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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Train Trip from Chicago to Iowa

After our day in Chicago we had to make our way to the AmTrak station for our train trip from Chicago to Iowa (we had arranged to get picked up at the train station and driven to our rental house where the rest of Tom's family was waiting for us).  The walk from our motel to the AmTrak station took a little time, but our train didn't leave until later that afternoon so we had plenty of time.  Although I have to admit we looked like a bunch of tourist walking down the street towing our suitcases with us!

After we got to the train station we had a little while to waste before our train left so we wondered around.  We started with lunch of course, then we decided to locate the older section of the train station.  It was pretty cool!  It was a huge open room that looked like your normal train station with benches everywhere.  It also had some pretty cool pillars that I made Tom pose with me in front of.  Aren't we just adorable!

While we were there a train got canceled and all the people that were going to ride on that train got moved to a later train (luckily not ours).  When we were lining up to get on our train the other train was doing the same thing with twice as many people as there should have been.  It was kind of hilarious seeing that many people try to line up for two different trains in the little room we were in (this was obviously not the room pictured above).

The train turned out to be a lot more comfortable that I thought it would be.  Tom and I actually thought of taking the train all the way from Washington but it was going to be too expensive.  They have rooms with beds you can purchase for a lot of money, so we obviously didn't do that.  For out trip from Chicago to Iowa we didn't need a bed because the trip was only a few hours long.  We had really comfy seats that we got to spend the trip in.  Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of them, but the seats were plenty big and with plenty of leg room.

We also were allowed to move around the train as much as we wanted.  They had an observation car where you could hang out and watch the scenery.  They also had a dining car (although we didn't use it).  Tom and I want to take the train again and use the dining car this time (but we will still probably not upgrade to the beds).

It was a nice train ride that we all enjoyed!  Definitely a lot funner than by car or plane!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So, it seems that July has come and gone.  I was only home for half of the month.  There was way too much that happened to fit into one blog.  So, I'm going to start at the beginning and work forward.  For the first week of July we traveled to Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana.  We were meeting Tom's family for a family reunion near Nauvoo, IL. We decided to start the trip by meeting Tom's brother Shaun & his wife Alicia in Chicago.  The original plan was to have all night there with them (they were coming from SLC, UT).  Unfortunately, their plane was delayed and they didn't get in until around 10:00 that night.  We flew in earlier that afternoon after a very early flight from Seattle.  We took a little commuter train to get to the downtown area and checked into our motel room and was able to get a little nap.

 (View from our motel room)

The motel was a little bit scary.  It was right next to the train, which made it easy to get to the motel but a little annoying once we were there.  It was also a pretty old building that made me fear for my life anytime I got in the elevator.  The bedroom was pretty good, but it had two smaller beds again (this is becoming a bit of a tradition with us in motels), plus it didn't have a great walkway to the bathroom.  Definitely not somewhere I will stay again, but it worked for one night.

(Motel Room)

Later that night we wandered around downtown Chicago waiting for Shaun and Alicia to arrive.  It was a nice walk, especially when it cooled down (remember we are wimpy Washingtonians was hot).  Once Shaun and Alicia arrived we took off for this little pizza joint called Uno's to have us some official Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  It was surprisingly delicious.  My previous experience with Deep Dish Pizza hasn't been the best.  I think in general they are greasy and heavy.  I don't know how they make theirs differently, but it wasn't greasy and very delicious!  We also chose to get a couple of appetizers (did I mention that we didn't eat until around 11:00 at night) we were quite hungry.  We were surprised how big the appetizers ended up being.  We got "Onion Crisps" and a "Vegetable Tray".  Everything was delicious.  Luckily we walked all the way there so we had to walk all the way back to the motel, so we had to wear off some of the food before we went to sleep.

Downtown Chicago was interesting, but that's about it.  I enjoyed our experience there, but I don't think we'll go back.  Definitely my favorite part was dinner that night.

