Friday, May 31, 2013

Last Phoenix FF

1.  It's hard to believe I've actually been in Phoenix for the past 10 weeks.  It has felt more like a vacation than a work assignment.  I have loved every moment of it.  I have so much enjoyed working at the Indian Health Services.  It is fun working with other contractors from my company as well.
2.  Monday night my cousin's Deborah, Amy, Jonathon and Janna and their families came for dinner.  Jonathon just came here last week with his family for an optometry rotation.  He will be here for the 3 hottest months of the year.  His sister Janna has been here for almost a year as her husband is getting his masters degree in social work.  It was fun to have a Memorial Day BBQ/Cookout.
3.  I finished a really good book Edenbrook this week. If you haven't read it you should.  I'm totally into books that take place in London and in the 1800's.
4.  Wednesday I went to my cousin Amy's salon and had my hair cut again.  The salon was so enjoyable and relaxing.  I've never had someone spend so much time and paid attention to detail on my hair.  I liked my original shorter hair cut, but with my hair being so thick, I couldn't have it all one length; it looked like a football helmet or a mushroom.  I wanted some style.  I have it now, especially in the back.  I can't wait to try different styles with it.  I think having short hair is so much more fun than long and I love feeling free of hair all over.
5.  Nick's grandma called yesterday.  She is such a sweet lady.  Her and Nick are coming to MVY this Summer for a few days.  She was just calling me to tell me how excited she was to come for a visit.
6.  Sweet Sister Bean passed away this week from a stroke.  The greatest thing is she didn't have to wait long to see her husband again, as he passed away a year ago.  She was such an elegant, kind lady.  I'm so grateful for her example in my life.
7.  The packing started last night.  Can't believe I'll be home tomorrow.  It has been such fun being here with Aunt Leslie and Uncle Gordon, building stronger relationships with them, my cousins here and making wonderful memories.
8.  Aunt Leslie bought me a kitchen timer and a white noise machine for a going away present.  Yep, the two things I became addicted to here.  I can't sleep without a white noise machine now.  Isn't that crazy, especially because I can't stand the sound of a bathroom fan.  But I slept with a white noise machine here and so now I'm addicted.  As for the kitchen timer, it just doesn't compare to the microwave timer.  I love it!  I won't however miss finding a fake spider in my bed, in my clothes, or it being thrown on me out of no where.  Kind of a funny thing; this family loves to scare each other with fake animals.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why I Post Recipe's.

I've been bragging the entire time about fish tacos with lime cream sauce that I make since being here in Phoenix.  We are having fish taco Friday in 2 days and I can't seem to find my lime sauce recipe and it is really bugging me.  I'll keep searching and as soon as I find it, it's going on the blog.  With all this traveling and my recipe book's all 100 of them in storage, this also helps so that I don't have to keep asking my mom for recipe's over the phone.


By now you all know my love for grapefruit and the three tree's that we have here in our yard, ok, not my yard my aunt and uncle's.  Today I drank my 3rd to the last glass of grapefruit juice while here in Phoenix (for now)  from the 3 grapefruit that I picked on 2 different tree's.  The grapefruit are getting to be so juicy and sweet because it is nearing the end of the season.
Can you tell I got another hair cut today?
Tomorrow I will pick as many as I can to bring home and to take to work.  I'm pretty sure I'll be all scraped up because those limbs are thorny like and not very nice.
Did you know a big grapefruit tree is like an umbrella?  We have 2 smaller tree's here and one huge one.  I love to go underneath the huge one and pick my grapefruit with my grapefruit picker; yes there is such a thing as a grapefruit picker for the grapefruit that is too high to reach, even with it I can't reach the really high ones.
The grapefruit picker has a lovely basket that the grapefruit falls into.

When I first got to AZ it made me sick to see any grapefruit wasted when they would fall to the ground, however I think I'm use to it, even though I still hate a wasted grapefruit.  The scary thing is when I'm reading on the trampoline and I hear from the top of the tree a grapefruit falling through the leaves and then the boom onto the ground.  I cover my head hoping it isn't headed toward me when I start to hear the leaves shuffle.  

This is got from the two grapefruit above.  The one was huge.
When I was 8 we got a box of grapefruit one Winter.  I have no idea where it came from, but I was happy to have it.  I had a half of one every morning for breakfast.  That June we drove to see Phoenix on our way to Disneyland where I ate more grapefruit.  On our way home I developed some really bad right flank pain (side pain) and had blood in my urine along with some nausea and vomiting.  It took at least a week, but felt like forever as different doctors poked and prodded and finally determined that I had a kidney stone.  According to my mom it took 6 weeks for it to pass, even though I still think it took all Summer.  I remember rolling in circles in a fetal position on the kitchen floor and puking because of the retched pain I was in.  One night my parents got a babysitter so they could go on a date and my parents bought me this art set I think so they wouldn't feel guilty for leaving me under such circumstances.  Every so often I would have to have a study to see where the stone was, so they had to clean my poor little 8 year old body out.  Do you know I really don't like mint because of this?   It stems from my mom putting castor oil in a mint milk shake, which I didn't really drink because of the disgusting taste, but my siblings did.  I still wonder what effect it had on their bowels.  Eventually the stone passed and all were happy.  The pathology report:  a citric acid stone.  From:  eating too many GRAPEFRUIT.  Since then every time I eat grapefruit my mother reminds me to drink a glass of water to wash it out.  And since I've been here, my mother continues to remind me to drink my water.  I drink plenty of water, however I drink a lot of grapefruit juice and I hope and pray I don't develop a stone ever, let alone in the next 15 weeks.  What a way to ruin a Summer.
I will admit, I think I'm just about grapefruited out.  But I'm sure if I'm to come back during the Winter I will be back to a glass of grapefruit juice with lots of ice every day!
The newly growing grapefruit look like limes.  I wonder if they taste like limes at this stage of growth?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mom's Cinnamon Rolls And Frosting

