Monday, December 26, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

When we were planning the Christmas dinner for two zones of missionaries (50), it became clear that stove and oven space was going to be limited.  After taking an unscientific survey of our district we found that their favorite potato dish was funeral potatoes - except for Sora Wilson who is from Australia and had never heard of them.  So I found a recipe for crockpot cheesy potatoes that looked delicious, easy and didn't take up any oven space. Then I discovered that they don't have bags of frozen grated or cubed potatoes here.  But they do have potatoes so how hard can making frozen grated potatoes be?  Off to the piata to pick out 80 spuds (about 45 lbs.) we go.  We spend hours washing, peeling, grating and putting them in our treasured gallon ziplock bags. We put half the bags in our little freezer and the other half in the freezer across the street at the chapel.  Job well done!  But wait, there's more.  When we check them the next day the potatoes have all turned black or brown.  I guess Birds Eye has a flash freeze process we had not considered.   

On to Plan B........

So now we must solve the "spud" problem......what to do, what to do?   Back to the piata we go for 80 more potatoes.  The morning of the party we wash, peel, slice and put them into buckets of cold salty water.  Then 1 1/2 hours before the dinner is to be served, we race home to start boiling and mashing.

We walked into the serving room with our pans of mashed potatoes at exactly 6:00pm.  However, when we got home that night at 11:00pm we found that angels from on high had not come into our kitchen while we were gone.

The Dinner

                       Remains of the Dinner

The missionaries managed to eat almost everything on the table.  After the dinner they were allowed to take home left overs and the rest disappeared.  Thanks to all the Senior Couples in the Buc zones we served an almost traditional Christmas dinner.  Instead of turkeys, we had chickens and pork roasts in place of ham. There was the traditional red jello (thanks Jennifer!) and corn.  Delicious glaced carrots replaced yams. We even had dressing, green bean casserole and gravy.  We love our missionaries and they let the seniors walk away from the kitchen without looking back.  They had that building spotless by the time the night ended.

And because we just couldn't resist..........

Romanian Gothic

Craciun Fericit!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Someone Is Walking on My Sunshine.....or My Shoes are On a Three Year Mission, but I'm Not!

Upon arriving in Bucharest we were taken to the Mission Home where we were given a folder with good information for missionaries to know.  One full page was devoted to ingrown toenails.  I have never had an ingrown toenail in my life and have done lots of walking so I ignored those instructions.  The shoes I brought with me were chosen carefully and I loved them.  However, it became evident rather quickly they were not up to the task.  Within just a few weeks I had my first ever ingrown toenail.  Is this in the category of TMI?  Sorry, but I continue.  We found a Skecher store where there was a beautiful pair of shoes just calling out to me and my painful toe.  After putting them on I danced around and said "this is like walking on sunshine!"  We walk a lot here and about two weeks later my left ankle just collapsed.  It was freaky.  My ankle was on the ground.  Brent had to practically carry me home.  We immediately contacted our own personal orthopedic surgeon (Dr. Marc) who perscribed rest and an ankle brace.  After a few weeks my ankle seemed to be strong again so I put my lovely new shoes back on and went for a walk.  Sad to say the ankle did not cooperate.  So I boxed the shoes up and gave them to Sora Patton, our office missionary and told her to help the shoes find a good home.  Several days later our new mission president's wife, Sora Hill, came limping into a staff meeting complaining that the shoes she brought to Romania were hurting her feet.  Sora Patton happily gave her my shoes and now her feet are happy. And she looks great in them!

 I have gone back over the ingrown toenail instructions and follow them faithfully!

And speaking of Sora Hill......

Here we are helping with breakfast for a zone leaders conference.  I think Elder Wahlquist looks smashing in his apron.  And believe me, it gets lots of use.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Idle Hands are the Devil's Workshop, Busy Hands Make Hats!

When I received a set of hat looms and yarn from good friends and family, I decided that I should relearn how to use them so that I could explain the process to our YSAs.  However, once I got started I couldn't quit.  I was hooked (pardon the pun)!  We also found yarn at several places here in Bucharest.  Now, over 50 hats later, it is time to turn the looms over to whom they were originally intended.
Elder Wahlquist was kind enough to model one for me.  I think he looks very spiffy and his ears are warm.  The Humanitarian Aid missionaries have assured us they will be placed on some little cold heads soon.