Sunday, January 29, 2012

Menu - Week 4

Sunday - Super Simple Pork Chops, butternut squash, peas, salad and ice cream

Monday - leftover Ajiaco

Tuesday - "This Combination Works" Chicken with Company Potatoes

Wednesday - more leftovers (Ajiaco and spaghetti)

Thursday - Macaroni Casserole (Spinach Lasagna Style)

Friday - New England Clam Chowder

Saturday - eat out between stake conference sessions

Friday, January 27, 2012

Five Things for Friday

For a while I've been reading Heather's Five Things for Friday posts, and today I thought I'd play along.  My five things aren't nearly as profound as hers, but the beauty of having your own blog is that you can write whatever you like!  So here are some things I learned (or re-learned) this week.

1. Indexing is fun.  I actually had this as a calling one summer between college semesters.  Things have changed quite a bit in 30 years!  Now you can do it at home whenever you want. Go here to give it a try yourself.

2. Family night lessons can be short.  Discussing a newly-discovered quote doesn't take long at all, but learning something new and feeling the Spirit equals an effective family home evening.  Here's the one we discussed this week.

3.  I still hate making phone calls, although I'm always relieved when they're done.  Of course, I'd probably be more likely to make them if I could actually complete the purpose in a single call.  This week's "main" phone call was to make an appointment for an oil change.  It just so happens that we received a recall notice for that vehicle a couple of days ago, so I figured I could take care of both things at once.  I can, but I have to wait for them to order the recall part which will take two weeks.  We'll see if they really call me back or if I have to add it to the list again.

4.  Cleaning out computer files is tedious and time-consuming.  However, I'm really grateful that I'm finally finding the time to do this!  It's been on my list for years.

5.  When you're only cooking for three people, things like milk and margarine and Miracle Whip don't have to be replaced quite so often.  Leftovers stay in the fridge long enough to actually grow mold (not a good thing, but it has happened a couple of times lately).  And it's totally possible to turn Candy Bar Pie into mini tarts by using cupcake liners in a muffin tin.

Bonus #6 (because posts without pictures are no fun). Girls are great.  They won the boys vs. girls tug-of-war at the stake youth activity last week.  And they did it so quickly I didn't have a chance to take a picture of it, so you get this one instead.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Day in Our Life

It's been over three years since I've done "A Day in Our Life" post (see it here), and so when this assignment popped up on Wordful Wednesday (over here), I thought it would be fun to participate.  Of course, I didn't remember while the day was progressing yesterday, so there aren't as many pictures as there could have been, but we actually did take some!

Most of the routine stuff was fairly typical, but it was "the day before a big project is due" so a lot of our activities were not typical. Is it too much to hope that this was actually the very last major project?  After over twenty years of these, I'm ready for the next generation to take over!  Anyway, here's what we did yesterday:

5:00 AM - alarm goes off, throw on some clothes, make sure Michelle's awake, turn on computer, heat leftover spaghetti for her breakfast, prepare two sack lunches

5:40 AM - family prayer, say good-bye to Michelle, check email/blogs/Facebook, read scriptures, have breakfast with Wayne, say good-bye to him

7:15 AM - throw sheets in the washer, tidy kitchen, write a couple of blog posts (here and here), take a walk, move sheets to dryer, shower

10:00 AM - Tuesday is Errand Day.  Fortunately, the list wasn't too long (actually didn't need groceries!), but along with the usual "cleaners and post office," there were some unusual items on it (teeny-tiny china set, sticker of a British constable, sparkly gold cardstock, and non-colored toothpicks).  Can you believe I found everything?

12:45 PM - watch tv while eating lunch and working on the current crochet project

2:00 PM - Michelle's home - time to get to work!  She decided she wanted more display tables, so I sewed some more red covers.  If you look REALLY hard, you can see the teeny-tiny china set on the one at the center bottom of the picture.  Then she wanted help matting various quotes and pictures.  You'll notice the shiny gold cardstock covers up the previously ugly red railing.
5:45 PM - Decide I should probably start dinner, so cut up some vegetables and toss them in the oven. (Find the recipe here.)  Remember to put the sheets back on the bed and check the mail.

