Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Updating my lists

Movies I saw in 2013:
Les Mis 1/5 (with Amy), Silver Linings Playbook 2/14 (with Amy), Argo 4/11 (with Ash), Oz 4/13 (with Ash, Naco, Jenn), Iron Man 3 5/7 (3D – with Ash, Jenn), The Internship 8/12 (with Todd), Jobs 8/22 (with Todd), Now You See Me 8/30 (with Jenna, Emma, Melanie), Instructions Not Included 9/12 (with Todd), The Way Way Back 9/17 (with Darcy, Ash, & Wend), Gravity 10/17 (with Jennie, Wend, & Ash), Bad Grandpa 11/5 (with Todd), About Time 11/12 (with Todd), Captain Phillips 11/14 (with Todd), Don Jon 11/25 (with Todd), Catching Fire 11/26 (with Todd), Dallas Buyers Club 12/11 (with Todd), American Hustle 12/13 (with Todd) – 18 total

Shows/Concerts I saw in 2013:
The Killers at Honda Center 5/1 (Marc, Ash, Wend)
Fictionist at The Satellite 5/9 (Ash, Chris, Taylor, Jason, Heman, Jon)
Andy Grammer at House of Blues Anaheim 5/16 (Ash, Wend, Chris, April, Darcy, Heather, Randilyn, David)
Modest Mouse at the US Open 7/26 (Miriam, Karlie)
Joshua Radin & Matt Nathanson at The Wiltern 10/3 (Ash, Wend, Jeni)

The Head & The Heart at The Wiltern 12/10 (Ash, Wend, Jenn, Emma)

Books I read in 2013:
1. 31 Dates in 31 Days by Tamara Duricka Johnson (8/5)
2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (12/29)

Don't ask what happened to my reading last year. I'm making up for it!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2013 Highlights

I’ve wanted to do this for several years now but keep failing. I’ve seen other bloggers (ha, saying “other bloggers” makes it sound like I’m referring to myself as a blogger…obviously that’s a very loose term!) post yearly highlights and think it’s a great idea. I keep embarrassingly thorough notes about the day to day happenings of my life so I may as well write a less-overwhelming summary!
Trips are usually the highlight of any month for me and January was no exception. Ash, Wend, Jenn, and I went to Salt Lake City to visit Linds, Ry, and Jess January 25-28. We had so much fun (in spite of the nasty inversion)! We went to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple, spent a night up in the cabin and a day in the snow with snowmobiles, sleds, 4-wheelers, played games, shopped, and got to see Karen and Brandon, too! I’m happy that I don’t live in that cold and snowy place but it was great to visit. Linds & Ry are such gracious hosts and have a darling apartment in which to entertain.
The rest of the month was full of fun, too. I started it off by burning our Christmas tree! It’s become a really fun tradition to take it to the beach and watch the quick blaze! In no particular order, here’s the rundown of everything else: Levi & Molly’s wedding reception, bowl games, dinners with friends, game nights, temple nights, saw Les Mis (again) with Amy, Betsy visited, bonfires/parties, tutoring, Spanish classes (we had good intentions), Wendy’s piano lessons (we had a couple before putting it on the backburner indefinitely), the driving range, Naco’s bday (tacos in LGB), sang a duet in my ward with Ash, babysat for Dixie.
February was less exciting because I didn’t go anywhere. But I did go to karaoke twice and to the dueling pianos once. Heman started a hiking club so we hiked at Santiago Oaks Regional Park one Saturday. I watched the Super Bowl and lots of college basketball. And my roommates started their softball season, which is part of our usual Monday night routine (lifetime cheerleader award goes to me). I celebrated Chinese New Year with a bunch of singles in LA on February 16th (I’m not a huge fan of Chinatown but I am a huge fan of the train so it was a fun day). Ash and I sang our duet in her ward. We quit going to Spanish class (we’re lame). Saw Silver Linings Playbook with Amy. And I finished the month with my 3 day work seminar in LA.
The highlights of March include a few road trips, which I always love! First was a quick trip to St. George with Ash, Wend, & Heman for Naco & Leni’s wedding! I was so happy to be there to celebrate with them! Ash, Wend, Heman, and I shared a king bed in our hotel, which was awesome and somewhat uncomfortable. Next was our annual road trip to AZ for Spring Training! Ash, Wend, Jenn & I saw three baseball games, stayed at the Stiles beautiful home, drove by the new Gilbert temple (still being built), and had a great time. It was hot but we were happy we didn’t get hailed on like last year!

