Saturday, June 30, 2012

He’s One!

Today is Nolan’s birthday.  I can’t believe he has been a part of our family for a year already…yet I can’t remember our family without him, either. 

He was born on Thursday, June 30th at 10:38 a.m. weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and 19.75 inches long.

Birth of Nolan Obadiah

Birth of Nolan Obadiah  Birth of Nolan Obadiah

He was a pretty easy going baby from the start, and he hasn’t changed much!

Nolan's Newborn Portraits

Nolan's Newborn Portraits

Nolan 6 weeks old Picture People Portrait
six  weeks

Nolan 3 months with text

Nolan 4 month portraits 5x7
four months

Nolan 4 Month Portraits
four months

Nolan's 6 Month Portraits
six months

Nolan's 6 Month Portraits vertical crop
six months – this is my favorite picture of him.  His cheeks are rosy from teething!

When he was six months old we started calling him “The Nolanator” and the name has stuck…probably because it’s so appropriate!  He started eating solid food at four months, crawling at five months, sitting at six months, pulling up to stand at seven months, and walking at nine months.  I wasn’t really ready for any of those things…Nolan keeps me on my toes!

Nolan 9 month portraits
nine months

Nolan is now a bundle of energy & movement, with a lot of noise thrown in for good measure.  He loves the vacuum, hair dryer, or anything that makes noise.  He waits for Ben to empty his pockets after work so he can grab the cell phone.  He loves to do anything Elaine is doing – to her great dismay.  Nolan will pick up items that I ask for and bring them to me, and he blows his food before he eats it.  His one and only word is “ball” – gonna be a baseball player like his Daddy!  He can roar like a lion and he loves anything that rolls or has wheels.  At at 20 months younger, he’s barely a head shorter than his big sister, a pound lighter, and they wear the same size shoes.

He’s my little man, and I love him!

Father's Day 2012
Father’s Day 2012

Day 23 Technology
May 2012

Easter 2012 8x10
Easter 2012 – the day he started walking

Nolan on the slide
He loves the slide & the swings

Water Park! edited
He does everything Elaine does – only without fear!

Happy Birthday,
Nolan Obadiah! 

Let the Adventure Begin!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June Photo A Day part 3

Well…I’ve been behind on posting {and taking} my photos in June!  Here they are…though not necessarily snapped on the correct day!  And not too creative this month – I’m not really enjoying this list too much!

June 12: From a Low Angle
June 12 From a Low Angle
Elaine at the park

June 13: Art
Homemade Paint
homemade paints for Elaine

June 14: Time
Brooklyn Clock Tower
clock tower in downtown Brooklyn

June 15: Yellow
June 15 Yellow
the walls in my bedroom.  They were like that when we moved in – definitely not my favorite!

June 16: Out and About
Water Park!
at the water park!

June 17: In Your Bag
June 17 In Your Bag
new library books

June 18: Something We Don’t Know About You

June 18 Something We Don't Know About You
I despise wearing tennis shoes… especially with a skirt.  I’d much rather be in stockings and pumps, or sandals.  So if you catch me in my “sneakers” as Ben calls them – mark it down.  It is a rare occurrence!

June 19: Imperfect

Homemaking in Reality
my house.  This is what it looks like for most of the day…until naptime when I put it all away in the proper places.

June 20: Fave Photo You’ve Ever Taken

Danielle Visits NYC - Statue of Liberty and NYC Skyline
I had a hard time choosing…but I absolutely L.O.V.E. this picture of Elaine at the Statue of Liberty in 2010.

June 21: Where You Slept

June 21 Where You Slept
in my bed, of course!  This was made by Ben – a present for our wedding day.

June 22: From a High Angle

June 22 From a High Angle
I’m just sure you all wanted to see Nolan at lunch time!

June 23: Movement

Water Park!
it’s so hard to catch a picture of him these days.  Movement is Nolan.  Nolan is movement.  He really is all boy!

June 24: On Your Mind

June 24 On Your Mind
camping trip this weekend for Nolan’s 1st birthday

June 25: Something Cute

June 25 Something Cute Elaine playing catch with Ben
Elaine playing baseball with Daddy.  She used his glove and had a great time!

