Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The menu was as follows:
Roasted Tomato Soup
a delicious blend of roasted tomatoes, onion, and garlic pureed with herbs and cream to bring you comfort in a bowl
mixed greens tossed with pears, red onion, Gorgonzola, candied pecans, and finished with a red wine vinaigrette
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin alongside Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
pork tenderloin stuffed with apricots and cranberries- fruity, flavorful and festive
Trio of Cake Dips
dark chocolate covered cheesecake, triple chocolate with mint, and white chocolate pumpkin spice
I am happy to report that even at nearly 6 months pregnant, I kept up with Jen (my most amazing assistant EVER) in the kitchen. Although by the end of the evening I had developed quite a maternity waddle and I was unable to stand in the shower. But, the evening was very well-received and we were bestowed with many compliments.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The baby and therefore the belly seems to be bigger everyday. Literally, EVERYDAY.
We hosted Thanksgiving for our families this year. We have tons of space, but no place to sit. So we borrowed enough chairs to seat all 10 of us and eat all day. What better way to spend Thanksgiving?
This is my favorite picture from Thanksgiving: Adam carving a turkey for the first time. He did splendidly... although he did destroy that shirt.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
If you are the kind and wonderful person who found such awesomeness, thank you. You will make my son the coolest on the pool deck!
Friday, October 23, 2009
As for the process-what an amazing thing!! Really! I could see the little fingers and feet. I wish it could have lasted a little longer. But after 15 minutes of that lady poking Laura's abdomen Laura seemed ready to be done. Wow. I'm so excited.
We are now accepting gifts of Legos.
Monday, October 19, 2009
mural in the to-be-nurseryguest bathroom
Since moving in, we have been very busy covering the pink. The living room, dining room and master bedroom have been painted. The kitchen and guest bath went from pink and more pink to WHITE. Glorious white. The guest bath took two coats of primer and two of paint to cover the fuschia sponge paint. Adam was very dedicated to covering every speck of pink paint. Wallpaper was also removed.
Needless to say, according to current pregnancy guidelines (aka: dumb rules that don't let you do anything but I am sure are good for the baby) I was unable to help prime, paint or move. So, to stay busy, I baked a wedding cake. See previous post.
The paint supplies are now safely stored in the garage and no longer living in the dining room. Yay! We are still sort of in boxes. We have some furniture that was given to us for free (read: other peoples throw-away stuff) that we are hoping to replace as the finances appear. But we still have more space than we know what to do with.
We are so happy to have a space to really call our own. And to have some of the stuff that we haven't seen in over a year. Hello stand mixer, food processor and toaster oven! How I have missed you! Adam is also happy to visit Home Depot every other day for screws, paint, brackets, electrical outlets (yes, he turned off the electricity for that one!), etc, etc. He even pruned the avocado tree in the backyard and cleaned the garage.
So feel free to come visit, you will be sure to have your own room, but you might need to bring your own bed!We promise to put up some after pictures... once it starts to look a little more like an after in here.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Since this was my first wedding cake, I thought, why not go big? There were 500 guests, yes Five.Hundred.Guests at the wedding. In case you are unsure how that translates to cake... it means A LOT OF CAKE. The couple was highly, possibly morally, opposed to serving sheet cakes purchased from anywhere. They wanted every one of the 500 people to have the same shot at the wedding cake. So, I made more cake than I thought was necessary. The actual wedding cake was four tiers, each tier consisting of 3 layers. That is 12 cakes. Then, I made 3 sheet cakes, each with 2 layers. That is 6 cakes. Add them together, throw in the extra cake I had to make when I destroyed the first one and you get 19 cakes that I baked in 4 days. It was HOT in my kitchen. And my stand mixer was very tired.
The couple decided to go with all one kind of cake. Simpler for me. Vanilla buttermilk cake with strawberry lemon curd filling and buttercream frosting. It really was yummy and the filling was a beautiful pink color. Tasted like pink lemonade. How festive.
So, here is how it went down.
Day 1- juice a million lemons by hand for the lemon curd because store bought lemon juice is yuck
Day 2- bake 4 layers of 16" round cake... because this is what the first layer looked like when I tried to transfer it too soon. I knew it was too soon but I was impatient. I took a deep breath, snapped a picture, threw it away and then baked another layer.
Day 3- bake 3 layers of 12" round cake
Day 4-5 move (more on this later)
Day 6- bake 3 layers each of 8" and 4" round cakes
Day 7-8- unpack kitchen in our new home with my life-saving mother
Day 9- bake 6 layers of sheet cake
Day 10- make vat of strawberry lemon curd involving separating 4 dozen eggs
Day 11- make even bigger vat of buttercream frosting involving approximately 15 pounds of butter
Day 12- set up shop in church kitchen to layer cake, filling, cake, filling, cake, frosting and repeat for 7 separate cakes
Day 13- WEDDING DAY! assemble cake complete with plastic dowels and "please don't let this thing collapse on itself" prayers, add ribbon and piping, wait for florist to arrive with flowers, "assist" the florist in adding flowers... then collapse in a heap of headache and sleep for 6 hours
But, here is the finished product...
