Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Beta Gamma Sigma Induction

 Michael was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma earlier this evening. It is a National Honor Society for Collegiate Schools of Business. 

Because of Michael's scholastic achievements, meaning a stellar G.P.A., he was invited to join and accepted! This organization states that membership within is..."the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate program accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business". 

I'm so proud of him. As the time has passed since he's gone back to grad school, we've realized more and more that it was the right decision for our family. And now we are finished in just over a week!

Funny story from the ceremony:
They were announcing names and handing out packets and cords (for graduation) and Michael was not called up. His name was on the program and everything, but his name was not called! All his friends turned around once the ceremony was over and looked at him like, "What?!?" Turns out, out of the huge list of names, they skipped/missed his name, and ONLY his name.

We talked to the powers that be afterwards and they seriously apologized. The lady that was calling out names said that she was afraid she would miss or skip over one out of that entire list...and she did. It was really funny actually. And it turned out to be a better deal because instead of a rushed photo with the presenter, we got a real "posed" shot. This just illustrates, once again, the fact that anything big and exciting in our lives never goes to plan. It's actually uncanny how that ALWAYS happens to us.

 Here's a picture of the two of us. Sorry it's blurry but it's the best we could do. I still think it's cute.

This is Michael and his friend Ben. Ben's wife and family couldn't be there for the ceremony so I took some pictures of him and some with "the boys". It was fun. 

All in all, I'm proud of Michael. He's so smart, driven, and just an all around good guy. Guess you could say I'm pretty lucky. Yeah, I know it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The next two weeks...

There are so many things happening in this lil' family of ours. I feel like I should write them down on here so I can wrap my head around them. Basically a blogger checklist of sorts. So, here I go.
  • Phone interview this afternoon with Big Bend Hospice for my music therapy internship.
  • Pick up graduation announcements. Mail graduation announcements.
  • Practice for French final skit/presentation tonight after off work. 
  • French final skit/presentation Tuesday morning.
  • Michael's induction into Beta Gamma Sigma Tuesday night.
  • Final Practicum Presentation Thursday afternoon.
  • Compile all materials for Michael's birthday party on Friday night.
  • Throw Michael an AMAZING party on Friday night!
  • Work on Saturday afternoon. (Missing Young Women's annual chili and pie cook-off fundraiser for camp. Boo.)
  • Figuring out my dad's estate on Tuesday...finally. Fingers crossed please, this has been a source of stress and worry for my family. Estates are always so difficult. It's insane how people get crazy over these issues. I'm just ready for it to all be figured out, hopefully smoothly and without more stress than there already has been.
  • Developmental Psych final on Tuesday. 
  • Young Women's Tuesday night. 
  • Head down to Centerville to help my mother in her search for a temple dress for my soon to be sis-in-law!
  • Yearly "girl" exam on Thursday. Yeehaw. 
  • Michael's graduation on Friday afternoon.
  • My graduation on Saturday morning/afternoon.
  • Entertain family and in-laws during grad weekend. That will actually be super fun! Bring on the nieces and nephews.
Whew! We're busy here at the Black household. Not to mention my sis-in-law is in the hospital with some complications regarding her pregnancy. Please keep her in your prayers. It's going to be a long road ahead these next few weeks. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

We're graduating!

This is the cute little announcement Michael and I made for our graduation! It's nothing special, but we figured we wanted to send something out to our loved ones so they could celebrate this joyous occasion with us. We are officially going to be "grownups" in a couple weeks. Feels good and a bit scary. 

We pretty much see ourselves as a super couple. I mean, look at that, Michael with a Masters degree and I with two Bachelors degrees. I think we have room to be a little proud of our accomplishments (just not too proud)!

Check your mail in the next week and you may see one of these cuties. 

Thanks to everyone who has supported us in this journey throughout the years. Your support and friendship has meant the world to us! Love you!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Raisin Cookies

This is an old recipe from the Black family. I believe it actually came from an even older ward cookbook down in Monticello (or it may be Blanding), Utah.

Michael loves these "cookies". They are basically like homemade fig newtons. Michael will request these for dessert at family gatherings, especially surrounding his birthday. I'm pretty sure he is the only child in the family that really likes them. Good thing he met me, because now he has another person in the family who loves them also. It's a shame, because they are really addictive and not all that great for the figure. But, they are made for special occasions (a.k.a. like once a year), so I don't have to feel too bad about nibbling on some when I get the chance.

