Thursday, October 29, 2020

40 by 40 #33: Eat a Kouing Aman from Les Madeleines

While this was also over 2 years ago, it was a glorious day worth remembering. I had heard so many tales of the Kouing Aman, a flaky Breton pastry not commonly found in bakeries and patisseries. It was even featured on The Great British Baking Show, which only increased my desire to sample this confection. Lucky for me, Les Madeleines, a bakery in downtown SLC, bakes them on the daily. I popped on over with some friends during a delightful afternoon downtown (back when we could have delightful afternoons with friends downtown...).

Friends. This pastry absolutely lived up to every bit of hype I have heard about it. It was flaky, oh so flaky, with oodles of delicious buttery layers. It was sweet but not too sweet, with a delightful crunch. Oh, it was good. If you find yourself in the neighborhood of 500 S and 200 E, definitely stop by Les Madeleines and get one for yourself. In fact, buy a second one for me. I'll venmo you.

40 by 40 #33: Eat a kouing aman from Les Madeleines: ☑

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

40 by 40 #31: Eat Creme Brulee

Yet another challenge I completed long ago. (PS, I am always up for "challenges" that involve dessert. That's the kind of work I am willing to do.) The photo of this passion fruit creme brulee was taken shortly before it was eaten on my 2018. It was delicious, smooth, and sweet. A great little birthday treat.

40 by 40 #31: Eat creme brulee: ☑

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

40 by 40 #29: Read a Sherlock Holmes Mystery.

It's been a while since I completed this task. I created a blog post for it in July 2019, but then never wrote anything in it. Whoops! 

 For this challenge I selected the Hound of the Baskervilles. It seemed to me that this was an iconic Sherlock Holmes story, being made into over 20 film and television adaptations (including every 90s child's favorite, Wishbone). I was surprised to discover it is one of only 4 Sherlock Holmes novels, most of the famous detective's adventures being in the short story form. 

It's been a while now since I've read it, but I remember I read it in the month of October, and I felt that was a marvelous choice. It had plenty of suspense and mystery, and moved fairly quickly, despite being written over 100 years ago. It would make a great Halloween read if you are still looking for something to spook you this week.

40 by 40 #29: Read a Sherlock Holmes mystery: ☑

40 by 40 #32: Eat a macaron.

 It feels a little funny now that I made this a goal. I had never eaten a macaron when I made the goal, but I've eaten a whole bunch of them now (and not even in one sitting!).I have had some from Costco, some homemade by friends, and even a giant pistachio flavored one in Amboise, France (pictured below). They are tasty, sure, but I don't know that they are worth all the fuss. It takes a lot of practice and work to make them, which consequently makes them expensive to purchase, and it turns out I'm not all about that life. So I think I will enjoy indulging from time to time, but I'm certainly not going to become a macaron connoisseur.

40 by 40 #32: Eat a macaron: ☑

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Julia's Favorite Things

Because it was Julia's birthday, I took some time to ask her what her favorite things are. It kind of gets into the weeds at the end, but we were having fun, and listen, we need fun things to fill our time these days! Here's the list:

  • Favorite Color: turquoise/aqua
  • Favorite Meal:  crepes
  • Favorite Dessert: chocolate peanut butter ice cream
  • Favorite Song: We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel
  • Favorite TV Show: Gravity Falls
  • Favorite Movie: all Muppet movies
  • Favorite Book: Mistborn Secret History
  • Favorite Character: Eldon, the tiny wizard (from her latest Dungeons and Dragons campaign)
  • Favorite Book Character: Wayne from Alloy of Law
  • Favorite Restaurant: Colonial Cafe in Illinois
  • Favorite Season: spring
  • Favorite Hobby: reading
  • Favorite Animal: tortoises
  • Favorite Magical Animal: rocs (I had no idea that was a thing)
  • Favorite Game: D&D
  • Favorite Holiday: Pi(e) Day
  • Favorite Weapon of Choice: sword
  • Favorite Number: 16
  • Favorite Candy: Peanut Butter M&Ms
  • Favorite Way to Eat Eggs: None, I don't like eggs
  • Favorite Possession: D&D dice
  • Favorite Quote: "You've gotta flaunt the weird, my friends." -Alex Firero, Magnus Chase
  • Favorite Mode of Transportation: flying
  • Favorite Vehicle: bike
  • Favorite Muppet: Miss Piggy
  • Favorite Lego Character: Birch (who the heck is that?)
  • Favorite Stuffed Animal: Jeffy, the giant stuffed giraffe
  • Favorite Pokemon: Eevee
  • Favorite Harry Potter Book: #3, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Favorite Harry Potter Character: Luna Lovegood
  • Favorite Six Minutes Character: Birdie

Thursday, January 09, 2020

40 by 40 #15: Go to a Classical Music Concert

 My lovely sister-in-law Suzanne offered a birthday present of epic proportions: a ticket to see Beethoven's 9th Symphony performed by the Utah Symphony, and a check mark for my 40 by 40 list. Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity.

