Saturday, December 29, 2012


The title has nothing to do with the post!!

I hope this post doesn't turn out to be dumb. But by golly, it's my blog, and I do whatever the heck I want with it!! And no, it doesn't mean some deep dark secret is going to come out about me, or some juicy details about my life revealed. (Ha ha, nope) Just some thoughts about life as a Mormon.

Before I get to anything though, I want it to be known that I firmly believe no person is ever "done." No one is ever done learning about the world, or themselves, or the nature of God, etc. No one is done deciding what kind of person they will be. Even the greatest sinner. Or that one nice neighbor. Or anybody.

I look at every person as though they could change the next day.

I guess I am at that age where all my friends (myself included) are making decisions about who they are and what they believe. And I guess in the age of social media and blogging, it is easier to find out what my friends think much quicker than in the pre-Internet days.

So I guess a lot of those I knew growing up in the LDS church are distancing themselves from the church,

But a few of them are staying. They are facing some very hard trials, but are completely devoted to their religion.

It's amazing for me to think about the followers Jesus lost while he was on the earth. They saw his face and could be there in his presence, yet they didn't like the things he said. It seems like in order for us to even believe in the doctrine, we need a supreme faith in the simple concept that God exists. This is a hard thing for us to do. To believe in things that we cannot see.

But I hope, in the end, that this is my foundation. I don't go to church to be pleased by everybody, to be catered to, or to look special. I don't even really need to be part of a "chosen generation" whatever that means. I need a SAVIOR because I MAKE MISTAKES. STUPID ONES.

I hope in the end, that I have hope for my neighbors. I feel one of the many reasons people leave the church is because they want people to give them attention, positive or negative. When it's the negative (or when they perceive it as negative) they have all the more resolve to stay away.

I think (emphasis on think) people tend to feel horribly "judged" before leaving the church. Well, they are probably right. We are all CONSTANTLY judging each other. I know lots of people judge me, good and bad. It doesn't seem fair for me to assume the worst, especially when most of the time, PEOPLE MEAN WELL. It is extremely frustrating when a person says "you must hate me based on this and this behavior." Wow. Hate really is a strong word. And "hated" is the feeling many people have going to church every week. Why????

Some people have described me as "aloof," "quiet," or even "cynical" (??) when really I am just shy. I was not a good missionary in this way. On a mission you are CONSTANTLY introducing yourself to people. I will never forget how my ward mission leader in Kiev literally pushed me toward a new investigator coming into the building so she could know who I was. Brother Kikhno was such a hard leader, knew perfect English, but ALWAYS spoke Ukrainian so I would learn the language. By the end of my mission, I was still in that ward and could capably report our activities to him every week. He believed in my potential even though I didn't. I still feel inadequate in many ways, but in the gospel, there is so much room for growth. I have gotten better in a lot of ways since then, and am getting better every day. There is so much JOY in that. Through the gospel, my family and friends have found healing, improvement and peace. Obtaining this is not meant to be easy.

So when I see someone struggling, I try not to give them what they think they will get (harsh judging and a superior attitude). I give them my confidence that tomorrow will come. I am not the miracle that brings tomorrow, or the future. Tomorrow just comes. And things can change.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A fine Christmas

Christmas was yesterday. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, mostly because we’ve been busy.
Busy watching the Hobbit. (Which I loved, seriously. Maybe it’s because it has been like a year since I have been to the movies…)
Busy cooking. And, like I said, eating. Even though our cabbage rolls lost to the Horchata in this years’ Iron Chef competition, we got to eat the results, which makes us all winners in the end. Plus we had an EXACT TIE for second place with the Risotto, which is pretty amazing when you consider there were 100 points possible.
Busy getting fun toys for Pippa. Who is so funny to watch.
Busy working. (Micah). BOO!
As a trade-off for the work, however, we got to party at one of his co-workers house for Hannukah. And eat the most delicious potato pancakes ever.
Busy attending resident dinners. I realize that it’s not very common for wives and family to be invited to these, so I was very grateful to have been able to go. We left Pippa with friends and turned them into date nights. I must say I charmed the heck out of the other residents and applicants. I am that delightful.
Busy taking family pictures:
Busy learning new words (Pippa), even though she calls both of us Dada.
Busy reading all the new Russian literature we got for Christmas.
Busy listening to my new Ipod that replaced the one that got stolen in Chicago. (WHOEVER YOU ARE, I AM OUT TO GET YOU, PUNK!)

