Tag Archives: hubby

Homemade Vanilla :)

When we first moved back from Hawaii my MIL gave me some homemade vanilla, which was amazing.  I finally made pancakes with them that my hubby actually liked with it.  When I ran out I tried all sorts of things to get that taste: imitation vanilla, putting in an insane amount of the imitation stuff, and buying store brand real vanilla.  But nothing worked, I couldn’t get that pure vanilla taste that my husband liked so much in his pancakes.  So I decided to make my own.  It’s actually very easy to do, and healthier (the imitation vanilla is full of bad stuff surprise surprise!), and one blog I read even tried to claim it’s cheaper.  I’m not sure I’m believing that last one since imitation vanilla is soooo cheap, but since I didn’t keep track of my expenses this time around I still don’t know for sure.

All you need are vanilla beans, an empty bottle and vodka. I had never been in a  liquor store before and I made sure the guy helping me knew I was making vanilla out of all this vodka I was buying, not drinking it! Not that he cared one bit, it just made me feel better telling him that. 😉


Slice each vanilla bean almost to the top so it is split open:

IMG_0339 IMG_0340

Put the beans in your empty bottle and add vodka. I made 1 quart of vanilla, so I needed 20 vanilla beans and a quart of vanilla.



Now you just let it sit for a long time in a cool dark place until it’s ready. You should shake it about once a week to stir up the beans.  I got a lot of different times on how long to let it sit, anywhere from 8 weeks to 6 months!  Mine sat about 5 1/2 months.

When you think it’s done you need to strain it.  A lot of places I read said to strain it into a coffee filter so you don’t get all the seeds, but I didn’t have one and most of my seeds stayed at the bottom of the bottle anyway.


Then I poured the strained vanilla into a new bottle, I didn’t have a funnel so I

made one out of the vodka bottle. 😉


And that’s all it takes ladies (and I guess any gentlemen that read this blog?)


I put all the beans and the vodka I had left over from the first batch into the same bottle with all the seeds to sit another 6 months. I guess you can use the beans twice, so maybe it is cheaper than the imitation stuff?

And finally a picture of the pancakes I made that morning with the ‘real vanilla’.  I’d have to say, I’m kind of disappointed as they did not taste the same way as the first ones 2 1/2 years ago did.  There are several kinds of vanilla beans, so maybe I didn’t get the same kind.  Or maybe I didn’t let it sit long enough and isn’t very strong vanilla. I also wasn’t very good at remembering to shake the bottle, so maybe that was it? The very interesting thing is that the pancakes turned out very fluffy, which they hadn’t been all these years I’ve made them with the imitation vanilla.  Does vodka make pancakes fluffy? 🙂


Saying good bye, Denver, and going home

After not enough days we said our goodbyes at the reunion.  Next time I think we need more days to sit around a talk. (I’m sure my introverted hubby wouldn’t agree with me though).

IMG_1040 IMG_1041

Our little cabin, and saying goodbye to Kala. We are both pregnant here: Kala is about 8 weeks I think she said, and I was about 18. 😉

IMG_1038 IMG_1039

Pictures from my A. Mimi:

the beard picture:


The whole group:


After we said good bye we left James with my mom and took my two little brothers, Levi and Lincoln, to Denver with us to look for houses.  It was a very frustrating time in Denver.  Apparently the housing market is booming there and stuff is renting or selling extremely fast. I had spent quite a bit of time looking on the internet and making calls before we left, and while we where there I spent hours. Out of the all the e-mails I sent, and phone messages I left only two people called back.  But they were very helpful in the info they gave me.  I found out that we wouldn’t even qualify for the houses we were interested in until Titus has his part-time job.  All in all it was a complete waste of time and money.  We left Denver deciding A. to just live in the hotel we were staying at or B.  get temporary housing and find a permanent house after we move there.  I like option A. 🙂 We have stayed at that hotel twice now and we know the area and how to get to a few places already. ha ha.  With option B, I really really didn’t want to move twice.  Especially since a new baby is coming in December.   But it seems that it’s the best way to go, and most people moving there seem to do it that way.  I took a little time off since being home before looking again.  I thought temp housing would be cheaper, but of course it wouldn’t be.  They are all furnished too, so that means we are going to have to put all our stuff in storage now.  Lovely.  This is by far the most difficult move we have ever done.

Lincoln liked this restaurant we ate at in the Cherry Creek mall because they made smiley faces with the ketchup.


