Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reveal cake

Yesterday, our friends, Cameron and Hannah found out what gender they will be having in April. They wanted it to be a surprise, so I volunteered to do a gender reveal cake for her. They had the appointment earlier in the day, had the doctor write it on the paper and they folded it up so they couldn't see it.

They brought to our house and I started on the cake. I just did a box chocolate cake and added a few things to make it a little bit richer. I made my mom's marshmallow frosting, that I forgot how much I LOVE, and filled it with pink frosting.
I then put the rest of the frosting (that I kept white) all around the outside of it. As we were getting in the car, I had what I call an "incident." I was holding the cake and leaning down to get in the car. As I did so, the cake rammed into the car frame and slid the top layer over. It definitely could have been a lot worse, but that's what kind of the started the fall of the cake. After that, it had a hard time staying centered, the frosting starting drooping, the pink started showing through, I had to recover multiple different times. Basically the cake was a disaster, but it held together while they cut it and it worked out.
Luckily, it tasted better than it was looking. They were so excited to be having a girl and we spent the rest of the night looking at a ton of cute little girl stuff! I'm so excited for them and can't wait to meet their little one!

*It was brought to my attention that I raved about the frosting, but I didn't give the recipe. You really won't regret this one.

Marshmallow Frosting:

  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 C boiling water
    1. Put all the ingredients in the bowl
    2. Add hot water after beater starts
    3. Beat about 10 minutes or until real stiff (it should hold a peak)
  • *Best if going to be eaten soon. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The first snow

It's official, Rexburg has had it's first snow fall. It was mostly rain, but it definitely had bits of snow flakes! I didn't get a picture because it was so dark outside, but it was there and it fell on my head. I'm a little surprised it's held of this long considering it's Rexburg and it's the end of October.

I'm actually quite pleased with how this Fall has been. I'm obviously still in scarves and sweaters everyday, but it's been pretty pleasant. The colors are beautiful, and the leaves are just starting to fall from the trees. Seriously though, the colors here are absolutely breathtaking. I love all the red, yellow and green leaves decorating the trees and roads.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baked burritos

I was feeling in a funk of always doing the same meals (Since I've actually be trying to cook everyday). I saw a recipe for baked burritos that Brennan had pinned. I decided to pin it and she told me I wouldn't regret it. She was absolutely correct. They were fantastic! I completely forgot to take pictures, but the recipe is fantastic!
Recipe (and picture) found here.

Here is my modified recipe:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 can of black beans (drained)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1½ teaspoon chili powder
  • dash of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese of your choice
  • 10 tortillas
  • olive oil to drizzle on top
  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil (I just sprayed Pam).
  2. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the meat is cooked through, then drain off any fat if necessary.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute.
  4. Stir in the beans, spices and add salt to taste.
  5. Top with a generous amount of the beef and bean mixture, add a little cheese on top of the beef and been mixture.
  6. Roll into a burrito by folding the left and right sides in and then rolling away from you.
  7. Place the burrito seam-side down in the baking dish and repeat process with remaining tortillas, cheese and filling.
  8. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, then bake for about 20 minutes until the tortillas are golden and crisp.
We topped ours off with our favorite salsa (On The Border) and it was absolutely delicious! A few other fixings they suggested were sour cream, cilantro and olives. If you visit the original recipe, she gives other fillers and options as well. Go check it out. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Juicy oranges

One food that I tend to forget that I love starting in the fall season is oranges. That is when oranges start getting good. I'm already on my second bag of oranges, and I have yet to be disappointed by one. They're not quite as good as the ones straight off the tree in Arizona, but they'll definitely work for me!

I'm pretty sure the past week each of my dinners have started with the meal and ended with an orange. It's like my dessert. I can't wait until the cuties start getting good so I don't have to spend so much time getting all of the white peel off the orange so I can actually eat it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October babies

This has been an exciting month for both of our families! I got a fun birthday gift from my sister-in-law Jessica, when she had her first baby. They named him Emmett Thomas Strebel, and he is absolutely adorable!
Then today we were given another little nephew from my sister, Kara. He's still nameless, but look at all of that long dark hair. We had to give her a hard time because none of us know where that dark hair came from. 
I can't wait to cuddle and love on both of these little boys. It may be a while, but I know it'll be worth the wait!

