What to do on a day off?

Go skiing, of course.

You know all that "snow" that we were supposed to get last weekend?  The "snow" that was actually rain that flooded our pasture, barn and yard?  Well, apparantly it snowed somewhere...

Beaver Mountain.

So when Brielle had a rare Tuesday off from school, we knew exactly what we were going to do.

She's so cute, gazing up at the snow covered mountains, patiently waiting until we can hit the slopes!  LOVE this girl.


My Little Saver

Brielle saves everything.  It literally drives me nuts.  My rule is that if it's not useful, or used, it's not needed and gets thrown out.

Brielle does not share my idea of "useful" items.  She saves everything.  Kids meal toys, notes from school, birthday cards from 3 years ago... ev-ery-thing.  So, it didn't come as a shock that Chris and I found a substantial amount of money stashed in various places all over her bedroom.

Time for her own bank account.

It's official.  She's growing up.  And I need it to stop.


Trouble on the Farm

Last Spring, Cache Valley saw some crazy flooding.  And although we live next to a creek that flooded many, many homes, ours remained dry without incident. 

So imagine my surprise when I returned from work and saw this...

Which, after only one hour had doubled in size and crept up to our front door.

And then I went to the barn to feed the horses and found this...

And this...

And this...

We've got big troubles.  And it doesn't look as though the rain will let up any time soon.


Just One More Reason

After a long, hard day at work (for both of us), Chris will wonder outside and take care of chores.  More often now that it's cold outside.

This is why I love him so much.  He will assume my responsibilities without complaint.

If you asked Chris what he thought about having animals, he'd say "I thought I married a city girl" or "they're not my horses."  He'll roll his eyes and act very annoyed. 

But I know differently.

Tonight, my loving husband headed out back, just before dark, with Izzy by his side.  He was bundled up in a big heavy coat, gloves and muck boots.  This is Cache Valley and it's like... 5 degrees outside. 

I stood on the patio and watched as he wrestled with Izzy, kicked her squeaker into the pasture and gave the horses a good rub down.  I even heard him talk to the animals (don't tell him I told you).

And this is just one more reason that I love this man.  He indulges in the things I love, and loves them too.


Enchilada Lasagna

I'm a sucker for Lasagna.  But usually, it's the Italian kind.  So I was a little intregued when I stumbled upon this recipe for a Mexican kind of Lasagna, especially one that uses corn tortillas as the "noodle" and is filled with yummy vegetables.

I don't know about you, but my kid won't each spinich or black beans unless hidden.  She will eat zucchini, so I wasn't too worried about that.

Click to be directed to the Site

Yes, you heard me.  Spinich and Zucchini, in the Enchilada Lasagna!  I know, crazy.  But it was wonderful!

Now, the recipe called for a store bought Rotisserie Chicken.  However, I had some thawed chicken breasts in my fridge, so it didn't seen frugal to purchase another chicken.  I opted to marinate the chicken using Our Best Bites Chicken Tacos, found in their cookbook.  The marinade for the chicken consisted of the following:
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 Limes, squeezed
  • 3 garlic cloves, smooshed or chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Petter
  • Dash or two of Red Wine Vinegar
Marinate 1 pound chicken breasts for about 4 hours, and then omit the seasoning on the vegetables in the Lasagna recipe.

My family was really looking forward to having leftovers tonight for dinner.  But those dreams were crushed when I woke up this morning, walked into the kitchen and realized I'd left the Lasagna out on the counter all night.  Nice.

Oh well, good excuse to make it again, right?  Maybe I'll try Sweet Pulled Pork and Pinto beans instead next time.  Try it!  You'll love it!



I love Macaroon cookies.  Not the French kind (although, those are rather good, too), but the Coconut kind.  I heart just about anything with coconut.

Friday night, after a ridiculously long week at work, I stopped at Kneaders to pick up dinner.  Yes, Logan now has a Kneaders, and Logan is grateful.  I had planned to just grab a couple of Turkey Bacon Avocado Sandwiches on Focaccia bread (YUM) but something in the bakery cabinet caught my eye.

