Thursday, December 30, 2010

thrifty thursday

Thrifty Thursday is back!

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week - it has been a busy one.

For today though, boy do I have a good, cheap idea for you.

My sister, g baby and I ventured to Ikea this week. After having too much fun browsing the store, we were starving and decided to eat at the cafe there. My sister said it was pretty good and since I had never eaten there, of course I wanted to try it.

First, you get to roll this awesome tray cart around and weave your way through the line. (sorry for the blurriness, I was really excited about this whole thing!)

Next, you choose your food. We went with the kid size portions. Who wouldn't want to eat out of plastic bowls - come on! That was one of the best parts! Looking at this picture makes me laugh. I apparently chose foods in the yellow color range in honor of my gram. (mac & cheese, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and Mott's for Tots - which by the way is yucky. The best way of describing it is one cup of water + one tablespoon of apple juice = a diluted disappointment!)

Now here's why it's thrifty. A kid's meal only costs $2.49, but from now until January 9, kids eat free! When Jenny & I went up to pay for the food it cost us a grand total of 85¢! (we only had to pay for the garlic bread). We told the cashier that we were eating the meals and would be happy to pay for them, but it wouldn't ring up any other way since the deal is going on.

Isn't that the greatest? Head off to Ikea! Choose colored dishes, pretend like you're 12 and eat for free, and maybe buy a cinnamon roll on the way out!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

christmas wishes

When my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I told her there were three things, none of which she would be able to get me on her own. I always think of the song My Grown-up Christmas List by Amy Grant when December rolls around. This list was important to me, and I would have been happy with just one thing (which is what I got!).

So at the risk of looking like a total loser, I'll let you in on the list:

a) Having my gram back in SLC
b) Taking out my own endowment in the Temple
c) A boyfriend

a) was unrealistic, c) makes me look like a LAME face, and b) happened.

Going through the temple is something I have been thinking about for a while and have carefully been preparing for over the last few months. Without sharing too many personal details about the journey and experience, I was able to go to the Temple tonight and it was wonderful. I chose December 22nd because it would have been my great-grandma's 110th birthday & because my gram had her first big round of chemo (an 8 hour infusion) today, so I thought it would be nice to be in the Temple. It felt so right to me and the timing was perfect. I loved it and can't wait to go again.

I was really lucky to have such a fantastic support crew, all of whom I love dearly. Thanks for coming, everyone!

Monday, December 20, 2010


My gram told me all about a store that was retro and full of fun things. She was sure I would love it, and she was right! We went to this great place a few times while she was here this past year. If you make your way down to Lehi, you will find a gem of a place called Broadbent's. It's a mercantile store and it is as charming as they come.

Now really, just take a look at the facade. The colors, the writing, the windows. My oh my, I love it all! Inside is full of great gifts, candy, retro toys, and a quilt shop. You must go and enjoy this part of yesteryear. I am telling you, it is a real treat.

Today I stopped by to pick up a present and I actually had a really hard time there. I know I sound like a broken record talking about my gram so much, but I will never stop worrying about her, crying because she isn't here, wishing that cancer doesn't exist, praying for a speedy recovery & skilled caregivers, and hoping with all my heart that she is in Utah before I know it.

I just about lost it in every part of the store, feeling sad that my gram wasn't right by my side to enjoy all the fun things with me. I was pretty proud of myself because I didn't let the tears roll until I got in the car. Then I'll Be Home for Christmas came on the radio. Gee, thanks. Go ahead and throw a heaping bucket of salt on the wound.

But I was able to pick up one of our favorite Broadbent's treats - candy canes! And they are amazing. I'll be taking these with me to Vermont in January.

Can't wait to eat them with you, gram!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

thrifty thursday

Happy holidays!

I think this Pyrex dish looks particularly festive.

I had a great evening seeing the adorable David Archuleta perform with the Mormon Tabernacle choir. It was fantastic and the perfect way to celebrate this time of year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

what a bummer

Well you can see that my presents made it out to gram. They just didn't go to the place I wanted them to.

Fletcher Allen hospital has a new patient. That dang chemo is not on my friends list right now. Gram has a fever, a weakened immune system, and has needed IV antibiotics & now a blood transfusion.

I knew hospital stays would probably become part of this temporary cancer routine, but I was just always hoping I would be wrong.

I feel really blessed because I haven't had many hard trials in my life so far, but I have to say that this is definitely one of them. I just miss my gram so much. I have never felt so completely helpless. Today I sat at the computer with my elbows on the table and cried into my hands. Something about the fact that she's sick in Vermont and I'm not there gets me every time.

