November 30, 2011

High Hopes

Sometimes I lie awake in bed at night, my ahead abuzz with brilliant thoughts and endless dreams. There are so many things that interest me and call for my attention every day- things that require time to practice and master. There are hobbies I want to persue, trades I want to learn, and books I want to read. I think about learning to bake bread and made-from-scratch cakes, about long lists of books I'd like to read, about pilates and yoga and dance and how I wish I could practice all of them consistently in their respective settings rather than at the foot of my bed with the door closed. There are things I want to sew, places I'd like to visit, parties I'd love to host, and creative ideas for decorating and organizing that seem really fun to attempt. The problem is, most days the only time I'm able to dedicate to these hopes and dreams is the 30 minutes it takes me lying in bed to fall asleep. Mothering is a full time job- even when you only have one baby to take care of.
I've found myself wondering lately how a mom finds any time for herself. My pilates dreams are shattered when I realize that I'd need to get a babysitter every single day just to take a simple one hour class at a  studio nearby.  My visions of fresh-baked bread wafting through my kitchen each afternoon are dashed because I'm lucky if I even get a legitimate dinner on the table. And my ambition to sew diminishes instantaneously when I wander around Joann's for an hour and a half looking for a silly point turner with a crying baby on my hip, yellow poop on my blouse, and extremely unhelpful employees. (This has happened twice now.)
BJ gave me a sewing machine for my birthday in August, and I opened the box for the first time yesterday. I have a couple projects in mind. We'll see if they ever get finished... or started for that matter.
My first project seems fairly simple: a checkbook cover.
Someday my projects may be a little more elaborate. (Probably when I'm 75 and all my kids are out on their own.)
If you know how to be a full time stay-at-home AND develop your talents... please leave me a helpful hint below... I could really use your advice.

November 28, 2011

November 27, 2011

November 26, 2011

A Smorgasbord of Thanksgiving Pictures

When we have Thanksgiving with my family a holiday tradition always takes place. My dad heads up some sort of activity to get the men and kids out of the house on Thanksgiving morning while the women cook. Even though we had a strange assortment of family at home this year the tradition lived on. Last year was bowling, years past have offered turkey bowls, ultimate frisbee games, and even skeet shooting. This year was a little more low key. BJ and my dad had planned on taking the babies up the canyon to feed the ducks but neither of them were feeling very good- especially my nephew Tate. They went on a walk around the neighborhoods and by the time they got back this is what we saw...
Thanksgiving dinner was lovely. I love cooking with my mom and sisters. It's so hard to pick a favorite item from the menu, but I think this year it was the turkey itself... cranberries an essential partner.
When we're living our regular, non-vacation life in California BJ leaves to work around 6 a.m.- before Ellie's awake. He gets home from work each night around 5 or 5:30 and Ellie goes to bed a little after 6, so he really only gets to see her for about an hour each day. This just so happens to be the time that Ellie is especially mama-clingly and usually doesn't want much to do with Beej. He hates it. He feels like he never sees her. It goes without saying that he has loved this week of free time... getting re-acquainted with his favorite little babe. She has giggled, smiled, snuggled, and loved her time with her dad. They're both pretty adorable- alone or together. She is basically his mini-me. Don't you think?
We've loved having my nephew Tate here (and of course my sister-in-law Emily... miss you Don.) The poor little guy has been bumped and bruised by fall after fall, and then got really sick on top of it all. He's still adorable in spite of his poor condition, and an absolute joy to have around. He and Ellie are little playmates. We've read the book he's holding to them about a billion times this week. I think I have it memorized by now.
And what would a trip to Utah be without a visit to Sundance? I think that would be near to blaspheme. I love me some Sundance.

