Friday, December 28, 2007

Our Guela!

To most the name 'Guela' means nothing...
but to these kids is means Grandma and friend!
She is our biggest fan and our warrior of prayer!
What a blessing she is to our families!
So to you Guela we give a shout of thanks, love and appreciation!
Your Kids, Grand kids and Great Grand kids!
We love you!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good Hair Day!

As many of you know...I'm a little obsessed with my Kali's Hair! If ya need proof, this is the 3rd time I've blogged about it! Exhibit A & B !! I grew up with 3 sisters and a mom (sorry mom) that didn't enjoy doing our hair! In fact we had bowl cuts until I could convince her that I would do everyone's hair in the morning....if she would just let us grow it out! Well I must have been a smooth talker because she let us grow it out! I did braids for my younger two sisters for years! Anyways....When Kali was born I just wanted her to have a little such luck! So for the past 2 1/2 years I've been willing her hair to grow!! Today was a big day! I was able to get two braids that actually look like braids in her hair!! I know...but for me it's the simple things!! Front view of my cutie!!
Back view!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Adventures in Palm Springs...and beyond!!

I am very fortunate to have a husband that loves to travel as much as I do!! I'm also grateful for our shared sense of adventure!! We had gotten cheep tickets to Palm Springs back in August. Of course in August you don't know what the weather will be like in December...but we took a chance!! Well as we prepared to leave, our AccuWeather web site didn't share very good news...rain!! To go or not to go, that was the question...well as you can see we opted to go and take our chances!! Upon arriving the weather was fairly nice so we were able to get our first round of golf the end we were a little chilled!! On Friday we thought that we would wake up to rain and found that it was actually very nice out! So we got our 2nd round of golf in. (side note-my best round ever...with 2pars and a birdy on the back nine!!) We knew that the rain was on the way so we left...and headed to Shane's friends place in LA to help them with their Christmas Party!! (Apologies to Aunt Sandra and Paul we wish we had more time but it was a last minute decision!!) We arrived at Greg's in time to help with party prep!! They were awesome hosts and put on a great party!! We enjoyed some good wine, great food and made some new friends! We were very glad that we turned out to be a fabulous little get away!!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Card...Blog Style!

Where has the year gone...I can't believe we are knocking on the door of 2008!! Having put the blog address on the Christmas card this year, I thought I would let you know how to navigate our site (It's pretty basic)!! I try to update the blog once or twice a week, so feel free to check in often, keeping up with us all year long. If you are interested in our activities of this past year check out the archives over on the right!! Not much to it!! Also, feel free to comment and let us know how you are doing!!

Now for a little on the kiddos!!
Truman and Kali- I really never could have expected the amazing bond that these two have formed! Truman is in the 7th grade and I am so proud of him as he is starting to navigate his teen years!! He has a lot of questions and really wants to do the right thing. He is excelling in both school and school sports. We have enjoyed watching him take on new leadership roles in both football and basketball. You can tell he loves it and takes it very seriously!! He is a great kid!!
Jake & Taiji- My twins that aren't really twins! These two crack me up, maybe it's the age or just the strange circumstances of their situation...but these two are laughing and wrestling and playing and laughing and wrestling ALL day long!! They are both in the 4th grade and celebrated birthdays in April...almost double digits!! They too are doing very well in school and love to hang out with all their friends!! After watching Truman the last 3yrs, they had their first experience at a State Baseball Tournament...their team played awesome and ended up getting 3rd!!As a blended family we face a lot of challenges, but we truly believe that God brought us together for a reason. I never thought I would be a mom to 3 boys...but here I am and I love it! I never thought that I would be blessed with two beautiful daughters but here I am...holding on to memories of Abbey and making new ones with Kali!! God is good!
Kali Faith- My little brown eyed girl!! Kali is now 2 1/2! She loves her thumb, blankey's, brothers, books and her t-b! (tv) It that order!! She's talking non-stop and loves her music class!! I often wonder with all the sporting events this child has to endure with her 3 older brothers, will she be our best athlete...or want nothing to do with a gym, field or stadium? Time with tell!! There is not a day that goes by that Kali doesn't make me laugh...I'm so grateful!!
Shane- 'I want to drive you derby car dad!!' This is coming from Kali!! It's brain washing I tell you!! Shane and his car did great this year...he won his heat in the afternoon! In our house that is big stuff!! Shane continues to be very busy with New York Life, keeping our sporting schedules straight...and pampering me!! I am very lucky!!
Well that's it for now! Blessings on the new year!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Fun in the snow!

