Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Freezer strawberry jam

I decided to make strawberry jam.  I've been spoiled by eating homemade jam pretty much my entire life.  The first time I remember having store bought jam in my fridge was a year after I graduated from college and was living with friends.  I wasn't impressed with it, so I got my mom to give me some homemade jam.

So, here in California we have been eating the store bought stuff.  Which isn't bad, it's just not as good.  So I decided I would make some homemade freezer strawberry jam.  I asked my mom how she made it and it turns out she just follows the directions on the MCP Pectin package!  I had always thought it was some family recipe!

I had to go to two grocery stores to find pectin and there was only one brand available, so I bought it for $4 for a little tiny box.  Man, it seems like everything is more expensive in California.

I just followed the directions from the box and it was easy!  And it only took 20 minutes from cutting out stems to putting it tupperware.  After I made the jam, I found out that the MCP Pectin recipe, and the way my mom makes it, is way different.  So I hope it tastes as good as my mom's...

YUM ! (Hopefully.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

T had a birthday, shout hooray!

T had a birthday this week!  I made him a fun banner / sign / hang-y thing and hung it while he was sleeping in!



It was crazy easy and fast.  I free-handed the letters on 8x8 cardstock, cut them out, punched two holes in each letter and hung it on eight feet of green ribbon that was fatter than the holes (so the letters wouldn't slide around).  And then because I'm super classy, I used gaff tape to attach it to the walls.

T humors me for a birthday picture.



 Now he's had enough pictures and just wants his cake.



 T is so hungry for cake that he starts eating letters.



 Quick, get that man some cake!



I made T light his own candles since there were so many.
I don't know what my issue is, but I really can't light more than two or three candles per match.
I'm just not fast enough.



All lit up. 


For my mom: "September... Light the candles for your sweet 16" ...or the number of years T is, as the case may be.  I promise he's older than 16.  I'm not a cougar.  More like a puma, or small cat.  I'm only 10 months older than T, I promise.

You might ask, "Why is T's cake so small?  Doesn't S love him more than a small cake's worth?"  And the answer to that is yes, I do love him more than a small cake's worth.  But I used the 9x13 pan to make chicken enchiladas for T's birthday dinner, so for the cake I had to do a small cake and a bunch of cupcakes.  So I guess you could say I love T a small cake, a bunch of cupcakes, chicken enchiladas, and a birthday banner's worth.

Basking in the glow of birthday goodness while I sing him "Happy Birthday."

Earlier, my parents called and all three of us (my mom, my dad, and me) sang "Happy Birthday" to T.
So he got sung to twice, which means he had a twice as happy birthday.


I tried to get a picture of T blowing out the candles, but I didn't know that it took T's nice camera 2 seconds to take the picture after you push the button!  Bah, red eye reducer nonsense!  So instead I give you glowing embers.  The candles look like they have just about the right amount of glowy-ness to roast marshmallows...

 For my dad: "I can't blow out da candle.  Can you blow out da candle?"


And the candles got super melty.  Check it out!



 For some reason I really like the way the banner thing looks with the shadows (no flash), so here ya go.



And these next two are unrelated to T's birthday, they just happened to be on the camera.

This is what I look like when we get home from the beach!  Yay curly hair!
Also, yay ocean for stripping my hair and making it super soft the next time I wash it!



Our IKEA bed that we bought the sideboards in Utah and the rest in California.  Also, the fun quilt my mom's family made for us.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

4 months

T and I have been married for four months today!  Sometimes it seems like we have been married for years, and sometimes it seems so surreal (in a fantastic way) that we are married.  I was trying to explain this to T and said, "I can't believe we're still married!"  We laughed really hard and long.  So in honor of all that, here's a bunch of pictures (All by the fantastic Elizabeth Taylor Frandsen)!


 
 
 
 
  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

And a bunch more to come for our five month anniversary!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vay-cay! *

T had a work conference in the Palm Springs area and I went with him.  T told me we would be staying at the La Quinta Resort.  And I thought, "Oh, that's nice.  Not swanky, but nice."  Except it wasn't the "Spanish for free internet" La Quinta.  The town we stayed in was called La Quinta and the La Quinta Resort was really a resort.  You can check it out here, if you feel so inclined. And here's a picture I took on T's mighty-mighty iphone:



One of the worker bees said that the La Quinta Resort is the largest resort in the U.S. that doesn't have a casino.  And it was pretty swanky.  A huge tub, a huge separate shower, a huge room, huge grounds, 41 pools, a really sweet cardio cinema and gym, a spa, meeting rooms, four restaurants.  It's a big deal and the staff really was amazing and accomodating - more so than any other place I have ever been, hotel or otherwise.

It was a bit like San Francisco again in that T worked and I played!  It was a bit fun to have a TV again.  We watched the season premier of "The Office" and "Bones."

