"experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted." -randy pausch

Saturday, November 29, 2008


grandie/sandma & grandpa ryan sent brennan this ADORABLE turkey day outfit.
our thanksgiving feast...i think i ate about half of this plate, but let's just pretend i was able to eat the whole thing;-)
the kid loves his food...how else could he get to 22lbs. by 9 months, right?!
grandpa casper is missing his head in this picture:-( but this was the gang at sean's parent's house
my famous "ham rolls"
i did this the day after thanksgiving.
our version of a christmas tree;-)
have you done this yet?

friday night lights

we got to go out on a date last night!
where did we go?
the jazz/kings game,
and oh yes, thanks to wild bill we had VIP tickets.
our tickets included free parking across the street from the arena and a fancy dinner (complete with a romantic rose topped table for two) in the VIP room.
we were four rows back from the court. i could literally smell the sweat...and hear jerry sloan's obscenities (boo).
we couldn't decide if we would want to be in the huddle or not...jerry has quite the potty mouth outside of the huddle...hmmm...i just wanted to touch boozer's 3 ct. diamond earings (yes, there was one in each ear).
after the game all of the christmas lights were lit, closing our lovely evening in a romantic way.
thanks wild bill for a great date and mom for watching little B!
oh, and hun, i LOVED being with you. you were a great date:-)

Friday, November 28, 2008

more later

doing this.
will post thanksgiving later.
happy christmas listening, putting "uping" day!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

simply having

grandma "gigi" making biscuits & gravy for thanksgiving day breakfast.
the holiday season is upon us.
i've noticed lately how the lost art of writing has enriched my life.
i love the writing process, but particularly the finished product.
have you ever poured over a piece for hours, only to return later for a few touch ups?
it's amazing how your writing is an extension of you.

my cooking is an extension of me.
for thanksgiving and christmas i have always been deemed the "sweet potato and ham roll" maker. i have failed two years in a row at the gravy, but i won't give up on you gravy! this year i have gone up, up, and beyond with some new treats. sean's mom and i decided to delete pumpkin pie from the thanksgiving menu. gasp!
tangent: i'm trying to find "simply having" by the beatles on itunes, but cannot find it, anyone who can help? my holiday season is not complete without it.
back to no pumpkin pies...
let me explain. numerous pumpkin pies were kept as left overs from a-town's bridal shower two weekends past, and to be frank, we are all sick of pumpkin pie. HOWEVER, as s.d. gib and i did some last minute turkey day shopping last night (4pm, not recommended) he was beside himself when he learned there would be no pumpkin pie. so being the good little wife that i am (HA!), i grabbed a few extra ingredients to whip up some pumpkin pies. they were quite easy to make. i had to buy a few new $$expensive$$ spices, but oh well. it's thanksgiving right? sean guaranteed me his holiday would be ruined without them (the pies that is). here they are cooling in the fridge on the top shelf.
the masterpiece i am most proud of is the carmel pumpkin cheesecake on the shelf just below. oh yummy crust made of graham crackers, toasted pecans, brown sugar and butter...i can't wait to taste you! with baking i've found that it's not really about the finished product. it may be for everyone else, but for me it is the time spent making. i love the taste testing and sampling. maybe that's how writing is as well...even though the finished product is oh so rewarding, it's really all about the process. i can hear mrs. raddatz (my 12th grade AP english teacher in my ear), "go deeper emily, go deeper." i guess that's how life is too. we're working toward something, but it's what's along the way that makes it all worth it.
thanksgiving's not about the meal right? it's about making it all day long, only to sit down and eat when you're too full from everything else.
note: if you are looking for some awkward thanksgiving comedy get "home for the holidays." if you don't like it the first time, don't delay in watching it again. trust me, it gets more hysterical each time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

thanksgiving thanks

after two cups of mint tea, i went to bed last night with a sore throat. bless our little brennan's heart for never waking once until 7am. bless my wonderful s.d.gib for swooping him up after his morning nursing to feed him his cereal, play with him, and give him a bath, so i could go back to bed. thank you heat blanket for warming my sore muscles to not ache. thank you brennan for going back to sleep when that darn door slammed on s.d.gib's way off to school (seriously, hun, not your fault, that door has it in for us i think). thank you mr. nielson for your thanksgiving video. thank you stephanie for changing our family's life. thank you courtney for writing about it all.

if you have been following stephanie & christian's story you've discovered an added level of gratitude for the smaller things in your own life. you've discovered how much we have to be grateful for, and how someone's tragedy can help so many others.

