serendipitous reflections

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR! We're heading to Atlanta to ring in the new year with Nikki, Todd and Tiff. Hope you all have a safe and happy new year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Random websites

OK ... Jeni spent the day with Dr. Jones and Barbara's kids doing another cooking day (details later) and while they were finishing up, I was toying with Charlotte's iBook and she had a link that takes you to random websites. I found some funny ones.

First is from Method (the really cool soaps at Target) called ComeClean -- you make confessions and have your wrongs washed away or see other people's confessions (the kid's favorite: I forgot to wipe my butt).

Next is truly pointless, but a good math lesson: Prime Number Pooping Bear. The name speaks for itself.

The next is the Periodic Table, but the letters are supplied by photos of letters and when you click on one you get the picture and the backstory. Kind of interesting way to do a photo album.

Finally is a fun little game called Plastic Balls on the Plastic Martians website. This is similar to the old Breakout or DX Ball. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Rest in Peace Dr. Bhatti

Just before we left town, I received an email telling us that one of the dearest men we have ever known passed away. Dr. Bhatti was a professor at Palmer, and every first tri student has a Dr. Bhatti story. He, himself, was not a chiropractor, but he knew chiropractic, actually better than some chiropractors. Not only was he passionate about what he taught, he had a passion for life that was just amazing to watch. I would love to look out the window and see him come fly up Brady Street in his red Mustang convertible with his beautiful white hair just a flying.

I was lucky enough to have a relationship with him outside of school. His wife, Dr. Judy, her daughter, Elissa, and I were very close. Dr. Bhatti, "Ifty", and Judy would buy houses and renovate them. They bought a house less than a block from our house, and when we would see them there, we would stop by and say Hi. And no matter how busy Ifty was he would always have his beautiful smile on his face and give us a quick hello or pull up a seat and tell us come kind of crazy tale that he had a knack for telling. Dean and I would always leave there feeling just a little better than we did when went in.

One of the funniest stories Dr. Bhatti would tell us was how he had a friend who had dextrocardia (his heart was on the right side not the left). Well their "bar trick" was to bet people that his friend didn't have a heart. Of course everyone took the bet. So Dr. Bhatti would pull out his stethoscope, and he would let them listen to his heart, so they would know that it worked. Then he would place it on his friend's left side, and there was nothing. And people would think they have been tricked so they would listen to other people's hearts and then eventually pay up because there was no heart beat on the left side. Dr. Bhatti always joked that he made enough money doing that to buy a motorcycle.

I'm sure Dean will tell his favorite Dr. Bhatti story tomorrow. I know most of you didn't know Dr. Bhatti, but please remember to keep my dear friend Judy and their families in your thoughts and prayers. He will be missed by so many that he touched. Godspeed Dr. Bhatti....

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Six pictures later...

After some encouragement (and a little threatening) we managed to get Aaron, Andrew and Brittany all together for a nice picture. They actually look nice when they aren't all grossed out by each other's presence. Posted by Picasa

Fun group photo

The kids never make taking a picture easy -- Aaron had to make a face, Andrew just tried to be nice and put an arm around Brittany, Brittany had to be grossed out by any brotherly contact, stating "I'm not Annie!" (Andrew's girlfriend). The end result was this picture. Posted by Picasa

Gracie's gift

Gracie had a good time opening her Christmas present -- one little piece at a time! She got the Little People Discovery Village with lots of fun pieces to play with and to clutter Lisa and Brian's living room. Posted by Picasa

Home from Jackson

We spent a nice Christmas in Jackson with Chris, Jackie and the kids. Don and Sue were down, too, and we had an opportunity to check out their new condo near Chris and Jackie that should be finished soon. Having teenagers around for Christmas sure does change the dynamic of the day, though. Aaron (soon to be 16) and Brittany (13) were both up to about 2:30-3 on Christmas eve talking on the cell phone or text messaging, so we had to drag them out of bed to open gifts -- and to top it, we had to take their phones away (texting more) so we could open our presents. Makes you miss comments like Trinity's Makenzie, who came downstairs, saw her gifts, and exclaimed "I must have been good this year!"

We'll post pictures later ... you won't believe how big the kids have grown! And Jeni has a funny Andrew story that she has to tell for it to be right.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Jeni and I will be hitting the road to Jackson to spend Christmas with Chris and Jackie, Don and Sue and the kids. We're loading up the gifts, Chex mix and pumpkin bread and heading out Friday after work. I'm sure we'll talk to most everyone, but just in case, have a very Merry Christmas and travel safe!

The Doug's Christmas

Last weekend Dean and I went over to Knoxville to do the Christmas present drop for Doug and Cathy's kiddos. We met them at IHOP for dinner and it was sort like invading a small country with the high chair, carrier, booster seat, game boy, MP3 player, crayons, and cell phones. The kids were super at dinner (no major catastrophes...which with just Dean and I that can happen) and Amy was so funny. She told me that she was going to be Cinderella for Christmas. Cathy and I decided that she was going to go around Christmas treating. She's still figuring out the holidays. Then home for the opening of presents which as you can see by the pictures went well.

