Friday, June 24, 2011

Cars 2 - Two Thumbs UP!

We went to see Cars 2 this morning - first showing on opening day.  I noticed that the theater had discount tickets for the "Early Bird showing" - the first matinee of the day @ 9:40 am.  Since movie tickets for the whole family can be pricey (in fact, we've kind of quit going to movies because tickets are SO expensive!) we decided to brave the opening day crowds.  I thought it would be crazy busy but we lucked out!  We were one of the first ones in the theater and got our favorite seats. (We always like to sit on the front row of the upper section - the row that doesn't have seats in front of it, but has a railing we can prop our feet up on.)  The movie was exciting, adventurous, cute, funny - a definite winner!

Gabe review of the movie: "I like it better than number one.  I like the new people.  I like the weapons.  It's cool.  It's mostly for boys.  They had disguises.  They had rocket boosters and one of the disguises was a taco truck. At the beginning there was a car that was in a dangerous place and he got crushed into a box by the bad guys. You should go see it - it's one of the best Disney movies ever!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I took a barbell weight lifting class today at the gym.  As happens often when I exercise I learned a little bit along the way.  The teacher (who does a great job inspiring just by the great shape she is in!) was talking us through a tough set of lifts and she was talking about pain.  She said something to the effect that the pain or muscle fatigue wasn't telling us to stop - it was telling us that change was on the way. She said, "I know you want that change, and that's why I'm here - to help you find your way to the changes you're looking for."  As she said this I swear she was looking right in my was powerful. Change comes after we do the work, change comes often after the pain.

Think of the times in your life when you've felt pain and you've wanted more than anything for the pain to stop.  You wish it would just go away and you could go on in your life like you had before.  But guess what?  There is generally something better on that other side of the pain - a new version of you, a change.  Sometimes the change is good, sometimes it leads us to more pain and even more change than we had bargained for - but in my experience the pain almost always leads us to something better in the end.

The pain from the blisters after a long run - brings changes and calluses that help you run even further next time.  Not only that, but I love the feeling of putting on a pair of flip-flops after a long run and letting my feet breathe - it's a refreshing feeling I wouldn't fully appreciate without that momentary pain.

The pain from the loss of a relationship, or pain from friendships that might be in a troubling spot - help us to learn how to be a better friend or companion.  Those moments of pain give us eternal insights into relationships and ways that we can change into the companion we are looking for.

Pain from a tough workout gives us new muscles, give us new limits and gives us a new confidence we didn't realize we had before picking up those dumbells. 

Without pushing ourselves we won't change, we won't move forward.  Rarely is the destination we really want to be at a downhill course.  I believe more often than not it's up a sheer cliff that requires more muscle, more determination and more will than we normally realize at the beginning of our climb.

So think of the area in your life that you're feeling pain and then look a little further - does it bring with it the opprotunity for change in your life?  If so, look at those opprotunties and get a move on - change is good.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Little Visitor

I ran in from the garage tonight to head upstairs.  I glanced down on the floor and saw a little carpet piece on the wood floor (you know - just one of the fibers that had come loose?).  It looked like it moved - like from a little breeze from the fan - but then it kept moving - all across the floor!!!  That's when I realized that not only was there a little piece of carpet fiber, but there was a TINY lizard scurrying across the floor.  My screaming for Cory to come catch it scared the little thing and he froze in place for a minute.  Then when Cory came to rescue me (and might I add - it's a good thing I wasn't actually in danger, because Cory wasn't moving very fast....!) he started jumping all over the place, running around and being nuts.  It was SO small and so cute - but makes me a bit nervous that it was in my HOUSE!  I'm curious if there are other creepy crawlies hiding around the place....

So we caught it and let it go out in our bushes.  Hope he decides to stay there and not wander back into the house. 

Where we were yesterday...

So remember my goal to post a blog post once a day for the month?  Oops...yesterday I didn't get it done.  But I have a pretty good excuse - it was my birthday!  We celebrated with a little road trip (that didn't quite work out....more on that later....) and Cory and I had a nice dinner together in the evening while the boys got a babysitter.  Everyone was happy with that! (My boys LOVE babysitters!)

We also enjoyed a DELICIOUS bundt cake from "Nothing Bundt Cakes" - lemon with cream cheese frosting.  I can't believe I'm saying it....but it actually had too much frosting on it.  But I got over it :)  They make great cakes!

Thanks guys - here's hoping I'm not only another year older but wiser too.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Caramel Popcorn Recipe

I have recently had several people request this recipe so I thought it would be a good one to have posted on my blog.  It's a DELICIOUS crunchy recipe that my Mama Rhien makes.  I'm warning you though - it's highly addictive, so watchout!

