i am not a camper

I think it's fairly common knowledge that I'm not the camper type. I'll totally go on the occasional hike, sit by a fire, load up on s'mores...but when it comes to full-on ruffing it in the woods, sleeping in a tent camping- no thanks. 

Or give me an RV. I could totally do camping in an RV. 

Like I said, occasional fire and s'mores- I'm all in. We went up with James' aunt and family for just that. Jillian LOVED it. When she wasn't poking the fire with a roasting stick, she was playing in a pile of rocks. Her khaki pants came home brown, covered in dirt. If that's not a sign of a good time, I dunno what is. 

I was completely reminded why I don't like camping full-on camping when the water bottle I drank earlier needed to make a swift exit (something happens after you have kids and all of the sudden you can hold your pee for a grand total of 5 minutes). The 30 minute drive home meant I had to use the campground bathrooms. Egh...Apparently I need to work on my squatter position because I totally peed down my leg. 
Yep. Not a camper. :-)

But bring on more s'mores this summer! I'll just drink a little less next time...


25 stay alive

I turned 25 last week...TWENTY FIVE!!!! A quarter of a century. Officially in my "mid twenties"...when did that happen? 

Here's what happens when you turn 25:

1. You go through concealer faster than any other makeup product. 
2. You notice a wrinkle on your forehead that isn't just there when you smile...
3. Teenagers you know make references to groups like "No Doubt" like they are SO old school.
4. Your presents start to get more practical.
5. You realize turning 30 is a lot closer than it used to be.

All in all though, 24 was a great year. No complaints (except maybe that one darned wrinkle). And loads of good memories.

To celebrate, James and I went to see the community theater outdoor musical, Tarzan (can you tell I picked what we were doing?) :-p I thought it was cute. James? Well, he stayed until the end. We topped it off with In-N-Out, which has quickly become my favorite burger joint.

My birthday present was a new light fixture! See what I mean about presents becoming more practical? It's all good...I'm totally obsessed with home decor, so it's exactly what I wanted.

I am officially old and boring...but never better!

Adios 24! Bring on the anti-aging cream!

happy father's day!

Father's day gets me emotional..like more emotional than Mother's day..weird? But I'm incredibly lucky to have so many great father's in my life! 

 I think one of the reasons my Mom married my Dad is because she knew he'd be an amazing father. One of my parents' first dates was a "study date" (super productive I'm sure). My Dad danced frosted animal cookies across my Mom's books before eating them. Right there she probably thought, "This guy is a total dweeb, and he's also pretty endearing and hilarious." That's exactly how I'd describe him anyway- endearing and hilarious..and maybe also partly dweeb ;-) Today as we were face-timing with him back home, I couldn't help but giggle to myself as he and my Mom were singing "I love you a bushel and a peck" to Jillian in silly, off-key voices just to provoke a smile out of her.

I've also loved watching my father-in-law grow into a Grandpa, or "Gumpa" as Jillian says. Today at dinner he was trying to coax Jillian into eating a bite of her chicken by pretending to feed it to her pet fishy, but telling her the fishy didn't like it, so she had to eat it.  Jillian was kind of slow to warm up to him at first, but now she begs to see him! 

And of course, last but not least, the father of my own child and other future kiddos. Even though he's pretty busy between school and work, he will always squeeze time in with her- and boy does she soak it up. I think Jillian defines a new level of "Daddy's girl". Every day when he gets home from work, she squeals and runs to the door to give him a hug. Then she immediately says "go get mail?" Their latest ritual is going to the mailbox together, haha. I love the way he looks at her- it's still the way he looked at her when they first met! I always say this, but I knew James would be a good father, but he has far exceeded any of my expectations- and for that, I am so grateful!

Happy Father's Day! 


goin' green

My little sister is officially in the mission field!! For any non-Mormons out there, that just means she has left the Missionary Training Center in Utah and is now in her assigned area to start teaching and preaching as a missionary for our church. And where is that assigned area? Martha's Vineyard! I'm beyond jealous...she said it's gorgeous! 

When missionaries are new, they're called "greenies"...I'm not really sure why, haha, that's just their nickname. So this week I made Michaela a GREEN package to send her. At first I thought finding all green things in the store would be tricky, but when you're looking for a certain color in the grocery store, suddenly EVERYTHING is that color! I wonder if the cashier noticed...

My "green" package included: lime flavored wheat thins, green PostIt notes, cherry limeade drink mix, lip balm, mouth wash, Trident mint gum, pocket sized Kleenex, mint Oreos, travel size Clorox wipes, War Heads sour candies, Mike and Ike candies, cocoa roasted almonds 100 calorie packs, lotion, Clinique face scrub and moisturizer, a pocket sized mirror, hand sanitizer, and sour cream and onion Pringles (not pictured).

I also found this awesome poem that I typed up a copy of and tossed in as well:

I'm so proud of my sister and I'm excited to send her more fun packages in the future!


one amazing cake and a birthday

Today is James' birthday! I can't believe he's already 28! (That's two years away from THIRTY!!!!) We are getting old. 

