Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Splendid Sunday

Sunday was a fantastic day! After a leisurely morning and then a great day at church, Trevor and I came home and prepared for our annual fall drive! This year, we drove around the Nebo Loop (last visited: two years ago!) that goes from Payson Canyon to Nephi. Overall, it took almost 3 hours from start to finish. Here are a few pictures from our drive, but I'll be honest - the best part was in the beginning and I didn't take pictures thinking it was only going to get better, but we missed taking pictures of the the prettiest part, so imagine these pictures times 5 and that's how pretty it was!Pretty overlook somewhere in the middle of our drive:
I wish the picture of this cow were better, but I took it through the window, so there's water spots obstructing my picture! But, there were cows right on the side of the road and they were all just so funny-looking so I had to take a picture:
Pretty yellows:
And reds:
And all mixed up, it's gorgeous!!! This picture is the closest I got to the BEAUTY that we saw on our drive! It really was just amazing:
And a cave in the rocks, that Trevor calls an "Indian cave"... okay sweetheart, whatever you say :)
These next two pictures are evidence of what happens to us when we spend too much time stuck in the car with each other... we kind of start to go crazy:

And then Trevor starts talking to his imaginary hand friend, because I guess I'm just not that entertaining anymore after 3 hours :)
After we got home, I went to work making our delicious dinner of creamy enchiladas. I swear these things would kill a lactose-intolerant person. There's 6 ounces of cream cheese in the inside filling as well as 2 cups of cheese and over a 1/2 cup of heavy cream on top! Absolute wonderfulness for me... death for people like my friend Chris Kyle, who's lactose-intolerant. MMMM! :) Here they are in the pan, fresh out of the oven:
They were especially delicious served with cold salsa poured oer top, to add a bit of a different flavor and texture:
We'll probably have this dish again sometime! It was a hit! And no allergies involved :) All in all, it was a fantastic Sunday full of good food, good church, and beautiful scenery!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Caramel Apple Date Night :)

So... Trevor and I absolutely ADORE fall!! And after I was inspired by Meghan's blog as she made caramel apples with her kids... and I was in the store and saw a bag of caramels with popsicle sticks for only $2 and apples on sale for 50cents per pound!!... I decided I wanted to try it too! So, we did on Saturday night as our date :)

Step 1: Melt caramel with a bit of water:
Step 2: Wash apples (don't forget those stickers!!) and push in the popsicle sticks:Step 3: Once caramel is sufficiently melted, dip apples, using a spoon to help coat up to the top:
Step 4: Put apples on wax paper that has also been buttered, for extra non-stick protection, and refrigerate for 1 hour:
Step 5: EAT!!!!!!!!! :)
Step 6: Keep eating! There's a lot of juicy goodness in there!
I loved making caramel apples and I'll probably do it again soon! They are sOoOo good and I can almost justify them as a healthy snack because it involves apples :)

Also, Trevor and I had a great day today (Sunday) and my enchiladas are ready to come out of the oven right... NOW! :) Posts to come!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Last Weekend: Football and Nut Allergies...

Last weekend was pretty educational. I learned some new things about how uNeXpEcTeD life can be.

On Saturday, Trevor and I got tickets to and attended BYU's first home game of the season.

Lesson #1- Just because BYU can beat a really good team away from home does NOT mean that they can beat a supposedly-easy team at home. Should have been a close out, but... We got S.M.A.S.H.E.D. Lesson learned. And by the 4th quarter, it was like having salt rubbed into our wounds as they let us score so we wouldn't feel so bad about losing by SOoOo much. But hey - we still looked cute, huh?:
Lesson #2- Having friends from your ward to keep you entertained as your team is getting killed makes losing a whole lot less miserable :) Meet the (L to R) Johnstons: Rachel and Darin... and the Lewises: Dixie and Patrick and little Elijah. :)
So then, on Sunday, I continued my tradition of picking a new, experimental recipe out of one of my recipe books or magazines and trying it out on my hubby. On Saturdays, I always go shopping for my ingredients so I can be a great chef on Sunday :) Which brings us to....

