Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Enchiladas Two Ways

This first recipe has been a staple in our family dinner repertoire for years.  It is easy and quick to assemble, freezes well and with it's succulent shredded chicken, tangy green sauce, creamy filling and cheesy goodness, it gets the nod of approval from kids and adults alike!

{Green Chili Enchilada Casserole}




Ingredients:

Meat from 1 whole chicken, boiled, cooled and shredded
1 pkg corn tortillas, white or yellow (about 12 tortillas)
4 Cups Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
1 C shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 rectangle cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 small can diced green chilies
1 medium yellow onion minced, half reserved
1 large can green sauce (select the heat you desire)
Sour Cream
Salt to taste


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • In large sauce pan saute half of the minced onion in olive oil until softened.
  • Add room temperature cream cheese brick to medium heat pan and heat, while stiring until melted.
  • Add can of green chilies to cream cheese onion mixture.
  • Add shredded chicken to cream cheese mixture and stir until well combined.  Remove from heat. Add in fresh minced onions.
  • In large 9"x 13" pan, spread a few table spoons of green sauce.
  • Place enough corn tortillas in pan to make one layer.
  • Top with chicken mixture and layer of cheese.
  • Cover with another layer of tortillas.
  • Repeat for at least 2 more layers or as many as you can make.  Be sure to have your last layer be corn tortillas.
  • Top final layer with remaining cheese and the can of green sauce.
  • Bake, covered with foil at 350 for 15 minutes then REMOVE Foil and bake 15 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly and top tortillas are crispy.  Serve with sour cream, beans and rice.

{Sweet Potato Enchiladas}

This recipe is based off of my aunt Katie's amazing sweet potato enchiladas.  Full of good-for-you ingredients, delicious and meat free!






Ingredients:

1 bag frozen Alexia Sweet Potato Puffs, baked as directed until crispy and browned
2 TBS taco seasoning
1 can whole pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 C corn
4 C shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese, 1 C reserved for topping
1/2 white or yellow onion, minced
2 Cups Guacamole (homemade is much better!), 1/2 C reserved for serving
1 Can red sauce (select your preferred heat)
Sour Cream for serving
1 dozen flour tortillas
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 ripe tomato chopped

Directions:
  • In 9" x 13" casserole dish spoon a few tablespoons of sauce.
  • Sprinkle taco seasoning onto baked sweet potato puffs, stir on baking sheet to coat.
  • Warm tortillas in skillet or microwave so they are more pliable.
  • Fill each tortilla with some cheese, pinto beans, corn, crispy sweet potatoes, onions and guacamole.
  • Roll up each tortilla and place seem side down in baking dish.  Repeat until dish is full.
  • Smother filled tortillas with remaining red sauce.
  • Top with remaining Cheese.
  • Bake at 350, covered with foil for 15 minutes, remove foil and bake 10 minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly.
  • Remove from oven, top with chopped green onions and cilantro.  Serve with sour cream, remaining guacamole and fresh chopped tomatoes.


{Quotes to Cook By}

“While Coach Hedge was having dinner on the foredeck, a wild pegasus appeared from nowhere,stampeded over the coach’s enchiladas, and flew off again, leaving cheesy hoof prints all across the deck. “What was that for?” the coach demanded.” 
― Rick RiordanThe Mark of Athena


“These paintings say Mexico is an ancient thing that will still go on forever telling its own story in slabs of color leaves and fruits and proud naked Indians in a history without shame. Their great city of Tenochtitlan is still here beneath our shoes and history was always just like today full of markets and wanting.” 


“Looks delicious," he lied. "A mite crispy along the edges - but then, I like it that way."
Incredulous eyes met his own. "You like your potatoes burned?"
Ah, so he'd been right about that. If he could still recognize what it was she'd cooked, then surely he could eat it.” 
― Tracy Anne WarrenThe Wife Trap





Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #47

#47  There is a Holiday for Everything!

Mark your calenders...the first Sunday in May is apparently...

National Infertility Survival Day, Sunday May 4, 2014 


"National Infertility Survival Day®, and it’s celebrated annually the first Sunday in May, the Sunday before Mother’s Day.

National Infertility Survival Day® was founded eight years ago by Beverly Barna, to recognize those women as she puts it, “who sit crying and praying silently in the pews on Mother’s Day, while those around them exalt the moms they wish so deeply they can become.” It’s a day set aside to honor those women who have suffered through failed conceptions, miscarriages, still-births, and adoptions that fell through."  


