Run-in with a Stray Dog

Sunday proved to be an interesting day for us. I came home from church a bit early (my persistent cold wouldn't let me stop coughing). A few minutes after I got home, I noticed a big, stray dog out my window. Next thing I knew, he had parked himself on my front porch. Every few minutes he would jump up on the door and bark. I ignored him and expected him to go away.

When Nick came home about 45 minutes later, he was still there. Even worse, it decided to guard the house from Nick and the girls. Every time Nick got out of the car, it would bark at him and start tearing around the yard. When Nick told it to get out here, it just got more and more riled. After Nick and I talked to each other through windows, Nick drove off with the girls and I called the dog catcher. While we waited, Nick would drive by every few minutes. Each time the dog saw the car, it would go crazy barking. It took the dog catcher about another 45 minutes to get here, but when he finally did, the dog ran straight to the porch barking. The dog catcher used a 5-foot pole with a loop on the end to catch him.

After that bit of drama, I was glad to feel like I owned my house again and get my girls safely through the door. However, on the way home this afternoon, Emma asked if there would be a mean dog at our house. Crazy animal affected all of us.


Saving $$

Well, if you're like me, you probably like a good deal. I have on occasion received shoppers surveys in the mail and tossed them out. Last time, I look the five minutes and filled it out. Yesterday I got some really good coupons in the mail with the potential to get more soon. If you're interested, you can access the surveys online now and still get the same deals. Go to www.shoppers-voice.com. Enjoy!

Tonya Charles


Family Home Evening

We've been struggling with how to do Family Home Evening for a little while. So far Emma thinks it's just game time. I'm so grateful for sisters! Kerri told me her family is basing their lessons off of the nursery manual. The lessons are short, designed for little people with short attention spans, and even include an activity. Another bonus is that the entire manual including pictures can be found at the Church's website www.lds.org. Thanks again for the tip, Kerri.


Playing Hard

Life flies when you're having fun. Things certainly have been busy around here. Here's a rundown on the past couple of weeks. Warning, it's been busy. And apologies, it's been rather busy for pictures. I'll try to get a video of our remodeling job posted soon.

Friday May 1 - Wicked!
My friend Tiffany got tickets to the Broadway production Wicked in Salt Lake from connections at work. I felt incredibly spoiled going, especially since they sold out three hours after they went on sale. Oh, it was amazing. I loved every minute of it. The production is fantastic and the performers were amazing. The costumes alone were incredible (and if someone knows if there's significance behind the guys frequently wearing skirts let me know). I tried taking a picture of the stage only to find out it's copyrighted, but everything was, well, certainly worth seeing. Thank you, thank you, thank you Tiff.

May 4 and 5 - Finals
After spending the previous week grading 40+ 4-8 page research papers, I gave my students a pretty basic final. It was nice to see that they got something out of the class and learned along the way. Ending a semester is always bitter sweet. I get to know my students and get to quite like several of them in each class. I rarely see someone after the class is over, so ending the semester is a bit sad. But endings and new beginnings can be very nice, too.

May 7, 8, and 9th - Remodeling
Nick's parents came to visit and help remodel. Wow, did Nick and his dad get a lot done. They hung our new front door, laid laminant for my entryway, hung bead board in my kitchen, and laid new carpet upstairs. My house is looking like my own home. I'm loving it. All that's left for the upstairs is painting my kitchen (and hopefully my cabinets), painting Ashlyn's room, remodeling one bathroom, and doing the floor in the other bathroom. Hmm. That still sounds like a ton. But if you had seen this place a year ago, you'd be amazed at all the work Nick has put into this place. I'm so grateful for a do-it yourselfer husband. Also, I'm grateful for a mother-in-law who watched my kids so much. I ended up babysitting and coming down with a migrane while everything was going on, so she had my girls a lot. Thank you, Carolyn.

May 13, 14, and 15 - Babysitting
My brother took his wife back to his mission for thier 15th anniversary. The fact that he served in Belgium means that they made it a good trip and are gone for 12 days. I watched their five kids for the first three days they were gone. It was supposed to be four, but my little sister came and helped out so I could go to the temple with Nick. Thanks, Reb. To be honest, I was terrified of having seven kids to myself for that long. But everything went better than expected. Getting my kids to bed at night was the hardest part. Of course, the two little boys had a cold while we were there which slowed them down a ton. That also means we brought it home with us and Emma is feeling horrible, but we did survive the babysitting. It was good cousin time, and I really do love my neices and nephews. They're great kids.

May 16 - Retaining Wall/Garden Spot
Nick surprised me Saturday by purchasing retaining wall blocks. I've really been wanting a garden spot. Really, really, been wanting a garden spot. We have a place on our hillside where we pulled out a huge bush and we're building it into a terraced garden. I had no idea how much work it was to build a retaining wall. We finished the first level and will be doing the next level as we can. Once again, Nick's amazing.

So, there we have it. Life has been busy, but good. Now I just need to get my Emma feeling well and keep Ashlyn from getting it. My summer class begins in the morning, so I'll have to figure out something for babysitting a sick 4-year-old. Yikes. Wish me luck.


Enchiladas Suisas

My extended family keeps asking for this recipe. It's a delicious variation on enchiladas. Even my kids love these. We eat them so quickly that I haven't had a chance to get a picture. Hopefully next time.

2 T butter
2/3 c chopped onion
2 T flour
1 1/2 c chicken broth
1 c chopped green chile peppers
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 tsp salt
1 dash ground cumin
12 flour tortillas
1 c shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 c shredded Cheddar cheese
2 c cooked, shredded chicken breast meat
1 c heavy cheam (I use regular milk)
1/4 c chopped green onion

1. Prepare salsa verde. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion until soft. Stir in the flour. Add the broth, then add the chiles, garlic, salt, and cumin. Simmer about 15 minutes to blend flavors, then set aside. Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine cheeses and keep 1/2 c aside for topping. Dip each tortilla in salsa verde (both sides). Place 2 heaping tablespoons of chicken and about 2 tablespoons cheese down the center of each; roll and place seam side down in a shallow dish.
3. After all the rolled tortillas are in the dish, spoon additional salsa verde over them and then cover evenly with cream/milk. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 c cheese mixture and green onions.
4. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Variation: Last time I made these I didn't have green chiles, so I left them out and added 2 oz of cream cheese to the sauce. I also combined the chicken, cheese, and about half of the sauce and didn't bother to dip the tortillas. I poured the remaining sauce and milk over the tortillas before topping with cheese and onions. They still turned out perfectly moist and delicious.

Cinnamon Rolls

We made these cinnamon rolls yesterday and absolutely loved them. They're easy to make and turn out beautiful. Enjoy!

1 c warm milk (110 degrees F)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 c melted margarine
4 1/2 c bread flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 c white sugar
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

1 c brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 T cinnamon
1/3 c butter, softened

3oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

1. Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.
2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 c butter and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
4. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 c butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.