Monday, April 28, 2008

Maybe this is embarrassing

Have you ever looked on a radio station's website? One that you listen to a lot and know all the names of the anchors/DJs, and have a thought in your mind of what they look like? I finally looked into 103.5 WTOP radio's site. It is a news station with "traffic and weather together on the eights." It my sure fire way to know which route to take since I know when the traffic is aired. And the traffic here is something to be weary of. Anyway, I started to listen to it pretty religiously in the car a while back. I like it because it keeps moving, which really helps with my short attention span. I've grown very close to some of my favorite voices, so today I decided to see what they look light. KC was amazed at how many of the names I recognized. Some looked somewhat as I predicted (the stern voiced woman, was bound to have an extremely short/boyish haircut). But I have to admit Bob Marbourg (pictured above), my favorite voice of the bunch, (he is the afternoon traffic guy, and pronounces it "trayfic". Gets me every time.) threw me for a little bit of a loop with his getup. I don't quite understand the hair, and I sort of wish I kept my preconceived notion of what he looked like in my head. Or maybe this will make it even more entertaining to hear the traffic reports every 10 minutes.

KC is also a little weired out that I subconsciously sing most any jingle on any commercial/tv intro (Law and Order is a particularly fun one to sing along with) when the TV is on, even if it doesn't have words. He think it's Rain Man-ish in a way, and I assured him it's just because I watch too much TV. It's the Graham way to pick up on stuff like that.

Another note: We saw Baby Mama tonight. We never stopped laughing. I haven't laughed that much in a long time. My stomach hurt. Perfect all-star cast. I'll see it again very soon.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


4:30 am is my body's new wake up time. It's like I have an inner alarm clock. Aren't you jealous? I hope not.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Azaleas are in full bloom

I love living so close to the Arboretum. It's wonderful to visit year round, but near the end of April it attracts many visitors from near and far. The Azaleas are a huge attraction, and Molly and I were delighted to walk through the gardens and take advantage of the big event. It is such a breath of fresh air, being in such a beautiful place. And the weather couldn't have been better being in the low 70s and slightly overcast. Here are some pictures we took. Luckily I had camera in my purse. I almost thought I'd left home without one. There are a lot of repeats of Molly and me standing in the same places, but I wanted to include them all so Molly can have them is she wants. The pictures really don't do the colors justice. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Spring is so rejuvenating.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fun filled weekend

We had such beautiful weather last week. It got progressively warmer as the days went on, resulting in a 80+ degree day on Friday. My friends and I wanted to take advantage of it by going to the Arboretum. We all brought picnics and had such a relaxing couple of hours in the shade. All the kids got to roam as their hearts desired since we basically had a whole acre or more to ourselves. We will have to make a habit of going there. Especially with the azaleas possibly coming out this week.

That night, my sister Cami took Corrinne, and myself to get a pedicure for helping out with the kids during her birthday trip to NY. It was very generous of her and I deserved no such treatment for merely helping a sister out (and since KC did a lot of the work during the helping). But I obliged and enjoyed every second of the pampering and conversation. We had dinner, browsed the mall, and I called it a night instead of watching movies. I'm just not cut out for such late nights.

Saturday morning was Cami's baby shower. It was such a cute gathering with such creative games and delicious food. Cami has a lot of great friends. She's going to have a baby girl very soon. It will be so fun to have a little Turpin girl running around. Especially in this leopard print skirt I gave her.

That afternoon KC and I decided to stop at the Temple visitor center since we were in the neighborhood, and partly because our ward had an activity planned there. We were a little early, but stayed long enough to say hello to some friends, and see the beautiful flowers.

When we were done with our errands and pulling into the driveway, we got a call from the Drapers , KC's long time friends, with an invitation to dinner which had us freshening up and leaving again. Janine, the sibling, was in town with her sweet baby Cora, and we had to say hello. She is the most adorable child and we were delighted to spend time with them. We ate at a delicious Indian restaurant, and enjoyed the warm night by going to the park. Cora looked so awesome in her tie-die outfit. I couldn't stop smiling at her. We talked for too long, as per usual, after the kids went down, and said our goodbyes. What should've been a 15 minutes tops ride home, turned into over an hour with the parkway that we take home being closed right where we were supposed to get off. There are few things more annoying than being a few miles from home and completely stopped between hundreds of cars and no way to get out. I was not a happy camper. I feel claustrophobic in those situations. Poor KC, having to deal with me. He was constantly reassuring me that we would, indeed, get home someday, and everything would be fine. And you know, he was right. Silly me.

