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A Girl Should Be Two Things: Classy & Fabulous. - Coco Chanel

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Friday, May 22, 2020

New Normal

Well... we are now in month 3 of COVID Craziness. The world is still divided on how to handle things, but right now I am super thankful to be living in Utah because we are one of the few states that are opening up and starting to get back to normal.

I thought I would share some of the new normal now... you know, just to document this crazy time.

First thing that was awesome and I wish would have lasted longer but it didn't were the gas prices. It got down to $1.75 a gallon which gas hasn't been that low in 15 years or so. It was really nice while it lasted though.


And although Utah is opening up as of a week or so ago and you can go inside most resaurants now, you see these signs on pretty much every food joint. Of course they were up before trying to keep their business from shutting down... even though you can go inside curbside pick up is still very much an option for the people that are still keeping their distance.


And speaking of the food industry, You also see a lot of people encouraging us all to support our local businesses. Downtown Provo did it as a sticker challenge. You document that you supported on your social media and tag them, you get a cool sticker designed by a local artist just for thie challenge. Yes... I totally participated. Even though I don't live in Provo anymore, I lived there for years and still eat there on occation beacuse I have so many favorites over there. So now I have a sweet Provo sticker. I think these promotions to support local buisnesses are great because I DO NOT want to see any of these places suffer for no reason.




Utah decided to pay tribute to all of the hospitals working hard by flying these jets across the state in their honor. Kind of cool. Everyone knew about it and a scedule was put out so you knew when to walk outside and look for them. You better believe that we stopped what we were doing at work to go watch for them outside.


And who knew that masks would be the hottest trend of 2020! Not me! Everyone is selling them or making them and in all kind of fun patterns. It is super weird to go out and see lots of people wearing masks... but at the same time, it's not anymore... because this is the new normal. Truth be told, I have only worn one once... when I went to get my hair done because it was required in order to go into the salon. I did buy one though for when it is required... but I am finding that not that many places require it, so I haven't had to use it much. Even when I finally got a pecicure, they didn't make me wear it. Which I appreciated.

Speaking of getting my hair done.... it was strange. Not only did I have to wear a mask, but I had to wait in my car for my friend to come get me and then I had to wash my hands right away. Thankfully they hadn't gotten their thermometers yet or else I wouold have had my temperature taken as well. But hey... it is what I needed to do in order to get my hair done, so I am happy to do it. Everything was pretty shut down here for a couple of months, so I was thrilled to get my hair done and my nails done... something most people in other states still can't do. My friends outside of Utah were pretty jealous when I posted getting these things done. Again... I am so happy that I am in Utah right now.


Amidts all the crappy things happening, there are a lot of good/ fun things coming out of this as well. There have been drive by parades for students from teachers and for missionaries that have come home and most recently for graduations.


In our neighborhood in Mapleton specifically we have had a lot of fun things happening... especailly for the kids.... like sidewalk chalk to display for others to see and bear hunts where people put bears in their windows or outside for kids to find when they go out walking. On our neighborhood facebook page we had people offering items that were hard to find in the store and others that were taking those people up on their offers but in trade for other goods. I loved seeing everyone be so thoughtful and kind and looking out for eachother. We also have a group that goes around the neighborhood doing social dis-dancing. THAT is my favorite. It makes me to happy to hear the happy music as they pull this lite up stage around the neighborhood while people come out of their house to dance and sing along. Talk about bringing happieness to the neighborhood!!



Then of course you have the celebrities jumping on board trying to spread some joy as well in their own way. You have networks offering free shows, movies that were supposed to be in theaters being realised right away, free broadway shows on youtube, Josh Groban singing "shower songs", Jimmy Fallon continuing to do the Tonight Show from home with his family and interviewing guests via Zoom and having each guest highlight a different charity and encouraging those who can to donate. Then there is my favorite, John Krasinski doing "SGN" (Some Good News) Just reporting on all of the good going on around the world. A lot of the videos have made me cry. But are we surprised by that? I'm not.

