Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tea Time

"I thought I'd introduce the custom of afternoon tea." - Flora Poste, Cold Comfort Farm

I'm going back to waiting tables this week.  That means that 2-3 weeknights I will leave the house at 4:30pm and not be home until after the kids are in bed.  Time to finally bring some routine and structure to our afternoons.  Snack time at 3:45, right after Jonah walks in the door and then reading lesson and homework.  I know having a set time and place for homework is supposed to be a good thing and I've been meaning to do it and now I finally am.  It also means while they are with a babysitter for the next hour and a half they are free to play and do whatever they want.  It also means I'd better have dinner in the Crockpot or leftovers or something prepared so Brandon can feed them dinner when he gets home but not have to do any real prep.  Time for me to get organized!  I want Brandon's evenings to be relatively stress-free after a long day at work so this way he can have fun with the kids when he gets home and has to put them to bed by himself.  It also forces me to plan, prioritize, and prepare, rather than just flying by the seat of my pants.

I love the British tradition of afternoon tea and I think that a hot, rich, herbal tea with be included in our afternoon snack time more often than not.  The kids love using our pretty tea sets and putting in their own sugar cube and "cream" and stirring and sipping their tea.  Plus, it should keep them from snacking right before dinner if I include a substantial snack along side of their liquid refreshment.

Hurrah for more tea parties at our house :)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Last Week

I know I've hardly blogged in the past 13 months and I'm not sure if I'm going to start doing it regularly again, but I have the urge to right now, so I might as well.

Sunday, Sept. 29th - I had invited all of the local B. family (my dad's side) over for a soup potluck.  I thought all I had to do was my regular kitchen cleaning, sweep the floor, whip up some soup and scrub the bathroom.  Saturday I didn't get around to it.  I took the kids to see my friend's kittens and then to the mall (Jonah had requested going to the Disney Store and Teavana earlier in the week, so unexpected and funny.).
That evening we left the kids with a babysitter and went to our friend Kim's birthday party.  No housekeeping was done.
I am very embarrassed to say that I spent about 6 hours cooking, cleaning and organizing on Sunday (while Brandon was busy painting the cabin).  I thought I would simply tidy up the kitchen and whip up some soup that morning before 1:00 church, but I ended up dropping the kids off at the last two hours of church and then picked them up but didn't go to a single meeting myself which I felt really bad about because I wanted to go but I hadn't realized how messy my house was.  And I didn't even remember to clean the bathroom!  I spent a bunch of time organizing the kids art and school supply corner though.  I'm an idiot.
Anyway my dad's three brothers, their wives, six of my cousins (ages 8-31), one of their husbands, and Skye's three kids all showed up for dinner.  We had a blast eating and talking and hanging out.  Barely even saw the younger kids around.  The soups were all fantastic too.  So busy with 16 extra people in my house that I never even snapped a single picture:(

Tues. - Elora has gymnastics at 1:00 and Jonah started gymnastics in a boys' class at 4:30 so I spent 2 hours there that day (and every Tues for at least the rest of the month).

Wed. - woke up to houseguests.  Karen & Landon (my sister & her fiancee) arrived late in the night.  I cleaned the "guest room" (aka: weird tiled, empty playroom in the basement without a door) and made them a comfy, clean bed on a mattress on the floor before I went to bed the night before.  Again I didn't get around to cleaning the bathroom (basement bathroom this time).  At least the toilets were all recently scrubbed even if the mirrors, counters, and floors aren't looking very good.
Made lamb spinach curry for dinner for the six of us.  Elora didn't care for it (she doesn't like anything these past couple weeks) but everyone else LOVED it.  Stayed up late having fun with Karen, Landon, and Brandon.

Thurs. - this is when the real madness began.  Made a big breakfast for the gang (new pancake recipe is THE best I've ever tried) and then Landon and I dropped the kids off at school.  Had to pick Elora up 15 mins early from school to drop her off with our neighbors so I could run over to my cousin (Brandon's cousin's daughter actually) Vanessa's wedding luncheon at Tuscany.  It was fun sitting by Alisha (B's cousin's wife) and catching up with her as I haven't seen her in months, maybe over a year. Picked Elora up and then changed clothes and picked Jonah up 20 mins early from school and took them to two stores looking for a gem-toned dress to wear to Karen's wedding on Saturday.  No luck.  Dropped the kids off with their grammy and headed to the Draper Temple for Vanessa and Shane's wedding ceremony.  Lovely.
(Vanessa's family)
Picked the kids up from Linda.  Ran home to change into something warmer.  Took the kids to their school for their fall festival (annual PTA fundraiser).  Had to leave and run to the ATM to get cash.  Had dinner, played games, bought cotton candy.

