Swamp “Preserve”

A few weeks ago we just wanted to get out of town for a bit and ended up going to the Swamp Preserve. Josh and I went when Lincoln was still in the belly and it wasn’t finished yet, so we thought it’d be fun to go now that everything is done.


They drained the swamp. Yes, that’s right. At the location named the Swamp Preserve… they drained the swamp. Please, someone explain that to me.

Anyway, we did get some fun pictures.

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They’re also putting in a “zoo.” Yeah. One cage had some peacocks and chickens and the other was empty. Neither were larger than a standard back yard in the states. So. Weird.

Chicken Spaghetti

So, we technically haven’t tried this one yet… but I’m scared I’m gonna lose the paper before we even get to try. 

1 lb spaghetti, broken in 2-to-3-inch pieces
1 to 2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 Tbsp seasoning salt or lemon pepper
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 to 2 cans cream of mushroom soup

Preheat oven to 350. Boil noodles in broth and water according to package directions. Drain noodles, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. In a baking dish, place noodles, chicken, onion, bell pepper, 1.5 cups cheese and seasonings. Add one can of soup and stir in a little of the reserved liquid until desired consistency. If too dry, add other can of soup. Stir until combined. Cover with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until bubbly.

Cheesy Tomato Stroganoff

Another recipe I don’t want to lose and I ran out of recipe cards… I’m recording it like the recipe says, but I think it would be better with more of the yogurt/cream cheese mix.

1 lb wide egg noodles
1 lb ground beef (we used turkey)
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz sour cream (we used the yogurt here…. like greek yogurt)
3 green onions, sliced (we left these out)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Boil noodles and set aside. Brown ground beef and drain. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, salt and garlic powder to beef. In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese, sour cream and green onions. Layer ingredients in a 9×13 pan or two 8×8 pans: first noodles, then beef and tomatoes, and then cream cheese mixture. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. 

We found SNOW!!!

On Sunday after church, we headed out east for what we think will be our last trip out there before we head back stateside. Sad, but exciting at the same time. We looked up the weather forecast before we went and thought we packed accordingly, but it was way, way colder than we anticipated…. especially once we got up into the mountains. We had Lincoln in 2 onesies, socks and a fleece sleeper and he still needed a blanket. I had on 3 shirts, thick pants and 2 pairs of socks and was still freezing.

Anyway, other than being a bit chilly, it was a good trip. Josh got to reconnect with the friends he met and say goodbye, which was the whole point in going. We made it to all our destinations except the highest village… because the road was impassable. We did try, though. And once we skidded and slid back twice, we decided that it just wasn’t going to happen. The road looked like this:

Lincoln loves being outdoors. And he LOVES loves loves dogs. Seriously. At the pansyon we stayed at they had a golden…. by the end of our time there he was running away from the boy. And he kept chasing street dogs to pet them, but that’s gross so we kept him away!

Anyway, here are a few pics we snapped (well, Josh snapped):

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Lincoln’s bedtime since our trip to the states has been 8pm. Until yesterday, I made sure he was awake by 7am in the morning to protect his nap schedule since he still napped twice a day. Well, thanks to exigent circumstances, he only did one nap yesterday (and it’s time to drop the morning nap anyway), so we let him sleep til he wakes up now. 

Yesterday he slept until 7:40. 

Today he slept until 8:30. EIGHT THIRTY! Seriously. That’s 12.5 hours. And I went to bed pretty early last night too, at 9:30, so that means I got over 10 hours of sleep. Or at least, I was in the bed for over 10 hours. Sleep is a bit elusive right now. 

Man, I want him to keep this up! But next week is the dreaded time change, so we’ll see what happens. 

On another note, I’m giving up sugar (like candy, desserts, and hopefully soda) until Halloween. Not that we have halloween here, but it’s a good goal. So, for 12 days. I’m gonna die. But I have to write about it or I’ll just give in and eat things anyway because I have no will power. 

15 Months

Well, time continues to pass and I continue to deny it. And somehow it’s October 14, 2013 and Lincoln is 15 months old. I seriously feel like Josh’s parents were just here… it’s been a year. And this crazy boy is so much fun!

A few recent antics:

As I was typing the last sentence, Lincoln was walking on the couch, stepped to the edge, giggled at Josh and jumped off. No, we didn’t let him really jump off. Josh just flipped him and bounced him and laid him on the ground. One day he’ll learn, right?

A few nights ago we were at our friends house and Lincoln started pushing the buttons on the cable box and dvd player. The first time I said, “No sir!” he stopped and walked away. When he started doing it again, he didn’t respond so great to correction and I had to pop his hand. He didn’t cry, but turned around and walked toward Josh pointing at the hand I had to pop with this pitiful look on his face like, “Did you see what she did?”