A Coconut Macaroon.  But not just a Coconut Macaroon...... a Coconut Macaroon, dipped in chocolate and covered with slivered almonds.  Wow.  I'll take 2 please!

Now it's Sunday and while at church, I was craving Coconut Macaroons, dipped in chocolate, covered with slivered almonds.  So, I made some.

They didn't quite taste like Kneaders... theirs had more of a cakey texture to it... but they are really good.  I used Barefoot Contessa's Macaroon recipe found HERE.  However, I might only use 2 large eggs instead of x-large, and unsweetened coconut, cuz these were sa-weet.

But, regardless, it's coconut, chocolate and almonds, so I'm completely happy this Sunday afternoon, lounging and eating Macaroons.  Perfect.


Lastest Book Read: The Hunger Games

It always makes me happy when I catch onto a series late in the game.  I loathe reading a book in which the "end" isn't really... the end.  Only to then wait a year for the next in the series to come out.  Just to find that there are more in the series.  I'm impatient.  It's not a trait I'm proud of.

BUT, when I get turned onto a series which has ended, you'll find me carting around my iPad every where I go, on the off chance that wherever I might be, I'll have time to read.  Most recently, it was The Hunger Games series.  

A lot of people told me not to read this series.  I was told that the violence was just too much.  I however, don't mind a bit of violence, but if you do, these books are definitely not for you.

I should also point out that this series reminded me a lot about the Transformers movie.  Sounds strange, I know.  But, when you saw the Transformers movie, did you ever think to yourself "if you've seen one, you've seen them all"?  Well, I felt the same about the The Hunger Games.

It's not that I didn't enjoy the books... I really enjoyed the books.  So much so that it was all I could concentrate on until I finished.  And I finished all 3 books in 4 days.  I had to know whether Katniss would live?  Who would she choose?  Would they ever be free? How does this end?

But then I got to the end, and thought "that's it?"

I had hoped that after 3 whole books, the main characters "character" would have evolved  a bit.  She certainly didn't develop into the leader that everyone wanted her to be.  As independent and self-reliant as she was, she sure let people tell her what to do and how to do it through the entire series.

I recommend these books.  They are a good read and have what I felt was a rather unique story line.  However, consider yourself warned... You won't be happy with the lack of details given to wrap up the series.

Frozen Lips

It was frigid this morning. It's so cold, I swear, my lips froze shut while feeding the animals.  It took a good 5 minutes after coming inside before they could move again.  It was so cold, Izzy found a sunny spot amidst all the frozen grass and cuddled up, in hopes that she might get warm.

It was that cold.


Take the Time to Listen

Yesterday, I drove Brielle to school.  I do this everyday, but something was different this time.  She talked and talked and talked about the most random things.  So random, that I can't remember at all the conversation that we had.  I just listened.

I immediately called Chris and asked him if she does this when he takes her to school.  He didn't know what I was talking about.  "Sure, she talks," he told me.  But I wanted to know if she really talks, like a grown up conversation with hand gestures, and the rolling of the eyes and the giggles at funny things.

Am I really that busy that I just wasn't listening?  Like, really listening to the things she was telling me?  I guess not.

So when picking her up from school, I ended the phone conversation that I was having as soon as she got in the car.  Instead of heading home, we went for a drive.  She talked the whole time.  Hand gestures, eye rolling, giggling and all.  She talked about school, about friends, about the things she wants to do, etc.  Her voice made me smile, her sweet giggles made me laugh and just listening to the things she had to say made me so happy.

I realized two things yesterday...

1) Brielle's conversations are becoming much more grown up.
2) I need to take more time to listen.


Year in Review

Top 10 Most Memorable Moments from
It's amazing what you remember when you reflect and look back over the last year.  You find memories you've forgotten, circumstances that have resulted in personal growth and ultimately, the realization that time continues to move too quickly.  

After finding this great idea on a friends blog, I decided to journal my favorite memories from the past year.  Since my blog is my journal, ya'll get to see it.  Lucky you.  

Let the countdown begin...

You are probably wondering why this trip made my list.  That would be because it's a memory I can't seem to forget.  It started and ended with Brielle sick.  In bed.

