Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Evan's Pie

Quite a few weeks back, Evan and I went to a picnic to say goodbye to our friends who were leaving because of podiatry school. Evan had been craving pie for the past two weeks, so he decided to make one to share. All the wives were impressed by Evan's ability to bake a pie. I'm glad he isn't against public displays of affection and that he isn't ashamed to share his feelings for me via pie crust!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

CSPM Class of 2009 Junior Dinner

One more year until he's a doctor!

Evan's class at the California School of Podiatric Medicine had it's Junior Dinner a few nights ago. It was held at Fandorin Restaurant near the San Francisco Airport. The restaurant is right on the water with a great view.

Sorry you can't see the beautiful waterfront view behind us!

We went with our friends and ex-apartment managers (pictured below). You can read her account of the event here.

Here's Evan with one of the favors the students got - a shoe horn!
It's shaped like a foot and says, "CSPM Class of 2009."
Wow! 2009 used to seem so far away when we moved here from Washington three years ago! I can't believe that time has flown by so fast! (I don't think Evan thinks the time has gone fast enough, though. Medical school must be harder than teaching!)

It was a very nice restaurant. It was fun to go somewhere fancy. Fandorin is a Russian restaurant that the class president's wife picked. (They are both Russian.) There were a lot of appetizers and I thought they were the highlight of the meal. We really didn't need a main dish after we ate our salads, bread, and all the wonderful appetizers. I thought I was quite adventurous trying new things, especially since I didn't know what most of the foods were until I came home and read the menu online. Some of the appetizers were crepes filled with duck comfit with raspberry sauce, pirozhki, pelmeni, pierogies, shrimp with caviar, and smoked eel. (I didn't try the caviar or eel; I'm just taking baby steps at this adventurous food thing.) The entree was a little weird. I'm not sure what it was - chicken and beef cooked in a strange way. It was served with gnocchi in cheese sauce, which I really liked. Here I am trying to get Evan to eat the mystery meat that was served as the main dish.
Our friend, Toni, wasn't a big fan of the food. She was hoping they would serve macaroni and cheese.

They had a dance floor and a DJ. Evan and I enjoyed dancing to the one slow song they played the entire night. I couldn't get Evan out on the dance floor during any of the fast songs, though.

We sat with the sober crowd. (This really only included 4 of the LDS students and their dates, plus 1 other classmate and his girlfriend.) After a fellow classmate of Evan's shouted out, "Here's to drinking!" our friend, Karson, held up the water pitcher and shouted back the same thing. Karson also entertained everyone with his impressive dance moves. (Sorry no pictures of that. You might check YouTube later, though.)

Here's some other random pictures from the event:

Saturday, May 3, 2008

60 Hour Rolls - I love my KitchenAid mixer!

Let me apologize in advance to my sister, Kathy, for this post. I know she hates blogs that just document day-to-day events in a person's life. However, I feel that 60 hour rolls are a big part of who I am.

My birthday was about a month ago and Evan got me what I've been wanting for 6 years - a KitchenAid mixer. He has actually offered to get it for me several times before, but I always wanted a lot of smaller presents, rather than one big one. After Christmas, I told Evan to go for it and get me the mixer for my birthday and not to ask me again what I wanted, because I was sure I would change my mind. On April 9th this year, my mixer dreams came true!

Here's the man of my dreams with the mixer of my dreams!!

My love affair with Kitchen-Aid mixers has been going on for a long time. I can't ever remember a time in my childhood when we didn't have one. My mom actually made us homemade bread at least 3 times a week when I was in elementary school. Back then I was embarrassed to take homemade bread in my lunches, because everyone else had Wonderbread with the crusts cut off. Now I realize my mom was granola-y before it was cool. (She even made homemade yogurt!) I loved sitting by the mixer helping her make the bread dough. She would give me some of the left over dough to create whatever baking surprise I wanted to with it. (Butter and cinnamon sugar was a favorite to add.) I really liked eating the raw dough and whenever I taste a little bread dough now, it reminds me of my childhood.

I started making "60 minute rolls" when I was about 10 years old. It has become a tradition in my family that I always make these rolls for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and basically any other dinner that I like to make special for my family. Somehow, throughout the years, the name "60 minute rolls" has jokingly evolved into "60 hour rolls." I think it's because I like the dough to get so puffy that I often let the dough rise a lot longer than the recipe calls for.