This morning Josh went to take a nap and I was trying to keep Lincoln in the living room. He walked to the door, opened it a crack, waved bye-bye and walked to the back to find Josh. Apparently he didn’t want to play with mommy today.

He had his first chocolate chip cookie last night:

He loved it. And it was EVERYWHERE. This was the first time we actually took him from the dinner table and put him in the bath tub.

His favorite words are dog (daaahhh) and uh-oh, which is hilarious. He doesn’t have a ton of words, but there are a few noticeable ones, at least. He’ll throw a word out while we’re out walking and then not say it again for a few weeks. He’s so stubborn.

He’s a champ at saying bye-bye, unless we’re trying to get him to say it to our building manager… in which case he just stares at him every time. And every time, he makes some comment like, “What, he hasn’t learned bye-bye yet?” Oh well.

We were on this awesome nap schedule, and all the sudden he’s going crazy every single time we lay him down. I think it’s time to drop the morning nap and just have one nap a day, but we’re going out east next week and I don’t want to change his schedule up and then travel.

He’s eating….. better. But we still can’t get him to eat fruits or veggies unless it’s cooked in something. Like tonight, we made these and he ate as much as I did. He even ate the chicken!

Josh has an old cell phone that we couldn’t get unlocked to use here, so he put music on it and Lincoln has been walking around with it glued to his ear for a week. Who is he talking to?

Then there’s the Peanuts christmas book that plays 10 complete christmas songs. We’re on the second set of batteries. I don’t know if we’re gonna survive the holiday season if we have to listen to that book this much. Thanks a lot mom, thanks a lot.

And today. He has busted a lip, bitten his finger, closed his finger in a drawer and hit his cheek on the corner of a toy. Ugh, battle wounds. Usually, they either follow or are followed by his newly found favorite past time… tantrums. Oh, joy. They’re not bad yet, but I know it’s coming. Pray for patience.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ok, I don’t normally post recipes on the blog…. but these were REALLY good and I don’t trust myself to make it through an overseas move (or even to next month) with this little scrap of magazine still intact and findable. So, mostly so I won’t lose the recipe but also to share:

From some magazine my mom sent… Shape or Health or something…

3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup extra-light olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread oats on a baking sheet; toast for 10 minutes. Remove and turn off oven.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat together oil, butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Add egg, egg white and vanilla, beating until well combined. Fold in oats, flour mixture and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place rounded teaspoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on sheets, transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

ANNNND, if you haven’t figured it out by the ingredients, these are a ‘healthified’ version of chocolate chip cookies: 108 calories instead of 237 for 2 cookies and 5 grams of fat compared to 12. Score.

Packages, Packages.

Just when we were on a roll with getting intact packages….

Mom sent a package 3.5 weeks ago and I was getting a little worried that it wasn’t here yet. Well, today we got a registered envelope with a note inside that said there were ‘forbidden’ things in our package and if we would like to pick up what we can, we can get it at the local post office.

So off we went to the post office with our letter in hand. The guy we need to talk to is out to lunch (even though we went before noon to avoid that very problem). So Lincoln roamed around and had a good time in the waiting area until he got there. We hand him the letter and say we understand what it says but we don’t understand because we’ve gotten said ‘forbidden’ things in packages for 2 years now. He just says, yeah, there’s a low and it’s ‘forbidden’. Ok, dude, whatever. He tells us what we have to do to get our package and sends us on our way.

That’s when the scavenger hunt begins. We have to go to customs, so we follow the signs…. and end up at the wrong gate. We drive around to the other side and explain our situation to the guard who just points and says, yeah, over there by the trucks. It’s a harbor. There are trucks EVERYWHERE. We go to the building we think he pointed at (and it says ‘CUSTOMS’ on the side). Wrong building. Go over there by the trees. So we follow the road to the trees and there’s a building with another ‘CUSTOMS’ sign. Check. There’s only one door, so we go in. Turns out we’re at the back of the building and you can’t get through to the rest of the building from here. They take us around the outside to the front (which we could have found had the road not been blocked to get there).

We’re in the right place! Office number 1: explain our issue, sign a handwritten request to get our stuff. Office number 2: head guy looks at the request and says he approves. Office number 3: I have no idea what they did, but we had to wait a while because their system was down. Office number 4: The handwritten request is typed up in a more formal way and we sign again.

Then back to the original post office where our package had been waiting the whole time. 2 hours later, we made it home with our goods. At least Lincoln had fun running around meeting all the new people. One lady even picked him up and he just laid his head on her shoulder like she was his long lost friend or something.

Seeing as how I’ve never gotten an package in the states from overseas… do we have weird laws about what you can and can’t get. I mean, obviously no weapons or drugs, but are there laws against normal things like lotion? It’s just so weird.