Sunday, February 28, 2010

Of Bathrooms and Boardrooms

O.K., one more funny video for the month of February. (Hey, we need all the humor we can get at this time of year!) This vid makes me laugh every time I see it! Yes, I'll admit, I will watch it several times in a row, it's that funny!


My good friend came up yesterday in a bit of a tizzy. Apparently she had gotten volunteered to make a birthday cake for her mother's 70th birthday party, and she was quite stressed out about it. I can understand that--if I am in charge of something like that, I too, get a little stressed out. As long as I am not the one responsible for the finished product, I am good to go, though!

Anyway, we decided to do fondant for the frosting. I have tried a couple of fondant recipes, and following is the one I like the best. It is really pretty easy to work with.

First, you sprinkle 1 T. of gelatine in 1/4 cup cold water--use a glass measuring cup, and then put this in a pan of simmering water, stirring until the gelatine dissolves.

Blend in 1/2 cup light corn syrup and 1 T. glycerin, then stir in 2 T. of vegetable shortening until melted.
Note: You can ask for glycerin at any pharmacy. It makes your fondant soft and pliable.

Place 3 cups of powdered sugar in a bowl and make a well in the center. Add the gelatin mixture and stir with a lightly greased wooden spoon until blended. (I used my Kitchen Aid.) Mix lightly with greased hand and knead vigorously in the bowl until most of the sugar is incorporated. Turn onto a smooth, lightly greased surface such as Formica or marble and knead until smooth and satiny. If the Fondant seems dry, add several drops of water and knead well. If it seems too sticky, knead in more powdered sugar. (I had to use about a cup more powdered sugar.) The Fondant will resemble a smooth, well-shaped stone. When dropped, it should spread very slightly but retain its shape. It should be malleable like clay, soft but not sticky.

One thing to note as you are rolling it out--if your fondant is too thin, it will show every bump and lump in your cake. If it is too thick, it will crack more easily. Try to keep it about a 1/4 inch, I would say.

One tool for fondant that I would say is almost a necessity is a 2 foot length of PVC pipe, oh, about 3" round. Roll your fondant onto this as you are lifting it off your counter, and then unroll it on your cake. Sprinkle a little cornstarch on your fondant before you roll it, so it doesn't stick to itself. Good luck!

THEN, comes the fun part. (What? We are not having fun yet?!) After several calls to my amazing mother for instructions, I figured out how to do live flowers for a cake. For my flowers, I just used an inexpensive grocery store boquet that my friend picked out. It wouldn't have been my first choice, and my greenery was a little limited, but hey, we'll work with what we have!

Get a lid of some sort with a rim (she suggested a mayo lid covered in foil--I used a larger lid because this cake was huge!). Cut your floral foam to size. (I found out there are two types of floral foam--dry foam for fake flowers, and wet foam for live.) Soak your wet foam, then stick it in your lid. You may need to put some duct tape in the bottom to hold it in place.

Then you put your larger flowers and stems in your foam, then fill in with greenery and smaller flowers.

Mom said usually you just place your flowers on top of your cake right before serving. I actually cut a hole in my cake to put my lid in, since I didn't have enough flowers and greenery to cover the rim of my lid. Another note about the flowers--they can be done the night before. Just mist them, put them in a plastic baggie, and place them in your fridge. Be careful not to put them in a spot where they might freeze, though! Mom said she did that once, and had to redo an entire wedding bouquet on the way to the temple! Eeks!

Voila! Isn't it beautiful?

The Football Dance

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook--I thought it was hilarious!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Of No More (or at least fewer) Winter Blues

Last Saturday I went to a stake activity where our stake president and his wife were the featured speakers. I was only able to stay for the wife's talk because we had to be somewhere in the afternoon, but her talk was excellent. She shared with us a list of eight things to battle the winter blues. She said to only do a couple of them a day (obviously you can do more if you want, but the list was not meant to be another overwhelming "task list.") Anyway, the list is as follows:

1. Laugh each day (or at least smile!)
2. Develop intellectual curiosity
3. Get adequate sleep (sleep when your kids do!)
4. Exercise enough to sweat
5. Feed your body with healthy foods. Feed your spirit with good music and good books.
6. Count your blessings
7. Offer a prayer with real intent
8. Find something you were meant to do

Of Sending Hallmark Cards to Heaven

I was perusing some provident living blogs the other day, and came across a quote that I just loved: "I am not interested in sending Hallmark cards to heaven." The gal who wrote it was talking about how she needs to know what is going on in the lives of the people she visit teaches so she can be specific in her prayers in regards to their needs. I liked that quote, because I know that far too often I am guilty of "sending Hallmark cards to heaven" when I need to be more specific in my petitions in behalf of others.

