…but you love crazy!

Jess here.

I’m getting old you guys. I’m thinking rational things like, I bet my body would be happy if I slept more than 4 hours a night. Maybe I should get gas before the light comes on, and you should pack toilet paper in an accessible box when you move.

Things have been stable, blech. I hate the word stable. I have been happy. My life is so good. Even when someone walked out of my life unexpectedly. I chose happy. Work is awesome, I’m working on two new recipes right now, and one is for fall. Fall baking wraps my heart and soul in a yummy cinnamon nutmeg hug, you know the way you feel when the air changes? I get that a little early this year.

I have yet to be “home” on a weekend in a month. This week was exhausting, full of happy, grateful, infertility miracle tears. Family visits, moving, a very convincing pep talk to myself that I could light a pilot light on the water heater, hauling appliances downstairs, picking up the perfect love seat in the ghetto of Utah, style icon awards night with Hil, a sprint through the airport and oh yeah. I’m back in Idaho.

Doing Laundry in the hotel like adults do.

So let’s see here.

Texas

Idaho

Idaho

Idaho

Arizona

I’m determined to get caught up with this blog this week.

but maybe after a power nap.

oh yeah, and we sold a Teepee.

xoxo

sleepy Jess

who absolutely loves crazy weeks like this. my heart just feels so alive.

It’s no longer magical at 7am.

Remember my Teepee? I love my Teepee. It’s pretty magical on the inside, and no one judges you for singing “Colors of the Wind” at the top of your lungs. Because you’re in a TEEPEE. Helllllooooo.

Well, it’s no secret my house has been a toxic crazy place for the past six months. I guess that’s what happens when your ex-boyfriend gets engaged to your roommate. That’s like nine violations of the girl code. Whatevs.

In May, my pregnant sister Lindsay fell through the attic floor at my parents house. She landed on her back on a cabinet, and somehow she didn’t break any bones, or hit her head, or land on her stomach. She fell 10 feet onto the concrete floor. We were so blessed that day. She was able to leave the hospital with a couple of cuts and bruises. Nothing major, and when they came to visit last week I got to feel my niece kick for the first time.

However, I didn’t know that she was going to be okay, and being 400+ miles away made it intense.

So I called my sister Oaty in Texas, because she wasn’t home in AZ with the rest of everyone either. It’s probably a good thing she was emotionally stable and rational when I called. She broke everything down for me in 90 seconds and we hung up. This is why it’s important to have lots of siblings, everyone can rotate roles and pull each other up. Well, despite her brilliant rationalizing, I was a hot mess. So I took it to the Teepee. Called my therapy team, and waited.

and that call saying that L. and baby were going to be just fine came. I knew it was going to come, but it sure scared me bad. Talked it through with Dani and Madi, and for the first time in 14 months, I called in to work. And it was decided that I was going to sleep in the teepee, and regroup.

You always sleep better after a good cry don’t you? I was safe, warm, calm, and grateful.

That is until 7am.

At this point I was still waking up super early. So I had no clue that our sprinklers turn on every morning at 7am. The Teepee is waterproof. Except for the hole that the door makes. The unexpected surprise soaked me, the down comforter, the pillows in a matter of seconds.

 but I was not having it. So I grabbed mixing bowls and said #shutitdown to the sprinklers. New blankets and we were back in business.

Do you have a safe place?

Where do you go when life isn’t bright and shiny? 

Out of the Office :)

Hello my Lovelies,

I am officially on vacation. I am in Denver to sleep, eat, watch basketball and visit my favorite yarn shop. I promise when I get back to tell you about my barefoot sprint through the airport and all about how I got my foot stuck in a grocery cart.

Let’s talk next week!

Xoxo

and so if begins..

The New Year always brings out resolutions, the gym is a little more packed in January, schedules are set etc.My goals are always written down at the beginning of each year as is family tradition, but this year my goals are a little different. The number one goal I hear everyone making is always, health, weight loss, gym etc. I’ve finally hit the 50pound + mark, and I’m down to seven pounds left on this long journey. So that’s not my focus this year, that has become a part of me. There’s no timetable for that. My main focus this year is emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. I made specific goals to better myself in these areas, but I think those are better left on my paper and not a public blog.

but I do love goals, and so I have made this list of fun, little less personal, goals to accomplish this year.

  1. Paint my nails once a month. (Act like a lady)
  2. Go on a blind date (and yes there’s big plans for this one, but I’m going to need a lot of v8 and adderall before I let the world in.) 
  3. Do something worthy of the hashtag # divafierce
  4.  Finish all ten seasons of FRIENDS.. again
  5.  Spend one night without my humidifier on (trying to get out of the comfort zone 😉 )
  6. Read 12 books with Rosie
  7. Learn how to wear a coat when it’s cold outside
  8.  Take off two days in a row/sleep 8 consecutive hours two days in a row
Oh.. and I’m going to wear more lipstick. 
Did you set any fun goals for yourself this year? 

A New Year, A New Me, A New Blog.

