Thursday, December 22, 2011

If Sam Joined Guns N Roses

...and was really happy about it...

A (Chicken) Tender Nutcracker

Claudia came up with this idea after polishing off her Burger King chicken tenders one day... Unfold the container and color it in as shown. Voila! A (Chicken) Tender Nutcracker!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

This past gorgeous, sunny-yet-cool Sunday, Ed and I comfortably sat 24 of our Kastelin family members, including 2 of our beautiful children (Naughty was napping), my parents (just back from a vacation to ITALY), my bro and sis-in-law (Naughty #2 was also napping), my sis and bro-in-law (just celebrated their first anniversary), three aunts and uncles (one couple of which will become grandparents for the first time early next year, another of which will celebrate Christmas in Hawaii with their 2 sons, and the other spending their winter traveling the world to visit kids and grandchildren, wheelchair no problem), 6 cousins (all healthy and loved and enjoying various stages of life), and my 90-year old grandparents who will fly to their Florida home for the winter this Friday, all into the dining room of our new home for an early Thanksgiving celebration.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gabbies Granola Goodness

OK, so it's really Carrie's recipe, but I couldn't resist the triple alliteration in the title. Plus, Gabbie did make it at our house for us first, so Gabbie's it is. My kids gobbled this down like...well, certainly like nothing else containing walnuts, sunflower seeds, and milled flax seeds. They loved it and I didn't even have to add chocolate chips.

2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup nuts
Whatever else - I did 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and 1/4 ish cup milled flax seeds

Melt first 4 ingredients together in saucepan. In separate bowl, mix rest. Add wet mixture to dry and mix. Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 min. The longer, the crunchier!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hwelcome to the Hwangs!

Our new home! Our new address!

1188 Harbor Point Drive,
Norton Shores, MI 49441!!!

Our Forever Home? Well, no, we're still looking forward to that. But we love this Temporary Home!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Forever Home

I have been dreaming of my "Forever Home" for years now. Don't get me wrong, I love our present house because Ed and I designed and built it together and our babies were born here. I love our neighbors and looking out over a pond. But it doesn't feel permanent to me for whatever reason.

Ed and I have very different views of houses and what we like which is why we ended up building this one 8 years ago after 2 years of arguing over existing houses in the Holland area. Never did I think we would end up in Muskegon, but the Lord brought us here and it is where we belong. Muskegon gets a bad rap, if you ask me, and so we are committed to it because I love an underdog. And don't tell Ed, but I plan to add so many children to our family that we will boost Muskegon's appeal by populating it with adorable, well-behaved, intelligent, God-loving, contributing members of society. All brainwashed to grow up and reside in the same town they were raised in, very close to their mother.

So for the past few years, I've been keeping my eyes open and bombarding Ed with arguments as to why this is a great time to move despite the fact that our current home's value has plummeted. (We'll make it up on the other side! Duh!) But no down payment is no down payment and so we've been in our house for longer than we intended. Finally, last week, I convinced Ed to just look at a couple houses with me.

I found a 4,000 sq. ft. monstrosity and knew it had to be mine. We saw it and began conniving as to how we could afford it. It was a foreclosure, so it WAS a good deal. Something inside me was telling me it wasn't right (the Holy Spirit maybe? ya think?) But I silenced that little voice and forged ahead with working out the details as to how we could make it happen...

It sold the next morning as we were considering what kind of an offer to make.

I was crushed until I sat down later that day to read my daily devotion. This is the passage I was up to:

Woe to you who add house to house

and join field to field

till no space is left

and you live alone in the land.

The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing:

"Surely the great houses will become desolate,

the fine mansions left without occupants..."
Isaiah 5:8-10

And then my BSF lesson led me here:

...the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants...Leviticus 25:23b.

It reminds me of that Carrie Underwood song, Temporary Home, I think it's called. I've been searching for my Forever Home, trying to wheel and deal and argue and plead for some giant house for our family to "rattle around in" as Saskia puts it. But the fact is, I KNOW where our Forever Home is. It is in Heaven with the Lord God Almighty. We are merely passing through here on our journey home. I am doing a disservice to my children by teaching them to become attached to any earthly thing. Of course I want a place for us to call home here on Earth that feels right for many, many years, but the Lord tells us that all this will...burn in the end.

And so my perspective and my terminology have been changed. I'm still looking for our next home, but it really will still only be a Temporary Home. Who knows what plans the Lord has for us and where He will lead us? I never expected Muskegon, but His plans are always better than mine. Take a look at THIS real estate listing:

"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create,

for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight

and its people a joy.

I will rejoice over Jerusalem

and take delight in my people;

the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

Never again will there be in it

an infant who lives but a few days,

or an old man who does not live out his years;

he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth;

he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

They will build houses and dwell in them;

they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

No longer will they build houses and others live in them,

or plant and others eat.

For as the days of a tree,

so will be the days of my people;

my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.

