Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lake Powell Tradition

Every year I look forward to my favorite family tradition... Lake Powell! I can't even express how excited I get. I love everything about it. (Remember my post from last year?) And although we missed Blake, we had a great time. Everything from wakeboarding to hiking, paddle boarding to floating, ice cream at Dangling Rope Marina to snacks on the houseboat. We love every bit of it.

Steve and Olivia like to dance on the tube

Tyler made a Lake Powell Trivia Game. Sadly, Steve and I did not win. Alli & Dad killed it.

Steve's our family wakeboard champion.

This is a Tinaja we found. Basically a big rock hole filled with water.

Olivia turned 12 on Lake Powell! We celebrated with games and dancing. Olivia taught Alli and I the Hannah Montana Hoedown Throwdown (Steve joined in too actually but didn't want photo evidence on the world wide web). We also celebrated by listening to Taylor Swift, playing Minute to Win It games and eating a rice krispie treat cake. Happy Birthday Liv!

"...lean it left, clap three times..."

Get the cookie from your forehead to your mouth

The whole fam (minus Blake), all smiles, in our favorite place

1 year 6 months

11/2 years ago my sister, Alli left for her mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She served in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Mission, Spanish Speaking. For all of you who know Alli, you know she is great. She was a great missionary, but she's an even greater sister. I was beyond excited for her to come home. Steve and I flew in a day early to Vegas so we could be there at the airport when she came down those escalators and was finally home.

I didn't know what to expect once she got home. I was afraid things would be weird. But again, if you know Alli, there was no need for her to change, and she didn't. There were movie quotes, asking fashion advice, eggs cooked for breakfast, lots of reading, and her same not so great driving (sorry Al). It was a breath of fresh air really, having the person that knows me so well be back doing makeup side by side in our bathroom. 
And to continue with tradition,  we threw a party. A Mexican Oklahoman Party to be exact. So many extended family members and friends were able to come. I know they came for Alli, but Steve and I were grateful to see them too. All of us were able to catch up.

Grammy and Mom prepared all the food
So happy my beautiful cousin Jayde was able to come. 
Mom and Grammy put together this fantastic quilt with all of Alli's favorite scriptures.
Alli is a wonderful example to me and I love her so much. I'm glad she was able to serve the Lord. I'm also glad she's home now and we can text, call and chat as often as we like. Happy to have you home Al.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Anniversary Weekend

2 years for this couple! Holla!! We decided to continue the tradition of camping to celebrate. With Nauvoo, Illinois only 4.5 hours away, we decided it'd be the perfect place. What makes it better is the Nauvoo Pageant opened that weekend. Win win. 

We start with the campground. The Nauvoo State Park had non-electric spots for $10/night with showers! Plus it was within walking distance of the temple and Old Nauvoo sites. 

The Nauvoo Temple was absolutely beautiful. Knowing the history made it that much better. Inside the temple there was the most amazing feeling. I felt the love of the pioneers and their love for their temple. Families really can live together forever. 

After our temple session, we spent the rest of the day touring all of the sites of Historic Nauvoo. The many missionaries shared stories of life in the once, very popular city. Did you know at it's prime, Nauvoo was nearly the size of Chicago? We learned how people in the 1840's survived; everything from baking bread to building brick homes and wagons. We heard stories of the prophet Joseph Smith preaching the gospel and families losing their children to sickness. We learned about the construction of the temple and the mobs that drove people from their homes. There is so much history in this town! 
Candlemaking: This is a courting candle. The more candle to burn when the gentleman arrived, the longer he got to spend with the family's daughter.
Gun making: John Browning began his business in Nauvoo. Here is one of his first designs

Lyon Drug Store: Doctors made their own medications from herbs. Steve was inspired.

That night we watched the Nauvoo Pageant. What a fantastic show depicting life in Nauvoo, the hardships and the joys, the building of the Nauvoo temple and Joseph Smith. All the actors are volunteers.

We were able to walk the Trail of Hope, the same walk the pioneers took as they were forced west. It was emotional reading and thinking about those people, walking in the February winter toward the Mississippi river. They left their new homes behind (some only having lived there a few months). They left family members, family heirlooms and a city they loved. Those pioneers were so strong and incredibly faithful. They trusted God in everything.

This is a replica of the "boat" pioneers took to cross the Mississippi
If you haven't been to Nauvoo, we highly recommend it. You will leave feeling a deep appreciation for Mormon pioneers. They knew the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They lived it, they believed it. Oh' to be as faithful. I've got a lot of work to do.

Mississippi River

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Healthy Recipe

Thought I'd make an effort to post a recipe every once and a while, thus proving that I'm not a failure homemaker. (Forgive my awful food pictures). This recipe came from a cooking class I went to with co-workers. It was held at The Oilerie, a shop that sells infused extra virgin olive oils and a few other cooking essentials. Check out their website [here]. Their EVOO's and 25 year Balsamic Vinegar will change your life, as they did mine.

Now for the recipe...

