Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were everything I was hoping for. Our holiday consisted of relaxing, eating, laughing, playing games, spending time with close friends and family, attending church and reveling in the beauty of the season. Washington even blessed us with a good-enough snow fall on Christmas Eve for a white Christmas! Here are a few scenes from the last few days. Because I feel like we are good friends, I have also included a few oh-so-glamorous Christmas morning bed-head pictures. Sorry and You're Welcome.

Usually the McLaws kids have our traditional "waiting-on-the-stairs-till-we-can-see-the-presents" picture, but this year we all gathered on the couch. Yes, on one couch. Can we say sibling love?

Top picture: The lovely Bird family came over once again for Christmas Eve dinner. I think every Christmas I have spent in Washington involved the Bird family somehow, someway. We were especially happy to spend time with Sheri-mom. I've mentioned her before. Her story is here.
Bottom picture: The most humorous picture from Christmas morning. Russ and I have been swimming a lot lately, so I was excited to get some goggles to make me pro (ha!). I even got a swim cap, but sadly for you, did not take a picture with that one. :)

 We had a post-church photo session. I sure do love all the people in these pictures. 

Today we're packing up to leave Washington for another country! That's right, we're escaping to Canada to spend a few days in a cabin in the mountains. Ohhhh, this is going to be good. 

Happy Holidays everyone!

Christmas Vacation is Here!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tonight marks the beginning of our Christmas vacation! Hallelujah! I was a very happy girl as I left work this evening for a week and a half of zero stress. {Queue sigh of relief} As a pre-Christmas celebration, we ate our dinner by candlelight while listening to some Christmas tunes. We wanted to do our own "thing" before joining the rest of the family for all the festivities. We opened a few of our gifts for each other, and I must say that Russ did good.  Now we are scrambling around the house making sure we have everything before we take off in the morning for a lovely holiday vacation in the Northwest (wahooo!). Vacation is so near I can taste it.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season spent with friends and family, and most of all, remembering why we have this holiday to begin with. If you have a minute,  watch this video about the true Christmas spirit. It brings a tear to my eye. 

Family Pictures 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

When my parents were in town over Thanksgiving break we got together and took some long overdue family pictures. My mom realized we didn't have a proper picture with her two "new" son-in-laws! My lovely friend Brooke helped us out and captured some great shots. I had full intentions of making a Christmas card, but it turns out the busy-ness of the season (and getting a bit sick! blech!) has gotten the best of me. I know you are weeping inside due to the lack of our Christmas card, but hopefully these family pics will get you by. I know I sure love them!

First Time for Everything

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Would you believe me if I told you that before yesterday Russ had never ever made sugar cookies? Like he'd never used a cookie cutter in his life. Well by golly, we ended that! We made ooodles of cookies last night for friends and neighbors (using my favorite recipe compliments of Sheri Bird). Judging by this picture, I would say he had fun, wouldn't you? He particularly enjoyed making his "gingerbread army." I loved spending the evening baking, frosting, singing, and dancing in the kitchen with my favorite person in the world. 

Another first for us? Shoveling the driveway on our very own house! We woke up to a blanket of snow. It made me feel that much more  in the Christmas spirit (even if I was sliding around trying to get out of our neighborhood. Oy. I need to remember my snow-driving skills from years past). 

Is it Christmas break yet?!? 

Adobe Knows How to Party

Monday, December 12, 2011

{Russell wins the award for the most animated face!}

Friday night we went to Adobe's Holiday Party. This was unlike any Christmas party I've ever been to for a few reasons. First of all, it was 80's themed. Huh? I was so confused and honestly really skeptical of what kind of party it would be (foolish Camille, foolish!). Second, when we showed up we saw the Back to the Future car in front of break dancers being watched over by Mr. T. I'm dead serious. You throw some dancing competitions, arcade games, flaming donuts, thousand dollar prizes that you can win by playing rock-paper-scissors (I got really close!!!), awesome "goodie boxes" with 80's movies and treats, and a live 80's cover band and you have one rockin' party. I also got to reunite with one of my old college roommate Erin! Oh I have missed her. Her husband also works for Adobe -- it was so good to see her after way too long! (Her hair is crimped because that is back in style, didn't you know? Just kidding. You could dress up in 80's attire. We were lame and did not).

Since we are party animals and never want the night to end (ha!) we stopped by temple square after the party to check out the lights in the freezing cold. It was the perfect end to a perfect night. We really do love Adobe and are so grateful for Russ's job! They sure know how to treat their employees right. Thanks Adobe for showing us another good time! 

