Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays...yep, I just did that

Everytime I've used my credit card the last month, this conversation replays itself over and over.
"Oh wow, your last name!! So cute! How fun...happy 'Holidays'"...
Yes, our last name is Holiday.
No, our Christmas card doesn't say "Happy Holidays"
Nope, never heard that are definitely the first person to think of something so clever :)

This Christmas was really wonderful. Last year my family decided we would all go on vacation together for Christmas this year. We looked through websites for different vacation spots, and nothing sounded great, until we were given the opportunity to go to our Uncle's house in Mexico. We were sold. Tyler and Melissa couldn't come because of a brand new addition to their family...little Ammon. We were sad they couldn't come, and missed them, but had so much fun. It's a 10,000 square foot house with five private bedrooms and two pools. There were five people constantly at the house to bring us drinks, food, etc.. At breakfast everyday we would have baskets of fresh fruit and pastries with jam and butter, then would get a choice of a "main" breakfast. Pancakes, french toast, omelette, eggs, bacon, or anything else you can think of. We would pick our lunch and dinner at breakfast each day so they could go out shopping for the ingredients to cook later that day. Carlos, the house manager, is a trained chef and prepared some unbelievable meals. I squeezed some recipes out of him and can't wait to "try" and recreate some of the things he made for us. One of my favorite things he made was homemade pork tamales with a coconut cream dipping sauce to cut the heat of the tamales. It was the best Mexican food I've ever had. You go Carlos. Anyway, we had so much fun playing Christmas music (Although the house staff turned it into a joke that we LOVED Jingle Bells...somehow we had it on repeat for an hour without noticing...oops), drinking hot chocolate and pina coladas, playing games at night, swimming, reading, talking with Carlos and the rest of the house staff. They were the sweetest people. Carlos even had some funny celebrity stories for us about people who had stayed there. We had to DRAG those stories out of him, but finally got a couple. Nothing too juicy. Drat.

Anyway, we had a great time, and Nate and I decided this trip would be our Christmas present to each other. We got back on December 11th, so we had two weeks before Christmas. It was so great to just be able to focus on the point of the season instead of worrying too much about presents and gifts. We did get some things for the baby, but overall it was so nice to not be focused on getting and focus more on giving to other people. We had a few service things we did together that I won't talk too much about on here since that seems awkward and lame..."We are so wonderful!". The only reason I mention it is because it's definitely going to become a tradition for our family to do those things every year. It was a memorable experience that I know we will both never forget.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day were pretty mellow and really special for us. We spent it with my parents and did a lot of the traditional things (Christmas music, movies, food, cookies, etc.). It was a memorable Christmas since this is our last Christmas just the two of us. I can't believe that next year we will have a little boy with us. It's crazy that in two months, give or take some, we are going to be parents. PARENTS. Eeek!

***Pregnancy Update: So far this pregnancy has been great. I haven't been too swollen or achy. I keep waiting for the day I will wake up and be moaning and groaning about how uncomfortable I am...I know it's coming. I hear the last two months are the worst, so I know I'm in for it. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Welcome to our family!

We have some new additions to our family. Just wanted to send a shout out to our new little babies out on the balcony. I never knew I would get so attached to plants, but it's a lot of work picking the right plants, food, fertilizer, soil, pots, etc., etc., etc. Who knew? I sure didn't. I know absolutely nothing about plants. The poor guy helping us literally had to coach us on how to take care of our new babies. I figure it's good practice to take care of some plants before we have a living, breathing human to be responsible for. I'm a little worried about the outcome. If we kill these plants does that mean we will be awful parents? I hope not, because I have a history of killing plants. It started with that little paper cup they give you in elementary school with some dirt and a seed in it. Mine sprouted like it was supposed to, but then I got eager, over watered the poor thing, and it died. I guess if I overfeed our baby, he'll just be a little chubby. That's not death. Yay!

Anyway, we got some parsley, sweet basil, thyme, and a "Patio hybrid" tomato plant. According to our helper guy, it's really difficult to kill any of these plants. Great, all the more reason to feel like an idiot when they don't survive. Even my mom cushioned me for the future death of our plants.

MOM: "Oh, you got some plants?! How exciting!"
B: "Ya, I just hope we don't kill them and they can last a long time."
MOM: "Well, they will probably die eventually, don't feel bad when that happens."

I felt like one of those kids proudly holding their plastic bag from the fair with a goldfish in it, grinning excitedly about their future with the fish, and then someone says, "Well, they don't live long, so when it dies don't be sad". Are my plants "carnival goldfish"? Or does my mom doubt my plant care abilities so much that she is already softening the blow of the inevitable death?

Well, I'll show you guys! (Imaginary people who are judging me that I invented as a way of judging myself). These plants WILL survive! Am I even supposed to call them "plants" when they are herbs? Whatever I don't know. Anyway...I can do this! I'll keep you updated on their growth since I'm sure everyone is VERY interested. I really am attached to these little guys. I'm already worried about our trips we are taking in November and December. I have plans to call a friend to come and water them while we are gone. See?! I'm responsible...I'm calling a babysitter and everything.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh, it was so funny...wait, am I crying?

So I know everyone warns you that pregnancy causes crazy emotions. I've seen those movies with the wife that turns into a big crying, blubbering mess over Kodak commercials as soon as she knows she's pregnant. I know what is "supposed" to happen. I expected to cry over commercials, Oprah, sad songs and movies, or whatever else pregnant women cry about. I did not expect to cry about the things that I've cried about so far. I haven't cried during any commercials. I didn't cry during the one time I watched Oprah (It was really sad by the way). I haven't cried during any sad songs or movies. Everyone else cries, but not one tear from the pregnant lady. I haven't cried over the literally sad things. I will tell you what I've cried about. Ready?

