Sunday, September 25, 2011

Photoshoot Baby

Have I ever mentioned what a talented family I have? Well I do.

My sister runs an uber-successful baby clothes business over at Etsy. If you're in need of a Halloween costume for your little one (or yourself) you should head over soon because she's soooo successful that she's cutting off Halloween orders in the next few days.

My brother in law makes music. He's in a hiphop group called Rotten Musicians, who are not only musically talented but wildly entertaining at shows! He also produced an amazing album with local talent Lauren Hoyt. Check out Daniel's blog here or listen to the DaniLion album here.

And then of course there's my pseudo sister-in-law (ie. Danie's sister) Beth. She's an amazing photographer. And this past Saturday the girls and I had the privileged of having her take some pictures. Check out Miss Bee's website here.

Here are some "behind the scenes" pictures. Be sure to check back in a few weeks for the real deal!

Bee at work:




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Goober faces



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Messing around:



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Bee on her scooter. That thing rocks.



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You didn't expect us NOT to have a duckface did you?



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Me trying to get the girls to smile and look at the camera. Please try not to be blinded by my ridiculously white legs. Next year I promise to wear only skirts and shorts during summer.



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We had to bribe them with a chance to sit on the scooter.



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I cannot WAIT to see the final product. If you're in the SLC area and are looking for family, student, promotional, pretty much anything pictures check out Beth. You can see more of her work on her facebook page here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Birthday Season

It's the birthday season in our family. It started with Lanna in August, then in September we have Gran Gran, Yai Yai and Grandpa Dave. In October we have Papa and Grandma Cathy. Right after that we jump into the holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It's quite a crazy time of year.

This year we're having one big mass party for the "Grands" on Saturday. But of course we do a little dinner for everyone on their actual birthday.

Last week we celebrated Gran Gran's birthday with wonton noodles and lemon cake. We did the world a great service and taught Gran Gran how to do duck face:





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Today is Yai Yai's birthday and I decided to experiment. Traditionally the Chinese eat noodles on a person's birthday. The length of the noodle symbolizes the longevity or their life - I'm 99% sure that's why we eat noodles. I took some liberties with that and made a lasagna for Yai. But not just any lasagna, I made a bacon, chicken, and spinach alfredo lasagna. And it turned out to be FREAKING AMAZING!

There are a few things I'll do differently next time I make it. Triple instead of double the alfredo sauce and use half milk half cream.  Double or take out all together the bacon because it got lost in everything else. Cover the entire top with fresh tomatoes because they really helped to balance out the heaviness of all that cheese.




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Ingredients:
Alfredo Sauce:
1/8 C butter
1/2 t garlic
1/4 C cream
1/4 C milk
1/2 - 3/4 C parmesan
salt/pepper to taste
2 heaping T of flour
(Note if you're using this for regular Alfredo pasta skip the flour and use all cream instead of milk)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 container ricotta cheese (the smaller sized container)
1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and squeeze out as much water as possible
5-10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
salt/pepper
A handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half or 2-3 sliced romas
1 package of lasagna noodles (I ended up using one who package, plus one extra sheet)
1 cooked chicken breast cut into small pieces (I picked up a rotisserie chicken from costco and used one side.)


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease your baking dish
3. Melt the butter (remember you're TRIPLING THE RECIPE FOR THE SAUCE). Add the garlic and saute until aromatic.
4. Add the flour and cook over low heat for a few minutes.
5. Add the milk and cream slowly and heat until it starts to thicken.
6. Add the parmesan and stir until fully melted. Season with salt and pepper It should be thick like a good gravy.
7. Mix the spinach and ricotta season with salt and pepper. It's important to season all layers of flavor.
8. Spoon some sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
9. Add a layer of lasagna noodles. Scoop a third of the ricotta mixture onto the noodles and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chicken and mozzarella.
10. Cover it with sauce and repeat step 9 twice more.
11. Once you get to the top add the last of the sauce and sprinkle on the last of the mozzarella. Top with tomatoes and bacon.
12. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Then broil until the top gets golden brown.
13. Let your lasagna sit for a few minutes so the sauce isn't too runny.

I think this can easily be made vegetarian (sorry vegans) by booting the bacon and chicken and adding mushrooms or whatever other vegetables you want.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Club: The Book Theif and Normandie Cafe

I'm a little behind on my book club reviews so let's just do a quick synopsis before I get to today's:


The Room by Emma Donoghue at Village Inn. This was a solid 3 star book. An interesting yet unbelievable story of a woman who was kidnapped and kept in a shed (Room) for years. The story is told from the perspective of her son, who was born in the room conceived by her kidnapper. Worth reading but not worth bumping to the top of your list. Village Inn was well generic.


Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card at Training Table. Wonderful book one of my favorite in the Ender's series. I HATE sci-fi and yet I loved this book. Card does a wonderful job of moving the story line along while still developing the world around him in an understandable way. Worst book club meeting I've ever been too. Everyone bailed. Training Table was blah - completely overrated I probably wont ever eat there again.


The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson at Chicago Pizza. When I first finished the book I HATED it. HATED.IT. It was slow and boring; it could have been so exciting but it just wasn't. However after the meeting and the awesome discussions I bumped my rating from a 2 to a 3.5. It's definitely not my cup of tea but I had to admit that there was a lot of very interesting history embedded into the story. The fact that it's a non-fiction makes it great but also leads to the boringness. If you enjoy American history or like architecture it's must read. Chicago Pizza was surprisingly tasty. A little over priced - but then again I think most pizza places are. I went simple and shared a thin crust prosciutto pizza and the house salad and was quite satisfied.

Today's book was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


This was one of the first books that I listened to on MP3. It was amazing. I honestly loved it. A non-Nazi family in Nazi Germany. The story its told from the perspective of Death. Really a brilliant tale; it made me laugh out loud and then sob. I really think everyone should read this book and I would love to see it in school curriculum. The discussions about the book were good, we did get off on some tangents but over all it was interesting. A lot of people there were history buff which I am not so it was interesting to listen to their additional knowledge. The restaurant we ate at was Normandie in Holladay. My review? Meh. The food was fine but way over priced for the portion size and quality. Teardra got a mac-n-cheese that she deemed the best she's ever had. I got a steak sandwich and caesar salad and it was fine.

There are a ton of meetings coming up that I'm really looking forward to including The Giver, Tinkers, and The Reader (the last two I haven't read yet but look):


If by chance you are a historical romance or period piece person pick up The Gentleman Poet by Kathryn Johnson. I picked it up on the whim at the library and I was pretty sure I'd hate it and not finish it but I LOVE it. 

Happy Reading

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Company Picnic at Lagoon

Today was my company's annual employee picnic at Lagoon!


We didn't go last year because I didn't think the girls would be able to make it worth the money and trip. But this year I decided to give it a go.

There are two parts to the picnic first is the company provided activities. There were various games and activities for the kids - fishing, football toss, shooting the basketball (I got 2 out of 3 and the one I misses was an in and out... yeah I still got it), putting and this bizarre game where you try to launch a rubber frog into a pot. The girls had a lot of fun and were very happy with their prizes. Here they are waiting in line for the football toss (they won those sunglasses):




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Honestly I don't know where they get it from! And of course it wouldn't be us if there wasn't a duckface thrown in there:




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There was also cookie decorating:




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And then cookie eating:




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There was lunch (which was yucky) and ice cream (which was yummy) and a raffle which we didn't stick around for.

Then it was off to the various rides offered by lagoon. The girls really surprised me. I thought for sure Lanna would be my dare devil who wanted to do all the scary rides and Tira would be my wuss. Boy was I wrong. Right off the bat Tira wanted to do ALL the big rides. She went on BomBora which was a actual whips and turns and giant drops roller coaster with me. She begged to go on the Bat with me but I said next year. Lanna was a total pansy and wouldn't even go on the Odysea.

Tira and I on the Odysea:




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Me getting on the Bat:




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Tira and I went on one called the Flying Aces - goodness I will NEVER EVER go on that ride again! It was horrible I thought the strings were going to snap and we'd be flung into a building. I couldn't figure out the controls. Tira kept telling me "it's ok mommy" LOL




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I finally convinced Lanna to go on one with us that wasn't a baby ride, the Musik Express. Which basically spins in a circle fast and goes up and down. I couldn't stop laughing. I know I'm a terrible mommy. Lanna kept saying no and screaming, Tira was laughing screaming and then put her arm around Lanna and said it's ok baby. Swoon.




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I taught Tira how to put her arms up and scream on a roller coaster:




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Them on various baby rides:




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The day would have been perfect except for the last five minutes. Tira and I were just finishing up a roller coaster and Lanna was in the stroller with Yai Yai. Lanna insisted on putting her tray down without Yai's help and managed to get her arm pinched. We ended up going to the first aide station and since it started to rain we called it a day.




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The EMT was really nice. He even gave Tira a fish even though she wasn't the one with an owie.




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I can't wait for next year. Tira's shooting up like a weed and will be tall enough to go on most of the rides with me. Hopefully Lanna will be a little less scared by then too.