Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Dating Diaries - Entry 1 - Chilean Wife's Day

While Charlotte and I were waiting for our Princes Phillip and Eric to come along we dated many frogs. Ok, we also dated many wonderful Princes intended for others. Many times we commented about how we should write a book when "all this was over." Well, this is not a book but I thought it might be fun to do an occasional blog entry about those fabulous (and not-so-fabulous) dating days.

As much as possible, this is straight from my journal.

November 14, 2002

A week ago I was sitting on my couch when the phone rang. It was a guy from Chile named V. He doesn't speak much English and I speak even less Spanish. He asked me out for Friday night. I accepted (part of the reason Char and I have so many good stories is that we had a really hard time saying no to a first date - unless we felt unsafe). He called me on Thursday night and apparently he had purchased an electronic translator since his previous call. So, one word at a time we determined that we would go to dinner on Friday and that he would invite C and M (because they speak Spanish) to translate for us. Well, Friday morning the phone rang. It was C. She wanted T's phone number because M couldn't go. Things continued to develop throughout the day and low and behold, TW and CM (not the original C) ended up going with us. We tried to go to a Mexican restaurant, but there was a 45 minute wait. So, we headed to the Cabin Fever restaurant. The whole evening was very funny as we relied on T and C to translate absolutely everything!

I learned that every Friday in Chile is "Wife's Day." At that point, T (who was translating) said (in English) that he thought I should accept the marriage proposal and enjoy Chile. I told him to keep his eye on the ball (meaning it was his job to help me convince V that this wouldn't work), then he said that he was thinking about switching teams. V wanted to know what we were saying. T said it was C's turn to translate. She looked like a deer in headlights but then decided she could translate "thinking about switching teams" directly and did. Of course, V didn't understand what that meant and wanted clarification. C then turned to T and said, "your turn!" T ended up concocting some story about needing to change the kind of girls he dates so that he can get married.

Next V wanted to know how many children I wanted to have. I told him that I thought I would probably have three. He was very disgusted and indicated he wanted us to have 5 or 7. I told C that she would have to explain "biological clocks" to him (she declined).

As if the evening wasn't funny enough, V backed his borrowed car into a van as we left the restaurant. Then he just took off. We were dying.

Saturday night T and I were both at C's house with some other friends. She indicated that V had called her to see if I was interested. I told C that I thought I needed to just tell V that he deserved to marry a young Chilean woman who could have many children. She agreed to translate for me. We didn't get the chance to talk to him at church. He called her later that evening and she just told him. Whew, an international disaster was averted! What a funny situation!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sick Baby

This video is from a couple of weeks ago when Eden was sick. She is just so cute even when she is sick. It just melts my heart when she moans her little "ohh." Her little sneeze is pretty cute too!
video

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Our Weekend

We had a busy, crazy weekend. Phil and Eden got to spend lots of time together which they both loved! Thursday night I went to RS Enrichment and Friday afternoon I went Visiting Teaching for over four hours. My partner and I visit four older women who love visitors so we like to spend some time with each of them. Saturday was our third rainy day and although we love having the rain, sometimes we don't love getting the rain. We woke up feeling a little gloomy and in need of seeing the sky. After a morning of cleaning the house (a very important necessity after we have all had the flu) and such, I headed to B'ham for a stake camp meeting and the youth dance. Therefore, Eden got to spend more time with her daddy. I'm so grateful that he is such an able and willing daddy. He is still dealing with the flu symptoms but slowly getting better.

Tonight we had a man over for dinner and FHE. He is here in 'bama working and will be moving his family down from BC (Canada) next month. I doubt he'll end up in our branch but it was really nice to have him over and get to know him. I love that the gospel gives us an instant bond and commonality with others regardless of where we live or what other aspects of our lives we may or may not have in common.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Black Chicken

I got this recipe from Alicia and it is yummy and pretty easy too!

4 chicken breasts - cubed, uncooked
1 C flour
1/8t red pepper
1/4 C butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C soy sauce
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 C honey
1-2 t curry

Mix flour and red pepper; coat chicken with flour mixture; place in casserole dish.

Melt butter and pour over chicken.

Cook for 20 minutes at 350f.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Remove chicken from oven and pour sauce over the chicken; return to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes.

Serve with rice.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dress Up Day

Erin and Kendal came over today for a dress up party. When I was single and had more means and opportunity, I made (and bought) a bunch of costumes. It is always fun to see them get used (usually by Eden's cousins). I look forward to when Eden will be dressing up in these.

Erin the Clown:

Kendal the Darling Witch:

Eden gets into it:

Kendal the Cowgirl:

Erin the Country Western Star:

Army Ranger Kendal:

Very Stylish:

Silly Clown:

Lady Bug Kendal:

Eden Pictures

Eden's favorite place to sit while mom gets ready (and first ponytail):


Yesterday morning while eating pancakes, Eden pulled her dad's place mat and succeeded in pulling off the plate. Our first broken plate:



We finally got a bumper pad because she was getting her arm caught in the crib bars. She seems to like to move into the corner and then rub her head around. This is how we found her one morning ... serious bedhead!


