Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tomato Basil Meatballs

In early June our family decided to start following the Paleo lifestyle. We have removed grains, dairy, refined sugars, legumes and nightshades from our diet. It has been pretty amazing. I've been pretty challenged by the necessity of cooking all of our food. Granted we can still eat out if we do major modifications to our meals, but for the most part, we are eating pretty tasty home cooked meals. I have been so grateful for all the people out there who love blogging! there are so many people who live paleo and have tons of great recipes on their blogs. We have enjoyed all kinds of foods that stay within the paleo limits. Including cake, brownies, cookies, hamburgers and pizza! I've really enjoyed trying to come up with good recipe's of my own too. So here is the first one that I feel like is absolutely amazing. I feel silly putting that out there because I realize that everyone has different tastes, but I think this is pretty good.

Tomato Basil Meatballs
Makes approx 36 meatballs

3 lbs Grass-fed ground beef
1 pint cherry tomatoes diced
5 bunches of fresh basil
1/3 cup of garlic cloves
11 oz tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 eggs
1/2 tbs Honey

turn your oven to 400 degrees
Lightly grease an 9 x 13 and 9 x 9 baking dish
Place eggs, garlic, tomato paste, basil leaves, salt and pepper and honey in a food processor or blender until mostly creamy, but still has a few bits of garlic and basil.
In a large bowl place the ground beef and tomatoes. Add the contents of the blender and combine using your hands or a spatula. Once combined roll into golf ball sized balls and place in the baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Enjoy!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Isaiah Tumau is 1!!!

Isaiah Tumau Allen
June 30, 2011, 3:37 am
8lbs 2oz, 20 1/4 inches long




Dear Isaiah,
Every day I am amazed by you, by your appearance, our blond hair, blue eyed boy! Then by personality. You are CRAZY! I love your attitude. You are always up for a laugh. Always trying to get others to laugh. You make the most amazing crazy faces... Like your famous scrunchy face which I really hope you keep forever! You are sweet and considerate. You love playing, you love people, you love to explore! I was amazed when you were six months old and were completely mesmerized by a car wheel, the way you looked at it and touched it and watched the effect of your hand make the wheel go around. You are always trying to figure out how things work. Your mind seems to be racing all the time. Now, you try to mimic the syllables we use while talking to you! Dog, duck, dad and cat all sound similar. Isaiah, you are such a gift. God provided the perfect son for your dad and I and the perfect little brother for Zeke. I love the way you look up to Zeke and want to play with him or attack him whenever he allows it. You are great at bringing him out of his shell and being a great friend to him. I love watching the bro's play together! Thank you Isaiah for the blessing that you are. I am utterly amazed by you. I can't wait to see the things you learn and the ways you develop this year. I'm so thankful that you are here. I can't imagine life without you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ezekiel is 3 years old!!

June 26, 2008
4:21 am, 7 lbs 15 oz, 20.5 inches

Happy 3rd Birthday Ezekiel Manuia Allen!

Zeke had a wonderful birthday! When we woke up in the morning Zeke opened his first present and then had some breakfast with Nate and Zai. We had a pretty good morning. Zeke helped put the favors in bags for his cousins. We did a very cute train birthday theme and it turned out amazing! The kids loved the favors and everyone seemed to have a great time. Zeke did a great job opening his presents and thanking everyone for all the great stuff they gave him. We all had a wonderful day, especially Zeke!

Kaden, Ezekiel, Danica and Isaiah dressed up like Train Engineers
Chugga chugga, choo choo!!

Dear Ezekiel,
It's hard to find words to describe how completely blessed I am everyday by you. You are such an amazing boy. So thoughtful, careful, curious, grateful, sensitive, loving, joyful... the list goes on. Zeke, you are growing into such a wonderful and amazing young boy. God loves you so much and is shaping you into an awesome person. You want to help all the time, you absolutely love your little brother and you are so good to him. I love the questions you ask, the stories you tell and your silly pretend voices. I love watching you try tirelessly to figure out how to accomplish difficult tasks and that you are willing to ask for help if you need it. I love it when you figure new things out and do your wonderful celebratory dance! Jumping up and down on your tip toes!! Your joy is contagious and your smile melts my heart. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for filling this house with smiles, laughter, joy and love. I can't wait to see the new things you try and the new things you learn this year. I know that I will be continually amazed. You are a blessing. You are strong inside and out. I love you my little warrior!

love, mom

Friday, March 18, 2011

Happy 30th Nathan!

