Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Tradition

I recently had a request from a friend of mine to share my favorite Thanksgiving tradition recipie. So I decided to do so, publicly, in the true Pioneer Woman fashion. Through pictures. Now, I love my camera but as of yet have not been able to afford to purchase a macro lens so I'm not able to get quite as artsy fartsy as she does but I'm learning the ropes. Andrea, I hope this helps!

Now, this recipie is one of those that has some "personal preferences" so I would say- feel free to take some liberties and taste along the way (you'll be glad you did- yum!) to make sure it's the way you like it.
First our "cast of characters" as Ree says;

This is for the sauce-

*5 tablespoons of butter
*5 tablespoons of flour
*1 cup brown Sugar
*1 cup water
*1/2 cup corn syrup
*1 teaspoon salt (yes- I have salt for life. Can you tell I shop at Sam's?)

Also, obviously, the sweet potatoes. I just didn't include them in the pic. SORRY!

So, you've got your butter

Melt it in a saucepan and add the 5 tablespoons of flour. (funny story- when I first inherited this recipie from my mom I somehow ended up with teaspoons instead of tablespoons- didn't work too very well.)
Just as it sarts getting bubbly you add the rest of the sauce ingredients.
We've got the brown sugar, salt, corn syrup and water. Now stir and let it simmer a while.
Stir it pretty regularly- it will start to thicken the longer it simmers. This is a dangerous stage of the process for a couple of reasons. You want to make sure that all of the sugar dissolves- sometimes this requires tasting. This is dangerous for two reasons.

1) it is very tasty and very addictive. One might not make it to the rest of the steps if one has little will power... like me!

2) it is very HOT! Yes, I've learned this the hard way. When something is that tasty it is often very difficult to restrain oneself from tasting a bit prematurely. :)

NEXT... the sweet potatoes. First Peel, then chop.
How many? It depends on how many you need. We had a fairly small group this year- just two families so we used only about 1 1/2 large potatoes. Just enough to fill my casserole dish.

Next Boil the Potatoes. OH! Don't forget.... you are still simmering the sauce. Make sure to check on it regularly. I only say that because I have a tendancy to NOT check on things.

Poke the potatoes and when they are evenly soft all the way through but still hold thier shape, drain the water.

Place the sliced potatoes in the base of a dish. The size just depends on how many people you're feeding. I probably could have fit more in or cut the slices thicker. Oh well, I always have to pick on my cooking.

By now the sauce should be thickened up. Though you might want to taste it one more time just to make sure. ::wink wink::

Pour the sauce over top of the cooked potatoes. I only ended up needing about half the sauce I made. It just depends on how much you decided to make.

Fill till it just covers the potatoes. Then bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes. Now it gets really good...

Top with marshmallows and return to oven. Set oven to broil and let the marshmallows get all nice and toasty brown on top. Then...Eat up!!

Wait a sec! I didn't even get my finished product photo before it started to disappear. Ah well... I guess that's a compliment to the cook right?
Now if I could just figure out... does this count as a veggie? a side dish? or a dessert?

Orange Soda Jacuzzi

This is my cousin David... he is insane!!! But also very awsome. He's the one on the right in the interview.


Monday, November 24, 2008


Well, today was the first day of "real" snow. We had snow about a week or so back but it was late at night and melted the next day so we never really got to play.

Finally, Zach has had his first experience with snow!

He did see snow last winter but he was so little that mom kept him bundled up and hidden away the whole time. This year he has his own snow suit and everything. We are really looking forward to more fun in the snow.

It's true he was a bit apprehensive at first. He just sat quietly, hovering his hand over the snow, not quite daring to touch. Then he started to flick it. Then he patted it. Then he was done.

He stuck his hands straight up in the air and grunted till mom finally rescued him from the cold sticky white stuff. We'll have to play again later, maybe he'll be a little less nervous next time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Zach crawling

Here is Zach actually crawling, pretty amazing...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big News!

It's happened! Finally, after months of practice and many a frustrated grunt...the long awaited moment has arrived... Zack Crawled!!! He took a good 4-5 mini-"steps" before dropping to the ground for his usual rolling method. It was even completely without my coaxing. He was sitting... and then... he was crawling. All on his own! Yay!!!

My hope is that this will welcome in a new era of independence where-in Mom (that would be me) is no longer deemed the preferred method of transportation. A time in which Zach moves about happily and without the frustrations of his current limited mobility.

As excited as I am, I also have that little glint of nervousness. With increased mobility comes increased ability. Uh Oh! We've gotten a lot closer to being baby proof lately but it's not completely there. I'd better get on that ASAP!

