Saturday, December 29, 2012

Here comes another BOY!

Christmas was fabulous.
Scott's parents, sister, and sister with her family came to visit.
We hung out, made gingerbread houses, toured the Science Center, drove around Forest Park, ate food, talked, saw the train exhibit at the Botanical Gardens, shopped, opened presents, and enjoyed each others company.
Of course, right before everyone came, Bubs got sick along with his cousins who live here. The day after everyone arrived, I got sick too. So it was lots of going and playing and trying to act like I was feeling alright, which I was, sometimes.
Then the day after everyone left, I started feeling much better. At least it didn't last long! (I attribute it to chiropractic care, downing vitamin C, taking calcium, sipping apple cider vinegar, eating 4 grapefruit, not eating treats, chugging water, and trying to rest)

The most exciting part about this past week? We found out we're having another BOY!!!

I'm 20 weeks along now. I've been feeling great for about 5 weeks. The first 15 weeks I was more tired than I've ever been in my life and nauseous all the time. I only threw up 2-3 times, which isn't bad, so I consider myself lucky. Now I'm feeling wonderful, as I did in the 2nd Tri with Bubs, but I'm still fighting the mental battle. I started feeling the baby around 15 weeks and now I feel him all the freakin' time! I don't think he ever stops moving.

I'm really excited to have another boy. Although there are some things I'm a little distraught about, it's nothing to worry about right now. I love having a boy and I have had so much fun with Bubs! He will absolutely love having a brother to play with (and so will I!). I'm also grateful it's a boy because it will be so much easier financially: we already have tons of boy clothes, along with all of our other baby stuff, and toys. Plus, I don't know that Scott could restrain himself from spoiling a baby girl, so it's better to start with boys when we have no money!

I also feel confident that I can raise boys well. I feel like we've done an amazing job with Bubs, though we still have a long way to go, and although every child is different it'll be easier raising two boys than switching to girl mode. Though I will admit, I really want a girl for our third, whenever that happens!!!

It's taken me quite awhile to be really excited about this pregnancy, but now I can honestly say that I'm thrilled and SO excited to have another baby!

I found this little gem while searching through pictures to put on our walls. I just love both of their faces!
Yes, Bubs was about 7 months old and yes, they are going down a water slide.
Another reason I love my BOYS!!!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

But it's just violence...

How many times have you heard the phrase "but it's just violence..." in regards to a movie, tv show, or video game rating?
Perhaps more commonly, "well, it's only rated that for the violence. Violence doesn't bother me. It's the sexual content I avoid." 

I hear it all the time.
In fact, I've said it in one form or another.

Is that statement really true, though? "It's just violence. Violence doesn't bother or affect me."
I argue that it is completely false. Nobody is immune to the violence in movies, tv shows, and video games, especially video games. Our Spirits and brains are not immune to violence. Not one bit. The "immunity" that may occur for one is actually a numbing of the brain's response and reaction to repeated stimulus.

As a member of the LDS church, I believe in the Holy Ghost. I believe that I was given the gift of the Holy Ghost as a means of protection and guide when I am need. Anything that is not virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, can drive away the Spirit. Violence is part of that category. I believe the more violence we watch and participate in, the quicker the Spirit leaves until it eventually completely withdraws.

I, like so many others, cannot stop thinking about the horrific tragedy that occurred last week at Sandy Hook Elementary. Nobody will forget it. Our children will read about it in their History books. It was a terrible, horrible, absolutely heart wrenching tragedy. The more I've read on the matter and the more I think about it, I can't help but think "what could have been done to prevent this? How can we prevent it from happening again?"

I've come up with some of my own conclusions.

1. The Government could take away guns from everyone and/or make tighter gun control laws. This isn't possible, or a good idea, because it won't do a dang thing. Crazy people will still get their hands on guns, and the good guys will be left unarmed. And yet another gun control law will not stop someone who is intent on getting a weapon and using it for the wrong reasons.

