Monday, December 5, 2011

Blowin' in the Wind

I hope you all had a safe and happy - and delicious - Thanksgiving!

The first part of November was pretty packed. I began physical therapy (2 1/4 hours twice a week, plus a 15 minute walk each way), Tyson and I were assigned to be on the committee for the ward Christmas party, and we had to take extra time to prepare and pack for our trip to visit Tyson's extended family for Thanksgiving. :)

Also, on the 7th, Tyson heard back from the job he interviewed for on the 31st, and they offered him the job! After some pondering and prayer, we decided he would take it. It will be a cut in pay, but it will allow him to use his degree, and move him toward his professional licenser. :) Yay!

The week before we left - in addition to our usual multiple jobs and responsibilities - was the Primary Program (which went very well!), a Christmas party meeting, a stake Primary leadership meeting, a dental implant, and a haircut (while the haircut itself didn't take that long, the walk to and from did). Then we drove down to Spanish Fork on Friday night and spent the night at Mike and Caleen's.

The whole family left together the next morning, and spent the day driving down to southern California. Tyson and I stayed with his cousin Carrie (She reminds me a lot of Jacqui - I love her!), and Sunday we went to her ward, which was one of the wards in the last area of my mission! The ward boundaries have been changed a lot, but there were still a few people that I recognized, which was really cool. That Tuesday Tyson and I went to the Newport Beach temple, which was maybe a hair larger than Detroit, but was really beautiful. Wednesday Mike and Caleen took the family to Disneyland, which was pretty fun, and I was even able to ride a few rides despite my back. :) Thursday we had Thanksgiving at his Aunt Susan's house. I made the rolls and upside-down apple pie, and Tyson made pecan pie. There was actually an adventure trying to get the rolls done, since I suddenly found myself without an oven for them (dumb turkey! ;) ). Luckily, is Aunt Beverly lives nearby, and she graciously let us come over and hog her oven. Everyone was so kind and helped me get the rising rolls into the back of the car, and Tyson drove carefully to his aunt's house. He was a huge blessing to me in the kitchen that day, prepping pans for the rolls, and peeling, slicing, and mixing apples for the pie, and then driving the rolls to an oven, all in addition to making his pecan pie! He saved the day!

Anywho, we had a great time with his family that night. They are all so kind and generous and welcoming!

The next day, Tyson took family pictures for his cousins' cousin. Then we went to downtown LA, checked out the Hollywood walk of fame, went up to an observatory, and then went to the Walt Disney Concert Hall by architect Frank Gehry so Tyson could take pictures. At first I stayed in car and read my scriptures. After a little bit, I heard a young woman begin screaming, and was able to make out, "Get away from me!" My heart pounding, I quickly fumbled around and grabbed my phone, ready to dial 911, and got out of the car, deliberately setting off the car alarm in the process, in hopes that it would shake things up a bit. It turns out that the young woman was with a friend and two mother-type women, and had slammed her fingers in the car door. After scaring me that badly, the selfish part of me hopes she broke them all! LOL! I was a little rattled after that (she was still sitting there wailing, while one woman held her hands and the others went for ice), so I decided to join Tyson while he took pictures. :)

The next day we drove home, and were so grateful to be heading the opposite direction of the miles of backed up traffic. :)

I spent the next several days playing catch-up, and trying to get things in order before I leave for Michigan. And then . . .

Wednesday night/early Thursday morning southern Davis county was hit with a windstorm unlike anything I've ever seen. It would blow so hard against our bedroom window that it woke me several times. I had no idea what was going on - wind, snow, hail, snowplows??? Then the power went out around 6:30am, shortly before I got up. It was Tyson's first day at his new job in Salt Lake, so he left and I stayed home and bundled up and cleaned the house. CAA got their power just in time for me to go to work, and we had classes that night. It was then that I realized the extent of what had happened. Not only was most of Bountiful out of power, but so were neighboring Centerville and Farmington. (When the sun set, I could see from my work that the temple and its section of hillside were still dark.) Large trees were uprooted and toppled all over town. Roofing shingles had been blown all over. The signs for the Chase bank and Fresh Market at our corner both had the plastic blown out and broken and scattered. Flying debris had bent over street signs. It was crazy!