We are ready for another vacation, I think. I could literally feel my skin drinking in the sunlight in California. We do not get enough in Seattle. Still, the taste of the water is absolutely unmatched.

Hope you all had a great Christmas.
Soon I will be posting more recipes from the Iron Chef competition, including an updated, Pioneer Woman style tutorial on making Borsch. STAY TUNED!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hello Hipsters! (And cultural musings)

Whenever I want a good laugh, I go to A most entertaining website. I cannot for the life of me figure out why it is always one of the first search results on google because it is the least informative place to go for information.

It is definitely a trolls playground. Or Micah's playground I should say. A few months ago he posted a question (ok, I'll admit I helped a little) asking what kinds of baby food sweeteners he should use when introducing solid foods to our baby. On the list of things we tried he put honey. People who thought he was being serious were outraged and said things like "OMG take your baby to the hospital now" and "you are a terrible parent, don't you know what bolism is? ( I think that's how it's spelled?)"...

Still, I read something posted on that ACTUALLY KINDOF MADE ME THINK A TINY BIT.
Here's a quote from the post:

"Yesterday, a hipster I was hanging out with, although he doesn't identify himself as one (but it's very clear he tries to be), was basically making fun of almost everyone we saw walking past. He claimed that everyone was "culturally brainwashed" and too mainstream for their own good etc. I'm not at all hipster, and I don't limit my friends to any one group (dynamic relationships create dynamic perspectives on life) but I couldn't help but think his actions were ironic.

Aren't hipsters, at least at this point in time, considered a mainstream subculture? In fact, since I live in the city of Chicago, I literally see as many hipster-wannabes as I do typical frat guys wearing the North Face. So couldn't it be argued that despite what hipsters claim they stand for, they're basically a mainstream subculture now?...

"All the "hipsters" I know act no different than the people they criticize - they shop at mainstream corporation stores such as H & M, Urban Outfitters, and American Appearance - no different than "mainstream kids" shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, and American Eagle.

What do you think about hipsters? Are they contradicting themselves now?"


But let me even add to this a few of my own questions. What makes a hipster a "true" hipster? What about being "mainstream" is so abhorable to people? And why am I using so many quotation marks?

I believe much of the answer to this question lies in what I call the "hipster mentality" (there they are again). I believe The Hipster Mentality stems from behaviors in children as young as elementary school age.

Lets say you are really into dinosaurs. They are your passion and everyone knows how much you love them, and you even identify yourself as a dinosaur lover.

Then let's say you have a friend at school who hears about how much you love dinosaurs and they begin to investigate why it is you love them so much. In the end he ends up loving dinosaurs too and you think he's a GIANT COPYCAT.

Sounds so silly but we do this as adults too. Not as dramatically but I think we inwardly crave originality. This is probably a good thing in some ways, but it's also kind of a sign of immaturity. So what if you liked some indie band "before anyone else did?" Or you read the first twilight book and liked it even, but now you hate it because there are hordes of people waiting in lines to watch the multi-billion dollar film adaptation??

Some things are just popular. I don't really care. I love my Justin Bieber perfume.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Yesterday was Halloween.

We dressed up as characters from our new fav cartoon show, Adventure Time!

Micah was Finn the Human, I was Princess Bubblegum scientist, and Pippa was Lumpy Space Princess.
Jake-the-Human-adventure-time-with-finn-and-jake-12855647-500-674 Lumpy-Space-Princess-adventure-time-with-finn-and-jake-12984776-1280-1024 639260_16588545_lz
I even carved our pumpkin with Finn’s face!

People have been requesting my recipe for Salsa since last night’s party, so I will be posting that soon! Mathematical!

Yellow Borsch!?

Last Sunday I wanted to make Borsch. When I went to the grocery store to buy beets, I found that the only beets they had were golden beets. They are BRIGHT YELLOW in color.
Here they are grated and ready for frying.
They looked especially vibrant next to the orange carrots.

When the soup was done it looked mighty different than the borsch I am used to, but it tasted just as good. The golden beets have a milder flavor than the red ones do. Plus since I used yellow beets, I didn’t look like I had just murdered someone after grating them all up. (Ever cooked with red beets?)


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I think SO!

Last night I decided to make Hamburger Buns. At home. By myself.
It was actually pretty easy.
And changed our lives.
I didn’t even have to steal this picture from the internet! LOOK. AT. THOSE. THINGS.

I grilled up some Sweet Caramelized Onion Chicken Burgers with Bell Peppers and Gouda Cheese from Costco….

And made an amazing sandwich. POW!

Pumpkins n’ stuff

We visited Snoqualmie falls again.

Pippa liked it.

Then we went to the pumpkin patch. You know, to get a pumpkin.  We were lucky to arrive there and get our pumpkin before it starting pouring rain. It was still pretty muddy.

We even got to ride on a tractor.
It was a fun-de-fun day.
Scary Micah.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Things we have been doing.

We spent one day off recently visiting Deception Pass and Whidbey Island. The bridge is incredibly high and scary…
But there were great views.
A few weeks ago we went to the Puyallup Fair.
Micah poses next to a giant pumpkin.
Pippa enjoyed the petting zoo!
Last week Pippa said goodbye to some of her friends in our ward - we will miss these families greatly! Our stake was reorganized too, and now we are no longer part of the 7th Ward; they changed the name to the Thornton Creek Ward. The boundaries have not changed much, but we did lose some people more south of us. We will miss them too. We will also miss going to the beautiful Stake center for church, since we will now use the Shoreline building, which happens to be closer to us. Lots of changes!
Pippa found a cat after church.
We just had Bryn and Ann over to visit us from Idaho too! Pippa had fun playing with her cousins. I would post a picture of them, but I don’t really believe in posting pictures of other people’s children unless they give me permission…
This is Pippa on a dock near Pike Place Market.
In front of UW’s magnificent library..
Oh and, we finally found the famous gum wall :-)

Soup of the Day

Or should I say, soup of the life.
You all know my favorite soup is Borsch. But this soup is definitely one of our very favorite things to eat.
Here is what you need:
1 pound of spicy Italian sausage
2 quarts chicken stock (or more if you like a less chunky soup)
2 potatoes, unpeeled, cubed
2 cups kale, cleaned and torn into bite size pieces
1/2 onion, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup half and half, or cream
red pepper flakes (optional)
Here is how we make it!
Get a large soup pot. Put in the onions and sauté them until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the chicken stock and start to boil.
While your stock is starting to boil, fry the sausage in a pan and break into bits. Once cooked you can drain off excess fat. Set aside.
Once the stock is boiling, add potatoes and kale and cook these until tender. Then add the sausage, and pepper flakes, if you like them. Lastly, add the cream. Heat through.
We like to serve this with homemade Rosemary Foccacia bread. I shall have to post the recipe for that too, eh?
For now, hope you are enjoying the great soup season of FALL!

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Just got back from a visiting teaching appointment. Now I am home and I am pondering the exchange I just had with a lovely sister in my ward who must think I am so silly, but opens her home to me each month anyways.

I guess, I just feel like connecting with people is one of the most godlike things we do here on earth. And, I have met a lot of awesome people in my life.

Like, REALLY awesome. And, yes, I am using the word "awesome" in the awe-inspiring sense of the word.

And yes, that means YOU!

I really miss Chicago a lot. I also miss my mission in Ukraine, and my ole college BYU, and my home in California. But mostly I miss the PEOPLE. Each group was SO DIFFERENT. Can you imagine what California would be like if it were inhabited by Ukrainians? Haha. I try to imagine babushkas guarding the buildings and carts of kvas all around. But although everyone was so different, I had a great relationship with each one, even if it was for a short time.

I am just amazed to be where I am now, and to have been where I have been. My friends (who read this blog at least) I hope you know, I think of you so often. Every exchange we had, every conversation. I wrote in my journal about you, and was affected by your words and actions.

The weirdest thing is how I kept one of those friends and married him. Poor guy.

But it is pretty neat.

Monday, September 24, 2012


So it's been awhile since I've posted anything. I am writing this now on my iPad, which does the job but its not as good as my desktop where I have my pictures and stuff. The problem is that I can't really work in our computer room because currently it is being occupied by our plants and our bikes and other stuff that used to be outside on our deck. They are re-sealing the edges in preparation for winter, and it has taken way longer than it was supposed to. Blasted apartment living. Oh well. First world problems.

So hopefully if they finish the work soon, I will be able to get back to post some new recipes I have been wanting to share, and maybe some pictures...


Friday, August 17, 2012

Bored on a Friday night.

Today was very hot. I did little to nothing all day. We had Little Caesars pizza for dinner.

Micah is on call this evening. I'm going to bed early, because I can.

Also, here are some weird pictures for your viewing pleasure. Goodnight all!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I like stating the obvious with my food.
Here is the very simple recipe I used.
  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (for sprinkling on top)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
  3. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
Here’s another picture of the deliciousness.

Speaking of pies, here is Pippa being a cutie pie.
And putting dolly on her chair.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Family Home Berry Picking

Today for Family Home Evening we went berry picking.
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These blackberries grow like weeds in our neighborhood. We didn’t even have to sneak into someone’s backyard! We got about 3 pounds of all the ripe berries we could find, but in a few weeks there will be tons and tons of ripe berries.
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Micah picking the hard to reach berries.
The bushes are very thorny and prickly, so Pippa couldn’t really join in the fun, but she loves how the berries taste! They are juicy and delicious!
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I took them home to wash them and will make a blackberry pie tomorrow. I will post pictures and a recipe! Be excited!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Don’t read this if you are sensitive to my opinions

Since most people don’t know any better, and because I like to label myself in promising ways, I’ve started calling myself an “Artist.”
This gives me greater cause to think and have opinions about aesthetics and the way people perceive beauty.
I suppose I should back up and describe the event that triggered this thought I had today:
Today Micah and I visited a local wading pool. It was nice to get out after both of us being TERRIBLY sick with some sort of virus (Mine was gastro-intestinal, Micah’s was throat and sinus…sort of a “his and hers” I suppose).  As we walked about the pool with Pippa leading the way, we crossed paths with several children. One in particular was kind enough to share a toy with her. He looked to be around eight or nine years old. He saw us walking with her and told us quite candidly, “She’s cute.”
Both Micah and I were flattered, as most vain parents are to hear such things about their offspring, but I was mostly surprised to hear this come from such a young boy, and so sincerely. We know she’s cute, but people are already giving their evaluations of her. We are already starting to say things like “when you were a baby,” and we already have ideas about what her adult self will be like.
So blah blah, she’s getting older, so what. Well, let me get to the point. People evaluate each other, for better and for worse. The bad bad world is pretty crafty at getting young girls to believe that they are never going to pretty enough to be liked by anybody. That sounds extreme, but it is the sad truth. Boys feel that way too. But mostly girls. Because they are ones who the world says needs to be “beautiful.” Every girl, at some point in her life, has low self-esteem.
But, I am extremely confident in myself because I have people who are extremely supportive of me. I can’t imagine living with a mother who constantly says things like “I need to lose some weight,” or, even worse, “YOU need to lose some weight.”

Even worse though?! Imagine living with a husband who says things like that! *shudder*
We live in a messed up, messed up world! The saintliest of women are victims of Satan’s greatest ploy, the one that starts out with a simple glance in the mirror, and the creeping thought that slithers into your head.
“I’m ugly.”
Citizens of the world! Stop this nonsense! PLEASE stop making your daughters’ bodies the subject of your lunch groups! Stop wondering if they will ever get married! Be GENUINELY happy with who they are!! BE KIND TO YOURSELF!!
A lot of shouting! But I see it all the time, and I am SO. SICK. OF. IT. I can tell when a girl does not love herself, or is depressed about the way she looks. It is terribly off-putting. Mostly it is just sad. Because I can’t force them to like themselves. And I can’t force my daughter to like herself.
But she will, by Jove, if I have anything to do with it.
And, at least I told you not to read this if you are sensitive.
Also, give this book to your teenage girl.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Micah, thou canst have an award for being awesome?

Medical School/Residency programs like to give out lots of awards to students. I think it either encourages them, or gives them a chance to look like giant snot-heads.
Luckily, I *think* it does the former for Micah.
This year he received the Junior Resident Award for Clinical Excellence and Compassion in Inpatient Psychiatry. (That’s a mouthful…)
This is what his supervisors said about him:
“Micah is an outstanding resident in all regards; he is exceptionally warm, kind, and happy with patients and fantastic with medical students. He has a fountain of knowledge about his level of training and a remarkable ability to apply this to clinical work. He’s bright, enthusiastic, hard-working, dedicated to his patients, and always does his work with a very positive and cheerful attitude.”IMG_0551
Pippa had to sit through the very long awards dinner. She did mostly ok.
Micah has also been patiently waiting to buy a telescope and has been searching craigslist for one. Well, when I saw it in the trunk of the car I was pretty astounded. This is a serious telescope. IMG_0646
Ironic, perhaps that we purchased this while living in Seattle? Perhaps. But, last night was clear enough to get an AWESOME (and I mean awesome in an awe-provoking way) view of the full moon AND Saturn! NEAT!
Oh and Pippa is one now. And CUTER THAN YOU WILL EVER BE!!
Here’s the Hat Grandma got from Peru: