Thursday, January 24, 2008

Photo's from Lunch


These are just a few photo's I took at lunch today! I am very blessed to work in a stunning city, Coto de Caza, where from my desk, I see hills, horses, cherry blossoms, palm trees, deer etc...! It's a beautiful drive, all year round, as it has all 4 seasons. We had hail just an hour ago, and there's snow on Saddleback mountain today.
What's your view from your desk??
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Little Update!

Instead of photos, I thought I’d update you on the goings on in the Hughes Household. Steve & I both started the New Year sick, but I’m happy to announce that we’re healthy again and have had a great January so far! We have a dinner Friday night with the old “young married’s” Bible Study we used to attend. It will be fun to see everyone all together again. We have our monthly family get-together with my sister’s family and the Smiths on Saturday! We’re having a High Tea at our place, which will be fun!
My friend Cate is continuing her monthly Sew-What classes this year, which I’m very excited about. I went last Saturday and started on my miracle dress, as well as mended a few things. Let me tell you about this dress…my mom-in-law and I were at the mall and we decided to just “window shop”. The one store that I LOVE, but have never bought anything from because it’s so expensive is Daisy Shoppe. I saw this STUNNING red dress that I just HAD to try on for fun! It was $100.00, but as I took it off the rack, I saw on the back of the tag “Zip Broken - $14.99”
WOW!!! So, I tried it on and fell in love! Mom and I agreed that it was fixable, if not by us, certainly by Cate! haha! I am so excited as I couldn’t have bought the fabric for that much!

On to other news, my folk’s immigration process is going well. It’s just a lot of work, which will obviously be absolutely worth it in the end. I am using the attorney who processed my citizenship, and she is great. We are just waiting on some paperwork to come through and then the last phase will begin. It gets confusing, but my folks have to submit a request for police clearance in every country they have lived since they were 16. They already have Zimbabwe Police Clearance from when we immigrated, but it needs to be 6 months old, not 16 years! However, the thought of sending American Dollars into Zim is a horrifying thought, as the mail gets opened and people just take what they want. True Story! My sister has received a half eaten chocolate cake sent from a friend in Germany, and my cousin opened his suitcase upon returning back to NJ and all the EMPTY wrappers of candy were strewn across his clothes!! If a miracle happens and the money makes it through to the police station, some government official is bound to just pocket it. Especially as in the news today, Zimbabwe is facing 150,000% inflation!!!!! Anyway, they will have a better time obtaining their SA Police Clearance. We still have to receive the forms from my attorney, which my folks & us need to sign. I will have to mail those to my folks, which they will return along with their original birth certificates (scary) and original marriage certificate, and police clearance from SA and possibly Zim. Steve is amazing, and through a contact has set up a UPS driver in Cape Town to pick up the documents, as we can’t afford for them to get lost in the regular mail. My folks just have to call when the package is ready. We should then receive it in 3 business days. I then have to send it off to my attorney who then sends it off to the National Visa Center. They process the paperwork and send me a confirmation letter, and my folks package with the interview date and instructions for the interview and their medical exam. Since my folks are coming the AIDS Capital of the world, the medical exam includes an HIV test! The NVC then sends the original documents (i.e. birth certificates) to the US Embassy in Johannesburg, and then my folks have to show up for the interview and BAM! – They get a stamp in their passport and have 4 months to get here!!!
Please keep this process in your prayers!

In other news, Steve’s folks, my sister’s family and us are going to Mammoth the 2nd weekend in Feb! We are all very excited, as my sister’s family has not really been in snow! They “experienced” a bit of it in Palm Springs on the cable car ride, but 2 feet doesn’t count!! Also, we are going on Sun- Tue, so it shouldn’t be too crowded. I will snowboard again and hopefully will improve a little bit more! I definitely enjoy it 100% better than skiing! It will be Steve’s first time snowboarding since he broke his foot, so I’m not sure about the double black diamonds…we’ll see!!
On Sunday we went to Steve’s’ aunt’s 100th Birthday party! It was such a great time. She pretty much has all her faculties and is amazing. She gave the most moving speech, and said that she came to know the Lord at the age of 5yrs old, and has walked with Him the whole way! It was beautiful and we all enjoyed it!

Well, that’s it for now! I hope everyone has enjoyed 2008 so far!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Christmas Morning

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Turkey Man & Matching Outfits

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Becca's Cake

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Some more random photos


Herewith my latest painting. I painted it on Saturday for my sister & family. I thought the giraffe would go well with their African decor! I should do one for us too, since we're the ones with all the wooden giraffes! The next one is my absolute favorite photo of Steve and his dad!! The last one is one of my favorite wedding photos. I think all the colors look so royal together! That was such a fun day!!
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South Africa Photos

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I thought it would be fun to post these random photos from our last trip to SA ( and thought it would be a good test to see if blogger is uploading pictures again)
So, of course it's working, now that it's random photos! haha
Anyway, the elephants were from our Safari at Kruger National Park. The mom was half way across the road when we saw the bushes moving to the left of us. The next thing the smallest baby elephant I have ever seen peeked out. It was so scared to cross the street that the mom came back and with her trunk, ushered him across the street! It was amazing! The photo of Steve and I is at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. It's my fav. place to go for a night out: fun shops, good food, amazing people watching ( and guessing accents)! The next one is me petting a cheetah at a rehabilitation facility. They give you all these rules you have to abide by, before they let you in. Approach from behind, don't make eye contact, crouch down etc. I have to say, as weird as it sounds, I enjoyed the sensation of holding the baby crocodile in Zimbabwe better, than I did petting the cheetah! His fur was so prickly and rough and not what i expected! The croc was fun as it was squishy and cold. I I said, wierd! haha!
Then Steves turn and boy did he get jipped with me taking photos! I could get the jolly camera to focus so we don't have the greatest shots of him petting the cheetahs!
Oh well, thought it would be a fun little trip down memory lane. One day i'll try and repost the pictures from Christmas!!!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Christmas Morning in PJ'S


