Thursday, August 4, 2011

Habitat For Humanity

The other day Kenny's Vivint boss texts us at 11:30 PM telling us that we have the opportunity to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity at 8 Am the very next day. 
Habitat for Humanity

Hmmm... the news said that tomorrow was going to be record heat and humidity.  As much fun as building a house in record heat sounds, I was already trying to come up with excuses of how we could get out of this. Good thing I have a husband who jumped right on it and texted him back saying we would both be there before I could even think of one excuse. Darn.  So we got up early the next day and put on some old clothes ready to work. 

We showed up in a pretty run-down area in Wilmington, and after they gave each of us instructions, we got to work.  Before even starting anything I was sweating out of every pore.  I was in charge of being on the ladder and painting the top edges of the walls with Kenny who was painting the ceiling.  After about one hour we were all drenched in paint and sweat.  Ya, it was not cute.

 While we were working we got into a conversation with the guy in charge of the whole project.  He had been working with Habitat for Humanity for almost a year now and gets paid a whopping THREE dollars an hour.  He told us about his small apartment with five other people and how he has less then 150 dollars to spend on groceries.  I will admit my mind started to wonder, why?!  He had been to college finished his bachelor degree but decided he wanted to live his life in a way that he could be proud of. 

I have so many small moments where I realize how grateful I really am for who I am and what I have, and then find myself forgetting them so fast.  I see good and bad each day but it is ultimately up to me to choose what to dwell on.  While we might not be perfect and see the good every single day, we can always start over and try again!  My new goal is to remember how good each day can really be and to choose to be grateful for all of it!  

This is called real concentration.
Makelle and Austin!  He is such a good sport because he came to this even though he was suffering through kidney stones!
Whitney and Eric working hard

The whole group

This is at the beggining before I turned into this beauty...

Yup, sweaty tacos I got myself there.  Please enjoy this nice view of them.

(Pictures compliment of Natasha Hobley, Thanks girl!)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cheesecake Mistake

So I have this friend Shellena.  She is an excellent baker and cook.  I needed a good recipe for Kenny's birthday to make him his favorite dessert, cheesecake, so naturally I went to her.  She told me about the goddess of all cheesecakes, it is called...

The Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake! (Recipe posted at the end)

I wanted to make a cheesecake to put all other cheesecakes to shame!  So I even went to lengths such as buying a spring foam pan, which I had no idea what it even was at the time!  I even made sure it was nine inches which is what the recipe called for.  Wow, I was being really detailed oriented, ha.  I was all set... or so I thought.

So I started out making the Oreo crust.  I crushed them by putting them in a blender.  The next step was to melt store-bought caramels in the microwave.  CRAP!  I forgot to buy caramels!  This wouldn't be a big deal except I don't have a car out here so it was time to improvise.  I will just home make the caramel!  Brilliant!  So now I had a new project, I had to home make caramels.  (Another thing I have never tried)  After pretty successfully making the caramels I poured a layer of the mixture onto the Oreo crust.

Well finally I made the actual cheesecake and put it in the oven to bake.  The homemade caramel was obviously too runny because it melted out of the cake all over the oven!  Wow as if my oven was not already greasy enough from my last baking experience. 

After that little mistake, I must admit I didn't do TOO bad of a job because Kenny said it tasted pretty good.  Either that, or Kenny is really good at lying! :) 

   Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake

24 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 2 cups)

6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Caramels

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans

3 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

3/4 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla

3 eggs

2 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Make It

HEAT oven to 325°F.

MIX crumbs and butter; press onto bottom and 2 inches up side of 9-inch springform pan.

MICROWAVE caramels and milk in small microwaveable bowl on HIGH 3 min. or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute. Stir in nuts; pour half into crust. Refrigerate 10 min. Refrigerate remaining caramel mixture for later use.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over caramel layer in crust.

BAKE 1 hour 5 min. to 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours.

MICROWAVE reserved caramel mixture 1 min.; stir. Pour over cheesecake. Melt chocolate as directed on package; drizzle over cheesecake.

Kraft Kitchens Tips


Enjoy a serving of this decadent treat on special occasions.


Reduce oven temperature to 300°F if using a dark nonstick springform pan.

How to Cut a Cheesecake
When cutting a cheesecake, use a knife with a thin blade, wiping the blade with a damp paper towel or rinsing with warm water after each cut for best results. Or, try using unwaxed dental floss. Just cut an 18-inch piece of floss, then wrap the ends around your index fingers. Cut the cheesecake in half by pulling the floss through the cheesecake, starting at top surface of cheesecake and keeping the floss pulled tight. Release one end of the floss and pull through bottom of cheesecake. Rewrap the floss and use to cut cheesecake into desired number of slices.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kenny's Birthday in NYC

To celebrate Kenny's big  26th birthday we took a little drive down to New York City.  Normally that would be a pretty cool wife thing for me to do, taking my husband to NYC, but because it was only two hours away from where we live it didn't seem quite as extravagant.  Although we didn't have to travel too far it was still very worth it and incredible to see the big city!  Here is a timeline of Kenny's great birthday! :)

Kenny waking up to the apartment decked out in birthday gear. It's an old family tradition of mine built from my mom always printing out happy birthday signs and putting them up around the house. 

Finally found a parking spot in New York after an hour of driving around!  We explored Central Park mostly to see people dressed as if it were the beach!

The one and only Empire State Building!  Very cool building.  Very uncool that it costs $20 to ride the elevador to the top!

Times Square was incredible!  I realize now that Salt Lake City is so small!  Another cool thing was how many mormon ads there are! This is where Kenny got to....

Have his birthday dinner... a New York hot dog... which suprisingly tastes like... well a hot dog!!

That teeny tiny little bump in the skyline there... well that is the Statue of Liberty in all it's majesty. 

It was such a good birthday and such a good way to celebrate Kenny getting so old!  Love you Ken!

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