Monday, July 25, 2011

Rounding Third and Heading for HOME!

Two and a half days till we are back in Cincinnati! I'm so anxious to see my family! My cousin is getting married on Friday, and I know the wedding will be a blast. Then we are taking a Greyhound bus to Greenville, SC for some quality time with Brent's fam. I'm pretty much delirious with excitement!

This will probably be my last post before we leave, so in a fashion similar to my Christmas "Catch All," here's a final slew of pictures.

Girls Night

A few weekends ago, Brent and Nate had a Friday work-sponsored event, so Jenn and I decided it would be the perfect occasion to host a girls movie night. I invited several friends over to our apartment, and we had such a fun time! I made smokey corn and black bean pizza, and these guiltless chocolate muffins.

Of course, what movie night would be complete without some movie candy? We watched Charade, a 1963 classic starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. It was fun to host a little "mini-party" for the girls. I've really missed all the entertaining we used to do in Cincy!

Camana Bay

Last weekend Brent and I went to see Horrible Bosses at the Camana Bay theater. We got there a little early so we decided to climb the observation tower again.

We were just in time to catch this amazing sunset!

After the movie we went to Haagen-Dazs to split a three-scooper. We got Baileys, Cappuccino Caramel Truffle, and Pralines & Cream. Heaven in my mouth.

Cooking in the Kitchen with Katie

Back by popular demand (not really, but I thought I would share anyway :), here's some recent recipes I've tried.

For this Banana Bread French Toast, you make the banana bread first, let it cool completely, and then dip it in batter to make french toast. It's a pretty healthy french toast too - only 196 calories for two slices. I made two mini loaves of the banana bread and turned one into french toast and gave the other to Jenn.

photography credit: JSS

I got this recipe for Turkey Meatloaf with Feta and Sun-dried Tomatoes from my long-time friend Allison Achberger. I've made it twice now - it's a big hit with Brent! The mac and cheese next to this is left over from a BBQ potluck (recipe from Mary Gaertner).

Haha, this next one is "Cooking in the Kitchen with Brenty." For Walter's birthday (July 5 - why didn't anyone send presents?) he bought home a special treat - canned food! Walter's been apathetic about eating recently, so Brent thought some canned food would mix things up. He has a special concoction with about 1/5 a can and 2-1/2 cups dry dog'll have to ask him for the exact recipe. When I was taking pictures of the meatloaf, he made me get a shot of Walter's feast too...oh, he makes me laugh :)

Other good recipes I've made recently (but no pictures):
Chewy Low Fat Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies
Banana Berry Muffins

That's it for now. Stay tuned for lots of pictures from the States once we get back!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Flower Power

When I walk Walter around our complex every day, I see so many gorgeous flowers, all different shapes and colors. One evening while Brent was working out I decided to walk around with my camera and capture a few. It was fun to photograph something besides the beach, food, and Walter!

I love this little pink flower!

These are my absolute favorite. What a lucky flower to have purple, pink, orange, AND yellow!

Berries on a palm tree

I love to imagine God at work during the creation process. He must have been having so much fun picking all these colors and designing the intricate details. I love that the creativity I use in my career or when I take pictures is an indicator that I was created in His image; it's a trait I inherited from my heavenly Father!

Only SIX DAYS till I'll be taking pictures of my awesome family - I can't wait!

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Mile Sea Swim

This post is a little overdue. I didn't bring my camera to the event, but luckily my reliable co-photographer Jenn had hers. Even though I didn't have pictures of my own, I was too proud of Brent to skip this milestone.

Every year, Grand Cayman hosts the Flowers Sea Swim, which is one of the World's Top 100 Open Water Swims. Brent and Nate signed up through PwC just a couple days before the event. Over 800 people showed up to compete, including some Olympic and world-record holding athletes like Gary Hall, Jr., Chip Peterson, Eva Fabian, Ian Crocker, and Kristy Kowal.

Jenn and I were signed up for the "Walk and Watch" portion of the event - basically we just walked the mile along the beach, and took plenty of pictures of our boys. I was slightly dreading doing this walk under the scorching sun, but the sky was nicely overcast. And the excitement of the crowd was absolutely contagious. I had a great time!

It was crazy seeing all those swim caps in the water. We were told we wouldn't be able to spot Brent and Nate in the crowd once everyone started swimming, but people underestimated what super awesome wives we are. We found those boys and walked right along beside them the whole mile. Some times I would even yell to Brent what mile marker he was at. I think he appreciated it.

Here's Brent hard at work, keeping a great pace. You were allowed to stand in place if you needed a break, as long as you didn't move forward while touching the bottom. But that Brent - he didn't stop ONCE!

Still smiling!

Jenn and I separated at the end so she could wait for Nate at the last mile marker. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of Brent crossing the finish line, but he definitely finished strong. I found a couple friends from church at the end and we all cheered him in together. Brent finished #580 and Nate was #597 - not too shabby for zero training! Honestly, I'm just so proud of them for completing the race. It was no small feat!

