Pie taste-off

While Lydia was at preschool, I took Mary to Trader Joe’s and picked up a pumpkin pie. All of my kitchen is 99% packed, so cooking or baking is out of the question. The girls are obsessed with The Perfect Pumpkin Pie, and since we have read this book a million times in the last month, I decided that they needed to eat pumpkin pie.

As we were about to eat, the doorbell rang. Paige showed up with boxes, and since their timing was fortuitous, they joined us for pie and a play date. After the play date, we had nap time and quiet time.

After that, I decided that we needed to have a pie taste-off. Harmon’s was having a sale today, so I picked up another pie and headed to Paige’s house. We ended up staying there until bedtime. Paige made a delicious lasagna, and we all tried the second pie. Trader Joe’s was the clear winner, hands down. It’s also half the price, so once again I have cause to mourn that we will be so far away from Trader Joe’s in Orem. I hope we get one soon!

Here are some pictures from the play date:

Mary was pretending to sleep.

Mary was pretending to sleep.

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They were pretending it was sleepy time.

They were pretending it was sleepy time.

Packing

I am exhausted from packing for most of the day. The only other interesting thing that happened was Misty’s baby shower at Gourmandise. I love that bakery, and I actually had fun at this shower because there were only four other–nice!–people there, and the food was delicious. The only reason I originally went was because I love Misty, but I came away having enjoyed the whole event thoroughly.

Then it was nose-to-the-grindstone packing for the rest of the day. Well, sort of. Abe and I congratulated each other on how much we were getting done as we drifted off for a two hour nap in the middle of the day, but with that exception, the rest of the day revolved around putting stuff into boxes.

Here are the two pictures from Abe’s phone that we got today:

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Lydia was actually a phenomenal helper. I didn't just make up imaginary tasks for her like I sometimes do. She actually helped me a lot by fetching me things, helping me arrange stuff, and scooping packing peanuts wherever I needed them. She was a doll.

Lydia was actually a phenomenal helper. I didn’t just make up imaginary tasks for her like I sometimes do. She actually helped me a lot by fetching me things, helping me arrange stuff, and scooping packing peanuts wherever I needed them. She was a doll.

Veteran’s Day 2014

After preschool and quiet time, we took a trip to the veteran’s section of the Salt Lake Cemetery. We did this last year, and I remember how this activity made me feel more connected and grateful for all the service veterans have given for the country.

Today my heart felt full again as I tried to explain to the girls what it meant to be a veteran and to serve the country. We read the names on as many graves as we could. Actually, Mary gave us lots of opportunities to say names because she would pull flags off of graves and I would say, “Mary! Don’t do that! That’s Thomas Haley’s grave, and he fought in WWI. I’m sure he wants his flag back!” …In this fashion, we got to say a lot of names out loud.

At one point, Mary pulled a balloon off of one man’s grave and I said, “Mary! Someone put that there because they loved Anthony. How sad! Now he doesn’t have his balloon!”

With tears spilling out of the corners of her eyes and her voice wavering, Lydia said, “Mommy, can we go get another balloon so that man can have a bawoon (balloon) on his stone?” My heart was so moved. We headed straight to the car, and as I started to drive to the store to get a replacement balloon, Lydia said (again, with her eyes full of quiet tears and her voice quivering), “Mama, can we say a prayer so that Jesus can help us get the same balloon?” So we said a prayer, got replacement balloons, and returned to the cemetery.

After we replaced the missing balloons, Lydia recited the Pledge of Allegiance among the tombstones. It touched my heart. This day was just full of heart-warming moments.

With replacement balloons.

With replacement balloons.

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packing day

Considering Abe was gone, today was a really great day. I don’t know what it is, but I think I am more productive when I have to take care of everything myself. Either that, or I cook more when Abe is home, so I get fewer other tasks accomplished.

Anyway, today I had a lot of fun hanging out with the girls, doing errands, folding loads of laundry and packing a ton of boxes. I figured I would have a lot of time to watch a movie with the girls at the end of the day, but everything just flew by so fast I didn’t get to. In my book, that makes a good day.

