Friday, January 30, 2009

Food Friday - Chicken and Dumpling Soup

This is EASY

2 Chicken Breasts (cooked and cubed)
2 C Chicken Broth (you can either use the broth from cooking the breasts or canned broth)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 C Carrots (diced)
1/2 C Frozen Corn
1/2 C Celery (diced)
1 C Potato (diced)
1/4 C Yellow Onion (minced)
1 Bay Leaf
1 t Dried Basil
1 t Garlic (minced)
1/4 t Celery Seed
Pepper and Salt to taste

In a large soup pan add broth and all vegetables. Cook until vegetables are the desired level of softness. Add cream of chicken soup and stir well. Add cooked chicken and herbs. Bring to boil.
About fifteen minutes prior to serving drop in dumplings. Cover and allow to steam (your soup should be simmering/low boiling) for ten minutes to fully cook the dumplings.

Dumpling Recipe
In a small bowl mix:
1 1/2 C Flour
1 T Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt
2 T Butter
3/4 C Milk

Don't over-mix. Drop by teaspoon fulls into the steaming soup and cook for ten minutes.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

21 months!

Phil asked yesterday if it was ok to just tell people that Eden is "almost 2, because 21 months just sounds silly."

Yesterday our little Miss Eden turned 21 months. Here are 21 things about our little girl:

  1. She weighs about 25 pounds and is about 2'9".
  2. She says everything. There is not really anything that she can't say and often repeats things we say. She puts sentences together so well and is mostly clear in her pronunciation.
  3. She loves to sing. Right now she likes to sing Bouncy Ball the most. (It is from the Voice Male CD: Kids Stuff - available wherever LDS products are sold and on
  4. Her eyes are a beautiful blue.
  5. She loves her naps these days and on most days will tell me when she is ready for her nap.
  6. She has two baby dolls. One is named "Heather" after her BFF and the other is just "Baby."
  7. She adores her daddy.
  8. She loves Nikki (her sometimes babysitter and the Laurel President in our branch). Last night Nikki was over having a meeting with me. Phil was getting Eden ready for bed and then I said, "who do you want to rock you?" (meaning, me or dad?) and she insisted that she wanted Nikki. This morning when I went in to get her out of her crib she said, "no, Nikki."
  9. She loves being outside. She could spend all day swinging, exploring, walking, running, and playing outside.
  10. She has a little corner (between the wall and a bookshelf) that is her "hiding place." She likes to retreat to her hiding place when she is mad or sad or in trouble or just to play hide and seek.
  11. She loves hats. As I type, she has brought me three different dress up hats to put on.
  12. Possibly her favorite toy right now is her toy stroller. She loves to take Heather and Baby and Elmo and any other toy for a ride around the house.
  13. When I'm putting the clean laundry away, she grabs her stroller and says, "helper, helper." I then put the socks in the stroller and she strolls into the bedroom and she puts each of our socks away in the correct drawers.
  14. Her new favorite cleaning chore is dusting. We have a blue duster. Quite often she will ask for "blue." When she says, "I need blue," it means that she wants the blue duster and then she goes around the house dusting things.
  15. She has 12 teeth and her hair is honey blond and a little wavy.
  16. She fills her diaper (and not just with the clear stuff) every time she visits Corrie. She just feels really comfortable at Corrie's house.
  17. She LOVES food. She eats almost anything and is really good at feeding herself (although she did end up with a spoonful of oatmeal on her lap this morning).
  18. She is incredibly smart and puts concepts and words together in ways that just amaze me.
  19. She loves "Madeline and butter sanwiches." These are banana and peanut butter sandwiches. Her (12 year old) friend, Madeline, eats them and so she has named them after her.
  20. She has two mommies. Me and Alisha. If I remind her that I am her mommy she will clarify that she means "Trey's mommy."
  21. She loves the cell phone. The other day she called her grandpa and talked to him for three minutes before Phil and I realized she had actually called him for real.
We love our girl who is "almost two!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Things

It has been a while since I have done a tag. Corrie shared 25 random things about herself on her blog and invited others to follow in her footsteps. How could I refuse (especially since she kindly mentioned me in hers). So, while I don't promise to be as witty as Corrie, here are 25 random things about me.