November 25, 2011

What Makes Us... Us

I think every married couple could conjure up a list of quirks and traits that make them as a couple unique. Here are a few I came up with...
 1st- I don't like BJ in the kitchen. I don't want him helping me in the kitchen because I feel very territorial there. This just so happens to be the ideal fit for BJ because he'd rather drop dead than have to prepare something to eat himself. I cook, and BJ eats. I literally think BJ would starve to death if I died. Unless, of course, his mother or sisters, or (heaven forbid ;) ) another wife were there to take care of him.
 2nd- BJ and I slept together on the couch for the first two years of our marriage. BJ couldn't fall asleep without watching t.v. and I hated to going to bed without him. Inevitably, we'd fall asleep mid-movie and end up staying there the rest of the night.
3rd- We don't exercise together. That is something we do individually seeing as I like to walk and do yoga and BJ prefers to play a sport competitively as his form of exercise.
 4th- We watch Bill O Reilly nearly every night together.
5th- We never share food at a restaurant because BJ claims that whatever I choose is the last thing on the menu he would ever want. I always think I don't want what he's ordering until his food actually comes... then it tastes pretty good.
6th- He likes the sheets tight around his feet and doesn't care if his torso is covered. I want the sheets lightly covering my feet but completely bundled up by my chin. Our bed looks like a tornado hit come morning.
 7th- Neither of us care much about traveling. We don't have a great desire to visit foreign countries or tour famous cities. Our idea of a great vacation is sleeping in, eating well, exercising (him with golf... can you call that exercise? and me with some pilates), seeing some good movies, and laying by a pool, ocean, or lake.
8th- We are boring. Really, really, boring. But we're happy with our simple routines.
9th- We don't hang out a lot with friends. We spend most of our time with family.
10th- We like to go on drives to look at houses and dream about and plan for our home in the future.
11th- We like babies.
12th- BJ is the worry worm. I calm, and reassure often.
       13th- BJ is goofy and a better dancer than I am. I just wish the world could see his moves.
14th- BJ hates spending money, and I am quickly becoming more and more frugal.
15th- We understand each other quite well. We can almost always guess how the other one would react to any given situation.

That is all.     

November 24, 2011

Our Las Vegas Adventure

BJ and I had our first intentional night away from Ellie this past Sunday. She had stayed with Sweetheart (BJ's mom's alternative grandma title) once before, but that was really on accident. I was recovering from an emergency surgery and we were lucky Sweetheart was in town. But this time... we meant to leave Ellie in Sweetheart's hands.
As I mentioned earlier, this Friday is mine and BJ's third wedding anniversary. We were heading up to Utah for Thanksgiving and it just so happened that a dear family friend offered their time share in Vegas for a midway resting point for us. Once BJ's mom heard that news she offered to watch Ellie so we could enjoy Las Vegas baby-free. So on Sunday afternoon, right after church we packed up the car and said goodbye to our baby girl. As we drove we listened to "The Lost Symbol" on c.d., and that was awesome in and of itself. We arrived in sin city a little after seven and were welcomed by some tough guy shouting profanities out of his car window at a fellow California driver. BJ insisted, "don't look at him Elle." When I asked why he replied, "cause I don't want to give him any reason to shoot us." Ha. Welcome to Vegas.
We ate dinner at an overpriced Italian restaurant and then BJ treated me to a Cirque Du Soleil show that blew both of our minds. We had been practically falling asleep at dinner we were so tired and thought we'd be doomed by the 9:30 showtime, but our attention was captured immediately, and we were enthralled with the performance until the final bow.
Le Reve was in a theater within the Wynn hotel. It was colorful- just like the Las Vegas folk.
The show was spectacular, awe-inspiring, brilliant. See it if you can. I found myself wondering how on earth there were enough people with he-man strength and guts to cast this show. Where do people like that come from? X-men I tell you.
Our hotel was equally colorful, and the employees there... even more so. Beej was totally freaked out by the guy who checked us in at the registration desk, and my tired headache was not aided by the blaring music in the lobby that chanted over and over again... "get your f***in' hands up." However, we were not dissuaded yet. The piano in the lobby was fabulous, and the bed in our room satisfied our every need. We crashed the minute we entered our room and slept til nine the next morning. We are two people who need our sleep.
We continued driving Monday morning... listening to "The Lost Symbol" all the way. Well... almost.
We got a little loopy towards the end.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. My lack of blogging last week has me feeling recharged... plenty more posts to come.

