Wednesday, January 28, 2009


The snow here is so different than anywhere else I've lived. It is powder soft and sometimes people even use leaf blowers instead of shovels to clear their sidewalks. Because it is so cold, the snow is not wet enough to stick together. And so you get to see the actual shape of the snowflakes. It was a beautiful sight when we went out a few nights ago, to see actual FLAKES. I tried to get a picture, but I don't have the equipment or the photography skills to capture it the way my eyes saw it. However, here's the picture I DID take just so you have something to imagine. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Historic Day and a Curious Thought

After watching the inauguration this morning and following the coverage for most of the day, I started thinking about something. Everybody is so excited to have the first "black" president. But really, he's only "half" black. Don't get me wrong, I like Obama. I think he's an honest man and will make a good president. But I get kind of annoyed at all the press focusing on him being "African American." I mean, if he was born looking more like his mother who was Caucasian, would we still feel the need to point out that he is "African American?" Would it be different if he looked "white?" If he was 1/4 or 1/8 black, would we still call him our first African American president? I am just curious, at what point does a person stop identifying themselves as a certain race? What makes Obama identify more with his "black" roots? And why is the focus on race such a huge thing in this instance?

On a side note, Vessel was so cute this morning while watching the inauguration with me. He has always known who Barack Obama is. And this morning I explained to him what was going on. Although he probably didn't fully understand, every time the crowd on the screen cheered, Vessel would clap along and say, "Yay! Barackobama present-net!" I LOVE that kid!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

So Growed Up

Vessie talks a lot lately. And he says some of the cutest things. The other day I was dusting our shelves and Vessie was helping. He lifted up the Buddha statue and sat it on the floor. He said, "Santa Claus, huh?" (by the way, he says "huh" after everything like he needs some kind of confirmation from us.) I said, "That's not Santa Claus, that's Buddha." He sat staring at if for a minute and then said, "Buddha gots a belly and bwess, huh?" That's his way of saying Buddha had a big belly and breasts. I laughed a lot. :)

My Baby's Got Glasses

Last month Mike decided to get a pair of glasses after wearing only contacts for the last 8 years. This isn't the best picture, but it's not hard to tell that his glasses are so freakin' sweet, am I right?

8 Things

Mel tagged me like a decade ago and I am just getting around to posting this. So here I go:

8 TV shows I like to watch:
1. The View
2. True Beauty
3. What would you do?
4. American Idol
5. 5 o'clock news (usually CBS evening news with Katie Couric)
6. Hell's Kitchen
7. The Office
8. 20/20
BTW, we only have 4 channels, 2 of which come in fuzzy, so I don't usually watch that much T.V. But I do HAVE to watch The Office. The others are just time fillers when there's nothing else to do.

8 things that happened yesterday:
1. Had the young men over for a service project.
2. Fed the young men pizza.
3. Watched "P.S. I Love You." And it was a great show regardless of how Mike felt.
4. Went grocery shopping.
5. Went for a walk with Mike and Vessie and enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather.
6. Ate cottage cheese pancakes.
7. Scrapbooked
8. Received a much anticipated package in the mail.

8 Favorite places to eat:
1. Bajio (there isn't one here though)
2. Indian buffets (not one here)
3. Chinese buffets
4. Subway
5. Johnny Carino's (not one here)
6. Dontos (Restaurant in Japan)
7. Tiburon (only in SLC)
8. Cold Stone Creamery (sadly, there isn't one of these here either)

8 things I’m looking forward to:
1. More of this gorgeous "spring" weather we've been having.
2. My birthday
3. Getting back to my pre-pregnancy body, if that's even possible.
4. Spending time with Mike (I'm always looking forward to this)
6. Moving near the ocean.
7. Being pregnant again. (Even though I'm not quite ready yet, I actually liked being preggers and look forward to experiencing it again...minus the first 3 months)
8. Writing a children's book, scrapbooking all my pictures, being in a rock band with Rachel, getting my PhD in dietetics, having a tire swing, living in a warm place year round, being able to longboard again, (I could go on and on, as there are hundreds of things I look forward to every single day!)

