home for the weekend

Sorry for the blogging lapse. Things have been a little hectic. Gabe's grandmother, Mae Mae, passed away Tuesday morning. She was 90. We feel very fortunate that we were able to spend an afternoon with her before we left for Utah. We are heading home today for the funeral. She was a wonderful lady and will be missed greatly.
In Celebration of a life well lived

Idamae C. LaVoie 90, of Eustis, passed away on June 28, 2011. She was born in Ashkum, Illinois and moved to Eustis in 1999 from DeBary. She was a retired private school teacher and a member, Lector and Eucharistic Minister at St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church of Eustis, she also volunteered with the bereavement ministry at her church. She is survived by three children; Rebecca (Chet)  of Orlando, Gary (Michele)  of Orlando and Irene (Bob) of Eustis, 15 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. The family will receive friends in the Hamlin & Hilbish Chapel on Thursday, June 30th from 5 until 7 PM, Wake Services will be held at 6:30 PM. Mass of the Resurrection will be held in St. Mary of the Lakes Catholic Church of Eustis at 1 PM Friday, a reception for friends and family will follow in the Parish Hall. Committal services will follow at 3:45 PM in Woodlawn Memorial Park, Gotha, Florida. Those desiring may direct memorials to Cornerstone Hospice or the Lake Sumter Community College Foundation Nursing Scholarship in memory of Mrs. LaVoie.



Hope you all have a great weekend!



This past week we were able to catch up with some friends in the area and also within driving distance. On Wednesday I drove to Ogden to have lunch with my friend, Jan. We worked together at MDA in Houston and she was visiting her sister in SLC. We met halfway and had lunch at a cute outdoor mall right next to the Ogden temple.

Isn't this barn neat? I think it's pretty iconic in the valley and I was able to capture it during my travels that day. I may or may not have been driving when I aimlessly took it, so I was shocked that it came out decent. I feel like it would be appropriate for me to go back and stand in front of it with a big gulp and have Gabe take my picture.


Saturday night we drove to Provo to visit with our friends, the Larson's. They are family friends that Gabe has known since he was young. Gabe and Gary had a little jam session one night in their basement and I got some pics.


We had a great weekend. I posted this just in time for the next one. Love to you all!


Logan Summerfest





Last week Logan held their annual summerfest. I went all three days. They had great vendors and even yummier food, though I deeply regretted that funnel cake later.

Here were some of my favorite vendors...
Tess necklace with blue quartz, amazonite, new jade, aragonite, red adventurine and leather
(Image via her etsy shop)

All-a-Twitter Blue Birdies
(Image via etsy site)

Very cute stuff!!!


good reads

Bossypants, Tina Fey, Hardcover

Absoluttely hysterical!!!!!!!!!! The chapters about growing up and about her Dad are priceless!

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen, Paperback

I have to be honest I liked the movie better, perhaps because that was my first experience with this story. It really is magical! The book is much more "adult" than the movie, which surprised me, I would have thought it would be the other way around. Other than that, I loved it.  

The Help, Kathryn Stockett, Paperback
Go and by this book right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven't even finished it yet and I already love it so much. The movie comes out in August, so you still have time.

Atonement, Ian McEwan, Paperback
I just finished this book a few days ago. I had mixed feelings after I read it but, I'm still thinking about it, so I believe it was worth it.  The main draw for me were beautifully written passages about being a nurse in a WWII hospital. You see one of the characters go from being a terrified student to a very brave nurse that could not imagine a life without such "elation" from helping people. I will say from personal experience there is nothing like it.

Do you have any good book recommendations?



defensive driving

Yesterday as we were driving home, myself in the passenger seat I made Gabe aware of someone walking towards the intersection we were driving through. "Better watch out to make sure they stop." Obvious I know, but I always do things like this. He then made the joke that I needed to write a book on defensive driving to include, but not limited to the following points...

