Wednesday, July 31, 2013

UMass New Student Orientation - Enrique's favorite summer job

When did Enrique become a JUNIOR in college?!?
He has found his niche at UMass.
This summer he worked HARD to help shepherd many groups of incoming students through the process of orientation:  finding their way around campus and class schedules, meeting their peers, learning about housing options and getting excited about their lives ahead as new freshmen at college.
The bonus?  He got PAID to do it.
 He LOVED his job and was good at it.
 He worked hard, made new friends, helped new students, didn't get much sleep, earned some money for that upcoming tuition bill and unlike his grueling warehouse job last summer, he had FUN.
We're happy to have him back home for a couple of weeks before he goes back to both work and school.

camp was sweet

 Hanging around with these girls for a week was a TREAT.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We've got some catching up to do

Have you ever met up with an old friend and felt like you just needed to sit for a few hours and catch up?  
That's how I'm feeling about my blog.  
There's a connection here that I've been missing, but right now life in the fast lane is just not permitting me to pull over.  
Really, it's more like being on a thrill ride.  
SO fun, but not enough time to chat.  So... a quick summary for now, and then hopefully some catching up during the pit stops of this wonderful busy summer.
I spent last week with my three daughters (Heaven!) at Girls Camp.  Best place on earth for a week in the summer.  More posts about Girls Camp down the road.  
We left camp in time to make it to Boston to be at the temple 
where my sister Becky and crew added another family member for eternity.  
I love sweet Jo-Joe.
This week my twin sister and her family has arrived from Ohio 
for a visit (Heaven!).  
Yonder pulled in from the wild west while we were gone...
and yesterday we gained Enrique back from Amherst.
We're ALL together again!! (H-E-A-V-E-N)
Meanwhile, there's soccer training, 
a service trip to Panama in the wings 
and lots and lots of gathering.  
I love it.   

Monday, July 29, 2013

packing for camp

It was almost time for me to leave.
(Mesquite and I went to camp a day early, with the leaders)
I wanted to make sure the other two were packed and ready to go the next morning.
When I checked on them, this is what I found:
Somehow they made it.
They showed up the next morning WITH all their belongings.
AND some of mine.
In the end, it was ME who forgot stuff.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

building a monkey bridge

All of the girls are away at Girls Camp for the week.
Even mom.
 There's some monkey business going on at home.
Word around town is that it involves a bridge.
Stay tuned...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nritya Nipuna

We had a marvelous cultural experience over the weekend.
Rooney was invited to her High School friend's 
Nritya Nipuna.
We had no idea what was in store for us... here's what we learned:
Nritya Nipuna literally means 
Dance (nritya) Expert (nipuna).  
Rooney's friend and her sister, after years of dance classes at an Indian Dance Academy have mastered the art of dance performance.  
They invited family and friends to a recital/dinner event that lasted the better part of five hours.  The girls spent more than two hours performing classical Indian dance styles of Bharatnatyam, Manipuri and Folk Dance.
Elaborate costumes and beautifully choreographed dances were interspersed with video presentations and speeches by family and friends.  Some relatives came from India for the performance.
Rooney was asked to speak about her friend Shikha, and did a lovely job.
We felt as though we had taken a brief trip to India, and enjoyed learning about religion, culture and food with delightful and gracious friends.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Our Home Teachers Came Tonight

Another thing I love about being a Mormon:  we have "home teachers."  Our home teachers visited us tonight, and we were thrilled to be able to sit outside in the beautiful weather.
Two home teachers are assigned to each person or family in the congregation; these two priesthood holders visit their assigned individuals and families each month to help and support them.

Included in this regular visit is a message of spiritual instruction that is adapted to meet the needs and concerns of the individuals or families. Home teachers also make sure the temporal needs of the members are taken care of.
Jay has been our home teacher for MANY years.  His specialty is making sure visits include his jumbo-portioned home made desserts.
We are well-loved and well taken care of.
“Home teaching is one of our most urgent and most rewarding opportunities to nurture and 
inspire, to counsel and direct our Father’s children. … It is divine service, divine call. 
It is our duty as home 
teachers to carry the divine spirit into every home and heart. 
To love the work and do our best will 
bring unbounded peace, joy, and satisfaction.” 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

there's a car in the woods

We've been storing a vehicle for some friends who moved away (sad).  People who come over ask why we have a car in the woods?  We've had some HOT weather this summer, and I like to think that the little Odyssey is grateful for the shade.

Friday, July 19, 2013

it's H-O-T, but we're C-O-O-L (the week's wrap-up)

