Joy in the Journey: Backyard Fun, Getting Caught in the Rain and My Favorite Garden!

September 15th, 2014

1. My Hubby whisked me off to a five-star resort right in our backyard! We are blessed to live just minutes from a beautiful canyon which happens to house one of my favorite campgrounds. Steve surprised me on Thursday by pulling our trailer up the mountain and parking it there for a few days. The ambience couldn’t be better–complete with a gurgling brook, majestic mountains, a great walking trail, and a sunflower to boot! Thanks for the fun, Steve!

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The last night of our camping excursion, two of our kids and some dear friends (I met Judy through scrapbooking!) met us for dinner.

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2. Steve and I have a favorite walking/running trail up the canyon. One morning last week, we got half way through our route when it began to bucket down rain. We sprinted the last couple of miles for the car while getting soaked to the bones. We laughed when we got in the car–rain jackets and hats were left there because we were sure it wasn’t going to rain! A great lesson to always be prepared! These are the memories!

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3. If you ever come to Utah, you’ve got to walk throughout the Thanksgiving Point Gardens–truly an oasis in the desert. There are 15 themed gardens and 55 acres of flowers, green rolling lawns and the largest man-made waterfall in the western hemisphere! You can check out some pictures here. My favorite garden is “The Light of the World” which contains breathtaking sculptures of the life of Christ. You can watch this short video to see how magnificent they are. I went twice this past week and was able to introduce friends to this amazing garden:

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By the way, the above collage was made on my iPhone with the new Becky Higgin’s Project Life app. It’s not available yet but I’ve been beta testing it and so LOVE it. Stay posted when it’s available. I’ll let you know!

I’ll start sharing the HSN October 7th fun this week.

Happy Monday!

Lisa

 

 

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Lisa’s Blissful Bites: The Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookie! Really!

September 12th, 2014

As a young 21-year-old missionary in Scotland, I had the opportunity to live in the beautiful city of Edinburgh for six months. The headquarters of the mission were located there and the “mission home” was right next door to the church. As I was attending church meetings throughout the week, I could often smell the wonderful aroma of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies wafting from the open kitchen windows. I immediately knew who was in the kitchen–my dear from, Isabell Hunsaker, a senior missionary from Wyoming whose primary responsibility was baking and cooking for those living in the home. I’d always drop by for a cookie or two! They were heaven sent for this American girl who LOVED chocolate chip cookies. They were the best I’d ever tasted! Isabell became a very dear friend! (Sadly she passed away two years ago. Here is her obituary. What a wonderful posterity she left behind–32 grandchildren and 99 great grandchildren!)

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Another dear friend, Ann Hewlett, was also a missionary in Scotland.

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She had knee surgery while serving her mission and spent several months recuperating in the mission home. During this time, she learned Isabell’s “secret” chocolate chip cookie recipe and for the past 25 years has been making them non-stop several times a week. In fact, EVERY time I stop at Ann’s house, she’s either in the middle of whipping up the cookie batter or there’s a fresh batch already baked on her counter. She’s known all over her town for making the best chocolate chip cookies in the world!

Last month, I finally asked for Isabelle’s recipe and have made them THREE times this week. I’m addicted and have already memorized the recipe. Our family has been the “chocolate chip cookie fairies,” running them around the neighborhood! I love the smell of cookies baking–pure comfort food.

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One neighbor texted me and said: “Thanks for the cookies. Those were seriously the best I’ve ever eaten and I’ve tried a lot!”

So–What makes these cookies so special? I’ve analyzed the recipe, texture and flavor and have come to these four conclusions:

1. Both milk and dark chocolate chips are added in the batter.

2. The recipe calls for a little extra flour which makes the cookies a lot plumper–not flat.

3. Eleven  minutes is the perfect amount of time for baking. They are perfectly crispy AND perfectly chewy!

4. The recipe is tried and true from two of my favorite gals: Ann and Isabell. So–how can you go wrong with it?

What are you waiting for! Grab these basic ingredients and try making them yourself. Oh–and if you live in my neck of the woods, the “cookie fairy” just might be visiting you soon!

Isabell’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 sticks butter, softened (1 cup)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 cups milk-chocolate chips (I use Guittard)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter, brown sugar and white sugar together. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt. Hand stir chocolate chips in batter. Rolls in tight balls, place on non-greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes. Cool on rack!

 

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I’m off to eat another cookie!

Lisa

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Joy in the Journey: My Schoolboy, Laughter is the Best Medicine and a Blast from the Past!

September 8th, 2014

1. Just had to share a picture of my little college boy going off to his first day of class! Steve is in his second year of getting a second degree in computer science (his first was in accounting). His dream is to be a high school CTE teacher by next year! Oh–and I said “little” college boy. Steve has lost 60 pounds in the past nine months. Goooo, Steve!

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2. This couple is one of our best couple friends who live in Orlando. We’ve know them since we were all newlyweds. Jennifer helps me with my HSN shows–she’s amazing! Eric is one of the funniest humans alive. A couple of weeks ago, their family decided to go on an end-of-summer trip to Portland, Oregon. Due to frequent flyer miles and vouchers, Eric and Jennifer ended up on one airline while their college girls, Hailey and Olivia, ended up on Southwest. Each two-some had different layovers and the plan was to meet in Portland. Olivia and Hailey’s layover was in Baltimore but when they arrived at the gate for their final flight, they glanced up and noticed the plane was going to Portland, MAINE–not Portland, OREGON! Southwest was great about changing their flight BUT the girls had to spend a sleepless night in the airport. Too funny!!! I’ve laughed and laughed about this one. (I’m not going to mention who arranged the flights :)!)

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3. This is a throwback to the days when getting into makeup and Sharpie Markers was the thing to do! This is Sage and her cousin, Daniel, at age three. So grateful for photographs which allows us to relive these precious, messy moments over and over again!

 

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Happy Monday, Everyone!

Lisa

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Join Me Late Tonight!

September 1st, 2014

Today I am in Florida at the HSN studios getting ready for all of the great deals we have to share with you! I hope you will join me tonight (well, technically it will be tomorrow) beginning at 2:00 am ET. Or catch one of my other appearances at 7:00 am, 10:00 am, and 4:00 pm ET. Happy creating!

TodayAd Join Me Late Tonight!

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One Last Word Before Tuesday September 2nd!

August 29th, 2014

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I’m off with Kerri Bradford and Kristy Banks to Swiss Days in Midway!

Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

Lisa

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