Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011

March was such a great month.  I'm feeling really good although I am slowing down with this pregnancy.  Already.  I have one more month left before I am home-bound, which I am fully accepting as good advice.  I'm already feeling pooped.
I can't imagine what I'll feel like in a month or even three months from now.
The babies are doing well and everything looked good at their 20 week check-up.

March was a stretching month for Hubs and I as we tried to connect with loved ones who live in Japan.  I remember watching the footage of the tsunami washing over Sendai and not fully realizing the tragedy that was happening before our eyes on live television.  
We're thankful to God that all of our friends in Japan are safe and now we pray that relief efforts will truly help people and meet them in their distressed time.

I had a lot of fun with my "Chicken Week" posts that I finished about a week ago. Click here to review all those tasty recipes.  It was wonderful to stretch myself with some new recipes but there were also some major failures.
Overall, a 5 lb chicken was too much for two people and a week's worth of chicken recipes was too much chicken for Hubs and I. I would do 1-2 recipes stretched over the week and go with a 3 lb. chicken.  I never intended for people to eat chicken every day for a week like we did but just in case that wasn't clear... I'm still not advocating for it.

I finished two books:
Babywise: by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam which was a great read and something I think Hubs and I are going to try so we can give our baby girls some structure to their little lives.  I really enjoyed this book and it's challenging me.  I'm not a scheduled person. I don't like too much structure but what I am learning and what I am sure I will continue to learn a lot more once Baby Girls come is that, it's not really about me anymore.  I'm excited to give my daughters some structure and to love them while still learning about their own personalities and their preferences.

by Ann Voskamp.  This is an amazing book about drawing closer to God and Ann's journey to learning what the central line to communion with God is.  Let me tell you, this is a book you will read and reread over and over again because Ann offers insight and challenges throughout the whole book.  I felt like I was barely able to scratch the surface of her thoughts as they swirled around me, encouraging me to draw close to the Lord on my own.
Read it.  It's good.

I haven't been crocheting much but I have been deco paging (a new bedroom canvas~ pictures coming soon) and sewing for the arrival of Baby Girls. I'll have to post some pictures of all the projects we've been working on.  Hubs and I went to the Art Supply Warehouse on Westminster and can I just say, "I love you Art Supply Warehouse."  So cheap.  I cannot believe how cheap their canvases are and supplies in general.  The only thing I was a tad disappointed with was their price with dye colors.  But it actually saved me from an impulsive and possibly bad idea.
But yeah, if you're in the area and want to do some artsy stuff go there! You will love it.

March has been good.  I'm excited for April.  Lots of fun stuff coming up in April but hopefully it won't go by too fast because then... I. am. home.

What have you been up to this month?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

rose colored glasses

Hubs and I had our 20 week ultrasound today and everything looks amazing!!  It was so wonderful seeing the twinkies and to finally know where they are located since I've felt a LOT more movement this past week.
They are lying horizontally across my belly instead of next to each other.  One is, I guess, on top of the other.  How exciting.

So here's the news.... we are 95% sure we are having TWO GIRLS!!! Hence the blog title.  I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of pink and life through pink tinted lenses for awhile.  Unfortunately I don't naturally tend to flock towards pink.  Don't get me wrong, I love pink. I love any color that is bright and wild but so far, as far as baby stuff goes I've tended to stay around aquas and emeralds.  Who knows.  Maybe my girls will shake their head and beg for pink stuff later. :)

The ultrasound tech has only been wrong once in her 31 years of doing ultrasounds, so we're pretty sure we'll be bringing home two pink bundles of wonderfulness this summer, Lord willing. :)

Baby Girl A is number 1 or letter A because she's closest to the birth canal or the exit. :)  She weighs about 13 oz and has a anterior placenta.  Which means the placenta that gives her all her nutrients and oxygen is actually on the top of my belly not on the backside.  Which may explain why I haven't felt her as much.  I thought she was more mellow but maybe it's just the extra cushion between us.  Anterior placentas are not a problem. Baby A has her head towards my left hip and her legs moving up towards my right side of the ribs.  She actually has her feet on top of her sister's head.  So I've been feeling a ton of activity on this side of my stomach because I have a head, hands (of #2) and the feet of #1.  I hope Baby A isn't being too mean to her sister.  As far as measurements go, everything looks right on target for growth and development for Baby A.