Of Lent and Pie

I think I would make a terrible Catholic. I am also glad I am not addicted to any harmful substances. Reason? It is too easy to justify things, and I must have very little willpower. I am attempting to do Lent this year, and the thing I am giving up is sugar. I have actually been doing quite well, but tonight, we celebrated Gay's birthday (my lovely mother in law) and I had a piece of pie. I also fully intend to eat pie on pie day (March 14th--3.14--for all you unenlightened folks). Am I bad? Yes, I am bad.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Of Jeff Foxworthy and Mormons

Ha! Ha! I love this! So true, so true!
October 22nd, 2009

This is to all of you who may be a Mormon, who may know a Mormon, who may live in Utah , who may have lived in Utah or who have heard about Mormons.

If all your dishes have your name written on them with masking tape…
You might be a Mormon.

If you postdate your checks while shopping on Sunday….
You might be a Mormon.

If you believe heck is the place for people who do not believe in gosh…
You might be a Mormon.

If your mom was pregnant at your sister’s wedding reception….
You might be a Mormon

If you pray that your food might “nourish and strengthen your body” before eating doughnuts….
You might be a Mormon

If you think green Jell-O is one of the basic food groups……
You might be a Mormon

If at least one of your salad bowls is at a neighbor’s house……..
You might be a Mormon.

If you’ve ever written a “Dear-John” to more than two missionaries on the same day….
You might be a Mormon

If you were frustrated when your son “only” got accepted to Harvard…..
You might be a Mormon.

If you have one kid in diapers and one on a mission….
You might be a Mormon

If you have never arrived at a meeting on time….
You might be a Mormon.

If you have more wheat stored in your basement than most third world countries….
You might be a Mormon.

If you’ve already got your order in for volume 50 of “The Work and The Glory”…
You might be a Mormon.

If you think it is all right to watch football on Sundays as long as a direct descendant of Brigham Young is playing…
You might be a Mormon.

If you have to guess more than five times the name of the child you’re disciplining…
You might be Mormon.

If you automatically assume that BYOB means, Bring Your Own Burgers…
You might be Mormon.

If you go to a party and someone spikes the punch with Pepsi…
You might be a Mormon.

(From Anna: You've gotta love this church!)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Of Maile and Diamonds

Last night Maile and I went on a date to Wal-mart. (What can I say, I've got Christiansen blood running through my veins!) Our plan was to return the big box of diapers we had bought her since she is now potty trained (woot!) and buy her a present/reward with the money. On the way there, we passed a jewelry store. Maile saw the photos of jewelry in the window and promptly requested a diamond for her present. Ha. Ha. I told her she'd have to wait until her husband got her one when she is married.

On the bright side, we found a cute little bracelet with pink rhinestones at Wal-mart, which Maile found to be an acceptable substitute for the diamond. Even better, it was only three bucks!

Of Irritating Insurance Salesmen

Aarrrghhh! I am getting quite irritated with a certain annoying insurance agent. He wants to meet to talk plans with us, which I am fine with, but he refuses to meet in the evenings, saying that he doesn't like to do that because people are tired out and don't pay as much attention as he thinks they should. (Perhaps adding a song and dance routine to his presentation would perk people up a bit?) Hello mister, have you ever tried having a meeting with a three and five year old demanding your attention? I promise you, we would get more out of meeting with you after they are in bed! Besides, we are motivated--we've been paying way too much for COBRA premiums since last August. No falling asleep for us!

Also, you need to find a more tactful way of asking people if they've been "fixed." Arf! Arf!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Of Valentine's and Poetry

What a lovely Valentine's Day we had on Sunday. Ben, Kayla, Cherstin, and Jordan came up, and my lovely mother and youngest brother Joseph were also there. We got out the chocolate fountain, and had cheese dipping sauce, and lots of stuff to dip in both!

Kayla had some wonderful games prepared for us as well, and a fun time was had by all!

In this game, as couples, we had to open two pieces of candy without using our hands. Mom and Joseph were the moderators for this one!

Here all the guys had to hide behind the couch and show one body part to the girls. We had to guess which body part belonged to whom. I think Joseph and mom had an unfair advantage on this one!

The roses Dad had sent to Mom made a lovely centerpiece for our party!

Another game we played involved making up poems for each other. We had to randomly draw two words--one romantic word and one non-romantic word, and use both in our serenades. People got pretty creative!

Here were some of the entries:

I may never shower, or wash off my feet,
I may not change diapers that well,
I may never take out the trash to the street,
But I will buy you roses to cover the smell.

My heart is like a shovel,
I dig you every day.
I will love you forever,
And every day I'll say:
That you are like a feather,
Soft and oh-so-sweet.
That you smell sweet like heather,
A small that can't be beat,
That I value you as leather,
And I'll always love you so,
Yes, you are like a shovel:
Buried deep so love can grow.

