Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Whole Lotta Something

OK, I've totally been in a blogging funk. We've been plenty busy--I just haven't been feeling much blogging inspiration lately.

No, I don't routinely photograph my gym. These pics were on facebook.

Life is good. I joined a gym a few weeks ago, and we're still trying to figure out a schedule that works for us. I'm still attending my church exercise class in the mornings, so I've been doing double-duty workouts M, W, F. The first week I was absolutely exhausted, but I'm adjusting. Tess has learned to love her childcare "class" at the gym. It's been great to have the time and ability to focus on a good workout.

I wish there were more hours in the day. There are some people who spend hours at a time at the gym. I'd love to be able to spend 2 hours doing a full workout, but I really don't want to leave Tess for more than an hour at a time. Slow and steady, I suppose.

Spinning class is totally kicking my butt. It's a brutal workout. I get a little scared every time I start and I'm amazed and relieved every time I finish.

These pics were on facebook too. Yep, that's me in the green shirt.
They took photos during their "Customer Appreciation Day." I feel very appreciated.
In this photo I'm thinking, "Just where is this photo going to show up?"

This is the same class, but I'm not in this picture. Thank goodness--they look awful!

That's enough of the exercise talk. There was this bodybuilder woman in my spinning class this morning, and she gabbed incessantly about lifting, carbs, what her kids aren't allowed to eat, supplements, how to make wheat germ chicken nuggets, poisonous poptarts, what a couch potato her husband is, yadda, yadda, yadda--SHUT UP! So, yeah, that's enough.

What else has been going on?
  • We had a fun visit with Nana & Papa last week. When I put Tess down early for her nap, I told her, "Tess needs an early nap because when she gets up we are going to NANA/PAPA'S HOUSE!" Her squeaky reply, " 'kay." First thing when she woke up, even before I turned on the light, she yelled out, "PAPA'S HOUSE!" (Sorry, Nana. For some reason it's always "Papa's House.")
  • Tess learned a new word from Nana: "Pumpkin." Now she loves to point out pumpkins everywhere we go!
  • Last weekend we took Tess to the Natural History Museum in D.C. and we had a blast! We let her take charge and she ran around showing us everything. We stayed in the mammal exhibit, and her favorite animals were the giraffe, zebra and anything small and rodent-like. (Too bad I forgot my camera. Blogging funk, what can I say?)
  • After the museum, we stopped off at the National Book Festival on the Mall. It was packed, but we braved the crowds for some tote bags and a free poster. (I do love the poster.) Fringe benefit--the festival was sponsored by PBSKids, so Tess got to meet some of her favorite PBS characters: Curious George, Sid the Science Kid, Clifford & Martha (Who strangely enough would only nod instead of speak. I asked if she'd had her alphabet soup that morning, and she nodded yes. Hmmm.) Again, no camera.
  • Tess will soon be the proud owner of a new set of Pollywog orthotic shoe inserts to treat her flat feet and pronation issues. Her physical therapist fit Tess for them today and the therapist thinks they'll make a big difference in her balance and stability. Here's hoping!

  • Mom flies in on Thursday--just what I need to pull me out of funk! I'm sure the camera will be out in full force soon!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blowin' in the Wind

Can you guess what happened between these two sets of shots?

That's what shirts are for: "The Soapy Tongue Swipe."

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Ryan is working hard to ensure he is no longer the lone football lover in this house. With some coaching, Tess has now mastered the word "football" and can show us how to kick and throw. And if anyone cheers for any reason, she's always happy to join in.

Ignore the disaster of a house.
There are more important things than
housekeeping when BYU is leading by 51 points!

Mainly, Tess loves having fun with her dad. To celebrate the big win, Ryan & Tess went on a Daddy-Daughter Date to the Smoothie Shop.

Go, go, go, go, go!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Enrichment: Harvest Dinner

We hosted a Harvest-Themed Dinner for Enrichment meeting last night. It was our first big activity with our new Enrichment "Specialists" and they did great! It was so fabulous to have so much help!

Photo invitation

The theme for the night was "The Bounteous Fruits of the Harvest," based on 2 Corinthians 9:6--"And she which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."

For decorations, we had sisters donate quilts, which we clothespinned to the volleyball net like an old-fashioned "quilt airing." We displayed some of the quilts on easels.

We decorated the tables with plum tablecloths, Martha's Stewart's paper coffee filter roses in autumnal colors, electric tea lights and scattered artificial leaves.