On Saturday, Doug and Noah were on a Boy Scout camping trip, so we didn't get to spend time with them, but we did get to spend some good quality time with Sarah, Amy, Evan, and Tommy. Then in the afternoon, Cathy, Evan, Dean, and I went out shopping for Sarah's Christmas present. Success-o!

Then Dean and I were on our way after a late lunch at PF Changs. (Love their lettuce wraps!!)

Dean and I had an awesome time with kids. They are all such different little people and we love them all so much.

Evan didn't really care what was in the boxes, he had more fun pushing them around the floor and eating paper. :)  Posted by Picasa

Amy is a girl after my own heart. She loves new clothes and pink. She was so cute opening the presents. The ribbons were giving her fits until Dad (Doug) and Aunt Jeni came to the rescue with scissors. The funniest thing all weekend was Amy wouldn't call Dean anything but "that boy." Saturday morning Amy asked Doug when Aunt Jeni and that boy were coming over? And Doug was trying to get her to call him Dean, but she really just wanted call him that boy. It was too funny. She definitely has a mind of her own. Posted by Picasa

Tommy was so excited about the book we bought, he sort of forgot he had other presents to unwrap. He immediately started reading it, and Cathy had to take it away from him at 1am so he would get some sleep. But as soon as he was awake the next morning he was reading away. When we left that afteroon, he had read 515 pages. Crazy!! Posted by Picasa

Dean saw this shirt and all he could say was "It's so Noah." And he is right. Posted by Picasa

Here is Sarah with her hot pink sequence watch that we bought her. I just fell in love it, and thought was teenage girl wouldn't love that. I think she also really liked the skully cap and mittens since she never takes her little hats off now a days. :) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I just won with Blingo!

I just won on Blingo! Doug and I both won movie tickets! That's me on the "They just won!" column on the right: 1 hour ago, Blingo Movie Ticket, Dean M, Columbia, SC + friend. How cool is that? CLICK HERE and sign up and use Blingo to search and we both might win more cool stuff! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fun with your kids' names

We have a friend from Palmer whose husband is an avid fly fisherman. They recently gave birth to their third boy. Their names, oldest to youngest, are Fischer, Finnegan and Gilman -- or more precisely, Fish, Fin and Gil. Ah, the things we do to our children...

Friday, December 16, 2005

We're going to Knoxville, Knoxville, Knoxville Tennessee

Dean and I are heading over to Knoxville to drop off the kiddies' Christmas presents. We are so excited to see everyone. I'm sure Evan has grown a foot since this summer. We'll post pictures when we get back in town tomorrow. Have good weather thoughts for us when we are heading through the mountains!! (NO ICE PLEASE!!)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bluefield webcam

We had a big time the other day watching Trinity and Makenzie drive up and down Jefferson Street on the Jefferson Street webcam! It's live action and a lot of fun. (small version or big version)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

I know we are almost half way through December, and I just realized that I didn't post the Thanksgiving recipes that I made. Trinity's mom, Judy, made a strawberry trifle for Thanksgiving. It sounded wonderful! (even though I can eat strawberries) Here is the Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle that Dean and I enjoyed on Thanksgiving(Thanks Paula Deen). It was really tasty...the picture doesn't do it justice.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle
2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix
1 (5.1-ounce) package cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon
1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping
1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle of the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.
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Cornish Hens and Apple-Onion Stuffin' Muffins

Since it was just Dean and I for Thanksgiving this year, I cooked Cornish hens (Thanks Paula!) instead of a turkey or ham. They turned out wonderfully and the stuffin' muffins (Thanks Rachael Ray!) were awesome. We did buy some turkey from the deli for day after Thanksgiving sandwiches which were so good with the apple stuffing on them.

Honey Game Hens
6 Cornish game hens (about 3/4 to 1 pound each)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest, minced

Rinse hens, trim off excess fat, and pat dry; place in bowl. Put garlic and ginger in food processor and process until nearly smooth. In another bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, oil, orange juice, and zest. Add the garlic and ginger. Pour mixture over game hens, coating well. Refrigerate overnight, turning in marinade several times.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place game hens in shallow roasting pan; pour marinade on top. Bake for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes. Remove hens to serving platter. Pour cooking juices into small, heavy saucepan and boil for 4 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Pour over hens just before serving. Serve with sesame noodles or rice pilaf. These hens can also be grilled; just remember to baste often.

Apple and Onion Stuffin' Muffins
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 stick butter, softened
1 fresh bay leaf, available in produce department
4 ribs celery and greens, from the heart, chopped
1 medium to large yellow skinned onion, chopped
3 McIntosh apples, quartered and chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
8 cups cubed stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm) * I used Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing mix because I'm a manic for cornbread stuffing.
2 to 3 cups chicken stock, available in paper containers on the soup aisle

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil to skillet and 4 tablespoons butter. When butter melts, add bay leaf and add the vegetables as you chop them, celery, onions then apples. Sprinkle the vegetables and apples with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Cook 5 to 6 minutes to begin to soften vegetables and apples then add parsley and stuffing cubes to the pan and combine. Moisten the stuffing with chicken broth until all of the bread is soft but not wet.

