Friday, August 31, 2007

Quite a different experience

Well you might remember this post I wrote a while ago about my less than satisfactory experience at Wal-mart. Well today I went and it was quite different. I think it was the time of day. I was ironically returning the items I bought in the above mentioned post. I was also picking up a prescription and didn't really have a list of anything else to buy there. Weird I know. I had to wait about 40 minutes for the prescription so I was left to browse. This is a bad thing to do in this type of store. Of course I found many things to buy. Some of which I'm glad I thought of while I was there so I wouldn't have to make another trip later, and some of which were just for fun. After items were purchased (including prescription), in very short lines I might add, I headed to the car. As I was unloading my merchandise, an employee was there a few seconds before I was done to retrieve my cart for me. I tried to hurry as he told me to take my time. I gave a subdued yet enthusiastic thank you along with a little laugh as this is so different from what had happened in, again, the above post. Not that is was the employee that caused the problem before, but it was just the feeling I left with. I guess I'll try to do my Wal-mart runs before dark.

Other news, our friends the Murphys had their little boy the other day. I went to see him yesterday, and even though it was after hours for me, I gave him a little photo session, off the clock. It was fun to take pictures with a family I knew. He's a sweet little guy and handled all the friends and flashes very well.

Sad news, our friends moved today. They were the only church friends we had here in Cheverly and it will be sad to walk by there house, knowing it's not their house. They gave so much service to everyone the knew. I mean, I can't even say how much they did for so many people. I told her to start a lot and I think she will. I can't wait.

Exciting news for them, but sad news for us, Matty and the fam are moving to Utah. We hope they like the new job. Cortnie and Jack are moving TOMORROW to get him going in school, and Matt is staying for another little while to get things sorted out. We've been so busy that we haven't even been able to say good bye. Good thing we have blogs.

Great news, KC is coming home before 9:00 tonight. Well he said he would try. He doesn't even have to go in tomorrow! Yeah! We do have to be at road show rehearsal at about 8:30 in the morning however. It should be fun though. My friend Molly is directing and we are the main roles. I know, something to brag about. But you should see this script and these dance moves, we have to learn. It is intense. Well, maybe for the drama-illiterate folks like me.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hard working husband

KC is working twelve hour days for the next little while and this includes weekends. I think it finally stops come Labor Day. I like having me time during the day, but there comes a time that I just get sick of trying to keep myself busy. Knowing he'll be coming home lets me relax a little and know that I'll have something to do, even if it's just cuddling with him watching TV or something. I suppose we should travel or just get out more, being in this stage of life that everyone call the perfect situation: young, no kids, no pets. But with all the hours he's putting in, you tell me when we shall do that. Hopefully we'll plan a vacation in the next little while. We could really use it. Horray for all the hard working husbands.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Molly's Surprise Shower

On Saturday a few of us girls threw a surprise baby shower for my friend Molly. It was great! We had something like 20 people there, the food was wonderful (we asked anyone who would, to contribute since we had so many people coming), and she didn't even see it coming. Her mom and sister were even in town and pretended that they were leaving to their flight when they were really leaving to her party. It was supposed to be a girl's night to partly celebrate her birthday last Wednesday, and a little going away party for Tracie, who's house the shower/fake girl's night was at. Courtney did so much work, and Christina, Tracie, and I just did what we could to help. I think the tears in Molly's eyes when she saw her family and everyone there to surprise her, let us know she was happy. Here are the pictures for Molly or anyone at the Shower that needed them. The lighting is not so great, sorry.

Why today is a good day...

-I finished a short and productive day at work.
-I listened to the Book of Mormon to and from.
-I ate fresh guacamole and Hint of Lime tortilla chips (oooooooooohhhhh man those are so good.) and Mediterranean grape leaf rolls for lunch. An odd combination, but they were both starring at my from the fridge.
-A best friend just told me she's engaged.
-I cleaned the bathroom before I went to work. I love getting something done before I have a chance to think about it again.
-I have two loads of laundry getting done.
-It is a beautiful, overcast, 70 degree day outside.
-I have nothing planned today so I can do whatever I want with the rest of it.

I know this seems silly as these are all regular things, but for some reason today I felt so grateful for the day. It's nice to enjoy the simple pleasures since life can seem pretty mundane sometimes going through the same things everyday. I feel like when a Monday goes well, the rest of the week follows. I hope everyone is having an especially great Monday as well.

