Monday, February 7, 2011

Ally: Road trip.

Thanks Nancy for the great topic.

My best road trip ever? Easy peasy.

I was living with my fabulous cousin/BFF Kristen. It was Martin Luther King Day weekend and she said, "Let's go to California!"

"What, now?"

"Yes! Now!"

You don't say no to California! So I started packing my bag. And I thought, "oh what the heck, I'll text that boy I like and ask him if he wants to come."

I texted, "Pack your bags, we're going to Disneyland. Now."

He thought I was joking. Then he said we were crazy. Then he showed up on our doorstep with his bag. And off we went!

We went to Disneyland the next day and it was one of the best days of my life. We rode all the fun rides and had a blast (personal favorite: Indiana Jones of course.) And, after Space Mountain made me feel a little queasy at the end of the day, the boy I liked suggested we go on "It's a Small World". Once we were in the tunnel listening to the obnoxious song, he put his arm around me for the first time. Boooooom baby! The night ended with fireworks.

After that, I married that boy. (Well, not RIGHT after.)

Best. trip. ever.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My road trip

Nancy here. I get to guest post. Woohoo! The power

Ok, guys, I know the slacking is happening, but I'm on this cute little road trip with my cute little choir, and I came to two realizations. The first is that for all the singing I've done in my life, I've never been on a choir tour before. You see, our high school choir was a mess I never wanted to reckon with and by the time I got very good in college I was practically graduating and couldn't get into the good choirs that tour. So here I am, 34 years old, and finally doing the road trip thing. Hotel rooms and meals paid for, riding on a but, finally getting to know the people I've been rehearsing with for so long, and singing in, well, basically its an arena. Its the college arena here, but its about the size of my high school's hockey rink. Big for a high school (especially one with only 700 students grades 7-12) but tiny for a college. Like I said, my high school was not someplace to be reckoned with.
My second realization is that I've never been this far south before. With the exception of an occasional layover in Texas or vegas, the
farthest south I've travelled is maybe San Francisco or Santaquin, or kansas? whichever is farther south. I've got the north half of the US covered, but my southern excursions are sorely limited.

But how can I complain, really, since I actually have been on the best road trip of all time. Let me tell you a little about it while I wait for these tech-y guys to hook up a giant organ.

See, I served my mission in Paris. The Paris. No Idaho jokes here. And after I got home, the salt lake olympics happened and my roommates and I discovered that a ticket to leave slc at the beginning of the 2 weeks and return at the end was really cheap. Like $300 to Paris cheap. And so armed with a few contacts and a good guide (me) :) we went to paris for 10 days and about $500 each. That's including hotel and food and souvenirs. We saw the opera at the famous phantom of the opera opera garnier for $3 a ticket, because I knew where to get student passes. And we went to the museums and saw degas and van gough and seraut and renoir for a few dollars because I knew how to get the universal pass for all the museums rarer than paying at each spot. We went to a late night movie and tried to figure it out in French and then we went to a crepe shop at 2 am and mingled with the cool people and we ate pastries and cheese and rode trains and caught pickpockets and yelled at drunk people and walked in parks and took our pictures in front of the Eiffel tower. Then when we came home and asked people what they did with the or time off from school they would tell us they slept for two weeks or volunteered to pick up trash after the opening ceremonies or something we just said "me? I went to Paris."

Totally the best road trip ever.

Until this summer, when I go on tour again, then the jury will be out. Maybe my cute little choir can top Paris.

But how about you? What was your best road trip ever? And what road trips do you still dream of? I know technically we did go on an airplane, I won't discriminate if you have to fly to your destination road trip. I just count it as a road trip if it is with friends, unplanned, and fly by the seat of your pants amazing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:St George!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ok, let's do it.

Okay some of youare out there, so let's begin! But here's the thing, I need you ladies to help me! I'm going to invite you to be authors on the blog and then you can just post your replies to the discussion topic. The only thing I ask is please put your name (or codename if you don't want your real name out there) in the title of the post. Like, if we were talking about pets I would write "Pets: Ally" or something like that as the title. Got it? Gracias.

