Friday, October 31, 2008

On Second Thought...

Perhaps, just maybe, I will create a private blog; one to which only people I like can read and leave comments. Because the blog is, truthfully, a really great way to stay in touch with my family and friends.

I just really don't like opening up my computer and receiving nasty anti-Mormon comments or aggressive belittling by radical feminists. For a while I was telling myself that I was being a baby for letting those things get to me, and that everyone was entitled to their own opinion and that I was a weakling if I allowed those types of things to bother me.

Someone once wrote (I think it was The Yarn Harlot) that a blog is like stepping into someone's living room--if you wouldn't say it in that person's living room with them standing there, then it's inappropriate to leave it as a comment on their blog. I like that thought.

So perhaps a private blog is on the horizon. I will make the decision sometime in November.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Throwing in the Towel

Apparently, I offend a lot of people with my thoughts and opinions.

I also receive a lot of comments that hurt my feelings.

Therefore, I've made the decision to be done with blogging. It's just not worth the drama.

Thank you to my regular readers, it's been fun. I wish you all the best.

Monday, October 27, 2008

You Can't Get a Man with a Gun

(I'm not sure that I really do want to post this, but I've been warned about the repercussions of a decision to keep the video to myself by multiple acquaintances...and for the record, mine took longer to upload, that's why Bluebird's went up so much sooner!) :)

So alright, here you go: Mrs. Brooke in concert, making a fool of herself in a public setting. Enjoy. (Sorry about the picture quality...we make do with what we've got.)

All in all, it went well. There was nothing horrifically wrong with it, but I'm not pleased with it either. (But that's not a big deal, I've only been truly pleased with my performance on two occasions in my life.) I couldn't get my voice to sit where I wanted it to, and so I'm mad about that.

You like the wig? I realized that I missed having long hair when I put it on. Unfortunately, it appears that many people in my ward failed to realize that it was me singing on stage because Mr. Brooke was walking through the crowd after my performance and overheard comments like, "That red-headed girl did a really good job, what was her name again?" Ha ha ha. I don't suppose I'll be getting much feedback on this from my neighbors! Too funny.

Bluebird's singing was too cute. Mr. Brooke was so caught in watching her performance and feeling all the fatherly pride associated with such an event that he forgot to turn the camera on until the last verse. (Isn't that just one of the sweetest things? Awwwwww...)

So there you go. Oh, and for the record--bright red hair + Mrs. Brooke = not so cute. Blech.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Having a broken refrigerator really messed up last week's dinner plans. And everything perishable that I had (obviously) went bad, so I have to start all over again in amassing condiments...booger.

Oh well.

Saturday: Spiced Pumpkin Soup*, Three Bean Salad, Cheesy Potato Bread* (I was really looking forward to this last week, but it just wasn't its time to appear on our table, I suppose. So I'm recycling it this week.)
Treat: Pumpkin Bars--also didn't get made last week due to lack of edible eggs, cream cheese and butter.

Sunday: Bow Ties with Spicy Chicken Bits & Broccoli, Mixed Vegetables, Fruit & Pasta Salad*, Rice Pilaf

Monday: Vietnamese Lettuce Rolls with Spicy Grilled Tofu* (I just got a new cookbook!), Spicy Green Beans*, White Corn & Baby Pea Salad*, White Rice
FHE Treat: Cupcakes from a box, decorated with autumn leaf stencils and sprinkles

Tuesday: Grilled (actually, Broiled) Salmon with Mango-Coconut Salsa* (doesn't that sound just so unbelievably good?!?), Green Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing, White Dinner Rolls

Wednesday: Spaghetti, Peas & Carrots, Tabbouleh*, Rosemary Bread
Dessert: Caramel-Pecan Pumpkin Pie* (I am going to make this. Someday. I really am.)

* = new recipe

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Red Wig and a Pair of Cowboy Boots

Goodness gracious, I must have lost my mind. My return to the stage happens tonight.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Dare You to Ask Me How My Day Went...

