Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thrift Store Finds

My husband's brother's family gave us this collection of antique silverware for Christmas. You probably don't know, but Matthew and I have been collecting silver-plated silverware for a few years and plan on using it when we have our own place again. I love the way these pieces are arranged in the box. This way we can display it until we want to use it! Thanks, J, C, N, L, R & E Williams!

I bought these canisters at a thrift store in Boise because I loved the red leaf printing on the side. They are white ceramic jars with wodden tops. I am going to refinish the tops with either paint or stain, I haven't decided.

These are the exact Christmas cookie cutters my mom has so I was very excited to find them at the same thrift store on a different day. The set was a mere $.53.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Crafts!!!

These are crafts that I made for the holidays this year. I have been really excited about doing this post but I had to hold off because many of these crafts were presents for my blog readers.

These were made for Solomon, my sisters 8-month-old. They are lined with polar fleece. I found a great pattern with instructions here.

These were going to be for my brother-in-law but Matthew ended up likeing them so well that I gave them to him. They are made from 100% lambswool sweaters from a thrift store that have been felted. After the wool is felted you just cut out your slipper pattern. I used one from, which is an ankle-height slipper but when I made the first slipper I decided that it was too floppy and didn't stay on well. That's when I decided to make them tall.

I made matching green slippers for my sister and her husband.

The pillows were made for my parents and Matthew's parents. I embroidered the design on a piece of muslin. Good pillow inserts can be purchased from Pottery Barn for a very reasonable price. These are 18" pillows.

Advent Calendar
This has been my biggest project this fall. I think I logged about 60 hours on this calendar alone so be cautious before taking on a project like this one. I found the stitching designs at various sites on the internet and some are even Microsoft Word clipart. Each of the squares are pockets but I haven't yet made something to move along each day from pocket to pocket. If you would like to see detail shot of the embroidery click here.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thimble Arts and Crafts

If you like to craft you have to check out this website: Thimble Arts and Crafts. I came across this blog after feeling inspired about Christmas crafts and I love the author's style. Her crafts seem very doable (which is BIG for me) and she has a very fresh approach to it. She also borrows a lot of ideas from other blogs so you can save time by just surfing her site.

These are Christmas trees made from cuts of old sweaters. I think it's a great I just have to start collecting old sweaters!

I have made a few Christmas crafts this year but many of them are presents so I'll post on them after the holiday--stay tuned!

Friday, December 5, 2008

I got in!

Wow, I have left you guys hanging for a long time--sorry! I have great news though. I have been accepted to Midwestern Univeristy's PA program. I was really impressed with the school when I interviewed there and they have a really great pass rate for the certification exam so I am very happy to be accepted to such a great school. Depending on how things shake out with my other applications we may very well be headed to Glendale, AZ in May. So I am really going to be a PA after all--does that scare you? :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Taking Food Photos

I am no expert in the food photography department but I did work doing advertising for the food industry long enough to know that good food photography is essential. My personal philosophy with any kind of design project is to imitate the best until you get good enough to create on your own. I have found that that strategy has produced the best results for me and I am okay with not coming up with something that is 100% original all of the time. So, my personal food photography tip is to look at the best and imitate the angles and plating that they use. Now, if you want some tips from some people who really know about food photograph click here. It's a great article with some easy-to-implement tips.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Garden City Community Clinic

Every Thursday afternoon I head over to Garden City, nestled in the middle of Boise, and spend an hour or two volunteering at the Garden City Community Clinic. This clinic is run by Genesis World Mission which provides charity health care services domestically and abroad. It is a great non-profit organization which has a non-denominational Christian background and it's one of my favorite places to volunteer because the staff and volunteers really seem to have the spirit of what we are doing so everyone is happy.

