And together we learn

Thursday, November 27, 2008


"The stick of butter is in the gravy boat under the zebra."

Now just how many times in the history of the world has THAT particular sentence been uttered??

Edited to add that this really did make sense when I said it. A neighbor needed to borrow a stick of butter on Thanksgiving morning. Calvin had been playing in the kitchen and put a stick of butter in the gravy boat that was out in preparation for the dinner. His Happy Meal toy zebra was on top of the lot. It really was quite clear when I said it--it just made me laugh!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cooking and more cooking

Can I just mention how much I love Thanksgiving? A holiday devoted to family, gratitude, and very good food. Definitely one of my favorites.

Today was pie day with the sisters. In complete pandemonium, we had 5 of us making 5 kinds of pie (12 in all), 1 salad, a galette, and 2 frozen pizzas. Simultaneously!!!

I have the turkey brining, ready to roast in the morning. I've so far made apple, leek and sausage sourdough stuffing, orange ginger cranberry sauce, the pies, the spice rub for the sweet potatoes, and a gorgeous butternut squash and caramelized onion galette.

I used smitten kitchen's recipe for the pumpkin pies. I'll let you know tomorrow if they were worth the extra (LOTS) of steps and dirty dishes.

My kids are turning into little miniature foodies, and it cracks me up. They love to help me cook and weigh in on whether something needs more rosemary, or perhaps a pinch more salt. Hazel decided that she enjoys brussel sprouts, and that fresh ginger is one of her favorite smells.

Calvin will fixate on an object and carry it with him wherever he goes for a day or two. Usually it's a small car, but it's been things as random as kitchen utensils--a slotted spoon, a couple of days a wooden spoon. Lately it's been a large six inch tall wooden letter K. It comes with him everywhere. To the bank. In bed with me when he creeps in during the wee hours of the morning. Today I had to go outside to pick some sage, and he wanted to come with me. "But let me first get my K, just in case."

You just never know when you're going to need an emergency letter K!

He took the K, a U and a W to my mom's this morning, because that spells Jane. I love this kid!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


My sister has guilted me into updating. She just told me I need to 'be the blogger I know you can be.'

With encouragement like that, how can I not post?

Is it just me, or is everyone So Dang Excited for Christmas this year? I'm almost giddy with the anticipation this year, and I'm not really sure why. Sister Andrea and I had a very grown up conversation about all the unrest in the country and the divisiveness and yearning subliminally for the peace and love of Christmas. All in all, it was quite the deep analysis of life. But whatever the reason, I'm just plain happy about it.

Here's a little secret. (((i'm listening to Christmas music in the car. before Thanksgiving.))) sssshhhh. I know it's totally against the rules, but I just can't seem to help myself! Plus, a little Rudolph goes a whole long way to peace and joy in the backseat.

We've been listening to a lot of this amazing CD--it's the Tabernacle Choir with the Kings Singers, and it's absolutely transcendent. This is the kind of music that fills your whole body with joy and radiates happiness. Buy this, then be really really grateful.

I'm kind of a pseudo-crafter. I have all kinds of aspirations, and I buy patterns and supplies and fabric and such, then, well.....let's just say that I have lots of places to start. My mom is an accomplished, fabulous seamstress. Like she can make wedding dresses kind of seamstress. She made almost all of our dresses growing up; Christmas and Easter both meant new dresses for every one of the girls in the family. But somehow, none of us ever learned how to do more than sew a pretty basic seam. We've tried sister sewing classes with mom, but didn't get past the second lesson. But we all want to know how!

So in Ikea the other day, while discussing our sad lack of abilities, I stopped and turned to my sisters with one arm outstretched. They put their hands on mine, and together we pledged to each complete 2 honest-to-goodness sewing projects by February 12, 2009. I'm going to make dresses for my girls, Andrea is making an apron and a skirt for herself, Stephanie is making pajamas, and Emily is making (I THINK) an apron and a skirt. (Em wasn't with us, she pledged after the fact).