1. Right now I am eating leftover chicken cacciatore. I made the recipe up one day by just dumping things that sounded good into my crockpot. After I was done, I realized I'd come up with cacciatore. I often cook this way. It is much more a function of my laziness than it is my creativity. Well, maybe a little creativity...

2. I once killed a mouse in a bag with a hammer. You'll have to ask me if you want the details. (It was a mercy killing though.)

3. When I was young I wanted a daughter named Tiffany. I never considered the name "Eden" until I was about 6 months pregnant with my little Eden.

4. My husband once dated a girl who ended up marrying (someone else) and having a daughter whom she named Eden. (hi, Sarah) Ok, that isn't really about me, but an intersting fact, don't you think?

5. I LOVE to make snowflakes. You know, the paper/scissors kind? Above my computer desk I currently have approximately 35 snowflakes I've made (well, I forced Phil to make two of them). Snowflakes have six points guys. Just in case you didn't know. Yeah, my snowflakes are anatomically correct.

6. When I was growing up (well, getting older anyway) I loved that my mom crocheted us slippers every Christmas. I never learned how until I was in college. My cousin taught me how to do it (my mom taught her). Phil hates crocheted slippers.

7. I like red.

8. I love efficiency.

9. I have six brothers who are all high-achievers. Mark - MBA from Harvard; Michael - Master of Teaching (I don't know what the real title is) and a Vice Principal; Andrew - MBA from Duke; Paul - MBA from Duke; Jon - in Dental school (after getting an MS in biological engineering); Josh - attending USU, speaking Russian, and avoiding marriage.

10. I once wrote in my scriptures: "interesting idiom for a prophet to use prior the the birth of Christ." Yeah, that was in my intellectually snobby graduate school years.

11. I love going to youth dances. I'm the coolest, nerdiest chaperone ever! Oh yeah, I boogie (and I even get Phil to boogie with me sometimes).

12. One time a guy told me the best quality I had going for me was that I was "sly."

13. My parents are two of my biggest confidants, advisors, cheerleaders, and heros.

14. As far as I know, I still hold the record at West Gresham Grade School for hanging on the crossbar (chin above the bar) for the longest time. I think it was 2 1/2 minutes or something.

15. I love sweets and waffles and ice cream and cookies and bread and this cacciatore is gone and I'm having hankerings...

16. I had a crush on Little Joe (not Michael Landon though) from Bonanza.

17. I have three incredible sisters who are raising some amazing kids. I love that all of my sisters and SILs are awesome moms and that the men in their lives support them as stay-at-home moms. My sisters are some of my best friends.

18. I like to sing. I pretty much sing all day long. Phil didn't know this about me until after we were engaged. I was always very threatened by his skilz and so I wouldn't sing much around him. He asked me (after we were married) if I had ever thought about doing choir when I was in high school. I was like, "yeah! I was in ALL the choirs in high school! Show choir, madrigals, jazz choir, concert choir, symphony choir. I wasn't just some girl who was in a few choirs. I WAS the choir-girl."

19. I blog when I'm avoiding cleaning. Yeah, that is what I'm doing now. What I'm NOT doing is cleaning my bathrooms, cleaning the windows, and vacuuming.

20. I once came home from an elementary track meet with a 3rd place ribbon. My mother was so proud. Before I could sleep that night, I had to confess that there were only three kids in the race. I'm not much of an athlete.

21. I did play basketball for three years in Jr. High. The coach played me fairly often. I never made a point in a game. I'm not sure why she played me as often as she did.

22. At my Jr. High graduation, I was awarded some award that was something about being the outstanding physical education student of the class. Same coach. What was her deal? Did she really think I just lacked encouragement?

23. In my first job interview (to be a receptionist of a medium-sized corporation), the HR director asked me if I had any experience. My reply, "well, when the phone rings at home, I'm always the first one to answer it!" I was 18. I got the job. The HR director was not my former BB coach, I promise.

24. I love to laugh and I love hugs. Laughing with my husband and daughter is only second to hugs from my husband and daughter.

