31 January 2011

Downton Abbey

I'm always on the prowl for a good chic flick. I'm especially enamored with British novels turned into six-hour movies, though I would love a good Southern bell romance. Someone needs to get on that!

So when I saw someone blog about Downton Abbey on PBS I knew I needed to investigate. I would copy/paste the series description here for you, but that's no fun. Plus I included a link. So let me just lay it down for you:

Early 1900s - family of British aristocracy - throw in a twist ... American heiress wife - Maggie Smith is the grandmother who definitely says "put that in your pipe and smoke it" at the end of the season - begins with the sinking of the Titanic - please fast forward the INCREDIBLY uncomfortable reference to homosexuality in Edwardian royalty (Episode one, watch out for Thomas. The kiss is referenced in later episodes, but never visualized again.) - taking a blind eye to that awkwardness enjoy the almost Wives and Daughters-like drama - until the season ends with a WWI declaration, many loose ends, and the promise of a second season in the making.

I almost stopped watching after the gay earl incident. Masterpiece Theater tricked me before with The Buccaneers (So not worth the hours I put into it!). If that scene were removed, Downton Abbey would be all that you love and expect of a British romance aired on PBS. Thus the suggestion to have your remote handy... Watch Online! The four episodes, each about 90 minutes, expire on February 22.

28 January 2011

Kings Court

When we moved to Sacramento in October one of Scott's favorite things to tell people was that a big reason we were moving was because his dad had NBA season tickets to the Sacramento Kings games. It did seal the deal a little bit, I suppose. And since we've arrived Scott has attended almost every game that Big Curt held tickets for!

One of the first games of the season, I was lucky enough to accompany Scott to a Kings game verses the Washington Wizards. While we were sitting in the regular season seats on the second balcony, I kept looking at the Kings game host and thinking, "He looks awfully familiar! What TV show was he in?" I racked my brain, until all of a sudden, third quarter I realized, "That's our wedding DJ!"
wedding pic circa 2008
Armon Newton DJ'd our wedding in 2008. He was AMAZING! Before our wedding he DJ'd Christie's wedding and really got the crowd moving. In fact, when people think of our wedding probably the two biggest compliments I receive are "We LOVE your Thank You postcards!" and "Your DJ was great!" You can't think of Armon without smiling.

So when I saw him on the Kings court I knew I needed to contact him to say hello. Luckily I had his email address from when we sent wedding coordination correspondence. I wrote him a note to say how great it was to see him in his new job and how much we enjoyed him as an entertainer.
Picture taken by Laura Lynne from Armon's portfolio website
And wouldn't you know Armon wrote back! Great guy! Anyway, he said next time we were at a Kings game we should tell him where we were sitting so he could stop by and say hello.
On Tuesday we went to the next Kings game in our season packet. We saw Armon on the big screen announce that the Maloofs needed someone to sit in their courtside seats. "The loudest fans will win them! Is it you?" He questioned as he ran around the arena pointing to fans.

Suddenly he popped up out of our second balcony's entry way. Scott started screaming loudly in a pitch I haven't heard from him... Ever! In fact, he hasn't been able to reach high pitches for awhile because he's had laryngitis. So this was quite the feat! "Armon!!!! Armon!!!! We're here!" As I sat calmly in my seat, my husband shook Armon's hand rapidly. Wouldn't you know!...  the lucky seats chosen at random to sit in the available courtside seats were in our section! Pretty incredible. Four seats and Scott and I were two of the lucky winners! Our section had a lot of wins that night, like taco coupons and boom sticks. But we weren't there to receive them and didn't mind a bit!

As we left our view from the mountain top, Scott grinned and staggered through the hallways. I made him take this picture before he full out sprinted to our new upgraded seats.

I've never seen Scott so giddy. Now I know what present to get him when he's a rich and famous doctor. But not until then, because we upgraded from $18 tickets to $510 tickets! And that was for the Kings v. Bobcats. Can't even imagine what courtside seats run for at the Heat, Bulls, or Celtic arenas.