June 26: Where You Shop

June 26 Where You Shop
wherever the deals are.  Today it was Rite Aid.  Free Zantac.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Relief from the Heat

Today I am thankful for three simple things:

1.  City-provided water sprinklers at the park for kids to enjoy on hot days
2.  Air conditioner units for hot days like today
3.  The fact that I grew up in a dry climate where heat wasn’t as much of a problem and swamp coolers were cheap to run.  I miss Colorado!

2012 - Page 042

{click to enlarge}

2012 - Page 043

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Homemade Salsa

Salsa 2012

Salsa 2012

Salsa 2012

2 days :: 3 nap times :: 100 tomatoes :: 2 burning hands :: a very hot kitchen ::
1 broken jar :: 1 tired Mommy

But I got 16 quarts, 4 pints, and 2 half pints to show for it!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Five-Minute Friday: Path

5-minute-friday-1 (1)Linking up with the Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday today! Here are the guidelines…you can join in the fun too!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

The prompt is…



I am so glad that God chooses the path of life for us.  I would never have imagined where His path has led me.  I didn’t think it would be possible to graduate from college debt free.  Or that my Prince Charming would be the boy on campus who couldn’t talk.  {Ask me about that later}. 

I never would have dreamed that my mission field would be in the United States.  That I would get to complete my internship in Spain, or visit Israel with my in-laws.

I never would have planned for my first child to be born via emergency c-section, or imagined that my son would be a successful VBAC delivery.  Never dreamed eating – and liking – lots of beans & rice.  Or knowing my way around the New York City subway system. 

And now that it is summer…I still can’t understand why I am living in a hot & humid 3rd floor with no central air!  But God knows so much better than I do.

His vision from eternity past to eternity future can select the best pathway for me.  And it always turns out for good. 

Psalm 16 11 jpg

I love the picture of these verses from Psalm 18:32-33,

“It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.  33 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.” 

Sometimes God makes my path wide enough for me to walk, as I climb the heights or descend the valleys of life.  But sometimes the path is narrow and seems impassable.  That’s when God gives me the nimble feet of a mountain goat – able to transverse the terrain that He has given me to walk. 

I don’t know what lies ahead.  But I know who is choosing my path, and that gives me peace that passes all understanding!


From my Kitchen: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every time I take these cookies somewhere…I get lots of comments.  They are just so delicious!  I actually portion them out into baggies and freeze them…to ensure there are enough to fill Ben’s lunch box for the week.  Because they don’t last long in our house!  We even enticed Elaine to take her first steps by holding out one of these cookies!  And she loves to dunk them….see more about that here.

I think this recipe came from Better Homes & Gardens.  I had two different cookbooks from them as a newlywed.  The recipes were different for Chocolate Chip Cookies…so I combined, adjusted, and…perfected?  I love chocolate chip cookies.  And I like them soft – not crunchy & crumbly.  I use margarine in this recipe, but it is phenomenal with real butter too!  I like milk chocolate chips best, but we often use semi-sweet because they are available at Costco.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe From Andrea Hamilton via Better Homes & GardensElaine 9 months chocolate chip cookie dunk

  • ½ c. shortening 
  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. white sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • 1 pkg. milk chocolate chips
  • Nuts (optional)  I grew up having nuts in my cookies, but Ben doesn’t like them that way, so I never use nuts anymore. 

Cream together butter and shortening. Add sugars and blend well. Add baking soda, eggs, and vanilla. Blend in flour. Add chocolate chips and nuts (if desired). Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8.5 minutes at 375°, or just until edges begin to brown. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before removing to wire rack to cool.

I found that not over-browning them in the oven, but rather letting them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes really keeps them soft.  They almost look uncooked when I pull them out of the oven, but the edges are brown {and they are cooked…I don’t do raw food!}

Thursday, June 14, 2012

From My Kitchen: Homemade Refried Beans

I have never liked beans.  But our current budget sorta mandates that we eat them.  Because they are cheap.  So I try to “dress them up a little” and try new recipes…always hoping to disguise the bean taste.  It doesn’t always work…and I am learning to like beans. 