I now tag Katie and Karen. :)

Lewis and Clark are my Heroes

Over our Christmas break, we finally went to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It was actually really interesting and totally reminded me of Idaho History I had to learn in 4th grade.

Here's Vessie looking out over the Missouri River.

Mike playing dress up.

Vessie striking a pose in the "white man" attire (except the head band thingy.) They had some "Indian" attire as well, but it was a bit more complicated to put on. (p.s. here they don't use the term Native American.)

Mike gets frisky with a dead animal skin. I was very grossed out by all the pelts they had on display.

Mike getting his arm eaten by a coyote (or something similar. maybe a fox?)

Vessel will lead the way.

Paris Gibson

While Mike's 'rents were in town over the holidays we went to a local art museum to check out the exhibits there. Many of them were quite good. I plan on going again soon when the new exhibits are there.

Here are some great stick men by Lee Steen.

The creepy door with number 13. My favorite number!

Beautiful stained glass.

I am really diggin' photography these days. LOVE IT. Patrick Smith had some wonderful images captured on "film" in this gallery. Oh, and I just loved some of the titles of his work.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More Grub to Please your Palate

We don't eat out a lot at restaurants these days, but we still crave restaurant food! So we created a few rip-off recipes for some of our favorite dine-out dishes, including Wingers sticky fingers with Amazing Sauce, Chile's Quesadilla Explosion Salad, Chinese cream cheese wontons and sweet and sour chicken, plus two of my favorites shown below.

Flathead Pizza from MacKenzie River Pizza Company

For the dough, I just got the recipe from an old Betty Crocker cookbook, but you can use any of your favorite dough recipes. I like this recipe because you don't have to let the dough rise. Just knead and roll out!

1 package active dry yeast or approx. 1 Tblsp.
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tblsp. vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups all purpose or whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in remaining ingredients and knead for about 5-8 minutes. Divide dough into halves. Roll out each half on lightly floured surface to about 11 inch rounds. Place on pizza pan or baking stone.

Add toppings. Alfredo sauce or Parmesan cream sauce, cheese (mozerella & feta, or any combo you like,) grilled chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, spinach (we didn't put on the one pictured above) and fresh garlic. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.

Spicy Romano Chicken Pasta from Johnny Carino's

For this recipe, using authentic Romano cheese is the best. You can find it from specialty shops or in a the gourmet cheese section of your grocery store (depending on the store.) The best Romano cheese is made from sheep's milk. Make sure the Parmesan cheese is of high quality and shredded, not finely grated. It seems to turn out better that way. Although, I have made this using all Romano cheese and leaving out the Parmesan and it tasted fine.

Ingredients for sauce:
1 pint heavy cream
4 Tblsp. butter
1/4 cup Romano cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper (or more depending on how hot you like it)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
(The salt and pepper can be more or less if desired. I like freshly grated sea salt and fresh ground pepper.)

Other ingredients:
1 pound (16 oz. box) bowtie pasta, cooked al dente and drained
1 1/2 Tblsp. butter
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (I like more mushrooms in mine)
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 small jar artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Precooked grilled chicken, sliced (I don't know the ounces, but I usually cut up 2 chicken breasts for this.)
1 oz. heavy cream


1. To prepare sauce, melt butter in sauce pan. Add cream, salt and pepper and heat to a boil. Remove from heat and fold in cheese and Cayenne pepper. Set aside.

2. For other ingredients, melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and green onions. Stir for 1 minute. Add artichokes and already grilled chicken. Stir. Add 1 oz. heavy cream and 1/2 of sauce to pan. Stir. Add pasta and rest of sauce. Coat pasta completely and serve. I like to serve it with a light salad and garlic bread. It is delicious! You can adjust most of the ingredients to suit your tastes. I like more vegetables and less salt in mine. The cheese is pretty salty anyway. This recipe is just what I made up to give y'all an idea.

Trust me, it tastes better than it looks!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Yum-o! *(Updated)

Okay I updated this post by adding the recipe at the bottom. Hope whoever tries it enjoys them as much as we do!

A recent Mike, Jamie and Vessel Christmas tradition. Homemade cinnamon rolls. Can it get any better than this?

