Monday, August 31, 2009


okay, ladies. i need serious help here. I've been working on my most recent sewing project and since i'm such a novice, i'm really discouraged and sort of at a dead end here. I fiddled with my thread, bobbin, tension, put on a new needle, tried different fabric, everything that I KNOW to do. i really don't know much - this is only my second sewing project since i got this machine this summer. I took some pictures of my "problem" and was hoping you could let me know if you have any ideas. these are pictures of the back of my piece.

as you can see, the other side worked just fine. my mother got this machine for me at goodwill. so it came without a manual. i've been referring to the singer website a lot when it came to simple things like threading my machine. also, i'm wondering if perhaps there was a good reason that this machine was thrifted. i'm willing to give it some good time and energy, but i wouldn't know if i had a faulty machine or not..
please help.

Limestone Cliffs and Finding Friends

We had an amazing weekend.
Saturday we slept in and then packed our things and headed about an hour north to Logan Canyon to experience our first taste of Utah rock climbing. We found ourselves in a beautiful canyon filled with limestone cliffs. With only a few of the cliffs bolted for sport climbs (although there are more than 400 routes on those cliffs) among the hundreds of cliffs, we were excited about the potential of the canyon - for enjoying rock climbing and other things. We decided to drive to Logan, even though a canyon outside of Salt Lake would have been closer, but we were hoping Logan would be less crowded. And it was. We were alone most of the day. When we did climb among others, we actually made some friends and swapped phone numbers and everything. That's never happened to us before! I'm excited at the potential of Landon having a climbing partner with a much higher skill level than me, so that he can be challenged.

Well, it was beautiful in this canyon and there were many people fishing, pic-nic-ing (how to spell that!?) and camping, but much less rock climbing. Landon told me that there is very little Limestone in the Rockies, so i think we hit the jack pot this weekend!

I also saw 2 friends this weekend. This is crazy, and i think it was absolutely God's gracious hand in my life. I was so encouraged to see these women!
When i was... eleven, i started playing on this soccer team that i would continue with and play on until i graduated high school. A few of the girls on that team would change each year, but mostly we were the same team every year and we had the same amazing coach that really was an influential and inspirational person throughout my adolescence. Anyways, it just so happens that the only 2 people that i know that live in the entire state of Utah are two girls from this soccer team. We had practices 3 days a week and a game each weekend for years and years and years. These girls were a huge part of my life.

Kristen and i even went to school together through middle school and high school and during some of those years she was one of my very closest friends (in middle school we even passed around a journal between classes and at soccer practices where we wrote letters to each other - but we coded our names after bubble gum so that if the journal was discovered, no one would know it was us (ha!). We called ourselves the "Bursts" - after the gum. Kristen, along with another friend, Nikki, and I were each a flavor: Cinn-a-burst, Mint-a-burst, and Fruit-a-burst. i wonder where that thing is these days.) Well, I haven't seen Kristen for many years, and we recently got back in touch through reading each other's blogs, actually. She and her husband live in Logan and we got to meet up with them last-minute for some Mexican food after our day climbing. It was amazing! I was so encouraged by my time with them, and with my beautiful friend.

Sunday morning we decided to attend an Evangelical Free church out here since we liked our Evie-Free church in Chicago. We were warmly greeted at the door, and were just a bit late stepping into the sanctuary. We scooted into an empty row and as the first song of worship began, i had a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw a beautiful face, of which i haven't seen in eight years! It was Adrienne! I just hugged her and blushed and tried not to squeal with joy. But i was beaming with joy and worshiped God with such gratefulness at his faithfulness and sweet provision. Adrienne and i didn't get to talk long after the service, but i hope that we can meet for lunch next week, maybe. How amazing! That i got to see Kristen, and that i just so happened to sit in the very seat right in front of Adrienne out of every open seat in all the churches here in Utah that we could have attended - i sat in the seat in front of the other person I know. Wow. I still am overwhelmed by this, can't you tell?

So wonderful to see two girls from my childhood this weekend. I am so grateful to God for providing me with those encounters. How amazing!

Friday, August 28, 2009

and the winner is.....

