Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Craft Day!

My two friends in my ward and I got have been planning for a couple weeks now to do some long-overdue crafting. When we were finally done with finals we hit JoAnn's and crafted for a whole weekend pretty much.
 Here we are working on various crafts at Courtney's table. I fear we invaded her house with hot glue and fabric, poor Eric.
 This is the wreath we made. Isn't it cute!? We bought various colors and patterns of fabric, a wire wreath frame, cut the fabric into strips and tied the strips onto the frame. I'm so excited to hang this next season~
We got some cute mini ornaments and glued them together into trees and then tied some bows and glued them on. Court and Alison made three each and I plan to make one more that is a little bigger. Another craft that is still in the making are our blocks that we will be spelling santa with a decorating with paper and embellishments. We had quite the adventure at home depot getting the blocks cut! But we did it and were very proud of ourselves. I think one of our most proud moments was finding that we had saved $66.00 at JoAnn's and only spent $21.00 each for all of our darling crafts!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Walkin in a Winter Wonderland

What started out to be a pretty crummy day for me, turned out pretty nicely in the end. Jer and I and our friends the Chris and Alisons (as we like to call them. They call us the Peedletons so its ok :o)) went to Midway to go ice-skating at an outdoor rink! It was so much fun, we were worried because it was raining on the way up but it was really nice when we got there and it was the grand opening so we got free skate rental and free hot cocoa!


 Our sweet ice skating pose. Took a few takes but we got it.
 How romantic :o).
 Chris and Jer are pretty excited about this date!
 Al and I making our most professional pose. I told her I had always dreamed of being able to skate backward like the professional ice skaters do and their little dresses blow in the wind. Still workin on that one.
Jer had to take a shot of me all bundled up. I really wasn't cold at all, I had two pairs of gloves on, a sweatshirt, huge coat, wool scarf and hat, two hoods and wool socks. In fact, when I really started skating I got kinda hot! This was a very fun and very needed date since we have been so crazy with school and finals it was great to just let loose and have fun with our friends without the stress and worry of school and work responsibilities.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Would You Rather...

You know that game where you say, "would you rather.....or.......?" And the person has to decide which one they would rather do? Usually the things people come up with are pretty ridiculous, painful, or just plain gross (for example, would you rather lick a toilet seat in a public bathroom or swallow 20 live worms?) and you wouldn't ever want to do either but that's the fun of the game, you HAVE to pick one!
So, I've been playing this game in my head for the past two days or so and I've even vocalized some of them to Jer, "Would you rather take your stats final or write my ten page final paper with a three page bibliography?" I am dreading this paper so much that I have been subconsciously been trying to find combinations of would-you-rathers where I would ACTUALLY pick writing my paper. I have decided, I would rather write my paper than fail the class. SO here I sit, in the snack zone of the library, geared up with my headphones and my thinking cap and I'm about to bust out this 10 page paper in 4 hours. I'm determined.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On the Fly

Well Katie and I had a crazy weekend. Long story short, at 1 pm on Saturday our Dad called us wondering if we could fly out to see Anna dance in the Nutcracker, at 1:30 we were on the way to the airport. We had just about nothing but the shirts on our backs so-to-speak. It was a wild and crazy adventure.
 Here we are after we drove straight from the airport in Burbank to the theater in Santa Barbara and surprised Anna. Not looking too awesome but oh well.
 Anna had the Candy Cane solo (one that I danced while in high school too, I wore that very costume!) She did so well. She had the best smile of them all. She was also in the snow corps.
 Signing autographs. So famous.

 After the show.
The below picture is just a depiction of the beauty we enjoyed as we drove from the airport to SB.
video
Here is a video of the surprise.
The end of the story goes a little like this: after the show, we got some ice-cream, went to sleep, woke up at four and were back in happy valley by 1pm. The trip was literally less than 24 hours. Now on to finals.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thoughts on Art

Well, my brother shared this link with me, and maybe I'm just a fine arts nerd or something but it was touching to see this combination of arts working together to make this beautiful masterpiece. It's almost unbelievable that this artist could convey the accuracy of dance through animation and the song it was paired with really added to the effect. Sometimes when I get caught up in the business of life, especially right now during finals and the Christmas season, I forget the reason I am here studying at BYU. This video was a nice reminder. :o)  Enjoy!

