Friday, May 28, 2010

One Year Ago Today...

Michael and I were married in the Logan, Utah temple for time and all eternity!

What a wonderful day it was. Not that it wasn't filled with its share of "un"expectations. But it really was a beautiful day. I once had someone tell me that no matter what happens on "this, the day of your wedding" (quote that movie), whether it be good or completely catastrophic, the most important thing is that you are married in the temple at the end of the day.

And that is what happened. Most everyone remembers or knows about Michael's sickness on our wedding day and how that made it something to remember. But what has stayed with me is the fact that Michael and I were MARRIED. We chose to be married in the temple and made covenants with each other. The Spirit was there and we know that we made the right decision. That is more important that anything else in the world. As long as we are true and faithful, no matter what happens on this earth, we will be together forever!


Anybody who knows us, knows that it is "normal" for things to not turn out "normally". We make plans and many times, things don't turn out perfectly. That's life huh? Well, I want to share with you, as this goes along with our wedding, the story of our engagement and how it didn't turn out exactly as planned. Just like the wedding day ;)


It was February 28, 2009 and there was still snow on the ground in Logan. Michael and I were set to go on a date that night. He was supposed to pick me up, as usual, but at 10 minutes past the time he said he would be there, my phone rings. Michael said that he was sorry he was running late, but was wondering if I could just meet him at his apartment. This sounded a bit suspicious as Michael 1) Is never late and 2) Always picks me up for our dates, old fashioned style. But, I said I would be there in a few minutes and hung up the phone.

When I reached his apartment, I noticed that his car wasn't there, but went upstairs to the front door anyway. Taped to it was an envelope with my name on it. Michael had written a sweet message to me and told me to go to the Institute, and that I would find something else there.

I drove to the Institute and found another envelope, that talked about how we had taken a class together the previous semester. He told me how he started to fall in love with me as we would sit next to each other twice a week. Then the note told me to get something warm to wear. So, I got back in my car and headed to my mother's house.

I arrived at my mother's and there was another note telling me to meet Michael at the location of our first "real" date, which I knew was up Green Canyon. I drove up there and at first, didn't see anything. I figured he was teasing me or something because the last note had been a little odd and vague. Finally, I noticed a tiki torch with another envelope attached to it.

The note talked about how special our first date was and that there was a trail that Michael had lit for me, and I was supposed take the torch and to follow the trail. I didn't see the trail at first, so I went back to my car and sat for a second, trying to make sense of what he wanted me to do. I went back to the tiki torch and noticed, just a bit down the path, a trail of candles inside paper bags...lining a path in the snow. I grabbed the torch and started walking, in my "not so winter proof flats" through the snow.

Eventually, the trailed ended and I saw Michael, in a small camping area. He was chopping wood. I laughed a bit and said, "Hi!" He looked a bit startled and said, "What are you doing here?" We hugged for a minute and then chatted about his chopping wood. He then proceeded to tell me that I had to do some work and chop some wood for the fire. I turned around, looked at the pile, and said, "No way!" When I turned back around, Michael was on his knee, in the snow, holding out a GORGEOUS ring. (My favorite one, as a matter of fact, but more on that at another time). He asked me to marry him, and in what he said seemed like FOREVER, I said "Yes!" We kissed for a considerable amount of time and basked in the moment. It was wonderful.

Michael made a fire and we wrapped ourselves up in a blanket, cuddling and enjoying our time together as a newly engaged couple, many happy prospects ahead of us. Michael proceeded to tell me the story of his planning and all who were involved in making the night come to pass. Through our discussion, we realized that a couple of the notes had been placed at the wrong locations, and I, luckily had still ended up at the correct place. I had missed one note entirely, which was at Le Nonne, a really nice Italian restaurant that we went to for Valentine's Day. As a result of this missing, I was WAY ahead of schedule and Michael thought that he had about 10 more minutes until I was supposed to arrive. That's why he was still chopping wood! I was supposed to arrive with him already having a fire made, prepared and ready to propose to me.

This of course, did not happen, so he was a bit flustered when I arrived so early. But, he recovered very quickly and all was well! We eventually packed up because the fire was dying and we wanted to get to a warmer place. As we reached my car, which was the only one there because Michael's roommate had removed the Subaru so there was no evidence when I drove up, I realized that I had locked my keys in the car! Yep, we were standing, out in the snow and cold, recently engaged, and without a way to get inside my car. I ended up calling my mom and the phone call went something like this, "Hey Mom. So, I have good and bad news. The good news is that Michael and I are engaged! And the bad new is that I accidentally locked my keys in my car. Can you meet us and bring the extra set of keys so we can get in the car?" She laughed ALOT. Of course, she met us and we were able to get in the car and that was that.

