Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Treats

My dear Watson and I made some Christmas treats for some of our neighbors and my work friends.  It was a lot of work but I really liked doing it.  It took us almost 6 hours, so this is definitely not one of those quick, easy, last minute neighbor gift ideas.  BUT, I only spent $11.68 on the few items I didn't already have, and was able to give gifts to 17 people (and it could have been more). That comes out to $.69 per person.

We made peanut butter truffles, almond cremes (recipe posted on my Recipe tab), caramel brownie bites (homemade brownie AND caramel), and dark chocolate truffles.  I learned a dipping technique from The Pioneer Woman (who learned it from Bakerella - the famous cake pop lady) that involves using a toothpick to transfer the candy from the chocolate dipped spoon to the pan. I thought it helped keep the candies nice looking, and was very pleased. 

Here's some documentation, though not much.

Bowl full of chocolates.

The round chocolates are almond cremes and peanut butter; the toffee covered one is almond creme; the square one is a caramel brownie bite.

Tied up with some ribbon.
And this is the special Christmas tag I made to go on each bag. I used Adobe Illustrator, though I can't guarantee I used it correctly.  My big brother Ben showed me a few basics when he was here on a quick business trip a few weeks ago, and I've been trying to put them to use.  I still would have mostly preferred to use Photoshop, but I definitely realized some of the cons to Illustrator (and by cons I mean pros...it took me like 4 times reading through this blog to realize I put the wrong word :) oops!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Well, I just remembered that I'm NOT a fashion designer, so I'm back to Earth now.
I think Christmas lights are magical.
This is the view from my side of the bed.

Isn't it amazing? I love to look up from my reading to see the tree in all its radiance. It takes my breath away.
I wish we could keep Christmas lights on our houses all year long.

Growing up, we always had several different advent calendars all around the house. Most of them involved eating a piece of candy each day. I think we had to fight over who got to do which advent each day.  I think I also remember sneaking candy from the advent calendars a few days before the actual date. If any of my siblings ever ended up with an empty advent on their day I'd like to apologize. Don't beat me up.

Here are our only advent calendars for this year (2 more than last year).  Mom gave us this one.

And I made this one with some of my nieces.

I have informed my dear Watson that I will be collecting advents from now on so that when we have lots of kids and a house, we'll have lots of candy filled advents for our kids to fight over and steal candy from. Sigh....now that's what Christmas is all about.

*** I added a new recipe under my Recipe of the Week tab. It's delicious and is sure to be a hit at your next Christmas party!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Life as a Fashion Designer

I found this amazing blog by a lady named Kristina J. who designs and makes her own dresses. For some reason her dresses are soooo inspiring to me! I feel like I'm a fashion designer all of a sudden. SO, I have been having a lot of fun creating my own outfits on this cool website. Check out my garb! (Yes, I did just say garb....why does that make me think of Strong Bad?)

Just a few casual outfits. I LOVE those pink corduroy Toms. The teal shoes were priced at $1,297. That's a little out of my price range...in fact, they better have diamonds in them for that price.


This is my secret wish. If I ever have a reason to wear sparkle from head to toe...I SO will. I LOVE SPARKLE

Orange and Yellow
This one is my favorite. I love the handbag the most! The boot option only works if you are a one-legged person. Where'd the other boot go?
Floral Dress
I'm not sure I could pull this outfit off. I wanted to do something a little weird though, and I think it turned out pretty weird.

I wish I could snap my fingers and these outfits would appear in my closet!  That would be a really cool super power. It would probably help me fight off bad guys because I could just snap a bunch of outfits in front of their face. Maybe a zipper from something would poke the bad guy in the eye...and voila! I saved the world.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Photo Shoot

Here it is! Our Christmas Photo Shoot session with my lovely mom as our photographer. We have my mom's friend Claudia to thank for the beautiful Christmas Tree background, and my SIL Valerie for editing the photos we used in our final Christmas Card (scroll down to see it). 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sage Advice from a Wisewoman

Check out my new recipe of the week. It will make you a very happy, delicious dinner...and it's super easy. 

I went to a Relief Society dinner last night. First activity in my new ward. You know what? I had better, more meaningful conversations with the women at my table in just one night than I ever had in a whole year of my other ward. I really feel like I made some friends.

During our dinner we had a visit from the Three Wisewomen (just 3 ladies from the ward).  We wrote down some questions and had them answered by our Wisewomen.  Let me share some of the advice we received from one Wisewoman in particular. I don't know her name, but she was quite older (in her 70's probably), and boy did she have a sense of humor.

Q: My kids are picky eaters, how do I get them to eat more vegetables?
A: Pay them.  Pay them for eating their food, particularly the vegetables. Then, when they come to dinner the next night, have a menu out that breaks down the prices of each piece of the meal...and charge them for the food they want.  5 cents for orange juice, 10 cents for dessert.  You get the point.


