Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fondue and a Cold Water Fish

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . admiring the blooms in people's gardens as we walked to and from Joy's school.  I often wonder at the personality behind each yard design--the minimalist yard with just three kinds of  flowers, the drought-hardy yard of succulents (is the owner environmentally conscious, or just a cheapskate who doesn't want to bother watering their yard?), the botanical garden where over a hundred different plants are all labeled, the lady with the mismatched jumble of potted plants she's collected over the years (along with a rescued parrot), and the wee orchard where the lawn is dotted with fruit trees.  What kind of yard will I have someday?

. . . going to The Melting Pot to celebrate two friends having babies soon.  The company was delightful, and the cheese and chocolate fondues were divine.

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy and Daniel asked to go swimming this afternoon.  Last year's swimsuits still fit pretty well, so I let them go in while I supervised from outside the fence.  Daniel soon discovered what I already suspected: unheated pool water is still very chilly in April.  He wouldn't get wet above his ankles, but Joy swam about unperturbed by the cold.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Primary Sub and Skyscrapers

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing Hangman with the Primary class I substituted for today.  The lesson was good, too.

. . . having dinner with my fam at Papa's house.

. . . Anna giggling every time a jack-in-the-box burst open.

. . . chatting with Grandpa about the personal history he's writing.  He says a lot of other things are giving out on him, but he's glad his brain still works.  I sure hope mine will when I'm his age.

. . . talking with Joy about such diverse topics as what makes storm, what a PhD is, and why few buildings rose more than ten stories before the mid-1800s (no one had invented steel frame construction or elevators, and twenty flights of stairs is a lot to climb; just ask the Ghostbusters).

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cheerios, Tough Krispies, and Quinoa Salad

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  trying to find a BBQ sauce that doesn't list high fructose corn syrup as one of its main ingredients.  Thank goodness for Trader Joe's.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . actually feeling energetic today.

. . . getting my hair cut by a friend from church.  It's nice to have my hair a good length again, and she curled it in a fetching way (I may need to ask her to teach me that magic trick), but my favorite part was just chatting with a cheerful friend.  She's the type of person who could make talking about the weather feel like a treat.

. . . making BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad for dinner.  I love that stuff.

. . . a fun date night with Phillip.

And another thing . . .

. . . I always thought "morning sickness" was a misnomer, since I feel slightly queasy all day long.  However, this pregnancy it really does feel the worst when I get up in the morning.  Fortunately, a handful of Cheerios usually helps settle my stomach.

. . . tonight I made Rice Krispy Treats for the very first time in my life.  By the time I started cooking in college, I had eaten so many rock-hard Krispy Treats from various sources that I was afraid to even attempt them.  The rare soft, gooey Treat is so good, though, and Phillip loves them, so we decided to try our hand at making some tonight.  We found two recipes--one that calls for equal parts marshmallows and Krispies, and another that calls for two parts mallows and three parts Krispies.  We tried the equal parts version, and alas, produced hard Krispy Treats.

Of course, that didn't prevent us from eating a bunch of them, and it was probably good for us to burn so many calories chiseling all those empty carbs out of the pan, but I'd still prefer the pliable version.   I guess we'll just have to try the other recipe (very) soon.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Roses and Malaise

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  having really low energy today.  I know it's a relatively mild side effect and probably won't last more than a month more, but today was a very long day.  Have you ever seen Ladyhawke?  I saw it exactly once when I was in college, and for some reason I've started giving myself Mouse's little pep talk a lot lately.  "Come on, Mouse, keep going.  Not much further."  I leave off the, "About 350 miles, that's all."

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing the beautiful roses in bloom in our area.  Vivid reds, pure whites, luscious lavenders, and so many other colors.  I never used to be a big fan of roses, but for some reason I have loved seeing their colorful blooms on virtually every street this spring.

. . . chatting with Phillip on the couch after the kids were in bed.

And another thing . . .

. . . OK, I know that "malaise" actually means "a vague sense of physical, mental, or moral ill health" not "lack of energy or motivation," but I couldn't think of a better word to describe my actual condition, and "malaise" is kinda fun to say.  Mayhap my English major friends can offer some more precise suggestions.

. . . I printed a new copy of my cookbook early this year, and within a week had found multiple errors in it.  I revised four more recipes today.  I'll probably continue fine-tuning that book for the next  few decades, until my sight gives out or I'm too old to cook.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Violets and Virtual Hoarding

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . admiring the neighbors' flowers on a cool spring day.

