Saturday, February 28, 2009

Still February???

I think this has been the longest February of my life. I am not sure why. Maybe it is because it started on a Sunday so it has been 4 full weeks of February. Usually it takes me 5 or 6 days to realize we are in a new month and that makes February feel like 3 weeks. Or maybe it just how pregnant I am getting to be.

Either way, I am glad to have February under my belt at last. March promises to be a busy month with 2 girls weekends, a baby shower, Jonathan and my 10th Anniversary, visits from family, kids out of school, projects planned for our family to do, and LOTS of church activities and work. I am hoping all of this will make March fly by quickly and be enjoyable in the flying.

April, well, that will likely be another story. I am not sure any amount of planning can make the last month of pregnancy feel fast, but we will see.

One of my projects planned for March is to go through all our children's clothing. Since they will be on track break and able to help, I want to plow through this "spring cleaning" chore. Their dressers seems so full and yet each week it seems they have nothing to wear by Friday. Hmmmm. I am going to have to go discover why this is. 

Another somewhat scary part of this is going through all the baby stuff including the clothes 3T and under. I still haven't done that. All of the baby gear is in storage in my parents garage. It has been there since Camille's accident when my sister in laws packed it all up for me. I will have to go through everything and decide what to keep and what to give away or throw away. 

Usually I am a keeper. I don't want to have to buy more baby clothes and we have the storage room. But with this baby being a boy, well, even if the next one is a girl I just don't think I will be wanting to use most of our baby girl clothes.  That is especially true of the clothes we still have from Sabrina's baby days.

But, I will pull out all the clothes I bought specifically for Camille. There aren't too many. Those will go in a special hope chest. And I do have a few special dresses for each girl from their baby days to save for them. It will no doubt be an emotional chore. I see my girls growing up so quickly. Camille's death made our little family so much older in so many ways. 

I am glad to be having a boy now and hope to have a brother for this little guy. But, a part of my heart really wants to have one more little girl. I guess we will have to see. Those are things to pray about in future prayers. At least I know I have one little girl waiting for me to raise her and when I am able to do that, it will be without the distraction of so many earthly worries.

So bring on March! I may be waddling through it, but I am ready for it none the less.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thoughts on Prayer Question

This is an answer to the Anon. commenter who asked about what prayers really can do. The full comment can be found under the post requesting prayers for Gracie.  Here is a portion of it:

So, what can my prayers do? When I learn of a family in despair, He already knows about them and is already there. When I learn of a sick or injured child, He already knows about them and is already there. What do you think our prayers do in these situations? For example, I read this post about Gracie yesterday. I have thought of little else since. I have been praying and praying. What can my prayers do, when His plan is in action? I don’t believe that any amount of praying can change His plan. I do believe what you have said about Him not giving us anything that we cannot handle with Him at our side. I believe he is there always. I know that He is with you and your family now. I know that He is with Gracie and her family now. I KNOW this. So, what can a prayer from a complete stranger do? How can my prayer affect something that is already happening? 

This may be a lengthy answer because there are many aspects to consider.

Prayer Affects the Prayer
First and perhaps most significantly, prayer is a tool we can use to refine ourselves. By communicating with God we can draw closer to Him. It is through prayer that we come to know, understand, and accept God's will. This is an essential part of having faith sufficient to offer affective prayers.

As a praying person, I am sure you have experienced how prayer can help you align your life and your will with the Lord's. But the thrust of your question is one I have pondered upon greatly in my life. And I will share what I have learned about this subject thus far.

The Prayers of Others Have Power to Strengthen and Lift Those In Need
I had a small understanding of this concept given to me when I was 21. I was alone in a hotel room in the night before taking my LSAT exam. I had studied so hard for this exam and the stress got to me. I got a severe migraine. All night the night before the exam I laid in agony in the tub or bed worrying all the more about how I would take this test with little or no sleep and how I could get rid of this headache. 

Lying there and praying for relief, I felt a strong impression and power come over me. It was as if I had been sent a package of power through heavenly mail. I felt distinctly the power of my mother's prayers for me. I knew she was praying for me that night. And I felt a power come into my body specifically as a result of her prayer.

Could I have survived the night without her prayer. Sure. Would I have been more miserable? Yes. Does the Lord have His plan for me down so specifically that he would designate my degree of misery in this instance? No. The Lord gives us agency. We use that agency to make choices that affect our lives and the degree of happiness or misery we will feel. 

Many times situations arise in our lives that cause misery or sorrow. Some of these are sent to teach us lessons we need to learn. Some are the effects of another's agency. Some are just accidents or natural disasters. God has placed us in an imperfect world where bad things happen. He does not plan for every earthquake and car crash and fire. But He knows they will happen and he allows them to happen. That is part of our learning process. At least that is what I personally believe. 