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Becca's B-day Party & Cake

Since my sister moved here, I have taken over the "cake making" roll until my mom gets here! She is SOOOOO much better at it than I am, but I enjoy doing it, especially as the girls just LOVE their cakes! And it's something I didn't get to do for them when they lived in SOuth Africa! Last year I did a horse for Becca and a bunny for Kaela. Those were their requests. This year for Becca's b-day, she wanted a soccer ball! She doesn't even play soccer! So, we decided that if she hadn't come up with something else(aka, something more special for HER), I would surprise her with a fun cake! Since she takes Irish Dance and has won a few awards in the most recent competitions, I thought I would do an Irish Dance Dress. They happen to be the most extravagant dresses, that cost thousands of dollars. So, this is the best I could come up with! I will have to say it is so much harder than it seems. I used marzipan as I thought I had to with Royal Icing, and that in and of itself was challenging. However, she loved it, and thats what counts!! The kids didn't care, it was vanilla cake, it goes down the same! Anyway, here are a fraction of the friends she's made. These are actually just the neighbor kids they both play with, since she opted for a day at Disneyland instead of a huge party! i'm so proud of them ALL! they have fit into Southern California superbly!

Mr. Turkey Man ( and more matching!)

Herewith is Steve and his awesome Turkey, for Christmas Eve! Doesn't it look delcious?? (pic's coming soon..depending if blogger and picassa are friends again!)

(this is NOT the one that gushed everywhere!)
And here we are all matching, however only half of us got the black memo and the other half the red memo!
I still think it's cute though as we seriosuly did NOT plan it!

Christmas with the Smiths

Friday night we spent Christmas with the Smiths, at my sister's house. It was good as always to see them. The girls always play really well together and it's cute to watch! I forgot to mention on the Christmas Eve post that Steve made the turkey! He borrowed a deep fryer from work. I had never had one like that before, and it was delicious!! It's funny though as those that know me, will know that i am VERy squeamish! Steve began explaining that he had to get a HUGE syringe, as he had to "inject" the turkey with the seasonings. that almost finished me, the thought of it almost made me ill. He however, decided to be "PC" for me and changed his way of describing it to "marinade from within!" (Thank you STeve!!)
Long story shortm, the turkey was a HIT! EVeryone said it was the best turkey that they had ever had! And it was! He made another one for Christmas with the Smiths, and apart from lifting it out the thawing pan to place in the fryer, while blood, literally came GUSHING out across the counter and on the floor, it too was delicious! (of course, AFTER it had cooked)

Christmas Dinner

We spend CHristmas Dinner in Arcadia, with Steve's dads side of the family! It is also really fun and they are a wonderful family too. The first picture is of Christine and I in our "matching" outfits! What is it w/ this family and matching! haha! Then the girls learning to play Mario! Kaela (little one) looks like I do when playing video games!! Becca is WAY more into it! Christine was kindly helping Becca with her new Christmas gift! The girls either got clothes or educational gifts this year! ANd then, my sister and Steve's sister!! I was feeling pretty blah by the time dinner rolled around, so I sat in my little corner, trying not to cough on people, or blow my nose to close to them! SUCH a bummer too as I took the 3 days after Christmas off, totaling 11 days of vacation, which i spent sick! was another wonderful Christmas with loved ones, so who can complain about a little cold?

Christmas Morning in PJ'S!

Christmas morning is spent at Steve's folks house. My sister's family joins us too and its one BIG pajama party! I love that Christine, Ruth and I had doggie Pj'S! Steve and I are the nerdy couple that actually has matching dalmation Pj's! I know...totally lame!! BUT we love it and that's what counts!!
Anyway, it was bunches of fun, we were all very spoiled (the pictures you see are off my new camera, thanks to my wonderful husband!) and enjoyed the tradition of being in our PJ's, drinking hot chocolate and eating cinnamon rolls! We were there for a couple of hours and then had time to go home and get ready for the next family get together, which is Steve's Dad's side of the family. It was a good time, even though I started to have a cold/sinus creep up on me.

Christmas Eve Photos

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Friday, January 04, 2008

New Tradition - Rat Stories


Herewith my little stuffed rat! Sorry the last pictures didn't come out! I'll have to try and redo them, but they are on my home computer!
( the by - the last post was my 100th!! WOO-HOO!)
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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Christmas Eve

We spent a wonderful Christmas Eve with Steve's Mom's side of the family. They are Swedish, so Christmas Eve is a big deal! Traditions are very important in this family, and I just love it! However, this was the first time in about 40 years or so, that Steve's Mom and Dad hosted it. It's usually at his aunt and uncles house. Christmas Eve is when I first met this side of the family. Steve and I had been dating for 3 mths, and were leaving the next day to fly out to South Africa to surprise my folks. I knew he was the one proir to Christmas Eve ( trust me...I would NOT be fyling half way around the world w/ a guy, if I didn't think it was for ever!)but, after meeting his extended family, I REALLY knew this was it. They were so loving, warm and wonderful! Actually, his aunt and uncle went home that night and said to eachother, " I think we just met a new member to this family!" That was 8 Christmases ago, and they are MY family now too! They have extended their love and warmth to my sister and her family too. We had a wonderful time together and have started a few more traditions, wierd ones to say the least! Including swapping "rat" stories! His aunt and uncle even got me a little stuffed rat from Disneys Ratatouille! I'll have to find a picture to post of it!
Here's to and old!