Friday, October 31, 2008

My hubby is definitely a USU Alumnus, and he is distinguished, but is he really young?

This year for Utah State University's Homecoming, the six men who make up Voice Male were honored to be the Young Alumni of the Year. I got to go along for the festivities and it was great fun. We were treated pretty well with a fancy banquet (at which Phil gave a very nice "acceptance" speech-ette). Then we got to dance the night away (I think we made it about 45 minutes). The best was watching Phil's parents - they know how to dance, none of the awkward move back and forth junk we were doing! After that, Phil and I took a walk across campus. I was sad, the place I had spent most of my time while a student (the library - and now you know, I was/am a nerd) is now a soccer field. Sad.

The next day we got up and went to a nice breakfast. While the president of the Alumni Association was speaking, Eden walked up in front of the podium and lifted her shirt for everyone to see. My mom later confessed that while she was babysitting Friday night, she told Eden that she had the smallest, cutest belly button. Naturally Eden figured everyone would want to see the "smallest, cutest belly button!"

After breakfast we were off to the parade. My mom, brother (Josh), sister (Emily) and her husband (Todd) and daughters (Brinley and Emma) joined Eden and I. Voice Male was in the parade - naturally!.

After the parade we were off to the president's pre-game reception. A live band, more good food, and lots of sunshine greeted us. Then we were up three floors to the president's box to watch the football game.

It was nice being connected to a "dignitary" (even if VM isn't always exactly dignified). For more accounts of this fabulous weekend see here, here, and here. It was so much fun to see the other VM families. It really is kinda like another family.

So here (in reverse order because it doesn't matter how many times I load pictures, I can't seem to remember that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, when will I learn my Isaiah scriptures????) are some pictures of the festivities:


The view from the Prez's box:




Our little Aggie




Me, Eden, Mom, Emily, Emma at the parade:


The "distinguished" and "young" Alums:

Food Friday - BBQ Spareribs

It is good to be home (more on the fabulous trip to Utah later) and to celebrate my return to Dixie, here is a great recipe for BBQ Spareribs (Phil got this from a friend in Utah so I guess it isn't necessarily southern, but oh well...)

6 Pounds Spareribs, Cut into serving size pieces
1/2 C Chopped Onions
2 Cans Condensed Tomato Soup
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/4 C Hot Sauce
1 T Vinegar
2 T Butter (or margarine)
1/3 C Worcestershire Sauce
1 T Prepared Dry Mustard (the spice)
1/4 t Ground Cloves

  • In large pan, cover spare ribs with water.
  • Simmer 1 hour; drain.
  • Arrange in two 1/2 quart shallow baking dishes.
  • In saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients.
  • Simmer 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Spoon over ribs.
  • Bake at 450 for 30 minutes or until done.
Ok, so here is how I did it differently:
  1. I used Pork Tenderloin instead of ribs ('cause that is what was on sale and therefore in my freezer).
  2. I didn't simmer the pork for an hour in water.
  3. After I made the sauce (as directed, except I only had whole cloves), I poured it over the pork arranged in my crockpot (instead of two shallow dishes).
  4. I cooked it for 5 hours in a crockpot instead of in the oven.
It was delicious! Serve with baked potatos, rolls, green beans, grits, and okra (of course!).

(Ok, I'm not really a fan of okra and the only grits I've had were cheese grits and they were pretty 'ummy.)

Phil: 4 Celery Sticks (he thinks the original is better, use ribs, simmer them, etc.)
Heidi: 5 Celery Sticks (I never had the original)
Eden: 3 Celery Sticks (not "eeooh, 'ucky, 'ucky - but also not 'ummy, 'ummy)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Winners!



Congratulations Amanda, Veronica, and Claire!
Contact me so I can get your address and then I will have Voice Male send you your CD.
The rest of you can still get your own CD here.
Thanks for playing, we'll have to do it again sometime.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Boogie Night and stuff

Saturday night Phil and I got to represent our branch at the 5-stake dance in B'ham. At first I wasn't really too thrilled about it but it turned out to be a really fun night. None of our YW went but three YM went with us. They were so cute and funny on the drives to and fro. I had them each practice asking a girl to dance and it was cute to hear their favorite "lines." We all agreed that just being straight forward was probably the way to go. We stopped at Hardees (their choice) for dinner on the way there.