25. I am one blessed girl!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Leaves done.

We finally got all the leaves from the backyard up and placed out front for the City Leaf Sucker to come get. Yeah, we have a few leaves.

Fun with Tape

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dating Diaries - Diaper Odor

Heidi Beck had had terrible days before.

But as the awful diaper scent burned her nostrils, she realized this date was too awful to shrug off.

Beck, 21, a senior from Blue Springs, Mo., majoring in home and family life, looked around the hospital emergency room and found it difficult to believe the evening had started as a relatively normal date, she said.

Granted, she said the BYU linebacker who had picked her up several hours earlier seemed excessively playful. Still, being tossed around like a rag doll by a jovial giant was not as painful or annoying as going hungry all night because your date did not think dinner was important, Beck said.

Unfortunately, she said both circumstances applied.

Beck said dinner was replaced by a rousing series of slides down Rock Canyon hill in garbage cans - not exactly the activity of dating champions.

During the tandem sliding event, Beck said she was convinced her life would be snuffed out by her 300 pound companion. Instead, the other girl on the group date almost had the honor.

"I was covered in poo from diapers in the garbage can," Beck said. "And the other girl broke her collarbone."

The remainder of the evening was spent in the emergency room, where Beck said she would never date again, unless her date would take her to dinner and help her avoid smelly unpleasantness.

Editors Note: although my maiden name is Heidi Beck, this actually isn't my story. It is another Heidi Beck that I just randomly came across on the internet. It made me laugh and I thought it was a perfect post for dating diaries.

Southern Mac-n-cheese

We had this Monday night (with Pork Tenderloin - not to be confused with Pork Loin, silly) and it was quite good.

7 oz elbow macaroni (measure prior to cooking)
1/4 C butter
1/2 medium yellow onion (diced)
3 T flour
2 C milk
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 t dry mustard
2 C cubed cheese (I used colby jack)
1 C fresh bread crumbs
2 T parsley (chopped)

  • Cook the macaroni according to directions.
  • In a medium saucepan, saute the onion in the butter.
  • Add the flour to make a paste.
  • Add milk and cream cheese and stir until smooth.
  • Add salt, pepper, and dry mustard.
  • Add cubed cheese and stir until smooth.
  • Add the cooked macaroni and mix well.
  • Pour into a small casserole (8x8) pan.
  • Sprinkle the bread crumbs and parsley on top.
  • Bake at 400 at 15-20 minutes.
This was even better warmed up the next day. All three of us loved it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thoughts on the Inauguration

"Peaceful transfer of power"

Those are pretty amazing words. What an amazing and inspiring event. Think about it. From the earliest governments the transfer of power has most often been anything but peaceful. I cite just a few:
Saul and David
Bloody Mary and Elizabeth
The Entire book of Ether
Most 3rd World Countries

I truly love that as heated and partisan as the politics get in this country, we do have peaceful transfer of power every 4 or 8 years.

It makes me proud.

I was less than proud to hear the booing of people when Bush and Cheney arrived at the inauguration. Come on people, they are still our leaders and they are headed out. Class it up guys.

I don't remember any other inauguration that received so much attention. We had a day of doctors and other things that kept us out and about and yet everywhere I went there was a television with inauguration coverage showing. People were talking about it. I felt a general sense of excitement and hope.

I'm glad that most people (regardless of politics) are hoping for good things from this new administration. Many are praying for Obama's success.

I love this country!

More evidence she's not southern...

  • She tells me that she went "pee pee" instead of "tea tea"*

  • When I say, "Eden..." She replies, "What!" (with attitude) instead of "M'am?" (with deference)**

*I don't understand it but all nurses out here (and probably others I just only have this conversation with nurses) call it "tea tea" instead of "pee." For example, today I had my yearly (oh the fun!) and the nurse said, "did you tea tea yet?" I (not being southern) said, "what?" After three tries she finally said, "did you urinate?" "Oh" I said. (It has been a while since I've heard it and I totally forgot that is what they call it.)

**The children here are so very polite. One of my friends (a transplant as well) received a note from her son's teacher. It told her that he needed to "work on his m'ams."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Metaphorically speaking is like speaking in metaphors.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you are headed into a metaphor and suddenly you don't have an ending and so it comes out really lame-o? Or have you read those emails that get forwarded that have lists of silly or bad metaphors from "real English exams ... compiled by AP English teachers"?

