Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Here is my little monkey girl eating her pancake! She LOVES pancakes, and I have found that if I just make a batch for the the family and cook the rest of the batter and freeze the pancakes, I have a super quick breakfast in the morning! I also make pumpkin pancakes and freeze those too, just to get a few more vitamins in her ;)
Today is off to the gym and laundry, then grocery shopping!
Monday, December 28, 2009
I made some Christmas goodies last week and put them in cute little cellophane bags to deliver. I love the cellophane bags because I think they look nicer than a paper plate covered with plastic wrap or tin foil. Anyway, here is my basket full and ready to deliver!
I have been giving Marin a spoon pretty much every time I give her a meal. She will sometimes try to use it and other times just go in and grab. I thought I would give yogurt a try, and do you know, she got the hang of it! It was just thick enough to stick to the spoon so she could get some every time she dipped it in. She finished the whole thing with her spoon!
Goin' in for more!
Oh, and the Dinner Club meal calendar is all set for January! I am so excited for this meal exchange and can't wait to see how things go, I will certainly let you all know. Maybe it's something you can try where you live!
Santa did indeed find our home and Marin fared pretty well. She got some pretty new dresses, a puzzle and bath toy from Grandma and Grandpa Owens, a fun Curious George toy and homemade pillowcase from Grandpa Duane and Sallie, and Bestamor gave her some incredible footage of Kris as a kid on two thoughtful CD's. She also scored some large Lego's, play-dough, a coloring book, and some other fun little toys. She has certainly been a good girl, and all of her gifts were well deserved. Besides, her gifts at this stage of life aren't very expensive, so we can get more bang for our buck!
We appreciate all of the gifts that our family has sent to Marin and Kris and me. You have all been so kind and thoughtful and we really do think you are all just the best. I e-mailed out a little last-minute Christmas update on our family, and although I would have loved to send out the real deal Christmas card with family picture, well....we didn't. Hopefully the blog is enough!
Kris and I had some friends over for dinner on Christmas Day, and it was wonderfully relaxed and easygoing. I had prepared most of the food the evening before, so all I had to do was turn the oven on and wait, it was great! I embarked on a French culinary adventure as I attempted to make croque-en-bouche, a traditional French wedding "cake" this year for the dessert. It is a tower of creme puffs stuck together with a caramel sugar syrup that hardens to make it crispy, hence the literal translation that means "crunch in mouth". Well, I had tried it quite a few years ago, and I don't think I cooked the sugar to the right temperature, because nothing stuck together. This time around though....it was JUST right, and everything stuck and hardened and it really turned out great! It wasn't as tall as I expected, but hey, who's complaining?
I've loaded a short slide show so you can catch a glimpse of our Christmas this year. I hope you all had a great holiday! What did you do to celebrate the season this year?
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
A new year is coming, and perhaps a time for new beginnings. My family and I are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or Mormon's if you prefer that term). We believe in God, his Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We believe that Christ came to this world in the humblest of beginnings and lived His life and died for us, and will come again. We also believe that the gospel was restored to it's entirety through a man chosen by God, Joseph Smith in the early 1800's. We believe that families are eternal and are CENTRAL to God's plan and only through the sealing powers of the temple can we be together forever with our spouse and family. Please take this special time of year to reflect on the true meaning of the season and perhaps what God's plan for you is.
You can learn more about of church by visiting here: http://www.lds.org/ .
I wish each and every one of you the Merriest Christmas ever and wonderful everything! Our family has been eternally blessed by Him, and we wish those same wonderful blessings on each and every one of you!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Christmas Day we've invited a couple from our ward over for dinner, they don't have children yet, but she used to be my visiting teacher and they are such nice people. I know I'll be making a yummy pork roast, but I'm not sure what else to have....hmmmmm.....I think I need some ideas. Maybe for dessert I was thinking a traditional French Croque-en-Bouche. It's a bunch a little creme puffs stuck together with a caramel sauce in the shape of a tower. We'll see how ambitious I get!
The other night Marin helped me make some vegetable lasagna, and it was soooo good! She tried to be such a big helper, and will push the chair over to the counter when she wants to be a part of the action, silly girl!
I cut a slice of apple for her, but she was more interested in the BIG part of the apple than the slice.