  • Always be aware of more than is necessary, such as a cat that is 5 blocks down or a strolling pedestrian two streets over (make sure to yell loudly your observations especially if you're not driving, who knows if the driver is a defensive driver like you-don't trust anyone especially not your husband).
  • Always keep hands white knuckled on the steering wheel at ten and two (long straws come in handy here for those with Diet Coke addictions)
  • If possible keep one foot on the brake at all times and when applying the brake apply as quickly as possible causing the car to jerk forward and causing the passenger to suddenly wonder if his/her life is over.
  • Speaking of braking, brake for everything, roadkill a street over, music on your radio that sounds like an ambulance but you're not quite sure if it's coming from the radio, helicopters overhead, cars a couple hundred yards in front of you on the interstate that happen to change lanes or tap their breaks (they might happen to be defensive driving friends and allies just practicing their braking but to you at that moment they are the enemy and their blinking brake lights are like morse code signaling a possible attack on your SUV).
  • ALWAYS stop for gas.  You can't trust your gas gauge or gas light.  Are you crazy?  They might be malfunctioning and you could get stranded and eaten by bears in the middle of Utah or even worse get stuck in the middle of Pine Hills.
These are just a few tips from what is sure to be a best selling Defensive Driving Model which I am entitling "Honk, Honk, Brake, Brake, AHHH!" dedicated to my husband.  You'll have to purchase the book for more important tips.  Drive safe and overly defensive!!!

**Portions of post brought to you by the opera singer


get a load of this

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

We were in awe! I was ready to get in the car until I looked at the lift ticket prices!



Hi friends and family! Hope you had a wonderful and relaxing weekend. Here are a few pics from ours!

For dinner on Friday night I tried a new recipe that ended up being a big hit, even though some people were not as excited as I was when I explained what we were having.

We had grilled chicken with the salad, but it can be eaten as a vegetarian main dish. Yummy!

Gabe usually has evening rehearsals so he left that night after dinner. He called me on the way home to tell me he spotted a huge rainbow. Huge was right, I was able to capture it in our backyard too.

I loved Gabe's point of view with the rainbow behind the Logan temple.

The next day Gabe was at it again, singing his heart out. I visited him a little bit then went to the rec center. They have a nice gym there and it is super convenient, since it's a block from the opera offices. Here are some pretty flowers I found on the walk there.

With all the cooking I've been doing I was feeling pretty brave and decided I would make my first ever meatloaf that night. I did my research and kind of came up with my own little concoction based on two recipes. Did you know that it is actually better to cook meatloaf on a baking dish instead of a loaf pan? In fact all the recipes I looked at on line suggested that it would cook better that way.

I mainly looked at this recipe on our best bites but I didn't wrap the loaf in bacon. The glaze was awesome, though. I don't eat a lof of red meat, case i  point why I've never made meat loaf so I basically said a prayer every 15 seconds.

...but it was not so gross. I even ate it which is HUGE!!! So, basically you should try it if you like meatloaf. :)

Does that look appetizing? Even now I'm not sure...

Two new recipes in two days. Basically my husband almost passed out. Then he woke up from dream land and gave me lots of kisses.

On Sunday we traveled to Ogden. Gabe was invited to sing in a ward there. On the way back home we drove through Brigham City and saw the construction of a new temple.




More magnificent mountains.

Love to you all!


something new

After my trip to Purl Soho in NY I became inspired. When I went to a thirft store here and found two knitting needles for 30 cents, I knew it was meant to be. Conincidentally, I found out that the blog Craft Snob was featuring a knitting 101 series with videos and I have been practicing.

This was my first try at a knit stitch and then the whole thing fell apart. It's tricky to coordinate the needles, but I am doing much better than I was a week ago. I wasn't able to bring my sewing machine to Utah since we flew, so this might be the next best thing. I can work on this while watching TV or waiting for Gabe during a rehearsal. I finished this much last night when I gave it another go...

Our host, Ron, and his daughters gave me a whole box of knitting needles and crochet hooks after they found out I was learning. It was so gracious of them.

Keep your knitting needles crossed for me friends. We'll see what happens.


all about food

Some firsts for the Florida kids:

1) Gabe and I were introduced to Cherry Ironport at a restaurant called The Bluebird Cafe located on Main St. in Logan. Mr. Ballam took us there for lunch a few days ago and insisted that we try this beverage. I think the best way to describe it would be really, really sweet cherry coke. It's a soda only sold in this part of the country and it was definitely worth a try. My lips puckered at first, but we got used to it quickly. Pretty yummy. The Bluebird is an old fashioned soda fountain and cafe. It was adorable inside and the food was great. I'll have to take more pics the next time we go. I didn't want to be like paparazzi in front of Gabe's boss, whom was probably approached by at least half the restaurant while we were there. Also, the peanut butter ice cream pie...ridiculous.