Q: How do I make my kids stop fighting all the time?
A: Give em'  a pair of boxing gloves and tell them to 'have at it!'  She told a story about her boys who were fighting constantly, so she gave each one of them a stick and told them to 'have at it'. They just stared at her like she was crazy. She prodded them some more, so they gave each other a light whack, then dropped the stick and went off to play with each other.


Anyway, I just thought she was so funny. You could tell she never takes herself too seriously and is willing to just laugh her way through difficult things.

Stay tuned for our Christmas Photo Shoot session......coming soon!

I love this I Am a Mormon video. Another person who can just laugh himself through difficult things.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


We have two calendars hanging up in our spare room. A Watson calendar and a Porter calendar. I flipped them both to the month of December, and it hit me: we were given these calendars for Christmas last year, and Christmas is almost here this year which means......the calendars end after this month! You mean, we've flipped through a whole year's worth of months? It was shocking. Has a year really passed by already?

I walked over to the lobby at work and looked out the window at the little patio area. Sometimes, when the weather is nice, I read a book on one of the benches.  There is a tree about every 3 feet on this patio and they are usually full of beautiful leaves.  This time though, as I looked out at the trees I could count how many leaves were on them; and they weren't green or red or yellow, they were dried up and brown. Where the heck did all the leaves go? I'm serious, it was like it was just yesterday that the leaves were in full bloom.


I don't always mind that time flies by right now, because I don't particularly love the stage of life we're in at the moment.  I know eventually I'll look back and love it, but while we're in it I have a hard time wishing it would last forever. You know, the still in school, working full time, no family yet, no career path yet etc... stage of life. It's a lot of waiting around trying to figure things out.  But something tells me that when we're in a stage of life we enjoy a little better, time is not going to slow down any-- and I don't think I'm okay with that.

My brother and his fam got a dog, (a cockapoo) and I'm jealous. (Which I didn't think I would be. dogs poop.) She is the cutest thing I ever saw AND she laid her head on my shoulder...seriously. 

I added a recipe to my new Favorite Recipe of the Week tab up at the top. Check it out, because it's delicious and I'm sure you'll want to make it.


How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on.  ~Zall's Second Law

Time is making fools of us again.  ~J.K. Rowling

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Before & After



After one whole year of saving for and talking about getting a bigger and better TV....it's finally here! My dear Watson stood in line at Costco for two hours (in the cold, mind you) to get this baby and we are so excited about it.  Costco didn't print what kind of TV sales they were going to have in their Black Friday ad so we were just going on faith that we'd find something good. We had saved up our money and waited so long that we wanted to make sure we got a GOOD tv for the money we had. I didn't want to buy a knock off brand with poor sound quality from Target just because it was only $200 on Black Friday.  We were at Target at midnight and there was no way we could have got one of those TV's anyway. Crazy people.

It's a 47" Vizio and it was $489.  With tax, we only went $30 over our budget (which we were expecting taxes to do that anyway, so only $30 was great).

Yay for TV's!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


 My dear Watson and I were the only family from our entire ward to be affected by a recent boundary change in our Stake.  They overlooked it at first when they made the announcement to our ward that we would only be receiving families, not losing.  Bishop paid us a personal visit the next day to let us know of the mistake and that we would be the only family going to a new ward.  I think we were most sad about leaving our callings. I loved teaching the Sunbeams, although utterly exhausting, it brought me a lot of joy.  My dear Watson worked with the Deacons and would miss the opportunities to help them as they develop their testimonies.

I recently saw a mother of one of my sunbeams (one who I was sure never heard a word I said), and she told me that Carson was saying things that she thought I was teaching them in primary. His little sister was touching their mom's glasses and Carson told her not to do that because they are made of glass and would break, and then their mom would be blind from glass in her eyes.  Then he said "but don't worry mom, Jesus would make you not blind again."  Jesus healing the blind man was a story we talked about often in Sunbeams, and his mom said they had never told that story at home. It was a precious moment for me to know that Carson had been touched by that story enough that he remembered it and could say with confidence that Jesus would heal. And I loved his literal application of the story...Jesus would literally make his mom not blind, even today. I think most of us would just liken that story to how Jesus can heal us from pain and sorrow as we struggle through our trials; but Carson's faith was perfect.

That is one of the things I was thinking about as I watched this Mormon message. Am I the only one who cries like a baby when I watch these things, and then every time I think about it throughout the day?  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Say What?

I ran a 1/2 marathon on Saturday.  I have run 2 other 1/2 marathons and one full, and I usually run them pretty conservatively. I don't start out too fast because I don't want to get burned out at mile 10.  I have been training almost a minute faster per mile for this race (I didn't train faster on purpose, it just all of a sudden started taking me less time to run my daily runs).  I was really nervous for this race because I wanted to see what I had in me. I wanted to see just how fast I could go, but I didn't want to go too fast at the beginning that I slowed way down at the end.  I did some researching of the results of this particular 1/2 marathon from last year and I knew that if I ran it in 1:45 I would be somewhere in 6th ish place for my age division.  So, my secret goal was 1:45 but I didn't vocalize it because I didn't know if I could really do it. That is pretty fast, and would definitely be faster than I have ever run before.  So when people asked me I said I wanted to do it in under 1:55 (because that was my  best time so far).