Here's Zach and his buddy AJ enjoying some toy story- as usual! AJ as you can see has mobility mastered. We keep hoping it'll rub off on Zach- maybe it's finally working!

Other news- we had our first "real" snowfall on Monday. Of course, the whole state completley FREAKED OUT! Suddenly cars are flying off the roads, 6 car pile ups are on every major roadway, and crazies are swerving all over the road because they tried to speed past one of the few people trying to drive SAFE!

It has since melted, but it made for a nice adventure and Jason and I made the trek home from our places of work. Zach hasn't yet had the opportunity to play in the snow- I'm waiting for a good snowfall so we can go make snowballs.

I can promise you this, there will be plenty of pictures posted here to commemorate the occasion when it finally arrives. - I'll also be keeping the camera handy to try to catch the crawling so I can share it with all of you so keep watching for it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Zach falling asleep.

We watched some of our friends kids today and Zach wanted to skip his nap so he could stay awake and play with them. This is the result...

P.S. This is all went down after mom went to Relief Society and left Zach home with dad. He just really wanted to stay awake and play with dad even after his friends had gone home.

Zach sleeping..... the best time of the day

Zach sleeping in his highchair.

Here is Zach in his usual sleeping position. He sticks out whatever appendage he can out of his crib hoping mom and dad will come and rescue him.

This is the first time he fell asleep on his own. It had been a long day and he just tipped over and went to sleep. It was a momentous occasion.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Poor Zach, His mom wants him to be cool.

Unfortunately, I think it is going to turn into a "popped collar" cool. Not my idea of masculine

Monday, November 10, 2008

6 Quirks

I was tagged by Kim a Loooooooong time ago and have failed miserably at continuing this tag. To be honest, I was a little stumped though. This tag was to list 6 quirks about myself- then tag 6 people. Sorry Kim but I was brainstorming. But I thought it might be kinda fun to see if anyone had some ideas for me. Whoever out there actually reads my blog, whoever out there know me best. What do you see as my quirks?

Here's what I've come up with.

1)ADD- I'm not officially diagnosed or anything. But I did a test online where if you had more that 7 indicators you were "probably" ADD- I had 28. My co-workers will attest to my ability to start one thing and halfway through head out into a completely different direction. Almost to the point of not even finishing my sentences. You should see me attempting to clean the living room, I mean kitchen, or was it bathroom... what are we talking about?

2)I don't do Dates- I mean I love GOING on dates. I just don't keep track of dates well. I did terrible in history class. I would memorize and memorize and memorize and the next day I wouldn't be able to tell you if the constitution was written in 1823 or 1954. And yes, as terrible as this is- it translates to birthdays as well (and other important relationship milestones-ooops). Those reading this... I love you all... I just probably won't remember. I'll be honest- so please remind me.

3)I have no concept of time- none at all. Maybe it's related to my issues with dates as well. Maybe the spacial reasoning section of my brain shorted out on me as a kid or something. If there's not a timer going, whatever I have on the stove WILL BURN! (heck it's probably going to burn regardless- who'm I kidding)

4)I sing with the radio- ALWAYS! Do you remember that old reality show where they put hidden cameras in people's cars to catch them singing. I would TOTALLY win! I sing even when people are with me but you should see, or I guess we should say hear, what happens when I'm alone. It's not pretty- I can tell you that much right now.

5)I sleep crooked. This drives Jason crazy but I MUST sleep at a nearly 45 degree angle on the bed with my head toward the top right and my feet toward the bottom left. If I try to sleep straight I feel like I'm falling backwards. Crazy, I know. Doesn't make sense, I know. Maybe it's the magnetic polarity of the boxsprings? Ha!

6)I hate chalkboards- worse than pretty much anything. I can't touch them. I can't write on them. I'd rather not be anywhere near them. They are horrible! Even just thinking about a chalkboard makes my fingertips tingle and my teeth itch and my ears ache. :::cringe::: Can we make a law prohibiting the use of chalkboards? Sure, there will be bootleggers- and underground. They can have them!

Wow, I did come up with 6- good for me... I guess. Really, that just means I truley am strange. Anybody know any other funny quirks of mine? Please comment below...

Oh and Tag to Melissa, Andrea, Gretchen, Creed (lol- ought to be good), Julie and Becky- sorry guys but I expect some good stuff from you. :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Zach, the TV addict

Here's Zach watching Baby Einstien. He has actually gotten so that he recognizes the characters and what order things happen in. He even recognizes that when the "BLUE" section starts it's almost over- he's not very fond of the "blue" section. :( You can tell the parts that he's excited about because he starts to jump. He really gets moving when the sunburned zebras come out. Like he somehow understands how funny a sunburned zebra is!

