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!

16 boxes closer.

Today I packed sixteen more boxes, with the help of Marilyn Brinton and Suzanne. Marilyn stopped by randomly this morning with boxes and told me she wanted to help me pack for an hour. She was a total answer to prayer–I was just about to take a nap after having packed only four boxes, but with her help, I packed five more. Then Suzanne stopped by this evening to help, and after her amazing efforts, we are sixteen boxes closer to being ready to move.

I discovered the girls packing two boxes completely independently. All I had to do was label and tape. I was so proud of them!

I discovered the girls packing two boxes completely independently. All I had to do was label and tape. I was so proud of them!

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They were really sweet all morning.

They were really sweet all morning.

Then we had a play date with Misty, and I got to see her basement in the final stages of being finished. It was very exciting, and also a little sad. I will miss this family so much!

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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.

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.

Another day in sequester

Aside from keeping the girls alive, getting Lydia to and from preschool, cleaning and cooking, I slept all day. Last night I barely slept at all because Mary got up a couple times and thenI couldn’t get back to bed because I am so excited about the move.

The girls were absolutely perfect today; Mary napped for four hours, and Lydia played next to me in the bed. When I woke up, I played with the girls for two hours. That was probably the highlight of my day. I guess I could have used the time to pack some more boxes, but it felt really fulfilling to just sit on the floor with them and be silly.

Here are the two pictures I have from today.

Watching The Living Scriptures videos. One of the ladies at church gave us her set of Living Scripture videos for a seriously reduced price, and the girls have LOVED them. It feels like a huge blessing.

Watching The Living Scriptures videos. One of the ladies at church gave us her set of Living Scripture videos for a seriously reduced price, and the girls have LOVED them. It feels like a huge blessing.

Pretending to call Nana and Grandma Cullen.

Pretending to call Nana and Grandma Cullen.

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Gardens after Dark

We have had so many Halloween activities that I accidentally dressed Lydia up in costume for preschool. I thought the Halloween parade was this week. The school administrator patiently informed me that the parade will occur on Halloween, as the flier they sent home clearly stated. Oops. In between worrying about my mistake and hoping Lydia was too young to feel embarrassed, I visit taught Marilyn and practiced a bit of piano at home.

Playing at Marilyn's.

Playing at Marilyn’s.

Then in the afternoon, Isabella came over and we went shopping for her costume. She wanted to be a cracked doll, so we went to Kid to Kid and DI looking for a lacy dress. I said a silent prayer as we pulled into DI, and bam! Within five minutes, we found the dress. I love God.

Then we picked up Lalitha, Eden and Ada before caravaning with the Pe’as to Red Butte for the Garden After Dark festivities.

Potions with Maleficent.

Potions with Maleficent.

A cracked china doll (aka Isabella)!

A cracked china doll (aka Isabella)!

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The bumblebee climbed a tree.

The bumblebee climbed a tree.

Enamored. Ada blew her a kiss afterward.

Enamored. Ada blew her a kiss afterward.

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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!

IMG_9804 IMG_9813 IMG_9814IMG_9797IMG_9800IMG_9815 IMG_9815 IMG_9816 IMG_9817And hand holding:

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.

Post birthday Sunday

Today after church and meetings, we headed over to Red Butte Gardens for an afternoon stroll (and to eat leftover birthday cake).

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All together!

All together!

Feeding the fishies.

Feeding the fishies.

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In the three bears' home.

In the three bears’ home.

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eating cake

eating cake

sep28pic20 sep28pic18 sep28pic19Then we came home and just chatted for a couple hours.

At one point, Abe came down to the kitchen after playing with the girls. He looked like this:

Abe is such a great dad. Tonight the girls made him the fairy in charge of bringing the treats in their tent. He complied.

Tonight the girls made him the fairy in charge of bringing the treats in their tent. He complied.

And now Clark and Swathi are about to catch their late night flight back to New York. I am blogging before I take them. I hope they end up here because it will be hard to see them go. It has been such a wonderful treat to be all together! Thanksgiving, when we’ll all be together again, can’t come soon enough!