July 30, 2011

  I have been working on this cross stitch for Sky's room since February and finally finished it yesterday.  It's one that I'm particularly proud of because the little girl in it was supposed to be white with blond hair but I wanted to change her to look like Sky.  So I went through all my leftover thread, found all the browns, and made the little girl a beautiful chocolate color with black hair.  I think it turned out perfect and can't wait to get it framed and hung in her room.  Next project: a banky for my new niece or nephew!

This is the orignal design:

And this is how mine came out:

PS: yes, I left out the ribbon on the hat- I didn't think the picture needed it and I like the way the flowers on the hat looked without it.

Birthday Party!

July 28, 2011

   Sky was invited to her first birthday party last weekend.   A boy in her pre-school was turning three and the family invited a bunch of his friends and their partents to the Rec center for the party.  K's mom is from China and made wonderful Chinese food and there were cupcakes, a piñata, and icecream cake.  Sky had tons of fun playing with her friends.  She was so tired from playing at the party that she fell asleep almost as soon as she got home afterward.

 Thanks for the party clothes, Fairy Godmother!

Enough Talking, Show Us Some Pictures!

July 22, 2011

  I know it's been a while since I've uploaded pictures, so here you go, a post full of cuteness!

We start drinking early in our house!

Budget Cuts

July 18, 2011

  It's that time of year again, budget season.  The Army's budget for next year has been cut again, by 13% this time and that means big changes here.  No one knows yet exactly what the the changes will be but the company is talking about layoffs again.  An article in the RMI Journal last week said that there may 40-50 contractors laid off, 100 island-hires laid off and 100 island-hires will have their hours cut in half.    That's 40 to 50 friends we may not see again.  That's 200 Marshallese who will have to find another way to feed their families.
   I know why the Army makes big budget cuts here and I can appreciate why they can't make those same kind of cuts everywhere, but the uncertainty that this brings to our lives every year is hard.  Last year, it worked in our favor.   D did get laid off but he was able to get another job at a different radar, a job with a promotion and status change, which meant that we got a house and were able to adopt our wonderful daughter.  This year, who knows?  We both work for smaller departments and both are considered mission-essential by the Army,  but that's not a guarantee that one of us won't be laid off. 
  I know, I know, times are tough, really tough, for folks back in the states and why am I complaining?  I live in paradise, don't have to pay for my house, don't need to pay for a car. If I got laid off money would get tight,  but if D got laid off our whole world would change.  We would have to leave Kwaj, because the house we live in comes with his job.  It would mean that we couldn't adopt another daughter here like we hope to, and that Sky (and that someday-sister) won't be able to grow up in their birth-culture.
  Not that we don't have something to fall back on or anywhere to go but it's hard not to worry when you're life is a number in someone else's hands.  I have to keep reminding myself:

Matthew 6, 34
 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble".


July 12, 2011

Yup, we got sick last week, with a pretty nasty stomach bug.  D got it first, then Sky, then me.  Luckily, Sky didn't get it very bad.  Both D and I were down for a full day a each and are still pretty worn out from it.  On a positive note, we both lost about five pounds from it :).  So we've been taking things kind of slow around here lately and not doing too much.  Here are a few highlights though:

-We finally got our vacuum from our friends on Roi and D LOVES it.  Sky and the cat, not so much.
-Sky is refusing to sit her highchair.  She wants to sit at the table with us, like a big girl.  D wrapped three textbooks up in a garbage bag to make a booster seat and now we're working on how to sit in chairs properly. 
-One of the girls at pre-school that Sky plays with told her, "Jab jebwe! Nana!"  which means "No touching! Bad!".  Sky has played with her quite a bit out of school, so she probably heard me say it. What makes it doubly funny is that she's only two and a half and has cochlear implants and is still learning english herself! 
-D pointed out one of the obvious changes to our lives since we brought Sky home: milk. We used to buy one every once in a while.  Now we buy 3 a week.  Crazy.
-We've decided to go to Thailand for a family vacation in December.  We're only going for 10 days and we're not going to do too much, but we're really starting to look forward to the trip.

Coconut Creme Roulade

July 7, 2011

As requested, my coconut desert recipe from the 4th of July beach party.  Some tips about roll cakes that I learned the hard way: Work fast!  Have the icing and chocolate ready to go when the cake comes out of the oven.  Also, don't over-bake the cake.  You want it to be as pliable as possible so it doesn't crack when you roll it.  But if it does crack, just fill the crack with icing- it'll still taste good!

I hope you all like it as much as the Kwaj folks did!

Coconut Crème Roulade

3 eggs
1 Cup granulated sugar
¾ Cup flour
1 Tsp baking powder
¼ Tsp salt
2 Tbsp cream of coconut
3 Tbsp hot water
1 Tsp vanilla
½ Cup chopped shaved coconut
½ Cup toasted coconut
½ Cup semi-sweet chocolate shavings
Confectioner’s sugar

Coconut Crème
8 oz evaporated milk
1 Cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
½ Cup unsalted butter
1Tsp vanilla extract
½ Cup chopped shaved coconut

To make crème:
  Combine milk, sugar and egg yolks in a cold sauce pan and whisk until blended. Add butter to pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Mixture will thicken after 12-13 minutes.  Once thickened, remove from heat and pour into mixing bowl.  Add vanilla and coconut and beat until cool.   Can be used immediately but will thicken more when refrigerated.

To make cake:
  Heat oven to 375°.  Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper or waxed paper and grease.  In a small bowl, beat eggs about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored.  Pour eggs into larger mixing bowl and gradually beat in granulated sugar.  Add cream of coconut to hot water in a small bowl and mix until blended; add to egg and sugar mixture.  Mix in vanilla and chopped, shaved coconut.  Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth.  Pour into pan, spreading batter evenly.
  Bake 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Loosen cake from the edges of the pan with a knife; invert onto a dishtowel sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar. While cake is still hot, spread coconut crème and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.  Roll cake tightly up from the narrow end.  Wrap in sugared towel and cool on a wire rack. 
  When cake is cool, frost with remaining crème and sprinkle with chopped coconut.  Serves 10.

4th of July on Kwajalein

July 4, 2011

 Sky's not sure about McGruff
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