Saturday, October 27, 2012

Awesome Timing

The original reason for my trip to Utah is to help take care of my sister's 3 daughters while she is with her husband in Rhode Island.  My brother in law, David, is graduating and then they are driving their car back to Utah.  The awesome thing about the timing of this is that it coincided with my baby brother and his wife having their first baby!  Being so far away from family makes it almost impossible to see any of our nieces and nephews when they are still tiny newborns.  When I realized my trip was going to coincide with meeting my new baby niece, Elizabeth, I was very excited!

My brother and I have a special relationship.  I am the oldest in our family and Blake is the youngest, with an age difference of 11 1/2 years.  That is a large enough difference that I helped out a lot with him when he was a baby and wasn't around a lot when he was a teenager.  I wasn't the annoying older sister, because I really wasn't living with him during that portion of his life.  I was the older sister he would listen to when he wouldn't listen to anybody else in the rocked!  When he was little he was my little buddy that always wanted to follow me wherever I went.  I was the horrible older sister that introduced him to horror movies (which he still loves to this day).  I loved that little dude....still do!  A part of me still thinks of him as the 5 year old that would snuggle up next to me on the couch.

It's so weird to me that he's now a father of a beautiful little girl.  According to him, he wanted a girl.  Probably because that's what he has experience with, he's the only boy in a family of girls.  I know he's going to be an amazing father!  Just watching him with his little family is adorable.  I was so happy I had the opportunity to see and hold Elizabeth and spend time with Blake & Sarah.  I'm so happy for you Bucko & Sarah!  Don't every take it for granted!

This is my brother getting his hair beautified by my niece

Followed by the attitude stare down.  There are lots of these when these two get together!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Friends or Sisters.....You Decide

When I was in 7th grade I had a funny thing happen.  I had a semester that I had every single class with a girl.  At the time we were barely acquaintances.....that quickly changed.  We eventually realized that we were in every single class together and just started going from class to class together.  That led to hanging out more and more and becoming good friends, as well as our friends becoming friends.  That was the start of a beautiful story (inject sentimental tears here :) ).  Now fast forward twenty-four years.  When I look back on the friendships I've made throughout my life, most of them have dwindled and disappeared.  I still have a few friends from different schools that I occasionally connect with when I'm in the area, but I still have 2 that I'm still very close with.  One is that same girl I had every class with for one semester in Jr High and the other is the girl she was best friends with at the time, lets call them Tammie and Shelli (he he he).

These two have stuck with me through a move in high school, a church mission to another country, and most recently me getting married and moving to a different state.  I don't think I can really express to these to girls how much their friendship means to me.  They are a relationship that I can always count on to be there (hopefully that never changes).  I was also lucky enough to be able to live with them for about 4 years, before I met my hubby.  I look back on those years as some of the best years of my life up to that point.  Don't get me wrong, there were some struggles, but overall I loved hanging out with these girls every day and having the feel of being at home in our apartment!

This past week I had the opportunity to spend some time with them again.  It was a lot of fun!  It seems like forever since I've been able to spend some quality time with them.  We shopped, visited, ate, watched movies, sat it the hot tub, and talked some more!  I was able to have some alone time with both of them, which was very nice.  I'm so thankful that I had this opportunity.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Hope for Change

The last few years have been a wild and emotional ride for us.  We've relocated our lives hundreds of miles from our family and friends.We've been through months of fertility treatments with nothing to show for it.  During all this time I tried over and over again to find a job.  I wasn't used to staying at home and was eager to help Tom build our new life together.  Although I struggled with trying to find a job, I enjoyed staying home with Jake, keeping house, and learning to cook.  I was surprised at how fulfilling I found it.  Even though I enjoyed it, I still felt responsible to find a way to help with our financial needs.  Tom is an amazing provider and we were not lacking in anything, but I felt like I was a drain on our resources when I had the ability to actually build them up.

I tried to think about alternative methods of earning money.  I thought of everything from selling Purses, Jewelry, Cook Ware, or Make-up.  I even thought of buying used items and selling them on Ebay.  I do not consider myself in any way a sales person, but I feel that I am a great customer service person.  The whole idea of selling items and coming up with additional funds to start any of these options scared me away from any of the ideas.  I'm not very brave when it comes to risk.  I've always preferred the safe route to earning an income (going to work, working hard, and getting paid in the conventional way).

Now that I have a conventional job, I've realized that office work doesn't hold the key to my long-term happiness.  I want the ability to control my income and schedule.  I want to be able to manage myself without having to answer to other people about what I am doing or how I go about it.  I also want the ability to take time off to be able to see our family (who all live far from us).  In short I want control of my present and future. Once again I looked at my many options.  After a lot of thinking (and a little desperation), I finally decided on my path.  I'd like you to meet one of the newest Mary Kay Consultants - ME!

You might wonder why in the world I would chose to do such a crazy thing.  It came down to two things.  1. It offers me everything I am looking for (see above) 2. I absolutely love their product (I would never try to sell something I didn't personally love).  In my life I've used a lot of different products on my face and by far Mary Kay made me feel the best and gave me the best results.

 I hope if you've never tried it you will let me come visit you and introduce you to a fresh new feel to your face.  If you don't like it, that is okay.  But you might be greatly surprised!  My favorite products are their skin care items.  Whether you use make-up or not, you have to try the "Miracle Set"!  I love how soft it makes my face.  It's the thing I missed the most when I cut back on my personal expenses and the first think I bought when I got my job.  I hope you will give it a chance.

