Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

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(If you're wondering about the nose scrapes, Her Little Highness had a tripping episode as she was walking to the mailbox a few days ago. Learning how to walk is tuff stuff man!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

why I don't have the freezer space to store an extra loaf of homemade goodness

(Remember this post? If you haven't read it yet, you might be a bit confused about the title. Just FYI.)

Eric enjoys chatting, and (if you don't mind my saying), he's good at it.

Perhaps that is one of reasons I fell in love with him so easily. Eric is always easy easy to talk to, and he has a knack of putting people at ease in all kinds of situations.

I love that about him.

Most of the time.

However . . .

At times, this knack he has gets a little bit annoying for me and my type A personality.

Like when I'm in the car with Heather, watching through the window as Eric stands, chewing the fat with a convenience store cashier.

Like when I'm ready to leave a party or gathering and Heather is about thirty minutes past her bedtime and her tolerance level and I've given him the "let's get out of here" look, and he gives me the "okay, no problem" look, but still it takes us another twenty minutes to actually get out the door.

Like when Eric volunteers to go to the grocery store (a two-minute drive away)(if you drive slow)(if he'll pick up milk and bread along with his soda, he gets to pay for it with "family money" instead of his "do whatever he wants to money") and comes home an hour later, saying that he got caught up in a conversation and "just couldn't get away."

You get the idea.

Now, before you click elsewhere, thinking that this is an unfair bashing of our favorite hero, wait! There's a happy ending to this story.

A few weeks ago, Eric came home from one of the aforementioned prolonged grocery store trips and announced,

"The Bishop's are going to give us a bunch of halibut."

Whaaat?

As it turns out, as our hero was roaming the aisles of Macey's food and drug, he chanced to meet up with two of our neighbors (Bryan and Lindsay Bishop), as well as their four children. As nearly as I can tell, a typical Eric chat ensued, during which we learned that Bryan had recently returned from Alaska, where he had caught and brought home a bunch of halibut. We also learned that the Bishop household contained very few fish-lovers. (The Cantwell household, in contrast, is completely saturated with fish-lovers, especially when that fish is halibut)

I'm unclear on how the rest of this transpired (and I can only hope that there was no begging involved), but one week ago, Bryan dropped by our house with a whole grocery bag full of frozen halibut. We had halibut for dinner the next night, and two days later.

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I don't mind telling you that having that meal was a little piece of heaven right in our kitchen. What's more, thanks to the generosity of the Bishop's, we should be able to enjoy that heaven several more times throughout the coming months.

Eric, my love . . .

CHAT ON!!




Sunday, October 25, 2009

it's cliche, but I'm writing it anyway

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Dress, shirt, and bloomers . . . . . . $0.00 (handed down from cousins Kaylee and MaKell)








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Tights . . . $1.99 (Wal-Mart)





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Shoes . . . $3.00 (Deseret Industries)






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Beanie . . . $0.00 (made by me)






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Thirteen months of diapers, wipes, baby food, tear-free shampoo, not to mention a C-Section, five well-baby check-ups, and more shots than I ever dreamed . . . . . .

More money than I ever want to calculate





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Going on an Autumn walk with my Heather while Eric takes a Sunday afternoon nap . . .





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ABSOLUTELY PRICELESS.


(Happy Fall!)



Happy Sunday to You

"What is most important almost always involves the people around us. Often we assume that they must know how much we love them,

But we should never assume,


We should let them know."
-President Thomas S. Monson





This clip is my favorite thing I've seen in the past month.

(Incidentally, you know that part (1:13) where the couple is taking a picture of themselves, and the husband pulls that trick on the wife? I can totally imagine Eric doing that to me. Can't you?)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

quite possibly the most exciting post I've ever written (but probably not)

Lately, I've been trying to take better care of my body.

Part of the reason for this is because I read in Readers Digest a few days ago that people who exercise regularly, eat a diet high in fiber and low in fat, are not overweight, and don't smoke are 75% less likely to endure cancer or heart disease than the national average.

(Or something like that.)

(Of course, my dad had to endure cancer, and he's pretty much the poster child for everything on the list except for the high-fiber low-fat thing. So, I guess there's no guarantee.)

