I forgot to write yesterday that the mail I was frantically beating a flaming paper towel with not only contained life insurance info, but also the results of our health exams. It's been over a year since my last cholesterol test, but this test was 32 points lower than my previous personal best, 47 lower than my last test, and was even well below 200 for the first time. Don't know for sure what I did or didn't do but I hope I keep doing it. Maybe the oatmeal and flax seed really do work!
Today has turned into one of those "whew" kinds of days, and it's only 4:45. I started the laundry, got the grocery shopping done (yea!), took Joseph, Steven, and Ryan over to school to finish registering and find out who their teachers are (like we know any of them, anyway), and made it to Cubs only a few minutes late (I'm the assistant den leader). Today we just played in water and had a small birthday party for one of the boys. It was fun. The wind was blowing hard enough that the candles wouldn't stay lit, so we let the boys take their candles home if they wanted. Steven brought home a couple of extra to share. After we got home and unloaded everything, I let Steven and Spencer each light a candle. Take my advise, learn from us and don't ever do that. Spencer tipped his candle too far and caught a paper towel on fire. He tried blowing it out, but it just spread (on the paper towel). That scared Steven who dropped his candle onto a paper towel and, lo and behold, caught it on fire. You know, when paper towels are on fire in a camp fire ring they seem to burn out almost immediately. When they are on fire in your dining room, they seem to burn for hours. I was beating the towel with the mail in my hand (approval of our life insurance of all things!) and Spencer grabbed the spray bottle out of the bathroom and finally put it out. Whew!! All that remained were a couple of soggy brown paper towel fragments, a slight discoloration on the carpet (most of which washed out), and a whole bunch of jittery nerves. We all now understand a little bit more why we don't play with fire! I'm having second thoughts about ever even having birthday candles again.
A few minutes later the mother of one of the scouts called to apologize. Today was her son, Allan's, birthday and she just found Steven's invitation on the table by the front door. The party was starting right then. Could Steven possibly make it? They're going to see Prince Caspian and then swim. They'll be back at 8:30. Why not?! He was still wet from the water activities at Scouts, but he changed into his bathing suit (which was dry because he insisted on wearing regular clothes to play in the water at scouts) and a dry shirt, grabbed a dry change of clothes and a towel, and we were out the door again.
Now, I'm sitting here collecting my thoughts and taking a breather before I head off to start dinner. It's amazing how typing for 10 minutes can calm the nerves and relieve the stress. I guess that's one reason journals are such a good thing. Get all the stress out and onto a piece of paper (or into a million 1's and 0's) and move on. I'm not even going to think about the laundry that's still sitting in the washer. It can't go anywhere and if the machines aren't on, they can't do any damage! I will finish putting the groceries away, though. We're going to eat some of them tonight. Rest time is up. Hope the rest of the day is a little less exciting.
Erica left for Girl's Camp this morning. This camp, unlike our last "resort" has no showers. They'll be there until Saturday afternoon (that's 5 days, glad I'm not riding back on the bus!). The thing here is for the girls to braid their hair in little braids because it apparently looks less dirty over time. Then, they pull it back in a ponytail so it's out of the way. I'm alright with that. So, I've included a couple of "during" shots of Erica and then her "after" picture when she left this morning.
The part that I don't understand is that last week I couldn't get Joseph to smile for a normal, everyday shot at the Bean Museum, but he was more than willing to pose for the following. I just don't get it!
I'm expanding my horizons and trying to add pictures. The kids and I went to the Monte L. Bean Life Museum at BYU today. My goal was to get out of the house, have a semi-educational experience, and get a picture of each child to try posting tonight. Everyone had a great time except Joseph. He informed me that he wanted to stay home and was even willing to be sent to his room while we went. I told him that was fine, but he had to stay there all day and not play at Korey's house when we got home. So, he came, but he wouldn't cooperate on the picture. I had to keep trying to sneak one. I got a fairly decent shot, which he deleted when he found out. It bugged the other kids, too, and Erica got in on the attempts. So, I have two not-so-decent shots and they both get to be posted because, I am, after all, still sort of the boss.
Joseph from the back, courtesy of Erica
Joseph from the side, courtesy of me
Steven the bear (and he really is in Scouts!)
Ryan, who also didn't want a picture, but was pleasant about it
This was a very cool butterfly made out of butterflies, probably at least 3' x 3'
So, that's it for this attempt. I'll try again one of these days. As for the trip, there were a bunch of animals that I'd never seen before- like a couple of deer with fangs and a dolphin that looked like a submarine with a sail. Now, adding pictures is one more new thing I've learned today, so I get to head to bed.