(Elora with her friend Stella)
Came home at 8:00pm.  Brandon had gotten home from work a half an hour earlier and my parents and three youngest siblings had arrived 15 mins. earlier.  Got my kids in bed.  Made three beds for the five guests.  Watched 20 mins of Arrested Development with Spencer.  Went to the airport to pick up Amanda (one of Karen's best friends) and drove up to Park City to drop her off with K & L.  Snowed in P.C.  They stayed up at the cabin that night.  I drove home.

Friday - took Claire, Elora, and Catherine up Big Cottonwood Canyon to see snow.  Arizona girls don't get to see that very often.
(Claire, almost 15 & Catherine (our new sister), 16)
Picked Robin up at the airport around 1:00.  Spencer & my parents were back from Spencer's wisdom teeth removal so we checked in on him.  Left mom with my kids and did a late lunch with dad and four of his daughters :)  The sushi was good and I was surprised that my sisters all like it.
Got out winter clothes, kissed my kids, and headed up to the cabin with Chrisy (Sarah's best friend) and Robin.  
Karen cried when the last of her wedding party guests arrived.  We all had a good time together.  We made gourmet tinfoil dinners.  My brother Adam and about 15 of Karen's closest friends were all there for dinner, fun, and a sleepover.  I drove an hour home so I could see my kids in the morning.

Sat., Oct. 5th - Had breakfast with my families.  Got ready, packed up a few things, tidied up, etc.  Finally tried on the dress that Amanda brought me and thank heavens it worked.  Ran to four stores to pick up five things.  Karen & Landon made last minute changes to the menu last night and I had to get ingredients.  Drove up to the cabin by myself.  Made soup.  My friend Raquel arrived.  Karen hired her to cook the wedding dinner.  I gave her instructions on how to make everything (cheese plates, green salad, pork tenderloin, pear & ginger topping, savory sweet potato side dish).  Got ready.  Wedding!  Gorgeous ceremony.  Pictures.  Cheeses, crackers, jams, fruit.  Socializing.  Dinner.  Toasts.  Partying.

Hot tubbing.  Driving home with Brandon and Robin giggling at 2am.

Sunday - My family got up early and drove back to AZ.  After 3.5 hours of sleep, I was up and taking Robin to the airport.  Watched the morning session of General Conference.  That afternoon I drove the hour back up to the cabin to help do laundry and tidy up.  Took a nap, did dishes, packed up leftovers, my table, etc.  Dropped leftovers and cash off for Raquel.  Took the baker back her trays, displays, etc.  Home.

It was a great week and a beautiful celebration of love.  It was a lot of driving and there has been a lot of residual laundry but things are settled down.  Maybe I'll find a routine for this school year sometime soon!  It was great having so much family around.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Worst Movies I've Actually Watched

I usually check reviews and ask around before I see a movie and I'm fairly picky about what I watch.  But for some unknown reason, I watched these movies and HATED them.

The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (even worse than the first)

Someone Like You (worst romantic comedy I've seen and there are SO many bad ones out there.  And I love the Hugh Jackman but I hated his character.)

The Apartment (I don't care if it won the Oscar for best picture that year, it is not enjoyable.  It has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.4 out of 10 on imdb but I just have to disagree.  I also feel this way about Vertigo, though not as strongly.)

An American Haunting

The Waterboy - I have to really be in the mood for Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell and I wasn't when I saw this.

Miss Congeniality - I'm sorry if you liked this, I wanted to, but I did not find it amusing.

Casino Royale (1967) - a horrendous James Bond parody

Honorable Mentions:

.Twilight (But I will try not to judge you if you like it.  I did enjoy the book.  I also hated the 2nd movie, but I saw it because someone convinced me it was better than the first.  It wasn't.  I will not be seeing the others.)
.Never Been Kissed (one of many romantic comedies that sicken me, including Kate & Leopold, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and A Walk to Remember)
.The American (why George Clooney, why?)
.The Producers (1968)
.District 9
.Mama Mia!

I also find Austin Powers and Dumb and Dumber, more irritating that humorous.

Friday, March 29, 2013


We are staying at my in-laws rather non-childproof home.  I was in the kitchen in search of some panko bread crumbs and the kids were supposed to be washing their hands.  I walk into the bathroom to find Elora sitting on the counter looking in the mirror and snipping away at her hair with a tiny pair of sharp scissors.  I just gasped and said, "Oh my gosh, what is going on here?!"  I stood there stunned and dumbfounded.  Brandon came rushing into the room to see what was the matter.  He reacted badly and she lept into my arms crying.  He got over it moments later and Elora told us that Jonah did it first.  We called her brother to come downstairs to us immediately.  I hadn't seen any of his hair on the counter or in the sink.  His haircut was far worse than hers!  I reacted badly, mostly because I had paid $15 for him to get a haircut a couple hours earlier!  I got over it quickly too but by then both kids were in tears.  They cried and hid.  We snuggled them and told them we could get their hair fixed and that we weren't mad and not to do it again.  Neither of them would let us take a picture.
"I was just trying to make a line!" - Jonah said in his defense