Southwest Roll-ups

For several years I have enjoyed making Southwest Roll-ups from Money Saving Mom.  I had a bunch of tortillas in the freezer and wanted to make a batch f these burritos to have on hand for a quick meal.  But…Houston we have a problem…no refried beans.  I did, however, have a bunch of beans in the freezer which I had cooked up previously.  So I pulled up a recipe and made my own refried beans.

And they are delicious.

Refried Beans
Recipe from Jill of The Prairie Homestead via Money Saving Mom

Homemade Refried Beans

(Feel free to cut this recipe in half- it makes quite a lot. However, they also freeze well.)

  • 4 cups cooked pinto beans (You may used canned whole beans if you like. I prefer to use dry beans and cook them myself. Directions follow below.)
  • 3 T. healthy fat for sautéing (Butter, coconut oil, beef tallow, or lard would all work here. Avoid olive oil as it isn’t stable at high temperatures.)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 1/2 t. cumin
  • 2 t. paprika
  • 2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 t. chili powder (more or less- the intensity of chili powders seems to vary)
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • Milk, as needed (water or bean broth can be used if your family is dairy-free. However, I prefer the richness that the milk adds.)

In a large pot or saucepan, saute the onions in the fat until they are soft and translucent.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.  Add the beans. If your beans are without liquid, you may need to add extra water or milk at this point. (I prefer to leave a little of the bean broth in with the beans when I freeze them.)  Stir in the cumin, paprika, salt, chili powder, and black pepper.  Bring to a slow simmer and allow it all to cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

If the mixture is dry, you may need to thin it with a splash of milk or water at this point. However, if you started out with extra liquid in your cooked beans, you may not need to add anything.

Once the beans have cooked down for a while and the flavors have had time to incorporate, mash them with a potato masher, fork, or my personal favorite: an immersion blender. I prefer slightly chunky beans, versus a super-smooth “puree” consistency.

Several things I changed…

I used half pinto beans and half Great Northern Beans….because that’s what I had on hand.  The coconut oil totally makes this recipe, in my opinion.  They smelled delicious while cooking, and tasted even better.  I was fortunate enough to have just ordered some coconut oil from Amazon on a great sale.

I omitted the onions, because Ben doesn’t like them.  And I was out of garlic, so I didn’t use it.  It was a bit too much cumin, so next time I will cut it back.  I also realized later that I never put the chili powder in.

I don’t think this makes such a big batch…not overwhelming, anyway.  I had 4 cups of beans, and I ended up with the equivalent of 2 cans of refried beans.  I’m sure it would freeze well too.  I combined my beans with shredded chicken (1 small chicken breast worth), the salsa I had on hand, and some cheddar cheese.  I ended up with 3 meals of burritos in the freezer, plus enough for lunch!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

From My Kitchen: Baked Oatmeal

Let me just preface this by saying that I don’t like oatmeal.   It’s never been a favorite.  I think it’s the texture – it’s always gloopy and sticky.  Not with this recipe!  I’m not too much of a breakfast person either, unless you are enticing me with Chicken Minis from Chick-fil-A.  Yum! 

Baked Oatmeal

Back to the oatmeal…this oatmeal is thick and warm, with a bit of sugar.  We like ours with fresh strawberries on top.  It’s great in the freezer, or overnight in the fridge, or whipped up in the morning.  That makes it versatile – the best kind of recipe!

It’s also very filling.  I make one batch and split it in half.  There are always leftovers, though when I look at the dish I think,  “there is no way this is enough for all of us.”

Baked Oatmeal
Recipe from Crystal Paine at Money Saving Mom

Freezer-Friendly Baked Oatmeal  Baked Oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 cups oats (regular or quick oats)

Beat eggs, sugar and butter together. Mix in baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon and salt. 
Stir in milk and oats. Pour into a greased 9×13 foil pan or baking dish and cover well. (Can use a Ziploc freezer bag, if freezing). Freeze.  To serve: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until set in the middle. Serve warm with milk. (We like to sprinkle sugar on top before pouring the milk on.)  If you want to serve it without freezing it first, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight and then bake it at 350 degrees for 35-45minutes in the morning.  Serves 6-8.  Adapted from

I like to freeze mine in quart size Ziploc bags.  I like to bake it in a pie plate.  Because it is more shallow, it only take 30 minutes.  I have also made this up in the morning, not letting it sit in the refrigerator overnight.  It does fine, and doesn’t require any extra cooking time!