I usually fill the gas tank every week on my way to the grocery store. Lately I've been trying to not let the tank drop beneath 1/2. There's something soothing psychologically when the gas bill is what it used to be, even though I'm only putting in 1/2 as much. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I stopped to fill the tank this week and I hadn't even used 1/4 of a tank. At first I didn't know what I should do, having never experienced this before. Do I fill it so it's full again? Do I give myself (and the bank account!) the week off? I opted for the later, as it was hot outside and I had no real desire to get out of the air conditioned car. And what do I credit with this abundance of gas? I'd love to say it's because I've been making good use of pedometer and walking every where, which the kids would say is the case. But, it's probably that this has been a slow week and I need to get out more. What ever the reason, you've gotta make note of firsts, and this is definitely one of those.
Airconditioning! I know, it's only been in the 90's and Arizona is much warmer, but we've had a little monsoon weather passing through and the humidity has been horrible. Some parts of northern UT had over 3 inches of rain yesterday. West Valley City had 1.75 inches, Kearns and West Jordan had .75" hail stones. Provo had nothing but LOTS of humidity and a few clouds over the mountains. Ugh! So, I don't know what the electricity will cost us, but it's worth every cent and I'll be more than happy to pay it!
The other day I filled out one of those getting to know you questionnaires. One of the questions was "What are two things you want right now?" I originally put down "$1,000,000" and "rain", but changed the "$1,000,000" to "school to start". I haven't thought much about it since. This afternoon it got cloudy and windy and a couple of rain drops fell. Joseph, who was out on the deck, yelled, "Mom, you got your first wish. Maybe you'll get your second." I didn't know what he was talking about at first. He reminded me of the $1,000,000 wish. I think he forgot about the school starting wish. He was very excited and planning how he was going to spend the $1,000,000,000 (notice the three extra zeros) that was sure to come our way until Greg and I destroyed his hopes. We pointed out that if the 5 rain drops that fell on our front porch were the result of my rain wish, we really couldn't expect more than about $1 from my $1,000,000 wish (which wasn't the real wish in the first place!) I don't see any way for school to start any earlier, though, so we're both out, I guess. I'll let you know if either arrives.
Today I did two things I've never done before- eaten eggplant and thought it was ok and cooked a pizza on the grill (well, I grilled the eggplant, Greg actually cooked the pizzas). This week being blue and purple fruit and veggie week, I wanted to try something new or that I hadn't had in a long time. I've only had eggplant one other time that I know of and I didn't really care for it, so that was my choice. (Side note, even the cashier at the grocery store was amazed to see someone buy an eggplant. She picked it up, commented that she'd never had any and said, "How DO you cook these, anyway?")
The eggplant was part of the pizza experiment. The BYU Wellness website had a recipe for Grilled Pizza with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Feta. I'm not usually one for eggplant or Feta, but Greg thought it sounded interesting because you cooked it on the grill. So, we tried it to day along with chicken salad sandwiches because I knew there was no way the kids would like it and they didn't! Lo and behold, you CAN cook fresh pizza dough on the grill. You roll it out thin and place it on the grill for a minute or so (until it firms up a bit). Then you turn it over, put on your toppings, and leave it alone until every thing's heated through and the dough is completely cooked. I never would have guessed it would work. Now, we just need to try it with some toppings the whole family can enjoy!
How was the pizza? I'd have to give it a big ok. Greg seemed to really like it. It thought it was ok if I had a bite of tomato with any eggplant, but didn't care for the eggplant by itself. We both could have done with less, or even no, mint. I'll post the recipe in case there are any other brave souls out there who want to surprise the cashier at the grocery store by buying an eggplant and then have some way to use it. Also, our grill is big enough that we could cook the 4 pizzas almost at once and it worked fine.
Grilled Pizza with Eggplant, Tomatoes & Feta Make 4 servings, one 6-inch pizza each
Ingredients; 1 pound Whole-Wheat pizza dough or other prepared dough (we just used regular homemade, white-flour dough) 1 large eggplant (about 1-1/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided Salt and pepper to taste 2 large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped (about 2 cups) 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 2 oz.) 4 Tbsp chopped fresh mint, divided
Instructions: 1 Prepare dough. To cook pizzas on a charcoal grill, build a medium-hot fire in one half of the grill (two bricks placed end to end work well as a divider). For a gas grill with two burners, preheat one burner on high, leaving the other unlit. For a single burner gas grill, preheat on high, and lower the flame to cook the second side of the pizzas. 2. Toss eggplant slices with 1 Tbsp oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle the slices with salt and pepper and grill, turning often until tender, about 8 minutes. Let cool; chop coarsely. 3. Combine the chopped eggplant with tomatoes and feta cheese, 2 Tbsp mint and the remaining oil in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. 4. Roll out the pizza dough into 4 circles and place on a floured cutting board. Bring the dough, toppings, and a pair of tongs to grillside. 5. Place 2 of the dough circles on the hot side of the grill. Within 1 minute the dough will puff slightly and the underside will firm up and be striped with grill marks. Use tongs to flip the crusts over and onto the cooler side of the grill. 6. Distribute half of the eggplant mixture on the crusts after turning. Cover the grill and cook, rotating the pizzas once or twice, until the toppings are heated through, about 5 minutes. 7. Remove the pizzas from the grill. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining dough and toppings. Just before serving, scatter the remaining 2 Tbsp mint over the pizzas.