2. The Government could give everyone guns. Obviously this wouldn't work because it would make it even easier for the crazy people to have access to guns and there would be a whole slew of problems that would come as a result. Not a solution.

3. The Government could eradicate any and all violence from the media. This is completely impossible because there is just so much. There would be no way to remove every violent thing from every house, movie theater, production, stage set, video game, youtube, etc. It's impossible. Not only that, it also completely takes away our agency. Which, by the way, is Satan's plan.

4. Teach in the homes. Educate your children. Educate your family. Teach your children good morals and the difference between right and wrong. Parent. Discipline. Monitor the things your children participate in and are involved with. This was the best solution I could come up with. However, the people who are not likely to go on a shooting rampage are already doing this. The people who might, may already be doing this. The people who should be doing this may be uneducated, in poverty, and unable to teach in the home. And of course, no matter how much a parent teaches their child, they are still free to make their own decisions and choices. Which means, that even from the best of homes with the best of families with obedient children, someone could still be persuaded by Satan to do something unthinkable. Which brings me to my final conclusion:

This type of tragedy cannot be 100% prevented. 

Of course, there are many things that can be done to improve on safety, including allowing teachers to conceal and carry, providing schools with an armed officer, practicing more lock down drills, and the list goes on.

The point I want to make, and the overwhelming feelings I have experienced on the matter are such:

-I have a huge responsibility to educate my children on what is right and wrong.
-I have a huge responsibility of making our home a safe haven from outside influences.
-I have a huge responsibility of making sure the media that enters our home is appropriate and does not drive away the Spirit.
-I need to make a resolve to better screen the media we consume. I need to be more careful about things we watch, rent, and buy. I need to scrutinize the video games we play.

Satan has taken hold of the media in our world with an iron fist. He has twisted and turned every good thing into something inappropriate. It has not happened in one, big, lightning bolt occurrence, but little by little. He has made it seem popular, cool, and fun, to watch shows and movies that glorify killing innocent and non innocent characters. He has made it appear popular, cool, and fun, to play video games that celebrate "110 kills! Congratulations!" 

I believe our society has been so dumbed down by violent tv shows, movies, games, and more, that the line of difference between virtually killing and killing in reality has become very thin and grey.

This is devastating. And scary.

In closing, my husband said something to me that I had never considered. He said that no sane person in their right mind would go into a school and kill 20, innocent, six and seven year old children. The person who did this was possessed by an evil spirit. Just like Christ cast the evil spirits out of the person and into the pigs that jumped off the cliff. This person was possessed and taken over by an evil spirit of Satan and he proceeded to do the work of the Devil. When that work was finished, Satan abandoned him and caused him to turn the gun on himself and take his own life.

God will never abandon you.

I hope that I can be a better wife, mother, and individual, and make a better effort at examining the media that I consume and bring into our home. It's not "just violence" and it's not okay. I can't change the world or the people in it, but I can do my best to make my home a haven safe from the outside influences.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cinnamon Ornaments

Ah, Cinnamon Ornaments.
I remember making these as a kid and hanging them on our tree. I always loved unpacking them every Christmas because they still smelled yummy. 
So, here we are, several years later, and I enlisted the help of my cutie pie to make these heavenly smelling decorations. 

Mixing and making a mess.

The recipe said to roll out between plastic wrap. I thought "what the heck, I'll use wax paper." 
Note to self: follow the recipe. 
The dough stuck to the wax paper pretty bad and that caused a rough texture. 

Almost ready to be cooked.
I'm not patient enough to wait for them to dry overnight or for 2 days, but I've heard there is less cracking and better results when left to air dry instead of bake. 

Make sure to poke some holes in the top if you're going to string ribbon through!
Also, remove any excess dough that doesn't belong. See the clump by the snowman's hand? I removed it.

While the ornaments were baking, we dipped pretzels.
Bubs loved eating the pretzels plain!

Then he realized they had chocolate on them.
From that point on he dipped a pretzel, sucked off the chocolate, and put the pretzel on the paper. 
Smart kid.

Finished product!!

So pretty and delicious smelling.

