Thursday, May 31, 2012

Things in Cedar

I haven't said much about how things are in Cedar, so here are a few random thoughts.

One.  I think my love for food and cooking grows every time I've move out of the house.  My parents have spoiled me with really good, fresh food and I find myself craving it all the time.  Unfortunately, I don't have bucket loads of money to spend on food.  But I still eat very well : )  Like today for instance.  My roommate made enchiladas and slow cooked re-fried beans that were delicious.  I don't think I can ever go back to canned again.

Here's an approximate recipe:

Slow Cooked Re-fried Beans 
Dry pinto beans (however much you want)
Water (cover the beans)
1 Onion, cut in chunks
1 Jalapeno, chopped with seeds
Garlic to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Put in the crock pot for 8 hours.  Drain off extra water.  Mash together with an electric mixer.  Eat to your hearts content.

You might be finding more recipes on my blog.  I've been spending way too much time drooling over cooking blogs and you'll be sure to hear of my successful recipe attempts.

Today when we were at the store, my roommate and I ran into some of our co-workers.  One of them laughed because I was the smallest and my cart was the biggest - over flowing with produce.  What can I say?  I like good food.  And I like to cook.

Two.  My ward seems really great.  I love my bishopric - really all the bishopric.  They've already got me involved in the ward, since I spoke and lead the music in sacrament meeting last Sunday.  I was surprised they'd ask me since I'm here such a short time, but I was/am grateful for the opportunity.  It made me feel wanted in the ward and gave purpose to my scripture study.

Three.  Cedar City is beautiful.  Sometimes during my afternoon break at work, I just walk around taking in the beautiful nature around me.  Here's a picture of one of my favorite streets to walk down.  I love the canopy of trees.  There are also so many adorable houses around.  A lot of them are Bed and Breakfast places, but some of them are actually homes.  They are so fun to look at.  Perhaps I'll have to take pictures of some of them.

 Four.  I've started running again.  Hurray!  In the past year I've been super bad about running - any I did was short and far between.  I did yoga more consistently, but even then I was super great about that.  So I determined that while I was down here and just working, I needed to start being more active again.  I'm a really slow runner and pretty much mentally sabotage myself into thinking I can't go very far.  And not running recently made me even more intimidated of running.  But I found this free podcast from that is awesome!  It's helps you increase your endurance and prepares you to run a 5k (which I've decided to run the Freedom Run on the 4th of July in Provo as my goal).  And it's great because I can turn it on and there's now someone in my ear telling me to keep going or when I'm half-way there.  I'm a fan.  Plus I feel great, because, well, running makes you feel great!

Sometimes this is what happens in the costume shop.

Lastly.   Work is busy, and we certainly work hard, but we have time for moments of fun.  Like dressing up Valerie today after lunch.  I made this blue skirt (dress on me) and then we ended up changing the color of the ball gown, so I'm making a new one.  We were having fun trying it on.  On my friends, Jack and Shelby, it was actually a skirt.  For me it was a cape, and then a dress.  

Then we belted it, because we've got a theme in the Les Mis neck of the woods, "belt it."  That's our solution for a lot of the dirty peasant looks that don't quite fit (half joking).

And last of all, the bonnet.  I am actually quite fond of that bonnet.  I wore it most of yesterday.  It was quite perfect since I wore a matching pink shirt.  I felt ready to pick strawberries.  Can someone tell me why we don't wear bonnets today?  They are absolutely charming.

So there you have it.  Just a few snapshots of life here in Cedar.  Nothing epic or profound, but life is good - very good.  How can you complain when work is a 2 minute walk from your apartment, the weather is perfect, and you have greenery and red rock?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Check out my post on the USF blog!

For those of you who didn't see on Facebook, I'm a guest blogger on the Utah Shakespeare Festival Blog!  They emailed us asking for responses and pictures and I responded not really thinking my responses would be used as a lowly stitcher.  But low and behold they were!  It was a happy surprise when I found out at lunch today.

Click here to see it!


And a special thank you to my friend, Melinda Wallace, who took the lovely photo of me that I am using everywhere : )

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mesa/Mexico Adventure: Part 4

So I thought I could finish all my Mexico blogging in 3, but apparently not.  So here is the very end

The girls in Rocky Point.
We were staying just outside Rocky Point, and both days we went into town.  We did a little haggling over goods.  I surprised myself and found I wasn't too bad of at this haggling thing.  I got two nice looking pairs of earrings - one abalone and the other lapis (which always makes me think of Ella Enchanted since she wears lapis jewelry to one of balls.  And it's just a really pretty blue).