So there is an update on the new normal. It has been sad for me not to be able to travel or even plan to travel which makes me so happy. But I have been trying to switch my focus and see it as an opportunity to get lots of projects done that I have been putting off! I will do another post on all of my projects soon. Also... I keep buying more house plants. ha ha. Maybe I will do a post on that as welll. It is getting a little out of control. Ha! Ok... bye for now.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Going Green


Lately I have been trying to make some changes and go a little more green. Do I think I am changing the world by doing these things? No. Am I going to go completly green? Probably not. Sure, I feel good about doing my part, but this is also about just not being so wasteful in general and saving money by not having to buy all of these single use products over and over again. Plus, because there are so many companies trying to change the world to go green, there are a lot of quality products out there that have not always been an option. So if you are wanting to make some of these changes... NOW is the time!

The first change I made I think is probably the most common one. Using tote bags when going to the grocery store. I have gone through phases of how good I am at remembering... and sadly when I order groceries online and go pick them up, that isn't an option (although I have put in the feedback online that it should be) but for the most part I remember and it is great to not have a million plastic bags around my house. I occationally use them, but not the amount that I have laying around and was coninuting to collect. So this was a great change.

A more recent addition were some netted bags I bought from Coconut Bowls company. These are to replace the plastic bags that you pack your fruit and veggies in at the grocery store. I love these! Great buy.




I didn't make any other changes for a long time. Then my sister and mom talked about dryer balls instead of dryer sheets that are actually not great for your clothes anyway. So I bought some dryer balls. So far... I am really enjoying them!


Next thing I realized is how many zip lock bags I used. So many that all just get thrown away! So I started looking on Amazon to see if there were some good reusable zip lock bags out there. I found some and decided to give them a try. They are AWESOME! I love how thick they are, they are easy to clean and the zip lock is really strong. My pack came with 2 different sizes... but now I would like to find a freezer size version. I like it THAT much!



Last, I decided to get some reusable straws. Not that I use straws that often... because I don't. But I thought I should have a few on hand for when I do want to use them. So I bought some coconut straws from Coconut Bowls. I really like them. I also got a pack of silacone straws in my fabfitfun box. Each pack came with a cleaning stick. Oh! I also got a reusable cup at Sodalicious and got one of their metal straws. For someone who doesn't use a lot of straws I now have a lot of straws. ha ha. The sodalicious straw stays in my sodalicious cup. Which I currently can't use thanks to COVID-19 along with my grocery totes.


Just kidding... that wasn't the last one. After doing a story about this on my instagram, I asked what else I should change in going green and almost everyone that responded said switching to bees wax paper instead of plastic wrap (which I was actually thinking about anyway) so I ordered some and it came and I have used it a couple of times now and I think it will be great. I just hope that I never need more than the biggest peice that came in the pack.

One last thing that I have ordered and is on the way... a diva cup. I have been scared of this one, but it would be a good change to make and save me a ton of money in the long run. I just hope I can adjust well and don't have trouble using it. ha ha.

Go green where you can everyone. If for no other reason that to save some money.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

COVID-19

Well... I decided that I need to start writing in my blog again because I miss having a journal. There is so much detail that you forget in your day to day... week to week. I have loved looking back at old blog entrees to see what I was doing and how I was feeling... I need to get back to that.

I think I stopped because I went on a trip and then just got so behind that it was too hard to catch up so I just stopped. Also it wasn't popular to blog anymore... nobody was reading or commenting on my blog anymore so I wasn't motivated to write anymore... which is terrible! Why should I care who reads this or comments on it? It's a journal for me!

So this is my attempt to get back at it. Hopefully I stick to it. I know I won't be as regular as before, but hopefully it won't be several months before I'm back on.

This year, 2020, started out great. I was making all of these fun plans. I went on my annual yurt trip with some girls from my ward in Goblin Valley, I had a fancy dinner in another yurt up Big Cottonwood Canyon with Stacey, I met up with my friend Nicole at the Ice Castles, I bought tickets to a concert in June and went to see Dear Evan Hansen with Nicole. So many fun things... and it was just the beginning of the year! Then things changed... and it seemed like it happened over night.