That being said, I do also believe He has a plan for each person. The plan is this - help this person grow and learn as much as he or she can in mortality and allow him or her opportunities to become more like the Savior. Ultimately, help this child of mine become like Christ and return to Me. 

God is our Father. He is our parent. And just as parenting different children calls for different skills and tools, each of us have different needs to be best led toward the Savior. And we all have our agency. I believe that using this agency, we can, through prayer, soften Lord's heart toward us.

I believe this because as a parent I feel this. When a child is humble, meek, submissive, and wanting to please me I am more prone to wrap them up in my love and work to make their way as easy as possible. This is true even if they have made a mistake and a consequence must follow. 

So no matter the outcome of certain events, even if our prayers cannot change His will, they can give strength to those in need. Our prayers can send angels to stand next to a family or loved one in need. I have said this before but I felt the power of the thousands of prayers offered up for our family surrounding Camille's passing. It was as if every person who was praying for us sent their own guardian angel to come support us. That is what it felt like. And it did feel different than if only I had been praying for myself. That is part of the "magic" or more appropriately the miracle of being able to "mourn with those that mourn" and "bear one another's burdens." When we pray for others, a small part of their burden is heavenly distributed onto our heart and off of theirs. I don't know how this happens. There must be some heavenly science class on it. But I do know that it does happen, for my heart and my burden have felt its effects both ways.

Prayers Can Change Outcomes
Now while I think some things in our Father's plan for us are set and necessary for to bring to pass His will, other things are not set. Sometimes His purposes can be accomplished in various ways and/or flexible time periods depending on how we as His children are exercising our agency to pray and based upon the degree and exercise of our faith. 

First a hypothetical example - perhaps it is the Lord's will that a person come home to Him. But this person or someone close to him or thousands of strangers are praying for this person to live. It is also the will of the Lord that these people become more like Christ and grow in their faith. Suddenly we have a balancing act to consider. Which will more fully bring to pass the Lord's will? That I guess depends on how badly the Lord needs the man to come home right now. Perhaps the Lord can wait 5 years for the man to come home and inspire him or those who prayed for him to do more to build the Lord's kingdom here on earth. 

I have no doubt that that has happened many times. Lives are miraculously extended daily based upon the prayers of faith offered to heaven. While I have not had that happen that I know of to me personally, writing it right now, I just know it is true. I can feel it in my heart. I just know it.

Such was not the case in our story. I actually feel as if Camille's life was extended many times previous to her accident. I was in the habit of praying for our safety and protection as a family. And as early as being in a car accident when I was 6 months pregnant with Camille, there were plenty of accidents that could have happened and taken her life that didn't. We were blessed to have her here for the 14 months we did.

Now for a true personal example but one not so "life and death" - In the summer of 1996 I was in a very serious relationship with a really wonderful guy. We were preparing and planning to become engaged and were very much in love. Still something in the back of my mind kept nagging me. I just wasn't sure this was the right thing, even though the guy was great and the timing seemed great. 

We discussed this at length and in that summer we broke up. It was a brutal break up. The worst I ever had to endure. Still, I felt we had done the right thing. I had been friends with and dated this guy on and off casually and seriously for 4 years. I knew him and he really knew me. I was so scared I would have to marry some guy I didn't even really know. I didn't want to spend another 4 years really getting to know someone.

I remember praying during that time that I would at least meet the man I would eventually marry, even if it was not the right time for me to get married yet. I prayed that I would at least meet him so I could know him when the time was right for me to marry.

That summer I met Jonathan. And I met Kathryn whom Jonathan home taught and with whom I decided to become roommates in an apartment in Jonathan's ward. That fall Kathryn helped me get to know Jonathan better. It was not the right time for me to get married. But the Lord answered my prayer of faith and let me meet the man I would eventually marry. I am fairly certain this was a direct answer to my prayer. It was a long hard road being friends with Jonathan. He thought I was a great friend but had no further interest in me. Sometimes I was fine with that. Other times, well, it was hard.

I could easily have met him later. After college he moved to California and I to DC. He lived in my brother's ward. His family lived in Vegas. I could easily have met him later when it would have been more timely for me to marry. But the Lord allowed me to know him well before the time was ripe for us to date and marry.

I even think the Lord sped up our wedding. The summer after my first year of law school I was praying every day for a serious boyfriend/potential husband by the end of the summer. It had been a hard and lonely first year and I just didn't want to do another year like that. At the end of the summer Jonathan was "inspired" to date me and miraculously fell head over heals in love with me. We waited 8 months to be married.

You see, the Lord had it in His plan for me to go to law school at Georgetown. I felt that strongly. He let me meet Jon early but would not allow Jonathan to see me as anything more than a friend. Meanwhile he kept inspiring me to stay friends with him. And at the very earliest time possible for me to start dating Jonathan and then marry Jonathan and still get my degree from Georgetown, he took the blinders off Jonathan and turned his heart to me.

