Monday, September 22, 2014

mmmonday {Julie’s Friend Todd’s Chicken Bruschetta)

Recently my neighbor Julie shared this amazing recipe with me.  This recipe is so great and easy for these last summer/early fall nights that you want an effortless grilled dinner.  And it’s so good.

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Recipe-Chicken Bruschetta copy

Julie says that you can freeze the bruschetta, so that you have it on hand, and also that it’s fun to use on Christmas dishes because of the festive colors.  Sometimes, when I make it, I use extra dressing because I love a lot of flavor and I want to make sure all of the chicken gets a good coat.  I’ve also used different cheeses like cheddar and colby jack, which are good.  Try it tonight!

P.S.  If you want to print the recipe, simply click on the recipe above.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September Visiting Teaching Message {The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Comforter

Sorry to be a little slow getting the message to you this month.  Doesn’t time just seem to move faster and faster? 

The Visiting Teaching message this month continues the focus on Jesus Christ’s Divine Mission and focuses on how He is our Comforter. 

Because of the Atonement, the Savior knows our pain and sorrow.  He knows us.  He knows how to comfort us when life gets hard.

In John 14:18 it says “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

One of the best things about being a part of the Relief Society is being the Lord’s Hands here on earth. 

Elaine L. Jack said “In Visiting Teaching we reach out to each other.  Hands often speak as voices can’t.  A warm embrace conveys volumes.  A laugh together unites us.  A moment of sharing refreshes our souls.  We cannot always lift the burden of one who is troubled, but we can lift her so she can bear it well.”

For my sisters this month, I wanted to give them some tokens of comfort.

The weather is turning chilly and my wood floors are cold in the mornings. 

IMG_1786[1]I purchased some cozy socks for my sisters and a packet of hot chocolate and included the message inside. 

IMG_1788[1]So simple.

So simple that it made me realize that I can help others with simple actions.

I can be the Lord’s hands.

Happy Visiting Teaching!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Day in San Francisco

The first time we visit a place, we like to do the “touristy stuff”, so on a recent trip to San Francisco, those were our plans.

IMG_0732We began the day in line to ride the a Trolley.  The Trolley line is not small, and it took about an hour to get to the front of the line.  I had read on other travel websites, that a Trolley ride was essential to having a successful visit to San Francisco, and that waiting in the {consistently} long Trolley ride line would be well worth it.  And it was.

IMG_0617 IMG_0622We caught the trolley at the corner of Powell and Market Streets, where there is a turnaround.  From there, the ride takes you up and down the streets of San Francisco, the trolley lurching and careening as you go.  The trolley has bench seats, as well as running board-type standing room, and of course, my children all wanted to stand on the edge.  Which made the mom in me terrified.  This was not a leisurely ride.  I’m not sure how fast the thing was going, but it was fast enough that when we passed another trolley you had to make sure that you sucked in so that you wouldn’t lose a limb.  It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time.

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The scariest part of the ride came almost at the end when we were on a downward slope.  We could see that the tracks curved at the bottom of the hill and turned a corner.  The Trolley driver didn’t seem to notice, as we plummeted down the slope, gaining speed as we went.  About a half a block before the turn, the driver yells “everybody hang on!” and slams on the brakes.  We swung around the corner clutching our children and {miraculously} somehow managed to stay on the trolley ourselves.

A few blocks later, we staggered off of the trolley at Lombard street, “the Crookedest Street”.  The kids and husband were unimpressed. 

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We then walked the remaining 2 or 3 blocks to Fishermans Wharf.  There they had a little area with some old ships, which was fun for the kids to look at.  Although Fisherman’s Wharf is on most lists of “Things to do when you are in San Francisco,” it was pretty smelly and there were tons of tourists there.  We did eat at a few of the different fish stands there and it was okay.  Fisherman’s Wharf was good to see once, but I wouldn’t schedule a lot of time there if I were doing it again.

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The main reason to go to Fisherman’s wharf is to get on a Bay Cruise.  There are a couple of different companies that sell water tours and the best way to get tickets is to just go to the counter when you get there.  The tour we took went through San Francisco Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and around Alcatraz.  It was fun, but crowded.  And chilly, so bring a sweater or jacket.

IMG_0677 IMG_0691 IMG_0714Sidenote: We were hoping to be able to tour Alcatraz on our visit to San Francisco, but unfortunately, tickets were sold out.  Make sure you check ticket availability before you go.

IMG_0735 After our Bay Cruise, we headed to The Golden Gate Bridge.  This was our favorite.

IMG_0745IMG_0757 The Golden Gate Bridge is probably the most famous landmark in San Francisco.  It is one mile long and you can walk, or ride a bike across it.  We walked to the first column.  The kids loved it. 

Another interesting thing to see in San Francisco is Chinatown.  There is a touristy, shoppy street in Chinatown which I hear has cheap knick knacks and colorful lanterns.  We did not end up in that part of Chinatown.  We ended up walking through the Chinese marketplace around dinnertime.  We passed several fruit and vegetable stands as well as meat markets, filled with varieties of fish and cooked birds hanging from the ceiling with heads still attached.  The kids were a little grossed out by this.