Herb-Roasted Veggies

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

These roasted veggies have been our favorite go-to dish for a while now. Please make these and tell me you don't like them, because I'd be willing to bet even those people that don't like vegetables will enjoy! You can literally throw in whatever vegetables you want or have on hand. I'm a particular fan of the butternut squash (they are like candy!), and Russ loves the potatoes. It's a perfect combination... I pay special attention to pick out the butternut squash and he gets the potatoes! Best part? Leftovers for lunch at work. Mmm mmm. Here are some rough instructions on how to make these bad boys:

What you'll need:
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4-5 red potatoes, washed and cubed
1 small sweet potato
1 small onion, peeled and sliced into thick slices
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch thin slices
(Other vegetables I have used include red peppers, zucchini, gold potatoes, and more! Experiment!)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

How you do it:
Once all of your vegetables are peeled/cut/sliced, use a large bowl to splash some olive oil and balsamic vinegar -- the amount you need will vary on how many vegetables you are roasting. Basically you need just enough to cover the vegetables, but not too much where they are drowning in the oil. :) If you don't have a large enough bowl, you can throw the vegetables directly onto a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil (I used a Silpat baking mat) and slowly spoon and cover the veggies in the oil/vinegar. Sprinkle with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven @ 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes, turning occasionally.

* Adapted from A Hint of Honey

Scenes from the Weekend

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This last weekend included a few fun Christmas-oriented activities. Friday night I had a few of my cute friends over for a Christmas craft night. We made Soup Mix jars and ate way too many delicious treats. Oh, and this crock-pot Tomato-Basil Parmesan soup that was oh-so-good. When the temperatures outside are bitter cold, nothing else sounds good but warm, hearty soup. {And who doesn't love another crock-pot soup?!?}

The next night we went out with some of our favorite people -- The Hills {who just happen to be our neighbors/saving grace}. We met one other couple from our neighborhood for dinner and then ventured to the Festival of Trees. I had never been! It's basically a huge organization where people decorate and donate hundreds of decked-out trees, gingerbread houses, wreaths and quilts. There is then an auction for all of the items and all proceeds go to the Primary Children's Hospital. Pretty cool. The first pictures is of us in front of one of my favorite trees of the night -- the Harry Potter tree!!! And the second picture is when we came upon an exact version of our house made for dwarves... or children... or any other small person who wants to live in a blue house.

Other highlights of the weekend that should be noted, for posterity sake of course:

* Learning once again that miracles do happen and prayers really work. Thanks friends for helping my sister out.
* Making my first home-made cinnamon rolls that turned out bomb.com
* Starting to refinish those dang night-stands that I have been putting off for years. Literally.
* Visiting the Collette's in their new home. So exciting!
* Sleeping in till 10 am two days in a row!! Wha???
* Playing Gin Rummy with Russ. We are too competitive for our own good. :)

Bowls & Oats

Friday, December 2, 2011

Last night a package arrived on my doorstep that made me extremely giddy. It's amazing how the most random purchases are so exciting. Like bowls, for example. Do pretty, colorful little bowls also make your heart go pitter-patter? I sure hope so. Otherwise Russ's suspicions that I'm going loony are correct. 

I've been eyeing these bowls from West Elm for quite a while. So last week when I saw that they were on clearance with free shipping (wahoo!), I snatched them up. They remind me of the days when my good friend Sada and I used to kill time on our lunch breaks oooh-ing and awww-ing at pretty things at the West Elm store in San Antonio. Sadly there is no West Elm here in Utah, so now I just ooh and aww through a computer screen. :) Anyway, now it looks like I will need to make some sort of dessert to serve these in. They're just calling for something tasty to be served in them.

Speaking of tasty things in bowls, let me introduce you to my new favorite breakfast:

My mom was in town last week and brought these lovely little steel-cut oats into my life. Thanks Mom!! I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat instant oatmeal again. The texture and flavor of these little guys are amazing, and might I say, leave you feeling full for a lot longer. I'm sure the add-in possibilities are endless, but so far I have been adding in some brown sugar, a little bit of vanilla soy milk, craisins, apples, and a dash of cinnamon. They take about 30 minutes on the stove to cook, but once you have a big batch made they will literally last you all week! Mmm mmm. I'm a cereal girl at heart, and always will be, but I'm so happy to add these steel-cut oats into my morning routine. Give 'em a try!