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://videosift.com/widget.js?video=187197&width=540&comments=15&minimized=1"></script>

If the above embedding doesn't work, here is the link:
http://videosift.com/video/Thought-of-You-Beautiful-Fluid-Dance-Animation

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Halls are Officially Decked!

Tonight Jer and I watched The Grinch, one of our favorites while we finally decorated our Christmas tree. We still don't have a tree topper but I'm in the process of finding one I promise! I attempted to make one of those fancy ribbon bows using online instructions but I just didn't get it. So, as promised, I have taken some pictures of our new little collection of Christmas decorations. I did my best with what we have, so its not professional but at least it has gotten us into the spirit of Christmas a little better during this crazy time of year. To see some REALLY great decorating, check out my sister's blog: mshouston.blogspot.com.
 This is my personal favorite addition to our Christmas decorations. This is the newest Willow Tree nativity and our very first nativity. Joseph is about a foot tall. Jer's mom gave this to us as an early Christmas present and wrapped the empty box so we could have something to put under our tree. :o)
 Our decorated tree with our lovely present under it. Excuse the fact that it looks slightly ghetto without a tree skirt. We're workin on it. We decorated the tree with poinsettias, and different sized really pretty Christmas balls I got from Michaels.
 Just a side-note, every stitch of decoration we have for Christmas is from Jer's mom so, a little shout out to you Dianna! I LOVE these trees. They kind of remind me of one of my favorite Christmas stories, The Three Trees. Jer's mom also gave us some odds and ends like the little gold sprigs and grape bunches that I arranged around the bottom. Jer hung one at the top of the tallest tree too. :o)
 So, Thai Pan is awesome. When Dianna and I were there shopping for garland we found these darling wall hangings. Only 5 bucks! Di tied that cute bow on it. Since I don't have a wreath I figured this would be pretty cute on my door. We also got one for each of our visiting teachees!
 Kitchen table arrangement. Not sure how I feel about this one. I'm just beginning to reach into my inner decorating soul so the beginnings may be a bit rough. BUT I love the lantern.
 Kitchen window sill, that angel is from Jer's Nanny. She gave that to me last year for Christmas and I was so excited to bring it out this year.
Coffee table. That cute little tree was from my mom freshman year! I think it is darling. In the glass hurricane are bells from Thai Pan. Another cute little lantern.

So, there you have it. My first Christmas decorating experience. I sure had fun and I love this season!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Jer and I spent Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara with my family. We had a blast! It was fun too because we were able to spend a couple days with his family before we left for CA. The first day was on purpose, the second was because our flight got canceled, but we still had lots of fun with the Bartons!
 Thanksgiving morning our 7 wild turkeys (that love to hang out at our house since my mom won't quit feeding them) greeted us on our side patio. I suggested cooking one up fresh for our feast but that idea got shot down really quick. :o) All I have to say is, they are lucky they decided to disappear for the wedding.
 Mom and I working on the Thanksgiving meal in the kitchen. This work started the night before and then continued early the next morning and through the day to get everything ready.
For the past several years I have made the pies for Thanksgiving. I made a pumpkin one the night before and then Anna and I made apple the day of. I had never been able to get the recipe right until this year, thanks to Lion House! This was the best apple pie I have ever made. (maybe its because Anna helped :o))