Okay, so we've completed our week of Real Simple recipes and I'll share with you our favorite one. We rate all of our recipes 1 - 10 after we make them (as long as i actually follow the recipe), and this one got a 9, which is pretty dang good - we're pretty tough critics.

Here it is:
Potato, Leek, and Feta tart:
(picture from Real Simple's website)
Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 20m
Total Time: 1hr 20m

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks (white and light green parts), cut into half-moons
2 small zucchini, cut into half-moons
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Feta (about 2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 Red Bliss potatoes (8 ounces), thinly sliced
1 store-bought 9-inch piecrust

Heat oven to 375ยบ F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, zucchini, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the Feta and dill. Add the potatoes and toss to combine.
On a piece of parchment paper, roll the piecrust to a 12-inch diameter. Slide the paper onto a baking sheet. Spoon the potato mixture onto the piecrust, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold the edge of the piecrust over the edge of the potato mixture. Bake (covering with foil if the crust gets too dark) until the piecrust is golden brown and the potatoes are tender, 50 to 60 minutes.

So, so, so delicious. Landon and i actually ate the whole thing between the 2 of us, but we didn't have any sides except for green beans, so there wasn't much to fill our tummies.

Also, we couldn't taste the feta too well (and i even put in a bit more than the recipe calls for), so i think next time i will take add the feta on top during the last 20 minutes of the baking.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friendly Folks

photo by Kamshot

I have just been amazed at the friendliness of people out here.

I feel like i come home from running errands having made friends.

My "friends" (okay, I've been married to Landon long enough to realize that these people aren't REALLY my FRIENDS, they're just people that i like and it just makes me feel better to call them friends because i don't have any of my own here right now) consist of every other check-out lady I have had since arriving. As long as i'm not in a long line (which i'm not, because i work from home - i get to shop when everyone else is in work - it saves my sanity), the ladies just want to chat. So I've told my life story to a lady at Smith's (local grocery store), Albertson's, Joann's Fabrics, and Starbucks. Amazing. And it is actually nurturing to my soul to have these interractions that go beyond "hello". Because, believe me, i am not just a "hello" person.

Also, we have had 3 neighbors stop by to introduce themselves. When we lived in Illinois, the only neighbor to ring our door bell was the guy who had the friends who got in fist fights in our front yard, who showed up at 7am in the morning in hysteria asking to use our phone to find his - because it is his life, who stopped by to see if i saw anyone stealing his mail because he's been expecting his phone bill and he should have gotten it by now, and who was at some point institutionalized. yeah, "welcome to the neighborhood" - thanks. I guess he was a nice kid, though, just sort of made me feel uncomfortable.

Anyways, our NEW neighbors: two of them baked us goodies - that is AWESOME! i've never had a neighbor do that before! One couple even brought their high school aged son to welcome us to the neighborhood. I asked them where they lived, and they said something like, "well, if you take a left on that street down there and then go a block up and turn right, we're just right there". Wow - they're not even really my "neighbors"! I've enjoyed making a habit of smiling and waving at people. I enjoy following the speed limit in the school zones - 25 seemed rediculousley slow to me at first, but this week i've seen the kiddies skipping to school and it makes me happy to watch out for my neighbors' kids.

I don't know, i guess this is strange, i'm just so grateful to be surrounded by friendly people! I know that this probably is because there are so many Latter Day Saints here. In my experience, the Mormons were some of the friendliest people i knew when i was a kid. Maybe that's it - or maybe Utah is just a place for happy people.

Check back with me in a year and i'll let you know if i feel this way. Tonight marks 2 weeks of living in Utah - so i'm still pretty nieve. Maybe people can tell that i'm not from around here, or maybe people are so nice to me because i look lost most of the time. Even if that's the case, i'm just grateful for some friendly interractions with some nice people!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

a quick P.S.:
check out the song on the top of my play list. i heard it on pandora yesterday while i was working. it is so awesome. enjoy!
My September issue of "Real Simple" has a section of vegetarian recipes. So this week, i am cooking vegetarian. i'm letting you know this, because i will be sharing any and all of the recipes that are any good. Last night we had a potato leek zucchini fritatta, which was delicious, inexpensive, but a bit carb-too-licious, in my opinion. One of my challenges in cooking vegetarian is also cooking without many carbs. So i never cook pastas any more (except for the occasional vegetarian lasagna - one of landon's fav's) and i try to lay off of rices and potatoes as much as possible.