So we survived the end of the world, do you feel accomplished? I do. 2012 was a miracle year for me. I feel like I finally understood myself, (although today I don’t don’t, fickle thing huh?) I hit some serious milestones in my career, in my weight, with my gingerbread. 2012 was the year I met Rose. That sentence alone sums up my hear. Somewhere inside of me I knew there was some confidence, and well. She found it. I am so blessed to have her as my best friend. I climbed mountains, overhaul ed my closet, and drank spinach. I wakeboarded tandem with my Lindsay, picked some tool bag men, and laughed a lot at myself. I’m sure there’s a lot of in between I’m missing, but as a whole, I look at 2012 with pure joy. To kick off 2013, I’m  celebrating with a little face lift, and a nap. Because it’s about time I made time for that.

co. here’s to a new year full of awkward adventures.

Gingerbread House 2012

So I have an addiction to building gingerbread houses.. I would say slight, but we both know that isn’t true. Every year starts with a vision, and an added element of difficulty from the previous year.Three years ago, it was a two story bakery with miniature gingerbread houses in the windows. Two years ago, it was built with a lot of love and well… it was ugly, but it had a balcony! Last year, with the help of my dear sister Kristin helped me create a pattern to replicate the house I lived in… but this year ladies and gents, is my best one yet. As you can tell by my last post, I’ve been working a lot. As soon as I told Rosie I didn’t think I was going to do one this year, I got bit. I’m so glad it did, So in true McGuire fashion, not only was I building one, it was going to be over the top. I joined the Ultimate Gingerbreaders club, and decided th is was the year for a wrap around porch and a turret roof. She received a very excited text with these pictures.

You know in Christmas with the Kranks when she freaks out about needing her vest? Same concept!

and then, I REALLY needed a festive nutcracker to help the process…

but then Pierre(that’s what I named him) needed a friend. Meet Frederick!
This is what Rose gets to handle, be grateful you only have to read about the crazy 😉
and then, it was time to get going on the house.

I start by cutting out all the pieces, and taping together the longer ones. I don’t always use a premade pattern, but this one was too gorgeous not to try.
Step 2: Make a ton of gingerbread. My top secret recipe is on sale here -> http://etsy.com/shop/NansGingerbread
When I was learning how to sew, my mother used to say, “measure twice, cut once.”
This applies so well to gingerbread. The recipe I use has no leavening agents in it. It has minimal spread and is easy to work with. I pin each piece to the gingerbread with dressmaker’ s pins and do a wide trim with a pizza wheel, I then go back with an Xacto knife to make sure it’s perfectly detailed. (I know it’s a little obsessive. Stay with me.) 
After the pieces we’re baked, I went back and made stained glass windows with crushed candy. I originally made poured sugar for the windows, but I didn’t like it so I picked it out… twice. The warm yellow windows I was going for just wouldn’t translate from my brain to real life. I knew the bay windows were going to be red, green and white. I wanted the main house  windows to be more home- y, and finally was satisfied with butterscotch windows. 
This was the first attempt at the main house windows.

Bay Windows came out perfectly!
yes, this is a picture of my oven. I sat in front of it watching the windows to make sure they didn’t burn. They didn’t 🙂 
Last year I did individual bricks, so this year I wanted to pipe slats out of royal icing. I also thought a quaint light grey would be pretty. My attempt at light grey, ended with more of a Hogwartsy purply grey. After sending the picture to my team of gingerbread advisors. Panic ensued, and I scraped that delicate piece down like my life depended on it. 
We were all happier with the Brown slats, and butterscotch windows.

 After letting all of the pieces dry overnight, I was ready to assemble. This is always the most stressful part. Breaking a piece at this point sets you back at least two hours.

Once the walls were setting, there was more waiting. I’ve been making these for years, but this was the first time I was patient enough to let it do its thing!

After I attached the bay windows. (5 piece window on the left.) I had to figure out lighting. I wanted the bay windows to have the most light, but I didn’t think through the front wall. The back wall has holes for five light bulbs. Unfortunately the front wall does not. So I Jimmy rigged the lights to go through the back wall and over the front wall into the bay windows. I took a risk thinking I could hide the wires in the roofing. I threaded four of the five lights through the back wall and up over the front wall into the bay windows. I was so nervous about the lights, because once the roof is on, you can’t go back to fix a lightbulb. Thankfully it worked like a charm. 
 The turret roof on the bay window was a little tricky. Took me four tries to get it to hold. I was so proud of this! At one point my left hand was stabilizing eight pieces, while my right hand frosted as fast as possible. Truth be told, I needed a second pair of hands, I ended up stabilizing the roof while it dried for forty- five minutes. This window quickly became one of my favorite parts of the house!
Let me remind you everything is edible on the house. There is over 6 pounds of chocolate coins on the roof. The spiral on the bay window was just perfection.
After the roof came the details.
I colored some royal icing green, and piped wreaths onto parchment paper. This is why I love royal icing so much. Once the icing dries, you can peel it off and its stable enough to glue to anything. So much easier than trying to pipe the wreaths directly onto the house. I did pipe the pine boughs onto the windows directly. I placed candy coated sunflower seeds with tweezers while the icing was still wet. (why is it all my big projects involve placing tiny things with tweezers?!) 
and then I got carried away… 
So, It has a wrap around porch. You CANNOT have a wrap around porch without a porch swing!
I glued Andes mints together with royal icing, and used hard candy for the coordinating pillows. I glued twizzlers to my bench so it would swing. Threaded the licorice between the house and the roof and secured it with chocolate coins. 
and then I realized the left hand side of the porch looked a little empty. So I fashioned deck chairs out of chocolate covered pretzels and doublemint gum. I made a table for the chairs with a reeses and more gum.