My cousin's and aunt think that my Grandma Young has always made the best cinnamon rolls.  When I came to Phoenix they would talk about it all the time and they all use her recipe.  I have always thought my mom's were better than any I've ever tasted, even Grandma Young's.  Several weeks ago we were at Deborah's for dinner and I told her to save her potato water to make cinnamon.  She didn't get it until she used my mom's cinnamon roll recipe the next day.  Since then the other sisters have used the recipe and will admit these are better than Grandma Young's, which Aunt Leslie thinks is a disgrace.  Deborah informed me a few days ago that she lost the recipe.  Jennifer her sister called my mom a few days back and apparently mom gave her 2 recipe's and both were different than what I had given Deborah and not as good.  So today Deborah had left over potato water and wanted to make cinnamon rolls.  We finally nailed mom down to find us the right recipe.  Funny thing is the recipe came from Tenielle's who got it from a bunch of recipe's I had typed up years ago.  So here it is:

My Mom's Basic Sweet Roll Recipe.
2 Cups Warm Potato Water (meaning left over from making mashed potato's) or regular warm water.
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cube Butter or 1/2 Cup Oil
Almost 1T Salt
2 T Yeast
1 Cup Scalded Milk
5-6 C Flour
mix together
knead dough with your Bosh, roll out into a square, layer with butter, cinnamon, sugar, raisins or chocolate chips if desired, roll up and cut into 1/4 inch sections.  Put in 9x13 pan or on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 400 for 12 minutes.

My mom also makes the best frosting I've ever had.  You can even add cocoa to this and make chocolate frosting.
Frosting for anything, but especially delicious on cinnamon rolls.  Don't put this on until cinnamon rolls are cooled.
Butter (about 3/4-1 cube), Powder Sugar half the bag, Vanilla, Evaporated Milk maybe about a half can.  Dump until you like the consistency, we like it think, not thin.  I actually start out with the butter and a little PS and EM, then add as I go.  Mix with electric mixer.

Aunt Leslie's White Whole Wheat Bread

Since I've been in Phoenix, every few weeks Aunt Leslie makes 4 loaves of Whole Wheat White Bread.  She grinds her own wheat too. When she makes this, her house smells just like I remember my Grandma Young's house smelling, because Grandma Young always made homemade bread.
5 Cups Warm Water
2/3 Cup Oil
2/3 Cup Honey
2T Yeast
About 4 Cups of White Whole Wheat Flour
Mix all together now.
She says you shouldn't put salt in until you have put some of the flour in.
2T Salt.
1/3 Cup Dough Enhancer
2T Lemon Juice
Then a few more cups of flour.  She usually puts about 7-8 cups until as Grandma Young would say, "It feels like a baby's bottom...soft.  You can't go by until it pulls away from the sides, because it is then too done."  Let the machine work for about 10 minutes on low.  Always smack the dough on the kitchen table.  Make into loaves and spray with PAM.  Cover with Saran Wrap with PAM on it.  Just let it raise double, if more it will be too flat.
My mom, Grandma Young and Aunt Leslie all use a Bosh.  She then puts it into the pans and let's them raise.  My mom and grandma usually let it raise twice.  I haven't tried making this bread, but will try someday.  My mom always makes bread, but I can never maker her bread as good as she does.  We'll see if mine tastes anything like Aunt Leslie's.
Bake on 350 for 30 minutes.

Memorial Day Weekend

This has become one of my favorite holiday weekends.  I think it is because it is the start of Summer, even though it feels like a Summer holiday here in Phoenix.  Over the last several years my family and I have gone to Hilton Head for an ER conference.  Not this year though and I am missing it.  However, I'm making this last weekend in Phoenix a very joyous one.  Friday I worked 8 hours, then went to Costco for our weekly mango's.  When I got home Deborah was there, which was a surprise, given I thought she would be there later.  We waited a few minutes more and then Amy came home.  We then went to the beauty supply store because Amy is a beautician and gets a great discount.  Then to the super market for toppings for our homemade pizza.  We came home and made homemade pizza.  Deborah made homemade sauce, which I will have to get the recipe for because it was delicious.  We used Trader Joe's garlic and herb pizza dough which is delicious.  We made a vegetarian and BBQ chicken pizza and drank coke zero.  They were both delicious.  My new favorite kitchen appliance is the pizza stone.  Better believe I'll be getting me one someday soon.  They make the best pizza.

We sat at the table and laughed for about an hour.  I had to go back to the supermarket, because I forgot my anti-fungal cream for my lovely ringworm which decided to plant itself on the back of my left knee.  So annoying and how the heck did I get it?  I swear it started by a mosquito bite a few weeks ago.