Caramel Popcorn
·         5 quarts of popped popcorn
·         1 cup butter
·         2 cups brown sugar
·         1/2 cup Light Karo Syrup
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         1/2 tsp baking soda
·         1/2 tsp vanilla

Pop popcorn and take out any of the duds (so you don't break a tooth). Mix butter, sugar, syrup and salt and cook until boiling. Boil for 5 minutes. Pour over popcorn and stir to coat evenly. Place in an oven-proof pan and bake at 250 degrees for one hour - stirring every 15 minutes. After one hour pour popcorn out onto wax paper, tin foil or cookie sheets until cool. Break apart and enjoy!

(My notes: I used more than 5 quarts of popcorn. It didn't' seem like 5 quarts was enough. I also doubled the recipe each time I made it and cooked the popcorn in my large roasting pan - it worked great.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Birthday to one of my oldest and dearest friends

When I was in 2nd grade I met my best friend Tami Jewkes.  She had long dark hair, the sweetest disposition and I knew right away that we were going to be friends for a long time.  However, after a year in Mrs. Houser's class in 2nd grade they split our school and we'd be going to different schools for 3rd grade!  It was devastating, but we still played together all the time and kept our friendship going strong.  However, in 4th grade my family moved to Orem and chances of us seeing each other all the time seemed slim....BUT - we managed!  We'd spend long weekends together, meet 1/2 way to swap off where we stayed.  I went camping, hunting and on trips to Lake Powell or Green River with her family.  I LOVED the times we'd go on trips together!  We managed to stay great friends through college, we had our first babies within a week of each other and I love that we have facebook and email to keep up with each other.

One of my favorite things about Tami and my friendship was that our birthdays were just 2 days apart.  We had several birthady celebrations together and I remember getting matching pajamas one year for our birthdays.  (we also had miniature ones for our "My Child" dolls).  So when our birthday week comes up it makes me happy to know I get to celebrate it with one of the greatest girls there is!

This year Tami is doing something I'm SOOOOO proud of her for doing!  She's going to be running in the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay!!!  I wish like heck that I could be there to cheer her on and to give her a huge hug at the end.  Having her come cheer me on at the Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon this past summer was one of the greatest things ever and I wish I could return the favor.  So good luck sweet friend, I can't wait till January when we do get to run together!  (YAY!)

I LOVED that I stumbled on this quote.  When we were in Jr. High Tami gave me a little tiny frame
with this same picture in it and I saved it all these years.  Love that girl!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Thinking about.....

...getting to see our Ellis family relatives at the end of July for Coby & Teah's wedding.

...enjoyed a great dinner out with girlfriends tonight to celebrate my friend Lisa's b'days. Love those girls!!! it felt hot today. The temp on my car said 104. Blech! And on that note, the van Cory drives for work's airconditioner doesn't work. Poor guy.

...I need to get a new pillow. I keep waking up with horrible headaches - I wonder if that's why?

...My hubby is so handy & talented. He's been helping a friend put a wood floor in her new yoga studio. He rocks. shower tomorrow night for a cute friend and a birthday party for a 2nd cousin in the morning. Yay, celebrating rocks!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I love browsing through blogs/pintrest/etc for cool quotes.  I especially love when I find the PERFECT one for the PERFECT moment.  Here are some great ones I found recently and thought were great.  And if you like to browse for fun (AND fun looking) quotes check out this link

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summertime = Swimming Time

Apparently summertime in Texas is synomonous with swimming time and we're loving it!  From the local community pool, friend's neighborhood pools, the gym pool - we're going to swim all summer long.  It does get exhausting, but we're having fun too. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Love This Girl!

I hope this doesn't come across that I have "favorites" (because I don't) - but I just want to say I just LOVE my sister-in-law Kori!  I just got off of chatting with her on facebook chat this afternoon and I just had that warm fuzzy feeling that reminds me that I have awesome people in my life.  You know the way you feel after being with a great friend and you want to say a quick little prayer to thank Heavenly Father for putting amazing people in your path?  Yeah - that feeling!

Kori is married to my husband Cory's little brother Chase.  Chase is a totally awesome guy too - and the two of them as a couple, and as parents to their darling kids - they rock!  Today Kori asked me if my husband had any funny towel habits (leaving wet washcloths puddled up in the sink, wiping weird things on the hand towels, etc).  She said that her husband did, but it was the ONLY thing that he did that drove her nuts.  I commented that for that to be the ONLY thing he did wrong was pretty amazing and awesome.  And know what?  She was serious!  She and Chase are so in love with each other - so cute and ooey-gooey with each other - it's darling!

Kori is an AWESOME mom too. She has 2 of the cutest little kids in the world and it just about breaks my heart when I look at their pictures and wish we lived closer.  Wish we got to spend birthdays together, celebrate more holidays together and just be regular participants in each others lives....