My job is to meet with the new patients and go over their financial documents to ensure that they are eligible for our free services. It's a pretty simple process and when I have determined that they are eligible, I make a new patient file to keep their medical records in. It's an easy job but I love going and being a part of this great organization. When I am a P.A. I am planning to stick with this organization and continue to volunteer. They also have opportunities to go abroad and serve. Within the last few years they have opened clinics in Kenya and India, which I think is pretty neat! Just thought I would share something I do each week.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


With the crisp feeling in the air and the leaves crunching beneath our feet, Matthew and I have been thinking a lot about where we were last fall. The Northeast is such a beautiful place--especially in the fall. Here are a few photos to get you in the mood.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I like to listen to the A Prairie Home Companion podcasts when I am riding the bus to campus. On the way home the other day I listened to one and got this little tidbit of philosophy that I think is somewhat profound:

"I used to think that faith was sort of like a building block and you'd put all these blocks together and you'd build a house, sort of like the little pig built that the wolf could not blow down. And now I get older and I feel that faith is a matter of surrender. It's a matter of just giving up and leaving that house, just walking out and experiencing the cold and the rain and doubt and confusion, and trying to keep up your hope and some sense of gratitude. If you just keep up hope and gratitude then maybe that's all you need."

Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion

Friday, October 3, 2008

Great News!!!

Just this week I received my first invitation to interview for PA school!!! I am interviewing at Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ on November 13th. I am so relieved to get one interview and it is pretty early to be interviewing so I am thinking it's a good sign.

For those who are unfamiliar with the application process I will explain what this means. When applying to PA school you first complete the central application service's application which you designate to be sent to those schools to which you want to apply. Once that's done then you send in applications for the schools, individually and this may include GRE scores, transcripts and another essay. Once that's received they decide if they want to meet you. If so, they call you for an interview. You go to the campus and meet with them in person for a day during which they decide if they like you even more. Then they let you know (weeks or maybe months down the road) if they will admit you.

I am really stoked about this because two schools have already notified me that they won't be considering me until they receive my fall grades. I figured that the schools would all take this position, but apparently not. I feel very blessed and this is a much needed confidence booster during a long and challenging semester.

School is going fine. I am doing well in my classes and Matthew is too. We just work our cans off almost everyday so we find we are tired and moody from time to time :).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Recipe File Site

I have been neglecting this blog because I have been working on a new blog that will host all of my recipes. It includes both recipes that I have tried and liked and those that I think sound good and want to try so if you try one that I haven't tried yet, please leave a comment and let me know what you think. I have designed it selfishly to accommodate my use but I have tried to include suggestions or extra info about the recipes that might be helpful. So, check it out!


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Lost Blog List

When I got this new template I lost all of my blog list so please take a moment and look for your name under family or friends and make a comment if you don't see it. I did my best to track everyone down but I am sure there are people I have missed. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Family Reunion and Food

Last week we had a great time at the Glen Whipple Family Reunion. This year Matthew and I were in charge of planning it so we invited everyone to come up to Matthew's family's cabin for a few days. We visited McCall on a particularly windy day and braved the waves in our canoe and kayak, swam in the river by Smith's Ferry and went for a hike.

After having fun at the cabin we went to Declo, ID for some quality time on the Snake River and with extended family. We had a great time water skiing, wakeboarding and visiting our grandparents.

I planned all of the food for the three days at the cabin and it was the biggest undertaking of that kind that I have every taken on. I enjoyed it and everything must have turned out well because my family members requested the recipes I used so the following is a menu of the food we had. I am linking to all of the recipes that I can to save time on typing (I started school this week so time is at a premium!).

Sopa de Lima (Yucatan Lime Soup)
Fiesta Rice
Guacamole (we just mixed the fresh tomato salsa with some avocado and lime juice)
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Cherry Pie
Pie Crust
from Williams-Sonoma (no longer on their website)

For a 9-inch double-crust pie:
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp sugar
3/4 c shortening
6-7 Tbsp. cold water

Hand Method: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and toss together. Add the shortening. With a pastry blender, blend the ingredients together, working quickly, until you have a mixture of tiny, irregular flakes and bits about the size of coarse bread crumbs. Sprinkle on the water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, stirring gently with a fork after each addition. Add just enough water for the dough to form a rough mass.