In this way, the Lord was able to answer my prayers and still keep His plan on track.

Okay. I have typed too much today. I am off to play with Lauren and then help in Annie's class. I hope my thoughts were helpful. If you want to discuss this more I know I did a previous post on prayers and whether they can change God's will, or you can email me. My email is on my profile page. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pastry Chef Starts A Blog

If you have read my blog for a while you may recognize the man with me in the picture above. This is Chris Herrin. He is the head pastry chef for the Bouchon Bistro and Bakery in the Venetian Hotel. 
My husband and I met Chris a little more than a year ago and we became fast friends. Chris is a genuinely great guy and he also makes incredible food. He has a dream to open his own place someday and he LOVES breakfast. It is his favorite meal of the day. He recently started a blog to share his experience building this dream of his.

Go check it out HERE. His blog address is There he writes about his dream of starting the greatest breakfast and bakery company ever, his love of food, recipes he is creating, and events he is planning.

One of the fun things about being a chef (so he tells me and I can imagine) is the creativity with foods. Of course Chris makes all the really classic favorites like one of our favorite Bouchon desserts - the lemon tart. (Shown below but I wish I could give you a taste rather than a look because really, I mean really, it is phenomenal.) 

But there are also always new ideas and twists on old favorites. We went to Bouchon last week with my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and a few people who worked on the singles conference with my parents. Chris sent out the most unique, delicious, and just plain cool desserts I have ever eaten. 

They recently acquired a cotton candy machine. So they have been experimenting with it. Now I have to say I don't really like cotton candy. I mean it is sticky and too sweet and messy. So I was a bit skeptical when this fluff of cotton candy came out from the kitchen.

I know the photo is terrible quality. Sorry. But that is a fluff about as big as my palm of cotton candy. Then the waitress explained that this was their take on a root beer float. Now I do like a good root beer float. 

I picked this up and found it was not sticky and melting in my hand like the cotton candy I have had before. This felt like real cotton. I bit into it and found a good sized ball of wonderful, high quality, homemade, vanilla bean ice cream inside. As soon bit into it the cotton candy seemed to turn into root beer in my mouth. It was not some super sugary root beer flavored syrup. No, it tasted like a small powerfully flavored shot of root beer suddenly materialized in my mouth surrounding this lovely ice cream. 

It was great. I ate the whole thing in a few moments. I think I would take that over the traditional root beer float any day. It was a very cool dessert. 

So go over and check out Chris's new blog and leave him a comment so he knows people stopped by. He is new to blogging and is still figuring the whole thing out. So let's give him a nice big welcome. Thanks everyone. I will be putting his site up on my sidebar so you can see when he posts.

Prayer Request for Gracie

Here is part of a comment from yesterday:

I was wondering if you might be able to post a prayer request on your blog. We have some family that right now their precious baby girl is the hospital and they are unsure if their sweet daughter will live. Sweet Graice was born with a heart defect and has over come all odds, she is SUCH a miracle. Yesterday Gracie was given the gift of a heart transplant, things we looking very positive at the start of the day, but sadly once the transplant was complete things took a turn for the worst. The new heart she has been given is not working properly, the Doctors are doing everything that they can, but what Gracie REALLY needs is another miracle. I know that you have a lot of followers on your blog, so if you don't mind asking for prayers in Gracie's behalf it would be so appreciated.

You can read all about amazing little Gracie @

I have such a strong testimony of PRAYER and I know that all of our prayers combined together can help uplift this family during their darkest hour!!


I hope this family does not have to join our "club" of grieving parents. I understand that it is not always the Lord's will that children live long and full lives. I know this is a hard concept for many to accept. Children are so innocent and pure it seems unfair from our limited perspective that they should ever have to suffer. But somehow life just isn't about fair. It is about learning, growing, and going Home. Sometimes, pain and suffering are the best teachers, fertilizers, and directors to quickest routes Home. Though I think for little children who suffer, it is a sacrifice they make to teach those of us around them. They must have been such valiant and noble spirits in the life before birth. 

I know for so many trials we must simply trust in God that His way will produce the best way for us to accomplish our work on this Earth, be we one or one hundred in our time of suffering. Still, it still hurts my heart each time I hear of another family having to walk this difficult road. I prayed for Gracie and her family last night. I pray that their answer will not have to be the same as mine was to the prayers they are undoubtedly praying. I pray that no matter what the peace of the Lord will be with them to help them through this difficult and trying time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Life's Master's Program

Yesterday in church I went from one lesson to the next and in each I felt like I had earned or was in the process of earning a Master's degree from the University of Life in aspects brought out during the lesson. 

The first lesson was on baptism. This is one of the first things we learn about as we learn about the church. It is basic doctrine and I could easily at any time during my adult life have given most of the answers to any of the questions asked during the lesson. But there is quite a difference between knowing the book answers to questions and knowing the answers from the Master's Program of Life Experience.

