Monday, May 31, 2010

Freedom Isn't Free


We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

- Moina Michael
"In Flanders Fields"

Happy Memorial Day to all who have served this great country. We are all better off for your sacrifice.

Indy 500 FHE Party

Start Your Engines!! Zion and Melinda's annual Indy 500 Party was a hit. Mark, LeeAnn, Erica, Larry, Jamilah and Brian --these pics are for you. We missed you!!
The kids played in the backyard on the water slide...
The girls played many rounds of "Golf" before letting the boys join in the fun...
Garth explaining to the kids the proper water slide etiquette...
Jess cooked!
The guys watching the game - I should have panned around and gotten the other guys too. Opps!
Angie brought lots of yummy cherries.
And there was plenty of meat. "The Steaks of Zion" grill was in full swing. Zion BBQ'd up 9 rib eyes, 2 racks of ribs, chicken and hot dogs. Mikey got the meat sweats.


Sweet Emma. Isn't she adorable?

The boys with their Indy car suckers - homemade by Melinda. Caleb is wearing his Scott Dixon T-shirt and rooted for him during the race.



Good food, great race and the best of friends...it was a priceless day! We are so grateful to have such wonderful people in our lives. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Jeff and Jess had us all rolling with their "sweaty" story and Riley was a crack up when she told us all that "she loves Jesus but church is boring." Emma walked around the backyard singing "I Like To Look For Rainbows" to herself. I took a "bullet" in the right buttock from Garth's air soft gun. All the little boys formed a no-girls club and at one point had the girls surrounded with all their nerf weapons. The girls told Melinda and she helped them get weapons of their own :). Some of the men took Jessica's cell phone when she left the room and took about 50 pictures of random things...they thought they were hilarious! The kids are all growing up so fast. The Adam's youngest is going into first grade in the fall, Asher is walking all over the place, Logan is such a good baby he eats, sleeps a lot and jabbers while he plays. The best part is that we are all trying to plan a summer camp-out just like in the good ol' days.

BBQ & Softball... 8th Ward Style


On Saturday, Ethan was baptized. We're proud of you Ethan!
Then we had a great Ward BBQ and played some softball. Mikey loves to pitch.




Friday, May 28, 2010

Classic Chocolate Meringue Pie


This deliciously rich dessert was easy to prepare and fun to eat. The recipe if from the May issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

Prep: 45 minutes
Chill: 5 hours
Bake: 15 minutes
Classic Chocolate Meringue Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch Baked Pastry Shell*
  • Filling
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • Meringue
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp. superfine granulated sugar

Directions

1. Before you start Prepare your favorite baked pastry shell. Cool on wire rack. Separate egg yolks from whites. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Make custard: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 2-1/2 cups of the milk almost to simmering (watch closely so milk doesn't boil). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, with a 12-inch or larger balloon whisk, stir remaining 1/2 cup milk into the 3 egg yolks. In a second bowl combine 1 cup sugar, the flour, cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt; whisk in egg yolk mixture until smooth. Gradually whisk in hot milk; return the mixture to saucepan.

3. Bring to boiling: Over medium-high heat cook and stir mixture until it comes to a full boil. Whisking the entire time. Boil for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Pour through fine mesh strainer to remove any cooked egg bits.

4. Whisk in chocolate and butter until melted and smooth. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Fill Pie Shell with chocolate/custard mixture.

5. Prepare 3 egg whites: Wash both bowl and whisk. Drying them completely with a clean towel.

6. Combine Meringue Ingredients: In a large bowl, with 12-inch or larger wire whisk, beat egg whites slowly until foamy. Whisk in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, the cream of tartar, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt until well blended.

7. Whisk to peaks adding sugar in 2 Tbs at a time. Tips of whites should curl over slightly when whisk is lifted from bowl.

8. Cover chocolate custard with meringue: Turn meringue out all at once on tip of hot pie filling. With spatula spread meringue from center to edges making sure meringue seals to crust all the way around. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees F or until top is golden. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Makes 8 servings.

Gardening Glories

We have been having some unseasonably cold and wet weather lately and I was beginning to wonder if it was going to effect this years crop...
But the veggies and fruits seem to be taking it all in stride.

The sugar snap peas, cabbage and cauliflower have really begun to flourish.