Sunday, not feeling quite up to par, I stayed home sleeping through most of the morning (thanks to my substitutes). When KC came home we spent another huge part of the day watching LOTR, Return of the Kings, extended edition (thanks for letting us borrow, Turpins). What a masterpiece. I hadn't seen it since the theaters, and was again blown away by everything I saw and learned, and remembered. It was quite a lot to take in, but worth the headache I had afterward from visual over stimulation. And what made it even better was the constant thunder rumbling outside all day. The best movie weather.

I did however, hear some unsettling news about the weather yesterday. Something about a tornado only a few miles away. Seriously, a school very close to a grocery store I used to go to, until they built one closer, is closed from so much damage. I am feeling very blessed to be safe and unharmed. I hope there were no injuries.

So, that is the extent of our weekend. There are tidbits here and there left out, to avoid boring you readers, but it was quite busy, and I'm quite exhausted. This week is another big week for us, so I'm going to try to get some things done today before I don't have time to do it later.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Papal Visit

I'm sure everyone has heard that Pope Benedict XVI is visiting the states right now, more specifically, DC and NY. He is literally a 15-20 minute drive (well with all the crowds, probably a longer drive today) from my house in a stadium that they have transformed to hold Mass for the masses. Literally tens of thousands of people are there, and I heard there were requests for tickets way beyond the number that the stadium allows. I do think it's great that people are so devoted and so honored to be in the presence of the leader of their religion, but there were some interviews I saw on tv that had me asking myself a few questions. It seems that as dedicated as these people seem, are they more focused on the man, or his teachings? I think it's wonderful when people really believe in their religion and live by it according to it's doctrine, even if I don't particularly believe it is true. I think it's so important to believe in something, than nothing. A large percentage of my friends and acquaintances here in the east are not members of the LDS church, but most still have a firm set of religious beliefs that I can mostly relate to, which gives us a lot to talk about. So I don't want people to think I am not appreciating that people are so excited about their form of worship. But at some points during all the news coverage leading up to this Papal event, people just kept talking about how they just want to be in his presence, or have a chance to touch him, or be near him. This seems more like the feelings we should have toward our Heavenly Father rather than his messenger. I think it happens in the LDS church as well. I love the prophet and all the leaders of the church, but I know that if I saw them in person, I would treat him with the utmost respect, of course, but also remember that they are human just like me. I don't think the prophet even likes it when people give him a celebrity status and treat him like his is actually God himself. He is a man of great knowledge and and responsibility, but I think he'd rather be looked at as a good example, or a teacher. I'm sure he wishes everyone just looked to him as a window to God and his teachings. And maybe most people do look at him that way, I just seem to feel that is not always the case. I just hope that the people in that Stadium today, while respecting the Pope for all his hard work, remember that he is merely one of God's servants. I am ashamed to say that I don't know much about the Roman Catholic beliefs. But I think I am right in saying that the Pope is a representative, not God, and would like people to believe as such. I'm sure the service will be spectacular, the believers will definitely learn a lot from it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pasta Making

Enough of these annoying internet posts and on to what really I did do a few new cooking projects during my hiatus. I while ago I bought a HUGE bunch of basil. Usually when I go to the store they don't have much of a selection of the delicious herb, so I didn't think twice before buying such an amount. I promptly bought fresh mozerella and made many things with the delicious pair. I wanted to make basil pasta, but without a pasta machine, I thought ravioli would be easy enough. But a couple days after the idea of making pasta came into mind, my Cooking Light magazine came displaying several ways to make it without the help of the machine. So I knew I wasn't in too over my head. I decided to make a graham flour and basil lasagna. It made quite a bit of dough for the two of us, so I made and froze fettuccini with the rest. It was so easy and delicious, I think one of my faves. So here are a few simple directions:

