Monday, January 22, 2007

Snow and wild things

So we have had a snowstorm every week since before Christmas. Thankfully, they haven't all been huge (I do feel badly for the people around Denver!). Some have dropped 6-8 inches and others have only left 2-3 inches. But we haven't seen bare ground for over a month. And if this cold lasts, we won;t for a long time. It was warm yesterday...the high was 32. I'm just glad we don't live over in Roosevelt or near Reid Ranch. They have had daily highs in the single digits or below zero for the past two weeks! Brrr!
Here are the kids enjoying the snow, before the extreme cold and our recent bout with illness. Buddy's favorite thing is to "un-shovel" the walks and driveway. Sweetsa always ends up falling down, and of course she won't keep her mittens on so her stay outside is measured in seconds, usually. Meanwhile Mimi loves doing snow angels and snowmen, when the snow is right (ie wet enough). Unfortunately I can't find a picture of Mimi in the snow this year, so I guess last year's pic will have to do!

And I've been meaning to post this picture of the pig at the stable from our ward Christmas party. When asked what he wanted to be for the primary Nativity, Buddy emphatically stated he was going to be a pig. And he was going to be a pink pig, not a gray, black, brown or spotted pig. Well, I made the ears and nose pink, but he didn't want to wear Mimi's pink shirt (and that's ok!) Unfortunately he was the pink pig on speed...quite distracting when he's doing circles and running around behind Mary (I guess I should be grateful he was behind Mary and not in front of her!) When our home teachers asked if our kids had participated in the nativity, we answered yes, Buddy was the pig. "The pig? I don't remember the pig." You know, the one doing circles around and around by Mary? "Oh yeah! Now I remember the pig!" Ah well!

And speaking of wild things... I got a call from my neighbor this morning telling me to get my kids to a window. We had 7 deer in our back yard. Apparently they spent the night in our yard and had a breakfast of fallen apples and grapes. The kids loved seeing the wildlife in their domain! These are the last two after they jumped over our back fence...I'm not a very good tracker... I scared 'em off!

The Cornbread Curse

There is something going on with the cornbread around here. The past few times I have tried to make cornbread/corn muffins something has gone wrong. Either it gets burned to a crisp (I had three separate groups of people come to look at our apartment/put down a deposit 5 minutes before the cornbread would have been golden brown...of course I forgot about it until 45 minutes later!), or it doesn't cook in the middle, even after being in the oven for 75 minutes (50 more than the recipe calls for), or tonight's fiasco...the cornmeal was rancid. Unfortunately, I didn't discover the rancidity (is that a word?) until after it came out of the oven all golden brown and tempting, the butter melting off the side and a bit of honey drizzled on top. What a huge let down to bite into that awful creation! Ah well, I try again another day.

I think the most disappointing thing is that I actually made a white bean chili (Devin's comment when he found out what was for dinner...I thought you didn't like chili! But this stuff is divine!) And I was excited to have chili and cornbread for dinner tonight. Even though the cornbread didn't work out, the chili was fantastic! The recipe is from a sister in our ward. She made it for the Ward Chili Cook-off in October last year. When you see the ingredients, you'll see why it was so yummy!

White Bean Chili

1 lb chicken, cut up
1 medium onion,chopped
1-1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cans white beans, rinsed and drained*
1 can chicken broth
1 can green chilies
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 C whipping cream
1 C sour cream

Fry together the chicken, onion and garlic (I'd actually use only 1 tsp garlic powder). Add the white beans, green chilies, chicken broth, salt, oregano, and pepper. Heat thoroughly on stovetop. Just before serving add the whipping cream and sour cream.

*I used 1/2 lb of dry great northern beans. I rinsed the beans, put them in a pot with 2 quarts of water and brought it to a boil. I boiled them for 5 minutes, then turned off the heat and let them soak for 1 hour. Then I drained and rinsed the beans, added more water and then simmered them for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Important if you choose this method for cooking beans...don't add anything to the beans until they are softened (salt, onions, tomatoes, etc.) or it will take forever for them to soften.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Our little Butter Ball

I guess she was listening when the doctor told us to "power-pack"!


I know that government has a reputation for moving slower than molasses, but I can still hardly believe how long this is taking! On Wednesday, I opened our front door to discover several city trucks parked in front of my house, with 4-5 outdoorsy dressed, hard-hat equipped men walking around my tree. Yes the tree that we called them about beginning in June, someone finally came to look at it! The guy in charge recognized that they were getting back to us a bit slow and said,"Uh, you called the city about a, a long time ago?" Yeah, no kidding.

Anyway, they only chopped down the most affected trunk, but gave me a direct phone number (to avoid the list) to call in the spring for them to take out the rest of it. I don't know why they couldn't take it all out at one time, especially since they agreed it was infested and probably not the healthiest tree to have (literally) hanging over peoples' heads. But it is comforting that they have started on it. One trunk down, three to go!

Above is a pic of some of the "borer" holes and the chopped trunk. Mimi was glad they left her a place to sit!)

So maybe we won't be seeing these fun guys again next summer!

New Years Resolutions

It's interesting to think about New Year's Resolutions. As D and I (and several of his siblings) sat in a theater tonight, waiting for the play to begin, the conversation turned to his sister's resolution not to eat candy. (She claimed that her husband bought some candy and was offering it to all to bug her /try to get her to break her resolution). Now I thought that was an awesome resolution, but secretly thought to myself, "I'd never do that...but I probably should!"

Then came the question, "Why make resolutions at all? Nobody ever keeps them!" And so, when not paying attention to the play, I have been thinking about this. What makes New Year's Resolutions any different than other goals made during the year? Why should they be/are they more difficult to achieve? I haven't really been known to sit down and write a list of goals I would like to work on during the year...I just have a running weekly to-do list, sometimes on paper, often just in my head. So here's my question set: Why do you make New Year's Resolutions? Do you make them thinking you will fail? Or do you sit down and plan out how you will work on them/meet the goal?

Oh yeah, and here are some (definitely not all) of my goals for 2007:
1. Get a haircut and somehow stop the (insane) shedding!!

2. Get back to activity in my exercise group. Even once a week would be a vast improvement, at this point.

3. Feel a little more comfortable in my calling...I hate feeling so awkward all the time!

4. Finish reading the BOM in Albanian...I've never read it all the way through in my mission language (we didn't have it translated yet when I was over there)!

5. Get more sleep!