Besides the thrill of travelling, lots of fun stuff took place. The best part was that Emily and her family came to visit! I met baby Flynn for the first time (such a good baby), we got pedicures, ate tons, went to the cold beach and saw the Balboa sites, took the train to LA/Hollywood, went to a baseball game, and the Brewers came over for dinner. I’m so glad they made the long (expensive) trip to visit us! In addition, my car got rear-ended (not even enough damage to get it fixed), went to a BYU men’s volleyball game, hosted Naco’s bridal shower, went to the batting cages (maybe for the first time ever), fireside, Jasmine’s dessert party, FHE, The Bachelor, enrichment, tutoring, Linds & Ry visited, Allison’s bday party, semi-trained for Ragnar, temple cleaning, March Madness, Black Jack night & St. Patrick’s Day happy hour with my office, Anne’s housewarming party, two hikes in one day, co-hosted Bunko with Darcy, party at Heman’s, watched softball, lots of rehearsals for the stake musical (ugh), food trucks & the Banff screening, driving range, got a massage, sang in a quartet for Easter, and I bought a new car!

April started out with Ashley’s birthday! We partied all weekend long - camped at Blue Jay Campground Friday night, went to the beach, horse races, and Cold Stone Saturday, and had cake & ice cream for her actual birthday on Sunday. Also, after not training enough, we ran Ragnar April 19-20. We did the SoCal race on a team of 12. Our team name was Squaws and Braves, which was much more controversial than we anticipated. We had a lot of fun, though I’m not sure I ever need to run another Ragnar! The rest of the month consisted of the following: softball games, musical rehearsals, the driving range, enrichment, several lunches with coworkers, got my hair cut and colored, General Conference, the end of March Madness, bike rides, tutoring, temple, saw two movies (Argo & Oz), hosted dinner at our house (Jeanette, Todd, Ali, & Garrett), got my windows tinted, hosted Ragnar dinner, got a massage, Ash fed her elders, Mary & Adelaide came over, Annalee’s bridal shower, Helping Hands, sang a solo in my ward, subbed for primary, and went to a fireside.

The highlight of May was a trip to Dallas to visit Arch and her family. I was there May 10-13 and had such a good time! We went to the Texas Discovery Gardens, ate a lot (what Arch and I do best), shopped, had brunch with Jen on Mother’s Day (I also got to talk to Matthew for a minute on Mother’s Day), and enjoyed a day at the spa! The rest of the month was pretty awesome, too. I went to three concerts: The Killers at the Honda Center on the 1st, Fictionist at The Satellite on the 9th, and Andy Grammar at House of Blues on the 16th. We performed our stake musical on May 3rd and 4th (after soooo many rehearsals - so happy it’s over!). Celebrated several bdays: parties for Miriam and Elyse, dinner for Amanda. Two weddings: Annalee & Paul and Wendy & Robert. Ali’s bridal shower. And so much more: tutoring, taco cart at work, Thousand Steps Beach with Naco, party at Rustin’s, Marc’s bonfire, party at Darcy’s, lunch with coworkers, FHE, saw a movie (Iron Man 3), temple, driving range, went to an Angels game, party at Kristen’s, bike rides, beach, played one hand of the organ for a musical number with Debra, HB MSA conference (didn’t go to much), softball games, oils class at Dixie’s, fed the elders, potluck at work, went paddle boarding with Jennie & Wend, Karen came to visit, Jess came to visit, celebrated Memorial Day, and we rented a beach house on Balboa Peninsula for a glorious week! While most people can’t justify paying to rent a beach house while living five miles from the beach, we got a smokin’ deal and couldn’t pass it up! What a blast!

