My Blog List

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I used to make lists of all the food I wanted to eat at Thanksgiving. Even at age 8 I loved planning and preparing for the big day. They usually got rather ridiculous such as including rice, corn, turkey AND ham, and FOUR different flavors of ice cream. I LOVE planning and making lists. It just feels so cozy! I can't wait to host Thanksgiving dinner sometime. No wonder I love hosting parties! Cooking as a family in the kitchen is probably my favorite part about Thanksgiving. 

It was my first year without my family for Thanksgiving. (I take that back, I went to Pearl Harbor with my HS band during Thanksgiving in 2001.) Knowing me and my desire for comfort food and tradition I mentally prepared myself for change. I knew this Thanksgiving was going to be different than the past 23, and I hoped I wouldn't leave  feeling a tad sad. Yes, some Woodfield traditions did not happen (there was no pecan pie!), but others I really liked, like the over the top turkey, having Martinelli's instead of water (why don't we do that, mom?), and non-traditional pie. Thanksgiving in Atlanta turned out great. Thank you to the Carlson's for inviting us over! (They are my Great Aunt and Uncle...but they are only a few years older than my parents.) My contribution to the meal was pumpkin chiffon pie and spiced cranberry sauce.

The table. 

I LOVE how they bought a pre-brined turkey from a butcher. Totally worth it. That turkey was so yummy, moist, and flavorful. 

I'm a white meat kind of gal. We also had: 

Ever wondered what to do with the left over stuffing that didn't fit in the bird? Aunt Barbara cooked four turkey thighs on top of the left over stuffing so it would taste like it had been cooking in the turkey for hours! Brilliant. 

Cornbread stuffing

More stuffing and green beans

Crookneck squash casserole. 

7-up salad

Sweet potatoes baked in orange juice

Orange rolls. So yummy!

Mashed potatoes. These may look plain, but in fact there is butter, cream, sour cream, and ginger in it. I'm totally adding ginger to my mashed potatoes from no on. 

And of course the homemade spiced cranberry sauce and gravy. 

For dessert we had cherry berry pie, pumpkin chiffon pie, and key lime pie. Their cherry berry pie was really great and lived up the hype. Don't forget the ice cream and whip cream!

Oh, and it was a niece's and grandpa's birthday, hers on Thanksgiving and his two days before so we had the traditional ice cream cake in addition to the pies. They didn't have any candles so they improvised. I'm a fan. :)

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I have a great job

Seriously, who can compete with working with kids and teaching them music? I currently teach seven kids, all of whom are very sweet and eager to learn. Incidentally, for a bit of extra income during one lesson David tutors their oldest daughter in math for an hour while I teach their youngest recorder. David and I have grown to love and admire their family. The mom works at CNN as the Senior Medical correspondent (aka she's important) and the dad teaches at Georgia Tech. 

They have 4 kids--all girls--and are Jewish. It has been so incredibly refreshing to interact with those who are not LDS but are just as faithful in their religion and believe in family values. 

They traipsed off to Israel a few weeks ago for their daughter's bat mitzvah. And when they came home they gave David and I a box of chocolate! They thought a heart shaped box would be lovely considering we were just newly married. (Granted, we have been married for a year...but that isn't TOO long...)

Believe me, those chocolates were beyond delicious. 

During our last recorder lesson the student asked me out of the blue: "Are you Jewish?" "No." Are you Christian?" "Yes." "Oh. I can't eat bacon." "Oh really? I can't eat certain foods/drinks too!"

It was neat sharing about our respective religions in just a friendly manner. Living in Atlanta is so great. Missionary work in Atlanta is just as important as missionary work in Provo, but it is different. There seems to be such a stigma against missionary work and talking to people about our beliefs in Provo. Maybe it's just me. But in Atlanta it just seems the natural thing to do and say. 

It is a neat experience sharing my testimony (i.e I don't drink coffee, we believe in families) with those around me. It is neat because I am learning about other religions as well. Do not bash Provo with me. I love it with all my heart. I loved growing up with friends who were LDS. Being in a "bubble" has its perks--and pitfalls--and I wouldn't trade my teenage-hood for anywhere. 

I love Atlanta because the culture is new to me. I love Atlanta because it is so different from Provo. And I love Atlanta because, just like Provo, you get earnest people trying to be good. 

But if I ever move back to Utah, (No! Whenever I move anywhere else), there is one thing I want to take with me and teach those around me, and that is to not judge quite as swiftly. And that it is ok to be different and not fit into the "Mormon mold." And, most importantly, one of the best ways to show love for another is to talk to those that do not fit the stereotype that you, yourself, find yourself in. The Atlanta Ward has taught me this. 

Note: Believe me, I know, there are people who judge, and those who don't, ANYWHERE you go. Just sometimes I feel there is a specific brand of judgement from LDS members. Sometimes. Not everyone. :) Sorry if I gave offense.... 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dear Mom: Atlanta Fall

My mom will often write me Dear Rachel blog posts, and it's only fair I do the same. :)

Mom, Fall here is gorgeous. I love it. A couple of weeks ago I thought Georgia's Autumn was boring, colorless, and not worth any pictures. Boy, was I wrong. I told you about going to Piedmont Park to cheer up my soul. Only completing one of my six planned errands did not exactly make me feel productive. Walking around the beautiful tree-laden park uplifted and cheered me up. I'm trying to do what Dad suggested: "If you find you can't meet your expectations for the day, simply change your expectations! That way at the end of the day you're never disappointed." The advice may not be good for some, but it works for me!

It's so pretty! You've got:


More red



And still lots of green. 
I am also pleasantly surprised to see so many flowers! In the middle of November!

(Sorry it's blurry...)

Our burning bushes aren't as brilliantly red as yours. Must be warmer here? 

I wish you were here to show you the beautiful weather and nature. 

And here's me! One of my favorite parts of Piedmont park is the porch swings dotting the edge of the lake. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nearer My God to Thee (Vocal Point)

This is beautiful. Have a happy Sabbath!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Good friends

Life in Atlanta has been good to me. I have made some amazing friends that already have changed my life. Moving to Atlanta I wasn't sure what sort of friend-adventures awaited me. Would I make friends? Who would they be? One fantastic friend, who also happens to me my Aunt and her husband took David and I to The Hearth, a fantastic pizza joint on Roswell Rd just off of 285. 

The last weekend in October my dad spent a few days with us and we took him there.  

The 2.5 days he was here were some of the happiest of my entire life! (And no...I don't think I'm exaggerating...) I loved showing him our new home and life. But it felt so weird! My dad was visiting US, and not us visiting HIM! 

(If we're taking pictures, we might as well take a picture of the two of us). 

Here are two more amazing friends we've made along our way. They moved here about the same time we did and Daniel Tanner was actually in a few of David's classes. I blogged about Jennifer here. :) It is kind of funny to find a more outwardly affectionate couple than David and I. :) Or maybe we just realized what we look like. (LOVE YOU TWO!) 

This picture and the one above it was taken at the Halloween festival put on by our ward's primary. I was in charge of pumpkin painting, as in make sure the kids don't ruin their costumes and mix the paint.  It wasn't the ideal way to spend 4 hours with my dad, but it worked I suppose. If anything it truely showed him what our ward is like and allowed him to make comparisons between the Atlanta and the Berkeley ward. What's more, one of Dad's former students is in our ward. Small world. He is currently studying at Gerogia Tech. And what is even more funny is the circumstances upon which they recognized each other. Apparently his wife wrote my dad a note several years ago while her husband was in his Chem 111 class complaining that he gave too much homework. hehe. I have always thought she was a strong, stalwart, pioneer-type woman. Now I have proof. :)

These two adorable kidos are the the children of another friend, Liz Parrish. I watch them on Friday mornings. Gabe is such a ham!

And this is one of the girls I visit and my companion, respectfully. I love them! I learn so much from them. We went out to Willy's for dinner for Diane's birthday. Yum! But I must say, Cafe rio's pork is better. :) 

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I never met David's Dad. He died when David was 10. He died 14 years ago, today. I wish I could have known him, seen how he interacts with his wife and children, and learned from him. I am told he was a great father and husband. :)

How wonderful is it to know that families are eternal! That not only will I have the opportunity to get to know David's dad and learn from him, but that Mama-Layne will be reunited with her sweetheart FOREVER. Families are linked through the blessings of the temple.

Here is a picture of David and his Dad the day that David got baptized.

Last Christmas break David and I spent some time with his family in Colorado where David went to high school. I wanted to visit his Dad's grave. Here are some pictures from that trip.

Even though David was young when his Father died, he has great memories of him. He will often reminisce about the times where they would work outside together and go on Father and son camp outs.  He had a beat up bright blue Toyota truck and he would often take the kids, who sat in the back, on a fast and bumpy ride to an old cemetery. He also taught him how to shoot a gun and ride a horse. And going to Home-depot was a treat. 
David finds it hilarious, so I'll mention it, but Sterling died while playing Church basketball.
I find it unbelievably sad. 

(It was unbelievably cold, hence the face...)

This is the house David grew up in. 

I am so thankful for David's dad, because with out him, I wouldn't have this amazing person has an eternal companion.