Friday, July 30, 2010

Socialization at its best...

Tonight we ate dinner early at 5:15pm as soon as Justin walked in the door. I love when he can get home early! As soon as we were done, we changed and headed to the pool. :)
I wish you could see Clara in the pool. She zooms all over the shallow area in her float. Her feet can touch the ground and she just buzzes everywhere with the biggest smiles!
When we were drying off before going home, Izzy pulled a chair up next to these two sisters. It was sooo sweet, and then one of the girls offered Izzy some chips to share. Gotta love no social inhibitions! ;)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Guess what I AM?!

THE WINNER! I have won my first blog giveaway. Woohoo!

This blog is written by a fellow alumna of Messiah College. We both have many mutal friends and acquaintances, but neither of us knew each other while there. She graduated one year before me when my roommate/friend, Naphtali, graduated (I've written plenty about Naph on this blog.). Anyhow, she started her blog, Knowing Norrah, when her biological daughter, Norrah, was in utero and found to have an abnormal 20 week ultrasound. Read HERE to know more about their story. If you're like me, you will keep reading and reading. ;)

Anyhow, that blogger mentioned above also has an adopted daughter, and her name is IZZY! Her little Izzy was given a sweet little homemade kitchen apron for her birthday, and the maker of the apron decided to donate a free apron to Knowing Norrah's blog giveaway. I can't believe I won the apron.

It's absolutely perfect timing. Clara's birthday is in a few weeks, and she'll be getting plenty of gifts. My Izzy loves to open presents, but her birthday is just before Christmas. She has to do all present opening in December to cover an entire year. Now, she will have something of her own to open in August!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Lil Lady's 1st B-day Party

Ella Grace Mitten celebrated her first birthday party this past weekend. The Mittens will be out of town over her real birthday, Aug. 2, so we got to party with Ella Grace a little early. She was a sweet lil lady bug. Naphtali did a great job and put in lots of work on the decorations. Her friend, Sherri, opened her house up for the party. :)

Izzy's dress had 2 ladybugs and Clara's shirt had one ladybug... I was pretty pumped that we had those clothes in the closets! EG's outfit was monogramed with her name.

Blowing out the candles:

Love you, EG!
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thankful for extra blessings!

I had so many extra blessings for my birthday. On Thursday, Naphtali made sugar cookies for our MOPS Steering Team meeting for me. On Saturday, she came over to the house and brought me this lavender top! I love it.

It seems like everyone was so thoughtful in what they gave me. Justin went on Amazon to see what I had been looking for and got me a CD I wanted but never told him about. I lose my credit cards in my pockets a lot, cause I don't take my big ol purse into the stores sometimes. So... he got me a little pocket wallet that I can use when I don't want a purse. Already used it today!

Izzy took this pic of me using my brand new sautee pan from Justin! I was sooo excited to get a new one, since I love cooking!!!

My in-law family members got me things I really wanted! I needed a deep dish 13x9 for lasagnas, tie backs for my curtains, a beautiful framed portrait of Clara, a dip serving dish, and 2 new tops. :) Just so thankful for these extra blessings!

Oh, I can't forget... my sisters got me a gift certificate for Maccaroni Grill for a future date night, and Maggie found some jewelry for me at a street vendor in NYC. My mom sent down a couple dresses (already wore 3 of them!), and some great antique pieces that I love. I was pleasantly surprised by the antiques! Last but not least, look in the pictures above to see all the new hardward my dad put on our cabinetry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a blessing!
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Date night!

Justin took me into a couple of the buildings that he works in downtown.

Of course, we were early for our dinner reservation. ;)

We had a very private corner table! Justin got the Filet Mignon, and I got the Kona crusted Sirloin with Shallot butter. They were delicious. The creamed spinach with nutmeg was out of this world! What a refreshing dinner with my hubs. Our waiter seemed like he was SUCH a professional... kinda like what I'd imagine a butler to be like! I even ran into one of MY new friends, Marissa, and her hubby on their own date night. I feel like I don't know that many people overall in the area, and since Justin works downtown (and grew up in Charlotte), he was pretty sure he'd run into someone HE knows. Ha!