Baby Girl B has her head on the right side of my body, under my ribcage area.  Her body and legs swing on over to my left side.  She's about 13 ounces as well and measures right on target for her due date.  Overall, everything looks awesome and they were pretty cooperative with the technician.

The only problem we had with the ultrasound was that I began to get sick from lying on my back so long.  I remember talking to my bestie Kelli about this, not being able to sleep on our backs and I really wondered, "is it really that bad?" but YES! Let me tell you, after a couple minutes on my back I got really hot and nasueated from not getting enough blood to flow to my brain.  Blech.  Twice we had to take a break and let me roll to one of my sides.  I guess the weight of my daughters and all that comes with them was too much for the major blood vessel that flows through my backside. Blech.  It was not fun at all.

So needless to say, when we found out we were having girls my reaction was more or less mellow.  I was just trying to not throw up on the side of the table.  But I made it through.

We're doing good.  We're excited and we can't wait to meet our little Twinkies.  What a huge blessing from God. We're super excited with our news.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chicken Week Recipe #4 & 5 (12)

I had another failed chicken recipe try. Daaarn!!
I was so sad that it didn't work. It was a Japanese recipe that Hubs and I love and I wanted to pass it on but alas, it failed.  I think I cooked it too long or maybe the chicken just didn't work cause usually it's fresh chicken. Anyway, it didn't work!

But I have a lunch recipe for you and a dinner recipe for you.... so enjoy the final two recipes of Chicken Week! Woo hoo!!
Chicken & Mango Salad (from the Weeknight Cookbook with my own adaptations)
2 c of your already made chicken
2/3 c canola oil
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 c apricot preserves
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
butter lettuce

Now what:
First make the vinaigrette.  In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, vinegar, mustard and process until blended.  Add the garlic and preserves and continue to process to a smooth puree.  
Assemble the salad. In a bowl, combine the chicken, celery, onion and mango.  Add the vinaigrette and toss gently to coat.  Toast the buns, line the buns with the butter lettuce, load the sandwiches with chicken salad.

Eat and enjoy!!

And now on to dinner... this is a recipe from my friend Liz who is amazing and ya'll should check out her website. 
She's quirky, bubbly and totally awesome!

I give you bird!
Just kidding. I give you Chicken Pho

Here is Liz's explanation and recipe because I can't say it any better than my sweet friend.
If there were a food about which i could write a book, pho might be that food. pronounced "fuh", pho is a delicious vietnamese brothy noodle soup that kicks classic chicken noodle soup to the curb, in my opinion. i crave it. my husband and i fell in love over pho. the wonderful sauces and herbs you add to it make a heavenly aroma. and we've seen pho restaurants with some of the goofiest names, such as "9021pho", "pho that", and "what the pho?". i mean, come on!

it is typically served with sliced rare beef, tripe and tendon, and the broth is made in a slow cooking process involving oxtail. well, kids, this blogger isn't much for red meat or for all-day cooking affairs, so when dao, a vietnamese friend of ours, offered to teach me how to make a simpler, quicker chicken version i squealed at the opportunity. and it is delicious!

