I have great admiration for the culinary industry. I admire those who are fabulous chefs, modify recipes, and sometimes use their own ingenuity when cooking food.
A great friend of mine, who I will refer to only as E, has superb culinary skills. She has been accepted and participates in an elite cooking club; she blogs about her culinary skills and her predecessors; and she has a renowned library of cookbooks.
She is not only a fabulous cook, but a great gift giver as well. Many times the gifts I receive from her are distinctive cookbooks which I have loved. One year for my birthday she gave me a cookbook titled Favorites. This cookbook is a collection of favorite Ivory Family recipes. It is an excellent compilation of tasty and fairly easy recipes (my kind of cookbook). It is one I have shared with many of my friends.
Upon opening the front cover of my gift, I found a heart-felt, hand written note to my friend’s mother. As I thumbed through the pages, I also noticed food platters from a recipe well used. It brought a big smile to my face. Not only because of the tender note to her mother; but also being recipient of re-gifting. For months I said nothing, enjoying my hard-to-come-by gift.
A few months later my friend E called and said, “I have a strange question.” She asked me if I had her mother’s cookbook. I began to laugh as I told her I thought I had been re-gifted, but loved my gift anyway. She told me she had accidentally given me the cookbook she had borrowed from her mother, instead of the new one she had purchased for me. When she went to return her mother's book, she realized the mix-up.
Saturday night we exchange birthday gifts for this year. I thought I had purchased the perfect gift for my friend. It was a sequel to The Favorites cookbook. What a surprise, when she had the same gift for me.
We laughed, and laughed, while we enjoyed dinner and a movie together.
Monday, February 28, 2011
I have great admiration for the culinary industry. I admire those who are fabulous chefs, modify recipes, and sometimes use their own ingenuity when cooking food.
Posted by browniemom at 8:44 PM
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Today was my nephew's farewell. He has been called to serve in the Fort Launderdale, Flordia, spanish speaking mission. When we arrived at church, the parking lot was quite crowded (as they usually are for mission farewells). I was amazed to find people who thought they had “cool” cars or trucks, taking two spaces to avoid door dings or scratches to their precious vehicles. I think they should have put me in charge of parking so that I could determine which cars were worthy of two spaces. The very average truck taking two spaces, was a one space vehicle. While on the other hand, the porche', might have been a two space automobile.
I finally found a perfect space to park in the North West corner of the lot. The only disadvantage was the mounds of snow in front and to the side. Of course if someone parked in the space behind me, I wouldn’t be able to get out. The snow made these two spaces incompatible. I was positive that no one would park behind me, and if they did they would only stay for one meeting.
The farewell was fabulous! I love to watch these young boys grow into young men. They are so valiant and ready to serve the Lord.
After the farewell concluded, we were walking out to our car when Mike said, “I think you are boxed in,” and I definitely was. The two big boys’ (Jordan and Mike) tried to guide me out of my position, but it was not to be.
Jordan and I both went inside, interrupted the meetings in progress to announce our predicament. No one fessed up, except for the adorable little 3 year old primary children. We just grinned and moved on. I finally asked the librarians to take the license plate number and car make and model around to other meeting to find its owner, and I returned to the car.
I asked a kind relative of ours to shuttle my kids and our food contribution over to the farewell festivities. I stayed with the car knowing that the librarians wouldn’t let me down, and someone would be out in no time at all to claim their car. I waited, and waited, and finally called my chauffeur to pick me up.
There were many inquiries as to whether or not I left a note on the car that boxed me in. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to write a note that was “church appropriate”, so took the high road and decided not to leave one at all.
The suburban has a new bump on the fender from 4 wheeling on the icy snow banks, and had a difficult time adjusting back to two wheel drive. I can say however, that we are a one parking space family.
Posted by browniemom at 3:55 PM
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Bella has learned the word “ride”. Whenever I taxi the kids to and from activities, Bella wants to come. I usually let her come with me every now and again, for some doggie enjoyment, and diversion from her mundane day. Bella insists on sitting on my lap and watching out the window. If you ever notice the driver’s window you will see it blotted with little paw and nose prints from her.
