Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kristin Cooks

As I have entered my late 20s and now my VERY early 30s, I have picked up a new hobby....COOKING! I love to work at a stove, creating a beautiful dinner, side dish or appetizer to share with friends and family. As I entered into adulthood, I wanted to contribute to our family gatherings with a dish made by ME, but was always just a bit intimidated. My family is full of wonderful chefs (especially my mother) and rarely did someone from the children generation bring anything other than a bag of chips, soda, or salad…you know the safe stuff.

It wasn’t until I stumbled upon a glorious woman named Rachael and an even more glorious show called 30 Minute Meals, was I given the confidence needed to COOK FOR OTHERS (without them gagging). It OPENED my eyes and made me believe that I could be a chef…okay I could be a cook. I have roughly 3 of her books on my shelf….okay maybe I lied, I have 7 of her books, 3 of her pots (one that I cook in almost daily), and I receive her magazine as well. But who’s counting? I just love her no non-sense personality, down to earth outlook on preparing meals, and the fact that she may give you a lower cal option for the recipe, but she definitely doesn’t use it. I just LOVE HER and her EVOO. Since first meeting the one and only Rachael Ray (via television, the food network, books, magazines, internet, etc), I have become a complete fan of the Food Network and prefer it to almost any other channel. There, I have learned how to contribute to family functions in a way that doesn’t scare family, friends, children, and even small animals. Some people even look forward to seeing what my latest dish will be.

Recently, I have been introduced to a simply wonderful blog (by my simply wonderful youngest sister, Ms. Trish), The Pioneer Woman (http://thepioneerwoman.com/). I now have her cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl and enjoy reading her almost daily blogs about her life on a ranch. I believe I have found my next Rachael Ray. Soon I will have 7 of her books, 3 of her pots, and subscribe to her monthly magazine. But who’s counting?

Our family's next great Chef! Milli and I made cupcakes for Matt for Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Kids say the darnest things

If I had been smart, I would have started a little notebook of all the funny and cute things Milli would say as she moved through her youth. I laugh daily at the witty and hysterical comments that come so freely from my little Miss Mill. I have blogged and facebooked in the past about a couple of them, but it isn't an entire list of all she has said that has either brought an outright burst of laughter or a smile. Even when I shouldn't laugh, I sometimes do...ops.

I have cataloged a couple of her past ones I love and recent ones that warmed my heart or gave me a true LOL moment.

Milli, before she turned 2:
“One more time….”
Whenever I would read one of Milli's favorite books, sang her favorite song (Twinkle Twinkle) or watch her favorite movie with her (Tinkerbell), she would always request it a second, third, fourth, and fiftieth time. She would look right at you, stick out her chubby little pointer finger and say, “One more time…” and then flash a sheepish grin. She would say it with such hope that I would of course grant her wish every time.

“What da Hecckkk!”
This is still my favorite. Milli would say this in her deep voice everytime she was surprised, excited, or the mood struck her. She still says it from time to time, but you just have to hear her say it to truly understand how funny it is. She says it with an accent, but not one I can place. It is usually accompanied with both hands on her hips and a puzzled look on her face.

Milli, just over 3:
This past week, Milli was full of the one liners. I added a little story about my two favorites. She is so good at knowing just what to say to lighten the mood and/or make you laugh. I am sure she hasn’t picked that up from me, my sisters, or my mom. 

On Valentine’s Day, Milli and I were rushing to make it to Church on time (and by on time I mean less than 10 minutes late). As I am pulling through the parking lot, panicked because we were definitely LATE, Milli says out of the blue, “Mom, you make my heart SO Happy!” heart melting....How did my 3 year old angel faced girl, know just want to say to snap me out of my frantic state of mind and throw me back into reality...being late isn’t the end of the world?

She followed suit this past weekend in a similar manner. As I was rushing around trying to get things ready for another hectic week, I was barking out orders to everyone including the dog. From my bedroom, where Milli was cleaning up her toys, I hear her yell out to me, "You are a GREAT mommy". Again, a slap of reality. So I stopped throwing the dirty dishes into the washer which seemed important 10 seconds ago and sat on the floor of my room and played cards with my girl.

Funny Girl…
Last night, my sister was walking out of my parents house after Sunday dinner with Milli. Her girls and little guy were already in the car buckled safely as I was trying to round up Milli and Luey. As they walked out to the car, Bethy commented on how much she loved Milli’s gorgeous mermaid tale (Milli had wrapped her blanket around her legs so that she looked like a mermaid (of course)). Milli responded quickly, “Tank you, and I like…(she looked around to see what she could compliment) your beautiful car.” I heard Bethy let out a huge laugh and thanked Milli. I looked up just in time to see the mermaid “swim” by the car and join me at ours.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Umm, you've got something on your forehead....

Caution Readers, this post is filled with religion, faith, and my favorite…GRACE!