Although this family vacation was anything but fun, Brielle has returned to her spunky, sassy little self.  Personally, I would take her health over rides at Disneyland any day of the week.

I have no pictures to document this trip.  It came together very last minute, after the passing of my Uncle.  The 3 of decided that under the circumstances, it was necessary to support my dad and his family during this difficult time.

This trip involved multiple layovers, watching "Bridesmaids" in the Phoenix Airport (which I'm sure our neighbors didn't appreciate, since Leslie mistakenly bought the "un-rated" version), loads of nasty Airport food, two three-hour rides in a rental car to and from Wenatchee, multiple arguments, accusations of me putting their lives at risk or getting lost and sharing a hotel room with only 2 beds.  All in the span of 2 days.

This trip may sound as though it was packed with loads of chaos (and it was).  But looking back on 2011, being able to spend 2 days with my sisters whom I don't see often was one of the things I'm most happy I was able to do. 

Who knew, right?  I was hesitant to try this carnival staple food, being that I think Twinkies are absolutely disgusting.  But I did, and I'm so very glad that I did.

If you ever get the chance, don't pass one up.  It's highly likely that it will make your Top 10 list, if you have one.

I hung up my hat as REALTOR and jumped back into the workforce as the Association Executive for the REALTORS local organization.  I love my job.  It has provided opportunities for our family that we wouldn't have otherwise.  I wondered what impact this would have on my family, and if there was, it certainly has been for the better.

Our family discovered our love for the game of Soccer.  Brielle competed in 2 separate soccer leagues (Chris coached her team), attended a ReAL Soccer Camp for kids and our family made multiple trips to Salt Lake to watch RSL battle it out for the MLS Cup.  They lost, but we sure had a great time.

It turns out, Brielle is quite the little soccer player, and Chris and I have so much fun watching her play.  I can't wait to see where she takes her skills this year, and I'm hoping that Chris will again take the time to coach her team.

Chris and I both skied as kids, and early on in our marriage.  But once Brielle came, the skiing stopped.  Last year, after a little coaxing from our friends, the Pierce's, we headed up with mountain with Brielle and stuck her in ski school. 

Brielle loved it and Chris and I found out that we've still got it.  We are currently enjoying our second season of Family Ski Days.

Don't let this picture fool you though... Brielle had a big, cheesy smile on her face.

2011 brought with it the realization that I had let my body and my health completely go.  And that needed to change.  I started "Project Skinny," documenting on this blog the challenges, upsets, struggles and accomplishments I experienced while trying to shed some pounds.

I lost a total of 23 pounds and ran my first ever race, a 10K with my highschool BFF Carrie.

This had to be one of the hardest things and most mentally challenging things I've done in my life.  So many emotions.  So much pain.  I've planned out a few more runs for this year.  Can't. Wait.

I consider my animals to be part of the family.  So imagine how horrible it felt having Cocoa in Wellsville, Dandy in Tridell, and the rest of us in Providence.  In June, we were able to bring the boys home. These two brothers spent the first year of their lives together, but then separated when we brought Cocoa to Cache Valley.


After two years apart, we kept them separate for a few days.  The determination of the pecking order terrifies me, and I didn't want to see these two battle it out.  But I had nothing to worry about.  They acted (and still do) as if they'd never spent any time apart.  Watching them play has become one of my favorite pastimes. 

I had a lot of firsts in Chicago.  First Major League Baseball Game, first Chicago Dog, first Chicago Stuffed Pizza, first time to the Sears Tower, first time I saw Chris carrying a purse and my first time eating Shrimp.  Although this trip was partly for business, it was the first time Chris and I had taken a trip (just the two of us) in 6 years.

I saw hideous art, I ate Oprah's favorite popcorn and spent an entire week with the love of my life.  We slept in, we ate to our hearts content and... wait for it... I didn't plan a single thing.  Shocking, right?  This trip was completely spontaneous, doing whatever we wanted, when we wanted.  It. Was. Perfect.