                      Believe it or not the morning we left to drive home Lincoln came down with the flu.  Up to this point this had been the very best trip we had ever gone on concerning our kids and sleep and over all holding up well.   So for the first 10 hours of the trip I A. nursed Gideon what seemed like constantly and B tried to find some kind of happy place while Lincoln threw up in a to go mug behind me. I have a weak stomach anyway but while pregnant it’s even worse!  We stopped at Cabella’s in Omaha to let everyone out for a bit.
IMG_1044 IMG_1046 IMG_1047 IMG_1051 IMG_1052 IMG_1054 IMG_1055

They had a little gun range there that all the boys liked.  Sadly it was not working so no one got to play.


It was a nice break!  By this time I was really tired of riding in the back.  Lincoln being sick and taking care of Gideon had just worn me out. So I told Titus I was ready to drive. After we switched Lincoln made a miraculous recovery, and even felt good enough to play with Gideon a bit. So Titus just sat back there doing nothing while I was stuck in the front trying to endure Levi’s non stop chatter about Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. After telling me about some guy that stabs some dude and then licks the blood off the knife I got sick again. Yes I’m serious.  By Worthington my stomach was hurting too and before I went to bed for the night both Titus and I had the flu.  Not the greatest conclusion to our trip, but it was a really really short flu so it really wasn’t that bad to get through.

It was so great to see James again. Below are the pictures of Titus showing James his presents since he didn’t get to go to Denver with us.These are some kind of mechanical bugs. I’m not terribly fond of them, but the boys thought they were great!

IMG_1058 IMG_1060

Titus also bought James a big spiral train track set for his train table.  It’s really nice. I over heard Titus say to James, “You are a lucky little boy. I never had something like this. I had to wait until I was 27 before I had one!”  Ha ha ha

IMG_1062 IMG_1063

And in conclusion, this is what happens when you get back from a long trip, and both parents get the flu.  Titus did his wonderful complete unpacking of the van, he does such a great job getting every last thing. Unfortunately he also did his normal dump-everything-right-inside-the-front-door-so-no-one-can-get-in-or-out specialty too. 🙂


The happiest day of my life.

I just finished reading a two-part series that went through 4 generations of women. It started with the great-grandma and ended with her great-granddaughter.  The great-grandma immigrated to the states and the rest of the story takes place there.  Needless to say the story included at least three wars: WW2, Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Titus has a medal for serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom).   If I had known that 3 of the 4 husbands would have gone to war I’m not sure I would have read it.  Even now so many years later war stories and movies still bring it all back.  July 4th will mark 3 years and 7 months since the day that Titus flew into Oahu, completely safe and sound.

It’s kind of a funny story.  I had bought a plane ticket for Nov 5th but a few weeks before Titus’ return date changed to Nov 4th.  I will be forever grateful to the man from the airlines that talked me into spending the $150 to change my ticket a measly 24 hours.  “Just do it. It’s worth it.  You need to be there.” And he was right.  Two of Titus’ friends’ wives picked me up from the airport, took me out to eat (Cheeseburger in Paradise) and let me stay the night with them.  I’ll admit I might not have told the whole truth when I talked to Titus, but is it a lie if you tell the truth in the end? 😉  Titus’ friends on the plane with him told him they had a surprise waiting for him when they landed.  He thought it was a gallon of milk.  He’s such a country, dairy farmer boy. 😉

I didn’t sleep well that night.  It had been 10 months since I had seen him, about six of those he had been in Afghan.  Did we still love each other?  Did we still have things in common? Were we the same people? So much had happened in those few months.  I had moved back to the states after living in Ecuador for 8 months.  My dad almost died.  Titus had been in a IED blast that totaled the truck he was driving. He lost a friend, Garcia, the same week Dad got sick.  He was in a fire fight. He was drained, emotionally and physically.

Nov 4th was hot.  I remember being so warm in the capris and poke a dot shirt I was wearing.  We drove to the military hanger.  It was everything you’d see in a movie: a band was playing, there were flags every where, some people had made big banners that said things like, “Welcome home Daddy”.

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

We all watched  the sky, waiting for the plane.

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

A wrong one came first, which made us all mad that they would get our hopes up like that.  Someone in the crowd told us that the men are let off the plane alphabetically by last name.  I had to wait for P. Sigh.  When the plane came there was a line of higher-ups that gave them leis and welcomed them home, then they were left to find their loved ones in the crowd of people waiting.

