Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Clarke Family Reunion

Last week was the annual Clarke Family Reunion at Six Lakes. We get together monthly for study group, but it's always a treat to spend more time together. I had a blast! A few highlights from the week include:

-Early scripture studies with Grandpa Clarke
-Three delicious group meals a day, and lots of yummy snacks in between. (I think I gained 15 pounds from all the good food, but maybe I'll just say they're pregnancy pounds!)
-Canooing on the lake
-Seeing all the toads, lizards, crawdads, and snakes caught by the boys
-The powerful testimony meeting
-The family dance party, limbo, and high jump competition!!!
-All the great conversations with cousins/aunts/uncles of all ages
-The Altamont 5k for "Longhorn Days"
This was the first time in 4 years that I have been able to be part of the whole reunion, so I was so glad to be there. I can't wait til next year, and hopefully Josh will be in attendance!!!
A bright blue Crawdad. I had heard of albino creatures...but neon!? Chemicals in the lake, or what?

Cute baby Avery showing off her onesie version of the Clarke t-shirt.

The group of us that did the Altamont 5k. A few of the awards we came away with: Logan's 1st place in his age group (with a time of 25 minutes), Talon's first place out of the male walkers (with a time of 45 minutes...awesome!), and Jae's eighth place overall (with a time of 19 minutes and some seconds - the best out of the Clarkes).

Marie cliff-jumping at one of the lakes. Wild child. Takes after her father.

Yay for Clarke Reunions!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

California Trip

What a wonderful weekend!!! I am soo glad I got to visit Josh, even though it was only a quick trip. We had the best time together.

I flew in to California Friday evening, right in time for dinner. Josh and I went to Duke's Grill, which is right on the shore of Huntington Beach. I had been there with my family two years ago and loved it, so I hoped it would be as good this time. I was not disappointed! I got the Shrimp and Crap Louie. It's a yummy salad with fresh crab meat and shrimp, avacado, mango, tomato. It is so light and delicious. YUM! The picture does not do it any justice. It's the best. And Josh was more than satisfied with his pineapple BBQ hamburger. Basically, we love Duke's. It was a great start to a wonderful weekend.

Saturday morning we were able to do a session at the Newport Beach Temple. I hadn't done a temple session with Josh for a month and a half, so it was so great. This temple is absolutely beautiful. Wow. What a treat. It was a great morning.
After the temple we grabbed a quick lunch at one of Josh's favorite places: Wahoo's. It has really yummy blackened fish tacos. We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out at the beach. It was a great, relaxing day for Josh and I. Normally I like to have a set schedule for the day, but it was so nice just talking and hanging out without a plan. We ended the evening with a nice dinner near the beach and beautiful walk out on the pier and along the beach. What a perfect night. It was a step up from our normal walks in Provo!

After church on Sunday, Josh and I made a great Sunday meal. It was so fun because I haven't really cooked while Josh has been away. We made chicken in the crock-pot with mashed potatoes - one of Josh's favorite Sunday meals. He was a very happy husband!

The last highlight of the trip was haning out at a few beautiful look-out spots along the coast. I think our favorite was a beautiful spot on the coast of Laguna Beach. What a beautiful place! Wow. We got to this spot in perfect time to watch the sun setting. It was a perfect trip! I wish it could have been longer, but I'll take whatever I can get! Josh has five more weeks and then he'll be home for good. Yay! I can't wait.

Monday, July 21, 2008

One Year!

Today is our first anniversary! This has been the best year for both of us. We are so so so happy to be married. I can't believe it's already been a year. To celebrate our anniversary I flew out to visit Josh this past weekend, which was wonderful. (I'll post about the trip once I get the pictures loaded on my computer). I got back to Provo this afternoon and found a sweet note on my kitchen table with a beautiful bouquet of roses from Josh. (Thanks to Joe for helping him out with that one!) I am so lucky to be Josh's wife! He is soo good to me. I couldn't have found a more perfect husband. I've never been happier... and yet I'm sure it will just keep getting better!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why did I wait so long?

I'm hooked! Josh has been trying to get me to read Harry Potter ever since I've known him, but I didn't think it was my type of book. I'm really into biographies, philosphy books, religious books, or classics -- and I didn't think Harry Potter would do it for me. I was wrong. I finally pulled out book one last week and finished book three last night. Book three has been my favorite so far, but Josh says they just get better! I can't wait to finish.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Baking Tip

I made a very useful discovery in my kitchen this past week. I've only been cooking for about a year, but this baking tip will certainly demonstrate my culinary maturity that is far beyond my actual kitchen experience. After whipping up a cinnamon coffee cake last week, I came to this important realization:

Baking Powder and Baking Soda cannot be used interchangeably.