Subway Tile. Done and Done.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I have been wanting to have subway tile in our kitchen forever! I knew it was a project we would work on sometime, but definitely far in the future. Until one of my best friends and her husband were over one day and asked if we wanted some of their leftover subway tile. Let me think about that.... YES. We got in the car immediately, drove to their house, and became proud owners of some new subway tile ready to schnazzy up our kitchen. Thanks again, Elyse! We owe you big time!

What do you think? I am in love! It totally transforms the look of the whole kitchen and definitely takes it one step away from a builder-grade kitchen. One step at a time, people. Just to get it in your head, this was the back splash before - just the basic 3 inch continuation of the counter surface. 

We were debating whether to take off that back splash or not, mostly just because we had no clue how to do it (and afraid we  would create huge gaping holes in our walls). One of our neighbors works with granite countertops and he came over to help us out. Who would have thought you literally just pop that thing off?!? Thank goodness for friendly neighbors.

Russ was the main wet saw-worker, and I was the main tile-applier. The whole process was pretty do-able overall. The only times it became a little difficult was cutting around the window well and electrical sockets. For anyone contemplating this project, I say DO IT!!! Thanks to some YouTube videos we got the job done. Even though we got most of our tile for free, we had to buy a small section after we ran out. The tile is "Daltile" brand, which you can buy at Home Depot. A 2 foot section of tile cost only about $10, so really, I think it's pretty affordable. (You just need to add in cost of mastic, grout, and a few supplies).  

One more project crossed off the list! 9,723,982,357 more to go! :)


Monday, November 28, 2011

Well hello world! I may possibly be one of the worst bloggers as of late, but I guess that means I had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend with little time to blog. I'll take it. But I would feel a little ungrateful if I didn't take a moment to jot down a few things I am especially grateful for at this time:

+ I am grateful for our house, and more importantly the memories that are made inside of it. I love making a house a home. The sunrises and sunsets we see every day over the river in our backyard melt my heart.

+ My mom's orange roll recipe! I made it for the first time this weekend. It turned out pretty good... not as good as my mom's, but practice should hopefully make perfect.

+ My faith, the gospel of Jesus Christ and His love for me and my family. We are always taken care of.

+ Finding new music. Thanks to Spotify, new music has been flooding my ears and I love it.

+ Russell's job that allows us to live close to our families. We were fortunate enough to see both of our families this weekend -- it was fabulous.

+ My health. We have a lot of family members and close friends who have had this taken away from them this last year. I believe that a healthy body is one of those things we take for granted until it is gone.

I Appreciate Him.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This is my bearded husband enjoying three delicious scoops of Gelato from Costco. Who knew Costco could be so fancy? 

Our offices are pretty close together, so we try to meet for lunch once in a while, whether it's bringing our PB&J's to a park or supporting one of our favorite dining establishments (ahem, Costco). Yes, we're classy like that. Just get me the cheesiest cheese pizza with a Diet Coke and you've got one happy girl.

As we were leaving I was digging through my pockets to find the receipt for the lady to check and Russ was kindly holding my Diet Coke, my purse and pushing the cart. The lady looks at me and says "I bet you've never appreciated him more than you do now." It took me a minute to realize she was talking to us. Of course it wasn't until I got to my car I wanted to run back and say "Huh? What are you talking about? I always appreciate this guy! I mean, he meets me at Costco and buys me a Diet Coke! What more could I want?!?"

It's the little things that really make you appreciate life, ain't it?

Take a Seat

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I have another house update to report! Casa de Lewis finally has a few more places to sit! One thing we found with moving into our house after being in apartments and renting is we are seriously lacking some furniture. We had one couch, and therefore only one place to sit and hang out in the whole house. Needless to say, we've kept our eye out for some good deals on furniture. Well this last week I'd say we hit the jackpot! Introducing our first "sitting chair":

This chair was a bit unplanned. We walked into the store looking for couches, but found this neglected guy in the clearance corner due to a broken leg. After figuring out the leg was fixable and a bit of negotiating on Russell's end, we got this guy for $75, normal price was $400. Right now it is in our main living room area, but it might end up in the front room/future piano room.

The second score was found at Down East Home. Oh this store is amazing. There were so many couches I wanted there, but this guy was the winner for a few reasons. A) it was on sale, B) Russ actually liked it even though it was "cute," mainly because he found it to be functional with such a high back, and C) it was on sale. I love when we agree :)

We have it upstairs in the loft, where we hope to get some sort of projector/movie area going on in the future. The pillows and rugs were laying around needing to be used; I don't know if they will stay here, but I didn't really want to spend any more money in this area of the house yet. You know, one thing at a time...