That night, Tyson picked me up from work and we went out to eat (warm food!), then picked up some extra candles, and bundled up and went to bed early. Our power came back on shortly before midnight - yay! However, our bishop and his second counselor both had to wait another day or two for power to be restored to their part of the neighborhood.

Saturday was a quiet day. After choir practice, I ran a few errands, then baked Christmas cookies, while Tyson helped a family move, then studied photography while watching football. :)

Yesterday morning a last-minute priesthood meeting was held at 7am, and when Tyson came back, he told me that church had been cancelled for our entire stake. Instead of church, everyone who was able helped pick up branches, cut up fallen trees, and take it all to the city dump, which the mayor had opened until 5pm specifically for that purpose. Another wind storm was slated to hit last night, and they wanted to get everything cleaned up before then. (That storm wasn't nearly as bad, by the way, and everybody is fine and has power still. Whew!) Then Tyson and I went to his parents' house to celebrate his dad's birthday. It was a fun night with great people and good food!

Speaking of food, I tried a recipe for pumpkin bread with a cheesecake layer in it, and it is a definite keeper! It's as if it melts into pumpkin pie in your mouth! And just check out its adorable smile! Also, twice now I've made this upside-down apple pie, and it is fabulous! I have a photo of it before it's cut, but alas, it's too popular for to be able to show you a slice! :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just Say No to Vembers

Happy November everyone!

Late Friday night it began to snow here in Bountiful, and I left for ward choir practice with an inch or so of snow on the grass and trees. :)

Since I last wrote two months ago, I agreed to teach two classes at work: a Ballet Level 3 and a Ballet Level 4. The level three class is just barely old enough for me to get away with a more technical and less creative class (so I don't have to run and jump and roll around myself), and both classes are basic enough that I don't have to teach arabesques or complex jumps or port de bras. I still have to be careful, but I am so excited to be teaching again. I just love my girls!

I've also been to a couple of doctors, and am now seeing a physical therapist for my back. She explains everything to me, which really helps me both to trust her and to be diligent with my exercises. I haven't experienced an relief yet (it's actually been a bit worse this week), but the goal is to slowly increase my exercises while keeping the pain from traveling down my legs (and so far it hasn't). And then we'll take it from there.

Back in September, we had a good Labor Day weekend. The weekend after that was stake conference, for which Tyson and I sang in the choir. The next weekend we had the Failners from our ward over for dinner and played Thurn and Taxis with them. I think that has become our new favorite game. :) (Thank you, Kevin and Jacqui!)

The weekend after that we visited Tyson's best friend Chris's mom, Terry, in the hospital. Actually, we visited her family in the hospital, because she was already unconscious and passed away that night. She had lived with cystic fibrosis, raised six kids, and beaten the odds for a very long time. She was petite and cheerful and funny and welcoming, and she is very missed. We are all comforted, however, by the knowledge that she no longer has to fight for every breath. The next night I attended the Relief Society broadcast, where I heard about the new book on the history of the Relief Society, and was so uplifted by President Utchdorf's loving counsel. :) The next day was Sunday, and we had Chris's brother Zach, with his new - and pregnant - wife, Nancy over for dinner.

The next weekend was General Conference, which was wonderful, as usual. :) We went down to Spanish Fork the night before and spent the night, and then got to watch conference on Mike and Caleen's big TV. :) Caleen also sent us home with pears, raspberries, potatoes, tomatoes, tomatilloes, peppers, eggplant, and squash! While Tyson was gone that evening, I rearranged the fridge and pantry, trying to make "room enough to receive it!" (Malachi 3:10) :D Sunday morning we slept in, made steel cut oatmeal, watched conference, and then drove down to visit Terry's family. (Hence no time for an email last month.) The following morning we attended her funeral. (There was no hurry because she had chosen to donate her body to research. This also gave Chris time to get a flight from Maryland out to Utah.)