November 23, 2011

Stream of Consciousness

I'm in Utah for Thanksgiving visiting my parents and the place that still feels like home.
I took a walk this morning and this time I wasn't accompanied by a large stroller and a sixth month old baby girl. Today I walked while Ellie napped at grandma's and BJ waited outside her room switching the t.v. back and forth between football games, soccer broadcasts, and his new favorite comedy, "The Big Bang Theory." I reveled in the silence, the stretching of my legs, the crisp fall air, and the leaves that piled in every house's front yard. My heart felt at home. I feel confident here in Utah. I feel important. Known.

I walked the sacred hill by my parent's house that I paced back and forth, back and forth the night before Ellie was born. I plead with the Lord on that hill- begging him to send Ellie to me that night. I wanted to meet her. I was ready to be a mother for real. I wanted to hold my baby in my arms- not just in my belly. The Lord heard me that night and my labor began just like I had asked for. Every time I walk that hill now I am humbled and grateful. That will forever be a special place to me; the last place I was alone before my little one came to me.

I was alone this morning again- something that doesn't happen often anymore as the mother of an infant. My head was swimming in thoughts and ideas, wonders and wishes. I thought about the year of August 2010- August 2011. I thought of that year, how it was my favorite of all. It was full of purpose and direction. I was becoming a mother. BJ would soon graduate. It seemed to me that life would then begin. I had so much to look forward to. I contrast those feelings now to the phrase I've repeated lately to BJ that "there doesn't seem to be much light at the end of the tunnel." We don't know what we're doing. BJ's working hard at a job that he doesn't enjoy, but is unsure of other possibilities.We're living with BJ's parents and are completely overwhelmed and intimidated by the idea of getting out on our own eventually. Some days I can't imagine having another child- taking care of one already has me feeling inadequate at times. Life is weird like this. The ebb and flow of good and difficult times is unending.

Right now our patience is being tested. Right now our trust in God and His promise to provide is what we're relying on. Right now we're taking one day at a time- sometimes enjoying it, sometimes not. But we have a baby that we love. We have a place to live. We have food to eat. We are surrounded by family that support, love, and sustain us. We friends that care about us and make us laugh. And most of all, as cliche as it might sound, we have each other. And man oh man, how much better it is to go through a challenging time with your helpmeet at your side.

This Thanksgiving is all we could hope for. Time for a break. Time for a place where we started our life together. Time for rest. Time for each other. And inevitably, time for lots and lots of food.

Oh... and it's our 3-year wedding anniversary on Friday. Hooray!

November 16, 2011

A Salad You Should Try

This salad is good. You should make it. My sister-in-law Courtney taught this one to me and now it's something I frequently crave. If the idea of craving a salad excites you then go ahead and...
cook some bowtie pasta- al dente please
get some spinach and put it in a bowl
slice up some cabbage and add to spinach
fry up some turkey bacon (I actually baked mine. It's less messy this way.) dab the grease away and let it cool. cut it with scissors into the salad
open a bag of craisins and pour to your desired sweetness/chewiness/redness
top lightly with Brianna's poppyseed dressing 
toss all together
(this picture was taken before the bacon was added, the dressing was poured, and the salad was tossed- but it just so happened to photograph a heck of a lot better than the end result)
Such a simple salad with such spectacular results. Almonds and/or pomegranate seeds are a welcome addition, but it is great as is- so you can pick your poison.