Later that night, I sent Drea a text pledging to make homemade marshmallows this Christmas. We always talk about it then never do. So this year, it's been pledged! It will be done, and I will follow up with photos of every single project so the blogging community can hold me accountable.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keeps me laughing

Hazel got a treat at a little club she belongs to. "Look Mom, it's a knock knock, wait, I think it's a ding-dong!"

I served a mission for my church in Taiwan, and now thanks to the internet I'm friends on facebook with a bunch of the cute little girls I loved over there. Apparently some things don't translate all that well into Chinese...

One of them joined the facebook group 'Protect Marriage--one man and one woman.'

And I guess to keep things fair, she ALSO joined the group 'Petition the IRS to revoke the LDS church's tax exempt status.'

I laughed at that one really hard. Nothing like being able to see both sides of an issue!

Hazel's party, OR, the importance of having sisters

My sweet Hazel turned 7 last week. Seven!!! It seems like such a great big grown up number. This is one fabulous kid, people. She's so loving with her baby brother, she is responsible, compassionate, hard working, and just fun to be around. Oh, she has her moments, and she does those moments better than most anyone I know. But overall, this is one amazing little girl.

To honor the milestone of being on the planet for seven years, she chose a cooking themed party. Each of the little guests got to roll out their own pizza dough (I quintupled a dough recipe!!), then add their own toppings. Let me tell you, you haven't seen chaos until you've watched 13 small people with dough and rolling pins in their hands!

We made each of them sweet little aprons, and for the life of me I can't understand why there are no pictures of them. Drea, you got any??

Parties like this are really only attempted if there are sisters present, or if those aren't available, very long-suffering friends. I was so completely fortunate to have FIVE sisters and sisters-in-law there!! This was a complete collective effort. From cake and home decorating to crowd control and clean-up, they were there for every stage.

Andrea is the mastermind behind the operation. She provides inspiration, is an endless source of creativity, is always game for an impromptu trip to the craft store or Target, and dang, she makes amazing cakes!

Fondant olives! Can you believe that?? She grated fondant for the cheese!

Steph decorated the house, and is a master hand with crepe paper.

Emily, Catherine and Tasha provided desperately needed party time support and are all around amazing.

For party favors, we gave them the aprons and this little set of wooden utensils. I love Ikea. We did a obstacle course/relay game where they had relay spoons full of rice to fill up a glass, then we played Pin the Meatball on the Spaghetti. Big hits, both of them.

About a half hour in, we noticed that the token boy child of the party was missing. I placed a nervous call to his mother, because really, how do you say to your neighbor that you've just misplaced their child during a party? There's no good way to say that. Fortunately, he was there. He came over, gave us the present, rolled out his pizza then walked home and announced to his mother that the party was over. Kind of an odd child, in general. She sent him home and I assured him that there was actual fun in store for him.

We decided that it actually would have been a great concept--collect presents, force them to cook for us, then pack 'em on home while we enjoy the pizzas they've slaved over and eat the cake ourselves!

Overall, it was an amazingly fun little party. Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I'll be the first to admit it--I didn't want Obama to win. There's a lot that he says that I don't agree with. Don't agree with McCain, either, but what do you do?

So I was very surprised this morning at what just happened.

My girls were asking me about who won the election; they knew I didn't vote for Obama, and they've listened to all the political chatter around here for weeks. I told them that it is President Obama, and they were disappointed. But then I startled myself by starting to cry.

We've been reading the Addy American Girl books together, so they're familiar with slavery and discrimination. As I told them that we have a black man as the president-elect, I cried over the enormity of it all. I don't agree with his policies. But his speech last night was inspiring, and the thing that he has accomplished transcends partisan politics. I didn't expect to cry over this. But wow, how far we've come. I'm glad my kids get to grow up in a world where race isn't the all-important thing it once was.

So even though he wasn't my pick, I'm very grateful to have seen this day.