31 October 2010

Dinner tonight: Tomatoes from the trash

Did I ever tell you the story about the time I fed my kids a tomato out of the trash??  I learned a lesson and found a really yummy dinner in the process.

I was cleaning my kitchen in Juneau sometime this year, and came across two Roma tomatoes on the counter in a plastic bag.  One was really gross, and the other was perfectly fine.  The bad one wasn't touching the good one, but I decided that since I knew I wasn't going to use the good one, I would just throw them both away.  Darwin bought the tomatoes and he was gone on a trip somewhere, and I don't really care for tomatoes...so I justified my decision.  I was pretty sure I wouldn't use that tomato.

Several hours later, I decided to make dinner.  I pulled a jar of Ragu Cheesy! Roasted Garlic Sauce out of my pantry.  I think I bought it thinking it was Alfredo sauce.  I wanted to have Chicken Alfredo for dinner.  It wasn't Alfredo sauce, but it had a recipe on the back that called for chicken and noodles, so I decided to make that.  The only other ingredients were olive oil and A TOMATO!  I dug the tomato out of the trash (it was still in the plastic bag and still not touching the rotten tomato) and chopped it up and had it in the dinner.

That dinner is now one of my favorite dinners to make.  Everyone likes it and it is really easy and quick.  I also learned not to throw away perfectly good food, because you can't ever tell when you might need it!  haha!

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/4 lbs.) cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 jar (1 lb.) Ragu ® Cheesy! Roasted Garlic Parmesan Sauce
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 8 ounces rotelle, penne or gemelli pasta, cooked and drained


  1. Heat olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat and lightly brown chicken. Stir in Roasted Garlic Parmesan Sauce and tomato.
  2. Simmer covered, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Spoon chicken and sauce over hot rotelle and garnish, if desired, with crisp-cooked crumbled bacon and chopped fresh basil.
Preparation time: 20 Minute(s)
Cook time: 20 Minute(s)
Servings: 4

Laie Temple Open House

We took our kids to the Laie Temple Open House on Thursday October 30, 2010.  It was amazing!!  I am so glad we had this opportunity.  Photos weren't allowed inside the temple, but we did take a few outside.  The celestial room was so peaceful and beautiful, the baptistery had an incredible painting of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and a beautiful stained glass window depicting the tree of life, the bride's room looked like the inside of a fairy castle (the dressing table was inlaid with abalone shells), and each ordinance room was painted with full wall murals.  Can't wait for the dedication so we can attend this beautiful place!!

29 October 2010

The Weirdest Recognition Letter

We got a letter in the mail this week from London's school.  To summarize the contents, she was nominated for what I think was something like student of the month this month...but it was kind of hard to tell.  I am going to try and recreate the letter here.  It was very weird with the "political correctness" wording, some interesting font changes and random bold words, and I laugh every time I read it. =)

Oct. 26, 2010

Dear Parents/Guardians,


Your child, London Jensen, has been recognized by her teacher for her exemplary display of RESPONSIBILITY for the month of October's character trait.  Only one student from each class is chosen each month as a character trait recipient.  Therefore, it is a great HONOR to be selected.

A character trait recipient is someone who exemplifies the best attributes of responsibility and of a ******* Elementary student.  He/she serves as a role model to his/her classmates and to all students at ******* Elementary.  You should be proud!

To celebrate your child's selection as a responsibility recipient you are cordially invited to have lunch with your child and the entire upper grade level in the cafeteria on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 11:10 a.m.  There will be a parent sign-in sheet in the cafeteria so you do not have to sign in at the office.

You may purchase a lunch from the cafeteria for $4.40 or bring a homemade lunch similar to one you would pack for your child.  NO FAST FOOD MEALS.  Since seating is limited we ask that it be one or both parents and the recipient.  PTSO provides an added treat so please no extra rewards, leis or balloons.  The celebration is in the recognition and lunch!

If you take pictures, please take them after all the certificates have been awarded.

CONGRATULATIONS!  WE share your pride and look forward to seeing you at the Character Trait Recognition Ceremony.