2) Cafe Rio!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been hearing about this place for several years from friends and blogs and I could not wait to try it. I had the Cafe Rio salad which did not disappoint. I dove right in and almost forgot to take a picture. It's a flour tortilla with rice and beans and a yummy salad on top with amazing tomatilla ranch dressing. We tried their burritos today but I still think the salad is my favorite! Please excuse the phone camera picture quality.

 3) Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake. You should make this. I found the recipe via my friend  Amanda's pinterest and I'm so glad I made it. The original recipe is for a four layer cake. Two layers of red velvet and two layers of white cake, alternating. After making all four layers I decided it would fall over if I personally stacked it that high so I made the executive decision to make two cakes each with one layer of red velvet and one layer of white. We had a get together with our host's family so it was a good thing it made a lot :). It' super simple-  box cake mix, cool whip, and strawberries. That's it.

I recently set up a pinterest account and I'm so glad I did. It's a great way to catalog ideas and projects and I probably would never have found this great cake recipe. Here is my pinterest if you want to take a peek. I don't have much on their yet, but I'm sure I'll collect more over time. Does anyone else have pinterest? Let me know so I can follow you :)


Meet Joe

He's our tiny friend. We live in his house.

He likes to wake us up in the morning then fall back asleep with us.

He also likes to give kisses but his tongue is so small you can barely tell.

We really, really wuv him.

(excuse the bum shot, it was too cute)


canyon hike

A couple days ago we headed out on our first ever hike. We headed up green canyon again since it's close by. We took the trails into the canyon and found a cave. Climbing up to it felt like a huge victory!

Then, we decided it might be fun to go up even further. I really had no fear and just kept climbing. I got up on top of the cave.

(my view)
 It was steep, with slick rock and lots of pebbles. So after I made Gabe a little panicked I headed back down which turned out to be a bit more scary than climbing up.

I felt awesome after we got down. Gabe had a battle wound so he was not as excited. We went up further in the canyon and found some beautiful mountain bike trails and camping sites.


All these pictures were taken on our phones. I was a bit nervous to bring the camera not knowing what to expect, but I know for sure I'll have to go back at least to capture the sunset. It was brilliant as we were walking back. It is so beautiful here. I was so grateful for the journey we have been on this year. We left Houston last year about this time. Even though it's crazy and we live out of our suitcases, walks like this up a mountainside help me realize how much there is yet to explore.
I know God has a great path for us lying ahead.


New York (Part III)

The last day we were in New York we visited our friend, Christina. She took us to the most amazing place for brunch called Max Brenners. He is a chef that specializes in chocolate. Need I say more!

Even though it was 10:30 in the morning, we all felt the need to try some dessert. Gabe solved that for us, he ordered a chocolate sampler! It had everything- brownies, fondue, dark chocolate shot, chocolate egg roll, and a chocolate chip waffle. Sounds a little strange at first, but it was genius. I ordered a spinach crepe and Christina ordered blueberry pancakes with blood orange syrup. I have to say it was one of the best meals of my life. Not only was the chocolate good, that crepe came straight from heaven as far as I'm concerned. I'm pretty sure this place will have to become a repeat every time I go to NY.


Not too far from the restaurant we ventured to a store I had been reading about called Fish's Eddy. It was a charming home store with all kinds of fun antique items and interesting pieces.

They had this really cute "cheer up" line and these porcelain hands are made from rubber glove molds. I bought a miniature one to hold my rings. I was collecting ideas for a future house someday.

Isn't this fun art work? We found it in the subway on our way to the airport. Makes the subway a little more inviting I think. :)

We are so happy we were able to make the trip to NY. The first few days we were there we stayed in CT with our friends Brenda and Braden, so it was fun to see the calm side of life not too far from the city. Then Christina let us stay at her place in the Bronx too so we got to see all kinds of places. Thanks so much to our friends for letting us stay. We had an amazing time!