I'm actually really proud of how these turned out! I may make it a yearly tradition. It was really fun and Bubs enjoyed helping press the cookie cutters in the dough. 
The recipe doesn't call for glitter, but I love a little glitz, so I added a tablespoon or so of Martha Stewart glitter. I think it looks fabulous!! Also, some recipes called for glue. I made one batch with some Modge Podge and one without. I couldn't tell the difference except the smell when I was mixing dough.
One last note, the recipe says to roll the dough pretty thick and I wish I would've followed that closer. I rolled mine a little thin and they don't feel as sturdy as I'd like them to. But, for my first time, I'll take it!! These ornaments are really inexpensive too! For about 25-30:

Cinnamon: $0.50 at Walmart (used 4)
Applesauce: $3 at Walmart (used less than half)
Ribbon: $1 at Walmart (needed more than what I bought)
Glitter: $5 a bottle at Michaels (still have tons left, this stuff lasts a long time)
Cookie Cutters: $2.88 for 3 (since I didn't have any)

Cinnamon Ornaments 
adapted from McCormick Recipes

3/4 C. applesauce
1 C. cinnamon, plus extra if the dough is too sticky
1 TBL. glitter

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Mix the cinnamon, applesauce, and glitter in a small bowl. Use your hands to knead the dough into a ball. It should not be too sticky and not crumbly. Place the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap (waxed paper will stick badly and cause a rough texture on top). You may need to sprinkle the plastic and the top of the dough with cinnamon if your dough is too sticky. Roll to about 1/3-1/4 inch thickness. Cut shapes with a cookie cutter. Place shapes on a cookie sheet and poke holes in the top with a drinking straw or dowel if you want to hang with ribbon. Bake for 2 1/2 hours or allow to air dry for 1-2 days. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Menu Monday: Holiday Goodies!

I've been thinking of ways to vamp up my blog lately, so I'm going to try a couple new things out. The first thing is "Menu Monday." Hopefully, every Monday I'll post a recipe or two and talk about food! I'm still working on remembering to take pictures, so bear with me.

For my first Menu Monday post, I'm thinking about Holiday Goodies! One of my most favorite things to do at Christmastime is make an insane amount of treats and deliver them to friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else I feel like needs some holiday cheer. My brain usually out thinks the other side of my brain and I go a little overboard.  I'm thinking that will be the case this year...especially since our friends seem to keep multiplying. Oy. What a unfortunate disaster.

I'm kidding.

So here's what I'm planning on making this week! Hopefully one day I'll get some pictures so you can see the deliciousness for yourself. In the meantime, just trust me. Have I ever led you astray with a recipe that was awful? I don't think so. If you need some visualization, here are some pictures I found that look very, very similar (if not identical), with very similar (or identical) recipes that I use. Click on "source" to see their version.

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn


White Chocolate Chex Mix

Spread over wax paper

Magical Mint Kiss Cookies


Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cake Bites


Sugar Cookies


In addition to all these treats, I'm going to attempt to make Cinnamon Ornaments! I remember making them as a kid and that they smelled delicious for several years. I have an ornament exchange this week and thought it would be perfect. Plus, my house will smell amazing.

Merry Christmas and happy baking!!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Refined Taste Buds

Our lunch conversation today went something like this:

me: "Do you think it's super weird that I eat grapefruit with salt?"
hubs: "Yeah. Grapefruit is gross."
me: "No it's not, it requires adult taste."
hubs: *grin* "Bubs, mommy is saying I'm still a kid."

As I cleaned up the dishes I thought about Refined Adult Taste Buds and reflected on things I hated as a kid but love now that I'm an adult.

Grapefruit. I Hated this with a capital H when I was young. No matter how much sugar I dumped on it, it would always taste bitter and disgusting. Then one day I decided to try what my mom suggested, sprinkle salt on top of the cut fruit. Now I love it. The salt cuts the bitterness and highlights the sweet.  Every time I eat grapefruit I think about my mom. Win-win right there!

