Piano, errands, cooking, and FHE

Today started out slowly, and that gave me a chance to work in some good hours at the piano. Mary demanded a nap as soon as she finished breakfast; when I pushed back on the idea, she threw herself on the floor, kicked the oven and screamed, “Nap! Binkies! Amiwals! (‘Animals!’).” I caved. 9:30 nap it was, and as the rest of the day progressed, she got grumpier and grumpier. Next time she tries to take a nap four hours early, I will put up more resistance.

After her nap, we took Lalitha on an errand and then ran an errand ourselves. We came back home and I folded laundry for an hour while the girls played “tea party” in the bathroom. It was flooded afterward.

Then I cooked like crazy until the Andersons joined us for dinner.

I stuffed peppers with some of that market corn, market tomatoes, scallions, cheddar, and homemade bread crumbs. They look messy, but they were really yummy.

I stuffed peppers with some of that market corn, market tomatoes, scallions, cheddar, and homemade bread crumbs. They look messy, but they were really yummy.

I bought a GIANT candy stripe beet at the market and cooked it in the pressure cooker tonight. It had a milder flavor than  regular beets. Maybe I cooked it too long, or maybe it was old. After I bought it, I noticed the leaves were old. I learned my lesson: Next time, I will check the leaves before purchasing beets!

I bought a GIANT candy stripe beet at the market and cooked it in the pressure cooker tonight. It had a milder flavor than regular beets. Maybe I cooked it too long, or maybe it was old. After I bought it, I noticed the leaves were old. I learned my lesson: Next time, I will check the leaves before purchasing beets!

We had a song night for FHE. This is the girls dancing to "Once There Was A Snowman."

We had a song night for FHE. This is the girls dancing to “Once There Was A Snowman.”

(The snowman melts in the song.)

(The snowman melts in the song.)

Sick day and a double play date

I didn’t sleep enough last night AND I overdid it on the chocolate mousse, and I think my sugar-compromised immune system couldn’t handle it. I woke up feeling sick, and since my kids have both been battling colds for over a week, I decided to call it a stay-at-home day and skip Lydia’s last swimming lesson.

Reading in the morning. Mary was trying to read the book to herself and was doing a pretty great job, especially considering she specializes in sentences three words long or fewer!

Reading in the morning. Mary was trying to read the book to herself and was doing a pretty great job, especially considering she specializes in sentences three words long or fewer!

After naps, Lydia had fun bedecking Mary in all sorts of silly things.

After naps, Lydia had fun bedecking Mary in all sorts of silly things.

Attempting to get the belt to fit Mary.

Attempting to get the belt to fit Mary.

In her glory.

Some leftover tears  are still on her cheek because Lydia wanted a turn with the glasses.

Putting on these glasses provided endless entertainment to the girls. I love their sense of humor.

Putting on these glasses provided endless entertainment to the girls. I love their sense of humor.

We did a lot of movies, reading, piano playing, song singing…and more movies. At 5 pm Aria and Paige rescued me from an evening of digital entertainment and came over for a play date.

Misting in the hose outside.

Misting in the hose outside.

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Sweet Baby Enna. Aria and her kids just got back from over three weeks in France, and Enna has grown so much since I last saw her!

Sweet Baby Enna. Aria and her kids just got back from over three weeks in France, and Enna has grown so much since I last saw her!

I had the kids help me bread the eggplant that I turned into eggplant Parmesan for dinner. Abe and I had a wonderful time talking for dinner. We kept mindlessly feeding the girls whatever they wanted so we could talk longer. We don’t get to see each other at all on Wednesdays, so it felt like we had to catch up. Next semester I have class Wednesday and Thursday, so we’ll go those two days without seeing each other at all. So sad.

Anyway, I think I am going to bed early to try to get rid of this bug. We have a birthday party to attend tomorrow, so I can’t have another stay-at-home day. In fact, I’ll have a really rushed morning because I have yet to buy and wrap the gift!!

An ideal morning (and class again)

This morning was PERFECT. If every morning could be like this one, I’d have it made! The kids slept in, so before I got them for breakfast, I had a chance to read scriptures, write in my scripture journal, run two miles (on the treadmill in the basement), and take a shower. It was wonderful.

Then I fed the kids breakfast, after which Mary asked for a nap and Lydia asked for quiet time. Um, sure? I put them down and practiced for an hour before I got them up to go to Lydia’s swimming lesson. I spent the entire lesson chasing Mary outside. She loves being chased. Then it was lunch and more quiet time. I got another two hours of piano in, plus folded a load of laundry AND tidied/cleaned the house.

Then Lydia and I went outside for a nail painting party.

IMG_9059 IMG_9060 IMG_9061Then I fed the girls a snack before leaving for school.

