Saturday, January 30, 2010

Recent Joys


Beautiful sunrise from our back porch

Devil's Chocolate Cupcakes.
These are so yummy, they may need a post of their own later this week.

Having the Plumber fix this leak from our swamp cooler. Now we aren't paying for our own icicle field any more.

Duvi Cuteness: chewing on the bone he got for christmas from my folks. Half of it is rubber and you freeze the rubber half to a plastic mold by filling it with water. duvick LOVES to eat snow and ice and is just in heaven whenever he gets to enjoy this. and we like it: it's super cheap - water is almost free!

Friday, January 29, 2010

No Impact

Landon suggested that I write a post today about the movie we rented yesterday, "No Impact Man"
This movie is about Colin Beavan, a regular Joe who decided to conduct an experiment. They ask the question: can you truly live your life making zero negative impact on the environment and still live a happy, good quality life? This is a documentary that is very interesting and funny and wonderful (read: not boring and definitely worth 90 minutes of your time) and it follows Colin and his family for an entire year as they conduct this experiment in their lives. That means: only eating locally grown food (IN NEW YORK CITY!!), no toilet paper, no electricity, producing ZERO trash, not using harsh chemicals (like cleaning supplies), no carbon producing transportation, etc...

I found this video on the Free Range Studios' website (they brought you the story of stuff and the meatrix) and instantly added it to my Netflix queue.

So I am not putting this on my blog to encourage you to ban toilet paper and electricity in your home and "go vegan"! I do admire this family for what they did: they were so extreme in their experiment that it caused people to notice and reevaluate their own lifestyles. Landon and I even sat down afterward and asked each other a few questions about how we could do better to live a lower impact lifestyle. I encourage you to just watch the film - it's inspiring and it's awesome!

And in that same spirit, check out Simple Mom's blog post today: 9 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Live Simply. Anna, my wonderful sister-in-law is an amazing example of this kind of parent. Be inspired!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Things I'm loving Lately:

I've been working late tonight and finally got an email sent off to my sweet boss. But now i'm a bit wired, so i thought I'd shoot out a quick blog before bed in order to calm myself down a bit.

It's about time: Things I'm loving lately:

this t-shirt I got for Christmas from my folks from Critter Jitter's etsy shop. I'm wearing it all the time. Don't you think it must match with most everything?: I wear it under sweaters, with skirts, over long underwear, with chunky jewelry, pjs, everything!

my produce bags. I know you've seen them, and I love them!

Peter Bradley Adams. He's an incredible piano player also. Love his sound!
This one might make you cry:
Skiing Snowbasin!!
believe me, i'm getting myself on a little steeper terrain by now. but i'm still not much faster.

(photo by Colin Purrington)
Utah Beer

Pier 1 was having a great sale on candles and I got a few of these for my bathroom. I love the color and i LOVE the scent: Citrus Cilantro

(picture by Sel S. (enter his site at your own risk - you've been warned)
getting out the good 'ol guitar for the first time in years. My fingers are killing me. I'm so so very awful! But I love that I can walk around the house while i'm making "music". I can even dance! The piano is my favorite but it is a little bit restrictive. Although, when i get super frustrated with my tender finger tips and crappy sound, i can just hop onto my piano and pound out the song as i actually want it to sound and i'm satisfied. I love making music!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hut Trip to Ken's Cabin

Our Hut Trip this year was awesome. Last year it was just Landon, Dad and I and we went to the 10th Mountain Hut. This year, Nell came along and we were able to go to a 3 person cabin, so we got the whole thing to ourselves!! (last year we shared the cabin with 3 other groups - one with young kids, and one, a group of teenagers - not much sleep on either end!)

We drove to the trail head just 30 minutes away from my parents' cabin. It was awesome, the convenience of this place. The hut is usually accessed by the opposite side of the mountain (the Breckenridge side), so we had the 5 mile trail COMPLETELY to ourselves all the way in and all the way out. That was awesome.
the family. Nell's first backpacking trip and her first hut trip!

There was a fairly long (1-2 miles?) of flat trail that meandered through the woods. It was pretty beautiful. On our way out, Landon and I saw lots and lots of animal prints on this trail. It's pretty neat to use a trail that the forest creatures have been using.

crossing the creek

stopping half way for lunch and blister control

Landon got this picture of Dad making his way to the cabin after a mile of gradual up hill. The building in the distance belongs to the forest service.

A picture of Ken's cabin the next morning before our hike out. Pretty cute, huh?

