Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Taste of Georgia

The first city where I served as a missionary was Macon (the last place on Earth I wanted to be). Along with the discomforts of a regular city, good Ol' Macon still had more roadkill than anywhere I've ever lived. And opossom is not pretty roadkill. Besides that, it was full of the saddest people I'd ever met: women with stories of surviving attempted murder at the hands of their sons and boyfriends, people who had watched loved ones shot down in the street. I once saw a woman there fight physically with her son over food she'd brought home for herself to eat. Real people, not Hollywood people, with unimaginable lives.

But I learned another side of the South in Macon too; those people love to cook, and specifically they love to bake cakes. Have you ever been to a church (any demonination church) cake auction in the South? You won't find any wimpy "I made this at the last second from Duncan Hines and a can of Betty Crocker" abominations. No, no. Siste Stone, of the Macon ward, invited us over for supper once while she was preparing a 12-layer chocolate cake for the annual cake auction. And she baked that cake one 1/4"-layer at a time. It took all day. Literally. We didn't get to eat any because that cake was for the auction, but don't worry: our meal was homemade chicken and dumplings, followed by a six-layer caramel cake. Could that woman cook! I think people in Macon had babies and prayed to get sick because they could always count on Sister Stone (did I mention that she was 78?) arriving five minutes later with an amazing dinner, piping hot.

Recently Carol and Joe, friends from a tiny town in southern Georgia (and fine cooks themselves!) stayed the night with us while they were passing through. Thoughtful as ever, they brought me a gift:

I was thrilled...not only do I LOVE cookbooks, but this one has a recipe for caramel cake! Sister Stone's version looked a lot like this one I found on the web,

but my recent attempt did not. However, I think I've got it figured out for next time.

It is a fantastic book. I've made several recipes from it now, and they've all been totally Southern: delicious and written in the way you'd expect to receive directions in Georgia...in other words, the directions aren't real specific, which adds the fun elements of deduction and surprise. But the pages also contain random pearls of cooking wisdom, like this one (from the bottom of page 131): "Bananas give a special interest to grilled sandwiches. Place a slice of ham on a slice of bread, spread with peanut butter, top with sliced bananas, add a second slice of bread, and spread with margarine. Grill in skillet over low heat, turning once, until bread is golden."

And advice like that, my friends, is golden! I can't wait to cook more things from this delightful collection.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Adoption Profile

As I mentioned earlier, we finished our adoption paperwork and home study a couple of weeks ago...well, it has finally all been reviewed and approved! To quote the Simpsons, "And now we play the waiting game. Eh, the waiting game sucks; Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!" Nevertheless, wait we shall.

Anyway, I'm excited to share with y'all our profile. You're welcome to check it out yourself just because you're online and bored (we've all been there!), but you are especially welcome to pass on the link to anyone you may know who's considering placing a baby for adoption.

So here we are, with answers to all of your burning questions about the perfect life (of course it's perfect!) of Kris and Sam:


Monday, July 12, 2010

DIY Decor

Well, it's taken me a year, but I believe that our living room decor is almost complete. This, after a serious bout of crafting fever.

Our house was built in 1939 and has a lot of cool old features, like rounded corners in the entryway and living room, so I've attempted to keep that feel while updating with a blend of retro and contemporary styles. What do you think of our old-fashioned silhouettes? The canvas has a tiled photo I took of the Logan LDS Temple (where we were married). I wanted a picture of that special place in our front room, but I was trying to avoid some of the cheesier LDS art out there (admit it, you've seen the stuff I'm talking about).

My guitar is acting as demo for a friend who is considering buying its twin; note the sadly empty stand in the photo. Our piano is lonely without Gertrude. :)

The only thing remaining is to hang a painting my grandma did (a pastoral scene of a sheep camp and sheep in the mountains) and then I'm calling that room done! It's been a fun project.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Independence Day

Last week we went to Colorado to visit my parents, and we also attended my ten year class reunion. It was interesting, in the "not much has really changed sice high school" kind of way. Well, except it was legal for my classmates to do all of that drinking this time around. It was nice to see that people are happy and living their lives.

I don't have any pictures of that event, but I do have this fun shot of my friend Mel and I. We go way back, to first grade at least, and we still keep in touch quite a bit (even after I made her work a summer with the US Forest Service...). Anyway, she was in town for a business trip a couple of days before the reunion and we got to meet up for an afternoon; too much fun!

For the most part, we spent our Fourth of July vacation here, chilling in my parents' back yard. My dad built their cabin by hand and my mom has slaved over those poppies for years. Isn't it a gorgeous setup?

The rest of the scenery wasn't bad either. You know how sometimes two beautiful people freakishly produce ugly kids? That is definitely not the case for my brother and his wife. Gordy did not condescend to take a good photo, but Grace is an angel face!

And for the record Hunter loves Colorado too, because he gets to play with his friend Buck and go for long runs with Alpha (my dad). Here Hunt chills after a long wrestle.

We had a great trip. And yes, Kris definitely won the "hottest spouse" award. :)