Happy Day

This lovely lady got married today:

Ain't she cute?!?! The reception went well- very well. I loved the venue. The décor was fabulous. And her family was just so loving.

I made some yummy food and fun signs:

I looked all over town for chalkboards and none were what I needed. I even went to OSH and Home Depot for slate. But what the perfect solution proved to be was white out on black poster board, which we pinned to the front of all the tables. Other than obvious things that are happy at weddings, these are the things that made me happy:

*the s'mores bar (built by the bride's dad and grandfather) that looked like this:

*the photo booth in which my staff and I took a raucous picture... well, maybe raucous is not the right word, but it was silly.
*the huge kitchen we were able to work in
*the joy I felt in that every child that came in to ask something of us had manners
*the cupcakes... oh my, the cupcakes
* the laughing & joking the staff shared- it truly was a good team

and my favorite quote/story of the night that transpired at the photo booth:

Lauren (holding up a glittery hat on a stick): Here, Desmond! Use this prop in the picture!
Desmond: I don't want to wear a leprechaun hat!
Lauren: It's not a leprechaun hat, son! It's Abraham Lincoln.
Desmond: But it has glitter on it!
Lauren: Sorry, Gay-braham Lincoln...

I laughed harder than I should have at that joke. The quickness of the exchange sounded like the lines were written for a sitcom. You guys, it was wonderful... and I am wonderfully tired.


My mom is great

When my mom came into town to help me with the catering event this weekend, she brought reinforcements... a bunch of little salty sweet friends:
Flavors I liked:
Peanut Butter
Flavors I did not like at all:
black licorice

My sweet mama also brought in homemade chocolate chip cookies- she knows how to make a girl feel loved.


The child of the caterer has no food

Falling apart here, then Ashley comes to the rescue!

Tonight, I was just at my breaking point with cooking and cleaning and feeding and driving. And you know, all the things that moms who cook for weddings and such do. Jimmy was home from work and I sat him down in all seriousness, "Jimmy, I am about to lose it. I am one mishap away from throwing things." He knows me well. Just in case you thought this is abnormal, let me give you a little view into the week of an event at the House of Graham:

Saturday (7 days until event):
Finalize all the lists(shopping list, timeline of week, timeline of day of, packing list) and print out.
This day, I am thrilled- I feel like a race horse aching to jump the gate. My energy level is through the roof.

Day of rest- I take a nap.

All the shopping excluding last minute purchases of things like ice.
This is a day from beginning to end at an average of a dozen stores. I like this day. I like filling the car with essentials thinking of the people I am cooking for. It is long and exhausting and I always wear comfortable shoes. I am still so optimistic about my time. "I have a whole week ahead of me! Tra la la!" I actually cook dinner for my family. A real dinner that I prepare from scratch.

The cooking starts! I pace myself well- but nearly always leave one thing on the list for Wednesday thinking I have so much time still. And I always regret it on Wednesday. On Tuesday, I cook most of the meat and deep freeze it. I prepare all the sauces that benefit from mingling together for a time. Today, dinner by mom is usually a frozen something I can prepare quickly.

I start the day cooking and do not finish until bed time. It's hard work, but I still love every minute of it. That love, I swear, goes into the food... Tonight, we eat out. I do not make dinner for the family and Kate is lucky that it's a half day at school or she might get an unopened can of tuna in her lunch box.

Today is the day that I can finally kick it in to high gear. There are many things that cannot be cooked earlier than Thursday- it is a very delicate balance. On Thursday is when I think, "Where in the world did all my time go?!?!" I don't know what my family eats for dinner...

This is full throttle, folks. No one in my family dares to walk in the kitchen for fear of losing a limb. They are smart. I do everything that cannot be done a second sooner. I usually work straight up until midnight.

Saturday (day of event):
I sleep in. I have worked hard all week so I can sleep as long as I want. It's a good system for me. I usually roll out of bed around 9:00 am. Then I do a couple of simple things, but it really is the calm before the storm and I relish it. There is never any frantic desperation on Saturday morning. The lists I have prepared are so detailed, that everything is working out just fine. I like Saturday mornings.
Kate has the check list and stands with her clip board and a pen. Jimmy and I pack while she reads things off. Everything non food goes into the car. Then, right before I leave, we turn on the AC in the car and load up the final food items. Only when I am driving off the premises do I feel the adrenaline kick in.