All in all, it was a fun and exciting night and Michael was so creative in his way to propose to me. Even though the notes and my locking the keys in the car weren't perfect, it made for a special evening that is completely typical of us. I loved every second of it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Internship Thoughts

I've been researching possibilities for my Music Therapy internship lately and it really is exciting! I know that I want to work with geriatrics, so that's mainly where my focus has been throughout my search. There are so many opportunities ALL over the country, that it's difficult to narrow it down to just a few. Technically, I should only have 4 prospects at a time when on the internship search, so that helps a bit.

One thing that I'm really looking forward to for my internship is the possibility to live somewhere new. Michael and I both enjoy the idea of living outside of Utah (as we were both born and raised so), and this provides the perfect opportunity to do just that! I've found some promising locations in Virginia, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, just to name a few. The only geriatric location in Utah is right here in Logan, and even though that is a definite possibility, we are exploring as many options as possible.

All in all, we figure that even if we do end up back in Utah some day, we want to take advantage of this chance to live somewhere unique and to explore the world around us! [Preferably back East...] So, even though the search and applications can be stressful, we're finding that it can be fun too!

The prospect of something wonderful is ahead ;)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fun Kitchen Tools

I was perusing the website of Williams-Sonoma and found some fun kitchen tools. They are so cool that I decided to share them with you. I would LOVE to own some of these someday or either I just enjoy looking at them. So, here ya go!

Tortilla Press
{Michael and I make tortillas pretty often and this would make the actual shaping of them much easier!}

Pepper Corer
{Nifty little contraption. You just twist and all the seeds and the core are gone!}

Pineapple Easy Slicer
{Attach, twist, and perfect rings appear! Watch the video here}

Digital Nutritional Scale
{This does WAY more than a traditional countertop scale. Displays 11 nutritional values about what is being weighed and tracks the dietary progress of up to two users.}

Chef'n Garlic Zoom Chopper
{Just dropped peeled garlic in and roll across the countertop. Clean and easy!}

de Buyer Dicing Mandoline
{I would kill for one of these. It does anything from a small dice to julienne to waffle cuts}

And for dessert...

Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop
{Heat conductive handle draws on the natural warmth of the hand for easy scooping!}

Now wasn't that fun?!?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Quick Chicken Curry

Here is the recipe, as promised for those who so kindly asked. It was incredibly easy, yet yielded a very "home-cooked meal" flavor to one of the classic Indian dishes. It also is great in the fact that this recipe is comprised of things we always have in our cupboard/fridge. Michael and I loved it and are excited to make it a part of our normal dinner routine.

2 large chicken breasts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons green pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon curry powder*
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 beefsteak tomato, diced
1 tablespoon lemon juice

How to:
  1. Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Remove and keep warm.
  2. Add the onion, green pepper, and crushed garlic to the dutch oven and cook until soft. Add the curry powder and cook gently for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour, and gradually blend in the chicken stock and the seasonings (thyme, salt, black pepper).
  4. Bring to a boil, add the tomato, and replace the chicken pieces. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until tender and cooked through.
  5. Add the lemon juice at the end and adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve over cooked rice (Basmati is preferred).

*On a side note, curry powder can be bought in different strengths - mild, medium, and hot. Use the type you prefer to suit your taste (a.k.a. how much heat you can stand).

Homemade Pop Tarts

Saw the recipe on Smitten Kitchen last week and knew that I had to make them.

Spread the word...

Dani and Jen joined on Friday.

We made brown sugar cinnamon and grape.

Course, ours didn't turn out like the picture because we made "mini" Pop Tarts.

They were so delicious and completely NOT processed.

The best pastry dough I've ever made.

Go here for the recipe.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Michael turned 26!!!

For Michael's birthday this year, we returned to childhood and all the classic favorites from that time in our lives. Many friends were invited and fun was had by all through a night of games, food, and general mayhem!

Streamers and balloons decorated the apartment, setting the general "party" mood.

There was pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey...

Notice the monster truck pinata behind Greg. The weather did not allow us to go outside and properly make use of it, so we're saving it for later in the summer when obliteration can occur ;)

Natalie graced us with her presence. We felt special!

The newlyweds...kissing and eating taco salad.

Aren't these twins just adorable?

And yes, we also played Twister...which Michael, in true birthday boy fashion, conquered. I hope Ian's pride wasn't hurt "too" much.

Here we have all the children trying to play Twister. Took some help from the parents on how to play the game, but they were good and so cute!

The awesome Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cake created by Dani. Cowabunga Dude!

Michael had a helper to blow out the candles...

Lilly became fast friends with Dani as they watched Shrek!

Andy and Dani, our resident lovebirds. They are getting married on May 14th in the Draper Temple!

Pretty girls.

Not really sure what happened here, but I'm sure it was hilarious!

The night was finished off with an intense game of Guesstures. Boys vs. girls of course. A lot of laughing ensued during this part of the evening.

And might I mention that the girls a landslide.

It was a fantastic night and Michael said that it was his best birthday ever! Success!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

My New Life

Here is a Mormon Messages video about Stephanie Nielsen (Nie Nie). It will inspire you.