 I also bought stuff for my traditional fresh peach pie (see the recipe from last Summer).  Kind of weird that I'm making it in May.  I usually only make it once a year, but given I'll have 2 separate Summer seasons, I'll probably make it once more.  It is by far one of my most favorite pies.  As a matter of fact, I just made the glaze before I sat down to blog.  It is definitely a time consuming process.  Back to Friday night.  So after we got home from the supermarket, we watched Safe Haven.  None of the other girls had seen it, but we all love it as we ate our Chicago style popcorn from Costco.  If you haven't had that you better find yourself going to your local Costco.  Deborah loved the introduction to it and said it would be perfect for their family movie nights.  We stayed up way past our bed time laughing and chatting until 1230AM.
Saturday morning Uncle Gordon made omelets.  By 9:30 we were all off to our separate destinations for the day.  Mine was to work, where I only had to work 4 hours.  I really only worked that day so I could have my last cinnamon roll that Dr. H. brings in every other Saturday morning.  They are almost as delicious as my mothers.

 After work I stopped by Nordstrom Rack and just happened to find a very nice pair of Acix running shoes.  They say your should replace your running shoes every 6-12 months. I replace mine when my feet start hurting when I run, which at this point is 12 months.  By then it was Happy Hour and I made my way to St. Frances, a very modern restaurant that Dr. H. and others at work talk so highly of.  It was so busy, instead of waiting an hour for a table, I was offered a seat at the bar, which was actually quite entertaining.  The cool part about it is that the other side of the bar is outside, so I was facing outside and watching drinks be made.  I will admit this was totally worth going by myself on a Saturday.  I splurged and had an appetizer of  goat cheese with stewed tomatoes and pesto that I dipped my toasted bread in.  Delicious.  My entree was recommended by Dr. H; Pork Chili Verde with corn bread.  I have never had such a dish, but let me tell you, I will definitely be trying my hand at it when I get home.  It was to die for.  No wonder Dr. H has it every Sunday.
Modern food and a very modern building.
 Across the street was the biggest See's Candies I've ever seen, so I of course had to go get me a chocolate.

Afterwards I did a little more shopping. I bought a new bathing suit (not like I need another one to add to my 15), some hair stuff and found an awesome jewelry holder for when I travel.  I've been searching for something similar for months now.  Last night I finally finished our family 2012 Shutterfly book, only 5 months late, but it is done and so cute!
Today we went to church, which included time in primary where Aunt Leslie subbed by teaching sharing time.  Since being home I've marinated out pork tenderloin in a balsamic vinegar, fresh rosemary and basil and other ingredients, which we will grill later.  If it is good I'll post the recipe.  I've also done some laundry, I know not a sabbath day activity, but it needed done.  I've started on the pie which we will have tomorrow if we can wait and I will soon peal the peaches from Deborah's tree.  Aunt Leslie is getting ready to make her 4 loaves of bread, which I'm just about to watch her do.  Shortly we will watch the re-run of Sister Monson's funeral on the BYU station.  I'm so excited to have tomorrow off and enjoy the day with my AZ family!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Phoenix Homestretch FF

1.  The end is drawing near...I am 1 week away from my last Friday in Phoenix.  Oh, how I have enjoyed the last 9 weeks here.
2.  There have been critters eating my uncle's garden, but he's crafted this huge trap to catch them in and has been successful at catching 2 of them.  I think it is rather funny, the whole trap thing.  I can't believe that it is May and we are picking produce from the garden or rather would love to if the critters weren't eating our zucchini.
3.  I have eaten some amazingly sweet peaches and watermelon this week.  Deborah has a peach tree with the most delicious peaches ever.  Peaches and Watermelon in May; seems so weird, but I'll take it along with my grapefruit that are ever so juicy and sweet, given it's nearing the end of grapefruit season.
4.  I came in yesterday afternoon to squeeze my grapefruit juice and then continue reading my book with my sprinkler at my feet.  Aunt Leslie couldn't stop laughing.  This is why:
I admit this is by far the most unattractive photo of me in my big bosom bathing suit.  Can you see the sprinkler in front of the crate?  You have to find ways to stay cool in 100 degrees if there is no pool in the back yard!
5.  My brother Tanner made it to Kentucky this morning.  Him and his friends drove across the country so they can sell security systems in the heat and humidity, but also the beauty of Kentucky.  I hope he has one of the best Summer's of his life.  I absolutely had one of the best Summer's of my life when I lived in Kentucky.  Such a great place!
6.  Sister Monson passed away last Friday and her funeral was today.  I loved what her daughter Anne Dibbs said, "She lived the gospel in every thought and deed.  She cheerfully and willingly made many sacrifices in her life because of her faith in and love of the gospel.  And President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, "She never gave lengthy speeches, but her life was full of sermons and she served as an example to others."
7.  I got my housing and my Massachusetts's license this week!  4 weeks and I'm spending my Summer working at the beach!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hawaiian Haystacks

