Sunday, January 31, 2010

How is she?

Well, when she was able to wear great-grandma's earrings to church this morning, she was happy.

But honestly...she's been quite a bit of grump mixed in with a little bit of happy, which has been a big shift from our happy, spunky, social butterfly of a girl.

She doesn't want anyone to touch her owie.  We had to put a short sleeved dress on her for church (in this snowstorm, nonetheless) so that it was easier to get her hand through a sleeve. (She's very conscientious and careful with her bandaged hand.)  I debated bringing her to church at all, and ended up bringing her home right after the sacrament because of a major meltdown.

We told her she gets to meet her new doctor tomorrow (the plastic surgeon) and that he will help fix her fingers, and she says "No.  No doctor."  The novelty has worn off.

But at the same time, she has been an extremely brave little girl, who has respected her bandages and melted the hearts of many physicians and nurses this weekend with her wit, her conversation and big blue eyes.

I, myself have not been so brave.  I'm having some issues that I need to work through.  I get physically sick when I think about what happened, or think about the wound, OR see the wound.  I have to put my head down and hide my eyes whenever the doctor looks at it.  And I'm still not getting much sleep because it's all I think about. When are they going to scrub it?   Is she going to need skin grafts?  Will she have full mobility?  

I need to buck-up.  It's going to take some time for her hand to heal...with lots of re-dressing the wound; which I am going to need to do.  I have to do this!  Bill's going to give me a priesthood blessing after Porter's court of honor tonight.  (He's receiving 4 merit badges!!!)

We can do this Evelyn.

You might just need to help pull mommy through. 

Friday, January 29, 2010


It's midnight.

And the only reason I am up writing is because I can't even begin to sleep.

My little one is in bed next to me.  She's sleeping with me tonight.

It's been a rough night:

She caught her hand in our treadmill while it was moving.  Can I say, guilt?

We ran her to the urgent care a couple blocks from our house, after having our wonderful neighbor (a nurse) look at it.  The urgent care sent us to the ER.

She has deep, full-thickness friction burns on her middle and ring finger, right hand.

We go back to the hospital on Saturday morning to re-dress the wounds, and then we will be meeting with a plastic surgeon Monday to see what things need to be done.

My stomach is in knots.  I feel horrible.  Worse than horrible.

Sleep my little one.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A brother's influence

My little brother Bracken is on a mission in Ecuador for our church right now.  He's one of my heroes ... man, I love and miss that kid.

He is without a doubt one of Porter's heroes.  Porter talks about him, without fail everyday.  He acts like Bracken and talks like Bracken - they have the same sense of humor.  They even look alike - blonde hair, great smiles, handsome.

On Porter's birthday last July, Bracken sent Porter a challenge.  He wrote:  "Keep reading the Book of Mormon.  I bet you can't finish it before I get back."  

Porter decided to stick this quote on the wall right above his light switch where he can see it everyday.

Well, my brother comes home this August.

Porter finished the Book of Mormon a few days ago.

And... starting it over again.  Porter told me this week, "Mom, I'm going to show Uncle Bracken.  I'm going to read it twice."

After only a couple days, he's through first Nephi.

I've often wondered how much Porter is getting out of his personal scripture study, especially where he is reading through it quite quickly.  Is he thinking about the things he is reading?  Is he comprehending?  Is he allowing the Holy Ghost to teach?

He fell asleep last night reading.  His light was still on when I went back to his room to make sure he was tucked in.  I found his Book of Mormon with an orange marking pencil holding his spot like a bookmark.  I was curious to see where he was at, so I opened it.  Page sixty- one.  He was in 2 Nephi, chapter 2.

And this is what I found:

Thanks, Brack for inspiring your nephew (and sister).

This book changes lives.

It's changing the life of my son.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lemon Bar Royalty

Baking is definitely a hobby of mine.  I particularly love to makes pies and pastries.

And let me tell you, this little confection deserves some recognition.

First, let me get this out of the way: I love anything that has to do with lemons.  LOVE.  LOVE.  LOVE.

And I love me a good lemon bar.  (My brother Darrec, however, does not :)

THIS is a good lemon bar.

One inch tall.  The perfect buttery crust.  Tons of lemony filling, not too tart.  Not too sweet.  Chewy top layer dusted with powdered sugar.

Three distinct layers.  No soggy crust.

I would like to declare, without one bit of hesitation;  that this is the KING of all lemon bars:

You bet, this bite went right into my mouth as soon as I snapped this shot...

