Thursday, January 31, 2013

Home-Cooked Meals are the Best (stories to tell)

Tonight I made dinner.  Beef stroganoff over noodles.  Yum!... well not exactly.

I found a great recipe online that was pretty easy to follow with normal ingredients, except for white wine.  I do not carry white wine in the house so I searched the internet for a substitute.  And I found that there are actually lots of substitutes, cider vinegar being one of them.  "Perfect!  I've got vinegar, done."  Instead of 1/3 cup of white wine, I replaced it with a 1/3 cup of cider vinegar.  And it made all the difference - from being delicious to disgusting.  Dad was a troupper and said it tasted fine.  Lies.

Good thing the cookies I made for dessert turned out alright because I ended up eating them for dinner.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sinterklass Party - Scottish Style

Highland Games
Caber Toss
Sheaf Toss

Traditionally the Stuart family gets together for one large party a year to celebrate our dutch heritage, the Wolthuis and VanKampen families.  This year we took a different direction in our activities and celebrated our Scottish Stuart heritage by playing a couple of Scottish games.

It took a lot of planning, prepping, and sewing but it was really fun!  I have the best family ever!

The officiators for the Stuart Highland Games.  Notice the black and white kilts?  And please turn your attention to the scarf and tie.  That is the REAL STUART TARTAN directly from Scotland.

This is why...

... I am the favorite Aunt.

Loved having Kemper, Joseph, Avy, and Sadie with us for a couple weeks!!

Together again.  We always seem to find the smallest corner in the house to squeeze into.  We love being near each other.  (Dad, mom kissing Sadie, and Kemper)

Their new pajamas say it all, "Wild for Auntie".  I painted a jungle scene a corner of my bedroom.  They loved it!
(Avannie and Sadie)

In another corner I painted a castle.  Her is a sleeping beauty.  She doesn't seem to feel the pea under her mattress.

Playing dolls underneath of the stove in the kitchen.  Notice all the pots and pans are pushed to the back for the house in the front? (Avannie and Amy)

Sadie's favorite activity - riding in the red wagon.  Avy wants some of the action too.
(Avy, Amy, and Sadie)

Together we ran around the kitchen bar, the couches, between chairs, and all around.  Loved it!
(Sadie and Avy, mom in background)

Avy wanted part of the action going on downstairs but she had to go to bed.  We found her asleep on just inside the door near the banister overlooking the family below.  So cute.

Avy as an exotic dancer.  Remember this Keni?

Keni Got Mar'ed

Michael Althouse + Keni Stuart
Sealed together as husband and wife for all eternity,
January 17, 2013,
in the Bountiful Utah LDS Temple

So happy that I could be part of the celebration!  I love Michael and I am so happy that he is part of our family now.  Great job Keni for finding a great guy that we all love too.

I was asked to be the wedding decorator.  I spent several hundred dollars on vases, lanterns, fabric, sticks, moss and gathered lots of other supplies.  Thanks to Kemper, mom, and Aunt Andy for making this wedding beautiful!!  However, I did learn some lessons along the way... next time, I won't say 'yes' to decorating another wedding unless it is my own.

(More pictures to come, the professional ones)

The happy couple.  Wedding announcement picture.

The reception hall prior to the wedding

Sticks from Keni's peach trees + Pinecones on sale after Christmas + Wood boxes from Kemp's wedding + Moss balls made by Kemper and mom + Lanterns from Ikea + Fake candles + Fabric squares and burlap + ANDY'S TOUCH = Lovely Centerpieces!

We literally came up with the backdrop idea the night before we decorated.  Turned out good if you asked me.

Serving table and decorations.  Keni wanted COOKIES and MILK for refreshments.  Friends and family made cookies and we bought 20 gallons of milk.  Easy peasy, cheap, and yummy too!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Resolutions

Golly a new year.... what is this year going to bring?  Hopefully more blog posts than last year that is for sure!  Let's hope my life in Utah is interesting enough to be writing about, fingers crossed.

But I do have a feeling, 2013 is going to be a good one for me.  My life is going to have direction!  Yes.  I am determined that it begins to take form.  No more of this crazy mumbo-jumbo of a life that is spontaneous and directionless.  However, it was fun and worth writing about.

This year, I am going to:
1- Find a career.  That's right, a CAREER.
2- Find a boyfriend.  No New Years kiss for me this time, but not next year.  No, no.  I am determined to make it a good year of fortune in the relationship department.
3- Run a half marathon.  I loved my first race and it is time to do it again!  Gonna strap on those running shoes again.  I wonder if I can get one more race out of my shoes?
4- Study the gospel by topic rather than reading through by chapter.  I think I can get more out of my study if it is something I want to learn about.  To begin: faith, temple covenants, and prayer.
5- Travel business up and running with $5,000 in revenue by the end of the year.

In review of 2012 resolutions:
1- Read 12 books  Not a chance.  I think I read two - John Adams and most of Anne of Green Gables
2- Read Book of Mormon.  Not a chance either.  I made it to 2 Nephi 17.  That sucks.
3- Respond to emails withing 48 hrs and texts within 4 hrs. Yes.  I did, for the most part.  I get frustrated when people don't respond to me so I made a huge effort to respond to them.  I hope this will continue and form a habit.
4-  Aerobic instructor.  This has been on the list for FIVE bloody years and I can finally say DONE!!  Even though I am only teaching two classes and haven't been fully certified, at least I can cross it off the New Years Resolution list!
5- Hike highlights of the New England Appalachian Trail.  Only got a couple of hikes in this year and one, maybe two, were actually part of the AT.
6- Become a travel agent.  Yes, well mostly.  I've done all the prep work and now I'm finalizing it all.  Good enough to check it off the list.
7- Write Grandma Stuart's personal history.  In the works, serious works.  Will be done by this year though!  Really incredible experience to learn more about my grandma and how I became so quirky.
8- Family history.  Yes, in the form of a book about Grandma Stuart.
9- Pursue and do the things I want. Well yes.  I quit my job to work on other goals, that takes some guts.  I am a bit more forward with boys when I am interested in them.  I do things that make me happy.

For the most part, I will say I did pretty well.  Though lots of things didn't get done properly or all the way but I can say that I am pleased with my efforts.

Now onto a new beginning.