chicken pho (phở gà in vietnamese)
2 cans chicken broth
2" of fresh ginger (whole, but peeled)
1 quartered small onion
5 star anise
2 chicken breasts
1-2 T. fish sauce, if desired (you can substitute salt)
1 lb. rice stick noodles (damp or dry)

fresh basil
fresh cilantro
bean sprouts
sriracha sauce
hoisin sauce
hanh dam (thinly sliced onion soaked in vinegar - so good)

bring broth and 3-4 cans water to boil. add ginger, onion & anise and bring back to boil. once boiling, add chicken breasts, simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. remove chicken, cut into thin slices, set aside. (i taste the broth here and add fish sauce or salt to taste - you want it to be salty as adding the noodles later will lessen the salinity). bring water to boil in another pot and cook noodles til just done (don't overcook!). drain and place noodles in individual bowls, add some chicken, and cover in broth. rip up basil & cilantro leaves into soup & garnish as desired!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Originally I was going to title this post "Definitely not 'Man Food'" but now it's just
"what not to eat for dinner tonight"....

I made a not so hot meal tonight.  It just didn't flow with Hubs and I.  We finished our meal, pushed back our plates and I said with half a thought, "Hmmm... that wasn't very good."  To which Hubs sighed with love in his eyes and said, "I'm so glad you said that."
Because usually I love things he doesn't always like and he loves things I have seen people eat on fear factor.... okay, maybe not that radical. But I did eat some of the things he eats regularly for dares in Japan... so, ya know.
So no recipe tonight.
But I promise to still give you plenty of recipes because ladies and gentlemen, I got plenty of chicken in my fridge.  I was actually quite surprised when I saw how much chicken I had in my fridge when I made dinner tonight.  Might have to think about making lunch and dinner tomorrow and posting two recipes tomorrow for Sunday.  I'll see how energetic I'm feeling but hopefully I can give you a little more than just a sorry looking photo.
If the photo looks tasty to you (it did to me in the cookbook) comment, and I can send you the recipe.
But don't say I didn't warn you.

Don't forget to say a prayer for the Japanese people who are still trying to locate loved ones and start the process of putting back together their lives.  Hubs and I were devastated to see the land we love so much filled with so much grief.
I'm so thankful that Jesus is able to share our grief with us.
Thankful for the verse
Because of the Lord's great love for us, we are not consumed.  For His compassions never fail, they are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chicken Week Recipe #3 (12)

There is no one I love quite like how I love my Grandmothers.  I think every Grandmother is like a sunny flower and mine are no exception.  So to celebrate them both, I'm including in my chicken week a recipe from one of them.  Although I may include a recipe from the other one later on.... hee hee only time will tell.

And Jamie, you seem to be my favorite fan of chicken week so I am sorry to say there is cream of mushroom soup in this recipe and although there are ways to substitute that, I feel bad not knowing if you can use this. Hopefully you can find some in Japan. ;)

Here we go....
Grandma Schupbach's Chicken Casserole
1 cup of noodles (cooked in chicken broth, did you save yours? We did and used it! Yay!)
2 cans of cream of chicken soup/mushroom soup (either or)
1 cup of mushrooms fresh (or 1 can)
1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 c milk
1 c cheese
2 c of chicken (cooked please, if you're not using cooked chicken)
bread crumbs

Now what?
mix all the ingredients together, put it in a casserole dish, top with  bread crumbs.  Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. You want the bread crumbs browned and the casserole bubbly.

With two people eating it we barely touched half of it.  So this amount could work for 3-4 people perhaps or two and leftovers for tomorrow. Woo hoo!!

Say what? Secret hint:
My beloved Grandma makes this recipe doubled.  She freezes the casserole, thaws it when she wants it and bakes it at that time.  I have done this and it was SO convenient to have a hot meal that was also homemade in my freezer waiting to be cooked. Just put it out on the countertop a couple hours before hand or put it in the refrigerator a day or two ahead of time. :)


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Chicken Week Recipe #2 (12)

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas
chicken which you already have
fresh button mushrooms
baby spinach
flour tortillas
monterey jack cheese
sour cream

What to do:
Grease (with spray or oil) a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat saute the mushrooms until tender about 3 minutes.  Add the spinach and chicken and saute just until the spinach is wilted, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to a bowl.
Divide the chicken mixture among the tortillas, spooning it onto half of each tortilla and leave a 3/4 inch border uncovered.  Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Fold the tortillas in half over the chicken mixture to enclose loosely.
Wipe out the frying pan with a paper towel and return to medium heat.  Grease with spray or oil again.  Working in batches, add the quesadillas to the pan and cook until golden brown.  I put a saucepan or something heavy on top to make sure the cheese melts and really sticks to the insides.  Cook 1-2 minutes on first side, flip with a spatula and cook another 2-3 minutes longer.
Top with sour cream and salsa.

