Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good to Know

Quite often I find that I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed (and YES- I have my finger and my thumb in the shape of an L on my forehead).
I thought I was being so smart and efficient by making a crock pot dinner because I had a busy day, then a Halloween party at night. At 4:45 I checked my concoction and wasn't feeling great about the tenderness of the carrots and potatoes. Knowing we needed to eat in the next 30 minutes, I wanted to be sure it would be done so we could get into Halloween costumes in time for the party. I figured I would transfer my stew to a pot and boil it on the stove. That's much quicker! As I pulled the pot out of the crock, I had a thought "Why can't I just put THIS pot on the stove and save myself the hassle of cleaning another pot?"
This is why not...
I heard a big crack just a minute after my bright idea, so I slide the pot off the burner. Deciding to just buck up and poor it into a real pot, I lifted it, not knowing that the crack was the sound of the bottom detaching itself. So here's what I got for lifting it...
So much for my time saver! after my 45 minute clean up- late for dinner and late for the party. All survived and obviously I wasn't so torn up that I couldn't snap a few pics of my stupidity. I'm sure you all knew this, but ceramic pots and stoves are a NO NO. Log that one away.

Long Awaited, Highly Anticipated, Much Deserved

To celebrate my sister Cami's 30th birthday (that happened in July), Cami, my mom and I took a much needed girls trip to Southern California.
One of my very favorite parts was getting to spend some quality time with my Grandma Marilyn (my mom's mom). She is beyond amazing. She is pushing 80 and seems to have more energy than me! She kept up with us on the shopping trips we dragged her on. She did opt out on some of the shopping to stay home and make some calls for prop 8, make dinner for a friend, clean up the house and finish knitting a shawl to be donated to cancer patients. She is endlessly happy and service oriented! I adore my grandma and look forward to many many more years with her.

Did I mention we did a little shopping? Ok, that's about all we did!! Well, we ate too. Here we are taking a quick breather at the Irvine Spectrum. This is actually about the end of our shopping when our feet were sore and we were out of money.
The Orange County Swapmeet. A So. Cal. must when you have children to shop for. We also hit the Carlsbad outlets, shops in Laguna Beach and a few other shopping greats down there.
Whoa! We got a lot of stuff!
After an early Christmas, we were wiped out.
And I mentioned that we ate. It seemed most of the trip was either "where can we eat that's near good shopping" or "Where can we shop that's near good eating"
My cousin Summer raves about this cupcake place near the Newport Temple. We, of course, had to hit it up. It did not disappoint! YUM YUM! I am still craving them. have something in your teeth
Another California must for us is chocolate malted crunch ice cream. Nothing is better after a long day of shopping than a big bowl of ice cream with grandma's hot fudge!

My grandparents took us to a great little restaurant on Dana Point Pier called Wind and Surf
The sun set while we were eating and it was totally perfect!
Where do you think we get our chocolate addiction? My grandma kept our sugar highs going all weekendWe did take a little break to do initiatories in the Newport Temple. It's always a neat thing to do and nice to be a smaller, quieter temple.

We couldn't find anyone at first to take our picture, so we took one ourselves
We had to hit the beach while we were there, just to say we did.
And put our feet in the water (that's a surprisingly hard picture to capture)

We had a hard time getting good pictures at the beach, which only led to fitful laughter and a really great time (but no good pictures! Actually, they turned out ok)

My ever wonderful grandma put together a little party for us to be able to see all our family that's there. Between my mom and her brother's wives (she's an only girl) there were 8 babies born in 3 years. 7 of us were girls! My sister and I were two. Three of them live in Southern California and two are out of state (we missed them!) It was so so great to see my cousins who I love dearly and don't see enough. The party was perfected by Chinese food and Marie Calender's pie!
My Mom, my cousin Summer, my sister Cami, me, cousin Katie, grandma
Just the cousins. Summer and Katie are sisters. Cami and Summer are 10 days apart in age. Katie and I, a year. Summer has two little girls that are busy, but darling. Katie has a little girl that keeps her on her toes and a baby boy, who is much calmer.My cousin Janice. We have always been close. She is a cute mom of four boys! It was so fun to be with her for a short time.
I even got cozy with Summer's dog, Gordon.
I've oozed my feelings about my grandma, so you have to assume that someone as wonderful as her is married to an equally wonderful man. My Grandpa Jerry is ever busy. He puts out a family newsletter every month or so, complete with pictures and updates of each family member. His projects are endless. I have never, ever, in my entire life, heard my grandpa complain about anything. He is (as President Monson called himself) a showaholic. He loves old musicals and has hundreds of them on tape and dvd. Every time we go visit he has a new clip from his most recent favorite to show us. This time is was a movie called "Sweethearts." It gave us a great song to sing to them. They love each other so much and are constantly serving each other. It is so wonderful to see a marriage filled with so much happiness after 60 years!! They are the very very best example of everything good.
We had dinner at the beach on our last night. All of us went to the bathroom and came out to find them like this.
This is another common site. Working together on a puzzle. They are waiting for the USC game to start
Grandpa always sits in a folding chair in front of the couch. He has learned to work a DVR to record all his musicals! Pretty impressive.
Somethings never change. She is fixing his hair for a picture. Can't resist snapping that one.
Cam and I got the giggles about something. We laughed A LOT!!
Cami and I gave ourselves pedicures
Getting on our early morning flight in the fog! (we sat on the runway for an hour, finally took off and it took about 5 seconds to rise above the fog)
So sad to be on the airplane home (mostly because it was a 7am flight). Jude is exhausted!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Finally Perfected