Of course when we reached the court and Scott could stop jumping long enough to sit in the beautifully padded leather seat, he texted or called everyone he thought would appreciate his new location.

At one point he yelled, "Come on Tyreke!" then turned to me and said, "Do you think I made a difference in his life today?" He was very serious.

I could really go on and on with courtside Scott stories. He keeps saying that it doesn't matter what happens (like if he burns my lunch), because Tuesday was the best day ever! His favorite part - hearing the trash talk between players and refs! We took lots of videos and pictures to prove we were there.

26 January 2011

House Party Sweepstakes

Many of you are probably registered by now with HouseParty.com since my posts about parties last year. We haven't hosted a HouseParty since our DiGiorno Football party last winter, though I've applied and been denied.  Tears for the lost Tombstone Pizza party (by far my favorite frozen brand) and that beautiful bacon party that are past!

Recently I received an email from HouseParty letting me know about a sweepstakes on their site. To enter all you need to do is register or login to your existing account at HouseParty.com/win. Easy enough! Then automatically you can check to see if you've won an iPod, iPad, trips or other fabulous prizes, and six times within the next year there will be a drawing for a large prize! Entries are excepted once a day. The sweepstakes ends December 31, 2011.

Count me in! Scott's hinted at (several times a day) his desire for an iPad. It would definitely be sweet if I could hand him one for free!

I'm not benefiting at all from sharing this news with you, in fact I'm probably ruining my odds at a larger prize. But I try to be nice like that. May the force be with you!

24 January 2011

Lucky Shot

Scott sent this to me this morning and I couldn't stop laughing.

We spent all weekend talking about medical schools. We've actually been reading this book together, given to us by Scott's former mission president. The book has reminded us about how we receive personal revelation, though right now we're feeling 50/50 flat. Either way a good choice! I'm just hoping that good inspiration comes popping up out of no where to help us make our hole-in-one decision.

Yeah, had to tie it in.

21 January 2011

Everyone Loves P90X

Even the kiddos!

Scott has started the P90X plan, as if he needs to get any more fit! He already spends at least two nights (or a morning and night, or even three nights and a morning) playing basketball at the church gym. On top of that he sometimes goes out on a run through the neighborhood. Yeah... it's difficult to keep up with him, so I don't try too hard.

Actually, because P90X has a Yoga segment every Thursday, I've been inspired to start my own home yoga work outs. Again the great benefits of DVR! With Scott doing P90X, Martie at Bikram, and my example of home yoga mini sessions, everyone wants to get in on the action.

Yesterday we were watching the Kartchner boys (nephews) after school, and they LOVE to help Scott exercise. They will pick up his weights and try to lift a 5 pounder over their heads, and yesterday they even tried yoga!

Don't you love how all the boys except Scott took off their shirts. So silly! They thought they were as impressive as the dreadlocks guy on the P90X videos. They were actually good for first timers!

Check 'em out!

P90X Yoga... for Kids too!

The video's a tad long, so you don't have to watch too much to get an idea for how everyone excels at P90X yoga. I'm surprised Scott was so patient with them to take up all his floor space! But maybe not as surprised that all three boys stuck it out a whole hour of the 90 minute yoga session. Kaden said he really liked it! Sterling said it will help him have Spiderman-like moves!

19 January 2011

Med School Update: Second Acceptance

On Friday we had to make our second deposit to RVU to maintain our spot in their Class of 2015. I asked Scott at that point if he was planning on calling all the other schools to check on his interview and wait list status. He decided not to saying, "It wont change the fact that a second payment is due."

Well of course, last night we received a letter from Western University - Lebanon, OR campus (postmarked Jan 10) letting Scott know that a spot has opened up in their Class of 2015! Yay for Scott! I knew he had done well in his interview. Now he'll need to decide if Western University stands out more, at least two large down payments more that the only other competitor so far.

