Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

So I know you can currently see this as the header of my blog, but I wanted to make a post about the Christmas card I had made this year! It turned out beautifully thanks to the help of my WONDERFUL sister-in-law Meghan. Yes, she took the pictures. Yes, she made the layout. Yes, she got them ordered and delivered asap. Yes, she IS amazing. Thanks for asking! :) Anyway, more to come about Christmas as the festivities begin, but until then, MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE SHIPPS!

(And hopefully it will be a White Christmas for you, as I'm hoping it is for me!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Finally! Seems like I was just a little bit behind on everything this year... shopping, sending, decorating, enjoying! :) But guess what! I got it done!! :)

I just wanted to share with you some of my Christmas decorations. They may not be big or fancy, but they fit my little apartment perfectly. And I love them!

Especially this nativity scene, which I think I've had since I was born. I'll have to get my Mom to tell me the story on it. For the longest time I always thought it was a Precious Moments set, but upon further inspection this year... I'm realizing that it might not be! And if it is, then it's an ancient/retro Precious Moments set that must have been made before they had the signature "Precious Moments" eyes... Regardless, I just LOVE this nativity:And my little snowman and Christmas tree countdown calendar that sits on top of my TV:
And a fun little doorknob hanger snowman jingle bell thingy. I got this last year from Trevor's grandparents, I believe:
And this I know I got from Trev's grandparents Kayle and Deanna... it's a fun little winter rug. Cute little penguins all wrapped up in hats and scarves:
Here's my typical Christmas tree shot. You might be able to see some of my Precious Moments ornaments. These are for SURE legitimate Precious Moments items. I guess my Mom made me into a collector (it started with my "Baby's First Christmas" ornament and I get a new one almost every year!), and I'm grateful. I think they are such sweet, darling little figurines! Anyway,this is honestly my favorite corner of the house this time of year. Sometimes I just turn off the lights and let the tree just glow. It's such a peaceful and yet exciting feeling to sit by the glow of the lights on the tree! One of life's little pleasures, I guess:
I just LOVE Christmastime, and most of all because the whole world seems to turn their thoughts to peace, love, happiness, and, most of all, Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift He gave all of us by laying down His life so that we might also overcome death and live again and have the opportunity to return to the presence of our Father in Heaven. No other gift given was greater than this gift that Christ gave so willingly to every man that would ever walk the earth. It's amazing that such a gift can be so universal, but so personal all at the same time.

I hope you take time to enjoy the true meaning of Christmas this year. Read the Christmas story in Luke. Listen to Christ-filled songs! Just enjoy every single minute of it and try not to get too caught up in the "busy" and the "buying" of this season.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Temple Square - November 27, 2010

On Friday November 27th, during the long Thanksgiving weekend while Mical and her family were in town, we all went up to Temple Square to see the lights. It was gorgeous, but it was also SO cold! Below is the whole crew less Meghan (taking the pictures) and Kelan, her youngest, who was sitting bundled up in the stroller next to her.For this next picture, everyone had been getting pictures of their families, so I asked if we could get one of our little "family": Me and Trevor .... :)
Like I said before, it was SO cold - almost too cold to enjoy our visit. Almost. It was still great. And the best part is that they were selling cups of hot chocolate to help warm us up! Good news! The hot chocolate worked... I felt much warmer after drinking it. That is, everything except my VERY cold/numb toesies. Poor little digits. I can still remember how much they hurt! :( But, at least that was the only really cold part of me, thanks to hot chocolate and awesome earmuffs: And, finally, a bit of family history for all of you... apparently this next picture is one of the first pictures the "original" Shipp family has taken (just them) and all together in a long time! From L to R: Mical, Meghan, Trevor, Jill, Troy, Russell, and Trent. Oddly enough, I just noticed all the "kids" are standing in order of age from Mical down to Trent! Such a good lookin' family I married into!! :) Hope you enjoyed these AWESOME pictures, courtesy of Meghan. Thanks Meg! Also, please forgive me for taking forever to post. More fun posts to come in the next few days and weeks!

And an early Merry Christmas!!! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Birthday Boy!!