Lemon Squares
from San Francisco pastry chef Emily Luchetti

for the crust:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
12 T cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

To make the crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine flour and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until mixed. Add butter and continue to mix until butter is the size of small peas, about 30 seconds. The mixture will be very dry. Gently press mixture evenly onto the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.  Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. 

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

for the filling:
6 large eggs
3 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c. flour

To make filling: In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and granulated sugar until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and then the flour. Pour filling on top of crust.
Bake until lemon filling is set, about 40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and then put in the refrigerator for 1 hour or keep at room temperature for 3 hours before cutting. Cut into squares, with a wet, sharp knife, measuring about 2 1/4 inches and dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar.

Don't eat the whole pan!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

gone with the green.

Welcome.... my kitchen.

It was green when we moved in 4 and a half years ago.  And it's still green.  I didn't hate the color badly enough to change it immediately.  But I have definitely never loved it.

That's all going to change.  Soon.  Hopefully this spring.

My kitchen is going to get a makeover.   New countertops.  Cupboard overhaul.  Backsplash.  Paint throughout.  Replacing the ceiling fan with a fun light fixture, and more.  And this is going to be done all on a budget.

I'm so excited!

Remember this?...

....and how it was going to be a smaller component of a much larger project?

Well, it's going to be a part of the kitchen overhaul.  We completed this particular project this weekend.  And the best part about it, is we spent less than 10 bucks to do it.

Our goal was to add some interest and character to this space:

My sister-in-law Laura noticed how high that cupboard was and how much space was being wasted here.

So after a lot of thought, this is what we came up with:

We used recycled wood from our old deck and - get this - the metal hooks are from the plastic swivel top hangers that you get from department stores.  Bill's epiphany.  Some of our mugs had really wide handles and the cup hooks at the hardware store weren't even coming close to holding them.   (Thanks for helping out with our need for more hangers, Katie!)

We have a hodgepodge of a mug collection.  But that's ok, matching mugs can be boring.  And our family is hodgepodge, so it's perfect.  My favorite part about this though, is whenever we go down to Las Vegas to visit my husband's mother's ancestral home, the only thing they have to drink out of is mugs.  Tons and tons of mugs; none of them matching.  We love it!!  Bill has great childhood memories of this.  It's an adventure just to get a drink of water..."hmmmm, which mug am I going to choose...?"  

I love, not only that this new piece is a functioning contribution to our kitchen space, but that it makes getting a drink and having meals interesting and exciting, AND that we are carrying on an old family tradition.

My favorite mug?  This light brown crackly one.  I'm drinking orange juice on the rocks from it as I type this.  I love that it feels so right in my hand and the fact that the inside is so shiny that I can see my reflection when I look down in it.

I'm hoping to take pictures and document my kitchen transformation on this blog.

But until then, come enjoy some ice cold orange juice out of a mug, in the green kitchen!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


It's a vicious, cyclical beast.

A beast, that in our household, has finally been tamed.

And taken to the doghouse.

Take that! You beast!

We've never had a huge amount of consumer debt.  We've owned one credit card through our local credit union that we put a $1000 max limit on.

It's what we would use in emergencies, or for an occasional purchase when our normal paycheck just didn't stretch far enough.

But it was debt.  And it was annoying.  And burdensome.  It was a cyclical dirty, rotten beast.  Cyclical, because it would always get paid off (usually with part of the tax return), but then it would start all over again.  There was almost always an amount on that card, whether it be: doctor or dentist bills, tires or repairs on the car, clothes or shoes for a new school year, etc.

Well, since I have been taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course, our financial outlook has been a lot brighter.  (I only have about a month left in the class - I don't want it to end!)  I've had quite a few people ask me about Dave Ramsey and his class, so I thought I would share some of the things that have made me a FIRM believer in his system:

-We finally have a budget that actually works, using the zero-based budget plan.  Now the 'ants' don't carry away that last little bit of money that is left over when we do our budget every two weeks.

-Using the cash envelope system has made a HUGE difference in how we spend our money.  It is so much harder to spend cash!  And now we use cash envelopes to pay for all groceries, gas, doctors visits, misc items, etc.  When the cash is gone, it's gone.

-Having a $1000 emergency fund (Baby Step #1) has saved our hides this past month or so.  With the miscarriage, and broken washing machine, we were able to pay for both of these unexpected events without touching a credit card.   I must say though, it was really hard to dip into that fund to pay for these things.  We didn't want to touch it because we worked so hard to get it.  But, of course we did, and now we are actively building that fund back up to $1000.