(Cool Art Eye)

(Downtown Chicago Library - we loved the metal on the top)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wild Waves

For the past month I've spent a lot of it on the go.  I've had two funerals and a wedding that I had to travel out of the state for.  It's been happy, heartbreaking, and exhausting.  It's also been pretty stressful.  A few weeks ago, my cousin Jana invited us to join her and her husband Josh at Wild Waves this weekend.  Her employer was having a special weekend at Wild Waves that offered us the opportunity to buy tickets for half off.  Tom and I considered not going due to financial situations, but I'm so glad that we decided to just go ahead and go.  I really needed a fun laid back day to just relax and have fun!

I've never been to Wild Waves before.  I had just assumed it was a water park.  For those of you that are like me and have not been there personally, there is a small amusement park along with the water features.  When we first got there it was a nice day, but typical to Washington a little overcast.  I was a bit worried because I'm not a huge fan of being cold.  Because I was born and raised in Idaho I'm not a complete stranger to cold temperature and have learned how to deal with it, but not in my swimsuit!  Brrrrrrr!

Luckily as it go closer to noon, the clouds went away and the sun came out to play.  We played on the roller-coasters in the morning and after it got warmer changed into our swimsuits.  My cousin (and Jana's brother) Tony and his wife Tiffany joined us later in the afternoon.  This early in the summer the parks hours end earlier (probably due to Washington weather).  Starting in July the hours extend.  The park closed at 6 pm.  It wasn't terribly hot outside, but it was comfortably warm.  The only negative part of the whole day was walking around the park barefoot in my swimsuit.  My feet are very sensitive.  I am so rarely barefoot that when I have to walk around without my shoes it's not fun!  My feet still hurt the next day.

Everybody got a little sunburned.  Luckily I don't burn easily, but when I do it heals quickly.  I got a little sunburn, but it was pretty much gone the next morning.  Now I get to deal with the excitement of a peeling nose and chin and an itchy scalp!  But even dealing with those, it was an amazing day, and a day I seriously needed!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Weekend in Boise for Grandpa's Funeral

Graveside Ceremony

Austin making Addi laugh

Addison smiling

Pallbearers at the Gravyard

Grandpa Higginson

Blake, Ashley, and Addison

My family at the graveyard

Military Presentation

Top of Grandpa's Casket

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good-Bye Grandpa

Last Friday one of the best men I've ever known passed away.  My Grandma and Grandpa raised 5 children (my Dad is number 3).  My Grandma Higginson passed away around 8 years ago.  Together they raised my Dad's youngest brother Brent (who had Down Syndrome).  My Uncle Brent passed away around 3 years ago.  Since then my Grandpa's health had been slowly decreasing.  My Grandpa has been missing my Grandma since she died.  It's been heartbreaking to watch.  I think he held on so long because my Uncle Brent needed him so badly.  

I've had a huge conflict of feelings over the loss of my Grandpa.  I love and miss him terribly, but I'm so happy that he can finally be with my Grandma again.  This whole thing has also made me realize how much I miss my Grandma.  They were the most loving and accepting people I've ever met.  They have shown me through example the kind of person I want to eventually become.  Although financial success was not always the easiest for them to achieve, they were happier together than a lot of other more successful people.  It has made me realize that to be successful in the this life has little to do with our monetary level and everything to do with how we love and treat not only our friends and family but everyone we come in contact with.

Thanks for the amazing example you were to all of us Grandpa!  You will always be loved and missed!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekend of Delicious Food

We had an amazing weekend filled with delicious food!  There are some foods that I absolutely love, but don't eat very much due either to price or calorie restrictions.  I got two of those meals this weekend.

The weekend started on Friday.  A few weeks ago, we got an email from Tom's Aunt Janet.  She is a lawyer in Las Vegas and was going to be in Seattle for a couple of day for a training she had to attend.  She made us the offer that if we could get ourselves to Seattle, she would take us to dinner.  Add that amazing proposition to the possibility of Tom getting to ride a ferry and there was no way we were going to turn that one down.  So, after Tom got off work Friday we took the ferry over to Seattle.  We spent a couple of hours wandering around downtown Seattle and visiting a few novelty shops (of course Ye Old Curiosity Shop was one of them).  At 7:30 we met Tom's Uncle Ken & Aunt Martha (who live in Tacoma) at Ivar's for dinner.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Ivar's, this is an amazing Seafood Restaurant that is famous for it's Seafood and Clam Chowder.  I had the most amazing Salmon dinner of my life.  I'm still thinking about it.  I had grilled King Salmon with Asparagus.  It was absolutely mouth watering.  I also got to taste Janet's "Acres of Clams".  It was also delicious!  Good company and good food makes for an amazing dinner.  Thanks for the dinner Janet!