If I haven't invited you to be an author yet, let me know by emailing me at and I'll invite you. Or, if you don't feel like waiting just comment on someone's post with your reply to the topic.

Ok so I've made Nancy an author on the blog and she's going to post the first discussion question for us. Take it away Nancy!
PS- Nancy I stole this off your facebook :)

Monday, January 17, 2011


Ok, I admit it, I got distracted by the whole "having a baby" thing.


Who wants to start this blog up again!? Me! Anyone else?

Anyone who wants to join me...I can make you an author on the blog. Then we can all post discussion questions and/or responses. If you're nice :)

PS: If no one says yes I guess I will just be talking to myself. Not quite as fun.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vacation Week: Ally

I can never decide on the ideal dream vacation.

In my mind, there are two choices.

Is it BEACH?

Or European?

If you had to pick one right now, which would it be?

I'm thinking if you have kids along, go beach. Let them run around and play, rather than dragging them through museums...(although I guess it depends on the age of the kids and if they can appreciate it.)

And if you just have one week in the summer for a vacation, go beach. It's more relaxing in my mind.

But if you have a good chunk of time, or if you are just with adults, go Europe. Soak in the culture, engage your mind a little. I said a beach is more relaxing, but Europe might be more stimulating. Am I wrong?

Maybe the key is to do a European beach. Portugal, anyone?

All this vacation talk is making me salivate.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vacation Week: Jessica

Both my husband and I grew up having our vacations be driving to Utah to see family. We never really did much else than that. Now, though, we are blessed(?) to have our both of our families live within an hour of us. So, we decided that our vacations would alternate. We’d do Utah one year, and someplace else the other year. The “someplace else” has been within 6 hours of our home. Yeah, we don’t go far. We have done amusement parks, water parks, and camping. The fun of it, for me, is not having a schedule to be stuck to, and exposing the kids to new and fun things. It hasn’t really mattered, so much, where we have gone, just as long as we’ve gone together and have fun. We want to wait until the kids are older to wander further and do more sight-seeing vacations. We want them to appreciate and remember the experiences more. The east coast is first on the list for those vacation.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Vacation Week: Emily

I agree! As soon as the sun peeks out on a regular schedule, my brain takes off. I find myself in my mental happy place all the time, clear until it snows again. Okay, so that might be June, considering that this is Idaho, but I get a couple good mental vacations in there.

I think my very most favorite vacation ever was Hawaii. Sounds cliche, but it's true. I went alone and met up with a friend after a week. A full week on my own in paradise. Really, what's not to love? I explored Honolulu and discovered that the city is different from the other big cities I've visited or lived in. The pace is nice and slow and no one ever made rude gestures or honked at me. Not saying it doesn't ever happen, but it didn't happen to ME. People were smiling, greeting strangers, and generally just loving life. I could do that permanently. Sadly, my wallet tells me differently. In a word, Hawaii is truly paradise. For those who haven't been, put it at the top of the 'places I must visit before I die' list. It's worth every last cent.

I'd also highly recommend Brazil. It's not a super common vacation destination, but wow. I lived there for several months back in 1996 and fell in love with the people, the food, and the culture. It's all worth it.

Another cliche, but Paris. Seriously people, you have to go. It's heaven on earth. I served my mission in Paris and would live there if I could. There's nothing like the little corner patisserie for fresh croissants and baguettes. (Do it in true French style and stick a baguette in your backpack and carry on.) There's nothing like walking down the Champs-Elysees and taking in the sights and sounds of Paris. There's nothing like spending hours in the Louvre and not ever seeing the same thing. Paris is it's own world. After you've given Paris the several months that it needs to really sink in, make your way out into the countryside. More heaven! You can't beat seeing a field of lavender through the train windows and then catching the aroma after you've passed. My dream for retirement is a country cottage in France.

