Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Marvelous Mini Meatloaves

I don't remember how I recently came across this recipe, but I decided I need to share my wealth with my friends. Since finding this treasure, I think I make it once a week for dinner. This whole pregnancy, my #1 craving has been meat, especially RED meat (which really isn't like my normal self, thought I can't even really remember what "normal" me is). So I'm constantly searching for new, easy ways to curb my little guy's protein desires. Speaking of that actually not so little guy, we are at

I remember at the beginning of the pregnancy looking down the list to these last couple of months, and being so excited for the cool food comparisons. I love honeydew! Now that I'm actually experiencing being 8 months pregnant, I don't really think it's that cool anymore to have a belly the size of a honeydew. It's exhausting growing this thing!

Anyways, back to the meatloaves:

You will need:

1 lb ground beef

1 package 16oz stuffing mix

1 cup of water

The greatest part of this recipe is the variety you get to do with it. Choose a mix and match theme that sounds good to you!

Mix-N-Match, Seasonings, Add-In, Cheese

Italian, 1 tsp Italian Seasoning, 3/4 cup spaghetti sauce, shredded Mozarella

Fiesta, 2 tsp Chili Powder, 3/4 cup chunky salsa, shredded Mexi-mix

Mediterranean, 1 tsp Oregano, 3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers, crumbled Feta

BBQ, 1 tsp Garlic Powder, 3/4 cup BBQ sauce, shredded Cheddar

Preheat oven to 375. Mix water, meat, stuffing and Seasoning of choice until well blended. Press evenly into 12 muffin cups, or if no liners, spray muffin pan well. Make an indentation in center of each meat cup with back of spoon. Spoon in Add-In evenly into indentations. Bake 30 mins or until cooked through. Top with choice of Cheese and continue baking for 5 mins. (For a little kick, add 2 Tbsp of A1 steak sauce to meat mixture before shaping into meatloaves.)

We love each of the different Mix-N-Match's. Depending on what kind of mood I'm in, and what we have on hand, the meatloaves determine our food theme for the evening. I especially love this because it's prep time is SO quick, and if you have muffin cup liners, there is virtually no clean-up. Plus, it's MEAT!!!! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Let me know if you try it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

L.A. Anniversary Fun

One of the most exciting things about moving to California was knowing we'd be LOTS closer to seeing: Conan is definitely one of Nate and I's favorite past-times. We wanted to see his show last summer when we were in New York, but weren't able to fit it in. So last weekend was a flex Friday, and we wanted to do something fun to celebrate our Anniversary. (Seeing as how it will probably be our last one where we do anything fun for many many years! Darn kids:)) We decided what better way than to venture out to the Big City and try to see Conan!

After waking up super early to drive to LA (which ended up not being as far as we thought), then trying to find parking for about a half an hour in Burbank, we finally got to where standby tickets for Conan are given out. We were too late. By about half an hour. They'd already been done. But the security gaurd said we could try coming back at 1pm to see if there were more. We found a free shuttle that takes you up the massive hill to the Universal City Walk, so we went and wasted some time there until we needed to get back in line for standby.

Giant guitar outside of The Hard Rock Cafe. And my giant belly.
The infamous globe. We didn't go to the park, of course, just outside the gate for pics.

Ah, so refreshing to see water...

Any true Californian should know about Tommy's.
I took this picture for my family. When they lived in Cali, I guess Tommy burgers were their favorite. I didn't choose this for lunch, I am not a Tommy fan, but the fam is.
After lunch, we headed back over to Conan. Good thing for the poor pregnant lady's feet, everything is pretty close at Universal Studios. We did A LOT of walking back and forth. We figured we were a little early, but didn't really have anything else to do. So we decided it wouldn't hurt to just go wait in line; atleast they had mist fans and water.
Yep, we were definitely early. Or just die hard fans. You choose.
There's Nate, all the way at the front of the walkway, only person in line. We chilled with the security gaurd for quite awhile. Very nice man from Iran, learned all about him. Again, atleast they had mist fans and water. And seating!
We eventually got our standby tickets, and were told we had to come back at 3 to see if we could get in to the show. More time for wandering. Remember when I thought it was refreshing to see water?
Then we found the LA River. Never mind.

Well, to spare you the rest of our adventurous story of trying to get into the show, we made it!!! Barely!!!!!!! Our seats were the very back row, far corner, but supposedly the best view in the house, because there was nothing blocking our view of the stage. We had such a blast, and have now figured out the system for NEXT time, so that we don't have to waste our entire day walking back and forth, and risking standby. We are Conan pros!
Cameras were definitely not allowed, but Nate snuck this one in of the whole stage setup.