1. Goldfish crackers
2. Possession of the TV remote
3. An episode of Top Chef: Desserts

The Goldfish crackers incident was in the beginning of the pregnancy. I hadn't experienced any cravings, and haven't experienced any since then. It was LATE at night, and suddenly it dawned on me how delicious Goldfish crackers sounded. Nate went to check the pantry for me. No Goldfish. Ok, no big deal. I don't need any crackers right now anyway. No, but wait, you do need those crackers. No I don't. do. No, that's ridiculous, it's just crackers. Yes, yes I need them or I might die. I NEED THEM. I NEED THEM NOW. Then I started crying because I needed those Goldfish. We drove to the grocery store, and Nate bought one of those giant seven dollar cartons of Goldfish. (I don't blame him. If he cried about needing something that ridiculous, I would drive to Costco and buy the biggest one I could find so as to avoid future situations like that). They were the most delicious crackers I've ever tasted in my life.

These stories are going to get progressively crazier. Ready for the remote story? So last weekend we were watching conference. It was the end of the Sunday afternoon session of conference. The closing hymn was finishing up, and the closing prayer was coming up. I reached over to get the remote and mumbled something like, "Oh, I need to DVR something when this is over, and I don't want to forget". So as a joke, when my eyes were closed during the prayer, Nate reaches over and grabs the remote. For whatever reason, I open my eyes when the prayer is over to discover he'd stolen the remote, and I burst into tears. Really. Over a remote control. We were both hysterically laughing, but I still couldn't stop crying. It was like someone had snatched my doll and I was 2 years old.

Ok, so this last story just happened this past Friday afternoon. I drove to meet Nate, my parents, and my sister-in-law Melissa for lunch. Melissa had just flown in from Kansas City to surprise her dad for his birthday that night so we got to hang out with her for the afternoon. It was a really fun lunch, and so fun to see her. Things got a little interesting when I was telling Melissa and my mom about a hilarious episode of Top Chef: Desserts I had just watched that morning. There was a contestant on the show that had a panic attack because he wanted back some paper cups he'd thrown away. The competition was an ice cream sundae competition and he was livid that he no longer had paper cups. He NEEDED these cups. For what reason? Who knows, but he KNEW he was going to lose if he didn't have those blasted cups. There was no talking sense into him. The producers tried to calm him down, but he was furious that they were throwing the competition, and he wanted his cups replaced. Um, ok. Not sure why you need those cups sir, since this is a cooking/baking competition requiring no paper goods. He eventually got so upset that he passed out on the floor and an ambulance had to come and haul him away, and he was eliminated from the competition. I was laughing and trying to convey the story to my mom and Melissa, and then literally out of NOWHERE I started crying. In public. In a crowded restaurant. Apparently my laughing and crying triggers are REALLY closely linked. We all had a good laugh about this, but I'm pretty sure everyone was secretly thinking, "Ok, let me know when you have this baby and we can talk again! Thanks, bye."

Anyway, I've figured out that apparently I have two emotional triggers/things that are really important to me: Food and TV. Don't mess with those. I can read, see, or hear about the saddest things and not one tear, but you take my remote or don't feed me, and LOOK OUT. (Disclaimer: When not pregnant, I cry about regular things like everyone else, but apparently my pregnancy hormones come in the form of FOOD and TV. When the two are combined (Top Chef), it can be catastrophic).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Oh, hi blog. Can we still be friends?

So I haven't written in a little over a month, and really there isn't too much to update on besides the day to day things and pregnancy stuff which I'll spare you from. Well, maybe one pregnancy shout-out: Almost 20 weeks (HALF WAY, are you kidding me???? That went by so fast!) and feeling punches, kicks and swirls everyday now. I love those little kicks because it makes it all the more real that there is an actual person in there.

Anyway, that's the pregnancy update.

So, last night we decided to try a new movie theater in San Juan Capistrano. It's been there a long time, but they recently had it redone and renovated so it's basically brand new. They only have three theaters in the whole thing, but it's a really nice theater. Two regular stadium seating theaters and one VIP theater upstairs with only 50 seats. We got there just in time for the VIP showing of "The Social Network" so we figured why not try it? You pick your seats when you purchase the tickets. There are only 6 rows of 8 seats each. I thought it was a little weird, but when we made our way upstairs, the "hostess" standing at the top of the stairs showed us to our HUGE LEATHER chairs and handed us both menus(We already had dinner, but the menu has appetizers, dinner items, dessert, and the regular movie items so I kind of wished we hadn't eaten dinner already). Each seat has a table tray, cup holder and roomy armrests. Oh, and there is a button you push when you know what you want to order from your personalized server. I felt like I was in the Jetsons. He/She shows up takes your order and brings it to you while you watch the movie, or in our case during the previews (We didn't want to order during the movie). We got a Diet Coke (free refills that they get for you whenever you push the button!), popcorn, Sour Patch Kids, and a fudge brownie with ice cream topped with a little Hawaiian flower and powdered sugar. Are you kidding me? I had no idea theaters like this existed! It was only a sixteen dollar ticket. I know that is pricey for a movie, but I thought it was amazing for the experience. I still can't get over how comfortable the chairs were and how much leg room I had. Well I'm short so who cares, but Nate even had tons of leg room. I can't wait to go again and try the dinner items...they looked pretty delicious from what I could tell.

Well that's pretty much the update for us I guess...if that even counts as an update. Conference weekend was so great as usual, but now that it's over I have a long day of football ahead of me. I just bought a new Mini Donut pan off Amazon a couple days ago that I can't wait to try, so maybe I'll try that today and trade Nate a donut for the remote control. Wish me luck.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thought I would make it "blog official"

We are having a baby!! I still can't believe that there is a little person, scratch that...a little BOY in there. It is unbelievable what the human body is capable of. I think a lot about how much my body is doing without any help from me whatsoever. I know everyone says this, but seriously, what a miracle. We both feel so lucky and so blessed to have this little boy come and live with us in just about six months. Oh my gosh, when I typed that I had a slight panic attack about how soon that sounds! Oh wait, okay, much better. I just thought about some stuff I was doing six months ago, and that seems like a long time ago. All better.