Beethoven's 9th, aka, Ode to Joy, is one of the most glorious works of music ever written. To listen to it is to love it. To hear it performed live is to understand the power of music. I hadn't ever experienced this until September 22, 2018, and I am still in awe of how much better it is live. I definitely cried. Just thinking about it now, over a year later, I get chills. What a moving experience, never to be forgotten.

 40 by 40 #15: Go to a  Classical Music Concert: 🗹

Sunday, January 05, 2020

40 by 40 #1: Run a 5K. (The whole time. No walking.)

To be honest, I'm not sure why I included this one. I have never liked running. And yet it called to me, like a siren, the idea of being able to run for 5 kilometers, without stopping to catch my breath. So I started training in January 2018. I did a Couch to 5K program, which got me ever so slowly up to running 3.1 miles without stopping. It took quite a while, but I did it. But this goal was meant to be met by running a race, and it turns out I didn't do a race for nearly a year.

Finally, in April 2019, I ran the Rex Lee Run, a race near and dear to my heart. Back in my college days, I worked as a secretary (THE secretary) for the Cancer Research Center. As such, I worked closely with the student-run Cancer Awareness Group, who was responsible for the race. I helped organize t-shirts, medals, race routes, registration...basically I wasn't in charge but had my fingers in a lot of pies. So it's been a race that I have continued to follow and participate in, even when I'm not a runner, and even when we have lived far away. I didn't really run, but I walked in the race multiple times. Even when we lived in St George, we often came up for the race. The specifics are fuzzy, but I know I've walked while pregnant (cause I couldn't figure out where to put the bib), and I know I've pushed a stroller (that could have been the same year...). Anyway, the point is, the Rex Lee Run and I have a history. So completing this goal by running this race was extra-special. They also changed the course, making it run right through the middle of campus, which brought back all the memories of running to class and studying on the quad. Basically, this race was full of nostalgia and victory, and that is a killer combination.

40 by 40 #1: Run a 5K. (The whole time. No walking.): 🗹

Thursday, January 02, 2020

The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

This year's scripture study focused on the New Testament, individually, as a family, and as a church.  I read each week's assigned reading on my own and again with my family. Then we talked about it as a family, and again at church in our classes. You might say we were immersed in that book of scripture. And I am here to tell you that it was a truly sacred experience.

I've read the New Testament before. Multiple times. Especially the Gospels. I went into the year feeling like I was pretty familiar with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and I don't feel like that perception was off. Reading the Gospels I didn't feel like I had any truly new insight, but I absolutely loved reading it with my daughters and sharing my thoughts, insights, and feelings with them. I was so grateful for "Family Home Church," as we call it, and the opportunity to bear testimony and have gospel discussions in our home. Not that we couldn't have done that before this year, but something about being given a specific directive made it happen. I loved reading and discussing the life of our Savior and Exemplar, Jesus Christ. It renewed my desire to become more like him.

But then there was the rest of the New Testament, Acts through Revelation. I know I've read it all before, but some of those stories seemed brand new to me! Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch! Ananias welcoming Saul/Paul into the church! Peter's crazy dream about taking the gospel to the Gentiles! Philemon and Onesimus! There is so much goodness and love and brotherhood to be found in these books, and I had somehow either missed it or forgotten it. But this year, these stories were emblazoned on my heart and mind, never to be forgotten. I will admit, the book of Revelation is still somewhat of a mystery to me (so we ended on a bit of a low note), but the rest of these writings were inspirational and uplifting and wonderful. Shout out to Thomas A. Wayment for his translation that helped when the Old English was less clear, and my friends (ha, I wish they were my friends) at Don't Miss This for their weekly videos to bring even more clarity.

We commemorated our completion of the New Testament with a bearing of testimony, and I'll never forget hearing my girls talk about their love of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for that book of scripture, and for the experiences we had this year in studying it. It takes effort to make the time for daily scripture study as a family (and some days we were less faithful than others), but it has been so worth it for us to experience spiritual growth together.

On to the Book of Mormon!