missing my girls!

For those of you with sisters, you will appreciate the elatedness (is that a word?) that accompanies a spring break visit from your mom, both sisters, and your darling niece all at one time (we were definitely missing our soon-to-be sister-in-law, trish… it just doesn’t feel exactly right without all the girls!). The excited chatter and ongoing countdown beforehand (“now only 3 days and 7 hours till they get here”) is it’s own world; as is the inevitable week of tears and missing-family-even-more-than-usual after they head home (“but, I miss Jord/Keje/the teensy/my mama so MUCH”). Adam has learned the ins-and-outs of this sister/mom-visit world well, though I would say he’s still sort of baffled by the sheer amount of emotion expended in the before, during and after of a week of girl time.

Writing from the kind-of-miserable “after” vantage point, I can only say that I could not be more thankful that I have these girls in my life. Jordan, Kedron and my mom spent the week pampering me, offering advice about next year, debating whether the Itsy is a boy or a girl (Kiji and mom vote boy, Jord thinks girl), touching the 8-month-pregnant belly to feel the Bitsy dancing around, encouraging me and pointing me toward Jesus. It is humbling to be so well taken care of. I am already praying that the Lord blesses the Itsy with a family like this to walk alongside during this adventure called life.


coolest baby in the world

I have a confession to make: sometimes I worry that the Itsy Bitsy won’t be as cool as my niece Keadryn. Yep, it’s true. Adam reassures me that the Itsy will be just as darling and precious and dang hilarious, but that’s hard for me to imagine at this point.

Inferiority complex aside, spending time with Little K this springs break has secured her place in my heart as the love of my life. She is silly, animated, and full of spunk and personality… with a dash of drama queen thrown in for kicks. I would hang out with her all the time if I could!



Y’all wouldn’t believe the “shades and textures of white” shower that my mom, sisters and adam’s mom put together! The menu, décor, favors, and even stack of presents were all painted in shades of cream, snow, ivory and champagne. It was gorgeous! And as an added bonus, they used all sorts of fabric, ribbon, and paper that I can now recycle into decorations for my shades of white nursery. Woohoo! Jordan said she found some of the ideas on http://www.marthastewart.com/ (the rest were crafted-by-Jord… she is brilliant at this stuff). If I got to catch up with you this weekend, thank you so much for coming by! I am truly so blessed to have so many precious, Godly women in my life.


sunshine, love, teensy weensy

The Teensiest Weensiest, Queen of the Teensy Weensies

The Mini (and "Nana")

The Itsy Bitsy

Amidst a discussion last weekend about words that make us crazy (“moist” and “sneakers” top my list), I discovered that several of our friends hate the word “kiddo.” With that knowledge lingering in the back of my mind, I’ve been conducting an informal assessment of my own use of terms of endearment throughout my week.

Just so you know, between the words “darlin,” “sweetheart,” “dolly,” “sunshine,” and “love," I use terms of endearment probably close to one hundred times a day. I also sometimes call my students “kiddos” or “monkeys” or “wild ones,” though usually in a whole group context (e.g. “Join me over here, wild ones.”). Judging from the nicknames I call the small friends in my life, ranging from “Mini” to “The Teensiests of the Weensiests” to “Itsy Bitsy,” I think maybe using terms of endearment is one of my love languages. So for those of you out there who hate these affectionate nicknames- sorry! I just don’t think there’s much hope for change at this point.


confusion and 8 year olds

Miguel: Mrs. G, I think the baby is a girl.
Me: Really? Why?
Miguel: Because I want a little sister.

Maybe I should tell him that I'm not his mom?


honesty and 8 year olds

Nalaya: "That baby sure is getting big."
Translation: You look especially huge today.

