Thursday, December 8, 2011


Decorating the Christmas tree
Enjoying grandma and grandpa's high chair
Aaannnddddd... first time climbing up stairs!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I absolutely love being home. I love hanging out with my brothers. I love doing stuff with my mom. I love chatting with my dad. I love all of the Christmas decorating. I love living in a place that doesn't feel like a cave. I love grocery shopping with my mom's credit card :) I love having a bunch of live-in babysitters. I love spending more time with Matthew. I could go on...

I L.O.V.E. being home.


This month truly was a lot slower for new meals, and just meals in general, when you factor in that I wasn’t feeling very well the first part of the month, and then my family was in town and we were out and about all day, and then we went to Colorado for Thanksgiving. Still, there are some things worth mentioning:

Apple Spinach Salad: A delicious, fall-themed salad with apples, spinach, candied almonds, and feta cheese. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Butternut Squash Soup: I’m pretty sure I’ve never had butternut squash before in anything, but the variations on butternut squash soup looked so pretty, I decided it needed to be tried. And...I almost like it. My reaction was “this is interesting. Not bad. Different taste…” but I couldn’t quite get over the hump of “this is interesting” and make it to “this is really good.” It was almost there. I’m sure if I’d had previous exposure to butternut squash I really would have liked it a lot. (Source: Loosely based on several different recipes)
Chicken Flautas with a Roasted Tomatillo Sauce: As far as I can tell, flautas are very similar to toquitos, but with a flour tortilla. We put beans, chicken and cheese in them, fried them up and served it with the tomatillo sauce. It ended up being a really good meal, and one that Matthew especially really loved. (Source: Galley Gourmet)
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles: These weren't too different from normal snickerdoodles, and the pumpkin flavor didn't make them taste "weird" or anything, so if you are looking for something a little different but not too crazy, here ya go. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Slow cooker pork loin with sweet potatoes, orange and cilantro: I liked the interesting combination of flavors that made an ordinary pork roast pretty exciting. (Source: America's Test Kitchen Cookbook)
Roasted Sweet Onions with Herbed Bread Crumbs: Love carmelized onions, and love bread crumbs. We really enjoyed the combination of the two flavors and textures, and it was definitely a unique side dish. (Source: For the Love of Cooking)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Student Evals

Today was Matthew's last day of student teaching. I know, where has the time gone?? Anyway, he came home with his students' evaluations of him, what he did well and what he could do better. Oh my goodness I laughed so hard at some of them:

"Okay dude. You were good. I mean sometimes you were boring. But other than that, sir, you were way good!" Thanks, I think...

"More food!!!! And you should give me an A even though I don't deserve it! JK your awesome don't change I'll miss you :)"  That last part in there reminds me of the generic stuff you write in people's yearbooks. And actually, two other people said he should have brought food and candy...?

"Well I didn't want to shoot myself in your class so your doing great." How's that for a ringing endorsement?

"Say your name more cause I just called you sir."  This one was really weird to me. How do you not know your teacher's name?

"I thought you were a great teacher, fun and you let us call you coach." Apparently a lot of kids really did call him coach. I'm just now finding out about this. I feel like this is one of those stories that should have been shared during daily 'tell me about your day' storytime. I feel so out of the loop.

"You could improve your jokes."

And, the last thing that we learned from these evaluations was that most high school students do not know the difference between "your" and "you're".

Monday, November 21, 2011

favorite things

Eight months old is a good stage for Natalie. She is doing things that I absolutely love right now.

She will crawl around and follow me as I walk around the house. If I go in the bedroom and leave her in the living room, she starts coming back to see me. If I'm walking back and forth, putting things away or something, she tries to follow me and just ends up going in a circle. Pretty funny. If I'm doing the dishes, she crawls up, comes in between my legs and then turns up and smiles at me. Or, she grabs hold of my pants and pulls herself up to standing behind me. She's not necessarily wanting to be held, she just wants to be near me. I love it.

Also, she has been so happy lately. Or, more accurately, her happy times are really, really happy. She has started to laugh uncontrollably when we are playing with her. It is the cutest, most adorable thing in the world.

And she loves sucking on our noses. I laugh so hard every time she does it. haha.

