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Friday, September 30, 2011

a simple pleasure

I only posted this one of 2-year-old Gage because it's too embarrassing to post a picture of me with whipped cream all over my face.
This cream was whipped to go on top of our chocolate haupia pie we made last weekend. OH YUM.
Here's the recipe:
1 9" unbaked pie crust
1 c milk
1 can coconut milk
1 T coconut extract
1 c sugar
1 c water
1/2 c cornstarch
1 c chocolate (chocolate chips, dutch chocolate, or something like that)
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crust for 15 minutes or until golden brown - set aside to cool In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, coconut milk, coconut extract and 1 cup sugar. In a separate bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in water. After brining coconut milk mixture to a boil reduce to simmer and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture, stirring over low heat until thickened. Divide evenly into 2 bowls. In another bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Mix chocolate into one of the bowls of coconut pudding, then pour mixture into pie crust. Spread and let sit. Pour the remaining bowl of coconut pudding on top of the chocolate-coconut pudding and spread smooth. Refrigerate pie for an hour or more. Whip the cream & sugar and layer the whipped cream on the pie surface. Garnish with chocolate shavings.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

3 novels worth reading

And Ladies of The Club is a novel about a group of women in the mid-1800s. 50 years of writing by Helen Hooven Santmyer, the book was published when she was 88 years old. The novel spans 3 generations, starting with Anne Gordon and Sally Rausch who are recent graduates of the Waynesboro Female College when the book begins. This book is one of those that pulls you in to the characters' lives - so much so, that by mid-novel, I ended up dreaming every night that I lived in Waynesboro and wore long dresses as I went to "call" on my friends. If you want to escape normal life for a few days, pick up this book and let it pull you in!
Life with Father, by Clarence Day is a humorous autobiographical book written shortly after his father passed away. In the novel, Father is impatient and unforgiving of poor behavior from the gardner to his children. But Day tells the stories in a way that makes you fall in love with his father and wish to know him personally. This is another "oldie" - published in 1935. It's one that will make you smile every page that you turn!
Everyone knows about Jeeves - the brilliant butler who knows everything. But if you want to really appreciate his brilliance, pick up one of P.G. Wodehouse's novels in the
Wooster & Jeeves series.
Bertie Wooster is a rich young gentleman who "has known someone who once worked". His "what-ho"s and "abbreviations of words make for hilarious reading. Bertie finds himself in impossible situations that Jeeves can always find a way out of.

I love reading.
If you have a great novel to recommend, please share it with me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

fall is here!

I love pretty much EVERYTHING about autumn!
We had some of the family together to welcome fall, and this is what we did:
Why, you ask, is there an extension cord near the pumpkin carving? Because Bryan used his dremel for his artistic pumpkin carving. For Bryan, tell him there's a power tool involved and he'll participate in anything! This is probably Bryan's last Halloween at home. He just submitted his mission papers (We're members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he has the opportunity to serve a volunteer 2-year mission. Lots of excitement here because it's now the waiting game - we don't know where he will serve. It could be Tulsa, Oklahoma or Tazmania; Spokane or Spain ... we'll find out in a couple of weeks!)

So, we have a genetic disease in our family: Holiday-itis. We can't help ourselves - we celebrate long and early. Azure's been asking me if we can decorate for Christmas for 2 weeks now. So the fact that we carved pumpkins in September is actually showing restraint for us.

Are you a big holiday celebrater? I'd love a peek into your home to see your fun celebrations!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today is one of those glorious days when I feel that
all is right with the world
I love today.
Nothing special - just nothing hard today.
Kind of like when you realize you're not sick or in pain anywhere.
I feel exciting anticipation - the same feeling I would get as a child when Christmas drew near.
Life is good.
I sincerely hope it's a glorious day for you too!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Absolutely Unacceptable Regrets

I have an amazing job.
I work with a group of people who are forward-thinking, team-oriented and successful.
In our executive meeting today we did a little exercise that, I think, is valuable for everyone. Here it is for you:

Imagine today is 5 years in the future. This is the last day of your life. Now list 5 regrets you absolutely do NOT want to have.
(One of mine: I do NOT want to regret that I didn't enjoy the moment every day of my life)

Looking at those 5 regrets now, next to each one write down WHY those would be horrible regrets to have.
(for that regret: that would mean that I would have missed out on the best part of this mortal experience)

In the next column, next list what you are doing or are not doing right now that COULD lead to having that regret.
(for me: sometimes I get caught up in the urgent "must do's" and get a little psycho over things that I have no control over)

The last column is where you list what you can implement RIGHT NOW to ensure that you do NOT have those regrets.
(my action plan: remind myself regularly to let go of things that don't matter; begin each day with meaningful prayer; include in my prayers requests for charity and for clarity)

Interesting fact: for me, in the last column I had the same answer for 3 of my possible regrets. This was an insightful exercise that helped me readjust my priorities. Hope you find it useful too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Travel Trivia

I'm in the midst of traveling. Here are some observations:

1. In America, Southwest Airlines wins for me. Today I was on US Airways and although it wasn't really negative, there weren't the smiles and accommodating employees that SWA have.