  • I woke up late--to the sound of someone knocking on the door, actually. I forgot that I was watching someone's kids before they went to school this morning, and had to greet them in my pajamas.
  • I got my act together and even started doing some laundry--but then forgot to actually close the washing machine's lid, so the clothes just sat in water for a very long time.
  • I had a genius-level idea suddenly jump to the front of the sparkling stage of my mind, so the girls and I went out to run some errands and pick up some things to help with my extraordinary idea--but then Bluebird pulled a complete, all-out scream-fest at OfficeMax and so we left in a bit of a hurry.
  • When I was making lunch, I noticed a puddle of water on the floor by the fridge and opened the freezer door to find rivulets of water running down its walls and everything inside in a thawing, dripping state.
  • Mr. Brooke came home early to attend to the freezer, figured out what parts he needed and asked for the debit card so he could buy supplies at the store--but my wallet was nowhere to be found; not in my purse, not in any of my purchase bags, not in the van, not in the diaper bag, not anywhere. And then I remembered that the last place I saw it was at OfficeMax.
  • I phoned OfficeMax and talked to one of the slowest women in the world. She informed me that she had personally brought the carts in from the parking lot herself and that there were no abandoned wallets at their store.
  • Mr. Brooke drove to the OfficeMax to look around himself, but came up with nothing; he also experienced the pleasure of talking to aforementioned sales associate with the exact same outcome.
  • I cancelled my debit card, tried (unsuccessfully) to cancel Mr. Brooke's credit card and had a heart attack thinking about what could happen should someone get a hold of my temple recommend, which was sitting in my wallet awaiting my planned trip to the temple this evening.
  • I made a temple recommend interview and phoned the Provo Temple to alert them that my recommend might be in the wrong hands.
  • Mr. Brooke came home from the store and had bought the wrong-sized thing to fix the freezer.
  • I phoned my Relief Society President to find out if anyone needed food because you can't re-freeze stuff that's already been frozen and has thawed out. She phoned around, but no one was home, so she said she'd take my Costco bag of chicken. I was also able to alleviate some of our foodstuffs to two other neighbors, who enjoyed my hamburger patties, homemade soup and bags of frozen vegetables for their dinners tonight.
  • When popsicles and ice cream melt in a freezer, they don't stay in their containers.
  • The manager of OfficeMax phoned me to say that he saw my wallet in their safe and was wondering if I knew that I had lost it.
  • Since we had to drive to OfficeMax for the third time today and also return to the home improvement store, we decided to just eat out.
  • The part that needs replacing in our freezer--it's a specialty size that you can only get from the manufacturer, and thus not carried by any home improvement store in the entire world.
  • The Southwestern salad that I ate at McDonald's was partially frozen.
  • When we got home, we realized that it wasn't just the freezer that was broken.
  • I just went grocery shopping last night.
  • All my dairy products are now in a cooler on my back deck. (Thank you Heavenly Father for the recent cold snap we've been experiencing.)
  • The rest of the stuff that I could not part with is in my neighbor's fridge.
  • The refrigerator repair man can't come out until next Wednesday.
  • I will probably be tackled the next time I go to the temple.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Garden-fresh Corn

I've never grown corn before, so I'm monstrously pleased that something actually grew on the thirteen waving stalks in my garden, even if they didn't fill in all the way.

I think I picked them too late, as they were a little gummy. I'm told that this happens when they start to turn into starch. Live and learn.

I grew that. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Monday, October 13, 2008

This Week's Meals

Monday: Potato Soup*, Broccoli, Wheat Rolls
FHE Treat: Zucchini Bread

Tuesday: Steak with Sweet Pepper Sauce*, Baked Potatoes, Cranberry Raspberry Spinach Salad*, Rye Rolls

Wednesday: Fettuccine Alfredo, Glazed Carrots, Salad with Apples, Pecans and Buttermilk-Honey Dressing, Focaccia*
Dessert: Caramel-Pecan Pumpkin Pie*

Thursday: Thai Chicken Stir-Fry, Spicy Green Beans*, Fruit Salad, Coconut Rice

Friday: Chicago-Style Stuffed Pizza*, Parmesan Zucchini, Green Salad, Breadsticks

Saturday: Spiced Pumpkin Soup*, Three Bean Salad, Cheesy Potato Bread*
Treat: Pumpkin Bars*

Sunday: Easy Dumpling Bake, Roasted Winter Root Vegetables, Waldorf Salad*, Sweet Potato Rolls*

* = new recipe

And I've decided that I need more than just 21 recipes each in the sides categories--it's starting to get repetitive already. 28 minimum, I guess.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Perfect Mouse

I was downstairs when I heard a slight commotion in the upstairs living room, so I hastened up the stairs to the sounds of some slight struggling on Little Lamb's behalf. Bluebird jumped away from her and exclaimed, "Now we have a perfect mouse!"

