Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chocolate party, year 2!

Remember last year's chocolate party?  It had to happen again.  I invited lots of lovely ladies, looked through my Pinterest and cookbooks, bought brown paper goods, and had a blast!  Somehow I didn't even have anxiety about it.  I knew whatever fell into place would be enough, and the important part was to have a place for everyone to enjoy themselves.


S'mores fudge - a make-again recipe


I've been planning for several years to tackle chocolate satin pie.  It wasn't the cheapest pie, but it was delicious and cheaper than buying it from Marie Callender's.  It wasn't hard to me, but I realized how grateful I am for all of the cooking knowledge I've gained over the years.  I knew what it meant to whip cream until stiff and to fold said cream into the chocolate mixture.  This will definitely make it to future Thanksgiving dinners.


I also made chocolate peanut-butter cake balls and chocolate dipped Nutter Butters, and bought ice cream.  (Huh.  I just realized I tackled three new recipes in one day - even though cake balls aren't hard, grocery shopped, shopped for and went to a bridal shower, and still wasn't stressed.  I didn't even wake up early. That rocks.)  The rest was provided by other people, including a gourmet hot chocolate bar.  



 I shoved around furniture and then watched the place transform into this!  



People helped clean up.  I managed not to overindulge and therefore didn't feel sick, and had a (mostly free thanks to credit union rebate) burger to balance out the sugar.  Success!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Utah State Fair

This is my first attempt to catch up with blogging about summer.  A month ago, I went with friends to the Utah State Fair. We ate greasy fair food and played people-watching Bingo with a card I created.  Darrin found these awesome sunglasses (and other accessories to match) to model. 


I loved the animal buildings and all the jars of preserved goodies, plus this butterfly cake!




Thursday, October 2, 2014

Trust in God's timing and promptings

Tonight I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes: "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom."

I got home after a trying day and my visiting teacher called.  She was clearly frustrated that she has tried so hard to find me at home to deliver a treat, and I've been gone A LOT.  She came over and I went outside in jammies.  She told me how she had thrown together a spiritual message and bag of chocolate at the beginning of September, and had been trying for weeks to find me at home.  What she didn't realize was that I didn't need it for all of September.  I needed a hug and some chocolate right then.  God's timing is perfect.  It can be really hard to see this while you're in the midst of trials.  Tonight though, Chauna served me exactly when I needed it.  I was too stubborn to call and say, "I need you," but Heavenly Father sent a friend anyway.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just wait until the summer is over

I know I haven't been blogging. I'm too busy loving my life this summer to stop and blog.  I promise I'm taking pictures and making memories, and I'll update once I've completed my summer goals.  The semester just started and algebra is kicking my trash, so the fun is wrapping up quickly.

Dating, dancing, camping, good food, and much laughter...I am so blessed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Seattle trip

My best friend in the teen years was Melissa.  It was the kind of friendship where I stopped by every day after work and just walked into her house, where one of us could go pee or take a shower while the other was in the bathroom, where I didn't even go to Target without her... until I introduced her to a guy and she ended up in an abusive and controlling marriage.  I didn't get to see her anymore and I blamed myself.  Eventually they got divorced, but our friendship had been reduced to a letter every year or two.


She lives in Washington now.  Last October (I know, I'm super late at blogging about this) I got to go visit her.  She was expecting a baby, which was a complete miracle given her health history.  I felt like such a grown-up, flying out of state to attend a baby shower.  It felt really important to me to support her in this.  Unfortunately, after I booked my flight, the shower got rescheduled.  It was too expensive to change my flight, so we planned on a nice little weekend together.  Then she ended up in the hospital with complications. 

I got a rental car and a hotel near the hospital and mostly devoted the weekend to visiting with her and her mom.  It was just like old times, hanging out in a hospital, but our lives are so separated after years of being out of contact.  What kind of lame elevator doesn't want you to jump in it?  The radio in my rental car was touch screen - so cool!


On Saturday morning, I went to the Seattle LDS Temple.  I was not missing the chance to visit it.  The leaves were gorgeous on the temple grounds.




This statue is also in Temple Square and it's one of my favorites.  I love this example of a woman who is dressed very femininely and is enjoying time with children.  