2. The guy sitting next to me who was loudly complaining to his girlfriend about a screaming baby was WAY more annoying then the baby. I didn't speak up, but thought about standing up for the stressed out mom who must have been breaking into a sweat trying to bounce the baby, dig out some snacks, offer a bottle, all the while offering non stop apologies.

3. In my determination to be as healthy as possible, I packed a DELISH cucumber & tomato salad, 2 Activia yogurts, one orange and a baggie of almonds. They took my yogurts at TSA, so I relied on my other food to sustain me till arriving in Chicago. I am currently SO hungry that while waiting for my dinner to arrive I ran down to the gift shop and bought a bag of baked chips. I devoured it. Lesson learned: next time I'll pack one or more less-than-healthy items.

4. I always fall asleep on planes. No matter how rested I am. And I always get really stiff shoulders and neck from sleeping on the plane. I haven't figures out a cure for that one yet. Except I've promised myself a massage when I get home.

That's it for today. Since I'm traveling I have limited Internet access so I'll have to catch up with all of you upon my return. Hope you're having a great week!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 19, 2011


"Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness."
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men..."
Part of my all-time-favorite scripture: 2Nephi 31:20, Book of Mormon

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Brooke & Steven and their darling little Gage are with us for just a few more days before leaving for Arizona where Steve is starting a new job. So with Steve having time off this past week, he's agreed to be our slave. Each morning he asks me what I would like him to do (I really should have started making him say, "What would you like me to do, your royal highness?" ... but too late for that now) This morning I responded that I'd like him to blog for me. For Steven this is not the fun little joy that it is to me and to many of you. This is painful. But it's fun watching him squirm. PLUS - on a previous slave day he and Brooke did a whole a lot of cool things around the house while I was gone. This gives him fodder for this post. So without further ado, here's my son-in-law, Steven:

hello blogging world. truth be told, i am not very excited to write this. i procastinated doing this all day. but here it goes:

we were playing a game the other night and while i was dominating, brooke and mom were planning a transformation of the living room. i had mixed feelings at the time. on the one hand i love watching brooke be creative (she is ridiculously talented). on the other hand i am the slave and knew that i would be the one doing all of the labor.

at the end of the day i was very impressed. now remember, i am just the troll. brooke did all the real work with this. she had the vision. she got it done for under 20 dollars. the only thing i take credit for is the chair below.

for the most part i have really enjoyed being moms slave. mostly it consists of playing games and drinking green smoothies. honestly, the worst part of it is writing this post.

good bye.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

some things I like

I'm usually the last to learn about the latest things ... well, actually, I think I may have been the first 40-something person to get facebook way back in 2006.
(but I can take no credit - my daughter signed me up so I could be cool.)
I mean, so that I could see the pictures she was posting.
Anyway, I just learned about pinterest ...
(not surprisingly - same daughter got me going).
If you don't know about it (but if you do, just humor me, ok?) it can be your personal pinboard - you know, an inspiration board of pinned up pictures. Like when we were teenagers and clipped out pictures from magazines - outfits, hairstyles, recipes, cool projects ... So I'm getting hooked on it. Because I'm pinning things I want to make, cool looks for my dream home and more.
like this cool soap dispenser repinned from
And this lace skirt repinned from
and this super-smart idea!
If you get on pinterest, follow me and I'll follow you back - I want to see what you like, and share what I like! I'm on as Denalee Chapman.

is such an entertaining blog that I find myself going back regularly for a quick chuckle.
One more blog I want to share with you ... Felicity (what a great name! - she should thank her mom daily for that)
appropriately titled her blog:
... if ever you need a reminder of how good life is, check in with Felicity.

That's it for today. It would take me months to list all the blogs I love - I'm counting on you checking out those I follow to see some of the best. You're all awesome. Hope you're having a great mid-week day!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


it used to make me crazy.
Someone I know once said, "I've learned to make insomnia my friend."
So for all of you who get these bouts like I do, here are some ideas for those times when all the world seems to be sleeping except for you:
Read a good book (I'm just finishing up The Help so I can feel good about going to see the movie)
Blog - because somewhere in the world there's someone who is also awake and ready to read your post
Day Dream (when's the last time you indulged in that luxury?)
{what to daydream about: your dream home; chapter titles of the novel you're going to write; your dream vacation; create the next great dessert}
Rearrange your living room
Take care of the next day's "must dos" in the house so when you can sleep (about the time everyone wakes up) there's no guilt
Make a breakfast feast fit for a royal family (they'll treat you like a queen all day)
... so now that I've daydreamed and blogged ... I'm off to a little comfy corner to pull out "The Help" ... about the time you all get up, I'll be fast asleep.

