Friday, September 28, 2012

Countries I've Visited

  1. United States
  2. England
  3. Scotland
  4. Ireland
  5. Belgium
  6. France
  7. Brazil
  8. Mexico
  9. Egypt
  10. Jordan
  11. Israel
  12. Peru
  13. Belize
  14. Hondorus
  15. China
  16. Hong Kong
  17. Canada

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Land of 10,000 Buddhas

Actually it’s a Monastery in Hong Kong. And there are actually over 12,000 if you count the travel size ones inside the monastery. But you’ll have to take my word about that. No pictures inside. And I guess I didn’t count every single Buddha on the 431 step hike up. But there were a lot. Each with an individual expression.

Yep. It’s up there. And there isn’t a lift.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Creamy Tortellini Tomato Soup

This is an ultimate comfort food that would be great on “one of those days.” It is a lot easier than it looks and it impresses. I used this recipe from Taste of Home as a basic guide. But I ad lib measurements and spices a bit.


  • 1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each)  condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • One can of sliced mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (I used fresh. yum)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Additional shredded Parmesan cheese, optional


  • Cook tortellini according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the soup, broth, milk, cream, tomatoes and seasonings. Heat through, stirring frequently. Drain tortellini; carefully add to soup. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle each serving with additional cheese if desired. Yield: 10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Oh, Canada

When my cousin decided to hop the border to Canada in order to marry her sweetie, who can’t legally get into the USA. I knew there wasn’t nothing in this world that would keep me from being there with her. (Yep, we are those kind of friends. Partners in crime and other outrageous schemes. (ie. Bear Lake) Along with seeing one of my BBFs tie the knot, this resolution carried with some very fortunate repercussions.  1. Road trip, baby. 2. New destination: Canada. (Yes. I’ve traveled to China and Egypt, but I’d never stepped foot in Canada. Sue me.) 3. National Park: Glacier National Park is on the way if you go slightly to the west. I was super stoked.    

P1050009Glacier is another piece of Heaven on Earth.


Crossing the Border



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I love her dress almost as much as I love her.

Being the BFF/cousin that I am, I volunteered myself to stay a few extra days and do the unfortunate task of bringing her back to the states without her sweetie. This temporary separation is necessary until she has her visa and can go live in France with him. While they did the honeymoon thing, her new family made sure I got to do some true Canadian must-dos. Have you ever tried Poutine? Food native to Canada.

They took me to Waterton. A Canadian National Park.

Now I can say: Canada. Been there, done that. My only regret is that I didn’t get a picture of  a Canadian Mounty. One of favorite books, Mrs. Mike, is about the life of a woman married to a Canadian Mounty. And he really is the epitome of a perfect man. I would like to meet one sometime and take his picture. Next trip to Canada, I guess. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

real-life love story

One of my favorite joys in life is standing on the sidelines and watching the real-life love stories unfold of my friends and those I love best.  

Over the past year, I got to watch one of my dearest friends and cousin’s love story. She and her forever have a story like no other. One that only the Almighty could orchestrate. But they both had to play their parts well and not give up when times got tough. And after the work, prayers, and faith even oceans couldn’t keep them apart. She and I have spent hours through the years talking about life, love, and the day when it would finally happen to us. We both surmised that no matter the timing, circumstances, place, age, or aligning of the stars that brought two people together who will love each other forever, it is nothing short of a miracle. Even the simplest story. Her story is without a doubt evidence of that. It was a good story to watch. Better than the best chick flick.

I am so grateful that I got to be there when this segment of the story wrapped up and when these two amazing people completely committed to love and take care of the other for the rest of eternity. The day was beautiful all around. And she was “the bride of my dreams.” (Do you know that reference? Hint: It’s from a movie and a book.)

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The happily-ever-after is still in the making. But it will be a joy to continue watching.

*Picture courtesy of Jared Harlow.