Sounds like fun to me!!

Which follows on the heels of National Infertility Awareness Week, and means we get to eat chicken...because they have eggs??




{Appropriate Ways to Celebrate}
  • Register at Infertiles R Us
  • Have a BBQ ...wiener roast and deviled eggs
  • Play Pin-the-Ovary-On-the-Uterus
  • Have a pinata filled with with infertility prediction tests
  • Sit around the firepit regaling your friends and family with your adventures in Infertility and your cat stories
  • Prepare for Mother's Day the following weekend
  • Have friends bake you and your husband a cake and sing "Happy National Infertility Survival Day" to you while you blow out the candles

Other Important Holidays to Mark on Your Calendars:




*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #46

#46  What to Get the Infertiles Who Have Everything, For National Infertility Survival Day



Funny Books About Infertility!

Egg McMuffin!

Ben and Jerry's!

Grumpy Cat Pinata!

Nothing, you are already got them something for National Caramel Popcorn Day (Sunday April 6th, 2014)!

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #45

#45  HAT-red

Kids can just tell that I am not a mom.  Babies cry when I hold them, toddlers toddle away from me and children...well children do this...

A few years a go a good friend of mine had baby #4.  Her husband was serving on the Stake High Council (for those of you not of our faith, that is a rotating group called to serve throughout the whole geographical area known as a "Stake" not just in their local geographically based "wards").  She called one Sunday morning to ask if we wouldn't mind picking up her three boys for church that day so she could stay home with the baby and her husband could attend to his responsibilities. We were happy to help and came to collect the boys excited to have them with us that day...kind of like rent a family for church!

After the opening hymn and prayer and sacrament hymn we were all sitting quietly in a pew waiting for the sacrament to come to us.  The boys were coloring quietly and the littlest one, on the far end of his brothers, passed a note to me.  I took it smiling at him, excited that my "family" for a day was working out so well!  I could only imagine what was in the note...maybe a picture of the 5 of us smiling and holding hands?  Maybe it was a heart!  Maybe a little thank-you note for picking them up today so they could go to church.

I eagerly unfolded the slip of paper, a joyful smile on my face, my self-confidence as a would-be parent soaring!  Inside was a short note...

"I HAT YOU!"

Being just a wee one he had left off the "E" but the I knew what he meant.  I stifled a giggle and showed my husband who had to cover his mouth not to laugh during this most reverent of times. Which, of course, made the little guy furious.  I passed it back with a quiet whisper, "You forgot the "E"."

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday's Matter: His Grace is Sufficient

At our home, and millions of others around the globe, Monday evenings are reserved for family.  A family home evening (FHE)!

Whether it be fun or silly, serious or scholarly, Family Home Evening will strengthen your relationships and will benefit you and your family.  Even if it is 5 minutes of singing and reading one verse of scripture it counts!  So get out there and get to gettin'!

Opening Hymn:  Amazing Grace

Watch and Discuss:  His Grace is Sufficient, Brad Wilcox

"When a young pianist hits the wrong note we don't say he is not worthy to keep practicing...Why is this concept so easy to see in the context of learning piano but hard to see in the context of learning Heaven? Too many are giving up...because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are falling short."

This BYU Devotional is focused on Grace, it is a little long (30 min or so).  If you have littles at home you may want to watch it first and pick out your favorite few minutes to discuss.


Activity: 
This AWESOME game of scripture mastery MAD GABS!!!!  See the link below for the easy print version of the cards.



{Family Home Evening doesn't have to be Perfect, it just has to BE!}

Friday, April 25, 2014

Date Night Done Right: A's vs Ranger's Day Game @ Oakland

Another fantastic date!  On Wednesday the 23rd we drove out to Oakland to see the Ranger's play the A's.  I in my Rangers gear, Michael in his green and gold.  It was my first time at the park and I was so impressed with everything from the easy of getting to the Coliseum, to the fast parking (only $20!  Way cheaper than SF), to the friendly staff greeting you at the gates and the awesome kiosk where we got field level seats minutes before the first pitch for only $30!

Oh, and their selection of food was excellent (even though we packed a lunch) and it was reasonably priced.  They had roundtable pizza, philly cheesesteaks, BBQ ribs and steak, corn dogs, hot dogs, fried chicken, burritos, garlic fries, nachos - you name it they had it.

