Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Those Becker Boys! by nicole

Daniel, in his yard
Troy, making an Advent wreath with his son
Trent, trimming a tree the day before Ila was born
(and you wonder what put me into labor!)

We've been busy, busy, busy! I guess with warmth, comes work, which is fine by me! You may have heard about our little project replacing the front lawn of cheat grass and weeds with real grass. Well, like most Becker projects, a small project has become a big project. Trent, my darling Becker husband, has many things in common with his dad and his brother and this is one of them.

Now, when I say that small projects become big projects it's never, to my knowledge, been to poor planning. No, the Beckers know how to plan. I would say that the reason this usually occurs is that once they start the planned project, the potential of the area becomes much more apparent to them. So, in this specific situation, Trent saw that the lawn needed redone, and he made a game plan, but as he went to work on the plan, the yards potential grew and grew and grew! So, now instead of just a plain old green grass with a flower bed(which would have been nice), Trent has started a beautiful rock wall, build another wall with railroad ties and it's going t have 2 flowerbeds and wine barrels as planters (which is even better!). I'm pretty excited about the whole project, and helping with it is sure fun, as is watching my man dig holes, carry super heavy rocks and put his sweat into it.

I think of this whole process as quite artistic. All three Becker boys seem to have a strong urge to work with their hands, and create something useful and aesthetically pleasing, whether it be a yard, a house addition, a house remodel, a paper mache project, a toy chest, candle holders, tile work, a tree etc. This list goes on and on, but I'm always amazed at what these men produce, and find it to come together like a beautiful painting, or statue, or cathedral. It may be a bit messy in the process, and you can usually count on it taking a bit longer then planned, but the outcome has always been worth it!

Another thing I think is worth mentioning is the skills list that Trent, Troy (his brother) and Daniel (his dad) have together. I'm pretty sure that together they are the most useful set of hands you could ever ask for, which means that they are pretty darn useful on their own as well (So useful that Daniel started his own business doing these things and he is the best Handy Man you could hire in the Magic Valley Area). Just off the top of my head, I can think of all these things that at least one of them can do, without an instruction manual (and usually if one knows how to to it, the others have a darn good idea of it as well).

Running tractors, and other farm equipment
Fixing/keeping that equipment running
Tree trimming, care & removal
Tile work
Wood flooring
Carpet installation
Foundation building & repair
Sheet Rocking
Window installing
Electrical stuff
House building (yes, they can build an entire house from the ground up!)
General car maintenance
Tire changing (I've found this one particularly useful)
Wood art
Moving (like professional movers, for real)
Math Problems (this one may seem out of place, but it's not, at all!)
Furniture building

Now, that may seem like a long list, but I'm most certain that I missed a bunch. But really, you get the idea, my husband and his father and brother are amazing. AND that list is limited to just repair & building and whatnot. I didn't even mention their sweet card/game playing skills, their awesome diving and swimming, their father/uncle/brother/grandpa-ness of awesomeness, or anything like that. I didn't tell you that they are human jungle gyms to kids, they can fold a cloth diaper and put it on a baby, and know quite a bit about breast feeding (not from personal experience) and how to care for a sick baby. And how they are just all around fun, loving, fun loving, hard working, good looking, good people!

I'm sure blessed to be in this family! And not just for the sweet skills of its members! And (as if you needed a cherry on top) I didn't even tell you about my other brother-in-laws skills (and one of them is a Mechanic and the other studying to be a Doctor)! I can't even begin to start on the skills of the women in the family right now either because boy howdy would that be a long list!

I'll make sure you get to see the finished product of our yard once it's done...even though I'm not sure we too before pictures....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Missing a friend by Nicole

Two years ago we were living in Korea, my mom had just had neck surgery and I was 23 weeks pregnant. I received a phone call from my best friend, and she had terrible news. There was a fire at an apartment that Sarah, a good friend of ours lived in, and Sarah had been found dead inside. Over the course of the next week many things started to unfold and spiral down. The autopsy report found that she had died before the fire and that she was 20 weeks pregnant with a little girl. Her husband, a friend of ours as well, was arrested for murdering his pregnant wife and arson.

