Sunday, 23 May 2010

Minor Alterations

(my favourite kind of sewing)

I bought a great dress at Winners two weeks ago.  It is an ivory cotton/silk blend with tiered ruffles on the skirt and hand sewn beads and pearls.  Unfortunately it was a little short, even on me.  The thing is, it had full sleeves so I was determined to make it work, and as it turned out it wasn't that hard.  

I sliced off the top of the matching full slip and made it into a longer half slip with an elastic waist (which was hardly needed because it got a lot tighter when I pulled it down onto my hips).  Luckily, the slip was cut on the bias and stretches where I need it to stretch.  Plus, something about the bias makes the new layer of length below my dress look like it is gathered on just like the other tiered layers - don't ask me how.

Poof! *Making it work* has never come easier.  I was talking to a friend the other day who is so tired of 'making it work' and not being able to buy stylish clothes that are modest (her 'stylish' requirements are more stringent than mine).  Usually I feel her pain, but the quick fix on this dress has me feeling far more victorious than shopping alone ever could!

I almost wore my new success today, but I wasn't quite in the mood.  It was more of a skirt and sweater kind of day.  (Or maybe I just don't want to admit my real motivation to wait and show it off at stake conference next week  - ha!)

Saturday, 22 May 2010


Carmen has her own blog now, and it seems silly somehow to repeat what she's already posted about.  Everyone who is interested in seeing a couple of numbers from Carmen's year-end choir concert can watch her Puttin' on the Ritz over at her own blog.

She hasn't posted about returning to soccer yet, so I'll take that one.  (Though my duplication dislike falls apart at this point because I'd like to read what she has to say about soccer and I hope she posts about it sometime even though I'm writing about it from my perspective.)

I have to say, I was a little surprised when Carmen decided to go out for soccer this spring, and I almost tried to talk her out of it.  She's been away from soccer for a couple of years (choosing riding over soccer) plus she's now U12, which is a competitive league.  I thought it would be too rough, fast, and basically hard for her.

I'm happy to be wrong.

Although she signed up for social reasons (Elliott) Carmen has been having the best time with soccer and has blown me away with her work ethic and courage on the field.  I'm amazed and impressed.

(The Elliott part is working out to.)

Monday, 17 May 2010

I'm thinking about holidays

It must be the weather.  We're supposed to hit a high of 27°C tomorrow!  Ah, summer.

Ken doesn't seem to be feeling the urge to plan holidays the way I am, but that could have something to do with the 11 days he's spending in the middle east (the Middle East) at the end of May, followed by his biking trip to Moab with Steven at the beginning of June, and then a little further off is the Interbike Show in Vegas in September.  He and I live very different lives for people who live together.

Back to summer holidays.  There's Steven's usual football season keeping us home in August (how did 2 years in a row, this will be the 3rd, make something usual?), and now something new (the new usual I'm afraid) of Jaclyn holding down a full-time summer job.  I blogged about this, right?  Or did Jaclyn just Facebook about it?  She's working in the Chem Lab for Ken's company.

So it's not so easy to book time away as a family.  It has been suggested to me that Ken and I could just take the younger 2 or 3 children away and leave Jaclyn behind, but I have a really hard time leaving my children.  (More about that later.)  What I'm looking at, then, is weekends.  And the weekend I have my eye on is the August long weekend (it's a Canada thing - can't have a month without a statutory holiday).  Jaclyn will get off at noon on the Friday, and not be expected back at work till Tuesday morning - the same Tuesday football starts.  It's our only chance, so I'm grabbing it.  I've booked a condo in Whistler, BC for the weekend and I'm just hanging on, and basically living for, July 30th.

Now, about leaving the kids.  We've done it a few times, the longest trip was 10 days (I started missing the kids around day 7).  But our 20th Wedding Anniversary is coming up at the end of this year, and I want a little more than dinner out.  I want to reclaim Ken as mine, which basically means taking him away from the kids who think he is theirs.