My final must-see destination is Australia/New Zealand. I haven't been yet, but they're high on my list of places to go. Someday, I will get there!

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Topic: Vacation!

It's sunny, and so automatically my brain wants to believe it is summer. Don't try and tell me otherwise.

I remember being a kid, and once I started waking up to sunny mornings I knew it was almost time for school to be out for summer.

And the best part of summer is VACATION! So let's just pretend for a minute.

-What was your favorite vacation ever? (It doesn't have to be somewhere fancy and impressive. It CAN be, but it can also be somewhere random that you just loved.) Tell us the places we NEED to go before we die.

-Where would you love to go one day?

-Where is that place that you go to in your mind when you think of summer...or when you need to ignore your to-do list and go to your "happy place"?

Friday, March 5, 2010

House Week: For the dogs?

If you thought the dream playhouses were crazy, check these out.

They are DOG houses. Um, wow.

Found here .

I'm at a loss for words. Speak, girl, speak! Nope, nothing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

House Week: Emily

My dream house has undergone many "renovations" over the years, but I've finally come up with one that's been stable. I require four things: walk-in closets, a professional kitchen, a spa tub, and a library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and one of those cool ladder things that goes around the room.

I'm planning on decorating around a vintage French/Tuscan theme with Old World colors and accents throughout, with the exception of the master bedroom. That will be done in red, black, and silver, with mirrors opposite the windows to create an illusion of more space. I've already got my black and red bedding, so now I just need the room to go with it!

My kitchen absolutely has to be state of the art. We're talking Iron Chef America accoutrements. I want the cool gadgets, professional cookware, one of those handy water spigots over the stove, and the gorgeous Italian tile. I want a built-in bread box, antique-looking cabinets, and at least two ovens. I'd also love one of those great big refrigerators and a blast chiller. My kitchen would not be complete without the ice cream maker! The decor will be French cafe, with Fat Chef accents. I've also got one of those vinyl sayings for my wall, saying "Never Trust a Skinny Chef." True, isn't it?!

I want big bathrooms with separate tub/showers. You know those really fancy hotel showers in the high-end hotels? That's what I want. I've only seen one once, but it made a lasting impression. My tubs have to be huge. There's no negotiating on that one. Plus, I want a built-in fireplace in my bathroom that overlooks the tub. Definitely must have two sinks.

My library will have the aforementioned floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with the ladder. I have a ton of books, and a huge list of books that I want to own. I need a place to put them all, right?! This room will be cozy and inviting, with overstuffed recliners and Old World map accents.
I've been collecting pictures and samples of the things I want in my house so that I'm ready when the time comes!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

House Week: Jessica

I have two dream houses, one that is practical and sensible, and the other that is frilly and fun. I’ll share both.

For the practical one, I have a pretty specific floor plan in mind. I want a ranch/rambler. You need to be able to come in through the garage, into a mud room and then into the kitchen (no carrying groceries across the house). I want a kitchen that is big enough to function in, but not too big that it is a pain to clean. I want the fridge, stove and sink to make a triangle in the kitchen. I’ve lived in enough houses to know that the triangle is the most functional kitchen design. The kitchen/dining area should be attached to a living room. There should be a front entry that comes into the living room area, but it has to be set up so that you can’t see the kitchen from the entry way. (I’m just not that good of a housekeeper.) Then, there should be a hall with at least 3 bedrooms down it. There needs to be a bathroom that is accessible from this hall. The master needs a bathroom attached to it, but the one in the hall can be the same bathroom. The bathroom attached to the master should have two rooms, one with the sink and counter, and one with the toilet and tub. This allows more people to get ready at the same time.

Downstairs, I want a big family room, a food storage room, another storage room, and two other bedrooms, with a bathroom near them. The arrangement down here is not as specific.

