Sunday, December 26, 2010

Playing Catch-Up

So, in the more than a month that has past since I last wrote, we had an awesome Thanksgiving with Tyson's family. Everyone - except me ;) - loved Mike's turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. Caleen made delicious green bean casserole, frog-eye salad, and this cranberry compote instead of cranberry sauce. It has dried apricots, golden raisins, and cardamom - yum! I experimented with pear pie and "Hooray for the Pumpkin Pie" from the Lion House Bakery cookbook. The latter was quite large and had to be carefully moved into a casserole dish, hee, hee! (See pictures) It was a wonderful day of gratitude spent with family. :)

Tyson and I then moved up to Bountiful into a four-plex. Our location is phenomenal. We're so close to everything, and yet we feel totally safe. I still can't wrap my head around it! I love our apartment, too. We finally have our own washer and dryer, and we have a second bedroom in the hope that kidlings will come soon. Our neighbors across the hall, and the ones just above them are members of our ward - which, by the way is awesome! And our neighbor above us is a quiet man who works nights. I'm beginning to hang now pictures on the wall now, too, and it feels more like home all the time. :)

Right after we moved, Caleen very kindly arranged things so that I could have my knees MRI-ed at her work at no cost to me. It turns out I have a tear in my right medial meniscus. Ha! Take that doctors! I knew there was something of significance wrong! Okay, so it's not much of a victory, because now I can't dance and have to see and orthopedist and probably undergo physical therapy, but I'm hoping that it will be a victory long-term. :)

Also, I love my job teaching ballet on Thursday nights. I have three classes, and two of them make me want to pull my hair out with frustration (!!!), but I still love my dancers and I love preparing for and teaching my classes! :D

We had a sweet Christmas this week. Tyson's work has kept him for such long hours lately that they gave him Thursday off in addition to Friday. It was so great to spend so much time together! :) We had a quiet Christmas Eve with just the two of us. On Christmas Day we drove down to Orem and visited briefly with his best friend Chris's family, then continued on to his own family in Spanish Fork. Remick and Amelia and her sister Beth joined us there. We opened gifts, ate a large and delicious lunch, then all went to see the latest Narnia movie. We returned home and ate desserts - pumpkin pie, apple pie, my black forest pie, and "ugly duckling cake." When we left last night, we stopped by Chris's home again. We sat and talked for a few delightful hours with Chris and his mom, then went home and collapsed into bed. :)

I hope you all had a sweet and Merry Christmas full of joy and love!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Feet, I've Got Those Happy Feet

On Wednesday I got a call from the owner of the aforementioned dance studio saying she wanted to hire me! Yipee! So I drove up to Bountiful the next day and watched and took notes during the classes I'll be teaching (three instead of four, but I can also make money subbing for other teachers), and got the run down on everything from Diane, the awesome teacher I'm replacing. It's a great studio and I am SOOO excited to teach these classes!!! I also can take the adult ballet class on Thursday nights for free, and yesterday I took the barre portion of a master class taught by a dancer from Ballet West. I am just thrilled to be doing what I love again!!! Woo-hoo!

Late Tuesday night I thought I might be getting sick, and sure enough I've come down with a cold. However, I'd already scheduled a deep-tissue massage for Thursday morning (with a gift certificate from last Christmas, hee, hee), and if I rescheduled less than 24 hours before I'd have to pay an extra fee. So, I got the massage (so nice!) before going up to Bountiful, but the next day the after-effects of the deep bodywork coupled with body aches from the cold were too much! Ow! LOL. (Note to self . . .)

This morning I woke up to snow on the ground, and it made me smile. (It will stop making me smile promptly on January 1st - hee, hee!) Lots of people are sick around here, and I filled in for the teacher in Relief Society today. We have such wonderful sisters in this ward, and the things they shared made it a really sweet and touching meeting. Just another reason for me to feel happy and so blessed! I will, however, stay home from choir tonight. I'm feeling too crummy (physically) and I don't want to get squished between a bunch of people and breathe all over them. :P Additionally, the snow that melted after church was followed by hail that covered the ground in white, which is still being followed by more snow and some crazy wind. Yep, indoors sounds good. And maybe some hot chocolate . . .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

15 Minutes of Fame

So, if you've perused the pages of the November Ensign magazine, you just might have recognized a familiar face on page 113. On that page there's a photo of our group of sisters that attended the General Relief Society Meeting in Salt Lake on September 25th. One of the gutsier sisters called the Ensign cameraman over and asked him to take our picture. We thought it was fun, but never thought that anything would come of the solicited photo op. But, ta-da!

