Friday, November 30, 2007

this is INSANE

I read this today and my mouth stayed in a dropped postion the entire time. I can't believe it. Some of the numbers they give are SHOCKING! I don't think that people know what they are eating most of the time. Mom, you'll love this.

The 20 worst foods in America

Nativities galore!

The stake here does a huge "interfaith nativity/creche exhibit" at the stake center every year for Christmas. It is AMAZING! They have hundreds of amazing nativities from all over the world that are donated by people in the stake and community.

My favorite is the one pictured to the right. I think it is from Africa. I love that they have lions, zebras, and elephants at the manger scene with an African Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

This morning we went and volunteered as hosts! I'll be honest, I had a lot of fun. We had the very first shift from 11-1 and nobody came so we (six fun women from the ward) just got to talk and walk around and enjoy ourselves. There are some great pluses to being at home with the rugrat and not working all day! I absolutely loved it. Kent and I are doing a shift tomorrow night together as well. Hopefully the Saturday night one will be lots busier than this morning.

Most everybody left their kids with a sitter (hooray for Cynthia) but I did bring the little rugrat along cause I thought he would just nap. He DOES not nap if there are people and lights and music around! He giggled and laughed a lot and then crashed immediately when we got home. He did fall on his head though. It has been happening a lot lately because he wants to reach for something while he's sitting up. When he reaches, he topples. He looks a little roughed and bruised up, but I'm sure it's good for him. This picture is for you Laney, since you only want to see Zeb. No more pancake mixes, I promise.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

favorite thing...

Today has been a most ridiculously busy day. I've enjoyed it immensely. I really like having all the hours in my day blocked out with a purpose, even if the purpose is something regular like walking group, enrichment meetings, or hobby lobby.

I was out and about lots longer than I had initially planned so I went straight to school to get Kent before I made it home to make dinner. This meant we had to come home and figure out what we were going to eat. Luckily we had my current favorite food in the world!!!! when I find something that I love, I can't help but tell everyone that I know about it. Yet another purpose for my blog.

Hodgson Mill's whole wheat buttermilk pancakes. They are absolutely delicious. The texture, consistency, flavor, and everything else is just splendid. I used applesauce instead of oil and so they were low fat too. I love the texture of whole wheat. I must have Grandpa Howell taste buds or something (although growing up I would cry when he forced us to eat his whole wheat mac and cheese).
I'm not sure if they sell them out West (they are made in Illinois) but I highly recommend them to everyone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

early Christmas present to me :)

Yes, by the broadast of terms (and some of the more stringent ones), I am an environmentalist. I feel that we, as God's children, have a stewardship over Earth. Regardless of the severity of global warming and melting ice caps, we still have no right to be wasteful or overtly cavalier about our consumption of fossil fuels.
After a friend mentioned she had started using reusable grocery sacks (thanks em f.) I decided it was a noble endeavour and that I wanted to do the same. I have been searching for some inexpensive bags ever since. I located my bags this week at Meijer! Oh, how I adore Meijer. Sometimes I just go to walk around and look at things. I love the foreign foods aisle. But back to the point. These bags were oh-so-inexpensive and if any of you Utahns want to halt your improvidence and do your little part, just let me know and these can be part of your Christmas present too:)

Zeb will not lie down.

I think that he's teething again cause he is being so darn particular. He will only sit up. and he's drooling like a leaky faucet. It's all fine and good except for the fact that he can't get himself into this position. He'll get all frustrated and try to sit up from being flat on his back or stomach. It looks like he's trying to do sit ups and can't! The whole sitting up thing started about three weeks ago and now he's a real pro. Plus, I think that he's quadrupled the amount of hair he has in that short time. Less than three weeks until he makes his Utah debut. He's pretty excited. We are working on a few more tricks that hopefully will be perfected by the 18th.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

z loves the snow

Last night was Zeb's first real snowfall! at least where the flakes were big enough to count as snowflakes and not just flurries. We stuck him out on the front lawn for a bit so that he could enjoy it! His reaction was so funny every time a flake landed on his face or head. I think that he enjoyed it immensely.

cookie cookie cookie

If anybody is in need of a new basic choco chip cookie recipe, this one is AMAZING. If you already have one that works for you, you may disregard this post. I am TERRIBLE at making the basic cookie. Mine are always crispy or flat or just plain hideous. This one turned out like none I have ever attempted. It has some very specific instructions and perhaps that is what made it so delicious. They were so good that I ate my two (or maybe it was three!) and sent every last one to the neighbors or with Kent for his anatomy group! I definitely didn't need them tempting me all the next day at home.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, MELTED
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp accidentally and they were fine)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325. Line pan with wax paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. I made mine a lot smaller than this! Cookies should be about 3 inches apart. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted (DON'T OVERCOOK). Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
The melted butter and lower baking temp are KEY to the recipe working out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Maumee Holiday Hustle 5K!

