Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Restaurant in Review

For our anniversary, last night, we went to El Gaucho for dinner. The DH had heard about it and I had friends who recommended it as well. We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed our dinner, but I'm going to have to give it a thumbs-down as an overall recommendation.

First, the good: The restaurant looks very fancy and we had an easy time parking at the Belltown location. They also have valet parking for only $7, which is less than the lot accross the street. We had a wonderful waiter who was very attentive and friendly. There was a pianist playing during our dinner that added to the ambience. We also enjoyed the food. We both had steaks and I had a salad with both shrimp and lobster in it that was very tasty. They bring fruit, cheese, and nuts to every table after dinner. The cheese was fabulous! Plus, the company couldn't be beat!

Now for the not-so-good: The prices are insane. This was by far the most expensive meal I have ever eaten. Ever. When I think about the most expensive meal, I hope to have the most outstanding food. the food was good, but nowhere near outstanding. I have to say that I would not recommend El Gaucho simply because of the price. Also, to put things in perspective, we had one starter, one salad, two steaks, and two sides. All that for a price I can't even type because it's so astronomical. We have enjoyed Daniel's Broiler and Palisade, to outstanding restuarants, that have cost $100 less for the meal. We did not get an extra $100 worth out of this. My steak was OK. The DH's steak was good. We've had outstanding steaks at Daniel's for much less money.

The final breakdown:
Service 5/5
Ambiance 5/5
Price 1/5
Food 3/5
Total 3.5/5

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Today was a really nice day, but it's been a pretty nice week as well. Highlights this week include:
  • Fresh Hermiston watermelon (it really is #1 on my highlight list for a reason)
  • Driving with my DH this weekend
  • Roses delivered to work on Monday
  • Anniversary dinner with the DH this evening

I hope you're having a great week too!

Three Years Today

It's been three years since the day the DH and I got married. Our wedding day was wonderful and the three years in between have just gotten better and better.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watermelon, Finally!

We had a VERY busy weekend, but lots of fun none the less. We went to the temple with the ward on Friday night, visited with a bunch of our friends afterwards until late in the evening, and then had a short night.

Saturday morning, we got up and headed Southeast to Hermiston. On the way there, I crocheted around this blanket:

The DH chose the fabric because it's for his grandson, due to make his entrance into the world in October. He kept hounding me about getting it done in time. It was a piece of cake.

We got to The DH's sister's house around 4:00 in the afternoon and got to see the outstanding watermelon's and canteloupe that Gus found for us at a farm. We also got to take a tour of his vegetable garden and see (and taste) some of the great produce he's growing. That evening took Gus and Shannon out for Gus' birthday and ate wonderful Thai food. Mmm!

On Sunday, we went to church with Gus and Shannon and then hung out with them and helped prepare for the birthday party. Gus smoked three chickens and gave us one of them to take home with us. They were SO good! We had a really nice time at the party and got to hang out with their wonderful friends and family. After the party, we left with watermelon, canteloupe, frozen chickens, eggs, one smoked chicken, green peppers, and leftovers from the party.

On the way home, I crocheted around this blanket:

I chose this fabric and I think it will be fun for my co-worker's little boy due later this year.
We got home pretty late on Sunday night, so we were totally beat on Monday morning, but it was worth it to have some quality family time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thanks, DH!

I had a wonderful surprise today at work. Around mid-morning, I got a call from the front desk telling me I had a floral delivery. The thought that crossed my mind was, "who would be sending me flowers?" Well, of course it was the DH.

Our anniversary isn't until Wednesday, but he had the brilliant idea to send them today so I could enjoy them all week. Fresh flowers are one of the small splurge's I indulge in (that and regular pedicures) and the DH knows that I really enjoy them.

I love that he's done something that is purely for my enjoyment. Thanks, so much, dear! I really do think they're beautiful.

He's a keeper that one!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Olympic Love

I'm such a sucker for the Olympics. I love the highs and lows and the interesting sports that you never see anywhere else.

Last night, I watched some of the rhythmic gymnastics that were on the DVR. Did you know there was a group rhythmic gymnastics event? I actually found it a little weird. I'm also a little confused by the new trampoline event. This still looks like a backyard entertainment, not a competetive sport to me, but I'll admit that I watched a bunch of the event for both men and women.

I also watched some of the track and field events. I loved the women's gold medal discuss winner. What a champ! She's a giant and talked about Mary Lou Retton being her idol when she was young. It was her dream to be in the Olympics and then, to top it off, she also won a gold medal.

