Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Modesto Nuts Nat'l Anthem Tryouts

The Modesto BEE Modesto Nuts National Anthem Tryout video (Mike is in it!). We should find out soon if he gets to sing again this year for them. Good Luck Michael! I Love You!

Way-Back Wednesday

This was taken about 5 years ago. Our niece Novalee and her uncle Mikey making noses out of Playdough. It is one of her favorite pictures (and one of ours too).

Early Morning Helaman

The blessings just keep coming! Last week I had the opportunity to sub in early morning seminary. We studied Helaman! For someone who joined the church their senior year in high school and only got to attend one year of seminary I was a little intimidated and slightly overwhelmed but completely thankful for this amazing experience.

Here are some of the young men in the class. They were a crack-up. Do you see the red-headed boy above? (red backpack on) That's Morgan. Mike and I have had the privileged of knowing him and his siblings since most of them were little. What a great guy! And super family!!

I was having so much fun with the class (there are almost 20 sophmores in the class) that I forgot to take pictures and shot a few after class was over and they were enjoying some homemade cinnamon rolls. I was so grateful to know so many of the kids. Mike and I have had the chance to serve with the youth in many wards for a long time and it was nice to have so many familiar and loved faces (I'd had a few of the kids in sunbeams when Mike and I were first married) to greet me each morning. The class was funny and thoughtful, and completely awesome! I am so appreciative of the testimony I have of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for the scriptures that testify of Him and of His ministry upon the earth and for a living prophet today who lead and guides this church. I know that their is no other way, except through the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that we can return unto our Father in Heaven. What a great testimony strengthener seminary is!

World's Best Bacon Maker

Michael is excellent at a lot of things he does but he is, hands-down, the best bacon fryer I've ever met. He's the best breakfast maker I know too. When asked how he manages to make every inch of the bacon strip the perfect crispness Mr. Gariety responded, "It takes a lot of time and TLC." Spoken like a true champion!
Saturday's breakfast consisted of from scratch pancakes, bacon and a fried potato and egg skillet with cheese.

Goin' Rollin'

We had a bowling date night this month. Our good friends Kim and Scott joined us. We had dinner and then used a coupon (love coupons!!) for some Rollin'. Everyone was pretty good except me - I bowled a 154 (if you combine my three game total!). What a fun way to spend a date night.

Scott trying to make up for beating Kim in every frame :) They are so cute!

Bella Notte

During one of the mutual activities this month we were privileged to hear from a recently returned missionary, Nick Allen. He told us all about his mission to Southern Italy, it's people, the youth of the church in Italy and he showed us how to make homemade lasagna complete with homemade sauce.

The girls (the whole of the YW joined the Mia Maids in this activity. Our camera was on the fritz so I only got a good pic of a few girls, the rest were super blurry) had lots of good questions about the Italian people and they listened attentively :) to the answers.
The lasagna was delicious! Thank you so much to Nick Allen for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us and for your moving testimony in Italian!

Blessings of Commuting to Fresno

Mike gets to commute for Fresno a few days a week for school. It is a long drive at almost 2 hours depending on traffic but he is blessed for it. When missionaries serving in our area are going home or are transferring to another area Mike gets to give them a lift. Above is a picture of a faithful missionary who served our ward. Elder Daniels was going home and Mikey drove him to the mission home in Fresno before he caught his flight back to St. George. We have been so blessed to have opportunities to go out on splits with the missionaries, to sit in on discussions with them, to serve them dinner and to serve them by giving them a ride back to Fresno. Our cup runneth o'er!!

Day of Service

Yo Ho, Yo Ho A Pirates Life For Me!! That is what I whistled while we worked. A few weekends ago we had the opportunity to serve our community by giving a day to Habitat for Humanity.

Mike, my dad and I all volunteered through the Disney "Give a Day Get a Day" service program. In exchange for our day of felling trees, digging out stumps, mowing, raking and sunny attitudes we received lunch and free one day passes to Disneyland.

I was very impressed with the Habitat organization. I learned a little bit about how they select families for the houses they build/restore and all the service those families must contribute before they are allowed to buy the home (hundreds and hundreds of hours). It was wonderful to spend the day together, improving our community and getting a FREE ticket for The Happiest Place On Earth.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Busy, Busy Bees

Well, we have lots of pics to post but no time. Just to keep you abreast of what we've been up to and what photos are forthcoming here is a little preview...There has been some volunteering, garden planting, recipe trying, scout outings, missionary work and seminary teaching. Hopefully we'll get around to posting something good this weekend! (when Mikey tries out to sing the National Anthem for our local baseball team! Go Mikey!! :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fun at the Barking Dog

We are so grateful to have such good friends. Last week our friend had a birthday and invited us to celebrate at the Barking Dog (a great little restaurant downtown). We had fun laughing and celebrating her 30th. Happy Birthday Stacey!! You are incredible!
Who is this handsome couple?? :)
Jessica striking her modelesque pose. We took another picture (that will not be posted) in which, somehow, my hair looked like it was a fuzzy cat on her shoulder :) On a side-note, I really need a tan!
Jeff and Mike - the goofball boys. They are so entertaining together. We are so happy they decided to move back to Cali.
Tami - what can I say about Tami except that she is one of my favorite people. She is smart and funny, compassionate and pretty. I think she is amazing!
Kim, Kimbo, friend you are the bomb! Kim is one of the funniest people I know. So fun to be around and always cracks me up. And...introducing Misty! Misty just moved to our ward from So. Cal and she is just awesome! She is my new Mia Maid advisor and the girls and I feel like we hit the jackpot! These are only a few of the people who attended Stacey's big bash. We filled up half the restaurant.

After dinner we went back to the Haslem's house and watched "Couple's Retreat" on DVD. The funniest part was hearing Josh and his brother laugh. They laugh exactly alike. I mean EXACTLY - it was like surround sound. We had so much fun! What a great night!!
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Pucker Up!

I don't have classes on Fridays so I try and make myself useful by catching up on housework and homework. That stuff is pretty boring so I usually end up trying to cook or bake something. This week it turned out pretty good (not always the case with new recipes). So pucker up because these recipes are sweet!!

Artisan Almost No-Knead Bread:
from the America's Test Kitchen Episode: Bread Making Simplified

An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast-iron Dutch oven or heavy stockpot. (See the related information in "High-Heat Baking in a Dutch Oven" for information on converting Dutch oven handles to work safely in a hot oven.) Use a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser (mild non-alcoholic lager also works - AS DOES CARBONATED WATER). The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.

Makes 1 large round loaf
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface
1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces) OR CARBONATED WATER! :)
1 tablespoon white vinegar

1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger, about 2 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Lemonade Mix:

We were fortunate to receive some delicious lemons from some friends of ours who have a tree.
1 and 1/2 Cups boiling water
1 and 1/2 Cups sugar (dissolved in water)
1 and 1/2 Cups fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Combine all in mason jar. Allow to cool. 1/4 cup of lemonade mix can be poured into an individual glass and the rest filled with water OR use 1/2 of jar to make a pitcher full of lemonade.