Combine 1 c all purpose flour, 1 c graham flour (I bought it at a farmers market, but it is very similar to whole wheat), 1/4 t salt,and a couple big hands full of basil in a food processor and pulse until the basil is very finely chopped. Whisk together 5 T water, 2 T olive oil. With the machine running, pour the egg mixture in the food chute, letting it run just until it forms a ball. Place on a floured surface, and knead 4-5 time to combine. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and let sit for 30 minutes. (I was looking forward to making the pasta the old fashioned way, on the counter without a bowl, but I decided to let the machine to all the work here.) Something I will do different next time, pulse the water with the basil before adding it to the flour. I think it would really liquefy it, resulting in more of a green pasta, which is what I wanted.
Cut the disk into 6 peices to make it more manageable.
Roll it out one by one holding one end with one hand and rolling the dough the the other. It will take a little stength to get it very thin. Keep the surface floured, it will get sticky. Start your big pot water with about 1 T of salt boiling.

After rolling each peice, set it aside and over with a damp towel while you finish the others. (These are folded in half because they were so long.)

For lasagna, slowly lower the big sheet into the boiling water. Only cook for about 1 1/2 minutes. Carefully remove the pasta with a slotted spoon and lay on a damp towel. I only needed to cook two for our dinner.
Spray your oven proof dish with cooking spray and put a little marinara sauce in the bottom.

Place one end of the noodle in the baking dish and layer in your favorite toppings. I did marinara, spinach, quartered veggie meatballs (these are from costco and are so good. I wasn't trying to make this vegetarian, but I did.) fresh mozerella, and little sprinkle of an italian blend or cheese. I think there is salt and pepper in there too.
Fold the noodle over and repeat until it is all stacked up nicely. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, just so the cheese is melted and everything is heated. The meatballs are already precooked, and just need to be warmed.

Sprinkle with fresh basil and you have a delicious and elegant individual lasagna. Of course this could be made the traditional way in a large baking dish, but this is how they did it in Cooking Light and I thought it was so cute. Thanks to them for all the tips and tricks.

With the rest of the pasta sheets, I floured them well, folded them up and cut them into strips for later.
I layed them out on a baking sheet and placed it in the freezer. When they were set, I transfered them to a ziplock. When you are ready to eat, but put them straight from the freezer to the boiling water. It may take an extra 30 seconds for them to cook. I'll put what we did with these on Emily's Experiments soon.
I hope you try it. KC and I really think fresh makes a big difference, although, I don't see myself doing this that often. As easy as it was, I still want the pasta attatchment to my KitchenAid.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Can it really be?!

Is it possible that I am actually using the Internet in the comfort of my own home on my favorite spot on the couch? Yes, it is true. After a long morning of servicemen coming in and out (first the plumber to fix the garbage disposal that has been backed up for days making is very hard to do dishes or even cook, then the Comcast guy) I am finally alone in my little abode enjoying my freedom to surf wherever my little heart desires. Last night a few minutes after the guy called and said he was coming to install, we received another call on his behalf saying he couldn't make it and what was the next time we could have someone come by. That was the last straw. I mean, I was trying to hold in my feelings, but I just said, " This is getting ridiculous. This is the third attempt to have it installed, and we've called countless times. It has to be in tonight!" And her snooty reply was, "Ma'am, he will not be there tonight", and something or other about his supervisor taking him off our job to help with something else. I guess he was trying to expedite our services by giving us his direct line so we didn't have to start from scratch since he had already come over and known our situation. I don't think the supervisor cared about the nice guys favors. He was going to install it on Sunday because he wanted to help us as much as he could, but we gave him Sunday off if we were promised to have it on Monday. So I think he probably felt bad, thus someone else called on his behalf. Anyway, I couldn't talk to the mean lady anymore because I was too angry. I gave KC the phone, he calmly chatted, asked for some kind of credit for all that we've been through and got a measly 20 bucks out of her. They chatted about the times that he would come and ended the conversation graciously. Better than I would do, I'm ashamed to say. He actually got here at about 11:15. The allotted time was 8-11, so for their reputation, that is pretty close to on time.