Monday, November 14, 2011

crazy exciting stuff

Guys. My entire family comes in to town today. My brother is done with his mission Wednesday. (Side note: he's serving in Salt Lake). We basically get to spend all week with him. I'm so incredibly stoked I cannot wait. I've been counting the days for the past six weeks. My family is all staying in our little apartment. Needless to say, it will be quite cozy. I can't wait to see Jonathan. I'm so excited!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

10 months later, I think I can finally tell this story

First of all, I want to say thank you for everyone's ideas about money-saving techniques. There were a lot of really good ideas that Matthew and I took note of. Now, on to today's story about being in the hospital at 7 months pregnant for the dumbest two days of my life.

If, perchance, you have diabetes and are pregnant, and have a decently high blood sugar when you are at a doctor's appointment, and the doctor wants you to check in to the hospital because she is so worried and wants to get your blood sugar down, and that hospital is the one that is 5 minutes from our house... don't think, don't blink, just waddle away as fast as your 7 month pregnant body can take you. You know what the regimen was at the hospital to bring my BG down and in control? The nurse would use a glucometer to check my blood before and after meals. Yeah, the same thing I do at home. I was so annoyed, and I hated every single minute of it.

One of the worst moments was when one nurse was in the room and was checking my blood and noticed that I had an insulin pump. And then she said something to the effect of "Oh this is really different that you are in here. Usually we don't have people like this. Usually when girls go on the insulin pump, their blood sugars aren't really a problem any more."

Right, because going on a pump definitely solves all your problems (eye roll). Totally misinformed. Very insulting in the moment.  I think the reason that this rubbed me the wrong was was that I had been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to keep everything as good as possible, and she made me feel like I was weird or doing something wrong. In actuality I was really doing quite good overall. So, like I was saying earlier, before you get to this point, WADDLE AWAY!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I'm not usually behind the times this much, I mean Halloween was almost a whole week ago. I'm a stay at home mom with only one relatively easy baby and lots of free time, c'mon get your act together woman! Actually, the reason this is a bit late is because the pictures we took of her on Halloween just didn't turn out super awesome, so I made us dress her up again today so we could take better pictures. I know, I know, was that really necessary, but you will never get your baby's first Halloween back and we needed a picture with a real smile!
She is so stinkin' adorable. I can't even handle it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October Food

Happy first day of November!

Chicken Noodle Soup: How have I never made chicken noodle soup before? It is 143% better than anything from a can, very easy, and wonderfully comforting.(Source: very loosely based from Pioneer Woman)
Challah: By far the prettiest loaf of bread I have ever made. Also, very scrumptious. Similar to brioche, a richer loaf of bread that makes excellent French toast. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Hummus, Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich: Ohhhhhhh baby. This was definitely one of the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever had. Probably in the top three. The crisped ciabatta roll (instead of the pizza crust suggested in the link, definitely a good choice) paired with creamy hummus, chicken, red pepper, swiss cheese and onions… oh baby. It was a party in my mouth. I loved this so much. Here is a tutorial for making roasted red peppers.(Source: Panini Happy)
Jerk Chicken Chili: A fun, slightly different take on chicken chili, although neither Matthew or I were super impressed with it.. (Source: Smells Like Home)
Honey and Sweet Potato Rolls These were excellent, did not taste overpoweringly like sweet potato (actually, not really at all), were easy to make, and each roll gives you approximately 33% of your daily vitamin A. There you go. (Source: How Sweet It Is)
Creamy Cauliflower Soup: Despite that the title says “creamy”, this is a very healthy recipe, as the creaminess comes from plain greek yogurt (okay, in the recipe link it comes from a potato, but I skipped that and just added yogurt at the end… yum). It wasn’t at all bland, had a nice combination of flavors, and there were no leftovers. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere (or Cheddar) Biscuits: So the recipe uses gruyere cheese, but yeah right that’s like the most expensive cheese in the store, let’s stick to some sharp cheddar, which worked out great. I loved that the tomato mixture was just the right amount of juicy, but didn’t take away the flakiness of the biscuits. I’m excited to make this again… (Source: Annie's Eats)
Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes: These tasted a lot like those mini donuts you get at the fair or wherever… you bake the donuts in muffin tins and then roll in butter and sugar and they are soft and moist and sugary and delicious. (Source: Pennies on a Platter)
Pumpkin Applesauce: Apparently we went on a pumpkin kick for a while…This was very simple, just pumpkin puree mixed with some just made applesauce (sans sugar). I really love freshly made, warm applesauce and the pumpkin just made it a fun fall side. (Source: Pennies on a Platter)
Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes: These may be too good to really be counted as a breakfast item, as they almost taste like something you would eat for dessert, totally in a good way. You have a pumpkin pancake with a cinnamon swirl cooked in, topped with cream cheese icing… Matthew said ‘you can make these anytime you want!’, which I think about sums it up. (Source: Recipe Girl)