I am not one that loves watching the news or keep up with whats going on around the world. The Corona Virus that was going on in China was talking about in passing... but not something I worried about. Then at the end of February things got serious. It was spreading fast and we had found a couple of cases in the USA. Then all travel in and out of the USA stopped. That is when people really started to freak out. Thankfully, for the first time in a VERY long time, I had no plans to travel. So I didn't have any plans that were ruined over it. Right after I saw Dear Even Hansen, everything started getting canceled and things started shutting down. We were told to not be in goups of more than 10 people, to practice social distancing and stay 6 feet apart from people, no more plays, or concerts, resturants had to close along with nail and hair salons and anything involing a big group.

That is when people really started to panic. Grocery stores were crowded and people started hoarding flour, rice, beans, yeast, rubbing alcohol, clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, water, toiley paper!! I could never find any of those items no matter what time or day I went to the store.

Work at Organa got INSANLY busy! We didn't have the staff or the product to handle it. It was stressful! Everyone wanted silver! We couldn't make it fast enough. While so many other people were losing their jobs and working from home, we were busier than ever. We of course are thankful for the business but it was stressful and not the most fun couple of months and I definetly didn't relate to all the people that were complaining about being bored at home. Thankfully everyone in our family has job security at this time... but there are a lot of people in the country that don't. Our economy seemed to tank overnight.

On top of people working from home and things shutting down, so did schools. They thought it would just be for a couple of weeks, but a couple weeks turned into a month which turned into 2 months and now they shut down school for the rest of the school year. If I were in school this would have made me super sad... so I feel for them.

Along with the schools being shut down, so did church! Say what?! I never thought I would see the day where the prophet would say you can't go to church or the temples! Missionaries from around the world are being brought home. We have been having church at home with the family (me, my parents & my sister Kristy's family) for a couple of months now with the exception of General Conference which we watch at home anyway... which nobody could attent this year and it was just broadcasted from a room.  My mid-singles ward is doing church online... group lessons and discussions to stay connected and doing church together since many don't have family to join like I do.

Then we had an earthquake! I know... like if things were not crazy enough. That really freaked out people here in Utah. I actually slept through. Ha ha... I guess my body is used to earthquakes from growing up in California? But then people started to think about food storage and the world ending (Moroni even lost his trumpet on the SLC temple! Thankfully it is getting remodeled anyway) Still couldn't find anything in the grocery stores.

Then everyone in the country was told to stay at home. Movie and TV productions stopped. Talk show hosts like Jimmy Fallon and Ellen are filming out of their home to still put out content and also raise money for different charities. Everyone is binge watching so much tv. They are even offering shows for free that usually you have to pay for an exta package or whatver to try and help out with this crazy time. Everyone is conncecting online. This entire situation is giving people a lot of material to be really funny. I have seen so many parodees and memes and whatever else... at first it was funny... after a couple of months, I really don't want to here the words "COVID-19" "Corona Virus" "Quarentined" anymore. I just want things to go back to normal. But after 2 months... this is the new normal.

When people do go out  you have some people wearing masks and some who don't. I haven't been. I honestly have not been worried about getting it. Is it bad that I am not worried? I feel like you have people in 2 categories. People that are not worried and people that are so worried they have anxiety. I am sure if I lived in a place like New York that has lost over 10,000 people to this virus, I would be more worried, but in Utah, we have not had many deaths and everyone that has died as either been old or had a weakened immune system or both. I am healthy. I haven't even gotten sick at all this Winter/Spring. Am I still trying to follow the rules? Sure. I am also trying to support local business though. It has been so difficult though because you can only use the drive thu and hours are now all over the place. Places that don't have a drive through you have to call in and then they bring it out to your car. Yet people are still going to grocery stores and place like Home Depot. Grocery stores also have shorter hours and the first hour they are opened is for seniors only. Home Depot as a line outside the store because they are only letting in so many people at a time. Does this stuff really help? I don't know. It doesn't annoy me... it is just the new normal and I am adjusting.