At the event:
I start jovial and don't get crazy until halfway through service, then we wind down and get jovial again. I come hoe with dishes and do about two or three loads in the dishwasher before crashing into bed. It's only because I am so super charged that I cannot get to sleep. I take full advantage of the adrenaline and get some cleaning in.

And that's how we roll the week of a catering event.

If you were able to get through that lengthy description, you can sympathize with me when I tell you that right I after I told Jimmy I was about to lose it and he put on an apron, we got a call from the receiving center. The receiving center is the place foster children go in between being removed from their home to being placed in a foster home. When you are on call, you are expected to spend up to 24 hours supervising the children there. Jimmy had to take off his apron and leave. And that is when I burst out into tears and Ashley drove her cute self up here to hold me together. And that is how my Thursday went...


The loaves and the fishes...

with no fish.

Kate is doing very well with her fund raising! So well, in fact, that we have gone through more than 50 lbs. of flour- and we still haven't fulfilled all the orders we received on the first go round!!! I am really proud of her! What I'm also really proud of is how these loaves have been turning out. They are all a little work of art. After making 12 loaves, we finally made one for ourselves... and I have not let any others stay in the house because I ate half the loaf by myself. Now, I have been known to exaggerate on occasion, but not in this case. I.ate.half.the.loaf.
There, now I've confessed and I shall no longer give in to the temptation.
The middle picture is of the loaf I scarfed- cranberry walnut. The orange honey butter was really yummy with it. Next cycle will be bacon cheddar with chive butter. Can't wait to start those!


Lazy mom's grilled cheese

Sometimes it is just too much work to break out a frying pan and butter two whole pieces of bread... and that is how I came up with this concoction. Just spray a piece of foil with cooking spray, put the cheese on and put over the toaster while toasting bread. The cheese melts, the bread gets crispy. Then, you slap 'em together for a gooey cheesy sandwich.
I know in the picture below, not all the cheese is melted-  but I promise it did melt all the way. When I asked Kate if she liked it, my daughter very quietly said, "I like daddy's better." Good! Maybe next time she'll ask for a string cheese and crackers.
p.s.- I came up with this method while trying to make more healthy choices. I do a big girl's grilled cheese with a slice of light provolone and dip it in marinara sauce.


Shopping is more fun with friends

I spent all day today shopping... the stores I hit:
- Larry's Produce
- Costco
- Smart and Final
- Fresh and Easy
- Trader Joe's
- Whole Spice at the OxBow
- Safeway
- Target
- Cost Plus Word Market
- Shackford's

I am a little tired. But what made the day great was that I had my good friend Kathy with me. We laughed all morning. Plus, we ate pizza at Costco- which might be the whole reason I shopped today. Something cool happened while we were eating in the food court. We said a quiet prayer to bless the food. A man sitting a ways down came over and thanked us for praying. We really weren't trying to attract attention, we only wanted to bless our lunch. But it was neat to have a positive reaction. The man ended up staying and chatting with us about the power of prayer. I felt really wonderful after our discussion. I knew what we did was right. What felt so good about it was that we chose the right thinking no one was watching.

It is so important to be a good example and always strive to choose the right because you never know who is seeing what decisions you make. I just hope I make enough good decisions to cancel out the bone headed ones...


The work moves forward

Our missionaries are the first to get iPads!
You may wonder why it's important for the Elders to carry tablets around when it might become a distraction.
But you see, they are able to teach lessons to people in other countries on Skype!
And to post things of significance on their facebook thread.

I have noticed a definite change in the focus on missionary work. I was reading in Alma the other day. Alma and Amulek are teaching the people about Christ coming to visit the earth for the first time. Alma 16:16 reads, "the Lord did pour out His Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of His coming."
I feel like a flood gate was opened up at the missionary broadcast back in May. There was what felt like a switch. There was a switch in my mind anyway. We are preparing this earth for Christ to return again. He will come, whether we are ready or not. The things that have happened regarding missionary work in the past year have been so fast moving. I am excited for all that we are trying to prepare for. I am excited to see the progress that must come to pass before we can welcome the Savior again.

