Thursday, April 30, 2009

This April Past...

Okay, so it is once again time to check off another month of 2009. The year is passing by so quickly. So now its time to see what happened this month.

Well, the first few days of the month were spent on a train going to and from Chicago with a few days in Chicago. My DH had a work obligation to go to and since I had never been to Chicago before I figured why not tag along. Our train ride was over 24 hours each way, but we had a nice time. It was less stressful and hurried than flying. However, it did take a LONG time to get there. We counted the train ride as part of our days of "vacation". If you were extremely excited to get where you were going than the train is would not be your choice mode of transportation. While we were in Chicago we ate dinner at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the Hancock building and ate dinner overlooking Lake Michigan. We went to see a Shakespeare play on Navy Pier. I did a little bit of shopping while my DH was workinh, but considering that my waist is getting bigger clothes weren't really much of a temptation. We walked down to Printers' Row one day and looked around there. We also had the opportunity to go the Chicago Art Institute. It was a short trip, but we had a nice time. By the way, I brought my camera but never took a picture.

We were able to spend Easter with some friends from church. We had a great time getting to visit with each other and eat.

My sister is on her way here as we speak and I am so very happy that she is getting to come. I am sure that we will have a good time and that I will have some pictures to share.

I will have an update on my pregnancy tomorrow. All I have to say is God is so good with my ever-nervous heart.

This month has been busy with the a lot of little things. I have been watching the kiddos regularly, but they are hitting a new stage of interaction which sometime borders on needing a peacekeeper to make sure that A. understands that J. didn't mean to hurt her. He was just trying to walk past. I often think that watching these two is like my family boot camp; I am getting the necessary training for the years ahead. Case and point: A. loudly yells into the kitchen, "Charree, J. is trying to use the crayons!" Then I say, "Well, why can't he use the crayons? He just wants to color like you are doing." A. then responds, "Well if I let him use the crayons he might not let me use them at all." I then say, "So, you don't want to share with J. because he might not share with you? Does that seem right?" A. then says, "Here J. let's share these. Leave them right here in the middle, ok." Kids, I tell you they crack me up, completely crack me up.

The temperatures have been nice around here which makes you want to enjoy it while you can because the Texas heat is on its way. We have taken the opportunity to go to the zoo a few times and sat a the back porch a few times as well. It is so nice to see all of the blooms around and to actually be able to enjoy them.

My DH and I started a new Ballroom dance class this week. It is the follow up class to the one that we took last summer. We weren't too rusty on the steps this week; but, next week may be a completely different story. We'll have to see.

The scripture that sums up my month is Psamls 91:1-4.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Well, that is my month and it wasn't to eventful. Has anything neat or interesting happened to you this month? How did your month go?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Happenings Around Here...

Hello everyone! I hope that your week is going well. I am so excited it is Wednesday because that means my dear sister is coming tomorrow. Yay!!!

I am sorry that I have been away from my blog for the week almost. Things have been not ridiculously busy, but busy enough. I have been having a nice amount of energy for the last little bit and I have been trying to harness it into doing productive things around the house.

The weather around here has been awful the last couple of days. It rains and then rains, and then rains some more. Myself and the doggies have been keeping ourselves inside and dry. A lot of our poor Irises just started to bloom last week and the rain has beat them down so now they are bent over. Poor things!

I wanted to share a picture of my mom and I from when she came. We were our photographers so you will have to forgive the fuzziness of it.
I wanted to share a project that my mom and I worked on while she was here several weeks ago. We bought these big metal utility shelves to help store some stuff and made some covers for them so that dust and dog hair wouldn't gather on the shelves' content and so that it would look more appealing than just a shelf full of junk. The two covers took us almost a week to finish but I am really happy with the way they turned out. The shelves hold so much stuff and they don't look too shabby while doing it.
They are made out of outdoor canvas and duck cloth.
The baskets on top of the shelves each hold 50 CD's which made it possible for me to get rid of my media tower and not waste space.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One Week Away...

I am so very excited. My dear sister is coming for a visit one week from today. I can't wait for her to get here. I haven't seen her since Christmas and I miss her so very much.

I am not sure what all we are going to do when she comes; but I am pretty sure that some games of shuffleboard and disc golf will be part of the plans we make. She is only getting to stay for a few days so we are going to have to cram all that we can into them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Blooms Around...