I thought everyone had a family recipe for Hawaiian Haystacks, but today my friend Lauren requested my recipe that I'm sure we had for a RS function, so that she could serve it for the 7 missionaries that she is having for dinner on Friday.  Of course I think my family recipe is the best.  It's so easy breezy.  And remember I just dump until it taste the way I want it to taste, so you just do the same.
Chicken Gravy
Combine Sour Cream, it depends on how much you are making, but I like mine to have a sour cream taste so maybe 12 oz.  A can or two of Cream of Chicken soup again depending on how much you are making.  Add some chicken broth, depending on how soupy you want it.  I like mine thicker, but the more you add, the farther it will go, but don't make it like thin gravy, you don't want it going all over the plate.  Cook on the stove top.
Add your Chicken:  as much as you want.  You can either get an already cooked one from Costco and cut it up or cook your own chicken breasts.  I like the easy route of Costco.
At some point make your rice and not minute rice.  I'm not good at making rice, it is either not done enough or too done, even though I follow my mothers directions of 2 cups water to 1 cup rice, a little salt and butter.  Cover and bring to boil, then turn to low for 20 minutes.  Never take the lid off while rice is cooking per my mother.
My Favorite Toppings:  green onions, tomato's, pineapple, frozen peas (slightly unthawed by running them under warm water), coconut, Chinese noodles, cheese, olives, mandarin oranges and whatever else sounds good.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Baked Zucchini/Onion Ring

I was introduced a few weeks ago to Baked Zucchini dipped in ranch dressing.  So yummy.  The original recipe is for onion rings, but since my Aunt Leslie doesn't do onions, they do zucchini around here.  I love them so much they are cooking as I type.
1 1/2 cup cornflakes
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup flour
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Course salt and ground pepper
1 medium sweet onion such as Vidalia, quartered crosswise and broken into rings or 2-3 zucchini
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Crunch up cornflakes and breadcrumbs until fine in a food processor, I did it with my hands and a pain brush.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, flour, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper.
Spray Pam on aluminum foil that is on your pan, so you don't actually have to clean the pan when you are finished.  Dip onion in egg mixture letting excess drip off and dredge in cornflake mixture, place on pan.  Cook for 16 minutes or until done, I did turn them once, but you don't really have to turn zucchini, probably the onion rings though.
Let cool and dip in your favorite dipping sauce.

Banana Pancakes

For lunch today we had banana pancakes.  Here's the recipe!
1 C. Flour (freshly ground whole white wheat flour)
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 T. Sugar
1 C. Buttermilk
1 T. Oil
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 Egg
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Bananas
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.  Mash peeled bananas.  Blend eggs into bananas.  Pour into dry mixture.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Cook pancakes on griddle. They take longer to cook than regular pancakes.  Serve with chopped pecans and maple syrup or strawberries and whipped cream.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Very Hot FF

1.  This week has been in the 100's, in fact one day I got in my car and it was 108.  I needed a hot pad to change gears, but I love the heat, even though it makes for a hot evening jog.  I love seeing my tan line get darker, but it's not dark enough so for the next 2 weeks, you better believe I'll be out working on that tan.  I know I hear you skin cancer.  I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't even have sex, I eat well and I exercise, but yep I get my regular vitamin D!
2.  Tuesday we went to RS where the theme was "These are a few of my favorite things."  It was so fun.  We all gathered in a circle; 25 women.  We were given the words to the song and we sang it, which sounded beautiful and was such fun to sing.  Then we each pulled out our paper bags and shared a few of our favorite things.  Mine was my African market basket, my electric toothbrush, and lemons.  I love anything lemon.  When I think of lemons my mouth starts salivating.  I brought a jar of lemon heads and I broke down and bought the lemoncello almonds from Costco and shared with the sisters.  They all loved them too.  We also went around and gave a list of three things, 2 of which we loved and 1 we didn't and we had to guess what the hated item was.  It was definitely an activity I'll have keep in mind for the future.
3.  This week I tried 2 different Mexican carryout restaurants which were recommended by my nurses.  I figure I'm close to the Mexican boarder, there must be good Mexican food around here.  I had a tamale at both which were pretty good.
4.  I sang in church on Sunday, not something I typically do, but a sister heard me singing the hymns in Sacrament Meeting and asked me to take part in her RS Mothers Day Lesson.  I think it sounded pretty good, for not being a soloist.  Actually I just sang the first verse and the first chorus by myself and then other sisters joined in.  It was Hilary Weeks I Will.  It has a beautiful message.
5.  Today after work I drove to Deborah's.  We visited and then went for an early dinner at a pizza joint called Oreganos; which is only in the Phoenix area.  It had such a friendly and enjoyable ambiance and our waitress was awesome.  She even gave us to go soda's and I hadn't even ordered a soda.  We ate out on the patio which was very enjoyable.  We split 2 dishes,  an Italian sandwich with a side of the the most delicious sweet potato fries with a hint of cinnamon and a huge salad.  We had such an enjoyable time chatting away and eating delicious food.  It reminded me of when Alisha and I go to lunch.  Wish you could have been with us Alisha.  Maybe at Martha's Vineyard!
6.  We went to Deb's daughters dance recital at the high school tonight too.  It was actually very enjoyable and most dances were quite amazing.  The high school has dance classes for PE and Fine Arts credits. I wish they would have had that option when I was in high school.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summer Reading Program