We have been asked to fast for this pandemic twice by our prophet. The first time was this last fast Sunday, but then during General Conference we were asked to fast again on Good Friday... but this time it was a World Wide Fast where we asked anyone of any faith willing to join us to join. I didn't think too much about that... but then someone started a World Wise Fast & Prayer group on Facebook and within days it grew to over 260,000 people in the group of all faiths from around the world. Everyone was sharing their stories and wanting to fast together for this cause. It was really amazing to see actually. It was a testimony builder for sure. Where so many people have been rude and not handling this pandemic in the best way... it has also brought out so much positive. This facebook group was nothing but love and support for every single person that was volurable enough to share their story whatever it may have been in the group and everyone was better for it. I really loved reading through the messages in that group everyday.



In my neighborhood in Mapleton it brought out so much love and kindness and support. We had Chad Truman (our renters in the back house that is a part of the National Tribute Band) went around with his wife & in-laws with a truck pulling a trailer with a stage and playing fun music and singing and dancing so people would come out of their houses and dance and smile. It worked! Everyone loved it and thought it was so much fun. People had a bear hunt and put bears in their windows so the kids could walk around the neighborhood and look for bears. People in our neighborhood facebook page were letting other people know where they could find toilet paper when they found it themselves or bought extra and were offering it to anyone that needed it and some people were exchanging for other goods like fresh eggs. The list goes on! Just so much kindness. I love my nieghborhood.

I really thought it would be a 2 week lock down... but here we are almost 2 months later... and I honesly don't know when life is going to go back to normal. I am not sure when we will be able to travel again. This really does seem to be the new normal and it is very strange. I don't think any of us have ever experienced anything like this before and hopefully we won't experiecne anything like this again. In another way... I don't feel like my life has changed that much. I still go to work. I'm still with my family. I was already spending this much time a lone before all of this happebed so I don't feel any more lonely now than I did before. So I don't know if that is pathedic or not. I have been sad not to go to the gym, not to go to church (although there have been plus sides to home church) and not to see certain friernds. On a plus side... because of all of that, I am able to work on other projects! Don't really have an excuse not to espescailly now that work is starting to slow down a bit. I will blog about the projects I have done in other posts. I will just leave this post just about COVID-19.

I guess I will sign back on when life goes back to normal. Well... just to write anyway... I will still blog about other stuff I'm doing.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Banana Bars


I made Cinnamon rolls for my family General Conference weekend and had a lot of leftover icing. I was scrolling through Pinterest and these banana bars popped up and I saw that the icing was pretty much the same.... so I decided to give these a try. I know... a really weird reason to try a recipee, but I also like banana. Also it was an easy recipe. I love easy recipes. So here it is!

Banana Bars

For the Bars:
* 1/2 cup butter, melted
* 1 cup light brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1 cup flour
* 1/2 cup mashed banana (1 medium banana)

For the Frosting:
* 4 oz butter, softened
* 4oz cream cheese, softened
* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla


Directions:

-For the bars: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8x8 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

- In a bowl or stand mixer combine melted butter and sugar. Mix until combined. Add in egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated. Stir in salt, flour and banana until batter is smooth and even. Spread in prepared dish.

- Bake for 25-30 monies until center is set. Transfer dish to wire rack to cool. Frost the bars when they are cooled.

- For the frosting. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla.

- Serve the bars either at room temperature or chilled (I prefer chilled). Keep leftovers in the fridge.




Sunday, January 26, 2020

Cinnamon Rolls



I LOVE cinnamon rolls, but for some reason have always been intimidated
 to make them.

My cousin Travis and I both like to cook. So whenever I go visit him we cook together and show each other favorite recipes. When I was there this last summer I asked him what he had yet to master. We both had homemade pizza down, french fries from scratch, homemade ice cream,,, so on and so forth. He said he still hadn't made cinnimon rolls. I said I hadn't either so we challenged each other to make cinnamon rolls. Not just make them but find a good recipe before I came to visit next summer.

So I did it! I found a great recipe but with coffee icing (no thanks) so I found the perfect icing recipe to go with these delicious cinnamon rolls. I found a winner. I will make these again for sure. What are the chances that I would do so well on the first attempt?