Last night i had a sewing disaster - i was attempting my first project beyond table napkins. Once i figure out WHAT i did wrong, i may be prodding for some advice from you creative ladies tomorrow, so be prepared.

Hm, this reminds me to reintroduce you to Amanda Soule. I love her blog. i actually do read it every day. I love her family's respect for the earth and desire to live simply and resourcefully. Her creativity and skill at crafting inspires me. I love how she fosters creativity and confidence in her children through art and nature in learning. Her pictures are great. She periodically has wonderful recipes on her blog, and as a mother of 4, and accomplished author, i don't know how she has the time to daily maintain a blog (i think she's uber-organized, she even posts a new post every morning at 8am MT - i count on it!) She's awesome.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the official tour

welcome! we have my favorite coffee freshly brewed right now and it's a remarkably cool morning. i can hear the highway traffic roaring outside, be we can close some windows. let me show you around...

our house is a bi-level (our first ever home with inside stairs!). the upstairs has 2 bedrooms (one of which is my office) and the living room and kitchen and back patio. the downstairs has landon's study, which is the only finished room, and a storage area which is one big room with a toilet, storage, and laundry hook-ups.

let's start with the most important aspects of our house:

"where the magic happens," as doons would say
Landon got us a sound system at Costco a few weeks ago. That's right, you can sit in our patio furniture in our living room in the comfort and excitement of surround sound!
important stuff. for rock climbing endurance and strength.
storage. lots of kitchen stuff in there, since our kitchen is teeny weeny, and a lot of ACSI stuff also. when we first saw this house, all of the shelves were covered with non-perishables, and canned goods that the family was saving for the Latter Days
most importantly: Landon put our skis right next to the garage door so we have easy access in the winter time.
we actually have a full-size bathroom upstairs, which those of you who visited us in illinois will appreciate. it's yellow.
Landons' study. full of book shelves and needing more, honestly. and in the corner behind where i'm standing is landon's reading nook. kind of cool.
back upstairs:
living room
here is your bed, where you get to sleep when you visit!
and on the other side of the room: my office, always full of sunshine!

Thanks for taking the time to see our new place. you are always welcome - we keep a bed ready just for you and we even have an extra pair of show shoes!

p.s. sorry some of the pictures are SOOO blurry.

Monday, August 24, 2009


We had a great Sunday! The skies brought a humid, cloudy day, which was hugely needed here. In general, i do prefer sunny skies and dry air, but when the temps get over 100 degrees for a few days, i beckon the rain. Loved it.

We visited two churches. We are determined to be connected with a body of believers here in Utah (we've not been good at this so far since we've been married), so we tried out Alpine Church, which is a church we saw a billboard for on the highway, and Elevation, which i passed on my run near our house this last week. It was so great to be involved in worship and community! it'll be a difficult thing, finding a church, but landon and i are encouraged, i think.

Other than that, we rented a movie from Redbox and we also got the house all spruced up and finished. I wanted it to be cleaned and put together before Landon started his classes. Right now he is at his first class - can't wait for him to get home so i can hear about it!!! This is his first semester EVER since high school that he actually has classes 5 days a week. It'll be a challenging semester, i think we are both going into it a little fearful and very excited.

alright, alright, already!!!

I'll share some pictures of the home we're renting here in Utah. For today, i'll just share the outside. Don't worry, there won't be too many pictures, i'm just too lazy to do them all in one day.
the front of our house
the view from the front of our house: the highway, but before the highway is a pond with some trails. beyond the highway are a few mountain ranges in the distance.
Our back porch. Janelle's awesome patio furniture - we haven't eaten a meal inside the house yet - LOVE sitting on the back porch!
view of the Uintah's from our back porch.
our huge backyard for duvick and view of the back of our house. we like it.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Pioneer Woman

so i mentioned a few days ago that i would introduce you to some really stellar blogs that i love each day for the next week. well, sorry, but i sort of forgot, and sort of didn't need the cop-out for lack of my own posting ideas.

but not today. today, i remembered that i mentioned to share some of my favorite blogs, so i'm going to.