If you like fig newtons, you will surely like these. They are sweet, fruity, and have a nice crumbly cookie outside. This particular batch we made came out a bit drier than we would have hoped, but they still taste wonderful. And their haphazard top layer appearance may or may not have something to do with the fact that we dropped the crust upon transportation from wax paper to pan. Michael said, "It'll stick to the wax paper!" and I in my raisin cookies naïveté said, "Okay!" We flipped it over and PLOP. It fell in pieces onto the top of the raisin mixture. It was actually quite hilarious. We pieced everything back together as best we could and into the oven it went. Luckily, a little plopping, dropping, and piecing translated into a yummy dessert. 
Raisin Cookies
Cookie Dough
1 c shortening
2 c sugar  
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbs milk
5 c flour
1/2 tsp salt

Cream the shortening and the sugar together. Then mix the remaining ingredients into dough. Place in the dough in the freezer to chill.

Raisin Filling
4 c raisins
1 1/2 c sugar
2 c water
4 tbs corn starch
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan cook until thick.

Divide the dough in half for the top and bottom of the cookie. Roll the bottom dough out onto wax paper to the size of the cookie sheet. Transfer the dough to the cookie sheet. Spread the raisin filling onto the dough evenly. Roll out the top dough the same as the bottom and place on the cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min then check and continue until top begins to brown. Finally cut into squares and enjoy hot or chilled!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Steal of a Deal

See that bolster pillow on the right?

I totally scored while I was at DownEast today. I always see their Pottery Barn merchandise there at discount prices, but I never find anything I really love, can afford, or can even use right now. I always think, "Someday...when Michael and I have a house and a bit larger income." Well, today changed that because I stumbled upon such a pretty pillow. 

It was originally priced at $29 and I got it for $5. Sweet! The deal was just too good to pass up, even if it doesn't perfectly go with our bedroom scheme right now. I still looks beautiful on our bed and I know I will use it for many years to come!

Thank you DownEast for carrying such wonderful discounted items from Pottery Barn. And thank you Pottery Barn for designing and creating such beautiful things.

P.S. If anyone is interested in one of these, they still have 2 more left in store. I can snatch one up for you if you let me know quickly. And then you can just pay me back whenever. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sign of Spring

Found this daffodil in our front flower bed today. The weather is slightly cool, breezy, and sunny; so I've opened up all the doors and windows (that don't have shrink wrap still on them) and I'm letting the breezes flow!

This bright flower is a sign of the wonderful things to come in the next few weeks....spring! Then, summer. Which I must admit, I LOVE summers in Logan. It appears that we will still be here for it (although who really knows, things can change in one blink) and that means we have so many exciting things to look forward to. Lying in the grass, camping, planting flower and vegetable gardens, and soaking in the sun. 

I am most definitely a fan of sunshine. Makes me happy. I get high on my daily dose of Vitamin D. Let's hope this warm weather (50 degrees and above) stays and I can continue to enjoy being outside while the world around me blooms and starts anew!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sans Mon Mari

This fine specimen of a man is currently in Portland, OR. A place I've never been to. He's speaking at a conference on research that he and other men in the USU Business Intelligence Group completed. Apparently, he gets to present for 10 minutes to LOTS of computer smart people. He's so smart and I'm so proud of him! He said that he's going to look like this young teenager up on that stand and all those in attendance will think, "Wow. He sure is young. Does he really know what he's talking about?" Michael looks young, just like his wife. We'll love this years from now. 

Anyway, he's gone until late Thursday night and I missed him before he even walked out the door. We've not been apart like this, in different cities, since right after we were married. First was for work training in Denver and second was for our reception in Louisiana (he flew and I drove). Both times were almost week long absences. Even though this is only two days, I'm missing him ALOT! We're pretty attached to each other. He's the only thing that's keeping me sane in these last few weeks of college. Love that boy.

Oh well, I'm comforted that he's safe and pampered with continental breakfast, gourmet meals, swimming pool, free cable and hot water for 2 days. I sent him off this afternoon with a little brown bag lunch, full of a homemade turkey sandwich, banana, and a message scribbled on the front of the bag. He looked at it, smiled a HUGE smile, and ran right over and planted a big one on me. And there was some hugging in there too. He appreciates that I take care of him. And who wouldn't want to be sweet to him, when he's so sweet to me? (Plus, look at that face, pretty cute!) Okay, I'll stop being mushy so you can all stop gagging now.