With floured hands, pat the dough into two smooth disks. The dough is now ready to use. It is not necessary to refrigerate the dough before rolling out, although for convenience it may be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to two days.

Continental Breakfast (including oatmeal, eggs, toast, fresh fruit, bagels and yogurt)

Deli Sandwiches and Wraps
Macaroni Salad
Old Fashioned Potato Salad

Dinner at Lardo's Restaurant
Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas
Melt chocolate chips with butter in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time. Cut bananas in half and remove peel. Put banana on a popsicle stick, dip in chocolate, roll in chopped peanuts and pistachios.
Pineapple Pops
1 14.5oz can pineapple
1/3 c milk
1/4 c sugar
Blend in the blender. Pour into popsicle molds or dixie cups, insert popsicle stick and freeze.j

Breakfast Casserole
Blueberry Raspberry Muffins (I used frozen blueberries and raspberries)

Skipped lunch because we had a late breakfast

Rigatoni with Tomatoes and Mozzerella
(I add diced chicken breast sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper)
Green Salad (nothing special)
Jo's Rosemary Bread (I bake it in the oven rather than the bread machine)
Homemade Ice Cream (ask Melissa for the recipe)
Cookies--These were especially a hit
Torie's Cherry Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
Outrageous Chocolate Cookies
Gingersnaps (from the 1959 Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook--I will post the recipe when I have the book at the computer with me--don't let me forget :)

Baked Oatmeal

Friday, August 1, 2008

Chicken Enchiladas

I made this the other night because we happened to have everything on hand and it was delicious. I substituted a can of Great Value (Wal-Mart generic) Red Sauce in place of the taco sauce and it tasted even better I think. I like all of the fresh toppings in this recipe from Southern Living Magazine.

3 cups shredded cooked chicken (just boil it and shred with two forks)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Vegetable cooking spray
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 (8-ounce) bottle green taco sauce (I used 1 10 oz can of red sauce)

Toppings: diced tomato, chopped avocado, chopped green onions, sliced ripe olives, chopped cilantro

Stir together first 5 ingredients. Spoon chicken mixture evenly over each tortilla, and roll up. Arrange in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Coat tortillas with vegetable cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Stir together sour cream and taco sauce. Spoon over hot enchiladas, and sprinkle with toppings.

Chemistry Marathon

For the past three weeks I have been taking General Chemistry II and it will continue for another two weeks. That's 5 credits in 5 weeks ...and it's chemistry. I'm not normally a whiner about school but this class is exhausting. I am in class (either lecture or lab) for 17 hours each week. Once that's over I am studying for 30-35 hours each week. So, that's pretty much my life. If you have been wondering why I have dropped off the planet, there's your explanation. And if you need to know how to create a buffer solution for your next biochemistry experiment, you know who to call.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Welcome to the World Alice Love Chandler!

Matthew's sister, Rachael, had her third child on Wednesday--a pretty little girl. She is our thirteenth niece/nephew and we think she is beautiful! Welcome Alice!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Paul Revere

When Matthew and I visited Boston last year we traced the ride of Paul Revere. I was really impressed by this story and surprised by how little I knew about it. Everyone knows the "one if by land, two if by sea" and "The British are coming! The British are coming!" parts but there is a lot more depth .

I encourage you to read about it on Wikipedia or wherever else you like to search for that type of info. Paul Revere was only one part of the sequence of events that could have changed the course of history. After learning more about "The shot heard round the world" I have a greater respect for those patriots who made a leap of faith--I think you will too. I am thankful to live in United States and for our revolutionary and founding fathers that created this great nation. God bless America!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Mrs. Fields Double Rich Chocolate Cookies

This is the recipe from the official Mrs. Fields Best Cookie Book Ever and my cousin and I both showed up to the family reunion last summer with these cookies so you know--two of us can't be wrong! They are supposed to be soft so don't over bake them.