I know- TV as babysitter- bad parenting! But at least he's getting some exercise along with it right? I do try to limit the TV watching. We only turn to Baby Einstien when mom is pulling her hair out. When weighing the pros and cons I figure my sanity must weigh in as a pretty important factor right?

I also try to somehow convince myself that my child's uncanny ability to remain glued to the TV is somehow a talent. Like maybe his ability to focus somehow translates to his future possibility of becoming a surgeon or something equally fantastic.

Ahh... the silly musings of an especially biased mother.

Zach's new haircut

Dad gave Zach a haircut. Mom wasn't too impresed. I think it looks pretty good for doing it on an unassisted, cranky, squirming 10 month old.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zach's Favorite!

So, I was doing dishes the other day while Jason and Zach were watching... I don't remember, probably Toy Story as usual. As I finished I stepped back into the living room and THIS is what I found.

Awwwww.... look at that face. He is so excited! The best part was that I watched as he chomped on the one Twizzler while carefully taking the others from the package one at a time. I could just see him saying to himself, "Hmmm...I'll take this one... and this one.... and this one."

Zoo trip!

OK, OK, so these are a bit old- I've been slacking. Anyway....

The day before Halloween a bunch of gals from my ward got together for a trip to the Zoo. Because of my schedule, I usually can't join in on a lot of the activities they participate in so I was really excited to be able to join in this time. I think there were actually nine of us there. All with kids. It's fun because the kids seem to come in groups. There's the older ones- who I actually teach in primary. (it's funny to hear one's self referred to as "Sister Gundersen" while at the zoo.)

Then there's the younger generation- as seen in the strollers. Check out those Hot Mommas! Man, are we stylin with our shades or what? I think there were actually nine of us in all. And, here's a cute pic of Zach and his buddy AJ being very enthralled by the scenery as we rode the Zoo train for the 1st time.

Train Ride

We're having a little bit of a flash back period here. I've had some fun pictures recently that I haven't had the opportunity to share. That translates to, I haven't had the time. SORRY! Anyway, here are some from riding the train. I think this was actually the day before Halloween.

Zach and his friend AJ were so excited. Try as I might, I could not get Zach's attention.It was pretty funny to watch him shake his head back and forth as he tried to follow the trees as they flew by us. Kim finally did succeed though.

AJ was pretty excited as well. I was pretty impressed by Kim's crack shot photography. She was actually taking the pictures blind! Well done!

Aren't trains Coooool!?!?!

RAW in Photoshop

This is my first experiment with RAW photography. Truthfully, it was completely by accident. Jason was messing with the settings on the camera and mistakenly switched it to RAW format without realizing it. This resulted in a bunch of pictures that were HUGE- this was a dilemma. However, I think I'm actually glad because it gave me a chance to do some experimenting. Here's the picture from Yesterday's post but with some color adjustments. What do you think? I think it still needs work but it's a good start don't you think. I might make RAW photos a more regular thing. Feedback anyone?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Zach's new tooth

Zach is getting a new tooth on the top. He is getting pretty excited to chew on everything.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Karlee's Memorial

I'm not going to say much in this post- I could but I guess I just really don't have the words right now. I've posted about my little sister before. Well, November 1st was the 5th anniversary of her death.
This is what I did to commemorate the occation. These flowers were taken from some of the many beautiful arrangements that were given to my family for the funeral. My husband and sister in-law helped me dry them and coat them in wax for safe keeping those years ago. I've had them wrapped in tissues in a shoe box for all this time. Finally, it was time for me to make use of them. What good were they doing in a shoe box after all?
I had a friend of mine come over today who has a lot more creative skill than I do and she helped me with the arrangement. (OK, OK- she did it- I just wish I could be that creative!) The ribbon used to tie them together is made of the same fabric as Karlee's bride's maid dress from my wedding.
I love it!!
I am so excited to be able to show this in my home. I'm so happy to have these beautiful flowers out of thier shoe box. Now I can look at it everyday and remember my sweet sister. Thank you Kim!!! Thank you so so so so so much!


We are a little behind in posting our halloween adventures. These are our pumpkins just after we carved them.

Definately creepy... what a glare!

These are our pumpkins ON Halloween. Something has eaten Jason's pumpkin's eyeball!! Ewwwww.... gross! Very halloween though right? I got a pretty big kick out of it.


I know this is a bit delayed. It is November after all. Still, we've got to show off our STASH. I know, I know, he's a bit young for trick-or-treating but I was so dang excited to show off the cutest pumpkin there ever was. Thursday, we went to the medical school and trick-or-treated around the different offices. Then on friday Jason made the rounds at the ward trunk-or-treat.
This is what we came away with.
One might say we were in it for our own personal gain. This may be true, but you would be surprised at how much this kid enjoyed it. He spent a lot of time considering which treat to pick at each spot. I think he did pretty darn good. He especially loved the suckers with thier perfect handles and "whack-ability". We have to warn guests to stay away from them because they have all been slobbered on pretty heavily.

Yep, that's HIS sucker.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Strong Femininity

Today I was privileged to read a portion of one of my favorite blogs that really got me thinking. It's American Scholar, authored by my very awesome cousin Heidi. In fact she actually helped me make a pretty big decision today. Here is my reply to the topic she brought up and a little background just to make it interesting;

It all started my senior year of high school. I was just finishing a sucessful run as the head debater on the Lincoln Douglas team. I had aspirations of being a lawyer. I had been voted "most likely to suceed" in the school newspaper. I was on top of the world when an identity crisis hit. WHAT exactly was I going to succeed AT?

Looking back I think the first catlyst was a statement my debate coach made while discussing my plans to attend BYU. "I just feel bad you're a mormon... such a waste" he mumbled. When I pressed him for more he explained that, because of my religion I was fully expected to spend my life, "barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen." I was disgusted! I was a strong, independent woman. I determined that I would prove him wrong.

So, I started college and right off the bat I met a guy. I was still determined that I would NOT become one of THOSE girls who got married right away and started popping out kids. I tried to push him away. (Looooong story for another day) Still, before long we were discussing our future and, of course, that dredged up the prophecy from my coach.

Here I was, young, strongwilled, independent, with big plans and dreams but something just didn't feel right. Something else was pulling at my heartstrings. I decided law school wasn't for me and as time went on I realized my true calling. I wanted to be a mother, and while many women can balance both- I knew I would end up sacrificing too much if I tried. I chose motherhood.

I fought it. I really did- but not because of anything anyone said to me at the time. Those words from my teacher just kept comming back to me, haunting me, making me feel like I had somehow settled. I had failed. But my heart kept telling me otherwise. I finally came to a conclusion- I could be 1 successful person. OR I could raise 4 successful children who would raise thier own sucessful children. I can actually make MORE impact as a mother.

NOW... the tie in to my cousin's blog. She spoke about the lack of equality among men and women. Specifically within the church. It makes me sad because I've heard the same sentiment from other friends of mine. Why do men hold all of the leadership positions? Why do men hold the priesthood? Why do men control everything?

But they don't! That's the thing. There may be men who think they do, or want us to think they do but it's simply not true. I see it as mostly a method of delegation. Our Father had certain tasks and roles that he needed filled here on earth. To men were given some and to women others. So, I may not sit on the stand as a member of the bishopric. That doesn't mean that they are superior to me in any way. They just have a different role to fill.

I can see where the concern for equality comes from. There are many men who to take a position of unrighteous dominion over the women in thier lives. They claim to "wear the pants" or "lay down the law" but that's not how a marriage should be and doesn't reflect the true plan that God made for us. There is a lot of growth that needs to happen to help create equality among men and women. I think my concern is that in fighting for equality, we as women will lose sight of what makes us truly special.

It seems to me that we have begun to flip to the oposite end of the issue. In the past women were looked down upon for wanting to pursue careers. Even now, there are many fields that try to discourage women from entering them. However, I've seen an alarming trend as of late that now the woman who chooses to stay home with her children is now the "poor soul", "Such a waste". I stand on the edge of becoming just that and for some reason I feel guilty? Like I'm somehow lowering myself to become JUST a houswife. This is equally disturbing if not more so than the segregation of years past.

I am a mother, and yet I am strong. I chose home over career, and yet I am not submissive. I sew halloween costumes, I puree carrots, I read bedtime stories and yet I do not see myself as on my knees or silent. I AM "the most likely to succeed" after all. :) My husband and I ARE equals. In fact, he may even try to put me on a pedastal at times but truly we walk hand in hand.

We have different roles, it's true, but things would probably break down into chaos if we started overlapping. One washes, One dries the dishes. How effective would we be if both of us washed and niether dried or vice versa. Or, as Ben Franklin said. It's like having two of the same side of scissors. You need the opposing pieces to create function.

I am proud to be a woman. I am proud of my femininity. I am proud of the choices I've made. I know I have a Heavenly Father AND a Heavenly Mother. I know our differences are what make us strong and I just hope that one day our society can find a balance where men and women can be equal yet different and be OK with it.

Thank you... and Good Night. :)