I would go again in a heartbeat!  It was such fun day.  My favorite part was having so many staff members say, "Welcome to the ballpark Texas!  Hope you have a good game!"  What nice people.

 It was a beautiful day for a ball game!
 He loves me even though I rooted for the Rangers.
 They had classic player races - fun but not as funny as the Brewer's Weiner Races.
 Ranger's pitcher Martin Perez pitched all 9 innings - he was awesome!

Rainy Day Yoga: Yoga Mat for Sale. Used Once. $1

WARNING: THE ORIGINAL ADD CONTAINS A DIRTY WORD SO I SUBSTITUTED IT FOR MORE APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE ;)


Here's the HILARIOUS full text from the Seattle Craigslist ad below:

Yoga mat for sale. Used once. - $1 (Bellevue)


Yoga mat for sale. Used once at lunch hour class in December 2009. Usage timeline as follows:

11:45a
Register for hot yoga class. Infinite wisdom tells me to commit to 5 class package and purchase a yoga mat. I pay $89.74. Money well spent, I smugly confirm to myself.

11:55a
Open door to yoga room. A gush of hot dry air rushes through and past me. It smells of breath, sweat and hot. Take spot on floor in back of room next to cute blonde. We will date.

11:57a
I feel the need to be as near to naked as possible. This is a problem because of the hot blonde to my left and our pending courtship. She will not be pleased to learn that I need to lose 30 pounds before I propose to her.

11:58a
The shirt and sweats have to come off. I throw caution to the wind and decide to rely on my wit and conditioning to overcome any weight issues my fiancée may take issue with. This will take a lot of wit and conditioning.

11:59a
Begin small talk with my bride to be. She pretends to ignore me but I know how she can be. I allow her to concentrate and stare straight ahead and continue to pretend that I don't exist. As we finish sharing our special moment, I am suddenly aware of a sweat moustache that has formed below my nose. This must be from the all the whispering between us.

12:00p
Instructor enters the room and ascends her special podium at the front of the room. She is a slight, agitated Chinese woman. She introduces me to the class and everyone turns around to greet me just as I decide to aggressively adjust my (PRIVATE PARTS) packed in my Under Armor. My bride is notably unfazed.

12:02p
Since I do have experience with Hot Yoga (4 sessions just 5 short years ago) I fully consider that I may be so outstanding and skilled that my instructor may call me out and ask me to guide the class. My wife will look on with a sparkle in her eye. We will make love after class.

12:10p
It is now up to 95 degrees in the room. We have been practicing deep breathing exercises for the last 8 minutes. This would not be a problem if we were all breathing actual, you know, oxygen. Instead, we are breathing each other's body odor, expelled carbon dioxide and other unmentionables. (Don't worry, I'll mention them later.)

12:26p
It is now 100 degrees and I take notice of the humidity, which is hovering at about 90%. I feel the familiar adorning stare of my bride and decide to look back at her. She appears to be nauseated. I then realize that I forgot to brush my teeth prior to attending this class. We bond.

12:33p
It is now 110 degrees and 95% humidity. I am now balancing on one leg with the other leg crossed over the other. My arms are intertwined and I am squatting. The last time I was in this position was 44 years ago in the womb, but I'm in this for the long haul. My wife looks slightly weathered dripping sweat and her eyeliner is streaming down her face. Well, "for better or worse" is what we committed to so we press on.

12:40p
The overweight Hispanic man two spots over has sweat running down his legs. At least I think its sweat. He is holding every position and has not had a sip of water since we walked in. He is making me look bad and I hate him.

12:44p
I consider that if anyone in this room farted that we would all certainly perish.

12:52p
It is now 140 degrees and 100% humidity. I am covered from head to toe in sweat. There is not a square millimeter on my body that is not slippery and sweaty. I am so slimy that I feel like a sea lion or a maybe sea eel. Not even a bear trap could hold me. The sweat is stinging my eyeballs and I can no longer see.

12:55p
This room stinks of asparagus, cloves, tuna and tacos. There is no food in the room. I realize that this is an amalgamation of the body odors of 30 people in a 140 degree room for the last 55 minutes. Seriously, enough with the asparagus, ok?