This is the image of San Francisco that the kids took home with them.  People will ask, “how did you like visiting San Francisco?” and they will tell them about walking through the marketplace in Chinatown, and oh, yeah, they liked the bridge and the trolley ride, too.

IMG_0765We were in San Francisco about a day and a half, and it took us about that long to figure out the public transit system {we traveled by train, trolley, and bus}.  It was a little stressful to be figuring this out with kids in tow, but was a good experience for the kids to see and learn how people get around in other places.

IMG_0670 Overall, it was a good place to visit.  If we were to go back, we would be sure to visit Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, and maybe to a bike ride across the bridge.

Monday, August 25, 2014

MMMonday {Blueberry Muffin French Toast}

Hey everyone.  I hope you all had a great week!  My kids went back to school last Tuesday and for their back-to-school breakfast, they requested Costco muffins.  The hands-down favorite at our house are the chocolatey chocolate chip variety, but we also really like their classic blueberry muffins.  Since you get two packages, we usually grab one of each.  But we always have blueberry left over.  And after a few days, they aren’t as awesome.  So to use the left over blueberry muffins, last week I used them to make Blueberry Muffin French Toast.

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It was so yummy and easy.

Start by making your basic french toast mixture.  I use this recipe:

1 cup heavy cream

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk everything together.

Then I sliced the blueberry muffins, dipped them in the french toast mixture, and put them on the griddle till they were browned on both sides.  We served them with whipped cream, and a drizzle of raspberry syrup.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 11, 2014

MMMonday {Summer Salmon}

Today I would like to share with you one of our favorite fish recipes.  We’re not really fish people, but we really like this one.  It’s easy to make, and perfect for a quick summer meal.

IMG_0461 We use salmon for this recipe.

IMG_0443 Slice it into steaks and place on 2 sheets of tinfoil with a little bit of olive oil on it.  Drizzle the salmon with honey.IMG_0447 Sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and some chopped red onions.

IMG_0452 Let it sit for about 15-30 minutes.  Flip the fish over a time or two during the 15-30 minutes to make sure the fish is coated with honey, onions and salt and pepper.

IMG_0454 Grill the fish to desired done-ness, and enjoy with potatoes, veggies or fruit.

IMG_0458We like to grill our veggies.  These are green beans, but we have also done yellow squash and zucchini successfully.  For the veggies, we drizzle olive oil, sprinkle garlic salt and some pepper and they are awesome.

Send me a note if you try this recipe.  I would love to hear what you think!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Flashback Friday: Utah County Parade of Homes

With the Salt Lake County Parade of Home well under way this week, {and me not going, boo hoo} I decided to go through some of my hundreds of pictures from the Utah County Parade of Homes in June.

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There is so much to love about the Parade of Homes.  The beautiful homes and furniture, the great decorating ideas and the girl time with my parade buddy, Lisa.

I also love that I come away feeling inspired and energized to tackle some of the decorating and design issues in my own home.

Here are some of my favorite moments:

20140607_182548I loved this house in Highland, because it was fun and fearless.  It reminded me that my house is mine to do whatever I want with, and that I shouldn’t be afraid to put a hole in the wall or to personalize it in ways that will make me and my family happy.

20140607_18150520140619_18495120140607_18163320140607_181609 20140607_181800 20140607_182010 20140607_182252These are random photos from different houses.  I have the perfect place to do horizontal stripes in my own home.  I love that it this would-be boring, awkward wall interesting.20140619_165019Almost every home we visited had a sliding barn door.  Oh, how I love a good sliding barn door. 20140619_174022Another trend this year: secret doors.  Awesome. 20140619_181959This bedroom was beautiful.  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it had the perfect balance of pink and gold.  So pretty.20140619_194149This whitewashed herringbone brick fireplace.  I love it so much.20140619_194434The house with this dress-up room in it had a colossal play room, with different themed areas.  Lego room, salon room, candy store room, and of course kids’ movie theater and video game station.  But this dress-up room is genius.  Every home should have a dress-up room.  Am I right?! 20140620_124909There were lots of decorations at the Parade of Homes where I could hear my mother’s voice in my head when I saw them.  “We could make that,” she used to say when we were shopping.  It used to drive me nuts.  Now I get it.  I heard her when I saw this great bench.  20140620_172028 That light.  So fun. 20140620_192222This home in Mapleton also had a lot of great features.  And I looooved the decorating.  20140621_132223 20140621_132427 20140621_132801 20140621_132437 20140621_152538And I always love the parade home by Ezra Lee.  His homes are super contemporary and creative.  And while we don’t always have the same taste, I always leave his homes inspired to try new things. 20140621_16220820140621_163105One last thought.  In talking to others about the Parade of Homes, some of them tell me that they like to go, but sometimes feel like visiting these homes makes them feel sad, or like their own homes don’t measure up.  I can honestly tell you, that I’ve had those same thoughts in the past myself.  These homes are new and pristine and have been decorated by professionals.  In most cases, no real person or family has ever lived in these homes.  So there is no clutter, or clothes.  No kids’ art projects strewn all over the place.  No family pictures on the walls.  They are just houses.  They are not homes.  When I visit these houses, I remember that and it takes the my-house-is-not-good-enough feelings away. 

Because I wouldn’t trade all of my mess for the most perfect home in the world.

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