Avocado. I used to think avocados were terrible. I don't know why, but I did. Now as an adult I'm obsessed with avocados. Ask my husband. I could eat an entire avocado with a spoon if I wanted. When they're in season and cheap, avocados go on anything and everything I can think of. Especially on my Teriyaki Chicken & Quinoa stir fry. Mmmm.

Salmon. I had a horrible experience with Salmon as a child. I was completely paranoid about bones and would chew the fish to mush before choking it down. I despised everything about it. Then I grew up, got brave, and fixed it my own way. Now I love Salmon! Especially if it is not overcooked.

Blueberries. Actually, I've always loved blueberries. As a child we would make trips to the blueberry patch every summer. We would pick until our buckets and tummies were full and our hands and lips were blue. Then we would buy blueberry flavored honey sticks, drive home, and make blueberry muffins for breakfast. Our fridge and freezer were packed with pounds and pounds of blueberries that lasted most of the year. I loved those days. Even now, blueberries are my favorite fruit. Bubs and I can eat a pint a meal (or more!) if we had them! In my mind, nothing can beat a big, plump, juicy blueberry, freshly picked from the bush.

So tell me, what are some foods you hated as a kid but love as an adult? I'll try and think of some more, but now we're going to set up Christmas at our apartment! Yay!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

We're Still Alive, Promise!

I'm still alive, I promise.

We've been busy having some fun in Utah and I sent my laptop back with Scott so I don't have much of a way to update.

So far in the past two weeks we've:
-gone on lots of "tractor" rides
-ate Maxie's pizza
-attending the Boise temple re-dedication
-toured Twin Falls as a future resident
-played with cousins at Aspen Grove
-did a little Black Friday shopping
-had an amazing Thanksgiving meal
-ate at Costa Vida
-saw the new outlets in Lehi
-visited the BYU bookstore
-had lunch with a very dear friend and visited my old school
-had too many nights of waking up every hour and waking up a 6 am
-buuuuut, had lots of mornings snuggling with my baby
-made homemade Kneaders french toast breakfast
-ate cake bites at Sweet Tooth Fairy
-had a huge party for my grandpa, his 90th, and saw lots of family

And the list goes on. We're sure missing  Daddy and can't wait to see him! But we're also having some fun.

Don't be fooled by the face, Bubs wanted to be on this tractor all day long. I finally had to tell him the tractor was taking a nap. To which he walked around saying "Tractor, nap?" the rest of the day, and the next, and the next. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Pictures, for your viewing pleasure

I'm pretending it's Friday today.
Mostly because Friday will consist of lots of packing, last minute prep, and travel.
*my dog just fell off the top of the couch! hahahaha!*
So, in honor of the possibility of me not posting for several days, here are some pictures to keep you happy!!!

Tri 7 Card Ceremony.
This is Scott's class. Can you find him? (3rd row center)

They had a yummy lunch with the ceremony and I got to go kid-free!
Isn't my hubby handsome? I'm so in love with him!

Some of his buddies.
Brandon, Scott, Michael, Jaron.
Don't they look sharp? We have become such great friends with these people (and their wives)!!!
Unfortunately, I didn't get pictures of the rest of his buddies. Oh well.

Tractors at Rombach's Pumpkin Patch.

Bubs really hates looking at the camera.

I just thought this was funny and cute.

Ooh, sort of looking in the general direction of the camera! 

"She think's my tractor's sexy..."

Our ward Trunk or Treat!
Cowboy hats on cute boys: hot hot hot!!!
I'm in love with this picture. Love my boys!!

Bubs and his friend "Nana"

It was freezing and windy that day. But look at that sky!

Getting ready for trick or treating!

Cutest frog ever!

"When can we get candy!?"

"Please, Daddy? Candy?"
*I did take a picture with Bubs and Scott, but it was blurry and it was the only one I took. Bummer.

Happy Thanksgiving next week! I hope everyone has a wonderful and delicious holiday!!
Be back...someday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

YW and Cookies

This week has been crazy busy! 
I've already been confused twice on what day it actually was. It's only Wednesday.
Yesterday I made cookies for our Young Women in Excellence program. 

