God vs. Genoise. Guess who won.

I had pictures of the food in class, but alas, they are on my phone, which is in the car.

This morning Marilyn came over again and we packed all of the paintings in the house. Then I ran to pick Rose up so we could go to Gourmandise for lunch. I have been dying to try their boeuf bourguignon, but they serve it on Wednesdays, and I am always there on days that don’t happen to be Wednesday. Today we scheduled our lunch specifically so that I could finally try it once before we move. It was delicious. One more thing to miss.

The girls were in a very happy, playful mood all day. I was grateful for that. All of their toys are packed, and so they have been having to use imagination. I think it has been good for them. Right now there are fabric scraps all around the house because I haven’t packed my fabric scrap bin. Why do I buy so many toys when cloth scraps and torn paper pieces seem to be every bit as stimulating? I have no idea. I suspect the answer lies in the match between over-eager consumerism and greedy corporate marketers.

At school today I had several near disasters, but today I had the presence of mind to actively pray over all of my food. Just when I thought my genoise was beyond hope, I offered a silent, extremely fervent prayer that the thing would brown fast. Two minutes later I pulled out a miraculously browned cake. Believe me, it was a miracle! My teammates both prayed over all of our food, too. My friend Ingrid looked at me when we were fearing for the fate of our icing and said, “Have no fear, my friend. God is with us.” How can things go too badly wrong with teammates who exercise faith like that? Unless the chef forces us apart, I am never switching out of my team.

I am so, so sorry I was neglectful on the pictures. I should have taken at least one on my outing with Rose. I will do better tomorrow!

principles for pie dough

I had a primary presidency meeting at the dinosaur play area of the mall this morning, but other than that, I stayed home with the kiddos all day. At the very end of the day, I ran outside and changed the car seats so Abe and I could switch cars. When I came in with the second car seat, I discovered Lydia buckling a happy Mary up in her seat.

IMG_0171 IMG_0172Then I went to class for midterms. It was the most stressful test I’ve had so far! I had to remake several things and I almost asked my teammate to let me pass off her extra pie dough as my own, but I stopped myself mid-proposal. It is really sad that I would trade my principles for pie dough, but in the moment, I felt quite desperate.  However, I stopped myself and rushed through re-making my own dough. Integrity (sort of) saved.

The only thing that I made that kind of came out were these rolls. I was too impatient to wait for the teacher to show me how to knot them, so their shape is wonky.

The only thing that I made that kind of came out were these rolls. I was too impatient to wait for the teacher to show me how to knot them, so their shape is wonky.

Play group party

I have been really depressed by the news lately, and I came across this scripture this morning: “Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God.”

I was also touched today by this article, written by a friendly acquaintance in my home ward.

And now for the day’s play-by-play.

This morning Aria hosted a Halloween party at her house. While I love Aria and everyone who came, I really dislike big groups. However, I decided to go for the children’s sake, so I dressed them up in costumes and headed over to Aria’s.

IMG_9962 IMG_9960But the girls are slightly shy in big groups too, so after I ascertained that none of us were happy, I packed them up and headed back home.

I proceeded to loll around the house for the rest of the day, since both girls ended up napping for quite a while. I started reading Dracula in honor of Halloween. I want to finish that and also reread The Legend of Sleepy Hollow  before October 31st.

I would have pictures from class, but my phone died. We made a ton of cookies and some pita bread. I am skipping tomorrow to take the girls to Red Butte Gardens for their Halloween activities at night.

I’ll take more pictures tomorrow!

A truly ridiculous amount of delicious bread

My camera battery was charging all day, so the only pictures I have are of the food we made at class tonight. That sums up my day pretty well, since I spent hours on homework and hours in class today. Other than that, I read to the girls and played with Mary a bunch because Lydia passed out on the floor…for three hours.

As you can see, the amount of carbohydrates we produce this semester is entirely unreasonable. We get done plating at 10:30 p.m., at which point we are expected to try and compare everything so we understand the effect of either 1) our mistakes or 2) getting the recipe right. Wish my metabolism luck…

oct16pic4 oct16pic1 oct16pic2 oct16pic3I also took one of my chef doing a demonstration. She is my favorite teacher so far, and I have learned more from this class than any other. I am considering switching into the baking and pastry program because I absolutely LOVE this class, and I haven’t quite felt that way about my culinary classes. We’ll have to see if all the classes are this good, but if they are: Sayonara culinary! Hello baking and pastry!!!


A hike, family history discoveries, and puff pastry

Today started off a little rocky, but then I decided at the last minute to get the girls ready for a play group hike to Ensign Peak. The hike turned our day around! Half way through my camera ran out of batteries, which was tragic since the best views come near the top (and the girls were cute too, of course). However, I did get some pictures in.

Collecting leaves at the beginning of the hike.

