Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Italian Job

Ok, this is another post on my husband. But when it's just the two of us, and he's the exciting one, that's just what happens.

First I need to start with a little bit of history. When I first started dating Matt one of the things I loved about him was his love for his mission. Then I learned not only did he love the work of serving the Lord, but he LOVED the country, the people, and especially the food. He served his mission in Italy. (He can be pretty critical when it comes to Italian food.) :)

He dreams of going back there. Especially ever since he heard about them building the temple in Rome. He's looked for job opportunities to be able to get transferred there. Someday I'd like to surprise him with a trip to Italy. I loved it when I went on vacation there, and I know he could show me so much more than what I saw on my brief trip. He LOVES Italy. I'm beginning to think he might be obsessed with it...

This weekend he borrowed an Xbox game from his friend. Well, he started to play it soon after he got it (I won't tell you how long he played...). And this game just so happens to take place in Italy. All I know is it starts out in Florence, which was one of his areas. He kept saying, "yeah this looks like it's in the right area", or "been there", etc. And a couple of times I heard him say, "I'm geeking out". Oh my husband, he's a funny one.

Intensely playing the game
(sorry about the poor camera phone quality)

So, he first played it Friday afternoon-night. Then Saturday afternoon while I was working on my Relief Society lesson (which I probably stress over TOO much and take WAY too long), so that gave him a LOT of time to play some more.

Well, this morning as we got ready for church, he comes out dressed in a dark gray, Italian suit (one from his mission). (Side note: He never wears a suit to church.) And he says to me, "You know, I look very Italian right now." :)

How lucky am I to have such a funny husband? Haha, like I've said before, he makes me laugh every single day. I think I'm going to have to try extra hard to give him a trip to Italy. :)

p.s. And thankfully it's Sunday to give him a break from the game. Plus, after all that time spent playing the game the last two days, I think he's almost done... At least I'm hoping :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Most Wonderful Gift of the Year

I know I already did a grateful post for this month, but I wanted to finish the month off with one more post of gratitude and thanksgiving.

First off, we had a fabulous Thanksgiving break! It was wonderful spending time with both of our families. I love my family so much! And I'm grateful for them in my life. Also, I loved being able to spend time with the hubby's family and get to know them better. They are great! And I couldn't ask for better in-laws. :)

To finish up this Thanksgiving post, I'm going to brag a little about my wonderful husband. I don't usually like to do this, but I'm extremely grateful for him (don't worry, I tell him everyday, so it really isn't anything new. just new for all (or one of you) who read this blog!).
I'm grateful for a husband who is a hard worker. Every morning he's up at 6 to be to work at 7. His coworkers and boss all love him and appreciate his work. I'm grateful for the job he has been blessed with.

Tuckered out at Thanksgiving dinner. I love pictures of him sleeping :)
 I'm thankful for his willingness to serve and fulfill his responsibilities. He just recently got called to be the Elder's Quorum secretary, and the President told him it was because he was impressed with him showing up to help others move and being at the service projects. I'm thankful for his example.
Fulfilling his home teaching responsibility.
I'm very grateful to have married a man who is smart, funny (makes me laugh everyday!), kind, giving, full of wisdom, and so much more. I've seen how great he is as a big brother, a friend, a son, and a husband. And I know that he will make a great dad and father for our children, starting around June 20th (that's right... we're expecting :)). I was only sick for about a month, but that whole time my awesome husband cooked dinner, did the dishes, did the laundry, and so much more! I'm very lucky to be with such a great guy forever!
 Baby Walser - Expected to arrive June 20th

Doctrine and Covenants 59:21 - And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Be Grateful

My favorite 3 holidays are Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (not really in any particular order).

I like to think I'm pretty grateful through out the year. But as the first day of November came, I noticed myself trying even harder to be grateful. It's amazing how many extra things you are grateful for when you really stop and think about all the blessings in your life.

I've really been looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Maybe it's because we've been away from family (one of the 3 F's that makes these holidays great). Maybe because I'm just really excited to experience these holidays with my hubby. Maybe because I can't wait for some delicious food (another F) that I don't have to make, but just enjoy! Maybe because it'll just be loads of fun (the final F)!