During the lesson, one of the class members who is just starting to learn about our church asked what means to "mourn with those that mourn" or to "bear one another's burdens." This is one of the things we promise to do when we are baptized. Her question made me realize how much deeper an understanding I have of this principle than any other principle in the lesson. 

I have always known the "book" answer and could have answered that question. But know, have had such a burden of sorrow and grief placed on me and having been the recipient of the love of others known and unknown who have truly "mourned with those who mourn," I know like never before what it is to fulfill that promise. 

I don't think I could really know that not having been the recipient of the love and only having been the giver. I am sure I have given this love to others in the past. But, it is in receiving it when it has been so desperately needed that I have truly come to know how much these prayers and love and support help those who mourn. 

As much as I can, I wish I could give to each of you the knowledge I have gained through this experience. Please know how much it helps to have others feel with me a tiny fraction of this experience. The prayers, the love, and the support each of you give are examples of what it means to mourn with those that mourn. And your doing that helps me bear this burden and it makes each of you more like our Savior. For truly He has born all our burdens and mourns with us in perfection every time we mourn. I am reminded Him and His support each time I feel or hear of the love and support from any of you. Thank you.

The second class was on the subject of homemaking and a mother's work in the home. This was the lesson to the young women. I remember being their age. I had not yet realized that my mother was a real "person." To me she was just "mom." Her whole life revolved around me and my siblings. We were her whole purpose for being right? It wasn't until I was about 17 or 18 that I realized that my mom was a person just like me. I was kinda slow in learning this one.

In yesterday's lesson we talked about how important it is to appreciate your mother and father and to express that appreciation. I commented that this was the only real pay any mother ever gets from her job. So I encouraged the girls to pay up and tell their moms they love them and appreciate all they do for them. Then I called my mom on the way home in the car and told her I loved her and appreciated her. 

This morning I got a big pay day myself. I was woken up, dressed, had my hair combed and was brought downstairs for a surprise. The girls had all secretly worked together to make a "present" for Jonathan and me. They had a gift bag with lots of drawings and notes in it and a homemade "book" (pages in sheet protectors all tied together with yarn) to us. The book and most of the other drawings expressed their love for us and how we were the best parents a girl could ever have. Talk about a nice payday.

Motherhood has, of course, been a master's class on this subject to me. It is a program in which I am continuing to progress. I have yet to begin the courses on teenagers and hormones. I hope those courses will have their own paydays as well.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

And the Wave Passes

Thank you all for your support. Thursday was a rough day for me. Somedays as a mother are not so fun and when you have a child taken from you, those days become drastically more difficult. I spent the night confused and crying. I knew I had been fair and just in my mothering. I had done what I should do. But why then should I feel so terrible?

I guess it just just hurts more to see my children suffer, especially when they have suffered so much already and especially when I have to be the one to dole out the consequence. Add to that that how much my little Ann Marie reminds me of Camille and it is like a perfect storm of emotions brewing. 

Late Thursday night I crept into check on Ann Marie and found her awake with eyes like mine,  swollen with tears. I crawled into bed with her and through silent tears in the dark I told her how was sorry it had been such a hard day for us. I told her we would make tomorrow a better day. We would both work together to make it a great day for both of us and we would just forget about this day and the mistakes made.

After a bit I left and crawled into Camille's room and wished I could say the same words to her. I wished that the consequences of that day so many months ago were not so permanent. There is no way to make it all better tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow. 

I finally went downstairs and wrote my post, distracted myself with some mindless TV and finally felt sleepy enough to fall asleep. I slept little and woke up still "leaky." It is funny how I can feel better and not really be crying anymore but as if my body hadn't quite gotten it all out my eyes still leak. 

It turned out to be a wonderful day with my sweet Ann Marie. We just threw Thursday away and made Friday the best day we could. Support from you all and tulips from my dear friend Cat helped so much for me to make Friday a better day even though the source of the pain is so permanent. Thank you for that. 

I hope for a long string of better days, and I so appreciate the continuing support I feel from all of you. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No Words

Tonight I have no words.
I can't begin to explain the tears that keep falling.
Instead here are a couple of photos. 
My how things change.
Me with Ann Marie and Sabrina in our California house.
Sabrina is 3 and Annie is about as old as Camille would be.
Don't they look like Camille and Lauren?

Our forever family so far. Taken Oct. 2007

Our family for now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thoughts on Physics

There is a law in the field of physics that says something like "Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest." It takes outside forces to stop bodies in motion and to start a motion in a body at rest.

This statement or physical law is proven to me daily. Specifically, MY Body, when in motion, tends to stay in motion. When it is at rest, it tends to stay at rest. It takes a force of energy to make my body get up and get in motion doing the daily grind. But once I get going, I tend to keep moving until the task is complete or the force of exhaustion brings me to a stop.

