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!

appliance shopping (i.e., toddler temper tantrum displays galore!)

I forgot to take pictures today! Nothing of note happened, though. I did buy a new washer and dryer for the new house, but I couldn’t have taken any pictures on that outing. Mary was a screaming, crying mess because her nap time was approaching, and I honestly started to wonder if Lydia was possessed. The last couple times I have tried to do anything except shop for groceries or check out books in public, the girls go bananas and lose it. It got to the point where they were tearing Christmas ornaments off of trees–and breaking them. I felt incompetent, and in response, we went home and had nap time/quiet time for the rest of the day. I REM’ed slept so much that it’s 1 am and I’m fresh as a daisy.

Well, not really. Guess I better go to bed. Oh! Cooking school was fun, but for the last couple classes I have had to redo at least one, if not two dishes because I’m careless or impatient. Tonight I had to do my pastry cream twice, and since there wasn’t enough time to redo my pate choux, I’m redoing that first thing tomorrow.

Also, Abe got home! Yay! He had a really successful trip, and I’m really glad he’s back.

Sorry, one more P.P.S. in this disjointed post: I went to the dermatologist today. He confirmed that I had a bad outbreak of eczema because I’ve lost so much pigmentation in my arms. I basically have white polka-dot skin right now — I’m a walking, talking, Minnie Mouse dress! But in all seriousness, it was a good visit. He was very reassuring and I feel like I’ve learned a lot from this whole experience.

Now I’m going to bed and think about all the plants I want to plant in my new yard. That’s my favorite daydream–maybe tonight, those thoughts will replace the horrible nightmares I had during my REM nap!

midterm

I spent the morning: babysitting Max and Sophia while Misty went to the doctor, folding laundry, doing errands, packing boxes, babysitting Ada while Liv got allergy tests, and feeding everyone multiple times.

In their nest watching a video on the resurrection. It's Lydia's favorite Living Scriptures video; she's watched it six times (per her request--to my great joy, she has been choosing it over Disney movies!!! Why didn't we get these earlier?!) since Sunday.

In their nest watching a video on the resurrection. It’s Lydia’s favorite Living Scriptures video; she’s watched it six times (per her request–to my great joy, she has been choosing it over Disney movies!!! Why didn’t we get these earlier?!) since Sunday.

Mary wanted to wear her wings during lunch.

Mary wanted to wear her wings during lunch.

IMG_0180

Then I napped.

After that, we went to SmashBurger to meet up with Abe before my midterm. We all had black bean burgers with their amazing fries and milkshakes. That buoyed me up for my midterm. (Abe took pictures, but they’re on his phone and I don’t want to disturb him–he’s asleep!)

My midterm went better today. At least I didn’t propose cheating to my bench mate. I honestly feel so ashamed that I did that yesterday, and I am so, so grateful I regained my sanity in time to not go through with the plan.

This is what happens when you use cold butter to make cookies. To be clear, the butter WAS room temperature when I retrieved it from the pantry, but it hardened sitting out on my bench. By the time I had to mix the batter, the butter was hard, and it turns out that no matter how much you cream hard butter, it will haunt your product to the end. Ugh.

See those pale flecks of butter in the cookies? That is what happens when you use cold butter to make cookies. To be clear, the butter WAS room temperature when I retrieved it from the pantry, but it hardened sitting out on my bench (the kitchen was 50 degrees). By the time I had to mix the batter, the butter was hard, and it turns out that no matter how much you cream hard butter, it will haunt your product to the end. Also, I didn’t mix the chocolate chips in evenly enough. I was so worried I’d made the cookies tough from beating the batter (in my futile attempt to soften that butter) that by the time I added the chocolate chips, I felt like I couldn’t afford to let that paddle beat another minute.

I should have refrigerated my pie shell before filling it. That would have prevented the retraction you see on the crust. Once again, impatience got the best of me.

I should have refrigerated my pie shell before filling it. That would have prevented the retraction you see on the crust. Once again, impatience got the best of me.

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!!!

oct16

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.

IMG_9745 IMG_9756 IMG_9755

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.”

oct15pic3 oct15 oct15pic1 oct15pic2

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.

Butterfly Wings

I didn’t talk to Lily much today, so I apologize if this blog is a lot about me. First I want to say that I completely adore Mary’s new hairstyle, and well…Mary in general.  Her new hair looks so hip and modern and with a few clips that Lily put in, it still looks very femenine.  Add on to that Mary’s pink nails that Lily painted today and you have one adorable Toddler! (Pictures coming I promise).

Lily’s day included a visit from Ina, who brought over butterfly wings to give to the girls.  Lily’s day overall was very good, but hit a kink of frustration when she was unable to reach me at work to coordinate a babysitting situation.  She called my cell 29 times! I’m sorry honey! Also, the reason I am blogging is because it is Lily’s first day of school for her new Semester.  It is a class about baking and pastries and she said she is very excited.  I’m anxious to hear the report!

As for me, this is the first time in about a month that I feel free from work stress.  It has been very intense and I had some big meetings today that I was nervouse about.  Now with those behind me, and it being the beginning of the quarter, I hope to enjoy a little peace before it gets crazy again. Pictures!

IMG_9601 IMG_9590 IMG_9591IMG_9593IMG_9597IMG_9600

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.

Pictures!

photo (18) photo (17) photo (16)

organizing kick

This morning I had to make up a class at school while Abe took Lydia to dance and Mary to the park. After school I went to IKEA to look for a toddler bed only to discover Lydia’s bed was discontinued. No luck! Instead, I bought a bunch of random stuff, including containers to organize the craft area.

After I came home, I organized the girls’ craft area while Lydia painted happily away with her new paints. Then we did errands, after which Abe had to run to the church to set up chairs for the temple dedication broadcast tomorrow. While he did that, I attacked all of my kitchen cabinets and my fridge. Since I was on an organizing kick, they got organized! I threw away a ton of expired things and discovered wonderful spices and treasures that I had completely forgotten about. I have THREE packages of saffron! What abundance! I can make saffron rice every day this week if I want!

Now the bad news. Grandma and Mom, I am sorry, but we were so busy today that we forgot to take pictures. We should have taken one of Mary. We let her run around until 10:30 while we organized. (Lydia fell asleep at 6:30 and never woke up after that.)

But good news! My friend, Jen, took pictures of the girls at ballet and some of the kids at the park. Thanks, Jen!

sep20pic1 sep20

Mary is under the bridge, and you can see one of the twins on top.

Mary is under the bridge, and you can see one of the twins on top.

Anyway, Abe and I were hoping to get a movie in, so maybe we’ll get half–or a quarter–of one in instead.