Monday, November 30, 2009

It's beginning

to look a lot like Christmas!

I'm excited for Christmas to come this year. My kids got the tree decorated last Friday and I've been slowly adding the rest of our holiday decorations every day since.

I've finished lots of shopping for gifts and I've made a few. Still a long way to go but tonight I feel like a woman who has it all together.

It's a good feeling.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I just hate it when snotty, arrogant, and oh-so-superior wins in the end.

Project Runway is a big let-down tonight.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

a great day

I went to the temple this afternoon because the son of one of my bffs was going through today for the first time in preparation for his mission. Since I taught him in seminary for three years it was a very special day for me too. He's going to the New York, New York North mission speaking ASL. He leaves in January. It's all so very exciting.

Our other bff was there too, with her husband.

It was just a great day all around.

Friday, November 27, 2009

still sorting

I've been sorting through cabinets and closets and gathering up things for a garage sale. My men have been helping. It's slow going but it's getting there.
My project piles and supplies piles need triage. I really want to get in there and craft some stuff but I don't know where to start.

Priorities must be established. There are:

  • people who need attention,
  • housework that needs to be addressed,
  • yard work to be accomplished,
  • home DIY projects to be tackled (can you say "refinish the front door while the weather is nice!"?),
  • gifts to be created or shopped for, packaged, wrapped, and in some cases boxed and shipped.

There is a baby about to be born at a yet-to-be-determined time in the next month which will take anywhere from one to 30 days out of my time to accomplish the above tasks.

I feel like I need another one of me here. Because I really don't want to miss out on any of it but the length of my to-do list makes me feel overwhelmed to the point that I'm having a hard time getting started.

I have to keep telling myself that all I can do is all I can do, and all I can do is enough.

(Did you see that I used 5 different punctuation marks in a row up there? I think that's a record for punctuation-happy me. I'm very free and liberal with the punctuation. I know this about myself. I've accepted it and I'm okay with it.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So thankful

For my best friend and true love, the amazing Mr. Dub...
For my Pretty Girl...
For my Little Biggie in a faraway land...
For my Little Prince...
For my Little Friend...
For my sweet, little, and very dear Buttercup...
For my mom who showed me how to do it all...
For my brothers and sisters who inspire me to never fall behind...
For my bffs who make it all fun and adventurous...
For my home, where all this magic happens...

For all of this, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

oh me oh pie

Today I made a mixed berry pie with a lattice-top crust.

That's right. Lattice-top crust.

My first berry pie and my first lattice top. I think it turned out beautifully. A little bit of a juicy flood overflowed onto part of the lattice so you couldn't call it perfect, but it's still beautiful.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just a reminder

I went to a movie today with my bffs and during the previews I was reminded how perfectly scrumptious this man is. I know he's a tool (he can't seem to remember which woman he's committed to) but he does look good in the movies.

I saw him first in Cold Mountain. Now I have to see the Sherlock Holmes movie - Watson always was my favorite.

Monday, November 23, 2009

it's all good

I knew today would be better and it has been. I accomplished many of the things on my to-do list and I'm feeling quite contented and relaxed.

The main thing I did today was clean out the fridge and refill it with Thanksgiving Dinner supplies. My veggie crisper is full of freshness and my Butterball turkey is properly thawing in the refrigerator. I also got a little Christmas shopping done today.

Boy, I am good.

My Little Friend got a good note home from school today about his behavior last week. As this is quite a change from the norm, he was rewarded with a dollar. Not a dollar bill, mind you, but a dollar in quarters. I think he's asked every person he's seen today if they would change four quarters for a dollar bill.

What is it with kids and paper money? At the baby shower on Saturday my sister was telling a story about my niece always wanting bills and not change, and we have a long standing joke around the Dub house about Taylor expecting a $5 bill, and not "just a bunch of money."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mom always said

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.

It's good advice. And I could think of something nice to say if I thought hard enough. But today I'm not going to think that hard.

Tomorrow will be better. So while we are all waiting for the better tomorrow here's a pretty picture to contemplate.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

home sweet home

I had a great time in Austin these last two days; I saw two of my sisters, my fun, cute niece, my daughter, her friends, and lots of adorable baby loot.

After a pretty miserable drive home, I'm back. And I'm annoyed, perturbed, frustrated, and aggravated.

Wishing I had another couple days away...

Friday, November 20, 2009

on the road again

I'm in Austin to meet all of Karie's Austin friends and have another round of baby shower madness. I'm dealing with a not-my-computer, a not-my-bed, and a not-my-bathroom. (Somehow I conjured up the Spinning Wheel of Misfortune on the computer a minute ago. Uh-oh.)

The plus side is that I'm spending quality time with my pretty girl while we're anticipating the arrival of the beautiful Buttercup.

I wonder how things are going back at the Dub house?

I'll be home tomorrow.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

recipe experimentation

Lately I've been trying to lighten up things in the kitchen and use less saturated fat, no trans fat, and less sugar in my recipes. I started using extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter for regular stove-top cooking years ago so that hasn't been an issue at all, but in some of my recipes, particularly the ones that call for shortening, it's been a bit of a challenge.

My Little Prince has been asking for a couple of weeks now for biscuits. Tonight I made them and instead of using 1/2 cup of shortening I used one stick of cold, unsalted butter. I cut it in with my kitchenaid mixer and the metal whisk.

I know that butter has a lot of saturated fat but it has zero trans fat. It's easier, I think, to get saturated fat out of your arteries than it is to get trans fat out. The biscuits rose higher, were fluffier and lighter in texture, were less crumbly, and browned more nicely than the biscuits I've been baking for years with shortening. I used a baking powder biscuit recipe with the buttermilk variation and the only substitution I made was exchanging butter for shortening. I'm very happy with the results but will still make them only occasionally because of all the butter. I did find that they needed no butter spread on them after baking because they were already very moist and buttery-tasting so that was a plus.

One other success I've had was with oatmeal. My favorite flavor is maple-brown sugar but I couldn't find a really maple-y tasting syrup to use, and adding syrup and brown sugar seems a bit much when I'm trying to limit sugar. I had a "eureka" moment earlier this week and put a few drops of maple extract in the bowl before cooking. Voila! Maple flavor with zero calories and zero added sugar.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

magazine editors

Sometimes they really know what they're doing. Take the folks over there at People magazine for example. They just named Johnny the 2009 Sexiest Man Alive.

That makes him a two-time winner. He was also their pick in 2003.

But, you know, that's only because they don't know about Mr. Dub.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

book review

I went to my book club today - it's always so fun and it makes even a good book so much more interesting when I hear what other people thought and noticed about the book. There's always something I hadn't thought of myself...

Anyway, today we reviewed A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. It is a super fun book and it's one that I've read at least once a year for several years now. It's written for older children and young teens and is about a 15 year old girl who is sent to live with her grandmother for a year because her parents have lost their jobs and can no longer afford to keep her with them in Chicago. Grandma Dowdel lives in a small, country town.

This book is laugh-out-loud funny. The author really understands his characters and they are completely believable. As someone (Hi, Linda!) pointed out in book club today, Richard Peck must have a lot of strong women in his family and he clearly paid attention.

There are a lot themes in the book that can spark thought and contemplation if you care to take it that far. If you don't, that's okay too. It will still be a hoot.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I got the ultimate fortune in my cookie today. (A Panda Bowl with sweet fire chicken on top of chow mein noodles is my new favorite drive-thru lunch.)

I'm a lucky girl.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Laundry Soap

My friend Jilly posted on her blog the other day about what kind of laundry soap she likes. Since I find such details interesting and because I spend the better part of every weekend scaling and taming Mt. Dirty Clothes I thought I'd share some details with you.

It's not exactly a fascinating subject, is it? But laundry is a big part of my life.

The detergent I always use is All. I like that All has Stainlifter in it and I rarely have to pretreat stains. I like its scent. I always buy the 3X Small and Mighty except for when I get the 2X in a bigger jug. I started buying All when I stopped buying either the store brand or Arm & Hammer detergent, and that happened when Mr. Dub started making enough $$$ in the paychecks. Switching laundry detergent was an upgrade in our standard of living.

I think the fact that that is true means I'm not a very high-maintenance kind of girl.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

baby shower

Today was Karie's shower and let me tell ya - she was showered. It 's going to take a couple of trips for her to get everything back to her apartment. Wow. We're so blessed to have such loving and generous friends!

I finished knitting the blanket for Buttercup this week. That's what is in the pic along with some crib sheets I sewed together and also some flannel receiving blankets.

I'm very appreciative of the way people ooh-ed and ahh-ed over my handiwork. Which of course includes not only my gifts for the baby but also my oh-so-pretty, and oh-so-very pregnant, and quite adorable darling girl.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Uh oh

It's late and I forgot to write a posting for the blog today. I'm not sure if it's going to show up as Friday or if it will have rolled over to Saturday. If it shows up as a Saturday then this will have been the first day I missed since I started back in January.

I think that's pretty good.

I had a great day with Karie today. We did a lot of shopping and talking and driving and generally goofing off.

She's my favorite girl. Tomorrow is her baby shower. So exciting!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


My Pretty Girl came to Houston today because my bffs are having a baby shower for her on Saturday. I'm really excited and glad to see her. She's very pregnant. : )

Tonight we were making pie. And afterwards, while cleaning up, I was shoving all the apple peelings down into the garbage disposal.

It's scary down there.

No matter what house we've lived in, no matter how old I get, even if it's not running, I'm afraid of the disposal. You know the mucinex cough medicine commercial on TV with that blob-ular green mucus monster with the deep, scratchy voice? Something very similar to that guy lives in the garbage disposal.

I know it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I've been thinking a lot today about life and all it entails, including (but not limited to):
  • birth
  • death
  • the stuff in between birth and death
  • and other confusing
  • and mysterious themes.

And I came to a conclusion.

Life is, like, trippy, man. Sometimes it's tough to keep up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Uncle Jeff

My Uncle Jeff died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday. It's times like this that I really miss my extended family and wish quite desperately that we lived closer to them.

I've been doing a lot of remembering today and might share some of those thoughts later. Right now I just feel so sad for my Aunt Paula and my cousins who've lost such a big part of their lives with Jeff's passing.

(This picture is of Jeff and my uncle Bob when they were kids. Jeff is the little guy.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

still sewing

I finished three projects today - all gifts for friends.
  1. One polka-dotted crib sheet
  2. One flannel receiving blanket
  3. One really sweet Dora the Explorer pillowcase with contrasting trim.

I learned a new technique for the pillowcase. It's easy and fun and quick to complete. I forgot to take a picture before I gave it to the lucky girl who got it, but I'm sure I'll be making more in the days and weeks to come. It looks like the one in the picture but of course not the same fabric.

Maybe you'll get one for Christmas. But only if you've been very good to me this year.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Today at church was the annual Sacrament Meeting Presentation when all the Primary children put on a program for the congregation. It's a very special day, because it is quite something to see all the little kids in all their cuteness trying so hard to do something good, and also because it brings back a lot of great memories of my time spent as primary president and preparing the SMP and spending time with those kids who now are quite grown up.

Today they sang one of my most favorite songs that I had nearly forgotten about. Here it is sung by the BYU men's choir on You Tube, and below are the lyrics:

Beautiful Savior
Words: Anon,. twelfth century
Music: Silesian folk song

Fair is the sunshine, fairer the moonlight
And all the stars in heaven above;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
And brings to all the world his love.

Fair are the meadows, fairer the woodlands,
Robed in the flowers of blooming spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer.
He makes the sorrowing spirit sing.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I honor, praise, and give glory,
Give praise and glory evermore!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I've been sewing a lot this week, trying to get all of the bedding for Karie's little B ready before the baby shower next Saturday. It's coming together very nicely and I'm loving the way the colors coordinate. There have been a couple little projects for other people that I've been working on as well.

