Monday, February 27, 2012

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!

My friend Jodi invited me to go with her to the taping of the "oddly informative news quiz show" from NPR "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!" when they were here in SLC.  Are you a listener? I've been listening to the podcasts for several months now, and it is hilarious--and as self-described, oddly informative.

It was held at Abravanel Hall, and it was lovely.

It was such a fun night... lots of laughs and good conversation.

Listener beware: They are equal opportunity mockers and some may be offended by some of their banter.

Puzzles and fun

We loved having Grandma Harper come to visit! This puzzle took us four hours to do, but we finished. Hooray!

Hip Hip Hooray! Girl Scout Cookies Arrived Today!

Shhh.... don't tell the other kids!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Hearts Day!

Our day was full of Valentine's goodness...

The kids and Ryan got shirts and I got a lovely new scarf... plus candy all around. Ryan's fancy wrapped Symphony bar had an iTunes gift card stashed inside. We had tasty heart-shaped muffins and strawberries for breakfast... yum!

Fruit salsa and heart cut out cinnamon tortilla chips went to work with Ryan... and I took some to visit my friend Loretta who is in town from Alabama. We had so much fun visiting and chatting that I didn't take a picture. I love seeing her though!

Sophia and I got to go into Coleman's classroom party to help with a craft... we made flowers and cute little mice out of lollipops.
I love being in the kids' classroom, I wish I could find a way to go more often.

Here are my cuties. Sophia's smile is so cheesy! She likes to ham it up when we pull the camera out.

These were the fun Valentines we made for the kids to hand out... Olivia's says "Look WHOOOO's wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day! Love, Olivia" and Coleman's says, "Valentine, I've got my EYE on you! Love, Coleman." Cute, cute! We made them by personalizing some business cards (only about $6 for a pack of 50--that's like grocery store prices!) through Heritage Makers.

Dipping our own strawberries should be an annual Valentine tradition, I just decided :).

Since someone in our family (who will remain nameless) doesn't like strawberries, I dipped some graham crackers too.

This was my Valentine craft this year... circles of felt, a whole slew of straight pins, and a heart shaped piece of styrofoam was all it took to make this beauty.

One of Ryan's coworkers made a great template that I loved, so I swapped in our names and  made it into an 8x8 canvas. So cute!

I adored all of my love notes from my sweetie and this print... it's our family photo printed on aluminum. It's water-proof and scratch resistant, so it could even go outside somewhere (although it might fade in direct sunlight). It is impossible to capture the coolness of this print in a photo... so you'll just have to come on over to take a look at it in person.

**Did you do anything special to celebrate the day?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Baby Girl Shower

We had a baby shower here the other night for Ryan's aunt Troi who will have a baby girl next month!

I have loved these easy pendant banners. They make things feel so festive! Our menu included cucumber sandwiches (baguette bread with seasoned cream cheese, cucumber slices, and dill weed), fruit salsa with cinnamon tortilla chips, spinach artichoke dip with pita chips and baguette bread, mini chocolate chip cookies, oreo truffles, and chocolate mousse-filled, ganache topped cupcakes.  We drank Brazilian lemonade and had a marvelous time.

My favorite part of the evening was our musical addition... Jane is my friend that is a talented harpist. During our annual Young Women's Service Auction last year she auctioned off playing for an event... I won the bid, and she got to play for the shower. The guests loved it!

I love cupcake toppers too... they are so pretty and so easy to make.

Yummy desserts...

...and healthy-ish foods too.

The mom-to-be was happy and it was fun to celebrate her baby. I was having so much fun visiting that I didn't take any photos of her or our guests... but we had a great time and she got lots of cute things for her baby.

**Any fun suggestions for future showers?

Goodbye, Mullet

Poor Sophia's hair... it has just started to fill in, but the back had some wispy long pieces that made her hair very reminiscent of a mullet.

If she were willing to keep anything in her hair, it wouldn't be such a big deal, but although she doesn't mind having things put IN... she waits only a few seconds before taking cute things out (much to my chagrin... and that of her sweet aunts and friends who continually provide us with darling headbands, clips, flowers, and bows).

I finally decided we needed to trim off the back wispy hairs and see if we can get a hairstyle going on.

Regardless of bad hairs, she still has an adorable smile :).

There they are...
She was great as they put the drape on her and cut the back of her hair. When I asked if there was anything we could do about the long pieces in front the stylist kind of laughed and told me that no, we'd just have to see if that would fix itself.

Soph did allow her to put a little ponytail up there... we'll have to try that around here, too. It doesn't look much different from the front, but the back looks much, much better.

She was great to sit and get her hair cut, but she loved the slide and balloon best of all.

Grow, hair, grow!

How Sweet It Is

We had our Young Women's New Beginnings a few weeks ago... we borrowed an idea from my creative and brilliant friend Kristy (who's blog is private) and themed our night around candy. We made these cute candy bar invitations...

...that had a golden ticket inside (a la Willie Wonka) with all the information.

We had a table for each of the values with real candies in that color and some lovely wrapped candies. We wrapped up a bunch of balls, rolled towels, home decor items, etc. in tissue paper and then cellophane to look like big candies. We had a table for Virtue too with gold wrapped caramels, but I guess I didn't take a picture of that table.

I loved the big suckers we made... this one with a big bouncy ball and a wrapping paper roll...

...and these with paper plates and wrapping paper rolls.

We covered every possible surface with candies.

Our banner said, "How sweet it is" and we served ice cream sundaes on the long table. Each of the girls got to take home a bag full of candy, too. Yummy!

My friend Jessica (another amazingly talented person) made the cute paper lollipops to go along the back wall. It is always hard to decorate a whole gym for events like these, but this idea was fun and it turned out great.

The decorations and treats were cute, but the best part of the evening was that all of our Young Women got together with their parents and leaders and we were able to talk about Personal Progress and the YW/YM theme for the year. We welcomed in a whole new group of girls to Beehives, too. It will be a great year!

It really IS sweet to be a part of this organization!

Home again, home again

I will not lie... I loved being away for awhile, but I LOVED going home to our cute kiddos. They were very well taken care of and loved by my sister Lindsey (in fact, word is that Soph started calling her "Mom" on day one!) and I think they survived okay, but I was grateful to be back with them. My favorite thing of all was seeing Sophia's face as we walked in the door.

Thanks Heritage Makers for a great trip... and thanks to Lindsey for making it possible for us to go!

**Where is your next vacation?

Marvelous Mexico

Our next (and last) port was Cozumel, Mexico.

We went to a place called Paradise Beach. We paid a small fee (like $2) to be there and rent a lounge chair, then another $12 if we wanted to play with the toys. Ryan and I took out a canoe (and miraculously didn't tip over, even though my balancing skills are lacking) and I had fun lounging on these pads.

There were all sorts of bouncy toys and trampolines out in the water...

...and lots of beautiful sand and coastline.

The water was warm too! Have I mentioned that I love the beach?

I loved this pier with the straw thatched hut at the end.

They had lounge chairs set up in perfect rows... you can see Ry with his camera trying to capture all the fun everyone was having.

My best pina colada ever... I swear the waiters laughed (at least inwardly) every time I asked for a frozen drink without alcohol.

The chips and guacamole were to die for. They were so good I just might have to plan another trip to Cozumel so I can eat them again. Yum.

My favorite part of this beach was that they had a tent with a couple of massage tables in it. For a low fee ($30 for 30 minutes) a lovely woman rubbed the upper, back half of my body. Swimsuit? No problem, she slid it on down. I would generally not appreciate lying half-naked on a massage table out in the middle of such a public place, but there was a sheet covering things that needed to be covered, and once she got the scented oils and her hands going, all of my cares melted away.

Ryan found this (creepy) bird. Coleman kept asking us for pictures of wildlife, but they we didn't see too many animals, so he had to take pictures when he found some!

I liked this pelican. He hung out on the pier for awhile.

Ryan got a couple of good photos of him too.

And an action shot! I know you were all waiting for that one!

Ryan went out in a parasailing boat and saw this turtle... it's a little hard to see, but it's right underneath the splash...

...and he went parasailing! He said it was fun to do, but wasn't as exciting as he thought it might be, and even got a tiny bit boring coasting up there. The others in the boat said he was a pro and made it look easy.

Gentle touchdown :).

Then it was decided that the HM Corporate Staff (spouses included) needed to go on a team building activity on the water weenie. Good times.

I have to say that being flung off of this in the warm, salty water off the coast of Mexico feels a whole lot different than being thrown into the cold, clear water of Bear Lake. I like the warmth much better, but the salt, not so much.

After our fun day at the beach Ryan went back to the ship to edit pictures and work on a presentation while I spent some money at all of the shops. I haven't decided if my Spanish helps me or hurts me in those situations... but it was fun to speak it with so many different people. I found some great silver jewelry and some fun things for the kids. I also (finally!) found a nativity set that I liked. They had all sorts of nativities made out of fish bones (which I'm not opposed to in any way... but I didn't love the way they were carved) and I finally asked a guy who took me "upstairs" to another big shop. I talked my way into a comfortable price and came home with this beauty:

Nothing wrong with displaying a couple of nativity sets in February, right?

I loved Cozumel! I would love to go back and spend several more days there.

**Have you been parasailing (or do you want to go?)?
**Would you be comfortable getting a massage on the beach?
**Do you want to make me a pina colada?