I have so much anxiety before class these days. I basically spiritually crawl to the feet of Jesus the whole car ride to school and beg for help/strength to make it through class. So far, that tactic has served me well. Tonight went great. I made ratatouille, a fish dish, a sauce, escargot, and some vinaigrette.

My ratatouille and my teammate's mousse.

My ratatouille and my teammate’s mousse.

My escargot. The culinary genius in the class was the mastermind behind the plating.

My escargot. The culinary genius in the class was the mastermind behind the plating.

My sloppy plating of my teammate's pork tenderloin. I found out all about plating spoons today, and I want to buy one before the next class. A plating spoon would help me control the lines of the sauce so much better.

My sloppy plating of my teammate’s pork tenderloin. I found out all about plating spoons today, and I want to buy one before the next class. A plating spoon would help me control the lines of the sauce so much better.

The culinary genius, Jon, told me afterward that a good trick is to simply spoon the sauce around the fish, or spoon it in two random spots right next to the fish (so it looks like the fish is sitting on top of the sauce). I will try that next time. I was happy with the way the veggies on top looked, though.

The culinary genius, Jon, told me afterward that a good trick is to simply spoon the sauce around the fish, or spoon it in two random spots right next to the fish (so it looks like the fish is sitting on top of the sauce). I will try that next time. I was happy with the way the veggies on top looked, though.

Canning with Chelsea

I had plans to work out this morning, but those dissipated in the face of housework.

Lydia and Mary played in the room while I folded laundry this morning. Lydia loves tucking Mary in, and Mary loves being tucked in. It's a good situation.

Lydia and Mary played in the room while I folded laundry this morning. Lydia loves tucking Mary in, and Mary loves being tucked in. It’s a good situation.

Last week Misty called me and told me she’d signed Sophia up for swim lessons, and that there were still empty spots left. I signed Lydia up immediately, and they had so much fun today at their first lesson.

aug3Then we came home, ate lunch, and headed down to Orem to visit my friend, Chelsea. The last time I saw Chelsea, she gave me the best salsa I’d ever had. When I told her how much I liked it, she said she’d teach me how to make it during her next canning session. She grew everything herself, and so she cans when all the salsa veggies are ripe. They were ripe today!

We had the BEST time. The whole drive down I felt so happy and excited to spend time with Chelsea. Abe and I talked about this on the way home, and there’s just something extra special about seeing a friend you’ve known in your pre-adult life. I don’t have any of those out here in Utah except for Chelsea, and I feel really happy whenever I get to spend time with her (not often enough).

If spending time with Chelsea weren’t enough, my eyes were also opened today about the possibilities of living in Orem. Chelsea lives exactly eight minutes from Abe’s work, so when he was done I picked him up and we went back to Chelsea and Derek’s house and had amazing Thai food for dinner. Chelsea and Derek loaded us up with canned and fresh produce, and we left feeling so happy, grateful, and blessed. I asked Abe how soon he thought we could sell our condo so we could buy a house near Chelsea and Derek…

Canning with Chelsea.

Canning with Chelsea.

Olivia has approximately twenty princess dresses. Lydia changed her dress every ten minutes for the first hour we were there.

Olivia has approximately twenty princess dresses. Lydia changed her dress every ten minutes for the first hour we were there.

She finally settled on this number.

She finally settled on this number.

Mary and Carter.

Mary and Carter.

Lydia dismounting.

Lydia dismounting.

Picking strawberries in Chelsea's strawberry patch.

Picking strawberries in Chelsea’s strawberry patch.

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London and Olivia. London is a really, really child friendly dog.

London and Olivia. London is an exceptionally well-trained, child friendly dog.

Watching London interact with the children.

Watching London interact with the children.

It was cute.

It was cute.

Mary on the rocking horse.

Mary on the rocking horse.

Eating dinner/chips and salsa for dinner. They loved the salsa!

Eating dinner/chips and salsa for dinner. They loved the salsa!

In front of Chelsea's AMAZING garden. I love Chelsea, I love her garden, I love this visit...basically, I want to move to Orem right away.

In front of Chelsea’s AMAZING garden. I love Chelsea, I love her garden, I love this visit…basically, I want to move to Orem right away.

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Afterward, we headed to the outlets to buy pajamas for Lydia. We’ve spent six months in denial about her pj situation, and it’s finally reached the point where we’ve come to admit: she needs new ones. She spends half the week in her 2T pjs which barely come past her knees. During out outing, we discovered princess pajama dresses. Whoever came up with that must have had Lydia and Mary in mind. I kind of think all the other pj’s we bought might not even get used now that wearing a princess dress to bed is an option. The girls fell asleep before we got home, so I’ll take pictures of the princess pj dress tomorrow.

