, it's messy & untidy most of the time, but at least they're all in the same spot and easy to be found.

...trail of laundry like the song that never ends.

...laundry detergent to clean all the stains of life and my trusty Borax that no mother should be without. Plus, it makes GAK.

...need I say anything?

...if I were one kitchen appliance, this is what I would be. catch my shots of espresso. cup is half full (I also drink a glass upon waking every morning).

...Peanut butter sandwiches & toast don't taste as good without my homemade jam (see homemade like Ma).

...the perfect add on to a salad with sliced apples, goat cheese, & leafy greens, or simply to eat by itself.

...sunshine, swings and a two little girls I absolutely adore.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Say Cheese! (who coined that phrase anyway?)

Trying to get a baby to smile may seem like a hard task, but getting a 2 year old to give a genuine smile is much more hard. You should note that Veronica is scrinching up her face, because that is her "I'm giving you my fake camera smile." Another thing you should note is the 3 second video of Veronica. I thought I was pressing the picture button, but I had it on video. However, I'm glad I had it on, because seeing Veronica go in and out of her cheesy smile is priceless in my book.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

quick update on life as we know it

it's getting late and I should really be in bed, but I will go after this. We spent the weekend down in Tacoma area for Ben's cousin's wedding. I will have to upload pictures from our trip. It was a fun but at times not always enjoyable trip.

We left Bellingham on Saturday morning to Tacoma. Ben's parents stayed the night in the hotel on Friday, so the plan was to get the girls to take a nap before the wedding. Of course, as any realistic parent knows, your plans don't always work according to plan. Veronica was put in a pack and play to take her nap, where she spent talking about Strawberry Shortcake for an hour and a half. Cadence slept just a little bit in the car and a little bit in the carrier on daddy. By the time we were needing to leave both girls were CRANKS. Oh my britches!

Cadence was screaming in the car (20 minute drive to the wedding), which she hardly ever does and Veronica was starting to get fussy. Ben's driving while I'm trying to get the girls calm. I'm going insane, so I turn some music on to start singing. Well, what do you know? Literally three minutes before we get to the wedding I notice that I'm not hearing any noise behind me. I turn to see two girls asleep like angels (seriously, I think the exorcist worked). We arrived with Ben volunteering to stay in the air conditioned car with the sleeping monkeys.

Eventually, they would awaken (by Cadence screaming and waking Veronica) and come to see the ceremony taking place. Both girls still fussy, me with Cadence nursing in the car and Veronica with daddy. Since Cadence hadn't gotten her typical two and half hour afternoon nap she was in no mood to be coddled by anyone (except mommy & daddy). This makes for a hard time when Grandma wants to show off her remarkably adorable second granddaughter to the rest of her family who hasn't met the charming Cadence. I pull out the Ergo and she falls asleep again..Whew! Veronica was changing moods as she was able to run around outside, but it all changed very quickly upon sitting at the table for a while.

Now it wasn't because we were sitting at the table that made her upset. It was more about eating M&M's. Actually, it was more than M&M's and more about the annoying centerpieces. Let me fill you in. First, let me say that the centerpieces would be beautiful to the virgin eye (and I mean a non-mother with small children virgin eye). Veronica was eating a couple M&M's that were part of the centerpiece, which was fine. But the other part of the centerpiece was flattened marbles. You know those glass circles that look like marbles (they are marbles) with a flat surface and you might see them in vases as well? These flat marbles were also placed around the table. Here's where that virgin eye comes into place. For a person without young children, this combo of M&M's in a glass dish on top of the square glass with a vase of flowers in the center and flat marbles placed around the outer edges of the square mirror glass would seem beautiful and fun. I mean, the M&M's even match the flat cute is that (do you hear my sarcasm?)?

