Saturday, March 31, 2012

Snapped Finale

I know that you have all been waiting for this moment...  Ever since you read that I had snapped.   This Finale has no "rose ceremony", no one is getting "voted off the island" and there will not be any "singing the final song".  I guess it might seem a little bit anti-climatic as far as finales go.

As a short recap- for any of you just joining us (who didn't click on the link above to read about the moment that I snapped) -- Simply put- I snapped.  I needed to live in my home.  Put some holes in the wall.  See some of my true colors. After blogging I headed upstairs (since that is the most neglected area of my house- - I have got you all pretty well convinced with my downstairs that I might actually live here- it is upstairs where you feel the loom of our nomadic future). I think I may have confused some of you that I would be painting the walls.  Sorry to disappoint- I had a can of spray paint in hand- and unless I wanted to tag my own toy room that would not have worked.  Instead I give you this:

My upstairs hallway.  Some of the pictures may be changed (or added in the case of the one empty frame!)  and maybe (if I am lucky and my hammer man, JT, doesn't object) a few more additions before we move- but I wanted you to see that I actually followed through with this project! Yeah for me!  (and I am kind of proud of it!)

These are my crowning jewels.  The first letters of each of our names- with teal and black Zebra Print!  You know you love it! (ok, I know I love it!)

So there you go.  You can now go blog, tweet, or facebook about how excited you are for the "Finale of Snapped"!  How you knew it would end well, and that you felt relieved when it played out just how you wanted.  You may even want to gather for a "Snapped Finale Party"- where you reread my blog and even act out some of the key moments.  I am sure I will see teal zebra print cupcakes on pinterest within a few hours of this posting.  Or some of you can write about the major upset you felt when the wall wasn't painted - merely some frames and letters.  "she snapped over that?!"  I am sure this will be a hot topic of discussion for weeks to come... at least until The Bachelor starts up again.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ready for "Christmas"

Before you get all impressed and think I am the coolest person you know for already having my Christmas Shopping done and my tree picked out.. you should know that I don't mean the real Christmas... And you should also know that you are reading Katie Tyler's blog and the idea of getting ready for Christmas in March is the most laughable idea ever.  (in fact, I am laughing right now at the thought of it)

I am actually referring to a comment I heard in Church on Sunday.  One of the highlights of the Testimony meeting was a young man standing up saying how excited he is - like Christmas - for General Conference this week. (the semi- annual conference of the LDS Church where many of the leaders speak to the entire world-wide church).  He compared the anticipation of this conference to Christmas morning.  The excitement to unwrap gifts- and the excitement to hear the words of the Prophet.  I loved his Testimony because it echos my own feelings right now.

I have been feeling it for a few weeks.  This anticipation that something wonderful is about to happen.  (like the people who go outside Christmas morning onto their snowy driveway to find a Lexus with a big red ribbon wrapped around it- seriously? I saw so many of those commercials this year! I think it is lame.  Not just because it is crazy to buy a car for Christmas- but because it is more likely that I will wake up to that Lexus than I will to Snow on Christmas Day). It is funny that Conference comes every 6 months- and I am still this excited for it!

A few years ago I started a tradition of baking yumminess during conference weekend. I guess I figured if I am going to spend 8 hours at home watching it - I might as well smell Cinnamon Rolls in the oven and eat some evil gooeyness (also like Christmas!). But this time I think I want to change things a little.  I have noticed that with the ease of having Conference at home (not having to go to the Stake Center to watch it broadcast like we did as kids) it is much easier to get distracted.  Then I read this in March's Ensign:

Focusing on Conference

In addition to studying past conference addresses, consider these ideas to help you learn from the current conference:
  • Pray and fast to receive answers to your prayers through the words of the speakers.
  • Approach conference with specific questions in mind.
  • Complete all chores, shopping, and other errands before conference so you can focus on listening.
  • Get good rest the nights before conference so your mind will be ready to receive inspiration.
  • Take notes of the impressions, promptings, and insights you receive.

