Tuesday, May 27, 2008


This won't be a long post but I wanted to say that this chemo weekend went much, much better. Phil is a rock! The oncologist decided to only have Phil do chemo through June (instead of through July) and then have scans and tests in July to make sure things are good.

In Eden news...
Her latest thing is to say "hi." Last night we went for a drive and every time Phil caught her eye in the rear view mirror she would say, "hi" (with a little head cock and grin). She is so dang cute! Today we were at the store and she kept saying "hi" to everyone who made eye contact. She is our little socialite!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Food Friday - Banana Spice Muffins

I found this recipe this week online at cookinglight.com. They are yummy!

2 1/2 C Flour
1/3 C Sugar
1/3 C Brown Sugar
1 T Baking Powder
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
1 t Allpsice (ground) (I didn't have allspice so I just used cinnamon)
1 t Ginger (ground)
1 C Mashed Ripe Banana (about 2 small)
2/3 C Milk
1/3 C Buttermilk
1/3 C Ricotta Cheese (I know, who would have thought!)
2 T Vegetable Oil
1 T Vanilla
1 Egg
1 Egg White (I'm lazy and just did two eggs)

Preheat oven to 400

Combine first 8 ingredients (flour through ginger) in a large bowl, and make a well in the center. Combine banana and the next 7 ingredients (banana through eggs) in a bowl, and add to flour mixture. Stir just until moist. Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400 for 18 minutes or until done. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on a wire rack.

Nutritional Info (if you use low-fat ingredients):
Calories 125
Fat 2.4g
Protein 3.2g
Cholesterol 13mg
Calcium 59mg
Sodium 194mg
Fiber .8g
Iron 1mg
Carbs 22.6g

(These freeze really well too!)


Thursday, May 22, 2008

40 Things

Claire did a post of 40 things she hopes to accomplish by the time she is forty. Well, since I'm 40 (and only for one more week!) here is a list (in no particular order) of 40 things I DID accomplish by the time I was 40:

  • Speak in Stake Conference (did this when I was 7)
  • Earn my BS in History from USU
  • Serve an LDS Mission to New Hampshire
  • Teach early morning seminary
  • Earn my MA in History from MSU
  • Travel to Switzerland, Germany, and France
  • Travel to Victoria B.C. with friends
  • Sing the role of "Sarah" in the Forgotten Carols (you know the "Mary let me hold her baby" part) with Michael McLean
  • Marry my best friend
  • Remove and install a catalytic converter in a 1982 Toyota Corolla
  • Buy a house
  • Have a 10-year career
  • Bungee jump
  • Visit the Sacred Grove
  • Visit Nauvoo
  • Sing in a fireside at the Joseph Smith Memorial in Sharon, VT
  • Give birth to a beautiful girl
  • Take a cross-country trip in a moving truck with three brothers
  • Help re-shingle a roof
  • Travel in Italy
  • Hike the Narrows (Zions) - twice
  • Contribute to a 403B retirement fund
  • Heal from a broken heart
  • Teach a university course (two actually: Freshman Connections and Women's Leadership)
  • Survive Banner installation/conversion - twice
  • Have a blog
  • Serve as Phi Alpha Theta president
  • Win first-place at Phi Alpha Theta conference (for a paper about black, female, educators)
  • Compete in the regional College Bowl (in Boulder, CO)
  • Reupholster my chair (the chair that is now lovingly referred to as the "chemo-chair"
  • Serve as Relief Society president
  • Buy a serger
  • Go to NYC -thrice (once with Amanda, once with Charlotte, and once with Andy)
  • Help my dad through multiple health issues and hospital stays
  • Act and sing in multiple plays and musicals (including an amazing stage kiss) LOL
  • Attend a professional hockey game
  • Read The Book of Mormon several times
  • Play in the ocean with all my clothes on
  • Serve as Gospel Doctrine teacher for 5 years
  • Go to Hawaii with all my family (those that were in the family at the time anyway)
Stay tuned for 40 more things I hope to accomplish before I'm 80!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Love Letters from the Bambino

Dear Carrots:
I know that I loved you for a long time, but I've moved on.  Please quit trying to get back into my life.

the Bambino

Darling Peas:
I'm so sorry that I misunderstood you for so long.  You are wonderful and I love you.  Your size, shape, and color just make me happy.  You are so fun I could just eat you up.  Be mine.