Quick sidenote: My mom is hilarious. I was telling her about my backwards morning sickness. I didn't really have it that bad the first trimester (when you are "supposed" to have it the worst), but all of a sudden in the last week I have thrown up every day. She says, "Oh my gosh, have you heard about that lady that had no morning sickness, and then started getting some a few months later? She was pregnant with a SECOND baby!!!"....Although, that would make a great story, I'd really rather prefer not being pregnant for a year or more. Dear body, please don't start growing a whole new second baby, thanks.

Well, it's been really fun telling friends and family our news and I'm looking forward to getting fat and puffy, "glowy"/sweaty, swollen, achy, etc., etc., etc. It's everything I've always wanted. No sarcasm intended. Thanks for all the love and support! We are really excited!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I tried to think of a creative title and failed so here it is..."Really long post with a lot of pictures"

I'm just getting over a pretty bad cold, so I'm a little lazy, and don't feel like writing a big long intro. Basically, we went to Idaho Falls for the 4th of July to spend some time with Nate's family. It was really fun. We got in Thursday night and arrived at the airport with "Big Nate" holding "Welcome to Idaho Falls Nate and Brittany Holiday" signs. Two of them. You know, just in case we lost one. We felt pretty special. That night we spent lots of time just hanging out and holding new baby Spencer. So cute and tiny, and just a week old! Dawn was a champ for letting everyone stay at her house with a newborn. Oh, we also went to Reed's Dairy to get some homemade FRESH ice cream. What?? Yes, they have real cows out back that you can go pet, while you eat your ice cream.

Anyway, they have delicious ice cream and I wish there was a Reed's in Laguna Niguel. Friday morning we went golfing. Well, Nate, "Big Nate", and Robert golfed. I drove the cart and ate powdered donuts. Friday afternoon, we went with Nate's brother Steve and his little girl Addison, and Robert and Ryan to Bear World. It's about twenty minutes north of Idaho Falls. We had heard it was better than Yellowstone, so how could we not go? Basically, it's a wild animal reserve/park that you drive through...with NO fences between you and the animals. When we first pulled up, we were all a little worried. The entry gates were a little too much like Jurassic Park. Great. The first part was harmless enough, there were some deer, a couple buffalo and a beaver. See?

When you enter the park they tell you to always keep your windows up, and doors locked. Pssh. Windows up? Lame. Hi deer! Hi big, chubby buffalo! Hi wittle beaver!! Oh, oh my gosh, there's a freaking grizzly bear. There are two of them! Put the window up, put the windows up!!! That's pretty much what happened. We thought we were so brave, and then oh, there's a grizzly bear walking right next to the car. It was pretty hot that day so the bears weren't too crazy, but I guess sometimes they will climb on top of your car, or into the bed of your truck. Haha? So much fun? People pay for that experience! I think I'd pee my pants if that had happened to us. I was happy with our lazy bears.

Notice the reflection in the picture on the right, our windows were definitely UP. After you drive through, they have a petting zoo, with baby bears, baby deer, and one adult deer. Or doe? I don't know. Here we are, petting the deer.

The picture of Nate with the deer, cracks me up. They look like they are having a moment. I have some pictures of the baby deer, and bears, but this post is long enough as is and I don't even think it's half way over? Ugh.

Saturday was the big Fourth celebration. Parade in the morning. Street fair in the afternoon and huge fireworks show that night. The parade was awesome, with one especially great highlight. There was an Idaho Falls Diversity float. As in, we accept all races, genders, etc., etc.. Do you want to see the float?

Can you see the diversity? Oh you can't? Here...

"See guys...we are embracing diversity, we found one little African-American boy in the crowd and asked him to be in the parade!" That was pretty funny. In all seriousness, the parade was really great, but that "diversity" float was just hysterical.

The street fair was great. Lots of corn dogs, bratwurst, turkey legs, caramel corn, ice cream and cotton candy.

The fireworks show was definitely the highlight of the day though. "Best fireworks show west of the Mississippi". Seriously, Idaho Falls is known for having one of the best fireworks shows in the country. I was skeptical at first, but WOW. It really was amazing, and lived up to all the hype. Nothing better than cuddling up with family, listening to patriotic music, and watching incredible fireworks.

Sunday morning, we all went to church at Dawn and Nate's ward for Spencer's baby blessing. What a sweet little baby, and we both felt so lucky that we were able to be there for his blessing. After the blessing, we had MORE food, then took off for our flight back to California.

When we got back from Idaho, my parents had made even more food. Cheeseburgers just off the grill, and steaks. So basically we both got our fill of Fourth of July food. "I shouldn't have a steak, a burger, AND a brat....but, it is the Fourth of July. It's what the forefathers would want."

Sunday night, my brother Carter, his wife Heather and their four kids pulled into town for the week. I bet you were thinking I was wrapping stuff up huh? Hang on for a couple more paragraphs and I promise this post is over. We thought we would have lots of beach and pool time, but the weather here decided that wasn't happening. It was cloudy all week. Tuesday we went to Disneyland though, and it was so much fun to watch all the kids on the rides. Here they are on Jungle Cruise. Cutest kids ever.

We managed to get in quite a few rides, despite the crowds. We were all pretty happy about that. Especially Tyson. Look how cute he is. Even when he's tired/grumpy/hungry/wet/poopy/WHATEVER...he always smiles like this. Even when he cries, if you smile at him he will smile back. Always.

The rest of the week was fun too. Lots of food, fun, and pool time. Can you tell I'm done? The beginning of the post I detailed every day in Idaho, and now it's the end and I basically wrapped up a week in a sentence or two. There you have it. Lots of family time. Lots of pictures. Long blog post. The end.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Ruby Anniversary

My parents are such a great example of a happy, successful marriage. They always put the other first, and are constantly laughing together. FORTY years is a big freakin' deal. You go, Mom and Dad.