June was a busy month! (Aren’t they all?!?) I went to Yosemite for the first time, which was incredibly beautiful. We drove up, camped three nights, hiked two days, “showered” in the ice cold river, and had a great time! Marc organized the trip and there were 11 of us (Wend went but Ash couldn’t take a vacation day). Then Mom & Dad came to visit for a week! It was really fun to have them here. They came for the Ryan family reunion but stayed a few extra days. We had a beach picnic, watched Ash play softball, went to Sherman Gardens & Rogers Gardens, went to San Diego for the temple and beach, Sea World, Balboa Park, hiked, Lake Perris, as well as spending time with the family at Tami’s house. Ash & I got to stay in a hotel near Tami’s for four nights so even though the reunion was close to home, it felt more like a vacation.

My dear friend, Ali, got married and I was able to attend her sealing in the Newport Beach temple and then her fun reception with dinner and dancing. We also threw Naco a baby shower. The rest of the month included lots of beach time, bike rides, cleaning the church, FHE, the dentist, tutoring, dinner with Betsy, The Bachelorette viewings, enrichment night (we rented out a theater to watch My Fair Lady!), Ash fed her elders, audition for The King and I (I was persuaded to audition and only got a small part so declined), softball, temple cleaning, Emily Harris’ bon voyage party, outdoor movie at the Great Park, fed the elders, driving range, bowling, and a few beach sunsets!

I love July - it’s summertime, the 4th of July, and my birthday! The 4th was a Thursday so my office was closed both Thursday and Friday. The 4th of July is such a crazy holiday in Newport and HB! Wend was in Utah but Ash and I did lots of celebrating! We got up early to decorate our bikes and then biked to HB with Chris to spend the day. We watched the parade, went to the beach, to a BBQ, watched fireworks at a friend’s house and the beach, and didn’t get back home until almost midnight. A full day in my swimsuit is usually an awesome day and this was no exception! Friday Ash and I hiked and then went to the beach with friends again and ended the night with an outdoor movie at the Dunes. Saturday we did beach yoga and then spent the afternoon at the pool and then Aaron’s BBQ.

And the month just kept getting better: dinner with April Flory, softball, temple cleaning, bike rides, Ash fed her elders twice, The Bachelorette, tutoring, celebrated Craig Martin’s bday with a concert in the park and tacos, enrichment, camped at Doheny Beach, assembled and stained our adirondack chairs (much bigger project than I anticipated), HB concert in the park, fireside, driving range, fed elders, Jess & Jeff Stiles’ reception, hiked, food trucks, celebrated Jennie’s bday at the beach, lots of dinners with friends, two nights at the OC fair, April Daly’s bday bonfire, starting watching the first season of Friday Night Lights, Naco had her baby (sweet little Yanavah), saw a concert at the US Open in HB, Santa Monica Film Festival, Makenna came to visit for a week (it was so much fun to have her visit!!), had a beach picnic with friends for my bday, went paddle boarding, and Linds & Ry visited.

The first few days of the month were our last few days having Kenna and Linds & Ry here. I said goodbye to Miriam at her going away party and then she moved to Brussels! Lauren’s housewarming. Angels game. Hiked Topanga Canyon. Glow in the dark bocce. Alli’s ice cream party. Softball ended. The Bachelorette ended. Sang in a trio at the stake center. Private room karaoke in LA (seriously the most fun). Beach yoga twice. The beach. Another night at the fair (Todd won the biggest stuffed gorilla I’ve ever seen). BBQ at the park. Bike rides. Fireside. Lots of Friday Night Lights. Saw three movies in theaters (The Internship, Jobs, Now You See Me) plus a midnight movie in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Interview with the Vampire). Temple cleaning. Went to Tabitha & Jacob’s wedding! Hot tub night at Landon’s. Helped roommates refinish dining room chairs. Laid out at the pool. Visited Naco & baby several times. Many nights of friends hanging out at our house.

I went to the Cook Islands!! Oh, what a glorious vacation. Wendy, Ashley, and I were there for a week enjoying the island life. I also made my first Vine in September - kind of a highlight obviously. And it was Wend’s bday! We got back from our trip on her bday (which means she spent half of her bday on an airplane) and celebrated with manis/pedis, polar pops, Cafe Rio, and then had friends over for cake and ice cream. I got called as the FHE coordinator in my new ward. Saw two movies (Instructions Not Included, The Way Way Back). Went on a walk with Steph Crabb. Spent at least 8 nights watching Friday Night Lights. Enrichment. Linds & Ry visited. Driving range. Dinner with the Jarvies. Glow in the dark bocce. Yahtzee. Soooo many polar pops. Went to a Dodgers game. Ate some of my very favorite tacos from the El Taquito Mexicano truck in Pasadena. FHE (party, bowling, etc). Tutoring. Shot off rockets in the park with Wend, Todd, & Dave. Went to the Utah State at USC football game. Temple cleaning. Dinner with Landon. Visited Naco. Lost a ping pong tournament at Erika’s but had a lot of fun doing it. Heather’s bday bonfire.

The month started with a group of us going to food trucks and then seeing Radical Reels at OCC. Then the next night we saw Joshua Radin and Matt Nathanson at the Wiltern in LA. Such a great concert! The second week of the month was my work seminar in LA (ALI) so I was up there all week. I was swamped with prepping for the seminar but once I was there, it was mostly smooth-sailing. Wendy and I babysat for the Jacksons for a weekend - wow, kids are a lot of work! I got my hair cut and colored. My Monday nights were full of family home evenings since I’m the FHE Coordinator now (boo). Emma Douglas and I went to a Dodgers playoff game (and to Griffith Observatory)! Saw a movie (Gravity). Tutoring. Lots of tacos. Wendy and I took a roadtrip to Phoenix to visit Ali & Garrett (then took a day trip to Sedona with them). We finished the fifth and final season of Friday Night Lights. Temple cleaning. Spoke in church (ugh). Halloween and tons of related activities (Santa Monica dance, haunted house in Santa Ana, scary movie at our house, haunted hayride in LA, Huntington Beach party).

November began with a visit from Linds and her pregnancy announcement! So exciting! We ate (although Linds wasn’t feeling well), shopped, hung out, went to the beach, got mani/pedis, etc. I donated breast tissue for the first time and it was a cool experience. Temple devotional. Jennie and Kevin came over for yahtzee. FHE (only went twice - skipped the combined softball FHE and we didn’t have FHE the week of Thanksgiving). We finally refinished the dining room table and are so happy with the results (we did the chairs a few months ago)! Two tutoring sessions. Dinner with the Jarvies. Cleaned the temple. Went to five movies with Todd (Bad Grandpa, About Time, Captain Phillips, Don Jon, Catching Fire). Went to a networking event in Mission Viejo (ugh). Umami Burger with coworker, Mario. Babysat Naco’s baby, Yanavah. Dinner, rockets, and dessert with Jennie, Lillie, Wend, Dave, Devin, Pete, and Todd. Chowder Chowdown --- so much fun. We changed up the invite list quite a bit this year and had another great group at our house for chowder and grateful turkeys. I was quite the ward hopper - attended my ward (Heritage Park), the new HB MSA ward, and the Newport 1st ward (sang in the choir). Ali & Garrett visited. Food truck lunch with Emma. Went to the driving range once. Attended two high school football games (so fun!). Had an early Thanksgiving dinner at Tami’s. Jason & Stefanie Funk’s wedding reception. Ward Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving fireside in LA. Started watching Freaks & Geeks with Todd & Dave. Organized and cooked a lot for my work Thanksgiving potluck (first time cooking a turkey - just a breast). Annie had her baby boy, Samuel Van Bourm, on November 20th! Fed Wend’s missionaries. Service project in LA (The Burrito Project - feeding the homeless on Skid Row). Donated blood for Hearts & Hands. Pedi with Naco. Devin’s party in LA. Tried to watch quite a few college football and basketball games. Mailed cookies to Matthew! Spent a wonderful Thanksgiving in Kansas with the family - Annie’s house, CV, MAMMEL get-together, hike, etc!


