Friday, December 23, 2011

Cooper and Minnie (or Mini)

This is Minnie, the dog we are hoping to adopt when we get back from Ohio.  I love that I can hold them both at the same time. 

On a totally unrelated note, these are some powerful words from Jeffrey R. Holland about the Savior.  I usually try not to be too "wordy" in my blog, but I remember reading this talk on my mission (4 years ago!) and still think about what he said, so I'd say it's worth a read.  (I bolded some of it).

"In spite of life’s tribulations, there is help for all of us on this journey. When Christ bids us to yield, to submit, to obey the Father, He knows how to help us do that. He has walked that way, asking us to do what He has done, but He has made it very much easier for our travel. He knows where the sharp stones and the stumbling blocks lie and where the thorns and the thistles are the most severe. He knows where the path is perilous, and He knows which way to go when the road forks and nightfall comes. He knows that because He has suffered “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind … that he may know … how to succor his people according to their infirmities” (Alma 7:11–12). To succor means “to run to.” I testify that Christ will run to us, and is running even now, if we will but receive the extended arm of His mercy.

"When we stagger or stumble, He is there to steady and strengthen us. In the end He is there to save us, and for all this He gave His life. However dim our days may seem, they have been a lot darker for the Savior of the world. As a reminder of those days, Jesus has chosen, even in a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and in His side—signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect; signs, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn’t love you; signs, if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours. Remind others that it is the wounded Christ who is the Captain of our souls, He who yet bears the scars of our forgiveness, the lesions of His love and humility, the torn flesh of obedience and sacrifice.

"These wounds are the principal way we are to recognize Him when He comes. He may invite us forward, as He has invited others, to see and to feel those marks. If not before, then surely at that time, we will remember with Isaiah that it was for us that a God was “despised and rejected … ; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” that “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:3, 5)."

-Jeffrey R. Holland, "Teaching, Preaching, Healing," Jan 2003 Ensign

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Few Notes about Running

1.  Cooper can run up to 5 miles without EVEN having to open his mouth!  What is that about?!

2.  I've been wearing socks on my hands this winter when I run.  It happened the first time kind of by accident, I couldn't find my gloves and James' (eek) dirty socks were sitting by the front door so I thought, "What the hey?"  The good part about using socks for gloves are:  how different are socks than mittens, really? and if your nose is a little drippy, you can just wipe it on the socks because you know you're just going to throw them in the wash when you get home.  And you have a bunch more pairs for succeeding days.  And the reason I can justify using a pair of socks for my hands is because...

3.  I haven't been wearing socks when I run because I've been wearing my vibrams to run.  I slowly worked myself into them and I like them.  They are not way more comfortable or way less comfortable than my old running shoes.  I haven't done any huge distances in them, nothing more than 5 miles.  I like feeling kind of au natural.  I feel kind of cool/xtreme when I wear them to run. 

4.  I still love running.  It's just such a good way to exercise for me.  It's refreshing.  I feel so good when I finish.  I feel good while I'm doing it.  I can see myself doing it for a long time.  I love getting done with a run and knowing I've done it.  I have been wearing my marathon t-shirt a lot lately to remind myself that I have done and will do hard things. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Adventures in Baby-Making

So I don't think it's really a secret anymore that James and I have been trying to have children for a while now without success.  It has been hard on us and I will spare you the details because some of you know them already and it would take a lot of time to tell everything. 

What I really want to tell you is that we had a conversation with our Bishop last week that has really changed my perspective.  We have been given the gifts of time and freedom.  For whatever reason, Heavenly Father has withheld this blessing from us, and I really believe it's because He wants us to be able to accomplish and learn certain things before we have kids.  (I know we will also accomplish and learn certain things when we DO have kids and life doesn't end when that happens.)  And I really want to (and I'm starting to) understand and appreciate and trust in His timing. 

So since then I have been thinking a lot about what I really want to do, both individually and as a couple.  I always have sort of limited myself (except for running the marathon) because I figured I would be getting pregnant soon and I shouldn't start something big. 