Collecting leaves at the beginning of the hike.

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Lydia had me laughing the whole way up the mountain. Her commentary reminded me of my attitude towards walking at her age: "Mommy, pleeeease are we at the top?" And when we would round a bend: " Oh, please be the top, please be the top."

Lydia had me laughing the whole way up the mountain. Her commentary reminded me of my attitude towards walking at her age: “Mommy, pleeeease are we at the top?” And when we would round a bend: ” Oh, please be the top, please be the top.”

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We were late, so we didn’t join up with Paige, Aria and Ashley (the only moms who came) until we reached the top. On the way down, Ada and Lydia held hands the whole way.

Ada and Lydia both really wanted a play date, so we had one afterward. The girls have been really into making “baboon salad” lately. Don’t know where they got that from.

Also, one sweet thing I overheard today: Lydia and Mary were playing, and Mary couldn’t figure out how to turn on Lydia’s iPad. Lydia said, “Mary, let’s have a prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to turn on the iPad. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Then I listened closely to see if they got their prayer answered…and they did! I was one happy mother.

Another piece of great news is that I heard back from the Philippine Jesuits. My dad was a Jesuit priest for ten years before leaving the Society of Jesus, and I wanted to know more about his time there. I got a great email back this morning and hope to have even more questions answered soon. It was really wonderful to learn more about my dad.

In class tonight we made puff pastry from scratch. I have been dying to learn how to do this, and I was pleased to learn that it isn’t that hard. I don’t know if I’d do it regularly, but it certainly isn’t impossible to do at home. That was fun. We also did more muffins and worked on brioche and challah. Honestly, I think my challah recipe is better than the one we used in class, but any bread that even approximates challah is, in my opinion, eat-worthy.

A Play Date, Amazing Babysitter, Georgia Arrives!!!!!!!!, Final Exam, and Additional Funding

The day kicked off with Lily today with a play-date with her friend Kim.  I’m not sure what happened after that since I didn’t talk to Lily much during the day, but I know she cooked because I came home to the best egg-salad sandwich I’ve every had (super fluffy home-made bread and perfectly seasoned egg salad.)

Lily left early for school tonight because she has her final exam for her European cooking class.  She’s been in my thoughts because I know she was nervous.  She isn’t back yet, but I’m excited to hear the report.

Isabella came over early to babysit so Lily could leave.  Then, shortly after that…..

Georgia arrived!!!!!!!!  It was so wonderful to see her.  As if having her in town wasn’t gift enough, she came baring gifts for everyone.  Some are gifts that I won’t mention until Mary’s birthday, but she also brought some super cute bug suitcases for the girls from Grandma Cullen (Thanks Grandma!), fudge for everyone, new plates and bowls, flashcards, a coloring book and well, you get the idea, lots of great things for the family.  It’s so great to have her around for a few days.  I got to catch up with her quite a bit, and Lydia spontaneously burst out to me, “Daddy, I love Nana.”  In her night prayer she also said (unprompted), “Thank you for my beautiful Nana.”

Because Isabella is amazing, she wanted to stick around even after I got home and her babysitting gig was over.  She proceeded to play chase with the girls for a very long time.  Tonight is one of two times in my life when I have seen Mary worn out from playing so hard.  Nice work Isabella!

On a quick note about work.  Qualtrics was just valued at over $1 billion and received $150 million dollars in venture capital funding.  The funding is to help us run faster and grow quicker.  It’s an exciting place to be right now.


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date night

Today started off with breakfast and a play date with Misty. I harbor fond hopes that someday Mary and Max will get married, and they were so cute and played ball together.

IMG_9470After Misty left, I took the girls to the basement to paint while I did the treadmill.


At five minutes and forty seconds in, Mary proceeded to spill green paint all over the basement carpet. I spent the next hour scrubbing and vacuuming and scrubbing the paint some more.

Then I put Mary down for a nap, knocked out three homework assignments and cleaned up Lydia and the back room carpet after she peed all over the floor. Feeling harried, I downed a cup of cocoa while the girls watched Snow White, and then I joined them until Isabella came over.

Isabella babysat the girls while Abe and I went to dinner and a concert with Karin and Jay.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

We ate dinner at the Oasis Cafe.

Then we headed over to hear the Utah Chamber Artists perform a splendid concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. We were late, but we caught the end of the first half and all of the second half of the concert. The second half was the Utah premiere of Eriks Esenvalds Passion and Resurrection. My favorite part was the very end, where the chorus sings to the soprano, “Woman, why weepest thou?” and she responds, “Sir, if thou has borne him hence, tell me where thou has laid him, and I will take him away.” The chorus then sings, “Mariam, Mariam, Mariam,” in a sweet, echoing refrain. The lights in the church went out as the soprano took up an alter candle and walked to the end of the church singing, “Rabboni, Rabboni, Rabboni.”

