Friday, April 16, 2010

I Love Easter

I love Easter.  I'm most inspired during this time of year. 
It's in my DNA.  It's been passed down from my mom. 

Mom & I (in the womb) 1976

My mom made my Easter dress (1978)

I have always loved Easter (1981)

Fast Forward to Easter 2008.  This is the first year I rekindled my love for the tradition.

Our First Easter with Makoa (2009)

Makoa reading from his 1st Bible

The Easter inspired spread grew in 2009.

My Sister-In-Law Emily made the Easter Bunny Cake

This year, 2010, we played it mellow.
Easter Breakfast at Grandma Anita's House.

Easter Outfit sent from Aunty Theresa in Hawaii

After an Awesome Easter worship at Nags Head Church, we headed to the beach.

Then home for some Chocolate Chip Scones

And back to Grandma's for an Easter Egg Hunt

Processing Through Stress to the Other Side

I've been stressed. 

I know its pointless to stress because I believe it all works out the way it should.  But its in my nature and I'm working on it.  The latest source of stress came from finally deciding to pull the trigger and purchase a much needed second car.  After 8 months of "discussion", research, and negotiating, my husband found the truck of his dreams within the parameters of our budget.  It all works out the way it should...

I deal with stress in many ways, but first, I "veg" out, regroup, and refocus myself.  Its a proccess I've mastered over the years.  In my more selfish youth, I would lock myself in a room with my favorite TV and Junk Food to last me a weekend.  Now, the weekend has turned into a few hours in the middle of the night and I've expanded my "therapy" to include time and activities with my family.  The DVR has become a  most welcome tool during times such as these.  So I spend my insomnia nights blanking my brain with TV and movies, catch a few zzzz's, regroup and rejuvinate my center in the wee morning hours, and refocus myself with my family during the waking hours of day.

Next.  I organize.  Anything.  My desk.  My Thoughts.  My House.  My Life.  I have a continuous List of Organizing Projects, on-going and never-ending.  And that's a whole other post :)

I've been researching my newest endeavors.  This is part of  the "Trying Something New" goal I've been working on.  Now that I've taken the plunge into the intimidating role of waitressing, I am ready to test the waters of Direct Sales; all in the name of staying busy and making a little extra cash. 

I am an Avon Representative.  And I'm kinda excited about it and kinda intimidated because I am no good in sales.  But I'm trying and the more I learn about Avon and the whole process, the more excited I get.  Come along and join the Avon ride with me...Future posts to come :)

A major part of my day is the time I take to be still, pray, and begin my day living in a relationship with God.  This is where I find my center, my peace.  Here I devote to Him.  This is new for me.  My conscious effort to grow closer to God.  I'm not perfect in my attempt, but I strive to be wholehearted.  I'm learning.  I struggle.  I pray.  I trust. I believe.

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

I strive to always count my blessings, be thankful, and trust in God's plan. 
I'm a work in proggress...and I am blessed.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Morning Motivation

I've learned that, for me, the sun is a major motivator. So, knowing that the clouds were gonna be rolling in this afternoon, I took full advantage of the glorious morning sun and worked in the kitchen. I have accomplished three tasks this morning. Two of the "money-saving" kind and one of the "rewards and craving" kind.

It all actually started last night when I soaked the black beans. Now let me just preface this by saying that my husband, he don't eat meat, he eats a TON of beans. You would think that a can of beans, (and I buy the "cheap" .69 cent kind), wouldn't put such a dent in our wallets. I'd tend to agree with you, only my husband LOVES his beans and every penny counts. I discovered from the blog, A Year of Slow Cooking, that a bag of dried beans costs about $1.89 and that bag yields about an equivalent of THREE cans of beans. So, doing the math I realize I'm not going to be a millionaire from the savings, but EVERY penny saved is a penny earned! The other thing I learned and love is that the beans will keep in the freezer for 4-6 months...Did I mention my love for my Deep Freezer?

With the black beans doing its thing in the slow cooker, I moved on to the second "money-saving" task. Baking Bread. This, to me is intimidating, daunting, challenging; I mean, come on there's YEAST involved. I've NEVER worked with yeast. This task took a lot of research, prep work, and organization before actually trying, because that's what I do when I'm faced with attempting something new. Anyway, when there is nothing to do but bake the bread, that's what I finally did and did it pretty well. Of course, I have some modifications to make, but all in all, mission accomplished. With 5 cups of flour and a few other things I made TWO loaves of bread.  I have to tell you I am VERY proud of myself.  I made bread from scratch!
The inspiration to bake bread came from this post.

All this money saving, I deserve a treat! So I made this...

Cinnamon Roll Cake
(recipe found on A Southern Grace)

1 box of yellow cake mix
4 eggs
¾ cup oil
1 cup sour cream (I used 1 cup of yogurt + 1 teaspoon of baking soda)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 13x9-inch baking pan.

Mix the first four ingredients by hand and pour into the prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the cake batter. Swirl decoratively with a knife.

Bake for 40-50 minutes and let it cool briefly before adding the icing.

To make the icing, stir together the sugar and milk until smooth, adding more milk as needed. Pour over the warm cake.

Now if you'll excuse me for a bit, I've got some scrumpcious yumminess that needs my undivided attention.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Living My Dream, Now What?!

As a kid, when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I usually wanted to be a model like my Aunty.  Of course, that dream was discouraged by many "grown ups", I'm sure for my own protection against that harsh world.  As I got older, I pursued other options...broadcasting, film, etc.  But I've always known, even as a kid, that the one thing I REALLY wanted to be was a MOM.  I also knew that I didn't want to be a mom until I was ready, whatever that meant.  So "in the ME time", I found myself pursuing and discovering different accomplishments.  While I enjoyed and took pride in many of those pursuits, none of them left me completely fufilled.  Don't get me wrong, I don't ever recall feeling the pressure of the "ticking clock".  I always had Faith that my dream of becoming a mom would happen at the right time; so I never rushed or pursude it.  All in due time.