Today is very special (and its not just because it's Black Friday). Yep. There's something even MORE important than shopping that happened today - and that's Trevor turning 26 years old!! Happy Birthday to my sweet husband!!!The best part, to me, about this picture is how you can genuinely see how much happier and better he is feeling now!! That's probably the best birthday present he could have been given. However, I did get him some other fun things like new light-colored jeans, socks, scarf & gloves, and a very yummy-looking ice cream cake (we have yet to try it)!

I am so grateful to have such a great husband (and good-looking too!) who is willing and able to not only provide for our family, but also to help out around the house and make sure I'm happy too. He's one of the biggest blessings in my life and I really do love him.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why Do I NEVER...

... have anything interesting to write about!?!?

Oh well. I guess for now you get to be entertained with recent life updates!

#1 - Trevor is feeling SO much better! After nearly 6 weeks of feeling AWFUL, we got him to a doctor again who prescribed prednisone (a steroid) to treat his UC flare-up. And guess what! They work soo well and he's so happy to feel back to normal. Of course, you can guess that missing over a month of school was not going to work, so he also discontinued from classes for the semester. Good news? We get at least 50% of his tuition back and have applied to get up to 85% back! Other good news? He'll continue classes next semester so Wymount is letting us stay where we live and not kicking us out! Whew! Talk about blessings :)

#2 - By the end of December, my entire department at work will be completely different. I recently had to let one person go (it just wasn't the right job for him), one is moving back to Arizona, and one is ready to move to a different department within the company. Sigh. It's stressful just thinking about finding, hiring, and training 3 new people in the next month. Wish me luck and pray for me!

#3 - Still LOVING Netflix! I think I'm on disc 6 of season 1 of Charmed. I just LOVE that movies show up in my mailbox. Also love the instant movies! Ahhh, definitely one of the best decisions I've made in a while.

#4 - Getting ready for the Christmas program at church. It's coming up in less than 3 weeks now. I'm trying not to panic. ;) I'm sure it will all turn out fine, right? RIGHT?

#5 - Got some more NEW BOOTS! Cute, huh? Very similar to the gray ones that I love, minus the wedge heel. That's my very favorite part of cold weather - the excuse to wear boots and other cute sweaters and such!

#6 - Finally picked up my yoga training certificate. Haha. Yes, yes, I know - I finished the training in March. For some reason I kept thinking they would mail it to me and finally figured out I had to go in and grab it. Good news? They still had it! I took it home and framed it! It all feels very legitimate and complete now. I'm still up to teach you some yoga if you're interested!

#7 - Just REALLY REALLY excited for Thanksgiving and the fact that this week is a 3-day work week! Woo hoo! Ready to spend time with family and eat some goooood food!

Peace out for now! And comment, please! Because I don't even know if anyone even reads my scarcely-used blog anymore! :(

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Quote of the Day

Well, really, this has kind of been more like my quote of the week/month/year. It is exactly what I need to remember on a daily basis as I travel through a particularly tough time in my life:

"Patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can--working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed.

Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!"

- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I hope this week, as you find you must exercise patience in your life, that you will remember this new and improved definition of patience. Don't just sit there and wait for it to end - get up and DO something!

Good night!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! 2010

Well... it seems that Halloween 2010 turned out much more fun than I thought it would! :) Since Trevor has been sick all month, we really didn't make any plans and so I didn't expect anything special out of Halloween this year. But - surprisingly - I made lots of good memories!

The first memory begins at work, where we had a little Halloween party on Friday where we all had the option of dressing up. The next couple pictures are some of the people I work with, all in our costumes.From L to R we have: Elias, the Indian; Sally as Luna Lovegood, Anna as the P23 Client Relations Witch; Me as the "Queen Bee"; Alyssa as another saucy Witch; and Rosie as Octomom, expecting her ninth child. :) In the second picture, Ben decided to join in. He was a Police Officer, but you can't see his costume because he's hiding.
Elias, Sally, Anna, and Me make up the Client Relations department that I manage. We have fun pretty much all the time :)