Yum!! Quick and easy!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

a secret...(chicken week (12))

Sorry Mom, it's not a secret about the babies...
It's a secret that my sister-in-law shared with me and I wanted to share with ya'll.

If you take about 60-90 minutes to make the above chicken you can have up to 4 meals in a week from the meat of one chicken.  I'm going to show you how this week (a big thanks to hubs who will be eating a lot of chicken and a lot of american style dishes).

For starters and just a disclaimer.  This is with the thoughts of cooking for 2 possibly 3 people. I decided to use a 5 lb. chicken with the roasted directions down below.  We'll have to see if I can make it through the week using only this chicken.  I'll conclude the week with thoughts on whether or not the 5 lbs was good.
It's just a fun idea I've had and want to try.  I thought it might be nice to pass along an easy way to cook some meals throughout the week by putting a little time into one meal (the roasted chicken).  Maybe roasted chicken could be your "sunday dinner" and throughout the week you can use the chicken in a variety of ways.
This, however, will not be a good week for those who hate eating chicken.
Sorry friends.
Trying to make life easier for some will not work for others.

Let's begin shall we?

Recipe 1 of Chicken Week
Classic Roast Chicken (from the Weekend Cookbook)

Whole chicken (we're going with a 5lb-er to feed a family of 2 for 5 recipes)
Fresh rosemary, minced
salt and pepper

Now what?
Prepare the chicken: 
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place the bird, breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan.  Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, while reassuring it that everything is going to be okay.  I feel like this allows the chicken to relax and therefore be more tender and juicy.  You think I'm kidding but I do talk to my chicken and it does taste amazing.... coincidence? I think not. Rub the outside of each chicken with rosemary and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken:
Roast the chicken for 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh away from the bones bone registers 170 degrees. (about 40 miutes longer)  Transfer chicken to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.  

At this point, Hubs and I ate wings and thighs for dinner while saving the remainder of the body for the week.  You can do the same or carve up the chicken and save all of it for the week.
Now, Hubs and I like to save the bones and boil them in a big pot over a couple of hours.  We do this while watching t.v. or getting other things done. The chicken bones do not have to be supervised as long as you keep an eye on all party supplies and alcoholic beverages. Chickens will do just about anything to avoid a boiling bath. :(

We strain the bone water after it has boiled/simmered for a couple hours and then we let it cool and then we put it in freezer bags and freeze it.  For what? You might ask my pretty little pets.  For homemade soup and totally healthy broth that can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken broth.  We don't add anything like salt to the broth because it can always be added afterwards when we make a recipe.  We like the purity of the broth.  Plus, it usually doesn't need anything.

Okay, did I cover everything? I think so.  Don't forget to come back here tomorrow and later on this week to catch all the yummy recipes new to me and some of my favorites from this one chicken.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

brown paper packages tied up with string...

a few of my favorite things...
 just in case you doubted my love... grapefruit, i love you!

 yellow accessories, especially on our back patio birds 

and yellow accessories on me.

 fresh flowers that open before my eyes

 pretty slices of lemons and mint leaves garnishing...

 first time homemade lemonade and messy hair days.

And one of my top favorites is my Grandma's potato salad.... it makes me so happy to eat it.
(and a special thank you to Alicia for my blog title. Youngest children rule!)

Friday, March 04, 2011

18 weeks and a lesson in what not to say to a pregnant woman...