I have begun to wonder if I am becoming like my Grandma. Grandma Wagstaff had a small fluffy white poodle. She loved her little dog. It provided her with companionship, love, and entertainment. Each day Grandma would take her little dog on a ride. They would usually end there joyride with a visit to the drive through window at McDonalds to purchase a hamburger for her little furry friend. We used to laugh and think how spoiled her dog was.
I have not yet begun taking my dog to fast food establishments, but I’m wondering if I’m following in Grandma’s footsteps just a tad.
Posted by browniemom at 11:01 PM
Friday, February 25, 2011
What’s a girl to do? As I mentioned before, Katelyn’s two top choices for college are BYU, and UVU. She has already been accepted to UVU with a full ride scholarship. Yesterday,she got accepted to BYU as well.
Her options are wide open. I’m just not sure what a cougar in red would look like, but hey, I’m good with either choice.
Posted by browniemom at 6:43 PM
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tonight was Literacy Night at Valley View Elementary School. The PTA does an outstanding job planning, preparing, and presenting such a night. As a past PTA President I know by experience how much time and effort is involved with such a night.
The main attraction for me was the Greek Plays presented by Mrs. Ferrarie’s 6th Grade Class. Of course I might be a little partial since Lizzy’s was performing.
These are some pictures from the Greek plays:
Posted by browniemom at 7:39 PM
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tonight Mike got asked to the Girl's choice Senate Dance. The Dance is in March, which means he will be 16 and able to go. I am always amused by the ingenuity of the invitee. A happy meal was delivered to our house, with a note on it that said: "I'd be happy if you would go to the Senate Dance with me."
The difficult part was finding the name of the girl. I dumped out the soda and looked all over the cup, scoured the box, rummage through the wrappers, and found nothing. Finally, Mike looked inside the hamburger and found a small crumpled up name. Good thing he wasn't hungry! I think the invitee was hoping he would take a big bite out of the burger before he found her name.
Posted by browniemom at 7:06 PM
The past couple of years I have been trying to complete the renovation on the main level that started about 4 years or more ago. I have been purchasing furniture on occasion at the 50% off sales at a local furniture store.
While I have found some beautiful furniture, I just haven’t been able to put it all together. Recently, I had assistance finishing the project. Here are a few of the finished rooms:
Posted by browniemom at 7:00 PM
Monday, February 21, 2011
Katelyn will be graduating from Bountiful High School this year. I can't believe how quickly time has gone by. Most kids (well most of mine), seem to take a lighter load in high school their senior year. Not Kate, she has been taking classed such as AP Calculus, Sports Med, CE English, and Honors Physics to name a few.
Applications to the colleges she was interested in were due February 1st. Most applications require essays, some ecclesiastical endorsements, etc. This is not a small feat. She applied to at least 5 colleges, although she was mainly interested in BYU, and UVU. She started the application process the evening of January 31st, and submitted the last college application at 11:58 that evening. There is nothing like a lot of pressure, and a little procrastination in submitting her college apps.
The U of U (her parents' alma mater) was a top choice; however she wanted the experiencing of living away from home for awhile. We haven't heard from BYU yet, but UVU has not only sent her an acceptance letter to their school; but has given her an Outstanding Merit R Scholar Award. It is a full ride scholarship to their school.
I am so proud of her. Her emphasis on academics in high school has benefited her college options. Way to go Kate!
Posted by browniemom at 10:27 AM
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I greatly appreciate the extra help my older kids that live at home give me. I have learned that each child is unique and individual, and that ALL my children have positive attributes to accentuate.
For instance, Sarah is my gift shopper. She is adept at shopping for holiday gifts, birthday gifts, just about any gift at all. She enjoys shopping, as long as she isn’t paying. She is a great bargain shopper, and loves to shop with coupons or other discount tickets. I enjoy someone finding the perfect gift for the special someone on my list.
Mike is my handyman/grounds keeper. He is always puttering around in the garage, re-organizing gear, finding lost treasures, and cleaning up our messes. He has the snow removed before dawn in the winter; and weeds pulled before we begin to garden in the summer.
Kate, is proficient at grocery shopping. She does not like to shop for apparel, but is a whiz with the grocery shopping. On occasion, an elderly woman in our neighborhood also entrusts Kate to do her grocery shopping for her as well. We both send her with a list, but sometimes she tends to deviate from mine just a bit.