I want a lot that is 4-5 acres, has two-three out buildings (one big enough to house a hoist, and the other to store farming equipment). It should have an established tree fence, a deck off the kitchen, an attached garage, and lots of good climbing trees. It should not be located on a highway, but I want it close to the school and town. To add to all this, my husband is a farmer, and I don’t want to be more than a few miles away from the main fields. We choose this profession so he could be around home more. I don’t want him to have to travel far to get to work. This leaves only a few houses (in rural areas, houses are few and far between). Most of these homes are two-story 100 year old farmhouses that are in the family and stay in the family.

Sounds impossible to get this house? Well, we just bought it, and it had exactly what we wanted. This list existed before we found this house; we were just lucky enough to find one that fit the list. It also had extensive damage due to a pipe burst, which meant we could afford it, too. Luckily, my husband has some good handy-man skills, so we are able to repair it. In a few weeks, we’ll be moving into this dream house.

But, let’s look at a little less sensible option. I would love a master bedroom with a waterfall in it. I want a walk in shower that is the size of a room. I want a huge, whirlpool tub in there, too. The master area would also have a small kitchen in it, so we can keep the food that we don’t want the kids eating there. Yes, that means a freezer stocked entirely with the best ice cream. I want a sewing room that has floor to ceiling shelving for fabric, and an organization system for that. Speaking of floor to ceiling, I want a Beauty and the Beast style library. I want to look up and see books, as far as anyone can see. Just for fun, I’ll put a secret staircase in there that goes up to our master suite. My husband wants to have a tiled kitchen that has a slight slant to the floor, and all the furniture on metal legs. Then, there would a high-powered water system on one end. With the push of a button, it sprays water and soap across the floor and mops the floor. He figures we’d have a scrubber to hit the bad spots, and then would run a rinse on it. Sounds good to me. For décor, I love fresh flowers. Fake ones bug me. So, I want a constant delivery of real flowers that match my décor. I’ll add some really good chocolates to that delivery, too, not that those have anything to do with the house, but I would love a constant delivery of fine chocolates. I like the frosty machine idea, too. That can go into our home entertainment room, which has a movie theater in it, and every fun arcade game ever made. I want a very fun hang-out spot for teenagers. I want to have the house that teenagers hang out at, so that I know what is going on my kids’ lives. My husband wants to include an indoor slide park in there, because that would be fun, too. Lastly, it has to have a music room, with a gorgeous grand piano and areas to keep every other instrument my kids may ever want to learn, and lots and lots of music books for them to learn from. I would say it needs an exercise room, but I’m not sure that I would actually use it.

I’m happy with the house we have, though, and I love it. I’ll save the second house for my mansion in heaven. That would be better, anyway, because I’m pretty sure a resurrected body can handle all the ice cream, fine chocolates, and frosties that it wants. Then, I can skip the exercise room, too. Do I have to do housework there?

Friday, February 26, 2010

House Week: Dream Playhouses (Ohhhh myyyy)

I found these DREAM HOUSES here:

I was just going to put up a few pictures but I couldn't decide. So here you go. Prepare to be amazed.

Keep in mind these are PLAYHOUSES...for CHILDREN! hahaha I love it.

What's that? You are worried about the condition of the houses INSIDE? Lest you think these children might be roughing it, here are a couple photos:

I love these so much...and I can't stop smiling. Oops, never mind, I just saw the price tag on these babies.

House Week: Some sites

If you want to jump start your home dreaming, check out a few good spots I've found for you:

Martha Stewart Home Tours- Here you can look at 23 Martha Stewart-approved dream homes, as well as peak inside Martha's houses. I love to snoop around.

or the HGTV Design Blog always makes for good reading.

Are you traditional, contemporary, modern, romantic, cottage, mid-century modern, urban? If you aren't really sure what your taste is, find your own design style here: HGTV Design Style
(I'm eclectic, if you were wondering...)

Want to see some home makeover before and afters? Go here or here. Or here (I'm a little obsessed with before and afters, as you might've gathered.)

