Thursday, February 28, 2013

Safe Haven

I love Nicholas Sparks and have read many of his books.
It's hard to keep up with all of his best sellers but they never disappoint.
I haven't seen all of his movies but I've enjoyed several of them.
Both my hubby and I were excited at the previews for Safe Haven.
We have always liked "Tad Hamilton" AKA Josh Duhmal.
Sparks is also a Notre Dame grad so he scores points with my hubby.

 Friday night date night was set.
Movie giftcards covered admission thanks to gifts from students.
We got sucked into the suspenseful movie and loved the characters.
Hubby did not love Josh's hair though :)

I knew there would be a tear jerker part because that's a classic Sparks' move.
I was waiting... got teary eyed a time or two but the last few minutes had me boo hooing (along with the rest of the packed theater).  My hubby was even teary eyed (don't tell him I said so) but I was relieved to see that other non-pregnant ladies were crying right along with me.  

The screen went dark, the movie was over and no one moved for a minute.  All you could hear were sniffles.  We all collected ourselves and our belongings then filed out of the theater.  I was trying to dry it up and Kevin wanted to talk and rehash the whole movie!  We were trying to recap it and he said:  Nicholas Sparks is like a magician of emotions!  Just when you think he's hit you with a sad part, he rips your heart out. 

Have you seen Safe Haven yet?
 If not, watch the trailer and you'll be hooked.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What Whitney Wore

Welcome to my closet this week.
I had to dress up for Parent-teacher conferences, teaching and put together a few casual outfits.  I'm doing my best to incorporate non-maternity clothes with my maternity items to stretch (literally) my wardrobe as much as possible.

Here are the outfits that I came up with for myself & my 26 week baby bump:
1. Parent-Teacher Conferences (AKA 12 hr workday)
top & skinny jeans - Motherhood
bow earrings - Charlotte Russe
heels - Ralph Lauren

 2. Black & Blue (2nd 12 hour work day)
top & jeans - Motherhood
flower necklace - gift
heels - BORN
 Oliver wanted to show off his stripes too!

 3. Jewel Tones
top - thrifted
jeans - Motherhood
scarf & belt - TJ Maxx
button earrings - Polka-Dotty Place etsy shop
Linking up with:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Real To Do Lists

We ate at a breakfast spot in Vegas recently that had this sign posted:
It got me thinking...
what is on my REAL to do list every day?

Smile often.
Bring happiness wherever you go.
Give compliments.
Talk to those you love often.
Eat sweets.
Be kind.
Notice the little things.
Don't take things so seriously.
Be organized; make lists.
Have fun.
Enjoy the here and now.
Try new things.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How do you know he loves you??

How does your husband show you he loves you??
My husband is really thoughtful and sweet.  He's always looking for nice things to do for me or with me to make me happy.  I work hard to do the same for him; both of us trying hard really makes our marriage run smoothly.
For example: He'll get take out for dinner on his way home from work, he'll help do the dishes, he does all the laundry, he rents movies he knows I'll like, he stays up late with me so we can go to bed together, he reads my blog, he takes my outfit pictures each day, he plans trips for us, he does research on all big purchases, he grills for us, he's full of compliments, he writes me notes, calls, texts and emails throughout the day, he goes grocery shopping with me and he just tries really hard to be a great husband.

Lately, I have been lucky enough to capture him being thoughtful on camera... 
Let me show you:

Kevin knows that I love taking pictures.  He has grown to appreciate taking pictures and being in pictures over our married life because he did not grow up doing a lot of this.  I, however, grew up with tons of photo ops and family pictures so I'm glad to have won him over.  He jumped out of the car to get a few great pictures while we were driving around the Tetons.  It was freezing, icy roads, sun was setting but he was eager to get a few more pictures to capture our weekend away for me.
 He stopped in a chocolate shop recently to get some peanut butter fudge for himself.  He decided baby and I needed a treat too so he grabbed two turtles for me.  I didn't even have to say that I was hungry (because I always am these days...) and he knew what I would order for myself.
 I noticed some elk on the shoulder of the road last weekend and pointed them out.  He caught a glimpse but decided we needed to turn around to get a better look.  I took some pictures from the car but he thought he could get some better ones if he went up by the fence.  So he climbed through the snow without a coat on to get some close ups of the field full of elk.  He was really proud of his pictures and I was impressed with his snowshoeing :)
He knows me really well and tries hard to do things "my way":
drinks: heavy on the ice, easy on the drink
chocolatey hot chocolate
eating with forks
lots of napkins
fresh salads
non-melty ice cream

What do you do to show love to those around you??
I have a few things in mind for this week already :)

Mom's Cream Puffs

I remember eating a lot of these growing up
so any time I make my Mom's cream puffs
I get a little nostalgic.

Here's another family recipe for you:
 Thanks mom!

Let's get started:

 I had to add a little more flour to get mine to mix up perfectly.

 I made mini cream puffs this time using my 1.5 inch cookie scoop.
I've also made normal sized ones with just a large spoon.
Both methods work well but you'll have to bake the mini ones less than the big ones.
The pictures show one and a half of the recipe listed above.
I was taking them to an event and wanted to make sure I had enough.