My Summer Reading Program started when it felt like Summer.  That means the last week in March when I came to Phoenix, duh.  It is truly Summer here 100 degree temperatures all week!  What does this mean?  Lots of reading in the sun in my bathing suit, on the couch were it is 69 inside and I'm wrapped in a blanket as I lounge around in my Hawaiian moo moo or on the swing when the sun is setting as the wind chimes make beautiful music.  I'm on my 3rd book for the week.  I started Richard Paul Evans new book A Step Of Faith at 2:30 this afternoon and am already on page 173 (And I made dinner in the mean time and went for a very warm walk.).  I might just finish it tonight, but probably not.  I think I should be feeling guilty that I'm sitting around reading so much, but then my aunt reassures me (from the other couch with her book in hand) that I worked hard this morning and I deserve to relax.  Ha, I've never been so relaxed as I have been the last 7 1/2 weeks, unless of course I'm at the beach.   I feel like I'm on vacation and vacation to me is a book in one hand, a cold drink in the other (grapefruit juice is the choice of drink these days) and lots of sunshine; all of which I have right here in Phoenix.  The best part is that my aunt works at Deseret Book so she has previewed all of the books she hands me, meaning she doesn't give me the boring ones.  I keep telling her she needs to read These Is My Words, my favorite Summer read from last year.  Maybe I'll just have to order it for her before I leave.  Oh, such a great series.  I think I will have to make that series a Summer Tradition.  One of the many things I look forward to on Martha's Vineyard is the fact that I can get a library card that is good for all of the libraries on MVY.  Better believe I'll be using it weekly!  Any good books you've read recently?  I'll gladly take suggestions.  Happy Summer Reading Folks (even though I know it's still Spring according to the calendar)!

Fisher Price Phone

This evening Tristen called to tell me that Aidree was talking on the fisher price phone saying, "Auntie Terah I really do miss you."  So cute!  Tristen then let her talk to me on a real phone. It was the first time that we had a real conversation on the phone.  She told me all about school today, eating a hot dog at Costco and playing at Grandmas.  When I asked her if she was going home soon she said, "No, it's not time yet."  Aidree has had a hard time with her speech, but this past year of school has really helped a lot and it is getting easier to understand her.  I think she is just darling.  It is so fun watching her grow into the little person she is becoming.  I reminds me of when I watched her for a day a month after she was born and I kept thinking, "I wonder who she will become."  And I still wonder and watch!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Deborah's Strawberry Spinach Salad

My cousin Deborah makes an amazing Strawberry Spinach Salad that is so delicious and totally simple to throw together and the kids love it.  I would have to say the dressing is about the most delicious poppy seed dressing I've ever had and not greasy like some.  She brought this for dinner yesterday so I thought I would share it with you.
Easy simple ingredients:  spinach, sliced fresh strawberries, slivered almonds.  If you want to put anything else in go for it.  I bet a little bacon, feta cheese or avocado would be yummy in it.  She said it called for red onions, but I don't really like onions on my salad.
Poppy Seed Dressing:
1/2 C. Mayo; the olive oil one that only has 3.5 grams of fat
1/2 C. Sugar
1/4 C. Milk
2T Vinegar
2T Poppy Seeds
Combine, throw together and enjoy!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day And The Fabulous Women In My Life

