Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The eyes have it

I love Rebekah's eyes! They are big and icy blue. However, her right eye has a brown spot. It started as just a little pin-prick, bus has slowly grown. It keeps getting bigger. So, I keep taking pictures of it to keep track of the progress. :) They are still beautiful!

Monday, August 29, 2011

First day of School

Emma started 4th grade today. She is excited because her BFF, Olivia, is in the same class. Good luck Emma!!

Monday, August 22, 2011


The day has finally arrived. The day for Rebekah's surgery. She is having her tonsils and adenoids removed and ear tubes put in. Once the tubes are put in she can't go swimming for a couple of weeks, so we wanted to wait until the end of the summer to do the surgery.
She was pretty chipper all morning. Though she wasn't to happy about not eating breakfast. We brought her blanket and ducky to help her feel comfortable. We had to wait until 11:30 for her surgery, she was the oldest of the 5 patients that day and therefore went last.

The surgery went great. The doctor said she was an angel, talking and giggling until she went to sleep. Though she was crying a lot when she woke up. The nurse (who I knew from church) gave her some morphine to help. She held her on her lap until I was allowed back there with her.

As soon as I came in Rebekah wanted on my lap and quickly went back to sleep. We had to stay for 2 hours so the nurses could watch her. Then we went home and she slept most of the day. I woke her up around 6pm to give her medicine and something to drink. She went right back to sleep for the rest of the night.

I love you, my brave little girl!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Surprise Party

We threw a surprise party for my dear friend Melinda's 40th Birthday. It was a lot of fun and she was surprised. Doesn't she look fabulous!
Melinda is currently on a gluten-free diet. I told her I wanted to make her a cake for her birthday, so she loaned me Rose's_Heavenly_Cakes for some recipes. I made 2 different cakes for her. The first was Chocolate Feather Bed with Raspberry Ganache. There is no flour, just lots of dark chocolate bars and eggs. The raspberry ganache was a pain. Mainly because I didn't have a food mill to puree the raspberries without getting any seeds. I had a very small fine-mesh strainer that I had to push the raspberries through with the back of a spoon. I think that step alone took almost 2 hours. I was also caught off guard when the recipe said "make 2 batches". I had read it earlier and thought it said "makes 2 batches". I had 16 minutes to whip up the second cake before the first one came out of the oven (took 45 minutes). Luckily I had enough ingredients to make it again, since I stole the chocolate from the ganache. Had to go to the store to replace that before I could make the ganache. I also didn't have the right size pans for this, had to buy 2 new ones at the store.
The verdict: It took forever to make and I got very frustrated. I am much more for the quick and easy and still tastes great. This was not quick and easy. But the taste was heavenly.
For the second cake I made Lemon Canadian Crown. The best way to describe it is similar to a frozen whipped lemon meringue. I love lemon desserts. I saw this in the book and had to try it. I had a similar problem with using a fine-mesh strainer to push lemon zest through, but it was a very small amount compared to all the raspberries. Overall, it was a much easier recipe. I bought gluten-free ladyfingers from Wegmans. That saved tons of time. I didn't have a 9-inch spring-form pan for this recipe but was able to borrow one from a friend.
The Verdict: light, airy, and very lemony. I loved it. Didn't care for the ladyfingers, maybe because they were gluten-free and too thick. Might try it again with a different crust.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

American Girl Party

Emma wanted a birthday party at the American_Girl store. A new one just opened near us in Tysons Corner. Since the cheapest party is $30/girl + $20/adult, I said no. However, I suggested that we could take a field trip to the new store and have treats at home. Emma loved the idea and spent the next few weeks selling lemonade, cookies, and baked goods with her friends to earn some spending cash.

We got the the store right as it opened and went straight to the doll salon. Emma wanted to get Felicity's ears pierced. The girls spent the next hour exploring the store with lots of giggling. Rebekah's favorite part was twirling in the sparkly pink dressing room. The girls made their purchases and we headed back home. We own 3 of the American Girl doll movies, so the girls watched Samantha on the drive to and from the mall.

Back at the house the girls put on a doll fashion show with their new purchases. I made dolphin shaped sandwiches and mini cupcakes for the girls and their dolls (notice that Rebekah doesn't have an American Girl doll but used her favorite "spotty dog" as a substitute).

More guest...the good kind

This is my cousin Sheri and her daughter Lindsey.

I didn't know Sheri too well when we were younger. She got married when I was only 5 years old. Most of my Chase family cousins have kids my age that I hung out with at family reunions.