Here we are... 18 weeks!
So far so good.  I'm feeling good, feeling energetic and able to eat just about anything.  I'm still craving the most unhealthy foods but trying to keep my sugary choices down to a minimum.
I'm still cuh-razy about grapefruit.  How good is that fruit? Seriously? It's amazing and I love it.
I'm now 100% in maternity clothes and actually in this picture am in larger than normal "regular" clothes.  I went shopping at my friend Michelle's store... well, where she works and I purchased a few "comfort" items to lounge around in and able to walk around Long Beach in.
She persuaded me to buy the cropped pants in hot pink, not my usual blues/greys/blacks and I'm so thankful she did.
Michelle, you are such a fashionista! Thanks for pushing me out of my comfort blah zone and into snazzy pants zone. ha ha

Okay, now, just a quick lesson before signing off for today.
Please, when you see me, do not ask me if this is what size I'm supposed to be.  Am I larger than other 18 week pregnancies? Yes! Am I larger than some women who are in their 7th month? Yes.
But I am having twins and I have no idea how large/small I'm supposed to be.
All I can say is I'm exercising and eating healthy.
So... please don't ask me if this is what size I'm supposed to be.

I've learned that pregnancy is a good time to learn many things. For one, patience. Patience to go to my next appointment, patience to feel the babies moving, patience at the restaurant taking a long time to serve my food when I'm starving and ultimately patience for nine months to take, well, nine months.  I wish it would hurry but I know it'll be gone before I'm ready for it to be gone and I'll miss having the babies inside of me.
I'm also learning a lot about comparison.  I know plenty of people who are further along with one baby that I am bigger than.  And plenty of people who are at the same stage as me that I am bigger than.  It can really get a girl down to be bigger....
but I can't compare.  I'm trying my best to eat healthy and exercise regularly and if I gain a ton of weight or look like I'm nine months at six months, so be it.  I'm not going to get down about something I can't ultimately control (unless of course I eat an entire cake and then I do have some responsbility for my weight). haha

Anyway, I am learning to love and I do, my body and it's amazing changes.  I'm loving how it was created to be stretched.
18 weeks down! I'm officially in my 5th month!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

February 2011

February has been a whirlwind of events.  Hubs and I waited till almost February to get the word out but I would definitely say that February was the month of everyone finding out we're having twins. :)
We're still so excited to realize day by day what a blessing pregnancy and the idea of becoming a family is to us.  

Hubs and I were able to be a part of and help in some ways with a student conference our region holds every year.  We were also able to help with an orientation this past weekend where we shared how God has been leading us to go back to Japan and how to discern where God may be leading the students who attended.  It was so much fun to be a part of both of these events and fun to visit with friends but whew, I get tired a lot more easily these days.
It took me almost a week to recover sleep-wise after the first conference so I told the people in charge for the second weekend that I would be sleeping at home and commuting on days that they needed us. :)  I got a LOT more sleep the second time around.

I made some tasty dishes this month.  I homemade some chili and even used tomato juice that Hubs and I had canned earlier in the fall. (note picture above)  There's something so fulfilling about using the herbs/vegetables/fruit from your own little patio.  I love to call it my garden but in reality it's hardly that.  Or at least, not the gardens I'm used to.  It's a modest collection of a few herbs, small strawberries and a little tomato plant.  I did not use the tomatoes from my plant to can.  Oh golly, no! I'd never have enough.  Plus, they're just cherry tomatoes.  But it's still refreshing to use the plants from our backyard.  Hubs has done such a great job taking care of everything back there and it's lifegiving for him.  Right now we're overgrown with cilantro so if you're in the area and want some, let me know. :)  I had daydreams this month about starting an actual beautifully larger garden in our backyard and was excited that planting this spring would possibly lead to some fun adventures this summer and fall.  But as patios would have it, ours has limited "direct/all day" sunlight.  And where the sun doth shine already, we doth planted there. :)
So I've given up the daydreams of seeing carrots, giant swiss chard, cucumbers and sweet peppers blossoming this season.  I'll have to tuck those dreams away for another day.  I will admit that I do daydream about taking my babies out to the garden to nap on a big blanket in the shade while I work in my garden, weeding, watering and tending to it.  In my daydream I have one of those beautiful large hats on that ties underneath the chin with the ribbony type material.
Aren't gardens so romantic?
There is something so beautiful about rows, beautiful vegetables all lined up like school children waiting to go to class.... I would love a picture of my grandmother's garden.  She always had the loveliest and largest gardens we would play in and eat peas from.
Aren't Grandmothers wonderful?

