Friday, February 24, 2012


can be tricky. Lots of people don't like it and I have to admit that I've never been a huge fan. However, I recently trying preparing it this way and I love it!

Asparagus Yum:
Take 1 large bunch of Asparagus, cut off tough ends (about 1/2-1 inch at the thick end of each stalk), wash and place into boiling water for approximately 3 minutes. Drain water and place asparagus into skillet with 1 Tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar and a little salt. Cook on high heat for a couple minutes, until asparagus starts to get little blackened areas on it. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Arizona here we come!

Declan and I just returned from a wonderful, albeit all too brief, trip to visit Grumba and Gumbum in Arizona. Madigan was not invited since his manners on airplanes still leave something to be desired and Mommy did not want to pose as a security risk. Declan managed to charm his way through the security line enabling smooth sailing past (i.e. NOT through) the cancer boxes. Sweet!

We spent time just catching up, seeing all the improvements my parents are perpetually making to their beautiful home (it wasn't always beautiful, trust me), stalking Starbucks, and hiking in the awe-inspiring red rocks of Sedona. Why is Arizona so stinkin' beautiful??? There are days, weeks, months of trails through some of the most beautiful country in the US, just waiting to be explored by the inquisitive traveler, along with a trusty pair of hiking boots. I never understood my Dad's obsession with the "open skies of Arizona - God's country" when I was just a girl. But I have found that with time there is a longing I have to be there, savoring God's creation in all it's raw beauty.

Here are a few photos that Mom took over the weekend. I'll post more from the hiking, later.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Meet Grumba and Gumbum

One of the highlights of our day is when we Skype with Grandma (and Grandpa, on the weekends). Madigan asks if we can call Gumbum and Grumba. They get to fight over who's who at this point since it is not absolutely clear. :-)

Mom, I found your glove!!!!!!!!!!

When we were up at Rhapsody Retreat for Christmas, we all took a walk. I quickly warmed up, and decided to shed my gloves and leave them where I could find them on the way back. Madigan spotted them and immediately started fretting about the fact that I had lost them, so he went back and brought them to me. Such a thoughtful and observant boy!

You are so loved

Photos by Gwenn McCaleb (Grandma)

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Grandpa Time

Photos taken by Gwenn McCaleb (aka Grandma)

Monday, February 06, 2012


I got inspired to make my own vanilla extract for cooking and my friend, Elizabeth, was visiting and told me how her family makes it. So, here's to Vanilla experiment number 1! So far, it smells INCREDIBLE!

We got a bottle of Vodka (with a pretty white polar bear on the inside - beautiful bottles make for better vodka... right?) and 4 vanilla pods (which we purchased from Trader Joes). We sliced the pods open by just cutting one slice from the top of each pod to the bottom, to make sure the seeds were exposed. Place the pods inside the vodko and set inside a dark cupboard for 5-6 weeks, shaking it periodically. (And No, we're not drinking it).

Also, if you want some yummy sugar, place a vanilla pod in your sugar container. Great for coffee, tea (can we say chai latte?) or baking.

How did this world spin?

I simply can't believe that my Tiger turned 2 yesterday. What a wonderful boy he has grown up to be! I wish I could store all the memories from the past 2 years in a place where I can always retrieve and relive them, but I know that's not possible. Sometimes I think to myself, "How did this world spin before it had a Tiger running around it?" I look forward to watching this marvelous creature grow into the man he has been created to be and I will savor every moment of this journey!

I made him a cake, but since we were having friends over, I decided to make it gluten free. It turned out really yummy! The recipe is as follows:

Gluten-free Applesauce Cake
3 large apples
3/4 cup raisins
1 stick butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1.5 cups walnut flour (grind in food processor)
1 cup almond flour (grind in food processor)
1 cup old fashioned oats ((grind in food processor)
1/2 cup honey (you can also substitute 1/4 cup of the honey with 1/3 cup brown sugar)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Slice (into chunks) and peel the apples. Place in saucepan with about 2 Tablespoons water and bring to boil. Then, cook on low/med until soft. I mixed them into the batter with my KitchenAid, so I didn't mash them ahead of time. Add 1/2 cup boiling water to raisins and set aside for about 10 minutes (until they are soft). Pour apples and raisins (including water) together and then add remaining ingredients. Mix together thoroughly. Place in buttered 9x13 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. I made a little frosting for Madigan's out of: 1 package cream cheese, 1 Tablespoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Enjoy!

The Dancing Brothers

The Dancing Brothers video.

Friday, February 03, 2012

2 busy boys

As Madigan and I were walking - well, running - around the block he pulled me to a stop and made us backtrack about 3 houses, saying "uh oh". He had seen a piece of trash in the neighbor's yard and since we're the local clean up crew it was our responsibility to keep the neighborhood sparkling.

Declan is learning to count. When we count to 5 with him, he starts focusing at 1, stares intently at 2, smiles at 3, starts wiggling in anticipation at 4, and giggles and squints at 5, when we tickle his nose.

Last fall Grandma came and showed Madigan that he had tickle toes. She tickled his feet and said "tickle, tickle, tickle". His version is "diggadoo". Now, anytime he needs shoes, socks or something done with his feet, he says "Diggadoo! Diggadoo!" I think it's so cute.

Declan is smack in the middle of teething and is completely miserable. Last night when he was whimpering I pulled him up close to my neck and started singing to him. He laid his head on my shoulder and started sucking his thumb. He lay there for 10 minutes, wide awake and snuggly like a bunny. These are the moments I live for!

I went to take Madison and Valiant out this morning and was standing on the sidewalk with bare feet waiting for them. Madigan looked at my feet, turned and walked away from me without saying anything and disappeared inside the house. 10 seconds later he emerged with a pair of Daddy's shoes, placed them in front of me and asked me to put them on. Why is he so cute?

Declan has been doing crunches... he's got to keep up with those skinny rolls! It's hilarious to watch him lying on the floor pulling himself up as far as he can go, holding and then falling back with frustration. I think he's trying to get in shape so that he can keep up with his older brother!