7:00 PM - Wayne's home.  He suggests that we add a few ingredients to the plain sautéed chicken I had planned, so we quickly created a new recipe and ate dinner together.
7:25 PM - Michelle has 25 minutes of computer time before Wayne needs it, so we work on formatting some more quotes and print them out.

8:00 PM - Wayne has a webinar (part of his church calling), Michelle showers and does her other homework, I rest my weary back while reading a magazine and doing more crocheting.

9:00 PM - family scriptures and prayer, "tuck" Wayne into bed (our tradition that lets us keep our goal to go to bed together when the kids still need help from Mom)

9:30 PM - help Michelle with final touches on project - more cutting and matting and creating a little book - take pictures and load them on a flash drive to give to the teacher (the actual board doesn't have to go to school until the History Day competition on Friday or Monday)
 11:00 PM - It's finished!  Time to go to bed.
So, that was our day.  It was long, but productive and enjoyable too.  

P.S.  Come join the blog hop :)  It's always nice to know we're not alone with our crazy schedules.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Menu - Week 3

Sunday - Chicken and Pasta, Salad and Vegies, Chocolate Profiteroles

Monday - Spaghetti and Meatballs
Tuesday - Black Beans and Rice with Chicken and Apple Salsa
Wednesday - Cabbage Soup and Multi-Grain Bread
 Thursday - leftovers (spaghetti and fried rice)
Friday - Thai Restaurant Chicken
Saturday - Ajiaco

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Utah Vacation Week - Saturday

New Year's Eve was more of the same!

It's always nice when you share family traditions.  One of the traditions I grew up with was putting together a jigsaw puzzle on New Year's Eve.  Cody's family did that too and we had a great time working on one together this year, complete with the prankster Brad hiding one piece in his pocket so he could put the last one in place.
I can't remember the name of this game, but apparently it was a good one!
Poor Michelle, it was her turn to not be feeling well.
Unfortunately, none of us made it to midnight to ring in the New Year.  However, we ARE east coast residents, so we were just fine with doing our celebrating on east coast time!  Happy (belated) New Year to you all!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Utah Vacation Week - Friday

Friday was football day!  David has trained his daughter well, and he had plenty of support from his dad and brothers as well to make sure she didn't forget how to watch football.

However, she is only six months old, so did get distracted by toys on occasion.
Wyatt showed his independence too!
It was a fun day, filled with games of all sorts.
 And even a bit of physical labor.
Dinner was served at Aunt Julie's where there was more football,
fun and games,

and even a couple of snakes!
The snakes can stay at her house :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Utah Vacation Week - Thursday

I'm not sure whose idea it was to have a "girls only" activity, but it was a great one.  We decided to go to the pottery shop.  It was a good non-caloric option, and fortunately we all enjoy creating.  We had a blast and truly enjoyed just relaxing and being together.  I think we'll continue this tradition as often as possible!
Oh, and the end results turned out great as well, and even include the start for more traditions - the Birthday Plates.
The "boys and babies" survived just fine without us, but it was great to be all together again for another evening of fun, food and games.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Utah Vacation Week - Wednesday

This was Christmas vacation, so I need to post evidence of another Christmas tradition.  We didn't do gingerbread (or graham cracker) houses like we have in the past, but Brad and Cody kept that tradition.  Here's Brad's rendition of their apartment.  Note all the activity that is happening - somebody sleeping, brushing their teeth, getting something from the fridge, practicing the piano, and admiring the Christmas tree from the couch.  Except for the fact that only two people actually live there, I was impressed with the accuracy of his portrayal.
While in Provo, we also photographed evidence that Steven is a student.  Here's his dorm building.