 Instant vanilla pudding looks a little yellow but tastes great.
I've always wanted to try chocolate pudding but have yet to do it.
 Use a small knife to cut a slit in the side of the cream puff once they have cooled.
 A yummy option is to melt some chocolate to drizzle on top.
Here's my microwave/ziploc bag method.
 I did half chocolate and half powdered sugar
then refrigerated them overnight.  

This is another easy recipe that I always have ingredients on hand for at my house.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


We got to see LOTS of Elk on our trip to Jackson.
Somehow we'd always missed the elk when we were in town so this was extra fun.
We saw some at several different spots.
The National Elk Refuge just north of Jackson does sleigh rides.

 The elk were gathered just north of Afton, WY so we pulled off to get a close look.
Kevin took some up close shots.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mill Iron Ranch Wyoming

My husband surprised me with a fun evening that included
a sleigh ride, animal tour and giant T-bone dinner
at Mill Iron Ranch just a few minutes south of Jackson.
He'd done some research and heard great things about this place.

We got directions and headed that way little did we know that we'd have to drive through some major snow covered roads to get there.  We turned off the highway and started trying to climb snow packed roads in my Civic.  First attempt up the hill failed so we backed back down the sparsely driven road to try it again.  Better luck this time with some slipping and sliding only to realize that we had another 1-2 miles left to travel before arriving at the ranch.  I was nervous and contemplating trying to back out of the whole thing.  Kevin assured me that we'd slip and slide but that we'd make it.  We both laughed at the situation and forged on.  We picked up some speed so that we could continue to make it up and around the mountain.  Luckily still no cars competing for road space.

We finally saw the sign for the ranch only to realize that was a sharp left turn and up some more mountain.  We gave it a few tries, backed up, sped up but weren't going anywhere except for a complete circle.  I suggested we call to tell them that we could see the ranch but wouldn't be able to make it up to it.  We both pulled out our cell phones to see the message NO SERVICE so we laughed again.  What an adventure...

Since the road seemed to be mostly abandoned, we parked our car off to the side avoiding the actual shoulder because we'd have never made it out of that and started trekking up to the ranch.   Once we reached the top, a very friendly cowboy drove up to meet us.  He jumped out of his truck, hugged me, shook Kevin's hand and welcomed us to his ranch.   Chancey was his name and he said he was real sorry he hadn't come to help us sooner but he didn't realize we were having trouble.  He said we could leave the car right there or we could give him our keys to see if he could make it up to the ranch.  He offered us his truck keys so we could drive ourselves up to the ranch.  We opted to walk and enjoy the scenery since it wasn't much farther.  We said we'd tried several times to get up the hill, doubted it was possible and wished him good luck!  He sent us inside to his wife to check in and to get settled.

She welcomed us and assured us that Chancey would get our car up to the ranch.  We were skeptical but grabbed some hot chocolate and a seat.  Just a few minutes later we see our Civic being pulled into a parking spot right by the ranch.  It is still a mystery to us how this happened and we figured that Chancey must be a pro at driving on the snow packed roads or that he used some of his cowboy magic.

There were about 10 guests at the ranch that night - families, couples and a group of friends.  We all got drinks, bundled up and waited for our sleigh to be ready.  Chancey was our driver and his wife was the waitress/hostess getting drinks.  We placed our T-Bone cooking preferences and got the go ahead to start loading the sleigh.  There were blankets for everyone.  I'd never been on a sleigh ride before so I was nervously excited for the 45 minute trip.  It was a beautiful day!

 The ranch from a distance
 We were at the back of the sleigh and almost lost Kevin on one of the turns.
He slipped, tried unsuccessfully to stable himself on the frozen sleigh floor and luckily held on!

 The scenery was lovely
and it was fun to tour the ranch that had been in Chancey's family for almost 100 years.

The elk were all spooked because of wolves so they didn't come close.
Apparently wolves are taking over up there!
 Lots of deer on the mountainside.
Horses of all sizes hanging out with the deer.
 Animal look alike shot - ha!

 We had so much fun!  Chancey would stop along the trail to tell us facts about animals, point things out and the horses seemed to be in a hurry because they would start to take off while he was in mid sentence.  All the animals were friendly and would come up to greet the sleigh when it stopped.
 The largest horse on the ranch.
 The blondest horse on the ranch.
 The handsomest guy on the ranch.

 Back for dinner.

We could smell our dinner cooking when we pulled back into the ranch.
 All decked out for Valentine's day weekend.
Look at those T-bones!!
 Dinner was delicious!

 Chancey's whole family served dinner and came around to refill things and chat with all the guests.  They were so nice and seemed genuinely excited to have us there for dinner.  They served hot chocolate, salads, chips and salsa, dinner and dessert.  Country music was playing in the background and we were surrounded by a hall filled with all the animals Chancey and his family had hunted over the years along with tons of rodeo prizes.  We'd love to come back in the summer for a wagon ride!  Thanks for a great evening cowboy!!
 We'd highly recommend visiting Mill Iron Ranch if you ever find yourself near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  It's worth the money and is an evening filled with family fun.  Be sure to make reservations.