Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Camp Anderson

I just returned from a week at Girls’ Camp with my Stake in Pennsylvania. When my good friends, Toni and Bekah, were called to be the Stake Directors, I was bummed that I would be in Texas all summer and wouldn’t be able to go with them. So when someone approached me and asked me to cook, I couldn’t resist. My friend Stephanie, who cooked at girls’ camp the last two years and is amazing and helped me prepare, told me I would feel like I climbed Mt. Everest when it was over. She was right! It was totally physically tiring, but exhilarating to accomplish.

Below are some lessons I learned along the way.

1. IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN ASSISTANT COOK THAT DOES!!! I originally thought I would do all the food by myself, with Stephanie and other camp leaders lending a hand when they could. Stephanie was wonderful at helping me to prepare, but I couldn’t have done it without Suzette, my full-time helper. She’s done this a million times and was absolutely awesome! I kept telling her all week that I wouldn’t have gotten out of the grocery store if it weren’t for her. By the end of the week, she even let me call her Zettie.

2. Token Priesthood Holders (Men) are great help in the kitchen. Brother Brant manned the grill every morning and President Roming chopped watermelon or did whatever else needed to be done. Some mornings, they were in the kitchen before Zettie and I were.

3. Go SIMPLE and cook recipes you’ve already made and know how to do. And remember that cooking times are longer for the big recipes. I made my family’s favorite Frito casserole one night. I’ve made it tons of times, but since I multiplied the recipe by 12, cooking took longer.

4. Teenage girls like green peppers. Who knew?

5. The night the girls cook tin foil dinners over the fire is a good night for the leaders to get take out from a local favorite BBQ place. (Toni’s idea was to wrap up one of the BBQ pork sandwiches in tin foil, pull it out of the fire, and say, “Hey! Look how mine turned out!” We didn’t think the girls would laugh very hard, though, so we didn’t do it.)

6. Keep a supply of “contraband” in the fridge--Diet Pepsi, extra cookies, ice cream, and, of course, the leftover BBQ--etc. for the leaders.

7. “Shoe String” potatoes are not hash brown. They’re French fries.

8. Teenage girls think it’s super cool to be served French fries for breakfast.

9. French Toast cooks up quickly. If you need a morning to sleep a little later, opt for French Toast.

10. Campers and other camp leaders willingly pamper the cooks. Zettie and I had 35 minutes on Thurs. afternoon before we had to help the girls put together tin foil dinners. It was the first free 35 minutes we had had all day. My feet were killing me, so we decided to soak our feet. We grabbed the buckets that the girls use to wash their dishes (they weren’t so thrilled with us when they recognized the buckets) and sat out on the patio with our feet in warm water. At the end of the 35 minutes, we had a sign that said, “M&Z Spa,” a plentiful supply of Almond Joy, Chocolate Candy, and Good & Plenty, a girl to change our water when it cooled off, another girl giving us shoulder rubs, and another girl making us tie-dyed t-shirts. Camp goes well when the cooks are happy…

11. At Stephanie’s home, passing gas is another way of saying, “I love you.” We all agreed not to let our own families in on this, for fear that they would tell us they love us.

12. The cooks’ bedroom, off the main room of the lodge, is not soundproof, especially during testimony meetings. No, I wasn’t “telling anyone I loved them.” I was singing silly songs to Chase, Bekah’s baby, to make him laugh. I made a few other people laugh, too.

So, girls’ camp is supposed to be for the girls, but the leaders have a pretty dang good time, too. Thanks Zetti, Toni, Bekah, Kelli, Cynthia, Greg, Pete, Stephanie, Katherine, Becky, Dawn, Melissa (the great), Ashley, Megan, Meagan, and all the wonderful girls!

PS - Check my recipe blog for camp recipes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23's edition of "Why My Husband is a Poopoohead"

Before I left for PA, I told him that I was leaving clothes in the dryer because they wouldn't be dry in time for me to get them out and fold them. He responded by saying, "I'm sure they'll still be there when you get back." I laughed. It was funny. A clever joke.
Or so I thought.
Today, I go to do laundry, open the dryer, and, sure enough, there are the clothes still there for me, now that I'm back. Just like my husband, the Poopoohead, said.