This is true of me all the time, but it is more pronounced to me now carrying around an extra 20 some odd pounds. This morning, like nearly every morning, it was my children's schedule that provided the outside force to get me going. They have school. I have to get them there. They have classes, and I am their ride. Oh how they have kept me going these last 8 months. They have been a saving grace to me.

Once I got myself up and going I pretty much carried on without much stopping. It feels good to go to bed having accomplished much and tired from a good day's work. Still sometimes I feel I need to work harder on being a self motivator. That is not a strong point of mine. It has been one of the hard parts of losing the most constant motivator for me. 

Babies require so much of their parents, especially their mothers. There is no sleeping in when the baby is crying in the morning in her crib. The cry is the outside force that puts your body in motion. It is exhausting. It can reduce you to tears when you have had little sleep and all you want to do is rest. Still the baby's cry pulls us out of our beds and into the state of perpetual motion we call Motherhood.

I guess I write this for my future self, for the day in the not too distant future when I am once more prodded on by this unrelenting outside force to my emotional and physical breaking point. I want to remind myself of how empty it feels to have that outside force taken away. I want to remember the longing I feel now to hear the cry and feel the force pull me into motion.

Perhaps then it will give me greater appreciation and endurance for that ever constant prodding that takes every bit of energy we have and pushes us further than we thought we could go. 

I want to remember the stillness and emptiness of the loss so that I can find greater joy in the tired stupor of the work.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Love of Poetry

Sabrina is upstairs listening to a CD of poetry that came with a book of poetry we recently purchased. I had forgotten how much I love poetry. So often in my life certain phrases of poems ring in my mind as I live their lines. 

I think I will have to spend some time this week rediscovering some of my favorite poems. I will share one of my favorites with you here. Perhaps if you have a favorite poem you can leave it in a comment to share with the rest of us.

My Grandfather Bunker loved Shakespeare. He passed this love down to his daughters and from my mother and him I also developed a love for it. One of my favorite of his sonnets is the 29th. It reminds me how richly I am blessed by the love of the Lord, the love of my husband, the love of my family, and the love of all those who have gone before me, my grandfather included.

This one is for you Grandad.



1. When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
2. I all alone beweep my outcast state,
3. And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
4. And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
5. Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
6. Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
7. Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
8. With what I most enjoy contented least;
9. Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
10. Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
11. Like to the lark at break of day arising
12. From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
13. For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
14. That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Here are the recipes from Chris Herrin's workshop. He showed how to make restaurant quality desserts at home with grocery store ingredients.  We all loved the samples he shared with us at the demonstration. If you try them at home let us know how you like them! Enjoy!

Panna cotta

Panna cotta is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar,mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set.

An Italian phrase which literally means "cooked cream", it generally refers to a creamy, set dessert from the Northern Italian region of Piemonte.

It is eaten all over Italy where it is served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis. It is not known exactly how or when this dessert came to be, but some theories suggest that cream, for which mountainous Northern Italy is famous, was historically eaten plain or sweetened with fruit or hazelnuts.

Our Version is served with strawberry jelly, lime fruit salad, and citrus Madeline's


Panna Cotta


2 cup milk

1 1/2 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cup white sugar

1 each Lime Zest


1. Pour milk into a small bowl, and stir in the gelatin powder. Set aside.

2. In a saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and sugar, and set over medium heat.

Bring to a full boil, watching carefully, as the cream will quickly rise to the top of the pan.

Pour the gelatin and milk into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved.

Remove from heat, stir in the lime zest and pour into six individual ramekin dishes.

3. Cool the ramekins uncovered at room temperature.

When cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight before serving.


One package of strawberry jello.

After ramekins of panna cotta are cool, top with thin layer of strawberry jello and place in refrigerator until set again.

Fruit Salad

Combine assorted light color fruits together with the juice of lime mango, honey dew, cantaloupe, pineapple, kiwi, toss with the lime juice and a pinch of sugar, allow to set, until panna cotta is ready to serve, top each ramekin with the fruit salad serve with your favorite sorbet or sherbet.


Raspberry Truffles

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ganache

2 1/2c bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 c Raspberry Jam

"Raspberry" Powder

Powder Sugar as needed

1 package Raspberry Kool-aid

Few Drops Red Food Coloring

2 cups chopped chocolate melted


Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat with raspberry jam. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, let rest a minute and whisk until smooth. Pour in a zip-lock bag or pastry bag. Allow the ganache to cool until set-up and pliable. While chocolate ganache is setting up mix powdered sugar with raspberry kool-aid package with a few drops of red food coloring, to make pink to red powdered sugar, reserve.

When Ganache is set-- Pipe quarter size dollops, they will be rolled so portion is preferred over finished look. Place sheet pan into cooler, until set and roll between palms as fast you can to make round. After piping chocolate ganache, and they are setting up begin to melt chocolate place 2 cups of chocolate over double boiler, and melt until nice and smooth not to hot. Allow chocolate to cool until warm if melted to hot. Dip truffles in chocolate and roll in raspberry powder sugar mix. Place pack into cooler and let set-up.

