Thursday, May 29, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
It was an interesting experience, starting with the name of the studio, QatShoot (pronounced Cat-Shoot) which sounds a lot like a sneeze. These people aren't the smartest. First, she showed us the backgrounds, all of which were these painted canvases. Let me tell you, the Arabian tastes certainly run differently than the Americans'. We settled on a nice park scene that coordinated with their outfits. :) Then, the assistant pulled out an old fashioned baby carriage. Toddlers in a baby carriage! Yeah, that didn't go over so well. While Catie was getting over her temper tantrum, Nicky had a blast stomping around on the furry rug they put down. Speaking of the furry rug, I had to ask for the cream one, because she picked up a bright blue one first. Nick thought it was great fun under his feet, and that was only enhanced by us laughing and calling his name to get him to look up. Catie never completely came around, but with Baby in her arms, she knew what to do for the camera. What a ham!
After we got a few shots of Catie alone, we put down the wriggling Nick so that he could stomp on the rug a little more.
We weren't sure if we got the shots or not, so they suggested the fake stairs, which of course meant that we had to change the background since stairs don't belong in a park. By this time, Catie had hit her stride. She knew exactly what was going on, and she was having a good old time getting all the attention she could ever want by just sitting and looking cute. Nick, on the other hand, was in full play mode. We never got any good pictures of him on the steps because he was so busy climbing up and down. We even turned the stairs around so that we could see his face as he climbed, but those came out silly looking.
We chose our favorites and went up to the counter to choose sizes and pay. I couldn't believe what they wanted for each picture, knowing that this is a one hour place which means they aren't sending them out for quality printing. If we had bought wallets for everyone, just wallets alone would have cost us $250. That's dollars, not Riyals. So, we (I) decided that we would just buy 5X7's (Five 5X7's cost us $75) and then scan them in. Well, my scanner here is not so good. I played with them, but they still look terrible, especially the ones of Catie standing and the one of both of them together. Soon, I'll be back in America with my nice scanner, and I'll be able to get better copies. Soon....
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Monday: Steak and Potatoes
Tuesday: Taco Salad
Wednesday: Southern Hamburger Pie
Thursday: White Chicken Chili
Here are a couple recipes:
Southern Hamburger Pie (This recipe is a favorite of my husbands that my mom found in a First Place cookbook. It was originally a low-fat recipe and tastes good that way, so feel free to substitute with low-fat ingredients.)
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)
4 oz cream cheese (cut into chunks)
1 Tbsp flour
1 small can chopped green chiles (drained)
1 cup cottage cheese
red pepper flakes
1 can refrigerated biscuits (I'm going to omit this part in the interest of low-carbing.)
Brown ground beef and onion. Drain fat. Add cumin, salt, pepper, and cream cheese and stir over medium-low heat until the cream cheese melts. Add flour and chiles.
Arrange biscuits in the bottom of a greased pie plate (or not if you don't want to like us, but it's really yummy with the biscuit crust.) Spread meat mixture on top. In a small bowl, mix the cottage cheese and egg. Spread on top of meat mixture. Sprinkle with paprika and red pepper flakes.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, until top is set and biscuits are brown.
White Chicken Chili Deliciously simple!
1 Tbsp oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 can chicken broth
1 small can chopped green chiles
2 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
2 cans white beans
shredded cheddar or jack for topping, if desired
Cook chicken and onions in oil in large sauce pan until onion is tender. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I'm starting to feel more and more that he's just waiting until he feels like it to talk. Last week I asked him if he wanted his diaper changed and he said "no" and ran away. I'm not surprised that the first meaningful word he used was "no," because even though he's the sweetest little boy ever, he still knows how to tell us what he wants, even without words.
Catie, as always, is more willing to try doing things that she doesn't quite have down yet. Her new favorite song is the ABC's. She sings right along, even though there are no discernible letters in her version. Also, I like to count when we go up on the elevator. I put out my fingers and count as we go up the floors. When we get to ten, I say, "10! Yay, 10! We live on 10!" Catie has started along, her favorite numbers being 2 (doo), 3 (eee), and 10 (de!). When I say 1, she usually puts up 6 fingers and follows with a doo!, then sometimes she'll say eee!, and usually before I get there she shouts de! because that's her favorite part. Adorable!
Sunday, May 18, 2008
We're on a low-carb diet right now, so most of my recipes will be low-carb friendly, but you can add carbs if you want. :) Also, my side dishes are a little boring; they usually consist of a can or bag of veggies, so I'll spare you typing those out. :)
Monday: Salsa Chicken
Tuesday: Crustless Broccoli Quiche
Thursday: Western Chicken Chunks
Friday: Chicken Stir-Fry
Salsa Chicken--Easy and yummy!
chicken breasts (as many as you need)
salsa (as much as you want)
sour cream and shredded cheddar (to taste)
Put the chicken breasts in a greased, glass baking dish. Dump some salsa on top (I use about 1-1 1/2 cups for 4 breasts.) Bake at about 350 degrees Farenheit (My oven is in Celcius and the temperature knob is stuck at an unknown temperature and this recipe still worked. :) ) for about 30-45 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink (better yet, use a thermometer.)
Let chicken cool a little, then shred with two forks. Top with sour cream and cheese. If you're not going for low-carb, it would be delicious inside a tortilla. :)
Western Chicken Chunks--a silly name for a family favorite
4 chicken breasts cut into 1-2 inch cubes
Ranch dressing (about a cup?)
2 cups Cornflakes (crushed to about a cup)
salt and pepper to taste
Mix salt and pepper into the crushed cornflakes in a bowl or ziploc bag. Set up an assembly line with chicken, a shallow bowl of Ranch dressing, a bowl (or ziploc bag) of crushed cornflakes, and a greased cookie sheet (I like to cover mine with foil for easy cleanup.) Dip chicken into ranch dressing, then into the cornflakes, and place on baking sheet.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink in the center.