I miss my friend very much, and I dealt with some of that this week while I was in Moscow visiting friends. I drove by San Miguel's, a restaurant in Moscow that Sarah and I frequented together. It had just gone out of business and I was filled with emotion as I imagined our little girls, just a few weeks apart in age playing with each other as Sarah and I ate delicious tacos and talked like no time had passed since I saw her last. That's how it always was with Sarah, time apart never affected the closeness she had with her friends.

I miss her dearly, and I hate what happened to her. I still struggle with wh
at happened, I struggle with my feelings toward Silas, her husband and murdered and at a time in life, my friend, and I struggle with what could have been. I think that is normal though. Several of my friends from Moscow were close to Sarah as well, and we all seem to feel the same way and struggle with the same things.

It's important to mention and remember Sarah's faith though. She was a God loving, God fearing and God following individual. Passionate about loving others, doing what was right, and seeing the potential in everyone. She was a strong woman, a prayerful woman and a great friend. She would have been a fantastic mom, and I know I'm not alone in wishing I could have seen that. But I know that Sarah is at home now, right where she belongs, praising the Lord for eternity.

I miss you friend, and I wish our time together could have been longer!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A happy Father's Day by Nicole

Father's Day started with a card and a gift for Trent when he woke up. Ila was very excited about the gift that her daddy got, because they were fun puzzles for her and Daddy to do together! There was supposed to be another gift, but it hasn't arrived in the mail yet.

Next was supposed to be a yummy breakfast of eggs and pancakes, but we only had 4 eggs, so it was eggs and muffins instead. We all seemed happy with that situation.

I had planned a nice hike up to some waterfalls off I-84 somewhere between here and Portland, but we decided that driving for 1.5-2 hours for a 2 mile hike round trip didn't sound super fun, so we found a few choices closer and went for those.

The first stop was to McNary Dam,
where we "hiked" about half a mile to see the dam.
In our short half mile hike we took a lot of pictures.

Next, we were going to go on another hike, but somehow we ended up in Hermiston. We went to a produce market because the sign we saw for it made the place sound much better then it was. We had a few samples and then took off, in search of a hike, a park, lunch or something.

We ended up at Fuddruckers for some yummy Elk and Buffalo burgers. Then Trent had a GREAT idea....
Miniture Golf!
Fuddruckers has a mini golf course behind the resturant and Dad's golfed free today. We also got a discount for eating at Fuddruckers before golfing. So it cost $6.75 for as many rounds as we wanted on the golf course!
The 18th hole doesn't steel your ball, so you can just keep going if you want and if the course is not too busy. Ila was ready for a nap by the time we had finished the course, but we went back and golfed a few holes a couple more times.

Trent was the big winner on the golf course but really Ila is the big winner, because Trent is her daddy, and he is the BEST daddy!
Then it was time to call it a day, but we stopped by the park that is on an island in the middle of the Columbia River, just a few miles away from home. It is a really nice park, with a nice swimming area and loads of camping spots (and places to put your boat into the river). Unfortunately there is no playground equipment, which I think Ila would really like, but there is lots of green grass to run in, and picnic tables and trees. It's a nice change from our mostly brown/tan colors we see. I love our view, and the area we live in, but the bright green grass of the park calls to me. My feet just want to run in the green grass!

Back at home we got cleaned up and Trent and Ila enjoyed a few minutes of Toy Story 3 together. Ila likes the Toy Story movies, but only can watch them for about 20 minutes before she gets restless.
Then it was time for bed, but not without one more picture with Daddy!
Thanks for being such a great Daddy and a wonderful Husband! We sure love you Trent!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Riding" on the rototiller with Daddy. Getting the Front lawn ready for grass seed.

Ila loves working with her daddy, and she loves being outside, so she is one blessed girl, since her daddy does so much work outside.
We planted so herbs and veggies over the weekend, but needed to protect them from rabbits, since we have those living in the yard. I bought some fencing at Lowe's that is supposed to keep rabbits out. I hope it works! Trent put the fence up yesterday during his lunch, and Ila finished her nap just in time to help him put the final touches on it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Competition, with a PRIZE! by Nicole

Okay folks, it's time for a fun little game. The first person to correctly identify what species of bird laid these eggs gets a homemade prize from me. That's right, you will actually get a prize! If no one guesses it in a few days time, I'll post a few clues, but I think there are plenty of clues just from the picture.