Enjoy now, or place in zip lock bag and freeze for up to two months.

If there is any question about recipes, procedures or would just like to comment please send them to


Bouchon Bakery Daily From 6 am

Bouchon Bistro Daily Breakfast from 7am Dinner From 5pm

Sunday, February 15, 2009

LV Singles Conference

Yesterday I presented a workshop class on blogging at the LDS Las Vegas Singles Conference. Most of the audience of about 150 people did not really know much about blogs. We spent a good bit of time talking about what a blog is, the different kinds of blogs out there, the potential uses of blogs, and the benefits of blogging.

I also shared some of my personal story and how blogging has so blessed my life. Few people in the room knew who I was or what my last year has been like. Today marks 8 months since Camille died. Yesterday, I told the audience about the inspiration I got the made me feel I needed to start blogging. Then I told them how great a blessing this blog turned out to be when just a short while later my daughter died.

I still can't get those words out of my mouth without crying. Somehow saying them out loud brings the reality of it rushing back at me.  It took me a minute of two to compose myself as I talked about how this blog helped me cope and communicate at that time and how it has been a wonderful vehicle for recording the feelings and events and blessings that have come to our lives through this all too difficult experience.

The experience presenting this has made me rather reflective and a bit somber. I was glad to have the experience, but I am glad to be done with it too. It was difficult to prepare for not knowing how much my audience would know about blogs.

I was grateful today to have a great lesson in our Young Women's class at church on being happy. That is a lesson I need frequently. Sometimes in our lives, it takes a lot of work to be happy. This for me is one of those seasons. But I am glad for reminders to be busily engaged in this work.

My friend Chris Herrin, the pastry chef at the Bouchon Bistro in the Venetian Hotel, also presented a couple of workshops yesterday. I will be posting the recipes he gave out soon. His workshop was by far the most yummy of the day I am sure. Watch for that post in the future!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sharing the Love

Happy Valentines Day!

Jonathan and I had such a busy day today that we celebrated Valentines together last night. Usually, Jon pulls out all the stops and makes me a gourmet meal on Valentine's night. He picks a menu and pulls recipes and spends HOURS cooking for me. 

The food is always great but by the time it is ready it is usually very late at night and every pot or pan has been used and is in the sink. This year I told him I wanted to cook together. I think it was a great improvement. He still picked the menu and recipes but we both worked together to make the dinner. Our little girls also pitched in when they could. It was fun. Plus we were able to clean as we went so that by the time we sat to each we had a relatively clean kitchen.

I even set the table with our china, which is not something I have done in a very long time. I need to do that more often. Here I am at the table ready to dig in.
The menu for the night was Duck Breast in a Pink Peppercorn Demi Glaze Sauce and Fresh Corn Pudding.
For dessert, I went up and put girls to bed while Jonathan got really gourmet on me and made lovely profiteroles with a richly decadent chocolate sauce. We filled them with mint chip ice cream and a vanilla ice cream sandwich ice cream. They were wonderful. He may not do it often, but when he wants to, my man can cook. Love you Jonathan!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I got this comment on my last post. Knowing the power of prayers and out of gratitude for so many that have been and are still offered for me and my family from strangers, I post this today. My grandparents lived next door to some Ashworths - Don Ashworth I believe. Perhaps this Robert is a grandson of theirs. 

The human web of relationships is so intricately woven that one need not hop far to connect to another person. We are all more closely connected than we know, I think. May our connected humanity drive us to our knees for each other and give us strength through the storms.

Now the comment: 
My brother-in-law Robert was diagnosed with leukemia in Nov. 2007. He fought the good fight with four rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant. He has been doing really well, even grew his hair back! Then this past Friday he got a call from his doctor that they found more leukemia cells in his routine follow-up blood work. He is back in the hospital receiving chemo and will need another bone marrow transplant. I'm telling you all this because I have often prayed for someone that you posted on your blog who was going through a difficult time/health issue in their life. I would love it if you could put up a post about him and ask for prayers for him. His name is Robert Ashworth, and we too live in Las Vegas!

If you wouldn't mind also posting a link to the blog we are keeping up for them, that would be great too. We will need to do some fund raising for him this time around, because his insurance was so depleted the first go-around. I have seen the power of the blogging community on cjane and nienie's blogs!

Thank you! Thank you for your words, openess, insights and for just being you. There have been many times that I have read 'just what I needed' on your blog. You are truly inspirational!
With Love,
Janelle Gratteau

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Guiding Hands

Life is so full of choices. Some times of our lives we have lots of life altering choices all at once. Other times we are faces with simple little choices everyday that only in the cumulative will make a real difference in our life. And sometimes seemingly inconsequential choices change everything. 