Today is Mother's Day.  The day we celebrate our Mothers.  However, this is the day that as an adult I celebrate all the women who have affected my life.  Of course the woman who has had the greatest impact on my life is my mother.  She is such a treasured gift in my life.  She has always encouraged me to be the best and reach for the stars.  I am sure over the past several weeks I have spoken to her on the phone at least 3-10 times a day.  I'm grateful she is my best friends, someone I can confide in and the one who loves me no matter what. But there are so many other women who have had such an impact on my life.
I have this memory of a primary teacher Sister Haber.  I remember she had very black hair and the story she told us about lambs and the Savior.  I remember she was always there to teach us the gospel.  Sister Hillman was my Merry Miss teacher.  She taught me how to make wedding mints, tie a quilt and other things that prepared me for Young Womens.  2 Sister Labrum's and Sister Beaus taught me as a Beehive and one of them wasn't even a member yet.  My love for young women's came with Sister Jones and Sister Jensen as they taught me as a Miamaid.  I believe it was in their classes that I realized who I really was, a daughter of a loving Heavenly Father and I'm sure this is when I really developed the strong testimony that I have today.  I am a quote person.  I love quotes.  I don't know if I developed this love from Sister Jones and her handouts every week that went along with her lessons, but I at least know it added to that love.  She had a book called, P.S I Love You.  She would always sign our weekly handouts that went along with her lessons with, "P.S I love you, Mom, Sister Jones, and Sister Jensen."  I still have those quotes.  I also learned how to organize my quotes in a library like fashion; remember back then we didn't have pinterest.  I remember a few days that we spent time at Sister Jones' making plastic canvas napkin holders.  Sister Jones became the YW President and Sister Pool joined her when I became a Laurel.  It was in their class that they stressed the importance of a temple marriage, even though I was dating a non-member at the time, I always knew that was my goal and still is.
As I entered college it was Sister Ferguson and Sister Mulcock who were my sorority leaders and Sister Fergusons husband was my first college bishop.  They along with other amazing women welcomed me into Relief Society and taught me the value of the relationships developed in those organizations.  My dear friend Kaycee came from my membership in sorority. Throughout my college years there were so many dear sisters who became just that, sisters and such examples to me.  In my first years of college Kristen Kotter taught Sunday School.  She aged out of the Singles Ward, I always looked up to her, her fashion and her testimony of the gospel.  I had a VT in my University of Utah ward who would come over and volunteer her precious time to help me study for my tests in grad school.  She was just as busy as I was, but was willing to help.  Sister Carlson, Kougioulis, Ferguson, Jenkins and Webb were Bishops wives who showed me the love of a ward mother, by taking me in during my college and after college years.  Sister Freeman and her husband served a mission and taught us institute when I was in Kentucky.  She always cooked us yummy cinnamon rolls and bread.  Lucky me I got her pans when she left Kentucky.  I will never forget her, her testimony and the love she had for us in our little singles branch.  My friend Pam is such an example of endurance to me and has in my mind that when I find a man, run off and elope, who needs a big extravagant wedding?  Sister Middlebrook took me in as her daughter when I moved to CLT.  She taught me about Southern women, how they eat well and spend Summer days in the sun around the pool.  There are so many women I look up to in CLT who are not only my friends, but such great examples of being women, serving those around them and becoming the women our Heavenly Father wants us to become; Karen, Emma, Taya, Lauren, Pam, The Vickie's,  Wendy, Angela and so many more .  Alisha and Emilie are not only my cousin's but my best friends  the one's I have fun with, tell everything to, even still and the one's who would be at my side through thick and thin.  How grateful I am for them and all the memories I have with them.  My childhood friend Jenny has taught me to to love Nancy Drew and a good mystery,  be adventurous, get a passport and to USE IT!  The last 7 weeks I have renewed my love of reading as my Aunt Leslie has given me book after book to enjoy while I'm here.  It has been such fun to get to know my AZ aunt.  I have amazing aunts who are such examples to me, especially my Aunt Thalia.  She is the epitome of endurance, she keeps going and never gives up, even though I'm sure she would love to from time to time.  I'm grateful for her and the sisterly relationship she has with my mother.  My Grandma Swensen, even though she passed away when I was 1 has definitely had an effect on my life, how that is possible I'm not quite sure, given I never knew her, but I know my love for Family History and journaling, my giggling at improper things and my dark hair comes from her.  My entire life my mom has often said, "I don't know how someone can be so like someone they have never known."  While I've been here in AZ, Aunt Leslie often comments on how I look like Grandma Swensen.
I wouldn't be the women I am today without Grandma Betty.  Oh, I love that women.  She has been not only my grandma, but my confidant, my friend, and one who encourages me to do everything outside the box.  I know that if there is anyone else in my life that loves me as close to my mother that it is her.  My sisters and sister-in-laws are such great examples of fun, love and making the most of life!  How grateful I am to be the aunt to their children and love them as my own.  My most memorable and favorite times have been when we have all been together, sitting around talking and of course traveling and giggling at silly things that no one else would think was funny.
To all of you amazing women, Thank You for being in my life, for your examples and the relationships I have with each of you.  A Happy Mother's/Women's Day to each of you!  One of my favorite quotes, "Great Women; may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!"

Macaroni Grill's Bread

Today for our Mother's Day Dinner I made a pot of spaghetti sauce with all home grown herbs, oregano, rosemary and basil.  I originally had cheated and bought herb pizza dough from Trader Joe's, that I was going to make into this same bread loaf.  However, I forgot it in the refrigerator at work yesterday.  So now I'm making my moms version of Macaroni's Grill Bread.  I love to dip this bread in balsamic vinegar and of course spaghetti sauce too.
1 3/4 Cup Water
2 T Yeast
Almost 1 T Salt
1 T Italian Seasoning
4 Cups Flour if you need to add a little more you can.  My mom told me 4 cups, but I had to start over and use only 3 Cups and a little.  I guess it depends how dry or wet your climate is.  I know in CLT I always had to use more flour than in the west.
Make into round loaves and place on a sheet pan.
Let Raise
Brush the top with water before cooking.
Cook on 400 for 25 minutes
Makes 2 round loaves

Friday, May 10, 2013

FF Phoenix Countdown

1. I've really enjoyed my time here in Phoenix, however just today I counted the number of shifts I have left until I'm finished.  I think the countdown has to do with all that is going on back home.  So 17 work days and I will be on my way home and it will be June!
2.  4 weeks ago I discovered a Saturday market close to my work.  There isn't a lot there, except for food.  You know my love for food.  Every Saturday I've treated myself to a chocolate filled croissant and a macaroon.  But my favorite thing about the market is a man selling African Market Baskets.  I'm in love with them and have bought a total of 5.  Tempting to buy one more tomorrow morning given tomorrow is their last day for the season, but I'll hold off, knowing I only have so much luggage and means to take them home.  I took 3 home when I went home a few weeks ago and bought 2 more last week.  I love them for going to the supermarket and can't wait to use them for my trips to the farmers market on Martha's Vineyard.
3.  I've discovered hazelnut chocolate salt water taffy to go along with my favorite key lime coconut taffy.  Hazelnut chocolate taffy is like a party in your mouth.  You can find both at your local Winco for $1.98 a pound. 
4.  This afternoon I spent reverted to my childhood and teenage years as I spent over 2 hours out in the back yard, with the sprinkler under the trampoline, reading a cheesy romance novel and drinking fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.  I know you all think that I do that every day, however it's typically too hot to be outside for more than an hour.  Discovering the sprinkler made it much more bearable.  To be truthful, it's been an entire week since I've actually sat our side after work.  
5.  One evening this week I found myself wrapped in a blanket, reading a book, swinging on the porch swing outside in 80 degree weather.  Maybe it had dipped into the 70's, but I still found it funny that it is Summer and I had a Winter blanket.  There is something ever so relaxing by swinging on a porch, book in hand on a Summer evening.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Big Bad "C" Word