I'm pretty sure it's because I just can't wait to spend time with some of the best people I know:

I'm grateful for FAMILY! And I am grateful we are able to go visit them. I can't wait for Thanksgiving!

"Walk with gratitude in your hearts, my dear friends. Be thankful for the wonderful blessings which are yours. Be grateful for the tremendous opportunities that you have. Be thankful to your parents, who care so very much about you and who have worked so very hard to provide for you. Let them know that you are grateful. Say thank you to your mother and your father. Say thank you to your friends. Say thank you to your teachers. Express appreciation to everyone who does you a favor or assists you in any way. Thank the Lord for His goodness to you. Thank the Almighty for His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, who has done for you what none other in all this world could do. Thank Him for His great example, for His tremendous teachings, for His outreaching hand to lift and help. Think about the meaning of His Atonement." - President Gordon B. Hinckley

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Moving on Up

Married life is great. But we don't really do a whole lot besides work, watch tv, and sleep. And the past few weekends we haven't had time to go hike or explore the outdoors. So all this means a lack of excitement, which leads to a lack of blogging.

With beard (October 2010)
BUT, this past Friday we had a chance to celebrate Matt's awesomeness. :) He moved up a level at work (a.k.a. Promotion), after just a year and a few months. I remember moving up a level at my last job; there was a great sense of accomplishment knowing I was no longer at the "Entry Level" position. Well, we headed over to our conveyor belt sushi place to celebrate. Matt LOVES sushi, and he's been wanting it for a while, so this was a great excuse to go get some.

I love this place because it reminds me of my first trip to Japan. I think it's pretty cool they have the conveyor belt sushi here in the U.S. Oh, and the names on the plates are all train lines in Tokyo. Pretty neato to me.

Also, notice in first picture of Matt, he is growing a beard. It's been about a month now since he's shaved it. He thinks it's pretty cool. (Sorry for the dark picture. I used my phone and didn't want to use flash.There was already some guy looking at me while I took the picture [see in background].)

Without beard (July 2010)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Treats: Baking Extravaganza

The last two weeks I've been going crazy. Crazily baking lots of different treats. Fortunately, I have a great taste tester, who will give me a pretty honest opinion and I'm not eating it all by myself. So, here is my baking recap for the past two weeks:

Sunday, September 12 - Molten Lava Cakes (The only thing I changed on this was used 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, and 1/3 cup milk chocolate. I love milk chocolate.)
   Matt really loved this one. My sister also made it after I recommended it, and she and her husband loved it as well. So I'd definitely say this one is a hit. Oh, I liked it as well.... SUCCESS!

Wednesday, September 15 - Texas Sheet Cake
   Ok, so this one didn't turn out so well for me. And I'm not exactly sure why. Half of it tasted too sweet. The other half was pretty good. After baking this, I learned our oven was slightly crooked, so we got that fixed, but I doubt that's what caused the overall uneven distribution of sugar. I'd like to try this again, but I'm a little hesitant. Maybe I just need to use less sugar. So, I rated this one as FAILURE, but has potential.

Friday, September 17 - Fortune Cookies
   This was a FAILURE. At least I'm pretty sure it was. I've never made them before, nor had homemade ones, so I wasn't completely sure how they are supposed to turn out. It seems like it should be super easy, there are 5 ingredients!, but I couldn't figure it out. Are they actually supposed to turn out crispy like the fortune cookies from restaurants? If so, ya, I failed. I'll have to have someone show me how to bake these.

Sunday, September 19 - Key Lime Pie (I used lime juice instead of juicing limes; I think it might have tasted better had I juiced limes, so next time I will.)
   Super super easy. This recipe was easy. I'm not sure if they're all that way. But it tasted alright. I give it a PASS. It turned out, and tasted ok. Next time I'll try to see if there is a way to make it even better. Oh, and my taste tester gave the same opinion: it was good, just not the best he'd ever had. Also, I made my whipped cream (whipping cream and powdered sugar), seriously there is nothing better than homemade whipped cream.

