Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I Am An Idiot

It's true.

When I bought the ingredients for my brine, I waited to buy oranges.  When I bought oranges, I really bought grapefruit.

Who does that?

I made the brine using the grapefruit peel anyway.  Hopefully it doesn't really matter.

But really, who buys grapefruit instead of oranges?  How the heck didn't I notice that what I was buying was PINK and not ORANGE?  Holy cow!

Turkey goes in the brine tonight.  Wish me luck!

In other news, I am grateful that I live in a time where I can drive to the store and buy groceries.  Anything I want is pretty much accessible.  I don't have to trade with neighbors, or plant things myself.  How spoiled are we?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Thank Yous


I put our turkey in the fridge on Friday morning and it's still really frozen.  I'm starting to get nervous.....  However, I am thankful for refrigerators.

I bought a brining bag, because they are humongous and can fit a 22lb turkey, plus two gallons if liquid in them.  Best creation ever!  I'm thankful for brining bags.

I took my marketing research test on Saturday.  I hope I passed.  I'm thankful my company gave me the opportunity to continue my education.

Lance is home sick today.  Part of me is secretly hoping he did the dishes.  But when I was home sick last week, did I do the dishes?  Alas, I did not.  So I won't be sad if the house is as messy as I left it this morning.

Did you know that I will be seeing my long lost family in 9 days?  I'm so excited. (I'm thankful for airplanes.)

I have this desire to publicly brag about my awesome brother-in-law, Jeff Morrey.  However, I can't say why.  It's a secret, for now.  But let's just say that he is so awesome and he made me 100 times more excited for Christmas!

Does that catch me up on thank-yous?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mo Tab

I am thankful for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I have a Christmas Pandora station I've been listening to lately, and it has some popular songs by popular artists as well as instrumental and Mo Tab songs on there...

The Mo Tab songs are the best. For one, the songs they sing represent the true meaning of Christmas, rather than getting presents, or missing someone they love, etc.  It's nice to not hear about Santa in a song once in a while.

Santa Baby = the most annoying Christmas song. Ever.

Another reason I like Mo Tab Christmas songs the best is because of the spirit they bring when you listen to them.  I like the Mo Tab version of O Holy Night better than Celine Dion's version, or Josh Groban's version, or any other version.  I've wondered why this is for a while, and I think I've figured it out today.

Each member in Mo Tab has a testimony of each song they are singing, and you can feel it through the way they sing.  It's as if they are perfect vessels for the spirit to send its message through.  They are not just trying to sound good.  They are not singing for money.  They are singing because they love the Lord, they love music, and they love to share the gospel with others.  Most importantly, what they are singing is true.

And I love them.  I'm thankful there are some Christmas songs out there that aren't focusing on presents, Santa, and kissing under the mistletoe.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Relief Society

Finding something each day to be thankful for is not difficult.

Blogging every day is difficult.  I don't spend much time on the computer at home, except to look up recipes.

Anyway, yesterday was a good day.  Work was pretty slow, so I got to study for this big test I need to take for my marketing course.  I'm not quite done with my reading assignment, but I started taking practice quizzes anyway.  I was getting solid 80%-90% scores, so I feel pretty good about taking the test this week.

After work, I dropped Lance off at his second job and then I went straight to relief society.

Relief society?  Yep!  This is the second time I have gone since I've been in the ward...  My ward does a great job about notifying me about activities and making me feel welcome, I'm just so dang shy!  I'm in Primary, so I don't know very many of the sisters, so I don't go to the activities.  This week I realized I'm not going to know any of the sisters unless I start going to activities.  So I'm going to try to do better about that. 

Last night I sat a table between two sisters who I recognized, but I don't really know.  One sister's daughter, Kyla, was in my Primary class last year.  (I just love that name, Kyla.  As a side note, I wanted Lily's name to be Kyla Lily, (like a play on the name of the calla lily flowers) but Lance didn't agree with it....)  My visiting teacher, Amy, was at the same table, just a couple sisters away, so I didn't feel totally like a fish out of water.  The food was good, and I talked a little bit to some ladies.  I made a little craft and then went home.

I feel really good about going to this activity.  There are always new sisters in the ward, so I'm sure there are plenty of sisters who don't know each other, and we're all sort of in the same boat.  We just have to take the initiative to get to know each other.  I'm thankful for the relief society.

After relief society I went home to get my girls.  I had thawed out my frozen cinnamon rolls in the fridge, so I put them on the counter to raise for a bit.  They didn't really raise.  Ok, they didn't raise at all.  So freezing this particular cinnamon roll dough was not a good idea.  However, after baking them and drenching them in a cream cheese-butter-milk-vanilla-powdered sugar mixture, they were excellent.