Not too shabby for my first try, if I do say so myself. And the good news, I would totally do it again. In fact, I would love to do it again. Even soon.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Check back soon.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Here's the menu we used:
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
It was beyond fun- beautiful store, delicious desserts.
Even though I was given permission to use any of the images, I was not able to load any of them... so click on that link above and be ready to crave some cake! How I wish I was getting married... just for the mini dessert spreads she does.
If you are anywhere within driving distance, you must visit. I recommend the chocolatey-coffee-kahlua cupcake. And Adam is a new fan of the double fudge cake lollipop. Be sure to bring some water, because you will need somethis to counteract the extreme sugar buzz that will come from "sharing 5 desserts".
Thursday, August 20, 2009
that is his tush in the front yard
If you look closely, you can almost see his tail.
It is blurry because it is wagging too quickly for me to capture.
I am sad to say that this one is mortally wounded. He was dead by morning.
Bobby is a vicious hunter. So far, he has rid the yard of 2, yes 2 lizards.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
So here is the rundown: We has a great flight from Basel to London to San Francisco. The long flight, London to S.F. was amazing. We were somehow lucky enough to get emergency exit seats! We were the first row between Business class and real people. We probably had a good five feet to stretch our legs. Plus, we were in an aisle of two seats which means that Laura only had to fight with me for the arm rest.
We have spent the last few weeks bouncing between Laura's parents and my parents. We presented about our year at Black Forest Academy to both Fairway Park Baptist and Lighthouse Bible Fellowship. We saw lots of family and friends. We even got a chance to go water skiing with Laina's (my sister) in-laws. Aside from a cut toe it was a lot of fun.
Now Laura and I are living in Anaheim. We have moved our stuff into Magnolia's missionary house. We will get to live here for a few months while we find a place. We've been meeting up with our friends from here and are very excited to catch up with more as the weeks move along.
Now, I am very excited to announce something that so many of you have been concerned about and praying for. I just heard today that my placement will be back at Buena Park! I don't know yet what classes I will be teaching but I am so excited to be returning back to that school. So thank you for your continued prayer. It seemed like such a long time for an answer but the Lord answered, and I am thrilled.
Keep coming back to check in on us. We promise to keep you updated here at DeClercq central. Ohh, that would have been a great name for this blog!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Now, we are both so tired but my strict, no fun, no sleeping allowed mother in law won't let me go to sleep for another 11 minutes. I can't wait!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
and here's the skinny, curvy steps.
over it goes
Needless to say, this week has looked very different than what we expected, but here we are, sitting in an empty apartment on the floor. We are down to a mattress on the floor, our suitcases and our laptop. Just about where we were exactly a year ago, just in CA.
Wow, talk about full circle.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
So, finally, here I am. Over a week after they left, has it been 2 weeks? No, just a week and change.
My mom and brother came to visit our German life. We love having visitors because it allows us to rediscover the things we love about Kandern. The quaintness, the good food, the beautiful green hills, the hiking, the slower pace of life. And it lets me feel so fluent in German. When someone visits and they say "gracias" instead of "danke" you feel, oh so bilingual.
While they were here, we drove to Zermatt, for count 'em, a grand total of three trips to the Matterhorn. Maybe it is because of Disneyland, but everyone from California wants to see the Matterhorn.
We spent one night in Gruyères, Switzerland in the cutest little town square around. We ate fondue* for dinner only to realize that 2 pounds of cheese between 4 of us = too much cheese. But, you have to eat gruyère cheese while in Gruyères. We toured a Swiss chocolate factory, which was one of the highlights for all of us. Unlimited free samples*. It was a test of will power and I do believe the chocolate won. We visited Colmar, France and enjoyed rosti*. Cast iron pans of shredded potatoes cooked in cream and butter and covered in cheese. Hello!
We spent a day in Basel wandering the pedestrian streets and making our way through a weekly market. We bought fresh pasta* for dinner and enjoyed bratwurst from a stand. It doesn't get more authentic than standing around eating brats* purchased from a truck. Like taco trucks, only with sausage.
We hiked in the black forest and tasted cherries* straight from the trees. I was so proud of my mom. She hoofed it up to Sausenberg with her kids. I may be just like her but she is just like her mom. She spent the hike up searching for mushrooms. Grandma would be proud.
And then, just like that, the week was over and they were checking in for their flight home (with two of our suitcases!).
*Note: my life revolves around food.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
- I didn't want to read Shakespeare
- I believed the language to be too difficult
- I thought it was too old and outdated
- Every student, every year always has the same reactions that I had
- Just as Shakespeare's works are timeless, so are the SAME complaints from students
And I can say, that after teaching many stories, poems, and plays, teaching Romeo and Juliet has been my most favorite task. Here is why:
- The students generally have a basic understanding of the story, but they get to read it for the first time
- Every time I have had many students excited to have read & understood Shakespeare
- My students have gotten into the play, they enjoy the story and the characters
- After a few scenes, my students realize that Shakespeare really isn't so hard
- They love to analyze the film versions, pointing out the flaws of the films, the missing parts, and the differences between the written play (by-the-way students HATE when films change plots, characters, events from stories, they HATE it)
I have felt such an immense sense of accomplishment each time I have taught R & J that I don't think I will ever grow tired of teaching that work.