    It is as if Elder Barrionuevo looked inside the windows of my house last conference!  Did he actually see me sweeping the floor, baking cinnamon rolls, and putting away the dishes while the Apostles were speaking??  Or did he catch JT half asleep during the afternoon session nestled in with our kids on the couch?

    When I read these "obvious" tips- I was a little embarrassed. I have fallen into the apathetic trap of taking what I have for granted. How many General Conferences have I seen?  Take my age x 2 a year  = a lot of Conferences. (and the first Math Equation on my Blog)  Have I really gotten to the point that I forget how lucky I am to sit and watch and listen to the words of the Prophet speak directly from our Heavenly Father?  If I was cool- I am sure I could figure out the number of people who have inhabited the earth and then the tiny percentage of those people who have actually heard a Prophet of God speak.  But that would be more math, and maybe some research, and way more equations than one post can handle...

    What I am getting at is that despite the fact that this is not a Once in a Lifetime event (heck, it isn't even a Once a Year event!) it deserves my undivided attention.

    The Super Bowl isn't once in a lifetime.  Yet, each year the entire world (how do you like that exaggeration?? I know, the Super Bowl is pretty much an American thing, but it sounds better saying "the entire world") stops to watch. (oohhh- that just made me think of doing savory appetizers with conference this year instead of just gooey sweet ones! Thanks Super Bowl, great idea!)  

    Christmas isn't once in a lifetime.  Yet, each year we anticipate it like it is a brand new concept.  Buying bigger and better presents.  Hanging more extravagant lights and wreaths.  And delivering twice as many treats as the year before. (hey, I can't help if I have got exponentially more popular this year...)

    Is General Conference like Christmas?  Do I get more excited each time? Is it bigger and better?  Does my world stop for it?  Or am I too use to it?  Is it too common place to be anticipated?  Christmas hasn't become common place.

    It is like Christmas.  It does honor and celebrate our Savior.  It is worth getting excited for.  It is my chance to use one of the most precious gifts I have been given- the Holy Ghost.  My chance to make some changes, to get inspired, to teach my children, to feel hope and bring the apostles right into my own home. (and not the hard seats at the Stake Center- whoo hoo!) 

    So it looks like Christmas is coming in April this year.  That means Overnight Blueberry French Toast during the Choir's opening song and Savory Sweet Potato Cakes for the "half time show".  (ok, that was for thematic purposes only- the half time show is more like the Church News broadcast between sessions :) And now you've got links to some favorite recipes- which makes my Blog kinda like a cooking blog, right? And yes, Karen, those are links- not just me using fancy colors on my blog :)  But what this all really means: snuggling with my family, taking notes on the couch while my kids get skittles for correctly identifying apostles and prophets from their pictures, and spending a weekend "unwrapping" gifts from the Spirit.

    As a gift to all of my millions of readers: a few of my past faves from conference-- I could seriously have a hundred links right here!--- And maybe as a gift to me, you can tell me some of your favorites... you know my comment section is working again :)

    The Other Prodigal from Jeffrey R. Holland (April Conference 2002)
    None Were With Him another from Elder Holland (April Conference 2009)
    Forget Me Not from President Uchtdorf (October Conference 2011)
    Love Her Mother from Elaine Dalton (November Conference 2011)
    What Manner of Men Ought Ye to Be? from Elder Lynn G. Robbins (April Conference 2011)
P.S. if anyone decides to follow those links for recipes- you should know that I heavily modify the first one- so if you follow the recipe and it is gross-- don't blame me :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Conversations with Riley

Riley:  What are those extra buttons for on the Garage Door Opener?

Me: (totally have no idea) Uh, I don't know...

Riley:  Oh, Daddy will know.

Me: (defeated) Yeah, I guess Daddy probably will know.

Riley: Oh actually, Miss Ashlee (preschool teacher) will know.  She knows everything!

Me: (extra defeated because I have been trumped not once - but twice) Yeah, you are probably right.  Let's take it to preschool and ask her.

