CONFERENCE BIRTHDAY

So last weekend was the first week of April which means that we got to watch General Conference and which also means that it was my birthday.   My birthday has either been on or around conference for as long as I can remember, and this year it was nice for it to be around instead of on, so that Will didn't have to be gone to priesthood meeting or anything.


Will spoiled me and made me some amazing bruschetta for dinner and some amazing oreo caramel ice cream pie for dessert (we call it turtle pie...).


Oh, and we snuck away from school and work for a little bit to go out to lunch at Panera.  (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!)


Then on Saturday we got to try out our new tennis rackets in the beautiful spring weather. 

We also spent the weekend after my birthday listening to our church leaders give us some counsel, encouragement, and ways to help us become more Christlike.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the conference:  (thanks for the memes Deseret News)











These words particularly struck a chord with me: 

Often their grief is caused by what seems to them as an ending. Some are facing the end of a cherished relationship, such as the death of a loved one or estrangement from a family member. Others feel they are facing the end of hope—the hope of being married or bearing children or overcoming an illness. Others may be facing the end of their faith, as confusing and conflicting voices in the world tempt them to question, even abandon, what they once knew to be true.
Sooner or later, I believe that all of us experience times when the very fabric of our world tears at the seams, leaving us feeling alone, frustrated, and adrift.
It can happen to anyone. No one is immune....
.....In light of what we know about our eternal destiny, is it any wonder that whenever we face the bitter endings of life, they seem unacceptable to us? There seems to be something inside of us that resists endings.
Why is this? Because we are made of the stuff of eternity. We are eternal beings, children of the Almighty God, whose name is Endless13 and who promises eternal blessings without number. Endings are not our destiny.
The more we learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more we realize that endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternal joy awaiting the faithful.
How grateful I am to my Heavenly Father that in His plan there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings. -Pres. Dieter F. Uchtforf "Grateful in Any Circumstances"
It was a good birthday week and a good conference weekend.  If you would like to learn more about conference or check out some of these inspiring talks you can go here.   Happy spring!

IT'S SPRING Y'ALL




It's true.  Spring showed up yesterday.  He came just in time because I think everyone around these parts was starting to lose their sanity with all the cold and clouds.  But its warmed right up and everything is blooming and beautiful.  It's amazing what nice weather can do for your mood.

[pretty popcorn tree in my neighbors backyard]

So I went to the DMV on Friday to get a driver's license.  When the first guy that helped me saw that I had a Utah driver's license he asked me if I smoked all that legal marijuana while I was there and I was like "wrong state buddy" but I just laughed and shook my head.   Hope he doesn't get arrested in Utah one day for doing drugs.  Whoops.  Then, when I was taking my picture for the license the lady with the camera told me to slick the sides of my hair back and fix my flyaways so my picture didn't turn out like Ronald McDonald.  She also saw that I had a Utah driver's license and told me that she had only been to Utah once and she didn't like it very much because she could never find any sweet tea.  Unfortunately, I passed my driver's test and got my license so I probably won't get to reunite with the nice folks at the DMV again any time soon.

Speaking of the South, my supervisor at work has been helping me learn the lingo around here. Apparently your purse is called your pocketbook, a beanie is called a toboggan and you make a picture instead of take a picture.  She died laughing when a guy came to fix our computers at work one day and he left his hat, and she was like "oh he left his toboggan" and I was like "he left his sled??" I then proceeded to tell her that the correct term was a beanie and she thought that is was the most ridiculous thing she'd ever heard.

Bless her heart.  :)



MARCH RANDOMNESS


So the day after I took this picture last week we had a big freezing rain storm that resulted in more delays and school cancellations and my car doors were practically frozen shut and I'm just plum tired of this winter business.  Thanks a lot Punxsatawney Phil.  We had like two wonderfully warm and beautiful days last week and the weather was just dangling spring in front of us and then it got cold again and I've been wearing scarves and boots all week.  But tomorrow is the first day of spring, so its going to start warming up right?


This is what happened during those two wonderfully warm spring-like days - I felt like cleaning!  It was a miracle!   I became mad with a spring cleaning fever and I was wiping baseboards and cleaning under the sink - and then it got cold and I went back to the couch under my giant blanket to watch tv.