Once there, the boys went their way (but would check back with us with comments like "did you see me dancing with that girl?" or "I was so nice, I said 'yes' to a girl when she asked me to dance." or "did you see/hear me singing that Spice Girls song?" so cute). Phil and I were in charge of the refreshment table (just keeping it stocked).

When we weren't mixing punch or filling up plates with cookies, we danced! It was so much fun to dance with my hunny. We are so totally ready to hit the dance floor at USU's Homecoming Dance this Friday. Oh yeah!

It turned out to be a fun "date" with my man. The boys were just as silly - nay, sillier - on the way home. One of them said, "well, you were funny on the way so we get to be funny on the way home." Fair enough.

Charlotte (one of my counselors) watched Eden for us. She was also watching her grandson who is about the same age so they had a nice time playing together and then Charlotte brought her home to go to bed.

Sunday was good. Eden was such a chatterbox during Sacrament meeting. I couldn't get her to quit her running commentary on all that was going on. In other Eden-news, she has started saying "ahnkoo" (thank you) whenever we do anything for her. It is so adorable. We hadn't tried to teach her that and it is a little less clear than most of her words are so I hadn't realized that is what she was saying until Phil pointed it out to me. She is just so fun and funny.

I have a good life!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Food Friday - Sugar Cookies

I read this post by Michelle and it got me thinking about sugar cookies. Isn't it time to do some cookie decorating?
I think so.

Tonight while our hubbies/daddies are having church meetings, the Thorntons, Eden, and I will be decorating sugar cookies for Halloween. (An added bonus: we will take the extra cookies to the 5-stake youth dance in B'ham tomorrow night!)

So, here is the recipe I used. It is from the Lion House cookbook. I cut the recipe in half because I'm not baking 5 dozen sugar cookies thank you very much! I'll post it as written though (so if you do this recipe you'll get 5 dozen!!!)

2 C butter or margarine softened
1 1/2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
5 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

  • Cream the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. (ok, I'll be honest, I never do this, I just add it in my Kitchen Aid - I figure it all gets mixed in just fine)
  • Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture.
  • Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
  • Roll dough out 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured board or pastry cloth (Martha uses sugar instead of flour when rolling out sugar cookies - it makes them extra 'ummy, 'ummy).
  • Preheat oven to 350 f.
  • Cut with cookie cutter (if you don't have a cookie cutter, you can use a glass and just make round cookies - why not?).
  • Place on greased cookie sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  • Cool on wire rack.
  • Frost.
Frosting:
1/3 C margarine or butter, softened
2 1/3 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
1-2 T milk

Beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Add milk a little at a time until the frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency. Add food coloring as desired.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

World Bread Day - Food Friday Extra - Mom's Rolls


I grew up on these rolls. My mom is known in four states for these rolls. Phil said he didn't really marry me for these rolls but that they are "an excellent perk!" He also told me he didn't want me to share them on Food Friday because they are soooo special.

A special recipe is certainly fitting for a special day.

Today is World Bread Day (see the link to the left - under the CD giveaway announcement). People all over the world are making bread, enjoying it, and blogging about it.

I made mom's rolls (and cinnamon rolls). Yummy!

And now ... drum roll (pun intended) ...
the recipe
:

In a small bowl combine and then brew until very frothy (usually about 5 minutes):
1/4 C warm water
2 T yeast
1 t sugar

In a large bowl stir/dissolve:
1/2 C oil
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C hot water

Add and stir well:
2 t salt
3 eggs
yeast mixture

Mix in (it should still be somewhat sticky and a little lumpy):
4 1/2 C sifted flour

Raise for one hour.

Punch down and on a floured surface roll out until about 1/3 inch thick rectangle. Brush softened butter on the dough. Cut into triangles and roll from the fat side to the point. Place rolls on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray (like Pam).

Raise for an additional hour.

Bake at 400 f for 9-12 minutes.

total project time: 2.5 - 3 hours
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For cinnamon rolls follow the above through brushing the rectangle with softened butter. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and brown sugar. Roll the rectangle then cut. Place on baking sheet (or to make a nice give away, arrange them on a circular cake pan - you can then place them on a round plate as a tasty gift).