Again, I know a little late considering that there is no sign that snow ever even came to Lynden, however we have some pictures to prove it!! Saturday and Sunday provided us with a winter wonderland that the kids thoroughly enjoyed!! The boys made it out and stayed out for a couple of hours....Kali on the other hand...a couple of minutes!! Kinda a mish-mash snow wonder she didn't stay outside...she must have been embarrassed!!
The boys with the help of cousin Luuk built a very nice igloo!!
Foreman of the project!
Slave labor!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thanksgiving Fun!!

I know I'm a little late!! But I still wanted to share our day! This year is the first year in many years that I haven't had Thanksgiving dinner at my house!! I was thrilled!! Thanks to Steve and Beck, it was a wonderful day filled with family fun!! Kali Faith- I am most thankful for her engaging personality! She kind reminds me of a little angel I know!! I love her humor...her faces...her sayings...and of course those big brown eyes!!
Aunt Beck leads us in devotions!
The Family (table 1)
The Family (table 2)
Truman, Jake, Taiji- I love these boys! They are always a plethora of information...even if it's wrong...they love each other and adore their little sis!! I'm so thankful that they each have a personal relationship with God and that they are always trying to do what is right. I love their prayers...smiles...and sense of humor!! We are so blessed!
Happy Belated Thanksgiving Day to all!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Deck update & Oranges!

We are close...from the mouth of the contractor, "We should be done by Monday!" I'm not so sure...but it's nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel!!
Not only did we gain square footage...but it's safe and looks good!
The view from the platform!
Now for a completely unrelated topic...Kali has discovered peeling oranges. Yes very cute, however she doesn't eat the orange!
But who could say 'no' to that face!?!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

Fun Friday!!

Fun Friday started with a visit from cousin Tessa. In between running all over the house, screaming and pulling out every toy we own...they managed to read a little!! Kali & Tessa
New Favorite thing...playdough!! Note the fun retro purple!!
Ummmm....yummy chocolate!!! Helping with the dishes as mom makes some cookies!! Nothing more fun on Fun Friday than licking the spoon clean!!
Hope you have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Couple of Recipes and a cool website!!

Yesterday I made some lasagna for some friends that had a rough day...I asked her if she thought it was blog worthy and she said the first recipe is for a Chicken Lasagna. The second one was a base recipe a friend gave me and she told me to play with it to see what I could come up with...well I'm gonna call this one Rockin' Black bean salsa soup!!

Chicken Lasagna
Lasagna Noodles (9 cooked)
4C. Cooked chicken (Roasted chicken from wonders $4.99)
1 can cream of chix soup
1 can cream of mush soup
1 C. Parmesan Cheese
8oz Sour Cream
1/4C Chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
16oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Mix all ingredients together well. In a 9x13 pan, layer chicken mixture, noodles, cheese, noodles, chicken mixture, cheese, noodles, and chicken mixture. Bake, covered at 350 for 30 to 40 min. Sprinkle with a bit more cheese and bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more.

Rockin' Black Bean Salsa Soup!
2 cans of Chicken Broth
1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 can refried black beans
1 sm can green chile's (choose your temp)
1/2 C. Pace Chunky salsa (choose your temp)
1 C. Pico de gallo (Lynden readers use El Ranchito's...YUM!)
1 1/2 C. Roasted shredded chicken (are you seeing the pattern here?)

