Archive for February, 2010

Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker

Steve and I had a great time at the (incredibly expensive) Seattle aquarium on Saturday.

Why not spend a random Tuesday evening telling the world about your new favorite fish?

This is the Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker.

Rather than the pelvic fins that many fish have, it has a suction cup on its… belly area… that it uses to attach to shells, rocks, plants, or the sides of glass aquariums.

I just think they’re awfully cute.

I hope you all enjoyed this random thought for the evening.


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Baby’s First Photo

Oh my goodness.

There are so many reasons that tomorrow will not be as good as today.

1. I’m wearing my most comfortable underwear today, its all downhill from there.

2. No lecture in American Politics today.

3. Tomorrow there is a big exam in American Politics.

4. My Russian professor told me to go home and rest, that I could do the pop quiz from home and bring it in tomorrow.

5. The brownies are almost gone and there is no more cake in the house.

6. I have a dentist appointment at 8 am tomorrow, where I will be getting a few fillings.

7. Absolutely nothing that happens tomorrow will be as amazing as seeing this was today:

Our little baby was so active, rolling and twisting and turning so we could see every detail.  So precious.

I’ve never been able to see anything on an ultrasound so clearly.  I could see the baby’s fingers curl!

The doctor says that I’m measuring at 13 weeks, so my due date is Aug. 30.  He also said that could very well change with my next ultrasound, which is scheduled for April 19th.

We love our little Huckleberry!!

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So, I have a quick question while I’m waiting for my brownies to finish baking so I can head off to bed:

What type of cookies should I send to my 300th commenter?

Its coming up soon, folks, I have a decision to make.

Or, well, you do…

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Cooking Up a Storm

Wow, this post took a lot longer than I expected it to.

Remember Feb 5th, when I said I was going to spend the whole weekend making food to fill my freezer?

Well, I did.

I started by asking Steve what some of his favorite dinners were and making lists of things I wanted to make.

We both then realized that I use A LOT of Pioneer Woman’s recipes. And we LOVE them.

Then we scoured the grocery ads to see what was on sale, and added a couple more recipes based on some good deals.

And I can never stop at Safeway without looking in their clearance section for good deals on meat.  We ended up getting another package of chicken thighs for 50¢ per lb.

These became an integral part of Chicken Spaghetti, Mom’s Chicken Enchiladas, and Mom Flynn’s Chicken Rolls (I froze the filling for these, freezing the crescent roll dough seemed like a bad idea to me), and some bags of shredded chicken for future recipes.

At Super 1 I found a beautiful chuck roast for $1.99/lb and that ended up becoming Drip Beef. We made ours Italian style. Delicious!

What would pre-made dinners be without Baked Macaroni and Cheese and some Spinach Lasagna?

And ever since Jan 4th, when she first posted it, I’d been dreaming of Ree’s White Bean Chili.

Finally, to top of my obsession with Pioneer Woman, we had to make some of her Baked Lemon Pasta. It is heaven.

At the end of our grocery trip, we stopped off at the Dollar Store and picked up a few of these suckers:

The loaf pan and small cake pan sizes seemed the best for us, portion-wise.  They stack well, you can bake your meal right in them, and they are washable and reusable, if you’re careful around sharp objects.

As each meal finished cooking (with the exception of the meals I put in freezer bags, such as the Chili and the Drip Beef filling) I separated it into a few of the aluminum pans, like so:

Then I wrapped them up tight with plastic wrap, pushing it onto the surface of the food to prevent freezer burn.

I often call freezer burn “frost bite.”  Does anyone else do that?

Finally, I wrapped these with aluminum foil and wrote the contents and heating directions on them with a permanent marker.


Most meals were separated into about 3 pans.  With 8 different meals made, that is about 24 different nights I don’t have to make dinner!

These pans hold enough for Steve and I to have a large-portioned dinner or, if we get fancy and make a side dish, enough for our dinner and lunch the next day.

The hardest part is remembering to take something out of the freezer to thaw before we leave for school in the morning, but we are getting better at that.

What is in your freezer?

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Shoulds vs. Will Dos

Should: Post about what I filled my freezer with

Will Do: Post a post of nothingness

Should: Eat a good dinner with lots of vitamins

Will Do: Eat vanilla bean ice cream with caramel sauce and toasted pecans (actually, this is done… I couldn’t wait more than a few minutes after walking in the door before I had to shovel this into my mouth)

Should: Find out what my English homework is

Should: Study for my Russian test

Should: Make visiting teaching appointments

Should: Fold laundry

Should: Clean. Anything. Everything.

Will Do: Put my little TV on the end of my bed and play Tetris until I fall asleep.

Does anybody know how to say “I was too pregnant to study” in Russian?

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Valentine’s Love

I was SUPER excited about today’s post- it was supposed to be my 150th post, falling on Valentine’s Day AND (possibly) the  first day of my second trimester.

Two things stole my thunder:

One: The post I started yesterday was never posted due to slow photo-uploading and extreme business, making this my 149th post.

Two: Pioneer Woman had a similar idea, without the number significance, so I look like a copy-cat.

Oh, well.