As I sat and watched each of our young women speak on their chosen topic and then on their personal progress experiences, I felt such a deep and overwhelming love for all of them! I have absolutely loved working in young women. I have learned so much! I had no idea the amount of work it takes for...everything. I have learned so much from the girls and about the girls, and I've realized that even an age difference of not that many years can present a whole set of different trials. I really, truly, loved last night. After just over a year in this calling, I am finally starting to figure out who I am as a leader and I'm starting to really learn from and understand the girls. 

Now, they better not release me anytime soon!!!

Back to the cookies. 
People, I'm really good at cookies.
I don't publicly boast about many things I do well in life (the list is too long. kidding.), I only boast to my hubby who politely nods his head and agrees. Ha!
But I do boast about my cookies.
I know they're bomb.
You know they're bomb. (if you've had them)
I don't know one person who has tried them and said "eh, they're just okay. I have a better recipe." 
Nope. Hasn't happened yet.
I make some of the best darn cookies you will ever taste in your life. I've nailed the recipe and I have it memorized. I've perfected the texture, flavor, and art of chocolate chip cookies. 

That is all.

Oh, except that this morning I thought it would be fun to make waffles from scratch. As I went along measuring all the ingredients with a 1/4 c. measuring cup, I didn't realize until I was adding the milk, the last ingredient, that my 1/4 cup was actually a 1/3 cup. Somehow they still turned out pretty good. Maybe because the ratios were consistent. Who knows. I do know that I'll I've never, ever make that mistake when I make cookies. 

Happy Wednesday and cookies everyone!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Airplane Arsenal for a 2 year old Boy

Last week I posed a question about entertainment for my almost 2 year old (busy) boy on a plane ride, with a very long layover. Here are some of my favorite responses:

Brian Elephant tranquilizer dart. Fixed it!

-Thank you, Brian, for always bringing strange humor to every situation. (he's my bro-in-law)

Rm colored pipe cleaners....seriously, you can find them in the craft sections of walmart or target. They will keep any boy busy for hours.

Whitney Moving sidewalks. Depending where your layover is, all you have to do is go back and forth on them. 
Otherwise, tons of yummy snacks and touch screens (I know, totally bad combo) keep P occupied for hours.

Gloria Well in my day it was Benadryl, or something to make them sleep , but don't panic...something he hasn't played with before, new surprises, sucker to help with the ears, little tiny paper cups that you keep putting surprises to eat in,a couple at a time, this worked for a grandchild, and he had tiny baby sippy drinks (his words)

Alaina  yep, we used benadryl. You'll have to do some research; there's one of those children's medicines that uses melatonin instead of the traditional sleep medicine, which is more natural b/c it's in the brain already (as I'm sure you know). We just used lots of snacks. OH! TSA TIP! You can bring ANYTHING food/drink related on a plane for a lap child, which B still counts as since he's under 2 (you're lucky!), or even a young child passenger. So, if you need juice, water, etc. just tell them it's for him, bring it in his sippy cups and they can use a test strip in it then they'll let you through. We always bring an extra, empty sippy cup too, so we can do something new along the way when there's nowhere to dump out an old sippy. TSA and airport people are SO nice to you when you're traveling with a little one! N's flown 3 times! 

-Thanks Alaina! What a great idea about the extra sippy!!!

Thank you everyone for the funny, smart, and cool ideas! 
After doing some "research", collaborating with my own brain, chatting with my sister in law (who is embarking on the same trip, via car, with 4 kids under 5, she's a saint!), and shopping like crazy, here is what I came up with!

From the words of my husband: "Uh, I think you might have plenty of stuff..." 
Me: "You think I'm spoiling him a little?"
Him: "Uh, YES! More than just a little!" 