I'm not going to post pictures of any of it until I'm all finished with everything.

I love sewing. My whole house is a mess with bits of thread and piles of fabric dominating the downstairs, and unmade beds and dirty laundry taking over the upstairs. I've tried to create a little bit of order every night before bed, but only so far as what will get my Dub men out of the house in a hurry the next morning. So, you know, I can get back to sewing as soon as they leave.

I don't care who knows it - I love sewing more than I love housework.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Wishing there was any sign of fall here in Houston...still looking at summery grass, summery trees, and summery flowers...I guess it will have to be fall only in my mind and on my blog today.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Fun With Kitchen Chemistry"

or "Kitchen Chemistry Gone Wrong".

Back story: Every time I cook bacon in my microwave, the inside of the microwave stinks of bacon for days. Days and days. The smell doesn't come out by wiping the inside with hot soapy water or with Windex. I cooked some bacon on Tuesday morning for a quiche we had for dinner that night. And while the smell of bacon cooking could be considered a good thing, it definitely loses some of its appeal after a few days.

This morning I thought I'd try deodorizing the microwave. I started with a one-cup glass measuring cup. I added 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup lemon juice. I thought I'd add some salt and see how that worked. And then things started going wrong.

I went to the pantry for the salt and while merrily spinning the lazy susan looking for salt I spotted the baking soda. I thought "Aha! Baking soda would be even better than salt because I know baking soda deodorizes!"

You can probably see where this is going. Unfortunately I didn't see it going there myself.

Picture it: I'm standing there in front of the pantry with my measuring cup nearly full of lemon juice/water and I poured a little bit of baking soda into the cup. Things got exciting really fast and before I could remember that lemon juice and baking soda make for quite a spectacular meeting my cup runneth o'er. Literally.

Now there's a big, foamy, lemony mess dripping on to the floor, down my arm, and all over my bare feet.

When the excitement died down there wasn't much left in my measuring cup. I figured what the heck, I might as well see if it deodorizes the microwave. I put it in there and set it for 3 minutes, thinking that if it boiled and created some lemony steam it might work better.

The lemon/water/baking soda solution did foam up more while it was cooking but it wiped right up. And it did work. There is no longer any trace of old bacon smell in the microwave.

The weird thing was the color change. It started out basically clear - the color of lemon juice and water - and after it cooked for three minutes it was really a really dark amber.

(Any kitchen chemists out there that can explain why the color changed?)

Anyway, the moral of this story is that a watered down solution of lemon juice and baking soda will deodorize a microwave oven, but you should do your mixing in a big container. Preferably over the sink.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

mayhem and foolishness

I'm loving watching Clean House right now. The host, Niecy Nash, took some getting used to, I admit, but she's grown on me and I really like the style sense of the show's designer Mark Brunetz.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

happy, happy day

The past few weeks have been especially trying. The multitude of reasons don't really merit a list.

It all turned around today. Today was a good and fun and happy day.

Girls' Day Out can do that to a mama. Sometimes you just need to hang with your girlfriends.

Monday, November 2, 2009

William Tell and Emperor Palpatine

Jake is learning to play a simplified version of the William Tell Overture on the piano this week. We listened to it on You Tube so he could get a feel for how the song is supposed to sound.

It was so awesome I wanted to share it with you. Watch the conductor - he's a hoot. What he does with his hands during some parts of the music reminds me of the Emperor in Star Wars. Remember that scene with Luke in Return of the Jedi? It's like he's using the dark side of the force to direct the music because surely the musicians in the back cannot see what he's doing.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November madness

I've been over-thinking everything today. I just hate that. Nothing is ever solved by me rehashing the various scenarios and could-have-beens over and over again in my head. Sometimes I just have to let situations go and try again another day.
I'll think about Johnny instead. He's cute, don't you think?