Uh, yeah it can.

p.s. disregard the date on those pictures. My camera is obviously stuck in the past.


1 1/4 cups milk, scalded (that means just before boiling)
4 Tblsp. butter 3 Tblsp. sugar 1 tsp. salt 2 eggs, beaten
1 Tblsp. rounded yeast in 1/2 cup warm water (I think 'rounded' means just dissolved in water and let it foam up for 5-10 minutes)
4-5 cups flour

Melt butter in scalded milk. Let cool completely. Add eggs, sugar, salt and dissolved yeast. Mix in flour. Knead 6-8 minutes. Put dough in greased glass bowl and cover. Let raise 30 minutes in a warm place. Punch it down and roll out into large rectangle. Spread rolled dough with:

1/4 cup butter 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I like to use more) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 cup raisins (optional)

Using a pizza cutter, make several long strips and then roll them and shape them. Place rolls into grease pan, cover and let raise about 20 more minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

4 ounces cream cheese softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat ingredients and put on warm rolls.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Best Car Accident of my Life

Last month Vessel and I were in a car accident. The day that it happened was Mike's and my anniversary. I hadn't left the house all week just because of the bitter cold and ice on the roads. I'm not a fan of snowy, icy driving conditions, so I try to avoid it when possible. But I had to go to the post office THAT day to send off a package for Christmas. The crazy thing is that I was driving carefully. I was going under the speed limit, I had both hands on the wheel, I wasn't on the phone or playing with the radio buttons or anything like that. I can't quite explain what happened. I was approaching a one way street (where the traffic goes pretty fast.) I saw the red light too late, slammed on my brakes and slid through the intersection. To be honest, I really can't explain why I didn't see the light. In fact, I don't really remember much of anything until the point I was about to ram into fast moving traffic. There's something strange that happens to a person (me) when they realize they are going to crash their car. Everything goes in slow motion. I just remember closing my eyes tight and tensing my body. And then hearing a gut wrenching "crunch" sound as my car collided with another car. After it happened, I opened my eyes and looked around. I saw pieces of blue all over the road. I saw chunks of metal and glass strewn about as the traffic continued to maneuver past us. The next thing I did was look back at Vessel. He seemed unharmed. In fact he didn't even seem scared. That was a relief, but I was still in a state of shock. I started sobbing. The person in the other car wasn't getting out of their vehicle. I started to freak out. What if I hurt them? I could not live with myself if that was the case. I called 911 and then I called Mike. Eventually I tried to get out of the car but I could not open the driver's side door. I had to climb to the passenger side to get out. I went over to the other car and the driver (a middle-aged lady) got out. I was relieved. I was bawling to her. I couldn't stop apologizing and asking her if she was okay. I really didn't care at that point if I was okay. But the thought of hurting someone else, especially my own kid, was torturing my brain. Luckily, the lady I hit was exceptionally nice about the whole incident. I was worried that some person was going to jump out of the car and start yelling at me telling me what an awful driver I was, if not a horrible person all together. But she was so sweet and very calm. And Mike wasn't mad at me either. He never once blamed anything on me or told me I was a bad driver or lost his temper. He was so kind to me and only cared that we were all okay. All of this helped a great deal.
Anyway, when the police arrived to the scene they tried to get my information but I guess I was crying so hard they couldn't really understand me. I remember one of the officers telling me to just breathe and calm down. I did calm down, but then I started thinking "What if I would've hurt or killed someone?" And the crying started all over again. After several minutes I got myself together and sat inside the police van answering questions. And that went on for awhile. Vessel was fascinated with the fire engine and the big tow truck that came to take our car away. Fortunately he wasn't traumatized by the accident. But all I could think of was "How could I do this?"