Now I realize I should open my mind up to possibilities.  I don't really know what I want to do but I know it includes travel, improving my talents, especially sewing (I want to improve my sewing, not just expecting it to be easy and then getting frustrated when it's not and rushing through a project, just to get it over with), and probably something to do with fitness.  I really want a new physical challenge, one that I can pursue while still trying to conceive.  I'm not supposed to run as much, but I can still run some.  I just liked having the marathon to work towards and having prescribed workouts that I felt compelled to finish.  And maybe it will also be about things I'm loving or learning at work.   

So I guess I'm using this blog to brag about all the things I'm accomplishing and enjoying in life.  I guess that's what it was about before.  But I will be more consciously doing it.  Hopefully that's not obnoxious to people.  I am a "Brogger."  (bragging blogger)

Here are the Christmas decorations that have been added to the lineup this year: 

Christmas Tree topiaries
I made these with my friend Rachael, she mixed her colors, aren't they so cute?

Before, denim, ugh....

And after.  This is for holding Christmas cards and pictures
I made this at Super Saturday, I love it!

A little Christmas Cross-Stitch, I need to find a frame for it.

Rolled paper tree, it's not quite right, is it?  Sort of bulgy looking.

Friday, December 9, 2011

"It's like a warm little secret in my pocket."

Hand warmers:  a little fabric, a little rice, a little sewing (like 2 minutes, tops) 30 seconds in the microwave.  Awesome.  I love them. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Turkey Day

I forgot that I had taken pictures on Thanksgiving. That morning we did a 5K Turkey Trot. We all walked it together, it was fun. My Mom was a little disappointed that she didn't get a number to wear on her shirt.

Cooper staked out his spot below the turkey oven.  (It was warmest there.)

Hamburger Rolls

I think Jeff is pretending to eat a raw sweet potato

Cranberry Sauce, one of my favorites.
I started taking pictures of the food with the intention of taking pictures of everything.  I didn't get that far.  It was a nice Thanksgiving.  We are very blessed.  Grateful to be able to be with family.  Grateful that we never want for anything.  Grateful for eachother. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This past weekend James' brother John and his Grandma came to town.  We went up to Longmont to see their Aunt Evelyn (Grandma Ruth's sister) and some of their cousins. 
James and John

Grandma Ruth and Aunt Evelyn

Cousins Marilyn and Jean, Evelyn's daughters

All the younguns

Cousin Elaine and her husband Stan
We had a great time visiting with family.  Lots of food and laughter.  I felt like a competitive eater this weekend!  John is an electrician for the Army so he and James put in wall sconces in our bedroom.  Lights that are actually connected to a light switch?  LOVE IT!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Snowshoe Bunnies

A few weeks ago we were at the cabin in Conifer and Rachael and I decided to give the snowshoes a whirl.  I have never done it before, besides when I was teaching in Payson and we would take the kids out on the field.  We went to Beaver Ranch, where we had Girl's Camp a couple years ago.  I have to say, I felt pretty Xtreme snowshoeing, especially since it was only us girls.  I definitely want to do it again. 

Yes, I CHOSE to wear this.

I think this is Rachael being Xtreme.  Sorry, Rachael, for putting a goofy picture, but did you SEE my outfit?

We may have fallen a couple times, but we never quit! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Blushing Basics

This is my friend, Kristie.  We grew up in the same town and then she was living in England with her husband while I was on my mission and I got to serve in her ward.  Now she's living in Colorado!  Yea!  She's been blogging hair, makeup, and fashion for a while now.  She's a professional makeup artist.  I love her website, I use it all the time.  It's super helpful for clueless girls like me.  It's helpful even if you aren't clueless.  Check it out!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I was overjoyed at having a snow day today.  I started a long-term assignment on Monday and hadn't been anticipating any kind of break until Thanksgiving.  I took advantage of the opportunity to be crafty, encouraged by Pinterest.

This first one is an idea my friend Chelsea taught for Super Saturday a couple weeks ago.  I made a little one with a 4x6 frame I had for a to do list, since I usually have about 3 sticky note "To Do" lists in different places around the house.  I sewed two fabrics together and lined the frame back with the fabric, wrote "To Do" backwards on the inside of the glass with sharpee, then dry erase on the front. 