My bucket list

I was looking through some of my old files from my old computer and I came across a bucket list I made in my Business 101 class. I got a laugh out of some of them, but some of them I really think could happen.
My Bucket List
(In no particular order)
1.    Travel the world (Rome, Italy, Ireland, Scotland-Just to name a few)
2.    Graduate from BYU-Idaho while maintaining my full tuition scholarship. (Check)
3.    Get married in the Salt Lake City temple with all of my family surrounding me. (Check)
4.    Go to Washington D.C. and visit the Holocaust museum.
5.    See “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway.
6.    Work for the NBA or a profession basketball team.
7.    Serve a foreign mission with my husband.
8.    Go skydiving and bungee jumping.
9.    Meet the Prophet.
10.  Build the house of my dreams and raise my family in it.
11.  Have my children know their grandparents.
12.  Go to a winter Olympics.
13.  Learn about my ancestors and do their genealogy work.
14.  Donate my hair to Locks of Love.
15.  Be wealthy but live modestly.
16.  Meet and marry a man who encompasses those things I love about my father and brothers. (Check)
17.  Become my mother when I have children.
18.  Attend the temple with my husband at least once a month.
19.  Pay for a random persons order.
20.  Buy my first car with cash.
21.  Visit the concentration camps in Germany.
22.  Learn to play the cello.
23.  Ride in a stretch hummer limo.
24.  Be in NYC on New Year’s Eve.
25.  Have a timeshare.
26.  Make it on the big screen at a sporting event.
27.  Be part of a flash mob.
28.  Go to the Harry Potter world in Disney World.
29.  Go to England with my parents and meet some of the people my dad baptized on his mission.
30.  Own a motorcycle
31.  Have season tickets for a professional basketball team.
32.  Go on a cruise with my husband and my best friend (with her husband).
33.  Make a difference in someone’s life.
34.  Be in two places at one time
35.  Tell my parents often how much I love them and appreciate them.
36.  Be fluent in a foreign language.
37.  Ride a camel in Egypt.
38.  Write a book about my life so my children and future generations can know about me.
39.  Go Parasailing.
40.  Ride in a hot air balloon.
41.  Take a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower.
42.  Go scuba diving with sharks.
43.  Kiss the Blarney Stone.
44.  Have President Uchtdorf fly me in a plane. 
45.  Go on the Balmoral cruise that retraces the path of the Titanic on April 12- April 20 in 2012. (Not happening, too late!)
46.  Have the strength to do the things that I want to do, especially in my older ages.
47.  Watch a sunset and sunrise in the same day with my husband on a beach.
48.  Don’t be afraid to take risks.
49.  Write a song on my guitar and have it published.

50.  Be spontaneous and never take life too seriously.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Beautiful sky

A couple nights ago, as I was driving back from basketball practice, I saw the sky and it was gorgeous. I was coming down the hill, that has a view of basically the whole town and it made me smile. And true to iPhone fashion, the picture doesn't do it nearly the justice it deserves!
I do love fall, but I'll sure miss these beautiful sunsets that seem to only happen in the summertime.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Skillet baked ziti

Yesterday, as I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a post from Our Best Bites. I don't tend to try a lot of their recipes, because I rarely have the ingredients they use on hand. The picture looked absolutely delicious, so I decided to take a ganger.

I started reading through the recipe and looking through the pictures and I was getting more and more hungry just looking at it. I finally got to the recipe list and I was ecstatic! There were only two ingredients (that I felt were crucial) that I didn't have.

