Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ode to the Christmas Tree

Well, since I am taking my tree down tomorrow, I thought I would finally post some photos of it. The top two are details of the pheasants that I designed my tree around, and then the bottom one is a full view. From Christmas morning. So, if you look closely you can see some gifts I got! I love the feathers, and I wish I had more. Oh well. Farewell, Christmas. We'll see you again next year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A bit about my amazing past week....

So, last week (well, I guess continuing into this week) was the best week ever! It was just amazing. Let me lay it out for you.
Sunday: We had the most amazing lesson ever in YW (church). I cried over and over. I just really, really felt the spirit and I think it set the tone for the week.

Monday: I finished my Christmas Shopping, which was good enough. But THEN, Jason came home as a surprise! Which was surprising, as I was not expecting him until Wednesday.

Tuesday: I went over to Heather Acosta's, and we made chocolates and had a wonderful time. We also had a delicious dinner of pizza. Which, okay, was not as good as the dinners we usually have over there (as we all share the love of cooking and good food) but I didn't have to cook it after hours of Chocolates. We made almond joys, truffles, toffee, and the following cremes: mint, orange, raspberry, coconut, and cinnamon. I think the cinnamon cremes were my favorite.

Wednesday: We had Adam and Lauren Wilson and Carl Armstrong over for Christmas Eve activities. We watched A Christmas Story, ate Grilled Cheese and Cocoa, and opened presents. I got a Dominos set (Double 15s- sweet!) and a present that I will receive later. Also, I got to open a present from Jason and it was a really nice silky robe. Oooh- it feels so good! Also, UPS called and said they had a package for us that they needed to deliver. I told them our new address, and they said it would be there Monday. But we weren't expecting a package. So what could it be?

Thursday: Christmas morning was fun, as I am sure you can guess. Big gift- a digital camera! Most surprising gift: A wedding band! It was really sweet! Then we went over to Heather and Jason Acosta's for a DELICIOUS prime rib (bone-in) and other tasties. That was more on par with the normal dinners. I can't get over how good it was! Then, we also opened presents with them. I got a game called Partini- which is SUCH a fun game! We played it, and I recommend it to everyone who likes games!

Friday: I went Day-After-Christmas Shopping with Lauren, where I got THREE really cute skirts, a Really cute pair of black heels (FOR FIVE BUCKS!!) and some soap, body butter, and cinnamon-mint lip gloss. Then, Dan and Faith Burk came over! We- can you guess?- opened presents! I got a really good, tear-jerker of a book called The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck, some chocolate covered pretzels, and a gift certificate for Jo-Ann's. We played assorted video games, played Partini (again! SO fun!) and also played a game similar to The Newlywed Game. We also had Pizza. They didn't want to leave, we were having so much fun! They finally had to leave around eleven because Grace (their two year old) was having a total meltdown. After about an hour of "Go? Go?"

Saturday: Jason and I went shopping, and I got a cute case for my camera. I also looked all over for a cute purse, but couldn't find one. So, I went online, but still couldn't find one I liked. Then, I remembered Etsy (which is a site for people to sell handmade items) and found TONS of cute purses. So I found one I liked, and found out I could customize it! Sweet! Then, because my new band was pinchin my finger, and also because I can't wear a band with my ring, we decided to got trade in the band for a whole new ring, which I got to pick a setting, and then put any kind of stone I want in it. So, overall, it was a very customizable day.

Sunday: We had friends over for dinner, and I invented another dish. I also worked on my purse.

Monday: Got the package from UPS- it turned out to be my two free copies of the bead magazine I am in!! Yay!! So, now I have those to show off! (BeadStar, if anyone wants to go buy it. I will probably dedicate a post to it soon.) Also, we got RockBand 2 and played it (it's waaaaaay better than Guitar Hero World Tour), and I ordered my purse. You can see it below. (The inside is also the brown fabric.) I can't wait for it to be delivered! Oh- and I spent my Jo-Ann card, and I also found some fun beading stuff at a hardware store. (Nuts, Washers, and O-Rings). Plus, I found out Jason will probably have this week off as well.