Speaking of tv's...we bought a Google chromecast thing last week and so far we really like it.  We already had Netflix on our tv but we wanted to be able to stream things from our laptop and so far we really like it.  The picture is not always perfect, but we watched a basketball game on BYUtv in HD last week and it worked great.  If you're thinking about getting one, I think it's a great deal for 35 bucks.


This is a picture of Will in his doctor clothes.  Last week Will had three tests (yikes!) because it was the end of a block and for one of the tests he had to do a full physical for a pretend patient.  Basically like what you would do if you went to a checkup at the doctor - check your eyes, your reflexes, your senses, stuff like that.  So guess who got to be the fake patient for Will to practice on all last week...I think I almost went blind after like the tenth time he shone that little light in my eyes...


These are brownies that I made last week for a baby shower...one of my new year's resolutions is to not bake as much so I got rid of all my sugar and flour (you can't bake much without those things), but sometimes you gotta bring stuff to parties so I've resorted to brownie mixes so that I don't have to buy baking ingredients that will cause me to bake excessive amounts of cookie dough and thus ruin my resolution.  Anyway, I wanted to spice things up a little bit so I added some Reese's easter eggs to the middle of the batter and they were pretty tasty.


Especially when Will and I ate the leftovers with some ice cream the next day (I know, what's the point of not having sugar if you're just going to buy it in a different form...one day we'll get there...).  But, really, if you want a nice little easter treat just plop some Reese's eggs in your brownies and eat them right out of the oven with ice cream.  Hmm mm happy easter indeed.


On another unrelated note, I found this on my phone the other day and I forgot that I meant to put it on here ages ago just to make sure that lives on for posterity...I'm pretty sure Nico's gun is loaded...


Oh, and I also found this one.  This one definitely needs to live on for posterity.  You're welcome.


US LATELY

So it's March now.  Not sure what happened to February.  Anyway, here's what's been going on with us...

-Snowpocalyptic Valentine's - So you may have heard about the giant snow storm that overtook the South a few weeks ago.  Unlike the few snow sprinklings we'd experienced so far this winter, this was a legitimate dumping.  I think we got nine inches total.  And I understand now why everyone in the south hates snow...it's because no one owns shovels and there are no snow plows.  So we were legitimately snowed in for at least day...until the temperature got to the sixties and it all started melting.  We got two and half days off of school and work, though, so it was like a mini winter break.





The storm happened the day before Valentine's day, but the snow had started to melt and the main roads were plowed by the afternoon of the 14th, so we briefly ventured out into society to celebrate our love like everyone else.  We went to Applebee's because it's the first place we ever expressed our undying love for each other.  Just kidding.  We had a gift card.


But, just before the storm started Will decided to move our car down from our driveway, which is on a hill, down to the street so we wouldn't get stuck up at the top.  He did a three point turn and he ran inside and was like look I made two hearts! It's Valentine's snow! So there ya go.  True love people.

-The evil knife - So we got a Sam's Club card.  Which is awesome, but also not awesome because sometimes we are weak and want to buy tempting things from the bakery.   A few weeks ago we cracked and we bought a nice bag of freshly baked ciabatta bread and we made the most amazing pesto-turkey-avocado-tomato sandwiches.

But when I was cutting the bread, the knife slipped and I made a pretty good cut in the top of my finger.  Dr. Will bandaged me all up and it healed pretty quickly, but after the incident he lectured me about knife safety and don't hold the knife like that and didn't you ever learn about knives in boy scouts.  Um, no Dr. Will, I did not learn about knives in BOY scouts.  Although I got a little defensive I agreed to be more safe around sharp knives and we left it at that.

Well, the next week we once again found ourselves at Sam's Club, feeling weak and defenseless against the fresh baked goods, and we bought more ciabatta bread.  But this time it was Will who made the sandwiches and cut the bread and it was Will who sliced his hand open while cutting said bread.

Unfortunately his cut was a little bigger than mine and in a more unfortunate place, so it required a run to Walgreens for more bandaging supplies, but Dr. Will patched himself up so we didn't have to go get stitches.

I only asked him about a hundred times if he ever learned how to use a knife in boy scouts.

 Also, we've determined that the true culprit was actually the knife, not our inability to use knives, so the hostile knife responsible for our wounds is effectively being shunned until further notice.



Here's some random pics from my phone...

 This is the American apple pie we brought to our ward party.  The theme was international cuisine...(and no it's not homemade...)