(What do you say to
that, Reader's Digest?)

Another part of the reason is because now that I'm not nursing her little highness any more, my days of "eat whatever I want with total impunity because my body burns calories like I'm that stringy-legged eleven-year-old that I used to be" are loooong gone.

(To put it another way, I've gained six pounds in the past month, and my jeans aren't as comfortable as I like them.)

And the last part of the reason is because I've determined that my love for sweets has gotten a little unbalanced lately, to the point of being more unhealthy that I am really willing to be.

I am a firm believer in the "step-down principle", and I'm applying it to this particular quest of mine.

If you're not familiar with the "step-down" principle, you can google "the step down principle", and the first four or five entries will describe this idea, generally as it relates to saving money. Briefly however, this is what it means for me:

  1. I love chocolate chip cookies (and brownies, as we've already discussed).
  2. Chocolate chip cookies are not the most healthy thing for me to eat.
  3. What is the most healthy thing for me to eat? I'm not sure, but let's say brussels sprouts accented with wheat germ for added flavor.
  4. Realistically, I know myself well enough to know that there is NO WAY that I'm going to replace my love for chocolate chip cookies with a love for wheat germed brussels sprouts.
  5. So, imagine a staircase. At the top is a nice warm plate of fat- and sugar- laden chocolate chip cookies. At the bottom is a nice warm plate of fiber-laden wheat germed brussels sprouts.
  6. Imagine Charlotte standing at this staircase, craving a snack.
  7. In between the bottom and top stairs are a few other steps. One has cookies that are made with applesauce instead of butter or shortening in them. (Did you know that you can do that? You can. It doesn't taste quite as good or have as great of a texture, but they're not bad.) Or, maybe they have wheat flour in them.
  8. Another step has vegetables that are seasoned with a moderate amount of butter and salt, rather than wheat germ.
  9. Another step has a nice loaf of warm whole-wheat bread, seasoned with a very thin covering of butter. This is the step that I'm aiming to get at.
  10. However, I'm not at that step yet. The fact is, I don't love whole-wheat bread, and I do like butter. More than just a very thin covering.
And that my friends, is why I've been making homemade white bread for the past week, at the rate of one loaf every two to three days.

Before you all comment, let me say that I know that white bread is not high in fiber OR vitamins, and that it's not particularly good for me. However, I think we can all agree that a buttered slice of white bread is better for me than a chocolate chip cookie, especially when we factor in the little tidbit that I have enough self-control to eat only one slice of buttered homemade bread, but generally do not have the will-power to stop at only one cookie.

So, I'm stepping down from cookies to white bread.

It's a small step, but it's a step in the right direction, and for now, that's enough for me.

(I've also made it a point to have more fresh vegetables in our home, and to prepare them more frequently. And, I've upped my exercise efforts slightly.)

And there we are. The latest thrilling episode in my life.


But wait!

There's more!


As a reward to those of you who have persevered to read this entire post, I am posting my mother's bread recipe. It's a nice basic bread recipe, but because you only have to let the dough raise once, you can go from no bread in the house to a nice warm loaf of goodness and joy in just over an hour (as long as you use fast acting yeast, and either own a kitchen aid or have sufficient arm muscles to be a masterfully fast kneader).

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Really, what could be better?


Simple Bread- Barbara Corry
(note from Charlotte--I've been halving this recipe lately, because I don't have the freezer space to store a loaf of bread, and by the time we're done with the first loaf, the second loaf is stale and not as tasty as I want it to be)
2 ½ cups warm water
2 tbs. dry yeast (I use fast-acting/bread machine yeast here)
½ cup dry milk
2 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. salt
1/3 cup oil or shortening
7-7 ½ cups white flour

Measure water into large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water. Add dry milk, sugar, salt, oil and 3 ¼ cups of the flour to make a thick batter. Blend well. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer.*** By hand, add rest of flour to form stiff dough. Toss dough on floured surface until no longer sticky. Knead ONLY 1-2 minutes!

***(I just dump everything into the Kitchen Aid in (almost) the order listed, and mix it all up for about 5 minutes. Oh, and if you wait to add the dry milk until you're adding the flour, it keeps the milk from clumping together. Always a nice benefit.)

