Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Well, seems like everyone else has already posted a post-Thanksgiving post. I will, too, but only so I can share some of my favorite pics from Thanksgiving.

We left home early Wednesday morning, spent the afternoon with Dad, then had dinner with him and mom when she got off work. Everyone else arrived later that night. Then we spent all day Thursday together - what a great day! Rodgers suggested it would be best for us to leave after Nate's bedtime Thursday, rather than waiting to come home Friday morning, since he had to work Friday afternoon. I didn't like it, but he was right. We did get home Friday morning after all, technically, just very, very early. Fortunately, Nate slept most of the way (he decided to wake up and scream for the final 5 miles), and there wasn't really much traffic. Doubly wonderful was that we all slept till nearly 9 Friday morning. That felt REALLY good! For some reason, 8 hours of sleep when I wake up naturally at almost 9 is so much better and more restful to me than 8 hours of sleep when I have to wake up at 6.

Anyway, the pics!

Gigi (that's my mom's grandparent name) made some adjustable waist shorts. What a novel idea! Nate does have a baby belly, but his shorts typically sit below his belly, and his waist is quite small. Usually, pants and shorts that are the right length are too big in the waist and won't stay up. Bonus: the buttons that adjust the waist are adorable!
He was not in much of an eating mood. I think there was too much exciting stuff going on for him to care about food. But, he did love some turkey, dressing, and green bean casserole!
My niece is just too grown up. She must be standing on the ice chest in this pic. I'm sure she's not that tall. By the way, the Perfect Turtle Cheesecake was extremely delicious.
And this little dude is walking everywhere! (he has his own blog: http://the3walls.blogspot.com/)  
I love group pics. Also, a perfect pic of Nate's love for Monkey. This was after the three cousins took a bath together. There are some cute pictures from that, but I'm not trying to put naked baby pics on my blog...though I have before...


I love Advent calendars, especially chocolate ones. We had one last year. It was so nice coming home from work and opening that day's door to retrieve a yummy piece of chocolate. Turns out the chocolate wasn't that yummy, but it was still a fun way to anticipate Christmas. I want an Advent calendar that I can reuse year after year. I would get a collection of 25 Christmas ornaments, possibly nativity-themed, to put in the little cubbies. Then, every day of Advent we'd have a new ornament to put on the tree.

I started thinking about getting an Advent calendar for this year and decided that maybe I should put my Advent energies into something that will bring a greater good. Every day of Advent 2010, I will pray for missions, and I'm inviting you to join me. Most of the missions organizations I love have daily prayer request pages on their websites. I'll admit that I'm not ambitious enough to go through all of them every day. What I will do is share the daily prayer request from one mission organization here.

P.S. This is still a work in progress. Feel free to make suggestions if you have an organization or ministry we can pray for.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

super double double chocolatey chocolate chip cookies recipe

I wasn't planning on blogging this recipe, so there are no pictures. However, it has been requested, and this is my favorite way to share recipes. These were part of my holiday baking this year. I still have some of other cookies I baked in the freezer, but no more of these. They are quite amazing.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 oz semi-sweet baker's chocolate*
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350' F. In small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Melt baker's chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stir, then 30 second intervals until melted. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Blend in melted chocolate. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chips. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 to 9 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies should be soft. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.

I made them fairly large and ended up with about 3 dozen.

*You can sub 9 tablespoons cocoa, 7 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons butter or margarine or shortening, if you don't have baker's chocolate. Also, I'm pretty sure I only had 5 oz of baker's chocolate, and they are super chocolatey. So, 6 might be a bit much. The recipe actually calls for 12 oz of melted chocolate chips rather than baker's chocolate, but I didn't like the texture when I made them that way last year. This year, they are perfect.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

working mommy wednesday

Prompt #1. Top Ten "non-negotiables" in life.

I'm not sure if I can come up with 10, but we'll see...

1. I will take pictures and videos of my family, for my own enjoyment and to share with others.

2. Coffee is a must every morning, many afternoons, and occasional evenings.

3. While many yummy treats exist in this world, none will ever be better than classic chocolate chip cookies.

4. My relationship with God comes first, second is Rodgers, and Nate is third. That's how it has to be.

5. My medicine cabinet can never run out of Excedrin (name-brand, fast-acting variety) or Benadryl (generic). If it does, someone needs to go to the store to get me some RIGHT NOW.

6. Rodgers and I are committed to giving. Every month, we give a set percentage of our income to our church, and a set percentage to missions/charity/other. We prefer to donate things we don't want anymore rather than sell them. It feels really good to give stuff away.