ONE MORE DAY.  That's what the weather man says.  We're almost through this heat wave.. We've endured six days of temps in the nineties (a couple of times I caught the thermometer sneaking past the 100 mark) with some oppressively HUMID air.  It's what I like to call breathing in pea soup.  WHEW!  It's been HOT.  My brother Aaron and I played in our soccer game tonight, and by the end of the second half, we were all a little over cooked, if you know what I mean. The game ended in a tie, and I for one was glad we could all just walk off the field happy to have finished.  Alive.  We raced home, fell into the pool, and agreed that although it was refreshing,  86 degrees made it feel like a hotel pool.
I laugh at myself: at the beginning of the summer, I said to Dub "Let's not put the air conditioners in this year.  They're such a pain, they're so loud, and we could save some money."  That lasted through the first day of temps in the 90s, and I did not get in the way of Mr. Dub when he came home from work and started installing the window units.  We don't have enough to keep the whole house cool, so we cool a couple of areas, and gasp for air when we move through the ones without A/C.  Besides trying not to turn on the oven, there was work (teenagers + summer jobs = college money), a lot of weeding, some ground hog warfare, a few social engagements, some retail therapy (I told the girls they are on their own for back-to-school shopping this year; I am happy to take them shopping, but they're earning/spending their own money; it's amazing how much more selective they become when the money comes out of their pockets).  The biggest find was by Mesquite, when she came home with two pairs of really nice jeans for a whopping $4.00.  Thank you, Salvation Army.  We love family day:  everything's half off.
There was also a week long basketball clinic that Leeli and MB participated in.  It was a B-R-U-T-A-L week to be running up and down the court, but these two LOVED it.  
 They worked hard, probably lost a few gallons of body fluid in sweat, and walked away with a couple of nice awards.
Morning Boy won first place in the two-on-two scramble (his partner is the cute red head sitting next to him in the group shot above) for his division
 and Leeli won the coveted Hustle award, for her drive, enthusiasm and HUSTLE.
It was a HOT week for hustling, and they both did great.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I bet if you lived here, you'd sigh too

I'm feeling alone in the vast wilderness of healthy meatless meal enthusiasts over here, people.
Someone throw me a life line.  With the week-long heat wave going on, I couldn't be happier that the garden is producing.  Yesterday alone I came in with an armful of 8 zucchinis* and a big basket of basil.  I'm looking at something pesto down the road... (my family might move out).
Since chickpea salad has been such a hit, I jumped in with both healthy-happy feet and harvested garden fresh zucchini, tomatoes and basil for tonight's dinner line up.  Personally, I couldn't have been happier with the results.  The rest of the household was very diplomatic and did NOT complain.  Not one little bit.  I did, however, see a few eye rolls and maybe some exchanged glances that didn't give me the feeling that they were going to give me the Chef-of-the-Month award.

* since drafting this post, the unwelcome ground hog has decimated my zucchini crop.  I have taken my garden defense to the next level.  No more zucchini from this garden.  And this means WAR. (I'm secretly wondering if maybe my husband and kids contracted the rodent...)

Zucchini Tomato Basil Boats

Slice the zucchini length-wise in half.  Slice of a thin layer of the bottom side to keep zucchini stable on baking sheet.  Brush tops of zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic or garlic powder.  Top with sliced tomatoes and basil leaves.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with mozzarella, parmesan and romano cheeses, or similar blend.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until soft.  Cool and serve.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

the temple on a summer's eve

The Boston Temple is a great place to meet.
While we were waiting there to connect with my brother and his family, we enjoyed the beautiful grounds.
Morning boy found a bird feather in the flowers and dubbed it his temple feather.  He didn't let go of it all night.
 It was fun to have some extra relatives in town.  MB and I took the younger cousins and headed back home while the rest enjoyed an evening at the temple.
We could hardly let the sun go down on such a fun night without making a late night stop at our favorite ice cream establishment...
We shut down Kimball's with a very large order of ice cream.  When the car full of temple goers didn't show up by closing time (10pm) they put it all in their freezer until the gang arrived to meet us.  Now THAT's some extra friendly local service!  The rest of the gang arrived before the scoopers were done mopping the floors.
[fuzzy cell phone picture: sorry]
Thanks Kimballs!
Thanks Utah Hutchins,
for an extra sweet visit!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Chickpea and Carrot Salad

This has become my favorite salad, no contest, this summer.
I have made it on three different occasions, and the leftovers are the coveted go-to for second day lunch.  Also, leaving the chicken out does no harm to the flavor, salad integrity and general appeal, for those of you who like to have meatless options.  I have to double the recipe to keep the peace, and to keep everyone happy.  I'm not kidding.  Even the eight-year-old boy eats it.
The thing I love?  I've adapted it to be NO-COOK.  Which, for those of you looking a heat wave straight in the face, is a lovely thing on a H-O-T night.  
Here's what to do:

Chickpea and Carrot Salad
Serves 4-6
[adapted from Janssen's blog]

For the Salad:

4 cups chickpeas, cooked (or 2-15 ounce cans) rinsed and drained
1 pound carrots, peeled, cooked and cut into pieces 
(put your peeled carrots into the crockpot for a couple of hours on low in the morning to cook them.)
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
(or 1 can chicken meat, rinsed and shredded; found next to canned tuna fish in your grocery store)
6 garlic cloves, minced (or jarred equivalent of minced garlic)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sliced almonds, roasted (I do this in a small omelet pan on the stove top)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Combine all salad ingredients and put back into warm crock pot. Make dressing and pour over salad.  Mix until salad is coated. 
Keep warm until ready to serve.


1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tsp cumin
1/2 teaspoon honey
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jumping in to SUMMER!

Since our summer didn't get started until the week before the Fourth, we have felt eager to jump right in and get going with our summer bucket list.  So far, pretty great.  Speaking of jumping right in, here are a few jumping photos from Footbridge Beach in Maine (my new favorite beach):