But since she's across the country in Indiana I'll have to settle on chatting on facebook, emails, ocasional phone calls (she totally gets that I'm not a phone person either - it's hard for both of us with 2 small kids!).  I'll be grateful for her understanding heart and good example to me.

Love you Kori!!!

(and sorry I stole these pictures from your Facebook page....)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Flashback: June 2005 - June 2010

Sometimes I think it's fun to think "So what was I doing exactly ____ years ago?" (fill in the blank for the # of years).  Just to give a little benchmark of what  has changed in a specific time period.  For instance - here are pictures from the month of June in several different years.  A few things have changed....

June 2005 - pregnant with Gabe

June 2006 - Enjoying our first year of being parents. Love our little Gabe!
June 2007 - Enjoying our last months as a family of 3 - expecting Hunter in August
June 2008 - Hunter's growing like crazy, darling little guy!

June 2009 - Cory's triathlon, family playtime, enjoying summer!

June 2010 - Gabe's swimming lessons, Cory, Joanna & Papa do a triathlon.

It sure can be fun to reminisce, look back over time and realize just how quickly it's flying by....Crazy stuff!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Favorites - BLOGS

I am in awe of the creativity and amazing talent that is out there in internet-land.  Just take a few minutes to browse through these cute and crafty blogs for awesome ideas.  Everything from crafts to church activities and contests to win goodies, pie in a jar to household cleaning tips - it's awesome!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Brown Paper Packages - This blog is one with a variety of fun projects and information.  Crafts, phototgraphy posts (by a friend of mine Leilani), food - you name it.

Kevin & Amanda - This girl goes on the most amazing looking trips and reports on the fantastic food finds she runs into.  She also creates cute scrapbook fonts, gets crafty and takes great pictures.  The recipes she posts always leave me hungry and feeling like I need to go on a diet just for reading through the tasty treats.  Just check out her post from today and the recipes she linked to.  WOW - I need to wash it down with a big glass of milk.

Eighteen25 - awesome craft ideas, food, darling wall hangings, giveaways

Our Best Bites - (ok, this blog will be mentioned repeatedly, I promise - it's a new addiction!)  These guys have AMAZING recipes.  Not just amazing, but easy to make too.  Check out the recipe index as well as the craft ideas.  You'll never want to leave the kitchen after checking out this site!!!

Tatertots and Jellos - another blog full of giveaways, darling craft and do-it-your-self projects. 

Bee In Our Bonnet - This blogger has the most gorgeous cookies I've ever seen.  I wish I had 1/2 of her cookie decorating talent!  She also posts super cute projects, goodies and check out the lady bug birthday party! (WOW!)  I loved the idea for the "edible paints".

Smilemonsters - Rootbeer Float on a Stick - I started salivating when I saw this picture.  Perfect for a blistering hot summer day (which we have plenty of around here).  Can't wait to try them. 

Keep Falling Up - A friend of ours from our Ricks College days.  Jodi has a great attitude as she is tackling huge trials in her life.  She is funny, touching, and sweet.  I promise you'll feel a bit more grateful for your life after learning from her.

It Matters - This is a blogger who is a friend of a friend.  She has great advice for healthy living, being a cool mom and getting active.  Love her encouragement for her 5K Fridays.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Gabe - the budding artist

One of Gabe's favorite parts of Kindergarten this year was when they had Art Class. He loves creating things! One of his favorite projects was when they got to make "Pinch Pots" with clay. They made the pots, fired them, glazed them and fired them again. I loved hearing the play-by-play as he worked on it and the look on his face when he brought home the finished project was priceless!

I sure love to watch our kids through the creative process.  Whether it's building with Legos, cutting up hundreds of pieces of paper to create something, or playing with clay - seeing them create is amazing to me.  I love how it builds their confidence, shows their artistic characteristics and lets us see a little glimpse into the imaginary world they carry with them.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


My mom instilled in me many great and wonderful qualities.  From the fact that we resemble each other physically to our mutual love of reading, our children, the gospel, yummy food....and a love for armadillos. 

As a kid I kind of thought my mom was a bit nutty for saying her favorite animal was an armadillo.  I grew up in Utah, there wasn't an actual armadillo anywhere to be seen.  They seemed like such a funny animal.  People didn't have armadillos as pets and I don't even know if I ever saw one at a zoo....they were kind of foreign and maybe even slightly exotic.  But my mom loved them and so began my soft-spot for the funny creatures.  She developed quite the little collection - from her armadillo pajamas to the earrings, stuffed armadillos, and any other little armadillo trinkets we could find if we traveled to Texas or somewhere that armadillos weren't quite so "exotic".