2 1/2 c Flour
1/2 tsp Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 c Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c Dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 c Sugar
1 c Butter, softened
3 lg Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
2 c Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300*F.

In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, salt and cocoa powder. Mix well and set aside.

In large bowl blend sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed. Add butter and beat to form a grainy paste. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add eggs and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Immediately transfer cookies to a cool surface.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Okay, okay...

I know it has been AGES since my last post so my sincere apologies...if anyone is still even bothering to check this site. My excuse is that I have been spending every spare computer moment working on my PA school applications so please forgive me!

I just did a post on our travel blog about our last trip down to Southern Utah. It has pictures and movies so maybe that will make up for my terrible absence from the web. :)

I have a chocolate cookie recipe to share soon too so stay tuned.

Monday, May 5, 2008

One semester almost down...

Pictured: The Science and Nursing Building at BSU. This is kind of a strange photo of the building where I spend most of my time on campus. You can tell when you are on the chemistry floor because students in lab goggles are running back and forth from the lab to the bathroom carrying cups of their urine and on the other side of the floor they offer for you to try samples of their homemade coffee--no thanks!

I am one week away from completing my first semester of prereqs for PA school. Here are some of the things I have learned this semester:

--Chemistry is the language of science; you have to understand something about chemistry to really understand how the world works
--The physiology of muscles and nerves -- it is amazing how quickly it happens
--How to do psychoanalysis--the basics anyway, so if you feel like you need a shrink but can't afford it, give me a call first :)
--How to titrate an acid and a base (it's about as exciting as it sounds)
--What quantum theory is about (makes you sound really smart for something that isn't that complex--at least on the beginning chemistry level)
--What exactly occurs when one injures their ACL
--How to condition a burette (not really useful in real life, ever)
--Why you should eat a diet low in salt if you have high blood pressure

Here are some of the study habits I have picked up:

--Reading the textbook (which is about a 100% improvement from my last year of college)
--Studying in groups--I am not a social studier so this doesn't come naturally to me but I have learned that it has some benefits
--Asking questions in class (this was not okay at BYU in a lecture hall of 600 people but here at BSU it seems a little more appropriate)
--Going to office hours to get help (again, not intuitive for me but can be helpful)
--Not procrastinating--I am not professing to be perfect at this one but I have become a lot better at doing things ahead of time

I really have enjoyed this semester, even though it has been challenging. I like the things I am learning about and I really like being in a learning environment. That's good since I have, what, three more years of this?!?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Welcome my newest nephew into the world!

My sister, Megan, delivered her baby last night and I can't wait to brag. Go to her blog to see more pictures and get the scoop!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Shout Out to Holly

Today I am featuring my cousin-in-law's blog. If cousin-in-law is confusing, here's how we are related: Jeff Stoker is my cousin on my mom's side, he married Holly, hence, she is my cousin-in-law. She has a great blog for recipes and posts way, way more than I do so you need to check it out. It is nicely categorized by type of food and she takes lots of pictures (way better than me). Anyway, I think it's a great resource. Here's a link to her site or you can always find her in the My Favorite Blogs list on my blog under Holly's Recipes. Thanks, Holly, for your great blogging!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Darla Knoxville

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Shadow Saturn
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Chocolate Ginga' snap
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)M-Wil
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Red Fox
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Darla Knoxville
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first) Micwi---not sure how to pronounce that
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink) The Orange Milkshake
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) Don Earl
9. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy) DKNY Dove
10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Jean Don (I think I would do a French pronunciation of Jean so it would rhyme with Don)
11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter) Snoke Sydney
12. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) Summer Dahlia
13. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”) Peach Shirty
14. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) Cereal Magnolia
15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) "The Cooking Sunshine Tour"

I took this from Jodie's blog. I think she filled in in a little more creatively than I did. I tag whoever else wants to try it. And, I recognize that I still need to do my bag tag.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Okay, I just posted four recipes that I have made lately that are yummy! So keep scrolling down and check them out. I hope this makes up for my lack of posts lately. It's the middle of the semester--what can I say?!?

