Friday, January 6, 2012

Caught Up...Finally

I have heard the complaints {cough *Sarah and Dallan* cough} about my lack of blogging and I have finally done something about it. 

School got busy with end-of-semester projects and finals, but I thought I would be able to return to my blog as soon as school was over. Ha! Somehow I was even busier during my "break." Between work, parties, family events, and holidays I honestly didn't even think about my blog. (who wants to be the one typing away while everyone else is playing games or something?) Then in Brian Head, when I actually had some time, I didn't have internet access. 

But now my to-do list is all checked off and I can guiltlessly return to blogging. 

So, from Thanksgiving to the present, I am caught up. 

Enjoy!

A New Semester

Unfortunately, the end of the holidays means the beginning of school.

What subjects are we diving into this semester?

Carson:
computer-aided manufacturing
materials science
calculus
and an internship

Sam:
microbiology
microbiology lab

The big news of this semester is Carson's internship. He is working for Fast Fill Systems - "a company that specializes in the manufacture of diesel refueling nozzles for mining equipment used worldwide."

(Those are the first words Carson himself has actually typed onto this blog. This is an epic moment folks.)

Anyway, Carson was brought in to establish an in-house foundry and to improve their powder coating processes. (Yeah...I am a science person so a lot of this goes over my head. But if you understand it then there you go.)

Unfortunately, this internship means he has to quit his job at BYU, but he is really enjoying his work at Fast Fill and hopes to be there for a while. 

As for me, I am still working at the Courtyard at Jamestown. I was recently told I did not deserve to call myself a Latter-Day Saint (by a resident who doesn't know any better and will not be judged for his words) just because I tried to push his wheelchair into breakfast. So yeah...its still pretty entertaining. 

This semester looks to be as busy as ever, but we are blessed with a lot of time together and with family and we wouldn't want things to be any different.

Carson Carson Carson

Yes, this blog is about us - me and Carson. But, since I am the main (more accurately sole) author, it tends to be about us and me. What about Carson? Well, here is what he has been up to. 

Last semester Carson took a material removal class. That means he learned how to take big hunks of metal and form them into desired shapes using a bunch of different machines. Or so I understand. 

First he made this hammer (slash gavel?). He actually had to design it in CAD and then create it, which is pretty cool. I was told not to hammer anything with it though, since its made from aluminum and will be dented by pretty much anything you hit it against. So cool...but not super practical. Still, he got an A!

Next he worked with a group to make this vice. I don't really understand all of the work that went into it, but it looks complicated to me. And pretty cool too.

So don't worry, Carson is doing well and he is really enjoying and thriving in his engineering classes. I am glad he has found something he loves and is good at. 

Happy New Year!

Carson and I spent a few days after Christmas with my family in Brian Head. If you have never heard of it, it is a smallish ski/snowboard resort just outside of Cedar City. We spent four days in a condo right next to two lifts. We boarded, relaxed, and celebrated the new year. 

There hasn't been much snow this year so not all of the runs were open and the runs that were open were kind of icy, but it was still really fun.

 Carson on the lift with his new favorite lift snack - trail mix. 

 Carson had the bright idea of strapping in before we took this picture and because it was so icy I couldn't stand up without going down the mountain. Result - an awkward picture because Carson is holding me up. We match though!

 Legit. Ha. 

 Little bro.

 Little sis.

Us.

Carson is a way better snowboarder than I am so he had a lot of fun riding with my dad and brother who are both pretty good skiers. Carson really liked to challenge my brother to a race whenever he could.

video
Carson gave my brother a head start but still caught up with him right at the end. I'm sorry for the poor quality of the video, but I was on a snowboarding riding down the mountain and filming at the same time. 

On New Year's Eve we celebrated with some friends at a nice steak dinner and then played games until everyone got really tired. Unfortunately, it was only 10ish (that is what you get for snowboarding all day for three days straight). We all sat there visiting/watching TV/falling asleep until someone randomly opened the New Year's noise makers and popped a popper at 10:45. So...we all joined in. A few mini explosions and a lot of noise later, our New Year's celebration was complete. So, we went to bed. At 11. Lovely.