Yesterday I drove up to Bountiful for a job interview at a dance studio. They need a teacher for four ballet classes on Thursday evenings. I don't have much experience teaching dance, yet, which makes my chances quite slim. However, the interview went well, and the owner and I liked each other a lot. It seems like a great studio with a nice, healthy approach to dance, yet with high-quality instruction. AND it's 2 MINUTES from the apartment we're moving into. Oooh! Me wants it!! :)

Aside from that, there's really been nothing noteworthy this week. I am SOOO excited about moving into our own apartment - and getting our life out of storage - in three weeks!!! That keeps me pumped during the days. :) I'm also reading The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, which is pretty interesting (and keeps making me think of Tim). The rest is just business (or busyness) as usual. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Savings Time . . . Oh, Yeah

So this morning I rolled over and saw that Tyson's clock said 8:34 am. Distressed, I jumped out of bed, got ready, and zoomed over to the church with a few minutes to spare. As I pulled up to the church, though, I realized that there were very few cars in the parking lot. I checked the time on my phone, and realized what I'd done. Ah, daylight savings time! I had completely spaced the fact that the change was this weekend. LOL.

As some of you already know (thanks to Facebook), the big news is that yesterday we put down a deposit on an apartment in Bountiful, and we can begin moving in on the first! It's less than ten minutes from Tyson's work (instead of over an hour which he's been driving since February), and in a cul de sac of four-plexes near an elementary school. We're just around the corner from two grocery stores and our bank, too. I'm so sad to move away from our amazing ward, but I just can't describe how elated I am to move into such a perfect place!

Last weekend, we were about to put a down payment on another apartment in South Jordan. But neither of us felt like it's what the Lord wanted us to do. I was too excited about moving to really listen as I should have, but thankfully Tyson was in tune, and we called back to say we couldn't move in after all. Now I am extra grateful for the Lord's guidance, because the apartment we will have now is better in so many ways. :)

Also last weekend, everyone did their trick-or-treating on Saturday out here, which was really cool. I took a little time to carve a candy corn jack-o-lantern, which I'm pretty proud of, since I didn't know how I was going to do it ahead of time. That night, in the middle of trick-or-treating, a crazy hailstorm pounded down on us! One of the cats got totally freaked out by the noise and curled up on the stairs and just kept meowing. After the hail stopped, though, there was a huge double rainbow we could see from our backyard! Tyson and I both did our best to take pictures of it. :) The next day my celebration consisted of making some tasty Halloween cupcakes. :)

The other pictures are of my favorite recent food conquests. I have fallen in love with Paula Dean's Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter - it's like having your vegetables for dessert! Also, I've loved Olga's Kitchen's spinach pie since I was a child, so I busted out the phyllo dough again and made Emeril's spanikopita. It has a more pungent flavor, more authentic than Olga's, and it's one of the simplest recipes for spanikopita I've found. I just devoured them! I also tried a recipe for spaghetti squash, which was pretty good and can be easily tweaked. The trick was just getting the knife out of the squash after my initial stab into it - I feel like someone should crown me king for finally getting it out! I tried out a recipe for pumpkin cake, too, and baked the batter in Caleen's awesome pumpkin-shaped mini-cake pan. They were so light and soft and moist! It was like they melted into creamy pumpkin pie in your mouth!

This past Friday night, in order to use up leftover pumpkin and some aging apples, I made some apple-pumpkin muffins with streusel topping for Saturday's breakfast. They were fabulous! Next time I'd like to use all whole wheat flour, so I can feel a leetle less guilty about eating all that sugar. ;P

I apologize for not writing the last two weeks. Tyson and I have been working on compiling a ward directory with photographs, and so our Sunday time between church and choir has been absorbed doing that. Also, after ward choir from 4pm to 5pm, we've been attending the stake choir from 5pm to 6pm, which started two weeks ago. And then more often than not family comes over for dinner. But of course, with the holidays and moving both coming up, I make no promises about the future! :D

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Scares and Snuggles and Stupidity

Monday and Tuesday were pretty ordinary this week. However, Wednesday Tyson came home from work early . . . while I was in the shower. You guessed it: he stealthily opened the door and flung open the shower curtain causing me to leap into the air, flinging the shampoo in my hands all over. Quite literally the most exciting part of my week . . . punk.

Thursday I visit taught one of my sisters - she's a talker and I was there 1.5 hours! In the afternoon I went over to harass Rem and make his life miserable. A job well done, I might add. That night I made veggie pot pie for dinner, which allowed me to use up some odds and ends. It turned out beautifully, half-whole-wheat crust and all. :)

Friday I made tomato soup using tomatoes from the garden. It was pretty good, but for some inexplicable reason it has quite a spicy kick. It only has 1.5 teaspoons of pepper, two cloves of garlic, and one onion - the recipe even called for two, but we only had one. I can't figure it out.

