Thursday, July 31, 2008

So it begins...

As many of you know- running is a passion of mine. However, in the last 2 years or so- it has fallen into the category of a previous past time. After my foot surgery in May '06 I was a little devastated and didn't think I could get back into it after all my failed attempts. I tried running, got discouraged and failed and the cycle continued. Such is life, right?

This summer I had a goal to improve on health habits and to create a habit of exercising again. It can be hard when you have a husband who is really thin and can eat a whole cow and still want more.. and then drink some water, go to bed and lose 5 lbs. :-) Okay, so I'm exaggerating of course- but being 4'11" and not being too active over the last 2 years- that's not so good. The good news is- I have created a habit and I'm active 5-6 days a week for about 45-60 minutes. I may not be the "size" I was hoping for- but it's a start!

Anyways- I don't want to babble on- but I'm excited to announce that I have registered for a 5k race on September 13th in Provo Canyon. I cannot tell you how excited I am. I don't care much about what my time is- but I'm so excited that my foot won't be in pain and that I'll be able to do it confidently! It also ties into my degree and that is fun for me. It's for the "Wasatch Mental Health: Race for recovery". The purpose of the race is to, " eliminate the stigma of mental illness, while we help those who live their lives with this illness." Woo hoo!

I am hoping to work up really slowly to run longer runs/races. I haven't been consistent for so long- so this will take a lot longer than anticipated. Heh, I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I've let myself go. No doubt that I'll blame a little of it on Comcast- everyone else blames Comcast for everything- this is my turn! :-) Kidding of course! With that said- if any of you want to run the race with me- I'd enjoy the company! Jon will be at the end of it thinking every runner is crazy (no pun intended ...) and will be glad that he isn't running :-)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


A friend of ours called us and told us about a drive through safari located in Northwest Arkansas of all places. It was supposed to have 2 petting zoos and a drive through part. Well, we honestly weren't expecting much more than house-cats (let's face it, what kind of safari would be here?!?!) but were amazingly surprised! Apparently it used to be an exotic animal shelter and has since turned into an attraction. Check it out:

It started out pretty much exactly like we expected. There were the classic animals: goats, chickens, roosters, pigs.

Yes, this is a goat eating Crystal

After what happened in the above picture, can you tell why I was a little nervous while posing for this one?

Heh, his fat has successfully removed his face. We saw this guy earlier walking around. I kid you not, his belly was dragging on the ground while he was walking. That can't be healthy, even for a pig.

'I like to move it move it'

'What's a little biting of the buttocks among friends? C'mon, have a nibble.' The lemur was licking and grooming Crystal's hair. Also this is just after it pooped on our friend.
It was fun because the lemur would wander around and scope out whoever was nearest a tree, then when you didn't expect it, it would just suddenly start climbing you.

They also had a baby man-eating tiger cub. It was only 6 weeks old. Isn't it cute? - of course that is before it turns into a giant man-eating tiger

Score one for Arkansas elementary education. I believe it's actually spelled 'Llama'
And another one! No wonder people out here can be so confused. Just to add, there actually was a zebra there, only it wasn't in a pen or anything, it was out on the safari part - far from its sign.

They had peacocks EVERYWHERE just wandering around. Because they can fly (sort of), they just flew in and out of every cage, petting area, safari section, etc. Here I caught one showing off for his lady friend.
He cornered her and started shaking his booty really fast making a rattling noise. I think she isn't interested, pal.

How many people do you know who can say that they have played with a Kangaroo? Now we have too!
Then there was the safari part. I just took this picture of basking llamas because they're actually in this really mucky swamp pond, and it was so thick with vegetation that there were no viewable ripples whenever they moved, so it seemed more like they had no legs.
The driving part was very interesting. It was amazing to me to see Texas longhorns, Desert camels, and African wildebeest all living in the same area of Northwest Arkansas. Can there be a stranger combination?

The camels seemed particularly interested in the cars. They would routinely come up to the car and stick the head up to our windows. Here was one in the road. He saw us coming and immediately lowered his head and started walking towards us. We veered to the side to let him pass, and he immediately followed us, coming right up to the windows, slobbering all over them (lucky it wasn't our car!)

Lastly we came to the big cat section. There were two layers of fences and then everyone in this section was also in a car, I'm assuming for safety. The funny part, which I wish I got a picture of, was just to the left of where the tigers are (between fences one and two) were two donkeys just standing there. There was a large sign saying "horses and donkeys are lawn mowers, not food!", but the tigers did not get the memo. They just leered and paced back and forth, mere feet away from their pray, longingly watching
We'll make a web album of all the pictures we took soon and have a link to that for y'all soon.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sweet Sweet 4th

Crystal has been doing some research recently on fancy cake decorating and how they do it for wedding cakes and such of the like. For the fourth, she decided to try her hand at it to see what it's really like. Here is the butter cream frosting that she made from scratch (a more appropriate name for it would just be 'sugar butter' - guess the ingredients!)

Next came the fondant. Fondant is the thicker frosting that surrounds professional cakes. It's usually the colored parts and because it's so thick, it is what people use for doing things like tying bows out of frosting. Actually it's pretty much all they use for decorating the cake. After you make it you gotta wrap it up and keep it cold.

The amazing thing about fondant is that it's exactly like play dough. When it's not hot, it's not sticky at all and you just fold and manipulate it to do what you want. We folded in some food coloring to get different colors.

Here I am rolling out the fondant. You take it out of the fridge, nuke it for 10-20 seconds, then roll it out like dough. You then take it like a giant sheet, lay it over the cake, and wrap it around tucking it in at the bottom. This is how/why professional cakes look so smooth and uniform over the frosting - the secret is using a sheet of fondant.

We then used our colored fondant to decorate the cake. Now ours is a three tier, which was apparently to much grandeur for a first time cake. We either needed less cake...or more fondant (guess which I would prefer!). Because we had not enough fondant, we had to roll it out thinner than it was supposed to be so that when we went to put it over the cake (having to hold it up in the air) it ripped in a few places, and we had to try to patch them over - which didn't go so well. All the decorations were done with our homemade fondant. Anyways, it was our first attempt at it so be kind, but here is our final product: (And I bet Leanna really wants us to do her future wedding cake now, doesn't she!)

From the side

From the top

C and me, and yes I am holding a hot dog in my hand. On Crystal's hand you can see her ring because two years ago yesterday I proposed to her.

And Crystal holding the delicious cake.

She also wanted me to add that "We're not eating this by ourselves!" Guess I gotta go make some friends now...that's always easier with cake, right?

She also wanted me to add the link she used for the recipe for the icings

Crystal's Edit:
Here is a video if you want to see someone who knows what they're doing and how cool fondant is! :-)