Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What i-tunes says about me

Everytime you plug your i-pod into your computer it updates what you have listened to and adds any new songs you may have added to your playlists etc... One of the most interesting things it does is it tells you how many times you have listened to certain songs. I looked at these numbers in our music library and it was quite revealing. One thing that is painfully obvious is that my own personal tastes are not reflected in my i-pod. It is full of the kids music and Alan's crazy old fashioned country music that I hate. Sure, there are plenty of songs on there that I love - but I don't think I get to listen to them very often.

We have about 1200 songs on our i-pod. We are using about 10gb of our 60 that are available. We only have one movie on there and that takes up about 1/3rd of the space that we have used. I can not even imagine what we would have to load on there to use up all of that memory. Of those 1200 songs - only 75 of them were purchased on i-tunes - the rest came from our cd collection that took me at least a week to load up. Twelve hundred songs is a lot - it is roughly three days and four hours worth of songs. According to i-tunes - in the 15 months we have had this i-pod- some of those songs have not been listened to yet - but some of them have been listened to alot.

Here is how it all breaks down in order of how many times they have been played:

79 : I'm Feeling Good by Michael Buble (I will say that I do love this song - but the reason it has so many plays is because Nicole loves it more than me. She will listen to it everytime she gets a chance - she swears that when he sings the line "Stars when you shine"... it sounds just like Syd the sloth from Ice Age)
71: I'm On My Way by the Proclaimers (this is from the Shrek soundtrack - they are Scottish brothers and we have all been known to rock out to this song)
65: I Am Superman by R.E.M.
62: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by the Mormon Tabernacle Coir (What the?? Just kidding - I know why - we have a Mormon Tabernacle Playlist that we set the i-pod to and hook it up to the stereo every Sunday so here are the rest of the Tab choir hits: Battle Hymn of the Republic 56, Oh What Songs of the Heart 55, Love is Spoken Here 54, Come Let Us Anew 53, A Child’s Prayer 50
61: It is You I Have Loved by Dana Glover (also from the Shrek soundtrack)
60: Policeman's Xmas Party by Five for Fighting (I don't know why the kids love this song but they really do.
59: It's the End of the World as We Know It by R.E.M. (another kid's favorite - I don't think they can sing a word of it except when it says Leonard Bernstein really loud in the middle of the song)
58: We Are Going to Be Friends by Jack Johnson (they love this song because of the White Stripe's version sung at the beginning of Napoleon Dynamite)
54: Ball and Chain by Social Distortion
51: The Riddle by Five for Fighting
48: Yesterday, When I Was Young by Roy Clark (This is where Alan's old country music comes in.)
43: By The Time I Get to Phoenix by Glenn Campbell
Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
I Like to Move It by Erick Morillo (from Madagascar)
Freedom Never Cries by Five for Fighting
Come Away With Me by Nora Jones

What does your i-tunes say about you?

Monday, July 23, 2007

I miss my family

Yesterday, as we were eating dinner after church, we realized that the six members of our little family have not all been to church together since June 10th. And we won't be able to again until the first of August. First, it was girls camp - Courtney and I were gone - while we were gone - Morgan and Nicole went to California to stay with their Grandpa and Grandma.

Then we went to our family reunion - we were gone one Sunday - but Devon did not come home with us. He went to California to meet up with Alan's brother Will and have a good time in Santa Barbara. Will is a golf pro at a fancy country club in Santa Barbara and he and his beautiful wife, Michelle, live about a half a block from the beach. So Devon spent that week golfing, surfing and hanging out at the beach. While he was gone - Courtney left to meet up with our friends the Waites. They bought a motor home and have spent the majority of this summer traveling the United States. When they called and wanted Devon and Courtney to meet up with them they were in the Washington DC area. Courtney flew out on Friday the 13th and Devon joined her the following Wednesday. Since they have been there - they have been to Washington DC, Philadelphia, a lot of little Amish towns (Devon loved that), Rhode Island (a day at the beach), New York City, Boston and are now staying in Portland, Maine for a few days. Before they come home - they will go and see Niagara Falls and the Sacred Grove in Palmyra. They are having the time of their lives - but I sure miss them.

Hopefully, Devon and Courtney will be home this weekend - but Alan leaves this Thursday to go to Portland, Oregon to visit (and baptize) his friend Kevin. He will return Tuesday the 31st and then, we will all be together again!! I can't wait.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

WFMW - headache relief

I can not take full credit for this - my good friend calls this the "secret combination", although I think we have different combinations.

