Tuesday, December 20

Interstate I 80

1912 miles...31 hours....
That is a lot of "us" time in the truck. Don't tell my husband... I enjoy every minute.

Along the way:
~ Twinkling Christmas lights  provide hours of entertainment
~ Take time to thank the employees at gas stations with clean bathrooms
~ Eating in instead of driving through is a great way to meet locals
~ Black ice is so scary!
~ Stopping at every Cabela's and Bass Pro...is not my favorite, but provides great people watching and puts my husband in a good mood
~ Nebraska has a lot of cows! Moo


Tuesday, December 13

Ho..Ho..Ho... $25.00 Sam's Club-Chex Party Mix Giveaway

While some things are changing there will always be some things that stay the same. I know, change is good, but if you ask me there will never be anything better than the original Chex Party Mix creation. In my life this once a year treat has become a 365 day tasty treat that leads me to over indulge each and every time I get my hands on a bag of it. Hands down Chex Party Mix will beat out any form of chocolate or cookie.

That being said, there are some pretty fabulous and delicious new savory Chex Party Mix recipes out there. People are now swapping a traditional cookie party for a Chex Mix Party. I say... mix it up.

It's not too late for you to get a few friends together. Me and some of my closest friends at Sam's Club, General Mills and My Blog Spark want to make your party the easies, funnest and yummiest party this holiday season.... (that's a lot of superlatives)

How to throw the ultimate Sam´s Club Chex Party Mix-Change:
•Set the date and spread the word. Announce your Chex Party Mix-Change using some of these festive invites
•Mix it up. Use these mouth-watering Chex recipe cards including Chex Pumpkin Pie Crunch and Hot Buttered Yum Chex Mix and this shopping list to make party prep a snap.
•Share the fun. Use some of these easy tips & tricks to add some extra flare to your party and check out some of the packaging ideas.
Visit ChexPartyMixChange.com for even more party-planning tips and be sure to also check out Sam´s Club, your one stop Chex spot that has everything you need to throw a Chex Party Mix-Change!

Tis the season...one lucky person will win a $25.00 gift card to Sam's Club and a box of Chex cereal to get your party started. (I got one too!)
 Here's how:
- Tell me what recipe sounds the best to you. 1 entry
- Follow my blog. 1 entry
- Post this on your blog or a giveaway blog(tell me where). 8 entries

That opens it up for a total of 10 opportunities to win. This giveaway is not going to last long! It will only be open from today until the morning of Friday, December 16th. I will send the name of the winner into My Blog Spark that afternoon. Please remember to provide your email address with your comment.

Good luck...


Monday, December 12

The next morning.....

It's that time of year when your social calendar lights up... your husbands-cousins-in laws, the neighbor and some of your closest friends open their doors to celebrate the holidays. I can't help you with your outfits, but I can help you with a host gift.  

Put yourself in their shoes... they cleaned the house, planned the perfect menu, kept your glass full throughout the night...how about making them breakfast.  There are countless recipes for homemade bread and so many fun ways to package them. It's an affordable....thoughtful gift that any host would be happy to receive.

Are you having a party this year?  What are some additional gift ideas you have?
Feel free to share one of your recipes...
or check out this recipe from My Blog Spark and Better Crocker

Another cute idea.


Saturday, December 10

Home again...home again jiggity jig

The meaning of "home" varies from person to person. When I was in Michigan a couple weeks ago people greeted  me by saying "welcome home". When I returned to Idaho I was greeted with "welcome home". In an email I received from a friend in Quebec City they asked when I was coming home.... 

Where we love is home, Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven

For several years Idaho has been our home away from home. It 's a place that is always hard to leave and a place I always look forward to returning. Within the next few weeks my husband will be finishing his field work and our time here in Idaho will come to an end. I'm sure our final days will be hard and saying good-bye to friends that we have made throughout the years will end in tears, but what an experience it has been.... an experience that I am so grateful for.  Just hearing the word Idaho will always warm my heart.
Home is not where you live but where they understand you. ~Christian Morgenstern



Wednesday, November 23

$40.00....Sam's Club- Yoplait Giveaway

It's the eve of Thanksgiving. Are you heading out the door to do some last minute grocery shopping? Are you wondering if you have enough food? Do you have something for everyone? If you have overnight guest now you have to think about breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner and late night snack. By the second day you are questioning who's bright idea was it to invite everyone to stay at your house...(I know you love them, but man can those kids eat...)

