Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A good week.

*Big changes on the horizon! First, we are finally entering escrow on the home we wanted! Hip hip hooray! It has felt like eternity waiting, but in all reality we were LUCKY. Word on the street is that buying a short sale normally takes much longer. I can't tell ya how responsible and successful a parent begins to feel when their child asks night after night,
"Mom, how many more nights do I have to sleep on a couch?
It's been an adventure. Honestly, I can't thank my parents enough for their generosity in letting us live with them while we were in transition. It allowed us to save the money we needed. Plus, I gotta say, it felt good to be free from a house and all the regular responsibility that comes with it. My life simplified dramatically for a few months, and it was refreshing. However, I am so excited to have a nest again. I can't wait to get my hands dirty and create a new home. Woo hoo!

*My GREAT friends Emily and Jamee hosted a little friend luncheon to say goodbye. It was so lovely, and completely counterproductive to me wanting to move. I have to tell myself over and over, "there are good people EVERYwhere Rachel, there are good people EVERYwhere Rachel...." but somehow after knowing these women in this community of mine, I'm having a hard time believing anything can compare! I so love and will miss these friends!

{Jamee, Emily, and pretty little Miss Jocelyn}

 * My little brother Forrest was ACCEPTED TO THE NAVAL ACADEMY!!!!! 

Holy Cow! Oh My Gosh! Annapolis here he comes! We had all been anxiously waiting for a few months...Below is a condensed version of how the family group text board BLEW UP when my other brother Jacob sent us a text telling us the news:

 Some inside jokes laced in there. But really, Forrest has been wearing army gear and stomping around the backyard strategically mapping out "war-zones" since he was a wee one. Hard to believe this is the REAL thing. Even more proud that he took his academics seriously enough to achieve this. I've watched him work hard for a few years now, pushing himself harder physically and challenging himself mentally to work towards this goal. It made it all the more sweet to see he gets to begin! I am hoping Tyler and I can arrange a trip back East for the big induction ceremony!

Hey Forrest, enjoy your last few weeks of sunshine and college in Hawaii. Pretty soon you'll be waking up at 4:30am until....well, ....forever. PROUD of you! Good work Florist, der..i mean Forrest!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Meal Planning Mondays: Hooray for Asians! Or, as I like to say "Hoorasians!"

Today's links are all things Asian!!!!

Because, gosh, I've gotta hand it to that hemisphere: talk about some DANG good culinary contributions. Anytime Tyler and I dig into a bowl of Pho noodles, or moan over the deliciousness of a Thai curry, or split a sushi roll, or dream of Korean BBQ, I can't help but proclaim on high: 
God Bless Asians!!!!!
{no really, i do. out loud. at the sushi bar. waving my chopsticks high and proud}

We tried Burmese food while in San Francisco. Holy YUM. I had Nan Gyi Dok, which is an amazing Chicken Coconut Curry rumored to be the ultimate in Burmese Comfort Food. I found a recipe that looks similar and am so excited to give it a try (links found below).

Oh yeah, and before I go I can't forget to mention my FAVORITE ASIAN RECIPE EVER:
They call him their little Soysauce
Get it? Oh my, LOVE him.

Happy Meal Planning!



Today's feature is a yummy noodle bowl. You can always shop your local Asian food market for any ingredients that are hard to come by, but I've noticed that most major retailers carry most of the common ingredients you'll need in the Asian food section. 

Rice Noodle Bowls with Crispy Tofu
{plug: vegan night!}

1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 head napa cabbage, shredded
1 cucumber, halved, thinly sliced
handful of snow peas, chopped
handful of bean sprouts
rice noodles (as much or as little as you like)
handful each of chopped cilantro and mint
handful or roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
1 block of firm tofu, pressed to remove the water and sliced in triangles
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce 
1/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp sirracha
2 tbsp maple syrup
chopped green onions (optional)

For sauce, combine all ingredients together and mix well. Set aside until ready to assemble bowls.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the rice noodles and turn off the heat. Let noodles sit in hot water for about five minutes, then drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Combine the cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Dip each tofu triangle in the cornstarch then place in the hot skillet. Fry triangles for about four minutes per side, or until golden brown. Once done, remove carefully and place on paper towels to drain.
To assemble noodle bowls, place a mixture of rice noodles and cabbage in the bottom of each bowl. Top with bell pepper slices, cucumber, snow peas, three tofu triangles, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts.



(I know I know, not really grill season. But worth keeping in mind? With Korean bbq it's all about the way they cut the beef. yummy!)

(I love this dessert...very kid friendly too! Great way to get them to love mangos)

Friday, February 22, 2013


It's his birthday!

Off to enjoy our weekend with our favorite guy...

