The Princess is 6!

The Princess turned 6 on Tuesday. She's growing up way too quickly!

Since her birthday was on a school day, we celebrated as a family. She came home from school and opened her gifts, and then we surprised her with a visit to a local pumpkin patch for a haunted hay ride.

After the pumpkin patch, we drove a million miles (give or take a few) to take her to Applebee's (her favorite sit-down restaurant). It was the first time we'd been to a sit down restaurant in exactly a year (the last time was when we took her to the same restaurant for her 5th birthday). I really wish we would have used our once-a-year restaurant opportunity to check out one of the many local favorites that we've never tried. The Applebee's experience was awful - we had the worst server ever, and the food was pretty lackluster. But The Princess had a good time and enjoyed her Mac & Cheese and birthday sundae, and that's what really matters.

She's had a pretty good week - yesterday her class took a field trip to a farm, where they got to see a bunch of farm animals and pick out pumpkins. Today, they painted the pumpkins in class. We're hosting a birthday party for her on Saturday. Although there won't be many guests, because I made the mistake of hosting the party the morning after the ward campout. So only one of her friends from church will be in attendance. But her good friend "F" will be there, as well as her friends from carpool, so I think she'll have fun. And there will be LOTS of party favors to go around, since I originally planned for several more people to attend the party.

I'm going to attempt to make Halloween-themed cupcake pops a la Bakerella as party favors. If they turn out, I'll be sure to share pictures of them.

Here are some pictures of our trip to the pumpkin patch. They look pixellated and over-sharpened as usual. If you look at my galleries on Facebook, they usually look a bit better on there... I managed to get a few images of Sparky, but I'll save those for another post.

Okay, I'm revisiting this after looking at the images after they were published on the blog. Some of these look REALLY awful, and I'm not sure why. I'll check the sizes on them in Photoshop and see if I can get them to look better. Otherwise, I recommend checking them out on Facebook.


Beach Trip 2009

I'm embarrassed to admit this, but obviously, I don't know my geography very well. For some reason, before we moved here, I assumed we would live close(er) to the beach. We live close-ish, but it's still a rather long drive when you have a baby who refuses to nap in the car - if you want to go to the beach here, it's definitely an all-day event.

I didn't think I'd get to go this year. Sasquatch saved most of his time off to help The Princess with her transition into kindergarten. And as usual, there's that whole issue with our car. So when my good friend Larisa mentioned that she was taking her little guy to the beach, I asked (begged) her to let us tag along.

We had so much fun! The drive there and back was interesting - Sparky screamed much of the time because she was exhausted but refused to sleep. That's right - 3 hours in the car at nap time, and she would not sleep. Fun times for all of us, let me tell you! But it was worth it when we got there. The weather was perfect, and the water was beautiful.

Sparky, being exhausted, was a bit freaked out by the water at first. But once she got used to it, she loved it. She would get mad when the waves would recede and she'd point at the water with one imperious finger and grunt until the water came back again.

The Princess would have stayed and played until sunset, but "F" is a couple years younger than her, and he was tired after a few hours. So we made a final trek to the dunes to get some group portraits and then we headed back home.

It was a great trip overall. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Sasquatch will get to make a beach trip with us next year. At some point, I'd love to rent a house on the beach for a week and entice our family members to come visit us. :)

Most of these of these images were taken by the fabulously talented Larisa. I think I captured the images in the shade and by the dunes.

The images still look a little pixellated, but I like this better than using the image uploader from Blogger.



Disclaimer - if you don't like miserable woe-is-me blog posts (and I don't blame you for that, lol), you should probably stop reading right now. I'm going to vent about some things, and I think it's going to get long and boring. :)

I'm feeling pretty miserable these days. I'm lonely and homesick (since my parents and siblings are no longer in Utah I guess I miss my family more than "home," but I miss "The West" in general - and I miss all my Utah peeps, too). I'm bored out of my mind, and it's driving me crazy...

The area of the country in which we live is beautiful. Lots of trees, lots of green... I can't stand it. I miss the mountains. The trees make me feel claustrophobic. I'd give anything to see a horizon. I still can't find my way around without a GPS because the darned trees and winding roads make it impossible for me to get my bearings. I absolutely despise the bugs and the humidity.

Did I mention that I'm lonely? We have a great ward - lots of nice people who really made us feel welcome when we moved here. Problem is - they all have close friends and/or family here. So while it's great to say "hi" to everyone on Sundays, we don't really do anything with anyone outside of church.

Some of the women in the ward have a playgroup on Wednesdays, but since I don't have a car, I can't go most weeks. I could probably drive George to work on Wednesdays, but our car has so many miles on it that I feel guilty putting any more miles on it than absolutely necessary.

I miss having friends that I could call at random and ask them to go to Target or Costco with me. Or having friends over on the weekend to watch movies or play video games. Like I said, everyone from church has other friends (the dental students all hang out, the medical students all hang out, and the natives all kind of flock together). I'm sure I'm suffering from nostalgia and "grass is greener" syndrome, but I don't remember kids being such a detriment to having a semblance of a social life until we moved here. Seems like nobody can do anything on the evenings or weekends (which is the only time I have a car), because they have to take care of the kids.