All in all, it was a pretty amazing week, don't you think? I can't wait for tomorrow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Goat Cheese and Bell Pepper Pasta

Mmm- it looks pretty good, huh? I didn't have a Cherry Tomato to make it look more beautiful, so I just sucked all the sauce off some of the Bell Peppers and arranged them for a garnish. (Hey- it was my plate, I can do what I want!)
Basic Recipe: Chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper, sauteed with lemon juice. Added mushrooms, a tiny bit of sun-dried tomatoes, and a red bell pepper and a yellow bell pepper. Added lots of garlic. And then some lime juice (because I was out of lemon, and I thought it needed more.) Added some Tarragon. Added a bit of cream, reduced it, and then added some Chevre goat cheese to melt in. Added more cream for sauce-like consistency and served with Penne.
Ratings: Everyone gave it a Six. They thought the peppers were really good (which was the point, as I built the whole pasta to bring out the pepper flavor, so I did that well.) but that the goat cheese made a weird texture. The goat cheese doesn't melt really smoothly, and it kindof coats your mouth, which is a bit of a required taste.
My Rating: Probably a Six-and-a-Half. It needs a bit of tweaking. It didn't have enough goat cheese, and I am not sure I liked the cream-based sauce. I will try it again with a lemon butter. Another possible idea is to serve it as Chicken. Chicken, covered with the sauce and veggies, and then add a smear of goat cheese on top. Probably would have been better. But I did like it quite a bit. More than anyone else did. I was impressed that the main flavor was the bell peppers. Everything just really brought out that flavor.

Busy and Then Some

Well, this is just a placeholder post, honestly. I have been soooooo busy for the last week, so I haven't had a chance to post. BUT- I have a TON to post, so I will be doing so shortly. We had a great Christmas, and I will go through more detail later. I am mostly just feeling so guilty for not writing in my blog. Also- somehow I find the time to check at least twice a day for blog updates. So, yeah. I could have been posting. Love you all, and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Winter Wonderland!

It's impossible not to get into the Christmas Spirit when you are getting as much snow as we are! Our first snow day was one week ago today, and we have probably a foot and a half in our backyard. It has been snowing like crazy!
This is a beautiful pine tree in our backyard.

This is a walnut tree in our backyard.

This is one night's accumulation of snow. No joke. With my hand for scale.
This is my car. One night only. (From about midnight until 10am) The window line you can see is about an inch from the top of the car. Not the best for scale.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Creative Kitchenry and Sucky Computery

Well, today I decided to invent a new recipe for dinner. I took some beautiful pictures of it (complete with pretty tomato garnish!!) to post. I took them off the camera and put them on the computer, into a new folder I had just titled "Food." They showed up, so I deleted them off the camera. Then, when I went to look at them, they were gone! Just gone! And THEN, the title of the folder reverted back to "New Folder." So, I think my computer must have gone back in time. Or something. Unfortunately, the camera was still firmly affixed in the present. So, you will just have to imagine how delicious my dinner looked.

Now, on to the dinner. Recipe name: I am not totally sure yet. I'm going with maybe "White on White with a Tomato Twist" or something else dumb.
Basic Description: Sauteed (sliced on the bias) chicken and garlic. Salt and peppered with a splash of lemon juice and a generous plop of White Balsamic Vinegar. When browned, I added baby Bella mushrooms and Sundried tomatoes (for color). Near the end, I added quite a bit of cream to make a modified alfredo-ish sauce. All served over Angel Hair pasta. (It really was beautiful. Maybe if my pictures reappear, I will post them.)
The consensus: I had three friends over for dinner. The average rating (out of 10) was about an 8.56. (Including Jason's.) Some memorable quotes: Adam- It's better than Taco Bell. (Which didn't say much for me, but he loves it.) Jason- It has a nice fruity undertone, with solid legs and a smooth finish. (The fruitiness is from the White Balsamic.)
My rating: Honestly, not the best dish I invented. I thought it needed a bit more cream than I added to make more of a sauce. Lauren and Adam concurred. I gave it a 7. The fruity tones were excellent with the mushrooms, and the sundried tomatoes were perfect. So what was my beef? A little too sweet. The Balsamic gets really sweet when reduced, and the White Balsamic is missing the "zing" of the regular Balsamic. And then with the cream, I found it really tasty for a few bites, and then a little hard to swallow.
The fix: Next time, I will add a dash of Tobasco sauce to help negate the sweetness. I would definitely make it again.
Stay tuned for more "Adventures in the Kitchen with Amanda!"

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Stress!

I am happy to state that today (finally!!) Jason and I have bought presents for all of our friends. We are done! Whoo-hoo! It was a very long and tedious process. Mostly for the guy friends, as Jason picked out all of those gifts and is very indecisive. However, we are still not finished shopping for each other. I am not too worried about me, as I have ideas of what I am getting and two days of shopping. Jason, however, does not know what he is getting me. Even though, I feel I must point out, I gave him a list. AND he's working Monday, Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. So when is he going to shop? I have no idea. Oh well. I'm sure he will find a way somehow. It's funny to me that every year, I swear I am going to finish my Christmas shopping early, and end up shopping in the last few days before Christmas. When will I ever learn?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jewelry and Roommates!

Tonight, I got together with two of my old roommates for dinner! It was lots of fun. Carrie Sheffield was here visiting family for Christmas, and Melanie Eichner lives up in Salt Lake. Unfortunately, I don't see her often, although I really should see her more, since she's not THAT far away. Anyway, we had a really great time. Carrie and I had lots of time to bond, since I gave her a ride. It was snowing like nobody's business. Honestly. The roads were sooooo slick! I actually slid right into somebody. We were on a hill, and there was nothing I could do about it. Luckily, she was super nice. She got out of her car, and came and gave me a hug and was just laughing. She said that she and the passenger had just been talking about a similar experience that she had (just sliding into someone) and also about how if they could just make it to the highway, they probably wouldn't get rear-ended. We were about 50 feet from the on-ramp, so she was so close! But she was very sweet, and said no harm done, since I only chipped her paint. I was so grateful that she wasn't mad!
Anyway, I decided to make my former roomies some jewelry, and I took some very poor photos of it with my phone, because both pieces turned out very beautiful. Hope you can kindof tell what they look like! Melanie's is the orange one, and Carrie's is the green one. (oh- and Melanie never wears matching earrings, so that's why the earrings are different.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Toys Nowadays

I was merrily Christmas shopping in Walmart, when, lo and behold, I stumble across a crazy toy! It is a Barbie. Special Edition. For (you'll never guess) Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." I couldn't believe it! Honestly, what parent would give their child a horror movie Barbie for Christmas? Okay, I admit, I thought it was pretty cool. But even I wouldn't give it to a kid. That would be Jason's job.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Am I Weird, Or What?

So, I was looking through the photos on my cell phone, and I realized that I have a strange, strange fetish. Apparently, when I am bored, I take multiple shots of my eye. Yes, you heard me. My eye. I think it may stem from a photo my parents have from college of one of their friends' eye. It's all you can see, and I always thought it was pretty cool. So, I guess subconsciously, I am always trying to recreate that photo when I am bored. So, here are my cell phone self portraits of my big, beautiful eyes. And some with weird makeup. In the first two, I am wearing minty green mascara. My mom thought it was hideous! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Christmas Frenzy!

The last few days have been a frenzy of Christmas activity around here. Saturday, we had to go buy a tree, as I got rid of our old one when we moved. So, Sunday we put it up. It was a pre-lit tree, and I don't think we will do that again. Seriously. It was way too difficult. But, we did get it up, and decorated. This year, the theme is pheasants. All the ornaments are gold, brown, copper, and green, and I have feather picks. Also, I have three pheasants, so there you go. I will take pictures of it to post when Jason gets home on Thursday. I am not sure how much Jason loves my crazy Christmas tree ideas. But, he doesn't complain, and I really think they are quite gorgeous.
Today I have been wrapping the gifts I have already bought. I don't think there is anything quite as fun as wrapping a gift that you know someone is going to love. Expecially when you curl ribbon, and make every one gorgeous. I am sure that won't last too long for me, but I do enjoy it.
Later today, I am off to do some Christmas shopping. I have no idea what to get Jason for a big present. I do have some ideas for smaller ones, though. So, maybe I will start there and see what happens. And I still have some friend gifts to buy. All in all, I am starting to feel pressed for time as Christmas is a mere 9 days away. Yikes!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Well, I have sadly been neglecting my blog. Now that I have had a funny story to tell, I really don't think it's fun to have boring posts. Oh well. Pictures will help, and I am pretty sure I'm getting a camera for Christmas! Yay!! So, you should all be looking forward to that date.
Okay. The real reason I haven't posted is that I have been SOOOO busy! I had three of the Young Women come over to bead, which was lots of fun. They all made at least one thing, and they were all very different, and super cute. I made a pair of earrings. Pink! The next day, one of them called me up and wanted to bead again, so I said she could come over, and we did more beads. This day was more productive for me. I made a necklace and three pairs of earrings. Then Jason came home, which I am always glad for! But, since he has been working lots of overtime, we had to run around all crazy and get Christmas stuff done. We had to buy a new fake tree since I tossed our old one when we moved. We originally wanted to get a Christmas Tree Permit and chop down our own, but it didn't work out. We are planning to decorate our tree today. It will be fun. Anyway, gotta go to church. Just thought I would post SOMETHING!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jason's Christmas Party plus an Extra Adventure!

Last night was Jason's Christmas Party. Faith (who's husband Dan works with Jason) and I decided to carpool together, as the party was in Vernal, which is about three hours away. So, she came to pick me up with her two kids and we headed out to Vernal. We had a great time chatting, and before we knew it, we were there! So, we went to the Christmas Party, which was fun. We ate dinner at a place called Stockman's, and they have INSANE portions. No joke, each dinner would have been better suited for at least three people. And then, Faith, Dan, Jason and I decided we would split a dessert. Because, surely, four people can handle one dessert, right? But- no. Four people cannot handle one dessert at Stockman's. It was like a half gallon of ice cream with four full-size eclairs on top, all smothered in at least one can of whipped cream, and then a whoel jar of fudge topping poured on top. It was leaking over the platter it was on. Then we did the White Elephant gift exchange, which was funny. They like to get joke gifts, so it was pretty good. Well, it was about 10:30 at that point, so Faith and I decided we had better head out.
Everything is going fine, until all of a sudden, there is this weird clunking sound. It appears we have a flat tire. At 12:30 at night. On top of a mountain. So, Faith and I get out to see which tire is flat. Me, being the blonde I am, I was looking at the back tire. For some reason, I was expecting the wheel to be at the very end of the car. Why? I have no idea. But I start freaking out, and I am like "Oh my gosh! The whole wheel is gone!" Faith immediately comes over, and points out the tire, which is a mere foot from where I was looking. To be fair to myself, we didn't have a flashlight or anything, and it was really dark. So we determine that, yes we do have a flat tire, and open the trunk to get out the spare and the jack. But, they are stuck in the trunk! (I will take this moment to point out that neither of us had changed a tire before.) I was pulling and pulling at the jack, and it would just not come off! So, Faith calls her husband and figures out how to get the stuff out of the trunk, as well as a basic set of instructions. So, we start jacking up the car, and after a while, the car slides off the jack. Which, of course makes me scream, since I was the one doing the jack, and Faith is terrified that I have been killed or something. But, we are all okay. We just have to start all over. By this time, we have been out for about half an hour. Faith was wearing a long sleeve thin sweater and some stiletto heel boots. I was wearing a thin sweater, thin dress pants, and shoes made of eyelet lace. Neither of us had a coat, and I wasn't even wearing socks. It was FREEZING!!! Seriously, we thought we were going to have to chop off our toes. Especially since we had not yet even got the car jacked up. Yikes! So, eventually, the car is up enough. I was tired. So, we turn to the task of getting the hubcap off. No visible screws. I tried to pull it off, but it was on pretty good. So, poor Dan gets another phone call asking how to take off the hubcap. It turns out, you just pull it off. But, man, it was on there! The other side of the tire iron had a chisel tip, so we wedged it in there and tried to pry it off. After both of us trying for quite some time (and probably a few dents in the car- Sorry, Faith!) we finally get it off. Now, for the lugnuts. Keep in mind, that we have no light. It's the middle of the night on the top of the mountain, and we are on a slope. And her kids are screaming bloody murder. We couldn't get the lugnuts off! Arrrgh!! Faith was voting for calling a tow truck, but I am too cheap, so we just kept working at it. Finally, it starts to loosen! Yes! One down, four to go! One by one, we get them off. All of them are as hard as the first one. So, now we can pull the tire out!! Only, since I was lazy, the car was not jacked up high enough. So Faith jacked up the car while I pulled on the tire, until finally, it comes off! From there, it was pretty easy. But, we were still freezing! But- I now know that I can change a tire in the worst conditions! I didn't even freak out because it was just us two, vulnerable women, and two kids under the age of three. I am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I have, at last!, begun unpacking my beads. Wow. I didn't think it would be that big of a project, considering I mostly just taped up drawers and transported it all like that. But, let me tell you, I was wrong. For one, I have a lot more beads than I thought I did. A LOT MORE. And, I had probably 15-18 grocery bags of beads I have bought in the past two years and never put away. So, all in all, it was a pretty big project. I am still not done, and it has to be done by three tomorrow, so that I can bead with a few of my girls. Yikes! I must say, I am pretty stressed about it. But, it will be so delicious to be able to bead again. I'll take some pictures later to post.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I am Thankful!!