It's for real and I think we have finally had time for it to sink in, Grandpa Swensen has the big bad "C" word.  Multiple Myeloma to be exact.  One never wants to hear, "you have cancer."  In fact I think that is my biggest fear, besides drowning or being burned in a fire.  It's funny however how things change so very quickly regarding family relationships when someone develops an illness, that will take their life in the next months to years; if we are lucky.  Dare I say I'm actually grateful for this trial our family has to experience?  The past 2 weeks have allowed me to see so many wonderful things I am so grateful for.  I'm grateful for my mom who is ever so willing to help out any way she can; as she lets bygones be bygones.  I'm grateful that she doesn't work so she can take Grandpa to his radiation and doctors appointments, go over to set out meds and make sure his pain is controlled.  I'm grateful my parents live 11 houses down the street so at 1:30am when something happens, my parents can be there in minutes to help out.  I'm grateful for family, coffee shop friends, and church friends who have visited my Grandpa and showed their support for him and our family.  I'm grateful for the man who came to stretch the carpet to get the wrinkle out so there is less of a chance for Grandpa to trip and fall and gave my Grandma Jeanne an 87 year old discount; FREE and on a Saturday morning nonetheless.  I'm grateful for  the medical knowledge I have that allows me to understand and explain to my family what the diagnosis means and the coming treatments if he so desires.  I'm grateful for time and the job I have that allows me time off when I need it.  I'm grateful that I will be home in 3 1/2 weeks to spend all the time I can with Grandpa in the 3 weeks I will have home before going to Martha's Vineyard for the Summer.  I'm grateful for the memories I have of a 4th of July vacation Tenielle and I took where we vacationed with Grandpa and Grandma Jeanne in Cape Cod several years ago. I'm grateful for Grandpa's example of buying lemonade and melted popsicles on our walk at the beach in Cape Cod from kids at a lemonade stand.  Since then I've always carried some change in my car, so I can stop at lemonade stands and leave a large tip for kids saving up for something special.  I read a quote yesterday that put things into perspective, "Sometimes the road with the most uncertainty comes with the greatest rewards."  We don't know what will happen in the coming months, much less the coming weeks, but I'm grateful that times like these help me realize what really is important in life; family, memories and the relationships we build with others.
I love this picture of mom and Grandpa and Jeanne's nephew at Jeanne's sister Patty's Wedding.   Patty passed away from cancer shortly before the wedding.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stupid People and Safe Haven

The last 2 hours I've been on the phone with CVS-Caremark trying to transfer a prescription to my local pharmacy.  Can I just say I will never allow my prescriptions to be done by a mail order ever again.  This process started yesterday, actually a few months ago when I called CVS-Caremark to have my prescription transfered.  The poor pharmacy tec at Costco, what a sweet girl though.  She kept calling and they would tell her I wasn't on file.  I would call and it took forever with one to find the information.  Then I called another lady and she pulled it right up.  Lesson learned, there are stupid people and there are smart people who actually go the extra mile and figure things out.  It got transfered.  Good thing.
On a happier note:  Safe Haven is out on DVD today.  I can't wait to go out and buy it so I can watch it this weekend, cause that's what you do on weekends when you don't have to work night shifts!  I highly recommend this movie.  Nick and I went to it one morning when I was in NC.  Totally love it and so will you!
This morning on the radio they said, "Enjoy this week of 80's, because it won't be in the 80's again for another 6 months."  I like it here in the 80's because that means it cools off in the evenings and makes it much more enjoyable to jog.  I've been going now from 630-730 because it is getting darker around 730.  Last night I left a little later, like a few minutes later and Aunt Leslie popped her head out looking for me.  It wasn't dark yet, just a little dusky.  I made it home very safe, dead ipod in hand...don't you hate it when your ipod dies halfway through your work out?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Artichoke Sunday

I have had a new experience since coming to Phoenix.  Of course it involves food; remember I'm a social eater.  A few weeks ago we went to Debs for dinner.  Our vegetable was half an artichoke.  I love dips with artichoke, but I've never eaten an artichoke from leaf to heart.  Here in Phoenix they dip artichoke in mayo the one made with olive oil and herbs and the one with only 3.5 grams of fat.  Last night after work, I stopped at Trader Joes.  While checking out I glanced down the way and saw a beautiful display of artichokes with a sign that said 99 cents.  Of course I had to buy a few.  Funny thing my uncle had bought some too and already had boiled them by the time I got home.  So today for dinner we had grilled NY steak that I brought from my weekend home and artichokes.  Oh, yummy.  I believe my new favorite, good for me food is now artichokes.  Try them, you can't say you don't like them if you've never actually had them.  Here are a few pictures from my first artichoke experience:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Another Phoenix FF