Here are some pictures:

Lydia helped me pack!

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And the girls had a dance party while I packed (and paused to take pictures):

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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.

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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.

Red Butte and dinner with the Pe’as.

This morning we went with Lalitha and Eden to Red Butte Gardens. It was a beautiful day. In fact, Abe and I keep having conversations about how amazing the weather this year has been. I wish this year would just repeat over and over for the rest of my life weather wise, but since I can’t count on that, I just have to try to make the most out of every gorgeous day.

IMG_9908 IMG_9909 IMG_9912 IMG_9915 IMG_9918 IMG_9923Then we went grocery shopping with Lalitha and came home. I was the only one who napped, and when I woke up, Lydia informed me that she and Mary climbed onto the piano. I guess that means no more naps for me, or at least no naps while my children are awake.

I spent the rest of the day cooking. We had FHE with our friends, the Pe’as. Since we’ve been reading a lot of books about Halloween, Lydia has become very confused about what ghosts are. We decided to brush up on the doctrine of resurrection and our beliefs about how the spirit and the body are related to each other. Afterward, the kids pictured colors of ghosts.

IMG_9925 IMG_9930Abe and I have been trying to get around to folding four giant baskets of laundry for almost a week. We are going to try to fold some tonight while watching Stardust. We have a new habit to squeeze in movies: ten minutes a day! I wish I were kidding, but that’s actually what we’ve resorted to.

P.S. Mom and Grandma, Paige sent me some cute pictures from our hike Wednesday. If you want to see them, I added them to that post (link here).

Wee Witches

This morning we went to Gardner Village for Wee Witches Weekend with the Pe’as and the Andersons. I have a ton of pictures, so without further ado:

Left to right: Lydia, Ada, Mary, Natalie, Liv

Left to right: Lydia, Ada, Mary, Natalie, Liv

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There was dancing!

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IMG_9822 IMG_9824And bubbles:

IMG_9832As we were leaving, I ran into one of my new friends from culinary school! It was a treat to see her and meet her beautiful children. Then Abe and I headed to the farmer’s market before coming home to crash.

After naps, we went on a bunch of errands. We bought enough chili for 200 people at Costco (Abe is in charge of the ward Trunk or Treat), checked books out from the library, grocery shopped, ate junky fast food, and played at the park:

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Abe explaining the game of Tag to the girls.

Abe explaining the game of tag to the girls.

Festivus for the rest of us

Last night Mary barely slept, so Abe and I were exhausted today. Heck, Mary was exhausted; after breakfast, she took an hour and a half nap. After she woke up, we did errands while Lydia was at preschool.

One of our errands involved shopping for a baby shower present. I walked into Pottery Barn Kids and was disgusted (for the first time ever in that particular store) because there were Christmas decorations everywhere. Halloween, one of my favorite holidays of the year, hasn’t even happened yet!!! I want to walk in places and see witches, ghosts, and hobgoblins, and, most of all, PUMPKINS AND ALL THINGS FALL–not elves and Santa!

Also, I genuinely hate the commercialization of a holiday that does have actual religious significance to me. So in the spirit of objection, I went home and baked babka and celebrated Festivus. I air grievances all the time, and in light of how much I love babka (tonight was the first time I’ve had it), I think it should be a regular holiday around here. I’m sure I can drum up an aluminum pole somewhere…

Anyway, since I knew my social anxiety could NOT handle the baby shower, and since Abe was home exhausted with the kids, I literally spent ten seconds at the shower– enough to hand over a gift, grimace, and flee in terror. Even the ten second exposure I had kept me panicking until I made two more personal, uplifting visits on the way home (one to a visiting teachee and one to Abe’s aunt). Those picked me right back up.

I should stop writing and go help Abe. The poor man is cleaning the house, and I know he’s about to drop from exhaustion.

Here are the pictures!

Making babka.

Making babka.

The messy chocolate part.

The messy chocolate part.

One of the loaves.

One of the loaves.

While I was gone, Abe made these broom with the girls for our FHE activity. When I got back, we sang along to Frozen and I showed the girls a picture of my dad and taught them a little about who he was.