Happy Wednesday to you! The weather is beautiful today. The type of day where you would just like to spend the whole day in a hammock reading a book, too bad I don't have a hammock.

I wanted to say thanks to all of you for your feedback about the vacuum-pack bags. I wound up purchasing a set of them and was very impressed with the job they did. Now all of my sweaters and shirts are packed away as well as my king comforter and a queen duvet cover. I am a BIG fan of them now.

Most of our flowers in the front beds and in pots on the back porch have been blooming. I took a few pictures of the blooms around and thought that I would share them with you.

First we have Dianthus surrounded by Lillies (that aren't blooming yet) and Dusty Miller.
Then there are Columbine (which are one of my personal favorites).
There are also some Purple Oxalice and Lemon Thyme.
The Iris are also blooming...
As well as the Gerbera Daisies.
Around back, my Clematis is blooming.
And that is the tour of the blooms around my abode. Thanks for stopping by.

Do you have blooms around you? Which one is your favorite (if it is possible to have a favorite)?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This Mess I Have Made...

Today I have spent most of my day working around the house. Currently there is a slight problem though, I have made what appears to be a bigger mess than when I started.

Any ideas on what I have been doing based on the picture?

If you guessed putting away laundry, the answer is no. If you guess cleaning out my closet you are right. I have reached the point where all of my previous to pregnancy pants (except for the yoga and workout pants) are no longer closing. I am past the sucking it in stage. These pants just are NOT closing and many of my shirts are too tight in the bust area and are starting to ride up. So, out of my closet they go.

I need to go to the store this afternoon and buy some storage containers. After I do that I am planning on moving all of my maternity clothes to my regular closet and out of the spare room's closet.

I have managed to get quite the collection of maternity clothes over the last couple of years. I've seen cute maternity clothes all along at Target and I've waited until they were 75% to buy them. I need to buy some peddle pushers/Bermuda shorts for the summer. I fear that my maternity jeans aren't going to stand much of a chance against the Texas heat.

Anyway, I have a question for you??? Have any of you used the vacuum storage bags? I was debating on using them to put away some of my sweaters and stuff and was wondering if any of you had had any luck with them.

I hope that you have a great day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Apple Buns...

Yesterday at church we had a brunch. I had a recipe that I have been wanting to make but beings that the recipe yields 12 to 16 I figured I needed to make it when more people than just my DH and I would be eating them. So I made some Apple Buns for the brunch. They seem kind of complicated, but they really aren't any more complicated than homemade cinnamon rolls.
The recipe comes from the cookbook A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. If you like to bake than I HIGHLY recommend you get or at least check this cookbook out. Everything I have made out of it have gotten rave reviews.
Granny-McIntosh Apple Buns

1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees F)
5 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
5 to 7 cups all-purpose
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt

6 to 8 McIntosh Apple, peeled and thinly sliced
2 large unpeeled Granny Smith apples, shredded
1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup generous sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Finishing Touches
2 large eggs
Pinch sugar

Cinnamon Fondant
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Water, as required, to make a thick glaze

Stack two large baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper. You will want to repeat this procedure for each batch. Stacking the pans helps to not burn the bottom of the buns.

In a mixer bowl, hand-whisk water and yeast together and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Add 1 cup of flour and blend and then add butter, sugar, vanilla, eggs, salt, and then most of the remaining flour. Mix and then knead with dough hook on lowest speed 5 to 8 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to make a soft dough.

Remove dough hook and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover entire entire mixer and bowl with a large clear plastic bag. Let dough rise about 40 to 50 minutes or until almost doubled.

Meanwhile, prepare apples and have other filling ingredients nearby. Whisk eggs and pinch of sugar in a small bowl for egg wash. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar together.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Roll out to a 22-inch circle. Deposit pieces of butter all over dough's surface. Scatter sliced apples over dough. Top with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and then scatter shredded apple on top. Cut into 12 to 16 wedges (this is really messy, but it will be fine). Stretching each wedge slightly, roll up each wedge into a crescent, starting at wide end. If apples leak out, just stuff them back in. *(Also to make buns that are not so large, you can roll out two 11-inch circles and cut each of them into 6 to 8 pieces.)

Place on prepared baking sheets, brush each crescent bun with egg wash and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes.

For cinnamon fondant, whisk ingredients in a small bowl until smooth and soft. Smear fondant on buns with a flat spatula, skimming away excess. *(Or you can drizzle the fondant on top.)