My mom and  Jen bought these beautifully painted dishes.  I really wanted one, but without my own home it didn't seem practical to get.
 Here is a picture of Mom's:
 Pretty, isn't it?

On the first day, we went to dinner at this amazing place known for it's chicken, Pollo Lucus (if you're a gringo like me, you say it with lot's of "l" in pollo, but I quickly learned it's said more like poyo).  It was this quaint little place with thatched roofs and open sides so the air just blew through.  And they only served a few things (like In-and-Out).  They have chicken, beans, rice, salsa, cabbage, and tortillas.  But what they made was GOOD.

Getting ready to eat the delicious food.

 Michael loving his food oh so much.

Looking happy after eating such good food.
(P.S. I love the look on my little sister's face.  Look at the girl with the red shirt : )

I've been craving those tortillas ever since.  I could do with some of that chicken and beans too, but mainly I want those tortillas.  I keep having Mexican food, hoping it will be like Pollo Lucas, but it's not.  The Costa Vida I had on Saturday was really good, but not the same.  Ugh, I just want to go back to Mexico and eat their delicious food. Anyway, it was delicious.  And I want to go back

And of course, no vacation on the beach is complete without relaxing, playing in the sand, and collecting seashells.

And so ends my Mexico saga.

 Saying good bye to the brightly colored Mexican streets

...And entering the states again where the desert looked like chalk art.  It was beautiful.

And the next day I made the journey to Cedar City, and I'll be blogging about that now.  Thanks for listening/looking at my Mexican trip!  I had a blast!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mesa/Mexico Adventure: Part 3

Now that you've been introduced to the beautiful Rocky Point (or Peurto Penesco as they say in Mexico) I'll tell a little more of our adventures.  It was a fast trip - only just more than 2 days there, but I have no complaints.  And you lucky ducks get a few bits and pieces from my journal, because it's easier than me writing it out again.

This is what I wrote about the first morning there:

"In the morning when I got up, Mom, Jen, Jessica and the Kai were about to go on a walk on the beach.  So I hurried to grab some shoes and went out.  We went for a lovely walk along the shoreline and found pretty seashells and looked at the cool houses.  It my first sense of where we were in the day light.  And it was beautiful.  There we were just off of the Sea of Cortez on the beach and the ocean was a beautiful blue-green.  And there were so many shells along the shore." 

Later in the day we went for rides on the jet skis.  I vaguely remember going for a terrifying ride on one when I was 9 or so and was ready to go for a real ride this time! 

"I was a little nervous to go on the jet skis.  The water wasn’t as flat as would be ideal, which made for more jumps and a much rockier ride.  I watched Dan, Dad, Michael, Jen, Mom, and Jessica go out before I would take my chances.  Finally I got up the courage to go.  Dad took me out for my first ride (I'd watched him and he was good maneuvering around the waves).  I went terrified and came back excited.  Still scared, but excited.  The waves were rolling, but Dad knew how to maneuver his way around them and he went fast enough that it was exciting, but slow enough that I wasn’t terrified.  My first run was short, but then we went out two more times and went faster and longer each time.  It was great!  

The next day we pulled out the jet skis again.  This time the water was flatter.  To my surprise, I liked the waves a little more.  It wasn’t as fun to me just to go fast across the water.  I’d rather have the obstacles and the rolls of the ocean.  But it was fun and I went a lot with Jen.  Jessica also took me once, but she would laugh like a crazy woman as she drove and that freaked me out more than anything else.  I did try driving once, but I didn’t care for it.  Just like in real life and cars, I’d much rather ride than drive.  And other people were more than happy to drive.  So there you have it.  I have conquered another fear.  That’s one of my hobbies, you see, conquering fears.  You’d think I was a daredevil, but really I was just a fraidy cat growing up."
(I wish I had pictures for this, but they're on my sister's camera and I don't have them yet.)

We also took out the ATV and the ranger which was so fun!  (Once again, I'd never been 4-wheeling before.)  I'm a little better with land than water so I was less nervous- plus I'd already conquered the jet ski fear.  I do have pictures of this.
 Jess out for a ride.

 Dad having fun on the toys.

 Jen taking me for a ride.

 Going for my first drive.

 Loving life out in the Mexican desert

 Mamma going for a ride.

That's most of the adventuring we did.  Perhaps not so adventurous to some, but I suppose it's all relative.  I feel like that is a long enough post.  So stay tuned for part 4 and then I'll finally move on to my adventures in the land of the Shakespeare Festival.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mesa/Mexico Adventures: Part 2

On Sunday we went to church at one of the wards Jen served in.  It was so fun to see how excited people were to see her.  She was introducing us to people right and left.  It was so nice to finally put faces to these people I'd heard so much about.