Later that night, after watching Dancing with the Stars, I loaded the girls into the car and went to Walmart.  The dogs stayed in the car.  I bought all of my Thanksgiving items.  Well, almost all.  I still need a stock pot that can hold over 2 gallons of liquid (my lovely sister in law will be letting me borrow hers), 4 oranges (I thought they'd go bad if I bought them this early), and a turkey bag.  Walmart was out of turkey bags, however they were stocking the shelves, so maybe if I go back tonight they will have some.

Thanks to two of my awesome cousins and their success stories, I have found the confidence to just brine a regular ol' turkey from Walmart!  I bought a 22lb Butterball.  It was heavy.  Not sure I should have lifted it...  I will be brining it, however,  I will be decreasing the amount of salt in the brine recipe I'll be using, just to be careful.  I'm borrowing the stock pot to cook the brine in, and the turkey bag is to soak the turkey in the brine.  I'm super excited!  I want to start cooking the turkey now.  Maybe I'll go buy an 8lb turkey and practice!  :-)

After Walmart it was almost 11pm, and I drove to the mall to pick up Lance.  He was tired.  I was tired.  Before now I've made sure I got 8 hours of sleep each night.  But getting home at 11:30pm, and having to get up at 7am means that is not possible.  Remarkably, I feel fine!  Practice for when I'm getting 2 hours of sleep each night, no?

Monday, November 14, 2011


I've been having a bit of stress trying to figure out how to cook a turkey.

The inner chef in me wants to go all Food Network and brine a turkey and roast it all fancy-like.  I've been doing research on turkeys, and you really shouldn't brine a regular ol' turkey from the grocery store because they are injected with a solution that already includes salt.

Brining is where you soak your meat in a salty solution (that also includes other flavorings, and usually sugar) to break up the connective tissues (or something like that) in your meat, allowing it to be juicier and have more flavor once it is cooked.  This isn't just a theory.  I brine chicken and pork ANY TIME I cook it and the difference is obvious.

Anyhow, soaking an already salted turkey in a salt solution will result in what?  An incredibly salty turkey.

So I toyed with the idea of taking a plain ol' frozen turkey from the grocery store, and thawing it, then brining it, but decreasing the salt in my brine by half.  But that still makes me nervous because it is entirely experimental, and I don't want to serve a nasty salt lick to 15 people.

Another idea I had was to take a plain ol' frozen turkey from the grocery store, and thaw it in the sink, in water, hoping that osmosis would remove some of the salty solution from the plain ol' turkey.  Using this method, I thought I might re-fill the sink with fresh water every 6 hours or so, to get as much salt out of the turkey as possible.  And then brine it, but still decreasing my salt by half.

I'm still uncomfortable with the idea.

With the help of some friends, I have discovered where I can purchase a turkey that has not been injected with junk.  However, for the turkey I want it is $85.  I would pay that in a heart beat, if I could guarantee that I wouldn't mess up the turkey.  Either way, Lance is uncomfortable paying that much.

So here I am, back at square one, wanting a super moist, super flavorful, gourmet turkey, but not  a decision on what turkey to buy or how to cook it.

I've gotten some great tips from Tearsa, a co-worker of mine, that I might end up using if I can't find a cheaper non-injected turkey.

Some other friends on Facebook have given me good ideas of where to purchase turkeys, but I am still looking into price on those.

I found a great turkey at Whole Foods for around $50, but the closest location is in Cottonwood Heights.

I think Lance is getting frustrated and doesn't understand why I just won't cook a plain ol' turkey from the grocery store.  I'm not sure I understand why I don't want to either.  It's not that I'm too good.  It's not that they aren't good enough.  I guess I just want to try something different.  I like experimenting with techniques and flavors with food and I want Thanksgiving to be a wonderfully amazing dinner.  Maybe no one else that I am eating with really cares.

Either way, I'm thankful for all the friends who have been patient with my questions and who have given me tips and advice.  And if you're reading this, and have more tips and advice, please do share!

Other things I am making for Thanksgiving are:
  • Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce
  • Candied Yams (I don't have a recipe... basically yams or sweet potatoes, lots of butter, lots of brown sugar, cinnamon, and toasted marshmallows on top)
  • Butterbeer
I feel it's a sin that I'm not making gravy out of the turkey drippings...or adding turkey drippings to the stuffing, but Lance's sister, Laura, wanted to make the gravy (she's also doing the potatoes), and Nicole wanted to make the stuffing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Family and Cinnamon Rolls

Last night Lance got to feel baby Lily kick or punch or whatever she was doing.  It was pretty consistent for a while, and my whole tummy was moving, so I think she may have had the hiccups.  Anyway, I was glad we got to share that.  Let's say that I am thankful we got to share that, and count it as yesterday's thankfullness!