In honor of my wonderful husband Nathan's 30th birthday I thought I would share some of the many amazing things about him.

- He chose to marry me!!!! For this, I am forever grateful.
- He is an absolutely wonderful Dad and role model for our two beautiful boys.
- He loves me and supports all my crazy needs for exercise
- He hangs out with the boys so I can go out with friends and so I can train for my marathon.
- He works 40+ hours a week so that we can have food in our bellies and a roof over our heads and never ever complains.
- He believes that being a stay-at-home-mom is a full time job and respects me for what I do with the boys.
- He still looks at me like I mean the world to him.
- He gives great hugs.
- He loves what I cook for him.
- He puts up with my rambling graciously and is a great listener. =)
- He loves God and tries hard to lead our family toward Him.
- He is strong and handy.
- He is pretty stinking handsome for a 30 year old!!!
Some of his accomplishments this year (forgive me if I can't remember all of them, I was pregnant half the year after all):
- He lived through my 3rd trimester with Isaiah.
- He was the only one present during Isaiah's birth and he did an absolutely amazing job. He was calm and in control the whole time. Hands down the best birth partner anyone could have asked for. He caught Isaiah! What a MAN!!!
- He took us for a couple amazing camping trips.
- He kept his job through a huge amount of layoffs from his employer.
- He was promoted at work.
- He did the "whole30" challenge with me an made it all the way through!
- He designed and built a very handsome fence gate for our backyard.
- He (along with our brother-in-law) fixed our broken sewer pipe.
I am really so thankful for being Nathan's wife and being able to spend all my days with him. He is a wonderful gift from God. Thanks Tino & Donna for raising such a wonderful man.

I love you Nathan!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Boat Dinner"

I'm trying to change my family's eating style to primarily Paleo... I've had a hard time recently because I (and Nathan) have felt like a lot of the Paleo food I've been making is a whole lot of the same thing... so, I researched a bunch of blogs and found lots of ideas and that is where the inspiration for this "boat dinner" came from (Zeke calls it "boat dinner." Cutie).

Boat Dinner

2 Delicata Squash halved
1 TBS Coconut Oil
Salt
Pepper
Onion powder
Garlic powder

Filling:
1 lb Ground Beef
1 red bell pepper
1/2 a yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 inch of Serrano Pepper
1 small bunch of Broccolini cut into bite sized pieces

Heat oven to 415 degrees use coconut oil to cover the insides of the delicota squash and place skin side down on a baking sheet. Sprinkle seasonings on the squash to taste. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the squash become soft. Remove from the oven.
Meanwhile, brown the ground beef and in a separate skillet saute the onions, garlic and Serrano pepper on medium heat. After about two minutes, add the peppers and broccolini.
Put a thin layer of the veggies in the squash then top with ground beef and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Combine the remaining beef and veggies. Once the squash are done, top with the remaining mixture and serve. Yum!

Biker






Ezekiel is getting older and more bold. It's apparent by the things he is willing to do all of a sudden. All of last summer, I tried to get him to ride his bike. He was interested, but hesitant and then just didn't want anything to do with being on the seat or trying to move his legs, but as you can see, all that has changed. Zeke rode his bike from our house all the way around BHS to Assumption and back home. He only walked for about half a block and pushed his bike that whole way. My sister-in-law Jolene posted pictures of their 1 year and 10 month old son Kaden riding his push bike like a champ! These boys have very different mentalities... Kaden is a go-getter and Zeke is much more cautious so in no way do I feel like Zeke is behind... I was just inspired to give it another try on our first 50+ degree day this year. Zeke did awesome! So now, Kaden and Zeke need to get together for some bike racing and tricks!

video


Sunday, March 6, 2011

God is good

Let me say that again... God is GOOD! This year He seems to be making every effort to grab my attention and bring me back to a full and amazing relationship with Him that I have let go astray the past few years.

We recently started going to New Hope Church... Well, I guess the first service we went to was a random visit in August, but in December we decided that we wanted to call it our home church. What an amazing group of people. Every time we go, people search us out to talk to us and help us feel welcome. The congregation is small which is perfect for us. The most amazing part is that every week, it seems like the pastor wrote the sermon just for us. The subjects are always exactly what we are going through at the moment or contain answers to discussions we have been having. God knows what we need and has been faithful to provide.

God is putting several amazing women in my life to encourage me in my faith and my calling. Some of them don't know how instrumental they have been in reminding me of where I was and where I should be now in my relationship with God. I'm so thankful for all of you who listen to what God is instructing you to do and say. You and your willingness to be a vessel for God have impacted my life and I'm sure many others. God will bless you for your faithfulness.