i went to bed last night feeling down from my sore throat with an overall sick feeling (mom, can you come over and make me some tea?). i woke up still feeling yucky, but after wonderful s.d.gib brought me breakfast in bed this morning (god bless you dear), i walked out to my favorite morning activity (checking cjane) while brennan napped away. my spirits were uplifted, and the wonderful spirit of thanksgiving dawned on me. enjoy the video, but don't waste your time with one or two tissues, get the whole box!

i love you all.

happy thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

what day is it?

every morning i wake up and think,
"what day is it?"
i used to wake up and know exactly what day it was in the work week. in fact, i remember laying in bed, turning off my alarm, and thinking, "okay, today is tuesday, which means after today it will be wednesday, and then it's almost thursday, and then it's friday!"
i still do look forward to the weekend. i LOVE having sean home with us. lately i am all about family time and family outings, even if it's just to the grocery store together.
i like not knowing what day it is.
i love enjoying the day it is.
note: click HERE for an article on stephanie and christian in a british newspaper
p.s. i WILL remember what day it is
one week from today...
b/c i'll be turning the big 2-6,
yay for me!

Monday, November 24, 2008


now THAT is a beautiful thing.

unless of course you hate bananas...
"meet & greet monday!"
today i have the privilege of introducing you to an
alaskan princess
who is quite the lady to look up to.
ladies & gentlemen, friends & family,
meet & greet
full name: Jocelyn Marion Peterson Johnson
age: 26 - Holy Cow!
birthplace: Kodiak, Alaska
residence: 3 bedroom home the size of an apartment; San Antonio, Texas
hobby: Gardening and trying new recipes
something you've done that i haven't: Alaskan Native stuff. I've caught and cleaned fish, been out on a commercial fishing boat, driven a boat, hunted for - caught - cleaned - cooked and then eaten octopus, been with my father while he shot and dissected a seal right on the beach (I took the fat off of the seal hide when we got home, and I was the one running into the house when the bear came down our driveway cuz he could smell it miles away).
fishing experience: One time I saw a 300 lb. halibut - it was bigger than the guy that caught it. (He strapped himself into the seat on the boat in order to reel it in). Joceyln's son Ethan, age 10 months
family: My dad is Alaska Native - He remembers life with just radios and no running water. He grew up setting traps and taking care of his 8 younger siblings. I'm married to Daniel Johnson (2 yrs. this Dec!). Ethan was born in January of this year, and we are adopting my 12 yr. old nephew this spring.
something special about you: You can tell how I'm feeling from my facial expressions. alaska or texas & why: Oh man, tough one. I'm Alaskan through and through. My home state is beautiful, dynamic, and pretty dangerous, but Texas has some of the best people I have ever met. Their work ethic astounds me!
favorite memory with me: ward activity at the gym...we had reserved the lower courts and people were playing different games - tennis, basketball, and my favorite - volleyball. I was a senior, not sure about my future, not sure how committed I was to doing the whole married/Mormon-mom thing. I was playing volleyball and I heard someone shriek over by the basketball court. I looked over and there was Sean and Emily Gibson, a counselor in the bishopric, running all over the court with Emily on his shoulders holding on to him for dear life! They were hilarious and having the greatest time. I looked at the joy on their faces and thought to myself - if marriage is any thing like the Gibson's, if it can be that much fun, then it's worth it. It was one of the many memories I recalled when I made the decision to be a wife and mom rather than a career-woman.
one word to describe you: comfy

stephanie update

latest stephanie & christian article

Sunday, November 23, 2008

dear thanksgiving,

oh how i love thee!

i love making ham rolls, placing them perfectly on the plate, and then having one of the boys (adam, sean, dad, you know who you are!) come in a take one the ham rolls in the middle and popping them into their mouths. i love making the sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. i love smelling the luscious turkey all day long, even though i've stuffed myself on appetizers all day and am too full to completely enjoy your luscious taste by the time we sit down for the feast. i love pouring cream into the mashed potatoes, along with cubes of butter. i love the big fluffy, billowing rolls that melt shiny butter all over the place. i love watching football all day long, while drinking coca cola...but most of all, i love rolling onto the couch with a piece of pumpkin pie (mostly whipped cream and not that much pie) to watch "home for the holidays" for the 18th year in a row (seriously, it's been that long).
oh thanksgiving, i have NOT forgotten thee!!! i know it seems like you have been forgotten. the tv has skipped right over you! even thanksgiving commercials have christmas decorations up in them. my neighbors put up christmas lights today. they don't mean to make you feel badly! i want you to know i have not decorated for christmas and have not listened to one christmas song (at least not of my free will). i LOVE you thanksgiving and can't wait to see you on thursday!
thanksgiving, i want you to know that because i have not listened to one christmas jingle and have tried to avoid the christmas spirit in target and walmart that one thing has happened...i have not figured out ONE christmas present to give yet. shoot. okay, maybe i've thought of a few, but it's much harder to get into the christmas giving spirit without a tune or two. i have my sewing machine ready and wooden blocks to paint. black friday will be happy in our home, for all day i will be painting and sewing while listening to "sleigh bells ring-a-ling, jing, jing, jing-a-ling long...this is lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you"...or something like that.