I also loved watching the platform diving last night. Laura Wilkinson was fantastic. She didn't win a medal, but she showed that she's a class act all the way. She was the diving team captain and set a great example of sportsmanship (which is sadly lacking in the running events). She placed 11th and said she wouldn't change a thing and was honored to be AT the Olympics. I was really impressed. She was emotional and the interviewer asked her why, assuming it was because she didn't medal. She said it was just really overwhelming thinking about it being her last competition and that made her emotional. I loved it!

I also felt really sorry for Nastia Liukin. Can you imagine having a hard day of training with one of the most demanding coaches in the business, going home to relax, and having him be at the dinner table with you? I think having your father as your coach is my idea of hell (no offense dad!). And he's one of the toughest. He didn't celebrate his daughter's silver medal in uneven bars because he was mad at the scoring. She got a silver medal at the Olympics! Hundreds of other women showed up and didn't even make it to the finals, much less get a medal, and he doesn't even care to celebrate the silver medal.

Overall, I wish we saw a few more of the events that the US doesn't dominate. Where is the syncronized swimming on NBC, I ask you. I haven't seen any of it. Why?!?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Highlights

Background: when we were growing up, we always sat down together as a family for dinner. The TV was always off and we all had to stay at the table until we were excused. During dinner, dad would ask each of us to share the highlight of our day. Note that there are two brilliant parenting examples here. 1) The whole family was together once every day. 2) We actually had to talk to each other when we were together.

There are a couple of results of this (and other family stuff), the most important being that I actually like my family and consider them friends. I know a lot of you like your families, but as I meet more people, I'm amazed at how many people really don't consider their siblings or parents friends. It makes me realize that I shouldn't take it for granted and I feel VERY blessed.

So, enough of the other stuff. It's time to get on with the highlight of the past week. I've had a really good past seven days, so this is kind of hard to narrow down, but here are the very best bits of the past week:
  • Sunday dinner with the family. And I know I've talked about the fried chicken and new potatoes too much. The best part really was being with the Boise part of the family.
  • Seeing Aida (the opera) with the DH and our friend Ken. It really was great. I usually get bored about half way through a lot of operas, but this one held my attention to the very end -- after four acts at 11:00 p.m.
  • Watching Mama Mia! with my mom and sisters.
  • Celebrating Mac's birthday on Sunday (and her actual birthday was yesterday, when she turned 13).

How was the last week for you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mostly Finished Project

These are the two minky blankets that I made this weekend for a woman I work with who had twins four months ago. I know what you're thinking -- I was supposed to make these four months ago. I thought about it. I really did. But they just didn't get done.

I was worried about cutting the fabric, so my paralysis took over until I could take the fabric to my mom's house and cut it there. There, I had the huge table and the big cutting mat and the mom to supervise. It worked out quite nicely (except for the three squares I cut too small that had to be fixed because there wasn't enough extra fabric to just cut new ones).

You can even see the top-stitching I did on the close-up. I sewed very slowly and carefully and I didn't even panic when the bobin ran out half way through the second blanket.

Now I'm excited to give them away for the cute twins!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Aug 18) -- Coldplay

I just got the new album by Coldplay, Viva La Vida, and I hadn't realized that I could enjoy this band so much. I really love the whole album. Don't tell the DH, but I keep listening to it over and over in my car. He thinks that's crazy. What, me crazy? It might be true...

I think track 8, Violet Hill, is my favorite track, but I think the whole album works together without sounding all the same. Go take a listen! It's good stuff.

And I think I figured out the YouTube video embedding. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mama Mia!

I'm in Boise right now, for a quick trip to see a movie with the girls. I guess it's a pretty expensive movie when you think about it that way. Let's not think about it that way. It's also a trip to see my cute nieces and nephews, eat home-grown tomatoes, and see Mama Mia.

The trip to Boise was quick and easy. I ended up sitting next to my doctor on the plane. It's so very odd to see people completely out of context, but my doctor is pretty cool and it was a fine flight. When I got to Boise, Mom, Whitney, Annzy, and I went out to lunch for pizza, pasta, and salad. The food was yummy and the company was even better. As long as we were out, we thought we might as well check out Lee's Candies and Anthropology. Then we headed out to the movies.