I went to the "ceremony" today.  I ate lunch with London (who was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood for Halloween) and got to see her receive her award.  The volume level of the cafeteria was deafening to say the least.  Here is a short video of her receiving her award.

Isaiah earned his Bobcat!

Our baby earned his Bobcat award yesterday!  He is so excited about cub scouts!  (now we just need to find his book so we can start in on his wolf!)

 Pinning the bobcat pin on mom.

Darwin and I volunteered at the Laie Hawaii Temple open house all day yesterday as well.  It was really neat!

24 October 2010

Scripture Study

We started reading the Book of Mormon as a family about four years ago.  Before that we were using the softcover scripture readers with pictures, but decided that we should read the actual Book of Mormon when Isaiah was about four.  We do not read every night, but we do read more nights than we don't.  So far, we are up to Alma 47... in four years.  Sometimes we each read a column.  Sometimes we each read a verse.  Some nights only one verse gets read, but we are learning a lot with our children; taking it slow like this.  We have had time to discuss and digest each story with them, and they amaze me with how much they know about the scriptures.

Anyway, we were reading this week about Amalickiah and king Lehonti.  Amalickiah is the "bad" guy, and he uses treachery to become king of the Lamanites.  He poisons Lehonti just a little at a time, so he doesn't know it is happening.  Then he blames Lehonti's servants for the death of the king and comforts the people.  Then he marries the queen and becomes the king.

As we were reading the beginning of the chapter, Brooklin asked, "Is this the story where he comes down the mountain and they poison him?"

Caleb said, "WHAT?!  They poison him!?"

and then Brooklin goes, "yeah...  WARNING! SPOILER ALERT!"

We all had a good laugh.

...and now it's October!

The year is just going so fast!
I can't believe it's already the end of October!
We have had a good month.

We went to the Makapu'u Lighthouse two weeks ago and hikes about five miles total.  The trail was paved all the way up and when the trail went behind the mountain, it was extremely hot.  The wind was blowing and I lost my hat several times.  We found a geocache and got to look at some old WWII bunkers.  We packed a picnic lunch and had it at the top.  It was a beautiful hike.

This is how I see my family on most hikes we go on.
I am the slowest hiker...kind of like that rhino in the stampede in the movie Jumanji. =)

I have to run ahead to get a picture of them from the front...
...or just wait for one of the little kids to need help getting their water out of their backpacks (that slows them all down for a minute and I can usually catch up.  Sometimes I even pass them).

We are pretty sure it was a clear enough day that we could see Molokai from here.

 Happy London.

Rabbit and Turtle Islands

The Makapu'u Lighthouse.
The gate to walk right up to it is closed, so this is as close as you can get.

It was really windy up at the top and I kept loosing my hat.  Darwin caught it for me more than once.

Darwin pointing to Brooklin who had just found the geocache.

The kids with the geocache.
(Notice that they dropped the GPS on the ground...nice).

Hiking up to the WWII bunkers

There was a lot of cactus on the unpaved part of the trail

If you look close, you can see the lighthouse in this picture.

This is clear at the top.  Our truck is parked in the parking lot down below.

Hiking back down.

Here is a reverse shot of the peak we were on from the parking lot.

After the hike, we stopped at Hanauma Bay to play at the beach and go snorkeling.  Everyone but Isaiah and I saw turtles, and we all saw tons of fish.  No pictures of this part of the trip, but after our fun day, we decided to eat at Papa John's Pizza.  We ordered our pizza and then sat outside at the tables on the sidewalk.  The table we were at was right outside of a place called Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Desserts.  All the kids were begging for ice cream, and I told them that we'd had enough fun already for one day and they didn't need dessert too.  That, of course, didn't stop them from begging.  Darwin finished his pizza and got up and walked into the ice cream store!  He came out with a box.  It had a full ice cream cake inside.  He had the woman write "To: Melissa" on the top with red glaze.  Then, he told me that the name of the cake was the first one on the menu board.  The name of my cake was...

I was "officially" offended, but it was too funny not to laugh at! =)  Especially since I was adamant that we didn't need dessert too. (and if you clicked on the link, he did NOT pay $68 for this cake.  That is only the price if you buy it on the internet and have it shipped to you).