Now you're wondering why you even stopped by here today when all I've done is stress you out more, but I do have a solution for you....Yogurt. To be more specific, Yoplait yogurt at Sam's Club.
Breakfast...yogurt. For some people lunch...yogurt. Snacks...definitely...yogurt.

Whether you start your day with a yogurt or enjoy it as an afternoon snack, Sam´s Club can help you stock up on your family´s favorite Yoplait® yogurts at great, everyday low prices. With their extended yogurt selections, featuring new Yoplait Light® with Granola and Trix yogurt, finding the flavors, and prices, you love just became even easier.

And, do I have a treat for you. Because of MyBlogSpark, Yoplait and Sam's Club I am going to give one person a $40.00 gift card to Sam's Club to fill up your fridge with Yoplait.(I got the same thing and you should see my refrigerator.)

This giveaway starts today, November 23 and ends in one week. On Wednesday, Nov. 30th I will pick one name. Here is how you can win:
Follow my blog- 1 entry
Check out Yoplait.com and tell me your favorite yogurt- 2 entries
Check out Sam's Club.com and tell me something you found to put on your Christmas list- 2 entries

That's not it.... if you link this giveaway or share it on your blog you get an additional 5 entries.  10 possible points.

Good luck and happy shopping... I'll be thinking about you as I drive to Detroit (in a rental car) to catch a plane heading to Lexington.  Final destination...in the arms of my husband!


Wednesday, November 16

Nurse Ann, Annie the Nanny, Aunt Annie......

Just when my seat was starting to get warm in Idaho I was asked to fly to Michigan to help out a friend. My one piece of luggage was just big enough for me to pack all of my hats: nurse, aunt, nanny, cleaning lady, dog groomer, chauffeur, counselor, friend, in-law, daughter......

Speaking of hats, my hat goes off to all of you parents. My goodness there is a lot to remember and too much to manage. Now, going days without a shower because it's hard to find the time or wearing whatever is within sight makes sense to me. Not to mention just how unimportant it all is when you have the chance to hold a child in your arms, listen to them sound out new words for their spelling test or hear them laugh so hard they may burst open with happiness. So many emotions, so many new experiences, so lucky you are....

Since my sister and parents live within 45 minutes of where I am staying I've had the opportunity to see them and to watch my nieces and nephew doing (nail biting) extracurricular activities. I feel alive when I hear "Aunt Annie......"

My friend is doing well enough that today we are going to make cupcakes. What are you doing?


Photos from WeHeartIt

Next post....is a giveaway! Hint $$$$$$$

Friday, October 28

A perfect autumn day has the crunching of leaves beneath my feet,
city windows dressed in the color of pumpkins,
and the smell of apples wafting in the air.
I use words like splender, bliss, luster and harvest.
Breathing in and out replenishes me.

I am in my element when partnered with autumn.


Tuesday, October 25

The Secret Lives of Dresses

Yesterday I was having "one of those days"...
I found refuge in a new book from the library.

The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

The stunning yellow dress on the cover is what first caught my eye.
  The story has a little fashion, drama and family paired with surprising twists.  I wrapped up in my favorite blanket and read all day long. It was a fun and easy read that kept me engaged.  It was funny though, while I connected with the main character (Dora), I often found the grandmother using many of the exact quotes that I use. (Her dislike of the word moist had me giggling.)

How often do you look down and say..."how did I get here" with your wardrobe? While I REALLY love fashion (I just watched Coco before Chanel again this morning for the 100th time), I am also realistic. I find myself wanting to blend into the crowd a lot more than I want to stick out in the name of fashion.   

On many occasions I have been tempted to call What Not to Wear on myself, but I'm working with very little right now.  Honestly, I feel a little foolish dressing up when I spend most of my time alone, at the library or trudging through the woods. On the flip side, my Northface polar fleece pants are begging for a break.

I'm a chameleon in my environment, but I'm true to myself.  Wherever I am there will always be a pair of fabulous black heels, an array of scarves and a nice handbag....  ok, there's most likely a pair of flip-flops just in case too.