So with this as my background, I was pretty excited to go see the stage production of R & J in Shakespeare's Globe Theater (and yes, Andrew, I know that it is a fake Globe since the original was demolished and the current location is a little different that it was in Shakespeare's time, that's not the point!). I was not disappointed. It was well acted, the actors (though I did find Romeo to be pretty lame and generally a mischaracterization) were well cast, but I want to share what stood out to me the most.
The theater, as you probably know, is round. This is very different from conventional theater that we are used to, with the stage in front and all seats facing the same way. It wasn't a surprise to me that it was a round theater, but what I didn't anticipate was being so distracted by the other theater-goers.
Laura and I had seats on the third floor. We had a pretty good view of the stage, though we were off to the side a little. We also had a great view of all the "peasants" standing in the open pit area. From what I understand, a beautiful sunny day in London is rare. Well, we were in the theater on one of those rare days. The "peasants" were swarming throughout the entire play, trying to find shelter from the sun. They were also trying to find ways to avoid standing for 3 hours while still being able to see. The mass (maybe 75-100 people) circulated, leaning against the stage (where the actors tripped over them a few times), leaning against any pole or backboard they could find, sitting down or hanging off of friends.
There were also birds. I didn't ever think about birds, but pigeons would swoop into the open theater and dive past viewers heads, looking for scraps. This was very distracting. I didn't see anyone intentionally feeding these beasts, but they disrupted one of Shakespeare's finest. Shame on them.
The third thing that really caught my attention-I'm thinking now...I believe that this is the first stage production I have ever seen live of any of Shakespeare's plays-was how bawdy it was. I am no puritan when it comes to reading Shakespeare; I am well aware of the many dirty jokes in R & J. What surprised me were the quite dirty gestures that I have never found in the text. At times when I just assumed were characters talking, this production used rather graphic situations to add to the scene. It boils down to directorial decisions, I'm sure. Still, it was an aspect that I had never thought about. The situations generally fit the scene, and I'm sorry to say, made me laugh, but they weren't things that I ever would have imagined based on simply reading the script.
The last thing that I noticed was how sparse the set dressings were. It was an incredibly simple setting. There were no stage changes between scenes. If a scene changed, a character would carry on a very small and simple prop and use his language to convey the change. Again, things I knew, but seeing them made everything much more tangible or relatable. Then of course, there was the big sword fight between Tybalt and Mercutio. Sparks literally flew. Sure they were probably fake swords, but the action came across as very real. It was intense.
Okay, one more thing. (Spoiler alert: Romeo and Juliet both die.) After the final tragic scene, the play ended. But there was no dramatic hushed rushing off of stage to prepare for the curtain call. The actors jumped to their feet, quickly bowed and then the whole cast broke into a delightful song and dance! I couldn't believe it. It was like an Elizabethan dosey-do. As the actors swung towards the front of the stage the quickly bowed, jumped back into the dance and kept on singing. The audience joined in by clapping, and suddenly you forget all about the tragic, star-crossed lovers, and are swept up into this moment of joy and fun. I didn't expect that, and I loved it! (For those of you that have seen the Zeffirelli 1968 film and had to suffer through that painful "What is a Youth" song that carries on ridiculously long only to have the music stalk the viewer through the rest of the film, know how tiresome certain songs can make R & J. This was not one of those. It was upbeat, fun, and an utterly surprising high note to have the play end on.)
Call me nerd if you want, but I am now more excited than ever to teach Shakespeare again. Viewing this play gave me new insights to how Shakespeare intended his play to be seen. This will be an experience that I will carry with me through my career. And I got a poster! Yeah, for classroom decorations.
*photographs were taken during our Spring Break trip. We toured the theater, but it was under construction in preparation for this summer's play schedule.
Friday, June 26, 2009
We saw the cutest little kids on our way to our awful hotel.
Hello, cutie little British children. I just want to pinch your cheeks.
We saw Billy Elliot at the Victoia Palace Theatre. The main actor couldn't have been more than 10 or 12 and he was just amazing. He could sing, he could dance up a storm, and he had such a stage presence.
The next day we wandered down Portobello Road and contemplated buying a big leather trunk. But, I don't think EasyJet would have let it count as our carry-on. So, sadly, it is still on Portobello Road. However, we did buy a cupcake. Not really a replacement for an awesome piece of furniture, but it does soothe the soul. And the bakery was just the cutest.
Then it was on to Shakepeare's Globe Theatre for Romeo and Juliet. More from Adam on that later.
That evening we grabbed one last show. We saw Waiting for Godot with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. They were captivating. It was thrilling to be that close to big famous people. Adam stifled his desire to wave. I was very proud of him.
I can't say that I really understood the play. But, I'm not sure you're supposed to. In my opinion, it is purposefully vague. You know, so you can make your own interpretations. I confess, we pulled it up on Sparknotes when we got home.
I am definitely going to miss the incredibly cheap European travel when we return to CA. EasyJet, will you please have $50 tickets to London from LA??