Her cousin, Allison, bought her this dress (with her own money). She wore it to stake conference (even though she was sick and not feeling well):

Monday, February 18, 2008

Airline Deal

Southwest Airlines is having a deal right now - $49-99 each way - nation wide. You have to fly mid-week and of course seats are limited and who knows how long the sale will be on...

Fly somewhere warm! (hmmmm 'bama is pretty warm...)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Buttermilk Pancakes/Waffles

These are so good! They've been in the Beck family for years (as long as I can remember). They are pretty easy and if you cut the recipe in 1/3 it is perfect for a couple.

Buttermilk Pankcakes/Waffles
3 C flour (1C)
1/4 C sugar (1T)
1 rounded T baking powder (1 rounded t)
1 t salt (1/3t)
3 T oil (1T)
3 eggs (1)
1 C buttermilk (1/3C)
2 C water (2/3C)

Mix dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and stir just enough to make flour wet (lumpy is ok). You don't want to over-stir because then you'll have tough pancakes.

Bonus Recipe
Caramel Syrup (perfect on top of your waffles)

In large pan combine:
1/2 C butter
1 1/2 C sugar
3/4 C buttermilk
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
2 T Karo syrup

Mix and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

Yummmm!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why I'm Glad I "Settled" for a Furnace Instead of Waiting for a Fireworks Show

Last week I heard an essay on NPR from a single 40-something woman about the possible benefits of "settling" for "Mr. Good Enough." It wasn't as cynical as it might sound. She stated that as she has talked more to her married friends, she has come to realize that marriage is much more like running a small non-profit business (the home) than it is a romantic movie (lets face it, I'm no Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, J-Lo, Reese Witherspoon, or Drew Barrymore).

I AGREE!!!!

Throughout my single thirties, people would either say or imply "you shouldn't be so picky." I tried to explain to them that I didn't think I was all that picky about the man I married. He could be short or tall, thin or chunky, a doctor or a teacher. I just really didn't care much what he looked like or did for a living or any of that stuff. I was, I would continue, VERY picky about the kind of relationship I wanted in a marriage. I needed to have a relationship that included good communication, mutual respect, like-goals, ideas, and ideals. I desired a relationship with a man who promoted laughter and accepted tears.

I remember many conversations with other singles (especially men) where I postulated that "romance" as the movies portrayed it is not only overrated and unlikely, but it isn't really even truly love. I imagined that I would rather have a spouse who chose me instead of having some chemical reaction. What is romantic about chemicals? Most notably were the conversations with ... we'll call him Don Madris ... who was always very surprised and skeptical about my theories. "What about fireworks?" he would ask. "Fireworks are great but they don't last long and often you get burned," I would respond. I wanted something that would last even if it didn't flash.

In sharing my unproven theory, I would often say, "there are four kinds of connection that are important to me: 1-Spiritual, 2-Intellectual, 3-Emotional, and 4-Physical." It seemed to me that the first three on my list were actually harder to come by than the last. I surmised and hoped that if I could find the first three, the last would fall into place.

Two years ago today my theories began to be tested. While Phil and I (abruptly) began to discuss the possibilities of marriage, a friend sent me an email on valentines day, 2006. He had no idea that Phil and I were contemplating the big question (nobody did, we had gone our separate ways and had steered clear of each other for several weeks before the phone call from Phil that changed our lives). This friend told me of his penny test. "You throw a penny into the air and if you can't say 'YES, I want to marry this person!' before the penny hits the floor, you shouldn't do it." PANIC! What was I doing thinking about marrying Phil then? Fortunately, I called Phil and he convinced me to move forward with our discussions (sometimes we actually called them "negotiations" - how romantic is that?). Two weeks later we got engaged. Even during our engagement there were moments of fear and panic. I consider it one of the Lord's tender mercies that we didn't both have those moments at the same time.

Fast forward (although there is a lot to fast forward through) to today. It is Valentines Day. There is a bowl of candy and a plant for me and a teddy bear for Eden that miraculously appeared on our breakfast table. Eden has the flu (the fourth day of a really terrible bug which has required constant holding and comfort). Phil is off to get a haircut and then to teach even though he is starting to feel sick. I feel achey (is it from holding Eden or am I getting sick too?). Nothing to inspire the ooh and ahh of a firework show today. Instead, I have my constant, reliable furnace. He keeps me warm, he gets up with the baby, he deals with my emotions and tears, he laughs with me, he helps me laugh at myself, he talks through the mundane issues of household chores and finances, he helps me try to be a good YW president, he lets me help him sometimes ... the list goes on and on.

If you ask me, I was absolutely right Don Madris! There is something wonderfully romantic about a relationship that works because the two people involved have made a choice to make it so. I'm so glad Phil chose me (and I him) two years ago!

Fireworks: flashy, hot, exciting, sometimes volatile, sometimes burn, can't exist during a storm, colorful, get old - you need to see new ones to elicit the same "ooh and ahh".

Furnaces: constant, warm, reliable, come in different shapes and sizes, reliable even during a storm (if you have your generator), easy to take for granted but immediately missed if not there.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pizza Crust and Breadsticks

I found this recipe for quick breadsticks and decided to use it for pizza crust too and it is the best I've found (for quick recipes).