This is Riley with the mini snowman she built in the slush a few weeks ago :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012


It had to happen.  I finally snapped.

It all began a couple days ago when I was mopping the bathroom floors.  I was in the master bath and it looked like a smear of dirt on the floor that just wouldn't come up.  That is when I realized it was a water stain... in our bathroom... from water damage under the floor.  Ugh.  JT ripped up the floor and began working on it (it is half way finished right now as he took a break to go play football :) and after a few runs to Home Depot I am hoping to have it done by tonight.  (mostly so that I don't have to walk down the hall when I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night like an old lady or pregnant woman- which I am neither - I just pee like one)

There I was- in Home Depot, with three grouchy kids in one of the giant wobbly orange shopping cart cars that I crash into every turn, when I saw the paint aisle.  I couldn't resist.  I started looking at all the colors and remembered the last house we lived in.  (my parents' house- we house sat for them while they were on a mission for the church in Washington D.C.) 

(those are the wavy lines to indicate the going back into my memory sequence that is about to follow- please tell me you have seen those on an old T.V. show and know what the heck I am trying to describe)
My parents had just pulled out of the drive way to head out on their mission.  JT and I had been married a year and just found out that I was pregnant.  We were thrilled to have a house of our "own" and immediately headed to Home Depot to start picking out paint.  We started with a bright turquoise wall behind the fire place in the Living Room.  And I was hooked.  I spent hours- with a giant tummy-  painting Riley's nursery pink with an assortment of brown, pink and white polka dots covering the walls.  It was my favorite place to rock my little girl to sleep.  The kitchen was a bright lime green.  OK, maybe too bright, but who can't smile in the Seattle gloom when you are baking in a lime green kitchen?  We laid down new floors, knocked out old pantries and did mini-overhauls on the bathrooms.  I fell in love with Home Depot and the time with JT molding that house into our own. But eventually my parents' mission ended and we had to give them back their house. (I have to add that my parents have always given us freedom to paint and repaint our own bedrooms and I loved the creative freedom- so they weren't too shocked to see a whole new interior in their house)  With their return came our opportunity to move out :)

We found our house and I felt at home the minute I drove up with my hansom real estate agent. (JT of course)  When we bought the house in 2008 we had every intention of living it in for about a year and then renting it out while we headed off to P.A. school.  We had no expectation of going to UW since it required way more hours of on the job experience than any other PA program and we didn't want to wait the extra years of working for JT to get in. (*laughing at the irony of how it all worked out*)  Maybe we would even make a little extra cash from the renters while we were in school... (*laughing at how the market tanked and dragged those dreams down with it*)
(end dream sequence)

This time it was different when we settled in.  No paint brushes or hammers.  No remodeling or projects.  The house was fine- it was just going to be a rental eventually anyways.  Why spend the money (that we didn't have) on paint when I would probably have to repaint it for the renters? (after all, they might not love the idea of a purple loft or a hot pink polka dots)  So we left it.

And left it.

And left it.

As I drove away from Home Depot today with a car full of vinyl flooring for my master bath and a can of turquoise spray paint for me I felt myself starting to snap.  I was buying flooring for a rental.  For someone else's house.   I was torn between a more expensive floor for me- and a less expensive one for a rental house (this is how every decision has felt in this home for 3 years).  And then I walked in to the "rental house" that I own.  The white walls were glaring, they screamed rental home.  But who wants to paint a house they will only live in for a year??  The walls up stairs are bare and lifeless. Because who wants to fill in the nail holes from things I hammered onto the wall?  And who has the money to buy decorations for a 2000 square foot house that probably won't fit in our future tiny apartment in campus housing?    Suddenly I realized I have spent 3 and half years with boxes in my garage- never really unpacking, never really moving in, always waiting for that letter of acceptance telling me it was time to move.  I have told myself- "someday you can worry about curtains in your bedroom"  or "someday you can paint the walls whatever color you like" or "don't settle in- you will just be moving".