Today I sent her to the store with a very small list. I had just shopped at Costco on Friday and only need two things; lettuce, and a fresh vegetable for tomorrow. This is the extras she came home with:
I'm not complaining, I'm just beginning to understand why she really enjoys grocery shopping for me.
Posted by browniemom at 10:18 PM
Friday, February 18, 2011
Tuesday afternoon The Bountiful Braves basketball team battled their rivals the Woods Cross Wild Cats. Mike got clocked by one of his good friends on the opposing team. At first glance it didn’t look like anything substantial, but when he hit the floor and didn’t move for a minute one had to wonder.
He doesn’t remember anything that happened. He only remembers waking up on the floor and not being able to see. He doesn’t remember making his free throws, sitting on the bench, talking to team mates (repeating the same questions over and over again), or walking into the locker room.
Fortunately, his doctor’s wife who is our good friend, was sitting with me as a fan, so we were able to get him examined quickly. He has a mild concussion.
The High School Athletic Association has a 5 day moratorium for anyone that sustains a concussion while participating in high school sports. Unfortunately, this means that Mike will not be able to play in the Olympus game today. He’ll dress and sit on the bench for the sophomore, JV, and Varsity games, but will not play. Fortunately, it will give him time to get healthy again.
Posted by browniemom at 1:45 PM
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Preparing for her basketball debut. Dance pose or basketball pose?Tonight was Lizzy's first Young Women basketball game. Lizzy is a dynamite dancer, and a tremendous tumbler, but has never taken an interest in sports such as basketball. I was quite surprised when she wanted to play basketball with the Young Women.
I had no idea how fun it would be. Girl's ward ball is so much different than boys. There were no angry words; nothing but smiles, giggles, and blushes when they would get a foul called on them. There wasn't even any hair pulling. What no hair pulling? I thought all girl's basketball games had a little of that:). They even had refreshments at the end of their rigorous game.
I'm not sure that any of the girls will get drafted in the WNBA, but they definitely know how to have a good time.
Posted by browniemom at 8:44 PM
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
When Mike was in elementary school he used to have school girl crushes. Each Valentine’s Day he would have a special someone that he wanted to purchase a Valentine gift for.
No young boy wants to ask a parent for help in obtaining the perfect Valentine’s gift for their adolescent love. So Mike would requisition, or maybe even bribe, one of his older sister’s, (who had a driver’s license and good taste), to pick him up a few Valentine gifts.
Why a few gifts one might ask? Well, Mike was an entrepreneur at a very young age. He would take these gifts to school and sell them to his friends who didn’t have older sisters. His friends would put in their requests for Valentine gifts; Mike would mark up the price, and sell them to these desperate love sick boys.
I pretended not to know about his scheme, and Mike continued to quietly pursue his puppy love.
Posted by browniemom at 9:16 PM
Monday, February 14, 2011
The kids’ Valentine’s Day consisted of school parties, treats, valentines, valagrams, and heart shaped pizza for dinner.
I enjoyed listening to the recap of their day. Lizzy had a 50’s dancing party. The girl’s all dressed in poodle skirts, and enjoyed a variety of dance techniques. The waltz, the swing, and two-step were among the favorites. They also line-danced, as well as danced with BOYS!
Ben couldn't wait to tell me that he received 14 valagrams; eight of which he claims are from “mysteries”. I think he may have over exaggerated a bit. He also mentioned the anonymous conversation heart that was placed on his desk and said, “hottie” on it. He makes me laugh.
The doorbell has been ringing a lot, and that is ALL I can say about the older kids. They won't let me divulge anymore. Let's just say, it's been a very eventful day.
I was invited to dinner with Becky and Craig Parry. We spent the evening dining at the Thaifoon Restaurant, on tasty Asian food.
There was speculation at our table about couples dining at the restaurant,and what their relationship may or may not be. I am sure others in the restaurant were conjecturing about the relationships at our table as well.
Posted by browniemom at 11:19 PM
Valentine’s Day, is a day that couples spend time together, and express their love, and devotion to one another. Today, I am missing being a couple. I am missing having Steve here.
