Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Recap

So much has happened in the Black Family this year. We have loved (almost) every minute of it. Michael and I have grown even closer and more in love through everything we've experienced. I can only imagine that next year will be just, if not more, busy and exciting!

Here's a little recap of what we've done this year.

January/Janvier: Moved from Layton to Logan so Michael could begin his Master's program in Management Information Systems and I could finish my double music major.

February/Février: We both were called into the Young Men and Young Women program in our ward. Those teenagers have taught us so much and have been quite the experience to learn how to best teach them how important the gospel is in their lives. Our testimonies have been strengthened.
March/Mars: I performed my Senior Vocal Recital at USU in the Performance Hall! One hour of just me, singing my little heart out. It was fun and I wore a red dress. Loved it. (Oh, and there were some really pretty flowers too).

April/Avril: Michael turned 26. Man, he says he feels so old, but I assure you, he's not. He's silly, fun, kind, and as boyish as ever. We celebrated with a BIG kid-themed party. It was a blast!

May/Mai: We celebrated our 1st anniversary! Michael was able to finally eat our wedding cake (not being able the day of our wedding because of his sickly presence, hehe). Still the best wedding day story ever. Anyway, who knew the time could fly by so quickly? We're almost to anniversary number 2!

June/Juin: Summer was here! We went camping, I planted a garden of veggies and flowers, our friends Andy and Dani got married, and we were best man and maid of honor. And we can't forget, we said goodbye to Michael's shaggy hair and cut it all off!

July/Juillet: Another busy month. I went to Young Women's camp for 3 days, kept my recipe group going with a "grill" theme, and saw Paul McCartney in concert. I cried at that last event from sheer excitement. Michael heckled, along with another guy friend, at Twilight: Eclipse when we went to see it in the theatre.

August/Août: Went to another wedding, made new couch pillows, enjoyed some of the fruits of our labors (from the garden), prepped for the new semester at USU.

September/Septembre: Started our final year at USU. We went to Yellowstone with some friends and saw Old Faithful along with lots of buffalo. We also went to Brigham City Peach Days and bought LOTS of peaches. And we made yummy creations with them. I started my French class, which sparked my French Word of the Week post (something I've been slacking on, resolution?!?).

October/Octobre: I turned 23. Now I feel OLD. I'm sure some of you are laughing out there, but here's the situation, I've never been this old before! It takes some getting used to! Michael and I also enjoyed the slightly cooler weather, running through the leaves, and Leland coming home from his mission to Leeds, England (the accent was adorable). Michael also threw me an amazing Halloween/Voodoo themed birthday party. It was the BEST.

November/Novembre: We started making soup because the cooler weather warranted it. Michael and I both got a nasty bit of the common cold. Stress from many factors led to a cold sore. My father passed away and we attended the funeral in Louisiana the week before Thanksgiving. We were both so grateful for eternal families. Love my dad and that he's not suffering. Pretty sure he's super busy on the other side. And yes, we celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with the Black family. Sweet deal on my leather boots from Black Friday.

December/Décembre: Finished the semester to much joy and relief. We decorated our home for Christmas and made hot fudge for our friend gifts. We also worked a lot and spent evenings at home snuggling. My best friend, Camille, returned from her mission to Puerto Rico!!! We babysat our nieces quite a bit and played with them, which was SO fun. Then we celebrated a nice Christmas with both the Rougeaus and Blacks, and received some really nice and thoughtful gifts (more on that in another post).

As you can see, it's been quite the year for us! As much as we loved many aspects of it, we're ready to put some things behind and move on to 2011. I'm sure it has many things in store for us. Let's just hope we're ready for it. I guess we'll just hold on for the ride.

We wish all our friends a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Favorite Holiday Snacks

Since it's the holidays and all, I thought I'd give a short list of some of my favorite holiday snacks and links to their recipes.

These recipes are simple and super yummy. They aren't only used for holiday occasions, but are also favorites at any social gathering. I just mention them now because I usually see the most of them specifically around Christmas in my family. So here they are, just click on the links and you'll have the recipes right at your fingertips!