I am so tired of living in a rental- that I own. 

I am so tired of living in a white house when I am a hot pink and turquoise kind of girl!

I am so tired of being frugal and not having $50 for something as "frivolous" as paint or new curtains. (that we can't take to our next apartment)

I am tired of being patient or waiting for my someday to come.

I have finally snapped.

I am angry that I didn't know then that I would be hear for 4 years!  That I didn't know that I would have plenty of time to paint my house, to sew my curtains, to live in my home!

So- I am grabbing my can of spray paint and a hammer and I am going to make some changes.  Even if I only have 3 months to look at them before I move.  Even though I will have to turn around and fill those holes in.  Even though this is practically someone else's house. 

It is time for some color.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Piece of Cake

 Macie's 2nd Birthday was February 26th- I was going to write an awesome blog post about it- but I am lame so I didn't. I was feeling all bad for being lame- and not wanting to go into what makes me so lame- so I almost didn't write this post.  Then I realized- for as many things as I mess up (like not blogging about my baby's second birthday the way I want to, or not having good pictures from a family event where we are all looking at the camera and not picking our noses, or not wanting to take the time to learn how to use my computer to make all of this easier) sometimes I get it right.   

Here is one of those few times that I got it right. 
 This is Blake, Macie and Riley helping me in the kitchen.  If you know me I love baking.  (and hate lame food blogs- but that is another story)  Especially things with frosting.  Not because I like the taste of frosting.  But because strangely I enjoy making it - and I find piping frosting onto cakes or cupcakes or whatever to be very relaxing.  (I think I get this handed from my Grandma to my mom who both have very good piping and cake decorating skills)  And when I am not getting it wrong (and scooting the kids out of the kitchen) I am getting it right- and letting them put on aprons and get their fingers in the sugar.  And these always turn into my favorite moments. (Ok, not always, the other day Riley messed up something I was baking and I did get upset-- sometimes I am lame)

 This is Macie helping me mix.  (this is not posed- I was letting her do the mixing when JT grabbed the camera-- in case you were thinking all of my coolness is ingenuine)  She loves getting on an apron and baking with me.  We made Birthday Cake Pancakes for lunch on her birthday.  (a pinterest success!) I think this will be a new tradition.

 This is her cake.  I was trying to make it look like pink ruffles :) what do you think?? I was pretty proud of it myself! Sometimes, with baking, I get it right.  This may be one of those times :)

 Singing Happy Birthday.  This is one of my favorite moments.  I love setting a cake in front of the recipient and watching their face light up. (which is better than dropping the cake like I did for JT's birthday)  Especially little Miss Macie who couldn't wait to lick the candle.

 One of the best parts of Macie's Birthday was seeing the friends and family that stopped by to celebrate with her.  We always have so much fun together and I feel so blessed that my friends have kids that play so well with my kids.  They giggled and played all night.

This is just Macie with a giant Strawberry- her favorite food. I couldn't resist.

A little bit about Miss Macie Josiane.  I am so glad she was born to our family two years ago.  She loves her big brother and sister so much.  I love hearing her say "Bake" and "Ry-Yey".  I love seeing her follow them around and try hard to be like them.  She is so independent and strong willed.  I can't wait to see the amazing things she accomplishes with her determination.  (I am a little nervous for the teenage years with such a strong personality!!)  When she was 18 months old she was already putting on her own coat (the way Miss Ashlee had taught her) and wanted to do things by herself.  She is a Daddy's Girl ( just like Riley) - who wouldn't be in love with a guy like JT?  She loves to wrestle and cuddle and have piggy back rides.  She brings so much happiness to our whole family.  I am lucky to be her mom.

Even though I am not as cool as I would like to be.  Or as computer savvy.  Or as on top of life as I should be.  I have managed to get a few things right. I have a sweet little girl and I can bake a pretty good cake.

(when Josh doesn't burn it- sorry, you know it had to come up! ;)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Venting about Blogging...

