Friday, June 28, 2013

Why I'll have as many kids as I want

I was recently disturbed by an ad that I heard on the radio; they said "whether your family is just you, you and your spouse, or just two kids, it's okay to have a small family." I'm not disagreeing that it's okay to have a small family, I'm disagreeing that it is the right thing to do or that it is the only socially/economically/ecologically acceptable thing to do. I ventured to their website to see what the flip they were talking about and to be honest I don't think that the g o v e r n m e n t (or state coalition) should tell me how many kids I should/shouldn't have OR reward people with the offer of free diapers to visit and support their site (since I want to have more than 2 kids, do I not get the chance for free diapers???). Their entire website is dedicated to showing why small families are best and why it is the financially/emotionally/ecologically smart thing to do (last time I checked we don't live in CHINA). Now, I want to be somewhat level headed here and say that I see the other side. Utah families, generally, tend to have more than two kids...but not all. Maybe the small families feel prejudiced against or uncomfortable explaining their "small" family situation and perhaps that is what this site is intending to do- offer support to those who are in a small family. Their is nothing wrong with having a small family, let that be said and if people really need help understanding how to have a small family, then great.

Aren't you glad I saw it from the other side? Here is my side. How many children I have is up to me, my husband, and The Lord. We prayed about when to start our family. We prayed about waiting or not waiting. I perfectly understand that some families cannot have children and my heart goes out to them. I completely understand that some families can't afford to adopt and I sympathize. But I don't need coalitions blasting the radio with ads telling me it's "okay" to have a small family (as if it is the right or only thing to do). So if I have to more kids, is it not okay anymore? What about support for people who want to have a larger (2+ kids) family? I'm not a leech that wants welfare because I have "too many" children, so what are my options and where is my support? Everyone should be smart about starting a family and taking into consideration all the financial/emotional/time management aspects. If I have four children does that mean that I can't give each one the time they need to feel loved? According to them my kids won't feel loved enough if I have more than 1-2 kids. They won't get the attention they need or deserve. And also, don't dissuade me to have less kids because it's "bad" for the environment and our green footprint (or whatever). That is the dumbest reason I've ever heard about why I should have a small family. They try throughout their site to say that they're, "not trying to tell you that small is the only way to go." Laughable. Let me just say this, I am from a kind-of large family and looking back I don't feel like I didn't get enough attention growing up or that my parents loved me less because they had "too many" kids. I didn't turn out to be some menace to society and that's because I have good parents and was raised in a good home with good values. Shouldn't that be the focus for families, regardless of size?

All I can say is that it's a bunch of garbage to dissuade people from having more than two kids, or any kids at all because it is irresponsible or not okay by society. Whether you have none or nineteen, it's your choice and the stupid coalitions should stay out of it. Raise your children, however many you do/don't have, to be good members of society.

Monday, June 17, 2013

BotH:Chapter 8

Chapter 8
Residents, part 1

In addition to renting out rooms nightly, our guests had the option of buying a resident or suite. The suites were regular rooms and the residents were custom-built condos on the top few floors of The Resort. This first owner that I am about to discuss is rich and famous-ish so I am not going to give any specific details about who he is... He owned a resident and I interacted with him several times, dreading it each and every time.

When we first learned that Mr. Live would be visiting his residence for the first time, our Food and Beverage manager sent out a memo on how to pronounce his name correctly and would randomly test employees. "It's Live like Hive not live like give." I can understand that if you paid millions of dollars to live somewhere you'd want the staff to pronounce your name correctly, but it was a little annoying. Before I met him for the first time, I heard lots of hearsay about him from the Restaurant Manager who was one of my friends. She told me it was hard to respect a person that came into the restaurant with women other than his wife. I've never seen his wife and I don't know if he was cheating on her, but the manager was pretty convinced that he was.