My Airplane Arsenal includes:
-a coloring book and crayons
-a book of stickers
-several $1 books
-silly putty (can I take it on a plane??)
-a couple cool balls (one not pictured)
-pipe cleaners
-a travel size magna doodle
-a noise making tractor (so fun to try and take away from him at the store, must mean he'll love it!)
-glow stick bracelets
-a couple wind up toys
-3 train cars (also hated me for taking those away)
-a 5 pack of new hot wheels cars, including a fire truck (thanks, Aldi!!!)
-a homemade car cozy! Oh yes, I did make that! (with tons of help from my saintly sister in law)

*I plan on pulling toys out one at a time to make them last as long as possible! 

In addition to the toys, I went a little crazy on snacks:
-pirate's booty
-fruit snacks
-stick crackers and cheese dip
-granola bars
-peanut butter and cheese crackers (mostly for me!)
-and of course, a few pieces of candy

*A tip for snacks: Put small amounts of assorted snacks into a bead organizer or tackle box. Then he can pick what he wants and it's all right there. (thanks, Kathryn!)

  Darice 17-Compartment Bead Organizer, Clear

Don't judge on the quality of snacks. It's a special occasion.
Though it will likely stay in our house for awhile afterward.
I'm good at making excuses.

In addition to the toys and snacks, we have several movies and games for our laptop and ipods:
-Emperor's New Groove
-Finding Nemo

We decided to forgo the purchasing of some sort of tablet for now. 

So, do I have enough entertainment!? Haha!!

Now your assignment: If you have a child under the age of 3, what is their favorite app or game to play on an ipod or android phone? Please let me know! There's too many apps to choose from. Thanks!

Hopefully my list will help someone else out and hopefully we'll have a successful and happy trip! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Post-election thoughts & Grandma's Clam Chowder

Quick Thoughts on the Election:

-It's been interesting to see the "true colors" of people I thought I knew. I will never, ever, understand why people love Obama so much. What part of "4 trillion dollars in debt and millions of people unemployed" do you not understand?
-My hubby was right when he said "I hope Romney wins, but he won't. Our nation still needs to get a whole lot worse before it can start getting better." Makes me wonder what my children's lives will be like 20 years from now.
-What's done is done. We can't change the past. I did all I could do by voting, and so did you. Thus, we can't be mad about something we can't change. Now we just have to live with the consequences and pray.
-I feel a greater need to follow the prophet's counsel and build up our food storage, 72 hour kits, and become more self-reliant.
-I'm especially grateful for my testimony, for the Gospel truth in my life, for the Prophet of our church, for local leaders of our church, and for the knowledge I have that things will in fact get worse before they get better.

Now, onto more delicious things...

Comfort food for another cold, rainy, day. Or to feel better about the past 24 hours of election day.
I realize that not everyone loves, or even likes, clam chowder. I am not one of those people.
Thick, rich, creamy, sweet and salty, clam chowder is one of my all time favorite cold weather meals.
It reminds me of my Grandma, although I'm not sure she ever made it for me.
The way I received the recipe is very indicative of how my Grandma cooked: a little bit of this, some of that, mix together and walah.
I've added a few notes here and there, and once again, here's another example of a well loved, well used, crumbly, scribbled, stained recipe.

I have learned a couple things since the first time I started cooking this soup:

1. Use brand name clams
2. Make a Roux.
3. The veggie measurements don't matter too much. 

First off, brand name clams. Snow's is the best. I tried Geisha one time to save some money and there were mysterious black parts included in the meat. I don't know much about clam meat, but I know it wasn't very pretty and it bothered me. So now I use Snow's. You can use minced or chopped depending on your preference of size. Sometimes I use a combination of both, sometimes I don't. But I usually feel like chopped gives too many large chunks. Also, the recipe calls for 2 cans, I always use three. I like a little more meat and clammy flavor. If you don't, just use two cans. 