Then I got daring, and wanted to take one. I was trying to hurry so fast, the camera got put on a weird setting, so it's blurry, but we got one!
That's the main camera; it says The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, in case you don't believe us :)
Conan is hilarious on tv, but we really loved him live and definitey plan on going again. It was a lot of fun to see how things work behind the scenes, too. We were thrilled with our success for the day!
Our beloved wristbands!!!!!! It's a big deal when you get your wristband! We waited a long time, got several different entrance tickets, but we still weren't for sure we were going to get a seat until they gave us our wristbands! We will treasure them forever. :)

We found a Comfort Inn (our personal fave) on Sunset Blvd to stay the night. While there, we found out the Hollywood Walk of Fame was only two blocks up the road.
This wasn't on our agenda, but figured we couldn't miss out on it for only being a hop, skip, and a jump away.

It certainly wasn't how I pictured it, you know, glitz and glam. It's really in a fairly sketchy part of town!
The infamous Chinese Theatre
We found a nice foreign man to get our pic. He was less than impressed with our non-fancy camera and it's poor zoom. But we know what that sign says!
This is from a fun outdoor mall on Hollywood Blvd that has a great view.
We found SO many random stars, this being one of Nate's faves.
In front of the Chinese Theatre is where the stars put their hand and footprints in the sidewalk.
My absolute, personal fave...Ol' Blue Eyes. I was super excited to find him, right up front by the door, near Marilyn Monroe and Julie Andrews.

In front of that sidewalk are a lot of poor, struggling actors dressed up in tacky costumes, wanting tourists to get their picture taken with them. They "appreciate" tips, and love to tell you that. We thought they should get a real job. Until we saw this guy:
He hung out around Michael's star and kept very busy! I didn't want to tip him, so we didn't take a pic with him, but I wish we could've got a close up of his face! He was good.
He had everything about the pop star king down!! Notice the awfully dressed Spiderman down the street a bit. Normally, I would've definitely gotten a picture with him. But this particular Spiderman had a belly about the size of mine, I could see his hair through the back of his mask, and I think he was wearing reeboks. No thanks, Spidey. Get a real job. :)

The highlight for Nate's day was when Snoop Dogg stopped by! Who knew Snoop was so tall.
Marilyn and I got along so well. She has a great sense of humor.
Lucille, on the other hand, did not love the idea of the big prego lady next to her yummy batter. Oh, Lucy...
Snoop's short stint with Nate really rubbed off on him. Fo Shizzle.

From the Walk of Fame, we headed down Santa Monica Blvd to the beach!! That's all I wanted for the whole weekend. While driving, we randomly fell upon:
The LA Temple! It seriously jumped out at us! We had no idea the Temple was on Santa Monica Blvd and overlooks the ocean. How greatful I am for the Angel Moroni, that way I knew it was ours!

And finally, ah...
The ocean. There's just nothing like it. All the tension from driving in LA all weekend was immediately washed to sea.
As we strolled the beach, we fell upon this little guy. Totally creeped me out.
He seemed very content. At first we wondered if he was stuck, but the tide came up plenty far enough; he just wanted to hang out in the sand.

I was afraid that on a Saturday afternoon, the beach would be completely packed. It wasn't at all and it was so lovely!
It was about 90 in LA last weekend, but so much cooler down by the ocean. It felt wonderful! I guess the natives consider it winter time now or something, so not a lot going down to the beach. Silly Californians; it was absolute perfection for me.
I couldn't have asked for a better day than to just stroll and lounge away at the beach (you will be spared 7 1/2 month pregnant swimsuit pictures).
Nate's favorite thing to do at the ocean is watch for washed up seashells and skip rocks into the water. The sand, the smell, the sound...all of it was exactly what we needed.
We ended our trip with a stop in Lancaster for some shopping, and of course, Costco. Nate bought me an anniversary ring (that's what he called it anyways) to top off the weekend!
SO sweet and thoughtful of him. This is because my actual wedding ring currently fits fine only if my body temperature stays normal, meaning until about 2pm or if I'm only in my house, not being active at all, all day. My fingers have swelled just a little, but if there is any heat involved (remember, I live in the desert), there could definitely be trouble getting my wedding ring off. I'd much rather have to have this $6 one from Kohl's cutt off of my finger, if needs be.

We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend getaway. It was such an awesome experience to see Conan, to have the whole weekend to be together and just have fun, and it was really great to find out that WATER isn't as far away as we thought it was!! Sign me up for every flex Friday weekend at the beach. ;)

Monday, October 19, 2009


Happy Anniversary!!!!!!!Its been 3 awesome years. Part of me feels like we've lived this life together forever, though to most, 3 years is still considered "newlywed". I remember thinking on our wedding day about the common phrase people use, something to the effect of, "Years later, I loved her more than the day I married her"; and on our wedding day, I didn't believe that I could ever love Nate more than I did at that moment in time.