Phil and I were laughing about that this morning when he said "My dad buys and sells cars like ... um ... a guy who buys and sells cars a lot."

I followed up with spending the next half hour turning everything I said into a bad metaphor.

So, share your favorite BAD metaphor. Perhaps we'll select our favorite three and then put them on a poll for the rest of you to vote on and then we'll have a really great prize (read: VM CD or crocheted item or our next-born) for the winner.

*I recognize that all of the above examples are similes but I'll accept all forms of metaphor.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Food Friday - Yummy Apple Cake

This recipe is from Lion House (and yes it is their title ... including the "yummy").

2 C sugar
1/2 C butter
2 eggs
4 C grated apples (or 3 C applesauce)
2 C flour
2 t soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t salt
1/2 C nuts

Butter Sauce
1 C butter
2 C sugar
1 C light cream
2 t vanilla
dash nutmeg

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream together sugar and butter in a large bowl.
  • Add eggs and beat until fluffy.
  • Mix in apples, dry ingredients, spices, and nuts and pour into a greased and floured 9x13-inch pan.
  • Bake 50 minutes.
  • Pour Butter Sauce over cake and top each serving with whipped cream
I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8x8 pan.
I used applesauce.
I used pecans (because my neighbor gave us some fresh, home-grown, already shelled pecans!)
I used whole milk instead of light cream in the butter sauce.
I used ice cream on top instead of whipped cream.

Next time I am going to try using half the butter in the cake because it was plenty moist and I think it would still be great with half as much butter.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Famly Ome Eening ... Yeah!!!!

Two weeks ago we were on an airplane on Monday. Eden had an ear infection and screamed the whole flight. Not exactly the kind of Family Home Evening that makes for good memories. One week ago was a chemo day and I got to drive home through a yucky storm. Not a great Family Home Evening there either.

The last real Family Home Evening we had was at my parents' house on December 22. We celebrated the birthday of Joseph Smith* and it was a nice time with a few of my siblings and parents.

So, it has been a while since we've had a Kesler Family Home Evening. Our Family Home Evenings are pretty basic. They usually follow this format:

Opening Song - usually played by Heidi on the right hand, Phil on the left hand, and Eden playing descant. Sung by all.

Opening Prayer

Flag Salute - Eden holds the flag and we stand and recite the pledge. Eden LOVES being responsible for such an important task.

Kesler Kudos - we recognize good things in each other and acts of accomplishment and kindness. It is a great time to clap and cheer and Eden is beginning to really get into it.

Activity Song - a silly song time to get the wiggles out.

Lesson - we LOVE the new nursery manual. We were having a hard time knowing how to create lessons for Eden before it came out, now we use it and have a 2-3 minute lesson and she usually makes it through it and even grasps some of it. We have taped the visual aids from these lessons in our family room at her eye-level as a reminder of what she has learned about prayer and Heavenly Father and family and Jesus, etc.

Closing Prayer

- Hide and Seek has been a popular one lately.

Treats - a family favorite, of course. (Look for tonight's delicious treat on this week's Food Friday.)

Well, since it has been a while since we've had a Kesler FHE, we weren't sure how Eden would do. Then at dinner tonight I was saying the prayer and said something about "Family Home Evening" toward the end of the prayer. Eden waited for my "amen" and then said (with both hands flying triumphantly into the air): "Famly Ome Eening, Yeah!!!! Flag!" It was so cute!

She was so, so, so excited to hold the flag and then proudly put her right hand over her belly button (the heart isn't too far from there) while we recited the pledge.

For our activity, Phil had printed out squares of colors and then folded up the papers. His idea was to have Eden pick out a piece of paper, open it up, and then find a book with that color on it. Eden could totally see through the paper though and said, "I want lellow" then picked the yellow paper and found a book that was yellow. After that he had to hold the bowl of paper slips above her head so she had to pick "blind." It was a fun game and she LOVED it (and I loved putting all the books away just now).