One major lesson I'm learning right now is how important it is to pray. For those of you who know me well, you probably thought I already knew that right? Well, I guess knowing and acting are two different things. As I said earlier, I've let my relationship with God go astray for the past few years, but recently I've started challenging myself to pray more. I would like to announce that after two weeks of praying more, my relationship with my husband has improved and my desire for God has increased. I've been challenged to start praying for people too... this in the past has always made me nervous. I feel extremely vulnerable when I pray out loud and I don't like vulnerable situations. I still feel extremely nervous when I do, but I know God is with me and wants to challenge me so that I can grow.

The hard part with this new emphasis on the greatness of God is that I start noticing how not-great I am. My current thoughts are focused around how I discipline my kids, planning meals, shopping for groceries, joy (or a lack of joy), my body (weight, fitness level, etc..), and being faithful with the little things. All of the above mentioned things are areas where I feel that I have failed miserably. Which makes me feel irresponsible and unfaithful. If any of you are people who pray, you are welcome to include me in your prayers surrounding the above subjects. I am a thinker so this is where my thoughts will lay for the next few weeks while I try to figure out how to change my my outlook. I know the first thing to tackle is joy. James 1:3 says:
"Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
As they say, "if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" I realize that I set the tone for the family so I need to make sure I can find joy in God without depending on my circumstances providing it for me.
Discipline is something that has been tough. You read parenting books, but remembering all the instructions during real life is hard. I need to have a sit down with Nate to decide on a method and stick to it.
My body is a tough one. I believe that keeping my body fit is an act of worship to a point. God gave us our bodies as "temples" to house Jesus in our hearts. Therefore, we need to keep our bodies in good shape to honor Him. I'm trying... I started training for a marathon, but suddenly I started getting all these injuries and the past two weeks I've been unable to train because my joints are killing me. This is extremely frustrating. I kind of feel like it's an example of how I act in general... I don't ease into things (unless it's a new group of people, but that's another issue), I tend to jump in head first instead of starting slow and making sure that I'm following God's will for my life. I'm also a pretty independent person so having something like running is a great way for me to have time for me. I feel so much better mentally when I run, but my body is not on my side.
Planning meals and grocery shopping are hard ones for me. I want so desperately to feed my family healthy foods. I primarily buy organic and try hard not to eat processed foods or many sugars, but this is a very expensive way to eat and I'm not a very organized person. I tend to get overwhelmed with the idea of grocery shopping and have a hard time sticking with meal plans which often makes food go to waste which causes even more frustration. I need to figure out a system and stick with it.
As for being faithful with the little things, I think this sums up all my problems. In the end, I feel like I'm not a very responsible person. As a wife and a stay-at-home-mom, I have automatic duties: Cook, clean, create structure for the kids, be joyful and stay healthy. I don't think I routinely do any of these things. I will for a while and then let it go. I have a long list of reasons why I can't get things done, but in the end, if I was at a job outside the home, none of those reasons would matter to a boss. I just need to do things instead of dreading it or feeling like I deserve a rest. My kids mean more to me than that and so does the sanity of my husband, myself and my kids. So now, I need to process all this and make a plan to change. Then implement the change and stick to it. I need to make it a lifestyle. I know I can do it because I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Slacker

I realize that I'm totally slacking on posts this year... I've realized sadly that I have a hard time posting without pictures and my picture taking this year is lacking severely. So here is an update on us without pictures. =)

We are doing great! Nathan and I are doing very well in our marriage! I can't believe that we are in our sixth year! God has been good to us and we are continually growing closer together, challenging each other and becoming more of a team. I love spending time with him so much and I'm thankful for all he does for our family. What a catch!

The boys are good. Ezekiel is talking up a storm and all of a sudden he's pretty social. He will actually talk to people he hasn't met before and can interact with other kids pretty well. I'd say that's pretty good for such a reserved kid! He is so sweet too! He comes up to me all the time and says "Mom, I love you so much. I just really love you." He is so amazing! I love it! He loves his little brother and is pretty protective of him. When Isaiah cries, Zeke wants to help him feel better. He shares his toys and tries to make Isaiah laugh. He is such a great kid.

