Monday, September 9, 2013

Goodbye Summer, BBQ Chicken Mac&Cheese

Summer has come and gone. I looked back and realized I only blogged like once this whole summer. Whoops! We had a interesting summer for sure. Learned lots, and are moving forward in life. I don't have a whole lot to share because there is SO much to share. First are the highlights of our summer, and then I've thrown in a yummy recipe for you to enjoy.

1. Lived in Texas for the summer: people keep asking how it was, my only response that comes to mind is "hot and humid"
2. Ran my first (and so far only) Half Marathon. What a crazy adventure that was. If I do another - I'll really train.
3. Cooked a ton of yummy meals for 6 hungry guys for the first part of the summer. We had feasts every night.
4. Got to visit and meet my new nephew in St. Louis.
5. Christensen Family Reunion in Branson. Had a blast!
6. Got my first tea stuff from Teavana. Now it's a new obsession. :) (I only drink the herbal teas)
7. Visited some very dear friends that were living in Allen TX - The Forreds. Spent the day with them and it was glorious. I wish I lived closer to them all the time!
8. Spent my first 4th of July in 2-3 years? with my husband and it wasn't in a patrol car.
9. Made new friends.
10. Painted my first and second, third, and fourth thing of ceramic pottery. So much fun!
12. Did a couple of service projects
13. Made lots of fun sugar cookies
14. Went to the Dallas Temple for the first time. What a neat temple!
15. Started..and got caught up on waaay to many TV shows - Nashville 1 season, White Collar 4-5 seasons, Scandal 2 seasons, Melissa and Joey a few seasons...not sure what else. But add that to all my other shows to watch, and now I have WAY too many shows. Whoops!
16. Drove around 6,000 miles...Utah->Ft Worth-> Kansas -> Ft Worth -> Branson -> Ft Worth -> Kansas -> Ft Worth -> Kansas -> Utah. Boy am I tired of bad driving semi trucks...
17. Taught my moms dog Cosmo how to swim.
18. Free Matt Nathanson Concert in KC
19. Bunch of car shopping with my mom
20. Back in Utah - Rode a dirt bike for the first time.

Etc etc.
So yes, an eventful summer. But also not that eventful in my down time. The Summer is over and it's so sad. Until next year I guess we must say goodbye....and try and enjoy the last warm days that we have until the fall and winter come.

And now for a new recipe that I found and tweaked to make really awesome!

BBQ Chicken (or pork) Mac & Cheese 

1 lb Pasta (Shells, elbow noodles etc)
12-16 oz of Shredded Colby Jack Cheese (Separated)
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1-2 T Flour
1-2 T Butter
Salt and Pepper
1/4-1/2 C Frenches Crispy onions
Shredded BBQ Pork or Chicken (I used leftover BBQ chicken from our BBQ chicken sandwiches that we had the night before)
Extra BBQ Sauce to drizzle over the top at the end.

Cook Pasta according to instructions on the back.
Bring Evap. Milk to low simmer. While it's getting hot hand mix butter and flour.
Once Evap Milk has come to a low simmer whisk in butter and flour mixture until smooth and slightly thickened (about 5 mins. you don't have to whisk the whole time, but pretty often)
Remove mixture from heat and whisk in 6-8oz. of the shredded cheese. Whisk until smooth
Pour cheese mixture over pasta and stir to completely cover all the noodles.
Pour noodles into a greased 9x13 pan.
Spread the Extra 6oz of shredded cheese all over the top,
then Frenches Crispy Onions
then BBQ Chicken or Pork
and Drizzle BBQ Sauce all over
Place in the oven on Broil until everything is melted and the onions are crispy (Keep an eye on it)

Tip - It's better to shred your own cheese rather than using store bought pre-shredded. I've heard that pre-shredded cheese contains more wax and doesn't melt as easily.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My First 13.1

This past weekend I ran my first Half Marathon. 
13.1 Miles
No training
The best running buddies
Some Good Tunes
Lots of laughter
Some walking
Crossed the Finish Line with one of my Favorite people; My Mom
And don't forget...Wore Heels (4-5in) the next day

It may not seem like a big thing to many of you all, especially those of you that run. 
This was a really big deal for me. Let me put a few things into perspective

Most runners train for at least 8-12 weeks prior to a Half Marathons. (Unless they're doing them regularly) When looking at training schedules most of them figure that you can run 3 miles and/or 30 minutes straight. 
I could BARELY do either. 
The training schedules had you work up to 10-11 miles and then have you taper down the mileage before race week. That way your body is prepped and ready for race day. You have to make sure you've been hydrating really well in the weeks and days right before the race. You have to have worn your gear for long runs to make sure there is no problems with rubbing in the arms or what not. Mentally you have to be prepared and being mentally prepared comes with knowing that your body can physically do the run on race day. 
There are many more things to think about I am sure. 
I wouldn't know though. 