At least they keep me firmly grounded in reality. :)


remodeling, cereal and a lightbox

Our weekend at a glance: working on our basement remodel, finding free/cheap cereal deals and putting together a lightbox. Oh yeah, and Friday night we had a night out with friends from Bible study… but I don’t have pictures of that. :)

The basement remodel: One of my favorite things about Adam is his work ethic. He is one of those people that will keep redoing a project just to make sure it is done correctly. More recently, he’s the type of guy that will work all day, come home and change into grungy clothes, and head into the basement to work on remodeling for the rest of the evening (or for 12 hours on Saturdays!) just so that we can have some extra room when the beebs gets here. I am so lucky! His goal is to finish the basement by the beginning of May. He’s adding a couple bedrooms, a bathroom, a living area and a laundry room (the basement is a full footprint of our house). I thought I’d post some of his progress on here… mostly he’s been working on plumbing and framing. I help with the projects that don’t require heavy lifting (mostly cleaning), and am looking forward to the time when I can help with the texturing, painting, and bathroom tiling. A HUGE thank you to Russ and Adam’s dad (and the guys who’ve volunteered to help on the 29th), who’ve been so faithful to help him out when he’s needed extra hands.

Cereal: Our pantry currently includes 9 boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats, 2 boxes of Cheerios, 1 box of Honeynut Cheerios, 3 boxes of Cinnamon Life, 2 boxes of regular Life and a couple boxes of Shredded Wheat. And, actually, I’ve been giving boxes of cereal away! I paid about $7.00 total for this conglamoration of oats, wheat and sugar (sorry mom!). Our recently reduced budget is jumping for joy! For those of you who love Cheerios (ahem, mom, jordi and mark!) or just want to restock their pantry, these are the deals that are still running at King Soopers (Kroger) through Tuesday:
Honey Bunches of Oats with Chocolate Clusters: Print out coupons here (in the lower right-hand corner), here, and here. They are on sale for $1.99, the coupon is for $2.00 off 1, so theoretically you make a penny if you buy them right now.
Cheerios and Honeynut Cheerios: If you buy 4 boxes at Kroger this week, they are on sale 4 for $6.00 (it says 4 for $10.00 on the pricetag, but you get an extra $4.00 off when you buy 4). Use coupons here and here to make them even cheaper (about $0.50 per box). Kix and Total are also part of this deal (the coupons are here and here).

Lightbox: I now have no need to assemble and tear down a makeshift mini photo studio to take pictures of my latest craftiness… Check out my new lightbox here!


grill fired pizza

We are not huge pizza fans in the traditional sense (it’s the red sauce I think… we’re just not big marinara people). But we do LOVE pizzas fired in wood ovens, made with fresh basil, mozzarella (or goat cheese) and tomatoes with just olive oil for sauce. So this recipe for pizza on the grill was quite the find!

Dough (we used megan’s recipe and made it in the breadmaker) 2 1/4 teaspoons fast rising yeast
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups flour

1 lb fresh mozzarella or goat cheese
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
Fresh basil (the amount you use will depend on how much you like basil… we used almost a whole bunch from our produce market)
Olive oil

1. Prepare all of your ingredients before hand. Set aside (you’ll want these next to the grill when you need them in about 15 minutes).
2. After stretching out the dough into a large, thin rectangle (about the size of the cookie sheet), slide it onto the hot grill.
3. Let one side cook for about 10-15 minutes (it’ll get hot, bubbly and a little crispy).
4. Using a flat cookie sheet as a tool (and perhaps two sets of hands), flip the crust over.
5. Baste with olive oil; let cook for about five minutes.
6. Add mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.
7. Let cook for another 10-15 minutes.

PRICE CALCULATIONS: This pizza serves about 4 people and the cost for us was $5.50 total or $1.37 per serving ($3.50 for the mozzarella [costco], $1.00 for the toppings [middleeastern market] and $1.00 for the crust).



My favorite 2 and a half year old in the whole world is not only absolutely adorable (shown here with her new baby sister), she is also the smartest little kid I know! JP was adopted from Uganda… In her infinite, are-you-actually-only-two-and-a-half? wisdom, though, she is used to switching “you” to “me” or “my” in conversation. And so she refers to her home country in Africa as “My-ganda.”

Other fabulous recent utterances include:
“Oooh, spicy.” (when she saw a cactus)
“These are my people” (surrounded my a group of admirers at church last Sunday)
“Both of my hands are busy” (when daddy asked her to hold his hand)
“I’ll just shut the door so the whales don’t get in.”

How could not love this little girl?


hugs for adam

I have seriously been an emotional basketcase this week guys... I thought you might laugh (or at least feel compelled to call adam with your condolences) at some of this stuff.