Abe gets a new calling

Today Abe got sustained as the new Elder’s Quorum President. He will be wonderful, I’m sure. It will mean a lot less time home with family and a lot more time out doing visits and giving service, but this is how I feel: God gave me Abe. If God wants me to give some of Abe back to Him, I’m very happy to do that. As long as my husband is alive and healthy, God can have all the Abe he wants and I will just stand by and be grateful to be married to such a faith-filled man.

I had to conduct Primary today. Even though I’m supposedly a trained teacher, getting up in front of people is hard for me. The children were very nice, though. Josh Geiger, my visiting teachee’s son, was very nice and volunteered to say the opening prayer when I realized our scheduled child wasn’t there. He gave me a reassuring wink as he headed up to the stand, and that made me feel happy. I have an ally in Primary!

We were up until 1:30 am last night visiting with Jon and Shirley, and we enjoyed every second of that. It was so hard to stop chatting, but we finally decided to be responsible and say goodnight after two and a half hours flew by without us even realizing it. They stopped by again for a short visit after church and saw the girls. We are so grateful to have such wonderful friends in our lives.

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Mary was naughty and ran into the living room while I played the piano. She's not supposed to leave the kitchen while she's eating, and she gets a real thrill disobeying that rule.

Mary was naughty and ran into the living room while I played the piano. She’s not supposed to leave the kitchen while she’s eating, and she gets a real thrill disobeying that rule.

Abe reading a note from Jon and Shirley after they'd gone. They are the sweetest.
Abe reading a note from Jon and Shirley after they’d gone. They are the sweetest.

July 3

Kate showed up at 8:30 so I could make it to 9 am yoga this morning. I think I might have pushed it too hard in yoga because for the rest of the day I just dragged. For example, at one point I dumped all the laundry on the floor in the girls room with every intention of sorting and folding…and instead, I just sat there playing with and reading to the girls. I finally got around to the laundry at bedtime. Six hours later.

In the interim, Abe came home and we did errands. We had what felt like social hour at the grocery store. We ran into Abe’s old friend, Abe’s first grade teacher, my visiting teacher, and the mother of some of the kids in Primary who gave talks last Sunday.

Blueberries outside of Sprouts.

Blueberries outside of Sprouts.

The girls rode this ancient merry-go-round outside of Rite Aid for a quarter. Might as well have been Disneyland--they loved it.

The girls rode this ancient merry-go-round outside of Rite Aid for a quarter. Might as well have been Disneyland–they loved it.

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Then we came home and had s’mores for dinner, much to Abe’s chagrin. But I pointed out the girls had eaten a ton of raw snap peas before our errands, and they’d had a ton of berries and crackers on our outing. I couldn’t picture them eating much more substantial food, plus I couldn’t wait for s’mores. We were supposed to go camping tonight, and when the reservations didn’t work out, the one thing I was sad about was the prospect of missing out on s’mores. The electric coils on our stove top were a fine–superior, even–substitute.

Lydia was our official s'more smusher. She smushed the graham crackers together after I slid the marshmallows in between.

Lydia was our official s’more smusher. She smushed the graham crackers together after I slid the marshmallows in between.

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Mary wasn't interested in s'mores. She got really excited about her ice water, though.

Mary wasn’t interested in s’mores. She got really excited about her ice water, though.

 

Lydia has had nosebleeds in the middle of the night two nights in a row. Her bed is right over an air conditioning duct, and I wonder if that’s why. At any rate, Abe and I are exhausted and hoping she doesn’t have one tonight. It’s a little hard to drag ourselves out of bed, clean the blood and start a load of laundry at 3 am every night.  I’d love it if we could break the habit tonight.

And a fireworks show just started in the valley. It’s so exciting to be able to watch from my desk–time to wrap this up!

A picnic, a final, and some really gross pictures

Lydia begged me to have a play date with Sophia today, and since Misty’s play group was having a picnic at noon, it worked out. Mary loves Sophia too, and after the play date on the way to the library she kept saying, “Mama, Fia!!” (“Mama, I saw Sophia today!”) They had fun.

IMG_0150 IMG_0151 IMG_0153Then I had my final for Garde Manger tonight. It was stressful because I was running late, but I managed to turn everything out, and the chef really liked it!

I made the tuna tartare canapes on the silver tray in front.

I made the tuna tartare canapes on the silver tray in front.

One of my beet salads.

One of my beet salads.

This was my sample plate for the chef. It looks sloppy, but I was running late because I was the only person who had to make forcemeat yesterday (I was gone when everyone else did that), so I got behind in my prep work. That's what my final chicken galantine looked like when sliced. There are also the two tuna tatare toasts, and some breakfast sausage. The sauce is a balsamic vinaigrette that I dipped my beets in.