I know my life wasn't perfect before I moved here. I no longer had a best friend who was willing to hang out with me on a regular basis. In fact, most of our "closest friends" had pretty much abandoned us, which is part of what made the decision to move here so easy. But at least I was only one state away from my parents, so I saw them every few months. I also had a brother who would come and visit on occasion. And we lived within walking distance (not that we ever walked - we always drove) of Sasquatch's parents. We were in the same apartment complex as his sister. My girls had cousins to play with! And even when I didn't have friends to keep me company, I had family. Whom I didn't appreciate nearly enough. In addition to the family dinners (which I miss desperately), we also had a regular babysitter at least a couple times a month. I can't even tell you the last time I went out on a date with my husband - we can't afford a sitter here.

I'm dreading the Holidays. The 4th of July was bad enough. Halloween has me pretty depressed - I miss the days when we'd take The Princess trick-or-treating and then spend time with my dad to wish him a happy birthday. I want to cry when I think about Thanksgiving. And don't even make me think about Christmas. I really really really miss my families...

I feel like I'm failing in my church calling. I don't really feel like I fit in with the rest of the presidency, and I'm the least organized person I know. I feel like they really should have given the secretary calling to someone who remembers to do things in a timely fashion and can at least get to church on time (since Relief Society is the first meeting).

Anyway, that's about it. I'm bored, lonely, miserable, and worried about money. I'm wondering why we moved here. We've prayed about moving closer to home, but the answer we've received is that we're supposed to stay here. I really wish I could see into the future and know why we're supposed to stay here. Maybe that would make it easier to be cheerful about it. Maybe not. It's really hard to be positive at times, and I know that's not fair to my husband and kids. Sasquatch works SO hard to make all of us happy, and I feel beyond guilty when I'm depressed and it makes him feel like he's not doing enough. And then I feel worse because I feel guilty. Which makes him feel worse... You get the picture - it's a nasty cycle.

I know I should work harder to get involved, but I don't know how to do that when I don't have a car to get out and do things. We don't live within walking distance of anything, so walking Sparky to the park during the day isn't even an option. The Princess even has to be driven to school because it's not within walking distance.

I try to maintain hope that things might change at some point. I'm hoping that our finances will improve and we'll be able to afford a second car, which will open up a whole world of possibilities... But I'm trying so hard not to live by the "I'll be happy when XX happens" mentality. It's incredibly difficult, though. I don't know how to be happy right now. I dread the weekdays because they drag on forever until The Princess and Sasquatch get home. I really just don't know what to do to make things better right now... And yes, I'm already taking medication, thank you very much. ;)

I'm really embarrassed for posting this. It's such a negative post, and I'll probably end up deleting it soon. But I'm hoping that by putting it all down in writing I might be able to start working through it. I know I have so many things for which to be grateful - it's just hard to remember those things sometimes...


Macaroni & Cheese

I can't stand the stuff in the blue box - my kids like it, which is great, because it's an inexpensive meal when I don't feel like cooking (or eating), but personally, I think it's gross. The only time I crave it is when I'm pregnant, and I'm most definitely not pregnant.

I was, however, craving a good homemade Macaroni & Cheese after watching the Mac & Cheese challenge on Food Network earlier this week. I searched online for recipes, and a lot of recipes had various characteristics that I like in my Mac & Cheese, but none of them seemed like "the one." I ended up making a smash-up of two different recipes (Alton Brown and Guy Fieri), and the results were pretty dang good. So good, in fact, that there aren't enough leftovers to make fried Mac & Cheese tomorrow (AB's suggestion for the leftovers).

I don't want to forget the recipe, so I'm going to post it here so that I can look it up later.

Macaroni & Cheese

8oz Pasta (I used mini penne because it's what I prefer over elbow macaroni)
4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crumbled (reserve 1 TBS bacon grease and don't wash the skillet)
3 TBS Butter
3 TBS Flour
1/2 tsp Ground Mustard
3 C Milk (or Half & Half if you're bad like me)
1/4 C Yellow Onion, Finely Diced
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Ground Thyme
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Large Egg
16 oz Grated Cheddar Cheese
1 tsp Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper


1 1/2 TBS Butter
1/2 C Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook bacon until it's cooked how you like it for crumbling. Reserve 1 TBS of bacon grease. Add onion to the skillet with the reserved grease and cook until onions are caramelized.

Boil a pot of salted water and start cooking pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, add the onions and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, thyme, Worcestershire Sauce, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs and crumbled bacon. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.


Sparky's Favorites

Ignore the bad snapshots - I was lazy and used the point-and shoot.

These are currently Sparky's favorite "toys." She loves to climb in and out of the toy bin, but she always has that "oops, I'm in trouble" look on her face if she catches you looking at her after she's climbed into the bin. At least now she's only HALF emptying the bin before climbing in. Less for me to clean up that way.

The house is the toy that I rescued from the Shareware at church a couple months ago. Sasquatch surprised us a while back by ordering all the extra pieces that were missing. The extra parts definitely add another element of fun, but it's also just another thing that I get to clean up 10 times a day. But it's made both munchkins very happy, so I can't complain.


About This Blog

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP