Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A New Job for Me!

Today I was offered a job at Neutron Interactive! I’ve been interviewing with them for almost two months now. I met with 8 different people, some more than once. I even attended a company party to get to know everyone. I’m so excited to get to work with them!

They are an education company (ie, they purchase leads from affiliates and sell them to Universities and Tech schools). I will basically be starting up the affiliate program. They currently only have a spattering of affiliates that send traffic. They are extremely open to new ideas, and I have a ton of ideas already that I want to try out.

I’ll be starting on the 15th (the day after my Mother’s side has a family reunion), but I’ve also been asked to attend a conference the Thursday prior. I guess it’s the biggest education event of the year, and they want me to go as an introduction to the industry and the company. So I’ll be spending one night in Vegas and get to hear Bill Clinton speak (no joke, although I can’t say I’m excited to hear him). I am so excited for the job though!

As far as great perks besides working for a super awesome company… They pay 100% of our medical insurance (didn’t even know that when I accepted), they buy the company lunch every day (hopefully this doesn’t make me gain weight), the commute will only be 15 minutes if I drive (which will cut down on the $40 in gas I’ve been paying weekly) but I plan to take Trax (since another perk is they pay for our Trax passes) and they almost always work 9-5  (as opposed to my current 8 – 5:30). I’m just too excited!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane... nope, they're kittens!

Dave decided that this weekend he was going to power wash off our gazebo and vacuum out the car. He decided this before the weather presented itself a miserable windy rainy forty degrees. But he was determined so he braved the weather to get the job done (as I sat cuddled up in a blanket reading on the couch). When he started spraying down the gazebo he was met with loud cries of protest which he thought must be birds.

He was surprised to find the cries coming from below the gazebo rather than from above. He realized they were kittens, and since getting under the gazebo would be quite the feat, we unscrewed and pulled up one of the boards to get down into the poor miserable little guys! when we finally got in, they were huddled together shivering in a puddle. They were so young that their eyes weren't even open, so they couldn't see to get away from the water.

We pulled them out, dried them off and tried our best to warm them up. We asked the neigbor across the street if they could belong to their cats (which was quite the feat since they are both deaf), and called Sheila to get some cat advice. Fortunately when I went to Petco to get some milk and bottles to feed the little guys I fortunately ran into a lady that runs an animal rescue facility.

She could clearly see I had no idea what to do with these cats! She said if I donated the food and bottle to the agency then she would take them off my hands. I was so grateful especially since I found out you have to feed these little guys every 2 hours day and night! What an adventure for us!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Planned Parenthood is kinda like the Gospel...

I was in Planned Parenthood today picking up what I’m hoping is my last set of birth control before we start our family. I won’t tell you how many months I got, so you can still be surprised when I make an announcement. I went to the Orem/Provo office this time because it’s down the street from my work and I didn’t want to the Sugarhouse (Salt Lake) location this weekend. I should have expected a different dynamic going to the Provo office  than to the Downtown office, but I was caught completely off guard by what I found.

When I go to the Downtown office it’s always packed full of adults (mostly women). It’s always an interesting experience because someone always seems to want to talk to me in the waiting room and discuss their situation and ask for advice (weird, but I try to set a good example). When I walked into the Provo office the waiting room was completely empty. As I filled out my paperwork and waited, slowly a few people trickled in and out.

First a group of three MAYBE 15 year old girls walked in chatting and having a grand time. One girl approached the desk and proceeded to fill out the paper work. From the bits and pieces of their conversation I couldn’t help to overhear I gathered that one was hoping the test wouldn’t show up positive (don’t know if for pregnancy or std’s). I was shocked about how unconcerned these young girls were! I was in Provo for heaven’s sake.

The other group that really caught my eye was another younger girl (certainly in High School) that lined up with a woman that was probably her mother (she looked that age anyway). They were so happy standing in that line waiting for birth controll. I did a ring check and the young woman didn’t have an engagement ring on. I couldn’t help in both of these situations feeling horrible for these girls! What could have gone wrong to lead them here? Why wasn’t the mother of the High School-er freaking out (as I’m sure my Mom would if any of her daughters approached her in High School and asked for a Planned Parenthood escort).

It made me think of the Gospel Doctrine lesion I’m preparing for Sunday. I’m sure you’ll have the lesson yourselves, so to keep it brief there are four “steaks” that hold up a person (like steaks that support a fragile tree from strong wind). What was missing from these girls lives? Was it family example and support? Good friends? How do you get so calloused to a situation that at that age you can appear to not care at all?

As I drove away I was able to think of the positives in this situation. At least there was a place these girls could go to for help (STD and Pregnancy testing, birth control at a reasonable price). At least they had someone they could confide in and could support them through these hard times. Because I was in Provo I assume they are Mormon (which I shouldn’t), but regardless of Religion High Schools in Utah teach only abstinence as an option. So I’m glad that if these girls aren’t living morally clean they at least know they have the option of not bringing a child into this world into their difficult circumstances.