I knew I had to start fast from the get go or I really wouldn't have a chance to even get less than 1:55.  So I started out fast. There was a lot of downhill and I took advantage of each down hill to help propel me forward even when it flattened out.  There weren't pacers in this race and I don't wear a watch so I had no idea how fast I was going. I heard one guy say as I was passing him that when they came out of the shoot (crossed the start line) they were doing a 7:30 (per mile), but I figured they had slowed way down so the fact that I was passing them made me think I was doing something around 8:00 or 8:30.  I kept pushing it and around mile 11 I was starting to feel like I was slowing down.  I knew I couldn't give up this close to the end so I started my self-talk, you know, "you're strong" "you can do it" "i'm not in pain."  The last .2 miles of the race were on the track at Snow Canyon High School.  I came around the last bend and I could see my dear Watson cheering me on.  I expected to see 1:50 on the clock, so imagine my surprise when it said 1:38.  I screamed to my dear Watson and pointed at the clock! 1:38!!! Somehow I found it in me to sprint to the finish line. At least I think I sprinted.

I had a feeling that I could be anywhere from 3rd to 5th place in my age division, so I checked the results but they hadn't printed the 3rd place winner yet.....that was good news!  When they finally printed it I ended up coming in 4th place, just a mere 10 seconds behind the 3rd place girl. 10 seconds?? If I would have known that I totally would have passed her...I could have taken home a trophy to commemorate my best run ever.  I was doing on average 7:34 miles...for 13.1 miles.

I was shocked and amazed and really grateful that I was able to push myself and be so successful.  It was hard and I haven't felt this sore since I ran a marathon--I usually don't feel too sore after a 1/2. Seriously, my body is paying for it, but it's just a reminder that I reached -- no---surpassed a really tough goal.

Why do I always make the ugliest faces while I'm running.  This is where I'm pointing to the clock and yelling at my dear Watson to look at the time. 

We were Barney and Betty Rubble for Halloween. 

It was Jenny BF's birthday last week so I made her some home made marshmallows. She likes mallows so I made them extra special.

I packaged them up like this and shipped them to Athens, Georgia, not Greece.  I'm not sure what 4 days in the mail did to them but Jenny seemed to like em anyway!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Our friends Sandi and Brent called us up and said they had tickets to a couples retreat at CLAS ropes course that they weren’t going to be able to use. She offered them to me and I said sure, thinking it sounded like it might be fun.  It turns out, it was a lot more than fun and this was no small gift. We spent 5 hours on all the CLAS Ropes equipment (rock walls, giant swings, giant ladders, zip line etc.) and they gave us a snack as we had couples ‘reflection time’ and then they fed us dinner, dessert and had a great guest speaker.  We both had soooo much fun and we decided we need to be willing to do more of these kinds of things to strengthen our marriage, and to just plain have fun with each other—even if we have to spend a little money to do it. Thanks so much Sandi and Brent!

Check. It. Out.

We started out by trying to figure out how to uncross those ropes without taking them off our wrists. We weren't one of the one's to figure it out on our own...we had some help :).
Then we went inside and made buildings out of noodles, marshmallows, tape and a cup.  We built the Empire State Building, you know, the one in France. :)

Then we did this thing on the ground. We kept taking steps back until we couldn't any more.

Then we did that same thing while balancing 2 feet off the ground on metal wires. Tuck that toosh sister!

Now my dear Watson needs to tuck!

Then I made this awesome face.

We swung on a giant swing.  My dear Watson was doing back flips and front flips like it was nobody's business. He is so brave.

I never quite made it all the way around, and then I felt sick.

I am making sure he can't see for our next game...

Blindfold tag! The men wore blindfolds while their wives spoke to them about which direction they needed to go so they wouldn't get "it".  My dear Watson NEVER got "it". That's because I did an excellent job of pointing where he needed to go.

Then we switched. And I got "it" 3 times.

We did some rock climbing! On his way down my dear Watson made me come off the ground and my hair got stuck in the Gri-Gri.  Haha haha. I had to yank some out. (He's on the left).

I'm a climber!

Then we climbed giant staples on a telephone pole up 30 feet and swung down the zip line.

Couple reflection time.
Then we did something CRAZY! We climbed more giant staples on a telephone pole up 25 ish feet and jumped to our doom.

There was a ring about 10 feet out that we were supposed to grab. I got one foot off the platform and crumbled. But...

My dear Watson grabbed that dang ring! 

Then we climbed the Giant's Ladder. The rungs of the ladder got further apart each time. My dear Watson is lending me a knee, then he has to climb up all by himself.
 After the Giant's Ladder we had Costa Vida while we listened to a lady recommend we keep a "grateful" journal for our spouse. At the end of every day you are supposed to write something down that your spouse did that you're grateful for. I've been doing it because I love how it makes me stop and realize how my husband does something wonderful every single day.