Friday, June 27, 2008

Just Can't Resist...

Someone and her pigtails wanting to wish you a wonderful weekend too...

As you can see, though I didn't go into labor, last week was full of sweetness. This is saying a lot considering Hope got pretty sick with her first ever fever and Joe was slammed with a case that kept him burning the midnight+ oil. Now the fever is gone, the deadline has practically passed, and not only did we have extra help to get through it all-- we had our own in-house baker! Mmm... wish I could hand you one of the oatmeal raisin cookies with even homemade icing or a sinful sliver of from scratch poundcake right now.

Since I can't and it's been difficult to have anything but baby on the brain these last weeks, for a change of pace, I thought I'd share a new recipe I stumbled upon. Part of the reason we chose "With These Hands" as our blog title is because we love when people get creative, especially when they handcraft just about anything. This may not exactly be a masterpiece work of art, but we find it a pretty light and delicious meal as have several of our summer guests. At this time of year, any time you can fire up the grill is a winner in our book! So, for your eating pleasure...
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Chicken.

First, most of the ingredients for serving three or four...
So you can tell what all's in there for marinating the chicken... Combine 1/4 cup basalmic vinegar, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Do this the day before and coat chicken evenly for best results. When you're ready, fire up the grill and get those babies going!

For the pesto... combine 12 sun-dried tomatoes (after being soaked in warm water for about 30 min.), 1 clove of garlic (or equivalent amount of already minced garlic), and the remaining 1/4 cup of fresh basil in a food processor until finely ground. No major equipment needed... as you can see I'm using the mini-one given to me when I began to make Hope's baby food. Add 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese and 1 of olive oil, a pinch of sugar, 3 tablespoons of low sodium chicken broth, and more pepper to taste and give it another go in the food processor. You can store this good stuff up to five days.

Serve each chicken breast with a dollop of sun-dried tomato pesto, a few extra basil leaves if you have them, and an extra dusting of parmesan cheese (over a bed of rice would be even better). Pair it with some steamed, cheesy broccoli and garden fresh cucumbers and carrots (thanks, sweet neighbors, for always sharing!) or whatever else sounds good to you. And enjoy!
If we get the chance, stay tuned... we've decided to experiment this weekend. Joe's been in a fondue mood for some time (We used to use this wedding gift cookbook for cheap Fri. date nights... choose a dip, grocery shop, and try it out over a movie). Then the Hightowers brought us back the fun, pancake one from sunny California (We love some breakfast around here... Joe has totally converted me!) Happy, delicious even, weekend to all!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We Don't Wanna Grow Up

Before we ever had children Joe and I agreed that one of the things we were looking forward to, should God so bless us, is the way they help you see life again. This is one of the many reasons I loved being a teacher and still love to work with ones of all ages. You know that pure, unabashed joy that comes from simply being a kid. Christmas mornings and backyard evenings. Jumping puddles and playing in the mud. Make believe and giggles and them saying the darndest things. So far Hope has been good for all that... and then some.

Take for instance the other night when we went to the park. We were supposed to see a movie-- kinda like a drive-in, but without the cars. Instead you bring your picnic blankets or chairs and enjoy. We gave Hope an extra long afternoon nap so she could stay up late. Though it rained a little earlier in the day, we sure didn't expect to see this once we arrived...
Oh well, in true kid fashion we decided NOT to let it rain on our parade-- on our picnic, in this case...

Barefoot and fancy free...
Swings making the world go 'round...

Swings and jungle gyms. We warned you that we don't wanna grow up either! :)...

As I type this Hope is in the floor having the best time with an old UT pompom ("shake shake" to her) and a play spatula, while she sings to herself. It's the little things, and we cherish that. In this world of serious decisions and challenging times, do yourself a favor... kick off your shoes, hum- oh, belt out- your favorite tune, and make a mess or two while you do something you love. Here on this Wednesday, this "hump" day I'd say you probably deserve it... and then some!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Brotherly (?) Love

Looks like most of you are leaning toward bringing Baby M home in all his green and white striped sweetness. A little over two thirds of the votes said "brother" and apparently you aren't the only ones. Just this past week the ladies who often ring up my (gasp) gas purchases, the instructor of our nursing refresher course, and the sales associate at Motherhood Maternity asked if we are having a boy. When combined with the votes of those on vacation, those we were able to talk with, and those of our family who simply don't do internet yet still have quite the opinions :)... it is an overwhelming majority.

But, we just don't know...

With Hope I, at least, felt certain she would be a girl. In fact,I would have been shocked had she been anything but... still thrilled, of course, but shocked all the same. This time we have our sneaking suspicions but nothing quite that strong. Hope doesn't offer a lot of help since we broke her code. For a long time she would reply with "sister" or "girl." Then one day we flipped the question by asking, "Do you think you're having a sister or brother? Girl or boy?" That is when we discovered it all depends on what you say last. We say A+ for effort, big sister!

We do know that as of now our bags are packed and we're really beginning to see double around here. And so we wait. Excited and nervous and joyfully anxious we wait.

Speaking of, we can't wait to share the real final results with each of you!

ps-- Hope gives big "MWA's" to all her public out there that voted... "You're simply mar-velous darlings!"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"Hapee Daddy Day!"

I'll never forget the tears in Joe's eyes when he first saw me prepped for unexpected surgery, the first words he said when he caught a glimpse of Hope, the first time I watched him hold her close, or the first silly song he spontaneously made up to sing her to sleep. Since then there have been many wonderful and challenging and amazing moments. So from one Father's Day- a little breakfast in bed (a treat he gives me, especially while pregnant, many Saturday mornings-- hey, I have to brag a bit; it is a special day!)...
To this Father's Day- a little breakfast in bed plus some finally inspiring workspace in the house for him to continue making differences in every way- we are so blessed. Even though Hope was still half napping in the last three, she managed her "TA-DAH!" like we practiced. Can't imagine this journey without you Daddy and Sweetheart of Mine!

Just like on Mama's Day, though, there are so many men out there we want to remember. Grandpa and PopPop, for starters, where would we be without your sacrifices, your courage, your strength, your ability to fix just about anything?
And so many other men of integrity, character, and wisdom... stepping up to the plate by filling the lives of children and others with light and love! Today we celebrate you... grandpas who have gone on to Heaven, brothers, uncles, friends, dads of friends, cousins, pastors, teachers, coaches, mentors, and even those we've never had the honor to actually meet. This world needs you to keep making your differences so badly... in every way too. We also remember you for whom this day is hard because of the men you miss or the circumstances that you face... know we are holding you extra close in heart!
After some pretty typical at this point, but suspicious, symptoms we are wondering just how long it will be until Baby Martins makes his/her arrival! Remembering that Hope was three weeks early gives us a little extra cause to pay attention. Chances are we'll make it to our due date; then again, chances are we might not. Just in case, since the Hightowers are out of town, Nana is on her way even as I type to stay the week. We'll likely not get to post during this time but for fun we thought we'd piggyback off our dear friends, the Forsters, and leave a little poll. Look to the right and cast your vote! :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer Days in 10 Favorite Ways

Thanks for the calls or e-mails to check in on us since it's been a little while. As you can see from Friday-- no baby...YET! It feels very soon, though, and throughout the day as I think about it I get all butterflies. I'm pretty sure we all do!

These days of waiting hold so many moments I don't want to forget. Among the time with friends-old and new, the projects, the decisions, and all there is a gentle nudging to treasure up the time with our firstborn. Is it possible that we have, not just a toddler, but a little girl developing right before our eyes? One who cocks her head to the side with a huge grin to announce, "HiMommy!" (all one word). One who at the barking of the dogs in the evening gets a wild, excited look in her eyes and whispers, "Daddy!" One whose current favorite book taught her to say "I wuv ew," which she now sheepishly almost giggles her way through as if she knows she's saying something very special. It may not seem possible, but it sure is true.

Thanks for humoring my heart as I think about it all in these quiet am hours. While I can't sleep for all the gymnastics going on, how about a peek as promised (in stories and lots of pics) at some of the ways we're treasuring up these hot summer days? Note that what we consider fun costs nothing or a couple bucks at most... cheap and priceless all at the same time. Now that's a bargain.:)

Tea parties... even Nana joins us via satellite sometimes.

Great play dates... not real dates as Daddy would certainly clarify.

Strawberry picking (and sampling, alright stuffing of her face) with some of the neighborhood gang.

Fresh veggies, almost all in season... salsa style. She is her mother's daughter.

Cleaning fun... yes, cleaning FUN. She is very into the broom, paper towels, and the "duhter" (duster). She'll wipe down anything... please don't be a phase.

Playroom antics like helping Daddy get dressed in the morning or spinning in the ever fun twirly chair.

Library mornings... a sampling of her current interests; you know- dogs/puppies, "Cord-roy," and potties- all the good stuff! Oh and a little art and music some afternoons. Little drummer girl!

Outdoor anything... please don't ask how I got me and my belly in this obviously Olympic sized pool. Have to admit that the pool fit for grown-ups down the street is less of a challenge.

Practice at siblinghood with Cadan... Howells, we are LOVING the double jogger- THANK YOU! One cooler morning Joe aims to take her (them?) out for a first real spin.

And my favorite 50 cents of all... riding the big, polka dotted? "ell-funt." "Whee!" Actually make that $3.00 since Joe was inside the store buying us Caramel Swirl double churned ice cream... mmm!

Would love to hear about your beat the heat, treasuring up days too... do share! Surely I can make it to bed now... do hope!