Thursday, January 29, 2009

Making due....

Well I decided if I can't be someplace warm, sunny and vibrant that I'd have to make due in our winter wonderland. I took a drive up to see the new Draper temple and was able to catch the sunset on the way bak down the mountains. Has anyone else noticed what BEAutiful sunsets we've had lately? Smoggy air does that for you. But it was gorgeous and I got to thinking that I'm really glad I can live in a place that has such beautiful season changes. I must admit though, I still kind of wish I could go someplace warm, and come back a little later.....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dreaming of some place warmer.....


As we drove down to Kanab last weekend we pulled out the IPod and belted out a few tunes together. I'm always making fun of Darin because he NEVER knows the right words to songs, or who they're by, or what the song is called etc, etc. Case in point, this song starts playing.

And Darin gets all excited and says, "See, now this is a classic Lion King, Elton John song".

I could barely stop laughing long enough to say, "No, what's classic is that this isn't Lion King, or Elton John. It's Tarzan and it's Phil Collins, but nice try". Silly husband. You make me smile.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Our Relaxing Weekend

Over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend we were invited by some friends to go to St George and do some golfing and relaxing. We stayed at their parents house in Kanab, and it really was such a fun time.
Darin golfed every day in the beautiful 60 degree weather.
I went shopping and spent a day at the Red Mountain Day Spa.
I spent the majority of the day here getting a massage and facial and reading in their relaxation room. It was so beautiful looking over the red rock mountains.
It was nice to just go and be pampered and I left feeling rejuvenated.
Even just driving from St George to Kanab was so nice. I loved just driving by myself, belting out my favorite songs with the windows down. And there were such great opportunites to stop and take pictures of the beautiful scenery.

We really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks Howard and Susan for your hospitality and Josh and Stephanie for inviting us. Now, could someone please pass me a carrot? Hehe.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

$224 eye candy

After an unfortunate accident by Darin with one of these at Macaroni Grill.....
He bought me some new ones of these.....

And then I treated him to 8th row seats at the Jazz/Pistons game.

Who am I kidding? It was really a treat for me so that I could look at this kid up close.

I just barely missed the picture of Iverson slappin Kyle on the butt. C'mon, do ya blame the guy?

Sloan eventually had to pull Kyle out of the game because he wouldn't stop checking me out. He was missing a lot of shots......Oh wait, I think that was in my dream last night. But really he didn't play that much because we blew the pistons out of the water.

Honestly, Korver may not even be THAT hot, but you put him next to Kirilenko and Okur and the kid looks like a God.

Well, on second thought, he's probably just hot.

I know a lot of you might be thinking "How can you sit there and talk about how hot Kyle Korver is when you're married?" Don't worry people, Darin got his fair share of oogling in that night. And they were way more scantily dressed than my subject.

So was it worth the $224 I paid for the tickets? You bet it was!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cooking Anonymous

Hello. My name is Jessicca. I have a confession to make. I love to cook. But that's not actually my confession. The confession is that Sunday I spent all afternoon cooking meals that I could freeze for fast and easy weekday meals. I know, I know, you're not supposed to work on Sunday. But can it be considered work if it's something you love to do? I think not.
I chose 3 recipes to make big batches of for freezing. The first was an Italian Sausage Soup.

Dice the onion.

There's something about coming home from a long day of work, putting some soup on the stove to simmer and just relaxing that is so so wonderful. No meal to cook, not much to clean up. Just yumminess and relaxing.

Slice the carrot.
There's also something very relaxing to me when I'm chopping and dicing vegetables. I know it's odd. I think it's the repetitious movements. It keeps my hands busy but allows me to just daydream.

Chop the celery. Ok-So there is one thing I don't like cutting. And that would be garlic. If you properly mince it rather than just using a garlic press like I sometimes do when I'm feeling really lazy, then my fingers smell like garlic for the next week. Not good.
Mince the garlic.

After you've browned your Italian Sausage (we use the HOT sausage at our house because we like to keep things spicy) add all the vegetables.

Add your garlic and spices.
Mix, mix, mix it up.
Add diced tomatoes.
K at this point I started to get a little lazy on the picture taking. So I don't have a picture of the end result. I know, it's a little anti-climatic. But you add 5 cups of chicken broth and a can of kidney beans and let it simmer for awhile. And that's it! Delicious and not much work!

I got 10 meals from just a few hours of cooking.
Italian Sausage Soup
adapted from Allrecipes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 stalk celery chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes
5 cups chicken broth
1 (16oz) can kidney beans, drained
1 cup pasta shells (I don't add the pasta until the night I make the soup. You could add them before you froze it if you wanted, but I don't like soggy pasta)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook sausage until evenly browned and break into pieces. Stir in onions, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, rosemary, red pepper, and sage. Continue cooking 10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Mix in tomatoes and cook until heated through. Stir in broth and beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.

adapted from my mom :)
1 pound hamburger
2 onions
3-4 stalks celery
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cans tomato paste
27 oz can kidney beans
3 small cans water (use the tomato paste cans)
1 can stewed tomatoes
3 jalapenos (depending on how spicy you like things. 3 will make it pretty hot)
Cook hamburger until browned. Add onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add 1 teaspoon chili powder and mix. Drain grease. Add tomato paste, beans, water, tomatoes and jalapenos. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.