Sunday, September 19 - Brazillian Lemonade
   So, this is supposed to be like the Tucanos Brazillian Lemonade. I think I need to try Tucanos version again (it's been a while) to see how mine compares. My taste tester said it was good, but I wasn't impressed. I thought it was too limey. I suppose for now this will be a PASS.

Wednesday, September 22 - Hi-Hat Cupcakes (recipe actually comes from Martha Stewart)

   Well, Matt saw me looking at this recipe on Bakerella's site, and he really wanted some. I gave it a shot. It was difficult for me, and I got frustrated and had to break it out over 2 days. The end result was ok, but not quite up to the pictures of what it's supposed to look like. I had a lot of trouble with the frosting, not to mention I got really tired of mixing it with a hand mixer for 12 minutes (you can't use a standing mixer). I think the frosting turned out too sweet, so IF I make it again I'll probably reduce the sugar amount. Matt really liked the end result. We had a friend try it, and he said it was a little too sweet for him too. So, this is just a PASS.

Thursday, September 23 - Banana Bread
   A couple of months ago I made some banana bread, and it was too dry. This time around I used my mom's recipe (she makes some yummy banana bread). Her recipe was much better. I still think it's a little dry, so maybe I'll add some apple sauce the next time. This is a SUCCESS.

This past Sunday I kept it simple with chocolate chip cookies and had an ice cream cookie sandwich. It was delicious. I have this great chocolate chip cookie recipe from my sister-in-law. And it uses Guittard milk chocolate chips; they are scrumptious! Oh, and this was definitely a SUCCESS!

After typing up all my baking experiments, I think I will take a little baking break, and just do it once or twice a week. Especially since the holidays are coming up soon, I'll need all that baking energy :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello.

Goodbye Summer. I'm REALLY going to miss you.

Summer Highlights:
Visiting with my AWESOME sister and her family :)
Quitting a job - I actually miss it.
Being with my best friend, FOREVER.
Moving to a whole new state.
Hawaii... oh, I'll miss warm weather.
Baking lots of treats.
Cooking real meals, for pretty much the first time. I feel so accomplished :)

Hello Fall. I LOVE you.

Things I'm Looking Forward To:
Fall TV shows! I always love a good tv show, and there seem to be so many that I'm interested this time around. Last Fall I did not want to get into GLEE, BUT I'm REALLY looking forward to the premiere tonight. I told my sister I was more excited for Glee than Chuck, and she couldn't believe it. But I think it's because I love good music, and that show just makes me happy and want to sing out loud.
Fall colors.
Baking MORE treats. (Good thing I exercise.)
Starting my sewing phase.
Visiting family.
Holidays - FFF - Family, Friends, Food. Doesn't get much better than that.

Welcome Fall, I embrace you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

What's on Your Mind?

Love this show.
*last night I got a text from my sister-in-law and my sister, seriously back-to-back, saying "Guess what?!" that's right, we're all in love with Chuck and we've all got it on our minds. if you're not a fan yet, i bet you'd like it :)*

Monday, September 13, 2010

i LOVE running.

Those are 3 words I thought I'd never say. But as soon as I started running this morning that was all I could think! By the time the 15th minute came along I was debating it, but when I pushed through for another 15 minutes that feeling of accomplishment came, and I felt great again.

I don't really like running, because I kind of find it boring and hard work. But I like the burn, sweat, and pain that come while running. That feeling that I know I'm burning calories makes me happy. The extra energy right at the end, when you think you can't go anymore, is awesome. Knowing I can make it through a half hour of running - no stopping - is even better than losing 20 pounds. Being sore because I run, makes me satisfied.

So, now I'm trying to get my sister hooked and we are setting our goal high and going to run a 5K. (Ok, we don't like to run, so that kind of is setting high expectations for us :). Neither of us have ever run a race, so it'll definitely be a new experience. And I'm hoping it won't kill my new found love of running. But just make me work even harder.
our "thought of running" faces

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday Treats: Chocolate Cupcakes

Yesterday the hubby and I celebrated 2 whole months of wedded bliss. So, in celebration of that, and to stick to my goal from a couple of weeks ago to make my own cupcakes, I made the following treat. It was a big hit with the Mr. I won't tell you how many he ate. :)

So, this recipe comes from Martha Stewart and I just added a couple of chocolatey extras, turning it into Triple Chocolate Cupcakes.