Raise for an additional hour.

Bake at 375 f for 22-28 minutes.

total project time: 3 hours

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Gorilla!

As part of her gift when Eden was born, my good, good friend (and former mission companion) sent Eden a book: Goodnight Gorilla. It quickly became one of her favorites - she even took a bite out of it when she was first getting teeth. This is a video of her reading the book (with daddy's help). She often asks for her "gorla" book.
video

eeeoooh, ucky, ucky!

Today we got back from our walk and I put Eden in front of the TV with her Blues Clues DVD and I proceeded to the shower. Ahh, five whole minutes of warm bliss (until Eden finds her way into the bathroom and opens the shower curtain).

After I got dressed we headed into the kitchen for lunch (it was a long walk).

Then I saw something on the floor.
It looked like a barrette or something so I bent down to pick it up when low and behold I saw that it was

NOT

a barrette!

It was

a ROACH

on it's back

still alive!

Eden and I sprayed it and disposed of it but not before we each said eeeooooh, ucky, ucky
several times.

Actually, she wouldn't even come into the family room until it was disposed of.
That's my girl!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Free Voice Male CD - multiple winners



The Voice Male guys have finished another CD and I'm giving them away!

Here is what you can do to be one of the winners.

  • First, go listen to the awesome tracks here.
  • Then you'll know that you HAVE to HAVE one of your own.

But wait, shouldn't your friends have one too?

  • So, next, do a link to this post on your own blog ...
  • Now leave a comment on this blog telling me how much you want one and telling me where you posted about it.

Those who just leave a comment get entered once

but those who do their own post about this Awesome Give Away get entered twice.

Then, on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at noon (CDT), I will pick
not one

not two


but three


yes that is right,


three winners.


now go girls (and Dr.Nick and Loren)!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winner!

And the winner of this:
is....

which is really pretty cool since she's welcoming a new little girl into the world in about two weeks.
(Is it ok if I just bring it when I come to Utah?)



Thanks to all of you who left a comment and especially for sharing your thoughts about Conference. I've been re-listening to it here (giving up NPR time and everything!) and I'm really enjoying the messages of hope, faith, and admonishment. We are truly blessed to have living prophets!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tree bye bye and I pretty

The power company came and cut down a couple of trees (one was HUGE and was dying). Eden was fascinated and sat in the window for an hour watching them work (or stand around as the case may be). Since then she keeps saying, "tree, bye bye."
Yesterday Eden got into the bum-cream and made herself "pretty." She was so proud of herself but she didn't want her picture taken, hence these pictures.


I don't know what this picture is about, she was just being funny and pulled this pout face.

and this attitude face


In other news, it seems Eden is becoming interested in the whole "potty" thing. She tells us when she needs her diaper changed and this morning she told us before that she needed to "poo" and that she wanted to "try potty." We put her on it for a few seconds, put the diaper back on, then she did her thing and we changed her diaper, but for a 17 month old, I'd say that is pretty good.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Food Friday - Chicken Enchiladas

These are "ummy, ummy" according to Eden.

1 Large Chicken Breast - boiled and shredded
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 C Sour Cream
3/4 C Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Cumin to taste (probably about 1/2 t)
Either
Red Pepper Flakes to taste (probably about 1/4 t)
OR
1 Small Can of Green Chilis
1 Can of Green Enchilada Sauce
4 Large (or 8 small) Flour Tortillas
1/4 C Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

  • In a bowl combine shredded chicken breast, soup, sour cream, cheese, and spices.
  • In a medium casserole pan, spoon out enough enchilada sauce to barely cover the bottom of the pan (this will help keep the tortillas from sticking).
  • Lay out a tortilla and spoon out enough mixture to fill it.
  • Roll it up and place it in the pan (on top of the sauce).
  • Repeat until you've filled all your tortillas.
  • Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over all the enchiladas. Cover them well, including the sides. This will help keep the tortillas soft and from sticking to the pan.
  • Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover the pan with lid or foil.
  • Bake for 45 minutes at 350 f. (remove the lid/foil for the last 15 minutes).
  • Let stand for ten minutes and then serve.
Note: this reheats and freezes really well so you could make a bunch and freeze for later.