From My Kitchen: Breakfast Cookies

There are several new-to-us recipes which have quickly become favorites.  I have been meaning to share them for a while, but I never got around to it.  So here they are!  I hope you will love them as much as we do!  I will post them in several posts so that they are easier to find/print.

Breakfast Cookies
Recipe from Pam Odd at  Keeping Life Creative

Ingredients:  Breakfast Cookies
  • 2 cups wheat flakes (such as Total or Wheaties)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375F. Crush wheat flakes with a rolling pin. In a bowl, mix yogurt, egg, oil, and vanilla. Add crushed wheat flakes, flour, sugar, wheat germ, salt, and baking soda. Mix well then add dried cranberries. Place by spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake for approx. 10 minutes or until set.  Variation: omit dried cranberries and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the top of the cookies before baking. My kids’ favorite part!!

Breakfast Cookies

My kids don’t really like these, but I sure do!  They are made from crushed shredded wheat cereal, wheat germ, and yogurt.  I used Greek yogurt to add a punch of protein.  They are great in the freezer, and you can just pop a couple out when you need a quick snack.  We opted to forego the cranberries for a little sprinkle of sugar before baking.

Wordless Wednesday: Nolan Does Dishes

Nolan Doing Dishes

Nolan Doing Dishes

Monday, June 11, 2012

Things We Did…Places We Went

Back to our Colorado trip…here are the highlights of a week of activities with Ma & Pa!

:: Went to the Denver Zoo.  Read more on this at my mom’s blog, here.

Elaine's lipstick

The Denver Zoo
Of all the animals on Elaine’s “list”, we only got to see the giraffes.

:: Swimming.  Lots, and lots of swimming.  Thankful for an indoor pool, and since I know “someone” we got the heat turned up for us, too!

Nolan's first time in the swimming pool

Nolan's first time in the swimming pool

:: A Godby tradition, Grandpa makes popcorn.  Of course, my dad eats the microwave variety, not the Whirley Pop stuff Gramps used to make.  And that means that Dad probably asked Mom to pop it, so this is really Grandma popcorn!  But that’s beside the fact.  Elaine enjoyed sharing hers with Betsy, using the new “high chair” that Grandma bought!

Elaine & Betsy eating popcorn

:: Acclimating to Gypsy.  They soon made a pact – Nolan would throw food on the floor for Gypsy if Gypsy would lick Nolan’s toes and make him giggle.  It was a win-win situation.

Nolan & Gypsy

:: First Motorcycle Ride.  Just Elaine, not Nolan.  Maybe I get my “OCD” from my dad.  He put a towel over his bike so that Elaine’s shoes wouldn’t scratch the paint!

Elaine's first Motorcycle Ride

:: Play time.  New zoo animals for the bath, “ancient” Little People sets for the living room.

Bath time at Grandma's House

Elaine Playing with little people

Nolan's other technology!
Nolan learned about a new sort of technology – the precursor to play cell phones!

:: Gardening.  Sort of.  Elaine doesn’t like to get “yucky.”  She was supposed to help plant the flowers, but didn’t like the dirt on her hands and toes.  Read a funny story from this day over here.

Elaine planting flowers   Elaine planting flowers with Ma

Elaine planting flowers

:: Playing at Washington Park.

At Washington Park with Ma

At Washington Park with Ma

:: Shopping.  Lots and lots of shopping!  {I had a list of stores I wanted to hit in Denver}.  Elaine got this new pink coat from Grandma for this coming winter.  She is such a girly-girl.  After we bought it she kept saying, “I cold.  I need my new coat.”

Elaine's new pink coat  Elaine's Chick-fil-A ice cream cone

:: Cuddle Time.  My kids enjoyed always being held, always having someone’s attention

Grandpa with Nolan & Elaine

::  Walking the dog.  Elaine sees Gypsy a lot on Skype.  She kept telling “Ma” that she wanted to take the doggy for a walk.  It took us all week to get around to a walk, but I think Elaine needed all of that time to get used to Gypsy.  At 12 or 14 {there seems to be a dispute on her age}, Gypsy is kinda cantankerous!

Elaine & Gypsy