Still NO idea where we'll be next year! So much to think about, especially since my next semester of classes is now underway. But one thing is clearer, always listen to Katie because she is very, very smart, especially in the ways of interviewing, networking, and making large deposits! :)

17 January 2011

Celebrity Crush

We went to Visalia this weekend to visit Steve, Sara, Addyson, and Ella. We had so much fun playing games with them, drinking freshly squeezed orange juice from the Chandler/Radmacher orange trees, and trying to distract Sara from writing her church talk. Everyone loved (to make fun of) Scott's new fake glasses, and the girls decided to try them on. Ella looked particularly good in them!

On Sunday we went to church to watch Sara give a great talk about the Holy Ghost. She was the concluding speaker, which can be really intimidating! But she did an excellent job! (It's true Sara! Just accept the many compliments.) Then after church we ate BEAUTIFUL sticky buns and played The Newly Wed Game. Steve and Sara have this board game with questions to ask the spouses to see if they can match answers, like the old TV show. Well let's just say that Scott and I lost to the veteran married peoples. Scott was not even familiar with my celebrity crush... Chad Michael Murray.

Oh, you know Chad! He was on Gilmore Girls in the early seasons when Rory went to the prep school. Then when I lived in Avonlea Apartments at BYU-Idaho I had a movie poster of Chad hanging in the living room from Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff. Most recently I saw him in a Christmas ABC Family movie on TV, which was really not worth watching except to see Chad in hospital scrubs as a post-medical school resident. Oh Yeah!

When I announced my celebrity crush in the Newly Wed round of questions, NO ONE knew who I was talking about. Sad, right?! So while I went to the loo, the Chandlers looked up Mr. Murray on Google images. They decided that I had, in fact, married the best Chad Michael Murray look alike. Peach fuzz, messy hair, and the great arm muscles of Scott match perfectly, or so they said! So they put together this little demonstration for me!

We couldn't stop laughing! What do you think? Did I marry a Chad Michael Murray look alike?

Thanks Steve and Sara for yet another AWESOME trip to your Garden of Eden!

14 January 2011

Food Storage Enrichment

When I say food storage, automatically some of you are intrigued and some of you find another blog to read. I have to tell you though, this will be pretty interesting. For those of you who are not familiar with the idea of storing food in case of emergency, let me just say this--

My mother-in-law and I were talking the other day about grocery stores. I'm not sure if it's like this everywhere (in fact, I'm pretty sure it's not like this in Sitka), but in California most grocery stores do not keep food in their back warehouses/storage. So when you visit the grocery store and they are out of a product on the shelves, if you were to ask if there is any more in the back, they would tell you it's all gone until the next shipment. This could be a gargantuan problem, my mother-in-law informed me, if there happened to be a truck strike, which I guess has been threatened before. I'm not as up to date on current events as I should be. In any case, stores in our area would be bare in a matter of hours and you would need to rely on the food you had at home to keep your family happy and healthy.

That isn't exactly the "emergency" that LDS women plan for when they store a three-month and years supply of food in their homes, but I would call any time tasty food is not readily available at my beck and call a Code Red Emergency. I kind of love food!

So on Wednesday our Relief Society sisters of the Vineyard Ward in Elk Grove/Sacramento got together to talk about food storage. One of the sisters in our ward was presenting. About a year ago she had completed accumulating her food storage (granted you have to rotate it as the food expires or is used) which had become a 10 year feat! She felt a great sense of accomplishment until she realized she had NO idea how to cook with any of the items she had stored (whole wheat, corn, powdered milk, dried beans, dried everything for that matter). So this women in our ward decided to do something crazy... she had her whole family of EIGHT eat food storage ONLY at home for six months. Don't worry, she blogged about it and even shares her favorite recipes!

Here are some of the interesting tidbits she shared and I wrote down:

- She sarcastically said (my interpretation) that she would trade her husband for a cow in a food emergency. She REALLY missed dairy during her six month trial of food storage. So I wrote down, buy cow and chickens!
- Dried white beans ground up in a wheat grinder make a great thickener
-Sage honey is the only honey that doesn't crystallize when you put it in long term storage
-Your family should have it's own Food Storage Cook Book, because each family has different likes and a different long term storage. So taste and cook with all the things you store.