First of all, you know how I've been scouring the internet for free/cheap food deals??? Well, Safeway has some serious sales on life cereal, cheerios, flour and grapefruit this week... but the deals started WEDNESDAY and we were shopping TUESDAY (I'm new at this and wasn't aware that Safeway promotions run Wednesday to Wednesday). So anyway, we're filling our cart and none of the signs are up for these fabulous sales that I found. Adam, being the logical shopper that he is says, "Maybe we should ask about the deals... just to, you know, make sure these things are really on sale." "Of course they're on sale," I huffed and wheeled our cart right to the checkout.

I was so strong in my convictions about the deals, and so adament that the safeway checker honor the 'sales' (that weren't sales yet) that our total for 5 boxes of Life cereal, 2 bags of flour, and 2 grapefruits was $1.43. When we got home, we looked at the sales flyer and figured out that the sales hadn't even started yet. Poor Safeway checker and poor Adam! The moral of the story: I am a wreck right now (and definitely scary enough to intimidate the safeway guy into giving us free food).

So watch out for my streaks of grouchy, mean scariness. And if you have a chance, call Adam, email him, send him brownies, and pray for him. He's been a CHAMP in handling me (I think he is perhaps the only person on earth that can put up with me!) and such a trooper through my basketcase-ness.

PS- On the other end of the spectrum, if you need a grocery shopping partner and don't have ethical issues with intimidating clerks, it seems like right now might be a good time to go with me...


from our test kitchen

Adam loves food. He loves trying out new recipes, he loves really good meat, he loves cooking with fresh herbs and spices and he loves finding fabulous restaurants. Which means that our “budget bootcamp” monthly food allotment reductions will be a little rough for him.
So for the last month or so, we’ve turned our stove, oven, breadmaker and grill into a mini test kitchen. Three or four times a week, we’ve been trying out dinner recipes that we’ve found online (or modified from our stash) that are less than $1.25 per serving. Cheap healthy good has been a terrific resource for us (she breaks down the cost-per-serving for all her recipes) and we’ve made some amazingly delicious discoveries! Even if you’re not needing to stick to such a stringent dinner budget, I thought y’all might like to share in some of our findings.
Recipe: Falafel in pitas with yogurt sauce
Source: Cheap healthy good
Rating (out of 5): 5!
Price per serving: About $0.82 (falafel and yogurt sauce= $.56 per serving, pitas from the middleeastern market= $0.26 each)
Comments: This recipe made about 30 falafel balls for us… we used about 5 per pita and made about 6 servings total. If you like Middleeastern/Mediterranean dishes, you should definitely try this one out!
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp vegetable oil for frying
1 tomato, chopped for garnish
Romaine lettuce, for garnish
Eating Well’s Tahini sauce (listed below)
1 pita per serving
1) Place onion, garlic and pepper flakes in food processor. Pulse until they’re about 1/8-in. big.
2) Add beans, parsley, and cilantro and chop until “pieces are about the size of a large pinhead.” You don’t want a puree here.
3) Dump the items from the food processor into a bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, baking powder and flour until well-mixed., but not really a dough.
4) Stick it in the fridge, covered, for anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours. The longer the better. (the first time, we only put it in the fridge for 15 minutes, and the second time we left it for a few hours, which were both fine).
5) With your hands, make small falafel hockey pucks about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter and ¾ of an inch high. (The flat surface will help with the frying.)
6) Turn oven to 400ºF.
7) Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a huge ovenproof skillet on medium-high. Fry the pucks for about 3 minutes on the first side, and 2 minutes on the second, until they’re golden brown.
8) When finished, stick skillet in oven (or transfer pucks to a Pam-ed aluminum foil lined cookie sheet) and bake for 10-12 minutes.
9) Stick four balls in half a pita with tomatoes and lettuce. Drizzle with yogurt sauce (recipe below).
Eating Well Yogurt sauce
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients thoroughly in bowl. That’s it.


deal of the week

I loved hearing that so many of you are interested in deals and free stuff last week! I thought I'd start posting deals each week that are too good to pass up- no rebates, doubling up on coupons, or anything complicated- just good old fashioned fabulous deals. :)

Today, Adam and I meandered over to Safeway to redeem our free fruit/veggie crisp coupons (it'll let you print two of them). Since they were already on sale, when we checked out we actually got a couple bucks back! Nothing like getting paid to snack. :) Enjoy!