Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"My feet are tired, but my soul is rested"

Johann is taking a multiculturalism class right now and as February is Black History month, we've been watching the Eyes on the Prize series being shown on kbyu as one of this activities. 1. watch it. 2. I took a history of the south class my last year in school where our teacher assigned Howell Raines' My Soul is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movements in the Deep South. I wanted to read it again this month to refresh my memory about all the major leaders but it looks like it's still out on loan.
I strongly recommend picking this up at some point in your life. Raines interviews several civil rights leaders as well as those who opposed civil rights, people from the white citizens' council etc. All growing up you only really hear about Martin Luther King Jr. and the marches in Alabama. Reading the interviews makes you understand how many organizations had to be coordinated (SCLC, SNCC,CORE,NAACP,LCCR), how very calculated and careful these civil rights proponents had to be, how vast the movement was and how many disagreements within and between organizations had to be overcome.
It truly changed the way I view the civil rights movement of the 1960s as well as touched my heart to read the first hand accounts. Definitely make this a book a priority.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Polish Honey Cake

This is a fairly simple (though time consuming) cake that is perfect for summer picnics.

And anytime you want a delicious cake.

So lets do this:


For the layers:

*7 tablespoons unsalted butter
*1/2 cup sugar
*3 eggs
*1 cup honey
*1 teaspoon baking soda
* 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cups white flour

For the Cream:

*2 cups (just a little under 2 is actually best) heavy whipping cream
*3 cups light sour cream (you can also try greek yogurt though I've never done it)
*1/2 cup sugar (sometimes I may, or may not put a tad bit more depending on how its tasting)
*1 tablespoon vanilla extract

This cake takes anywhere from 16-24 hours to make. So you must make the dough ahead of time to refrigerate for 8-12 hours then plan on taking an hour or so for baking and putting the cake together followed by another 8-12 hours for the cake to set in the refrigerator. I've found its best to make the dough the night before, get up early to make the cake and then let it set so it's ready for the evening.

1. Dough for the layers (crusts):

In a large mixing bowl mix all the ingredients except the flour. Put the bowl on a large pot of boiling water. Stir the mixture regularly until sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove the bowl from the pot and add flour gradually. The dough should not be thick. Let the dough to cool down, then cover with a plastic wrap and put it into refrigerator for 8-12 hours.

2. Baking the layers (crusts):

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pre-cut 8 sheets of wax paper. Divide the dough into 8 equal balls (use lots of flour
because the dough will be sticky). Take the baking sheet with wax paper on it and
sprinkle with flour. Take a piece of dough and put it on a baking sheet, stretch it
with your hands, powdered with flour, (or use rolling pin) to a thin, round form, about 10

Bake for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven. Cool layer on a wire rack.

Repeat with the remaining 7 dough parts.

3. Making the cream

Mix sour cream, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla (you may also add a bit of lemon zest or juice) in a large mixing bowl.

4. Put the cake together

Carefully peel the layers, once cooled, off the wax paper. Using something as a guide (I use a dinner plate) cut and even the edges until the layers are round.
Set the pieces of the layer you cut off to the side for later use.

On a large serving dish, alternate 8 layers of cake crusts and cream filling, applying
the cream filling between layers.

Use the excess pieces of crust to decorate the cake by cutting into small pieces and placing around the side and outer rim of the top of the cake.

Top with strawberries, raspberries or blueberries (or whatever you want for that matter).

Let the cake sit 8-12 hours in a refrigerator before serving.

*Option: I like to take the strawberries I didn't use to decorate and mash them in a bowl with a little sugar to drizzle over the cake or individual slices.

Well, that my friends is how you do the polish honey cake. My taste buds are ever grateful to my friend, Lena for bringing this yummy cake into my life. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

a perhaps hand

I once had a professor describe a paper I wrote as a "perhaps hand." This reference comes from an e.e. cummings poem titled Spring is like a perhaps hand:


Spring is like a perhaps hand

(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

But lately I feel like that is the most apt description I've ever been given about myself...
Curse you professor.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In honor of Valentine's Day

One of my favorite declarations of love from literature:

"You are my wife, [yet] I love you like a mistress."

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I have a good laugh every time I think of it.

Now, quick, where is this line from?

Here's a hint: I bet Nicolas Sarkozy would like nothing better than for no one to know where this line is from.