And here's where he works.

We also had to check out the CougarEat and Bookstore while we were in town.  Too bad I didn't get a picture of them buying textbooks.  That would have been better proof that he's a college student.
This is what the boys thought of having to wait around for a bit.
But then it was time to meet the photographer and try to get everyone to smile at once.  We're still waiting to see if that was successful!
It would have been nice if the sun had decided to appear earlier in the afternoon, but at least we got a glimpse of a beautiful sunset on the mountains as we were leaving.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Utah Vacation Week - Tuesday

Fortunately I woke up feeling better on Tuesday, because this was the day I'd been looking forward to for months.  It was the day we were finally going to complete the sealing ordinances for the stack of family file names we've been collecting for two years.  It was wonderful having all of our kids (except for Steven and Michelle who babysat Wyatt and Evelyn - someday they'll be there too), and Wayne's parents, with us in the temple.  And we made great progress, but ran out of time before we got everything done.  I guess that means we'll just have to go back another day!  

That evening my cousin hosted a Beckstrand gathering so we could have a chance to visit with family we hadn't seen in years.  Thanks so much!  We had a wonderful time.

Family is important.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Utah Vacation Week - Monday

We knew that after the excitement of Christmas Eve and Christmas, we would want to relax a bit on Monday.  However, we also have a family that likes to "plan" things so that they don't end up sitting around doing nothing.  So, we decided Monday would be a good day to go check out the lights at Temple Square.  And we decided to go a bit early so that Wayne could "do" the South Visitor's Center.  (That's where he left off on the downtown tour we started one summer.)

That's what we did.  We got there early enough to find an empty parking lot, with no attendant, so it didn't even cost us anything.  Then Wayne read all the signs and watched all the videos.  The rest of us read some of the signs and watched some of the videos.  We're not quite as thorough.  My favorite was the model of the Salt Lake Temple under glass, with little cutouts of some of the rooms.

It wasn't quite dark enough once we were done looking at all the exhibits, and it was too cold to wander around outside, so we sat and watched the Mormon.org profiles that were playing on one screen.  We were there for two hours and didn't see a repeat!  I was impressed.  I was also not feeling very well; it was my turn to catch the flu bug that Steven had when we arrived.  I'm grateful there was a nice warm place to just sit and do nothing.
As soon as the lights came on we wandered around for a few minutes before heading back to Grandpa's house.  I went to bed, so you'll have to ask someone else what they did for the rest of the evening!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Menu - Week 2

Here's the last one for today!

Sunday - Soy-Marinated Chicken with rice pilaf and Strawberry Bavarians

Monday - Zucchini-Clam Linguine

Tuesday - Homemade Chicken Nuggets and Oven Fries

Wednesday - leftovers

Thursday - Unstuffed Cabbage

Friday - more leftovers (we're a small family now!)

Saturday - Fair Food
(Can you believe we've never taken our children to the fair? We figured we'd better rectify that before the last one leaves home.)

Menu - Week 1

I did that last post as a warm up; here's the real beginning, and since I'm getting a late start, we'll add one more to catch up.  You'll notice there are no desserts planned, except for Sunday.  That's how January usually starts!  I'm also not going to add the side dishes unless it's something new and/or special.  Just know that we do eat our vegetables.

Sunday - New Year's Day
marinated chicken breasts, Cheesy Ranch Potatoes, salad and vegies, brownies and ice cream

Monday - traveling
airport food - chicken wrap

Tuesday -
Chicken Minestrone (from the freezer)

Wednesday -
Party Kielbasa over rice

Thursday -
Hearty Cassoulet

Friday -
Chicken Enchiladas

Saturday - Dutch Oven
Chicken with Vegetables

Menu - Week 0

One of the things I struggle with on a regular basis is trying to decide what to have for dinner.  I thought it might be a good idea to keep track this year.  Maybe it will give you ideas, but I sure hope it gives me ideas!  And since I also want to try new recipes, I'm hoping this will help me with that as well.