This lady is crazy amazing. i have no idea how she does it - not only living her life as a cattle rancher's wife and mother of four, but also her commitment to her blog. i feel silly even introducing her to you, i'll bet most of you have read her blog. quite honestly, i don't really read her blog too often (there are others, like yours, that i'm dedicated to checking almost daily). but this blog is full of all sort of helpful tips. She writes about home decorating, homeschooling, photography how to, and my favorite facet of her blog: cooking.

I've tried a few of her recipes and not one has failed to remain a favorite at our house. As a cattle rancher's wife, she cooks pretty hearty dishes that my husband also loves. But as a former city girl, she puts together girly dishes that us ladies can devour with equal enjoyment. So anyways, i really enjoy her blog and i think you will too. She even includes a link to a printable recipe for your recipe box, which i think must be a lot of extra work on her part to make it so much more user friendly for us. I'm sending you a link to one of my favorite recipes of hers and you can navigate through the rest of her website from there: prepare yourself for something amazing...

Friday, August 21, 2009

a home is a home because a home...

The other day i engaged in some painting therapy. That's one of my goals for this new season to make it better than the last: create art. So time playing piano and painting and writing will actually be time well-spent and not a form of procrastination or a waste of precious time. Art (or really just creating things) is something that is essential to my nature, and i am not me if i have not been able to create.

So i painted this crappy painting on the card board that holds the picture to the frame. ha. i am also resourceful, see? and right now it communicates something to me that i need to be clear in my mind (through a line from a bebo norman song that always makes me cry). That for me, home is not the places i've been and can never return to, but home is my life with Landon, no matter where that is.

I will leave this picture up as long as i need the reminder. It seems like something that a wife shouldn't have to be reminded of, but my mind has gone scary places in the last year, and one of them was a place where i couldn't remember what i was doing in illinois, when i could return to headquarters in colorado and work one job and be with friends and family and just meet up with landon when he was finally done with school. of course, whether i'm working 2 jobs and living in a nasty place or whether i'm living my dream raising beautiful (or ugly) babies in the mountains, no matter where i am, how can i experience life fully without my husband when we indeed are one? how can i contemplate a future without him always there and think that it is a good alternative to present hardship?

So i have this little reminder. And on good days i won't need a reminder, but on some days i probably will. And it's also a declaration: I don't ever want to be without you - you are home to me. My dear, home is where you are...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

From Utah

(a view of the city of Farmington (2 minutes from our house) and the Great Salt Lake from Farmington Canyon)
Last night we had our first official outing of Utah exploring! We drove up Farmington Canyon which is the closest canyon to Kaysville, our little town. We used a back country skiing book as our guide - i think we'll be returning there often throughout the winter to hike the road and ski the drainages and bowls. (i'm actually not as cool as you might think i am right now - sort of scared of this back country skiing idea - just wanted you to know) We packed some wine (which was an adventure to acquire in itself), and roast beef sandwiches, grapes, Grandma's cookies, and Duvi boy and headed up the mountain to enjoy its beauty.
Yesterday i got back to work. I still have the task of organizing my office here. But Janelle is coming to visit us over Labor Day and she is so fantastic at organizing that i think i may just wait for her to get here. We got a few filing cabinets from a friend for me to use for work. When i was at headquarters, i had 9 drawers of files that are now in filing card board boxes, which are harder to use and sort of falling apart after 2 moves (well, sort of 3) and 2 years of use. SO i have 4 drawers and when Nell gets here, i think we'll take them out back and decoupage their slithery gray sides and faces. They're just too ugly to enjoy.
Landon had his orientation for the grad school at the University of Utah yesterday. When he got home, i asked him how it went. He told me that a girl thought he was Mormon because he has a very Mormon name - Landon - hm.... Other than that, to sum up the day he said that his advisor advised him, "welcome to grad school - you can sleep when you're dead". Thanks nimrod. If he only knew how essential and preciously prized sleep is in my husband's life. it comes before sex and food and fun and all else. well, maybe not fun.
Duvick is having fun here. He's having a difficult time transitioning to returning to being an outside dog after his summer with a doggy door allowing him to navigate the yard and house at his own leisure. He's still pretty dang cute, though, and one of my favorite things about Utah!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's been a year

a year since our motorcycle accident

I've been thinking about this a little bit lately. Did you know that our motorcycle accident happened 4 years exactly (to the DAY) from when we rolled our car off the highway? And i'm overwhelmed:
1. with a huge fear to be on the road on August 15 ever again
2. and most importantly: i'm mostly overwhelmed with gratitude at how good our God is.