I had an awful time navigating the Seattle/Tacoma area.  The speed limit was painfully low and the GPS gave directions at the very last second.  Also, the hilly streets with flat intersections and closely spaced lights caused me to get confused of which light belonged to which intersection.  I accidentally ran a red light in Tacoma because of it.  While I was visiting on Saturday, Melissa needed a PICC line put in, and they let me stay in the room if I wore these adorable accessories.


I wanted to fit in a tiny bit of sightseeing while I was there.  I decided to visit the giant ferris wheel over the water.  My GPS and I were complete enemies in this venture, but I made it and found an overpriced parking garage.  


In this glass gondola, I instantly recognized that my fear of heights was much worse than I remembered.  I spent serious effort calming down a near panic attack, taking selfies to distract myself.  When I got off, I had very little time to get back to my car before the parking garage closed...but I had run to the waterfront in such a hurry that I hadn't kept close track of directions.  By the time I found my car, I was panicking again.  


From there, I went to visit another good friend from the teen years who also happens to live in Washington.  She had some health issues and hadn't been able to take the bus to the city, so I made the drive to a restaurant near her and we enjoyed talking. When I took her home, I was shocked at how well I recognized her small town from my visit 10+ years before.  

(1997)

(2013)

Sunday morning, I went back to visit Melissa in the hospital before my flight left.  Her water broke while I was there and she went into labor, so I left and chilled at the airport for a bit.  There was never really a good time to take a picture together.  

Two weeks ago, she came to Utah for a family wedding.  I got to see her again as well as her grandparents (we played games together frequently growing up), and meet her baby.  I didn't have much time to visit, but I'm so grateful for the time we had.  Life doesn't turn out as you plan.  Friendships change.  She was once a huge influence in my life and my world was shaken when she left it.  I'm thrilled that she is a mom and continues to defy medical odds.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Deuel Creek hike



 I went on what I thought was a "girly" hike yesterday.  It turned out to be a little harder than I expected (good to push myself) and we followed the trail longer than we intended (it turned into a different trail and we didn't know).  There was supposed to be a small waterfall.  We didn't see it on the section of the loop we were on, so we kept going...and going...  Cool scenery though.  Scads of boysenberry bushes, a humongous dandelion, a lizard that stayed just a couple feet ahead of us for quite awhile, unidentified bugs, etc.

I got tired and hungry.  My friend went on ahead for 5 minutes to see if there was a big waterfall around the corner.  I stood there on a narrow trail listening to loud bug noises and decided to take a pic of myself to see just how dirty my face was.  I knew it was dirty because I'd used my shirt sleeve to wipe sweat off my forehead.  By then, I had fallen twice, crawled through slippery spots twice, and gotten a dust cloud in my face when my friend kicked dust at a snake trying to get it to leave the path. (I found the snake by falling close to it.)  I was feeling a little dehydrated and alone.


No waterfall within 5 minutes, and we knew we'd gone much farther than the predicted trail distance, so we headed back toward the swing we'd skipped because it had a few people on it.  It was really a deserted hike other than that.  This time we had the swing to ourselves!  You had to pull the swing up a slippery slope to a rock in order to climb on, and it was a bit scary to push off.


video

After finally stopping him at the bottom, I decided it was more important for him to catch me than record me.  It was impossible to get good enough footing to stop my momentum.  He ended up scrambling down to the bottom to stop me, after multiple failed attempts.  We had some good laughs on the swing and then headed down the south trail.  We'd hiked up the north trail, which was significantly more difficult, and the best little waterfall turned out to be on the south trail just below the swing.


video

Finally we could see the city again.  



Our hike took about 3.5 hours and I'm glad we went, even if it wasn't quite as girly of a hike as I expected.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Proud auntie moment

Today is my nephew Ryan's 18th birthday.  So hard to believe!  In looking for the photo I wanted, I found an email I wrote a guy.  "I got to hold my new nephew Ryan for the first time.  He's so little and precious.  His skin is too baggy for him, like a kitten's skin on their neck, you know?  He likes to be cuddled.  :)  I just love him to pieces."


I love reading books to my nieces/nephews.  Here's a flashback moment of me and Ryan.


This is from a visit last year when we went to General Conference.  Love my Ryan!


Happy birthday, Ryan!