This was my sample plate for the chef. It looks sloppy, but I was running late because I was the only person who had to make forcemeat yesterday (I was gone when everyone else did that), so I got behind in my prep work. That’s what my final chicken galantine looked like when sliced. There are also the two tuna tatare toasts, and some breakfast sausage. The sauce is a balsamic vinaigrette that I dipped my beets in.

Six of us made this food in an hour and a half. Well, we prepped yesterday, but still--it felt like a ton of work!

Six of us made this food in an hour and a half. Well, we prepped yesterday, but still–it felt like a ton of work!

Finally, I thought I would include pictures I forgot to post Saturday. While I made my practice galantine Saturday, I thought I’d take pictures to show how gross the process is:

This is what sausage looks like before it's cooked. Feel free to swear it off forever. We spread this nastiness on a chicken skin, throw internal garnishes in, roll it up, poach it, and then try to fry the sliminess away.

This is what sausage looks like before it’s cooked. Feel free to swear it off forever. We spread this nastiness on a chicken skin, throw internal garnishes in, roll it up, poach it, and then try to fry the sliminess away.

Chicken Galantine--who knew disgusting could reach such heights?

Chicken Galantine–who knew disgusting could reach such heights?

Fun Friday (and I’m pooped).

I feel like I’m going to jinx myself by saying this, but today was another in what feels like a string of good days. Lydia and I started off by painting our nails (with me doing all of the painting).

Then I fed the girls and practiced piano. The girls played together.

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Lydia had Puss give Mary a kiss!

Lydia had Puss give Mary a kiss!

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After that fun, I dropped them off at Sarah’s house for a play date. Sarah volunteered to watch the girls while I slipped out to go to the temple. She lives about a block away, and it felt so great to get to the temple! I had a very meaningful visit, and I can’t thank Sarah enough. Mary didn’t even cry. I think I found myself the perfect swap buddy today!

Then I came home and rested for a bit while the girls had quiet time/nap time. After a while, I realized I had a ton of leftover tamales and other food from class last night, so I called Misty and invited her family over for dinner. It was the perfect ending to a busy week–and a perfect beginning to the weekend.

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A happy, warm, successful day

This morning Lydia and I made buckwheat muffins again. It’s a good thing, too, since I found out today the competition on Saturday is a cupcake competition, and one of the ingredients is garlic. I am thinking of revamping the buckwheat muffin and calling it a cupcake. Maybe I’ll pipe some onion/garlic jam in the middle and top it with some sort of honey frosting and toasted almonds. We’ll see.

After we made cupcakes, we headed out to meet Misty, Sophia and Max at the park for a play date/ picnic. While we were there, we also ran into Jen, Eldon, Natalie, Laddie and Spencer–a two for one play date!

IMG_0007 IMG_0001 IMG_0002 IMG_0003Then we went home for naps and such. After I fed the girls again, we headed to the car to go to school. Tonight I made spinach and cheese tamales. I was so excited because I got to partner up with the best student in class. I have observed her in awe all semester–she cooks so fast, so clean, and her food always tastes amazing. Sadly, she got sick half way through and had to go home. I was terrified to plate our food all by myself, but it turned out okay. I forgot to take a picture because I was so frazzled. Her ceviche and shredded meat dish turned out amazingly good.

But by far, the best news of the day is about Abe. Abe met his quota at work today, and the quarter is only half done! I was so proud of him and really grateful to God for the blessing. I have been praying a lot and feeling really close to God lately, and this felt like some direct divine communication. Yay, Abe!

Also, Mary is finally talking more. She is learning to say “please” instead of screaming in her high chair. Glory be, allelujah. I am always so charmed by her cuteness that it’s hard to get mad at her, but I won’t miss her screaming in her high chair one bit.

A bike ride

We did take pictures today, but the camera card was accidentally in the computer. Oops! Better tomorrow.

This morning we had a play date with Jen, Natlalie, Laddie and Spencer. The best part was after we all went to institute, and Lydia and Natalie had so much fun running around the church. They were so cute! I wish I’d had my camera on me, but seeing that the card wasn’t in the camera anyway, it wouldn’t have done much good.

After we all ate and napped, Abe came home and we went on a bike ride up the canyon. It was a gorgeous evening and the recent rain has turned everything green. Everything smelled and looked so fresh. It was a wonderful end to the day. Too bad my Fitbit can’t tell when I bike! Next time I’m going to stick it in my sock and see if it can tell I’m moving.

We made pizza when we came home, Abe bathed the girls, I did homework, and now we’re all ready for bed. Abe has had so little sleep because of his long commute. I feel sorry for him. Right now he’s dying of tiredness, so I better stop blogging so we can turn out the light and he can go to sleep.