While I was gone, Abe made these broom with the girls for our FHE activity. I should note that they foraged for all of the materials in our yard. When I got back, we sang along to Frozen and I showed the girls a picture of my dad and taught them a little about who he was.

Sewing costumes, more whining, and sequiny pictures

Today was non stop. Abe ran to clean the church while I bathed the girls, made popovers, blew dry Lydia’s hair (a must with her new hairstyle, so said her stylist), and got everyone dressed.

I don't know why every mom in America doesn't make these. They take approximately the same amount of time as instant oatmeal to mix together, they're portable, and they don't make a crumbly mess!

I don’t know why these aren’t at least as normal as pancakes at the American breakfast table. They take approximately the same amount of time as instant oatmeal to mix together, they’re portable, and they don’t make a crumbly mess!

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After I shooed them out the door to Lydia’s dance class, I read scriptures and looked up witch costumes online.

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Then I hurried to the Primary program practice, during which I really struggled to feel like I was contributing.

Honestly, I’ve traced this eczema back and really feel like it was a stress reaction to my calling. I have never had eczema before, and I remember when I got the calling feeling like I was having an allergic reaction. Then all of the sudden: eczema! (without me knowing what it was). Yuck. I daydream every day about asking to be released, and then I feel guilty and decide to keep doing my duty. I heard a talk the other day about the different reasons why we serve (in order worst to best): to show off, duty, hope of eternal reward, and love of God. I do love God, but I am having trouble connecting serving in my calling to that love. I’ll think to myself, “Think of all Jesus did and does for you! This is NOTHING in comparison! Just serve out of gratitude!” and when that doesn’t work, “It could be worse! Think about all the other callings that you would hate even more!” ..but somehow I just can’t get my heart right. Sorry, God! You’ll have to fix up my heart since I just can’t seem to get it in the right place by myself. I’ll give You more time.

Then I picked up Lydia, took her to the Farmer’s market, the fabric store, and Trader Joe’s. After that, I came home and whipped out two little, very poor quality witch costumes. But the girls love them, and you can only see my sewing mistakes if you stand within a foot–or five–of the girls. Anyway, Grandma, what do you think? The girls are going to wear these for the Wee Witches night at Gardner Village this weekend.

I made the necklines waaaay too big on both capes, but I think I can fix it with a safety pin. Also, the skirts are ridiculously unprofessional, but from a (long) distance, you can't tell, right?

I made the necklines waaaay too big on both capes, but I think I can fix it with a safety pin. Also, the skirts are ridiculously unprofessional, but from a (long) distance, you can’t tell, right?

IMG_9657 IMG_9663 IMG_9664Then we went to the library, the park, and two more grocery stores before heading home for dinner.

Outside of the library doing "tricks."

Outside of the library doing “tricks.”

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Some random stranger came up to Abe at the park and raved about Mary's hair. I was in the car reading some cookbooks I'd just checked out from the library, but when Abe came back and told me, I felt so happy! Shallow, I know, but I cut her hair and have felt guilty ever since, especially since my hair cutting skills (HA!) are...searching  for the right word...nonexistent. But yay! Someone likes the cut!!

Some random stranger came up to Abe at the park and raved about Mary’s hair. I was in the car reading some cookbooks I’d just checked out from the library, but when Abe came back and told me, I felt so happy! Shallow, I know, but I cut her hair and have felt guilty ever since, especially since my hair cutting skills (HA!) are…searching for the right word…nonexistent. But yay! Someone likes the cut!!

Love you, Grandma!

Grandma, I am so sorry to hear that you went to the hospital today. The girls and I immediately stopped and said a prayer for you, and during dinner Lydia wouldn’t let me finish my prayer until I prayed for you. We love you and hope you don’t have to deal with pain. We love you so much!

I forgot to take pictures today, so Abe took a bunch before putting the girls to bed:

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Mary is now allowed to have her binkies in her toddler bed. She occasionally loses them underneath the bed, and she searches for them thus.

Mary is now allowed to have her binkies in her toddler bed. She occasionally loses them underneath the bed, and she searches for them thus.

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