This actually was a little bit of a slower month for making new stuff since there were two weeks in there where I was actually really, really busy. Especially when you consider that the hummus/red pepper sandwich, cauliflower soup and tomato cobber dishes were all things I made for myself for lunch, since Matthew would definitely not touch any of them. Oh well, I sure enjoyed them all by myself :)

Matthew’s favorites: Donut Holes, Pumpkin Pancakes and Sweet Potato Rolls
My favorites: Hummus/Red Pepper Sandwich, Tomato Cobbler, and Pumpkin Pancakes

Saturday, October 29, 2011

a few more of Natalie

There are just so many cute pictures of this sweet little girl...

Okay, and here's one of us too...

Friday, October 28, 2011

what I think about our lovely security-enforcing friends at the airport

You know, I don't really have a problem with TSA in general. You want to do the backscattering images? Fine. Whatever. I'll take my shoes off. You can run special tests on my baby's bottles. What bothers me is the inconsistency.

For example, many airports have both the metal detector machine and the backscattering machine. And in the Kansas City airport, you can choose which one you are going through by which line you get into. To me, that begs the question, why the junk is the backscattering machine even there? If you have something bad that could be viewed in that machine, but not in the X-ray machine, would you really choose the backscattering machine?

And let's say, for example, that you wear an insulin pump. Every other time you've flown, TSA agents have either told you that you need to put it through the X-ray machine or that you don't need to put it through the X-ray machine; and once, they rubbed it down with a special little pad and put that pad in their fancy chemical detector machine. That time, it came back negative (obviously, I'm not rolling around in weird chemicals.)

Except the last time I flew, coming back from Kansas City, after checking the baby's milk, the overeager TSA agent decided I needed to get the pump rubbed down and checked out in their little machine. It turns out that it came back positive. So then, 20 minutes before the flight, I got taken to the little back room and groped down because that checked out positive. In fact, it didn't even necessarily register positive, just "not negative." I don't know about anyone else, but I almost feel like the grope down in the little back room is more awkward than if they just did it there. Maybe not. I dunno. Then they patted down Natalie. Then they decided that, "oh hey, let's rummage through her purse too, even though it has already gone through the X-ray machine." Seriously? Oh and at this point, it's something like 7 minutes before my flight leaves and they've called my name twice for final boarding. Finally they let me go and I all out book it to the gate, and made it, barely.

One other fun factoid, when I flew to Kansas City from Salt Lake and went through security, the TSA agent who watched me walk through the X-ray machine commented on how my pump didn't set off the X-ray machine, and then let me go through. None of this "extra screening" business.

So here's my beef. I'm totally okay with the procedures in general, but for goodness sake do you need to pat down the baby? And go through my purse that went through the X-ray machine just fine? And different procedures about what I have to do with my pump depending on the airport and TSA agent that sees me? (That's the one that really annoys me. The other complaints are secondary to that.) And while I'm talking, do I really fit the profile of a terrorist as a young, white, cleancut woman with a little baby? Good one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

pretty baby


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

already on the phone

I've had this old, broken phone around for over a year because first I didn't know where I could recycle it and then I've just been too lazy to go do it. Now, though, I'm pretty glad that I've procrastinated, because my old phone is one of Natalie's favorite toys.

Oh, and this picture is one of many that my talented friend, Nicole, took a few weekends ago. She is awesome. I'll post more in the next day or two. There are some fantastic pictures!

where, oh where are my saving friends?

So, I want to decrease the amount of money we spend on groceries without actually significantly changing what we're buying. People totally do that right?

I just don't really know how. I mean, we try to buy things when they are a good price. We don't spend a crazy amount on food, it's probably pretty average for two people. I know we could be "saving" money by eating spaghetti every night, or rice a roni or something else equally non-appealing, but no. That's just not happening. If this is the only way I can use my degree right now, gosh darn it, we are going to eat well! But it would be nice to spend less.