Yours truly,
the Bambino

Lima Beans,
I know daddy hates you (and maybe that is why I am so enthralled with you - maybe I'm a rebel). Let's keep our affair alive with or without daddy's blessing!  Mom thinks we make a great couple.

Meet  you for lunch,
the Bambino

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Our Bathing Beauty Loves Fruit Snacks

Monday, May 19, 2008

New Arrivals at Our House

A few weeks ago, Phil found that we had a nest in one of our ferns on the front porch. I'd seen a wren flying in and out of the fern so I wasn't surprised. There were three small eggs in the nest. That night we had a huge storm and we awoke to find the fern on the ground and all but one of the eggs was broken. We were sad.

About a week later Phil and Eden discovered another nest in our other fern. This one had five eggs. Now we have five adorable (actually they are pretty ugly) new arrivals at our house:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Food Friday - Divinity

By request... (sorry Sugar and Spice girls - this is NOT helpful with our attempts to be more healthy)

This is actually just the recipe that came with my Kitchen Aid - it has very specific instructions about what speed etc. (My K.A. has speeds from 0-10 for reference.)

3 C sugar
3/4 C light corn syrup
1/2 C water
2 egg whites
1 t almond extract
1 C chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
(I've also seen recipes with zest of orange or maraschino cherries)

Place sugar, corn syrup, and water in heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat to hard ball stage (use a candy thermometer or place some cold water in a cup and when a drop of the mixture make a "hard ball" you know you're there). Remove from heat and let stand until temperature drops to 220, without stirring.

Place egg whites in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and wire whip to mixer. Turn to Speed 8 and whip about 1 minute, or until soft peaks form. Gradually add syrup in a fine stream and whip about 2 1/2 minutes longer.

Turn to Speed 4. Add almond extract and whip 20 to 25 minutes, or until mixture starts to become dry. Turn to Stir Speed and add nuts, mixing just until blended.

Drop mixture from measuring tablespoon onto waxed paper or greased baking sheet to form patties.

Let them stand for approximately 1 hour (until they cool and harden). Eat (but not too many).

Kitchen Aid Trick (free of charge, just for having read this far):
If you have a K.A. classic (the kind where the bowl is locked into place and the arm is lowered into the bowl) you may find that the bowl can get pretty wedged into place while doing long-term mixing (especially bread dough kneading). To prevent this from happening, I spray a little bit of cooking oil (like Pam) onto the metal where the bowl is secured. This acts as a lubricant and I don't have to use heavy tools to un-wedge the bowl when the mixing/kneading is done. It only took me about five years to figure out this trick. Five years of muscle work out every time I made bread or divinity (ok, I maybe make divinity once every five years but I make a lot of bread!).

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm just sayin'

I'm not really complaining (although this post may need a whiny warning) but our weekend wasn't the funnest.

Wednesday of last week, Eden had three little sores on her arm. At first I thought they were bug bites (we'd been outside the day before - working on our cute container garden) but after taking this picture and emailing it to my mom, we determined they were chicken pox (the pharmacist and pedi-nurse confirmed it). She'd had the vaccination the week before. The nurse had told us she might get a few pox. Yup - four of them. She didn't seem too miserable and wasn't supposed to be contagious but we kept her in most of the time anyway. I also kept her in long sleeves to prevent her scratching them. By the third day of long sleeves in the Alabama heat she just couldn't take it any more. As I put her shirt on she grabbed at the long sleeve and growled a frustrated growl. I think today may be the last day she needs the long sleeves. The other sad thing for Eden is that she didn't get to go to church and take the sacrament.

Friday of last week Phil went in for more chemo. He's been off for three months because of surgery but now he is supposed to have three more months of the poison (twice a month). The oncologist put him on a new drug that was supposed to help with the side effects. It didn't. In fact it had its own side effects (chronic, constant hiccups among them). Phil had a miserable weekend and today is the first he's been able to go to work. He's never missed two days after chemo (usually he doesn't miss any).