 Sometimes I want to cut off all my hair and be like Emma Watson, but then I'm pretty sure I would end up looking like Julia Roberts when she plays Tinkerbell in Hook.  I just have too much hair.  Oh well.


 Will's in cub scouts so we helped out with the pinewood derby this weekend...some fancy cars

 Will's car


This is me and my bff from the ward Troy hanging out while his parents went to the Duke v. Wake Forest game last night  (Wake Forest won, wha?? GO DEACS).  He was only awake for the first hour so I entertained myself with Netflix...I watched the ESPN documentary about Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.  I was only two years old when the whole deal went down so I honestly had no clue about the whole story...but HOLY COW.  DID TONYA DO IT OR NOT??? Someone from the 80's please enlighten me because the documentary totally leaves you hanging and I have no idea who to believe.

Ok, that's all.  Happy March.






SNOW


Last week we had our first snow experience in Winston-Salem and boy oh boy was it exciting.  We got a whole two inches and all the schools shut down for three days and I got to leave work early and come in late and most of Will's classes got cancelled.

It was awesome.

Sometimes I feel like telling people here that one time it snowed four feet of snow on my birthday when we lived in Pinetop.  My birthday is in April.

But then I'm like nah, betta not.  I'm all for snow days, way to go North Carolina, better safe than sorry right?

In other news, last week we celebrated Will's birthday.  I got him a dozen Krispy Kremes in lieu of birthday cake because donuts are way better than cake in our humble opinions...


Also, fun fact, if you go to Krispy Kremes and buy a dozen donuts they will give you a pack of valentine's that are coupons for one free donut that you can give to your friends or use for yourself to keep getting more donuts...(not saying which one I'm doing...)



 [Will posing with his birthday gift - a new tennis racket]

It was fun to celebrate Will's birthday, but honestly I'm glad we have moved on from January to February.  I'm getting ready for things to start warming up.  Plus, now it's February which means we get to watch a bunch of sports that we only care about every four years for the next two weeks. Right now I'm watching women's cross country skiing and the announcers are way intense - like everyone competing has the fate of the human race on their shoulders...I love it. 

Last night we had fun watching the opening ceremonies, though they felt a lot longer than usual for me, but Will was very excited about all the Russian-ness.  


And so was I, obviously...






26 YEARS OF WILL

Today is the 26th anniversary of Will's birth.  We spent the weekend relaxing while watching our favorite TV shows and stuffing ourselves with bread at Macaroni Grill on Saturday night.  Tonight we are having super nachos for dinner and Krispy Kremes for dessert, per Will's request, and a quiet evening just hanging out (also per Will's request).

Every time I have needed to win an argument this month I have threatened Will by saying that I will throw him a giant surprise birthday party if he doesn't do what I want.  At which point he would always surrender and beg me not to ruin his birthday.  He's a regular Ron Swanson.  He hates being the center of attention and enjoys peace and quiet.  But that's why I love him :).

In honor of Will's birth I have assembled this list to serve as a reminder of Will's Willness at the ripe age of 26.  Basically, it's completely random and I wrote ever I wanted.  Here it goes:

26 things you may or may not have known about my best friend Will

1. His favorite food in the whole world is candy.

2. His second favorite food in the whole world is fruit (nature's candy...)

3. He is an adaptable introvert.  Meaning he is totally cool to be at home alone reading a book, but he can also go with the flow with a bunch of other people (except on his birthday, of course) - probably because he is the oldest of nine kids...

4.  Will is very calm.

5.  Will loves to hike and ride horses.  One of his favorite vacations is to visit his family's ranch in southern Utah.

6. Before we got married Will hated avocados and polo shirts.  Now he can't live without avocados and he is slowly accumulating polo shirts.

7.  Will is a good decision maker.  Unless he needs to decide what to eat for dinner or what movie to watch :).

8.  Will is an avid sports reader.  He loves the Utah Jazz, the BYU Cougars and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons :).  He would probably be a an avid sports watcher if we had ESPN.

9.  If Will could live out his dream life for a day I think he would be a Native American living on the plains and he would ride horses with his brothers and hunt buffalo.