Divide dough in half. Using rolling pin, shape dough into a 12x6” rectangle. Roll up tightly; seal edge and ends. Place in well-greased loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap (I use a clean dish towel) and let rise 1 hour (if you use fast acting yeast, you only need to do this for 30 minutes). Remove wrap and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Makes 2 large loaves.

Mmmm, mmmm, deeelicious!







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Friday, October 16, 2009

Animal Activists Will Want to Skip This One

I am not the only person in my family with an over-active imagination.

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Here in Utah, tomorrow is the opening day of the annual deer hunt.

I come from a family of avid, enthusiastic deer hunters.

And so, to celebrate this most auspicious time of year, I have a special treat for you all.

Here, in the words of my second-to-the-youngest (or third-to-the-oldest) brother, is the tale of . . .

The Curse of Mortanemous
(the Real Bambi Story)

-By Mark W. Corry(with witty and helpful parenthetical explanations by Charlotte C. Cantwell)


Many many years ago, there lived a man named Elwood (my paternal grandfather's name was Elwood). Elwood was an avid hunter and very successful. At times he would shoot two or three dear during a hunt (this must have been in the days when doing this was legal, because Elwood would definitely not break the law for something as silly as a deer hunt). However, no hunt was as successful or as detrimental to his lineage as the hunt for Mortanemous.


Over the previous thousands of years, the reign of the ruler of the Kolob deer herd has changed hands (hooves) numerous times, but no ruler was greater than the all mighty Mortanemous. He was strong, huge, handsome, and very intelligent. He led the herd as no previous ruler had. The herd truly flourished under his reign, however all that changed one brisk fall morning.


Elwood, determined to find sufficient meat for his entire starving family, began trudging up the giant hill which had protected the herd for so many years. Suddenly it began raining. The rain came down harder and harder, and puddles were forming everywhere. Still Elwood persisted.


The mountain gradually turned into one giant mud slide and all the hunters turned back to camp. All that is, except the dedicated, persistent Elwood. He persevered up the mountain.


Mortanemous, observing the hunt from the top of the mountain watched with satisfaction as all the hunters retreated. He felt it was safe to notify his entire herd that it was safe to come out, and did so. However, while in the process of alerting his herd he spotted Elwood. Covered in mud, climbing up the mountain on his stomach, Elwood in turn noticed Mortanemous.


Instinctively Elwood rolled to his back, aimed the gun right at Mortanemous and with the thought of his starving family in mind he took a desperation shot. Too exhausted to keep his eyes open he assumed his shot had missed, but the loud thump was evidence enough that his shot had been true.


With his dying breath, Mortanemous called to his eldest son, Mortanemous Jr.


“Morty”, he said,


Never let this man or his family out of your sight. Never underestimate them, never again allow them to injure the leader of this heard.”


True to the counsel of his father, Morty and his son Morty and his son Morty have dedicated their lives to protecting the herd and preventing the Corrys from ever getting the big one..


The evidence is everywhere. Although members of the Corry family have harvested large deer from the Kolob herd, they have never harvested another mountable Morty since that historic and fateful day so many years ago.



Will this year be the year that the curse is broken?


Only time will tell.

* * *

UPDATE: Saturday, October 17, 2009, 10:12 p.m. : Time DID tell!!

Alas, Mountable Morty did not meet his demise at the hands (guns) of the Corry hunters this year.

On a very bright note however, two of Morty's friends, a large 4-point and a smaller 3-point were not so fortunate.

Good work, men!



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Thursday, October 15, 2009

small blessings

This morning, as I was picking up the house (post Heather-tornado), I chanced to look out our front window.

We have a bay window in our living room, and perfectly framed in it, a tree. I have no idea what kind of tree it is, but it gives us blossoms in the spring, and some kind of inedible cherry/crab-apple/rose hip/but-not-really-any-of-those-things in the summer, and at this glorious fall time, the leaves turn from a dusky deep green to a vibrant orangey-red.

Of all the colors and "clothing" that our little tree wears, I like her autumn wardrobe the best.

It was four years ago this month that I bought our little town home and moved in*. I remember looking out the front window then and thinking how glad I was to have that beautiful tree in view.