Here's the thing though. I don't buy a lot of pre-made things, and I don't buy a lot of mixes. If you've been reading my blog for longer than two days, you are probably aware that I get a big kick out of cooking, and I just don't want to deprive myself of the fun of mixing together the ingredients all by myself. We don't really buy a lot of canned soup. I think it's gross. We buy rice, but not Rice a Roni sorts of stuff (see above). Basically, I buy ingredients to make meals, not necessarily things that are meals in and of themselves, with some exceptions. Like frozen burritos. Or Poptarts for Matthew. We also buy lots of cereal, and we like granola bars and certain crackers and chips. So, what I'm saying is that a lot of the things that I've seen coupons for are for types of things we don't generally buy.

Also, I like to buy a lot of fresh produce, which I also don't see a lot of coupons for. However, we do spend quite a bit on dairy, between Matthew's yogurt obsession, my cheese obsession, and both of our ice cream obsessions.

So, probably more information than necessary about our eating habits, to add to the probably more than necessary information you already know about what we eat. But seriously, how is it done? How do you spend less, using coupons or any other similar sort of tricks? Are there really that great of deals in Sunday papers, and if so, is it worth getting the paper for them?  Or is it only possible to find great deals on the pre-made stuff we don't usually buy? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


--I feel like people tend to have strong opinions about country music. You either like it or you don't, I haven't met too many people who are in between. Well guys, I'm in the Love Country Music Camp. Of course, I don't like every single country song, but overall, I do like country music. Incidentally, many country songs remind me of when I worked at a bakery in Minnesota. I did this for three summers and one December, and we listened to country music nonstop. So sometimes when a particular song comes on, I feel like I should be making cookies or pies or something. Nothing but good times.

--On an unrelated note, my little brother gets done with his mission in four weeks!! My whole family is coming out to pick him up, and they are all going to stay with us in our little apartment. It will be very cozy. haha. I'm seriously so incredibly excited though. I cannot wait!

--Also, Natalie has recently discovered how to "brrr" her lips. You know... where you blow your lips together and spit flies everywhere? She does it all the time now.

--And lastly, I definitely identified with this letter to the editor from the Daily Universe today. I know there are obviously some real issues with the economy and corporations and all that stuff, but I still feel like this is the attitude of a lot of people in the Occupy Wall Street Protest.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Evolution of Sleeping

I love how lately she's been sleeping with her bum in the air, and her head half face-planted in the bed. So funny.
And yes, I know I should be putting her to sleep on her back, which I do, but she rolls over onto her stomach right away. Oh well, at least she's cute as she disobeys the experts.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Scary movies

You may have noticed that the few times I have talked about movies on this blog, I've never mentioned any movies that are even slightly scary. That is not a coincidence.

Some sorts are okay. Movies about natural disasters, or sometimes alien invasions, like War of the Worlds or Transformers, or action movies, stuff like that is okay. But anything that is jumpy, or is something that could and does happen, no way. Like Taken. Seriously? How can people watch that movie? I would pee my pants... and then for three weeks afterward I would keep the doors locked, sleep with the lights on, keep a bat with me at all times, and maybe even make Matthew stay at home to protect me. Yeah, it would stay with me for a long time. And I am Number Four. Matthew wanted to rent that one, but I vetoed it because people hunting down someone seemed pretty freaky to me. I've never watched Signs, because although I've been assured it's not "scary", I'm under the impression that it is pretty jumpy. No can do for jumpy movies. And obviously stuff like Scream 4  I would never, ever in a million years watch.

I don't understand the world's preoccupation with scary movies. Whenever we go to Redbox I'm always amazed that there are a ton of movies that look pretty freaky. How do people watch scary movies? I freak myself out plenty all by myself, I don't need images and jumpiness and story lines and scary music to keep me even more perpetually freaked out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


This is a big, big day for JeSuisSteph. As you may (or may not) be able to gather from the title, this is my 300th post. Super exciting.

I hope that through the 300 posts I've kept a healthy balance between sharing high points and low points of life (though keeping low points at a sparingly level. No one wants to read a whiner day in and day out), sharing some of my thoughts and opinions, showing pictures, telling stories, talking about my hobbies and interests, all that stuff.