The following Friday evening I stayed up late cutting, coring, peeling, and canning 11 quarts worth of the pears Caleen gave me, in the jars she gave me. I'm so proud of myself, but that was sure some hard work! The next morning we drove up to Idaho to attend Tyson's cousin's daughter's baptism. Tyson also took family pictures for everyone that afternoon. It was a beautiful fall day, and everyone was so nice! We had a huge lunch together, then went to the park across from the Idaho Falls temple to take the pictures. :)

The next Thursday, after work I went to a circus-themed murder mystery party with a bunch of sisters from my ward. I was assigned to be a circus goer dressed as a hippie. Type casting, I say! :D When I got there (hair straightened, and all decked out in homemade tie-dye), there had been some last-minute changes, and I was now Sampson the Strong Woman - oops! But whatever, we all had a great time, laughed at ourselves, and ate yummy food. :) That Saturday was the Relief Society's Super Saturday. I slept in, but still had time to go and learn how to make whole wheat bread, no-roll pie crust, and fabric flowers for barrettes and headbands. :)

The next week and weekend were delightfully uneventful. :)

Last Saturday we went to the Marujis' for dinner and a rematch of Thurn and Taxis. :D Sunday we went to the Kellys' for dinner with the Burrs, as a kind of farewell dinner, since Chelsea Burr and I visit teach Rebecca Kelly, and Chelsea is moving out of our ward. And Monday was Halloween! Rem and Amelia came over for dinner (witch fingers, goblin grins, and snake, with brownies for dessert). It was really nice to be able to spend time with them, and to ooh and ahh over the adorable little kids that came trick-or-treating. :)

Which brings me to this weekend, in which we did nothing. Well, not nothing, but it has been relatively quiet; Tyson didn't even have any photography work yesterday. :) Oh! There is one exciting little thing this weekend! The family that recently moved in to the upstairs apartment across from ours was featured in our ward's November newsletter. It turns out, the wife has a vegetarian food blog and loves to meditate, and the husband is a filmmaker!!! We finally connected yesterday, and she wants me to do a guest post on her blog, and I want her to help me learn how to meditate, and our husbands can talk about cameras and movies, and we're going over to their place next Sunday for dinner with another family in our ward who recently became vegans! When I talk to Tyson about them, I keep jokingly referring to them as "our new best friends." Haha!

And of course, I gots to talk about some foods! (even though it's fast Sunday, and I'm ready to devour anything :D ) I've included pictures of the banana cream and chocolate cream pies we ate with the Failners. Sorry that they're partially eaten, I was about to devour the last two pieces when I realized I hadn't taken a picture. :D There's also a picture of the corner of the french apple tart I made for a missionary's open house. I just had to eat a corner or two to make sure it turned out - the crust was so flaky and delicious that I hated to have to part with it. :) And then there's a new staple: cheesy baked penne in ramekins; and a new love: ratatouille tart with cornmeal crust - such a delicious way to use and eat those fall veggies! Then there are the pears and the apple butter I canned. And finally, Halloween dinner. I included the snake before rolling, before baking, and then before eating. :D

the pepperoni-less tail portion was for me :)
cream cheeses brownies dyed orange

Whew! Sorry to have to give you two busy months' worth in one blog! Of course, you could just not read any of it, and I would never be the wiser. ;)

Monday, September 5, 2011

An August Month

(Okay, so it really wasn't an august month.)

The first week of August was delightfully quiet. I worked for Tyson, kept up the house, cooked, and began doing some daily low-key workouts. But then the second week came, and I taught (or co-taught) eight classes. It was really hard, but quite fun. :) Unfortunately it was quite painful, too. And the ramped up pain didn't subside until ten days later when I saw a new chiropractor. Ugh. So, I am no longer a dance teacher. I really hope that one day I will be able to heal and teach again, but for now I'm done. And, yeah, as you can probably imagine, I'm quite heartbroken.

On the bright side, Jana, the owner of CAA, hired me on at the front desk. I'll be working afternoons/evenings five days a week, which will be a great blessing to our finances. :) And I'll be able to stay a part of such an awesome studio. :)

During the week that I taught all those classes, I went to a "nickel auction" in my neighborhood. Nickel auctions work like this: a bunch of ladies dig out their junk and we bid on it in 5-cent increments. It's silly and really fun. I tried to be inconspicuous about needing to stand instead of sit (sitting just hurt too much!), but I did attract a little attention. Fortunately the wonderfully kind sister-in-law of one of the sisters in my ward was there and recommended this amazing place where she experienced a complete recovery from her neck injuries. I went there, and I like their approach, but to make a long and frustrating story short, we can't afford it. But I still have a little hope that maybe something will work out eventually. :)