Cool 'n' Easy Strawberry Pie

Gotta love that name, right? This one was a big hit with my husband's family on Easter. I used a Oreo cookie crust rather than a graham cracker crust like it says. I also doubled the recipe for our large group and made it in a 9x13 Pyrex dish with the crust just on the bottom and it worked well. It sets up nicely so you can cut it into squares. This recipe is from the Jello website. They have lots of yummy looking dessert recipes ending in "pie."

2/3 cup boiling water
1 pkg. (4-serving size) Strawberry Flavor Gelatin
Ice cubes
1 tub (8 oz.) Whipped Topping, thawed (Lite tastes fine)
1 cup chopped, fresh strawberries
1 graham cracker (or Oreo) crumb crust
1 cup sliced, fresh strawberries

STIR boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Add enough ice to cold water to measure 1 cup. Add to gelatin; stir until slightly thickened. Remove any unmelted ice.
ADD whipped topping; stir with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in chopped strawberries. Refrigerate 20 to 30 min. or until mixture is very thick and will mound. Spoon into crust.
REFRIGERATE 6 hours or overnight until firm. Top with sliced strawberries. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Photo is from

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Chocolate pudding pie is a tradition in my family. We usually do the Jello version but I came across this recipe from Williams- Sonoma's website
before Thanksgiving and I am convinced that it is worth the little bit of extra work. You can use
chocolate chips if you don't have your block of Ghirardelli lying around. I also put it in a regular pie crust (not shown in the picture) because that's how my mom always made it. I am sure it is good with the Oreo cookie crust too though.

For the filling:
2 1/2 cups milk
5 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped into slivers
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cookie crumb crust, made with chocolate cookies (or pie pastry like I use)

For the topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chocolate curls for decorating


To make the filling, in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over low heat, warm together the milk and chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted; the mixture will be speckled.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add the cornstarch and salt, then the vanilla, and whisk until well blended. Slowly pour the warm chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until well blended. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens and begins to bubble slowly, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth, about 1 minute.

Pour the filling into the crumb crust and smooth with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface, and refrigerate until completely cold and firm, 2 to 3 hours.

To make the topping, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or a whisk, beat together the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie. Decorate with chocolate curls. Refrigerate until ready to serve, but let the pie stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving to take the chill off. Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

I got this recipe from Cooking Light magazine and they are pretty yummy. It's a cake-like brownie so don't expect the dense, gooey type. I thinned out the raspberry jam with some water so it would spoon on a little better and they turned out looking just like the picture.

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white

Cooking spray
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup butter or stick margarine, melted
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
>2 large egg whites
3 tablespoons raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the filling, beat the first 5 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended, and set aside.

To prepare the brownies, coat the bottom of an 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray (do not coat the sides of the pan). Lightly spoon 3/4 cup flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine 1 cup sugar and the next 6 ingredients (1 cup sugar through the 2 egg whites), stirring well with a whisk. Add to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spread two-thirds of batter in bottom of prepared pan. Pour filling over batter, spreading evenly. Carefully drop the remaining batter and preserves by spoonfuls over filling; swirl together using the tip of a knife to marble. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Photo: From Cooking Light magazine

Saucy Little Meatloaves

I just made these last night and I would have taken a picture but we already ate all of them! This is a recipe that I got from my Aunt Carolyn. My dad says it's the way his mom has always made meatloaf and it's Matthew's and my favorite. It is super easy and tastes great!

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 c. Quaker Oats
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. diced onion
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c. milk
1/4 tsp. pepper

For meat loaves, combine all ingredients thoroughly. Shape into 6 individual meat loaves in shallow baking pan.

