Sunday, February 28, 2010

Will it ever end?!?

This past week has been a "week from the bad place" (as one of my good friends would say). I have been SUPER busy with midterms, interviews, and essays, AND to top it all off, Daniel had Grad school interviews at UGA . Daniel has been busy too. He is trying to keep his head above water in math, work, research, and everything else...all while interviewing at Grad schools. He has another interview this weekend at the University of Iowa.

This?


Or this?



We are having a hard time deciding where we will go. It will be a tough choice between Iowa and Georgia. We LOVE Georgia, we love the southern hospitality, and we are already familiar with the area...we have no idea what Iowa will be like. We LOVE the weather in GA, and we REALLY hate winter (which is exactly what we will get in IA). We LOVE the green trees in GA, and IA is really flat, and not very green. We do like the fact that IA is more rural and our kids will get the benefit of learning to work and playing outside all day (which too many kids don't do enough these days). Oh, and the housing is a lot cheaper in IA. BUT as much as we would love to make the decision based on familiarity, weather, landscape, and housing, we are trying to stay focused on the strengths of the programs and what would give Daniel the better education, and (more importantly) we are trying to be in tune with what God wants us to do. Please keep us in your prayers!

Oh, and I guess it will end. I just spent the last paragraph talking about the new beginning (that comes after the end). That MUST mean it is close...I just can't see it yet.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Chopped!

We had a great week this week. For those of you that haven't heard, I received my first acceptance letter this week--from the University of Georgia! It's still too early to make a decision, but we would be very happy to go to graduate school at UGA. We were very surprised since I was accepted without an invitation to interview on the campus. However, the interview invitation did finally arrive on Friday, so I will have the opportunity to visit the campus, the faculty, and the facilities. I feel much better knowing that!

In other news, Stephanie got to participate in a fun cooking competition yesterday with some of our friends in the ward. The competition was a secret, so none of the 4 competitors knew what was going on until it began. Stephanie was very surprised, but it ended up being a lot of fun.

The competition was done in the style of the Food Network show Chopped. Basically, there were three rounds--appetizer, entree, and dessert. For each round, the chefs are given 30 minutes to prepare a dish that incorporates 3 ingredients not revealed beforehand (they provided the ingredients). Sometimes the ingredients are pretty random, and the chefs don't have much time to make a decision and run with it. It's really exciting to watch and, as we learned yesterday, it's also exciting to participate!

For the first course, the chefs had to make an appetizer incorporating olives, vienna sausage, and swiss cheese. Stephanie decided to go with the pigs-in-a-blanket idea with this course. She made a biscuit dough from scratch and folded in some finely chopped olives. She cut the sausages, stuffed them with swiss cheese, and baked them for 10-12 minutes. While they were baking, she prepared a fry sauce with ketchup, mayo, and pickle juice. Her final presentation gave this simple dish a bit more of a sophisticated feel (by the way, the photo doesn't do it justice).


For the second course, the chefs had to make an entree incorporating turkey, peanuts, and blackeyed peas. I thought Stephanie would go the Southern route with this one, but she decided to adapt the thai fettuccine recipe for this course. She made the thai sauce using the normal ingredients and then added the blackeyed peas and peanuts--they added some nice texture to the meal. She pan-seared the turkey and then sauteed the finely julienned bell peppers with the turkey. She laid the noodles down, smothered them with some sauce, and then garnished the plate with peanuts and uncooked bell pepper. Again, the photo doesn't do it justice, but it turned out well.


For the final course, the chefs had to make a dessert incorporating grits, banana, and dulce de leche. In the end, we called Stephanie's creation a "grit split." The bottom layer was cooked grits mixed with dulce de leche and cinnamon--it was actually really tasty. On top of that she did a traditional banana split with the banana, ice cream, chocolate sauce, more dulce de leche, raspberries, and peanuts. This is probably the best photo we got.


It was a lot of fun, and there was a lot of good food there. The judges were especially impressed with Stephanie's first two courses and accordingly, she won the competition! She said it was a great confidence booster for her. The amazing wife she is, she was still willing to come home and help carry on our Valentine's Day tradition of having a heart-shaped pizza for dinner (we celebrated yesterday--we have church until 5:00 and we didn't want to eat dinner late tonight).



I'm so blessed to have Stephanie as my wife and Heather as a daughter. Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated with everything. Love you!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ragtime!

I got some awesome footage of Heather dancing. Heather loves it when Daniel plays the Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin. She gets so excited and dances every time! Enjoy!

video

Love you all!