As a side note I’m not condoning abortion, but I do think the other services Planned Parenthood offers are necessary. I avoid the Gyno at all costs (thus the Planned Parenthood trips), so I can’t imagine a High Schooler having to hurdle that obstacle to get help. Even if they shouldn't be having sex, at least they have cheap/free access to contraceptives.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beans in a Pot 16 hours old

I wanted you to see how much these bad boys grow! HOLEY COW they got big. I added a cup, and they looked so lonely in the bottom of the Crockpot, that I added another bag full. They turned out well, and considering how much they grow/how many beans you get for a dollar, a steal of a deal (1.5 bags = 8 cans worth)! I will be doing this again to substitute for the canned ones.

Here's how they're cooked... Remove all shriveled, split or generally gross looking bean. Rinse beans thoroughly with cold water. Add  to the Crockpot bowl. Fill with water 2.5 - 3 inches above the bean line. Let the beans soak for 8 hours (I put them in before I left for work so they probably got 12ish hours of soaking). If you live in a warm climate, place in the fridge to soak so the beans don't grow bacteria.

Rinse out beans and pour out all soaking liquid. Pour back into Crockpot and fill with water 1 - 2 inches above the bean line. Cook beans for 8 hours on low (I did this while we slept, because I knew I would need to use these in a recipe the next day). You can freeze these for up to three months, and I'm told 1.5 cups is the equivalent of 1 can of beans. So I divided these out into 1.5 cup ziplock bags and stuck them in the freezer.

We've used these bad boys to make Black Bean Salsa Chicken, Chicken Enchiladas, and so many great and inexpensive recipes! I would highly recommend crocpot beans to anyone that eats beans.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Stelthy Food Storage Project

In October Dave and I started working on our food storage. I felt we should have something for some reason, and a month later got laid off! Perfect timing, right? But for the first time in our married life I felt the need, and so we started to store. We now have a pantry full of canned food and pastas (being my mother's child, those will probably last us 2 months if needed), and about 6 months worth of the number 10 cans that will last 10 – 20 years (dehydrated will last 10, freeze dried will last 20).

When we stop renting our basement out we can store these easily in the basement kitchen, but for now fitting these boxes of #10 cans in our 1,100 square feet has presented a challenge. I settled for placing them behind the large couch in the living room. Only one person has noticed them since we moved them back there, so I feel pretty good about our stealthy hiding place. See, they’re not noticeable from the front, just from the side.

But from the side you can see that we're stealthily hiding  6 months worth of food for 2

We also have huge tubs of flour, wheat kernels, brown rice, sugar and some jugs of water chilling in our kitchen. For the longest time I just had them sitting in the corner. But last week I got out the leaf for the kitchen table to have guests over to dinner and afterward had a grand idea. What if I used the leaf to make our tubs look like a table/side counter in the kitchen? I don’t usually bake except on weekends, so it’s not like I need to access these supplies regularly. And the only time we need our leaf is when guests eat with us.

So I placed the leaf on top of the tubs, and rummaged through my material to find the curtain I picked up for $4 at Bed Bath & Beyond on clearance (intending to re-cover our living room pillows). The results? Not too shabby if I do say so, and definitely better than tubs chilling in my kitchen! Here’s the finished results, what do you think?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Food Storage is Our Friend

Food storage has really been on my mind lately. Now that we’re gathering it, I’m worried about how to use it. Let’s be honest, if emergency arises I have no idea how to cook dried beans! We very well may starve before I figure it out! And even if an emergency never arises and we don’t need the food, I would like to eventually use it so the money we spent doesn’t go to waste.

I started by learning how to bake bread. Dave’s Aunt & Uncle gave us their old bread maker when they bought a new one, so I felt a little more comfortable with the idea than just going at it. I’ve now perfected the art of white bread, learned how to make pita bread and after 4 gross attempts I’ve finally tweaked a wheat bread recipe to be fabulously light and fluffy just like a white bread. It’s moist and everything. We’ve actually stopped buying bread at the store because this is so much better tasting and health wise since we’re grinding the wheat fresh.

So my next food storage challenge, dried beans! I’ve been putting off the beans for a while because, well they’re beans. I don’t love beans. But they make up a good amount of our food storage, so I better learn to use them, right? I’ve searched the internet for how to cook them, and the reason I haven’t tried before now is because everyone and their dog recommends a pressure cooker for this process. I don’t have a pressure cooker, nor do I really see the need. What will I really use it for besides cooking dried beans?

But while I was browsing a Crockpot Recipe site Sheila recommended to me for dinner ideas, I stumbled upon how to cook your beans in the Crockpot! This lady even tell you how to make re-fried beans (we actually eat these). And the directions just seemed too simple to not try. So I’ve purchased a bag of dried beans, and I’ll let you know how it goes! I have high hopes for our food storage if this works out. Just don’t ask me how we’ll use our food storage if the power goes out. I don’t want to think about it!