1:01p
140 degrees and 130% humidity. Look, (WITCH), I need my space here so don't get all pissy with me if I accidentally sprayed you with sweat as I flipped over. Seriously, is that where this relationship is going? Get over yourself. We need counseling and she needs to be medicated. Stat!

1:09p
150 degrees and cloudy. And hot. I can no longer move my limbs on my own. I have given up on attempting any of the commands this Chinese chick is yelling out at us. I will lay sedentary until the aid unit arrives. I will buy this building and then have it destroyed.
I lose consciousness.

1:15p
I have a headache and my wife is being a selfish (WITCH). I can't really breathe. All I can think about is holding a cup worth of hot sand in my mouth. I cannot remember what an ice cube is and cannot remember what snow looks like. I consider that my only escape might be a crab walk across 15 bodies and then out of the room. I am paralyzed, and may never walk again so the whole crab walk thing is pretty much out.

1:17p
I cannot move at all and cannot reach my water. Is breathing voluntary or involuntary? If it's voluntary, I am screwed. I stopped participating in the class 20 minutes ago. Hey, lady! I paid for this frickin class, ok?! You work for me! Stop yelling at everyone and just tell us a story or something. It's like juice and cracker time, ok?

1:20p
It is now 165 degrees and moisture is dripping from the ceiling. The towel that I am laying on is no longer providing any wicking or drying properties. It is actually placing additional sweat on me as I touch it. My towel reeks. I cannot identify the smell but no way can it be from me. Did someone spray some stank on my towel or something?

1:30p
Torture session is over. I wish hateful things upon the instructor. She graciously allows us to stay and 'cool down' in the room. It is 175 degrees. Who cools down in 175 degrees? A Komodo Dragon? My wife has left the room. Probably to throw up.

1:34p
My opportunity to escape has arrived. I roll over to my stomach and press up to my knees. It is warmer as I rise up from ground level - probably by 15 degrees. So let's conservatively say it's 190. I muster my final energy and slowly rise. One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. Towards the door. Towards the door.

1:37p
The temperature in the lobby is 72 degrees. Both nipples stiffen to diamond strength and my (PRIVATE PARTS) begins to retract into my abdomen from the 100 degree temp swing. I can once again breathe though so I am pleased. I spot my future ex wife in the lobby. We had such a good thing going but I know that no measure of counseling will be able to unravel the day's turmoil and mental scaring.

1:47p
Arrive at Emerald City Smoothie and proceed to order a 32 oz beverage. 402 calories, 0 fat and 14 grams of protein -- effectively negating any caloric burn or benefit from the last 90 minutes. I finish it in 3 minutes and spend the next 2 hours writing this memoir.

3:47p
Create Craigslist ad while burning final 2 grams of protein from Smoothie and before the "shakes" consume my body.

4:29p
Note to self - check car for missing wet yoga towel in am

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #44

#44  Preoccupied With Pee



I have never been so preoccupied with my own pee than while trying to get pregnant.

When to do it, how long to do it, how often to do it. The instructions in the box of a home pregnancy test go into excruciating detail about how long to time your pee-on-the-stick, leaving me to wonder each and every time if I somehow timed it wrong...with my wristwatch, my stopwatch and my wall clock. Did I pee too long?  Was it not enough?  Maybe I drank too much water and diluted it?  Maybe my stream was too forceful after all that water?  Maybe it needed more force to really get it up on the test stick?  There are just too many variables.

Back and forth I go...

Should I pee in a cup and soak the stick? Ew...what cup should I use?  What do I do with the cup when I'm done with it?

Should I use the direct stream method? Get ready for splash back!

Once I've decided on a method, peed, timed myself peeing and waited the excruciating minutes to look and see if it is a double blue lined test (YAY!!) or a single, lonely, blue line (Boo!) then I have to do it again because, let's face it, it might be a false negative.

And let's check the one in the trash can eight one more time just to be sure that sneaky blue line didn't just need an hour or ten a minute or two more to materialize.

*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #43

#43 Keep Those Home Fires Burning


One of the difficult things about fertility treatment is that it changes the way you look at your...*cough *cough... love life. Ahem.   

Before infertility you were hot for each other and each encounter left you feeling sexy and your relationship simmering, counting the minutes until you got to be together again.

After infertility, you are still hot for each other but each encounter leaves you feeling anxious, your relationship tense as you count down the days until your next period to see if you conceived, finally.

I scoured the internet fertility sites to find ways to help keep that lovin' feeling alive while you are in the throws of infertility treatment.  WARNING: I would not suggest this.  I have to scrub my brain with ajax now and sing hymns.  Some "Keeping the Romance Alive During Fertility Treatment" suggestions were down right nasty.  Others were....blah.  Some were do-able.

Here were two of the most helpful I found.  They are from an article on Shady Grove Fertility's website entitled, "Keeping the Romance Alive While Trying to Conceive"

The Ginger Jar Technique
“Two jars: one for you, one for your partner. In each, put 4 to 6 slips of paper with ideas jotted down -- things your partner could do for you that let you know how much they care about you. These can be overtly sexual or non-sexual, because after all, our minds are what get the ball rolling. For example, surprising some women with flowers might lead to even sexier outcomes. Each of you takes an idea out -- try it daily or every other day -- but don't tell your partner what you picked. Then follow through when the time is right and your partner is not expecting it. It's like planned spontaneity that's sure to target your lover's erogenous zones."
Try A Little Massage
"In one of our group sessions, I'll bring out some hand cream, and just have the partners apply the cream to each other’s hands and give a little massage. It's pretty incredible for demonstrating how simple yet thrilling even a mild form of physical intimacy can be."
Even if they're new to fertility treatment, most couples have some idea that their sex lives have taken on new meaning. Covington says sometimes it necessary to "commit to taking a few steps toward the outcome you want, and in most cases, couples will find that they can keep their relationship simmering (and maybe even hotter) through the whole journey together."

If all else fails you can always try a few of these lame-o AWESOME pick up lines to get the ball rolling...
"I may not be Fred Flintstone but I can sure make your bed rock"
"Can I read your t-shirt in braille?"
"Excuse me, but I'm new in town.  Can I have directions to your place?"
"You must be the reason for global warming because you're HOT!"
"Your beauty is so dangerous it needs a stunt double"


*Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #42

#42 May the Force Be With YOU

I think Carol Burnett said it best when she said, "Comedy is tragedy plus time." Ain't that the truth!

Some of the funniest moments of my life have come out of things I thought were terribly awful.



So for all you women out there, fertile or infertile, who have had a date with the Ultrasound Wand and now have PTSD because your technician looked like Yoda with a light saber...give it time, you will laugh again.



 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!








Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday's Matter: This Means WAR!

At our house and millions of others around the globe Monday nights are reserved for family, a Family Home Evening (FHE)!

Whether you are alone, a freshly married couple, someone with a growing family, if you are sending kids off to college or if you are welcoming grandchildren, Family Home Evening is for YOU!

Don't be intimidated.  You do NOT need a fancy lesson with coordinated handouts, treats and activities.

You DO need a desire to strengthen your family bonds and to set aside time each week to get away from the hustle and bustle and concentrate on what really matters.

Albert Einstein once said, "Failure is success in progress."

So on those Monday nights when you feel like your attempt has fallen short, I hope you remember that only those who fail to try have failed to succeed.

FAMILY HOME EVENING 
DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT, IT JUST HAS TO BE

Read and Discuss:

Speaker and author John Bytheway has published a book entitled Righteous Warriors: Lessons from the War Chapters of the Book of Mormon.

Meridian Magazine published a synopsis of the chapter outlines from his book HERE.

I thought is might be a good idea to start with the first one tonight...Alma Chapter 43.

Read Alma chapter 43 aloud and draw your own conclusions.  Compare them to what John Bytheway says about this chapter.

"Alma 43: Prophets Know Where the Enemy Will Strike
Moroni’s confrontation with Zerahemnah teaches us the value of prophets in times of war and peace.  When Zerahemnah’s army changed course after being frightened by the Nephite army, Captain Moroni immediately issued two orders: First, he sent spies to follow Lamanite army, and second, he sent men to inquire of the prophet Alma where the Lamanites might go.  This is faith and works.  He did everything in his power, and he called on a power higher than his own.

Modern prophets have continually warned that in the latter-days, the adversary will attack marriage and family.  More than thirty years ago, President Harold B. Lee stated, “Satan’s greatest threat today, is to destroy the family and make a mockery of the law of chastity and the sanctity of the marriage covenant” (Church News, August 19. 1972, 3).  In 1995, The Proclamation to the World: The Family was issued.  Prophets tell us where the enemy strike next. The spiritual message is clear: Keep your eyes on the living prophets, they know where the enemy will attack."

If you have more time you can continue with other chapters.

Activity: Water WAR!! It is muggy and hot today in Cali...a perfect day for this activity!



You will need - 
  • A deck of cards you wouldn't mind throwing away
  • 5 or 6 UNBREAKABLE cups per person filled with water
  • A place outside to sit, where water is within arms reach and cards can be placed on the table
  • Clothes that you can get wet in
  • A Camera to document the fun!
How to play -
  • Two players sit across from one another
  • Half the deck face down
  • Each player overturns one card, High Card WINS
  • The winner gets to pour water on the loser
  • Repeat as desired


{WHAT MAKES UP YOUR MONDAY?  MONDAY'S MATTER}

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday's Matter: The Gifts We Give

At our house, and millions of other's around the globe, Monday nights are reserved for family.  A Family Home Evening (FHE)!!

During this most sacred of weeks leading up to Easter Sunday I hope that you and your families are sharing the joy of the Atonement, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  Below is a link to an amazing activity for Easter week.

8 Day Walk with The Savior complete with Scriptural References for each day of the week leading up to Sunday.




Read, Watch and Discuss:  The Story "Dog Food and Other Gifts" illustrates the gifts, intentional or unintentional that we give to those around us and our love for others.  The video is a wonderful talk about God's love for us and the gifts He gives to us.

1 John 4:10

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins

  • John 15:9

    9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
  • John 13:34

    34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another
Story:
Dog Food and Other Gifts


"You Matter to Him" Dieter F. Uctdorf October 2011

"The Lord uses a scale very different from the world’s to weigh the worth of a soul."



"And while we may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, “What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?” God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and glory—the purpose for this magnificent universe—is to save and exalt mankind.8 In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.
This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it."

Activity:  Ponder the Beauty of this Earth and Universe.  Learn about Tonight's Lunar Eclipse (and if you can, stay up and watch it)!


Tonight there is a total Lunar Eclipse visible from our home in California and I, for one, am uber excited!

Funny story! We watched a lunar eclipse from our apartment balcony a few years ago and the young woman who lived below us was also watching from her balcony, talking on her cell phone, telling everyone she could call that they should look outside because Mars was SUPER close to the earth.  This drove my hubby crazy but it made us both laugh. :)





Lunar Eclipse Timings: Late this evening and early Tuesday (April 15th 2014) morning, Earth's shadow shall fall across the face of the full Moon, causing a total lunar eclipse.

Tuesday 14 April 2014, 22:58 PDT: Partial eclipse starts.
Wednesday 15 April 2014, 00:07 PDT: Total eclipse starts.
Wednesday 15 April 2014, 01:25 PDT: Total eclipse ends.
Wednesday 15 April 2014, 02:33 PDT: Partial eclipse ends.

{Family Home Evening Doesn't Have to Be Perfect, It Just has to BE}

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Hate Hope's Guts


Pol·ly·an·na

 
 [pol-ee-an-uh] 
noun
1.
an excessively or blindly optimistic person.
adjective
2.
often lowercase ) . Also, Pol·ly·an·na·ish. unreasonably orillogically optimistic
Origin: 
 from the name of the child heroine created by Eleanor Porter (1868–1920), American writer


I served as Secretary, 1st Counselor and 2nd Counselor for years with a beloved friend and Relief Society President at church.  She often referred to me as Pollyanna.

I can't be a "Pollyanna" all the time. Sometimes I hate hope's guts.  

The side-effect of being hopeful for so long and telling yourself things will work out after every stinking disappointment  is a pure, fiery, hatred of hope and of yourself for hoping.

Why hope when all it does is make you miserable?  Why hope when every hope you have is dashed upon the rocks?  Why hope when your tearful pleas and fervent prayers feel as if they go not just unanswered but unacknowledged?

Let me tell you a little about my hopes... 

#1. I hope to obey the commandment to leave father and mother and cleave unto my husband.  Yet, it seems, no matter the level of education, the amount of trying, applying or interviewing, there is not a full time job available to make this move possible. It has been 5 years.

#2. I hope to obey the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth.  Yet it seems, no matter the amount of doctor's visits, the amount of trying, praying or fasting, there is not a baby in our future.  And don't you dare tell me we should "just adopt" because adoption takes money (see hope #1 above and know we don't have enough money for that).  Yes, even through the church it takes LOTS of money.  And County adoption takes a designated room in your house prepared for the "baby" and we live with my father and do not have a extra room to be a designated room for county workers to inspect.  It has been 14 years.