Friday after Thanksgiving Kent and I ran the Holiday Hustle in Maumee! It started at 5:30 so ended up being a chilly night race! we all got glowsticks to wear around our necks and there was lots of free food and great t-shirts! It was a lot of fun! Kent ran much faster than I did (he's trying to keep up his Air Force run pace so he passes the fitness test come June) but I was pretty proud of my pace--especially with the stroller and all.
I couldn't believe how many people ran! At the beginning of the race we could barely move because it was so crowded. It was especially hard with the stroller because I couldn't maneuver anywhere! at one point somebody cut right in front of me and clipped the wheel of the stroller and we jerked forward and zeb got a little whiplash! had he not been buckled in, I may have lost him! He got quite the fright. There was a big light parade after the race but our sweat was freezing to our bodies so we decided to head home and warm up! This will be another continued Ohio tradition. We had a lot of fun.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I have been called a scrooge, but there is no need to name call any more. Thanksgiving is over and Christmas celebrations can commence! We put up our tree and all of our decorations! We have lights adorning our windows and we keep them lit all night long (I am unplugging other appliances and household items and turning down the heat at night to make up for the excess energy consumption)! We have our Christmas candle filling our home with great smells! and we have cheeseballs coming out our ears :) We hope you enjoy the music playing on our blog as well, it is one of our favorite Christmas songs!

We had to get an artificial tree this year because of the whole leaving to Utah thing. I remember the first year we got a fake tree at home. I bawled my eyes out and accused my parents of destroying Christmas and all of its associated traditions. Our fake tree is actually quite nice, especially considering that we got it for FREE! a nice family in the ward was giving it away and I snatched it up lickety split :)

We head to Utah just three weeks from Tuesday! That is way too soon! I can't wait for Zeb to meet everybody! squeezing him to death when we get there.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I really thought this one was funny and fitting. Yes, I can be a bit overwhelming, but at least I'm willing to admit it.

You Are a Red Crayon

Your world is colored with bright, vivid, wild colors.
You have a deep, complex personality - and you are always expressing something about yourself.
Bold and dominant, you are a natural leader. You have an energy that is intense... and sometimes overwhelming.
Your reaction to everything tends to be strong. You are the master of love-hate relationships.

Our crayon colors fit us perfectly! - Kent

You Are a Blue Crayon

Your world is colored in calm, understated, deep colors.
You are a loyal person, and the truest friend anyone could hope to find.
On the inside, you tend to be emotional and even a bit moody.
However, you know that people depend on you. So you put on a strong front.

Your color wheel opposite is orange. Orange people may be opinionated, but you feel they lack the depth to truly understand what they're saying.

day 2 of the festivities

We were going to get up super death early and brave the sales but decided we really just wanted to sleep in! we got up and had breakfast and decided to head over to walmart at about ten. You'll all never believe it but EVERY doorbuster (except the mini 50 dollar dvd player) was STILL AVAILABLE! apparently this is a brand new Walmart and is the only big store in Ashland (no Circuit city, Best Buy, etc) so people just aren't really used to the big day after Thanksgiving sales! We got a much needed new computer for a steal of deal and the Starkeys got a snazzy GPS system. Craigo was so excited to drive back to South Carolina using it :)

Jack and Kathy (Craig's parents) took us on a tour of downtown as well. We even went to the hardware store and Zeb met Santa Claus for the first time. He was enthralled with his beard. He just sat and stared. He kept touching it as well.

Ashland is full of Amish people. I wanted to get a picture but apparently they believe that if you get their picture you are stealing their souls. Amy and I tried to be very inconspicuous about it but just as we were about to get the perfect shot, the man looked right at us! the flash was so bright and it was so obvious what we were doing. We kinda took off and he kept following us around the store. I think he wanted us to delete the picture or something. I know, immature you say, but I really wanted the picture! Amy has it on her camera so she is going to e-mail it to me. I'll post it as soon as I get it. I guess getting pictures of their buggies is fine so I got a few of those without any trouble.

Friday, November 23, 2007

ode to the Starkeys!

First off we must give a great big thank you to the Starkey family! Kathy and Jack were the greatest Thanksgiving hosts ever. We ate and ate and ate their food and then slept in their house and then ate and ate more of their delicious food :) Kent and I (and Z) had such a nice relaxing Thanksgiving. The weather was picture perfect on Thanksgiving day. Lots of gloom, snow flurries, and just plain chilliness. The drive was very pleasant as well. Kent and I really enjoy driving through Ohio, especially smaller towns like Ashland. We love the trees and all of the quaint farm houses (and the Amish buggies on the roads!) . It's so different from Utah.
I promised pictures and documentation of our holiday, so here goes. The food was stupendous. I can't believe how much I love sweet potatoes. I didn't really know that before. Zeb LOVED them even more than I did. We did decide, however, that it may have been the butter, sugar, cream, and spices that they were swimming in that we loved so much and not the sweet potatoes themselves. The recipe was Paula Dean's and I plan on using it again soon. It was so great to spend the Holiday with Amy, Craigo, Taylor and Peanut. I have the greatest family around! and even better that some live East of the Mississippi! It was all smiles the full two days
(minus the times we harrassed the little rugrats). Once all of the kiddos were in bed we went on a nice walk under the full moon (in the bitter cold) and then we came home and Kent ate lots more. Luckily for us we spent the night so the tryptophan didn't have any adverse affects on his driving.
We have so much to post it's crazy! I'll post about the next day sometime tomorrow! You'll all love the parts where Amy stole the soul of an Amish man and the part where we realized Ashland is the place to be for Black Friday shopping.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks!

Check out the big bird they are having for Thanksgiving Dinner! I thought my mum would get a kick out of it!

Most likely I won't be posting tomorrow so I wanted to post my giving thanks today. Since I won't be at my parent's house I thought I'd post my "thankful fors" on my blog instead of at the dinner table with them.

My life is charmed and I am so happy it's ridiculous! Potentially my list could be horrendously ginormous but after much deep thought I've cut it down to only so-so ginormous (in only slight particular order).

1. The gospel of Jesus Christ. All of the knowledge it gives me is what makes me so ridiculously happy.
2. The best husband in the world. Basically I am living with a man who is here just to make me happy!
3. The three best sisters imagineable. One beautiful and great to talk to twin sister Laney (with a stellar husband), one gorgeous and most loyal sis Metta, and one "stinks like cheese" but buckets of fun Daysa (she's pretty cute too).
4. the most outrageously adorable and perfect rugrat Zeb.
5. Two overzealous, amazingly smart and talented parents who taught me to be who I am.
6. one heck of an extended family full of --brother and sister/mom and dad-- type people!
and finally
7. a gazillion really great friends that make life enjoyable and that help make getting up in the morning a little more feasible.
Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

yet another recipe! please send me yours!!! or post them :)

I know this is probably a regular on many of your dinner tables but we just rediscovered it. there's nothing better than a quick, easy, and delicious dinner recipe! I've had the recipe forever but we hadn't made it in at least a year. This recipe is from Renae Mordecai (although altered in a few spots) and it is DELICIOUS. Kent gave it a 9.5! and with the modifications I made (very little dirty work like cutting!), it's ridiculously easy to make!

1 large potato (cut and peeled)
1 bag mixed veggies (I used the carrot/pea/corn/green bean variety..NO LIMA BEANS)
1/2 large onion
1/2 c butter
1/2 c flour
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp. thyme
1.5 c chicken broth
3/4 c milk
Cubed cooked chicken (I used two small breasts)
pastry for 2 pie crusts.

Boil potatoes until almost done. While boiling potatoes, saute onions in the butter. When onions brown, add flour, s & p, and thyme to make a gravy like mixture. We used less butter and flour so it wasn't as thick. You can always add more flour if it's too runny. Boil for two minutes and then add cooked chicken (I let mine sit in the crock pot four hours so it was super tender) and all veggies!
I don't like for the pie to have a bottom crust but kent does. Either way works. If you put in a bottom, let it bake by itself for 7-10 minutes at 425. Put all of the filling into the pie tin, cover with crust, cut slits, and bake for 15-25 minutes at 425. It is delicious! it makes 1 large potpie.

Monday, November 19, 2007

my teeny elf- look at his pointy little ears!

here is one of my other finds! This was a bit of a splurge, it was 4.97. Sam Dockter, Z's little friend across the hall, has the exact same ones and they are SO cute on him that I couldn't resist! and then I was going to have them be Christmas pajamas and not open them until then, but really my favorite thing in the world is Zeb in pajamas! Oh, and speaking of great finds, kent and I also found a baby monitor at Goodwill for eight bucks (we had wanted to get one but didn't think it was worth the amount of money we'd have to spend). it works like a charm! It is so convenient to use while I am running. I can't hear him at all while I'm on the treadmill and the monitor makes it so that I don't have to stop and check on him every ten minutes. I am ever so grateful for life's little conveniences.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

happy shopping!

Last night after Kent's classmate (also our hometeacher) came and gave Kent a much needed haircut (thank you justin!) we decided to go out to Fallen Timbers. I love the place! Outdoor malls during the holidays are the best! There were lights up and it was lightly snowing. It was however slightly bittersweet. We decided to go into the GAP to see if they had any jeans on sale for Z and I got all homesick! and I don't mean for my family or Utah, I mean homesick for the Gap! how pathetic is that? The regular Gap Christmas music was playing and the smell of new clothes floated through the air and I missed it! I LOVE working retail at Christmas time! For me it's what makes Christmas, Christmas! I've worked Christmas Eve the past five years and I've enjoyed every bit of it!! It's going to be so hard to go home and not work! I called Laney to see if she'd talk to my managers about letting me come back for just a week and luckily she talked me out of it. I'll go visit her while she's working and hopefully it will give me my fix.
So, back to Z's jeans! They didn't have any on sale but they certainly did have a plethora of other items! I couldn't believe the prices! Yet another benefit about living outside of Utah. Fewer children means lots more stuff for lots cheaper! normally the sale racks at our Gap at home are picked through and chaotic! Here they are fabulous.
I have posted just a few of our spoils! We got the coat for Zeb for SEVEN dollars! originally priced at 49.50! both pairs of shoes were 2.97, each originally priced at 24.50! Plus we used my gift cards that I bought with my discount way back when so we got an additional 30% off of those prices!!! I even got some halloween costumes for three dollars a piece! I am so pleased with my trip. All in all we made out like banshees. It is so easy to shop for the rugrat. Everything's cute when it's this small.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

the hoarder.

He is a blanket hog. He absolutely loves them. We have a shot of him on video but we can't get it to upload so this picture will have to appease for now. Z loves going to sleep at night! Around eight every night he'll give us that whine indicating he is ready for bed. We'll take him to his room and deposit him into the crib where he will promptly roll over onto his side, give a sigh of contentment, grab a few blankets and nuzzle his face in them (or Tigger), and then fall fast asleep. Where and why did we get such a good little rugrat?

AMMENDMENT to post: he may go to sleep wonderfully but waking up is not so dang cute. This morning he woke up at FOUR FREAKING THIRTY and STAYED up. I showered and got ready for church at five-thirty and then cleaned up the house. ew GROSS. I cursed myself with that post last night. yzhacc.

battle of the border

Today is the big day. The Michigan/Ohio game. The reason I post about this event is because it's outrageous! BYU/Utah games are NOTHING compared to this. Really I couldn't care less about the outcome of the game, but Toledo has been put on hold this week as everyone prepares. There have been tailgate parties at the grocery stores all week! Everybody is wearing either Michigan or Ohio clothes. People are NUTSO. Plus, Meredith Viera and Rachael Ray are doing parts of the pre-game show so I am watching that.

I think the pandemonium is relatively widespread across both states, but it is especially intense here in Toledo because we border Michigan. All of the choas is pretty fun. The city is full of fans from both sides and I have a feeling the bar parties get pretty heated! I am also assuming there will be a lot of drunk drivers out this evening. Every bar is advertising a shindig of some sort! I guess out of loyalty I should be cheering for OSU--but like I said, I'm pretty indifferent.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

goodness, he drove me nuts today! Z woke up at six-thirty and kent left to school so I got to be up and awake with the happy little wombat. luckily we both took an hour and a half nap. I think it was my first real nap since I was three. I hate naps. So, anyway, because he made me so nutty I thought I'd post some pictures to remind myself that at least he's cute. The one on the right is his face after I told him I was putting him in the trash can.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

another toledo find

Since the first day that we arrived in Toledo the mystery of "Big Boy" has intrigued me. Scattered throughout the city there are all of these old looking restaurants that have giant plastic statues of a big boy in front of them. Tonight we decided to put our questions to rest and go in! plus it is customer appreciation week and mini hot fudge cakes were only 99 cents!

The cakes were good (just a little bit stale) and the employees were very nice (although missing teeth) but I think that one visit completely solved the "big boy" mystery and we will never have to return.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

cooking group....