And so, we have been trying to help the missionaries by inviting people to ask questions at dinner. I have posted menus on my social media sites hoping for a bite. I want to share the gospel because of the peace I fell. I want to share because of my love for mankind. I want to serve in whatever capacity I am needed. I hope that I can continue to have the desire to help the missionaries. Because, He is coming, whether I am ready or not...


When gong to a 60th birthday party...

one might want to bring:
a good gift
a good joke
a warm hug
and a LOT of patience.

Especially when one of the people in attendance has pneumonia.
or when the children become unsupervised often.
or when one of the unsupervised children is a villain.
or when two family members pull you aside separately to complain about one another.
or when there is a neighborhood wide garage sale.

all hypothetical, of course...
hypothetically, I may have scored some free toothpaste- making the day a total success.



I love me a good girls' night out. It's been awhile, though. Having the foster boys took a lot of time and energy. So, after a full week with all the kids, the last thing I wanted to do was get all dolled up. Because, really, all I ever wanted to do in my spare time was sleep. I became pretty efficient at taking naps on command. A skill that is used even after the boys have gone.

Tonight we all went to Bistro Sabor (my favorite) and Ben and Jerry's (another favorite). Then Lauren and I decided after everyone had already been done partying up that we still had some juice left in us. And so of course we went to a 10:30 movie. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After our conversation on Saturday morning, I think we both felt a little sheepish for thinking we could party it up like the old days. Regardless of how tired and cranky I was in the morning (I don't have to deal with me being cranky, my family does...), I am so glad I got to be just Stephanie for the night.


Selective obedience

What an excellent day! Jimmy and I drove down to the temple with his parents to attend our stake's session. I truly enjoyed the time we spent there. We even ate dinner in the cafeteria. I thought of my dad & mom working happily in the temple kitchen in Logan and Boston. They have such a great time serving in the temple.
As I was eating the caramel chocolate freezer box cake, I kept thinking, "for how much I am enjoying this cake, it cannot be part of the Word of Wisdom..." But I ate it anyway. And then had Jimmy go buy another piece- to share, of course. Riiight...


Ko's visit

This little man is Rothko. He is visited for a few days while his parents attend a wedding in Boston.
Ko loves Jimmy. He was a little shadow to the big guy. When Jimmy was doing dishes, Ko would hang on to Jimmy's pant leg just waiting until he was done. It was precious. It was so fun to have this little guy around!!!


The difference in size between my eyes and stomach have never stopped me...

We have been pros at eating out lately. Especially if kids eat free. It was no exception tonight when we went out to Black Bear Diner. Ashley came with us. And because Ashley and I were doing a weight loss challenge together and happened to be off it, we went a little crazy. By the end of the night I swear, my pants no longer fit. Rather than stop when we were full, Ashley and I just grumbled and complained through dessert and then asked for an extra scoop of ice cream. It must have been really fun to be around us...


Things I hate...

So I already did a post of things I love. I thought it'd be fun to see what things I can't stand:

  • green bell peppers- they taste unripe and overpower whatever dish they're in. But I love red, orange and yellow bell peppers!
  • being late
  • chalk. I cannot even touch it. The kids in my Sunday school class have to write on the board for me. Although, they have gotten really good at wrapping the chalk in a tissue before I get to class so I can use the chalk.
  • fennel seed- but I love freshly shaved fennel
  • my flakiness
  • bad drivers
  • rude people working in a customer service job
  • tongue piercings
  • having dirty hands
  • the Crayola crayon colored burnt sienna
  • disorganization
  • Bratz dolls
  • terrible grammar
  • pets- but I LOVE animals. I want a horse- because it can't come in my house.
  • people chewing loudly at the table
  • overcooked pasta


Last day of Fine in 9!

I have been doing a nine week weight loss program. Today is the last day. Now, I have to admit it feels like I've already had a last day because of all the junk I ate at the retreat. Let's not talk about how many s'mores cookies I consumed in the day and a half I was there. I am looking forward to eating some fun things in the time off. But I have to admit I always miss the program the moment I am not doing it! That's okay, I can always feed those 'missing' feelings with cake.