Tyson has been working on starting his photography business, and we're beginning to see the first few inklings of clientele. He's received two inquiries from his website that haven't yet followed through, and then one more this week that is ordering two large prints of the state capitol building! Also, one of his cousin's friends was interested in having him shoot her wedding next spring. Yay! I am so proud of him! If you haven't yet, go check out his website at :)

On the food side of things, my favorite kitchen conquest this month was eggplant rollatini. Since Mike and Caleen have eggplants in their garden (see photo of a white, egg-shaped eggplant!), I wanted something to do with them aside from eggplant parmesan (and this random tasty recipe I found called vegetable tian). Basically, you slice and lightly broil the eggplant, roll some cheesy goodness inside the slices, pour sauce on it and bake it. Yum!

With the chiles, tomatoes, and zucchini Mike and Caleen gave us, I've made chile relleno casserole, tomato soup, stuffed tomatoes, chocolate zucchini bread, and a new zucchini casserole. (They gave me a nice big zucchini!) It's been so fun figuring out how to use such tasty veggies!

I also made the chocolate butter cake recipe from my new favorite book Pie in the Sky. (I have to give the book back to the library tomorrow, and I really don't wanna!) I made a half recipe in case it didn't turn out. The chocolate flavor was really mild (it's supposed to be topped with bittersweet ganache, but I'm lazy), but the texture was perfection! It disappeared quickly. Hee, hee.

Oh, and (sorry I can't stop talking about food!) about a month ago Tyson made his divine pudding from scratch (heavy cream, egg yolks, butter, the whole nine lards - I mean yards!), only he added cocoa to it to make it chocolate pudding. It cooked up beautifully and tasted sinful. Sadly, after letting it set up in the fridge for a few hours, it turned into soup! It was amazingly rich and delicious chocolate soup, but just a little too weird. We didn't know what to do with it, but I didn't want to just throw it all out, so I dumped most of it into a container and froze it. This week I took it out (I really wanted some chocolate!) and scrapped a little off the top. Epiphany! I then thawed it out in the fridge and poured it all into my popsicle molds to make the best fudgesicles ever! I am so proud of me. :D

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Life AS I Know It

Ugh! Sorry for the long silence. I've so rarely had time on a Sunday to sit down and write - and when I have, I've typically taken a nap instead. ;)

So, in brief, in April was General Conference, my birthday, CAA's creative dance concert, and Easter. I LOVED General Conference, as is typical. Elder Lynn G. Robbins' talk about being instead of just doing really hit home for me, as did the story shared by Elder D. Todd Christofferson about the currant bush that grew tree-like and had to be pruned back to become the fruitful bush the gardener intended it to be.

For the creative dance concert, at the beginning of Friday night's performance, a dancer apparently ate too much too close to the performance and vomited her dinner in the hallway backstage where everyone had to walk by. For Saturday's matinee, we found that some of our larger props had been vandalized overnight, and needed to be repaired ASAP. Saturday night had the smallest crisis, with a young dancer brought to the wrong side of the stage. She didn't realize it until the dance started, but she was too young to just dance on and fake it, and so while everyone else danced, she balled her eyes out while a kind teacher ran her over to the correct side as quickly as possible. Poor, silly little thing!

In May, CAA hosted the Utah Dance Festival, and I helped out with that. I also taught the last of my classes for the year, wrapping them up with tests, prizes, and games. I also planted rosemary and thyme in pots outside, and planted impatiens in the former sandbox in front of our living room window.

June was CRAZY! Actually, the first two weeks were quiet and wonderful. Then all the Palmers came into town for a family reunion, and I had to spend time with them. (It was SO wonderful to see you all!!!) Simultaneously, Tyson's best friend, Chris, came from Maryland to visit his family here, and we had to spend time with him. I rear-ended someone, and then was immediately rear-ended myself, scaring me like I've never been scared before, and leaving me without my own transportation. I also now have whiplash and a newly-injured lower back - I'm just glad no one else involved was seriously hurt!