Saturday we spent the morning making a trip to the dump to finally get rid of the wreck of a gun cabinet the previous owners left here as well as a bunch of other miscellaneous junk.  It was quite the experience.  Turns out a lot of other people had the same idea.  Long lines at the the dump are not my idea of fun.  That night we went to our ward temple night.  Afterwards we joined 5 other members from our ward to go to an Indian restaurant.  Tom always jokes that we had to go all the way to  Japan to figure out how much we like Indian food.  The food was absolutely delicious!  I had Coconut Chicken Curry, Rice, and Cheese Nan Bread.  Nan Bread is a kind of flat bread!  It's delicious.  I might me biased, but I think my dish was better than anybody else.  Absolutely delicious!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day Celebrations

This year for Memorial Day my cousin Jana invited us to join her and her husband Josh on a trip to the beach with their two dogs.  Jana has had Lexi for quite a while, but they recently got a puppy that we hadn't met before.  He's really cute, they named him Delorian (sp?) ....they use a shortened version that I can't remember when they are talking to him.  Jake wasn't quite sure about him when they first met, but the puppy loved Jake.  I think he found him less intimidating than Lexi (due to their size difference). 

Now, beaches in Washington are not the same experience as beaches in California or Hawaii.  For me, it never gets warm enough (even at the warmest time of the year) for me to want to get in a swimsuit and in the ocean here.  We knew that going into this, so we made sure we were dressed accordingly.

Jake had an absolute blast at the beach.  He got to chase after Lexi, birds, and the waves.  Of course because he is Jake, he does not like the water.  He accidentally found himself in the middles of a puddle a couple of times because he was so focused on following Lexi that he wasn't watching where he was going.  It was quite funny to watch him look down and realize his was in water and jump out as fast as possible.  Towards the end of our time at the beach Jake started warming up towards the little puppy.  They started wrestling around in the sand.  The cutest  thing was watching him reach up and biting Jake's ears.  Jake's usually the one doing the annoying, it was funny seeing him on the other side.

While we were up there, we had pizza at a local pizza store.  It was really tasty, although Tom was not a fan of the sun-dried tomatoes.  He piled those in a little pile on his plate.  We also went to a little souvenir shop that had a cool brush system for everyone to get the sand off their shoes before they entered the store.  The purpose of the visit was to buy some salt water taffy they had there.  They had about 20 different flavors to chose from.  They were pretty tasty!  We still have a bag of it in our kitchen.

It was a great day and when I got back home Jake and I crashed on the bed for a nap!  Perfect end to a perfect day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My First Potluck That Went Splat!

So, it turns out people love hotdogs.  My calling in church is the activity chairperson.  In our ward we have monthly potlucks most months.  The trick is coming up with new ideas each month.  I decided to try something a little different this month.  It's June and the start of summer (yes it's Washington and still raining).  So, this month I thought we'd do a hotdog potluck.  I figured I would supply the hotdogs and have everyone else bring the hotdog buns, condiments, side dishes, and desserts.  I calculated the number of hotdogs we would need by the number of people we usually have at our potlucks.  We have a pretty good showing every month, but nothing like this month.

I went to Costco and bought 126 hotdogs.  That should have been enough in my mind.  I did not factor in the obvious fact that I guess people come out of the woodwork for hotdogs.  Who would have known.  Also, people wanted many more than one hotdog.  That created a bit of a trial for the hotdog supply.  Tom was the best husband ever and helped me not only get ready for the potluck (thanks also to the Loynd family for their last minute help with setup!), but also with the hectic preparation of making more hotdogs than I thought we would need.  We were lucky to get any food, we were so busy making sure every piece of food available was ready to eat.

It's definitely something I'll do again, because everyone seemed to really like the hotdogs.  However next time I will make sure I over-plan on the number we will need.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Washington History Firsts & Facts

I read these facts the other day....thought I'd pass them on!

1.  Seattle is home to the first revolving restaurant.  (I've been to this one!)

2.  Washington is number one in the country in the production of apples, hops, pears, red respberries, and sweet cherries

3.  Washington state has more glaciers than the other 47 contiguous states combined.

4.  Everett is the site of the world's largest building, Boeing's final assembly plant.

5.  Starbucks, the biggest coffee chain in the world, was founded in Seattle.  (I almost applied for a job with them until I realized it's dumb to work for a company you would never shop at)

6.  The Gov. Albert D Rosellini Bridge at Evergreen Point on Lake Washington is the longest floatin bridge in the world.  (I've crossed this floored me that it was floating)

7.  The Grand Coulee Dam is the second largest electricity producer in the US.

8.  The world's first soft ice cream machine was in an Olympia Dairy Queen.

9.  Before it became a state, Washington was called Columbia, after the Columbia River.  When it was granted statehood in 1889, the name was changed to Washington, supposedly so people wouldn't confuse it with the District of Columbia.  (Ironic since we still get confused with Washington D.C. all the time....that accomplished nothing)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Self Employment

Since I have lived in Washington I have been looking for a job.  I've come pretty close to getting a job a couple of times, but have always lost the job to someone else because that person has a person connection to the company in some way.  It can be quite frustrating when I am the more qualified applicant, but I don't have the connections.  I've gotten to the point that I'm tired of applying and looking at jobs.  Recently I've started looking at other options.  Due to Tom's job, I don't need a job to totally support me.  I just want to be able to bring in a little extra money to help us a little.

I'm thinking of a few options.  I am looking into selling things on Ebay, beling a Mary Kay consultant, and possibly a Mystery Shopper.  All of these would be a slow progression type of business.  I would start slow and figure things out as I go.  I know that trying to make money quickly will only lead to failure, but if I take it slow and steady I should be able to do it. 

On Ebay, I'm going to start by selling some personal things around the house to get a feel for it.  Then my plan is to buy a few things through discount or used item stores and slowly start to figure out how much people would pay for them.  My plan is also to only try to get a little profit from each thing and have more items out for sale.  Like I said this will go slow, but I am doing a lot of research before I start so I can be smart about my decisions. 

Shortly after I moved to Washington I remember hearing a statistic that listed Utah on a list of the most vain cities in America.  Before Washington I lived in Utah for almost 10 years.  When I first heard this statistic, my first response was dis-belief.  I figured I was a pretty typical person in Utah and I did not consider myself vain at all.  I thought I just took care of myself and I liked to look my best.  I still think that to a certain extent, but I've come to kind of understand how Utah arrived on that list.  There is quite a difference in the amount of effort the average person in Utah puts into their looks (including hair maintenance, make-up, surgery, etc) the people I have met and interacted with here in Washington.

This is my main concern with trying to sell Mary Kay here.  I love the product and use it myself, but I'm not sure how the people here will react to it.  Will I be able to sell anything here?  Will it be worth it?  Like I said, I'm not looking to make it rich, I'm just looking for something I can do to bring in some extra money.  I would not consider myself a good sales person, but I do like to share things that I love with others and I love the Mary Kay product.  I like how it makes my skin feel and the superior quality of all the products. 

The mystery shopper angle makes me a little nervous.  I know experiences exist, but I'm unsure exactly how to go about it.  From what I understand I would get hired from a company and get jobs through them.  Kind of interesting, but I can't really find a lot of information about it.

One big benefit of being self employed would be making my own schedule. I could decide when I was going to work and be able to take time off when I needed to.  What do you all think?  For any of you Washington people, how do you think the Mary Kay thing would work?  Does anybody have any other ideas? 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Crawlspace

So this winter we started being a little concerned about the drainage in our yard.  We had a few holes in the yard when we moved in mostly around the edges of our yard next to the fence (however Jake did add a couple himself).  As the winter progressed and we got the Washington winter rain, the holes became little puddles.  The puddles stuck around all winter.  Tom had a whole idea about developing dry wells throughout the yard to get rid of the standing water.  Honestly, it made me a little nervous.  Tom has a lot of experience with construction and engineering but the thought of digging big holes in my yard with something neither of us had any experience with and we weren't sure would work was a little nerve wracking.  We decided to get someone to come in and give us an estimate for the job.  The main reason I wanted this done was mostly to get a professional opinion on what the yard and house needed.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money and effort on something that either wasn't needed or wouldn't work.

It turned out that we were told we didn't have to worry about installing any dry wells.  He said all we needed to do was fill in the holes that we had in the yard and the water would drain naturally.  He said the main thing to be concerned about was that the crawlspace under the house drained properly.  Water itself under the house isn't the problem, it's having standing water under the house that creates the problem.  Standing water can bring a lot of germs and infection under the house.

Tom decided this was something he could do himself, that we didn't need to pay someone else to do it.  He would prefer to do all the work himself if he could.  So, he bought himself this jumpsuit type thing at Lowe's to wear over his clothes and has been spending lots of time down in our crawlspace.  When we first had our house looked at before we bought it, we asked the sellers to clean the garbage out of the crawlspace and lay some more plastic down.  When we had the crawlspace checked later it looked better with the new plastic and we thought they had fulfilled their side of the bargain.  Turns out we were wrong.  They just laid new plastic over the garbage that was there.  Tom has had the fun experience of cleaning out the garbage and plastic from the crawlspace.

Tom's still working hard on it.  It's been dirty and crazy, but we still have a long way to go!  I've attached a couple of pictures of Tom working hard & Jake trying to figure out what in the world was going on.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Fast Weekend to Utah

A little over a week ago Tom received a call that we knew was coming.  His grandma passed away.  Although everyone is going to miss Vena, we're glad that she doesn't have to worry about her physical limitations any more.  Her husband passed away around 41 years ago and she never remarried or to anybody's knowledge dated anybody.  Tom felt strongly that he wanted to be in Utah for the funeral.  Tom's Mom offered to fly him home with some miles she had available.  Tom however wanted me to come, so we piled into the gas guzzling Landcruiser with our dog Jake for the long 16 hour drive to Salt Lake City.

Then there was the issue of where to stay.  We love having Jake in our lives (he's like our child), but whenever we go anywhere there is always the issue of finding someone to either watch him or find somewhere we can stay with him.  That's never an option at Tom's parents because his Mom has a dog allergy problem.  Usually my girlfriend Shelli is understanding enough to let us crash at his townhouse, but she was already booked solid by her Mom and Grandma.  So, we had contacted Tom's brother Shaun and his wife Alicia to stay at their apartment.  Unfortunately we found out after we were already 4 or so hours after we were already on the road (with Jake) that their landlord said no.  This kind of put us in a tight spot with very little time to figure it out.  Luckily a good friend of ours, Travis, stepped up and let us stay at his house.  Luckily he loves dogs and was very excited to have Jakey there.

Although the reason we were there was very sad, it was fun to see everyone again.  Tom's Mom flew in his older brother Byron and his oldest son James for the funeral.  The three brothers were able to hang out and go to dinner together.  Tom really enjoyed his time with his brothers and the rest of his family.  I also got to see my girlfriends while I was there.  We hung out Sunday night and then met up to go to dinner Monday (without the boys).  It was so much fun to see them (as it always is).  Like usual I forgot to take any pictures of us together.  Maybe next time!

Early Tuesday morning we woke up and drove all the way back to Washington.  Fun trip, but we were all excited to get home (especially Jake).  Jake doesn't mind road trips, but thinks these 16 hour ones are stupid.  Can't say I blame him, but Tom and I are both thankful that he does such a good job on these long trips.  I'm so thankful that for our next trip to Utah in June we get to fly.  I hope we can find someone to watch Jake before we leave!  Wish me luck!  (I've attached a picture I took of Tom, his two brothers and our oldest nephew all playing legos.  Yes, he is an adult!  They all seemed to be having a great time.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Can be Crafty!

Last night we had an enrichment activity that was crafty.  Usually, I don't go to these.  I'm not a very crafty person and in general I'm not that fond of decorations like that.  However, these were really cute and I decided to give it a try.  I figured the worse I could do was really mess it up and not hang it in my house.

I have to admit, there were a few rocky parts.  But I had a great time visiting with the women in my ward and learning a new skill.  It was actually a lot of fun and I really enjoyed myself.  It was one of those situations where the people in charge had already done all the painting and word-making and all we had to do was assemble it.  The hardest part for me was rubbing the word onto the wood and metal.  I don't remember all the terms for the things, but I had a rub the words with a little stick and then peel away the tape and the word "Family" was then printed on my board.  Pretty snazzy.  I took my time and made sure I did it as good as possible (Like I said earlier, I thought it was cute and I wanted to hang it up in my house...that wouldn't happen if I didn't like how it turned out).  Thanks to a lot of help from everybody there, I actually finished it and it turned out pretty good.

The round things are decorative magnets we made that go with the board.  I also thought I'd attach a picture of our frozen pizzas.  As a fund raiser for the young women in our ward, they sold pizzas that they made to order for $10 a piece.  The money was for the girls camp they are going to attend in July.  I signed up for one pizza and unknown to me Tom signed up for another two.  Instead of canceling one of the orders, we decided to keep them all and freeze the pizzas for future use.  So far it's working amazingly.  Last week we tried cooking them after they were frozen and it worked great!  The pizzas are delicious, plus we got to help out the girls in our ward.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grave Sight

I've recently started reading a couple of new book blogs.  One of them blogged about this book.  I was already familiar with the author, but I had never read this book.  She is the author the Sookie Stackhouse series.  Some of you might have heard about the TV show on HBO called "True Blood".  This TV show is based on the books.  I tried watching them, but they were a bit graphic for me, but I've always liked the books.

This book had a more juvenile feel to it.  I really enjoyed it, but I found it more predictable than her other books.  One of the things I really enjoy about paranormal books, is they can really be off the wall.  Sometimes the authors come up with unique story lines that I never see coming.  Because I read a lot of books, I'm pretty good at  knowing where the author is going before they actually get there.  I had this book figured out before it actually happened, except for certain details.  So the destination was figured out, but the journey was still very enjoyable.  Very cute book, and a series I will continue to read.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Our Last Weekend With the Henrichsens

When we originally moved to Washington 1 1/2 years ago, we were very lucky to move into a wonderful ward where we made a lot of amazing friends.  One of the many wonderful things about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or Mormons) is that no matter where you move, your ward has the potential of being an extended family.  This was definitely one of those situations (we are just as lucky with our current ward too).  One of the amazing families we met there were the Henrichsens (I will be using the alias first names they use on their blogs instead of their real names our of respect for them).  We've been over to their apartment multiple times for dinner and/or game nights.  We've also had them over to our house for the same reasons.  Wood is a member of the Navy and recently got transferred to a teaching position in Arizona.

Although this is a very exciting thing for their family because he will be able to stay with them all the time instead of being gone for months at a time, it is very sad for us.  We loved hanging out with Wood, Woodine, and their two children MaryP and Atom.  We got together for dinner at their house their last week in their apartment.  While we were there, they asked us if it was okay if they stayed at our house the night after they check out of their apartment.  Of course we were totally okay with this, we were actually happy to have a little more time to spend with them.

They showed up that evening and we had a wonderful evening.  We had dinner and had a great time playing a new board game.  Jake of course was unbelievably happy to have new friends in our house (because everybody is immediately his friend no matter who the person is).  He's particularly loving towards children, which can be a bit overwhelming for the poor children.  Their daughter MaryP was a little skittish of Jake, but their baby Atom absolutely loved him.  Jake would lick his fingers and he would just giggle and giggle.  One of the sounds I love best in the world is the sounds of a baby laughing.  Very contagious.

MaryP however did show us her dancing.  She has fallen in love with ballet dancing.  According to her parents, they showed her a video on the internet of a portion of a ballet (I forget which one).  Ever since she has been acting it out in detail.  She even found tissues to use as props and goes off-stage at the appropriate times.  She is very entertaining.  Her Dad will lift her in the air as part of a dance.  It was quite the show!

The next day they left around noon to go see family of theirs near Seattle for a couple of days.  Then they started the trek to Arizona.  Tom and I are both hoping they want to move back after his contract with the Navy ends.  We miss you guys already.  We wish the best for you in Arizona!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Joys of Blogging

I recently read a blog by a friend that talked about the joys and pitfalls of blogs.  I just want to put it out there right now.....I love blogs.  Now, I understand for those of you with children, there is sometimes the fear of privacy issues.  I have some friends that use pretend names for each child.  I have others however that just use the real names.  My feelings on the matter are whatever works for you!  I try not to give specific information in my blogs about addresses, phone numbers, or jobs.  Just for my OCD issues, even though we have no children to be afraid for.

Even with all these issues exposed, like I said before, I absolutely love blogs and what they can do.  Generally with most situations, I only read blogs that belong to people I know personally.  However I do have a few blogs I check regularly that belong to people I don't know, and probably will  never meet.  These are blogs that have to do with recipes or cooking, home remodeling, repairing old furniture, or any other topic that I find interesting.  I think the blogs available out there are full of interesting information that we can learn from other people.  I am the first person to admit, I am not the most creative person in the world.  That's one of the reason I love blogs, I can learn and grow from other people experiences.  It gives me ideas and helps me save money at the same time (one of my favorite things by the way).

However, the main reason I got into blogging was to stay in contact with the people I know and love!  I am lucky to be a member of a family that are very close and tight!  By close I mean emotionally, not physically.  I haven't lived in the same city as my parents or any of my siblings for about 10 years.  When my husband and I lived in Utah, we tried to make regular trips to see all the members of my family.  That's not so easy here in Washington state.  I've already missed several holidays and family events.  That's just the way our life is going to be when we live so far away and can't afford a lot of plane tickets back and forth.  Blogging enables me to stay in contact with with my family and my friends from all over the place.  I'm able to watch my nephew and nieces grow up without being able to be there.  I'm able to stay in contact with old friends and my cousins from all over the country!

I also love hearing comments from my blog posts.  I can't describe the little thrill I get when I see that someone commented on my blog.  I figure everyone feels the same way, so I try to reciprocate whenever I read someone else's blog that connects with me.  Thanks to everyone that always makes my day!  Let me know if you have a blog that I'm not aware of!  Keep them coming!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tom's First Weekend Home

My husband if finally home from Japan!  He had a great time, but is happy to be home again.  Needless to say, Jake was very excited to see Tom (I just posted the video of the reunion on Facebook).  Tom had the weekend to recuperate and get her sleep cycle back on Washington time before he had to go back to work on Monday.  He came home with a plan to accomplish that!

His plan was to stay up as long as he possibly could on Friday and go to bed around 8 pm that night.  That means it would be around noon Japan time.  This would require him to stay awake for over 24 hours.  He got a hour or so of sleep on the plane, but as most people know sleeping on a plane is not a real fitful sleep.  I had also not had a real great night sleep the night before. We were both a little tired as the afternoon progressed.  By 7 pm that night we were both ready to call an end to the day.

We did a lot of running around with the grocery store and other places that we needed.  We also took Jake to the dog park.  Like always he had an absolute blast and loved interacting with the other people and dogs there. 

The next day Tom woke up around 3 am and was up for a few hours and then came back to bed to sleep for a few hours.  While we had been in Japan the grass in our yard had gone crazy!  It was growing up like crazy.  It's kind of confusing to me what makes the grass suddenly start growing here in the spring.  It gets a little warmer and it rains a little less, but not by an extreme amount.  What makes the grass and flowers suddenly start sprouting like crazy?

Our backyard was a jungle.  Although I really think Jake enjoyed it.  Tom mowed the lawn on Saturday.  It was pretty much an all day experience!  He did an amazing job and it looks tons better.  Through the experience of seeing our grass grown everywhere, we realized there are portions of our yard that are not grass.  We're not exactly sure what it is, but we know we eventually have to replace it with actual grass or something else. 

Sunday, after church we went to dinner at Aaron and Christine's house.  They are friend of our from Silverdale that are sadly moving to Arizona at the end of this week.  We brought a bunch of ingredients to make tacos to the their house and mixed with some ingredients they were trying to get rid of!  They had some delicious Peach and Mango salsa that we ate with chips as a side dish.  It was a lot of fun to see them and hang out and of course the food was amazing!  After dinner they made brownies (one of my weaknesses) and relaxed around a pan of that!  We're excited to see them again on Friday.  They're staying at our house that night on their way out of town after they check out of their apartment.  We'll miss you guys!