1.  This week has been super hot.  When I got back on Monday at 7pm it was 103.  Crazy that I was feeling those kind of temps in April!  A funny thing happened at the airport when I was waiting for my shuttle to my car, my cousin Debs husband drives by, pokes his head out with a confused look and asks me if I needed a ride.  It was quite the coincidence.  He had been in CLT for a day, said it was rainy the entire time.  I was actually surprised that he recognized me with 10 inches off my head.  I only waited 7 minutes for the shuttle not bad at all and had a nice conversation with a very friendly lady waiting for her shuttle.
2.  I had a short layover in SLC.  They have a Pinkberry in the SLC airport, which I suspect is new.  I love Pinkberry frozen yogurt.  It's kind of sour, but oh so delicious.  They have Pinkberry's all over the world, except for ID and only 1 in AZ in Tucson; not close to PHX.  There are even Pinkberry's in CLT so if you are there, go find one.  My mouth is watering for one as I'm typing this post.  I had half key lime pie and half swirled salted carmel and hazelnut chocolate.  Yummy and only 200 calories.
3.  Wednesday was my cousin Amy's bridal shower at Debs.  There was quite a large turnout.  I always thought my AZ cousins looked like Young's, however after meeting the Gaisford side, I can see where they get their looks and long lean body's.  Cousin Jennifer flew in for the occasion from Seattle.  I drove the hour with dad's cousin Julie.  It was fun to visit with her.  I loved the simple decorations; I've always love using lemons for decoration but the added flowers were the perfect touch.
4.  This morning I saw petals from a flowery bush flying onto the freeway, because of the wind.  It was one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen since being here in AZ.  It was like someone was throwing rose pedals from the freeway.
5.  Yesterday I tasted the most amazing taste to my tongue at Costco; lemon yogurt covered almonds.  I actually had 2 samples too.  Lets just say I will abstain from purchasing some until I go home for good.  We will have them at our next RS activity with the theme of "When life gives you lemons..." as I haven't been released from that calling so the planning has begun.
6.  I finished the first Downton Abbey last night and watched the first episode of the 3rd season.  I'm such a fan, I can hardly wait to watch more!
7.  Have I admitted how much I love honey/champaign mangos and blueberries.  Oh, I do along with all the grapefruit I can eat!  Keeps me regular for sure.
8.  Wednesday I found a cajun restaurant.  I had to have me some gumbo.  It was rather delicious, even though it was a bit spicy.  Of course it didn't come close to the gumbo from Brick Oven Beanery, which I might add I got an email this week letting me know their recipe book will be out Oct. 5.  Guess what we will be having for dinner that day?  Gumbo of course!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Wonderful Weekend

This past weekend was such fun.  I left work a few minutes early so I could get some grapefruit off the tree's and then it was off to the airport, where I had 20 pounds over weight of grapefruit in my suitcase. No problem I was able to put them in my new market basket and I gave one to the very kind man at Delta.  There were no lines at all, which I love and which was surprising given it is a rather large airport.  Tenielle and Tanner picked me up from the airport as they drove in around the time I landed.  
Friday morning we all went to the Dentist.  Well, actually I'm the only one who had my teeth cleaned, but it was a family affair.  Because we were right next to Bowl of Heaven, we had to stop and share some of this delicious treat.  A little shopping at gap and a few other stores and then lunch with Alisha and baby Calvin at Flatbread Community Oven.  Alisha has been telling me about this place for years.  I think it is now my favorite Boise restaurant.  We had delicious salads and sandwiches on focaccia bread.  Super yummy.  I had a chat with Grandma Betty and a pedicure by Tenielle, before we were off to watch Bull Riding.  It is so sad that little Nampa is no longer little Nampa.  We use to go to events like that and see all of our friends.  We don't see anyone we know anymore.
 Saturday was the day for my donation to Locks of Love.  After my new style, we went to Beauty and the Beast on Broadway.  Tenielle gave us these tickets for Christmas, so Merry Christmas to us!  We had so much fun.  The Morrison Center is a beautiful Theater, I especially love the Boise River that sits in back of it and of course I have such memories from my time at Boise State.  All the kids came over for a BBQ and to celebrate Gavins 6th Birthday.  Oh what fun we have when we get together.  The weather was just beautiful too.
Kadyn blew out Gavins candles last year too.  So funny.
 Sunday we went to church, had dinner and then visited Grandpa and Jeanne.  We walked back from their house like we have thousands of times.  Tenielle commented that it sure seemed like a shorter trip than it did when we were growing up.  After Tenielle and Tanner left, Tony, mom, dad and I played cards; of course I lost.  There always has to be a loser.
 Monday morning Tony left and then I went to Grandpa's and the hospital to get his medical records (another post on that coming soon.)  Tristen and the girls met us on a spur of the moment at Brick 29.  I had a delicious steak salad with tarragon dressing, which I love.  Before going to the airport, Tristen, the girls and I stopped at the temple to enjoy the beautiful tulips; my favorite flower!