I also like that this blog documents my life when I was single, then dating Matthew, engaged, married, newlywed (although, I still do think of us as newlyweds), graduation, baby... a lot of different stages of life have been documented, or at least mentioned here.

Nothing but good times all around. 300 yeah!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

temple, temple, who has a temple?

I just know you have all been on the edges of your seats wondering so... heck yes we will be planning a trip in a few years to see/go to the open house/do a session/whatever the new temple in France. Anyone want to volunteer their services now to watch our kid(s)? :)

I'm soo excited that France is getting a temple. Awesome!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Coping Mechanisms

Even if you have a baby that is beyond adorable, she still spends plenty of time being whiny, crying, fussying, or just plain difficult. However, I have developed some very sophisticated coping mechanisms to prolong the moment of coming to the end of my rope.

1. Adorable outfits
As silly as it seems, it does make it easier when my Natalie is all dressed up in a cute little dress or outfit, with a pretty flower or bow in her hair. I mean, even if she is fussy, at least she is fussy AND cute. And then I can look at her and think, "Oh you are being such a pill. But you are still so stinkin' cute!" So, a HUGE shout out to everyone who has given Natalie a pretty outfit. Not only do you make her look good, you are contributing to my sanity.

2. Sing-song voices
This is all about either singing words to nonsense tunes you make up, or making up new words to songs such as Teacher, Do You Love Me, I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home, Saturday is a Special Day, etc. So, for example, to the tune of Saturday is a Special Day: Natalie is a happy girl/she makes me so happy when she smiles...

I know, awesome lyrics. Just make sure you do this with the windows closed.

3. Crying/yelling
Fun fact: if you start crying/yelling/screaming at the same intensity with a similar intonation as the baby, she will stop her cry/yell/scream and turn around and stare at you. I try not use this one too often but sometimes I'd just rather listen to myself than her.

The first two are the most effective, not to make her stop fussing, but to help me not get upset or overly frustrated. And I will say, that most of the time and more and more often, she really is a good, happy baby. But she is a baby. Which is why I need coping mechanisms.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What We're Watching

I really was amazed with how much I loved this movie. When we rented it I did not have high expectations--I think I thought it was going to be cheesy/the shark attack would be super scary, neither of which was true. The acting, with maybe the exception of Carrie Underwood, was great and the message and story were so inspiring. Plus, the scenery was beautiful, it was clean, and it promoted Christian values and faith. Highly recommend.

Okay, I know this movie is almost ten years old, but this was the first time Matthew's seen it. At the end of the movie I ask, with great anticipation, what he thought of it.

"It was okay."

What??!! Just "okay"???? I don't think you understand. A Walk to Remember came out when I was just starting high school. I'm pretty sure I watched it a lot during my high school years, with my friends or YW in my ward, and we would all sob our eyes out. This was any teeny-bopper's dream come true. We'd drool over Shane West, we'd laugh, we'd cry, we'd sigh and grin cheesily and be all happy when bad boy turned into a sweetheart. We'd wish there'd be some stud of a guy that would defend us from the mean kids. Like I said, this movie has it all. And apparently Matthew just does not understand the pull of that to a 16 year old girl, and how awesome it makes this movie. Obviously.

Friday, September 30, 2011

September's Main Dishes and Desserts

As far as regular protein-based main dishes go, stuffed and sauced was definitely a recurring theme this month. I'm just going to go ahead and say it, I love chicken/beef/pork that is stuffed in some delicious way and served with a flavorful sauce that you want to eat by the spoonful.

