October 31, 2010

Grandma Turns...

This weekend we celebrated my grandma's birthday which is actually on Tuesday. She will be 75! Whoops, I mean 57. We made a coconut cake, one of her favorites, and some "unknown" lady came in a switched around the numbers...

Here are my cousin Edie's kids, Taylor and Tyson, hanging out with GG, their great grandma. Ironically, Taylor is 5 years old and Tyson is 7. They love their GG.

Before the night was over we asked to see a preview of their costumes. What a creepy Freddy Kruger and a beautiful Snow White. I'm sure they'll get loads of candy on Halloween.

It was a wonderful weekend and one more reason for Kyle and I to be thankful to be home.
These are the things we really miss.

Happy Birthday Grandma and a Happy Halloween to all!!!

October 27, 2010

California Here We Come!

In 2 weeks, my mom, Kyle, and I will be driving to California to go to one of my favorite places in the world...THE ROSE BOWL FLEA MARKET! Now, before you jump to conclusions, I must say that this is no ordinary flea market. There are no overweight men in overalls trying to sell rusty old farm equipment and no toothless woman nagging me to buy her "crafty crap", shall we say. This flea market happens to be a unique collection of everything you can imagine and it attracts quite the crowd, including many celebrities, stylists, and designers (we saw a Backstreet Boy last time we were there). There is vintage clothing and furniture, boutique clothes and jewelry, overstocked items (like snowboard gear and clothing), etc. I could go on and on about all the finds. The best part is the element of surprise. Although I have some idea what might be there, in the end I really don't know what to expect. My mom and I go for the fun finds and Kyle goes for the delicious frozen lemonade they sell around the market. I really could park him on a bench all day with this stuff and he's be content. It is sooooo delicious.

This flea market is on the 2nd Sunday of each month right at the Rose Bowl stadium. I really recommend a trip there some time. It's quite the experience and one I feel so lucky to have. After being away, I appreciate all the times we get to spend with family like this. It really is a blessing.

October 25, 2010

A Monday Night Throwdown!

This Monday was a "Battle of New York Pizza". A friendly competition between my dad and I to be judged by my mom and Kyle (2 food connoisseurs???) Let's look at the contenders...

Dad: Recently thinks he's been to culinary school after reading a cookbook or two. Not to say he isn't a good cook, but come on buddy...you ain't Emeril!

Me: An international chef (hey, my friends in Dominica like my cooking). I do like to cook, but I don't do anything too fancy.

Looks like this is a pretty even competition. Let the battle begin...

Can you tell who made which pizza???

Well, I made the pizza in the first picture and Dad made the pizza in the second picture. He went with a pizza stone in the oven and I made mine on the grill. I must say, both pizzas were very tasty and I'm not sure there was a clear winner. Overall, it was a fun competition that produced some wonderful food and great memories.

My pizza on the grill. (We don't get this in Dominica)

Two weeks ago we made a wild rice beef roll with asparagus for the Vikings and Jets game. Very tasty! Last week we made BBQ pork sandwiches with coleslaw for the Tennessee vs. Jacksonville game. As many of you know, my mom is from Tennessee so this was authentic! We even used my grandma's famous, and delicious, coleslaw recipe. Down home cookin' and darn good! Next week the Colts play the Texans. I do believe I see a beef brisket in our future...

October 24, 2010


I haven't been too good about blog posts in the recent weeks. I guess you could say I've been slacking! I must say, I don't have as much to write about. Not that my days or boring...they're just filled with most of the same things you all do each day. When we were in Dominica I could tell you about the cows I see when I walk to and from the store, how it takes me hours to shop for everything I need for meals, how it rained constantly (it is a rain forest), and the crazy things I do to fill my days while Kyle studied for 15 hours at a time. Now, I just fill you in on the things Kyle and I do in AZ that we missed so much while being in Dominica, but this must seem a little crazy to you all.
Since we've been home...
  • We walk into any grocery store in awe of the amount of food that is available and how fresh it looks
  • We go to the mall and gawk at all the fabulous winter clothes that we would NEVER wear in Dominica
  • We go to the movies only to find out we haven't heard of half of the titles (we only see a few commercials for new movies coming out)
  • We drive in a large, air conditioned vehicle on the right side of the road. The freedom to go where you want, when you want is amazing
  • We can get a quick carry-out dinner that isn't greasy Chinese food or cardboard pizza...the possibilities are endless!
  • Best of all, we get to see and chat with our families whenever we want. "Hey mom, wanna run to the store?", "Hey Dad, want to grab a beer and watch the game?" We LOVE getting to do that. It's truly the best!!!

