Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dinner and a conversation

The other night we went to Chilis to celebrate Ryan finishing the first half of his training. We both enjoy the food at Chilis and love getting the 2 people for $20 deal. It seems like we have some of our best conversations while going out to dinner. I'm not sure what it is about going out to eat that brings out our ability to talk, maybe it's the chips and salsa or the lemon water but whatever it is, somehow it works for us.

Chili's in Long Beach July 2009

Once when we lived in Ogden we had plans to go eat, as I was driving there I thought the car was completely dying, there was smoke coming up from under the hood and a very loud nasty clanking was happening. I literally had to coast into the parking lot. We had this really long dinner where we discussed what we were going to do about our car situation, we didn't want to buy something else but we needed 2 cars because our job locations and schedules wouldn't let us carpool, but we were poor students and we didn't really have money to spend. After talking over all our options and coming to a decision we left the retaurant and within about 30 seconds of Ryan looking at the car he figured out that a spark plug had come loose and that it would take about $2 and 10 minutes to fix the car.

If you're reading this story and wondering, "how can I have one of these great dinners with my husband?" it does take a little planning. One important factor to having our great discussions is that I have to position myself well, by that I mean in the seat that faces the TVs (so his back is to the TV). Ryan can't help watching sports, his eyes are inescapably drawn to any TV showing sports the same way my hands are mysteriously drawn towards a new shelf of baby flannel. I love the fact that even after almost 10 years of marriage we can sit down to dinner and talk for 1-2 hours about anything and everything.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Grocery shopping and Albertson's

About 8 weeks ago our grocery shopping habits took a big blow, the only Albertsons for 20 miles closed down. You may be saying, "what's the big deal?" For the most part we do all our shopping at Walmart but every week Albertsons had good deals on things that were on the front page of their ad. We knew there was no point in actually opening the ad, all we had to do was look at the front page and we could tell if we would get something from there or not. Our food storage supplies of Cereal, granola bars, brownie mix and several other items are mostly thanks to Albertsons sales.

So now, our only option really is going to Walmart for all our food needs. They do still have good prices but they don't seem to have those extra discounts that Albertsons always offered on at least a few items. Since Walmart doesn't put out an add, we never know what is on "sale" there until we arrive and walk up and down each isle. This takes skill, as you need to know how much things are regularly priced to know if it is a good deal or not.

There is a Safeway in town but their sale prices seem to be more expensive than Walmart's normal prices. There's another grocery store called "King Soopers" but they don't really offer the same type of big deals that Albertsons did and it's nowhere near as cheap as Walmart.

An additional sad note, the Albertsons brand cinnamon french toast sticks were better than any other brand I've tried. On a bright note, the week before Thanksgiving Walmart was selling Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup for a crazy low price (I know this contrasts everything I've just said but it really is the only time I've seen such a good sale price at Walmart). We bought 4 cases of Cream of Chicken soup. I would have bought more if there had been more.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kitchen Disasters

Recently I had had a couple mishaps in the kitchen, the only things that were hurt were Ryan's appetite and a few good potatoes. My love for cooking could be compared to my love for going to the dentist. My problem is that I just don't care that much about food. Yes, I do love cheesecake and I have a soft spot for a good frozen pizza but most food is about the same to me. Because of this, I apparently am unable to focus as much on cooking as I am on sewing for example. Maybe this wouldn't be a big deal but I am married to man who probably should have become a chef. His biggest pet peeves with my cooking (and I can't really blame him) are:

  • I never set a timer and usually I forget to even look at what time I put things in the oven
  • I like to cooks things the way I feel like making them instead of always following the recipe
  • Sometimes I leave things out of recipes because I'm not paying attention
  • I leave ingredients out after I'm done with them, cleaning up is for after dinner
  • I can't ever remember how to cook rice (2 cups rice 1 cup water, right?)
  • There 2 meals that I won't learn how to make so that I can claim ignorance and Ryan will have to cook them
  • I don't have the same attention to detail with cooking that I do in all other aspects of my life

While I do not deny that I have most of those faults, Ryan is kind of a kitchen Nazi. If he's home and I'm making food he's pretty much physically unable to keep himself out of the kitchen. After watching me cook for a few minutes he usually can't take it any longer and takes over making the rest of the meal. He's not totally unjustified, recently he walked in on me cooking and said, you added too much water to that. I had added 1 and 2/3 cups to something that only needed 2/3 cup. A short time before that he tasted a potato dish I had made and said what temperature did you cook that at, when I said 350 he informed me it should have been 450, which of course was right.

Spaghetti sauce explodes all over the stove, wall and even ceiling because I don't pay attention and I forget to stir it. Recently alfredo sauce exploded all over my face and neck when I bent over the pan to look at a dirty spot on the stove. I sprayed myself in the face and nose with a butter spray because I was trying to talk on the phone at the same time and didn't pay attention to where the nozzle was pointed. I could go on, however, I will spare myself more embarrassment.

While it's just the two of us here in our house we have divided up the different rooms, I have a craft room, he has a "library" (which is really just the spare bedroom with a twin bed and a desk but technically it is his room). He has let me know that until I'm staying home with our kids and no longer working that the kitchen is HIS. I guess I should be glad that I have a husband that can and sometimes feels like he has to cook.

When Ryan cooks he:

  • Always follows the recipe unless he's figured out a way to make it better
  • Always sets a timer even if it's for as little as 1 minute
  • Cleans up as he cooks (milk comes out, he uses it and it goes back in the fridge, etc.)
  • Can memorize a recipe after making it only once
  • Can look at a recipe and tell me whether or not it's something I might like

One day I'm hoping that I'll get better and be able to claim that the kitchen is my room. Until then, I'd starve without him.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Simple pleasures

I love slipping into a hot bath with a good book at the end of the day. It's my quiet time. My time to forget about work, the unfinished backyard, the dying car and my childless life.

I can get lost in a good mystery or sucked into the world of Jane Austen or most recently Shannon Hale and her books. I sometimes read the church news, the Ensign, peruse the Deseret Book Catalog or read travel books planning out our next trip.

Last spring all that came to an end. My beloved bath pillow that cost me $1.99 from Walmart went flat. And I couldn't find another one. Walmart no longer carried a bath pillow. Oh, they had other "spa pillows", but nothing that I wanted. We looked at K-mart, the dollar store, even Target. And I couldn't find what I wanted for a price that my thrifty self was willing to pay.
I finally broke down and went to Bed, Bath and Beyond. And there it was. My new and improved bath pillow.
This one had a terry cloth side for extra comfort. It was a bit more expensive at $6.99, but I did have a 20% coupon and it is worth every single penny!

And now I'm going to slip into the tub, lay back on my fantastic pillow and start reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Defying Logic?

So a few weeks ago we put some music on the blog from the musical Wicked because we had tickets to see it. Sometime in the past few days (maybe weeks) one of our songs got a little makeover. I know most people probably just turn down the volume and don't bother listening to the music, I do it myself. Tonight I opened up our blog in one window and started typing an email in another. I thought maybe Ryan changed the music on the blog (he's in charge of the music). I was really surprised when I listened to the song. For some reason our track #3 says it's "Defying Gravity" but it's not. If you like something a little "Weird" listen to track #3 on our player at the bottom of the blog.