The Flutter Dance

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Painting Complete!

Conference Saturday is Mr. Brooke's "Project Day." This Conference, he chose to paint the girls' room.
Look at that man work. And look at that eye-searing color. Believe it or not, this orange was a welcomed compromise compared to what the girls choose as their original color.

It's exciting to watch paint dry when it's your room that the paint is drying in.

Drumroll, please...
I like it.

And I forgot to show y'all the bedding when it arrived:
Bluebird and Rabbit's bedding.

Little Lamb's crib bedding.

How unbelievably cute is it that all the bedding matches? I love this room makeover for that fact alone.

Overall, I like the paint color. It's bright and happy and not too obnoxious (when you consider that the room is painted orange).

Next up: The girls are going to paint their own wall art. I'd like to paint the crib white and Mr. Brooke is going to make bunk beds at some point. (The bunk beds might actually wait until Little Lamb moves out of the crib when she's two years old and Bluebird moves into her own room.)

Photo Shoot:
Sisters at Home

Peach Butter

4-4.5 lbs peaches
4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  1. Wash and blanch peaches. Put peaches in cold water. Peel, pit and slice peaches. Combine peaches and 1/2 cup water in saucepot. Simmer until peaches are soft. Puree in food processor.
  2. Combine peach puree, sugar and spices in a large saucepot. Cook until thick enough to round up on a spoon. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes (20 for Spanish Fork) in a boiling-water canner.

For a couple of years when I was a young girl, someone in my family made apple butter and gave us a couple jars. I absolutely fell in love with fruit butters then. This was my first time attempting to re-create some of the magic on my own and I'm very pleased with the results. This peach butter has great flavor and the spices make it absolutely wonderful.

Recipe Review:
Bowties with Spicy Chicken Bits & Broccoli

I figure, what with trying new recipes every week, that I might review some of them for your culinary pleasure. :)

This week's "Try Something New Tuesday" recipe was Bowties with Spicy Chicken Bits & Broccoli from The Joy of Cooking.

Recipe modifications: I didn't add the olives or capers because I didn't buy any. And I hate olives. I also used canned tomato sauce instead of the tomato puree that the recipe called for.

Preparation: Easy. Which says a lot for a Joy recipe. In fact, I picked this recipe to try simply because I was so surprised to see a recipe in that cookbook that said it was quick to make.

First bite: Uh, hello...taste? Pass the salt please.

Second bite: Oh, hey, that's not bad.

Overall impression: Hmmm, not bad at all. And easy to make. Great for leftovers.

Staying in the recipe card file? Yep.

Sidenote: Just a touch too spicy/warm for the kiddos--halve the pepper and I think it would be absolutely fine for them.

Monday, October 6, 2008

This Week's Menu

Monday: Zucchini Casserole*, Corn on the cob (from the garden!), Greek Salad, Rice Pilaf
FHE Treat: Caramel Corn with Candy Corn mixed in

Tuesday: Bow Ties with Spicy Chicken Bits & Broccoli*, Mixed Vegetables, German-Style Potato Salad*, Brown Rice

Wednesday: (I'm changing it to Pasta Wednesday, as multiple members of my family now refuse to partake of the goodness that was Waffle Wednesday...I remind myself that homemaking requires flexibility...breathe, Mrs. Brooke, breathe...) Lasagna, Peas & Carrots, Caesar Salad, French Bread
Dessert: Apple Pie

Thursday: Beef Pot Roast; Squash, Pear & Onion au Gratin*; Apple Rice Salad*; Buttermilk Biscuits

Friday: BBQ Chicken Pizza*, Sugar Snap Peas with Orange-Ginger Butter*, Green Salad with Creamy Dressing

Saturday: White Bean Soup with Pasta & Rosemary Oil*, Marinated Cucumbers, Rustic Italian Bread
Cookie: Snickerdoodles

Sunday: Chicken & Dumplings, Mashed Potatoes, Green Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

* = new recipe (While we get used to the new "rules" regarding vegetables and side dishes, there will be lots of new recipes in those particular categories!)