If you want to see more pictures of the event, check out Jenn's blog post. Thanks for taking these pictures for us, J!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Keeping up with the Kruithofs

Bonfire, Rum Point, Sunshine Grill - 4th of July weekend

Hello everybody. Brent here. Katie has been asking me for months to write another blog post. I believe the last blog post I wrote was in October... I guess
I am due for another one. You could probably tell it was me by the title of the post. Katie is too classy to reference the Kardashians in her posts.

Since this is Brent, I will start off the post with a picture of the Cincinnati Reds napkins that Katie's sister Amy was so kind to send us in a care package. These napkins were the perfect fit for a cook-out and bonfire at Jenn and Nate's apartment in West Bay. Friends from our small group and work were invited to have some cheeseburgers and then have a bonfire on the beach, and who can eat cheeseburgers without napkins?

This bonfire was attended by Jenn's younger sister, Esther and her friend Micah and Leah. Lucky for us, Micah can play the guitar and has a great voice. No bonfire on the beach is complete without music and s'mores. Check and check!

Nate played host by chopping up a couple of old shipping pallets to use for firewood, digging a pit in the sand for the fire, and even carving some s'more sticks with his machete. After throwing a little lighter fluid on the pallets, we had ourselves the second official beach bonfire in about a month. Prior to Cayman I've never had a beach bonfire but always wanted one because it seems so summer-y and American. It's like something you would see in a Levi's commercial or a Kenny Chesney music video. It lived up to my expectations.

Micah playing the guitar and serenading the whole gang

I was surprised to learn that our friends from the UK (namely, Ed and Dan) had never had s'mores before! Of course, we had to remedy this and the Americans all took pleasure in instructing them on the correct way to make a s'more. They were a hit, especially when you add peanut butter to the equation. Here is Ed taking his first bite.

The great thing about bonfires is that sometimes you talk, sometimes you tell jokes, sometimes you tell campfire stories, but it's also okay to sit in silence and just look at the fire. We did a lot of everything, including eating s'mores.

I hope the video below works. If not, you can watch it on youtube. It's probably gone viral by now. Katie shot all of the video and the pictures with her beloved camera and did all of the video editing. She is so talented and beautiful. I did help pick the song though.

Holidays in the Caymans are very different from holidays in the States. The first Monday of July is "Constitution Day" in Cayman which just so happened to be the 4th of July. It was fun to celebrate an US holiday by getting a day off of work. Katie had been dying to go back to Rum Point since we went with my parents in May. We packed a picnic lunch and loaded up the car for the long hike out to the beach. I brought my beach hat, and we also discovered that a 1996 Honda CR-V comes standard with a folding table tucked away in the trunk. Who knew? We took advantage of our new found table and ate some PB&J, apples, and Cheez-its outside of Rum Point.

We decided to save a buck by getting smoothies instead of rum drinks this time. It was still nice to sip the cold drink on the hammocks and watch the locals enjoying the beautiful weather on this beautiful island.

When we decided to come to Cayman, I told Katie I was going to be more of a reader. It took me 7 months to finish my first book - The Runaway Jury by John Gresham. I think I will finish Tony Dungy's autobiography in about a month. That's like a 700% improvement, not bad. Also, I would recommend the book to a friend - it's really good.

The evening of Independence day (US)/Constitution day (CI), we decided to go to our favorite place on the island, Sunshine Grill. We used the gift card that my parents bought for us when they were here in May.

Katie got her usual, the old fashioned cheeseburger with only sweet potato fries.

I got the crispy mahi mahi tacos with the fried mushrooms, jalapenos, and onion straws. I would highly recommend this to a friend. It was a wonderful date night.

The 4th of July weekend was pretty different to the way that we would have celebrated in the States, but, as you can tell, it was wonderful!

Thanks for reading. I love you all!

special thanks to Katie for uploading these pictures for me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pasta, Picnic, and Doughnuts

Every Thursday Grand Old House has CI$10 cooked-to-order pasta. Brent and I had the pleasure of experiencing our first pasta night last week. Why in the world did we wait this long? It was such a fun experience. You pick out your toppings, then the cook sautes it and adds the noodles and sauce as you wait. All the while you enjoy a view of the ocean and some nice live jazz music. Here's my masterpiece:

I can't tell you all I threw in there - broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, squash, chicken, salmon, tomatoes, spinach, onions, garlic...the list goes on and on. At first I was worried about trying to get ingredients that "go together," but then I decided to put in every single item I like :)

Brent's "I ate too much pasta" face:

The next night we kicked off our 3-day-weekend with a picnic on the beach. We didn't feel like making anything, so we walked to Cajun Grill and got their bourbon chicken.

Brent found and fell in love with this little shell. He even named it ("Michelle the Shell" for those of you who were wondering). To his credit, it was pretty perfect.

We called Jenn and Nate on the way home to see what their plans were. Jenn's sister is in town with two friends, and they were open to ideas. We suggested making homemade doughnuts, and of course every one enthusiastically agreed.

The secret ingredient:

I don't know why my fingers are like this. I think they are messy, and I can't hold messy hands in a normal way.

The rest of the weekend continued the holiday celebration. It's not often that Grand Cayman has public holidays on the same day as the States, but I was glad we didn't have to work on Independence Day. We had our own celebration including a beach bonfire, Rum Point, and Sunshine Grill. More on that in the next post!