After a delicious dinner by the family that took us to Mexico, we took off for Rocky Point, Mexico!  It was a little longer drive than I expected, but highly pleasant.  We didn't get to the border until after dark, so I was naturally a littler nervous after all the stories I've heard about northern Mexico, but the family we went with go to Mexico all the time and thought we were safe so I trusted them.  So with trust in hand the car ride was awesome. There was much laughter and silly things said.  I was was loving it so much I took to being the family historian and recorded some of my favorite things said.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple quotes from the car ride.  You may have had to be there, but regardless of that I'm posting them.

Michael – "Dad, did you know there are extended versions of Lord of the Rings?  So instead of the trilogy being 9 hours, it’s like 14 hours!”
Dad – "Oh really!"
Michael –" I feel a father’s day gift coming on next February!"
Valerie – "Wait why February?  Father’s Day is in June!"
Michael – "Oh right!  I had no clue when Father's Day was so I just said February."


Dad – "This road keeps getting narrower and narrower."
          (This was in Mexico.)
Michael – "Pretty soon it’s going to become one lane -"
Valerie – "With both lanes of traffic coming on each other."
Michael – "That’s an extreme version of chicken!"
Jen – "At 90 miles per hour!"


Michael and I were having a grand ol' time laughing and come to find out we might have annoyed the wee one in our family just a bit (and normally she's the one laughing hysterically!).  Whoops!  

When we finally reached the house, this is what greeted us:
(Though these pictures were taken after we arrived).

The sinks were painted so beautifully.

This was in my shower.  It was awesome.

I fell in love with all the beautiful mosaics.  It makes me want some in my home someday.

And you just stepped outside and there was the beach.  They were on a beautiful private beach that was nicknamed, "Shell Beach," which is no exaggeration as you'll see from the pictures.  Both the house and the beach were absolutely beautiful.

I was practicing my photo-taking skills if you can't tell. Some pictures were definitely better than others, but I thought I got some interesting shots. But the place was beautiful, so it was hard to mess up.
What better place to take a family photo than on the beach?  P.S. I love that there's a little rainbow in the bottom left corner.  P.P.S. I feel like I look like I'm 14 in this picture.  I'm missing my smart little bob.  Maybe if my hair looked like the picture below, people might actually think I'm in my 20's instead of a teenager...

And to end today's post.  Michael on the computer, in Mexico, somehow managing to look grumpy.


More to come!
P.S. I was trying to figure out how to format pictures on this thing so they weren't all in a straight line, but I didn't succeed.  If anyone knows how to, you should let me know!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Mesa/Mexico Adventures: Part 1

I'm back from my trip to Mesa and Mexico and mostly moved into my new apartment.  Do you know what that means?  It means it is time to reminisce about my lovely trip.  

My family drove to Mesa.  My older sister went with a friend a few days before to see one of her converts go through the temple, so it was only the five of us.  It was a lovely ride.  I slept, journaled, took pictures, and enjoyed being with my family and having time to think.

 Mom reading, as she did most of the way.  Dad driving.  He drove all the way to Mexico.  Go Dad!

 Jess reading - or maybe sleeping.
 For lunch we stopped at a cute little place in Kanab called The Three Bears.  The decor was very whimsical and Mom, Jess and I had to take a picture in the three bear's chairs... although I'm in Papa Bear's chair and I am most certainly not a papa.  It was a cute place and the food was good, but I later wished I got a salad or something, because Mexican food does not include many vegetables, and I love my veggies!

We drove on to the hot desert of Mesa, where we met Jen.   She took us to dinner at a grocery store that has a restaurant in it that had really good Mexican food, so we could celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  It felt like a party in there with lots of bright colors and mariachi music playing.  After we went to the Mesa Temple and Visitor Center where she served most of her mission. 

 I practiced my picture taking skills, which you can probably need to be improved.  I'm really coveting a fancy camera with different lenses right now.

In the morning Jen, Jessica, and I went back where we could get a picture in the light.  By 10 am it was already hot - though I'm sure it wasn't bad to those Arizonians.  Anyway, we met some of Jen's missionary friends and was the grounds in the light.  I really wished I had had the time to do baptisms for the dead while I was there.  The temple was so magnificent in person.  Alas, it was a whirlwind trip and the Mesa temple will have to wait.

The second part of my saga will have to wait.  I can't wait to tell you all about Mexico and our adventure there, but I'm getting sleepy.

Random Note:
I can't believe last Thursday I was still in finals.  That seems like forever ago.  Perhaps because I've gone to Mesa, Mexico, and moved all in one week.  That just may explain it.