Stuffed Fajita Flank Steak: Incredible. You’ve heard of steak fajitas in a tortilla? Well, ditch the tortillas, and stuff all of the other fixings into the steak, add a flavorful sauce, and you have stuffed fajitas. We actually skipped the cheese (for Matthew’s sake),  and the grits in the recipe (leftover mashed potatoes instead). For the sauce afterwards, in addition to the drippings and garlic, I opted for the chicken broth, we used a lot more (1/3 cup?), and I added in a squeeze of Dijon mustard and ½ Tbsp butter, which was a great addition. (Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride)
Apple Cranberry Stuffed Pork Roast: Super tasty, yummy, I liked it. The end. Although I will say, while it says to use ¾ cup brown sugar in the filling/sauce, I thought it made it suuuuuper sweet. Next time, I will definitely be reducing that amount of sugar, and using something else (chicken broth? white grape juice?) so balance out the acidity of the cider vinegar. (Source: Simply Recipes)
Chicken Bacon Roulades: Bacon, shallots and parmesan are rolled up in chicken breasts, seared, baked and served with a creamy, buttery sauce. Yumm. Definitely not a low-fat dish, but so worth the calories. (Source: Simply Recipes)     
Country Vegetable Skillet: I hesitate to even mention this because there really isn’t much to say about essentially a chicken vegetable stir fry, but until recently I’d never heard of putting fresh corn off the cob into something like this, but the small addition of that plus some bacon with the chicken, zucchini, yukon potatoes and bell peppers really made it a delicious, yet simple, meal. (Source: How Sweet It Is)
Teriyaki Meatballs with Mango Pineapple Sauce: This was supposed to be a burger with a sauce and salsa, but we ran out of buns, so instead, the burgers were made into meatballs, covered in a pineapple teriyaki sauce, with chunks of pineapple, mango, bell pepper and onion mixed in. It was quite good over rice. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Blueberry Lime Salsa: This was yummy… but I think that I’m just not a huge fan of blueberries in this sort of a thing. Still, good. And had lots of fruits and vegetables, which is never a bad thing. (Source: How Sweet It Is)
Mixed Berry Mini Galettes: It was like a little pie… without the pan. Sort of. Either way they were cute, fun, and delicious.(Source: Two Peas and Their Pod)
Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars: These bars were like a fancy-ed up Twix bar. I love Twix. I loved these bars. We ended up putting them in the freezer, to try and not eat them all in the first day, and we decided that we actually liked them better frozen. They weren’t too hard to eat, and I think I liked the texture better. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Dulce de Leche Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Frosting: Good grief, these were so good. I’m kind of embarrassed to say how fast we ate these… (Twelve cupcakes between the two of us gone in two days… you do the math). I loved the dulce de leche flavor throughout the cupcake, filling and frosting, and the frosting was so light and fluffy, which totally made it worth the extra effort of stirring over a double boiler forever. (Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride)

My favorites: Stuffed Beef Fajitas, Dulce de Leche Cupcakes, and Veggie Pizza

Matthew's favorites: Stuffed Beef Fajitas, Apple Cranberry Pork, Steakhouse Pizza, Balsamic Strawberry Chicken Pizza, and the Vegetable Chicken Skillet. Yeah... he chose five. Fine. I add the Balsamic Strawberry Chicken Pizza to my favorites too.

Oh, and go Cougars!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September: Pizza, Bread and Soup

So, in previous months I've had some "Never will make again" things that we've made. But not in September! This actually has been a great month for food, and I'm pretty excited to talk about all of it :)

Steakhouse Pizza: This has marinara, with caramelized onions, grilled steak, mozzarella cheese and finished with barbecue sauce. Yummmmmm. (Source: Pioneer Woman)
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough: Okay, this didn’t use just 100% whole wheat flour, it was half whole wheat, but I thought the crust was just as good as any other crust I’ve had, so I think I’ll be using this one from now on. (Source: Macaroni and Cheesecake)
Grilled Vegetable Pizza: This was out of this world amazing. I used the whole wheat pizza crust, and then it was topped with pesto, grilled zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes (instead of bell peppers), with goat cheese and parmesan on top. Oh my heavens, it was an absolutely delicious combination of flavors and textures. And I’ve made it at least 5 times this month...and Matthew hasn’t touched it with a 10 foot long pole. ha. (Source: Pioneer Woman)
French Baguettes: A real French baguette is perfectly crispy on the outside and perfectly soft on the inside. Basically, it’s perfect. Well, this didn’t quite achieve a level of baguette perfection, but it was pretty close. And I image if you had a bread/pizza stone, it would have been there. As it was, it was still very good, and took between 45-60 minutes of active labor time over the course of 24 hours to make it. (Source: Annie's Eats)
Broccoli, Leek and Potato Soup: The one thing I am excited about for cooler weather is soups. I love soups, and am souper (hahaha…) stoked to make a bunch. This one pureed broccoli, leeks and potatoes into a smooth, silky soup, with roasted potato chunks  interspersed. Very good, and lots’o’vegetables all around. (Source: Crepes of Wrath)
Caraway Rye Rolls: These were nice and dense, but not hard, had a good taste, and had a great texture for sopping up broth. Basically, very good. (Source: Grains Cookbook from my SIL)
Tortellini Sausage Soup: Delicious. Great blend of spices, good amounts of meat, a fun mixture of vegetables (carrots/zucchini/onion), the pasta gave it some good texture. Matthew even loved it enough to take to school for lunch the next day, which is saying something (he’s usually not a soup guy.) (Source: Our Best Bites)
Balsamic Strawberry Pizza with Bacon, Chicken and Onions: Guys. I finally, finally achieved cooking perfection, at least in Matthew’s eyes. I’m pretty sure that this is the first thing that he’s given a 10/10 score to, which is a pretty big deal. Here’s what it was: reduced balsamic vinegar mixed with some strawberry jam gave a slightly sweet yet tangy base. Savory cubed chicken, salty bacon chunks, and slightly caramelized onions were next, topped with some fresh mozzarella cheese and Italian seasoning. Fresh strawberry chunks are sprinkled on the top when it’s out of the oven. It is a perfect combination of sweet, salty, tangy and delicious. (Source: Pennies on a Platter)

