June 30, 2009

First Class

Joey continues to enjoy Scouting, earning his First Class rank at a recent Court of Honor. Now the fun begins with all the merit badges! Just Star, Life then Eagle ranks left! Thankfully we have great Scout Leaders in our ward who have done a great job with Joey and we're looking forward to his week long Scout camp coming up next month.

June 29, 2009

Get Back

Maddy has been performing this summer with her VIP group from Center Stage. Below is her solo of the Demi Lovato song "Get Back." I think it was so great how the wind started blowing her hair right at the perfect "rock-star" moment and I loved her last note / scream. You rock Maddy!

June 28, 2009

Quote 38

The Bible says Sennacherib's campaign was foiled
By an angel: but Herodotus declares, by mice -
Innumerably nibbling all one night they toiled
To eat away his bow-strings as warm wind eats ice.

But muscular archangels, I suggest, employed
Six little jaws to labour at each slender string
And by their aid (weak masters though they be) destroyed
The smiling-lipped Assyrian, cruel-bearded king.

No stranger that Omnipotence should choose to need
Small helps than great! Not strange, then, if His action lingers
Till men have prayed, and suffers our weak prayers indeed
To move as very muscles His delaying fingers,

Who, in His longanimity and love for our
Small dignities, holds back awhile His eager power.

C.S. Lewis, Yours, Jack, p. 146

Note: This story was unfamiliar to me so I did a little bit of research. Sennacherib was the King of Assyria from 705-681 BC. You can read about him in 2 Kings 18-19, 2 Chronicles 32 or Isaiah 36-37. Below is the reference of the Greek historian Herodotus' (ca. 450 BC) account of God's intervention (through the mice) in the destruction of Sennacherib's army (2:141):

"When Sanacharib, king of the Arabians and Assyrians, marched his vast army into Egypt, the warriors one and all refused to come to his (i.e., the Pharaoh Sethos) aid. On this the monarch, greatly distressed, entered into the inner sanctuary, and, before the image of the god, bewailed the fate which impended over him. As he wept he fell asleep, and dreamed that the god came and stood at his side, bidding him be of good cheer, and go boldly forth to meet the Arabian host, which would do him no hurt, as he himself would send those who should help him. Sethos, then, relying on the dream, collected such of the Egyptians as were willing to follow him, who were none of them warriors, but traders, artisans, and market people; and with these marched to Pelusium, which commands the entrance into Egypt, and there pitched his camp. As the two armies lay here opposite one another, there came in the night, a multitude of field-mice, which devoured all the quivers and bowstrings of the enemy, and ate the thongs by which they managed their shields. Next morning they commenced their fight, and great multitudes fell, as they had no arms with which to defend themselves. There stands to this day in the temple of Vulcan, a stone statue of Sethos, with a mouse in his hand, and an inscription to this effect - 'Look on me, and learn to reverence the gods.'"

June 27, 2009


I love this book written by Michael Ruhlman. Subtitled, "The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking," here is Alton Brown's forward which helps describe the content:

"Cooking, like so many creative endeavors, is defined by relationships. For instance, knowing exactly how much flour to put into a loaf of bread isn't nearly as useful as understanding the relationship between the flour and the water, or fat, or salt. That relationship is defined by a 'ratio,' and having a ratio in hand is like having a secret decoder ring that frees you from the tyranny of recipes."

It has been so interesting to learn about the ratios of breads, sauces, stocks, etc. and I also love learning about how different ingredients react chemically to each other. I don't know that I'll ever be able to give up recipes but this will hopefully help me to get better at just whipping things up in the kitchen. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the "why" as well as the "how" of cooking.

June 26, 2009

Hawaiian Shaved Ice

We love this place! One of our favorite stops during the summer is the Hawaiian shaved ice stand on Main Street. For a very small price, you get huge shaved ices which are way better than normal snow cones because the ice they use is actually shaved into very tiny, melt in your mouth pieces. And, as if they weren't good enough as is, they also offer them with a small round of ice cream in the bottom to make them even creamier. Yum!

