Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Money money money...

So in conjunction with adoption, David and I have started a new journey. One that involves my paycheck and the use thereof. Upon the wise advice of the couple that taught our adoption workshop, we've decided to live just off of David's paycheck for our monthly expenses and put all of mine towards savings. It makes sense because as soon as our child arrives I plan on hanging up my work hat and putting on my mom hat... you know, the one that I've wanted to put on for as long as I can remember. So this last month we did just that. Wow.

We've known that it was always the plan to live off of David's income and I've thought many a time about putting that plan into use sooner rather than later. Still, I was unprepared for the reality. I am dismayed, but not entirely surprised to find out how much freedom my income gives us. It's never been that big of a deal to go out to eat, pick up a new pair of socks, or even procure a new neat little gadget for whatever hobby I happen to be dwelling in at the time. In order to accommodate the things that we really need/want we've done such things as: cancel cable (gasp), David's $10.00 a month gym membership is gone, really cooking at home, and just keeping a tighter lid on ourselves over all.

So far, here's what I've learned.

1. $20 can stretch more than I thought.
2. Actual meal planning and cooking has cut our grocery bill in half (literally)
3. Any program that I really want to watch I can get online or through netflix.
4. We can actually do this and succeed.

Aside from the fact that I could kick myself for not doing this sooner (just think how much we would have saved by now), I feel pretty good overall about our little project. My paycheck is going towards the adoption fee and to pay off the car. Once the car is paid off that $300 payment will give us just the right amount of wiggle room when the baby comes. You know for things like diapers and formula.... those little things that just might come in handy.

One step closer right!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lessons in the Kitchen

So I've started on a new adventure. I've decided to cook.

I know, many of you are shocked, especially my husband! He's very thankful though. I used to cook all the time, then I got a job in food services. You'd think that being around so much food and so many ideas of food that I would come home and create marvelous dishes for the eye and the palate. Not so my friend. Not so.

In all fairness I did get excited about trying to reproduce items on the menu in my own kitchen. Then I got tired. Tired of coming up with new ideas for the customers. Tired of trying to find a chicken dish to inspire. Tired of thinking about food period. The only dinner choice I have wanted to make for a long time is what kind of cereal tonight... Life or Captain Crunch with Crunchberries. So what changed you ask.

I read a book. "The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry" by Kathleen Flinn. She is a journalist who found herself in a position to fulfill her dream of attending Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. She wrote about her experience. I found it fascinating. Believe it or not, I actually took a Culinary Basics class at Utah State University. I was curious about the course and it didn't hurt that my uncle taught it. This proved to be both good and bad. While I had a friendly face in the classroom, I also couldn't fall asleep in class and get away with it unknown and unseen. The seating chart put me in the second row for the 7:30 am class. (The first and last 7:30 class I took) Moving on, as I read about her culinary journey laced with terms such as concasse and knappe I remember that I once knew those terms and did just those things on a regular basis. The more I got into the book the more I wanted to pull out my knives, notes, and recipes and re-learn some of the things that I once knew. That's when it got... interesting.

It was Saturday. I had just finished a chapter with emphasis on the importance of a good sauce. I remembered a lovely sauce that we did over a pan-fried fish dish. It was Lemon Buerre Blanc. Though I wasn't planning on fish, I did have a couple of chicken breasts that were dying for something new to be done with them. I decided to give it a whirl. I pulled out my trusty "cards" that contained the recipe for the sauce and dove in and promptly belly-flopped in my efforts. One of the things that became second nature while in class was the method of sauce making. So much so that I didn't actually take any notes on the method of making the sauce. I delved deep into my memory and brought out such terms as reduce and de-glaze. I also knew there was some serious whipping with a wire whisk somewhere towards the end and lots of butter. I began.

It was a mess. My first attempt was just embarrassing. The recipe calls for white wine. In class we used sparkling white grape juice. I had neither. What I did have was white wine vinegar. I put it in my sauce and was immediately floored by the pungent aroma of vinegar. "No one pours themselves a glass of white wine vinegar to drink with dinner!" I thought to myself. Down the disposal. I try again. This time I opt for a different substitution which just makes me laugh. No white wine in the house (crazy huh... what would it look like if the primary president had a wine rack!) and no grape juice, I opted for the next best thing. Western Family condensed orange juice. I added a bit of the white wine vinegar for the kick. It was a mess. I finally just whipped in the butter with all my strength and threw it on the chicken not caring anymore.

David thought it was great. I thought it was.... was. Just think how much he would have liked it if I had done it right!

Despite the fact that the sauce was less that presentable, it did renew my desire to cook and cook well. Not just mom's tried and true spaghetti dinner with a packet of Western Family spaghetti seasoning thrown into a can of tomato and mushroom soup. But really cook. Fresh ingredients, new flavor profiles, classy presentation.

Crazy thing about it is that it actually feels good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


A huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Today was the completion of the Primary Program. In the LDS world it's the most popular Sunday of the entire year. Grandparents come to see their grandchildren, parents who haven't set foot in a church house for the entire year manage to put on their glad rags and watch their child say their part and sing their songs. It used to be my favorite Sunday of all time until I got put in charge of it. Yes, a huge sigh of relief at the end of Sacrament meeting.

Now on to the rest of life.

I want to be able to enjoy these last months of semi-warmish weather before the long Logan winter hits. I know this is jumping the gun a little, but it is almost October after all.

Things I want to accomplish before the snow falls:
1. Find the garage, I know it's there but where?

2. Do something with the backyard. Borders, trimmings... it's all needed.

3. Go to a corn maze. I don't know why, but it's been awhile since we've done a corn maze. Every year I think we should go and then we don't. Such a simple things, why don't we do it?

4. Finish Christmas presents. ** explanation forth coming.

5. Walk around every possible evening with my husband before it gets too cold.

6. Remember my hobbies and why I like to do things. It always bothers me that I forget or neglect the things that I really like to do. I haven't played the piano in a shameful amount of time. I haven't done anything with a picture though I've taken tons. I've also neglected my journal and my blog (I know, what gave it away). I promise myself reform.

So let's talk about Christmas. This year David and I have decided to do something different. Instead of hunting around the stores trying to find the perfect item that either doesn't exist or is way too expensive, we're doing a homemade Christmas. So far we know what we want to do for siblings on either side and at least one and a half set of parents. Jury's still out on one of the possible gifts, but overall I'm excited. I've never been the type of person to just throw a gift at someone, it has to mean something. It has to speak to me, telling me it wants to go home and be given and appreciated. The world is full of "stuff". I want the "stuff" to have meaning.

So we're making gifts. And by we I mean me. David is excellent at helping come up with the idea, but let's face it. Craftiness is not his cup of tea. Even if it was he certainly doesn't have the time to do it. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Well, it's been 4 years since David and I said "I do's"... Technically it was 4 years on September 3rd. We headed to Steamboat Springs, CO to celebrate. It was quite the trip and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps when I get ambitious I will post some pictures. So... in those 4 years do you think we've figured anything out yet?

An incomplete list:

1. Never attempt to switch sides of the bed no matter how big the bed is. You'll never have a good night's sleep that way.

2. 4 years does not mean that we are used to each other in the morning. We just have to put up with each other in the morning. (well, he puts up with me,I get ornery if I'm not regularly fed)

3. We still have a long ways to go in the 'figuring each other out' field.

4. Whenever we vacation we go through this awkward phase of "I'm not used to spending this much time with you and although I love you, you're driving me mad!" It doesn't usually last long and on the bright side, this is the first time we've been astute enough to figure out that it has been happening all along. I think in the future we can rush through the "irritating each other" phase in hopes of the "we really do still like each other" phase coming a lot sooner. Better pictures that way.

Though we still don't have each other figured one there is one thing for sure. I sure do love my husband. I couldn't have hand-picked a better match for me. He knows me enough to put up with my stupidness and laugh at my jokes. He's truly the kindest man I know and the most fun to be around... even if it is so I can drive him mad.

Happy anniversary love.