On Saturday, most folks in Utah went trick-or-treating. So, I decided to decorate our door for the potential passers-by. We left candy out because I was going down to my sister-in-law Meghan's house for the evening while Trevor laid low at home, and I knew he wouldn't want to keep getting up to pass out candy.
Please note the un-carved pumpkins. We sort of ran out of time/energy to carve the pumpkins, so I quickly drew a face on one of them before I left. Haha :)
Then, for the rest of the night, I got to spend time down at Meghan's house. I got to walk around the block trick-or-treating with her kids and my in-laws. It was so much fun except for the -19238 degree temperatures outside. Well, ok, so it wasn't THAT cold, but a storm blew through right before the night began, leaving everything wet, sleet-y, and verrry cold. Especially with the winds blowing out of Springville Canyon. Regardless, I had fun and I know the kids did too.

Please excuse the VERY poor quality picture of the kids grabbing their candy. I figure an awful picture is better than none? I was too far away to get a good picture with or without a flash, so I had to use a photo-edit program to make it brighter and that, of course, makes the pictures very grainy. But anyway, I hope it's worth something to someone :)
After trick-or-treating, I got to eat some pizza, lots of candy, and we all had a fun time visiting with each other. To see my ADORABLE niece and nephews, feel free to visit Meghan's blog HERE.

Trevor's been begging me to watch a scary movie with him for years. I always chicken out because I HATE scary movies. So, this year, I told him I'd watch one I've already seen before, namely "What Lies Beneath". Well, I went to blockbuster to grab it a couple nights ago and the last copy had been rented right before I got there! Oops! :) I guess I lucked out. But then, Trevor and I decided just to give in and purchase Netflix when we realized we could stream the movies on our Wii console. So, we are now proud owners of some of the newest technology and I am SO excited. I'm waiting for Disc 1 of Season 1 of Charmed to arrive in the mail any day! Eek! I love that show :)
But anyway, on with the story - so we purchased Netflix and we decided to watch "The Sixth Sense" because What Lies Beneath was a mail-order only instead of instant movie. Needless to say, it was scary enough for me, and hopefully Trevor will be satisfied.... that is, until Halloween NEXT year!

Hope yours was fun as well! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

I Learn New Things Every Day

I learned something new late last night! Apparently, 1/2 a cup of baking soda mixed with 1/2 a cup of vinegar and then about 6 hours of soaking and a hot-water flush cleans out pretty stubborn, nasty drain clogs :)

Still going to get some Drain-O today, but thank heavens for household remedies and the power of SCIENCE! :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Peach Freezer Jam!

Well, it's General Conference weekend and, I don't know about you, but I sure need things to do to keep my hands busy while I listen to the wonderful words and messages of our Prophet and his apostles. (Click here to find out more about or to watch General Conference and here to find out more about the LDS church). Over time, I've learned that my brain functions better when my hands have something "mindless" to do. So, what's a Mormon girl to do while conference is in session? Make peach freezer jam, of course!!

This is the second time I've made freezer jam. See the strawberry jam I made back in May. Trevor and I went through the 2 1/2 jars of jam in the matter of 5 months and so this time I decided to get ambitious and do a double batch of peach jam.It all began on Thursday when I was driving home from work and I spotted a local farmer's market being held in the BYU football stadium parking lot. I went home, grabbed my friend Charisse, and we went to take a look. Well, I ended up getting 4 lbs of delicious peaches for only $4! And those 4 lbs were exactly enough to make a double batch of freezer jam!

So today, while listening to the Lord's servants speak about faith, agency, love, and patience in trials, I spent 2 full hours making the peach jam you see above! 14 peaches, 1 lemon, 2 boxes of pectin, and 9 cups of sugar later, I've got jam to last us all next year! :) I love that making jam is really not that hard and it's only mildly labor-intensive. The hardest part, I think, was preparing the peaches: washing, peeling, pitting, dicing. Everything else after that is a breeze.

Anyway, it's too bad the internet isn't scratch-n-sniff or even scratch-n-taste because this jam is going to be DELICIOUS tomorrow evening at 5pm once it's had time to set for 24 hours.