So please excuse me as I take a moment to weep and wail and gnash my teeth when I hear that the most recent job interview was a bust.  Please excuse me as I die a little inside as person after person says, "Don't worry, it will all work out.  He will get a job soon."  I've heard that line before, for 14 years.  "Don't worry, it will happen.  You will have a baby soon."  And each time it is said aloud it get a little less believable.  

Our family joke is "We don't get blessings, we get trials."  Well who's laughing now?  Not me.

But, don't worry, I'm sure I will be back to my old, cheerful, faithful, hopeful self soon. Because the truth is, I don't know how to be anything else.  

I am Pollyanna.




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What's For Dinner Wednesday:

French Toast with Homemade Buttermilk Syrup



French toast existed long before France was established as a country. The exact origins of French Toast are unknown, but it’s unsurprising that humans developed the recipe quickly, given that it is traditionally made out of stale bread. Bread has been a staple of most cultures since food preparation first began. Coupling this with a rejection of food wastage (which is really only something that is acceptable in modern society), it’s unsurprising that man had to find a way to make stale bread palatable.
The earliest reference to doing this dates back to 4th century Rome, in a cookbook attributed to Apicius. This style of toast was called Pan Dulcis. The Romans would take the bread and soak it in a milk and egg mixture, and then cook it, typically frying it in oil or butter.
This practice of cooking stale bread became common throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. In fact, the name for French Toast in France is “pain perdu”, which literally means “lost bread”. There are some that still insist that French Toast  originated in France, however, it’s interesting to note that before the French called it “pain perdu”, they called it “pain a la Romaine” (Roman bread).
So why is this clever concoction attributed to the French? One theory is that it’s reminiscent of French cooking before the invention of proper refrigeration. It’s said that many of their rich, heavy and creamy sauces were created to hide the fact that the meat or fish in the dish was, or was very nearly off.

Pst!  Come a little closer...a little closer....this is our favorite french toast recipe. I hope you like it!

BUTTERY FRENCH TOAST WITH CINNAMON, NUTMEG AND VANILLA

Ingredients:

1 loaf texas toast bread
4 eggs 
1 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon* (or more if desired, my husband is not a fan of cinnamon so I try and tone it down)
1/4 tsp nutmeg*
1 TBS vanilla extract

* you may need to add more spices to egg mixture halfway through your cooking because they float to the top and stick to the bread.

Butter, lots of butter, cut into 1 TBS pats (like 1 to 2 sticks of butter)

Directions:

In large, high sided skillet melt 2-3 TBS of butter on Medium heat being careful not to burn butter.

Meanwhile, in large bowl whip together eggs, cream, spices and vanilla.

Using tongs, dip bread into egg mixture and place in butter pan.  Continue adding dipped bread until pan is full.  Cook on Medium heat until browned on one side, flip over and continue cooking until done in the middle.  Add more butter if needed to keep bread from sticking.

Remove from pan and keep warm on plate tented with foil or in an oven set on warm.

Repeat process until you have cooked all the french toast, adding more spices if needed halfway through the process (you will notice the specs of spices will dwindle as you batter your french toast).

To serve, top with warm HOMEMADE BUTTERMILK SYRUP!  C'est si bon!



Buttermilk Syrup


ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions:

1. Combine butter, sugar, and buttermilk in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat and whisk together until sugar dissolves. When butter mixture starts to boil, carefully whisk in the baking soda and vanilla. The mixture will bubble up, so make sure you use a large saucepan. Serve with French toast.

{QUOTES TO COOK BY}

“If you're afraid of butter, use cream.” 


“How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like kleenex?” 
― Julia Child

“You are the butter to my bread,and the breath to my life” 
― Julia Child


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Adventures in Infertility #41

#41 Utah Names

Seriously hilarious! Crazy names, crazy spelling and crazy hair styles. Although I have no room to talk. Ever noticed that EVERY "Amber" on TV or in a Movie is either a stripper or a hooker or a hippie? Never a doctor, lawyer or stay-at-home mom.  The next time I feel a little down about myself I can always think to myself, "Hey at least you are not a TV hooker!"

 "Vul", "Charity" and "Seven" aren't looking so bad now, are they? Ha!


 

 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!

Adventures in Infertility #40

#40 Looking Back

We moved to California when I was just starting elementary school.  My dad got a job driving truck and we rented a cute bungalow in an older neighborhood full of kids.  Boy kids (well mostly boys, there were two girls.  One was my age and one was older).  We all used to play together.  The boys were older, for the most part, but let us tool around with them once in a while.  Tagging along to the nearby park, riding bikes, playing in the streets - as long as we stayed out of their way we did okay.

(From left to right:  My little sister Crystal holding one of Rosie's kittens, my Dad Jeff with the awesome red beard, Chad always trying to stand up tall, Chris in his John Muir baseball cap, Me holding the grey kitten, and Gordie who was the oldest, a jock and excellent at braiding our hair)

My dad was the biggest kid of all.  If he got home from work early or if it was a weekend, the boys would knock on our door and ask if my "dad could come out and play?."  Football, basketball, catch he did it all.

When I got a little older, say 8 or 9, I stopped playing outside as much.  I started trying to fit in with the girls at school more, thinking that is where I was meant to be. I started practicing applying just the right amount of Bonnie Bell lip gloss and just a squirt of Jean Nate.  I would arrange my dolls and make my bed.  I would organize my new purse, a strappy, little across-the-body bag with a delicate gold snap.  From my bedroom window I could see the boys and my dad playing 2 hand touch football in the street. From the kitchen sink window I could see them playing basketball and HORSE in the driveway.  Sometimes I even got lifted over the back fence from my dad's hands to my friend Lisa's dad and then Lisa and I would go play dolls in her room or play house in  their yard.  It was fun, but no matter how hard I tried, I didn't really feel like I fit in with the girls that well.  I itched to climb trees, to make mud pies, to run around the back yard playing Cartoon Tag.  Don't get me wrong,  I still loved to dress up, and smell nice and have super shiny lips and play with dolls but secretly, I really wanted to play football with the boys and my dad too.  I got my chance one hot summer evening.

I was sitting on the lawn in my best outfit, purse strapped securely across my body, lips shimmering with a fresh coat of Bonnie Bell Dr. Pepper lip gloss.  As the boys and my dad picked teams for a game of two-hand touch football they realized they needed one more man.  Then they looked around, I stood up, hands grasping my purse in anticipation.  I could feel everyone's eyes settling on me.  The boys made a face, my dad smiled.  I was in!!  I ran out into the street.  Yikes! Was I terrible!  I could run but I could not catch, so no one threw to me.  All around me boys made victorious runs into the end zone to cheers and boos, everyone laughing, everyone a part of the team.  Except me.

At one point we huddled up and Dad said he was going to toss the ball to me and he wanted me to run it down to the end zone (the stop sign at the end of the street).  Break!  

I don't remember much about the actual play except the feeling of my purse slapping against my sweaty back as I ran for my life, a heard of pre-tween, tween and teenage boys chasing me down the street, my dad cheering me on as I crossed the goal line.

Looking back I am sure that they must have let me have that one. I wonder what looks my father had given them to let them know I needed to be given this chance? They were all much faster and could have easily caught me.  Looking back at that moment I WAS part of the team.  I fit in.  I was a part of the cool group.  My father had made it happen and I am grateful for it.

I read an article the other day where a woman lamented her 3 year struggle to have a second child.  It made me snort a laugh.  I don't even fit in with the other infertiles.  14 years.  It has been 14 years.  And sometimes, I feel like I don't fit in anywhere.  I don't fit in with my married mom friends (no kids), I don't fit in with the newlyweds (too old), I don't fit in with the empty nest crowd (no grand-kids, no nest), I don't fit in with my single friends (I'm married).

In those times, it helps me to remember those carefree days and late summer nights of my childhood. Playing outside, kids running around the neighborhood, dogs barking, the smell of soda pop lip gloss and the rumble of Friday Night Cruising on McHenry in the distance.  It helps me to remember that my Father in Heaven is also looking out for me. That I DO fit perfectly into HIS plan for my life.  That right where I am is where I am meant to be.  That HE has been there cheering me on every step of the way too - probably giving a few people boys sidelong warning glances along the way ;).




 *Laughter is the best medicine right?  Why not laugh at my infertility?!  I do not mean to offend with any of these posts, it is just a way to let go a little and see the humor in our situation. Please laugh with me!