According to him, the highlights of year 27 were: getting accepted into grad school, and getting a new job with Goldman Sachs. In his 28th year of life his goals are: "to make it through school and work." :-) Awe, he's cute. (I'm hoping he makes it through too!)

I asked what kind of birthday cake he wanted me to make for him, and he requested German chocolate cake. Wouldn't of been my first choice, but it's not my birthday. I found a recipe that looked promising (and a little tricky) on Pinterest, and since no plans were on today's agenda, we (Jillian and I, but mostly I) got to bakin'. 

Of course I sampled as I went, and about two "tastes" in I knew I'd been converted to German chocolate cake...because HOLY CRAP this one is DELICIOUS. Usually when I think of German chocolate cake, the cake is dry and the filling is overly sweet with waayy too much coconut. THIS one couldn't be any different.

If you're not a believer, give this one a try.

German Chocolate Cake
(recipe from Sass & Verocity

For the cake...
2 c. sugar
1-3/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. natural unsweetened cocoa
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 lg. eggs
1 c. whole milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. boiling water
For the filling...
7 oz. sweetened shredded coconut (about 2 c.)
4 oz. chopped almonds (about 1 c.)
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 T vanilla
1/4-1/2 c. heavy cream

For the topping...
2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter (1-1/4 c.)
10 oz. semisweet chocolate
3 T light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the coconut on one baking sheet, and the chopped
nuts on another. Bake for about 15 minutes or until coconut is just beginning to brown and nuts are aromatic. Remove from oven, and stir, then set aside.

Turn the oven temperature up to 350 degrees F and prepare two 8" x 3" cake pans by lightlyoiling, lining the bottoms with parchment, oiling again, then lightly dusting with flour. Set them on a large cookie sheet if you can. Heat some water to the boiling point -- you'll need to add it to the batter.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt. Whisk a few times to blend well. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla to the dry ingredients, and beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Pour the boiling water into the mixture and mix well.
Pour batter into the prepared cake pans and place them in the oven to bake for 40-45
minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center is clean after removed.

Cool the layers in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove them and cool on the
racks completely. When the layers are completely cool, cut each in half horizontally to
create four layers. Remove all parchment.

To prepare the filling, after removing the cake layers from the oven, turn the temperature up to 425 degrees F. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a casserole dish that will fit inside a larger pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan to reach half way up the sides of the casserole. Cover the entire set up with foil and seal well. Bake for 45 minutes. At that point, remove the foil with extreme caution as steam will be released, and check the water level. Add more hot water to reach half way up the sides of the casserole again, seal well with foil and place back in the oven for an additional 45 minutes. The milk should be thick and the color of a rich caramel. Stir, and keep warm and covered.

To prepare the topping, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Remove it from the heat and add
the chocolate in small pieces, stirring until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the corn syrup.
Reserve 1 cup in a bowl and place it in the fridge to thicken, about 1 hour. Stir well
occasionally until it reaches a spreadable point. Keep the remainder of the chocolate mixture at room temperature.

To assemble the cake, mix the dulce de leche, most of the coconut (save some for
decoration if you wish), nuts and vanilla and stir well. The mixture must be spreadable. Pour in just enough heavy cream to achieve the desired consistency and mix well.
Place the first cake layer on a piece of cardboard cut for the cake, or the removable metal bottom of a cake pan and place it over a baking rack set above a baking sheet to collect excess glaze when the topping goes on. Divide the filling into three equal quantities. Mound 1/3 of the filling onto the first layer and spread with an offset spatula that has been dipped in water. Continue until all layers are assembled.
Cover the sides and top of the cake with the chilled chocolate. If it's too firm, put it in the microwave for 5 seconds and stir until it softens, but do not over use the microwave or you'll ruin the chocolate. Make sure the warm chocolate is pourable, reheating over an extremely low flame briefly, and then stirring until glossy and smooth. Pour over the center of the cake, and with an offset spatula, gently push it to the sides and over, smoothing as you go as little as possible. Warm water to dip the spatula in works wonders for this. Allow to sit until the chocolate is finished dripping, and remove to a cake platter then refrigerate until serving. To slice, warm a knife in hot water.

oh, hey june.

It's a week into June which means I officially survived May! It was a crazy one (May that is). In the life of a teacher it means end of year testing. Because I'm the lead teacher for Provo's online school, I had to coordinate and proctor the tests for ALL of the online students in 3rd-12th grade. I usually work from home, but the whole month of May I was gone 4 days week from 7:30-5. Talk about exhausting...I don't think I could go back to teaching in the classroom full-time again. Even the thought of it makes me want to just take a nap.

But we're done! And it's officially summer. Between me and you, I get a little nervous when there is absolutely NOTHING on the agenda. A whole three months of nothing to do?! I'm the thrive-off-of-a-schedule kind of person. But to be honest, so far it's been fantastic!  

We've had lots of play dates, played at the splash pad, built a mini-sandbox, cooked up some yummy recipes, planned lots of home improvement projects, and I've actually stayed (mostly) caught up with laundry! See? Fantastic!