RS Retreat- Day Two

This morning, I woke to hop in the pool before breakfast and spend the remainder of the day in my swim suit. Which wouldn't have been so awkward had anyone else done the same thing. Every other woman there was dressed in such a way that a mother looks when she is the only one she has to get ready in the morning i.e. spectacular, flawless, smelling like roses...

And so, I attended workshops about being organized in the most unorganized way possible. Kind of.

But the workshops were phenomenal. There was cooking class and crafts and a scripture study class. And yummy food shoved wherever there was any free time! I rolled my way home. One thing I remember quite well during testimony meeting was, "Sometimes I think the word 'busy' is a bad word. Why would we stop our whole lives to serve someone else but not take this time set aside [referring to the retreat] for ourselves?" I got to thinking a lot about that. How we can rearrange our whole schedule to help someone in need but we rarely take that time for ourselves all the time. Sad, isn't it?
But I am so glad that this time I did take the full time offered to recharge with the sisters in my ward!


RS Retreat- Day One

Our ward does a retreat each Summer for the women. We get together and rest, eat, relax, eat, learn, laugh and eat. Today was the first day that started out with a hike at Bothe State Park.
Normally, I am a huge fan of this hike, but the 100 degree weather proved to be a deterrent to the jovial mood that should have accompanied a group of fun women on a spectacular hike. at time regardless of the weather.

It did help that the weather cooled down at night fall. I made dinner for everyone and that was so fun! We had vegetable fried brown rice, teriyaki chicken and steamed broccoli with spring rolls and peanut sauce. It was awfully fun to serve dinner in a take out container with chop sticks.

My friend Cristal made the most amazing cookies. I had many. In fact, I was so sweaty and rank, that I popped home around 10 pm to take a shower. When I returned, no one was anywhere to be found!. It was dark outside and the tables were all deserted... except for the cookies that kept the table company :) And so, I scarfed down cookies in between wondering where everyone went. It turns out the ladies were out in the field star gazing. I was relieved that they didn't actually choose to leave me, because I don't know if I could recover from that.

We continued the night with s'mores. The only kind to have- with Reese's peanut butter cups instead of Hershey's, of course. I know, right?! After everyone was sufficiently sugared out, we climbed into tents to sleep. It was fun to chat until falling asleep. I cannot remember the last time I did that! It was a good day. A good day, indeed.


Would you like to know a secret?

Like the secret to the best cupcakes in the world?!
Here it is:

A boxed mix (any flavor) follow directions on the box but double the oil. Freeze after cooking for at least 24 hours. Frost while frozen.

What makes the cupcakes feel luxurious- the frosting! I add different flavors too. Mint, coconut, raspberry. Just add the appropriate extract. And if you want to get really fancy... add ganache (6 TB butter, 1 cup chocolate chips- melt in microwave. Pour over cupcakes)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.
Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (no less and no longer—set a timer!). Use immediately.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Creamy-Vanilla-Frosting-241564#ixzz2eBW98iup


First Day of School

 of Finding Nemo... and I wouldn't be surprised if I write that sentiment every year.

A good mother would have gads of pictures.
A good mother would have remembered to take the battery off the charger and put it into the camera before heading off to school.
I may not have been a good mother in the aspect of recording the day via photographs, however I was a stellar mother in that we went to Bouchon Bakery for breakfast! Kate was definitely the only kid walking onto school grounds with a Bouchon hot chocolate cup... score, I say. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And so you see, I may not have gotten a picture of my child eating breakfast, but she did eat!

Kate was hardly nervous and knew exactly who her teacher was, so the day was actually anti-climactic. Plus, it being a half day- it's not like I got to have much time to myself ...


Back-to-school traditions

How I love back-to-school!
Not because the house will be quiet, oh no....
(although I do have a stack of books singing my name. In harmony and everything)
I like getting back into a schedule.
But I will dearly miss my little girl this year. We have grown so much as a family this past year. I have really enjoyed that girl's company. I don't want her to leave!

But the traditions we have are so very fun.
The night before school we do these things in the following order:
eat dinner
go to the school to find out this year's teacher
go swimming
come home and have chocolate fondue
lay out school outfit
father's blessing
off to bed!