. . . Phillip passing us on his motorcycle while we were out for a walk.

. . . blooms appearing on one of my African violets.

. . . helping Daniel beat a maddening level on Trainyard.

. . . cuddling with sweet Anna.

And another thing . . .

. . . I once heard someone refer to Pinterest as "virtual hoarding."  It is so true, yet it comes in handy sometimes and doesn't clutter my desk.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tired and Bitter

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  feeling really tired all day.

. . . wondering two new recipes I disliked were truly bad, or whether I should blame pregnant hormones for tweaking my appetite.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel and Joy playing together.  My life might have been simpler if I only had one child, but I'm grateful that Joy has a full-time playmate who joins in her wacky games with gusto.

And another thing . . .

. . . I discovered that we were out of spinach this evening, so I put some romaine lettuce in my green smoothie.  It was bitter city, people.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wind in My Hair and Uhura Again

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  preparing pancakes and discovering that we had no buttermilk.  Buttermilkless pancakes are just never as good.

. . . shepherding the kids from the playground to the car.  The phrases "pulling teeth," "herding cats," and "molasses in January" all came to mind.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . feeling the wind in my hair as the kids and I played at the park.

. . . baking good bread.

. . . finally making a few more posts for the family blog.  I seem to manage about one binge-posting session a month, and I save the posts as drafts to be published every few days or so.  It's a decent system, but I need to make the binges either bigger or more frequent because I'm still not through November.

And another thing . . .

. . . call me geeky (we already knew that anyway), but I keep thinking about Uhura in the 2009 Star Trek film.  I love the fact that she balances strength with tenderness and compassion, and that she's the most attractive, captivating woman in the movie but she has high standards she won't compromise. 

According to Wikipedia, a 2012 poll in SFX Magazine named Uhura (as portrayed in the 2009 film) the sexiest female character in science fiction and fantasy, yet she wears modest clothes (OK, the skirt could be longer, but stay with me), she never makes out with anyone, and she shoots down each of Kirk's attempts to pick up on her.  She won't even tell him her first name.

Many women think they're most attractive when they leave the least to the imagination, but I think most men are more intrigued by a woman they can respect, who has a hint of mystery about her (think Jacqueline Kennedy).  We tend to value things that aren't easily won.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Star Trek, Bland Bread, and Tummy Kisses

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna snorting when she laughed really hard.

. . . Daniel tenderly patting my tummy, and Joy giving it kisses.

. . . remembering that I had randomly noticed a key in the bushes when Phillip inquired where our mail key was tonight.  That's the last time we let Joy check the mail unsupervised.

. . . baking apple crisp with my sweetheart.

. . . finally finishing the bread I woefully undersalted so I can make a new loaf tomorrow morning.  The scatterbrain side effect of pregnancy has played havoc with my bread lately.  Wish me luck tomorrow.

. . . watching the new Star Trek film (the one released in 2009).  I've seen few of the previous films and fewer still of the old TV episodes, but I'm familiar enough with the characters that it was fun to be re-introduced to them.  I thought the movie was exciting and nuanced, and I look forward to the next one.  I particularly like Uhura.  And who'd have thought Winona Ryder could be Spock's mother??

And another thing . . .

. . . Joy continues to tell every acquaintance and store clerk that I'm pregnant.  I feel a little awkward, especially after struggling to keep it a secret for so long (we wanted to wait for the ultrasound and tell the kids before we broadcast the news), but I'm pleased that she's so excited about it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Fourth Match is Forthcoming

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . for our home evening activity this week we played a matching game pairing up the three kids' baby pictures with their ultrasound pictures.  We then added a fourth ultrasound picture (taken yesterday morning), and asked who that might be.  Joy thought for a minute, occasionally glancing at my tummy as if she wasn't quite sure of the truth, then she correctly guessed that we'll be having a new baby in a few months!  She was pretty excited, and asked to take the ultrasound picture to school for show and tell (her teacher later congratulated me, and said it was the most interesting sharing they've had all year).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston and Blueland

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  hearing the sad news from Boston.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . cuddling sweet Anna.  I love when she hugs me.

