Sunday, December 11, 2011

2011 Christmas Tree Cutting Extravaganza

This year, as with every other year, we had a great time searching for the perfect Christmas tree. This has been such a fun tradition (my parents would take us out as kids growing up, and Brad and I continue the tradition with my parents still---Kass couldn't make it this year, which was too bad). This year we kind of kicked the tradition off a few weeks early by going up to Soldier Hollow at 6:00am to pick up our wrist bands for tree permits. Becuase the actual permits are not given out until 8:00am we hit up The Hub in Heber for breakfast. I'm hoping this will be a new kick-start to the tradition for the upcoming years as well :)

We loaded up the truck and headed up Daniel's Summit this year to start our annual tree cutting extravaganza. It was Charlie's first year of joining us in the adventure and he had a BLAST. We let him run off his leash and I was so impressed at how well he did at coming when called and sticking around by us. What a good dog! He had a hair cut just the week before and so we bought him a little coat (I know, I know...) to wear for the occasion. His poor little toes were covered in hardcore iceballs by the time we were done....I have seen dog snowboots at Sportsman's Warehouse before, and like you are probably doing right now I giggled and made fun, but after this trip I can totally see why people buy them for their dogs. Santa may be bringing Charlie a pair this year because he LOVES the snow but could barely stand after we got back to the truck due to the iceballs.

After searching for a couple hrs for the perfect trees to take home, we hauled them back up to the truck where we continued our tradition of building a fire, roasting hot dogs, and drinking hot cider. It was a ton of fun, and luckily we didn't have any huge mishaps like we did the last year we went (although, that trip was one of the very most memorable so far and we still love to talk and laugh (now that we can) about it!)

Abominable Snow Dog:

Charlie was constantly trying to get in the front of the line:

Checking to see if it's the right/legal tree to cut...turns out it might not've been, but they took it home (hehe)

Mommy, daughter:

I think this speaks for itself:

Mom & Dad

"What's next?!"

Family photo opp:
Poor Charile wore himself out and decided to nestle in the snow as we cut down our tree

Charlie & I have matching coats:

Hauling out their tree:

Roasting dogs & drinkin cider after the tree hunt:

And of course it was a NO BRAINER that I just HAD to decorate our tree in cupcakes this year! I made some really cute, realistic cupcake ornaments (from cupcake liners, small foam balls & spackle frosting). I was so excited to finally be able to put them on the tree.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 Holiday Card

Well...I lasted a whole, hmm....4 days maybe....before I broke down to share our holiday card this year. Yup, I'm THAT excited. Brad's sister Amy was kind enough to take the super cute photo for us (and she didn't even call us our face anyway ;) I love including Charlie on our photos, with such a cute face, how could we resist!?

I decided to go with a 4x8 size this year which I think is a lot of fun. The chevron pattern is one of my favorites so of course I had to incorporate that into the design & I have been on a yellow/gray combo kick lately so of course that was in order for this as well. Of the 3 holiday cards we've done since being married I think this one is my favorite.

We're super excited for the holidays and will be making our annual tree-cutting trip this Saturday which is always a guaranteed blast. It is such a fun tradition. I have decided to decorate my tree in cupcakes this year, and have been working on to come!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Happily Ever After: 3 years

Boy how time flies! Seems like not long ago we were driving to Manti on our way to get hitched with butterfly stomachs. Yesterday we celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary, and since we were also married on our 5 year "dating" anniversary it made for 8 years worth of celebrating!

We have been wanting a smoker for quiet some time now and decided that's what we wanted to do for each other for our anniversary gift instead of going on a trip for the weekend as we initially had talked about. (Besides, a smoker lasts longer anyway :) We've had a lot of fun with it and have put it to LOTS of use in the short week or two that we've had it. We have done brisket, ribs, chicken (a couple of times), pizza, and today I made some s'more cupcakes on it. Yum!

So we decided to stick around town this year which was fun. We both took the day off of work and it was nice to kind of kick back and just spend all day together. We started the day off with a trip to Kneaders for an all-you-can-eat french toast breakfast. If you haven't had their french toast, you are missing out, it's amazing! We then went "out on the town" (I just like to say that..) and hit up Sportsman's and the mall and just bummed around for the most part. We followed that up with a nap (while we're not 80 yrs old, this was rather enjoyable), a trip to the theater to see Moneyball (great movie), and then dinner at Costa Vida followed by snugglin on the couch while watching our favorite Monday evening TV shows. To some, it sounds like a run-of-the-mill type of day, but I think Brad and I both could agree that it was awesome. I really love that we, for the most part, are perfectly content just doing little things and enjoying each other's company. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant to be just as memorable or enjoyable. Simple is good, life is good.

For those of you who are wondering if we still even have faces's been a LOOOONG time since I've posted photos of Brad and I, so proof that we do is below.And of course, what's a post...or celebration for that matter, without pics of Charlie? He was very excited about our anniversary too as you can see.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preserving the Summer

I may have just found another domestic hobby that I enjoy...canning. Seems like I have been going crazy the past few weeks canning any and everything (watch out Charlie! You might be next!)

This year was the first for Brad and I to have a garden--benefit of renting your in law's home while they are away--and while I absolutely HATED the prep work to plant--both Brad and I have really enjoyed watching our little plants grow, produce, and feed our bellies!

Our intent for the garden was to be able to can salsa, but our tomatoes have seemed to have had a tough time ripening enough at once to do so, so we have been enjoying fresh salsa throughout the summer and it has been delicious! We planted the tomatoes, onions (next year will be better now that I know to break up the onions in the pkg you buy and plant them individually rather than in the clump you buy them in, haha! They each seriously got to be about the size of radishes, but were good none-the-less), green peppers, jalapenos, habenero peppers (while plant shopping I recognized the name from the Food Network Channel and bought 3 plants...turns out one thing I DIDN'T remember was that they are way high up there on the "hot" scale for peppers...good thing we like spicy stuff and I only bought 3 vs 6 jalapeno plants we planted), zucchini, yellow squash, lemon cucumbers (that we only saw a few of has Lucy really seems to enjoy them and frequently treated herself to them before we could pick them) and some poor bean plants that never made it through the cold beginning.

After finding a canner at Walmart for $19 (best $19 I've spent in a long time), I decided to start preserving some of our summer goods! Here is what I have put up so far:

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (done earlier this summer with my mom--totally yummy)
  • Jalapenos (pickled)
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Rhubarb-Orange Jam
  • Peach Freezer Jam
  • Apricot Freezer Jam
  • Applesauce (to come in the next few weeks)
I guess I have been rather ambitious this year, and hopefully this doesn't come back to bite me next year by making me look bad if I don't produce the same results! Nothing like a healthy competition with yourself eh? Overall I have really enjoyed preserving food and am looking forward to expanding our garden next year for even more opportunities!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Recent Happenings

Well, it's obvious I've been a terrible blogger lately. So here is a "catch-up" post of what we've been up to.

  • After over a year of dreaming and talking about it, we bought ourselves a 4 wheeler. We have had a lot of fun on it so far, and enjoy going out and spending time on it together. And when I say "together" I mean, all 3 of us--including Charlie. He loves the 4 wheeler like you wouldn't believe. As soon as that thing starts up, Charlie is barking and crying in excitement. He may be a little obsessed. He LOVES to run while we ride it, and we were impressed at how well he did, we thought for sure he'd be all over off the trail and running off but we quickly found that once he got so far ahead of us to where we couldn't see him any more, he'd be stopped in the middle of the trail looking back and waiting til he could see us again. I think we were both amazed, and it really is cute to see him looking back every so often to see if we are still coming, with his big ol' tongue hanging out the side of his mouth and the happiest look you'd ever see on a dog's face
  • My parents also have a 4 wheeler, so we took a trip up to Fairview one weekend to camp and ride ATV trails. SO MUCH FUN. The weather was absolutely perfect, the scenery was beautiful and we rode over 70 miles on various trails that weekend. Luckily, for Chuck, we rigged up what is known to us as "Charlie's Hillbilly Box". It's a wooden "basket" of sorts for Charlie to ride in on long trail rides (while he loves running next to or a head of the wheeler, there is no way that big pooch could've survived running over 70 miles that weekend). He loves riding in the box, luckily and surprisingly, and it works out perfect for longer trips! (see photos below of this glorious invention).
  • We went to Arizona. Brad's brother, Steve, moved down to Glendale for dental school and so we traveled down with him to haul a U-haul trailer with our truck. Let me just tell you, the Phoenix/Glendale area is no where I would want to be for longer than 5 minutes. Talk about melting! (I really hope that Steve is surviving). It was such an intense heat! Of course, Charlie came along for the 13 hr drive and seriously slept in the backseat THE ENTIRE ride. Amazing! I thought for sure we'd have a stir-crazy 60lb dog on our hands, so I was happy about that! (I have some hilarious photos of Charlie's sleeping positions on the trip, but they aren't on my comp right now. I'll put them up sometime). Traveling home we took a different route, through Tuba City, AZ into Monument Valley and finally into Blanding to spend the night with my Aunt Kim and her family. (We were so thankful they were so willing to house us for the night on such short notice! Cutting our journey home into 2 days sure made it more tolerable.
  • Brad celebrated his 25th birthday the day after we returned from Arizona. We spent the day with a trip to Cabelas, went to the theater, and cooked up some awesome steaks (I am not a steak person, but I will say, these ones were delicious!) with garlic mashed potatoes, a caesar salad and finished it all up with some brownie cheesecake. Happy birthday to one the best guy's I know!
August (thus far):
  • Charlie survived to see his first birthday! What an accomplishment! If you know anything about Charlie, you know he's had one heck of a life. From being on his death bed as a tiny tiny puppy, to constant battles with stomach issues, and most recently a fall out of the 4 Runner--while MOVING-- followed by a dive into the creek while for a ride up Provo Canyon. Talk about an intense year! He has grown up A LOT over the past year though, and is turning into a really great dog. We love his guts. I don't think I have ever laughed as much as I do now---he is the ultimate goof with a ginormous personality.
  • I made one of the hardest decisions I have had to yet. I interviewed for, and was offered, a graphic design job for a publishing company in Springville. But, after much back-and-forth with myself, and a few tears I decided to turn the offer down. After weighing all pros and cons I just felt that this was not the right opportunity at the right time for me, even as difficult as it was because opportunities for junior designers are rare and I had been on the look out for such an opportunity for probably 6 months. But, as I said, I just didn't feel it was going to be the best fit for me right now---for numerous reasons---and so I am hopeful there is something else around the corner for me in terms of designing. I have been doing a lot of stuff, freelance, in the past month or two and have been really enjoying that. So we'll see where it leads!
Here are some photos of the "hillbilly box" on our Fairview camping trip.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Great To Be A Cheapskate!

