Sunday, February 28, 2016

An Ordinary Thursday: A Picture An Hour

Me brushing my hair, getting ready for the day in my bathroom.

This is the second post in a series entitled "An Ordinary Day: A Picture An Hour."  It is my hope that writing a blog post periodically about our everyday happenings will be beneficial to my posterity.  The general idea is that I take a day, set an alarm for 1 hour and every time that alarm goes off, I snap a picture of whatever we are doing at that very moment, then reset the alarm.  If we're all together in the house, then one picture will suffice, but if we are off doing our own things, then a few pictures may need to be taken.  

I took these pictures on an ordinary Thursday in mid-February.  Enjoy!

8:00 AM or so

Lily was found reading a book in her pajamas on our rocking recliner chair in the living room.

Amara was illegally on her kindle fire tablet.  Normally, she isn't allowed to be on there until after she's earned her tech ticket for the day, but she's been habitually breaking that law, and here's the evidence.  

9:00 AM

FaceTiming with April and her boys while we did our breakfast with the Book of Mormon.

These boys are such a bright joy!  April's phone is really cracked and in poor condition, so when we facetime, it looks like this- a blurry jumble.  But that isn't enough to stop us!

10:00 AM

Amara doing her math in our home school room

Lily working on her math.
It's garbage day, and the garbage truck usually comes by around 10:30/11, so I was lucky I remembered and got the trash to the street!


Lily still working on her math

Amara and I doing flash cards

12:00 PM

Finishing up our homeschooling for the day with Language lessons.  I read the lesson aloud to them from my teacher's manual, and the kids participate and follow along in their worksheets.

Amara posing with her worksheet.

Lily posing with her worksheet.


It appears Amara ate lunch, probably around 12:30, since she is now eating a pink frosted sugar cookie.  I made those the week of Valentines Day so I could give them to my friends and neighbors.

Lily is playing games on SCRATCH.  She must've recently done a book report on the Unicorns of Balinor, since that book is right in front of her.  Her grandma Debby pays $5 per book report and up to $20 per month.  That's a really sweet deal! Both my kids are heavy readers, so they should be able to earn that $20 every month.  On a side note, Lily really enjoyed the Unicorns of Balinor book series, but the bummer of it all is that the author never finished it, and has no intentions of ever finishing it. 

I was trying to decide what to eat for lunch.  Not sure what I ended up eating, but I can guarantee it was leftovers of some sort.

2:00 PM

Both girls are on the computers.Thursday afternoons they work on their Utah History class online.  After they are done with that, sometimes I let them have some computer free time.

I was shredding up tissue paper for the upcoming ward Valentine's day party.  The relief society presidency was in charge of table settings for that event, and I volunteered to use our shredder to shred the tissue paper.  I didn't know it was going to be such a pain.  My shredder kept having trouble with it. ;(

3:00 PM

Lily doing some tech free time on SCRATCH

Amara playing on her tablet

Me being productive, putting in a load of laundry.  I may have timed that task just right so I could take a laundry selfie and get some credit for doing chores. 

I also found this thought, since it was my turn to prepare one for the relief society presidency meeting.

4:00 PM

Me at presidency meeting, I just took a picture of my stuff instead of interrupting everyone for a presidency picture.

5:00 PM

After our presidency meeting, we go out for visits.  This is one sister we went to visit who just had a baby.  I asked to take a picture of her pretty wall, so I didn't have to ask for her picture and explain my blog post and all that.

6:00 PM

Me at another home visiting.  This time I asked to take a selfie with their tiny chihuahua.

7:00 PM

Dinner time!  We made tostadas, inspired by my sister, April's family.

8:00 PM 

We watched season 2 of "When Calls The Heart," on Netflix as a family.  The girls got all showered up and ready for bed first.  Steve and I agreed that season 1 is better than season 2, but it was still a fun show.  It's just gotten a more soap-opera-y storyline now, but thankfully it's still clean and family-friendly.