{boy, isn't he smokin' hot?  sigh....}

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hair Doage and Hello Pinterest!

K, like Tyler would say: I am 21st century challenged.

But I am trying to figure out this Pinterest thing.

Look to my right sidebar to link up to follow my boards!
However, I still don't know exactly how to link up and follow others' boards?

Sock Bun Tutorial HERE.
(My version is a low-interpretation. Sometimes I just can't handle that amount of hair on TOP of my head.)

Wandering French Braid Tutorial can be found HERE. 

I'm a work in progress!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

To The City!

Last week I told Tyler to re-route his usual flight home and meet us in San Francisco instead!
Gramma & Pop started the "adopt an Ellie Jane" program,
I loaded up the other three and off we went!

We needed a little break, a reprieve from the ho-hum-dee-dum of winter, moving, and life in general.

Here's one thing I find so great about San Francisco: 
it's weather pattern is like the opposite of here.

In the heat of summer I can escape there and find refreshment in the rain and mist.
During the cold chill of winter, one can often miraculously find clear skies and sun. Well done, San Fran, WELL. DONE.

and as always, the sights never disappoint!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five for Friday.

1. Today, I promised the girls a stop for an ice cream cone on our way home from errands. Not three minutes into our drive London began freaking out like a mad lunatic, screaming and hollering from the back seat over absolutely nothing of consequence (as per, well...usual). Frustrated, driving in traffic, I warned her immediately:

"You better not keep behaving in that manner unless you don't want to eat an ice cream cone and if you do want one you should think about how you can act so you won't not get what you are wanting because I will never buy an ice cream for someone who doesn't know how not to freak out every time we are in the car so i want you to immediately stop behaving this way and start behaving that way so you can get it, got it?"

Dear Child Psychologist Authors who remind parents to speak in simple and concise commands so a small child can easily understand:
 how did i do?

2. Valentine's Success! A good, handsome man sent chocolate covered strawberries for all his lady loves. Part II:  Ellie Jane enjoys the day of sunshine.

{whew! glad she kept her socks on, wouldn't want her catching cold}

3. London rocks the gymnastics world video.

Titled: Next stop, Olympics!

4. Top stolen-phone video of the week:

Titled: Discovery of Self in the Camera and the Necessary Prerequisite for Lily's Affection 
(i can't quit laughing when i watch this).

5. Emerson, so painfully cute. Standing in her crib. Pulls herself up and then doesn't know what to do. Just gets really tired and woozy like a wobbly little drunkard, crying for help. I go back in and help her lie down. We repeat this scenario about fifteen times until it finally clicks...yes Emerson, you are sleepy sweet Miss. Finally, she gives up and falls asleep and I die all over again at how much I love her.

Have a great THREE day weekend! hooray!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


{playing dress up}

This week as I allowed myself a few moments of reading in order to bulk up spiritually for another week, I happened upon an awesome scripture...

"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:6

Boy, for how much I speak 
I certainly think I could do with a good dose of salt and grace, that's for sure. Husband might agree. I think he's described my speech flavor more along the lines of spicy or bitter from time to time.

President Uchtdorf elaborated on this concept, and suggested the idea that we strive for our words to be "clear as a sunny sky and full of grace." He asked:
Can you imagine what our families, our wards (i.e. parishes), our nation, and even the world would be like if we adopted this simple principle?

I have given it much thought since. I mean really, can you imagine?

I have seen it naturally modeled before by people I really admire. Their words come well articulated, thoughtful, and always in a non-threatening format. It is such an art form. For me, I am a rambler. I talk too much, too loudly, and often the attempt to verbalize my thoughts coherently leaves me feeling rather inadequate. I think I am much better in writing than in person when it comes to expressing myself. I sometimes wish I could simply write words for people to read from me rather than speak out loud (even though strangely enough, I still manage to be pretty talkative;)

For family night, we discussed with the girls this picturesque notion, one in which our words are
clear as a sunny sky and full of grace
when speaking with each other.

I've already put the phrase to good use since. When I hear Lily and London squabbling I chime in, in my oh-so-nicest-annoying-sunshiney voice

Oh ladies, would you say that your words are clear like a sunny sky and full of grace?

Can you just picture how fantastically irritating it will be for them to hear this repeated until they are in their teen years?!!!! Hooray!!!

Lily already has attempted mouthing my words and using her hands to do that "yap yap yap" motion the last time I said it. Home girl got shut dowwwwn. Time out! No yap yapping your mother.

I can also envision the teenage version of Ellie Jane telling me to take my sunshiney skies and shove it up the hoo haw, to which we will end up duking it out on the front lawn.

But really, who knows: I think my forecasting radar is wonky after spending an afternoon in the doctor's office waiting room with her, so we shall see.

