The biggest little city in the world

April 24th, 2014

Does the title of my post give you a hint to where I am headed this weekend?

Reno, Nevada.

 Capture 620x619 The biggest little city in the worldImage taken from yahoo images

We are hitting the road for another volleyball tournament. I really love this time with my girls and am excited to play around in this neck of the woods. Plus, it is just down the street from the beautiful Lake Tahoe, which is always a site to behold.

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Something else that is putting a smile on my face today is the chatter around the new changes I am going to be making to my site. We are working hard to redesign the entire site and I cannot wait to show you all what we have cooking up.

If there is something you would LOVE to see me implement on my page, or start doing on my blog, chime in. I would love to hear your suggestions!

Have a fabulous weekend. I will check back in with you on Monday.

Lisa

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Joy in the Journey: An Inspiring Easter Pageant, Wonderful Funeral and the Rustic Beauty of Arizona

April 21st, 2014

I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Arizona last week. I’ve only been in the Mesa/Phoenix area a few times in my life and I thoroughly loved it.

1. The funeral of my dear friend, Paula Kraemer, was peaceful and joyous. Funerals in our church are a celebration of life and while there are a few tears, there is a happy feeling in knowing we will see them again. I always leave feeling so uplifted and so grateful for good people in my life. Paula was such a go-getter and always concerned for those around her. She will sorely be missed by so many including the Bearnson family. It was neat to see so many former coworkers a the funeral (two are Paula’s boys):

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And I always enjoy my time with Becky Higgins:

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Becky thinks of the coolest things to take photos of. She took a pic of this map in the foyer of the church. It depicts all the places Paula has traveled to in her life. Most of it was in the name of scrapbooking!

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2. For years I’ve heard amazing things about the Mesa Easter Pageant and I’ve always wanted to go. Lucky me that performances were happening while I was there! My mouth is still to the ground on what I witnessed. It was so inspiriting and spiritual–the perfect way to begin my Easter weekend. Around 500 performers depict the life of Christ in 65 minutes on a four-story stage! I tried to take photos but of course they didn’t turn out. Here’s one taken off the Mesa Pageant’s web site:

Mesa Easter Pageant 42011 299 Joy in the Journey: An Inspiring Easter Pageant, Wonderful Funeral and the Rustic Beauty of Arizona

You can go here for more information and to see a short video about the pageant. Also, a friend shared this video with me yesterday and it’s a MUST SEE! It’s called “Because of Him” and has such a wonderful message!

3. WOW! Arizona is simply rustic and beautiful. I walked thought the Desert Botanical Gardens with good friends (met through scrapbooking) and WOW–this is what I saw:

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Find Joy in the Journey!

Lisa

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Brecken’s Best Bites: Easter Sunday’s Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Cake!

April 18th, 2014

Brecken2 Breckens Best Bites: Easter Sundays Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Cake!

 

My hubby and I have been on a “no-sugar” eating plan for the past five months. My husband has had ZERO sugar and I’ve had the occasional “I’ve got to try this” bites. This has been quite the feat–especially for me–because I LOVE ANYTHING SWEET! You name it–chocolate-covered gummy bears, Jordan Almonds, Bit-O-Honey bars, brownies, kettle corn and so on. Sugar-free Chic-O-Sticks and Nips caramels have become my best friend! I’m no longer being as strict with the no-sugar plan, but am still watching my sugar intake. (It honestly wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.) However–this little ditty caught my eye weeks ago and I tore it out of my Good Housekeeping magazine. I tortured myself by hanging the recipe and pic on the kitchen cupboard and declared to Brecken: “This will be our Easter Sunday dessert.” Brecken has her plan in place and this cake will be gracing our table AND our mouths in just two days!

strawberry rhubarb layer cake recipe ghk0414 xl Breckens Best Bites: Easter Sundays Strawberry Rhubarb Layer Cake!

This recipe caught my attention because it marries two of my favorite flavors–strawberries and rhubarb. Growing up, my dad would tease us on a daily basis saying “Do you think the rain will hurt the rhubarb?” Of course this makes no sense, but I loved it because it was coming from my dad. We had a orchard by our home and sometimes my dad would take us “wild rhubarb hunting.” Imagine how excited I am to share a piece with him on Sunday too!

So–here’s the recipe and I’ll share pics of Brecken’s cake next week.

  • 1 orange
  • 3 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 2 pound(s) rhubarb, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 pound(s) (about 4 cups) strawberries, trimmed and chopped, plus sliced strawberries for garnish
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup(s) whole milk
  • 3 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 3 cup(s) cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 tablespoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 12 tablespoon(s) butter, no substitutions
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar
  • 8 ounce(s) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cup(s) heavy cream, cold

Directions:

  1. Squeeze the juice from the orange into a 4-quart saucepan. Stir in 2 cups of granulated sugar and cook on medium-high until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Add the rhubarb and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer the rhubarb to a bowl and cool slightly. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 2 hours. Stir in the chopped strawberries and refrigerate.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottoms of three 8-inch cake pans and line them with parchment paper. Grease and flour the parchment and sides of the pans.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, whole eggs, 1/4 cup of the milk, and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla until combined. In a large bowl, with a mixer on low speed, mix the flour, baking powder, remaining 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar, and salt; beat in the butter and remaining 3/4 cup of milk on medium-high speed. Add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating well between additions. Divide the batter evenly among the pans. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes then, loosen the sides with a knife, and invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely.
  4. Place 1 cake on a plate. Strain the liquid from the rhubarb mixture; discard the liquid. Spread half of the rhubarb mixture onto the cake, leaving a 1-inch border. Repeat with the second cake and the remaining rhubarb. Top with the third cake.
  5. In a large bowl, with a mixer on high, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, and remaining 1 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy. Slowly drizzle in the cream and whisk on high until stiff peaks form.
  6. Cover the cake with the frosting and garnish with the sliced berries. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap (before garnishing) and refrigerate up to 1 day.

Happy Easter Weekend! I hope it’s restful, peaceful and a wonderful time with family.

Love, Lisa

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Tie-It-On Nifty Gifties

April 16th, 2014

In four weeks I will be celebrating national scrapbooking Month! Mark your calendars for May 14th. I will be on HSN once again, sharing my favorite scrapbooking must haves. My tentative show times will be 12:00 AM & 12:00 PM. Of course I will keep you posted on any time changes as we draw closer.

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My amazing designer, Jana Eubank, created this darling spring time card using one of my new favorite HSN products. The Next Dimension 3D Embellishment kit is easy to use, fun & versatile. People who have purchased this kit already are happily rating this and my other card making set, Nifty Gifties, with 5star ratings. You really won’t go wrong pick one or both of these up.

I have easy step by step instructions on how to create this card and other similar ones on the HSN blog today. I can’t wait to see your finished cards. It would be so fun to see you post them on FB, instagram or twitter. Be sure to tag me!

Speaking of Nifty Gifties, I am thrilled to announce that on May 14th, I will be debuting the 3rd version of this amazing kit! This kit has been wildly popular. Our first version sold out. Our 2nd version has limited quantities left. And now, check out these sneak peaks for the 3rd version.

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This kit features a brand new version of gift cards used for “tying it on.” These are brand new designs, colors & exclusive to HSN!

I will see you again on Friday with another “Brecken’s Best Bites” recipe.

Lisa

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Joy in the Journey: Angel’s Landing, A Great Read and Goodbye to an Amazing Lady!

April 14th, 2014

This past week was Spring Break. Unfortunately Steve had school so the girls and I jumped in the car and spent the week “down south” which always means warmer weather. This week I’ll share some of the fun things we did along the way but for today I’m excited to share our first stop: Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

1. I’ve heard about Angel’s Landing pretty much my whole life. People have said it’s the hardest and scariest hike in Utah. The girls and I love to hike so we decided we were up for the challenge.

Here we are with my dear friend, Angelyn Bryce, beginning our ascent:

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It’s five miles round trip and the first quarter mile is a wonderful trail like this:

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Then the terrain suddenly changes and the steepness and switch backs are challenging:

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But the views are oh so amazing:

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Suddenly you get to what you think is the top and there’s still 1/2 mile left of VERY STEEP–I mean cliffs on both side with dizzying drop offs–where you have to use chains to get to the top. Hmmm–I was scared to death but knew I’d regret if if I didn’t continue to the top. You can see the very narrow path and the row of people climbing to the top:

untitled 1999 Joy in the Journey: Angels Landing, A Great Read and Goodbye to an Amazing Lady!

If you look carefully, you can see a row of people hiking down from the top:

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I clung to the chains with all my might and I was so thankful for these chains that really made me free! I took it a step at a time and just concentrating on my footing and my breathing:

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The view at the top was a sight to behold:

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Another sight to behold was that moment when Sage bumped into her math teacher at the top. Here we are five hours from home at the top of a very high mountain . . . AWKWARD. Sage tried to hide but there was nowhere to go.

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A great, challenging hike! My girls are ready to do it again. I’ll probably pass! Most of the above photos were taken with a professional camera by Angelyn but the bottom two were taken with my dear ol’ iPhone.

2. My pal, Jana Eubank, gave me this book to read , so I took it along and couldn’t put it down! It’s one of the most cleverly written books I’ve read. So charming and suspenseful at the same time!

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3. Finally, if you ever went to a CKU or CKC, you probably remember the gal in charge–Paula Kraemer. She worked for Creating Keepsakes for years and was a brilliant business woman and a wonderful friend to my  family. She unexpectedly died on Friday recovering from a very routine surgery. I’m so sad and am still in shock. Yet–I’m still able to find joy in the journey. Paula just sent me a text the last time I was on HSN wishing me luck and cheering me on. I reread all the wonderful text conversations we’ve had over the past few months and her love, support and the photos and memories will continue in my heart! I am honored to join in the celebration of her life with family members and friends later this week. (Paula is the pretty gal next to me.)

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Life is so short! Remember to reach out to those people you love the most before it’s too late.

Love, Lisa

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