Have fun! (Troy, you know you want to win this. And not just for the prize!)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Let's make some waffles! by Nicole

I like to cook and bake and I spend quite a bit of time it the kitchen. Often when I'm in the kitchen, Ila is playing with her toys or with her daddy, and I find that to be quite convenient. Lately, she has shown an interest in what I'm doing in the kitchen. She comes in and tries to see what I'm doing. She asks for the stool so she can climb up and see the action. She holds onto my leg until I pick her up and show her what I'm doing. She loves seeing things on the stove, but I of course get a little nervous about her getting burned and whatnot.

Last week, I was getting ready to make some waffles for dinner and Ila was in the "follow mommy around the house" mode and I wondered how successful this waffle making would be while she was tugging at my leg. Then I had a brilliant thought (of course, not original, because what mom HASN'T had this thought?!): why not let Ila help me make the waffles? It's one of the few times that she can help me in the kitchen, at her age. No sharp objects or hot pans to worry about, just a mess, and that's nothing that can't be fixed!

So, we got on our aprons (well, Ila borrowed one of mommy's because mommy had not made Ila's yet, which I think I'll try and fit starting today) and got out the stool and started measuring and mixing. Ila LOVED pouring the stuff into the bowl (and licking the spoon). We made a nice mess, but that didn't bother us one little bit. When it was time for the cooking we put the stool
away and Ila had no problem going off to play with her toys. It was a GREAT time in the kitchen with her!

Since then she has helped me make cake for our neighbor. Yesterday, while I was cooking bacon (a rare treat in our house!) she tried pulling her apron off the hook.
She was a bit upset about not being able to help mommy in the kitchen, but seemed to understand when I showed her (from a distance) and explained that mommy was cooking hot things, and that I didn't want her to get hurt!

I am just loving all her new developments. It's great having little eyes around, watching me, learning from me and wanting to be like me. It's fun but also an encourager to make good choices!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Awesome Fish Tacos by Nicole

This evening I ventured out to make fish tacos. I never have before, because I'm picky about my fish tacos, and I didn't think I could do them justice. Really it's about the sauce that goes on fish tacos that make them so wonderful. There is a special something to fish tacos sauce, and it can be totally amazing or totally disgusting, no in-between.
Well, I saw a sauce somewhere online that looked good, and it advertised being good on fish or chicken tacos. It was also really different then the traditional white tartar like sauce that comes on fish tacos. An idea suddenly came to me: if I made a completely different fish taco sauce, then perhaps I COULD do them justice. So, I used the sauce recipe I saw as my starter for this meal, and here is what it turned into.

Here is what you need:
heavy cream or half and half
mayo or sour cream or plain yogurt
2 habenero peppers
6 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro
white fish (4 large pieces of tilapia was enough for the 3 of us)
corn tortillas
shredded cabbage (they packages of shredded cabbage at the store. the also have coleslaw packages, which would work, but I found the cabbage by itself.)
1/4-1/2 onion
1 lime
chili powder
dried oregano
dried dill

Awesome sauce (I'll tell you how I did it, but also how i'm going to try it next time):
1 c. mayo (next time I'm going to try sour cream or plain yogurt)
1 c. heavy cream (I randomly had this in the fridge, so I used it, but I will certainly use fat free half and half next time)
6 cloves garlic
2/3 bunch fresh cilantro
2 habanero peppers, seeded (don't be stupid and get the seeds out with your thumb like me. My thumb is STILL burning, and I made the sauce 6 hours ago.)
Salt & pepper to taste. I used approximately 1.5 tsp. sea salt and a dash of pepper.

throw it all in a Cuisinart (or blender).

4 large tilapia fillets (costco's previously frozen are good)
Sprinkle on top of fish:
1.5 tsp cumin (or more!)
1 tsp chili powder (or more!)
some oregano
some dill
squeeze half a lime on fish
drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top.

Stir and cut up the fish while it's cooking. Cook on stove top till done.

how to dress them:
-Heat some corn tortillas up
-put a spoonful of sauce on each tortilla
-add a little bit of tomato based salsa if you want, or pico de gallo
-add raw diced onion
-fresh cilantro
-fresh lime wedge squeezed over it

ENJOY! we had extra sauce on our plates for dipping. It was delicious!

Oh and just a note, this makes a lot of sauce. we only used half of it. So if you make this for more then 2 people, double the fish and toppings, but not the sauce! It's also a yummy chip dip :)