Anywho, after dinner we went over to the Websters to play some Beatles Rock Band. Before we go started, little Sammy toddled in wanting to give me "loves." She climbed into my lap and snuggled up for several minutes - it was just divine! We played Rock Band, ate pie, and then talked until after midnight. It was a great night.

Yesterday I dragged Tyson out hiking near Sundance. It was an exquisite day. However, when I met him after his game of ultimate frisbee, I forgot to bring the camera for him to experiment taking pictures. :( And then it cost $6 a car to get into the park - and of course we had driven separately. And after two hours of hiking through gorgeous fall colors - to a waterfall and back - I realized that I had locked my keys in my car. After trying to figure out a solution, we finally called AAA and they wound their way into the canyon to unlock my door. :P Once we got home, we didn't do much. :) However, we did watch "The Business of Being Born," which was pretty interesting and sparked some good conversation. :)

Today I filled in for a teacher in Primary. It's definitely harder than just sitting through Sunday School and Relief Society, but it was also quite fun. :)

This week Tyson came to me and said that it was time we got out on our own. At first I was a little sad because I really love the people here. But almost immediately I was elated at the thought of having our own home again! So, we're looking at apartments again, and Tyson is filling out the paperwork to make it so that our monthly combined student loan payments aren't more than 15% of our income (right now they're over 34% of our gross income). Of course, it will still be tight, and we'll have to budget even more carefully, but I'm really happy about it. :)

That's it for this week!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This week I discovered chocolate-covered peanut butter bars. They're my kryptonite. I'm never allowed to make them again.

Aside from that, it was a pretty uneventful week. However, we've had little thunderstorms all week, and one in particular turned into a hail storm, which was pretty fun to see. :)

Yesterday was the most eventful. It was our Relief Society's Super Saturday. The first few hours were a bunch of crafts, none of which really interested me, so I didn't stick around for that. However, I did come in time for the cupcake demo, which was pretty fun. I also coordinated the soups and rolls, and even brought a pot of creamy carrot ginger soup, since I was afraid we'd be shy one pot (we weren't and I took almost all of it home - lol!). And, of course, since I'm on the committee I helped with set up and take down. :)

While we were eating our soup, one of the sisters gave a "re-purposing demo." She's an amazing seamstress, and was cutting up (freehand) old sweaters to turn them into cute clothes for her grandkids while she was talking to us. Then she showed this old printer paper box that she'd covered with coordinating scrapbook paper, and cut out the word "RIBBON" on it. That was plenty crafty and creative for me, but she also attached a dowel inside to put through the spools of ribbon, and she was going to put grommets on one side to pull the ribbon through, so you won't even have to open the box. She also used an old leather belt and somehow (I have to assume magic) turned them into snazzy-looking handles on the sides. How does she think of these things??? I was very impressed. :)

Right after that, I finally went to see Tyson's friend Raylene and got my hair trimmed. I've been too scarred since having it butchered last November (Raylene fixed it for me then, too), to have scissors go near it again. :P She also straightened it for me, which has been really fun - I can wear hats and cool headbands and have them look good! :)

Hm . . . yep. I think that's it!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

General Conference Weekend! :D

It has been sunny and in the 80s all week here in "Zion." ;) Before you get too jealous, though, it rained briefly tonight and we're supposed to have scattered thunderstorms all this week, with highs ending up all the way in the low 60s by Saturday. Yeah, I don't think I want to move back to Michigan anytime soon. ;)

Monday the big thing was finally using Wednesday's berries and making blackberry and tripleberry pies. I was having a "bad pie crust day," so they weren't too cute, but they tasted the same. :) I also made pinwheels out of the leftover dough - Thanks, Jeremy, for that useful and tasty little tip!

That night I also made beans and rice for the second time. Yeah, I know, "Beans and rice. Woo-hoo." But this recipe is GOOD, and I sprinkle just a little cheese on top of mine and I love it! Tyson and I decided to try incorporating it on a regular basis, since it's a really inexpensive meal and it's so healthy. Definitely a good idea. :)

Tuesday was uneventful once again. I tried a new recipe of farfalle pasta with cream cheese, asparagus, mushrooms, and walnuts. Sounded great, but it was just "fine." Edible, but nothing exciting.

Here's an insight into my little psyche: Wednesday morning I dreamed that Remick was shot and killed. Dad and I caught the culprit and were keeping him until authorities arrived. I tried talking to him, but didn't get anywhere because I was being too nice. Then dad was going to "go all Jack Bauer on him," if you will. That thought was too disturbing, so even though I was trying to leave having to watch it, my brain changed the scene. Connie was suddenly there and the perpetrator was a fluffy white puppy! LOL. She stayed with me and the puppy, still waiting for the authorities, and I realized how soft and adorable and sweet it was. Then I realized that Remick "really" was dead. I reeled as agonizing grief and pain and loss instantly washed over me. And then I woke up. Sheesh!