This is just a one room cabin with a sink (no plumbing), an iron stove and 2 beds, and a table. It was very cozy. Landon and Dad woke up periodically throughout the night to stoke the stove. We were pretty warm in there! This cabin was built in 1860-something (i think) by the 10th mountain division of the military. I couldn't believe that we were staying in a cabin that existed before Colorado even received its statehood. Pretty awesome. And not too drafty!

These are pictures Landon took of the water-making process. We go outside with our avalanche shovel (and me with my down booties) and shovel snow into the snow-only trash can until it is at the top.

then shovel the snow into the buckets that are resting on top of the blazing stove. Snow melts into water, then we use the water for cooking (we cook AWESOME meals on hut trips because they have burners and pans in the cabins. We had eggs benedict for breakfast, and chicken marsala with sauteed vegetables and wine for dinner), dishes, and we filter it into our bottles for drinking and pack it for our hike out.

Then we skied out. Landon and I took the same trail back because it was partly downhill and he was in a telemark outfit and i was using my Alpine Touring gear. Dad and Nell were on cross country skies so they took the dirt road back down, which was 3 miles longer, snow packed,  and closed to traffic during the winter. Hills are much trickier on cross country skies. Landon and I, however, had a blast on the downhill!

Monday, January 25, 2010


one of my new favorite sites lately:

(showerman - from

yeah, it sounds lame, but it has been a lifesaver for me lately. I've been trying to get the hard water deposits off of my shower curtain (last weekend I tried putting it on the washing machine with bleach  and a few towels and that didn't work, so i needed to try something else this weekend). I found myself on my hands and knees on top of the dang thing squirting it with vinegar and scrubbing it down with a sponge. and that seemed to do the trick. lovely.

i also made a paste of 2 parts baking soda and one part water and applied it to the hard water deposits (i think they're lime deposits) on my sink faucet and let it sit for a few hours and then scrubbed it off with a scrubby sponge. that worked partly-well.

i wonder how often we will have to do this. my dog's bowl has a few rings or white water deposits, our ice machine no longer works (my hypothesis is that the deposits have completely clogged the ice-maker... gross), our shower head still seems to be working well, and so does our brand new washing machine. I'm hoping that only 6 more months in this house will not ruin my nice appliances. and i'm hoping that i will only be in my undies on my hands and knees scrubbing away my sorrows with vinegar and muscle grease only once more. maybe the next place we live will have one of those hard water things that attaches to your pipes, where you put salt into it. maybe that will set us free.

(not my picture - some one who is obviously skiing the utah backcountry)

went skiing in some "fresh pow" Saturday. I was excited. As I'm re-learning to ski this winter, this was my first time in some deep new powder. and i didn't like it much. i've been hearing about people loving the powder - and that is what Utah is known for - "the greatest snow on earth" (ie:awesome powder). it was difficult to ski in powder. I still ski too slow to be able to breeze through that beautiful stuff - i kept getting stuck and falling over.

but any day in the mountains is a good day. we had a lot of fun and even though the parking lot was more crowded than we've ever seen it, we still never had to wait in any lines at the lifts. i love Snowbasin.

Thanks for all your feedback once again! I like all the ideas for sewing crafts. I actually decided upon making some sanitary napkins (going paper-less in 2010!!!), inspired by a conversation i had with a good girlfriend a few months ago (thanks Colie!). But once I brought my idea to my husband, I was eagerly/desperately/adamantly/ encouraged NOT to make them. Dooney just about vomits simply thinking about it. So... I've decided to make a duvet cover for our bed instead. I am going to start this project, but I'm not sure how far I'll get before I will need some serious guidance. I have really wanted a flannel duvet cover to put on our comforter in the winter - make the bed a bit more cozy. I've been wanting this one from Eddie Bauer for the past few years and finally decided to just make my own. The fabric cost me about $40 - I got a few yards of different flannels for the top and then i buzzed on over to the local thrift store to get a flannel sheet for the bottom (and found matching pillow cases!!)

I have saved all of your ideas in my "sewing ideas" folder so i can return to them later.

Landon has asked me to post more pictures from our hut trip in CO a few weeks ago, so expect that this week. I also think that a "things i'm loving lately" post is past due.

Hope you have a wonderful week, friends!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A few things...

This post requires feedback, so get your clickers ready...

First: Thanks for your sweet, encouraging and loving comments on yesterday's post, friends. What surprised me most is that many of you are in the same exact spot. Why is it so difficult to make friends as an adult? It's tricky, isn't it?

Second: I need another easy sewing project to tackle. Any suggestions? So far I have made napkins, an apron, and those little produce baggies. Suggestions, please!