Here i am in Utah, watching beautiful sunsets, inhaling dry air, enjoying cool evenings, and surrounded by mountain ranges on 3 sides. Here i am, with scars on both sides of my ankle, but otherwise in one piece - my leg has been restored so i can enjoy all the active things i once did. For some reason, God has a greater interest in preserving my life than taking me to be with him in heaven. This perplexes me - if is love for me is so great - which it is - wouldn't he be fine with either one? wouldn't he rather bring me to him sooner?

Well, honestly, i'm so glad and really really really grateful that he has an interest in preserving my life. I mean, both of those accidents are not accidents that people so easily survive, and Landon and i walked away from both of them, literally (well, i sort of hopped away from the last one). And both times, as the vehicle stopped moving, the adrenalie was pumping, and i realized we were both fine, my first reaction was of praise. God is good. He is always present. I am so grateful.

I've decided that in this next week, i want to introduce you to a blog a day. There are some blogs that i read that greatly move or inspire me, and i want to share them with you. Today, I want to introduce you to Nie.

I started reading Stephanie's blog right after my accident last year. She and her husband were in a devistating plane crash on the very same day as our motorcycle crash. I'm not sure how i found her blog - i don't ever search for blogs to read - i have enough already - but i think that perhaps God gave me hers to encourage me and to call me to pray for her and her family. She and her husband and children were so heavy on my heart and in my prayers during that time that i was healing from our crash. While Stephanie was hospitalized, her sister, Crystal (who is also an incredible blogger and who watched over Nie's children for the months she was hospitalized), would update her blog with posts about Stephanie's recovery. I have been so moved and inspired by Stephanie and by Crystal during this last year. Seeing Stephanie's healing and her family restored reminds me again of God's amazing hand of healing and of restoring. Knowing her story compells me to praise.

Awhile ago i put a "button" on the right hand of my blog with a link to Nie's blog if you want to check it out.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We are officially HOME in Utah.

I guess we've been here 5 days now. Mom and Dad came out here with us to help us move - isn't that amazing and super generous?! Mom and I did a lot of the new-home-out-of-state shopping while the guys got our stuff out of our storage shed and unloaded all the heavy card board into the house. It was amazing to have so much help!

This afternoon we finally got the internet up and running. I've been trying to catch up on emails and your blogs these last 5 days, which is a big task and one that i seriously am not spending that much time on. But it's great to have a break from unpacking.

I will post pictures of the house once we get it together. Right now it's still a mess, though we only have about a dozen boxes left to unpack. My biggest challenge, which i haven't even begun to tackle is my office. An amazing thing about this house is that Landon and I each have our own separate offices. If you remember, in Illinois, Landon's desk shared a tiny room with our guest-bed and a few bookshelves. I had my desk in our family room, across from the kitchen and all of my files and supplies at the other end of the house in boxes in the laundry room. This year, Landon has a room set aside for only his desk and 19,000 books and my desk and all my supplies are in a large room with the guest bed. I'm so grateful that at the end of a work day i can shut the door to the room and forget about it until the morning - i've really had a challenge at building boundaries between home and work these last few years.

There is a trail that goes right in front of our house that goes through the beautiful plants and the Utah Botanical Center, so we've been on a few walks there in the evenings. We have 4 LDS churches that we know of within a square mile of where our house is. This is interesting. Sunday morning M&D and I took the dogs for a walk on the trail in our tshirts and jeans and i felt like sure a heathen as i noticed all of my neighbors emerging from their homes in suits, ties, and dresses and all walking down the sidewalk toward the churches. On the up side, the roads were vacant so i had an easy time driving Mom to the airport.