The first time I delivered a meal to his room I had gotten over being star struck when I met celebrities. I knocked on the door, asked if I could come in and he let me in, but only into the foyer. Forbes/AAA wanted us to setup a guest's food on their actual table, so I had to make a quick adjustment to my routine to figure out what to do with all of his food. I showed him what everything was (we used metal covers to help keep things hot), and as I proceeded to leave gave me a firm handshake (weird) and told me it was nice to meet me. That sounds normal enough, but he did it in a way that made me feel like he thought I had come in as a gushing fan and was so humbled to meet him, when in reality it was laughable that he treated me like that. I didn't gush. I said his name properly and did all of my usual protocol. Anyway, the entire first meeting was awkward and I would always try to get someone else to deliver his food. Carlos told me that I had to serve him. Blah. Another time I went to deliver his breakfast -- $125 for 4 people...they all had filet mignon and eggs-- and do you know how much he tipped me? $1.99. That's right!! Everyone in the department had a good laugh about it. But, in his defense we had a wicked steep auto-gratuity. Unfortunately as servers we had to split the auto-grat between everyone that worked that shift and only write-in tips (or cash) went directly to the server. Anyway, he always seemed to make such a big scene about being around and it got old, quick.

The second guest that owned a suite (not a resident) is/was the co-creator (or CEO?) of a famous medical website. He was really nice and I loved serving him breakfast. He almost always got eggs Benedict. It's funny how you remember what people ordered, especially if they were regulars. Anyway, Mr. Badger was at The Resort Monday through Wednesday, then spent the weekends in New York. Every time you went to his room and delivered his meals, he'd tip $20! My kind of guy. After almost a year of being open we started to offer a grocery service to our guests (such a pain in the butt) and we would always go stock his room before he got there and rotate his beverages throughout the week. He was a fitness buff from what I saw in his room-- fitness magazines, protein powders, etc. It turns out he was a swinger and asked out one of the restaurant managers for a drink. Although other employees had taken him up on the drink offer, this particular manager kindly declined.

It was interesting to see how people in the spotlight treated the people who served them. I really enjoyed working with Mr. Badger whereas Mr. Live was no treat. There was always a buzz about in the back of the house when either was on property.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Healthy Recipe Reviews:Grain-Free Desserts

I have a sweet tooth and there is no denying it. We have been trying to eat healthier lately so I have been looking for alternative recipes to our normal sweets. The PB Blondies I found from The Detoxinista  and the CC Cookie Dough Balls I found from Texanerin Baking. Of the two the blondies were my favorite. Brenan also liked them which was a huge plus!! I always have him try things before I tell him what's in it...My edges got a little over done, but other than that they were great. The cookie dough balls...If you are craving cookie dough and that's it, then these are great. The texture and flavor is spot on when they are uncooked/slightly cooked. If you are craving chocolate chip cookies (and want a healthy version) these are not for you. I cooked my second batch for-ev-er to get them to be less doughy and the end result was edible, yet very chewy (and not in the good way). Baking them longer also brought out the chickpea flavor. I ate them, but didn't love them as a cookie alternative. Just as dough balls they were great.

















Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies
Adapted from Detoxinista.com

Ingredients
1 cup peanut butter
⅓ cup honey
1 whole egg
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ square pan with butter or coconut oil.
In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter, honey, egg, and baking soda until well combined, then fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the greased pan, and use a spatula to smooth the top.
Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown.
Let cool, then cut into squares and serve!
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Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
Adapted from texanerin.com

Ingredients
1¼ cups canned chickpeas, well-rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup + 2 tablespoons peanut butter
¼ cup  honey 
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 dash cinnamon

Instructions
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Combine all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, in a food processor (I used a magic bullet...it took longer but it worked, then I transferred it to a Kitchenaid) and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they're combined. Put in the chocolate chips and stir it if you can, or pulse it once or twice. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. 
With wet hands, form into 1½" balls. Place onto a Silpat or a piece of parchment paper. If you want them to look more like normal cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don't do much rising. Bake for about 10 minutes.

















Wednesday, June 12, 2013

BotH: Chapter 7

Lucky 7!

Chapter 7
Alcohol?

As I previously mentioned, I am an alcohol idiot. In terms of serving alcohol I had only served it for about 4 months prior to working at The Resort. It may surprise some that I grew up (kinda) around alcohol(ics) my entire life. My dad drinks and so does his side of the family so I know very basically what names of alcohols are. Little did I know that I knew nothing compared to people in the service world.