Speaking of Christmas, ours was wonderful. We've been able to spend lots of time with family (that's what it's all about). And we've also been able to relax, which is much needed. I've been reading and working on a puzzle and Michael has been doing computer-y things, playing games and such.

My brother Michael has been in town and we've seen him a little bit. He's so funny and silly. It's cute to watch him laugh about the littlest of things and to catch up with him on his life. He's got a lot going on! Right now, he's at the Jazz game, which he loves. We're going to take him to the airport in the morning and then we'll hopefully see him soon, maybe in the summer ;)

I still have much to do throughout this break, like finish a couple more books and watch Seasons 2-5 of Grey's Anatomy on Hulu Plus. It's going to be great. How are your Christmas/holiday celebrations going? Any favorite party recipes you'd like to share?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Story of the Boots

Once upon a time, a boy named Michael tried to convince his wife Rebecca to buy some sexy black boots. She was not sure if she was ready to embark upon such a journey towards black leather, high heels, and zipper sides. Michael assured her that she could totally pull it off. She finally decided that after a few years of deliberation, it was time. And so, the hunt began...

The perfect pair of boots were found, at Macy's on Black Friday, but no stores in Utah had her size! The sales associates searched and found a list of stores all over the country that had a size 6 in stock. They tried to call for over half an hour, but were unable to get through, owing to the fact that this was the biggest shopping day of the year. So, numbers and information were given to Michael and Rebecca, along with instructions to call the stores themselves later in the afternoon.

When the pair reached home, Michael called a store in Santa Rosa, CA and was immediately able to get in touch with a sales associate there. The order was placed and the credit card charged $40 for boots that were originally $80. Free shipping was also included because of the Black Friday deal. The boots they were told, would arrive within a week.

A week passed and no boots had arrived. Eventually, Michael received a call from Macy's in Santa Rosa. The sales associated apologized for their mishap, stating that the order was placed, but instead of sending the boots directly to shipping, they were placed back on the shelf and forgotten about. For this grievance, they were prepared to offer two options as a remedy. Free 2-day Air shipping, or another 50% off the boots. Michael took the latter seeing as there was no rush for them to arrive and it was a better deal money-wise (standard shipping was still free).

So, all was taken care of and the boots arrived within another week, safe and sound onto Michael and Rebecca's doorstep. $20 for $80 sexy knee-length black leather boots (with a 4-inch heel). Rebecca was overjoyed and began arranging outfits to suit the new boots, along with mastering the art of walking in the highest heels she had ever worn before.

The End.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Gift Reveal...

The wait is over and it is finally time to fill you in on the Black's Christmas Gifts for 2010.

Here's the actual (FULL) picture of our inspiration for this year.

That's right! Homemade HOT FUDGE. And it is oh. so. good.
Thanks to the ladies at Our Best Bites, we are blessing our friends with quite the yummy gift.
It was super easy to make and we both enjoyed the process of cooking, canning, wrapping, and decorating our "goodies".

So, for your viewing pleasure, I included a few photos of our finished product.

Pretty cute, huh?

Pint-size glass jars in quilted pattern. Green organza ribbon.
Cute and unique laser cut gift tags. Handwritten labels.
And, of course, the star ingredient: Hot Fudge.

I just love the bottles all nestled next to each other! I don't think anything can look any happier. I thought that ours couldn't get any cuter than what the inspiration picture displayed, but once we put everything together I got giddy. I kept saying, "Awwww, isn't that just the cutest thing you've ever seen?" I just love homemade gifts and I was excited to break away from the typical plate of goodies that gets passed around and that Michael and I put together last year. We feel that something like this is more unique and just plain adorable. Can't wait until next year when we create a new gift to share with our friends and loved ones!

You didn't think I would leave you without the super easy recipe did you?

Homemade Hot Fudge

3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (3 squares of baking chocolate, or about 1/2 C chocolate chips)
1/2 stick butter
1 (14 oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk

  1. Chop up butter into small pieces and, if using baking squares, chop up also. This just helps everything melt easier.
  2. Place butter, chocolate, and condensed milk into saucepan on medium heat and melt it all together. Stir occasionally.
  3. Once melted, place into airtight container and store in fridge.
  4. When ready to use, just pop the top off and microwave for 20-30 second intervals until smooth.
Serve over ice cream or as a quick and easy fondue!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Gifts

Michael and I finally decided what we are giving to our friends for Christmas!