November 15, 2011

10 Reasons I am Already Excited for Christmas

1. Looking at holiday magazines and catalogs. I love Martha Stewart, Real Simple, Better Homes and Gardens, J Crew, Land of Nod, Pottery Barn Kids, and everything else that circulates through the mail of this house- all full of Christmas goodies.
2. Peppermint ice cream. I don't believe I need to explain myself.
3. Christmas movies. My very favorite of all is The Family Stone. I love the setting in Bedford, Conneticut, the beautiful white house they live in, the diverse and remarkable cast of characters, the plethora of awkward moments, the music, and the dynamics of the Stone family in their interactions with each other. I can't get enough of this movie. Oh- and my favorite actress, Rachel McAdams, is brilliant in this- an absolute brat actually. But she plays it so well, and she is ravishing in spite of her frumpy costuming.
4. Time with family.
5. A visit to Utah.
6. Having our baby girl here with us to celebrate. Last Christmas I was opening gifts of receiving blankets and nightgowns, children's storybooks, and lacey-edged socks. I thought Ellie would never come. Now she's here with us. It's too good to be true.
6. Christmas lists. I think every day of how I can stretch my dollars to buy Ellie some lovely gifts. Wooden toys, hand-sewn quilts, brand new headbands, and a back up stuffed bunny are definites. BJ wants a new watch, and I'm praying for some pretty new clothes.
7. Baked goods. I made homemade oreos this morning at 8 a.m. I'm starting early this year. Anything with frosting is something I wish I ate more of. Like... I wish I could eat frosted cake, cookies, and brownies exclusively. But then I guess I would miss out on things like donuts and ice cream. I take back what I said.
8. Holiday food. Yes, this is different than the baked goods answer. Because really, I think I'd die if I couldn't eat homemade soups and rolls, warm oatmeal in the morning, turkey and stuffing at night, and in season apples and oranges. Healthy food may actually have some relevancy after all. ; )
9. Prettiness all around. Christmas time may be the most beautiful time of year. That's a bold statement... but I'm sticking to my guns.
10. Christmas music. Namely: Sarah McLachlan Wintersong. (I love you Becca.)
What are you excited for?

November 14, 2011

a little poem

morning comes with squawks and tears
soon a happy face appears
hungry girl joins me in bed
her giggling- music to my ears

morning science, breakfast time
life sure changes on a dime
all my day is now for her
diapers, feedings, life's a blur

messy faces, poopy pants
crying, wailing, angry chants
Ellie smiles- my heart melts
this gal's got me in a trance

dinner, fox news, lots of stress
pretty soon- house all a mess
time to hold her- settle down
family sitting all around

bath time, bed time, one last feed
what else does this baby need
teeth brushed, face washed, BJ's here
all I need is resting near

November 13, 2011

Quick Tips and Tricks that make Life in the Kitchen a Little More Enjoyable

Ok, so maybe I don't live in my kitchen. But I do spend a lot of time there. I'm predicting too that in the distant future when Pugmire children #2-17 join our family- my time in the kitchen will only increase. I mean, it's been said before that the average American woman spends 19 days a year in her kitchen. With that in mind, I've compiled a list of tips and tricks I use every day to make my life in the kitchen a little more manageable. And heck, I'd even say enjoyable.

1. Use a plastic grocery bag while you cook to throw all your peelings, packagings, and garbage away. It keeps scraps and trash altogether in the same place- it won't muck up your sink and garbage disposal- and you don't have to pick up any of that trash with your hands at the end of your preparation. Have your husband take it out for you and then the disintegrating cucumber peels and chicken skins won't smell up your house.
2. Use products you enjoy using. Get a cute pair of kichen gloves (i.e.: gloveables.) Find and wear an apron you love. Explore different dishsoaps. I personally do not like yellow Joy or blue Dawn because they dry out my hands, are really slimey, and quite frankly don't smell very good. I love Mrs. Meyer's clean day products, especially their dishsoaps. (The lavender and basil scents are my favorite, although eyer lemon smells very clean and fresh.) It looks cute next to your sink and I find it quite delightful to use. My mom thought I bought it at Anthropologie. I told her I was not cool or wealthy enough to buy my dishsoap at Anthropologie. I just buy it at the grocery store... yet not all grocers carry it. Target sales really cute scrub brushes and sponges that also just make cleaning dishes and your kitchen sink a little more pleasant. Following this advice may just make you feel like the quintessential 50's housewife.