Helping mommy with the lasagna! And my shameful pile of dirty dishes in the background, don't look!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
After dinner, we headed over to the Bellagio to check out their atrium. One of our favorite seasonal activites. They had of course decorated for Christmas and it was just lovely. Marin had a blast running everywhere and taking in the festive splendor. She kept saying "Oooooooh!" and "Woooow!", so cute. As a side note, I can put her hair in piggy tails on the side of her head, getting most of her hair in the pig tail, it is soooo cute, and it makes her look so grown up!
Here are some of our pictures!
Marin giveng mama a snuggle is the atrium, I love Marin snuggles!
A giant ornament with squirty water underneath.
Marin and Kris in front of the giantest Christmas tree EVER, just wait until you see the rest of the pics.
Isn't this tree HUGE? I think it must be close to, heck, I don't know, it reached to very tippy top of the atrium though. It was beautiful to see something so massive all decorated and lit up.
This picture should give you an idea of how big this tree is, Kris is standing to the right of the base of the tree.
Marin interacting with the camera.
Mr. Snowman. Would you believe he is made of real flowers?
Ooooh, daddy look!
Mommy, what are we looking at here?!
Waiting for the train to come around on the track.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Last week was CRAZY! Yikes! I finished up work on Saturday and was glad to be done. We finally managed to get our Christmas tree up and decorated, hooray! I tried to let Marin help me decorate the tree, but she was so much more interested in hanging onto the decorations and running all over the house with them. So I gave her some jingle bells and a Christmas tin and let her have fun. I will have to take a picture of our tree, it is the the fattest little tree I have ever seen!
Coming up in January, and I am reeeeeally excited about this, two of my friends from the ward and I are starting a dinner club together! If you have never heard of one, this is what it's about: We all choose a day of the week we want to cook a meal, and we make enough for the other families and drop off dinner. Isn't that great?! I get three meals a week for the price of one big meal! I love it! We have worked out the details and I am so excited to start things up. Not only will I get the opportunity to share my meals and recipes with other people, but I get to try great new recipes from other people, pretty cool, no?!
Starting in February, my work schedule is going to be crazy. Lest I have some administrative readers from the hospital, I shan't get into the gory and ridiculous reasons why I will have no consistency to my schedule whatsoever. What I WILL say, is that I am lucky enough to have another LDS girl from work that I will be kid swapping with. That is going to be a huge money saver for us, and a great opportunity for Marin to make some new friends!
And can you believe, I have not done a LICK of Christmas shopping! Not that this year Kris and I are allowing much shopping as we spent more than enough on our Paris tickets. A couple of gifts under the Christmas tree will be more than plenty :) I do need to get on the ball with my Christmas baking, I was thinking of making some chocolate bark and shotrbread cookies for the families on my list....mmmmmm :)
Marin is down to one bottle a day, her bedtime bottle, and has done surprisingly well! Of course, she'll never refuse a bottle, but she will drink from her sippy cup when she's thirsty, and I'm satisfied with her number of wet diapers a day, so I think we are A-O-K. Next step....POTTY TRAINING! And I do wonder if she is on her way to one nap a day. Some days she wants two, other days she refuses to go down for a second nap and screams the whole time. Speaking of screaming, I hear a little girl who had a too-short nap yelling for her mommy.
Marin and daddy having story time, she loves daddy and loves story time.
Marin helps me go get the mail in the evening time, and she waits for me to hand her the mail key, here she is waiting for that key!
Monday, December 7, 2009
This week is going to be BUSY! I just got a call for some last minute visiting teaching this afternoon, tomorrow is baby watching day, Wednesday I have a meeting for work in the morning, Thursday morning I have a presidency meeting for Young Women's, then I have a policy meeting at seven that night, and Friday and Saturday is back to work. Yikes! Like I said, the weeks are flying by!
Those are some snowy white cupcakes! No snow here in Las Vegas though...
Ahhh, yes, I almost forgot! I made some delicious 'Chicken with Forty Cloves' for dinnner last week, that chicken was sooooo tender and delicious, yum. Plus, I got to use my dutch over :)
Thursday, December 3, 2009
You know what's funny is that last night, the YW activity was at the home of one of the other leaders who had a baby in October, and as I held her baby, I thought "Wow! My little girl used to be this little?!". Every day she is more and more like a little girl, I can't say it enough! It wasn't enough to make me want another one just yet though. I am happy to have my body to myself for a little while, and it's nice not to be carrying a baby everywhere and have a walking child (sooo nice!). Soon enough I suppose, right?