In spite of feeling miserable, he did manage to surprise me with a dozen beautiful roses, a couple of books, and a great DVD of Eden for Mother's Day. Obviously he didn't feel like making dinner (he didn't feel like EATING dinner until Tuesday).

Cancer sucks! ... I'm just sayin'

Friday, May 9, 2008

Life in Numbers

1 - Child (Eden)
2 - Degrees (BS-USU; MA-MSU)
3 - Sisters (Merilee, Heather, Emily)
4 - European countries I've visited (Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy)
5 - Teeth in Eden's mouth
6 - Brothers (Mark, Michael, Andrew, Paul, Jon, Josh)
7 - States in which I've lived (MT, AZ, OR, ID, UT, NH, AL)
8 - (and 3/4) Years Charlotte and I were roommates
9 - Years Phil and I knew each other before we married
10 - Years I worked for USU (post-degrees)

This isn't really a tag but I would love to see you do this too. It is kinda fun. You can do it in your own blog or leave a response with your life in numbers.

Food Friday - French Bread

I got this recipe from my cousin, Jaime, who got it from her MIL. It is really easy (especially with a Kitchen Aid) and has a fabulous taste and texture.

French Bread

Combine all ingredients (except flour) in your bowl (or Kitchen Aid bowl) and mix:
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. oil
1 T. yeast
3 to 4 Cups Flour (I use more like 4 1/2)
Mix until the dough is smooth. Then let it rise for 1 hour. During that hour punch the dough down every 10 minutes. (I just keep it in my Kitchen Aid and then turn it on for 20 seconds every 10 minutes.)

After an hour, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle shape and then roll up like a cinnamon roll (don't be afraid to use more flour here). Place on a greased cookie sheet. Slit the top with a sharp knife. Rub your loaf with egg white; let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes (golden brown). Great for French toast, too!

The crust is nice and crunchy and the inside is moist and yummy. Enjoy your bread. We had it last night with our black chicken.

Thanks to everyone who shared cooking tips last week and for taking the poll.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Few of Eden's Favorite Things

This is Aslan (named after the C.S. Lewis lion of course!). He is the King of all the toys in Eden-land. Look at how rugged he is. This is truly a tough lion! Eden wasn't all that impressed though.

Lately Eden has really caught on to the idea of dolls. She calls them her baby. She has three baby dolls, lots of stuffed animals, and a set of nesting dolls from Russia. These are all called "baby." Poor Aslan has therefore gone from being King of the Creatures to this:

Oh, the humiliation! (The PJs on Aslan are actually some of Eden's preemie PJs - they are so tiny!).

Being a "mother" is exhausting:
Her sheep blanket is also one of her favorite things. She really is a girl, btw. I know she has blue sheets, PJs, and blankie but the binky in the corner is pink! :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Anticipation (is keeping me way-ay-ay-y-ting)

I think I may have mentioned that my little girl LOVES food. When she sees food that she likes (and she likes MOST food) she gets pretty excited. So, here is the scene yesterday...

Location: LDS Chapel with about 75 members in attendance
Setting: Sacrament Meeting

Eden and I are sitting on the third or fourth row and to the left side. Phil is on the stand directly in front of us. We've had the announcements, opening hymn and prayer, branch business, Sacrament hymn and prayer, and things are going pretty well. Then the young men begin to walk toward us with the sacramental bread. Eden begins to quiver with excitement. But wait! What is this? The young men have stopped at the end of the pews to wait for President Thornton to receive the bread. This is more than a one-year old can take! The quivering body cannot contain the anticipation any longer. THIS must be vocalized. And so, she begins to grunt-pant-gasp in loud pulsating moans. All eyes (and smiles) are now directed toward us. My face turns red. Her hands are outstretched and (still trembling) grasping for the bread as it is finally brought to our pew. At last that longed-for moment has arrived. Having received her one piece of bread, she is quite content. She doesn't complain that she only gets one. Her world is now at peace once again.