After that lovely start, I went grocery shopping, and then made chocolate covered cherry brownies to bring to the block party that night. After they cooled and I could take them out and reuse the pan, I tried a recipe for "Easy Apple Cake." Sorry, but peeling, coring, and dicing three apples does not count as easy. :P It also had chopped walnuts and dates, which I bought that way - no extra chopping! After you bake the cake, you skewer it repeatedly. Then you bring brown sugar, butter, and milk just to a boil and pour it over the cake and let it sit and soak in. Oh, yeah. It's as good as it sounds. :D And it was too hot to take when the block party started, so we ended up eating it all by ourselves. Oops!

For the block party, we sat on a front lawn and basically just ate and chatted with our neighbors. Nothing fancy, but it was nice to see and talk with the wonderful people we have around us. :)

Thursday and Friday were both pretty uneventful.

And yesterday and today was General Conference! :) There were so many wonderful and inspiring talks, I can't wait until I can read them again. ('Specially 'cause I was going on five hours of sleep yesterday. ;P) One of my favorite quotes was given by Elder Richard G. Scott: "We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." I've got to put that on my wall. :)

After Saturday's Conference sessions, Tyson and I caught the end of the Wolverines-Hoosiers game. It was AWESOME!!! Go Blue!! Then he and his dad and his brother Parker went to the Priesthood session - and brought home doughnuts afterward. :D And today was just more wonderful Conference. :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Molly Mormon Week: Canning, Cooking and Relief Society

This week was pretty full. On Monday I made two pints of raspberry preserves and four pints of peach butter - and even canned them all by myself. (I am so proud!) I also made tasty little peach muffins (They were especially good with some peach butter on them!), but I waited for Caleen to get home before I started on the pear butter. Coring, peeling and chopping peaches should never be a one-person job! :) So, we made the four pints of pear butter together - which tastes surprisingly like applesauce. :) Not surprisingly, I didn't get much else done that day. ;P

Tuesday was pretty normal. The biggest thing I did that day was pick three eggplants from the garden; peel, slice, bread, and bake them. Then I layered them in a 9"x13" dish smothered with Prego and mozzarella and parmesan for a big "family style" eggplant parmesan. It's one of my favorite dishes, and it uses more eggplant than any other recipe I know. :D

Wednesday Caleen and I picked blackberries and raspberries again. We started earlier in the evening, and the yellow jackets were more alert this time, but became almost comatose as the evening waned. So interesting! It was really a lovely evening, too, with a warm sun, cool wind, mountains on one side, and a farm-filled valley on the other.

Thursday I tried a new pasta dish with sage, tomatoes, and cannellini beans. Unfortunately, I cooked it too long and it got somewhat burnt. I was pretty sad until I tasted one of the more burnt parts. The tomatoes had magically become tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and their skins, as well as the beans', had become caramelized. Sweet! We ate a decent dinner after all!

Friday I tried to make something special for dinner. I baked Lion House rolls, roasted butternut squash, and prepared phyllo-wrapped asparagus. The rolls turned out prettier than they have yet - which isn't say much! LOL! The squash was a flop, since it just wouldn't get soft. However, I wrangled the speed-thawed, canola-sprayed and parmesan-sprinkled phyllo dough around the asparagus, baked it, and LOVED it! (Yummy food dance!) It's now one of my new favorite things! Thank you Paula Deen! :D

Yesterday Tyson went to an Ultimate Frisbee tournament up in Logan. He left at 5:30 in the morning, and didn't get home until some time in the evening, then found the energy to go to a friend's house and watch the recorded BYU football game! :) I think he may have overexerted himself, though, because he's feeling a little under the weather today. :(

It was also the Relief Society General Meeting broadcast from the conference center in Salt Lake. Our ward was given tickets, so a dozen of us met at 3:30 and drove up in two vehicles together. After the broadcast, we ate dinner together at the Olive Garden. I finally got home around 11pm, but I had so much fun spending time talking and laughing with the sisters. :)

Not much has happened today. We went over to the Dixons' house and they explained to us everything about being ward historians. Then I went to the first choir practice since the summer. Now I'm going to see if I can squeeze in some blackberry pie-making tonight.

Oh, I did want to share last week that I came down from the stand during sacrament meeting to sit next to Tyson. Little Sammy Webster - who we used to have in Nursery with us until we split it by age - was sitting with her family right across the aisle from us. Out of the blue she toddled over and gave me a big sweet hug. It just made my day!! :D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Head Shots

I'm starting to do more portraiture in my spare time and I've started with my wife and family, since they'll do anything I want, lol. Just a few for now, but there's more to come!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mice, yellow jackets and aphids

My days are filled with working on Tyson's website (, cooking dinners, doing dishes, running errands, working out, practicing the guitar, and the other necessities of life. Here are some semi-adventures I've had this past week.