Monday, September 12, 2011

just a thought to start out the week:

(Sandy Beach, Sitka, Alaska)
"May we cherish each and every day, even with its ups and downs, and protect ourselves from becoming consumed in what may sometimes seem like the big things, which might rob us of all the little that are the very essence of life."
-Ardeth Kapp, "Better Than You Think You Are"

Friday, September 9, 2011

outdoor inspiration

I know I've already posted a sunflower picture this week ... but .......

gorgeous, aren't they!?!
I'm a lover of Robert Service poetry (thanks to my husband, Brad)
I especially love his The Call of The Wild. I often think of this phrase:
"Have you gazed on naked grandeur where there's nothing else to gaze on ..."
and he ends most of the stanzas with:
"Then listen to the Wild - it's calling you"
Have you suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down yet grasped at glory
Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?
"Done things" just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story
Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?
Have you seen God in His splendors, heard the text that nature renders?
(you'll never hear it in the family pew)
The simple things. The true things. The silent men who do things -
Then listen to the Wild ~ it's calling you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

great party ideas

Brooke threw a surprise birthday party for Azure a few weeks ago ... you can see lots more pictures with creative ideas here. (ps - she's not only creative, but she totally knows how to make someone feel important!)

And then my sister-in-law threw together an amazing wedding reception for our niece. They have a very welcoming yard, AND she's a wedding cake maker!

Where do you get your inspiration for parties? I have to steal all mine - I don't have any original ideas, but I'm a pretty good copy-cat.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

if I didn't have one then, I sure do now ...

I know, I know ... I should keep a bottle of advil or something in my car and in my travel bag. But I don't get all that many headaches anymore. So it's just not a staple in my belongings. But man! I ended up with a killer headache the other day when I was on the road. I bought one of those little packets of excedrin - knowing I'd need just one tiny pill to kill the pain.
Got back in the car and zipped to my appointment. While driving I tried to open the human-proof package. Got to a stop light and decided to use my teeth ... the light turned green and my temples started pulsating wildly.
Holy schmoly ... my headache was just getting worse by the second! Why do they make those dang things so hard to open? Got to the next stop light and I was back far enough in the line where I had time to take my keys and try to open it. Oh. My. HECK.
This shows how I felt right before walking into my appointment.
Upon entering, before introducing myself to the receptionist I begged a pair of scissors, cut it open right there and dropped the pill into my mouth - chugged a bottle of water, then, feeling the thrill of conquering, I entered the office.
(PS - all pictures taken AFTER the struggle!)

Monday, September 5, 2011


Not just artistic, but also very wise, it was Michelangelo who said:
"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it."
Kevin Hall said,
"However difficult, being able to see what is ahead unleashes the ability to persevere and prevail."
It's a tricky thing ~ being able to see what the end product may be while standing there, staring at a block of stone, knowing all the work that's ahead ... but my experience is that through prayer, quiet meditation, and an optimistic attitude one can have a pretty good idea of what the statue will look like ... and what Kevin Hall says is true! When we see the end, our ability to persevere increases. We can't help but succeed ... and this is important: we can't help but enjoy the journey, hard as it is.
Speaking of work, Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 2, 2011


"To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there."
~ Barbara Bush

Thursday, September 1, 2011

fun to share

I was scrolling through some old pictures on the computer the other day. I feel like you, my blogging friends, are not just some unknown-something-out-there, but are really my friends. So, I'm sharing a part of my life with you.
I've worked some in the TV industry. I love it. I would love to do more of it.
(Sierra came to help with a taping for a show called "This Week In Vegas")
I started in television when I was 19. I worked at the Osmond Studio in Utah, first as a tour guide, then as a page for the Donny & Marie Show, then in commercial production. I worked my way from being a runner to working script & continuity, to being a casting director. I loved it.
A few years after moving to Alaska our family started a magazine-style show that the local station picked up. We produced that for a few years, then I started hosting a human-interest talk show there. It's called "Splash!" and is still being aired throughout Alaska. (I get to take occasional trips back up to make more shows)
After moving to Vegas and getting to know some great people here, I hosted one season of The Vegas Splash!. (you can watch past episodes here)
It was great fun! I got other opportunities with that production company here in Vegas and have loved every minute of it.
(This was at the Sahara - with Illusionist, Rick Thomas and his very beautiful tiger)
I'm currently not working in television production - but it's not because I don't want to. When the opportunity comes again, I'll be jumping right on board!
Tell me a little about you now ~ some tidbit I don't yet know. I'd love to turn this into a conversation with you!