Please keep the prayers coming. We all need her to get better!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

merry christmas, gram

I finished my gram's Christmas presents and sent them off this weekend. Since starting chemo, she has been really tired and is spending more & more time in her room taking naps and resting. I wanted to make things that would bring cheer to her room and brighten it up.

I had so much fun cross stitching this pillow. So fun, in fact, I need to find another pattern quick because now I don't want to stop. I took this baby with me everywhere for a week and worked on it as I was out and about. I even brought it along to my mom's colonoscopy appointment (that was an adventure that deserves a post of its own!). I sat there in the waiting room with my embroidery hoop and cross stitched away. I've never had such a good time waiting for someone!

Pennant banners have been pretty popular and I wanted to give one a try. This picture is really quite dark and the patterns are much more vibrant in person. I made this to hang on my gram's wall so she can remember how much I love her. (We have a long standing joke that she loves me the most out of all the grandkids. I always sign my cards as love, the forever favorite).

My sister suggested to use a solid backing so the patterns wouldn't look all wonky when the sunlight shines through. (Brilliant!) I used this white polka dot backing on all the pennants and I love the subtle print.

Merry Christmas, gram! Next year we will celebrate Christmas together - I just know it!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

thrifty thursday

Anyone who knows me knows that I love, love, love clogs. My mom got me hooked on them six years ago, and ever since, I can't get enough! I wear them with everything. Shorts, skirts, pants, barefoot, with socks. To work, to church, out & about, you name it. I think I could run a 5K in them, they are just so comfy (I did go on a small hike once before while wearing clogs).

I wear the Sanita or Dansko brand, and I got a steal of a deal on a cute pair a few weeks ago. They started out at $59.99. That price alone should almost be illegal. I had a coupon code for free shipping, 10% off, and a code that let me take $15 off as well. That brought the total down to $38.96.

What a bargain! I was so excited, I had to take a picture of the screen.

Here they are on my feet today. The striped socks are an added touch. But really, the clogs are just so darling. They are sparkly & red and I don't ever want to take them off.

Here's a little sneak peek of my latest craft project in this picture - I am making something to send to my gram for Christmas. I'll show a full reveal before I mail it off!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


This is a short one, but today was one of the best days ever in all of 2010.

I am beyond thrilled.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

bow tie

A few weeks ago I tried out a student ward with a friend. After the meetings, I really felt like I should also go to my own ward. As I was driving home, I just couldn't decide what to do - but I automatically drove to the church building. Something inside me said, "Julia, go!"

Oh my, am I ever glad I did!

This cute guy was waiting for me. I could tell he was anxiously scanning the room, and when he saw me, he came running over.

You know why? The boy wore a bow tie just for me!

While I was tending his family and the kids were getting ready for church, I told him that I thought there was nothing more handsome than a boy in a bow tie.

He came the next Sunday wearing one. (I was at work and missed it).
So he tried again the following week. (When I was inspired to come).

Talk about persistent! He is just too adorable.

I can't wait until I have a boy who will wear a bow tie for me every week.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

thrifty thursday

Sometimes I feel really silly doing this regular Thrifty Thursday post because there are honestly way more important things to write about. But I do love traditions, and I do love being thrifty, so onward we go!

I went to the DI today and just about found nothing, except for one little treasure.

Once Upon a Potty.

image via

Do you remember this book?

I always wanted a copy of my own when I was little and I remember looking at it all the time when we'd go to the bookstore. I would sit there all wide-eyed just snickering. It is such a classic.

I'm sending it to my gram for part of her Christmas present. I guess you could say that we are continuing with the potty theme (remember I gave her The Gas We Pass?), but I know she will get a kick out of reading about Prudence and her adventures on the potty.

My gram had her first round of chemo today. It went well, but they say she will start to feel yucky in about 8-10 days (boo). I went to an event yesterday where everyone was wearing name tags. A lady whose name is Shirley walked past and I cried when I saw her name tag. (That's my gram's name). Darn all those miles between here and Vermont! I am hoping to go visit gram in January when things are more settled.

I don't think I've been so anxious to get on a plane in all my life. Let the countdown begin!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

never has 17 looked better

This weekend was the best. It was so much fun to be with family on Thanksgiving, but I sure as heck missed my gram. I am trying really hard to be brave, but I just can't stop the tears from coming. Tomorrow is the big day when we find out about her course of treatment and what can be expected.

There were two cute young lads who put a big smile on my face, though! I love babies. Ever since I was little, I just can't get enough of them. We played pass the baby during Thanksgiving, but I finally couldn't handle holding just one any longer and tricked my brother into giving me both! He he. Aren't these little guys the cutest? I walked around with one in each arm and am hoping it's foreshadowing for the years to come. Please, oh please, let me have twins!