Second, a roux. If you're not familiar with what a roux is, google it. Basically, it's combining equal parts flour and fat (butter, shortening, etc) in a saucepan and cooking the flour out. In my experience, a roux is cooked adequately when it starts getting really thin and watery feeling and starts turning darker brown. However, when I researched it, instructions say to melt the butter and then add the flour. I usually melt them together. Whatever works for you. Then I add in the liquid (milk, water, broth), and bring it all to a boil. It thickens quickly and smoothly and is perfect for sauces and gravies. Before I knew what a roux was, and how to make it, I didn't ever cook the flour out enough so my cream sauce ended up lumpy. Now that I know, it turns out perfectly smooth and thick! Also, the flour binds to the milk somehow and prevents curdling. I read it somewhere and can't remember why, but it's true. 

Third, measurements. I'm talking about measurements for the veggies. The recipe doesn't specify an amount for carrots, and never has, and everything else is about 1 cup. I've found that I can use numbers of carrots, potatoes, and celery, without measuring it and it's always turned out fine. 

And now, here's the recipe!

Clam Chowder
2-3 cans minced or chopped clams
1 c. chopped onion (1 medium size)
chopped carrots (2 medium-large, peeled)
1 c. chopped celery (2-3 hearts)
2 c. diced, peeled, potatoes (2-3 medium size)

Drain clam juice over the veggies in a large stockpot. Fill water to the top of veggies. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Cream Sauce:
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
4 c. half & half (or 1 can evaporated milk, 1 c. milk, and the rest water)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar

Melt the butter and then add the flour in a saucepan. Create a roux and cook to desired color (I like golden brown). Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken and get creamy. Add the spices. When desired thickness is reached, pour cream sauce into pot with veggies. Add the clams and bring to a boil to thicken more if desired (5 minutes or so). 

I find this recipe to be really simple and quite easy once you get the hang of a roux for the cream sauce. Everything comes together in about 30 minutes if you're quick at peeling and chopping veggies. I love serving and dipping crusty artisan bread, like Ciabatta or Sourdough, in the soup. Enjoy!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Mayo v. Miracle Whip: The Great Debate

Folks, sometimes I get in a mood. The kind of mood where I make things up in my head, compose letters, scripts, stories, and responses to teasing. These things are generally funny and slightly clever, to me. It is during these times that I usually feel a need to blog.

Today we have Mayo v. Miracle Whip.

Some people may think, like I did in my immature, inexperienced, newly married life, that these two things are interchangeable, nearly identical, and one in the same. 
I am here to tell you, they are not!
My first glimpse of the vast differences of these products came by way of my sister in law at a summer bbq several years ago. I was hosting and planning and said we would have all the condiments for burgers: ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc. But what I meant was Miracle Whip. When everyone arrived, she was disappointed to find that my "mayo" was not really mayo at all, but indeed Miracle Whip, something I believe she was not fond of.

After that experience I thought perhaps I should start buying Mayo to see if it was better, worse, or nearly the same.

What about Miracle Whip? 
Miracle Whip is something I grew up on. 
Miracle Whip to us was mayo. We used the names interchangeable. We never saw real mayo in our home unless someone else bought it and left it there. 
Miracle Whip went on flat, round, eggs (fried, really).
Miracle Whip went on sandwiches.
Miracle Whip went on burgers, and in fry sauce, and in recipes. 
Mayo did not exist.

For over a year, I continued to purchase Mayo, thinking that maybe I would like it one day. We managed to make it through a big, round, container, before I decided to buy Miracle Whip again. That decision diminished slightly when I needed to make a dip with Mayo. Enter, small bottle of Mayo.
Then my mom came to visit. 
For breakfast one morning she asked if we had MW and if I still dipped my eggs in it. Of course I responded: "yes! I love MW on my eggs! But, no, we don't have any..."
From that time forth, I have realized: I do not like mayo. 

Mayo is too creamy, too eggy, too smooth and fattening tasting. MW is tangy and delicious and many other things. However, when disguised on a Subway sandwich, mayo is completely edible.
While I may upon occasion host Mayo in my fridge for various reasons, I would like you to know that I much prefer MW. 
I can't wait to dip my flat, round, egg in some tomorrow morning! 