The concert is free, and I want to go again tomorrow, at least to hear the parts I missed tonight. We’ll see if that’s even logistically possible, but I really, really enjoyed it.



Quota celebration…and Clark and Swathi are having a boy!!

First of all, the exciting new of the day: CLARK AND SWATHI ARE HAVING A BOY!!! We are so, so excited for them! I can’t wait to meet my very first nephew!!!! The rest of the day pales in comparison to their news.


This morning I took the girls to the library and then to the church nursery while I attended institute. Last week we kicked off institute with Tad Callister, the general Sunday School president of the church, giving a talk on the atonement. That was a tough act to follow, but today I really enjoyed the descendents of J. Reuben Clark (a member of the first presidency through three different prophets) talk about what he was like as a grandfather.

Our ward is kind of unique in that a whole lot of apostles and prophets have lived within the boundaries, and J. Reuben Clark was one of those. His children all lived in homes on the same block, so they had many memories of their grandfather. For example, President Clark’s first granddaughter couldn’t say, “Grandpa,” so she called him “Bum-Bum,” and the name stuck! That anecdote reminded me of Lydia. She couldn’t say “Grandpa” or “Grams” at first, so she just called Tom and Suzanne “Bapa” and “Baps.” That’s what the girls still call them today. I guess these nicknames stick.

Grandma, didn’t you get your nickname, “Tiss” because you couldn’t pronounce “Clarissa” when you were little? It also made me think of you!

Anyway, before we went on our outings, I took a picture of Mary climbing into her pack ‘n play. Since she can only have her binky in there, she often announces she’s tired and wants her nap, binkies, “amiwals”, and pack ‘n play. Then she climbs in, thus:

IMG_9432 IMG_9433She is getting a toddler bed Saturday.

Our babysitter forgot to come today, so I skipped class. It worked out fine because Abe and I decided to take the girls out for ice cream instead of eating dinner. His boss was so kind and personally bought him a gift card to Baskin Robbins to celebrate that Abe has already blown through his quota before the quarter even ended. Abe has worked so hard, and Lucas was so, so nice in demanding that he celebrate.

sep17…And then the ice cream made me think that I was hungry for dinner, so we went and got dinner afterward. Tonight was a little backwards.

Anyway, congratulations, Abe!

The Mists of Avalon

I designated today my Get-Well day, and since I couldn’t go back to sleep after Abe left, I started at 5:30 by nestling in a cozy chair and reading…for the next fourteen hours. I did feed the kids a couple times and take care of their basic necessities, but other than that, they were on their own.

I am currently engrossed in The Mists of Avalon. Fourteen hours later, I am only halfway through it (page 446 as I type), but it is fascinating! Since I couldn’t bear to put it down, I didn’t manage to snap pictures until I sat down at the computer to do homework and blog.

Chase with Daddy!

Chase with Daddy!

Trying to escape from Daddy...and, as you can see, the bed isn't made because I was in it with my book all day. Lydia and I never made it out of our pajamas...

Trying to escape from Daddy…and, as you can see, the bed isn’t made because I was in it with my book all day. Lydia and I never made it out of our pajamas…

Naked babies after the bath.

Naked babies after the bath.

The only other thing of note was that Abe had an amazing work week!! He hit his quota early, and it looks like he’ll double it in the next week. Go, Abe, go! We’re so proud of you!!

Hodge Podge Wednesday

This morning we woke up to discover our house had been “heart attacked” by my friend, Kristin! Before she left for the airport, she did this to several parts of the house. She is amazing. I feel like the hearts are little blessings, and I’m not too eager to take them down.


sep10pic3sep10pic5At 11 am I went to Institute. Tad Callister, author of The Infinite Atonement, was the speaker. I derived a lot of comfort from his presentation.

Afterward, I took the girls outside to pick grapes:

sep10Then we came home and had a play date with Sophia and Max. Misty had to take that icky glucose test you take when pregnant, so I watched the kids while she endured that. I love her kids, so it was a win-win situation.

IMG_9421Then we had quiet time, and Lydia actually took a nap! Lalitha and Eden stopped by during her nap, but since Lydia was sleeping, they just picked apples instead.

I read to the girls for hours today, and my throat really hurts, despite the six hour rest I gave it at school tonight (I don’t talk there unless I absolutely have to). Tonight was Austria night at school:

red snapper and a corn chowder.

red snapper and a corn chowder.

German apple pancake

German apple pancake

meats in puff pastry

meats in puff pastry

duck, endives, and rosti

duck, endives, and rosti

While I was at school, Abe took the girls out to the park and to Isabella’s house. Lydia was disappointed none of her friends were at the park, but she decided to make a friend with a girl named Azalea. Abe said that the two were inseparable all evening. However, he only took pictures of Mary and Lydia.

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