Monday I started my day by running some errands, starting in Orem and working my way back south: WinCo, Best in Music, Robert's Crafts, and then Deseret Industries. WinCo is a fairly new store in half a dozen states out west. They don't take credit cards, which helps them to have wonderfully low prices. It's a good half hour north of us, but I'm going to have to get up there more often. Anyway, I bought a few bulk foods there, and when I came home I went down into the cold storage to add my bags to the cardboard box-full that I keep on a plastic 5-gallon drum. As I picked up some of the older bags, I noticed that they kept spilling. Finally I saw it: a hole chewed in the bag. I took my box upstairs and discovered that mice (I think) had chewed through about half my bags - and had totally emptied my bag of golden flax seed. Apparently that was there favorite! So, before I filled my hungry belly with lunch, I spent about an hour moving foods into glass and plastic jars. We've opened the food storage door so that the cats can go in, and I've kept my box in a corner on the counter top upstairs since. :P

Tuesday was pretty uneventful.

Wednesday evening Caleen and I went berry picking. There were yellow jackets hanging out all over the raspberry bushes, and we had to be careful to pick berries instead of bugs. The really cool part, though, was it appeared that the yellow jackets had held an Ann Arbor-esque "hash bash" before we arrived, because they were SO mellow. We could pick right next to where they were perched, shaking the branch in the process, and they just stayed put. We even accidentally knocked a few to the ground, and they just stayed there looking confused. We have an appointment to go picking again this Wednesday, so let's hope they're still so calm! :)

Thursday I was making broccoli casserole for dinner, and went out to the garden to see if there was any fresh broccoli I could use. At first I was excited, because there was a lot of fresh broccoli, but then I realized that it was infected with tiny gray bugs. The very same bugs I unwittingly munched with some organic broccoli many years ago. Spew!!! Seeing them again really gave me the willies! Thankfully I had bought enough broccoli from the store, so I used that instead. :)

Friday night I made chickpea patties with tahini yogurt sauce and steamed artichokes just for Tyson and for myself for dinner. Afterward I scouted out a Martha Stewart recipe for raspberry scones. I doubled the sugar, and my dough turned out too soft and sticky, but I feel it worked out for the best. The scones were perfectly moist and slightly sweet, and made a good Saturday breakfast, too. :)

Yesterday Caleen went on a canning spree. Her mother came over, and the two of us peeled pears and peaches while Caleen hurried around doing everything else necessary to can them. I think she ended up with roughly 12 quarts of each. But she didn't stop there, later she made three quarts of a roasted garlic Roma tomato sauce, and roughly a dozen half-pints of tripleberry freezer jam. With what's left we still want to make raspberry preserves, and pear and peach butters. (Side note: I have discovered that I LOOOVE fruit butters!)

Today I was sustained in church as a member of the Enrichment meeting committee. That plus ward chorister, plus activities committee member, plus a ward historian makes four callings! I thought that in Utah there were so many active church members that I'd have to beg for just one calling! I guess not! :)

So, I've realized how often I encountered vermin this week. I hope reading about them didn't BUG you! Ha ha . . . ha . . . yeah.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another Week

Last Wednesday Rem came over and hung out and we made mom's "Tofu Fudge Chew" cookie recipe. Because I had thought the recipe called for more than 1/2 lb of tofu, I bought 2 1/2 lbs . . and we decided to use it all. So, we quintupled the recipe. That's a LOT of cookies! We used 15 cups of flour!!! There's still a large container of dough in the fridge that's in the garage. :P I think the sisters I visit teach are going to get some plates of chocolate cookies soon. :)

The next evening my left knee suddenly swelled and got super stiff. I've been hobbling around for days as it has slowly gone down. It made Nursery on Sunday an extra adventure, too! Best of all, my left knee is my "good" knee. LOL! At least, this appears to be exactly what happened to my right knee in October 2008. So I think that if I can just be still long enough, it will heal . . . yeah, I know that's a pretty big "if." ;)

On Friday Mike and Caleen took all their kids and families to the rodeo here in Spanish Fork. They took us last year, too, and it is surprisingly fun. :D The bull riding still makes me nervous!

Yesterday I went to the Bella Natal birthing center in Orem. (No news yet, just want to be prepared and informed.) They have two beautiful rooms with waiting areas and kitchen areas and bathrooms with huge pipe-less jetted bath tubs! I really like the midwife who spoke with me, too. All three of them work together interchangeably, so you'll get to know all three, and you're guaranteed someone you know well will be able to be at your birth, which I really liked. However, she also said that if labor stalls (for, say, 6 hours, she said) they would come to a "mutual decision" with the mother to send her to the nearby hospital and induce her labor. I know they wouldn't make me go, but I'd hate to have that kind of pressure when I'm already exhausted and frustrated. What do you moms think?