3. If you like to cook, invest in a nice set of knives. I literally only have 4 knives to use but since they're high quality it's all I need. Keep them sharpened and make sure you don't wash them in the dishwasher. Take good care of them, and they'll take good care of you.
4. Listen to music while you work. Preferably Justin Bieber. I think I've said enough.
5. Take mental notes of good things you eat in restaurants, or recipe ideas you see in magazines. It's fun to experiment and try to re-create something you had that you loved or something that looked really good. Also recall classic flavor combinations and play on those. I know that apples are good with pork and fruit chutneys are good with fish. Take concepts like this and run with 'em. I made chicken and rice once and added raw pomegranate seeds and cut up apples. The burst of sweet and tart complemented the savory chicken sauce, and the added crunch of the fresh fruit added to the textural element.
6. Put something pretty to look at in your windowsill- especially if you don't have a nice view out your kitchen sink window.
7. Collect cookbooks that inspire you to cook and look through them often to refresh your desire to try new things. Display the pretty ones.
8. Adorable hand towels are the perfect kitchen accessory. Buy one and leave it hanging by your oven. You never even have to use it... but it'll sure look cute.
9. Think about the colors of the meal you are preparing. Not only is a colorful meal healthier for you, it appeals to the senses and leaves you more satisfied.
10. Decorate your kitchen. In our apartment the kitchen was the room I originally neglected. I didn't think it mattered if the kitchen was decorated or not. By the time we were getting ready to leave, I thought the kitchen was the cutest room in the house. It made me happy to be in there, and motivated me to cook more often. The great thing too about decorating the kitchen is that you only need a few small items to do so.
11. Collect glass: display it, and serve on it. I love to go to thrift stores and find old vases, jars, candleholders, bowls, plates, cups, and goblets. Nearly every glass item in my kitchen was thrifted. Glass looks pretty when light hits it- it doesn't matter if it's expensive or cheap, new or old.
12. Keep fruit in pretty containers on your counter. It's easy to grab and sometimes flavors can be damaged by refrigeration. Did you know tomatoes should always be kept at room temperature? Refrigerating tomatoes ruins their texture (makes them tougher) and inhibits their natural sweetness.
13. Cook with family and friends. Few things are more fun than this.
14. Cook things you love to eat. This is what makes cooking fun. Be wise here however... baking chocolate chip cookies and brownies every single day is not advisable. Unless, of course, you're not like me and you can actually restrain yourself from consuming 6 servings of cookie dough in addition to your 5 cookies.
 15. Cook things whoever you're cooking for loves. Seeing someone really enjoying your food is satisfying and rewarding.
15. Go out to eat every once and a while. Not only will you appreciate not having to cook... you will appreciate home cooked food a lot more. Nothing beats it!
 16. Keep a plant in your kitchen. I don't know why I love this so much. Maybe because nurturing a plant's life while you prepare meals for those you love seems like the pinnacle of domesticity.
17. Do it your way. The kitchen is the heart of the home- so make it yours.
18. Sit down for meals with your family. Is anything better than this? Dessert maybe...
19. Shop at grocery stores you love. If you live in Utah- shop at Harmon's. You must. While you're there- sample and buy the French Country bread from the bakery. And try the flavored olive oils if you would. Don't forget the cheese samples... and the gigantic organic section. Ugh... I hate you right now.
20. Organize your fridge and cupboards meticulously. Make them look magazine worthy. You won't regret it.
21. Enjoy. I hope this post has inspired you to spend a little more time in your kitchen. I think your family'll thank you for it.