Stay tuned for September: Main Dishes and Desserts: tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mr. Penguin

Natalie has this big stuffed penguin that she loves to play with. It just cracks me up cuz it is almost as big as her.
And when I say play, what I really mean is suck on the ball on the end of the penguin's hat.


In the Book of Mormon, different prophets talk about the importance of remembering the commandments and the Lord's covenants. Lots of General Authorities today about how important it is to remember. Both ancient and modern prophets have gotten after the people because they are so quick to forget. Recently though, I've realized that the propagation of the human race is probably very dependent on our ability to forget.

I didn't have a particularly awful pregnancy, but it certainly wasn't a walk in the park. Actually, no there were a lot of really not awesome aspects of it. Delivery was fine. But recovery, oh recovery was the worst! I had absolutely no idea how bad the four weeks after delivery were going to be and it was so difficult on so many levels. During the first week after giving birth I remember thinking, like all the time "This is awful. I am NEVER doing this again. Ever."


So yeah, growing and bearing children isn't the easiest thing.

But wait, six months down the road, I'm thinking: hey let's have another baby! Right now! It'll be so fun! At which point Matthew promptly slaps me across the face and says no! (Parts of that last sentence may or may not be true.) Also, about a month ago I was absolutely convinced that I was pregnant, so much so that I took the extra pregnancy test I had. (It was negative.)

The point is, once it was over and removed a few months from me, the reality of what it was like to bear a child is just a distant wisp of a memory. It really wasn't that bad at all! I would totally do it again. Especially for a cute little teeny, tiny baby. And of course, a sweet baby is definitely worth the pain and everything. But if I could completely and accurately remember the hard parts, I would probably be more hesitant.

And that is why, even though it can be bad for our spiritual progression, it is important that we are inherently forgetful creatures, so we can propagate the human race. Because if we aren't fresh from experiencing something, it is much easier to forget the challenges. And that is why I am thinking about how I want another baby. Matthew will never know if I just toss this package of BC pills...

Monday, September 26, 2011

season of the year and seasons of the baby

I don't know what it is about people, but tons of people in my blog roll (mostly the foodies I think) are super excited for summer to end and for fall to start. What? I don't know about you, but I love summer. LOVE it. No, I don't love 95 or 100 degree days and heat that makes you feel that you're going to melt, but I really, really, really dislike being cold.  And okay, fall is okay, the slightly cool whether can be okay, pumpkin and apple themed food is okay, and the changing of the leaves is pretty. But... fall means that winter is just around the corner. I just have a hard time being functional when I'm cold or chilly. No bueno.

Also, we've been working on helping Natalie go to bed earlier (she'd been going to bed between 10-12), and also trying to help her learn to go to sleep without needing to be swung in her carseat. For weeks, maybe even a couple of months, she's needed to be swung. Mostly Matthew does this, because she is super heavy and he is super buff, but I've done it enough that I've built up some legit muscles. Maybe sometime I'll post a picture.