And once again, I'm proud of myself in the culinary department. Monday I made french bread from scratch, then heated some minced garlic and herbs in olive oil and made it into garlic bread. Yummy! Also, last night I made my first pesto from scratch - I even cut the basil from the garden - and my first granola from scratch. I'm so happy when new recipes work out! :D

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekly Emails

I'm going to start copying my weekly family emails here in case anyone still looks here and would like to know what's been going on in our lives. ;)

So, the big news for this week is that I, Rem, and Amelia bought our plane tickets to come out to Michigan next month. We all take the same flight out on Wednesday the 18th and land around 2:30 that day. Rem and Amelia then stay for a week, and I stay for two (Woo-hoo!). We are all so excited for Drey and Joanne's wedding!

Tyson applied for two jobs this week: one in Seattle and one in Kansas City. He has a phone interview on the 19th with the firm in Seattle. I do NOT like rain and clouds. :P I DO love the sunny dry weather here in Utah. :D Nevertheless, I pray that he gets the job. It would allow him to get in all his hours towards becoming certified, and he could maybe move up in the company, too, since it's an architecture firm and not just a construction firm. :)

I finally used my gift card from Brett and Ricky and bought the new Lion House Bakery book. They have so many yummy recipes I want to try! I originally checked it out from the library and tried the french bread, and that turned out great. :) I just took orange rolls out of the oven, too, and am waiting for them to cool off to top them with glaze. They actually look quite awkward and oddly shaped, but I think they'll taste good, even if they're ugly. :D

Friday morning I woke up early from a dream that Tyson had been killed and I was completely distraught and trying to tell my dad the news. I wasn't able to spit the words out, when I awoke feeling as if I'd been punched in the gut. Bleh! I was so grateful to be awake! Where do these dreams come from? :P

Friday evening we had dinner in Salt Lake with Chris Schwartz, a friend from the Hill Street ward who grew up in Terre Haute. He's a quirky guy, and we had a great time. :) Then Saturday evening was the ward progressive dinner. We and several other couples had appetizers at one family's house, dinner at another, and then we all coalesced into 3 (I think) larger groups for a potluck dessert. The home we were at for dessert had a volleyball net up and Rockband set up outside. Tyson played both volleyball and then drums, and I just sang and played drums. :) As we were leaving, a sister told me that I should be in a band. I laughed and told her I'd love to, if only I could play an instrument! LOL! (I love Beatles Rockband!!)

Nothing really happened of note in Nursery yesterday, but it often does, so I'll have to keep sending emails to share the adventures as they come. :)

That's all I can think of right now. I hope I didn't bore you all to too much, 'cause I'm gonna try to do it again next week. :D

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pineapple Sage and the Fish Trees

(Doesn't that sound like a great title for a children's book?)

On Saturday, Caleen took me to the tulip festival at Thanksgiving Point. It was a gorgeous day, and we had a great time taking pictures of flowers, drinking smoothies, and feeding koi. On our way out, we stopped by the greenhouse and she bought me some herbs. We picked out rosemary and thyme, since we use those quite a bit. Then we chose a "chocolate mint" plant, which, yes, smells just like mint with a faint hint of chocolate. Even cooler, though - and we bought it just for the novelty - was the "pineapple sage" plant. It smells like a sage plant that was just watered with pineapple juice. Too fun to pass up!

Another scent oddity grows in our front yard. Several times now I've stepped out of my car and smelled fish. The smell passed quickly as I took a few steps toward the house. I eventually figured out that the off-putting smell was emanating from the blossoms of the lovely flowering trees planted by the street. Go figure!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter in Utah

It got up to 70 degrees this week. The weather has really been delightful lately. You can imagine, then, my surprise when mother nature played a little April Fool's joke on us all on Thursday.

Thankfully, the snow melts relatively quickly here and the ground was clear the next day. However, Easter had yet to be celebrated. On Easter morning we woke up to basically the same thing.

It's going to continue to snow for the next few days (it's coming down again as I type, actually). Spring is then scheduled to prevail.

Snow wasn't the only thing that was white and fluffy on Easter Sunday. I know you're all thinking about the Eater Bunny, but I'm referring to my first time making a coconut cake. As I initially looked for recipes on, all I could find were variations on, "Buy a cake mix. Add coconut." I wanted to actually make the cake, so I looked on, and found Alton Brown's recipe, which started with, "Buy a coconut. Drain and reserve the water." Holy smokes! Isn't there something between lazy and insane??? Thankfully, I finally found Paula Dean's coconut cake recipe. :)

I thought it was really a cool recipe. I made a basic cake, but substituted coconut milk for regular milk. Then I made a filling of sorts out of sugar, sour cream, and shredded coconut which seeped into the cake layers overnight. Then I topped it with "7-minute frosting," which I'd never made before, and I think it has the coolest texture - reminiscent of marshmallow cream, only super glossy. Then I carefully pressed shredded coconut into the frosted cake. I have to say, I am very proud of the results.