Ever seen the TLC series "Extreme Couponing"? Those people are INSANE. They have found ways to save up to 99% on their grocery bills---that are usually over $500. I don't remember if it was just after, or just before, seeing this show for the first time that I decided I wanted to try and find ways to save on my groceries. I grocery shop once a week, and over the past 6 months I was seeing a steady $10-$20 increase on my grocery bill---and I pretty much buy the exact same things every week. It really was getting ridiculous. So I decided to give couponing a try...and let me tell you I think I have found an addiction---only this one is beneficial and SAVES money.

Here are a few of our latest steals:

20 tubes Crest toothpaste (reg size) Retail : $40 / We paid : $ 8
30 boxes of Ronzoni Pasta Retail : $60 / We paid : Not a penny, FREE!
10 boxes of General Mills Cereal Retail : $30 (roughly) / We paid : $7.50
10 boxes of Betty Crocker Cake mix Retail : $ 20 / We paid : $10
5 boxes of Cascase Dish Detergent Retail : $20 / We paid $12.50
10- 18oz bottles of Dial Body Wash Retail : $30 / We paid $10
4 bottles Purex laundry soap Retail : $16 / We paid : $4
2 Lysol Toilet bowl cleaners Retail: $6 / We paid : $1.50
2 Lysol Kitchen Disinfecting Sprays Retail: $6 / We paid $1.50
2 Lysol Bathroom Cleaners Retail : $6 / We Paid $1.50

Total Retail Costs: $234
We Paid : $56.50

Call me an old lady, but I get so excited to run home from work every Tuesday and start searching through the grocery ads! I have had people ask me what we are going to do with all of that stuff, and my answer is always "food/hygiene storage". These are essentials that we use on a daily basis, (okay--except for maybe the cake mixes--but then again....) and it's nice to know that if money ever got super tight we would still be able to go about our daily lives as far as (some) food and hygiene is concerned. (Looking to build up the food end of our stock).

Another thing that people bring up is the fact that I "end up spending more money than if I were to just buy one item". And yes, initially I do pay "more" because I buy more than one item---but when I can buy 3 for what I would normally pay for the price of 1, why not buy multiples?! In the long run this saves us a lot of money because it's stuff we use on a daily basis---in a couple weeks or so I'd be guaranteed to be buying the product again. I could spend $3.00 upfront every two or three weeks, or $10 upfront and not have to buy that item for 7-8 months.

So, needless to say, I can't wait to add to our stock pile!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Camping: Vernon this not one of the happiest faces you've ever seen? Who knew a dog could be so expressive! This pooch is so happy because he was on his very first camping trip!

This weekend we had plans to go to Moab with my parents but through a series of unfortunate car problem events on both their end and ours, it didn't end up playing out. So, having bought all of our food, the day off work Friday, a new tent, and a compulsion to escape what we know as "everyday life", Brad and I decided to load up the 4Runner for an overnight trip to Vernon Reservoir.

Charlie had never been camping before...and well....if you know Charlie at all, you could imagine what type of images were playing through my head as I envisioned this overnight trip with him. In a tent. Surprisingly he was a really really good dog! He loved every minute of it including the car ride there and back because he could stick his head out the window full speed. Never once did he cry during the night and just hung out with us around camp and the campfire, relaxing.

We set up camp, built a fire (Charlie LOVES this part was interesting as he kept stealing them out of the fire pit while Brad was trying to start the fire), roasted hot dogs and just enjoyed each other's company. While it was no Moab it was a nice little get away for us and we all really enjoyed it! Pics from our trip:

Charlie has to be involved in EVERYTHING. Including the driving, and he can often be found taking over the center console in the front seat of any car we are driving.

Doing what he loves best on car rides...if we let him I'm pretty sure he'd hang out the window by his back toes.
"Family photo", the best one we got this trip:

"Helping" with the fire:

Our campsite and new tent