Pizza Crust/Breadsticks

Brew:
1 T (or package) dry yeast
1/2 C warm water
1 t sugar

(you can combine these ingredients right in your mixer or bowl and let them brew, make sure you wait to add the following ingredients until the yeast is frothy)

Add:
1 C warm water
3 C flour
1 T sugar
3/4 t salt
knead (by hand or with mixer) for 3 minutes

Add:
1 C flour
blend this last flour into the dough until well mixed

You can immediately form into pizza dough or into 24 breadsticks. Create and cook your pizza according to your pizza recipe. Brush the breadsticks with egg (well beaten) and sprinkle with garlic and/or parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes.

enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A 3 Year Old Explains...

Today on RadioWest, Doug Fabrizio was interviewing Howard Berkus about the press conference yesterday with President Monson. They talked about the church's stand on women and the Priesthood. It made me think that perhaps the church could use my 3 year old nephew to help explain things (see the last paragraph on my SIL's post).

I Voted

Phil and I went to our neighborhood community center to vote this morning. We each got a sticker exactly like this one. Eden got one too. Have I mentioned that the neighborhood we live in is a very "well established" one? (That is code for "everyone-in-our-neighborhood-is-really-
really-old-except-for-us.")

Although we often don't dress Eden in lots of pink, today her daddy dressed her in a pink turtle-neck (with thin blue stripes) and pink sweat pants. She was looking all girl. Imagine my surprise when one of the many elderly gentlemen at the community center approached me and said, "he is a cute little fella, i'int he?" "Is he a good boy?" "Is he always such a happy little fella?" etc. I can only imagine that this man's ability to see color has deteriorated along with his four front teeth (which were completely missing, creating a rather adorable grin). He really was a nice man.

Our ballots here were different than I've ever seen. There is a broken (in the middle) arrow. The voter is given a black marker with the instructions to draw a line through the broken section of the candidate/delegate of choice. I completed my ballot and went to take Eden from Phil who was carefully completing his arrows (not just a line connecting the two parts but actually "finishing" the arrows). I LOVE this man/artist of mine!

As we left the community center we were approached by a reporter with a video camera. She asked if we would do an interview for the local newspaper. She asked us who we voted for and why. It made me glad that I voted for the actual candidate I hope wins instead of my one-time plan of voting for Obama simply as an anti-Hillary vote. I figure Alabama is going republican and probably not with my guy so my vote could be best used voting against the Clintons. This morning I decided to vote my honest choice instead of such a calculated, strategic, cynical vote. I'm glad that the Anniston Star doesn't have to do a story on my strategy.

After we voted, Eden and I went ... where else ... to Target. I was picking out the ice cream for our FHE tonight (Phil teaches on Mondays so we have it on Tuesdays, unless of course he has a show opening or I have YWs on Tuesdays, then we have it on Sundays, unless of course he has had chemo that weekend, then we have it on Thursdays, at any rate, we are having FHE tonight and since he has chemo this weekend and will therefore be unable to eat anything cooler than room temperature we are having ice cream tonight - because we can). After selecting the Target brand version of Moose Tracks, I turned my attention back to my cutie. She had that "who me?" look on her face so I immediately scanned her to see why she looked so guilty. It wasn't long before I realized that her "I Voted" sticker was no longer on her pink-with-blue-stripes shirt. At that very moment she tightened her lips as if to say, "I dare you to infiltrate and retrieve." I won. The sticker was not ingested (although I suspect most of the adhesive was).

Good times!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Buttermilk Biscuits

Introducing a new feature on this blog ... "Food Friday". Each Friday (for as long as I'm amused by this) I will post a recipe. This will accomplish two things: 1) eventually I will have all my recipes available on this blog for myself to access and search - so much easier than my disorganized recipe book; 2) others will have access to some tried and true recipes.

Today's Recipe is for:

Buttermilk Biscuits
3 C flour
2 T sugar
1 T (rounded) baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
1/3 C shortening
1 C buttermilk
water as needed (approx. 1/3 to 1/2 C)

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add shortening and crumble. Stir in buttermilk and enough water to make a moist (but not runny) dough. You can either roll these out and cut them into circles or spoon drop them with a large tablespoon. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.

Variations:

Cheddar Cheese Biscuits - add 1/2 C of shredded cheddar cheese to the dry ingredients.

Garlic Biscuits - add 2 t of minced garlic just before the buttermilk -OR- sprinkle biscuits with garlic powder or salt before baking.

Parmesan Biscuits - sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of biscuits before baking.

Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits - add 1/2 C of raisins to dry ingredients. After mixing the dough lightly fold in a mixture of 1 1/2 t cinnamon and 1/2 C brown sugar. This mixture should not be mixed all the way in but should be "marbled" throughout. You can glaze with a powder sugar glaze or serve "as is."

Blueberry Biscuits - After mixing the dough, lightly fold in 1/2 C of blueberries. These may be glazed as well.

NOTE: when making these for just Phil and me, I will third the recipe and it is just the right amount.