Nutrition Information: Per serving: 409 calories, 14 g fat (3 g sat, 8 g mono); 5 mg cholesterol, 61 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 10 g fiber, 889 mg sodium, 858 mg potassium
I was reminded that I forgot to post the miracle chicken recipe, so here you go. I doubled it and had enough leftovers for Greg to take to work and a little left for lunch. A little chicken goes a long way! Again, I'd try it leaving out the sugar.
Sweet and Sour Chicken (Healthy Cooking Magazine formerly Light & Tasty) prep:20 min. + marinating cook: 15 min. Yield: 4 servings
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium chicken broth 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp ground ginger 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breat, cut into 1-inch cubes 1 can (20 oz) unsweetened pineapple chunks 2 Tbsp plus 1/3 cup cornstarch, divided 2 Tbsp sugar 1/4 cup cider vinegar 1/4 cup ketchup 1 Tbsp canola oil 2 cups hot cooked rice
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 1 Tbsp soy sauce, broth, salt, garlic powder and ginger; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refirgerate for 30 minutes.
Drain pineapple, reserving juice; set pineapple aside. Add enough water to juice to measure 1 cup. In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp cornstarch, sugar and pineapple juice mixture until smooth; stir in the vinegar, ketchup and remaining soy sauce. Set aside.
Drain chicken and discard marinade. Place remaining cornstarch in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. In a large nonstick skillet or wok stir-fry chicken in oil until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm.
Stir pineapple juice mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken and reserved pineapple; heat through. Serve with rice.
Here is a fun little game...Leave a comment on my blog of a memory that you and I have had together. It doesn't matter if you've known me for a short time, or a long time, anything you remember! Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.On your mark...get set...blog your memories!!
I tried a new sweet and sour chicken recipe tonight. I actually had the kids telling me "awesome dinner" before it was even finished being cooked- never happens with a new recipe. Everyone liked it, but said it was too sweet (these are our children talking, mind you!) so next time I'll make it with no added sugar. Sounds good to me!
So, BYU has a wellness program that Greg and I are participating in-the Summer Olympic Challenge. This particular challenge runs from July 7-Aug 30 and has an exercise portion and a dietary portion. We're walking- shooting for at least 8,000 steps a day 5 days a week. That earns a bronze medal. Gold is something like 16,000 steps a day, so we'll see how that goes. This week the fruit and veggie challenge is to eat at least 3 servings of blue and purple veggies. Erica suggested grapes, blueberries, and blackberries. I'm thinking I want to try at least one new one-maybe even a veggie. There were a lot more than I thought and decided to share the list for anyone interested. Happy eating!
Black currants Black salsify (anyone ever heard of this?) Blackberries Blueberries Dried plums Eggplant Elderberries Grapes Plums Pomegranates Prunes (aren't these dried plums?) Purple Belgian endive Purple potatoes Purple asparagus Purple cabbage Purple carrots Purple figs Purple grapes Purple peppers Raisins
Hi! every1 soo, I found out that momhas a blog so I had to add something to be "in the loop." I had a babysitting job from 5-10.22 for a couple in the ward with these really sweet kids. Their names are Bella (almost 2) and Conner (almost 4.) They are SOO cute. What do other people write in their blogs? My life doesn't seem interesting enough to write about. hmmmm... i'll have to think about it. I'll add occasional comments 'cause I can but mom's the main writer here. ttyl, -Erica
So, a lady from our ward called on Tuesday to tell me that they hold Summer Seminary here. It's just 1-1/2 hours on Wednesday mornings, but the kids that go really enjoy it. Erica loved Seminary last year. I took her this week with the hopes that it would help her meet some kids from school and get to know some of the seminary teachers before school starts. She said she had a lot of fun. She said that they hold this summer program to help kids make up seminary work and graduate, but that anyone is invited to go. We'll see how next week goes. There are a lot of things I really like about Provo, this will have to go on the list.