Definitely one of my favorites of the enrichment groups here in Toledo. These cooking groups will most likely never be rivaled in any ward that I am ever to attend! Every 2nd Tuesday of the month I skip dinner so that I can indulge at this little activity. When I attended for my first time I was SHOCKED at the amount and caliber of the food. Tonight was no exception. There is always some sort of theme. Tonight was Thanksgiving. We had it all. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, jello, rolls, sweet potatoes, veggies, and every pumpkin dessert imaginable. I loved the pumpkin roll and the little pumpkin sandwich cookies. Besides the good food, the company is fabulous. At the end of a day filled with a very cute but also very non verbal baby there is nothing better than a group of raucous women! Especially when you've got a foul smelling husband (due to the cadavers). I was going to take some more pictures but my camera got crabby. The one will have to suffice.


Today I truly felt like a med student. We started dissecting our cadaver today. The program here is really great. I love the anatomy professors and I have a really cool group! We dissect in groups of four - which is really nice because many schools have groups of six. It is quite the site to walk in and see table after table of dead bodies! Over forty bodies in one room! My group's cadaver is a 91 year old man who was diabetic and had prostate cancer. He is a larger individually so you can imagine getting to the muscles required a lot of digging through adipose. I was SO excited to begin. I gladly volunteered to make the initial incisions and begin the dissection of the back. This entire process totally reinforced my desire to donate my body to educational purposes. I'm so grateful this man was willing to give me this privilege! After four hours of hacking our way through to the deepest muscles in the back I was exhausted and ready to head home and shower. I can't imagine surgeons who spend hours and hours on an operation involving a living person - that's just incredible to me. With a test this morning and dissections this afternoon I'm just thankful that there wasn't any new material introduced today. I have a feeling that this new block is going to require a lot more time than the last block and Leisy and Zeb will be seeing me less frequently than before. I'm really excited about medicine and I'm so grateful that I was accepted and have this time to learn and prepare for a career. I'm beginning to see how much time it requires and how much worse it will be when I'm actually practicing and pulling 24 hour shifts! It's a lesson to me to enjoy life as it comes because it never gets easier!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Have I posted yet about how excited I am for Thanksgiving? I was having a little bit of holiday anxiety not having any concrete festivities planned, but all has come together quite nicely! The Starkeys are coming to OHIO :) and we get to go down and have the whole shindig at mom Starkey's house! Spending the holidays with amy, craigo, peanut, and taylor is just about as good as spending it with my parents and sisters.
I expect all of you people in Utah (and everywhere else) to get some great pictures of the day and post them! There is nothing better than a day of gluttony! I will be making sure to get a good run in that morning and we are running the Maumee "Holiday Hustle 5K" the next day! Those days my runs are purely so that I can eat more!!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Holiday Parade!

Last night was the Perrysburg (the little township next to us) Stars and Stripes holiday parade. It was a Christmas/Veteran's day parade. The parade was at 4:30 and the tree lighting was at 5:30. It felt so much like a small town function! everybody knew everybody! the local bank was giving out donuts and hot chocolate and the floats threw so much candy that the kids were sick of it and there were leftovers in the streets! It was pretty chilly and some of the parade entries were hysterical! Zeb LOVED the marching band but had a come apart when all of the ambulances and fire trucks came by. He just hates the loud noises accompanied by lights. We parked right on main street and sat on the trunk of our car while we watched the parade. The hill billy truck was one of our favorite entries.

Santa Claus was in attendance and we all sang Christmas Carols around the city tree! It really was kind of fun (even though Christmas songs shouldn't be sung for a few more weeks). We'll definately be making it a tradition to attend :) That's another plus about being so far away from what we are used to. We have been able to start making a lot of our own new traditions!

here are the shots of little Z reacting to the firetrucks and ambulances. He is so dang funny.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


COSI is the AMAZING children's science museum here in Toledo that is closing in just a few weeks! The levy didn't pass and now the place is shutting down! I am still so so so angry! This place is phenomenal! there are so many cool things to do and see.

We were able to get a few cool pictures of our adventures there today! Once again the little rugrat was in awe of everything and would never make eye contact with us! Normally he is so good to smile and pose for pictures! not at the cool science museums though :)

They have an amazing bike that you ride across a tight wire above people! It is really cool. One of our favorite things(the Dockters had recommended it!) was the time warp camera!

Kent and I sat and laughed and laughed! they take a short video of you blowing a raspberry or something weird and then slow it WAY WAY down so that you can see it in exaggerated slow motion! It was so nasty.