Possibly the best I've ever had

Last night at Christina's house playing games, she displayed some GIANT chocolate chip cookies, with GIANT chocolate chips just waiting for us to devour. They are probably the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever consumed, and I have consumed a lot. I just don't remember any of them being quite that good. When she opened up the suggestion of people take some home, KC wanted one for his lunch tomorrow. I said no, he may not, knowing they probably had our daily caloric intake in one alone. But with slight persuasion I gave in and told him to get one for me while he was at it. Another guy took three for himself, so I didn't feel quite so bad. Thanks for the branded memory of the best cookie ever, Christina. Here are some pictures of our friends just for fun.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I "knead" a break!

It has been a crazy couple of days. I've been very busy with different events since Thursday, I think. Dinners with friends and family, a baby shower, and baking bread. They are all fun activities, but a lot to do all the same.

A couple of friends and I put together a quaint shower for our friend Courtney. It was just a few ward friends and we did fondue. This is what I made the previously mentioned cinnamon spice cheesecake and pound cake for. It was really fun complete with a baby memory game, among other classics. I ate way too much. I had had delicious fondue at Cami's the night before and was still full from that adventure. Who gets fondue two nights in a row?! We did the broth and cheese versions at Cami's house. Delicious! We must do it again sometime, when I have recovered.

Mattie invited us over for dinner the next day for a very upscale salad bar with artichoke hearts, streak strips, avocado, and cherry tomatoes, to name a few fixins. It was nice after eating everything covered in cheese or chocolate for the past two nights.

I was asked, and gladly agreed to teach a class on baking bread for an enrichment activity on Tuesday. I decided to make wheat, French, and foccacie breads. I love baking bread, as you probably know, but teaching a class requires a lot of prior preparation and organization. For instance, having the finished product baked before the class begins, having a batch of dough raised and ready to be shaped at the precise time in the class when you want to shape the loaves, teaching how to make the doughs (details on kneading, yeast, and gluten), and getting all the equipment and ingredients you need to the church. This seemed an easy enough task, so on Sunday I thought I'd go straight home from church to test out the recipes for quantity, and to check my timing. The class was Tuesday and this was getting close to procrastinating for me. I used a cheap measuring cup for the water that I realized after a long time of kneading a big glob of what was supposed to me a French bread recipe I've make dozens of times, was 1/2 cup over what it actually says on the cup itself. How deceitful! This solves a lot of mysteries in my occasional baking misfortunes. I thought I was going insane when really, every time I'd used that cup, I was mis-measuring. I was pretty upset, as I usually am when a simple cooking task doesn't turn out how I want it to. KC is very patient with me. He never takes these types of situations personally. So all that work was for very big, and not quite right, loaves of French bread (see photo, pre-baked) that actually made a very nice pizza later on. Anyway, the next day I couldn't let the bad batch haunt me anymore. I needed to make it right. I find that whenever something doesn't turn out right, I have a very strong urge to make it again immediately no matter what time of day or what previous engagements I have. I started making both the wheat and the French bread doughs one after another right when I woke up at 6 something, since I would need them both as examples to present and have something to eat in case the other batches didn't get done. Everything was going wonderfully. Both were rising, the wheat in the pans, and the French, ready to be shaped. Then I got an emergency call from my boss telling me to go into a different hospital since the girl that is normally there is now in the middle of morning sickness. My bread was mid-rise! I said I would since this hospital is very busy and out company gets a lot of words if people get missed. I was upset, once again, and had to put the wheat bread in the oven immediately, and freeze the French dough to stop it from rising altogether. What a pain. I thought I was never going to win with this bread. Anyway, after all that, I went home and had to go straight to my friend Jeanette's new apartment, 40 minutes away. She is a former co-worker from Just Cakes, and she invited me and a couple others that have worked or still work there. I brought all of them a loaf of the semi-raised bread, which was actually still good, just not as fluffy as I would've liked. I had a great time catching up with them. It's weird working with people for 40 hours a week to not seeing them at all. We became great friends.

That night KC and I did a reimbursable shopping trip and I was finally feeling prepared. I had my recipes typed up, and my class itinerary ready to go. After work on Tuesdays, all I had to do was prepare the foccacie toppings, and make one more batch of dough to be ready to be shaped in the middle of the class. We had a trunk full of ingredients and tools. KC was a huge help, going on grocery store runs, hauling equipment, and moral support. The class went perfectly, there was a small but fun group of ladies there and it was a great successful night. The foccacie was the hit. I supplied prosciutto, goat cheese, fresh rosemary, parsley, and basil, caramelized onions, garlic, marinated tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese. I've made enough bread in the last three days to feed an army, and gained a few pounds from eating a good portion of it. I really loved teaching this class. All the worry and freaking out was for nothing which is usually the case. One crazy thing happened though. A girl who seemed to be happily interested the whole time passed out and was completely gray. We didn't even see her until she woke up and told us since we were all eating in the kitchen. We had to call her in-laws to pick her up since he husband was at work. She didn't get much color the rest of the time but we fed her a little bread and she started to feel better. Poor girl. I hope she's okay.