I am grateful for the guiding hands that help me with my choices, big and small. I am not really in a stage of BIG choices right now. I no longer have to choose who to marry or where to live or what career to pursue. Still there are important choices that lay before me. Some will have lasting effects like naming my baby. Others, like choosing friends or ways to spend my time or money, may seem small but could have long term impacts.

Through all these choices, I feel that same sense of unseen guiding hands that I did when I was making those BIG life decisions. It is like a river a peace flowing through me and carrying me down its path. Sometimes it takes me in through places I would rather not go. But as long as I follow that river of peace, I am able to drink from its Living Water. 

How grateful I am that we are not left alone in this life. I have often felt my grandparents watching over me. Now I feel an even stronger connection to the life that exists beyond the veil of death. I feel tied to that world through unbreakable heartstrings. I miss my baby girl. But I am not without her. I know her hands now help guide me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Missing! One Lost Tooth!

Last night, with far less drama than last time, we yanked Annie's remaining wiggly front tooth out. We put the girls to bed. As usual, they did not immediately go to sleep. Sabrina was writing notes to her teacher and Annie decided to draw a picture of her tooth. 

Apparently she put the tooth down on her sister's bed, told Sabrina to watch the tooth for her, and went to go get paper for her drawing. Later when she was drawing the tooth she needed it to look at for her drawing and asked Sabrina where it was. Sabrina had no idea.

So now we are missing one lost tooth. We have stripped the beds, cleaned the rooms, picked up the mattresses. Nothing. I think we will be putting her drawing of her tooth under her pillow tonight for the tooth fairy. Anybody else had this happen? Did the tooth fairy pay up anyway? Annie says if the tooth fairy doesn't pay, maybe I should just give her money. Hmmm. 

I will have to get some video of Annie talking without her teeth. She is SUPER cute and with her permanent teeth already coming down we will only get to see this toothless grin for a short while.

Monday, February 9, 2009

To Post or not to Post

Well I woke up this morning to rain and tears and a nice little pity party. I spent the first 45 minutes of my waking hour crying and then writing a rather whiny post about the difficulty of ward changes and meeting new people just months after losing a child. 

After I finished writing the post I felt much better. I got out all the frustration. I vented my most recent "what not to say/ask" experience. Then I felt bad about the post. I didn't feel like posting it would help. I have already addressed the subject before HERE and it is people who don't read my blog that end up saying the wrong things anyway.

So, I saved the post and decided to just go about my day. The rain cleared up and so did the tears. Life is funny that way. Sometimes all you really need it a way to get the emotion out. Just like the atmosphere must at times let the rains fall. And then the sun returns and eventually the clouds clear away.

And so went my day. After tears and discomfort I moved to working out and running errands. Then we ended the day at a Valentine's party at my parents. Going from loneliness to love in 12 hours makes for a grateful heart. 

Today I am grateful for rain that comes in its season. I am grateful I don't live in the Northwest where rain is the norm. I am grateful for my pilates workout that finally got me moving today. I am grateful for children who love me even when I feel like I was a slacker mom for the day. I am grateful for a loving husband who fills in for me when I need him most. I am grateful for great parents, siblings and in laws who are great examples and teachers to my children.  

I am grateful for life - the one I am living, the one I am carrying, and the one that exists beyond the veil of death. 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Oh What Do You Do?

What do you most love to do when all the world outside looks like this?
Today has been a rainy day. We have stayed indoors doing a bit of this:
Homemade Valentine's Day cards for schoolmates and family members.

Then this afternoon I surprised the girls and Jon with this:
A fancy party of homemade hot choco with real homemade whipped cream and buttery toast strips for dipping in the choco. It is a favorite treat of ours and perfect for a cold rainy winter day. 
Here are the girls dipping their toast strips.
Crafts and treats make for happy girls.

What do YOU love to do on a cold and rainy/snowy winter day?

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Name Question

Okay readers. I need some unbiased help. My husband and I have been discussing a certain name that one of us really loves and the other thinks is too gender neutral. We both want a name that when people hear it or see it they will know is a boy. We both think that seeing this name people will think boy. 

The problem is that one of us thinks that when people hear this name they will think girl or will not be sure boy or girl. So I am putting up a poll on my blog to get an idea what a sample of the public thinks of this name. Boy for sure - Girl for sure - or gender neutral/not sure.

PLEASE let me know whether you think BOY GIRL or NOT SURE/COULD BE EITHER when you HEAR the name...

OH yeah! Could you ask your husband or wife to vote too so we can ensure the vote is not overwhelmingly female? Thanks!


Thanks readers! 