Another huge highlight was the game! Holy cow, do I love the Utes or what! I knew we would pull off a win. 17-16. Splendid! The rivalry is my favorite, and I am over the moon that I was able to snag a ticket on ksl. I wouldn't have missed this game for the world.

We just about froze our bums off. I am pretty sure I was a lovely shade of blue by the end of the game, but it was worth it a million times over. I can't wait for the bowl game and season tickets next year. I bleed red! Go Utes!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

thrifty thursday + happy thanksgiving

Today's feature isn't Pyrex, or retro, for that matter.

But it is delicious. And thrifty ($1.69!). And I'm obsessed.

Behold! The Dan's cake wedge decked out in butter cream frosting & sprinkles.

Have you ever seen anything more mouth watering or delightful? I may or may not have at least one a week. I know it's full of artificial mumbo jumbo, but I can honestly say that I enjoy every bite without regret. You have got to try one.

Let me just tell you a little story about my beloved cake. A few weeks ago I had been dreaming about a cake wedge for a whole day. When I have a craving, it just simply won't go away. (That poor husband of mine better watch out when I'm pregnant!) I had to get some groceries and specifically chose to go to Dan's knowing that I could get my hot little hands on this goody.

So imagine my disappointment when I showed up to the bakery.

cake wedges = gone. julia = devastated.

I took my sad self up to the counter and started talking to the cute lady decorating cakes. I told her of my plight and how I just had to have one of them. She told me to come back in five minutes and she'd have one whipped up especially for me.

What? Are you serious? Heaven help me, it was my lucky day! And get this - she even let me choose the sprinkles! When it comes to frosting & sprinkles, my belief is that there is no such thing as too much. The more, the better!

I am thinking that I need to write a thank you note to the bakery lady who saved me - what a woman for showering me with such kindness!

With Thanksgiving celebrations today, I have really been thinking about how blessed I am. Sometimes instead of being filled with gratitude, I tend to feel sorry for myself. It's a little embarrassing when I think about all that I have. When I first found out about my gram's diagnosis, I was completely crushed. I remember going out and running errands the next day and thinking that my world fell apart the day before and why didn't everyone else's world fall apart with mine? It just wasn't fair.

I remember coming home and sitting at the computer, just feeling so sad. I turned my head and looked out the window to see this gift:

Our tree's leaves changing color. And not just any color. But yellow, my gram's favorite.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am not alone. I am never alone. Life goes on, and we're all in it together. There is never a shortage of support, prayers, or miracles. People are always so willing to lend a helping hand. That's really what this whole experience is about.

This Thanksgiving I am really grateful for that reminder. I don't think I'll ever look at our tree the same again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

sad & happy

On Saturday we found out my gram's test results, and it wasn't what we wanted. I was really hoping Saturday was opposite day. Gee whiz, wouldn't that have been nice.

Cancer is lame.

The doctors are pretty sure the lymphoma has spread to part of her stomach and lungs. Which likely means that she'll have to go through chemo and the whole shebang. It's so unfair. I just sobbed on Saturday. A lack of tear flow is not one of my shortcomings these days.

I told my mom that all I wanted for Christmas was for my gram to come back and live with us. It wouldn't make the diagnosis better, but it would sure be easier to go through this with her here. I miss that cute lady!

I talked to her on Saturday and she said to me, "they tell me I'm sick but I feel just fine! I'm sewing up a storm today". I was so happy to hear that. I really hope I get to see her soon.

So that was the sad part of my week, but there were some happy parts, too:

-sewing with friends

-working, babysitting, taking care of Margaret

-eating Taco Bell x 2. whoops!

-a "pig out" day with my mom. We ate Tony Burgers and treats & watched Kit Kettredge (it is adorable, one of my new favorites!)

-learning how to drive a manual transmission and laughing my pants off when I stalled in the middle of State Street for what seemed like an eternity

-eating dinner at Cowboy Grub with Margaret and MarRissa

-wandering around Provo and going to the MTC

-the Utes pulling off a win. thank heavens!

-snuggling with a sleeping g baby and watching Hallmark movies with my cousins

-reading a whole bunch

-going to the temple

-MarRissa's farewell. She's leaving on a mission to San Jose in a week and a half. I am so excited for her, but she will surely be missed!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

thrifty thursday

I have seriously been experiencing a Pyrex drought lately. I haven't found any new pieces in over a month - yikes! And so sad! So today I'll show you something else.

Milk glass.