And that is today's reason why my husband is a Poopoohead.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Big Trouble, Little China: Big Stupidity, Little Merit

I need a guy's help. I don't get my husband right now. He's sitting on the couch, as I type this, eating a bowl of ice cream. That's pretty typical. But he's watching Big Trouble in Little China. And ENJOYING it! This is a movie with the stupidest plot on record and lines like, "Are you ready?" (As Kurt Russell and his side kick rush in to save the girl.) "I was born ready." What?!?
I don't understand how Sammie is enjoying this. This is my film-school graduate, worked on movie sets and in the Technicolor film lab, loves to hate stupid movies, cinema snob husband Sammie. Is it a guy thing? Someone help me. After almost three years of marriage, I thought I knew this guy...

Oh. And I should add that we OWN the copy of the movie he's watching.

My universe just turned upside down.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


We think we figured out Phoebe's other half. We know she's part Corgi, but have been pretty certain she's not a thoroughbred. The other night we went to see the new Narnia movie (FABULOUS! by the way) and, to our horror, made the discovery. Check out this movie trailer and see if you agree...

(Sorry to make you sit through that, I know it's painful.)

Just so you have a reference, here are some pictures I posted of Phoebes.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Adventures in Houston

This weekend was filled with adventures and memorable moments. Perhaps Jacob, our nephew, summed it up the best in his prayer on breakfast this morning, "We've had a lot of fun with Uncle Dammie and Aunt Melissa and Phoebe's a really cute dog!" Sammie's older brother Dave lives with his wife Carolyn and their 4.5 kids in Lake Jackson, just south of Houston. We traveled through pretty back roads on Friday afternoon, arriving at their beautiful brick home in time for smoked ribs and grilled vegetables. (HOW COME NOBODY HAS EVER INTRODUCED ME TO GRILLED CORN?! I'VE HAD A DEPRIVED LIFE UNTIL NOW!) The next morning, "Dammie" and I went to the Houston temple and then drove by Clear Lake, where Sammie grew up. We parked in front of his old house, walked around the back to see the gazebo and deck he helped build with his Dad, brothers, and Todd (the carpenter they hired to do the job) and gazed into the bayou where Sammie used to see alligators and water moccasins. He also drove me by the KFC where he used to work, his junior high, his high school, and the parking garage where he and his friends rappelled down the side. That evening included swimming, meeting Aunt Mary, Cuban sandwiches, strawberry shortcake, and the Far Side movies. (Yes Boyers! They exist!) This morning, we went to the Brazosport ward to check out the rumors of a new bishop in town. Indeed, Dave had been made bishop the week before. Sammie celebrated this important milestone in his brother's life by making faces at him from the audience. We were also there for Carolyn's first Sunday School lesson. I think she's relieved to trade in her 6:00 a.m. seminary kids for a room full of adults once a week. She began the lesson by saying, "I taught seminary all year. So when I ask a question, keep in mind that I'm not scared of silence!"
This picture was taken as Sammie and I tried to watch the kids while Dave set Carolyn apart for her new calling. Sammie ended up as a jungle gym... Will's on his head, Jacob's on his right foot, and Matt's on his left.Sammie's greatest church adventure, though, involved taking Jacob to the boy's room. When Jacob asked Sammie to take him, he assured him that it was only #1. Carolyn said he'd only need help washing his hands. All the way down the hall, Jacob chanted, #1! #1! #1! However, as he pushed open the bathroom door, he smiled up at Sammie and chanted, #2! Let's just say Sammie took another important step towards fatherhood today.
After a yummy crepe lunch, some coloring, and a walk around the block with Phoebe, we said our goodbyes and made our way back to Austin. Thanks Dave, Carolyn, Will, Matt, Melanie, and JJ! We love you!