However, in the cold grasp of winter I must say...

here's to more sunshine and grace!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meal Planning Mondays: On the Dark Side. (*WARNING: content highly intellectualized. deeply philosophical. incredibly relevant.)


Guess what?! Meal Planning Monday has yet again failed you. I have no photographed meal to feature. We've been in San Francisco...holla!

But, in an effort to keep up with my one simple itty bitty consistent media goal for myself I said, self, you must still post to meal planning mondays because it is monday and you said...YOU would. So nevermind that there are only 71 minutes left of this Monday. 

Do you have media goals for yourself? Mine mainly involve limits. Blogs, websites, instagram, twitter, facebook, pinterest, on ON ON. Do you have any rules? How does one strike a balance? I told myself one regular outlet. 
Obviously, this blog has been it (and i love it)...but just recently 
I caved to Pinterest. 
Then I joined Facebook 
when i was invited to
  be a part of a "think" group
 that debates/discusses all matters philosophical/political 
It was kind of sneaky and fun because at first i was always speaking in the exchange under Tyler's name. It is a largely male dominated group. I even inserted a few *burps* just to up my street cred. Then I was like WAIT A MINUTE I DESERVE RECOGNITION FOR THESE AAAAHHHH-MAZING THOUGHTS DAMMITALL and BAM I created my own profile and showed up to represent the females in the house. 

Suddenly it's two in the morning, I'm still typing and seriously considering mapping out a game plan to track and egg the car of some snooty pants wannabe intellectual poser who was  dissing The Declaration of Independence (like really?!) when I realized:

Is this normal? I'm sensing a slight detour here.

So, I kindly excused myself for the evening (early morning) and said HELLO I HAVE CHILDREN TO RAISE...SEE YA WOULDN'T WANT TO BE YA  (Declaration hating moron).

and that was the end of that stint.
and yet i still have the urge to return. 
you should have seen today's topics!!!!
 resist rachel, resist!

Not giving up Pinterest though. NEVER.

So that leads us back to here, talking about hair instead.
On Meal-planning Monday.

Cuz, why not? You like meal planning posts about hair, don't you? Why just two days ago I ate a piece of pizza at a restaurant and saw a long hair on it and thought: hope that's mine cuz this is too good to pass up!

Ta daaa!: Perfect segue!!

The change from crazy lunatic blonde to crazy lunatic brunette?

(long)...but so fun.

the end.

hair by Theresa 
(love it, thanks Theresa!!!)


Recipe links!
(see, this post wasn't COMPLETELY pointless.)

A delicious twist on a chicken dish...
*Honey Rosemary Chicken Breasts

Hey! Speaking of Pizza....
*Grecian Avocado Pizza

Heaven in a salad...
*Orange, Beet & Arugula Salad
(I use canned/steamed store bought beets...just as good. 
I also sub feta cheese and GO HEAVY on the oranges! YUM.)

I'm not a big fish eater, but I sure loved this. A super fave at my Mom's house.
*Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with warm Black bean & Corn Salad


how bout this to sweeten up your Valentine's Day?
*Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Way out in the land of the setting sun...

where the wind blows wild and free..."

- Home Means Nevada (State Song)

We headed to the State Capitol to begin our week.

Monday marked the beginning of the 77th legislative session for the State of NV since we were granted statehood under President Lincoln. (woot woot!)

It was an honor to be there to witness Assemblyman Hansen (Pop!) begin his second official term...

and listen to that great oath 
to protect and defend the Constitutions of our nation and our great State...

it always gives me pause to think of just how important this work is.
i'm nervous even.

We, as the people, will determine the success or failure of this amazing place. 
wow. I once again find myself recommitted to learning more, reading more, discussing more, thinking more, and above all warding off that awful, contagious illness of apathy that I fear is too easy to adopt.

Posted in his office is a longtime favorite quote. I actually don't think I had ever seen it in print. I only ever heard it recited by memory from my Dad whenever he noticed one of his children facing a challenge. Remember! he would say:

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

We would  listen in silence, trying to grasp the message but mostly thinking seriously this is a really long quote to memorize Dad oh my gosh like what you are saying right now? 

But, lucky for me I heard it on enough occasions for it to become embedded in my childhood script, part of my subconscious knowing.  

Remember Rachel, it's not the critic who counts...

I call on it still, even in dealing with small hurdles. It helps me summon the strength to go with my gut. It helps me quiet the fear of others' opinions. It helps me focus on the real questions.

Questions like what is good? Where do the greatest blessings come from, and how can we achieve them? What is worthy of my time? What is worthy of my energy? And above all, am I willing to step into the arena or not? Will i be afraid and stand on the sidelines of life, too wary of failure to even try?

Will I dare greatly?

I hope so.

{Thanks, Dad.}