Growing up, my mom usually made a side of baked, seasoned potato wedges with this, but alas, I think we'll just have some roasted cauliflower if my husband will eat it. :)
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I know, I know. You are all amazed by my shopping prowess. All I can say is you haven't seen nothing yet. Just wait until I get back to the States in July. Then you're going to see some power shopping. I can't wait to dive in to some good old, American-style clearance racks.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
At 4 pm, the babysitter came, and Brad and I went out. We were going to go see Fool's Gold, but the internet site was wrong, and it wasn't at the theater, so we saw The Other Bolyn Girl, which was very interesting and well done. Afterward, we had eaten too much popcorn to eat right away, so we went to a couple stores that are hard to go into with the babies (they like to grab everything now!) Around 8:30, we went to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Doha. When we got home, I opened the present from Brad's parents, a digital keychain and the movie Enchanted, which we watched today--it was fun! My brother and sister-in-law sent us a gift card from Amazon.com, and I know there are other presents in the mail. :)
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Nicky's new favorite face:
Don't these highchairs look regal? The baby stuff at the Sofitel looked cool, but it wasn't very practical. The highchairs were huge and they didn't have safety belts! We made it through unscathed, though we had a few close calls.
The prince and princess's royal subjects:
The twins were absolutely adored in Luxor. :)
Catie having a little too much fun in the bathroom while Mommy gets ready:
I took Nick to get his hearing checked on Monday, and everything seems to be okay, but he has fluid in his right ear again. He seems to have what they call "glue ear," meaning that he has some sticky, waxy fluid just sitting in his ear all the time. We went back to the pediatrician today, and she prescribed some more medicine and we have an appointment to go back again next Thursday. She may need to refer us to another ENT to get tubes put in. Please keep him in your prayers. He's been a lot more responsive the last couple days, so we're hoping this is a turning point.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
On Sunday night, we hired a babysitter through the hotel and ate dinner at the other Sofitel in town, the Sofitel Winter Palace. Look at this beautiful garden:
After dinner, we went to the Sound and Light show at the Karnak Temple. It was really cheesy and you couldn't see much. You have to walk around in the dark while they talk, and just when you think it's finally over, you go sit in some uncomfortable bleachers and listen to 20 more minutes of silly narration while looking at a not so spectacular scene. But, Dame Judi Dench was the narrator. I love her. :)Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful during the day, but the night show is silly. I'll spare you my terrible photos, except this one:
The next morning, we explored the two temples on the east bank, driven by our favorite cab driver, Ahmed. First is the Luxor Temple. I'll spare you a history lesson, but you can click the link if you want more info.
The Avenue of the Sphinxes used to go all the way from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple:
Remnants of the Christian church that at one time was built on top of this temple.
The avenue of the sphinxes leading up to the Karnak Temple.
I wish I had a photo that would show you how amazing this part of the temple is. It's a forest of columns. I would estimate that there are about 100 columns in this room.
An obelisk: it was built by the only female pharaoh, Hatsheput.
The sacred pool where the pharaoh was cleansed and rejuvenated before going into the presence of Amen-Re:
Well, that just about does it for the things we saw and did in Egypt. I just have a couple other cute pictures that I took of the babies in Luxor that I'll share tomorrow. :)
Monday, May 5, 2008
We spent the rest of the day at the hotel, napping, swimming, etc. We ate dinner at the poolside restaurant that night. The kids loved the chicken nuggets, and we loved the atmosphere.
On Sunday morning, Ahmed took us to the West Bank for a quick tour. We didn't make it to the Valley of the Kings (not worth it with the strollers, and it was too hot to be outside that long), but we saw a lot anyway. First, we stopped for some pictures of the Colossi of Memnon.
After driving by Deir El-Bahari, which is a very impressive sight--take a look at the link, we went to an alabaster factory, where they showed us how they hand-carve alabaster.
The babies playing with alabaster eggs at the factory. Ahmed is holding Nicky.Then, we went to Medinet Habu, a temple mostly built by Ramses III. It was the first ruins that we were able to go into in Egypt, and we were appropriately awed by it. It was beautiful.
Don't be fooled by the scale of the above picture. These things are huge. Look for the babies in their strollers at the statue's feet in this picture:The ceilings still have paint on them after all these years. Amazing!
After our tour, we headed back to the poolside restaurant, but it wasn't as nice during the day. There was no wind to keep the flies away.
More temples tomorrow.... :)
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Friday, we flew to Luxor. The domestic side of the Cairo airport is, well, seedy. Like all the airports we've been to in the Middle East, you have to have your luggage scanned before you even get to the ticket counter. Well, after we got checked in, Brad decided to go get some cash from an ATM. In order to get there, he had to go out of the secure area, but the guard didn't want him to go until he told him what he was doing. When he came back through, the guard wouldn't let him back in--he actually physically stood in his way gesturing and making noises in the Egyptian way--until Brad gave him a little tip. Since he had just come from the ATM, the smallest bill he had was a 50 ($10), and you know that that guard had to know that. When we finally were called to board, 15 minutes after the plane was supposed to take off, we all got on a bus and literally drove across the street to the plane, about 30 feet. Everyone on the bus laughed. It was ridiculous.
Looking back at the poolside restaurant, where Brad was waiting for me:
Catie looking at the Nile:
Some of the beautiful landscaping along the Nile. I knew Brad was waiting for me, so even though I realized after I took the picture that (duh!) the pole was in it, I didn't snap another one. :)More later on our time in Luxor....