Things to store that aren't on the recommended list
-white beans
-brown sugar
-stewed tomatoes
-hand meat grinder (did you know you can make something that looks/tastes like meat out of wheat?)
-cheese making tools
-spreadable butter (she has a favorite brand for storage on her blog)
-lemon juice
-vitamins (because living off food storage isn't very balanced)

I thought the activity night on food storage was really fun and eye opening. Honestly though, I have a very small "food storage" supply and haven't tried any of it. Lately my idea of food storage has been attempting to keep Martie's house supplied with coupons to generate a three month stockpile like this one.

Do you have food storage?
Do you use it?

12 January 2011

Cream Cheese Soup

I was making myself a grilled cheese sandwich with Tillamook cheese on sourdough bread for lunch (my most recent lunchtime obsession), when I turned and saw all of Martie's printed recipes. The one on the very top was for Cream Cheese Soup. It is one scrumptious recipe! Amy made it for us a couple months ago, and then Martie and I both demanded the recipe. Staring at this recipe while toasting my grilled cheese to perfection, reminded me that I have not yet recorded this recipe for posterity's sake SLASH future meals. And what better way to do that then my blog!

Cream Cheese Soup

2 c chicken broth (or 2c water and 2 boullion cubes)
1 c shredded carrots
1/2 c chopped celery
1 onion, diced
2-4 potatoes, peeled and chopped
8 oz (1 pkg) cream cheese
2 c milk
1 TBL butter
1 TBL flour
salt and pepper to taste

Pour chopped veggies and broth into saucepan. Cook until veggies are tender. Add cream cheese and stir until it melts. Add milk. Melt the butter in a separate, small container and add flour. Add to soup while stirring to avoid clumpage. Let sit for a few minutes, then serve!

This is creamy goodness at it's best, and a great substitute for clam chowder if you're not a fan of seafood or don't have the ingredients.

10 January 2011

A Little Holiday Reading

During the holidays I had the great opportunity to be lazy. It was lovely! Scott gave me my first ever Snuggie for Christmas. My mother in law (who is embarressed that we don't wear a snuggie like a coat, and instead wear it as advertised) gave me Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, for my birthday. My BFF gave me The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan, also for my birthday. With my laziness-hours appointed and two crisp books just asking to be read, I gladly laid down for the task.

I started by reading Outliers. If you've read a Malcolm Gladwell book before you know how persuasive he can be when presenting facts with stories. His first books revolve around business concepts, and the way he presents findings makes it sound like he's discovered the magical marketing factor of the universe. His writing is very entertaining and even educational, but his concepts are often difficult to apply in real world business. That said, he's still one of my favorite authors, and Outliers didn't let me down.

In Outliers, Gladwell describes what make people successful. Many of us, myself included, look at successful people like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey and say "They are geniuses. I could never be like them." Okay, maybe I'm not that dramatic. I think very highly of my potential. But I'm trying to make a point - It's easy to say that someone is a natural genius and that's why they are rich and famous today. Well, Gladwell says, that's not true. Really, being smart is one factor, but what makes a person successful is actually a series of opportunities based on family heritage, the year or even the month you were born, and overcoming adversities.

Fun and really interesting read! I spent most of my holidays just sharing tidbits of the book with family members. For example, did you know that in Chinese "24" is said, "two tens - four". All the numbers are simple like math blocks (except said in the Chinese language :)). Makes it a little easier then for Chinese students to solve, two tens -four+three tens - eight, as apposed to twenty-four plus thirty-eight. Gladwell says that this is one major reason why Asians are better at math.

What can we take from the book? Well, if you live in Canada and want your unborn son to be a pro hockey player, then you better do some birth planning for a January 2 delivery and give him skates as soon as he can stand.