Here's a hint as to what it is...

Sorry, can't actually show the full picture, we have to keep the element of surprise intact!

We're really excited about it though. I'll share ALL the good details once the gifts are handed out to our dear friends.

For now, you can just speculate as to what that sneak peek contains!

Hope you're all enjoying this Christmas season so far; I know that the Black family is! Now that finals are officially over for our 2nd to last semester, we can breathe, relax, and enjoy the holidays. It's really wonderful.

I have a GIANT list of books to read (Scarlet Pimpernel, Secret Garden, P&P, S&S, to name a few) as well as several seasons of Grey's Anatomy to watch. (I'm taking advantage of the Hulu Plus 1 week free trial and watching as many I can in that week!)

It's shaping up to be a wonderful Christmas break. We have big plans for sledding, snowboarding, taking a stroll through downtown Logan, sipping hot chocolate, spending time with friends and family, partying it up, decorating Christmas cookies, and fitting in some swimming and workouts in between all the food.

Also, I'm getting into, and helping others get into the Christmas spirit by singing twice this week! I'll be singing Sally Deford arrangements of two Christmas classics. Tonight, at our Relief Society Christmas Dinner, I'll sing Silent Night. And on Sunday for Sacrament Meeting, I'll sing What Child is This. It should be beautiful and fun. I haven't performed since my senior recital in March, and although these performances are NOTHING like my recital, I'm still excited to share my love for music with others.

Yep, as I'm listening to Ella sing Winter Wonderland, I can't help but feel all warm and cozy. Course, part of that warm and coziness might result from the fact that I'm currently snuggled in between the covers of our bed. Ah, the joys of the holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Classic Christmas Cartoons

Here are some classic cartoons that my brother and I grew up watching on VHS. They can't help but bring a smile to my face as well as take me back to my childhood. Christmas was so magical back then through the eyes of a child. Enjoy a glimpse into my childhood memories!

This first cartoon is called "The Peachy Cobbler". We LOVE this cartoon in our family. Hilarious. It gets me laughing every time I watch it!

This cartoon features one of my favorite characters, Donald Duck. I love the intense snow fight he has with Huey, Dewey, and Louie. As a child, I always dreamed of recreating that exact event!

Friday, December 10, 2010

{l'amie} French Word of the Week

l'amie = friend (feminine)

So, my dearest friend, Camille just returned home last night from her mission to Puerto Rico!

I have missed this girl like crazy. Seriously missed her. She has been my BEST friend up here in Utah and Utah State in general. She left on her mission just 8 days before Michael and I got married. So, in her heart, and while she was in the MTC, she was an honorary bridesmaid!

Anyway, I'm so glad to have her back in Utah! I just love her. We have been keeping up some wonderful correspondence throughout her service in PR. Next to my brother, she is the only person who I have faithfully written in a consistent manner throughout the mission. I never imagined how fun and excited I would get every time a letter would come in the mail. Michael even could tell how much I LOVED getting her letters. He'd come in from checking the mail and be like, "Rebecca, I have a present for you!" Then, of course, I'd run down the stairs and practically rip the letter open right then and there to get to all the good stuff within. So fun.

Camille and I have spent some incredibly fun times together over my years here in Utah. She's one of those people that I just can't imagine living life without knowing. For instance, I feel like my moving away from Louisiana to Utah was for a number of reasons, one of which is to meet and know Camille. She was seriously a lifesaver to me in so many ways. She'd keep me silly and happy all the time (notice above picture). And she is always so REAL. If I was ever stressed about something, she was like my own personal "therafriend" bringing me back to reality. True friend right there.

How many times can I say that I just love this woman? Never too many I think! I'm excited for what life has in store for her in the future. She has just completed a selfless and sacrificing mission for her Heavenly Father and I know she's loved it. Her letters were always so cheerful and so enthusiastic about the gospel and those she was sharing it with! I know she is blessed and will continue to be blessed for all her hard work and perseverance.