To me, having a good sturdy mixer to make these rolls is almost a necessity. I've made them by hand before, but all the kneading required often discourages me from making them often. Evan got me a cheaper mixer when we were first married, but I have a bad habit of breaking our appliances. That mixer didn't last through too many batches of 60 hour rolls.

So, it had been almost a month since I got the mixer and I still hadn't made anything in it. I was feeling guilty and didn't want to discourage Evan from giving me even more awesome presents. I had been wanting to make my 60 hour rolls, but I don't like to have too many delicious carbs hanging around our kitchen and 2 dozen rolls are just too many for just Evan and I to eat. I decided that since I was going Visiting Teaching that day I could make some rolls to share with the family I visit and then I wouldn't have so many rolls left over for Evan and I. I also shared some of the rolls with our awesome friends and apartment managers.

Here's a photo-story of the roll making process:

I forgot to take a picture of us eating the rolls.

Here's the recipe:

60 Hour Rolls
  • 4 -5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine

In mixer, combine dry ingredients, using only 3 and 1/2 cups of the flour, and stir. In a saucepan, combine milk, water, and butter. Heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot. (The butter does not have to be completely melted; mixture should not boil.) Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture while mixer is running at a slow speed. After all the liquid mixture has been added, change to using a dough hook. Begin to add the remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time to the batter. Have mixer knead mixture until it has formed a nice, elastic dough. Let dough rise for 15 minutes (at least). Form dough into rolls and let rise 20 minutes (at least). Bake for 8 minutes (or until rolls are as brown as desired) at 425 degrees. Brush rolls with melted butter or margarine to make them nice and shiny. Enjoy!!
This recipe makes 2 dozen rolls.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Our Trip to Albuquerque

Last week, Evan and I took a trip to look for a new place to live in Albuquerque, NM. Evan will be doing his 4th year externship there at the VA hospital. We may live in Albuquerque for 3 more years after that, if Evan ends up doing his residency there. Evan has to leave for his externship at the end of May, while I'll be staying behind in California until school is out. (sad face)

We looked at a ton of apartments! After about 1/2 a day of looking, they all start to sound the same and you can get very mixed up about what features were in which apartments. Really the only notable thing that stick out in your mind is where you definitely know you DO NOT want to live. We tried to stay organized and make lists about what we'd seen, liked, etc. We also attempted to plan which complexes we wanted to go next in geographical order. It worked pretty well, except for when we'd get a lead from an apartment manager to another building that wasn't on our list.

After a long day of searching, we decided to call it quits. (Well, really all the apartment offices closed.) Then, we were trying to decide where to go for dinner and that's when the indecision really became ridiculous! Evan finally declared, "We do so much better with a plan!" He then started mocking the way we kept changing our minds: "Let's go to dinner here." "No, let's go to Barnes and Noble and get a book about good restaurants in the area." "Let's get something and eat in the room." "No let's stop here." "I want to get something to eat at Old Town." "No, I want pasta." "Wait, I don't care what we get." "I want Chinese." "Let's eat fast food so we can have more time to play in the pool." "Oh, there's Macaroni Grill; forget fast food." "Never mind, I'm kind of tired, let's get something fast on the way back to the hotel." I don't even remember where we ended up eating, but we both had a good laugh.

We were pleasantly surprised by how much cheaper housing in Albuquerque was compared to the expensive Bay Area. This is especially important, since we'll be paying rent on two apartments for a few months. The most important feature I was looking for in the new apartment was that it have a full size washer and dryer. Mission accomplished! We found a nice 2-bedroom apartment in a safe area with a full size washer and dryer. I'm so excited! (No more trips to the bank for rolls of quarters!) It also has two pools (one that is open all year). This will prevent Evan from having to hear me complain about the heat so much! Now, if I could only get Evan to love the water as much as I do!

Here is the VA Hospital where Evan will be practicing to be a foot and ankle surgeon:

After a stressful 4 days of apartment searching, we relaxed after we made our final decision and signed the lease. Then we hit Old Town for some touristy fun.

We found lots of funny merchandise. (Evan isn't really this mean. This sign is basically for a few select patients he's had to work with in San Francisco!)
Evan spent some time trying to figure out a puzzle. I was getting a little bored while I waited for him.

We came back Thursday satisfied with our apartment decision, but sad to go back to real life. I am kind of looking forward to moving to Albuquerque and I know I'll eventually like it once we get settled in. I am going to miss all the friends we've made in California and especially our little branch at church. I'll really miss the awesome weather!

