Monday, April 25, 2011

Hello Spring!!!

So excited for Spring!  We have spent a couple of weekends now working in the yard - trimming, weeding, planting, and getting water features up and running again!  There is nothing that gets me going quite like the hope of warmer weather, dirt under the fingernails and watching things grow!  Many of you know that last year we finally got the retaining done, new sod, and tons of new planting areas ready.  We were too late for a garden, but we got the boxes ready...and I am so looking forward to getting my veggies planted.  I am including a few pics from my yard in early spring.

Sign on the garage side door.

Front water feature leading up to the front door

New yard art found over the weekend - in the front flower bed

Blossoms on the weeping cherry tree 

Water feature on the west side of the house

Back yard with the weeping rock and antique school bell

New hand-crafted bird house along the back fence

Close up of the weeping rock

New bird house on east side of home with our chimney pot water feature

Things should look better with time - it is still early, but I love being out in the yard already!  I will post more pics in June or so.  

This past month has been a great one for referrals and homes under contract - hope to see the trend continue!  Still such a great time to buy - with home prices low and interest rates still good.  The interest rates are increasing (all be it slowly) so if you are thinking of buying, better do it now!

Enjoyed a great Easter dinner with my family.  We usually get together about once a month, but it has been several and it was fun to visit!  Food was also amazing!  Good food and wonderful family-doesn't get much better than that, does it?!

Thanks for checking in !

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dave's Lettuce Wraps

lettuce leaves, washed and removed from head, but left whole (we like romaine best)
2 T soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
1 c mushrooms, minced
1-8 oz can bamboo shoots, minced
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced small
1/2 cup green onions, minced
1 8 oz can water chestnuts, minced

Cook chicken in wok, remove and mince.  Mince bamboo shoots and water chestnuts along with green onion if desired.  Put chicken, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and onion in wok with hot oil and stir fry.  Add soy/brown sugar mixture (can increase sauce if desired).  Stir fry until warmed through.  Top with Srirachan Hot Chili Sauce (we call it Rooster sauce as it has a picture of a rooster on the front - can be found in the Asian section of most grocery stores).  Super yummy!!!!  

PS - Getting a recipe out of my husband is torture!!!!  :))

Swedish Raspberry Almond Bars

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
3 egg whites
6 T sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds, divided
Additional powdered sugar

 In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  Gradually add flour and mix well.  Press onto the bottom of a greased 9X13” pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Spread jam over crust.  In a large bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in sugar 1 T at a time, on high until stiff peaks form.  Fold in coconut and 1/2 cup almonds.  Spread over jam.  Sprinkle with remaining almonds.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.  Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar if desired.  Yummy!!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Toasted Coconut Coffee Cake

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 T cinnamon
6 T butter, melted
Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Make the batter:
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat above ingredients until mixture is thick and a pale yellow color -- about 2 minutes.  Mix in 3/4 cup softened butter and 1/2 cup sour cream.  Add 1 3/4 cup flour and 1 tsp baking powder.  

Pour batter into a buttered 9" springform pan and top with coconut topping.  Bake at 325 degrees for 55 to 60 minutes.  Cool.  Release the cake from the pan and serve warm.  Delish!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Newest Card

In my "free-time" I love to make cards. This is my latest creation. I usually do about 12-24 cards at a time so I have them on hand to use for clients, family, and friends. I don't consider myself a great "carder" but LOVE to do something that is creative and useful! This whole crazy thing started when one of my clients (who I have become very good friends with) started teaching classes in Lehi. It quickly became an obsession! Lesli is ultra-creative, super fun, and just a down-to-earth amazing woman! Her husband Steve gets involved preparing dinner for all the women who attend class. $20 for a Girls Night Out gets you 5 cards, dinner and awesome conversation with other women who share your same interests! This card is my "copy" of a similar card in a magazine, but I always come home from her class and mass produce 2 or 3 of her cards. I seem to learn a new technique every time I attend! Figured I would post my cards from here on out - who knows, maybe it will spark your own inner-creative-woman skills! If you want to know more about Lesli's classes - let me know! Have a great day!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Father's Eyes

Bob Richards, the former pole-vault champion, shares a moving story about a skinny young boy who loved football with all his heart. Practice after practice, he eagerly gave everything he had. But being half the size of the other boys, he got absolutely nowhere. At all the games, this hopeful athlete sat on the bench and hardly ever played.

This teenager lived alone with his father, and the two of them had a very special relationship. Even though the son was always on the bench, his father was always in the stands cheering. He never missed a game.

This young man was still the smallest of the class when he entered high school. But his father continued to encourage him but also made it very clear that he did not have to play football if he didn't want to.

But the young man loved football and decided to hang in there He was determined to try his best at every practice, and perhaps he'd get to play when he became a senior. All through high school he never missed a practice nor a game but remained a bench-warmer all four years.

His faithful father was always in the stands, always with words of encouragement for him.

When the young man went to college, he decided to try out for the football team as a "walk-on." Everyone was sure he could never make the cut, but he did. The coach admitted that he kept him on the roster because he always puts his heart and soul to every practice, and at the same time, provided the other members with the spirit and hustle they badly needed.

The news that he had survived the cut thrilled him so much that he rushed to the nearest phone and called his father. His father shared his excitement and was sent season tickets for all the college games.

This persistent young athlete never missed practice during his four years at college, but he never got to play in a game. It was the end of his senior football season, and as he trotted onto the practice field shortly before the big playoff game, the coach met him with a telegram.

The young man read the telegram and he became deathly silent. Swallowing hard, he mumbled to the coach, "My father died this morning. Is it all right if I miss practice today?" The coach put his arm gently around his shoulder and said, "Take the rest of the week off, son. And don't even plan to come back to the game on Saturday."

Saturday arrived, and the game was not going well. In the third quarter, when the team was ten points behind, a silent young man quietly slipped into the empty locker room and put on his football gear. As he ran onto the sidelines, the coach and his players were astounded to see their faithful teammate back so soon. "Coach, please let me play. I've just got to play today," said the young man. The coach pretended not to hear him. There was no way he wanted his worst player in this close playoff game. But the young man persisted, and finally feeling sorry for the kid, the coach gave in. "All right," he said. "You can go in."

Before long, the coach, the players and everyone in the stands could not believe their eyes. This little unknown, who had never played before was doing everything right. The opposing team could not stop him. He ran, he passed, blocked, and tackled like a star. His team began to triumph. The score was soon tied. In the closing seconds of the game, this kid intercepted a pass and ran all the way for the winning touchdown.

The fans broke loose. His teammates hoisted him onto their shoulders. Such cheering you never heard. Finally, after the stands had emptied and the team had showered and left the locker room, the coach noticed that this young man was sitting quietly in the corner all alone The coach came to him and said,"Kid, I can't believe it. You were fantastic! Tell me what got into you? How did you do it?"

He looked at the coach, with tears in his eyes, and said, "Well, you knew my dad died, but did you know that my dad was blind?" The young man swallowed hard and forced a smile, "Dad came to all my games, but today was the first time he could see me play, and I wanted to show him I could do it!"

Like the athlete's father, God is always there cheering for us. He's always reminding us to go on. He's even offering us His hand for He knows what is best, and is willing to give us what we need and not simply what we want. God has never missed a single game. What a joy to know that life is meaningful if lived for the Highest. Live for HIM for He's watching us in the game of life!