Tuesday, April 28, 2009
So back to last week. Last week was glorious. We built a fire in the back yard a few nights. I enjoyed sitting in my camping chair just reading my book by the heat of the flames. I love the smell of campfire smoke and the taste of roasted marshmallows. Nothing more summer-like than that.
Also, I went jogging everyday (but Thursday) last week. And I've always hated running in the past. But it felt incredible to run for the first time in a very, very long time. It was "me" time. My muscles felt strong and my heart was pumping like crazy. It was good for my body and mind. I felt happy. Maybe it was all those endorphins swimming around, or the warm weather, or just feeling strong, but a surge of elatedness filled my veins. Like falling in love for the first time. Like reliving a fond memory. It was so refreshing. Oh, and praise the heavens for my iPod, that's all I have to say.
Well, here's the big news for the week. I'm officially the Primary President. I was sustained and set apart on Sunday. I think this will be a good experience for me. I think I have good counselors and I believe we'll all work well together. To be quite honest, I don't think I have a lot to offer the Primary, so apparently there is something I personally need to learn from this calling. When Bishop set me apart he reminded me that my calling, as with any calling, is from God. And because God called me to this position, He will help me as I serve. That is good to know, because I need all the help I can get. Seriously. Anyway, I am going to miss teaching the Valiant class and my "easy" job as the Primary secretary. Although, I will have to teach sharing time, so my teaching responsibilities aren't completely gone. I mean, it's wonderful to teach these kids about the gospel because their young minds just soak it up. But it puts a lot of pressure on me to be a better example, ya know? Hmmmm. On Sunday Sharlo gave the most wonderful sharing time about the atonement and she brought the Spirit into the class. Rachel is also really good at teaching and presented an awesome sharing time lesson on Easter. I hope I can be as good as them. But then again, I think they are natural teachers. They have a gift. I have to work hard to be anything like them. At any rate, I'm pretty nervous and excited and a bit overwhelmed so throw out a prayer for me if you get a chance. Thanks. :)
In other news, Mike is on a roll with his tests. He's got the series 7 and 63 under his belt and now just needs....uh, how many more, babe? Like 4 more tests? Something like that. Congrats to him. He's all motivated and stuff, which I totally admire. And so dang smart too. Gotta love that kid.
We are just happy right now. And for me, I just think, "Finally" after such a long time of feeling down. It helps to have so many great friends. I was just telling Mike the other day that it kind of scares me. Because good things don't usually last. And I'm just waiting for something to come along and destroy this happy feeling. That's no way to live, right? I need to relish this moment. Because I haven't felt this good in years. YEARS. Like complete. Happy to be me. Unashamed. Like a spiritual awakening. I don't know what it is. But I really don't want it to go away. :)
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
So back in the days of living in Japan, it was very, very hard to find Mexican food, including tortillas. So my friend Claire gave us this recipe for making homemade tortillas that we used quite often then, and still do to this day.
*6 cups flour (in this case I used half white flour and half whole wheat)
*1 Tbsp. sugar
*1 Tbsp. baking powder
*1 Tbsp. salt
*1/2 cup oil
*2 cups HOT water
Mix ingredients in order! Before mixing in the water mix the first 5 ingredients. The oil will make little "pockets" in the tortillas. After adding water, knead with flour. Divide into 30 balls. Let sit in balls for 5 minutes. Flour your table and roll out balls as thin as possible. Put in ungreased frying skillet on low heat. Flip when it bubbles.
I've gotta admit I'm a fan of Papa Murphy's and I'm always trying to duplicate their pizzas. This is as close to their "Gourmet Vegetarian" pizza as I could get. Although, if anyone knows a rip off recipe for their dough, could you pass it along? Thanks.
For this I just made a simple pizza dough using part white and part whole wheat flour.
Topped with creamy garlic sauce (out of a bottle...don't judge me,) zucchini, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, roma tomatoes, onions, and cheese. The only thing missing was the spinach.
Fresh Corn Risotto with Basil, Tomato, and Lime
So, we like risotto. And plain risotto is mighty tasty. But we thought we'd switch it up a bit and make a different recipe. I got this out of the "Joy of Cooking" (a.k.a. our cooking Bible) so hopefully I don't get in trouble for breaking copyright laws or something.
*1 cup diced seeded peeled ripe tomatoes (I got mine out of a can. How authentic, right?)
*2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil (Again, got this out of a spice jar. In that case you need to lessen the amount)
*1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (ha ha ha, lime juice out of a bottle didn't kill this recipe for me)
*1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Bring to simmer:
*5 cups chicken stock
*2 cups corn kernels from 4 or 5 large ears (Okay, really people, I just got frozen corn. I suck, I know.)