Okay, for all my guy readers out there (hello. are you there?)  I'll move on.

In February, I didn't do much crafting.  I sent boxes of crafts though.  I finished some fabric flowers and some cute burp cloths and sent those to my sis-in-law who just had our newest nephew; Abel Henry.  What a lovely name, don't you think?
Aren't old fashioned names just wonderful?
I have to admit and I'm only able to tell you this because Hubs vetoed it harshly before my mother vetoed in herself.  I love love the name George for a little boy.
I do.  I love the fact that George was my Great-Uncle who got my Grandpa into a lot of trouble and I'm sure vice versa,  I love that George means "farmer" which translates to me "earth" which just reminds me of the simplicity and goodness that flows from below.  I close my eyes and picture the dark soil that I know and love that runs through the veins of Illinois., is anyone still reading?  I'm probably boring you all. :)
Dad, I know you're still there.  Am I your daughter or what?
Anyway, I love the name George but Hubs unfortunately does not.  He can't picture a little baby named George and even though I think "Georgie" makes the cutest nickname I have been denied.  Maybe I'll keep it for a plant I own one day.

Speaking of plants and gardens.  I did, sadly, manage to kill a plant this month.  I have no idea what happened.  It was a house fern and supposedly an "easy" one to take care of but i woke up one morning to find it black and shriveled.  I've actually been nursing it for awhile so it made me quite upset to find it dead... buh! But alas, it's dead and good riddance.  When I researched online how to revive and care for it, I came to realize that it was actually not what I would consider "easy" but instead quite fickle of it's surroundings.  It can't be too humid but a little humidity is nice.  It can't have too much sun but wants sun.  It wants heat but not directly.  It can't be moved. at. all. and it apparently hates me.
So the high maintanence plant goes in the dumpster and I go back to the store to get another one.
Remind me to tell you the story of when I tried to grow asparagus.

This month, I read Jane Eyre.
One of the best books ever.
Read it.
The movie is coming out and I challenge you to READ the book before seeing the movie.
It's actually quite quick of a read despite it's size.  I tried to read a chapter before bed and oftentimes read more than one and would struggle with my eyelids growing heavy.  It's just so good.

Also, this month we had our 16 week check-up where the doctor assured me I am not gaining too much weight (so don't ask if I'm normal size, that's just not nice but it's been asked) my heart beating out of my chest (pounding seriously pounding) is quite normal and the babies heartbeats were healthy yet quite different.  One is faster than the other.
How cute.
Yeah, so about the heartbeat.  I would get these intense moments of a heavy heartbeat where I felt like my heart would jump from my chest.  One time Hubs said he could see the vein in my neck pulsating.  WHAT?!?! Crazy huh? Well, the doctor told me it's just because I'm pumping double the volume of blood.  

Again, I say, the pregnant body is amazing.
That's it for the month of February.
Oh, Valentine's Day... you want to know what we did?
Well, to make a long story very short since I rambled about gardens and Illinois' soil, we came home the night before Valentine's Day to find out toliet had been overflowing for some time....
from our neighbors plumbing as well since we share pipes.
So we were up till 1AM cleaning up toilet water.
I'll spare you the details!
Isn't getting a bleached bathroom and going to the laundromat to wash out your towels romantic?

I'll leave you with that thought.
Much love to you.
Belly shot on Friday and a fun series of recipes next week... provided I feel well but so far so good with the 2nd trimester.