Isaiah is an extrovert for sure! He talks non stop. Says Mama when he's mad puts his arms up to be held by strangers... He's super wiggly all the time! That kid never stops! His smile melts my heart and he snuggles so much! He is mobile now. He army-crawls and has started getting up on his hands and knees when he stops, but hasn't figured out how to actually crawl yet. He is learning how to use a push walker... it's cute because he walks on his tip-toes with extremely stiff knees. He's eating 1-2 meals of solid food now and has started demanding to eat what I'm eating. He sucked on my steak for a while the other day and absolutely loved it! He cried when I put it back on the plate!

I've been trying to train for a marathon, but have been having some major set backs. My knee and ankle joints started swelling up pretty bad so I took two weeks off running then started up again and now it's my hip. I'm pretty discouraged, but hoping to still be able to at least finish the marathon. I guess we'll see. As for now, I'm just thankful that spring is coming. This cold weather is effecting me too much and I can't wait to take the boys out for a bike ride and go for more frequent walks to parks. We just need to get past this 40 degree weather!

Thats all for now.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

1-1-11

Happy New Year!!!

I can't believe we are already in 2011. It's amazing how fast time flies by. My baby's are growing up!!! Ezekiel is 2 and a half and Isaiah is 6 months already!

Zeke went to visit Grandpa & Grandma Allen while Nate & I had a great time with Amit & Betsy last night playing "Would You Rather" to ring in the new year. I have to say, it was way harder to stay up until midnight this year than ever before. New years day Nathan hung out with Isaiah so I could sleep in. :) Then he made me a breakfast burrito! What a guy!

We were able to talk about what our family values are and who we are as a family which was great. I'm looking forward to our new adventures this year! I'm looking forward to seeing how God works in us to help establish us as a family and help Nathan and I become more unified. I really think this year is going to be legendary!

The

Boyz

It's catch up time again!

With all the cold weather lately, we've been practicing the art of bundling up. Isaiah is super cozy!
Isaiah is getting in some quality Dad time.
Two of my handsome men opening their first Christmas gift together.
The cutest thing ever... Little babies falling asleep all by themselves. :)
Peek-a-boo!
The last day the farmers market was open in 2010.
Aren't they cute!
This had to be documented... Isaiah can suck his toes.
It's pretty stinking cute.
One of those wonderful times when your baby actually wants to snuggle with you. Man, I love those moments!
Best Buds!

Since November, we've been busy getting ready for Christmas. We've done lots of baking... We got all of our shopping done relatively early and Ezekiel made his first Gingerbread House! He loved it!

Ezekiel has been growing and changing. He's wearing 4T shirts and pants now and is officially 2 and a half! He is talking in sentences and has a really great sense of humor. He's totally a sponge now so we have to be super aware of what we or anyone else says around him... it will be repeated. He talks constantly! He likes to practice his alphabet and numbers. He will sit down with me and ask: "Mom, what game should we play?" or he'll say to his dad when he comes home from work: "I'm so glad you're home Dad. I'm so glad you're home." When I come out of my room wearing something I haven't worn in a while or something new he says: "I love your outfit Mom! I love your outfit!" He is such a sweetheart! He's pretty much 100% potty trained... We still help him every time, but accidents are few and far between. I'm so thankful that he is a thoughtful quick learner. Zeke loves to help his brother too... sometimes. He is having some issues with jealousy and has been learning about feelings... I'm trying to help him understand that other people have feelings just like Zeke does so he needs to be sensitive to that. I think it's kind of a hard lesson, but he's catching on slowly.

Isaiah is sitting very well on his own now. He still throw's himself forward or back sometimes, but mostly he sits very well. He does not like being on his belly... Sometimes he surprises me by being ok with it, but most of the time he starts crying if he rolls onto his belly. It's pretty tough at night because he starts tossing and turning and wakes himself up by ending up on his belly. He is getting better and better dexterity. I'm always pretty impressed at how good he is at getting a hold on things. We got him a walker a while back and he's pretty much mastered it already. He loves having the freedom to move around the room as he pleases, however, with that mobility, we have to re-childproof the house because he can suddenly get into things... Isaiah has a wonderful little personality. He has bright blue eyes and loves to smile at everyone. He loves being with his mama and is good at showing love to people. He gives the sweetest hugs! I absolutely love being his mom and I love seeing how much he looks up to his big brother. It's amazing how much he loves being around Zeke and trying to keep up with him. It's going to be fun this summer when they can actually chase each other around.

Nathan and I are doing great. We are learning more and more about each other and how to run a family. Nathan is a great husband, dad, protecter, provider and friend. I'm so thankful for him everyday.