Third: I was thinking to myself that someone needs to write a book. I wish that the church, and Christians in general would make it part of their mission to preserve the earth. I very seriously feel that one of God's first and primary commands to his crown of creation (us!) was stewardship of the rest of his creation. It is so obvious to me, I'm not sure how many Christians see stewardship of the earth's resources and the ideas to combat our previous damage as a hoax and a conspiracy, or even a lost cause - hello!

I wish that I could write a book. I wish i knew enough about biology and theology to put something together that would mobilize people, but especially Christians, to finally take seriously the stewardship that God has entrusted to us since the day of our creation. Yesterday I was looking through my local library's catalog and found NOTHING (what a surprise...but there are actually 143 books on Joseph Smith). suggested these reads on this subject:

Redeeming Creation: The Biblical Basis for Environmental Stewardship
by: Fred Van Dyke, David C. Mahan, Joseph K. Sheldon, Raymond H. Brand
InterVarsity Press c 1973

Earth-Wise: A Biblical Response to Environmental Issues
by: Calvin B. Dewitt (who has actually written two previous books on this same subject: The Environment and the Christian: What does the New Testament say about the Environment, and Missionary Earthkeeping)
Faith Alive Christian Resources c 2007

Serve God, Save the Planet: a Christian Call to Action
by: J. Matthew Sleeth M.D.
Zondervan c 2007
Have any of you read any of these? Since my library doesn't have any of these books, I will need to be purchasing them, and I really don't want to waste my mullah (who has ever heard of Faith Alive Christian Resources anyway?) I'll have to do some reading up about these books. But please, let me know if you suggest any reading on this subject.

Thanks, friends!

By the way, this one sort of cracks me up:

Harper Collins has put together a version of the NRSV translation called "The Green Bible". There is actually a subject index on the earth's elements (ie: air, agriculture, water). And whenever the subject of earthy things occurs in the text, Harper Collins has made them green. You know, like the red letters of Christ, only these are green letters.

Thursday, January 21, 2010



Without friends.

We are without friends.

I asked Landon to invite some friends over to help us to eat the [not-quite] amazing cheesecake that I made him for his birthday. He responded with, "I don't have any friends"

Working from home isn't too conducive to making friends either.

I go to Starbucks though. Today I went there to work on Sponsorship (I was there yesterday and a few days before that also) and when I was leaving, I went up to the coffee bar and thanked the employees and told them I would see them later. "Okay, bye", they said. But i could see it in their eyes and the way they hesitated their emotionless words ("okaaaay.....bye") - they thought my goodbye was strange. Why should they care of i stay or if i go? who is that girl? Little do they know that they are the only social interaction I have had these last 2 days.

I don't really fit in out here. I always feel like I'm the elephant in the room, picking out my groceries on Sundays in my slippers with my coupons, cloth bags, organic food, and nose ring...

I don't have friends. And it's wearing on me.

I don't want to complain. I do so so appreciate you. and I love living in Utah. I love only working one job. I love my husband; my dog. I know that God is richly at work in my life. So I don't want to be ungrateful or selfish.

Just, loneliness can be so overwhelming sometimes, you know?

(photo by serni)
 i like the title of this photo:"loneliness is the distance between you and me"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Project 7

So I know that we like to support non-profits.

We support organizations that do things that we like.
Like sponsoring a child.
Like supporting clean water in Africa.
Like giving to sick children.
Like building homes for people who have lost theirs.
Like finding cure.
Like sending Bibles to closed countries.

Well, for maybe the first time, we can give to one of those organizations that we like without having to give any money at all, just about 5 minutes.

Check this out:

Project 7: Giveaway from Project 7 on Vimeo.

More info on Project 7 from their website:
Project 7 is a company that is passionate about social change. For every purchase of a Project 7 product, the company donates 50 percent of its profits to seven areas of critical need in the world – Build the Future, Feed the Hungry, Heal the Sick, Help Those in Need, Hope for Peace, House the Homeless, and Save the Earth. Non-profit organizations supporting any of these seven areas of need can submit applications to Project 7. Seven of these organizations, one from each area of need, will be voted on a by consumers and supported by product proceeds for the upcoming year. Currently, Project 7 manufactures bio-bottled water, gum, mints and T-shirts.
 Look for their products at your local store:


Yeah, I know i've put one (or two or three?) or their videos on there before. But I just wanted to make sure that you are paying attention.

And this video is the best I've seen so far.

