"These Days"

Remember this post?

Well, it's that time...

We are headed to the valley tomorrow to hear one of our all-time favorite bands!!

Stay tuned for pictures and a recap.

Mexican Salad

TJ's favorite kind of food is Mexican. He likes all of my cooking (except for the tomato soup with soy milk incident....don't ask), but he has a special place in his stomach for Mexican.

One Sunday, our friends Anna and Aaron invited us over for chicken enchiladas (which were incredible) and asked us to bring a salad. So, I set out to come up with a Mexican-inspired salad to complement the meal. This is what I came up with. (Note: this meal can easily be turned from side to entree with the addition of chicken breast.)

Mexican Salad

1/2 head of romaine lettuce
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
2/3 can black beans
1 avocado
1/4 bunch of cilantro
1 lime
Optional: White corn tortilla chips
Optional: two boneless skinless chicken breasts

salsa verde

1. Use a lettuce knife to chop lettuce into pieces, or tear by hand. (This prevents lettuce from getting brown.) Set aside in a large salad bowl.
2. Dice bell peppers and avocado into bite-sized pieces and add to bowl.
3. Rinse and drain black beans. Add 1/2-whole can to bowl. (If I'm not doing chicken, I'll season the beans with a bit of taco seasoning before adding them in.)
4. Give the cilantro a rough chop to release flavor and remove stems. We love cilantro, so I put more than some may like.
5. Cut lime in half and squeeze over salad.
6. If adding chicken, cook in a skillet with some olive oil and season with cumin and chili powder. Cut into bite-sized pieces and add to salad.
7. Just before serving, crumble some tortilla chips over salad for added crunch.


In a blender, mix about equal parts ranch and salsa verde (I like the Safeway Select brand). Add more of one or the other depending on your tastes. Drizzle over salad.

This salad is way easy and can of course be altered to your tastes. However, the dressing is NECESSARY for the full effect (credit to my mother-in-law and Cafe Rio for the dressing idea).

Happy eating!!


"True charity is love in action."

Inspiring words from a most beloved prophet, Pres. Thomas S. Monson.

image via wikipedia.

i do recall....

[ l o n g p o s t a l e r t ]

About 4 months ago, TJ and I were wed.

I decided it's high time I journal the events of the blessed day.
We'll start at the end. (No, sorry, not the part you're thinking of.)

And so, it is with great pleasure that I present:

The Reception.

I may have mentioned before what the style was that I wanted. I really really wanted an outdoor/backyard reception. But it was May. In Mesa, AZ. I decided I didn't want to melt.
So, we chose to use the church building that I grew up in; it was free, convenient, free, and decorating would be fun, right?

We couldn't have done it without the help of our amazing families (including the Eyrings!), my fabulous bridesmaids, friends (Laura Francini, Katy Smelser, and so many wonderful ward members), and Elaine Stradling (who has much experience and connections in the way of Mormon receptions...plus she was like a second mom to me in jr. high/high school).

Although it was a lot of work, we managed to pull off a beautiful reception. Almost everything was borrowed or made. There were a lot of personal touches that probably went unnoticed, but were so important to both TJ and I.

top: detailing of beautiful quilt handmade for us by Grandma Burgess (she put over 50 hours into that!), our sweet getaway car that was covered in glow-sticks (picture does not do justice), benches for gifts (the one in front of the quilt was made by my dad from a headboard for Mom for Mother's Day), food and guest book handmade by me.

middle: French doors assembled and painted by my dad (with engagement pics in the windows), Great-Grandma Burgess's peanut butter cookies (homemade by the hundreds by friends and ward members), fencing decorated by more family, centerpieces: framed picture of either us, parents, or grandparents on their wedding day.

bottom: yes I did make my own jewelry, beautiful cake made my amazing cousin Ashley (congrats Ashley on your engagement!), and Julie Eyring's chocolate chip cookies (handmade by family and friends), sign-in table.

Getting Ready:

Although I look happy and relaxed in these pictures, I was kind of starting to panic at this point. Apparently it was mostly internal (because the photographer didn't even notice). I mean, we were already married and together at last, but I started stressing about the last-minute details of the reception. Were all of the lights on? Did all the food get out? Was my cake here? Are the centerpieces center? Is the a/c working again? Thank goodness for helpful bridesmaids, maid-of-honor sister, family, and a patient groom. Where would I be without my patient groom?

The Guests:

That line was pretty darn close to never-ending. We were so grateful to everyone that came and supported us and celebrated with us. We didn't expect such a turn out!

The Cake-Cutting:

We opted for a 4-layer cake with 3 fake layers, the top one only being real cake. We chose a classic red velvet with cheesecake filling. My talented cousin Ashley made both our layer cake and the sheet cakes we served to our guests. Beforehand TJ and I had discussed that I did not want red-velvet cake all over my dress, but he still managed to shove a bite into my face (the dress was safe).

The Bouquet Toss:

Bouquet caught by my lovely friend, Jordan. The man that catches her will be lucky indeed!

The Garter Toss:

TJ and I debated whether or not to do a garter toss. I knew he wanted to, so I consented. TJ's cousin Tanner caught the garter.... but he shouldn't even think about girls for a few more years! :)

The First Dance:

Our song: "Amazed" by Lonestar. Yes, you do recognize it from this post.

The Daddy/Daughter & Mother/Son Dances:

Daddy/Daughter: "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman
Mother/Son: "You'll Be in My Heart" from Tarzan by Phil Collins

Tender memory: My dad told me at our open house in Flagstaff that our Daddy/Daughter dance was his favorite part of the whole day (aside from the sealing, of course). He was so sweet during the dance too, asking me to teach him how to twirl and dip.

The Dancing:

Auntie Apryl said she wouldn't come unless there was dancing involved. So TJ and I spent hours compiling our favorite songs into a playlist for dancing (plus we like dancing too). I think my favorite part was all of the little girls that wanted to dance with "the princess." It was too cute! The best moment was when Uncle Tim decided to dance with TJ. So hilarious!

The Getaway:

Jasper (our car) was certainly decked-out! Although you can't tell, the car had glowsticks on the hubcaps, antena, handles, and the frame. Then, it was filled with balloons, a random coconut bra, and jimmy-rigged with party poppers that attacked when we opened the doors. We left some of the writing on for most of our honeymoon. I loved that our parents followed us up to the car doors to say goodbye.

Holy smokes Batman! That was a long post (mostly for my journaling like I said). It was a lot of work, but we had tons of fun. Thanks again to all of the many people that helped and came!


New word for the day: craptastic.

As in, an accurate adjective to describe my day.

welcome back.

Today I observed earthworms in a metal cake pan.
No, I did not touch them. Then I would have lost my granola bars.

Guess what class?
Worms can drown.
And if they have an especially large segment,
near the head,
they're probably pregnant.

Our group managed to kill just two. Oh, and we raced them.
Mine won.

Excuse me while I go drown in reading assignments.

Class dismissed.