Beef and Bean Burritos
I don't remember where I got this recipe.
1/4 cup oil
2 onions chopped
4 lbs ground beef
4 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
16 oz can tomato sauce
62 oz can re fried beans
24 10-inch flour tortillas
Heat oil, cook onions. Add beef and garlic. Drain grease. Add chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper. Add beans, cook and stir. Cool slightly. Spread mix onto tortillas. Roll tortillas burrito style. Place on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool and freeze on baking sheet. After frozen you can remove from baking sheet into Ziploc freezer bags.
Thaw desired number of burritos. Reheat at 350 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Favorite Room

I promised pictures of the house awhile back. It's been slow going but things are starting to come together. Our bedroom is probably the farthest along. I really love it. It's not quite finished yet but it's a place I love to go to. Relaxing, calming, I feel like it's the way a bedroom should be.
The shelves used to look like this....
But they just weren't working. So we painted them white and weathered them with some sandpaper and they're just perfect now. They really added to the beachy feel of the room.

There's a corner that's pretty bare that needs a wicker chair. I really want this one from Pottery Barn....

But I just haven't talked myself into spending $600 on a chair and ottoman. Until I do, (which is probably never) I'll just dream of reading in this comfy chair in my relaxing room in the corner nook. Aaahhh....

Sunday, January 4, 2009

This Is Your Life

No matter what else you are doing
From cradle right down to the end
You are writing your life's secret story
Each night a new page is penned.
Each month is the end of a chapter,
Each year the end of a part,
And never a word is misstated
Not even a wish of the heart.

Each morn when you wake the book opens,
Revealing a page clean and white,
each though, each word, and each act,
Reveal on its pages by night.

God leaves that to you, you're the writer
And never a word will be dimmed
Until some day you write the word "Finish"
And give the book back to him.

What a great poem and wise words. Although there are things that enter your life that you obviously have no control over, for the most part, you create your life. You have complete control over your happiness. As I look back over the last year I can't help but think how blessed I am. We have a beautiful new home, friends and family that love us and the gospel in our lives to lead and direct us. But every day I'd leave my job and think that something is missing. My job is great, and don't get me wrong, I'm so grateful to even have one in these economic hard times but I don't wake up each morning excited to go to work. I understand that the majority of people aren't happy to go to work, but I constantly ask myself "Why can't I find joy in the work I do each day? Don't I have that right?" And so I present my new baby.

This was my gift from Darin this Christmas (He's such a good man.) I've always loved taking pictures and capturing the precious moments of different occasions and now I can really do it. (My last cameras batteries would seriously not last longer than 2 minutes on a full charge) I'm learning so much already about photography and I look forward to this coming year to keep learning and growing in the field. Classes I'll be taking, books I've been reading, and hopefully your pictures I'll be taking. Keep watch over the next few months for special deals. And I challenge you (my friends, my future children or grandchildren) Go for something you really want. Don't be afraid to try something new because it could be your niche. And who cares if it's not? Maybe you'll have fun learning in the process!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

We really enjoyed celebrating the end of 2008 and ringing in 2009 with my family. We had fun playing Guitar Hero World Tour, chowing down on yummy food, singing karaoke, and playing games. But Darin's favorite part of the night was watching his new favorite movie, Mama Mia! Here is dancing to one of his favorite songs with my Aunt Wendy.

I'm being sarcastic. Darin could not stand the movie. I'm actually quite surprised he made it through the whole thing without shooting himself in the face. The poor boy just can't handle such happiness. :) Don't worry Darin, we'll watch some war movie when we get home to make you feel better.

2008 brought both good and bad as is inevitable. We celebrated our 2nd anniversary in May, took trips to California and New York, and started a new chapter of our life by building our home. What a fun process to go through. I know this home is going to be the source of many memories to come. It's nice to know that we'll have a stable place to start and raise a family.

The year also brought some sad as well. The passing of my grandpa was a sudden and very sad thing for my family and the grief is still quite thick at times. It's actually quite a surprise when it does hit you. You'll just be driving in your car, think of a memory and suddenly the tears are flowing. It's normally short, but still hard nonetheless.I mean here I am now, crying over my keyboard, when all I wanted to do was write funny blurbs about Darin and his new obsession with all things Mama Mia. Ha ha. I guess that's how grief rolls through you. Eventually it gets easier and you can think of the good times and smile rather than cry. He was just such a good person and I know the coming years is going to have a void without him there.
I have a good feeling about 2009 though. It's going to be a good year. There's so much I hope to accomplish this year. I'm so grateful for friends and family that helped make 2008 memorable for us.