Sew Many Pillows

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I had some old pillows that needed to be recovered, so these last few weeks I've decided to break into the world of making pillows! Most of them will probably go in the guest bedroom. I found one of my favorite Amy Butler fabrics (Midwestern Modern II Collection - Floating Buds) at Material Girls fabric store (which is my new favorite fabric store for any of you Utahns), and knew the exact pillow I was going to make. I saw THIS PILLOW a year ago from one of my favorite bloggers and it hasn't left my mind since, so I recreated it!

Just don't look too close. I'm definitely still working on my pillow-making skills. As for now, I'll go make a few more. Practice makes {almost} perfect, right?

The Monopolizer

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Look at that face.

That's the face of a very, very serious Monopoly player makin' a sweet real-estate deal.

Who here loves Monopoly? I have a love-hate relationship with this game. When we were newlyweds of maybe a month or two and had just moved to Texas, we bought the game with a gift card from our wedding. I was so excited to find a game that we could play together. Ha! Wasn't I surprised when we sat down to play one Sunday evening and I saw a side of Russ I had never seen. The sweet, loving and light-hearted Russ turned into a super intense, deal-making, dominating Monopoly player. I admit that the fact I was getting dominated every. single. time made me not love the game so much, but let's just say the air would get a teensy bit tense and Monopoly soon became a game I hated.

But Russ loves it.

Like a lot.

So sometimes we still play. He usually dominates me, except like on Sunday when we sat down with our friends to play. You would have thought it was Christmas morning for Russ and Dave. Too bad Danielle and I totally dominated their Monoploy-playing lives. It felt good.

Have I mentioned we've had some house guests lately? One of my best friends/former roommate Danielle, her husband Dave, and their adorable son Cameron just moved to Utah from New York City and have been camping out at Casa de Lewis while they get things settled. We've had some good times. I mean, how could you not with an 8-month old who smiles and waves the moment you walk in the room??

The Halloween Half Marathon

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This weekend I ran another half marathon. It was the Provo Canyon Halloween Half, a very entertaining race where a large majority of the racers dress up in ridiculous costumes. Apparently I am the Halloween Grinch and had no motivation to dress up. LAME. I ran it with two of my favorite people -- LG and Natalie (my sister in law), who dressed up as the anime character Pikachu. Awesome, right?

The race started at Aspen Grove and took us down the scenic Provo canyon complete with fall leaves, the Provo river, a waterfall, and parks galore. It's always been one of my favorite routes.

My goal for this race was to get under 2 hours. The first 6 miles flew by and I felt great. I got a little tired around mile 7 or 8, but after popping a starbust in my mouth I was able to keep going strong. And then mile 11 came, and I wasn't sure what I felt anymore, but it wasn't great. I soon found out what it was at about half a mile from the finish line. The next thing I know I have throw up in my mouth. Uh, what?!? I swallow it back down (I know, gross) and keep running. Nope, it wasn't staying down. It came back up and this time I just bent over and threw up right in front of all those unassuming spectators cheering on their family and friends. In my head I'm thinking "Alright, this race isn't ending as planned, but I think I can still make my goal if I keep going." The last quarter mile I swallowed down vomit 2 more times as the finish line was in sight. Right as I crossed the line it all came out and I collapsed on the ground. I know, that sounds dramatic, but it just happened.

Russ was able to snap the photo below right before I crossed the line. I still have no clue why that happened, but I'm assuming it was me ignoring my body's screaming signals that were telling me to "STOP." I thought it was absolutely disgusting, uber-weak, and embarrassing (who wants to finish a race that way??), but everyone I tell the story to just exclaims "HARDCORE!" Ha! I guess I'll take that over uber-weaksauce.

So to sum up this crazy race, I am so happy that I made my goal with only seconds to spare. I crossed the line at 1:59:25. Achieving another PR is such a great feeling, throw up and all.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hello again friends! It's been a while. Honestly, life has finally seemed to slow down a bit, but that doesn't mean I've been any better with blogging and taking pictures. My apologies, here's a few things we have been up to recently:

// Bringing some of my pins to life. We've all seen the overpriced metal letters at Anthropologie. I liked the look, but didn't want to fork out the money. I saw this tutorial on Pinterest and made these letters for just a few bucks. I'm still not positive where I will hang them (as is the case with the majority of my house right now), so for now they are just resting on the counter. It never hurts to have another reminder to EAT, right? :)

// Finishing the sprinklers and spreading our hydroseed! This means a few things -- first off, our grass is growing, and second, we are done working outside for the year! We now literally just sit back and pray the grass comes in. Russ stands on our porch multiple times a day to watch the fruits of his labors grow.