I immediately sent Ethan a picture and we decided we were going to have it for dinner. I had him pick up sausage and the cream so I could start it when I got home. It took about 30 minutes or so, but when I took that first bite.. oh my good heavens it was AMAZING! Seriously, I'm pretty sure I texted/called four or five people telling them they had to try it, within an hour of it being done.

I adjusted the recipe a tad because I didn't have something on hand, or I didn't want the added calories. A few things that were changed: I used a different sausage than asked for, I used canned crushed tomatoes in puree` instead of whole canned tomatoes that have to be pulsed in a processor, I used rigatoni, omitted the parmesan cheese and used dried basil instead of fresh.

The original recipe can be found here.
*I realized once I uploaded the picture to my computer how blurry the picture was, but I feel like you get the gist of how amazingly delicious it was. 

Here's the adjusted recipe:

1 pound turkey sausage U-shaped (I don't remember exactly what it was called)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes in puree`
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups water
12 ounces (about 3 3/4 cups) rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup heavy cream
A heaping tablespoon of dried basil
ground black pepper
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (1 cup)
Directions from OBB:
Note: This recipe is to be cooked in a 12 inch skillet.  I recommend using one slightly larger if you’re adding the sausage as well.  Make sure your skillet is oven proof (no plastic handles) and has a lid.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees.  
Heat 12-inch or larger oven-safe skillet to medium high heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  Remove sausage from castings and cook, crumbling with a spatula until browned and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.  (If you’re not using sausage, just add a little more olive oil and start with the next step, sautéing the garlic and pepper flakes.) *My note: I just had the kind of sausage that's already cooked and kind of in a U-shape, so I just had to warm and brown mine. If you use other types of sausage, you may have to take it out of the castings).*  Add garlic and red pepper flakes to sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.   Stir in the canned tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes no longer taste raw, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the water, then add the pasta.  Cover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer, until the pasta is tender, 15-18 minutes.
Stir in the cream and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the top.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and browned, 10-15 minutes (or just until melted, like, 1-2 minutes).  Serve.
It may sound a little time consuming and a lot of steps, but it's honestly SO easy. It will definitely be a meal that we do over and over again. I'm pretty sure Ethan said this is one of his favorite meals I've ever cooked. Happy and satisfied husband, check!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A little different

Over the years, I have come to a realization that I'm a bit of a different breed, a horse of a different color if you will. Things that people stress and freak out about, I don't bat an eye at. And then there are things that to most people aren't a big deal at all and those are the things that get to me the most.

I also have a bit of an obsessive personality. When I was younger, I would find a song on a CD that I liked and would put it on repeat for days, literally. I'm pretty sure I ruined a couple different CD's and CD players because of it. During college, I listened to one song on repeat every time I was studying, Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven . It had a good 300-400 plays and still remains my most played song in my iTunes.

It's about this time of year, when it starts getting colder and darker just a little earlier, that I start to get in my mood. My Christmas mood that is. And I become a tad bit obsessed. In fact, for the past few days I've already been listening to my Christmas music on Pandora. I can't help it. A few days before Halloween, I'll put on my Halloween station, but after that, it's game on for my Christmas music. I'm pretty sure it drives Ethan insane, but that's why I listen to it mostly while I'm at work. I'm usually by myself, so it's the perfect time to put myself in the holiday spirit! And what better way to do that than by cheerful happy music? There's not one, trust me. And to please my obsessive self, I will listen to it up until the actual holiday itself, and although it pains me, I then put it away until the next October.

I'm a little odd, but really, I don't think I would have it any other way. I can't speak for others around me, but I think I'm safe in saying, they had to have known, so they must still love me anyway.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Love Lucy

I have recently, as in yesterday, found out that I really do love I Love Lucy. She is absolutely hilarious. I have seen bits and pieces of shows here and there, but yesterday our friends Leslie and Martin had us over to watch a couple episodes with them. It's one of those shows that you're literally laughing out loud because of how ridiculous and funny she is.

What's even more amazing is the fact that her husband in the show, Ricky Ricardo, is actually her husband in real life! Their chemistry is great and it totally makes sense now. I keep telling Ethan that he's my Ricky and I'll be his Lucy.

What's even better, is I found out today that all of the seasons are on Amazon Prime! I'm excited to see even more episodes and enjoy the classics. Maybe I'll have to look into some other shows like the Dick Van Dyke show!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Haunted Mill

Last night, we went with our friends Cameron and Hannah to the Haunted Mill in Teton. Basically, it's an couple of old mills that they've revamped to become a haunted house. It was actually pretty fun. There were a few places that got me but overall it was more fun than anything.

The thing that was interesting was how different it is from any other haunted house I've been to. You literally had to crawl through tunnels that we barely fit through. If anyone was much bigger than us and they were claustrophobic, there's no way they could do it!
After we got through we headed back to our house for some hot chocolate and a movie. It's starting to feel more like Halloween time!

*The wall behind us said,  "fog machine in use," just in case it looked like something else!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy Birthday

To me!

That's right. I did it! I made it to 24 with only a few bumps in the road. I do have to say, birthdays don't seem as fun as they used to. I guess I'm just getting old. Luckily, I have a husband that made it special for me.

It started off early with him kneeling by my bedside and started singing Happy Birthday, but stopped in the middle of the song. I opened my eyes and said, "You're not going to finish the song?"I asked him about it later and he said that he thought I was still sleeping. I guess that's a valid reason to stop the birthday song. Luckily I was up and he finished the song for me and then he was off for class, and I fell back asleep for a few more minutes before I had to get up for work. I went downstairs and there was a vase of flowers with a two page letter he had written me. It made me tear up a little bit. He sure knows what to say to make me feel like I'm the most amazing person.

I was greeted at work with fresh homemade sun-dried tomato and basil bread from my coworker Ericka. It was so good! I also got a song with a cute little mug and spoon with some hot chocolate in it from the other company that we work closely with.

When I got home from work, he had a present wrapped for me, kind of in the shape of a purse. He told me I had to open it slowly and carefully. I didn't expect to get a gift at all because he told me that if I didn't get him a list of things I wanted, he wasn't going to get me anything. I decided that I wanted to just be able to take myself shopping and get some fun new things, so I didn't expect anything. As I started unwrapping, I realized what he had done. He had taken a box and wrapped the money in multiple layers around that box. It was probably one of the most creative ways I've ever received money.

We then headed down to Idaho falls to go to dinner. We decided that we wanted to hit up Johnny Carino's. Both of us are huge fans of their bread! I got the grilled chicken caesar panini. I was so excited for it and then it came out. They had grilled the sandwich with the lettuce, making the lettuce all warm and wilted. It smelled a little bit like cooked spinach and I was not impressed. I ended up taking all of the lettuce off and it was decent, but I definitely won't order that again. I told Ethan that the sandwich was definitely lackluster. We went to a few different stores but came up empty handed and headed home.

It was pretty low-key and I'm good with that. I spent it with the person that I'm absolutely in love with, and we had a great time together.

Here's to 24. May it be just as good to me as 23 was and even better!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Writers block

I don't know what's been going on lately, but I feel like I have nothing to write about. I don't know if it's because life is uneventful and boring or if I have lost all ability to find something to write about. I had every intention to write every day (except Saturday and Sunday), and I was doing great, but I'm slipping. I suppose it just gives me a push to be better at writing and maybe writing something more meaningful than just what's going on any given day. Here's to doing better!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Visiting Grandma Lola

This weekend we, along with all my family (except my sister who is about to pop!), went up to Montana to visit my grandma. She had a scare a few weeks back that put her into the ICU. She has been fighting hard and is doing so much better than anticipated and is now in a nursing home going through physical therapy and trying to get her strength back up. The last time we went up was last year, and I wanted to get up there to see her again. When your grandparents are 95, you never know how long you have them for, so any opportunity I have I want to take it.