Right around the time our friends left town, we went into full "Youth Conference Mode," since we were the co-chairs. On Sunday the 26th, we met with the youth during the first hour of church, then I taught our Primary class's lesson during the second hour of church, and then Tyson and I sang a duet during sacrament meeting. Whew! Tyson left Wednesday at 2:00 am to go down early to Cedar City to take photographs for his work, and then met up with us for dinner Thursday. That Wednesday, I got sick. I felt awful all that night, and was sure I wouldn't be able to leave with everyone the next morning, but just before morning arrived the intensity ebbed, and I felt well enough to go. :) We went down to Hurricane (pronounced "her-a-kin," for all you non-Utahns), and stayed in the huge (six bedrooms, pizza oven, pool and fishing pond, etc.) house of a church member, swam in their pool, toured historical sites, went to the St. George temple, and basically had a fun and spiritual time. I was totally clueless about how to do something like this, but we have the best youth, and AMAZING leaders, and they made it a wonderful experience! :D

The day after we got back was Tyson's birthday, so we went down to Spanish Fork and had dinner and pie and cheesecake with them. :) The day after that was the 4th of July. Tyson played a game of ultimate frisbee in the morning, and I went to the gym and did a little light cardio per my physical therapist's request. However, before we could shower, a water main broke and we had no running water. Pooh! Thankfully, I have water stored under our bed! Ta-da! We were able to drink, and Tyson was able to bathe before we went to a movie matinee. The water came back on shortly after we got home, and were very thankful!

You know I always have to talk about food, so here it goes! :) Thanks to the fantastically-amazing Kitchen Aid slicer Mike and Caleen got me for my birthday, Tyson and I made several dinners of burgers and oven-fries around Memorial Day. I've included a photo of my veggie-topped veggie burger with my rustic, salty, peppery, garlicky fries. :) Just the way I like them! Nom nom nom!

I came across a recipe for "self-frosting" Nutella cupcakes - golden, buttery cupcakes that aren't too sweet, swirled with rich and sugary Nutella, and then baked. Sooo good!

I also discovered the most amazing blueberry cobbler. The cake portion is the perfect texture with just the thinnest layer of crispness on top, and sweet-tart blueberries underneath. Divine when topped with vanilla ice cream!

On the healthier side, I found this awesome little recipe for pb & j muffins. They aren't very sweet - which makes them perfect for breakfast in my book - and they have carrots, zucchini, 100% whole wheat cake flour, and only honey as sweetener. I'm addicted to them!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 13th's Groceries

Alright, here's my grocery haul for this week:

Not pictured are the two 10-ounce packages of frozen chopped spinach that I'd already put in the freezer and forgot to pull out for the picture. The grand total was $53.40. However, I did also buy a bag of dark chocolate Hershey's Bliss at Target, which brings to total to $56.79.

People say that eating healthy is more expensive. It's possible that's true, but I'm skeptical, so here's my fresh produce for the week: romaine lettuce, celery, a cucumber, asparagus, cauliflower, 1.69 lbs of broccoli crowns, three avocados, red grapes, two mangoes, two apples, four pounds of bananas, and two pounds of strawberries. And that comprises less than $17.00 of my total tab, before tax.

How does that compare to your shopping habits? Am I spending too much? I'd love any advice!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Welcome to My OCD

Okay, so it's not technically obsessive-compulsive disorder. But it is a little odd. I want to really know how much we spend on food each month and week, and just what we get for our money. More than numbers on my Excel spreadsheet (yes, you know I have one), I want visuals. Really these blog entries are for my own compulsive need for information and organization, so if you find them dull, I won't be offended if you skip over them.

So, here's what I bought today for this week's groceries:

And I spent $65.03. Yes, that's 7 cans of chicken, 10 containers of Yoplait, 5 cans of tomato sauce, 6 cans of mushrooms,3 cans of corn, 2 cans of mandarin oranges, 2 cans each of refried beans, black beans, and green beans, and a can of chickpeas. Plus 3 pounds of unsalted butter, 2 packages of tofu, and 2 dozen cage-free eggs. And all the rest.

To accomplish this, I went to Sunflower Market, WinCo, Smith's, Fresh Market, Dick's, and Target this morning between breakfast and lunch. Our planned meals this week are veggie pot pie, broccoli casserole, vegetable tian, and steamed cauliflower with pesto, with plenty of leftovers the other nights, since there's only two of us. :)

Oh, and I spent $0.94 on bananas on Monday.

Monday, March 28, 2011

March Away!