1/3 c. catsup
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. prepared mustard

Combine all ingredients; spread over top of each loaf. Bake 350 degrees about 35 minutes.

*You can also top them with sharp cheddar cheese. It's kind of like a cheeseburger then, but it still tastes great.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I know a lot of you are bloggers so I am passing this along. I have been getting comments left on my blog by users I don't know. They contain links and the links download viruses to your computer if you click on them. To protect against my readers and me from clicking on the bad links I have enabled the function that requires comments to be reviewed by me before they are posted. You might want to do the same on your blog if you are having problems. It just started with my last entry.

:( Some jerks have a lot of time to spread viruses.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Easter Candy!

Easter is my favorite holiday and has been for a very long time. I know Christmas is great but this is my rationale:
1. Easter is in a fun, springy time of year when things are starting to get warm.
2. You get a pretty new dress to wear to church (at least that's how it used to be).
3. The candy is the best of any time of the year.
4. There is a good religious meaning behind it.

This year Easter is earlier than normal so it may not be a nice and springy as it has been some years but I am still looking forward to it. I was mentioning my excitement about Easter candy to Matthew the other day and he pointed out that I still havn't got through my Christmas and Valentines candy (see previous post about new years resolutions...yeah, I'm going strong!). This is true but I can't pass up the goodness of Easter candy and wait for a whole year for it to come around again. So I'm thinking maybe I should just hit the clearance racks the day after Easter and get some sweet deals. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

I think this great Peeps picture will be on the poster for their new Broadway show (this was shot just before they do the kickline routine :). By the way, I am of the school of thought that Peeps are great. Sugar, air, gelatin...what more do you need?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Back to the life of a student

I am taking a time out today from studying (I should be memorizing the bones of the body right now) to make a blog entry updating you on yet another one of my life changes. I have quit my job. I was working part time at a physical therapy office and it was going great--I loved the patients, I loved my coworkers, I liked the work. Once I started school I realized that if I was going to sleep and/or see Matthew at all then I needed to lose the job. It was really sad quitting because the people were so great but I do feel a lot of relief having more time for school. So that means I have worked and quit 3 jobs in the last 3 months--not exactly a resume builder....

So I am now officially in the category of student. I get to enjoy my spring break without work, I have a 6 week break this summer between my spring and summer classes, when I hope to work on my tan and take it easy (easy, are you kidding me?!? I'll be trying to teach myself Chem 112 so I don't flunk my 5 week summer course during the second half of the summer!). I think you all remember what I'm talking about.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Can't say I agree with Kipp

My title is an allusion to Kipp's provocative song "I love technology..." at the end of Napoleon Dynamite. This weekend I undertook the task of reformatting my computer's hard drive. I am proud to say that I am posting right now using the computer that I just reformatted so it didn't go all that badly. Everything worked just fine and after downloading seven years of Windows XP updates (which took most of the day) it has everything it needs...except the internet!

I have a wireless adapter that plugs into the USB port and it will not be recognized by XP now. You know when you plug in your iPod or USB drive and Windows pops something up that says "Hey, I see you plugged something in!"--it's not doing that. It will recognize my iPod but not this little beauty that supplies the internet.

I realize after reading countless geek threads that this problem is not uncommon, however, I don't posses the ability to understand what the geeks are saying to do to fix it. By the way, when I say "geek" you have to understand that I am holding them with much respect at this moment because they could probably solve my problem if they were here with me right now.

My apologies for the self-indulgent post.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Yucatan Lime Soup (Sopa de Lima)

This soup is served everywhere in the Yucatan but the Mexican version is much simpler: a little chicken broth, some lime juice, 3 or 4 pieces of chicken, a sliced up lime and some tortilla strips. We liked that soup but Emeril Lagasse's recipe is excellent.