Grief seems to ebb and flow, and today it is flowing. I asked the kids on Sunday if it would be okay for me to go alone to the cemetery on Valentine’s Day; they obliged.
On the way to the cemetery, my mind was full of sadness and thoughts such as, “I am only in my 40’s, I have 6 kids, and I’m going to visit my husband on Valentine’s Day at the cemetery; this is crazy.” I never would have imagined that life would have taken such a turn.
My emotions are running high today, and buckets of tears have been shed. I’ll wipe them away before my kids get home from school. They don’t like to see me sad, and why should they; it should be a Happy Valentine’s Day for them.
Posted by browniemom at 11:18 PM
Valentines Day is a day we focus on and pay particular attention to those we love. It is a time to do something extra special for the important people in our lives.
On Sunday, we had a Pre-Valentines Day celebration. Meg and Quinn were in town from Las Vegas, and Sarah and Jordan were visiting from Provo. I invited some guests for dinner, made them a special dinner, opened gifts, and of course had heart shaped sugar cookies for desert.
My family keeps growing, which has been such a blessing. I love them ALL!
Posted by browniemom at 10:55 AM
Sunday, February 13, 2011
The Woods cross team consists of many players from the Rebels team. They are undefeated, so it would have been great to have a win, but it was not to be.
Oly is my alma mater, so it was a win I personally wanted to see happen. Unfortunately, the Braves just couldn’t pull it off that day.
Mike is playing real well. He had 19 points against East, and is seeing quite a bit of JV time.
The game against Highland was intense to say the least. The coach and the fans were very excitable. Their intensity brought about the removal of the coach from the game, as well as an obstreperous fan.
The boisterous fan, jumped from his seat yelling viciously at a referee, running towards him as if begin a physical altercation. He dismissed himself before he was ejected from the game.
Posted by browniemom at 7:13 PM
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Posted by browniemom at 5:39 PM
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Today was the day we met with the "Cake Nazi" to decide upon the perfect wedding cake. One might say it is a little harsh to refer to this kind, eccentric, older woman, in those terms, but I do it in the fondness way. She is extremely presumptuous about her abilities to prepare, create, and display wedding cakes. She presents a variety of flavors of cake, frosting, and fillings. Many of these she has prepared and ready for you to sample during the decision making process.
One of the reasons we fondly refer to this woman as the "Cake Nazi", is because she has specific spoken, and unspoken rules (maybe she refers to them as recommendations).
First, there is NOT a bad choice when selecting one of HER cake flavors. They are all wonderful.
Second, She makes the best marzipan in Utah.
Third, Never push or shove cake into your wife or husband's face at the reception.
I am sure there are many other recommendations that she had, that we just nodded to gracefully. It's just easier that way.
We sampled a variety of cake flavors. While sampling the coconut cake, Sarah blurted out a VERY loud, BLAH!! Jordan kicked her under the table, I gasped, and the "Cake Nazi" said, "Don't you like coconut cake?" To which Sarah replied, "No I don't like coconut cake." The crazed "Cake Nazi" responded, "Well, I'm sure you like MY coconut cake." To which we all nodded, and praised the cake.
We were afraid our plans for the wedding cake were shattered, after offending the "Cake Nazi". Jordan quickly smoothed things over, and we wrapped up our meeting. The last thing we wanted to hear was the dreadful words, "No cake for you."
Posted by browniemom at 7:06 PM
Friday, February 4, 2011
The runway for the race cars was meticulously assembled, with a computerized mechanism that calculated 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place. Each car competed in each lane, just in case the lane made a difference on its rank.
I was stunned by the competitiveness of this event. Many parents were adamant about their son’s car placing first. I began to understand why the computerized calculations at the finish line was necessary.
Ben had assistance with his car from our kind home teacher. I was so glad that our home teacher took on this project that I knew nothing about. Another father at the race assisted him with lubricants for the wheels. Another thing I knew nothing about.
I was happy, because Ben was happy. I only cared that his car made it across the finish line. Not only did his car make it across the finish line, but it took 1st place in the first round, and 3rd overall. This is extra impressive considering we had multiple wards participating.