So when we talked about moving to Texas one of my first thoughts was that I couldn't wait to see an armadillo!  Everyone always said they were just roadkill in Texas - so I figured we'd see them all over the place.  But for the first 6 months we were in the state I didn't see a single one!  I even got to the point where I joked that the first time I actually saw one on the side of the road that I would be so excited that I'd probably get out and bring its carcase home with me. 

I had gotten really good at being able to tell what was littering the freeway as we drove.  I could identify dead possums, squirrels, dogs, cats, the occasional raccoon or even differentiate between roadkill and an old discarded boot on the side of the road - but no armadillos....I was so disappointed.

Fast forward to May when  my "dream" had finally come true. We saw it on the highway on the way home from visiting our cousins about an hour from our house.  As we passed it I was sad that I hadn't gotten a good view of it.  So Cory, being the loving husband that he is - turned around and went back so I could bag it up and bring it home if I so desired.  We got out and took a couple of pictures - Gabe got out to examine it and then the smell hit - YUCK!  Not something I hoped to have rotting in my trunk! 

I decided that as "cute" as the critters are - I'm much more content with my kiddos in pictures with armadillo statues than the actual road kill.  And I'm pretty sure it's much more sanitary.  However, I do love that I will always think of my sweet mom as I search the highway for armadillo roadkill.  Thanks mom!  :)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


I love my girlfriends! I am so grateful that over the last several years I’ve learned how important having girlfriends is. I think before I had kids I didn’t understand the importance of having other women to talk to, spend time with, and help me feel validated and loved. But wow – how grateful I am to have some amazing women in my life!

Tonight I felt that a little extra. A group of my friends here in Texas get together once a week to watch a silly tv show. (The Bachelorette or The Bachelor – whatever is going on at the time). It’s a group of women that changes from week to week but we all enjoy getting together. We’ve all mentioned at one point or another that while we find the show mildly entertaining; the main reason we like getting together is to spend time with the other girls.

So tonight as we were getting ready to get together a group of us were driving together. We were picking everyone up and heading to a fun gal’s house and we realized that we were right down the road from another one of our friends. Someone mentioned that we should go kidnap her and make her come with us – even if she didn’t want to watch the show, we’d “make” her come spend time with us. So 5 of us descended on her doorstep and told her we were there to kidnap her and make her come with us. She started jumping up and down, clapping, squealing and cheering. She was THRILLED that we were there to make sure she came to spend time with us.

As we pulled up to our location we all commented in one way or another how great it was to have a group of girlfriends that got together with each other. Someone said, “I love this! I don’t think I’ve had a group of girlfriends like this since I was in high school!” Someone else said, “This FEELS like high school – kidnapping, giggling – I love it!” All I could do was smile – I love it too! And I love that we make an effort to do things together, have fun and take time for time with “the girls”.

In addition to the friends I have here (who I just love to pieces) I also still miss and love my friends back in Utah. One of my sweet friends from back in Utah text me this afternoon. She was worried about not having someone to watch her kids for something important. It just totally killed me because I couldn’t be there for her. I totally hated being thousands of miles away and not being able to scoop up her kids and help her out. So since that wasn’t an option I started trying to figure out who COULD help out. I found another friend through text to help her and I felt so grateful that I could do that. And then as I prayed and prayed for my sweet friend through the evening so her business meeting would go well my heart turned to her and I was sad that I have to live so far from her! And later in the evening the text she sent back to me made my eyes water with both tears of sadness and happiness, “Thanks so much! Love & miss u so much my heart hurts.” I don’t like that our hearts hurt – but I am grateful that we have friendships that are worth feeling our hearts hurt….

I am so grateful that Heavenly Father knows we need friends. I hope that I can be the kind of friend that others have been to me. I hope and pray that I can be able to lighten their load, make their hearts happy and share a part of myself in a way that we can all grow a little more into the women we’re supposed to become. Thanks girls!

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Digi Files - featuring The Ettes and "Sandbox Summer"

I am a huge fan of The Digi Files and I LOVE The Ettes - so put the 2 together = PERFECT!  This month The Ettes are featured at The Daily Digi in their June Digi Files.  I LOVED working with this kit. It's a perfect mix of fun elements, great papers - it's a perfect kit to help document those fun summer memories we're all about to create.

This month the kit is only available by purchasing The Daily Digi's June Digi Files.  I highly recommend picking it up.  Not only will you get the fantastic kit from The Ettes, but you'll also get to try out some other goodies from great designers in the digital scrapbooking industry.  Check it out!

In addition - you can also pick up some fantastic additions to the kit at Pickleberry Pop right now.  Fayette has designed Quick Pages, alphabets, an add-on kit and flair.  
So run, don't walk on over to check out the darling designs and get started on creating awesome scrapbook layouts and projects.