Please visit my new website by clicking here.  For those of you that do not live close by I will ship anywhere within the United States and I have credit card ability for those that prefer it.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Our First Wreath

I grew up in a very crafty home.  This is not to say that I am crafty, but my Mom is.  She had a good eye and the ability to make things with her hands.  She can sew, quilt, woodwork, etc. (the list could go on and on).  She even used to sell her stuff at craft sales (you know those sales that usually take place in school gymnasiums with table after table of everything craft-like).  I remember going to lots of them as a kid and being bored out of my mind (sorry Mom).  When I got old enough to do my own thing I promised myself to never attend another one of those, which of course was a lie to myself.  However, I go to them very rarely.

My house does not have a lot of cutie crafty things in it.  My tastes run along different lines.  Because of this, I really haven't developed my non-existent craft making skills.  This year Tom and I decided to buy a wreath for our door (we have a very ugly door with a very cool "No Smoking" sign on it), we were hoping it would cover it up a bit.  Obviously I was not going to make it from scratch or buy a brand new (expensive) one.  What we ended up doing was buy a used, but pretty nice looking wreath from Goodwill and replacing the ribbon.  I did the amazing feat of making my own bow our of new ribbon (thank you YouTube videos)!!!  We will now have a moment of silence to commemorate this amazing fact.  I think I did a pretty good job for a first attempt.  Here are my before and after pictures with a close-up of the before bow (gag).

As an added bonus, here's a cool picture of Tom in his new prescription safety glasses for work.  Isn't he studly?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Uncomfortable Day

So as many of you might have heard, western Washington had a nasty snow storm last week.  Rain we're used to...snow added with wind and freezing temperatures knock us all for a loop.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm an Idaho girl so I'm obviously used to cold snow and I lived in Rexburg for quite a while so I'm also used to frigid winds.  However, what I am not used to is living in those temperatures without heat.  The snow wasn't really the problem, it just added to the fun with icy roads people couldn't navigate.  It was the wind that really caused the damage.  I don't think our pine trees are used to being abused the way they were.  Trees were fallen all over Kitsap County (unfortunately they took anything with them that was in their way....most obvious to most of us were the power lines).

We lost power around 7 pm last Monday night and didn't get it back again until Tuesday evening around 5 pm (we were the lucky ones...some people didn't get power back until Friday or Saturday).  The first night wasn't too bad.  However the next day (which Tom and I both got off of work due to the weather) started to get pretty chilly!  Towards the end of the blackout I was starting to try to talk Tom into going to Kirkland to stay with his cousin (in her heated house).  Just as he was starting to consider it, the power came back on.  Pretty much the whole day I was wearing my coat (inside our house), it was a balmy 45 degrees in our living room.  Our fire place wasn't much help either.  I think it's pretty much for looks.  We ended up moving our couch up right in front of the fireplace.  That helped out quite a bit.  We also have a gas stove, so we could still make warm meals and hot chocolate.

This experience showed us we might want to look into getting a generator just big enough to power our heat & refrigerator.  I don't mind being without light or television/movies/etc, I actually kind of enjoyed that part.  However, I'm a modern woman who isn't used to living in the freezing elements!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cashew Chicken Recipe

So I made a new recipe a couple of days ago that we really liked.  I got it from this amazing recipe blog that I read.  Because I liked it so much I thought I'd share it with all of you.  For anybody that knows me well, you know I love Oriental food.  Fortunately for me, Tom likes it too (just maybe not as much as I do).  But he is more than willing to try any recipe I run across.  It doesn't call for vegetables, but the next time I make it I'm going to cut the meat in half and add vegetables.  I also didn't take a picture of it, so if you want to see a picture, click here.

Cashew Chicken
4 chicken breasts, cut into pieces                           
1 tsp sugar                                                            
4 T cornstarch, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C soy sauce
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 T oil
2 C hot chicken broth
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 C cashews

Combine sugar, 2 T cornstarch, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.  Dredge chicken pieces in this mixture.  Drain and save dredge; then stir fry chicken in hot oil in frying pan or wok until chicken is lightly brown and tender.  Remove chicken from oil and drain excess oil from the pan.  Add remaining cornstarch and the dredge drained from the chicken.  Blend well, then add chicken stock to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Cook until thickened.  Add lemon juice; add chicken pieces and reheat.  Do not boil.  Taste to correct seasonings.  Add cashews.  Serve over hot rice.  Makes 4-5 servings.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Cool House in Keokuk, IA

Tom's family is composed of his parents, the three boys (Byron, Tom, & Shaun), their spouses (Kari, Me, & Alicia), and Byron & Kari's kids; the 4 grandkids (James, Michael, Emelie, & Eliza).  We live in 3 different states, so we don't see each other very often.  We try to get together every 2 years.  This year we met up at a house in Keokuk, IA (it was a short drive to get to Nauvoo, IL).  It was a old style mansion type house that was absolutely huge.  Plenty of room for all of us and an extra floor on top for the owner when she was there (which she wasn't the whole time we were there.  This is the house.

The Front of the House

The Staircases

Our Bedroom (you can see the air conditioner in the window - very important there)


Living Room (otherwise know as the movie watching room or playroom)

Dining Room #2 (otherwise known as the Office - multiple laptops at all time)

Library (aka Game Room)

Kitchen/Dining Room (we actually used this one as a dining room)

Outside BBQ/Pond area