. . . finishing The Dragons of Blueland (the final installment in the My Father's Dragon trilogy) with Joy.   I love the books' warm, clever, fanciful style.  Apparently Joy does, too--she has already started rereading the first book on her own.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Blessings and Vision

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . sharing my testimony in church.

. . . watching a video of the First Vision in Primary.  It was lovely to imagine what it would be like to see our Father and our Savior, and speak to them face to face.

. . . old friends visiting from out of town.

. . . relaxing with my sweetheart and talking about our day.

. . . the sound of rain falling outside tonight.

And another thing . . .

. . . I spoke with a sister at church today who attends the temple every week with her husband and children (three are still at home).  She said their schedules are so diverse that they don't even try to go on a fixed day; she just plans each week's trip as it comes along.  Sometimes she isn't sure how they'll all be able to make it on a given week, but she prays for help and things work out.  She says her family has been blessed immensely since they started worshiping in the temple weekly a few years ago.

I don't know if our circumstances will allow for weekly trips when our kids are old enough to attend the temple, but I definitely want to make a habit of going regularly together.  The temple has brought me such comfort, direction, and clarity over the years, and I want those same blessings for my kids and our family as a whole.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pizza and a Tickle Fight

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . waking up really tired this morning.  I know I need to get to bed earlier, but there's just so darn much to do every day.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy's baseball game.  Why pay a fortune to watch the professionals when you can watch Little League for free and observe a tickle fight in the dugout?

. . . Joy hitting the ball really well.  In past games her coach often had to toss her the ball eight or ten times before she hit it, but today he never had to throw it more than three times.

. . . frozen pizza and breakfast cookies.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sourdough and Chopsticks

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  Daniel suddenly moving his head while I was cutting his hair.  One of his side burns is now an inch shorter than the other.  As if that weren't enough fun I noticed that several big hair clumps had disappeared from the tarp below, then I discovered that Anna had scattered them a dozen different places around the front room.  I hereby decree that future haircuts shall occur during Princess Anna's royal naptime.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . swinging with the kids at the playground.  It was lovely to swing in the spring sunshine with Anna on my lap and Daniel in the swing next to me.

. . . painting my toenails for the first time this year, since sandal weather has definitely arrived.

. . . eating dinner with chopsticks.  I guess the novelty makes it fun for me.

And another thing . . .

. . . perhaps you recall the forgotten bread dough of a few days ago?  It rose and baked fine the next morning, but the result was wheat sourdough, which I'm not a huge fan of.  None of us cared for it by itself, but it made for a decent ham sandwich and was delicious slathered with Nutella or strawberry jam.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Roses and a Very Slow Side Dish

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  a very crummy afternoon.  Don't ask.

. . . forgetting that a simple recipes is not necessarily a fast one.  Dinner was very late again today.  The good news is that the kids actually liked the main entree for once.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing lots of roses in glorious bloom on our walk to school.

. . . talking with my husband about the aforementioned crummy afternoon.  Somehow it made me feel better.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Musical Dishes and a Fairy Fail

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . . Joy getting out of bed this morning and coming directly to me to ask why the Tooth Fairy hadn't come last night.  MOM FAIL!!!!!  While Joy was at school, I slipped $2 under her pillow with a very apologetic note from the Tooth Fairy saying she was so excited about Joy's tooth that she plum forgot to leave the money. 

. . .  my kids all managing to get filthy at the park even though we went to one with bark chips instead of sand.  Oh well--if they're dirty they must have had a good time.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . touring a pet store with Daniel's preschool group.  It would have been even more fun if Anna had been more interested in the cute bunnies and lizards, and less keen on trying to eat the plastic pebbles a few aisles over.

. . . Joy showing me the colorful watercolor picture she painted this afternoon.

. . . Phillip agreeing to wash half the mountain of dishes in our kitchen (because the idea of washing all of them made me want to weep).

. . . singing as I washed my half of the dishes, and noticing that Phillip was grinning at me.  I asked what he was smiling about, and he said he loves that I sing while I work.  I'm so glad--it always bugged my brothers and they would ask me to stop.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Blooms and Monster Bread

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . talking a walk with the kids.

. . . admiring all the spring flowers in bloom.

And another thing . . .

. . . I made a list of all the things I needed to do after the kids went to bed tonight (e.g. fold clothes, vacuum cereal bits off our floor, exercise, shower, etc.).  It was a long, rather overwhelming list.  And then I set to work getting Daniel ready for bed, which is like driving down the freeway with one foot (mine) on the gas and another (his) on the brake.  After I finally got him and Joy off to bed I decided I ought to have a little fun and de-stress.