 Here is our post-feast Thanksgiving portrait in the library. We're all stuffed and happy.
 These are my lovely best friends from high school, minus Andi :o( at one of our favorite places to eat, The Habit. Yum Yum. Jer says he has to go there at least once every time we are in Santa Barbara.
 Us being silly as always.
Katie even caught the bouquet at her good friend Kate's beautiful wedding!
In other news, this week has been insane, I mean. Totally. Insane. Jer and I have been up to our ears in school work. I was asked to speak to the faculty and students of the college of Fine Arts and Communications this week. It added just a bit of stress to my life but what added more was that I lost my voice (because I was sick) the day before. Let's just say the Lord blessed me with a tender mercy and gave me my voice back for my speech. I lost it again right after. It really was a miracle. A bit of good news, Jer's mom gave us lots of fun Christmas decorations to put up in our house since we basically had nothing. Jer put up the Christmas tree and we are anxiously awaiting a bit of time tomorrow evening to decorate it. I actually went to Michaels and got some great ornaments for an awesome price! Not to mention a few other fun things. Seriously, go there and get their pine-scented candle, 2 for 7 bucks! I love Michaels, I really do. Just as a preview, since I showed you what I filled my candle holders with for fall, here are my Christmas fillers. :o)
Yep folks, those are real cranberries. And Jer even filled them for me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

As of late...

Jer and I have had a very busy past couple weeks and are so excited for Thanksgiving break in Santa Barbara! Here is a little update of what we have been up to:

 My Tiny Tots had a little performance at Provo Towne Center Mall a couple weeks ago. They are improving so much! AND sometimes they actually listen to me, which is progress. :o) Here they are dancing to "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
 This is one of my jobs as a teacher for 3-5 year olds. I sit in front of them and do the moves in case they forget. Another thing I learned from the studio director which has worked wonders is having felt stars with each of their names on it as place-holders for dances.
 Last weekend were the Dancesport Championships which meant Jer and I both pretty much lived in the WSC the entire weekend. In addition to competing in my own events, I was there to watch and video my students compete in their event (which included Jer :o)) We ended up with 4 spankin new trophies that are looking nice and tacky up on top of our TV at the present. Above is my hair for my Saturday competition done by my good friend Becky. Pretty awesome.
 We snagged a place in the Amateur Ballroom final and placed first in Pre-Championship Ballroom. In the photo we are dancing Amateur Smooth which we placed 3rd in.
Below, is a photo of Jer competing up to the Silver-level waltz (I attempted to post the video but it wouldn't load :o( ), he and his partner made it three rounds which is awesome for competing up! In his class competition (bronze quickstep) Jer placed third! He did such a great job! I'm such a proud teacher considering there are at least a hundred couples competing in that event. Third out of 100? Not too shabby.  


 Here we are at Katie's concert for Wasatch Chorale, we had a lot of fun that week spending time with my Dad, seeing our Grandma and going to this wonderful concert. So, there you have it, a little update on our lives. I've been resisting posting more recipes because I don't want to look like I'm copying Julie and Julia but maybe I'll post some sweet Thanksgiving winners this next week. :o)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This Recipe Just Screams my Dad's Name!

Here's another Cooking Light Recipe that is quick and fairly easy. I'm loving all these awesome, healthy recipes! This took me a little over 30 mins to make mostly because I hadn't thawed the chicken beforehand so I cheated and thawed it in the microwave first. The sauce is full of flavor and so light! Which I love because I normally don't love eating pasta because it feels so heavy after you eat it. The reason I say this reminds me of my dad is because he loves a good lemon sauce with linguine, or really, any type of pasta, he often makes creations of his own at home which are always really delicious.

Chicken with Lemon-Leek Linguine

Ingredients

  • 6  ounces  uncooked linguine (I used whole wheat)
  • 4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, divided
  • 3  garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1  leek, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2  cup  fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm.
2. Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to an even thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour, shaking to remove excess.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, leek, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; sauté 4 minutes. Add broth and juice; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add pasta to leek mixture; toss well to combine. Serve chicken over pasta mixture; sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Halloween