I guess that the 40th Anniversary is the Ruby Anniversary. I thought about getting you both a giant shiny ruby from the jewelry store worth thousands of dollars, but then thought, HEY, who wants some expensive gemstone? I'll dedicate a blog post to you instead. You're welcome.

Seriously though, I love you both and hope that Nate and I are as happy as you two are in 40 years! (Well, 39 years, but you get the picture).


This picture was a little faded from being in a frame, obviously, but it's one of my favorites. Well, besides this next one.

My favorite picture of my parents to date:

Happy Anniversary lovebirds!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dear Spider, sorry you're dead. No...wait, I'm not sorry.

So you know how some people are a magnet for getting hit in the face with a ball whether it's a soccer game, indoor volleyball, basketball, beach volleyball, etc.? (I'm one of those people btw). You'll be at a sporting event and everyone is laughing and having a great time, but there is one person that is dodging balls no matter how far away they are landing. Everyone else takes note and starts laughing at this person. "What is wrong with you? They aren't going to hit you! The ball is WAY over there!"....."No, you don't understand, no matter where I'm at I ALWAYS get hit in the face with a ball."....."Hahaha, oh you, you are just paranoid, that won't happen, don't worry!"....."Ya, you're probably right, I guess I AM just being paranoid, I mean it hasn't happened in a really long ti..."


"Oh my gosh, are you okay?"....."Yep. I'm fine."

I just realized while typing this that maybe I'm the only person this happens to? All this time I figured there had to be other people out there that this always happens to...but, maybe there aren't? Either way, my point is that I'm a magnet for getting hit in the face at sporting events and one other awful thing that no one should have to experience.

Exhibit A. About 5 or 6 years ago, I was getting home from a bon fire, and went to pull my sweatshirt over my head to change for bed. I'm not sure what made me do it, but I opened my eyes right when the sweatshirt was at the mid-way point of coming off. Basically, the pocket part was in my face. Guess what likes pocket parts of sweatshirts? Oh, just really big, black spiders. One had nestled his way into my sweatshirt pocket and had chosen that exact moment to appear, and then proceeded to crawl down my sweatshirt aka up towards my face. Awesome. I'm trapped inside my sweatshirt with a huge spider. The only escape is to pull my head through, risking getting the spider into my hair, which is basically my worst nightmare. Anyway, somehow I punched myself in the face, screamed, and threw off my sweatshirt all at once. One of my finer moments.

Exhibit B. Three years ago, I was driving home from a friend's house late at night, when I felt a creepy, crawly feeling inside the front of my shirt. Oh great. I refused to open my shirt, look down and risk a bug running up my chest onto my face while I was driving. I'm pretty sure that would have caused an accident. Anyway, my solution: pound my chest repeatedly, really hard, until I didn't feel creepy, crawlies anymore. Then when I got into the safety of my garage, I ripped my shirt off and jumped around like an idiot so I wouldn't have to see the spider carcass on my body. There it was...dead and mangled to pieces on the garage floor.

Exhibit C. Today. 4:30pm. Walking in the door from church and a family gathering. I decide to forget changing my clothes into pajamas and just went directly to my bed. I cuddled up under the comforter and began messing with my phone. Nate came into the room a couple minutes later and lays down next to me. I felt that familiar creepy, crawly thing I'd felt a couple years ago under my knee. Part of me thought, "Oh, I'm sure it's just a hair or something tickling my leg". So I mention the tickly feeling to Nate who then mid-laugh about my paranoia, flings the blanket back. It only took me about a second the register the look on Nate's face. There was a spider on my leg. You would think I would do the logical thing and hold still while he killed it, but I immediately leap out of the bed thrashing my legs and arms and hair around like I'm possessed. Then I think I ran into the other room while ripping my skirt off and shaking my hair all over the place??....oh, and I'm hysterically screaming and crying through all of this. Every couple of seconds I look at Nate to tell me, "Oh it's okay, I see him...he's dead". That didn't happen. About a minute later, I'm still crying hysterically, almost completely undressed and flipping my hair all over the place. Really. I did this. ***Long story short, after about thirty minutes of looking for the spider we found remnants of his little legs all over the bed sheets. RIP Mr. Spider. I'm glad Nate didn't tell me what actually happened until after I calmed down. He said when he lifted the blanket back, he watched a HUGE spider crawl QUICKLY all the way up my leg into my skirt. At which point, I had seen the look on his face and re-enacted my own version of the Exorcist.

Take away message: I guess I make a nice home for spiders. I've always liked to think I was a good hostess, but spiders, you are not welcome here.

***For the record, if we hadn't found his body, I would not be sleeping in that bed tonight. Or ever again. For the sake of my sanity, I'm so glad we found that body.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A few delicious recipes

So for Nate's birthday we were in Hawaii and ate dinner at Tommy Bahama with friends and family, which was great, but I wanted to celebrate again when we got home so I would have an excuse to cook something. I haven't been able to cook as much lately because we have been moving around a lot, so when I get the chance I get really excited. In the beginning, this dinner started off being really complicated. I was going to make everything from scratch and go all out. Chicken lettuce wraps, cream cheese wontons, combination chow mein (with chicken and shrimp), and coconut cake from scratch. Sounded so delicious, but the closer his "birthday" got, the more I procrastinated going to the store to purchase all of the items to make this feast. Oops. So, Saturday night rolled around, (this dinner was planned for Sunday) and my laziness set in. Quick sidenote: Nate only really requested the chow mein part, so I didn't feel THAT guilty for giving up on all the other items. So basically, what I ended up making was some chow mein and I found a really simple strawberry pie recipe on The Pioneer Woman. Strawberries are so fresh (and CHEAP) right now, it seemed like the perfect dessert.