And the peaches should be ready for canning by the middle or end of June!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May's Happenings

State Wide Service Project: Mormon Helping Hands. Our Stake cleaned up Beardbrook Park. Mike, the Missionaries and I got to paint all the trash cans :)


Then, at the Missionaries request, we took them to get some taco truck tacos.



Elder Falvey enjoying his first taco truck taco - they loved 'em!

On another weekend, Mike set up the pool for the niece and nephew while I set up our new (used, garage sale) tent. $10 for a HUGE tent! And it had all the polls too.



We also walked in the Relay For Life. It went for 24 hours straight, but we only took an hour from 9 to 10 and walked the track. The kiddos had about had it after that :)




Last Thursday was Novalee's School Open House. She is in the first grade this year and she invited Mike and I to come and see her classroom. She had lots of great drawings and assignments to show us as well as their class chickens (they hatched from eggs)

At The Old Ball Game

Mike and I in the stands...


Our good friends the Underwoods came out to support Michael and to share in the FUN.


He's such a stud :)

Mikey Sings The National Anthem




Michael had the chance to sing the National Anthem (again) for the Modesto Nuts this last Monday night. He did such a good job, especially since he is getting over a respiratory infection. I'm so proud of you Mikey! :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Gratitude

It has been one long week, attached to another long and frustrating year, just one more train car in a lifetime of barely pulling through. Michael was very sick this past week. He spike a 103.5 fever for a few days commencing as soon as we finished helping out at our stake service project two Saturdays ago. After the fever came the coughing and shortness of breath. After a 4 hour round-trip drive to Fresno to see the school Dr they determined he had a respiratory infection. He got some antibiotics. The next night he got up from the bed because he was having trouble breathing and immediately passed out, smacking his face on the dresser before landing on floor. I'd never seen anyone pass out and was terrified. He came-to after a few seconds, went back to bed and insisted on getting up and going to work the next morning. Afterall, since I haven't been able to find a job yet, we need the money.

WARNING: Rant coming up - skip to the next paragraph if you want to. I'll never know :)
(This just seems to be our lot in life. "needing the money" for things others just seem to get. No matter what we try, how hard we work, study, pray, fast this never seems to be removed from us. You want to be pregnant, to have a family, a few children? Well, you need money - only $30,000 or so just to try, no guarantee. You want to finish your degree, maybe get some grants since it is grad school? Welp, sorry you're gonna need some money, maybe $40,000. It's not like we spend what little we have recklessly. We pay our bills, get some groceries with coupons and go on a date night once a week - again with coupons. That's it. No vacation, no new clothes, no computer games or books. I wonder if this will ever change? Will this be ours? Sometimes I think we drew lots before we got here and we got the "you will never succeed at anything" stick. It's true sometimes I try and bargain as I pray. I'll say, "Okay, no family for us - we get it. Maybe we could be blessed with a good education so we can have a home of our own someday?" Or..."Well there's not any money left to continue in school and because we worked hard last year we don't qualify for anything but loans...maybe we could have a good job that could help us pay the tuition?" The answer is most usually no. And then I think, well if we did all we can do then we just keep going, keep doing what we are doing. Try each day and when (not if) we fail, we just take a few deep breaths and try again.)

BACK to the real story...that night, after Mike went back to bed I sat up all night long watching him sleep, making sure he could breathe and thinking about our life together. When we were first married I had a dream that I had married someone else and at the reception I saw Michael across the room and I knew that he was who I was supposed to marry - that it was he who would bring happiness to this life for me. I dreamed it every night for 3 nights. Every morning I would wake up and be thankful for the opportunity to marry one of Heavenly Father's choice spirits upon this earth. He is unfailingly kind. He never turns down an opportunity to serve others. He honors his priesthood by serving others, by reading his scriptures and holding FHE (which is a little boring sometimes with just two adults who've already had personal and family scripture study for the day) and family prayer. He tries his best and even though things rarely seem to work out for us he still finds his smile each and every day. I am so grateful to be married to such a man, to have the privilege of being sealed to him for time and all eternity. That night as I listened to his fit full sleeping I thought about our life together and what a happy time it really has been to share these unhappy times with him. There is no one else who could have brought joy like that into our lives. We are truly blessed.

Michael is feeling better now. His infection is gone and he is going to be bringing a little joy to minor league baseball tonight. He's singing the National Anthem for the Modesto Nuts tonight!