What a fun, fun Family Home Evening. We are so glad that we have been given the advice from modern prophets to set aside one evening a week to spend with the family in gospel learning and fun.

Famly Ome Eening ... YEAH!!!!!

*Since before I was born, my parents have had a celebration of the birth of Joseph Smith on or around December 23 (his birthday). It is such a fun, meaningful tradition. We so appreciate his life and the sacrifices that he made in order to bring about The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ as well as the restoration of the gospel as taught by Christ. I love that his birthday is so near Christmas because it just seems fitting to take an hour out of the Christmas season to celebrate the life of a man who loves the Savior so deeply.

Our Little Lady of the Fireplace

Lately when I tell Eden I want to take her picture, she runs over to the fireplace and sits on the hearth for her posing. She is so funny.

Isn't she looking grown up?
She has been allowing me to do her hair lately.

Ready for church in her new dress and jacket:

She got these new black shoes for Christmas:

Not by the fireplace but Phil took this picture
of her sleeping because it just cracks us up
how she gets wrapped up in her blankets. So cute!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Conjunction Junction What's Your Function?

If you want smart kids you gotta raise them right.
You need smart DVDs.
You need School House Rock, duh!

Lately (as in yesterday and today) Eden has been very aware of the conjunction "and."

Last night as I was saying the prayer over dinner she interjected into my thank thees:
"and kitties"
"and doggies"
After I had sufficiently thanked Heavenly Father for these most important mammals she was fine.

Today at the store I was buying a bunch of folders for New Beginnings. These are brightly colored folders. She kept saying:
"I need orange."
"and purple."
"and lellow."

After her nap this afternoon she informed me that she needed to see Corrie (it IS her birthday after all)
"and Erin"
"and Carter, funny" (yeah, Carter is funny!)

For my next trick I will teach her the process of a bill becoming a law...

Food Friday - Mexican Party Dip

My brother made this while we were in Utah and it is so good that we made it for Phil's family on Christmas Eve. Everyone really liked it. It is EASY too!

3 Roma Tomatoes (diced)
1/2 Yellow or White Onion (diced)
2 Avacados (cubed)
1 can Black Beans (drained)
1 can Corn (drained)
Fresh Cilantro to taste
1 pkg of dry Italian Dressing mix


Thursday, January 8, 2009

How I know she's not Southern

Eden may have been born in 'bama but she is not southern.

Evidence #1
She says "guys" instead of "y'all"

Evidence #2
She LOVES the snow

Evidence #3
She says "cart" at the store instead of "buggy"

Evidence #4
Tonight when I gave her a pecan (that's pee-can) to eat she spit it out and said, "oooh, ucky"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pretty good with color...

When Charlotte and I first met Phil, she and he made a deal. She would crochet him an afghan and he would paint her a picture. He got to choose (and buy) the yarn and pattern and she got to suggest a subject. Charlotte said she wanted a yellow umbrella featured prominently in her painting. He selected a manly, heavy pattern and then was off to the store to select yarn. I got to go with to be his assistant.

Standing in front of the vast array of yarn possibilities the following conversation took place:

Heidi: "So what are we looking for here?"

Phil: "I need three different yarns."

Heidi: "What about these, or these, or these?"

Phil: "I just need your help selecting the type of yarn, I'm pretty good with color so I can handle that part."

He selected a nice burgundy, blue, and gray. We have a great, heavy, manly afghan as a result. Charlotte has a Phil Kesler original hanging on her office wall (I think it is still there) featuring a rainy street corner with a bright yellow umbrella. What a deal!

Flash forward about ten years when Phil and I got married. We bought a house that needed to be updated. We nearly got a divorce while trying to select the colors for the walls. I just had to remember that although Phil IS the artist and professor, I'm pretty good with color too. Eventually we agreed on our color palette and we quite enjoy the colors in our home.

Now flash forward two and a half more years to this very morning. As I was getting Eden dressed (in her purple turtleneck and purple sweater) she exclaimed, "purple shirt!" I hadn't told her it was purple (today). She also knows blue, green, yellow, red (although she sometimes calls it "Elmo color"), and orange.

Yeah, she could proclaim: "I'm pretty good with color!"

