Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More Boring Tales From the Kitchen

I have only just begun to blog about stuff I cook.
It's December, it's what I do.
This morning, I made the family recipe for toffee.
I've had problems with it in recent years, it's turned to sugar or separated. I've been really frustrated, not knowing what I was doing wrong. Sometimes I thought I had it figured out and then, at the last minute, it would go bad again.
Maybe I was stirring too much, maybe I was heating it too fast, I suspect I was overcooking it.
Whatever the problem was, this batch turned out.........perfect.
I'd do the happpy dance, but then I'd have to put down my candy.
In other exciting news, I finally bought chalk for the chalkboard wall I put in the kitchen a month (two?) ago.
Let the vandalism commence.....

Monday, November 26, 2012

In the Kitchen

I hope that after we get through the first full year, it will be easier to have so many miles between us and our families. We were invited to a couple of places this year, but we stayed here so that Grey and Roe's dad could spend the day with the kids, too. 
Not my favorite, but it went perfectly fine.

I made too many pies this year- if there can be such a thing. 
I was a little disappointed in my beautiful magazine worthy pineapple custard pie. I'm going to make it again and tweak the recipe. It needed a little less pineapple and the custard needed to be heavier.  It was very good, but not quite at 'to die for' level.

I taught Romy how to make pumpkin pie this year.

Do you remember the first time you ever made it, or saw it made?

I remember crying thinking I ruined it and throwing it away because the filling was just soup.
I didn't know that an hour in the oven was going to fix that. I made another one and it was the same. I put it in the oven anyway and still cried as I obsessively checked it every 10 minutes and it was still runny. 
I decided to leave it in there until it burned though, I was so frustrated.
Lo and behold, after just over an hour, it magically turned into pie. It looked terrible because I'd messed with it so much, but it was pumpkin pie.

Romy's first pumpkin pie turned out much better:

Good stuff. 
And even though our table seemed awfully empty this year, we had a good day.

The next day, we started our holiday baking.
You wouldn't know it was the next day based on Greyson wearing the same shirt every single day all weekend long.......boys.

The kids helped dip pretzels in chocolate, same as they do every year.

I also made these cookies with a recipe I got from Cousin Lisa. The recipe said that it was my mother in law's recipe, but Matt doesn't remember them.

I added too much flour anyway, so they turned out a little on the dry side. I dipped half of the cookie in melted chocolate later and they were immediately gobbled up by the family.

Today I made chocolate chip cookies.
One of the changes in having so many of the kids gone and not having ward members that live next door is that when I make a big batch of cookies, it tends to be too much. Usually a dozen or two will last us a couple of days. That same amount usually lasted one night and we would bring a plate over to someone in the ward as well.

It only dawned on me today to just freeze the extra dough and only make one pan of cookies.

And it dawned on me that one pan usually lasts a few days that the best way to store the dough was to take my handy cookie scoop, measure out 15 cookies and seal up one cookie sheet's worth at a time.

Now I have exactly three more batches of chocolate chip cookies all
ready to bake. No more wasting or making so many cookies that we get sick of them. I can't believe it took me this long to realize this simple solution.
I guess I could have also cut the recipe in half, but I like this idea much better.

(Please ignore the gross parchment paper, this was batch 2 of the day. )

We also made fudge and plan to start on the other candy this week. 

The holiday season has a lot of stress and chaos, but few things are more comforting than sitting with your family listening to Dean and Bing sing Christmas carols as you catch a passing glimpse of your sparkling Christmas tree. 
It's the most wonderful time of the year, indeed.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We're Totally Famous

Requests for autographs will be filled in the order in which they are received.....
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pie Recipe

It's Pie Season, Yo.
I have had a number of requests for the recipe for this pie:

I think I called it Pantry Pie at the time because I made it from the things I had in the fridge and my pantry that day.
It was one of the best pies I have ever made, and I make great pies.
When I asked everyone what kind of pie they wanted for Thanksgiving (I usually make the favorite of each person) Matt wanted this pie. It was amazing good.

When I made the pie, I scrambled with what I had on hand, so I didn't have any pie shells, I just made one with crushed Oreos, sugar and butter. No clue how much was used, just follow basic grahm cracker crust recipes and use cookies instead. The pie I'm making today will be using a store bought pie shell.