I came up with a plan a few months ago:  I want to go on a bike tour in some Mediterranean-European  country.  I haven't been a biker, but Ken is, and I'm willing to learn (especially for a trip to Italy).  I proposed the idea to Ken and he asked, "Are you willing to put an ocean between you and your children?"  I was a little surprised myself that I could answer, "For this, yes."

A month ago I went on my first road ride with friends:

I was weak, it was simultaneously miserable and fun, but better than whatever I would have spent that morning doing (cleaning house, what else?).  

That ride was followed by a month of terrible weather, which allowed me to heal from my wicked road rash on my elbow from falling over while still clipped in to my pedals.

Finally, last Friday, I got the chance to road ride with Ken.  Once again, I was weak, but this summer is all about seeing if I can get strong enough on a bike to make a vacation of it.  (Eliminate the miserable completely, that's the real goal.)

At this point there are still some barriers to my big 20th Anniversary Trip idea.  Ken doesn't want to go on a 'pleasure ride' (his words, though he has since recanted), and that darn volcano in Iceland making the ocean that could potentially be between me and my kids seem that much larger.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

New Wheels

Jaclyn and Steven each got a new set of wheels in the last month.  Steven got two, Jaclyn got four (there, behind Steven).
Steven's paying for half of his, but he doesn't have his half paid off yet.  I'm nervous to have him take his new bike places because I fear that it will be stolen before he takes it to Moab the first week of June, and then what would he do?  His bike actually cost more than Jaclyn's car so I see it as a real theft target.

Ken and I were pretty proud of our car purchase for Jaclyn.  It's not her car in that she didn't pay for it and it's not hers to take with her when she goes away to college, but it is hers in that it is in her name and she is on her own insurance policy (somehow this was the legal advice to limit liability from extending to Ken and I).  Anyhow, we really feel like we bought the perfect used car.  Ken spent a lot of time watching Kijiji, and when this one came up we knew we'd found something good - we snapped it up right away.  It had low km's, had the same owner for the past 12 years, hardly any rust, and the price was right: $1400.  Its' a '92 Camry, so it's older than Jaclyn. It was listed as silver, but it's really purple, which actually Jaclyn loved.  She called it slurple (silver/purple) and was even working on making that a proper noun, dubbing the car Slurple.

Unfortunately, as of yesterday morning Slurple is looking like the Phantom (as in of the Opera) with a good side (above) and a not so pretty side (below).

The accident was right by the high school with another high school student.  Jaclyn was at-fault, and we didn't put collision on this car, so go ahead and feel bad for her (but save a little sympathy for Ken and I!).  She was still on her first tank of gas.
Fortunately, no one was hurt.  So the pain is all financial.  And a little bit of worry.  Mostly I just hope this is a lesson learned.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


I cooked a good dinner tonight, which just proves that having a plan means we can eat well - even on a Wednesday.

We ate Mexican for Cinco de Mayo, a holiday we've never celebrated before, but we brought home some flour tortillas from Arizona (as well as some Mexican cane sugar Coca Cola) back at Christmas and it was about time we ate them!

I made these steak fajitas:

steak fajitas with peppers
Prep: 1 hour 
Marinate: 2 to 4 hours 
Cook: 6 minutes 

  • 12  ounces boneless beef skirt steak or flank steak
  •   Marinade:
  • 1/3  cup cooking oil
  • 1/3  cup lime juice
  • 2  fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 3  Tbsp. sliced green onions (2)
  • 2  Tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4  tsp. salt
  • 2  cloves garlic, minced
  • 8  8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1  Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1  medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1  medium red or green sweet pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 3/4  cup chopped tomato (1 medium)
  •   Purchased Guacamole (optional)
  •   Salsa (optional)
  •   Dairy sour cream (optional)
1. Trim fat from meat. Partially freeze meat for about 30 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain into bite-size strips. Place strips in a plastic bag set in a deep bowl.
2. Meanwhile, for marinade, in a small mixing bowl, combine the 1/3 cup cooking oil, lime juice, jalapeño peppers, green onions, cilantro, salt, and garlic. Pour marinade over beef strips in bag. Close bag tightly; turn to coat beef strips. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours, turning bag occasionally.
3. Wrap tortillas tightly in foil. Heat in a 350 degrees F oven about 10 minutes or until heated through.
4. Meanwhile, drain beef strips; discard marinade. In a large skillet heat the 1 tablespoon cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sweet pepper. Cook and stir about 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from skillet.
5. Add beef to the hot skillet. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until done. Drain well. Return all vegetables to skillet. Stir in tomato. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.
6. To serve, fill warm tortillas with beef-vegetable mixture. If desired, top with guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. Roll up tortillas. Makes 4 servings.
Make-Ahead Directions: Prepare the filling as directed. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
nutrition facts
  • Calories 479, Total Fat (g) 19, Saturated Fat (g) 4, Cholesterol (mg) 40, Sodium (mg) 801, Carbohydrate (g) 54, Fiber (g) 1, Protein (g) 23, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

And we served them with this salsa, which must be making the popularity rounds because I got the recipe from 2 different people in the last week:

avocado-feta salsa
Makes: 12 (1/4 cup) servings
Prep: 20 minutes 
Chill: 2 hours 

  • 2  plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1  avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped
  • 1/4  cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1  clove garlic, minced
  • 1  Tbsp. snipped fresh parsley
  • 1  Tbsp. snipped fresh oregano
  • 1  Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1  Tbsp. red or white wine vinegar
  • 4  oz. feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
  •   Pita chips or tortilla chips
1. In a medium bowl combine tomatoes, avocado, onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, oil, and vinegar. Stir gently to mix. Gently stir in feta cheese. Cover and chill for 2 hours or up to 6 hours. Serve salsa with pita or tortilla chips. Makes 12 (1/4 cup) servings.
nutrition facts
  • Servings Per Recipe 12 (1/4 cup) servings Calories 63, Total Fat (g) 5, Saturated Fat (g) 2, Monounsaturated Fat (g) 3, Polyunsaturated Fat (g) 0, Cholesterol (mg) 8, Sodium (mg) 106, Carbohydrate (g) 3, Total Sugar (g) 1, Fiber (g) 1, Protein (g) 2, Vitamin C (DV%) 7, Calcium (DV%) 5, Iron (DV%) 1, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

I haven't really used Better Homes and Gardens for recipes before, but the food was DYNAMITE and I will visit again when I want to try something new.

For dessert we had Mexican Brownies (from Family Fun Magazine), which aren't even my favourite brownies so why have I eaten 3 squares?

Mexican Brownies
3 oz unsweetened chocolate squares
1/2 c butter
Melt together, then cool 15 minutes
3 eggs whisked till foamy
1 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together till well combined, then add in cooled chocolate mixture till thoroughly combined.
3/4 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
Mix, then stir into wet ingredients
Fold in 1 c chopped pecans
Bake 350 x 20-25 minutes in a 9x13 pan.

Right now I am having a modern siesta, which involves vegg-ing in front of my laptop.  It's probably not as rejuvenating as a real siesta, but somehow it is the path of least resistance.

Other thoughts that have been on my mind following 2-weekends-in-a-row of continuing education courses:
  1. Omega-3, people!  Reduce the inflammation in your body! (flossing helps, to)
  2. Change Theory is pretty much the repentance process.
  3. And the most fascinating dental information I've heard in a long time:  stem cells can be found in the pulp chambers of teeth, and they're being used to grow organs!  So maybe instead of throwing away our wisdom teeth (or baby teeth if you catch them at just the right stage of wiggly-ness) we should bank them here.  How's that for a non-controversial stem cell source?

And with today being Cinco de Mayo and the fact that my nephew is going to learn Spanish this summer in order to teach the gospel in Paraguay for a couple of years, I'll say good night:

Buenas noches.