Nevertheless, today I bring you 149 things I love, in no particular order, to celebrate my 149th post on this here Valentine’s Day:

  1. The smell of bread baking
  2. Heavy cream
  3. Watching Steve button up his white shirt on Sunday mornings
  4. Having enough melting chocolate left over from out wedding reception to last us at least 5 more years
  5. Netflix
  6. My wedding ring
  7. The amazing foam mattress topper we splurged on and was worth every last cent
  8. Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
  9. Having a chest freezer
  10. The Boxcar Children books
  11. Yard Sales
  12. The lamp that sits next to my computer
  13. The fluffy red robe Steve gave me last year for Valentine’s Day
  14. Campfires
  15. Pillows
  16. The couch I got from the Snider family
  17. Ellensburg 2nd ward
  18. Talking to Liz on the phone while Steve is at work
  19. The way I can’t stop laughing when I’m around Ben
  20. Spending Saturday mornings talking to my mom on the phone
  21. Benny & Joon
  22. Picasa’s face recognition tool
  23. Blog comments
  24. Visiting my sisters-in-law
  25. The fact that for 16 years I only had one sister, and now I have five
  26. Shakespeare humor
  27. Days off
  28. Travelling
  29. Days that I don’t have to wear scrubs
  30. The simplicity of wearing scrubs and not figuring out what to wear every day
  31. Memories of camping at Salamander Creek with my Provo friends
  32. Slippers and boots lined with fur
  33. The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  34. The Harry Potter series
  35. The Fablehaven series
  36. Reading books with Steve
  37. Heartbeats
  38. Vanilla beans
  39. Pandora
  40. Halloween
  41. Decorating cookies with Liz
  42. Red
  43. The gospel of Jesus Christ
  44. Historical fiction
  45. Hashbrowns
  46. Getting letters in the mail
  47. My uncle David
  48. Sunday naps
  49. Sewing with Leslie
  50. Reading bedtime stories with nieces and nephews
  51. Cuddling
  52. WIC
  53. Aveeno lotion
  54. Earrings
  55. Board games
  56. Classes with competent, interesting teachers
  57. Institute
  58. Paychecks
  59. The Book of Mormon
  60. When Steve helps me cook
  61. Pride & Prejudice
  62. Staying home
  63. Photographs
  64. Etsy
  65. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  66. Eggs
  67. Blogging
  68. Words with double letters in them, especially’bookkeeping’
  69. Ice cream
  70. Indian food
  71. Joseph Smith quotes
  72. My grandmothers
  73. Christmas time
  74. Nerds
  75. Memories of watching my mom vacuuming/dancing with the radio blaring “Walk Like an Egyptian”
  76. The album “Wynonna”
  77. Well-fitting bras
  78. Cheese
  79. The fact that #39 is now playing #65
  80. Disney movies- the classics
  81. Gift cards
  82. Solitude
  83. Quilts
  84. Pecans
  85. A good pair of socks
  86. Fabric shopping
  87. Sleeping in
  88. Waking up early without an alarm
  89. Making cake
  90. Spring blossoms
  91. A well-crafted hamburger
  92. Text formatting
  93. Dr. Seuss books
  94. Vegetable gardens
  95. Fruit trees
  96. Vanilla yogurt
  97. Calendars
  98. Homemade ice cream
  99. Birthdays
  100. Organizational tools
  101. Babies
  102. Steve’s love to surprise
  103. This recipe, which I discovered this weekend and may be the best thing I’ve ever made in my life
  104. Randy Travis
  105. Buttercups
  106. Gerber daisies
  107. Carrot juice
  108. Butter
  109. Mashed potatoes
  110. Red meat (oh, how I miss thee!)
  111. Cleverness
  112. Minty smells
  113. The knowledge that I am going to have a child, very soon
  114. Helping my dad with a construction project
  115. Being outside
  116. Long walks
  117. Playing cards with Steve’s parents
  118. Unexpected hellos from friends
  119. The fact that, if I wanted, I wouldn’t have to make dinner for at least 2 weeks due to my well-stocked freezer.
  120. Automatic car washes
  121. Watching snow fall
  122. Flannel
  123. Foot rubs
  124. Ironed Shirts
  125. Power tools
  126. Sunday dinners
  127. Optimistic people
  128. Dry humor
  129. Puns
  130. Having my hair washed at a salon
  131. Earth tones
  132. Gratitude
  133. Going to the temple
  134. Liz Lemon Swindle’s art
  135. Minerva Teichart’s art
  136. Wool coats
  137. Moments of inspiration
  138. Being married
  139. Crocuses
  140. Maps
  141. Olive oil
  142. Getting an “A”
  143. Winning free stuff
  144. Being creative
  145. The Internet
  146. Bulk spices
  147. Pedicures
  148. Snopes.com negating stupid e-mail forwards
  149. The way my father-in-law says hello to everyone he sees

Did you make it through all 149? Silly reader.

~Happy Valentine’s Day~

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I did it!

I sent my husband to the liquor store, and we made our own vanilla extract.

Its easy.

First, gather your ingredients:

Vanilla beans, a mason jar, and a bottle of 80 proof or higher liquor.  We used vodka, I’d like to experiment with rum next time.

Here are my pretty vanilla beans, I highly recommend this seller, I’ve been VERY impressed with the price and quality.

Aren’t they stunning?  You’ll want 3 beans per every cup of alcohol.

Slice your beans lengthwise leaving an inch at the top uncut.

Expose the inner beauty of your beans.

Place your beans in the jar and pour in the alcohol.  Our mason jar and our Vodka bottle were the same size, holding 3 cups of liquid.  It worked out nicely.

Seal your jar, give it a good shake, and think to yourself, “Gee, this is really clear, am I going to have a clear extract that won’t dye my frosting brown?”

Place your jar in a cool, dark place and give it a good shake once a week or so.

Unfortunately, it won’t be ready to use for 2 months.

And I can’t even tell you how ours worked out, because it hasn’t been that long yet.

But I can tell you one thing:

It won’t take long to realize your vanilla will NOT be clear.

So how did I, as a good Mormon housewife, justify making my own vanilla extract?

I realized that all the store-bought extracts are just as alcoholic as this is, I discussed it with my husband, and we decided together that we felt it was okay.

But I’ll admit, I was still too leery to go to the liquor store by myself.

I’ll let you know how it turns out, I’m SUPER excited!

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