This morning we went to Gardner Village for Wee Witches Weekend with the Pe’as and the Andersons. I have a ton of pictures, so without further ado:
There was dancing!
And hand holding:
As we were leaving, I ran into one of my new friends from culinary school! It was a treat to see her and meet her beautiful children. Then Abe and I headed to the farmer’s market before coming home to crash.
After naps, we went on a bunch of errands. We bought enough chili for 200 people at Costco (Abe is in charge of the ward Trunk or Treat), checked books out from the library, grocery shopped, ate junky fast food, and played at the park:
Just a real quick plug for coconut oil, since it’s 12:47 a.m. I have been drinking it and applying it regularly ever since the lice debacle, and I have noticed a HUGE difference in my skin/internal functions…um, TMI? But seriously, that stuff is amazing. Grandma, I hope you and mom find a way to acquire some. You need to buy the cold-pressed unrefined virgin coconut oil. It should look white and smell like coconuts. Here is the article that converted me to coconut oil.
Anyway, my hair is practically ruined from my lice treatments, so today I soaked my hair in coconut oil all day. I also used it as an all-over moisturizer and even took the brave step of using it in replacement of deodorant! It was risky, but I took the leap. I thought it was working, but to make sure, I had Abe smell my arm pits when he got home from work. All sorts of risks taken today…but guess what? The coconut oil works! It is a total natural deodorant!! I am now considering purchasing a 5 gallon vat wholesale, but in the meantime, Mom and Grandma, you really need to try it!
The rest of the day revolved around cooking dinner for Karin’s birthday dinner. And Jere’s in town, so we got to visit with him after dinner. That was so nice. It was very sweet to hear him and Abe discuss how much they love their jobs, especially since they both transitioned to their jobs from working situations that were extremely taxing.
I should have taken a picture of the dinner, but just so I can have the recipe on file, I stuffed each person a pumpkin with this. Things done differently: I cooked the rices separately in the rice cooker. I cooked the wild rice in chicken broth and the basmati in a combo of water and apple cider. I added 3/4 lb (!) of Irish cheddar, a kind that was practically wet and very crumbly. I moistened the individual stuffed pumpkins with a couple tablespoons of heavy cream and more cider before baking. This was the best variation I’ve had on this idea to date. Again, should have taken a picture. Drat!
My cake was a total flop, but Karin was so nice about it. I asked Abe to buy a replacement cake on his way home from work, but he convinced me that it’s the thought that counts. I sort of agree, but when it comes to chocolate cake, I kind of prefer that it’s done right. Thankfully, no one spit it out in disgust. I need to write down recipe corrections in my cookbook so those same mistakes don’t happen again!
My camera battery was charging all day, so the only pictures I have are of the food we made at class tonight. That sums up my day pretty well, since I spent hours on homework and hours in class today. Other than that, I read to the girls and played with Mary a bunch because Lydia passed out on the floor…for three hours.
As you can see, the amount of carbohydrates we produce this semester is entirely unreasonable. We get done plating at 10:30 p.m., at which point we are expected to try and compare everything so we understand the effect of either 1) our mistakes or 2) getting the recipe right. Wish my metabolism luck…
I also took one of my chef doing a demonstration. She is my favorite teacher so far, and I have learned more from this class than any other. I am considering switching into the baking and pastry program because I absolutely LOVE this class, and I haven’t quite felt that way about my culinary classes. We’ll have to see if all the classes are this good, but if they are: Sayonara culinary! Hello baking and pastry!!!
Today started off a little rocky, but then I decided at the last minute to get the girls ready for a play group hike to Ensign Peak. The hike turned our day around! Half way through my camera ran out of batteries, which was tragic since the best views come near the top (and the girls were cute too, of course). However, I did get some pictures in.
We were late, so we didn’t join up with Paige, Aria and Ashley (the only moms who came) until we reached the top. On the way down, Ada and Lydia held hands the whole way.
Ada and Lydia both really wanted a play date, so we had one afterward. The girls have been really into making “baboon salad” lately. Don’t know where they got that from.
Also, one sweet thing I overheard today: Lydia and Mary were playing, and Mary couldn’t figure out how to turn on Lydia’s iPad. Lydia said, “Mary, let’s have a prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to turn on the iPad. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Then I listened closely to see if they got their prayer answered…and they did! I was one happy mother.
Another piece of great news is that I heard back from the Philippine Jesuits. My dad was a Jesuit priest for ten years before leaving the Society of Jesus, and I wanted to know more about his time there. I got a great email back this morning and hope to have even more questions answered soon. It was really wonderful to learn more about my dad.
In class tonight we made puff pastry from scratch. I have been dying to learn how to do this, and I was pleased to learn that it isn’t that hard. I don’t know if I’d do it regularly, but it certainly isn’t impossible to do at home. That was fun. We also did more muffins and worked on brioche and challah. Honestly, I think my challah recipe is better than the one we used in class, but any bread that even approximates challah is, in my opinion, eat-worthy.
Last night Mary barely slept, so Abe and I were exhausted today. Heck, Mary was exhausted; after breakfast, she took an hour and a half nap. After she woke up, we did errands while Lydia was at preschool.
One of our errands involved shopping for a baby shower present. I walked into Pottery Barn Kids and was disgusted (for the first time ever in that particular store) because there were Christmas decorations everywhere. Halloween, one of my favorite holidays of the year, hasn’t even happened yet!!! I want to walk in places and see witches, ghosts, and hobgoblins, and, most of all, PUMPKINS AND ALL THINGS FALL–not elves and Santa!