Can't wait to see her cute self on Sunday, when she gives her homecoming talk in Kaysville! It should be perfectly AMAZING!

Camille est m'amie! (Camille is my friend!)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Fry Bread


This one is for you. Sorry it took me so long to get it to you. Crazy week at school.

Fry Bread

2 1/4 c. Milk
1/2 c. Potato Flakes
1 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
2 heaping tbs. Baking Powder
4-5 c. Flour

Mix ingredients in listed order to create a dough (will be slightly sticky, but not so sticky that you can't work with). Roll it out about 1/4 in thick. Cut into various sizes. Fry in medium hot oil until golden brown.

Suggested Toppings:
Chili, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream
Or serve with honey as a dessert.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Sun'll Come Out...Tomorrow

This video is one of the most hilarious and amazing things I have ever seen. Christina Bianco is SPOT ON with her vocal impressions of famous singers. She imitates Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Bernadette Peters, Celine Dion, Kristin Chenoweth, Julie Andrews, and Eydie Gorme.

If you know these classic singers and their unique styles, you will LOVE this video. I can't stop watching it.

I'm pretty sure the Bernadette Peters impression is my favorite. Heehee. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Christmas Tree

Here is our beautiful Christmas tree, in all its festive glory!

Once again, we borrowed an artificial tree from Marlene, Michael's mother. She has so many at her disposal, and she is always kind and willing to share one with us. And for that, we are very grateful.

We did have the discussion today, as we were walking into Smith's, that when we have kids, we HAVE to buy real trees every year. The smell is amazing, and the nostalgia calls us back to times growing up when our families had real trees each year. There is just nothing like it in the world. But, for now, seeing as we are poor college students still and renting, we are perfectly happy to borrow an artificial tree for our use. We're just happy to have a tree at all!

Each year, I like to buy one or two cute ornaments from Six Star (the glorified dollar store where I work) to add to the tree. They are inexpensive and make our tree unique.

This "Better Not Pout" ornament was my choice for this year. I just love it for a couple reasons. One, the words are from a song, so that brings music into the picture. And two, it reminds us to be good girls and boys.

This little nutcracker is so ME. For Christmas, there are collectors of Santa, Snowmen, etc. Well, I collect nutcrackers. As long as I can remember, my mother and I would go to see "The Nutcracker" each year around Christmastime. I, of course, love the classical music by Tchaikovsky and knew it all by heart, even when I was as young as 4! I guess you could say such a tradition sparked my interest in nutcrackers in general and they are displayed in my home every Christmas.

I bought this little ornament for Michael the Christmas when we were still dating. He laughed when he saw it. Reminds me that I need to go out and find some mistletoe... :)

As you can see, our color scheme is very traditional with reds, golds, and greens. We love the simplicity of it all. When we picture Christmas like in old movies and books, we see colors and tones similar to what we have on our tree. We also love to mix white lights with colored lights. A little trick I learned from a friend (Thanks Jake!) a long time ago. The colored lights are best brought out by some white, which lighten up the tree.

As for the presents, I am SO close to being finished with my Christmas shopping for Michael. I know, I'm amazed and proud too! Of course, it couldn't have happened without the amazing Arianne on Tuesday. We went on a serious shopping spree in the afternoon, all the while catching up on some much needed girl time. It was one successful and extremely fun outing!

I love this new wrapping paper, also purchased at Six Star. It's so old fashioned and only cost me $1!!! Many people don't realize this, but Six Star is THE BOMB.

Lastly, I just couldn't help but post a picture of this adorable BAG nestled by our tree. It came from a box of Christmas gift items purchased at Seagull Book a couple years ago. The box included 24 different sized bags, 12 different kinds of wrapping paper, treat bags, gift card pouches, tissue paper, gift tags and sticky labels....all for just $10. Steal of a deal. I don't even have a gift in the little penguin bag, I just wanted it out for decoration because it is ADORABLE!

There's our Christmas tree for the year of 2010. I'll post more pictures of other decorations/creations to come. Love this time of year!