Christine has always wanted a pet. She adores animals. I, however am very allergic to anything with fur. At the tender age of four, she told me that when she doesn't live with me anymore that she will get a cat. So as I walked by her room this morning, I overheard part of her morning prayer. "Please bless that my mom won't be allergic to animals anymore." I'm not sure if she's actually praying for me, or praying for the possibility of a pet. Either way, I think it's pretty sweet.
One of the new additions to our house is a new piano. I wrote earlier about how this change came about. Click here to read about it. The first picture is the old piano. As a reference for size, the same picture is hanging above the new piano at about the same level on the wall. It doesn't even come close to touching it. Emma came up to the space just above the keyboard, but below the inset. She can reach the top of the new piano. We love the new piano. The only thing I miss about the old piano is that the cover for the keyboard locked. The kids are pretty good about staying off of it when Jacob is napping, so it isn't a real problem. The new piano has a bench, which my parents worried that Emma would use to climb on top of the piano. This hasn't happened yet, and she's not much of a climber anymore anyway, so hopefully it will just be used as a piano bench. The behemoth, big and beautiful.
I've been asked to post photos of the new place. As things get put together here, I'll post more photos. This first photo is one of the most important additions. It's more of a laundry closet than laundry room, but to us it is Eden. Through our years together, we have gone back and forth between owning a washer and dryer and coin-op. For the last move in Laramie, we had to get rid of our washer and dryer. Christine was only three months old at the time, so the mountains of laundry were just mole hills then. Moving to Billings didn't change that, but the mountain started growing. After Jacob was born, washing clothes started getting ridiculously expensive. We would spend around $100 a month just for quarters. When it came time for the move, we were ecstatic to have our own machines. We anticipated having to do the dreadful laundromat for the first little bit until we had enough saved to get our own. Luckily for us, there are always people who watch out for us. Michael had a co-worker who had just replaced his set and decided to give us his old set. There isn't anything wrong with them; they work great. The week before we moved, I refused to do any laundry in the old apartment, and by the time we got here, I had two days worth of laundry to do. The real joy of having our own was realized last night when Emma threw up in our bed at 2:30. Normally, I would have had to make sure I had enough quarters, and then feel bad about using the noisy machines in the middle of the night (we shared a set with three other apartments that shared a hallway with us). When I finished washing our bedding, I realized that to do those loads at the old place, it would have cost over $8 and probably would have been more because the machines were smaller. Thanks again to Dan and Briana; you guys are the best!
A few years ago, we got a screaming deal on a piano. A lady in Columbus wanted to get rid of her piano, but to ship it anywhere from Columbus cost more than the piano was worth, so she decided to give it away. Some very good friends helped us load it into a truck, up and down a flight of stairs and into our house. When we finished moving it in, Michael said it wasn't moving again and would stay with the apartment. It is 106 years old and very beautiful, although beat up. It's one of the old behemoth uprights. The wood work on it is gorgeous. I had dreams of refinishing it and returning it to glory, however it wasn't ever something we could afford to do.
My mom told me about a couple of pianos that were for sale, but I figured why buy one when the one I have works fine. Little did I know that she and Michael were sneaking around behind my back. A piano from a retired band teacher that she had worked with came for sale. She asked if I wanted it, and I gave my standard response. She decided that the behemoth needed to be traded in for a sleeker model. She conspired with Michael to sell my piano and put the new one in without me knowing. They almost did it, but didn't factor in that the buyer would want to look at the piano. Michael finally had to spill the beans so I could show the piano to a prospective buyer. I'm a little sad that I didn't get to refinish it, but not sad enough to turn a newer piano down. I still haven't seen the new piano. It was moved in to the new apartment yesterday, but I haven't had time to go over.
As a side note, I was a little slow about the whole thing. They were very good at keeping it hidden, but if I had paid attention, I could have figured it out. A girl in our ward had been looking for a piano on Craigslist. She asked if we were selling ours and I said no. She told me she had seen an ad that had a piano similar to mine and even had the same picture hanging above it (it's a popular picture). I assured her that it wasn't for sale and didn't think another thing about it. Her husband later told her that Michael was spreading the word in our ward that it was for sale but to make sure to not let me know. Even though I'm not blond anymore, I still have my moments. Thanks again Mom and Michael; I'm sure I'll love it.
This is Michael's favorite. The smell of this baking is divine.
Makes one 9-inch loaf
If using a large zucchini, cut in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon before shredding. By wringing the zucchini, you’ll lose the gummy, sticky texture of most zucchini breads.
1 pound zucchini 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon allspice ½ teaspoon salt 1 ½ cups sugar ¼ cup plain yogurt 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon lemon juice 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. Shred zucchini using the coarse holes on a box grater. Place the grated zucchini in a clean dish towel and wring out as much liquid as possible. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and butter in a bowl until combined.
3. Gently fold yogurt mixture and zucchini into flour mixture using spatula until just combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
4. Bake until golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool at least 1 hour. (Bread can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for 3 days.)
I get the keys tonight for our new place! We're very excited. I'm also a little nervous. The reason I'm getting the keys is because I am doing my first checkout tonight. Hopefully nothing is majorly wrong with the apartment and I won't have a fight on my hands.
We're also excited for this weekend. This is general conference weekend, and there is nothing better than being able to go to church in your pajamas. Seriously though, we love to be able to listen/watch the prophet and other leaders of the church. I am amazed that the girls can be so wiggly during regular church, yet sit still for most of this. The other source of excitement is that we are starting to pack. We have six boxes, but those are closet boxes, nothing serious. This weekend though, we'll start to sort through things and pack it up. Wish us luck!