Maybe vote for them?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Landon

Today Landon is 28 years old. It's amazing for me to see him in his later-20's, considering I met him when he was only 20 years old. And not much has changed, in his daily life, really, in these last 8 years. Besides the fact that he's taking care of a wife and the world's bestest dog. He has developed some crow's feet around his eyes, more hairs on his chest, and gray hairs on his temples (which are super hot, his wife thinks!). He's gathered years of wisdom and knowledge and has grown in compassion and strength. But otherwise, he's the same bloke who stole my heart long before he had ever realized it so many years ago. It's pretty awesome to see him age and grow and bring in another year of life - it's pretty awesome to know that he's chosen me to experience all these future years with him.

Yeah, I'm a lucky girl.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ski Snowbasin - from Landon's point of view

just a video that Landon took of our time skiing this weekend. BEAUTIFUL views of the Utah Mountains. A little shaky, but this was Landon's first day using his new helmet cam.'s a bit long, at least get the beginning for the beautiful views!

Friday, January 15, 2010

edit:::::::::sorry loves, I included the "pattern" (which was really just a tutorial) as a link in the paragraph below, but I'll put it here too for easy access:

by the way:

I had SOOO much fun with this sewing project! It was neat to find some instructions online and then just run with them. This project cost me about $1 for the tulle at Walmart. I used some scraps of cloth from previous projects to reinforce the draw-string part of the bag since i didn't have any "rope" except hemp and I thought that hemp could be a big abrasive after awhile on the tulle. I have 5 bags in all, each one trying out a few different things. It was fun to get to take creative liberties and to try to be resourceful with what I have at home. I learned so much about how to use my machine during this small project.  I tied some buttons onto the hemp so that the hemp doesn't slide away and hide in the bag - they were a pain to get through the openings (then i learned to just sew the bag with the hemp already in there!).

Okay, now it's time for you to make some for your house too! Going paperless in 2010!!!

The Frost performs its ministry....

The Frost performs its ministry,
Unhelped by any wind....

...But thou... shalt wander like a breeze 
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags

Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds,
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores
And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible
Of that eternal language, which thy God
Utters, who from eternity doth teach
Himself in all, and all things in himself.
Great universal Teacher! he shall mould
Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask.

 Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth

With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing

Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
-Frost at Midnight, by Samuel Coleridge

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sewing: Take 2

I am so excited. I received a sewing machine for Christmas from my parents. And so far it has been working wonderfully. I am relieved to think that perhaps it was not I who was the hopeless cause with my old machine, but the machine itself that was beyond hope.

So it's time for some craftiness!

I finally finished the apron that I set out to create a few months ago.

Over the past 2 years, I have been collecting my clothes that need mending. I've only fixed 2 of those items so far. Much less exciting projects, but wonderful to put these items back into my wardrobe.

My next project, I've decided, will be a beginner's version of these:

(picture and produce bags by Loveforearth)

Right now when I go to the grocery store, I don't put my produce in any of those little pastic bags because of the waste of plastic. I think the clerks, and I, would find it more convenient if they were still bagged. So I found these on etsy and think they could be rather easy to re-create. One seller is actually selling her pattern in a PDF for $3. But I think I might just try to wing it first.

by the way,  PLEEEASE tell me that you were encouraged by Maya's post on SimpleMom's blog yesterday. I know I was!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Last night I had a dream that I somehow recollected during tonight's dinner and can not now forget.

(photo by jessmartin89)

I was playing with a little boy about 3 or 4 years old. He was my son. I guess I was never told that he was and of course, i didn't recognize him (because i don't actually have a son), i don't even remember his face. But I just had the deepest love for him - it was absolutely overwhelming, and that's what I remember most from my dream, that's why it was so powerful. And it was so brief. I just remembering tickling his tiny squirmy ribs and then nestling my face in his baby boy hair. He smelled so sweet and I could hear his laughing in my ear. And my heart swelled. And that was it.

And it's not surprising that I would have a dream like this, with the Christmas that Landon and I had in Georgia with our 8 nieces and nephews. It's not a surprise that this longing has grown and remains so desperate and pleading in my heart.

Maybe some day I will have my own child to nestle and tickle. One with his father's freckled skin and rambunctiousness, no doubt. Mmmm, i am longing for that day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the LIST

(photos by mikezenero)

I don't really like my grocery shopping strategy, but I can find no better way.