Puree 1 cup of the corn kernels in a food processor. heat in a large saucepan over med. heat until foam subsides:
*2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Add and cook, stirring until translucent, about 5 minutes:
*1/2 cup finely chipped scallions (white part only)
1 1/2 cups Italian rice
Stir to coat with butter. Add:
*1/2 cup dry white wine
Cook, stirring, until absorbed. Add 1 cup of the simmering stock and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until the stock is absorbed. Add the remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed before adding more. Continue adding the remaining stock, in 1/2 cup additions, stirring and cooking over med-low heat, until the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the reserved pureed corn and another 1/2 cup stock. Continue to cook, stirring and adding stock as needed, until rice is tender but with a slight firmness to the center of the grain, 5-10 minutes more, or longer depending on the rice. Stir in corn kernels and the fresh tomato mixture. Season with:
*Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Spoon into warmed bowls (or plates in our case) and sprinkle with:
*Grated Parmesan cheese
Here's another gem I found in the Bible, "The Joy of Cooking."
Preheat griddle. Whisk together in a large bowl:
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1/3 cup sugar
*1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
*1/4 tsp. salt
Whisk together in another bowl:
*3/4 cup sour cream
*1/3 cup milk
*1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
*3 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
*1 large egg
*1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and gently whisk together, mixing just until combined. Fold in:
*Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
The batter will be thick and bubbly, similar to cake batter. Cook batter in 1/4 cup rounds. Serve with honey or sweetened sour cream or creme fraiche (don't ask me) or even vanilla yogurt.
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
So I've finished a few books recently. One of which is the book you see pictured here. I was perusing the shelves at the Dollar Store and saw this novel sitting there just begging me to buy it. I liked the cover so I did. For only a dollar I suppose it wasn't that bad. Since I'm too lazy to type up my own synopsis, I'm going to take a review from this broad on Bookreporter.com.
For more than a decade, Myla Rose Wolfe has been living under an assumed name. As Kate Scott, a medieval literature professor at a small, secluded East Coast college, she is free of the scandal associated with her family. But when she receives a package from a lawyer who's acting on behalf of an anonymous client, she realizes that no matter how far she runs, or how many details she fabricates about her life, she can't outrun her past. She heads home to Portland, Oregon, to relive the event that changed her family forever --- and to once again become Myla Wolfe.
In the first few pages of the book readers learn that Myla's father and 13-year-old sister, Pru, died within months of one another thirteen years ago, sending Myla into a tailspin of grief. The question of how they died is part of what fuels the narrative, and Beverly-Whittemore keeps the suspense heightened by parsing out details about what happened.
As children, Myla and Pru posed for family friend and photographer Ruth Handel. The photos --- taken over a period of ten years and some of which depict the young girls naked --- generated a national controversy about exploitation versus art. Myla and Pru's father, a brilliant, widowed college professor, was determined to instill in his daughters a sense of independence, and he allowed them to choose whether or not they wanted to be in Ruth's photographs. To the surprise of Myla and Pru, who enjoyed posing for the photographs and the sense of artistic accomplishment it gave them, the photos were viewed by some as child pornography.
So, I have to disagree with the reviewer Shannon on a few things. Sure it seemed all suspenseful and stuff at first, but the end of the book was kind of a let down. I expected something bigger with all the "heightened suspense." It basically led to nothing and I was even a little bit bored at times. At the end of the review Shannon also said the book was "enlightening." Uh, no, not so much enlightening. I mean, the book didn't change my life or anything. It was kind of like a show you'd watch on Lifetime. Although, I have to admit the author did use some stunning visual language at times. Several of the paragraphs were very well written and in some cases, the wording she chose was beautiful and simply perfect and poetic. If it wasn't for those times, I wouldn't have finished the book.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
1. Go skydiving. (I'm not too sure I want to anymore. I have way too much to live for these days.)
2. Go to Disneyland together. (I know, lame goal, right? It's just that I've never been!)
What we've been able to check off our list:
1. Go to the Price is Right game show. (It would've been nice to be a contestant, but at least we got some autographed pictures of Bob Barker, eh?)
2. Go on a cruise together.
3. Ride an elephant.
4. Take a trip overseas. (We actually lived overseas, so perhaps that makes it even better.)
5. Have some kids. (Well, we've got one now. I'm sure down the road we will add an "s" to "kid." No rush, right?)
6. Get at least a bachelor's degree for each of us.
7. See a penguin in real life and possibly pet one. (Yeah, silly goal, but it had to be done. And it was.)
8. Buy a house.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
~I can't stand Kathie Lee Gifford.
~I'm sick of my clothes. When I look at my closet I realize that nothing in there defines me. I need a makeover...
~...but I need to lose some poundage before going out to buy a new wardrobe.
~I'm nervous. Change is coming, I can feel it.
~My new favorite quote from Mike: "I might have a girlish voice, but I'm all man down there."
~I just got a package in the mail from my dear friend! Hooray hooray! I love getting mail.
~Frozen "Go-gurts" are a super yummy treat. Go try one.
~I found out today that my cousin is engaged. Good for her. Too bad I can't go to the wedding.
~It's snowing here. Somebody shoot me in the head.
~Why do I take everything so personally? I've gotta stop that. Some things just have NOTHING to do with me so I shouldn't let them affect me.
Over the course of my reflection last year, I tried to pinpoint some of my talents, or gifts. I’ve always been really down on myself because everything I know how to do, I only do a mediocre job at. For instance, I have a blog dedicated to my arts and crafts, but that doesn’t mean I’m good at arts and crafts. In fact, although I love arts and crafts, I KNOW I’m not GOOD at them. I’ve accepted it. I also like to play sports, but I don’t consider myself an exceptional athlete. I’ve never been the smartest, strongest, prettiest, or –est of anything, really. There’s always someone out there who’s better than me in some way. So last year I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it is I’ve got going for me. Not so I could gloat about it or pump up my ego. This was only for the sake of finding out more about myself (hence the title of these posts.) And then on some random night while Mike and I were talking in bed before drifting off into sleepy land, we got on the topic of religion and such. And to be honest, I don’t really know what brought this up, but I asked Mike if he thought it was weird that I believed the Book of Mormon was true before I even read it. He said no and told me this scripture:
I've thought about that scripture since that night and I believe that perhaps faith is my gift. Maybe I’m not good or the best at playing an instrument, or drawing, or throwing a softball. But I have a spiritual gift. And after ruminating through the past in my head I’ve come to realize that faith really has, in fact, been a defining characteristic of mine.
To be continued….
Monday, April 13, 2009
~I think my kid must be pretty lazy because if given the choice to either put away his toys or put his nose in the corner, he chooses the corner and takes himself there without a fight.
~Monday: I tried going to bed early last night and it backfired. I fell asleep around 9:30 and woke up at 2:30. I just wasn't tired anymore. And for the life of me I couldn't get back to sleep. I ended up laying awake with lots of thoughts swimming around in my brain until the sun came up. My little plan to go to bed early backfired and I now I'm super grumpy today.
~Tuesday: I was downstairs this morning when the urge to pee came on so I used the guest bathroom. And to my disappointment, my uncle put the roll of TP on the wrong way while he was staying here! The wrong way being TP coming from under instead of over the roll. Can I get an amen on this one?
~My kid's favorite phrase: "No, Mommy."
~We're getting chickens! We are building a chicken coop and can't wait to have lots 'o eggs soon!
~I get jealous of other people's cute blogs. :(
~I can never find any pens when I need one!!!
~I'm so proud of Mike for passing his Series 7 test!!! Great job, babe.
~Some friends are only for a season, some are forever. I'm thankful for both. I am thankful for my newest friend K.
~After 5 years of marriage we finally got a start on our food storage. 400 lbs. of wheat and a wheat grinder. It's a major accomplishment for us.
~Saturday: The circus was overstimulating. I have a headache. And I felt sorry for the animals.
~My knees have been killing me lately. I feel like a 90 year old decrepit woman.
~Should we give our kid Easter presents?
~It is cherry blossom season in Japan. I want to move back.
~Gotta get the taxes done, gotta get the taxes done.
~A yummy soup we tried this week that I'd recommend:
~My new favorite beverage:
~Saturday: It's been an exhausting week.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Some photos from the trip:
We ate breakfast at this little hole in the wall diner. Soooo freakin' awesome. Nothing makes me hungrier than seeing a plethora of dead animals mounted on the wall. It had to be done. What do you expect? We're in Montana.
The room. Just thought you might like to see where all the magic happened. (totally kidding, c'mon.)
The other little hole in the wall where we ate dinner. They call tater tots "gems" here. They over cooked my gems. But the fish was delish. And our waitress was tip worthy.
The day we left on our trip Mike went into the bank to get some cash. Apparently the teller was making small talk and asked about our weekend plans (assuming we had weekend plans, hence the money withdrawal....) Anyway, the following week we get this creepy card in the mail. I guess they really want our business.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Me with our dear friends the Prestons.
This picture doesn't do the largeness of the cemetery justice. After every hill we climbed there were yet MORE headstones.
Dear Hef-Fadder (Dear Heavenly Father)
Nake-you for mine fabily (Thank you for my family)
Nake-you for mine blay-kuhts (Thank you for my blankets)
Nake-you for mine dickers (Thank you for my stickers...ha ha ha this ones makes me laugh)
Blessa be happy (Please bless us to be happy)
In-na name-a Jesus Prysd, Amen (so flip'm cute....)