Ahhhhh, America! We've never loved you more. Live in a 3rd world country some day. It will make you appreciate all that you have or have available at your fingertips.

Coming soon...an update on Monday Night Football meals.

October 10, 2010

In a Pumpkin Paradise

As requested, on my last post, the weather has cooled slightly here in the desert. The nights and mornings are especially wonderful. There is no fall foliage or brisk breezes, as in other parts of the states, but compared to Dominica it's cool and Kyle and I are embracing it.

Our weekend started out with the Tour de Fat. It's a bike parade and beer festival held in Tempe by the Fat Tire Brewery. We borrowed my in-laws beach cruisers, since Russ is out of commission, and road our way, with some friends, through the streets of Tempe before parking and rewarding ourselves with a cold beer. This was our first year participating in this event and Kyle and I were both glad we did it. It may be a while before we're here to do it again. They do, however, have this Tour in many cities across the country. We'll have to look for it, wherever we may be.

I made more of an effort to embrace the spirit of the fall by making anything and everything with pumpkin. We started out football Sunday with some pumpkin spice pancakes, oh yummy, and finished the afternoon with some pumpkin butterscotch cookies. I got both these recipes from a cooking blog that I frequent, annies-eats.com, and Annie seems to have a love of pumpkin as much as I do. I'm even extending my pumpkin flavor to a main dish...pumpkin parmesan sauce with sausage and pasta (with fresh sage). We'll see how that goes. In other food news, some kind of wild rice dish is on the menu for the Minnesota vs. Chicago game on Monday.

October 4, 2010

It's Fall???

Fall is supposedly here, but it hasn't reached AZ. With temperatures in the triple digits, it's been hard to get in to the fall spirit. Since most of our summer clothes are still down in Dominica, Kyle and I are hoping for a quick change in the weather. We've been dreaming of long pants and sweaters for quite some time. Those things are unheard of in Dominica. The pure thought of wearing a sweater there makes me cringe.

This past weekend we stayed cool by hitting the ice. Our friends, Derek and Megan, are getting married and were thrown an engagement party. After the party we took a large party bus to an ice skating rink and played broom ball. It started our pretty chilly, but as we ran around on the ice in our tennis shoes trying to get the ball into the net with a broom with no bristles, it warmed up pretty quickly. After taking a few spills on the ice and running back and forth while trying to not fall, both Kyle and I were VERY sore. Are we getting old??? We sure feel like it. It was a lot of fun and worth the pain.

In keeping with our new Monday Night Football tradition, we made Cuban sandwiches and black bean soup as the Miami Dolphins faced the New England Patriots. No need to worry, we have plenty of meals in the works in honor of some of the teams in northeast. We just thought a little Cuban food would be fun this week.

Kyle is feeling better each and every day, but continues to have moments of his past illness... bad headaches and eye issues. It's a little frustrating. Just when we think he's a had a long run of feeling great, he'll have a day of feeling so-so. I'm just glad that these days, the good days out weigh the bad.

I'm subbing nearly every day. Some days I want to pull my hair out and other days I want to hug all the kiddos and transplant them to my own class. Some days I love the little ones and other days I think "boy are they needy". I guess this period of spending each day in a different class in a different grade will just let me know more about what I want when I have my own class, whenever that day will be.

All of our friends in Dominica took their first exam of the semester today. It made us miss the island and it really hit us that they are moving on without us. Going back in January is going to be quite the challenge. Until then, we'll soak up all the nice weather, whenever it comes, and time with family and friends. You can never have too much of that!