I went to Europe!! That is by far the highlight of the month. I went with Wend, Emma, and Miriam for TWO WEEKS! We visited Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Hungary. Unforgettable. The rest of the month doesn’t really compare but was still great. My first few days of the month I was still in Kansas for Thanksgiving. Two nights of Freaks & Geeks with Todd and Dave. Tutoring. Temple cleaning. Got our Christmas tree and decorated our house! Kristen’s party. Wamco Golf Day (rainy and cold so half of us stayed in the clubhouse). Newport 1st Christmas party at the Day’s. MSA dinner/dance in LA. Watched college basketball on tv. Jeni, Kevin, Naco, Emma, Marc, Todd, Jenn, Jennie, Chris visited at various times. Jennie brought us dinner. Christmas devotional. Jenn’s going away party at our house. FHE. The Head & the Heart at The Wiltern. Saw two movies with Todd (Dallas Buyers Club, American Hustle). Visited Sheila with coworkers for her bday. Wamco omelette bar, gift exchange, Christmas party, and Christmas lunch (lots of organizing/planning on my part). Dentist. Went to LA with Todd and hung out at Dave & Pete’s. Babysat Yanavah. Party in LA with Emma, Blake, & Alex. Church in KS, Heritage Park, and HB. Party at Marc & David’s. Fun light of caroling at a nursing home and visiting at our house with friends. Christmas shopping (mostly online - woohoo!). Boat parade and dinner for Enrichment.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I make lists

I make a lot of lists. Mostly they are full of useless information. Maybe I make them because they make me feel more organized. Do you know the date you saw Never Say Never in theaters? Didn’t think so.

Movies I saw in 2011:
Tron 1/4, The Social Network 1/21, The Dilemma 1/28, Just Go With It 2/16, The King’s Speech 2/19, Never Say Never 2/26, Limitless 3/19, Arthur 4/9, Unknown 4/15, Something Borrowed 5/9, Bridesmaids 5/13, Fast 5 5/17, Hangover 2 5/27, Larry Crowne 7/5, Crazy Stupid Love 8/11, One Day 8/20, The Help 8/30, Footloose 10/20, Breaking Dawn 12/6, New Years Eve 12/9, We Bought A Zoo 12/27 (21 total)

Movies I saw in 2012:
We Bought A Zoo 1/7, Moneyball 1/10, Joyful Noise 1/14 (with Naco & Sarah-Dawn), This Means War 2/14 (with Ali & Elyse), New Years Eve 2/16 (with Naco & Wend), The Hunger Games 3/26 (with Jess & Naco) & 3/30 (with Jess, Ash, Wend, Linds, Nate), The Lucky One 4/21 (with Ryan Peck), Five Year Engagement 5/1 (with Naco), What to Expect When You’re Expecting 5/26 (with Wend, Ash, Jess), Rock of Ages 6/26 (with Naco), Magic Mike 6/30 (with Naco, Erin, Wend, Ali), People Like Us 7/4 (with Naco, Amanda, Ash), The Dark Night Rises 8/18 (by myself), The Avengers 9/6 (with Taylor, Aldrin, Wend, & Ash), ParaNorman 9/21 (with Taylor), The Amazing Spiderman 9/27 (with Ash, Ann, & Kels), Won’t Back Down 10/2 (with Naco), Trouble With the Curve 10/6 (with Ash), Perks of Being a Wallflower 10/9 (with Naco & Amanda), Moonrise Kingdom 10/19 (by myself), Brave 10/20 (by myself), House at the End of the Street 10/21 (with Naco, Ash, Heman, Keith), Pitch Perfect 11/1 (with Naco), Lincoln 11/21 (by myself), Pitch Perfect 12/18 (with Ash, Jess DeLora, Ali, Jeff Jackson, Heman, Justin), This Is 40 12/29 (with Ash, Naco, Leni), Les Mis 12/31 (with Ash, Wend, Erin, Naco, Leni) (28 total)