Now that I am living my dream, I look at our son in amazement, my life in awe and I am eternally grateful.  However, I find myself, in these "harsh economic times", (unfortunately, being a mom doesn't pay the bills), realizing that I have room, energy, and the need for more dreams. This realization has left me a little blank.  I never thought this would happen.  I guess I just assumed that I'd only have time for ONE true dream in my life.  While the prospect of pursuing more dreams can be exciting and invigorating, I find it quite daunting.  Sometimes I feel like I'm starting all over again, but without the guidance of high school counselors or the structure of college to point me in ANY direction.

So, for the past few months, I've made some changes in my life in order to light the proverbial fire.  And this is the journey I am currently on.  Considering the fact that I have always believed that its the journey and not the destination that brings the most enjoyment and fulfillment, I shouldn't be concerned that I currently have NO destination.  I have decided this year to push myself to face my fears and be open to new things, to be open to old things that have become new fears, to just put myself out there...

Part of this pursuit is to start and complete lists of projects and ideas.  To look for and actually apply for jobs, any job.  To participate in the community, in our church.  To let others get to know me and judge me before I assume their judgement of me.  To pursue a career in the graphic design field.  These are what I am currently working on and will be blogging about.  I need accountability friends, even if its the great unknown of the internet :)  This is me putting it on paper.  Taking the step to put the journey in motion...wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Secretly Impressed

Our son Makoa has an incredible ability to overcome obstacles. At 8 months he was climbing before he was walking...

When he started walking at 10 months I knew the "barriers" were pointless because nothing would stop his curiosity.

Now at 20 months old, I am secretly impressed at his ability to scale walls.

I've always heard stories of parents finding their toddlers on top of the fridge or climbing the doorframes. I just never thought that a child that I would produce would have such agility and strength, not to mention determination, persaverance, and foresight. I just love him :)



I have to walk away because I have spent the whole morning trying to write a blog that included a couple videos.  I've tried making all the changes the "Help" suggested.  I tried saving my videos differently.  It seems that if you want to see my videos I should send you to my Facebook, (whom by the way has a much simpler way of uploading videos), which then defeats the purpose of a blog.  I know it can be done...I just can't figure out why its not working for me...

So, before I abandon this blog server all together, I'm going to walk away and open my self up for other subjects worth posting...

Thank you for the vent session.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

i Love My SlowCooker

Something else I did today...

I found this easy little recipe while shopping online at Walmart this morning, I know, random.  I threw it in and when we came home from the beach, the house smelled SO good. 

In a crockpot, add:
1 can of cream of whatever you have on hand soup (chicken, mushroom, etc)
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. flour

Stir together well, (I throw some seasoning in, whatever you have and some salt/pepper), then add

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken pieces (can be frozen). Push the chicken pieces down so that the mixture covers them all.

Cook on low 6-8 hours.
I add a bag of frozen veggies (green beans, broccoli, whatever sounds good).
Cook about another hour on high.

Serve of rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, etc.

This basic recipe is very adaptable and you can use chicken, turkey, pork, beef or whatever you have on hand.

It so simple.  Enjoy!


Do I Dare Say Spring Has Sprung?!

  Today is a good day, a family morning, productive and relaxing.

It all began with a morning on the beach.

And as you can see by our attire, we really didn't believe it could possibly be a Shorts & T-shirt kind of day...This winter, for some reason, seemed to be colder and longer than last year. So much so, that I didn't really believe the forecast of 65-degrees. Even if I believed that optimism, I certainly didn't remember how it felt to have temps in the Mid Sixties. Could it be possible? Would we be able to let Makoa run around OUTSIDE and not have to constantly wipe his nose?

We woke up to a beautiful morning with the sun shining, the sky clear, and the sounds of spring outside.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just Start, Already!

Where do I start?  I guess with an introduction...

This is me.  I am Lesle.  Wife & Mama. 
Not sure where to start, so bear with me. 
"Let's start at the very beginning.  A very good place to start."

Well, maybe not the VERY beginning.  Keep it Simple.  How about the beginning of My Life With Steve (ooh, possible blog title)...This story actually deserves a posting unto itself but here's the gist...

We met while we were living in Maui...I was one of his bosses.  He was a casanova with Southern Charm and Everyone LOVED him, no one ever had anything bad to say about him.  It took me about 3 months to really even see him as anything other than a hard working server; I was focused :).  And then one day, one moment literally, I turned the corner and bumped into him.  I first saw his nametag "Stephen", then his striking blue eyes.  I know, corny, but honest to goodness the truth.  Shortly thereafter our Courtship in Maui began...

Our 1st Date

ahh day I'll share.

Jump forward a year...I took a Leap of Faith and moved to the Outer Banks, NC with Stephen.

Fast forward, past many future posts. 
We Wed 09.29.2007.
Another Future Post.
Let me just say, our venue changed 3 days before the wedding!

On Halloween 2007 I had a hunch we were pregnant with our
Honeymoon Baby!
And on July 4th, 2008 he was born!

John-Jesse Kanaiela Kaleomakoa Hilliker

Makoa is now 20 months old and always such a joy.
 A blessing we thank God for everyday.

So this is the beginning of an Untitled Journey in the Blogsphere...what will my thoughts bring and where will they take me, and you, if you so choose.  Welcome to my world, a world born from roots set deep in the Aloha Spirit and Southern Charm. (Oooh, another possible title).