As I'm watching my two year old eat her M&M's (my first time I look up from Cadence duty) I immediately notice the centerpiece and of course the flat marbles. PAUSE...if you have young children what does your mind jump to? Exactly, the marbles could be misconstrued as an M&M! Just before I could say anything to Ben or chuck all those marbles off the table, Veronica has already taken one and put it in her mouth. Ben reacts quickly (thank God), but all I hear him say is, "Veronica, spit it out! Open your mouth! Spit it out!" over and over again. He's reaching in her mouth to try and take it out. Veronica's crying because she's scared and there's nothing in her mouth. Here's me starting to hyperventilate and feel like I have something stuck in my airpipes. But, Veronica isn't losing any breath and just saying, "MAMA, MAMA, MAMA!!" I immediately think, "she probably already spit it out and it fell on the floor," which it did. Cadence woke up and Veronica only wanted me to comfort her. She was exhausted, scared and crying (so was I...just a little bit).

It was at this point of the night that I was thinking, "we should leave and get the girls to bed." (Note to self: pay attention to your first instinct always). Well, we stayed longer. Veronica eventually returned outside to meet a little boy skipping, whom she gladly joined, and rocks to throw in the fountain. What a delight! The problem with this joyful picture is the car ride home. Not so much for Veronica, but for Cadence. More screaming the whole way (so sad and miserable). Veronica kept saying, "Had fun at the party! I ate food! Skipped! Throw rocks in the water!" to which we had to reply, "Yes, you had fun at the party. Yes you ate food! Yes it was fun to skip! Yes Veronica you did throw rocks in the water."

We were certain the girls would go straight to bed, but somehow they didn't. Cadence went from screaming her head off to smiling to nursing to smiling and talking (where did this come from?). Veronica just never stopped. She got a triple wind from skipping at the party and it didn't leave her. She was put in the pack and play and simply kept talking and talking and talking. The hard part is we were all sharing a room in the hotel. Ben finally took her out and said, "let's go for a walk!" He took her on a 20 minute walk, which went something like this...walked outside in the dark, went to the pool, walked on the treadmill with Veronica saying, "No more walking!" She wanted to be done with the treadmill, but still had energy to burn as she was still talking. So Ben repeated it until she was rubbing her eyes and stopped talking as much and couldn't walk as fast.

Yet she woke us up on our seven year anniversary at 6:00am. How lovely & thoughtful of her! Luckily, Grandpa & Grandma took over by taking her swimming and eating breakfast. Then, by 9:50ish she was looking like a zombie. Now as I am writing she is bed where I should be and I'm just thankful we're home.

I have to say that even though these girls tire me out, I'm so very thankful to be there mama. I'm even more thankful that I have a loving, supportive, handsome & wonderful husband to share my life with (especially at 11:45 at night when your two year old isn't sleeping in the hotel room).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Strawberry Jam

I made this fun strawberry jam without pectin. It's a Barefoot
Contessa recipe and uses granny smith apples as the pectin.

What you need:

3 pints strawberries
3 cups superfine sugar
2 Tablespoons Orange liquor (Grand Marnier)
1/2 cup peeled, cored & chopped Granny Smith apple
1/2 cup rinsed blueberries

Wash & rinse your strawberries. Hull them, cutting the large ones in
quarters, medium ones in half & small ones leave them alone.

In a heavy bottom pot mix strawberries with sugar & liquor. Set over
medium heat, stirring constantly. When it starts to boil, add apples
& blueberries. Maintain a rolling boil and stir occassionally,
skimming the foam off the top. Put in a candy thermometer in and wait
till it reached 220 degrees (25-35 minutes).

Once temperature is reached, cool to room temperature and put in jars
to put in fridge. Will keep for two weeks. If you want to have jam
keep longer than follow canning guidelines (you can look online or if
you have The Joy of Cooking). It produced about 3 3/4 half pint jars
of jam for me.