Happy Valentine's Day, one and all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The biggest gift

I thought though this was a part of my birthday, it deserved it's very own post.

I kept telling everyone for Christmas that I needed a stock pot.

No one got me one.

My mom made up for it in size when she sent me one for my birthday.

I guess right about now would be a good time to have 50 people over for some dinner, huh?

My very own "Happy Day!"

With Henry before heading to dinner Sat night. Birthday loot in the back ground.

Oh birthdays.
This time is was more like birth-week.
I still just can't decide how I feel about celebrating my birthday. I love doing Henry and Johann's birthdays but I always feel a bit silly about my own. Complex of some sort? I dunno, maybe I'll have Johann diagnose me when he gets home.
I decided this year I would embrace it and since my sister-in-law whose birthday is 2 days before mine moved to Ca, I couldn't just get away with it being the 4 of us and sharing the day of celebrating as we've done the past 3 years. Maybe we'll be able to do that again some day.

So, on to the birthday celebrating.

Wednesday night I have presidency meeting and my kind, thoughtful RS president Tammy surprised me with some cupcakes from the Sweet Tooth Fairy.
I had never tasted one of these yummy treats so I allowed myself to eat one of the red velvet that night and took home one of the chocolate to share for the next day(the two pictured front and center). They were oh so good.

So, Wednesday and Thursday=cupcake sugar highs.

Friday I received a number of happy birthday wishes in the mail. One of which had a check with the perfect amount to treat myself to getting a new shirt (thanks Simonds!), which I went and did that afternoon while Johann watched Henry.

Saturday was our planned celebration day since my actual birthday was on a fast Sunday. Fast Sunday and festivities don't seem to go hand in hand, ya know?

We got up early (not as early as we had planned though) so we could start making a polish honey cake my friend Lena makes and graciously taught me how to make.
The whole process involves a lot of refrigerating so the cake takes anywhere from 16-24 hours.

I made the dough for the layers Friday night and Saturday morning our kitchen turned into a mad house while Johann and I rolled, baked, trimmed and cut layers.

I think Johann would actually be pretty good in the kitchen, As soon as he graduates I might be passing the baton for a few nights a week!

Johann then whisked Henry away to see a production of Babe (you know, that pig) at BYU while I finished assembling the cake, stuck it in the fridge, cleaned up the mess and made cupcakes for the kiddos.

That night we headed to Goodwood where we met up with some friends for dinner. I think Goodwood is something we only do yearly so I quite enjoyed my food. Then they brought out a giant brownie covered with ice cream, chocolate syrup and whip cream. I think all other restaurants should take note: give the birthday boy or girl a huge treat, not an obnoxious song. Good call Goodwood. Everyone who wanted got a taste and there was still some left.

After dinner we came back to our apartment where we met up with those from dinner as well as another family of friends. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the honey cake when completed but here is a picture from a previous occasion when I made it:

I was afraid no one else would really like it, hence making cupcakes too, but I was happy to see that no one was spitting into their napkins. In fact, by popular demand, I'll be posting the recipe to my blog soon. I promise!

We ate cake, talked, opened gifts with the help of Henry and our friend's daught Macie, watched the kids play, talked, I got to hold a little 3 month old baby, and talked some more.

Sunday, I slept. I was so pooped and add the fasting with that...I told Johann, "just let me sleep." So he did, for four hours! Yeesh! I certainly enjoyed it though. =)

Thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate the big 2-4. Thank you for the thoughtful gifts, kind words and being apart of my life! I surely am grateful for it.

Sometimes, I think Henry is one lucky little kid. =)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Henry and Halloween

Henry loves, loves, loooves Halloween, which I find funny because he has never gone trick-or-treating and gotten a ton of candy; it's just the dressing up, the ghosts, witches and monsters that he loves.
This year he informed me very early on as to what this year's costume would be:

"I be Rufus Two Left Feet, Mommy."

Rufus is a little monster who loves to dance but as you guessed, he has two left feet so the only dance he can do is the wallop. Another little monster named Maddie appears half way through the book who, yup, you guessed it again, ends up having two right feet. Henry also told me that his friend Abigail is going to be Maddie. I told him she might not want to dress up like a monster. He looked at me like I had just told him ice cream is gross.

Fast forward to this past week. Henry is now saying he wants to be a robot. While I think I could create a robot with much less trouble, I was getting excited to try and make the Rufus costume. I mean, he can be a robot any year, right?

Now I'm debating with myself if I should ignore his most recent wish and press forward with looking for supplies for the Rufus costume or if I should just let the kid be a robot. *sigh*
I'll let you know what I decide and then you can judge how good or bad of a mother I am- so stayed tuned. =)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Say what?

I take myself waaaay too seriously in some ways and definitely not seriously enough in others. I'm a bit preachy (what can I do, I have hell-fire and brimstone baptists genes). I complain in my little myopic way annnnd I ramble like the dickens. But thankfully, now I know that there is at least one person who really appreciates this, and truth be told, I will take an ego stroking every once and a while, so thank you for awarding me the "Stylish Blogger Award," Jess!

Jessica Perkins has a pretty sweet blog herself. If you want to check it out, you should go here. Whenever I look at her blog it is either filled with pictures of delicious food she's made, awesome crafts or sewing projects (she made Luke, her son, a sweet Woody costume and now I wish I lived near her so she could help make Henry's!) and the humor in her writing about self/life doesn't disappoint.

Now, as with all great gifts in life, come great responsibilities. Attached to this award are some criteria I must meet in this post, otherwise they take away my blog's extensions, tummy sucker and weekly injection of botox to leave it very style-less and frumpy.

Lets begin:
Thing #1: Thank, and link back to, the person who awarded you this award
Done and done. See above.

Thing #2: Share 7 things about yourself

1. I am always shocked by my lack of adventurousness. Last night Johann and I were talking and I said in response to something, "well, yeah, some people are really crazy-like going skydiving all the time or you know, canoeing!" Canoeing? Really? It was the first crazy thing in my mind after skydiving. Just sad.
*now don't tell me that doesn't look dangerous!

2. I'm left-handed. I use to be proud of it, then my first day in public school a girl saw me writing and said, "you know they burned left-handed people at the stake for being witches!" Geez, and home-school kids are suppose to be the weird ones?

3. Speaking of home-schooling, I was home schooled until 5th grade. Now, people always say kids who were home schooled are weird because of home schooling. I don't really think that's true. I think the problem is usually that crazy parents go all crazy and decide to home school their genetically crazy kids, giving any sane person who decides to do it a bad rap.

4. I'm stealing this from Jessica since she mentioned her TV crush. I don't know about our status now, but for a good while when Henry was obsessed with Curious George, I had a thing for the man with the yellow hat. When I suggested to Johann that we could all be characters from Curious George for Halloween last year, he was pretty much appalled because he thought I was just trying to live out my fantasy. Psssh. SO NOT TRUE. Well, who knows what our subconscious does to us!
5. I have an intense fear of hitting my eyes on anything pointy, like my night-stand corner. I have actually had nights where I really can't fall asleep because I am afraid once I do, I'll roll off the bed and hit my eyeball directly onto the corner. gaaah.

6. I like to read but I have never been good about sniffing out contemporary books. I usually just read what are deemed, 'classics'. I feel like there is so much that has been written before that I have to finish that before I move on. Also, I feel like a book that has come through so many readers and years and is still praised is a good sign I won't be wasting my time. *Except for The Great Gatsby. Oh and Heart of Darkness. I hate you.

7. I know it will never happen because we'll never be wealthy, but I really, really want to have my own library. Despite the lack of attainability I still picture new things about it constantly. *sigh*

*Potbelly stove would be a library must.

Thing #3 Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers

Well, I won't do 15 but here are some that come to mind:

I think 3 is sufficient.

Thing #4 Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!
I'm going to be lame and just tell them on here since Henry is about to wake up from his nap and I'll forget if I don't do it now!
Mika-You're blog is great. You are so good at posting regularly and I love all your recommendations. I love your writing and I admire your determination to finish school, raise two kids, still read non-school related books and let everyone share in it through your blog.
Maren-You make it seem completely natural to have back to back posts on fighting gender inequalities, reviewing the latest novel you've read, family events, work and baking cinnamon rolls. I love that your passions are not necessarily separated but just simply a part of the whole that is you.
Megan-Reading your blog makes me want to be a better mom. Really. Not in the, "oh I need more toys or gimmicks for my kids," but in the sincere, "she really knows how to love those children," kind of way.

So here is to the three of you for being stylish bloggers. Thank you!