This recipe is good for a cold day, although everywhere we ate it in Mexico it was at least 90 degrees outside (and inside; no A/C).
I forgo frying my own tortilla strips up and use cheap tortilla chips from the store. The result is equally good.

Don't feel bad about mixing up a batch of "Emeril's Essence" creole seasoning either. We used it on foil dinners last summer and they were some of the best we've ever had.

Yucatan Lime Soup
1 chicken breast half, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed
8 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
3/4 cup finely chopped white onions
1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup seeded, chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon minced Serrano chiles
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into thin slices, for decoration
1 avocado, seeded and diced, for topping

Season the chicken with the cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt and set aside. In a large pot, heat 1/2 cup of the oil over high heat. Fry the tortilla strips in batches until golden brown on both sides, adding more oil as needed. Drain on paper towels.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan. Add the onion, Essence and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken, garlic, tomatoes and chiles and saute for 3 minutes. Add the stock and lime juice and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Place 1 lime slice in each soup bowl and ladle the soup on top. Top each serving with diced avocado and serve the fried tortilla strips on the side.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

If you want printable version of all of this click here.

Recipe from New New Orleans Cooking, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Are you stressed?

In my psychology studies today I came across an interesting thing called the Social Readjustment Rating Scale. Basically it operates under the idea that life changes create stress and chronic stress leads to illness. So you take the test to determine your stress level and therefore your proclivity to illness. The scoring works like this: 0-149=No significant problems; 150-199=Mild life crisis (33 percent chance of illness); 200-299=Moderate life crisis (50 percent chance of illness); 300 and above=Major life crisis (80 percent chance of illness). I took the test and scored 404! Overall, I feel like I am in good health considering I am in a "major life crisis." :)

If you want to see what your score is, there is an online version of the test. It only takes about 2 minutes.

I am curious to hear your scores. My guess is almost everyone is in some state of crisis. This might be a good marketing tool for psychotherapists. :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm a Science Geek

I am back in school now and it has been a hectic start to the semester. I am quickly remembering what I learned my freshman year: it takes a lot more effort to get As then it does to get Bs. However, this time around I have to get As so I am stuck sitting in the library late into the night, bending over my textbook and scribling chemistry calculations on scratch paper. This probably brings back a twitch or sweaty palms to some of you just thinking about it. I like school but I have found that working backward has its difficulties. For example, in an upper division class, instructors want you to learn to think critically and question what you are learning, but in lower division classes you get a lot of "that's the way it is so just memorize it." So I think the whole critical thinking skills you pick up in your later college career may actually be a hinderance in 100-level classes.

Additionally, this is my first non-BYU college experience. I grew up near the University of Wyoming so I knew in the back of my mind that not all college campuses are like BYU but after living and breathing the BYU atmosphere (aka the bubble) for 6 years, some things come as a shock. One of the biggest has been how many people smoke. It's such a gross habit and I was under the impression that most people were finally heeding surgeon general's warnings and kicking the nasty habit, at least young educated people--not so.

I am looking at a pretty hectic semester so this is my appology for not being a great blogger for the next semster and probably the next 3.5 years--I will try to keep this updated in some degree though.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I've Been Tagged

This is the first time I have been tagged; thanks to Michelle K. for doing that.

A. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning.
B. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

10 years ago:
I was in 9th Grade at Laramie Junior High....ah! that makes me feel young to be able to say that!

5 things on my to-do list today:
1. Take a nap
2. Work out
3. Help Matthew pick out a dental school
4. Go to DK Doughnuts for FHE tonight
5. Enjoy my last week of freedom before school starts

Snacks I enjoy:
1. Chocolate
2. BBQ Lays Potato Chips
3. Gardetto's
4. Cinnamon Sugar Toast with a glass of milk
5. Chocolate Lucky Charms

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Pay for school
2. Buy a house/sweet car (knowing us, that could be one thing)
3. Travel
4. Buy a few Mac computers
5. Oh alright! be charitable in some schools in 3rd world countries