What a saga. Well, I'm hoping things are all back to normal. We do have a few changes coming up with our living situation, but it's a long story and I have a lot to do with my Internet back up, so I'll tell it later.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why didn't I think of this before?

I am sitting in the lovely Panera Bread, a cute little cafe, using the free wifi. The funny thing is, I am really, truly getting the Internet installed at home today, but who knows how late the installer will be there, yadda, yadda, yadda. (They came again, mind you, and told us something else had to be done before installment was to take place. I think we've finally figured it out.) I was determined to blog today no matter what, so here I am. I am actually really enjoying sitting here on a nice leather chair, with the sun coming through the window out of every one's way. I might just have to make a habit of this. I have to admit, I was actually getting used to doing everything the old fashioned way, and was okay with it (for a short time only, and because others have been kind enough to let us mooch for a while). I might have broken my bad habit of being completely hooked to the net, but then again, I'll probably go right back. Right now I'm very overwhelmed with the amount of blogging, reading blogs, checking bank accounts, watching all my great shows, etc. that has to be done, so I'm trying to take one things at a time. I might need another break after all that is done.

I am going to try to catch up on the past few weeks, but I just know some of the events will be lost in the past without being able to blog about every detail while they were fresh in my mind, but I'll do my best. I'm sure you are all dying to find out what we've been up to for these few exciting weeks, so I'll try to make it as exciting sounding as I can. It's good to be back.

Finally the Easter festivites

So to begin the long saga of the Easter weekend, I'll tell you about how we camped out on the white house lawn to get tickets for the Easter Egg Roll. My friends Tracie and Becky did it last year, so when Becky introduced the idea again, I wasn't afraid because I knew she had already been there. So She, Merinda, and I set off to get the camp set up, while the guys were finishing things up at home and were going to meet us later. Merinda told the story very well here (thanks). We were very grateful for the space blankets I decided to buy last minute. It was such a beautiful night (though slightly chilly) and I just loved looking out our tent door to the huge Washington Monument staring right back at me. We couldn't help but notice the man next to us reading the Ensign, and often being called Bishop. We were in good company. The Easter Egg Roll is pretty much for kids, so KC and I were mainly sleeping over to gather tickets for families who can't very easily campout.

Saturday morning after we woke up, got out tickets and drove out of the city, we girls primped the best we could on 2 hours of sleep and no shower to go to out Relief Society birthday luncheon in which Becky was the first speaker. We were all very tired, but made it home to all have naps. KC and I found out later that night that we were indeed doing musical number in sacrement meeting, so we thought we better practice a little.

Easter Sunday was nice. Sacrament meeting was a program of readings from scriptures about the Savior's death and resurrection, with musical numbers/congregational hymns in between. I am embarrassed to say that I was in every musical number: the primary (Tell me the Stories of Jesus), the choir (Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring), and our duet (Beautiful Savior). I tried to get as much of the message in despite me constantly getting prepared for the next musical number, but the spirit was present all the same. We did some last minute food prep and headed to Cami's for a fabulous feast. We made our way home, found the baskets the bunny had left for us, and ate my favorite Starburst jelly beans. It was a good day.

Monday, the Egg Roll, was pretty crazy. KC decided last minute that work was too crazy to miss, putting me in a but of the tiff the rest of the day. I was graciously given tickets last year, so the only thing keeping the excitement to brave the crowds again, was having him there with me. But work comes over silly children activites, so my camera and I had a great time together. Oh, lots of my friends were there too, so I still had a good time. But I have to say, the camp out was more fun.

So there you have it. Wasn't it worth the wait?

The purge

So, instead of trying to post about everything I'd like to record in full detail, I think it will be easier on you and me if I just make a list.
  • While Cami and Jake were having birthday fun in NYC a couple weekends ago, KC and I baby sat the littles. We had a great day full of wii, living room picnics, and giant chocolate chip cookies, which the kids at more that their weight in.