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I still am.



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*Just in case you're wondering, when I bought the town home, Eric and I were only slightly more than acquaintances. We married about 18 months later, and since Eric had been renting an apartment at the time, he just moved in to my home, thus making it ours. All I had to do was push some of my clothes to one-half of the closet, and find room elsewhere for his stereo and television. Heaven!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

nerdy-ness

TWO THINGS THAT I WANT TO DO WHEN ERIC AND I SUDDENLY FIND OURSELVES WITH MORE MONEY THAN WE CAN POSSIBLY SPEND:

(This is of course after we've donated unheard amounts of money to worthy causes, accounted for the education of our children and grandchildren, and done enough good in the world that I feel justified in being this frivolous.)

I want to buy a yellow volkswagen bug. They are so cute, and completely useless for my needs. They don't carry much in the way of passengers or cargo, and just looking at them, I have a feeling they aren't all that safe. So, I'd have to have another car to meet all my real needs in addition to this toy. That's why this is something that will wait until the far off day when I have money to burn. Won't it be fun though?



I want to buy expensive yarn. I know, how nerdy, huh? I'm a Red Heart girl. It's $2 for 8 oz in my local market. Sometimes I splurge and buy the Caron Super Soft stuff. It's $2.65 for 6 oz. Actually, now, it's called Eco Soft. That's because every skein has over 1/2 of a 2-liter plastic bottle recycled in the mix. So, basically, Heather's baby blanket saved three or four 2-liter bottles from the landfill. Impressive, huh?

So, maybe we're not developing green gasoline like my (brilliant) cousin George Huber, but we're trying to do our part here in Eric & Charlotte-land.

Anyway, back to my frivolity . . .

I was recently approached by a fellow etsy-er. She liked one of the scarves in my shop, and asked me if I would make her one, using her yarn. I agreed. She mailed me the yarn, and over the weekend I started work on her scarf. How fun that has been! Her yarn is mostly 100% wool and much of it is imported from Italy or England. It is quality stuff, and having never worked with nice yarn before, I wasn't prepared for the difference it would make. The scarf is working up beautifully, and I'm really enjoying the feel of the yarn between my fingers.

Now, I'm not enjoying the feel enough to want to spend six to seven (to ten) times more on yarn than I currently do. However, If I had more money than I knew what do to with . . .





Well, you get the idea.

Speaking of nerds (if by "nerd" we mean brilliant, enterprising, and resourceful persons to whom I just might happen to be related), as a special treat, I'm leaving you with a four-minute video of my aforementioned cousin, demonstrating how he takes sawdust and turns it into gasoline. I think it's pretty interesting.

(Of course, that might be because as I watch it, I remember back to the time that George, Janelle, Robert, and I all went to Lagoon together as part of a Willis family reunion, and one of us got sick (I honestly can't remember which one of us it was) and threw up on an unsuspecting crowd while we were all on the sky ride. Fast forward twenty-eight years or so, and George is a biofuel genius, Janelle is a celebrated concert pianist, Robert is a master geotechnical engineer, and yours truly is, well, you've already read about all of my storied accomplishments.)

Enjoy.






Sunday, October 11, 2009

sweet vulnerability

"We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife."
-(The Proclamation on the Family, 4th paragraph)

As I've thought about this statement, some interesting ideas have come to my mind. I'll just share one.

When I married Eric, I was a virgin. I'd kept the law of chastity essentially because it was a commandment, and I assumed that God knew better than I did, and I'd do better to follow His will than to follow my own. (It's not quite that simple of course, but I'm not feeling inclined to share my more personal reasons and experiences in this public forum.)

Now that I'm married and have experienced "the sacred powers of procreation", I'm grateful beyond grateful that I was given this commandment, but perhaps not for the more obvious reasons of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease.

I'm not sure how to put this in way that I'll feel good about posting here, but here goes:

I'm grateful that I wasn't ever in a situation where I considered sharing such an intimate experience with someone that I didn't trust completely, love completely, and want to be with for the rest of my life and beyond. Now that I'm on the other side of that coin, I realize so much more just how vulnerable it can leave a person. I consider it a joyous, fulfilling vulnerability (as odd as that may sound), when it's with my Eric. However, in a relationship that was even slightly more casual? Not so much.