In the last week and a half though, the stars aligned and she started going to bed earlier, between 8:30-9:30pm. Which means that we can go to bed earlier too, which also is nothing short of a miracle. I'm definitely a night person, and I just have a hard time making myself go to bed sometimes. However, it is really nice to wake up with Matthew and see him for 20-30 minutes in the morning before he leaves to go student teach, and then I can also get some things done before Natalie wakes up, which makes me feel super productive, and take a shower early, which also helps me feel alive. So it's basically a win-win-win. And, she's started to be able to self-entertain (read: go after the computer cord, pens, paper, remote controls...), which means that she is happy, smiley and cute all by herself and I don't have to spend 97% of my time holding her. Win-win-win-win.

Also, BYU probably won this weekend because this cute little girl was cheering for them:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The new version of Blogger these days gives all sorts of interesting tidbits about who, what, where, when, why and how people view my blog.

What Matthew and I thought was the funniest thing was we have gotten a lot of hits to this post via Google images. If you need a refresher, that particular post we used a picture of Saul on the road to Damascus to help round-about-ly announce that I was pregnant. That post, or at least the picture from it, was viewed many times after people googled:
saul on road to damascus
saul on the road to damascus
byu road to damascus
on the road to damascus
pictures saul damascus
... and the list goes on. Apparently that picture photograph is a big deal.

Also, there is *almost* an equal divide in the browsers people use between Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome. Seriously? People still use Explorer? No offense if you do, but I absolutely hate internet explorer. It drives me nuts. I extremely dislike that when you click on a link it opens a new window instead of a new tab. I also hate all the popups it has when you enter or leave a secure site (like BYU). I really dislike that it doesn't have a dropdown memory of sites you've visited before. Of course, this is just my own personal opinion. More power to you if you are one of those that do use it and like it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Sooo.... Natalie's 6 month birthday was yesterday, so I will disclose that we did in fact have a little party for her. The 20  minutes of singing happy birthday, eating these dulce de leche cupcakes, opening a little present, and writing in her baby book were actually very exciting :)
 Please notice how awesome she is at sitting up now

 No, she couldn't open the wrapping herself. But she had a good time trying.
"Does this shirt make me look chubby?"

We love our little girl. She makes us so happy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


While doing family history, I've come across many a name that give celebrity names such as "Apple" a run for their money. Although, they are French Canadians, so maybe that's just the way they roll in Quebec. Here are a few:

First names:
Dieudonné: God's gift
Louis L'Ange: Louis the Angel

Last names:
Papillon: Butterfly
L'Heureux: The Happy

I think my favorites are Papillon, because who wouldn't want Butterfly to be their last name, and Louis L'Ange, since Louis is a boy's name, and you don't really think of Angel as something you name a boy. Unless you're a vampire, I suppose, then it's totally legit.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sleep Talking

Coming into the bedroom where Matthew has been napping...

Me: Hey Matthew

Him: (Rolling over, very groggy) I've already learned a lot.

Me: (Chuckling) Oh really, what have you learned?

Him: (Still groggy) Don't go in a room with a person with the same name as you.

Me: (how long can I get him to keep talking?) Oh? Why not?

Him: Because it overshadows them.

And there you go, folks.  haha.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Part Three: Candid/Action

We think this picture (above) is like she's having a fun conversation with someone "And then I was saying..."
Thanks to our friends for taking some pictures and to y'all for looking at them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

dommage fromage

We interrupt the baby pictures for something very important:

I just used the last of my parmesan cheese. It's kind of a big deal. I have to have parmesan. We'll probably go out to buy some more in an hour.

Also, I have goat cheese in the fridge. Really excited about the possibilities for that.

Have I ever told you about one of the most divine things I ate in France? It was a tomato-goat cheese panini and it was to die for. The only sad part of this story is that I discovered it just 3-ish weeks before the end of the program.

One last thing. Do you want to know what is so insanely simple yet so delightfully delicious? Peaches in milk. Cut up a peach in a bowl, add in some milk, and a tablespoon or two or three of sugar (depending on how sweet you want it).  My grandparents showed it to me yesterday after I finished canning peaches with them and all I have to say is that if you eat it slowly and you have a nice, ripe, juicy peach, after a while the milk gets all peachy and you just float along on a fluffy cloud of peachy heavenliness.

Monday, September 12, 2011