27 and still a little goofy! ;)
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Celebrations Day #2

We went swimming on Saturday, and then we got ready for our dinner date that evening just the two of us.

We headed into the city! It rained right before we got there, but it was nice and sunny when we arrived.
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Birthday dinner w/ the fam

Friday night was spent at Justin's parents' home celebrating my 27th birthday. We had a relaxing and overall just happy, fun evening!
Justin's mom cooked up one of my favorite of her meals--Chicken Lombardi with extra mushrooms. :) MMMMMMmmmm.

I requested an ice cream cake, cause I love those little chocolate crunchies. :)

The cutest little helper:

So what, are you actually reading my birthday card, Izzy?
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Just didn't wanna leave!

We didn't really want to leave cause everything was so much fun. Our visit ended at the playground before heading home for naps.

What a great family adventure for my birthday morning!
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Kisses from a Giraffe!

Look at the kisses Izzy received!
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Feeding the big ones

Feeding the giraffes was the highlight of our morning at the Ranch.

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Birthday Part 1

Justin took off work on Friday for my birthday, and drove us up to the Lazy 5 Ranch about an hour away. We had so much fun together!

We rode on a horse drawn wagon through the whole ranch, and we hand fed many different animals!
This ostrich ate out of my bucket so that my hand didn't get pecked:

Izzy wasn't scared at all!

Yeah, Clara got a little hot by the end of the [fun] ride:
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Special Request!

Apparently, I'm four years behind, but... better late than never.
I always eat all the rye chips in the Chex Mix, but I usually leave everything else behind. Until now. I can FINALLY buy a whole bag of just the rye chips!!! This product was released in 2006, but I just found them in the grocery store last week. What a glorious find!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cousin time!

Last Saturday evening, my cousin, Sebastian, and Maggie stopped here for dinner and to sleep before heading home. Sebastian rode his bike back to PA on Sunday morning, and Justin took Maggie to the airport to catch her flight. I haven't seen Bass in ages, so I couldn't get over how much he's grown up! We grew up on the same farm road all our lives. Izzy was THRILLED that a motorcycle was in our garage. About five days after they left, Izzy asked if Bass and Aunt Maggie could come back on the "moto-cycle." :)

Izzy told me this morning that she can only have make-up on when Aunt Maggie is here and that she wants her to come back. Haha! Here's a pic of Izzy getting her nails painted again:

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Friday, July 9, 2010

A Mahi recipe

Justin caught all that Mahi Mahi fish, so we have it all in our deep freezer. I only started eating Tilapia about 1.5 years ago, and this fish that Justin caught is my second fish to like. The way he prepped it for freezing worked, cause it didn't get fishy!

Mahi Mahi Lettuce Wraps
by Paula Deen of the FoodNetwork

1 mango, diced (I used a couple pieces of fresh pineapple)
2 plum tomatoes, diced (I just used two regular tomatoes from my garden)
1 red onion, diced
6 (jarred) jalapeno rings, diced
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves (I left this ingred. out)
2 limes, juiced (I used 1 lime)
Salt and pepper
2 mahi mahi fillets (I used 5 fillets)
Olive oil, as needed
Lettuce leaves (recommended butter or romaine)

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat, or preheat the broiler. Saute the onions until soft but not brown.
Combine the mango/pineapple, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Season the fish with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Grill or broil for roughly 3 to 4 minutes per side, until just opaque in the center. Set aside to cool.

When slightly cool, chop into large chunks. Add to the reserved salsa and fold carefully as to not break up the fish. Add mixture to the middle of the lettuce leaves and roll.

Even Justin liked all these flavors, especially the pineapple in the salsa mixture! Clara downed tons of the fish. :)
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To get out of the heat...

Go to Monkey Joe's!

The Fowlers and the Fawcetts joined us at Monkey Joe's on Wednesday to have fun in the a/c. Wednesdays are half price days. Everyone had a blast on the big blow-up equipment!

Head first!

Going down the huge slide together:
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