I have been working for a couple years on a butternut squash soup recipe. Each year I make it a few times in hopes that it is better than the last. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't!! It's that time of year again. So I pulled up my most recent recipe and did a little research into others and I think I've got it perfect!!! It was a big hit with John (which is huge because, although he won't admit it, he's a super picky eater). The kids weren't too thrilled with it, but that's to be expected. It's a little more invovled than normal things I cook, but I think it's worth it.

Try it out and let me know what you think. Any feed back is always apprecitated!

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium butternut squash
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 pkg cream cheese (softened)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down in a baking dish with bottom covered in water. Bake 45 minutes, or until tender.
2. While squash is baking, melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, and potatoes 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Both squash and veggie mix should be done about the same time.
3. Scoop squash from skin into blender and add veggie mix, cream cheese, and brown sugar. You may have to blend this in shifts. You can add more or less chicken broth depending on the thickness you desire. Mix in pot and heat through.
4. A little salt and pepper really makes it perfect!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

In Cali

I'm in California right now with my mom and my sister for a girls weekend, so excuse the quick post. I wanted to get a couple things out. The talk of the town is Propostition 8. We are continually chanting "YES ON 8!" This proposotion is essentially to keep the education of homosexual marriage out of schools and keep the California constitution as defining marriage as a man and a woman. If this is changed, it opens up a whole new world of creative marriages for a variety of reasons. Our church is fighting hard for this to pass. Our leaders recognize the horrible landslide this will send our society into. My 80 year old grandparents have been going door to door and cold calling to educate people on this propostion and tell them what will happen if it doesn't pass. Some people are reseptive and some people are not. We were walking in downtown Laguna Beach yesterday and asked a couple if they new where to find a little mexican restaraunt we were looking for. They asked where we were from and of course, when we said "Utah" that first thing they said is "Are you Mormon?" The woman went on to praise and thank our church for their organization, time, and heart we are putting into fighting for 8. She had children who were grown, but still had good family values and didn't want our children being taught about same sex marriage and the other remifications that come with that. One of the last things she said to us was, "I swear your church is going to be the last one standing at the end of the world." I got chills. Her husbands brother is a member who lives in Salt Lake, so I hope they are able to share the Gospel with them.
In the midst of all of this, we had tickets to a taping of The Ellen Show, but decided not to go. Not only would it take up an entire day (when we only have 3 days here), but how could we go support someone who was so against what our family and religion are fearlessly fighting for. Today we are going to see a human chain (that my cousins, aunt and uncle are going to be part of) that will cover miles of Pacific Coast Highway. I'm sure they'll get egged, just like thier cars and homes have for bearing the YES ON 8 signs!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Crazy JuJu's Halloween Party

My mom, who is only the most amazing person you will ever meet, was so sad about missing out on Halloween this year (my cousin is getting married in California the day after Halloween. Love you Andrew, but thanks a lot!)put on the most wonderful Halloween party for the 4 oldest grandkids. Not only did she mail each child their very own invitation and dress up for the kids, but she had every party game, craft and treat available.
Check out this PAR-TA-
All the kids in their costumes (I will post good pics of my kids costumes on Halloween)
Captain Hook
Crazy JuJu with her party guests (I'm so mad I didn't get a great picture of her. You must know that she has mismatched socks and slippers, big painted eyebrows, lipstick far out of the lines of her natural lips and on her teeth, half the bracelets she owns on, and to complete the ensemble, saggy water balloon boobs!)

bloody hand coming out of smoking blood
eating a donut off a string with no hands
I said NO HANDS!!
Brains and eyeballs
Mummy pinata
Not pictured is painting wood Halloween crafts, new coloring books and crayons for all, guts and fingers for lunch (mac and cheese and hot dogs), pin the nose on the witch, frosting sugar cookies, and Scooby Doo movie to wind down.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I have a few pictures that weren't worthy of their own post, but I wanted to get them on here anyway. Life has been nice and slow for us. One of our favorite sayings around here is "No news is Good news." Meaning, we like to be boring! Here are some pics of our boredom...

John wanted to get a picture of the beautiful sunset the other night (see what I mean about him being a softy?)
Addie did this to herself. I called her my 80's girl all day. We even went in pulic like this.
I wanted to put this picture up because you need to notice the blue gunk around her neck. She made a necklace out of her gum. That was a fun clean up!
Just think she's cute
After realizing that her baby doll stroller didn't contain the kittens properly, Addie opted for her play grocery cart, which was a great option. The kittens didn't like it much (or their mom, which you can see following her around and meowing at her), but it sure was fun for Addie.