November 12, 2011


Sometimes you just need a good cry. Today was one of those days.
Sometimes a bad day turns good- as was the case today, and sometimes a good day turns bad- as the case was yesterday.
Sometimes I eat dessert after breakfast. Sometimes red velvet cake is necessary after my bowl of cereal (today.)
Sometimes I tell BJ nothing's wrong even when something is. He always knows better though, and in his own words responds, "does life suck right now for you too?"
Sometimes pastors insult my husband and his religion inside Anthropologie and I have to pull my husband away with a courteous, "We don't think you're going to hell- we just think that after you die you'll realize we were right."
Sometimes this little one tests my patience.
Sometimes she doesn't.
Sometimes it gets cold in California... sometimes.
Sometimes I watch episode after episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and want to eat the world and meet Guy Fiedi.
Sometimes I lie next to my baby while she naps and I think I'm in heaven.
Sometimes it's weird kissing BJ after I've spent all day kissing Ellie. Two very different things I tell you.
Sometimes my happiness is dependent on eating. This happens more often than it should.
Sometimes eating peppermint and chocolate frozen yogurt with peppermint bark topping feels like the best thing that's ever happened too me.
Sometimes I fantasize about food. I would say always- but every once in a while another thought gets in the way.
Sometimes I drool when I look at the previous picture. (What am I gonna do to get my hands on another one of those?)
Sometimes I loathe everything about football season. I am so over football playing on the t.v.
Sometimes I get to buy something pretty to wear. Today was one of those days.
Sometimes I miss my siblings so much it makes me sick.
Sometimes I get mad... usually when we talk about polygamy.
Sometimes the goodness of God is so palpable I get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.
Sometimes I like going to bed early and sometimes I like to stay up late.
Sometimes I'm not in the mood to exercise.
Sometimes I miss Ellie when she's asleep in the other room.
Sometimes I wish I lived 200 years ago.
Sometimes I wish I was a 50's housewife.
Sometimes I get discouraged and regretful. I wish I could change things that can't be changed and improve things that are too late to be improved.
Sometimes I feel perfectly content.
Sometimes my husband and daughter are so delicious to me I have to post all 3 of their pictures.

Sometimes I feel full of love and sometimes I'm flat out mean.
Sometimes all of life's anxieties can be calmed with a hug (today- thanks Beej.)

November 10, 2011

Blog Vomit

This has been a good week- not exceptional. My desire to blog has been slim to none, so my picture taking has been put on the back burner. I haven't been documenting my cooking because there hasn't been much of that. Morning Science has been limited because the gawl-durn wind has been blowing and the chilly morning air combined with said wind gives me an earache. (I'm gonna be like my great grandma Lera who wore a scarf around her head not only in the winter, but on summer evenings as well so as to block any threatening breeze.) Enough explaining... here are some completely unrelated photos- all that my camera has snapped this week. I would say that they're here for your viewing pleasure... but a more proper definition for these ones is probably something like: for your boredom/procrastination/determination to spend time less time doing what it is you actually should be doing.
I babysat my niece Berlynn yesterday for an hour and assisted her and Ellie in jumping/dancing/rolling on the bed to nursery rhymes. Would you judge me if I admitted that this was one of the high points of my week?
I woke up in the six o'clock hour yesterday. I haven't done that since May 13th- the last day I taught school. I actually enjoyed being up that early. The world looks different at that time of day. The enjoyment was short lived however because quickly thereafter my ears began to freeze and I wanted to start a fire in my ear canal. I was amazed though when I was writing in my journal at 10:00 and I had already gone on my walk, done some pilates, eaten breakfast, fed Ellie twice, and gotten ready. What was I supposed to do the rest of day?
It was really chilly the other day. It was pretty chilly today too. Pretty pathetic that what feels "pretty chilly" to me here in California actually turned out to be temperatures in the low 70's. Baah ha ha!
Hey remember my schpeal about "Real Food?" Well today this was my lunch.
 I never said I was perfect...
Oh, and remember the little girl that who's been sporting that yellow hat all over the place?
I'm sorry if I've wasted your time with a whole bunch of blog vomit. But if you were in search of a little   wasted time... you are welcome!

November 9, 2011


Triple Stuf Oreos are incredible.
Have you tried one of these yet? I was sceptical that having three cookie parts rather than the standard two would overwhelm the taste and texture of the frosting- which in my opinion would be near to blaspheme- because, in my opinion, frosting is the best part. Frosting is always the best part. I was also worried that the chocolate layer of frosting would make the whole thing taste too... well, chocolatey. Both assumptions were wrong. These may have just trumped double stuf oreos in my opinion. Although, that is a terribly bold statement that I'm not quite sure I'm ready to commit to. Regardless, they are goooo-ooood! Worth your time, money, and caloric investment. Take it from me- a girl that has already blogged about oreos once this month.
It goes without saying however, that triple stuf oreos will always come second to this little cookie in deliciousness...
Are you dying yet? Scrumptious I tell you. I have been spoiled today- feasting on this little darling, and triple stuf oreos. It's been a good day. More to come...