  • Last Tuesday Jake threw a surprise party for Cami and Bertuccis, and excellent Pizza and pasta place. We got together at the house after where I provided a cake that I actually had a lot of fun making. I bought a few new little tools and wanted to try them out. It was lemon cake with strawberry cheesecake in between with lemon curd between each layer and lemon cream cheese buttercream. Of course there were a few things I'd change, but I'll probably never make it again, so oh well. Here are all the pictures for anyone who wanted copies.
  • We did have a party to watch the Office with Jan and Matt, our neighbors/the family that I babysit for. Boy was that show a doosy. We were tearing up with laughter. We had spur of the moment apple crisp with fresh whipped cream(I accidentally bought a batch of bruised apples that worked beautifully) and Jan had delicious huge strawberry with chocolate to dip.
  • The next night Jan said she was going to a movie, and asked if I'd like to join her. It was a beautiful, humid, 75 degree night, she she took me to her old stomping grounds, Shirlington, VA to see a cute black comedy called Married Life. It was a great cast, and had a different feel. I almost felt like I was on vacation or something with the drastically different weather, new territory and a new movie buddy
  • Since a few days ago, our disposal has been clogged leaving us with a kitchen sink that doesn't drain. This is a very annoying situation. Our dishwasher doesn't work without a disposal either. We are having the plumber come tomorrow so I am happy about that.

There were a few more things that I'd like to write about, but I'll do it in a couple more installments since they require more that just a little note. I'm getting tired and my brain hurts.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh Pa-lease!

So we made the appointment for Comcast to come install. I made special arrangements to bring my little babysittees to play at my house while we waited. So that's what we did. And we kept watiting well beyond the between 8-11 when they said they were coming. So I gave up at naptime (and they were getting a little restless in the small space, although behaving very well and entertained) and took them home. I found out they came around 3:40 but neglected to come around to the back at the basement entrance as the note on the door clearly stated, also including a phone number to call if there was confusion. So of course that is somehow my fault and they couldn't come until Friday. Boo. I am annoyed, but trying to make the best of the situation. I haven't taken many pictures, sadly, when I know I won't be blogging. But the ones I have are piling up to do a massive catch up. I know some of you are waiting on pictures that I took, so thanks for the patience. 

We are surely without satellite tv now but we thankfully had it plenty long enough for conference and we were grateful. We are having fun with our rabbit ears, and watching a lot of news. And I can see how people get into the Soaps so much. Not that I know any of the story lines, but it's the only thing on all of the networks between 12-3 or something. Lame. I am enjoying the limitations very much actually. And with the Office starting tonight, I don't think we'll be feeling deprived at all. My friend Jan, the mom of the babysittees, and I were thinking of having an "Office Party" tonight since we've both been counting down the days. It will be a party for sure.

We will return to the world of the blogs, hopefully this weekend (I'm rolling my eyes). Until then.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Still waiting...

Dumb Comcast. We can't seem to get them to get our internet up and running. I'm getting annoyed, but still surviving.

On another annoying note, our Satellite tv will be taken away this week. The landlord said she would cut the cost of rent pretty considerably (from what she just raised it to) if we didn't mind canceling the tv, and internet. As much as I like to say that I can live happily without it, I will be very sad to not have Lifetime anymore. I also like Bravo, The Style Network, and on occasion the Food Network. Last night I was watching something on LMN and it dawned on me that it could very well be my last for quite sometime. KC said it looked my my puppy just died. Pathetic, I know. I am really needing some relax time lately and it is my default. We also have really enjoyed having conference in the comfort of our own home. I just can't convince myself to make us pay the extra  money she would add on to keep it, so I suppose it is for the best.  And I guess it is really the best time to be without cable, since the internet can produce almost anything that the tv airs. It is where I watch my faves anyway. I probably won't even notice it's gone with the net comes back, but while it's been gone, my channels and I have become pretty close. So hopefully we have the internet by next weekend, or we are really out of luck with conference and might actually have to leave the house to watch it (gasp!). Hopefully we at least have the few major networks.  I also think I'll really get our money's worth from our Netflix plan with their live streaming movies. And now (sp?) is all the buzz, so I'll have to check it out.  I might actually read more that I do now. Hmm, I'll probably just do more baking. I know, a lot of you don't have tv, so you don't have any sympathy and should happy to know I am joining the crowd. I'm actually a tiny bit glad this habit is being broken for me.