Also, I genuinely hate the commercialization of a holiday that does have actual religious significance to me. So in the spirit of objection, I went home and baked babka and celebrated Festivus. I air grievances all the time, and in light of how much I love babka (tonight was the first time I’ve had it), I think it should be a regular holiday around here. I’m sure I can drum up an aluminum pole somewhere…
Anyway, since I knew my social anxiety could NOT handle the baby shower, and since Abe was home exhausted with the kids, I literally spent ten seconds at the shower– enough to hand over a gift, grimace, and flee in terror. Even the ten second exposure I had kept me panicking until I made two more personal, uplifting visits on the way home (one to a visiting teachee and one to Abe’s aunt). Those picked me right back up.
I should stop writing and go help Abe. The poor man is cleaning the house, and I know he’s about to drop from exhaustion.
I am a little obsessed with witches right now, and since my friend Paige is moving in less than a month, I took it upon myself to sew a costume for Ada. That meant that we went back to the fabric store this morning, and then we went to the library before coming back home.
Then I couldn’t wait for Ada to try it on, but my house is still under quarantine for the lice. So Ada came over and had a play date outside with the girls for a little bit, and I got to see (but not take a picture of) her in the outfit.
First of all, popovers. I would be exaggerating greatly to say I’m obsessed, but I do think about them every morning, and then, most of the time, I make them. This morning I made a couple accidental adjustments to the recipe, and they rose more than two inches higher than they ever have for me before! I was so excited!
Anyway, I was half an hour late for church. Not the popover’s fault (they’re super quick), but Abe has morning meetings and I just had trouble organizing myself. Okay, okay…I spent too much time looking up witches costumes online after my scripture study, and by the time I was done, we were running irreversibly late.
Anyway, after church Abe had three more hours of meetings, but the girls were great and napped/rested while I took a nap. After Abe came home, he set up an obstacle course for the girls while I made dinner:
After dinner, Abe and his dad fixed our furnace, which started acting up before dinner. Then I read a bunch of books to the girls, and now they’re in bed “reading” to themselves. Mary is going through this phase where she will stay up literally hours after we put her to bed, but she’ll just lie in bed flipping through her books. We’ll peek in at 11pm and find her doing this, and in the morning, same deal. It’s very heartwarming.
At any rate, the end of the weekend is sad. But the good news is, this week looks like it can’t be anything but better than the last two, so yay!
Today was non stop. Abe ran to clean the church while I bathed the girls, made popovers, blew dry Lydia’s hair (a must with her new hairstyle, so said her stylist), and got everyone dressed.
After I shooed them out the door to Lydia’s dance class, I read scriptures and looked up witch costumes online.
Then I hurried to the Primary program practice, during which I really struggled to feel like I was contributing.
Honestly, I’ve traced this eczema back and really feel like it was a stress reaction to my calling. I have never had eczema before, and I remember when I got the calling feeling like I was having an allergic reaction. Then all of the sudden: eczema! (without me knowing what it was). Yuck. I daydream every day about asking to be released, and then I feel guilty and decide to keep doing my duty. I heard a talk the other day about the different reasons why we serve (in order worst to best): to show off, duty, hope of eternal reward, and love of God. I do love God, but I am having trouble connecting serving in my calling to that love. I’ll think to myself, “Think of all Jesus did and does for you! This is NOTHING in comparison! Just serve out of gratitude!” and when that doesn’t work, “It could be worse! Think about all the other callings that you would hate even more!” ..but somehow I just can’t get my heart right. Sorry, God! You’ll have to fix up my heart since I just can’t seem to get it in the right place by myself. I’ll give You more time.
Then I picked up Lydia, took her to the Farmer’s market, the fabric store, and Trader Joe’s. After that, I came home and whipped out two little, very poor quality witch costumes. But the girls love them, and you can only see my sewing mistakes if you stand within a foot–or five–of the girls. Anyway, Grandma, what do you think? The girls are going to wear these for the Wee Witches night at Gardner Village this weekend.
Then we went to the library, the park, and two more grocery stores before heading home for dinner.
I was exhausted, lazy, and itchy all morning, so I stayed in bed until 3 pm. I did rouse myself to feed the children, shower, and blow dry my hair (to kill lice), but after the exertion, I retreated right back to bed.
At 3 pm, though, the poor kids were dying for an outing, and it happened to be a gorgeous day. So we piled in the van and drove to Gardner Village to see the witches. It was so fun that we went to pick Abe up at the nearby train station and headed back to Gardner Village–only to discover tonight was Witches’ Night Out! That meant that literally hundreds of women attired in full witch regalia descended on Gardner Village to shop, party, and parade.
It was soooooo fun! I have a new goal in life: To acquire my own witch costume. I want to be a witch next year at the event. But considering how elaborate most of the witches were, I will have to wait a bit before I can achieve this new life dream. I mean, there was one witch who had a remote controlled giant spider attached as part of her costume! Others had stuffed owls, staffs with crystal balls, and the most elaborate, fascinating hats I’ve ever seen. I want a hat.
Here are the pictures from the active part of our day. Before that, the girls and I were all cuddled up in beds absorbed in our iPads or eating. If I didn’t hate crumbs in the bed so much, we would have knocked out both activities simultaneously… Anyway:
I didn’t take pictures today. Honestly, I think I’m losing my mind a little. I realize it sounds like it’s already far gone since I called Abe 29 times yesterday. It really was an emergency–I didn’t know how I was going to make it to school if he didn’t pick up, and I had no other way of contacting him. Anyway, as if that weren’t enough, I am having terrible nightmares about lice and eczema (just recently discovered I have this all over and every day it gets worse), and I feel like I’m barely scraping it together enough to even put on the appearance of sanity. The nightmares keep playing out in my head vividly all day long–in the background, while I try to hold normal conversations and interact with people.
I don’t handle illness, pests, or parasites well. It’s been a hard week. Mom, feel free to say a prayer for me. I would call you, but it’s so late there. Lots of love to you and Grandma.