Isn't it lovely? This piece is an imitation I am sure, but I still think it's pretty darn cute. I have seen some really beautiful milk glass out there, but I need to take things one collection at a time.

And right now Pyrex has my heart.

And a little update on my gram: we're waiting for some test results that will determine if the cancer has spread or if it is just isolated in the one spot. We are praying hard and keeping our fingers crossed for good news.

I called every temple in Utah today and put her name on the prayer roll. But if you don't mind keeping the prayers coming, I would sure appreciate it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

monkey see, monkey do

I can't get enough of these little guys!

Beth and I wanted to work on a project today so we decided on sock monkeys. Finding good socks is no easy feat though, especially since we have now entered the winter season with blah colors. Luckily, Beth spotted these socks and they were perfect. We went for the classic sock monkey look.

It is so fun to watch as the socks transform and a cute monkey emerges.

This duo is so us. Similar, yet different & complementary. I love it. Thanks for a lovely afternoon, Beth! I can't wait for other fun projects (which includes bringing more sock monkeys into this world!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

thrifty thursday + a challenge

This Thrifty Thursday post is two-fold.

1) To show off something retro, of course! Isn't this golden hearts Pyrex adorable? One of my dear friends brought it back for me from a thrift store in Montana. I love it!

The picture kind of throws off the size perception of this dish. It is huge and will be perfect for so many different things!

2) I also wanted to talk about something I'm participating in. It is a challenge to read the Book of Mormon in its entirety by New Year's. I know it seems daunting at 531 pages, but I promise you can do it. We started on Monday and will finish on December 31st by reading just 10 pages per day. I can't think of a better blessing in my life than going into the new year armed with the knowledge and truths that come from this book.

I finished the Book of Mormon this summer and am ashamed to say that I haven't been awesome at keeping up with daily scripture study since then. I have definitely noticed a difference in the days that I read and the days that I don't. When I found this challenge, I knew it was an answer to my prayers. I have already felt such a change over the past few days. Reading these verses will invite the spirit into your life and will allow you to receive a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.

Participating in the challenge with a group of people (who I don't know) is a great experience. It's empowering to know that we are all reading the same verses on the same day and being blessed. I love the church. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I can testify that it has changed my life and can change your life, too.

So please, join us! It is never too late to start, and you can never read the Book of Mormon too many times!

To visit the group blog, click here.

And if anyone needs a Book of Mormon, let me know and I will get you one.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

i heart you

You may or may not have noticed that I didn't have a Thrifty Thursday post this week. Missing things like that just about kills me - I am really determined and like maintaining a routine.

But this Thursday I had way more important things to worry about than what I found at the thrift store.

Namely, my gram.

See what I wrote on November 4th? Worst day ever. And it was. After coming home from work, my mom called and I knew immediately it wasn't good news. We've all been worrying about my gram and her latest health issues (an annoying blood clot and an undiagnosed mass in her groin).

It turns out that lousy mass is cancer.

I crumbled like a bad cookie when I found out. All I could do was sob and state over and over that it wasn't fair & it wasn't what I wanted.

I was so looking forward to her coming home and picking up right where we left off. With sewing lessons, errands around town, chit chats, and me walking into the bathroom to see her in her tighty whiteys in the morning (am I terrible or what, but she is just so darn cute - I have to soak up every opportunity!)

We just don't have time for bothersome things like cancer.

I've had a lot of really big cries over the past few days. And I've felt really sorry for my gram and bummed over the situation. But my family keeps telling me we have to stay positive so that gram can be positive, too.

I decided the best way I could help myself feel distracted was to put together a little care package for her. I knew it had to include a treat, a silly book, and something I made.

My sister and I had been talking about sock monkeys and I thought that would be just the thing gram needed. I had a total ball making this little guy. What a classic, fun & cheerful toy. His name is Spunk, because my gram has a lot of it.

See the heart button? That's where the mass is - in her left groin. We'll just send the mass packing and replace it with a heart band-aid.

I petitioned my Facebook friends to share the funniest children's book they knew of. I got so many good suggestions, but after searching online for a little while, I found one that couldn't have been more perfect. If there ever was a book written just for gram, this is the one.

So imagine my delight when I found The Gas We Pass. It is downright hilarious. (I always tease gram about how she passes gas, and it increases exponentially when she is around fabric because she gets so excited). I called every bookstore in the city and no one had any in stock. I found a copy at the library and basically told them that I was going to "lose" the book and pay the fine. But luckily I stumbled upon the only copy available for purchase in Salt Lake City. It was a win-win because now the library kids won't miss out on this gem and my gram will get a good laugh.