Yum yum! I LOVE fall! :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wake Me Up...

...when September ends!

I just had to get one more quick blog post in before September was gone. I can't believe how quickly time is flying! Just week after week of work. I guess that's just how life goes sometimes ;)

But, just for fun, here is a potpourri of pictures from the last little while:

This picture should be added to my post about seeing Chris Carrabba perform at Thanksgiving Point. But, if I put it there, none of you would ever have seen it... and my friend Miriam and I look so darling that I feel it's worth showcasing:
At the BYU football game against Nevada last Saturday (we lost). Please pardon my awful squinty face as it was very hot and bright where we were sitting:
These next pictures are ones I took when Trevor and I went on our annual fall drive up the canyon two weekends ago. Most of these pictures are taken up where Sundance Ski Resort resides. Please enjoy the pictures in all of their slightly-enhanced beauty ;)

Anyway, HAPPY AUTUMN! And, welcome, October. We are ready for you and all your Halloween-y glory! ;)

Monday, September 20, 2010

True Love

Oh it sure is wonderful.

Danny & Annie from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

It sure makes you reflect on your own life and what's important, huh? I definitely shed a few tears over this one, especially because of Trevor's life-long disease. Although not terminal, I can still relate. "Sweetie, please drink more water!" :) I hope one day we will find ourselves where these two find themselves.

Love is so beautiful.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Timp Caves, Etc.

So, great news! Trevor and I recently purchased a new desktop computer, which is going to make it a whole lot easier to blog! Now I just need to take pictures more often and have interesting things to blog about! Haha! :P

Here's a recap of last weekend, when my awesome Aunt Kelly and Uncle Jim came to visit on Saturday! We spent most of the day hiking up to the Timpanogos Caves. You may recall my previous post from last July when Trevor and I hiked up to the caves but it was too late in the day to actually do a tour. Well, I was more than excited this year when we made plans early enough to be able to go through the caves. Here are a picture of Kelly and Jim during the hike up to the caves. This is looking down the valley back toward Alpine, UT.
The inside of the caves was SO cool! Right now, this is the only picture I have of the caves (courtesy of my Aunt Kelly):
They called that first formation the chocolate waterfall fountain or something like that. It kind of does look like falling chocolate huh? Something like you might find in Willy Wonka's factory! This second picture is of a stalactite called the Heart of Timpanogos Cave. It literally weighs more than 2 tons. And it looks a lot bigger than this in real life:There were SO many cool formations! Trevor was working that day, so I'll have to make it a point to take him back there one day soon! :)

After the caves, we stopped by DI (my aunt and uncle are big fans of thrift shops, and DI is HUGE so we had to go) and they made some very thrifty purchases! :)

That night, Trevor joined us and we had dinner at Lamb's Grill Cafe - the oldest restaurant in Salt Lake City! It was pretty darn tasty! We took a late stroll around temple square and finally stopped for desert at another recommended local restaurant.

Overall it was a GREAT day and I hope we didn't wear my relatives out! :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Ad-lib Acoustic Adventure

Last Saturday night, an evil headache sneaked up on Trevor just a couple hours before we were supposed to leave to go to my company's summer party. He's never had a headache like that before. At first, I was bummed, but then I decided to make the best of it. I let him nap and then made him dinner (and yes, cooking dinner is a special occasion for us!).

At about 7:15pm I got a call from my friend Miriam who lives in my apartment complex and she wanted to know if I wanted to go to an acoustic concert at Thanksgiving Point where Chris Carrabba (lead singer of Dashboard Confessional) would be performing.