My notes:
1. You can pulse regular sugar in a food processor to make superfine
sugar, if you can't find it at the store. I put the sugar in and
pressed on for about 45-60 seconds.
2. Grand Marnier is expensive, so you could do one of three things in
my opinion. Buy the little container (the ones they sell on planes),
omit it altogether as it adds a depth to the jam but not necessary, or
put in orange zest or orange extract.
3. I seemed to have stirred & waited for it to reach 220, but it
didn't. I gauged it more on what it looked like. You could put a cold
plate in the freezer and drop a bit on the plate, then run a spoon or
knife through the mixture. If it parts (think Red Sea) than take it
off the heat. Remember that you're basically working in the candy
arena & it could go from soft ball stage to hard ball stage pretty

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spotlight of a 7 month old

Our little Tayers will be 7 months on Sunday.

  • She is a pure delight in our home. Her hair is longer than some 2 year old's.
  • She has a smile, which lures you right in (there's no going back).
  • Her sister is her favorite person (if she's only too lucky to get a V kiss).
  • She is a morning girl, much to mama's dismay, she will nurse and stay awake (while V would go back to sleep after nursing in the morning at her age).
  • She likes being held by both mommy & daddy.
  • She goes to bed with much more ease than older sis.
  • Her reach goes far beyond her spatial proximity (I didn't think it was humanly possible).
  • She has a contagious laugh.
  • She also reminds me of Boo from Monsters Inc.

Strawberry Tart

I was going to take a picture of my beautiful Fresh Strawberry Tart with pastry cream. Unfortunately, stomach pangs were screaming out and this is all that was left to photograph (via IPhone). I was just thinking about the most delicious strawberry tart I had in Paris in 2006. It was superb! I didn't think I could get close to it. I was wrong. This homemade one might actually beat the tartlet in the Paris patisserie. As Ben said, "I thought the tart was all around good. Typically, when you take a bite out of a tart or pie there is something that's not okay, like the crust, but you deal with it to eat the rest. But everything was good in each bite."

I couldn't have said it better myself!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Spring like Summer

First off, I'm sorry about the quality, but I seem to never have my camera on me when the opportunity arrives and I take pictures with my phone camera. We have been thoroughly enjoying our warm spring. Growing up in Arizona, it was already in the 100s by now and I'm definitely glad that is not the warm front, which encroached upon the Pacific NW.

I do believe we have spent every single day out in the water. Veronica asks me every morning if we can go play in the water. Now since we live in condo, we do not have a yard or even a hose to fill up a kiddie pool. However, Veronica is a very lucky individual, because she has a mother who is experienced in the realms of inventive measures to cool one's body (that is when there is no pool). Let me take you back to my childhood summers when my cousins, brothers, and I filled a big garbage can (it was an unused one) with water and used it to cool off our Arizona beaten bodies. Now, fast forward, we fill buckets full of water, put some toys inside, strap on a swimsuit to one two year old girl and it makes for an enthusiastic little girl and content mama.

As you can see, she has yet to realize that we don't drink our bucket water, or pool water for that matter. As she would drink water, she would go, "MMMmmm, MMmmm!" like it's the most wonderful drink she's ever had before.

She also decided that the little bucket was far more appealing than the quite larger bucket, can't you guess why?

One of Veronica's other favorite things is rocks. If only we lived in the country and had a gravel driveway, with a gravel parking lot, along with a gravel swimming pool (of course, we'd have to have two swimming pools, one for the actual use of swimming). Here she is soaking her saltwater sandaled (not a word) feet in the lake with one of her all-time favorite people and throwing rocks in for great measure.

Our little Cadence has begun eating solid foods and she enjoys them. One of her favorites is Mums (little rice wafers which dissolve in the mouth). She is are ray of sunshine and admirer of her bigger sister. Anytime Veronica walks in the room, Cadence beams. Literally, she beams!

Here are the babies of our Thursday playgroup (minus two). It's been amazing seeing how these second born are growing up so fast and how soon they will be the age of the older ones. Veronica and I have been apart of this playgroup for almost a year & a half now and I have truly grown to love & respect these fellow moms and their kids. I really love Thursday mornings and they're even better when it's sunny outside, because it means water weather.