Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dinner tonight

Tonight is my night to cook for our cooking club. I have been wanting to try a recipe I saw Giada do on Food Network. Today I made it happen. I loved the result. I am not a rib fan. But this recipe took all the meat off the bone and shredded it into a homemade pasta sauce.

You can find the recipe HERE. The only substitution I made was that I used Coke instead of wine. The wine would probably be better but I didn't have any and I didn't want to bring it into my home so I just used a bottle of Coke instead.

My boys, who I normally have to coax and cajole to eat, woofed this down like it was candy. I am happy to have found a recipe with meat that Harrison can eat without giving me fear of him chocking. I loved it too. This might have to become a more regular dish at our house.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meat & 3

Remember my chef friend Chris Herrin? He is the one who worked at Thomas Keller's Bouchon At the Venetian as the head pastry chef. Then he opened his own bakery Bread & Butter a year ago.

Tonight he opened for regular business a dinner place just 190 steps north of Bread & Butter. It is called Meat & 3. I took the kids to go check it out.

Meat & 3 is down home comfort food. You pick a meat (today they had a choice of 4 and they plan to expand the options in time.) Then you can pick a meal with 1, 2, or 3 sides. Price for a meat and three sides was $14.95.

They also will sell dinner for 4 ($39.95) or whatever number with bigger sides to take and go too!

Chris served us up one of everything so here is my review on the food.

Meats- you really can't go wrong here. I loved the roast chicken and brisket best but Sabrina and Jon liked the fried chicken best (and Jon doesn't usually even like fried chicken.) the porchetta was also very moist and tender with good flavor. If you like pork loin you would love it.

As for the cold sides- this is another example of Chris making me love something I don't normally like ;). The potato salad was amazing as was the coleslaw. We also liked the farro carrot salads.

The hot sides- Harrison loved the black eyed peas, everyone loved the mashed potatoes (might have to get some of those for thanksgiving since they were soooo much better than mine.) I loved the glazed root veggies. They were delicious!

Dessert- we tried the following pudding cups: strawberry shortcake, pistachio, banana, carrot cake, vanilla and lemon meringue. I think here you pick the one you would like best in original form. My kids all liked the vanilla best. It was my second favorite. I also really liked the carrot cake pudding cup. But for me there was no topping the lemon meringue. It was amazing! It has the perfect balance of sweet and tart with a light browned meringue on top and a vanilla pudding under the lemon curd. A perfect portion and a perfect end to a great meal.

Next time you are wondering what to do for dinner, stop over at Meat & 3 and let Chris do your cooking. Take it home and put it in nice dishes and let everyone think you slaved all day :). They don't need to know you had help.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Provo / SLC

Jon and I are making last minute plans to go to SLC and Provo this weekend. Looks like I will have some free time Friday afternoon while Jon is working. I will probably be in Provo for that time. Anyone got any tips for fun things to go with the kids for a few hours? Please remember I have two busy little boys and a bit of paranoia. So there is no way I would take my family to hike the Y or anything like that by myself.

Also I would love to see any of our friends that live in the area, or meet new friends that live in the area :). Anybody want to get together? If so comment or email me.

Now I will give you a quick look at my night last night. Noble came downstairs while I was cooking dinner. He was naked from the waist down. He told me his fishes went in the toilet. I went to investigate. I found Harrison (also naked from the waist down) coming down the stairs.

Upstairs I found their "babysitting" sister watching TV. :-| In the bathroom I found my mascara smeared all over my toilet and three of maybe a dozen fishy toys and their fishing net in my toilet. Noble told me those ones wouldn't go down. The toilet would not flush properly. Note all the toys and my mascara on the tub that the plumber retrieved from the recesses of our toilet. (We aren't sure he got them all.) It was a rough night for Mama and one little "babysitter" owes Mama a lot of money.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I just woke up in a panic from a terrible nightmare. It is one of many I have had recently. It seems like anytime I am allowed to sleep till I naturally wake, those last few minutes get filled in with my recurring nightmare.

It's always the same. Something terrible has happened to one of our kids. Usually the dream centers on Harrison. This one did. Usually in my nightmare he is lost or about to drown or in danger of drowning and I can't get to him. This one had all three of those in succession.

How do you shake off a nightmare when you live the reality of it everyday?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Standards Night Purity Talk

Almost 2 weeks into my studying for the Nevada bar exam and my brain hurts. :) I am hoping some of what I am learning and relearning is sticking in there somewhere. It is difficult to focus with children to tend and laundry to do and errands to run.

But slow and steady is my goal. And so far my studying has been keeping on that track.

Last night Jon and I did a Standards Night class for the youth in our church. Our subject matter was sexual purity. I think it went pretty well. It is nice to team up with my husband to accomplish something. We do work well together I think.

We used fire as an analogy for our remarks. I thought I would share the gist of what we said with you:

Fire Safety / Sexual Purity

Intro: Lets talk about FIRE. When kept within set limits and used for productive purposes, it is a beautiful tool that can both be enjoyable and beneficial to our lives. It heats our homes and our water. It cooks our food. It is great for making smores. Who doesn’t like snuggling up next to the fireplace on a cold winter night?

But fire can also be destructive. It is destructive when it is out of control and outside the confines where we have made a safe space for it.

In out little class today we are going to talk about a kind of fire safety the Lord has given us. This is the class on Sexual Purity. Just like the Lord gave us the power to create and use fire, He has given us the incredible power partner with Him to create life. What a gift! We all have many gifts and talents but this gift from the Father stands apart because when we use it we partner with the Lord in His work of creating life. But, He has given us set bounds or rules for when to use this power – only with our lawfully wedded husband or wife. Today we are going to talk about WHY it is important to keep these powers within the bounds of marriage, we will talk about WHAT the rules are (What exactly is okay and not okay to do), and we will talk about HOW to keep those rules.

Fire has the power to forge strong metals. These intimate sexual acts, like fire, forge a powerful unbreakable bond between the people participating. The Father loves us and doesn't want us to have to experience the hurt and pain of separating from someone with whom we have forged this lifelong bond. That is why He wants us first to make covenants to be married for the rest of our lives before we engage in these soul bonding acts.

The For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet says that when you live the law of chastity: You protect yourself from the emotional damage that always comes from sharing physical intimacies with someone outside of marriage.

The rule to keep these types of physical relations inside of marriage is a PROTECTION to you. Fires burning outside of their areas of safety are DANGEROUS. If you engage in sexual behavior outside of the Lord’s prescribed bounds of marriage, YOU WILL GET HURT. You could have consequences like a pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease.  But even if you are lucky enough to avoid those consequences, you will ALWAYS have emotional and spiritual consequences. Even if you repent and go through the difficult process of becoming spiritually clean again, you can’t unsee something you have seen. You can’t make someone else unknow something they know about you. You will forever have a connection with that person that you will almost certainly one day wish were not there.

So we have established that we want to keep these fires only in the safe confines of marriage. But what exactly constitutes a “fire?” Or in other words, what is okay to do and what is not? It is the question I most wanted to know as a teenager. WHERE IS THE LINE? WHAT are the rules?

WHAT: Going to church at Panguich lake and the branch president telling us because of the conditions of little snow and little rain and lots of dead trees that we were not to have any open fires at all. 2 weeks later a boy riding an ATV had a problem with the machine and it back fired and let off a spark that caused an huge forest fire destroying acres and acres of land and putting teams of people working round the clock to contain the damage before it hurt people and destroyed homes.

Your lives as teenagers and on into young single adulthood are like those summer fire conditions. You are under the same strict rules that we were given about the fires. The For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet says: “Before marriage, do not do anything to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage.” It goes on to be more specific, “Do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not allow anyone to do that with you. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.”
Okay? Do not do anything to become aroused – no open flames. So there is the line. It is somewhere in the range of kissing. Kissing is the most you should ever do with someone before marriage. AND while Some types of kissing are okay, some are not. G rated kissing is okay. If you are kissing like Cinderella you are fine. PG – the line is going to be in there somewhere. PG-13 kissing is not okay and some of it – the kind where you are lying down (rolling, levi loving, etc.) getting passionate and arousing those flames within and sexually exciting either yourself or your partner – necessitates you going to the bishop to have help repenting.

Elder Scott gave a great talk in 1996 entitiled “DO what is Right” when I was in college and dating about what was okay to do and what was not. In it he said, “A safe rule to follow is to never do anything alone that you wouldn’t do in the presence of parents shortly before marriage.”

Keep that in mind.

That is where the Lord has drawn His line. But once you get close to the line it is so difficult to stay on the right side of it. That is why we are encouraged to stay far away from the line. In Elder Scott's talk, he also encouraged us to take some time or reflection, fasting, and prayer to decide where OUR line is going to be. It should be even more protective than the Lord's line. It should help you stay safe from ever getting so close the Lord's line that you accidentally slip over it.

HOW: Many of the other classes you have tonight with help you with the how to keep your passions from igniting. Pay attention to the For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet guidelines on Dating, Media, and Modesty in particular.

I have one more rule of thumb. Let’s go back to our fire analogy: Fire needs 3 things to come into existence. they are sometimes represented in a triangle diagram-- Heat, fuel, and oxygen. If you don’t want to have a fire start or if you need to put one out, you simply have to remove one of those elements. If these three elements are all together it is highly likely that a fire will start. Trust me I know. Don't ever put a hat on top of a lamp. I almost burned down my dorm room that way. Not a good combo.

I have a similar triangle for our sexual flames. Here the three side are for my combustion triangle: Alone, Long Time, Close Proximity : Explain. Never allow yourself to be alone with a date for a long period of time and in close physical proximity. And it should be noted that if you like a person and are alone with them and have no productive planned activity, keeping away from them is not going to be easy. Some examples: sitting close watching a movie is only okay if you are around a bunch of other people and have no blankets over you. (Blankets make any part they cover "alone.") It is okay to go alone for a long time together on a hike as long as you always stay an arms length apart. It is okay to give a kiss as long as it is brief. And by brief I mean brief. Sometimes 30 seconds can be too long for some people. Be aware that your fire may not ignite as quickly as your partners and you need to make sure neither of you has any open flames going. 

Lastly, we want to talk to you a little about what to do if you get burned. Anyone here ever had a burn before? What do you do if you get burned? First you pull your hand away from what burned it. You don't leave your hand on a hot stove. So if you feel a flame ignite in you, STOP what you are doing and back away quickly. Don't feed the fire.

Next if you have a burn you run it under cold water. If you put it in cold water for 30 seconds can you take it out and be fine? NO! It keeps burning. You have to put it under the cold water for a long time or it will keep burning. The worse the burn the more time under cold water is needed. If you run into trouble and cross YOUR line with someone in this area – cool it off. Don’t just keep dating. Cool it down right away and for a long period of time. Date other people. Hang out with different people. Give it time to cool off or the heat of that fire will just pick right back up where it left off.

And if you have been burned passed that line and ignited sexual flames in yourself or your partner, in other words, if you have crossed the Lord's line (PG-13 type kissing, rolling, levi loving, touching another persons private body parts etc...) it is like having a 3rd degree. If you get burned this badly, you do not stay home and risk infection. You go to a doctor. If you have crossed the Lord's line, go to the bishop. He can help you. That is why He is there. He won’t yell at you. He isn't going to go tell on you to your parents. He will help you repent and become healed from the spiritual wounds you will have caused yourself and will help you find more strength not to allows those fires to burn you again.

We know that this gift when it is kept in the bounds of marriage can bring us great joy. There is such a wonderful joy in going to the alter of marriage pure and clean and reserved especially for your spouse. And creating a family together brings the greatest joys this life has to offer. This gift is given to us to bring us joy. We want you to be happy. Your parents want you to be happy and most of all the Lord wants you to be happy. Keeping yourself sexually pure and saving those powerful emotions to share only with your husband or wife will make you happy. 

And repentance is a wonderful gift and opportunity. There is no greater joy than feeling clean before the Lord. If you have any lingering worries about things you have don't that might have been wrong. Go see the Bishop. It isn't as scary as you think it might be. He loves you and is there to help you feel clean before the Lord. Through the Atonement you can be clean before the Lord. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lesson Learned

Last week Annie came home from school unusually giddy. I am talking about school girl squealing giddy. The reason for her excitement? Her school announced cheerleader try outs and the coach was a high school cheer coach last year.

So this year cheer at her school would be subject to tryouts and there would be a significant fee and uniforms and performances at high school football games etc... She was more excited about the prospect of being on this cheer team than I have ever seen her about anything else.

I was much less thrilled at the idea of adding another activity to our schedule and another expense to our budget. But how could I not let her try? I mean she isn't a gymnast and is not into any dance other than hip hop which she just started. She may not even make the cut.

So I signed the form to let her try out hoping secretly that she wouldn't make the squad. They went to learn the tryout cheer Monday after school. Wednesday were the tryouts. 127 kids tried out for the 30 spots. I was breathing a little easier with those odds.

After her tryout she told me did okay on the second half but didn't do as well as she had hoped on the beginning. Another secret sigh of relief. And I wrote off any worry I had about adding another activity to our lives.

So when she came home from school with this big smile on her face and telling me how much she loved me, I didn't really know why she was in such a good mood.

There were lots of whispers between her and her little sister Lauren. After a few minutes Lauren, playing her part in this act, said "So Annie did you make cheerleading?"

"I don't know," Annie replied trying to suppress her infectious grin. "But I did get this!!!" She yelled pulling out a paper that started with the word congratulations!

She made the squad.

I guess we have another activity on the agenda. I'll make room since she wants this activity more than any of the others.

And I have learned a valuable lesson. Never underestimate Ann Marie. What she sets her mind to do she does.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Scary Changes

So here is one small change in our home. We are hosting a campaign worker for the Mitt Romney for President campaign. Long story but basically she needed a place to stay for a month and my friend Catherine asked if we would host her. We are happy to help and said of course.

I am beginning to see how hard these campaigners work. She is only here to sleep and she never gets enough time for that. If anyone in our area wants to volunteer for the Romney campaign let me know and I will hook you up with our new boarder.

Now for the bigger and much scarier change ... I have decided to take the Nevada Bar Exam. I really never thought I would do that. But as my kids get older I feel I am certainly going to want something I can do while they are at school. I just know myself well enough to know that I do best when I am being challenged and I do not find enough challenge in housework or volunteering.

I don't want to over simplify this decision. It has been months in the making and there has been much fasting and prayer involved. It has not been an easy process to get here. There have been tears and fears and frustrations. But I feel certain that I am on the right path and that I just need to take my time traveling it.

This doesn't mean I am going back to work right now. It means I am studying. And as I dipped my toe into my review course yesterday I had a few things become clear to me. Number one, I have forgotten SO MUCH. It is scary how much I have forgotten. Number two, I love learning and I feel confident in my ability to relearn all these legal terms and tests that have slipped into the dark recesses of my mind.

Now the scary part of this is that you will all know if I fail the exam. :0) I hope I don't fail and I would feel pretty confident in passing if it were 2002 and not 2012 but since I haven't practiced law in 11 years and its been 12 years since I took the bar ... yeah I could totally fail.

The other scary thing or rather "faith trying" part of this is being sensitive to the timetable that is right for me to start working and what kind and how much work I should do. That is all just a big hazy cloud in front of me that I am not sure about. I have always felt I would work again someday. And for now I feel like getting the NV bar under my belt is my first step toward that. After that, well I guess the Lord will help me find those answers when He deems I am ready for them.

So if I am blogging less these next several months, it probably means I am studying. I will need to be doing lots of that.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Golden Moments

I have about 5 posts in my head. Some of them I am not sure I even want to post. Sometimes it is scary to announce certain parts of your life to the world on the internet. And there are always parts of my life I do not talk about so publicly. I try not to write about things that involve other people who may not want publicity.

But I have been rather preoccupied with some decisions and changes in my life that I think I am ready to write about, even though being public about it is a little scary. But before we get to that. I just have to say how much I have enjoyed this General Conference of the LDS Church. There was a talk in the first session by Elder Bowen that spoke directly to my heart and the hearts of all my other angel parent friends. Thank you Elder Bowen for sharing!

I also loved Elder Cook's talk and Elder Nelson's.

I love the little moments of motherhood that are like drops of gold into my heart. I have had several this conference session watching with my kids. Sure we have mostly barely managed chaos as we watch but every once in a while there are moments of clarity and great spirit that remind me what this life is all about.

Yesterday, watching Elder Bowen's talk was one of those. Noble ran over to me and told me they were talking about a baby who died. He recognized that our family is similar. Elder Bowen at one point talks about how natural it is to ask "Why Me?" when such things happen. Sabrina looked over at me and said, "not you mama." I winked at her. I am glad she knows that I never asked that question. I know it is natural to ask it and most, including Elder Bowen do ask it. But I never did. I had been too blessed and too aware of all my many blessing in life to ask why a bad thing would happen. Bad things happen to us all. I knew that. So why should I expect to be exempt? I just have never felt entitled to the blessings I have been given. Instead I tried to follow the advice Elder Scott gave in a talk once and tried instead to ask "What can I learn from this?" I was glad Sabrina saw that in me and hope she will learn from it. We all must pass through hard trials in this life. The trick it to learn from them.

Another golden moment came as we played a board game with the girls between sessions today. We all worked together in one part of the game, giving up our own interests to benefit the whole. I loved that. I loved seeing my girls getting along and working together. Few things bring a mother greater joy than seeing her children being loving with each other. I also loved that Lauren (who apparently got bored with our bored game) made up her own objective in the game of just collecting sheep. She used her game pieces to build a little corral and put her sheep cards in the corral.

I love that Noble told me several times that he was going to miss me (out of the blue) as he was coloring and watching conference. He told me he was going to go there (to conference) but that he was going to miss me. "My heart likes the music and it wants to go there," he says. There is no doubt children can feel that sweet peace of the Spirit when we invite in into our home.

So that has been our General Conference weekend. Actually, I think I will put my news of some of the changes around here in a new post to go out tomorrow. This post seems long enough. So, till tomorrow.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Telling Quotes

I have been hearing some great quotes from my kids today. Thought I would share a couple. First as I dropped Annie off at her violin lesson, I was walking out as she was taking her violin to the teacher to get it tuned and patting the back of the violin she says, "So do you think we can put some flames on this baby?"

Then we were cleaning up at home and I told Noble to put his puzzle away. He then took it all apart as violently as possible and spread it all over the room. I told him he couldn't help me use the spray bottle with water in it to clean the windows till his puzzle was all picked up. He then said, "But mom, my heart is telling me that my heart just wants to do what my boy heart wants to do."

Two classic quips. Love them.