Monday, April 25, 2011

255 Days

Exactly 254 days ago, my family went on a cruise of a lifetime to the Western Caribbean. The food was amazing, and the company was even better. All of my siblings and their spouses surprised my Mom for her 60th birthday (my dad was in on the secret, a secret that was a year in the making.) All of our children were farmed out to their grandparents, and I hope one day to ship my kids off to Nana's and Papa's for the Smith family cruise, but we shall see...

Any-who, the day before we met in Florida I went to the beauty shop with my wonderful sister in law, where my mother in law treated us to pedicures. Mine was a lovely lime green with random black and silver accents. Our beautician sort of did what felt natural, which turned out slightly odd, but still beach worthy.

I have made a conscious effort for the last 255 days not to touch my toenails. FIrst of all, seeing the lovely shade of green brought back wonderful memories of a magical vacation. And second of all, I was simply curious to see if the polish would chip off first or grow out. Lucky for me, it has indeed grown out. I have barely a sliver left on my big right toe. What a cruise! What a pedicure! What a worthy scientific experiment!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Seeing Kangaroo

We had a Sunday miracle today, we actually arrived 20 minutes early for church. It was so nice to casually enter the building, set up my classroom for the lesson I would be teaching later (incidentally it was about temples, and it went well) and find the perfect pew for the crew. Being the first ones to sit down in the chapel means that you have time to watch everyone else arrive to church.
A few minutes before the services started, a lady walked in with her seeing eye dog, and her husband. Owen was on my lap and was facing the other way when this small family entered and she sat down before he saw them. They sat across the way from us, a few rows ahead and the dog's leg and tail were all that could be seen from where we sat. Owen turns to the animal and points, while asking me why there is a kangaroo in church. I tell him that its a dog. He's not so convinced and asks again "What is that dog kangaroo doing in church." I repeat, it's just a dog, and helps the lady to see, making sure that she doesn't go into the street when it is busy, or walk into a pole.
At this point, church is about to start and the woman, apparently having excellent hearing comments that if she actually did have a seeing eye kangaroo, she would get quite a good workout everyday. Maybe Owen is onto what could be the latest exercise trend among the blind.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cream Cheese Cheating

According to an urban legend, cream cheese was invented by an American who who was actually attempting to make neufchatel cheese, a cheese common to Transylvania. When the attempt failed and produced cream cheese, I believe the American promptly abandoned all attempts to recreate the foreign cheese. He probably made a bagel, toasted it with butter, and then slathered it with flavored cream cheese. I know I would have.

I am proud to be a part of the wildly successful and totally fun neighborhood cooking club, known to the world as "Iron Chef Bountiful." The club is a cooking competition group and is open to all women in our neck of the woods. The hostess chooses the theme ingredient. The women show up with a dish, making sure not to tell anyone what they made, pick a number and give their culinary creation a title. We then say a blessing on the food, and pig out. When we are so full we think that we might explode, we vote on the entries. The top three chefs get to have the gold, silver, or bronze trophy in their home for the month. A trophy is also given to the dish with the best presentation. Incidentally, I always think it's funny when I get the presentation trophy, but not the gold/silver/bronze. It's as if the group is saying "Golly, your dish was sure pretty. Too bad it didn't taste as good as it looked."

We women in the neighborhood have been meeting for over two and a half years. It is crazy fun and delicious. I had the honor of winning the gold trophy just three nights ago. The theme was Oats; my entry was Oat Crepes filled with sauteed apples (four varieties), topped with fresh whipped cream, drizzled with warm Nutella, and toasted almonds. But I had a hunch that my dish would do well. I cheated. I used a secret weapon: cream cheese.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Suitcase

About three weeks ago I had an overnighter with several women from my moms side of the family, a girls trip in Kamas at my aunt's beautiful new vacation home. I packed a hard shell light blue suitcase (thanks to a the rock-bottom price at the D.I.) and Annie and I were off.

The trip was wonderful. My mom and twin came up for the event, and about 15 other relatives attended. The food, conversation, crafts, and accommodations were all perfect. When I came home, my boys were sufficiently jealous and I was reminded how awesome girl time can be.

I unpacked and life has gone on as usual, except for the suitcase. It's cold outside and we keep our luggage in the storage shed, so I had yet to return the blue baggage to it's home. It has remained in our bedroom and, thanks to helping hands, is always in an inconvenient location: in front of the bathroom sink, the bedroom door, just where you would put your feet when hopping out of bed.

Ryan had finally had enough of the light blue hard shell suitcase this morning. After almost tripping on it (again) he said:

"If you're going to leave me, just pack this thing up already and do it. But if you plan on staying, I would really like it if you would put this suitcase away."

I think I'll keep it in our bedroom for a few more days, just to keep him guessing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Milkshake Miracle

Tonight I was desperately craving a Chocolate Peanut-butter Malt Milkshake, for obvious reasons. The downside was that we were out of milk and malt powder, and I had absolutely no desire to run to the store.

Miracle #1: After dinner, Ryan randomly gets out Halloween candy from a secret location and has everyone pick a piece. (Calvin actually got two because while playing a t a friends house, he didn't get any of the mini- Kit Kats the kids pigged out on.)... Simon chooses a small package of Whoppers, and I have just found a source for my malt powder: chocolate covered malt balls.

Miracle #2: This miracle might gross some of you out, but it mattereth not. I threw all of the ingredients into the blender and hoped for the best, knowing that without milk it will be too thick to process. Suddenly my mind is made clear and I recall how, strangely enough, I had poured a glass of milk for Owen earlier in the day and he barely drank it. Pretending like we were back in the Great Depression, I didn't want to waste the milk so I tucked it away into a safe little corner in the fridge. Mid-blender cycle, I quickly dumped the milk into the shake and the consistency became something out of a dream.

This story illustrates a few things.
#1 Miracles come in all shapes, sizes and flavors.
#2 Heavenly Father knows us personally. For some, they prefer their miracles in the form of a sporting event, for others they like their miracles in a phone call or in a cop that's too busy to pull you over... Heaven knows my language of love has taste buds, and I am happiest when my mouth is full of the bounty the earth has created. Simple foods like Chocolate Peanut-butter Malt Milkshakes.