For dinner we had Fruit-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, baked sweet potatoes (cooked in foil like baked potatoes, served with butter and brown sugar), salad (red leaf lettuce, grapes, apples & balsamic vinaigrette) and rolls. The pork was pretty easy to make and it turned out beautifully. A great way to feed a large group of people!

Following dinner, we had two mini classes (15 min. each):
  • "The Field is White Already to Harvest" (D&C 6:3)—Our ward mission leader addressed the bounteous blessings of missionary work.
  • "Joy in the Fruit of thy Labors" (D&C 6:31)—One of our sisters talked about finding joy & satisfaction in our everyday labors (motherhood, work, church service)

To wrap it up, we had sisters bring fruit pies & cobbler and vanilla ice cream for dessert. There were lots of yummy, homemade treats.

Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin
  • 1 boneless pork loin, 4 lbs (see note)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts (see note)
  • 2 cups dried fruits, (apricots & cranberries, see note)
  • Black pepper (sage & rosemary would also be good)
  • Garlic salt
  • 1 10 oz jar apricot preserves

  1. Medium chop dried fruits into about 1/4 inch pieces, set aside
  2. Chop or crush nuts, set aside
  3. Trim pork loin of all fat and silverskin.
  4. Place loin on cutting board and using a sharp knife butterfly loin by cutting through middle but not all the way through. Stop about 1/2 inch from bottom. Turn knife to right and cut to about 1/2 inch from right side. Reverse knife and do left side the same way, stopping about 1/2 inch from left wall. With hands, open loin. You will now have a flat piece about 1/2 inch thick.
  5. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt, black pepper and spices.
  6. Spread evenly dried fruits and nuts leaving about 1/2 inch border all around.
  7. Roll pork jellyroll style and very tight. Tie with butcher twine at one inch intervals.
  8. Place on roasting rack and bake in 325 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 135.
  9. Using pastry brush, glaze with preserves mixed with 3 tbs fruit juice such as apple or orange. Use only enough to glaze. Remainder will be used to nap pork for presentation.
  10. Return to oven and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 140.
  11. Remove and let sit for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove twine and with sharp knife cut 1/4 inch slices.
  13. Place on platter in fan shape and nap with reserved All Fruit.
  14. Note (1) Center cut pork loins are split, so you will have two pieces. Full loins are longer and larger and will have more connecting tissues, they will work, just as well, but won't have the same attractive presentation. Use whatever size loin (or part of a loin) you need. One pound will produce about 3 servings.
  15. Note (2) Crushed nuts can be walnuts, pecans or whatever.
  16. Note (3) Dried fruits are the ones in the bags at the grocery. Your choice. I use cherries, cranberries, plums and apricot combos.
  17. Note (4) Preserves are optional. You can just use heavy pepper on top or a purchased or made fruit glaze of your choice. Marmalade also works great.
  18. All recipes are just food, but this is pretty and good show-off food!

It takes about 45 minutes to cook before you begin basting. then you cook it about another 15 minutes before pulling it out of the oven to rest. It can be made the day before, and warmed before serving too.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Big Girl Tess

We have been so proud of our Tessie lately. She's growing up into such a big girl. She observes and understands so much around her.

How I adore her perfect curls!

Nursery has been a challenge for her lately. After her first few weeks in Nursery, she finally caught on that Nursery time is when Mom & Dad actually abandon her. Her teacher brought her to us during Sunday school, concerned because she'd never seen Tess so "hysterical."

The following week the hysteria broke down into full meltdown mode: a kicking, screaming, flailing, rolling tantrum in the foyer. There was no consoling her. Ryan finally had to take her home.

The next week we knew better than to force Tess into Nursery. After Sacrament Meeting, I just kept her with me while I was gathering my things and talking to people. Finally, Tess grabbed my finger and pulled me out of the chapel. She walked me to the Nursery door, pointed and grunted "uh-uh-uh!" I went in with her for a few minutes, slipped out and she stayed the whole time.

Today, we let Tess decide again for herself. After Sacrament, I asked Tess, "OK, now what? Where do we go now?" I offered her my finger and she walked me right to her Nursery class. We played a round of "Ring-Around-the-Rosie" with her friends, and I slipped out while she was doing a puzzle.

Her teachers said she did such a great job in class today! She was a happy and cooperative girl. The music leader said she loves singing time and doing the motions to the songs.

She was so excited to see us after church and show us the picture she'd colored. We could tell that she was proud of herself for being such a good girl during class.

We are proud of the efforts she's made, and we are constantly amazed by her growth and progress. We sure love our big girl Tess.