Oh, Rise and Shout!

Happy Birthday, Kelly!

Today is my Mother-in-law’s birthday! I want to let Kelly know how much she is loved and that we all wish her a great year!

Kelly is an example to me, always living the gospel and shining light for all to see. She is a wonderful homemaker, mother, and wife. I am so blessed to be a part of her family!

Happy Birthday, Kelly! Hope it’s a good one!

Hiking Mt. Timp

I’m supposed to be hiking Mt. Timpanogos tonight. Starting at 1 a.m. then hiking for about 10 hours.

The forecast is predicting thunderstorms.

I may or may not be praying for those to come to pass.


We’re from Kentucky.

It was really windy.

When I was 14 or 15, my parents and I went to San Francisco for the 4th of July. It was one incredible trip that I still talk about. But mostly I still talk about it because of this one experience:

My parents and I loved walking down all the streets looking at the amazing houses and just wished we could go inside one.

There was this one house that was being remodeled and the door was wide open. A construction worker was outside and my parents decided to ask him if we could go in the house.

He said, “Si.”

My parents are nuts and decided to go inside.

I pleaded with them, begging them not to go, but it was too late they were already in the doors. I walked in the foyer but that was all. My mom walked into the rooms in the main floor and my dad headed on upstairs for the grand tour.

But something started to hit my mom and I.

The house was still furnished. Paintings on the wall. Pictures on the table, jackets on the coat hanger.

This house, folks, was not vacant. And we soon found that out.

“Hi, can I help you?” said a woman who came in from another room.

My mom, thinking she was a real estate agent, said, “Oh, we’re just looking around, checking out this nice house.”

“This is a private residence!”

My dad with impeccable timing called from upstairs, “Nancy, there’s more up here!”

I was in utter horror. Shock. I couldn’t believe that this was really happening. We had walked into some lady’s house just because the man outside who clearly didn’t know English told us, “si.”

I grabbed my mom, she started apologizing over and over, called for my dad, we ran out of the house while my mom gave her last apology:

Oh, I’m sorry, we’re from Kentucky.

That explained it.

You have arrived!

Going along with the last post, on Saturday we headed to Zion National Park to hike the Narrows about 30 minutes away from St. George.

T.J.’s aunt and uncle told us the directions the night before, but just to be sure, we used Sean’s phone that gave the directions out loud.

Before we got into Springdale (which is the city right before the park), the phone suspiciously told us to take a left. The road was kind of gravely and I had my doubts. But who am I to question the phone?

We entered the Kolab Canyons, which is a part of the national park, but it didn’t look too familiar from the past time I went down there. But once again, who am I to question the phone?

The drive was absolutely beautiful. I was amazed by the many trees on the red rock canyons.

We drove for about a half an hour or so and then Sean said, “Guys, I’ve got some bad news.”


“You have arrived!” said the phone.


We were in the middle of no where. There was a small dirt road forking to the right, but it definitely was not the entrance to the Narrows.

Needless to say, we weren’t supposed to take that suspicious left a ways back, but we eventually found our way and got to the park entrance.

It wasn’t a loss though, because the drive was so beautiful and we got to see a lot more of the park than we had planned.


Scavenger Hunt in St. George

This past weekend, T.J. and I drove down to St. George with our friends Heidi and Sean. Friday night, we wanted to go to the St. George temple, but we got to town too late. Instead, we drove around the whole town searching for a place to eat. Sean brought one of those coupon entertainment books, so we wanted to find a restaurant with a coupon.

The first place we went to was supposed to have scones or something, which sounded wonderful. But it went out of business. Then the next restaurant was supposed to have 30 types of cheesecakes. I was thrilled about this place and was picturing something like the Cheesecake factory. It turned out to be a bar attached to a bowling alley. It wasn’t a bar and grille though, it was just a bar with a few bar stools around pool tables. We stuck out like sore thumbs as BYU students.