Finally, if you want to get inspiration for how you'd love your home to look one day, nothing is better than catalogs or online stores...Are you a Pottery Barn girl? Or does Crate and Barrel float your boat? Or would you do you house in ALL Anthropology if you could?

Have a little fun dreaming about your ultimate home and how you would decorate it, okay? Promise me!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

House Week: Stefany

You'd think I would be pretty happy with my current housing situation. After all, we have 2500 finished square feet of house (plus 300 not finished), including four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a very large kitchen. That sounds like a nice amount, but there are nine of us living in it, and the bedrooms aren't laid out in a way that works very well for putting multiple bunk beds in them. As it doesn't have an office space for Aaron, and he really needs his own space to study and work, he uses one of the upstairs bedrooms. That leaves three bedrooms. Two boys live in one of them, and Katie gets one to herself (I just don't like babies sharing rooms, as it cuts down on my sleep, and after that, she'll get her own room forever anyway, as Aaron and I don't think girls and boys should share rooms, after a certain age). Aaron and I have the master bedroom, and that leaves four of the boys with the basement family room.

Unfortunately, that means that everyone makes their noise on the main floor of the house. The living room is a place of noise and chaos. The music room is right next to it, and open, and so more noise is produced as they practice the piano, drums, sax, trumpet, etc. The kitchen is open right off the other side of the living room, and so is exposed to all of the noise. When we want a quiet place to work on homework, I normally end up bringing a child to my bedroom to get away from distractions. It isn't ideal.

But, this isn't supposed to be about how much I dislike my house. This is supposed to be about my dream house. Ahh...let's think...yeah, that didn't take me long.

My ideal house has a sitting room in the front with enough room for a couple of couches, lounges, and two grand pianos (at least baby grand). Yes, the part about the two pianos is for my husband, more so than for me. I would be able to use the room for family home evenings, visiting teaching and home teaching visits, as well as piano lessons. Just opposite the sitting room would be an office for Aaron to work and study.

Beyond that room, there would be a kitchen that is hidden from initial view when entering the house. I don't require a dining room, but a large area just off the kitchen that would hold an enormous dining table would suffice. There would also be a living room that would be large enough for extended family to gather with us, as well as a small play room, just off the kitchen, where my kids could make a mess and not have it seen by any unexpected visitors. The pantry would have to be quite large, and I'd like my deep freezer to fit in it.

If my main floor was that large, I'd like the upstairs to have five bedrooms. The master suite would have two walk-in closets, one of which would be off the bathroom, and in the bathroom there would be a jetted tub that I can actually lay down in (my current jetted tub is not built for tall people). There would also be enough room for me to have a sewing table and a nook where I could put a desk. The boys' bedrooms would have Jack and Jill bathrooms. Katie's bedroom would have her own bathroom. They would all have walk-in closets. A little spoiled, I know, but this is a dream, right? The other nice part of my upstairs would be the laundry room. It would have plenty of space for folding and hanging clothes.

My basement would have a few nice features. First, it would have a workout room with mirrors and weights and treadmills and mats - you get the idea. It would have a family room with room for the pool table that Aaron dreams of, a music room, and a large storage area. The music room would have Aaron's dream keyboard, the drum set, shelves and racks for all of our other musical instruments, and plenty of chairs and music stands.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that I'll probably never have my dream house. In all likelihood, we'll still be in this house when the kids start moving out, and it will seem bigger to those of us who remain here. There are only 4 1/2 years left until they start leaving home, after all. But wouldn't it be nice if our dreams came true so they could all enjoy the space with us?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

House Week: My awesome sister

How perfect that we are talking about this subject the same week my sister's house gets on the news!

My sister Heather & her husband & little guy live in Des Moines, and their house is the first certified "green" house in the area! Watch the video to see how cool it is.

Check it out by clicking here.

The thing I love about their house is that it is so eco-friendly, but completely fabulous and stylish too. Looks like dream houses can come true!