 Chris Olson's Pantry Pie
1 store bought or homemade chocolate cookie pie crust

2 box butterscotch pudding(instant) **This has been edited, my Thanksgiving pie's ratios were off, more butterschotch filling was needed. Feel free to not use the cream and just make the filling as instructedon the box***
2 C. milk
1 C. heavy cream
1/2 package semi sweet chocolate chips (8 oz)
1C. heavy cream
1 T butter
1/4 C pretzel sticks, chopped (1/2 C if you want more crunch)
pinch or two of coarse salt

Make the pudding, using milk and cream and pour into crust.
for ganache:
In medium saucepan, heat cream to simmer, making sure not to scald it. Once it's simmering, remove from heat and gently add the chocolate chips, stirring until they melt and are incorporated with the cream. (If necessary, add heat again by stirring over low heat.)
Once the chocolate is melted, add butter and stir until smooth and glossy. Pour over pudding layer of pie & smooth out to the edges.
-Sprinkle pretzels and a couple of pinches of coarse salt on top of the pie.

 If you really want to go into a diabetic coma, drizzle a little caramel sauce for ice cream on top, not too much because you don't want to mask the salty/sweet action going on.

It's crazy delicious and easy to make. It's very rich and you won't want to share. I think I got one slice and Matt claimed the rest for himself and every time he had some his eyelids fluttered with happiness.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Late Show

Today I took the train to NYC for the first time.
I've taken the bus, I've taken the car, I've even taken the ferry, but never the train. Matt takes it every day and everyone says it's the best way to get into the city.
I have to say, everyone is right.
That was much easier.
Why did I take the train and go to the city today?
Because we had tickets to see The Late Show with David Letterman!!!!
(Sometimes, you just have to get your dork on)
 There are a lot of shows that film in NYC, some are easier to get tickets to than others. For most Broadway shows, even the big ones, you can often go the day of the show and have a good chance of getting a stand-by seat as they make sure they fill the theater.
This show never has a problem filling the old Ed Sullivan Theater.
Even though we had seats in advance, we still had to be there hours early and wait in about three long lines. We didn't care, we were so excited.
You don't get to choose who you are going to see when you go see a taping of a show like this, you just thank the box office powers that be that you got in and you get to have the experience.

(Isn't he the cutest?)
They said it was the Thanksgiving show, and according to the website Taylor Swift was on the Thanksgiving show.
Taylor Swift was a re-run though, she was there last year.
Instead, we got Scarlett Johannsen and Willie Nelson.
And Dave Freakin' Letterman.
I've only been watching him since I was 10 years old.
(Okay, I haven't stayed up and watched him for 10 years, but it still counts as 30 years of fandom.)

We were so excited. We didn't mind waiting in the lines or the crazy guy standing in the street saying "f you and your stupid show" to all of us.
Before you go in, they give you a bunch of rules. They are very nice about them, but they have rules, Yo.
No pictures inside or they will kick you out and remove your memory card. They don't care if you sue. Don't take pictures.
No food, not even gum or water.
Don't heckle, whistle or "whoop" for any reason.
Don't need to go to the bathroom. The nearest restroom is around the corner in the bar next door. Don't even think about needing to go during the show.
No hats or sunglasses.
Lastly, laugh at EVERYTHING David Letterman says.
They actually tell you that.
"Laugh now, think about it later" is the rule.
You are there to be a studio audience, to laugh and cheer and make sure Mr. Letterman has a good show. If you don't like a joke, laugh as if it were the funniest thing you have ever heard anyway.
They must have told us a dozen times before it started to make sure we laughed at everything.

Some of the jokes were not even a little bit funny.
We laughed and clapped anyway.
David Letterman is very tall and thin.
Paul Schaffer looks like he has Barbie plastic skin.
The band comes in and plays and he joins them just seconds before they start filming.
The band is very good, some of them payed a lot of attention when Willie Nelson was on, while others seemed bored and could not have cared less that there was a living legend in the room.
When they aren't on camera, David stopped talking to the guests and stood up and talked with his staffers instead- every time. He stands up during every commercial break.
Scarlett Johannsen says a lot of words, but none of them have a point.
She is very pretty, very skinny and her dress was stunning.
She slouches when she sits.
Willie Nelson wore a long black coat, like he was on a  country western version of the Matrix.
I am not a fan of his music, but I respect his work, even if it's only been about herbs in most of my life. He seemed very warm and I wish he'd been on as long as the pretty actress was.
They also had a band from Austin play a song.
The episode will air tomorrow night.
I don't know if they filmed the audience at all. If they did, maybe you'll see us. We were about the 6th or 7th row from the front, two seats from the aisle. I was wearing a black and white stripey shirt and sitting next to a guy who was also wearing a black and white stripey shirt.
Matt was wearing his BYU Rugby shirt.
My face hurts from smiling so much.
We had so much fun.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blah Blah Blah and Cookies