I should note that this in no way indicates we have chosen this name. It is one on a long list of names we have been discussing. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Six Months

My due date is officially three months from today. Now it is likely I will go over due like I have with every other kid, but still, I am at the 6 month mark. I thought I ought to take a photo of the belly at 6 months and record how the pregnancy has been treating me.
The Belly with Peanut inside at 6 months

Physically - Most of the time I feel really good. I have kept up my pilates though not as often as I should. Still I am maintaining the strength I have gained there and I think that it is helping me feel good. The belly, as you can see in the photo, is definitely there. Bending over is no longer so easy but I still can do it when necessary.

I have a good amount of energy most mornings and can get lots done then. By about 7 p.m. my belly starts getting tight and feeling heavy. I still sleep well. I am able to eat without heartburn discomfort. That is always a plus. 

Basically, I do not have all the discomforts of the third trimester yet. I am very grateful for that. I am hoping to keep them at bay for as long as possible. Three months still seems like a long time.

The baby is healthy. He is quite a mover and a kicker. He seems rather strong for 6 months gestation. The kids like how they can sit and watch him move around and kick my belly now.

Mentally - I feel good. I enjoy working in Annie's class. I am preparing to give a presentation at a conference for single adults next weekend on blogging. I just finished a great book about the life of Vincent Van Gogh by Irving Stone. And most importantly, I have been doing pretty well at keeping my mind from living in June 2008.  This seems to get easier with time. 

Spiritually - I have been feeling connected. Sleeping a good amount helps me be a nice mom and that helps keep the Spirit in my heart. I don't feel perfect, but I like feeling that I am a work in progress. (Key words being "in progress.")

Emotionally - I do not feel overly emotional due to the pregnancy. That is nice. I still have the current of grief running just beneath the surface, but most of the time I feel it is kept at a manageable force that my mind helps me navigate.

One interesting note about the pregnancy or this baby for me is how much more connected I feel to this child than I ever have to any baby before. Usually, I feel little if any connection to my babies until they are born. I don't know why this is. They just don't seem real till I see them face to face I guess. 

Somehow, even though this child will be a whole new world for me, I feel very connected to this nameless little guy beating up my insides. I am trying to pace my anticipation and excitement for his arrival. I feel the time goes faster when I am not counting the days. Still there are moments when I can almost feel him in my arms. May the days fly till that dream can be a reality.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Economic Impression

This morning I had an impression that I wanted to share. To give a bit of background, I have noticed our children doing more asking than thanking in their prayers lately. It has been bothering me. So on Monday we had a Family Home Evening lesson on how important it is to be grateful.

We talked about how we need to do better with this not only in our prayers but in every day life too. I pointed out how much more I hear "EWWW! This is gross" at dinner instead of "Thank you for making us dinner, Mom." We also talked about how when a sister shares something we need to thank her for sharing.

Another topic that has been frequent in our home lately has to do with the economy. Like most other families I know, we are trying to rein in the financial horses of our budget and plug up the leaks. I have been trying to be more efficient in our food use and have been very strict with the kids about not wasting food.

So part of our FHE lesson was on how we need to be grateful that we have food, even if it is leftover stroganoff again. We ought to be grateful we are not hungry and without food in our house or money to buy food.

I ended up challenging the family to thank God for at least 10 different things in every prayer. So far I am pleased with the results. They are remembering to do it and it has carried over to them thanking for things without me having to tell them to say thank you.

Now, to my impression this morning. The state of the economy has been on my mind. With friends and family and neighbors who are looking for jobs and trying to find ways to make enough money to live, I think it is on most peoples mind.

Our family has been affected as well. While Jonathan has done well despite the turbulent stock market, our largest investor fell into financial trouble and had to pull all his money out of our fund some months ago. And it is difficult to find investors for any type of investment fund these days, even when a fund is showing good results.

This morning as I was thinking about the economy and our family's financial situation, I had the impression that I needed to express more gratitude for the economic blessings with which our family has been blessed.

We are right now in lean times, that is to be sure. But, we have come from a time when the Lord did provide great opportunities for us to fill our storehouses, so to speak, to help us through this time. I am grateful for the wheat I have stored, both literally and figuratively.

I think we as a nation must turn more fully to the Lord and offer up our gratitude to Him for whatever blessings we do have before this economic "famine" will fully turn around. It is most difficult to think of your blessings when your needs are shining so brightly in your face. But anyone who has traveled much in the third world knows that every American is blessed. The poorest of the poor here have things so much better than the poor of so many other countries.

I wonder if there is a person living who could and would call the country as a whole to turn to the Lord in humility and gratitude. I am not sure there is. I think President Obama may have the ability but I don't know that he would do that. Perhaps the movement I am hoping for must be one that starts on a grassroots level.

Perhaps it will be us, in our own homes coming to that conclusion for ourselves. Perhaps it will be us telling our friends and neighbors of such impressions and expressing our gratitude instead of singing our woes that will turn our country one family at a time to the Lord and bring once more the sweet relief of the thirst quenching economic "rains."