They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune;

for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,

they and their descendants with them.

Before they call I will answer;

while they are still speaking I will hear.

The wolf and the lamb will feed together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox,

but dust will be the serpent's food.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,"

says the Lord.

Isaiah 65:17-25

Now THAT is what I call a Forever Home.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How I Welcomed Ed Home From His Most Recent Absence

Don't worry - it's not what you think. Ed's love language is candy.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Case of the Missing Hotdogs

I watched my nephew, Trey, last weekend. While putting together another gourmet meal (corndog muffins), I went to add the hotdogs (yes, I use a recipe that calls for hotdogs) and noticed 2 of the hotdogs were missing from the countertop. I peeked into the playroom to find this:

That is Sam and Trey, dressed in their diapers alone, very happily eating cold hotdogs. I'm not sure I should be admitting to this style of parenting (or babysitting, for that matter), but I'm fairly confident that less than 5 people will actually read this.

Oh, and for the record, my corndog muffins were delicious. They taste exactly like Pronto Pups. Sask, tell Molly I not only use recipes that call for KETCHUP, but also those that call for HOTDOGS. The recipe for the cornbread is below, just make the batter, pour into muffin pan, and add 1/3 HOTDOG to each muffin cup. Gourmet? No. Delish? Oh, yes.

World’s Best Honey Cornbread
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 1/3 cups milk
2 1/3 cups flour
1 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup corn meal
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream sugar and butter. Add in eggs, honey and milk and mix well.
Mix together flour, baking powder, corn meal and salt. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients carefully. Do not overmix. Batter will be lumpy.
Pour batter in greased 11×14-inch baking pan. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

This recipe was found here:© Copyright 2011 Money Saving Mom®. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bye Bye iPhone

I was just getting attached to my iPhone and had it on my to-do list to learn how to upload pics directly from my iPhone to my blog so I could keep this up a little better.

Well, that's not going to happen after this morning's Sam debaucle: he dropped my iPhone into the toilet -- while Jake was relieving himself. Sam then brought it to me, dripping wet, and Jake informed me what had happened. Jake was delighted. Ed tried to revive it, but it seems that the pee-pee did it in. Add it to the list of things Sam has dropped into the toilet: air freshener, hair spray, massive amounts of toilet paper, several bouncy balls, cat food, and my toothbrush -- I'm just glad no one retrieved that one w/o telling me.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good Morning, Grandpa

This post is for Dad/Grandpa, currently recovering at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore after receiving a bone marrow transplant from Super Ed.

We try to begin each day with breakfast (well, we always do breakfast) and a Bible story and a prayer, and you, Dad, are always in our prayers. So each morning, remember that this sweet and sleepy face is thinking of you!

We love you, Dad! Now hurry up and come home!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pep Talk

Jake and Claudia were headed over to the our beloved neighbors, the Tiesmas, today. As always, I reminded them of a few ground rules, a pep talk, if you will: pick up after yourselves, remember your manners, and share the toys. I don't know that these pep talks ever actually make a difference. Carrie assures me that my kids are great at their house, but Claudia usually comes home and, when asked if she thanked them, gets a little sheepish grin and admits that she forgot. But Jake had an idea today. "Mom, how about you write each rule down on a piece of paper and I can hold them and look at them to remember!" He was so proud of himself and hopeful that this idea, THIS one, would help make the difference for him... So sweet, then his eyebrows furrowed and he remembered, "But I can't read." Oh, how I love that boy! And then he suggested Claudia could periodically read the notes to him, but, alas, I sent them over without written reminders and hoped for the best.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sam's First Birthday Party

How can I convey the joy I felt today? I'll let these pictures speak for themselves...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

An Excellent Way to Spend the Super Bowl...

I've been sucked in to Picasa. Have you tried it? It's fabulous and free and provided me with hours of entertainment tonight as I goofed around and made our new blog header instead of watching the Super Bowl.

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Wedding Slideshow

Want to see what occupied much of our time this past fall? Click on the link to see a slideshow of Katie & Joe's wedding...beautiful! password: elms

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Oh Sam, how we love you...

Your full set of teeth, your chunky cheeks and chin, your naughty little grin. Why must you be so stinking cute? It's making it very difficult to discipline you when you climb the stairs, splash in the kitty's water, and bite your mommy's shoulder. You are so...HAPPY...and we love you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sometimes I just have to record the conversations I overhear...

Claudia: Jake, you're in my room. That means I have to give you a test.

Jake: Okay.

C: Do boys like princesses? [These questions come in rapid succession.]

J: Yes.

C: Do boys like makeup?

J: Yes.

C: Do boys like dolls?

J: Yes.

C: Do boys like Transformers?


C: Do boys like Batman?

J: No.

C: Do boys like Star Wars?

J: No.

C: Do boys like birthdays?

J: No.

C: Do boys like rats? [This one threw me off.]

J: No.

C: Okay, you can stay.