We had a very busy but fun October! Here are some of the things we did: Above, is a photo of our pumpkins we carved, Jer printed some outlines from the internet. Carved pumpkins and make caramel apples with out good friends the Bready's from our ward.
 For Halloween, I dressed up as a doctor and Jer was a patient. :o) We had a fun couples party at my parent's condo clubhouse. We played lots of fun games and ate Halloween treats.
 October also brought Mollie and Elliot's sweet baby twins Grant and Paige. This is Katie holding Paige, I don't have the pictures of Grant :o(
Jer's family has a tradition of having "Halloween stew" each year and eating it out of these pumpkin shaped bread bowls from great harvest. We had the Bready's and the Mantell's over for Stew.
In addition to these fun Activities our schedules have been full with bridal showers (I have 5 friends getting married in December!) school, and work. Jer and I love married life more and more each day and we are getting really excited to go to California for Thanksgiving, it will be a much needed and welcomed break. An updated post to come with photos from the Tiny Tots' most recent performance. :o)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Wonderful Fall Recipe

I have always liked finding awesome recipes on people's blogs and totally appreciate it when people share the ones that they especially liked so I have decided to do this as well. Jer got me the October Cooking Light magazine a few weeks ago and I have just had a ball tagging all the new recipes I want to try. I have only tried a few so far but the one I made today for dinner has been my favorite!


Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice
Why I love this: It has a really great nutty flavor which reminds me of fall, its light and healthy but filling and it only took me 20 minutes!

1 bag (3.5 oz.) boil-in-bag brown rice (I just used a mixture of brown and white minute rice and it turned out great)
2 T butter, divided
1 pound chicken breast cutlets (about 4 cutlets)
3/4 t salt, divided
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c refrigerated apple cider
1 t Dijon mustard
1/4 c chopped pecans
Parsley (if desired)
1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, omitting salt and fat; drain
2. While rice cooks, melt 1 tsp butter in large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook 2-3 minutes or until syrupy. Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.
3. Melt remaining 5 teaspoons butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat. Serve rice with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

Well I couldn't quite figure out how to rearrange my pictures but that's ok! I'm so happy that fall is finally here! I've been waiting and waiting, and yesterday as I was buying some Halloween candy, the rain storm came just in time. There is now the telltale bite of cold in the air and I'm breaking out all my delicious-smelling candles. I feel like I can now enjoy the football games even if our team isn't doing the best. :o/ The photo above is from a fun date we went on with Sally and Bryan right before school started. After a BBQ in Alpine, we went to this delicious snow cone shack where you could get ice-cream and cream in your snow cone! So good.

"Jerrmy." That's a new one!

I've truly been enjoying having my own little space to decorate! Its been kind of a challenge to stay within a budget and also use my creative instincts (sometimes I wonder if I was born with any of those) This is my little kitchen table arrangement. All purchased at Smith's grocery store.

Sorry the pictures are so out of order, but this was part of our FHE activity last night. I was seriously so excited about it for days. I found the cutest thing called, "You've just been BOO'd!" (Courtney, Eric already revealed that you know it was us so I figured I can post this on our blog :o)) But we put little treat bags together including homemade jam that Jer's mom Dianna and I made this weekend and doorbell ditched some of our friends. The idea is that if you get BOO'd you have to BOO two more people and put your paper up on your door so people know you've already been hit! We had a ball doing this.
My mom gave me a magazine with tons of cute Halloween decorating ideas, here's one I loved and did while it was still September. :o)
This is my coffee table decoration :o)
Jer and I went to Kaysville this past weekend to spend some time with his family and watch conference. We had such a blast! After the morning session on Sat. we headed to Layton to watch Cam play in his football game. He did such a good job and is so fast! His team won of course. That evening while Jer and Bryon were at the priesthood session, Carly Thornock came over and Dianna led us in a rigorous jam sesh! We made SIX batches of jam. Peach, strawberry, and a peach/strawberry mix. It was so fun to spend some time with just the girls (plus Cam, who was such a good helper.) The next morning we had yummy waffles with our fresh jam and fruit on top! Conference is always great and I learn so much from it.
I'm going to try and post more regularly. My next project is to get some wedding pictures posted. I think i'm a little intimidated by the thought of doing that but I'm sure I will buckle down and do it soon! Stay tuned!