The whoopie pies are actually ice cream sprinkles stuck together with frosting. The mug is a gum drop, on top of a chocolate chip with a macaroni handle. 
This is the home tour of the unfinished house. This year, I was blessed enough to have the opportunity to donate my gingerbread house to Primary Children’s Medical Center. It was such a beautiful and tender experience it deserves it’s own post. 

Thanksgiving !

How do I phrase this without using the words.. exhausting, marathon, or where’ s my mom I can’t move…

We made several thousand, yes multiple THOUSANDS, of pie the week of Thanksgiving. I didn’t really sleep, and drank about 8 gallons of v8. I’m not proud of the amount of star wars fruit snacks I consumed to stay awake. We literally worked around the clock to make it happen. Thankfully we made every single one of our deadlines. The absolute best part was knowing that at the end of piepocalypse, my sweet family was coming to Utah. I miss my people, I work a lot and they are my absolute best friends. At the end of my last 17 hour shift my sweet mother picked me up from work because I wasn’t okay to drive:) bless her. She whisked me away from my kitchen to get my haircut, a sandwich and the best chocolate milk of my life. She brought my niece Lillie with her. Lillie tackled me in the best hug after work. Thank goodness we did it! 

this is just a taste of the amount of pies we made.!

The next morning I slept in, and my mom made me breakfast in bed. I was in serious see recovery mode, I didn’t know what to do when I realized I didn’t have to work. I sat down to watch the parade when Lillie snuggled right in with me.

“Aunt Jess no work today! Yay!”  and oh was it sweet. My mom rubbed my hands, I watched football with the boys, and watched my mom teach Alyssa how to dance in the kitchen. My parents rented out a house in Salt Lake, filling it with all of my crazy people was the best present. It felt like home, I love that nothing changes no matter hos old we get.

Love these two 🙂

 My sisters married well. Mackay is supportive of Lindsays need to black Friday shop. So much fun!

 This picture was Kristins idea, she was a little silly once we got her out of the house. I like this side of Kristin. We were laughing so hard. Goodness I miss her.

She couldn’t stop jumping up and down. She did however get exactly what she wanted. Score ! 
someone got kicked out of bed and banished to Aunt Jess’ bed. I can’t see why she was banished at all do you?
I love getting dressed up for church with my sister’s, my mom taught us how fun it is to be a girl. In true McGuire girl fashion. We unintentionally color coordinated, and had perfect hair. I can say that because.. well, have you seen our Mom? 
I just love her, and all of them. Let’s play again real soon!
xo.

Cheese Potato Soup for an Army

So when I moved into my new ward, I was called to the Munch & Mingle committee, which is pretty much the same thing I was doing in my last ward. I was super excited to get my hands dirty again. I was even more excited that I was’t in charge of it.. just a helper. Unfortunately when push came to shove I ended up making soup for 150 people by myself, so that was a little frustrating, but there wasn’t a drop left of the 8+ gallons of soup I made, and everyone enjoyed it. So that was great!

I played around with my traditional soup recipe and added Dill and Cream Cheese to it. I’m going to warn you, you’re probably not going to want to share, and your house will smell divine for days.  It’s so good!

4TBS Butter
1c chopped onions
1/2 garlic clove minced
2 large potatoes peeled and chopped
2tsp dried dill 6oz cream cheese
1 1/2c Milk
1c grated cheddar cheese
2tsp dried parsley
4c water
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot saute the onions and garlic in the butter until the onions are translucent. Add the potatoes and saute 5-10 minutes more. Add the water and Dill and simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain the Potatoes.

Puree the potatoes with the cream cheese and milk (in a blender). Return to the soup pot. Season with salt and pepper and dried parsley. Stir in the cheddar cheese and re heat gently. Garnish with parsley, sour cream and bacon.

Don’t worry, the measurements make more like 6-8 servings *

I guess I can cross off feeding an army on my bucket list 🙂

🙂

Midnight Photoshoot with Rosie

I love Rosie because she supports my crazy… without judgment. She’s sat through countless conversations about gingerbread houses this week. Funny thing is, it’s not crazy, its passion. Funny thing is, she’s the same way. So when she called me at midnight to tell me to find pants because we were going to have a photo shoot right now, outside, I happily obliged. She got a new flash, and we took all of these when it was pitch black and 4 degrees outside. I really think these are my favorite pictures she’s ever taken of me. It’s REALLY hard for me not to A. smile or B. Fake laugh in attempt to produce a normal picture. I think I did much better this time around… sorta 🙂 It’s a work in progress.