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

Titus was one of the first guys off, the whole alphabetically thing was not true. We looked at this picture and we both think the guy at the very very top might be Titus. 😀

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 2009_11_05_22_20_28

I was in the back and my plan was to wait until he saw me.  He wasn’t after all expecting to see me.  He thought he was going to pick me up later that day at the Honolulu airport.  But I was so happy to see him I ran up to him, put a lei around his neck and hugged him like there was no tomorrow. 😀  He had his gun in one hand and his computer case in the other, and he didn’t hug me back. It was like hugging a pine board. After a second he said, “Um, okay?”.  Ha ha ha, he didn’t know who it was hugging him.  He told me later that he thought I was one of his friend’s wives or something.  So I stepped back so he could get a good look at me.  Once the shock wore off he said, “You aren’t supposed to be here yet.” Now I had kinda thought it would take him awhile to process everything, so I wasn’t mad that he wasn’t more excited to see me.  Men need to think things through for a while sometimes.  We stood at the back and watched other people greeting each other. I distinctly remember this big guy with two huge duffel bags walking up to his girl, throwing the bags on the ground, and grabbing her and kissing her like there was no tomorrow. 🙂  It is a good memory, but at the time slightly awkward since Titus and I weren’t kissing each other yet (we waited until our wedding day).  Then they all had to leave on a bus to go turn in their guns, more waiting for us.  When they came back Titus was mentally ready to see me.  And gave me a big happy  hug.  It was the happiest day of my life.  Some women say it’s their wedding day, the day their first baby is born, maybe it’s your 16th birthday and your dad bought you a car, or the day you graduated from college.  But for me it is Nov 4th about 9:45 a.m.  The day God brought Titus safely home.  Thank you Jesus.

2_3 HOMECOMING 4NOV09 PART 2 2009_11_05_22_41_20

A quick note, I did not take any of these pictures.  My camera was broken and I didn’t have another one.  All the credit goes to Dog Barney Productions.  Thank you for being there and taking these pictures!  It’s the only picture I have of that week in Hawaii after Titus’ homecoming.

Reading books or watching movies that have war things in them is good for me in a way.  Even though I cry through them all (I almost cried writing this post!) it reminds me of how close I came to losing Titus.  It reminds me that I need to treat him like a hero every day, because that is what he is to me.  It reminds me of the things we went through, to have the very happy life we have now.  Just this week he cleaned the very messy house for me, and had flowers delivered just because.

IMG_0852         IMG_0851

He is so sweet, and I don’t deserve him.  I love you honey.  Thank you for serving, and thank you for marrying me.

Blog Make-over

Finally I have a pink blog. Thanks to my wonderful hubby for watching the kids all morning while I worked and worked on it.  Isn’t it beautiful?  I like it so much better now! Hopefully I will be happy and satisfied with it for a while now, before I want something different. 😉

With the new cute pink blog I am going to try to be more positive in what I write. I have wanted to be a wife and mother for a long time.  I would worry, as almost every single girl does, that I wouldn’t find “The One” and would never get to be a mother. So I came up with a back up plan in case that happened.  A plan that would still fill my life with children. But God in His infinite wisdom did bring a man into my life (quite the catch too if I may say so) and so far as blessed us with two beautiful and wonderful boys. The tender moments with my children are everything that I hoped for. The snuggling in the mornings, reading to them, rocking them to sleep, making yummy treats, and having birthday parties.  Being a big sister to 6 younger siblings also prepared me for the not so tender moments, the diapers, 2-year-old tantrums, and the word “NO” being tossed back in your face. 🙂 I wasn’t prepared, however, for all the crying, the neediness, the sleepless nights, the exhaustion of daily grumpy kids.  I wasn’t prepared for the stress of being good parents and the pressure from other people about how you are raising your kids.

“You mean your kids sleep with you?”

“Your child doesn’t sleep through the night yet?”

“You aren’t on a schedule?”

“My child can talk/sing/dance ect. at the age of 2!”

“You feed your kids that?”

You get the point. I used to dread the question, “Is he sleeping through the night yet?”.  Finally your baby gets to a certain age where they stop asking because they assume he is. (still waiting for that day on both kids. ha ha)

And being a wife. It’s great! I love my husband. I love being home when he gets here. I love making food. I don’t even mind the laundry or cleaning the bathroom. But every now and then I have these thoughts running through my mind that aren’t very loving. And sometimes, when he asks me if I want to do something for him I answer with, “No not really, but I will.” At least I’m honest right?

I love the word bliss, blissful.  It captures completely the kind of person I want to be. The kind of wife and mother I want to be
So along with a pink blog I am going to try to become more like Prov. 31:28. It is going to be slow going, and I’ll probably make many mistakes along the way. I’ll still get in bad moods, write complaining blogs, and be altogether miserable. But the in between times I hope to a blissful Prov. 31:28. Because that’s what I want for my husband. What I want for my children. To be the kind of wife and mother that is praised and blessed.
When I took on the roll of wife and mother, I took off the roll of me, mine, myself. At least for a season, however long that may be.

proverbs 31-28 yellow