Lentil Sliders

1/2 C. Chili EVOO
1/2 C. chopped Onion
1 Red Pepper, chopped 
8 oz. Baby Portabella Mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 T fresh (or dried) thyme
1/4 C. fresh (or dried) Parsley
1 Egg
1 T Lemon EVOO
2/3 C. Cornmeal
1 12oz. pkg. Autumn Lentils
6oz. Cranberry Beans

Directions: Cook lentils and beans according to package directions. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup chili oil and sauté onions and peppers about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in thyme and parsley and set aside to cool. Place 1 cup cooked cranberry beans and 1 cup cooked lentils into a food processor. Add egg and 1 T lemon oil and process mixture until fairly smooth. Place mixture in a large bowl and and stir in remaining lentils, mushroom mixture and 1/3 cup cornmeal. Form 1/4 cupfuls of lentil mixture into slider-size patties. Dust lightly in remaining cornmeal. Chill patties until ready to fry. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add remaining 1/4 cup chili oil and fry lentil patties about 5 minutes per side until golden brown.  Now they're ready to eat!

Spread Ideas: hummus, or Lemonaise (you can also make your own)
Toppings: cucumbers, red peppers, or lettuce- something with a crunch is a must

Any other ideas for spreads/toppings? Give these little babies a try and let me know what you think!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Work and Play

My guess is that most people have a goal to like their job, no matter how much money they make or how hard it is. As a kid, my grandpa would always say that if you were going to spend the majority of your waking hours working, you better dang well enjoy it. I've really taken that to heart. Luckily, I've been blessed with really fun jobs working with great people . My current job is no exception. There is always a time for work, but every once in a while you gotta take time for some fun.

The other week I went on a tour with some new students to "follow the life of a trauma patient". We saw everything from start (ambulance or Flight for Life) to finish (billing). It really helped me understand everything that goes into a trauma situation. We were given a case (a past one, not a current one) and as we walked through the hospital we discussed what happened to the patient at each point. I've been to the operating room, ICU and trauma bay a couple times at work, but never with the perspective of a patient's near death experience. It was very insightful!

Obviously the best part was sitting in the Flight for Life helicopter. (Made my dad proud)

Steve also is loving his "job" as a med student. He loves Saturdays shadowing his favorite anesthesiologist (she lets him intubate and start IVs). He also has some fun after school workshops where he practices suturing, phlebotomy, joint injections and cast placement.

All of that makes up for his long weeks studying. I love hearing him explain everything when he comes home (although I don't understand half the time).

I hope all of you can find a way to enjoy your jobs, whether it be a full-time job, a mother, a student, or whatever. Because life is too short to be hating hours of your day. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


If you live close to family, you really don't know how lucky you are. It's nice to have distance at times, but it's definitely more fun to have the people you love just a short drive away. We sure do miss Sunday dinners, game nights and trips to the cabin with our families. What's really going on in our separate lives can't be fully communicated via phone or  FaceTime. It's close, but not enough. And sadly, Wisconsin is not a prime vacation spot for the majority of people (believe me, I understand why as there is a blizzard outside right now.) Therefore, we don't have many visitors, so when we do have some, we are VERY excited.

And that's how we felt when my parents came a couple weekends ago! We had so much fun eating yummy food and showing dad around Milwaukee (mom had been here before). First stop was The Comet Cafe. Although it won an award for "The Best Hangover Breakfast", we went for dinner. This cafe has a lot of vegan dishes so Steve was able to try some tofu for the first time. Dad continues to believe said food will always taste like cardboard, but anyone who goes to Comet will know that's not true. The cafe was also on Food Network's Diners, Drive-In's and Dives for their bacon wrapped meatloaf which lived up to the praise.

Saturday we had breakfast at Cafe Hollander in Tosa Village. I'm pretty sure the people around us thought we were crazy because after we ate 1/4 of our dish, we passed it to the left. How else do you get to try all the deliciousness. Is that weird? Does anyone else do that when they eat at a new place?

Next we went on a tour of Sprecher Brewery. Brew tours are common in Milwaukee, but we picked Sprechers because they have options other than beer, mainly soda! So many different flavors and we got to try them all. Hearing about the brew-making process was interesting too.

Sprecher ships to anywhere in the USA so if you want to try grape or orange flavors, check out their website. They also have this AMAZING root beer popcorn. I don't even like popcorn and I ate it. 

We also ate at my favorite spot, Il Mito. There is a love affair with my food every. single. time. I adore this place (clearly, because I forgot to take pictures!). 

So if you live in Milwaukee, or plan to visit, check out these eateries and the brewery. Let me know what you think. (If you need someone to go with you, I'll volunteer!)

Thank you parents for coming to see us. The trip was short, but much needed for me. We love you!

(And those of you who live close to family, stop by and give them a hug. I wish I could do that more.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Re-Vamp Launch

As you may have noticed, my very lame little blog is now a very sweet looking (still little) blog. All thanks to Mrs. Kimmi Rea! A college friend, Kimmi is both amazingly gorgeous and, obviously, very talented. She designed this much needed update.

So check her out on her blog E+K [here] because even though she's living a fabulous life in Vienna (as in Austria people! How cool is that?), she still might be able to help you out too. You won't be disappointed.

Thank you Kimmi!