Could I pass up the opportunity? Uhm... NO! :) So, off we went, last minute, to enjoy some music I've loved since I was in high school! Please enjoy the pictures and videos:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trip to NC - Part 2: Family & Friends

Warning: LONG post! But it's a good one! So read it if you have time :D

Sorry it took SO long to get to Part 2 of my vacation! I guess it's only appropriate to have this post done now, as it's been a month ago today (the 23rd) that we left for NC! This post will include some of the other fun activities we did outside of going to the beach!! :)

After the beach, we got back to my parents' house only to have visitors in town from my Dad's side, including my grandparents, my Dad's two brothers and their families (minus my cousin Morgan). So, in typical Southern fashion, we HAD to cook a pork butt and make cole slaw. Here are Aunt Kim, (Trevor), Granddaddy, and Uncle Todd working on the cole slaw:
You've gotta taste test, you know!
In the meantime, poor Trevor was fighting off a flare-up of his Ulcerative Colitis, so he did a lot of veggie juicing in hopes that he could feel somewhat better. Notice the nice deep green color of juiced spinach:Uncle Todd and Trevor, waiting to eat:
Later, after dinner and other various dessert fiascoes (see below), we wrote cards to my brother Mike on a mission:
And took another photo for Mike too, with the infamous yellow signs!
So, I've got to tell a little bit of our dessert fiasco story. So, my Granddaddy Frank has diabetes, and because of this we always make this delicious sugar-free banana pudding for him as dessert. This year, my Mom and Dad made it, and we were so excited to break into it after dinner. After a few bites and a couple of comments about how good it was, my Mom finally took a bite and realized something was wrong. Very, very wrong. I had tasted it too, but just wondered if it was me, or what. Something tasted... well... off. Plasticky, perhaps? Sour? Bitter? After a bit of speculation and a group consensus that "Yea, we thought it tasted funny", we realized it was the MILK that we had added to the dessert. Although it was the day before the expiration date on the carton, it had gone sour!

So, following the lead of my Nana who tends to get her way with issues like this, eight of us (ranging from age 70+ to age 8) marched our little behinds into Harris Teeter to speak with someone about the banana pudding that was ruined by their milk! And yes, we DID take the rancid dessert with us, just in case they wanted to taste. :)

After a short discussion with the manager (who so boldly asked us why we didn't SMELL the milk before pouring it into our dessert - whaat!?!?), we walked out of there victorious! Not only with a new carton of milk, but ALL of the groceries it took to create a brand new, delicious pudding. Hence our victory photo:
Thanks, Harris Teeter, for treating us like important customers! :) That night, we went home and created - and ATE - a very very delicious banana pudding!

The next morning, Sunday, we got to take a picture with Granddaddy (who wasn't in the picture from the night before due to his insanely early bedtime of 8:30pm):
Sunday night, after all the family had gone, I invited some friends over from high school for dinner. Afterward, we partook in MORE of the good banana pudding and then played Corn Hole, a very fun, social party game.

Basically, the idea is to get the bean bag sacks into the hole of the board (3 pts), or to land it on top of the board (1 pt). However, if you get one in the hole and your opponent does as well, they cancel each other out! Same with two on top of the board! So, it's more than just accuracy - it's strategy too!

So, enjoy some pictures of our Corn Hole tournament! Here are Katie and Blaire (pardon the blurry picture!):
And Catherine and Alaa:
Here's Trevor - definitely MVP of Corn Hole (and my teammate, I might add!!):
Focus Mom! :) We were playing against each other - tough competition!
A closer look at what the board might look like in any given round:
And here's a great shot of me with my friends. From L to R: Katie, Trevor, Blaire, Alaa, Me, and Catherine. It was seriously a fun night and I'm glad I got to see them again! :)
Okay, so I'm sorry for the longest post EVER, but just a few more pictures of us boating later that week. Trevor had gotten sicker, so he stayed back to rest up, but we sure did have fun! :)
Me waterskiing (I got up on my first try even though it's been 2+ years since doing this!!):
And me kneeboarding - my FAVORITE! (Ignore the awful nerdy goggles. Please and thank you!):

My Mom also got up on the kneeboard in just two tries!! It's not an easy task, so give her LOTS of kudos!! :) Skimming the water with her fingers like a pro:
And she's also a pro water skiier:
My dad was on the boat with us too, and he's the awesome, amazing boat driver that made all of this waterskiing and kneeboarding magic happen! Thanks Daddy!

Overall, it was a much-needed, fantastic vacation! It was hard to come back to real life, but also nice in it's own right. Now summer's getting close to ending, but hopefully we'll have some good fall memories to come!!