...why yes, I did have a Mayo v. MW photo shoot on my kitchen table. 
It's been one of those days...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My little froggie and pregnant thoughts

My dog just vomited. Twice.
My (almost) two year old has been whining in his crib for an hour and a half instead of sleeping.
I'm sitting next to a freezing brick wall with a chilly draft from the patio.
Happy Halloween!

While I could complain and whine about all the things that are unfair, unhappy, or frustrating in my life, I would feel quite selfish for doing so while thinking about people on the East Coast.
I've been watching the news about the Superstorm Sandy. Seriously. It blows my mind. The videos and reports are unbelievable. Devastating. I wonder how and when things will be back up and running. Just for records sake, some of the things that happened:
-14 foot storm surge
-8 million people without power, and it's not warm.
-3 feet of snow in the Appalachians
-4 feet of water in the NY subway system
-over 100 homes destroyed in Breezy Point, from a fire
-flooding. everywhere.
-cars in piles, boats on train tracks, boardwalks gone, beaches demolished, homes destroyed

I'm not sure what I would do if something like this happened to me and my family. But I do know if we were told to evacuate, we would. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who were affected.

In other news. I'm pregnant. I'm exhausted. All the time. I don't want to cook. I don't want to clean. I don't want to run. I just want to sleep. All day. Every day. I feel nauseous most parts of most days, but I don't actually throw up. I feel bloated and chunky but I've only gained 1-2 pounds, depending on the day and what I've eaten. Mostly I just feel worn out.  I'm nervous to take care of a newborn again because I feel like I've forgotten. I'm nervous for the labor and delivery because of how things went with Bubs. I'm nervous to get huge and uncomfortable again. I'm not thrilled about hauling a two year old, a baby carrier, and groceries up two flights of stairs. I'm nervous about meeting the needs of two children and loving them equally.

But I'm thrilled. I'm excited. I can't wait to have another little baby! Having a family and kids has always been my dream and goal in life. I'm excited for Bubs to have a little sibling. I'm excited to grow our family. I'm excited to raise another kid. I'm excited to join the ranks of mother of two. I'm really, really, excited! And most of the time, that happiness and excitement outweighs the negative.

Plus, another one of these cutie pies? Yes, please!

Our little Halloween Froggie. 
He had an absolute blast at the Ward Trunk or Treat! He loved running around and playing with other kids and he loved trick or treating. He even kind of says "trick or treat" and of course "thank you!" at every car. I'm really excited to take him trick or treating tonight! 
Hopefully he'll hold a little more still at some point so I can get a better picture. 
And why is he a frog, you ask?
He picked it out.
Out of the dragon, lion, bear, dog, bee, and monkey, he wanted the frog. Go figure. It's adorable. 

Happy Halloween everyone!

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Secret is OUT!

My awesome photographer Mom came to visit us this past weekend specifically to capture some family pictures for us.
I learned something during that photo shoot...
Ya know all those pictures all over Pinterest with the perfect families, with perfect kids, with perfect smiles, with perfect poses? A little too perfect and a lot too unrealistic for my expectations.
Bubs had a horrible nap, didn't eat much food most of the day, was cold, wanted the playground, and was super cranky about anything and everything. 
Thus, we didn't get any pictures of him smiling. ...not that he smiles for cameras anyway.
Overall it was a learning experience with some fun parts.
But, the most important thing? We got some amazing shots of my beautiful family. I can't wait to print them and add more pictures to our walls!
If you like what you see, you can contact my mom. She works in the Kansas City area. Here blog is here

Note to self: puppies are even harder to photograph than toddlers.
Put them together? Good. Luck.

Oh yeah, we're having a baby!!!

Apparently he is not very happy about this...

We also bribed with goldfish.

Gosh, I married a hunky babe!

Story of our life.
He's got a mind and personality of his own.

"Uh, Mom? Dad? What are you doing?"

Love this!

I love my sweet little family!!!
Baby #2 due: May 20, 2013.
We couldn't be more excited!
And more relieved that I don't have to suck in my belly, make up excuses for not running in the cold, and feel great about midnight Taco Bell runs. Phew!