That is, until the sacramental water begins to make its way toward us...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Food Friday - Scrambled Eggs

So this isn't so much a recipe as it is a food tip:

For extra fluffy (but not runny) scrambled eggs, try mixing in some cottage cheese (probably about 1/3 C for two eggs). Phil was quite the skeptic at first but now he wants cottage cheese eggs every time.

Now it is your turn to share YOUR simple food tips. You can also make a comment about the current poll.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Random Pictures



Master bathroom (we actually got a sink-counter-top combo). The one we had before had been painted and the paint was peeling off. It was disgusting!
One of the sinks in the hall bathroom (the other one is the same). The sinks we had before were rusted and corroded. Disgusting!
New kitchen sink - ooh shiny!

Random Stuff

We had a great week with mom and dad Kesler. Phil and dad put in all new sinks throughout our house! (believe me, we NEEDED them!) They look so nice. (I'll post pictures below). In a wonderful, surprising little twist, we learned while doing this that the disgusting wallpaper in our master bath would just peel right off. It took us, literally, fifteen minutes to remove the paper (and I have lived with that stuff for 2 years in fear of how hard it would be to take it down!). We also got to go visit dad's cousin near Montgomery. It was fun to travel to a new place in our state and Rick and Carolyn (the cousins) are really nice people. Who knows, maybe we'll run into them in the temple. A benefit of having them here is that dad was able to assist in setting Phil apart as the 1st Counselor in our Branch Presidency. He was called just before he flew to Utah and then sustained en absentia (he was on an airplane flying home from a crazy VM weekend in Cache Valley).

Sunday (May 27) was a most momentous day! Eden turned one! She was so cute. I let her open a present before church because it was a dress. She didn't really understand tissue paper, but once I removed the paper and she saw her new dress in the bag she became very excited and (of course) exclaimed, "priitee!" She was such a good girl during church (of course she was thrilled to have Grandpa K there - he is one of her favorite people). I thought she might have a problem seeing Phil (on the stand) but not being able to go to him but she was fine (probably because of grandpa - we'll see how this week goes). She went with grandpa to the High Priest group and he said she sat there with great reverence and was a "perfect baby." (Phil is over the YW - lucky him - so he joined me in there.) When we got home we had dinner and, of course, cake. She examined the cupcake and stuck her finger in the frosting. She kept looking over at me as if to say, "is this really ok with you? " Finally she was convinced that she wasn't going to get a "no-no" and she had a blast eating some of the cake and smearing the rest of it all over herself. She didn't really understand unwrapping presents but she sure enjoyed playing with them after they were unwrapped. It was a fun, low-key, first birthday.

Yesterday Eden had her one-year check up. She is 29 inches (50%) and 18 lbs (small for her height but the doctor said she looks healthy and that "fat isn't a good indicator of health!"). She is a "perfect baby" according to her doctor. He always offers to buy her from us (he probably says that to all the parents). Thinking she was over the weight limit (20 lbs) we had turned her carseat forward on her birthday. I guess we need to turn it back. Oh well.

I'm doing well. We had a really good activity last night at YWs. It was on Divine Nature. You know how you plan something, put a lot of work into it, and then wonder if anyone will show and if they do, if they will have an enriching experience? Well, I spent a fair amount of time on this and started to feel cynical yesterday afternoon that it wouldn't be well attended or appreciated. It was so nice to hear from a few of the girls that they really appreciated it. One mother has even contacted me and shared that her daughter couldn't quit talking about it. Yippee!!! We had a fairly good turn out too! I just have to remember that there will always be valleys and peaks and to appreciate these highs. I teach this Sunday so now my focus switches to that lesson. I think it will be fun to have Phil be the counselor over YW. He already helps me tons so he knows the program and appreciates the purpose.

Our irises are finally starting to bloom (about 2 weeks after the others in the neighborhood). I planted some basil seeds in a little pot and have put it in our kitchen bay window. I have two tiny sprouts. This is a major accomplishment for me - nothing like green on my thumb! I love fresh basil so I hope this works out. It may be the extent of my "garden" this year. :)

Well, this post has been longer than I expected so I'll end now.