Combined all ingredients except the chicken and pico. Mix well and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes and then reduce the heat to simmer. Add the chicken and pico. Let simmer for about 20 mins. I tell ya...serve this one with a few tortilla strips and a little avocado and...YUM!!! You can make this as hot or not as you want. I added a little Fiesta Party mix from tastefully simple and that really kicked mine up a notch!!

Ok and last but not least...I was told about a really cool website that has great holiday recipes and a ton of them. So for all you cooks and holiday bakers...check this one out!!
Mrs. Claus' Cookbook

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Deck Update!

As you can see things are coming along...should be done just in time for our first snow!! Oh well, at least we will be able to enjoy it as soon as spring hits next year!! The little platform has a great view of Mt. Baker...and the next phase we are thinking about covering it and adding light and heat!!
We've added quite a bit of space on the main part of the deck...great for entertaining!!
Just a little view of the steps and the mess below!! Another project come spring!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Arizona Trip Part One!

Well as you may have guessed, Shane and I are in Arizona! He has a conference starting today, but we headed down a little early to celebrate my 35th Birthday!! We flew down on Thursday, my actual birthday and these were the flowers that he had waiting for me!! So Sweet!!
If you are a faithful follower of the VanDalen Clan Blog then you know that when we travel we start a Cribbage Tournament. So far I am up 6-0! Go me!!
The other thing that we love to do as a couple is Golf! So far we have gotten in 2 rounds and I will say Shane is kicking my butt on the course!!
Here is a fun picture of the Sun setting on the course as we played!

Last night we were able to get tickets to the ASU/Cal game from one of Shane's buddies! It was a great game...ASU wasn't supposed to win, but they came back in the second half and pulled out the victory! Now the conference starts and a whole new vacation...So I will keep you posted with all our activities!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Home Improvements!

Shane and I have lived in this house for close to 3yrs. When we first moved in we made some major changes on the inside of the house and over the years have continued to piddle around with some minor improvements. Well this fall brought some major changes to the outside of our home. We changed the color from a dull yellow to a nice green, we painted the trim and the doors, re-roofed and got new gutters....but the thing we are the most excited about is our new deck. We have lived with a tiny rotten, rickety little deck for 3 summers and decided that it was time to upgrade our outdoor living area. I was going to wait until it was finished before I posted, but I think that it will be more fun to have weekly updates to see the progress. Of course I wasn't prepared and didn't get a true before picture, so this one with it already being demolished will have to do. As you can see Kali has taken the biggest hit for the family by having her play house/slide taken off it's stilts and put on the ground, but we promised her that her slide will return and that seems to have appeased her. I'm looking forward to it being done, (so that I can have my grill back) but for now it's fun to watch the process!! Before (sorta)
During (end of week 2)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Manicotti- Amy Style!

Manicotti Shells (uncooked)
1 C. ricotta cheese (more or less)
1 C. cottage cheese (more or less)
1 C. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 egg
1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
3/4 C. Chopped fresh spinach
1/2 C. Chopped fresh mushrooms
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 jars Prego- Italian Sausage & garlic
1/2 jar Water

Mix all ingredients, except shells, sauce and water, until well blended. Stuff uncooked shells with mixture. (I use a pastry bag) Put 2 cups of the prego sauce in a 9x13 pan. Arrange noodles over sauce. Add 1/2 jar of water to remaining sauce and pour over the manicotti. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with more Parmesan and bake for 10 more minutes.

This is one of those meals that I started with a basic recipe and added and subtracted stuff! You really can do what ever you want...if you have a homemade sauce use that. I found that the Italian sauage-Prego- really adds a fun meaty kick...if you don't like mushrooms leave them out...I made this exact recipe the other day and my kids who don't care or mushrooms or spinach ate it up, never realizing what was in it!! So modify, play with it, and enjoy!!