I Didn't do ANY of it.





and, I don't suggest it to anyone.

Before running this half marathon the longest distance I have ever run in my entire life was a 10k (6.2miles) back in like 2010? Other than that the most I have run is about 3-4 miles at a time. When I say 3-4 miles at a time, that's not straight up running, that's walking, and running combined for a total of 3-4 miles. 
Pathetic. I know.

Well, when finding out we were moving to Texas for the summer I signed up for the Hospital Hill Half Marathon that is in Kansas City every summer. 
Let me tell you - the name really does have meaning behind it. ;-) I had every intention of training but life happened and training did now. 

So, on Wednesday I drove 10 hours to St. Louis to see my cute new Nephew Kyson Dodds

So precious! 

And you can't forget the silly older Brother Blake! 

After being there for less than 24 hours my mom and I did a caravan for 4 hours back to KS.
We got barely any of sleep that night.
The next day we ran errands and did a ton of  things actually.
We had the best pre-race meal at RA Sushi. Amazing. Love sushi.
We went to bed late.
4:30am - we woke up and got ready and left for the race.
Our Motto for the morning and weekend was "It's a PARTY, not a Race" 
We ran and walked the 13.1 miles. And finished in decent time. Mind you it was my first one, and completely untrained. My mom and her friend just stuck by my side and pushed me through. Our final time was 2:27:35. Not too bad for my first. Anyways, I took some pictures along the way! So, here they are!
Ready to Run. Not really, but that's okay! We pretended

About to pass the Starting line!

More than halfway for our funny Mile 7 picture.
Not sure what that guy in the back is doing but, it's slightly creepy...

Came around the corner and saw mile 10. (I was super struggling at this point)

Finished. Shaky legs. About to pass out. =)

The finish line, I had to have a pic.

Love my momma. She's the best!

All in all, it was a great morning. With a ton of running. It is amazing to me what the body can do. I was extremely proud of myself and what I was able to accomplish. I plan on training for another half marathon soon. This time I will actually train. 

There was an old man that I was by for a few minutes. It was at about mile 10 or 11 when I was really struggling. He had a shirt on that had the scripture 
"I can do All things through Christ which Strengtheneth me." 
What an incredible message and reminder to everyone. 

With that, and a beautiful picture I leave you for now. 

Kansas Sky after the Storms

Friday, May 17, 2013

Missin My Kitchen

My first post since getting all moved into our Fort Worth apartments. I have really been enjoying Texas so far. I have been hit with allergies (not so cool). The other night we had a fabulous thunderstorm which I loved..(but finding out the next morning that 6 people were killed and 100+ injured by tornadoes only 50 miles from us was really sad and slightly scary). My heart goes out to those families that have been affected by the tornadoes. Most of all I am just loving and soaking up the humidity. It is glorious. A lot of you are probably thinking "are you serious??" and to that I respond
"Completely!!!" :)
I grew up in Kansas where it was humid so much of the time. So, I literally am LOVING being in humidity again.
The apartments we are in are fun. There are plenty of dogs here. Which can make for interesting potty trips for Gus and Cozy. They love to now take their time and SNIFF everything. Quite annoying but it's alright.
This post isn't about the dogs, it's about the Kitchen.

I secretly, and also not so secretly love to cook.
In Utah I had finally figured out where everything needed to go in my kitchen to have the almost perfect zen and flow while I cooked and cleaned. In my packing to come out to TX I brought A LOT of my kitchen items (but I still feel like I don't have enough). I guess that I have brought way more kitchen stuff than any of the other wives. I feel slightly weird about that, but then I think about if I didn't have the things I brought I would end up having to buy them because I would have issues without them.
Back to my zen and flow from Utah...
Although there were things in my kitchen that I would get frustrated about here and there it wasn't a big deal compared to my kitchen here in Fort Worth. The kitchen here is nice, and it has some nice features. Don't get me wrong I am not complaining, it is a really good size for an Apt, and it could be a whole lot worse. Things are just in really weird places.
For example
the disposal switch,
in relation to the sink
which if the dishwasher is open
you can't get to it,
and you have to use the disposal like 10 times when doing dishes because the sink fills up with water.
And when you use the disposal it shakes the entire counter top,
the soap then falls into the dirty dish water that you are trying to get rid of,
and you now are splashed with dirty dish water.
Kind of a nightmare, and it's only one example.

To say the least, I have been really missing my kitchen. LOTS.
I was comfortable in my kitchen in Utah, and there were places for almost everything. I am hoping I will be able to figure a system out soon for my cooking and cleaning. I do look forward to getting back to my kitchen after the summer.