She is. He is. I am. We are.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas Eve - Kesler Style

One of the many fun Kesler traditions is sled racing. Each person gets three Ande's mints, one Hershey's kiss, two large paper clips, a santa, and as much tape as s/he wants. Then everyone builds Santa's sled (the kiss is the pack of toys, of course!). As if that wouldn't be enough, we then race them. The winner gets a gift card. Yeah, we are serious here!

Behold Heidi and Phil's (losing) sleds:

Here are all the sleds lined up ready for the races:

Bradyn, Dan, and Aaron opening presents from cousins Gail and Butch

Morgann, Steve, and Meg (the dog who was an extremely good sport with Eden chasing her around saying - in an exceedingly high-pitch - "doggie, doggie, doggie!")

Other fun Kesler traditions included LOTS of yummy food, playing the chimes, and lots of laughing!

Christmas Eve - Beck Style

On Christmas Eve day we did some sledding in my parents' front yard, then the grandkids put on a Nativity Pageant, followed by a nice lunch. Here are some fun pictures.

Eden LOVES snow!

Eden preparing for the Nativity
Binh - the cutest Wise Guy ever!

Caleb, Grandma, Binh, Paul, and Meg

Eden, Phil, Sam, Caleb, Grandma, and Binh

Punka, Mike, Lydia, Josh, Todd, Emily, Natalie, Heather, and Binh
(Binh was pretty proud of himself for getting in all the pictures)

Both tables

Saturday, January 3, 2009


My apologies to the passengers of Southwest flight 3190 (SLC to Chicago-Midway). Yes, the child who screamed the entire time is my child. I know that she seemed unreasonable and spoiled every time she yelled, "no, no, no!" I know that my husband and I appeared incompetent. I'm sure that your flight was exhausting. In fact, someone watching us all deplane at the gate queried, "why is everyone heaving a sigh when they get off this flight." My simple answer is: "Eden."

Here is the thing though, my daughter is usually a very good traveler. This time however, she was sick*. I tried to reschedule** things so that we wouldn't have to fly while she was feeling so poorly, but that didn't work out.

So that you can have a more accurate image of my sweet, good, daughter, here are some pictures of just how cute and sweet she is.

These two pictures are of the lambs in our family Nativity pageant.
Eden and her cousin Brinley were excellent little lambs
(although having played the role of Mary earlier, one little lamb kept wanting to hold baby Jesus).
You'll notice that the lamb has a pet kitty - naturally!

Christmas presents are GREAT!

When she finally got to the doctor (after we got home) Eden was so lethargic.
She even fell asleep during the exam. It was seriously so sad to see her feeling so sick. So sweet!

*Phil took her to the doctor when we got home and she had an ear infection, terrible congestion, and phlegm in her lung. No wonder she screamed with the pressurization of air travel. Now, don't you feel badly for judging her?

**We had to get home because Phil had a chemo treatment scheduled for the next day. I called to try to reschedule it. I told them they needed to get back with me before 11:00 or we'd have to be on the plane. When we got to Midway I had a message (left at 2:30) that they had rescheduled the chemo treatment. Nice, but it didn't really solve my problem of not wanting to make my sick baby travel. It has worked out ok though because then I got sick and Phil has had to be primary caregiver all week so it is a good thing he isn't hooked up to a tube of poison.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Food Friday - Zucchini Boats

3 medium zucchini squash
1 1/2 C soft bread crumbs (I used crushed Ritz crackers)
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten well
2 green onions, minced (I used yellow)
1 T minced parsley
1/2 t salt (omit if you use the Ritz because they already have salt)
Grate Parmesan cheese

  • Wash zucchini
  • Cut off ends but don't peel
  • Cook in boiling, salted water for 7-10 minutes
  • Remove from water and cut zucchini in half - lengthwise
  • Carefully remove pulp with a spoon, leaving shell intact
  • Mash zucchini pulp with a fork and mix with all the other measured ingredients
  • Spoon mixture into zucchini shells and place in a baking dish
  • Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and paprika
  • Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes
This is another recipe from the Lion House. We had it tonight and it was a crowd pleaser (well, Phil and I really enjoyed it ... Eden wasn't enjoying anything tonight).

Our White Christmas