Now, with a few life experiences together behind us, I can begin to understand. I love him more all of the time. Our relationship 3 years down the road is at a completely different level than it was in the beginning, and so I imagine it to grow and change in 3 more years, etc.

Life is wonderful. My husband is my very best friend. Marriage is bliss.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"...The one with the giant purple tummy!"

I love Primary. 'Nuff said.

Although I did have a friend tell me the other day that you couldn't even tell from behind that I was pregnant.
Bless her heart.

Don't worry that we went out to eat last weekend, and I couldn't fit in the booth. I had to have Nate switch me sides. :(

He said it WAS a pretty tight squeeze, but that didn't really stop me from feeling momentarily depressed. Then I just chowed down and felt much better.
I am only posting these pictures because of the many adoring fans' requests. It's not exactly something I enjoy showing off. You may think I'm arching my back and trying to push my belly out as far as I can. I'm not. It just really looks like that.
My back is starting to ache pretty much constantly, and I'm starting to feel a bit weighed down. I feel like there is a twelve pound bowling ball strapped onto my front at all times. It probably looks that way, too! In a couple of weeks, the Dr is going to measure the baby; we are excited to see how on track he is. Sometimes I feel kind of small for being how far along I am, knowing there are many pregnant ladies out there who have it WAY worse. But then there are other times I feel the complete opposite, like when I am referred to as..."the one with the giant purple tummy!" :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Our Dear Hartwell's

Last weekend our wonderful friends the Hartwell's came to Ridgecrest to visit us! They were going to the St George marathon, and decided to come see this funny town we live in. We were SO excited to have them come. We have been in the same ward together for the last 3 years, and we even lived in DC during the same time last summer. Needless to say, we love them. They are just downright fabulous people and WE couldn't have asked for a better weekend (although I don't know what they have to say...)

They arrived with these beauties:

Not only is it enough to brighten my day with familiar faces on the doorstep, but fresh flowers also do the trick.

Sunday, after enjoying General Conference together, we ventured to Trona. We've had several people tell us, "You just need to go to Trona once. It's somethin' else." Trona is a VERY small town (if you can even call it that) about 25 miles away.

So, we ventured out, and this is what we found:

Yep, a whole lot of this.

Salt flats? Maybe. It's definitely not snow. There is some sort of factory in Trona, which is why anyone would ever live there. Maybe they produce this white stuff, whatever it is. All houses and stores looked completely abandoned, so it's not like we could ask anyone. Planet of the Apes was filmed in Trona.

Here's Trona. Save yourself a drive out.
The only thing I got from this place was I felt really good about living in Ridgecrest, "the city", after going to Trona.

I suppose this is something Trona has to offer the world:
One week later, I'm still trying to decide if it was worth the drive.

The pinnacles are these giant, random rock formations in the middle of nowhere. I think it sounds cooler than it really is.

They don't exactly get any cooler the closer you get:
Any signs you see, or probably even these here pictures, do the pinnacles justice.
I don't plan on EVER going to the Pinnacles again. Sorry to burst your bubble if you've googled things to do in Ridgecrest, saw The Trona Pinnacles, and were planning on coming to visit.
Been there, done that:
Thank goodness for good company. If nothing else, what a drive for a Sunday afternoon. Chris and Deidra got to see how REALLY in the middle of no where we are.

The weather was SO lovely, we did a bit of this on the back patio, enjoying the sounds of the waterfall behind us:
Relaxing in Ridgecrest (catchy, huh?). Not only are the Hartwell's easy to please, I think it helped we were at a gorgeous 75 this day, and Logan UT was approximately 40 and raining.

We definitely saw a lot of these, at the musuem on Base. This one was my favorite, because it's something I'd actually heard of, and it was ginormous:
Still not really sure if I was allowed to take pictures in this museum...shh.
We experienced this treasure:
We'd heard some pretty good stories about this place, and just had to see it for ourselves. Not only is it a drive thru dairy, which I find kind of strange, there are no prices on the menu, and they expect you to know exactly what you want as soon as you pull up to their hard to read menu. And don't even think about asking them questions about what they serve; you can feel
the darts from their eyes shooting through the speaker box.
The absolute best part of the evening was when Chris read this sign just inside their window:
"Service is 99% attitude, please be courteous to our customers. Service with a smile. :)"
We were dying! We were definitely served some attitude, but I'm pretty sure we were the only ones smiling at this joint. We all did enjoy our ice cream treats, still not sure what the price is on any of them, and we didn't dare ask what else they serve besides the 4 things we got. But it was a highlight of the weekend, none-the-less!