7. We will only buy used cars. (I swiped this from some other working moms' lists.) We own both our cars, and have no car payments right now. One of them needs to be replaced soonish, but for now, it is awesome!

8. We will always live in a different country from half of our family (mine or Rodgers). But, we are committed to seeing the other half. I would like for us to visit every year, but we will visit every other year, at a minimum.

9. We will have fun together as a family.

10. I am committed to never, ever using Comic Sans, especially not on our Christmas letter, Christmas cards, address labels, or return address labels. That it won't be on resumes, fax cover pages, cover letters, or job applications goes without saying.

Monday, November 15, 2010

truffles recipe ::yum, yum, yum::

My truffles recipe is often requested. I sort of made it up myself from a bunch of different recipes I found online and have never typed it up, so it hasn't been very sharable. That changes right now. :)

Ganache ingredients:
1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp rum (or other flavoring, optional)

Coating ingredients:
1 package of chocolate bark coating

Day One
Melt chips and butter in a double boiler with the cream.

You could also melt it in the microwave, but I like using the double boiler.
It looks gross before it's melted

After the mixture has melted completely, add rum (or other flavoring, like a tsp of vanilla or a shot of espresso), and mix it in well. If you aren't adding extra flavor, you're already done with this part!

If your flavoring makes the mixture too thin (we're going for a consistency similar to pudding) add 1/2 cup of cocoa and 1 Tbsp of powdered sugar.


Transfer your mixture into a bowl and chill overnight. [I'm imagining that now is when I would pour it into candy molds, freeze overnight, and move on to day three. This is the epiphany I had last night when I was sick of rolling balls of ganache.]

Day Two
Scoop out the ganache and roll it into balls. Put them on a cookie sheet and freeze them overnight. You may leave them on the cookie sheet until day three, but I usually transfer them to a bowl once they're not so sticky. If your ganache is fairly hard, you can just put it back in the fridge. The perfect texture is so soft that, if it's not frozen, it melts too much when dipped in the coating on day three.

It's a messy job.
I made a plain dark chocolate ganache. Without the extra liquid in the mixture, it was very hard. I couldn't roll it after it had chilled overnight. I tried letting it sit out for an hour or so, but it still didn't soften enough. So, I chopped it up with a knife and made irregular shaped pieces.
The rum mixture was the perfect texture.
Day Three
Melt the coating.
Again, you could use a double boiler or the microwave.
Take a few (I usually go with about 2 dozen) pieces of ganache out of the freezer at a time to dip them in the melted coating. I find that if I take out more than 2 dozen at once, they start melting in the coating by the time I get to the last ones, and that makes a big mess. After dipping, lay them out on wax paper. Leave them plain or garnish with powdered sugar, cocoa, a different color of bark coating, finely chopped nuts, coconut, or whatever you may dream up.

There they are! I made three batches, which turned out to be 203 truffles, even though I made half of them way too big. ::whew::

Sunday, November 14, 2010

an ornament for Nate

I had told Rodgers that one thing I'd really like to have is a table and chairs set for the balcony. We went to Lowe's this week (or was it last week?) to look at some. The Christmas section just happens to be in the patio section. Of course I looked at their Christmas stuff!

As I was perusing the ornaments, I found very cheesy pewter star ornaments for sons and daughters. The son one says:

There is no greater
gift than the love
of a son.

It wasn't exactly the "baby's first Christmas" type of ornament I was looking for. But it would be an ornament in honor of Nate.

Knowing how cheesy my husband is, I knew right away that he'd love it. I took it to him (he was still looking at patio furniture). He was, I'm sure, inwardly rolling his eyes that I'd found something Christmasy to buy. After reading the text, though, he told me, "If you don't buy that, you can't buy anything in this store!" Which is his way of saying that it was the best, most meaningful item in the entire Lowe's store.

It now hangs on our tree.

my tmi blog

Some of my readers know that I started another blog a few months ago. Some of you don't know, which is why I'm posting this PSA. It is about my recovery from childbirth. I call it "my tmi blog," and it is not for the faint of heart. TMI describes it accurately. Seriously.

There are only seven posts over there; I don't post on that blog often. I just posted an update, though. I don't expect that everyone wants to read it, but I think there are probably a few of you who would be interested.

You'll find it here: http://mamakibuyu.blogspot.com/. And seriously, if you're queasy about childbirth or female anatomy, don't read it! [I think that would make a rather good tagline for my tmi blog...]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

our Christmas tree

Yes, I know it's still the first half of November. I don't have a "no Christmas before Thanksgiving" rule. I have a "start Christmas as soon as you can" rule!