We got reacquainted a few years ago when her son was attending George Mason University. They came out for a visit and we got together. From that visit I learned that she worked in the Family History Center in Idaho and had done a lot of work on the Chase family. We stayed in touch after that and shared lots of family history.

This time her husband had a conference in DC to attend. Lindsey had recently returned from serving a mission near Floyd, VA. Together they went back to visit people she met down there. Lindsey's mission was cut short due to health problems. She was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

We started talking. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia right before I left on my mission in 1997. I the treatment described by Dr._Paul_St_Amand. It really seemed to help me a lot. However, I still had trouble. Especially after I got married. My symptoms just seemed to get worse. Then my chiropractor started talking to me about MSG. I already knew that I couldn't eat Chinese food, it gave me a headache and made me throw-up. He pointed out just how many other_foods had MSG in it too. I did my very best to COMPLETELY eliminate MSG out of my diet, and I started feeling TONS better. Turns out all the food I was buying for us (the quick, easy, and cheap food) was full of MSG. I am so much better today because of this. I can have a normal life.

I hope that after our conversation Lindsey can find the answers she needs. I am always amazed at how little things happen to put people in the path of others to help them. These are truly tender mercies from the Lord.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

unwelcome guests

I hate squirrels. They keep finding a way into our garden. We have so much fencing and netting around our garden. But they keep chewing their way in. They go after my tomatoes and just take a bite out of it and leave the rest on the ground. Grrr. I have to pick them when they are just barely orange in order to get any.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Emma!!

Today Emma turns 9! We asked her what she wanted to do on her birthday and she said canoeing. We took the ferry across the Potomac River to a little shop that rents canoes. We had to split up, myself and Emma in one canoe, Clay and Rebekah in the other. We paddled about 1.25 miles up to a couple of little islands. There we stopped and had lunch. Then we paddled back down to return the canoes. It was a beautiful morning, a little hazy to keep things cool. The river was low and slow, like a lake. So beautiful with big green trees lining the banks. I wish I had pictures but we were afraid to take the camera with the girls with us. We saw lots of herons and other water fowls. We even saw some fish jumping out of the water.

That evening we invited Uncle Jay and his girlfriend, Leigh, over for dinner to help celebrate Emma's birthday. I made skirt_steak_tostadas_with_mango_salsa. It is so good! One of my favorite marinades (except I use balsamic vinegar instead of soy sauce). Turned out great and the girls love it too. After, we opened presents and had some cake!

I made this cake completely egg-free so that Rebekah could have some too. All the flowers are done with real buttercream. No meringue powder to stiffen it up, so I had to work fast and keep it in the fridge. But it tasted great! I love doing these cakes for my girls. Emma loved it! I also tried a new_method for frosting the cake to get it smooth. I'm happy with how it turned out.
Happy Birthday Sweetie!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Early Birthday Dinner

Emma wanted pizza for dinner for her birthday. However, we found out that one of the guests we invited over for dinner can't eat dairy. So we had her birthday dinner a day early.

Emma's pizza was Pillsbury crust, sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, and sausage. I can't eat pepperoni because of the MSG, so I made another pizza. Mine was freshly ground whole wheat crust, olive oil, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil from our garden, garlic, and parmesan. This may have been the best pizza I have ever had! It was delicious!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A day at the beach

We got up super early to drive to Rehoboth Beach with the Rosenlunds. We got there around 9:30 am, picked out our spot, and turned the kids loose. They loved it!!!

The kids had fun running in the waves, building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and searching for pretty rocks and shells.

Hallie and Rebekah had the same beach cover-up.

There was a lady up the beach a bit making this sandcastle. She said they come to the beach every year. About 10 years ago she decided to build sandcastles while she was here. Pretty cool.
These are my favorite pictures!! Rebekah loves Evan and keeps talking about how she is going to marry him. When we packed up to leave we asked Rebekah to carry the fold up picnic blanket. She complained a bit, but we told here that it was light and we were carrying ALL the rest of the heavy stuff and she could handle this ONE thing. Not soon after I saw this!!! Evan carrying her "bag" for her as they walked together holding hands. Isn't that the cutest thing ever!! I can't believe she already has him trained ;)

It was little Miss Juliette's first birthday so we found a cute little cupcake_shop. It was a cute little shop off the beach. For the kids, they have a table set up where you can add your own sprinkles. Tons of fun! I had the Lemon Drop cupcake...soo good!

Down the boardwalk a little bit is Funland amusement park. The kids had tons of fun. Rebekah and Evan were inseparable.

This is my only picture of Emma and Spencer.
What a great day!!