Butter 12 muffin cups, 2 tins, liberally with remaining butter. Use an ice cream scoop to fill and mound up the stuffing in muffin tins. Remove the bay leaf as you scoop the stuffing when you come upon it. Bake until set and crisp on top, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove stuffin' muffins to a platter and serve hot or room temperature.

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Mrs. Hoggle's Stuffed Cranberry Sauce

Since I'm such a nut for cranberry sauce, I ended up making two different cranberry dishes. This one is from Paula Dean, and it is so tasty. I love cream cheese and cranberries together!

Mrs. Hoggle's Stuffed Cranberry Sauce
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (16-ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce, chilled

Mix cream cheese and mayonnaise until creamy. It needs to be spreadable. Add pecans and mix well. Slice cranberry sauce in 1/4-inch rounds and spread cream cheese mixture on 1 round and place another round on top, sandwich style. Cut each round in half like a sandwich and place in shallow container, covered. Keep in refridgerator until time to serve.
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Super Simple Cranberry Sauce

This is just a traditional cranberry sauce -- super simple and super easy. I have dressed it up with oranges and nuts before but I just went very old school this year. Dean and I love to put this on our day after Thanksgiving sandwiches. It adds such flavor to the sandwiches.

Whole Cranberry Sauce
1 C water
1 C sugar
1 (12 oz) package of fresh cranberries

Combine water and sugar in medium saucepan. Heat to boiling. Stir in cranberries; return to boiling. Reduce heat; cook 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. (The cranberries will "pop" when they are cooking so be careful not to get squirted with hot juice.)

Cool to room temperature; cover and refrigerate until serving time. Posted by Picasa

Sweet Potato Yum-Yum

My sister-in-law, Jackie, gave me this recipe many, many years ago. Honestly, this is one of our favorite holiday dishes. We couldn't just call it sweet potato casserole because it is soooo much more than that, so that's when we came up with sweet potato yum-yum. I promise you everyone will love this. It's like a dessert.

Sweet Potato Yum-Yum
31/2 C sweet potatoes, mashed*
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 C sugar
1/2 C evaporated milk
1 TBSP vanilla extract

1 C pecan, chopped
1 C brown sugar
1/3 C flour
1/3 C butter, melted
1/4 tsp cinnamon (I added that)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" x 13" casserole dish.

Using an electric mixer, combine sweet potatoes, butter, eggs, sugar, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Pour into buttered dish.

In a small bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon. Mix until moist. Spread pecan mixture on top of the sweet potatoes. Bake for 30 mins.

*I have used canned sweet potatoes and fresh sweet potatoes and both work. I prefer fresh. I either bake the potatoes then scrape out the insides or peel them, cut them into cubes, and boil them. If you are using canned sweet potatoes, REMEMBER to DRAIN them first.

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Monday, December 12, 2005


I thought this was pretty interesting. Every now and then, I get tired of the commercial radio and tune into NPR. I was listening to Marketplace on my way home and they had a piece on the "hedcuts" that are the unique illustrations in the Wall Street Journal. There is an online exhibit about these illustrated head shots. You can also check out the website of the artist who began these illustrations. It's really pretty cool stuff.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Office Christmas Party

No real excitement from the office Christmas party this year ... we had dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse, and they really rushed us through our meal. Our cook didn't even do any tricks or anything. Afterward, we went to a party hosted by one of the ladies I work with. Aside from one husband admitting to the host that he can't stand his wife (really, ex-wife, but they're still together ... complicated, and really much too much for right now to get into), there was very little to write about.

Tonight we're going to a homecoming of one of my patient's sons who just returned from his Mormon mission with. He was in Utah. Now come one ... Utah. Talk about a Mormon mission cakewalk! (hehe) It should be a nice little get-together.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I drive past this cute house on my way to work. They have a tall brick wall that sort of blocks the view of most of the house, and in the wall, there are three columns -- two ends and a middle. At Halloween, they carved jack-o-lanterns and put one on top of each brick column. Needless to say, someone threw one of the jack-o-lanterns in the middle of the street and smashed it. But the others remained. And remained. And remained. And rotted. And shrunk. And I thought, "Huh, you'd think they'd scrape those off..."

Now, Christmas has come, and they have covered this wall with Christmas lights. And there, at the top of the wall -- two rotted pumpkins! You know they had to be up on a ladder. Come on, people! That's just bad.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Hours Devours

The office manager at work today posted a sign-up sheet for a Christmas potluck we're planning at work. Now, let it be known that she can't spell ... not that she's a bad speller ... she can't spell. And given, hors d'oeuvres is a tough word to spell, but when she attempted to spell it, she followed up with spell checker and her attempt to spell hors d'oeuvres translated into "Hours Devours" and she was OK with this, and posted the sign-up sheet with spaces for people to bring "Hours Devours" to the potluck. Now the challenge is thinking of something we can devour in an hour.

Jury Duty

Well Jeni is serving jury duty this week. This is new for both of us, so it will be interesting to see what kind of stories she comes back with this evening.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Spelling with Flickr

I found this neat website "Spell With Flickr" that searches the Flickr photo website for letters and spells the word you enter. For example ... Jeni's name:

JENNeon I, Seattle