Friday, November 30, 2007

Gratitude -- the Final Installment

Here's the final in my list of things to be grateful for each day of the month of November.

18. Amazing friends. I really could use the rest of the days to list the wonderful friends I have, but I’ll just put it as one item. I’m blessed to have friends in many places who support me in all different ways. I can’t imagine getting through life without them.

19. A wonderful home to call my own and share with the DH. It might not be fancy, but it’s our place. It also has a great back yard. It was a really good venue for our wedding reception and we’ve had some very nice parties there since. It was especially fun for my birthday party last summer.

20. My cute nieces and nephews rock! They’re all so cool in such very different ways. I just wish I could see all of them more often. I don’t even see Max, who is in the area, as often as I’d like. This is one of the many reasons I’m looking forward to Christmas with the whole family this year too.

21. Good insurance policies. I got to be reminded this week when I took the DH’s truck in to get fixed. I was driving it last Sunday after he had loaded two couches (one was a sofa-sleeper) with the tail gate down I drove over the bumpy part of 125th St. and the tail gate got knocked off and skidded on the ground until I could get pulled over to the side of the road. I don’t know if the DH will ever let me drive his truck again, but at least I got it fixed. And it only cost me $100.

22. Sunshine, especially in the winter, is such a great blessing. I love those cool, crisp, sunshiny days. They’re fairly few and far between in Seattle, but I love them just the same.

23. My computer is a wonderful blessing. It helps me keep in touch with my many friends and family and provides a creative outlet. It’s all kinds of fun, even if it is also really just a tool to do more work sometimes, too.

24. Amazing restaurants in Seattle. Just tonight, the DH and I went to Bick’s in Greenwood. The food was amazing. Last time we were there, we thought it was just too loud. This time, we got a booth in the back and it was wonderful. It’s not nearly as noisy back there, so we could carry on a conversation. That way, we could enjoy the fantastic food even more. And that’s just one of many great places.

25. I also grateful for the gift of travel. I have my grandparents to thank most of all. They covered the fees for study abroad when I went to Vienna while I was at BYU. That trip included touring most of western Europe, England, and Israel. I have to thank my parents as well. It still amazes me how much of the country we saw as I was growing up. I’m not sure I would have had the patience to drive six kids the two-day trip to San Francisco or even farther to L.A. so we could go to Disneyland. It was pretty nice to have grandparents in Arizona, so we got to go across the border to Mexico. I know it wasn’t a very broad Mexico experience, but still a foreign country. They took us to Canada too. I felt like a globetrotter before I ever flew across the ocean.

26. I’m not sure I would survive without books. I know I haven’t done too well with the book club, but I still read as I can. It’s just not nearly as much now as I’d like. I’ve read so many books that have had a great impact on my life. It’s always a wonderful thing to find a book that just speaks to you. It’s happened to me many times.

27. I love a good movie. One of my favorites is A River Runs through It. I think I could watch that another ten times without getting tired of it. It’s on the short list of movies I could watch over and over.

28. I’m grateful for a sewing machine. I sort of suck at sewing, but I’m still grateful that I have the machine and I can use it in a pinch. It’s a nice little appliance to have around.

29. I love my cell phone. I know it may also sound silly, but it is another thing that keeps me connected to the people I love. It’s so great to spend my evening commute on the phone with the DH or my sister or mom.

30. For my last entry, I’m going to say the DH. I know I’ve already listed him, but I just can’t say enough how grateful I am to have him in my life. I’ve learned so much from him. He’s so much more willing to serve others and give of himself than I am and I appreciate that about him. He is also ready to do almost anything I need him to do, even help with stake relief society functions when he’s not too enthusiastic about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Mmm... Pie!

Well, I think Thanksgiving was a resounding success. The brother, sister-in-law, and nephew came over for some yummy food. They brought half and I made half, so it wasn't too much work and the food was great. The best thing the SIL made was the homemade cranberry sauce. YUM! The recipe is below. The best thing I made was pumpkin pie. I used my sister's mother-in-law's recipe and it turned out great. That recipe is below as well.

All in all, we had a really nice time. Patrick even got more birthday presents -- a leprechaun christmas tree ornament, and a new Mario game for the Wii. Patrick also got a really cool truck for Max that kept him entertained for quite a while so he wasn't too bored while we were cooking and chatting.

I'd say a good time was had by all. This is the before picture. We forgot to take an after picture, but it was sort of like this, only messier.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce
2 large navel orangesa
12-ounce bag fresh or unthawed frozen cranberries, picked over (about 3 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup honey
several tablespoonse of pomegranate seeds

With a vegetable peeler remove three 3-inch-long strips zest from 1 orange. In a saucepan of boiling water blanch zest 1 minute and drain in a colander. Chop zest fine and transfer to a large bowl. Cut away peel and pith from oranges with a sharp knife and discard. Quarter oranges. In a food processor pulse oranges and cranberries until chopped coarse and add to zest. Stir in honey. Chill sauce, covered, at least 1 day and up to 3. Add pomegranate seeds before serving.

Pumpkin Pie
1 29-ounce can of pumpkin
3 eggs
3 cups sugar
1½ teaspoons ginger
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon flour
3½ cups of milk

Mix and pour into 3 9-inch pie tins lined with pastry. Dot top with margarine. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, then at 350° for 45 minutes (or until knife comes our clean). Cool for 2-3 hours.

These actually took about an hour-and-a-half to finish baking at my house. It was totally worth it though.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blog Readability

So, I found this quite interesting and funny. Over at How About Orange, I found The Blog Readability Test. To waste some time, I checked out all the blogs I read to see how they rated. Only two of them came out as Genius level; The DH and my dad. I came in at High School reading level. Not bad, especially since not that many geniuses read my blog -- except for you -- you're a total genius!

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Shout Out to the DH!

Everyone be sure to go over to the DH's blog and give a shout out for his birthday. It's not quite as exciting as the big milestone birthday last year, but it's still a great day. He wore his new suit and shirt with cuff-links to church yesterday and looked as handsome as I've ever seen him. And thanks so much to the Craven's for a fantastice birthday dinner last night.

Why Are My Lips Orange?

This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I was also putting away portions of the Clinique free gift I got a couple of weeks ago. I looked at the lipstick and thought it was a fabulous color. It was one I must wear today. I put it on and then went about my getting-ready business. After getting dressed, I went into the bathroom for one last look in the mirror to make sure everything looked just so. To my horror, my lips were orange. Again. It seems that all Clinique lipsticks turn orange on my lips. It's something to do with pH and chemistry and other things that I don't fully understand. What I do understand is that I have one more tube of lipstick that I can throw away. Bummer.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gratitude -- Lots to Love

13. Leaving the gym this morning, I realized how grateful I am that my body works as well as it does so I can be physically active. It's a great blessing that not everyone has, and I realize that.

14. I also thought how grateful I am for the rain. It smelled so good when I was outside and it felt good (especially since I was overheated from being in the gym). I also know that it makes a lot of other things that I love grow.

15. I'm grateful for my husband's new job. He just got offered a position at his company in inside sales. Although he'll have to work harder to maintain the hard body he has, it will aslo mean that he doesn't have his body beat up every day by the nature of his work. It's a very good thing, even if does come with some trade-offs. He'll miss working all day with his friend Jason, but he'll be able to walk at the end of the day and will have little risk of getting another hernia.

16. I'm also very thankful for cars to take us places. It's so convenient and easy. I guess these days, I'm also thankful for a good job to pay for the gas. Even driving a hybrid, it's still a concern that we drive so much. We have to make an effort to consolidate trips and save fuel.

17. I'm thankful for clean entertainment. The DH and I saw Dan in Real Life yesterday and were very entertained by it. It was clean, funny, and entertaining -- the trifecta of what makes a movie good. We've also been enjoying Pushing Daisies, a new program on television this season that is also fairly clean, funny, and entertaining.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gratitude -- My Family Rocks

9. The DH is my true love. I'm grateful for my favorite part of every day just before we go to sleep. I lay my head on his chest and we talk for a few minutes before one or both of us need to actually go to sleep. It really is the best part of my day.

10. I'm grateful for my dad. I love that my dad is always taking classes. He's such a great role model. He's learning how to play the organ (even though he doesn't know how to play the piano) and he's taking a religion class. His love of learning has always inspired me.

11. I'm grateful for my mom. My mother has always been very involved in all her childrens' lives, but in a good way. I love that my mom remembers all of my friend's names. In fact, sometimes she remembers when I don't. I know I should be embarassed, but really it just makes me that much more impressed with my mom. She is always interested in what I'm doing and always has time for me. I can't count how many times she's had to listen to me cry on the phone.

12. I'm grateful for the sibs. They're all amazing in their own ways. I don't think I have room to tell you about all of them and how cool they are, but suffice it to say that they all rock. Plus, the married ones have all had good taste in spouses. I'm very blessed with my wonderful in-laws too.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fremont, 5:06 p.m. -- Seen When Leaving Work Today

I kid you not. A man was vacuuming the sidewalks and gutter. It was some kind of industrial looking vacuuming contraption, but vacuuming none the less.