The cake itself was very mild, but the filling added a moist tang, and the frosting was very sweet. It all balanced out very tastily. :) Thanks Paula!

Of course, the best part of both Saturday and Sunday was General Conference. I took notes during all of the sessions, and I'm trying to begin incorporating some things into my life right away. It seemed to me that the majority of the talks focused around the family and the importance of teaching the gospel to children. Despite the seriousness of his subject, I laughed the hardest during Elder Holland's talk, when he reminded us that we shouldn't even be serving tea. ;) I love the Brethren so much and I'm so grateful for their teachings. <3

Friday, April 2, 2010

Obedience According to Springer

I was asked by my Institute professor to share a thought during class. I took the invitation as an opportunity to solidify ideas that had been simmering in my brain for some months. So, here it is.

My ability to obey is anchored on two main truths. The first one is that 1) God has always asked us to do hard things. Actually, "hard" is quite an understatement. The examples of these requirements are endless! Here are a handful:

  • Long before - years before - there were signs of anything fishy (Hee, hee!), Noah was told to build an ark. An ark! Not a fishing boat, not a long boat, but an ark ginormous enough to hold his family, probably more than that "year's supply" of food we're all supposed to have, and who knows how many animals. And some of those animals were really, really big! And dangerous! And smelly! And to top it off, he alienated his family from all their neighbors, and was mocked by everyone around.
  • Alma and Amulek preached the word of God in the city of Ammonihah, and as a result of their conversions, they were forced to watch all the women and children they'd taught burn to death (along with all their holy books). Just the thought makes me sick. And immediately after that, they were imprisoned and treated cruelly for months.
  • Joseph and Emma and the early saints suffered persecution, slander, theft, starvation, beatings, torture, rape, and death at the hands of the communities around them - sanctioned by the American government.
  • Abraham was saved by an angel from being sacrificed to an idol god by his father. He was promised numberless posterity. He had to wait until Sarah was 99 years old before she conceived and had just one son. Then, Abraham was commanded to take Isaac and sacrifice this one, beloved son, to his God.
  • Which brings me to far and away the hardest thing God has ever asked of any of His children. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, fell on His face in agony in Gethsemane. He pled with His Father to remove the bitter cup, if it was at all possible. His pure, sensitive soul suffered so much that he bled from every pore. He who had never done anything wrong endured more agony than any of us ever will approach.

I've always loved how Doctrine and Covenants Section 122 puts this all in perspective for me. The Lord describes to Joseph a huge list of hardships he might endure which culminates with, "if the very jaws of hell gape open the mouth wide after thee"! It's then all put into perspective with verse 8: "The Son of Man hath descended below them all, art thou greater than he?"

So, if I sometimes tremble at the requirements of mortality, I know I am in good company - even the best company.

The second truth on which my ability to obey hinges is 2) I know that this is God's work.

When Adam was asked why he offered sacrifices to the Lord, he replied, "I know not, save the Lord commanded me." If the Savior stood in front of me and said something like, "Springer, I need you to do X now." I would say, "Okay!" and scamper off with confidence. But since He isn't with me physically all the time, He's given me and all his children apostles and prophets who speak on his behalf. Therefore, when these men say in General Conference, "We need to do X now," I really try my best to scamper off, because I know they speak for my Savior.

I am of little faith, but I can say with confidence that I know because of Alma 32:33-35: "And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good. And now, behold, is your aknowledge bperfect? Yea, your knowledge is perfect in that thing, and your cfaith is dormant; and this because you know, for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your dmind doth begin to expand. O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is alight; and whatsoever is light, is bgood."

So, God has always asked and will continue to ask His children to do hard things. And though I tremble at the thought of what He may have in store for me, I know that many others have faithfully endured. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. I love him and his counselors and the twelve apostles with all my heart. I know they speak the words of Christ. I know that the blessings of obedience are infinite and eternal. I know that truly God is love.

Slim Fast Fail

So, we all know that Slim Fast shakes work by having one for breakfast, one for lunch, and then a "sensible" dinner. This is why I couldn't resist taking a picture of how Slim Fast shakes were in reality consumed in one sitting:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

St. Patty's Day

Since St. Patrick's Day seems to revolve around beer and corned beef, and I'm a mormon and a vegetarian, I've never done much to celebrate. However, I LOVE food, and trying out new recipes, so this year I tried out some mormon vegetarian recipes.