The kids have half- days all week until Thanksgiving.
That gives me 30 minutes to blog this afternoon before my Supermom powers need to be activated again for the day.
Lately, it seems like they are needed all of the time. That's not a bad thing at all. I love being a mom, it just means I am not able to spend time on the blog. I have this idea that my posts should have some sort of point, however, life doesn't always provide me with a clear, easy to blog about point, so I just put off posting. I think I was happier when my posts had no point and I didn't pressure myself. I need to find the balance still.
Isn't that just the story of every one's life? You struggle to find balance, you struggle to decide what the focus needs to be and to juggle it all. You don't want to let  go of the other things that you still hold dear, you just can't put them at the top of the list for awhile.
My life is still making progress, going in a direction that I believe is good, it's just busy.
And, even though they are noisy and they leave Go-gurt wrappers all over the house and 'forget' do do their homework every single day--I prefer to have the kids here at home than anywhere else. I love half days, I love school breaks and I love having the little beasties around.
It wasn't so fun when we had no power, but that didn't last forever, thankfully.
Zane has been gone a lot lately, helping crews from the church clean up the areas that are still living a nightmare in our area. He's always sunburned and covered in dirt, but I could not be more proud of him.

In stake conference last month, we gained a new stake president, but 'lost' our dear Bishop in the process.
He'll be a great Stake President, though,  that's for sure.

Yesterday, they called the new Bishop.
He is absolutely awesome.
 I cannot say enough good about this man.
We are so excited that it was hard not to cheer when the announcement was made.
Our new Bishop was one of the first to extend a sincere and loving hand of friendship to us when we moved here, he and his wife absolutely radiate joy and are a ray of sunshine. They are honest people, hard workers and spend so much of their time serving others that we are humbled to even have such wonderful people in our lives, to count them as friends.
We love their children and spending time with their entire family, we love how our new Bishop has always looked out for our sons, even making sure he connected with Parker when he was here this summer.
 His friendship and heart that is turned to the Lord reminded me of what it was like to have Jeff Kendall as our Bishop in Taylorsville. Jeff Kendall changed out lives forever, he changed our family and I personally learned that no matter what the storms may be around you, that with the Savior, the words "peace , peace be still" and turning your life towards Him will bring you comfort and joy. He taught me how to find peace, that I deserved it and to embrace it. It was a new concept for me as I spent the first 30 years of my life just trying to outlast the storms. Come to Jesus and there will be still waters.
That knowledge changed my life for good.

My heart is filled with happiness over the calling of our new Bishop.

He is the best of us, an example and this man is a blessing to everyone who meets him.
We (already) love Bishop Hawkins.
When the announcement was made that a new Bishop was called and we'd find out on Sunday who it was, we were all wondering who it would be. We were speculating on who we thought was already kind of playing the role, who would bring specific spiritual gifts to the ward and having a lot of discussion about how leadership is chosen in the church.
We talked about how sometimes you 'click' with a leader, sometimes you don't. Sometimes leaders make mistakes and screw up and it's hard to know what to do with that. Personalities can clash, mistakes from the past can rise up and surface and weaknesses are often exposed in both the leaders and the congregation. People are not perfect.
In church this week, one of the speakers shared a quote she'd heard and I loved it:
"Church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners."
Sometimes when there are leadership changes in a ward, we forget that those who are called have their own struggles and trials,too.
Always, the Lord has something for you to learn.
Always, there is a purpose.
There have been leaders that, in all honesty, I could not stand on a personal level. Sometimes it was really hard for me to pick out the good from when they said when it was being drowned out by who was saying it.
I had a choice.
 I could decide that the leader was a jerk and therefore, none of the counsel applied to me, or I could decide that I wasn't going to let someone else's annoying personality or bad choices decide whether or not I felt the Spirit.
I would pray that I could hear the message that God had for me, instead of the grating voice of the person who pushed my buttons.
In every instance where I asked the Lord to help me get something out of a meeting or an interaction I was going to be having with that leader, the Lord helped me out. I left the encounters surprised that I wasn't angry or upset and I had a good spiritual experience, in spite of the fact that a person I thought was a total jerk was delivering the message.
I didn't leave with a burning desire to invite them over for dinner, but I did leave with the comfort that God knows what he is doing and even when there are a lot of problems, he sees a bigger picture and he will make sure that everything is okay.
(I'm not writing that because there are any concerns or problems with our new leadership change, it's just a topic we have been discussing in our home this week.)
I made these cookies:
They were ohmygoshsogood
Chewy and crispy.
This one goes in my cookie rotation for sure. It uses a lot of butter, but oh, it uses it well.
Butterscotch cookies
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized slices plus 2 Tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2- 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