Things Learned from this Leg of the Journey

  1. Anger isn't a bad thing; it's an internal warning light that tells me something is wrong. Ignoring it doesn't make me a stronger or more virtuous person; in fact, by repressing anger (in the name of the seven deadly sins), I've actually allowed certain situations to escalate and hurt me even more than if I had just recognized the anger for what it was and done something to diffuse the situation from the beginning.
  2. I do not have to settle for second-best relationships. If someone is habitually mean to me or treats me poorly, I have a right to withdraw from that relationship.
  3. Nobody will fix my problems for me. That's my job and I'm the only one who can do it.
  4. Most problems can be fixed by simply talking about them with the person they involve; or by talking about the problem with someone completely unrelated to the problem, if only to hear yourself talk about it out loud or get another perspective about how to fix the problem from someone who isn't biased.
  5. My husband wholly and completely loves me; and if I were to completely and literally go off the deep end, he'd stick with me.
  6. Relationships are worth missing a couple hours' worth of sleep every now and then.
  7. Yelling at a child until they submit does not make them respect me or even score me a point in the "teaching obedience" category; it makes them afraid of me and very confused about the concepts of love and parental protection.
  8. I will not have a happy childhood. I can't fix that. The only positive outcome for the situation is to take satisfaction in the fact that those sorts of things ended with my childhood and that I am not going to perpetuate the cycle of abuse and neglect. My children will have it much better.
  9. I am not perfect and I will probably yell at my children in the future. But I will apologize for my actions and teach them that it's not right for parents to yell at their children and that they are completely valid in being angry when it happens.
  10. It's better to nip a problem in the bud and risk a child hating you, than to let a problem grow because you're afraid that the child might hate you should you intervene.
  11. Any type of abuse (substance, verbal, emotional, psychological, physical, etc.) is never sanctioned, no matter how hard someone's life has been or what problems they are facing.
  12. If I can't imagine a person living their life without alcohol, they're probably an alcoholic; no matter what they happen to think about their alcohol consumption.
  13. I can't make someone "see the light." That's something they get to do on their own. It is not my responsibility to make someone else see their problems. (I've also learned that trying to force someone to see something usually just doubly reinforces their denial of the problem.)
  14. I am allowed to be happy and pleased with my life. I do not owe anyone anything, nor do I have to feel guilty about what I have.
  15. I am unbelievably lovable and wonderful, and people who can't see that are missing out because I'm an awesome person to be around.
  16. I have control over where my life goes and how it turns out.
  17. I can't control my childrens' lives.
  18. If something makes me uncomfortable, it's OK to say so.
  19. People, in general, aren't nearly as judgmental and spiteful as I've always believed them to be.
  20. There are people who love me no matter who I was or who I am or who I'm going to be. Normal love is unconditional; love is warped or broken when it's withdrawn because I disappointed someone or failed to rise to their expectations.
  21. I am not responsible for anyone else's happiness.
  22. Do not confront someone when I'm angry.
  23. If someone denies that there is a problem, don't try to show them that there is a problem; they're not ready to deal with it. I just need to work through what I can work through without them and wait for them to wise up later on down the road and then we can do the rest of the work together. Two people rarely arrive at the same spot at the exact same time.
  24. If someone belittles a feeling I'm having or puts me down for being sad or emotional, I need to write them off as a jerk and make a mental note to not share things of an emotional nature with them in the future.
  25. But, in general, most people want to be there for me when I'm feeling blue and I have a lot of people who care about me and who are ready to listen when I need to cry.
  26. I had a tough childhood, catastrophic teen years and a challenging young adulthood. That doesn't mean that the rest of my life has to be negative in scope as well. By changing the way I deal with things and people (even if it means cutting certain things and people out of my life), I have the ability to stop a lot of the negativity and give my life a positive turn for the better.