Guess I'll just take advantage of this time alone and get some important things finished. Internship applications...so close it's almost painful. CILs, same story. Write a song in a week for the USUMTSA Songwriting Competition because I was basically told to do it by Maureen (dept. head)...why not?

I kinda sound like Superwoman. Oooo....I like it.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Little Bookshelf

I told you I would give you an update on another project the boys have been working on for a week. Here it is! This little bookshelf that we use to house our DVDs and videos was in great need or some refurbishing. I bought it for $5 at a garage sale before Michael and I got married almost 2 years ago. It is sturdy and was a really great bargain for such a price. We finally decided that it needed a little pick-me-up though. (I don't think that it even had a varnish on it. Or, if it once did, its years of use by the family before, had worn it off.)

You can see what a lack of varnish can do to the shelf when you try to place plant pots on it. Not pretty!
 Our friend Hunter covered in sawdust...in my kitchen. He and Michael sanded the bookshelf for a couple hours outside. (It was was the one semi-warm day we've had in the past month).

 This is post-sanding. Please excuse my silly expression! Michael snapped this quick picture as I was on my way out the door to the General Young Women Broadcast.

 After one coat of stain. You starting to get the general idea? Nice, but not quite there yet. 

All finished with two coats of stain and two coats of varnish. Doesn't it look great? I think the boys did such a great job on it. It matches the frame that Michael built for me for Christmas. The frame is for a canvas print of us from our engagements.  (I'll have to post a picture on here...)

I can't set anything on top of it that is heavy for about 3 more days because things might stick to it and ruin the varnish. But that's okay. I'm just loving how it looks. Thanks Michael and Hunter!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Oh, Quilts...

First things first, I love many things as I'm sure you've noticed. And apart from food, which you all know I love, I love decorating my home and making it warm, cozy, and welcoming. One of the things that I see that emanates all three of those qualities is a quilt. It's homey, comforting, and just exudes the phrase, "Come on in and get cozy!"

In my dream guest bedroom, I picture a white wrought iron bed, with white sheets and a pretty quilt on top. Sheer curtains to let the sunlight in, and a little side table with an old-fashioned wind-up clock and books all around. The perfect little getaway. 

As I was perusing the Pottery Barn website the other day (Note To Self: Bad idea. Should not visit that site so often. Dangit, I ordered two of their catalogs. I need help.), I couldn't help but click right on over to the bedding section, specifically the quilt section. So much beauty there that I just had to share some of my favorites with you.

Bloomie Patchwork Quilt

 Breton Patchwork Quilt

 Colebrook Patchwork Quilt

 Nadine Patchwork Quilt

Nila Patchwork Quilt

Looking over these, I could actually see them in different locations in my home. Like in a little girl's room, or even in my master bedroom. There are so many possibilities. Hmmm... now I want to curl up and get all snuggly in those sheets and quilts with a good book. Someday!

I'm curious, which ones do you like best? And also, are there any other quilt enthusiasts out there? Or am I just really old-fashioned?

Pie Crust that will change your life. No joke.

Alright friends, you should punish me in so many ways for waiting to share this recipe with you. Michael and I found what is, in our opinion, the best recipe for pie crust or any pastry dough that you will ever need or will ever come across. Thanks to Smitten Kitchen and her recipe for Homemade Pop Tarts. And seeing she got the recipe from King Arthur flour, we should thank the King for the genius of his creation! 

Anyway, we LOVE this and use it for all sorts of recipes that require a pastry shell of some sort, whether it be savory or sweet. It's flaky, buttery, and just plain perfect. Hope you'll give it a try. It's well worth it and I'm sure you'll grow to love it just as much as we do!

The Best Pie Crust/Pastry Dough EVER


2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats

1 large egg

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Work in the butter with your fingers, pastry blender or food processor until pea-sized lumps of butter are still visible, and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it. Add egg and milk and into the dough, mixing just until everything is cohesive. Knead briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.

Divide the dough in half (approximately 8 1/4 ounces each), shape each half into a smooth circle, about 5 inches in diameter. You can roll this out immediately or wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Once ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until it turns a light brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Insert desired filling, then bake according to specific recipe directions. 

Whole Wheat Variation: Swap out 1/2 cup of the flour with whole-wheat flour. It will be delish.

Here's last night's application of the recipe. Spinach Bacon Mushroom Quiche. LOVE Quiche. It's so easy and healthy. And you can basically put whatever you want into it and it always comes out yummy!