Shows/concerts I saw in 2011:
Pacific Hurt & Foster the People 1/11 (Detroit Bar), Alexi Murdoch 3/4 (Detroit Bar), Usher 6/1 (Staples Center – Akon opened), Thao & Mirah 6/22 (Detroit Bar), Taylor Swift August 24 (Staples Center), SF Ballet 9/27 (Segerstrom Performing Arts Center), To Kill A Mockingbird 11/5 (Vanguard University), Priscilla Ahn 12/2 (El Rey Theater), White Christmas 12/14 (Segerstrom Performing Arts Center)

Shows/concerts I saw in 2012:
Come Fly Away 2/2 (Segerstrom Performing Arts Center), Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo 2/9 (Segerstrom Performing Arts Center), Jersey Boys 4/5 (August Wilson Theater, NYC), Newsies 4/8 (Nederlander Theater, NYC), Les Mis 6/14 (Segerstrom Performing Arts Center), The Exorcist 7/25 (The Geffen), Angus Stone 9/11 (The Troubadour), Andy Grammer 9/14 (Fashion Island), Lumineers 10/1 (Fonda Theater), Balboa Beach Music Fest 10/13 (A Fine Frenzy, Joshua Radin, Matt Nathanson)

Books I read in 2011:
1. Santa Maybe by Aubrey Mace (1/3/11)
2. How Do You Know When You're Really In Love? by Robert K. McIntosh (3/15/11)
3. TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY by Jay Asher (3/21/11)
4. What I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single by John Bytheway (3/29/11)
5. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker (4/27/11)
6. Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (5/10/11)
7. Something Blue by Emily Giffin (5/14/11)
8. The Shack by Wm. Paul Young (6/2/11)
9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (8/25/11)
10. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (10/12/11)
11. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (10/28/11)
12. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (11/28/11)

Books I read in 2012:
1. How to Stuff a Wild Zucchini by Heather Horrocks (1/3)
2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (1/27)
3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (2/8)
4. Bossypants by Tina Fey (5/24)
5. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks (6/28)
6. Baby Proof by Emily Giffen (7/9)
7. Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson (8/22)
8. Love the One You’re With (Emily Giffen)

Side note: I wish the books to movies ratio was a little more proportional. But the truth is that I LOVE seeing movies in theaters. And it takes much less time to see a movie than read a book. And I (almost) never fall asleep while watching a movie in the theater.

Number of places I've lived since moving out of my parents' house: 17
Number of roommates I've had since moving out of my parents' house: 21

And now you have a lot of useless information about me. You're welcome. I'm not going to stop recording useless information or seeing movies. But maybe this year the book list will be longer and the roommate list will stop growing.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spring Training!

I'm behind. I need to post about NYC but realized I haven't posted about spring training yet! So here we go...

I love going to baseball games. When I lived in Mesa, I attended quite a few spring training games. And I've been to quite a few minor and major league games since I've lived in California. Last spring, Wendy and I decided to go to AZ for spring training. We had a blast (pretty sure there's a post about it) and decided we'd make it a yearly tradition (full disclosure: we were sure we'd be taking boyfriends this So Wendy, Jessica, Ashley, and I left right after work on Friday, March 16, and hit the road for AZ. (Sadly Lindsay had to go to Utah for a dress fitting so she didn't get to go with us.) I love road trips and this one did not disappoint! We sang just about every Garth Brooks song there is and many other country songs (for some reason we've linked AZ with country music - we listened to it exclusively, much to Jess' dismay, the entire trip). Lots of laughing. It was a looooong drive...we finally got to Sharlyn's house after midnight. Chey let us take over her big room for the weekend, which was perfect.

Saturday we went to lunch at Rumbi Grill (love those sweet potato fries!) in Chandler and then went to the Diamondbacks vs Rangers game in Surprise. It was such a great day! Our seats were close and the weather was mild. Sharlyn went with us that day and then Kel and Chey came in free towards the end and joined us. After the game we went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse (love the atmosphere of that place - throwing peanut shells on the floor, delicious good!). Greg, Michelle, and Melody met us for dinner and I loved seeing them. We went to Nielsen's Frozen Custard in Mesa for dessert - can't believe I lived so close to that place and never tried it! It was delicious! After dessert, we went to Marc's parents' house in Mesa to hang out and play games. We played Scum for awhile and had lots of fun. Went back to Sharlyn's and crashed (of course we were all exhausted).

Sunday morning we went to a 9:00 ward for sacrament meeting. It was such a great meeting and I'm really happy we were all there for it. We went back to Sharlyn's and got packed up before heading to the game. We went to the Angels vs Dodgers game in Glendale. What a beautiful stadium! We had lawn seats that day and everyone got to go. Unfortunately the state that is known for being hot and dry betrayed us that day. It was pretty chilly but we had blankets so we were managing...until the rain and HAIL hit!! We ran like mad out of that stadium and were completely soaked! What a memory! :)

We had dinner at Macayo's and headed back home. Such a fun trip and always good to spend time with the Sharlyn Ryan's! We'll see you next year, AZ!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Wendy and I went to Portland last weekend to visit Mary & Zach. We got there Thursday night (Feb. 23 - happy bday, Ky!) and were there until Sunday afternoon. It was so good to see Mary & Zach but the weather in Portland was not very welcoming! It was soooo cold and rainy! It hailed on Sunday morning and I think it snowed a little bit on Saturday. (Reminds me of the time Em, Ky, & I visited Annie in Seattle for Spring Break and she said it never snows there...of course it snowed.)

Despite the weather, we had a great time. We went to the Portland temple, which was beautiful! We also roamed around Powell's City of Books for awhile. It's a massive bookstore that takes up a whole city block in downtown Portland. Color-coded rooms, several stories, tons and tons of books! It was cool. Mary is making a rag quilt for the baby so we went to JoAnn's to get fabric and then Wendy helped her get started on the quilt. Took a drive to Vancouver, WA, which was not an impressive place but cool that we went to Washington. We played games for hours; my favorite was a board game called Ticket To Ride. (I ordered it as soon as I got back home!)

I love travelling and visiting friends. Thanks for your hospitality, Mary & Zach!

Wendy and I on our walk to the grocery store

Portland temple - hard to get a good shot with all those trees

Sewing machine tutorial

Zach & Mary at dinner

I couldn't decide so I'm using them both!

Crazy entrance to some store we walked past

Before we left for the airport, we froze our butts off on the balcony for this shot

Friday, February 17, 2012

February family bdays...Chocolate Cake

I don't think I'm very good at cakes...yet. I haven't been happy with the last two I've made (see previous post for Naco's bday funfetti cake - disaster!). But at least this one tasted really good! Cookies are just so much more forgiving!

Ash & I decided to take a little jaunt over to our aunt Tami's house for part of last weekend. Our Grandad is living there for the winter and I just love spending time with their family. I realized that Lyle, Landon, Grandad, and Roger all have February bdays so decided I'd make a cake to take over. I've always known Grandad's favorite cake is german chocolate but I wanted to try something else so emailed my mom with a couple of options. She told me he'd like the chocolate cake I told her about and/or that his favorite cookies are oatmeal nut. Well I'm terribly indecisive and love baking so I decided to make chocolate cake and cowboy cookies (oatmeal nut doesn't sound great to me but cowboy cookies have oatmeal and nuts and everyone loves those). Of course, I decided this on Thursday, was attending a ballet Thursday night, and needed to leave right after work on Friday. Sleep was sacrificed to make things work. NBD. Because I learned my lesson the hard way last time I made a cake, I borrowed one of Naco's round cake pans beforehand (did I mention in the last cake post that Ash later discovered two round cakes pans in one of our cupboards?!?). One trip to the grocery store before the ballet and one trip after and I was in business!