So I sat down to read STM's blog.  And an old mission friend's.  And NieNie's.  And then I stayed up past midnight reading the Voice of Reason.

After I finally retrieved my brain from the blogosphere, I glanced down at my now irrelevant list and noticed the word "bread."  As in the rising bread dough I was supposed to shape into loaves and bake three hours ago.  Which was now rising all out of control and bent on world domination.  There was no point in trying to bake it at this hour, so I punched it down and stashed it in the fridge to revisit tomorrow.  Hopefully it will be salvageable.  Sigh.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Tricyclist and a Penitent Robber

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . making rubber stamp pictures with the big kids.

. . . watching Anna scoot along on a tricycle.  My baby is getting so big.

. . . learning that some old friends will be in town this weekend.

. . . Joy asking to teach our home evening lesson, and directing us to act out a certain Book of Mormon story she's fond of these days.  I was proud of her for both volunteering  to teach and taking such a keen interest in the scriptures.  Her enthusiasm was seriously dampened when Daddy pointed out that her character dies at the end, so we suggested she switch to a different character who repents and lives happily ever after.  She felt better after that.

. . . starting My Father's Dragon with Joy.  It's a fun, creative book, and I think she's going to enjoy it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kopischke, Falabella, and Poppy

This General Conference weekend . . .

. . . my favorite moments included . . .

. . . listening to inspiring talks from the Prophet and Apostles.  I loved Elder Holland's powerful testimony, and hearing Elder Falabella share pithy sayings from his wife.  I think my favorite Conference moment was hearing the obvious love Elder Kopischke's voice as he recalled his father's encouragement and acceptance even when he made mistakes.

. . . watching the Church's semi-annual world report between sessions.  It's always interesting to learn about the Church's recent humanitarian aid efforts.

. . . hanging with the grandparents.

. . . playing with Pink Grandma's dog Poppy.

. . . beating the stuffing out of a pinata.

. . . talking with my sweetheart back at our little apartment tonight.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Blue Lips and Belated Eggs

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  blowing Easter eggs.  I had never done it before, and had no idea it was such hard work.  I also didn't realize I was supposed to blow them BEFORE we dyed them, so my lips are now slightly bluish.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Anna laughing as I tickled her with  a fuzzy duck toy.

. . . Joy giving her friend a very generous birthday present.  She loves giving gifts, often making pictures or cards, or even wrapping up her own things in lively packaging to make someone else happy.

. . . dyeing Easter eggs with Phillip tonight.  Yes, I know Easter is over but I want to use them as a decoration, and I thought it would be something fun to do together.  I liked dipping parts of each egg in different colors, and Phillip preferred making deep, solid colors.  He's pretty proud of the turquoise egg he made.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Popcorn Pyrotechnics

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . snuggling Anna.

. . . going to the temple.  I went seeking answers about a problem I'm trying to work out, and I came away with lots of good ideas.

. . . eating popcorn with my sweetheart.  I like to pop 1/3 cup of  on the stove top using a tablespoon of coconut oil, then I dump them in a bowl and toss them with some melted butter and salt.  Tonight when I turned off the heat and took the lid off the pot a few late bloomers chose that moment to pop and send some of their friends flying in every direction.  I tell you, my life is full of excitement.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Empanadas, Please

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  washing lots of dishes tonight (see below).

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . seeing purple blossoms on my sage plant.

. . . having the missionaries join us for dinner.

. . . finding recipes online for Uruguayan foods I loved in my mission--canelones, empanadas, noquis.  I never realized that you baked canelones in the oven.  Dang--now I'm hungry.

And another thing . . .

. . . Cathy, do you ever wax nostalgic about Guatemalan food?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Duck, Duck, Crepe

Today's not-so-favorite moments included . . .

. . .  misreading a breadstick recipe, with beautiful but unpalatable results.

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing Duck Duck Anything for home evening tonight.  Even Anna got into the act.  She didn't grasp many of the rules, but she did at least understand that someone was supposed to walk around everyone else over and over.  She spent most of the game circling us in the opposite direction of whoever was "it".

. . . our new home teacher bringing us Easter treats.

. . . looking up recipes for canelones, a savory crepe I ate often in Uruguay.  Looking forward to attempting them.