Friday Night Feast

Many Friday nights will find us having dinner with our friends, usually at Danny and Sarah’s house. Our dinners started as Sunday brunches and evolved into Super Soup Sunday’s and then to Friday Night dinners. Our meals are always pot luck and usually the best tasting and healthiest of the week. There is something special about bringing different dishes into one meal that makes them tender and tasty. Sometimes we have a theme, but more often then not it’s a free for all. Sometimes it’s just four of us and sometimes there’s up to 10 people. There is always enough food for all and anyone who visits us in Idaho is welcome!

This weeks dinner friends starting from 12:00 and going clockwise: Sarah, Luke, Me, Ashley, Olivia, Lucy, Chelsea, Shaun, and Danny (taking the picture)
The meal included:
  • grilled chicken and steak, pan fried tofu
  • sauted green beans and mushrooms with garlic
  • cumin rice
  • veggie salad with dried cranberries
  • crusty rosemary bread
  • for dessert: tasty crepes with Nutella, fruit and whipped cream, yum!

Can I just give a moment of thanks for Nutella here? I LOVE this stuff. It’s a hazelnut chocolate spread that has the consistency of peanut butter. It can go on toast, crepes, fruit, or my personal favorite, right off a spoon. Really, the sky is the limit. Try it, it is a truly tender treat.

 Remaining crepe dessert, tasty!

And anytime we have dinner at Sarah and Danny’s house there are always the doggies. Here is Olivia lovin’ on Mateo.

Ode To My Family

At the core of this tender life is family. Mine started out with my mom Mary Mike, dad Craig and I. Then came along my fantastic younger brother Steve. For a long time it was just the four of us and I had an idyllic upbringing. Of course we had our issues, as any family, but for the most part we got along and appreciated the best in each other.

                                      Mom and I making baby quilts

                                      My Lovely Mother

                                               Dad Walking Me Down The Aisle

My parents have been together for 35+ years and have been married for at least 30 of those years. They are still together today, for better or worse. As a child they provided us with dance lessons, music lessons, sports, a commitment to academics, family dinners, gardening, cooking, art, summer camps and all sorts of travel around the world. It was pretty wonderful. Their commitment to our family has inspired my husband and I to continue my own family here in Idaho.

My brother and I got along better than most. The extent of our sibling arguments have come to be known as “gatorade fights”, they were few and far between. More often than not we played school, hide and seek with neighbors, danced, or wrestled on a futon in the living room. We were best of friends.

                                               My Sweet Brother

When I was nearly 20, I met the man that became my husband Luke. We were in college and had no idea that eight years later we would be married and in a decade we would be expecting a child together. Before we started dating, it was my criteria that the next person I had a relationship with would have a good relationship with their own family. Lucky for Luke, he comes from a wonderful family, lead by a strong, funny and beautiful woman that is now my mother in law. He also has two amazing sisters who are busy following dreams and being awesome people, in general. I couldn’t ask for a better extended family then the one Luke has brought into my life.

                                      Mama Bear Alton

                                      Beautiful Sisters In Law

In the last decade I have seen Luke go from goofy college kid to dedicated partner and most recently expectant father. Just the other day he pledged his commitment to providing for our family so that I can stay home and be a mom and that we may continue to be successful in all we do. What pregnant woman wouldn’t want to hear that? I’m pretty convinced that together he and I can accomplish anything we set out to do. We have watched each other grow and change and have continued to show love and respect for each other the whole time. I’m pretty confidant that with our history, we are going to continue having a great, prosperous and fantastic life together. And that’s pretty tender!

                                                     All Dressed Up

                                                  Tender Kiss

                                      Love ‘Em All

Simple Snowy Pleasure

During the winter I have often seen people, often elderly, shoveling their sidewalks/driveways early in the morning and while it is still snowing. My neighbor, who is pushing 90, sweeps her walkway every hour on the hour during a snow day. During each of these times I wondered why on earth they were doing this in the middle of the very weather that caused the work. Now I know. It is WAY easier to keep your house clean if there isn’t snow at the entrance of your home and you are much less likely to break your neck if there isn’t weeks of compacted snow and ice on the ground.

It seems so simple, but until my front yard had been dumped with inches and inches of snow for the last month, I had no concept. I don’t know if it’s because I’m pregnant, staying at home, or just crazy, but I LOVE shoveling snow. There is something so gratifying about peeling fluffy white snow away from the ground. The way that snow shovels are shaped allows the snow to fly in curls and waves to it’s final destination. Sprinkling snow melt is akin to a science experiment, watching ice turn to water with the fleck of a wrist. Plus, I like the fact that I don’t have to wear boots to take out the trash or get the mail. Whatever the reason, I’m lucky that I now have the time and consciousness to appreciate this small snowy pleasure.

Now for the requested belly photos that have been requested. Happy shoveling!

                                               11 Weeks Pregnant

                                               37 Weeks Pregnant

Today’s Tender Tidbits

My husband and I share 1 car, a 2001 Toyota Corolla. It’s small, has 2 wheel drive, gets good gas mileage, and my husband can squeeze his 6’4″ frame into the drivers seat. I like to consider our household “car-lite” which is better for the environment.  However, it is mostly just economical. Since I don’t go into work everyday, I drive the car one day a week, in order to get errands done around town. In the warmer seasons I’m happy to ride my bike, which is a great bonus of living in a city. However, in the winter a car is more necessary. Today was my turn to use the car and this made for a long day. It was also a day that a snow storm decided to blow into town. Being a California girl from the central coast I never really drove in the snow, but having lived in Idaho for the last 6 years, I’m beginning to get used to it.

Running all my errands forced me to consider our current income and how it is changing now that I am not earning a paycheck. With two incomes and no children yet, I could be pretty loose with my budget, but that’s all changing. I now have to consider every purchase I make, and am beginning to understand coupon clippers and bargain shoppers. While it may seem naive, I’m going to have to learn to budget anew and find pleasure in the art of the deal. Money is not what will make me happy, although I would be lying if I denied the sense of pleasure I get when spending it on all manner of goodies. Real happiness can be found in my list of tiny tender treasures from today:

  • Getting my tires rotated makes me feel responsible. Best part it’s totally FREE!
  • Leisurely enjoying a latte
  • Coming home to a warm house
  • Snowflakes
  • Figuring out how to decorate my pregnant belly casting
  • Watching my husband, focusing with eyes closed, listen to our baby’s heartbeat through a fetoscope

                     Tender Memory: Visiting Mont Sainte Michael on our honeymoon to France