With opportunities equal success in mind, I read The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. This is a true story of a woman in the 1950s/1960s who took advantage of her prose skills and the economic boom of contests to raise her family. I couldn't believe how witty this mother of TEN was and how she found time to enter these writing contests. However, contesting (and winning) was a necessary practice for her as her acoholic husband drank away each monthly paycheck. Reading this woman's history after reading Outliers made me realize the amazing opportunities this woman had, to be raised by a newspaper woman, to be born in a time where contests of this type were common, and to be in the circumstances she was to feel it necessary to submit her writing. She was definitely a most successful contester.

The book also made me think of my own mother, who loves to write poems and make up jingles for work parties and such. Though my mom is not a die hard contester, she did once write up an essay for the Alaska Education Something-Or-Other under mine and Matt's names. I even remember the title, "School Daze." I also remember getting a phone call, maybe a month after she read it to us on her computer. I didn't realize her intentions for the essay at the time. Holding the receiver, I was informed that my essay had won first prize. I was so confused! I think I said thank you and then told my Mom the phone was for her.

The book also reminded me of the time when I picked all of my neighbor's tulips and brought them to my mom as a present. My neighbor fuming! But in my mind, I wondered why anyone would plant flowers if they didn't want them to be picked and put in a vase?!

Anyway, the book brought back memories, made me laugh out loud, and tear-up. I'd say that's a pretty good rating. I'm sharing both books with family! Thank you Martie and Maura for the fun holiday reads!

08 January 2011

Cavanaugh New Years Bash - Part 3

We had a pretty adventurous time in LA during our Cavanaugh New Year's Bash. Scott and I began a quest to find a good pair of clear Brad Pitt glasses. Scott is a connoisseur of many things, including ties, cuff links, shoes, and glasses. We never did find Brad Pitt glasses, in fact, we were told they no longer exist. But along the way we visited Fossil outside of Universal Studios...

and The Grove in North Hollywood...

Where Scott found this pair!

And bought this pair!

(Which I plan to use as part of Scott's future Where's Waldo costume, but Scott has integrated them into his daily wardrobe.)

Visiting The Grove was actually part of another diabolical scheme. See my older brother, Matt, is working in post-production sound for movies. In fact, most of the time that we were in Burbank he was busy editing out the squeaks and static of a new church movie that is coming out.We loved sitting on the couch in their living room watching him work his magic.

Well, Matt had another project that he was working on - an Indie short about a rooftop party - and he requested Scott and my help to make it work. He said that he needed to go out and get "young, hip, Twenty-something" chatter outdoors to add as background noise to the rooftop scene. He also needed to grab some traffic noises while we were out on the town. So Matt asked us to dress up like "hip, twenty-somethings" (let's just be honest, my outfit still needs some help from a seasoned clubber) and walk around the No Ho district searching for sounds.

We hit up The Grove first, but were dissapointed by the loudness of the music projected in the shopping area where there were plenty of chattering young adults walking around. We might have gotten some material for him to use, but mostly Scott just found these "sun" glasses. He loves them! He wears them everywhere, all the time!

We all drove to a cooler spot in town - Santa Monica Blvd. Matt and I sat on a bench there, outside a gas station, while we silently picked up traffic noises. Scott and I smiled at each other whenever a Ferrari would rev it's engine or there would be angry honking for slowness, because we knew those sounds would be perfect for distant traffic noises!

Then, someone had the idea that we should just walk around and see if we could find a good gathering of people to stealthily record. We, in our clubbing type outfits, ended up in front of a hard rock concert with Emo looking attendees. When the concert doors were shut we could get just enough chatter that it might work for a roof top party background. Of course, I imagine that ALL of them were looking at us like, "Where did these four whities come from?" We really did look odd! We just walked up, stood off to the side in a circle trying to capture the chatter without being obvious, and then five minutes later walked away. We weren't talking, weren't going to the concert, weren't interacting with those waiting outside the concert. Yeah, awkward! But I think we got the sounds we needed.

We ended the trip with a scrumptious breakfast from the iconic, Bob's Big Boy cafe, and possibly Scott's only pose for a picture... ever!

Thanks, Cavanaughs, for the fun times! Sorry I didn't delete the picture Matt. I liked it.