I read about this cake on Marta's blog, one of my favorites. She raved about it more than once so I decided to give it a try. She calls it a manly piece of chocolate cake and I was making it for 4 bday males so thought it should hit the spot. (Side note: Am I right or wrong in my thinking that men don't love chocolate like women do? It's so hard to believe but I've heard it more than once.) I made three layers again (love the look of more than 2 layers!). As I was preparing, I asked Wend & Ash if they thought it was fine to just spray the pans instead of using Crisco and flour. They both agreed that spray was sufficient. Well I knew better than that but wanted them to be right so that's what I did. BAD IDEA. The cakes stuck to each pan. I didn't over-bake them, though, which was satisfying. And I wasn't crazy about the taste of the frosting when I sampled it.

What I'd do differently next time:
1. I'd grease and flour the pans. That's really the best way.
2. I'd double the recipe and do it in four pans (how exquisite would that be?!?).

I would not change the frosting. Although I didn't love it by itself, it was perfect for the cake.

I said I wasn't happy with it because I knew it was kind of a mess underneath the frosting because the cake stuck to the pans. But the chocolate frosting covered it up nicely and nobody knew any better. Serve it with ice cream because it's super rich!

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 container (16 oz.) dairy sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. (I used 3 round pans and had to adjust the baking time but don't remember how long.)

2. Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking, and salt in large bowl. Add butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 3 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost with fudge frosting.

Fudge Frosting

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Add cocoa; cook, stirring constantly, just until mixture begins to boil. Pour mixture into medium bowl; cool completely. Add powdered sugar alternately with milk to cocoa mixture, beating to spreading consistency. Stir in vanilla. About 1 cup frosting.

Note: I doubled the recipe for the frosting.

Both recipes from Marta Writes

Landon (sorry for the blur!)

Roger (who has lost over 30 pounds and didn't even eat the cake!)

Precious cargo - yes, that's a Christmas tree stand. It worked like a charm!
The cake. So yummy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2011 New Recipe #25 Tortillas

Ok, almost two months later, I'm finally posting my final new recipe of 2011. My sister, Stephanie, made tortillas for all of us and taught me how to, as well. It was messy and fun. Her mother-in-law taught her to make them several years ago and I keep thinking she should make them for us so she did it one day for lunch when we were all at my parents' house for Christmas. We ate them with this delicious hot meat that she made. Loved them!

Steph working her magic

Homemade Tortillas

3 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 T salt
1 cup hot water
Slather Crisco all over

When I make these again, I'll definitely have to call Steph for a refresher. You have to "eye" the hot water to see how much you need...I've never been good at estimating and would rather follow a recipe exactly than try to improvise. But with her help, I did it! So you make the dough and then you slather Crisco all over it. Then you form the dough into little balls (see picture). I feel like at some point you have to set the dough aside or something but I forgot (consequence of posting this 2 months later!). Then you roll out each little ball with flour and a rolling pin and cook them on a cast iron skillet. We made a ton of them and it was lots of fun. I like to be in the kitchen with my mom and sisters. And I love Mexican food. And eating in general.

When I got back home after Christmas, I excitedly told my roommates that we could have our own Taco Tuesday and I could make the tortillas. That hasn't happened. Part of the reason is that my friend, Dixie, introduced me to these awesome tortillas at Costco that are uncooked and ready to go. They are so easy and delicious! I'm sure it's cheaper to make your own. I'll do it again sometime...that sometime may or may not be before I have my own family.