During our first two weeks of training we had a 2-hour class with The Resort's sommelier (wine genius). Talk about information overload. It was literally his job to know every single bottle of wine in The Resort and how much it costs, what to pair with it, and how to recommend it. I would say that ninety-percent of the information went over my head. The first time I ever opened a bottle of wine was about 2 hours before an event. My manager knew that I knew nothing about alcohol, least of all how to open wine, so she gave all of the wine idiots the task of opening all the bottles. It really was good practice to do it over and over again and I thought that the experience helped me to know how to serve wine better. She also taught us how to pour wine. In our resort you had to hold the bottle with one hand, present the label facing out to the guest, and then pour the right amount. With our other hand we had a cloth napkin draped over our forearm to use to wipe the wine bottle with if we had any drips. Luckily I never spilled wine on anyone.

For Banquets we had bartenders so realistically all I had to do was know what we were serving and take orders. Sounds easy, right? You would think so. Then there came me. I remember one of our first events I had someone ask me for a beer. He asked for something that I tried to memorize but I kept repeating, "sorry, what was that?" I ran to the bartender and tried to mumble back what I thought the guy had said. I think I said "stellar tois" and the bartender gave me a your-an-idiot laugh as he handed me a Stella Artois. I had never heard of that brand of beer before that day. Like I said, I had only had a few months of alcohol experience before working there. We had a small event that was me and our bartender, Ryan. He had to step away from the bar for a minute which left me alone with about thirty guests. Naturally I started to get drink orders that I would have to fill. Luckily for me Ryan had set a good mood, being loosy goosy and interactive with the guests, so that when I went to get a drink and botched pouring it they were able to be fun/understanding about it. The guest said to me as I poured a bottle of beer into a pilsner, "if that beer had much more head it could walk around with us!" If you don't know what that means, beer foams when you pour it which is why it has to be poured at a sharp angle. I had only used taps before and wasn't sure how pour the beer into a glass without spilling. Ryan casually walked up after that and grabbed another beer, dumped it straight upside-down into the glass, and made a joke. He made a lot of tips that night...he even shared with me, even though I was a klutz at the bar. Then we ate all the leftover oysters and seafood. Delish. By the way, when Ryan and I worked at events together we were unstoppable. And not so much at our service, but you couldn't get us to shut up and stop cracking jokes. He was hilarious and I give him all the credit for that. Plus he was super fascinating, but I digress.

My last alcohol disasters, and I think these two were the worst one. When I worked in Private Dining (room service) if a guest ordered a bottle of wine you had to open it and present it to them in person. You couldn't' open it in advance to save time. Since by this point I had opened hundreds of bottle I felt confident doing this in a guest's room. I had a couple order a bottle of wine. Easy. I got to their room, set their table with their meal, then proceeded to open their wine. But it wouldn't open. At all. I sat there for nearly ten minutes trying to open  the bottle but the cork wouldn't budge. I also shredded through about 1/4 inch of its top layer and I thought I was going to die. To make matters worse I could tell they were annoyed both at me and with each other. It was so awkward to hear them bickering as I was trying to hurry and get the heck out of there. I was about two seconds away from leaving and asking them if I could bring wine back or asking if they wanted to open it. After A LOT of encouragement from me I finally got the cork out. So embarrassing. In my defense it really was the hardest bottle to open of all the bottles I've ever opened. The second less intelligent thing I did was open Prosecco (sparkling wine, like champagne but not) in a guest's room. I didn't think ahead that I should open it before I went in the room (she only ordered a glass of it) and then it hit me that duh- sparkling wine has a tendency to spill out of the bottle if it isn't opened right (I was trained to open it without spilling, not easy though). Luckily for me I didn't spill wine all over her room when I popped the cork, but it was definitely a dumb thing to do.

As a pat on my back, I am proud to say that I know how to saber a champagne bottle. I was trained, they let me practice with real champagne (so we waste another bottle...no biggie), and I did it as part of the evening ceremony at The Resort for about 15 guests. The one time I did it publicly I did mess up a little, but eventually I got it --I was so nervous doing it for guests that I forgot about placing the seam on the bottle at the right place. Luckily my manager was there to help.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Julia's second birthday