For the chow mein, you just cut up some chicken into bite-size pieces and then marinate it for a few hours in teriyaki sauce (You can buy one from the store, or make your own---mix soy sauce and brown sugar to start and add stuff like sesame seeds, garlic and ginger to make it taste a little better). Then you boil some udon noodles. I was going to do Chinese egg noodles, but the udon noodles had a really good texture and tasted great so either way. The boiling process for udon noodles takes about 15-20 minutes, so part way through that you can start sauteeing the chicken in a wok. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder (Nate hates onions, but I like the taste so we compromise with the onion powder), garlic powder and ground ginger. Once, the chicken is no longer pink on the outside you can add the vegetables (napa cabbage, bok choy, shitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, sugar snap peas). Sprinkle with salt and add more sauce if you want. Saute the vegetables just until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Add the shrimp until just cooked through. It's really easy to overcook shrimp so be careful. Mine actually overcooked a little bit because I was distracted by "Three Men and a Little Lady". Don't judge me. I love that movie. Anyway, then at the end you just toss the cooked noodles in with everything and serve it.

This turned out really delicious and we were really happy that I hadn't made all that other stuff to go with it. We were stuffed from just this, and the strawberry pie was the perfect dessert. Light and tart with a little whipped cream on top.

Strawberry Pie recipe:

1 whole Pre-baked Regular Pie Crust
1 cup Granulated Sugar
¼ cups Cornstarch
¼ cups Strawberry Gelatin, Dry (jello)
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
½ teaspoons Strawberry Extract
1-½ cup Water
1-½ pound Fresh Strawberries, Hulled And Cut In Half
Whipped Cream For Garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of your pie shell with parchment paper or foil. Place pie weights or dry beans on the paper. Pre-bake the pie crust until golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes. When done, remove pie weights, beans and parchment paper. Let the pie crust cool completely on a wire rack.

While your pie crust is cooling, prepare the strawberry filling. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, gelatin, lemon juice, strawberry extract and water in a medium size pot. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook until the mixture thickens, whisking often. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Arrange the strawberries in the baked pie shell. Pour the filling over the strawberries, coating them completely. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

**Next time I make this pie, I want to try my own pie crust. The store bought crust was good, but it was a little on the DRY side instead of being flaky and buttery...maybe it has something to do with the brand I got. Who knows. Hopefully, I'll have better luck next time.

Ok, one more recipe that is completely unrelated to the others, but was so good that I have to share. It was originally a Bobby Flay recipe and then was adapted and posted by Two Peas and Their Pod. You know those delicious pretzel bites you get at the mall? These are exactly like them, but you can make them at home! They taste almost the same, and they are really easy to make...

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse salt (sea salt or Kosher)

Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Serve with cheese sauce.

Cheddar cheese sauce:
½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
½ Tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ cup milk
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the Cheddar cheese until smooth and all of the cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

I didn't take a picture when I made them so this pretty picture was borrowed from the same blog. Make these. Now. They are that good.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things I should be doing rather than blogging

*Laundry. It's sad really. I have little piles separated into whites, lights and darks in our bedroom (We have a really cute hamper actually that I think came from Pottery Barn? But the poor guy is rarely used. Yes, I said guy. I like to assign genders to inanimate objects. My car is female. My computer is male. My Kitchen-Aid is female. And yes, my hamper is male. Don't ask me my reasoning on why some objects are male and some are female. It's just a vibe.) Anyway, Monday I will finally put a load in the washer. Tuesday I take it out and throw it into the dryer. Wednesday I pull it out of the dryer. Thursday I fold and put away and guess what? Oh, ya know... a whole new load of laundry has produced itself from the clothes worn on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Awesome. So basically, I have an eternity of laundry ahead of me. Actually about once a month I will do laundry for an ENTIRE day and start with a clean slate, in hopes that the next month I will conquer doing laundry in a timely manner, but nevertheless the next week I'm in the same position I always am. Don't get me wrong, every few months I will have a stellar month and have fresh smelling, wrinkle-free laundry folded and nicely put away at all times, but for the most part my laundry style is chaotic...and I'm perfectly okay with that. Some people are laundry superstars. I am just not one of those people.

*Watching TV. You might think that sounds stupid. Who puts watching TV on a list of things they should be doing instead of blogging? Isn't watching TV pretty much in the same category as blogging? Both are pretty much a waste of time, right? but you don't understand all the shows I have to catch up on. There are at least 7 or 8 shows sitting on the DVR waiting to be watched. I'm afraid to look at Facebook or anything online because I'm afraid of spoilers. I've watched the main shows I was afraid of people spoiling for me. LOST series finale wasn't perfect, but I still loved it. Grey's Anatomy season finale gave me nightmares. The Bachelorette was ridiculous. Really Derrick? Shooter? Why would you tell her that story? Oh ya, that's right, everyone is drunk and they film at 4 o'clock in the morning.

*Exercising. I used to exercise every day. Well, that lasted for maybe two weeks, but I can still say "I used to exercise every day" and it's not a lie. I did. Really though, I always sleep better, have less headaches, eat better and just generally feel better when I go to the gym. I need to start going again.

Ok, I'm done blogging AND I have the perfect solution to all three of these things. I'm going to fold laundry while watching the finale of Biggest Loser. Yes! Laundry. TV. Exercising...well, watching other people exercise (baby steps).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my adorable, kind, patient, loving, humble, Christlike mom. Love you cute lady, you are the best mom anyone could ever ask for...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The last year, according to an iPhone

A few weeks ago, Nate got a new phone from work so he gave me his used iPhone. If you know me you know how much I hate change when it comes to my electronics. I will have something forever and really struggle with replacing it. My very first cell phone was ridiculous and huge, but I wouldn't part with it. Everyone else had their Nokia phones playing Snake, but I was perfectly content with my huge awkward phone. I didn't replace it until it was stolen at the beach (How did they know where I had craftily hidden my stuff? I even dug a hole and safely put my purse under the towel in the hole? Oh...everybody does that? Thanks for the tip Mr. Police Officer). I cried when I realized I wouldn't be able to buy the exact same phone because it was no longer being manufactured. Didn't they understand that this was the only phone I wanted? Oh, you have new, shiny, exciting phones with awesome ringers? Nope, don't care. I want my Motorola flat phone with about two functions on it.