3 of my bad habits:

1. Not leaving early enough so I can arrive on time someplace without rushing
2. Saying too much
3. Not being neat in all I do

5 places I have lived:
1. Laramie, WY
2. Provo, UT
3. New York, NY
4. Orem, UT
5. Boise, ID

5 jobs I have had:
1. Medical Receptionist
2. Accounts and Marketing Manager
3. Kinko's Copy Girl--that's the official title
4. Art Model
5. Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Scooper

5 things people don't know about me:
1. I told my father-in-law that if it rained on Christmas this year that I would never spend another Christmas in Boise again (luckily it was sunny and there was snow on the ground so I won't have to eat my words).
2. I like seeing meadows of woolly sheep in the countryside. I must not be the only one because Rick Steves has an entire podcast devoted to encountering sheep in your travels.
3. Matthew thinks I look like Cindy Lou Who, you know, on The Grinch.
4. I won the Albany County Fair grand champion prize for Heritage Handiwork (aka embroidery) when I was 8 years old.
5. I like to vacuum.

Okay, so now I tag: Eddie, Katherine, Jodee, Holly, & Megan.

Baby Sister for Mason!

I had to include a few brag pictures of my new niece, Madelyn Melissa. She is a sweetie and Mason, her two-year-old big brother, is so excited that she's here. When I called and talked to him the day after Madelyn was born our conversation went like this, "Hi 'chelle! Hi 'chelle! (repeated six or seven times) Baby sister! I looooooove yooooou! (repeated four or five times)." I loved it! It's fun being an aunt:)

The first picture is Grandma, Mason and Madelyn. The second shows what a dainty thing Madelyn is. She weighed a little over seven pounds (which is small for our family...I was a nine pounder!) Both the baby and mom are healthy and happy.

We are excited for when Megan has her baby in April and Rachael has her baby in July. Three new little ones in one year!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Things that I didn't do last year that I am going to do this year

I personally don't like New Year's Resolutions because they so often don't last beyond January. So, to avoid that jinx, I am going to call mine Things I Didn't Do Last Year That I'm Going To Do This Year:

1) I am going to go back to school (starting January 22) and do my best to get straight A's so I can get in to the Idaho State PA program.

2) I am going to use my free gym membership (yeah--that's one of the sweet perks that comes with my new job at the physical therapy clinic!) at least four days per week.

3) I am going to eat more Barbecue Lays Potato Chips.

4) I am going to clean the bathroom once a week (not saying I usually have a nasty bathroom, I just haven't had a bathroom to clean for a's not standard equipment in the Toyota Campry :).

5) Make my 4.5 lbs. of French Chocolate Truffles from Costco last through June. Matthew has absolutely no confidence that I can do this.

Monday, January 7, 2008

My Wounded Car

I am one of the few people I know (among my peers) who still drives the first car they've ever owned. It is a 1998 Saturn SL Maroon with tan interior. It has been a good car to me and continues to run with hardly any problems except those that are inflicted upon it by other drivers. In the 6 years I have owned the car it has been rear-ended twice, keyed and now broadsided by a flying sign. In those six years, I have done nothing to damage the cosmetic appearance of my car. Here's what happened on Friday:

I was driving home from work on the I-84 in unusually high winds. A pickup, about 3 car lengths in front of me and one lane to the left was carrying a real estate sign made of metal and corrugated plastic and measuring about 4'x5'. A strong gust picked the sign up out of the back of the truck and slammed it, broadside, into the front of my car. The sign flipped up, scraped along the top of my car and then carried on down the road battering at least one more car behind me before it hopped the median and rested in the middle of the five lanes heading in the opposite direction.

I was pretty shocked by the event but had the good sense to chase the guy who lost the sign and get his license plate number. We filed a police report and it seems that the guy is decent and will pay for the damages inflicted up on my car. But now, my car has these nice scuff/scratch marks on the hood and top. Sad day!