    Sugar Dredging Mixture
    • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
               2 tablespoons sugar


    1 Preheat oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Vigorously whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside. Mix together the sugar dredging mixture in another bowl and set aside.

    2 Place 10 tablespoons of butter into a thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat. The butter will foam a bit before subsiding. Once the butter takes on a tan color and begins to smell nutty take it off of the heat. Add the other two tablespoons of butter and mix it in until it melts.

    3 Pour the brown butter into a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar and salt and mix. Add the egg, egg yolk, soft butter, and vanilla extract and mix together, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl at least once. Add the flour mixture in three increments being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom once or twice. Mix just until the flour is incorporated. The dough will be very thick, the texture resembled gingerbread cookie dough.

    4 Take 1/2 to full tablespoon-sized pieces of dough (you can make them a bit bigger or smaller to your liking, just make sure the pieces of dough are all the same size) and gently roll them into ball shapes.  Roll them in the sugar dredging mixture until well-coated.

    5 Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges have browned a bit. Be careful not to over-bake. Allow to cool on the sheet for one minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    We're Going for 'Happy,' Folks

    I'm starting to feel better.
    I'm still a bit emotionally flinchy and I still don't feel like emerging from the safety and simplicity of my home very much, but I'm feeling more like myself.
    One of the things I did to pass the time while the power was out was attempt to embroider a flour sack towel.
    I've tried cross stitch a few times and it wasn't my thing, but heaven forbid I not have a big box full of embroidery floss, patterns and hoops. (I might have a slight craft supply addiction.)
    I decided to just try something less structured that made me feel happy.

    This makes me smile and even though my stitches are all wrong and inconsistent, I am in love with it.
    My Official Sandy Commemorative Dishrag:

    I can't believe Black Friday is less than 2 weeks away.
    Did I say Black Friday? I mean Thanksgiving.
    No, I have seven kids, I mean Black Friday.

    I'm not doing it this year, you know.

    I'll hit the websites at midnight and see if I can score some of the deals I like, but I'm not going out there this year. I've cut down the Christmas gift list and I'm going to work towards a more simple and family focused holiday.
    I think we are due for some change and while I'm still going to be hanging on to our traditions and the things that make the holidays bright here, I'm going to see if we can do it with more purpose and simplicity this year. I don't want a gift spreadsheet and to spend hours wrapping stuff that nobody actually needs anyway. 
    The kids are getting older, our house is now smaller. They don't need or want as much and I'm concerned by how high the bar has been getting with gifts in our house. I don't want to try and maintain it as they move out, marry and have kids of their own. We need to have a simpler, saner 'normal' now that the season of having kids move out and start grown-up lives has begun.