I've just scheduled a week's worth of posts describing our Christmas vacation.  A big part of that was food (surprise!) and so I figured I'd start the week off with our dinner plan.  Remember, this is a "vacation" dinner plan, but those happen occasionally, and it would have been better for us if we had done this in advance, rather than at dinner-time each day.  Learn from our mistake!

Sunday - Christmas Day
(This one was planned in advance; tradition sure helps with planning!)
Standing Rib Roast
Potato Casserole
Green Peas, Salad, Rolls
Chocolate Layer Cake (from Costco)

Monday - leftovers

Tuesday - various soups and rolls (hosted by my cousin)

Wednesday - Chinese take-out

Thursday - tacos (hard and/or soft), black beans and rice, frozen corn, ice cream

Friday - ravioli (3 types), salad, garlic bread sticks and brownie sundaes (hosted by my sister-in-law)

Saturday - New Year's Eve
Seven Layer Dip with tortilla chips and Shrimp Dip with crackers
(These are traditional "football" snacks, and I just realized they haven't been posted on the recipe blog.  We'll have to have them again so I can take pictures!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Let the Festivities Begin!

We arrived at the Salt Lake airport "bright and early" on Christmas Eve.  Actually, it wasn't necessarily bright, because it was pitch black in the middle of the night.  We got a few hours of sleep, then hit the grocery stores, this time really "bright and early," to do the the last minute shopping.  Fortunately, it wasn't bad at all.  (I have a life-long goal to avoid all stores on Christmas Eve, but this year it couldn't be helped.  So, it was nice that it was still a pleasant experience.)

Wayne's parents are in the process of moving.  That wasn't the plan when we made arrangements months ago to stay with them.  We really appreciated their willingness to add the chaos of out-of-town guests to the chaos of moving, not to mention the chaos of the holidays!  But there were some perks.  We got to go through the pile of cast-offs and they had lots of muscles at their disposal.
Too bad the crutches won't fit on the plane and that there's no room to store giant bells in a student apartment. 
How many of you remember The Game of the States?  I played it when I was a kid.  We took it from the D.I./Goodwill pile so the next generation could have the same experience.  It was fun, but couldn't compete with the current crop of games.  Back to the pile it went!
 Then the next wave of travelers arrived.  They traveled with Santa hats! Why didn't we think of that?



Michelle was THRILLED to finally meet her niece!  Evelyn was just tired. 
After a quick nap, it was time to gather everyone together, for the first time in 5 years!.
There were toys and games galore.
And relaxing and just visiting too.
The highlight was pulling out the Nativity Story, hearing Weston bear his testimony of its reality to his own son, and then having our traditional Christmas Eve sing-a-long.  We were a bit rusty, but still made it through Brother Farnworth's cantata, a couple of selections from Handel's Messiah, and a few favorite Christmas hymns.
It was the best Christmas Eve ever!

Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas!  
We followed our usual traditions, although it was a bit more fun with a baby around again.

First came getting dressed and breakfast - thanks Brad and Cody for the traditional cinnamon rolls,
then pictures in front of the stockings - although we had to improvise on that this year,

then time to open the stockings - David had to convince Elizabeth that this is an integral part of the Christmas traditions and I think he did,
before heading off to church, to worship and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

The Rest of Christmas Day

After church, the first order of business was to snap a photo while everyone was still dressed up.  I think we succeeded!
And I think we've changed just a bit since the last one was taken five years ago.  Maybe not so much in looks, but the five new additions are just awesome, and we can't imagine life without them.  And we look forward to meeting the future additions that we're positive are coming!


Then it was time to open presents.  You all know what that's like - lots of love and laughter and wrapping paper!




And Christmas Day wouldn't be complete without yummy food and lots of relaxing.  Thanks for the wonderful memories!