Let's hope it sticks

Kate is IN LOVE with horses. So, so, so much.
She has horse clothes.
Horse books.
Horse earrings.
Horse wallet.
Jimmy and I finally decided to get Kate into riding lessons.
I am excited for her.
We went to the equestrian center and checked it all out. Woweee! It will take a little penny pinching to get her going, but that girl will be pleased as punch to be riding and that is worth it.

The difficult part is this: when I went with Kate to observe a lesson, we were sitting with the other parents. It was very clear that I was not anywhere NEAR the same income tax bracket. Frankly, it made me uncomfortable. Not because there was any snootiness. Because there wasn't. Mostly, I just thought about how it would go as we progressed on this path. How would the conversations go between me and these parents in the future? What in the world would I talk about? I am hoping that I can walk into this situation the way I day dream about it- flawlessly. But honestly (because we are being honest), I will make a total movie-montage-worthy-mess of the whole situation.
You and I know it. I can't wait to blog about it...


I brought a friend to church today*

It's been awhile since I've done so.
It felt nice. And exciting.
But mostly like she had always been there.
Like she belonged and it was nothing new. I like that feeling.
It reminds me of when I met Jimmy. I knew him my whole life, it felt.
So, maybe it means that Sue will join the church.
Or maybe she will just keep coming.
Either way, I know whatever happens, it will feel right.

*I'll let you know more as the story develops...


Slippery when... I say so

We went on one of my favorite hikes today, Bothe.
We took the hard way, as shown in our red faces below.

On the way down the hill, there was an especially slippery part. The leaves were dry and crushed to a near dust. Also the hill was extremely steep. Kate descended first. It was difficult, so I encouraged her to go down on her bottom. Jimmy scoffed a little. In fact, when I went down the hill veeeerrrry slowly, I could feel his impatience at the back of my neck. I turned from the bottom of the hill after successful climbing down and said, "Now I want to watch you do it!"
I knew it wasn't easy and I just wanted Jimmy to give Kate and me credit for what we had done to finally get down the hill. After Jimmy's first step, he slid- tried to right his course then toppled right off the edge of the cliff. At first, I was concerned.
But, when I yelled up, "Are you okay?!?!?!"
Jimmy sarcastically responded, "Yeah. Except I'm in a big pile of poison oak..."
And then I did what anyone would do, I laughed till I cried.
Poor guy hobbled out of the bushes and just gave me that.look.
The look that can only be described as this:

I do feel bad that he fell... and I feel really bad that he has poison oak all over his body. And I really, really think he feels bad about thinking Kate and I were being wimps going down the hill...


I hate goodbyes...

My dear friend, Melanie is moving early tomorrow morning.
After deciding LAST NIGHT!
Melanie and her family were very prayerful in a family meeting they held a few weeks ago and felt like they would be moving soon. Because Melanie is so obedient, she and her children packed up their house THE NEXT DAY. Except for essentials, their family lived in the house with boxes in every room! Well, the answer came swiftly and so did the move. They were out before I even had a chance to really let the reality sink in. To be honest with you, I am sad she is leaving- but she wouldn't be such a dear friend to me if she didn't heed all the promptings to move.

Our lives have been pretty rough with having to say goodbye to so much. People, ideals, hopes... in fact, I feel like every time we turn around, I am saying goodbye to something else. It has become exhausting.
I am tired sometimes of following God's Will.
Sometimes I just want to do it my way.
Then I realize, my way is a heck of a lot harder...
Thank goodness my life didn't turn out the way I planned it.



This is the email I sent to my friends (also the message I posted on facebook)
Hi Friends!
In preparation for a fourth grade outdoor education fieldtrip, Kate will be fundraising.
We have chosen not to do the school fundraisers but to have Kate work for the funds.
She will be baking artisan bread and making accompanying butter.
There will be a choice of plain rustic bread with salted butter or the weekly special.
Next week's special: Cranberry Walnut Bread with Orange Honey Butter.
The cost for one loaf and butter is $10.
Please let me know if you would like to place an order.
 We will arrange delivery.
Stephanie Graham
We did not expect to receive 22 orders in the first two hours of posting! I am so happy for Kate! She has spent the Summer perfecting this bread. We chose this as a fundraiser because she can do all the work herself. That's exactly what Jimmy and I wanted for her. Our daughter can always tote around the little catalogs of items that are full of crappy product with an elevated price. That will require some work. But, we really wanted Kate to get into the work aspect and understand what it really means to work for something you want. Let's see if she still wants it after cooking 22 loaves of bread...