    So, no Friday morning Starbucks hot chocolate as I try to convince myself that I'm actually saving money by going to every single store within a 10 mile radius of my house in one day. No more waiting in lines (which will be longer and crazier here anyway) to save three dollars on something that nobody even asked for, it's just a good price.
    At least, not this year.
    I'll shop online at midnight and I'll wear the magnetic strip off the credit card on cyber-monday, but I'm not doing anything that requires me to take off my bunny slippers next weekend --that includes Walmart, since the dress code there is a garbage sack held in place with a chip clip and a Scrunchie.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Finding a Wheel to Put My Shoulder To

    Where did the week go?
    Governor Christie say the power should have been fully restored to 'everyone' yesterday.
    We still have three in the ward without power, some only got it back Friday and Saturday.
    We talked about what we feel the hardest part of not having power was, and because we had hot water and a stove top, for me the hardest part was that darkness, the shadows in the house and how depressing it got so quickly. It was worse than being cold, the uncertainty and the boredom here. Everything going dark when the sun set and how quickly night seemed to come in a world where we always have some type of light 24/7. 
    It may sound silly, but for me, that was probably the hardest.
    When one of the women in the ward got power back on Friday, she posted that she was resisting the urge to turn every light in the house on. I laughed because that's exactly what Zane did.
    I spoke to another woman who just got power yesterday and she said that the darkness got her so depressed, too. 
    I would not have expected that to be such a big deal and to have such an impact, but it did.
    At the suggestion of a friend from my old ward, I plan to write up my own little 'family preparedness' review and share my feelings about specific things we did or did not do, and my personal advice that people can either take or ignore based on our lifestyle differences. 
    I'll get to that when it stops being 400 paragraphs long each time I try to write it all out.

    We only had darkness for 6 days. 
    For some entire communities, that was nothing.

    I think I mentioned in my last post that last Sunday, those age 15 and older who were willing and able we asked to go and help clean up in Staten Island. Zane went and worked alongside the amazing people in our ward who serve so much. Matt went on a gasoline run to another state for those who needed it.

    This weekend they asked again that people go and help in Staten Island.
    This ward works so hard and does so much service for others, I do not know when some of the men rest or see their families, they work so hard. Even though I'd rather have them here with me, I am honored to know that Matt and Zane roll up their sleeves and go work, too.
     They are sweating and working alongside the absolute salt of the Earth. I'm learning so much from them, and seeing some places our family can and should make changes. I see places I need to make changes- big time. Thankfully,that's what our time on Earth is for- to learn, to grow and to change. 
    I am so blessed to know these folks.

    Staten Island is a disaster.
     Matt has never seen anything like it.
     It's absolutely devastated.
    There isn't going to be a day where the lights come on in many of these homes. There will be bulldozers after it's cleared out enough to even get those in.

     Can you see the water line on the front door? 
    Nearly everyone in this community lost everything. 

    They cleared out houses, knocked out wet drywall and hauled it to the curb, cleared wet mud from basements, and offered comfort to the residents.
    One man asked 'You Mormons" to come to his yard, he had something to say to all of 'yous guys.'
    He told them how much it meant to him and to his family that they came out to help, how touched he was and how it renewed his faith in people, how they were angels and would always be spoken of with respect in his family, long after this was all over. 
    When he rebuilds, he will hang a picture of 'the Mormon's in his front room and he asked that they all gather for a photo in hie front yard. 

    Yesterday, church was only 2 hours. We had the primary program and then they asked that crews head back out to clean up the Island. People showed up in work clothes, and it was the first time I'd seen many people in jeans and T-shirts in this ward.

    My back and arthritis are simply in too bad of shape to help with the clean up. They have also asked that only those age 15 and older come to help. I cannot go, neither can many of the mothers in the ward.
    It's frustrating and I've struggled with what to do.

    Not only did we endure being without power, but I felt very powerless throughout the experience as well.
    I didn't know what I could do to make things better outside of my own home. At the worst of it, that was what I needed to focus on, keeping things feeling okay here at home, but there were so many others who had it so much worse, I wanted to help more. My body just won't allow it and financially we cannot afford to make large donations to the Red Cross or those harder hit.
     When Matt mentioned that there was a family on Saturday whose wife wanted to go and work, but they had small kids, I realized that was what I can do. I can physically serve my sisters by giving their kids a safe and fun place to play while they go work with their husbands. 

    I can help, too.
    I am not useless.  
    Sometimes, I feel useless and I tell myself that if I can't fix it, I need to just stay out of the way of those who can. 
    THAT makes me feel great, but outside of providing food for things, I did not know what else I could do.
    I've been praying so that I would find a way to serve here, that would work with my limitations.
    I wanted so very much to be part of those who said "here I am, Lord, send me!" but my body just can't do it. For the first time since this hit, I feel I have found a way to do that, a useful way and I can meet a physical need. 
    I can get back to what matters and feel like myself again once I stop focusing so much on myself.
    I am thankful for the Robinson family for giving me the opportunity to see that. 
    Yesterday was a blessing to me.