Anyway, I eventually came to terms with my loss and got accustomed to my new phone. I don't know the brand, I just know it had a REALLY bright blue screen. I didn't replace that one until two years later when the screen went blank. In order to see anything on the screen, like who was calling or texting, I had to push really hard on the cover until finally something would appear. You would think I would have gone to replace my phone after a day of not being able to see the screen. I'm pretty sure it was about six months before I finally decided I'd had enough of squeezing my phone so hard I was getting calluses. The next phone I purchased was exactly the same bright blue screened phone. Yes they still had them in stock! You might think I'd hate that phone enough in order to not get the same one again in case that screen thing happened again, but you would be wrong. Of course, after about a year, the screen thing happened again. Shocking. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I finally wised up and joined the flip phone crowd. Flip, close. Flip, close. All the time. Something about the noise of the flip phone closing was fun for me? Flip, close. Flip, close. Flip...oops. Dropped it into toilet water. Awesome. Oh and don't worry. I kept my toilet phone. Just in case I wanted to look at pictures on it or something? I don't know. Next phone was my Chocolate phone. Good phone...bla bla bla. I'm really attached to it. I've had it for almost three years I think? Anyway, so a few weeks ago Nate says, "Hey, I'm getting a new phone for want to have my iPhone?".
---"Ummmm, I'm not sure. Can I think about it for a couple days?"
---"Brit, it's practically a new phone...look at your phone. You've dropped it at least a hundred times and you can have the internet, look up recipes, play games on this one?" (All REALLY good selling points)
---"I know......but, I LOVE my phone. I've had this phone for like three years and I'm used to it. Meh. I don't know."

Nate thought this was hilarious. I see nothing funny about this. I get attached to inanimate objects. Really attached. After three or four days of thinking I decided to switch to his phone and "toss" my phone. By toss, I mean store it with my toilet phone for safe keeping. I now have two unused phones in my possession, one of which may or may not even work.

So it's been few weeks, and I love my new phone. It took me a day or two, but now I'm obsessed. It's going to be really hard for me to replace this one. Fingers crossed that I don't drop it in the toilet or get it stolen. Anyway, getting to the point of this post, it was fun to look through all the pictures on the phone that Nate has taken from this last year. I thought it would be fun to post some of them on here (definitely not in the right order, oh well):

Nate on the pier in San Clemente

Sammy at the Kolache Factory in Houston (I had never heard of Kolache's, but they are GOOD!

On the way to Denver for work, maybe?

Best BBQ in Houston, Swinging Door

Dana Point Harbor with Dad and Janice when they came for a visit

Nate at a Broncos game with Harv


Newport Temple from a couple weeks ago when the flowers were blooming

Monday, April 5, 2010

Just because it's been awhile

I refuse to to let my blog start to make me feel guilty, even though I'm kind of contradicting myself when the title of this post is, "Just because it's been awhile". Oh well. Here comes the massive update:

A few weeks ago, Nate and I decided to go on a trip to celebrate our one year anniversary early before he started his new job mid-March. We ended up going back to the Virgin Islands. We thought about going somewhere different, but we found a really good deal on tickets and couldn't pass up the chance to go back. It was just as beautiful as we remembered. We did a lot of laying out (minues the two days that it rained), a lot of ordering fruity drinks, a little snorkeling, and definitely a lot of eating. The rainy days were beautiful too, but definitely brought out lots of people with "cabin fever" and too much to drink. We made friends with some people in the hot tub, or at least they thought we were friends.

Nice older couple wanting to relax: Mind if we squeeze in here?
Nate: Only if you're loud...
"Loud=having the most fun" group: WOOO!!! we're loud! YAAA!!
A girl from "Loud=fun" group: Did you know I know all the words to "I'm a Be" by the Black Eyed Peas?? I do! I'll sing it! WOOOOO!! I'm a be ....muffled. I'm a be ...muffled. YA!!
Nate: Yep...pretty good
A girl from "Loud=fun" group: I need another drink and then I'll do the dance too!!

We ended up leaving before she got her next drink. Although, now I wish we would have stayed because I'm pretty sure the combination of rain, a hot tub, singing, trying to dance like Fergie and being drunk would be quite the entertaining performance. We missed out.

Anyway, we had a good time.

Nate on our balcony

At the Baths on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Marina Cay Island, BVI

Last Night

So this last weekend was our "real" anniversary and I had said multiple times that we should just stay at home and watch a movie or something since we had already celebrated, but Nate surprised me. When he got home from work we got dressed and he had booked a night at the Dana Point Laguna Cliffs Marriott. We went and had a really yummy dinner at Vue, and were both thrown off by the "Good Evening" from the server. Nate: "Oh, um good evening", Me: "Oh, uh hi". You KNOW he was thinking, "Oh crap...waters, no appetizers and lots of free bread!" After dinner we went to the pool and hot tub, then watched a little Sportscenter since Duke was playing the next day for their spot in the championship game tonight. Let's be honest for one second. I'm fully aware that if the Duke game had been on Friday instead of Saturday our night would have definitely been spent in front of the TV with pizza, and I'll be completely okay with that when that happens. I know it will happen sometime in our marriage because our anniversary happens to fall really close to the end of March Madness and I married a HUGE basketball fan.