all my love,
miss emily

when the moon hits your eye...

...like a big pizza pie!
this is a newly found staple of mine.
a MUST have in my pantry.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
-adapted from stephanie nielson's whole wheat pizza dough recipe-

2c whole-wheat flour
1 c white flour
tbls olive oil
1-tsp salt
1 packet yeast or 2 and 1/4 tsp
 1 tsp sugar
1tsp oregano
1tsp basil
1/2tsp red pepper flakes
1tsp garlic salt
1 stick butter {to spread on crust before baking--
sprinkle with garlic salt--makes your crust into garlic bread, amaaaaazing!}

1. Dissolve packet of yeast {or 2 and 1/4tsp} into 1 cup warm water with 1 tsp sugar. 
let sit for about 10 minutes in the microwave. DO NOT COOK.
(it will rise and look yellow and puffy, 
sometimes making little air bubbles)
2. Mix flour, salt, olive oil, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, garlic salt, 
and yeast mixture with dough hook for 5 minutes. 
Add about 1/2-1 cup water to it while it is mixing, 
so the dough sticks to the side of the mixing bowl like "spiderwebs". See picture below:
 {see elastic "spiderwebs" shown in the above picture and the below left hand picture}
Add flour if you've added too much water to get the right consistency. 
It will cook even if you don't get this step right, so don't stress about this, 
The dough will be more soft and fluffy if you get the right moisture.
when it comes to bread it's all about moisture, moisture, moisture!

3. Place in an oiled bowl, i use PAM.
Cover a towel in a warm spot for about 1 hour (i like my microwave best.)
DO NOT COOK. just let it sit in there. small warm spot=happy rising dough.
4. Roll out on a well floured counter top, and add toppings
some of our toppings are: 
garlic, fresh veggies {zucchini, mushrooms, bell peppers, purple onions}, and sliced tomatoes that i put on AFTER the pizza is already cooked. the garlic is by far the ingredient that i never leave off. if you love garlic you will LOVE 2-3 cloves chopped up and sprinkled over your pizza--put the garlic on before you cook the pizza, but the tomato AFTER. the pizza will warm it up as it cools down from cooking.
or put them on before and have warm tomatoes.
whichever you fancy.
i do both ways.
you can use this recipe for 2 pizzas or 1. if you're only making ONE PIZZA, put half of the dough into a ziploc freezer bag BEFORE IT RISES {i like to spray PAM inside the bag before i put the dough in, and then i FREEZE IT. that way you can put the frozen dough out on your counter 3-4 hours before 
the next time you want to make pizza, so it can thaw and rise 
without you having to do the work of making your own dough. 
GENIUS, i know:)
i also like to do a stuffed crust and then i put butter and garlic salt on it before baking so it turns it into a garlic cheese bread around the crust. click here to see images.
5. Cook for 15-18 minutes on 425-450* on lowest rack. 450* will make the crust crispier so watch it closely around the 15 minute mark to make sure it doesn't burn.
image 1                           image 2                              image 3

image 1: yeast, sugar, warm water after 8 min. 
image 2: all ingredients mixing for 5 min. with bread hook
image 3: dough rising in microwave, it was dry in this picture, 
i usually make it much more runny. it will turn out either way.

(microwave & sugar with yeast=secret trick to ALWAYS get your bread to rise!)
the finished masterpiece!
our dinner was sooooooo good,
what did you make?!
i've had these "leggins" for a year...
and i finally found something to wear them with.
today is a good day.
"oh fabric, oh fabric, what shall i do with you???"
oh, do i have plans!
also...some exciting sabbath news...
i finally figured out how to say my prayers in the morning AND at night.
a feat i once thought unobtainable with little B.
(my secret? nap time prayers, very relaxing)