Dinner was colcannon, fried cabbage, and edamame . . .
(True, edamame isn't exactly Irish, but it is green.)

. . . with soda bread.

(It turned out like a giant biscuit, only slightly sweet.)

And sugar cookies for dessert a la Alton Brown's recipe.

Being a lover of brussel sprouts, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the "fried" cabbage tasted like it's little cousins, only less stinky. The colcannon was pretty good, too, but next time I think I'll try boxty - fried potato pancakes sound tasty!

It took me about two hours to make the royal icing and frost the cookies, but the thick, soft, mildly sweet sugar cookie topped with the crisp, sweet frosting is definitely worth repeating. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To the Cats

Dear Sammy, Sunny, Stewart, and Cleo,

There are two litter boxes upstairs and one downstairs. These are where you urinate. If you do not care for these, you are all indoor/outdoor cats, and the entire outdoors is at your disposal if you are so inclined. Regrettably, I must inform you that the carpeting in the hallway, on the stairs, in the living room, and next to my bed are not acceptable places to urinate. Neither are the bathroom rugs or my yoga mat. You have each done such a lovely job of defecating in the correct places, please follow suit with your urination. I'd hate to be forced to contact a violin craftsman.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Role Reversal

So, Wednesday Tyson called me at my work to tell me that he'd been hired and would start work on Monday! Wow! I was reeling. I knew this day would come, but I had given up actively hoping for it anytime in the near future.

We were both quite excited. Since I finally had a position I really liked, I would continue to work for roughly 9 months (depending on health and fertility, obviously). In the meantime, my income would help grow investments and pay down school loans, and we live off his. We tentatively planned to move out of his parents' house in 2-3 months.

Then Friday morning, more than half of my office was asked to gather in one section of the building. The CEO starting talking about the unexpected financial struggles the company was facing, and finally told us that we were all laid off, and that we could pack our things and go home.

Whoa! In a few days I went from "sugar momma" to housewife, and Tyson went from "househusband" to my "sugar daddy" (Well, except that admittedly "sugar" anythings should probably make decent money, but whatever).

Sadly, I had two co-workers who were also laid off who were the sole breadwinners for theirs wives and children - one of them being my brother-in-law. My heart and prayers go out to them.

Certainly, the path could have been easier for us if I'd been able to keep working. However, I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord in this matter. Truly, I feel as if we are in His hands.

Or, at least out of the fire and into the frying pan. ;)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Best Christmas Present Ever

As a Christmas gift to all of us, Kevin and Jacqui paid for tickets and a hotel room for mom and dad to come out here for Christmas. All I can say is, Yay!!!

Tuesday, after I picked them up from the airport and they got settled in their hotel room, mom, dad, and I went to Zupa's for lunch. Then I drove them around and showed them the MTC and the Provo temple. Then we went to Rem and Amelia's place. We talked and laughed for awhile, then I took mom and dad down to Spanish Fork and gave them a little tour of the area and our home. Tyson then joined us and we met Rem and Amelia for dinner at Los Hermanos for dinner. We were really silly and laughed a ton. It was so great to do that over dinner again! After dinner, we all went back to Spanish Fork and Calleen let us pile into her Pilot to go see the local "Festival of Lights."

Wednesday, Tyson and I drove the Pilot to their hotel around lunchtime, then picked up Rem and Amelia and went up to Temple Square. We started with a really great tour of the Conference Center, which was given by a nice of Jonanthan Snow, who dad knew decades ago back in Michigan. We then walked around the outside of the old red mansion next door, then went into the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

From there, we went to the Lion House for dinner. Then we walked around the temple, stopped inside the tabernacle, and squeezed into the crowded visitors center.

Thursday, I went to see mom and dad in the morning, and together we went to the grocery store across the street. I brought them back to Spanish Fork, and we chilled at home for the rest of the day. While at home, mom and I made chippy chewy bars and marbled coconut bark. Rem and Amelia came over for dinner, and Tyson tried out the Lion House rolls recipe.

Tyson and I spent Christmas morning with his family, which was really great. Then I picked up mom and dad and brought them over, and Rem and Amelia joined us a little later. We finally got to watch "Up" together, which I'd been looking forward to ever since I saw it in the theatre.

After another delicious dinner had settled, we played Apples to Apples. Then we broke out the Beatles Rock Band on the Wii. Mom and I sang every song together, and we had a blast!

Saturday morning I went to mom and dad's hotel room to just hang out. Then we drove to Rem and Amelia's. They, in turn, drove us to Kneader's Bakery and Cafe where we ate a yummy lunch - and pastries!

It was finally a clear day, and Tyson, mom, dad, and I had a pleasant drive up to the airport. Saying goodbye was hard, but we were so grateful for the time we were able to spend together.