Other than that things are going well. I did the drive to TX in 20 hours of straight driving.
The dogs did great!
We are all happy to be back together as a family. =)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Project: Deck

Projects are fun and exciting. Well, they are for the hubby and I. 
I don't know about you all, but when we decide we want to do a project we plan on it taking the least amount of time possible. We figure that we can knock it out in no time. There will be NO issues, and it will be a piece of cake.
 I am not really sure where we got this mentality...but we both have it.
For Project: Deck, we figured it would take us a good 2-3 days. 
Ha Ha.

After maybe 50 trips to Lowes, 
(I am not exaggerating with the number of times we went to lowes)
We have a Deck!
It doesn't have stairs yet.
One day it will.

Here are some pictures of the process. 
I'd rather not bore you with all the nitty gritty details unless you ask me personally.

Bolted into the house and concrete posts poured

Another picture of that, mostly cause it's awesome

Here is the finished frame. So much hard work, but so beautiful!

Getting there!

We found if we put both the dogs together they were perfectly happy! 
No whining or crying. It was amazing!

The men behind the project. 
(Yes, I did help, but only with the framing. I then got sick so I couldn't help with the fun part)

FINISHED! It turned out beautiful! 

Another view. And if you look closely, you can see little Gus Guy in the door. =)

Well Guys, that's it for today, I will write more on something else another day!

Thursday, March 28, 2013



This is the word that has been used in our house A LOT the past couple of months.
My husband has been wanting to go back to school for a long time. We never really thought much about it until recently. We had been talking a lot about options to make this a possibility. He has been looking into many different fields that he might enjoy rather than going back just to get a general degree. While looking he would come to me with ideas here and there but there was nothing that really caught his eye. This was until he started talking about options in the medical field. When he started talking about different options he began to light up and get really excited about going back to school. As all of you know anything in the medical field takes what seems like FOREVER to get in and out of. We needed to figure out how to make this a possibility for him to do what he wants. Many of you know that he has been a police officer for 6+ years now. Even though it has been a wonderful career for him, he realized it is not something he wants to do for the rest of his life. In all of our talking we considered the option of having him stay in the career while he returns back to school. We then remembered how time consuming school especially in the medical field will end up being. There was just no way for him to get in and out of school as quickly as he would like while continuing his current career. 
During all of this crazy school/career talk, we started looking for other things we could do that would make school not only a possibility but a reality. 
We came across a really wonderful opportunity. My husband decided that he wanted to test it out before jumping into something brand new. He did some training and a trial run a few months ago. He was very successful for the short amount of training and trial time he had. After he returned home we realized that this may be the thing and opportunity we had been looking for to help him get back into school full time.

So, here is the point of all this....We have decided to take this opportunity so that we can get him back into school full time. The job requires that you are willing and able to move over the summer. So, this summer we are headed to Ft. Worth, TX. Once the summer is over we will head back to good ole Lehi and the hubs will start school up for the fall and the winter. 
We have looked at this in so many ways. The wonderful thing about it all is we have the choice to change things up in life. Yes, it may seem risky because we have a solid job. We have realized though that it would be more risky if we had kids and it was years from now that he wanted to change things then.
As we have been working through the whole process of changing jobs things have just been falling into place. It has been a wonderful experience for us, and we feel really good about our decision. We will miss the police dept greatly. They have been absolutely wonderful to us. We are sad to leave our friends for the summers but we will be back to share the nasty cold winters with them. =)
Change is a scary and exciting thing. We are so blessed that we have the opportunity and choice to be able to change things up and try new things. I don't imagine it being an easy journey, but it will for sure be worth it in the end.
And don't worry, I will still blog and keep you all updated on our life in Texas!! =)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fail...with a Capitol F

I am sure you all are perfect and have never gotten the bad wife award. 
This week I got it. 
Since you all are wonderful and have never gotten this award I think I need to explain what exactly it is. 

It is where somehow all the laundry piles up. All the dishes pile up. Stacks of papers start forming what seems to be like everywhere in your entire house. The pantry is practically empty. Oh look the fridge is pretty empty too! 
And then you hear a voice from the kitchen 
"honey.....who puts an empty jug of milk in the fridge???!!!" 

You think to yourself 
"I swear I still had milk left, I swear there was no laundry to do yesterday, I swear I just did the dishes etc etc." 
and then you realize...Epic Fail! 
None of that was ever true.

Watching Smash, Modern Family, Mindy Project, The Walking Dead, The Ultimate Fighter, and New Girl happened instead. Not to mention that you spent way too much time playing Candy Crush Saga and Words with Friends. 

