Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Front Porch Project

Ever since we moved into this house two years ago, I’ve wanted to do something with the posts on our front porch.  They were a really rough cedar and they were faded and didn’t seem to really go with the house.  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to stain them darker or paint them white with some molding on the top and the bottom. 

IMG_1820[1] IMG_2279[1]IMG_1825[1]In the end, we decided that we wanted to paint them.  My awesome husband cut some trim and my kids helped out by sanding, and sanding, and sanding.  There were some cracks that needed to be filled, so we used a caulk-type filler for the larger cracks, and then added the trim and painted.

IMG_2274[1]IMG_2272[1]IMG_2376[1]It was not a quick weekend project—in fact, it took much longer to complete than I thought it would—but I love the way it turned out.  

IMG_2406[1]IMG_2403[1] IMG_2408[1] IMG_2378[1] And one more time, because it is so fun--


and After:


Thursday, November 13, 2014

November Visiting Teaching Message {Conference Preserves}


What an amazing General Conference last month!  I feel so blessed to have been able to watch and learn and feel the Spirit during the messages that were given, and am so excited to preserve and share some of my favorite quotes with you and your Visiting Teaching sisters.


To make your own Conference Preserves, you will need a jar {I used pint-sized} Page 1 of the quotes, and Page 2 of the quotes, the label, and a small treat.  Cut along the lines, fold, assemble and share!

Happy Visiting Teaching!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ft. Lauderdale

On our way to Peru last April, we had almost a 12 hour layover in Ft. Lauderdale.  We decided to get a car and explore the area. 

As our flight landed at 6:00 in the morning, the first order of business was breakfast.  We love trying local restaurants and dives, and we were frantically hungry when we saw this Waffle House.  We don’t have the Waffle House chain in Utah, so we decided to try it.  Apparently, there are quite a few of these on the east coast because as we walked inside, there was a sticker on the door that said “location 971”.   They cheerfully greeted us and showed us to a table.  The Waffle House was not super clean, and the food was far from healthy, but it filled our stomachs.

20140404_073734At breakfast we decided that we were going to take a drive out to the Everglades.  The Everglades are about a 45 minute drive from Ft. Lauderdale, and there are alligators there.  We don’t have alligators in Utah either, so we loaded into the car.

The Fort Lauderdale area is pretty easy to navigate and pretty and green {in the springtime, anyway}.  On the way to the Everglades, we drove past the new Ft. Lauderdale LDS Temple, which was cool. 

20140404_083008The Everglades are huge and have a large variety of plant and animal life.  Since we were limited in our time, we decided to visit Holiday Park.  Holiday Park is the location of the TV show Gator Boys.  I haven’t ever seen an episode, but apparently that’s the place.

fllholidayparkWhen we got there, we signed up for an airboat tour and chatted up some retirees who were fishing off the dock.

20140404_084703The airboat tour was really cool, and if you go to Holiday Park, it’s worth the money to do.  Not only did we see alligators, but we saw all kinds of cool birds and vegetation. 

20140404_095725 20140404_100136 20140404_100928 20140404_100929 20140404_100935 20140404_100941 20140404_101349 20140404_101414And we got to ride in the airboat.

After our tour, we got suckered into purchasing our touristy Airboat Tours picture {mostly because I thought my hair looked pretty good in it}

IMG_2057[1]and then we went to see a short show with the girl from Gator Boys.  She did some dangerous/dumb/cool tricks with some of the rescued gators, and then we paid more money to get our picture taken holding a gator.

So yes, in the end it was an expensive little place, but very cool.

20140404_12330620140404_12433020140404_124449After the Everglades, we went back to Ft. Lauderdale and drove around for a little bit.  We {of course} made a stop at the beach, where I learned that seashells in Ft. Lauderdale are thicker than seashells in Southern California.  Also cool.

After the beach, we found a Cuban restaurant, where the food was just so-so, and then went back to the airport to catch our flight. 

Despite the food, Ft. Lauderdale was nice.  Next trip will include more beach time, a trip to the temple, and more exploring.

Monday, October 6, 2014

October Visiting Teaching Message {The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Bread of Life}

Our physical bodies need food to survive.  We eat breads, fruits and vegetables, meats and dairy, and sometimes treats.  When I go for too long without food, I get grumpy and tired, and my body and mind don’t seem to work as well.

Our spirits also need food to survive.  We read and ponder the scriptures, pray sincerely and attend our meetings.  We try to help others and we partake of the sacrament.  When I go for too long without spiritual food, I get impatient and apathetic, and my spirit feels far away from home.

Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life.  We should look to God each day for help, both physically and spiritually.  He knows us.  He loves us.  He wants to help us.  He wants us to know Him.

IMG_1975[1]I once had a wonderful visiting teacher named Margaret.  She visited every month without fail and would always come with a thoughtful message.  Though we were very different in our day-to-day circumstances, we shared many interests and I loved having her visit and share spiritual bread.

Margaret was also an excellent baker, and shared with me her recipe for Rosemary French Bread, which I made for my sisters this month.

If you are in a pinch for time this month and can’t take the time to make bread, feel free to purchase a loaf of your favorite bread instead to share with your sisters. 

Share physical bread and spiritual bread.

IMG_1977[1]I packaged my bread in paper bag, cut in half and tied with twine.  I made a little paper pocket to put Margaret’s recipe with the message.

If you would like to make your own little pocket, just cut a 12x12 inch sheet of cute paper that is printed on both sides in half, so you have two pieces measuring 6x12 inches.  Fold one side up and secure with staples.  Print the message and the recipe and tuck inside.

Happy Visiting Teaching!

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.


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.


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. 


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.

IMG_0635 IMG_0734

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.

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