When Evan has spare time. . . .

I thought I'd put up some pictures of the figures Evan paints. One of Evan's favorite strategy games is Warhammer. Warhammer is played with armies made up of miniature figures that (most) players paint themselves. Evan loves playing Warhammer, but I think he loves painting the figures even more. It is very relaxing for him. He often listens to books on CD while he is painting. I tend to poke fun at him for his "nerdy" hobby, but I'm actually very jealous of his artistic talent. Evan is the perfect balance of an intellectual with an artsy side. I'm glad that he enjoys spending his spare time at home.

This is what the pieces look like before Evan turns them into masterpieces:

They are approximately 1 inch tall. Keep that in mind when you look at the detailed job he does. I think it is amazing. I wish I had the skill and patience to paint anything half as well.

Here are a few of the pieces he won 1st place for in a Best Painted Character Contest at a local store. He converted them from regular dwarves into Scottish dwarves. He used modeling putty to create the kilts and bagpipes. He painted the kilts with his family's Frazier plaid pattern.

Here's a picture of how Evan's adjusts what a model looks like before he paints it. The green stuff is the modeling putty he uses to change their appearance.

And don't forget, even if he likes to paint scary looking warriors, he's really just a big sweetheart underneath!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Hobbies and Interests

I put together a little slideshow about some of the fun things Evan and I like to do. Some of Evan's hobbies are painting, hiking, camping, and playing strategy games. Some of my interests are reading, taking walks, playing with kids, going to zoos and aquariums, and cooking. We both enjoy traveling, going out to the movies, and eating out with friends and family. Evan and I love playing games, but Evan likes boring, long strategy games (in my opinion), while I prefer fun, social, noncompetitive games. We hope you enjoy our slideshow!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Our Fantastic, Forever Families

Where would we be without our families? Evan and I have been blessed with such awesome parents, brothers, and sisters. We wanted to share a little bit about them with you.

Jenny’s Family:

I am the fourth of six children. I have two brothers and three sisters. We range in ages from 39 to 25. I get along really well with all of them. The only problem is that we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. Now that we’re all grown up, we all live in different states. (Tennessee, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Iowa, and California) My parents live in Washington state. I am very close to my parents and talk to them a couple times a week. They are great examples to me in so many aspects of life, but especially in serving in the church, getting an education, and using blessings wisely. I don’t know where I’d be without their guidance and constant support. I’m so glad they sacrificed so much for our family and raised us the right way, even though it wasn’t always the easiest way. They will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this summer. I’m so happy our family is sealed together forever and that all of my brothers, sisters, and I have found our eternal sweethearts.

Here’s a quick run-down on my siblings:

Anne is the oldest and lives in Tennessee. She is a school librarian and I enjoy exchanging stories with her about the funny things students do.

Dave is a statistician and lives in Wyoming. He loves laughing and trying to play jokes on us. He always has a funny story to tell.

Kathy is my older sister that lives in Utah. I took some time off from college and lived with her for about a year and a half when she had triplet boys. I loved watching them grow and develop new skills. I learned a lot about parenthood from this experience. I know that it is a lot of hard work, but the blessings far outweigh the sacrifices. Kathy is a stay at home mom with a BA in English Literature.

My little sister, Debbi, has a husband who is also in podiatry school (like Evan). We like to compare their schools, classes, and to commiserate with each other when they have big tests or difficult rotations. She is also a stay at home mom. She has a BS in Communications and lives in Iowa.

“Baby Ken” lives in Colorado and is an IT specialist at a hospital. He has a good sense of humor, loves sports, and is a pretty relaxed guy.

When I get a break from school for spring break, Christmas, or the summer, I usually go visit one of my siblings and/or my parents. As a family, we try to get together for a family reunion every two years. We recently all went to Tennessee for a reunion after Christmas. (That’s why we’re all wearing scarves in my family picture.) We also try our best to get together for special events like baptisms and weddings. For some reason, we’ve had a lot more family visit us since Evan and I have moved close to the exciting city of San Francisco!

I love talking to my siblings about what my nieces and nephews have been up to. We have 13 nieces and nephews and we love it when they visit or when we get to visit them. Evan is a fantastic uncle and I am jealous that our nephews love to wrestle and hang out with him more than with me.