So, I'm glad I waited.

More glad than I can say.







(For more of my writings along this line, click on the label "Family Proclamation" on the sidebar. I've written about the Proclamation on the Family a few times before, and I'm planning to write about it from time to time for the next little while.)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Snippets

Heather says "Thank You" now. She's got it a little mixed up though. It reminds me of when my two-year-old niece (Kaylee) would look up to me with puppy dog eyes, and say, "Hold you?" We both knew very well that she wasn't wanting to hold me.

Whenever Heather hands me something, (which has been happening more and more lately), I'll say "Thank you" to her. So, now, she'll hand me something and before I can open my mouth, she'll say "Dat too", in my "thank you" tone of voice.

Why didn't anyone tell me that would be so fun?

* * *

Sales in the etsy shop have been picking up lately. I attribute part of this to the free publicity I've been getting from various family members, and part of it to a trading event that I participated in recently. (which was SO FUN, and I would tell you more about it, but I'm doing my family Christmas giving in part from things I traded for and I don't want to spoil the surprise. It is only October, after all. Much too soon to be spilling the beans.)

However, I attribute the bulk of the increase to the fact that winter is peeking around the corner. Funny that. I opened a shop in June that sold primarily hats, scarves, sweaters, and blankets, and then I wondered why no one wanted to purchase my items. I mean, aren't you thinking about a nice warm sweater for your child while you're attending your 4th of July Barbecue?

No?

What's wrong with you?

* * *

And otherwise, life is good. Some of my friends and family have already posted about General Conference, what it meant to them, how it helped them. Last year I wrote a whole post about General Conference, including several of my favorite quotes, and explanations of how those quotes helped me. This year I don't feel the need to do that. All the same, I was grateful to be able to listen to wise counsel and feel the comfort of knowing that the right answers are still the right answers. It seemed to me (and to many from what I've read) that the main focus of the Conference this time around was love. Love for our families, love for our neighbors, love for the people we interact with, love for all.

I like that focus. Loving is something that comes fairly easy to me. Showing that love can be a little more difficult, but only a little. So, I have an easy sense of peace and contentment, a feeling that while I continue to have a long way to go, it seems that for now at least, I'm on the right path.

Today, being on the right path is more than enough for me.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Captains Log: Stardate 07901


So, a few months ago (like in April and May) Eric and I went through a Cheez-its phase.

Now we're a little bit burned out on them, but at the time, we craved Cheez-its like nothing else, especially the white cheddar kind. (Have you ever had those? Delicious.) Interestingly enough, we were talking about it the other day, and realized that neither of us had ever seen a box of Cheez-its in an actual house before we saw one in our own.

Huh.

Anyway, for awhile, there was a promotion going where if you would send in a proof of purchase and about $10 or something, the fine makers of Cheez-its would send you your very own . . . .

OFFICIAL STAR TREK SHIRT!!!!

Thinking it would be the perfect Father's Day gift, I secretly saved the required proof of purchase, and surreptitously sent it in with the money.

Several weeks after Fathers Day, I received a notice that there was more interest in the shirts than had been anticipated, and mine (Eric's) was on back-order.

(At which point I thought to myself, "What were these people thinking? Obviously there would be super-normal interest in something that would appeal so thoroughly to the rapidly increasing population of geekdom, right?")

Anyway, guess what came in the mail this week?


Oh yeah, Father's Day might have come late to Mr. Cantwell this year, but Christmas came early early early.


Eric has taken to referring to himself as The Captain.


As in, "Oh, does Heather want to be picked up by The Captain?"


Or, "Well, The Captain is going to go downstairs and get some cereal now."


Or (my personal favorite)(when I call him on the phone and he can tell that it's me),

"This is The Captain speaking."


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You may think I'm kidding, but I am absolutely not.

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I'm tempted to figure out a way for us all to go as Star Trek characters for Halloween this year, but have you seen the women in those old episodes of Star Trek? (If not, let me know. We have the entire series on DVD. Surprised?) To be honest, I'm just not sure I could pull something like that off.





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