***Quick sidenote--I will officially be cheering for Duke tonight (in order to keep a certain guy I live with happy), but if Butler wins I wouldn't be THAT sad. They are the underdog!! I HAVE to root for the underdog!

Last but definitely not least...Easter. What a great weekend for Easter to fall on. I loved reflecting on Christ's life this past week and thinking about all of the events that lead up to his resurrection, and then to get to listen to the apostles and a living prophet speak to us on Sunday morning. What a perfect start to Easter. We finished off our Easter sunday with a huge dinner with my parents. I made a Roast Leg of Lamb, potatoes, homemade rolls, sauteed broccolini (not the same as broccoli), and a spinach salad with avocado, strawberries, cranberries, toasted walnuts and poppyseed dressing. For dessert I made a Strawberry cake with strawberry cream cheese meringue frosting that I found online. So delicious. We are definitely keeping this recipe.

The frosting looks messy at the bottom because I didn't use parchment paper, but I wasn't too crazy about making sure it was perfect since it was just us and my parents.

I hope everyone had a great Easter spending time with family and reflecting on Christ's life, atonement and resurrection. We love you!

GO DUKE! (and Butler...don't tell!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Disneyland update

In case anyone was wondering, the line for Peter Pan has about 10 adults to every 1 child. My favorite people in line were the REALLY old people holding hands. At first I thought maybe they were with their grandchildren or something, but no, they just wanted to come and ride Peter Pan like they did when they were kids. Made my day...well that, and the four churros, peanut brittle, chocolate and Cookies and Cream ice cream that we ate that day. It's Disneyland. Calories don't count.

Overall, I think that Disneyland may have kicked our butts. We brought my parents with us and by the end of the day we were all exhausted. I think I might need to start working out again if I can't handle walking around and standing periodically for half of a day. That's pretty pathetic.

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's not my fault, eBay made me do it

So, eBay is great. You have that pair of jeans (purse, shirt, shoes...whatever) that you never wear and want to get rid of, but don't want to be wasteful so why not sell them right? Great idea. I love SELLING things on eBay, but buying things on eBay is a whole other story.

A little background. I am not a naturally competitive person. I know...everyone says that and it turns out they are the MOST competitive ones. The secretly competitive are the most intense type of competitive and by far the most entertaining to talk to in the middle of a heated game. No sympathy or compassion whatsoever. Winning is the ultimate goal. Something to the extent of this:

Person A: Oh no, I'm not competitive at ALL...I love games just for the fun of it, who cares who wins right? People who are competitive are so weird. It's just a game ya know?
***An hour later***

Person A: NO!!! That doesn't count! You said, "Hawaii", not "The Hawaiian Islands" like the card says. It's not the right answer.
Innocent Bystander: Umm...that's the same thing.
Person A: No, no it's not. The card clearly says "The Hawaiian Islands", and that is NOT what you said! Sorry, no point.
Innocent Bystander: But...that's what it means. Hawaii is Hawaii right?
Person A: I guess, but not in this game. The rules clearly state you have to say what is on the card or you are wrong! Don't try and cheat!!! Rules are rules.

ANYWAY, I'm really not competitive, but that all changes on eBay. It brings out the worst in me. Something about the anonymity. I just have this picture in my head of some really annoying person bidding against me. Some man with a loud, awful cackling laugh who is having grapes fed to him or something. Poor me. I really want this item, and this terribly mean person is trying to outbid me sneakily so that he/she can win it instead. Nate and I have been wanting to go to Disneyland for a couple of weeks, and I decided I'd buy some tickets online. There were great prices on eBay, and all I had to do to win them was bid at the perfect moment! I could do this! I've done this before so it should be the same right? Turns out, it's pretty hard to win Disney tickets. I would know, because I tried four times and kept losing in a bidding war the last twenty seconds of the auction. That obnoxious grape-eating man wants MY Disneyland tickets!! Anyway, so I tried again for the fifth time. Someone had bid $102.50 with 2 hours left. It stayed that way until the last two minutes, and then the price started going up really fast. All the anonymous sleepers came out of nowhere! You know...those mean, cackling, grape-eating people. The price jumped up to $145.00 in less than two minutes. I kept waiting and then the last fifteen seconds I bid $170 (Which by the way is about 20 dollars more than I told myself I wanted to bid, but when people start bidding so fast like that I lose all rationale...I told you, I can't help it! I HAVE to beat these ANNOYING people...who, by the way, I recognize are most likely people just like me).

***Side note: when you decide to bid in the last fifteen seconds like that you had better hope your internet doesn't go out. That has happened to me before and I screamed things at the computer that are unrepeatable.

Anyway, after I put my bid in I was redirected to the main page...and I finally won! I ran around the house yelling for about an hour. I had an eBay coupon so the grand total for 4 tickets to Disneyland was only $138.00! Thirty five bucks a person? Definitely worth the sweaty palms that wouldn't go away for two hours after the auction. I recognize that I'm crazy, and that there is something wrong with me when two days later just writing about this still makes me nervous...and my palms are sweating again. It's worth it though because I haven't been this excited to go to Disneyland since I was six years old.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy early Valentine's Day...

Just thought I would put this out there, and in a year if we still have a blog we can see if we've made any progress on our non-talents. We haven't so far...this picture was taken last May, and still no progress.

I can't wink. I've tried. It doesn't work. Nate likes to make me try a lot. I don't know why? I don't look stupid or anything.

Nate can't frown. Serious. He can't. It's really funny actually when he's trying to make a puppy face or a pouty lip and this is the result.

"Oh...duh" moments

You know them. Everyone has them. If you don’t, I want to be best friends with you so that maybe your brilliance will rub off on me. Nate just had one the other day, and it made me feel so much better because I have these moments at least once a day. You know, this type of thing:

-“Where are my sunglasses? Seriously, where are they? I think someone stole my sunglasses!!!”
-“They’re on your head.”