Yesterday was a pretty good day.  Lance had to work at the Disney Store from 11am to 7:30pm.  So we got the girls (our dogs) in the car and dropped him off.  Then I came home and lounged around playing on the computer.  My dad was online on Skype so I got to talk to him, and my mom, and my sisters.  It was nice.  Then I decided that I was going to take some of the wonderful cinnamon rolls I made over to Eric's house so they could help me eat them.  That was fun too.  I hadn't seen Mabel in a while.  It seems like she's learned something new every time I see her!  She now can clap (has been clapping since before her first birthday), say "touch down!" and throw her hands in the air, blow kisses, say "kitty, kitty, kitty, " say "tickle, tickle tickle," she knows the word "bubbles", and when you ask her what the cat says, she says "OW, OW, OW" meaning "meow, meow, meow."  She's been saying "Hi!" for a really long time too.  That was her first word.  So stinking cute!

I let Mabel play with my phone and after she had it for a while, she handed it back to me.  Then I handed it back to her, and she handed it back to me.  I didn't understand what was going on until Katie said, "She wants you to turn it on for her."  That made me laugh!  I said, "No, Mabel.  You can't make your phone calls on my phone, sorry."  She got bored of the passing back and forth game.  I guess cell phones aren't fun if they aren't lighting up!

My dad was still on Skype, so we chatted with my family more while I was at Eric and Katie's.  It makes me feel like I pretty much got to spend the whole day with my family.  I'm thankful for that.

Let's talk about these cinnamon rolls, shall we?  I had a craving for cinnamon rolls, and decided that I would just make some.  I had no idea how much effort you have to put into cinnamon rolls.  I started at 7pm on Friday night.  I browsed some recipes from some of my favorite cooks (Pioneer Woman, cooks on the Food Network, etc.) and decided to do a combination of Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls, and Alton Brown's cinnamon rolls.  However, neither one of their icings appealed to me, so I made up my own.  I made an awesome decision.  The only change I'll make for next time is to double the brown sugar/cinnamon/butter filling!  I cut the dough recipe in half, because I just wanted one pan of cinnamon rolls, but it still ended up making two pans full.  So, I have a pan of uncooked cinnamon rolls in my freezer for when I go visiting teaching this week.  Awesome.  I had a finished pan of overly-frosted cinnamon rolls at about 11pm on Friday.  And they were wonderful.  And I woke up 10 pounds heavier.   I'm thankful that I can blame my weight gain on Lily.  :-D

Friday, November 11, 2011

Frozen Lunches

Yeup, that's what I'm thankful for today.

My favorite brand would have to be Healthy Choice.  Stouffer's is pretty good too.

Yesterday, I tried the new pumpkin ravioli from Health Choice, it was super good!  Today I'm having one with broccoli and beef in it.

These frozen lunches help me to save money by being cheaper than eating out for lunch.  You can buy them for about $2-$3 a piece, when eating out is at least $5 a person most places.  I know when I actually make enough dinner for leftovers it's even cheaper than the $2 frozen meal... but I don't always make dinner.  So. Yeah.

My absolute favorite frozen lunch is the Red Pepper Alfredo from Healthy Choice.  It is comparable to Pizza Pie Cafe's red pepper pasta sauce, which I love.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


You know how people say they love their spouse more now than they did the day they married them?

I never understood it.  How can you love someone more?  Shouldn't you already love them a lot if you're going to marry them?  What happens to make you able to love them more?

I can tell you that I love Lance more now than I did at the beginning of this year.  I'm not sure how it happened.  I think life throws trials, sadness, hardships and other things at you, and when you stick together and work together at helping each other you grow together, and that helps you fall more in love with each other. 

Just noticing how he's changed with the news of becoming a father has made me love him more.  He was always been a great guy, but now he's more patient, more caring, more loving, and more kind to me than he ever has been.

We went to Planet Play last week for a little fun.  He kicked my bum at mini-golf, and I kicked his at mini-bowling.  :)  It was fun to get out and play, just the two of us.  Usually when we go places like that, we always include other people.  It was different for it to be just the two of us, but I really enjoyed it.

Obviously, I am thankful for Lance.  I am thankful for his forgiving heart, and patience with me.  I am thankful for his work ethic and how hard he works to support us.  I am thankful for his friendship.  He understands me more than I understand myself.  I am thankful that he never gets upset when I say I don't feel like making dinner, or doing laundry, or doing the dishes.  I am thankful that he will pitch in and do those things.  I am also thankful that he has the same addiction as I do to eating out. I'm thankful that we can compromise about anything.  I'm thankful for his kind, loving parents, who raised him to respect others. He is the perfect balance of his shy, quiet mom, who mostly keeps her opinions to herself, and his outspoken, talkative, friendly father who loves to make sure everyone else is happy.

I don't really like to brag, but, I have an awesome marriage.  :-)


Yesterday was awful.  I had the worst headache ever and it wouldn't go away.  Tylenol didn't help, sleep didn't help, drinking lots of water didn't help, getting a bit of caffeine didn't help.

I have decided that it was a stress headache.

I stayed home from work and called my mommy.  We talked for a while, then I tried to take a nap.  I couldn't stop thinking about work and some issues I had the previous day, so I called my sister Emilee.  We talked for a while, then she passed the phone to Jessica and we talked for a while.  It was so nice to hear their voices.

Then I called Lance to see how he was doing.  He had a busy day at work.

Then once again I tried to take a nap.  I had to sing a few hymns to get myself to not think about work.  Then baby Lily decided it was flipping time, which was pretty relaxing.  I could just sit there and enjoy her company without saying a word.

Three hours later, I woke up.  Sill with a headache. But the nap was nice.

Anyway, I couldn't bear to look at a computer screen yesterday, so I didn't share something for which I am thankful.  (Do you like how sometimes I use proper puncuation and grammar, and sometimes I do not?  I prefer to blog how I would speak, and therefore, don't care about the proper use of things for the most part...) 

I'm thankful for hymns.  I'm thankful for those talented people who wrote the tunes for the hymns and the talented people who wrote the words for hymns, and the talented people who perform hymns.  Hymns are beautiful, and help to clear my mind better than anything else.

I remember being in Primary when we lived in Santaquin and we learned that one song that was about humming your favorite hymn.  I don't remember all the words, but I remember it talking about any time you feel down or scared or sad "...Just hum your favorite hymn.  Sing out with vigor and vim, and you will find it clears your mind. Hum your favorite hymn."  Ever since then, I've hummed my favorite hymn many, many times.  It always works.  Always.

Maybe later today I will think of something else to share that I am thankful for.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I'm thankful for credit.

Credit is a double edged sword.  Without it, I wouldn't have a house, a car, and we probably would have gone hungry back in 2009 when Lance lost his job.  However, it's tricky to not go too far with it.

I remember, the night before Lance lost his former job we were trying to decide if we should go to New York City or not.  No, we didn't have the money... but the flight price was almost too good to turn down!  Almost.  We decided against it.  The next day our lives were turned upside down.

Before that time, we used credit a lot more than we should have.  We had good income, so we knew we could always pay all of our bills.  After that time, we've learned to have the money for things that we want, before we purchase them.  If the money isn't there, we don't go on the trip, or we don't purchase the item.  We racked up a lot of debt while Lance was out of a job, and slowly we've been climbing out of it.

Last week we paid off one of our credit cards!  It's a great feeling, however, then you remember how many other credit cards you have.

Lance got a second job at the Disney store, mostly for fun and for the discount, but the little extra money will help us to continue to pay down our debts while still being able to afford Christmas presents.  His first official night was last night, 6pm to 10pm.  We only have one car, so this means I have to stay up later than I'd like to go pick him up.  But I'm happy to do it.  If he's willing to work on his feet for 12 hours in a day, I can do with one fewer hour of sleep.

I am thankful for our unwise choices in the past that have taught us to be wiser with our time and money.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I'm thankful for patience.  Unfortunately, I don't have any.

But thank you to those who are patient with my lack of patience.  Like Lance.  He deals with my outbursts of, "YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO ME!" by saying, "I'm sorry. I am listening to you. I'm just trying to have fun."

On a side note: Pregnant women should NOT be in charge of training people.

Make that, *I* shouldn't be in charge of training people.  I am so sick of it (wouldn't you be if you had to train new people over and over and over again) that if my current trainee doesn't remember something after I've told them (only once), I get incredibly annoyed.  I'm sorry, take notes.  You did?  Great. Follow them!  You missed that?  Well, maybe you should take better notes.  And ask questions.