Monday, February 8, 2016

My Many Birthday Dinners

It all started with my grand idea. We had tickets to the Jazz/Lakers game in the middle of January and I thought it would be nice to stay somewhere within walking distance so we wouldn't have to deal with traffic and parking. And while we were at it, Amara had mentioned she would like to see the Conference Center sometime. So, I concocted a plan to make a mini vacation out of it. And since it was near my birthday, and we would be spending more moola than originally planned, I decided this could be my birthday present/celebration, and we could eat at the Cheesecake Factory!  Winner plan!  Steve loved the idea, but only if I could get a room at a decent rate. Well.  Leave that to me!  I got a deal across the street from the arena for 65$ a night. And so commenced the month-long birthday celebration.

Birthday dinner #1- The Cheesecake Factory 


Me about to dig in.  Happy 34th to ME!
I actually ordered 2 appetizers for my meal.  It was a lot of vegetation and a lot of YUMMY goodness!
My roasted beet and goat cheese salad.  I love this salad!
My other appetizer: Grilled chicken lettuce tacos, Thai Style.  Those dipping sauces are outta this world!  SO MUCH FLAVOR!
Lily was excited to dig right in.  She ate a lot of the dark sweet bread they bring to the table before her food showed up.

Lily ordered: spicy buffalo chicken bites, and she LOVED them!  I got to try them too, and they are really good.

Steve thought he'd get something small to save room for dessert.

Yet, these deep-fried mac-n-cheese balls were more than he'd expected.  Quite good, especially with that red sauce.

Amara's kid's meal choice was the bowtie alfredo.  She loved it, but ate 3 bites and was "SO FULL!"  I tried it and I'm pretty sure that alfredo sauce was 70% heavy cream, 10% butter, and 20% parmesan cheese.
And... you can't go to the Cheesecake Factory without trying a slice of cheesecake.  Ok, you can, but you'll wish you had.
The peanut butter cheesecake, Steve's favorite, which we all shared a taste of.  The girls couldn't even finish their little portions of cheesecake because they were so full.

Birthday Dinner #2 - My Dad's Sukiyaki!

Dad posing with all his sukiyaki ingredients prepped.
Since I knew I'd be in town that Sunday, I asked my dad if he'd cook me a birthday dinner and he could choose between Grandpa's Cioppino or sukiyaki.  Sukiyaki won out this time around, and I'm really glad it did because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it and I forgot just how AMAZING it is.

Dad made 2 big pots of sukiyaki, one chicken, one beef.  I had both, of course.  Lily couldn't stop eating the beef one, and I preferred the chicken.  This is a must-make on my to do list, since I've never made it myself.

My cousin Ben recently moved to Salt Lake for a new job and he drove down to be there for my birthday dinner.  I was so HAPPY to see him there and catch up with him. 
We had brownies and ice cream with dad's homemade fudge sauce for dessert. 
I got my one bite of goodness, of course.

And, since it was my birthday, I actually got two perfect bites of bliss!

Birthday Dinner # 3 - Antica Forma

They give the kids little balls of pizza dough to play with while they wait for their food.
Then, it was Saturday, the day before my birthday, and we were in Vernal, and we were getting hungry.  Steve announced that we were going to go out to eat for my birthday and I got to choose the restaurant.  I had many choices, but I wanted to take Steve to this expensive fire-baked pizza place called, Antica Forma. 
The pizza is different then your delivery pizzas, but it's good stuff.  The crust does have a bit of a smoky flavor because it's baked in that hot fire oven, and I like it.

First, Surprise Birthday Breakfast in Bed!  Then, Birthday Dinner #4 - Crab Legs!

Amara and Lily surprised me with breakfast in bed on my birthday.  Amara made her famous French toast (And it was cooked perfectly.  She does a very good job!). Lily had a cold, so she didn't help prepare food, but she made me a really sweet card.

Amara had assembled the peeled clementine on my plate to resemble a little flower.  I love the details of my special breakfast.

The syrup was served in a little silver egg cup, so I could pour it on myself.

