Thursday, February 28, 2008

There Is No Arizona

That's been the running joke I've had with my brother Tod ever since he received his mission call to the Arizona Phoenix Mission. He doesn't much listen to country music, although he does love that Keith Urban, but then again who doesn't? But a country song that was popular 10 years ago by a no-namer who hasn't come out with a new hit since, doesn't quite fall in his country music knowledge.

That is until I started singing it to him every chance I got. "Tod, don't you know there is no Arizona" and I'd belt it out as I'm prone to do and he would chuckle as if it was the first time I sang it to him. He's a good brother.

This past weekend I went to Ohio to see my family and give "one last toot for Tod," as my brother-in-law Dave put it, before he leaves to serve the Lord in Arizona for 2 years. I am very proud of him and his decision to serve. Life hasn't always been easy for him, but he has always stayed strong and been dedicated to the Lord. Because of this, I know he will be a great missionary.

The weekend was filled with good events, starting with a trip to the Columbus temple as one of the final, yet very important steps in preparation before Tod leaves. Sure, we had to eat at the Hometown Buffet afterward, but for some reason, it's Tod's favorite so I went along with no complaints. Okay, almost no complaints.

Sunday Tod gave an excellent talk on the covenants made at baptism. It was touching to see him speak with such confidence and grace. Mom wanted all the Flory children to sing and so we did, along with a few family friends. While the exact details of that moment can't be shared here, mom just may think twice before she signs us ALL up to sing. It will definitely go down in Flory family history.

With my amazing cooking skills, I made pork burritos, Cafe Rio style for the farewell feast. So, they weren't exactly like Cafe Rio, but they were pretty darn good.

"You're getting to be a pretty good cook for someone who used to never step foot in the kitchen." Clearly my mom was shocked. Cooking dinner was the least I could do to show her she didn't fail completely in domesticating me. "Remember in high school when you wouldn't even heat up your Lean Cuisine ?" Yes Mom, I remember. I also remember when I called you after moving to my first apartment in college because I didn't know how to make a baked potato.

And so it seems both Tod and I have come a long way.

It was definitely a fast trip, but I am glad I got to spend time with Tod before he departs to preach the gospel. As the song goes ... he's "headed for a new and better life, out in Arizona!"

Elder Tod Alan Flory

Amy, Nikki, Tod, Me at Columbus Ohio temple

Thursday, February 21, 2008

From now on it's just me and my sweet potato pie

If you would have asked me a few days ago how I felt about sweet potatoes, I would have looked at you and probably made a gagging face. Yes, sometimes I do still act like a teenager.

But ask me today how I feel about sweet potatoes.

Go on, ask me.

C'mon I double dog dare you.

Well, since you asked, I'll tell you how I feel about sweet potatoes. I love them with all my tastebuds!!! They are so delcious. Trust me, I'm as shocked about this as you. One might wonder how I never knew this until now.

The truth is, growing up we usually only ate them on holidays. It's true, my sweet tooth is never usually picky about the source of the sugar, but "candied yams" is where I draw the line. Every year they'd be there, as consistent as the Italian sausage. And every few years I'd take a small sample on my plate, just to be sure I wasn't missing something incredible - and nope, I wasn't.

But last night, I tried something different. I found a new salmon recipe, and although it contained sweet potatoes, I decided to try it anyway. And different it was - no brown sugar, no marshmallows - just a little olive oil, salt and rosemary. Divine!!!

And here's another reason to be excited about sweet potatoes. According to (practically my favorite website), sweet potatoes are "some of the most nutritious vegetables around." And while that statement may seem superlative, check out the chart below to see for yourself. (Chart also courtesy of

My delicious meal!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where would we be without a little love?

Ah, Valentine's Day. Or Single Awareness Day. Or Tod's Birthday (Happy Birthday Little Bro'!!!).

A day by any other name would be filled with just as many sweets.

It's true - I ate Lindt truffles this morning for breakfast. It's funny how we justify eating certain things just because it's a holiday. And what's even funnier is the way people justify it. "Calories don't count on your birthday." I've definitely heard that one every birthday of my adult life. Or "It's a holiday so go ahead and have another piece of pie." Or, "Your celebrating Valentine's Day alone so you deserve Lindt truffles for breakfast."

Well alone or not, I just love Lindt truffles. And thanks to my dear friend Elise, I can now successfully pull the dot out with my teeth without otherwise harming the smooth chocolate ball. Try it and trust me you'll never eat a Lindt truffle the same way again.

Besides all the sweets and the flowers and the cards and the Jimmy Choo shoes (seriously was the gift one of my clients gave his wife for V-day!!!), what is Valentine's day really about? Some would argue it's a fabricated holiday, shaped by Hallmark to feed our overly consumed society.

But, I would argue that Valentine's Day is exactly what it professes to be - a day to celebrate love. I may not be in love at the moment, but I do love a whole lot of people. And just as we celebrate Thanksgiving to remember to be grateful, I think Valentine's day is a great day to remember to be loving.

When I lived at home, my parents bought me a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day. My sister greeted me this morning with a "What's up my Valentine?" Friends have sent me cards and left me little messages. All these things are done in an effort to let me know they love me. Who's my Valentine this year? That's like asking me who do I love this year. And the answer is many, many, many amazing people. I am blessed to have love in my life in so many ways.

Some Valentine's day I'll wake up really early and make heart shaped pancakes for the man of my dreams; and I'll serve them on these darling Valentine's plates that I got on major sale at Kohl's but I've yet to use. I'll serve him breakfast in bed and he'll buy me Jimmy Choo shoes (just kidding about that last part). It will be your picture of perfection romantic Valentine's Day.

But today, I recognize the people in my life that I love dearly (I hope you know who you are) and thank them for loving me unconditionally.

Happy Valentine's Day!