My husband after last nights empty milk carton question he proceeded to VERY, VERY kindly inform me I had been slacking on some wifely duties. Don't worry folks, I told him I was a bad wife and had been slacking before he said it. He just repeated what I had said back to me. Oh, and half the time he does the laundry and the dishes...he's a fab husband and just sarcastically, jokingly, but serious mentioned the wifely duties thing. 

So, here I am blogging. 

I did load the dishwasher, and there is a load of laundry in the washer and another in the dryer. I am hoping to redeem myself a little bit by getting some things done. Maybe I'll even throw some dinner in the crockpot! A little Overachieving can't hurt right??

Time to go make the hubby a sandwich...
Oh shoot! I never pulled the sandwich meat out of the freezer.
Hopefully next week is better.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A little bit of February

This past month has been a little crazy. 
Even Gus wanted to get outta town!
He didn't end up getting out of town though. 
Only the Hubby and I did. 

First things first though. 
This month I put on a baby shower for a really good friend of mine. 
It was Jungle Themed for a Boy. Here are some pictures from the fun event!
The It's a Boy Banner I made. It turned out so darling!

My first diaper cake that I have ever made.
It was square instead of round, and turned out wonderful. 
Homemade Lion Sugar Cookies. (Yes, I did frost those myself)

The Monkey cookies

And my personal favorite...The Elephants.
A little Instagram to help piece all of the pieces together.
If you can't tell, I am really proud of my cookies. :)

Don't worry, there were other fun decorations. We had lots of yummy food to eat. Great company. Fun games to play. I thought it was quite the success for being the first time of throwing a baby shower. 

Now, onto our trip. Last weekend we had the awesome opportunity to go to Las Vegas with some other really good friends of ours. 
We left on Valentine's Day after the Hubby got off work, and our friend got out of school. 
We got there, checked into our hotel rooms and got all dressed up to go out to dinner at the yummy Max Brenner's.
All ready to go! For our Valentine's Dinner.
It was so much fun to get all dressed up for dinner with our friends. If you ever go to Max Brenner's there really isn't anything on that menu that you can go wrong with getting. Especially if you order the Mac'N'Cheese. It is delish! I got a pizza, and it was super yummy. 
The following day the hubby and I walked the strip. The weather was pretty nice. It was SUNNY! With a slight breeze...but so much better than the yucky cold weather in Utah. 
I decided that so far Vegas is probably my favorite place ever to people watch. There is always so much going on. So many different types of people. Yeah, it was pretty cool. After walking down the strip we met back up with our friends at the hotel and decided to go see a show. 

We ended up choosing Cirque Du Soleil's "O". It's their water based show.
It was absolutely beautiful. There was so much artistry that I can't even describe. There were parts that I literally thing I held my breath for long periods of time. 
*That's because the beauty took my breath away ;-) *
It was defiantly my favorite part of the whole trip.
Then we came home to nasty cold weather again. :-/ 
Oh well! It was extremely nice to get away even for a few days!

Other than that we have just been doing the same ole things. I am sure there are things I am forgetting to write about. oh well! I'll save them for next time!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Winter: the coldest season of the year..
the days are shortest and the nights are longest.
What a silly thought. Coldest season along with the shortest days.

It has been awhile since I wrote a blog post. Let's just say I have been in hibernation. 
Okay, not really because I would still be hibernating if that was really the case. 
In the winter "the Man" likes to do outdoor activities in the snow/cold.
I am not the same way. If I had my choice I really would go into hibernation for the winter months.

This year has been a really brutal winter. We have had really low temperatures, with an inversion that will NOT go away. For those of you that do not know what an inversion is don't worry. I had no clue what it was at first. I have created my own definition of it. 

Inversion: Living in a bubble of smog and freezing temps.
If you get claustrophobic, an inversion is not for you.
Forget about seeing the doesn't exist.  
If you have asthma, prepare to not be able to breathe.
If you don't have asthma, prepare to not be able to breathe.
If you use the mountains as a compass, forget it. YOU CAN'T SEE THEM!
Basically....Inversion sucks and avoid it at all costs.

Here is a slight example of inversion. Minus the poor breathing and freezing temps.

As you can see, the sky is a nasty gray color. The sky stays that way for days and days.
Yesterday, was crazy. 
We had almost clear skies. The sun came out so all the snow in our front yard melted. 
It didn't last for long. 
Today, we have a complete white out. 
4-5 inches of snow, and it is still falling.

Let's just say, I am excited for the summer. (Spring doesn't really exist here).

I know, here I am writing a whole blog post about the weather.
Maybe because I can't thing of anything else to write cause I feel like life has been kind of boring lately.

How about a quick update on us...
Christmas was good. New Years was good. My mom came into town recently and that was good. Some of my students had a show and that was good. "the Man" is sick right now and that is bad. Our dogs are happy and healthy and that is good. So, basically life is pretty good.

Until next time.. =)