Well, anyway, Nate had one and it really is fun to be there for these types of situations when you’re not the one looking stupid. We are driving along and Nate, wearing his earpiece (because it’s illegal to drive and talk on your phone here), says “Call ‘Bob’”…I can’t remember who he was trying to call and it’s not important to the story so let’s just stick with Bob. Again, “Call ‘Bob’”. “What is wrong with this stupid thing??” I look over and see that he’s really frustrated at this point. Then he says, “Oh, where’s my phone?”…Awesome.

So I have seen some pretty lame movies lately. The Lovely Bones was awful. I went with my mom since she had read the book, and wanted to see it. I was bored so off we went. I thought the actress that played Susie was darling and Stanley Tucci was terrifying but other than that, this movie was ridiculous. Apparently when we die, we go to heaven and dress up in roller skates, glitter, and neon makeup while dancing around doing nothing, accompanied by some stranger (who by the way talks ten octaves too high and made my ears want to bleed). Oh also, if you die before your first kiss…don’t worry, you can possess some gothic girl’s body, somehow look like yourself, and proceed to kiss your crush. He won’t mind. In fact, he’ll just say “Oh, hey! Susie! Weren’t you murdered? How is this happening? Whatever, let’s make out”. Oh, and I think the people who put together the music for this movie stole the music from “The More You Know” commercials. Just listen:
Click on the clip called "You are Beautiful".

On a final note, if you are trying to multi-task and aren’t very good at it…DO NOT BAKE! One time, I was on the phone while trying to bake cookies. I reached into the oven to pull out the cookies without an oven mitt. That’s not a good idea.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My close call...well, not REALLY

I'm really trying to think hard and understand why I have this very real fear of mine. I am always terrified that someone is just outside my house ready to pounce as I search for my keys to open the door; just around the corner in the dark house ready to bash me over the head; right underneath my car ready to slice my Achille's heel so I'll be unable to escape them; creeping outside my bedroom window at night waiting for me to fall asleep so they can creep in my house and get me, etc., etc., etc. It's ridiculous. It's irrational.

I'm thinking it might have something to do with watching too many episodes of Unsolved Mysteries as a child. I didn't watch TGIF like a normal kid. Well, that's a lie...I watched that too (back when it was good and had Full House, Family Matters and Step by Step...not that weird Teen Angel show or Sabrina the Teenage Witch), but then I'd watch 20/20 right after TGIF and freak myself out right before bedtime. Perfect. This isn't a new fear of mine either. When I was younger and left at home "alone" (there was Tyler, but he was useless considering a murderer would be at least 5'7"? Tyler was maybe 70 pounds and not yet 5 feet tall (How tall is an 11 year old??)). Watch out murderer man. Anyway, I would figure out places in the house that I would hide if an intruder did indeed break in. My first option was my parent's closet, IN THE HAMPER...that was a really bright idea. What the? My other escape route was to jump the fence in our backyard, army roll into the neighbor's yard and call for help. Ya, JUMP the fence. I wouldn't go near that fence any regular day because of my fear of garden lizards (that is a WHOLE other story). I guess I thought my 8 year old adrenaline would kick in and I'd be able to jump that fence with so much stealth agility that the intruder would be unaware of my escape. I think subconsciously I always knew that plan was flawed. I'd have nightmares where the bad guy would meet me on the other side of the fence by the time my slow, clumsy self made it over the top of the fence.

I also had a huge fear of fires. Thanks Rescue 911. That was William Shatner's finest moment in his career, by the way. "All of these stories and more tonight on Rescue...911". I had plans for these fires too. Every night before I'd go to sleep I'd pick two stuffed animals that I'd take with me in case I woke up to a flash fire and I'd have no time to decide which animals to take. Because that would be tragic. Anyway, my plan was to pop out the window in my bedroom, climb out onto the roof and jump (yes, jump) from the second floor down onto the CONCRETE planter and finally to safety. I felt so prepared in my nightgown, with my suitcase and stuffed animals packed every night. Little did I know, that "small" jump to the planter with animals and suitcase in hand would have most likely broken my legs, but at least I'd have my stuffed animals to comfort me in the hospital.

ANYWAY, these stories were leading somewhere. I finally got over my fear of fires. The murderer one is still deeply imbedded, however. Just last night, I locked all the windows and doors at our house, including the door into our bedroom. I always lock that door when Nate is in Denver for work. I guess I figure if someone breaks in and meets with a locked bedroom door they'll give up? Anyway, at exactly midnight I hear this loud beeping/buzzing. It wakes me up and I freak out of course. Even five minutes later when I figure out it's the sound of a bedroom alarm in the other bedroom I'm still freaking out. Are you ready for this logic I somehow worked out in my head? I call Nate and this is our exact conversation.

B: Hey, the alarm clock in the other bedroom is going off, will it turn off by itself eventually?
N: It should, but why can't you just go turn it off?
N: Um, ok. Well I'm pretty sure you would have heard someone break in, but if it will make you feel better I think it will turn off by itself in like ten minutes. (He loves me. It would have been perfectly fine for him to say "What is wrong with you? Just go turn it are nuts", but he didn't.)
B: Ok, I'll wait it out.

Ten minutes later...I call him back

B: It still didn't turn off. Stay on the phone with me and call the cops if someone kills me.

Really. This happened. I recognize I am ridiculous. This isn't the first time I have done something like this. I do things like this at least five times a year. I think it's better to be paranoid and have that paranoia pay off in a real situation than be cool and get killed right? So what if I carry my keys in between my fingers to stab someone in the eyes if they try to attack my at my car? So what if I have to call someone everytime I'm walking somewhere in the dark? And, so what if I call Nate when I think someone is in our house and is strategically using an alarm clock as a weapon. Ok, that one is just crazy. I need to stop watching murder/mystery shows. Moral of this blog post: Don't let your kids watch Unsolved Mysteries. Ever.