1.  HOME
I feel like I've used this term to liberally over the years.  I've always had a home, but it wasn't until this year that I actually felt at home.  Moving into our new home was a highlight for me this year.  We are in a home that while still needing improvements, is the right fit for our family.  It's perfect in every way.  

I'm in the home  that my daughter will be raised in.  I'm in the home that brought us together with our animals.  I'm in the home where I've finally felt apart of and included in the ward family.  After 4 moves after 11 years of marriage, I am finally home.  I plan to be here for a very long time.

We still have a lot of work to do, but I'm lucky to be married to a very handy man.  He has, and is continuing to transform a very lived in, older home, into something beautiful and new.  But we're home.  So it doesn't matter to me how long it might take, because we are happy and comfortable here.  This move was not only memorable, but our greatest blessing of 2011.

Lounging on the couch.  BBQ's in the backyard.  Cold Stone Ice Cream runs.  Movie night.  Just Dance Wii competitions.  Riding lessons in our own back yard.  Snuggling with Brielle.  Helping with homework.  Weekend drives to Bear Lake for a Raspberry Shake.

No matter what our family did this last year, we were together and had a good time doing it.  I can't imagine how 2012 will top this past year, but I hope that it turns out to be just as memorable.

A Cowgirls Chores {2}

If I failed to mention the danger that may arise when doing chores (previous post), you might not fully understand the nature of my chores.  I'll refrain from posting a picture, since my wound is very near my arse.

When doing chores, you must watch out for metal t-posts in the pasture.  Otherwise, you'll end up with a 6 inch long, 2.5 inch wide black & purple bruise.

And no, the t-post wasn't recently moved.  I was just distracted while taking photos for the previously mentioned "previous post."


A Cowgirls Chores

Consistency is my middle name.  Or, rather it should be.  I love all the things in my life that make up my routine.  One of my most favorite daily tasks (aside from those few precious moments I have with Brielle when taking her to school) is chores.  Yes -- the chores.  This city girl turned wanna-be-cowgirl also loves the 15 mins each morning at 8:00 that I get to spend with the animals.

Here's a glimpse into this cowgirls' chores...

My boys.  Always waiting for me when I come out the back door.

But before I can head out to say "good morning" I have to fill the water bucket. The water hoses freeze in the Cache Valley cold, so depending on how thirsty the horses are, I'll make 1-3 trips back and forth until their bucket is full.

Apparently, they weren't that thirsty last night.

Oh, I can't forget about my morning sidekick.  Izzle-fo-shizzle follows me every step of the way.

You can't quite see it, but while filling the horses water bucket, Cocoa's wet nose found his way to my pocket.  Which of course, had carrots in it.  He will normally just help himself and take one.

For some strange reason, the horses are always curious about the orange bucket. Maybe their hoping for some apples or sweet oats.  But they never find it there. It's just a water bucket.

As I head to the barn, they follow.  Dandy first because he has assumed the spot of the dominant.  The chief.  The head haunch-o in our pasture.  Mr. "I'm in Charge and always first."

And Cocoa-Ca-Cho follows.  Because that's what he is.  The follower.  He's such a sweetheart.

Time to toss some hay.  It's what they've been waiting for.  It's why they stand at the gate and stare their creepy stare at the house, waiting for me or Chris to appear.  Food.  These two loves get a mix of grass hay and alfalfa.  Alfalfa is good for them in the winter time.  It keeps their bodies nice and warm.

It also makes them a little fat.

Once the equines have their food, it's time to focus on Izzy a bit.  We always make a stop to say "hi" to the boy next door (whom Izzle clearly loves and likes to give kisses).  At this point, we would normally give Izzy some exercise by launching her ball across the pasture a few times.  But, due to recent snow, we don't know where any of her tennis balls are.  Maybe tomorrow, Izz.

Once the pup is fed and watered, it's time for me to warm my fingers and toes and get myself ready for work.  Who knew that this kind of consistency is just what I need to get a great start to my day.  Love it.


Sore Loser

Brielle, after her mother beat her to the bottom of the mountain...

Did you really think I was going to let her win?  In my defense, I took the shorter (steeper) route.