Several years ago, I was introduced to a wonderful Church. It has offered me more than I could have ever expected from a Church Family (and when I say family I mean that both literally and figuratively…on any given Sunday about 1/3 of the church is filled with close family and very close friends, that feel like relatives). I have periodically been committed to one church or another throughout my life and I have always felt the presence of God (and tried to live a spiritual life in response to that presence). Being that we are human and all, everyone fails to live up to that and I have clearly fallen short.

Today starts one of my favorite times of year, well the Church year anyway. It starts today, Ash Wednesday with our acknowledgement of our sins, repenting, and hopefully during this time of year, we really start to look at what GRACE means, when it comes to our faith. As I like to do, I have added a link to a song that I believe will help to start you on your “journey to the cross” as my Pastor explains it. What Do I Know of Holy http://www.youtube.com/watch#v=N6J5TzSE_18&feature=related

From today until Easter, we are on a journey to the cross and then beyond what happened after Jesus died, especially what that means to us, in relation to our faith. Hopefully, we journey closer to an understand of what GRACE really means. How through the journey Jesus took to the cross, resulted in us receiving GRACE by God.

This evening I will attend Ash Wednesday service with members of my family. I will have a cross of ashes brushed across my forehead and I will wear it in reflection, the remainder of the day. This obviously links back to my subject line. As a member of Pasco 1st Lutheran Church, I will have the cross on my forehead following our service this evening. Others received their ash cross at lunch and will be wearing this symbol throughout the day. If you aren’t particularly religious, no time like the present to learn a little bit more about GRACE.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” 1 Peter 4:10

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh Mom....and Elections

This post will be short and sweet, but it is a must that I share it...

Oh Mom....

Last night, when I got home from work, Milli was in her tinkerbell swimsuit (which I can only assume was her 5th or 6th outfit of the day). Unfortunately, my round little angel has out grown this suit and one of the straps had broken off. As I was helping her out of the suit and into her bath, she asked if I could talk to Nana (my mom) about fixing the suit, or as she put it,

"Mom, do you think Nana could rebuild my suit for me?"

I told her that I would definitely talk to her about it and that I was sure she could fix it for her. A smile crossed her face and her eyes shined as she looked at me with complete sincerity and a hint of dramatic flare and said,

"OH MOM, you are just so WONDERFUL!" and flashed me a smile. I was laughing so hard I almost slipped into the bath with her, clothes and all.

Election Night....

Election Night, Feb. 9th, 2010

As you hopefully know, Tuesday was election night for School Levies. I am a member of the Pasco Citizens for Better Schools Committee devoted to ensuring our schools are properly funded. Milli, my some day political activist, joins me for those meetings each week and of course joined me while we waited for the election results on Tuesday night.

In my opinion, it is never too early to start teaching our children about the democratic process. It's normal for children to participate in elections at the age of 3, right?

P.S. Our School Levy Passed! Thank you Pasco voters!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sisterly Love

I am the eldest daughter of 3. My two younger sisters are Bethy, who will turn 30 this March, and Patricia who turned 28 just last week. Thankfully we are all in the same region of WA and have had the pleasure of raising our children (and dogs) together with our parents close by as well. They are my best friends and I couldn't imagine going through life with out them.

Last week, apparently, it was Siblings Day or something like that...I gained this bit of information from Facebook, which is of course the site where all good news is exchanged. You can instantly learn what your former high school teacher had for lunch, while also reading about your best friend's recent cold, while at the same time receive an update on how someone's farmville animals are doing. (priceless information as you can see)

So, in light of that information (the Siblings day, not the other stuff) I wanted to share a couple stories about my dear little sisters, both who tower over me by 5 to 8 inches (I got the beauty, they got the height, seems fair to me).

Bethany Marie (Eby) Pierson:
When we were kids rarely my parents would allow us to get a sugar cereal. Generally we got Rice Chex (which is still my favorite today) or cheerios, but every now and again our parents would breakdown and we could get Golden Grahams or Captain Crunch. What was so frustrating about getting these cereals was they seemed to disappear almost instantly. We'd get them home, put them away, and by the next morning the box was almost empty. This happened time and time again. One afternoon, while my mom was putting away the dishes she noticed that she was missing 4-5 bowls and the same number of spoons. After searching the house high and low, she stumbled upon my sister's stash. In her dresser drawer, my mom found 5 bowls of cereal without milk stacked up waiting for my sister's next need for a bowl of Golden Grahams. That little sneak would wait until we had unpacked the groceries and put them away before she would sneak into the kitchen load up 5 servings of the cereal and hide it in her room so we didn't take more than our share of the yummy sugar cereal. UNREAL and I have to give it to her, very smart.