06 January 2011

Cavanaugh New Years Bash - Part 2

After Christmas, Scott and I braved the six hour drive to LA to visit my brother Matt's family and my parents who were visiting from Alaska. The drive started out a little rough as it was quite windy. We had to maneuver around a rogue bucket that had been stranded in the middle of the freeway and an array of gigantic flying tumbleweeds.

Finally, though, we made it into Burbank, where my brother lives two blocks from any major television studio, and the niece fun began. I have three nieces: Meghan, Mackenzie, and Casey. All three are adorable and have the most creative imaginations!

Some of my favorite Cavanaugh niece moments include:

-I wish I could have accurately captured in photo how distraught little Casey would physically become when she couldn't get her way.  Often, Casey would maneuver over to the adult nearest the Christmas treats and ask them to pick her up. She would then point out what she wanted, and most of the time we would have to tell her she needed to wait until after a meal. Once you put Casey back down the floor, Casey's head and shoulders would flop down, with her hair covering her face and slouched back. Casey would then walk out of the room that way, like a Schulz character creation.

-The girls love Scott! They would follow him around, ask him to play dress up and hide and seek (see blurry condensed video), and want to sit next to him at every meal. At one point, Mackenzie was talking to Nana (my mom) and telling her that she wanted to be Nana's "cuddle bug" for ever. Then Scott came in the room...

Mackenzie said, "Uh, I changed my mind!" She turned to Scott, "I want to be your cuddle bug forever, Uncle Scott."

-Meghan was playing doctor. She had written on a fake prescription pad "Meghan t-he doctor" and when a patient entered her "office" she would instruct them to read her credentials. Then she would ask you what you felt was wrong, how and when the pain started, and gave you some medicine that "might" make you better in a couple days. She had a surgical mask and all the right pretend tools.

Mackenzie and Casey can't help but follow everything their great big sister does, so Casey took over as my physician giving me a series of shots and taking my blood pressure. Mackenzie donned her scrub suit and walked over to Papa (my dad).

Mackenzie asked, "Papa, what do you need from Dr. Mackenzie?" "I have an ache in my shoulder." Papa said. "Its been there for about a week."
"An egg?" (Sounds a lot like ache when Mackenzie says it, and apparently Papa's ache sounded like egg."

"Okay. Can you bend your shoulder like this?" Mackenzie demonstrated and Papa followed. Mackenzie then took the scissors and clipped at Papa's shoulder. Then she asked Papa to hold out his hands, in which she placed the pretend substance.

"Now say 'Quack Quack!'" Mackenzie instructed Papa.

Papa had successfully incubated a duckling. It was a medical miracle!

04 January 2011

Cavanaugh New Years Bash - Part 1

I was lucky enough this year to spend Christmas with all the Chandler family and New Years with my family. Last Christmas Scott and I flew up to Alaska to have a Cavanaugh Christmas at my parents house with all of the siblings. This year, my parents flew down to spend the holidays in "the lower 48."

My parent's first stop was to visit Sam in Sedona, AZ for Christmas. Sam has been on tour for the last few months with Decker, a band based out of Sedona, in which Sam is the percussionist, drummer, trumpet, and some. I love to tell people that my younger brother, the musician, is on tour! Brandon Decker (band leader) set up the West Coast tour, including stops at local clubs and coffee shops in California, Oregon, and Colorado right before Christmas. They also had gigs in Arizona while my parents were visiting.

My parents said that Sam played amazingly, and that he really has a talent with the guitar. They mentioned that this original song of Sam's, Taps II, was one of their favorites. My mom said that no matter the venue, whether it be club or bar full of drunken sailors, EVERYONE stopped to listen to this song. She said that people would take out their phones and get up close to take video of Sam's fingers.

Yeah! I'm pretty proud of my brothers.

Sadly, Sam had to continue his Decker tour (not sad) and couldn't join my parents on the drive to Burbank (that would be the sad part) where my older brother, Matt, lives with his family. But we decided we would drive down to Burbank anyways, and spend some New Years fun with what Cavanaugh's were there!