I am having the best day ever! I don't really know why, nothing extraordinarily wonderful has happened. I think it's all in your mindset. I woke up in a really good mood, and it was snowing!!!! Which of course, immediately sent me over the top. I got a reasonable amount accomplished, but mostly it's just been an average day. I guess it's the kind of average day that makes you grateful for all of your blessings, and makes you just glad to be you. I have decided that if I live my whole life with what I have now, no more, I could be happy. Life is good, you guys. Really good! :) I hope reading my somewhat frazzled post helps you feel the same way.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Young Women and Birthdays

Well, I don't have too much time, since I am in Young Womens, and they are certainly keeping me busy! Which is a good thing. But, I am trying to be a faithful blogger, so I thought I would post something at least. We (the Young Women and I) are getting ready from YW in Excellence, so we are rehearsing a modest fashion show today. It should be tons of fun! I am really excited to be back with my girls after vacation. Two of them are coming over to bead on Wednesday, so I am excited about that! It should be sooooo fun!
Yesterday was Jason's birthday, and we had fun. I decided to do the SCUBA thing, and he is pretty excited about that, so it will be really fun. I am worried that I might panic at 200 feet, but I guess we won't know until it happens! We also had dinner with Carl, Lauren and Adam at Chilis. It was really fun! Happy birthday to Jason! Getting closer to thirty every day! :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weird Photos

I spent some time with this computer program I have making weird photos from our older photos. Some of them turned out pretty well, I thought, so I decided to post them, just so I would have some pictures up. It's harder to do a blog if your camera is in Vernal all week. So, enjoy the weird photos. I think the knight one turned out the best. Also, I think Jason just has a better face for this kind of thing because all of mine look pretty awful.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Birthday Shopping

Well, Jason's birthday is tomorrow (Yikes! Where has the time gone?) and I am desperately trying to find something to get him that will be some sort of surprise. He is the hardest person ever to buy for, because he just buys what he wants. So I have no idea. It's sad. I am thinking of buying SCUBA certification for both of us, since that is something he has talked about wanting to do a few times, but not in the last six months. The only problem is, where would we dive? I don't think a trip to the Bahamas is in our near future.... What a dilemma! So, I need some ideas. Or maybe just input about the SCUBA idea.
Also, I went to the laundromat yesterday, and somehow forgot to wash all my jeans, so I am dressed like a real bum. It was either that or a skirt, and frankly, I don't care enough to get that dressed up. So, lazy but stressed day, I am ready for you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Creation

So, I have finally succumbed to peer pressure. Can you believe it? I am somewhat ashamed, myself. Here I am, creating a blog. And I don't really have anything to say. So, it will probably be a random collaboration of odd stories and facts until something interesting happens. Here is the rundown of my basic life.
Major players: Amanda Klimek (aka Myself) and my husband Jason Klimek. Jason's primary occupation: fish-slayer. Secondary occupation: his job as a Paleo-Surveyor. As for me, I spend most of my time beading, cooking, and reading. And all the other duties of a housewife. Ironically enough, though life doesn't sound exciting on paper, we have quite a few odd things happen to us, so no doubt you will be amused at least some of the time. We shall see, I suppose!