The plate, fork, and card were delivered to me on a cookie sheet.

Both girls came in with the breakfast and sang me Happy Birthday.   Their smiles and surprise breakfast was the perfect gift!
I love my kids!  They are so thoughtful!
I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast.  Then it was off to church where I was greeted with happy birthdays at every turn.  So many people were aware it was my birthday, and I again felt so loved.

We had purchased my 4th birthday dinner when we were in Vernal because they have a Smith's there that has a seafood counter.  We picked up some shrimp and snow crab legs.  Those are already cooked, so it makes it a way fast and easy dinner prep. 

On the menu was:
  • Crackers and Cream Cheese with Jalepeno Jelly
  • Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • Gorgeous Green Salad with Ranch and Croutons
  • Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce and Aunty Cheryl's Fresh Lemons
  • Steamed Snow Crab Legs

For dessert, there was molten lava cakes (from the frozen section at Smiths), and ice cream.  These were divine!  They heat for 45 seconds in the microwave, and they're good to go!  If I were eating sugar, I probably would've downed 2 of those ultra-rich chocolate bombs of goodness.

I did take 2 very blissful birthday bites of this dreamy dessert.  Steve ate the rest of mine.  I must say, for $1.50 each, they're way worth it!

Birthday Dinner #5 - China Star With The Relief Society Presidency

I didn't get a picture here :(

This year, the Relief Society presidency decided that we would go out to eat for each of our birthdays and everyone would split the check to pay for the birthday girl.  I got to choose anywhere in Roosevelt to eat.  I thought of each place carefully, because being in a small town, I know each place pretty well.  I ended up choosing China Star. 

We went visiting sisters like we do each week, beforehand, and then met at the restaurant in place of our usual meeting.  I ordered the General Tso's Chicken salad.  It was good, like always.  Kelly (the president) ordered the sesame chicken dinner, as did Melanie (2nd counselor).  That used to be my favorite until I tried General Tso!  Arlene (1st counselor) got a philly beef sandwich with a side of egg drop soup. Why I can't remember what we talk about at our meetings, but I can remember what everyone ordered 2 weeks after the meal, I'm not sure.  I think it's because it's food, and my mind is wired to think food-food-food.

It was yet another winner winner birthday dinner, and I loved going out with my friends in the presidency!  Can't wait for someone else to have a birthday!

Birthday Dinner #6 - Mama's Meatloaf

I can always count on mom to create such a warm and special atmosphere to be in.  I love her table setting.
Mom and Tom offered to make me a birthday dinner, and of course, I couldn't resist!  Tom was originally thinking of making steak, then pork roast.  Then, mom suggested meatloaf to me, and my heart leaped for joy.  I've been craving meatloaf, and I hardly ever make it because it doesn't usually receive a warm welcome from Steve and the girls.  But, hey, it's my birthday dinner (again), so we were going to have mom's meatloaf!

Mom's Menu:
  • Gorgeous Green Salad and Ranch
  • Steamed Green Beans With Walnuts
  • Rolls
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes n Brown Gravy
  • Meatloaf
  • and to drink- Cold Duck Sparkling Grape Juice

It was quite the delicious feast!
Guess who else's birthday we were celebrating since he was home from jail?  GEOFF!  It was so good to see him again and get to catch up.  He's such a warm and witty soul and I like our visits together. 

Tom's smile was inspiring.  Geoff told me he was smiling on the inside.
For dessert, mom lit candles in some yummy cupcakes with whip cream frosting.  Those were really good!  I ate my 2 bites, then put it in the fridge and ate the other 2 bites the next day. 
Happy birthday to us!
And one last picture with Geoff on our way out the door...  We all tried to mimic Tom's inspiring smile from dinner.  Makes me smile just seeing us smile :)

And that's about it for my birthday dinners.  I say about because I've actually got a 7th dinner lined up at the Fuji House with my sister in Payson next time I see her.  Happy 34th Birthday and month of celebrations to ME!  I truly feel so blessed to be surrounded by people I love and good, scrumptious food! :)