March has been a full and challenging month. I was sick for the first three or more weeks, and Tyson is just getting over being sick for a week or so. I've done a lot of subbing at work, and the ballet was in the middle of the month (with three dress rehearsals and four performances in one week!). The up-side is that all the extra work for me has brought us extra cash flow. :)

Tyson also launched his new networking website, It's designed for people who need help and information for student loans, and for those who are sick and frustrated by them - like us! :D We haven't been able to do much because of the crazy month, but if it sounds like something you'd be interested in, by all means join us! :)

Last weekend Zach, Tyson's best friend's little brother, got married in the Mt. Timpanogos temple, had their reception in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, and had a luncheon the next day at a Brazilian grill in Provo. Plus, Chris, Tyson's best friend, was in town from Maryland (where he's getting his Ph.D.), and so we drove down to Orem and hung out with his family quite a bit, and kept getting to bed quite late! :P It was a crazy weekend, but it was a lot of fun, too, because everyone was just awesome! :) Plus, even though they already had a paid photographer, Tyson brought his camera and took a few shots on the side to see what he could do, and has posted them on Facebook. :)

Whenever/if we move, I've learned that we can't do another basement apartment. Don't get me wrong, I love this little place, but so do the bugs, We now have ants that are constantly meandering around our kitchen and bathroom. I try to sweep, vacuum, and mop every Saturday, but that hasn't helped. What is most frustrating is that they meander underfoot, so I randomly see ant carcases on the floor - or worse, one that I've injured trying clumsily to move around, which just breaks my heart. Stupid ants! I don't want to hurt you, so just go away!!! No solution yet, but I'm working on it.

Also, I discovered something new about our spiders this month: They are circus spiders! No joke! Once one sat on our counter near my drinking glass, and I wanted to encourage it to run into a dark corner where I couldn't see it (Is that really too much to ask?). I slowly nudged my glass toward it, and once I made contact with it, it jumped into the air, curling into a ball, bounced on its back, bounced on its curled legs, bounced on its back again, landed on its feet, and scurried away! It creeped me out, yet left me in awe. :) LOL.

On the food front, we've made quite a bit of pizza with homemade dough the past two months, and I thought I would try something different. several weeks ago, I took enough dough to make a personal-sized pizza, cut it into fourths and rolled those out. Two I filled with raspberry jam and chocolate chips, and two I filled with strawberry jam and cream cheese (to which I'd added a little sugar and vanilla), and folded them into dessert calzones. The raspberry ones were good, but the strawberry-cream cheese were amazing!

Last night we had Tyson's friend Raylene over for her birthday. Since she didn't have any birthday cake preferences, I decided to bust out my checkerboard cake pan set and see what it could do. I made her a chocolate AND vanilla cake, with strawberry (pie) filling and chocolate frosting. For someone as frosting-impaired as I am, I made the cake look surprisingly pretty. Unfortunately, the cake recipe from the cake pan set was dense and rather dry. Pooh! I'm sorry Raylene! I'll just have to use some better recipes in the future, because it was so pretty!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

February Wrap-Up

If you've seen Tyson's recently added Facebook photos, no we haven't had a baby. ;) And if you haven't seen them, you should. :) His cousin Hallie and her husband Mike (who live in Michigan) adopted a baby girl from Utah. We got to spend time with them while they were here, and got to see and hold Eliza when she was just two days old. Tyson was able to work on expanding his photography skills, too, and take some pictures of her and of their son Landon. They are the sweetest kids! (even though Eliza only wanted us to leave her alone during her photo shoots - LOL) And it was so great being able to spend time with them again. :)

Since I last wrote, I saw an orthopedist for my knee, and he said that the MRI looked very similar to a torn meniscus, but that the indicators didn't "go all the way to the bone," like they should. And my symptoms weren't adding up, either. Then he pressed his thumb on the underside of my patella, where I discovered that it's quite inflamed. Ow! Hahaha! So, now I'm in physical therapy for patella femoral syndrome, which is basically unexplained chronic or recurring knee pain. But the physical therapist's observations and recommendations make sense, and I am hopeful for a future with reduced pain. :)

This week I've been struggling with a lot of discomfort in my neck, shoulders and lower back. I can't turn my head much, and I can't lie on my right side. Thankfully, my lower back is about 90% better, and I'll be able to see the chiropractor on Tuesday. Also, I still managed to do my PT exercises four days this week, of which I'm pretty proud! :) Hee, hee.