// Enjoying our new patio! We decided to put this patio in last minute, and we are so glad we did. Now all we need is a sweet outdoor table set. Sigh. One thing at a time.

// Rockin' out to new tunes, and in particular Coldplay's new album Mylo Xyloto. You better believe that Best Buy was the first place I went after work yesterday. I was smiling ear to ear the whole drive home. You guys, this album is amazing. Every Coldplay album is a new experience, and this one is full of energetic beats and catchy melodies. I foresee many of these songs being new favorites on the ol' running mix.

// Which brings me to my next point. I've been having lots of quality time with just me and the road as I've been training and preparing for yet another 1/2 marathon. The big day is this Saturday, and I'm just hoping for the best. My training started out great, but as the race has been getting closer my runs have been getting worse and worse. One word: FRUSTRATING. I did a 12 miler last week and just about died. Sigh. I sincerely believe running is just as much mental as it is physical, so I'm still feeling optimistic and am hoping for the best. :)

Holy Cow

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One thing we love about living in our little town of Lehi is that we are 5 minutes from the freeway, there is an abundance of stores and restaurants, and it is quite a central location. On the other hand, I can hop on the trail that backs up to our yard and run past horses and cows. I even ran into a fox once! Yay for wildlife. Usually I can see these cows out in the field while on the trail, but on my run last night they just wanted to cheer me on. 

And that they did. These guys were cracking me up. All of their heads would follow me as I ran past, so I did it a few times just for fun. Luckily I had my phone so I could snap a quick picture. After I spent a few minutes hanging out with these guys, I figured I better get on with my run. I turned the corner and saw this.

It took my breath away for a second. The sun setting behind Eagle Mountain, the clouds' reflection on the Jordan River, and the fading blue sky ready to retire for the night. It was like God smiling down on me telling me He loved me. I love nature and seeing God's creations, even if they are smelly and "mooo" as you pass on by. I am grateful I have a body healthy enough to get out and see nature. It's taking these breaks from the craziness of life that keep me sane.


Monday, October 10, 2011

I have a feeling I'm not the only one who gets distracted with modern-day "things." You know... phones, internet, TV, etc. Maybe I'll try this next time I really need to "get down to business" and be productive. I'm sure it is quite effective. 

Chipboard Canvas "Tutorial"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Last night Russ was out in the yard doing last minute adjustments to our sprinkler system. Before you jump the gun and call me lazy, I tried helping but at this point it was all electrical work (meaning I was no help at all). So I sat down on the couch and turned on some good ol' weeknight television. One word: Parenthood. {I'm obsessed}. Anyway, I then worked on the most perfect lazy night craft. I barely had to get off the couch to finish it. It was great. Here's a quick "tutorial," or more like here's how I did it, and perhaps some ideas to do it better next time.

I was inspired while I was browsing Pinterest one night (surprise!) and found this chipboard canvas. I wanted to make one with a phrase that meant something to us. Once one of my favorite Beatles songs popped in my head I couldn't think of anything else. I found the canvas and chipboard letters from Hobby Lobby for a whopping total of $10. I bought two different sizes of chipboard letters to give variety, but you could make all the words the same size if you wanted.

I arranged the letters and as you can see, I didn't have enough cork letters since duplicates were needed. There was no way I was going to run to the store so I had to improvise. (hint: "more" looks a bit funny, doesn't it?)

If you are in the middle of the project and are also too lazy to go to the store for more letters, just clip pieces of leftover chipboard to make your letter of choice look like it should (i.e. your "c" can become an "e", the "b" can become a "o").

I probably should have used more appropriate glue than jewelry glue, but again, I was being lazy and that's all I could find in the short span of a commercial break. :) I'm assuming a hot glue gun, super glue, or some other strong adhesive would work great.

I wanted to make sure the letters were straight but didn't have a ruler handy, so I used the nearest Martha Stewart magazine on the coffee table. Call it pathetic, but I call it resourceful. :)

And voila! You're just about done. I was tempted to leave it as is because I kind of liked the "natural" looking letters, but decided to stick with the original vision I had in mind. I found some white spray paint in the garage and sprayed the canvas in the middle of the street under the street lamp. Can we say ghett-ooo?

I probably should have sanded some of the rougher chipboard letters before I spray-painted, but I just sanded them down and applied one more coat of spray paint as well as a top-coat to add a bit of shine. This is a matter of preference -- I think next time I might hold off on the top coat for a more "matte" look. It's totally up to you. Chose your phrase, sit down in front of your favorite show, and go to canvas town!