I think it may take me awhile to get used to "Mormon Standard Time": on Sunday Starbucks closes at 5pm, many of the other stores and restaurants are closed, and Saturday evenings everything shuts down early also. Crazy. Monday afternoon was the WORST possible day for me to choose to do grocery shopping. I have and have had many wonderful Mormon friends throughout my life, i've just never lived in a culture shaped around Mormonism before, so it will take me a little while to get used to, i think.

Tomorrow: Landon has orientation at the University and I will be back full-swing into working for ACSI.

More from HOME tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

picture by fly again

this last weekend we parked in the student parking lot behind Columbine High School. It was fun to walk on the grounds of my old campus - so many amazing memories there and fun and defining years. We walked beside the soccer field and through the running track and out into Clement Park between prairie dog holes and weeds, through the dirt.

One of the things that i have really wanted to do this summer at M&D's is to visit the Columbine Memorial at Clement Park. I had never visited the memorial before and thought i would just drop by and see what it was like - i know some of the people on the committee and know that they have worked very hard to put it all together.

It was simple. And beautiful. And i was so surprised by the emotions that place evoked in me. Landon took his time reading every little letter etched in the stones. I kind of bounced around to the different elements. It as interesting to read quotes spoken by people that i know and love - memorialized in the rock wall. in the center of the memorial, there was an area that remembered each of the people that were killed. For some reason, reading and remembering each person was really difficult for me - especially those that i used to know. But it was good. I really haven't been back to Columbine or been involved in any sort of Columbine memorial activities since i left 8 years ago. It was great to go back.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

doggy diet

Mom and Dad feed their dogs beans. Every breakfast and dinner the dogs have a handful of dog food covered with canned green beans. So we have healthy puppies at this house, but the stinkiest farts i've ever experienced in my entire life.

Friday, August 7, 2009

babes and their bellies

I've been so fortunate the last two days to have lunch with some of my greatest friends.

I got to see Nicole for lunch on Wednesday. It was fun to see her in her home with her baby girl and another one on the way!!

Yesterday I went to Ft Collins to visit Emily. She is very well into her first pregnancy and moved into her first home last week. It was wonderful to see her in her own place with a baby boy in the belly!

It's amazing to see so many of the beautiful women in my life in their pregnancies. Two of my sister-in-laws are also pregnant among a couple of my other friends. I am just amazed at how awesome God creates the female body and uses it for work that only he can do - creating life. How incredible! What a priviledge it must be for those women to carry their developing children within themselves - they all seem to be so blessed by it even if it is so difficult sometimes. I am so happy to know these women and their bellies. can't wait to meet their babies!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

nearing the end

yeah, i feel like we're the masters of goodbyes these days.

we've had a wonderful summer in Colorado with mountains, family and friends and we are nearing the end.

This morning i was working slowly and groggy and decided to take a break. Landon was still asleep, so i decided to do what i wanted most - to visit my grandmother. She brought out her home-made cookies and banana bread and I so enjoyed talking with her over delicious home-baked goodies. We both enjoy our coffee the exact same way - strong, bold, and black - she is an excellent coffee companion - the only person i can share my pot with who will enjoy it as heartily as i do. And i love to hear stories about her when she was my age and all of her adventures as she raised a family in the 60's and 70's. She is full of wisdom which i covet right now and appreciate - i walk around these days so insecure and confused. And she loves me a lot. i mean a lot, and has always been supportive and somehow able to understand me when many others don't. Yeah, it was great to spend my afternoon with her today. Trying to take advantage of this time when i'm in town!

This last week here i feel like every moment needs to be intentional - granted, i still have a lot of work to do - but i'm taking more time out of my day for people that i love.

Tonight Landon and I are having dinner with a dear friend that i have known for almost every year of my life. She and her husband and beautiful little boy just moved onto a farm and i can't wait to see their life amongst little chickens and green houses and whatever else an organic farm houses - i guess we will see.(this is a picture of her ACTUAL farm - used without permission, hehe)

I'm just so grateful to have such wonderful friends and family to get to share my life with.