I get headaches - migraines - they are debilitating. Once I thought I was going blind and then after much medical help a brave eye surgeon explained to me that I was having a migraine. They are that bad - even when I don't feel like I am going blind - I sometimes feel like I am going to die. Prescription medication makes me too sleepy - I don't like the feeling it gives me of not being in control. Luckily I don't get the headaches often and when caught early and treated with the "secret combination" they are manageable.

So here it is - the top secret combination :

4 aspirin + 4 ibuprofen +1 caffeinated beverage = sweet relief

I don't know how it works - but it does. I know aspirin is a blood thinner and ibuprofen relaxes your muscles - and these ingredients are almost exactly what is found in Excedrin. So that is my tip for today. I used this very combination this morning and I am feeling better. It works for me!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tasty Tuesday - Bastille Day

I have been thinking a lot about France since I saw Ratatouille. Sometimes I really miss it. I only lived there for 16 months but it was such a life changing experience that sometimes I feel like it was home. The whole time I was there - I missed Arizona - but now I definitely go through periods when I miss France.

July 14th was Bastille Day - it is sort of like a French Independence Day. In July of 1991 I was living in the most beautiful city of Carcassonne. You may recognize it from the movie Camelot or from the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie. It is such a beautiful place - this was the view from our apartment - what you are looking at is the ancient walled city that they call La Cite. Very few live in the walled city now - it is mostly full of souvenir shops and museums etc... On Bastille day - they shoot fireworks off of the walls and make it look like the city is on fire - a re-creation of the burning of the citadel. I lifted this picture from the web - it is a sight to behold.

So, in honor of Bastille Day - I am posting one of my favorite French recipes. It is a simple chocolate mousse that anyone can make with ease - it is from the Jacques Pepin Celebrations cookbook (he is my favorite French chef). I make it for special occasions like Valentine's Day or Christmas Eve as it is very rich. If you spoon it into a chocolate pie crust it makes a decadent French Silk pie.

Chocolate Gourmand


1 cup heavy cream

6 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate

1/3 cup milk

2 egg yolks from large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg white

2 tablespoons sugar


With a mixer, whip the cup of cream until it holds soft peaks. Meanwhile, put the chocolate and the milk in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat until chocolate has melted and the mixture is warm and smooth. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, and mix with a whisk until incorporated. The chocolate will thicken slightly. In another bowl, beat the egg white until firm, then add the sugar all at once, and keep beating until firm and smooth.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the beaten egg white, and stir with a whisk just enough to incorporate. Add the whipped cream, and fold in gently, just until blended. Spoon into serving bowl or individual bowls (I use my fancy drink goblets that I never really use for fancy drinks) Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. I also usually top it with slightly sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings or chocolate hearts.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Movie Review - Ratatouille

I took Morgan and Nicole to see Ratatouille on Saturday afternoon. Devon was still in California, Courtney left to go to Washington DC (more on that later) and my DH Alan was golfing!! So the two littles and I went to the movie. I love this movie!! It takes place in Paris and it involves a lot of cooking. Those of you who know me know that these are two of my favorite things. Even though it was a cartoon - the scenes of Paris were amazing and the scenes in the kitchen were just as amazing. I was a little grossed out when the whole rat colony came to help out though - it was just too realistic.

I know there were some less than desirable parts of the movie. The "bad guy" gets the hero drunk. But this scene had one of Nicoles favorite lines from the movie - the drunk boy says that ratatouille sounds like rat patootie- she has said that at least 100 times since hearing it. And the hero is the illegitimate son of the great chef that he is trying to emulate. Neither one of these aspects seemed to have caused my girls to ask any questions - so I am not too worried about it.

Paris is beautiful - it is the city of lights. I haven't spent much time there - but I have spent a lot of time with French people. I adore the Eiffel Tower - to me it is a symbol of all that is French. The French people definitely have an attitude of superiority - and especially when it comes to their food - but the Eiffel Tower is such an example of their snobbery. When Gustav Eiffel constructed the tower for the 1889 exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the French Resolution - people hated it. They thought it was a blight and an eyesore and a folly. In 1909 it was to be torn down but it held important military radar equipment that they could not find another elevated place to install. Then, the tourists started coming and loving the Eiffel tower and including it in great paintings of Paris, and making a big deal of it (it was the world's tallest building until 1930). Once the French realized that others liked it - they started to like it too! Now it is the symbol of France - they practically worship it.

Now to the cooking. I loved the cooking - it was very realistic. I read that the filmmakers from PIXAR went to San Francisco to spend time with Thomas Keller. Thomas Keller is my 2nd favorite French chef - he is very successful and has made real french cuisine more approachable for Americans. He developed the special plate of ratatouille for the movie to make it look realistic but fancy. Real ratatouille is a peasants dish in France. It really is just a thick vegetable stew made with tomatoes, eggplant and squash although the vegetables can vary according to region. When I was on my mission in the South of France, we ate this several times when members cooked it for us - the best part was sopping up the bowl with the wonderful french bread. It is a staple in so many homes.

I'm kind of getting hungry now. I think I will stop and have lunch.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

WFMW - menu list

Most of my friends have made fun of my notebook - the one that tells us what we are going to eat for the next two weeks. I'm a dork - but it works for me.
I do what I call "big shopping" once every two weeks. I hit costco and val-demart and sometimes a grocery store or two if they are having a good sale on something that val-demart will not price match.
The key comes in making a very good list and in order to make a good list - I figure out what we will eat for dinner for the next two weeks. Each kid gets to choose one meal for the list - this avoids the "you NEVER make what I like" argument - it also takes some pressure off of me, thats 4 less meals I have to think up.
If I am using a recipe from a cook book - I will make note of the book and the page number right on the notebook next to the meal. I will also make note of any occasions that might require a change in eating schedules like scout nights, school concerts etc... And then the most important thing is I make note of one night where my DH and I will be going out and the kids can fend for themselves.
So, like I said - I'm pretty sure I'm a dork - but it works for me!

Vacation Fun

We recently returned from a quasi-family reunion. Alan's dad (Blaine) and his wife (DeAnn) have friends from their previous ward in Henderson, NV who have a cabin in Duck Creek, Ut. Duck Creek is a beautiful little village in the pines on highway 14 between the 89 and the 15 in southern Utah. It is about 30 minutes from Cedar City on one side and an hour from Kanab on our side. It is a real haven for people from the Las Vegas area. This is the 2nd year the Leavitts have let us use their cabin during the week of 4th of July. They call their cabin "Leavitt's Red Roof Inn" - you can't tell by this picture but it really does have a red roof. We spent a lot of time on this front porch. The shed in the rear is where they keep their 4 wheel ATVs - we also kept all of our dirt bikes in there. There is a play ground with swings, a trampoline and jungle gym and all kinds of fun on one side of the cabin and there is a zip line on the other - we had a ball with that.

We arrived Saturday, June 30th - Blaine and DeAnn were already there with Morgan and Nicole (they had flown to California a week previous to have some Grandma and Grandpa time while I was at girl's camp). I just will say right now how thankful I am that Blaine found DeAnn - he is so happy and she is wonderful. I really love her.

Alan's sister Jen and her family (husband Mike, kids Luc, Haylee, Sydnee and Whitnee), his brother Bart (wife Bryn and son Nash) and his brother Matt all arrived on Tuesday and that is when the fun began!! They all brought their motorcycles and the vacation shifted from relaxation to riding, riding, riding. It was so much fun.

Jen and Mike have their own bikes and their two oldest kids have bikes. Bryn brought her sister's dirt bike. Probably my favorite time was when Jen, Bryn and I went out for a girl's ride with no kids. We had a lot of fun going around with all of the kids in tow two - but it was a lot of fun to be able to go fast and not have to keep looking back to make sure no one was falling behind.

We ate well, I read some good books, I napped, I worked on my lesson, I played with my kids, I visited with family, I jumped on the trampoline, I enjoyed the beautiful scenery, I gained more confidence on two wheels, I spent quality time with my husband, I thanked my Heavenly Father for all of my blessings. It was a great get away.
I've been in a funk since we got home - but I expect all will be back to normal soon.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tasty Tuesday

We just got home from our family vacation and there is so much I could blog about - but instead I am posting this incredible new recipe. It is amazing.

Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast
Serves: 8

2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
12 slices home style white bread cut into 1-inch cubes
16 oz. cream cheese (cold) cut into 1-inch cubes
1 dozen large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. butter

Slice the strawberries.
Arrange one half of the bread cubes in a well greased 13"x 9" baking dish.
Arrange all of the cream cheese cubes over the bread cubes, and sprinkle 1 1/2 cups strawberries on top.
Arrange the remaining bread cubes over the strawberries.
Pour the half-and-half Into your blender, then add the eggs and blend. Add the maple syrup and blend.
Pour the mixture evenly over the bread, strawberry and cream cheese mixture.
Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the dish from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to baking.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake covered with foil for 30 minutes; remove cover and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until French toast is puffed and golden.
To prepare strawberry sauce:
In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and 1 cup water.
Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened.
Stir in the strawberries and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until berries have softened.
Add the butter, and stir the sauce until butter has melted.
Serve hot over the Strawberry Cream Cheese French Toast.