Gram is only 85 and her blood runs thick with German strength. She has way too much life left and I have a list that will take us at least 20 years to get through, so we're set that way. I am looking forward to all the fun memories coming our way - passing gas and all.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


My cute gram is under the weather, and I am just so sad about it. She has a blood clot and some other undiagnosed issues.

She is basically tired and not herself. And I am a mess because of it.

You see, gram is more than just a grandma. She's one of my very best friends. Because she has lived with us for half the year almost my entire life, we have a unique relationship. She is supposed to come back on December 6.

I don't know what I'm going to do if she isn't on a plane making her way back to Salt Lake in a month.

I need her to be here for fabric shopping, quilt shows, Jamba Juice, and Jeopardy. She's my best car passenger, my going-out-to-lunch buddy, and my favorite person in the world.

I know she has it in her to make a speedy recovery. But I would really appreciate it if you could say two, or three, or a thousand extra prayers for her. I know it would help her spirits and bring her comfort.

Get feeling better, gram! I am anxiously waiting to see you real soon!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

thrifty thursday

I figured this week's feature should involve black & orange.

Showing off this color scheme has been in the works for a bit. When I went thrifting in Logan a few weeks ago, I found the bottom Pyrex. It's a compass pattern and one that is harder to find.

I was super excited and told my friend that it would be perfect for my Halloween Thrifty Thursday post. She laughed out loud at me, and it made me giggle, too.

I mean, who really plans things like what Pyrex to photograph? But I tell you what - it's just one of the millions of thoughts swirling around in my head when I go to sleep.

I know that my Pyrex obsession is silly. And I would laugh at someone, just the same.

But at least my innate ability to remember where every DI is in the state of Utah pays off! These pumpkins would be so very boring without their retro companion.

Have a very happy & spooky Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

mom wrap up

I promise this will be the last mom post. I left my cute little kids last night and came back to my other home. We sure had fun and I'll miss seeing these guys everyday.

We went to the East-Highland football game (East got slammed by Highland, darn it).

Shaky Smithson was there cheering on his brother who plays for Highland. The kids just about peed their pants getting his autograph. They could hardly stand it; they were just squealing and kept wanting to go back for more.

We found a pizza box on the ground and tore it up for cardboard signatures. Ben also had Shaky sign his arm and shoe. How hilarious!

As I was leaving the stadium with the three little kids, William started walking super funny. I thought for sure he had an accident, but it turns out he just really needed to go to the bathroom! (excuse the potty talk - but this story is hilarious).

We all started racing to the car and then zoomed off. The whole time Will was in the back seat saying, "Juju, hurry. Drive faster. I can't hold it for five minutes here. I am going to explode". We were all dying of laughter. We got to a gas station and ran in. As luck would have it, the cashier told us the bathroom was closed for the night. Since when do public bathrooms have hours of operation? I pleaded with her to let us use it, but she said no - so we starting sprinting to the car again, and we were all laughing about it. Poor Will.

We got to McDonald's and Will leaped out of the car. After he came out an eternity later, I had to get a picture. A guy showed up to use the bathroom at the same time I was snapping his pic and said, "don't worry. My mom used to make me pose for these kind of pictures, too". (Gee, thanks for thinking I'm the actual mom. You make me feel so young. Not!).

I asked William if he felt some relief, and he replied, "a little, but I still have a turd in there"! I think I was just about maxed out on laughing for the night. This little guy is a total hoot.

Afterwards, we all had our moment of glory under the Mickey D's sign.

The older boys went out on Friday night, so the four of us headed to Nickelmania. It was actually way more fun than I anticipated.

The kids were pleased as punch with their slinky prizes and had races down the stairs for a solid half hour when we got home.

All the boys teased me & said I threw a football like a girl. So coach Ben taught me how to throw one for real. It had to spiral. The first 10 throws earned me the "wimpy" card, but I quickly improved and now I have skills. I can even throw a spiral with my eyes closed. Good thing I won't be an embarrassment on the football field now!

We made all sorts of popsicles (orange juice, apple juice, chocolate milk). See Shaky's signature still on Ben's arm? We had to go over that valuable with a Sharpie at least three times a day & cover it with saran wrap in the shower.

We watched the Sandlot. Always a classic. The kids have a terrible habit of using the "r" word. It's so awful, I can't even repeat it. But you know the one.

unitard - uni + re = a profanity

The boys in the Sandlot call each other block heads. I tried to convince everyone that they should bring it back in style. What a better alternative! They weren't quite as enthusiastic about my suggestion.

I snuck one last Halloween surprise in their lunches, tucked them into bed with a treat under their pillow, and felt sad it was over.

Can't wait until I'm the mom again - real or pretend!