Makes 18 to 24
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Milk Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Frosting

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
    2. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. *Sprinkle with Milk Chocolate chips* Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely. *Frost with chocolate frosting (I used Betty Crocker Whipped Milk Chocolate Frosting - so good!).
    The * is where I added my little twists. Also, the great thing is this recipe is super easy, but delicious! Enjoy!

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Where in the World: Hawaii

    Our first vacation together was to Oahu, Hawaii. Already one month ago. It was SO beautiful! And such a wonderful break escape... from Matt's work (I didn't have a job at the time, so really I wasn't taking a break from something).
    At Pearl Harbor
    Polynesian Culture Center
     We had a lot of fun. We went to Pearl Harbor, took a tour around downtown Honolulu, swam with sharks (yes, I actually swam with sharks!), went to North Shore, jumped off the famous jumping rock (ok, only Matt did this), Polynesian Culture Center, Laie Temple, lots of fun hole-in-the-wall stores, Dole Plantation, snorkeling, and hiking!

    The whole time we were there Matt was trying to think of ways we could move there. Once we left, I think, he finally gave up on that idea. We decided we need a place where we can vacation to that's paradise. But how awesome would it be to walk outside your house and be at the beach? Or have perfect weather all year round? I'm pretty sure that is something I could get used to.

    And now that Fall has started to arrive here in Washington, I really wish I could go back. Summers here in the Northwest, just don't cut it. And what's worse, Fall comes about a month earlier than what I'm used to. Sweatshirts in August?! That's just absurd.
    August 2010

    Monday, August 30, 2010


    So, last weekend I made a realization about myself. I have an easier time to be motivated to do the things I hate strongly dislike (i.e. working out and eating healthy), than doing the things I love (i.e. my photography class, reading, decorating our home, scrapbooking, crafts, etc.).

    It's driving me nuts trying to determine why that is. So, from today forward I'm going to try really hard to motivate myself to actually do the things I love, without slacking from the things I've already got under control. Hopefully this new goal for me for the last quarter of the year goes well! I know Matt would really appreciate it! ;)

    Saturday, August 28, 2010

    Date Night: Exploration

    headed out for date night
    For our date last night (which was actually the first in a little while) we went to an outdoor mall located by the University of Washington. The suggestion came form our bank teller who told us they had a great pasta place and cupcake shop.

    Matt was NOT impressed with the pasta at all. Seeing how he lived in Italy for 2 years, it makes sense he'd have high expectations. But even I was disappointed with the food. Well, it turns out we went to the wrong pasta shop.

    Since I've been unemployed for the past month and a half I've had plenty of time to watch tv. Well, a couple of favorite stations are TLC and Food Network. And I find it incredible that cakes, and now cupcakes, are the IT thing for the year. Some people do do some amazing work with their baking though. And I LOVE sweets (I have a major sweet tooth). Anyway, I guess my expectations for this cupcake shop (I won't share their name to spare them the embarrassment) were high. After all, they were ranked #1 in Seattle. Well, it was $3 a cupcake, and it was just ok. I've had better in Utah, and I looked up the ones I enjoyed in Utah, and it's a whole $.25 cheaper. So, I was disappointed. I think I'll just learn how to make great cupcakes and bake my own from now on.

    But, date night wasn't a complete failure. We walked around the shops and stopped at Pottery Barn. I'd never been there before. It was wonderful. I love the styles. I love the quality. I just don't love the prices. Maybe some day when we're making the big bucks I'll be able to actually shop there and not feel bad about spending that kind of money. But yay for Pottery Barn, which gave me the inspiration and, maybe even, desire to decorate our dull apartment. :)

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    New Site

    I'm still trying to get everything working the way I want it to. So, hopefully it won't take me too much longer, and then I will put up the first post. :)