Mama Mia! was exactly what I was expecting, and I really enjoyed it. The story is basically a bunch of ABBA songs tied together with a plot line. The story is sweet and the characters are all two-dimensional and the music (if you like ABBA) is great. What really makes this movie work is that it never takes itself seriously. From the very beginning, it's fun and funny. Everyone does a lot of singing and dancing and it works, as long as you aren't looking for Oscar worthy performances. Meryl Streep did a great job with the singing and the dancing and the acting. She's so versatile, it's just amazing. Pierce Brosnan, however, CANNOT SING. His singing was almost painful to hear, but it just worked with the humor of the movie. Then, the credits were hysterical. All the main actors were in the super glitzy 70's type costumes singing the ABBA songs and hamming it up. Priceless!

We also ended up seeing Penelope later that evening on video. It's another movie I can highly recommend. I think it was in the theatres for about 10 minutes, but the movie was great. It's also appropriate for almost any age. Even Brooke (at 3) seemed to enjoy it.

Today, we're hanging out and I'm working on a little project. I'll post pictures later. Oh -- and the best part of the trip comes later this afternoon when my mom makes my all-time favorite dinner. I'm really looking forward to that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Garlic Smashed-Potato Salad

Due to popular demand, I'm posting this great potato salad recipe. It was in Sunset magazine a month or two ago and we tried it out when we had a get-together. It's pretty easy and tastes just wonderful!

2 heads garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons dry white wine
About 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 3/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup chopped chives

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut garlic heads in half crosswise and wrap tightly in one large piece of foil. Bake until garlic is very soft when pressed and light golden brown (unwrap to test), 45 minutes to 1 hour. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves from skin into a small bowl. Add olive oil, wine, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; mash garlic with a fork until mixture is smooth.
2. Meanwhile, in a 6- to 8-quart pan, combine potatoes and 4 quarts water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender when pierced, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to pan.
3. Add garlic mixture and chives to potatoes and stir gently until combined but still chunky. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Let cool completely, then chill airtight for up to 1 day.
Makes 6 servings

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Friend in Need

I know a lot of you that read my blog are not my neighbors, so I want to spread the word about our friends the Wright's. They are a fantastic couple that we met through church and have enjoyed getting to know over the past few years that they've lived near us.

Last year, Megan had a very difficult pregnancy with their first child. Seriously, you don't know hard pregnancies until you've heard this woman's story. It was very rough. Because of the nature of her previous preganancy, going through another is really not an option, but they know their family is not complete yet. They are now beginning their search for a birth mother willing to work with them in an adoption to grow their little family. This is what Megan says about where they are right now:

As John Henry approaches his first birthday(!) we are very excited to begin our adoption journey as we search for his little brother or sister. We hope that you take the time to help us begin our adventure.

I am including our adoption business card. If you know of someone who is unexpectedly pregnant and considering adoption, please print our card and pass it along to them. We also hope that you will visit our blog, perhaps add it to your feed readers, and get to know our family a little bit better.

Notice that we have opened an Etsy shop where we will be selling hand knit and hand painted items to raise money for our adoption and to support child related charities.

We want to thank you all one more time for all of the love and support you have given us through my pregnancy, delivery, and our initiation into parenthood. We love being Mama and Dada and we smile with anticipation when we hear a newborn's cry.

When the Wright's visited with us this past weekend, Megan mentioned that statistically more than 50% of adoptions are private adoptions. Although they are working with an agency, they also want to be open to any private adoption situations that may come up.

Please pass the word around. You never know who might be that wonderful birth mother waiting to connect with this great family.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Highlight of My Week

Annzy asked what the hightlight of my week was, so I thought I'd share on my blog. These are a few of the best things of the past week:
  • Going back to the gym because my foot doesn't hurt (YAY!)
  • Sharing brownies with the Wright's and talking about their foray into the world of adoption. Go see their adoption blog and spread the word. They're a great family and we know there's someone out there with a baby meant for them.
  • Watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics -- Oh how I LOVE the Olympics.
  • Hanging with my main squeeze on the weekend and having dinner at Wild Mountain Cafe. I didn't get the Mac 'n' Cheese, but the paella was really yummy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Aug 11) -- Duffy

I thought it might be nice to share what I'm listening to on a regular basis. Of course, if you think that's boring, then you don't have to read along. I might even keep it up on a weekly basis. Now that would be something entirely new!

A couple of weeks ago, I downloaded Duffy's album Rockferry. It came out in March and the song Mercy has been played quite a bit on the radio. The rest of the album has a bit different sound, but still very soulful and a little bit of old school r&b. I'm currently loving the song Warwick Avenue.

Some day, I'm really going to figure out how to embed YouTube videos. Until that time, you'll just have to follow the link.