We drove up Friday afternoon after lunch. We got into Missoula about 5:15 and met up with with my brother Nathan and his family at Costco. We picked up a few things for the weekend and headed up to my grandma's. My cousins came up and we had some good times chatting and singing around the guitars! My parents got in around 11:30pm and my brother Cameron and his wife got in around 2:30am.

We woke up the next morning and headed to the nursing home to visit my grandma. One little fact about me: I do not do well in nursing homes/hospitals. I walked in the door and got ready to sign in to the visitor list and I lost it. Total breakdown, tears included. It took me a few minutes together and then we were off to her room, where I almost lost it again, but I held it together. She was surprised to see us and was happy as could be.

The rest of my siblings joined us a few minutes later and they transferred us to a community room so we could visit. We had a great time. My dad even pulled out his piano skills to play with the kids and we took a few little family pictures with grandma.
She started to get a little bit sleepy, so we took her back to her room and let her take a nap. We all left and headed to get some lunch. After lunch we headed to the famous Missoula carousel. I swear that thing is so much longer and faster than it used to be! Although, it's probably not best to go on a carousel right after a big lunch! The kids rode it so many times we lost count. 

We headed back to the house to help clean up a bit. The guys worked outside in the garden and in the yard, while the girls cleaned up inside doing the kitchen, living room and bathrooms. It looked so good! I'm pretty sure it hasn't been that clean in years (but I have to give my grandma some slack, she is 95). All the family in the area came to the house for dinner and had a great time visiting again.

Sunday morning after conference, we headed back down to visit grandma. She had just woken up and was looking great. We took her to a different room with lots of windows and a view of the river. She seemed so happy to have a window to look out. She just smiled as she watched. Some of the cousins came as well. We visited with her for a while but she started getting tired. My parents, Ethan and I took her back to her room and got her in bed. We said goodbyes and with tears streaming down my face I walked out the door. 
I'm so glad I had this chance to go and see her again. I love her so much and am grateful for all of the wonderful people that have been helping her.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


This week I have been essentially without a husband. Ethan left Monday to go on a three-day camp out with his IBC class. They did team building exercises, build wood boxes and basically sang "Kumbaya" around a fire. Ok, so they may not have sang, but they did do the other things.

This left me to fend for myself for three days. I have to say, I did pretty good. Monday was full of basketball and work, so it went fairly fast. Tuesday, I came home and decided I was going to take a little nap. I laid down around 6:15 or so, and who would have guessed that I'd wake up a couple hours later at 8:05! I was supposed to go play basketball at 8:00, so I got up quick and got dressed to go. After a couple games of pick-up ball I went and hung out with our friend Hannah (her husband was on the same trip). It was fun to hang out since we haven't really done much together since before they left in April. They had some exciting news when they came back--she's pregnant! We talked all about it and I headed back home around 11:30. Our room was a tad messy, ok more like a wreck, and I promised Ethan I would have it clean by the time he got home. So, I decided I had to do it that night. I finished up around 1:30 and went to bed.

Wednesday I woke up exhausted! It's been a long time since I've stayed up that late and still wake up early. But I did it and the day went by fairly quick. Ethan got home around noon, so I was able to come home from lunch and see him. We spent the evening together, but headed to bed about 10:00.

Today he woke up early to drive down to Provo for a career fair down at BYU. He had a great time and made some, what we hope will be, promising contacts for internship/job opportunities. About 3:00 he drove back and got home around 8:00.

I'm excited to have him back and to be able to have a good weekend with him. He's been gone more than I'd prefer and it's time he be back so I don't have to sleep by myself.

Man's trip

The week after my brother Cameron got married, all of my brothers, my dad and Ethan decided to do a man's trip. It was essentially an outdoor camping/fishing trip. I figured I wouldn't get many pictures out of Ethan, just because he doesn't necessarily think to take pictures (not like I do as often as I should either!)

But I was going through some of pictures he did take and I came across this one.
Isn't that view gorgeous? I may not be an outdoor girl, but even I can't deny the beauty of this!