The best memories I have with my family are of when we were growing up and going on road trips together. This was way before the days of DVD players in cars, so we had to actually talk to each other. As a family, we went on several long road trips. My parent’s families lived in Washington state and we lived in Arkansas and Mississippi for large portions of my childhood. We have driven across the United States several times. We enjoyed (for the most part) talking to each other, singing songs, making up silly songs and games, and generally just being together. We got to see a lot of the country and I’ve always thought this was an advantage I’ve had over people who generally live and travel in the same areas their whole lives. Family road trips have also given me the chance to learn about our family history and more about my parents’ own lives as I’ve asked them questions.

Since we lived in the South before President Hinkley’s push for building many small temples, we also went on a lot of long trips so my parents could attend the temple. We learned from their example that attending the temple often was important and worth the sacrifices it took to get there. The drives were six or eight hours depending on whether we were going to the Dallas or Atlanta temple. We lived in southwestern Washington when the Seattle temple was being built and we took many trips to watch it being built and to go to the dedication. Our parents always made walking around the temple grounds a special experience for us.

Evan’s Family:

(Written by Evan)

My parents first met when they were 8 and 9 years old (my dad being 13 months older than my mom). Their families lived in the same town together and were friends for a long time. My Dad’s family moved several times because of the nature of my grandpa’s work, so my parents were never high school sweethearts or anything like that. They reconnected some time later and were married at ages 24 and 25. By this time my mom had been to BYU and earned a Bachelor's degree in Home Economics. My dad had been to a year of college, but had started working in the saw mill with my Grandpa. Dad always says he just kind of fell into the job because he didn’t have much else to do. It was a good job at the time and my Dad owned his own house by the time he married my mom.

Working in a saw mill means periodically having to move. So we moved every few years, always to a new a job and always to some small town in western Oregon or Washington. Despite the periodic disruption of moving and our family’s rather modest means, education was always very important to my parents. When I was about 10 years old my dad decided to go back to school to become a teacher. He has never really enjoyed his work in the mill and saw this as a chance to be a good influence on young people as well. So dad enrolled at OSU there in Corvallis, OR, worked nights and part time at the mill and earned a Bachelor’s degree in History with a teaching credential. It was during this time that I also developed a real love for history. My dad is a natural born story teller and I still remember him telling me stories of the Greek and Persian wars on long car trips.

Looking back at it now, it seems really unfortunate that by the time he finished, he had had such a miserable student teaching experience that he decided to go back to working in the mill. At the time, it also would have been a 40% pay cut to teach rather than work full time at the saw mill. So that is where he’s worked ever since.

My mom came from a slightly higher middle class family. Her dad was a college professor and while you wouldn’t consider my mom’s family to be rich, they never had to worry about how they were going to pay their rent. Given that background, I’m always surprised at how well my mom dealt with the years when dad was in college, working part time and trying to support 4 kids. In fact, their 5th kid was born during that time.

Mom is a fantastic home maker and sometimes it feels like my childhood was made entirely from bottled fruit, hand-me-down clothes and homemade quilts. She never had a regular job outside the house until the time my youngest brother started going to school, and even then she started working at the school so that she would have the same hours and holidays off from work as her kids. It still amazes me how much my mom could make out of so little. Growing up it seemed like there was nothing she couldn’t fix or use in some other useful way. Mom was recycling before recycling was cool.

She always made it clear that we were all loved and wanted, but it was no secret that she always wanted a girl in the family too. Now that her boys are getting married, she makes a big deal about her daughters-in-law and particularly about her grandchildren (both of whom happen to be little girls). I’m sure it must have been tough to be surrounded by a husband and six sons for so long. Any time I tell someone that I have five brothers and no sisters, people say my mom must have been a saint, and they are right. She always did a great job organizing us into work crews and dividing up the work that needed to be done around the house, but I have to admit there were times when just getting us to do our chores was more work than the actual chore. While we never had anything that you would call a real farm, living out in the country there was always plenty of work to do. Everything from splitting and hauling firewood, feeding our animals, weeding the vegetable garden and picking berries for homemade jam. We even re-roofed our own house.

My parent’s constant insistence on obtaining a good education has lead each of their boys to attend college and pursue some type of professional training. In birth order: I am currently in my 4th year of medical school to become a podiatrist (foot and ankle surgeon). Eric is a civil engineer working for a land development firm. Vaughn is currently attending college in Hawaii and plans to become a podiatrist, also. Avery is about to finish a BS in psychology and plans to earn a PhD and become a marriage counselor. Logan has finished his first year of college and is looking into PA and PT programs around the country. Bryce will finish high school this year and begin attending college in Idaho this fall.