Next, we tried to hit this Italian place where we had a coupon for a pizza. The restaurant it was supposed to be had a different name, so we thought we might as well give it a shot, but the boys were too embarrassed to ask if the coupon would work.

Like I said in a previous post, I really am turning into my mom because I obviously was not embarrassed to ask about the coupon, especially if we would get a discount from asking. So Heidi and I went in and asked if the coupon was still valid even though the name of the restaurant changed. The hostess told me no and I got kind of embarrassed and said while walking out the door,

“Oh, sorry, it was just for a scavenger hunt.”

(It’s like the time my mom said, “Oh, sorry, we’re from Kentucky…” But that’s another story…..)

Anyway, we ended up at this great Thai place called Benja Thai. I highly recommend it, especially the sticky rice dessert with mango and coconut sauce on top. Delicious. Also, it inspired me to learn how to make curry. Does anyone have any good curry recipes?


The Narrows

Two years ago, I hiked the Narrows in Zion National Park with my family. 

This weekend, T.J. and I are hiking it with another couple in our ward.

Gotta live it up while we can, right?


Firepits and Stargazing

On Friday, T.J. took me to Macaroni Grille, which is my favorite restaurant.  I am not the type of person to order the same thing when I’m out, except for when I go there. We always order their Mediterranean olives. They’re truly amazing. And then I get my favorite dish: Chicken Cannellonni, made with their homemade pasta. I ate a little more than usual because I hadn’t eaten all day.


After dinner, we were going to head to a park up the canyon. My stomach felt a bit uneasy so I popped a half dozen tums (I’m exaggerating, Mom, I didn’t really take 6 pills) and took a swig of the pepto hoping that would be the end of it.

It wasn’t.

We got up to the park, made a nice fire, but then the stomach volcano was getting pretty intense inside of me. I’ll spare you the deets. But I was very blessed that we chose a park with a bathroom and that the bathroom was unlocked.

A half hour later… I was back at the fire, watching people eat s’mores and having a blast.

Once it got pretty dark and the fire faded, our buddies Heidi and Sean stargazed with us. We found a little, open field perfect to see the stars. We saw a bunch of meteors that put the shooting stars to shame as they crossed the entire sky, with a long tail. We also saw two lights traveling fast that eventually disappeared, which Heidi believed was a UFO.

Anyway, the night was a success and a great summer memory, gotta live it up while we can!

Perseid Meteors

The Perseid Meteor Shower is happening through August 24th. Although last night was the peak, with about 60 meteors every hour, T, a few friends, and I are all going up to the canyon to watch for the meteors and shooting stars tonight. I can’t wait. It will be epic.

Give me a call if you want to come.


T.J. and I went to a Cowboy party last night where we played the game Bang! (It’s like the game Mafia, but more organized and with one thousand rules plus exceptions.)  There was a chili cookoff, which I got second place and won that cool knife I’m holding in the picture.  It was a fun night, a couple in our ward threw it at their apartment complex and at least 30 people from our ward came, including our Bishop and his wife.

If you would like to try a really good and easy chili recipe, here is mine.  My sister Mary Beth gave it to me a few years ago, and I make it a few times a year.  It makes A LOT so freeze it or share it, or else you’ll get sick of chili really fast.

2 lb ground beef
2 c diced onions
2 15 oz cans pinto beans
1 15 oz can pink kidney beans
1 15 oz can whole kernal corn, drained
1 14 oz can mexican style stewed tomatoes
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can tomatoes with chilies
2 (4.5 oz) can diced green chilies
1 (4.6 oz) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
1/2 C green olives, sliced, optional
1 (1.25 oz) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1 oz) package ranch salad dressing mix
corn chips for serving
sour cream, grated cheese, chopped onions, pickeled jalapenos for garnish

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, chilies, olives, taco seasoning and ranch dressing mix and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours OR simmer over low heat on the stove for about 1 hour in a pot. Serve with chips and the garnish ingredients.