 Our sweet Julia turned 2 this week and we had such a fun day together celebrating as a family. I decorated her door so that when she woke up she'd have a surprise. This backfired a little bit since she woke up at 5:45 bawling, so she didn't notice until later. Of course her birthday balloon was her savior, so that put her in a pretty good mood. We started out the morning by meeting up with Grandma C at Target to pick out her gift, then we all went out to breakfast. Once we got home we all went swimming together. During  nap time she had a delivery come for her and she got a big box of gifts from Papa Ron and Grandma Lorraine. This prompted our afternoon outside playing with her bubble gifts (she got 2) and then we all relaxed for a while and watched her favorite shows together. For dinner we had pizza and a mini birthday cake. She loved being sung to and blowing out the candle. She sang "Happy Birthday" back to us for the rest of dinner. It was totally adorable.
 The hat didn't last long

 LOVES bubbles

Opening gifts with daddy 

Blowing out her candle

Monday, June 3, 2013

BotH: Chapter 6

Chapter 6
The Royal Wedding

This was one of the weddings that I was most involved with. The bride, Ms. Princess, was a very rich lady. Her father is an owner of a nationwide restaurant/bar chain and they have tons of money. Her parents are divorced, which made for an awkward menu tasting. The wife and daughter have both had lots of work done, and I was surprised to see that the mother looked like she just came from gardening--not done up, no make up, sloppy clothes, etc. Ms. Princess on the other hand came looking like a super model. She had the snottiest attitude and most spoiled demeanor of anyone that I ever came across while working there.  Her fiance Mr. Prince was a little pretentious, but you could tell by the way he acted that she was in charge of that relationship. Everyone at a tasting got a complimentary beverage and I remember him asking for something that wasn't initially offered to him and at the time I had no idea what he was talking about. I think he ordered prosecco or something like that and I tried to mumble back to our bartender what he ordered (I'm an alcohol idiot, but more on that later).
For the tasting our Banquet Chef, Tony, actually did it in the restaurant (which was not common) so I had to stand "guard" outside the doors of the chef's private table and act as the liaison between the guests and chef. I remember listening in to what they thought of the food, and for the salad course she seemed mostly pleased and swapped some toppings, but other than that there were no complaints. The main course tasting was where it all went downhill. I brought them in their halibut and steak and this is what I heard. "I've had a lot of halibut in my life and this is literally the worst halibut I have ever had. Like, it's disgusting and it's the worst ever." I could tell that the Catering Manager was speechless because she wasn't sure how to react to the criticism and after the tasting she asked me to get Tony. Since Tony and I were friends I gave him the heads up that she hated the fish (he was furious) before he went in to meet with them. Without being rude while talking to them, he became slightly defensive (a New Yorker defensive? No...) in trying to understand what exactly was wrong with the halibut. I don't remember what she said was wrong with it, but they ended up figuring out a solution. Once we were in the back of the house Tony went off. Realistically whatever her complaint was was something bizarre, I remember thinking it was petty. She was the only one at the table that complained about the fish.
Then there was the wedding cake fiasco. She came in with a drawing she did herself of what she wanted her cake to look like. She was not an artist and gave very vague ideas about what she wanted it to look like. Our poor pastry chef was left with a scribbling to go off of for her enormous cake. Ms. Princess wanted her cake to look like Italian Stucco so Orin did the best job he could. Phil, our Executive Chef (he was in charge of all the chefs and dining in The Resort), showed up just before the wedding to the Pastry Kitchen, saw the cake, criticized Orin, and decided to re-decorate it himself. As nice as Phil was (at least to me), he was no pastry chef and he went to town on that cake to "fix" it, just to make it worse. The weird thing about all of this is that I didn't serve the wedding. I was annoyed to miss it, but I injured myself that week at another event and per doctor's orders I had to sit-out banquets for a while.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

9 Months

Holy cow my little boy is 9 months old! We actually got him to the doctor on time as well, so we have his stats this time. Weighing in at a whopping 19 lbs. 4 oz the little guy is in the 30th percentile (though sometimes he feels much heavier). He is crawling like a maniac, pulls himself up to his knees with ease, and is just starting to pull himself to standing (with support). He likes cheerios and goldfishes and from time to time will drink from a bottle/sippy cup!! We've gone through some rough sleeping lately, he went from teething to this super bad cold so there have not been many sleep-filled nights (at least not for me...). He finally got a crib and he is playing with toys a lot more now. His favorite song is "You Are my Sunshine" and he likes to drum. He also loves baths and swimming--we went today and because he still has erratic leg/arm movement, he is nearly swimming on his own. We love this little man and are so happy he is in our lives!