Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Happy Birthday Debooooora!

What do you get the best mother in law in the world for her birthday? Naturally, you blog about her awesomeness and how amazing she is. AND because I love my mother in law SO much I even convinced her son to join in on the blogging fun today! Yay!

Happy Birthday Debooora! I love you and am more grateful everyday that I get to have you in my life!

Ok, before we get too sappy...

From Joe:

Blind Spot

"We were all in the car one day... I guess we were on a trip back to the "farm" (Elmira), ya know we took a big trip "to town" (Eugene). Mom was driving, I think I was siting in the front seat. As we pull up my parents private road that leads to their driveway. Mom just starts screaming and yelling. "I CAN'T SEE, I CAN'T SEE!" All the while pushing the accelerator. As we advance up the road with a blind driver, I calmly suggest that she stops the car. I think it went something like this.
Mom- " I can't see, I can't see...!!!! ahhh"
Me(Joe)- "So stop driving! What are you doing"
Mom- "I don't know, I just thought I would tell you I can't see."

Safety first !

Now whenever Stephanie or I see mom doing something funny, we say "I can't see!"

My Cat Keeper

Back in college, my roommate Adam, had a cat. She got around. Before Adam and I were roommates the cat had been pregnant but all of her kittens died. He later found out that the kittens died because mama cat didn't produce any milk. Well, as they say, history repeats itself and before we knew it mama cat was going to be a mama again.  Being the responsible young men that we were, we knew what we had to do. We took care of mama cat while she was pregnant, but we knew that when the kittens were born we would have to be the ones to feed them.
Mama cat and I were friends. She even tried to make her nest in my closet (ripping up my Penny Hardaway poster) but I wasn't having that. I locked her out of my room until she had her kitties.
After the kittens were born another roommate Jed, (there were 5 of us living together at the time) and I took charge of feeding the kittens. For about 4 weeks, 3 times a day or more, Jed and I would use a baby bottle and hand feed each of the 5 kittens.
When they got old enough to eat on their own it was time to ship them out. I had become attached to the runt of the litter (Munchkin) and kitten with a huge head (Beastie).  I don't know how it happened, but out of all the people that came to take a kitten home no one wanted my favorite kitties, Munchkin and Beastie. So I decided that I should keep them. But I didn't have a place to keep I took them home to my parents house. The deal was that my parents would look after them for a few months until my lease was up and I got my own place. Well 10 years later, Munchkin is still living with my parents. ("We"(they) lost Beastie this winter (sad))They were both just so happy with my mom and dad that I didn't feel right pulling them from a loving home.

Fast forward a few more years and I met Stephanie and we decided to move to South Korea. Well I had 2 indoor cats, Baby Boy and Baby Girl (Best. Names. Ever! (they were brother and sister)) On the Mothers Day before we left for Korea (2009-ish) Baby Boy and Baby Girl wrote my mom a lovely Mothers Day card thanking her for taking them in. (My mom hadn't agreed yet) Fast forward 4 years they are still live with my parents.

4 cats, 0 grand babies....

There are a thousand stories that I could tell about my mom. I love you mom. Thank you for always supporting me, loving me and being someone I can always count on. Happy Birthday Mama! -Joe

From Stephanie:

Mother in laws are notorious for being a pain in the neck. Not mine. My mother in law is one of my best friends. I can without hesitation say that Debbie is my friend. But she is also so much more than that.

She is a mother to me. She takes care of my when I am sad and sick. She has been my shopping buddy and helped me pick out outfits for weddings and new school clothes. We are workout buddies and she never lets me off the hook or slack during a workouts. (seriously one time we were doing P90X together (she bought it) and she was like, "come on Stephanie, you can do more triceps dips than that, if I can do 15, you should be doing 20!) (I am not exaggerating, that happened, in her living room!)  She is an inspiration when it comes to being an educator. (She is the most level headed teacher I know, She is smart, honest and by the books. She gives the best student and administrator advice) She is a role model; showing me how to handle everyday life, marriage and a career. She (on occasion) is my therapist. She is great at listening. Even when I want to talk about Joe. She listens without pushing her opinions onto me. She lets me be me and loves me anyway. She has always been supportive of Joe and I and all of our decisions, the smart ones and the not so smart ones. She encourages us to chase our dreams and check things off of our bucket lists. All the while living her life the same way she encourages us to. Chasing her dreams and checking things off of her bucket list(she even lets us tag along sometimes). She runs and exercises everyday! She lesson plans new and exciting activities for her students. She has embraced her husbands hobbies and supports him at work. I couldn't have picked a better mother in law!

 This was at the 2010 Portland half marathon. Together the three of us have run 3 or 4 half marathons, a handful of 5k fun runs (Thanksgiving/4th of July-ish runs) 2-3 10 K runs. And that's just together. On her own this woman has done dozens of races, several different types, lengths and for a all kinds of different causes. She even won her age division in the last 4-5 races she was a part of!

 Win or lose, or lose she is a die hard Cubs fan. Talk about dedication! She is not a fare weather fan.

 Happy Birthday Mom! We love you!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Remember a while ago when I was searching for the best banana bread recipe in the world? Well last weekend I made the best banana oatmeal pancakes in the world. They were delicious. Almost like banana bread pancakes. Maybe a little healthier but I added peanut butter and syrup and I think that kinda takes from the healthy oatmeal/egg white/banana aspect of these pancakes.

I searched online for a good banana oatmeal recipe and couldn't find anything that matched what I had in the house. I didn't want to make a trip to the store so I combined a bunch of different recipes.

Most, if not all of the recipes I read called for you to put your oatmeal in a blender or food processor. Although someday I would love to try that, I don't have a blender or food processor. So I decided to just go for it and put my oats in whole.

Here is the recipe that I came up with:

3 bananas (they had been frozen, I let them defrost then smashed them with a fork)
3 egg whites whipped with a fork until fluffy
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (this was all I had left in the bottle, might not have even been that much)
2 big pinches of salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup Oat Meal
1 1/4-1 1/2 cup flower ( I added a little more later because my batter looked a little too runny)
1 handful of chopped walnuts

Makes about a dozen small pancaked.

Like most recipes I decided to put all the wet ingredients together in one bowl and all the dry ingredients in another. Then combine them together. I smashed my bananas until they were all liquid-y.  I like chunks of banana in my banana bread but I thought for pancakes my bananas should be very liquefied. I also fluffed my egg whites quite a bit. I think really fluffy egg whites make for some really fluffy pancakes. Because I wasn't able to put my oatmeal in a food processor and I didn't know how that would affect the density of my pancakes. I wanted to make sure I could get some fluff with my egg whites. (spoiler alert, it worked!)

 After I combined my wet and dry ingredients the batter just looked a little too wet. I think that if I process the oatmeal in the future it would soak up more of the wet ingredients. Just to be safe I decided to sprinkle in a little flour. I was much more confident with the consistency after the added flour.

Just like regular pancakes, plop some batter on a hot pan, wait until the edges get all bubbly, then flip.

These turned out like fluffy banana bread pancakes. They were delicious. I put a little peanut butter and syrup on mine. But they are definitely good enough to eat "naked". And they didn't taste "healthy" (I only say this because the recipes I read online claim that oatmeal pancakes are healthy. I have no idea what the nutritional facts would be on these little suckers) and the larger oats from the oatmeal didn't get in the way of the consistency. 

We bought more bananas this week and Joe has already asked when I will make these again. I want to try adding coconut flakes or some macadamia nuts next time. Yum!