Lesson #3- When you're allergic to peanuts and you're in the grocery store reading ingredient labels and you see that the third ingredient in the pesto you're about to buy is cashews... and you're not sure if you're allergic to them or not, you should probably test it out before consuming. That's right. I thought to myself "ohhhh it's just a tablespoon in the whole dish! my body won't even know it's there!" ... and yes, I did have intentions of trying it out on my lips first before ingesting to see if they reacted ... and no, I didn't DO that because I was too busy cooking.
It looked so good (and it does look pretty, huh?), I just started to dig in :) YUM! My... 5 or so... bites were great. Until that hot, scary feeling on the back of your neck tells you that your mouth might be reacting a bit. Okay... time to stop eating. Darn. Like clockwork... within an hour or so, I had a stomachache that would make a grown man whine. :) I contemplated whether I should just allow myself to purge the food that was making me react... but I hate that so much, I decided to muscle through it. And... by the time I went to sleep that night, I was much better.
Fortunately, this time there was no full-body hives, no wheezing, no throat closing (just a teeny bit of swelling) and thankfully, no epi-pen usage or trip to the ER.

But now I know. Lesson learned. I'm allergic to cashews (either that or pine nuts... also the last ingredient in the pesto).

Next ExPeRiMeNt: I'm going to test out pesto with JUST pine nuts (yes.. on my LIPS, not in my STOMACH) to see if it's just cashews or if it's both! Dum dum dum...

Oh the woes of food allergies. But HEY! At least it's just some nuts. Nuts that I don't really like anyway. Nuts that they always list on food labels like: Contains: Peanuts!!!!!!!!!! AHHH! WATCH OUT!!! .. or at least that's how I read it. Ha ha ha....

But seriously. It could be worse. At least I'm not lactose intolerant. Or have Celiac's disease. Whew... I tell you. THAT would be rough. OR... an allergy to chocolate! AH. yes. I would die. Just die. If I couldn't eat chocolate. :)

So... I learned some good life lessons last weekend. So far, this weekend has been much better! I'll update you on tonight's "cheap date" activity in my next post! Hooray! Also... tomorrow for Sunday dinner we will be having creamy chicken enchiladas. VERY far from nuts :)

Good night! And happy Sunday~~

Monday, September 14, 2009

What's New with the Shipps?

I guess it's time for an "update" post since I don't have a lot of pictures but I do have enough to update! I realized as I was reading through my blog posts that I haven't spoken a word about the new jobs that I have! Yep. That's right! I am no longer an employee at the Buckle as of the beginning of August. It's sort of a bittersweet feeling. I loved the people I worked with, the customers I made friends with, and the clothes I got at an awesome discount!! But, I was feeling the need for something new, with a regular schedule, better pay, and somewhere I didn't have to stand on my feet for hours and hours, and where I'd be less tempted to spend money...

A few days after the cruise, I began responding to craigslist ads for receptionist positions... kind of just for fun... and kind of to see if I could really get a better paying job. Well, a few days later I was blessed to receive a phone call asking if I could come in for an interview. I was quite surprised, to be honest, and I went in for the interview about an hour later! The interview went so well, I knew I'd be getting the job. But I was torn - the pay was only mediocre. I wasn't sure if I was ready to leave Buckle.

So, the next day, I called to turn down the position. But I wasn't able to get through, and I decided not to leave a voicemail. Another blessing. Later that evening, I was called again and informed that a new position had just opened up that paid better. Quite a bit better. So, I thought it over for the weekend, prayed about it, and made an executive decision. I took the job!

The company where I now work is called Empower Group, USA. It's a real estate investment company, but it's got a unique business model. The company seeks out and purchases properties that are foreclosed and in not-so-amazing condition. These homes can be purchased for literally $5,000 or less. Then, we sell the properties for a bit more to people who are excited and willing to fix them up a bit and re-sell them for a lot more! Either that or these customers may try to flip the property right away and make a bit of a profit on it because they are able to get it so cheap from us.

