Monday, January 30, 2012

Hola Elder

Hola Familia,

So I'm back in the mission, and things are going pretty well. They put
me into a trio. My companions are Elder George and Elder Teng. Elder
George is from Florida and has been out in the field for 6 or 7 months
I think. He's really good. Elder Teng (pronounced "Tang") is waiting
for his visa to go to Taiwan. He grew up in Washington, but he learned
how to speak Mandrian from his parents. He's also really cool. The
funny thing is that before transfers this last Tuesday the
companionship used to be a trio (the third elder got sent off to
Compton). It's kinda of funny that I arrive just in time to fill in
the vacancy. I kind of feel like a "third wheel" to this companionship
right now, but I'm getting used to things pretty quick and my
companions feel rather motivated to get me talking.

Our companionship covers two wards in the area: an English-speaking
family ward (Cypress 2nd) and the Singles Ward (covers the whole
stake). Compared to my last area, that's like a quarter of the elders
per ward. Between these two wards, we have way more than enough stuff
to do (or rather, nowhere near enough time to do the stuff we need
to). Also, going to 6+ hours of church meetings on Sunday feels very
bizarre, scheduling-wise.

I have my tennis shoes (thanks for asking), but I think I forgot my
coat. If you could check (I think it's still in the entryway) that
would be nice.

Speaking of coats, the weather here has been weird. Supposedly this is
supposed to be the rainy season, but since I've arrived the weather
has been sunny and in the 70s. It's the middle of January and it feels
warmer than when I left in mid-October (when I was in the
supposedly-hottest area of the mission). I mean, it feels just like
summer (except that summer here is warmer than summer back home, but
you get my point).

Elder West

Thursday, January 26, 2012


We dropped Alex off at Sea-Tac this morning. Traffic was brutal, but we made it in plenty of time to get him checked in and to check his two suitcases (both weighed 47 pounds). Having him go was bittersweet. We're happy that he's healed up and returning to the mission field, but we will surely miss him - and his selfless service around the house.
Hey mister! Move your head!

Hey Alex! Look at the camera!

At least we got a smile.

Vaya con Dios, Elder West.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Alex Update

I'm not sure whether it was harder to wait the first time Alex got his mission call, or this time. 
Let's say this time.
Every step of the process this time seemed to take twice as long as I wanted it to it should have.
Well, the wait is over.  I got a call last night around 5pm from our stake president. He asked me if I was sitting down (dead give-away). No surprise that he's going back to Long Beach - we were pretty sure that Alex would be.  The surprise is when. 
Tomorrow morning.
That gives us one day to get him packed and say goodbye.
Can we do it?

You betcha.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Closet Clean-Up

I drove down to IKEA on my own last Friday - specifically for this shoe cabinet
I had a little trouble finding it - it was in the IKEA aisle equivelant of Platform 9&3/4.
We already had the mirror up (also purchased from IKEA).

I love how many shoes it tidies up out of sight.  My pull-out holds 11 pairs of shoes!
Steve can only get about 6 of his larger shoes in his pull-out - but that's more than enough room for him. closet is clean and organized and my bedroom is done (except, perhaps for new bedding?). I need to sort out one or two things in the bathroom and then our 'master suite' will be done! 

Snow Day III

The branch is even more bent.

We have hairy icicles.

My plot to NOT pick all the apples has paid off...for the birds.  Evidently they've been passing the word along that our yard has apples - there are between 2 and 10 in the tree at any given time. 
Just doing my part.
Oh, and YES, it's still snowing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Day II

notice how bent the branch is now...

Wet, wet, wet...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Cream Cheese Danish

Pinterest win!

I'd like to try some cold, but I'm not sure we'll have any left.
I am a bit addicted to Pinterest lately.  Love. It.  Anywho...while trolling the boards this week I came across a picture of diy cream cheese danish.  It's dangerously easy to make.  Dang.  So far the voting has been unanimous - it's a winner.  My only regret is that I forgot that I happen to have some raspberry filling down in my food storage.  Oh well, next time.

I did make mine with the reduced fat cream cheese - so this is practically a diet food.  I was not, however, willing to compromise standards and try the 'lite' crescent rolls.  That just seems wrong.

Cream Cheese Danish
(slightly adapted from The Adventures of Kitchen Girl)

2 cans ready to use refrigerated crescent rolls
1 8-ounce packages cream cheese (regular or low fat)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 egg (break one into a small bowl, stir with a fork to break it up, then eyeball the amount)
1 egg white

Glaze(I used some leftover vanilla frosting, but if you don’t have any of that):
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350* degrees and grease a 13X9-inch baking pan. Lay a pack of crescent rolls in the pan and pinch the openings together. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg together until smooth. Spread the mixture over the crescent rolls evenly and then lay the second pack of crescent rolls on top of the cheese mixture and brush with egg white. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown. Top with glaze after cooling for 20 minutes.

Servings: Since there are currently four people residing in my house, I'd have to say: 4 servings. I was pleasantly surprised with how easily this sliced - even when warm - so you could cut the pieces as small as you'd like.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Challah Bread. By Danny.

It's amazing how much better this bread looks
when I tell you that my 16 year old son made it.
The youth in our ward had an International Cook-off this week.  Daniel wasn't very inclined to make anything - but he reckoned without me.  I informed him that if he was going to sample other people's cooking, it was only fair that he take an entry.  Since he's not really big into very many 'international' foods, I figured some type of bread would be a safe option.  Besides, I had all the ingredients on hand. He made this almost entirely by himself - I did stand over him...and helped a bit with the braiding. 

He came in third.

Challah in a Bread Machine
(recipe adapted from the Sunset Cook Book of Breads - which I've owned forever)

1 package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup each sugar and canola oil
2 eggs
2-3 drops yellow food coloring
5 (ish) cups of all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
poppy seeds

Add water, yeast, salt, sugar, oil, eggs and finally flour to your bread machine.  Set on 'dough' setting.  Come back in 1 1/2 hours and dump it out on a floured counter.  Pinch off about 3/4 cup of dough and set it aside.
Divide remaining dough into 4 equal parts; roll each between your hands to form a strand about 20 inches long. Place the four strips lengthwise on a greased baking sheet, pinch tops together, and braid as follows: pick up strand on right, bring it over next one, under the third, and over the fourth. Repeat, always starting with strand on the right, until braid is complete. Pinch ends together.
Divide reserved dough into 3 pieces. Roll each about 5-6 inches long. Make a small 3 strand braid and lay n top center of large braid. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour (until almost doubled).
Using a soft brush or your fingers, spread egg yolk mixture carefully and evenly over braids; sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 350' for about 30-35 minutes.

I think Danny was a little shy on the flour, so his braids were pretty soft and hard to keep even - but considering this might have been his first loaf of bread, he did great.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Just Call Me Ol' Paint

I painted my bedroom and bathroom last week. 

I overheard Steve talking on the phone to someone: "...she paints our room every year..."

I have to rebut that statement (is rebut a word?). We've lived in this house for about 13.5 years.  I've only painted our bedroom 5 times.  Do the math.  After doing some highly improbably sums on the back of a napkin, I've come to the conclusion that I've averaged one paint job for every 2.7 years. If you factor in the fact that this paint color is nearly the same as the second color I painted, you can clearly see that I average 3.425 years between paint jobs.

The end.

(go here to see more pictures)