So here is the recipe

Rolls
* 2 and 3/4 cups of flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 tsp salt
* 2 and 1/4 tsp instant yeast
* 1/2 cup whole milk
* 1/4 cup water
* 3 Tbsp butter
* 1 large egg

Filling
*3 Tbsp butter
*1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
*1/4 cup sugar or packed light or dark brown sugar

Icing
* 2oz cream cheese, softened
* 7 Tbsp butter, softened
* 1/2 tsp vanilla
* 2 Tbsp milk
* 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
* 1/4 tsp salt



Directions:

- Make the dough. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt and yeast together in a large bowl. Set aside.

- Combine the milk, water and better in a heatproof bowl, Microwave or use the stove and heat until the better is melted and the mixture is warm to touch. Pour into the dry ingerdients, add the egg, and stir until it forms a soft dough or use your mixer. (I used my bread machine to make the dough)

- On a lightly floured surface using floured handsm knead the dough for 3 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover loosely, and let rest for about 10 minutes.

- Fill the rolls. After 10 minutesm roll the dough out in a 14x8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle it all over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 10-12 even rolls and arrange in a lightly greaced 9 inch round cake pan or pie dish

- Rise: Tightly cover the rolls with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm, draft free environment for 60-90 minutes.

- Bake: After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25-28 minutes until lightly brown. If you notice the tops are getting too brown too quickly, loosely cover the rolls with aluminum foil and continue baking.

- Make icing: Beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and milk, then gradually mix in the powdered sugar and salt until smooth and fluffy

- Cover leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to 5 days in the refrigerator.




Sunday, October 27, 2019

Pumpkin Cornbread with Cinnamon Honey Butter


Another recipe from my annual pumpkin dinner party. I also loved this one a lot, but I like cornbread and I think everything tastes better when made from scratch.


Ingredients:

Cornbread

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs

Whipped Cinnamon Honey Butter

1/2 cup salted butter
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon


Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. For the cornbread: In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves for 20 seconds. Make a well in the center of flour mixture then set aside.

3. In a seperate bowl, add brown sugar and break up sugar with fingertips until no clumps remain. Add in melted butter and pumpkin and whisk to combine.

4. Mix in sour cream and eggs until well blended. Pour mixture into well in flour mixture then fold with a rubber spatula just until combined and no streaks of flour remain.

5. Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and pour batter into pan. Spread batter into an even layer.

6. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out free of batter, about 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly on a wire rack then cut into squares.

7. For the cinnamon honey butter: In a mixing bowl (or using a stand mixer) whip butter with an electric hand mixer until smooth.

8. Add in honey, powdered sugar and cinnamon and mix on low speed until combined, then increase to high speed and whip until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Made this soup for my pumpkin dinner party this year and it was so good that as I was eating it I was thinking about how excited I was to make it again. If you like Curry, I'm pretty sure you will love this soup. It was a hit at the party.

Ingredients:

- 2 tsp coconut oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet yellow onion (I actually left this out and still really loved the flavor)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (I didn't have any of that so I actually just used the dried spice)
- 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 2-3 cups low sodium vegitable broth (or chicken broth)
- 2 tbsp almond butter (or peanut butter)
- 2 cans pure pumpkin puree (15 ounce cans) not pumpkin pie filling
- 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar ( or light brown sugar- which is what I used)
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 can light coconut milk
- For topping chopped roasted peanuts or pipits


Instructions:

1. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 additional minute, until fragrant. Stir in the Thai curry paste.

2. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together 1/3 cup of the vegetable broth and the almond butter or peanut butter until smooth. Add the mixture to the pot. Add the pumpkin, coconut sugar (or brown sugar), cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne, and 1 2/3 cups of the reminaing vegetable broth. Stir until well combined.

3. With a blender, puree the soup until completely smooth, adding a little of the coconut milk if it is too thick to blend smoothly.
Alternatively, you can ladle the soup carefully into a blender ot food processor and puree it in small batches. Stir in the remaining coconut milk. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add additional vegetable broth until you reach your desired consistency.
(I actually didn't have to mix in a blender because I didn't have the onions. My soup was already smooth as is, so I just added the coconut milk while the pot was on the stove)

4. Taste and add additional salt, black pepper, and or cayenne pepper as desired. Serve hot with deseired toppings.