I started out doing property research to figure out which homes we should buy. We try to avoid homes with a lot of back tax, because our company will pay for that before we sell it. It was pretty fun. A few weeks later, however, our customer service manager decided to move on with life and the position opened up. So, I'm now the Customer Service Manager as well as property researcher on the side. It's been quite an adventure so far, and I'm really enjoying everything I've learned and the people I've met!

My other job, which I started on the last day of July, is managing 6 apartment units in Provo. They are all 4-person single undergrad student housing. 4 girls units and 2 boys. It's been pretty fun so far, minus the hectic week during move-ins and move-outs!! I have learned a LOT about the good, the bad, and the ugly of owning and managing apartment units. I'm still trying to decide if it'd be something worth doing later in life.

So, now you know about my career adventures. I think it's ironic that I have two "real estate" jobs, of sorts, in this economy where the market for real estate is really bad. I'm hoping the things I am learning now will help me segway into perhaps becoming a realtor one day. It's something I've always wanted to do.

Okay... now for a couple more updates. These next three pictures are a continuation of my last post with our first tomato to ever turn red! A couple days after those photos were taken, we went out to check on the tomato and it fell right off into Trevor's hand when he touched it! We were SO excited. So, we went inside, washed it, and ate it:

It was soo tasty! And it tasted just like a real tomato! Okay okay... not that it WOULDN'T taste like a real one - it WAS a real one. I was just so excited and happy that we ACTUALLY grew a tomato from a seed! And got to eat it! Now, we have about 10 or so more big ones that are going to turn red any day now!! Also, our jalapenos are growing nice and strong! They are so cute when they're little. I am still amazed by this gardening stuff. I can't believe that these complex vegetables just appear from tiny little seeds! It seriously blows my mind and I am humbled by God's wisdom. I can only imagine how I'll feel one day when I have my first child!

Well, anyway, I'm almost done with my updates. Trevor and I finally got to go rafting down the Provo River on Saturday. I was actually shocked at how cold the water was, especially at the end of summer! Apparently the river stays cold during the summer and gets very COLLLLDDDD during the winter. Having grown up in the south where the rivers are warm in the summer, I kind of began to miss tubing down the lazy, warm North Carolina rivers where I grew up. I'll definitely have to go back one day.

But, despite the cold water, Trevor and I had a great time! I laughed when we first got started as I joked with Trevor that he was "stuck with me, on a raft, in the river, for an hour and a half, with no cell phone, and nowhere to run". It really was nice, though, to just be with each other for a while. This picture is an actual picture of the river, and this is pretty much exactly how it looked the other day when we floated down:
By the time it was over, we got pretty good at steering our inflatable two-man tube. Our casualties include 3 bushes, 1 shoreline, 1 very large rock, and 1 very ticked-off fisherman. We really didn't mean to hit him--but he was standing in the MIDDLE of the river!! And even though he knew and we knew we were going to collide, he still didn't move! So SMACK!! Right into him... and he was NOT happy. At all. I yelled "Sorry! It's really hard to steer!" and he mumbled some obscenities in our direction and by the end of it informed my husband that he'd like to "take it to the shore". HAHAHA. What? This 35 year old fisherman was going to beat up my 25 year old husband? Oh dear... we hit a lemon.

But what can you do but laugh? That's all we could do when we thought of the rest of the group of tubes that was coming soon behind us that would be sure to run right into him too. I guess it really just wasn't that guy's day. But that's what you get for trying to fish Provo River on a Saturday afternoon!

Ah well, it was quite a fun adventure. Our adventure for next weekend will be attending the BYU - Florida State football game!! Yes - we got tickets! It's a miracle :)

So, until then, Trevor will be going to classes and studying hard while I work work work at my new jobs! Please come soon, weekend!!