June 25, 2009

The White Chocolate Grill

A few weeks ago I was in Chicago on business and our group went to eat one evening at restaurant called "The White Chocolate Grill." How can you pass up eating at a restaurant called that? Before we even went in I was imagining what kind of amazing desserts they would have and how maybe I would start with a dessert or even better, just eat desserts and forego the dinner. Yet oh how sweet the irony! As amazing as the desserts really were (and each included white chocolate in some form), my favorite was the steamed carrots! The waitress told me they cook them over a steam table in a combination of honey, butter and nutmeg. They were seriously the best carrots I've ever eaten. Not sure how healthy they were but I finished my plate (below) clean. I will be trying to duplicate this recipe soon as the carrots were incredibly tender and sweet. Stay tuned!

June 23, 2009

Dorf Returns

Joey was up to his old "Dorf" tricks again, this time based on what he saw in this video. I almost had to stop recording I was laughing so hard. I promise you'll enjoy this. Very creative Joey!

June 21, 2009

Quote 37

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 121

June 19, 2009

Mango and Avocado Salsa

This salsa was delicious - a perfect combination of ripe avacados and soft sweet mangos. I could have eaten the whole thing myself easily. I doubled the recipe and it fed about 4 adults and 4-5 kids. My advice - make plenty as it will go fast! Enjoy!

1 avacado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced medium
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and diced medium
1 small red onion, diced small
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ habanero chile (stem and seeds removed), minced
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp coarse salt

1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients

June 14, 2009

Quote 36

But though natural likings should normally be encouraged, it would be quite wrong to think that the way to become charitable is to sit trying to manufacture affectionate feelings. Some people are 'cold' by temperament; that may be a misfortune for them, but it is no more a sin than having a bad digestion is a sin; and it does not cut them out from the chance, or excuse them from the duty, of learning charity. The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his 'gratitude', you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 116

June 11, 2009

Pike Place Market

One of my favorite places to visit in Seattle is the Pike Place Market. Located not far from the Seattle Waterfront, where else can you find fresh fish, fresh produce, fresh herbs, fresh honey, etc. and when I say fresh, I mean fresh. Almost everything you would buy there is locally grown or manufactured. In addition there are local artists, street musicians and magicians, jewelry stores, restaurants, etc. So much to do in such a small area. Joey ended up buying a DVD from one of the street magicians and practiced almost the entire 13 hour car-ride home! Below are pictures of the day we spent there.

June 10, 2009

Boehms Candy Tour

One of the highlights from our trip to Seattle was a tour of the Boehms candy factory in Issaquah. I grew up loving their chocolates and had never taken the tour which lasted about 45 minutes and included some yummy samples. Almost everything Boehms makes is still done by hand so it was fun to see everyone working. The best part of the tour for me was a brief visit with the head candymaker who answered some of my questions about making Seafoam (sometimes it rises and sometimes it stays flat.) He offered a great suggestion about unflavored gelatin which I'll share if it works (I'm sure it will). Below are pictures of the assembly line, a lady making hand-dipped truffles and the kids and me.

June 09, 2009

Home Sweet Home

What better way to celebrate our 300th blog entry than with a recap of our recent family vacation to Seattle. Unfortunately, Jeni wasn't able to join us so while I worked the first half of the week, the kids spent that time week with my parents and I joined up with them during the evenings and during the latter part of the week. I wish the trip could have lasted longer as it was especially hard to say goodbye to Cailean and her adorable family. Highlights of the trip included (in no particular order):

1. A gourmet cooking night where I made risotto, tarts and a torte, while my sister made an amazing fruit salsa as well as Zuchinni cakes
2. Spending time with my sister's family and my parents

3. Visiting Boehm's chocolates (post to come)
4. Visiting Pike Place and the Waterfront (post to come)
5. Dinner with our friends Jason and Kelly Wescott

6. Visiting Helen Klann

7. Eating dinner at Cheesecake Factory with Kelly Woodbrey from Utah (also in Seattle at the time)

8. Visiting the Seattle LDS Temple

9. Joey going to the Flight Museum with my Dad
10. Ice cream at Baskin Robbins at the Southcenter mall

June 08, 2009

Elementary Graduation

Last week Joey graduated from Elementary school and will be joining Maddy next year in Jr. High. Where oh where has the time gone? Two in Jr. High? Help! Joey did really well in school again this year, especially in math. The picture below is from graduation day and the one above is with his wonderful teacher who Maddy also had a few years ago. She was great with our kids and we'll miss her. Congratulations Joey!

June 07, 2009

Quote 35

Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call "humble" nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 114