Yield 12 to 16 crescent buns 4"-5" long

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is not here...

"He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying."
~Matthew 28:6

All day yesterday and today, I have had the song "In Christ Alone" stuck in my head. It is such a great song and to me it sums up what Easter is all about. I just wanted to share it with you as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord! Happy Easter!

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

"In Christ Alone"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Finished Kitchen...

Today I want to share with you pictures from our completed kitchen update. When my mom was here a couple of weeks ago, she brought us the two remaining cabinets pulls we were needing. Also this week, I zoned the kitchen (for all of you FlyBabies out there) and after it was all nice I clean I snapped a few pictures.

I had a surprising amount of energy on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I took care of the zoning for the week. I zoned the kitchen, the bathroom, and the back porch. It felt so good to get somethings done around here.

I am curious about something. Have any of you ever heard of the FlyLady or done some part/variation of her cleaning schedules? I discovered her a few years ago and have made my own schedule based on some of the things I learned from her. I would love to hear about your experience.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Trip to the See the Animals...

Happy Good Friday to all of you! I hope that you had a nice day.
My DH and I took the children that I watch to the zoo today. I thought that it would be a fun outing since we haven't done anything like that since I found out I was pregnant because I am not supposed to pick them up. As you who are around children know, no trip to the zoo is possible without picking up a 2 year old and a 4 year old so that they can see the animals. So, my DH went along with us to help me out. We wound up spending about two hours there. I could not believe the amount of people who were there, (apparently we all had the same idea). I tried to take a picture of A. but she wouldn't have anything to do with that. J. on the other hand let me snap a few of him.
I was also able to take a neat picture of the male lion. He was sitting right next to the observation glass so I seized the opportunity to take a few pictures of him as well.

After we brought the kids back home, my DH and I went to Sam's to get Carrot Cake ingredients. We are having Easter lunch with some people from our church. I volunteered to bring a Carrot Cake and since Carrot Cake is my DH's favorite cake I am going to surprise him with one that he won't have to share with everyone else.

After Sam's I was so beat that I took a nap in the car. I slept all the home and for about 40 minutes after we arrived home (my DH was driving by the way, not me).

Have any of you seen the English Patient? If you have I would like to hear what you thought about it. I have it for us to watch but was wondering if it was worth the 2 1/2 hours to watch it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

13 is a Number I am Liking A Whole Bunch...

Hello to all of you. I apologize for going MIA for the last couple of weeks. Things have been hopping around here and I have so many things that I want to share. So instead of being overwhelmed in thinking that I need to post about them all I am going to pick one of the topics to cover today and the others in subsequent days.

Today's topic is how my pregnancy is going and the answer to that is GOOD. I went to the doctor yesterday, we were able to hear the heartbeat. It was beating soooo very fast which is a good thing. We could hear when the baby would move a little bit and its heart rate would increase just a tiny bit because of the movement. My doctor said that it will be a few more weeks before I feel the baby move, but she said it is coming.

I was worried that after the exam yesterday I would start spotting. So far, I haven't and it has been almost three weeks since I last spotted. PRAISE THE LORD!!!! This is such a big prayer answered. I am starting to feel that all of this is actually going happen. Tomorrow I will complete my 12th week and start week 13, the end of the first trimester is in sight and I love that thought. I feel like since we made it this far things might actually work out for us to hold our little one in October.

Within days after I had my miscarriage two years ago, I developed a blood clot in my leg, but it was only in a superficial vein. Blood work over the last few years has shown us that I have a higher risk for clotting and women who are pregnant naturally have a higher risk of clotting. So, as a precautionary measure for both my safety and the baby's safety, I am going to begin daily heparin injections (which is a blood thinner) tomorrow to continue until 6 weeks after delivery. Tomorrow we (my DH and I) go for injection training as he will be giving them to me. While this seems kinda' scary and inconvenient, I believe it is worth it to have the peace of mind that I am doing everything I can to help my pregnancy come to term. It will SOOOO be worth it when I hold my little one in my arms. Until then, I am going to consider it delivery boot camp, getting used to pain and needles.

My energy has been pretty amazing the last couple of days. I have been getting a ton of stuff accomplished (more on that to come later on this week). One thing I would say I have been craving is beef (in general) and Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets. I think that I would eat at Chick-fil-a everyday if my budget and/or my "trying to eat healthy conscience" could handle it.

I hope that you have a fabulous day!