Another way to cut corners...

Folks, I found another way to save some moola!
Here is a fresh & easy coupon (just an image that has expired... sorry)
BUT... if you use the coupon when you buy $25 worth of chicken breast- you get two and half pounds of chicken for free!!!

Let me break it down:
the chicken is nearly always on sale for $1.99 per pound
$25= 12.5 lbs. of chicken THEN you take $5 off
making $20= 12.5 lbs. of chicken making your chicken only $1.60 a pound!
Then, take it home- cook half and shred- freeze in 3 oz. portions
Then, wrap the other half in plastic wrap and foil, put in freezer bag and date- freeze the raw pieces.
We have chicken forever.... because I make my poor husband do this with me every week.

I really, really, really like a bargain. Like, a lot.


Sword of Truth

I was reading in Alma 1 this morning. If you ever have a hard time reading through the Book of Mormon, I highly suggest you start in Alma. I cannot believe how many times I get stumped in 2 Nephi with all the Isaiah chapters. Sometimes, that book will bet the one that halts my progress. Usually, I can get through it. But how many times have you re-started reading the Book of Mormon and read the tree of life?! The book of Alma is very thought provoking and so well written. It reads like a novel once you get into the story. On to what I learned today.

In the very first chapter of Alma, there is already wickedness. There is a man preaching false doctrine named Nehor. He was extremely wicked. In fact, he committed the first murder in the first year of the reign of the judges. Nehor killed a righteous man named Gideon. Because Gideon was so old, he could not withstand Nehor's sword. Now, why did Nehor choose to hit Gideon with the sword? Because Nehor was trying to convince Gideon that what he had taught (that we all go to heaven no matter what choices we make and that priests deserve money for their preaching) was correct. Gideon knew better. He was a prophet of God. He responded to Nehor with truth. We learn from the scriptures about the armor of God that the truth is represented by the sword. What I found interesting is that Nehor and Gideon did battle. One man chose to use a physical sword while one chose to use the armor of God. Unfortunately, Gideon suffered an earthly death. His body left this earth- but he was righteous and was received by Heavenly Father. Nehor, on the other hand, was punished for the murder of Gideon and suffered an ignominious death. Gideon may have not been the one to slay Nehor with a physical sword- but physical death is not the worst thing to happen to a person. What Nehor suffered was a spiritual death before a hair on his head was scathed. And there ain't no comin' back from that...

I just thought a lot about what sword we choose to use. What tools do we use to fight our battles? When do I choose to have the truth on my side- or rather- when do I side with truth? I think it is so vital to our spirits to seek truth and hold on tight when we find it. Otherwise... there ain't no comin' back from that.


What a wonderful time we had

As most of you know, we had Little Miss for a couple of weeks. It was time to say goodbye to that sweet girl this morning. It was really hard for all of us. We just love Little Miss so much! She really was such a delight to have in our home. I don't miss changing diapers. But I will miss:

  • swimming with LM
  • her singing in the car
  • giggles all night
  • Kate playing chase
  • painting fingernails
  • doing the cutest curly hair
  • kisses & hugs
  • going to church with two little girls
  • saying, 'the girls'
  • cuddling in our bed every morning
  • drawing lots and lots and lots of pictures
  • making cupcakes with LM
  • those tiny little shoes!
  • her sweet spirit
I know all will work out because there are so many people that love that little girl! She may not have the most conventional family- but that little girl's family is so extended, she will never lack in the being adored department. We are just another family that fell in love with Little Miss.


Mickey is the only mouse I tolerate...

I love living in the country... I love living in the country... I love living in the country...

I must repeat this in my head due to the fact that I hate living in the country right now.

Why, you ask? Because I hate rodents. I can do frogs and snakes and lizards and spiders. But, when a pest comes into my home and tries to eat my food and builds a nest in our Ziploc bags while we're at church and doesn't properly die from a normal trap and runs it's gross bloody self around the house while Jimmy and I are BOTH screaming like little girls- I am not a happy camper. Nope. Not at all. I know this all sounds nasty... mostly because it is. We set out more traps hoping to catch the mouse that escaped a trap and ran out from under the stove while Jimmy and I were bleaching the whole kitchen. I cannot sleep. I am afraid that the mouse will come devour me in my sleep.