Ok, I need to vent.  About Blogging.  Not my own blogging, of course.  About Food Blogging.  I was introduced to this phenomenon years ago and have had a love/hate relationship with it ever since. 

It all began when I couldn't cook.  No, really, I could not cook.  Luckily, as newly weds both JT and I had good jobs and were able to support ourselves and avoid cooking by eating out - every day.  Ok, not every day.  On Sundays I cooked.  Swedish Pancakes or Campbell's Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  Until JT taught me how to make a Cheese Quesadilla- and then I made pancakes, tomato soup, sandwiches or quesadillas.  (How I gained weight on my mission without fast food or knowing how to cook is beyond me?)  But when Riley came along - things changed.  (for starters, I quit my job)  And I met friends in the ward who liked to cook.  Yep, these Mormon Moms liked to cook.  I was intrigued.  And soon, I began to test out this new concept- Cooking.  They introduced me to Allrecipes and the online world of food.  And at the same time- my best friend had a love affair with Food Network. She introduced me to Emeril Live and the joy of watching others cook.

Soon this new idea- Cooking- had taken root. I accepted it as a reality in my stay-at-home-mom life. Not only did grocery shopping and feeding my family seem like the new trendy thing to do- it also appeared to be a necessity!  And slowly I began to embrace it.  I searched out my own favorite recipe sites and found myself enjoying Alton Brown  and  America's Test Kitchen while Riley was taking naps.  (this is the geek in me who needs to understand the science behind cooking)  Suddenly I had all but forgotten recipes from my mom and that red checkered cookbook that I got 4 copies of as wedding gifts (apparently it was no secret that I did not cook). I was relying on the media to feed me.

So here we are.  Almost 6 years later.  And one of my favorite hobbies is baking.  I have come along way.  And some of my food even tastes good now.  (all sarcasm aside- some of my food tastes really good now) I can actually cook!   I didn't go to culinary school, I haven't taken any classes, it is not even a natural gift of mine- but I can do it!  But that does not mean I should blog about it.

That's right- I am venting about Food Bloggers.  (not all, like I said, I have my sites that I trust)  Lately, in the newest craze of pinterest I have found myself blindly trusting food bloggers and being very disappointed.  I may end up getting some hate mail about this... some food blogger who is sick of us life bloggers who babble on and on about our daily lives and the boring story of getting accepted to P.A. school or whatever.  I am prepared for that.  If you don't like my blog, don't read it.:)  But when I get on Pinterest and see some yummy gooey delicious treat that I dream about making all day, drive deliberately to Fred Meyer in the middle of the night for the last ingredient, and wait patiently next to my oven to discover that it is all a hoax- I get angry.  Your food is gross!  Your timing is bad.  Your directions are confusing.  Your pictures have to be touched up.  You are wasting my time.  I think I am being careful.  Trying to "screen" my recipes.  Searching the comments.  (but that is the problem with food blogging- most of the comments are people saying "this looks good" who haven't actually baked it to say- "gross!!" or who are too chicken to get on a blog and say to their cyber face "uh, I made this for my family and my 3 year old cried-- so your recipe only gets 2 stars")  But I keep finding myself frustrated and my taste buds disappointed. 

From now on- I follow only trusted foodies.  You know who you are.  I go back to relying on the brutally honest comments on allrecipes and the sites of cooks that are better at making food than doctoring up their pictures with photo shop.  And maybe I will even go all old fashioned and open up a cookbook that claims to be the best for 25 years. 

At any rate...
This post comes to you from a girl who is "monstrating" (that word will only make sense if you love Modern Family- and are a female and can mention that kind of thing without getting in trouble) that just wanted some wonderful comfort in the form of food and who is obviously a little hysterical and maybe even over reacting and will probably regret this in the morning when my blog gets egged by a bunch of angry food bloggers (who hang on my every word and read my every post) and that is when I will realize I actually read the recipe wrong and messed it up myself... but for now- I am sick of bad food blogs!