I love you more than chocolate milk,
I lov you more than satiny silk.
I love you more than gummy bears,
I love yoiu more than well-trimmed nose hairs.
I love you more than candy bars,
I love you more than all the stars.

You are my sweetheart, you're like a spider,
Cause you do so much work, and I love you.
You are my mom and I love you more than chocolate,
You are the love of my life and I hope you will love me too.

My darling [NAME] with the beautiful face,
I think it strange when you dress in lace.
And when your robot comes to sup,
And you give him silverware and a cup.
And I find it odd when you sing in the car,
Or do a jig on top of our bar,
And when you stand upon your head,
Or sleep upside down upon the bed.
But despite how strange you may appear,
You're the one I love, my dear.

Our wedding was better
Than if I had won the Football National Championships
And had been awarded the Heisman Trophy award.

Love is,
in the things you do.
When you do the dishes,
When we walk, just us two.
And your many sweet kisses.
Love is: you.

It's one thing I will always miss, our walks on the beach so sandy.
The sweetness of your kiss is like the taste of candy,
You bring such color to life like jelly beans in a box,
My dear little wife, you are such a fox.

The Goat? The Remote!

So I was visiting with one of the housekeepers at the hospital a while back and she mentioned that her husband was going hunting over the weekend. I asked her if she had any fun plans for while he was gone. Her big excitement? That she would have the remote to the T.V. all to herself. I shudder knowing she has five kids and they probably were all taught the same mindset.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Of Little Tiny Babies

Leila’s Birth Story
As told by her mother
(I have little journals I keep for each of my kids, and this is an entry from Leila's.)

Well, sweet baby Leila! You are finally here, and you are so beautiful. We had quite the time getting you here, though!
We had gone in to the hospital in Idaho Falls for our/your fourth blood transfusion on Wednesday the 20th if January. I expected it would be pretty routine (if these transfusions can be called such!), and we would be home by that afternoon. They usually monitor you for a short time after the transfusions to make sure you handled everything o.k. This involves hooking up a little ultrasound device to my stomach and doing what is called a non-stress test, which basically monitors your reactivity to movement/heartrate. You were pretty non-responsive for several hours, so Dr. Belfort asked me to stay at the hospital overnight so they could continue monitoring. I must have had some premonition that would happen, because I had brought my overnight bag just in case! Anyway, this continued throughout the night with a non-responsive test strip, so I was asked to stay another day…and another..and another. Finally, on Sunday afternoon, Dr. Belfort decided it was time to go ahead and deliver you, since the test strip had been mostly non-reactive the whole time I was there. Meanwhile, the nurse had come in a short time before they gave the word to deliver and told me that it would be alright if Arden and Maile came to visit me (they normally don’t allow visitors under 18 yrs. old in winter because of the flu season). So Curtis called my mom (Grandma Hardin), who had come up on Saturday to tend Arden and Maile, and she had just left for the hospital when the doctor had said it was time to deliver you. Boy, the doctors sure didn’t waste any time! After the doctor had given the go-ahead, half an hour later you were born! Arden, Maile, and Grandma got to peek through the nursery window just after you were delivered. I thought it was kinda neat that they were at the hospital when you were born!
Anyway, they quickly whisked you off to the NICU (forgetting to hold you up so I could at least see you for a second!). You have been there about five days now. They gave you two more blood transfusions shortly after you were born, and they’ve had you on bili lights to help with the anemia and jaundice, which they actually stopped today. It is so hard to see you hooked up to the IVs and all the little wires and stuff--I just want to hold you and snuggle with you, but I also want to keep you alive! Grandma took your brother and sister down to Provo for a while so I could recover. It has been nice. My good friend Karen offered to give me rides down to the hospital every day (a 1 ½ hour round trip) until I am able to drive, so I have gotten to see you every day. Some of the nurses will even let me hold you for a short time, which I really appreciate. Dad works about five minutes from the hospital, so he is able to stop in once or twice every day as well. I get sad that I have to leave you there, but Karen had a really nice thought--she said when she had her little daughter in the NICU, she strongly felt the presence of her grandma there, and believed she was taking care of her baby. I loved that. Both of my Grandma’s have passed on, but I surely do hope and believe they are by your side when I can’t be. They were both wonderful ladies! In fact, your great-grandmother Hardin was a nurse as well, so I’m sure she is keeping a close eye on things!

When you were born:

You were 4 lbs., 4 oz.
You were 18 inches long
It was 4:04 p.m.
The Dr. that delivered you was Dr. Merrill

You have a good amount of beautiful, dark hair, a beautiful, round little face, and you are so tiny and cute!

We are happy you have joined our family. You will be a wonderful blessing in our lives, my sweet Leila Marie! I love you!