Overall, it was a great way to spend the rest of our Christmas break. Thanks Mom and Dad for the fun trip!

From the Bookshelf

One thing I have been doing a lot more of is reading. I forgot how much I enjoy reading...and I have loved jumping back into it.

First up...
I really enjoyed these crime thriller books. They are definitely for a more mature audience and have some racy parts, so be prepared if you decide to read them. Unfortunately, when they made the movie for the first book they exploited those parts and it is rated R. Sad. Anyway, the first two were my favorites. The third one was a good wrap-up, but not as good as the first two. 

Next...
Oh my goodness I cannot wait until the movie for The Hunger Games comes out. All of these books were amazing. I think the first one was my favorite, but they were all really, really good. And quick, easy reads too. I highly recommend these books to anyone who hasn't read them (but my guess is most of you have already read them and I am way behind the curve on this one).

Then...
I know, another one you have all probably read - I have a lot of catching up to do. So I really wanted to read this book before I saw the movie, but I was put on a waiting list at the library (number 141...go me!). It turns out that waiting list took months (yeah, I would rather wait months than pay what...$10 for the book...ha) so I ended up seeing the movie first. The movie was amazing and when I eventually read the book I found it followed it really well. This book isn't action and adventure like the two series above, but I was never bored with it. I loved the serious topic of fighting to fix racial inequalities. I especially like that it was written by a woman who grew up in the south with "help" of her own. 

And...
I have this thing about getting bored with listening to music all the time. I love music and all, but hearing the same songs all of the time gets old. So, instead of listening to music on my walk to school, I like to listen to audiobooks. Nerdy, I know. I decided to try a nonfiction book because I really like learning through nonfiction books, but I tend to fall asleep as I read since they are usually a little slower. But, it is kind of hard to fall asleep while walking. Perfect solution. This book took me the whole semester to finish, but it was worth it. My dad actually recommended it to me. While my mom and I have similar tastes in fiction, my dad and I have similar tastes in nonfiction. The Ghost Map is all about the cholera epidemic in London. I liked it because of the medical aspect of cholera and the in-depth description of a city I love - London (plus the tangents the author went on were really interesting too). If you like history, medicine, London (or cholera) I think you would really enjoy this book. 

Up next...

And on audiobook...


Happy reading!

Merry Christmas

Since we spent Thanksgiving in Las Vegas, Carson and I stayed in Utah with his family for Christmas. But as we all know, Christmas is about the season, not just the day. 

Let's start with treats.

I made so many holiday treats I decided to write a 12 ingredients of Christmas song (you know...based off the 12 days of Christmas).

12 goodie bags
11 cups of butter (yeah...gross)
10 huge bars of chocolate
9 cups of sugar
8 cups of almonds
7 cups of powdered sugar
6 bags of kisses
5 shapes of sugar cookies
4 batches of toffee
3 rounds of pretzel treats
2 bags of m&ms
 and a giant batch of delicious buckeyes 

Let's just say I was busy...but I love baking, so this was all fun for me.

 The recipe for these pretzel treats can be found here...at my aunts' cooking blog. I love them because they are really easy and you can customize them for any holiday. 

 These are my MIL's famous buckeyes. Well...my version using her recipe. I didn't make them as amazing as she does, but I have been told that it will take me many, many years to master and these were pretty darn good for my first try. I was quite proud of myself. 

 Since they are Carson's favorite, I surprised him with a tower of them when he came home (at 10 pm on a Friday night) from his last final.


Oh toffee...


To me, Christmas isn't truly here until I taste some of my mom's toffee. She always makes this for neighbors and friends so I decided to continue the tradition here in Utah. 

Sugar cookies are another thing my mom always makes for Christmas. I made these to give as a little treat to our primary children...and to enjoy ourselves of course. 




 In the end, this was what our counter looked like. 
Bags of treats for primary kids and friends, two containers of toffee, two containers of buckeyes, and three containers of sugar cookies. Diet, what?