     My house is covered in sticky fingerprints and I came thisclose to having walls with artwork scribbled on them again, but I feel like I have found a way to contribute and do my part. 

    We all have different talents and different limitations, be they physical or emotional. We all struggle to know where boundaries are and to find that line between rendering service and having boundaries. We want to serve and have a positive feeling about it and teach our children the blessings that are derived from it. It's hard to do when the price is your health if you serve. It's hard to feel like you are doing 'your' work sometimes when the conventional ways to serve are not an option.
    Take heart, there is a work for you to do.

    Get creative, try different things.
    Can you help watch children while someone goes on a much needed temple night with her husband? Can you bring cookies to the Sister who just seems to be in a funk every time you see her? Can you go to the home of the Sister who just had a baby and read stories to her other children and help them clean their room? Can you make sure you teach your class on Sunday and get your own sub if you are not able to make it? Can you spend time every week either doing your own family history or indexing names? Can you pray for others? Can you put their names in the temple? Can you send a card to a missionary? 

    What can you do to serve?
    There is something and if you are feeling like you need to do something more, something different....pray to the Lord that he will show you where there is a need that YOU can fulfill. There is work for us all and there is work for you- exactly you. 

    I have so much to learn about service, so much room for improvement. 
    I am with people who have embraced it with such a fire, it's inspiring to us all- it's changing us.
    I'm going to figure this out, with the help of the Lord, my dear family and my new community. I know that as I serve more and turn my eyes to others more, that even when the lights are out and shadows surround me, I will not be in darkness. 
    Darkness is no fun. 
    That darkness got old really quick and The Savior has light, always light. 
    I hope I can learn to draw closer to it, to always have that light nearby.
    I'm trying my best and still learning while I polish off the rest of the treats we made yesterday.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Wind and Rain and Snow and Tomorrows

    I've tried at least 5 times to write my "after Sandy" post.

    I start each post by saying that we made it through just fine and I quickly start rambling about all sorts of things.

    Point is- there is a part of me that is very much not okay after this experience. Being in physical and emotional survival mode for that long, being cold, being scared and knowing you can't do anything to fix it for that long took it's toll on my soul. 

    (scary things lurk in the darkness...)

    I feel so very fragile, like a chipped china cup, too close to the edge of the shelf.
    I have not lived in sheer survival mode for a number of years, it amazes me how thoroughly all of those old coping mechanisms rushed into my heart and made a mess. 

    There were people that lost so much in this storm, people who still are dealing with dark homes, broken buildings and freezing. I know that our experience was not even close to the worst of those who went through this storm.
    However, suffering is not a competition.
    While reminding myself that others had it so much worse helped me not complain, it did not change that this storm hurt us.

    I watched my children shiver under piles of blankets and sleeping bags as we tied to keep the fire going.
     I saw my elderly neighbor wander around, confused and lost with the change of the landscaping and when I asked him how I could help, he started talking about the war and asked where someone I didn't know was.
     I saw some neighbors act in ways that grossed me out as they put others at risk in order to keep themselves comfortable.

     I huddled in  my family room, with mattresses over the windows and as my heart raced and I was terrified, kept calm and made jokes with the kids and told them we'd be fine. They had no idea what danger we were really in, they knew Matt and I would protect them, just as we always had.

     I worried that people were going to go even more crazy as supplies dwindled and the darkness and cold swallowed everything up.
     I could fill up a page easily sharing the fears I had, both real and imagined and the roller coaster we went through.
    I could also fill up a page with things I learned.
    I could certainly fill up a page with the blessings we received.

    But not today.
    I just don't feel steady right now, I feel a little bit broken and I'm forcing myself to blog as proof to my heart that I am not broken and it's time to bra up and get back to this crazy new life in New Jersey.

    Last night we got our first nor'easter. 

    So much snow.
    And as much as snow sucks, it looked like.....home. 

    It looked like Utah and made me feel more grounded.
    Oh yes, seasons. Weather. Sunrise.

    And school, blessed school is open again.