The past 2 years, I've been borrowing the top 2 tiers of my mom's Christmas tree. She wasn't going to put it out, and the whole thing is way too big for an apartment. So I took the top and middle pieces. It actually made for a very cute apartment-friendly tree.

Being that we have a wee lad this year who gets into everything and is in demolition mode, I decided we should not have decorations he can reach, destroy, or pull down on top of himself. I had thought about getting some garland to hang over the bar and fireplace (way up high), but then Rodgers suggested getting a small tree to put on the bar. Actually, he first suggested to not decorate at all, but I wasn't having that! So, we got a 3' tree from Hobby Lobby a week or so ago.

I saw no reason to put it away in the storage closet only to bring it out again in a couple of weeks to decorate, so I put it up almost right away. I strung the lights a few days later, when I wanted to procrastinate cleaning the bathrooms. And I put ornaments on a few days after that.

Since it's so small, I only used our memory ornaments. We have a lot of gold and clear glass ornaments, as well as some odd ones that just sort of tickle my fancy. But my favorite ornaments are those that represent certain memories.

For example, last year, we got a Texas State Parks and Wildlife ornament on our honeymoon, a Santa on South Padre ornament from our babymoon, an "our first Christmas" one, and a "parents-to-be" one. So as I was decorating the tree, I had these little reminders of all the great things that happened in 2009.

I wanted to do the same thing this year, and I want to continue this as kind of a tradition. I am debating whether I should get a general "baby's first Christmas" ornament or a picture frame one for a "first Christmas" picture of Nate. I haven't decided yet, but there will definitely be one for his birth in 2010. Not that we need a memento to remember that, but I want something special for him.

We went to England and Kenya this year. It was Nate's first time to fly, and my first time to fly with a baby. That was a significant adventure for the two of us. When we bought our little tree, I found an airplane ornament, which now represents that memory. Then, I found a zebra ornament. We didn't see zebras while we were in Kenya this time, but they do have zebras there. Also, the reason we went to England was for Cat's wedding, and she loves zebras. So that is a great symbol of our trip!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pooh. ::snicker::

My inner 8 year old loves that Winnie the Pooh is called Pooh for short. The ear can't hear a difference between Pooh and poo, you know.

Nate has a lovey/security blanket that has Winnie the Pooh on it. We keep it on the changing table. He usually needs something to do with his hands when he's getting a diaper change. I think it's fitting that his diaper change toy be Pooh Bear (well I call it Poo Bear, but it sounds the same).

This picture is from Bonanza, but that's the one he has.

A few weeks ago, the Atkinson IIIs were here visiting us. Trey was reading Lauren a book of Nate's about Winnie the Pooh. He eats too much honey and gets stuck in Rabbit's door, which is a rabbit hole. The other characters get together to help Pooh get unstuck. At the end of the book, they succeed. The line goes something like, "And Pooh popped out of the hole!" I had tried to stifle my laughter, but who can keep from laughing at that?

And then I remembered (and was reminded again today by Lamebook) that there is a book carrying the unfortunate title of Cooking with Pooh. No lie.

And my inner 8 year old giggles with glee.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

a new tab

Since I use this blog as a way to brag about my baby, I decided to add a "Nathanael" page/tab. This is where I will keep updated stats about my baby. Sort of a one-stop-shop for info about Nate. Today I added this:

Birthday: January 15
Height at birth: 21 in
Weight at birth: 9 lbs 7 oz
Height (as of 10/20/10): 28 in
Weight (as of 10/20/10): 20 lbs 3 oz

Likes: monkeys, Elmo, falling down, bathtime, music, rough housing
Dislikes: vacuum cleaner, teething, waiting, diaper changes

pulls up
feeds self finger foods
holds own bottle or sippy cup
signs "milk"
occasionally calls Mama and Daddy by name, usually just babbles
has 4 teeth

Schedule (all times approximate and subject to change based on the mood of the baby)
7 am wake up
7:15 6 oz bottle
9 4 oz bottle and dry cereal
9:30-11 nap
11:15-12:15 6 oz bottle and solids (either a jar of food or finger food when we eat lunch, he usually has at least a 30 min break between bottle and solids at lunchtime)
1:30-3:30 nap
3:45 4 oz bottle and fruit or yogurt
6 6 oz bottle
7 pm bedtime

EDIT: if you read my blog through a reader or Facebook, the link to the page is here: http://rodgersrachel.blogspot.com/p/nathanael.html