The aroma and appearance of the hot coffee cake was as tantalizing as always, but the excitement ended after just one bite. Something was not right. Calling it disgusting would be an overstatement, but it definitely was not good. It wasn't until I was making biscuit dough the next day that I realized the mistake I had made with the coffee cake. I had used four teaspoons of baking soda instead of baking powder. (I guess this demonstrates a greater deficiency in my reading skills than my baking skills). It was only four teaspoons, but that was enough to make a diffference! So the next time you are tempted to use baking soda in a recipe that calls for baking powder, I would suggest sticking with the baking powder. I know, I know, they're both white powdery substances and they both start with "baking", but trust me - they are not the same thing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Cookie Monster

It was so great having a husband for the weekend and I was so sad to see him leave on Sunday evening. I sent him off with a whole batch of his very favorite chocolate chip cookies - One large bag to eat while they're fresh and another container to freeze. He left a happy man!
Luckily, I'm flying out to California for our anniversary, so I'll see him in just over a week! I can't wait!

River Trip

We stayed at a hotel in Moab on the 4th, then did a fun river rafting trip on the 5th.

(Before I continue with the 5th I just have to give a shout out to the hilarious tourist at our Moab hotel! At breakfast we heard a loud explosion and everyone turned in the direction of the plump little tourist standing by the microwave. He attempted to heat up boiled eggs and they blew up, completely covering the inside of the microwave with white and yellow goo. He just stood their with wide eyes, shaking his head, saying "I thought it was a bomb!")
The River Trip was almost as entertaining as the egg explosion. There was a large raft and also several two-man "duckies", as they were called. It was such a fun day. The only ones to tip were Josh and I...of course. We were in one of the little duckies when we came up to one of the biggest rapids. The other two-man duckies were going to the side, so they wouldn't hit the rapid right on, but Josh and I are fearless so we charged ahead. Too bad we didn't really know what we were doing. As soon as I saw the three foot drop and the wall of water I knew we were goners. And we were.

Thanks Mom and Dad for a fun trip! And thanks Josh for coming home from Cali to join us!

Best Weekend Ever

Josh paid a surprise visit to me for the fourth of July weekend! I couldn't have been happier to see him! He and Mark left California Wednesday evening and arrived in Provo early Thursday morning. It was soooo good to be with Josh for four days - even though the weekend flew by way too fast! I didn't have work until 1:00 pm on Thursday, so we slept in and made a yummy pancake breakfast around 11:00 am. It was so great hearing his voice again, talking, laughing, and having a good time.
Friday, the 4th, we drove up to Sandy and helped Jae with a big community carnival that Jae was in charge of. (It was his ward calling to organize it). It was really fun. I painted faces (my favorite!) and Josh ran another booth. After a long day at the carnival Jae, Josh and I took off for Moab. We met the rest of my family at Delicate Arch around 8:00pm. I had never hiked to Delicate Arch, so it was really fun. By the time we hiked back down it had gotten completely dark, so it was an adventure stumbling through the dark, trying to find our way back to the parking lot. Luckily Dad and the boys had their trusty head lamps.

The moment Dad puts on his head lamp, he turns into a kid again - straddling large crevices and happily posing for pictures. Gotta love him!
There was another little Japanes couple and their two children who were stuck in the dark with us. We thought we were doing them a service leading them down the mountain...until we realized we were way off the path and we had taken them with us. They would have been better off without our help! Feeling bad for them, Mom kept offering "You want water?" "You want candy?" in her little Japanese accent. Awesome.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I haven't been cooking very much lately because Josh has been gone and he was my big motivation for cooking. I've found it's really difficult cooking for one! All my recipes make so much that I just haven't be able to eat it as leftovers before it goes bad. I tried freezing the rest of a big pasta recipe a few weeks ago, but now my freezer is packed full of the pasta and it doesn't even sound good anymore. I'm anxious for Josh to be back from his internship, so I can cook again! I'm getting a little tired of eating soup, grilled cheese, cereal, and other meals for one. I have actually been craving a yummy turkey dinner lately. Of course, a whole cooked turkey is not a reasonable meal for one, so I had the not-so-brilliant idea to just buy a little frozen turkey dinner. Bad move. I've never had frozen dinners in my life, so I didn't realize what I was getting myself into. I was so excited to heat it up and hopefully satisfy my craving, but it was far from satisfying. Below you will see the packaging and then the actual dinner. Notice how the box shows several thick pieces of turkey breast, while the actual dinner just has two or three little chunks of meat on the side.

This frozen turkey dinner definitely did not fulfill my turkey dinner craving. Luckily, my all-knowing mother did the job. Without even knowing about my craving she came down to Provo a few days later and gave me a container of "just a little something she thought I might feel like." What was it? A full turkey dinner (for one!) I couldn't have been happier! Thanks mom for saving the day, filling my stomach, and convincing me even further to never buy frozen dinners.