Friday, October 21

I went to Paris...

Moments of dullness don't exist.

Last weekend we were at Bear Lake which is on the border of Utah and Idaho near the historical Oregon Trail.  While my husband and friends hunted I stayed busy exploring the area.  The shape of the mountains might change, but the beauty didn't. On many occasions I pulled the truck over to marvel at galloping horses in tall grass displaying their effortless strength, to gaze at another breathless vision of nature and to read countless historical roadside signs. 

I thought the title of my post was funny and most likely caught most of you off guard, but it's the truth. I went to Paris, Idaho. Founded my Mormon pioneers in 1863, this small city has an impressive Romanesque sandstone church built by a son of Brigham Young. The LDS Bear Lake Stake Tabernacle seats 2000, nearly four times the population of the town.

Channelling the earlier settlers in a KOA, I built my first fire without the assistance of my male counterparts.That sentence as ridiculous as it sounds fills me with pride.  It's one thing to have assistance, but another to have the ability to bring light into darkness with matches and wood. It wasn't our typical "roughing it" camping experience, I'll be the first one to say that. It has to do with the amount of time I spend alone. After the fourth night, my tent flying across the grounds in an extreme rain/wind storm and cooking off a camper stove I was happy to take shelter at the barracks. (Did I just say that? :)

Over the Memorial weekend we drove 7 hours to visit our friends and previous landlords in Missoula, Montana. The drive there was nothing shy of fabulous and I wish each of you could experience it. With each turn on the winding road my heart grew with anticipation and happiness. We were going home.... 

The ranch hadn't changed. The animals greeted us with their usual lick. Our friends made us feel like we never left. I spent an entire morning sitting on the mountain side next to the horses. No book in hand, no MP3, just me and Big Sky country.

This weekend we are planning to do a few hikes to retrieve some of the collars that have dropped off the elk. Let me explain....  For the last 4 years my husband has been working on his PhD in Wildlife Biology.  Each year collars are put on elk and wolves so he can obtain information. It's not really that simple. The collars help him collect a bunch of information, in return he takes all the data and answers questions for his thesis.  Yesterday, he took a flight to get a better idea as to the whereabouts of the animals and the collars that have dropped off. (He has programmed them to fall off throughout the months of Oct, Nov. and December.)  It looks like one of the hikes will be relatively easy and the other one not so easy at all. I'll be sure to take some photos so you can experience it with me in the comfort of your home.

Until then....

Wednesday, October 5

Email updates....

Day 1:Without question, Idaho is as beautiful as I remember. The night sky danced with lights, the whispering pines spoke gentle greetings, and the flowing river guided us on our short journey to our temporary home tucked tenderly in the woods.

Barracks life...will be an adjustment, (communal kitchen, bathrooms and living area, but we are alone right now.) as was the mobe.(Go to my first months of blogging for life in the mobe posts.) With a little bit of scrubbing, sweeping and scrapping we will be sterilized for comfy living. We do NOT have internet....said with a shaking voice. Thankfully, the new public library is 5 miles from where we are staying. No doubt we will be on a first name basis shortly.

Day 7:Picture perfect 80 degree days abruptly changed for 47 and raining. It's still a vision of loveliness as the clouds peek-a-boo behind the dark mountains. Marveling at the grand scenery makes morning coffee with my husband that much better.

While replacing someone else's dirt for our own we've managed to settle into the barracks.  In all honesty, it wasn't as dirty as my little white gloves wanted to think.  Although, I 'm still wearing shoes everywhere I step, it's mostly a mind game I need to deal with.  The generosity and friendliness everyone around us has shown brings only thoughts of gratitude. To top it off, there are numerous apple trees on the grounds which only means yummy apple goodness to come. (Pies, crumbles, sauce)  Too bad I couldn't bring my canning stuff.

We are filling our days with long drives on heart stopping narrow mountain roads, good books, school work (my husband), hikes, visiting "old" friends and making a few new ones.  There is a nice tv with a vhs/dvd player, so our nights are spent in the company of Hollywood's finest.

If only I could share with you the beauty of the star filled night skies, the sound of the river and the sight of a majestic bald eagle in flight. I write in hopes of capturing a few of these special moments and passing them on to you.

(These are the last two emails I sent to some family and friends. I hope this answers a few of your questions, but feel free to ask me to fill in some of the blanks you might have.)  More soon.....


Tuesday, October 4

Settling in....

I've started typing my first sentence at least 5 times.  It's hard to know where to start since I've been away for so long.  Let's try this short version....

For the last month I've been visiting family and friends in Michigan and Missouri. After a very quick three weeks, last Wednesday, I was reunited with my husband in Boise, Idaho.  This is our 5th and final year doing research in the mountains of Idaho.  (More on that later.)

I have so much to tell you, so many beautiful sights and stories to share...now all I need is for my computer to work so I can post some photos. (Soon...I promise) Thankfully, our new location has a library about 4 miles from were we are staying and I've already become a member.

We are just settling in and you were on my mind.  I can't wait to hear from you......
This naked...photo-less post...makes me sad. Photos to come... 

Wednesday, August 24

Let the waterworks begin

Although we will be back in January, we have a number of friends who are leaving Quebec City and starting the next chapter of their lives. We gathered last night for a final clink of the glass....

To utter my good-bye implied a permanence that I am not will to except.

With a wag of her tail, my best friend left me standing their with 
a puddle of tears falling to my feet.  
Totally dramatic, but totally true

Sam has helped me discover Quebec, endure Quebec and love Quebec.

Je m'ennuierai de mes amis, mais chérir tous les souvenirs.
I will miss my friends, but cherish all the memories.

Jusqu'à notre prochaine rencontre.
Until we meet again....

Now... back to packing.

Sunday, August 14

Moving... "kinda"

Let me tell you.... there is nothing fun about moving.

I'll back up. We are getting ready to spend our last fall season in the mountains of Idaho for my husbands last year of school/research. While the thought of Idaho makes me very happy I am not great with change, even though I am constantly in a state of change.

Moving out of our apartment (that would sit empty for almost 5 months) will save us a lot of money, but there's another thing called sanity that I didn't put into the equation. We have also decided to sell most of our furniture with the idea of starting over in our next home. Where is that next home? Your guess is as good as mine, but this time next year I'll be there. I know....that doesn't make sense...but it does and I'm confident (crossing my fingers) of this.

The big "but" in this situation is that we will be returning here for a final semester next January. (Clearing my throat.) I know, I just said we are moving out, selling our stuff and packing the rest.

Yes, we are packing some stuff for Idaho. We are packing some stuff until we move to our next location. And, we are packing some stuff for when we move back here next January. Well, if you made it through that you might be shaking your head in confusion. When we move back for 4 months next January we are hoping to rent a room or a furnished apartment another thing I am (crossing my fingers about) confident in. (Wink..then a sigh.)

I hope you are ready to take this little adventure with me.

In the mean time, I am going to enjoy summer in Quebec City, play in my garden, share quality time with friends and try not to let all of this make me crazy.


Saturday, August 6

What is the last time you did something for the first time....

Took time to smell the roses....

and, shared it with someone?

It's such a gift to be a part of someone's life. 
Have a wonderful Saturday~


Tuesday, August 2

If the shoe fits, wear it.

A sample survey showed that 60% of women’s feet increased in shoe size since age 20.

Shoes all over the world were identical until the nineteenth century, when left- and right-footed shoes were first made in Philadelphia.
97% of women say that their shoe shopping has never created financial problems for them, but 13% have hidden a purchase from a significant other.

In Europe it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that women’s shoes were different from men’s.
 Six-inch-high heels were worn by the upper classes in seventeenth-century Europe. Two servants, one on either side, were needed to hold up the person wearing the high heels.
250,000: average number of sweat glands in a pair of feet.
Close to half of the female population (43%) has been injured, at least moderately, by their shoes.
On average, women purchase four pairs of shoes per year.
$277: Amount the typical American woman spends on shoes per year.
15% of the female population has over 30 pairs currently in their closets.
 8: Shoe size of the average American adult woman.
Boots were first worn in cold, mountainous regions and hot, sandy deserts where horse-riding communities lived. Heels on boots kept feet secure in the stirrups.

Do you have a favorite pair of shoes? 
When is the last time you bought new shoes?
Are you willing to admit how many shoes you own?


Photos from WeHeartIt?Fact