Here's how it all went down folks:

I was down visiting a friend when Jimmy called from home. He informed me of two things.
1) He had to scrub diaper contents out from under the finger nails of a child
2) AND he found a mouse nest in the kitchen drawer- in which he woke up the mouse while trying to get a Ziploc bag. HE WOKE UP THE MOUSE WHILE TRYING TO GET A ZIPLOC BAG!!! It popped it's head out and tried to have a conversation with my husband!

So, on the way home- true ox in the mire moment- I ran to Target to get traps.
And the setting of traps began. While Jimmy and I were watching a TV show (The Bachelorette finale part 1, if you must know), we heard the tell tale 'snap!' come from the kitchen. Like the wimps that we are, we held each other while slowly pulling out the drawer under the stove. The trap went off, but the mouse was not in its clutches! It was just laying beside the trap bleeding. Ewww.... because we both did not have the courage to deal right then, we decided to finish the episode and come back to clean up. (all happening at 11:30 pm, btw)
When we came back, there was NO MOUSE. It escaped! There was a nasty mouse dying in my kitchen somewhere.
So, I break out the gloves and serious bleach. Jimmy and I go to town. We pulled out the stove and sprayed everything down like crazy when... the mouse scuttles out from under something! I understand why the cliché is for someone to jump on a chair. I will not be lying when I tell you I wanted to do just that. I ran into the office to grab a bucket. when I came back, Jimmy had one of his Sunday shoes on his hand. I suppose the only way to kill a mouse on the Sabbath is to do so with the proper dress.

We had a game plan, moved the freezer, waited to attack. No mouse. We both saw it hide under the freezer, but cannot find it now. So, here I am at 12:30 at night sitting wide awake, writing a blog post just hoping that the mouse will not retaliate and find my bed. The traps we set out on the perimeter of the freezer are so close, that it would have to be a ninja mouse to miss any one of them.
I just hope the mouse is actually under the freezer, like we saw. But this mouse has tricked us once before...

If you do not see a blog post from me tomorrow, please know that I am standing on a chair with a Sunday shoe in my hand and that the mouse defeated the Great Stephanie Graham.


Pinterest does good for the House of Graham

I am on Pinterest more than I should be... until I find a dynamite recipe like the following. These pancakes are just fabulous and most definitely worth the hours I put in at the wonderful world of pinning. Made them for breakfast this morning with a fresh blueberry syrup.


Lemon Poppyseed Yogurt Pancakes

Yield: 8 medium pancakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Light, fluffy, and refreshing pancakes! Start your morning with a big stack!


1 1/2 cups Gold Medal white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (we use Chobani 0%)
1 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons poppy seeds


1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Whisk into the dry ingredients.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, lemon juice, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, mixing only until combined. Stir in the poppy seeds.
3. Heat a griddle pan or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 of a cup of pancake batter onto the hot griddle pan, spacing out the pancakes a few inches from each other. When the pancakes start to bubble up, flip and cook until pancakes are slightly golden brown. Serve warm with butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit, or jam-if desired.


Let's try to get every unnatural color in this house!

Like I stated before, tonight was the night that Kate's friend came over to celebrate her birthday. When the girls were at a pool party, Jimmy and I decorated the house with streamers, banners and balloons. The girls were so surprised to walk in to a wonderfully & colorfully decorated house.  I baked funfetti cupcakes with cotton candy frosting. There was not a mouth untainted by the BLUE frosting. It was quite humorous seeing everyone with toothy electric blue grins.
So far, we've had make-your-own-pizza, cupcakes, art time, movie, nail painting, and freeze dance. We like to party... can you tell?!


See Sunday's post...

Karma hurts....

Oh Jimmy, do you remember the time you chose to make a fool of your sweet, innocent wife on the Sabbath?

Tonight, Jimmy played basketball with the Elder's Quorum (funny how he only started FINALLY playing after he's no longer in Elder's Quorum, huh?)
He came home with scratches, bruises and tales of passing the ball to the wrong team... twice.

Maybe he'll be nice to me this Sunday.