The vote (feel free to leave your rating once you've tried this):
Bamdaddy: 5 Celery Sticks
Bamamoma: 5 Celery Sticks (for ease and ummy, ummy-ness)
Bambina: 5 Celery Sticks

Thursday, October 9, 2008

From NED to ED or is it PED? Either way, we miss NED!

Phil had his first post-chemo CT scan and CEA today. The news is mixed. The CEA was down a point (yay!) but the CT scan showed "several" millimeter-sized nodules in his left lung (well, what is left of his left lung). Is it cancer? Is it a bacterial infection? Is it some strange thing that we'll never know? The plan is to go back in five weeks and have more CT and CEA. The CEA has been a really accurate indicator in the past so the fact that it is down would seem to indicate it isn't likely to be cancer but you never know.

To celebrate this roller coaster ride we've been on we are headed to Six Flags over Atlanta tomorrow. It is what Phil wanted to do to celebrate the end of Chemo. So we're going by golly!

NED: no evidence of disease
ED: evidence of disease
PED: possible evidence of disease

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Picture-palooza!

This is my new favorite picture. Aren't they just so cute?


This one is pretty cute too
(aren't they doing a good job of listening to conference?)


Lately the tongue comes out when we tell her to smile, funny.



This one has been cropped for modesty's sake.
After her bath she needed a horsey ride, of course!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Conference Crochet Give Away

I didn't fall asleep once during conference this weekend! I LOVE conference and so enjoy the uplifting and inspired messages but lets be honest, sometimes in the comfort of one's own home it can become way ... too easy ... to doze.

My trick? you ask.

Well, I have used this for a few years and it always works.

I crochet.

So in honor of conference and staying awake, leave me a message about your impressions of conference and you might win this ( leave your message by Sunday, October 12th, at noon)

It is about the size of a child's blanket or a lap quilt for an adult.
Here is an up close and personal look so you can behold my crochet madness.
There is a cute little "rosebud" at each intersection.
Each square is a different crochet pattern.
Admit it, it is 'dorable and you want it!


As for me, I really enjoyed Elder Perry's talk about simplifying. Let's do it folks! Life is just too crazy and there is just too much of it that is NOT necessary.

I also enjoyed the talk (also on Saturday) by one of the 70 (and I have forgotten his name) about faith being a choice. I totally agree! I really have been learning that one. A year ago I was feeling pretty jumbled by all that was going on in our lives and I finally had to just decide to have faith. It wasn't a passive choice it was a very concerted effort.

I remind myself often that I choose faith!

There were so many other wonderful talks but I know you want to get to the end so you can post your comment and enter to win the conference crochet give away so I'll refrain ...

for now.

Night Night

Eden has been sick with a cold the last few days. Since she is a binky-sucker, it makes sleeping difficult. She can't breathe through her mouth and suck the bink at the same time. None of us has had really good sleep for a few days. Whenever she is lacking in sleep she seems to get really restless and struggles to take good naps or sleep well at night for a few days. So it has been.

Last night after Phil left for meetings we were playing in her room. I was reading a book to her and she was ignoring me and playing with toys. Then she turned on her sound machine, pointed to the humidifier (we've been running for her congestion) and said, "on." Then she laid down on the floor and said "night night." It was 6:00 p.m. I said, "don't you want a bath first?" She then hopped up and ran into the bathroom and pointed to the faucet and said, "on." She took her bath, drank her milk, brushed her teeth, read her scripture stories, had prayers and a couple of songs all by 6:20.

It is now 8:00 a.m. and I can hear her in her room "singing." A good night's sleep at last...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Food Friday - Marinara Sauce or Pizza Sauce

Here is a fool-proof, yummy way to make pizza sauce or marinara sauce.

  • 1 Can Hunts Tomato Sauce (for all I know other brands are just as good, but I always use Hunts)
  • Italian Spices (you can either use a prepared mix or use Oregano, Basil, Thyme)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • 1/2 C Water (for marinara only, not for pizza sauce)
  • 1/4 C Brown Sugar (for marinara only, not for pizza sauce)
For pizza, just open the can of tomato sauce and sprinkle in your spices to taste. Mix with a table spoon and then spoon out on your pizza dough and then top with cheese and your favorite toppings.