-We no longer have debt except for our mortgage! (Baby Step #2).  And we look forward to working on paying the mortgage down quicker after we finish a few more baby steps.  The goal is to never have a 30 year mortgage again.  Ever.

-We hope to have our 6 month expenses Emergency Fund by summer.  This will be in case Bill were to lose his job or other BIG things like serious illness, natural disaster, etc.   We would be able to live for 6 months (or more, if we stretched it) on this emergency money supply.  This will feel really, really good to have done.

I think overall, we have just been able to play offense with our money rather than being on the defensive when 'stuff' happens.  Money has not looked the same since taking this course.  We treat and handle it differently.

 And it is reciprocating.  

Here's to Dave Ramsey and keeping the beast in the doghouse for life!

**My only complaint is that I wish I would have known about it sooner.  I shudder to think how much further along we would be if we had known about this going into college.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

tools and me

Another goal for the new year is to become more of a handyman.  Like Bob Vila, minus the facial hair.

My sister-in-law Cathy even gave me some tools recently because she knew I wanted some.  (She's like my mother-in-law in that way...she quietly listens and takes notes in that brain of hers, and then out of the blue, BAM!!  She surprises you with something that you have wanted.  Cathy once secretly reupholstered my cedar chest bench while I was downstairs watching a movie with Porter because she had heard me say that I wanted it done.  She's tricky that way.)

Anyway, back to the tools.  They're PINK!!!  And come organized in their own nice canvas tool bag.  I love them.  I've been using my pink measuring tape to measure everything in the house because it makes me feel happy and important and handymanlike.

Since acquiring the tool set though, I've been itching to really build something.


And so I did.

I dreamed the project up in my head, and Bill hammered out the logistics and helped me get the design just right.

Then we paid a visit to my dad - because he is just as talented as Bob Vila, minus the facial hair....and has a wood shop that would probably make Bob Vila drool.  My dad's got skills.

I can't say I completely cut and built it.  I didn't.  My dad and Bill helped.  But it was so much fun hanging out in my dad's wood shop with the two men in my life I love most of all, building something I dreamed up.  Plus, we even recycled some lumber from our old deck to make it.  I'm excited to see the finished product.  It needs some paint and some hardware, but here it is; raw, unadorned, beautiful:

What is it?  Well that's another blog post for another time.

I will give a hint though.  It's a small component of a much larger project that we will most likely start when it warms a little.  Stay tuned.

Until then, I will continue enjoying my pink tools and experimenting with this ambition for 2010!

(** By the way, are we supposed to say twenty-ten OR two thousand ten??)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I've been waffling for a while now...

I've kinda been in a bloggin' rut lately.  But Ms Fish has inspired me once again.  She does that sort of thing.

While reading her blog last night, she mentioned a goal that she had for the new year.  It's been a goal of mine for a while now mainly because it has been the source of a HUGE amount of guilt in my life.  (Mom's and guilt....naaaaahhhh)

But Ms Fish's blog post gave me just the nudge I needed to be able to say 'I can do this too.'

I mean, it can't be that hard, right?  It's just...


Yep.  You heard me right.  Breakfast.

I don't eat breakfast.  Well, let me correct that.  We eat a lot of breakfast ..... for dinner.

I can't stomach breakfast.  I don't want to eat when I wake up in the morning.  And because of this, my family suffers.  They eat a lot of cold cereal around here.  Toast and juice if they are lucky.  My husband's lunch box is often adorned on top with a granola bar and piece of fruit as he grabs it and runs out the door.

 I know.  It's ridiculous.

But just so you believe that miracles have not ceased, please witness this:

Meet ... my waffle iron.
She comes out onto my counter about once a year.  So far, for 2010, she's made an appearance twice.  TWICE!!!
This is her, in all her filthy, dust-caked glory at precisely 7:20 this morning.  She's hot and ready to go.

And this is the fruit of her my labor.
My husband ate these very waffles this morning.
He also sat at the table glassy-eyed and in shock at what he was witnessing his wife doing in the kitchen.
The same table he usually sits down at to eat a bowl of cold cereal, or toast if he's lucky.
I may have heard him quietly mumble, ' really, really LOVE me'   :)
It was a good morning.

Yes, miracles do happen.

Oh, and more goals to come.  Stay tuned for "Bob Vila runs a 5k".

Or something of that nature.

And for your 2010 blog viewing pleasure, please let me introduce you to Ms Fish's mother, LGH.