I'm more understanding if you ask a question, rather than say you've checked something and it's completely wrong.

Oh yeah, patience.  *sigh*

I'll be patient with Lily, about most things, I think...right?

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I'm thankful that my mom cooked dinner practically every night while I was growing up.  She taught me how to cook and clean and take care of a home.

I'm thankful that she inspired me to cook.  I love to cook.  I love finding new recipes to try and new techniques to use.

Here is a dinner that I'll be making this week: Braised Chicken With Tomatillos and Jalapenos.  I'll probably serve it with a cilantro-lime rice.

Also something I want to try to make soon: Chocolate Ricotta Pudding

There is something about the fall and winter that brings out the inner chef in me and I get more adventurous than normal.  I have hundreds of recipes in my "to try" folder on my computer, but in the fall I always tend to add more and more...  I'm super excited for the day I'll be able to stay at home and make amazing dinners every day.

PS: I'm horrible at updating my recipe blog.  But maybe when I stay at home I'll update it more often.  The thing is, I want to include pictures but I always forget to take pictures when I cook, so maybe I should just forget about the picture idea and just start posting more recipes.  Also, my photography skill is a 1 on a scale of 1 to 100. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I am thankful for my job at DataWise.  When I started working there in August of 2006, I had no idea that I was starting a job with some of the most caring employers I have ever known.

Yeah the work is sometimes hard and stressful, and the hours can be long, but at the end the year they make it all worthwhile.  They remind you how valuable you are to the company and boost your morale for another year.

2012 will be a big year for them.  I have mixed feelings about choosing this time to have a child.  It means that I won't be able to participate as much as I have in years' past.  I am sure, however, that what I do accomplish for them, they will be very appreciative.

Thank you, DataWise.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I am thankful for my sister, Emilee.  She is a great example to me of a true disciple of Christ.  She  has missionary experiences at school.  She makes good friends and does her best to choose the right.  She sings like an angel and doesn't hide her talents.

She is a bit of a drama queen... but weren't we all at 15?

I can't wait to see her in 3 weeks and 6 days.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bentley and Layla

I'm thankful for my two doggies.  I love them so much!  I love how excited and happy they are when we get home from work.  I love how happy and excited they are when we tell them they get to put on their collars and go for a ride in the car.  I love how snuggly they are when they're tired.  I love how they listen to me, and look at me, and tilt their heads to the side when they recognize words I say.  I love how they don't go potty (or number two) in the house.  They're such good girls.

Last week we had a little scare with Bentley.  I got out of bed, let them outside for a bit, then started getting ready for work.  5 minutes later, Lance comes down holding a limp Bentley in his arms.  She wasn't breathing very well, her ears were down, and she looked so sad and so scared.

We immediately went to the vet.  He said she had an upper respiratory infection that could turn into the dog flu.  Who knew dogs could get the flu?  He gave us some medicine, and we went on our way.  She did get better, and I was relieved that it wasn't life threatening.

A few days later, the vet called to see how Bentley was doing.  So thoughtful!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Not Coming Back

Deep down I thought maybe my family would. 

Their home has sold, so if they do come back, it won't be to the same happy home.

It's not necessarily the house that I'm so attached to.  It's the memories that happened in that house.  It was a house that any neighborhood kids/teenagers were welcome to come to any time.  The food was practically free-flowing to anyone.  We often had extra people over for dinner.  Lance first kissed me out by the mailbox.  I fell in the ditch that used to be just south of the house.  My family spent hours and weeks and months working on the back yard.  My dad cut down the nasty tress that were back there, busting up his mouth.  Dad used to spend hours in the yard, he turned that back yard from weeds to nice grass, using grass seed, not sod.  He and my brothers built the deck, the deck hosted many parties.  Dad would practice playing the flugelhorn in the music room.  Eric and Jared would have band practice up in the bonus room.

It was house where a family I am proud to be a member of lived.

Maybe the hardest part is that not only is the house gone, but my loved ones who lived inside the house are also gone.  I can't go see them any time I want at their new house.  I can't see how their new house is becoming a home.  I can't make new memories with them.

Growing up is hard.  Growing apart is harder.

I'm Thankful!

A thank you a day keeps the sadness away, right?

Since I'm a day behind, today I will share two things I am thankful for.

Yesterday, I had a wonderful visit to my doctor.  I am thankful that Lily is healthy and growing... even though I don't appreciate that causing me to grow as well. :-)

Today I am thankful for my drive to and from work each day with my wonderful husband.  It's an extra 1.5 to 2 hours I get to spend with him, that in previous years I never got to spend with him.