For marinara, pour the sauce into a medium sauce pan and then add the other ingredients and heat to desired temperature. You can add any or all of the following to jazz up your sauce: mushrooms, onions, minced garlic, stewed tomatoes, peppers, or whatever. Serve over pasta with grilled chicken or ground beef. Serve with french bread.

You can also cook any variety of vegetables (broccoli, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, whatever) and then puree them and add them to your sauce. This is a good way to disguise veggies if you have picky eaters.

This also freezes really well!

Eden: 5 Celery Sticks (it has tomatoes so of course she loves it)
Phil: 5 Celery Sticks ("it is really good!")
Heidi: 5 Celery Sticks (you can't beat it for fast, simple, and delicious!)
Brian D (our friend): 5 Celery Sticks ("I, and when I say 'I' I mean my wife, needs this recipe")

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just Tellin' It Like It Is

Today Phil was talking to Eden on the phone while he was at work. She mentioned "mommy" and then he said, "mommy is your best bud, isn't she?" To which she replied, "no, Elmo."

Eden has had a fever and runny nose today. She was up much of the night feeling yucky. Nonetheless, I needed to pick up some groceries and so I said, "should we go to the store?" To which she replied, "no, I sick."

And there you have it folks!

What would the Good Samaritan have done?

About six weeks ago I had an experience that has caused me to ponder a bit. I was at the clinic/hospital while Phil was receiving his LAST chemo treatment. Since I can't stay with him during his treatment I had ventured a few blocks away (but still in the clinic - it is huge) and was hanging out at Starbucks. Why Starbucks you may ask? Well, because they have free WIFI and I was doing some stuff on the Internet.

So, there I was at Starbucks when in walked a patient who had quite obviously had some kind of brain surgery. Behind him was a woman crying and stifling sobs. The man said something to her and then left. She proceeded to the counter and placed her order. I had the impression that I should ask her if I could help. I assumed she was his wife and that they had received hard news and that it might do her some good to talk to someone (I've sobbed in that clinic before so perhaps I could empathize).

I approached her and asked her if she wanted to talk. Then I saw that her neck and left arm were severely scarred - it appeared from a burn. What I learned was horrifying. The brain patient was not her husband or even someone in her life, they just happened to be there at the same time. She was a patient who had been released after six weeks of being hospitalized for severe burns. She received the burns when her boyfriend became jealous/mad/stoned and sprayed her with roach spray and then lit her on fire. She was passed out from alcohol.

She'd been released from the hospital but was homeless since she had been living with her boyfriend and he was now in jail (thank goodness!). She was from another county a couple of hours away and wanted to get back to that area.

What would/should I do? I thought that I could offer to take her to her mother's house (a couple of hours away) and still make it back before Phil was done, but I received a distinct impression that I needed to stay close by Phil. She needed to get to a safe place and learn some new behaviors that would protect her from people like her ex-boyfriend.

I made a few phone calls and found out where the women's shelter in her county was. They agreed to accept her if she could meet them at the safe rendezvous point at a specific time. Again, I wondered if I should take her but felt that I shouldn't. After several phone calls and a few hours she arranged for the shelter in B'ham to give her a ride to the shelter in her county. Then she just needed a ride to the shelter in B'ham (which was about 5 blocks away). Still, I just felt that I needed to not leave the clinic. In fact, now I felt that I needed to get back to Phil. She decided she could ride the bus (which was free). I left her (and all her stuff) waiting for the bus. I haven't heard from her since. I hope she made it to the shelter and that she is in the process of changing her life situation. It turned out that Phil was having a really tough time in infusion and they had to give him some medicine that made him loopy so I needed to be with him. I'm glad I hadn't gone any further than a few blocks (still in the clinic).

I feel so conflicted when I think about social programs. I think "people should help people instead of having the government help people." Then I have experiences like this and I think, "I am not in a position to take her home with me or to give her the professional help that she needs and I don't have the money to give her to get the professional help. I am so, so glad that there are agencies available to help her."

I gave her a few hours of my time, some advice (stuff she probably has heard before), use of my cell phone for several minutes, and options. The whole time I was wondering if what I was doing was right. Was I reaching out in compassion or was I just passing the buck to a government agency?

So, what would the Good Samaritan have done for my new friend?