There was DEFINITELY a lot of this:

Mucho thanks to the Hall fam for letting us borrow extra Wii controllers for a night. One of my favorite Rock Band moments was having Deidra sing The Beastie Boys "No Sleep Till Brooklyn". Not exactly her style of music. ;) Another classic was hearing Nate sing way too high on a song none of us had ever heard. Deidra and I had tears streaming down our faces, couldn't see our notes on the tv, and my big belly was shaking like Santa Claus, making us laugh even harder. What a work out.

I miss my Hartwell's.
I loved "touring" Ridgecrest with them, staying up late, playing ridiculous games, laughing, laughing and more laughing. I loved having people in the house, and especially cause it was these folks. You know they've got to be good people, when they came all the way to Ridgecrest for no other reason than just to see and spend time with us! Deidra kept saying it's not like we've really moved, we're just gone for the summer or something, even though it's fall. :) I think we are all still in a bit of denial. We enjoy these two so much, and have spent many a late evening simply talking, and that's my very favorite thing about them. Thanks Hartwell's, for being you. Number one on our list of people we love lately!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

House update

My sisters have been so bothered with me for not having updated pictures of our house yet. Yes, I am home all day, every day, but I still need stores to complete my final projects! Kmart and Walmart are just not crafty enough. But, because I'm nice and don't want to listen to their complaints anymore, here are some updates, pics included. You're welcome, Stacey.

This is our kitchen table that Nate is currently refinishing. It's been quite the project, and I'm so excited for how it will turn out. But, no pictures of the kitchen yet because without a table, it currently looks like a fort/war zone.

Still working on creating my perfect couch covers.

Where we spend most of our time. Projects for this room besides the couches include: 1)hanging pictures up. I need an extra set of eyes, I hate trying to center and straighten things by myself. One of these three day weekends, maybe after the table is completed. 2)Curtains. Again, requires either more stores or me learning how to sew. 3)New tv. That's mostly Nate's project. And is very far down on the list.

The guest room. Project for this room: guests! And maybe a decoration or two, poor room. This room actually was able to be used this weekend, when our dear friends the Hartwell's from Logan came to stay with us for a few days. That deserves a whole post in itself, so I will keep you all in suspense!

Entry to the baby's room, which is currently in very sad shape. So this is all you get. I'll give you one guess as to what theme I'm going for in there...

Our bedroom. Kind of an island theme. I can guarantee you had we not been moving to California when we got our new bed, I don't think this is the theme we would have gone with. I just don't picture this working in Logan/Utah.

We love our room, especially our fabulous new intelli-bed. Well worth every cent. Nate chose the bedspread, even though it came with a plethera of pillows (he hates that). I agreed to the bedspread, as long as I got bamboo blinds. :)
Here's the most current picture of the baby (how fitting for October!). We are seeing the doc every two weeks now, and hopefully are going to start a class at the hospital next week. I got my rhogham (sp?) shot yesterday, because I am Rh- and Nate is Rh+, so that could be bad for baby, and me. The actual shot wasn't nearly as bad as I had made it up to be in my head (I don't remember the last time I was given a shot, so I was really nervous), but the rest of the day I felt really crummy. I guess it could be a cold coming on, seeing as how the temperature randomly dropped about 30 degrees here. It's in the 70's and so wonderfully lovely, but it was so quick, no ones bodies had the chance to adjust from triple digits. The baby is so very active, and I keep telling myself I should be greatful to know he is doing well in there, but sometimes I dream about how it will feel to not have constant popcorn popping in this oven belly of mine. Projects for the baby:
*Find a crib
*Find bedding,etc for crib (once again, another reason I wish I was a sewer! I want his room to be decked out Aggie, yes, becuase I love my Aggies, but also because I haven't found any bedding that I'm in love with. Unfortunately, I'm quite sure they don't sell baby bedding at the USU Bookstore.)
*Find a car seat that meets both our dreams! I want one with the ergonomically correct handles, and Nate wants one that pops in the stroller.
*Find a stroller (see above)
*Choose a NAME for the poor lil' guy! We are no where closer than we were when this whole process began.
Wish me luck with all of my projects, hoping that something gets accomplished sometime soon. I feel another dire need for a trip to Lancaster coming on. Good thing we have lots of three day weekends coming around the corner! Happy Fall!! It's my absolute favorite time of year, and I really, really wish I was in Utah right about now, but I put up my fall decor here, even though it feels like summer. I'm hoping my fake pumpkins and plastic leaves will put me in the mood. Feel free to send me any pictures you have of leaves changing, people wearing jackets, and anything to do with cider or pumpkins!