Landon and I have very different grocery shopping philosophies. I don't like grocery shopping. I adhere strictly to my list. Landon, on the other hand, enjoys grocery shopping. He shops with a list and then lets himself be inspired by great deals and yummy foods. Like last night we were shopping and I'm looking through my list and my coupons and Landon comes by and dumps fruit snacks and pop tarts into the cart. I was almost blown off my rocker. Those aren't even healthy!!! But, of course, I am not his mother, he is an adult and darn right should get to eat crap if he wants to. But on the other hand, I am also the maker and keeper of the budget and did not see Pop Tarts on the list.

I am open for suggestions, please.

Usually on Sunday each week I plan my menu for the entire week and make a shopping list. I try to stick to 2 meatless meals and 2 free-range meals. I also try to find recipes that have overlapping ingredients in order to save at the store. Then, with my shopping list in front of me, i search the internet for printable coupons:

(many of these websites overlap coupons)

and i even search the manufacture's websites. many of them have an actual "coupons" tab.

You would cringe in knowing that after my trip to the grocery store yesterda, i really only saved $3 with my coupons. Sometimes it's more. Sometimes it's less.

Any other ideas on how to save mullah grocery shopping?

oh, and fyi: if you have not heard of, you should check it out. This Christmas, I put together my Christmas list and found great coupons for the items that I wanted to buy. If not for the items, then in most cases I at least got free shipping through the coupon codes on this website.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Transitioning home

It's kind of hard to come home. But good.

(photo by Rich Legg)

As my plane descended into Salt Lake City, I saw the haze from the notorious winter temperature inversion. We cut through a thick layer of brownish fog below the mountains. And from the ground, I couldn't even see the mountains except for their snowy peaks. It's a bit gross. But kind of amazing, how the weather works, and what a unique place Salt Lake is with the lake effect snow, desert storms, and monsty mountains.

It was wonderful to see Landon (he drove home and I stayed two extra days to help move my sister into her first apartment! woohoo Janelle!!!). We had dinner and beers together at a local brewery in Salt Lake City, Squatters. I like squatters. They partner with other local companies to provide responsibly grown vegetables and ethically raised meats and eggs. I had an awesome beer that was a marriage of between Squatters stout and our local coffee company's espresso. Yum yum (but i was up until 1am - should have anticipated that one better).

Our house is a mess. We left in a hurry. Our home is in much disarray with an empty refrigerator, dirty laundry, Christmas decorations everywhere, and a carload of stuff to unpack. I guess Santa never slid down our chimney while we were in Georgia, or i'm sure his elves would have taken care of this place.

Welcome Home.

And now I'm back to work with my own computer and office and it's easier to work from my home instead of my parents' home. Yet, i'm struggling a bit because while we were in Colorado I was informed that ACSI will be phasing out the sponsorship program. I'm not sure exactly how to move forward within this job when moving forward seems like moving backward. But I have A LOT to do, so this shouldn't get boring any time soon. I'll write more on this later.

Landon is back in classes again today. He brought home straight A's last semester and I am so proud of him. This PhD program has been a real challenge for him on many levels and he seriously puts in at least 12 hours of study a day. I'm not sure how he does it, but he constantly amazes and inspires me and I am so grateful that he has this opportunity to study Philosophy here at the U at such a high level.

It's sort of nice to be in our own place again, just the two of us. It's a little strange, after being with family every day throughout these last couple of weeks. It is quiet. Duvick has been howling outside ALL DAY today, as his time at M&D's allowed him the luxury of letting himself in and out using the doggy-door. Welcome back to your life as an outside dog, Duves. Get used to it. Poor pup, he definitely misses his grandmother.

I think we all are a little happy to be home and a little sad to have to say goodbye to people and places that we so dearly love.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The world spins madly on

I'm leaving in a few minutes for Colorado Springs for a meeting with ACSI peeps. So I'll keep this short...

We got bombarded with much snow and very very frigid temperatures yesterday. So Landon is still here in Littleton (should have driven home yesterday) and I am in for a long treck to the Springs.

This New Year should feel more monumental than the last. TEN years since we brought in the millennium - amazing. It feels like only a few short years ago that Bottom Rung brought in the New Year in Dillon, CO - as we performed at a church youth group party. We got "booed" a lot that night by the local punk band. Jerks. But it was still fun to be in the mountains with my favorite guys making the music that we loved. And the world did not end that night, like some had predicted. In fact, life just kept on trucking.

And so we spent this New Year not too far from the mountains of Dillon, CO - at my parents' cabin in Como. Much cross country skiing and fondue eating and a kiss from the hubs made for a wonderful, yet uneventful New Year. The New Moon was amazing and frightful as it lit up the entire expanse of snow-covered mountains. Amazing.

And just a few pictures from the second annual McBrayer/Sheely hut trip to Ken's Cabin: