I will be the first to admit

that my blog has been... blah... lately. I'm ok with it- well, maybe not entirely, because I'm still posting stupid stuff (like a movie poster for a movie that's been out for quite sometime) just to fill the space. I want you to know that I have temporarily replaced blogging for the moment. All of my witty writing has gone to a project I hope to share with all of you someday. And you'll be very grateful that this silly little blog took a back seat. Until next time, I promise not to post anything inane or irrelevant (unless it's hysterical).

Toodles, Steph


Primary Quote of the Week

A member of the Primary presidency was teaching the children about work. She asked the children how their parents' work helped people. One child excitedly raised his hand and responded, "My dad works at a winery. He helps people who are really thirsty!"


looking for vindication

please tell me it's okay to feed my family smoothies for dinner...


A valuable lesson

My dad always taught me things that have stuck with me. One in particular? The reminder to always thank people that have done a good job, to never leave a compliment unsaid.
Today, I was at Safeway with Kaitlin. I had completed our shopping and just finished checkout. Kaitlin was safely buckled in the seat and I was putting away my groceries in the rain. I had noticed each time I took out a bag, that it was perfectly packed and very nicely placed in our basket. The eggs were where they belonged and the ten pounds of tomatoes I bought were put in a place as not to bruise. It seemed that I had the perfect bagger. To anyone that shops at multiple stores with their child/children understands, having greatly packed groceries is a treasure. Instead of putting my cart back and going on my merry way, I had Kaitlin get out of the car and go back in the store with me. I scouted out the bagger, asked his name (Chris) and thanked him for the excellent job he had performed on my groceries. Now, I'm not sure if he knew I went through some serious rain across the parking lot, or that I don't always go back in a store to thank someone. But, I hope he knows how much I appreciated a seemingly menial task that meant a lot to me.

I challenge all of you to try doing this at least once in the following week. How often do we find a reason to complain about restaurant service, terrible drivers, insufficient customer service? It's nice to work hard not expecting a thank you and receiving one anyway, isn't it? Sometimes you can even get free stuff! I called the toothpaste company one day praising them on their product. It's the only stuff I buy! And what happened? I got FIVE coupons for a free tube of toothpaste in the mail! I didn't call them to ask for free product, but it was really nice to know they appreciated my loyalty. Every company has stacks and stacks and stacks of complaints on file (and sometimes a complaint is necessary) But seriously, people... do we really want to leave that legacy? I am grateful to my father for always remembering the waitress' name, thanking people for their service and complimenting the beauty that surrounds him. What a great example he is to me. Thanks, dad.


Souper night!

Jimmy and I were the judges for a soup and cake contest for a party tonight. We had such a fun time! I looked a little dorky bringing in my notebook and calculator (to average out the scores, ya know). We tried so many soups and desserts. The soup part was difficult because of the varieties brought. I thought the desserts would be easier- no way! Everything was delicious... my idea of a great night!
Soup winner- creamy mushroom (but the corn chowder was a VERY close second. We sat deliberating for quite some time)
Cake winner- chocolate truffle (taste)
Cake winner- raspberry cheesecake (presentation)
I'm in serious need of recipes. Because so many things were amazing!


I can explain...

I really can!
  • catered a: wedding, employee appreciation party, New Year's Eve, baby shower (more like bought premade cakes), Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve in Saratoga, wedding in Santa Cruz, luncheon, ward party

  • read too many books (most very fun)

  • visisted with great family

I have been so blessed to have tons of events lately! I have really enjoyed the crazy that came our way. Done with the spiel- on with the smatter of pictures, I say!

above: Holiday progam at school

Below: Kaitlin's letter to Santa

Baby Rachel! (Natlaie's newest)

Above: We saw this house on the news and decided to visit on our drive home from Saratoga, Christmas Eve. It was AMAZING! There were tweo neighbors that rigged up lights to match music. It was a 12 minute program that was so awesome. Seriously, the picture does not do it any justice at all. we will be visiting again next year.
Below: disclaimer- that is cranberry juice.

Above: some serious gaming going on
Below: some serious chocolate eating going on

Yes, everyone was riveted at the New Year's Eve Party. everyone...
Kaitlin brings me this for breakfast in bed. Almsot every morning. On a tray. I love it!


Let's Review...

On my sidebar, there is a list of books I read in 2009. I really wanted to do a review of each of them so I can change the sidebar to "Books read in 2010". So here it is:

1) The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham
I became a big fan of Madeleine Wickham before I realized that she also wrote the Shopaholic series under her pen name, Sophie Kinsella. I really love her writing style. Always filled with spunky main characters that get into all kinds of interesting situations. In this book, the main character is a woman that goes to funerals to pick up rich men and leech off of them until she's cleaned their bank accounts dry. It's was very entertaining. This story is, of course, the one where she actually falls for one of the men. Just like reading a chick flick.

2) Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger
A story written by the same author of The Devil Wears Prada. The story is nearly the same if you were to only replace the fashion industry with PR. I actually enjoyed this read, even if it was a little fluffy.

3) The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Very well written. The plot is very interesting. I did have a little anxiety reading because of the father's guilt. I wanted him to relieve the pressure by coming clean. It made me a little wistful for what the family's life could have been if things were handled differently. But, overall, I liked this book.

4) Sea Jade by Phyllis A. Whitney
A light version of Wuthering Heights. I liked this ending better. However, reading this book made me realize how much I dislike sole romance novels. Fortunately, there was no trashy parts, but I do prefer to read books with less of the love story and more of adventure or conflict. That being said, I really liked the writer's style and would read any of her other books with a different subject.

5) Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I absolutely loved this book. The book is always better than the movie and this one did not prove me wrong. The story and characters were much more realistic and deep. I highly recommend this book for a quick, easy read.

6) Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham
Another fun one by Madeleine Wickham. I laughed pretty hard at this one, although a little risque. Two couples and their families are offered to vacation at a friend's villa. The friend overbooked to experiment what would happen getting the two together. It was pretty funny.

7) My Body Fell Off! by BJ Rowley
8) Silver Hawk's Revenge by BJ Rowley
9) Missing Children by BJ Rowley
These three books are part of an LDS writer's series. I really like them. The main character has learned that his soul can leave his body and get into all sorts of trouble and adventure. This series is great for middle school aged boys. It's very similar to the Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites series.

10) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
11) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
12) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
13) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter books are read by me every Summer. It's a tradition that I love and cannot wait until I can share the tradition with Kaitlin. It's hard for me to believe that the series are much older than I think. The writing is just so timeless to me.

14) Brilliant by Marne Davis Kellogg
15) Priceless by Marne Davis Kellogg
16) Perfect by Marne Davis Kellogg
17) Friends in High Places by Marne Davis Kellogg
This series is about a savvy and interesting woman that works for the prime auction house in the UK. It turns out that she is a jewel thief. I loved these books because every outfit and decadent food was described. I also loved reading about all the sumptuous jewels. All very yummy.

18) The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Where do I start? This book has really made an impact on me. I highly recommend reading this one! The Tipping Point is a non-fiction work that studies human behavior and economics. I was fascinated by the stories he used to explain each factor contributing to the 'tipping points' in life. I constantly annoy my friends by talking all about the book in almost every conversation.

19) The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham
To be honest with you, this book let me down quite a bit. M.W. felt almost tired writing it and I was nearly trodding through it just to finish. It was a disappointment that I could not enjoy this book as much as the others, especially because I LOVE weddings so much!

20) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Any book that makes me cry is a good one. I sincerely loved this book and it's sweet message. I loved the optimism shared by most in such as hard trial in life. A very gorgeous picture of human nature.

21) Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
22) Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
23) Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
27) Shopaholic and Sister by Sophie Kinsella
28) Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella

Yay! I love Becky Bloomwood! I really had a blast reading all about Becky and her issues. Sometimes, I felt like I was reading out of a diary. As much as I loved the series, I do have to admit that the second book was a little too repetitive. It seemed like Becky was going through everything again in the second book. I am glad that the author found ways to change it up a bit it the following books. I highly recommend this series if you would like to laugh out loud with a larger than life and lovable character.

24) The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Banks
Eh. I read reviews for this book and was excited to start it... not that great in my opinion. I also was not very excited by the movie, The Suburban Girl, based loosely on a few of the stories

25) Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik
Such a sweet and special story. I really enjoyed this one. It was very reminiscent of Fried Green Tomatoes. Very strong woman characters with great patience, love and spunk. I did laugh out loud at some points in the book.

26) Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
FAB-U-LOUS. I just love Malcom Gladwell. This is a non-fiction book that combines a little of Blink and The Tipping Point. What I really enjoy about his books is the way I am able to apply his concepts in my life. I love the format and way he makes the subjects relatable to someone like me. I have never been let down by one the the three books I have read by Malcom Gladwell. In fact, I think I may add them to my list of books I read yearly.

Well, folks, that's all she wrote. Good news is this: I have loved reading so much that I decided to give writing a try. When I get further along in my book and actually have some copyrights going, I would love to share it with you. But for now, I am just loving reading all the amazing things people have to say. In retrospect, I have noticed that I have gravitated towards light and fluffy books that are very similar. I plan on being a bit more diverse in my reading this year and hope to re-read some classics I love.