When I went to clean up I discovered that all of Jonah's hair was in the trash.  This struck me as incredibly funny.  I just imagined Elora standing there watching him cut his hair and thinking how terrible it looked and deciding she could do a much better job if she could just look in the mirror while she gave herself some layering and trimmed up her bangs.
When I tried again to get a photo of Jonah a several minutes later he burst into fresh tears telling me how terrible it looked and how he didn't want a picture of it.
I went upstairs probably ten minutes after the incident and found Elora hiding behind clothes in Katie's closet still just crying her little heart out.  I held her and comforted her for five minutes but I couldn't figure out why she was so sad or what to do to make her feel better and finally I took her to snuggle her dad, who also couldn't quite get her to cheer up until he finally decided they needed Otter Pops, which did the trick.  I finally managed to get a few photos when they were eating dinner.
(Elora made herself a cocktail)

Friday, January 18, 2013

I'm still here

Blog, what's a blog?  As you can see, I'd almost forgotten I had one.  And I haven't been reading anyone else's either.  Nothing tells me to anymore, I used to get reminders on my homepage or something, I don't remember.  I have mixed feelings about that as I try not to spend too much time online.  Anyway, this was just meant to be a quick post to say hello to anyone who happens to actually read my blog.  We got family photos done early in December.  This was my favorite.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Favorite Albums

I'm not going to claim these are the best albums of all time, but they are my favorites.  In no particular order:

1 - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Lauryn Hill

2 - Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd

3 - Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson

4 - An Innocent Man - Billy Joel

5 - Glass Houses - Billy Joel

6 - The Stranger - Billy Joel

7 - II - Led Zeppelin

8 - Tidal - Fiona Apple

9 - The Wall - Pink Floyd

10 - When the Pawn - Fiona Apple

This really does not reflect my love of Jazz or Country music, but these are the albums that I have listened to over and over and not just for a year or two but consistently, sometimes for decades.

I thought this list was going to be a lot easier to make than it was.  It even spawned two more lists found below.  If you decide to do this post on your blog, which you should, be forewarned that it will waste several hours of your time.

You really can't go wrong with any Billy Joel, Fiona Apple, Pink Floyd, Kelly Clarkson, Beatles, or Led Zeppelin album.


1 - Legend - Bob Marley & The Wailers

2 - Greatest Hits - Red Hot Chili Peppers

3 - Greatest Hits - The Mamas & The Papas

4 - Greatest Hits: HIStory Vol. 1 - Michael Jackson

5 - Echoes - Pink Floyd

6 - Greatest Hits - Queen

7 - 1 - The Beatles

8 - The Immaculate Collection - Madonna

9 - Keeps Getting Better - Christina Aguilera

10 - Definitive Collection - Stevie Wonder

Other favorite artists are Celine Dion, Garth Brooks, Sara Barielles, Feist, Diamond Rio, No Doubt, Erasure, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Bing Crosby, Dido, Alicia Keys, Rob Thomas, Maroon 5, U2, Elton John, Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, The Doors, and Nora Jones.


1 - Little Shop of Horrors

2 - Forrest Gump

3 - Glee: The Music, Volume 4

4 - Charlie's Angels

5 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

6 - Dead Presidents (though I've never seen the movie)

7 - Little Mermaid

8 - O Brother Where Art Thou

9 - The Nightmare Before Christmas

10 - Romeo & Juliet

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Taste of Fall

Last week we made pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice cookies, squash & apple soup, and apple & five-spice pork roast.  Yesterday we made melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin cookies with a brown sugar frosting.  All gluten-free by-the-way.  As soon as my six weeks of gluten-free are over, I'm making those first pumpkin cookies again cause they were fantastic (and I actually preferred them without the glaze).  Oh, and tonight I'm making dinner in a pumpkin.

The epitome of fall flavors was in this:

Apple-Butternut Squash Soup (from Cooking Up Vermont via Linda)

3 T vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, diced small
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 T kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds) peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cute into 1-inch pieces
2 quarts water or chicken stock (I would reduce next time and do 4 c. veg or chick stock and 2 c. water)
2 cups apple cider
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups half and half
Heat oil in stockpot over medium low heat.  Add onion, celery, carrot, apple sale, pepper and spices.  Cover and cook until vegetables are slightly tender...8-10 minutes stirring occasionally.  
Remove cover and add squash, water or stock, cider and lemon juice, stirring to combine well.  Simmer over medium-high heat for about 40 minutes or until squash is fork tender, stirring occasionally.  
Working in batches, if necessary, transfer squash mixture to a blender and puree until silk smooth.  Transfer back to pot and slowly whisk in half and half and heat through.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.