And, if I start to feel down about it, I think of my awesome visiting teacher who has had a brain tumor her whole life. She randomly falls down sometimes, and doesn't have enough balance to do any real physical activities. She also has to wear a hat and sunglasses all the time to prevent insane light-induced headaches. And she is happy and cheerful and enjoys life! :) (And trying out new recipes! I have a partner in crime! Muahahaha!)

Tyson's website, finally received 100,000 unique visitors this month! While I don't understand what that means nearly as well as he does, I know that it will increase our clout with search engines so people can find us more easily, and it helps us make money through advertisers, since we have more potential customers for them coming to our site. Yay!

On the food front, since I last wrote I made Remick a fortress cake for his 25th birthday, complete with gummie bears (both attacking and defending), Tootsie roll weapons and a whipped cream mote filled with Swedish Fish. The cake was devil's food, with whipped cream between its four layers, and finished with a chocolate fudge frosting.

the beginningthe finished masterpiecechocolate catapaultgummie bear catapault
battering ramdefending archerwhat four of us could stuff down

For Valentine's Day I baked a cake recipe that I made into cupcakes, mini cupcakes, and a mini layer cake. I piped strawberry jam into the cupcakes and frosted them with strawberry buttercream frosting. The jam needed to be piped in a lot deeper, and the frosting was either too cold to pipe, or too warm to hold it's shape, but they still tasted really good. :D For the cake, I sliced each layer in half, then used a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and cut them each into a heart shape. I then made two mini-cakes, with strawberry frosting between the first two layers, and strawberry jam between the second two. Then I tried coating them with "vanilla melty" that I tinted pink. Not good! LOL! I was trying to imitate Little Debbie cakes, but I didn't have any idea what I was doing, and the stuff was just too thick. The result was more like a Sting song, "Fortress Around Your Heart!" Tyson and I just chipped it off and enjoyed eating the rest of the cake. :D

Oh, and mom, when you come out here (whenever I have a baby), we'll have to make some homemade guacamole for you. We just tried out a recipe for it last night, and it was a keeper! :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Belated Happy New Year :)

'Ello! Today has been more exciting than usual. Tyson and I served our first day in Primary. We've been called to teach a class of four 8- to 9-year-olds. It was fun, but definitely took effort. :) Straight from teaching, we both spoke in sacrament meeting (Our ward is backwards and has sacrament meeting last). It felt like leaving the frying pan to go into the fire! :) The day went really well, though, and Tyson's parents came up from Spanish Fork to hear us talk and then had lunch at our place. It was great to talk with them, and it was fun to finally have people in our home. :)

The weather today has been beautiful, too. Over the last few days, the snow has melted, and then today has been beautifully sunny. :) The downside to the weather change, though, is that more than a handful of spiders have crept in and wanted to room with us. I'm not one to kill spiders, but I have made a few exceptions since we moved in. I've caught and released a few, too, but they are really fast, and my arachnophobic nerves can't take too much of that! LOL!

Wednesday was the first Relief Society activity since I moved in. The first half hour were some uplifting talks, and then we just ate soup, salad, and breadsticks, and just talked. We have the best people in our ward, and I had a wonderful night getting to know more of the sisters! (AND they had potato, broccoli cheddar, and artichoke mushroom soups, so I actually had vegetarian options. Sweet!)

I've been subbing a lot at work lately, and I'm so grateful for the opportunities. Class is always an adventure. In fact, one my girls in my oldest class had a meltdown Thursday night because I asked her to face the barre for the degage exercise. She began to cry because she would be able to see herself in the mirror, then suddenly claimed that the rest of the class were mean to her and said things about her when she wasn't there. I'd be moved, except that I'm not convinced that she meant any of it! Oy! A few more times during the class she would call out girls for saying things about her. The poor other girls were quite surprised by all this. And now they probably will indeed talk about her this week. Sheesh! What a night! :)

I have a couple pictures I wanted to share from Christmas baking. I made a simple yule log for Christmas. I've wanted to make a jelly roll cake since I was quite young, and I finally did it! It was really fun, and quite tasty. Thanks for letting me take the jelly roll pan, mom!