Okay, rewind a year earlier. It was October and Mike and I were in the market for a second car. With Mike and his job and school schedule and my crossing job and upcoming semester we felt like it was necessary. We started looking at used cars and some cheaper newer models. We ended up liking a new Mitsubishi Lancer ES we saw online. We went to a few dealerships, and none of them had the car we were looking for. But lo and behold, a dealership in Salt Lake had this blue beauty, a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS. Not the car we had originally set our sights on, but it was definitely an awesome car. Long story short, the Nazi car dealer convinced us to buy it. We thought it was a great idea for some reason (well at first, until the buyers remorse kicked in afterwards.) We calculated the payments and realized we could actually afford this new car. (At the time we both worked and had scholarships to pay for school, etc. etc.) So being young and silly, we got the car. And boy, was it NICE. Maybe a little too nice for my blood. I've never been into cars. I've always figured something that could get me from point A to point B would work just fine. And I don't consider myself a materialistic person. But this car was awesome. We loved it. And we took good care of it. And basically, it rocked.
Okay, now fast forward 8 months. Mike takes a job in Montana and away we go. We try to sell the car before moving in hopes of getting a different car for the Montana lifestyle. (you know, like a big beefy truck or something. :)) It didn't sell so we took it with us. We loved our car and loved driving it. But really, it wasn't made for Montana. And we soon realized that when winter came. The car had low profile tires on custom made 20" rims. It was not built to handle snow and ice. So for the last couple of months Mike and I were praying and fasting about our car situation. We had just bought our first house and with that payment along with other bills and unforeseen financial dilemmas, we thought it would be in our best interest to try to sell the car again. But with the economy the way it was, nobody was in the market to buy a car, especially not OUR car. We prayed hard that we'd be able to sell it or find a way to afford it or get another car that was better equipped for Montana weather. A few people called about the car and got our hopes up, but nothing ever came of it.
And then....the accident happened. Today I was just informed by the insurance company that they are considering it a total loss. Yup, I totaled our beautiful car. One might think that's a pretty crappy thing to happen. And it is. But here's the blessing in disguise. I think it was an answer to our prayers. I know it might sound crazy, but it has to be. With it considered a total loss, the insurance company will cut us a check for the amount of the car and we can pay it off and be relieved from our debt. And here's where things get even crazier. We had just gotten a new insurance policy. When I say "just got" I mean like a week prior to the accident. For the last 6 months of living in Montana we were still insured by a company in Utah, that unfortunately only covered Utah drivers. So if we had still been under their policy, they would not have covered our accident AT ALL. So we had barely gotten full coverage on the car for Montana. The other crazy thing is that the timing was so impeccable. I think about the accident and how it all played out. If I had been going one second faster than I was, the other lady would have T-boned our car and would've hit Vessel straight on. Heavenly Father was definitely looking out for us in that regard. Nobody got hurt. Didn't even have to go to the hospital. Looking at how messed up the car was, I'm pretty surprised nobody was injured. That fact opened my eyes to a lot of things. For the past few months before the accident I had been dealing with some serious depression issues. I'll spare the details, but I was pretty unhappy with myself as a person. The accident was kind of a wake up call for me. I say that because when I think about what could've happened, it sure could have been a lot worse. It made me realize how important life is. And how I needed to pull myself together and get out of the rut I was in. I know I must sound all dramatic, but I really do believe that. I think the accident was good in so many ways. It made me see that life could be a heck of a lot worse. If my experience wasn't divine intervention, I don't know what is. So I had this huge eye opener, and our car situation that we had been praying about was resolved. The power of prayer is amazing.
Right now I don't have a car to drive, but I'm not too upset about it. Sometimes it's hard being cooped up in the house all day. But then I have to remember how blessed we are. And by spring time Mike will be riding his bike to work and I can drive the car. And I suppose if I really wanted to I could get up early to drive Mike to work and then pick him up afterward. And maybe we'll get a cheap used car that we can afford soon. Who knows, there are a lot of options I guess.

We miss the blue car and it was great fun while it lasted. But we realize there are more important things in life than a car, even if that car is WAAAAY sweet. :)

Rest in pieces, Burple.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Good Times

Over the weekend we were able to spend time with some good friends of ours. It's always nice to have people you can laugh with! We played games, ate snacks, and they introduced us to "Tim and Eric." Oh, the things you miss out on when you don't have cable. I long for "adult swim" again. Thanks for the fun times guys!

G wearin' the hat I made him. This was the pose he had for the picture in the GF tribune when a reporter asked him about George W. Bush's legacy.

Our peeps.