Posted by browniemom at 8:11 AM
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Ben’s personal adviser, Mike, comes to all of his games to give encouragement, and assess Ben’s skills for the game. Most of the time, it is greatly appreciated, some of the time it is contentious. Ben is lucky to have such a great mentor.
Mike left the game a few minutes early to retrieve the car. It is freezing cold outside, so I didn’t bring up the fact that he doesn't have his license yet.
Ben and I must have been overly excited with our victory tonight. As we were walking out of the game, conversing with one another, we noticed a white suburban parked close to the door. I was thrilled Mike had found a parking spot so close to the building. Ben and I both opened the car door at the same time, (me the front, and him the back) only to find someone we didn’t recognize sitting in the driver’s seat.
The man was about my age. His eyes widened, his eyebrows lifted, and in a very spirited tone he said, “Well, come on in.” I was so stunned, and was laughing so hard, that I didn’t even have a good come-back.
Ben and I then went in search of OUR white suburban. When we thought we found our car, I wouldn’t get in. Mike had put his baseball cap on backwards and I wasn’t sure it was our car. Finally, with a little encouragement, we got in and drove off.
I think there are TOO many white suburban’s in our little community.
Posted by browniemom at 11:07 PM
Brrr.....it is so cold outside. Yesterday, I had scheduled my upstairs carpet to be cleaned. I couldn't believe that out of 365 days of the year, I would pick the coldest day of the year. It took the vendor 2 hours from start to finish to clean my carpet. During the process the garage door had to remain open in order for the hoses to be attached to his truck. Another hose had to be attached to a water source. He turned on the faucet in the garage, which usually works, but would not turn on. "Maybe it's frozen", he suggested. He found another usable water source and began carpet cleaning.
For 2 hours the door was open, and I was cold. I tried to continue with my usual routine, cleaning, cooking, and more cleaning. It was so cold, I finally turned on the fireplace, and wrapped up in a blanket. My kids were stunned with my choice. "Why didn't you just go downstairs where it is warm?"they mumbled. I hate it when they are so logical.
To make our cold day even colder, the garage door wouldn't shut. I tried all morning long to get it to shut, using all my tricks, but it didn't work. I finally called a vendor to come and fix the door. I was so glad he was in the neighborhood and got it fixed by late afternoon.
Last night I succumbed to my kids request, and let Snowball, aka, "the rat killing, garage cat" sleep inside. I had rules about the sleeping arrangements. The cat could ONLY sleep in the bathroom by the garage with the door shut. I thought my instructions were clear, until about 3:30 a.m. when I was sound asleep and a BIG, white cat, jumped on my face. That can be a little startling when you are awaken so abruptly. I guess someone didn't get the memo about Snowball's sleeping arrangements.
Early this morning I went to let the cat out, when I heard a strange sound coming from the garage. It sounded like a waterfall. The water pipe in the garage, attached to the sink where the carpet cleaner had tried to attach his hoses, had burst. Water was emptying into the garage at a rapid pace. Fortunately, it had just recently happened, fortunately we woke up early, and fortunately Mike knew how to turn off the water. Yikes!
On the way home from taking Lizzy to her Harp lesson, the younger kids had a great time watching the car thermometer dip from 6 degrees down to -1. "It's going to be another cold day", I told them.
Every winter day is a battle with Ben as to what it appropriate to wear to school. He wants to wear basketball shorts, sports tee-shirts or jerseys every day. It doesn't matter how cold it is. I told him that I look like a bad parent when he wears shorts with only a sweatshirt in the middle of winter.
When Ben started getting ready for school this morning he put on his usual basketball shorts, and sports tee-shirt. "What?" I exclaimed. I thought I said it was going to be a cold day. After MUCH encouragement (maybe even some threats), I finally got him to wear sweat pants.
I told him he MUST wear a coat today too. "I'll put it in my backpack," he grumbled. I found his coat crumpled on the floor. I picked it up, put it in the car, forced him to put it in his backpack, and took them to school. On the way to school we passed the kids waiting in the bitter cold, at the bus stop for the bus. Ben looked at a boy dressed in basketball shorts, and wearing only a sweatshirt and said, "I guess his parents don't really care about him."
Posted by browniemom at 7:55 AM