Here's what La Quinta (the town) looks like:








The whole town is just green grass and palm trees!  And it's in the desert!  It was 105 degrees the whole time we were there and it wasn't much cooler in the morning or evening.  It was miserable to be outside unless you were actually in the pool.  No wonder this is considered the "off season!"

T had a bit of a cold while we were there so while he was in meetings, I was going to go to Target to buy some pills.  Except I got a flat tire before I even left the resort.  I have never had a flat tire before so I was freaking out a bit.  The tire wasn't just flat, it had a 10 inch gash in it!  We were both really glad it happened at the resort and not on the freeway in the middle of nowhere going 65 mph.  T came out and showed me how to change a flat tire.  And then the next day I waited at Firestone for THREE hours to get new tires.

We went swimming every night and I went during the day, too.


It was $40 for a half day and $80 for a whole day to get a cabana.  We didn't do that, we just sat on top of the chains.



T getting his tan on



This is what we saw for hours on end.  This was the main pool and we had it to ourselves!



Another pool view




Our last night at the resort we went to the main pool at 10 p.m.  There were about five young-ish people in the hot tub which intrigued me because we were the youngest people I had seen at the resort before that.  A security guard came about a half hour later and asked the people in the hot tub what room they were staying in.  One of the girls answered, "A thousand."  The security guard answered, "We don't have a room 'a thousand.'  Are you guests here?"  And they totally weren't.  They were locals who had snuck in.  (By the way, it would have been easy to get in - there isn't a gate at the front entrance!)  It made me laugh when the security guard  kicked them out. 

Then the security guard asked us what room we were in.  We answered and he asked our last names.  Then he radioed the front desk to verify.  Except we could hear the front desk butchering T's last name and didn't believe us when we tried to explain how to say the name.  So he asked to see our room key.  Then he believed we were guests and apologized profusely.

It was a bit funny because we had just watched an episode of "Las Vegas" where Danny was trying to catch some bad guys who were making room keys for locals to get into the pools at casinos and resorts!  I don't blame the security guard for questioning us, because most of the people at the resort were middle aged. 

There were bugs everywhere at night, but none in the day.  The second night I had a cricket jump on me while I was in bed!  We killed two crickets in our room that night.  And by me, I mean T.

The morning we left the resort, T mentioned that it was only two hours from La Quinta to Yuma, where T had some relatives.  So we called and off we went to Yuma, Arizona without enough changes of clothes!

But before we left La Quinta we visited this place:




This is the second location, not the original.  My dad told me that he used to come here when he was growing up.  My grandpa's cousin was Louise and she owned this restaurant.  My dad's family would go and get a table right away while the rich and famous visiting Palm Springs had to wait. 

Along the trip we saw palm tree farms!  This is so not a great picture.  All the pictures from this trip were on the iphone.  Our regular camera is still busted.  The farms were huge and had palm trees of every size.  Even little baby ones about 3 feet tall that were all palms and no trunk.  The bigger ones had bags hanging from select individual palm leaves... I'm not sure why... To weigh down old palms so they would fall off and leave the tree prettier?...



We took the 8 to Yuma which put us within spitting distance of Mexico.  I've never been to Mexico and have no desire to do so.  This is the closest I will probably ever get.


The border is next to those power lines in the distance.  I'm sure you can figure out why this section is "Emergency Parking Only."





Hard to tell, but that is a border patrol stop behind us. 

We had zero border patrol stops towards Yuma / Mexico and three coming back to California from Yuma / Mexico.  At one of the stops a sign was posted with 2008 border patrol numbers.  I don't remember the exact numbers but it was about 1,400 illegals caught, 200 wanted criminals caught, and 3,500 pounds of drugs seized.  Nice job, border patrol!


Those lights are turned on at night to spotlight any who might be trying to sneak across.



The close white poles are to prevent people from driving off the road towards the border to pick people up.



That black thing in the distance is the actual fence between Mexico and the U.S.A.



The border in this picture (the fence) was about 100 yards away.


Just before the Arizona border we saw these really amazing sand dunes.  Look familiar?



This is Tatooine in "Star Wars: A New Hope!"

We had a great time in Yuma with the W family.  Aunt D is a teacher and Uncle R is a principal.  They have three daughters (all B names) and three dogs.  The youngest B has a pug puppy named Stella and she is adorable!  I am not really an animal person and especially not a dog person, but I really like the W dogs, especially Stella. 


Stella licking T like crazy.



Stella sleeping with T.

We watched the youngest B cheer at a football game, met the middle B's boyfriend (also named T!), went to a bridal shower for the oldest B, watched a horrible day of college football (can we have a do-over please?), went for a swim in the pool, and played games.  So really, a very awesome weekend.  And we're going back in October for the oldest B's wedding!  I can't wait! That family is fantastic!

I really wish we had pictures of the W family to share.  The girls are gorgeous and their whole family is funny and generous and as sweet as pie.  And you know how much I love pie.  I promise we will take real pictures at the wedding.


*It's from "Legally Blonde."  Go watch it right now.