10.  Whenever Will yells his voice gets higher.  It kills me. (It's a common male McKay family trait..)

11.  Will is a good learner.

12.  Will is not afraid to talk to strangers.  He has no problem ordering things or battling with customer service people (thank heavens because I struggle immensely with both of those things)

13.  Will has an amazing singing voice.  But you would never know because he won't ever sing in public :).

14.  Will likes to listen to opera when he studies.

15.  Will is very-focused.  He can literally tune anything out :).

16.  Will likes his cookies to be completely cooked and cooled.  No cookie dough or hot out of the oven cookies for him.

17.  Will is 6'2".

18. Will is not afraid of trying new things.

19.  Will is a good listener.

20. Will loves watching Jeopardy every night.  One day I'm going to make him try to get on the show...

21.  Will's stress reliever is painting.

22. Will's jaw pops whenever he yawns because he got punched in the face on his mission in Russia.

23.  Also, he speaks Russian.

24.  Will loves to play volleyball, basketball, tennis and to run.  He played all those sports in school and he ran a marathon in high school.

25.  Will hates this picture with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns.
 I first saw this picture on Will's sparse Facebook photo album a few months after he returned from his mission in 2009 (no I wasn't fb stalking him...).  So I'm resurrecting it on my blog for it to live on eternally in cyberspace existence.  For the record, it's my favorite picture of Will :).

 Sorry honey, at least I didn't throw you a giant surprise party!

26.   Will is my best friend and my other half in every way.  He puts up with all my craziness and keeps me balanced.  I love him with all my heart.  I'm glad you were born Will McKay!

P.S.  Also, shout out to my awesome MIL Wendy because, let's be honest, if we are celebrating births, the real credit should probably be going to the moms who delivered us...Love you Wendy-Mom :).

FISHAY FISHAY


Happy MLK day everyone.  We are enjoying a day off of work and school today by doing some organizing and shopping.   We finally got around to getting a microwave and a little shelf thing to put it on that fits nicely between the fridge and the stove.  Its nice to have a complete kitchen.  It's also nice to know that we can live for an extended period of time without a microwave if need be.

On Friday night we watched The Butler because it came out on Redbox and afterwards we remembered it was MLK weekend so we were like win-win.  A lot of people didn't like The Butler because most of the character's stories are made up, but I think if you go into it knowing that the characters are fictional then it's a pretty good movie.  It's a good reminder of our nation's history.
Plus, Oprah was awesome in it.

Well since its January and January is pretty much the most boring month ever, I don't really have any new pictures or anything exciting to blog about.  But I did find a picture on my phone of some really good fish I made a few weeks ago, and it reminded me that I've been wanting to share a few of my favorite fish recipes.



We like to buy big bags of tilapia or flounder from Sam's Club.  They're not too fishy and they're pretty filling - we usually just eat one piece each for dinner with some vegetables.  We like to eat fish more than red meat because they are not as hefty and have more health benefits.  So,

To Cook the Fish:
-Get a cookie sheet and line it with tin foil and spray it with cooking spray.
-Place the thawed fish on the cookie sheet and broil it for 4-5 minutes.
-Take the fish out of the oven and flip the pieces over.
-Top with your desired toppings (Suggestions below...)
-Broil for 3-4 more minutes.  Test the fish with a fork and if it's flaky it's done!

Here are some of my favorite things to put on tilapia or flounder:

-Pesto, tomato, parmesan - Spread some pesto (I just buy the jar from Sam's) on each piece of fish and add thin tomato slices or chopped tomato and top with parmesan cheese.  This one might be my favorite.

-Garlic, Basil, tomato, parmesan - Spread some minced garlic on each piece of fish.  Then sprinkle with dried basil, or, if it's summer and you have fresh basil on hand, sprinkle some fresh basil or just stick a whole leaf on top.  Add the tomatoes and top with parmesan cheese (or any kind of italian cheese will taste just dandy also)

-Italian seasoning, Greek yogurt, italian cheese - Sprinkle some italian dressing seasoning (yes, the stuff you put in your crockpot cream cheese chicken recipe) on each piece of fish.  Then spread some plain Greek yogurt on each piece and top with cheese.  The original recipe for this is made with sour cream, so that's totally doable, too; I just like to use Greek yogurt because it makes me feel like I am trying to be healthy or something...

Well, that's it.  Broiling fish is super easy and if you have a hard time with fish, adding the toppings really makes them tasty.




I'm having fish tonight!

Also, sorry for getting the McDonald's fish song stuck in your head...