I gave my friend my camera and asked her to take a FEW pictures. She knows how picky I am so she's kept on taking. I only wanted a documentation because of all the hard work that went into it. Notice how I look progressively hotter, and my face gets more red as the class goes on. Kneading 4 batches of dough is hard work. Sar, notice the cute Hawaiian apron.

So, today I was happy to finally do the jobs that have needed to get done around the house that I couldn't get to earlier due to more pressing matters. The fridge is now clean, and I think the flour is cleaned off of most of the surfaces in the apartment. I have a few more baking projects I have to do in the next couple weeks. Funny how last week I baked endlessly for no reason at all, and now I'm swamped with mandatory jobs. Good thing I love to do it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Excessive Baking

Lately I have really been in the baking mood. As soon as I get off work, I have this sudden urge to bake something. Sometimes I have an idea of what I want to make, some things have actually been for something in particular, and others have just been something that I made to use up something in the fridge. Here is the list, most of which you'll see in my "something we've eaten lately" sidebar:

-puff pastry dough--(previously mentioned) I actually made this for something and it's in the freezer waiting to be used.

-Caramel corn--It was actually pretty intense. More info in sidebar.

-Banana whole wheat brownies--I was asked to bring a refreshment to a baptism on Sunday. I wanted to use some frozen bananas and just thought I'd go crazy and make them whole wheat. They weren't received as well as my usually contributions to pot lucks( I was told to my face that they weren't that good), but I didn't care. I wasn't that willing to bring something anyway. There were also two other fantastic batches of brownies there, so I asked for it. I don't usually make brownies since I know there will always be some already. They would've been great with a cream cheese frosting. People are suckers for that.

-Bacon and cheese biscuits--Made for something but I decided against it and now they are in the freezer to be baked whenever we desire.

-Key lime pie--I had to use a bunch of lime I had in the fridge. It is also frozen to be used at an appropriate time.

-Cinnamon spice cheesecake bars--I made this to be dipped in the chocolate fondue we're having at a baby shower this weekend.

Strawberry mango swirl pound cake--I use this fruit combination a lot because I made a not so great batch of jam with them. I like finding ways to use it since it's not quite jam consistency. This is also for the fondue.

I have a couple more things on the back burner (ha!) that I have to make next week. I don't know what has gotten into me. I've been known to bake during stressful times to help relieve it. I haven't felt as stressed as when this usually occurs, but maybe my body is just taking care of it's self. Maybe I've learned to crave my spatula and red Kitchenaid mixer when I need them the most. It's a great way to channel any anxiety into something productive.

By the way, the picture above is a batch of coconut ganache I made a while ago for something I didn't end up using it for. It is delicious on ice cream, however. Most of the things I make and have no use for, come in handy for the spur of the moment game nights or Sunday dinners with friends. Rarely would be defrost a key lime pie, for example, for just the two of us.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Shocked and Appaulled

We just returned from Wal-mart picking up an online order and had a less than satisfying experience. We know we need to avoid that store at all costs because first of all, the store itself is quite annoying never being stocked properly and being a mess in general, and second, the area we live in. The people that work AND shop there are so rude and distasteful. It is a pretty low income area but that is no excuse. I don't understand the ethics these people live by. We waited in the customer service line to ask where to pick up our order. She called someone to come to us, and after a little while of no one paying attention to us, someone had asked if we were helped. She had us follow her to the back of the store to where you are supposed to pick it up. We got it, everything was all fine and good and we were gladly heading out of the store to escape the madness. The store was actually closing in 20 minutes and the lines were getting wild. Luckily we didn't have to stand in one. So we stepped into the car and watched as a laughy couple in the car a few spaces over left their cart just rolling freely in the lot obviously heading toward a white truck. They saw exactly where it was going, got in the car, taking their time mind you, to adjust the radio or whatever, not even caring that they were about to dent another car with their cart. They knew full well it was happening and didn't even care. The cart gatherer saw it a quickly caught it before it did any damage, but I just stared. It honestly made my blood boil. What goes on in these people's heads? I am the kind of person that has guilt if I don't put the cart in the cart return even if I'm in a huge rush. And there are the people that just place it in a spare space because they are too lazy to take it to the cart return stall, and that isn't even as bad as just letting it roll to hit whatever it comes in contact with. If I must go to Wal-mart again, I'm parking in the back where no annoying, careless, people's carts will come in contact with it. But that is not the point. I'm so tired of people trying to get away with doing the least amount of work as they possibly can at the expense of others. Why are some of us so willing care about other people, while others seem to have never heard the golden rule. I witness this behavior a lot around here. Whew, I could go on and on, but I just needed a little vent. I need to remember that even though seeing this initially makes me wonder why I am so willing to go out of my way to be nice, and want to turn around and do it right back to them, I would never want to stoop to that level. There's so much to say, but I better stop now.

Unsuccessfully, successful day

On Saturday we didn't have any plans. I woke up and was in a mood to do something fun, out of the ordinary. I looked up some berry picking farms we're going to go to at some point, and found a fair in Cami's county and thought I'd call and see if they were interested. Of course, Ethan is confined to the house with his potty training state. So Cami said I should come shopping with her instead. I was glad to agree. We went to the mall where we ate my favorite, Mexican (Thanks for buying Cami. I even got the chips and salsa to myself because of her diet.), and to Target. We went to some of my favorite stores, and you know what? I didn't buy a darn thing. Not even at Target! I always need something there. I was trying to think though, was this successful or unsuccessful? Usually when I don't actually need anything, or am not looking for something in particular, it's hard to convince yourself that you really need something that you just happen to like. I think it's my bargain shopper mentality, or the fact that I hate having things cluttering my house that I don't really need or forget about. It gets too crowded and it makes me feel like I can't control myself if I buy something I don't need. I don't like feeling out of control. Maybe if I saw an amazing deal on something, but I wasn't quite satisfied with the sale prices, so let's call it a success.

We decided during the day to go to a later showing of Hairspray with a couple more friends. I was missing KC and asked if he wanted to come hang with Jake and the kiddies. We weren't quite thrilled to have two cars here, so Jake offered to go all the way to our home and pick him up. They even got dinner while they were out. Before we went to the Movie, Corrinne and I were talking about the Baltimore accent that I had heard John Travolta really does well in the flick. Corrinne found a website that explains it very well. We were laughing very hard since we are hearing this accent daily. It was hilarious in the movie, but my favorite character was probably Christopher Walkin. We were laughing non-stop, and I need to get the soundtrack soon.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Ipod+Harry Potter=Productive!

Since I have been listening to the infamous new Harry Potter on my ipod, I have been so much more productive. It seems boring and silly to just sit and listen with two free hands. I have been making my bed everyday (not a usual occurrence I'm embarrassed to say), I have been keeping the house tidy, and exercising more. It's also nice to have something to listen to during simple things like doing hair and makeup, driving, and doing mundane tasks as work. Here is the list of the things I've done today alone while listening, on and off, to this gripping novel:

-Worked at the hospital for about three hours
-Washed, folded, and pit away load of laundry
-Made a batch of puff pastry dough (A long process. My rolling pin muscles are not what they used to be.)
-Dusted the whole apartment
-Organized my kitchen pantry
-Organized a kitchen cabinet
-Organized my clothes closet
-Made chicken salad for dinner
-Cut up a watermelon
-Took Matt to the metro station so he could catch his flight
-Went grocery shopping (remember that requires unloading into the house, and reloading into the kitchen )
-Written this blog

Granted there are things that obviously can't be done while listening, but still it's nice to see a list of everything you've accomplished in a day. Being home more that usual, you'd think I would get this much done all the time. But there are some days that it is harder to get things done when you know you have plenty of time on your hands. I feel so blah after those days of doing nothing after work but watching Lifetime movies, The Style Network, or Oprah (yuck). There are times for those types of days when you really need one, but I think I've found my key to productivity. Not that I'm lazy everyday or anything, but I love the feeling of getting things done. I'd better get another book ready since this one is rapidly coming to a close (Amber bring Ender when you come). I have turned it off from time to time to concentrate on whatever I was doing, not wanting to miss anything, but I've had it one for the most part. It keeps me company while I'm here alone all day. I'm actually feeling pretty tired now. It has also kept me from taking my afternoon nap I've gotten in a habit of taking. KC is reading the hard back (thanks to Cami and Jake who loaned us both mediums) and we just found out we are at the same part but were each too afraid to ask details for fear of giving something away.