Okay, this one isn't really Christmas but our anniversary is exactly one week before Christmas. We decided to keep it simple since Christmas is so close (and we have a budget to keep!) but I surprised Carson with one of his favorite breakfasts...quiche.
And then he surprised me with a romantic dinner at Chef's Table and a movie. It was a great, simple way to celebrate our first year together. 

[Unfortunately we are terrible at taking pictures when we are together but insert cute, happy couple picture at Chefs Table here.] 

Next up...gingerbread houses. 

One of the favorite traditions in the Flake household is to make gingerbread houses. Now, I'm not talking about the kind that you make from a kit you found in the grocery store. Nope. I'm talking about homemade gingerbread, homemade icing, and a wide variety of candies. 

This year I helped my MIL make the gingerbread so one day, when we don't live so conveniently close, Carson and I will be able to continue this tradition. 

 It turned out pretty well for my first time.

 Carson got in on the decorating and was actually really good at it. 

 He also really took command when it was time to assemble the house. I guess that is the engineer in him. 

The front/side view of our candy cottage. 

 And the back view. 

And now for decor. 

As you know from previous blogs, we like to decorate around here. But, if you have ever been a student newlywed, you also know the word budget. So, we did what we could with stuff we had, bought a few little things, and made a little splurge on the tree. After it was all put together I loved it. 

 Our table centerpiece. Oh look...more candy. Just what we needed. 

 Stockings and a mini-nutcracker.

The tree and presents (kind of squished, but there). 

Now, Carson grew up in a family that always used colored lights. I grew up in a family that always used white lights. Problem. This year we compromised and used a single color light on the tree - red (it all matched very nicely). You can't tell from this picture of the tree, but its true. Around our windows we had lights too. It made for a very Christmasy feel.

And finally to end this marathon of a blog post, Christmas day!

We spent Christmas (and a few days before and after) with Carson's parents, his brother Ryan and wife Jess, and sister Audrey, her husband Tyler, and their two kids. 

On Christmas eve I got the chance to video chat with my brother whose is serving an LDS mission in Russia. I wish I would have taken a picture of the set-up because it was quite amazing. I was video chatting on my laptop with my mom on her phone. My mom (and the rest of the family) was video chatting with my brother on her computer. She held the phone up to the computer so I could see him and he could see me. Oh how I love technology. I'm glad to report that my brother is doing fabulously and is being well taken care of during this holiday season.

Right after I finished talking to my brother we all got a great Christmas surprise. Another one of Carson's brothers (Dallan) showed up with his wife and three kids to spend Christmas with us...without telling anyone. It was a lot of fun to have more family join in the celebration.

 Two of the surprise kiddos. 

The scene on Christmas eve. 

We had an amazing dinner on Christmas eve, followed by a touching family program. Then it was time for bed!


The kids set out cookies and milk for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, and cheese for the Christmas mouse. It's so fun having kids around at Christmas time.

Then it was Christmas morning.

 Merry Christmas!



Giving Thanks

This year Carson and I went down to Las Vegas to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. One of our family's traditions is going shooting out in the desert Thanksgiving morning (kind of weird and white-trashish...I know). We get to aim at old TVs, refrigerators, paint cans, glass bottles, and a variety of other things. This year the trash-hunting crew consisted of my dad, sister, brother, two uncles, one cousin, Carson, and me. As odd as this tradition is, it is something I really enjoy doing.

 My beautiful little sister.

 Little brother contemplating life(?) while waiting to shoot his brand new rifle. 

 Carson taking command of the shotgun.

 I tried out my uncle's new glock...but I'm not as good with it as I am with a shotgun...ha. 

Carson really like shooting the revolver...but its a little too strong for me. 

After shooting it was all about dinner preparations. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures of the table, but we had an amazing spread. It was a smaller group than we are used to during Thanksgiving, but it was wonderful to be with family. 

Carson and I have so many things to be thankful for. 
Loving families.
Amazing friends.
A cozy apartment.
Educational opportunities. 
The Gospel.
Freedom.
Each other.
Just to name a few. 

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, spending time with family, and doing a little Christmas shopping. I loved being in Las Vegas to relax and celebrate with my family. It made for another great Thanksgiving.