I've had this 12x12 piece of "chalkboard cloth" forever, so I used fabric to create 4 sections and then nailed it to a square canvas.  I have one regret with this project.  I think we all know what that is.

I finished these photo blocks I started at Super Saturday.  5x7, photo, modpodge (sp?)  I put scrapbook paper behind one photo but it wrinkled a little, although you can't see it from far away.  I had a square block, too, and no photos the right size, so I tried this. 

 I put fabric instead of pictures.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  Maybe if the fabric colors tied the room together or if they matched eachother better, or if I had several.  I like the idea, just the execution of it needs work I think.  Or you could put pictures on top of the fabric. 

I finished sewing the blocks for this "Strip Twist" quilt I've been working on.  I used a moda jelly roll.  I took pictures of some of my favorite blocks.  I got this pattern at a quilt shop and it has actually gone together pretty quick.  It was fun to make with a jelly roll since the fabrics are already coordinated for me.  (Cooper was driving me crazy when I was trying to lay the blocks out, he doesn't really "get" quilts.)  I don't know what I will do with it, yet.  It's lap-size. 

  A snood, made out of an old pashmina.  I got this idea from my friend Kristie's blog, and it took about 2 minutes.  So easy!  I should've worn a contrasting color.

This is a photo storage thing that I would like to look not so...denim-y.  I'm in the process of dissecting it so I can cover it with white fabric and Christmas ribbon and buttons so we can use it for Christmas card storage. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I bet you clicked on this post thinking you might see a picture of James and I in our Halloween costumes.  We didn't do any of that this year, unfortunately, but I did make a few things with pumpkin (on different days) that were really yummy so I'm posting the recipes, in case anybody out there has half a can of pumpkin, doin' nothin', in their fridge like I did.

My mom's friend made these delicious pumpkin cookies and I had to get the recipe and make some for myself.  They are SO good.  A little different that the traditional pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, which I am a fan of, but James is not.

Pumpkin Cookies
2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2/3 C sugar
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 C butter
1 C pumpkin 

Combine all ingredients.  Mix well.  Drop by teaspoons on a cookie sheet.  I like cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

1/2 C brown sugar
4 T milk
3 T butter
1 C powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl.  Stir for 2 minutes.  Cool and add remaining ingredients.  Frost cooled cookies.  You should refrigerate these cookies.

The next recipe is from the evil Martha Stewart, who I have a love/hate relationship with.  Sometimes her recipes are phenomonal.  Sometimes they are terribly disappointing.  And you never know.  And you usually have to buy special ingredients.  The picture in the book has nothing to do with it, I have learned this.  But somehow she keeps me coming back for more.  This recipe is one of the good ones.

I forgot to take a picture of mine, I stole the picture from this blog

Pumpkin-Brown Butter Cupcakes
3/4 C butter
1 2/3 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 C pumpkin
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs

Preheat over to 325.  Brush muffin tins with butter, then dust with flour (I used Wilton Cake Release which works awesome).  In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown.  Skim foam from top and remove from heat.  Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.

Whisk together dry ingredients.  In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugars, eggs and brown butter.  Add flour mixture and whisk just until combined.

Fill muffin tins 2/3-3/4 full, bake for 20 mins, rotating halfway through (I have to do this because my oven is not real consistent).

Brown-Butter Icing
1/2 C butter
2 C powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 T milk, plus more if needed
(Brown the butter the same as before) In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from top and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.

Add remaining ingredients, stir until smooth and add more milk if necessary to get the desired consistency.  Use immediately. 

The third recipe was Pumpkin Griddle Cakes, which I got from my friend Sara's food blog.  And they were delicious!  She also has a recipe for Nutella Pumpkin Muffins, which I would like to try, but then I would open another huge can of pumpkin and the cycle would start all over again.  And I'm not running like I used to. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We went up to Conifer this past weekend and had a great time. The snow on Saturday morning was perfect, since I was getting sick I was hoping for a lazy weekend, and that's exactly what I got. Lazy, but beautiful.  So lazy, in fact, that the most active thing we did was get out of the car to take pictures.  It was nice to be in the cabin with the snow outside.   

Cooper has a new best friend!