Gratitude -- Work is Good

6. I'm very grateful for a good job that helps me pay the bills, have a nice warm house, and pay to do some fun things once in a while. It's even nice to be able to help out someone in need every once in a while because I can. All because I have a good job.

7. I'm grateful to work with really outstanding people. It's all good to have a job, but it's even better to enjoy showing up for it because you get to hang out with people you like. I really miss the cool people from my old job, but at least I have cool people at my new job to take the sting out of that.

8. I'm also grateful for my short commute to work now that I'm only driving a few miles. It's generally taking about 15 minutes, regardless of when I leave my house. On my way, I hear about the traffic jams that I would have been in were I not driving to the new job. Plus, I'm not using as much gas to get there.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I'm a Hero

At least I'm a Guitar Hero.

Last week, the Guitar Hero game for the Wii came in the mail. It's even more fun than the bowling or cow racing. I've played until my hands hurt and I had to stop. Looking at the photo, you can see how much concentration it takes.

The bad part -- the songs are all rock and roll from the 70s and 80s that I didn't really like all that much when they came out.

The good part -- I can beat the DH at this game. At least for now, I'm better than him at it. He's even played a guitar and been in a band.

When I finish a song, this is what I get...

In flashing lights.

New Projects

It's that time again. We're getting close to the holidays, so I think I need to do some projects. I have a few that I can't show on the blog right now. (Who knows, one of those might be for you!) This is the one I can show.

On Saturday, I went to the fabric store and bought some minky and some cotton fabric, then found matching seam binding and thread. I'm going to try my hand at making a minky baby blanket that's a bit different from what I've done before. This one will have the cotton on one side, the minky on the other, and then be machine quilted in a free form, so it should be super easy.

It would be super easy for my Mom. Or Annzy. Or the SIL. Or the other SIL. Not so much for me.

Last night I was on a roll. I used this great Wonder Tape to stick the fabric together so it's easier to sew and doesn't shift. Then I got out the sewing machine. I changed the presser foot to the darning foot. I made a bobbin on my first try. I was on a roll. I even had a scrap to practice the free form quilting on. That's where it all went wrong. Somehow I didn't insert the bobbin correctly. On the first stitch, the needle got stuck down in the works. I couldn't get it to move. It broke the needle. I have visions of completely ruining the machine. Oh, my! I was trying not to completely loose it as I couldn't get the needle to move up or down and it just kept getting more stuck.

Finally, I got it to move and got the broken needle parts out. Then I replaced the needle (score another for me on the sewing machine!) and the bobbin and tried sewing on the scrap again. This time, it worked just fine. I decided that I hadn't gotten the bobbin seated just so in its little cage and that caused the problem.

Of course, by the time I had it all set up and ready to go I just didn't have the energy to try to do it for real. Stay tuned. Hopefully I have a very quick story to tell about how it all worked so easy by the time I'm done.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Gratitude -- or Two More Reasons to Love the DH

November is a great month to remember all the wonderful things we're grateful for. I have so much to be grateful for that I thought I should share something with you for every day this month. Of course, I can't be expected to blog on this every day, so you'll get groups throughout the month. Here's the start of the list:
  1. A husband who pumps gas for me. I'm a cleaning machine and will do almost all the chores around the house, but I hate to pump gas. I also have a nasty habit (or amazing talent if you choose to think of it that way) of running a tank almost to the end without ever running out of gas. My DH is happy to fill the gas tank any time it's low. He doesn't appreciate how low I let it go, but he is always willing to do the one chore I hate.
  2. Almost as important as pumping gas is killing spiders. We're having an especially wicked spider season this fall and I haven't had to look at many at all in the house. The DH makes sure they're gone before I even see them. Now that's true love.
  3. Autumn leaves are just an amazing exhibit of God's handiwork. I'm so grateful for the beautiful world we live in. It's been especially beautiful this year, too.
  4. Modern medicine makes me really happy. I love seeing how it blesses so many lives, mine included. The DH and I were especially happy to see how it helped our friends the Duke and Duchess as they brought their beautiful baby boy into this world. All I can say to that, is WOW!
  5. Traveling by airplane. I mean, I love a good road trip and all, but how great is it to spend only a couple hours traveling to see friends or family hundreds of miles away. It's especially beautiful after the passes are covered with snow. IYairplanes.
Stay tuned for more throughout the month of November. What are you thankful for? I really would like to know.