D's Sunset Pictures

July 29, 2013

I'm Leavin' On a Jet Plane!

July 27, 2013

  I'm leaving at the end of next week for trip back to the US.  I've kept pretty quiet about it because I wasn't certain until recently that it was actually going to happen.  I'll be spending three weeks in the US, in DC specifically, for work.  I'd originally hoped that I could bring one of the kids with me on my trip but that didn't work out, so I'll be traveling solo for the first time in about eight years.  I'm dreading the trip a little bit, not because DC won't be fun but I'm really going to miss my family and I think I'll be pretty bored without two kids and a husband to fill up my time. 
  I'll be staying in a nice hotel, learning things for my new job, and then eating out in restaurants, going to museums and movies, and making the best of it.  Since this isn't really a family trip, I'll be blogging about it at my old travel blog Amber On The Road.  Click on over to see what I'm up to.  D will be on his own with the kids- don't worry, I've got lots of help lined up for him- and hopefully he'll find a free minute or two to post here.

Fire's Haircut

July 26, 2013

Fire got a haircut the other day. Isn't he handsome!
Hip too- can you see what D finally let me do?


Easy Eggplant Parmesan

July 24, 2013

  D and I love eggplant and it makes a great vehicle for fried-crunchiness and cheese but since making real Eggplant Parmesan is pretty time consuming, we haven't made it since we started our family.  I found this recipe in a Real Simple magazine recently and was pretty excited to try it.  It was easy to make and only took an hour and the best part- no frying! The kids ate it and D and I had seconds. I hope you like it too! We served ours with some home-made garlic bread I modified the recipe a little with instructions on making your own sauce, but the stuff in the jar would work fine too.  You could also add some sauteed onions and mushrooms, or some cooked Italian sausage to round out the meal.

- 2 medium eggplants
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1 can of Italian-style diced tomatoes
- Italian seasonings to taste
- 12 oz mozzarella, sliced
-1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F.  Slice eggplants into 1/4 to 1/2 inch rounds and place in a large bowl with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Cover bowl and toss to coat eggplant.  Lay eggplant rounds out on baking sheets and bake until tender, about 20 minutes.
While the eggplant is baking, combine the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes in a saucepan.  Add any Italian seasonings to your taste (Mrs Da$h Garlic and Herb is a good go-to at our house) and simmer until you're ready to assemble everything.
Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 casserole and top with eggplant rounds (I used two layers since I sliced my eggplant on the thinner side). Top eggplant with half the remaining sauce, half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan cheese.  Add another layer of eggplant, sauce, and cheeses and then sprinkle the panko bread crumbs on top.  Bake at 400F for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned (I had to run mine under the broiler to finish browning the bread crumbs).

Glass Beach

July 22, 2013

  There's a beach on Kwaj called "Glass Beach".  It's down at the end of the runway, pretty far from town, but it's supposed to be the best place on the island to find sea glass so we when were finally able to get a cart, we headed out there with all the kids.  You have to time trips to Glass Beach with the tides and in-coming aircraft (getting hit by a 747's jet wash would take some of the fun out of the trip), but we got lucky and go there on an evening when there weren't any flights scheduled and the tide was just starting to come in. 
  D took a ton of pictures while we hunted for shells and sea glass and the kids played- here are the highlights:

What To Do With Four Kids Under Four on a Rainy Afternoon?

July 21, 2013

   It was pouring down rain on out on one of the mornings that I had all four kids, my two and my nephews, so the park was out as an entertainment option.  What to do, what to do?  I really didn't want to put on a movie and they were starting to get a little stir-crazy when I remembered the box of German chocolate cake mix I'd bought on sale the week before.  I set the two littles up to play at the sink and got the bigs set up at the mixer, helping me make cupcakes. 
  I wasn't sure how well it would work out but it turned out to be the perfect short term distraction.  Fire and I played happily with some plastic dishes and the sponges while Sky, R, and I made our cupcakes.  They loved running the mixer and then putting the cupcake wrappers in the pan and telling me which one to fill next. 
  I'd call that a win-win:  happy kids and cupcakes to show for it!

How Much Do I Love Having My Family Here?

July 20, 2013

  Having my brother and his family visit us here on Kwaj has been magical.  They're the first ones to come see us in our home and it's been wonderful just having them in our lives every day.  We have dinner together every night and make plans for the evening and for the next day.  The kids run around together and we have time to just talk about the nothing that we don't get to  when we only have an hour on the weekends.  L and I get to spend sister time together and J and D get to bond over guy stuff.  It's been so wonderful being able to share our lives here with them.

Dinosaur Capes!

July 19, 2013

   My kids have the best Aunt ever!  My sister-in-law L made them these dinosaur capes and they have been running around the house roaring ever since.  Thanks L!

Fire-saurus Rex


My Last Day to Wear Make-Up

July 18, 2013

 I've been meaning to write about this for over a month now - I kept thinking that I'd get to it and never did. 
 One day, about five or six weeks ago, I wore make-up for the last time.  I didn't know it was going to be my last day to wear it when I put on my eye liner, eye shadow, and mascara but I sure knew it when I took it off that night.  I haven't worn much make-up since we moved here- with the heat, it just doesn't make sense and I have a perpetual tan from the sun, so there's no need for cover-up or blush.  I had bought new eye make-up when we were in America in January as a part of my push to put more effort into how I looked (the dress code here even for work is pretty relaxed and I'd been worrying that I'd let myself take that relaxed look a step too far), and since I was wearing a dress that day, I put on eye make-up to accentuate it.
  D took Sky to school that morning so she didn't see me wearing it then but she noticed it almost as soon as I walked into her classroom to pick her up that afternoon.  She immediately said how much she liked the blue on my eyes (not 70s blue, kind of a blue-grey) and asked if she could have some on her eyes.  She made me close my eyes so she could look at my eye lids up close and she asked and asked for make up.  I told her no, that make-up is for grown-up ladies and that I would teach her how to wear it when she was a grown-up lady like Mama.
  I haven't worn make-up since that day.  One of the best things I've overheard a mom say to her daughter (responding to her pre-teen's request for make-up) was that she was so beautiful she didn't need make-up.  What a wonderful thing to say to a girl at that age- at any age!  I thought that was the perfect answer from the moment I heard it and I want to make sure my daughter knows it- that she is beautiful just the way she is and that she doesn't need to add or subtract anything from it in order to be beautiful. 
  One of the best ways to teach behaviors to kids is to model them, so that's what I'm going to do.  If I want Sky to believe that she is inherently beautiful, I need to believe it and model it myself.  So as much as I think eye make-up makes me look nicer and makes me feel better about myself, I won't be wearing any.  Hopefully if Mama knows that she's beautiful, this girl will grow up knowing it too.

Spiders in the Basement?

July 16, 2013

Do you have spiders in your basement?  That used to creep me out when I lived in the states but nothing beats what I found in my grill when I went to make dinner last night:

A Visit to the Fire Station

July 15, 2013

   Our neighbor Josh is one of the lieutenants at the fire station here and when he heard that my family was visiting and that they had little kids, he offered to show them around the fire trucks.  The trip was a big hit with everyone- I think the pictures say it all!

Moms: "Let's get a cute picture of all the kids in their hats with the fire dog!"
Kids: "Let's coordinate this so that we're all looking in different directions or doing something silly every time the moms take a picture!"

Our Charmed Life. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.