Thursday, November 20, 2008


Look what I found Ray doing the day after his knee surgery?! I only wish I'd gotten a shot of the microwave before he started cleaning it. Yikes! I like when Ray stays at home during the day. I believe this was actually his second time in our six years of marriage!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Yes, Deere

One of the things Ray and I never acquired when we were newly wed was a set of dishes. I just never found the right ones (though I didn't look that hard) and Ray had some left from his bachelor days. He leaned toward using his "perfectly good" dishes, and since we had already had an argument about an $8 cheese plane I'd come home with, I just went with it.

Pictured here is what was once our $8 source of strife, which we chuckle about now.

But back to the plates. Everytime I load/unload the dishwasher, or pull one of these puppies out of the cupboard, I cringe. They rub me wrong in every way. And while I know they're functional and mostly do what they're supposed to (hold our food), they don't help me with my inner aesthetics in any way. They cause me grief on a daily basis. I'm convinced they make my food taste worse. Is that possible, because I believe it is!?

Can you see why? These plates had no business being made for several reasons. Turquoise and pink? The designs? Just my opinion...

The other night we had some new friends coming to dinner, and I just couldn't bring myself to set out these plates. But paper plates didn't seem right either. So I broke my silence and complained about our plates. Ray said, "I have some plates we can use out in the garage!" In he walks with these, a set of John Deere dishes that he got on clearance at Fred Meyer about 4 years ago. I was always under the impression that he was going to give them away to a farmer friend of his.

I begrudgingly unpacked the box of dishes and decided that these plates were better than the 80's ugliness that smoldered in the cupboard. So we set these plates out. After trying them out, we actually like the size, weight and build of them. So we will use these as our plates for the time being. The three year-old son of our friends was particularly delighted with our table settings, so we have that to be happy about.

Am I being petty?

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Best Recipe

One of my most favorite wedding gifts was from my friends Janell and Steve. Its a cookbook called The Best Recipe written by the editors of Cooks Illustrated Magazine. They're also the folks that do the TV show "America's Test Kitchen".

I love this book. It doesn't have a bunch of glossy food photos, so I think it doesn't draw people to it like other cookbooks do, but trust me--you don't need those. These guys tell you what the best recipe is for whatever you're wanting to cook and why. They try making a recipe a whole bunch of different ways in their test kitchen, and from those tell you why the recipe they printed is indeed the best. They explain that they tried making something with sour cream, but it turned out too dense. So when they tried using yogurt with some additional butter--it turned out perfectly. I love knowing the alternative to something without having to try it myself. I love how they bring the science of cooking in without going over your head. Bless you writers of this book. It really is fascinating to read.

I have proudly converted three known people to this cookbook. My most recent convert, Amy, borrowed mine for longer than she planned (much to my chagrin--apparently I use it more often than I realized) because she said she couldn't stop reading it. She finally returned it when I called her up and asked her to read a particular recipe to me over the phone. She read the recipe to me, but then the book showed up at my house about 10 minutes later. Relief.

Amy called me while she was standing in line at Costco today. "Courtney! The BOOK is HERE! Its only $21.95!!" That's a good deal, folks. I'm going to buy one tomorrow for somebody, and I would suggest you do the same. She asked, and I guess our Costco has 40 in stock, but have no more coming. So hurry!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Don't Say Don't

Maddie and Tito

The joke's on me. I'm learning that you sure talk a lot as a mom, and as it turns out--even I've stopped listening to what I say!

I have been so dead-set against saying "no" to my daughter, worried she'll pick it up and scream it all the time. So instead of just telling her what we would like her to do in an attempt to redirect her, it seems I've taken up the old "We DON'T...(wah wah waaah wah wah)" (The adults in the old Peanuts cartoons are flashing before my mind.) Well, guess what Madeline has picked up?

The other day Maddie said "dooooon't" to me about something or other, and without realizing it, I said, "Maddie, don't say don't!" Ray was standing nearby and mimicked me in a funny voice, "Don't say don't!" I asked him if that was what I had just said, he said yes, and then we couldn't stop laughing for a looooooooong time.

I mean, really long. I'm laughing again as I write this! Oh, the joy.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Everyday is Halloween

That Ministry song has been going through my mind these past few days. Partly because of Celia' funny post, which took me back to the day. But mostly since Maddie had not one, but three costumes for Halloween!!! Behold the cuteness and joy!
She went first as a witch to our playgroup on Tuesday. She was the only one who wasn't in a costume that was fluffy, padded and super-cute, but I was OK with that. Its true--I
didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a costume she couldn't guarantee me she would wear! She's become quite opinionated since turning 18 months-old! And, no, the witch hat did not stay on long.

I then learned that the hooded costumes are the way to go--she's still not able to figure out how to get hoods off. We borrowed this one from Melissa, so that felt good on my pocketbook!

So she was a giraffe for the friends Halloween party.

This is Maddie's half brother, Kennyen, and birth mom, Crystal. They joined us for the trunk or treat at our church. Check OUT that awesome pea pod stem that is a hat!

Her other half-brother, Anthony, is on the left, then Kenny, Kennyen's dad, and Ethan, her cousin, is on the right. Crystal had this, the final and cutest, costume of the holiday in her closet. A bee.

The bee costume was so fitting. She was all over the place last night. I'm not sure why the bee-makers opted out of yellow stripes on the back! She was much harder to see when she was running the other way, which was most of the time.

The kids came over afterwards to trade candy. Maddie was in bed by this point, so I took it upon myself to trade her candy for her--making sure I got rid of all of her tart and sour candy, as well as the coconutty chocolate bars. I'm sure she wouldn't like those. Hee hee. She didn't get one candy corn, which I found sad! :( I loved how organized Sam, our nephew, was with his candy! Don't quite know what he dressed up as. He's almost 11, so he's close to getting too old for this holiday.