Patricia Kay (Eby) DoValle:
My youngest sister, the baby of the family, the funniest person I have ever met, and the most curious as well...When we were growing up we attended church here and there. We definitely attended enough church and church functions to understand our faith, not to mention we had discussions at the dinner table about religion, politics, "right from wrong" ect. Gotta love the dinner discussions...what I most remember about those times is my sister's ever changing beliefs. Now she didn't come to these beliefs easily. She researched and read to form the opinion of the month. I remember one night she annouced to the family that she no longer would eat meat. She found it cruel and would from here on out (aka a week) she would no longer eat food with a face. The following week, steak was on the menu for dinner. As we all plated up, we glanced at my sister who was nearly 1/2 through a very large chunck of beef. The vegetarian phase had ended. I kid you not, in one month my sister went from being an atheist, to a Wiccan (yes that's right, a witch), to a baptist. She actually attended a baptist church for awhile until she attended a sermon on how women should behave. Being that we were from a family that STRICTLY believed in equality, that message didn't sit well with her and so ended her baptist phase.

Thank you my dear sisters for making my life and childhood truly blessed. You'll notice I did not include any stories related to the explosive fights we had as pre-teens and teens. Nor did I talk about the thousands of times you STOLE my clothes. I kept those little tidbits to myself. ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poker Prodigy

If you know me well, you know I love to play poker. If you don't know me well, then you should know, I LOVE TO PLAY POKER. I have been playing cards since I was a kid. Thanks to my wonderful Grandparents, who let me sit with them as they played nightly games at their cabin with friends, I learned games like Texas Hold 'Em, Omaha, Stud, 5-Card Draw, and wilder games like Chicago, Dueces Wild, and many others at a young age.

I not only had the chance to see my grandma smile broadly as she raked in a pile of chips, but we were taught card etiquette from the beginning. I was probably no older than 5 when I received my first poker lesson. "Always cut the cards toward the dealer!" -Grandpa Clifford. :)

I was reading my favorite blog this morning (http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/) and she was talking about her father and how he is an eternal supporter of his children. It reminded me of my father and how truly blessed I have been to have the parents I do. They support my sisters and I and are our biggest cheerleaders. As I was reflecting and smiling to myself at the love and support they have given me over my 31 years, I thought I'd share one of my favorite stories about one of my favorite people (my father). The story covers one of my favorite hobbies (yes that's right, I LOVE POKER!), too.

A few years ago, I was playing in a poker tournament at a local casino, my father was also playing. He was put out just before the final table and decided to stick around and cheer on his eldest daughter. As the tournament ended, and I collected my profits, yes I finished in 1st place, I turned to my dad who was glowing with pride. Now keep in mind this isn't a world series of poker win and my cash winnings were probably not anything more than $400, but he was proud all the same.

Later that day, I was talking to my mom and she started to laugh as she relayed a conversation she had with my father. It went something like this.

Dad: "You know Marilyn, you've never gone to watch her play."
Mom: "Watch who? play what?"
Dad: "Kristin, play poker. She got 1st today, ya know?"
Mom: "Oh that's great! I guess I didn't realize it was a spectator sport." (she said in a joking manner, my father was totally serious)

Side note-My youngest sister is a gifted athlete and my family traveled far and wide when she was growing up to watch her play fastpitch. My father was (and is) her #1 fan. I tell you that because to him my poker playing is just like my sister playing fastpitch (which is an actual spectator sport). To him, I am the Bobby Fisher of poker. P.S. I am not the Poker Prodigy. :)

My mom and I laugh about it still. Not because we are making fun of him, but because he is truly proud of us in all our successes, even the fact that I can take down a pot here and there. I attached a picture of my dad and I after I finished 8th in a large poker tournament this year. He stood and watched me for 8 hours as I moved closer and closer to the final table. P.S. I lasted about 10 minutes at the final table and enjoyed every single second.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

dang spell check...

of course when I said one below as in Milli had one...it should have said won! Darn...gammar 1 point, Kristin 0.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Here's the Deal!"

Milli has a charming ;) new phase that just kills me everything she says it. She is so certain in herself (developed over time) that when she says something this serious you take notice. The other day we had gotten home from daycare and work and I was explaining to Milli that we needed to pick up things around the house, before we dove into another project. As I continued to explain what needed to be done, Milli came up to me very serious like and look me straight in the eye and said, "Okay Mom, Here's the Deal! I will take a bath and then play. I will not clean." Of course, I know I should have corrected her at that very moment and explain that when Mom and Dad ask her to do something, there is no discussion, she simply needs to follow directions. Of course, I almost fell to the ground laughing (losing all credibility). Instead of using this as a teaching moment, I scooped her up in my arms and told her how funny I thought she was. She looked at me with a knowing smile that she had one this round. If you are keeping track, that is 1 point for Milli, 0 for me. Attached you will see what we did instead. My New Year's Resolution...There should be more fun in 2010...so here is our attempt at adding "pure joy" to an ordinary night. Love, Kristin