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
It has been fun to see Marin grow every day. More and more she is looking and acting like a little girl instead of a baby. She understands and comprehends and responds and it amazes me that she is so smart! Here is her list of current words:
*uh-huh, sock, shoe, sadie, no, hot, all done, dog, kitty, uh-oh, wow, mama, dad, wheee!, what's that (sounds like "uh-sat").*
She has also gotten into cuddling lately, and it's been so nice. Marin was never a cuddly baby, I guess she's like her mama that way. She has never been able to fall asleep in your arms and wants to be up and looking at the world all of the time. Lately though, she will climb up on my lap and either put her head on my chest or on my shoulder. It is so sweet!
Marin taking stock of the chain ladder. Hmmmmm, can I do it mommy?
I love this picture! She is trying so hard to climb the rock wall! Making daddy proud :)
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Prep: Chop one medium onion and refrigerate until ready.
1. Pour chicken or turkey drippings into a saucepan (if there is a lot of oil on top, you can skim some off) over med heat.
2. Pull out your onions and dump them into the drippings, S&P, sautee until golden brown and soft.
3. Sprinkle in 2-3 TBS of flour and cook for at least one minute (this gets rid of that raw flour taste).
4. Pour in 2-3 C. chicken broth and whisk until combined and just the right consistency, add more or less depending on your taste, S&P as desired.
*Do NOT add more flour in the end all by itself, you will get nasty raw flour lumps in your gravy. If you MUST thicken the gravy, melt some butter in a seperate bowl and mix in flour, stir well and pour into gravy. Slowly stir to combine and thicken.
Image by master phillip via Flickr
Thanksgiving can be CRAZY stressful....if you let it. Keep this in mind: pretty much everything can be made in advance and finished off on the big day, so you can spend time with your family and friends.
Let's start with the turkey, don't be afraid, just because it may be big, doesn't mean it has to be scary.
Purchasing: Buy a fresh turkey, it will make a difference in what the final product tastes like. Of course, if you can even get a turkey slaughtered for you, that would be way cool, but hey, work with what you have. Plus, you don't have to worry about defrosting the turkey at home, yuck, what a nightmare.
Flavor Prep: Do this the night before. Combine: Olive oil and softened butter, fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped, poultry seasoning and dried sage, salt and pepper. I haven't given you amounts, it's going to depend on how big your bird is. Set aside. Chop 2 onions into quarters, you don't even have to take the skin off. Chop 2 garlic heads in half, skin on. Set the veggies aside.
Getting Dirty: Take your turkey and remove all the stuff from the inside, you know the gizzards and neck etc. Wash your turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Find the ...ahem...large hole between the thighs and slide your fingers in between the skin and meat of the bird on the breasts. Be gentle and continue separating the skin all the way over the breasts, being careful not to tear the skin. Take some of your rub and slather underneath the skin, then all over the top of the skin, the thighs and the rest of the bird. Grab your onions and garlic and stuff the inside of the bird with them, pack them in there!
Final Evening Prep: Tuck the wings under where the neck would be, tie the thighs together with string and place your bird on the roasting rack in the pan. Pour some cooking (non alcoholic) white wine, and chicken broth into the roasting pan, add in a few bay leaves, some more dried sage and cover your turkey for the night and po into the fridge.
Morning Prep: About an hour before you need to put the turkey into the oven, pull it out of the fridge and do a technique called "icing the breasts". Since dark meat takes longer to come to the same temp as the white meat, we want to keep the breasts chilled while the rest of the bird comes to room temp. So fill a plastic bag with ice and place on the breasts while you preheat the oven. Right before you pop the bird in the oven, remove the bag of ice and drizzle the whole bird lightly with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt and pepper.
Cooking: High heat, around 425 for about 20-30 minutes to get the sking crispy, then lower the temp to 325 or 350 for the rest of the cooking time. Of course, cooking time will vary, but you are looking for an internal temp of 165. Don't baste, if you keep opening the door, the temp will lower and your cooking time will increase. If you need, in the middle of the cooking process, add more white wine or broth to the bottom of the roasting pan to keep it moist.
Finishing: Remove your turkey, cover lightly with foil and let it sit for at least 15 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Carve and enjoy!
*You can most definately do this with chicken, I have done it many times before and it turns out great, good luck!